Beauty Out Of Ashes

Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

Last photos before surgery… Jan 2015

There is nothing more thrilling than taking one of the sunniest and most relaxing times of the year and saddling up to read a book on suffering. Yet, this is where I find myself. I am enjoying it so much that I have found multitudes of excuses not to sit down and read so I am several days behind the rest of the group. I use a daily app from Proverbs 31 Ministries called 1st 5. Right now we are reading the book of Job. For those of you who might not know, Job is a book in the Bible. Job pronounced J – O – B, is a man who lived a decent life, suffered greatly and then returned to a decent life.

At this point in the narrative Job has in a few days time lost all his children, (he had 10) and all his livestock (all his wealth). They perished in a series of raids from neighboring tribes and natural disasters which also consumed his land and dwellings. Shortly thereafter Job was physically struck with boils all over his body. The only thing that was spared was his life and his wife. She’s not the most helpful soul and I suppose she was spared to cause Job even more grief.

Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job 2:3

He spends the whole of chapter 3 cursing the day he was born. Job wondered aloud why if God knew he was going to suffer this much, why had he allowed him to be born at all?

A little over a year ago I was gearing up for my 2nd mastectomy surgery. I had recently finished chemo and radiation. During chemo, our business had taken a huge hit as a result of circumstances out of our control. These circumstances had forced us to contact a lawyer as the situation rendered us in a position to not be able to make the monthly note payments (note to future self … don’t go into debt for any reason!) and keep the doors open at the same time.

The day before surgery my besties had gathered at our favorite sandwich shop to hang with me and offer their love and support for the upcoming weeks of recovery. Just as I was headed out the door to meet them, Mr. Wonderful called and said we were being counter sued. I had no time for lunch. I showed up at the restaurant and for the 5 minutes I had to spare, I sat there and cried. Breast removal, lawyers, chemo, radiation, medical bills… it was just too much. I told my friends I wish I knew what I was doing wrong so that I could fix it and the suffering would end. There were more than a few times during that season when I asked God if he would just take me home. I didn’t curse my birth but I was so ready to be done living.

The Art of Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

Besties…

God was fulfilling a promise in my life clearly stated in the book of John…

…. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

He promised there would be trouble/suffering/pain. No one is spared, not even his one and only son. What I tried to do and what Job did do is to trust God in the midst of the pain. There is grief and tears and a lot of times no horizon of relief to look towards but whether we can see it or not God is always in control. I wasn’t real thrilled at the prospect of reading this particular book of the Bible. Focusing on suffering makes me feel anxious about what our next round will look like. I still have a hard time approaching suffering with an attitude of joy. In my head, I know God creates beauty out of ashes but I have to keep reminding my heart.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

Rest Involves Work

 

T and R 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Playing At The River Summer 2017

I was reading a blog post a few weeks back about how much work it takes to be able to rest. I felt such relief when I read this because I thought it was just me. It’s not that the work is bad, I enjoy preparing the pizza for our friends who come over on Friday nights and I like meal planning for camping trips and gathering up all the supplies needed to bring it all together. The pizza and the supply gathering are what make these events special and memorable but it’s not easy.

It’s kind of funny if you think about it. There is twice as much work to be done while you are getting ready to rest. Not only is there the everyday tasks of keeping home and work life running smoothly, there is also all the extra work of trying to have all your bases covered while you rest. If you are leaving town, there is extra budgeting, meal planning, packing, laundry and lists and lists of items written down you are praying you don’t leave behind.

When you get to your resting spot, whether it’s camping or around your table, there is still work happening. Dishes need to be cleared, tents need to be pitched, dirty clothes and clutter always seem to need to be gathered. But you know what? It’s all worth it. My son has stolen a phrase from Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty. Bridger says it’s his life’s motto, “Work Hard, Nap Hard.” Truth be told, he’s 11 and naps don’t occur all that often but he says it to make people laugh and most of the time he succeeds. I think it describes perfectly what Christ wants us to do with our lives… Work Hard, Nap Hard.

