A New Season

Fall is here!! Whoop! Whoop!

Towards the end of July, I started seeing a bit of “back to school” posts on Social Media and I panicked a bit. I kept thinking, “No way! Summer hasn’t even begun yet!” When you live on the Oregon Coast Summer doesn’t truly begin until August. At the end of July, we were still wearing sweatshirts around here!

Thankfully Summer did finally begin and we got in lots of camping, 4H at the fair as well as some long-overdue time with family and friends. All the fun was sprinkled with a few memorial services, two cancer scares and a bit of under the breath cursing as Mr. Wonderful and Bridger towed the travel trailer to various locations in Oregon. Life always seems to have the good and the bad camping right next to each other so I am continuing to live in each moment whether that means shedding a tear or two or laughing till I pee.

It started raining here two days ago and I am ready for it now. We have been to one HS football game, dance is back in full swing for Nat and B has a cross country race this Thursday. The leaves haven’t quite begun to change yet but I am already in the mood to begin to revisit all of the things I am thankful for. I am a journaler so I write out things I am thankful for several days a week throughout the year but Fall seems to provide so many more opportunites to express gratefulness and a large part is because of the beauty that surrounds this season.

I love the colors of fall. I love the drive from the coast to the valley during this time because views are absolutely breathtaking. I see God’s handiwork so much more clearly in the fall and I am in awe that He gives us this gift every single year. This kind of beauty makes you pause, it makes you slow down and soak it all in because you know that Winter’s a-comin’.

During the last few weeks of Summer, I became aware of a few kids and their families who are having to dig deep to find ways to give thanks. One is a family right here in my home state whose son had a heart transplant, I think he’s 12 and goes by his nickname “Dude.” It hasn’t gone great but the family is united and strong and wading through this the best they can. Another is a little boy named Toby who was adopted into an amazing family, I think he’s 3. Toby has had a severe lung infection and has been in the hospital for 300 days. They are hoping he gets to come home soon. The third is a little girl named Eva (pronounced Ava) who although took a minor fall, suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). She’s 7 and has been in the hospital for 19 days. The Dr.’s prognosis for her has not been good but God keeps doing things that are surprising them, the family, friends, and people all over the world who are believing for complete and total healing for Eva.

I don’t personally know these families, I have just felt called to pray for them. I have to admit I really don’t know what to say most of the time and I have slipped into begging more than once. Of course, the sermon at church on Sunday was all about prayer and how important it is and how it’s hard to have a relationship with someone you never speak to. I have been speaking a lot lately and I am becoming more and more aware of how little I know about talking with God. I tend to feel like I am doing or saying the wrong things. Fortunately, I was reminded that I wasn’t asked to pray perfectly, I was just asked to pray. I figure the more I do it the easier it will become.

I know what it feels like to have a kid in the hospital for more than a few days and I know what it feels like to be in the hospital myself for more than a few days. My circumstances were nowhere near what these families are experiencing but since I have had a taste, I am praying all that much more fervently for healing and wholeness.

The most interesting thing about all three of these families is that none of them are staying in the place of grief and desolation. They are all experiencing grace and beauty and love in the midst of unimaginable anguish. Why? because people have stepped in to fill the gaps. God has moved in people’s hearts all over the world to pray, give, visit and love.

At the beginning of Summer, I witnessed several Christian leaders make decisions I never expected them to make or others who just walked away from faith altogether. At the end of Summer, I saw thousands of regular people come together at one specific moment to pray for a 7-year-old girl they’ve never met to take a breath when the breathing tube came out earlier this week.

I don’t know the outcome of any of these situations. My selfish selfish heart wants them and every other child in this world suffering in a hospital somewhere to be restored to health here on earth. I know this is not how things work but I feel honored more than ever that I can continue to ask on their behalf.

This Fall as I take in all the beauty around me I am going to be thanking God for giving me the opportunity to pray.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

One Life…

How do you measure the difference one life can make? On the outset, this can seem like too broad of a question to undertake. What I am referring to here, however,  are not the famous people, the athletes or the heroes but just you and me. Every day, average run of the mill people. We get up, go to work, raise families and hopefully get a bit of time off to play and hang with friends.

