Whole Awakenings

I’ve been sitting here and wondering how to start this, and realized I should just start with a hearty HI!


A whole HI, if you will. A hearty HI, and a whole HI, equals a wholehearted HI. And that’s really why I’m here today. It’s to tell you everything I hope and dream for the next year or so, and if I were to label it under one word, what would it be?


It would be WHOLE.

Second place might be awake, because every time I think about this or put it into words, I think of the movie Wide Awake and the movie Awakenings. Then there’s this gem of a song by Ben Folds. I sometimes feel like I sleep through parts of life.

“I know it seems that I don’t care
But something in me does I swear
I don’t remember all last year
I left you awake to cry the tears”

It’s funny to me how you can sleepwalk through certain aspects of your life, while putting others at front and center attention. You don’t even realize it. And then when you realize it – usually through no credit to yourself – it seems so OBVIOUS. Why? Why didn’t you notice? Why did you sleepwalk through parts of life? Why did you leave others awake? Alas, as a wise friend said, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just do better. Fuller. Wholeheartedly. Longer, harder, louder.

(Bear with me – those three words come up later.)

For the better half of last year, or the worse half, I was sleepwalking through parts of life. I had enough work to do to make me cry, daily. I think it could have sunk a ship. Blogging has busy seasons, photography has busy seasons, but nothing prepares you to do them at once. Then when you get offered a data entry job that would literally sink a ship (tons of boxes of papers), and have to do that on top of two very busy seasons of careers, well, you could cry. But there wouldn’t be time for that.

So you just laugh maniacally.

I have big dreams for this blog, both in terms of coming right back to the heart of it – this weird free-writing I do with relevant(ish) photos – and the career work I do here. I do it with all my heart. Whether it’s the blog, or other social media platforms – it’s more than a career; it’s love. It’s more than love; it’s a career. I feel meant to be connected. The fact that I can get paid to do that is a little unreal, but it reminds me of what I let slip slowly away from me at the end of 2016.

Doing things with my WHOLE heart – and not just to get them done.

Before the holiday break, I worried I had forgotten how to feel. We saw Rogue One in the theaters and it hit Cassidy hard, among others. I felt broken by not being able to wrap my head around it. Weeks later on New Year’s Eve, Cassidy’s good friend suggested that maybe the movie didn’t give the emotional foundation to care so much about the characters. Or maybe it did, but an alternative to me being “broken”, is that different things hit us differently at different times.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I really believe that every numb feeling, and idea or emotion that doesn’t quite reach my heart or eyes, means I care too much. Sometimes it pays for me to be covered in Band-Aids, and only sometimes lifting them up – slowly but surely – rather than ripping off all the things. Movies and books, love and laughter, celebrity deaths and scary political elections. Travel dreams realized, and travel dreams still to become. School starting, and the endless, slowly rotational act of letting them go.

Little by little.

Piece by piece.

Better by better.

Milestone by milestone.

Breath by breath.

What does it mean to do things with my WHOLE self? It’s about honoring the whole deal, and taking it that extra step. The little things are the big things. Skim a blog post? Nah, read it. Better yet – SHARE it. Take that love to FB, Instagram, and Twitter too! Outside the career love, take those steps with every aspect of everything. What’s the summary of that?

Not only am I not going to phone it in, I’m going to take extra steps. LEAPS.

I want to..

Hug for a little longer

Kiss a little harder

Laugh a little louder

Dance a little longer

Love a little harder

Sing a little louder

Oh, and drink water a lot more

Eat a lot better

Exercise a lot more and for a lot longer…


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  1. Aw, I cannot say enough how much I loved your words here today and made me that much warmer on this cold, chilly and snowy Friday morning. Oh and btw still need to see Rogue One and seriously still reeling from Carrie Fisher’s untimely death. Not sure how I am going to see this year’s upcoming movie (later in the year) with her in it and not bawl my eyes out when she comes on screen. Just feels like the end of era and was so not ready for this. On a side note, cannot wait to go back to Disney in July and go to Hollywood Studios and experience more Star Wars in general though. You definitely need to let me know when you return from Disney what is new in the Star Wars portion of Hollywood Studios 😉

    1. I saw it before she died! Oh man, I could not handle it again.
      Then I saw La La Land too. Tomorrow, I may see Hidden Figures. I love seeing movies!!
      Hollywood Studios was so awesome and I’ll share so much from there!

  2. I want to do all of those things too – we can do this! Whole is kinda the opposite of hole, isn’t it? Here’s to living 2017 with your whole self! And to eating cookies, of course. Always cookies.

  3. I know that phenomenon of doing just to get things done. Sometimes, it is a rush to “check off the boxes”, but if that is all I ever do, there is an emptiness to it all. You are a beautiful writer, and I think you should keep letting your WHOLE self pour into your thoughts and feelings, even if it means you have to let a few opportunities go. We love reading because of your VOICE!

    1. Ah, that made my day!! Thank you so much. It’s always been about that. I really hope I achieve Whole status this year. So far, I think it’s been happening, although not with the ferocity I originally predicted. Slow and steady.

