Just Checking In and Wondering Who's Here
I'm not sure who visits this site these days.

I blog now at a new address, but I keep this page open because it means so much to me.

I'm wondering tonight,
who visits here?

If you read this, I would love for you to email me at tammynischan@yahoo.com or leave a little comment.

I would love to see your name, imagine your face, or at least know you are there.

Blogging is a strange practice, and I sometimes wonder if I have reached the end of my words.

I don't want to believe I have, but I also don't want to write if I have nothing else to offer.

Tonight is a night of reflection for me and coming back to my original blog site has brought back many happy and sad memories.

I fell in love with blogging right here at www.tammynischan.blogspot.com.

Maybe this is where I am supposed to be every day.

Love to all of you,

God, Iraq,and Prayer
Reading news stories about the atrocities in Iraq is not a good way to begin a Monday morning.  

My stomach feels weak. 

 My heart feels heavy.  

And the memories of a great weekend with my family make me feel guilty.  

We talked about the horrors of terrorism while walking through the amusement park Saturday, deeply aware that while we were happily walking from one ride to the next there were people on the other side of the world fleeing to mountains and hiding in caves in order to try to stay alive.

I feel helpless.

I envision a big meeting where everyone can just talk about their feelings and somehow come to an agreement, but deep inside I know this situation requires much more than a meaningful conversation.

So what can I do from my little house in my little town in America?

How can I help these men, women, and children who are being kidnapped, raped, and murdered because of their beliefs?

I close my eyes and try to pray.

Words bounce around in my head mixed with a few photographs I've been brave enough to look at;
but the words seem trite, almost empty.

I hear these words running through my mind,
"If God cares, surely He doesn't need my prayer in order to do something."

I shudder.

Is this really me thinking these thoughts?

Am I doubting God's compassion?

I would have to lie in order to answer these questions in a way that makes me look good, because 
I do find myself wondering why He hasn't wiped this evil from the world yet?

I do find myself longing for Him to work a miracle so big the whole world falls to their knees to praise Him.

This morning I'm overwhelmed by the news,
yet deep inside I don't believe God is.

That's the only reason I'm able to face today with any kind of peace and hope.

I'll keep mumbling my way through prayers that seem tiny and insignificant, because I do believe that in the midst of all the horror across the sea, God is working.

He does care.

He is there.

And my prayers matter.

Yours do too.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107:28-30

Forest Gump, Blogging, and Life
 I wonder if anyone else ever reaches this place as a writer?

Second guessing each new word as it forms on the screen in front of me, I backspace until every single letter is gone.

Blank paper seems to match my mood best these days, so I decided tonight I had to push through my emptiness until something was written worth posting.....................

and that's when Forest Gump appeared in my mind.

Oh, Forest, I totally get you.

My beard isn't quite as long as yours, but I'm right there with you on that seemingly-endless, two-lane highway.

I feel the ache in the calves of your legs.

I feel the throbbing in the flattened arches of your feet.

I understand exactly what was dancing in your mind as you stopped in your tracks and faced the runners who had started following you as if they believed you knew exactly where you were going even though deep inside you had no earthly idea what was next.

I see their eyes waiting for you to speak, and I feel the lump in your throat as you try to think of something philosophical to say..................

The truth is:

Writing is my running.

And writing has been a nearly-impossible challenge for me most of the summer.

When I dream about my future as a blogger,
I can almost imagine music in the background as I type these words,

"My momma always said you've got to put the past behind you before you can move on. And I think that's what my writing was all about.  I have written for six years, seven months, seventeen days, and four hours..............."

Then suddenly, without warning, my fingers stop moving across the keys. 

I'm wordless.  

I've got nothing.  

Readers (if there are any of you left) stare at the screen waiting for another post.

But no new words appear.

You keep waiting.

And then one day my new post finally appears.........................

And this is all it says,

"I'm pretty tired.  I think I'll go home now."

And just like that my writing days are over.

Very non-dramatically I turn around and go back to my pre-blogging days and, like the characters in the Forest Gump movie, anyone who somewhat regularly read my blog simply moves on to the next thing in life.

After all, there are plenty of other words out there to read.

Endless Facebook posts, countless tweets, thousands of blogs, millions of books................
words are not difficult to find if you're looking for them.

I'm not sure if it was the writing project I attended in June or too many miles in the car traveling to and from Kentucky, Florida, and Texas, or the fact that my new website has been hacked and temporarily shut down........................

but something has affected the writer inside of me.

Something has stopped me dead in my tracks.

