Inspiration Monday – The Grand Tour!

Oh yeah, baby, the Jazz is (almost) ready to roll! The art is (mostly) all hung and our things are (practically) all moved in.

Wanna see me and Justin act like goofballs, sing, dance and give the Grand Tour? 😀

And All That Jazz! from Tara Wagner on Vimeo.

Yup, pretty much inspiring the dignity out of me. 🙂

Some other inspirational stuff I want to share:

Justin and I have a busy week(s) ahead of us. We’re finishing up the last minute details of getting back on the road AND we’re co-writing an e-book for Sustainable Baby Steps! 🙂

So, I might be sparse on the blog and time sucks Facebook and Twitter for a tiny bit. But I’m still available by email and still scheduling a few coaching sessions.

And I’ll be back soon with more awesome sauce for you gorgeous people. In the meantime….

What’s inspiring YOU?

Twenty-Nine Intentions

Today is my 29th birthday and I could not be happier spending it in my happy place as we drive north to Eugene for a week.

I’ve been thinking on my last birthday and the list I created for myself. I couldn’t cross all of them off and I’m really okay with that. When it came down to it, I was so wrapped up in the adventure of just living this life that the things I thought I wanted to do had long lost my interest.

Life has an amazing way of changing what it is you think you want.

I feel like I went into the year with a great idea of things I wanted to do, because I had such little idea of what such an amazing year would have me experiencing. And last year was an experience like no other.

Not because of anything I did, but because of everything it did to me.

So as I sit here, I can’t help but ask myself if creating another list is actually pointless. Can I really predict where the next year will bring me or what I’ll want to do once I get there?

Yes. 🙂

I can predict it. I can wish it. I can dream it up all big and juicy, create some amazing goals and set my intentions.

My predictions may not be 100% accurate and I may not cross off all those crazy ideas.

But I’d rather approach the next year of my life with big, crazy intentions of the adventures I want to create and then allow them to evolve as the moment offers.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Some of these things are carry-overs from the last list, some aren’t. Some of them can’t possibly be perfected in one year. But all of them resonate with me.

This year I want to:

  1. Learn to drive a manual
  2. Drive the 5th wheel
  3. Knit a pair of socks already!
  4. Snorkel in the Keys
  5. Visit the Smithsonian
  6. Hang out of a San Francisco trolley
  7. Play stop motion with Zeb
  8. Leave messages or gifts of love in random places
  9. Create a Gratitude Habit
  10. Practice the fine art of advocating for kids
  11. Make silly/wicked/fun/cool home videos
  12. Create a Life List
  13. Validate, appreciate, and celebrate authenticity
  14. Do something that scares me
  15. Smile bigger
  16. Love my body
  17. CREATE!
  18. Foster the beautiful things in life
  19. Make a difference
  20. Dance, dance, dance
  21. Write my heart out
  22. Be a fool to make someone laugh
  23. Travel off the continent
  24. Stare up at Mt Rushmore
  25. Stay up late laughing with friends
  26. Write more letters
  27. Create success
  28. Challenge myself regularly
  29. Bury a time capsule!

Rethinking Everything (And Being On Stage)

The Rethinking Everything Conference was amazing. This was our 3rd “unschooling” conference, but this one was so much more than unschooling. It’s that whole-life unschooling thing we were talking about, applying these principles to every area of your life.

There were workshops, talks and discussions on everything from parenting and education to health, work, sustainable housing, travel, barefooting and more. There were funshops for shaving cream sculptures, taking apart electronics, gaming, wand making, Lego, copeira, fencing, salsa dancing and hooping. We even took part in a documentary!

But the best part of any conference is the community. For five days we took over the conference center; we created our own village in the middle of Fort Worth. And we thrived in the atmosphere of love, acceptance, authenticity and cooperation. It was amazing and difficult to leave.

I can’t even begin to describe to you what we took away from the weekend: so many self-realizations, new friendships and amazing levels of awareness. Our minds and hearts expanded so many times that we were practically vibratingat the end of each day. It’s something you must experience to understand, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Instead I’m going to share just one small moment of the weekend. Three short minutes in which I pushed myself to do something completely outside my comfort zone.

26. Be on stage.

I have a really hard time under a spot light. Whether it’s calling into a radio show or being called on in class, I always feel the same jittering, stomach-flopping, heart-racing nerves threatening to twist me up. And I am ready to get over that.

