Terry Earp

Terry Earp

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recognize the Summit

                                                  Recognize the Summit

What does this mean to recognize the summit? When I first asked myself this question I began to understand that I did not have a clue. Beyond this I did not really have a viable plan or even a road map of how I was going to get there, that personal bar that I had set for myself. More importantly I did not have a clear understanding of what would be involved in reaching my summit and what it would be like once I got there. In my own mind I had always envisioned myself obtaining my goals by arriving at that apex in my life and by accomplishing this I would live happily ever after. Would I? After a few years and some serious soul searching it became clear to me that without a carefully thought out and established plan in place my chances of achieving my ambitions were slim to none. I began to comprehend that there is more to just having a good plan. It became clear to me that I must first have the tools in place to work my plan. This began my journey of self-examination and a search for truth in my own life. I began to identify areas that I needed to bring into balance in order to equip myself for the journey. These areas included my relationships, spiritual, emotional, financial and physical well being. I understood that by leaving anyone of these out could seriously jeopardize the outcome of my plan. This looked like a pretty tall order. If you are like me you may be asking yourself these questions. Am I up to the challenge? Is it worth the sacrifice? Will I be able to endure disappointments and setbacks along the way? Am I able to delay gratification in fulfillment of my goal until I have all the tools I need to get there? If the answer is yes to all of these then there is only one more question you need to ask yourself. When do I start? There is no better time than right now. One decision like this can be a life changer. Procrastination is an empty promise that breeds a false complacency. There will always be another tomorrow, although there are no guarantees, but there is only one today. You do not have to wait until you feel that you have obtained balance in every area of your life before you begin. These areas will come into fruition as you consciously make an effort to build and strengthen them everyday during your journey but remember that by leaving any one of them out may jeopardize the final result of your climb. You may reach your summit without one or two of them but at what cost? What kind of life will you have? Your success and happiness may be short lived. You may arrive at that personal or financial pinnacle you set for yourself but the price tag may be higher than you anticipated. The trade off could be your health, your emotional well being or maybe even your family. I do not lay claim to having all of these areas in my life brought into a perfect equilibrium but I do have a plan. My plan is to include building a healthy and strong foundation in each one of them along the way. I believe that the highest summit that we can possibly reach is not measured by monetary wealth or personal achievements but in what we can give or plant into the lives of others. This establishes a lasting legacy that lives on long after we are gone. I believe that a person can be wealthy and still have all of the other areas in their life fulfilled. By not centering on just one area brings the bigger picture into focus. I recognize that we are only trustees and stewards of God’s possessions. Love, Peace and Joy are the highest achievements we could ever hope to obtain in our lives. Our search for true happiness is in recognizing this highest point of accomplishment in its truest form. To help meet the needs of another above our own is the highest summit we could ever hope to attain.

Have a blessed day,

Terry Earp


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vision Quest

Vision Quest

Have you ever had a dream or vision that kept coming back to you? What do you usually do with it? Do you entertain the thought of this vision for a little while and then just put it aside for another day? What is it that may be holding you back from pursuing your dreams? Is it lack of confidence or money or is it something else? What ever the reason a vision just remains a vision until we act on it. Some refer to this as a calling. Do you feel you have a calling on your life that sometimes consumes your thoughts? You see I believe that we are all given visions or a purpose which are fueled by dreams in order to fulfill a void or a need of some kind in the world. Where would we be if it were not for dreams and visions? The world would be a pretty boring place don’t you think? Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said, “Many people die with their music still in them”. When I first heard this something stirred within me. I began to ask myself, what if I pass from this life without realizing my dream, without even trying to make my vision a reality? I soon recognized that my biggest obstacle to living my dream was me. Down deep inside I believe I have always known this but was unwilling to admit it to myself. I began to realize that fearing failure was a very poor excuse for not reaching for my dreams. Failure is not an event but merely an opinion. We do not fail until we stop trying and not trying at best is settling for a life of mediocrity. Look at history. Some of the greatest pacesetters of our time failed more than they succeeded. When Thomas Edison was asked about his past failures he replied, "I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb." It is said that Henry Ford went broke five times before he finally succeeded. Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry. Oprah Winfrey early in her career was fired from her job because she was told she was unfit for TV. We do not remember these great trendsetters for their failures but for their success. Can you imagine what would have happened if they just decided to give up after a few tries? If any of them would have given up pursuing their vision I believe that someone else would have stepped up to fill that void. I am of the belief that a vision waits for no one. As long as there is a need in this world someone will rise up to meet that need. Could it be you? Do you have that fire within to pursue your passion in fulfilling your dreams? Action is the catalyst for success. Life is too short to just lie around dreaming it away. What choice will you make?


