And She Ran…

26.2 .1 /TiffanyAOlson.com

It is finished!!! Saturday, April 28, 2018, I ran the Revel MT Charleston Marathon (26.2 Miles) and added the title finisher to my growing repertoire of accomplishments. It wasn’t pretty or easy but I set out to cross that finish line and cross it I did. How I thought it would go and how it actually went were two very different things. This is how life goes though, there’s the expectation and then there’s the reality. The test comes not in whether or not you are going to run the race but how you are going to deal with the curveballs thrown in along the way.

Over the weekend I finished reading Chrystal Evans Hurst’s book She’s Still There. While there are many things to love about this book, it was great to read about her marathon experience right before I ran my race. One of the things she mentions in the book is that her headphones quit working at mile 10. When I read this I was thinking to myself, “oh no, not me I have a plan for those babies all the way through! There are podcasts to listen to, books to be read to me and when I get super tired, the music will start and it will propel me to that finish line!” Broken headphones? Um no… Well, my friends guess who’s headphones decided to short out at the starting line? I couldn’t figure out why they were cutting out so I took a deep breath and told myself, “It’s okay, just enjoy the scenery, when you get further down the mountain I am sure they will work better. It took me until mile 17 to realize that I was going to run this entire race with only the voices inside my head to keep me company.

Debbie, my fearless friend, ran Boston a week and a half before the Revel. The coldest and wettest weather for a Boston run in 30 years. 30 degrees at the starting line 48 MPH wind gusts … 38 degrees at the finish line… and then there was the rain. A torrential downpour the whole way through. But because she’s Debbie and she’s awesome, she finished her race and made her mark in yet another memorable year in Boston.

Charleston was a week and a half after Boston. The end result of accomplishing something so amazing was a horrendous chest cold for my friend and yet she found the strength to saddle up fly to Vegas and line up on that starting line.

I caught up with her around mile 10 and we both realized that due to all she had been through in the last several weeks that this race was not going to be her race. I, however, get the privilege of saying that I ran part of a race with Debbie Stemmerman and there are not many in our small town who can lay claim to such an honor. ♥ Her.

Amy, my other fearless comrade in arms battled through injury, travel with her job and not as many miles on the road as she would have liked. But in true athletic fashion, she found the strength, energy and sheer willpower to pull off 13.1 miles in the desert heat.

At mile 13 I tried to make up for some lost time and at mile 17 realized that I was going to need a miracle to make it to the end. When you do something for the first time you have no idea what to expect so you create something in your mind to help you get through. All of the lead-up material to the race kept saying that at mile 21 there would be spectators lining the streets all the way to the end. So in my mind, I’m thinking of all those marathons I have seen on tv where there are people watching for miles. I kept telling myself just make it to mile 21 and the crowds will carry you home. Ummm … no. Mile 21 went by not one single soul, mile 22, nada, mile 23 I began walk-jogging. By mile 25 I knew I needed to buck up and just finish er out. And finish I did.

Finish line 2018 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I Am A Finisher!!!

 

I told myself going in that I was going to enjoy every single moment of that weekend and that’s exactly what I did…

 

18 hours till start time / TiffanyAOlson.com

Ready To Run! 18 hours till it all begins…

 

Ceasar's Palace / TiffanyAOlson.com

It has been a week since the race. It took about four days but I finally stopped being sore.  It took 20 years but I finally did it. I finished a marathon and my biggest feeling? Gratitude. I am thankful that God allowed my body to take on something this difficult and succeed. I am thankful that with each change in circumstance that day he kept reminding me that HE was in control and that I just need to trust him to carry me through. I am thankful to all my friends and family for the texts, cards, gifts, and flowers that have poured in reminding me how much I am loved and supported by so many.

I am ready for a new goal. Not quite sure what it will be, I know I would like to get stronger and a bit faster. I ran this morning for the 1st time since the race. My mind is ready but my legs are still a bit sluggish. I’ll take er easy for a bit and then move on to the next adventure.

