dreams

The Layaway Plan

Dating, courting, whatever term you chose to use, has become quite interesting these days. It can all seem so complicated, especially when there seem to be so many rules in the game of dating. Who should call who first? How long should you wait? Do you take turns setting up dates or wait on each other? I have gotten plenty of those questions, but I want to skate past this today. I get many questions all coming down to “How do I know they are serious?” I often refer to what I call “The Layaway Plan”.

Let me break this down. Almost everyone has gone shopping for something a handful of times. Layaway programs were created to allow customers to lay claim to items they desire by investing usually at least 10% of an item.  If you are still searching for other items and you aren’t sure if you are going to find exactly what you are looking for, you can make sure no one else claims the others you in which you are interested. If they don’t find anything better, then they have a time frame in which they can fully complete their purchase. Sometimes you decide you find something better and let go of the items on layaway. Many of us date with this method whether we identify it or not.

Let’s say I find a guy in whom I am intrigued, but I am not quite sure whether it is exactly what I want. He may have some characteristics or traits, but I am not sure. There may be another guy that comes along that may have exactly what I think it is in which I am looking. Of course, I don’t want to miss out on this guy. So, I have to invest just enough to keep him occupied or intrigued. I may call him, text him, and spend time with him. I’m just making sure I do enough that I can keep some of the other prospects away from him. That way I am not missing out on what could be potentially be a great thing or my person.

Some of you aren’t even going to be real and admit that you have done that or if it currently identifies with you. I realize that you have to date in order to find love. Now you do have to know what it is you want or looking for in order to find it. I could stop right there. No commercials just yet though.  Some of you want to put people on layaway for free. You make no kind of investment, but expect them to be there when you get back. That is hilarious to me. You may even start other layaway plans while still searching for what you want. Some of you are on layaway and don’t even realize it because she or he makes you feel special. You don’t even realize that they are only investing in the minimum to keep you off the market. They know someone will come and want to fully invest in you. They may not be ready to fully commit for whatever reason or excuse.

One thing that people tend to forget while still shopping at times is that the layaway plan has a limit. There is an expiration written into the policy. Most layaway plans don’t exceed over 90 days. You have 90 days to make a decision on whether you are willing to make the investment to make the full purchase. I was reminded tonight that during holidays an extension is often given now so you may get 120 days. That is not the norm. If I am not willing to fully invest, then I can’t string a man along. Let’s be honest. Most of us really know within that time frame whether we can see something progressing from that relationship. Now there can be several different factors that cause us to hold on past this point. It can be comfort, fear of missing out, fear of the unknown, fear of causing hurt, selfishness, etc. For the sake of time I won’t elaborate on those in this post. I will hit that another time.

I personally held on to some relationships or friendships because I was comfortable with the familiarity. It was easier not to start over and learn someone else new. I told myself that we had a really great friendship and isn’t that a great foundation for a great marriage? Now don’t get me wrong, it can be. Sometimes we are in denial. Some of us had great friendships only because we didn’t do anything to rock the boat. You don’t want to be rude or hurt feelings. Some of my greatest friendships are with people who don’t mind hurting my feelings. I thought that if I stuck it out it would change and marriage would evolve eventually. We would get on the same page. There is potential. Truth be told, I saw red flags along the way that pointed me to an end. I knew it was time to let it go and I held on anyway. I caused more hurt by lingering than by letting them go. I had to ask myself was I keeping the other person from finding their person because I hadn’t let them go. I loved them enough that I wanted them to be truly happy even if it wasn’t with me.

If you aren’t going to invest, then let them go. I hear people tell me that they are going to entertain one person, until someone else comes along that catches their attention. Here is the problem with that. It usually doesn’t work that way. If you really want to experience love and happiness with an individual, you must be willing to be vulnerable. Let me say it again another way. The level at which you chose to stop being vulnerable, is the level of happiness and love you can experience.  I know it doesn’t feel great being vulnerable. Who wants the feeling of thinking they can be hurt?

