Happy 62 Years

I remember calling my mom from Italy to tell her I was going to take a semester off from college. She cried, fearing I’d probably never go back. The whole time I talked to her on the phone she used the pronoun “we.” We don’t want you to take a break. We don’t think it’s a good idea. However, she told me to call my dad after he got off work. This suggestion terrified me. I’ve always been a mama’s girl, and my dad can be difficult to read. Plus, my mom had already established it was going to be two against one.

Still, I bit the bullet and picked up the phone. I expressed to my dad that I needed time, time out of school to work on me. I can picture myself giving my speech, making those pinkie promises to return to college, and that moment of silence where I anxiously waited for his reply.

He surprised me by speaking about his time in the military, how he traveled the world, living in Hawaii and Guam or the time he visited the White House in Washington D.C. He told me it was important not to rush life, and that it was okay to take the time I needed.

I’ve been blessed with two incredible parents. Both of them supported my short detour and so many more after that.

But, today I want to wish my dad a very happy birthday. I love you so much.

xoxo

 

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The New Girl

The summer before 7th grade, my parents and I moved to Southern California. I was slightly nervous to attend a school where I wouldn’t know anyone, but I was comforted by the not so distant memories of “the new girl” I once knew. I remember how her hair rivered down her back. We swarmed her like excited puppies, eager to share who was friends with who, where the best seat in the cafeteria was, and our latest crushes.

All I needed to do was start the 7th grade a few days late. I knew if I postponed my entry, the teacher would present me to the class, give my short bio, and the kids would flock to me like they flocked to every new girl. On the day I started school, it all seemed to go according to my plan, except that last part. Although my classmates looked at me as I stood before the white board, no one was interested in who I was or where I had been. However, all was not lost.

Mrs. Harris introduced me to Annie. I would later find out she was one of the most popular girls in my class. I still remember her low-rise jeans and her clear lip gloss.  Shortly after meeting, Annie asked me to pull out my class schedule, and somehow the stars had aligned. We were a perfect match. After each bell rang, we’d strap on our backpacks and head for our next class together. Eventually, we made it to lunch, and she introduced me to a number of her friends.

I knew it was important that I make a good impression. The girls naturally began to converse, and although I can’t remember a single topic mentioned, it didn’t take me long to realize that I had nothing in common with any of them. I began to panic. I knew I needed to say something. I knew I needed to be memorable, river memorability like the new girl’s long flowing hair, but not a single word came. The bell rang, and time was up. Like a herd of startled antelope, Annie and her friends scattered before I could even think to pick up my tray. I rushed to throw my garbage away, only to turn around to find Annie and the girls were gone.

Instantly, I knew I had been ditched. Surely, I felt hurt, but there was also relief. I didn’t fit. They knew it. I knew it. I would just have to make new friends, but before that I’d have to find my next class. I pulled out the map I hadn’t used once that day and began my search. As I wandered the grounds, the school slowly emptied till I alone was left. Eventually, a lady with a lanyard found me and directed me to class. She opened the door for me, and I made my way to an empty seat. All eyes were on me, except Annie’s. She never looked up.

The next day Annie approached me. She told me that she was sorry, but that we couldn’t have lunch together anymore. I told her that was something I had already figured out.

One thing you all should know about me is that I don’t fear being alone. I never have. However, being seen alone was a different story.  The thought of sitting at a lunch table by myself was beyond something I could handle at that age. So, I developed a strategy. I’d walk around the school yard pretending to meet up with the friends I didn’t have. Except, one can wander for only so long. Hiding in the bathroom was the next best option. When it comes to fight or flight, I’m a flight type of girl. I remember standing in that stall and quickly recognizing what an idiot I was. Was I really going to hide in a bathroom during lunch all year long?

No. I was going to find a friend. I left the bathroom and scanned the lunch tables. I wondered how everyone had grouped so seamlessly. That’s when I saw her, a girl standing alone, staring blankly out into no where land. She was the one I’d approach.

I don’t remember exactly what I said to this stranger, but I know it was something along the lines of, “I noticed you don’t seem to have any friends, and I don’t have any friends. So, maybe we can help each other out.” And that’s how I met Dez.

Even though Annie and I couldn’t formally socialize, she continued to be my friend in the way her popularity allowed. For those two years in middle school, she always smiled and said hello. Toward the end of eighth grade, Annie approached me during P.E, and this is what she said.

