Today is the birthday of my niece Ashley, daughter of my sister Debbie. This beautiful young woman lives in Oklahoma, sharing a spacious home with her doting husband, Jon, her two sons, Ethan and Kaleb, and her mom. My sister has her own suite on the top floor of the house. She and Ashley are more than mother and daughter. They are best friends and co-creators of amazing parties and projects.
It’s not a surprise that the only recent photo that I have of Ashley and her family is a Halloween pic.
I looked up Ashley’s name:
“Ashley, you are powerful, creative and fulfilled in life. You are intelligent and require multiple outlets for your creative energies. You are more a planner, rather than a builder, and you want others to carry out your detailed plans. You are bold, independent, and curious about many things. You know what you want and how to make it happen.
You are very intuitive. You have a reservoir of inspired wisdom which could be best expressed through spiritual leadership, business analysis, marketing, artistic endeavors or research. Operating out of your intuition can bring you great insights. You are always looking for opportunities to investigate the unknown, to use your mental abilities, to create, to find the purpose and meaning of your life. You want to understand the mysteries of the world. Although you enjoy people and activities, you require solitude to replenish your energy. You have a unique way of thinking that is intuitive, reflective, and absorbing.
Those words are an accurate portrayal of my bright and creative niece. Although she is one of the most creative people that I know, Ashley is also curious, following her inquisitiveness down unknown paths, to see where they lead. She is extremely intuitive, passing that gift on to her two sons.
Ashley is clever, intelligent, and compassionate, opening her home to a multitude of animals that includes dogs, cats, birds, rats and guinea pigs. Many of these pets were rescue animals, in need of a loving forever home.
This past summer Ashley’s wonderful husband surprised her with a trip to Scotland for their anniversary. Like me, she had long dreamed of visiting the country of our ancestors. Jon made that dream a reality. I loved following their journey as they posted pics each day. Next year, I will have the pleasure of returning to Scotland, and seeing England and Ireland for the first time, with Ashley, my two sisters and our mother.
Beyond being a fun mom and devoted wife, the area that allows Ashley to shine the most is her creativity. This girl is the ultimate party planner. She has hosted baby showers, dinners and birthday parties that astound and delight due to her exquisite attention to details.
Her yearly Halloween parties are extraordinary. Ashley and her mom pick a theme and literally transform their house and yard to bring that theme to life. Last year her house became a haunted hotel, with details such as a derelict elevator, a skeleton manning the front desk, and a false wall with framed cut outs that allowed party goers to become part of a haunted gallery.
Ashley hosts these amazing events because she enjoys doing so. It is one of the ways that she can not only create, but share her creativity with others. The Halloween Party becomes bigger every year, and as stories about the event goes out, more and more people want to experience it for themselves. Ashley could easily charge admission for entry into her themed party. That’s how remarkable it is.
I wished my niece happy birthday on Facebook and told her to have a fun day. However, one week and a day before the big party, I know what she is doing today and all weekend. She and her husband and my sister are all pouring their time and energy toward completing this huge undertaking. The theme this year is Tim Burton Movies. Movie vignettes and props are being created all over the house and yard. Guests are required to arrive dressed as a Tim Burton character. It’s going to be incredibly fun!
Happy birthday Ashley. See you next Saturday. I love you!