They are so many different scenarios of how this layaway plan can play out. I will touch on more of these soon.  As for now, don’t be someone’s expired layaway plan. If someone hasn’t made the investment yet, don’t think you aren’t worth it. Don’t use this to measure your worth. Maybe that person is just not your person. Someone will come who will be ready to fully invest when it’s time and see the treasure you are.  Don’t leave people on layaway once you know you have no intention of making the full investment.

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Hello my friends! I know it has been quite a while and I have been M.I.A. I missed you! I haven’t forgotten about you all out there! So much has happened and I will give you all the updates. I have been also missing in action on my social media platforms as well. Thank you all for the messages, inboxes, and emails asking where I have been. I have read them all. I’m thankful for you and that you look forward to my blogs and posts. It means so much to me. I will be very transparent with you about what has been happening in my world. Everyone knows I am purpose driven. Well maybe some of you. It brings me great joy when I am fulfilling my purpose. I love helping, encouraging, motivating, uplifting, and inspiring. It is second nature to me and I start doing it without even realizing it. Some may get annoyed when I do especially if all they really wanted was to vent. You don’t always want to be encouraged. I get it! Therefore, I have had to learn how not to do that because I am not perfect. I’m still growing and developing. I even had to ask friends and loved ones to let me know before they start that all they want to do is to vent. I can’t always read minds. Lol!

I am the person who naturally wants to say yes to everyone who comes and need me. I will go out of my way to help even if it means changing my schedule or even pushing my body beyond what it needs to do. A friend often tells me I do that to a fault and gets annoyed at me for not making others aware of what I’m dealing or tending to with myself. Well a few months ago, God brought some of these things to the forefront. He told me to rest. I haven’t worked a 9 to 5 since I was diagnosed with brain cancer. I thought I had had too much time of rest, but He showed me that I wasn’t resting at all. I am often told that I am the busiest single person with no full time job they know. I was being pulled on emotionally, spiritually, physically, and other ways too. I was answering every phone call even when I knew that it was going to require more of me. I was carrying so much and I realized I pushed myself to the back burner. I wasn’t taking care of myself. It is important to have people in your circle that loves you enough to check in with you to see how you are doing in spite of the smile on your face and when the smile is gone.
I learned how to push myself and not give so much attention to the things I am going through. God wanted me to address these things. I had to tend to me. He reminded of my call, purpose, and assignment. If I didn’t start tending to me more, I wasn’t going to fulfill my destiny. That was all I had to hear. I want nothing more, but to fulfill my purpose and complete the assignment of my life. I don’t want God not to be able to use me because I am not taking care of myself.

You know when you get on the airplane and they start going through safety procedures. The steward or stewardess tells you in case of emergency, place the oxygen mask on before you help the next person. What good would you be to someone if you died in the middle of helping them? Well, that is the visual I was given. He told me loud and clear “Tara, put the oxygen mask on you first.” I had to take a break for God to pour into me. I had to tend to some matters of the heart and making sure I was really healed and healing. I had to learn how to really rest and how to be okay with saying NO. He told me “Saying YES to everyone is sometimes saying NO to you”. That is a SELAH! Just think about that statement. We often say yes to everyone except ourselves. People don’t always realize when they are pulling on you nor do they realize that they aren’t the only person doing so. I have learned to say yes to Tara more and how to allow God to take care of me in every area. I learned how to protect my peace more and stay in my “happy place”. I was also spending too much time on my phone and social media without even realizing I was scrolling. Some of us can’t even go a church service without accessing Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I am not referring to sharing the message or broadcasting. We spend all day doing that and give God the crumbs of our time. Yet, we want Him to fulfill our every desire. That is another topic for another day. With all that being said, I’m ready now more than ever to fulfill the things that my hands has been assigned to accomplish! I’M BACK

♥ Tara S. Middleton

Beyond Bondage

If I took a virtual poll right now, how many of you would choose freedom over being locked up in prison? Let me be the first to raise my hand! I think that majority of us would choose to be free right? You are probably thinking “Tara, who wouldn’t?” This seems like it would be an easy decision. Those who are behind those prison walls would probably give anything to be on the other side. A couple of weeks ago I had a vision and it left me a little puzzled for a moment. I was shown a prison cell. There was a woman sitting on a bench with ankle cuffs and handcuffs. The officer opened the door of the cell. He came in and removed the ankle cuffs and then the handcuffs. He walked out leaving the door to the cell wide open. She stayed right there and didn’t get up once she was set free. I couldn’t quite understand why someone would be sitting in prison and they are already free. There are so many of us who are in this same position of the lady from my vision.