Visions are fueled by dreams
Of the way that things could be.
And dreams give birth to change
Which help fulfill a void or need.

Innovations create the change
Which are then laid upon the heart
Which then sustains and propels the dream
But this is just the start.

Sacrifice is to deny oneself
For the greater good of all,
To face persecution and rejection
In pursuit of a higher call

Integrity is having the courage
To do what you know is right.
It may not be the most popular thing,
But it is always worth the fight.

Optimism spawns a passion
Toward a noble deed.
It inspires those around us
To be all that they can be.

Need is always key
To those that live without.
And one that will stand within the gap
Is what love is all about.

Terry Earp
November 3, 2005

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Father's Legacy


My Father’s Legacy

Lessons my father taught me have left a lasting impression on my life.  I may not have gotten them right the first, second or sometimes even the third time around but a do over in my father’s book is OK.  He used to teach my three brothers and I that if you don’t get it right the first time you get back up, dust yourself off and try again.  You keep getting back up until you get it right. 

Growing up on the farm I remember the time my dad put me on my first pony.  I wasn’t very old at the time.  The pony jumped up and down a little bit and I fell off.  I didn’t get hurt, my father was there to make sure of that, but just the same I cried.  I cried because I did not want to get back on that pony.  My dad just smiled, picked me back up, dusted me off and put me back in the saddle again.  I didn’t fair any better the next few times I tried but I went away with a valuable lesson that day that stayed with me for the rest of my life.  When I was a little older I was still to small to crawl up on the horses myself so I would sneak carrots out of my mother’s garden, climb a tree in the pasture and coax some of them over.   When one got close enough I would hop on its back and there we would go off to the rodeo.  I’ve been thrown off, knocked off and rubbed off a horse more times than I can count.  I was once thrown off onto our barbed wire fence and when I came to the house cut up and bleeding I thought I was going to be in loads hot water with mom.  She took it better than I thought she would as she doctored me up.  My poor mother put up with a lot of my cowboy antics and had the patients of Job with me.  I did eventually learn to ride though I still carry some of the scars I received while gaining the skills.  I was not going to quit until I did. 

The main theme in my blog has been about making choices and hopefully making the right ones.  Many of us pick up some emotional scars along the way but unlike the physical ones these scars are not as easily seen and sometimes take longer to heal.  We do not always get it right the first time around and occasionally stumble or fall flat on our faces.  This is not the end and we are not down and out unless we choose to stay there.  Let’s say you have a dream or a vision of something that you would very much like to accomplish in your life.
You should ask yourself these questions:
·         Is it a meaningful venture?
·         Is it worth the sacrifice?
·         Will it help make me a better person?
·         Does it help others meet their needs?
·         Does the outcome have merit?

This involves stepping outside of yourself and giving an honest assessment of what you are about to do.  Now it’s decision time.  Something may be telling you – what if I fail?  Just remember that you never fail until you stop trying and if it is a worthwhile dream then it is worth going after.  If you answered yes to the questions above then I think you have a worthwhile dream to pursue.

My heavenly father like my earthly father has taught me the difference between right and wrong but more important than knowing was doing what is right.  He taught me about integrity.  He taught me that integrity is something to be valued.  Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.  No one can take your integrity from you but you can give it away.  If you have ever lost your integrity can you get it back?  I not only believe you can but I know you can.  Have you ever heard of the Butterfly Affect?  It states that, “There are generations yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take today and tomorrow and the next day”.  I think the key word here is today.  Today is something we can take part in making a difference.  Today we can volunteer for a worthy cause.  Today we can we can talk with a senior that may feel alone and forgotten.  Today we can make contact with that friend or family member that we keep putting off. Today you can begin mending fences of broken relationships that were once thought to be lost.  I believe that the actions we choose to take today will leave a lasting legacy for your family and for future generations.  Today is never too late to recognize a wrong and make it right.  What will your legacy be?

Have a blessed day!

