Full circle……

I have not posted anything in a while and I apologize.  Things have become incredibly busy in my world in the past 1-2 months.

Back in Dec. ’16, I started a spiritual journey and asked God to reveal a lot of things to me and to show me what I needed to do to  finally get the answer to a prayer that I have been praying for many years now.

I still don’t have the answer to my prayer but I believe without a doubt that it will be coming soon.

A few weeks ago, I went to church and we had a guest Pastor. His message was very powerful and I felt like he was talking directly to me.

He preached about how we get inpatient and lose faith between the time of asking God for something and waiting for Him to answer.

Very often our time table and God’s timetable don’t always align. God will also not give us something that we are not ready for or something that we will screw up once we get it.

This was powerful to me because it just validated everything I felt when I started my journey–that there were things that I needed to accomplish and learn before I could have my prayer granted.

Since the start of my journey, I have grown by leaps and bounds and have made huge changes in my life. I have walked away from a lot of people, places and things that were dragging me down and holding me back, amongst many other things.

On Jan 1, 17, when other people were making superficial New Year resolutions, I decided to cross something off my bucket list-learn photography. It was something that I always wanted to do. So on New Years day, I ordered my first “real camera” and signed up for a 6 week class at a local college.

In Feb, I was elected as a Board Member to my state’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Chapter.

A couple of months, ago, I decided to learn more about photography so I became a student at the New York Institute of Photography and I’m currently studying through them.

At my daughter’s urging, I created a FB page exclusively for my photography to showcase my work to a larger audience, a couple of months ago. I have people that I don’t know emailing me and making complimentary comments on my shots and my “talent”

I have also  been selling numerous prints, have been asked to set up a booth at a community art event and someone has even spoke to me about me being an “artist of a month” in a local gallery. My CPA friend suggested that I get a Tax ID number, which I now have–I don’t know what the hell to do with it, but I have it.

To say that I have been blown away by all of this would be a huge understatement.

It has been all so crazy and unexpected but yet, at the same time, I am the most content that I ever remember being in my adult life.

None of the above that I described would have happened if I would ve had my pray answered when I wanted too because I would ve been so caught up in that I would have neglected myself.

See how God works?

A long time before I was a nurse, I was actually a “starving artist”. For years, I played the clarinet, wrote poetry, lyrics, shorts stories etc. I also wanted to learn the artistic side of photography back then as well. However, people always thought I was a bit strange and just didn’t “‘get me”. I suppressed a lot of myself because I just didn’t fit in very much.

So I became a nurse, when push came to shove when I found out that I was pregnant.  At that time I was a “professional college student”.

I was forced to “grow up” so to speak and had to get myself grounded so I could be financially stable to raise my child.

For years, I buried the artistic side of myself and forgot that it was even there.

Once my daughter started getting older and went away to her residential high school, the artistic side has gradually been coming back-obviously.

Now, I feel like I am finally the person that I should ve been all along. There is a lot of freedom and self peace that comes along with that.

Since studying photography, I have been traveling throughout my state and even went on a cruise to Cozumel recently.  In doing all of this, I have spent a lot of time alone doing a lot of soul searching. This would not have happened if I wouldn’t have picked up a camera..and I wouldn’t have a camera if I would not have asked God to show me what I needed to do.

Again, full circle.

I “get” everything now. Before I can get my answer, I have to first find out who I am and be content with myself.

At any time now, I know that my answer will be coming because I feel like I am where God wants me to be–happy, content with a full understanding of myself.

For all of you reading, if I have any message to carry it’s this. Don’t ever be afraid of who you are, even though people may not understand you. You may stand alone but at least you will be content and true to yourself. Also, don’t ever be afraid to start something new, no matter your age. I will be 46 in a couple of weeks and have just started a new career/business. It is NEVER too late to live your dream.

Thanks for reading…

Peace & love

~Tiff

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Paying It Forward…

About 5 years ago, I was working as a staff nurse at a dialysis clinic. The hours were very rough. I had to wake up about 3 AM every morning to travel over 30 miles to be at the clinic for 4 30-5 AM.

