how holes make her whole

On April 9th FireCracker broke her femur. She ended up spending the rest of April in traction at the children’s hospital. She had a metal rod drilled through her leg just above the knee. We were told it would be weeks in traction, weeks in a cast and then a long recovery before she’d walk again. April was a long month.


As much as I dreamed of being out of the hospital, I treasure those weeks with her. Each day I found myself praying she’d be able to walk by her second birthday.


We finally left the hospital and learned to live with The Cast. May was a long month. She adjusted better than I did. We weren’t sure how long The Cast would be part of our family. Again, I prayed she’d be walking by her birthday.

Well, The Cast came off and she now bears two little holes on her leg from the traction. She likes to point them out and say “hole” to anyone who asks her about her leg. I think she’s already a bit proud of her scars.

While we were in Colorado I was watching her climb, hike and in general refused to be carried. It was a week before her birthday. I spent April and May praying she’d walk by the time she turned two…and there she was climbing mountains as a one year old. On the outside she bears two holes. On the inside she is whole.

I wanted a way to be reminded of how God went above and beyond in regards to answering my prayers. I was hoping for baby steps in July. I got mountain climbing in June. As a reminder I printed that photo above to replace one I had hanging in her room. Lisa Leonard has a new home decor line (previously it was primarily jewelry). She sent me a pennant banner with the word “whole”.Β  It it gorgeous and the perfect size. I used two strips of duck tape to stick it on the back of the frame.

The scars on her leg really bothered me at first. I hated that age one she already had marks that will be with her for a lifetime. However, I’m learning to be grateful for those two little holes. I hope to help her remember that even if her outsides don’t look so perfect…she is wonderfully made and perfectly imperfect….and whole.

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  • Anna Joy - love the story, love the frame, and love that last picture of her. she looks just like you!

  • RachelC - Love the picture and the banner!

  • Kimberly - BEATIFUL! Love this post!! Glad you got mountains at ONE=) Picture & frame are both just adorable!

  • Leila Marie Lawler - Our Bridget (our 4th girl, 7th child, sweet long-haired daughter) had brain surgery last month. She’s 14. She said, “At least I hope I have a cool scar.”

    I’m glad that our kids can be proud of their scars, because those scars cost their mamas and papas some tears. I’m glad that they embrace their scars, because it does speak to a wholeness in their souls.

    God bless you!

  • Debbie - Thank God for answered prayers! What a blessing to see her on her feet! She is so precious. Also, I love the hat.

  • Minda - What a wonderful reminder about the awesome power of God in His ability to take an imperfect and flawed people and make them whole! This post was such a blessing to me!

  • Susan - I love the statement, “I was hoping for baby steps in July. I got mountain climbing in June.” God is good…all the time.

  • Barbara - WOW what a great post as always thanks for sharing your life and graet outlook on it πŸ™‚

  • Charlotte - When my brothers and sister and I were little and would get upset about scars (or one time a big scratch on my first camera…it was bright teal and I loved it) my mom would always tell us they were character marks and they made us extra special because nobody else has a mark just like that….and nobody else has a story just like ours. I always loved that. We also have a big scratch/dent on our dining room table from a hot wheels car…she was so upset at my brother at the time, but 17 years later, my brother is off at college but she still walks by that scratch/dent everyday and talks about how much she loves that “character mark” that reminds her of the chaos of having four little kids running around the house. πŸ™‚

  • Katie @ Wildwood Creek - What an incredible answer to prayer!

  • Trisha Willette - What a great post. Our daughter was a micro-preemie and had many surgeries(12) and I hated the scares are first, felt like she was labeled forever. I now see them as badges of honor that a little body could be so resilient. She has one scar that goes straight across her belly 6 inches and I can’t wait for her to wear a two piece and explain her cool scar! Every child goes through something in their life, in their youth or adult hood, and our job as parents is to see them not as fragile, but stronger than ourselves. Thank you again for the thoughtful post.

