Category Archives: Personal

Why you need to say it out loud.

A few days ago I proclaimed to the World Wide Web and the whole wide world that I want to be a wedding photographer. It sounded as crazy in my head as it does when I sit here typing it, and that’s precisely why I waited so long to admit it.

But the craziest things have started to happen. Out of the blue, I got the sweetest note of encouragement from a photographer that I adore on my blog. I’m getting congratulatory notes from photographers in the online forum I’m part of. I got connected with another group that’s meeting up this week for an industry web conference (I’m bringing the veggie tray, ’cause I’m cool like that). And I’m connecting with new photographers on Facebook and Twitter, starting conversations with people who have been where I am and are headed where I want to be.

Did you get that? I told the world my big, crazy, audacious, outrageous plan and it totally laughed at me welcomed me with open arms. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that everyone out there is happy about my plans, but I won’t spend much time listening to them anyway.

What dreams do you have for 2012 (and beyond) that you’re afraid to say out loud? What happens may just surprise you.

Ashley Terry 2012


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Filed under Personal, The Business

Here it is. No turning back.

I’ve donned my favorite lounge pants, poured a glass of Riesling, and I’m ready to spend a quiet night at home with the dogs and my hubby. I can’t think of a better way to finish out the year, and oh what a year it has been. Twelve months ago I had a brand new camera, no idea what I was doing, and one really big blurry picture in my head of what I wanted for my life.

This year I’ve reminded myself of my pre-teen self, when I was quite obviously head-over-heels in Crushville for that blonde-headed boy in class. I’d spend the afternoons daydreaming about the day when he’d ask me to be his girlfriend, all the while completely denying even knowing his name when my friends would ask me if I liked him.

“You think I like who?!…Are you crazy? I’m not even sure I know who that is. Why would I like him? You have no idea what you’re talking about…Please.”

I felt that way this year. Any time anyone would ask me about photography, I’d try to play it off (key word is try) like I was too cool for school.

Me, a photographer? No, no, I just play around here and there a little. It’s nothing, really. I actually have no idea what I’m doing.

As cool as I tried to be, I’m pretty sure I’m just as transparent as I was back in grade school. In the words of Jasmine Star, I was knocking on photography’s door, and even flirting a little, but that was it. I didn’t really want anyone to catch on. Because then I’d be vulnerable.

For months now, I’ve been thinking about my goals for the new year and what I want my life to look like in 2012. It’s time for me to put a stake in the ground, because that’s the only way I’m going to get anywhere. So, you’ll hear it first.

2012 is going to be about building my business, Ashley Terry Creative. Starting from the ground, bootstrappin’ it like the best of ’em, and earning my place in the industry. Writing & wedding photography. Yes, I said wedding photography. No, I’m not overlooking the obvious, crazy as it may seem. I’ve never really shot a wedding. So I must start somewhere.

To all my family and friends, here it is: I want to be a wedding photographer. Typing that sentence almost throws me into a panic attack, but it also feels so exciting! So if you know anyone who’s getting engaged or married or might be getting engaged or married, or wants to pretend they’re engaged or getting married, and has no budget, I’m asking you to please send them to my site to get to know me a little. Because I have photography skills but I need to get experience with a wedding, I’m offering to provide full coverage for one wedding, completely free. Yes, free.

If you’re a wedding photographer in need of a second shooter, assistant, or someone to bring you cold water and fan you while you work, I’m your girl. I’d be thrilled to talk to you about any possible opportunities to work with you. It would be an honor.

So there it is. No going back. No debating over what I want to do or where I want to go, it’s out there. 2012, watch out. Here I come!

So even though you can’t see me, I’m raising my glass of Riesling. Here’s to you, to all of your triumphs and challenges in 2011, and to a very happy, very safe, very BLESSED new year. Cheers, my friends! Let’s do this!

Ashley Terry 2011


Filed under Personal, The Business, Weddings

Bookshelf: Uncovered, by Susie Davis

I first came across a column by Susie Davis about a year-and-a-half ago, in an issue of Austin Woman Magazine. At the end I read that she and her husband, Will, had built a church on the northwest side of town. I was interested because Marlin and I had just moved and were looking to get connected in a church and had yet to find one we felt comfortable with. Fast forward to today, and not only have we found a new church home that we’re pretty excited about, but I’ve also found a new author to tell you about.

It’s an easy read. Uncovered: Revealing the Secrets of a Sexy Marriage. It’s one that you could read while sipping an iced (insert your beverage of choice here), lying on a nice beach towel watching the waves go back and forth. It’s also one you could curl up with by the bedside lamp with a cup of hot tea and stay up all night to finish without even realizing it. It’s funny, real, and inspiring.

