About Ashley Willingham

Ashley is a Christian missionary working with YWAM in Australia. She's married to Robbie, and they are both committed to the call of God on their lives to serve Him in the nations! Ashley loves teaching and discipleship and often writes about the character of God, fear of the Lord, and obedience to God. Add in a dose of DIY, photography, reviews and recipe recommendations and you've got ashleywillingham.com!

Slowing Down for Baby #2

In just a few short days, September will be here. September 1 in Australia is the start of Spring, and it is also BABY MONTH! How did that happen? Even though my due date is towards the end of the month, I am preparing for anything since Eleanor came a week and a half early.

There is a lot going on, and often I find myself getting into bed at night with my mind racing, torn in a million directions. Some things are obvious, some things are yet to be communicated, many things are yet to be worked out. All in all, I have tried to create lists and write my thoughts down and organise them so my mind doesn’t feel so cluttered, but I am still finding myself back in this place too often.

With that being said, I have felt really strongly to take a bit of a “maternity leave” if you will from the blog over the months of September and October. Obviously at this point my blog is not a full-time job, but there is a lot of vision stirring over here for the future. I don’t want to miss out on my main priorities because of that. I am planning to still write, but I may or may not publish right away. I really want to give myself room to just be present in these moments – the last moments with just Eleanor and the beginning of our life as a family of four. My parents are also coming to visit for three weeks near the end of the month, and I want us all to be able to enjoy the visit.

I am still planning to share on social media, and behind the scenes, I’d like to still be working towards my rebranding of this space. I’ve never had more vision for this space, and there are so many new components that will be brought to the table. I want to do them justice, but more importantly, I want to give this season room to breath. I want to slow down and relieve myself of the pressure to relaunch sooner or to be anywhere other than present with my family.

My goal, albeit a soft goal, is to relaunch around the first of November. In the meantime, follow along on my social media accounts for any updates about life – there are sure to be a few in the coming months!

And, as always, thanks for reading! Love you guys!

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Ramblings

The last couple of weeks sort of got away with me, and it seemed there was something on almost every day. I keep having these thoughts to write, but they’re a bit brief and disconnected, probably because of the busy schedule. Rather than pretending they may all “come together” (hello baby brain, mum brain, etc), I decided to just run with it and do all the brief and disconnected thoughts together. So hopefully you can follow my scattered brain along and catch a bit of an update of how things are going over here with the Willinghams.

I love August so much, and it sort of blows my mind that it’s already halfway over. However, my birthday is only a couple of days away, so that makes it a tad bit more exciting (and is probably why I like the month so much anyway). I will be 3-1 on Friday, so as my friend Jess puts it – now I’m just “in my 30’s”. That’s one way to think of it I suppose. I have enjoyed this decade so far, though, so I am excited to continue in my 30’s and to see all that God has in store.

I went on Monday to get my hair done as a birthday gift. Going to get your hair done, no matter the outcome, is such a treat for a mom. I enjoyed spending a few hours getting it all worked on, washed and blow dried. It was a nice treat. I am not super thrilled with the result – more just underwhelmed I suppose. It sort of feels like a very mild version of what I asked for, but it looks very natural and healthy so that’s a plus. I have a tiny bit of birthday money left that I am saving for a pedicure with my friend in a few weeks who is also pregnant and due two days before me.

Speaking of pregnancy, I am 34 weeks today. It dawned on me several days ago that the end is approaching quicker than I realised and there is still a lot to do to prepare for baby. I am one of those people that once I get all the thoughts out of my head and onto paper I feel much better, so I spent a little time working on that on Sunday. We worked on our room on Sunday as well to make a little space for the bassinet, and I washed all the baby’s clothes yesterday. There really isn’t as much to do as the first time around, but I am more just recognising that time goes a bit quicker when you already have one kid running around and before I know it, I’ll be considered “full-term”.

Full-term. Early. Late. That has been on my mind so much lately. It’s hard to know with any pregnancy when you’ll have the baby. The due date is more of an indicator, and often people leave off the first word “estimated”. With your second, it’s hard to know if you should expect something similar to your first, in which case he would come early, or to expect something totally different. With Eleanor, even though I was preparing for her to be late, I had a gut feeling she would come the first week of July, which she did. I have no such gut feeling this time. That being said, nowhere in my brain has it registered that this baby could actually come in October (my due date is September 27). Hopefully that means that even if he is late, he won’t be too late. My parents arrive on the 25th, so my hope is that he comes within a week of that on either side.

I have my next appointment on Saturday. I haven’t had nearly as many appointments this time around, which is sort of nice, but it also means I forget just how quickly it’s going! I am excited to hear his heartbeat again and see how things are progressing, though. I am so grateful that my pregnancy has been as good as it has been. It’s not perfect obviously, and there are things that are more difficult this time (aka a million more braxton hicks the second time around). However, I am feeling really great for being 34 weeks along, and I don’t remember feeling this well when I was pregnant with Eleanor.

