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!

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

Developing Our Habits: Reading!

In the last few months, I find myself constantly adding to my “To Read” list. I actually have had several book lists over the years in various places, and awhile back, I was reading this post by Nancy Ray and was introduced to Wunderlist. I really like this app, and I feel like I could utilise it for so much more than I am. It has helped keep lists like a reading list all in one place, though.

I wrote at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be intentional about learning, and a big part of that was by reading. I wrote that before finding out I was pregnant, and if I am honest, I have let the tiredness of pregnancy lead me towards a bit of laziness in this area. I haven’t done terrible, but I haven’t been as intentional in this area as I’d hoped. Here’s where grace comes in, and I am choosing to look ahead and not behind. It’ll all be ok!

That hasn’t stopped me from adding (almost daily) to this list of books I want to read. I am constantly seeing friends post in their insta stories about a book that impacted them or a quote from a book, and I am finding myself screen-shotting these photos all the time. One of the worst habits I have had with reading, though, is starting a book and not finishing it. Who is with me on this one? I don’t do this with fiction books, but with non-fiction books, I am a bit like a distracted toddler in a toy shop, focused until something else catches my eye and draws me in.

Robbie and I were meeting with a friend last week, and he was sharing a simple “equation” for success or results. This can be used in large areas of life, or even in small habits you want to grow and develop, like reading more regularly.

Desire –> Motivation –> Results

That sounds great, but the trouble is what happens when you don’t have the desire for something? There is a second part to the equation, and when desire is missing this is where discipline must kick in.

Discipline –> Motivation –> Results

Of course! It made so much sense, and then he broke it down even further and explained what ingredients are necessary to have discipline. In order to have discipline, you must have a schedule and accountability. Even more than that you have to allocate and prioritize in order to follow through with your schedule. I love when concepts that you know in your head are broken down so simply.

I find myself coming back to this often now and applying it to multiple areas of my life. For now, though, I am trying to take one thing at a time (ok, maybe 2-3 things at a time) so I don’t overwhelm the system and actually wind up with nothing to show for it.

In an effort to create accountability by sharing this publicly, I am going to tell you how I am going to allocate and prioritize time for this particular habit of reading. When I wrote my goals at the beginning of the year, they probably could have done with further specifics to help achieve these goals. Some of them had that but not all of them. Here is to creating discipline and seeing great results!

My Commitment to Reading

  • First thing’s first – I am taking this one month at a time. Because baby is coming in September, I don’t want to set myself up to fail. So this is my goal for the month of August specifically.
  • I will commit to read for at least 30 minutes before bed every night.
  • I will commit to finishing 2 books that I am currently in the middle of reading – Long Days of Small Things and Loving Our Kids on Purpose
  • I will commit to following up at the end of the month, possibly with a recap of the books I read.

Do you find yourself starting many books and not finishing them? What things help you stay disciplined to reach your goals?

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