Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Improv way of expressing my thoughts.

In some ways I feel like I'm better off- in others it seems like I'm right back at the start.
I want to start over.. brand new plans, new heart.. still the lessons that I've learned from these scars.
I want to be the best I can be, but I don't even know what that means.
I just want to let myself go and come back to find that my life is all that I've hoped. But I know it never works that way.
You have to put something in, to get it back.
The keys to the kingdom aren't just given away.
My efforts don't ever seem to help me find my way. I'm just here with my head in my hands thinking I've never really gotten past all this gray, that holds me in the shadows.. I'm wasting my life away. Smile on the outside, trying, trying.. but why even try- if your motives are fake. There's more than bringing yourself glory.. and the heartbreak that comes with it.
I feel like screaming.. but who would listen?
What's wrong with me? why can't I ever give this away? my hands could be empty, and shoulders free of the burdens they hold- shaking from all the weight. Still I hold on, trying to make things work (in truth, I've only made everything worse)
I want to be beautiful, despite this mess. To be seen from the inside, where I know I'm blessed.
I want my joy to be made complete.. to dance with the wind- let it take over me.. making me feel whole, complete, free.
Every morning, I walk on this sheet, knowing it will cave out from under me, at the smallest thing. So I try to walk lightly. That's no way to live. I want to be happy.. I know there's more than this.
I've been told all the answers.. I know what to do. But the first step is the hardest- That's why I need you. Help me let go, and be consumed.. by your fire, blazing on the inside- a hopeful candle, shining so bright. Help me to be filled with your power, that consumes all my doubt. Help me to let you be the one, to figure things out. Erase all my thoughts that aren't of you. Help me to be restored, completely new. I need your answers, I need you. Everything else can't wait. I'll press on to the goal- your heavenly gates. All else crumbling in hindsight, as was its fate. You are all that lasts.. all that stands. My future is in your hands. I want to rise with you, stand.. knowing you'll never let me fall. You are, Lord over all. I love you. Thanks for hearing me when I call.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Flip Side to the coin..

Any of you who know me even the slightest bit, have probably heard slur towards my family escape my lips.
Lately, I've realized that I rarely give them credit for all their worth. In order to redeem my family.. help them escape the terrible things I know I've said or thought, and to show that I can speak well of them.. I'm sharing my reflections and realizations.
I rarely speak well of my position as the oldest of 5 children. I hardly ever feel comfortable around my family..
I've come to realize.. most of it is completely in my head.
Your mindset is.. a way of thinking..(obviously)  but, if there's one thing I learned at Summit.. it's that your mindset is so much more.
It can change the way you see everything. As is the case- with me. Concerning my family.
I was speaking to someone today, about how old we're all getting. I realized both that;
I'll be 18 this year (Exciting) and.. my "baby" sister is 9! (already)
I'm not an adult, just yet, so I suppose that I can't make it a routine to say things such as; "time flies by so fast" or "it seems like just yesterday", "when I was your age".. Even so, I've found myself reflecting in that sense... My baby sister, nine!
I've wasted so much time living underneath my crippling mindset. One that tells me being the oldest is quite a bother. Granted, I'm "paving the way" .. my every mistake is noticed and sometimes acted upon, everything is my fault, and I have to grow up quickly, then there's whatever is a characteristic of the eldest.
Still, it's a joy. I am making it my goal, from now on, to live in the light of this awakening.

Being the oldest can mean all those negative things.. but there's more to it than that. It can also be a great array of blessings and surprises.

        Yes, my every mistake is noticed- but I'll always be loved and looked up to, despite that.
        Yes, it's always my fault, but that's only because they know I'll take it, to protect them.. from whatever punishment dad chooses :p
        Yes, I am paving the way, but it's only so that they won't have to learn it all the hard way. Rather, from my mistakes.
        Yes, I have to grow up quickly.. but it's only because they need someone to help show them how to, when their old enough.

I had the joy of being there after each one was born,
to help pick out some of the names,
be one of the first ones to hold them

GAHH... I'm choking up. There are times when I'm embarrassed, or upset, madder than a hatter.. or even pretend to be adopted. But when I look around, at other people's lives. I don't doubt for one minute that God knew what He was doing, placing me in this family.
I'm glad to be the oldest. I wouldn't trade it, for anything!

