Category Archives: Uncategorized

I never stop writing

I have not published much here in recent years. I never stopped writing, I just wouldn’t publish. I was mainly concerned about protecting my husband’s privacy, even when we were merely dating.

One thing my husband has consistently says to me when I ask, “What do you think I should do?” is “write!” Today, I want to write about and actually publish a couple of thoughts that have really improved my outlook lately.

First, in light of the sad passing of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington this year, I just felt so sad. So much talent wasted. Why would these two artists who I respect and treasure so much feel their only option was suicide?! My friend Lauren expressed how their passing reminds us to find our joy — not happiness in money, fame, or “unbelievable talent” — but the joy that comes from a still, small voice inside. Whatever your joy is, I want you to have it.

Second, my amazing friend Heather called me to tell me that God’s timing is at work in my life. I believe she said, “God’s timing started in this [difficult situation], and He will also finish it.” Whatever you believe should give you hope. I believe that the journey I am on will move next to a hopeful outcome.

My first job out of college was editing a magazine. I remember the issue when we switched production companies from a small time, one-man operation to a slightly larger shop that did all the photo scanning and layout. We had two full-page photos mapped for black and white pages. (Yes, the publisher was too cheap to pay for full-color pages throughout the magazine! Likewise, I was making roughly minimum wage + a dollar, with a college degree.) At some point, someone recognized that the two black and white photos for a particular article were possibly switched during production of this issue. The error could have happened during photography, while the author was writing the article, when I labeled and submitted the content to the production company, or anytime at the production company. I’ve always believed that the mistake was on me — it’s kept me humble since then.

I’ve gone through triumphs and failures. I’ve had highs and lows that were totally circumstantial. A lot of my career has been in the software industry, which hasn’t been super stable outside of the Silicon Valley.

Maybe if I could go back to that first job, I would. I wrote, but I also did so many other things I was not trained or prepared to do. Maybe I’m hoping my next professional journey will be just as scary — I want to embrace new things in light of all my experience while learning from others who have magnificent experiences.

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It’s alright to be right, but it’s nice to be nice.

Like most of the important lessons in my life, the I’ve carried around the Nice Lesson for years. What is the Nice Lesson? To me, it’s how to balance one’s personal need to be right with the moral and social imperative that human beings treat each other with kindness. I’ve lived on both ends of the spectrum — the need to be right fits in nicely with my perfectionism, but always being nice plays right into my abhorrence of confrontation. I think my struggle to live in a balance with the two is why I am so sensitive to something that’s probably not even a thing for most people.

Right off, though, I’ve got to say that I don’t think that a person can’t be nice AND right. I think this is an issue of the Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule

We recently held national elections, and I’m not even going to pretend that the current political climate didn’t affect me deeply. Full disclosure: My political convictions range all over, but socially I’m progressive. This year I’ve been called “unpatriotic,” “baby killer,” “socialist,” “retarded,” and plenty of other hurtful, thoughtless things. I’m none of those things. I am not ANY of those things.

This election, however, I had to go with the Golden Rule. I was raised on the teachings of Jesus and the importance of thinking critically and acting accordingly. Instilled in me is a deep patriotism. As a result, I vote with my conscience.  I vote the Golden Rule.

Right vs. Kind

Unrelated to my personal election season experiences is the another bit of the Golden Rule. I witnessed a grown man yell at a 16-year-old girl about whether her mobile devise had an app on it or not. I experienced a first-hand scream-down over a movie time.

Really, dudes?! Why is your need to be right more important than the imperative to be kind? To be loving? To reassure people you love?!

Be. Kind.

About

Ashley

I am a technology-savvy marketing and communications professional with project management experience, as well as a copywriter and award-winning editor. I know how to evangelize a brand or message, especially in a B2B environment. I’m fiercely loyal, passionate, and always interested in how stuff works. I bring a keen eye and sense of humor to everything I do and everyone I meet.

I’m passionate about learning and edifying. I’m a voracious reader and enjoy creative projects in my downtime like crafts, DIY, and knitting. (Yes, Pinterest was built for me!) I like to blog, which is a byproduct of what I call my rich internal life. I also enjoy being a part of the Sparked.com microvolunteering network.

I recently joined Peisner Johnson & Company as marketing manager. PJCo is a registered CPA firm focusing exclusively on state and local tax issues. Our headquarters are in Dallas, and I divide my time between the Dallas and Waxahachie offices.

Writing + dreaming = great advice!

Just before going to sleep last night I wrote a little about the mental slump I’ve been in lately. Well, in my dreams, my good friend @JennLynnster sent me someone else’s blog about why we get into such funks, and how to get out. Aha! said Dream Ashley, That makes so much sense! Wow, I feel better. I couldn’t tell you what it was, but it helped. Thanks, subconscious, for fixing yourself while I got a good night’s sleep. Sent from my iPhone

I can bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan!

Photo1

Exhibit 1: Breakfast.

I cannot cook bacon in a pan, turkey (my bacon of choice) or otherwise, without singing the jingle from the popular commercial from my childhood.

Exhibit 2: Popular commercial from my childhood.

Yesterday, my friend Angela and I were discussing life, et cetera, and she said I was one of the most progressive people she knows. I suppose she’s right; I am progressive.

