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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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? /

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 /

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 /


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 /

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.


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 /

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 /

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 /

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!



Celebrate Your Victories, No Matter How Small

There is sweet satisfaction when great effort has been put into something and it finally comes together. There are the biggies like graduating college, passing major exams or building a home. In the Olson household, we are celebrating the sweet victory of completed sheds for our chickens and sheep. Earth shattering? No. But completing something big all on your own feels good. Okay, it feels good to Mr. Wonderful because he did all the work but in all fairness, I did a whole lot of standing around looking cute and provided positive affirmations and nourishment along the way.

Yes, they have finally arrived. The sheep and the chickens are here and all is right with the world once again.

The weather this year has been particularly harsh and plans to begin construction over the Christmas holidays were interrupted by freezing temperatures and snow.

rod-n-tiff-winter-2017 /

It never snows at the coast so we didn’t factor this into our perfectly well-laid plan to get it all done before January. Don’t get me wrong the snow was great but Mr. Wonderful having to build sheds during tax season… not so great.

Last Sunday morning the sun was shining, we grabbed our coffee and headed out to enjoy the fruits of all our/his labor. The chickens were running around and the sheep were surveying the territory of their new dwelling. I looked over at Mr. Wonderful and watched him gaze at the scene with a look of contentment and satisfaction. Ever so quietly I heard him say, “This is the moment I have been waiting for, all the planning, gathering of materials and eventual construction of this area is finally complete. The animals are here and now I can enjoy all of the efforts I put into this.”

The moment didn’t last long because he had to get back to the office for the final push to April 18. On April 19 we are closing the office to give our team members a day of rest and revel in a job well done. Mr. Wonderful told me last night he is going to buy a bag of chips, grab a lawn chair, go sit out with the chickens all day and throw food to them. I chuckled because I know him way too well. He’ll sit for maybe 10 minutes and then get an itch to go burn all the cardboard which has been stacking up in the garage since January. He will then decide since the fire is already going we might as well burn all the stumps and branches throughout the yard. After a full day of burning he will get up the next day and wonder why he is still so tired. Yes, he will be physically worn out but mentally he will feel refreshed and happy about another completed project at the house and ready to dream about his next adventure.

Take the time to celebrate your victories. Whether it’s a few moments to reflect on something you have created or and achievement you have worked hard to receive. It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe it’s as simple as a hot cup of coffee on a sunny Sunday morning with the people you love most.

Working Sheep /

Working Their Sheep!

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 /

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 /

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!


Yes, This Really Happened…

5 Miles! I ran 5 miles yesterday! Wahoo! It wasn’t even terrible. Well, the running part wasn’t terrible… It was a gorgeous sunny day here at the coast. 60 degrees and blue skies for miles. We have had so much rain here that there was no way I was going to waste an opportunity to run in the sun. My 1st running goal for the year is the Eugene 1/2 Marathon on May 7th. If I am going to contemplate finishing I have to bump my mileage up by one mile per week. Even with this, I will be short but I’m hoping the adrenaline rush of race day will propel me through those last few miles.

The day was beautiful. After church, Mr. Wonderful went into the office (it’s tax season) and I laced up my shoes and headed out the door. I know I have mentioned this before but there are times when my heart’s enthusiasm and my intestinal tract don’t line up. I had an inkling that there might be an issue by the end of my run, but it was sunny and I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity. Sure enough, by mile 4 that awesome rumbly feeling began and I knew without a doubt, there were going be problems. At 4.5 miles my sweet friend Crystal drove past me with her two sons, all I could muster was a, “Hello! I’ve almost run 5 miles!” They cheered me on because they love me, I felt rude for not stopping to chat but at this point there was no denying what was going to happen if I stopped running.

I finished my run, snapped the I finished selfie, jumped in the car as fast as I could and raced for home. We live in the country but we also live in an area with lots of little people running around. Adorable, little people…

I need to pause this anecdote for a moment and show you the view from my toilet seat. Notice how you can see the front yard and anyone standing in the front yard can see you. I have no idea why there is no special bathroom glass in this window and up until today, I have never had much of an issue…

The View / TiffanyAOlson/.com

The View…

… I raced into the house got into the bathroom, began to assess the situation… (it wasn’t pretty) I looked up to see my son and two neighbor boys walking in the front yard straight for the window! There is no way I can get up so I yell for Natalie to come help me. While she is on her way my phone rings, she is now in the bathroom with me and on the phone with Mr. Wonderful. I am frantically waving my arms and trying to get her to close the blinds while she is trying to relay the situation to her dad and also to inform him our power is out again. As all of this is going on our 4 year old neighbor follows Natalie into the bathroom do discuss the urgent matter of wanting to play with Bridger’s legos. I yelp because now the neighbor boy is in my bathroom and I can do nothing to change my perdicament. He looks over at me a little startled and I try to calmly explain why he needs to get out of my bathroom. He, without any fanfare glances back at Natalie and resumes his lego inquiry, while she is still on the phone discussing the power outage and how funny it is that I am flashing the whole neighborhood.

I did finally get the blinds closed and everyone out of my bathroom and yes, I am still trying to recover emotionally from this event. I have had plenty of time to ponder it because I am home today waiting on various service workers to show up due to the power outages which fried our modem for the internet and the motherboard in our oven. Life continues to happen, it helps to just chuckle and move on…

San Diego run /

Have a fabulous day my friends!



Recital 2016 12 yrs old /

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 /

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 /

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 /

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 /

Bridge – My New Speed Coach

Have a fabulous day my friends!