2018 Christmas Card h
2018 Christmas Card v

The Year in Review

Friends, we made it. The last Friday before Christmas and the last “real” work day of the year is officially here, and it’s so very sweet. 

This year has been one of the hardest years of our lives as we’ve battled cancer for the last 7 months, but when I look back on these exhausting 365 days I have nothing but affection for them. I would assume it’s much like running a marathon.  While you are doing it you hate every second, but when you sit at the finish line you’ve never been more proud of your experience. Even though we aren’t at our cancer finish line yet, closing the chapter of 2018 feels big. It feels like a race worth celebrating. 

Christmas break will look different for us than in years past.  We normally celebrate with Ryan’s family and then pack up and head to my parent’s cabin in Blue Ridge, GA through the first full week of January. This year, we will be spending that time doing a little more hospital hopping!

A few weeks ago, when we got the call that Ryan’s surgical biopsy results came back benign, we were over the moon and so were our doctors. We thought we’d instantly start radiation and knock this thing out by early January.  But apparently that’s not how it works (who knew?!). We have to wait until Ryan heals completely from his surgery before we can start radiation. In the meantime, our doctors also thought it would be prudent to get a 3rd opinion from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa before  moving ahead. With cancer, and really anything hard in life, it’s 3 steps forward 2 steps back. So we will be spending our days getting Ryan scanned, re-scanned, and then making the trip to Moffitt to receive the final word. 

Our prayer is that Moffitt is in line with everything our doctors here believe to be true and that Ryan will finally be able to start his 4 weeks of daily radiation. 

Even though our Christmas break won’t be glamorous in the traditional sense… unless you think hospital gowns may be the next hot thing in 2019 ;), we’ve never in our lives been more grateful/excited for the holiday season!

My plan was to take 2 weeks off from blogging to recharge, to mostly just piddle around the house all day… I have big plans to reorganize my pantry, ha! But every time I think about not writing here for two weeks I get kind of sad. So, my new plan is to see how it goes! I might pop in every now and again and I’ll definitely be posting on social! Either way, I’m just happy to take the pressure off for a few weeks and really soak up all the holiday goodness we can get.

Grateful for you

But before I go, I want to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind thoughts, comments, support, and just overall goodness. I truly don’t think I could be any more thankful for you. Last year we made a GIANT shift from our product business to blogging full time because we felt God nudging us to do so. We had no idea why and felt incredibly uncertain about giving something up that we worked so hard to build.  Yet, as I look back on the last year it’s readily apparent why. God knew exactly what He was doing. He was making room for us to fight cancer. We would have never discovered the cancer because, quite frankly, we were just too busy… By following those nudges, it saved Ryan’s life.

So thank you. Without you, this blog doesn’t exist.  You make it matter. We were terrified that without our products you wouldn’t be interested anymore, and you proved that theory wrong. You showed up in bigger numbers and in ways I never thought possible. Just you coming to this little spot on the internet each morning for you daily dose of ABD made our cancer fight possible. I wish I could hug every single one of you, for you have no idea how much you matter. THANK YOU for loving us so well in 2018. 

This will always be the year when miracles happened and I count you as one of them. 

We love you.

Merry Christmas, friends, and the happiest of New Years. 

xo – Ashley & Ryan 

P.S. For more you can catch up on our cancer journey here!



  1. Ashley
    December 21, 2018 / 7:59 am

    Wow! Your faith, grace, and love are overwhelmingly beautiful. Wishing you and your husband the very best. Thank you for shining your light so brightly. Your story, your strength, and your steadfast faith is an inspiration to so many.

  2. Patricia Haddad
    December 21, 2018 / 8:20 am

    I too am starting my 11 days vacation! If anyone deserves 2 weeks off it is you and Ryan. Just enjoy, relax, hug family and friends, and know that we will all be here for when you get back. Can’t start the new year without some new outfits!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 🙂

  3. Debbie Kuhlenschmidt
    December 21, 2018 / 9:28 am

    Merry Christmas Ashley and Ryan❤️Thank you for sharing your journey and your faith and trust in God. Your perspective and grace is inspirational and a gift to my soul. I wish for the two of you God’s blessings for a beautiful 2019.

  4. December 21, 2018 / 9:34 am

    Wishing you both all of the best always and may 2019 bring you much happiness and love.

  5. Lizzie Bowdridge
    December 21, 2018 / 9:57 am

    Reading this made me tear up! 2018 has been a year for you guys, and I still use and treasure my ABD products as much as I love reading your posts every day. Thank you for being so genuine, transparent, and sharing so deeply from you heart. It is inspiring to me in so many ways. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year y’all! ❤️

  6. Gladys
    December 21, 2018 / 11:14 am

    All the best and abundance of blessings to you!

  7. Mackenzie Praytor
    December 21, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Wishing your sweet, sweet family a very merry Christmas. I’ll continue praying for more good news in the coming weeks. We’re all in your corner!! xo

  8. Kathy
    December 21, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    Merry Christmas! Thank you for all you share ~ I read your blog every night after dinner when I’m winding down. Wishing you both peace, joy and good health in the new year. -Kathy

  9. Jane H.
    December 21, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Blessings to both of you in the new year! Your attitude is amazing and contagious.

  10. Wanda
    December 22, 2018 / 7:50 am

    You faith and optimism are a true blessing. Many prayers during these next steps. Merry Christmas!

  11. Lidia Oatman
    December 26, 2018 / 6:11 pm

    You two are remarkable in this fight – never give up hope for we serve a might God! Praying for 2019 – Blessings!

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