I have always loved the Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. I love how his ordinary life, the life he was bummed about living became something extraordinary when he was given the chance to see what life would have been like had he never been born. The gift was he got to see that by him just being him helped other people live lives that would not have been possible had he not been there.

Aimee n me

Aimee’s 30th Birthday Party. Aimee Palooza!

All these thoughts came rushing back to me as I was chatting with Mr. Wonderful a few weeks ago. July 8, 2011, my best friend Aimee lost her battle with breast cancer and went to be with Jesus. I have been thinking about her a lot lately and it dawned on me just how much has changed since she passed. The hole she left, instantly and permanently altered all of our lives. Plans and dreams became different to compensate for her absence. The same thing happened when my brother in law passed away unexpectedly in 2005. Everything changed in a million different ways.

Tony n Nat 2003 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Tony holding Natalie, Christmas 2003

I am not saying that the changes were either good or bad but rather noting that nothing is the same when someone you love dies.

It’s fairly simple to view the life of someone who is no longer here, but what about you and me. I have spent a lot of time over the last several years trying to figure out what’s next or dreaming about being an author. All of this is great and I am going to keep pursuing dreams and writing things down for as long as it is physically possible. But the reality is that just by existing and living our everyday lives we, you and me, fill a space that no other human being on this earth can fill. I have never been on T.V. or won a gold medal, or saved a child from a burning building. But I have made friends and family laugh when they thought they would never laugh again. I sat in a chemo infusion room for hours with my best friend every Monday for months. I have wiped tears for people I love, dreamed big dreams, fallen down and gotten back up again.

So have you. Your life looks different than mine but you have done all these things and more. You being you makes people’s lives better.

I still want to do great things, I dream of writing books and loving as many people as I can in the process. But I also know that every once in awhile, I need to step back and remind myself that if God takes me home tomorrow, who I am today and all that I have done up till now was enough. Me just being me has helped others live a better life.

It’s a reminder, I need not forget so easily and neither should you.

Tiffany May 2019 / TiffanyAOlson.com


Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!





What Do You Do For You?

What do you do for you? What do you do that makes you happy? We are all different so what makes us happy and brings joy to our lives is going to look different for each and every one of us. For me it’s hanging with my family, reading, writing, running, cooking and working out at the gym. I still have dreams of learning to play the guitar and traveling to Europe, I had running a marathon on that list and was able to scratch off that dream last year.

Finish line 2018 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I Am A Finisher!!!

I went home to Coronado last October to celebrate the life of the father of a friend of mine who was very special to our friend group. While I was there a theme kept coming up over and over in conversations with my girlfriends. It was a more pressing conversation for those of us with older children and it centered on the idea of, what’s next? As we prepare to watch them fly in the next several years what’s next for us?

A few years ago I had this same conversation with my friend Taryn. A lot of what we chatted about I wrote about here. The main gist was looking around at our lives and discovering a passion that we could pour our hearts into as the other pieces of our heart grow up and move away? We were stumped.

I always assumed that  Taryn’s passion would have something to do with children or babies. I thought this because she is a mother of four and is the most adored elementary school secretary ever. But as much as she is passionate about little ones, that’s her day job. So she began dreaming about other things that light her heart on fire. Sometime in this last year she connected up with a new teacher in her school and discovered they both like all things old and seeing how they can restore these treasures and make them new. After months of going to vintage fairs and finding treasures they have opened up their own booth in a market in our little town. Rusty things and chippy paint! Who knew?

I love all that vintage stuff Taryn is in to and other than her mama I am hands down, one of her biggest cheerleaders in her endeavors to repurpose the rusty things she finds. Me? I love the final product but could never have “seen” what it could become when it was in its original state. Heck, even in its finished state I have no idea how to make it fit or look cute in my house. Because of this I now make Taryn come over and arrange my stuff to help me see what I already have in a different light.

