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!

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!



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!


Get Out The Door…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1/2 Marathon 2016 /

Have a great day my friends!


Happy New Year!! 


Snow! /

Snow in The Coos! (I may or may not have woken him up at 5:30am so he wouldn’t miss it. (: )

2017 Has Begun! Wahoo! A New Beginning! … There is something about beginning that makes my heart skip a beat whether it’s the 1st page of a book that you have been dying to read, those 1st few steps out the door for the walk that is to begin your path back to being physically fit or even the fact that daylight is beginning to come a bit earlier each morning. Beginning doesn’t mean easy, it means fresh, new, being done with what was, embracing what is and what will be.

Shorts in the snow! /

New Years Day 2017 – Yes! He’s in shorts!! Brrr

There are several special people in my life who will be beginning 2017 with chemo treatments or trying to figure out how to continue living after having lost loved ones or friends who have walked away from unhealthy situations and have physically moved to a different city to gain new perspective and hope for a better life. Beginning is best done surrounded by those that love you and who are going to stand with you in the trenches.

What better way to start out the year than with these words,

“Be Strong and Courageous!”

These words came courteously out of by bible reading this morning in Joshua chapter 1. Why Strong and Courageous? Because…

“Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you- (Joshua 1:3) … “I will not fail you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5) “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)


“Study this book (the bible) of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8)

Joshua was about to lead the people of Israel into the land that God had promised to them generations ago. The leader (Moses) had passed away and now Joshua was in charge of leading over 2 million people into a land filled with hope and promise but not without treacherous challenges to face. It wasn’t going to be a peaceful transition. There were huge battles to be fought, precise instructions to be followed and hearts that needed to have the end goal in mind.

Beginning is exciting, hard, hope filled and scary all at the same time. The battles we fight for the most part aren’t on a true battlefield but rather in infusion rooms, in our homes or even within our own hearts. In order to navigate all that is before you, you need to stay close to the One who has already won the war. Our end goal? Heaven and to take as many people with us when we go. My 2017 is a true fresh start and I am filled with all those emotions in regards to what the days ahead will look like. Wherever you stand whether you are beginning this year excited or unsure the words remain the same

Be Strong and Courageous! … I Will Not Fail You or Abandon You. … The Lord Your God Is With You Wherever You Go.

If all this wasn’t enough of a promise for the new year, God decided to blanket the Southern Oregon Coast with a inch or two of snow this morning. A beautiful way to wake up and be given a visual reminder of how clean and white the slate is for the new year.

Jan 2, 2017 /

Winter Wonderland

Happy 2017 My Friends!!



Run Your Race…

I like the idea of using the act of running as a metaphor for life. I used to run 10k’s with my dad in Jr high…

Road Race 1981 / Number Your Days

Road Race 1981 – Ran with my dad

I ran track and cross country in high school and have run various road races from 5ks up to half marathons in my adult years. Don’t go thinkin that this means I am a great runner because speed has never been a big part of the equation for me. Obviously some races/seasons have been better than others but overall I’m just a girl who likes to run because I can and because it helps me gain perspective on life.

I have had very dedicated seasons of running like when I trained for my half marathon last May and yet other times when I have set my running shoes aside for a year or more. No matter how long it has been and no matter how busy things are the run always beckons. It waits for me to come back and to acknowlege that on the road is the one place that I feel most alive, empowered, courageous and strong. When I logged all those miles after breast cancer treatment every single step I took was taking me away from sickness and back to health. Every single week that I added one more mile to my long run, I cried.

the 1/2 /

The Half … May 1, 2016

Running doesn’t come easily for me. It’s a struggle. I have spent most of my adult running life trying to get my calf muscles to relax and to then not become shin splints or stress fractures. I was thrilled when I discovered compression socks. These socks do however begin to make me tip the scale a bit from cute to dorky but I’m going with it because they make my calves not hurt. Two weeks after my 1/2 Marathon I had the second half of my mastectomy. (My cancer was hard to detect the first go around so Mr. Wonderful and I decided that it was best to remove the other one rather than risk walking this road again.) The surgery was last June and we are now in November. I had a few bumps in the road while recovering and although I have been doing a bit of running it has mostly been walk/jogs. I logged my 1st 3 miles of straight running the other day and I was thrilled and bummed at the same time. Thrilled because I ran 3 miles, bummed because it hurt way more than I thought it would.