Yeah, I freaking did it. I hooped on stage. And I learned a few things about myself too.

  1. When I’m nervous I have to pee. Like 17 times. In an hour.
  2. I take things way too seriously.
  3. I’m incredibly hard on myself.

I worked myself up until I was positively jittering. Which of course means I dropped my hoop twice (one of them hitting my own child in the head). And then I forgot at least half of what I wanted to actually do. And then I proceeded to tear myself down afterward.

But if you’re going to push yourself to do something new and challenging that scares the piss out of you, there is no better crowd than that loving, accepting one I mentioned above. While I was busy watching my taped performance, criticizing myself and feeling like crap, no less than 5 people walked up to tell me how amazing it was. And over the next two days I heard the same from a dozen more. I had somehow amazed and inspired them, adults and kids. It didn’t mattered that I had dropped the hoop or forgotten my moves or shook from nerves. I had still had fun and inspired others to do the same.

Okay, so are you ready to see it? Promise not to laugh? Alright, here goes….5 months of hooping and a really fun song (I Don’t Mind by Imagine Dragons) and this is what you get:

First Hooping “Performance” from Tara Wagner on Vimeo.

No, I’m not satisfied. And I won’t be until I can get up there and not feel nervous. I’m going to keep doing this; pushing myself. Because even when it doesn’t, it still feels so amazing. I may not hoop next time, but you will see me up there again.

It Starts With My Toes

Battered Beauty
Perfectly Imperfect

In case you haven’t noticed, I changed my header. It now contains toes. My toes.

This is kind of a huge deal for me. I’ve always been self-conscious about my toes, mainly because so many people comment on the fact that they are long and my second toe is longer than my big toe. So I’ve always done a bit of hiding my toes (only a bit, closed-toe shoes in the summer are outrageously uncalled for, after all).

But my new header makes me smile. Even giggle a little, on the inside. There are my toes, hanging out for the world to see. And I couldn’t be more pleased with them.

For several reasons really: first, that header is a cropped portion of my first officially SOLD photo and that makes me very, very happy; and second, knowing my toes are hanging on someone’s wall makes me really appreciate them.

It’s funny how knowing someone else loves something about you makes you love it. As if we can’t see it without the help of others. It’s also funny that once you start to love something you realize all kinds of great things about it.

But isn’t that true of many things?

The more passionate someone is for something, the more that passion infects others.

And the more we make up our mind to love someone for all their quirks, the more their once annoys quirks delight us.

My long toes have amazing benefits, after all:

  • I’m pretty sure they help me balance. I’ve always been a good tree climber, balance beam walker and tip-toer, thanks to these amazing appendages of mine. Some people say it may even make me a faster runner.
  • These long toes of mine are great for picking up small items when my hands are full. Coins, pencils, toys…it comes in handy, I tell ya.
  • They are good at gripping the floor during physical therapy exercises or yoga poses to keep me from slipping. I think it makes me a good barefoot walker too.
  • My toes spread out easily. I’m sure there is a benefit to less rubbing of the toes…decreased likelihood of athlete’s foot maybe?
  • I can use my toes to freak my hubby out. I can do this thing with my little toe, making it spread out to the side without any other toe moving. It’s the only thing that weirds him out. So I do it a lot.

There are other things I still don’t feel good about seeing on myself; things you’ll likely never see in my header. But it feels good to see my toes and smile at them, reminding myself to love them unconditionally for exactly what they are.

What quirk of your own makes you smile?

Current Location: Dallas, TX for the Rethinking Everything Conference!

Making Love Last

Where is the love?
A reminder to focus on my love.

You know sometimes I’m amazed Justin and I not only made it this far, and are still so in love with each other. We had both come from divorced parents and I especially didn’t have very many healthy relationship models. Neither one of us really knew what love was or what marriage took to succeed. But we did know we didn’t want to put our child(ren) through the pain we experienced as children.

A few of our single friends have asked us in the past how we did it: how we found “the right one”, how we made things work and how in the world we stayed so passionate for each other. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past few weeks, trying to understand our own romantic journey and discovery, or self-discovery really, trying to find our own “keys to marital success”.