Genesis 2:2-3 says:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 
God worked hard before he rested. He created the Earth and everything in it and then took a break. I’m not sure it was actually a nap but he stopped working for a bit and surveyed all that he had created.

 

Rest looks different for each one of us. For me, rest is plopping down with a good book or spending time around the table with a bottle of red wine and my besties. Mr. Wonderful would rather saddle up for a root canal than sit down and read a book. His idea of rest is puttering. When his hands are busy, his mind is at ease which is why when we are with our friends, he does most of the cooking. (Yes, this is one of the reasons he is Wonderful… ) While I was in chemo he designed and built a bistro set for our front porch. When he rests, he creates. When I rest, I grow.  Books and people are my thing, projects and puttering are his.

Project Rod / TiffanyAOIson.com

The Bistro Set

Rest takes effort but it’s always worth it. It’s summer, the perfect season to find some time to rest. Build it into your calendar. It doesn’t have to be huge, take an evening, have some friends over and just hang… okay, hang while your husband cooks. If the hubs doesn’t cook or you are single get Papa Murphy’s, we do this All the time. If you are a putterer like Mr. Wonderful, plan some time to hang in your garden, get the weeds pulled and the veggies harvested. Do whatever you need to do to find the time to decompress and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

Tiffany

 

 

 

 

Create Memories With Your People

Summer is here! Time to relax, go camping, have BBQ’s and go on vacation.  Vacation is traditionally defined as, “an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or traveling.” When I dream of vacation I dream about sitting poolside or on a quiet beach with froufrou drinks and a good book. I dream of hikes to remote places and enjoying God’s creation in places I have never seen before.

Mr. Wonderful and I have taken two vacations in our married life. One was our honeymoon which was spent in St. Martin, we were gifted a timeshare condominium stay and it was magical. The second vacation was on our 10th wedding anniversary (we will celebrate 17 years this year). We took our kids to Phoenix to stay with grandparents and then we borrowed their car and went up to Vegas and then on to Bryson and Zion National Parks. I loved that we did Vegas 1st because it was great to go from the big lights and the noise of the city to long hikes and expanses of great beauty in the Parks.

Two vacations in 17 years on the surface seems kind of lame. But there is a reason we do not vacation in the traditional sense. When I was 24 I moved back to Oregon from San Diego. My family stayed. Mr. Wonderful’s family moved from Vancouver, WA to Phoenix when he was 21. I just turned 47 and Mr. Wonderful is turning 50 this year. 50! (Yeah, I know, Right?) This is a lot of years to have not lived near family. So we do get out of town but since time is limited we have always chosen to take the time we have available and use it to go visit our loved ones. When we were 1st married we would meet Mr. Wonderful’s family in Logan, Utah every summer because that is where his extended family is from. We fished a lot, had family reunions and ate Aggie ice cream (the university in town has its own ice cream shop) and cheese curds from the local cheese factory.

Logan Utah 1999 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Logan, Utah

Fortunately for us, our respective families live in areas that are either beautiful in and of themselves or are near beautiful things we can go visit in route. Which is exactly what we have done. Mr. Wonderful has become excellent at creating fun moments for us as we travel to and from our families. On our way home from Arizona in 2015 we made a detour to Zion National Park. We had been there in 2010 and were excited to share this beautiful place with our kids. I had just finished chemo so I was bald and unsteady on my feet but Mr. Wonderful held my hand and we hiked all over. We even ventured into the Narrows a bit. It’s a hiking trail where most of the hiking is in the river. I was pretty nervous about this as the water was brown from a recent rainfall. We went to the visitors center to check on conditions (there are flash floods that occur quite frequently), they informed us that someone had broken their leg on that hike the day before. The risk for flash flood, however, was low so we ventured out the next morning. Because of my balance issues after chemo I was struggling with the water being so muddy we couldn’t see where we were walking but Mr. Wonderful held my hand and we walked. We didn’t go up all that far but it was far enough to feel like we had done something amazing and seen something beautiful.