The good thing is that now I know that I can run three which means that I am going to coerce my 11 year old son to run a turkey trot with me on Thanksgiving day. I have my final reconstruction surgery in December and then 6 weeks of recovery. Mid January I hope to be back to walk/jogging and I have set my sights on the Portland Marathon for next October. A marathon has always been a dream of mine and I figure that now is a good a time as any. It is going to be brutal but so is life and the running will help me to face all of the things that this life brings.

I was asked this week to come up with a verse in the bible that calms my fears and gives me hope, this is what I chose…

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Knowing that there are so many people watching, how do you want to be percieved? Are you the same you in every situation or do you clean things up a bit depending on the crowd you are with. Me? I can honestly say that I am not always the virtuous person that I would like to be. I like to laugh and at times I push the envelope a bit to get the crowd to laugh with me. It’s not very mature or Godly but I do recognize it as one of the weights that slows me down as I strive to finish strong.

I don’t have all of this figured out but I know that I am going to keep running literally and figuratively so that with every single step I become more of the woman God created me to be.

Have A Great Day My Friends!

This Is Us…

Crafting-2016 /

This Is Us …. Crafting

I had a fabulous evening last night hanging with some of the greatest people in the world. As we were creating, the discussion came up as to how long we had all known each other. The longest friendship is 16 years and the shortest is 7. The oldest child in this group is 21 and the youngest is 10. Collectively, beginning with that oldest child we as a group have a child or two graduating High School every single year for 11 years. We are currently 3 years in to that adventure which will end in 2024.

There is so much to say about these women that I hardly know where to begin. To put it simply, they just show up.

They trained and ran a half marathon with me to honor Aimee…

1/2 2010 /

This Is Us … I/2 Marathon 2010

This was the 1st but certainly not the last time they dropped everything to come over to my house and pick up my pieces. This was the evening that we found out that Aimee was going to go be with Jesus in a matter of weeks. I didn’t want to talk to anyone but they knew better, so they grabbed wine and pizza and called Mr. Wonderful and told him they were coming over. Mr. Wonderful made a chocolate cake. Wine, pizza and chocolate seem to be a theme among us…

Aimee 2011 /

This Is Us … Showing up 2011

They busted tail to help me pull together a huge party to celebrate Aimee so that she could be with all of her people one last time.

aimees-party-2011 / TiffanyAOlson

This Is Us … Celebrating Aimee

They got me and all the families together to go camping to begin to put the pieces back together…

Camping-2011 /

This Is Us … Camping 2011

We have played and laughed…

We have walked through the passing of parents, to struggles with kids and hubbys. We have laughed, cried, played, prayed, had bible studies and birthday celebrations…

hp-40 /

This Is Us…. Celebrating Heidi’s 40th Birthday

When it was my turn to walk through cancer they again showed up for pizza and wine a few days before surgery…

Pre-mastectomy-party /

Pre-Mastectomy Party 2015

They cleaned my house on all the days that I was in treatment in Eugene. Every three weeks they came over and made my house shine so that I would have a clean space to come home too. They have busy lives, among us are commercial bank lenders, school teachers and school administrative staff. They have kids and sports and husbands and yet they still find the time to show up.

Girls Weekend 2015 /

This Is Us … Girls Weekend

These friendships as with all friendships everywhere are not perfect. We have had at times to make the choice to stay when it would be easier to walk away. To forgive when we would rather stay mad and to be patient with each other through very long seasons of grief, illness and pain. I think this is what makes us more like family than anything. It’s making the choice every single day to love, ignore the flaws, seek out the good and to just show up.

And every now and again on a random Tuesday night we can just be together… Pam, Heidi, Taryn, Jennifer and Karla… I love you.♥

crafting /

This Is Us …

I know I have said this before but if you don’t have people in your life then you need to get some. Reach out and be a friend to someone, you will be glad you did.

I’d love to hear about some of your friendships and the people that have showed up for you.

