sweet incense & a free gift

soul work – this is where it happens…we’ve just gotten used to relating on levels that avoid soul issues….

from Your Secret Name

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering.

Psalm 141:2

As incense – Incense was offered every morning and evening before the Lord, on the golden altar, before the veil of the sanctuary. Exodus 29:39, and Numbers 28:4.

“as the sweet gift offered in the evening.”

daniel farmer

I’ve always had a receiving issue.  It is hard for me to receive something without feeling as if I have to give something back in return.  The truth is…I do have those in my life that expect something in return.  There is most always a string attached to what they are giving.  No thank you…I’d rather not…that is a game I choose not to play.

this has carried over into God and I’s relationship…until lately.

He is not letting this one go…not this time. I’ve always been one to record life…mostly through journaling.  When things are deep…words…moments – I want to capture them quick and engrave them on my soul … time elapses and I can’t recall.

My soul has been in turmoil of late…vacillating between feeling as though I have nothing acceptable to give Him and knowing that that is ok.  He doesn’t play that game.  Remember here when I shared my altar jar with you….this ismy Bethel…my sacred place.  It is where the divine and the daily meet…often where the words won’t come and the numb won’t leave… where I am raptured by a love that allows me to just BE..before the angst builds up so much … where the escape eludes me and I silently scream arms raised up high and He comes and I am emptied…spent

Jacob mirrors me…wrestling and I won’t stop…importunity crying out this time Father..each of my senses heightened by His movement…I hear YOU…all around me…this is what you can give to ME…  my outpouring… your overfilling.  I give Him back all He shares.  This sacred place … He pulls me into Him and I breathe Him in and me out…over and over until there is no.more.me

I’m not choosing fear…I’m wrestling…I’m not letting go…going to let fear keep me from my soul being healed..I believe there is a step farther past just settling…just being reconciled to the fact that there isn’t something more…what if there is more…if we open our soul to Him…risk being naked, vulnerable…

Father it is in you that we move and breathe and have our being…unhindered…relentless..naked and vulnerable we pursue you…we will not let go until we’re blessed..we gratefully meet you here…each at our sacred place

…waiting for what you shall say…

Here is my simple gift to you.  I pray these help you to build a memorial for remembering…altar cards for you to write your words…His Words in your sacred place…what He has done… is doing…comforting me/you so we can comfort others.

to think about as you move in Him today…what offering do you have to lay on the altar today?  Have you ever felt like you had to give God something back when He gave you something? will you refuse to let go until your blessed?  ( not talking money here:)  are you willing to step a little farther than you ever  have before?

Photo Credit - Daniel Farmer

Come with me won’t you?  I’m over sharing Jen’s @ Finding Heaven

Finding Heaven


Jen Ferguson - This is an amazing post, Tiffini. Utter proof that you have not let go of Him and that He certainly has a firm grip on you.

And you, dear one, shall be blessed. Your mourning will turn to dancing. You will be clothed with joy.

Erin @ It's Gra - Tiffini, He will clothe you…

Tabetha Perez - So glad I was able to read this, I'm so encouraged by the outpour of your heart and soul. Thanks so much for linking up with soli deo gloria this week, and for stopping by my blog.

Andrea - "I believe there is a step farther past just settling…just being reconciled to the fact that there isn’t something more.."

That's me today. Having a hard time believing there is something beyond settling and giving up. Knowing that a Jacob wrestle needs to happen, for me. For my walk.

Walking here with you today.

Laura - "Are you willing to step a little further than you have before?" That's my question. I need to trust. I need to lay my expectations on the altar.

Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

Amy Sullivan - T,

You had me at your first sentence. That is me. I don't like it, but that is me. I may just quote you on that one.

I love your picture. Is that your home?

Abby - You are truly beautiful Tiffini. I appreciate your heart and vulnerability and this speaks powerfully.

Also, I think you've begun 1000 gifts? There is a beautiful weaving of this story in Jacob (a later chapter)…I am praying for the blessing in this…

thank you for your love and friendship and this gift.

