Beginning Again… (Part 2)

Cancer Nite 12/31/14 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Cancer Nite

The truth is that by the time I got diagnosed with cancer I was very worn out. All of the heavy lifting in our business came at the great cost of not having as much time or energy with the kids and a home that felt constantly in disarray. I was living in a world where I felt I could never measure up. I wasn’t 100% anywhere. Not at home, not with the kids and not at the office. When I first got diagnosed I chatted with several breast cancer survivors and they kept assuring me that as hard as this was going to be to walk through that rest assured at some point my life would go back to the way it was. The more I heard that the more I realized that I didn’t want life to go back to the way it was. I was too busy, too uninvolved with my kids, life was slipping by and I was missing it.

While I was laying on the couch staring at the wall last year I began to dream about what I could do that still allowed me to be passionate about people and helping them to become better versions of themselves and still allowed me to be around for the kids and at home tending to the stuff that keeps things running smoothly. Because more than I want anything else I want my kids to know that they are loved by God and that they are loved by us. If I am too busy to be able to demonstrate that love in tangible ways then in the end it doesn’t matter how many people I have helped if the ones that are the most important to me get left in the dust in the process.  I assumed that by the time I finished treatments I would have it all figured out, that this big plan for the next season of my life would just drop out of the sky and I could run with it. Well it’s the end of January and the “big plan”  hasn’t emerged. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not still sitting on the couch. I am helping in the office for a few hours a couple days a week, I’m running (5 miles is the goal tomorrow.. I’m a touch nervous about this.. ) as well as doing pilates. I’m in a bible study, I’ve come up with a good schedule for keeping the house clean and the laundry under control, the no grain eating plan keeps me hopping, the kids both have big projects for school that I am helping them with and then there is my blog. So it’s not as if I am doing nothing but is it enough?

I was laying in bed the other night chatting with Mr. Wonderful and I was frustrated because, I started. I stepped out. I stepped way outside my comfort zone and tackled something really huge and then I got taken out of the game, sidelined. Everything is different now, I feel different and I look different. I am wrestling with being ok with right where I am. Is it ok that every single hour of my day is not crammed with activity? Yes. Is it ok that I am still having a hard time presenting the new me to the world? Yes. Do I get to be gracious towards those who don’t understand and probably never will? Yes. But I am still dreaming and I am still passionate about my kids, entrepreneurs, podcasts, books, cooking and quiet times and  maybe on my road to figuring out what’s next for me as I share what I am learning, how I am growing, what’s working and what’s not… you will figure out what’s next for you.

5 Miles!! / Tiffanyaolson.com

And They Ran…

Have a great day, All!

Beginning Again… (Part 1)

Family 2005 / Tiffanyaolson.com

 

We all have different phases or seasons of our lives. Some of these seasons are brought on by choices that we make and others are brought on by circumstances beyond our control. When our kids were little they were my thing. I didn’t enter into motherhood until I was 33. (Hence the high level of estrogen in my system and the subsequent bout with cancer, but I digress) I was so ready to be a mom and I jumped in with both feet. I had worked for our church for several years in the youth department and knew with all my heart that upon the arrival of our daughter that I wanted to stay home and be with her. So I did. Two years later our son came along and our family felt complete. Oh we had our issues, don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of life being lived in those years including a couple of miscarriages and the sudden passing of my brother in law, Tony. But overall I felt comfortable in my role as mommy and tender of our home.

When we moved to Coos Bay my world got a little bigger as we got involved in a new church and made new friends. This is when I met Aimee. We were just beginning to get to know each other when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I had never known anyone with cancer so I wasn’t real sure how to proceed but we just hit it off. In the end our families kind of adopted each other. For two and a half years we did everything together. Friday nite pizza nites, birthdays, holidays, fishing, boating … you name it, we did it. But again there was reality mixed in as there were surgeries, treatments, and a gazillion trips to Portland for various tests and checkups. In the end God chose to heal Aimee by bringing her home to him. That was a huge blow as my desire was for earthly healing and for us to raise our kids together and hit the road proclaiming God’s grace and mercy and provision to anyone and everyone that would listen. It also marked the end of another season for me.

