I’ve posted on this topic before…thoughtfulness.

It is one of those traits that is just so incredibly inspiring to me. I am always taken aback by genuine acts of thoughtfulness. It probably astounds me so much because what is so natural for others is just not natural for me.

I think of others often. I don’t always act on those thoughts.

I might think, “oh this _____ reminds me of ______” and I’ll smile thinking of that friend. Rarely does is that thought followed by actually doing anything.

Thoughtful people challenge me. They inspire me. They make me want to be like them.

I’ve learned a lot from my thoughtful friends. One of the biggest things is that the simplest gesture can mean so much to someone.

Pencils and candy corn. Simple.

Both of these recently arrived in my mailbox from two different friends. Friends that know me. One friend who saw pencils in ‘Ashley’s colors’ and another friend who remembered my favorite candy only appears once a year. Friends, who thought of me and let me know.


Another box arrived filled with little details and little notes. A friend, who was visiting other countries, thought of me. I’m so selfish. When I visit other countries, I do not think about picking up little gifts to let my friends know I thought of them. I don’t even bring my kids back little gifts!

Washi tape from Japan…with notes just to me.10.3thoughtful-0110.3thoughtful-02I recognize that I quite possibly am friends with the most thoughtful women on the planet. As much as their surprise gifts brighten my day, the true gift is that they let me know they were thinking of me. It is easy to feel alone as a mom some days. Loneliness robs many a mom from joys during the mothering seasons. By letting me know that they were thinking of me, my friends reminded me that I am not alone. Their friendships and encouragement are the true gifts.

A package of pencils. A bag of candy corn. Some tape and tea. These are not extravagant gifts, but they represent extravagant thoughtfulness. It really doesn’t take much to encourage someone else, to let them know they are not alone, and to make a difference in their day.

I’m sure so many of you have been encouraged by the thoughtfulness of others (and maybe you are one of those thoughtful friends). I would love to hear simple, easy ways others have showed thoughtfulness to you or how you have shown it to others. I’m taking your ideas, I’m learning from you, and I’m working to be that kind of friend…I want to be the friend that has a way of my making others know they are not alone.


Also…today is my sister’s birthday. My nephew is due to arrive at any moment. ANY MOMENT. Hurry up little dude, we can’t wait to meet you.

Happy Birthday Lesley! You are the best present mom and dad ever gave me!sisters

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  • Dawn - I like to send Starbucks gift cards via email to friends who may be having a hard day or need some encouragement. It’s simple, quick and everyone likes a little treat or coffee :)

  • Suzanne - I too am a stay at home mom (with 2 part time jobs) and I sew. I do not have a big “fun money” stash but I love to make little things for my dear friends or evens someone who may just need a pick me up….a little word pillow, coasters with their initial painted on them or for one friend, windshield time. She works downtown and in the mornings, I call (or if I forget she calls me) and just chat. Nothing huge, nothing necessarily important but just that I am thinking of her and normally, it is her time to talk. I listen and she tells me how much she enjoys it!

  • Cheryl - As my family mentally prepared to walk through the week that held the anniversary of the death of our youngest son, I was touched that two friends acknowledged the day. The actual date fell on a Saturday this year. The day he died was a Wednesday. Others who have lost a child, no doubt, understand. We walk through the days preceding the accident and know where we were, where his sister and brother were…what we were doing…the events of the week…meals together…phone calls…shared moments…sleepovers…chores…conversations…sport practices…detail upon detail. For many kind people his death is marked by a date on the calendar. For these two dear thoughtful friends, the day of the week had significance. We came home to a beautiful purple mum (his school color) on the doorstep and then a phone call with talk and tears. They remembered the day.

  • Angela - When I had just had a baby, I was descended upon by family, but after they’d all gone home, I had a friend who showed up with coffee two mornings a week for 3 weeks just to keep me company and bring caffeine/reinforcements. ? It was a major blessing for me during that lonely and sleep deprived time.

  • Michelle - Happy birthday, Lesley!!

    I love your post. Its inspiring and motivating to take a simple thought just a bit further, if it means letting someone know they are special and being thought of.
    I also feel as though I can be more thoughtful towards my family and friends. I sometimes find myself more on the receiving end of things. And while receiving little gifts and objects is not the point of showing appreciation, its just the simple act of it. It doesnt need to cost anything! A few baked cookies; a cute DIY project, even just a hand written letter.
    Not too long ago I was at a craft store, and noticed a lot of their fall decorations were 50% off. I was just on my way to my friend’s house, in which she recently moved in to. although on a tight budget, I figured I can afford a cute fall decoration that says “welcome friends”; at 50% off. She loved it! she hung it straight on her door and mentioned that she was looking at something just like that, the other day, but decided to put it back, as she is also on a budget.

