Monday, May 5, 2014

Just Jeanette

[Blog entry created by Mark Bonnema]

Ashley as "Just Jeanette"
This past weekend Ashley sang a role in the comedic opera Too Many Sopranos. She was marvelous! The notes flew off her vocal cords and tongue with seeming ease and definite grace. I was so proud of her! She did it and she did it well. I am not an opera critic, and I must admit that I am a bit partial, but I thought the performance was wonderful. Congratulations Ashley, aka “Just Jeanette,” and congratulations to the entire cast and orchestra that was involved.

I watched for weeks as Ashley spent hours practicing, studying her score, and traveling daily to rehearsals. Finally all of her hard work was coming to fruition and it was the week of the performance. What happened but her voice began to betray her and threaten to ruin all she had worked for! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, Ashley could barely speak.  Of course, Ashley did not give up, did not fret, nor become despondent.   

Rather, she kept her spirits about her and regained her lost voice with the use of tea, cough drops, rest, oral antibiotics, and steroids (prescription) in time to sing performances on both Saturday and Sunday.

Just Jeanette and Nelson Deadly
I do not know from where Ashley draws her strength and determination. I often think there must be a wellspring of life and energy within her, the way she carries on with determination day after day. Call it personality, natural endowment, or a blessing, it is impressive any way you frame it. I love her for it and I admire her for it.

This weekend Ashley accomplished a lifelong dream of hers. She sang a role in an opera.  I am very happy and pleased for her. I certainly hope this is the first of many operatic roles she has the joy of mastering and sharing with the world.

The divas

Sometimes realizing a dream comes at a price. While Ashley works to accomplish her dreams and realize her hopes, CF is working equally as hard in her life and body. It never takes a day off. It constantly holds the threat of infection, fatigue, and pulmonary bleeding over her head. With the opera done and a dream realized, Ashley must now turn her attention to coping with CF and dealing with her body’s ailments. This morning Ashley goes to the hospital to have a PICC line inserted. IV antibiotics will follow sometime early this week. An infection is beginning to brew. It is not fair that Ashley needs to pay such a price just to pursue her dreams. I wish it were not so. I am so very proud of you Ashley, you worked hard and with a great deal of determination and persistence, you accomplished a dream.

What dreams are you pursuing? Are you willing to pay the price?

A special thank you to JoAnn Lambertz for the great photos used for today's blog!

*Ashley had asked that you all wear purple today to show the world your connection to CF.  Please share with us a photo of yourself and loved ones sporting their "purple pride."  You can either tag Ashley on Facebook, or send an email to *

1 comment:

  1. It was an amazing performance Ashley! God gave you a beautiful voice. Just remember Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

    Love you,