The journey is different for everyone, I’m sure, but here are the things that made the difference for us:

  • Letting go of our type: I was The Bagel Girl and Justin was a construction runner at the time; we both had daily stops at a tool warehouse in town. He spotted me and worked on intuition. My first impression of Justin was “not my type” (based on my type until that point, I can now see that was a good sign), and although he didn’t say so, I wasn’t exactly his either. Justin was accustomed to thoughtless, high school girls; I was accustomed to assholes. So when I started talking philosophy and theology on our first date, he knew I wasn’t the standard cookie-cutter girl. Likewise when I watched him turn his truck’s system down (yeah, he was one of those guys with extremely large and loud speaker systems in his truck) upon entering a residential area, I was literally shocked. Neither of us would have been able to get to that point of noticing these new and interesting qualities had we not stepped outside what we thought we knew about “the perfect date”.
  • Letting go of the fairy tale: A very well-meaning woman had once told me, as I was sobbing over a broken heart, that “if it was meant to be it wouldn’t be so hard”. I loved her to death but something about those words didn’t sit right with me. For all of our lives, we’re read fairy tales and “happily ever after” stories. But love doesn’t always come in and sweep us off our feet, carrying us away to Perfect Marriage Land – especially when you’re entering into the relationship with so much baggage. Justin and I went into our relationship knowing that we were in love and that we would have a lot of work to do to figure out how exactly we should put that into action. The first two years of our relationship and several periods throughout were fucking hard. There were moments no one thought we would (or should) make it through. But because we accepted in advance that it wouldn’t always come easily, we didn’t let the worst of times tear us apart. We kept pushing through it, focusing on what we wanted with each other and building our partnership skills along the way. I can’t imagine where we’d be if we had given up.
  • Remembering it’s not 50/50. This one came from my Grandma (who has been happily married since 1954) and is probably the greatest key to our success. I had asked her several months before our wedding what her best advice would be and she was quite adamant that a good relationship is never 50/50. It’s closer to 80/20…you just have to be willing to give more than you take. This one challenged me at the time, but she insisted that marriage needs to move from a place of generosity. She explained what I now know to be true in regards to marriage or parenting: unconditional love and endless generosity do not create selfish people who walk over you; it creates an environment of kindness and compassion. It fills people up until they have no choice but to pour it back into those around them.
  • Never letting myself go. This one also came from my grandma as well and seriously rubbed up against my feminist mind. After all, shouldn’t Justin love me regardless of whether I wear makeup or gain weight? The answer is yes. But letting yourself go has more to do with Who You Are than what you look like. Justin fell in love with me because I was determined, strong-willed and cared deeply about myself; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If I “let myself go” – stopped learning and fighting for what I believe in, sat on the couch eating junk food in my pajamas watching trash TV, stopped being the best person I could be…if I let go of my role in our partnership and did a 180 on my personality, he was obviously going to feel differently. He fell in love with me for Who I Am, for my best qualities and for my desire to impress him with those qualities as I did when we first dated. And he’ll miss that person if she leaves just because “we’re married now.”
  • Filling each other’s voids. I used to feel resentful anytime I felt I was “mothering” Justin. Likewise I felt uncomfortable admitting that I needed him to care for me the same way. But recently we’ve come to see the amazing healing power and stronger connection that can be had when we symbolically “parent” each other. I believe we marry the person who can love us the way we’ve never been loved and our gift of understanding, kindness and generosity has the power to fill voids we’ve been aching to fill. Together we can right the wrongs of one another’s pasts, giving each other what we may not have had enough of and sheltering one another just as a loving parent unconditionally and automatically shelters their child.

There are a myriad of other things I feel contributed to our success: being open and honest but knowing when honesty would be more hurtful than helpful, understanding our first role is as Zeb’s parents but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to neglect our needs as lovers, being silly together and that sometimes we need reminders of it all.

I’m glad to have written these things out; I love when messages like these come through me, as well as to me. The past few weeks have given us new challenges as we navigate this life and our unjobbing experiences and it’s good to be reminded of these principles of mindfully choosing unconditional love, generosity and compassion.

What about you? What have you learned about love?

Green Bay Highlights

We spent several weeks in La Crosse, Wisconsin, spending time with Justin’s family. He’s posted those highlights here.

After La Crosse, we headed back across Wisconsin to a small town an hour outside Green Bay. Zeb’s Gramma flew into town and we met her at her brother’s home for five beautiful days.