I have a lot of friends, but none of them really care about me. You only have a few friends, but I know that they love you.”

After our conversation, she’d go back to those friends. Even now, fifteen years later, I’m not sure why. But that day, her words were a gift. It was right to be ditched.

 

Podcasts I’m currently listening to…

Happy Tuesday! Tomorrow is my 3rd wedding anniversary, and it is also the first day of Spring semester! I am SO ready to go back to school. Christmas break was slightly overrated. I got a Christmas cold, and then I got the flu. But I’m healthy now, and that’s all that matters! I’m also ready to have a routine again and see some sun. I’ve been inside way too much.

Anyway, I wanted to share with ya’ll what podcasts I’m currently listening to. I haven’t been listening to podcasts for very long, probably just this past year. Really, I’m always eager to learn about how different people do life, and podcasts are another way I can get inside some fascinating minds.

So, let’s begin!

1) Dais Podcast- Find Your Platform

Image result for dais podcast rachel hollis

This podcast is hosted by the brilliant Rachel Hollis. I originally found Rachel on Instagram, because of my interest in adoption.
At that time, her and her husband were seeking to adopt a little girl to complete their family, and they will actually finalize the adoption next week! However, that is not what Dais is about. Although Rachel is a mom of four, she is also a CEO and an author. Her main goal is to empower women in life, but more specifically in business. Therefore, she introduces her listeners to “fellow business powerhouses” so that we can kick butt too! She talks about:

  • How to start your own business
  • How to grow your business
  • How to sell your product
  • How to balance work, life, and family
  • How to dress for the job
  • How to achieve a goal
  • How to ask for a raise/negotiate pay
  • How to get your book published

Let me emphasize, the advice she gives is tangible. She be breaking things down into bite size pieces for those of us with a lot of fears and a lot of excuses. I forgot to mention, I’ve never been interested in business (I blame the English major in me), but Rachel has me hooked, and she’s convinced me it might be nice to have money one day. 😉 Also, although this podcast is geared toward women, I wholeheartedly believe men can enjoy it too!

2) The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

Image result for happy hour with jamie ivey

Jamie Ivey is a Christian, wife, mom (she’s also adopted children), author, and Texan! Each week she interviews a new guest, and they somehow never disappoint. I say that because she has SO many episodes. You’d think there would have to be at least one dud. Jamie only interviews women, and as you could probably glean from the title, her show is meant to make you feel like you’re sitting around a table among friends. Every conversation includes God. Her atmosphere is chill and lighthearted, but every now and then you get those deep, serious conversations. Often her topics include:

  • God/faith/ministry
  • Marriage/family/parenting
  • Community
  • Adoption
  • Authors/books (She interviews quite a few authors)

She also may interview people you already know. She has interviewed Kathie Lee Gifford from Today, and Catherine Lowe from Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor. (Which may or may not be a good thing 😉)

3) After 10 with Dave & Joe

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This is a brand-new podcast started by my brother and his friend Dave! Although they have hit some bumps in the road, I especially recommend episode 2-goals. Beginnings are difficult. Even this blog can mess with my head sometimes, and I’ve already started to question whether I should be writing at all. But, this is NORMAL. It is scary to step outside of one’s comfort zone, and that is one of the issues addressed on episode 2. It is vital for people to go for things beyond their reach. Otherwise, we grow stagnant and crusty. Ha, what a visual. Although this podcast does not have a fixed direction yet, you can be sure Dave and Joe are gonna share matters close to their hearts.

That is all for today! I hope you all had a marvelous Tuesday.

If you have any podcast recommendations for me, please leave them in the comment section! 😊

I Hate My Life (A Poem)

I Hate My Life

“I hate my life,”
I said,
Morning after morning,
Never noticing these words slip,
Drip like saliva
Leaked during the night, until
She said,
“You groan that daily.”
But my moans were not meant to
Precipitate harm; they deluged
Casually.

Yet, when those Hate-
Words were
Released my attitude bent from a
Rising altitude of
Exaggeration.

Who knew those
Instances were such
Impressionable periods of time,
Swallowed moments that go
Down once,
Like drool puddled in my pillow,
Never to be drawn
Out, an unforgiving
Well?

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

Happy Thursday, everyone! I could not find a topic to write about today, until I read Ashley’s blog post, “The Liberation that Comes with Asking Questions.” She talks about her own experience working as an English tutor, which made me think of mine!

