I seriously have so stinkin much going on up in my brain alllll the time.

And one would think that if my brain is constantly churning, that I would have no problem sitting down and typing it out.

Nope.

Wrong.

I am having one of the worst cases of writer’s block that I have ever had in my entire 27 years of life. (I am only slightly exaggerating, but still… it’s bad, y’all.)

I’ve typed out some stuff. Erased it. Typed it again.

I have about five pages of open Mircosoft Word open half finished…

But now I’m typing…with every intention of posting this.

(Progress is progress, right?)

So, I figured I could give some life updates.

Talking about life and updating is a thing people do in lifestyle blogs, right?

Right.

Cool.


Home Life: Normal Life

Over here things are pretty “normal”.

Our normal.

P just received a new belt in karate last night (white with a purple stripe) and we are all still glowing from that awesome experience. The test was about an hour long and she had to perform all the kick moves and punch combination things that she had learned over the last three months.

And did I mention that she is the youngest?

The kid is three.

And she did great.

And I’m not just saying this because she’s my kiddo (I kinda am, but seriously she did awesomely.)

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                       P’s new belt.

It was a really amazing experience to see her, my kiddo with the curly top bun, thriving at something that takes discipline and hard work.

Truly amazing.

Proud mom.

Almost cried but didn’t want to embarrass her. So I held it back. And held it in.

(But it was hard sooo hard!!!)

I’m proud, y’all. Super proud.


AND the same proud feelings are true about her and our school time. (We call it “Learning time” over here because, well, we can 🙂 )

It’s been a true honor to walk alongside her as she has learned over this last year. Learning to write letters, learning her phonics sounds (with rule breakers), learning vowels, counting to 100, learning about two animal groups, learning about our solar system, and soooo much more. It’s been a great year at The Looman Learning Academy. (Again, we call it that because, well, we can 🙂 )

P learning to write January 2016.

P learning to write January 2016.                 

 

And, I don’t post about what she is learning to brag or to say, “look how smart my kid is…” and that everyone else must be at our level of excellence or whatever other nonsense. (We’re not about that life.)

I am just seriously proud of her.

Like, uber proud of her.

The three-year-old kiddo who is flourishing and who loves to learn.

And proud of us all.

Proud of our family and our team.

I just want to share all the pictures because I’m amazed at her progress and that God picked me and equipped me with the grace and grit to do this.

Grit.

Ps handwriting December 2016.

  P writing December 2016.

Grace.

Strength for the task.

It’s nothing short of a miracle that I can even do this. I don’t take credit at all. It’s all Him working through me.

When Husband and I were discussing marriage wayyyyyy back in the day (circa 2008-2009), we never planned to homeschool our children. But now, we wouldn’t change the decision to so for anything. It has been a true honor, and one of the best decisions we have made for our family (even when it’s difficult.) (I wrote about Accepting The Calling of Homeschooling here if you want to check it out.)

And we are super excited for our Christmas break in a week. We have been preparing our hearts and minds for the celebration.

Our base points being: God loved us so much that He gave us the best gift of all; Jesus (based off of John 3:16).

This is the first year that P will be really “aware” of Christmas and everything that’s going on if that make sense. Though it will be her fourth, she was really young and wasn’t able to really appreciate (and comprehend) the “why we celebrate” behind Christmas. We are spending the month of December with John 3:16 as our daily memory verse, with the hopes that the simple truth of that verse can really sink into her heart and brain space.

We also do something called “I Am Statements”. We have three so far; “I am obedient to God, Dad, and Mom”, “I am made by God”, and “I am thankful”. Each statement is accompanied by its own memory verse. The hope is that by daily planting some truth into her little heart, it will keep growing and louder than the lies the world screams at her.

And I can already see those truth seeds budding and blossoming. It is cool seeing the fruits of sharing God’s word with her.

I didn’t have that at her age and I’m hoping this starts a new and better cycle for the generations to come.


Food, Food, Food

We haven’t talked much about my health this past year with, anyone really. Mostly because it’s not something that’s necessarily the easiest to explain. And for the receiver, it’s not the easiest thing to comprehend. It’s hard and tough stuff to grasp. And, we’re finding, it’s hard and tough stuff to share.

Our family’s “normal” isn’t going to be the mainstream definition of normal. And constantly explaining something that’s hard to explain is tiresome.