Glenda Childers - I would love to hear more about the wrestling. What does this look like for you?

Your words are beautiful and moving and draw me to God.



Christy - Your words are beautifully poetic about something that at times is hard. I need to read this today Tiffani….to know sometimes I am not alone. Thanks for being so authentic and showing us your amazing heart!

tkilgore - I haven't been able to read it yet…I can't seem to find the courage…not sure why?? I have a feeling I will be undone

Dear Monday – what are you into this month?

What I am into this month – February 2011

On my nightstand

I am reading Redeeming Love and Your Secret Name…simultaneously:)  I just got Ann Voscamp’s book A Thousand Gifts…can’t seem to find the courage to read it just yet….I just finished Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity.  I have posted here, here & here on other books I’ve read.

Book of the Bible

Isaiah is my book right now….so much God is speaking to me here.

Want to read

Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon

T.V. Show worth watching

I am not much fun in this dept:(  I am not much of a tv watcher.  Since we have Netflix –  I LOVE documentaries…at the first of the year we watched the No Impact Project and China’s Lost Girls with Lisa Leng.  Also like…Food Matters.  I tend to lean toward things that are truth and making a difference…that gets me stoked!

crazy… but I like George Lopez, Frasier and I like Hot in Cleveland…

I enjoy cupcake wars…generally like FOOD Network.

Movie I’ve seen ( in or out of theater)

I just watched The Duchess…I don’t know how old it is.  It was on Netflix.  It was heartwrenching.  I prefer fairytale movies where there is a happy ending:)  As we speak just watched Sweet Home Alabama…happy ending..

In my Ears

I am still LOVING Kerrie Roberts new CD.  I also listened to a song that I heard on Andreas blog The Organic Bird called Crows & Locusts by Brooke Fraser that I really like.  Dream by Priscilla Ahn… I am really liking and wanting to know more of singers like Priscilla Ahn and Brooke Fraser.  I like that sound.

Items of note

Looking forward to lanching a new idea on Valentines Day.  I will be sending out an email and asking for your help so be watching your inbox…super SUPER excited

What I’m looking forward to next month

more consistentcy…make days more routine for the kids…and myself.  Sitting still…by pursuing what HE is telling me to do

Two newest blog reads

Ordinary Courage

The bottom line is that ordinary courage is about telling your story with all of your heart. My blog is a space for my story.
Brene Brown

Madeline Bea Life Set to Words

Check this out…my friend ChaCha just opened her Etsy shop here…look what she is making!  Adorable right?

In my kitchen

I shared here on Friday about our mission to find a balanced way to eat that is both economical and whole foods…less boxed processed junk.


NOW then.  Your turn!  What are YOU into this month?  Fill up the comment space or borrow this for inspiration on your own blog.

Inspired by Megan over @ SortaCruncy

and some weekend birthday pictures ….sushi & Orange Leaf frozen yogurt


Jessica @ These Are - I just finished reading Your Best Life Now, which was fabulous!!!

Now I'm on to One Thousand Gifts, David 90 Days With a Heart Like His, The Pioneer Woman Cooks and the daily reading of Simple Abundance.

I recently read Decision Points by George W. Bush and also loved it.

As for music, I'm anxiously awaiting Mat Kearney's new cd, but love running to Katy Perry and Pink when I run (which I can't for a few more weeks).

The recent movie I saw and loved was The Fighter…Christian Bale was incredible in that role! I was floored w/in the first 20 seconds of how well he nailed it.

Have a great week. :)

kendal - i love this post! i finished ann voskamp and am now reading cutting for stone for book club. can't remember the author right now.

tv – crime dramas. any of them.

this month – spring sports for the boys! get out the hand and toe warmers!

Cha Cha - Okay you and I are going to have to start a book club—we are so on the same page on so many books (haha, I crack myself up). But really we read lots of the same thing. Can I tell you how beautiful you are, man you glow. Thank You for including my key chain in this post you are so sweet.

