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.”

fight for your struggling marriage

The Warrior Wives Club: How to Fight for Your Marriage

Once upon a time, three years and many prayers ago, I started a little group for women who wanted to pray for their marriages. Every month we would get together in person, but every Monday, I sent out an encouraging email on marriage. There were only three rules: 1. What happens in Warrior Wives Club stays in Warrior Wives Club. 2. No husband bashing. Although transparency is encouraged, you want to speak about your husband the way you would want him to speak about you. 3. Commit to praying not only for your spouse but the other marriages in the group. Prayer Works The group grew over time to dozens of women in 11 states and three countries. Prayer works (#obvi) and […]

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Namastay Calm and Carry On—Accepting God’s Love for Me

Namastay Calm and Carry On—Accepting God’s Love for Me

A few weeks ago, I was in a power hot yoga class when the long and lean gal next to me caught my eye. Instead of focusing on my side plank with a tree variation, I ended up going down the rabbit hole of self-loathing (and falling out of my pose!). Three months postpartum, my body is a bit, well, squishy. And let’s face it, postpartum or not, being five feet and almost one inch tall, I’ve never been particularly long! I felt a conviction in my spirit, and immediately the thought filled my head: “You aren’t loving her if you’re judging her.” “But Lord!” I argued, “I’m not judging her! I’m admiring her!” “No, you’re not,” He answered. “And for that matter,

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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.

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When-in-Sickness-and-in-Health-Really-Matters

When “in Sickness and in Health” Really Matters

Remember those beautiful vows we make before God, our spouse, and our family on our wedding day? “I take you to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God, I make this vow.” A few months ago, I got a new perspective on the vows “in sickness and in health.” I meant those words with all my heart and truth be told; I always thought I would be a great wife in that situation. I really love to serve others, and although I hoped with

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You-Can-Start-an-Exercise-Habit,-Here's-How-to-Do-It

You Can Start an Exercise Habit, Here’s How to Do It

Ah! The New Year is approaching. The Christmas cookies are showing up as dimpled marks on our thighs, and we pacify ourselves with the all too familiar, “When January comes around…” What is your game plan this year? Do you need one? Today is your lucky day. But let’s back up a bit to dispel a few myths so we start out with the right mindset. Find Your Why We all know exercise is good for us, but I think one of the reasons we don’t do it is that we are doing it for the wrong reason: weight loss. Did you know that’s not even one of the primary benefits? In fact, in regards to diet and exercise, diet is about

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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

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Her Story Will Make You Cry, But Help You Find Hope

Her Story Will Make You Cry, But Help You Find Hope

Sometimes I think about how amazing it would be if we could know just a little bit about what the future holds. But, if you had told me 10 years ago about everything that would come my way, I probably would have curled up in the fetal position and opted out. (If you missed my full story, start here.) We have such definite ideas about what we want and what we think will bring us happiness. Thankfully I’ve learned that God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, knows which prayers and desires to answer and which ones to veto, although sometimes I don’t understand the “why” behind it. I think that’s okay. I think sometimes you can go through something so horrible that

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My Really Different Kind of Family

My Really Different Kind of Family

My new husband, my new baby, and my son from my first marriage just got back from visiting my dead husband’s parents on our vacation. Did you get all of that? Yeah, that’s a lot to take in so let me back up a bit. Six years and two months ago, my beautiful, gregarious, hilarious husband, Spencer, literally died in my arms. He was 34 years old, seemingly healthy and in shape, and there were absolutely no warning signs. He had an enlarged heart, and we had no idea. His entire family was visiting us in Florida from Minnesota for Mother’s Day. I was five and a half months pregnant with our first child. We were staying at the Hyatt Regency hotel with his

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3 Morning Health Rituals to Try Right Now

3 Morning Health Rituals to Try Right Now

One of your liver’s jobs is to break down fat and produce energy. It also takes substances, such as estrogen and BPA, and processes them so that they can be removed from your body when you use the bathroom. When you have excess toxins and hormones in your body, which is very common in this day and age, your liver can’t keep up. This can cause your body to hold onto excess weight. So, to keep my liver clean and working properly, I have 3 steps that I follow every morning: 1. Oil Pulling. This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that aids in detoxing your mouth and body and also keeps your gums and teeth extremely healthy. Take about 1 tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil and swish

