Out of the ashes a Phoenix is born

A few months ago I was in the middle of a storm that wasn’t mine. I did not know at the time that it wasn’t mine because my husband and I were the subjects of the storm. What I know today, after relentless prayer for the people involved and countless hours of processing with safe people is that other peoples reactions are about them, no matter what the content of the situation is. The situation that was intended to draw strong lines in the sand and paint me in a bad light has made me stronger and more committed to my cause of right and powerful living. As the saying goes, “when your going through hell keep on going.” (Winston Churchill) As much as I wanted to make the situation I was in about me the truth is it wasn’t. Some significant relationships were lost and I grieve the loss of them today but out of the ashes of a burned down relationship a Phoenix is born.

A much respected definition of courage I cling to is being afraid and doing it any way. Living a life out loud is bound to catch a few people the wrong way and threaten them in ways that was not intended. However, what the fear misses when containing someone that lives out loud, is the freedom it gives those who are held in bondage by the shame of something others do and don’t talk about.

Why we don’t talk about anger is beyond me. Maybe it brings up old feelings from the past. Which makes sense to me being that I didn’t see much healthy anger when i was growing up. It was either sad or rage. I preferred to take the rage because sad looked weak to me. What I know is a happy balance between all four primary emotions, sad, mad, glad, scared is the place that I find the most stability in my heart. Going through the fire storm I did a few months ago has forced me to live and love harder. I press in to life and live scandalously. At least I’m trying to. I’m terrified to push in to this dream of mine to publish my thoughts publicly. But as a fire needs wind to grow I can not expect anything to happen with out taking risks.

I love symbolism. The Phoenix is something that I can identify with, especially coming out of the situation I am walking through. Trial by fire. There are things that happen in my life that hurt like hell and they bring out a rage in me that is primal in nature. I have not let it owned me though. Its strong and powerful and its energy needed to be channeled in a healthy way and I’m doing that, some days better then others, none the less I am pushing through the fear and pain of failure and waiting on my God in the ashes sober and willing.




The best gift given to the Fathers I know


When I think about Fathers Day it makes me think of the God of my understanding and his unending love for me. Year’s ago I was at a conference and the topic was healing the relationship between God and me. It went through a series of concepts where I would put the image of my earthly father on my heavenly father and God would fall short every time of who he truly was and I would be left craving things from people that they were not capable of giving.


Not knowing what I was doing, I would end up resentful at my husband or my own dad because I was looking to them to be someone they were not intended to be. The god centered hole inside would grow ever bigger until the concept became relevant to me that I was looking in the wrong place for my needs to be met.


I believe that the best gift I can offer my Dad and husband is the freedom to be who they are supposed to be as individuals, Children of God them selves. The more free they are to be them selves in my mind the clearer I can connect with them with out all the unspoken expectations of things they can never truly meet.


I see my Dad as someone that truly did the best he could to provide for me the tools for living. He gave me many things that I still cling to today and serve me in my life very well. I see him as a man who has flaws and is not perfect. I see him clearly.


I see my husband as a man who loves and cares for me the best way he can. He has challenged me to be better, love deeper and bend when I was incapable of knowing I could. Hes not perfect either. He has his flaws. I see him clearly too.


Seeing that someone is flawed in this view isn’t coming from a place of picking him apart. It’s seeing the imperfection in their humanness and the perfection in God. I spent way to much time trying to get people to tell me what to do and believe. As it would turnd out I didn’t have a lot of faith in humanity because they would fail me, they are human after all and don’t always get it right.


When my relationship with my Dad and my husband are free to come and free to go the relationship it truly free and there for will fulfill what it was truly meant to do.


When I journal or when I pray alone I pray to Aba Father, Papa God. I see him as the father I desperately craved my whole life. The poem that follows is something I wote during that time and seems appropriate to attach here now.









To be Romanced By the God of all Creation:


When I need the connection of a Father

I need not look anywhere else but the world around me


When I see a meadow filled with blooms

I know that bouquet was meant for me


When I want to dance all I have to do

Is move with the wind and I know

That dance was meant for me


When I want a hug,

To be caught up in a warm embrace

I stand in the warm rays of the

Sunlight of the spirit

And I know that hug was meant for me


When I want to know I am loved

I look to the cross,

Its then I know that your arms

Stretched wide were meant for me.


