The Move We Never Wanted…

all clothing from Shop Ashley LeMieux 

This entire year has been an absolute whirlwind. If you asked me at the beginning of the year what I thought the next 12 months would look like, THIS would NOT be it. Being able to talk about what’s happening in my life again has been a great outlet for me, but also something I’m still remembering that I’m allowed to do. For the past almost 2 years, I couldn’t talk about the real parts of our life because I was under court order not to. Everything I did was used against me in court… My writing stopped, my blogging stopped, being able to share my truth… it all had to stop and I’m relearning how to find it and share it again. I’ll save all of that for a different day, but I just wanted to tell you how meaningful this all is, that I can even come back to this online world again and share my life with you.

The dust is starting to settle finally after moving across the country last month. The trips have ended, the moving is done, my family is no longer visiting, and now we’re learning what “normal” life is for us. Now that we’re here, I want to share with you how in the world we ended up in Nashville.

Our first trip up here was last April. We brought the kids for their spring break, and because of people who I had on my team that lived in Nashville, we decided to expand The Shine Project here. I’ve been a lot of places, and Nashville was the only place that I ever thought, “Wow, I could actually lived here.” Shiloh actually tried to convince us to move. But living in Nashville wasn’t something we’d actually ever do… we had kids who were integrated into their schools and community, we lived by my family, my office was in Phoenix, we had no desire or need to relocate anywhere, etc, etc. So, we came back up a few times with the kids just to visit and decided that it was one of our favorite places to escape to.

Then, it happened. We unexpectedly lost our kids in January, and our life took a very painful turn. When I got the call that they were being taken from us, I was in Atlanta for work. The next day Mike flew out and met me in Nashville, because we knew we needed to not be in our house so soon after they had been taken and we needed to be alone and try to wrap our brains and hearts around what the hell just happened to us, and what we were going to do next. As we spent those first couple of days, alone together for the first time in years, something inside of both of us tugged at us that we needed to move there. We drove around looking at different areas, wondering where we could find ourselves again, and knowing that we needed to move.

When we got back to Phoenix and I walked into our house for the first time, our empty, sad, lifeless house… I completely lost it. I sat in Zoe’s room on her little bed, and screamed and yelled and swore and felt every horrific, horrible, excruciating feeling I never knew existed. Every day in that house sucked out more and more of the very little life that Mike and I had left in us. We knew we could never feel peace there, or heal, or move forward, or be okay. Everything we did and saw was a painful reminder that there was just two of us now. I used to walk with the kids and the dog every day after school to get the mail, and doing little tasks like that became impossible because it was all a part of our old routine, except the people I used to share those moments with were no longer there. We didn’t check the mail for so long that after one really bad day, I went home to shower to find that our water was off. We figured out that bills hadn’t been paid (because life doesn’t stop for you when you’re going through hell) because they were sitting in our unopened mailbox. Going back to our house after work just added to the anxiety and depression that I already was engulfed with, and I physically, emotionally, and mentally could not take it.

As soon as we listed our house for sale, I flew out to Nashville, and we put an offer on a home that I showed to Mike over FaceTime. We wanted to sell our Phoenix house before we bought our new one, so we made an offer on the home that was contingent upon us selling our house in Phoenix. Within the week, a woman made a cash offer on our Phoenix house, which meant that we had 2 weeks to be out and that God was truly mindful of helping us on to the next chapter in our lives. We were so excited.

Less than a week before our house sale was supposed to be finalized, our buyer backed out. We lost the house in Nashville, and would spend the next 3 months in so much confusion wondering why nobody was buying our house, if we’d ever get out of there, and not being able to move forward AT ALL. It was honestly horrible. Loosing your children is the worst thing I could fathom going through in this life, and then to just be trapped in the pain in the home that was a constant reminder of our loss… it was all so impossible. After months of trying to sell our home, we decided that maybe we should try renting it out instead. We put our house up for rent in May, and within TWO days two people wanted it. We had 3 weeks to now be out of our Phoenix home, but nowhere to go in Nashville. When the family rented our house, I started sobbing. I realized as hard as it was to be there, that it was the last tangible piece of our family. I am so happy our Phoenix house didn’t sell, and that we still have it, but are able to have a different family fill it with love and memories now.

We immediately flew up to Nashville and spent 2 days looking in different areas of the city that we wanted to live in. The market here is crazy, so we’d go to look at a house we really wanted, to find out that it had just been under contract. Things weren’t looking great for us. We were driving down a street on the way to look at a house, and this one particular street had the most magical feeling. I was like Mike, do you feel that? This place is so beautiful and special and I want to live here. There happened to be 2 houses for sale on the street, but they hadn’t been listed yet… the agent let us go in to them… and that house we drove by on the most magical street, is now our current home.

