Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


A smile so wide

This child of mine wore a smile so wide and so genuine throughout today that it became contagious. We couldn't help but become just as happy as he was. Have you ever witnessed one of their dreams actually come true right before their eyes? Let me tell you that there is NOTHING like it! It brought me
so much joy that I have no words to describe it to you. If I ever knew a child who deserved to have a dream come true it would be my Blake. If you knew his heart and his passion then you would have to agree. This child has dreams. BIG ones! He believes that they can and will come true. I believe it too because I believe in him. He is one of the first to arrive at practice. He is one of the hardest working players you will ever find. He is one of the last to leave the field. He is one of the ones who has what it takes to make his dreams come true. Not because he has the most talent, but because he has such a love and respect for the game. I don't know where it came from, but I thank God for the opportunity He gives my son to work at achieving his dreams. Blake will be the first to share with you that any talent he has or any ability that has been given him comes straight from the Father. He loves God. He loves baseball. He loves the Tarheels, the players, and his coach. He loves "Pudge" Rodriguez. Today a piece of his dream came true.

He had NO idea that he would get to meet "Pudge". It was so GREAT! We shared with him that we had been given some tickets to go and watch the Tigers play the Rangers and he was so excited. We usually go over each season when Detroit comes to town so that Blake can watch him play and try to get his autograph. We met with our contact person this afternoon and spent the day enjoying his office that overlooked the field. Once inside of the office Blake's eyes begin to water as he looked at the most amazing baseball collection he had ever seen. There were autographs and photos from all of the old favorites like Johnny Bench and Hank Aaron as well as the newer legends like Nolan Ryan and Pudge Rodriguez. This was turning into one of the best days of my son's life, and he still had no idea what we had in store for him. It was SO much fun knowing that we were just moments away from seeing him live out one of his dreams.

We were given field passes that allowed us to go down on the field during batting practice. That was so cool, and Blake was smiling so wide. During batting practice Sammy Sosa came over and signed a ball for Blake and bat for Allie. They were thrilled! Still not knowing what the real surprise would be. When the Tigers came out on the field to warm up Blake's eyes began to sparkle as he watched from the third base line as his hero got ready to work. Then it happened. Pudge began to walk toward us and stopped to shake hands with our contact person. Then he came toward Blake and shook his hand and their conversation went like this.

"So your a catcher?"

"Yes, sir"

"Are you a good one?"

Blake answers, "Yes, sir!"

"Can you block?"

With a smile getting wider by the minute, "Yes, sir"

Then Pudge says to him, "If I were coming at you do you think you could keep me off your plate?"

Blake's eyes twinkled and he chuckled then answered with all the confidence in the world, "YES, SIR. I could." It was a moment I know I will never forget and I can assure that neither will this amazing child that I am get to call mine.

The meeting meant so much to Blake and the two of them traded photos and autographs. My favorite part of their conversations were what you see in this picture. I brought a copy of the black and white photo you see at the top of this blog and Pudge asked Blake if he would sign it for him. As Blake signed his "autograph", Pudge looked on as if it were the most natural thing in the world to be waiting on an autographed picture of an eleven year old catcher from east Texas. I love the way he choose to make my son feel so special. It was a priceless moment!
This would be Blake's first of many autographs to come, but I know it will be the one that he will never forget.

You may be wondering what in the world this has to do with our sweet Ashley Kate and why this LONG post is in her journal. Please bare with me. It is because of her life, her story, and her struggle that this meeting came to be. In a funny way it is because of my son's love of the game that our Ashley Kate and her story came to be. Pudge and his wife were also blessed with a son and a daughter and then they followed their hearts and the calling God placed on them and they adopted their third child. A baby girl. The story is different, but just as beautiful and as we learned of it we were able to once again share with Blake how important it is to follow the call of God in your life. Yes, you can be a professional athlete and love the Lord and seek His will. What an influence Pudge had in my son's life today. I will forever be grateful.

I could go on and on about the day and all that took place, but I am sure I have lost most of you by now. It was just too amazing to leave out of her journal and I thank you for the excitement and happiness so many of you have felt for our Blake today. He really is an amazing kid, that was created by an amazing God, and I am amazed that I get to be his mom. God has truly blessed me. Good night (or good morning) my friends. Take care. Trish


At 6:34 AM , Anonymous Lacy Toler said...

Wow!! I have been following your story since last October and have never posted. I often think of Blake and Allie and the sacrifices they have made along with the rest of the family. We live in Kilgore and are "die hard" baseball fans, also...we are actually getting ready for our 13 year old to play in Omaha during the College World Series! I read your journal entry last night (just before the Ranger game started) and could not wait to get up this morning to see what had transpired. What a thrill for your Blake. As I Mom, I know it probably did as much for your heart as it did for Blake's. You and your family are TRULY an inspiration. So glad that Ashley is doing SO good. We pray for her every day and are praying that the scan of her lungs is perfectly clear. Keep up the fight as we all bathe your family with prayer!!