Have a great evening,
Cha Cha

Amy Sullivan - I love your pictures! Both the pictures in your post and your new pictures in your header. You are beautiful!

Ok, what am I into?

Ann V's book. Just came today. The Weepies, stop what you are doing, and go take a listen http://www.theweepies.com/! So, so super good.

Happy Birthday Nikki

I don’t think my heart can pen the words that i want you to hear

words that are meant for you heart and not your head…

you have walked miles in my shoes … you have chosen respect and honor

you…the first child knitted especially for me…i think back 25

years today..a different time … a different place

looking into your clear blue eyes all swollen from your journey

your eyes looked to me for love and my heart was wrung out trying to

give it to you…

I named you your given name…i know this about you though…you have a

Secret name…a name He has given you and I pray you find it and live it

for you see I carried you into this life and He will carry you from now on

and He has plans for you that are beyond your wildest dreams…for you see

you are

beautiful…inside and out ( i am not saying that cause I’m your momma!)

I pray you go to those places hidden…listen for the whispering of YOUR journey

life is so much more than doing and getting

you were given for a purpose…to be the absolute best that God made

He wants you to know your purpose

I will support and encourage you in any way I can…from the moment I felt you move inside me

I longed for all your dreams to come true...I craved your happiness

You are right there at the beginning of the rest of your life

everything that is past is for your learning and purpose

offer it all up to Him and with open arms and freedom go forward

the prayers that have been whispered over you for years are sent out into eternity

and will not come back void

my girl…my first…given to me in my younger age:)  given to each other on this earth for a short time

but to spend all of eternity together…that is precious:)  we have that gift with each other you know?


we have the same Father

the sacred gift I give you today is spirit…believe truth…not lies

believe His love for you and live in that love every single day…there is so much more in life than

all of this…search for it with ALL your heart…and don’t settle

I love you this day…our birthday…I did have you 100% drug free;)

I celebrate YOU…you are beautifully and wonderfully made…

into eternity~


nikkslopez:  happythings:  flowby: sab-rina: forevermore: simply-living: lovebot: (via overflowing)

Photo Credits - dress design & decor & jeannebaj


kendal - just.beautiful.

Amy Sullivan - Tiffini,

A beautiful tribute. I write my girls letters every year for their bdays, and then seal them so I can't scribble, edit, cross out, or change my thoughts. I hope you save a copy of this for her.

lissa - such sweet words you've written to your daughter. And the photo is quite beautiful.

Food & Family Fridays

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Our Goals – bits & pieces

Fridays will be Food Dabbling day.  I will share foot/health related blogs I find helpful in rebuilding family health. I will hare stories about our journey toward living more simply … on a budget.  My recipes and fitness with a focus on FIT not crazy skinny to look like ” all the TV women”.  This is such a big part of my life right now that I have to give one day to it.

Our month is up and in an effort to continue pursuing a balanced. affordable. whole.  REAL food diet for our family we are dabbling in vegan-ism ..or more plant based diet these next two weeks.

Last month we agreed to consume less stuffto not eat out…to cook more whole REAL food…eat less prepackaged foods…drink more water…and my 30 day no sugar challenge.


Here is what we’ve learned so far:

We will keep not eating out.  We feel better when we don’t. We all have agreed we feel healthier, more alert, more active and lighter when we don’t eat out as often.  This one sticks. We will be cooking most of our meals.  I’m not sure it is cheaper though.  Unfortunately -you can eat fake food at Taco Bell for 5.0o for a whole bag of eeww!

We are being forced to choose cheap fake food to feed our families over more expensive food that is REAL! We are having to give up some things in order to buy better groceries.

When we do eat out we pretty much all agree to eat Chipotle, Chik-fila, Olive Garden…salads:) or Chinese ( not the deep fried stuff )

We will continue learning to cook real food.

We downgraded to the most basic cable….about 15 channels…and yes the kids are still alive:)  It is a start!