During that same time, I needed to figure out what would happen with me working from Nashville and not with everyone else in Phoenix. I needed an office space, and the same day that one of my friends/business associates looked for one, was also the same day a new retail space was listed. She said, Ashley, why don’t you have a retail space with an office in the back? I was like hmm… that’s a perfect idea. Then she told me that the space was only about 10 minutes from my house and it sealed the deal for me.

Before we left Phoenix, we sold all of our things. The items we kept were artwork the kids made us over the last 4 years, or clothing of theirs I found left at the house, and old stuffed animals of theirs. Everything we owned fit in our car that we shipped up here. It was a weird, yet liberating feeling. We didn’t want to make a big deal of our move so we really didn’t tell anyone, or say goodbye to people. We’ll be back to Phoenix here and there because our family lives there and my office is there.

People ask us a lot why we moved to Nashville.

We have no family here, or anywhere within 1600 miles, knew maybe 5 people, had no reason to come for work…. we just came. We came because we felt a pull to. Because we want to find our lives again. Because God knew I needed to sit out front on my porch and watch fireflies light up my green yard that has trees and grass and blue birds, and have neighbors who bring me vegetables from their garden, and feel the sweet southern way of life that brings a little peace and healing.

We’ve been in awe of everything since we moved here. It’s all so different than our normal. And we needed different. We needed to feel excited about something… about anything, and we needed a place where we can heal… So when the time comes that Zoe and Shiloh see us again, they’ll be proud of who we are and who we’ve become.

Here we are, Nashville. Fighting hard to find happiness and joy again, and knowing that this is the place we need to be for a while. I have no idea what’s in store for us, but we feel like were at home. It’s the move we never wanted, never anticipated, and never saw coming. But it might just be the move that literally saves our lives.

I want to start blogging again. For so many reasons… but I need your help and input. Do you want me to? What do you want me to share? What will help you, or make you happy? Please let me know in the comments below… Thanks for following our insane and crazy journey.

We also just started a YouTube Channel here. We hope that our journey right now can help you along in yours…

Shine on,

Ashley

29 thoughts on “The Move We Never Wanted…”

  1. First of all Ashley, you have a gift of expressing your heart that touches lives, and has definitely touched mine. I honestly am crying right now from your experiences and lifted up from from your courage!
    Thank you for sharing!
    I love reading your blogs, so, yes please do them! As far as what to say, well I think anything you feel inspired to at the time is worth sharing. You are a beautiful soul in every way! I’m praying for many blessings to come your way as you continue to love, serve, and share with the people in your life, because you are so deserving and we learn so much from you! 💞

  2. Of course you should keep blogging. As someone who just started a blog, I know how cathartic it can be. Do it for yourself, you deserve it. And welcome to Nashville! I impulsively moved here 8 years ago from Southern California and it was the best decision I ever made.

  3. So inspirational and beautiful. I too have moved to save my life and marriage. We sometimes don’t plan for things to happen in life but the unknown road is sometimes the best decision we have ever made. You guys are so brave and deep within my heart I wish that you get to spend time with your kids again. I love how much you are loving your current life and that’s what is all about. I started following you and getting to know your business after hearing your podcast in the Lively Show. Your business is an inspiration and I hope to one day find my career and do so much good as you do.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us! Please continue to blog and share how you continue to grow everyday, how you heal after not having your kids and show us Nashville! A city I hope to visit with my hubby very very soon. Cheers and lots of health and love to you both…always!

  4. I have been following your story for awhile now and while I will not pretend to understand your unimaginable pain, you and your husband have been in my thoughts and prayers. Nashville is a great city and I hope you guys fall in love with it there (I’m in Chattanooga, so not far away). I love all of your honesty in your posts, so I would love reading your blog posts!

  5. You guys are so brave and amazing!! The fireflies sound perfect and I think this will bring so much light to your life. Wishing you all the happiest blessings 💛

  6. Ashley, when you and I started blogging all those years ago, one of the reasons I was drawn to your blog was your beautiful gift to write. You write so eloquently and effortlessly. Please share. We, your readers are listening. We are here for you.

  7. God is always up to something, isn’t he? 😊
    I’ve been going through old prayer journals tonight and an entry from Dec 2012 caught my eye because it was a poem/song I wrote (and then totally forgot about).
    But, reading your post and your sign off “sign on” made me stop and flip through those pages to share this with you.
    Maybe this is meant for you and your husband. Maybe the reason I felt like digging through old journals is because God’s wants to encourage you and let you know he’s been holding you from the get go.
    Shine
    Shine bright
    You are stars in the night
    Shine
    Shine bright
    Shine on

    Be the salt & the sweet
    Be the refreshing wind
    Be the warming heat
    Shine bright

    Be the prayer no one hears
    Be the strength behind the tears
    Be the light that won’t fade away
    Be the star that shines always

    Shine bright

    I hope that encourages you
    -Laura

  8. Im not super familiar with your story, but have a little idea and am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I dont care if you birth children, adopt, foster, are an aunt and uncle. . . when children come into your lives and then are out. . .I dont even know how to feel what you must be feeling. . . but writing about your day to day life, your amazing business, your relationship with your hubby. . . all of it will be healing and also help others! Blog! Blog! Blog! Whatever you want!! If no one reads it (we;; just me) then you have a journal to look back on your life! If for no one else, do it for you! Good luck!

