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The Crap I Think…..

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inspirational

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

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

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

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

Make Life Better For Others

Life has it’s struggles. So many struggles.

I work with kids. Some days I am completely beside myself. Completely lost. Not sure what direction to go in next and not sure what the funk I am missing. The kids I work with are so angry. SO ANGRY. I try to gather is it the trauma they might have experienced, is it just a missing link in the brain, is it something medicine can fix, can more love fix it, can more compassion fix it; why are these kids so angry? So angry that they can’t simply function in life. Any way successfully.

We all want these kids to be successful. We all want these kids to knock our socks off in what they will end up doing in life-something great, something powerful, something outstanding. That’s what I want for these kids. And at the same time when I learn about their history of abuse, the horrible horrible things they did not deserve to endure, it somehow makes complete sense to how they are now. Some things that kids go through, adults couldn’t even survive it. And to think of a little precious child at the age of 2 going through a horrible circumstance that is well out of their control for years and years, depresses me. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.

I know we all have struggles. I know we all face the sadness of life. The uncertainty of life. The what if’s of life. I know life can be depressing and wear us down and make us want to quit what we are doing or what we want to do. I am here to say, Don’t. Don’t quit. You may be underappreciated at your job or in your home or wherever but believe it or not, people need you. And those people that you gave notice to and that you acknowledged, they will appreciate it. Even if you never get it said verbally by them.

When we make life better for others, it somehow makes life better for us.

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

 

 

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