The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

And the third to go … LifeInk List Maker Blog February 21, 2011

Filed under: Introduction,Life in General,Writing — Erin Joy @ 12:44 pm
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For those of you who were wondering, yes, Erin is still alive. And yes, I am going to separate off onto my own blog as well.

So, here it is: LifeInk List Maker (

Follow the above link to learn more about why I decided to become the LifeInk List Maker.


More Than I Asked or Imagined September 29, 2010

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — Erin Joy @ 12:54 pm
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It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was still searching for a job. It’s even harder to believe that three years ago, I returned home from college, resigned that I wasn’t one of those who found a job as soon as I received my degree.

As many of you know, I’m far from that now. I enjoy my job a lot. I have not only learned a lot from it (like having to give a presentation that scared the pants off me yesterday), but I’ve been challenged to better myself as well (for example, my professional appearance).

And that brings me to a few Sundays ago. That Sunday, someone from our church preached from the book of James. I must be honest that I was a bit distracted while sitting there looking at my Bible, mostly because of the notes I’d penned in the margins.

Almost exactly three years before, on September 30, 2007, I’d written next to James 4:15-17, “God has perfect timing.” That was shortly after my move back in with my parents’. I realized about that time that we don’t always get to plan what’s going to happen next. Now, I’m not saying we ought to sit by and let life happen to us, just that we don’t always get what we plan down the line. At that point, I’d expected to be moved out on my own (or with a roommate) to a job somewhere in the writing/editing field. I had none of that aside from some freelance work I’d been doing.

Completely distracted from the sermon at this point, I flipped through the pages of my Bible to glance through any other notes I’d scribbled on the pages. Sure enough, I found one from August of 2008, right about the time I’d returned from working at the Willow Creek Association for the summer. I was, once again, discouraged that I had to move back in with my parents, but the verses that caught my eye were 1 Corinthians 16:8-9. Next to it, I’d written, “Lord, show me the ‘in the meantime.'”

It’s amazing how God answered that tiny written prayer, by providing random odd jobs, friends who move in and out of town and a wonderful Sunday school class to help teach. That “in the meantime” really did become filled with some amazing blessings.

Last fall, I began temping in the area, and that led me to the job I currently have (and love). Can I continue to say how much I enjoy working at my job? I have caught myself saying on more than one occasion, “It’s more than I could’ve ever asked for or imagined.” Sound familiar? I know! I didn’t even realize what I’d been saying. It’s true though.

I never would have imagined that I get to write blogs, “play” on Facebook and tweet away on Twitter all day! I also recently organized an event for some bloggers and their children. How is that not fun? How can you not enjoy a job like that? Sure, there are days that I’m stressed out or have to work ridiculously long hours for the sake of the team, but to be able to work in an environment that is as quirky and fun-loving as I am or spend time with people who are crazier than I am (in a good way) is such a wonderful thing that I never could have asked for.

It’s funny how a couple scribbles in the margins had such an effect on me over the past three years. I’m amazed at looking back to see where I was when I wrote each of them, and how each one has impacted where I am now.


How to Dress for Work September 9, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:49 pm
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A few months ago, I was faced with a very frustrating phone call. The temp agency I’d been working with had discussed a few potential improvements I could make on my job. One of them had to deal with my attire. As I’ve always had a difficult time accepting my appearance, this came as a rather difficult piece of information to swallow.

I’ll admit: I cried. The day after I received the phone call, I didn’t speak to a single person in my office unless spoken to. I stayed in my cubicle and wallowed in my anger.

I knew I couldn’t act like that for very long if I wanted to keep my job, so I decided to take some action. I recruited my friend Egan to perform a “What Not To Wear” intervention on my closet. It was one of the hardest, most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t recommend having anyone but the closest of friends help you with this. I know I came very near punching her once or twice with some of the insults she threw at my closet. (The episode of “My Boys” a couple weeks ago is a perfect example when Kenny tried to organize P.J.’s closet.)

Since then, I’ve been looking for “work appropriate” clothing. I bought myself a few shirts that should be better, and I’m making sure not to wear things after they start looking a little raggedy. I started wearing make-up (and have since declined in my usage due to my tendency to be a little later getting around in the morning than I’d like).  I take time, however, to look at my hair. If I don’t have time to dry it and straighten it, it gets thrown into a bun with chopsticks. I’d prefer those over a ponytail any day.

Shortly after this intervention, however, I went with Ashley and Michelle to have our photos taken. Ashley and I were getting ready together since I was staying at her house. We were trying to go through some clothes and decide what she was going to wear, and in the middle of it, I had an epiphany.

