September 16, 2022

So much more than a Coat by Bailey


My sweet daughter Bailey sent me a copy of a paper she wrote for a college English class at her high school: 

So Much More Than a Coat

            It was a power struggle. Mother against son. All morning long, from seven AM until the bus arrived. They went round after round; the unwavering will of a protective mother against the stubborn determination of an “independent” little boy. Today, this particular argument was about a coat.

            How many mornings are started this way? The boy has his stance, while his mother has another. Pointed jabs, fussing, arguing, maybe a little yelling, and ending with rushing out the door. This mom and kid might not see each other until after school, or later that night. Maybe the quarrel is brought up again, but usually it is quickly forgotten minutes after the door slams.

            Back to the coat. This mother didn’t want to send her little boy to school on a cold winter day in shorts and a T-shirt. Not only would that leave him cold and shivering, but it would make her look like a bad mother in the eyes of the teachers and other parents. Think of how they would talk behind her back, appalled as to how she could send her little boy out in the cold like that. The little boy refused to wear his coat because he, “looks cooler without it”. He couldn’t have all of his little buddies at school making fun of him for showing up in a big, puffy winter coat. However, by the time the bus was coming around the corner, the coat was nowhere to be found. This woman was livid. She knew he had hidden the coat to get his way and arrive without one.


The bus pulled up and the little boy slammed the door behind him. About a half an hour later… the phone rang.  This mom was informed that a little boy had been hit by a car before school while he was waiting for the bus.

            On the table, sat a bowl of unfinished cheerios and on the chair behind it, hung a little blue coat.

            What if that was the last time this mother had seen her little boy? No kiss goodbye. No, “I love you”, before he left. Just the slam of a door and the screech of a car break.

I believe that relationships should not be taken for granted. Too often are priorities confused, times forgotten, the little moments ignored, and bonds damaged by selfishness.

            When I was about eight years old, my grandpa, “Papi” is what me and my siblings called him, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He lived for many years this way, but it wasn’t until a year or two before he died that he was deemed terminal. His only child, my father, died a year or two before he was diagnosed with cancer, so it was hard for him to see me and my siblings much. We reminded him too much of his deceased son. However, I was obsessed with astronomy, and so was he. It was one of the few things we had in common. When I was in fourth grade, the only thing I wanted for my birthday was a telescope. When I got home from school the day of my birthday, he was there waiting for me with a telescope in hand.

When I heard he had passed, I was heartbroken. However, I didn’t really know my Papi, even though he lived not even thirty minutes away. I didn’t even cry at the start of the funeral. It wasn’t until I heard his stories at the service that I really got to know him. This man lived an extremely full life. Papi was a partier. He was one to go skiing in a speedo and he had a story for anything. He’s been everywhere, done everything. He lived every moment to the fullest. Not 

only did I learn more about him, but I learned how much he loved me and my siblings. He would brag to his friends all the time about us. He especially loved to share, “My grandkids call me Papi… Big Papi”. One of his good friends shared a time when he was especially sick at the hospital, close to death. He said that he knew the end was near and the good moments were becoming fewer and fewer. He said, “The other day was a good day.” When asked why, he replied, “My grandkids came and saw me”.

I burst into tears. I meant everything to my grandpa, and I only assumed he didn’t want to see me. I had been asked to sing to close his funeral, but by the end of the song, I could barely sing a note. I was heavy with so much regret. Why hadn’t I taken advantage of the time I had with him when he was alive? I felt like I was getting to know who my grandpa was after he was gone.

            Late at night, when I can’t sleep, I am sometimes suffocated by the thought of just how fragile life is. It’s a scary idea, but it’s known that this world is filled with deadly perils that could leave someone lifeless in an instant. The last time I saw my dad, he left the house screaming, threatening my mom and my family. Nobody could have known that would have been the last we saw of our dad. He sure as heck didn’t know it was his last goodbye. I am willing to bet he wished he had left things differently when he never came home. Growing up in a world of violence and death in my family allowed me to see all the horrors life has to offer from a very early age. In the back of my mind, I held onto this knowledge like it was what was going to save me from all of this hardship and grief. For a long time, this left me bitter and closed off. I didn’t cry. I didn’t keep my friends. It felt like I was constantly running from


something; I was protecting myself. Being alone left me to dwell even more in the cynical concepts about life I had solidified in my mind. However, my ideas soon expanded years later…

