Thursday, January 5, 2012

Do you Doubt?

I was reading the story of Nephi and the Brass Plates today (yup, new years resolution...still going strong) and all the characters except two experience significant doubt - about what they are asked to do, if they really can do it, etc.

Got me thinking. 

How much don't we do because we doubt?  What do we talk ourselves out of, BEFORE WE EVEN TRY, because we question whether we will be able to do it or not?

I kind of went through this a few months ago, before I really decided to jump into the writing thing without abandon.  Why not?   What's the worse that could happen?

So I got thinking about other things that I don't do because I doubt I can in the first place. 

Doubting stops now. 

So, I've reset my goodreads reading goal to read 50 books this year.  I think I can do it, but think about it.  What happens if I don't? I read lots of fun books, write lots of reviews and...?  And if I accomplish it, I prove to myself that I can do it. 

I really want to finish losing the weight I started on a while ago.  So I'm eating healthier - but not extreme.  And if I don't lose that weight, I really could live the rest of my life in the shape I'm in an it would be okay. 

What could you do in your life to get rid of doubt?  What have you always wanted to do but haven't because you talked yourself out of it?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Thousand Splendid Suns

What?  A book review?  Yes, and I'm super behind so there should be plenty to follow.  I was going to write my review for The Kite Runner, intending to provide a link to this review.  I read this book four years ago and somehow, it never got a review on here.  I don't know what happened because I could have sworn I wrote one, but here we go anyway.

A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place in Afghanistan during the occupation of the Russians and the rise of the Taliban.  It focuses on women, both who get dealt a rotten hand at life to begin with,  a situation that is only elevated with their location.  The reader gets to see the reason for marriages in a couple different situations, watching how, as the Afghanistan people are thrilled over the end of Russian reign, they soon realize that what is replacing it may not, in fact, be better. 

I don't know that I have ever loved female characters like I love Mariam and Laila.  Even after four years of having read this book, I could still remember their names, their descriptions, the moments when I experienced such joy for them, along with the anguish and finally complete love.  This is a book written for adults, but I didn't find it to be crass or inappropriate in any of the situations.  And I still remember deciding I was just going to finish a chapter and call it a night, the shock and I still can't believe, that made me reread just to make sure I read it correctly and forced me to finish the book because I couldn't sleep without knowing how it ended.  It is beautiful - truly a must read.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Better Self

Last year, at this time, I decided I had lost me.  So I really put some thought into what I could do to find me again.

In case you are wondering, or if you have lost yourself in all your other roles, let me tell you something.  More than a few tears were shed trying to find myself again.  It required an honest look into reality, a realization of all the things that I easily dismissed, and it was outrageously a little scary, putting myself out there like that, even if it was only to myself.

But the other end is fun and exciting and full of tremendous possibilities beyond what I had ever dreamed. 

Last year's resolutions for me were summed up in one word - LOVE.

I told myself I was going to do what I loved.  I was going to remember what I had loved before and do that again.  I was going to make the most of the time I had with those I loved.  And I was going to figure out how to love myself.

Best. Resolution. Ever.

So now what?  I was thinking about that when I found this quote by Neil Gaiman and decided it was my new motto for 2012.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

I hope this happens for you too.
What are your plans to make next year better than last?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the Season

Recently on Twitter, people have been talking about their Christmas favorites - songs, books, movies, etc.  So, I thought it would be fun to share a few of mine. 

I like this one so much, you get to hear my two favorite versions.

Favorite Christmas movies are Little Women (maybe it's cheating, but I don't care)


Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Polar Express

And I still laugh over this one

Finally - books.

What are yours?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's Important

What are you?  I mean, when you sit down and think about how you would describe yourself, what would you say?  And how do you feel about your answer? 

I have a couple answers to that question.  These are not in order of importance in my life - probably more in the order of how much time is spent with them.

1.  I am a teacher.  I love my job.  I get to work with teens who are on the precipice of the rest of their lives, many trying to decide how to best prepare themselves for the adventure ahead.  I push them, encourage them, teach them responsibility and have a grand time laughing and teasing with them in the process.  I have really enjoyed the group of kids I have this year, inspite of some of their decisions, the new challenges thrown at teachers in our district and everything.

2.  I am a mom.  I'm having so much fun with my kids.  They are getting old enough where my role isn't as much the daily hands-on survival thing and more the encourage, motivate, assist, discuss phase.  We cang et out and do fun things, and since we moved into town, I have seen these kids develop social skills and friendships that I wondered if they could ever truly have.  I have seen the joy in their lives from successes in a school where they are thriving, developing their individual talents, realizing life isn't always playing but that happiness can still be found through the work.

3.  I am a writer.  I recently read that saying I was an aspiring writer was basically shooting myself in the foot.  It's like being an aspiring mom or wife or teacher - if it is something just aspired to, it is given the opportunity to stay a wish or a dream.  I am attending a conference in May where I signed up to have experienced authors assist in improving my current novel, pitch it to a literary agent and take two days of classes that will help improve my writing, take it to the next level both in what I am able to write and getting it out of my hands and into the hands of readers.  I aspired for three years - no more.

4.  I am a wife.  I ADORE my husband.  We are connecting, figuring things out, improving our communication and have both reprioritized our lives with the intent to make each other more importnat.  Yes, we still have our individual pursuits, but in some ways, I think that is what has helped strengthen our relationship.  I can honestly say that in my marriage, I am the happiest I have ever been (12 1/2 years if you are wondering).