I've posted lots of pictures from our family's summer on both Facebook and Instagram.
I've tried to soak up lots of wonderful memories with family and friends.

However, buried deep inside many of these photographs are layers you can't see with the human eye.

Normally, these are the kinds of things I write about in a blog post, peeling away all the unnecessary parts of a photo leaving only the parts that matter.

Right now, though, there are big things going on in our family's life that I just can't talk about on the world wide web and probably never will.

I pray about these things, and it's as if the ceiling catches each word and throws it back in my face.

I read the Bible and find myself relating to the most messed-up characters in God's story.

Sometimes I keep Tim awake at night, hoping that if we talk long enough we can change things that are out of our control.

I'm reminded in these dark and uncertain moments of the frailty of life, the vapor of it all.

I teeter daily on the wire that hovers over hopelessness; and in my effort to stay balanced, I learn all over again exactly what real faith looks like.

Faith isn't me being able to keep my weak and shaky feet moving forward.

Faith is God empowering me to courageously press ahead, fully aware of just how risky every single step really is.

Forest Gump was running in his own strength and eventually he got tired.

When I write in my own strength, I get tired too.

Forest knew people were following him, so he felt compelled to turn and make some sort of declaration when he reached the end of his running.

As a blogger I realize I have a major problem when I reach points of feeling as if I need to make some kind of public declaration for my lack of writing.

I never want to blog because I think someone is waiting for the next word.

I want words to flow from me because He is waiting and because He knows my words somehow bring me back to Him.

I need to write so that I am transformed from the inside out.

I need to write to heal my soul.

I can't fix life.

I can't be enough, do enough, pray enough, care enough, or love enough to change one thing or one person on this planet.

All I can do is allow God to constantly change me into the person I'm supposed to be.

Tonight, I'm thankful for Forest Gump.

I'm thankful for my old blog site.

I'm thankful for the power of words, and I'm thankful that even though I felt like there were no words left inside of me God somehow showed up and filled this screen with exactly what I needed to hear.

Nothing's different in my life tonight except for me.

And that's exactly how God works.

So I'll keep blogging even when I have nothing to say, because God has reminded me once again that it is in the clicking of the keyboard as I wait for Him to answer that I am renewed and restored to face another day.

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; 
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired, 
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:31

Praying especially for you who find yourself waiting on the Lord and struggling to understand His plan.

I'm Moving
As much as I've always loved rearranging furniture in my home,
I'm not a person who deals with life changes very well.

Big decisions scare me.
I think and rethink the pros and cons of any possible decision in my life to the point of often deciding simply not to make any decision at all that could risk losing the security and safety of what is already known.

So, as I type this last post for my web address, 


I'm a bit emotional.

It's hard to believe that I started blogging here in December of 2007.

Erich and Evan were barely in college when this blog began.  Erich is now a critical care nurse, married and living in Texas with his beautiful wife.  Evan has spent several years living in California and will be leaving for school in Europe in just two weeks.  They are both amazing young men, and I couldn't be more proud of either of them.

Todd was only a thirteen-year-old timid boy when I typed my first entry here.  He's now headed quickly towards twenty-one and has been to Japan and India without me or Tim along with him.  I am so excited to see all the ways God will use him as he finishes up college and heads out into the world as a missionary.

Olivia was a little single-digit, nine-year-old tomboy when I created this blog.
She's now sixteen and has blossomed into a beautiful young lady who still has a passion for sports and outdoor adventures.

Nick was in a good place with his cancer when I began blogging.
This little corner of the world became an outlet for all my doubts, questions, and fears as his cancer returned and his fight for life became the only thing that mattered in our house for a long, long time.

I poured out my deepest thoughts here.

This is the place where you walked through grief with me.

I can almost barely stand the thought of this web address not being an active one,
but sometimes in life you reach a place where you know God is calling you to something that looks a little different.

A place where He can have more opportunities to be glorified.

A place where He can reach more people.

So, even though, Tim and I are not moving in a literal sense,
my blog is changing addresses and with this change is coming a new look and a new beginning.

I'm nervous, because I have a lot to learn about my new home; 
and I don't want to lose you along the way.

I have an amazing blog support team all the way down in Chile 
who I talk to on the phone and email often.

Gustavo and Danielle with 
have been nothing less than amazing and patient as we have worked together for several months to get this new address off and running.

So, today, I am introducing my new blog.

I'll tell you more about it over the next few days, but for today, I'd love for you to visit

You'll see a whole new look.

You'll see that my blog music is back with just a little click on the bottom right screen.

You'll see that I have been collecting heart photos, and you may discover a photo you have shared with me has been included in the constantly growing slideshow of love.