I learned about Carol S. Dweck’s fixed mindset and growth mindset while training to be a tutor for community college students.

Basically, she asserts that there are two mindsets.

If a person has a fixed mindset, the individual believes their abilities are fixed/established.

A person with a growth mindset believes that their abilities can be developed.

We were trained that parents should not simply tell their child, “Oh, you’re so smart,” when a child brings home a good grade. Instead, the parent should tell that child, “You worked really hard, and it paid off.”

The problem is that school can often be easy for children when they start. A child can believe that they were born intelligent (fixed mindset), but then when the assignments get harder and that child struggles for the first time, they may be confused that they are not instantly grasping the new material.

A child may then become afraid to ask questions when they don’t understand a lesson, because they have been repeatedly praised for being intelligent. Therefore, they fear looking stupid and decide it is best to hide their ignorance or misunderstanding.

However, I’m sure you can imagine how not asking questions can impede one’s learning.

A child can also have a fixed mindset by believing they are just dumb. Again, they will not ask questions, because they figure “what’s the point” if their intelligence is static.

Another sign that a person has a fixed mindset is if they ever say something like, “I’m not a math person.” Typically, this means, “I’m not good at math, and I never will be.”

It is important to note, even if a person has a growth mindset, they can still struggle. The difference is when they recognize that math is difficult for them, they will ask questions in class, go to their instructor’s office hours, and visit the tutoring center.

By the way, a person can have a fixed mindset in one area and a growth mindset in another.

I remember when I first learned about these mindsets, my mind exploded. I was that kid in class who was TERRIFIED to be called on. What if I didn’t know the right answer? What if I gave the wrong answer, and everyone would think, “What an idiot,” and then I’d die right there. Yes, I was a very dramatic child. Still am.

Obviously, I’m applying this to school, because I’ve been in college for ten years, and it’s all I think about. But, I feel this is also timely for all of you who made New Year resolutions. In what areas do you have a fixed mindset?

If you want a growth mindset, remember it’s about asking for help and finding effective resources.

Again, Happy Thursday!

xoxo

T. Shaw

new year’s matters

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT!
If you have been following me since the very beginning, you know I’ve mentioned the name B. Golden a few times. B. Golden is one of my dearest friends. We are fellow English majors. We did our undergrad at the same university, and we graduated together. She just started her own blog yesterday, and I wanted to share her first post with all of you. Her poetry is being published in the Sky Island Journal THIS MONTH. Keep tabs on this girl; she’s going places.

xoxo

T. Shaw

Britany Jean Golden

I recently came across 13-year-old-me’s New Year’s resolutions. It was January 1st, 2001, and one of the fourteen resolutions I made that year was to journal every day. And I did it. Every day. For 6 months.

So, it didn’t last. I didn’t stick to any of them (except #9, but it didn’t work). Even so, a 6-month commitment from a 13-year old is impressive. I had a strong belief, even then, that a fresh page in a fresh year can be a powerful thing.

So here it goes. I would like to bring your attention to a couple of things before I put my 13-year old self on blast: I spelled my name with two t’s then (that’s how I was taught, but my birth certificate’s only got one. “It was the 80s, we’d never even heard of “Brittany”–my mom), “R.E.” stands for Religious Education (I’m a heathen now)…

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A New Year “Surprise”

Happy Tuesday! It’s my first week on my new Tuesday, Thursday, Friday blogging schedule. I hope you all are doing well! 🙂

Fair warning, I didn’t have the best New Year, and this post may be graphic.

This year the friends my husband and I spend New Year’s Eve with decided to travel across the country to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although Danny and I have been giving them a hard time for leaving us this year, truly, we’re happy they had the opportunity to freeze their toes, play in snow, and consume a few Philly cheesesteaks.

With them gone this holiday, my husband and I played it cool. We had Chinese dumplings for dinner with friends, played Sushi Go! (a very fun card game), and ate a slice of lemon-raspberry cheesecake. We were home and in bed by 10:30 pm. We turned on the movie The Holiday starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, and my husband fell asleep before the main characters even exchanged houses.

When the clock struck twelve, I texted a friend that we were the grandparents of the group, and then I fell asleep.