That's it.  I am for things.  Do I do other tasks, have other jobs, etc?  Of course - we all do.  But if any of those things are getting in the way of these four, I cut frivolous things to take care of that ASAP and get back to these four.  I quit trying to be everything to everyone - it's just not feasible - really.  If you don't believe me - trust her...

“We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.” -Marjorie Hinckley

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doing Better

It has been brought to my attention (okay I already knew) that I have been neglecting this blog in favor of the other one.  Funny thing - it's actually another two.  There is my writing/author blog and then my critique group has a writing blog too.  I post on mine M/W/F and the group one every other Tuesday, but I can do better over here.

I am going to shoot to write on this one Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I think that is manageable and I have lots of things that I have thought I needed to blog about but just didn't quite get to, so please know I plan to follow through with my promise. 

In the meantime...

Some of you may have heard of The Piano Guys - lots of people have heard of Jon Schmidt, but he teamed up with Steven Sharp Nelson in the recent future and they make lots of cool videos. 

This one has been circulating the internet and is well worth the time.  I hope that the enjoyment you get from this will make up for the neglect. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Day in My Life

I'm not sure if this is going to help anyone, but I have had people ask me how I do what I do.  You will see a few patterns and I'll throw out a few hints if I can.  Maybe something that works for me will work for you, and maybe you will have suggestion on how to make things better.

Tasha's Typical Day

4:30 am - alarm goes off - hit snooze

4:40 am - alarm goes off - hit snooze but actually try waking up this time

4:50 am - alarm goes off - get up, dressed (workout clothes always set out the night before), contacts in, brush teeth, out the door

5:10 am - Arrive at Gold's Gym (MWF treadmill + weights; T/Th spinning)

6:10 am - arrive home, check facebook, news sites, the days weather - time to cool down

6:20 am - shower (which includes drinking 44 oz of water while in the shower - great way to hydrate for the day and tell my body I'm really not kidding - it's go time), get ready for day, curlers in girl's hair if they want, switch earrings at least twice

7:20 am - head to work.  Diet Coke.

8:00 am - prep.  Love my first period prep.  Grade, plan, blog hop a little, make copies, etc.

9:15 am - Either Creative Writing or Honors English. 

10:50 am - LUNCH + Diet Coke

11:40 - classes start again.  Both of my afternoons are Junior English classes.  I have to say I really enjoy teaching these kids.  We give each other crap, I push them, they really start to make progress.

2:40 - school is out.  I usually hang around until about 3:10 or so, putting in attendance, bouncin ideas for lessons or prom off other teachers, etc. depending on the day, except on Wednesdays when dance and soccer practice start at 3:00.  Then I almost beat the kids out of there.

Somewhere between here and dinner there is usually another Diet Coke break, and 1-2 times a week, I utilize my super power of being the queen of powernaps and crash on the couch for 10-15 minutes before the kids get home.

Afternoons are full the following.
Mondays - I teach four piano students - 3:45-5:45
Tuesdays - Will scouts, Ellie violin lessons
Wednesday - Ellie school choir, Will soccer practice, Catie regular and company dance practice, Ellie Suzuki group lessons, every other week Ellie activity days
Thursday - Will Soccer
Friday - free

Dinner is usually at 6-6:30 pm.  On Mondays, it has to be something that was once frozen, easy to throw together, etc.  We have been playing kids take turns picking and that works well.  If Enoch is home in time for prep, he's pretty good about jumping in and helping.  He loads the dishwasher the next morning and starts it - the kids unload every morning.

7:00 pm - kids homework, showers, practicing, etc.

8:00 pm - prayers, kids reading, me on my laptop writing, only to be interrupted by prayer time.  This is a daily event on my google calendar.  Yes, I scheduled in me time.  The only way this changes is if I got this writing time in before now. 

9:30 pm - tipping point - like I'm tipping over.  Enoch and I may read, watch TV,  something not requiring brain power.

10-10:30 pm - Goodnight world. 

Enoch will occasionally throw in a load of laundry during the week, but for the most part, laundry is done on the weekends.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Have you ever just been happy?  Maybe still tired, worn down, but happy? 

I have felt this way for a month. 

Yep, 31 full days. 

I have been watching all the leaves fall from trees and it just makes me feel like little blessings blowing all around me. 

Why, you ask? 

Because I'm pursuing my passions. 

I'm doing NaNoWriMo again, and I'm happy to report that as of this very second, I have more than 12% done.  I have a storyline that I love, that is deep enough to really take me places and with characters who are revealing a depth I didn't think they could have.

I've really found a fun network of people who are chasing the same dream, have the same crazy, eccentric thoughts that I do and are a little tired but excited. 

My writer's group has been instrumental in helping me develop this story in ways I never thought it could go.

My kids are finding their place - realizing likes, dislikes, what makes them happy and Enoch still has work.  Maybe too much. 

I have had many times of extreme frustration, wondering when I was going to find Tasha again.  And, in the last month, I've really found her, and I have to say, she's lots of fun to have around. 

This may be confusing, but I think many will agree to knowing what it feels like to be mom, wife, church worker, employee, laundry/cleaning/food expert.  And I know I still have to be all those things, but now I can be me too.

I made room in my life to let me be me and I plan on keeping me around for a long time.