God has set us free from bondage of addictions, relationships, hindering mindsets, abuse, etc. Yet some of us are like the woman sitting behind the cell free and don’t even know freedom has already been granted. We are holding ourselves in bondage of things that God has already released from our lives. In some cases, many have asked to be free. Many nights of crying ourselves to sleep because all we can think about is what lies beyond this place of confinement. Some are all cried out and living silently in pain. Hearts are aching to experience happiness beyond the bondage. Now that we have been given the liberty to get up and walk out, we are stuck sitting on the bench. Fear has come, and we don’t think there’s going to be a better life outside these walls. There is so much beyond the bondage, but you must first receive the freedom. If all you can visualize is doom and defeat, you will never be free. You must see life beyond bondage.

Maybe some of us found the courage to walk out. We took the steps and realized that there is a new-found freedom. Now we are out of prison, but we think that life outside of what we are used to is so hard. We are used to being bound emotionally, physically and psychologically that we struggle accepting the newness. This is a trick of the enemy to get you stuck in prison, so you don’t walk into the greatness that your lies ahead of you. You start to think that it was better being in prison then being free. You forget the bad things about prison that caused you to cry out for something better and thinking there must be more to life than this.  My heart aches for us that are deceived to believe prison is so much better than being liberated. It may be new and may even hurt sometimes when we are separating from relationships. It is only temporary. It will get better and you will be able to thank God for the freedom. Your mindset must be renewed with this new freedom or you will still be stuck in the prison of your mind. Listen do not sell yourself short. You are worth more than what you are accepting.

 
Then some has walk right back into the doors of the prison cell and close the door ourselves. Yes, we think that prison cell is our home and that’s the place that brings us peace because it turned into our normal. You start investing more into this place of bondage hoping to yield happiness. You are practically decorating the cell, so you can tell yourself it’s not that bad. Underneath all of that, remember it is still prison. It doesn’t matter how pretty you make it seem in your mind. There isn’t beauty in bondage. I know it seems hard for any of you to think that any of these images can be you. I was once that woman on the bench inside the prison. I was so used to the heartache, pain, and even numbness that came along with it. I struggled with moving past that to walk into a place where I could truly live. Oh, I thought, that I was living because of what I labeled as good moments. I had no clue that I was slowly dying, and life was being sucked from me. Think about prison. When a person goes in, their life stops at that moment until they are released. You aren’t truly living in bondage. There is so much life, joy, peace, happiness, prosperity, and healing beyond bondage.

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I ask you to please search where you are currently. Are you sitting in prison after God has released you? Are you out of prison, but now you are aching to be back in the walls of confinement? Have you returned to prison and locked yourself back inside to what God has released from you? Are out of prison and enjoying your freedom, walking in your purpose, and truly enjoying the life God has for you?

The One Who Sees You

There is something special about having people or someone in your life that seriously understand and get you. It creates a place that you have the safety and security of just being you. There’s a horrible feeling that lingers when you can’t be you. You can feel restricted like a bird whose wings were clipped.  Everyone doesn’t have that, but it doesn’t mean that you will never get it. The first place that you will experience this is with God. It’s within this relationship, that you will experience this freedom. There is no greater feeling in this world when you know that you have someone that loves you unconditionally. God intends for all of us to have this kind of love with Him. It is the relationship with Him that you will have the freedom to be you in other relationships. He desires to be your First Love. He will show you also how to be that person for others as well. Without His love, we don’t truly love unconditionally. We love with conditions, and we have limits on our love.