Have a fabulous day my friends!




Expect The Unexpected

Ok, so before I get started, note the hair. My oh my what a difference a year makes. I have had it trimmed several times and am more than likely going to keep it short but man do I have a big forehead or what!? I have to admit that while I am thrilled to have hair, my already thin hair has grown in even thinner and it’s only a tad discouraging when your hair dresser tells you that you might need to try using rogaine. But I digress…

So this morning when Mr. Wonderful headed out the door with our kiddos, Katie (my maltipoo) and I headed out the door for our morning walk. (I have been demoted to walking instead of running as my fluid thing isn’t going away…) I have a three mile route that I enjoy doing and have done it at least 7 or 8 times since we moved here. I turned on one of my podcasts and away we went.

Katie /


There is a sign that I pass on my route…

Bear /

Honestly, I have never really thought much of it as the ranch across the street is called Bear Ranch so I assumed that the owners must just really like bears. So, when Katie and I rounded the corner this morning and saw a black bear. Yes! A Bear!! In the middle of the road! Well, it was quite a moment.  It was a good 75 yards away and it took me a second to realize what it was. I would love to tell you that I stood my ground and was focused and poised like Katniss in the Hunger Games, ready to kill instead of be killed, but that would be so very far from the truth because the reality is that I yelled,  “Holy Sh–!” and he ran up the hill. (Yes, I have a way with words and I realize that I have just announced how small my vocabulary repertoire is as it was the first thing out of my mouth. Just keepin’ it real.)  I ripped the headphones out of my ears and began praying (yes, I cursed and prayed in the same moment…) that my one bar of cell service was enough to contact Mr. Wonderful. On my second attempt I reached him and all I could say was, “B B B Bear! I just saw a bear!” of course this comes 4 days after I called to inform him about the crow I decimated on the bridge as I was headed out of town last week.

He laughs. Laughs! Then he asks if I need him to come get me, I said no. He informs me that our kids are impressed with my little adventure and that I might have bumped myself up a notch in their eyes. I am meanwhile standing on the side of the road with my little white dog, taking deep breaths and being very thankful that she wasn’t breakfast.

Bearxing /

Note the two mirrors that are strategicly placed so that anyone on the road can easily see what is ahead no matter which direction they are coming from. I no longer have to wonder why those mirrors are there. From now on when I come across a xing sign no matter what is supposed to be xing I am always going to assume that they are being serious. Yes, we live in the country and I knew that there were bears out here but there is a huge difference in knowing and seeing first hand. The only other time I have seen a bear is in Yellowstone and we were intentionally driving around looking for them.

So, expect the unexpected my friends and share it with the rest of us, you might just run into a bear on your morning walk.

Have a great day!

The Best is Yet to Come…

mothers day 2016 /

The Best, Your Best, My Best is Yet to Come. I love this. I was reminded the other day about a scene in the book, The Noticer by Andy Andrews. In the scene Jones, (AKA… The Noticer) was chatting with an elderly lady in her late 70’s. She was discouraged because she was lonely and wondered why God was still letting her live as she felt that she didn’t have much to offer the world at this stage of life. Her kids and grandkids were grown, her husband had passed, the days were long and she was just tired of living. Jones took this opportunity to ask her some questions.

““Well, look, do you believe people are here for a purpose?” She says, “Yeah.” He says, “Do you think you won’t die before your purpose has been fulfilled?” She says, “No, I think that’s right.”

Then he says, “Well, then, what you’re telling me is that the very purpose for which you were created hasn’t been fulfilled and, therefore, the very purpose for which you were born is still in front of you. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be big or grandiose, but there’s something in your future that is so significant you’re alive right now to pursue it. You’re not dead yet, and that’s because there’s a reason. There’s a future that’s bigger.”

Maybe it’s just me but I need to be reminded of this ALL the time! I am still breathing, if you are reading this then you are still breathing. The fact that we are breathing means that God is not done with us yet. Our purpose for being here on this Earth has not yet been fulfilled. Hooray!! I find this so exciting! It means that all of my past failures, mistakes, accomplishments and triumphs were the ingredients for the cake that is my life. The icing is yet to be made. It’s so easy to fall into the mindset that our best days are behind us or that since we have never really done anything significant that we probably never will.