Zion / Tiffanyaolson.com

The Narrows, Zion National Park 2015

In 2016 en route to Arizona Mr. Wonderful took us to Mammoth Lakes where we rented mountain bikes. We rode the trolley up to the top of the mountain and rode the bikes back down. It was amazing. He also looked up an authentic taco shop on the Vegas strip to introduce the kids to true street tacos. It was by the grace of God we arrived right when they opened. It was literally right on the Vegas strip. We found a parking spot in front and Mr. Wonderful stayed in the car with the dogs (it was super hot out). Natalie was unsure about this whole “authentic” street taco thing but when we came out and saw that the line had in 15 minutes began to wind out the door and down the street, we knew we were on to something. After the kids and I ordered food and then brought it out to the car so we could leave the air conditioning on for the dogs.  Natalie didn’t want to like those tacos but a year later she is still on a quest to find street tacos anywhere that can compare to Tacos El Gordo in Vegas.

Mammoth / TiffanyAOlson.com

Mountain Biking at Mammoth Lakes

On our way home from Arizona we went through South Lake Tahoe and took in a few sights while were there. We had planned to stay two nights but I picked the seediest joint in town to sleep in and Bridger had a fever from heat exhaustion. B does not do well in the heat. You take a boy who lives in 55-65 degree weather and you put him in 110-degree weather for a few days, it does not end well. So we stayed one night and got in as much sight seeing as we could.

Taking in the View / TiffanyAOlson.com

South Lake Tahoe 2016

All of these little side trips are only one night and sometimes two but what makes them so great is that we are creating memories albeit short ones but memories nonetheless. Life is what you make it. Take what you have been given and add something special to it …. it could be a half hour bike ride down a beautiful mountain or a quick stop at a taco shop in the middle of Vegas. It takes extra time and effort to do these things but it’s always worth it and it’s what we remember the most when we come home.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

Phoenix 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Water Park! Phoenix, AZ 2017

The Run

 

13.1-  2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Just before the race… Yes, I showered beforehand… thin haired bedhead is not cute…

So I mentioned last week at the end of my post about finishing a 1/2 marathon here in town. It was a spectacularly beautiful morning and I was anxious but comfortable at the same time because of my familiarity with the course.

I knew this was going to be a small race but wasn’t prepared for exactly how small. Of the 20 people that were there only 10 lined up to run the 1/2 marathon distance. To add a little more perspective there were 8 elite runners (well, they looked elite to me), a mom with her tween-age son and me. (the son ran a shorter race) As I sized up my competition I thought to myself that maybe I could at least hang with the other mom. That fantasy ended as soon as the race director said, “Go!”

All along I had planned on treating this race like a Saturday morning run and not a race at all. I am so glad I had this mindset when I began because any other notion would have had me in a state of despair within the 1st quarter mile. Instead I took a deep breath, turned up the volume of the podcast I was listening to (thank you Shauna Niequist and Jamie Ivey) and let everything else go.

Some good friends of ours happen to live 4.7 miles up the road I was running on so Mr. Wonderful and Natalie graciously came out to watch me run by… my own personal cheering section, for the girl in last place. I teared up a bit when I saw them as I was glad they were there but also a bit embarrassed by my inability to run any faster. Mr. Wonderful gave me some water and I kept going.

The course was an out and back, so right after this point the faster runners began passing me going back the other direction. They were, of course, gracious and one by one kept telling me, “good job” as they headed back towards the finish line. I’m not sure if the look I saw in their eyes was pity, concern or bewilderment as to why I was out there in the 1st place. Nevertheless I trudged on and finally made it to the turn around spot.