All this to say, I will never be an interior decorator or a designer or someone who creates stuff with their hands. The one thing that brings me true joy is words. Written or spoken, words help me “see” things. When I see something written down or I write it down for myself it becomes a part of me. I love the idea of story and using it as a lens to view the world. Words and stories help me make sense of what is going on not only in my life but in the world around me.

rod n me 2019 / TiffanyAOlson.com

He Makes Me Happy.

I have no idea what the future holds but I do know that I am going to keep learning about getting better at what I love to do. Something Taryn and I both discovered is a group of ladies a few hours south of us via Instagram who have made it their mission to encourage other women to do what lights their hearts on fire. They talk about dreaming big dreams, starting where you are, about being enough just as you are and to get out there and encourage others as you pursue your passions. They created a magazine called The Wild Woman Magazine. It comes out quarterly and it has been so instrumental for me on my road to … next.

lindsay mcphail WWM / TiffanyAOlson.com


Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!


Dream Big, Pray Bigger

Card from Nat 2019 / TiffanyAOlson.com


Dream Big, Pray Bigger. These words are the gift my 15-year-old daughter gave to me for my birthday this year. On the other side of the card she told me that this was the phrase she had chosen for me as my, “inspirational quote for the year.”

As I read through the card I became teary because what followed was a list of all the things she’s watched me dream about (I tend to dream out loud), struggle through, fail at and keep pursuing. Here is what she sees… “running every day, becoming a motivational speaker, an author, a successful business owner (which you already are), traveling the world, remodeling your dream home (this touched my heart because we live in a triple wide. Not exactly my dream home but we are working with what we have.) , or watching your kids grow up right.” Towards the end, she reminded me that all dreams are worth pursuing but at the center of those dreams is God. “God has a plan and he wants us to pray and have faith if nothing else.”

She acknowledged that she doesn’t see me trying to pursue these things apart from God but wanted to encourage me for those days when I get discouraged that He is the source for the dreams and for my life. When I read her words it was like, “this is it!” This is exactly my heart,  who I am,  what makes me tick and where I want to be.

Dream Big, Pray Bigger…

I have spent so much time in the last several years trying to figure out what’s next, what am I good at, what do people that know me see as my “thing”. Do you know who I never asked? My kids. Why? Because I was afraid of what they would say. They see the day in, day out nitty-gritty of my life. The yelling, the frustration, the over chattiness (my 13-year-old son stopped me mid-sentence the other day because he was concerned about what was going to come out of my mouth. Apparently, he thinks I don’t have a filter. Go figure.) Mr. Wonderful chose me, they didn’t. They are under this roof for 18 years by no choice of their own. I never asked because I didn’t want to hear them say something negative.

To have her take the time to really look at my life, her mom’s life and point all that she sees me striving for was truly an amazing gift. She’s watching, she believes in me and she knows that I believe in a God who desires me to use my dreams to point the people I encounter along the way to his throne of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt 6:33

On a side note, my son also gave me the gift of words for my birthday this year. His was no less touching or special but I howled laughing when I noted that Natalie’s card was hand painted and Bridger’s was made completely out of duct tape. CARD FROM B / TiffanyAOlson.com

Both cards will be treasured forever.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

What Is Success?

the 1/2 / Tiffanyaolson.com


You don’t want to be successful. Your not desperate enough or you haven’t been kicked hard enough to do whatever it takes to succeed in your eating habits and your financial life.

These words were spoken to me a few weeks back by someone who I dearly love and who dearly loves me. I didn’t however, feel very loving towards them as these words were spoken. Not only that but it has taken me a while to process through those words and decide what is true and what I need to let go of.

It’s easy to throw out a blanket statement. You see what you want to see and then produce some words you think someone needs to hear. Problems arise though when you don’t see their heart nor take note of how they are wired and start using your own definition of success to define someone else’s life.

To be fair I was lamenting about how hard the last several years have been and that I can’t seem to find my footing. I regretted being this honest as soon as the words came out of my mouth, because the reality is, I like my life. There are not many of us however who can’t deny that the idea of being a few pounds lighter and having a few more pennies in our pockets sounds heavenly. I guess what I was getting at is that I was wishing life was a little easier and what I got in return was…

You don’t want it bad enough.