Get out there my friends, do something big. Dream a dream and then make it happen. It won’t be easy or pretty or perfect but neither is life. Get off the sidelines and run your race, there is nothing like crossing that finish line receiving your bling and knowing that you have accomplished something that can never be taken away…

My Bling / TiffanyAOlson.com

Have a beautiful day my friends!

Learning To Run…

Last Chemo Roadtrip! / TiffanyAOlson.com

Last Chemo Roadtrip! June 2015

June 6, 2015 was my last chemo treatment. It has been almost 3 years. Three years ago Mr. Wonderful and I went for a walk. We lived in an area surrounded by hills. I was thrilled to be done and out in the fresh air with the person I love most in this world. As we walked we marveled at all we had been through so far that year and all that was yet to come, (I still had 6.5 weeks of radiation to go). I remember getting to a certain part on the hill, the steep part. Mr. Wonderful started pulling ahead because I was weak and tired. He reached back for my hand and began to pull me along. He reminded me that all I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other and to keep moving. We were not in a hurry but each step I took would help me to grow stronger.

This morning as we got ready for the day, Mr. Wonderful leaned in, gave me a kiss and told me how proud he was of me. Why? Because in 3 weeks I will run my 1st Marathon. He’s still encouraging me, cheering me on and providing a shoulder to cry on when the days get rough. And friends? I’m not going to lie. Some days have been rough.

Like I said we (my friend Debbie and I) are three weeks out. Okay, I’m 3 weeks out. Debbie is flying out next week to run The Boston Marathon (for the 5th time) and then she will come home and fly with me a week and a half later to run the Mt. Charleston Marathon. Leading up to all of this we have run 20 miles twice and 22 miles once. 4 days a week I arise at 3:15 am and hit the road by 4:00. We’ve run through freezing temperatures, dumping rain and howling wind. A few occasions its been all three at the same time! My 5th run of the week is usually on a Saturday when I allow myself the luxury of sleeping in until 7:00.

Tiff n Deb 1st 20 miler

1st 20 miler… I was a hurtin unit…

I have paid close attention to my body, my gear and my coach. A few weeks back I discovered there was one area I had completely overlooked… fuel. The world of pre-workout drinks and midrun pick-me-ups was completely foreign to me. 14 miles into our 1st 20 miler, I was exhausted. My legs were sore and hard to pick up. By mile 17.5 I was in tears and when we finally hit mile 20 I was relieved and discouraged at the same time. It’s hard to be proud of yourself when you can barely move. Each step was a monumental effort. All I kept thinking was … “I have no idea how I am going to add 6.2 miles to this in a few weeks.”

I couldn’t figure it out, all this training, all this time. I expected it to be hard, but not like this. My legs fully recovered within 48 hours so I knew there must be something else going on. After lots of questions and a little research, I armed myself with gu, water, sports drinks and tabs that taste like Sweettarts. We ran another 20 the following week and I ate before the run as well as used all of my new found treasures. What a world of difference it made! It was a completely different run. I didn’t cry, I just ran. I smiled while I ran and marveled at the grace of God for allowing my body to do this.

Fuel. Nothing runs without it. Not you, your car, your favorite motorized vehicle or your life. All of this fueling reminds me to take stock of what I am filling my life with. What am I eating, reading, watching and listening to? Are these things propelling me forward or holding me back? I am learning that running is a lot more than just getting out the door.

I have come a long way in 3 years. I still have a long way to go but I am open and willing to learn the lessons as they come. As I write this we are in the final two weeks of tax season. I don’t prepare the taxes but I fill in all the gaps at home so Mr. Wonderful can do all that needs to be done for our staff and our clients. Because of this my posts have been a bit thin as of late so I can be where I need to be for my family.

I have much to fill you in on… next up… the other people I could not run this race without.

Have a beautiful day my friends!

What IF?

IF:Gathering 2018 / TiffanyAOlson.com

IF 2018 … umm I think my hair has finally reached … too blonde

Hello Friends! This past weekend was an event called IF:Gathering. The live conference for the past 5 years has been held in Austin, Texas in a venue that holds about 2500 people. They keep it small on purpose and then do a live feed via the internet so women all over the world can gather in their spaces. The smaller venues are called IF:Locals and the purpose is to Gather with the people you are already doing life with. To grow closer to Jesus together rather than leave the area to go have your own experience and then come home.

