Monday, July 29, 2013

Mother, Grandmother, and Friend

On May 11, 2013 the world lost a beautiful person. She was my grandmother and today would have been her 87th birthday.

Loa Tucker was a strong lady. She experienced much adversity throughout her life, but she never gave up, never quit doing the best that she could. She raised seven children and although she wasn't a perfect mother (is there really such a thing) she loved each and every one of them with all her heart. Not long before her death I had the opportunity to sit with her and ask what was one thing she wanted people to remember about her and without any hesitation she replied, "That I loved my kids"

When I was growing up Grandma lived in Wyoming and so I didn't get to see her very often. My childhood memories of her are kind of vague. I remember little things like the fact that she ALWAYS had a packet of certs in her purse and would let me eat them like they were candy. I remember she loved driving around town in her Lincoln, so much so that it made me feel special riding in the car with her. I even remember the day she sat me on the grass and gave me the birds and the bees talk! When I was about ten years old I went and stayed the summer in Wyoming with her. We went camping together and even took a little trip to the ghost town of South Pass City. However, the thing that stands out most to me from that summer was waking up every morning and eating breakfast together while we watched The Price is Right. I looked forward to it everyday.

Grandma eventually moved to Utah and I was able to spend a lot more time with her. This is when our relationship started to change from just grandma/granddaughter to a friendship. In her younger years she wasn't one who really stuck to the straight and narrow, so it was a big deal the day my grandma got her first temple recommend and went through the temple. I wasn't able to be there with her that day, but I was so happy that because she had made that decision she was able to be there with me when I went through the temple for the first time. It meant so much to me to have her there.

For the last several years I have gone to visit her almost weekly. I loved just sitting and chatting with her about all the things going on in my life...she wanted to know every detail! A little over a year ago I decided that I needed to get some of Grandma's stories recorded. I would take a tape recorder with me to our visits and then ask her all kinds of questions about her life, her memories, and basically anything she would tell me. These were precious moments for me. I came to know her in a way I never could have otherwise. We really became close as she shared with me the story of her life. I also came to love people I'd never met, people who died before I was old enough to remember them. I came to love them because I could feel her love for them.

For years we have known that Grandma wasn't in very good health. We knew that we could lose her at anytime, but even knowing that didn't prepare us for the day we actually did lose her. In the back of our minds it felt as though she'd be with us forever. I look back now and cherish even more those days we had together chatting about her life and just chatting in general. They are memories I will hold dear for the rest of my life. I'm extremely grateful I listened to the prompting I had to record her stories. I didn't know what was around the bend, but someone else did.

Today as we celebrate her 87th birthday I close my eyes and picture her celebrating in heaven. I imagine she's up there playing some grand organ somewhere and dancing with Grandpa. I'm sure she misses those she's left behind here just as we are missing her, but it's comforting to know that this wonderful Mother, Grandmother, and Friend is probably a lot closer than we know showering her love upon us in ways we may never realize.

I love you Grandma, Happy Birthday.

video


In the Blink of an Eye

The past three months have been a mixture of emotions for me and my family. Within this short time my grandmother passed away, my brother got married, I had surgery, and now we are preparing for my sister to have surgery the first part of September. 

It's crazy to me how quickly life changes. Big life events like these literally change the course of our lives. I am realizing that life will never quite be the same; never quite the way it was prior to three months ago. If you had told me the way my day to day life would be right now I would never have believed you. Yet, here I sit, a world changed forever by a handful of moments. 

One thing I have learned from all of this is that you cannot take one second of life for granted. Life is anything but predictable. None of us know what waits for us around the bend. You never know how much time you have left with those you love. You never know how many healthy days you have left. You don't realize how much impact even happy changes can have on you. Life is to be treasured every single day and not wasted away hoping for better days, more time, or even for life to simply continue on the way it is. 

It reminds me of a poem I wrote several years ago following my brain surgery where I almost lost my life. I hope you'll read it and take a step back to be thankful for the many blessings you have and to let those in your life know how much you care for them. Celebrate Life Now!

A Lesson Learned

"Quickly! Get over here!
You're wasting valuable time.
Don't let her see our fear,
But her life is on the line."

Those were the words the doctor said,
The ones I was not to hear,
As I lay there in that hospital bed,
And wiped away a tear.

Dark fear was pounding at my heart,
Fierce pain took my breath away,
As I hung my head to ask the Lord,
"Please bring me through this awful day."

My life has taken a new turn,
My eyes have opened wide.
A scary way for this lesson to be learned,
But it's what I needed inside.

The sun rises every day,
The trees grow higher and higher.
Flowers bloom along the way,
A bright spring day, now a little brighter.

