Saturday, October 31, 2009

Healing Is Not Linear

People ask me, "Tiffany how are you doing? How are you getting along these days?" I know they mean how am I doing - specifically - after Paul's death. Well, specifically, I think it will take a long time to get over losing Paul. And still, I am moving forward in very good healthy ways.

This week we did a home makeover and had crazy late hours, out of control chaos, and overwhelming excitement and joy. We blessed a family in a way that only our home makeover addicted team can. It was great to be back in the swing of things that were a significant part of my life and my passion.

I'm getting back to work and meeting with clients again - and I'm feeling momentum behind my computer work, graphic design and writing. My day-to-day life is feeling more routine and I'm getting used to the circumstances.

Sadly the other night I awoke after a nightmare - dreamed that cancer was eating away at my lower leg and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Seemed so real that I felt death was coming for me. I woke shaken and terrified all over again. And I was alone.

My sweet friend Marty found out this week that the cancer is now in both lungs. Talking with his wife Terry my heart sank to that very very sad place and all I could do on the way home was weep. So unfair. What will they go through? And their children?

I guess what I wish people knew most is that healing is not linear. In one area there can be wholeness, the ability to function, the ability to move forward. Yet, there are areas of brokenness that will take years - if ever - to address. The loss of a spouse - the death of dreams together - the pain of seeing someone suffer so intensely - that is so deep a wound with so many layers . . .

No one can judge what healing will look like or the process or path that healing takes. But for certain it is not a strait line - it is more like a mountain range with plenty of hills and drop offs. What I am grateful for are the people in my life that are steady - when the healing isn't.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Loves Like A Hurricane

Yesterday I blogged about mature trees. It was a magical day as I took a drive into the mountains to enjoy the fall colors before the snow comes. It was spectacular. The palette of ambers, yellows and greens were breathtaking. Especially though, the Aspens. With every whisper of the wind the leaves trembled and shook - evidence that there was movement in the air. Theirs was the evidence of invisible motion and direction. It was so hypnotizing that I could have sat for hours letting the fall breeze wash over me like a river.

When God puts something on your heart - whether it is a vision for the future, a person's name or their personal circumstance, or a cause, a calling - that "burden" He places begins to weigh on your mind. Like the river of invisible wind that was witnessed in the Quaking Aspen yesterday - that movement creates a response in us. And we change. Our thinking is incrementally redirected, our balance shifts, our perspective changes and if we are truly listening to God Himself, we bend.

The greatest growth we have is when we allow God to introduce an idea - plant a seed - and then we listen and let the burden fall on our hearts knowing that God wants us to be vulnerable to Him. We begin to pray for others (real prayers outloud with real tears) - we begin to sense conviction and a desire to restore relationships (and our pride melts) no matter the cost - and we yearn to see the face of God manifest in the darkest parts of our lives.

I invite you to let God place a burden on you - what has He created you for here on earth? What does He need you to change in your life to get to His path, His plan? And will you bend? Will you yield to what the Creator has in store for you?

Let God rush in like the wind - let Him love you like a hurricane. You can trust what He is doing in your heart even though you can't always see it.

Listen for a minute - close your eyes and listen to where God wants you to bend . . . never heard it quite so beautifully as in "How He Loves" by David Crowder. Close your eyes and feel the rushing wind through the Aspens in your heart. The colors will bring tears to your eyes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mature Trees

Lately I've been spending a lot of time thinking about landscaping. It's the harvest season and - I've thoroughly enjoyed the boxes of apples and peaches and the baking that is associated with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. As I flip through pages of Home & Garden I am drawn to the images of settled, thriving, abundant trees. Not only are they fruitful, but they are strong enough to resist the wind and elements - deep enough to thrive in difficult seasons.

I'm drawn in to the pictures of two wooden chairs beneath a weeping willow - sheltered by the shade in a pristine carpet of grass. Vines reach around and through, creating a net of grapes and beautiful fanning leaves. Wysteria clusters hang like friends bending an ear to an interesting topic and evergreens stand tall and courageous even in the threat of approaching snow.

As I look around in my world I see I am also drawn to people the same way. Drawn to those who make me see deeper, assess my life more profoundly, and yearn for maturity and wisdom. As my circumstances force me to stretch, I search for those who have also weathered difficult storms. What fruits have they produced? How do they stand tall and courageous? And what does it feel like to stand with them?

There is a season when the thrill of the first radish sprouts can bring a smile to my face. There is a time of excitement and beginnings. Today, I yearn for stability - that force - that steadiness - that comes from mature trees. Deeply rooted, unmoving, protected.

That is where I will pull up my wooden seat and rest. That speaks peace to my soul.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Know Thyself

Walking in to the medical office the young PA noticed the book under my arm - The Color Code. As I laid it on the counter he was even more intrigued, reading the subtitle sideways and even cocking his head to see the letters straight. "So, what color would I be?" he questioned. "Well, I don't know, tell me about yourself." He began with descriptions: "I am a hardworker - sometimes bossy. I don't really care what other people think. I can be insensitive sometimes. But, I set goals and achieve them and that's really important to me. " From his descriptions and the answers to some questions I told him he sounded like a red personality to me. (out of four colors - yellow, white, blue and red)

The information peeked his curiosity and he wanted to learn more from the free test - He was excited to know himself better.