But what I love most about it is the lesson I never knew I had never realized, even two years after the wedding (I know, we’re practically seasoned vets, don’t you think?). In the chapter titled “Materialism and the Man,” Susie warns about the threats of being obsessed with things, with what we have, and how we appear to be doing to everyone on the outside. Yes, we’ve all heard this before. But she goes on to write that lowering our standards or crushing our cravings for stuff is not going to be a long-term solution; rather, we should really think about raising our expectations. Not the expectations of what we have, but raising the expectations of what our marriage should be and stand for. Her answer? Giving your marriage a mission.

I’m going to stop here for a second because I’m a little embarrassed to say that she ended up going in an entirely different direction than I was expecting. She asks why you got married in the first place and I went down my list: Build a life with my best friend…check. Provide a stable home and family for the future children I hope to have…check. Irresistible smile and dimples…triple check. Okay, there was a little more to my decision than that, but you get the idea. What I never considered about getting married was this:

“While Will and I love each other immensely, we are also out there loving God and others…while doing so, we are fulfilling our mission to love and serve…and it’s in this comprehensive context that we find meaning in our marriage. A marriage mission is about understanding that the union you share is not just about the two of you. Your marriage has a higher calling and a bigger vision–and that can change everything.”

Whoa. Do you see why I was embarrassed to admit that I’d never realized this before? It seems so common sense, but honestly I was just always concerned about how our marriage served my husband. Now I realize that as a couple, God can use our marriage to serve others.

Thanks for bringing this life-changing revelation to my universe, Susie. I was a major fan of marriage before, but this takes it to a whole other level. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a mission.

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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.


Filed under Faith & Inspiration, Personal

Two Years

As this day has been getting closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past two years. All that we’ve done, all that we’ve been through, all that we’ve accomplished and all the places we’ve been. I think about the good days and the bad days…and realize, thankfully, that the latter are few and far between. I think about the times we’ve cried, all the times we’ve laughed, and the hundreds of mornings that were made instantly better because I woke up with you by my side. Most importantly, I think of all the lessons I’ve learned.

For instance, I’ve learned that you like to kick your shoes off in the doorway as soon as you get home. You like to sweeten your coffee with chocolate milk. You can do a full load of laundry for only your burnt orange t-shirts. You can keep up and keep score with all seventeen football games that might be on t.v. at one given time. You don’t have much to say in the mornings, but you’ve always got a wink in your eye and a compliment on hand. You don’t always feel like you have the right words to say to me, but you always know how to make me laugh, and that’s even better. No matter what I make in the kitchen, you’ll always find a way to take it up just one more notch And you make an awesome breakfast.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that even though you’re perfect for me, our marriage is so much more than just what I get. It’s the chance to really get to know each other; the good and the bad…and the bad hair days. It’s building a life together, day in and day out, whether we’re spending a night on the town or just relaxing on the couch. It’s being the one you talk to, the one who gets to encourage you, support you, and annoy you (sometimes all in the same day if I’m really on a roll). It’s about learning to love someone as you love yourself, or more. It’s about giving the best of yourself, even on days when you don’t feel like it. No, it’s not about what we get, but who we get to be for each other. Thank you for letting me be that special someone, your partner and your cheerleader. I’m so honored.

Happy two year anniversary. Here’s to all the lessons we’ve learned so far and to the many, many more still to come. I love you.

Back during our engagement; just a couple of kids

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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


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Filed under Faith & Inspiration, Personal

Sneak Peek: Carli | Anytime Portraits

Greetings from Tar Heel Country! We’re celebrating Thanksgiving in North Carolina with my father-in-law and sister-in-law this year. This morning Carli and I took a tour of her small town and brought our cameras along to practice posing, lighting, and well, pretty much everything.

If you happen to live in the North Carolina area, check out Carli’s website (or even if you don’t live there; you’ll be glad you did). She’s a pretty fabulous picture-taker herself.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come:

Copyright Ashley Terry 2011

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Filed under Personal, Portrait Portfolio

It’s that time again

Ladies, it’s that time again. If you live in Texas and you’re married, dating, have friends that are guys or well, if you know a man, you know what I mean.

It’s officially college football season.

This is the time of year when everything around our house changes. Even the air is different. Marlin wakes up early on Saturdays just to sing along to the opening sequence of ESPN’s Game Day show. The dog days of summer are gone and the next few months belong to football. He’ll be watching games until his eyes are glued in that crazy position. He’ll turn the rally cap when things get tough, and he’ll make snide remarks under his breath to anyone who dares to make a negative comment about their own team…because you just don’t do that. He’ll argue stats and trivia with anyone who has enough false confidence to go up against him. But let me just save you the time; you’re going to lose. He’ll pretend to listen to me when I talk about anything else, but he’ll actually be running stats in his head, and strategizing who will make the championship run this season. At least he’ll smile and nod his head so he thinks that I think he’s really paying attention. But we both know the truth.

