When I asked Ashley Mitchell of Ashley Made Knits, to describe her primary occupation, she gave this list: teacher, mom, nurse, boo boo kisser, wife, disciplinarian, nursing mom, housekeeper, homesteader, making all that can be made from scratch, and hardcore dyer.
The life of an Alberta homesteader must take every ounce of creativity one can muster. Which made me wonder how Ashley decided to tackle a crisis across the world from the Canadian prairie.
It all came down to her father. As an air force man, he had the opportunity to travel the world, seeing new cultures and ways of being. This global view filled him with compassion, and he deliberately taught his children about the cultures he encountered, instilling in them a love for all people.
“Your slogan, ‘healing hearts across enemy lines’ would have really resonated with him,” Ashley says. “His desire was for peace, protection and friendship for and with the women and children and the men fighting and desiring better lives for their families. He lived for justice and love.”
The residual influence of this man is powerfully evident in his daughter who is crossing enemy lines through her art: knitting and sewing. “I got started by making handmade toys and dolls for my children. I posted a photo on Instagram one day and since then I've had local and online orders trickling in,” says Ashley.
“To swoop in and love someone, to save them at all costs no matter how different they are from you is truly the love of Christ, loving like Christ. I too loved reading about the grants you are raising money for, for these women to build businesses, to dream and hope and thrive... That means so much more than a simple business grant to me. It means a way of life, giving these women a sliver of a new dream to build upon after suffering and losing so much. I want that for them. For their children. For their family and husbands who escaped Isis ...”
Ashley, we want that too. We want that sliver of a new dream to turn into reality for the families of Iraq.