I have a feeling I'll still post from this address from time to time, but for now, this will be the last post.

I never thought I would have tears over something as silly as blog address, but I do.

I think I'll feel better when I know you have found me at 

I look forward to continuing to share life with you from this new home.

Let me know when you find me there!

I love you all so very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With these words, I say goodbye to 

and I open the door to my new home

Please come in and visit for a while.

The PerfectIngredients for Surviving Difficult Days

I definitely wouldn't consider myself "a great cook," but I've learned a lot through the years by seeking help from women who are.

Topsy, Martha, Jennifer, Brenda, Tiffany, Donnette, and my mom pop into my mind first as women who have stood in my kitchen or guided me by phone as I have attempted new recipes.

One thing I know for sure is this:

You have to have the right ingredients 
in order for a recipe to be successful.

Roast just wouldn't be the same without carrots, potatoes, and onions.

Can you imagine chicken casserole without the chicken?

If cooking demands the right ingredients,
I would think that surviving difficult days would too.

I mean surely God wouldn't place us on a planet where He knew things wouldn't always be easy and then say, "When bad times happen, good luck, you're on your own."

No, God is all about giving us the resources we need to survive anything.
He is all about equipping us for good days and bad days, 
times of joy and times of sorrow.

When Nick was first diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of seven, I was reading a book in which the author said that when women face a difficult situation they should choose to ask,

"Why not me?" instead of "Why me?"

This one question carried me through Nick's brain surgery, radiation, and chemo, especially when I walked down the hall of the neurology section of the hospital and saw room after room filled with children and parents going through similar horrific situations.

Four years later when Nick became sick again, I was reading a book in which the author said,
"One way to believe God today is to remember how God was with you in the past."

I knew God had carried our family through the loss of Adrienne, and I knew God had been with us when Nick fought cancer as a first grader. 

I had to believe God would be with us again all the way through our nightmare.

As I was reading this morning in Psalm 70, 71, and 77,
I was reminded of how I survived these difficult days.

I realized that there are certain ingredients necessary for walking through painful situations with the hope and peace that come only from trusting in a Living God.

First, cry out to God.  Tell Him how you feel.  Invite Him into your pain.  Allow Him to walk every single step with you.  

"Hasten, O God, to save me.   
O Lord, come quickly to help me."

"Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go."

Second,  remember God's presence in your past.  Reflect on all He has done for you.  Think back to past struggles and look for ways God carried you then.  He longs to carry you again.

"I thought about the former days, the years of long ago.
I remembered my songs in the night."

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago."

Finally, be transparent, admitting that on your own you are nothing.  Ask God to show Himself in mighty ways.  

"Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.  You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you.  Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.  Bring joy to your servant, for to you , O Lord, I lift up my soul."

"Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me."

Just like a perfect recipe delivers a perfect meal,
God longs for you to take the steps above so that He can deliver you from every "next thing" you face in life.

I don't know a lot, but I have learned this:

No matter how great life may be at any given moment,
 there will always be a "next thing" that is not so great.

That's life.

Like the ocean tide, our times of joy and sorrow ebb and flow.

Balancing these changing seasons requires the ability to embrace times of joy while reflecting on these times during seasons of sorrow.

Today, you may be in a time of joy.

If so, praise God and be thankful.

However, you may find yourself in a time of great distress.

If so, do not be discouraged.  God is with you.  

Cry out to Him.
Remember how He's carried you in the past.
Ask Him to carry you today, showing Himself in mighty ways.

I love you all so much.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Don't Miss Love

The jacket caught my eye at recess yesterday.

There was something about the fact that a child had found potential even in a pruned and barren branch that made me smile.

I thought,
"Someday I will write about this jacket," so I snapped a photo and went on my way.

This morning as I was looking through my pictures, I realized that the message tucked away in this photograph was more than just a message about how God can use even the most-pruned branch to do His work.

This photograph was all about how easy it is to miss love.

Look closely.

See the heart almost hidden here?

I didn't even notice it until this morning.

When I think about the elementary school playground yesterday, filled with the sounds of children laughing and playing all around this tree,  I am reminded of just how easy it is to get so caught up in play time or work time or sports time or any other time and MISS the love so close to us.

Today, I want to have my eyes wide open.

I want to find love, soak up love, appreciate love, and be thankful for love all around me.

I want to cherish things like jackets hanging on seemingly useless branches and be reminded that God can use anyone or anything for His purpose.

I also want to look more closely at these little messages throughout the day and see the love tucked away in every sign.

