My new story

Stories matter.  My fear is I will forget my story of how Joseph and I grew into husband and wife.

So today I will write all the moments where I saw God change our hearts as we went along.

For those of you who have read lots of my story you know Joseph and I started off in an unconventional way. I had been in relationship prisons till I met Joseph. When we became “friends with benefits” it was wonderful to be part of something that had no demands. No expectations. I know lots of people won’t agree with outbstart. But I truly believe it was Gods way of showing me I could be part of something great without demands.

I remember defining moments that showed me how we progressed from friends to being so much more.

We went camping five months into dating. While driving, Joseph saw this sign that said they were having a tiny town carnival. He said,  “we should go so I can show off my girlfriend.”

Consider my shock. This was the same guy who texted me one day after we were just hanging out and said, “In another life I think you would have been perfect for me.”

My divorced status and my girls would scare any mid 20’s man. With strict Christian parents, I knew I didn’t look like the best option for someone’s son.

That same night, lying under the stars, Joseph held me close and with nervous laughter in his voice said, “I just love all of this so much”

More shock. God was changing his heart and mine. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know if he heard me but in my fear I whispered it back. 

The second time he said I love you was to the tune of the goldfish jingle. “I love Tiarra cause she’s so delicious.” In the beginning I know it was his way of letting me know that his love was there but in a way that helped him share it without the seriousness he wasn’t ready to admit.

8 months into our relationship one night, Joseph and I stayed up way too late. We didn’t want to end our evening so we watched comedy videos till midnight. He had school and me work the next day but admitting bedtime meant he had to go home. Neither of us wanted that. He looked at me, illuminated by my computer monitor and said, “I don’t want to go.”

My reply, “Then don’t.”

He stayed. Just another piece of us trusting each other slowly with more and more of our hearts and our commitment.

Another moment was us sitting at the table eating lunch. He said he loved me. More serious than his previous ones. I told him how I felt every time. I shared my soul with him that day. I saw something in his eyes that day. A gratefulness that I can’t explain in words. I wish I had told him sooner what his words meant (and still mean) everytime he said them. Perhaps I would have seen that bond strengthen in his eyes sooner. But all in Gods time.

One day after an afternoon lunch, as he was headed out to class he turned to me and said, “I can see myself spending the rest of my life with you. But I don’t know about marriage.”

The rest of his life. The rest of mine.

As the time kept going we had many late night talks. One included Joseph asking me what I wanted to do. What was my big dream? I told him that someday I wanted to teach photography. As a professor in a university setting. There was a pause, as if he was considering what to say next. 

“Professor Tompkins. I like that.” He said

My shock. This many who had just said he didn’t know about this marriage thing just replaced my last name with his. 

He didn’t get down on one knee to propose and our wedding was a small elopement. But it was the most wonderful thing to me to commit my life to him. As I watched us grow into each other I saw something that is amazing. He loves me the way Christ loves the church. And I love him as Christ loved the church. 

Why did I write this today? Gratitude. Today the message at church is gratitude. I’m grateful for my husband, for our journey. For his love and commitment to me and our girls. I have never in my life met a man with more integrity, that works so hard. Who wants to take care of this family. In our written wedding vows he said his life was hollow before. That he was just going to school to learn to do something. That we came along and gave his life purpose. Meaning and direction.

My dearest love, you give me that too.

To those of you still waiting for your love story, God will bring it to you. Even if it’s just Christ’s love for you.

Have an amazing day everyone.

Love,

Tiarra

Advertisements

The Conversation 2016

Working in a hybrid company is a privilege that most people may not understand. Being the Vice President at OnFire Books and being the right hand woman of the CEO for more than a decade changes your life. 

Why?

Because I have been given something from this company that is priceless. An opportunity to be in a job that allows me to serve.

What does working for a hybrid company mean? It means that we strive, in everything we do, to make change. To give. Not just money but time.Not just for the Authors that come to us for work on their Business Book libraries or their legacy books. We work to impact the world through everything we do. From our homeless ministries, through orphanages and through every avenue that we can to impact lives with the power of words. There is something special about reaching out while learning more about the people we serve. We get dirty, we go into where people are and we use our words and resources to change lives.  We don’t just send a check and consider it done. Im grateful that I have the chance to reach out everyday and see the impact on lives that we strive to lift up.

This past Friday was our annual event. The Conversation. This event means a lot to me. 

Why did I tell you all that stuff about serving others? 
A Vice President of a company is rarely accessible. There are a lot of different jobs that I have and hats that I wear. But one thing I always want to be is accessible. For our attendees at our event I am the main contact. Why? Because I want to be involved in making sure that they are ready the life changing  event. That they have the highest quality of contact and that they didn’t get emails from my assistant. It is about a personal connection. 