I was 6.5 miles in at the turnaround and already tired. I decided it was time to turn the podcasts off and to turn the music on. Music makes me run a bit faster so I did begin to gain on the other mom running the race. When I reached the spot where Mr. Wonderful was waiting, our friends the Plummer’s were out there as well cheering me on. I didn’t have enough strength to more than give a brief wave and move along.

In mile 10 I caught up to the other mom. I told her, “good job,” she said the same to me and then she found another gear and took off. In mile 11, I was toast and began wondering how I was going to finish this race. Fortunately and unfortunately I knew exactly how far I needed to go to be done. I seriously began to question my sanity at being out there at all. This is a flat course. I know the road like the back of my hand and I began praying in earnest that this race would just end. Wisely, I kept running because if I had stopped, I never would have started again.

I finally finished. I was so tired I forgot to press the stop button on my watch so I am not sure what my time was other than it was way worse than last year’s time on a much harder course. I didn’t have the strength to care that I had come in last. I was done. I set a goal and I accomplished it. It wasn’t pretty or mind blowing but it was finished.

Finished! / TiffanyAOlson.com

Finished 13.1!

The older I get the more I see the need to set goals and to see them through. Dreams and goals keep you going, they help you get out of bed each day in hopes of doing one little thing to get one step closer to seeing those dreams come true. Whatever you are dreaming about at this season of your life, sit down and make a plan as to how you can see that dream get accomplished. Set some goals and take the steps to make it happen. It isn’t always going to be pretty or easy but the achievement of finishing what you have started is so worth all the effort put in.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

PS… My daughter took the running photos. She made sure I knew how she captured me and the view at the same time so I could post them to my blog. I am one blessed mama!

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Mr. Wonderful n Me / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

Well, here we are! Summer has arrived, Wahoo!! I for one am thrilled about this because I am soooo ready to be warm! Of course, I will have to leave town in order to get warm as unfortunately, the Oregon Coast is not known for balmy weather. There are not too many days here where you can go without a sweatshirt. And shorts? Forgetaboutit!! But Summer does mean it is warm somewhere and I am planning on finding all the warm spots I can over the next several months.

The other great thing about Summer is hopefully the rain will dissipate a bit. It feels like it has rained nonstop since October. Last year, when I trained for a half marathon I had the pleasure of doing a ton of walking in preparation for running because the weather was so nice. This year? Not so much. I haven’t bounced back from my two surgeries like I thought I would and because of all the rain, I did not spend as much time walking and probably began running before I was ready. But begin, I did and well, it has been an interesting ride.

I began this year’s running adventure just after Christmas. It snowed here, which NEVER happens and I wanted to get out and enjoy it a bit. I couldn’t really play as I was still recovering from surgery so I did the next best thing and went for a walk.

It wasn’t much, but it was a beginning

By the end of January, I was running, mostly because I could no longer spend that much time walking in the rain. Running gets me done quicker… okay, not much quicker but I like to tell myself it’s quicker because it makes me feel better.

I keep thinking each run is going to get easier. So far this has not happened and I am also not getting any faster. Last year I was running 9:30 per mile and I felt great. This year 11:30 per mile and I feel like I’m dying. The slow miles, coupled with the never ending rain made it extremely hard to be motivated to get out the door. There were some weeks I only ran once. I knew this was folly because there wasn’t much time to prepare for the Eugene 1/2 marathon in May to begin with. The more time I took off meant the less time I had to be ready. At the beginning of April I made the decision to not sign up for the 1/2 in May and set my sights on a  13.1 run here in Coos Bay in June.

I like the idea of this run because the course is the road I do all my long runs on. I’ve been running this road for two years and I know where every 1/2 mile marker is. Marker, is a generous term because my “markers” are large bushes, houses, fences etc. They are points I have memorized along the route so I know when to turn around and go back. I don’t go out and run 10 miles, I run 20, half miles. I have to trick myself mentally or I would never finish. Speaking of 10 miles, I ran my 1st 10 miler of the year last week.

