Bridger Reading1

Bridger with his favorite book, Where the Red Fern Grows.

Over the last several months I have been reading a lot about story, calling, passion and the art of being who you are. One of the most recent books I have read on this subject is a book by Donald Miller called, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It’s kind of an older book and he as written at least two that I know of since then but I loved it because of how he explained story and what it means to live your story. You see, a good story has to have adversity, conflict, an antagonist, protagonist, adventure etc. to make the story interesting. You want the main character to overcome something against all odds. One of the illustrations in the book was the fact that you would never go to a movie about a guy buying a volvo. It’s boring there is no challenge, no reason to root him on or a desire to see him succeed.  I loved that because it reminds me that in order for my life story to be interesting and worth telling that I have to go through stuff and so do you. Think about all of the great books you have read and the movies you have watched. Why did you like them? What made them great?

Now take a step back and look at your life. It’s the, grief, adventures, failures, funny moments and disappointments that have made your story unique and worth sharing with others. We all have a story. Where have you been? What have you walked through? In my 45 years here on this earth I have walked through the loss of loved ones, parental divorce, miscarriages, financial troubles and now breast cancer. Those are the things that happened to me. I won’t even begin with the long list of choices that I have made in my lifetime that have created the adversity that I had to overcome. I also took off on my own when I was 20 and lived in Mexico for a year. I learned Spanish by just talking until someone figured out what I was trying to say. (I hate to be left out of a conversation 🙂 )  In the end each one of those things as well as many others has shaped me and molded me into the person I am today. Fortunately, I also asked Jesus to live in my heart at a young age and although I spent my teens and early twenties pretending that I didn’t know Him, he  has never forgotten me or failed to welcome me back when I decided that it was time to come home. Because I have Jesus I have never been alone in any of my struggles or adventures and I also know that my personal story is a small part of the bigger story that He is playing out for the whole world.

My story, your story, our lives are in the midst of a bigger story and we all have a role to play. God uses our stories to help others along in their journeys. Now I am going to admit something here that is not very Christian like or even biblical… I think the suffering part sucks. In the book of James, chapter one, verse two it says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it opportunity for great joy.” I can assure you that I was not joyful when my brother in law died, or when Aimee died or when I lost my babies or when I was diagnosed with cancer. I can even say with a fair amount of certainty in my heart that Jesus was not joyful when he was hanging there on that cross. The difference is that he could see the other side of his circumstances and because of that made the decision to suffer and we in our humanness cannot see the other side of suffering until we have walked through it.

Fortunately life isn’t all about suffering, we have all had adventures and great experiences that we can weave into our hard times and these are what make life worth living and your story worth telling. There are the funny moments as well, like when my wig blew off my head and out of the car window a few weeks back and we had to flip a U Turn on a busy road to go back and get it…  Each experience good or bad makes us stronger and better equipped to handle the road ahead.

A month or so ago I went to an open house for the new cancer center being built here in our town. I was introduced to some ladies from the American Cancer Society and I got so excited about volunteering to help newly diagnosed cancer patients to navigate the system and get plugged into the right places. I was surprised at  how passionate I became over it. I haven’t felt passionate about anything in so long that I was beginning to fear that I would never have the ability to be passionate about anything again. I met a lady named Mary at the fair last week while we were there with my daughter’s 4H animal. She is a 10 year breast cancer survivor and shared a bit of her story with me. There is an instant connection with someone who can relate to what you are going through even if your experiences are a bit different. My sister emailed me a few days ago and wants to connect me with a lady she knows who went through this and is now a counselor for breast cancer patients. These things are so encouraging to me because it means that I can help. I have a story. I can use it to help make other peoples  lives a little easier. Am I glad I got cancer? No. Has it changed me? Yes. Am I sooo over being bald? Yes. One day at at time, I keep telling myself. My story is continually unfolding. As is yours…

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  1. Love you Tiffany!! Thank you for sharing your stories. I do hope when this is all in the past you will continue to write. You have a beautiful gift. ❤️ Hope you are enjoying summer!!

  2. Chris Williford says

    Tiffany you never cease to amaze me. God has truly given you a gift girl! Keep on keeper on!

  3. Sydney Clark says

    Excellent! You said it all!
    And yes, we all have a story. The important thing is what we do with it!
    Love You!

  4. Rose Wilson says

    You are such a joy and inspiration, Tiffany…… ground and wise for your years. Keep sharing, writing and believing you spur me on to be a better person. I will be first in line to buy your book! Love to you and your family.

  5. Tiffany Olson says

    Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. It keeps me going.

  6. Judy Preble says

    Tiffany, you ARE amazing! I am sending this along to my daughter, Cori, your age, going through a difficult chapter of her own “story” right now…and hoping she has time to read it. Big hug to you, wise young lady!

    • Tiffany Olson says

      I will be praying for your daughter Miss Judy. Thank you for all your words of encouragement. They have meant a great deal.❤️

  7. We’ve not met but I have been praying for you. Marta Goertzen and Ron Goertzen keep me up to date. Aimee Olson is my neice. Marta, too. Loved reading this blog about your story, it was encouraging. I will be praying more knowingly. In Him, Sharon

    • Tiffany Olson says

      Thank you Miss Sharon! I have heard lots of good things about you over the years.(: You have a great family who I am forever indebted to. A lot of who I am today is because of them.❤️

  8. Tiff, you ARE cute but you are also beautiful! I’m so glad you have known Jesus for so long… His work in your life is obvious. Your grace and joy are a source of refreshment to me. I’m praying for you.

    • Tiffany Olson says

      Thanks to you Renee for being such a great example of how I want to live. You are full of grace, kindness and compassion. Your kids, your marriage and your outlook on life are a sight to behold. Thank you for living your life well.

  9. Jessica Johnson says

    Tiffany, you amaze me. I’ve been reading your blog for the last few months and each entry I read makes me smile as well as a few tears to fall. You have this way of connecting with and encouraging people through your story. This has always been your gift and I love seeing how it still is. I love you beautiful Tiffany!

    • Tiffany Olson says

      Jessica!♥ I always smile when I see pics of you and Tim. I am the best matchmaker ever! I love you too!

  10. I am FB friends with your mom. I can tell by reading your blog, what a strong beautiful woman u are. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2006 Had a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation & 18 mos of the IV drug herceptin. I volunteer as a mentor with ABCD.

    • Tiffany Olson says

      Wow! That is a lot to go through Debby! I hope to do some volunteering when this is over as well. Everyone that is going through something this hard could use a little encouragement from someone who fully understands what they are going through. I know I am thankful for those that have encouraged me.

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