hard is not the same as bad
I’m not quite sure how to come back to a blog after ghosting everyone for two years. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, procrastinating, deciding not to come back, changing my mind, deciding to rebrand first, and then procrastinating some more. I’m really, really good at procrastinating. It’s kinda like my superpower.
So what the hell happened?
Well…sometimes life gets messy.
That’s not true…if you are alive and breathing then life will be messy. And mine…well, it’s been the absolute messiest. I’m not going to go into details, but here is what you need to know so that we can move forward.
I am now divorced. I chose to leave my 16-year marriage, and if you have ever been in that situation you know the struggle involved. To say it is hard would be a gross understatement. But here is what I know, or rather what I have learned, quite painfully.
Hard is not the same as bad.
Believing that statement when you are in the midst of incredible pain and turmoil is nearly impossible, but it is the absolute truth. The hardest things I have ever done in my life have also been the best. I’ve been divorced for almost a year now, and my life looks nothing like it did before. The custom home I have been blogging about for years is sold and gone, and I now live in a two-bedroom apartment. I’m in college and pursuing my degree in interior design. I’m no longer a stay-at-home mom to babies and toddlers, I am a single mother to four amazing young boys. Four young boys who are doing great and handling this transition like champs, btw.
Admittedly, I have written this post so many times. I have written pages and pages…a novel… about everything I have learned through this experience. Things I’ve learned about myself, about relationships, about God. About shame and boundaries and self-worth. About forgiveness, both for myself and for others. About letting go. And while it likely won’t be evident on this blog, I am not the same person I was a few years ago. I am harder in a lot of ways, and softer in many, many others. Often the best things in life are born from the hardest, most devastating, life-changing experiences. But there is beauty from ashes, hence the new name of this blog…. Wildfire Interiors.
So while my novel was healing to write, it was also healing to delete. All I really need y’all to know is that I am happy, I am whole, I am free, I am loved, and I am really, really looking forward to the rest of my life…whatever the heck that may look like.
Now that that business is out of the way and my procrastination streak is over (see, growth!) let’s talk about where we go from here.
Here is the good news…there is so much good stuff to come. Since my divorce, I’ve bought half an acre of land and have spent the last handful of months designing a new home, from scratch, for me and my boys. And something I’m even more excited about, is it’s not farmhouse style. Nope…I’m breaking free and we are going straight up mid-century modern. Starting in my next post we will be diving into that project. The planning of it, the inspiration, the floorplan, the finishes, the colors….tile and cabinets and lighting…
Along with all the new house posts I’ll also be doing lots of general interior design posts. Tips, ideas, things I’m learning in design school, etc. There will still be some DIY posts, but they will be smaller, less frequent, and much simpler. I’m really excited about this…I’m pretty DIYed out, to be honest, and am ready for more of the fun stuff and less of the endlessly sanding, priming, painting, and caulking everything in sight. I’ve paid my dues…now let’s pick out blue tile and gold lighting together already!
If this sounds like something you want to be part of, then CLICK THIS LINK and I will send you an email when I post something new.
A few more housekeeping things before I sign off –
I know many of you were very invested in my previous home. I’m not interested in looking backward and won’t be doing any follow-up posts about it, but if you want to see pictures you can check out my updated house tour by clicking the image below.(Spoiler – the house finally got bathrooms, and they’re so good!)
If you are looking to support Wildfire Interiors, this blog earns money in two ways.
The first is the ads you see on my website. I make money based on ad impressions (pageviews), so the more you click around and read, the more I earn. You don’t have to click on an ad or interact with it in any way, just the fact that it’s on your screen means I earn a penny or two. I fully understand and agree they are annoying and reading would be much more pleasant without them, but that’s just the nature of the beast.
The second is affiliate links. I really only bother with Amazon currently, and if you buy something (anything) on Amazon through one of my links, I earn some cash. Recently I put together an Amazon store of some of my favorite things, which you can visit by clicking the image below. You can also go to the Amazon homepage through my link by clicking here.
Anyway, to those of you that are still here, those of you that have supported me over the years, sent me messages of concern while I was gone….thank you. This blog is nothing without readers, and I have the best ones. I’m so excited for the next chapter and am thrilled you are here for it.
Wow! I was following your blog about your old house (and the one before) so am keen to see what you do next. Big changes everywhere this decade hey? All the best for your next chapter.
Thank you Jemma, and dang you’ve been around a long time! Love it!
So glad you’re back and things are going better now!
Ashley, I’m so glad you’re back. I’m sorry about your troubles, but shit happens and you have a great plan for the future.
Just a note: the big instagram link at the bottom of your page doesn’t seem to be working, but it could just be me.
Looking forward to more posts. Take good care. 😊
Kim in Universal City not too far from you.
Thanks Kim! And it’s not just you. When you rebrand an 11-year-old blog there are about a million links to fix…I’m sure I missed a ton. I also realized a couple of hours ago that I didn’t even have comments enabled *facepalm*
So glad you are back! I’ve been reading your blog since before the penny countertop and the paper bag floor in the boys bedroom in your first house. Thank you for all your great posts and I’m really looking forward to your new ones. All the best to you in your new life!