This year’s Gathering was based on the book of 2 Timothy and the focus was discipleship. 50 women from our church got together. We stepped out of our comfort zones a wee bit, made new friends while we were also reminded to continue to invest in the lives of those we already know.

Discipleship is a very “Christiany” word. It feels lofty and sacred and not much like something I can do. But when I break it down, it means to hang with people. Walk through life with them. Show up. Pray. Answer questions or find the answers together. For me, during this season of my life, the people I am “hanging” with are my kids and their friends. We are in the thick of the teen/tween phase of life and what better people to show up for than the ones that live under my roof and their buddies who eat out of my fridge?

My girlfriends and I have been bemoaning lately how little time there is to get away together. There are 16 children between us ranging in ages from 21 down to 11. Finding a weekend where everyone is open is proving to be an impossible task. We have begun to get creative at staying in touch with each other and are excited for the day when it will actually come together. The truth is though I am loving this season of life with my kids. I love driving them around in the afternoons and hearing about their day and what happened at school. I love dance recitals and baseball games. I have a captive audience in the car for several hours each and every day. We laugh and cry and talk about God, friends, hopes, dreams, and disappointments. We sing to the songs on the radio and we pray as we drive to school. I have added some extra kiddos to my driving routine in the last year and now I am getting to learn about their lives and aspirations as well.

Discipleship isn’t lofty and weird, it’s taking the time to invest in another person’s life for a very long time. My kids and their friends are going to grow up and move on in several years. My hope is that the time I have intentionally spent with them will impact them forever. I hope they will not be afraid to ask hard questions of themselves and others because they had a safe place to ask them when they were young. I hope they step out and love others because they know how much they are loved.

I have wrestled for a while now about the direction of my life and if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I struggle with feeling like I should be doing more or be more. What I am realizing is that I am right where I want to be. I have 7 years left of kids at home and I don’t want to miss it. I don’t need to be at every class party or field trip but I want to be at the games and recitals. I want to drive them around and help them process the events of their day. I want to grow and learn together so they know that they always have a soft place to land.

What IF, you showed up for the people in your life who are already there? I stepped out this weekend, I showed up in the middle of the church I have been attending for the last 10 years. It wasn’t glamorous. It was food prep. In the midst of stepping out, I was reminded that the best people for me to “disciple” in this season are the people under my roof. It’s not fancy or flashy but my prayer is that this life we are living together will one day change the world.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

 

Do You Have A Plan?

Rod n me 2014 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I ♥ Him!

I  just finished up a book by author, Kat Lee, called hello mornings I was intrigued by the title because I am a morning person. I love mornings but I do go through seasons when I wonder why if I am getting up so early is more not getting accomplished? It can be frustrating if find at the end of the day the extra hours you were up before anyone else didn’t make any difference at all.

Sometimes its perspective and reminding myself what is and what is not important and sometimes I need a little kick in the hiney to best use the time I have carved out.  The book is mainly for those who do not get up early and the author has come up with 3 simple things one can do every day to begin to make early a habit and something to build upon.

  1. God
  2. Plan
  3. Move

That’s it. Those three things. The best part it only takes 3 minutes.

  1. Read/Memorize/Write out and or Pray Psalm 143:8
  2. Look at your calendar for today – 1 minute
  3. Drink a glass of water – 1 minute

The author lays out these three things in the 1st chapter of the book so she can then elaborate on how each item works and how to take these small steps and add on to them later. Her main idea is to start somewhere and to not beat yourself up when life gets in the way. What I liked about it is that it removes the guilt for those days when kids are sick or something else important that needs my immediate attention. If I can only get those three things in, well… its something.

I upped my running game last September. I began getting up even earlier than normal and running with friends who have some of the same goals as I do. It has been a game changer for me and I am loving it. I am running faster and farther than I ever thought possible.

On The Run 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

While the running is going great it has left little time for time in The Word and writing because by the time I get home there are but a few minutes before the kids are up and the day has begun. After reading this book I think where I am falling short is in the planning part. If I know there is a very short window to get stuff done before the kids get up then I need to set that time aside and get it done. No Instagram, no chatting with Mr. Wonderful nothing but the task at hand. Because once that time is gone it’s gone.

