Dancing by myself

So, tomorrow me and my band (aka Tiffany Turner & Company...and yes, it’s totally a nod to T&Co-my namesake) will play at Sambuca tomorrow night in Nashville. We play there monthly and it’s always fun. Birthdays, Anniversaries and Bachelorettes are celebrated in the midst of this swanky place.  Like I said, it’s always a good time.

As soon as we started our second set last month, Eli started dancing. He danced EVERY single song (13 to be exact). He was probably 9 or 10 years old, and he did not stop. I gave him a few shout outs during the set, including telling him he was my spirit animal (even though he did not know what I meant).  

He danced hard, he was totally into it and he oblivious to everyone around him. He didn’t try to get Mom, Dad or his sister to dance either. He just went for it...with gusto. 

Finishing my set became a mission to give Eli the best dance party possible, and I think we did.  Afterwards, I went to meet him and his sister Lily, who is not into dancing. And hey, that’s cool too, we need both Lily’s and Eli’s.   Sweat was pouring down his little face, and he sucked down water like an NFL player on the sidelines. He munched on his goodies to fuel back up. 

I was amazed. I still am when i think about him.  

I want to be like Eli. I want to dance, and not give a 💩who’s dancing with me or who’s watching. I don’t want to care if my dance moves are dumb. I want to just move and feel the music. And enjoy the feeling of being “spent” after being fully engaged and exhilarated by the melody I hear.

I literally have thought about him almost daily since our last gig about Sambuca.  So tomorrow night is dedicated to Eli. I am gonna sing, dance and just not care.  Wherever you are, I hope you do the same thing too.

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FAST FORWARD

I feel like this year has been a BLUR.  I cannot believe it is October, I have been married over a year and Christmas is almost upon us.  WWWWooooWWWW.  Maybe this year flew by because it has been such a happy, beautiful time.  I don't know.  I just know it has been good and it has been fast.

Earlier this year, Lee and I talked about creating music together.  We really wanted to try, especially as he started to play more with my band and we had other opportunities to make music.  So, we decided to make a Christmas project!  Who doesn't love Christmas music, right?!  We are almost done with our music baby!

 

We will keep you posted about releases and shows!  It will be out in November and available on the site and on iTunes!

We cannot wait to share it with you!

We went to Haiti to visit our friends at  Project House of Hope  on October 2 to get some special help on the upcoming CD!

We went to Haiti to visit our friends at Project House of Hope on October 2 to get some special help on the upcoming CD!

So, it just so happened to work out to go to Haiti on our first Anniversary, which was REALLY special because we went there together last December on a Soles4Souls trip.  Lee fell in love with Haiti, which made me SO very happy.  So, with our special project there and the time of year, it worked for us to go on October 1 (our Anniversary!).  When we landed at the airport, we met Nadia Todres and Jacques Bourjolly aka KAKO.  Nadia is a gifted photographer and one of her recent photos on Instagram of children's feet and their tattered shoes prompted me to message her.  She needed shoes for 150 orphans she had met because of Kako's work in Haiti with children.  So, Lee and I brought down several HUGE duffle bags of shoes.  Although we only visited a few minutes at the airport as we made the special delivery, it was a great start to the trip and we loved meeting them both!  

Here is Kako, me, Lee and Nadia! #HappyFeetCaravan

Here is Kako, me, Lee and Nadia! #HappyFeetCaravan

Just one of Nadia's before and after photos!

Just one of Nadia's before and after photos!

Happy in Haiti, celebrating 1 year of being married!

Happy in Haiti, celebrating 1 year of being married!

Lee is here with Cremaine Booker at  2Twenty2 Studio  recording cello for the new project!  

Lee is here with Cremaine Booker at 2Twenty2 Studio recording cello for the new project!  

Michael from NYC

Hi Y’all, I have a story to share with you…

I recently got a call from Michael from NYC.  Michael reached out to Soles4Souls initially in 2012, after Hurricane Sandy.  He was homeless and needed shoes.  Michael kept in touch with us, he would just call sometimes to chat, often not asking for anything.  He just wanted to talk.

