What are you doing about your dream?




One thing about me that you may have noticed is that I like trying new things, which is part of the reason you’re reading this post. I’ve never designed my own blog much less shared my personal feelings on one. My love for trying new things started a long time ago and has continued to play out in my adult life.


When I met Steve he was a trainer for the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders. So you can guess what I wanted to try… Yes, I was going to audition to be a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader or MVC, as they’re known in the professional cheer world.

I have a dance background, but it’s nothing like what young girls and boys have today. Being that I was raised in a small town, dance looked different. We practiced once a week and I enjoyed it, as it was a fun recreational activity. We never had competitions, which compared to today’s standards is insane. We practiced our choreography and learned different steps all year so we could perform at the spring recital.

I have no doubt that being involved in extracurricular activities has helped me to understand the value of teamwork, dedication, how to encourage others and try my best.

My siblings and I like to dance, in fact my sister and I still dance together on occasion in my basement. As every dancer knows, once you have choreography ingrained in your head, it comes back to you at the drop of a beat. I still do choreography in my head while I’m driving or listening to music!

Auditioning to be an MVC with my experience would seem crazy to most, but it was exhilarating to me. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to a Vikings game, but these women are legit. Their talent is incredible. Not only are these women stunningly beautiful and incredible dancers, they’re the amazing off the field. Some are students, others career women and some are moms. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? I figure if you never try, you’ll never know what might have been.

With wanting to be part of this foreign world, I had to address my obstacles. My biggest challenge was that I lacked technique and flexibility. My sister would make fun of me for my rigidity and I had nothing to say because she was right.


So there I was charting unfamiliar territory. I sought out the help and advice from those who have gone before me. Thankfully Steve was very connected and he reached out to two former MVC so I wouldn’t have to go into this blindly. Not only did I share my pursuit of becoming an MVC with my friends and family, I talked about it with my students. If you remember I was teaching elementary physical education. I solicited the help of my students who were dancers. They’re incredibly talented and I needed their expertise. They took much delight in teaching me how to do double turns.

I auditioned for Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders for my first time in April of 2011. I didn’t end up making the team, but I was selected to be part of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Training Program. The Training Program (TP) is its own separate team that practices one day a week at Winter Park and is coached by former MVC. The goal is to learn all things MVC in preparation for auditions the following spring so you can make the MVC.

I happily accepted my invitation to be part of this team. I was so excited to learn and be on a team again. Having played sports all my life and in college, I really missed the camaraderie of a team, dancing, and having a goal to work towards.

I committed to this new challenge and Steve was on board. He always was. He believed in me and encouraged me in whatever crazy things I wanted to attempt. He was so proud of me, as I was of him. He was right beside me helping me improve with his encouragement and sass.



I am so thankful to have had the blessing of being part of the 2011-2012 Training Program Team. Through the Training Program I met a lot of incredible driven women that I learned so much from. I also had the opportunity to be coached by two amazing women, Erin and Beth who have been coaching the TP since 2006.


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What about you? What are your goals and dreams? Now I’m not talking about the kind you talk about all the time. I’m talking about the kind that you think about but haven’t dared to let them cross your lips. The kind that causes you to experience incredible joy just thinking about it, all while producing a level of panic that makes you uncomfortable.


You have a special calling on your life that no one else can fill. Plow through those doubts, take a look in the mirror and believe in yourself. I believe in you.

Don’t permit perceived obstacles to put your dreams on a shelf. You may be one bold decision away from finding your greatness.


My challenge to you is to re-visit those dreams. The dreams you once had that you set down because you were busy, scared and unsure about, pick them back up. Pray about them and ask God for a fresh perspective on them. Be open, willing and obedient and He will blow your mind.



One book that has helped me to grow and discover my purpose is the book “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream” by Holly Gerth.  I highly recommend this book if you’re wondering about your own dreams and how to navigate them.



If fear proposed, would you say “I Do”?

The date was set. We’d be getting married at our church on Saturday November 18, 2011. We had finalized a date and finalized where our reception would be.

Today we went to Brackett’s Crossing Country Club. Steve wasn’t picky about the details of the wedding, but he really wanted the reception at Brackett’s. I figured that was a good compromise in my book. He’d choose the reception venue and I’d pick out everything else.


We invited my sister and my parents to our tasting. We tried several amazing foods and made final selections.

It was crazy to think that in just six short months, we’d be getting married.



I have to admit, I had little freak out moments about getting married post proposal. Of course I never voiced any of that to anyone.

I had dreams about marrying the wrong person, and to be honest, that was a fear of mine. What if I choose the wrong person? There was nothing in my life that had occurred to warrant this fear, but it was present.