At this point in our lives the kids were now in school and Mr. Wonderful needed more help in getting our business off the ground so I entered the world of business owner and set myself to the task of relieving some of the pressure from his shoulders as well as educating myself in ways to become a successful entrepreneur. This was also the season when we discovered Dave Ramsey and his principles on debt free living as well as a book he wrote called Entreleadership. Mr Wonderful describes our little world as a ship. Our ship had been sailing in the wrong direction and was in danger of running aground. In the proccess of learning how to more effectively run our business and to immediately cut off going into more debt, our ship began to get further away from the shoreline and in fact began the slow process of turning around and heading in the right direction.

Recital 2012 / Tiffanyaolson.com

With new vision there is hope of what can be. I had a role in our business but it was one that kept me behind a desk all day and working with forms and documents. Well, I am not much of a forms and documents kind of girl and I was so on fire with the improvements that we were making that I just wanted to share it with others and see if what we were learning could benefit them as much as it was benefiting us. It was about that time that I read a book by Jon Acuff called Start. It was all about stepping out and doing something, anything that gave you momentum. The idea is that once you are moving in a direction, the way you should go becomes more clear. I wanted to make a bigger impact. I wanted to affect change in peoples lives and the most obvious thing at the time was to join my husband at the helm and get certified to be a financial advisor. So I began with life and health insurance licensing and went on to study for and pass the series 7 exam. I was flying high at this point because the series 7  was the biggest challenge I had ever taken on and I won.

Family 2013 / Tiffanyaolson.com

I began devouring everything that I could get my hands on as far as becoming a successful entrepreneur was concerned. Good To Great by Jim Collins, podcasts by Chris Locurto (which eventually led to a coaching session with him), Michael Hyatt Andy Stanley and of course the Entreleadership podcast. I was a sponge and I wanted to be the best we could be so that we could effect the most change in peoples lives and help them to become the best they could be. We hired a business coach and created a strategic plan to move the business to the next level. We implemented the plan, remodeled the office and then got diagnosed with breast cancer.

Rodolson2015

 

To Be Continued….

 

 

And She Runs… Sort of

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Don’t we look cute? We are all bundled up, ok, I am bundled up to head out for our run. Ok, it’s not actually all running but we are headed out into the wild to walk and run a bit. Doesn’t Bridger look excited? He’s been so good to me. No matter what the weather or how tired he is, he always gets out on the road with me.

And today was no exception. For the last several years here in The Coos, our traditionally mild weather has been even more mild. Lots of sunny days. Never super warm mind you but sunny nonetheless, even in winter. Well the winter this year, the winter that I decide to train for a 1/2 marathon, is one of the rainiest and windiest we have had in 4 years. I gotta admit, even in good weather, getting out on the road is something I have to convince myself to do. Once I am out I am great but changing into those running clothes and stepping outside often times is a long drawn out process of me talking to myself into it. So you can imagine what it’s like when you know you have to get out the door and it’s raining sideways.

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This is what it looked like outside my door today… Beautiful? Yes. But rather not inspiring for a run. I am finding that I need to keep reminding myself of the end result. I really do enjoy the running part. It’s the getting out the door part that’s hard.

Two of my favorite things about running are that on those days when my emotions are running amok and I get out there and begin to run and begin to breathe heavy and begin to sweat all of the sudden the emotions begin to abate. Whatever I was struggling with doesn’t seem to be so much of a struggle anymore. Physical exhaustion creates emotional stability for me, its my healthy drug. My other favorite part is the sense of accomplishment and pride I feel when I am done. I set out. I conquered. I am finished. No one can take that away from me. No matter what happens for the rest of the day I can say that I finished one thing that I started and it makes me feel good about myself.