Life is a gift.

Love is a gift.

Don't miss life today and don't miss love.

It's everywhere.

It's hanging on dead branches.

It's embroidered on children's jackets.


God's gift to the world.

I hope you experience His love in a mighty way today.

Happy Tuesday!!

Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, 

for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I 

should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 147:11

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their 

hope in his unfailing love.

An Everyday Priority

Life gets busy.

With all the things bouncing through our minds on any given day, it can be easy to somehow allow thoughts about God to sink lower and lower in our list of priorities.

I've noticed this in my life, especially when things are going along pretty smoothly.

When I', not in the middle of a crisis, it's much easier for me to rely on my own strength rather than turning to God for my every need.

When I reach these places of self-reliance, several things happen.

First, my prayer life weakens.

Second, I seek Him less and less.

Third, my mind becomes so full of my own thoughts that I begin to notice that I have no room for thoughts about God.

There's nothing pretty about these chapters in my life.

On the outside, things don't look much differently to the world.

But on the inside, the part of me that matters most, I begin to feel the gnawing sense that I am leaning on the wrong thing.

I'm leaning on a wall that is not sturdy, a wall that will eventually collapse under pressure.

So, for me, an everyday priority HAS to be turning to God.

Starting the day with Him, sharing the day with Him, ending the day with Him.

Because on my own, I'm nothing.

In my own strength, I am incredibly weak.

I love that God, who could easily reveal Himself to everyone with one clap of His hands, requires us to seek Him in order to find Him.

I love this because I realize that in the seeking I understand the treasure of finding Him.

In the pursuit, I find excitement and joy.

In the discovering of His presence all around me, I find peace.

Today, seek Him with all your heart.

Tomorrow, seek Him again.

Never stop looking for Him who loves you most.

He is right there with you.

He just wants to know that you care enough to seek Him and find Him.

He just wants to know that you have room in your heart and mind for thoughts about Him.

He loves you unconditionally, and He longs to have you love Him right back.

Have a happy Monday!

You will seek me and find me 

when you seek me with

 all your heart.

Jer. 29:13

Why the World Needs to SEE Love

If we aren't careful, we can turn around and realize our life is in a rut.

A place of "humdrum-ness" -
A routine that becomes so predictable, so mundane, that we stop dreaming of anything more than surviving the next day, the next thing on our to-do list.

Nick's fight with cancer opened my eyes to the harsh reality of just how fragile life is but it also taught me so much about the treasure tucked away in every single new day of life.

I've seen the same lesson learned by many others as they face similar struggles with their friends or family members.

Isn't it amazing how God works?

Only God could use the uncertainty of life  to teach us about the beauty of life.

Only God could take the unknown qualities of tomorrow to help us celebrate the known joy in today.

Only God could take the fear of death and somehow use it to help us appreciate the gift of life.

I have found that God's ways almost never make sense from man's view.

He has the ability to take our most unimaginable, and even horrific, circumstances and transform them into moments of deep beauty and transformation.

He uses every mistake, every fear, every doubt, every longing, every failure, and every loss to teach us about ................


On our darkest day He longs to be our brightest light, and in the middle of our worst nightmare He longs to be our peace that surpasses understanding.

So, in this world where it can be easy to see all the evil and all the chaos;
God longs to be the GOOD and CALMING force that overrides every less-than-perfect experience.

Many times He chooses to work through other people in order to be the love we need, the strength we long for, the hope we crave.

He sent Perfect Love in the form of a baby boy many years ago,
but I believe He still sends gifts of love today in the form of men and women all around us...............when our eyes are open and hearts are willing to receive.

As I think about this, I realize that just as God has sent so many different people into my life to teach me about love;
He longs to use me too to be that gift of love to others who are hurting.

He longs to use you too.

So, today, as we enter into Easter weekend and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior and the powerful gift He was to mankind,
let's commit to being a gift to those around us who need to SEE love in human form today.

Let's determine to look outward in search of those who need Jesus and rather than simply offering an invitation to a church, let's demonstrate just how vibrant and full and rich and meaningful and life-changing Jesus' love can be by


This means we will think before we speak, we will consider His ways before our own ways, we will find good even in the midst of the very bad, we will embrace hardship and allow God to use it to mold us, we will face illnesses differently, we will face grief differently, we will pour joy out on a hurting world through our every word and action.

We will see Him in nature and in the eyes of children and in the faces of our friends of family.

When you are so completely full of Him that you can barely breathe, you will exhale His love.

When you are so completely aware of His presence that you can barely look at anything without seeing His hand at work, you will find yourself thinking about Him every second of every day.