  • andy - awesome post. love her new pic in her room. and her little pose on her bed, so cute. it will be her battle wound. i have a few that help me remember things. πŸ™‚

  • lauren - arianna has the hole scars from those double chest tubes we talked about. i trace them them with my finger sometimes and remember the days i was scared to even touch her life was so precariously hanging on. it is a blessing to be left with the faint markings of a miracle. ari still asks about your girl and how she’s doing… πŸ™‚ being a firecracker of course. πŸ˜‰

  • Nicole - lovely insight and photos. wasn’t ready for the tears this morning, i’ll be honest πŸ˜‰ what a great reminder. the mountain photo and the last photo of her are truly precious – little buddy!

  • lindsey g - sweet girl with 2 pretty scars πŸ˜‰ thanks for sharing..

  • kristy taylor - i’ve never been one for vanity… i grew up with boys & have my share of scars on my legs & my knees. i have a scar on my knee from the time i was bike riding with my brother & cousins on our dirt (limestone) road. i flipped over my bike & at 6 years old my cousins managed to carry me a 1/2 a mile back home. they were just a few years older than me. now, as a 31 year old mama of two, i have a road map of stretch marks and two c section scars to add to the list of scars. i always considered all my scars, wether they were external & visible to someone else’s eye, or internal, and on my heart, a part of my story. like a dogear in time. a permanent, visible ‘post it’ to a time in my life, a stage in my life. i’m not sure where that was going, it just felt right to put it out there. it makes my heart smile to see mama’s raising their children, especially their daughters, to value more than what’s at the surface, and to see that beauty is more than skin deep. i always feel like i learn a lesson about raising my kids from you, each time i visit your blog. it’s a good daily reminder for me. thank you. thank you for blogging. πŸ™‚

  • amanda torres - Perseverence can be learned, but not at her age. Those scars show a gift God has given and her and you and Chris have fostered since birth. Those scars show God’s faithfulness even in our toughest times. I hope she wears those scars proudly for the rest of her life, and they bless others who hear her story.

  • cailan - This is wonderfully sweet. It was a privilege and blessing to follow you through this whole broken leg saga. She is so precious – how can we not all fall in love with her?

  • Ranee - perfect. thanks for another great post.

  • Veronica W. - ashley – you are an amazing inspiration! thank you for your amazing stories and photos! question: firecracker on her bed (how cute is she! she looks a lot like you here!) where is the yellow, gray and white pillow from? Those are the colors in my bedroom and i am looking for bedding and pillows!! thanks!!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - How wonderful God is to listen to our prayers and you must feel so blessed to see your little girl go beyond what you thought she was capable of. This story, that pennant, the photo, those scars…all perfect reminders of the fullness of life.

  • Ryan - I think this might be my favorite post you’ve ever written Ashley. I really love it.

  • Emily Langston - tears of joy…. Thank you Lord!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh- such a lovely post! I love what you have to say here.

    And the picture and pendant are beautiful!

  • Krista Lund - this is so sweet and i am so proud of your determined and brave little girl and her loving mother!!

  • Becs - Beautiful artwork and beautifully written. I love how you are celebrating answered prayers, so inspiring.

  • Leigh Ann Phillips - This is so sweet. My little girl broke her tibia and fibula when she was 18 months and she’s spent weeks in the hospital since then for other reasons. We’re always thankful for normal! God bless you!

  • Kelly - I too am glad Firecracker is back to being the crazy little brother chaser she was before the accident. She’s got spunk and spirit, and couldn’t be cuter! The holes will disappear over time, but for now they will remind you of the time you spent together as mother and child. She’s whole because of the special care she receives from her mother. She’s a lucky little girl.

  • emmybrown - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FireCracker! Having her wholeness declared to her is the absolutely most precious gift she will likely ever receive! I’ve got tears just reading this….what an awesome momma you are!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Happy Birthday, Firecracker!

  • andiejaye - so touching! and that updated frame is darling!! just wondering what actions you typically use in editing… thanks for the daily inspiration. you are my yoda πŸ™‚

  • Laura - sweet:).

  • Jenny W - Ashley that is one of the most beautiful things I have read in a long time…OUR GOD IS GREAT!

  • Jen - I simply love your perspective on life. God bless you!

