Hi! My name is Ashley. I have grown up and currently live in a small quiet town in Arkansas. I have been married to my wonderful husband James for almost 14 years (wow still crazy to think about how long it has been). Today, I have a full-time career and am a mom to two crazy wonderful boys Z (7 years old) and J (3 years old). It all sounds wonderful, but let me tell you a little secret…..it’s A LOT OF HARD WORK and NOT always butterfly’s and rainbows!
I met James when he was 18 and I was 15, yes I know 15! My parents, as you could imagine, had the same thought and did everything they could to keep us apart. Now, however, I think my family likes him more than they do me at times! Yep, that was us young, dumb, broke and madly in love. My parents had been divorced since I was 9, so that in itself made matters more difficult and when I started dating a guy that they said was “to old for me”, they were not happy about it.
After dating for two years, I ran away from home with, you guessed it, James. It wasn’t the smartest choice I ever made but things at home seemed beyond repairable at the time. I had a rough relationship with my parents and I wouldn’t cut my step-parents any slack, as most kids with step-parents. Once we got caught, it was so much stress for my parents that they signed papers for me to marry James. James, 20, and me, 17, got married and into the married life routine. After 3 years of marriage and always missing each other with work schedules (barely being able to pay the bills), an opportunity arose for us to move across country, so we jumped at it.
I was 20 years old, married and moving halfway across the country to live with strangers at the time (in-laws) in a large city near Seattle. Keep in mind I’m a small town girl and had grown up in a town of 1,500, and the largest thing to a city was 45 minutes away. Looking back, all the decisions I made seemed a little crazy, but I am glad I made them. During that cross country trek with my husband we learned a lot about each other and grew in tremendous ways, some together and some individually.
About 2009, we found out we were expecting. I was halfway around the world with almost no family and little relationship with the ones I did have. It was one of the most scary parts of my life. After deciding to move back to our little town in Arkansas to raise our family, we found out we had lost our precious angel after 6 months. This was one of the hardest things in our lives we have ever gone through. However, it was also a time where I truly got to see how amazing my husband was and how strong he truly is.
Shortly after, we moved back home to Arkansas. We allowed plenty of time to heal our souls along the way which was much needed. We have now been back for about 10 years. We’ve been through a lot of tears, heartache, triumph, laughter, soul searching, self discovery, celebrations, and so much more but every bit of it has made us stronger together with two happy little boys.
We’ve battled through so much together and through all that, we’ve seen how important teamwork and support for each other is. We know that there will be more challenges in the future, but I know the strength we’ve gained together can help us get through anything!
Where will life take us next? I’m still holding on for the ride so I’ll fill you in from time to time as we go.