A Much Needed Update

Hi friends,

I figured it would be a good idea to check in and say hi, and to let you all know that I’m alive and well (or as well as can be, considering).  As you may have noticed, I have not been keeping up with posting in this space.  I am still struggling with my Lyme Disease symptoms on a daily basis, and only have so much energy for work and the tasks of daily life.  I’m definitely doing better than when I last wrote, but I’m still struggling quite a bit most of the time.  I recently started an antibiotic regimen, and am hopeful that this will help.

In the meantime though this space may be a bit silent.  I am also in the process of transferring this blog to a new platform, which I’m really excited to share with you!  I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get to that though, so bear with me and have patience.  In the meantime, Justin and I will still be posting over on Soggy Roots, so follow along there if you wish.

I hope your summers have all been wonderful, and that fall is bringing positive changes into your life.  Here are a few photos from the last little bit.

Much love,
Ashley

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Life Happens

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**This is a re-post from my other blog Soggy Roots, which I co author with my sweetheart.  I wanted to share it with you folks as well!

d7aa2084c82211e2906622000a9e03eb_7“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
-Allen Saunders

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quiet over here in blogging land.  There’s a reason for this and I finally feel ready to share it with you.

I have struggled for awhile now with the decision to write about this on my blog.  In the end though, it feels too central to what’s happening in my life to be ignored.  It feels insincere to continue posting pretty pictures and words that depict a carefree life when things are far from carefree.  I also hope that by sharing this with you, by being vulnerable and honest and real, I can create a connection and ask for the support that I need from my community: YOU!

Four and a half years ago, in the fall of 2008, I began to feel really sick.  Horrible full body joint pain, intense fatigue, and a general sense of not feeling well were the main  (although not only) symptoms.  I sought out answers from a variety of doctors, both Western and Eastern, and could find nothing besides some food allergies.  It was an intense and hard year, one of the hardest of my life up until that point.

In the intervening years I have felt alternately better and worse, but I never again felt fully healthy.  I guess, in some ways, I just sort of learned to live with it; it’s amazing what we can get used to if we have to.  Recently though, with the gentle prodding of my amazing partner and family, I began to see a new doctor who I hoped could shed some light on my mysterious ailment.

A few months ago I finally had my diagnosis:  I have Lyme Disease.  Like most of you, I knew next to nothing about Lyme, only that it was bad and something you really didn’t want to have.   I know a lot more now, although I’m sure that knowledge is only a fraction of what there is to know about this complicated disease.

Needless to say, the last few months have been some of the hardest of my life.  I have started a treatment which has the unintended side effect of making you feel a LOT worse before it makes you feel better.  I have been so weakened and exhausted, with intense joint pain and swelling, nausea, headaches, anxiety attacks and insomnia (just to name a few).  Seemingly endless pills, supplements, frustrating dietary restrictions, doctors appointments, and constant conversations about all of it make me feel pretty overwhelmed most of the time.

It has been an intensely emotional journey as well.   I don’t remember the last time (if ever) that I’ve cried this much on a regular basis, or been so angry/frustrated/scared/sad/and hopeful all at once.  One of the biggest challenges is my inability to do a lot of the things that usually make me happy:  Playing hard outside, planning travels, socializing, and working steadily on my art and business.

And yet, some good has come of it as well.  I have found myself growing and learning in new and exciting ways I never could have imagined.  That’s not to say it’s been fun or easy.  Sometimes I think the universe hands us the challenges we most need, and this feels like mine.  Because of this experience I am learning to be more real and honest with others, even when things are hard.  To be vulnerable and to slow down the pace of my days.  To have patience and compassion for myself.  To ask for help.  I am learning that our value as humans is not in how much we can get done in a day, or how productive we are, but in who we are as people; something more essential and unchanging.

Deep down I know that I will be OK in the long run, that things won’t be this hard forever.  In the meantime though I am trying (and not always succeeding) to be present during this experience and to allow it to change me for the better.

Springtime Moments

Here are a few little snippets of my life recently…..

Planting veggie starts.  Quiet mornings on the deck.  Dipping my toes in the ocean.  Food eaten with friends.

While this is by no means everything that is happening in my world these days, it’s a few happy moments, and I think those are worth celebrating.

Happy Tuesdays folks!

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Verde Show Reception

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photo(15)Recently I had the honor of being the featured artist at the Cannon Beach Arts Associations Verde Show.  The show focuses on recycled and “green” art work, and draws artists from around the region.  It was an exciting challenge for me to create a body of work using almost entirely found/up-cycled materials. I spent a few months putting together the collection, and I was really excited about how it came out.  The show opened recently, with a warm and super fun reception.  Here are a few photos from that night, as well as some of my work.  If you live locally, go check it out, it will be up through the end of April and features some really amazing art.  *Photo credit:  Yours truly and Justin Bailie.

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Shasta Road Trip

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I recently embarked on a little solo road trip to meet up with some friends in the Mt. Shasta area.  The weekend was a reunion with two of my dearest girl friends from California, and this was the first time the three of us had been together in years.  It was so nourishing and grounding to spend time with these powerful, intelligent, beautiful women, and to be in a different climate for a moment.  There was much laughter, good food, wine, and endless conversation.

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Spring is Coming

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Lately there have been little hints of springs imminent arrival around here.  Sunny days, daffodils popping up their heads, meals on the deck, and green growing things.  I am beginning to get excited about the warmer months and all of the wonderful things they bring.

Here are some snippets of the last few weeks: Friends playing music, hikes, new copper designs, and sunset-watching.  Enjoy!

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Feature/Giveaway Time!

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Picture 21

Hi friends!

I know it’s been a little while since I’ve checked in…life and work has gotten away from me somehow, as it always does.

I have some exciting things to share with you, including some big changes here at the Roots & Wings Blog, but for starters today I wanted to share a lovely blog I was featured on recently.

Picture 24Lana features recipes, book reviews, tips for saving money, and product giveaways on her blog.  Recently she featured my Etsy Shop, and is giving away a pair of my Hammered Silver Zig Zag Earrings as part of the Under the Rainbow Giveaway Hop.

So, what are you waiting for?!  Sign up for the Giveaway HERE for a chance to win some Roots & Wings bling!

Best of luck to you, and I’ll be back soon with more photos/stories/and updates to share.

XO,

Ashley

Lately…..

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_MG_3392It seems as though it’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything here with all you lovely folks, so I figured I’d stop by for a quick update this morning.  Life around these parts has been good lately; lots of work with a few adventures thrown in.

I am continuing to strive for balance in this unstructured, self-employed life of mine, something that often seems to elude me.  I am learning though, and sometimes that seems to be all I can ask for.  There are some exciting new projects, opportunities, and adventures looming on the horizon though, and I look forward to seeing what tomorrow may bring.

Here are a few photos from the last couple weeks:  A canoeing adventure, sunset beach walk, Valentines Day Trunk Show, and a fishing trip.

Enjoy, and happy Wednesday to you all!

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