    Big smiles, had by all :)

  • Seamingly Sarah - I love candy corn too! Although a bag of just the pumpkins hit the spot too.

    I don’t give gifts or words of encouragement all that often. My love language is service, so I try to show I care through helping and providing baked treats. I leave love notes in my husband’ sand daughter’s lunch boxes when I can remember. But I think when it comes to friends I just sit and listen. But this post has challenged me to actively reach out more to my friends, to broaden and deepen my circle.

  • christina larsen - Olivia has some crayons from Korea. They happen to be the best crayons ever! They aren’t the ‘mess-free’, but still come in the coolest carrier and work great. Enjoy.

  • amber - I love this. I have some pretty great friends myself. One time, when I was pregnant & so nauseous with my 4th baby, a friend stopped by with cupcakes, peppermint oil (she heard it helped nausea) & ginger tea. She was pregnant with her 4th too. Those moments make us better people, I think. I’ve had random dinners delivered to my door, baskets of fun things put together & dropped off for my kids on hard days…& I want to be like them too. Also. That photo of you & your sister is just the cutest. My sister had her 3rd boy last week & lives far from me. It’s killing me that I haven’t gotten up there to squish that sweet babe of hers! Enjoy your own sweet nephew!! Yay for babies!

  • Kaitlyn Bright - A few weeks ago a friend of mine was celebrating her daughter in heavens 4th birthday with an go fund me fundraiser. It comes in three parts…to help out with funding care packages for foster children locally, then raising money for supporting women and children in Nicaragua, and lastly to help fund building a house for orphans in Nicaragua. It is an amazing thing she is doing to honor her daughter and while she could be wallowing in utter sadness she is reaching and giving to others in her pain.

    Here’s where my part came in…I make canvas banners most of which are encouraging, empowering phrases. It was while the Pope was visiting America and spoke about the “Golden Rule”. I immediately thought of making a banner to auction off. I was initially going to donate the $ to a local charity but remembered Charlie and her goals and dreams and her daughter Lucy. We were able to get $100 on the banner and I cried tears of happiness when the winning bidder won and when I donated the funds to Charlie. It wasn’t a ton of money but the feelings I felt were big, happy and real. Doing for others as you’d like done unto you…BIG TIME WINNING right there.

    Can’t wait to meet you in a couple weeks in OK. You’ve always been a source of inspiration to me in my relationships with kids and friends!

  • Katie B. - Isn’t is crazy how we view ourselves? (or rather, DON’T view ourselves?). Based on your lovely blog posts and the comments from others on here and instagram, you come across as naturally thoughtful. Knowing how to make the most of actions and events with family and friends; packaging even the smallest gifts with care and vibrancy. I have taken to emulating you in my gift-wrapping because it’s just so joyous!

    I, myself, try to be thoughtful…but it literally happens as you wrote: I think it and don’t often act on it. I’ve found that the simplest thing I can do sometimes is cut out a funny cartoon and send it to the friend that it reminded me of. I try to write a note, but sometimes I just send the comic and wait for their response! :)

    Happy Birthday Lesley! (come soon, little one!)

  • Amy - I love this post. :) Thanks for inspiring me to be more thoughtful this week! And Happy Birthday to Lesley!

  • Jessica - I know a lovely lady who invited my family to dinner and let me pick her brain about homeschooling. Not only was that thoughtful, but she even made us meal based on my Pinterest pins that accommodated by crazy diet. She’s the same thoughtful gal who mailed an adorable homemade onesie for my newborn because I left a comment on her blog mentioning that I loved it. Seriously a kind and thoughtful gal.

  • Christine - I am always trying to follow through with action after these initial thoughts. How inspiring!

  • Erica - A couple of simple things I like to do are take a photo on my i-phone of something that has me thinking of the person, and sending the photo via text or email with a little note (a funny inside joke, a hideous dress that I know they would equally hate, a cup of coffee I wish they were sharing with me). Or, sending a note with a package of the tea I’m drinking, wishing they could join me in person. A neighbour drops off little bundles of extra eggs and honey, and I always appreciate that! I make a big batch of chia jam and give her some………

  • Lisa M. - I love sending cards out to my friends. I love purchasing one-of-a-kind cards from @katygirl (she has some awesome cards) that encourage my friends and loved ones. And Starbucks drinks. I purchase Starbucks on a regular basis to cheer people up! Works every time. :)
    p.s. luuuv the pic of you and Lesley at the end of your post!

