grey days, always and never

I have a tendency toward habits, in the manner of forming them, burying myself in their layers, then coming up for air only to abandon all because, man, that was exhausting.

Living in shades of all and never and none and always, one extreme to the other, I’ve apparently decided pendulums make thrilling swings.

I’m most myself when the world turns grey. Cloudy skies bring on the muse and the boys and I have a penchant for dancing in the most torrential of summer rains. While surely inciting eye roll from all Washingtonians, I’m certain I could live all of my days in Seattle and be happy.

Green and Grey

Yarn Basket

A friend suggested it’s the result of growing up in the parched California desert, this affinity for wet weather, and I suppose she was right. Like Sarah, plain and tall, stepping with an upturned face from the seaside porch into the first Maine downpour since she sought refuge from Kansas’ drought, I soak in these powerful, redemptive Virginia rains.

My all-or-nothing tendencies give rise to manifestos, to sweeping statements, to wild expectations, to remaining indoors or dancing madly in thunderstorms.

I want to be one of the people who always does, because routine and rote keep my life steady and controlled. And I’m an ENFJ and ENFJs always prefer routine, right?

The problems unveils itself when always isn’t always and never, well, you know the adage on that one.

Breakfast giggles

Rainy Morning Playtime

Real life work station

Yarn everywhere

I will jog in the morning mist at 5:30 every morning. I will make it to the end of a chapter before hitting the light switch at night. I will never finish all my laundry in one day. I always, always carry a list into the grocery store. I can’t make a complete, triple course supper. I absolutely prefer small knitting projects to advanced endeavors. I don’t paint my own furniture.

I always write about faith. I never read websites via feed reader anymore. I only get online during naptime.

(Go ahead. Chuckle at that last one. Gave away the sarcasm, didn’t it?)

I walk into church three times each week. I’m certain about everything I believe. You and I will always be friends. I talk to my mom every day. I only listen to folk music. I’ll never move from this house.

Tired Shelton

Naptime Knits

The books about pretties

But I only love grey days until the sun peeks through the clouds and I want to go on a picnic.

I’m an ENFJ, except when I don’t like people that day or when I throw out my love for organization and get all P-type willy nilly.

I read books voraciously and then not at all for a week.
I often do one load of laundry each day, then forget for four days and have to wash everything at once. Sometimes (horrors!) I run into Wegman’s without a list. (And then I have a panic attack because how the heck does anyone shop there without losing their brains, list or no list?)
I do despise cooking dinner and if John’s schedule allowed it I’d just leave it all to him, but the people in my household have an odd compulsion to end the day with food in their bellies and sadly, we can’t live off of Annie’s Shells and Cheddar.
I’ve been known to start a few knit or crochet projects which took years to complete. Years.
I bought chalk paint two weeks ago and it’s like I don’t know myself anymore.
I’ve done quite a bit of writing about my faith journey, but, frankly, I’m feeling exhausted by it and have this nagging thought that maybe it’s time to just live it for a while instead of hypothesizing it into the ground.
I installed the Bloglovin’ app on my phone and sometimes I even use it to read blogs. Crazytown.
I really do get online only during naptime.

(Go ahead, laugh some more. Joking is such fun.)

I haven’t been to church three times in one week for almost two years.
I’m acutely aware of my transient beliefs.
You and I may not be on speaking terms a year from now, which would be a heartbreaking reality, but life is complicated and people are messy.
My mom works during the day and my evenings are full, which means we don’t talk often enough anymore.
My playlist holds everything from P!nk to Mumford and Sons to Rich Mullins to Hillsong.
I’m moving from this house tomorrow. (Wait what? More on that later.)

Frying Taco Shells - because, yes, must make supper

A child grabbed the camera...

So many books, so little time

My besetting tasks seem to be learning to take a full breath and allowing myself to pause in the in-between. It’s not comfortable here, for a pendulum swinging extremist like me. I would rather fly through the air. Always.

31 Responses to grey days, always and never

  1. Ariel September 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Ashleigh, I just happened to come across your blog and have been neck-deep ever since. The more I read your words the more I hear myself…we have a lot in common, it seems. Thank you for your words. I was incredibly touched by your post about your son ballet dancing. That hit home for me. God bless!

  2. Shantala September 10, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Found your blog via FB newfeed repost of your ballet blogpost on deeperstory.com. I loved your message in that piece and the lyricism with which you wove your inner emotional weather throughout the description of a new family acquaintance conversation. As I read I heard echoes of my own motherhood values and desires. I felt the all too familiar low angst with how the world will respond to my beautifully unique children and my style of guardianship over their dreams and passions. Mothers like myself are such a rare treat to find.

    Reading on into your Grey Days, I caught myself holding my breath, pausing for rereading, my brain on the brink of short-circuit at the similarities between your words and the woman in my mirror.

    I am stunned and groping for the words to coherently express the near overwhelming synchronicity with your words that I am experiencing in this moment.

    Grey Days is a portrait of my heart and inner workings, complete to nearly the last detail and specific.

    I am at a loss as to how to accurately describe this near unanimity. Beginning at the mundane bits like growing up in a vintage stationwagon, averring minivans and ending up with a Mazda5 (practicality compromise) as well as loving the grey damp of my childhood climate in Washington and just the good bits of 27 diverse music genres. Then even on the deeper, esoteric levels of all-or-nothing pendulum swings, my often contradictory and inconsistent patterns of ENFJ wiring that waltz with my fiery scorpio gut all over the stage of my Spock-logic left-heavy thinking… in the midst of nearly always shooting to better practice the mindful art of “breathing in the NOW” and saturating myself in “this moment”.

