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The Crap I Think…..

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TEichstedt

Grab a cup of coffee, curl up with a blanket and crack open a good book.....or this blog.

Flapping & Flounding

I’m a flounder.

I flound. I flap. I flail.

Not through everything…..just the real important stuff.

Marriage for instance is a big one I floundered through. Big time. BIG time.

I still haven’t quite figured out why but when I look back I do get some answers….like for one, I was never that girl who dreamed of marriage. Ever. I never cared about finding my prince charming. Never. Nope. Didn’t care. I never even thought about having kids. As far as I can recall, I played with barbies, not dolls or babies. I read a ton of books. I loved fairy tales and weird, scary, goofy books. I enjoyed playing library and teacher the most. I wrote books. I would go to school with my Grandma sometimes where she was a Speech Pathologist and worked with kids on their speech. My Grandpa would tell me stories and sketch out pictures for me. He was a great designer. An Architect. Very creative and interesting. He made the best Sundaes, made the best breakfasts and the best mixture of sugar and powdered creamer mixed together…..he allowed us to eat it by the spoonful. He also made the best doggone hot dogs in the oven. My Grandparents were huge influences on my life. They encouraged my independency and creativity. They embraced it. My sister’s and I would build huge sand castles for frogs. There would be bridges and rivers running through them. We would catch tadpoles in a net just to throw them right back in the water. My Grandpa told me that every morning when he woke up, he would look out his window and he would say, “Thank you God.” I have so many great memories of them. They are the best people I have ever known. They passed when I was twenty years old but the impression and imprint they made on my life is never forgotten. Not for one day. I was blessed to spend my after-schools growing up with them and my summers with them. They were a beautiful gift to this earth.

Marriage is something I am getting the hang of more and more each day. I definitely floundered through the first couple years. Unsure of who I was supposed to be now that I was a wife. Now that everything was a compromise and no longer based on one person’s decision. I struggled with wanting my independence still, yet no longer having it.

I have also floundered through this blogging thing. Before I got married, I wrote five times a week and didn’t miss one for months. I received many messages from people telling me how much they enjoyed my blog and looked forward to reading it every night. And then I stopped. Then I picked it up again later. Then I stopped again. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. I’ve changed the name many times and for a while tried to figure out what I should write about now. But then I read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and had an epiphany. In her book she talks about her other book “Eat, Pray, Love.” She talks about how she wrote that book to help herself see and to heal and to understand….herself. It was never to initially help others. Although, it did. It changed people’s lives and became a major motion picture BUT, it was always to first and foremost help herself. She encouraged that in all creators. Do it for you. Do it to help yourself. Do it to express yourself. To understand yourself. That’s when it clicked with me.

When I wrote my blogs before marriage, it was a new journey for me. A scary one. A stressful one. A crazy one. I wrote about my fears and excitement of getting married along with other “stuffing” in my life. Sometimes I would hit publish on my blog and think, this really makes no sense. Will people even like it or understand what I am trying to say. And ironically, those ones I had the most fear about I would get the best responses from.

I love reading. I love writing. Reading first and foremost. Writing second. So I am tackling this blogging again at a different point in my life. Trying to help myself first and foremost and possibly in light of helping myself, I may end up helping others.

I will flounder through this. I’ve already changed the name since, well, yesterday. I will also continue to flounder through marriage. Thank God my husband knows this, accepts this, and is so patient with me. He is definitely a keeper. One I almost let go of. Not again. Lesson learned.

I am wondering if any of you ever flounder……? Through life, through marriage perhaps, through church possibly (Lord knows that’s another one of my floundering moments), through fitness maybe, or even parenthood, or following your dreams……whatever it is. Floundering in the sense of flip flopping, trying to make it work, trying to get to where the water is so you can breathe….or even just to feel the coolness of it.

Floundering is not a bad thing. It is learning thing. A finding yourself thing. An accepting yourself thing.

It is a good thing.

So, let me know…..who are my flounders?

What is your  floundering story?

Love & Blessings,

Tara

“Good writing succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” ~Malcolm Gladwell

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Balls of Clay

The other day I was thinking about people. Specifically, what does it look like when people change……It got me to thinking about beating people. Like when you have play dough and you are squishing it, smooshing it, shaping it, forming it…….all into what you want it to be.