  • allison - beautiful post. God is good indeed.

  • lyn - ok made me cry! so glad Firecracker is up and walking at 2!!! Thank God!

  • Dawn Garlow - Wow! This is a wonderful heartfelt post! Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Firecracker is a beautiful little girl and you are right, those holes will be personal trophies in her life’s journey. Love the “whole” banner over the picture! Such a testiment to God’s faithfulness and to His powers of healing and giving us above and beyond more than we asked for! He is so good to His children!! Reading this this morning just made my day! πŸ™‚

    p.s. is there a post where you write about how she broke her leg, etc… ? I would like to catch up.

  • Monica S - Beautifully written.

  • Theresa - Just this…You are amazing! Thank you for being a beautiful women of GOD!

  • Jenny B. - Wonderful, wonderful story. This is my favorite: “I was hoping for baby steps in July. I got mountain climbing in June.” God is so good!

  • Jeannette - Praise God! Reminders of how good He is are awesome to have around!

  • teresa - Beautiful story. Remember as the bone healed so will the scars. Children heal remarkable well. A few years down the road you may be looking at the leg thinking ‘now where were those scars?’ My son had minor surgery on his neck at about 2. Have to look hard for that scar now at 11.

  • lindsey - this made me teary. what a beautiful reminder of how God can redeem such a sad time. I love that you used the word “whole” to describe her. you are such an inspiration to so many on a daily basis!

  • Renata - Beautiful post. You made me cry a tear and it is only 7:45 a.m. (but it was a good tear). Sometimes it is so easy for people to dig in and dwell on the negative. I like your blog because you always try to see the positive, and as a mom, I try to find that too. Thank you for sharing.

  • erica - So glad she is healing well!! Were did you get that ADORABLE hat??

  • Ruth Wright - What a wonderful sweet dear post. Your daughter is precious and so are you. What a great reminder to all of us that we are “whole” in God’s eyes, instead of getting sidetracked by all our flaws, scars and holes…….thank you so much. You touched my day and my heart. Ruth πŸ™‚

  • alamama - now while all of your posts are awesome, this one really tops them all. moving. thanks!

  • hearttypat - i love love love this post. “Mountain climbing in June.” God is good!

  • Lissa - Love the photo! I came across your blog when she was in traction and I have loved seeing her progress! She’s so crazy cute. I tend to look at scars as mountains overcome πŸ™‚

  • Tammy Kay - she is precious! her hair reminds me of my Lillie’s! I’m rejoicing with you! God is good, all the time!

  • Emily - <3

  • Andrea - This story was exactly what I needed this morning. Today we take our 3 yr old little boy in for a consultation on his annual MRI of a tumor on his brain. Remembering how strong and amazing children are makes me want to be just as brave! Thank you for sharing your family’s story of prayers and patience.

  • Georgia - tears of joy…Thanks to the Father for His miraculous healing of her and His excellent answer to a loving Mom’s prayer.

  • pinksuedeshoe - This post gave me goosebumps. It’s beautiful. She is beautiful and I can always count on reading something beautiful from you. Thank you.

  • jami nato - so resilient those little things. praise Jesus that she is doing so well.

  • mindee - Ashley, i’ve read your blog for 2 years and never commented. however today, finally pregnant with #2 after bitter secondary infertility, your post made me cry. Cry for all the joys that I let go unrecognized, cry for all the calmness your posts bring to me, cry for your beautiful children & Firecracker’s journey. Cry for your heartache of watching your child suffer and now conqueor. Your daughter is so beautiful, and those scars will fade and she will become a strong & beautiful girl. Keep up the amazing photography work and crafting, and with your 4 amazing kids. You are an inspiration to me.

  • Kristen - That’s a beautiful post!

  • Christie - This is great. I treasure my hospital stays with two of my children as well. It’s just sacred to me now! Beautiful post. I’m such a fan of your writing and blog. And that picture is divine. Love it all.

  • michaela - tears* beatiful post, ashley.


  • Jessica C - Love your post. God truly is an awesome and loving God!