  • Kaitlin - Thank you for this. You’ve planted a seed in my mind and I have found myself following through on thoughts of others more :)

  • Tiffany - So many kindnesses and so much extravagant thoughtfulness given me all throughout my life~ What I have shared with others is a drop in the bucket… *A meal delivered when you are recovering from a surgery is so much more than a meal {I had this done for me two weeks ago, and the meal brought to us + tiny heartfelt visit that evening were *pure comfort*}. Kind words and smiles are my favorite, though. And time spent together~ |You sharing the way you cherish your days at home is an extravagant thoughtfulness to all o’ us, including your real-life friends, I’m sure. ~ Thank you!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I think meals for new moms is the absolute most wonderful thing ever. After MAE was born, I don’t think I cooked for a month! It was so amazing!

  • Encouraging Finds: From Life & Online - […] you work with clients of any kind extravagant thoughtfulness can go a long way. Ashley shares personal stories of how a few, simple surprise gifts in the mail […]

I took my camera to the Restore House opening last night, but I didn’t take pictures. Well, I took about 3. It was a beautiful night. The store was packed. The backyard was full of picnic tables, live music, fried pies and kids running everywhere. I got to catch up with new and old friends. My grandparents came out, but left before I got to tell them ‘goodbye’. Grandpa & Grandma – you should have said ‘bye’…we can discuss that at donuts tomorrow morning:)

The Parkers have a cute old truck near the front door. There was a sign encouraging creative pictures…with a prize to be given. The Parkers won’t let me win prizes in their contests because they think others will think the contests are rigged. BUT I want to win something from their store. Actually, I want to win one of everything from their store.

I took advantage of a pumpkin and a pregnant sister. I had issues figuring out how to hold my ‘belly’.

IMG_0518My sister is thinking, “Seriously Ashley, I don’t have time for your ideas.”

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

I’m carrying a little high.

IMG_0520I don’t know how to be normal for pictures. My go-to pose is to fake a yell, which is odd if you know me. I make this face zero times on a normal day. Only for photos. This is why I say behind the camera.IMG_0521The girls were not amused by our antics.IMG_0522This one was my favorite. We are twinning. This is us all the time…matching in some way. This was not a pose, Chris just snapped this while I was trying to figure out how to hold the pumpkin. Converse. Rolled jeans. Cardigans. Twinning.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetMy nephew should be making his debut any day now!!!! I am just a bit EXCITED!!!

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  • Nicolette - Such a sweet post! Loving the progress pictures of trying to get the pumpkin in place!


  • Sandy C - Ha! So fun. I hope to visit the Restore House one day soon. The girls watching you both is good stuff too :)

  • TiffanyM. - What a hoot!! :-) Sisters are the best! I just had a sis give birth to a little boy several days ago. Babies are just wonderful!

  • Carol - Love A’s expressions in these pics!

  • Carrie - So many cute sets of sisters in these! I love it. All the way down to the arm temp tats and how Firecracker’s outfit matches your sister’s. :) So cute.

  • luisa s - Where did your sister get her pants? I love the color!!!

  • Cass - I’m cracking up – “I took advantage of a pumpkin and a pregnant sister.” This feels like one of those “once in a lifetime” moments. (:

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - AAGH! Lesley is so beautiful! I can’t wait to see pics of the little man!

  • Jo Moseley - I keep coming back to this post. Ashley, you are a hoot! The relationship between you & L is wonderful. But.. the faces of “the cousins” are hysterical! Every single shot gets better. They look like they wanted to NOT be there with their Mama’s. I’m afraid that this sweet photo shoot is gonna come back and haunt you in just about 10 years! Wish I could be there for Thanksgiving 2025!
    You Rock! Hugs ~ Jo

I think I might have the greatest women and men reading my blog – I love they way you guys come out of the woodwork on important issues. Thank you for sharing your stories yesterday regarding foster care and asking questions. Chris is going to follow up with some of the questions and I might have him write a post with more information. I just love your hearts!


It is already the end of September! October means fall. I am not ready for fall. I will wear my flip flops and shorts…with a hoodie…and pretend summer is just around the corner. Tonight I’m headed to my friends’ store grand opening. It is going to be a great night celebrating dreams coming true.

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