            My mother remarried a few years ago. Soon after, she had another child in addition to me and my four other siblings. I was not sure what to feel about this at first, but when the baby was born, I instantly felt a connection. I loved this baby. However, I kept myself closed off from her. This fragile little girl left me with more sleepless nights, worrying about her. I stressed about suffocation, SIDS, other correlating phenomenons; anything that might take my little sister away from me. One more person to worry about losing. One night, when my new little sister was nearly a year old, I was jolted awake by a dream that made my blood run cold. In my dream, I watched my baby sister get horrifically shot. I truly believed, when I awoke, that my she had been killed. Quickly, I realized I had been dreaming and ran into her room. I held her close and cried. From that moment forward, I vowed to never take my family for granted. I would take advantage of every moment I had. In moments of irritation or anger, I would remember to put the relationship first, over my own frustrations. I would set aside time to connect with my family members, no matter how busy my life might become. Every time I walk out the door, I turn around to say one last goodbye to my family, no matter how we may be feeling about each other at that moment.

I’m not always going to be reminded, when I am too prideful to see, that the final moment will come. The final morning with a loved one. It is times like this that remind me to slow down just a little and see all the good in my life. Those final words, and last goodbyes, are not always on the foregrounds of my mind, but maybe if they were, I would make every moment count a little more.

            It is not the battles won that determine if I am capable enough person. It is not the coat the little boy wears to school that determines if his mom is a good enough mom. It’s the moments taken to truly see someone, to fully enjoy life right now, to appreciate something witnessed every day that made my life worthwhile.

Not every goodbye will be the last one… but I don’t think I want to take a chance. I do not want to waste my life just trying to get through the day, attempting to barely make it to school on time, trying to win every fight, dying to be perfect. It’s too much. The next time a moment of stress or anger leaves me feeling like I have lost a fight, I hope I can remember that there is so much more to lose than an insignificant battle.

So, I’ll lose a few battles if it means gaining a little bit of love. One day when it is gone, I might have wished I had let it win. I’ve learned that my life is not about winning the battle. It’s about remembering what I’m fighting for.


May 11, 2022

Story behind my name

 “What is the story behind the name The Moments We Stand?”

It all started out of no where. One day I just felt this pulling—this incredible prompting— that I needed to write our story. I needed to get it out of my head. I needed to start a blog. 

I was so scared I could hardly breathe. I was on my knees all morning begging for a different option, but I knew it was what I had to do. The anger—that had been stuck inside of me—got excited for a minute, and I remember saying out loud, “All right fine, You want me to write this story, You got it!” I created the blog and started pounding out my anger writing my story of how three people had one big collision and left me a broken soul. I spent hours writing about heartbreak, pain, fear and hate. 

Soon, my entire computer shut down. I frantically pulled my blog back up and went to the post. Nothing had saved… not one word. I burst into tears and frantically reminded God that He had asked me to write this story, despite my desperate desire to shove it under a rug and run from it. His answer is one that I will never forget. I heard these words in my mind “Ashlee…I see you and I know that this was hard but I need you to start over and talk about all the moments you were able to stand.” 

And there was my name. 

He didn’t need me to write about the hate…He was asking me to look for my own strength, and remember the times I was surrounded by His. 

When I was a kid I always liked to be back stage. I was strangely shy—for such a sassy little human—and didn’t love taking the solos or even going up on stage when I had to perform on any level. I liked to cheer from behind the curtain for my sisters and friends. I was almost always the giant on my cheer team (we are talking 5’9” by the end of 7th grade)…and served well as a back spot. I liked to support and help others shine, but rarely felt comfortable in a role that I had to. 

This blog was a moment when I thought God was telling me to share what it looked like having a new life chosen for me. I thought He was letting me sit comfortably in my victimhood. I thought He was asking me to share my pain of how I always stood behind people to help them shine…even in their demise. Instead He asked me to step up, to write MY story…not as a character who stood on the sidelines watching the explosion, but as the main character who was going to get back up. He wanted me to write MY story, not as something that had been acted upon, but as someone who would be taking action to not only find the light, but to stand up for others as they did the same. 

It didn’t just heal me, it changed me. 