Who you’ll marry is one of life’s frequented wonderings. I still couldn’t believe that this question was finally answered for me.

I continued to pray about it and asking God if this was FOR SURE what HE wanted for my life. I already knew the answer and realized this fear was something I was periodically hanging on to and allowing to get in my way.



I often wonder what God thinks about us when we question him and let fear creep in…when that fear is present only later to be found silly to be uncertain about down the road. We submit our prayer requests, give him thanks, and ask him for direction.

Then when He answers our prayers we question if it’s really true and right for us. We question if this is truly “it” because the answer to our prayer looks different than we originally planned. We have our opinion about how our lives should look and God has his. The key is knowing what God’s Will is for our lives and surrendering our will to being open to what He wants for our lives. Hopefully we’re not only open to it, but allowing him to lead.

As Susie Larson wrote in her book Your Beautiful Purpose: God’s Will for you is your best-case scenario.


Notice it doesn’t say  “Ashley’s will for her life is her best-case scenario…” or (insert your name here) will for his/her life is his/her best-case scenario.


Any way you slice it, God’s WILL is always the best. This includes the disappointments, heartbreak, illness, uncertainty, etc. Instead of questioning His plan and allowing unwarranted fear to creep in, we have to choose to trust him.


Now me being engaged and having small moments of fear or doubt is one instance where fear ultimately didn’t change my mind or prevent me from being married, but sometimes that’s not always the case. We say “I do” to fear and allow it to rule and take residency in our lives. Your relationship with fear then begins to grow and your relationship becomes intimate. Fear speaks to you in the deepest places of your heart, allowing you to doubt everything you know.  Fear will literally set up camp in your life until you decide to do something about it.

This is why reading God’s Word is so important. It’s not so you can check it off your to-do list or so you can feel good about yourself, it is so you are prepared with the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:10-18). Not just any truth, GOD’S TRUTH! This means that we are in the word. We hear it, read it and seek to understand and know God better though His word. The more we get to know Him, the more we can hear His voice above all others. We distinguish truth from lies by knowing who HE is, by getting to know His character.



The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


This has been in one of my Bibles since 7th grade!





My challenge to you is to examine your life and be honest about the roadblocks in your life; those fears that are straight up preventing you from experiencing God’s best.

  • What roadblocks have you allowed to set up camp in your mind?
  • What situational roadblocks are you allowing to cloud God’s truth?


Dive into God’s Word and see what He has to say about you and your life.


He already knows you, do you know him?



Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

Prayer Changes Everything

It was a Saturday evening, May 14, 2011. Steve had worked that day, just like he did most Saturdays. He started his Saturdays fairly early with clients, and then I would go in to the club and we’d workout together.

After working out we went to his townhome to relax and spend the day together.

The plan was to go to church at 6:00 and then meet our friends Ben and Alyson at Stella’s Fish Café in Uptown.

We had one of those lazy Saturdays; lounging around, watching TV, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.


“Babe today we have to get to church early at 5:00 to meet up with Pastor Alan to pray before church,” Steve informed.

“Okay,” I said, glancing at the clock.  “I need to get ready then.”


I wasn’t quite sure as to why we had this special meeting with Pastor Alan, but I’m all for prayer so I didn’t question it. I went upstairs to his bathroom to change, freshen up and fluff my hair.

Steve eventually came upstairs to get ready. He put on Christian music from Pandora as we got ready.

I finished one last touch, walked out of the bathroom, “okay, I’m ready.”

He looked so good. Steve always looked so handsome. He had on a red polo shirt, his hair was done just how I liked it and as always, he smelled so good!

Steve had a cologne collection, and I’m not talking about four bottles of cologne. I’m talking more like twenty. I had asked him about it, and where the cologne collecting came from. He told me growing up his parents were smokers and he hated the smell. In order to try to cover it up, he would cover himself in cologne.

Gone were the days of living with his parents, but this cologne thing still carried through. Not going to lie, I wasn’t mad about it. There’s something about the way a man smells that makes me melt. If there were a love language for smelling good, I’d add that to my list!


Steve turned down the music. “Babe, we need to pray before we go.”


Pray before we go? I thought that was strange. That wasn’t ever part of our routine before, but I wasn’t going to question what he was requesting. I thought, if my man wants to pray, we’re going to pray.

I fell more in love with him in that moment. I had always wanted to be dating a guy who was a spiritual leader. I have a tendency to want to lead, but I know that in marriage, the wife is not supposed to. That doesn’t make her any less important, that just makes us different. We were designed to have different roles for a reason. If one tries to take on the role of the other, the divine purpose of each spouse within marriage is diminished and your relationship has/will probably suffer as a result.