  • Kate S. - This was a lovely idea and a beautiful post. I love how the photo and banner turned out!

    Firecracker probably will not have those scars her whole life. I had a major injury to my knee (2″ long and sliced open to the bone) at age five, didn’t get stitches due to an overflowing emergency room, and although I had a horrendous scar most of my childhood, it is now completely invisible at age 26. Two tiny holes in soft tissue? I bet they’re invisible by the time she’s ten.

  • cynthia - A VERY touching story! Prayers are powerful. :’)

  • karen - that was so touching. thanks.

  • Michelle D. - Loved this post. God is good. Cried with you while she was in traction (laughed at times, too along the way), and rejoiced when she was walking, climbing, and running way before expected.

  • Kim - Just like Mater says in Cars 2 – keeping his dents, because they’re part of who he is…
    love it.

  • mary - i love this post. and i think that i would like for you to come decorate my boys’ room that they’ve decided to share. the personal feel of F’s room, the personality of it, and the love attached to each item in there is just precious. she IS a firecracker! i have one of those, btw, and he is AWESOME.

  • amy beth - beautiful πŸ™‚

  • Margaret - What a sweet post and a great reminder about how perfectly God works imperfect things out. I LOVE that Lisa Leonard bunting!

  • heather - she is SO wonderfully made and perfectly imperfect.

  • angie - love love love this post!

  • Monica - Oh, Ashley, this post made me cry. She is, indeed, whole. Many times we pray for something and realize God has something better for us in mind. May He continue to bless your family.

  • Katie Sellers - What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing God’s grace with us through your daughter’s story!

  • Molly - Wow, this post is beautiful, just like your sweet daughter!

  • Emma - Incredible post! So sweet and encouraging!

  • giozi - “perfectly imperfect” love this phrase.

    We are like this, everybody and sometime we didn’t remember it.

    A big kiss for your little perfectly imperfect beautiful princess

    Thanks for sharing your emotions, and feelings with us.

    I love you

  • Sarah M - “I wanted a way to be reminded of how God went above and beyond in regards to answering my prayers. I was hoping for baby steps in July. I got mountain climbing in June.”

    Loved those thoughts…because really, even if we can’t “see” it….that’s how big He works when we think so small.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Sarah M

  • Nancy Wyant-Barr - WE have an awesome God!!!

  • Amanda - You are the definition of MOTHER, may us mothers all follow in your footsteps. Thank you for the story, may she know that people who will more than likely never get to meet her already can feel the JOY she has for life and with that JOY she showers us with in her pictures, we too, have JOY.
    Your blog, is an absolute favorite, I thank you for it. Thank you!
    PS I think those BOYS are ever SO JOYOUS TOO! πŸ™‚

  • Amy - having a daughter the same age, this post gave me goosebumps. you always seem to have such a regal perspective on things, it’s inspiring the way you look at the world. great post and love the framed portrait!

  • heather - love absolutely everything about this post!!! your daughter is beautiful and her scars tell a story about her adventurous (and brave) spirit at a young age!

  • Stacey Ball - Goodness, you are the only blogger that can make me cry. Your love for your children overwhelms me. Such a wonderful mother!

  • elizabeth - Yet another WONDERFUL & touching post you have done!!! Love it and love that your prayers for your baby girl were answered accordingly! God is GREAT! =]

  • Jenny Joy - *sniff* I loved this so much I read it twice. Thanks, God. You’re pretty fantastic.

  • maria - Such a beautiful post and great reminder of how God exceeds our expectations!!! I adore that banner and your daughter looks precious in your photos as always!!!

  • Benzie - What a beautiful ebenezer!

  • kelli - wow. i am a faithful reader. not so faithful commenter. this made me cry. your words are amazing. your photography is amazing. reminds me of mater in cars 2 not wanting his dents buffed out because every one of them reminded him of something that happened in his life. firecrackers “holes” also reminds me of how important Jesus’ scars were/are to Him: john 20:27- β€œPut your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Ruth Abel - What a beautiful testimony that she already has at 2! I love how you are helping her to see and remember. And Kelli, I love the parallel with her scars and Jesus’ scars pointing to His power and love. Great stuff.

