September 16, 2021


What in the world is going on?

patriotic quotes about freedom of choice
Created by Ali Coşkunfrom the Noun Project

patriotic quotes about freedom of choice

I’ll be quite honest with you right now: I’m scared.

The last 18 months have been something out of a dystopian novel, like a prequel to the Hunger Games or the Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve watched the world slowly lose its mind as we trudge through a pandemic, a botched election, the abrupt and chaotic end of a war I’ve known my entire adult life, and everything else in between. We don’t know who to trust, we don’t know who to believe – because no one tells the truth. The media is incredibly biased, the government lies and withholds information, our friends and family spew unverified facts they learned off social media and all the meanwhile I’m standing here asking myself:

What in the world is going on?

I’m not anti-vaccination; in fact, my kids are vaccinated with everything except the yearly flu shot and the HPV vaccine. I did thorough research on the HPV vaccine, and with the blessing of our kids’ pediatrician, we decided the risks did not outweigh the benefits. Our choice, right? Awesome, perfect; thank you, next! The same can be said about the Covid vaccine – we have done a lot of research and talked to many people who have gotten it and had horrific side effects such as temporary body paralysis and Bells palsy and myocarditis in teens, and we simply don’t feel comfortable injecting it into our bodies. Let alone our kids! OH MY GOD. Why is that so hard for people to understand? I absolutely respect people who choose to get the vaccine, and I absolutely respect people who choose not to. Why? Because we are ultimately responsible for our own choices: that’s our unalienable right!

With the impending doom of medical tyranny at the behest of an incompetent leader in the White House, Randy and I have been in very deep talks over the last several days. It’s been all-consuming, and I’ve hardly been able to see straight with the anxiety and anger. We are supposed to live in a free country, with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I’m by no means a government or law expert, but I firmly believe in the definition of the word liberty.



noun. the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

I believe Americans, guaranteed by words of the Constitution and the free will of our God, can make their own choices about their bodies and their actions. If someone wants to shave their head and dye their eyebrows pink and walk around wearing a dress made of carpet – that’s their choice. It’s not for me, but it’s their choice. If someone wants to live in the city versus the country – that’s their choice. Or how about if someone wants to grow their own food instead of buying it at the grocery store? Boom, you got it: it’s their choice!

If someone wants to participate in experimental clinical trials for drug companies – who am I to tell them no? Free will and freedom of oppression is what makes the United States of America the most incredible country in the world; at least until recently.

What am I so scared of?

At the beginning of this blog, I told you outright that I’m afraid. If this forced vaccine mandate goes through, Randy will be faced with weekly testing or losing his job – a career he’s invested in over the last decade. What if the government decides to withhold VA disability benefits unless our veterans are vaccinated? They’ve already issued orders mandating all active duty get injected whether they object to it or not, what is to stop our leaders from doing worse? Right now that’s not on the table, but, the question is there staring at us right in the face.

My business is booming right now and for that I am so utterly grateful. I am my own boss, I work when I want to work and with whom I want to work with, and I have complete and utter freedom. I love it. I’m actually at the point of turning people away and on the brink of raising my prices, because business is going that well. It’s a blessing and I cannot thank my clients enough for their support.

But Randy? He’s scared his whole world is going to crumble, and as his best friend/wife/partner – that scares me to no end. We rely on his work income and his disability income to survive – to pay our bills, our mortgage, support our family, and support our farm. Having four kids and a bunch of animals is expensive! We have been working so hard to become debt free over the last several years, and to see our financial stability at risk is beyond terrifying.

What do we do? Do we have Randy quit his job? Do we re-home all of our animals and move to a smaller home with a less expensive mortgage? Do we sell everything we own and move into the RV and be homeless? Do we ask our friends if they want to start a small community together and learn to survive together? Does Randy go back to school or get a different job or start his own business?

Hell – we have even done some initial research and phone calls about immigrating out of the United States because this is not the country my husband gave up six years of his life to protect.

So what are we going to do?

Randy told me yesterday he’d rather take action now and be wrong later; I replied that I didn’t want to make rash decisions out of fear. We compromised and decided to do everything we could to prepare -doing things like going into storm mode with our finances, diving deep in to multiple revenue streams by creating more designs for Farm and Country Co, busting my butt in photography and possibly investing into a local studio space for boudoir and winter portraits. There are a lot of exciting ideas swirling in my mind, and I’m not going to let fear keep me grounded.

We aren’t going to panic and make crazed decisions. Right now, although it feels like the world is covered in gasoline and politicians are circling us holding matches and torches, I’m choosing to look up. I’m trusting in God that things will be okay, and know that we are not alone in our fight against tyranny and injustice. I’m going to love my friends and my neighbors, and do what I can to make things better. Most importantly, I’m turning off the news and staying off social media a bit more than usual. There’s just so much chaos and sadness, misinformation and blatant bias online, it’s hard to enjoy being on Instagram, TikTok or especially Facebook these days.

What do I want you to know?

Regardless of where you lie in the political spectrum, what your vaccination status is, or ANYTHING ELSE: I want you to know something. I want you to know that I will fight for your right to have your voice heard, I will speak out about your God-given rights as an American to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want you to know that I support your decision to do with your body what you feel is right – regardless of how I feel about what you’re doing for myself. Why? Because it’s none of my damned business!

I’m going to continue to wake up each morning, and be the most mom, wife, daughter and friend I can be. I’ll put my boots on and love my animals and care for them. We’ll go to football games and cheer loud and proud, and we’ll support as many local businesses as we can. I’ll continue to kill plants as I try to learn how to grow them, and Randy will keep trying to save them from my black thumbs. And you can count on me to speak up, speak out and practice what I preach!

© ashley durham photography