Let me encourage you! God will bring the person in your life that really “sees” you. They will see past the man or woman who people think has it all together. They will see beyond the tower of strength. They will see the one who has insecurities. They not only see your strength but also your weaknesses. They will see you striving to be who you were created to be before the foundation of the earth. They will see the one who needs to be encouraged at times. They will see beyond the tears that run like the Nile River and through the smile that brightens the room. They will see further than the laughs or jokes and see the pain that lies within your eyes. They will see you in your most vulnerable moment, and allow you to be open.

They will see you when you are a hot mess. They will see you when you are falling apart and can’t seem to get it together. They will see the one who needs a shoulder to lean and support for your back. They will see the walls you have built with bricks of disappointment, hurt, and rejection. They will see who you were, who you are now, and the person you are in the process of becoming. They will envision you as God sees you as the prince and princess you are.  They will truly behold your heart. They will behold the essence of your beauty that goes far deeper than the surface of your skin. They will see who you are like you stand before God….WHOLE, NAKED, and UNASHAMED. And even after seeing your strengths, weaknesses, and flaws, they will not only love all of you without judgement. They will even like you. You won’t be too much for them or not enough. He is bringing people in your path who sees you and still chooses you. They will simply “see” you and you can simply be you!

Look in the mirror and behold the one who was created with a purpose. Ask God to show you yourself, through His eyes! Love and accept the image before! So, when that person or people come, you won’t be afraid to let them see you.

Tara S. Middleton

 

Dreams Can Become Reality

Tara's Dream. Dream Foundation. Photo: Isaac Hernandez.

As I was sitting watching the old episodes of The Real on YouTube, my telephone rang. It was the Dream Foundation they asked me to fly out in a couple of days to sit in the audience to watch The Real. They had already called to tell me that my dream of meeting Tamar Braxton wasn’t going to take place. However, I was just grateful to sit in the audience where I could see her on my favorite talk show. I had so much opposition that came up to try and stop me from going on this trip. I had less than 24 hours to have someone to accompany me. Everything fell in place and before you knew it I was on the plane headed to L.A. I thank God for Tawanna being able to go with me.  I knew she was the person to go with me. I was excited, but at the same time I was extremely nervous for some reason. This was my first vacation that I really got to go on in 15 years and I was determined to maximize very opportunity on this trip.

It was September 16, 2014, Tuesday morning at 4am. I was so excited about going to see Tamar Braxton from the audience of my favorite talk show, “The Real”! I couldn’t sleep! Could this really be happening? I woke Tawanna up so we could start preparing for the day. I knew that I was supposed to be interviewed by Dream Foundation and to lunch with some of the philanthropists before heading to Warner Brother Studios so that I could be feet away from Tamar Braxton and of course I wanted to see the other ladies as well. After finally choosing my outfit for the day, I nervously got dressed. We went downstairs to meet Tristan and Issac. They both were going to escort us for today. Tristan was the one to interview me and Issac was the photographer and videographer for the day. I instantly fell in love with Tristan’s personality. He was so energetic and full of life. Issac also had a heart of gold. After our initial interview, we went downstairs to meet Curtis my driver for the day. I walked outside the hotel and there was a black stretch limousine. I knew that I was going to enjoy what the rest of the day had in store. We arrived at Olive and Thyme to meet Danny and Lynnette from Dream Foundation. We enjoyed our lunch as we chatted to get to know more about each other. They gave me a heart stone as a gift to remind me about the lunch and the day my dream was to come true.

Tara's Dream. Dream Foundation. Photo: Isaac Hernandez.