He has continued to stretch me and believe in me more than I knew possible. When I wrote my book, launching these courses to support others in their pain and grief, and every time I have been asked to stand on stage or appear on television, He was always with me. I was never standing alone.

I didn’t know it was going to turn into anything, in fact, honestly I would have preferred it just stayed under the rug. I didn’t want to be known for anything that had to do with this story…all it reminded me of was being the girl that wasn’t enough. I only started writing that day in an attempt to document the legacy of our history for my children, so one day—when the pain was too much—they could know where to find the full truth. 

Instead He taught me that there was more to this story…and even more to me. 

It’s easy in life to focus on the hate, it is easy to focus on the pain and the fear because they’re real, but here I want to stick with what I know is truth. I want to share hope that we are all capable beings full of light and strength and we can choose to stand even when it is hard. 

If you are new here welcome! I am loving reading your questions and hearing your survival stories. This is a team of warriors that I am so proud to be apart of. I hope you find this to be a safe place to be vulnerable and to acknowledge your story, and even more I hope you find this to be a safe place to remember your truths, find your strength, and remember your worth. You are stronger than you know. Whatever He asks of you, you will find a way. 

The moments you stand, despite the pain…there will be light. The moments we stand , despite the fear… There will be strength. The moments we stand, despite the heart ache…there will be joy. 

Your story isn’t over. Keep standing. 

May 9, 2022

Nice to meet you

 It seems there are a lot of new faces here. I always love a week when Dateline or Dr Phil reruns play and I make so many new friends. Instead of answering all of you in my DMs I want to reintroduce myself and my family and tell you a little more about us than you get from our story on one of those murder mystery shows. I am going to answer a few of the usual questions here in the next few posts! 

“How long has it been and where are you now?”

It has been 11 years since Emmett’s murder. Sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday, others feel like it has been many lifetimes ago. 

This is the crew now. You know the five oldest: Bostyn and Bailey are now 17, Teage (15), Kaleeya (almost 13), Tytus (11). 

What I love most about every single one of them is that they choose joy. They have taken the hard parts of their life and used it as a reason to have compassion and love for others. They are positive and hopeful. These five have been my greatest example that we can keep going and keep writing a story better than the day before. Each of them had to grow up way too fast, but they aren’t bitter. They could be so angry, but instead they are so bright. It has been the most fulfilling part of motherhood…watching them rise despite their pain. 

Four years ago we were blessed with an amazing new chapter. Scott and I were married and have since had Kennady (almost 3)  and Kylar (1). We couldn’t be more grateful for how this family has grown. Scott is the most genuine real soul I have ever met, and the most steady man that could have ever chosen us. Having babies at home again has been amazing. They help keep us all grounded and bring a whole new light to our lives. 

We have had our share of healing after murder. Many of us still battle PTSD, some have gone through a lot of anxiety. Bostyn has openly shared her battle with anorexia.  

So when you ask, “how did you make it though?” My answer is: we still are! 

Healing journeys all look different. Your healing journey is going to be unique just like your story up until this moment. Don’t give up, and when a new angle or struggle comes up on your path, know that it is normal and it is going to be ok! Just don’t you dare give up. 

We are here, still sharing our struggles and our pain, and our triumphs and joys because that is life! A rollercoaster of ups and downs. On this page we are still choosing to stand and we know you can too! No matter where you have been or where you want to go, you can chose to stand. It is never too late and you are never too broken. You have the choice to start a new chapter and finish writing your story!

We are so grateful for the chance to finish writing ours, with a new perspective on how fragile life can be, and how we can make every moment count. 

Thanks for finding us here!  We promise to keep it real, and share the hard and the good! Send me more of your questions. I am ready to share! 

April 19, 2022

Widow course!

 I am so excited!!! 

One of the greatest gifts I have been given over the last 11 years has been being able to sit with others who have felt deep grief and loss. Out of all the things I have felt prompted to do in my healing, it has been those hundreds of moments—connecting to other widows and people in pain—that have given me the most strength.

One of my gifts has been my ability to share truth and give hope, and I am so thankful God has trusted me to help others on their journey to seek out their spiritual gifts, truths, and strengths and turn to His light.

