An Undivided Heart

My New Hair / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…  Matthew 6:24

When I was diagnosed with cancer I became immediately aware of the things in life that were no longer in my control. For those 9 months of treatment, I went where I was told to go and did what I was told to do. I endured the coldness of some medical staff who had forgotten or had never known what it’s like to be scared and vulnerable. And to be fair I met some really awesome people who love what they do and the people they serve. I took the medicine I was supposed to take and I allowed an ungodly number of people to see me disrobed. Honestly, if I had a nickel for the number of medical staff I have paid …PAID in the last two years to see my naked body I would be a millionaire.

Most people it seems become great researchers once they have been diagnosed with something unfamiliar and scary. I am no exception. Along with studying about the type of cancer I had I also began to educate myself about nutrition and healthier eating because with everything that was being done to me, I wanted to learn about something I could do for myself. I wanted to learn about how food was affecting my everyday health and what I could do about it. I won’t go into great detail about this as I have posted on this subject before here and here …It went quite well for a while. Fear and control were great motivators. I could control what I put into my mouth.

It’s been 15 months since my last treatment and life has settled back into somewhat of a normal routine. I have done a good job with not allowing my schedule dictate my life and recreating the hecticness of my life pre-cancer and have kept the demon of “busyness” at bay. I have done a good job at scheduling my time but I have not done a good job of watching what I am eating. The sugar and simple carbs have reentered my life, I feel fluffy and weak and I find myself a bit out of control again but this time I am willingly choosing the misery by choosing not to keep certain foods out of my life. I still spend a lot of time looking up healthy recipes and reading about the effects of sugar on the body and how incredibly addicting it is. I know how bad it is and what it does to your body but I also find a lot of ways to make excuses about why I am eating unhealthy foods … “just this one time.” My “just this one times…” have allowed me to make excuses for bad decisions just about every day. My favorite jeans no longer fit and I am desperate to find a way to be rid of sugar for good.

There is a book that came out in 2010 by Lysa Terkhurst called, Made To Crave. I knew it was about eating and the struggles the author has had in her life in regards to food. I also knew that it was about God creating us to be people that crave… people that crave Him. I put off reading it for quite some time but I finally checked the book out at the library the other day and oh, I am so glad I did. I was expecting to feel convicted and lame about not doing what I know I should be doing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.Made To Crave / Tiffanyaolson.com

I didn’t feel convicted, instead I began to feel empowered with verses like 1 Corinthians 10:23

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.

Permissible but not beneficial…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Made anew so I can do the things God has planned for me… I was made for more.

The truth is that everything in excess is sin. God wants more for me. He wants more for you.

We are knee deep in baseball at the Olson household right now and I likened this whole food thing to Mr. Wonderful the other day using a baseball analogy. Choosing to indulge is like hitting a home run and stopping at third base. A triple is soo cool! All the way to third base! Wow, what an amazing accomplishment. But the problem is that I had actually hit a home run! Why do I continually stop at third when I could be experiencing the full glory of running ALL the bases! People clap and cheer for you at third base but when you choose not to stop at third and instead go all the way home all your teammates come out screaming and yelling and jumping up and down. The crowd goes wild and the thrill is so much bigger than the third base feeling.

ALLSTARS FLORENCE 3RD Place 2014!!

At Lysa’ s suggestion I have started to talk to myself every time I am tempted to eat in ways that don’t serve my purposes. I say to myself, “You were made for more. God has bigger plans for you, do not give in to the downward spiral that this one decision will create. It’s permissible but not beneficial.” I have spent most of my adult life choosing food over God so armed with this truth, I am doing better. My jeans are not fitting any looser yet but I am going to keep doing the things I know are good for me and press on.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

 

 

Boston Strong….

The Starting line / TiffanyAOlson.com

Have you ever had someone do something amazing for you when you know deep in  your heart you don’t really deserve it?  Monday April 17th is the 121st time the Boston Marathon will be held. It will be the 4th Boston Marathon for my friend Debbie Stemmerman.

Debbie is well known in our little town as an avid runner. There aren’t too many non rainy days, if one gets up early enough, that you can’t see her running through town while the rest of the citizens sleep. Debbie’s kids have all graduated high school but she is still  out on the track coaching kids, raising up the next generation of runners.