Fall madly in love with Jesus today and let the world SEE that love demonstrated in your day-to-day activities.

When someone gives a flower to someone they care about, they are showing how much they care.

A flower is a simple, but beautiful, representation of someone's feelings..

One rose is a symbol, a visual reminder of an internal feeling.

God longs to use us to be visual reminders of His internal feelings.

God is calling each of us today to be a rose -
a gift from Him to the world.

Allow Him to use you today to show the world just how much He loves them.

The world needs to SEE love so that it can be reminded of HIS LOVE.

The devil would love nothing better than for us to fall into a predictable and boring routine, forgetting just how special every day of life is and just how much we matter to the people with whom we share life.

God, on the other hand, sees today as a rare and precious gift.

And He sees you and me as part of a beautiful bouquet full of potential for changing the hearts of the world around us.

Ask God to fill you up with His love so that He can use you to show the world His love.


John 13:34-35

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another

The Cost of Sacrifice

David, who was referred to as "a man after God's own heart,"
seemed to have a way of messing up over and over again in spite of his desire to live a life totally devoted to God.

In one particular story, David chooses to take a census of his army without God's involvement and finds himself in the middle of a mess.

When David realizes that his people are suffering from a plague because of his bad decision and an angel appears with a drawn sword over Jerusalem, he goes to God and begs for the punishment to fall upon him and his family so that his people can be spared.

David understands and accepts the consequences of his mistake, and the angel commands David to build an altar at a specific place.

I love what David says to the man who owns the land where the sacrifice is suppose to happen as he attempts to pay and the owner tries to give it to him free of charge,

"I will not take for the Lord what is yours, 
or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing."

David understood that a sacrifice had to cost something in order to count.

David understood that a sacrifice involved giving up, letting go, releasing his grip......................

The more I learn about being a living sacrifice for God the more I wonder just how honestly I understand that very phrase.

What have I given up for God?

What have I let go of so that God can work completely and perfectly through my life?

What I have released from my grip so that God can be glorified?

Today, I want to be fully aware of the things in my life that I cling to too tightly.

I want to be willing to loosen my fingers from anything that keeps from being all His.

I want to quit hanging on to anything that holds me back from His will, His work, His plans for me.

Look at your hands.
Look at your heart.

Ask yourself today,

"If I am a living sacrifice to God, what has it cost me?"

Like David I want to say, 

"I will not sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing."

Start Here

I've read a lot of posts on Facebook lately in which friends have shared that they are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or confused.

Many times when I read posts like these I think, 

"I wish I could sit and talk to this person or that person."

"I wish I could look into their eyes and tell them what I've learned as I have faced my own difficult days."

I've definitely learned this along the way, "Life isn't easy."

Honestly, it can be extremely painful.

So, what do you do when you're deep in a valley?

What do you do when you look up and  find yourself questioning everything about who you are or where you are in life?

As I read through the Old Testament, I see person after person who reached a point where they felt just like this.

They found themselves hiding in caves, fearing for their lives.
They found themselves being pursued by enemy after enemy.

I'm sure in the darkness of the night they often wondered,
"How did I get here, and how do I get out of here?"

Time after time, these men and women eventuallyreached a place where looking up and crying out was their only option.

Seeking God was their answer.

Finding Him was their secret to moving on to a better place in life.

It's no different today for  us.

We enter valleys.

We feel attacked.

We feel alone.

We feel defeated.

We struggle with insecurities, doubts, and fears.

Where do we go for help?

Where do we turn for guidance?

I have found myself deep in the pit of depression several times in my life.

I have found myself needing answers to questions no one on this planet could possibly answer over and over again as I have walked through dark days and darker nights.

And just like David of the Old Testament and so many other men and women who loved God but struggled through life, I have found that there is only one place to start if I want to find my way back to Him when I feel lost or discouraged.

I start with His Word.

I start with time just with Him.

Being in the presence of God with only His Word beside you does something to your life.

It strengthens you more than physical food.
It encourages you more than the very best friend.
It comforts you more than the best counselor money can buy.
It transforms you more than any makeover specialist ever could.

God's Word is alive, and I believe it more and more every day of my life.

I can't live without it.
It is the Bread of Life.

Today, if you are feeling anything but full of joy and hope, start your day with Him.
Let Him speak into every corner of your hurting heart.

I memorized Romans 15:13 when Nick was sick and I still pray it into my life and the lives of those I love every single day,

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I'm praying this verse for you today.

May God fill your Wednesday with His Hope, His power, His peace, and His joy!

About Me