Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Hospital Life...

... this is a crazy way to live! We are on day 30 of this current hospital stay and I would like to say that I think it is going to be ok. I know it seems as though we are on this unpredictable path that takes us on extreme highs and lows, but I really think we are going to be ok.

Ash looks better today. We have successfully removed around 520ccs of fluid off of her left lung. When you divide that out you may be as shocked as I was to learn that it equals a little more than 17 fluid ounces. Yikes! thats more than a diet coke sitting on my baby's left lung. No wonder she is struggling to breathe. Her chest x-ray looks better today and we hope to be able to remove her drain by tomorrow. I also hope to be moving back up to the floor tomorrow. They make no promises around here, but as long as her lung is no longer compromised we should be safe to live up stairs. She continues needing oxygen support, but I hope that doesn't last for too much longer. We have a CT scheduled for Thursday to check on the bowel. By the weekend we would like to have a plan of action concerning feedings.

I know we are having ups and downs. I know our emotions are all over the place. Some days I struggle to breathe along with Ash, and on others I feel like the turn around is coming. All I can say is that its tough to watch her go through all she does, but the joy that accompanies the good days is so complete. I know God gave her this spirit of joy and it spills out onto all of us. To know Ash on the good days and to watch her learn and accomplish more and more is indescribable. It feels just as huge as the hurt we experience for her on the bad. All of life is a give and take. He did not promise us this life would be easy. He was honest with us and told us we would have struggles and hurts and disappointments. What He did promise is that we would not have to endure them by ourselves. I have learned just how close He can feel when I need Him and just how far He can seem when I don't look for Him.

I wouldn't trade places with anyone. She is an amazing little person and I love her more than I can express. What a gift I was given the day He picked me to be her mom. Its going to be a good day. I can just feel it.


At 12:37 PM , Blogger Ashley said...

I've been reading your story for the past 2 heart goes out to you, Ashley and the rest of your family. I will be praying!!!

At 12:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are always in my prayers, I feel like this will be a good day too!

At 12:41 PM , Anonymous April in Colorado said...

How wonderfully blessed Ashley is to have you as her mommy!

Prayers continue for all of you here in Colorado, and to those of you in Texas!

Embrace the quiet moments and God will carry you through the rest!

Glad to hear the chaos is on a very low level this today!

At 12:55 PM , Blogger Laurie said...

A Good Day is just what the doctor and the Lord has ordered for you today. Dave's post here was so sweet and the other half of what you are experiencing there with Ashley. You are all blessed to be a part of this very special family ordained by God.
My prayers continue for Ashleys lung to remain clear and that while all this was taking place, her bowel has continued healing beyond all expectations. I know in my heart that God has not taken His eye off of her for one moment. I hope you can get back to the original plan of taking her outside in the fresh air, oh how refreshing that would be for her gigantic spirit!! Keep holding on through the ups and downs as you are smothered in prayer out here and help is truly on the way. May you both rest like babies today and feel the arms of the Lord holding you up. It IS going to be okay as you have said.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

At 12:55 PM , Blogger Carey said...

Im glad to read your in good spirits. Thanks for letting us know how much fluid that really is..i was wondering how much it was.
Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

At 12:55 PM , Blogger Susan said...

My prayers are with you always. Glad to hear that things are looking better for Ashley. She is a wonderful little girl with an amazing spirit about her.

Have a blessed day!

At 12:57 PM , Blogger Amy said...

I'm thankful things are looking up at this time.

You are blessed to have your sweet Ashley and even though I have never met you or Dave, I'd venture to say...She is very blessed too!

At 12:59 PM , Blogger Amy T said...

Good news! Praying the day gets even better and that you both get some rest now.

At 1:00 PM , Blogger Barbie@ Mamaology said...

Your spirit of hope and joy is beautiful! May the Lord fill both of you with happiness and love today!

