Welcome!

Hi! I’m so glad you stopped by. If this is your first visit, you can learn more about me by reading the Welcome Start Here page. I hope you’ll come on in, grab a cup of coffee, and kick back for a while. This is just my little place on the web where I like to share my stories and hear yours, too. And we all have our stories! Some days it’s an adventure, some days a drama, and a lot of days feel like a slapstick comedy. No matter the day and no matter our stories, I believe we’re meant to share them to encourage one another. Wherever we might be in our story, we can’t give up. We never know what’s ahead for us around the next bend. We just have to keep turning the page.

Telling More Than Time – a JORD Wood Watches Review & Giveaway

JORD wood watches tell more than time

JORD wood watches tell more than time

{I was thrilled to partner with JORD Wood Watches for this sponsored post. We received a complimentary watch but all feedback, thoughts, and opinions are my own.}

JORD Wood Watch for a deserving nurseSee this guy right here?

Yep. That one.

This is the hardest working man I know. Not only is he a fantastic husband and incredible dad, he is the greatest nurse who cares for the most critically ill or injured children in our community.

He is kind and generous. He takes the time to notice others and really see them.

He’s the kind of guy who learns the life story of the bathroom attendant and then brings him a round of his favorite beer.

He is devoted to his family. Everything he does, he does with us in mind.

He is completely selfless and puts others above himself every time.

So when JORD Wood Watches contacted me to see if I’d be interested in a beautiful timepiece for my husband to try out, I absolutely jumped at the chance.

As a homeschooling mom of three with no personal income, I was so excited to be able to give this man of mine a beautiful anniversary surprise. This gorgeous Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood men’s watch from the Conway series was just perfect for him.

Strong, steady, classic. Timeless.

JORD Wood Watches come in a beautiful package.
JORD Wood Watches come beautifully packaged in a gorgeous wooden keepsake box.

 

The JORD philosophy could not be more on point for my husband and our family.

The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Moments are bigger than minutes and your watch should tell more than time.

-JORD Wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches measure moments.

I could not think of a more perfect gift for someone who tries to make every moment count for something bigger.

The time he spends caring for his patients and comforting their frightened families.

The time he spends with our children, experiencing the world through their eyes.

JORD Wood Watch moments

The time he has spent putting up with me over the last 14 years. =)

All those moments add up to so much more than minutes. And JORD has revolutionized the way we think about the passing of time with these beautiful reminders to make our time count.

JORD Wood Watches measure moments more than minutes.

I wish everyone could carry this reminder with them.

And JORD does, too!

That’s why they want to give one of you a $100 gift code to go towards the purchase of a gorgeous timepiece of your very own.

JORD offers a great variety of both men’s and women’s watches, and you’ll be sure to find a beautiful and unique watch to fit your style.

Enter here for a chance to win! Everyone who enters but doesn’t win will still receive a $25 gift code as a consolation prize.

Click here to win a $100 gift code for a JORD wood watch!


Wooden Wrist Watch

 

What My GPS Taught Me About Trust

pexels-photo-134643I recently celebrated a major victory. It felt monumental. I almost expected the world to pause on its axis to acknowledge my accomplishment.

I made my way home without using my GPS.

I know this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but having lived in the Atlanta area for only a year, the GPS on my phone is always on. Without it I would likely end up crossing the state line on my way to the grocery store.

When we first moved, every outing sent me into planning mode. A simple trip to the park found me researching my route, pulling it up on my phone, and familiarizing myself with all the street names. I like a plan. I feel more comfortable when I know what turns are ahead.

After getting stuck in a few of Atlanta’s infamous traffic jams, I tried a new GPS app. It offered real-time traffic updates and promised to keep me on the best route. It was perfect. The first time I used it, I pulled up my destination, studied the route, and got comfortable with the directions. I had my plan and away I went…

To see what happened when the GPS lady went off the rails and what life lesson she taught me, click through to read the rest of the story at The Glorious Table. http://theglorioustable.com/2017/02/gps-taught-trust/

A Person’s a Person

Let me begin by saying this post won’t be very long. Because I just don’t have words for all I’m feeling right now. It will probably be disjointed at best. Jibberish and jumping off the rails is more likely.