Ok, so the truth is that there is still not all that much running going on. I am using an app called 5k Runmeter. It’s kind of like the couch to 5k app except this one will take you all the way through a marathon, which is my ultimate goal. I like it because it tells you when to walk and when to run. That way I am assured that I am not overdoing it or under doing it. I had been walking three miles most days for several months before I began the app so I was used to getting some form of exercise. The runs started out at 1 minute intervals with walking in between. I am on week seven now and my longest straight run was a few days ago at 18 minutes. I had another 3 minute run mixed in there as well. I have kept the overall distance at 3 miles on each trip out. This just means that my cool down walk is longer but mentally I like the 3 mile distance and I have several mapped out courses that I can go on to change things up a bit.

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We finished! Bridger makes it fun because he’s 10 and likes to see how many puddles he can jump in along the way. I find it funny when he miscalculates just how deep the puddle is going to be and and ends up almost knee deep in water. He’s a much faster runner than me at this point but after a little coaxing has conceded to run at my pace so that we can do it together. He has also been kind enough to wait until I am well out of the way before he makes too big of a splash in those puddles.

The progress is slow, but there is progress. Seeing as we are coming up on my one year anniversary of discovering my cancer mass,  I am ever so grateful just to be able to lace up my shoes and get out the door.

I used to read an article in Runners World Magazine from a writer by the name of John Bingham. He is famous for the quote… “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” I love it because no matter how far or how fast I go, I can feel good about the fact every step I take is is one step further away from sickness and a one step closer to health.

Have a great day, All!

ps. After I wrote this Bridge and I headed out for another run. It was very rainy. So rainy that an elderly lady pulled over on the side of the road and asked me if we needed a ride. I guess we looked like we were in distress or she thought I was a child abuser by making my son run in the rain. I am glad she didn’t see us at the end of the bridge as Bridger was in tears by that point because he was so wet and cold… I’m thinkin he’s gonna bundle up next time.

Home Again!!! … Sort of

Life Has Begun Again!

Life Has Begun, Again!

 

Ahhh … Vacation! The one we waited for all year long. We got in the car…

And Away We Go!!!

And Away We Go!!!

and drove a long, long, long way … and then we hung with our little cousins…

little cousins

Little Cousins!

And then with our big cousins…

Big Cousins!

Big Cousins!

And then we got to see some really pretty country at two of our national parks, the Grand Canyon and Zion.

It was all great and we had the best time. It will take a bit to process all that we did and all that we experienced both with our families and with just the four of us. I am excited to share with you some of the highlights over the next season. But before I get to all the details let’s be real for just a moment. All of the smiley faces in the above photos are moments. Great moments mind you but still moments. I didn’t take photos of the kids bickering at each other in the car or of Bridger vomiting for two days after we arrived. It seems that going from the 60 degree temperatures in The Coos to the 117 degree temperatures of Phoenix didn’t sit so well with our little guy. I didn’t take photos of the faces of the three financial advisors in my family over those few days when the stock market took a dive nor when we broke the prop on the boat… twice.

There is good and bad going on all the time. The hard realities of life still happen, even when you are on vacation. But I sure did enjoy those good moments. That photo of me jumping off the dock? My brother’s friend Jim took that photo moments after we had arrived at the river. It was a great moment. I was free, I was silly, I was me. I am learning to live for those moments and to realize that if there were no hard moments you wouldn’t recognize the good ones when they come around.

It was so great to get away … but coming home was great too. There is just something about home. Your home, your things, your routine and your life. I enjoyed the two days I got to be there and then the kids and I hit the road again on Monday to head up to Eugene to begin my 6.5 week journey of radiation. So far so good. No issues, no problems. I just found out that I get to be home for the morning of my kids 1st day of school and I thought I was going to have to miss it. I am cherishing the little things and the moments that make me smile.