I'm Ashley Lande, an artist and writer. Welcome to my neon-painted ramshackle little corner of the ‘net, where I gleefully use as much glitter and goldleaf and as many adverbs and adjectives as I please!
If you are a believer, a doubter, a desperately-want-to-believer, a wishful thinker, a cynic, a burnt-out hippie, a new-ager frayed to a Nag-Champa-scented husk of yourself by the demands of DIY salvation, an overeducated bibliophile who longs for the capital-T Truth she’s not sure exists, a born-and-bred Awanas-quoting Christian who is afraid to admit she is still unsure that He is light and in Him is no darkness at all, or even if I lost you back at “Nag-Champa-scented husk of yourself”, you are my people and I pray you glimpse the lavished grace of God in Jesus Christ here.
I talk about Jesus… like, a LOT. And I will be ever-so-lovingly shoving down your throat my utter confidence in His baffling, stultifying, electrifying grace. It’s all I’ve got, and still it’s too much.
I heard His voice for the first time when I was 22 and out of my mind on acid, tripping hard, as the parlance went back then: I sat at the window of my apartment and watched a million undulating rainbow lattices ornament the street below, blooming and collapsing and overlaying each other in a sumptuous visual feast.
But even this had an emptiness at its core and despite my desperate hunger for Something Real that led me to assail my brain with chemicals, I was lonely, lost, love-starved and hopeless.
His voice cut through the black mire like a piercing ray of light in the dark: You don’t have to keep doing this to yourself, He said.
I wept, I wept voluminously. Here, finally, was not Something Real but Someone Real: the voice I had longed for, a voice which knew the depths of my darkness and was totally unafraid because He’d seen it all before, here was someone who was not lost but utterly found and was foundness itself, was home itself. I was found. I was known. It was Love Himself.
I am passionate about limning out in words and stories and images how Jesus loves us in the here and now, this beautiful and sometimes terrible place between the kingdom come and the kingdom not-yet-here. I believe in telling the whole truth, handing it all to Him, because that is precisely what allows the whole of His redemption to emerge, full-bodied and dimensional, dazzling in kaleidoscopic patterns of love and grace and truth.
Words help me understand more fully what His presence looks, tastes and feels like; how His grace pervades our lives and sustains us and carries us. Because of Jesus, hope is my default and defiant posture.
But it’s not all misty-eyed gravitas and waxing cosmological around here… just mostly. My husband of 11 years, Steven, tempers my tendency to take myself waaaaay too seriously by doing things like straight-facedly quoting Metallica lyrics when I’m trying to have a super deep conversation. I loved his long hair; he hated it sticking out from the sides of his hardhat while he climbed wind turbines.
His solution was, naturally, a mullet.
I believe in naked vulnerability to a degree which occasionally chafes him (are you talking to people about my balls AGAIN? Is a question he’s asked more than once when I've written about trying to conceive after his vasectomy reversal) and I love big words to a degree that often chafes him (What does ‘apoplectic’ mean? He asks. Really angry, I reply. Then why the heck didn’t you just use ‘really angry’?! He cries).
I have chicken problems, namely, I cannot stop myself from buying more and more and am ever searching for more exotic and in some cases putatively homely breeds.
I love books, especially big thick ones which promise a grand immersive adventure and which, only if absolutely necessary, could be used to soundly clock someone. I feel safest in a library, ensconced by rows upon rows of the things. There is nothing quite like the rich synesthesiatic bouquet of New Book or Old Book or even Library Book.
Aside from Jesus and marriage, motherhood is the sweetest thing that’s ever happened to me and I love homeschooling my children, Israel and Arrow.
My favorite words, in no particular order, are: glissando, bougainvillea, frisson, and luxuriate. I love Bob Dylan and weird folk or amateur art and grapes and cilantro and kombucha and broken people thirsty for Jesus.
My always-prayer is that my work is beautiful and true because it distills some droplet of The Truth, the living water, Jesus Christ.
Let's plumb the inexhaustible depths of His love for us together as we figure out what it means to love God and love each other here and now in this weary, broken, beautiful world while hanging on for dear life to the promise of eternity.
Yay! You’re still here! I love you! Sign up for my e-mail list and I’ll keep you up-to-date on ALL the instances of God’s grace in Jesus Christ refracted through my life (well, okay, perhaps not all such instances, but a lot of them!)! I'd also love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!