Coaching / TiffanyAOlson.com

Coach Debbie…

Besides runner, mom, coach, wife, daughter and friend there is something else Debbie is well known for, her tireless efforts to use running to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Cancer has affected just about all of us in one form or another. For Debbie she has lost a very dear friend and a nephew to this horrible disease. When I was diagnosed both her friend and her nephew were still living. I didn’t see her a lot during treatment mostly because I was not out in public very much. While some live their cancer loud and proud, I just wanted to be home with my family and get through it as best I could.

I have relayed this story many times and I choke up every single time…

I was pulling into Fred Meyer one day during my season of chemo treatments when I received a text from Debbie. I hadn’t seen her since I had been diagnosed because of my whole hiding out thing. Her text read…

“I took you on my run this morning…Thank you for helping me along the way you were in my thoughts for 17 miles… It was a beautiful morning thank you for being There if only in spirit you were a ton of help😘

It still makes me cry because I so needed to hear that I wasn’t alone and to know people were thinking of me even if I couldn’t bear to show my face.

Well as if that wasn’t enough Miss Debbie texted me a few months back and asked me if it would be alright to add my name to her running shirt on race day as a way to honor me and how far I have come. Race Day! Not just any race. The Boston Marathon!!

Debbie Running Boston / TiffanyAOlson.com

There are countless cancer survivors who have fought harder and been much braver than me so I struggle a bit with being honored in such a way. I am not all that brave or strong. There were a lot of moments during my cancer season when I wish I had been stronger and better able to hold myself together. As far as treatment goes, I did what any other person facing cancer does and by the grace of God I survived.

Debbie has taken her life’s passion… running, and uses it as a tool to make a difference. She has a sponsor page where she takes donations for cancer research, she stays intricately involved with those who are fighting the battle and she champions the memories of those who are no longer with us.

I pay attention to the Boston Marathon every year because I enjoy running but I will always remember the 121st race in 2017 because it’s the year that I was placed right above Debbie’s heart.

Run like the wind Debbie! I love you!

Do something for someone today to show them you care. A simple text to a friend or honoring them in some special way when they are in a hard spot can make more of a difference than you will ever know…

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

 

 

Those Who Stay…

Last week I was given a rare opportunity to visit with my people. Not all of my people but with three of the six who have stuck around for the last 35 years or so. This is all of us at our 20th High School Reunion.

Highschool Friends - 20 Year Reunion

Friends for 30 years. All Different, All Strong… All In.

Next year will be our 30th High School Reunion and the baby in the photo celebrated her ninth birthday yesterday.

Julia 9th Birthday / TiffanyAOlson.com

It’s been at least 5 years since I have seen Katie as she and the birthday girl along with her hubby Simon and other daughter Alana live in Kauai. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since our last encounter and this was the beginning of our happy reunion…

Tiffnkatie / TiffanyAOlson.com

Tiff n Katie 2017

… Here is here is the rest of the crew that was able to assemble in the park that day…

There is just something about people who have known you since you were 15. You are completely free to be exactly who you are, no anxiety or worrying about what they are thinking. At this stage of the game you already know. We don’t all have the same views on life but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when I got sick I started a group text to my people and sent them an “on my way to chemo selfie” every three weeks. Two and half years later that group text is going strong. We celebrate each other’s victories and sorrows, triumphs, and tragedies.

We only had a few hours together on that sunny Sunday afternoon, but seeing them refreshed my soul like little else can. I feel like a bit of an exposed nerve ending after these last two years and as I mentioned earlier next year is our 30th class reunion. I am struggling a bit with how overwhelming this might feel but my people have assured me that they will be there to walk me through it. Whether I go or not I will always and forever be grateful for the people in my life who have stayed. Staying isn’t easy but the reward is ever so sweet.

Tell your people how much they mean to you. No one can get through this life alone and our differences only make the journey more interesting.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

Self-Control

Recital 2016 12 yrs old / Tiffanyaolson.com

Me -n- My Girl 2016

Last month I turned 47. Forty-Seven! I have already voiced the good the bad and the ugly on this situation so I will move on. But what I didn’t mention, was the gift I received from my 13-year-old daughter.

Nat Gift to me1 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I am a sucker for gifts. In Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, he discusses 5 ways people give and receive love. In a nutshell, the Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service.  I am squarely in the Receiving Gifts and Quality Time categories. The reason I love gifts doesn’t have so much to do with the gift but rather the fact that someone took the time to make me feel special. I will keep this card forever because she made it especially for me. Natalie communicates love through Acts of Service and Gifts. I don’t think I have heard her say I love you audibly since she was a little girl. She has her own ways of expressing love and I have worked hard to learn her language.