The Conversation is an exclusive, invitation only event. A mastermind of world changers. Every single guest at The Conversation is hand picked and screened. I am their main contact the months leading up to the event. I answer questions, send hotel information and make sure that they are prepared for the event. Why do I do all of this?

Connection.

I want to make the connection to each attendee so that they can understand their importance. They were handpicked for this event. I want them to know that my status in the company that founded the event isn’t something that makes me inaccessible. You know what else? I am the person who registers each guest as they arrive. I could get someone else to do this. It isn’t an overly complicated job. I could instead spend my time mingling. Maybe connect with 30 people. That isn’t enough for me.  I want to connect with each attendee as they arrive. I want them to meet the person that helped them prepare for this event. Life and business changing conversations happen around those fires. Ideas are ignited and I consider it a blessing that I can be there to greet each attendee and know that every step of the journey to The Conversation, I was there to connect with them. 

Being accessible to the attendees, welcoming them to The Conversation and see the recognition when I introduce myself is my take away for the night.  The excitement in their face, knowing I helped them prepare for this day is my reward for being accessible and creating that personal connection. It is as if I can see their heart open up to what can happen at this event just because I took the extra time to create relationships with our attendees before they arrive. 

If my connection with our attendees prepares one person to really open up for the amazing conversations that happen around our campfires, than my work at creating bonds before the event was worth it.

We all decide where we will choose to spend our time. I choose to spend my time creating personal connections with our Authors and our attendees and changing lives with words.

It’s a meaningful decision that creates connection, not just for me, but for someone else. 

That is what matters. 

Happy Father’s Day

Dear Terry,

I write this to you even though you are long gone from this earth. I don’t know if you heart belonged to Jesus, so I truly can’t say if we will ever see each other again.

I want you to know that I am grateful for you. Every negative thing you said to me was a lesson. I have learned never to treat people the way that you treated me. I learned to say I love you to my children and to show them grace.

Despite your lack of care in regards to my existence, I have forgiven you. It is not for me, to hold a grudge against you for what happened. I am sure what you learned as a young man when I was born scared you. Running away can be considered a normal reaction. I forgive you for not writing me when I was a little girl. I forgive you for not having time for me when I was 12. I forgive you for choosing your new family instead of adding me to the mix. I forgive you for telling me I should have never been conceived when I was 15 years old. I forgive you for being drunk and on drugs when I needed you to be sober and present. I forgive you for how you treated my mom and how you treated us girls.

What’s more I forgive you for finally apologizing to me when you got sick, but never telling me that you were dying till it was too late. My girls have no biological grandparents (other than my amazing mom) that care, or spend time with them. So I forgive you for not giving me the chance to introduce them to you when you had finally tried to make peace.

I always wanted to have a Dad that would look out for me and take care of me. I realized that maybe that just wasn’t God’s plan. Maybe my lack of a good Dad led me to where I am now. Perhaps had you been a good dad I would have never met my daughters father and made the bad choice to marry him. Maybe I would have made better choices. Those choices might mean I wouldn’t have my girl. Those choices might mean that I wouldn’t have my Joseph.

So I want to thank you. Thank you for failing me. Thank you for not taking responsibility for me. Thank you for every insecurity that you gave me. Without every one of those lessons, I may not be standing here, with the love of my life, and my beautiful girls.

Thank you.

 

_________________

This life is so short. I want to let go of the things that I can’t control. I can’t control how someone treated me years ago, and I sure can’t make someone who has long since died, make up for it. For myself, this year, I give myself the gift of forgiveness. Of letting go.

Happy Father’s Day, Terry, wherever your soul resides. May we both be at peace.

 

Falling In Love

I fell in love this past week. Don’t get any tawdry ideas. I spent the last week falling in love all over again with my husband.

My anxiety has been crazy, and I have been pushing through and making things happen anyway. So the other night I stopped and spent some time with Joseph because I had been running for so long that I felt like my cup was empty. He came to my rescue. He asked me what I needed, how could he help, what was it that would make it lighter and easier? Knight in shining armor and all. We talked for a few hours and I went to sleep feeling so much better. I woke up refreshed and dancing and singing the next day. It was amazing.
Then to add to the happy he bombarded me with loving texts, adorable selfies, and attention to the overflowing.  There is nothing quite like someone dropping all they have going on to pour into you when you are feeling the well is dry.
I was reminded today that I wanted to give him due credit here when I texted him as he left for the grocery store.