Glad you are surviving, and you and your sons are growing and flourish… life isn’t perfect, people are not perfect., but we get up ,brush the dirt off and go forward… 🙏🕊🥰
Amen to all of that
I’m glad to see you again, Ashley. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Hopefully this next phase of life will be awesome for you and your boys. It’s great that you’ve gone back to school! I’ve been doing the same thing, actually, for a few years now, but just a little at a time. I look forward to following along once more.
Yup, little at a time here too. What are you going to school for? I already had my associates degree, but it is going to take me four additional years to get my bachelors. The sequencing of interior design classes is really imporrant, so I’m only taking two classes per semester. At first I was a little upset it was going to take so long, but now I see what a huge blessing being capped two classes per semester is. The workload is huge and I would have overdone it and burned out, no doubt.
Dear Ashley, I was so worried. You disappeared during COVID and my imagination went wild. I am so happy you all are alive and well and so happy you decided to continue blogging. It is the best Easter present ever. ❤️ Can’t wait to read and feast my eyes on your posts.
– another divorced mom
I got so many emails and messages during my disappearance from concerned readers, and I think I responded to two of them. I felt terrible, but just couldn’t at the time. We are all alive and well though! Thank you for the enthusastic support!
Oh, sweet darling girl, I feel for you. Been through that hardship of divorce, raising kidlets, leaving a marital home, and starting fresh.
I can’t proclaim to know what your life has been like these past few years. Heck, covid, life, things, yet I am proud you managed to find your way forward.
I love MId-Century Modern, and am doing my own wreck of a house in that style; so you, and I, think alike! (insert winky emoticon here, LOL!)
Been with you since a long time ago, and I must say I am proud of the woman you have become. Hang in there, life not just a box of chocolates, but smelly boys, demands on your time, and, well…..we all get it, right?
Looking so forward to your next chapter in life.
Maria from Oz.
I am glad that you are happy and healthy and learning more about yourself. I look forward to reading your future posts. <3
Whew! Sounds like it has been quite the ride for you. I’ve been there. I totally get it. I am glad you are on the other side of it and are feeling not only positive about the future, but excited to really start moving forward.
Just a thing I would say. Many times we look for our kids negative reactions to show how they are handling stress, but fawning and being your support too much can also be a thing to watch out for. Its a big thing for kids who have gone through divorce.
You got this and I cant wait to continue to support you in your new vision!
My boys are all doing well, but they are definitely all handling it differently. Fawning is my go-to trauma response, and I see that in my oldest as well. It’s who he has always been, but since the divorce and over a year of consistent therapy for myself, I see these things…things I would have missed before or not to known what to do with…so easiy. I honestly feel much better equipt and confident in my parenting now. I’m sure I’m messing them up in plenty of other ways, but that’s the give and take of life I guess.
So very glad you decided to come back. Love the new name and very excited for the mid-century modern house. I’m not a huge fan of it, but then again, I wasn’t a huge fan of farmhouse style until I saw how well you did it. If anyone can can show how to do mid-century modern well, it’s you.
I’m sorry to hear about your troubles these last few years. I’m glad you and your boys are doing well and that you are all coming through the transition healthy; physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I can’t wait to see where you take this blog and I’ll be here for it, because it will be amazing.
To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of mid century modern before either. I’m just excited about trying something new, new challenges, and making the style my own. The first time I saw the front elevation of my new house on paper I thought “Well that’s not pretty…let’s do it!” It’s framed now and unique for sure, and I think it’s going to turn out really cool. I’m kinda in love with it.
I’m glad you’re back. Thankful that you’re doing well.
I just wanted to say I’m glad you’re back, and I wish you all the good luck! I’ve also been around for a while reading your blog, and I really look forward to seeing what happens in the future.
Also, I love the name Wildfire Interiors – it’s very evocative, full of possibilities.
Thank you, I’m excited about the name change as well. I feel like it leaves the future open to so many more possibilities than the old name.
First of all, I am so excited that you are walking the path of your happiest, truest, most beautiful life! Second, I saw your blog post in my RSS feed (I use Feedly) which means that I wasn’t on your website and therefore you didn’t get credit for my blog post click/view. I mention this because I want you to get credit! So I clicked over. You’re probably already aware of this but you can post in a way that only gives a preview of your post in those feeds and then has a link to click over and read the rest, that way people are notified you posted but you also get the click through.
So happy you’re back!!!
Thank you for mentioning this! I’ve never used an RSS feed or even seen my own, but I went and changed the settings (after watching a youtube tutorial, of course 😆) to only show an excerpt.