It’s alright; I’ve made my peace with it. I’ll sacrifice full conversations for my husband’s greater good, because this is the time of year when he really comes to life. It might as well be Christmas.

So to all of you ladies out there who understand my plight, just remember. Things will be back to normal soon enough. Like in February.

P.S. Don’t tell anyone, but I might even have a little fun myself. Hook ’em!

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That’s who he is

Earlier this week I wrote about the sudden loss of my Uncle Tim; it’s a post I never imagined I would write, and this is another one. I realize this is not a topic I usually write about here, but for those of you who have taken the time to read the thoughts that I just have to get out, and for all of your kind words, thoughts and prayers, I say from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the rest of my family, thank you.

Last night I sat in a room surrounded by my family. It was just our small group; no office acquaintances, no old friends that happened upon the notice in the paper, no funeral directors. Just our immediate family unit. The people who loved him the most, and the people he loved the most. We poured over old pictures of him on the baseball team, with old pets, posing for the yearbook photos, making silly faces and sticking his tongue out at the camera. We tried to hold back tears and we laughed. We told our favorite stories of his life.

I sat there and I listened. I laughed at stories I remembered but hadn’t thought of in ages. I listened to the others tell stories and I was amazed at how one person can have such unique relationships with so many different people. To me, he’s an uncle. But I was also reminded that he is also a brother, a son, a fishing teacher, a buddy. As they all talked about what Uncle Tim means to them and how he would be remembered, I didn’t know what to say. How do you describe someone you’ve known your entire life? Someone you’ve spent so many holidays and weekends and random family gatherings with? How do you put it into words?

And then this afternoon I got a text message from my cousin. He’d been at the house, helping to go through a few of his things and he’d come across something he knew I’d want to see. When I first opened the photo, I didn’t recognize it. But when I saw the inside (and my handwriting), I knew how old it must be. It was an old birthday card that I’m sure my mom had picked out for him so many years before. On the inside, there was a bunch of scribbling in crayon and what looked like my 4 or 5 year-old attempt to sign my name. It was nothing special, just an old birthday card from his niece. But it has to be more than twenty years old; and he had held onto it all these years.

That’s when I knew. I may never be able to put all he is into words, or what he means to our family, or how much he will be missed. But this story is all you really need to know about him.

That’s who he is.


Filed under Personal

It was supposed to be perfect

“We pour out our misery, God just hears a melody.

Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts

Are better than a hallelujah sometimes.”

| Amy Grant, Better Than a Hallelujah

This song has been running through my head all day. I think it’s God’s way of telling me that it’s okay to have a moment and just let it all go. But I’m just not ready.

This weekend was my mom’s 50th birthday. It was a weekend we’d been planning for months, and it was supposed to be perfect. The family was all together, just like old times (this is not an easy task to coordinate these days now that most of the kids are married with their own families and responsibilities), the menu was hand-picked and the heat wave was just beginning to break with the setting of the sun.

The boys played football in the pool (and threatened to throw the girls in). The women sat in the shade, talking about the boys and cooing over the baby in his bright yellow floatie. We caught up on all the news and all the gossip and ended the night in the wee hours of the morning with karaoke at the top of our lungs.

It was supposed to be perfect. And it was, until the call came.

It was 5:30 in the morning, and I could hardly hear what she was saying. I’d hit the snooze button on the phone what seemed like twenty times, until I realized it wasn’t the alarm. It was my mom calling. I sat up under the covers and I knew immediately that I would regret answering the phone.

That was yesterday, and it still feels like a dream. A nightmare. This can’t possibly have happened; someone has this all wrong. I just spent the entire afternoon with him, and he was fine. He was throwing the football and jumping into the pool and poking me in the ribs when I didn’t see him coming, like he always does. He’s not gone. You’re wrong. This is just a bad dream.

I’m still waiting to wake up. They say that my Uncle Tim had a heart attack, but I won’t believe it until I go back to his house and he’s not there. Until I wait to hear his laugh because it’s all a big joke and I hear nothing but silence instead. Until I can look my grandmother in the eye and understand why she has to say goodbye to her only son.

It was supposed to be perfect.

This is my Uncle Tim, having a blast at my mom's birthday party. I still can't believe it was the last day we would all spend together.


Filed under Personal