I know there will be people reading this that might get all “huffy and puffy” hearing me say that. The Bible says: Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18) and it goes on to say Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”


I’m a natural leader, but truthfully, in a relationship, I wanted to be led. I don’t want to the leader in my relationship. I want to be cared for, adored, loved and cherished.



There we stood, hand in hand in his bedroom with our eyes closed.


“Dear God, I want to thank you for today, and Lord I want to thank you for Ashley. Thank you for bringing her into my life…”


As I stood there I thought, I like this. Steve is really growing in his faith, he’s praying over our relationship…I melted…


“And Lord I ask that you bless our engagement…”


My eyes popped open! He just said ENGAGEMENT….oh my goodness!


I don’t even remember any of the words after engagement because I was so shocked that came out of his mouth.


He reached into his pocket, took out the ring and he got down on one knee and said, “Will you marry me?”



My heart raced, I looked into his eyes with slight panic, palms sweaty…




As he was on his knees my hands embraced the back of his head as I pulled him in for a kiss. He got teary-eyed and attempted to put the ring on my finger. He couldn’t quite get it on, so I put it on.


I paused for a moment, “Holy smokes we’re engaged!” We kissed again.


“Are we really meeting Pastor Alan?”


“We are supposed to, but it’s okay if we’re not there at 5:00.”


It was after 5:00, I grabbed my purse and we headed out the door. We called our parents on the way and told them briefly that we were engaged! We didn’t have time for long drawn out conversations about all of it because we had to get to church.


As we pulled in, Ben and Aly were driving out of the church parking lot. They were in on the plan and I waved at them and Steve stuck his arm out the window shaking his fist in victory and followed it up with a thumbs up.


We didn’t have time to pray with Pastor Alan before church. By the time we got in praise and worship had already started.


I have to admit I was distracted the whole time. I kept looking down at my new rock and I kept replaying the highlight reel of the whole thing in my mind. I glanced at Steve, we exchanged excited smiles, as he held my hand.


There we were, singing praise to Jesus, embarking on a new adventure as an newly engaged couple.


I glanced over at Steve as he poured out his heart in worship.



Thank you God. Thank you God.   THANK. YOU. GOD!





What about you? Did you have a moment when prayer changed everything? I’d love to hear about it.

Share it below!




Being With You is a Walk in the Park

It was May 6, 2011 and it was a sunny day. Both Steve and I worked and then I went over to his townhome after work.

I looked forward to days like today because we’d get to spend time with JT. My sister Mel would also be coming over today. Steve, Mel and I spent a lot of time together, and since he was dating me, my sister was part of the package deal.


Mel is a speech language pathologist and she works with 3 and 4 year olds. Any day that Steve and I would have time with JT, Mel was automatically invited. JT loved when she was there. Mel has a gift with kids. Not only did she play with JT, but she’d teach him at the same time.

Steve and Mel had several nicknames for each other. Steve called her doctor, because her initials were MD, but that wasn’t even the best one.

When I was training for a competition Steve was on a similar diet regime. He was doing the same amount of carbs I was on any given day. My sister was my roommate so she knew that this particular day was a zero carbohydrate day for me, which meant no complex carbs.

Mel had just arrived at Life Time to workout and saw Steve sitting in the Life Café She went into the café to say hi and he was eating eggs and had a stack of toast on his plate.

“What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be having toast!” giving him a “gentle” reminder as if he forgot. “You’re on a zero carb day!”

“Don’t tell your sister,” he said with a smirk.

Of course my sister didn’t keep that from me. When she got home she told me all about it and Steve knew that she would.

The next time I was at Steve’s house, we invited Mel over. She walked in the door and greeted him “Hi toast.”

“What’s up Judas?” he joked. She had busted him for eating toast and Mel had narked on him for not following our diet. Those two nicknames stuck from that moment on. Mel wouldn’t let Steve forget that he got caught, nor would he let her forget she was a nark.

There was so much joy when all of us were together. Our time together was always lighthearted and we were either laughing with each other or at each other.



Today Steve, JT, Mel and I went on a walk. I loved going on walks with Steve. He worked very hard at his job and it could be very stressful, so walking was a great way to spend quality time together and he could decompress after his day. Of course we loved it also because we could take JT to the park and get in more exercise.

We walked up to the park and Steve took JT out of the stroller. He couldn’t walk yet so Steve brought him over to the swings and put him in one.

