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. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trusting Spellcheck...

With the summer, I know many of you missed the opportunity to laugh at students who have the mantra of "In Spellcheck We Trust".  Well, here's a great one for you.

My creative writing students just finished up their Horror/Mystery/Thriller assignment.  This example comes from a story where two cops are trying to solve some murders when they find another body.  One cop asks if the other thinks it's the same killer, and we have this in response.

"Most defiantly.  Not a bone in my body doubts that we have a cereal killer on our hands."

Aren't most killers defiant?  Especially those who harbor an unnatural hatred of breakfast foods. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hug your children

It happened again.  Last night, a student from the school I worked at took his own life.  Not one that I taught, but it does cause a ripple effect, makes people wonder if something could be done, if there were signs...wonder...

This is my fifth year teaching, and I think there has been a suicide each year.

It's hard to say what happens to make someone take their own life.  And really, it isn't something that usually can be pinned on one particular thing. 

Here's what I do know.  All people, quirky, strange, gay, Mormon, jock, nerd, misfit, dork, geek, emo, goth need to feel loved.  Okay, so they drive you crazy.  So what if you just don't get them? 

Mother Teresa is one of my heroes.  I loved her and was significantly more moved when she passed than Princess Diana (they died either the same day or within a day).   She really put it best.

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
So today, hug your kids.  Take the few minutes to do something with them to make them feel special.  Don't roll your eyes at the kids who look different than you think they should.  Remember you were once a teenager, life isn't that easy at that age.  Look a stranger in the eye.

It may not save a life, but it will make a difference. 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Other Me

After the conference I went to at UVU, I realized I needed a blog to just write about writing stuff.  I really didn't want to take away from this blog, the reading updates (yes, I know, they're behind...coming...), kids stuff, teacher insanities, pursuit after my own happiness stuff. 

And I'm not sure how much you want to read all the writing stuff anyway.

I am hoping that if there is an art/dream type thing you are chasing after, some of the words over there would be helpful, but it is pretty geared toward writing. 

I guess this is mainly an FYI post - would love to see you over there if you want, but in writing there, I feel like I can also make more of a habit to write here.

You can either click on my profile to find it or just click here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Being pushed back to me

During the first four years of my teaching career, I went through this strange experience.  I felt incredible satisfaction as a teacher, really felt like I got to the point where I was honed in on my kids, their passions, my ability to support them in those and feel like my marriage was the best it's ever been. 

Yet, I was lost.  Unsatisfied.  Depressed.

Yes, part of it was my physical appearance, and there are still those pesky last ten pounds I would LIKE to lose, but if they are here to stay, I'm not dissatisfied. 

Outside of a few online exceptions and work colleagues, I really didn't have friends.  Part of it was my absolute and complete lack of desire at belonging to a Bunco group - so not what I wanted. 

I took on an attitude, especially during completing my Master's, that was "I am woman, watch me conquer the whole freakin' world."  My music reflected this, my mindset reflected this.  And I think to have the success I did, this was necessary.

But each of these caused me to become lost, feel incredibly lonely and completely forget who Tasha was.

Then I started writing again.  And I got invited to be part of a writing group. 

And one night, a particularly low night, my husband with his very blunt manner but with very good intent, told me if I didn't like my life, I could either keep crying about it or figure out something to do to change it. 

In the last two weeks, I have been to a writing conference at UVU, attended a particularly productive writer's group and spent eight hours yesterday with Mette Ivie Harrison and several Southern Utah writers, receiving good critiques but some pretty decent praise. 

Enoch has been nothing but supportive.  For me to travel north last week, he had to cover some things with the kids and take a short day of work.  He puts the kids to bed when I go to my writer's group.  He is affectionate when I'm leaving, excited to hear about things when I return. 

I feel a great deal of satisfaction with my life, and a huge part of that is because of him. 

Yup, I'm pretty lucky.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Are you ever alone?

Okay, this isn't some deep philosophical question or even something about lonliness, depression, etc.  This is probably primarily a question for moms.

Quick assignment.  Open your pictures folder on your computer, and count how many pictures are of JUST you in the last two years. 

Yea, now. 


You back?  Okay.  How many did you find?  I took some time over the weekend to look on all three computers I have access to and that have pictures on it.  Guess how many I found?


I do not have one picture of just me.

Why did I suddenly realize this?  Remember how I'm working really hard on being a writer?  Well, I went to a conference where they really encouraged people to start making themselves a brand, even way before publication opportunities, so that there is a following, etc.  So I started a new blog, with a blogging schedule, for this purpose, and to keep me focused, and I wanted to have a picture of just me because then I'm my own brand.  You know?

There aren't any.  Okay, there are two, with me eating a cookie.  From an angle that makes it look like my neck morphs into my chin, which is a great look for a linebacker in the NFL, but not the preferable marketing approach I wanted for a 33 year old female.

I know, right?  Crazy.

When talking about this with a friend, she mentioned that once we have kids, we are no longer our own entity.  The other picture I could maybe use is on my teacher page at the website, 30 pounds ago, and I HATE it. 

I guess I'm going to have to start figuring out how to take pictures of myself. 

Don't worry.  I won't succomb to the trend of making kissy faces when I do though.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How deadly ARE the Seven Deadly Sins? I mean really...

I'm experiencing about half of the seven deadly sins with this announcement.