Besides... the youngsters are brats, and the middles are odd :p

Brenda Ann, Christopher Allen, Emma Marie  and Mary Anne... I love you all. I'm so glad to be your Sissy. I know I'm not the best at it sometimes. But I do try to be! thanks for loving me, despite my faults. Thanks for being there for me, as I hope I've been for you. Please learn from my mistakes.. though I know you'll make your own. Remember, I'll only love you all the more for and because of them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


We've all been on both sides of apologies.
I'm sure you enjoy receiving them, more than you do giving them.
However, as of late, I've not even enjoyed receiving them.
I'm not sure if it's just my corner of the world.. but it seems to me, that everyone has learned how to turn apologies into stabs. And I just can't stand it.
Let me give you an example, in case you don't understand what I mean.
"Hey.. I'm sorry that I _____" all of 3 seconds. THEN "it's just" or "But I"... blah, blah, blah. 
The defending of ones self.. or explaining or justifying of actions is longer than the very short-lived humility. 
I hate it.
I'm sure that I've done it too. But that doesn't make it right by any means.
We need to understand what exactly an apology is.
while the Dictionary doesn't always provide a practical application of what we know the word to mean.. the Connotation rather than denotation. Let's check it out.

Wiki defines it as this:
to acknowledge some fault or offense, with expression of regret for it, by way of amends

So.. why do we turn this moment of humility or "making amends" into a moment that is anything but humble. We make it all about us. And how we weren't in the wrong. If you aren't in the wrong.. there's no need to even apologize. If you are in the wrong.. and you can't apologize without this stab.. maybe they are better off without any apology. Because that isn't apologizing at all!

1 Peter 5:6
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

"Humble yourself before God.
so that, by God, you may be exalted."

"It's better to humble yourself and be exalted by God.
Then exalt yourself and be humbled by God."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Cubbie!

I Had a new little Cubbie last night...He said some of the cutest things! I just thought I'd share with you.

We were coloring, and he said "Please pass the Chocolate"... I looked around the room, very confused. Then turned to him, "We don't have any chocolate, boo??"... He got up from his chair, walked over to the tub with the markers, and picked up the brown one... looking very accomplished, He flashed it in my face saying "Yes, you do, see it's in mines hand!".... How cute!

This was only my second time to have this little guy in cubbies, his first week he told me, that his name was 'Dingus'... Which seemed a little odd to me. After talking with some others in the church (Jill) I discovered that his name was 'Maddox'...
So.. last night, in cubbies, we were talking about friends, and family. And I started to ask him, about his friends. I mentioned his Brother,<-- so I thought, who he came with: Brendan. and he said "No, he is my Aunt, not my friend..." Because Brendan is actually an uncle who he lives with.. I had made the mistake of assuming he was a brother... (Foster living situation..) He quickly set me straight and assured me that they were in fact operating under a completely different title. Aunt and Nephew! (Precious!!!)

I found this.. from over a year ago.. resting in my drafts.. Not sure why I never did anything with it.. Now I have. Miss this little guy! enjoyed teaching him. It's amazing the impact little ones can have on you, and in such short time!

Also.. sorry of the term "Cubbies".. I'm sure a great many of you aren't sure of what exactly this is.. Within AWANA.. there's an age group: Cubbies. I'd love to give you my angle on it.. instead, I'm running short on time, and will leave you to google! unless you're interested in my Wiki Definition :p

What would you do?

Do you want to meet the monster, that's made me who I am today?
Do you want to shake his hand?
or look at this face?
Do you want to tell him your name, learn his, do you want to get to know him, and be his friend?

or would you walk away?
spit in his face?
take my by the hand, and lead me out of this place?

Because I know that you hate him, though you've never met,
from the stories that I've told. you've just decided that he is a terrible man...
you tell me he's a jerk. and not worth all this hurt, you tell me he's a fake, and the least he deserves
is this heart of mine, that he took the liberty to break.

well that's sweet of you to say, And I love you for that. but it's not that simple, not as easy as that.
- I find myself unable to let him go,
- you just sit there and your bitterness grow. You hate him more, with each passing day.
well, it seems to me, that we both have something that we need to let slide, we both have some lessons to learn, we need to let go of our pride. We need to get this out in the open, there's no need to hide.