In some ways he’s right. I recently read the book, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I gleaned some things out of it I really needed to hear and I also set aside what I knew would never work for me. Like the part about her workaholic lifestyle and constantly being on the move and being so stressed out that she got Bell’s Palsy… twice. When I read this, everything in me screamed… “I soooo do not want that life!” I am not even remotely wired that way. The few years I put in that much effort in I was awarded with stage 3a breast cancer.

Don’t get me wrong. I get up between 3:00 and 4:00 am Monday thru Friday. I work out, go to work, make dinner do laundry and shuttle our teenagers around after school. After dinner, however, you can find me on the couch reading. I do not have the perfectionist gene so at times, while I am on the couch there are dirty dishes in the sink, laundry that needs to be folded, or a floor that needs vacuuming.

As loud and obnoxious as I can be and as much as I want to make a “difference” in this world, I’m old school with the whole raising kids thing. I only have 5 years left with them under my roof and I want to be here, I want to be present, in person, to help them navigate life while I still play a large roll in it. This means that I leave the office at 3:00, I take them where they need to go, I chat with them about their days and whatever issues they are working through. They are my people.

Maybe I have thought about those words so much in the last several weeks because it’s forced me to take the time to determine what success means to me and what I am willing to risk to achieve it. The truth is when I take stock of my life I don’t think success has much to do with a number on a scale or how much is in my bank account. These things are important and I am constantly working on both but overall I always go back to God, family, and friends. Those are the things I put most of my efforts and energy into. I certainly have dreams and things I would like to do but this situation was a reminder to me that when I am tempted to lament my current circumstances I need to measure up those feelings to my definition of success so I can hold my head high and be grateful for the life I have chosen.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

gagala2019 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Gala – March 2019



Enjoyment Leads To Progress.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

I was prompted the other day to make two lists. One listing all of the things I “should” do, today, this week, this month this year etc. The second list was a list of all the things I could do that would bring me great joy. I don’t particularly like these little exercises because I’m not a very deep thinker and I fret that my answers don’t sound very mature or educated. What’s funny is I am the only one reading them but I still feel like they should have a bit more depth and I struggle that I can’t seem to find any.

After I got over myself and began to make the lists I realized that my should do list and my could do list were almost identical. It was kind of nice to see that a lot of the things I should be doing, working, running, writing, working out, and cooking are all things that bring me great joy. What was also interesting was to look at the lists and realize how much effort I have to put in to get myself to do these things each day.

Why are things that bring great joy difficult to begin? Because every single one of those things is hard for me. I don’t excel at any of it. What I do at our office doesn’t come naturally to me, I have to focus and be detailed with paperwork and processes. My favorite part? Interacting with our clients and catching up on their lives, I love the people part, the detailed paperwork? Not so much.

Running and working out make me feel great when I look back at what I have accomplished for the day but I am a bit on the fluffy side right now and well, let’s be honest even when I am not fluffy I am not great at either one. Yes, I am putting in the work and yes it makes me feel good about myself. But, it’s a struggle to get out that door 5 days a week when I am also aware that in the gym classes I am consistently one or two moves behind everyone else and out on the road I can always be found at the back of the pack.

Ready to Run! / TiffanyAOlson.com

26.2 Baby! Spring, 2018

I didn’t learn how to cook until I got married. I didn’t get married until I was 30. I always joked that Mr. Wonderful, Rachel Ray and Pioneer Woman taught me everything I know. What I really loved to do was bake. When the kids were little and the days were rainy, we baked. I measured the ingredients and they dumped everything into the bowls and mixed it all together. I so enjoyed that time with them and what we were able to create together. What greater joy there then making something yummy from nothing with the people you love most?

Easter Cake 2014 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Easter! 2014

In my post breast cancer world, I have attempted to be much healthier. I still find joy in creating something amazing but changing how you do everything midstream is difficult and not nearly as fun or tasty as it once was. I have not mastered the art of making vegetables taste so good that my family is overwhelmed with joy at what is placed before them. There are many nights when my 13-year-old son doesn’t eat because lentils and kale make him want to gag.