At 1:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel so much for you and understand your wanting to keep that precious little girl with you as long as you can, but stop a few minutes and think of what you're doing to her. Read what the poor little thing is going through; look at her beautiful, miserable little face. Does she truly have a chance at a normal PAIN-FREE life? The doctors are keeping her existing by extraordinary means that aren't natural. Would you put a dog through this torture? This has nothing to do with God--He loves, but all choices and trials are results of our own free will He gave us. He isn't putting little Ashley through this pain--you are--it is your choice. God doesn't sit in judgement, He put us here to experience through us. He is not to be feared--that was put into the Bible by the early church as a means to control the populace. As a parent, would you 'smite' a child of your's for a 'sin'? Of course not. We learn through our own mistakes to advance spiritually along the way to our ultimate return INTO God. Every life is precious and continues on past Earthly 'death'--would you really put yourself through what your baby is going through? If you love her, let her go. You have a husband and two wonderful, healthy children living without their mother. You are missing out on them. You say they understand, but are you sure? I'm sure they do to a certain extent, but what about later in their lives? How can you instill your values in these formative years by being hundreds of miles away?

When you pray, you can achieve the impossible, you can create a miracle, you can heal if Ashley's predestined life gives that option. You need to call on Archangel Michael specifically to heal her worn little body--visualize His brilliant green Light surrounding her, bringing her to a new state of health. Jesus was showing us by performing His miracles that we are capable of doing the same thing. This knowledge was taken from us by the church's distortion of the original Bible. We are a part of God; as such, we can create or manifest our own miracles. Remember Who You Are. You have a deep faith and love of God--turn that inward; trust in You. When you pray, thank God for Ashley's health, as if she were already well. When you ask or beg for something, it keeps what you want in limbo. By believing she is well, that wellness is manifested. Do you see? Ashley will recover if she's supposed to. If not, you have all learned and grown by having her in your lives. If she goes Home before you, she will be waiting for you there. You will be reunited where there is no pain or fear.

Your angels are always with you and you can call on them to help you. It's what they are for and nothing delights them more than doing what they're supposed to do. Acknowledge them. Ask them anything, then Listen to what they tell you, but above all, right now visualize the healing Green Light. Believe and know that little girl is well. God Loves You; Love Yourself and you will be amazed at your God-power.

At 1:21 PM , Anonymous dee buchanan said...

It was so good to read those words! When you are hospitalized with a child, your emotions will be all over the place. God becomes our constant. You came to the same realization I had to come to with Kali. His promises are not for an easy life, but an easier way to deal with the difficult things that life throws our way. He is our friend, our comfort and our peace. I am so glad you're finding that peace again. Hoping your day is a great one!

At 1:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad for you - we all need a good day now and then. You can make whatever happens today into a good day. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Continuing in prayer, Lou Ann

At 1:31 PM , Blogger Alicia said...

Wow. That really hurt me to read. How I wish we could keep our personal opinions and attitudes about your situation to ourselves and let you delight in the hope you have been given today. We are not called to judge you.

Trish, I know that some words are hurtful (even though I truly believe that was not the intention), but I hope they have not stung the joy out of you. Be blessed knowing that you are exactly where you are supposed to be doing the best job as a mommy. I cannot even imagine putting myself in your shoes. You are amazing - your heart for your family is entirely evident. And you have blessed my heart beyond belief just reading about your faithfulness. You are doing the right thing. Hang in there, and God bless you today and always.

At 1:48 PM , Anonymous heidi said...

God sent her to you and will take care of you both. So many have been educated by your story. I know this is not why you take this path, it did happen as a result though. You are loving Ashley and taking such wonderful extrodinary care of her. You are a most beautiful mother. You protect her and guide her and it is a beautiful thing to "watch". May you find comfort in knowing you are doing the right thing. And know that I thank YOU from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for staying the course and being true. Ashley is blessed and so are we.
Heidi in CT

At 1:52 PM , Blogger April said...

The devil is at it again - which means God is ever-present doing His will. You and Dave do what you believe is best for Ashley. You two were the parents that were picked for her, to love, comfort, guide and make decisions for her - not the rest of the internets that don't agree with what you are doing. Keep it up! You are an amazing family! :) My kids love to see Ash when you post pictures and always ask to see the baby anytime I start up the computer at home! She is reaching even the youngest!

At 1:56 PM , Blogger ManyBlessings said...

"She is an amazing little person..."

That she is. Please give your little Gherkin a kiss and thank her for the incredible amount of blessing she's given to your hundreds and hundreds of readers.


At 2:06 PM , Blogger ManyBlessings said...

Ok, and once again I read through the comments after I posted mine.


The blessings of God often do not (and almost never) come in neatly wrapped life packages with pretty bows of happiness. They come in the brute and painful living that those of us caught in incredible trials are asked to walk through. It is precisely in the valley that we are brought face to face with the almighty and awesome power of our God.

