An Introduction

This is the second time I’ve started a blog to share with others. The first time was almost exactly five years ago. I was coming up on my first anniversary post-divorce, and I’d done a lot of healing and soul searching over that last year. My life was completely upside-down, and I’d recently come to the conclusion that I needed to move to a townhome since child support wasn’t coming in, and I was barely breaking even each month.

Then the next day, my ex-husband died. He was 36 years old and had fallen into a dark spiral of drinking. His BAC was nearly 0.4 at the time of his death (0.08 is the legal limit for driving).

Needless to say, that blog never took off, as I got sidetracked with the business of death and figuring out this new life for me and our kids.

But I continued to write. At the time of his death, our daughter Peyton had just turned 5 and Ryan was 2. Jeff hadn’t seen either of them for over six months before his passing, so while the permanence of our situation was tough, the missing him wasn’t as awful.

We had a lot of love and support over those next few weeks, but mostly, I just felt relief. And guilt for feeling relief. But suddenly here I was — no longer wondering what our future looked like and if Jeff was a part of it. No fears about him being in and out of their lives for the next twenty years constantly letting them down. Now he was just gone. A memory. And I could help shape how they felt about that. I could give them good memories and let that be what they knew. And there was financial stability again. Children qualify for social security benefits when a parent dies, and suddenly I was getting double what his child support was supposed to be. We never had to move.

Several months later, I went on my last first date. Josh and I met on eHarmony, and we stayed at dinner talking for over two hours that first night. I never do dinner as a first date, but for some reason I said yes to this one. I came home unsure of our chemistry, but I knew I’d just had a great time, and he didn’t once ask me about being a single parent or anything about my ex.

Fast forward about 2 years later, and we got married at my church, a place that provided so much grace and solace to me during my divorce, and then we had a beautiful reception with friends and family at a farm house nearby.

I’m sure he would have been perfectly fine living in my house, but I wanted us to really start fresh together, so we built a new home in a neighborhood nearby. It was more than I’d ever dreamed, but the neighborhood and all of its family-friendly activities and amenities were too much to pass up. It was the suburban dream I wanted for them–running and playing in the road with kids all around them.

We became a family of five another year later, when Caleb was born, cementing us forever. While I was on my maternity leave with him, I decided that it was now or never if I wanted to finally write a book, liked I’d planned after my struggles finding my way through a spouses’s alcoholism and then as a single mom with toddlers.

So through every nap and with the help of grandparents, I spent a lot of time in front of my laptop turning my journal entries into a full story to help others like me. The week before leave ended, I wrapped up my first draft and sent it out to 2 people – my friend who walked through it ALL with me and one who walked through a similar situation but had never met me. I needed to know if the story was valuable, engaging, and worthwhile.

By the end of December, I was ready to hit Publish. I had to really live a life without fear or shame if I was going to put this out into the world. As with most of what we share with the Internet, it’s hardest to be that vulnerable with those we know and love, especially since not even those closest to me knew the details of my relationship with Jeff and everything we went through up until his death.

But if my goal was to get my book in the hands of women who needed it, then I needed to go big and do this right. So I started an Instagram account and started trying to build followers there to introduce them to my work. And after six months, I am ready to take this next step and keep the writing going.

Thanks for entering this phase with me and being along for the ride. At the bottom of the homepage, you can enter your email to get alerts when a new blog post hits. And if you haven’t read my book or know someone who could benefit from it, it’s available on Amazon.

Talk soon. xo.

Why I’m Here

I have learned A TON this year as I’ve gotten more into Instagram than I ever dreamed possible. I like social media, but I’ve never really been a slave to it. Until I became a ‘public figure’ account and I wanted to show up every. single. day. to build my followers and attract new readers for my book. I did all this work to publish it on my own, and I work in marketing: I should be able to get people to read by book. And I did for a while. My launch was successful and I sold or gave away way more copies than I ever thought possible. But now they’ve really slowed. And I realized I’ve been publishing all this great micro-content on Instagram, but it gets buried and my views per post can range from about 50-60 on average all the way up to 5 or 6 thousand on a really strong hashtag usage.

So I thought the website and blog would make a nice addition. And in order to hold myself accountable, I wanted to set a few goals for it:

  • I will post at least once per week.
  • I will figure out how to set up a mailing list.
  • I will create additional content for the site.
  • And at the end of 2020, if I have achieved these goals, I will continue to invest in growing my brand as a business, both with trainings and investments in book #2.

So, let’s go!

Hi. I’m Ashley.

I decided Instagram wasn’t enough. The curated photos, the planning of each hashtag, the filtering of my thoughts down to just a few words. I needed more. I am a writer after all.

Through high school, I loved to write. Mostly poetry, but I always had dreams of writing songs, poems, magazine articles, and more. I’m not sure I ever dreamed I’d write a book, and when I decided to do just that, I had no idea where to begin.

But with the power of the internet and some very wonderful strangers I met through Facebook groups, I clawed my way through the self-publishing arena last year and wrote a memoir. Deeply personal and raw, but it was something that needed to be in the world.

I began writing regularly 6 years ago, when I discovered that my husband was drinking to start his mornings and finally faced facts that he was an alcoholic. We officially separated just weeks later and my world was upside-down. My oldest was 3 and my youngest was just about to turn one. There wasn’t a single book I could find to tell me what to do and how to parent on my own when my kids are that small.

Did no one else get divorced with toddlers at home?

I knew pretty quickly I never wanted someone else to feel that way, so I decided to share my story with the world, hoping it can inspire and help moms who are just like me.