A long time I ago, I was given a promise that I would have the ability to still find beauty in the world even when things were hard. I didn’t know what that hard would look like, but I remember how peaceful I felt as that statement settled inside of me. I knew it was true! I would always seek beauty even when the world felt dark.

I am honored and humbled to announce that I have had the opportunity to create a series of courses to be able to do what I love most--sit with you! I want to help guide you as you find space in your healing journey and seek options beyond being stuck.

In this series, we are going to be digging into beliefs, fears, and road blocks to clear space for truth, fresh energy, and moving forward so you can feel more joy.

No matter what we have been through, we have a choice to make. We can stay stuck or we can choose a lighter path that gives us more freedom to live a life filled with light.

I am exited to announce that the first course is launching next week! It's titled “The Light Within - A Guided Course for Widows.” This widows course is obviously dear to my heart and had to be the first course of this series.

Thank you to all who have supported me on every part of this journey. Thank you for showing up at @areasontostand events and sharing your stories with me. Thank you for your emails. Thank you for buying my book and sharing it. Thank you for giving me a safe place to vulnerably share my pain and letting me share my story and my heart. You have given me a place to heal in a way that I have felt inspired to seek it. And thank you for being there for each other! I love hearing your stories of how you supported each other and found hope in each other’s stories.

I want to celebrate this release with a giveaway in Instagram and Facebook!!!

Nominate any widows or widowers you know who are ready to live a life unstuck! If this is you, please nominate yourselves! To nominate a friend, please tag them in this post. Also please tag anyone you know who would be a good candidate to come on with me to interview or share their story. To be eligible to win, you must like the post and follow @themomentswestand. 

I will choose 2 widows to give access to the course on the day of the launch!!

(Access to the course will include the widow course, any updates, interviews, and guest stories, plus any tools or videos that will be added indefinitely).

#giveaway #widows #itsyourtime

April 18, 2022

Easter 2022

 I have been thinking so much this Easter season about all the roles the Savior plays in our lives. For me He has been a counselor, a steady, a light in the darkness, a constant, a healer, a brother, a friend. 

His life was full of grace and his mission is to make it possible for all of us to feel it’s power in our life. His example of grace was life changing. He felt all of the pains we all could encounter, including the men that would crucify Him. Even in his last moments Christ used the power of words to ask for forgiveness for them.  

If He could see the good in them…I know He can see the good in each of us, even in moments we cannot find it in ourselves. If He could see it in them…I know He can help us find it, even in those who have hurt us. 

As disciples of Christ we strive to be like Him. It doesn’t always feel easy, but sometimes He asks us to be His hands. Sometimes He asks us to be His eyes. And even more humbling at times… He sends others to bring His love to us. 

I am so thankful for the gift of Grace. For the roles Christ has played to bring my life out of the shadows and for the moments of Joy that are possible because of Him. 

You are never alone. He did rise on the third day. He lives and He loves you. 

His light can live in each of us… no matter where we have been— or what we have been through—I know that He would ask those words even for us, “Forgive them.” He hasn’t given up on you and His grace is still relevant even in your story. 

March 11, 2022

Lots of elevens today


March 11, 2011. 11 years ago today we stood at the edge of a cliff I didn’t know existed. Widowhood, betrayal, heart break, humiliation, darkness, and total despair. It was the darkest night of my life watching my babies hurt and knowing that their lives had just changed in a way I couldn’t protect them from—our lives have never been the same. 

This year the emotions have hit me differently than they have in the past. The other day as I watched Kylar jump onto Scott’s lap and throw her arms around his neck and give him a big kiss, I felt tears well up as I thought of this anniversary we had coming up. I felt so much sorrow for Emmett to not be able to give that to his five amazing children. He didn’t just lose his life that day, he lost millions of those moments of being able to make the choice to show up and love them, to feel their tiny arms around his neck and kiss them goodnight. I can’t imagine a place darker than that, or a loss more great. 

I have felt him around them lately, and I know the longing he has to be able to do that one last time. 

If his voice could be heard today I know he would shout from the roof tops and beg other fathers to cherish each moment, and never let one slip by. He would tell them to be present, and not let selfishness stand in their way of what is most important. He would beg them to hold their babies close, and sacrifice anything—if needed—to never leave anything left unsaid or anyone left unloved. He would tell them to make more time count, and never end a day with regrets. He would beg them to stay true, and stay away from the dark. He would tell them to not just be fathers…but to be dads. He knows what it is like to get distracted, and he would want other fathers to learn from what he lost. Time is not the only thief…you never know when yours will run out. 