People have told me many times that I look great when I go to Indiana or to friends’ houses, but to have this fall on my lap confused me. The one major difference, I realized, is cameras. When I visit friends with new babies or who take many photos (which are most of my friends), I expect to have my photo taken, so I make sure I look nicer. I don’t want to be remembered as “Auntie Erin, the scrub”, do I?

No. So as Ashley and I concluded, every day you should dress as if you’re going to have your photo taken.

Go to work expecting a photographer to show up and use you as a model for cubicle furniture or a printer advertisement. Visit your friend expecting to see yourself in scrapbooks down the line. Always be on guard for that camera.


The Art of Being August 13, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 1:40 pm
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It’s been a while since I’ve actually sat down and written something for this blog. (Sorry to Ashley and Michelle for not keeping up my end of the bargain.) Mostly, it’s because I haven’t made the time, but partly it’s because I’ve been away appreciating the church family camp I’ve gone to since before I was born.

One of the many things that Brown City Camp taught me growing up is what I like to call the “art of being.” It came from my childhood when we would spend a full week and a half with family, having nowhere to escape but to the playground and the (non-disgusting) lagoon. It came from when I was in the youth spending long afternoons filled with nothing but card games and conversations under the big oak(?) tree in the middle of the youth area. That later extended into late-night conversations about the most obscure things in friends’ trailers.

There has always been something about just “being” with friends that I have always enjoyed. Once in a great while, I’ll just shut up and sit back and enjoy the company. If there’s a large enough group, this can go on for some time. I love occasionally stepping back and looking in from the outside at my friends enjoying each other.

I never really understood the concept until college. I participated in it occasionally in high school, but it never really clicked until college. I would be over at a friend’s dorm for a get-together of some sort, and there would be no other purpose to our being there other than to be together. It was a wonderful feeling! Sometimes food would show up, and other times we would just sit and talk for hours on end. It didn’t matter. We were together.

Now, there are rare moments when I can truly appreciate just “being” with people I enjoy. As you go out in the “real world,”  there must always be a purpose to your meetings, and people feel like time together, unless spent “productively”, is a waste. I beg to differ. There is something very productive about building those relationships that you can’t do while you’ve got a specific goal in mind when it comes to your time together. You only see one part of that person, and you miss out on a whole lot more.

What do you think? Is there something beneficial to just enjoying the presence of the people around you?


Revisiting My Sixteen-Year-Old Self July 18, 2010

Last weekend I had the chance to revisit the habits of my teenage years. (I feel so old saying that!)

I heard early last week that two of my favorite artists were performing together within five minutes of my friend’s home in Fort Wayne. For the last probably 5 years, I’ve said my dream concert would be to see Jars of Clay, Caedmon’s Call and Plumb in a concert together, but I know that would never happen, considering the difference in styles of music. But this concert was almost that, with both Jars of Clay and Plumb.

I’ve been a fan of Plumb for 13 years. I remember jumping up and down in front of the TV when I saw a Plumb album in the credits of an episode of Roswell, having recognized it earlier in the episode. (I wish they still did that with TV shows!) I can recall listening to her music when I rode the bus to school in middle school, as I  sat in front of my locker in high school and while I stayed up late pulling all-nighters in college. Her music pointed out  some rather unhealthy relationships I’ve had and helped me from holding onto them.

I’ve been to probably 40 or so concerts, yet I have never seen Plumb perform live or even seen a tour schedule where she was close enough that I could consider going to a concert.

It wasn’t until college that I came to enjoy Jars of Clay’s music. For some reason, I heard the song “Boy on a String” in 1998 and decided I didn’t like any of their music based on that song alone. Boy, I was missing out for years, not to mention the fact that Plumb’s debut concert tour was with them!

This was the second time I had the opportunity to see them perform, but it was much better. Last time, I was in the second balcony of an auditorium with a point-and-shoot digital camera. This time, I was in the front of the crowd at an outdoor festival with my beloved Canon Rebel and its change of lens, and for a fraction of the cost.

The concert was great! I think I had just as much fun taking photos as I did listening to the music. Had I completely followed my routines for what I did in high school. I would have had the bands sign a CD or something afterward, but I had left all my CDs in my car, and I figured I would be home late enough with the three-hour drive I had to make yet that night. I like to think that my habits have matured slightly since then, even if I did decide to go to the concert at the last minute, knowing full well that I needed to be at work at 8 am the next morning.

