Ashby Duval

When Ashby isn't having lightsaber wars with her four energetic boys, you might find her scuba diving with her hubby or grounding in her front yard with a cup of coffee while putting an essential oil on anything that will hold still. Not all at the same time, although she's not opposed to such a notion.”

Marriage Advice that Will Change Things More than You Think

Marriage Advice That Will Change Things More Than You Think…

A wise friend once told me that before you get married, ask all the couples in your life whom you respect and have a marriage worth emulating what their best marriage advice to you would be. I thought this was quite brilliant, and I spent the months leading up to my wedding doing just that. My favorite words of wisdom came from my mother-in-law, Pam, who has been happily married for 40 years and who is involved in marriage ministry. She told me four simple words: “Weed your own garden.” Needing some elaboration, I asked her to explain. She said one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your marriage is to constantly focus on what is wrong with your spouse, on their […]

Marriage Advice That Will Change Things More Than You Think… Read More »

How to Make Your Man Feel Like a Great Father

How to Make Your Man Feel Like a Great Father

Good or bad, how people speak to you or act around you often does have an influence on how we think about ourselves. The greater the importance of that person to you, the greater the influence. In the delicate dance of parenting, our words and actions with one another have a greater power than we think to build up or tear down. A sideways glance or condescending tone can be detrimental to our confidence as a person and especially as a parent.  Often I don’t think it’s our intention to tear one another down, but because men and women can be so inherently different in their parenting styles (and life in general!), we tend to attack those differences rather then learn from them and

How to Make Your Man Feel Like a Great Father Read More »

Share the Woman You Used to Be 2

Why It’s Important to Share the Woman You Used to Be

Over the years, I have been a part of several groups of women: organizations, study groups, gatherings of friends, etc. Recently, I was sitting in the audience of one such group when a mom of two stood up to share a bit about herself and her family. She mentioned she used to be a softball catcher and a trombone player and received her master’s at UF. And here she was, a stay-at-home mom with two small children whom she is currently homeschooling. That, plus her quiet disposition and love of motherhood, had pegged her in my mind as someone who must have grown up thinking that’s what she aspired to be. She was the second woman that week who surprised me with her unlikely

Why It’s Important to Share the Woman You Used to Be Read More »

Raise Your Boy to Become a Strong Man

Raise Your Boy to Become a Strong Man

As a mom of four boys, I am thinking of the attack on manhood lately. It seems like I know a lot of great women and not too many great, strong men. I guess it depends on what your definition of a great man is, but I think most of us can agree on what it is not. And that’s not who you want to raise your boy to be! Unfortunately, due to cultural influences and the period we live in, I believe there is a rise in the number of passive, lazy, and entitled “boys who can shave.” Men who still live in their parent’s basements play video games for as long as possible, thus putting off such beautiful privileges such

Raise Your Boy to Become a Strong Man Read More »

Dear Stay At Home Mom: I Want You To Know These 8 Things

Dear Stay At Home Mom: I Want You to Know These 8 Things

Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, If you had told me 10 years ago that I would end up being a stay at home mom who home-schooled her children, I would have straight up punched you in the throat—then laughed. Then probably punched you again. I’m only telling you this to give you a better idea of your author. I didn’t plan on this role, but I didn’t plan on marriage or children either, and I had no idea how much they would turn my life and my heart upside down—for the better! Maybe this was always your dream, or maybe you fell into this role as I did. Regardless, if you’re a SAHM, you probably need some encouragement and, most likely, some sanity today.

Dear Stay At Home Mom: I Want You to Know These 8 Things Read More »

Natural Teeth Whitening—For Your Child and You

Natural Teeth Whitening—For Your Child and You

Lately, I’ve noticed my oldest son’s permanent teeth look a bit yellow compared to my other three boys, who still have their baby teeth. Of course, my first assumption was that he wasn’t brushing correctly. Or worse yet, he’s skipping his brushing altogether. But after a few weeks of supervising and not noticing a big difference, I started to do a bit of research. Apparently, baby teeth are naturally whiter than permanent teeth. One pediatric dentist explains that “permanent teeth not only have a thicker enamel, but the layer under the enamel (dentin) is also more dense. Dentin is yellow in color. This gives the permanent teeth a color slightly more yellow than the baby teeth. And it’s perfectly normal!”(¹) There is