I am in the helping profession. And sometimes I wonder how does this helping thing really work?

I instantly had a thought of a big ball of clay and there were people all around this big ball of clay and everyone is just pounding on this big ball of clay. One person is kicking it on one side while the other is punching it on the other side while someone is on top of it jumping aggressively up and down…..and then someone else is carving out other parts of the clay. All of us into what we want it to be. We all have pictures in our minds of what we want that ball of clay to look like. And this poor ball of clay. Being shaped by our agenda and our desires of what a perfect ball of clay looks like.

Yikes. Poor, poor ball of clay.

For some reason this makes me think of when I went to church. When I first started going I was this ball of clay I suppose and I allowed others to mold me and shape me into what they thought a perfect ball of clay is to look like. And at first I really enjoyed it. After going to the same church for almost three years I finally felt included! I was in. IN. I was a part of Bible Studies, Life Groups, Mission Trips; I knew people. I KNEW people. And not just any people but leaders in the church. I felt like a perfect ball of clay. I was in the IN clique at church. And it felt good because for so long I was on the outside looking in wanting that.

Everything about church came to a stop for me shortly after marriage. The people I was in with started to feel false to me. Like everything was some sort of elaborate plan and it really had nothing to do with me. There were lots of surface conversations when all I really wanted was to go deep. Dark web deep. About the hurt in life. About my doubts. And why everyone surely believes that their way of thinking was the RIGHT way. I remember a couple friends had reached out to me after thinking I was going down the wrong path because I really enjoyed fitness. I had a great mentor that they believed didn’t follow God. I guess they were concerned. I remember thinking in a conversation I had with one of them that, I don’t need to be saved. I am saved. The end.

I started to feel alone in church. Going to church was no longer fun for me. I wanted to DO things. Not talk about things. I didn’t need to hear anymore sermons about whom I was supposed to be and who I wasn’t supposed to be…..every sermon started to blend in.

Church is for sinners…..and the broken…..and the sick. It is for those who need help and feel alone. Once we walk into church we should no longer feel alone and helpless. Yet, it is more like when someone sins or admits their sin, everyone stands horrified and gasps. Who helps? Who comes to your rescue? Not to beat you with scripture but just to be there. “Why is church more like a country club with cliques and Barbie and Ken smiles….and AA meetings are MORE like a church?” Our struggles and sharing them with others should be accepted…..but mostly I felt like every time I walked into a church I had to put on my game face, be polite, smile and say, “I’m good!” Because when I say I’m not good, Lord knows there will be a mad rush for the woman over there in the purple jacket with brown curly hair. “She needs some praying! She needs a Bible! She needs to talk to the Preacher man! She needs to be redeemed! She needs to be told her sins are wrong! She needs more molding!”

Authenticity is pure gold for me. When I tell my “Christian” friends that marriage is hard, hearing from them, “No. Your marriage is hard,” doesn’t help me. It lessons me. It shrinks me. But I suppose they are right. Yes. Only my marriage is hard.

Back to Lonely-Ville.

Being comfortable with uncomfortable is what I am looking for. I am searching for a place where vulnerability meets acceptance. Where it is safe to talk about the brokenness many of us feel. The doubts many of us have. The helplessness many of us can’t get over. A place where risk-taking is welcomed and the beautiful white picket fence we think we see is really chipped. And it is okay! Where people don’t point out the flaws but instead, accept them. Where people come along side and start a conversation that has nothing to do with the chipped white picket fence and wait till that person mentions it…..even if it takes some time. I’m not looking for someone who comes over to my chipped white picket fence and says, “Wow! You need some help with that. I’ve got a great white picket fence. Let me show you how it’s done.”

I’m just not. And I dare to say neither are the people I work with.

Authenticity, vulnerability, and acceptance. Conversations over a long run or cup of coffee. Let’s smoke some cigarettes and grab a drink or two and talk about our deepest desires and the struggles we are facing. Let’s talk about what makes us feel broken and afraid and helpless. Let’s talk about what makes us come alive and be encouraged by others in our silly dreams. Yeah. Let’s do more of that.

