Ashley Johnson

Don’t be fooled by Ashley’s quiet presence. She’s an internal processor who just might overthink from time to time. When she’s not caught up in her thoughts, she’s usually writing them or enjoying the thoughts of others. She’s a wife, new mom, and lover of all things pretty.

Good Can Come When You Live in the Shadow

Good Can Come When You Live in the Shadow

I have a confession to make. This article began from a place of pride and pain. Feelings of insignificance, hurt, and loneliness fueled the first two drafts. I even thought it was complete, tied up in a “pretty” bow of words that claimed a moral to the story. It was for the overlooked woman. The lonely woman. The forgotten woman. (Total honesty, I think I was just in a bad mood.) Just hold your head up high, friend. Press on in the strength you’ve developed. Remember your worth, I said. But I knew my heart was in a bad place when I hit the “submit” button. Even now, I’m internally shaking my head at myself in disappointment for my lack of self-control. […]

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You Are Loved More Than You Know

You Are Loved More Than You Know

My husband asked me recently if there’s anything I’ve learned since being pregnant for the first time. Thinking of my chronic morning sickness and food aversions, I said, “Yeah, I’ve learned that being a parent starts from the moment you find out you’re pregnant. I’m already sacrificing for this child, and he’s not even breathing yet!” Later on, I was driving by myself, thinking, and praying. I was pondering the question my husband asked and considering my answer again. I realized something: Jesus sacrificed so much more for me—before I was even born—so that I could truly live. You see, He came to earth and lived a perfect life, never sinning once. Jesus was able to do so because He was both

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5 Quotes That Will Encourage You, Working (Super) Mom

5 Quotes That Will Encourage You, Working (Super) Mom

Working moms do it all—but it’s hard! The struggle to find work and life balance is real, but in the end, what really matters is that you tried your best. At least, that’s what I’ve been told from the women who’ve seen it through. One thing I know that all of us working moms could use is a little encouragement. Just a quick note that says, “Hey, I see you. I see all of the obstacles you overcome every day. It’s not always flawless, but you put your heart and soul into it. You are a strong woman, and you’re a good mom.” So, working mom, these 5 quotes are for you: “I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You

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A Therapist's Advice on How to Handle Conflict

A Therapist’s Advice on How to Handle Conflict

Have you ever felt like you were treated unfairly? Perhaps you’ve worked hard on a project, but someone else on your team got the credit. Or, maybe you know you have the gifts and talents to excel in a certain role, but you’ve been overlooked and undervalued. Is there someone you’re close to who continually does something (or doesn’t do something) that makes you so irritated you tell them off in your head every time you think about the situation? Been there. Haven’t we all? Regardless of the circumstances, we all find ourselves interacting with other human beings—and human beings are flawed (including you). So, we’ll rub each other the wrong way, say or do hurtful things, and frustrate the heck out

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The Grit and Grace Project Is Three Years Old!

The Grit and Grace Project Is Three Years Old!

The Grit and Grace Project is celebrating its third birthday, and our little team is feeling quite full—full of gratitude, awe, excitement, and, of course, grit and grace. When asked what she’s gained from her time at The Grit and Grace Project, here’s what our staff members shared: Julie Graham, Co-Host of This Grit and Grace Life Podcast and Social Media and Brand Manager It’s a good thing our editor asked me to write about what being a part of The Grit and Grace Project has meant to me because that’s the only way I could keep it short! Y’all know I prefer to talk! In the last three years, I have been privileged to be a part of the passion project of a woman I admire, working with other women

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7-Tips-for-Saving-on-Back-to-School-Shopping 2017

7 Tips for Saving on Back-to-School Shopping

Summer vacations are coming to an end and the school year is almost here. Now that we’ve all got that summer glow, it’s time to start the back-to-school preparations. We know that simply the thought of it can be overwhelming—especially the financial side—and we understand why. It’s expensive! In fact, an article from states that parents are spending on average about $1,000 on back-to-school supplies, “nearly the same as the average U.S. monthly mortgage payment.” Yikes! Parents, we feel for you. So, we’ve compiled 7 tips to help you keep some of your cash inside your wallet. 1. Take inventory and recycle. Go through the backpacks that have been sitting stagnant in your kids’ closets all summer. Check closets, bedrooms, and office spaces

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2 Ways to Break Free From Self Sabotage

2 Ways to Break Free From Self-Sabotage

In a podcast episode of This Grit and Grace Life, Julie and Darlene talk about ruts that women fall into. (You can listen to that episode here.) You know, those tricky little potholes we run over from time to time… Unfortunately, they often take us much longer to get out of than we’d care to admit. If you can relate and are currently stuck, I’d like you to know one thing: You’re not alone. Just because you’ve got company, though, doesn’t mean you should settle in. So, as our dear co-founder would say, “What’s a girl to do?” Let’s start by looking at two trenches women fall into… 1. The all-or-nothing mindset. It sounds good and noble to say, “I’m just an

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Don’t Let Your Failures Become Flounders

I’m a long-time flounderer. In fact, floundering has marked almost every area of my life at some point or another. You know why? Because I’m also a dweller. Yep, I dwell on my mistakes. I dwell on my failures. I dwell on my imperfections and misspoken words. I dwell on the ways that I don’t measure up, the boats I’ve missed, the shoulda, coulda, wouldas… But guess where that has gotten me? Nowhere. Hence, the floundering. Then, in the midst of my floundering, I look at my friends and my co-workers and I see hard-working, top-quality, nose-to-the-grindstone winners and producers. When I do this, I start to feel a little more, well, flounder-y, and then I’m just plain stuck. Next, my husband

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All of the Ridiculous Thoughts of Millennial Moms

