I function at about 25% during the cold weather months…just enough to get the necessary things done, but still pretty much hibernating. Yesterday was beautiful. The grass is starting to turn green. Flowers are popping up. And Ashley is coming back outside.

After a full day around our house, I told the kids to throw on their shoes and we were headed to my in-laws to soak up the last couple hours of the day.

pond-01pond-02pond-03While paddling around they looked up to see our dog running by with a squirrel in her mouth. I attempted to intervene, but quickly gave up out of fear of a beagle that had completely lost her mind. The kids’ expressions in this make me laugh. I’m so happy I was snapping pictures at just the right moment!
pond-04While they paddled around, I sat on the dock writing in my journal and snapping pictures. They came closer to me with smiles, so I picked up my camera – it is not often they are all close together for a picture. As soon I as started to take a photo, a bottle flipped towards me.
pond-05WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE RESURGENCE OF BOTTLE FLIPPING?! Seriously, I am a pretty patient person, but I think if one more bottle flips near me or I hear the sound of one more bottle flipping on a table I might completely lose it. Yesterday they were flipping bottles out of our second story window. Bottle flipping everywhere. All the time. Whose kid started this? We can’t be friends. 😉pond-06Between bottles flipping by my head, a dog running around with a dead squirrel, and taking a few pictures of my kids – I jotted a few notes from Oswald Chambers. I’ve been reading through my old copy of My Utmost For His Highest again. A couple sentences this week have really stuck with me and I am guessing they might be significant to some of you too.

“It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different.” (My Utmost For His Highest, Feb. 19)

It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. – I began thinking of all the people I know that when I watch them do certain ‘commonplace’ things – those things become anything but common. The way they move, speak, and respond makes that common thing, so very uncommon. It becomes hallowed and mesmerizing.

My thoughts also drifted to motherhood, specifically about how I mother.  My days are filled to the brim with what is considered commonplace. However, I look over at my kids and recognize how extraordinary the common is with them. I don’t want to be a mom that survives these days, but it is easy to slip into that mode. I want to mother in a way that life naturally pours out of me and into my kids. I want to mother in a way that makes the commonplace different. That it would be hallowed and maybe even a little mesmerizing.

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  • Jen W - Yes on the bottle flipping…or rather No! I had no idea this was a thing until wrestling practice this year and all the cool older boys were doing it. I guess they try to flip it and get it to land upright? Apparently there’s a very specific science to the amount of liquid in the bottle and the spin rotation of the flip. who knew?

    I want you to know that your sharing on your blog has helped me to parent and mother more intentionally. Especially the post you did ages ago about wanting to be a mom who says yes when she can. I think about that a lot. My default is always “no” for whatever reason, but you have helped me to say yes a whole lot more. Thanks for the time and effort you put into your blog. You are a blessing.

  • Jenn - I love reading your blog and encouraging words. they are so helpful to me in how i want to mother my two kiddos. thank you
    also…………..the bottle flipping. i am with you there. i DO NOT get it. the thunk…..and where does he constantly find bottles. hehe. the joy of a boy. 😉

  • Cindy Mandernach - Holy carp!!! when did Corbett get so old looking. that last picture of them….wow!!

  • Sarah Wolfe - I agree on everything, bottle flipping… SO annoying. And doing the even the common things to the glory of God and with HIM in mind. It’s sometimes harder than doing great things for Him.

  • Diana - Today has been a tough day and I needed this. Thank you!

  • Tammy - They are adorable, and I’d you’re starting to thaw out! I am the opposite, I dread summer and the heat, while the cold invigorates me.

  • Kaitlyn - Ha! My life. I had the dog dragging a dead squirrel a few weeks ago. After chucking many sticks at my dog to drop it, I actually had to go over and pry her mouth open for her to drop it. I thought I was going to puke. Good capture on the picture.

  • alice h - Bottle flipping is all my 7 year old does along with any kind of Dude Perfect thing he can come up with. I see a bottle, I trash a bottle. Bye bye flipping bottles!!!