Like many others, I have been following your blog from way back when there were only two kids and penny counters. :) I’ve checked your site occasionally throughout the past couple of years, just in case my RSS was broken lol. I’m glad you’re ready to come back and that everyone is healthy making it through all of the craziness and chaos of life in a pandemic. I think most of your readers will agree, we’re glad to have you back, but don’t want you to put too much pressure on yourself to be constantly updating. It sounds like you’re juggling enough responsibilities as it is, so it’s to be expected that updating will usually have to be on the back burner. We can be patient. :)
I’ve never been good at posting consistently or on any kind of schedule (you know!) and that trend will continue for sure. Life really is full these days, in the best way. I’ve also learned to give myself permission to do nothing and not feel bad about it. Actually just the other day Levi asked me what I do for fun, and I said “nothing”. He was super confused, but I promised that one day he would understand.
Thanks for the warm welcome back!
Ashley! I’m so glad you’re back! This was such a raw post, and I thank you for your openness. Your struggles will resonate with so many. Keep being an open book! I can’t wait to see your MCM house come together. <3
I just randomly signed into my Feedly account this morning after a few years and came across this post. I can’t wait to follow along during this fantastic new chapter of your life. And I am especially excited for your mid-century modern (my favorite!) adventure because I’ve never cared for farmhouse chic. :) – Karen (from blogging/Ft. Drum days)
Hey! I swear…every time I check in on you, you live somewhere different! Just read the new blog…been a weird few years for everyone it seems. I especially loved the line “my windshield is no longer foggy”. I feel that.
WELCOME BACK!!! We missed you!!!
So happy to see you back and happy to hear you are well. The Amazon link just takes me to the Amazon homepage…is that right?
The text link leads to the Amazon homepage, and the image below is clickable and leads to my storefront. I also added a clickable image (the blue box) to my sidebar.
I am so happy to have you back, I can’t wait to keep reading and stay updated. ❤️
I saw your updated IG photo months ago and shouted ASHLEY’S BACK!! I have 2 real (nondigital!) friends named Ashley and my husband still knew I meant you LOL! So happy to see new blog posts. What an adventure you’re on! It’s an exciting time, a new season of life. Lots to look forward to! Can’t wait to see what’s to come 💖💖
Well that made me bust out in a huge smile 😁 Thanks girl!
I am so glad you are back! I have missed you so much. Sorry to hear about what happened, but sounds like you’re on the right path. looking forward to your future posts. Good luck!
OMG, SO happy you are back and fierce and ready TO GO! Can’t wait to see where the next chapter takes you and us as readers. Welcome back.
I’m so glad you are back! I would periodically check on you thinking I was missing posts so I was happy to get the email. Sorry about the hard times. We all have them and they suck, but it does make us stronger. I’m excited to see what you’ll be working on now.
I have been checking the blog for the last 2 years, saying some prayers for you guys and hoping all was well. I am so happy you are back! I’m proud of you Ashley and looking forward to following along with your new journey. I love all things mid century. Mid century + your design eye is gonna be fire and I can’t wait.
I have been reading your blog posts for so long as fellow Hill Country folk and have been eagerly waiting for this return! I’ve been in a similar place after the breakdown of a marriage, walking through single parenthood and relearning how good God is through it all…better and more gracious than I ever knew Him from before all the hard stuff. I have to say, I can only imagine how fantastic your next steps are going to be, and I can’t wait to be along for the ride on here. I am so glad you are back to sharing on here. Blessings to you and yours and happy home building!
Ashley, I’m so glad you are back. At least once a week I checked for a new post hoping you would write something. Sorry about what you have been through but these things make you stronger and a little wiser. I will continue to read your blog even though mid century modern is not my style because I never know when some little item or idea will work with my decor. Good luck in the new turn in your life.
welcome back, we missed you.
So glad you’re back, and cannot wait to see what you’ve got planned next! Mid century modern is defo more my kind of style, though I did love your spin on farmhouse. As long as there’s still lots of earthy tones I’ll be happy haha
Wow I’m so glad you’re back! Like many others I’ve been wondering about your absence, wondering the worst case scenario that could happen (not kidding, I actually googled the obituary section!). So I’m happy to hear that you and the kids are alive and well! Thanks for sharing the tough journey that you had in the past 2 years, I agree it has been a weird time for everyone. I’m sure things will only go better for you!
On another note I too am taking an interior design course at 34 years old and as a full-time working mother of 3. I’m only at the start of this journey and it makes me hopeful to see you do it too.. All the best to us and our coursework!
I’m so sorry for all you’ve been going through and glad you were able to take a break. I”m so glad you decided to come back, I love your design style and can’t wait to follow along on your new endeavors :) I copied your green paint color for my kitchen island and just love it, Thank you!!!
I have missed you and your content so much! You stumbled across my for you page at 3:30 in the morning after tucking in my baby boy again and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so glad that you’re back at it again and your strength and resilience is so awesome.
You’re back! I’ve randomly been searching your blog name for apparently 2 whole years. Love your writing style and personal style and cannot wait to see you flourish. I also left a 15 year relationship over the past 2 years and just bought my first home on my own. Rooting for you!