Finally we were pulling up to Warner Brother Studios. I was dancing inside and trying to remain calm on the outside. I felt like a kid in a candy store. After checking into the security gate, we pulled up right in front of the studio. We were greeted by a security guard who was asking for me by name. She told me that I would be going to Green Room 1 while waiting for the show to start. We walked into the green room where there was a couch, a couple of wing chairs, a table full of snacks, a refrigerator full of drinks, and a bathroom. I wondered what celebrity had been inside this green-room. The producers met us to let us know the show was starting late and that I was the only audience member that got to wait in a green-room instead of the 110 degree California sun. Every time the door opened my heart jumped. I knew they told me that I wouldn’t get to me Tamar, but a girl could only wish. Once the show was ready to start. We were escorted to the audience to sit on the purple couch, the seats that I secretly wanted to sit. Vincent Herbert walked out and sat with the other producers only 5 feet away from us. The theme song started playing and out walked Adrienne Baillon, Jeannie Mai, Loni Love, Tamera Mowry-Housley, and my girl Tamar Braxton-Herbert!!! I have never been a start struck person. However, I was so hyped to see Tamar and Vince. Tristan and Tawanna both looked at me to see my reaction. During the taping of the show, one of the producers told me that she was trying to arrange a picture with Tamar after the show. I was even more excited. I didn’t believe I had this much emotion behind seeing her in person. After one of the segments, the crew started preparing for another segment. I suddenly grew nervous. I tapped Tawanna and told her that I was extremely nervous. She just smiled and said “You will be okay”.

Tara's Dream. Dream Foundation. Photo: Isaac Hernandez.

They were finally starting the segment. Tamera started talking about Dream Foundation and about a letter sent in to them. Then all I heard was “Tara Middleton we are talking about you. You thought you were going to be in the audience, but girl you are going to be on the show”. I walked on stage, but at the moment I am sure you could see my heart jumping through my blazer. I hugged Tamar for a long time and didn’t let her go. They interviewed me and they surprised me to go window shopping. I was really overwhelmed. Everything seemed surreal. I appreciated all the gifts they gave me, However, the most touching moment for me was when Tamar gave me her very first Chanel bag that she bought when she was 18 years old. I cried at that moment and was in shock that my dream was actually was coming true before my eyes. My dream became my reality. I know it’s only because of God that this happened. Tamar was so sincere and you could tell that she really cared. She is very down to earth and not at all how media makes her appear. She is very humble and was just as elated to meet me as I was to meet her. I will treasure those moments that we shared.

Tara's Dream. Dream Foundation. Photo: Isaac Hernandez.

I have read a lot of negativity in social media about Tamar giving me this bag and why she didn’t pay my medical bills or bought a new bag. I knew she was sincere and that it was done from her heart. She honestly don’t owe me anything. She didn’t have to give me one thing. Yet, she gave me something that was special to her and it was much thought behind the gift. I was happy that she just accepted my dream of allowing me to meet her. Every Thursday I would watch Tamar “Braxton Family Values” or “Tamar and Vince”. It was my time to laugh to tune everything else out and gave me a way to escape what I am battling. This surprise came to me at a time in my life when I needed it the most. I honestly forgot ever gift that was given to me. I was just elated that I got the gist of meeting someone that meant so much to me. I was also happy for the opportunity to let her know how much she has helped me in during my battle. It is amazing the things that God will use to bring a smile on your face or happiness. God used Tamar Braxton-Herbert to encourage me.  Tamar inspired me to continue to fulfill my purpose of helping others discover their purpose.

Tara's Dream. Dream Foundation. Photo: Isaac Hernandez.

I am so thankful to everyone who was involved with helping my dream become my reality. Saying thank you doesn’t seem hardly enough. My life was forever changed through that experience.  Although I was excited about my dream becoming reality, I was really nervous after returning home from the taping of the show. It was the first time that I really shared and opened up about my battling brain cancer. I had been going through so much, and a lot I have had to keep very private. How would people react now that everyone know? I have already dealt with so much negativity about my battle from people ,I wasn’t sure I was ready.  However, I know that everything is purposed and nothing happens by chance. I was assured that this was the time that was set for me to share my story. If one person could be inspired or encouraged, it was worth me sharing. Who would have known that from me watching Braxton Family Values that it would have led me to meet my Tamar Braxton-Herbert and it would allow me to share my battle to encourage someone else in the world? Don’t let go of your dreams! Don’t stop fighting through whatever is that you are facing. Keep going! Keep smiling! Your life has purpose! There is treasure that lies on the inside of you waiting to be discovered. Talents, gifts, and greatness lies within you! Do not leave any treasure undiscovered!

Tara's Dream. Dream Foundation. Photo: Isaac Hernandez.