I am discouraged by what’s been going on in our country.

Lots of wellmeaning people that I love and respect feel differently than I do. On many issues. And in many ways, both right and left. And that can often make me feel politically homeless.

I often feel like I’m supposed to wrap my heart around my politics. Or wrap my politics around my heart. And I’m living in the tension of being unable to do that.

I don’t know what the correct answers are. I’m not even sure what the correct questions are.

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by what I don’t know, I have to go back to the basics of what I do know.

All throughout Scripture, we can find simple instructions for what we are to do as followers of Christ. We’ve been studying the book of James in our Bible Study. We’ve gotten through the first four chapters so far and just in those alone, we find all kinds of instructions.

  • We are to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).
  • We must not show favoritism (James 2:1).
  • We are told mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
  • We are told faith without action is worse than useless, it’s dead (James 2:17).
  • We are told the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:17).
  • We are reminded that he gives us grace upon grace and that while God opposes the proud, he shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).

Are our actions/rants/memes/tweets/posts in line with our Biblical instructions?

I usually fall short of reconciling what my political beliefs “should be” and what I truly feel in my heart. I wrestle with the practicality of living out our Scriptural calls in the day to day. In the middle of the wrestling, I’m reminded Jesus didn’t exactly fit the politics of the day either. It isn’t practical. Maybe it was always intended to be impractical and radical and nonsensical, this love and grace for our fellow human beings.

I’ve been heartsick these past few days. I felt like the timing of executive orders concerning refugees and immigrants coming on the heels of the March for Life was especially poignant.

As I watched coverage of the marchers standing up for the unborn, I saw many signs with a popular slogan: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

I absolutely agree with this. I have spent many nights as a volunteer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. I have wept with mothers who feel hopeless. I have shared their sighs of relief when they hear the ways we’re able to come alongside them. They come in feeling like they have no choices, no allies, no hope.

In our training, we were taught a reminder–Save the mother, save the child (meaning that in order to save the baby, you must first save the mother). That has stuck with me for the last decade whenever I think of how I want to make a difference in this world.

It has influenced me in my serving at the pregnancy center, in my leadership roles with MOPS, in my writing, even just in line at Target.

Whatever you do for the mother, you end up doing for the child with a cascade effect. Love the mother, love the child. Help the mother, help the child. Feed the mother, feed the child. Clothe the mother, clothe the child. It goes on and on and applies to everything, this trickle down love effect.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

A person’s a person, no matter how small. Yes. Absolutely and amen. But you know what else? A person’s a person. Period. Full stop. And we are each created in his image. Fearfully and wonderfully made. With a purpose and a plan. A story designed by God himself.

What is our role in this whole big mess that this world is in? Love your neighbor as yourself.

Because a person’s a person, no matter what.

No matter if she’s in jail. No matter if he’s on welfare. No matter if she’s Muslim. No matter if he’s an immigrant. No matter if she’s disabled. No matter if he’s 103 years old. No matter if she speaks every language but English. No matter if he’s an addict. No matter if she’s a single mom. No matter if he looks suspicious. No matter if she cuts you off in traffic.

A person’s a person, no matter what. Love your neighbor as yourself.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:37-40 NIV

a-persons-a-person-no-matter-how-small-no-matter-how-short-no-matter-how-tall-no-matter-how-dark-no-matter-how-light-no-matter-the-day-no-matter-the-night-no-matter-the-land-no-matter-the-tongue

The image in this post can be shared by going to my facebook page at http://facebook.com/ashleydpooser or my instagram at http://instagram.com/ashleydpooser or my twitter at http://twitter.com/ashleydpooser.

The text in the image is as follows:
“A person’s a person, no matter how small? Yes. And also this…
A person’s a person, no matter how small.
No matter how short, no matter how tall.
No matter how dark, no matter how light.
No matter the day, no matter the night.
No matter the land, no matter the tongue.
No matter how old, no matter how young.
No matter the act, no matter the deed.
No matter the god, no matter the creed.
No matter the smarts, no matter the grade.
No matter the cash, no matter the trade.
A person’s a person, created to be
a unique addition to humanity.
In His own image, He created us all.
No matter how big and no matter how small.”