It had been a while and I got a call from him a couple of years ago.  In the shelter he was staying in, he had bought prescription drugs and got busted.  He was sent to jail.  He wrote me while in prison, completely owning his actions.  After he was released, he called to touch base and let me know how he was.  He was sent to a hospital to be treated for health issues before transitioning to housing (including mental health issues and cancer).  I ordered him boots, blue jeans and a blue pullover from Macy's because he had literally nothing after leaving jail.  The last time I heard from Michael he had gotten housing and was doing well.

He has this distinct voice, this thick New York accent!  When he called me this week, he said “Tif, do you know who this is?”  HAHA!  I said, "of course I do!"

He is still in Section 8 Housing in the Bronx.  He is starting classes at CUNY this fall through a special program called LEAD that offers higher education in cases like his.  He just finished radiation and they are in “wait and see” mode.  The cancer is in his throat, so he was worried I wouldn’t recognize his voice.  His annual income is $4777 but he is trying to wait on his disability to take effect and that is supposed to happen SOON.  He talked about his health, which is worsening, his weight has gone from 230-190.  His teeth are breaking because of the treatments and of course, he is self-conscious.  He did ask me for clothes and shoes, so I will be putting together something for him soon...before his classes start.  Since he has lost so much weight, his clothes don’t fit as well.  He wants to look good at school.

When he talked about school, his voice lit up.  He asked me if I watched TED talks, because he just loves them!  He told me that it is hard sometimes because he could easily sink into depression, but he said this “I had to get out of my problem and work more on my solution” (if that don’t preach, I don’t know what will).  Before he hung up, he said, “I love you, Tif”. 

I am blessed to be a part of this man’s story, and a pair of shoes opened the door.  He represents so many people’s stories we will never hear.  I just had to share.  It made my day and yet it broke my heart too, and gives me incentive to keep working hard.

 

Lessons from The Shack.

I read The Shack years ago.  I read it during a time when I was really hurting and looking for anything that would help.  I had previously poo-poo'ed this book, I had seen the theological debate on it and I also tended the steer away from "christian best-sellers".

I couldn't put it down.  It held me and commanded my attention.  It made me see God in some ways I had not ever seen Him.  I am thankful for this book.  It did what I think it was meant to do, and that is pull my heart towards God.  Worship music, art, movies and books have done this before for me, they are TOOLS God uses to stir my soul towards Him.

I went to see the movie Monday night at the Dickson Roxy Theater, which was especially fun because all of the senior citizens were there and everyone kept repeating lines in the movie because some of the moviegoers were a little hearing impaired.  The movie is great and does a wonderful job of representing the book, however, I would recommend reading the book before you go!  There are so many layers of the story, of His time with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it is hard to catch it all in the movie.

I had forgotten one line from the book though, that pinched my heart repeatedly.

"I am especially fond of you"

I wanna make bread with God.  I definitely look forward to moments like this with Him.

I wanna make bread with God.  I definitely look forward to moments like this with Him.

God says this to Mack several times, and then says this later about his daughter.  It pierced my heart and left me in awe.

God is especially fond of me.  

He is especially fond of you.  God is especially fond of the girl who made my coffee at Starbucks.  He is especially fond of Vladmir Putin, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, the homeless man you see daily on the same street corner.  

He is especially fond of...everyone.

How can this be?  How can God be especially fond of all of us, look at us individually with love and favor, and yet do this for all mankind?  

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16

It is a mystery to me.  But it is the TRUTH.  And it can and will set you free.

 

Delayed Baggage

Last night, Lee and I told our "how we met story" to someone and I thought to myself, I have to write this down.  Every time we tell it, I am right back there...

August 20, 2014 I landed in Nashville after traveling over 12 hours.  I was tired, but happy, after a successful few days of work in Las Vegas.  I got to baggage claim #8 to discover that United Airlines did not have my bag.  I went to the ticket counter and discovered it was on another plane headed from Houston, where I had connected earlier.  I fished in my bag for my keys, because I wanted to go home.  It had been a long day, I could get my bag later.

No keys.  They were in my suitcase of all places.  So, I sat down on the floor in my sundress and decided to take care of a few things while I waited an hour for my bag, including calling a man I had gone out with just a couple of times. I didn't want to be anything but friends and needed to make that clear.  I didn't to waste anyone's time.  I called the guy and he understood.  At this point in my life, I felt a lot of peace about where I was.  I loved my job, I was healthy and happy, although I wasn't very sure I was ever going to meet someone I wanted to spend my life with.  