My daughter stayed overnight at my parents house and they would bring her to school for me this next day. This helped so that I wouldn’t have to wake her up so early in the morning.

Eventually, life became very difficult and overwhelming because I worked a lot. I d wake up at 3 , be at work before 5 and work until 6-7 PM and have to travel the distance back home…and then do it all over again the next morning.

My daughter was spending more time at my moms then at home.

To make matters worse, I was barely making it paycheck to paycheck.

The car I had at the time had over 200 thou miles on it and desperately needed a new one.  In addition, the carpet in my house was so bad that I was too embarrassed to have people over to visit.

I ended up in a very despondent place and had become incrediably cynical and did not have any hope and faith in people, God and/or life anymore.

One day, on my lunch break, I went to the drive through of a coffee place close to the clinic.  Ahead of me, in line, was an older truck plastered in religious bumper stickers.

When it was my turn at the window, the server informed me that the lady in the truck paid for my coffee and sent me a message to have a “blessed year”.

Words just can not simply describe the feeling that small act of kindness gave me.

It touched me in a way that gave me hope and faith again. It was also the first time in years that I cried over something beautiful instead of something heartbreaking.

On occasion,  I have secretly wondered if that lady was actually an angel in disguise.

A couple of days after that, I was offered a job as a hospice nurse closer to my home with a significant salary increase. Between the new pay and the extra income from being on call, I was able to purchase a brand new car and went on to change the floors in my house, buy new furniture and do various other remodeling projects.

In addition, I gradually moved my way up to D.O.N which provided an even larger salary.

From there, I accepted another D.O.N. position of another agency.

This management experience gave me what I needed to be able to move on into the even better position that I am in now-a Senior nurse in a Fortune 500 Company that comes along with amazing benefits, an even better salary and what’s considered to be “posh” schedule in the medical world.

That small act of kindness at the drive through is what triggered it all.

All of this time, I never forget about that blessing that was given to me. I always knew that I needed to pay it forward but my intuition told me that I needed to wait for that “perfect time”.

Almost 5 years later, that “time” came.

On Sat, I was running around town and for some odd reason, I kept thinking about that incident and I just knew that I needed to do it that day.

I went to the drive thru of the coffee shop that my instincts told me to go to. At first, I was doubting myself  though because there was no car behind me.

Once I recieved my coffee from the worker, a car drove up behind me all of a sudden-and I knew that was the one.

So, I gave my credit card back to the employee and told her I wanted to pay for the lady behind me without even asking how much her order was.

I sincerely hope that I was able to pass on all the blessings that was so graciously given to me.

Never underestimate the power of a very small acts of kindness!

Thanks for reading!

Peace and love,

~Tiff

#payitforward  #randomactsofkindness

 

 

 

Talk Saves Lives

Talk Saves Lives, by the AFSP, is an introductory presentation on suicide awareness/prevention. Participants learn risks and warning signs and how they can become more involved in prevention.

It’s a great starter class for the more in depth programs that the AFSP offers.

Please asfp.org to find out how to  contact your local chapter to have a class scheduled in your area.

The following is a brief promo video:

 

 

#bethevoice #stopsuicide #suicideawareness/prevention

Vulnerability….

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Vulnerability….

I absolutely hate showing vulnerability. Hearing the word itself just terrifies the shit out of me…..

Last night, I had a soul to soul convo with a guy friend of mine and he discussed this issue with me–and how I need to start learning how to show it because it is intefering with my relationships, particulary with men.

He just may be on to something…

In my post Miracles do happen…., I share a small bit of my childhood. There is a lot left out but I think I said enough to where you can put the pieces together of what it was like. I don’t have problems sharing details with trusted people in private but for obvious reasons, I’d rather not share specifics in a public blog posts.

I was around 10-11 when I made the concious effort to never show vulnerability anymore. It was during a traumatic episode and I wanted to cry-but decided that I was NOT ever going to give that person the satisfication of watching me do that again. In addition, I was tired of also having other people laugh and make fun of me everytime I allowed my emotions to flow out. So I learned how to “swallow it” and put on my “tough girl suit”.

It was a survivor tool that I had to develope in order to get through my life.