Nat 2017 13 yrs / TiffanyAOlson.com

Natalie – Gettin Ready For Sheep – Winter 2017

At first glance, the gift might seem odd. She gave me the gift of Self-Control and then added a box of Milk Duds because those are my favorites. Why self-control? Well, I spend a fair amount of time talking about eating healthy and chasing my running dreams. I move the needle forward a bit every day but I slip up sometimes too. She’s letting me know she’s listening. She hears me. She watches me. Natalie wants me to know she desires to see me succeed with the dreams and goals I have set for myself.

Nat gift to me2 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Happy Birthday Mom!!! I love that you are my mom (even if you are loud☺)

The “even if you are loud” part is our thing. I am very outgoing and expressive, she is not. I check in with her now and again to make sure that my over expressiveness isn’t embarrassing for her or making her uncomfortable. There is a difference in trying to embarrass her (which is fun) and doing it unintentionally (which is not fun) and causing undo harm. She’s like Mr. Wonderful in that they find the antics of expressiveness amusing but would not ever consider being that way themselves. So I check in because I don’t ever want me to damage, us.

and I hope that one day you will be able to run your marathon and enjoy it and I hope that you are having a wonderful day.

P.S. I was tired and feeling a little nice.

The postscript is her explaining why she’s communicating affection. It doesn’t come naturally for her like it does for Bridger and me.

Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.♥

2 John 1:8

My heart melted. She all on her own looked up a scripture on Self-Control and wrote it out for me. For a girl who spends very little time communicating her heart, this was huge. I love that Natalie took the time to tell me in her own unique way, how much she loves me. She gave me something tangible to hold on to on the days when her feelings might not appear so obvious. For this, I am forever grateful. No, I didn’t save the Milk Duds… I polished those babies off before the weekend was out.

This gift was a great reminder to me of the responsibility I carry as a parent. My kids are watching to see if I am going to put in the work to fulfill my dreams. Nothing worth having in this life comes easily and although I blow it at times and down an entire box of Milk Duds in two days, I also go running in the early morning hours no matter what the weather is doing. The Oregon Coast provides ample opportunity for one to skip out on a run because of adverse weather conditions and they are watching me get it done anyway.

As they get older and begin to pursue their own dreams I want them to look back and have the courage to face challenges that will come. Hopefully, they will do this because of the example they were given of someone who didn’t give up no matter how many times she was knocked down. I ran a 4 miler on Sunday. Only 22.2 more to be ready for my fall marathon. Lucky for me I have a family who wants to watch me succeed.

Bridge n Me / TiffanyAOlson.com

Bridge – My New Speed Coach

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

Who Are You?

My New Hair / TiffanyAOlson.com

Personality quizzes. I love to take these little tests. There is nothing out there with 100% accuracy but whether it’s a quiz to figure out how I relate to the world or how the world relates to me, I find it intriguing. The other day someone recommended a book based on the personality quiz called the Enneagram. In its simplest form, I understand it to be a test which places you in a category of one of nine personality types. I searched for a quiz online recently while I was running errands with Mr. Wonderful and began to answer the questions while he was popping in and out of hardware stores.

It didn’t take long to realize I couldn’t answer the questions being asked. After the 3rd or 4th question in which I consulted Mr. Wonderful to help me, it dawned on both of us that my personality has changed a bit. When he kept meeting my questions with hesitation or complete silence I chimed in and vocalized what we were both thinking: Two years ago, we would have had an obvious answer to this question. It’s crazy, neither one of us has an answer for who I am today. There haven’t been enough social interactions to determine what my new typical course of action will be. The only sure thing is I am much more reserved now than I was and I am finding it difficult to ascertain if this is good or bad. Am I more reserved because God wanted to smooth off some rough edges? Or does the reservation stem from an overwhelming sense of feeling exposed, weird and different?

Everyone wakes up at one point and wonders who they are on the other side of tragedy because no one in this life is spared, not even Jesus. My question is where to go from here? At what point do I look at a group of questions and once again say, “Oh this is so me!” It was hard to read those questions and not know how to respond.