I will not deny myself sugar again … why?  I ate way more when I started than I would have just eating my snack size ziploc of chocolate chips!  I am choosing balance.  It works better…for me:)

I’m dabbling because I am trying to find a happy balance of healthy eating. I really believe we have to teach our kids what that is.  Educate them and ourselves about what we are putting in our bodies. We can’t believe everything the media is telling us.  We have to take responsibility for what is happening to our food system.  Our children are going to suffer the consequences of our selfishness. I want to give them that skill to be able to understand that what they put in their bodies is to fuel it for life…for living.

I want them to understand the difference between fit and healthy and skinny and sick.  Especially for my daughter.  For myself.

Here is my favorite blog this week.  Love & Olive Oil is a beautiful blog.  Beautiful Food. Eye candy food!  Especially love their sweets! Worth a few minutes of your time to go peruse.

Love and Olive Oil - All good things are made in the kitchen.

Cookie Dough Cream Pie

{Cookie Dough Cream Pie}

{Rainbow Cake}

Cinnamon Chocolate Churro Cupcakes

{Cinnamon Chocolate Churro Cupcakes}

I have to keep our menus really simple and cost effective. and rotating.  I’m working on those to share soon

A reminder to me this weekend to make time for EACH OTHER!

Make Lasting MEMORIES with you family!

What am I doing this weekend you ask?

Celebrating my oldest daughter ( Grace is hooked to her hip:)– she turns 25!  Pictures on Monday:)

Unplug the Xbox and step away from the remote control. It’s time to embrace old-fashioned family bonding with a modern twist.

Sharing this with Michelle @ Lost in the Prairies

Happy Friday:)


Jen Ferguson - I agree with the balance thing — once you start denying yourself, it makes it all the more harder than if you allow a little. I think it's pretty important to avoid extremism.

Our grocery bill has gone up a lot since I've been staying away from the pre-packaged stuff. I even already clip coupons. I need to figure out how to do this better.

Michelle - I make all our meals and try to include healthy snacks around here. There are times though when the chewy bars come out(need to find a recipe for these). But luckily for my kids I am the candy nazi. I agree with trying to change your habits so that your children can see it, especially our daughters. I try not to say diet around here, although with all the tv commercials, mine is already being made aware of this.

Thank you for linking up today Tiffani. Don't worry, there are no rules. Just share what you want to share.

Bobbi - I've found cutting our bill is helped by making larger quantities…probably cheaper cut meat…aka. chuck roasts, etc. and doing multiple meals from one cooking. I suppose it's dependent on the size of your family, of course. I also buy generic and Aldi…and surprisingly local produce in season (way cheaper). Our grocery bill for 2 adults, 2 kids…is $100 or less a week (including household stuffs). YOU CAN DO IT…keep trying. I SO enjoyed reading ALL of this! I'm so proud of you!!

Michelle DeRusha - I love your philosophy on balance and food consumption. I have tried to cut out sugar all together, and really, it does not work for me. I just end up bingeing, which defeats the whole point. So yes, balance is key.

We cook from scratch most every night here — we don't eat out at all, hardly ever. That started when the boys were really young and did not behave well in restaurants, but now we've just gotten used to cooking at home. Cooking is a family affair — the boys help out here a lot. It's chaos, yes, but I think in the end it will be a good thing for them.

Andrea - I'm glad you shared what happened when you cut out sugar. I tried and within a day was all out bingeing. I'm still recovering mentally from that!

Erin - I'm with you, the real stuff is way better. I love to cook and the more you get into it you can find ways to eat healthier on a budget. I try to stick with in season fruits & veggies to help cut costs down. This summer I plan to do a lot of canning so we can enjoy the good stuff year round.

Praying for you :)


Kristin - Hi Tiffini – I hope you are well and are enjoying your weekend, and your daughter's birthday! First: I listed the ingredients to my Valentine's Trail Mix right there in my post. Second: is there a way you can link your e-mail to your commenting (I don't know how since you don't have blogger) so that I can respond to your comments directly instead of having to comment on a random post? I always feel funny doing that…

Jessica @ These Are - That' pie is killing me! I've been wanting to make a rainbow cake and that one is the cutest I've seen. Have a fabulous weekend!!