Fast forward to my adulthood…

Those survivor skills carried over with me. Except that I had them so fine tuned that I became an emotionally unavailable person that became easily detachable and afraid of committment.

The one time that I did allow myself to become open in my adult life ended up breaking my heart

So the walls came up again even stronger then before.

Today, I have awesome friends and family that would do anything for me and I am very much loved. However, that wasn’t always the case. For many years, I was alone with very little to no support so I also became very self reliant-to a fault.

I had to fight and scape and crawl myself out of many very dark lonely black holes all by myself. It all helped me become a much stronger person and has gotten me very far in my career. In addition, I ve become to be known as the “strong” one that family and friends always come to for help-the “one” with enough courage etc to stand up and fight for them and jump in and solve their problems and take care of bad situations.

However, I have also been single and out of a long term relationship for 16 years..16 years.

The past year or so and especially in the past several months, I have been doing a lot of soul searching and self discovery. I’m not one of these women that blame men for failed relationships etc. I prefer to take responsibility for my own actions and see how I set the ball rolling instead.

Don’t get me wrong. I get asked out frequently and I have a lot of men that express interest in me and try and pursue me. I also have had many “short term ” relationships so I’m not exactly a total loner.

It’s just that I ve gotten so independent that I don’t like to bother with the ones that I initaly don’t like.  Unlike most, I know exactly what I want. My intuition and sence of people are pretty strong so it’s not neccesary for me to waste time getting involved in something that I already know won’t work out. I pick up on red flags rather quickly and in my gut, I just know. My  time is very valuable and I’m very busy so I just don’t have time to throw away.  I get a lot of criticism from my friends on this but they are not the ones living my life or walking in my shoes. I’m not going to settle! 

It takes someone really awesome and special to grab (and hold ) my attention. I have to have that “bam” to stop me in my tracks and make me take notice.  Unfortunately, I rarely find that and when I do, it’s not recipicated.

I know myself-I know myself very, very well. So I am aware that there are things that I ve done and/or maybe still doing that contributes to me pushing men away.

This past couple of years and especially the past few months, I have grown tremendously and I am so proud of myself for it. However, I feel like there is still a “missing piece” per say. It’s as if “it’s” almost there ready to come together for me but that one little piece is holding it back.

So returning back to my conversation with my friend…

My friend is incrediably spiritual and insightful. He told me that when I don’t show vulnerablility it gives men the impression that I’m “too strong” and that I don’t need them and that it can be very initimatding and a turn off for them. It may also send off vibes that I may be detached and appear to not be “real”.

He went on to tell me that I also need to open myself up more and share more of what I’ve been through with others.

I have been very open with sharing about my depression, sobriety and other traumatic events. So, at first, I couldn’t understand why he was telling me that. I started thinking that yes, even though I have shared that, I’m not really sharing about my feelings-only events.

On some occasions, I do share my feelings  but it’s in writing-it’s never face to face with someone. In my writings, I “let it out” but then afterwards I quickly shut them down again

I hate showing vulnerbility!!!

One of the reasons, I think, is because I was laughed and teased so much as a kid. Also, though, I want to be treated as a normal person. I don’t want people seeing me as some sort of a victim of circumstance and/or  have anyone pity me in any kind of way. To be honest, there’s also a  part of me that is afraid that some people will judge me or see me in a way that I don’t want to be seen in.

Despite all that I have been through, I REFUSE to victimize myself! Life is what it is and it’s your choice as to how you deal with it. I chose to deal with it by letting it make me stronger to get further in life and to help others who are struggling with the same things.

So in my mind, to show my feelings and emotions is some sort of a submission.

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I do fully understand though that this “coping mechanism” is not always healthy and the older I get I do see how it inteferes with my relationships and interactions with people.

My personal goal is to continue to grow and to continue to let my guard down. I very much want to be with someone one day. An amazing great guy that I can emotionally be there for.  Someone that I can do life with side by side. I want to be that great awesome girl that is the answer to someone’s prayer…and I want him to be the answer to mine.

However, I’m scared but I can not exactly pin point what it is that scares me so much.

