Marti AsherMarti Asher passed Tuesday morning, March 12th with family and friends at her side. Always a consummate professional. Marti was passionate and took a genuine interest in others. We will miss her smile, laughter, vigilance in many details and most of all her friendship. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her four children – Elizabeth (Christopher) Sanders, Melissa, David (Adelina) and Michelle; three beloved grandchildren, Henry, Norah and Catherine; and to her boyfriend Ron Cardwell. God has blessed us with her presence. Rest in peace Marti.

She was a tireless champion for our non-profit clients, launching a practice niche for us. Marti started at GCM in 1997, switching careers after a break to have four children. A previous BS with distinction from Purdue University, she later earned her AA with high honors in Accounting at Alamance Community College (ACC). She received the 2014 ACC distinguished alumni award. Marti received a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke University and chaired the state-wide Non-Profit Committee for the North Carolina Association of CPAs. No doubt for years to come, her impact will be felt in particular at CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response & Resource Center and Women’s Resource Center, organizations holding a special place in her heart. Marti was an avid Duke basketball fan. After watching recent last second wins, perhaps those young men have an angel on the court with them.

Marti was intentionally positive and always encouraging others.

We found this on Marti’s desk:

Circles in the pond

Thinking back to his childhood, a man recalls a pivotal moment in his life.

My grandfather took me to the fish pond on the farm when I was about seven, and he told me to throw a stone into the water. He told me to watch the circles created by the stone. Then he asked me to think of myself as that stone.

“You may create lots of splashes in your life but the waves that come from those splashes will disturb the peace of all your fellow creatures,” he said. “Remember that you are responsible for what you put in your circle and that circle will also touch many other circles. You will need to live in a way that allows the good that comes from your circle to send the peace of that goodness to others. The splash that comes from anger or jealousy will send those feelings to other circles. You are responsible for both.”

That was the first time I realized each person creates the inner peace or discord that flows out into the world. We cannot create world peace if we are riddled with inner conflict, hatred, doubt, or anger. We radiate the feelings and thoughts that we hold inside, whether we speak them or not. Whatever is splashing around inside of us is spilling out into the world, creating beauty or discord with all other circles of life. Remember the eternal wisdom: “Whatever you focus on, expands.” author unknown.

Think about what you are putting in your circle that will touch other circles? Even when Jesus knew that his best friends would scatter and abandon him, he put forgiveness in his circle. What do you need this day to keep negativity from taking over your circle? Sometimes it helps to take a breath and name your life treasures or simply to acknowledge a handful of benefits that bless your day.

How many people will pass your path today? You could treat these encounters as routine happenings or as significant passings. Maybe it’s only your smile, a caring hello, a sincere encouragement, a compassionate heart that simply listens — but this giving of yourself creates those circles that will touch so many others.

Suddenly the ordinary isn’t so ordinary. Suddenly the everyday becomes an enthusiastic embrace of your day.

Perhaps this is part of Marti’s legacy.