Category Archives: Faith & Inspiration

First steps

Last month I did something really crazy and brave. Well, brave for me, at least. After setting my goals at work for the upcoming year, I decided to type them out and post them on my office window for everyone to see. The idea was to get people talking to me about how I’m doing. Since my job is all about building community and positive morale within our company, I want people to tell me what’s working…and what’s not (though I’ll be honest, I don’t always get as excited when they have that feedback). I want my colleagues to know what I’m working on because I want their input and ideas.

My sign has definitely garnered some reaction from those who pass by my office. Mostly, it seems like people think I’ve lost my mind. Who would list out their goals one by one so specifically and post them to be judged by? While it hasn’t caught on with others around the office, the one thing it has done is started conversations that probably would never happen without it. Sure, not everything is something I want to hear, but it’s dialogue, and that gets the ideas rolling. What’s even better is that I have forty people to keep me on track and accountable for my commitments. Bingo.

If I know anything about creative types, it’s that we typically don’t like to share our ideas until we feel like we’ve fleshed them out…and then built on them a little…and then spent a few hundred hours perfecting them…and then decided it’ll never be what we want it to be, so why even bother. This, unfortunately, often means that we never act on our ideas, because we’re too busy trying to make them perfect before we tell anyone. Well, nothing is perfect in the beginning, and if we can’t get past this thought process, we’ll spend all our time thinking about the ideas that we could have pursued and wake up to realize that we’ve never done anything to make them a reality.

So I’m taking the first step to changing my creative behavior. I’m announcing to the world that I’d like to write a book! Yes, a book. I’m thinking a little devotional book of short essays, but I’m not completely sure yet, and you know what? That’s okay. I’m telling you anyway because you might want to encourage me with a nice little motivational quote, or you might want to tell me that you’ve always wanted to do the same thing. You might want to tell me that you have a passion for editing and you’d be willing to help me work through my thoughts over a nice cup of coffee or that your Aunt Sarah works for a hip new digital publishing company and this is just the kind of thing she’s looking for. Or maybe you just want to tell me that the book industry is dying and no one reads devotionals anymore, and who on Earth do I think I am and why would I have anything interesting to say, and oh by the way, I better be really nice to my boss and keep my day job. That’s fine, too. I’ve decided it’s worth the risk of someone telling me that what I’m doing is dumb. I’m taking a risk, opening myself up to criticism, and I’ll take as many positive thoughts as I can get. Because I think a “why not” attitude is what real accomplishment is made of.

So I’ll  let you know how it’s going from time to time, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below. Just remember I have the power to delete if I don’t like what you have to say. If only that worked in every part of life.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Faith & Inspiration, Personal

On gratitude, pain, and blessings

Today I am thankful. I could give you a list of everything I’m grateful for, but you’d get bored long before I got to the end. This week I’ve been texting back and forth with an old friend…each time we think of something we’re thankful for, we send a message and tell the other one. It’s put me in a great mood all week, and it’s fun to hear what someone else appreciates in their own life.

Dinner prep has been going on all morning. Later today, we’ll fill our plates, refill our plates, watch some football (you’re going down, Aggies…yea, I said it), and probably refill our plates again. On days like today, I’m acutely aware that I have more than most, and most certainly have more than I need or deserve. In this go-go-go world, it’s nice to take a day to breathe, spend time with the people (and the puppies) who make our life worth living, and just be content knowing that God is good. I’m also acutely aware that not everyone is having a great day like I am. There are people I love dearly and people I’ll never meet who are hurting today, and if you’re lucky enough to be smiling today like me, it’s our privilege, really, to take a moment and think of those going through hard times, and to send up a little prayer on their behalf. We’re all in this together.

So wherever you find yourself today, I hope your day is blessed in some way big or small. I hope that you get to experience gratitude for something, because it just really doesn’t get any better than that.

Ashley Terry 2011

 

1 Comment

Filed under Faith & Inspiration, Personal

Set apart

Tonight I want to talk about purpose. Mainly because it’s been something that has been weighing on me for months, but also because I want to know what you think.

I believe in purpose. I believe that I am here on this Earth because there is some contribution or difference I am supposed to make that only I can make. I believe that’s why you’re here, too. I believe that we all have different talents and personalities and viewpoints because we are intended to make the mark that only we can make. And I believe, as Oprah has said, that it’s my job to figure out what my purpose is and get about the business of fulfilling it.

Problem is, I have no idea what that is.

Now this never happens to me, but tonight I sat down to open up my book of devotionals and the scripture for September 8 was this from 1 Peter (4:10):

“Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others.”

Clearly Someone knows that this has been on mind. In the book, Max Lucado adds his own thoughts:

“Blessed are those who recognize their God-given responsibilities. Blessed are those who know what on Earth they are  on Earth to do and set themselves about the business of doing it.”

So if you don’t know what your responsibility is, how do you discover it?  God told Jeremiah, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Wow. “Before you were born I set you apart.” This is a lot for my human brain to grasp, but I know enough to know that if God set me apart from all the rest of His miraculous creations, there must be a good reason.

What do you think? Do you know your purpose? Your calling? If so, how did you finally come around to understanding it?

2 Comments

Filed under Faith & Inspiration

There will be healing

Our cable is out right now so I haven’t seen the news, but I’ve been checking the updates online and skimming through photo galleries of the terrible wildfires that destroyed so many homes in the Austin metro area yesterday. This morning we woke to what should be a refreshing and welcome breeze in the air, but with this dry, brittle land that’s been suffering a drought for so long, it seems like just a threat waving in our faces, a reminder that another fire could break out anywhere, at any time.

In times like this we are reminded of just how helpless we can be, especially when it comes to Mother Nature. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved sitting on the porch and watching the clouds when a storm rolls in. The crash of the thunder reminds me of God’s ultimate power, and just how strong He really is. Oddly enough, I really like storms (until they become damaging, of course). I feel like it’s God’s way of showing his power and I always feel safe knowing that the Creator of the storm is the same God I carry all my cares and concerns to. He controls the clouds and the thunder and the rain (umm, of which we could use anything that you have to spare, by the way); the wind and the sun and the heat.

This is not a post where I explain why natural disasters occur or why God lets them happen. Your guess is as good as mine. I know how big God is and I don’t pretend to know all the reasons behind what happens here on Earth. But in that same respect, I know how big God is, and I know that if He controls the wind, He also controls the rain. The rain that will come, and it will come…eventually. There will be healing in this land. The grass will grow over where the ashes are today. The water will fill the lakes and everything will be renewed again, and stronger for what it has overcome. If you’re in Austin (or anywhere in Texas, really) I know it’s hard to believe right now. Especially if you’ve lost your home. I don’t have answers, but I do know who is in control, and His power is greater than any we’ve ever known. Don’t underestimate what He can do.

On a side note, if you’ve been evacuated from the fires in the Austin metro area, Austin Christian Fellowship church in River Place (near 620 and 2222) is providing shelter and food, and pets are more than welcome. They are also collecting information on specific needs and sharing it with members on Facebook so that our community can do whatever we can to help our neighbors. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith & Inspiration