Emmett you would be proud of the people these babies are becoming. They show me every day what love is. They shine a light so bright it has been the lifeline that kept me going even when I wanted to give up. 

To anyone who has ever felt broken, I have been writing and sharing this story…because I don’t want you to ever feel alone. I don’t ever want someone to feel like I did…that the dark was going win. I know our stories are not the same, and also…I know you know what the darkness feels like, and I am sorry. 

I am sorry for the hurt you have felt, and the times you have cried. I am sorry for the struggles, or people, that have left you questioning your worth. I’m sorry that there have been moments that you didn’t know how to make it better for your babies, and you struggled yourself to get a breath. I am sorry that some days you didn’t know if you would make it through. 

If that is where you are today I want you to know that the morning will come…the day when you wake up and it isn’t because of a nightmare reminding you of today. There will be a moment—someday—when it feels like just a memory. There will be light again. 

Watch for the light. You deserve the light. Look up to the light. Fight for the light.

Today we will remember the light, and take another breath and let go of a little bit more of the pain we found in the dark. Another year reminding us that we still have so much more to live for…and so do you. 

If anyone has a positive memory of Emmett—or a way he, or his story, has touched your life—please feel free to leave them here or on Instagram or Facebook. His children cherish hearing about the things that help them remember the good they want to carry on. 

March 9, 2022

What is missing?

 Have you ever felt like something is wrong with your body? Or felt like every time you eat your stomach feels upset?? Low energy and motivation…but doctors never seem to know what to tell you?

I did an interview the other day about my journey with those feelings! Check it out!!  

Interview with Dr Harmon

To learn more about the genetic testing kits and personalized nutrition:  Genetic testing 

February 11, 2022

Life is like a balance beam

 Recently I sat watching my two year old try to figure out and master a balance beam. She would take a few steps and fall off. Every time she would land on the ground she would get this little determined look in her eye and jump right back on, sometimes where she left off…but many times she would start completely over. A few times I could see the frustration, and there was one moment I could tell she was on the verge of tears—the “pissed off why isn’t this working” kind of tears that I know all too well. 

About the tenth time of her cycle of starting over and falling off I realized this was something she had to do on her own. So she did it again…and again…and again. I continued to watch in silence, knowing that the very second she asked for it, I would be there to help her, but was intrigued watching her try so hard. 

Then all of the sudden it happened. She put one foot in front of another and slowly made it across the whole beam. She tip toed to the very end…jumped off and with her arms up yelled with a satisfied grin across her face, “Tada!!!” 

She was on cloud nine. And she did it all by herself! She had never been more proud. 

For some reason this image has stuck with me for weeks, and I can’t help but do what I always do and relate it to life.

I am guessing there are many of us that can relate to the feeling that some days you just keep getting knocked down… sometimes you feel determined to get back up, and other times it feels like it’s about all you can take. Sometimes we get stuck on the why of our story. Sometimes we just want to give up or sit and cry. And then there is that moment when we finally make it through— the struggle, the hurdle, or the balance beam—and we look back… and we made it, but more often than not we get stuck on the questions of why we had to go through it in the first place. Sometimes we don’t look back and see the success of what lies ahead, because the struggle was so hard to get there. 

Once Kennady landed at her goal, she wasn’t any less proud of her accomplishment because of the twenty times before it that she hadn’t succeeded. It was a win regardless of how many times she had to use her hands or had to sway for balance. She didn’t even skip a beat when—time after time—she got knocked down. Just kept her head down and focused on the goal…the end, to accomplish what she had set out to do. And she found out she could! And once it was over she was satisfied that she did it. 

I think all too often I want to jump in and try to save her from the struggle… but the struggle is part of what made her so proud of herself in the end. It would’ve been super easy for me to have grabbed her hand and said, “ I don’t think you can do this by yourself… let me do this hard for you!” 

If you think about your strength, usually it has been found in the struggle. What if God just picked us up every single time it was hard or we hurt and told us He didn’t believe in us to be able to handle this— by taking away the struggle— would we ever find our strength? 