This coming Saturday is the run…. 13.1. It will certainly not be a big race with fanfare and t-shirts and all that other hoopla. I am kind of glad for this because right now I just want to get out there and get r done. I’m feeling a bit anxious because I still don’t feel super ready, but, I am going to get out there and run anyway.

I have had a dream since my early 20’s to run a full Marathon. I have set my sights on October 2017. This marathon dream of mine has sat on the shelf for an awfully long time. My thought process is this, if I can complete a half marathon in June then surely I can complete a full marathon in October. Hey, if I survived breast cancer, surely I can survive a marathon right? I don’t know what will happen between now and October but I am going to run. I am going to put the time in, one foot in front of the other and I am going to keep pushing until I cross the finish line of a 26.2-mile race.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

PS… Update:

I finished! 13.1 miles!

It was not pretty, it was my slowest 1/2 marathon to date, I did not feel well when I finished so no triumphant video to post AND I was DEAD LAST!! To be fair to myself there were only about 10 runners. but still … LAST. I will post more on this later. For today, I am glad it’s over and I can focus on gearing up for future runs.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

Peace, Love and Fish

This past weekend we introduced our children to Mr. Wonderful’s other greatest love. It is his first love, after his love of God, and although I come in a close second there is nothing like the peace that comes over this man when he gets in the river and casts a fly line.

Mr Wonderful / TiffanyAOlson.com

Mr. Wonderul … In His Happy Place

Some of Mr. Wonderful’s fondest memories as a kid centered around the days when his dad would show up at school unannounced, and take him out for a day of fishing. In college at Central Washington University he was introduced to the world of fly fishing, the one activity that makes him feel closest to God.

When we met, Mr. Wonderful spent a lot of his spare time tying flies and finding ways to get out on the rivers of Central Oregon. I knew I was getting under his skin when he took me to the Deschutes River and we spent the entire day talking fish, casting and line positioning. Mr. Wonderful is a different person out there on the river bank or cruising around in a float tube on a pristine Cascade Lake. I have always told him my favorite days with him are the days we are headed to the mountains. We laugh easier, joke more and take one moment at a time. Unlike any other activity, he is involved in this is the one where he can let everything else go and only focus on the line, the water, and the fish.

Everything in life has a season to it and after we were married and began having children, priorities changed and so did the fishing. Natalie hung with us on a few fishing adventures but adding another child to the picture and then moving to Coos Bay, changed everything. Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton of fishing to be done on the Oregon Coast and as much as Mr. Wonderful has enjoyed getting out on the bay or hanging with buddies on a local river, it has never quite touched his heart and soul like the peacefulness of casting a fly line on a mountain river or lake.

A few weeks ago I posted about getting back to living and doing things that make us feel more alive. Fly Fishing is one of these things. The kids are older now and have taken to fishing quite well. When we were getting ready to go camping for Memorial Day Weekend I suggested to Mr. Wonderful that he bring his fly gear and introduce his children to his favorite past time.

It was a beautiful thing to watch the kids out there in the river with their dad. Most of life is not peaceful and serene, so I cherish these moments with my family. My hope is through their dad’s love of fly fishing they will catch the passion, the rhythm and the grace and it will inspire them to find their own activity which brings them this much joy.

For now, they get the opportunity to hang with their dad and learn all the lessons in life that the achievement of a perfectly casted line can bring.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

For The Love of The Game

Another season has come and gone. As with many seasons in life it was fun, hard, exciting, frustrating, invigorating and disappointing all at the same time.

Mr Wonderful and B / TiffanyAOlson.com

We tied, we lost and we won. Us spectators cheered and laughed and spent a lot of time wondering aloud how it would feel to sit through these games without hats and gloves. Brrr… the Oregon Coast in the Spring/fog/wind is not the best time of year to be sitting outside for extended periods of time.

Crystal n Me / TiffanyAOlson.com

Crystal N Me, Enjoying A Lucky Patch of Sun!!

