Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dear Internet Friends


When I started blogging I was super careful and cautious. Not with my words because I'm usually always sassy but with my identity. I didnt say where we were, what our names were, or show any pictures. Eventually, I started a twitter page with a fake name and a cartoon avatar as my image. I started connecting with other women who were like me and started connecting with other bloggers. I got pregnant with my first and people online were genuinely excited for me. I had her and I just wanted to share my joy with everyone, so I shared parts of newborn pictures without her face in it. The internet had started to feel safe.

Eventually, my hubby and I decided it was safe to show my face around these parts and it was all very anticlimactic. I started #TheGirlBehindTheBlog and started to really get to know women online. I still didnt share my daughter's name but I shared her picture. Eventually, I went to an event that shall not be named and spent the weekend with bloggers in real life. I met some really awesome women, one of whom is still a close friend up until this day. The internet felt a little safer.

I heard about The Influence Conference and just loved the heart behind it. I went to the first year and met AMAZING women. I even told some of them my daughter's name. Later, I got pregnant with my second child. I was offered a position on The Influence Network team. I got super close with these women (they are the real deal) and had actual real life friendships with them. A month before last year's conference we finally decided it would be ok to share the girl's names on here. The internet felt even safer.

It felt so safe, in fact, that my husband came with me to the conference. He saw with his own two eyes what I had known all along. THE INTERNET IS REAL. God is using The Influence Network to encourage women and spread the Good News and we got to tangibly touch it. The internet felt safer, and more than that, it felt good.

And it is. It is so so good. 

But this week happened. And for many the internet felt empowering and like an awesome tool to reach out to others but for me? For my family? It started to feel unsafe again. I feel like I spend my time in this really beautiful online community and it has made me feel super safe and secure because I know it is real and I know that is what God had called me to. And to be honest y'all, I forget. I forget about what else is out there, about how some people really feel and how it can directly effect my family, due to our unique situation. 

So I need to be safe again, for my family.. for my kids.. for my husband. Y'all, this decision has come through a lot of prayer and a lot of tears but I know that this is what God is calling me to right now. I don't super know what all of it will look like. I know I will definitely be shutting this site down (so if there are any recipes you want to save, do it now!). I will also be shutting down my twitter and have already shut down my facebook page. I am already in the process of making my instagram super private by removing followers, which let me tell you, is heart breaking with every single person.

I will still be at Influence Conference this year and this non-hugger will be handing out hugs instead of just awkwardly standing close to people. I promise its going to be SO awesome and I will again be SO awkward funny on stage. I'll just be attending the life track instead of the strategy track. My team has been so supportive and if y'all are looking for some women who will stand behind you, like when things get REAL, these women of the Influence Network are them. 

This week, I am looking at all of your faces and feeling simultaneously blessed by all your friendship and support over the last few years and really really sad. I have had so many real and deep conversations online. I have grieved your losses and praised with you in your gains. We have laughed, and disagreed, and prayed for each other. I have made real and deep and true friendships. I have loved y'all and have felt loved by you. And I am so grateful.

This feels like that thing when high school is over and you love the people but you know you have to move on and you're not exactly sure what that looks like for everyone and you laugh and you cry and you write "keep in touch" because it feels better than saying "I'm sure but I'm scared and I care about you but I don't know what our relationship will look like in the future."

So, dear friends of the internet. Thank you and I love you. 

KIT xoxo Ashley

18 comments:

  1. You are loved, my friend. Your blog will be missed, but I'm thankful to know you and your sweet heart.

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  2. What happened? Did I miss something?!

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  3. So sad to read this! Yours is one of my favorite blogs.

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  4. I am sad because I love your sass and I loved that I met you at that one, uhhh, conference. ha! I am sorry that it got unsafe again but I'm glad that you are doing what is best for your family and for you. You are a gem of a lady and God does beautiful work through you. xoxo

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  5. As a long time twitter and blog follower of yours I am sad to see you go but I get why you are doing it. I've begun the process of deleting photos and unlinking all my accts, changing names to try and be safer, one day hopefully I can get the courage to completely leave social media! Wishing you nothing but the best and hopefully one day in the future we can reconnect until then stay safe sister.

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  6. Hugs friend. I know you are doing the right decision for your family. It's a sad world that we as cop families have to be scared about these things. We will all miss you!

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  7. Gosh I'm gonna miss your sass. I'm so grateful for you Ash! Over the past few years I've seen you lead the way in honesty and in obedience, even when it's been hard. I LOVE that about you and I learn from you.

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  8. I miss what happened, but I've felt myself get lax in using names & posting pics. I recently made my IG public. You've got me nervous. I hope all is well.

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  9. I better save that amazing chicken n dumplings recipe then :) You are a gem lady!

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  10. Oh, Ashley! I am so sad to see you go, but I totally understand. It must have been a tough decision, but I know you must do what is best for your family. The blogging world will miss you! I will miss you! May God bless you and your family as you move on from this. Thank you for your years you have given us. Xoxo, Annie

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  11. Wow. I'm sad, but understand. Decision like that are hard, and I'm sure it's hard for you. Hopefully I'll get to meet you at the Influence Conference one of these years (unfortunately not this one). Thanks for being such a godly example of how to live online and in real life well. <3

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  12. I've read your blog for a little while now & want to thank you for sharing your life with all of us. Thank you for your thoughts on faith & family & life in general. It's inspiring to hear the stories of women of faith who are out there in the world. Good Luck to you and your beautiful family!

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  13. I was just contemplating starting my blog... you have/had inspired me to put myself out there... however with your recent post above I think I will take a step back and pray and seek more counsel before I proceed. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. I hope to see you at the Influence Conference...

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    1. Amanda, I don't want this to deter anyone from starting a blog! I think the internet is so great. This is strictly based on my husband's job which makes this a unique situation. Please start one! Connect with me at Influence and we will talk more!

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  14. I feel silly asking, but I have no idea what happened on the internet front recently> I am a blogger, and planning to attend the conference, and I can't seem to figure out what you are referring to. Do you mind filling me/us in? Thank you so much, and looking forward to seeing all of you at the Conference. ;)

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  15. Oh Ashley. I will miss you. Honestly I never thought you were too crazy about me, but that's ok :) As you know your girl behind the blog gave me an open door where I felt none when I start blogging. So thank you for that. I will miss seeing you around and I pray God's best for you and your family. I definitely understand where you are coming from and safety and family has been on my mind lots lately. Love ya friend!

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  16. How sad! I literally just discovered your blog tonight and am quickly reading as much as I can. I certainly understand privacy issues when it comes to your job, etc. I've been blogging for 10 years in November! I just choose to be pretty open online and have only once had an issue with someone using my son's photo and then promptly taking it down when asked. Other than that, all great experiences. I've met most of my good friends through social media and even my husband! :)

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  17. I'm gonna miss you lady, but I completely understand. You gotta do what's best for you and your family. And I know where you're coming from. With this environment, our husband's jobs become a risk. Thank you for the years of friendship you've given me!

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