I would love to say that I will read and write in the evenings but that is a no can do. I have very few mental faculties left in the late afternoons and evenings. A 3:15 am wake up time means there is also a 3:15 pm shut down time. Obviously, I still function after 3:00 pm but ask me to do much more than make dinner, fold a bit of laundry or curl up with a good book and we will have some serious issues.

A plan. I need a better plan. There needs to be a bit more structure to my days so that I can know what to expect and how to adjust when it gets off kilter. My life makes more sense to me when I can see (on a schedule) what the end goal is for the day. What did I find so important that I took the time to write it down? If its important to me then why haven’t I carved out time to do it? Why did I schedule something over the top of it and not find space elsewhere?

Side note: I began writing this yesterday, this morning was one of those mornings where you have to tell yourself over and over again… “if you do not get out of bed right now you will hate yourself forever.” I got up, checked the weather app on my phone to determine if I needed a raincoat. It said clouds but I did note the big red bar at the top of the screen that said, TSUNAMI ALERT. (I live on the Oregon Coast) I didn’t take my raincoat and noted halfway down the block as I was driving to our running spot that it was indeed raining. I went back for the coat.

1.76 miles into our run, the goal for the day was 4/5 miles, we stopped at the top of a large hill to catch our breath. For 4:15 am there seemed to be an awful lot of traffic bombing down the hill. A guy pulled up in his pickup truck and told us he had been given credible information from his firefighter buddy that indeed the Oregon Coast was on high alert for a potential tsunami because of an 8.2 earthquake that happened off the coast of Alaska. To make a long story short we  hightailed it back to our cars and headed home (we all live up high on a hill and well out of tsunami danger.)

I get home and while I’m debating whether or not it’s a good idea to wake up Mr. Wonderful at 4:30 am because there may or may not be a tsunami headed our way in a half hour, I get an alert on my phone that all is well. Our town has thankfully been spared. Well as happy as I am about this news, I still have some running to do and because of my schedule 4:00 am is my only time to do it. The whole rest of the day seemed as if it was spent putting out one fire after another, aside from my two-hour reprieve where I was able to meet with some ladies from church to plan an upcoming event. I didn’t have a plan and I never quite got my feet back underneath me.

So all this to say, I NEED A PLAN. Any suggestions? How do you organize your days? Do you have a fail-proof system you want to share? I’m in.

Have a Beautiful Day My Friends!

Christmas Run / TiffanyAOlson.com

A Run On “The Rock” – Always A Favorite Morning

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm:143:8

 

How Do You See Yourself?

If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes, only then you would realize how special you are to me.

My friend Taryn posted this quote beneath a photo of her four kids on Instagram. Her kids aren’t little anymore, two are in college, and the other two are in middle school. They are well past the “everything you do is adorable,” stage. They have lives and opinions and dreams of their own now. They are old enough to have experienced things that have begun to form opinions about who they think they are and what they might possibly become. Taryn see’s the innocence and childlike qualities, she always will, they are her babies.

Kirks / TiffanyAOlson.com

Somewhere along the way in life we begin to see ourselves in a certain way. We either label ourselves based on past experience or we get labeled by others and right or wrong we take those words and let them form who we become. When I was young people told me I was personable and friendly. I liked this label and it has propelled me to be a person who enjoys being around others and has given me the confidence to be open and outgoing which has fostered a multitude of lifelong friendships.

Another label spoken over me that I held onto for years and years is that I wasn’t pretty. I hit that Jr High awkward stage right about the same time my sister hit the senior in high school beauty stage. My mom was in her 40’s and well, they got a lot of attention. At one point someone said to me, “If you ever want to be a head turner you will need to dye your hair, get a nose job and a boob job.” I was 15. It wasn’t true but it sure shaped how I viewed myself for the next 10 years.

Sedberry's 1983 / TiffanyAOIson.com

…”Wow! You look so much like your dad!”