I hope, we can set all this aside, love each other, and get on with our lives. We can't let this drag us down forever, so we better learn to face this fast...Together. 

Little delicate things...

Little things.. little delicate things.
Little girls, holding hands, sweetly standing by each others side.
little one's who are never far from their teddies (who help them find the strength to stand..)
Young one's neglecting responsibility. leaving shoes behind, moving on..seeing what fun they could find. The worries of the world will have to wait..
The little one's.. the delicate things.

Indian Names

What's in a Name...
Just this morning.. I found myself awake at 6:30, on my day off... I decided to take advantage of this. My dad was sitting in "his" chair, just as every other morning, sipping his coffee having the necessary "wake-up time". I have this as well... but mine looks much different than his. However.. this morning, I didn't have to worry about that. Like I said, it's my day off.
So I sat. Not long after I welcomed myself next to him, in his char, he began to talk. My dad is a very insightful man. So much so, after I talk with him, I feel as if I should run to scribble down notes to whatever he had to say.. being sure not to forget it. This morning was no exception. He began to talk about indian names. Which seemed pretty random to me, until he began to explain.. then it of course, all came together, and I realized it did, in fact, pertain to what I had to say.
So.. sit down, and I will shower you with the notes I managed to scribble, after a conversation with my dad.

Indians.. though there's much about them I don't understand, even having some in me (Choctaw and Cherokee) they are very interesting. Dad was explaining to me, the different stock they place in a name. They have several, afterall.. there must be some meaning, right? I'm not sure why I had never thought of this.. I guess that's what dad is here for.
First.. the tribal name. As I mentioned; Cherokee, Choctaw, Sioux (Pronounced SUE.. Still trying to convince a fellow student of this, in history class) and there are many others..
Then.. their 'Public Domain' name, if you will: "Chief Big claw" "Little bear" "wise turtle" ... almost anything (Did you enjoy my choices? quite fun!)
Finally... the top secret name! I won't give any examples of this.. That could get a little personal. Basically, this is a secretly of theirs (obviously) that they share only with those, whom they are very close to. One that is entrusted upon this person, with their life. This is something that they don't take lightly. They believe that once you know their secret.. you hold a certain power over them.

Now let's break this down.. and find the significance.
First of all.. your family. Whether you like it or not, that's our "tribal name" these days... is that going to trip you up? most do believe you have some of your parents in you.. whether that's a good or bad thing.. you decide. You can always change yourself.. but it's hard! think on your strong points, or weaknesses, and learn to work with that.
Secondly think of this: How are you perceived by others? what is your 'Public Domain'..? I know, your name, (Tamara, Gwen.... etc) but there's more than that. Are you known for gossiping, showing up late to places, having a potty mouth.. or, do people think of you and say "She's very smart", "Oh, I love her, such a sweetheart".. Food for thought. In a small town like this.. your reputation can be what makes you, or breaks you. Almost everyone knows someone who works at the school. Do you get in trouble, cheat on tests? if so.. the place you just put in an application to, may be aware of that.. now, you're going to have to rise above your already tainted reputation. If you don't start off on a good foot.. you'll have to work twice as hard to be thought well of.
Finally... the secrets.
"You're only as sick as the secrets you keep"
When you share that with someone.. as the indians believe, they hold a power over you. They could tell others, and ruin that chance at a job, they could loose trust in you, respect you more, they could use it as black-mail.. the possibilites are almost endless. This is why parents are always leary of who they let spend the night, or who you're hanging around.
"Birds of a feather, flock together"
Also.. think of this.. (the more encouraging side) those same secrets, that you decide to, or not to tell others.. could MAKE you, or BREAK you.. we've already spoke on how it could BREAK you.. But there's another side to this coin. That power that they can hold over you, through your secrets.. you hold it as well. You have power to overcome your mistakes.
"You're not the mistakes you've made"
 "Don't judge a man by a moment of weakness."
You can tell those secrets that you're better now, you're moving on.. you can break the ties they have on you.. There's a song I like.. Not sure of the title, or artist. But I'm sure you've heard it too. He says "I'm not as good as I'm gonna get, but I'm better than I used to be".. Let that be your motto, when the secrets are playing over and over, in the back of your mind.You own your reputation. And more than that, you could be what determines  the reputation of someone else.. be gentle. Think of what you would like them to say of you. Only tell necessary truths. Don't stretch, because you don't like them.. that doesn't mean that others can't. They'll more than likely find things out on their own. Give them that opportunity. If someone went to everyone you knew, and told them all your mistakes.. imagine how it would make you feel.