Take time to watch the sunset,
And view the flowers around the bend.
Celebrate each day you've met,
You never know when it will end.

-Tiffany Goodson

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Do the Right Thing

"You will have challenges and hard decisions to make throughout your life. But determine now to always do what is right and let the consequence follow. The consequence will always be for your best good. You will learn that it is easiest over the long run to stand for what is right and do the difficult thing to begin with. Once you take that position, following through is not too hard. An individual who cuts corners and justifies some departure from true standards for whatever reason finds that seeds are planted that produce problems later. Those problems are far more difficult to overcome than taking a correct stand initially." Elder Richard G. Scott (Ensign, June 1997)

I came across this quote earlier today and have had it on my mind all day. I know that doing the right thing is not always easy, in fact sometimes it's extremely hard, but I have also come to know that doing the right thing is always the best thing to do...no matter what.

Going to church last Sunday when I didn't feel well at all wasn't the easiest thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. It was tough smiling and pretending I felt okay, and once I got home I seriously just crashed into bed, but I was able to partake of the sacrament, and feel the spirit. Paying my tithing the first of every month isn't an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing. My budget is very tight and I'm not always sure how I'm going to make it through the rest of the month, but as I had my tithing to a member of the bishopric I get that peaceful feeling that things will all work out and I just have to trust in that. Finding a modest dress for my brothers wedding isn't an easy task, but I know that it is the right thing. Many in the world have lost sight of the Lord's standards for dress. They have traded faith for fashion. I know that the Lord will bless me as I stick to His standards and place faith above fashion.

The right thing will always be the right thing and when we do what is right the Lord will bless us for our faith and obedience. Things will always work out better in the end if we do the right thing to begin with. I have a strong testimony of this!

Luvs & Hugs

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Focus on the Fun

I recently started a new medication and whenever you do that there seems to always be a few bumps along the road that need figuring out as the body adjusts to the medication. I have spent a lot of time at the hospital lately trying to get the correct testing and diagnosis to iron out these bumps for me.

I spend enough time at the hospital that it is kind of like a second home to me. I've had several surgeries, procedures, tests, and emergency room visits. One thing I have learned through all my time in this place is that you have to do things to make it fun, because the hospital is pretty much the least fun place you could be...I mean they don't even have good food!


This picture was taken the day of my first surgery. I was getting my tonsils out. Now, you can look at this and think of all the not fun things going on around me from the sterile hospital equipment all around to the fact that I'm about to wake up in a lot of pain. However, I love looking at this and all the fun I am having. I am totally wearing my clown pj's (what's more fun than that!), I get to ride to the OR in this fancy schmancy red wagon, and in a little while I get to wake up and eat as many popsicles as I want!

Last summer I was in the hospital a lot for various procedures and one particular day I was up there for a spinal tap. They had me change into some sterile hospital clothes for the procedure and afterward as I was changing back I commented to my mom about how comfortable I thought the hospital pants were. The next thing I know she opens up the closet containing the hospital clothes and starts stuffing pants into my purse. I looked at her like she was crazy and then just started laughing! She was stealing pants for me. She placed my wallet on top of the pants and zipped my purse up as much as she could so you couldn't see the pants. As we made our way out of the hospital she kept saying things like "Just act natural, no one will ever know", then we would both just laugh. To this day I find myself laughing whenever I wear a pair of my stolen hospital pants. 

Life gives us situations that are tough and sometimes we are surrounded by things that just aren't fun. It is up to us to find a way to smile through the pain. Every bad situation has the potential for joy and laughter it's all in how you approach it and whether you decide to focus on the pain or make it as fun as possible. I'm not saying it's easy and at times we can't do it on our own. We must turn to family and friends to help us find the laughter in our sorrows. I stayed at my mom's most of last summer due to the health challenges I was experiencing and recall having one day that was particularly tough. I spent most of the day lying on my mom's bed just crying because of the pain I was in and the depressing state of my health. My mom came home from work and found me like this at first she was concerned and asked what was wrong and then she decided I had spent enough time lying there crying about it so she got next to me on the bed and just started tickling me. I was upset at first...the last thing I was in the mood for was being tickled...but she was relentless and wouldn't let up until I started laughing. We all have someone in our lives that can tickle the pain our of us either literally or figuratively. So, choose now to find a way to laugh through the pain you are going through and focus on the fun. 

Luvs & Hugs

Monday, March 11, 2013

Caterpillar Days


“There is nothing in the caterpillar that tells you it is going to be a butterfly.” Buckminster Fuller

A friend of mine sent this quote to me today and I had to post it on here. I like it a lot. You don't look at a caterpillar and view it as a butterfly, just like there are days I look in the mirror and don't see the butterfly inside of me.