5 Tools to Bring out Your Inner Domestic Diva

5-tools-to-bring-out-your-inner-domestic-diva

Confession: When the doorbell rings unexpectedly, I go into ninja mode. I freeze. I tiptoe. A cold sweat breaks out on my forehead. Like Pavlov’s pups, the ringing of the bell results in an automatic response from my kids–absolute silence.

This completely terrible reaction has nothing to do with our love of company but everything to do with the usual state of our home. I absolutely love having a clean house. I love it when there is a place for everything and everything is actually in its place. It brings me peace and joy.

But kids. I love them more than life but, my word, they come with all the things and all the things are always in all the places. Obviously never in the places actually meant for those things but such is life right now.

When the house is a wreck, I’m irritable and stressed and it’s completely overwhelming to my slightly Type A self. If total perfection can’t be achieved during naptime, I find myself throwing my hands in the air and declaring THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

So in an effort to make 2017 the year I get my groove back (and my children get a slightly less grouchy mama), I’ve rounded up five super helpful tools to hopefully bring out my inner domestic diva.

To continue reading about these five incredible tools (including old school paper and the latest tech and apps), click on through to Atlanta Area Moms Blog

Mary’s Story: God’s Grace for Moms

It never fails. Every November I find myself imagining a glorious holiday season. I close my eyes and see myself in pearls, a frilly half-apron, and heels, baking incredible pies in a spotless kitchen. I don’t know where this comes from. I don’t even wear heels anymore. They would slow me down while I’m chasing my toddler through Target. Maybe I have seasonal delusions from inhaling too much apple-cinnamon air freshener.

The problem is that I somehow believe the images in imagined scenarios like this are what the holidays should be like, and then I convince myself that’s what they look like at all the other houses on my street. When my reality is more likely to be a charred pan of break-and-bake cookies that were thrown into the oven at the last minute, I imagine all the women in my neighborhood creating a Martha Stewart Christmas.

The bigger the gap between my imagination and my reality, the bigger my perceived failure grows.

Lately I’ve been feeling as though I’m failing in most areas of my life. We’ve started homeschooling this year, and at times it’s overwhelming. I’m perpetually exhausted. The list of undone chores has grown longer and longer, which is impressive because I never leave the house. Half-finished projects and tasks are scattered all over. I feel as though I haven’t been giving one hundred percent to anyone or anything.

Mostly I have felt as though I’m failing as a mom.

Today, during a conversation with the kids about the Christmas story, I found myself fixated on Mary. For just a minute, I tried to imagine what it was like to be responsible for carrying and delivering the Son of God. If I’m feeling all this pressure to be the perfect mom, how much heavier was the weight on Mary’s shoulders as the mother of God incarnate? I wondered what must have been going through her mind when it came time to deliver the baby and all she had was a stable full of barnyard animals.

Please continue reading this post at The Glorious Table. While you’re there, read through some of the fantastic posts and be encouraged.

That One Time Pinterest Made Me Poison the Teacher

 

that-one-timepinterest-made-mepoison-the-teacher-2

We’re all friends here, right? I hope so. Because, mamas, I have ten years worth of motherhood mess-ups and cautionary tales to share with you. I always hoped that one day these all-too-true stories could bring other mamas some encouragement because I’m selfless like that. Okay fine. Not really. I just want my pain to count for something and if it makes another mama laugh or feel less alone in this crazy world of motherhood, then it’s all worth it!

So lean in close, friends, and I’ll share with you the reason I won’t be on Pinterest ever again. Ever. Amen.

It was time to buy the preschool teacher a gift. And this wasn’t just any teacher. This woman had most definitely achieved sainthood in the year she spent shepherding my sweet, precious angel. Saint. Hood.

Now what she probably wanted was a long vacation or a gift card to the nearest package store, but I wanted a gift that would adequately convey the depths of my love and appreciation for what I knew she had been through with a whole class of sweet, precious angels.