Last Sunday, my Pastor said something that caught my attention. “There is always something great waiting on the other side of fear” That planted a seed in my mind that stayed with me all day.

Later that evening, is when I had the talk with my friend.

Looking back, I ‘m starting to see how things lined up to bring me to where I am right now-where I need to be. For a long time, I’ve been asking for God to guide me and show me what I need to do to grow some more because I knew I was not done yet…and here I am.

Maybe my friend is right….and that “missing piece” is that I need to stop “putting on a front” and to overcome my fear of exposing myself.

As I said, I desperately want to be able to have that “guy” and to have all my pieces of my puzzle together.

In order to do that, I need to finally break down……as much as I hate too….I mean really, really hate to…..I feel that I do need to do this to get to that “something great” on the other side.

Here are some things that I’ve never shared:

  1. Overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed a lot. I am very busy and commute almost 2 hours a day for work. My house and yard is entirely too big for just me and my daughter. Its very difficult to try to keep up and it breaks me down sometimes. I also have too much pride to invite people over when it’s not as clean as I want it to be. However, I have recently found someone to help me–and it took a lot for me to ask for help
  2. My weight. It goes up and down and when it’s on the upside, my self confidence plummets and it keeps me from dating
  3. My left eye. The muscles and nerves in my left eye is messed up. It doesn’t always move like it should. I got laughed at and picked on a lot because of this when I was a kid. People, adults, sometimes laugh at me to this day–and he hurts. These same people would probally not laugh at anyone that is disabled but I’m fair game for some reason. This has always held my self esteem back and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough when I was younger-and sometimes still now.
  4. I pretend like things don’t bother me when in fact they do. Like when a guy I like starts seeing someone else. I’ll wish him well and play “tough girl” but the truth is that I’m crushed and disappointed on the inside. I m also scared that I am going to end up old and alone.
  5. I have a tooth that needs to be fixed. This really, really bothers me and at this time, I can not afford to have it done because of my daughter’s graduation expenses. I always hope that no one notices it especially at my office.

So there you go…

I’m now sitting at my kitchen counter, fully clothed, but yet feel completely stripped.

I must admit, there is a little more lightness in my heart now and it wasn’t as bad as I thought that it would be…

Here’s to the start of finding that “something great” on the other side…

How does your Jesus flag fly?

My Pastor spoke  a lot of very profound things today. I was inspired by a lot of thing that he preached on.

The very first thing he touched on, “Let your Jesus flag fly”

Our Church serves as a perfect example of how this should be done.

My parish is known as one of the poorest in the state. Its reputation is also accompanied by a high crime rate and a lot of prejudice. When I speak of the work prejudice, I’m referring to more then the racial aspect. This includes discrimination against the rich, the poor, the gay community, different religions etc.

This church,my church, is a non denominational one that was started with the a goal of crossing all the barriers and bringing everyone together to worship as children of God,thus throwing all those other labels out the window.

The goal was accomplished as the congreation is represented by  racial, political and economic diversity. One of the reasons why I love it so much. It truly is a beautiful thing.

In any case, Pastor told the story of how we were all brothers and sisters in Christ before anything else. So we have to fly our “Jesus Flag” higher then any other social flag/label. That means that we are supposed to both look at and treat each other as such-instead of labeling and dividing each other up into social /political groups.

I wish everyone could have heard that message

In the world of social media comment wars, violent rallies, hate crimes, media and political figures that are race baiting etc…

They are all flying  their personal flags over their Jesus flags.

At the end of the day, we are all children of God, which means we are all one in the same. We are not black, white, Liberals, Conservatives, Gay, Straight and all those other labels and stereotypes.

So why don’t we all try flying our Jesus flags instead?

The God of my understanding, doesn’t want us to hate. He wants us to love, show kindness and tolerance to everyone regardless of how different they may be from us-In the same way that He shows unconditional love, tolerance, grace and kindness to us. However, people continue to  put their other personal agendas ahead of that.

What a sad state of the world that we are in because of this.

I have learned in life that you can be either a part of the solution or part of the problem. Our society desperately needs solutions right now. Therefore, I will do what I can to not contribute to the problem by trying to keep my Jesus flag flying at all times.

