Coffee, Trader Joe’s, & Jesus

Blue and White Coffee Cup |
Blue and White Coffee Cup - v |

 Time for a Refill

Do you ever have those days or even weeks when your heart, mind, and body are just flat out exhausted?! When even making yourself a cup of coffee seems labored… Yeah, well, me too, and that’s precisely where I’ve been this week. These past few months have been surreal. A constant flurry of appointments, needles, scans, and results. It has felt like an out-of-body experience since June and the pace of it all is just starting to hit.

I am often asked how I’m making it all “work” during such a tough season. I give the same answer every time because that’s just what you do, you make it work. You keep your head up, eyes on the prize, and never quit –  it’s marathon season and I’m way past training. 

Yesterday, I woke up alone and gave a huge sigh of relief. Ryan has always been an early riser and has never, in the years we’ve been married, been able to sleep past 6:00 a.m. That’s unlike me, who can sleep till 10:30am every single day! When we started Chemotherapy Ryan began sleeping more and more because, quite frankly, he was too sick to get out of bed. So when I woke up yesterday, smelling the scent of coffee and hearing Dolly in the living room squeaking her toys, it dawned on me that he must be feeling better. In that moment giant tears welled in my eyes. 

To put it into perspective, last Saturday he didn’t get out of bed until 5:00 p.m.. So this was a very, very, good sign. 

Even though I woke up feeling like I was living in a dream, knowing that he isn’t just feeling better only to feel bad again (his final chemo was last week), I felt an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. To be honest, I haven’t given my self a lot of grace during this season. I’ve tried to manage all the things and I’m just starting to feel the effects of it all.  The lesson I’m learning is that all these feelings may just be okay – That there’s nothing wrong with feeling burned out, but it’s never a good idea to ignore it.

Ryan saw it in my eyes as soon as I woke up this morning. He knew I needed some rest – Some time out of the house, away from my computer and phone, with no doctor appointments, for just a little fun. So we got in the car and went for a drive. We ended up at a coffee shop and sipped our lattes outside, telling each other bad dad jokes and talking about how much we love Dolly and our life together.  Then we swung by Trader Joe’s for groceries before heading home to enjoy the sunset from our back porch.

There was nothing fancy about it, but it was just what I needed, a break.

It was mostly running errands, but it filled my energy tank and reminded me why the fight is worth fighting. It’s more than NORMAL to have days or weeks of pure exhaustion, self doubt, and an attitude of general “over-it-ness”. But never forget there is always a new day around the corner filled with hope. And in this season, God is more than equipped to handle the exhaustion with grace and meet us right where we are – which for me looked like a simple afternoon off with a Pumpkin Spice latte and a trip to Trader Joe’s. 

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



  1. Shari
    October 25, 2018 / 7:40 am

    Dear Ashley, let me say I never….and I mean never comment on blogs or on Instagram …..unless I know that person personally. In fact I follow very few bloggers……..but you sweet girl have touched my heart. I read every honest word you have written about your last few months, when You and Ryan were slammed with such an unexpected dose of reality……I have almost written several times, but this morning you pushed me “over the edge”. Thanks for sharing….that things are hard, that cancer is ugly, life is not always fair….. but mostly thanks for pointing out that there is also a loving God who offers us heaping helpings of GRACE, there is love and support of friends and family (your sister relationship is precious)…….and yes…..there is Trader Joe’s and coffee, also two of my favorite things. Take care of each other and that includes YOU……take care of YOU. I pray for you both….its a new season…’s called recovery! Blessings, Shari (Tampa Bay)

    • Jane H.
      October 25, 2018 / 4:38 pm


      • Ashley Brooke
        November 1, 2018 / 9:52 am


    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 9:48 am

      Shari! Thank you so much for your incredibly kind and uplifting comment, I can’t tell you HOW much it means to me/us. When I say it come through last week your words touched my heart on a day I really needed them. Thank you again for taking the time Shari! Lots of love, Ashley

  2. Michelle
    October 25, 2018 / 10:02 am

    Thank you so much for sharing! You are so encouraging and I am keeping you and Ryan in my prayers! More days like that one in your future!!

    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 9:49 am

      Thank you so much, means the absolute world. So thankful for your prayers. xo – AB

  3. Mallory M Osteen
    October 25, 2018 / 10:15 am

    I’ve been keeping up with your blog for some time, but I’ve really been paying attention since the cancer announcement and I’ve always wondered “how on EARTH is she maintaining this blog while working through this diagnosis?!” I hope you both continue to take opportunities to have time for yourselves, and maybe even a vacation! Sending lots of prayers, Mallory from SC

    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 9:50 am

      Mallory! I’m with you… I have no idea! ha! It’s like everyone says, you just make it work. Thank you for your incredibly kind message. Means the world.

  4. Patricia Haddad
    October 25, 2018 / 10:44 am

    I’m sure you have been Ryan’s strength through this battle. You deserve to be exhausted, both mentally and physically. God was there to help you maintain your strength for Ryan, he will now be there for you. Take some time to close your eyes and just breathe. Just that smell of coffee and the squeaking of Dolly’s toys was your first sign. Hold on to those because there will be plenty more (and if God hears my prayers for you and Ryan, you will have a ton more)! 🙂

    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 9:52 am

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a sweet note, it truly means the world. So thankful for your friendship. xo – AB

  5. Kimberly
    October 25, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    Hi Ashley! I became acquainted with your blog a few months ago via Carly (who I also have never met), and now you have become one of my favorite bloggers and one I check in on every day. Out of all the posts I’ve read this one really touched my heart and had me tearing up at my desk, so it seemed like a good time to come out from hiding. Thank you for blessing me today with your profound words. I have been praying for you and Ryan, and will continue to do so. I have been continually amazed at your grace, strength, and faith. I am so grateful that you were able to get recharged today. May God continue to give you days of refreshing and recharging, and continued hope and joy in the journey.

    Sending hugs and prayers from California,

    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 10:05 am

      Kimberly! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reach out, I am so glad you did and I’m so glad you are here! Your sweet comment means so much, and when it came through last week it was just what my heart needed to hear. Thank you! xoxo – Ashley Brooke

  6. Megan
    October 26, 2018 / 7:55 am

    You are a beautiful soul. Thank you for yoir honesty and gracious and loving attitude. It is a good reminder and always what I need to hear. I pray this is the beginning of a new chapter for you all.

    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 10:05 am

      Megan, thank you for your prayers and for taking the time out of your day to send such a sweet encouraging note! Means the world. xx

  7. Katie
    October 28, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    Hi Ashley! This post really touched my heart. Thank you for being so real and for glorifying the Lord through all of this.

    You have inspired me to hold my family close and to treat every moment in life as one worth counting.

    Continuing to pray for you both!

    • Ashley Brooke
      November 1, 2018 / 10:09 am

      Katie! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a sweet note, and thank you for your prayers. They mean the world to us! xo – AB

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