All posts by Ashley

Just a woman, wife, and mother trying to find my way. Life is messy and I thought, why not share my messy journey with others who may need encouragement? Here are my ponderings, stories, and musings about God and life.

Year 2

The second year of our marriage was actually pretty good.  We both had salaried jobs that we loved doing and it was the year we decided we were ready to try for a family. (Which also means Simeon’s marital struggles decreased dramatically. LOL.)  In all honesty though, I had been on birth control before that and going off of it completely changed me.  It was the happiest I had felt in a long time.  For some reason, the pills stabilized my hormones in a way that did not allow me to feel any emotion with depth.  So the happy feeling was nice.  There were moments that were not the best…we still struggled with finances and how focused Simeon should be on completing college at this point.  There were many times I felt like I was the responsible one in the relationship and remember sitting in Simeon’s office crying wondering how in the world we could have a family together when I could not even be as involved as much as I wanted as a teacher, because my husband needed my help volunteering at the church and catching loose ends.  (Time management was not his biggest strength back then.)  You know what God told me?  I was in a small group one Wednesday night and I heard God tell me that I should take joy in picking up after my husband. Say WHAT!?….WHAT?  I don’t know about you, but there are times I know God is talking to me, because I certainly would not have thought of some of those things on my own.  To explain…He showed me in my heart how we are a partnership and the fact that I saw everything Simeon may have missed doing what he was supposed to be doing was a blessing.  It meant we had two sets of eyes and nothing got missed and we both benefited from it.  It didn’t mean he was inept…it meant God gave me the ability to see what needed to be seen and to do what needed to be done with my talents that Simeon hadn’t caught with his.  You see, my husband really cares about people and helping them.  I am not so gifted as to want to sacrifice my time for other people…I like lists and organization.  It is hard for me to decide between spending time with friends or washing dishes.  Ridiculous.  Together we work pretty well.

That fall we found out we were expecting our first baby and had fun with everything that comes with that.  It was a ridiculously easy pregnancy.  At 6 months pregnant though, my husband was asked to resign from his job.  Thankfully, they extended the insurance for us while he searched for another job.  Umm, that space was a little rough.  Apparently, we had different ways of job hunting.  Mine was – get outside-fill out an application at every place I could.  Simeon was MUCH. more. selective.  It infuriated me, but he interviewed and was able to get a really great job starting after the birth of our daughter.  That job is still blessing us today.  Guys just have instincts I don’t get.


Little Anna came along.  I tell you what…that was an adventure…but since this story is mostly about Simeon and me, we’ll save birth stories for another time.  Simeon was very supportive during the birthing process though I do not think I ever succeeded in getting him to read a single book about it.  When it came to feeding the baby at night, he insisted she sleep on his side of the bed so he would wake up in order to hand her over to me to feed.  As time went on, it became evident that Simeon was not endowed with the same maternal instincts to wake up in the middle of the night for crying babies.  We also became aware that we were not our best selves in the wee hours of the morning when there’s a baby exploding out of diapers (and she only peed on Simeon…always) or when the baby would not quit crying.  And by “not our best selves”, I mean there were some pretty choice words exchanged for people who were rarely heard cussing most of the time.  Dishes piled high and chores were neglected a little more frequently.  Our little first born seemed to need a lot of attention so our evenings were filled with supper, movies while entertaining Anna, a ton of nursing, and sleep.  Our favorite was to grab Chinese take out.  It was like a little date night at home while Anna complained through “tummy time” exercises.  It did wear on us a little though.  I went to work 6 weeks after Anna was born and had to fit in times to pump while at work, pump/nurse late at night, and more in the early morning with no place to comfortably pump at work.  By 5 months, I contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized for a handful of days.  Anna was cut off from nursing and was weaned.  It really made me sad for her and I think it was hard on both of us.   By time Anna was 7 months old, we got the news that baby #2 was on the way.

I cried as I talked on the phone to my mom about being pregnant again so soon.  I knew that everything was REALLY going to change with having two of them.  We were not where we needed to be financially and rent had increased.  We did what I swore we would never do.  We moved in with the in-laws.


