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The Crap I Think…..

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happiness

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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Am I Making The Right Decisions?

I have been thinking a lot lately about decision making. I’ve always wondered, how do you know if you make good decisions or even the right decision?

I’m not trying to brag here but I get many compliments on what I wear. At first, I would always look around me or behind me as if the person was talking to someone else. I just never was a trendy or even stylish person in general. Back in High School, I was a t-shirt, sweater, and jeans kind of girl. And even after that I would say I continued to stick with that attire mostly. It wasn’t until a few years ago I started to become more interested in looking more trendy. Now, I love to be styling!

Anyways, I am someone who always second guesses my decisions….when it comes to my life. This has been a struggle of mine for years and years…and more years. That is till the other day, after someone complimented me on my outfit again, that it clicked. I thought, if I can make good decisions about my clothes than I sure as heaven can make good decisions about my life. Boom. Just like that an epiphany was born.

I think lots of us struggle with thoughts and questions about making the right decisions. So how do we know if we are any good at it or not? I say look at the signs. Look at the clues that the Universe leaves you with. What do you get complimented on? What do you get asked about the most? What do people come to you for help with? In those things, you will find what you are good at and obviously then, maybe not so much, you must make right decisions! Because, if people are going TO you for something, then they therefore trust your opinion. Because, if people are TELLING you what you are good at, then they therefore must admire or like what it is they are complimenting you on. If you are wearing something nice and get complimented on it, you made a good decision. If you are getting good grades in school, you made a good decision. If you pay your bills on time, you made a good decision. You have always been making right decisions!

It is not always clear as water to know if we make the right decisions, but, if we can look back at the little things we have been recognized for, then I believe it is easy to find that we do actually make good decisions. You just gotta trust those.

Love & Blessings,

Tara

Five Blind Men

A co-worker gave me a story about 5 blind men who are each touching a different part of an elephant. Each blind man feels something different. One thinks he feels a snake. The other thinks he feels a fan. Another thinks he feels a tree stump and so on. Each feels something different yet all are touching the same exact thing; just different parts.

Many of us think our way is the only way. We know the best way. We just know. Right? Wrong.

All of us bring something to the table. Our own unique perspectives. Our own unique experiences. Our own expertise. We all bring something different to the table. And you know what, we all are right. But, we are also all wrong.

We all NEED each other to grasp the whole picture. We all NEED each other to help out. “Many hands bring light work.” The point, we all NEED each other. We do.

No one perspective is accurate. No one experience is the ONLY experience. When we all put our minds together, we see more. We BRING more help.

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

Big Hair & A Beautiful Smile!

I have big brown curly hair. Sometimes it is like a huge frizzy mess and other times it looks pretty decent. The other day I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in about 13 years. I thought he might not recognize me so when he did I said, “I’m surprised you remember me since it’s been so long!” Side note: I am always surprised when people remember me from school aged days. For some reason I always think people don’t remember me. End side note. Anyways, his reply was grand. He said, “Of course I would remember you. Big hair and a beautiful smile! How can you forget that?” That made me smile. I have a huge smile.

When I was little I hated my hair. I hated it was curly. I had no control over it and nor did I want to learn how to control it so I just put it up. All. The. Time. I remember in grade school one time standing in line to get our pictures taken and the lady with the comb said to me, “Oh, your hair looks so beautiful! I won’t comb through it!” When I got my picture back in print I screamed. I stared at the picture my mouth open in shock. My hair looked like a bird’s nest. A wild untamed bird’s nest. Not cool. From then on I started wearing it up mostly. I also tried straightening it every morning but once I got into High School, it was no fun to do this every morning. It took too long and I just didn’t care anymore. But now, now at 30 years old, I love my hair. I really started to appreciate this big curly mop around the age of 20 years old I would say. I learned to work with it. I tried different hair products, different blow drying techniques, different hair cuts-long hair vs. short hair, combs and brushes; I tried it all. Now I wear my hair in its natural state. All. The. Time. And, I love it. It is super easy to do! Why did it take me so long to figure this out before??