And then there is the writing. Once I get going and get in the zone, time flies, the thoughts keep coming and the world around me fades away. The key phrase above is “once I get going,” I am getting better at sitting down and forcing my fingers to move until something begins to formulate but I have a ways to go. Writing is my therapy. When I was 15 we moved from Eugene, Oregon to Coronado, California. (Poor Me, Right?) My mom gave me a journal and told me to use it to process my thoughts and feelings regarding all of the changes we were experiencing. I have seasons where I didn’t journal but for the most part, I have been journaling for the last 34 years. The other day I pulled out those old journals to see if I could find a thread throughout that would give me insight and direction about who I am and how I am wired. The only thread I found is that I was never a deep thinker and I was boy crazy from the womb. At least I’m consistent.

Let it out / Tiffanyaolson.com

Filled Journals From The Last Few Years

When I look back at my list, however, I am wondering if maybe the struggle is part of what brings the joy. Each time I make the choice to get out the door for a run, come up with a new recipe to try, write down some thoughts or love on the people I encounter at work.  I am choosing to hunker down, give it my best shot and hope that I do it a little better today than I did it yesterday. I take pride in looking back at my day knowing that I have intentionally added in things that don’t come easily for me because it makes my little world a better place to live in.


Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

6 Gifts Of Love.

hp-40 / TiffanyAOlson.com

My Girls

Last summer “My Girls” and I  decided to carve out a weekend during the holiday season where we could get out of town, go shopping, drink wine and just be together. The perfect Airbnb was found and we cleared our schedules for the 1st weekend in December to play.

Taryn remembered a super cool idea from one of Joanna Gaines’ magazines where girlfriends get together and bring something they love, to share with the whole group. So, there are six of us girls and we were tasked to bring one thing we love and to bring one for each person. We put a $10 limit on the gifts and then said nothing more about it.

As Summer turned to fall and life began to happen, things changed and plans had to be altered. I had to back out of our weekend as I was needed for a family matter out of state. Taryn still went, but a day late as her husband was awarded a medal of honor for his roll in a standoff situation. (he’s a police officer) Together, they laughed, they cried they shopped, drank wine … and gave gifts.

The families got together a few weeks later and my girls… unbeknownst to me brought their gifts. What unfolded next was a flood of never-ending tears, because as much as we have things we love that we want to share, what we really wanted to do was to say, I love you. When someone gives you a gift with a word or a whole book even that reminds them of you and then proceeds to explain why these words remind them of you, well, you cry. A Lot.

Today is Valentines Day. It’s the day of love. Love of spouse, kids, extended family and friends. It’s the perfect day to talk about this amazing group of women. It’s the perfect day to talk about my friends.

heidi n me / TiffanyAOlson.com

Heidi n Me

Heidi is our girl with the “tool belt.” No matter what you are going through whether it be emotional or physical Heidi pulls out a “tool.” Her tools are words of wisdom, thoughts and ideas that help you gain perspective and persevere through whatever you are going through. She’s tough, she’s sensitive and she’s the one you want on your side in a fight, be it physical or emotional. So Heidi brought some tools with her to share with the rest of us. Bag Balm and cookie scented candles for a scentsy. Because everyone knows if your lips are not chapped and things smell good you can tackle anything.

jennifer n me/ TiffanyAOlson.com

Jennifer n Me


Three of the girls in our tribe work at the same elementary school. Taryn is the school secretary, Jennifer is a 1st-grade teacher and Karla teaches third grade. Being in the school setting as you can imagine they are all lovers of words. Jennifer is the quietest and by far the kindest of us all. I have never heard an unkind word about anyone come out of her mouth. She keeps negative thoughts to herself and saves all that stored up energy to unassumingly love those around her who need it the most. Her gift? An ornament with a photo of five hearts tied together with one string with all of our names on it. What better gift than the gift of a visual reminder of how much you are loved?

karla n me / TiffanyAOlson.com

Karla n Me

Karla is the one who “sees” what you think no one sees. She has a full life so we don’t get to hang with her as much as we would like but somehow, some way she knows what is going on in your heart. I can’t tell you how many times Karla has texted me or looked me straight in the eye and put words to the deepest feelings in my heart.  She went and pulled all the children’s books off of the shelf in her classroom and searched each one until she found a book that matched all of our separate personalities or what we have or are currently overcoming. She nailed it. Tears.