And it is through people like little Ashley, that God touches our hearts and brings us to our knees. Her story has been used to humble I'm sure thousands of people who otherwise would have lived out their lives oblivious to His smallest and most precious blessings. To say that a life is not worth fighting for is awful.

How you can presume to understand this famiy's pain without choosing to walk an inch in their shoes? After everything you've read, do you truly have NO IDEA how blessed this family is? Can you not understand that especially in suffering, there is blessing?


At 2:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,


At 2:12 PM , Blogger Miss. Diva Diabetes said...

it has made my day to know that your little one is doing better. Since I saw her story for the first time, Ive had to follow up and see if anything else is new numerous times a day. Ashley gives me such hope, and is such an insperation to keep on fighting. I do hope that you are going to have a good day! And praying this is going to be the start of many good days. Praying for you all.

At 2:29 PM , Anonymous Kathleen said...

Wonderful news that Ashley's doing better! I'm praying you'll be back "home" on the regular floor soon. I believe God entrusted Ashley to you as parents and equipped you for being the parents she needs. I was just thinking the other night about how conscientious you and Dave are about her treatments and the meds she's given. So many parents would do whatever the Dr's suggested w/out question and you both carefully consider all her options and what's best for her. That's why God entrusted her to you.

At 2:29 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

Anonymous (#2), please honor Trish's wishes and don't bad mouth other comments on this blog. Anonymous (#1), I pray that God will show you His true power and the glory of His love. Trish knows it, and she is living out that love through Ashley. I pray that through this story, God will bring you to Him and you can fully understand His glory. He is sovereign, and Trish and Dave are being obedient to Him. Trish, I'm excited for Ashley's progress and I'm praying for your quick return! I drove by your company everyday for a few weeks, and I love the quote on your sign. I've thought about stopping in and meeting Dave, but I wasn't sure when he got there/left. I have no desire to cut in on family time. Anyway, God bless! I'm praying.

At 2:43 PM , Anonymous pvploeg said...

Hi! I linked to your site somehow and have been praying for your family. Wanted to tell've probably researched your options, but for communicating with cameras on the computer my family uses Skype. I know nothing about it except that we found it on the web and for some reason it's a free connection. I imagine it's I just "hung up" with my dad and thought of you and your camera arriving in the mail, so wanted to give you the info.

Thanks for your beautiful example of trusting God in the midst of pain and unanswered questions.

At 2:48 PM , Anonymous Jule White said...

Kate always says "Happy Day" and my response to her is "Yes sweetie - It is a Happy Day". I pray that today is a "Happy Day" for both you and Ashley.

You and Dave are doing an amazing job. Please don't ever doubt that. Our prayers continue for all of you.

Love, Jule White

At 2:50 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

Dear Trish,

I have been reading your story for the past month or so and I just want to encourage you to continue to be real and transparent before the Lord!! It is in these "fires" of our lives that we found out that when we recognize and admit our weakness, that IS when he becomes strong in us. As long as we are strong and totally in control He cannot be...

Hide in Him...
Rest in Him...

Bless you today!!!
Sandy in Iowa

At 3:08 PM , Blogger Michelle J said...

Wow, lots of intense feelings here today! Of course, glad to see that little Ashley is doing a bit better today!! Lets not look down upon anonymous for his/her thoughts. After all, everybody is entitled to their own opinion right? When i first posted some people did come down on me until i explained myself to them. I have learned to pray in my own way for Ashley and that doesn't mean i pray all day, everyday, just when i can. I know that wasn't what anonymous was talking about but anyway lets try to keep these comments positive so that when Trish reads them she will not get upset!!! I have come to love little Ashley and only hope that she can get to go home. How long she will be here on earth with us, nobody knows. We don't know how long anybody will be here but we live life the best we know how! I think Trish is an awesome mama and if i had children i would want to instill in my children what Trish has done for hers.
An example of faith was found on the wall of a concentration camp. On it
a prisoner had carved the words:

I believe in the sun, even though it doesn't shine,

I believe in love, even when it isn't shown,

I believe in God, even when he doesn't speak.
I think that say a lot!!! We all have to believe in something to get through the day!! Lets hope Ashley gets through the day

At 3:16 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

After reading the last post, I re-read my post and realized that it sounded much worse than when I wrote it. I apologize for the tone of my post and hope that no one is taking offense to it. That's not my intention. I will definitely word my posts differently in the future. We're excited, positive, and praying with you today Trish!