Natural Teeth Whitening—For Your Child and You Read More »

two boys in a grassy field throwing toy airplanes. Feature image for the article titled Old School Parenting Makes Happier Kids—and Moms

Old School Parenting Makes Happier Kids—and Moms

Recently, our neighbor across the street recounted a conversation he had with a friend about our four boys. At first, my eyes got wide imagining what he said as images of my naked 4-year-old on a skateboard speeding down our driveway last week flashed through my mind. He quickly put me out of my angst, however, by sharing with me that he tells people it’s like 1969 at our house. I laughed in relief but then said, “Wait, what do you mean?” He smiled and responded, “Your boys are always outside, always laughing and dirty and don’t even know what a video game is! I love it! Reminds me of my childhood.” Such kind words. I wish my kids didn’t know what

Old School Parenting Makes Happier Kids—and Moms Read More »

Here’s How to Help Your Kids Fight a Cold Naturally and Quickly

Here’s How to Help Your Kids Fight a Cold Naturally and Quickly

Oh no… The dreaded sneeze, sniffle, or fever has made its first appearance. Immediately your mama’s mind fills with questions: Are they getting sick? What kind of sick is it? Where did they get it? Did we expose anyone else? Are their siblings acting sick? Can I keep them from getting it? Can I avoid getting it? Do I need to cancel our upcoming plans? How long will we be quarantined? How can I help my kids fight a cold? And then, the most important question that we will cover today: What can I do to help kids fight a cold naturally and cure it quickly? I’m not a doctor, but I will say that over the course of the last seven

Here’s How to Help Your Kids Fight a Cold Naturally and Quickly Read More »

Marriage is Not a Hallmark Movie

Marriage is Not a Hallmark Movie—But it Can Be Better

Marriage is not a Hallmark movie. If you’ve been married for more than 5 minutes, you were probably like, “Duh.” But do you have single friends? Do you remember all the lofty ideas you had before you got married? Last Christmas, I went to a Hallmark movie party. Think leggings, chocolate, and Christmas Hallmark movies. It was glorious. However, I was one of the only married women there. As I watched these precious women take in the love stories, I wanted to stand up in front of the screen and say, “It’s not like this! It’s really hard! There’s a reason God made it a covenant because, at some point, you will probably want out!” This seemed a little heavy for the

Marriage is Not a Hallmark Movie—But it Can Be Better Read More »

How to Flip the Script on Your Infertility Journey

Busyness: Is It Really Your Badge of Honor?

As much as I look forward to the autumn season after a laid-back summer, I often find myself totally overwhelmed and burned out by October. This year, I really felt God preparing my heart for a different approach. Specifically, He was emphasizing that the peace of our home is often up to me as a wife and mother. Every family member plays a role in the overall atmosphere, but I’ve noticed that my mood can literally dictate the ambiance of our sanctuary. Things that can assault your peaceful environment can sneak in. Our culture promotes busyness like it’s a badge of honor, something to be proud of—and if you aren’t signed up for a hundred different things then there is something wrong

Busyness: Is It Really Your Badge of Honor? Read More »

Start Reaching Your Goals in Just 15 Minutes

Start Reaching Your Goals in Just 15 Minutes

Anyone else out there overwhelmed? Or exhausted? How are those goals coming? Oh, you’re not 20 pounds lighter or speaking Mandarin fluently? Yeah, me neither. Most days I wake up and my to-do list comes at me like a tidal wave. Pray more, exercise more, drink more water, eat more vegetables, and stop eating anything fun. Serve more. Make more. Save more. Be Superwife. Be Supermom. Be Super Business Woman. Be superhuman. The only problem with all of this is that we are human. We have limits. Most days my limitations frustrate me to no end. There just aren’t enough hours in the day (or coffee in the pot) to achieve everything. To make matters worse, we get a panoramic view of all

Start Reaching Your Goals in Just 15 Minutes Read More »