Fortunately, while I am trying to figure out who this new earthly me is the spiritual me never has to wonder who I am or how I fit in. Who I am in Christ never changes, it never diminishes or becomes questionable no matter what is happening in my physical world. I would love to tell you I am so well versed in scripture that a plethora of verses popped into my head to remind me who I am in Christ. But since this is not my reality I did a quick google search and came across a sheet created by Joyce Meyers . Here are a few that stood out:

I am complete in Him. Who is the Head of all principality and power (Collossians 2:10)

… The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world (1 John 4:4)

I am God’s Masterpiece… created anew so I can do the good things he planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10)

I am more than a conquerer through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37)

I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a  purchased people (1 Peter 2:9)

Reading these words causes me to take a big sigh of relief because it reminds me where I need to go to find the only answers that matter. All that I go through in this life, God is using to make me more like him. I will continue to look to the one who never changes and trust that the newer version of me is better equipped than before to draw others to Him.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

Victoria’s Secret…

47th Birthday 2017 / Tiffanyaolson.com

FORTY SEVEN!!

So I turned 47 this week. FORTY SEVEN!! On the one hand since I spent all of 2015 trying to stay alive so it’s really great that I am still here. On the other hand FORTY SEVEN! None of my 40ish birthday’s have affected me like this one. Well, to be honest, I thought I was handling my 40th birthday well until I looked back on the photos of my 40th year and noted the hair issues I had. I think I changed my hair color 4 times that year. Other than my year of baldness my 40th hair year definately ranks up there with one of the worst hair years ever.

I didn’t realize I was struggling with getting a year older until I stepped into a Victoria’s Secret store the other day. See, in a fit of rage after my cancer diagnosis I threw all of my bras away. Not that I could have used them any longer because my body has changed so much, but tossing them out made me feel empowered in the moment so I went with it. All this to say, for Christmas, Mr. Wonderful gave me a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret so I could replenish my stash.

I had my last surgery in December and he wanted me, when I was ready, to be able to go and purchase myself some new pretty things. Let’s not kid ourselves here though, I am very aware that there is a small part of him that is wanting to relive the glory days of when we were 1st married and all of my bras and underwear matched and looked crisp and clean. What he doesn’t know is I went and spent my life savings at Victoria’s Secret a week before our wedding so that he would think always having a matching set was normal and in no way had it been 5 years since the last time I had purchased a new bra. I’m exaggerating a bit here but you get my drift.

The nearest Victoria’s Secret to our home is 2.5 hours away. I was in Eugene the other day for a Dr. visit and I went to the mall to pick up a few things. As I passed the in the Victoria’s Secret store I decided to stop in and have a look around. This particular store has just been remodeled, everything is flashy and big, all of the models are thin and small. Don’t get me wrong I love how pretty some of the things are in there but at the same time I was beginning to think that maybe their only clientele these days is 18 with no children. Certainly not women whose breasts/gel packs are so deformed only a husband who loves her could look at them and still think she is beautiful.

Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

No, my hair was never this long… but those clip in extensions sure made me feel cute!

As I walked through the store my eyes started to fill with tears at the prospect of having to come back and try anything on. I was grateful that I had a bit more time to wait for the horrible day that is coming. I begin to contemplate how much wine or shots of tequila it would take to make me enjoy this process. Yes, I am that mature. Not stupid enough to follow through but immature enough to dream about it. Do 47 year olds even shop at Victoria’s Secret? How can a person be so thankful to be alive and so discouraged about getting older? I’m sure it has a bit to do with the fact that like most people I thought my life would look a little different at this stage of the game. I thought I would have a bit more figured out and life wouldn’t still feel so turbulent. At the same time I am thankful that I get more time with Mr. Wonderful and our kids so one day soon I will buck up and take my lumpy self back to the store and buy some bras… but not today.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

 

One Day At A Time

So I had a realization the other day while I was driving to work. I was feeling discouraged about some goals we set for ourselves several years ago which have not come to fruition. 2015 was supposed to have been the year that would launch us into a new era financially. In 2014 we made some big changes at the office and put ourselves in a position to hunker down, get the last of our debt paid off and to begin saving and making our financial dreams come true. We hired a business coach, created a vision for our business and set up a strategic plan to move things forward to make the vision a reality. We completed phase one of an office remodel just before Christmas and were ready to face all the greatness that 2015 had to offer.