We all have days where we feel like a sluggish caterpillar eating everything in sight as we mope around. We may look in the mirror and think we can't go outside today or else we will frighten people. We may be facing a problem and think we don't have what it takes to overcome it. Caterpillar days are ones where we don't feel very confident in ourselves. Our self-esteem may be low and we are struggling to find the joy in our day. Our thoughts are consistently negative and self-defeating. Caterpillar days don't always happen every day, but they do happen and we all have them.

Sometimes though, we may find ourselves stuck in a caterpillar rut...you have several caterpillar days in a row and just can't seem to see your inner butterfly. So, what do you do to get yourself out of a caterpillar rut??

Here are some things I do:

Activities: I find something I enjoy doing and force myself to do it even if I'm not "feeling" it. This can be crafts, hobbies, reading, shopping, etc. I enjoy card making. I started doing it because I hate buying cards that people are just going to throw away anyway and I had a bunch of scrapbooking material so I just decided to make my own. I discovered I rather enjoyed it. I like seeing the reaction people have when they realize you have given them a handmade card. It makes it more personal. It's something I can physically do to lift my spirits and distract my mind from the caterpillar thoughts.

Contributing: Do something to help someone else. Contribute something to the world around you. I love volunteering to help others. It gets me out of my caterpillar state of mind and puts others at the forefront of my day. Serving others makes you feel good inside and that is a butterfly feeling any day! It doesn't have to be something big, just be thoughtful and find a way to contribute something that will benefit someone else.

Environmental Changes: Sometimes a caterpillar day comes because you are stuck in behind a desk all day or stuck in the house all day. A change of environment can create a change in attitude. Take a small break, go outside, feel the sun on your face, breathe in fresh air. If you can't completely change your physical environment then change your mental environment. Listen to some uplifting music, read some jokes, view an inspiration video on you tube. Whatever it is you do make it the opposite of how you are feeling.

Gratitude: On caterpillar days we tend to see only the things that are causing us to feel down and we don't see the many blessings surrounding us. Grab a pen and paper and write down the things you are thankful for. Take time to look around you and notice things you may not have noticed before. The air you breathe, the beauty of a flower, the comforts of a pillow, etc. Challenge yourself to see how many things you can come up with, don't just stop at five or ten, list as many as you can!

These are just a few of the things I do on my caterpillar days. I'd love to hear some of the things you do that I have not listed. We are all butterflies but it takes some hard work to break through our cocoons and discover that butterfly within us. The great thing is that we all have the power to do it! Every one of us can do it! Not a single person on this planet has to be stuck being a caterpillar if they don't want to. You just have to make the choice.

Luvs & Hugs

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Child Within

Have you ever had the urge to do something that society says you shouldn't because it would make you immature? Laugh at a joke that shouldn't be funny? Snuggle with a stuffed animal? Watch Saturday morning cartoons?

No matter how old we get every one of us has a child inside that will never really grow up. We long for the fun carefree lifestyle we lived has children. We still want to wish upon a star and have believe all our dreams will come true. Yet we tend to take this child and stuff them into a corner. We tell them they have no right to be silly, and that they need to grow up and forget about the childish nonsense of dreams and wishes. We are too afraid that someone will see our goofiness and judge us. We don't want to be looked down upon for the way we are acting. I wonder though, if they would really look down on us or if they would be more inclined to join us? 

I recently came across a photo of my friends and I on spring break a few years ago. We went to San Diego to soak up the sun and get away from the stresses of college life. One of places we went during the trip was Legoland. A theme park designed mostly for younger children. We didn't care. We had so much fun that day! We even rode a little roller coaster, laughing and screaming as if we were at Six Flags. I recall the ride attendant smiling and commenting on how much fun we were having. We then asked him to take our picture, because we didn't want to forget that moment.


Take a minute today to celebrating this child within. I believe that you are never too old to be goofy. Life would be so boring if we never took the time to be silly and do something maturity says we shouldn't.Sure, people might judge you; they may even call you immature, but do you really need their approval? Don't worry about other people and do this for you. Go cuddle with a teddy bear and watch some cartoons. Go jump on the trampoline with your kids, run through the sprinklers, or even have a pillow fight. You know you want to!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Family means Love

With today being Valentines Day, I wanted to write about the people I love....and since it's Throwback Thursday I am posting some old pictures of those people. 

I recently read a statement that said, "Family: Today's little moments become tomorrow's precious memories." That is exactly how I feel about my family. I have so many precious memories with these people that are so close to me. Memories I hope to never forget. 