  4. Oh, yes I hear ya on this one, Tamara. I want to do all of those things too. I want to be better. Sometimes I don’t ‘feel’ when I should. I think it’s because I have become numb from the pain. I have had to put things behind me and let them go. My hopes for better relationships have not come to fruition (family) but then, I’ll cry at a sad movie or reading something. Great post, Loved this!

  5. I sometimes have that feeling like I’m sleepwalking through parts of life — or at least daydreaming through it. I notice it most when I’m doing a yoga video and I realize I have no idea what she just said in the last minute. I relate to this in a way that I need to work on being more present. Live life wholely by living in, not in my head.

    Here’s to a wonderful 2017 that feels whole!

    1. That’s funny about yoga – but did you ever have it driving? Like you don’t remember going from Point A to Point B. I remember my psychology teacher telling us how dangerous that was, but most of us could admit to it happening early morning at least once.

  6. Can I tell you how much I love this? I so feel you on this. I was basically the same last year but this year I’m doing things a lot different. I still share posts that I truly can relate to but I want to share a lot more. I want to do things that truly speak to me, not just for the money. I want to take on LESS sponsored posts and kinda find my voice again. After all money isn’t everything. Here’s to you being Awake and Whole this year and me right along with you.

    1. It’s true – money isn’t everything. Someone once said that you’ll never be successful with blogging if you only do it for the money. I think I agree!

  7. Lovely post Tamara. Yes the sleepwalking through life has been my “friend” as of late as well. I hope we can get to that place with our hearts sooner rather than later, Hugs my friend and I am glad we met in this crazy blogging world.

  8. Quite possibly the best word of the year I’v heard yet. It’s so perfect, so all encompassing, so easy to apply to everything… it in itself is whole…. LOVE IT!!!

    1. Thank you! I honestly had no idea this would resonate at all with other bloggers, so that makes me happy. We’re all in this journey together.

  9. This is a great word. I have NOT seen anyone use it before, and you used it profoundly! I love the bit about taking the extra step too. Always worth it!

  10. I love the word WHOLE and I too strive to embrace life more. As I get older, I realize how fleeting it is. I look forward to your posts for 2017. 🙂

    1. That’s been happening to me too. It used to feel so long and full of chances. I suppose it still is, but I don’t want to see it pass me by too fast!

  11. Ohmygosh this post has been open for days! LOL I have read it and thought I commented on it a while ago. *TOOMANYTABSOPEN* Good grief.

    As I do with everything you write- I soaked this all in. Now I’M inspired to live with my WHOLE SELF… Oh T, this was just beautiful. THANK YOU for reminding me to take it in, relish in it all- I need that reminder often.

    Here’s to this year being even more INTENTIONAL about our every move, every breath, ever moment. <3

    1. I totally get it about too many tabs open. I struggle with that every day. And I need a new computer than can handle it, because mine can’t!!!
      Every move. Every breath. Every moment! I love that.

  12. I struggled with using my whole heart on the blog this fall too. Gradually I realized I was just dealing with the stress of moving and coping with my homeschooling PtSD. Of course, I’m half joking about the ptsd, but I still shudder at the home-schooling. So hard! Love the photos here.

    1. No, but I get it! Even half joking, it takes time to recover and cope with many things. I have learned never to underestimate the stresses of moving. They kick my butt every time!

  13. I am so inspired with this! Little things truly mean big things. This reminds me of times when I complain to myself because of unwashed dishes (might be a shallow reason) and then suddenly reminding myself to do things with joy in my heart. Wholeness, not perfection, is a good thing to live by.

  14. Sometimes I sleep walk through life, too. I think that’s natural, okay sometimes… but then I worry that I’ll wake up and the best parts will be over and I’ll have missed them. It helps to know it’s a common fear.

    You have so much love in your heart, Tamara (“I get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter…”). Anyway. I dunno. I’m rambling. The fact that you think and you feel and you emote so beautifully means that you are always truly connected to your feelings, clearly.

    Also are those gumballs on Des’ helmet?? I die.

    I didn’t have an emotional connection to Rogue One, truthfully… I wanted to, because I know everyone was raving about it, but I just… didn’t. I felt bored through parts of it, like it was phoned in somehow… but I didn’t want to say this to Bryan, but once we got in the car, he mentioned that to me. He has the deeper connection to Star Wars, it’s a part of his past and history; so I thought maybe it was something I was missing. But sometimes movies and things affect us differently.

    Anyway I’m off on another tangent. Sending you much love, my sweet one. XOXO

    1. EXCELLENT Tori Amos reference! That is one of my all-time favorite songs of hers! OOOOH… gotta go listen to it right now on this snow day at home with the kids.

      YES, gumballs on his helmet but it’s my mom’s pony helmet! So we can blame her for the cuteness.

      Interesting about you and Bryan and Rogue One! I’m still mulling on it.

  15. Beautiful. And so similar to what I’ve been thinking as I prepare to turn 50. That number still kind of freaks me out every time I write it. Anyway. I want to do everything longer and harder and better.

  16. I think Rogue One hit me most because just moments after we saw it we learned about Carrie Fisher’s death. So sad. But you’re right – sometimes you have to take a step back and realize you weren’t living in the moment and you need to do it more often.

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