Tom and Mary live on a beautiful beach lake. We happened to reach them just as the weather cooled down. It could not have been a more serene setting.

We spent the first day playing with cousins, eating yummy food (they had a plethora of yummy gluten-free foods just for me!) and enjoying the water.

On the beach



The next day was much the same: tubing, boating, playing in the sand, hooping, eating, chatting.

Too Fast

WI Tubing

Hooping on the beach

Gramma Hooping

The third day was spent in one of Justin’s favorite places: Lambeau Stadium! We toured the stadium, inside and out. By far the most memorable part was walking through the players’ tunnel. As you start to walk down the door opens, you hear insane cheering and the announcer introduces “the team”. It was hilarious and exciting to have a taste of what the players must experience as they come out on the field.

Cheers From The Tunnel

Stadium View

The fourth day was spent on the lake again. This time we also did a bit of birding and actually saw a American Bald Eagle! I can’t describe how beautiful and majestic this bird was; a very powerful site to see. Zeb had even seen the nest on an earlier boat ride; apparently the nests are about 5 feet in diameter!


The Boat

Family Photo

The day to leave came too soon. I was worried that Zeb would have a difficult time saying goodbye, like he did in Nashville. But he was impressively calm. Perhaps knowing we would see her again in a few short months for the holidays helped…or maybe, as he said, he’s just getting older. Either way it’s amazing to see so much change in him these past few months. He’s just such an amazing kid. 🙂

More photos from our time on the lake can be found here.

Current Location: Heading into Decorah, Iowa today through Saturday!

Small Gifts of Love

Dirty Dishes

Everyone has their “thing,” right? That one thing they just can’t do.

Mine is dishes.

It’s not that I just hate doing them. It’s that it is that one thing that grosses me out. Give me vomit to clean or a farm animal to slaughter and I’m good to go and probably a little too interested. Show me a sink full of soggy, slimy food particles floating in warm water and I’m going to gag. Heaven forbid one of those food particles actually clings to my hand. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

This is actually a two-fold issue:

  1. Food particles = indescribable yakking reflexes
  2. I don’t really like the sensation of wet hands…or feeling wet in general. Especially if it’s cold water.

I know this makes me slightly weird (although I’m adamant I’m not alone) and I do manage to take showers. 😉 Mostly I think it’s just a sensitivity thing (I don’t like air blowing on me either) and well…a weird thing. Whatever. I can own it.

One of the first things I miss in the RV is the dishwasher. And not just for the washing aspect; having a place to put dirty dishes until you have enough to wash is just as beneficial. As such there is almost always a dirty dish in the sink, taunting me relentlessly.

Thankfully I have a husband who humors me. For the past several months without a dishwasher, Justin has been handwashing like a pro. Occasionally I can overcome the water issue to rinse and dry. It’s hard and it involves a lot of hand-drying (yes, I actually dry my hands between the dishes I rinse – like I said, I can own my weirdness) but I do it.

He loves me (and he knows I have serious issues), so it’s never really mentioned. And I love him to the moon and back for it. But when Justin was taking his blacksmith workshop over the weekend, he’d come home on cloud nine and I knew nothing would ruin that excitement like dishes waiting to be done.

So today when I faced a sink full of dirty dishes, I didn’t think about the particles of stir-fry floating by or the soggy rice cascading between my fingers (oh dear lord). I took a really deep breath and focused on offering this as a gift of love to my husband.

And you know what? With my husband held firmly in my mind, it wasn’t so bad. This was my gift and nothing changes our perspective like wholeheartedly choosing to give from our hearts.

I didn’t clean out the food trap though. I do have issues, after all. Thankfully, he didn’t mind. 🙂


Today is my 28th birthday. I don’t feel 28. Not to say that 28 is old and I feel younger or vice versa. I just don’t feel any age. I am ageless. ha

It comes with a liberating feeling. As if 28 means I can finally begin to do things for me, instead of for the image I felt I should portray. I don’t know why that is, but there you have it.

27 was a good year, but in a very painful way. It was eye-opening and and honest and excruciating as only self-discovery can be. And with it has come desires and images of who I think I might become and things I think I might want to do with my 28 year old Self.