    P.S.
    If you’re ever in need of a photog in the Denver area. . . hit me up!

  9. yes please.
    your words–your journey–matters too much to go silent and unheard.
    tell us everything your heart carries and wishes to share because we’re listening.
    ♥️

  10. I believe this is most definitely a season for you to share !.. You have so much encouragement to offer us. I love your honesty and it has blessed my life . Your words are comforting to me as I’m in the season of processing much heartache , bitterness , anger ,loss, etc … Your words remind me that God is for me , even when I can’t see clearly !.. I’m so sorry for your loss !!. You amaze me wirh your strength , faith and desire to pour into others !!.. what selfless love you are blessing us all with ,💗

  11. You are so loved and such a bright spot for so many! Nashville is lucky to have you and sounds like it’s the perfect next chapter for you.

  12. Keep ’em coming! You are the real deal! Thank you for your vulnerability! Love your writing! It’s why I started following you all those years back 😀❤️

  13. I just have found so much faith, love, and grace in this hard journey you’re on. Please keep blogging. You’re so inspiring and you and Mike are incredible. Blog about your new life in Nashville, what are some great places you’ve found there? Blog about the new store, your employees, your new home and decorating, blog about hard times, happy times, blog about marriage the ups and downs, blog about your children!

  14. I love reading your courageous, real, valiant, raw, and powerful words. You have no idea how much you sharing your grief and healing touches lives- it has touched mine immensely. I’m so grateful you share and would love to continue to read more about your journey of healing and the newness of life you are growing 🙂 Thank you for shining!

  15. Ashley, I cannot remember exactly how I came across your business page, but I thank God every day that I did. Please DO write. Keep on sharing your story, pouring out your heart, and allowing words to heal you. In reading your story, I am reminded of the beautiful ways God works in and through our brokenness. And because of that reminder, I am encouraged in the midst of my own journey. Thank you for being you, friend.

  16. I have followed you for quite a few years before you even had your beautiful children with you. It might be kinda cool if you shared the story of you & Mike & how you met? How many years have you been married? Mike is so funny & I love how the two of you are like two big adult kids who have such a zest for life even while you are still so broken after losing your children. Thank You

  17. I have been following your IG account for a few years. I think I stumbled across it one day looking for cute bracelets. Then I noticed you had a super cute family. Then one day I noticed I hadn’t seen any posts with your kids. I’ve followed your story. You are like strangers I feel like I know. The painful times have made you stronger. Those children will never forget you. I pray for your peace ✌🏼 hugs from California~ be well 🔮💫💝

  18. This post stopped me in my tracks. I am so sorry. I always have admired the love you show for your children, and I am heartbroken you’re going through this. Please, stay strong, and blog about whatever is going on in your day to day life. What you’re feeling. Anything! Writing is so cathartic, I hope it can be for you.

  19. Ashley I see “light” and “peace” in your pictures above. For the past 7 months, even though you are beautiful, all I could see was numbness. My heart has ached for you, Mike and the kids. It makes me happy to see some joy returning to your life. When you talked about sitting on your porch watching fire flies…. it took me back many years. My heart still yearns for that experience once again. Living a simple and slow down life isn’t so bad.
    love ya lots

  20. I love you, lady! So grateful I met you when you were serving here in Cincinnati. Keep fighting and keeping your head up. God is doing amazing things through you and that sweet husband of yours. <3

  21. Nashville is awesome – I hope you guys are super happy there! Fresh starts are invigorating – a chance to try new hobbies, make new friends, be a fresh version of yourself – how exciting!

  22. I love reading what’s on your heart so you should write about that. Write about your grief, your healing and hope. Write about baby steps and things and people and God that help you overcome emptiness. Most of all write from the heart. You don’t have to have an agenda or a calendar or topics just write what comes.

  23. Thanks for sharing, Ashley…I hope that in doing so a little of the burden of silence you have carried for too long has been lifted. I have thought often about you and what you’ve been enduring, and knew that your strength and faith would help you through it, just praying that you’d find the way sooner rather than later to cope and reframe your life after such a tragedy…

    Keep writing!!

    You are only about 4 hours from here, so if you’re ever up to it, I’d love to come see you. Nashville is a great city that will be made even better by your being there!

    Tell Mike I’m still sharing his recipe for that great spicy chicken ciabatta sandwich!!

  24. Just how real you are with your feelings is exactly what we all need to hear… sprinkled with the little rays of hope you find along the way. It’s perfect 🙂

  25. I’m so sorry for your loss!
    I know God is mourning with you!
    I lived in Tennessee for 20 years. There is something special there!

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