The members of my family are definitely my best friends. For me family truly means love. It means loving and being loved for the rest of your life...no matter what. Family means always having someone there to talk to, and always having someone there to listen. It means you are part of something extraordinary. Family means always having someone to laugh with and laugh at. It is the purest form of love that exists. 

Families are not always perfect and mine is no exception, but with every bump in the road we experience we grow closer together. It's because of the hard things we've had to go through that I know my family members are always there to lean on. I know I can call them any time day or night and they will be there to help me in times of need. Watching members of my family hit hard times and then fight their way back means that I know I can do it too. We are all there to support and encourage one another. We come together in the trials. 

My family is kind of crazy. We like to have fun and that means lots of laughs. Families are the people you can act like a complete fool around and they'll still love you the next day...but in my family it also means that they'll join you in acting like a fool. In the picture below you'll see a photo of my mom and I playing in the ocean in our street clothes. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We had just arrived in San Diego and wanted to quickly check out the beach, but didn't plan on playing in it just yet. However, the temptation to get our feet wet was too enticing and before you know it we were in up to our knees. People were looking at us like we were nuts and as we walked back to the hotel someone asked why in the world we had done it. We just smiled and laughed and said "Why not?" It was crazy, but it was fun, and it is a wonderful memory. I have so many other memories like this. Road trips with my brother, dance parties with my sister, laughs upon laughs upon laughs!

I love my family to the moon and back and I know they feel the same way. 




Monday, February 11, 2013

One Word

Life is a journey of discovery and change. We all have goals, dreams, desires. We have things we want to do in our future, and things we want to quit doing. For one reason or another we all want to do better, be better, grow, develop, and change. This desire for growth is something I believe is in all of us. The things we want to change are different for everyone. We all have our own unique strengths and weakness. We all have different things we need to change and/or improve on in order to grow and reach our full potential. One thing I have learned is that the more we grow and improve upon our personal weaknesses the more we become who we were meant to be...who we truly are on the inside. 

Think of some ways in which you want to grow. Is there a certain thing you need to change in order to find that growth? Is there something you feel is missing from your life that you want to find and hold onto until it becomes a part of you? Is there specific goal you want to achieve? 

Now, that you've been thinking about what it is you need in order to further develop into the person you want to be I have another question for you... How would you describe that in one simple word?? 

I am getting ready to start on a project, a personal journey of discovery. It is a year long journey focused on one thing. In fact it is all focused on one word. The basic idea of this project is that you choose one word to focus on for the year. Then each month there are certain mini projects that you do to help this word take life in you. The goal is to really take time to cultivate what this word means for you and your personal desires for growth and by the end of the year it is something that you have not only learned from, but that has changed you, helped you to breathe deeper, see clearer, grow, and become more of the real you. 

As I prepare to begin this year long journey I am trying to decide what word I am going to choose for this project. I have had many words come to mind and am trying to choose the one that will mean the most to me. Here are a few of the words I'm trying to choose from: hope, happiness, faith, love, and peace. 

What would your word be? Please comment on this blog or my facebook post and let me know. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this. Also keep in mind that I may be blogging about this journey I'm embarking on several times throughout the year...just a head's up! 


Luvs & Hugs
Tiff

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hidden Talents??

Throwback Thursday: I've been reading through some of my old journals lately and love reminiscing about the past and looking at how it has or hasn't affected who I am today. I decided that every Thursday I'm going to write a blog post about something in my past. Could be from when I was little or maybe it was just last year. I don't know, we're just going to try it and see how it goes. 

When I was in elementary school we had to write a poem about wishes for Language class. I recently came across the poem I wrote and couldn't help but chuckle.

 If I Had A Wish

If I had a wish then it would be that I had more wishes
one, two, three
The first one I'd use would be for others. 
For all abused children, I'd wish them kinder fathers and mothers
The second one would be for my family
My sister, my brother, my father and mother.
That we would grow closer in kindness and love,
So we can be together forever above.
The best wish of all I'd save until last.
All my friends and I to my house we will flock,
To hear a song being sung to me by 
New Kids on the Block!

I used to be SO obsessed with New Kids On The Block. I had NKOTB backpack, lunchbox, tons of albums, and even a doll that looked like the lead singer. They were the One Direction of my day and it makes me laugh to look back now at how crazy and obsessed I was over them. I can definitely say this was a stage I grew out of. 

