My Family

Christmas in America

I always find it interesting coming back to America around Christmas time. Living in other places where Christmas isn't as widely celebrated makes this season a joy to come back to (although it's also a surprise in a lot of ways because we're not used to it anymore). I love taking part in traditions and festivities--putting up Christmas trees, making cookies, going to parties, etc. It's one of my favorite times of the year, celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends. 

Speaking of traditions, when I married my husband I was introduced to caramel chocolate covered pretzels by Joshua's grandmother. They are delicious (read: addictive!) and she makes them every year for her grandsons.

2017.12.06 - Gram & Ash - for blog 01.jpg
2017.12.06 - Gram & Ash - for blog 02.jpg
Gram's Caramel, Chocolate Covered Pretzels | 2015

Gram's Caramel, Chocolate Covered Pretzels | 2015

We've had some great laughs while making these, so it's always enjoyable doing this with her (and they're fun eating afterwards ;). So far, we've already helped my family and Joshua's grandmother put up Christmas trees in their houses and everything looks so festive. This surprise return back to the States has been fun and we are trying to enjoy it while we're here.

What's your favorite holiday and what are your favorite traditions? Would love to hear how you celebrate!

-Ashley

Life Can Be Hard

Life can be really hard sometimes, throwing curve balls at you when you least expect it and it really knocks you down. I can honestly say that I feel quite knocked down--I just didn't see this one coming. 

Thanksgiving 2015 - Joshua's grandparents

Thanksgiving 2015 - Joshua's grandparents

We lost a very special person last night, Joshua's grandfather, whom we call "Papa". I met him a long time ago, when I was 13 I think, and he's been an important person in my life ever since. For Joshua, he was like his dad. With both of his parents passing away, his grandparents took him in and made sure he was taken care of through college. Even before that, they were the rock in his life from his childhood, one of the most stable relationships he had. For myself, I've actually considered Joshua's grandparents to be my grandparents as well. Since I didn't have a second set growing up, they naturally just filled in that spot, caring for me, loving me, and accepting me right away. I have always been able to count of them.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

As I reflect on him and all the moments I shared with him, my heart is really full (and also very sad). He was such a good man. He deeply cared for people and loved to joke around. Playing Phase 10 with him was always interesting, especially as he would say, "I'm just speculating" as he'd pull a card from the discard pile. He absolutely loved flea markets and garage sales, and when we were with him he'd show us every treasure he found for a quarter, beaming from ear to ear that he found such a great deal. The stories he shared from his past were also so interesting and I wish I would have asked more about it now.

Going to bed last night, I realized that he was only 51 years older than me--and that was startling. Our lives are so short, folks. We don't live very long in the grand scheme of things. I thought how important it is to live our lives to the fullest and do what God calls us to do. In the Bible it speaks so much about how fleeting our lives are--just a breath of air and we're done. When things like this happen it's sobering. Death doesn't discriminate or care--it is guaranteed that everyone who is living will experience it no matter how much we avoid the subject. This makes me consider and look deeply at my life. Am I headed in the right direction? Is there more I should be doing with my life? Do the things I care about now really matter? 

Thankfully, as a follower of Jesus I believe that Papa is with Jesus right now and I'm incredibly grateful for that. I have a peace that is so firm that it couldn't be removed even amidst grief. 

Since all of this has happened, we decided that we are coming back to the States for a short time. Obviously, this wasn't planned, but we feel it's necessary for us to return to be with our family. If you're in the Houston or Dallas area, let us know. We'd love to see you and connect. if possible

And lastly, please pray for Joshua's grandmother, his family, and us. This is going to be a hard couple of months.

-Ashley

Happy 80th Birthday, Papa!

I think this is one of the best surprise birthday party's I've ever gone to. Joshua's grandfather (whom we both call "Papa"), was turning 80 years old and his grandmother wanted to throw a big surprise birthday for him. We weren't supposed to be here for this party, yet God worked it out--what a blessing!

His grandmother somehow kept this a secret from him for probably six months--maybe longer! She called family from out of state and arranged for them all to come down and be at the party. A couple of times the surprise was almost spoiled, but the party managed to be pulled off.

We all got to the party before 4PM to make sure we were there before Papa and Gram got there. There was a lot of preparation beforehand, although in the photo above, it looks like everyone was just standing around (there was a golf game on and everyone was mesmerized).

Joshua's uncle (picture above) arrived at 9:30AM to smoke all the meat and prep for the big shindig. There was ribs, chicken legs, and sausage--yum!

While waiting for Joshua's grandparents to arrive, we snagged a quick picture of ourselves. :) I rarely am in a photo. Truth be told, I don't like having my picture taken. Ironic, isn't it?

When Joshua's grandparents arrived, Papa believed it was a party with his cruise friends. As he walked into the gate, he began to see faces of not only his cruise buddies, but friends from old. At this point, however, he had no idea that his family from out of state was there. 

Slowly, one-by-one, each family member came out of the house and it was overwhelming for everyone on the porch. Tears freely flowed, hugs abounded, and laughter was in the air. It was such a treasured moment.

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I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. 