I became the family historian and have spent the last several years pouring over family photos. I ran across my freshmen year school picture the other day and other than the frosted hair and blue eyeshadow, I liked what I saw. I was pretty. I wished I could go back to the awkward 15-year-old me and tell her it was a lie and that she had so much to look forward to as she would grow up to be a college graduate, wife, mom, small business owner, runner, breast cancer survivor and a writer.  Her beauty is different than that of her sister and mother but she is still pretty. The confidence that knowledge would have given me would have saved me from years of poor decisions trying to make up for what I thought I lacked.

 

Tiffany 1987 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I loved Taryn’s quote because it reminds me of what God sees when He looks at her, her children and all of us. He sees the whole picture. And he likes what he sees. What if we lived  life seeing ourselves through our Father’s eyes? How much different would our lives look? How much more confident would we be? I’m guessing we would spend a whole lot less time thinking about ourselves and get on with the business of living.

Have A Beautiful Day!

 

Write The Word

Upside down / TiffanyAOlson.com

I don’t get the whole upside down tree thing…

Write The Word? What does this mean? What word? The Word. Think about it, what is your go to action when you know you have to rememember something? You write it down.

I have been reading a book called, Deeper Waters by Denise J. Hughes. To be honest it was a book club book for the month of September and I am still not quite finished. Maybe having 4 books going at one time is not the best idea but it is what it is. Anyway, there is a section of the book where the author is talking about the methods she uses to connect with and get to know God better. One thing she does is to write out scripture. I’m not talking about the fancy lettering of the Instagram variety but rather while she is reading and notices a verse or a passage that stands out, she writes it down.

I spend a lot of time putting information on paper. I am famous for letting others know that if the event is not on the calendar then it is not going to happen. I … most of the time… check my calendar at the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week and the beginning of each day to remind myself of what is coming up and to get prepared for what I need to do in advance of each event. If I am this meticioulous about my schedule then why did it feel like such a revelation to have someone tell me to write out scripture so I will remember it better?

Del Tree 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Hotel Del… Please never do this again… 2017

This isn’t the 1st time I have heard about writing the word but it is the 1st time it has truly sunk in and made an impact on me. There are Write The Word Journals out there like the ones sold over at Cultivate What Matters. Or the bible studies in the Write The Word series offered by the author. I prefer my spiral notebook and the inspiration that comes from my daily reading but whatever you decide to do, give it a shot.

The new year is upon us and it is time to finish up with planning for what is coming and reminiscing what has passed. Along with my running goals and better scheduling of my time I am going to spend more time Writing The Word. Not only am I going to write it but I am going to go back and read what I have written. I want to remind myself of what I felt when it 1st inspired me to write it. Did I breathe a sigh of relief? Did I feel convicted of something I needed to change? Did I understand what I was reading?

The goal in all of this for me is at the end of 2018 I want to know God better. I want the words in the bible to translate from being great stories to pieces of history written down to help me understand where I have come from and where I am going. I want to be different and to live out what I am reading rather than just get up from my chair each morning and forget what I have just spent the last hour injesting into my heart.

I had an amazing Christmas holiday. I got to spend it with the people I love most in the world. But, as ususal I look back on a few choice words or decisions I made and wish I had spent less time trying to fit in by making people laugh and a bit more time focusing on why we celebrate Christmas in the 1st place.

In Phoenix, we got the opportunity to go to Hobby Lobby. The closest one to me at home is 2.5 hours away. On one of the signs I read, it said, “It’s a new year, you have 365 opportunities to wake up to new mercies.” I desperately need those mercies and am excited about 365 days of writing down some of the greatest words ever written.

Christmas Run / TiffanyAOlson.com

A Run on “The Rock” –

Happy New Year My Friends!

Finding Joy

Christmas Eve 2014 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Christmas Eve 2014…

 

Mr. Wonderful calls me Mrs. Christmas. It is a title I wear with pride. Christmas brings me joy like no other holiday. What is it about lights on an evergreen tree in your living room that can inspire such nostalgia and wonder? As busy as the season can get, that sparkly tree beckons us all season long to sit and rest awhile in the glow of its twinkling lights.

