Hello! I’m Ashley, and welcome to GrowingSpangs! I live with my husband Chris, daughter Olivia, and Gwen, our rescued AmStaff terrier (that would be a small pitbull, and she shatters stereotypes). We currently live in a small town just outside of Minneapolis, MN. I am a token Virgo and an INTJ, for those of you into either of those, you know my basics.
I’ve come through a lot, and I know I’m not done being conditioned. Here at GrowingSpangs, you will find my daily musings, dreams, current projects, dynomite recipes, sarcasm, family, hurts, and loves.
Most of all, you will find a real person, being real without shame.
This blog is about me, and if you’re a bit of the nosy type (who isn’t), you’ll enjoy what you find here. As for GrowingSpangs, my husband jokingly thought of the name when a friend commented that our life seemed like a sitcom at times-the name stuck, like the legendary 1980’s show !
Here are the basics:
- I’m a SuperMom.
Actually, I’m quite the failure, but my husband Chris is a comic nerd and it’s fun to say I am one. Our daughter Olivia Grace was born September 2015 and takes after her father in her patience, and I truly hope that stays. She is known for constantly handing out smiles, and she has killer dimples that will melt you where you stand.
Within this blog, you will find my honest failures, as well as my occasional celebrated successes. I believe that us parents need to feel the need to brag at times, because let’s face it, the wins are a minority for us all. Celebrate with a friend when they voice a win-I’m guessing it’s coming after a whole host of failure.
- I have a degree in Human Resources and Organization Management.
It took me eight years and three colleges to do it because sometimes one has to work several jobs at a time in addition to getting their degree. I love the world of business, and I know the most important thing to invest in a business is its employees. Without them, there would typically not be a business, and honestly my heart hurts as I watch what many corporations are doing and how impersonal and unappreciative they are getting in their hunger for money. In addition to this passion, I have spent years in the accounting, virtual assisting, retail, business bookkeeping, and entrepreneurial industries. Currently, I often spend time in a self-made business helping small companies nationwide recruit talent, because today’s sourcing software is priced way out of their reach.
- Although I have always been very career oriented, I put those dreams on hold to primarily become a stay-at-home mom.
I struggle with this. It took me a long time to understand that I am still working-after all, I am primarily solely responsible for a tiny human’s development…I’d say that’s kind of big time. But, this is also part of the reason you are seeing this blog-I am someone who has to constantly be doing something I find value in…sitting around watching television is not for me. My husband LOVES his job, and I did not find it worth it to work all week just to make a few dollars extra after paying for childcare. So, we quickly agreed to take the big cut for me to stay at home with Olivia and her future sibling(s). I am not a kid person, you will never find me standing in line to hold a baby and I’m about the furthest from a helicopter mom. My husband on the other hand, loves kids…it’s his job actually. This has been a huge growth experience for me, and obviously I’ll tell you all about it within this blog if you stick around.
- I am obsessively particular.
Do you know someone who needs things to be done so perfectly that if they can’t do it perfectly the first time, they won’t do it at all? Are you that person? We will get along just fine. I am a huge procrastinator for this reason. I write so many lists to try to plan, but if they get too messy or too crossed off, better believe I’m writing a new one. My craft room cannot even be walked into…I can’t find the right storage for my stuff, so it continues to sit there not put away and organized. And I complain about it…if I just could figure out the perfect storage solution, I would deal with it. At some point. I promise.
- I am a partial hippie.
Meaning-I know what is best for my family’s health, but I don’t have the discipline to always keep up with it. In GrowingSpangs, you’ll see things regarding GMO’s, organic, gardening, our earth footprint, exercise, essential oil, nutrition, and all sorts of other goodies. Know that it’s probably coming from a source of complete failure and accountability searching. I believe in getting food as locally-sourced and unpoisoned as possible…but too often our bank account or convenience screams chain store boxes and bags. I am on a personal quest to make as much from scratch as possible-feel free to join me in that accountability. I’m not the only one, right? Right??!
- I am a budgeter.
I am a stay at home wife of a youth pastor and we have an infant…yeah…we aren’t really rolling in the cash over here. I grew up in a budget-conscious family as my step-father was self-employed, so we never knew what months we would have plenty and which we would be scraping the barrel. However, if you are here looking for coupons, don’t waste your time-I’m much more creative than that, mostly because I forget the coupons on the counter.
- I am a DIYer and crafter.
Pinterest is my jam and has been since it started. I also love scrapbooking and jewelry making, and dabble is most anything. My husband has asked if I have any $80 birthday cards made up, with a sly grin on his face. If you craft, you know the investment (both monetarily and time-wise) that goes into that hobby. And if someone gives you something they made…it’s worth WAY more than anything you can buy in the store, please understand that.