When I want to be touched

I feel the shivers on my shoulders

I know that touch was meant for me.


When I want to be connected

To the Father of all children

I need not look further then

All Creation.

Written By Ashley Bell

Grace for the developmental years of childhood insanity and blessing.

 I was sharing with some friends the other day about how much I ask my kids to change in the first 5 years of there lives and it occurred to me to offer a little more grace to them and the ones like them when i realized how much I really do ask of them.

Newborn: they start out these helpless little blobs of joy and smelly things and have parents that are, according to the movies and TV shows, supposed to be happy about this ALL the time. I don’t know about you but when both my sons were all happy and giggles at 2 am I was not laughing, in fact I was crying most of the time because unlike them who get to sleep most of the day, I was awake freaking out because they would stop breathing every now and then and my solution was to check every few minuets because apparently my looking would some how enable them to continue sucking in the very air that keeps them breathing. 

Oh the pressure begins. The conversation would go something like this:

“Oh I know you were just born and all and I know some where in your divinely wired brain you are supposed to know how to eat and swallow so lets get to it because this Dr or mid wife is kind of starting to piss me off! Oh there you go eat eat eat away. Ya my little one did it.”

Then you come home to relentless questions from the well meaning people: Is the baby sleeping well? What kind of question is that! They just got the eating thing down I’ve been home for 10 minuets, the kid might as well feel like they got sent to a whole other world. They were in water that was warm and cozy. Now they are in air that’s freezing most of the time. Or another question I love, are you sleeping well? To which after I get done lying right through my teeth because the mail lady does not need to see my cry for 30 minuets at a time because I just cant seem to remember where my EVERYTHING went. “Yes im sleeping well thank you. Love my little one.”

First Year: the Dr’s appointments! For the first year, are they holding there head? Tummy time! Tummy time! Tummy time! Do they recognize you when you come in to the room? Are they eating by them selves yet? Making sounds? Picking things up? Are they crawling? Walking? Cruising the furniture? Its at this point my eyes glaze over because I starting thinking about my dog cruising the couch for snacks in the cushions and I remember her eating my bagel breakfast sandwich on the first day that everyone slept all at the same time. That my friends, is grounds for re-homing! but then I would cry again so never mind. The Dr. notices my glazed over look and asks the last question again, hows baby sleeping? To which I reply, “I think he decided sleep is for when hes old”

Year 2: They are walking, talking in a code only parents can decipher, opinionated and in to everything. They cant decide if they want to eat or just throw there food on the floor and then scream because there noodles were eaten by the dog and some how its our fault. Oh and they are besides them selves that I wont let them whack me with the tonka truck one more time.

Year 3: They are getting this whole eating with out throwing it at the parents thing down really well, sleeping has settled down a little bit, and now the real pressure comes. Do you feel pee pee? Poo poo? Do you need to go? Did you go? Where is it if you did? (guilty look on the dogs face, and I think, less to clean up) Then the moment in the far back corner of Costco, the first time I brave the no diaper, he just peed in the parking lot so we should be good. Second baby just ate so we are good. And its as if while im inspecting the giant batch of grapes that im about to buy and the boys come together, “are you ready to see how fast she can push this over loaded cart the quarter mile to the bathroom? Ready go! Mommy I have to pee!!!!!!!” Loudly so everyone around can hear. I check my list, I cant just abandon this cart I have the best batch of grapes. And we are off, we make it, and out comes a few drops. In my mind I’m like “REALLY? I almost ran some people over to get here”. But out of my mouth comes “YAAAA go pee pee on the potty!” IMG_3085

Year 4: More questions, is he writing, reading? Can he count? Alphabet? Potty trained? Jump up and down? I think from the counter or off the floor? Does bouncing count? Is he eating well? How is he with other kids? Can he write a code that programs a rocket to launch? They throw that one in just so they know I’m paying attention now, remember the dog?