It's my birthday and I'll take narcissistic photos if I want to

I want 28 to be a great year. And I’m approaching it consciously, instead of allowing it to approach me.

This year I want to:

  1. Embrace my child’s fullness, even especially when it scares me
  2. Stand under more stars than I’ve ever seen
  3. Visit the Smithsonian
  4. Leave messages or gifts of love in random places
  5. Learn to love to prepare food
  6. Show my gratitude for life each day
  7. Learn the harmonica
  8. Visit my father’s hometown (Odessa, TX)
  9. Be silly
  10. Stop holding back
  11. Advocate more for children in public places
  12. Find and pursue my art
  13. Volunteer more of my time
  14. Validate, appreciate, and celebrate authenticity
  15. Only shop small and local
  16. Speak my husband’s Love Language more fluently
  17. Begin to learn Italian
  18. See Iron & Wine, Ray LaMontagne or Brandi Carlisle in concert
  19. Make silly/wicked/fun/cool home videos
  20. Lighten Up
  21. Let go of what others want me to be and Just Be Me
  22. Knit a pair of socks
  23. Dance more freely
  24. Find a place that takes my breath away
  25. Bite my tongue more often
  26. Be on stage
  27. Breath first and then speak from my heart
  28. Let Go of my fear of losing love and happiness & embrace this life fully


Here goes something…

I just want to feel good.

It’s not something I’ve really blogged about because it’s been something I haven’t wanted to focus on myself. But it’s one of those constantly infiltrating facts in all I do.

I don’t feel good. Increasingly so over the past few months. And the excitement of moving has really drained me empty. I wake up exhausted, I spend my day with little energy, then I can’t fall asleep. No appetite, moody, body aches and pains. Not. Good. At. All.

Long story short: I do not want to spend a year or more traveling the country, meeting interesting people and experiencing new things or investigating possible new homes with no energy or not feeling well. So I went to my homeopath a couple weeks ago who did some tests and told me the following:

  • I have Adrenal Fatigue.  I was actually told this a long time ago when I first stopped working and thought time would be enough to heal it. It wasn’t and it’s much worse than before.
  • My liver is not functioning as well as it should be. Wasn’t expecting this one.
  • I’m wheat, corn and gluten sensitive. This still makes me want to cry. I never knew I had a favorite food until I was told I should give up pasta. 🙁

These are the things I’m doing right now to help:

  • Iodine supplementation: Iodine deficiency is linked to adrenal fatigue. I’m using liquid iodine as a dermatological supplement. I rub it on my belly each night and it’s fully absorbed by morning.
  • Green smoothies: Half spinach and half citrus fruits, the blended greens are absorbed much better into my body. (The FIRST day I did a huge green smoothie and within hours I had the WORST detox migraine ever.)
  • Homeopathics: One for fatigue, one for adrenal support and one for a liver detoxification.
  • Other supplements: a daily vitamin and mineral complex, a B complex and fish oil.
  • A gluten- and corn-free diet. 🙁
  • More water. Um, I’m pretty certain the one or two glasses I manage to drink now aren’t enough.

Changing my diet has been the hardest, of course. I never realized just how many of our meals rely on gluten. Gluten-free grains don’t really excite me. And Justin and Zeb don’t want to be subjected to the same diet (Well, we’re already corn-free because of Zeb’s sensitivities. He self-moderates and chooses his own level of comfort in eating corn or corn products but in family meals we choose corn-free options.).

My first gluten-free meal left a lot to be desired. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. The GF bread was so dense the cheese wouldn’t melt and the soup was tasteless. However, I have found Tinkyada’s Brown Rice Pasta, which Justin now prefers over regular pasta and I’m compromising with corn tortilla’s because brown rice tortillas…leave something to be desired. But overall I think my success is going to rely on very few gluten-substitutes.

Once I’ve been gluten-free for awhile I’m going to give a slow-rise sourdough a try, as explained on Weston A Price’s website.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, there have been at least a few moments of such complete frustration and anger over the matter. BUT after only three days, I woke up with energy and felt energetic all day! I can’t honestly recall the last day I felt so good. It didn’t last long but it’s been a huge motivation to keep going, even if rather slowly.

I just keep telling myself that it’s a choice and I’m choosing one day at a time. I can choose whatever I want and change my mind whenever I want.. And right now, I just want to feel good.