Terry Earp         

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Beginnings

 New Beginnings

Here we are again starting out a new year.  Do you find yourself reflecting, as I do, on the past twelve months and contemplating the promise of the New Year?   This has always been a time for reflection for me along with the anticipation and the promise that the coming year will bring.  I believe that this will be the best year yet.  I know that the news of the economy may be telling us a different story with higher gas prices, high unemployment, foreclosures on the rise and the stock market being on a rollercoaster ride.  My wife and I also took a big hit like most everyone else did.  What are we going to do?  We can either throw up our hands and give in to the doom and gloom of the economical forecasts or we can set our own course and blaze a new trail.  I am not suggesting that we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that our financial system isn’t in a bit of a mess right now but we do not have to get caught up in its undertow.  We do not have to let this economy define our future and our families’ wellbeing.  When I sometimes feel that things are hopeless and heading south real fast I think of what my parents had to endure during the Great Depression.    They were not wealthy by anyone’s standards and both came from humble beginnings yet they managed to make it through one of the most difficult economical periods in our country’s history.  My parents worked when ever they could find it but at the same time they worked at becoming self-sufficient entrepreneurs by starting and operating their own businesses.  They found a need and carved out their very own niche.   They started out with nothing but a dream.  Their dream became a reality and they did very well for themselves.   The poet Carl Sandburg once wrote, “Nothing happens but first a dream.”  Sometimes in the wind of change we find new direction.  Perhaps this is the time to chart a new course for a new beginning.  All we need is a dream and the courage to try something new.  Keep in mind that courage does not always come on us like a roaring lion.  Often time’s courage is that gentle whisper in the evening saying we’ll try again tomorrow with a new day filled with all new opportunities.  The only things that stand in our way of what we want in our lives is the will and the courage to try something new along with the faith to believe in our dreams.   

Have a blessed year,


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Gift of Friendship

The Gift of Friendship

It has been said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.  There is no truer statement as when we hear this demonstrated again and again in the news.  Almost daily we hear of someone risking their life for another.  I have asked myself what kind of courage is this.  After closer examination I believe that this is the ultimate measure of friendship.  Most of these heroes do not look at themselves as one.  They just saw that something needed to be done and without hesitation they did it.  On the other extreme being a friend can be as simple as being there or standing in the gap when someone is going through a hard and difficult time.  Often times I think some people stay away because they do not know what to do or say. We probably all have stories like this that we can relate to.    I have been in this place.  I had this friend who was dying of cancer and her doctors told her that she did not have much time left.  I felt so bad for her and her family but I did not know what to do.  I wanted to call on her more than I did.  I wanted to cheer her up in some way.  I was afraid of saying the wrong thing.  I mean what do you say to someone that is just given a few weeks to live?  I have since learned that it is not as important in what you say as in how you listen.  Most of the time that person just wants to know that someone is listening.  I mean really listening.  This kind of listening involves the heart, a heart of compassion.   The majority of people are not looking to be fixed as much as just having a compassionate person to share their feelings with. 

When I was a young boy growing up on the farm I had a Great Dane called Duke.  Duke was as big as I was and my best buddy.  Most all the time when I would be outside Duke would be right there by my side.  When I would talk to him he would look at me like he could understand every word I was saying.  There were times I believe that he actually could.  There were occasions when I was feeling really down about something and I believe he could since that.  Duke would stay even closer to me during those times.  I would talk to him and for some reason always feel better after sharing my problems with my big friend.  Maybe this is one of the reasons they call a dog man’s best friend.  Friendship is such a needed and powerful thing.  In a world of strangers a friend is of great worth.  I have always felt that if it were not for the differing views of politicians in many nations around the world that most people would get along just fine.  I do not believe that we are that much different from one another outside of our social upbringing.  We laugh, we cry, we love, we hope, we might even share a dream.  Some people work so hard to make their world a better place to live by building walls that separate rather than building bridges.  This may be a topic for another day but this subject on friendship has made me rethink of what kind of a friend I am to others.  It makes me recall a difficult period in my life when I lost everything through a series of bad choices.  I lost my livelihood, my home, my cars and eventually my family.  This was a very dark time for me and I really had no desire to go on with my life.  I lost my purpose to live.  I sat down and began to write my thoughts on a piece of paper.  It started out to be a letter and ended up being a poem instead.  This kind of expression has always been a release for me.   I didn’t have any idea of who to send it to because I did not feel that there was anyone left in my life that really cared.   I was having a major pity party.  By the grace of God I am still here.  People that I did not even know before my tumble just seemingly appeared in my life when I needed a friend the most.  I think that my New Years Resolution this year will be for me to be a friend to someone in need of one.  I know the pain of loneliness when it seemed that there was no one else to care.  This holiday season think of maybe giving the gift of friendship to someone very much in need of a friend.  It costs very little except for a little of your time.

Have a blessed day,

Sincerely, Your Friend

Inside of this letter I am sending my heart
Please handle with care,
For it has been broken apart
Buffeted and battered and bruised from within
Please guard this broken vessel
Sincerely, your friend.