Stephanie Clayton - Let me just say that I think you are AMAZING for doing this mission of helping your family to eat better. It is sooooo hard. I felt so guilty last week, because we only ate at home one night! It is so hard to cook and be a working mom, and have a baby ballerina that dances 2 nights a week, and lead a group one night a week, and a husband that's a policeman that works at night, ughhhhhhhhhhh. But…that is not an excuse. I know we would all feel better and have more energy if we would eat right. I want us to eat better, I think I must go to the grocery store a figure out a plan for next week. We can do anything for a week right? Then maybe it'll catch on :)

a victim…me?

When I was little, Dibby told me a story about her cousin who had a dog – just a mutt – and the dog was pregnant. I don’t know how long dogs are pregnant, but she was due to have her puppies in about a week. She was out in the yard one day and got in the way of the lawnmower and her two back legs got cut off. They rushed her to the vet who said, “I can sew her up, or you can put her to sleep if you want. But the puppies are OK – she’ll be able to deliver the puppies. Dibby’s cousin said, “keep her alive.” So the vet sewed up her backside and over the next week that dog learned how to walk. She didn’t spend any time worrying; she just learned to walk by taking two steps in the front and flipping up her backside and then taking two more steps and flipping up her backside again. She gave birth to six little puppies, all in perfect health. She nursed them and then weaned them. And when they learned to walk, they all walked like her.

Gilda Radner

I went to bed last night angrier than all get out… shoving it down further with a pb&j sandwich at 10:00 pm.  Sixteen…full of hurt, betrayal and anger..holed himself up in his dark room with the dark songs feeding the everybody else’s fault and our family is so messed up and they don’t want to go through it all over again… mindset.

The words that could slice through came out almost…his attitude provoked the anger out.
” I can’t stand….” and I wanted to say you

I walked out carrying that you and went right into my place of emptying and I started talking to You..a reminder went off..talk to me about everything remember? When that anger comes… bring it Here…talked more …slept.

Between being gently shaken and dozing I muttered a good morning and gave Him a hug…the fog still thick the words came again.  4:45 on the phone caught my eye…I finally understood…He wanted me out of bed.

I talked specifically beginning with things that had made me angry with him…then I asked it…the question…WHY am I so angry at them sometimes? In the midst of what at is going on now why this? Have you ever known God to put the focus right back on you when you think it is something else? There was a history to these questions..this wasn’t over last night..this was chronic disease I’d had for 24 years.

Beth Moore said, ” God willed – no matter how difficult – to make sure my two precious pups would not grow up to walk like their mother the victim. Or like her mother the victim.

Me? a victim? that seemed so wrong and yet the piece fit perfectly

passtheparcel:  i think i’ll wear my hair like this tomorrow (via obliteratedheart)

There the truth was..it coursed through my body signaling the timing of God’s grace.  Father gives grace for truth doesn’t He…truth.  Grace for Truth.

I see myself in them…I’m angry at myself for being/staying trapped!  when I hear it in them..it rubs up against it..

His word was a gem…meant to be placed in the foundation of my new heart house…my new house…the one that I belong.

I wanted you to know why you are so angry at your children

They’ve learned to walk like you.  You are angry because somewhere inside you know where this is headed for them.  You see their future…different but the same.

Now you are ready to SEE and to allow me to do something impossible in you and your children’s lives.

I grew up watching the women in my family being victims…to insecurity.

I was a victim as a child. Trapped.  I wasn’t given a choice.  I moved into adulthood with this mindset attracting relationships that kept me off balance and emotionally drained..controlled to my very core.

Remember at the end of the year when I said here I forgot something and I was going back to get it?