At 3:26 PM , Anonymous Dave Pendergraft said...

God chose Trish and Dave to be Ashs parents, no one else. They have opened this blog as a way to communicate and get prayers and encouragement. We cannot perform miracles ourselves, everyone would be perfect and their would be no death, not a possibility, it is in Gods word that if we have faith enough in HIM and HIM alone, that ONLY JESUS can reach down and heal and perform a miracle. Jesus has reached down time and time again and performed miracles on Ashley because her family has the faith and believe that Jesus can and will do it and so do all of us. Ashylet has the spirit of a warrior after Gods own heart and that is being rewarded to her entire family. These choices that you have made Trish and Dave, I can only imagine how hard they are, how they tear you up inside and the guilt that I am sure follows at times, but you are being led by the Holy Spirit and it will see you thru all of this. KNow that you are prayed for day in and day out, so is Ashley, all of your kids and your families. We love you and we continue to post prayer requests for you and updates to our prayer partners and prayer warriors. Pray that the good news is here to stay FOREVER and Ash is back home where she belongs very soon. God Bless
Dave Pendergraft
Dave Pendergraft Ministries

At 3:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

michelle - my word, look how far you've come? you are truly a part of this wonderful family of ashley's! i pray for that for anyone who leaves comments on this blogsite. YOU are now the encourager. YOU are now the one who is ministering to yet another anonymous. trish, you have to be smiling through your exhaustion and your frustrations for you, too, know that God's plan includes every single person who posts on this site. blake and allie will grow into strong, selfless young adults through this - mostly because of the example you and Dave are setting for them. i don't know anything about green lights or things like that but i do know that our Jesus Christ is the only source of healing and comfort and it is through Him that true miracles take place. As a mother of 31 years, i would fight just as hard as you to keep my child alive. God is working through Ashley in ways that even we don't know. And he is working through every single person who comments. Blessings to you, Trish, and praying for complete healing for Ashley. much love, jan431

At 4:01 PM , Blogger susan lewellen said...

Trish, I do believe you must be one of the purest hearts I have ever witnessed! Most people would have launched into bitterness, but you simply appear to becoming much stronger. I am still praying that God will heal your sweet baby.

Prayers! Psalms 34:17

At 4:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your entire family. God Bless.

At 4:42 PM , Blogger Michelle J said...

Jan431 thank you for your kind words. It really makes me feel accepted into this wonderful family of hope. I am always so unsure if my words will be misunderstood. I try to find the right words to encourage Ashley to fight. Thats what she has been doing and must continue to do. And, i think she knows this. She's smarter and wiser than we all know her to be. She has a charm about her that can only give us hope. She is inspiring. I just don't know how much more she can take??? I guess none of us know. If she gets through this trial it will only make her stronger to get through the next. Because of Ashley and this caring family, i have learned how to take things with a grain of salt and not stress out over simple things. I have simple love in my heart for little Ashley and her whole family. I just hope GOD, the LORD can see that and give Ashley life!!!!!!!

Trish dear: please let me know when you receive the Mezuzah. I had it sent to Ashleys room 6474-6NS...i will rest easy when i know you have it in your hands.

At 4:56 PM , Blogger The Dean Family said...

My name is Angela and I have been reading your blog for a while and never have posted b/c I feel I might bog you down with another comment. But I can't help but tell you that I am praying for you and Ash, along with the rest of your fam. My daughter, Audrey, is 4 and she sees me reading you blog and asks me who that is. I explained it all to her and she calls her the sick Ashley since her cousin is named Ashley. She asked if we could pray for her. Of course we can was my reply. Her and I will continue to keep you all in our prayers.

At 5:03 PM , Anonymous Tiffany said...

Trish! These words warm my heart and I am so glad that you are still feeling the hope and the love of the Father. Life can be so overwhelming, the valleys and deserts so desolate and sometimes we go back and forth between hope and hopelessness. I have been there. But praise God that He is the giver of life, of hope and of promise. He loves us....far more than we love our family or friends or our children. Can you imagine such love? I can't...I try, but I can't imagine. God understands pain and he knows what it is like to lose a child...for He lost His Son so that WE could have eternal life in Him.