I maneuvered my way toward the front during Jonny Diaz's performance.

Plumb performed next, and I was more than thrilled to be standing front row.

I took a bunch of fun individual shots during the third band, NEEDTOBREATHE. I was focusing more on my camera while I waited in eager anticipation for Jars of Clay.

Jars of Clay had a great show. I am still in shock I was still front row at that time.

Sure, I may have had a difficult time staying awake Monday morning, but the concert was well worth it. Now that I’ve seen Plumb perform live, I think I’ve seen just about every one of my favorite artists since growing up, from Sandi Patty to Ray Boltz, from All-Star United, DC Talk and the Newsboys to The W’s and The Supertones, from Switchfoot to Superchick, from Caedmon’s Call to Jars of Clay and Plumb. Christian music concerts, I think my long-lived relationship with you may be closer to parting ways.

I was thrilled when Jars of Clay decided to perform an encore song.

How about you? Are there any activities from your high school years that you wouldn’t mind occasionally slipping back into your life, if even for a weekend?


The Lying Wii July 8, 2010

Filed under: Life in General,Weight Loss — Erin Joy @ 9:50 pm
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Around Christmas time my parents purchased a Wii. It was a gift to the family, and for the longest time, I was the one who used it the most. I made sure to do at least the suggested 30 minutes a day of exercise, and I often doubled that to hit the calorie goal I’d set for myself. I was so proud of myself for the progress I’d been making on it. According to the fluctuating scales, I lost about 15 lbs over the 4 months I’d been using it. I had even convinced myself that I could run about 5 miles in 1/2 hour based on its calculations.

But then it started having issues recognizing I was even standing on it. I would have to step off it and reset it several times before it would register correctly (much like Ashley’s scales).

My disappointment was enhanced by the fact the room we keep our Wii in was completely transformed into a construction site when my dad put in an egress window. The habit I’d formed over those four months was completely destroyed in a week’s time. I’ve only used it a half-dozen times in the three months since.

And that brings me to this past weekend.

We were visiting some friends, and I had the “opportunity” to weigh myself on the scale in their gym. I was shocked and appalled by what it said. I was convinced it must be wrong, considering it said 25 lbs more than what I’d last weighed in back home.

Well, that ruined the evening for me. I was so disappointed.

The next day, I made a bee-line for the Wii the moment I arrived home. I had to know if it was just the difference in the scales, or if my Wii was acting crazy.

I had been told before that it sometimes doesn’t register correctly when you use it on the carpet, so I tried it once there, and then I placed it on a board my dad had made for it since the last time I’d been daring enough to use it. Sure enough, 25 lbs difference.

So, it’s back to the drawing board. I’m disappointingly 15 lbs heavier than when I started using the Wii. I think now’s a good time to get back in the habit while using it correctly.

Word of advice to anyone out there with a Wii: make sure you’re using it on a hard surface, or it lies!


Everybody Loves Free! June 29, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 2:22 pm
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One of my bosses recently told me that there is no communication on earth as powerful as the advertisement of free food. If you have free donuts in one part of the building, it’s almost a guarantee that people will be there within five minutes to help consume them. And he’s right.

People flock to the chance to get at something free. Did you know, for instance, that every time the red sign at Krispie Kreme is lit up, they’re making fresh donuts, and you can go in to sample one for free with no obligation to purchase one? I’ll admit: I’ve done it. I’ve also bought a donut once or twice out of guilt for doing that too.

But what I want to know is if this impulse really is worth it? I know some frugal friends who will search out practical items they need for free. On the other hand, I also know several people who have piles of unneeded “things” just because someone once gave it to them for free. I’ll admit, I’m guiltily one of the highest offenders in the second group. But why?

Take for instance a conversation I had the other night with my mom. She and my dad had recently gone on a cruise in Alaska, and they came back with three tote bags, one from the cruise line and two from the specific cruise that they were a part of. As my mom was unpacking and showing me some of the fun things they bought, she said, “What am I going to do with these?”

When I asked her why she got them, she told me the one was left in their room for them and the other two were given to them at the beginning of the cruise with all of their agenda information in them. I can understand the latter two, but why take the one that was left in their room just because it was left there.

That’s why hotels started charging people for the “freebies” they’d take from the hotel bathrooms. People would take them because they were free.

I think the worst part about all these “freebies” is usually that they are impractical, obnoxious and you don’t have a place to store them. I am hoping to get rid of a lot of them in the next couple months. I wonder who I should pass them off to.

What are some of the free things you have floating around your house that you probably should have turned down?