Enclosed is a is a treasure, like pearls are my tears
That were bought for a ransom,
Has redeemed all my years
When the Master comes calling, as He promised to mend
Give to him this broken vessel
Sincerely, your friend

He is the Master Potter, like clay in his hands
He’ll remold my broken heart,
On His promise I will stand
As it goes through the fire, I’ve no fear. He’s the best
It will come out bright and shining
It will pass this last test

When He’s finished, take it gently and put it high on a shelf
You were kind and very thoughtful,
Thank you for your help
Through broken heart and shattered dreams by my side you have been
Closer than a brother
Sincerely, your friend

For a friend is there to walk beside you in darkness and despair
And when you fall they will lift you up
And hold you up in prayer,
A friend will stand the test of time, compassion they will show
A friend is a friend for ever,
This you will always know

For a greater love has no one than
To lay his life down for a friend

By Terry Earp

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Journey

I used to envy people like my brother who knew what they wanted to do with their lives long before they were even in high school.  From what I remember he was in seventh grade when he told our parents that he wanted to fly jets.  He knew what he wanted to do and he put a plan together.  He wanted to get into the Air Force Academy.  My brother knew that in order to do this he was going to need to keep his grades up and he did.  He was a straight A student because he had a vision that fueled his dream.  He had plenty of distractions along the way, me being a major one, but he did not let anything or anyone come between him and his dream.  I remember asking him on occasions to come outside to play catch with me or do something else that I thought would be fun.  He would often times be in a book that he just could not put down.  My brother was amazing.  He was like a walking encyclopedia.  I remember going to him with questions about history or some other subject and he always seem to have the answer.  He was accepted into the Air Force Academy right out of high school.  He served as an officer for close to thirty years and got to fly his jets all over the world.  I love this part about my brother.  He always seemed to have a plan.  I on the other hand was at the opposite end of this spectrum.  My parents lined up many great opportunities for me but I just could never seem to get excited about any of them because it was not my dream.  They wanted me to do well and excel in something.  I was not even sure what I wanted to major in until my junior year in college but even then I did not have a vision or a dream of what I wanted to do with my life.  Which category do you fall into?  When I was a young boy I used to think that I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to see the world.  I wanted to help make this world a better place to live but I did not have a plan mapped out for my life.  I didn’t even have a clue.  I know that many people out there like me can relate to this because I have met some of them.  Many of us think we know where we are going but without a clear vision, a purpose and a map on how to get there will cause us to wanders aimlessly like the Israelites did for forty years in the desert.  Be encouraged to know that this is not the end of our life in fulfilling our dreams.  Our dreams and visions often come to us in the most unlikely places.  I have been to the desert and I have to admit that it is a very dry and unpleasant place to be; but my journey did not end there.  It was only a detour to where my heart really desires to be.  Life is a journey.  I found fresh revelation, new hope and new direction in my journey there.  I believe that it is not our Lord’s intent for us to remain in the desert.  For my life it was only a detour that I needed to take.

Have a blessed day,

The Journey

I long to go down to the sea again
To the call of the wind and the tide
It is a wild call, it’s a clear call
That cannot be denied

This yearning deep within my soul
Draws me to where sea meets the shore
To that familiar call heard by sailors all
Within the breath of the oceans’ great roar.

Enchanted by her grand embrace
Eyes fixed on where sea meets the sky
I ask her of the many stories been told
Of adventure and this she replied

I have carried so many by their faith and hope
To where ever their hearts are drawn
A journey fueled by their passions and dreams
To where many before them have gone

To some their port was uncertain
It was the thrill of the open sea
As they set sail toward the horizon
It felt so good to be free

As seasons changed and seas turned gray
My waters rose like mountains
The skies turned black with no stars for guides
And the heavens spilled forth like fountains

As confusion rose and gave way to fear
Like a ship they were tossed
Without the stars to guide their way
They thought they must be lost

Their thoughts went back to that first day
Not so many years ago
When they started their great journey
To what port they did not know

I asked what purpose is this voyage
To travel all this way
To have no destination
And to this storm fall prey?

Is this the final hour
To face this storm alone?
Will they be lost forever?
Will they ever find their home?

The answer made me realize
That storms will come and go
I send them not to harm you
Just to guide you home

When you see the storm clouds gather
No matter where you roam
Just know it’s just the hand of God
Sent to guide you home.