You are so transparent and faithful and such an inspiration to those who call on the Lord as our Savior. May we all be encouraged by your words today and continue to hope and have faith in the God who loves us.

To Anonymous #1: I will pray that your words truly didn't mean to sound as hurtful as they came across. Our loved ones lives are worth fighting for. They are gifts that God has given to us. If the Lord decides to take Ashley, then He will. Every single one of us knows that. Trish and Dave know and realize that. But to not try and give up?? Where is your faith?? Where is your exitement over the fact that God is working miracles before us in Ashley's life! Don't you see? If it was time for Ashley to go the day she was admitted....she would not be here! God is showing us Himself through this precious little person....and it is amazing and something we should praise the Lord for.....not reprimand or admonish someone who made the decision to try and save her life! Open your eyes to the bigger picture. They are not torturing her. Anyone of us here would do for our own children what Dave and Trish have done for Ash.

At 5:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When all else fails, IT'S MIRACLE TIME! And God never fails us! What a mighty God we serve! Praise His name forever!
Prayer Mom

At 5:10 PM , Blogger Gretchen said...

Blessings to you, Trish, and may He continue to make your joy complete. (((hugs)))

At 5:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. God did hand pick you to be Ahsley's mom. And how blessed you both are. Praying for you and your family.
-Cari in Arkansas

At 6:56 PM , Blogger Laurie said...


Michelle J,

It sure is good to know you feel accepted because you are. You are a sweetie and I want you to know I am praying for your mother during this time. This is a good day for so many reasons but mostly Ashley for bringing us all together.

Laurie in Ca.

At 7:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

laurie, don't you know that nan and granma are feeling every poke and pinch that ashley has to go through? don't we, as grandmothers, treasure our precious grandchildren as God's blessings? and, now, we have "adopted" michelle and pray for her mother! ashley, you don't know what's going on out here but God is using you in mighty ways! jan431

At 7:07 PM , Blogger Michelle J said...

Laurie in Ca, your prayers for my mom are greatly appreciated. She feels the love! My mom has a wonderful attitude and she reminds me so much of Trish in the way she handles herself. Yes, she is sick but she is so much alive!!! Just like little Ashley! I learn from her and i learn from all of you! Thank you so much

At 1:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


I breezed through the comments and yes, the devil is at it again. I am so proud of you. I know that you were hand-picked to be Ashley's mommy. Your family is a true picture of Jesus at work. Ashley's story has blessed me, encouraged me, lifted me up and more on more than one occasion. I look forward to reading her story daily. I look forward to praying for her. It's a privilege to pray for her! I have come to love your family through this very blog. I look at Allie's painting everyday and it reminds me to pray for your family. I got to thinking. What if one of our "biological" children had a broken body like Ashley? Adopted or not, we will always fight for "our" children. I have a son with a broken body. He is five and he is still on the mend. We have seen miracle after miracle in his life. He is precious. He has taught us many lessons. I can relate to you in many ways. You are amazing!

Still praying and loving from afar!


At 11:24 PM , Anonymous Sue said...

Hi. God surely has blessed you with a precious little girl. We sometimes don't understand but, one thing we need to understand that Hi reasons are always for the best. I've looked at her pictures and cried this evening but, the majority of my tears are for how lucky her family is that God sent her to you. She is beautiful and I truly believe God isn't finished with her yet..........The best is yet to come. You are in my thoughts and prayers always and please let me know how she's doing. God Bless and be with you.

At 4:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not have chosen "anonymous", because it must be difficult for you to read any post by "anonymous", but due to computer problems I didn't have a choice. I apologise.

I just wanted to address the unkind "anonymous" post earlier with my own experience of living through terrible pain. At 18 years old, I have been ill for several years and am never without physical pain. I have come close to death several times. If I was unresponsive in a hospital, some would say it was cruel to keep me alive.

But those people don't know the powerful will the live the Lord has blessed me with. They don't realize what joy there is hidden beneath the layers of struggle. They can't comprehend how blessed it is when someone tells me that God is using me.

Yes, it's very difficult for those without pain to understand how life can be worth living in extreme suffering. But just in case you come back and read this, I'm here to assure you that it is. It is hard, but with God, it is possible, and it is the beautiful testament I see in each and every post of this blog.

Trish, I know so many people have said this already, but you are an incredible woman of the Lord. You and your family are in my prayers. God bless,



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