taryn n me / TiffanyAOlson.com

Taryn n Me

Out of the 6 of us I would have to say that Taryn and I get a tie for the loudest and the most chatty. Taryn loves with all that she is. She was one of my first friends when I moved to Coos Bay and I love her because she makes everyone feel like you are her favorite. She laughs loud and long and just like me, her favorite color is red. Taryn is currently inspired by an artist named Rae Dunn. Her gift to each of us was a coffee mug with a word or phrase that reminded her of us. Her word for me was humble. I would not have picked that word for myself and was floored that this was what came to mind when she thought of me.

Pam gave the gift of scripture and a word that reminded her of us all packaged in a cute little coffee mug. It was perfect because she is always pointing us back to Christ. She has suffered quite a bit but still has this uncanny ability to see the good in all things. She reminds us to trust and to seek God in every situation. When everything feels crazy Pam is the calm who comes in and reminds you of who is really in charge and in control of all that you are facing.

My gift? My favorite book. Why? Because it never gets old and I never grow tired of it. Every time I read it, I learn something new. I picked it because it reminds me of my friends. People who have seen you at your worst and love you anyway. Love gives you the courage to go and be yourself to all the world. They are my launching pad. They remind me that I have nothing to prove to anyone. I can be all that I am without fear of reproach because outside of God and my Husband their opinions are the only ones that matter.

Happy Valentines Day My Friends!!




If You Are Still Breathing… It’s Not Over.

One week from today I turn 49. Forty-Nine! I do not feel this old… okay maybe a little. I think the hardest part is how close it is to 50 and in my mind, I still think I am in my mid 30’s. Mind you, I don’t LOOK like I’m in my 30’s but who cares about those small little details?

Interestingly enough, I find myself doing what I did when our daughter turned 15 last year. I remembered what it was like to be 15 and it was strange to think I had a person in my care who was the same age as a year that I remembered so well. This time, however, I am reflecting on when my mom turned 50. How many of your parents birthdays do you truly remember? This one stands out because our family was going through a hard time. My parents were in the middle of a divorce and my mom who was mostly a stay home mom up until I was 15 had to learn how to support herself and start over.

As one of her birthday gifts, my sister wrapped up a picture of an ultrasound of the 1st grandbaby to be welcomed into our family. What a huge gift Taylor Kate was, is, and always will be. Her little life brought hope and joy to a family who desperately needed something positive to focus on.

When I look at my mom’s life over the last 23 years it is amazing to see all that she accomplished after 50. When I was 15 she purchased a fur store she was working in at the Hotel Del Coronado. Overnight she went from housewife to business owner. After the divorce, she had to figure out how to make something that was supplementing income into something that was her sole source of income. Over the years she changed it over to a women’s clothing store and eventually ended up in a nice space on Orange Ave in Coronado, right next to the Brigantine. She loved that store. It was hard work and she was exhausted a lot of the time but owning a store in one of the most sought out vacation towns in the country had its perks. She met a few famous people, made a few good friends and made enough money to live on and help out her kids every now and again.

I sometimes fear that life has passed me by. That somehow I missed out on doing something I really loved doing or I didn’t try hard enough to chase my dreams. But when I stop and reflect on the life my mother has lived I realize that my life is only just beginning. There are more races to be run and more words to be written. There is a lot of life to be lived and I am ready to live it.

Here’s To Living…

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!


I See You.

26.2 .1 /TiffanyAOlson.com

This Was A Great Day! 26.2 April 28, 2018


I See You.

Someone said this to me the other day. Someone I don’t know very well. I am attempting something new and it’s hard. In three little words, she let me know that she’s aware I am struggling and uncomfortable but she’s looking past all of it to what she’s sure I can become if I don’t give up.