  • Melissa V - Ya gotta teach the beagle to hand you the dead thing – 🙂 – Ours is trained to bring the rabbits, birds, squirrels etc to me (she is praised the entire time -even when she is chasing it – she is a beagle and it’s what they do) and she gets a REALLY good treat outta the frig – pizza slices, lunch meat, cheese – anything that is a really high value to her in exchange for the dead things. Worked like a charm – although I really have to work on her issues with the neighbors little dogs :/ She HATES them! Although at her age (almost 12) I guess she can be a bit grouchy.

  • Tiffany - Is the bottle flipping to see if it lands right side up? That goes on at my house too, not quite as much as yours though. Your blog makes me want to pick up my camera, argh!!!

  • Kaylan McCord - Yes, I’m reading My Utmost for His Highest this year too. I also was pondering this exact thing the other day. This is my first time through it, and I’m really challenged each day. I’m also reading Driven by Eternity by John Bevere. I’m three chapters in and can’t wait to read the rest! It’s some good truth that I needed to hear!

  • Jenny B. - Oh, the bottle flipping. I thought it was just the boys in our basketball league. I didn’t know it was a “thing,” or that it was in a resurgence (so… it was popular before??). Shows what I know. 😉 I always love how you capture things. Thanks for sharing your perspective. <3

This is the story of a mom that bought a super cute hammock from Anthropologie. It was a bit of a splurge for her, but she wanted a hammock for so long…and it was green. And it had fringe.

She hung it in her living room and it instantly became the most popular seat in the house. When originally hung, the fringe was about a foot off the ground. Little did she know the cotton hammock would stretch.


Before long the stretching caused the fringe to brush the ground. It picked up dog hair and wool from the rug that sheds. Rugs should not shed, but back to the stretching hammock. She considered trimming the fringe, but wasn’t sure how short to go.hammock-03Eventually the trim hung so low that it got caught in the little feet that swung from the hammock. She was tempted to banish everyone from her hammock, but the whole point was creating a spot for everyone to enjoy. She tried to remind the kids to watch their feet. Before long, she gave up and just focused on their smiles and not the destruction of her beloved hammock fringe.hammock-05

The fringe got so out of control, one day she knew what must be done. She had long thrown away her receipt and didn’t have much ground for asking the store to exchange her hammock. She was stuck. With scissors in hand, she took a deep breath and said goodbye to the fringe that once upon a time graced her living room.In her quest to create more seats in her living room, she asked her dad to build her a sectional. Upon completion of the building portion, she began searching for fabric to cover the new large couch. Everything clashed with her pretty green fringe-free hammock. Enter bleach and a bathtub.

Little remains of the beautiful green fringed hammock that originally caught her eye. Maybe one day she’ll have a fringe hammock again. Until then…the living room hammock is still the most popular seat in the house. It may not be as pretty as it was in its glory days, but it still beckons all those looking for a place to nap.

hammock2-01hammock2-02hammock2-04So…the white isn’t too bad and it will look good with the new couch (if I ever get it finished). However, I’ll be holding out hope for having a fun fringe hammock again one day…and when that day finally gets here I’ll probably be sad I can have a fringe hammock and be wishing for the days when I couldn’t have one. So…WAHOO I have a house full of kids and it just doesn’t work with hammock fringe. I guess I’m good with that!

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  • Elise - I love your perspective! I love how flexible you are with the season of life you are in. I am always so grateful that you are willing to continually share your thoughts with us on this blog.

  • Debbie C - Wow Ashley, you are brave! I don’t think I would have the guts to change it up so much, esp. if I had splurged on it. But it works! Your home is beautiful, as always.

  • Byron - The white hammock looks pretty great to me!

  • Anna - Ohhh, man. I was feeling so sad for you (mom of 5 under 7 – I get it). But, I admire your flexibility and the end results are still beautiful. And your littlest still looks awfully cozy and peaceful in there. Gorgeous photos.