How gracious that God set aside time at the end of a long year to celebrate. No matter if it was your best year ever or one you would never like to repeat, we have been given the opportunity to celebrate life. The life we have been given and the life of a baby boy who came into this world to save us all.

The wonder of Christmas is something that never gets old. Even the years that totally sucked don’t damper the anticipation for the Christmases yet to come. Our kids are getting older and I was thinking the other day about how much Christmas is going to change for us in the next several years. As much as I am a sucker for traditions I am looking forward to what the future brings and how we can continue to make memories in different kinds of ways.

A teacher in our local elementary school passed away this week, two people have died and many people are displaced due to the California fire that is still continuing to burn up the Los Angeles area. There was great loss in our country this year due to natural disasters and acts of violence so I am well aware that many will be struggling to find the wonder and joy in the midst of this holiday season, and that’s okay.

The goal isn’t to pretend that everything is great because there are some twinkling lights in your living room. The goal is to take several moments during this season and just be. Take deep breaths and remember how much you are loved. There was nothing simple or easy or clean about giving birth in a stable, nor was it easy to flee the country because you feared for your child’s life. But just as there was a plan for the life of Jesus, there is a plan for you and for me. So take a minute or two this season and reflect on the love and the life of a little baby who came to right the wrongs of this world.

My prayer for you is that in those moments of reflection you will hear the voice of God reminding you that in the midst of it all he’s still there. There is a plan, a promise and a future hope.

Merry Christmas My Friends!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

13.1- 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

Thanksgiving! Wow. Wasn’t it August, yesterday? 2017 is quickly winding down and I find myself looking back and wondering where it went. This year I think I will write myself a letter. In it I will write out what I am thankful for and what I  accomplished or could have done a bit better in 2017. Then I will turn my attention to what lies ahead and write out dreams and goals for the coming year. At the end of next year I will reread the letter so I will have better perspective on how things went and where I want to go from there.

Isn’t this a great idea? Since this is Thanksgiving week what a perfect week to get started on all I am thankful for in this season. If I get started now writing the letter won’t be so daunting when the 1st rolls around. I find any time I do any thinking or writing, if I begin with what I am thankful for the words begin to flow and the harder things I’m dealing with diminish a bit in the glow of what I have been given.

One of the greatest things standing out the most to me right now is the gift of friendship. I enjoy having a lot of people in my life, the variety provides perspective in a way nothing else can. I have a very special friend who went to be with Jesus this past week. She lived a long, full life and was dearly loved by her family and friends. She shared my love of reading and at 80 years old was over at my house cleaning with my besties when I was in chemo two years ago. She was very strong and never complained. She liked to hang with the girls and have a glass of wine or two but never wanted to be a burden or in the way. She was neither of these things. Instead, she was a delight to be around and was smart, kind and funny. She will be greatly missed.

I am grateful for is the gift God gave her daughter in her last hour of life. My friend was never one to discuss faith and although her daughter and friends had tried over the years to be an example of Christ’s love for her, we were never quite sure where she stood. The daughter prayed and God answered her prayer. He allowed an exchange to happen in a small but notable way that gave the daughter enough peace to know that God had intervened and was going to take her mother home to be with Him. As hard as it is to say goodbye, there is peace in being given the assurance of where she is now and I can’t think of anything to be more grateful for right now than this. There is beauty in the midst of the pain. I dearly wish there was no pain but I am grateful for the beauty.

As you gather with your family and friends this week, focus on the beauty. Find the good in the midst of the hard. Take a deep breath, look at all you have been given and be grateful.

Nutcracker 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Nutcracker 2017

 

Have A Wonderful Thanksgiving My Friends!

 

 

 

 

and read it to yourself on the last day of 2018. I loved the idea of writing down all my hopes, dreams, goals and things I am thankful for and to have something tangible in my hand to see how much I a

The Best Seasons of Life

Hair Fall 2016 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Hair! Fall 2016

 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. NLT

I do my best thinking in the shower and in the car. Of course, it happens this way because there is no way I can write down the thought because I am either wet or driving. But, every now and again the thought sticks and then gets reinforced in some way. I was mulling over the different seasons of my life the other day while in the shower, (Please don’t tell Mr. Wonderful because he keeps wondering why the hot water is running out. He he he.) While I was using up the hot water I was thinking about my life and it struck me that the most meaningful seasons were when I was connected to and trying to live with Christ.

