Ashley J. H. is a believer, inspirational content creator, educator, mentor, and writer. "Sometimes you just have to jump and grow wings in midair," is the personal mantra turned public motto that thrust her out of her comfort zone and into a public journey of self-discovery. In an age where everything is filtered to perfection, she writes transparently about everything from faith to mental illness. Her blog "Temple & Riot" examines the crossroads of faith, creativity, and celebrates spiritual and creative evolution. Ashley has mixed her love of all things creative with her passion for education and her faith by creating workshops that tackle all three and build community in the process. Her upcoming ventures include her first book, "Growing Wings In Midair" which chronicles a life from fear, through faith, to flight and her YouTube channel that will feature inspirational conversations, short films, and poetry.
Ashley's Writing Clips
A NOTE TO YOU
WHY TEMPLE & RIOT?
I felt led to create Temple & Riot because, honestly?
I needed it.
For much of my life, I hid, fearful of stepping into the fulness of who I am because of how others reacted/might react to me. I was creative from childhood, always curious, wandering, and making things. Somewhere around the start of middle school I shut down. I was painfully aware of others' opinions and incredibly afraid to be that same imaginative little girl for fear of judgment or ridicule. The sad part is that much of the judgment I feared came from people within my church network. Church. The one place that should be safe. From that point forward, I resigned myself to conforming to to a life experience that wasn't mine. I didn't move too far outside the box for years though I still dreamed of traveling and writing books and one day getting as deep into the creative arts as I could manage. I lived a man-made 'temple' life, reverent but dormant. That life wasn't mine.
Everything about me was curious, offbeat, free, colorful, & WILD.
By traditional standards, everything about me was wrong. I battled depression, comparing my life, my career, my faith journey to others and wondered if I measured up in God's eyes. I didn't fit into much of the traditional church culture even though I wholeheartedly believed in and respected its foundation... So where did that leave me? Where could I go to be open and honest? To feel like I could breathe? Where was a safe space in which I could work through my issues - because in the famous words of Whitley Gilbert - "I gots a PLENTY!" How could I use my creative gifts and talents in a way that glorified God and benefited people like me?
It took 29 years to realize that to try to fit any other mold is to apologize for who I am and to apologize for who I am is to declare that God made a terrible mistake. Quite the opposite. God created me to be a creative, spiritually-courageous, down-to-earth woman and that’s who I should be. At all costs. A temple AND a riot. Do those sides clash? Sure. But they run parallel more often than not.
We often try to hide the intersections of our lives as a way to manage others' perceptions/opinions. We give up on our true, full selves, only polishing and setting out the nicest pieces for folks to see while tucking the broken or unconventional pieces away. We never realize the timeless beauty in the totality. What would happen if I publicly recognized and unpacked the intersections of my life? The temples AND the riots? The pure AND the profane? What if my experiences could evoke spiritual and creative encounters and evolution for people on a similar journey?
I know from firsthand experience that life isn't always answered prayers from the pews. More often than not life is messy, colorful, out-of-the-box, and questioning.
Temple & Riot is a safe space to examine those intersections, the mess, the questions. It cuts through the facade of superficial spirituality. Temple & Riot is a call to freedom, a call to action. It is a space to come home to. No judgment, just growth. My prayer is that through transparent personal essays, affirmation (coming soon!) and devotionals (coming soon, part deux!) Temple & Riot will encourage you spiritually and creatively and stir up revelation as it acknowledges the realities of life. I'm nobody's preacher or authority, just a girl determined to finally be more transparent and free than I have ever been. Let’s get free together.
I pray this site blesses you in even the smallest way. Kick off your shoes, pour a cup of tea (or a green smoothie) and breathe easy. Your vibe has connected you to your tribe. Welcome home.