Tonight, I’m going to pray that we start seeing more Jesus flags and less of the others…

 

The journey to my “yes” continues…Part III When God says no

So, it’s been about 12 days since my last update to my “journey” so I thought I d reflect on what I’ve learned since then.

It’s just all been mind blowing to me. When you sincerely and humbly ask God to show you what you need to learn, He certainely doesn’t disappoint.

Every day, I’ve been praying and talking to Him. I’m starting to recognize all the “resistence” that Matthew Kelly talks about in his book, Resisting Happiness., that I talked about in my previous post to this one. I may not always recognize it at that very moment in time, but I am starting to realize it later and can go back and try and correct it.

What I’ve learned is that I’m a lot more raw, honest and direct in writing then I am in person and I need to start tranferring that into my direct “real” interactions with people.  I also have a lot of walls built up and a life time of “resistence” that has helped me to survive a lot of very dark moments and protected me from a lot of hurt . This “resistance” is how I was able to survive all that I did as a kid.

I’ve gone through therapy, the 12 Step Programs and all it’s associations and I credit it all in helping me to get where I am now. However, I’m starting to see that all this “resistence” never really goes away permanently, despite everything that you do to get rid of it. It’s always sitting and waiting to creep in and you don’t realize its  there until you get to a point in your life that you realize that you are being called to make significant changes.

All this “resistance” is like self sabatoge. The “voice” within that tries to feed you negativity and stops you from having faith and believing in yourself. Its very quiet and creeps up so slowly that you don’t even realize that it’s there until it’s pointed out to you. I never realized how bad it was until I humbly asked God to show what I needed to learn so that I can finally get my “yes” -the favorable answer to the request that I’ve been praying for the past few years.

Additional things that I’ve learned is that I need to be more open and listen to people more. I get so busy and wrapped up in my career and in my own thoughts that I forget to do that. By doing so, I m missing out on a lot of connections and opportunities to build friendships.

Once I realized that, I started asking God to send more people in my life that I can befriend to grow and learn from in the way that He’d like me to do. He has definetly been doing that. I’ve made several new friends in the past couple of weeks and in the course of doing so, everything that I’ve been learning has been validated in some form or fashion. One friendship in particular never would ve happened, if I didn’t recognize the “resistance” I originally put up when we first encountered.

I’ve also noticed that I’m learning how not to be so hard on myself. My biggest flaw has always been perfectionism. It’s like its engrained in me that I have to have friendships, my career, my daughter’s life…everything in my life to go perfectly and have it all fall into place as I see fit…and  that I always have to say the right things and if I don’t, I will f** things all up.  In the midst of doing this, I forgot that people just do things and shit just happens and that it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve done anything wrong. I’m also remembering that I’m human and making mistakes is just part of life.

My “self care” regime has also gotten better. I’m working out again and eating better, as well as taking time out to relax some. I’m even taking more lunch breaks at work ( I typically work through lunch)

One thing that I’ve always wanted to learn was photography. It’s always been that “one” thing that I said I wanted to learn “one day”.

Although, my childhood was tragic, I know that my parents loved me the very best that they could and did the best that they were capable of doing. My dad, or the man that I refer to as my dad, learned photography when he was in the Army and continued with it until he died. He was very talented and he inspired me to want to learn. After he passed, I was given his camera, which was his most prized possession. The camera is know pretty outdated but I still want to learn it-because it was his and it’s the only thing that I have of him.

On the morning of New Years Day, I woke up and decided that “one day” was going to be that day. I went online and ordered my first “real” camera along with a “bundle” of accessories and I signed up for a photograpy class. My plan is to learn this new “high tech” camera first and then start learning my dad’s film version. I’m very excited about finally being able to do something that I’ve always wanted to do!

So, thats where I am now and the progress that I have made in the past 12 days or so. I’m really enjoying this “journey” and I’m grateful that I didn’t ignore the call to start it.

In another week or so, I’m looking forward to reflecting back again to see how much more I have grown and I’m very excited to see what else God reveals and brings to me.