I’m progressive because of my upbringing, my family, my personality, the path I’ve taken, the purpose divined for me. Of my parents, it is my mother who has the Bachelor’s degree. Of my father’s parents, it is my grandmother who was the PhD. My great aunt Isobel was the first female full college professor at Michigan State University. She eventually became the head of MSU’s math department. (The first woman to become a full professor at Michigan State taught calculus — not home economics, elementary education, nursing, or any other traditionally female-dominated profession. Great Aunt Isobel taught MATH.) My mom’s mom was a tailor (She called herself a seamstress, but she tailored wedding dresses. That’s a tailor.) with a sharp eye for detail and passion for her work.

My sister and I discussed this a couple of days ago. In addition to these female examples, our dad is a driven, successful trailblazer. What option did we have but to seek challenge and create compassion?!

I’m so excited to be in a role professionally that is challenging, new, fun, and different than anything I’ve done before. I didn’t realize that these were qualities I needed in a career until I spent time with a career coach. I’m happy to be in a relationship that supports and celebrates my career. I’m grateful to have friends and family who share my professional ideals, ambitions, and successes.

Enchantment

I took that surreptitously one-handed while trying to play it cool when what I really wanted to do was tackle-hug him while squeeing from a dead sprint.

His talk was based on his book, Enchantment, in which he discusses building enchantment around a brand. I learned a lot from the talk, and I’m looking forward to reading the book to reinforce the ideas!

A lot of what I learned tonight didn’t come directly from the speakers. I’m not really on the front lines with clients for now, so my perspective on enchanting customers is different, for now. I’m synthesizing Guy’s information with what sparked in my mind.

Frankly, I’m enchanted by all the inspiration. I will post more about all of it soon!

Exhausted, but loving it.

Over the last few months, I have been asked a couple of questions about 514,250 times:

  1. Will you please tell me about yourself?
  2. What do you like to do in your free time?

Frankly, I’ve had so many interviews lately that I am sick of talking about myself. But starting a new position this week, I’m making every effort to embrace the two-ears-one-mouth policy. As in, listen at least twice as much as you speak!

Supporting this attitude is the fact that I am, once again, working in an industry that is new to me. I am very happy, once again, to have an exciting challenge to learn and write about brand-new topics. When I was in B2B publishing, we used to say, “a good writer can write about anything,” and I really believe that’s true. It’s true with writing, marketing, and sales. My friend Jason says that the less a sales person understands what they are selling, the better they do. I disagree somewhat — I would say that it’s not about understanding, it’s about technique.

A sharp professional who has the technique can come to understand a new industry and it’s subtleties. But guess what … relying on all technique and no understanding is an ego-driven, naive, greedy, or just plain stupid move — that person will fail because he or she is egotistical, naive, greedy, or stupid. Thus, the two-ears-one-mouth policy!

What is happening in my brain during all this two-eared policy is interesting, exciting, and totally exhausting.

I. Love. It.

Tagged

OK to be awake again at 3:41 a.m.

Why am I ok with not sleeping tonight?! I suppose a huge part of that is because I have blissfully nothing to do tomorrow. I’ve been working on a friend’s resume this week, and one other friend of hers, to help with their job searches, so I plan to finish up a lot for them tomorrow. But after much stress about where I would be tomorrow, err… later today … I’m totally at peace with having a day of doing nothing. Tomorrow is a little staycation, if you will!

Recently, I met with a couple of career coaches who helped me realize many things. First, we defined my ideal job that would serve my career goals. Also, many of my personal goals and strengths took shape during my session. Such clarity has greatly benefited me in many ways.

The aforementioned dream job: I start Tuesday. Turning down job offers and even interviews in this economy is stressful, but I feel led to this job for the next phase of my life. And I do feel like this is a life change, not just a career change.

Second, some clarity in my personal life: I miss physically volunteering. I have particpated in the online microvolunteering at sparked.com, but I miss doing things like heading a blanket drive for Jonathan’s Place or volunteering at Baylor alum activities like Shoes for Orphan Souls. One of my coaches helped me realize that my drive to volunteer — to give back to my community — was tied to my concept of being a part of a church. Probably true, but other true facts include: Pesky morals for friendship, leadership, service ingrained in me in my Baylor days as a proud member of Alpha Phi Omega.

A third note on a personal level: Meeting a special person is, well, pretty special. I have so many special people in my life, and I am blessed and grateful. That concept of “accept help” has been so hard for me for about a decade, but one of the lessons my career coaches identified was that I am not alone. Accepting that I am not alone is pretty crucial to this step.

The morning air is cool and relaxing. I wish I had a dog to check on or nudge off my lap right now. Instead, I will grab a few hours sleep and have a tune-up on my car and get my tires rotated to prepare for my new commute to my new, amazing job.

If you’re reading this, I love you. And you all know how, and why. And how to find me on Pinterest.

I wish there were only good things

I learned this morning that my friend John Anderson passed away. Although I felt blue all day, I had phone calls and interviews that I needed to be “on” for, so I set my sadness aside as best I could.

This evening, I finally allowed myself to feel the loss of my friend John. Unfortunately, I’ve known other loss of friends and family, but all these experiences help me grow. I would prefer only good experiences, but the world doesn’t work that way.

My friend John was smart, funny, honest, and very witty. Godspeed, John Anderson.