beauty even in the hard

I have a favorite local nursery, one that is huge and airy and out in the country. There are several other nurseries around town, but this one is the one that calls my name. I look forward to our visit every spring. We usually go during the week when it is fairly empty because…well, crowds stress me out. Big, empty beautiful nurseries….happy place. I always bring my camera, it is too beautiful there to leave it at home!
4.15nursery-14.15nursery-34.15nursery-44.15nursery-64.15nursery-74.15nursery-8If you only saw those photos, you would think we had a picture perfect visit. We were supposed to be getting my Mother’s Day flowers. Let’s just say the trip got cut very short after I took those few photos and I ended up in the car with two boys. I was frustrated. They were in trouble. It was not a picture perfect day. It was quite the opposite.

The next morning we had a big family meeting on what it means to live unselfishly and show initiative.

Parenting is hard. Goodness, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but being a parent is not picture perfect. We have ugly days in our house.Β  Days where selfishness seems to take root and causes destruction. Days that we are just so thankful come to a close and we get to start over in the morning.

I’m thankful for fresh starts.

Sweet moments with my youngest before not-so-sweet moments with her brothers. Beauty can be found even in the hard and frustrating. Pictures of flowers remind me of that today.


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  • Suzanne - What a perfect post today…. I just had several “tough” discussions with 2 of my 3 boys last night. I adore being a mom but gracious, let’s not equate adore with easy!!! I sometimes go to bed and think “I sure wish I could have a do over” and then I realize God gives me this each morning when I rise. This morning was a bit of a struggle as our “sweet” beagle decided she needed to bark at the deer running across our yard (they do this EVERY morning) and so I ran downstairs to throw,er, put her out. Whew – but I was up and ready to greet a new day. I smooched each of my boys and realized this is tough but I need to cherish and teach, every…..single….day! Thanks for sharing your heart too!

  • jenw - I would love to hear some of the content of the morning meeting. How did you explain to kids what it means to live unselfishly? We are struggling with that now too. It would be so much easier if we were able to model unselfishness perfectly, but alas we aren’t perfect. From one parent to another it’s always good to hear other’s ways of approaching a topic!

  • Paige E - Thanks so much for sharing the story behind the lens. It encourages me so much.

  • Sarah - I appreciate your honesty. (And your pictures.) πŸ™‚

  • Danielle - Fresh starts are beautiful. Having one of those mornings here, it is so nice to feel like you are not alone. My oldest and I are so alike I feel like some days all we do is but heads. I told my husband the other day, I really need a mom’s night out but I don’t want to leave you! Oh wait, a date! I want to go on a date! Ha!

  • Jenn - thank you so much for this post
    i needed this
    parenting is hard but so worth it
    i needed to read this after my day yesterday with my two where i couldn’t get over the attitudes they were having after trying to have a special day with them. thank you

  • amber - This weekend I banned the game “bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish” from the car. Not my finest moment nor the finest moment of my oldest 2. I, too, am grateful for fresh starts. Thanks for sharing this…& so glad you caught beautiful moments too. Ugh. Kids.

  • Candice Forte - Love this, Ashley! Everything. So very true!

  • Sandy - I must admit I so needed you to post this. You have five. I just have two, and I am finding things hard right now. I glimpse (that’s all I need) at all of your world is very encouraging.

  • Emily | Gather & Dine - Thank you for reminding me that pictures tell stories, but sometimes not the whole story. It’s so easy to get caught up in blogs and instagram thinking that everyone else is living a perfect life. Praise God for the hard times that remind us that we need Him.

  • Tara S - Thank you for this! You have 5 and I applaud you for everything you accomplish with them. You are amazing. I have 2 (5 and 3 yrs old). Lately, it seems like I have more hard days than good with them. I’m learning to be more patient, I’m learning to stay calm in tough situation. But its hard. I’ve always wanted more kids. 3 or 4. It’s a constant conversation with my husband. On the good days, I can totally picture another baby in the mix. On the bad days, I doubt I can handle anymore than I already have. And that makes me sad. I need to focus on the good. I am thankful for fresh starts.

  • Kim B. - Bless you for sharing the difficulties along with the beauty.

  • Allison - I see beauty in your pictures and in the stories and your life that you share here on your blog. It’s frustrating when one of your best anticipated moments that should be peaceful ends up quite the opposite. I love that we can all relate here and take comfort and inspiration even in the struggles. I want to visit this nursery!

  • krista - beautifully true! thanks for sharing

  • Trinity - Today on my timehop, a conversation with one of my girls was on there from several years ago. I had asked her if she could ask God one question what would it be. She said she would ask why he makes us go through hard times. I asked her what she thought his answer would be and she replied, “I think he would say ‘to make me shine a little brighter.'” What a beautiful thought from a then 9 year old. I love your constant reminders to cherish every moment and to see beauty in each situation.

  • Madison - Thank you for this honesty. It really is hard. I don’t know if us mamas say it to each other enough. “Hey, this is hard. Do you know what you’re doing? Because I totally don’t.” Love it, friend!

  • Jen - Thank you for this post. So many times I read your blog and feel like your everything is perfect. This reminds me that you share the wonders and the struggles of parenting with the rest of us. Thank you again!~

  • Hili - The photos are just lovely . Do you edit them at all or are they straight out of the camera like that ? The look so consistent as if they aren’t edited , and I’m wondering if it’s just nailing the exposure …

  • Katygirl - God probably knew I needed to read this exact blog post & that’s why I remembered the forgotten IG posts. πŸ˜‰