Me: I am almost home

Joseph: crap. I just left. I’m coming back to kiss you and see you for a few minutes before I go.

Le Sigh. He really is either an amazing catch or an alien. Either way, I’ll take it. Thank you husband. For being there, for knowing when I need it most, for pouring into me, for always asking how you can be better and for taking care of me and the girls. We love you. I love you. God really gave me more than I could have asked for with Joseph. I’m gonna take it.

I leave you with the words of Meghan Trainor:

I’m gonna love you

Like I’m gonna lose you

I’m gonna hold you

Like we’re saying goodbye

Growing Together

Joseph and I met as he was just going back to school. He was an audio engineer for Funimation, and had decided that instead of moving to Hollywood or LA to seek his Audio engineer fortune, that he would go back to school to become a software engineer.

I have been working as he goes to school now, since we met. It has always been my goal to see him finish his degree. Of course, so that he can become my sugar daddy and I can write books and continue my work for OnFire Books from the comfort of any place that I would like to be.

The journey towards his sugar daddy status began during the Job Fair at UTA. He had a prime target for summer internships, USAA, and he scored an interview with them the very next week. Once interviewed he got an email outlining the next steps to ensure his internship. Which brings me to the point of this post. My love is in San Antonio tonight. Flew out this morning to the head quarters for USAA for his final interview. I have total faith that he is going to get it. He is an amazing and intelligent man. I don’t say that because I am biased. (Though I am) I say it because he truly is. God has given him so many talents. He accessed both his left and right brain and for that I remain jealous.

The one thing that this new adventure shows me is how we are growing. We both knew that even though it is barely two days away, (he will be home tomorrow night), we will both miss each other and wish that we were together. He took me along the river walk with him. Sending me photos to show me the sights, because he wished I had been there too.

There is something wonderful to being with someone who understands you, who cares about your feelings and all your crazy nuances. He gets me. It melts my heart and makes each day more worth it than the last.

As the girls and I prepare for bed, as I say our prayers, and as I read them their story I am reminded that he is our rock. The girls miss him when he is gone and I feel l a little lost. Like a broken doll. The piece will be back.

He is my puzzle piece. And being without him is hard. But we are growing. And I know in growth is where all the good and big things happen. Gives us this growth oh Lord. We are ready! Life is full of a series of hard events. I will be strong and I will wait for him. God will keep him safe or me and bring him home.

 

 

 

 

Everyday

I am reminded by the events that have transpired over the last few days about how precious life is. Every single day we are in a fight for our lives. Whether we think about it that way or not, it is true.

We have loved ones who are fighting cancer or some other life threatening illness. Each day that passes we are closer to death than we would ever care to think about. With the realization that I want to leave behind more than memories that will fade with time I want to create a place to leave my words. While I have left them here for years I want them to bear meaning. Something that people will learn from.

I have been more than fortunate. I had my appendix nearly explode when I was two. I dodged death as a child with severe asthma many times, several week long stays admitted into the hospiI Was hit by a car while riding my bicycle 4 different times. Who gets hit on their bike that many times and walks away with little to no injury? Someone who GOD has big plans for. I had two emergency C-sections. I was in an abusive relationship, where at the end I was afraid for my life and my daughters.

Why did I tell you all of this? To show you that so many of these instances could have ended my life. God had bigger plans. What am I to do with this time that he as given me over and over? I want to live. To love. To make a difference in people’s lives. To share other people’s stories. 

I have been told many times by my mentor that words matter. That words are currency. That my Legacy is more than my daughters. 

I believe her.

I am taking action. Making a pact. To live each day to the fullest. Not in some empty and sentimental way that is just to look good on paper. For real. Working hard to make a postive impact on every life that I come in contact with. I want people to see me and see a light. A beacon of hope and of energy. Someone who lifts people up. 

Make this pact with me. Live everyday. Make a difference in someone’s life. And make sure you know that you are here for a reason. 

Everyone has a purpose. Whether or not you research and give yourself the value you deserve so you can accomplish that purpose is solely dependent on you and how you decide to live. Will you live in this moment? Will you wait for a better one? Every moment is worth something. Don’t waste this moment because it doesn’t meet your standards as a moment worth living. If you don’t value all you can learn from the bad moments, and the okay moments, and even the every day average moments, then do you truly deserve to have out of this world moments? Amazing, once in a lifetime moments happen everyday. Just look yourself in the eye and remember that this moment matters. This moment is important. Grow. Learn. Live. And above all, love. Love like there is no tomorrow.

There just might not be.