With Bridger every year there is a debate as to whether he will make the Allstar Baseball Team or not. This year was not his year. Although he can hang with the big boys defensively, offensively, his batting needs work and in the end the team needed hitters.

Bridger, although devastated, handled it pretty well. In truth it’s a double edge sword for us all. On the one hand, hanging with all the families on the weekends up and down the coast is a great time and we love doing it. On the other hand Allstars doesn’t end until mid July which makes Summer feel very short. So now that our Summer has been freed up a bit we decided to make plans for other kinds of fun.

1st up was a memorial weekend camping trip with a jaunt up to Eugene to watch the last University of Oregon baseball game of the season. God, in his mercy, made it a day to remember for a tween boy who truly loves the game. Bridger showed up, clean baseball and sharpie in hand, ready to ask players if they would sign his ball.

Graciously, they one by one took the time to make his day. I was proud of him for having the courage to walk up to these college guys and talk to them and was surprised when my normally chatty, expressive son, got nervous and hung back, chewing on his fingernails until they were finished.

A few minutes later a staff member who coordinates activities for the fans came up to Mr. Wonderful and Bridger and asked if Bridger wanted to be the announcer for the UofO batters in the 6th inning! The Sandlot is his favorite movie of all time (his team mates call him Ya Ya) so he knew exactly what anncouncing the players meant and he couldn’t have been more thrilled.

God didn’t have to show up and turn a major disappointment in our boy’s life into a memory he will never forget, but He did. The weather was warm (a special treat for mama), the hot dogs were huge, the game was lost but the day was oh so special for a family who was looking for adventure.

Have a Fabulous Weekend My Friends!

Living To Love…

Family 2010 / Tiffanyaolson.com

An Oldie But a Goodie! Olsons 2011

 

Yes, my friends, I have another book for you. I never tire of reading. My interest is in business, memoirs, historical fiction and pretty much anything Lysa Terkheurst writes. I have several books going right now, one on my kindle, one on audio and one or two physical books. The one I am enjoying the most is, Love Lives Here by Maria Goff. In it, Maria talks about her life, her family and what is important to her. I am about half way through and I have two favorite parts.

The first, is where she discusses her life’s greatest ambition… being a wife and a mom. I don’t know about you but in my neck of the woods, no one talks about this being their greatest ambition. There is always something else, usually a career or a cause. I was taught to have a career because of the underlying fear of death or divorce. Living in fear means that all women need to, “have something for yourself in case something happens.” Which is code for,”make your own money so you never go without.” There is absoutely nothing wrong with having a big career or fighting for big causes, but not all of us are wired this way.

I found it refreshing that Maria shares her joy of being a wife and mom because I struggle with guilt for feeling like I should be doing more. Maybe not more, but it’s hard when none of the things I do for the family or for our business can be quantified with a financial contribution. Nothing I do helps us financially. I never had a career. I went from college to ministry to marriage to helping run a business. I have a few licenses which I have done relatively little with and I help with the business but I am not the one on the front lines helping people with their taxes or finances. I am in the background working on the website, keeping the books in line, updating processes, processing paperwork for our financial clients and providing laughs for the amazing team of people we work with. This sounds like a lot but it’s actually pretty low-key. I work from home as well as from the office and I shut it down in the early afternoon to go get the kids, run them to their various events and get dinner on the table.

I am aware that the contributions I do make at the office would need to be hired out if I wasn’t there so yes, it’s helpful but sometimes it feels like not enough. Reading Maria’s words reminded me once again that my life does not need to look like everyone else’s to have significance and meaning. I like what I do and it is both helpful to the business and to our family.

My other favorite part? This…

Dating Mr Wonderful / TiffanyAOlson.com

This silly picture of me was taken right after I had, finally, begun dating Mr. Wonderful. I detailed the particulars of the photo here. The best part about this photo in relation to Maria’s book is that I am at a camp on Catalina Island on the top of a mountain with a cross on it. Several other counselors and I had taken our tired group of Jr High girls on a hike to see the sunrise. Maria accepted Jesus into her heart on that very same mountain, right in front of the cross. When I read her story I felt like I was right there with her because I have been there. It is a special place with special memories.