  • Nancy - I just started reading your blog (I found you through so I was unfamiliar with your daughter’s story. When I read it today it made me cry, what a miracle. It is amazing how one word (whole) can have so much meaning.

  • Chelsea in MO - Very moving story, she’s one tough little cookie and she’s got your strength! This is an awesome post to remember where you/FireCracker/your family has been, but to move forward with more chapters. So, so happy she recovered so quickly! Have a good weekend!

  • Courtney - This post made me cry. So beautiful. I have a 15 month old baby girl who is what I like to call a “cruiser and a bruiser”. I worry everyday what she is going to get into and so this entry touched my heart very much; I find strength in your strength. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lilliana - I read your blog often but don’t always have the time (or anything new to say) to comment. In this case although it echoes the sentiments of many I just want to say, “Thank you!!!” What a beautiful post written from your soul. I love the perspective and how simple yet spiritual it feels. Thank you for sharing your life, your family, and your friendship (be it with complete strangers who just read your blog). What a gift you are to us. What an inspiration you are to me (and I assume many others) who visit her weekly or sporadically. Please keep inspiring and bringing us all a little piece of your joy and your sorrows and mostly your love of God and reminding us all how truly blessed we indeed all are.

  • Lisa Pummel - Christ also had holes, and those holes made us whole. Sometimes a physical reminder like that can be used by Him as a reminder of His goodness, love and sacrifice. FireCracker is a beautiful and whole little blessing!

  • meg duerksen - oh ashley this is all so beautiful….the owrods….the answered prayer…..the trust and faith….and of course the BEAUTIFUL banner!
    love it.

  • meg duerksen - that would be…..WORDS. i don’t know what owrods are. πŸ™‚

  • BLP - This is one of your most sentimental, beautiful posts ever! Best wishes to you and your beautiful family!

  • Christi - That was beautiful! You and Lisa are 2 of my faves. And, I’m not sure what you can’t do- you’re an incredible photographer, writer, creator & mother. You are blessed indeed! Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

  • Vicki - Ashley–this is so beautifully written. Those two little scars will forever remind you that God is good. Here’s to many climbing many more mountains!

  • Molly - I love this.
    It reminds me of a quote from my favorite book by Jeannette Walls:
    “….he said it was interesting. He used the word ‘textured’. He said ‘smooth’ is boring but ‘textured’ was interesting, and the scar meant that I was stronger than whatever had tried to hurt me.” – The Glass Castle

  • Jill - I think scars are beautiful because they mean that you are a survivor! πŸ™‚

  • Kimberlee Jost - Weird wild.
    I just read this.
    This afternoon as I was working, the Lord brought you to mind, and I began praying. I started thinking about those Colorado pics and how Firecracker was not wanting to be carried and what a miracle it was that she could do the things she was doing. I thanked Him for that…and then started praying for someone else.

    And now….I come home and read this post.
    Yeah, that was from Him.
    The One who makes all of us whole again.
    I am continuing tonight with a heart of praise.

  • Brenda Fager - Really wonderful of you to share her story and your heart. We have an amazing testimony in our family also of God’s abundant healing beyond our meager request of him. I love the C.S. Lewis quote: β€œIf we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Out of a terrible car crash where my youngest died on the lifeflight, was resuscitated and almost died again in the hospital, I asked that God not let him die on the freeway. God sent him home 6 1/2 weeks later healed and whole!!

  • katie - super sweet.

    i just ordered my first thing from lisa… love her work.
    and although i’m relatively new around here, i love yours too.

    thanks for all your sharing and beauty.

  • Madeline - That “whole” banner…priceless, perfect, complete. She will cherish knowing that forever.

  • susan caing - God is amazing! and she’s wonder woman. =)

  • Natalie - I wasnt looking and today my eldest smashed her thumb in a very heavy door (on the hinge side) and i wonder at what point or age does the mommy stop blaming herself for the accident…have you grappled with this?

  • stefanie - beautiful post!