Millennials… We get a bad rap, but let’s be real—we are subject to a whole lot of pressure and criticism…especially as moms. Here are just a few of the oh-so many thoughts Millennial moms are sorting out: I have got to get this nursery done before our baby arrives! Obviously not for its functionality because we’ll be using the bassinet in our room at first, but for the newborn lifestyle photos. Today was such a fun day with my kids. I think I could be content doing this all day every day without the pressure of a job. But would I be living up to my fullest potential if I were “just” a mom? I certainly wouldn’t be utilizing the college degree I’m still paying off… I can’t feed

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For the Woman Who Wants to Be Strong

I would have never considered myself a strong woman seven years ago. In fact, I wasn’t a strong woman seven years ago. I was weak, wishy-washy, and wandering aimlessly. But then I was thrown into the fire. At 21 years old I lost practically all of my hair to Alopecia Areata. I never dealt with this condition as a child, so it really came out of nowhere. Going bald as a 21-year-old girl felt like living a nightmare, but it’s one of those life-changing experiences that helped shape me into a woman. It made me a better woman. A better person. And I can truly say that I would never wish those difficult years away…for although they were filled with grief, they were

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7 Things You May Not Know About "This Is Us"

7 Things You May Not Know About “This Is Us”

Hurry! The clock is ticking and you need to binge watch the first season of This Is Us before the show returns on September 26! In case you’ve somehow missed NBC’s top-rated dramedy, let me give you a quick premise of what it’s about: “This is real. This is love. This is life. This Is Us.” Yes, it’s that simple. It’s about life—real life—with messy people who do their best to love one another and find their way on this crazy, twisting road. And it’s that simple yet intricate storyline that has made Dan Fogelman’s creation capture the hearts and attention of both viewers and critics alike (winning two Emmy Awards this year). The plot follows five individuals who all come together in a much bigger way.

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Living With Grit and Grace in the Eye of a Hurricane

My husband and I shoved as many of our valuables as we could into our compact car after the majority of the space was claimed by our 2-month-old baby, year-old Goldendoodle, and an essentials bag for each of us. It was a split-second decision, but as the eye of Irma drew nearer our confidence buckled. We were afraid to face her toe-to-toe. We evacuated. We were planning to stay. We had taken necessary precautions. Water: check. Non-perishable foods: check. All of our laundry was washed. Baby bottles were sanitized. We were going to stay in a structure built to withstand a category 5 beat down, so we felt confident in our safety. Until we didn’t. The hurricane analyzer’s spaghetti lines started to move,

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How to Read Your Bible: For Beginners

On the day that America celebrates freedom, I was handcuffed with the diagnosis of Alopecia Areata (a stress-induced autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss). You’d think that finding two bald spots the size of baseballs on my scalp would be troubling enough, but it was actually the list of “mights” streaming from the doctor’s mouth that created my ocean of fear: “You might only have these two spots and nothing more. You might develop more spots. You might lose all of your hair… and your eyebrows, eyelashes, and all of your body hair. This might be for a season of life; it might be forever—or it might come and go throughout your life. Really the only predictable thing about Alopecia is that

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You’re a Piece of Work, but There’s Grace for You

My friend invited me to read a book about gospel-centered parenting with her, and I agreed, which is funny because I’m not actually parenting yet. I’m pregnant for the first time, so I felt a little silly when I picked up the book—but I like this friend and was excited for the chance to spend more time with her. As it turns out, I needed this book—right here, right now. Not because I needed tips on how to parent my rounded belly, but because I needed to read about the kind of Father God is to me. With every chapter I read, my sense of awe and gratitude has grown because I’m seeing God in new ways—specifically as the perfect parent He

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Losing My Hair Made Me Beautiful

Every so often, I look at all of my thick, long hair and I’m overwhelmed… There was a season of life when I lost it all to Alopecia Areata, and I had accepted that I might never have my own hair on my head again. Through it all, I learned two very important lessons: 1. How to take a hard blow and then muster up the grit to keep pushing forward and 2. Recognize that the only way I can do so is by the grace of God. When I began to lose my hair, I began to feel a bit less… human. I felt weird, ugly, and certainly not whole. But God corrected me; He showed me that I am beautiful simply because I am His creation, and more importantly

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Can You Start A Career Later In Life, Absolutely

A Stay at Home Mom Shares How She Started a Career Later in Life

Depending on whom you ask, being a stay at home mom can be: fulfilling, exhausting, joyful, mundane, and so on and so forth. Often times, it’s a mixture of all of that wrapped into one—or several—little bodies. Tack on the fact that every woman is different, with her own unique circumstances and feelings, and you’ll find a variety of perspectives. However, I will be so bold to say that many SAHM’s can feel a bit lost from time to time … like a piece of their identity is buried under the dishes, diapers, and discipline. Perhaps that’s where you find yourself today. If so, this story is for you. It’s a story about a woman who has lived through many seasons of life—one of them being a SAHM. Though

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Sweat and Sacrifices… Earning the Title of “Olympian”

Sweat and Sacrifices… Earning the Title of “Olympian”

The 2016 Olympics have entranced us all. There’s simply nothing quite like watching the best athletes in the world compete against one another and shine. Talk about grit! We had a special opportunity to chat with Holly Herbers, little sister to U.S. Olympian beach volleyball player, Brooke Sweat. We asked her to share a bit about the journey that has led their whole family to Rio, as one of their very own has earned this most special honor… As I sat in the Miami airport, eager to begin our trek to Rio, I couldn’t help but think of the journey my sister has been on. She is one of the strongest, bravest, most loving, and selfless people I know. She has sacrificed so much over the last

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