Christmas Eve 2014 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Christmas Eve 2014

See, we’re on this plan, a Dave Ramsey plan. I know I have mentioned him several times before but if this is your 1st time reading my blog, in short he is a guy who helps people through a seven step process get out of debt and begin to save and eventually give money away. We discovered him several years ago when our lifestyle of outspending our income became so overwhelming that we sought out a way to make changes in how we were handling money. It sucks to see how much money you have on paper and yet have no clue as to why none of it is actually in the bank. Dave’s plan teaches you how to be in control of your money and to know where every dollar is spent.

We are all in. The prospect of being debt free is so exciting that it helps us stick to the plan. The problem? Well, life is the problem. See if you listen to Dave’s radio program, (or podcast or youtube channel… he’s everywhere) you start to see a pattern where most of the people are out of debt (except the mortgage) in 18 to 24 months. The big caveat is to listen to the debt free screams of those who have paid everything off including their mortgages. I am still waiting for our moment and we have been at this way longer than 24 months. There are a few things I have come to realize along the way. First of all a lot of those debt free screamers are under the age of 35, have very small children or no children at all and they live in the midwest where a really nice house is $150,000.00. This realization does not make me want to give up nor does it make me think that people that are older and have a lot more hurdles to jump through can’t themselves become debt free. What it does is make me realize that I cannot compare myself to them because our life, your life, is different.

In 2012, just after we had made the decision that we would no longer go into debt for anything no matter what, our daughter, then 8, got pneumonia. The fluid from her lungs seeped into her blood stream and we won a 3 day hospital stay in our home town and then a 4 hour ambulance ride to a children’s hospital in Portland where they inserted a tube into her chest and invited us to stay in the hospital for another 7 days. Thankfully she fully recovered and has had no lasting consequences from that adventure.

To mention that this was a budget strain is a huge understatement. (This all happened 6 months after Aimee died, so you can imagine how well I was handling this emotionally.) Fortunately the debt we incurred was medical and had no interest attached but all of our other debts took a back seat while we took care of this. Fast forward to 2015 where I said we were going to “git r done?” Well, as most of you know I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on December 31, 2014. What is even more awesome than that is that while I was taking my turn in, The Chair the previous owners of our business decided to open up shop down the road. Because we didn’t know about Dave when we purchased the business we purchased it with debt and we owed them quite a bit of money. The hit was great enough that legal counsel was sought and the lawsuits began. I decided that my new goal for 2015 was to not die and I asked Mr. Wonderful to handle the legal stuff without me. As with most lawsuits the real winners were the lawyers as they were paid handsomely while neither suing party fared very well in the end.

I say all of this not to infer that my life is harder than other peoples but to shed light on the fact that if your progress isn’t what you hoped it would be then make sure you are taking a look around and discovering why instead of giving up because it’s too hard. I am proud to say that through all of this we have not occurred any more consumer debt. We cash flowed both cancer and lawyer fees. We did borrow a bit from a family member but paid him back two months later.

So here we are in 2017 once again ready to finish off the last of our debt. The ride hasn’t been pretty or easy or fun but we still have the will and determination to follow the baby steps and finally be in a place where we are no longer a slave to what we owe.

A friend of ours said the other day, “Living in debt is like being and indentured servant, as long as it’s there you have no control over your life.”

Living your life without payments… just how great would that feel?

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

 

 

 

Food For Thought…

On a date with the hubs / Tiffanyaolson.com

On A Date With Mr. Wonderful At The Coach House in Coos Bay.

I love food. I love everything about it. Most of my favorite memories in life evolve around food. The greatest part about most of the holidays we celebrate here in America is the food that we consume during the celebration. When we (my family) think about celebrating anything food is the first thing that gets planned out. Camping, long road trips, a visit with friends. Just about everything in my life evolves around what is going to be eaten at the event. As I am writing this I am thinking about the bible study I will attend in a few hours and I am in charge of the snack. Thursday night is our 1st Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class with our buddies and I am going to call Pam to see what food I can bring.

This is the deal (my friend Heidi always says this… this is the deal) it’s really not about the food. On the surface it feels like it but the reality is that the food is the ice breaker for the gathering. Nibbling/eating/gorging is something everyone in the room can do and feel like they are part of the group. The simple act of having a table to gather around makes everyone in the room feel included and connected.