After thinking about all this stuff I ask my kids to do I realize I really need to give them extra grace. When hes hanging upside down off the grocery cart or yelling so loud that I need ear plugs to hear because when parenting is a 24/7 deal I will have a chance to “try again” in 5 minuets. I expect my kids to behave in ways that really in the reality of things doesn’t make sense. In honesty when I take an honest look at my thinking, I want him to be a robot and then I realize: Hes 4 or hes 14 months depending on which one I’m watching lick the window. Being a kid is such a short lived thing, offer the guy some grace, truly how much have I been asked to grow in 4 years of life? Surely not as much as I’m asking of them. Please have grace for us if you see my son walk right in front of your grocery cart in the store or runs in circles for no apparent reason at all. Chances are its the lesser of two situations like walk freely in the store or go bowling in the juice aisle and see how many bottles he can drop to the floor before hes caught.

Some days I just look at the and say out loud, not what I’m thinking of course, but remind my self “your acting your age, your supposed to …” They arn’t robots. Thank God for the gift of growth not only in them but my self as well. Extra grace required for all parties involved. I try to tickle him instead of grab his hand for the 100th time because laughter releases so much more tension in him and me. Often that is all that is needed, a little bit of purposeful connection.

Who am I?

Having never blogged before I figure the first one should be all about me. I’m a 30 year old mom of two boys. I’m married to a wonderful man of 10 years. We share many things in common but sobriety is the base line for it all. I have two brothers, one older and one younger. Both of my parents are still alive and live in the same house I grew up in.

I was born and raised in a small farming community and still live here today. I grew up running barefoot on the asphalt pavement, ride my bike without a helmet, listening to Bob Segar, the Drifters, The doors, Nervana, Garth Brooks and George Straight. We were frequently have rock concerts on the porch of my friends house and play on a giant blown up water bed mattress, which has claimed many broken bones and given many scuffs. Every Saturday my friends and I would head down to the local restaurant and order a plate of fries and spend countless hours talking to our waitress until she moved to a new job and after that what was the point of going? 

After all the fun and games would settle down inside I spent the better part of my childhood feeling like I was never going to mount up. I always wanted people to approve of what I was doing and I never could sum up the confidence to assert myself enough to fully seperate my self from the things I didn’t want to do. I didn’t know it at the time that that would be one of the things that a drink eased away.

At age 12 I discovered alcohol. I drank, got drunk, passed out and threw up all over my self while my older brother and his friend cared for me until they new i was safe. To which I woke up out side in a tent with vomit all over me and a veg recollection of what happened the night before. I had the worst hangover and all I could think about was how can I get that again. 

Fast forward 5 years and I’m in the rain laying on a side walk, I’ve been drinking all day and its the middle of February in Washington St. Which is a nice way to say is 40 degrees and raining. I was a crossed the street from the police station and no one saw me. I believe that was my Gods doing because I needed to stumble home and stand in my parents kitchen at 3 am on a work night and tell them that “i didnt know what was wrong with me I cant stop drinking”

A week later I was in treatment and 13 years later here I am. How do you sum up in a short story what the heck has happened to me in 13 years? Honestly, I have no idea. It hasn’t come easy. I have had many hours in therapy, step work with my sponsor, and just plain had to wait out the storms. It been a series of turns. Some welcomed, some cursed as they went by. I’m sure that I will get to all of that later on.

I’m the kind of person that will lay it all out there. Living life out loud for all to see. So whats my list of me?

I love gardening, hiking, goofing around, cooking, playing with my kids, singing in the car, walking with my dogs and spending with my husband. Vacation is mine and my families thing. Some people own boats or paint pictures. We go places, a lot! I am a deep thinker/analyzer. My husband has a rule that I cant share my thoughts with him until hes had at least one cup of coffee, which some days if i have been awake long enough is torture. Football is considered to be my 5th season.

This blog is a challenge for me. Sense my son has been born, 4 years ago, there has been many labels placed on me which i fully love and enjoy. However for me I need one corner that is just me. Not a wife, mother, friend, sister, sponsor, gardener and daughter. Just a corner that from the start is me with out anything else. I love to write, I always have. Ive been told its helpful to others so, here I go giving it away for fun and for free. Thanks for listening. Image