Part of all of that has been starting my Plexus journey. I have been taking my Plexus supplements for about 6 weeks now, and I have noticed such incredible improvements with my health. Even though I am tired by the end of the day, I have so much energy throughout the day. I have had almost no swelling at all, and I am still wearing my wedding rings at 34 weeks. My allergies are nearly gone, which is the biggest improvement for sure. I am not sneezing all day every day and going through boxes of tissues every week. If I have to blow my nose, it’s a one and done and good to go. I can smell things again, something Robbie pointed out when I smelled Eleanor’s dirty diaper the other week. I can breathe with my mouth closed, especially at night which is so nice. Overall, I feel great considering I am nearing the last month+ of pregnancy and should be feeling worse. I am grateful for learning about these products and have never been more convinced of the connection between gut health and our overall well-being!

In the busyness of everything, I am still working on a complete overhaul and rebrand of this space here. It’s taken many shapes over the years, but I have more vision for the future of this space than ever before. It will be different, and my hope is to include photography as well. I am trying to pace out the release of the new look and feel and brand, though, because I am taking a lot of intentional time discovering how to do this well into the future. Plus…I am having a baby soon so there’s that. Look for that in the future, though.

Finally, I am so conflicted with all that I am seeing in the news and on social media as of late. Being from the US and living in Australia, both with major things happening at the moment, have made all sources of news and social media feel so full-on and overwhelming. I am incredibly saddened by what I am seeing in the US. I am at a loss, and I have found that really and truly, the biggest thing I can do right at this moment is to pray for change. Pray for love to conquer evil. Pray for positive stories and change. I’ll leave it at that. I just couldn’t write a post about everything that is running through my brain without mentioning that.

So that’s life right now. Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be a bit more predicability and time in the schedule to publish a few posts I have in the works. As always, thanks for reading and staying connected!

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August 16th, 2017|Random|0 Comments

On Buying Coffees

When Eleanor was born, something happened to us. Aside from the obvious “we became parents”, we also quickly became sleep deprived, and as our sleep decreased, our coffee intake increased. Not just any coffee, though. We started buying coffees from cafes an absurd amount of times. We were looking for the quickest and easiest solution (but still very tasty). We sort of mentally succumbed to “survival mode”, and apparently lattes were a part of that for us.

We have had moments or seasons where we do better at this than others in the two years since becoming parents, but unfortunately this has become our default in busy times or when returning from holidays. We have had an assortment of coffee brewing methods at home over the years as well from a used espresso machine we found on Gumtree when we first got married to a french press and a pod machine, and more recently, to an Aeropress. We use the french press and Aeropress at home now, but we still find ourselves getting more coffees out than we should (or need).

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We have this incredible cafe at our YWAM base, and it’s so easy to buy a small, extra hot latte each day during morning tea, especially when you partner up and get 2 for $4! I bring Eleanor over to play with her little friends, catch up with other staff and grab a coffee. It’s almost become a habit. There’s also the ridiculously convenient coffee shop that is probably only 150m away from our house and has amazing hours – such as Sunday mornings! Not only is this coffee shop convenient, the owner and staff are awesome. They know all of our names, including Eleanor. They know our order. It’s fun to go to this cafe because of the hospitality.

I have no problem with buying the occasional coffee out. In fact, I love the culture here in Australia of going out for coffee, particularly because of the sheer goodness and care Aussies have with coffee making. However, I feel like I need to rewire my brain to not think I need it. To not default to it. This is probably a true statement for a lot of this generation. It’s interesting to consider what drives these decisions more – the taste, the company/friendship or the ease of someone else making it for you. It’s definitely not a financial decision…well at least not a frugal one!

All that to say, it’s a new month – Happy August! Robbie and I have talked about this a bit recently, and we have set some boundaries as far as how often we will buy coffees out and how much we will budget for this area. We also recently purchased Keepcups, which will not only reduce our charge at some cafes by up to $1, but more importantly it’s helping us to do our part in the War on Waste in one small way. Have you guys watched that? Really inspiring and challenging!

I am aware that in a month and a half or so, we will transform back into those sleep deprived new parents, but I am hoping to gain some momentum with our habits this month so we don’t break the bank. Also, since you don’t really have a baby registry with second children, I will tell you that this is what is on ours – lattes. Feel free to bring those over, and we will let you cuddle a newborn in a couple months.

What is something that you find you often have to “reset” in your life every so often? Habits you fall into or decisions you make without even realising it sometimes?

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August 1st, 2017|Family|0 Comments
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