    I feel a kindred connection through your words to a voice and a life-spark I am profoundly drawn to share with and get to know.

    Thank you for touching my day with your posts, they gave me a “catch my reflection in a big window and smile” moment.

    Namaste,

    Shantala

  3. Stephanie July 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    I stumbled on your blog (googling something completely different) this afternoon. It is beautiful! So glad I discovered it! I especially liked “the day after Mother’s Day.” So true.

  4. Stephanie June 22, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    My girls and I like dancing in the rain too – especially in the dead of summer during monsoon season. Have you ever been to Arizona? Maybe you should move *here.* ;)

    P.S. How did you like “Call the Midwife”? I shared my thoughts about the book versus TV show here: http://bit.ly/16SV8mx.

  5. Heather June 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    :)

  6. Monica May 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    I often show my husband posts of yours that resonate with me. His response, almost every time: “I’m pretty sure you two are the same person.” Haha! ;) Someday we should meet and get coffee

  7. Kristina May 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Oh my goodness, Ashleigh. Yes. Until it’s no. :-)
    Praying over your move, friend.

  8. Lisa May 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    My muse if fully fueled by sunshine, and a lawn chair in the breeze. As long as it doesn’t turn to wind. I’d happily turn over the cooking to hubby, too, but I think one cannot live off beans and eggs for a long period of time without having some repercussions. Happy moving to you, and hope you always find home where your people are. :)

  9. Sarah May 25, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    “It’s not comfortable here, for a pendulum swinging extremist like me. ” – Oh how similar we are.

    Love the ease and comfort with which you write – beautiful and fun!

    Thank you!

  10. Jennifer Sikora May 25, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    WOW — I think you just described me to a tee. I never realized that is how I see things, until I read your post. Now I make even more sense to me. Crazy!

    Thank you for writing this. I’m glad to know I am not the only person alive who feels that way.

  11. jessiquawittman May 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    WHAT?! You can’t survive on just Annie’s Shells and Cheese?! What is wrong with you?!
    hehehe…. a little sarcasm of my own…..
    and BTW. The picts are Beautiful! :)

  12. Angie May 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Fellow lover of grey here. I’ve discovered your blog recently, and have so enjoyed perusing the archives. Lovely voice you have, and, as a Washingtonian – I’m not rolling my eyes. Just nodding, yes.

  13. Kelly Sauer May 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Your conclusion. Oh, it’s like the wind blowing through my window right now. Absolutely perfect. Thank you for sharing you – I love this so much!

  14. Jenna May 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    “this nagging thought that maybe it’s time to just live it for a while instead of hypothesizing it into the ground.”

    This!! so often it’s easier to keep thinking and talking and chewing over things and but then I know the feeling when you hit that time and it’s more important to let go and START LIVING.

    Glad you’re enjoying the rain — hope the move goes well :)

  15. dearabbyleigh May 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    i never thought about my penchant for wanting routine, but it’s true #ENFJ.
    i love this post and the truth and the sarcasm and the WHO’S BABY IS IN YOUR HIGH CHAIR???
    i do not recognize that child.

    xoxo

    • dearabbyleigh May 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      whose* :)

    • Ashleigh May 25, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      He might as well be an adult. I mean, the cutest adult ever, but still. The baby is growing up too fast.

  16. Linds May 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Wait – you are moving? What? Maybe I had better go an re-read this because I was sitting here nodding agreement in a wise old fashion and then did a double take and nearly spluttered coffee all over myself. Maybe I imagined things. Or mis-read.

    • Ashleigh May 25, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      You didn’t miss anything! I haven’t mentioned it before this post. Hint: the big boys are running around singing the theme song from Green Acres.

  17. the Blah Blah Blahger May 24, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Are you calling me willy nilly??? Cuz you’d be right. ; )

    LOVE this post. So fun…and I love seeing pics from a slice of your life!

  18. Mama Bear May 24, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Gosh I do love me some cloudy rainy days too. It’s funny because I also seem to write like crazy on those days. And Wegmans? We were just there this past Tuesday and good lord that store is HUGE. I definitely find it overwhelming. We got as far as the end of the veggie aisle and decided to call it a day (we’re wild and crazy… I know…) Seriously loved this though! I’ve been waiting for a new post from you! xo

    • Ashleigh May 25, 2013 at 8:01 am #

      Oh yes – the muse always visits the longest on rainy days.

      Wegman’s seems to be our best option for healthier fare, but there are just so. many. options. After an hour my brain shuts down. Whew.

  19. Sidnie May 24, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    I want to Carry on, Warrior! so badly. I might just treat myself this weekend to an Amazon order.

    This, my friend.
    I always do this. I’ll never do that. And at the end of the day, it’s all backwards.

    “and allowing myself to pause in the in-between.” To be content, to let the world around you keep going, while you- *I* pause and breathe and brace myself for what comes next… Yes. This.

    • Sidnie May 24, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      I want to READ* Carry on, Warrior!
      But, I suppose I want to Carry on, Warrior! works too. ;)

    • Ashleigh May 25, 2013 at 7:58 am #

      A rather serendipitous typo, eh? :) I haven’t started it yet, but everything I hear is amazing.

  20. Esther May 24, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Laundry is the enemy! :-)

  21. Debby May 24, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    How fun reading this! Since I’m new here I feel like I’ve gotten to know you a little.

    • Ashleigh May 25, 2013 at 7:53 am #

      So glad to introduce you to my particular brand of crazy! ;)

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