Seven Years and Many More: Year 1

Marriage is this bizarre thing.  When I was younger, I always dreamt of finding “the one” and I’d follow that Godly man anywhere (so I said).  Back then, I also thought marriage was about happiness.  (Simeon told me it was about God and I told him he was nuts.)  I told God I wanted a preacher or a teacher, but was not interested in a military man.  You should have seen my face in college when Simeon announced he was seriously considering the military a couple of weeks before we started dating.  I was too embarrassed at the time to explain to him that he should stick around and date me, but did insist that he not leave just yet.

Wedding (317)

Marriage has been the death of me and yet has made me stronger in some areas too.  And I am serious.  There have been parts of marriage and raising a family that have been so painful that you wonder what the condition of your heart and soul look like and if this must be what death feels like.  People say marriage and family are “hard”, but that does not really prepare anyone for what hard looks like and how you seek God out to help you with that load.

Year One

Our first year of marriage, I had just graduated with my teaching degree in Chemistry, Earth Science, and General Science 5-12 and had even taken Spanish to help make me more desireable in the teaching field.  I had gone into college with the hopes of eventually obtaining a doctorate in education and moving into administration at the high school level.  My personality was pretty focused on achievement and I think I thought that was how you earned God’s love too.  I wasn’t “perfect”, but used to feel like I should strive to be and wondered why the heck most people did not want to do that.  (It’s exhausting for one.)  So with that process, the people closest to me would definitely get an earful of my opinions when I thought they were headed the wrong direction.  And my expectations…they were high for others, but just as high if not higher for me, so what was wrong with that?  Life had been difficult growing up having been through a couple of divorces as a kid and several moves and family drama every which way you can think of (seriously, like the ghetto kind).  So as an adult, I thought I could make a life for myself that was not so difficult and I could finally find joy and peace or calm seas.  I had an ideal life in my head and thought I had found the man who would help me live it.

The Big City – Okay, I was more of a small town girl.  Wichita seemed scary and humongous to me when we moved there.  The city seemed like a great place to move in order  to secure jobs.  Simeon transferred to Starbucks in Wichita where we rented a small, but nice 1 bedroom apartment.  June through August, I worked as a camp counselor, but could not get a teaching job for the fall.  Come to find out, the school district was in  a hiring freeze AND for some reason not a lot of other places want to hire someone with an overqualified resume to organize clothing.  I could not even get a substitute job, because they only hire during certain times of the year.  Student loans started sending bills 6 months after graduation.  Fun.

So I was stuck at home in an unknown city, uncertain of how to connect anywhere.  It was depressing.  My husband worked hard at Starbucks and came home with the hope of relaxing rather than getting out of the house.    We had been arguing over the summer, because I was gone all week except Friday nights through Sunday afternoon.   I discovered that my new husband did not like unpacking or organizing (and still does not).  The job of making home rested on me for a handful of Saturdays and then more when camp ended.  Simeon also did not enjoy doing homework to the point that there were some more failed classes.  We also found out one of us had a credit card spending problem, though later down the road we realized we BOTH had spending problems.

On Simeon’s end of marital life, he had married a woman who had been through a date rape whose LAST love language was intimacy.  Combine that with all of my frustrations towards him during that phase, you know there was not much going on.  The less going on in that department, the more Simeon felt rejected and unloved.  The more he brought it up, the more I felt pressured and didn’t want it.  Simeon gave me permission to also say that porn was a big addiction and issue for him during college and the first part of our marriage as well.  The rejection he felt from me, compounded that problem.  You can  guess how I felt about that.  What did I do with my time?  Job hunted, learned to crochet, and adopted a cat.


After a big argument over what to make for supper one night; I was sitting outside on some steps thinking that I had made a HUGE mistake in getting married.  I regretted it.  I also knew a lot of people struggle their first year.  It was the first time I realized I had anger problems.  Either way, I had made a promise and was going to stick through even if it was hell.  As a kid of divorce, I did not want any part of it for myself.  Both of us had agreed it would never be an option.

