What the Dentist Taught Me About Mercy and Grace

Twice a year I get a text message reminder, or what I like to refer to as a text message warning, that says, “Tiffany you have a dentist appointment next week. Please reply YES to confirm.” Fortunately, I love my dentist, but unfortunately my freak out starts to flare up realizing I have spent 6 months absolutely averse to flossing and now have to condense 6 months of negligence into one week of nurturing every nook and cranny between my teeth. More often than not, I realize it’s a waste of my effort and I just brush my teeth four times the day of my appointment unequivocally convinced that will erase any signs of neglect over the past six months of forgetting to floss. I cram my dental hygiene routine into my one-day remedy hoping to compensate for what should have been maintained daily. I saunter up to the dental chair, lay down under the fluorescent light that doubles as an interrogation lamp and confess, “I have braced myself for a lecture. I know my teeth are going to fall out, and I will end up looking like my grandpa Bingo who is only capable of eating soft, cod with […]

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DIY: Flush Your Fears. Post Your Prayers.

I am an avid Pinterest peruser. It’s one of my favorite social channels mainly because creativity overflows and negativity is absent. If you want to remind yourself there’s a sliver of hope for humanity, look at Pinterest. The gifts people possess are given away to the world. I mean it amazes me that someone used their creative juices to conjure up Unicorn Poop Slime. I can’t even make this stuff up. If that’s not creativity at its finest, I don’t know what is. The DIY I have in mind, isn’t as mystical or magical, but it proved helpful for me and is just the right mix of silly and serious. Have you ever had worry wash up in your heart, felt frozen by fear, or constantly focused on “flaws?” Me too! In fact, a severe feeling of inadequacy for ministry, marriage and motherhood swept over be again recently. In the past few months, these feelings of inadequacy have bubbled up, but now it’s an equivalent of a 8 on the Richter scale of emotional earthquakes.  In similar meltdowns,  I’ve heard a popular saying that exclaims, “Get your act together,” but what I want to say is, “Get your faith together, sister. It’s […]

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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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What Easter means to me: A tale of two Tiffanys

It hurts me even to look at the picture on the left. It’s one of those sharp-inhale-hold-my-breath kind of hurts.  I close my eyes and cry for that lost girl, but my tears also flow from a place of fervent gratefulness that the lost girl can triumphantly say, “ I WAS lost, but NOW I’ve been found. Who I was is not who I am in Christ today.” The girl on the left was completely intoxicated. The girl on the left had just offered lap dances in exchange for dollar bills. The girl on the left was groped to the point her dress is practically falling off her. The girl on the left used alcohol to attempt to poison the pain inside of her. Yet the girl on the left is smiling. That’s the most agonizing part of the picture is the sorrow that can often remain a secret behind a smile. The happiness we can project even when we are up to our eyeballs in hurt and havoc. I often think of Saul/Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament and endured jail, multiple beatings and shipwrecks for Christ. Before Paul’s conversion he was killing christians. He […]

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Yielding To You

Yield.  This was my lesson in Leviticus. No, there’s not some big message on yielding in Leviticus the passage simply mentions the land yielding a harvest (25:6 and 25:21). But I hear, “Yield, Tiffany. Yield.” And it’s been resonating with my spirit ever since. Leviticus’ message of the land yielding a harvest spoke to me in two different ways.  The harvest that’s yielded in life hinges on yielding to the Holy Spirit in your life. What does it mean to yield? Well, I begin to think in terms of traffic signs which I know well. When I see a “Yield” sign while driving that means I look towards oncoming traffic and pause to allow the oncoming traffic to pass BEFORE I proceed on my route. Yielding means I give the person with the right away the actual RIGHT AWAY. We have a problem here. If God is telling me to yield that most likely means I am currently NOT yielding. That means I am not following His leading. That means I am not following Him. That means somehow I’ve gotten a head of myself and if you don’t yield to oncoming traffic that can cause quite a collision, frantic honking, or […]

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Praising in Your Prison

I get caught up in boasting in the Lord after bailing me out of a situation instead of praising him before a breakthrough.  After reading a story about two Godly guys named Paul and Silas in Acts, I’m learning firm faith is not created in those warm-fuzzy God moments. Fortified faith is created when the world’s been hard on you, but you believe God still has hope for you. Paul and Silas created quite the ruckus wherever they went. They were troublemakers and turned the world upside down. I admire their boldness and courage. If I just had an ounce of their faith would I turn the world upside down too? These holy hoodlums really ticked the town off in one particular scene and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they were severely flogged, they were thrown into prison. I know not the sugar-coated spiritual story people want to hear, but Paul and Silas taught me about what it looks like to exchange a warm-fuzzy faith for a real-deal faith.  They made me propose the question, “Is it possible to praise God in your present prison?” Like my friend Akon would say, Paul and Silas are LOCKED UP. […]

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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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Hands Tell Stories

It’s been a year without my grandma. But I’m also a year closer to meeting her again. With the holiday season in full swing, the thoughts of empty chairs around the dinner table are on my mind. I wanted to share what I posted last year as a way for my grandma’s legacy to live on. Hands tell stories. When I think of the scars on Jesus’ hands they bring to my mind sacrifice and a deep, unfathomable love. His hands tell a story of grace. When I think of my grandma’s hands they represent years of working relentlessly on the farm. They represent the hands that held three amazing children after they were brought into this world. They represent seasons of working and nurturing growth in her garden. They represent years of baking countless cookies and flawless cakes. They represent serving her family breakfast, lunch and dinner and when her grand kids visited serving them their favorite meal of sweet-and-sour meatballs. They represent playing numerous games of chicken track that would last well into the night. They represent memories of toting my sister and I to the park in a metal wagon. They represent the quilts she labored over to […]

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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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