At 6:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is SO GREAT!!! I am sitting and reading and smiling like a fool just knowing what this did for Blake. You are so right to say he is a great kid, but all of your kids are great. What a blessing it is I can be called aunt. Thank you for putting a smile on my face as well as in my heart. I love you all and let Blake know how his smile can make others happy just by knowing him. I'm so glad you all had a wonderful day.
Love you,
Aunt Toni

At 7:36 AM , Blogger Aunt Boo said...

That is awesome. He is a very lucky boy and man, what it would have been like to give YOUR autograph to a major league legend. I know this is the (one of the) best days of his life.


At 8:10 AM , Anonymous Grandma said...

I'm sitting here with a huge smile and tears streaming down my face. What a tremendous blessing from God Blake experienced yesterday - I'm sure he can't wait for practice tomorrow night! God is soooooo good! Love to all, Grandma

At 8:20 AM , Blogger Carey said...

Wow! That is totally awesome! How excited your son must be. how awesome to have been given this chance to learn the importance of keeping true to God, yet still being able to follow your dreams.

At 8:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an incredible day for all of you!!!! We were thrilled to hear it was Pudge!!!!! God bless you all. There aren't many things better than witnessing your child's dreams coming true. Pudge is such an awesome man, we are happy he's part of our Tigers.
We're still praying...for all of you. Thank you for sharing your lives with us.
In His Love, Rhonda from Michigan

At 8:29 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

Thank you SO much for sharing! Your family has come to feel like family to me through this blog, and every detail that you choose to share is precious! I am so glad you could do something so important for Blake yesterday. :)

At 8:46 AM , Blogger Sun said...

What an AWESOME DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have tears in my eyes and goose bumps on my arm - AMAZING! My husband and I used to be professional dancers and I remember being Blake's age waiting back stage for an autograph and the dreams lodging in my heart - you have allowed him to have something that will carry him through life - how amazing?! God is so good. I cannot even imagine - did he sleep at all last night? WOW - thanks for sharing

At 8:49 AM , Blogger Jamie said...

LOVE this post. What an incredible expeience for your little boy. One he will surely never forget.

Thanks for sharing this. It did bring tears to my eyes to see how considerate Pudge was to your little boy when he meets people all the time. What a great guy. I used to love him when I lived in TX.

At 8:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but cry when I read today's post. What a wonderful day for Blake he is such a special kid! Through this blog I feel as though I have gotten to know your whole family. Thank you for sharing their hearts with me. Praying for Ashley! ~Chandria~

At 9:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have reading Ashley's Story since the beginning and it has been several months since I last posted. I am sitting here with goose bumps and tears. All I can truly say is God is so awesome and what you and Dave did for Blake is awesome too. Don't ever worry about us we want to hear about Blake and Allie as much as we want to hear about Ashley Kate.

At 9:21 AM , Blogger Chuck said...

I am so happy for you right now. After speaking with David on Monday, I kept praying that everything would work out for Blake. It sounds like it couldn't have gone any better. I'm sitting here in the hospital reading this to Rae and we can't stop chuckling b/c we can see the whole thing played out in our minds! Blake's shock...his respect...and yet his boldness as he spoke with Pudge...for those of us who know Blake, it is a clear picture of his character.

I didn't know what kind of MAN Pudge was, but I kept praying that he would be one worthy of my nephews awe.

I'm so happy for you all right now. And I'm so happy that God has willed this in His great plan for your lives. We hope to see you this weekend at Katelyn's Shower...but if not, we understand.

At 9:36 AM , Blogger Joyful Days said...

With tears, this was so sweet. It blessed me to read this.

Prayers for your family.

At 9:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm tickled pink for your son, Trish. Thanks for sharing the story and the pics. with us. I'm sure it was a moment to remember. I hope and pray your sons dreams come true. God can and DOES bless and use professional athletes. We'll be watching for your son. Judy

At 9:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've already posted once but I had to post again. As I went back and reread your latest post and your sons responses and saw the pictures, that's when it happened. The tears started falling. To hear the respect coming from your son as he addressed Pudege, "Yes, sir." And when your son chuckled when Pudge asked him if he thought Blake could keep him off his plate, I could almost hear Blake's laugh and it sounded beautiful. You have a raised a good, godly kid there, Trish. I can hear that in his responses. Good job. If I ever have kids, I pray that I am the kind of mother you are with the same kind of deep, heartfelt faith and love for my kids. I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you for the beautiful, wonderful example you and your family are. I want to be just like you someday :). Judy

At 10:42 AM , Anonymous Janiece Baldwin said...