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Keto, Paleo, Vegan or Whole30? How to Pick the Best Diet For You

Keto, Paleo, Vegan or Whole30? How to Pick the Best Diet For You

Oh, the diets. Anyone else out there as confused as I am? Although I’m always on the quest to learn more about health, I have to admit, my mind is swimming with all of this information! There are a lot of trends going on right now. Ketogenic, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Blood Type, Alkaline, Whole30, Gluten-Free…holy hemp seeds! I feel like ordering a pizza just looking at that list. Unfortunately, I think that’s what many of us resort to because the alternative seems too overwhelming. One diet tells us to focus on protein. Another claims that animal protein causes inflammation and tells us to stick to produce and whole grains. And yet another swears grains are the culprit for our inflammation. In college, when

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When-Opposites-Stop-Being-So-Attractive

When Opposites Stop Being So Attractive

My husband was moving his shop and showroom to a different location the last couple weeks. I am not quite a minimalist, but I hate clutter and I am constantly getting rid of things (sometimes before I should have!). So much so that I have been known to sneak things out of the house in the middle of the night to the garbage just so I won’t get caught for throwing away a giant stuffed penguin that no one should need. Ever. Only to be caught the next day because his stuffed head snuck its way out the top of the garbage can (traitor). Long story short, my spouse is not a minimalist. He needs #allthethings. His mindset is that someday he

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Our Story: From Pregnant Widow to Family of Four

Our Story: From Pregnant Widow to Family of Four

This is Part 3 of Ashby’s story. Be sure to catch up if you missed Part 1 or Part 2. I used to have a florally framed paper titled “Our Family Purpose” on my fridge. At the top of the paper was written “Jesus, Ashby and Trooper” and below was a list of things I wanted our lives to be about: loving and serving others, pursuing Biblical truth, being generous, etc. In my mind, this was our family and I had no desire for it to grow. I felt like I had won the lottery with my late husband, Spencer, and I knew I would see him again in heaven. So in the meantime I was focusing on my son, Trooper, and whatever ministry opportunities

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how-to-pray-for-beginners

How to Pray: For Beginners

If you are anything like me, you have probably felt intimidated by prayer at some point in your life. Am I doing it right? Wow, they really say beautiful prayers and mine aren’t like that! Did it work? Did He hear me? Should I be kneeling? Does it count if I say it in my mind? Is there a way to pray where God definitely answers? For prayer 101, let’s go directly to the Source to get these answers. Jesus addresses our questions by telling us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13: “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give

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Can I Be a Hippie in Heels? Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle

Can I Be a Hippie in Heels? Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle

In my family’s eyes, I am their resident hippie. However, in my eyes, I don’t even scratch the surface of what this could entail; my dabbling in probiotics and essential oils hardly makes me a hippie. I have friends who grind their own wheat for crying out loud! But after the birth of my first son, I admittedly took off my stilettos and dipped my toes into the cool and fascinating pool of holistic living, and I’ve been wading in deeper and deeper ever since. Short of an extreme health crisis, I’m not sure anyone jumps into the deep end all at once and so my hope is to encourage those who are making small steps towards holistic health to continue to do

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From Pregnant Widow to Single Mom

From Pregnant Widow to Single Mom

This is part two of Ashby’s story. Read Part 1 here! Shortly after Spencer’s death, I drove out to Immokalee to the place where we used to live. Standing on the grassy bank of Lake Trafford where our Airstream once gleamed in the sunlight, I stared at the water with my hands on my swollen, pregnant belly genuinely not knowing what to do next. This empty space made my loss even more real. Every fiber of my being ached to go back and climb into our cozy home with my husband again, but this empty space was a very visual reminder that he was no longer here and there was not a home to come back to. In the Heartbreak and Confusion, What’s

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Should I Homeschool? How I Made That Difficult Decision

Should I Homeschool? How I Made That Difficult Decision

I had the privilege of being both homeschooled and going to public school throughout grammar and high school. There were things I liked about both so this is not a post that in any way endorses one over the other. I truly believe every family has different needs and callings on their lives. As my oldest son, Trooper, approached kindergarten this year, I wrestled with what to do in regards to his education. We can’t afford a private school so that was out of the question. Also, there is a possibility we will be moving to a different county this year so I wasn’t sure sending him to school and having him change mid-year would be wise. I spoke with my husband

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