My point, just like in life we sometimes have to figure things out. We have to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I couldn’t change my hair. It was naturally curly. So the only option I had was to accept it and work with it-not against it.

Some things in life we simply just do not have the power to change. If we can’t change it, then what we can do is work with it. We can find different routes, different options, different paths; just different ways to make it flow better. To make it more manageable. It will take time and patience and lots of retrials but it is worth it.

Work with the things you cannot change. Embrace the unique qualities and gifts God has given you.

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

More Than Enough!

We all want a slice of the pie, right? We all want the biggest slice, right?

What if I told you that there is no longer a need to fight for the biggest slice? What if I told you that there never was a need to fight for it in the first place?

I was completely inspired by Glenon Melton yesterday. She said something along the lines of, “We don’t have to fight for a bigger slice of the pie. What if we just got bigger pies?”

How incredible! We can stop the competition between each other in our professions. There is enough, more than enough, abundance in this world to go around for each and every single one of us to have our own HUGE pie. There is. This whole world is full of choices, abundant choices. The beauty is we get to choose. We have the freedom to choose.

Every day I am learning more and more about choices and abundance on this earth. Sometimes we may feel competition between each other but here’s the deal, there is only one YOU. There is only one you that can speak about what it is you want to speak about. There is only one YOU that has your specific style to show us what you love-what your passion it. There is only one YOU. And the truth is, we NEED YOU. The world absolutely NEEDS what you specifically have to share with this world. Share it. Don’t compare yourself to someone who is doing something similar to you. There are thousands of people doing the same thing you are doing but each one of them, if they are being authentic to themselves, are different. We are all different. And that difference is what we need to share with the world.

God made us all different so we could touch those that some of us can’t touch. Don’t compare yourself to others and share your story. Share your thing. The world NEEDS it. I promise.

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

 

Stuck In The Don’t Wants To Unstuck

About four years ago when I was working in a prison and wasn’t too fond of it, I was asked by a co-worker, “What do you want?”

I was on break in a depressed mood about life and my career situation when this Officer came into the break room and we started to conversate. He asked me if I always wanted to stay working a prison. When you work in a male prison as a female this is one of the most common questions asked by inmates and staff. The other one for me was, “What is your ethnicity?”

Anyways, the Officer asked me, “Do you want to stay here working in a prison for the rest of your career?”

I looked at him and said, “No. At least not in the position I am in now.”

He followed up with, “What do you want?”

I thought about it for a moment and said, “I don’t really know. That’s a hard question. I don’t want to work in a prison anymore. I don’t want to work weekends anymore. I don’t want to work 2nd shift anymore. I don’t want to wear the same thing to work anymore. I don’t want to go back to school at this point. I don’t really want to eat Ramon Noodles for the rest of my life (as I looked down at my bowl of warmed up Ramon Noodles). I don’t know. I’m just not sure what I want.”

He then looked straight at me, “You know what you don’t want, so see there, you know what you want.” And then he left.

After he walked out I sat there quizzically deep in thought. He was right. I did know what I wanted.

This moment has stuck with me for years.

Sometimes we think we have no idea what we want in life. We feel kind of lost and have no idea where to even start to think about what we do want. My suggestion; think about what you don’t want. Start there. Then think about what your ideal day would consist of.

From these two points I think you can gather some pretty insightful information into the life that you do want.

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

 

 

Right Here, Right Now

What if hope was something we could eat? Like a food. Whenever we were feeling down and out of hope we could just go out and buy hope and then eat it. That. Would. Be. Awesome.

What if we just did our best to reach out and make sure every person knew they mattered? What if every person turned to whoever was next to them and let them know they mattered? If we did this then every person would know they mattered! What a great matter we would make!

I have learned throughout the years I’ve lived on this earth that I don’t need to make a big grand slam known world wide difference to actually make a difference. No. I just need to do it right here, right now, in my own little community. This is how a ripple effect gets started and this is how it keeps going and keeps growing. I have learned one can never start out thinking, I’m going to make a huge difference, but rather one starts out by thinking, I am going to make a difference right now, right where I am.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to figure this out but it has. Right here. Right now. This is all we have anyways. I realize my blog may be read by only a few people but I have to believe that to those few people, it helps and it makes a difference for them. I have a few really great close friends that make a HUGE difference to me. Without them, I would be broke.