Around 3 am my dog woke me up to go outside. Downstairs, I could hear my husband waking up and walking to the bathroom. Shortly thereafter, I heard a small crash. I figured he must have hit and knocked something over while walking in the dark. As I continued to look out the window to spot my dog Dobby, I heard a second crash loud enough to make me question whether we had just experienced an earthquake. It seemed like the house shook, even if it was for but a moment. I ran upstairs, turned on the light, and saw my husband standing but startled. I anxiously asked him what happened and was he okay, but he didn’t respond. He just looked at me. That’s when I saw the blood dripping down his head, and this is the image that keeps replaying in my mind.

I called 911, and we spent the night in the ER. My husband needed five staples to close his wound. The doctors believe he passed out, which caused him to hit his head; my husband doesn’t remember what happened. Although, he did share his thoughts on the incident on his own blog. Check it out here!

At the ER and during the day yesterday (when I was awake), I think I remained pretty calm and had a good sense of humor, but when it came time to say goodnight and try to sleep, fear visited me. I’m not one to fear the night. Going to sleep is actually something I look forward to daily. I love sleep. I cherish sleep. I’d snuggle sleep. Ha, you get the point. But all I could think about was that the last time we went to bed it didn’t go so well.

I don’t know why my husband fell. Therefore, I can’t prevent it from happening again. This realization can drive a person crazy, but it can also make me appreciate the good—being home, holding hands, and the taste of freshly baked cinnamon rolls (that’s how we treated ourselves last night).

A fellow blogger, Claire Yang, shared that a New Year’s tradition she practices is not spending any money on the first of January. She wrote, “In the Hmong culture…If you do spend money on the first day of the new year, then you will not be able to save much money and will be spending a lot of it for the entire year.” I commented on her post that I might give this custom a try, and I thought of Claire when the nurse at the ER swiped my credit card.

This New Year I’m reminded of a quote from the movie Dan in Real Life. 

“I want to talk to you about the subject of plans… life plans and how we all make them, and how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking our young people, ‘What are your plans? What do you plan to do with your life?’, maybe we should tell them this: Plan… to be surprised.”

Reliving 2017’s Highlights

So, my husband started his very own blog a few days ago, and I’m already stealing his cool ideas. (Feel free to stalk)

Let’s look at my 2017 “top nine!”

1) These pictures were taken by my personal photographer, my mom. She’s not an actual photographer, but I’m really awkward in front of a camera, so I need someone who can lovingly force me to smile.

2) This picture is special, because it’s the day our best friends, Kevin and Shadie, got married, and my husband and I both got to be in the wedding and walk down the aisle together.

3) My hubby and I spent Christmas Eve with my very cute parents. We actually live with them right now, but it’s a blessing, because they’re wonderful and we have ZERO student loans!

4) This one time my husband and I threatened to throw a potluck vowel renewal for our dear friends, and lo and behold, our friends basically ended up planning wedding #2. We definitely feel responsible.

5) Christmas with the Shamus! These peeps are my dear in-laws, and I loved them even before I loved my husband. My father-in-law was even my boss well before Danny and I started dating.

6) More pics from Shadie’s and Kevin’s wedding. Our anniversaries are three days apart, so one year we’ll have to celebrate together!

7) My husband won a contest at work, and the prize was Disneyland passes! This means I get to spend a lot more time with the beloved KaylaAnn, because she and her FIANCÉ have passed too. (They just got engaged) 😉

8) Kamie and I’s friendship blossomed this year after I found out she was a fellow book lover! We even started our own book club. 🙂

9) My brand new nephew is the cutest little guy! I wish I wasn’t a long distance auntie!

Happy New Year, everyone! Stay safe, and see ya in 2018!

ALSO, I now have 50 followers and on New Year’s Eve! Thank you all sooo much for making today all the more special. ❤️

Xoxo

T. Shaw

Winter Break

This cold has made me a bad human. I meant to have a productive winter break, but I’ve been getting lost in YouTube land and watching too many episodes of Naked and Afraid.

Now it’s time to get back on track! I’ll be starting school on January 10th, which also happens to be my wedding anniversary.

I intend to complete one chapter for my thesis before school starts. This is pretty much equivalent to a 20 page paper. Right now, I’ve got about 3 pages.

I also need to pick up my books for the class I’m taking this spring, British Literature Post-1800. My professor is focusing on works by C.S Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and J.R.R Tolkien.

My reading list includes,

I haven’t read any of these books, so I’m pretty excited! I will be reviewing/sharing insights from these works as I read them over the course of the semester.

I’ve decided to post every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from now on. 🙂 Maybe a little more.

Till next time!

Xoxo