meet ashleigh

I believe beauty does indeed save the world.

I believe fool’s gold is real if you want it to be.

I believe life is breathtaking – some days because it’s glorious, others because it undoes us.

 

After nearly a decade of marriage, writing, raising children and traipsing across the continent beside my husband, we bought a tiny farm in Virginia. We call it the Storybook Cottage and it has saved my soul.

 

We raise boys here, three of them. The two oldest came along one right after the other and they’ve scrambled up into wonderful humans. The tiniest one burst into our lives when the big boys were off to school and he will be our baby until he’s 40.

My John is my person, the one my soul longed for, my own heart’s kindred. He asked me to marry him when I was 17 and I said yes, but only after whispering, wide-eyed and innocent, “Did you ask my dad?” We were married two weeks after I graduated high school and made it six or seven years before I realized I had wed a bit young. He loved me anyway. He always loves me anyway.

You need to know that my John is a Marine, but that the military is a small part of our lives. We prefer it that way.

As soon as we unpacked our boxes here at the cottage, we brought home a few chicks. We snuggled them and loved them and didn’t know we had taken a gateway drug. We’ve since added a flock of Shetland sheep, three Jersey cows and an Angora bunny. Two kittens keep the mice away, and our herding dogs bark at anyone who dares drive down our gravel lane. We run a small herd share program with our cows, providing raw milk to 15-20 families and we sell any eggs we can’t eat. I’m terrible at gardening, but I had a bumper crop of tomatoes last year and, oh heavens, they were good.

I’m pretty sure if you were to slice me open you’d find my veins have been knit from wool. I live for fiber. Knitting needles are extensions of my palms and my feet rock the treadle of a spinning wheel for hours each day. I can’t breathe without yarn within close proximity.

The extras: I’m a terrible cook, but I spend most of my time in the kitchen. I prefer novels to most human company. I was homeschooled each year after grade 1 and I don’t regret it. My own children walk down our lane on weekday mornings and ride a bus to the town school. I have a complicated relationship with God, but we’ve decided to love each other anyway. I spent my mid-20s in somewhat of a fog and wrestled against it with all my strength. Mental illness has been a real part of my life, but my brain’s health is in the hands of wise doctors and for that, my family and I are grateful. I’m deeply connected to my family of origin and my large bunch of in-laws, but they’re all several days and away and I rely heavily on Voxer and Facetime for daily contact with them. My parents divorced when I was 22 and my entire world collapsed. It has taken years of struggle to rebuild – much of which I detailed in real time on this blog. My truest color is any shade of turquoise/teal/emerald/aqua/Crayola’s blue-green. My food of choice is mint chip ice cream. My soulmate is Anne Shirley. I’m an Enneagram 2 and an ENFJ, but a bit squishy on the E/I divide.

This blog is over twelve years old, which in internet time makes it a wrinkly dinosaur. But it’s a dinosaur rocking on the front porch, ready to tell stories and set up the plot twists. Thank you for being here, lovely people.