Right after the call, I realized I had again closed another door.  I knew it was the right decision.  I said to myself, Ok, God, its just you and me.

No sooner than I had thought this (I swear), the most beautiful man I had ever seen walked by me.  He had on blue jeans, a blue t-shirt, a blue hoodie and a blue backpack on his back.  I literally asked myself, why can't I date a guy like that?  He looked at me, and I looked behind me to see what he was looking at (in your late 30's, you become a bit jaded...they are either married, or crazy, or something else).  He was definitely looking at me, and I was looking at him.  I walked closer to the baggage carousel and saw an acquaintance.  She said hello and then asked, "Are you dating someone?  Please tell me you are not still single!" (Thank you, random acquaintance...he was in earshot of all this!).  No sooner than we had begun to chat, her bags came and she was off, and he inched closer to me.

LJT.  That's all I knew at this moment about him.  Those initials were on his backpack.  LJT had the most beautiful smile and was just downright pretty.

My bag came and he helped me with it!  And in my really "smooth" way, I said "Do I know you, where do you go to church?" (NICE pick up line, Tif).  He told me his name was Lee, where he went to church and then we began to chat.  He told me he was a musician (my internal filter said NO).  We talked for a moment about both of our careers and then there was a little awkward silence.  Right when I felt brave enough to give him my card, he said, "Would you like to have coffee?"  

I gave him my card (with my cell phone conveniently written on the back).

Then, we walked out.  He told me later he watched me leave until he couldn't see me anymore.  I recall feeling a little giddy on the way home, wondering if I would ever hear from him.  He texted me that night.  I remember sitting on the chair by my bed reading his text and feeling something I had not felt in a long time about love and romance...I felt hope.  Our first date was August 25, 2014 at Bongo Java right by Belmont University.

I kept the page from my 2014 planner when we met.  I wrote this down a few weeks after we started dating.

I kept the page from my 2014 planner when we met.  I wrote this down a few weeks after we started dating.

I have to back up a bit for you and talk about God's hand in this and how, I believe, He had orchestrated so many things for that moment.  Several months before, I met an amazing woman named Diane.  She and her husband invited me to go to the Bahamas with them and give shoes to children.  I did not know her, but I said yes.  After we had spent a few amazing days together serving others, this discerning woman sat on her patio, looked at me directly and asked, "Do you want to have someone in your life?  Do you pray about it?"

I told her that I didn't because I felt like I had more important things to pray about and prayers for others to pray.  I felt selfish praying for that.  She said simply, "You have not because you ask not.  Think of it this way, children ask Santa for a bike for Christmas because they want one. ASK God for a 'bike'."

I started praying every now and then for a bike. I would simply pray, God, I want a bike.  I would whisper it because I felt stupid, but I would pray it anyway.  It was my heart's desire to have a bike.  And I think the more I prayed it, the more at peace I was with asking.  If nothing else, I knew I could ask God and whatever He granted me with, bike or not, it would be for my good.

I had not done so well in the dude department.  I had been married, divorced and engaged, and just did not have the best track record.  It was embarrassing and disheartening.  I was discouraged and longed to have someone to share life with.  I knew through my many ups and downs in this area, that it had to be right or I couldn't do it.  Life was too short to waste time on someone who could not love me well, whose heart wasn't lined up with mine.  I had been fortunate to have some amazing men and women in my life who loved me through some dark times and taught me beautiful lessons about love, faith and forgiveness.  I believe those people shed light into my heart as to what I really needed in someone.

So when I met Lee, I was ready.  My heart was ready.  I was 38 years old when I met the love of my life, the one God had created for me.  Just like my bags, God had a little delay on this delivery.  Sometimes I wonder why.  I wish we could have met sooner, but I know my gratitude for what I have and my love for him might not be as deep if I had not went through everything I did before I met him.  So maybe it wasn't delay, maybe he was right on time.

Someone asked me once how I knew he was the one.  I told them simply, "He was everything I never knew I needed."  

He was/is the best bike ever.  (and you know what's funny...he absolutely loves bikes)

Photo courtesy of Angel Wings Photography

Photo courtesy of Angel Wings Photography