Also, I wanted it to stand out among all the other parent gifts because I’m the oldest child and a perfectionist and we can get into all that some other time. So I scoured the list of favorites we received at the beginning of the year. I googled like my life depended on it. And then, like every other good mother would’ve already thought to do, I turned to the one true source that has never let me down before–Pinterest…

To see how it all went wrong, click through to read the rest of the story on Atlanta Area Moms Blog! See you there!

Ho Ho No – 5 Reasons We Don’t Do Santa

ho-ho-no

** You can now click here to read a version of this post on The Huffington Post! There are so many ways to do Christmas and I love that no two families celebrate in exactly the same way. Whether you skip Santa completely or you go all North Pole in your home, I’d love for you to click through, like, or share this post to spread some Christmas cheer. **

The tree is trimmed. The stockings are hung. The gifts are ready. And by that, I mean the gifts are ready for me to find them at the store, buy them, hide them, wrap them, and put them under the tree at approximately 1:37 a.m. on December 25th. It’s okay. I’m good at other things.

The only thing that’s missing is a jolly old bearded guy in a red suit. And his reindeer. Oh, and that creepy elf dude.

Yes. We are one of THOSE families. We don’t do Santa at our house. I know, I know. It’s okay to go ahead and roll your eyes. We get that a lot.

It’s not like we’re marching indignantly on the North Pole, picket signs in hand, but it does come up a bit during this time of year. The reaction is generally one of disappointed surprise mixed with polite disapproval. “Oh, is that so? I didn’t realize. Well. I guess the children will find other ways to have a childhood.”

In an effort to reclaim some of our parenting points in the eyes of society (not that I was already in the running for Mother of the Year), here are some of our reasons for sacking Santa.

Santa’s unlimited resources don’t match our very limited budget.
As much as I love the idea of writing a letter listing all my dream requests to someone with the hopes of them being granted (wait–Ellen, are you Santa?), this would only set my kids up for disappointment. Because while the elves might have some back channel connections, Mama isn’t paying $250 or arm wrestling a trucker for a Hatchimal. Sorry, baby girl. Mama still loves you.

We don’t want to share credit with a cartoon.
Okay, so this one is admittedly a little selfish. But over the last decade of Christmases, we’ve worked really hard to scrape together enough money to be able to put a couple of modest gifts under the tree for the kids. It’s not much but ohmygoodness when they open those gifts and we see those huge smiles? I didn’t really want to hear, “Thank you, Santa!” I wanted some hugs.

For all my kids, but especially my literal-thinking aspie, it’s kind of creepy.
If I told my kid that there was a man out there who sees him when he’s sleeping and knows when he’s awake and knows when he’s been bad or good with the thinly veiled threat of “be good for goodness’ sake,” he wouldn’t sleep for a month. It does make Santa sound less like a jolly philanthropist and more like an unsub profiled on Criminal Minds.

It only takes one child in need to make you question the whole system.
Once upon a time in a world far away, I was a 2nd grade teacher. I will never forget the day an eight-year-old broke my heart wide open. I was on playground duty just after winter break when I spotted a student playing alone and decided to keep him company. We started chatting about his holiday and I asked him if he had a good Christmas. He looked up at me with confused eyes and said, “Santa didn’t come this year, Mrs. Pooser. I don’t know why. I tried so hard all year to be real, real good. But he didn’t come anyway.” That moment took my breath away. I just couldn’t bring myself to pass along a tradition that has the potential to make a child feel like his behavior is somehow responsible for his family not having any gifts under the tree.

Our holiday is less cluttered.
When we shifted our attention away from the material side of Christmas, we were able to focus more clearly on what we’re truly celebrating. The long-awaited Messiah, with Calvary already in mind, born to a desperate and dark world, bringing with him the light of hope, joy, peace, and love. And with the love of Jesus in our hearts, we do talk about St. Nicholas and how his spirit of kindness and generosity can live on in our Christmas traditions. We try to think of ways to spread joy to our neighbors and our community. Whether we’re able to sponsor a whole family from the Angel Tree or if we can just swing a few dollars to leave a Starbucks gift card on a stranger’s porch, there are lots of ways we can spread Christmas cheer. We’ve learned to step outside ourselves and think of others.

So even though we don’t do Santa Claus with our kids, there is still plenty of room for St. Nick in our Christmas.