When I was 15 my family moved from Oregon to Southern California. On our 1st day of school we came home to a chocolate cake that my mom had made because she knew that it was probably not the easiest of days. I remember it to this day not because the cake was so stellar but because she took time out of her day to do something special for us. Cake was typically a birthday thing so to get cake on a random day of the year was cool. When my kids were little and they got shots I took them for ice cream and as they have gotten older I take them for ice cream for a good score on a test or grade in a class. Now that I have had cancer I am much more aware of what I am eating and have realized that my food rewards are not very creative nor helpful to me or my kids. What I am trying to do is connect with them in a tangible way. I want them to know that I love them and that I am proud of them and not just with words. I’m so chatty that I think most of what I say goes in one ear and out the other so these little rewards reinforce the words, and  like the cake when I was younger it doesn’t happen often so its special.

Easter Cake 2014 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Easter! 2014

As I am writing this I am realizing that my penchant for food has more to do with connecting with the people that I care about rather than the food itself. This is good for me because if its the connection that I crave then it goes to say that the quality of the food I am bringing should match the depth of the connection that I am trying to create, whether this is around my table at home or wherever the gathering is occurring.

My goal is to cut out refined sugar and most grains. If that is my personal goal than what I am serving in my home, offering at gatherings or giving as a reward should reflect that goal. The reality is that I am not doing all that great with it personally and it is reflected in all those other areas as well. Today, I will go back to writing down what I eat. In the money world Dave Ramsey calls it planning to spend. In the food world it’s planning to eat. I heard this quote once that said, “If you fail to plan then you are planning to fail.”

I am tired of failing.

So my friends, do you have any tips or suggestions on how to live and eat healthier?

Have a fabulous day!

Get Out The Door…

So January is in full swing as you well know. I don’t know about you but I am not much of a New Years resolution setter, but I do have some goals set for this year and one of them involves running. With all of the ups and downs of surgeries this past year I find myself once again in a position of completely starting over with the whole running thing. I am no longer in a place in life where I can take several months off and then just get up and run three miles. I have to begin with walking … a lot of walking. Then after a few weeks of this I can begin a walk to run program and SLOWLY  begin to build my mileage back up.

I am in the walking phase right now and I was thinking that maybe some of you might be starting over again as well and if so then we can begin again together. Mentally I like to have walked 3 miles 3 or 4 times a week for several weeks before I begin any walk to run program. Right now I am ending my second week of 3 mile walks. When I ran my half marathon last year I used this great walk to run app on my phone that told me exactly what I needed to be doing and when. I started with working up to a 5k (3.2 miles) and once I was comfortable running 3 miles several times a week I began the 1/2 Marathon training program. The only problem with this app now is that they went up from $5 per year to $10 per year. Which isn’t a big deal except for the fact that I feel like I am being nickel and dimed everywhere and I didn’t want to add one more thing to the list. So I downloaded Runkeeper. So far I like it. I am using the free version and it tells me how far I have gone on each walk and has different voice options to tell you how far you  have gone. I chose the military voice and he keeps telling me that I am the, “best maggot on the block.”

After next week I will begin the walk to run training plan and see how that goes. My end all goal for this year is a full marathon in October. I’d like to do the Eugene 1/2 again in May but I’m not so sure I will be ready by then. Time will tell. I build up so slowly not because of lack of drive or ambition but because I have been sidelined soo many times in my running history with calf and shin pain. I find that if I am super careful then I avoid these issues.

Last year when I was training I posted pics of myself at the end of each milestone run on Instagram. This year I have begun doing short little video clips. I do it because it motivates me to keep going and it gives me something tangible to look at to see how far I have come. I miss my long runs up the slough from last spring and am excited to get back to where I was and to push beyond what I have ever thought possible for me.

None of this is easy, it’s freezing cold here and walking in the freezing cold or in the rain is sooo not the same as running. I have even had to go to the mall to walk a few times this week because the down pour was so heavy and being cold and wet didn’t sound like so much fun. Also there is the reality that my body is just plain broken. Sure it’s been patched back together but once broken no matter how much patching you do it’s never the same. Most of us at this stage of life are in the same boat as no one gets to this stage of life unscathed. I mention it only so that you will know for all the smiles in the photos and fun videos that I put out there, there is always a back story of something that has to have been overcome to get me to the point of getting out the door.

Just yesterday my incision from December’s surgery was red and painful again. We live 2.5 hours from my Dr. so in order for him to see what is going on I have to send him pictures. Well, I couldn’t get a good enough photo of it myself so I went to our office and here we were, Mr. Wonderful and I, in the back room of our office, my shirt is up and he is on his knees taking photos of my breast to then text to the Dr. I am begging him not to get my face in the photos and praying that one of the girls that works with us does not come around the corner in that moment. Fun times! Once we sent the the photos the Dr. asked me to to come in. So I drove to the 2.5 hours to Eugene for him to tell me that we will keep monitoring it, I went to the grocery store and then drove the 2.5 hours back home.