Terry Earp


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

 Hold Tight to the Memories

My youngest girl just turned 21 this month.  It seems like only yesterday she was daddy’s little girl.  Where did all of the time go?  Have you ever wished that you could just freeze time or relive a certain moment?  What would you have done differently?  Would you maybe have worked a little less leaving more time for family time?  When they ask you to come outside to play soccer or play catch with them would you have put aside the things you thought were more important at the time?  Isn’t it strange how we never remember the times we put in that extra overtime but can remember the soccer game where you stood on the side lines cheering her on until you were hoarse.  The passing of time in our lives has a way of bringing a certain kind of clarity to things of what was or could have been.  We all have had those thoughts of if only I could do that one over I would hold on to that moment just a little longer.  My two precious girls are grown and scattered now.  As a father it has always been my desire to provide for them and protect them from anything and everything that could harm them.  Did I do my best?  I ask myself these questions a lot.  Did I do enough to protect and provide for them?  Did I get it right?  I will be the first to admit that I have made more than my share of mistakes as a father.  If I had to do it over again I would have certainly done some things differently.  If this was a perfect world I could protect them from ever getting hurt.  I could have protected my youngest from falling off of her first bike and skinning her knee.  I could have protected her from the heart ache from her breakup with her first real boyfriend.  I could have been there for my older daughter when she needed me most.  I know that the skinned knees and the heart aches are all part of growing up.  I have learned to make peace with my past so I do not spoil the present.  I still want to protect them from the harsh realities of this world and probably always will.  If I could provide them with a world free from anger and fear I would.  If I could make all of their wishes and dreams come true I would.  If I could do this one thing for my girls, I would build for them this magical world:

Once Upon a Time

If I could hold back the sands of time
I would cling to each grain in my hand
And embrace every moment of this time with no end
I would build all the memories I can

If I could paint my dreams on the wall
And make words play out like a song
I would paint you a melody of this magical place
Where nothing would ever go wrong

I would sing of a kingdom in a far away place
With homes and fields filled laughter
Where the prince finds his princess and they ride off together
And living happily ever after

If I could give you a day with no end
And make all your wishes come true
I would give you this day where joy would abound
And sadness could never touch you

In this magical place where time would stand still
Giving time for all you should do
Your longings and dreams will all come alive
In this world created for you

I trust you will share this wondrous place
With someone in search of their dream
And tell them this story, your incredible journey
Of everything that you have seen

For once upon a time in a far away realm
Where hopes and dreams all come true
Time will stand still in this magical world
And old thing will all become new

Terry Earp

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Choices is my journey of self-examination and a search for truth.  It is a series of heartfelt and heart changing journeys through time that has changed my life forever.  Each entry is the result of an event that has touched my life in a very special and personal way.  I am of the belief that if we fail to learn from these life lessons then our journey here is but in vain.  I do not claim to have all the answers.  I have learned from others along the way much wiser than I and hope to continue to do so.  When we think that we know it all and have all of the answers then the learning process stops.  I will always consider myself a student in this massive and always changing world where choices must be made daily.  I hope you will come and travel with me on a journey filled with its many peaks and valleys.  My wish is that these true and personal stories bless you as they have richly blessed me.  I look forward to hearing from you.  How do you feel about this subject?  What is your story? 

I am so very excited to be starting off with my very first blog.  I feel like I am at the threshold of meeting my extended family for the first time and very much look forward to this.  I would like to start off sharing a poem that I had penned when I was in my twenties.  Its original title was Blind Destiny.  I was walking across my university campus in the evening just after leaving the Shakespearean play Hamlet.  I was feeling great and very philosophical that night.  I felt as though I had the whole world at my feet and I was ready to go out and conquer it.  I was excited about my future and ready to explore my new world.  I did not know what my future held but felt confident that I was ready to face anything.  Many years later I revisited my poem with a whole new insight and made some changes.  I do not believe in blind destiny anymore.  I believe that we forge our own destiny by the choices we make good or bad. I also believe that our past does not have to dictate our future or who we are today because we still are free to make choices.

Have a blessed day!

Alone I walk the cold dark street
With only my thoughts for company;
The street lamps overhead guide my steps
As I watch my shadows pass me.

I hear my steps upon the walk
And strain my eyes to see,
My mind begins to dream a dream
Of where my steps will lead

I hear laughter, I witness pain,
I feel the sun, I smell the rain,
I greet faces, I visit places
I’ve never seen or been

This yearning deep within me
Draws me down this path
Toward sights unseen and dreams unborn
A future not determined by my past.

Then suddenly stillness fills the air
I sense a presence and then small voice
My wisdom I have given you
To make yet another choice

But what is this that lies ahead?
My path goes right and left.
At last my time has finally come
To choose which path is best

Terry Earp