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Arms Outstretched, Willing to Wait.



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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I am so honored to have Ashlee Gadd writing on the blog today. Ashlee is one of my favorite individuals on the Internet. I’ve followed her writing for years and years. She’s the real deal and, just a few sentences in, you’ll understand why I love reading her so much. She has such a way of making ordinary life feel like pure magic. Her official bio is at the end of the piece. I pray you slow down long enough to savor her good, good words.

Let me tell you about the best thing that’s happened to me lately: my two-year-old daughter learned how to hug. 

Not lean into a hug, which she does often and generously (albeit with the posture of a limp spaghetti noodle). I’m talking about the real, true, authentic, wrap-her-chubby-arms-around- your-neck-with-her-face-smooshed-in-your-hair kind of hug. The kind of hug where her legs are simultaneously wrapped around your torso like a baby koala and you’re 99% sure you could just let go and she’d still be attached to your body like a window cling. Yeah. That kind of hug. The kind of hug that makes you think, “Oh. This is why I became a mother.”

Naturally, once you experience this level of genuine affection from your last baby (whom you refuse to call a toddler, even though she is)—you want it to happen again as quickly and often as possible. 

Cut to: me, asking her fourteen times a day: Can momma have a hug? If I’m lucky and play my cards right, she runs into my outstretched arms one of those times. The other thirteen requests? Denied with the rejection power of a thousand eye-rolling teenage girls. She shakes her head no no no no no and runs away. 

Every time she rejects me, it stings a little. Sometimes I huff and puff with a dramatic but playful, “Fine! I didn’t want to hug you anyway!” (This is a lie. I want it more than anything.)

But also, there’s this: my daughter has started hugging me a handful of times each day without me asking her to. I’ll be standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth and she’ll wander in, wrapping her arms around my legs with a happy little sigh. I’ll be sitting at my desk typing an email and she runs to me on her tiptoes, placing her head in my lap and stretching her arms around my waist. These hugs are totally unprompted, offered spontaneously with no warning whatsoever. Whenever she feels like it.

And that, as any mother will tell you, is so much sweeter. 

A few months into the pandemic, I started getting up at 5:30am to read my bible, pray, and write before my three children wake up. 

Every morning I put my butt in the chair from 6-7:30, light a candle, and show up to a Google doc in hopes that by forcing myself out of bed, the words will follow. And sometimes, miraculously, they do. Sometimes I sit down and crank out 800 words before breakfast and feel like a rock star for the rest of the day. 

Other times, I simply stare at a blank screen for the better part of an hour, typing and deleting, typing and deleting (which allegedly you’re not supposed to do when you write, but what do all those writers know?!). Then I check Facebook. Just for a minute. Then I stare out the window. Then I rub an ice roller on my face. Then I think about wrinkles and whether or not I need to invest in better skincare. Then my stomach growls. Then I’m thinking about breakfast, and whether or not we have any pancake cups left. I started buying those for the kids, to have one easy breakfast each week, but then I tried the s’mores pancake cup myself and it was so delicious I started buying a few just for me. I hide them in the back of the kitchen cabinet, along with my Nutella and pretzel snack packs. 

What was I talking about, again? Oh yeah, writing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: sometimes the words flow easily, and other times they don’t. Sometimes writing feels like the magical gift of a toddler wrapping her arms around your neck without even asking her to, and sometimes it feels like your own inner voice yelling no no no no no no no while sprinting away from you. Either way, I’m forcing my butt in the chair five mornings a week. Not all of those days are home runs. But here’s what I’m learning: all the bad writing days make the good ones that much sweeter. 

Maybe the best thing we can do is keep showing up.
Arms outstretched.
Willing to wait. 

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother of three, believer, and the founder of Coffee + Crumbs. When she’s not working or vacuuming Cheerios out of the carpet, she loves making friends on the Internet, eating cereal for dinner, and rearranging bookshelves.

Instagram / Website / Newsletter


  1. Mickenzie Haan says:

    Sooooo so so beautiful, Ashlee!! I love the way you write

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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