I say all of this because getting out the door and doing something that makes me feel normal helps me get through those days that are not even close to normal. So, get out the door. Even if it’s just down the street and back. We all have to start somewhere and sometimes we have to start again and again and again. But if you never start you will never know what you could have accomplished.

1/2 Marathon 2016 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Have a great day my friends!

 

Engage…

rod-n-tiff-winter-2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

 

Have you ever been at the grocery store or the mall or anywhere and saw someone you knew but felt so overwhelmed by your life or circumstances you quickly ducked or walked away? The desire is not to be seen so you would not have to talk about your life… or theirs. Sooo hoping that I am not the only one in this category. How many times have I seen someone in public who could have used an encouraging word or even just a smile but I was so consumed with myself and my issues that I turned and went the other way? Too many to count. To be fair when life is continually kicking you in the face you get to a point where you don’t know what to say to others and you are terrified about the questions they are going to ask you. I am not great at being evasive and I have little to no ability to tell someone everything is going fine when it’s not. I have discovered that I have a two question limit. I can beat around the bush for two questions but once the third pressing question comes around I run out of pleasantries and the truth gets vomited all over the asker.

When I was going through chemo and had no hair my mom had gotten me this great wig. This wig is so great that people stopped me everywhere I went telling me how great my hair looked. I’m not kidding I won more attention wearing that wig than I have ever received in my whole life. (I am wearing the wig in my blog photo) But here’s the deal, no one ever stopped at saying, “I love your hair!” They kept going… “No seriously, I love your hair!” “Where do you get it done?” “How do you make it look so great?” In the beginning, when I still wasn’t feeling great I would say thank you a few times. By the third question, however, I would just tell them that I had cancer and it was a wig. A smarter person could have kept the charade going and relished in all the compliments. But the reality is I am just not that smart and I had no energy to fake it beyond a few questions. When I was feeling better and a bit more like myself, at the third question I would just take the wig off and tell them for $200 they could go buy themselves the same hair. Nice, huh? You can imagine how uncomfortable people felt and the blank stares I received after these encounters.

The other night Mr. Wonderful and I ran into some old friends, Tim and Jessica, in Eugene. We were in town because I had developed an infection from my most recent surgery and I was getting it checked. When we began chatting with our friends (Tim’s a pastor and I used to work for him) he began asking me how I was doing, I said fine. He said, “No really,  how are you doing? I smiled and said, “I’m good!” He then looked at me and said, “The look you are giving me says, stop asking me questions, I don’t want to talk about it.” It was then that I blurted out, “Well I have an infection and the Dr. is worried about it, but it’s Christmas and we are going to grab a drink and go watch a movie and pretend that everything is fine.” Tim laughed and said, “That’s what everyone does at Christmas!” (ps. the infection cleared after antibiotics (-: ) The restaurant was crowded,  Tim and Jessica would have never known I was there had I not walked up to their table. But I made the effort, made it through the awkward moment and ended up having a good laugh.

I am reading a book by Michele Cushatt, called I Am, A 60 Day Journey To Knowing Who You Are Because Of Who He Is, in it, she points out that Jesus never shied away from the hurting or the afflicted. He never thought to himself that their burdens were too big to add to his own. Instead, he came over for dinner and spent a significant amount of time with the lost and the lonely and brought peace and restoration to their lives.

The same is true for you,  you know. Regardless of your bruised and battered soul, Jesus welcomes you without condition.

Come.

Are you weary? Weighed down by  your life’s story? Overwhelmed by unknowns? Come. We’ll carry it together.

This world is not an easy one to weather. We will not always be able to carry another’s burdens along with our own. But when we find our rest in Jesus first, we’ll have far more strength to welcome the Dianes (friends) we meet like He does.

I’m glad I did not shy away from saying hello to Tim and Jessica. They are much better at holding life’s challenges closer to the vest than I am but it was great to laugh with some old friends in the middle of a room full of strangers on a hard day.

Step out and say hello to fellow weary travelers that you see in the grocery store. It’s hard but in the end, both of you will feel a little less alone.

 

Have a great day my friends!