Right here, right now, we make a difference. On a large scale or on a small scale. The ripple effect that is created grows and grows. We make a difference. YOU make a difference. Right here. Right now.

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

Our Platforms In Life

I have this belief that God gives all of us platforms. Some seem very small to us and some seem very big to us….but for God, these platforms are HUGE.

I am an introvert. I am quiet by nature. I love learning and listening to others. Put me in a one on one conversation and I have a lot to say; as long as I am finding meaning in it. Quit the, “How are you’s” and the “weather” talk and let’s get straight to, “What is life” and the “What is your true passion” talk. THIS is what I love. Stick me in a group of people that I don’t know very well and I won’t say too much. I’ll listen at best though.

In order for me to speak up in a group of people, I need a platform to be able to speak from. This blog gives me the ability to do that. My role in my job gives me the ability to do that. My love for creating some fun fitness classes gives me the ability to do that. Social Media gives me the ability to do that. Being an Auntie who teaches and loves those little boogers unconditionally gives me the ability to do that. Being a wife gives me the ability to do that. My passions override my introversion at times. We all have so many platforms in our daily lives to speak from.

God gives us platforms-very small to very big-for some even bigger reasons.

I was reading this morning a story about a 9 year old girl who for her birthday, wanted to raise $300 for a charity called Charity: Water. On her birthday she found herself quite bummed because she hadn’t reached her goal. She was at $220. About 6 weeks after her birthday, her family as well as herself, were in a car accident. The little girl was in critical condition (the rest of her family fine). She was on life support. With the use of social media, donations started pouring in for her Charity: Water campaign. The little girl ended up passing away but the donations kept pouring in for her charity. People were donating $9 in remembrance of her. The donations went from $220 to over a million dollars raised!! Wow! She raised more than Justin Beiber had raised for this campaign. What!? Wow.

What happened to this little girl was a tragedy, yet at the same time, what an incredible blessing for hundreds-thousands of others.

Sometimes the platforms we are on seem very small, even insignificant to us. But, I can think of many others who have inspired thousands and millions of others by just doing what they find passion in.

God gives us platforms-very small to very big-for some even bigger reasons.

We are all changing and inspiring others in the seconds, minutes, and hours of our days. Or we are not.

We all have platforms. What are you using your platforms to do?

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

Stripping Your Identity

We all identify ourselves by our roles. For example: I am a Mother, I am a Father, I am a Wife, I am a Social Worker, I am an Aunt, I am a Grandparent, I am a Home Owner, etc. At some point we lose who we really are because these roles become our identity……but are they?

What if you woke up tomorrow morning and everything you currently have and are today is no longer there when you wake up. You no longer work at your job. You no longer have children. You no longer are married. You no longer live in a home or an apartment. You no longer have anything you had before. It is only you, there.

What would you do? Where would you go? Would you find yourself trying to get a career in the same field you were in previously or would you try something completely different? Would you buy a house again or rent? Would you get a dog again? Would you still do all those activities you enjoy doing; reading, writing, running, working out, swimming, finishing school, becoming a wife again, becoming a Mother again, etc. What would you do?

If we were completely stripped tomorrow of all of the things that identify us today, who would we be?

Yes, external things do help identify who we are but I believe our true identity is found internally. So many of us find ourselves living a life that we never really wanted to live in the first place. Sure, we don’t think it’s a bad life BUT, it’s not the one we originally set out for. It might be a better life. It might be a worse life. It might just not be the one we imagined. It might be just average.

Let’s get back to our true identity and aim for more of that. There my friends, is where we will find who we really are, what we really enjoy, and what we really want.

Lose your current identity. Are you left with the same person you were before? Are some things the same? Or would you be completely different?

Losing your external identity helps you to gain your internal identity. Sometimes we are doing so much externally that we forget internally who we really are and what makes us really happy.

Just some good old food for thought today friends.

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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