What an AWESOME experience for Blake to have this dream really come true. How very exciting for you and David. It had to be such a thrill as you planned and anticipated this momentous occasion. What a wonderful experience for you, his parents, to watch Blake as all of this took place~~~to watch every expression on this face. What a blessing as I know your hearts filled with thankfulness for this time. I am sure that Allie was just as excited for Blake and that she got to share all of this with him.
This is certainly a day your whole family will always remember.

I am so glad you shared all of the details of this day with us. WOW! I almost feel as if I were there!!

At 11:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing! Simply Amazing! If I only had one word to describe you as a mom, that would be my word! What you and Dave did for Blake yesterday will be with him every single day for the rest of his life. God gives everyone of us dreams, very few of us have the courage to act upon them. Blake will follow his all the way to God's glory, because of the young man that he is and has been raised to be. His character is a testament of his personal relationship with Jesus Christ and great parenting.
As his Aunt, I could not be more proud of him or happier for him!
Thank you Trish for sharing your heart with so many readers. I have been your big sister all of your life and I know how deep your love goes for your family. Your willingness to open up such raw and secret places in the depths of your heart while you plead for the prayers of saints on Ashley's behalf for the past two years is humbling. Thank you for inspiring all of us! You make us want to be better mothers and better children of God.
I, too, cried as I read the post of Blake's dream of meeting Pudge came true yesterday. To know Blake makes it impossible not to be so touched. I love that kid!
Keeping you all close in prayer daily and miising you like crazy, Kathy

At 12:26 PM , Anonymous Molly said...

sitting with my mouth wide open! So glad it all happened. God is good all the time AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!

At 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, that story was incredible! Good for Blake. I have never had a daughter who had transplants but I have had a son that had a mean dad and I raised him alone. He never got to meet a Hero of any kind of a famous nature but he met the Lord in a very real way and surrendered to the ministry in his first teen year. He was known as the kid who wouldn't do anything without the "man" (being God). Life is hard on little boys somehow more than girls. If you move them, they have to fight to prove themselves and with no dad no one can show you how to be a man. The local preacher pitched in and a older man gave him a hug that changed his life from the back pew of the church and a Christian investigater interviewed my precious son for a future documentary because my son had all the makings of a "columbine killer" kid because of hate from the kids at his new school and a mean, drunkard for a dad. But he chose a different way. God! He also met another man whom he worked for and learned to use machinery like lawn mowers and weed eaters and hedgers and to clean pools and a mom to work hard and keep him fed and roof over his head and a car to drive as he grew. Like he said, "I could drive a car to the store before I was allowed to ride the bicycle around the block twice without checking in". And he wasn't prideful when it came time for vehicles and such. My son always had an approriate looking, good running car when that phase began because God loved him and made sure I had the health to keep that treasure of His going, but had I had to give my son a jalopy, he would have been proud of it because he became thankful and grounded in the right things at a young tender age. So, I agree that Blake has had a wonderful experience and I am so glad he got the opportunity through your contact people. On your knees, thank the Lord for these character builders for Blake. There aren't enough wonderful little boys out there. And for you Blake...I am rooting for you! Always seek wisdom from God and the rest will fall in. You aren't too young to learn to lean on Heavenly things and stick with christians for friends. Being in the world isn't the same as being "of" the world. It might not make you popular but it will sure make you respected where it all counts. After all, at the end of the day, God is all that ever mattered to begin and end with.
AND Always, always be nice to new kids! I am sooooo proud for you.

At 2:30 PM , Blogger Mayhem And Miracles said...

We prayed for this here.

At 4:57 PM , Blogger KirkKrew said...

Such a great story and experience! Thanks for sharing with us!!!

At 10:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is SO cool! What a wonderfully perfect surprise you were able to give your son! I am SO happy that you have had MANY more happy, fun stories to share these days and hope they keep on coming!

At 12:33 AM , Anonymous Marlain said...

That is really one of the best stories EVER! I started reading and then started crying as I read about Blake's day. Amazing. Pudge has character like so many players don't. I miss him in Texas.
Amazing! Awesome! Has Blake washed his hand, since shaking Pudge's?

At 3:18 PM , Anonymous Laura Roller said...

How Cool! I love the picture of Blake at the top of the entry. that is such a beautiful picture. Rachel begged me to check up on baby Ashley,(we still call her that at our house even though she is not so tiny anymore)and i am so glad i did. We are still praying for you!
Love and Prayer,
Laura and Rachel Roller

At 7:23 AM , Blogger Amy T said...

I've been out of touch the last week. Going part-time has made me busier than when I was full-time! Oh well. Awesome post! I had tears rolling by the end. I am so excited for Blake. Though it's been several days now, I know he's still thrilled. What an awesome thing God worked out! Thanks for sharing these stories too.


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