Hopefully, I’m on the right path to finally getting my “yes”

Thanks for reading,

Peace & love

~Tiff

 

 

 

The journey to my “yes”part II When God says no

If you guys remember, I recently wrote a post titled “When God says no”. In it, I talked about how I’ve been praying for one specific thing for years now and it keeps getting rejected.

So, I decided to dig deeper spiritually and ask God to show me what I need to do/learn/overcome in order to finally get my “yes”

Ever since then, I’ve been praying and mediating heavily every day. I’m currently on my 3rd novena and I  have been talking and praying to God constantly throughout the day. There were even moments that I felt the need to drop everything and go somewhere private and pray for specific things.

The following are some of the things that have been revealed to me:

  1. God is everything or He is nothing. I need to put my dependence on Him again. My self worth, as well as all of my needs, should be placed on HIM-not on me or anyone else.  This is something that I ve always known but I’ve become so wrapped up in myself and life that I phased it out.

2.  Healing. One of the things that I felt the need to drop on my knees to pray about is            healing from a relationship.

3. Purge. I need to purge. I’ve bought my home in 2000 and I still have boxes in closets that I never unpacked and a cluttered extra bedroom that is never used. A lot of the stuff is reminders of my past and my marriage. I’ve made huge leaps in getting rid of a lot of stuff and reorganizing in the past few days.

4.  I need to take better care of myself.  I’m a workaholic. Since  I don’t have a very big family,  my daughter and work are basically all that I have. My job is what provides for my daughter so I always throw myself into it. I’m the one that always goes in early, stays late, works through lunches and  weekends.  In the past, I always volunteered to work every holiday that my daughter wasn’t with me. When I was doing hospice, I worked Mon-Fri and did 24/7 call and went up to a month at a time without a day off.

Almost 2 years ago, I was blessed to get a job with the absolute best company that I have ever worked for thus far in my nursing career.  I absolutely love my job and my company and I look forward to going to work every day. So I get so wrapped up in it that I completely block out everything else and hyperfocus on my job. I m really good at it and take great pride in that but I forget that my life can’t be all about it.

One of the things that I love to do is run and work out. However, I’ve been so caught up in work that I just let it slide to the wayside. I also enjoy eating healthy but that has also gone out the window as of late.

Since I haven’t been taking the time to take care of myself, my anxiety level has been through the roof. I’ve had moments of wondering if I needed a daily Rx. Having to face a possible breast cancer diagnosis last month certainely didn’t help things either.

So, I’ve been working on taking care of me again. I actually took 7 days off work since my last post and went on a couple of mini vacay’s with my daughter. Also,  I started working out again. Since then, my stress level has dropped dramatically.

I need to ask God to help me to take time for myself every day. It’s just not healthy for me to keep going like that and I will never have time for my “yes” if I don’t change it.

5.  Self sabotage, perfectionism and beating myself up. I do this all the freaking time. If you read my post regarding my 29th sobriety bday (miracles do happen), then you know that I was raised in a pretty dysfunctional home and grew up being told that “I was a lazy good for nothing kid that would never amount to anything”. Those kinds of words stick in the depths of your subconcious. On the surface level, I’m over it but deep down, I think it still lingers and sabatages me without me even knowing it. I need to get rid of it. I’m constantly fighting a little voice that tells me that I’m not good enough-despite how far I have come in my life. As I said, on the surface level, I know that not to be true but its like a little devil sitting on my shoulder waiting to jump in and take over.   I always always beat myself up as well-for any little thing that I don’t do perfectly

I grew up Catholic but I have been going to a non demoninational church. However, for Christmas Eve, I felt drawn to go to mass for the first time in years. I couldn’t understand why I wanted to go  until the priest gave out a free book to everyone. The book is called “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly. It’s about how we subconciusly block ourselves from happiness and how to overcome it. God knew exactly what He was doing when he directed me to that mass. He always knows what we need.

So I am now reading this book and doing what is suggested. Hopefully that will help as well. I want to finally have my “yes”.

Thanks for reading. I hope everyone had a very special Christmas.

Till next time…

God’s Speed