I sought help in the form of a mentor through a church we had just visited and started attending weekly studies in a small group.  I learned not to let excuses get in the way of attending that group too, because those ladies were that awesome (well, actually God working through them).  Simeon would beg me to go, because I came back in a better mood.  We started regularly going to church.  I was hired in December as a long-term substitute.  THAT was actually so hellacious that I began questioning whether I should be teaching at all.  The students had run off their teacher and several other subs and they were quite shocked when I kept returning.  Simeon was very supportive through that time.  Some good times included teaching the cat to fetch, discovering parks around Wichita, Renaissance Fest, and bike riding.  It was also a plus that we could go out to eat at so many different places and go on a date whenever we wanted.  Have you been to the Warren Theater?  It’s amazing. Also, Kinai’s is the BEST sushi place in town in my opinion.  In the spring, God moved fast.  Within a few days of each other, Simeon was hired as a children’s pastor at the church we were attending and I was hired as a Chemistry teacher at a local private school.  We then moved to a bigger, cheaper apartment and welcomed the summer.

Seven Years and Many More

Friend, everybody and their dog and their dog’s pet cat writes a blog.  Why?  We all desire to be connected, to share our journeys and hope that perhaps our journeys will bless others out there.  I obviously do not write frequently (even though it used to be my passion) and though it seems like a romantic idea to become a top blog…I don’t really care about that.  I don’t have TIME for that. LOL!  Who does!?

Anyways, to the topic.  In a hand full of days, it will be my 7 year wedding anniversary.  I used to not think that was a big deal.  Seven years.  *Shrug*  Big deal.  There are older people who have been married for 70 years.  People my age though…they seem impressed.  We, my husband and I, have also seen friend after friend get divorced over the years.  Everything will have seemed fine and the next thing we know, those friends are announcing their divorce on Facebook and other social media.  Bizarrely both angry and proud about it.  I won’t go into my thoughts of some women on-line bragging about single momming it as if that is what some of them aspired to all along.  Only shaming the pride and bragging, not the singleness.  Or all the divorce celebration parties and photography sessions I’ve seen pop up.  *Sigh*  Maybe that’s the world you live in…fine, but if you are wanting something more…maybe my story will interest you.  Disclaimer…I am not trying to judge or put down.  My heart just really aches for all the people hurt by marriages falling apart.  Seriously, I cry every time someone I know has to go through that.  Also…I don’t know what I’m doing at all.  I don’t know it all and I’m not perfect.   I am a Christian though and that relationship with Christ is what drives and sustains me.  Soooo now that we have that out of the way I really just want to share my story with you about how my husband and I met and the journey we’ve been on in celebration of 7 years of marriage and a hope for many more.

Simeon and I

My husband and I have been together for 9 years and married after a somewhat rocky dating relationship. We met at Emporia State University where we both were seeking teaching degrees in science.  ( I will never let him live down that he failed Chemistry  while dating a Chemistry major.  Homework was never on his mind around me for some reason.)  Of course, I noticed him here and there in our “How to teach science in secondary education” course, because he wore hats and I LOOOOOOVE hats.  We never talked much there; however, because I helped run a college worship service right after class each week.  One night though, our little college church group decided to visit the campus Christian cafe.  My friends went upstairs to pick out board games to play and I found myself distracted while ordering drinks as I overheard the guy from my class talking to another guy I knew who had disappeared and was all of a sudden back in town from a mission trip building schools in Africa (a dream of mine).   My “future husband” alert went off in my brain and I jumped into their conversation.  Simeon invited us to prayer walks around campus.  Even though they were at 4 am, gasp! and COLD, I decided to go.  Even though they had a good group going each week, I was the only one to show up along with Simeon that day.  Even though the time was just spent praying for others, by the end of the walk I was more excited to know him (though my goodness, he could get long winded).  He gave me a hug good-bye and offered me a free coffee if I came and saw him at work at Starbucks that morning.  (HE LIKES ME!!!)  So I stopped by his work and it turned out…this guy is just a hugger.  He hugs everybody and offers lots of people free drinks for stopping by.  Face palm.  Okay.