I escaped my teen years with some pretty incredible friends but this is the only thing I can think back on with pride during those years. All I wanted was attention. I wanted to be liked. So, if I didn’t feel like I was getting enough attention I talked louder and the words that flowed from my mouth became cruder and uglier. What’s weird is when I look back on it now, is that this obnoxious me, became my new normal. I completely forgot who I was before, what I believed and how I wanted to live.

…Apart from me you can do nothing.

At 24 I had had enough of my life and moved back to the one place I knew of to get back to who I was. Oregon. Our old friends welcomed me like family and I was given the precious opportunity to once again become the girl I was before everything changed. I am still loud and chatty and in full disclosure the “s” word, flows a bit freely from my mouth at times but I no longer go to great extremes to get attention.

…Apart from me you can do nothing.

When I was 33 I was pregnant with our 1st child, I went home for a week to visit my family. A bunch of friends from high school gathered on the deck at The Hotel Del Coronado to hang out and reminisce about the good ol’ days. That day I was introduced to the wife of one of my friends. After the introductions, my friend laughed and said, “When I was explaining you to my wife I told her you were the only girl I had ever known who cussed like a sailor.” I wanted to shrivel up and die. I had forgotten that person and to think this is how I was remembered was pretty devastating.

My shower revelation happened on a Sunday morning. We went to church a few hours later and this scripture was on the big screen.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. NLT

See, when I went back to Oregon, I went back to Jesus. I went back to a place in my heart where I knew I was unconditionally loved. Do I still struggle with insecurities? Sure I do. But now I don’t look side to side for affirmation. I look up. God created me just the way I am. My actions and decisions come from a place of wanting to live a life that glorifies him and not me. I certainly don’t get it right all the time and my foot spends a heck of a lot of time in my mouth but day by day, minute by minute I am changing.

…Apart from me you can do nothing.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!!

 

 

 

 

Remember Not To Forget…

The older I get the more  I am discovering how much I forget. Don’t get me wrong, I have always failed a bit in the whole short-term memory category. These days however, if it’s not written down, it’s not happening.  No matter how big or small, whatever the event or task that lies ahead it needs to be on a list or on a calendar and there have to be several notifications to remind me.

In January of 2016, I wrote a post called … Don’t Forget To Remember. It was me reflecting on my cancer diagnosis and how faithful God had been in orchestrating the diagnosis and all the hurdles we were able to jump in order to come up with a treatment plan. I wanted to remind myself to remember his faithfulness because life is super hard and if I can remember that He was faithful then, then I can know He will be faithful in the future.

Fast forward another year and a half or so and I am finding other areas of life where I can find reminders of God’s love and faithfulness. If your phone is nearby, pick it up and open your photos. Scroll. Look at all those faces of people you love and who love you back. I’ll bet you have a smile on your face right now. Such a simple act but a powerful reminder of what and who God has placed in your life.

On those days when I have seen one too many photos of someone’s fabulous vacation on Instagram or I have allowed the accomplishments and achievements of others make me feel like I am not enough and will never achieve anything, I remind myself to look at my photos. In biblical times God instructed his people to set up altars to remind them of what took place. He wanted them to pass by these altars and remember what He had done.

 In the ancient world the altar was almost exclusively built as a monument to remember or commemorate a divine occurrence which took place at a certain location. In ancient Israel altars were very significant, they symbolized communion with the LORD. They were a place of worship and a place to remember His covenant. The “altar’ was a place of “approach”, a place to call upon the name of the LORD and remember His glorious promises.

Photos are my Altars. They remind me of my place in this world and that without me some of those faces wouldn’t even exist. God created me to be exactly who I am and He placed little reminders along the way to show me how much I am loved and needed in the lives of the people he has given me. Take the time to look. Look at your life. Let your photos remind you about your significance in this world and how much you love and are loved in return.

Photos bring me great joy. They are my glimpses of love. They help me remember.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!