What I am enjoying most about the book is that it’s about love. Maria’s husband Bob is a trial lawyer who looks like the Grandpa from the movie UP. He travels all over the world bringing balloons, justice and love to impoverished people in refugee camps and war-torn countries. Maria, for the most part, stays home and makes sure that Bob and their 3 grown children have a soft place to land when they return from their various adventures.

I have been on a quest this year to learn to love better, to remind myself that love is a verb and not a noun. Love isn’t about what you say but rather what you do. Honestly, I have a long way to go but finding words to read which remind me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, help me to press on to continue to become the woman God has created me to be. I constantly remind myself not to feel guilt over the decisions I have made and that the contributions I make are enough. In the end, the most important thing to me is to love and be loved. If this is my end goal then I am on the right track.

 

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

 

 

The Other Side of Busy…

Blonde Pixie -- Before Chemo / Tiffanyaolson.com

Ask anyone how they are doing and 9 times out of 10 you will hear, “I’m soo busy!” Followed by a litany of their never ending to do list. People are running themselves ragged and more often than not they have no idea how to change the pace of their lives to create space. Call it white space or margin or blank spots on the calendar, when you look around you’ll not see many people who have ideas about how to create space or what to do with it once created.

I find myself in the created category. I have created space. I like the space I have created. I can breathe. I add things in or take them out when I find it necessary. My life is full, don’t get me wrong but I have space in every day where I chill (even if my chill time is at 4:00 am). I take the time to read or write, run or hang with the kids depending what is happening that day. I tried napping a few times but as soon as I laid down a hot flash ensued which made me frustrated and not able to sleep, so naps are out. The interesting part is every now and again I find I feel guilty about not being as busy as everyone else and yet I have no desire to add more to my life so I feel like I fit in.

Oh sure there are some weeks which are busier than others but as soon as I feel my schedule begin to take over I start cutting stuff out. I assume there is a bit of fear behind my desire to keep space in the schedule because leading up to my cancer diagnosis there were not even a few minutes of nothingness. Come to think of it, our youngest child spent that entire summer sitting under my desk at the office while I worked. Maybe, if there had been some major payoff it would have made all the time I spent working worth it and I wouldn’t regret that season of life or have fear of returning to it.  Several things were accomplished during the season that set us up to be able to move forward with our business. But, I was also diagnosed with cancer and 1/2 the business walked away the following year so it makes all that I accomplished during that time feel irrelevant.

Are You Qualified? / Tiffanyaolson.com

I have mentioned this before but I had, we had, as a family quit living. We were existing. Running from one thing to the next. Always late, usually frantic never at peace.

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Haggai 1:5-9

When I read this portion of scripture all I could think to say was, “ouch.” If this is not a perfect picture of what my life looked like then I don’t know what is. It is referring to the people of Israel building their own houses while neglecting the house of God. In the New Testament, there are several references to our bodies being the house (temple) of God. One reference is found in 1 Corinthians…

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

My desire is to “give careful thought to my ways,” so that my life and my temple reflect the beauty God wants for me to experience in and around me.

A few weeks back I was in a routine checkup and heard the word, “lumps.” No one likes to hear these words but a cancer survivor least of all. I ended up making several trips to Eugene in a very short time frame. Fortunately, the “lumps” ended up being fatty tissue but I had margin in my schedule to handle the situation. There is nothing like being emotionally taken back to day one of your cancer adventure to remind you not only to keep things in perspective but to also remember what is important and what is a waste of time. Honestly, have never been more grateful for fat in my life!

San Diego run / TiffanyAOlson.com

I certainly don’t have it all figured out and I struggle with not feeling more accomplished and a bit less than my busier friends but for me and for my family, space brings peace.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

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!