Now I know what I’m supposed to go back for.  ME. I’m going back to bring that little girl out of captivity. I feel almost as though God is rending my heart and coming down with the missing pieces I’ve been agonizing over for years

I’ve lived trapped because I believed the lie I was.

I’ve taught my children how to live trapped.

I’m going back for her.  I’m ready…He is with me with every step I take. I’m going back to the day I was born.  Why?  I was once asked the question, ” when was a time in your life when you were the happiest…and I couldn’t really pinpoint a time when I didn’t have this heaviness pushing down on me.  The day I was born…or during the nine months.  It is there.  He wants to show me so He can be there and heal it.

I don’t believe He shows us anything unless we are ready to be healed of it. I’ve said it much lately…no matter how hard fear falls like rain I KNOW God is moving…and I choose to trust.  I’m writhing…sweat glistening on my heart…each day brings a new obstacle. His water washes over me.

Part One

Have you lived trapped?

Sharing my heart @ Mama’s Heart over at Erin’s today would you please join us?

It’s Grace

Photo Credit - Obliterated Heart


Cha Cha - Oh the heart of a mama, God uses them to help reveal how we need to change. The ones we want to protect so much are the ones that learn how to wlk wrong like us if we are not careful and humble before God. I love this post you have touched my heart with it. I HAVE MISSED YOU FRIEND, glad to be home and catching up with my sweet friends.

You blessed me today,

Cha Cha

Glenda Childers - This is strong, hard work you are doing . . . wow.



Jen Ferguson - This hit me at my core — both in my relationship with my mother and my relationships with my daughters. I'm going to have to come back to this later and process it more. God was so speaking through you, girl. SO glad I know YOU.

Andrea - I can see that happening with my oldest daughter and myself. I desperately do not want our relationship to be like mine with my own mother….

Deborah - Your story reminds of the Bible study I did last year.
It is called the Ultimate Journey from Christ Life Ministries.
It took lots of hard work, but the process is about replacing the lies of self lothing with the truth, God comes looking for you, to accept you and love you just the way you are. He wants us to accept ourselves and he wants to restore us to who we were meant to be, the fruit of His vine. Any how, that is the short of it. If you every come accross this I would highly suggest it. It was a very very healing process. Just stopped by via Grace's link up! I'll will be following, hope you will stop by and follow me too! http://www.artnsoulbydeborah.com

Linda Lewis - Tiffini, all of us have been/are trapped and have made mistakes being a child as well as parenting. But knowing that we can be forgiven by God makes it possible to forgive ourselves and, hopefully, so will those we have trapped. Remember, none of us are perfect.
Hope you are staying warm during these frigid times.

Erin - This reached me to the deepest parts, Tiffini. As a mama and as the little girl you're describing. I'm on a similar journey so I can imagine this is an exciting and frightening period in your life.

I've had many words come out of my mouth that I've later regretted. I loved the story you used, too. Isn't that so true?

Thank you for letting us experience part of this journey with you, I have no doubt God will use you to minister to others.

I so appreciate you linking up again this week, my friend. I'm sorry I didn't visit sooner today; I had a sick little boy at home who needed his Mama.

Praying for you,


Robyn Q - Have you ever lived trapped? Yes. I've been trapped by performance. I still try to take the grace of God and turn it into a performance race. I am learning to fly in the freedom now! Every day is a maturing process. Growth.

I've been thinking this week how we (the church) loose our kids as they leave elementary school. I think we fail to teach them how to have relationship with a living, powerful, gloriously rich God. So we trap them, and they learn to live in the cocoon of rules & performance or leave their first love altogether.

This makes me think about a lot of things in my life. Beautiful post. Thank you!

Abby - Tiffini, I'm just praying this all into your life. This is how you will walk…strongholds toppled. Truth for lie. We are on this journey together and so many precious sisters we've found:) Yes, heal the root…how to live redeemed in this generation…live new…restoring the years that the locusts have eaten…yes, it is coming.

praying for your son too…you know my heart…praying he finds Father…someone to come alongside the weary mama…

hugs sister:)