The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Lists of Lists June 9, 2010

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — Erin Joy @ 8:57 pm
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I love lists.

I know, that’s kind of an odd thing, but I find myself making them all the time! I have grocery lists, lists of what I need to do in Photoshop, lists of people I need to send cards to, lists of people I need to get stuff from, lists of people I just need to get back in touch with, lists of things I need to clean in our house, lists of where I could possibly move, lists of things I need to do by the end of the week, lists of places where I plan to go in the next month, lists of whatever comes to mind.

Once I even started making a list of “100 Things That Make Me Come Alive” on a challenge from a friend in college. I think I failed that one because I’ve only managed to get to maybe about 10 … because I wanted to write explanations for them all.

Seriously, I make too many lists. I think I write bullet lists in emails for work almost a dozen times a day. I have a list of all the different ideas for blog posts—just ask Ashley or Michelle! And look, here I am making a list of all the different kinds of lists I make. I’m out of control!

And now I have another list.

Yes, I know the idea of a bucket list has received a little bit of overkill since the movie came out three years ago, but it’s only recently that I’ve started having ideas of things “I want to do before I can’t”. I have so many places I want to visit, so many adventures I’d like to embark on, so many things I’d like to be a part of, but right now, they’re all just ideas floating around in my head. None of that’s ever going to happen when they’re only ideas.

That’s why I’ve decided to make a list of what I want to do.

Normally I’d ask for your opinions and suggestions for what to add to the list, but I’m not going to ask that. This list is a list of things that I personally need to create. I’m not sure how long of a list it will be or if I will ever stop adding to it.

All I know is I need to write things down in order to not allow these ideas to escape while I turn my back to work the extra half an hour at the end of a work day.


Fruitless Envy November 1, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 9:00 pm
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There are certain people in my life who seem to have exactly what I want:

  • the comfort of a great (non-temporary) job they are passionate about,
  • the adoration of a loving husband,
  • the creativity that can spark awe in the dullest of imaginations,
  • impressively productive will power,
  • the cute kids,
  • means to support so many different good causes,
  • world-wide travel,
  • an adventuresome nature that goes beyond “what if”.

And those are just a few of the things.

Sometimes those people spark me as inspiration, like when Katie came up with the reason and the means for us to dress as ninjas and slink through the night to spy on a suspected statue thief. There’s no way I would have done that on my own, and that’s become one of my favorite memories, largely for that reason alone.

There are other times, however, when I become envious of the people I hope would have inspired me. For instance, I see no relationship or children in the near future. Yes, I steal other people’s children on occasion, but I’m repeatedly told that it’s not the same as having your own.

I’m fully aware of the fact that the Bible describes envy as “unclean” (Mark 7:22) and “meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 4:4), and that it says it “rots your bones” (Proverbs 14:30). It’s true. No matter how much motivation envy brings about, you never really achieve what you were aiming at. You never truly are satisfied with what you have.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary puts it this way:

Pronunciation: \ˈen-vē\
Function: noun
Date: 13th century

1 : painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage

Clearly, that pain is not going to be comforted by some sort of effort on our part. The pain only leaves when “the desire to possess the same advantage” leaves. We need to learn to be thankful for where we are in life and for what we have. As I’m repeatedly telling the preschoolers in my Sunday school class, we have many, many things that God’s given us to be thankful for. We just have to take the time to think about them.

So, as I sit and look at that list, I wonder, How can I turn that around?

  • the comfort of a great (non-temporary) job they are passionate about, I have a job, one that has potential to become permanent.
  • the adoration of a loving husband, I’m not so old that this could never happen. I know someone who found love at 80 years of age.
  • the creativity that can spark awe in the dullest of imaginations, God has given us resources to inspire us on our not-so-creative days.
  • impressively productive will power, God gives me the strength to get done what needs to be.
  • the cute kids, I steal everyone else’s kids . . . and I get to give them back!
  • means to support so many different good causes, I can pray, and I know firsthand that God answers those prayers.
  • world-wide travel, I learn something new about where I live on a regular basis, and I have traveled far more than the average Joe.
  • an adventuresome nature that goes beyond “what if”. I am inspired and challenged by friends around me, even if those friends are only two to five years old.

How can you take your list of things you envy in others and turn them into reasons to be thankful?


My Writing Verse October 26, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 2:25 pm
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I’m not sure if other writers have a verse that applies particularly to their writing, but I have a verse that helps me type that next word.

Did God wake me up in the middle of the night with a verse in my mind? No. After discovering my “writing verse” did I hop on the computer and cheerily pound out 50,000 words? No. In fact, God gave me that verse in the midst of my biggest writing struggle and it did not end instantly.

During my senior year in college, I often found myself staring at a blank screen. Any thoughts I’d had before writing drained out of my ears. But I didn’t have the luxury of avoidance because of my writing classes. I had to extract each word like a dentist pulling out a bad tooth.  And of course when I edited my writing, everything seemed terrible. I’d shake my head and say to myself, I should be better by now. Why in the world did I think I could do this?


During my daily Bible reading one afternoon, I stumbled across this verse in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (The Message, emphasis mine)

3 -5I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway.

I’m not sure how many times I read it, but each time a wave of relief rolled over me.

Paul was scared? Paul felt inadequate? Yes. And despite his inadequacy, God used him to spread the Gospel. And He will use me too. Yes, I need to give my best effort, but after that, God will use my words,  no matter how bumbling, to tell His beautiful story.

That thought makes me brave enough to keep writing. Eventually, as I persisted the words came easier. One day I found myself on the other side of that dark tunnel. I think part of my problem was the pressure I’d put on myself to be perfect. (See my old post on perfectionism.) But when I do my best and leave the rest to God, writing, though still had work can be immensely rewarding.

Do you have a verse that God has specifically give you for your calling? Please share!