And how about let’s do less of calling people in when they are drowning in their brokenness to discuss their flaws and at the same time point out our perfections. Let’s do less of gasping when someone has messed up and “I knew it’s!” Less of gossiping about other’s downfalls and pretending we care or feel called by God to help. Less molding the balls of clay into what we want them to be and more acceptance to allow them to mold themselves into who they want to be. Who they were meant to be.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the church. At the same time it has destroyed people’s faith, it has also saved hundreds of people from brokenness here on earth. And at the same time that those of us who work in the helping profession have come in to destroy people’s lives, we also have saved hundreds of people’s lives.

I guess I’m rooting for all the balls of clay to be accepted just as they are with no one beating on them to make them into the ball of clay they want them to be. All the balls are pretty people. All of them.

Cheers,

TLC

“Good writing succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” ~Malcolm Gladwell

Church

In Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Interrupted” she says this about her church,

“I don’t want to be known for a great band.

I don’t want to be admired for a great campus.

I don’t want to be recognized for a great marketing campaign.

I don’t want to be praised for great programming.”

I thought this was gold. And so great.

So it made me think about what kind of church I am looking for as an attendee…..

I am looking for a church that is known for:

Taking the homeless in and feeding them.

Embracing those who are going through a divorce.

Loving those who decided to have an abortion.

Cherishing those who are gay.

Eating with those considered “different.”

Cleaning up a community.

Giving hand ups to those who need it.

Compassion towards those who don’t believe in God or Jesus.

Showing support for those with alcohol and drug issues and mental health issues.

Being a household name because that church helps people and changes lives.

A church that uses their hands way more than their mouths.

A church that even my Jesus would enter.

A church that is open about ALL of these things and what they are doing.

For some reason I think most churches believe if they would be open about serving EVERYONE, they would lose members and attendees, and they may, but what I believe is they would gain a whole lot more by doing this. A whole lot more.

Jesus hung out with the outcasts. Why do we forget that?

My favorite church has a divorce support group. A divorce support group. Yes, I said that right. Ain’t that cool? And so compassionate? And loving? And accepting?

Why do we so often forget that Jesus didn’t hang out with the perfect sinless people. He hung out with the drunkards, the broken, the lost and the forgotten……….gah, I love my Jesus. Yes. I. Do.

T

 

Life Lessons In Sales

When I first started in sales I was really bad. Like, really bad. I had no clue what I was doing. I was just trying to learn the ropes of the products I loved and how to get that point across without sounding salesy or pushy. I was also scared of telling people that I loved this product and wanted to earn some money from building a business from it. I mean, the highest paid profession in the world is sales. The income potential is unlimited. But here’s the interesting thing….the majority of the world doesn’t understand this and doesn’t believe it. But I did. So I went on a journey……

Sales has taught me many valuable lessons that I can apply to my life:

  1. It is all about timing. You just have to put the work in. Keep putting the work in. Keep trusting the process. Have faith. Don’t doubt. Keep putting the work in. When they are ready, they will come.
  2. Influence others. Don’t persuade. I have learned you have to lead by example just like with anything in life if you want others to believe in what you are trying to sell them or teach them about. “I don’t need team members. I want team members. Team members don’t want me. They need me.” Whatever service you are providing is a gift. It is a gift. You are a gift. And so are people.
  3. Get to know people. Get to know their stories. What their goals are. What dreams they have. I read this quote somewhere that went something like, “Most people are waiting to reply instead of understand.” Ouch. Get to know people. It is one of the coolest things in this world.
  4. Don’t give up. Giving up is easy. We don’t want easy. And here is the simplest way to reach your goals…..if you never give up, you WILL get there. It may take 1,2,3,5,10,15 years or more but you will get there. Time will pass no matter what so you mise well be working towards your goals, hopes, dreams, and ambitions.
  5. You can literally design your life however you want with network marketing or with whatever you want to do. You can work from wherever you want with network marketing. How cool is that!! Unlimited income potential, work from wherever, design your life however, contribute to more organizations than you ever thought possible, and help more people than you ever thought possible do the same thing. Simply beyond cool.

I look forward to learning many more things in this profession.

Life can either be an exciting adventure or a bore. What one do you choose?