Amazing isn't it..?  who would have thought, All this, in a name..

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter..

We have been reading this book in our english class as of late. It sounded like an awful book, when it was first described to me, and in theory and idea, it is in fact, just that. However, when we began to read it, I couldn't help but being interested. It has been an eye-opener for me. I have been engaged in thought throughout this whole book-almost to the point of finding it difficult to think on the book its-self. I was hit by an interesting thought the other day, as we were working our way through the book. I've shared it with some, which proved to be a silly idea. Many have found it to be amusing, or as a joke--However, I am VERY serious.

My idea is this:


Though ours may not be forever sewn upon our breast, to give us grief for the rest of our lives. It may not have been publicly confessed, so others may not have any idea of the shame and sorrows you bear. It is still there. Deep down inside of you, weighing you down. You still feel as if everyone else can see it, and they are judging you. depressing "Aha" moment, I know. However.. there's another side to it. This character, Hester Prynne... though she begins as the sinner, the woman being beheld upon the scaffold as the shame of the town, develops into quite the go-to woman. The town finds her to be more than her mistakes. She's a valuable nurse, seamstress and many other things. She uses that as a way to relate to people. Instead of being weighed down, or depressed about herself constantly, she relates to others who have struggles of their own. She sees visions of others who have fallen in the community (a bit far-fetched) still, the point is there. I was so encouraged by her being so strong. For six years, she held her head high. She continued to wear the "A" upon her breast, and keep her partner in crime (the preacher) a secret.. even the new guy in town (her husband).. She does it all on her own. Not using their secrets as black-mail. She doesn't ask for money, or a babysitter. She works and earns her own way, tries to raise her daughter right. Her A.. Though it begins as a symbol of ADULTERY- changes as the novel progresses to ABLE. 

How beautiful. Let this be an encouragement to you- as it was for me. 
You don't have to wear your heart-ache on your sleeve, or seek out others who are struggling. But there is strength in numbers. It's always nice to know you aren't alone. And as Hester, you can use what's been given to you, and change it. She could have said "I'm already known as a harlet.. I might as well leave my daughter, work the corners and get paid for what everyone knows I've done".. Instead. She made a life for herself, and her daughter. 

Be that woman. (Save the adultery part..) make the most of what you've been given.. change your scarlet letter from (______________) to ABLE. For that is what we all are, In Christ!

The Oark General Store
Established in 1890..  the longest continually running business in Arkansas. Recognized as an historical landmark.. Visited by many different states, and even countries. Post office, prison, stables, store, gas-station.. and the list goes on, I'm sure. The store has been here many years. providing a neat little stop to those who flee to the mountains for vacation.. But to me.. it's more than that. I would never consider the store a place to 'stop by' though I can't hardly keep myself from doing that, even on my days off. To me, it's a second home. More than some little ol' place, in a little ol' town.. or that one place we stopped once to get a burger. This place, is my second home. While people are what make a place.. a place can also help to define who you are. "The house that built me".. this store is that kind of place to me. Somewhere I can walk into.. though I'm going to work, and take a load off. I love the relaxed atmosphere, the homey, comfy feel, the people you see come in and out daily, the lunch specials, antiques.. I love to hear stories.. or the silence of a building whose walls I'm sure could talk. I love the scenery, the feeling that this store belongs to you, and you belong there. I wouldn't trade my job for a lot of things. The pay is lousy, and things get stressful. All the same.. I love this place. Every crack, dip in the floor, creak or quirk. It's always been there.. and though I know it's not practical. I feel that it always will be. I can count on it looking the same when I walk in the door, with the same people.. ordering "the usual". That's a kind of stability that makes you feel safe. Which is a feeling I've longed for, for a long time. Who would have known I'd find it, in the very place I swore I'd get away from, my first chance. Who would have known, I would have a menu memorized, my register code locked in my mind, and even have this place on speed dial. I surely didn't. But I can tell you this. Some surprises are wonderful. So much more wonderful than anything you could have come up with on your own. The store is a blessing to me. And I will always look back on these days of being a waitress, cook, dishwasher.. at the store, as my "golden years".. I've learned much about the world we live in, the skin I live in, the people I live around, the responsibilities of getting older.. No matter where I find myself years from now. This little place will always be home to me. I'll not forget all the good times. And I'll look back at the "bad" as Character builders.
Nestled in the Ozark National Forest
"Arkansas River Valley Tri-Peaks Region Johnson County Tourism Award Winner 2002"
Store Hours:
7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday -Thursday
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 Friday & Saturaday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 Sunday 


