Growing up, I always struggled with my body and image. Being on the taller side, muscular, and having a little more mass than I wanted, I always hated the way I looked and struggled with the way I was created. Looking back at pictures, I don't know what I was disappointed with! To be completely honest, after having three beautiful kids, I sometimes (ok, maybe a lot of the time) still struggle with the way I look. I am however learning to love myself the way God created me. I know His truth which I have to recite over and over, when satan starts whispering to me about my imperfections. "You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together." Job 10:11 "I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14 "No, don't say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, "Why have you made me like this?" Romans 9:20 and then one of my favorites "I am God's workmanship (masterpiece)." Ephesians 2:10 (You will see this verse all over Poppy and Plaid Boutique; social media, website, and in your shipments! Take a minute and let that soak in, YOU are God's Masterpiece!) When I meditate on God's truths, that God CREATED ME, HE knit ME together, how can I tear apart something he so carefully and lovingly crafted? While God's love, grace, truth and peace are the ultimate answer to this struggle for me, a great outfit (that doesn't break the month's budget) helps!
My husband Jeremy has been so supportive of me starting this online venture and our three kiddos Brayden, Josie and Rex have been helping me with their opinions on the website, picking out clothes, and gluing together the package inserts! My parents, siblings, grandparents and friends are excited for me as well. You will see my kids, sisters, other family members and friends "modeling" some of my products as I want this to be something that brings my loved ones together!
Another part of my growing up is that I grew up with lots of siblings and an abundance of money was not a luxury for us! I have an older sister, two step-brothers, and a half sister from my mom's family (we were one boy and a house keeper short of being the "Brady Bunch!" And then I have two half sisters from my dad's family. Don't get me wrong, we always had just enough to take care of our needs, and now that I am older and have experienced so much more of the world, I know we were very blessed compared to a lot of people. Jeremy and I started our family with humble beginnings and we had to very carefully plan where each dollar of our pay would go. All of that to say, I know what it is like to live on a budget and yet have desires to want to look nice and feel good about my appearance. Thus, the formulation of Poppy and Plaid Boutique began in my mind!
The idea of starting this online store really came together as I was doing my morning Bible study. I was asking God if this was something I should pursue, he revealed some questions for me to ponder. "How will you make me known through this adventure? How can you help and encourage others? Are you willing to share your vulnerabilities about yourself and your life to point others to me?" The answers to these questions are what made me commit to starting my online boutique. Every shipment will include a Bible verse or encouraging quote and I will pray for the recipient as I prepare each package for shipment. Obviously, from the first paragraph of this post, I'm willing to share that I struggle with me! And then I will also be giving a percentage of Poppy and Plaid Boutique's profit to a not-for-profit called So Big; where they have opened a maternity home for homeless expectant women and their children. (Read more about So Big at www.sobig.org) Each time you make a purchase from Poppy and Plaid Boutique, you will be positively impacting the lives of others.
As I close, I'm sure by now you can tell, but if you haven't picked up on the gist of Ashlee; I love Jesus, my family, serving in the community and shopping! I want to provide women, men, and children with great looking, affordable, quality clothes and accessories. (However, I am having a difficult time finding a men's brand to offer, but hope to add that soon!) You will see a variety of styles, brand offerings and price points in my store that will help fit your personal look AND budget. I look forward to encouraging you and helping you feel great about yourself inside and out.
Remember: YOU are God's masterpiece! Eph 2:10