Cheers,

T

Screw You……Perfection

Thoughts on perfection or the “all or nothing” trap……

Perfectionism is a pothole. It is a trap. I would, if there was a “Perfection” building, picket it. I see, and have been one in the past, too many people stalling and waiting to have all the information, all of their ducks lined up in a row, until everything makes perfect sense…before they hop on the wagon. Until they give their dream a try. Here’s the problem with this way of thinking….you are missing out on great opportunities by waiting for everything to be all right and perfect. You. Are. Missing. Out. I don’t know if you have read the news lately but perfect doesn’t exist….Brad Pitt is as close as it gets or George Clooney. But no, for real, the longer you wait to have perfect accomplished, the more time you are wasting.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about this subject and I said, “Instead of standing on the diving board and teetering about should I wait or should I jump, I say, CANNONBALL!!! Right in. Please!

You shoot first, then you aim. We have to jump in to know if we like it or not, if we want to continue this pathway or not, and to learn what and where we need to readjust from there. It is a learning process and will always be. Ask anyone who has ever accomplished anything or read books on those who have…..it has and will always be a learning process.

Stop teetering and just dive in.

Then look around. Evaluate. And adjust.

Simple. As. Pie. Banana Cream Pie.

We just complicate it.

Cheers,

T

Coach Pickles!

“Coach Pickles!!!!”

That’s what the girls decided to call me. Coach Pickles. They came up with the name on their own and they voted for that name on their own. It was between Coach Frosting and Coach Pickles.

These little girls. All in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade.

All of them training for a 5k.

Kids inspire me all the time. In so many ways. In SO many ways.

They just sit there and giggle and laugh at EVERYTHING.

They are full of energy. So much energy.

They want to move around. Getting them to sit still is a chore and something that can’t be long.

They always seem to be ready…..for whatever. Whatever is next. They are ready.

I watch these girls and I can’t help but smile and be inspired to live how they live. To understand life how they understand life. To be ready at any given notice to do what is next.

I coach them twice a week and there was about five weeks in there I would miss one practice each week. But after the first practice with them I decided to cancel that other thing. It wasn’t as important. Not even close.

I believe lots of people walk around life feeling unfulfilled. They walk around life doing what they do because everyone else is doing the same thing. But just because everyone else is doing the same thing, it doesn’t mean it is the right thing…..the fulfilling thing.

I heard this quote the other day that went like this, “The opposite of courage is not cowardice. It is conformity.”

Ouch.

Not everyone does volunteer work. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Not everyone works at a job they love. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Not everyone has a happy marriage. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Not everyone is financially independent. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.

Not everyone realizes the secret to living the life you desire starts with your thoughts. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t realize this.

Now I don’t know the stats of the five things I just listed above but I can bet it is about 5% of the population.

I heard about 95% of the world conforms.

Another ouch.

The majority of the world follows the wrong people. Follow the top 5.

“To have what most people don’t have, you have to do what most people don’t do.”

It is really that simple. There is really no competition here. No competition at all.

Don’t let the majority of the world fool you.

I’m not sure how “Coach Pickles” and coaching the girls ties into this blog but it is where I went. It is where my fingertips led me.

But maybe you know…….

Cheers,

T

Don’t Ignore It

We ask life (or God or the Universe or whatever higher power you believe), “What is my purpose?”, when really it is life asking each of us, “What is your purpose?”

We ask life but life is really asking us.

I believe we are born with that answer inside each of us. We can’t ignore it. Even though most of us try to. But when we ignore it, it gnaws at us. It haunts us. It follows us. Things never feel right. We never feel fulfilled. It dances in our face saying, Look at me! Notice me! Don’t run from me! USE me!

We think its hiding somewhere. We think we have to search high and low to find it. I did. But here’s the catch. We don’t. All we have to do is look for clues from our past, from our childhood, our natural curiosity’s, the things we are naturally drawn to; those types of things. There is a pull we feel towards our purpose. It is magnetic.

Don’t ignore it!!

If you study those who declare they have found their purpose you will find really simple answers from them……it often sounds something like, I just simply pursued something I really enjoyed doing and what happened is it turned into getting paid to do exactly what I like doing.

The sad thing is most of us settle for following the masses and settling in a job we are working at to just get by for now. In that settle you will find the unsettle. That gnawing feeling that haunts you.