At some point his guy invites me to go to a food festival with him at the college.  I was excited to be asked and to go.  Again, I arrived and it was just the two of us which was what I expected.  It was NOT what he expected.  Simeon was a social butterfly (can men be social butterflies?) and knew a lot of people and had expected a larger crew.  He acted distant and uninterested the entire time.  He told me later he was looking for everybody and was trying to figure out where they all went.  The conversation was definitely lacking and we were not clicking.  Despite our awkward dinner, he invited me back to the dorms to spend time with the rest of the crew who apparently had forgotten the festival.  I’m thinking he still must like me, but must be shy at talking one on one.  He then spent the rest of the time talking to another girl in another room the whole time I was there! LOL.  I was so confused, but spent time getting to know the other people in the room.  Well, after many hang outs, game nights, and Simeon also being confused about who he should pursue and who I was really interested in (HIM!), something clicked and so began our relationship.


We actually broke up 3 times.  Yes, three.  The first two were for sure my fault, because this guy confused me as he was more of a…free flowing character and I was very much, well…not.  He wanted to hold hands in class…oh my goodness Simeon that is SO unprofessional!  *snicker*  Also, he wanted to get married right away aaaand that much certainty just freaked me out.  I was going through a bad depression from past events, but he stuck with me.  His selflessness and determination won me over.  His love for Christ, his hopes and dreams…I wanted to be a part of it.  And those blue eyes.  I’m still in love with those blue eyes.  But to be honest, I did not get married because of a floating enchanted feeling of butterflies in my stomach.  And I will tell you that this is DESPITE me being told by nearly everyone I asked that was how they “knew” their spouse was the “one”.  I married Simeon, because God showed me his potential and his goodness and I knew I wanted Simeon as a life partner.  I knew he would balance me.  So I thought with all the breakups and depression and well thought through decisions that I was walking into marriage with my eyes wide open about the realness and difficulty of marriage.  HAHAHAHAHAHA. ahem.  Okay.


Are you still with me?   I’m going to share too much.  I’m going to share too much BECAUSE life right now is so mirrors and smoke aaaand it needs to stop.  People need to have more realistic expectations and not be scared of the messy parts of life or the communal struggle through those messy parts of life.  It is not meant to be fought through alone.   Some things I share might be pretty heavy.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about everybody I know knowing so many details of my life, because I keep my struggles pretty under wraps.  I don’t like people judging me.  It definitely makes me feel vulnerable and exposed…but how else can I help other people if I don’t lay it out there.  If you are prepared for that, I will post another post soon, but for now…I have to feed my kids.  Apparently, they need fed to live or something. 😉

Let me know your thoughts.

Tired and Broken

So many years ago, eyes were stinging red and lids were swollen heavy.  I imagined shattered glass, a desert of sharp dark gray, reflecting and alluring.  Storms, lightning, gails, rolling thunder, empty desire, pain, suffocating, dripping bright red blood, splashing, bright red shattered glass reflecting…somehow, 10 years later, I’m still there.

Sure, this time is different and yet so much the same.  Maybe more comfort and maybe more pain.  I am so tired and so broken like a windshield beaten by a bat with a swift, hard swing to drive the point home, CRACK! All the shattered pieces, bluish-gray in the rain, held together somehow in that pane.  Broken and yet not quite scattered.  But I’m done, finished, tired, ready to hang the towel, worn and tattered.

Where is my Savior?  My knight?  My brilliant light?  I seem to be left to demons, content beating me.  Will no one fight for me? Not even my man?  My strength seems gone, what is the point to all of that holding on?  Hold on to what?  Those dreams?  What for?

My children, “Mommy, mommy, mommy,” they cling and claw.  Whining and sobbing, Curious George is not on.  He eyes me, he wants me, he loves me…yes, I see that, he loves me, but he doesn’t understand.  He refuses to know what it is to help your woman glow.  I’m so worn and tired, comfort is not what I need.  This is not who I am supposed to be.