I cannot draw even a stick person, paint, crochet, or knit, but most other things are up for grabs. I thoroughly admire people who are able to do those things. In GrowingSpangs, you will find crafting ideas as I find time to do them-again with the perfectionist thing…it’s more like if I’ve found the perfect things to make it and have the perfect time to do it all in one sitting. Otherwise, things sit…for awhile. I’m working on that too.
- I am a Christian.
Christianity has pulled me out of some really dark pits, but it’s not always filled with lovely flowery junk either, and I’m not afraid to say so. I have a past, which you will read about here at GrowingSpangs. And like I said, I am the wife of a youth pastor. This has been a challenge for me, and especially my non-filtered mouth. I detest stereotypes, and the word “Christian” comes with many. I can assure you, you will not find them here. I struggle, I question, I research, I fail. A lot. And I especially struggle with what is perceived to be me based not only with my faith affiliation, but also my role within the church. However, I keep getting reminded that Christ is there for the broken-hearted and the heavy-laden, just as much as He is there when we finally get something right. I often feel like I don’t fit within this community, and I often have long conversations with others about it. However, within GrowingSpangs, you will see me living my faith out loud and radically-whatever your faith is, live it. This world needs it. I believe in Christ crucified and in a Love without condition to all around me, as the only example He lived out radically.
- I am a real person.
If you are looking for real people, you are welcome here. If you just failed a Pinterest project, come on over and tell us about it. If you feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, I promise you you’re not alone. If you’re just looking for a recipe, you’re welcome here too!
We all struggle. Although we should constantly find joy, it’s really hard sometimes. I crave people who don’t struggle to put up a shiny exterior. Be real, so I can feel a little more normal. 😀 Sharing our REAL lives helps and encourages others…why wouldn’t we want to do that?
I am excited to build a beautiful community with you. Overcome, embrace, and grow with me. And don’t forget to push boundaries.
Ten fun things to know about me:
- I have lost count of the amount of times I have moved, but I know I have held addresses in: North Carolina, (West) Germany, Plainfield WI, Frederic WI (where I mostly grew up), Milltown WI, Valdez AK (where I spent most of my 20’s), Saint Paul MN, and most recently just outside of Minneapolis MN.
- I am a big time introvert, but if I know you, I do not have a filter. Or if I’m online, I don’t either (disclaimer).
- I love to cook and bake, and I am in my element when I host.
- I am constantly working on several lists of different subjects at a time.
- Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and time of year. It’s all about being with those you love and enjoying amazing food. The deep colors are wonderful, and there’s no worrying about gifts. It’s an easy day of lounging and sharing time with people who matter to you. I don’t understand why it’s not everyone’s favorite.
- I have huge lists of movies, shows, and books to enjoy, but never feel like I should sit down to enjoy them. I always feel like I should be doing something “more productive”. It’s something I am trying to work on, as I have been burnt out too many times.
- I don’t play games. Don’t ask me to, I will watch. My husband is always “game” to play anything. He loves strategy games, but will literally play anything with anyone. He counts himself lucky if he can talk me into playing a quick crowd blurt game. Otherwise, I’m good over here. Watching the chaos. And refilling the water pitcher.
- I would love to be a minimalist, and live in a tiny house. Tiny meaning about 200sqft. However, I also love a home to look “lived in”, so my reality is a cluttered life. I purposely leave some things lying around when someone is coming over so it looks like we always live like that and we didn’t just clear a toddler tornado. ‘Oh nooooo, that table always just has a few things on it, I can’t seem to get my act together’…this would be a confession of a real person doing silly things to appeal to others, ladies and gents. However, I do need things to be clean. There is a difference of clean versus cluttered. For me, horizontal surfaces often serve as great storage-however, my kitchen and bathroom have to be clean and the same with my floors. Sparkling clean. Dusting is a necessary evil to attempt to keep up on as well, and it actually goes a long way toward the success of the previously mentioned confession.
- I think flowers are gorgeous in a garden or handpicked, and I love to grow them along with practical things like corn and tomatoes. But don’t you dare waste money on buying them for me. They die within a couple days. To me, bringing over a coffee or giving me twenty minutes of your life means a million times more.
- I am very cynical, but I taught myself to constantly find joy in the small things years ago. That sounds like a totally weird contradiction. It is. I catch a lot of people by surprise with what comes out of my mouth, in many circumstances.
Thanks for hanging out with me, and especially giving me some of your time! I hope you find content here that stretches your perspectives, challenges you, or encourages you. I’d love to hear about what you think.
You are doing an amazing job.