  • jdzjane - The “scars” are what make us who we are. Those scars remind us of our past and what a wonderful present God has given us. What a great testemony to the ones who ask. Like you said – God went above and beyond what you could have asked for. Not baby steps in July, but mountain climbing in June. Praise God! O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

  • Tawnya - I just started following your blog and find it so refreshing! Thanks for your sharing a snippet of your heart and journey through your precious little girl and what God has done. I so appreciate you creative insight, love for family and life, and to find that in someone with a common love for Jesus!

  • Ruth - Ashley, what a true testament to the power of prayer (And not just yours–I think everyone who reads this blog and then some were praying for you and Firecracker.) I love the Lisa Leonard banner too. Happy birthday to your sweet little one! πŸ™‚ God is Awesome.

  • Carla B - Precious! Love when God is so obvious. Nothing is too small for God.

  • Julie - I don’t usually comment on blogs, but this post was beautifully written…made me bawl. Love the way the project turned out, too πŸ™‚

  • Kelli - Love the post – thank you for being so real, so whole, so authentic. . .

  • rachael - Beautiful – God is so good and so faithful!

  • Michelle B. - ohmygosh this post makes me cry… thanks, Jesus, for stories to tell πŸ™‚

  • Sandra - God is Good! Great reminder that God is in control. He does listen and time heals all wounds. Great post ?

  • emily june - shes so beautiful, it seems she never thought of not walking, and once again a child teaches us, nothing is impossible. thanks for sharing

  • Hillary Gustin - Hi Ashley! Praise God for his faithfulness and love and what an encouragement your sweet girl’s story has already been to so many people. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rebecca - This is the first time I am reading your blog, that story touched me so much! Isn’t God so faithful!!

  • irene - huukksss…
    teary teary eyes, great post!

  • Erika - see your child in traction like that. What a beautiful blessing to see her out and running about like she is. God is so good!!!

  • Kina Baddorf - This is such a sweet reflection on her surgery. Prayer is just amazing.

  • Jacqueline - Such an inspiring story and photos! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and it made me teary. I love that pennant banner too! Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!

  • Mirys from Brazil - Speechless…

    Kisses and blessings (more blessings).
    from Brazil

  • Stefanie D - I just wanted to leave a note. I started reading your blog a little after Firecracker went into the hospital. I was looking for art/craft blogs and generally stay away from “mommy blogs” but I have really enjoyed reading about you and your family and silently cheered Firecracker on as she became whole again. I have really enjoyed reading about the struggles and thinking, if a baby can handle this, I will be fine. She is sweet as can be and I love seeing her sweet little face. The nick-name Firecracker really does suit her.

  • stephanie - cried. our God is so good.

  • Denise - Sweet sweet. You made me cry. πŸ™‚

  • Rachel- Wildflower Photography - i’m was just popping over from vintage junky. what a fab blog you have! i now follow you. adore your beautiful “whole” photo. how precious. πŸ™‚

  • amy jupin - oh my goodness gracious.
    i love this post.

  • Cassi - Ashley, that was beautiful! Absolutely beautiful

  • Leah Robinson - Our God is great!!! Loved this post =)

  • Stacey - Loved this post. Loved everything about it.

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - we all bear scars at some point. It is great that she has so much endurance already for going through that. Must have been really tough!! She is wonderful.

  • Sharla - This post is so beautiful. She is so beautiful. Love the story and yes, I am crying πŸ™‚

  • Chiara M - My boyfriend was hit by a car when he was six years old and spent some time in the hospital in traction. The two scars on either side of his knees are really wonderful. Whenever I see them I’m reminded of childhood and the way he tells the story about how he was running across the road because he was so eager to get cookies. Hopefully Firecracker will see the scars as a reminder of the fun little girl she is.

  • Amber - Cal, my little one had heart surgery when he was just 3 pounds. the scar was only few centimeters. Now he’s 16 months old; his scar grows with him. It is 3 inches now and that imperfection is one of the many things that makes him perfect. It reminds me that Cal has purpose and that God is good.
    You are pretty much my hero, I dont know if I could spend weeks in the hospital with a one year old..Your little fire cracker is presciously perfect. Thank you for sharing.