Monthly Archives: June 2014

One Year Ago – Remember When…

One year ago…

This time last year I had my entire life packed in a car and leaving everything I knew during an evacuation notice. The fires were here.

Our view last year...
Our view last year…

Today the vines are blooming, the river’s up, and the sun is hitting the cliffs just right that it’s hard to imagine the chaos, fear, and uncertainty that was very much so a reality one year ago. I’m currently unpacking and getting settled in from a recent trip and I can’t help but look at my suitcase and remember jamming it full for an all together different reason, seams splitting with no idea of what really was in it.

I am so grateful that we were spared from the flames that burned over 100,000+ acres of our forest, and looking back I am truly in amazement at the whole thing and can see His hand of protection throughout the entire experience. After eight days in evacuation filled with Red Cross meetings, national guard checkpoints, red-tape politics, and brave firefighters…not one life lost, not one structure burned. God is good.

Little Pyros
Little Pyros

I remember the faces, the fear, the angry attitudes and different perspectives at the time. I remember sitting on the porch of the house we evacuated to, with nothing to do but watch the smoke plume 17 miles away. Sit. Think. Pray. Wait. Everyone reacts to emergencies and fear differently. Soooooooo differently! Ever want to know what someone’s really like, watch them go through a stressful situation. Tough times can bring out the junk in everyone.

This year is a reason to celebrate. Things can change in an instant. So when it’s time for the parade and the summer activities, I know that because of last year, I’ll enjoy them that much more…


How To Mess With A Three-Year-Old

How to mess with a three-year-old: Put the princesses in all the wrong dresses.

I sat on the floor and watched how with one simple action–putting Belle in Cinderella’s dress–caused upheaval and confusion in the big blue eyes of the wee one with the blond curls. So without her looking, I switched them all.

Oh so wrong!
Oh so wrong!

It starts young. The need to play by the rules.  For the boxes to be drawn and the need to fit inside them. Even at a young age there is a need for organization, security, “correct beauty”, and for our world to be right. For a three-year-old, this is especially true in princess world. Belle wears yellow, Aurora pink, Cinderella blue, and Snow White…well, we all know the poofy sleeves and headband she’s famous for. We learn there is a right way for a young lady to act and look, and the not-right-way. Do not, under any circumstance, do it differently. Do not change it.

Then somewhere along the way, someone messes up our dresses. They mess with our order, our routine, and our expectations. On the one hand, it can be extremely freeing and can open up a whole new world. In this case, I managed to sell her little mind on the idea that the princesses were going to have a fashion show and needed to wear each others’ dresses. I explained that’s just what girls do, they borrow clothes and it’s okay for them to wear different dresses. They like it. I could tell that deep down she wasn’t quite sure about this new concept, but didn’t at the moment have any argument to refute my adult logic. I figured I just opened up a whole new world for her….or probably wouldn’t be invited back to the playroom any time soon.

I sat among the tea sets, ponies, and princess costumes and couldn’t help but smile. How often does God, just to mess with us, switch something up. Not to be mean, not to make us cry–but just to be playful and give us new options and help us grow in our own little world of make-believe. Something that we never even thought possible and that seems completely ridiculous is suddenly set in front of us as an option. Maybe in the same way we can either choose to roll with the new scenario and expand our world of play…or kick Him out and not invite Him back.

Either way, it still makes me smile.



Dear Diary: I quit.

Dear Diary:

I quit.

Ok, maybe I don’t quit, but I am admittedly overwhelmed. Today my head is spinning and I want it to stop. I feel like I’m in over my head on this publishing project and need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To get my mind off of all things “bookie”–ISBN’s, copyrights, front matter, back matter, acknowledgments, review submissions, Library of Congress cataloging approvals, etc–my editor told me to pick a place for the book launch. That I can do! Things are getting really close to this book dream actually happening. The second round of edits are done, rewrites are being rewritten, it’ll be in layout within weeks, and print bids are currently in process. If everything goes smoothly, the book will be sent to the printer in July, hopefully pallet shipped in August, and then we’ll officially be ready for the launch in September! Whoa.

Just in case anyone is jealous of this little endeavor, below is an excerpt of a conversation regarding ISBN numbers and the process for coding for libraries.

If I am to get a substitute for LoC CIP data, what is better, PCIP (or some equivalent) or LCCN? Help me out here, again, if you would. I heard that with LCCN, through the PCN process, one could follow-up the reception of a LCCN by submitting a copy of the published book to the Cataloguing Directorate, and they might be inclined to add the book to the LoC Catalog if it seems appropriate to do so.  - Comments to Joel Friedlander

For the moment, the book battle ends. Tonight, a date with my pillow. Tomorrow, phone calls regarding locations for a book launch.  Let the games begin!

–Signed, Ashlee Bratton