I have done very little in the way of upper body strength since having breast cancer. Sure I’ve run but never anything that directly affected my chest. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the why because life is busy and I was doing other things. But when it comes right down to it strengthening my upper body means that I HAVE to focus on it. I have to acknowledge my lack of full range of motion, the pain at the top of my rib cage that feels permanently bruised and the random Charley Horses that come on when I move in a certain way. Then you add in the emotional component of not being as strong as I used to be and that my chest and a large portion of my upper back on my left side are completely numb. I certainly have never been the best in the room in a gym class but I have always been able to hold my own.

I have known for a while now that I need to get over myself and begin to make my whole body strong and not just the lower half.  So, the last week in December I joined a gym that has early morning classes, took a deep breath and showed up. In November I went back to wearing wigs full time because my hair is horrifyingly thin and in my quest to be cute I could no longer deal with my scalp showing. Very few people see me without one these days and if they do I am wearing a baseball cap. The cap got too hot for gym class so now I am going without it which is fine but it adds another layer to the emotional component because although there are a few familiar faces no one knows me enough to know what I’ve been through or what I am capable of.

What happens when all of these things are swirling in the air? I boldly wave my insecurity flag for all to see. I start nervously chatting about a marathon, cancer and being someone that normally gets up early. No one needs this information, they have their own stories of triumph and tragedy and the last thing they need at 5:30 am is a fluffy girl in hot pink tights and very thin hair blabbing about herself so no one thinks she’s a loser.

So, to have someone look past all that I am putting out there and take the time to tell me that they “see” me, well, it meant a lot. Since that day I have quieted down a bit and found a spot where I can’t see myself in the mirror and I am doing what I set out to do on the 1st day I walked in there. I am focusing on getting stronger. I originally thought it was just going to be my body but it looks like my heart and my mind are going to get a bit of a workout as well.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!


Perfectly, Imperfect Love…

wartenbees /TiffanyAOlson.com

My Other Parents…


At the end of your life, how do you want to be remembered? I think we all hope that our presence in this world has made a difference. We want to know the world is a better place because we were here. Cue… It’s A Wonderful Life.

This past weekend we celebrated the life of a man who leaves behind him a legacy of love. Dennis knew no strangers. Every person he encountered he viewed as an opportunity at friendship. I refer to him as Papa Denny because that is what my kids call him. He made everyone in his life feel like they were family.

It is fitting that Papa Denny passed right at the beginning of the season where much of the world focuses in and reflects on the greatest act of love ever bestowed upon humanity. The gift of Baby Jesus. It is a season where we focus on kindness, compassion, generosity, gratefulness, hope and love.

Dennis and Jean. My other parents. You love me and my kids as your own. Who could possibly ask for more than that?

What greater time of year to celebrate the life of a man who exemplified all of these things? Like the rest of us he was far from perfect but to me, he loved people more perfectly than I have ever seen anyone else do it. Papa Denny never did anything halfway. This sometimes meant he was a lot to take in, but in the end, when you stop to look at his life as a whole you see a trail of people whose lives changed dramatically for the better because of him.

There is a quote by Hunter S. Thompson…

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!

This fits Papa Denny perfectly. He literally used up every ounce of his physical body, living. His life was not an easy one, his childhood, to put it mildly, was rough which meant at times getting in between his parents during a late night brawl and taking a few blows in the process. His only brother was killed in a car accident in his 20’s and there were the financial ups and downs as well as disappointments, heartaches, injuries and major surgeries. (I’m thinking 30 surgeries is a fair estimate.) But Papa Denny never focused on the bad. Even in great physical pain he would smile and use whatever strength he had to lend a hand to someone else. I can think of several homeless couples and families who have Dennis to thank for food, shelter and reconnection with loved ones.

Honestly, I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what this world is going to look like without Denny in it.  I do know however that if he was here he would be looking for ways to help others out. As I reflect on all of this I realize that I need to live better, I need to love better, right now during the Holidays and all the days of my life. We lost a mighty lover of people last week, not only do I need to help fill in the gap but use his legacy as a launching pad for greater acts of kindness because what greater legacy to leave behind than a legacy of love?

papa denny / TiffanyAOlson.com

Three of the 4 men in this photo had a reunion in heaven last week. Merry Christmas. Grandpa Wartenbee, Grandpa Gatlin and Papa Denny!!


Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!