I loved playing with JT, but I also loved to watch the two of them together. I couldn’t help but fall more in love with Steve every time I got to witness him in daddy mode. JT filled Steve up with so much love. He was such a proud dad and he talked to JT so tenderly even though JT couldn’t respond in complete sentences (obviously). It was still as JT knew what his daddy was saying to him. He hung on every word and action of his daddy. He showered him with kisses and told JT that he loved him.

The giggles were contagious. JT squealed with delight shoving his hands in his mouth as Steve pushed him in the swing.


I found myself reflecting in that moment, as I often did when the three of us were together. I thanked God for blessing me with my boys. I was thankful that he humbled me when I thought there could be no way this life could be right for me.


There I was, blessed to have this sweet baby in my life and his daddy.

I couldn’t believe how right Steve was for me. I had dated guys before who I thought they were right for me, and then things changed. I either ended up being broken hearted or realized they weren’t the one for me.

Steve and I shared the same passions and values. He understood my stubborn and quiet side, or maybe he just learned how to deal with it. I loved how he was so selfless in everything he did. Whether it was at work, a random stranger, friends or family, he would do whatever he could to help any one who needed it. I couldn’t help but love his giving heart. He was my biggest cheerleader. He never set limitations on what he thought I could do but supported me in my big ideas and dreams.


For the first time I had felt like I was with someone who appreciated me, all of me. He didn’t try to change me or forced me to be someone I wasn’t. Simply by being Steve Toms, he inspired and helped me to be the “best me.” I loved this man and I had no doubt that he felt the same way about me because he told me every day.




The person you’re with and the person you choose to spend your life with should make you a better you. They shouldn’t detract from who you are or cause you to be less than the person God designed you to be. God didn’t intricately design you so you could pretend to be someone else. God already knows your potential and we need to wake up and realize how amazing He thinks we are.



How Steve made me feel reminds me of one of my favorite motivational movie speeches by Coach Carter, in the movie Coach Carter:



“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”




My challenge to you today is for you to get out of your box and let your light shine! Stop downplaying your God-given gifts and talents. The world needs you to be you. You are ONE OF A KIND.



Hello baby

It had been about three months since we told my parents about JT and today they’d meet him in person.


It was crazy to think how much of a part of my life this little guy was; yet my parents had  never witnessed it.


I had taken on the role of being a mom when JT was with Steve and I. By no means was I trying to replace his biological mother, but I was going to do my best to love and care for him, like any good mom would.


This sweetheart really challenged our relationship, not because he was difficult, but because we really had to work together when he was in our care. We had to communicate, coordinate, and operate in a tag team fashion. When one of us was playing with him, the other one would be preparing his food. While one of us was changing his diapers, the other one could take a minute to rest.


Steve was so playful with JT and I could see how much they loved each other. He got a kick out of making him laugh doing the silliest things.


Now changing dirty diapers was a different story. Steve’s stomach couldn’t handle the mess, so I would voluntarily change his diapers. Steve and I complimented each other in our child rearing.


It was May 1, 2011 and my parents arrived at my house and we anxiously awaited the arrival of Steve and JT.


Steve had picked him up and drove to my house. I heard the upstairs door open. I went upstairs to help him carry the diaper bag as my parents anxious awaited seeing JT for the first time.


The three of us came downstairs. One look at JT and my mom got teary-eyed and my dad smiled and I knew that they were hooked!


His sweet baby cheeks, wild hair that couldn’t be tamed and wore a grin identical to his daddy’s…



I was so proud in that moment. I was proud of Steve because he was such a great dad. He would do anything for JT and he worked hard to provide for his son. He loved him so much. He prayed for him, gave him love and attention, taught him things, gave him correction when needed. He took parenting seriously and wanted to instill in him strong Christian values. We prayed before our meals as a family and before feeding JT. He would eventually understand what praying was all about.


My heart was beaming with joy. Not only did I love Steve, but I loved JT. To think that there was a time when I questioned if this life was really what God had planned for me…fast-forward and there we were. My boys and I spending time with my parents, JT’s potential future grand parents!


Steve and I played with JT and shared with my parents what he was like, what he likes to do, his latest achievements in baby world.



My parents took turns holding him and playing with him. JT was checking them out…who are these people?



We had an amazing day as a family that day. JT even fell asleep on my dad’s lap.



This day couldn’t have been any better. I went to bed that night with happy heart that was overflowing with love. God had blown my mind.


Have you had moments in your life, that from the surface didn’t make any sense, but you later realized that what was planned for your life was incredible?

Isaiah 55:8 says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.



My challenge to you today is to reflect on the perceived rough patches of your life. Perhaps what frustrates or pains you right now could be a blessing that has yet to be discovered.


After all, His ways are not our ways, and your Father knows best.






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