Looking back on this poem though I realize how much I loved to write even at a young age. I was too busy being a kid to realize it, but the passion for writing was always there. When I was in second grade I submitted a writing piece for my school's Reflections contest. A contest where students are encouraged to use their creative talents to express themselves in an original piece of work. I don't think I really understood all of that when I was six, but I was encouraged by my teacher and my parents to participate, so I did. The theme that year was "I'm Proud To Be...". I wrote an essay on how proud I was to be the sister of a child with Down Syndrome. I honestly didn't think it was anything special when I submitted it to my teacher. Then came the shocking news that I had won in my category. I felt special and have kept that essay all these years. When I was young I had no idea how much writing would mean to me as I got older. I had no idea how this talent would play a role in my life. I also didn't realize how much this writing thing was a part of my life when I was a child until recently when I came across this poem and took time to sit and think about all the writing I did as a kid. I thought my love of writing started when I was in high school, but the more I think about it I realize that it started much earlier than that. 

God has given each of us gifts and talents. Some of us know exactly what those talents are and how to use them, others of us are still trying to figure it out. I know He has not left us alone in this search. If you are one who is still trying to figure out what your special talent is I encourage you to go read your patriarchal blessing, read through old journals, take an inventory of things you enjoy, and things you are naturally good at, and most importantly pray about it. I'm still trying to figure out what it is I'm supposed to be doing with my writing and how the Lord wants me to be using this talent. It is a life-long process, but there is joy in the journey as we discover more about ourselves and the amazing things we can do. 

Now, I'll leave you with a small piece of my old obsession.... :)


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Resolutions, Goals, Commitments?

I can't believe it is already the middle of January? Where did all that time go? I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Years. I think New Years shouldn't start on January 1st. I think it should start sometime mid-January...like now. I set these resolutions and get on pinterest and plan all these fun things I'm going to do every day of 2013 (that's still weird to me), but then life gets so busy with Christmas and family things and the celebrating of the year change that I forget all about those goals until things settle down a bit. The problem is that by then I've already broken the goal to do certain things every day of the year, because my brain didn't come out of the holiday coma until 2-3 weeks into the year. Now you know why I believe the "new year" shouldn't really start counting until about mid-January....at least in my world.

So, now that I've woken from my holiday coma I want to talk about my goals for the year. The things I hope to accomplish and areas of my life I desire to improve on. As I write my list I hope you think of your list, and if you're like me and life is just barely coming together after the holidays your "new year" can start now as well!

1. My Stake Presidency gave us a few challenges for the new year. One is something that is simply called the 1, 10, 15 Plan. They would like us to perform 1 act of Christian service a day. It doesn't matter how small or big just doing something Christlike for another person. My stake has always been one that had sacrament meeting last, which I know isn't very common in the church anymore but that's the way it's been, at the beginning of the year they switched it so that we have sacrament meeting first. I guess we were finally righteous enough to join in the traditions of the bulk of the church! Because of this change and wanting to maintain reverence in sacrament meeting they have asked us to always leave 10 minutes early for church. I am working on this one, but so far am not doing so well in this goal. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Finally they have challenged us all to read our scriptures at least 15 minutes each day. Thus, the 1, 10, 15 Plan. These are three challenges that I am hoping to be able to accomplish each day/week. I know that as I follow through with these goals I will draw closer to the Spirit.

2. The other major thing the Stake President challenged us to do was to read the entire Book of Mormon by July 1st. I am also hoping to accomplish this. However, I don't really enjoy just reading the Book of Mormon. I like to study it. Study always takes a bit longer than reading, but if I don't finish by the deadline I'm sure the Lord will understand. I have decided to study the doctrines and principles of the Book of Mormon. I am marking each in a different color as well as writing down all the ones I find in my study notebook. So, far this has been a really fun journey. I am excited about the things I am learning and doctrines and principles I've read a million times that I never realized were there. It is helping me to see the Book of Mormon in a completely different light and strengthening my testimony that there is no way Joseph Smith could have just "written" this book. It is a divine gift from my Heavenly Father filled with things to bless my life.

3. I am going to keep a gratitude journal. I know the point is to start on January first and write down 365 things you are thankful for, but I'm sure I'll have days there I will write more than one thing so It'll make up for the first 19 days I've missed. To me the point of a gratitude journal is to help me focus more on all the wonderfully positive things in my life. The amazing blessings I receive each and every day. I'm so looking forward to this!!

4. My last goal is to continue the goals I've already been living in my life. I want to continue to eat healthier, and drink more water. I want to continue building my self-confidence and living up to the potential that is within me.

I hope you have goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. I hope you have goals that are simple enough you can follow through with them and once you've reached those goals set them a little bit higher so that you are always striving to be a little bit better. Life is not about being dormant, life is about becoming all we were meant to become. I pray you will find at least one goal that can do that for you and commit to it with all you have. Stick to a task until it sticks to you!