Leaving Those You Love

Leaving Those You Love, mother and daughter, family

I ended up in tear-drenched shambles as my husband harmlessly suggested I make more friends in Uganda. “Honey, you are such a people person. You are not initiating friendships here.” He stated rather cautiously.  “You are waiting for people to reach out to you. Go make an effort!”   My husband is right. I am a people person, but this evening he shook the mountain of emotions inside of me and an avalanche began its crashing descent into our lives.   “I am tired of leaving people,” I spouted rather tersely. I exhaled, letting my defenses down, and explained, “All my life I’ve been leaving people, places and relationships.” He cocked his head at me with a look of confusion and I began to list every state, school and relationship I deserted inevitably thrusting me into a cycle of beginning life again. The thought of starting over doesn’t shine like a diamond. A fresh start isn’t as appealing as a solid stay. Relationships require work. Sometimes they begin easily, but sticking with them for the long-haul requires a hefty amount of energy and investment of time. Yes, I had a wide variety of friends back in the US, but I no […]

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A Daughter Who Loves Her Dads

Father's Day

I sat down in my sturdy chair and flipped open the pages of the week’s recovery lesson. “How has the view of your earthly father impacted the view of your heavenly father and how has that view shaped your life?”  With a quizzical expression plastered on my face,  I questioned how the two could possibly be related.  I struggled with this for a while allowing God to use this question to probe and sift through the clutter in my heart. After wrestling through tough questions, acknowledging the pain divorce and distance can cause, and expressing my true, messy feelings God brought my heart and mind to a new place. As God replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh, this freshly beating heart began to birth something beautiful from the ashes of my life. I  discovered I have a perfect father in heaven and any father on earth will always fall short despite their deepest efforts. I came to a moment of revelation – God has blessed me with two dads on earth. Before encountering God’s grace, that is not something I would have said or believed, but God revealed to me that my dads have always loved me […]

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Better Is The End

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8   I started laboriously paying off my student loans over a year ago. I took a good, hard look at how much interest I would pay over ten years and that made me cringe to the point  I became aggressive in paying off my massive debt. The end of paying off my student loans was infinitely better than the day I sent the first payment. Better is the end of a thing that its beginning.   It’s one thing to enroll in college, it’s another feat to dedicate four years to earning a degree. The extended nights studying, the countless papers written, and the numerous hours spent in the classroom. Adrenaline rushes through us at the beginning of a new adventure, but that fire fades as we settle into the mundane activities it takes to patiently endure to the end. Adrenaline can cause acceleration, but doesn’t always give you an advantage over adversity. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10. Better is the end of a thing that its […]

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The Untold Christmas Story

Christmas Story Jesus Savior Lord Baby in Manger

When the Christmas story is told, we mainly hear about Mary and baby Jesus born in a manger. Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing means more to me than the birth of my Lord and Savior, but as people across the world flock to churches to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and celebrate his coming to earth I want to talk about another person tucked away in the crevices of the Christmas story. You see there’s another “J” man who may have been overlooked as the wise men were onlookers at the nativity scene. That man is Joseph. I understand Jesus is the focus and Mary is magnificent for offering her life to carry the one who would bring eternal life to the world, but Joseph’s character deserves some credit in the story. Joseph lives more by faith and less by logic Mary was legally pledged to marry Joseph, but they hadn’t done the thing husband and wife do. Apparently, there was a child (the Savior of the world to be exact) growing inside Mary that Joseph played no role in creating. Let’s say I was engaged and then said, “Hey, Honey-Darling-Love-Of-My-Life I am pregnant. I can explain though. […]

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Hand Me Downs

Christian Mothers

I am the youngest of three girls in a family that usually housed seven people. My mom worked part-time as a secretary at a church and my step-dad worked full-time to provide for his growing family. As you can imagine, we didn’t have extra cash to spend on frivolous items or impulse purchases. I grew up with a mom who cut coupons and knew how to stretch a penny until it screamed. As a kid, I found myself wanting to spend the night with my best friend, an only child, and never wanting to be in my crowded, generic-brand buying house. I didn’t understand why my friend Brittany got $5 dollars from the tooth fairy and I only got one dollar. I didn’t understand how she could have sodas on any day and I could only have soda on Saturday night when we ate pizza. I didn’t understand fully why her family could always eat out and we had to always eat in. I didn’t understand why she had cable and could watch Cartoon Network and Disney Channel while I settled for Saturday morning cartoons on regular TV. It makes me laugh now, but one time I got the nerve […]

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8 Simple Life Lessons I Learned From My Mom