It is pretty crazy to me when you think about those of us that go onto a higher education program and will spend thousands of dollars earning a degree that takes 4+ years to get but we won’t even consider spending that much money or time going after our purpose because there is no certificate attached to it once we are finished (unless of course your purpose requires that certificate)…..For some of us, our higher education is our safety net but it is not our number one choice. Settling in life is one of the worst regrets you can live with. Don’t settle. Pursue your purpose.

Let it pull you.

And the next time you catch yourself looking up at the beautiful painted sunset sky and think, what is my purpose, world?………..remember, the Universe is looking right back at YOU asking, “What is your purpose? You tell me.”

The Universe asks us, we don’t ask it.

Cheers,

T

Peanuts & Ice Cream

I had just put the last of my honey flavored peanuts in my mouth when this thought popped into my head, Hmmm….these would probably be really good on ice cream!

I wondered…..how many times do we overlook the simple combination of things just because the combination of the two or three or four or more, is not right in front of our face? How many times do we combine a bad combination together? How many times do we combine a good combination together? And, how many times have we thought of a combination to try BUT-have never tried it?

Life is certainly a combination of good things we bring into our lives and bad things we bring into our lives. We all see people living lives where we would think to ourselves, oh, that’s not a very good combination. And shake our heads in disapproval. At the same time we all see people living lives where we think to ourselves, now that is a good combination. Yes. Very good combination.

Here’s the thing, good combination or bad combination, we ALL use both sorts of combinations. Some of us live and learn differently when using a bad combination and can adjust the mixture pretty fast so out pops a good combination in place of the bad instead. But then, there are some of us who take longer to learn the tricks of the trade and just don’t have the knowledge to know what we should put together to make it go from a bad combination to a better combination. Some of us just need more help than others when we are trying to brew together new potions and combinations in the lab. And that is okay.

If something is not quite working out for you, try a new combination. Try a new potion. Reach out for help if you have to. Find a tribe of people who are already doing what you want to do. There are many tribes out there. Find those who are already spending time in the lab creating new potions and coming up with new combinations. A trick, I have learned, is mixing things that you love into the potion. Good and positive things that make you feel good create great combinations. Sort of like my honey flavored nuts and ice cream. Now that is a pretty GREAT (and yummy) combination. I guess I’d throw some squats in there too.

Creating what we love is not too hard. It is just about finding the right combination. Which also means having to go through the bad combinations we have created so we can finally figure out the good combination that works.

Now go get in the lab you soon to be mad scientist. 😉

Cheers,

T

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

The Neighbors

Every morning, they are sitting on their front porch. Every evening, they are sitting on their front porch. Neighbors from way down the street and neighbors from right next door continually stop by to chit chat with them. Cars driving by continually pull over to say hi to them or simply honk to say hi to them. I continually sit there and watch them AND simply get inspired by this way of life. A way of life that was much more common years back.

I remember reading in a book (I think it was one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books) how years ago all houses were built with unattached garages. Then, as people became more private and not so talkative with one another in the neighborhood, houses started being built with garages attached to them. This way you never have to talk with any of your neighbors if you don’t want to. This, naturally, made me think…..

Regardless if this is the actual reason or not, it is how it is now these days. It is rare, unless you have kids, that you see neighbors interacting with each other the way I see my neighbors do. And they have no children. At least no small ones. The people that sit out on their porch every single day are an elderly couple. They are sweet people. The amount of friends and/or neighbors who continually stop by, show that.

Our house does not have a big front porch…..but, there is room to add one on. I told my husband I would like a front porch one day on our house so I can sit there too, like our neighbors, and get to know others in the neighborhood….and develop relationships with those I live right by….and be like my neighbors who have inspired me.

How neat, I believe, our world would be if we all did this more often.

How many more people would feel connected, I believe, if we did this more often.

How many more lives would we impact and touch, I believe, if we did this more often.

I get not everyone wants to talk to their neighbors……I totally understand that. I am an introvert and LOVE my space. I keep quiet naturally and am more reserved…..but, I still think this way of living would benefit the whole world in many different ways. I mean when you really think about it, unless you live in the country, how smart and wise it would be to KNOW your neighbors. And, I believe, fulfilling.

Love & Blessings,

T

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