Some things we have to do all on our own. Sometimes we get knocked down way too many times to count. Sometimes we know all we have to do is ask…and He will send us in the right direction…but we still have to make the choice to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that He knows where He is directing us. Sometimes we have to start from the beginning even though we have a thousand times before. Sometimes it is easy to get back up when we get knocked down, and other times…it takes all we have left to stand, dust ourselves off, and try again. That “pissed off why isn’t this working” burn in our throat threatening to explode at any second…sometimes is the very fight we need to try that one last time we actually make it to the end. 

I know as God sits back—those days when we wonder if He really is there—are the exact moments He is cheering the hardest because He knows what the end will look like and the strength that will come as we find our way. Those days when we weep, so does He. Those moments we celebrate how far we have come…He reminds us why He had to let us fight to get there. 

Those moments you keep falling, He is watching and cheering and believing in…you.  

You didn’t chose this balance beam, but you will reach the end…someday you will reach the end, and it won’t matter if you reach it on the fifth try or the thousandth time you tip toe across it. What will matter is that that you made it through. You are strong enough. 

Whatever you are going through…if you are still falling off the beam, it is not the end. Keep tiptoeing forward, you are going to make it. Stop asking why you are there… and start asking how you will be able to move forward. “Why?” is a trap, and a cycle that likes to create prisoners. 

Remember that mama buffalo I wrote about months ago?… and also Nemos dad when he couldn’t find his way… he was supposed to swim through the dark valley… not around it. Avoiding the hard might be easier in the moment, but in the end the hard parts of our story are the ones that helped us grow—the ones that helped us find our brave.

I know it doesn’t look like it from the floor looking up at the balance beam… but this was all part of the journey. You are right where you are supposed to be…keep showing up brave enough to try again. 


December 12, 2021

Christmas Lights

We went to check out some Christmas lights with friends tonight…and Bostyn and Bailey’s electronic babies 😂. Every time they cry at the worst times… I can’t help but laugh. 

What are your favorite Christmas traditions/activities?  We are still building what ours look like, and it is fun to hear ideas!! 

Love this family of mine! And every second I can get when we are all together…which is getting less and less as they get older and their lives get full of all sorts of things. 😭

On a side note: Bostyn and I decided to share some mom and daughter eating disorder support and recovery thoughts on my YouTube channel, if you know anyone who is going though that, please share!

December 6, 2021

The missing link to healing trauma

Its my bday tomorrow! One more year until i am 40!! 

 For years I have been saying I want to create my own vitamin company for all the people I work with who are undergoing a lot of stress or have been through trauma…  Watching my own body fall apart, and seeing it in so many of the widows and victims impacted by murder and loss…who have been overwhelmed with fear, pain, and grief. It is hard to heal our spirits and minds when they are stuck in what feels like a broken body. And trauma doesn’t just attack our minds and spirits…it paralyzes us physically. It steals from every part of us. 

I have been on the hunt for almost a decade to create the perfect formula that works for everyone. Recently, I found something even better. Supplements that are created specifically for YOU based on YOUR needs. 

Finally a way to get the perfect formula that fits YOU. It starts with an at home DNA test… you send it back, and a formula is created just for you…that meets your body’s needs.  No more guessing, wondering why everything upsets your stomach, struggling with symptoms that never seem to have an answer… because now there is a formula that is literally created for your body!

Nutrition based on science,DNA, and personal needs. No more guessing, wondering when it’s your turn to feel good, or just giving up. 

 Have you ever wondered why you don't respond to things like foods, vitamins, etc the same as other people do? Have you asked yourself questions like, why do I have gut issues? Why can't I lose this weight? Why do I struggle with depression or anxiety? Why does it seem like my body can't handle certain foods or vitamins? There are some variations in our genes that cause hiccups in our processes in our body that make it so certain pathways or reactions don't work the same as they should and do in other people. So this simple genetic test that can be performed to find out if you have some of these variations and then a specific formulation is made customized for each individual to support those pathways so they can work properly! There are over 400 million different variations that can go into your formulation. 

So, this is nutrition without guessing! So happy birthday to me! I said by 40 i want to help others heal their bodies...after all these years of getting to help people start their mental and spirutual healing. The missing link!! We have to have all areas get what they need and get healthy to fully heal. 

  Please check it out and message me if you have any questions.

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