How a Woman of Grit and Grace Wears Her Faith

How a Woman of Grit and Grace Wears Her Faith

Have you ever noticed how many analogies there are in the Bible about plants or farming? Quite a few, but being the black thumb that I am (think seven dead basil plants since the beginning of the year), I really appreciate the clothing metaphor in Colossians 3. It literally starts in verse 12 with “clothe yourself.” Oh yeah, this is something I can get behind, Paul. Please continue. Right after “clothe yourself,” he gives you the most fascinating list of things to “put on.” While looking at this list, I thought of how transformed our relationships would become if we took these words to heart and apply them to our faith: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves,

How a Woman of Grit and Grace Wears Her Faith Read More »

Energy-Vampires-What-Are-They-and-How-Can-I-Stop-Their-Control-Over-My-Life

Energy Vampires: What Are They and How Can I Stop Their Control Over My Life?

“Energy vampires.” Are you feeling a bit tired as of late? Maybe apathetic, hopeless, or fearful? This odd little phrase has really changed how I look at things in my life and especially how I prioritize. We only have so many hours in a day. We are finite human beings with real physical limitations. We only have so much energy (physically and mentally). We like to think we are super heroes. Our culture celebrates being able to “do it all.” But the reality is, that’s a lie. If we try to do it all, we run out of steam for the most important relationships in our life, and you can bet with certainty that we have a real enemy who wants to

Energy Vampires: What Are They and How Can I Stop Their Control Over My Life? Read More »

how to get your hormone health in check

How to Get Your Hormone Health in Check

Let me start by saying I am not an expert in balanced hormones. I am, however, a black belt level expert in unbalanced hormones. Everything I’m about to share with you quite literally comes from my own experience and the things that helped me out of my hormone hole, so I hope there is something here that can help you, too. So. The “H” word. What’s the big deal? What do hormones affect? In short, everything. In fact, your hormones and gut health can have a bigger effect on your health than anything else, even if your diet is sparkling clean. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, and if they are off, your quality of life can be greatly affected (not to mention

How to Get Your Hormone Health in Check Read More »

How We Get Postpartum Wrong in America

How We Get Postpartum Wrong in America

Postpartum care in the United States has become like the obligatory vegetable platter set out at parties: we know it should be there to balance out dips and desserts but no one’s really digging into it. Postpartum is much the same way. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves and the random carrot stick we put on our plate to appease our consciences is the equivalent to our 6 week visit that does very little except to give us the OK on having sex again. Just like we need more vegetables on our plates, we need more postpartum care than what is offered to us. Certified pregnancy and postpartum athleticism coach Jordan Baesler says, “Pregnancy is temporary but postpartum is forever.” There

How We Get Postpartum Wrong in America Read More »

Her Passive-Aggression Will Make You Laugh, and Think

Her Passive-Aggression Will Make You Laugh, and Think

Hi. I’m a former passive-aggressor. Nice to meet you. In case you don’t know what that means: “Passive-aggressive behavior is characterized by a pattern of passive hostility and an avoidance of direct communication.” Inaction where some action is socially customary is a typical passive-aggressive strategy, like showing up late for functions, staying silent when a response is expected, etc. (Read more about that here.) For me, this has looked like silence when someone has hurt me, or complete avoidance until enough time has gone by that I can safely interact without fear of conflict. Conflict is something that can make my heart race just thinking about it. I can’t even watch reality TV without sweating and having to take breaks before eventually

Her Passive-Aggression Will Make You Laugh, and Think Read More »

10 Simple Tips for This New World of Homeschooling

10 Simple Tips for This New World of Homeschooling

Anyone new to homeschooling out there? Too soon to joke? This has probably been a pretty stressful few weeks for you getting thrown into the deep end like this. I’m hopefully here to help but not as an expert; otherwise my Grit and Grace title of “Hippie in Heels” would have to be replaced with “Hypocrite in Heels.” I’ve been homeschooling for four years but many days I feel like I fall short. So, if that’s you right now, just know you’re not alone! Even the ones who were already doing this pre-social distancing feel that way at times. I’m going to give you the same pep talk that I give to myself when I’m so overwhelmed I feel like hiding in

10 Simple Tips for This New World of Homeschooling Read More »

Scroll to Top