As children, our parents become one of the biggest influences in our lives, for better or worse. We inherit their mannerisms, thought-patterns and their beliefs often become intricately woven into us. Although, according to health care laws, I am officially an “adult” I still call my mom to ask her what aisle to find pesto on at the grocery store. I frantically call her for the Netflix password or I find myself relying on her for severe weather updates. Bottom line? This girl still needs her mommy. And I hope I always do. Over the years, my mom has taught me simple life lessons that I continue to carry with me. 1. Unleash  Creativity From handmade halloween costumes to song writing my mom could give you a run for your money in the creative department. But her creative juices don’t stop flowing there. For example, let’s take the least fun thing you can possibly do as a kid – CHORES –  but not just chores, chores on a Saturday. She would create a melting pot of necessary chores like ‘clean the bathtub’ and ‘vacuum the living room’ and mix them with exciting items like ‘let’s see how many marshmallows you can […]

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My Goal Is To Get a Grip in 2016

My goal is to get a grip in 2016. When I was a kid I took gymnastic lessons both in Texas and Illinois. Honestly, jumping in the big foam pit was always the highlight of my lesson. So, basically, my parents shelled out big bucks for their daughter to take a leap and get swallowed up in a giant foam pit. Thanks, Mom and Dad! Although I threw in the towel somewhere between clumsy cartwheels and flimsy flip flops I still hold a fascination for talented gymnasts especially ones that compete on the always-intimidating uneven bars. Now, it was entirely evident I was no Gabby Douglas in the making, I couldn’t even generate enough momentum and grip to traverse the monkey bars on the playground at school. I would hang like a limp noodle as my limbs dangled above the gravel ground that awaited my return upon allowing gravity to triumph over Tiffany. But can you picture those professional gymnasts who conquer the uneven bars with poise and power? What a beautiful representation of the life I live. It seems like I am constantly twisting, turning, leaping and at times completely airborne wondering if I’ll stick my landing or wind […]

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Stranger Danger

Spiritual stranger danger is a real thing, y’all. I can’t get past a specific verse. It’s been on a post-it note above my bed for months because I deeply desire the verse to be a reflected in my life. Parents often tell their children, “Don’t talk to strangers.” They say this as a warning to protect their children from potential harm. Jesus sends us the same message. Be careful who you allow to speak into your life. Be careful who you give your microphone to. John 10:4-5 “…and his sheep follow him because they KNOW his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  I want to be so dialed into God that when a stranger comes calling I send them to voicemail automatically. Better yet,  I just go ahead and block their calls. As a person who possesses a people pleasing spirit deflecting what others say to listen to what God says is no easy task. I literally die a little inside disappointing people, but a greater death would occur if I dismiss the only voice that matters. Strangers distract you from the […]

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Attitude of Gratitude 

I’ve given Thanksgiving a second-place trophy for best holiday of the year. First place going to Halloween. The reason Halloween ranks number one in my book is a blog for another day. Why is Thanksgiving runner up on my list? When thanksgiving approaches people tend to reflect more on what they are grateful for in their life and champion an attitude of gratitude. I mean who doesn’t love more sincere thank yous? A couple years ago I made turkey construction paper cut-outs using the outline of my hand and wrote on the hand what I appreciated most about each family member. Super elementary, I know, but don’t you dare judge me! Naturally, I thought everybody else was riding my thankfulness train, so I suggested over Thanksgiving dinner that we should go around the table and say one thing we were thankful for. And that was the last year I was invited to family Thanksgiving. Kidding. I tried to to do it earlier this year because all the siblings were in the same place for the first time in FOREVER and they exasperatedly said, “UGH, not this again. It’s not even Thanksgiving YET.” You have been warned… just in case you ever want me to be your dinner guest. Christmas dinner I kick it […]

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Anger: A How To

Anger has perplexed me in my now-loving Jesus days. Tiffany the ticking time bomb became explosively angry. When I started faithfully following Jesus, I was filled with such love I thought I would never be angry again. How could I with such warm-fuzzy feelings from my father in heaven? Adios, Anger! It’s been real. It’s been fun, but it hasn’t been really fun. He obviously removed my anger and replaced it with awesomeness. Or so I thought. But after people asking me deep questions on how I express anger nowadays, I came to the conclusion I am afraid to be angry. PETRIFIED. I have my “No trespassing. That means you, Anger” sign on display. I never want to act like the old Tiffany, so I learned it’s better to suppress or be passive aggressive in anger instead of potentially becoming an aggressive anger avalanche again. So, I went from one end of the spectrum to the other. For a while I ignored my anger, but then I ended up in a group that convinced me it was in my best interest to acknowledge and feel ALL the feelings, but of course not allow them to be the boss of me. I mean we even had […]

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