For the most part, we typically respond to inquiries with “We’re/She’s/I’m doing fine!”; and then often times it’s accompanied by a head nod or fist pound (depending on who’s asking).

We’re raising awareness for the disease in our own way.

(Like just being a mom that just so happens to travel around in a lime green wheelchair, with a three-year-old with a curly-fro on her lap, making screeching tire sound effects.

Yup, we’re those people.)

I’ll probably pick up my SLR and vlog more in 2017 on my YouTube Channel. I haven’t decided yet, but Husband thinks it’s a great idea.

(He’s a smart guy and I trust him 🙂 )

This year started off very defeating, but it’s ending on a top note. Again, we haven’t spoken much about it, but we have switched gears to our approach to fighting “The MS”. After the experimental chemo drug, rituximab, in March on 2016 we decided to go a different route. We were told by the MS specialist that the rituximab was the best and only option for MS-drugs choices for me at that time (since Gilyena and IVIG were not holding down progression and flares).

We did two doses. I had terrible side effects like I always had with MS treatments. It was also a hit financially since insurance did not cover as much as we expected.

The side effects were very terrible and the random ear pain that came with it (that still has no definite answers.)

We switched gears to Functional Medicine. The basic concept of this is, using food as fuel for the body and food as medicine for the body. We’re focusing on bringing down the inflammation in my body, right now, through eliminating some foods and adding other foods to my diet.

I can say that so far, the biggest change has been the fact that my stomach no longer feels bloated and uncomfortable like it was back in March (and most of my life). The Doctor we are working with is very knowledgeable and kind; which is more than I can say for the host of traditional doctors I have encountered with MS, in the ER, and other health issues in the past. Also, not dealing with the nasty drug side effects from Gilenya has been amazing! After almost two years of Gilenya, I seriously forgot what it felt like to not feel like I had “flu-like symptoms” and consistent nagging headaches, on top of the MS-damage junk I deal with.

I am still dealing with the same MS junk, but it’s just the same junk.

No new junk.

Which is awesome.

And like always heat, stress, and infections are triggers for causing “The MS” to worsen from my baseline of “normal” temporarily; And I have had some mild flares that happened even without the “triggers”, but we tweak the plan and move on. Not lasting new damage. Just flares of the long list of stuff I was already dealing with. (Dust your shoulders off, right?)

I’m hopeful that we will be able to sustain a baseline without having to deal with the consistent side effects, on top of dealing with the MS damage-symptom-junk-mess. Not sure when I’ll share more.

But, I will say this; if you are dealing with Multiple Sclerosis (Or any other health/medical issue) know that each case is unique and different.No two are 100% the same, though there may be similarities.

That salad, though

That salad, though.

And, know that you are your best medical advocate so ask questions, take notes, and ask for doctor’s dictated notes. Stay organized, especially if you’re dealing with something chronic/long lasting. You’ll thank yourself later for doing so.

Finally, with this health update, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’ve made a complete 360 on my diet, eating nothing but all organic, etc etc (props if you do!) I have a love for Flammin Hot Cheetos and I still eat them (I could use a bag of them now, actually), but I’m learning some better eating habits that will hopefully help my body heal as it fights Multiple Sclerosis. (It’s a marathon people, not a sprint.)

We’ve been easing into this making sure it’s more of a lifestyle change versus another fad-diet-thing. (It’s a marathon people, not a sprint.) And, I’m trying new and better foods that can fuel this body of mine better.

(But I seriously would like a bag of Flammin Hot’s  right now…) *Texts Husband to see if he will grab me a bag on his way home.


That’s All Folks

So that’s it.

It’s 6:30 pm.

I’m exhausted.

And as P would say, her mommy is “bus struggling”.

(Hahaaa, love that kid.)

Hopefully, this brain dump will help get me through this writer’s block I’m having. And, hopefully, you found it somewhat entertaining and useful (perhaps?).

I promise, better content is coming. (Hang with me, folks).

Do you ever have writer’s block or feel like you just need to dump your brain out and start over? What do you do? What cool activities are your kiddos involved with? Leave some comments below!

I hope you’re all having a great day!

<3 Ashleigh Marie

Ashleigh Marie is the founder of “From Ashes”. Jesus follower, wife, and mother. Living life with grit and grace. Homeschooling and fighting chronic health issues. Lover of decaf coffee with tons of creamer, gold things, and llamas.
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