Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


"She's a thing knower"

That's what Dave said about Ash tonight and it made me giggle. We were getting out of the car and he went to unbuckle her seat belt. "I love that she knows things. She's a thing knower." He was referring to her ability to get her arms out of the seat belt once it is unbuckled. I love that he loves that about her. Ash does know things. She knows a lot more things then many, many professionals warned us about early on in her life. So many "possibilities" and "labels" were being thrown at us. In some areas they were right about her, but in other areas she has proved them wrong.

Ash knows lots of things and she learns more things every single day. One of the biggest perks about being the mom is that I have the opportunity to spend each moment of my day with her. I get to be home to see her figure out and learn all of those things. She really is smart. You can see her mind working as she picks up a new book or pulls out a toy. I am so thankful she has the abilities that she does have. We all know that she is delayed according to all the developmental milestones that have been set for children, but even still she has a mind that learns and expands and functions. We were facing an endless "what if" situation and really had no idea what she would be capable of. Today, we find ourselves being grateful for all the things that she does know.

Ash may always be a little behind. She may always be consider a little "slow" or delayed. Some professionals have even told us that she is handicapped in one way or another. As a parent it hurts to be told that. It hurts to know that your child is considered different or not normal, but on the other side of those feelings we feel blessed to have been trusted with such an amazing little girl. God has really, really blessed us.

There are lots of changes going on in Ash's life. Our team of professionals is expanding and more and more evaluations and opinions are being given. We even meet with a new team of doctors next Tuesday who will be taking over some of Ash's care. As we introduce Ashley to all of these teams of people we have to rehearse her history over and over again. During all of that rehearsing I find myself wanting to be protective and even sometimes a little defensive, but most of all I have found myself feeling proud. Proud of this little gherkin who has come so far and who has overcome so many of the things she was never expected to overcome.

"She's a thing knower." Yes, that is exactly what she is and we are very, very proud of her.


At 10:31 PM , Blogger sarahdodson said...

Isn't it amazing to watch your child/ren learn things. God's given them such wonderful minds. I'm so glad your daughter is doing well; the updates are fun to read:)

At 1:45 AM , Blogger The Dean Family said...

I love Dave's description! How proud you must be and deservingly so! My heart is overjoyed for you and your family.
Angela in AK

At 8:49 AM , Anonymous Jule White said...

I am so proud of all that Ashley is and will be! She is amazing.

My heart is so happy each day as I read about your new normal at home. I know your heart is happy too. I continue to think about Ashley and the rest of the family daily and continue to life you all up in my prayers.

Have a "Happy Day".

Love, Jule White

At 10:47 AM , Blogger Amy T said...

She definitely is a thing knower! And what an amazing story God has written with her! Bless you for sharing all the ups and downs with us!

At 1:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just received this email and thought about Ashley and what God has in store for her life.


I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least
that's what I heard him say one night.

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are
you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique
perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else

lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first tim e the very
different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties
during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in
which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he
always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed,
that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every
Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever
dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home
to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese
for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers
excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before
dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for
his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin

to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate
loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to
Chi-car-go!' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not
care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His
needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When

he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely
in it.

He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job

until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.

He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and
when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to
cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always
sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes
as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a
way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his

closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy
the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine
knowledge that rises above my mortal questions

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap I am.

My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become
disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care


Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has
spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and
soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed

at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the
simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

At 1:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a daughter that growing up was considered by teachers and doctors to be "slow". She is a junior in high school now and I think she is amazing! She might read on a lower level and be a little behind on scores for her age but I will tell you this...she too was a thing knower and when it comes to social skills and common sense I would put her up against any other kids her age. I always tell her that she can't be perfect and that she was blessed to with common sense, social skills, good morals, a kind heart and great looks! That is pretty perfect to me and I sense those same wonderful qualities in Ashley. She is going to turn out to be the most amazing person. Look at what she has already done and how many lives she has touched. You have every right to be as proud of that girl as you are.
I am so glad that she has such a wonderful family.

At 2:57 PM , Blogger Kirsten said...

Quick question for you, when she had her speech eval, did they give a "receptive laguage" score vs. an "expressive lanuage" score? Children who had difficulty communicating verbally or expressively are often mis-labeled as "slow". A receptive score, or how much she can understand of language gives you a much better look at where a child stands developmentally. I am sure that you know all of this, but I worked in Early Intervention for years and know how all of those evaluations can get garbled together. Her ability to be a "thing knower" shows that she is a bright little girl. Many prayers coming your way. Kirsten, Bloomington, IL

At 9:21 PM , Blogger Gretchen said...

I think I know a "thing" or 2, as well. I know that you are blessed to have Ashley, and that she is blessed to have you. (((hugs)))


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