07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lessons From "Ashley"

By Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women’s Circle Series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the path from relationship to romance.

I remember very clearly the first time I had a mammogram – I was 50 years old. My very best friend had said if I didn't make the appointment myself, she’d make it for me and see that I went.


So I made the appointment and went and my life changed with a few words from the technician. “There is a suspicious area and the doctor wants you to have an ultra sound.”

I’m very fortunate because the two lumps that were found were not cancerous – one was precancerous and the other benign. The lumps were removed, I was checked every three months and then every six months and all was well.

In March 2013 my routine mammogram was clear. In April 2013 I felt two lumps in my left breast – of course on a Friday night! I was already envisioning parts of Ashley’s story at that time. I promised myself I’d remember how I felt, what I thought, how I dealt with knowing I had two lumps but also had over 48 hours before I could make an appointment.

And then I didn'tDidn't remember any of it other than that it happened and I was frightened. I wasn't in denial. I was in a protection mode. If I could put it aside until Monday when I could call and make an appointment for another mammogram it would be better than stewing, fretting, worrying about what was to come.

Did I tell anyone?

No, because that would mean acknowledging the reality and having it front and center. I spent the entire weekend staying busy distracting myself from the lumps – although I remember surreptitiously checking to see if they were still there. Of course they were!

Again, I’m very fortunate that the two lumps were not cancer.

How does this play into this book? I know from first-hand experience that we do not always do what is “reasonable” when under duress.

As I was editing Ashley  and contemplating a suggestion my editor, Kelly Schaub made, I also realized we can also forget our own part in our healing process. At this point in the story, Ashley was no longer using her spiritual practice to support her as she battled the cancer and the devastating effects of the treatment. Not only had Ashley forgotten the healing power of spiritual practices, so had her circle sisters.

What was my lesson from this? I've spent the majority of 2013 battling respiratory problems that started as allergies and developed into asthma. As I was writing a scene to show the shift to her being more pro-active in her healing process, I was struck with the truth- neither was I using my personal totem to support my own healing.

Finished with the scene, off I went to find a snowy owl. Not that I don’t already have them around me, but I did not have one in my writing space nor close to my bed or in my car.

That has all changed.

Ashley Ann Carlyle Kenner, a stay-at-home mom, finds herself and her three children abandoned by her husband as she fights for her life in a second battle with breast cancer. When circumstances force Ashley to rely on Daniel, she must face the reality he means more to her than just a father-figure for her children.

Daniel Charles O’Donnell fell in love with the Kenner children but kept hands off their mother – she was married and he doesn’t poach. He protects his heart by being a part-time friend to the children. When he is given temporary guardianship of the children, part-time is no longer an option and he must face the demons from an old tragedy.

Dragon and damselflies, Ashley’s power animal, guide her through the dark days as she struggles to win the war against the cancer. How can the flickering light of her dragonflies show her she is worthy of unconditional love and illuminate the path to her soul mate?

My goals are that readers of The Sacred Women’s Circle novels find a spiritual practice that “speaks” to them, that they see a different way through a difficult time in their lives, that they are inspired to search for their soul mate, that they know with a certainty there is always a path to unconditional love.

Ashley  is available here.

You can also visit my website and learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series.

© Copyright 2014 Judith Ashley


Diana McCollum said...

What an inspiring blog post! I have also, neglected using my personal totems recently. Ashleys story sounds intriguing. Good luck with sales, and congrats on getting another book out there for sale!

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks, Diana! I am so blessed to have these stories to tell at this time in my life. I can't imagine doing anything else with my time.

Looking forward to reading your "The Witch with The Trident Tattoo" coming out in January!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Judith,m
An inspiring blog. I am so pleased that the lumps were benign. Just shows the importance of mammograms and breast ultrasounds.
All the best for 2015

Sarah Raplee said...

Wow! I'm so glad you are okay, Judith!
You are right that we don't always do what is best or logical when faced with what seem like overwhelming difficulties. Denial is a wonderful thing for one's sanity!

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thank you for sharing. Your story is a good reminder to us to be appreciative of good health. Here's to a brand New Year.

Jessa Slade said...

Lovely post, and a great reminder as we get ready for the new year to take care of ourselves and those we love. Happy, healthy 2015!

Judith Ashley said...

Margaret, I totally agree about the importance of mammograms and ultra-sounds as well as our own monthly self-exams. Being found early enough is a key factor in a woman's win over breast cancer.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for commenting, Sarah. While I know there are times I minimize or deny the importance/impact of what is happening, in this instance I was more focused on staying busy so I didn't dwell on it because there was nothing I could do until the imaging center opened Monday. The blessing then was they worked me in Tuesday a.m.. I remember so clearly how compassionate the young man who made the appointments was - apologized he couldn't get me in on Monday. I was grateful they could get me in so quickly.

Judith Ashley said...

Marcia and Jessa, I totally 100% agree it is important that we take care of ourselves. No one can do that for us!

Melia Alexander said...

Wow, Judith. Just, wow! With as crazy as my life is I have to admit I don't always take care of myself. Thanks for reminding me of how important that is.


Judith Ashley said...

It is important to take care of ourselves for many reasons - and if we are caretakers it is critical to do so because if we don't we won't have anything to give.