Last Friday, I turned 31.


I spent the day thanking God for blessing me with another year. Another year to smile, to laugh, to cry, to dream, and to love like never before. I'm entering this next chapter of my life with my heart set on what matters most, and aware of the strength He has given me to accomplish great things. Great things like refusing to allow fear to keep me from pressing through the weight of the last few years and write and publish my first book.

This book is so much more than words in a book; it's my heart on paper. 

Yesterday at the 5th Quarter Classic Pop-Up Brunch & Art Exhibit signing copies of Swimming In Grace.

Yesterday at the 5th Quarter Classic Pop-Up Brunch & Art Exhibit signing copies of Swimming In Grace.

Honestly, I can't believe the day finally came. I literally wanted to cry, laugh, shout it from the rooftops and hide in a corner all at once. Not because I was afraid of whether or not it would be received well. The fact that God specifically spoke to my spirit and gave me the honor to write this book has always been without contestation. However, adrenaline was running through my veins like fire the entire weekend. My first book (yes, there will be more) is making its way into the hands of women all over this country that I've been praying for since the beginning of the year. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was in the third grade, but this is the most vulnerable writing I've ever done.

One night when I was still in graduate school, I was hanging out with a a few friends and we got into a very serious conversation about the habits and vices we struggled with the most. I pulled out my poetry book while others shared stories from their past that had caused them to keep certain areas of their lives a secret, sins that were holding them in a bondage they weren't quite sure how to shake. That night, I penned my first piece about my abortion. 

I will never be able to fully describe the freedom I felt afterwards.  

At this point, I have performed that piece for hundreds of people and seen weights be lifted and hearts set free. James 5:16 reminds us of the glorious healing power of confessing our sins to those who can pray with us as we walk out this Christian life. I pray   Swimming In Grace    helps others experience the same freedom in Christ I have. The enemy has no power over us when we fully immerse ourselves in the reality of God's grace.

My prayer isn't exactly that people take my side, but moreso that hearts are healed after reading this book. I don't care if people know who I am; I simply want you to know His grace. I want everyone who lays their eyes on these pages experiences the freedom only God's grace can provide, and that they pour that energy back out into the universe. 

Seeing this book make its way across the country is one of the most gratifying feelings of my life. I've been pregnant with these words for so many years, and I've now given birth to such a huge part of my purpose. 

Whether you have had an abortion, know someone who has, currently work or have previously worked in an abortion clinic, or have simply ever felt like you were drowning in the aftermath of a series of bad decisions, I hope you will add Swimming In Grace to your reading list. 




 Ashley Danielle 


I don't have the words to accurately pour out the way my heart felt after returning from a medical mission to Gonaives, Haiti last Friday.

My plan before we left was to write every night once we returned to the hotel, then compile it all when we made it back to the states. However, each night I found myself sitting on my bed with my laptop in the empty space beside me not being able to type a single thing.

I still can't find the words to quite describe the way it felt to have a woman stand in front of me with four small children who all need antibiotics for stomach worms. My senior seminar didn't prepare me to vividly illustrate the way people smiled as I handed them the rare medications they so desperately needed, but couldn't afford or didn't have easy access to. You know, things like over-the-counter pain pills, cough syrup and allergy medicine. None of my writing courses in undergrad taught me how to paint a portrait of children playing and taking baths in a polluted river under a bridge, or decaying concrete walls in a church bathroom.

But I can invite you into one moment.  

We toured a hospital before leaving Gonaives. I'd managed to keep from crying this entire trip, then we walked into the hospital room where they cared for the malnourished children. There was only one child in there. She was so tiny that I'm not even sure how old she was. My eyes filled up with tears so fast I just had to walk away.

I thought about my own children and how I feel when they just have a simple cold, and could only imagine how her mother might feel. I remember holding my daughter to my chest in the back of an ambulance when she had RSV and could hardly breathe. I felt so helpless and just kept praying and praying. When we were being discharged the doctor told me I did the right thing by following my mother's intuition and bringing her in because she was moments from going into respiratory distress.

Then, I wondered where her mother was.

Had she been abandoned?

Did her mother have other children she couldn't leave so she couldn't stay in the hospital with her? Was she even alive?  

I will never know why God chose for me to be born in the country I was, and to experience the privileges I have. My children have never known hunger. Not only was #FelicityGrace able to get the care she needed quickly, my insurance paid for it and I didn't have to question for a second if she was getting the best care available.

The people of Gonaives don't have that.

I understand that not everyone reading this is in a position to take two weeks off work to serve abroad, but I want to encourage each of you take action in two simple yet powerful ways: pray and give. 

Pray for people around the world who live a life of poverty that most of us could never imagine, and pray for those who have committed to serving them. Give to The Luke 9 Project, the organization I travelled with, by clicking here to help us prepare for our next trip to care for the people of Gonaives. 

God has given us a mission "to proclaim the kingdom of heaven and to heal". The Luke 9 Project has taken on the task of sending medical missionaries to the front lines of this fight. Please pray for our team, and donate whatever you can to fight alongside us. 



Ashley Danielle





I had an interesting encounter yesterday. 

When I made it to my women's small group that evening, I was still trying to process in my mind what my exact feelings were. I had lunch with a friend (I promise I do more than go to lunch with friends, y'all), and it just left me with an awkward feeling. 

Let me first say this; the entire little day-date was great. It was light-hearted and innocent, even though we did discuss a few heavy topics, and I'm so blessed to have someone in my life who I can just be casual with.

Nonetheless, I left disappointed. 

Even as I write this I'm judging my own thoughts. I'm sure they'll read this and be completely perplexed because everything really did go smoothly. The food was good, the weather was nice so we chose to eat on the patio, and I even laughed so hard at one point that a tear made its way from my eye. So, why wasn't the seemingly perfect "let's catch up" moment between two friends not enough the way it played out? What was missing? What was I still wanting?

Unknowingly to even myself until I was in the moment, I'd placed one small expectation on our conversation that wasn't met. And until about twenty minutes ago (it's midnight now), I was allowing myself to diminish the entire experience because it didn't come with a cherry on top

Why do we do this?

Why do we often miss out on the opportunity to be positively impacted by an experience simply because it didn't play out the way we'd imagined in our heads? We put people, events, and even ideologies on these pedestals they never asked to be on, and then we're left in a fog when the reality of their existence is less than the dream. 

Here is my challenge for you as we go into the weekend: Learn to let life just be life. 

Smile at things that bring you joy. Laugh at everything you find hilarious (even when the person next to you doesn't think so, makes it even more interesting *wink*). Stand outside and enjoy the feeling of the sun on your face. Dance in the rain. Dance in your car. Dance in your living room like you're on America's Best Dance Crew when in reality you have trouble keeping up in games of musical chairs. Don't live your life wishing for more and chasing the idea of who you believe someone is or should be, when what was right in front of you was all you needed. Their truth was precisely what God needed you to receive from them in that season of your life, not your illusion. 

Life is so short, and meaningful friendships are so rare. 

Appreciate every moment you have with those who care about you enough to want to spend time getting to know your heart and sharing their own joys and fears with you.

They won't always be there.

Cherish the memories you create with those you care about, and be grateful to have them as the perfect dessert to the sometimes much too heavy main course of your day. 



Ashley Danielle