You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free..” Remember when Jesus said this? Many of us do.. but do we use it often? (Selah)
Until recently, I had never thought to.
After my world was flipped upside down, I found myself talking to a Christian counselor that was visiting a church I've been half-heartedly attending for awhile. He told me this;
“Tamara, it sounds very seriously to me, that you would benefit greatly from putting your thoughts on trial..”
At fist, the idea sounded ridiculous.. as many unfamiliar things do. After he explained it to me.. I wasn't absolutely convinced.. but it at least made more sense. So I began to unconsciously try it out.. and let me tell you. Even without an incredible amount of effort- it made an amazing impact on me!! So much so, that I do it now, very much on purpose. And I thought that I would share it with those of you who may be interested.. and more than likely, you need it.

We are in so many ways, in bondage. Even us believers.
Our lives could be so different.. if only we would make it that way. We hide behind lies that we “can't”, “it's too hard”.. when really, God has made it quite simple. We can always use the power that He's given us, to condemn the lies, FOR SATAN IS THE FATHER OF LIES. When we allow those lies to enter our minds, and take us over, we're living in slavery, bondage.. when we could be completely free through Christ. so.. now that you have the idea, and meaning behind this, lets get down to how to do it.
Think of your mind as a court room. You are the jury. You have all the power.. to over-rule, sustain.. whatever you need to do. The lies, thoughts, worries.. they are all lawyers, witnesses. Some may have a big bark.. but remember, you're over them. Let's go through the process of sifting through the lies, and giving them less power.

LIE: I'm fat...
POSITION: Trapped by the lie
HOPE: That I'll prove it wrong (Over-rule)
PROOF: You wear size 0 jeans, people always call you tiny, you get hand-me-UPS, you are placed in the middle seat...ETC
TRUTH: I am not fat
RESULT: not starving yourself, wearing frumpy clothes, hiding.... or feeling ugly.

You can do this with any thought. Some will be harder than others.. and just because you say it, doesn't mean you will instantly feel better. It may take praying through it, or talking with friends, to help you feel better about whatever is bothering you. But, there you have it. How to be the jury of your mind!

Thoughts are powerful.. but, through CHRIST. You can overcome all things. Where there is truth.. there is freedom. Where the light has been shown, the darkness can no longer reside. Rest in the truth, little one.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Everything has it place... even a Clishe'

"You Find what you seek"
" Stop to smell the roses"
"Life is what you make it"
"it's the little things in life"  
"You're only as sick as the secrets you keep"
"It aint nothin' but a thing"
 "Don't make permanent decisions based on temporary problems"
"There's always tomorrow"
"Somewhere over the rainbow"

Sometimes, you hear something.. and because you have a thousand times before, you disregard it. However, if you would, I would like to encourage you, to accept them, not for what they are on the surface.. rather the meaning. I know if you're honest, you'll admit to using one of these. Granted, you may of thought to yourself "Gosh, that was cheezy" afterward. Still. We've tried to console someone with the very words we've thought "Lame" to. Can we symbolically relate this to judging people, by their appearances, or stereo-typing? give everything, and everyone it's chance. 

"Every rose has it's thorn"
just as every person has struggles, hurts.. or whatever else. Get to know people for who they really are. Learn to 'judge'- if you must- based on character. Not appearances..
Yes.. that was another one.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover"
But it's true.. as I'm asking you to do this.. I will as well. And I know. It seems silly to make this relate back to cliche's. But as I said, we all use them. My hope is next time you do, you'll remember this.  