  • Kimber - Haha! Yesss this is so my life right now. One day the fringe will be back. But then like you said we’ll miss the times that fringe wasn’t an option!

  • Anne Eicher - I never thought of bleach! My hammock doesn’t match my house either… and the rope ones s-t-r-e-t-c-h too! My sister in law brought me one from Belize when they went for a mission trip… I hung it (in the playroom) at the perfect height and it stretched and stretched. Not only does it hang close to the floor but it’s so loosely woven that it there are now big holes in it! :'( Still love having it though!

  • Carrie Campbell - Reminiscent of the Giving Tree or perhaps the Velveteen Rabbit. Maybe one day the hammock will be a real hammock, when all its loving has made all it’s stuffings fall out. (Also, I think it looks nice in white with the yellow fridge.) 🙂 Way to hold loosing and love those kiddos!

  • Lisa - Well… maybe the fringe doesn’t work, but I bet you could tie some pompoms on there and make it just as fabulous ?

  • Brenda Hodges - I’m actually pretty happy to see this…I bought two of those (the mustard ones) for my daughter’s front porch in Uganda and they are getting super sun-faded. We might just try the bleach technique (if we can find some over there) so they aren’t splotchy anymore. And – the fringe didn’t bleach out? That’s kinda cool…thanks, again, for being the brave one we can follow!

  • jenny - i love your perspective. we have things to enjoy now and things to enjoy later. i constantly have to remind myself that someday i will be able to have those things and that i will miss what is here now. also, seeing that you had such success bleaching your green hammock gives me hope that i can bleach out our white one. ours is an outdoor hammock that we bought in mexico… it is extremely filthy and i have decided the only way to save it is too attempt bleach.

  • Maria - I wonder if Anthropologie are going to read this post and sneakily send you another hammock just because they’re nice.

  • Emily - And it still looks just as beautiful 🙂

  • Kimberly - The reincarnated hammock looks fantastic! I would love something like that in our house, but i can only imagine the endless fights over who gets to sit in it. How do your kids negotiate that?

  • AshleyAnn - First come, first serve 😉

  • Fran - The beauty of having kids around! Perfect, Ashley! 😉
    And… I have to say you always have the most beautiful cushion cover. The green fabric is gorgeous! <3

  • Tara Abshier - I know your son is a big reader, and mine is too! He is 10 and I was curious as to what his favorite books have been so far! My son is finishing Wild Robot which is so fun and very much about surviving the outdoors! Thank you!

In January 2016, I launched the subscription version of SnapShops. Towards the end of 2016, I began changing things with SnapShops again – this time welcoming contributing photographers to the site. My photography knowledge is limited to my experience and education, so it just makes sense to expand the lessons through contributors. Today the most recent lesson is live.

When a few students asked for more details regarding metering modes, I asked my friend Ann to teach a lesson that acts as an extension of what is covered in the DSLR course.


Use the code METERING for $10 off your registration through the weekend. (Expires 2.19.17)

I know how hard it is to find time for online courses that require logging in at a certain time or with limited access. The SnapShop subscription site includes two core course: SnapShop DSLR and SnapShop Phone and new lessons added monthly. Instead of logging in at a certain time or only having couple weeks to access content, the new site is subscription based. As a subscriber you have access to all the content for as long as you keep your membership. The monthly membership costs less than a fancy latte.SnapShopCollage1280



Registration includes access to all SnapShop content (used by over 3000 students since 2009), including: 

  • SnapShop DSLR Course (a $200 value)
  • SnapShop Phone Course (a $50 value)
  • Interviews & tips with leading photographers & bloggers
  • Course discussions
  • Additional lessons posted monthly by Ashley Ann and guests!

To register click here and use the code: METERING

Discount code is case sensitive and can be entered at checkout.  Subscriptions will renew for $5.00 monthly to maintain access to existing content and new lessons!  

To see a listing of all the lessons and courses included and a FAQ page answering common questions visit the SnapShop website.

SnapShop students: I always want to hear your suggestions for lessons, so please let me know if you have any!

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