When you are ill, lose a loved one or go through some other major tragedy it feels like, well this is it. I had my life and it was good but now it’s over and my new reality will never be as good as my old one. No, you will never be the same after you have suffered. But take a look around, everyone has suffered in one way or another. No one escapes hardship. What do you do with your new perspective on life? How do you function now that everything is different?

Get with those who have gone through similar experiences.

I have met several ladies that have walked through breast cancer. When I have things come up in my body that can’t be explained I google the symptoms and there are hundreds of women who have experienced the same thing and have written out their symptoms and how they got the relief that have helps them get through. Only those that have had a mastectomy would understand what my issues are so I seek out those who are similar to me and get the help I need.

It is a rather strange phenomenon to be totally comfortable talking about your breasts in public but it feels really normal to those who can relate. This summer while we were in Phoenix, AZ, Mr. Wonderful, Bridger and I went to a swap meet. Bridger and I were waiting for daddy and I noticed that we were standing in front of a table that had a husband and wife sitting at it promoting breast cancer awareness. I walked up to her, shook her hand and said, “I’m a survivor too.” Instant comraderie. Within 5 seconds we were discussing mastectomies and reconstruction and how long we had been survivors, (this is actually a tricky question for me, is it from the date of diagnosis or from the date of your last treatment?) Bridger began to roll his eyes and move as far away as possible from the conversation as all 10 year old boys love the idea of their mother’s discussing their breasts in public with complete strangers. As we walked away he says, “Really Mom?!” I just smiled… I’m not worried, he’ll get used to it.

Begin to Dream About What You Can Become

Now that you are so much more aware of how short life can be isn’t it time that you get out there and do the things you’ve always wanted to do? My sweet friend Taryn has 4 kids. One is in college and one is heading off next year. She has 6 more years of kids at home. That isn’t very long. She remarked the other day, “You know now that the raising of my kiddos is winding down, I have realized lately that that I have never taken the time to dream about what I would do once they are gone. I have never dreamed about what I want to do for me. My husband has lots of things that he enjoys doing and passions that he actively pursues. My children have been my passion and I wonder if I even know how to dream.”

During treatment I started writing, after treatment I started running. Just these two things have opened up joy and possibilities in my life that I could never have imagined. These are two things I can do no matter what stage of life I am in. They are things I can grow into and become better at and they can lead to all kinds of adventures that I would never have imagined 2 years ago.

The 1/2 / Tiffanyaolson

I heard a quote the other day by an author named Beth Moore,

“Time isn’t running out; time is running toward.”

You have stuff to do, you have a life to be lived, you have people that need to be impacted by all that is you. Does this mean no more suffering or tears or pain? I wish I could say yes but that’s just not reality. It means that everything you go through or experience is something that is leading you to where you are supposed to be.

Use Your Experiences to Help Others.

This is a great big world that we live in. There are so many people, issues and heartache that when you look at it as a whole it all seems very overwhelming. You by yourself cannot help everyone. So take a look at what you immediately see around you and impact those closest to you with the knowledge you have gained through life’s experiences.

Raising 4 babies has made Taryn a perfect fit for the school secretary at one of our elemetary schools in town. Twice in the last month I have been talking to mama’s who have expressed how much they appreciate Taryn and love that she is at the school overseeing our kiddos. I can’t tell you how many of us have called her knowing that whatever was going on that she would tend to our most precious people in a loving and compassionate way. She has soothed our worries, helped us navigate all that is school and calmed our fears when things have gone awry. Taryn says she hasn’t dreamed but as her life continues to unfold I expect to see her continuing to love on children and helping mama’s navigate through their various stages of parenting. It’s her gift and she makes a difference every single day that she puts herself out there and chooses to love on each kiddo or parent that she comes in contact with.

TarynandMegan /

Taryn (in black) Lovin on Megan and Cooper

The last 5 years and more intensely the last 2 years have been the hardest years of my life. Now that the fog seems to be lifting I want to take what I have learned, dream some big dreams and get out there and make my mark on the world. Because the best is yet to come!