Series of unfortunate events.. or blessings in disguise?

For awhile, I found myself feeling as if my life were a cruel joke.. one which I was the butt to. One thing after another, I was overwhelmed with disappointment.
All that I had been in love with about my life- crumbled at my feet.
I won't say that I handled it well.. that would be a gross overstatement. In fact, If I were to be honest.. I would say I sucked it up.
In hindsight (I find myself using that a lot here lately... and I'm only 17!) I see that I was doing quite a bit of what I called "venting" I believe a more accurate title would be "whining". Constant "why did this happen to me... it's always something. Will I ever be happy?" Pathetic, I know. (For all of you that had to hear even the smallest bit of it.. I apologize) I seriously said to myself on a regular basis "WHAT'S THE POINT?"

ANYWAY... The point. I'm getting there, no worries, there is one!
Once again.. in hindsight.. I realized these very things I was all caught up in, painful as they may have been.. and still are to some extent. were not at all worth all the stake I had placed in them. Life is filled with unpredictable surprises. That's why we NEED God. Not all of these surprises will be like the one's you enjoy on your birthday. Some will break your heart, and knock you off your feet.. all at the same time. And as I was saying- cause you to get all caught up in yourself. Lucky for me.. I have a God who is caught up in me. But in a totally different way than I get about myself. I worry.. and fall apart. God is solid. He has nothing to fall apart about. All that happens to us, He knows about, fully. More than that.. He's allowed it to happen.. This tells me that I will for sure get through it. Giving up.. not only does it disappoint and insult God.. but it robs us of the amazing blessings at the end of it.. or my favorite THROUGH and IN it. God sees the whole picture, while we're caught up in this one piece of it. When I'm seeing a 'series of unfortunate events' He's assuring me that it's a blessing in disguise. And the very things that I thought was the end of everything. Has made me stronger. And of course, shown me, yet again.. He is in control. Always.

While I was going through this.. God was sending many people my way. Some of which I'm closer to.. others, however, I had rarely talked to. Some giving advice, or sharing stories... while others, were going through similar situations.. and they asked for advice! (Those were for sure moments I was glad to have the holy spirit residing in me.. because had it not been for that.. they more than likely would have received a Debbie-Downer response) I realize there's much going on in this world around me.. a lot of hurt, confusion, blame, bitterness.. and the list goes on. I could get into specifics of this "LIFE SHATTERING" event I'm referring to.. But I honestly don't feel that it's important. Hurt is hurt... and God's grace.. is constant, sufficient in any and every situation. I am confident that He will be above and beyond what you need Him to be. I'm also aware that it's not always that "easy" while He's made it VERY "easy" to access Him.. close your eyes and pray. We get, as I mentioned before.. 'caught up in ourselves' and afraid, too proud or busy to talk to Him. So I have some words of advice that some came to me asking for. Please, do NOT use this instead of going to God.. no advice given by man will be sufficient to what God has in store. I can't even say the exact words as He with such power.

My advice is this:
I know, we do get caught up in ourselves.. and it feels natural to complain... and complain... and complain. And while we do need some time to "vent" occasionally, to a close friend. I'm afraid that many times what we're calling "venting" becomes, as mine did.. COMPLAINING. (Ouch...Right?)
So-   My suggestion. Find 2 people (to avoid wearing one out :p..) share with them, the hurts and personal things.. to everyone else who asks how you are, if you must say anything.. aside from "I'm good" make it short and sweet. The more we hold on to hurt.. the more it will fester. If you keep re-opening wounds.. they won't heal. Simple as that!

That is my random share time/ gentle rant.. of the day! I hope that you've taken something from it. I am aware that I'm at times a bit open on my blog, especially for it being the big ol' internet.. where anyone could be reading. It's all in hopes that I can help someone learn from my mistakes and experiences. Or that I can help the one who feels lonely, realize there are others out there who struggle. Or maybe it's just reverting back to the old saying "Where there are words; there is power" may we all unite.. whether in typed words, or unspoken thoughts.. and be the body of Christ that we're intended to be!!!

Love always,