Papa kept saying, "This is unreal! I can't believe this is happening!" as he wiped away his tears and laughed with joy. 

Happy 80th Birthday, Papa! We love you dearly and are so happy to have you in our lives. 

-Ashley

Meet Joshua | Portrait Project

All of you who know me, should have known this post would eventually come. Today is my husband's birthday, so I thought it would be fitting to brag about him online via my portrait project. :) Two birds with one stone! 

I have known my husband now for 16 years and we've been married 9 of those. Joshua is the kind of guy that you never know what will come out of his mouth because he's always curiously thinking about something. He is full of joy and will often express that in laughter, hugs, or fun nicknames that he gives people. If you don't have a nickname yet, ask him and I'm sure he'll quickly generate one for you. :) He deeply loves the Lord and desires passionately to pursue and follow Him, regardless of how it looks. I love his rebellious nature (which sometimes gets him in trouble!) as it forces me to look at life differently and be a little rebellious myself (in appropriate ways, of course!). :)

He has brought so much joy to my life. I couldn't begin to express the deep love that I have for him and I'm so thankful that God gave me a friend that loves me back just as deeply, despite all my flaws and issues.

Happy 31st Birthday Joshua! I love you much!

-Ashley (aka your wifey, bivi, beloved, etc. etc. etc. I probably get a nickname a day!)

Me + Camera + Sunsets = Happiness!

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-1000  |  Dow Park, Deer Park, TX USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-1000  |  Dow Park, Deer Park, TX USA

ashleytruckey:   I'm loving the time I'm having with my nephew. What a blessing to be here. I'll be sad when we leave, but for now I'm so grateful. #thankful #babylove #cutiepie #blessed #socute #myheartissmitten

ashleytruckey: I'm loving the time I'm having with my nephew. What a blessing to be here. I'll be sad when we leave, but for now I'm so grateful. #thankful #babylove #cutiepie #blessed #socute #myheartissmitten

I love pictures that involve the sun rising or setting--it just never gets old. After I finished taking pictures of my sister with her baby bump, we were leaving the park and this just caught my attention. How could it not?! I just love the colors the sun makes on water as it sets. It's beautiful!

Since this photo, my sister's son has arrived and we are more than thrilled. Every time I'm around my nephew I snuggle with him. He's just too precious. I have always been afraid of infants, but with him I just can't get enough! I keep holding him every chance I get! I'm hoping to take some photos of him this week and I'll post those when I do. 

Have a happy Monday!

-Ashley

Meet Allison | Weekly Portrait Project

You've already met my sister, if you've seen her recent maternity portrait that I did (you can see those pictures here), but I decided that I'd like for her to be apart of my portrait project. 

Anyone who has had a younger sister knows how annoying they can be (love ya sis!), but at the same time, how wonderful it is to have them around. I think my older sister would agree with me when I say that I'm thankful that God gave me a younger sister and it was her. Allison can be a little "blonde" sometimes (she'll admit it!), but she has a caring heart and a beautiful smile. 

Allison always told me that she wanted to be a mommy. For as long as I can remember, she has wanted children that she could love on and care for. And now, she's only five weeks out from having a baby boy. I think she's going to make a great Mom!

Another one of Allison's dreams is to become a deaf education teacher. I never would have forseen this when we were younger, as Allison isn't deaf, but she has a passion for caring for those who are. She is also extremely talented with American Sign Language (ASL) and has a knack for picking up how to sign. I am excited to see how that pans out for her future.

I love you Ali-bah-bah and am thankful that you're in my life. I'm excited to see what the future holds for you.

-Ashley

By the way, I'm in the DFW area! If you'd like your picture taken for my portrait project, leave me a note below in the comment section and we'll do it! Excited to share your story.

Nathan & Allison | Maternity Portrait

This shoot was fun! I haven't done a maternity portrait in years, actually, and I had such a fun photographing these two. Meet my younger sister, Allison, who is due April 14th with her first son, Zachary. I can't wait to meet him!

It was very hard for me to choose these photos, so I'm sharing a lot today. :) ENJOY!

My Mom was the "Prop Queen" at this shoot. She kept handing us things to photograph with Allison's tummy. It made this shoot so interesting and fun though--so good job Mom! Thanks!

Allison really likes to smile and laugh. It was fun photographing that quality of hers. :)

I really like Nathan. He has a kind heart that cares deeply. That's one of the first things I saw when I met him the first time. Allison has a keeper!

Love the lines in this above picture! And the lens glare! The sun was so beautiful that day!

I just LOVE the colors in the above photo! 

Congrats Nathan and Allison! Love you both a ton!

-Ashley

9th Anniversary!

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

Today marks 9 years we've been married! I can't believe that we've been married that long! I feel so blessed to marry a man as wonderful as Joshua. :) We met 16 years ago and have been inseparable ever since. We're best friends who do everything together and I can't imagine my life without him! 

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

Photo credit: 4 Sale by Photo (this photo was not taken by me)

It was fun looking at all these pictures from our wedding. It's amazing how much we've changed since then. The picture below was taken in January.

I'm excited for another 50 years with him! :)

-Ashley