Later in the day I was talking to a girlfriend about love languages. If your spouse does not understand what you perceive as love, he may be sending you affection all day long but you will never feel it. If you never articulate what love looks like to you, how can you and your beloved create that shared vision? It is not only significant to know your love language, but also know the words to ask for what you want and need. Can you articulate what love feels like? Do you feel loved completely? Have you ever? And what do you need most in a loving relationship? How do you show love best?

Too much self-absorbtion can reflect self-centerness. Too little can reflect a marytr. Self-awareness and self-knowledge can ultimately be the map that gets you to the ultimate destination - loving and being loved for who you truly are.

Know thyself -

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

There Is Hope At The Bottom

I knew it was in those boxes somewhere. The stacked brown packages were four high in my garage. They have been there since Paul died. All of the things I could not bear - I set them aside quietly and carefully knowing in the days and months ahead I would have more clarity to address them. Papers, photographs, pressed flowers . . . ten years of a life together folded up and stacked in a cold garage. And I needed to find one thing. Ugh.

Fighting the nausea I opened the first, rustled through the items and closed it, setting it aside. Not there. Opening the next, finding the obituary. Then the cards from family and friends - some even unopened still. Then prescriptions that never got filled - recommendations from specialists, appointment cards for appointments that never happened - Paul passed away before the dates even came. Before I found what I was looking for my garage floor looked like it had snowed recycling . . . and I was a sobbing mess sitting on top of it.

As I rocked back and forth crying, unable to even put the items back in the boxes, I remembered the story of Pandora's box. Greek mythology - the Greek god Zeus gave Pandora (the first woman) a box. Within that box held every misery and evil that could afflict mankind. Against his directions Pandora's curiosity overtook her and she opened the box - releasing misery into the world. When all of the demons and evil and misery had escaped only one thing remained at the bottom.


I panned the stacks and trinkets and journaling - it was as if my Pandora's box had been opened. It is now time to address these very painful issues so that I can move into the next season of my life. The loose ends. The memories that need a home. The chaos that needs order. It is honestly quite miserable and painful and devastating.

Still, I look to God for healing. "He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds" Psalm 147:3 He does send hope. It's right there at the bottom when everything seems lost.

Trust me . . . its there waiting for you to look. It won't be in the chaos, the misery, or the evil . . . but it will be in the quiet, in the stillness, in the emptiness . . . waiting for you to be ready.

Are you ready to hope again?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spoonfuls of Happy

There is a poster at my favorite yogurt shop which reads "A spoonful of happy". Something about that always makes me smile. I love that yogurt shop. Very cool seating, super healthy frozen yogurt, and a warm fire going. When I'm there even my toes are happy.

Life gets tough some days. Harsh realities, losses, grieving, seasons of change, relationship strains, financial pressure . . . we all feel it. It's good to have places of refuge. Life is a buffet filled with many things - thank heavens for the sweet spots.

My bible, a hug from my kids, my crazy dog, silly girlfriends, loving texts from my parents . . . and even a new crush that makes me giggle when my phone rings.

Mmmm. Among the difficult there is some sweetness. A soft place to land.

Thank you God - for giving me spoonfuls of happy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

You Can't Argue With That

"It's like I knew this couch in a previous life" my girlfriend jokingly explained. "It's like we were meant to be together! It cost me $2,000 but I just had to have it!" The rest of us ladies burst out in laughter. It was hard to take Micki seriously. Trailing off I couldn't argue with her. There are just those things in life with which we feel an affinity. And, it's the gravity, its the glue, its the pulse that then seems to orchestrate "one-ness" - a feeling of coming home - even if it is with a silly comfy cushy couch.

You just can't argue when someone has those kinds of feelings for something. You can talk til you're blue in the face, you can reason with facts and details, and you can promote a million other possibilities, but when someone has an affinity for something - a compulsion - a confirmation - well, it's like telling them to change their favorite color or their favorite dessert. Just not going to happen.

But then there is the bright side - where there is affinity there is passion. There is hope, there is fun, there is creativity, there is comfort. It's like slipping on your worn in sneakers and that faded pair of blue jeans. You may never be able to describe it or explain the way it makes you feel - but you know it. It's tangible. You just can't argue with the way that makes your soul sing. describes "affinity" in a chemistry term as "the force by which atoms are held together". Scientists don't even know why they do - they just do. Affinity. Like the heart's gravity. Draws things, holds things, strengthen things . . . orchestrating things coming together.

A couch that you knew in a previous life - the love of a mother to a child - the stuff of atoms - the strength that binds - that feeling of coming home - a favorite color . . . affinity in the shallowest term or affinity in the deepest . . . the stuff that make your soul sing. You just can't argue with that.