Our Saddest Day....Nick's Most Wonderful Day
Dear Precious Prayer Warriors,

You know I just couldn't end my day without spending time with all of you who have grown to hold sucha special place in my heart.

First, I have to say that Nick's journey may have ended in a physical sense today, but Nick's journey is only beginning in a spiritual sense. While my heart is literally torn in two, I know deep inside that Nick is with His Heavenly Father............safe in the arms we have all laid him in time and time again in prayer. And Nick's journey will continue here on earth as well. A foundation will be beginning in Nick's name. Through this foundation Nick's life will touch others for years to come as we give college scholarships, promote literacy in children, minister to hurting families and sick children, and help support missions worldwide. Nicholas Yancy Nischan stil has work to do!

Second, I have to share with you a little about the past couple of days at our house. All of our kids have been home, which in and of itself has been wonderful. Erich, our oldest son who is a junior in nursing school, has been more help than I could possibly EVERY put into words. Nick's health had weakened to the point that we could not have made it without Erich's strength, knowledge, and love for Nick. Evan's humor kept Nick's spirits up on many occasions. Todd and Olivia continued with their "normal" activities of computer/cell phone life (Todd) and sleepovers and basketball (Olivia). I believe that these normal events also kept Nick's spirits up. One evening a little friend of Olivia's stayed all night and we made gingerbread cookies. I came down and asked Nick if he would like to make one if I brought him a pan and a cookie cutter. He said, "no," until Mamaw had the great idea that he could give the gingerbreadman a gun! Nick cut out a man and Mamaw helped him create a nice-sized bazooka in one of its arms!

Thanksgiving morning Nick was lying on the couch upstairs and mamaw was under his feet holding her dog, Amber. I was sitting with Nick's head on my lap on a pillow. The tumors were so hard to look at but deep inside I just kept praying that they would shrink....that Nick's head would be totally healed. As we sat there together, Nick patted the blanket and said, "Amber," in a sweet little voice, trying to get Mom's dog's attention. Then when Amber looked at him, he said, "This is the life." And honestly, Nick meant it. He had me at one end of the couch, and my mom at the other end of the couch. He was under a blankie and there were no needles and in his mind no worries. He had great peace. To him it truly was "the life!"

He was able to eat a little for Thanksgiving dinner and then of course we watched the Titans have their 11th victory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With a score of 47 to 10!! I of course loved the numbers, and Tim told me later that Nick was so glad the Lions didn't score 1 more point! He knew I would have totally flipped out then. But truthfully the 47 points combined with the 11th win was enough for me to know that God was with us in a very special way. Nick napped off and on throughout the afternoon, and then late in the day, as I was sitting by him holding his hand I noticed that his hands were tightening up and he kept looking over at me but not really talking. I felt very nervous and honestly thought that maybe he was going to die at that time, but mom said she thought he was having a seizure and we were able to give him some medicine that really relaxed him. We called Martha, my very dear friend who has been such an unbelievable nurse to Nick over the past few weeks. She and Linda (our other special nurse and friend) came within minutes and stayed for a while to make sure things were okay. I did not want to take Nick to the hospital......the thought of having him endure any needles was more than I could bear.

Nick fell to sleep peacefully that evening, but on Friday morning it was apparent that Nick was not waking up from his sleep. It was as if he were in a coma. All day long he slept without responding to us when we would talk. The boys would take turns talking to him and they even brought Rock Band down to the room with him and played for a while hoping he would hear and want to wake up and be a part of the action. Friday night at midnight, Mom, Erich, Tim, and I were still up (Olivia had gone to stay at a friend's house) and I had bought the movie, "The Nativity" which we decided to watch. It was such a beautiful reminder of the amazing plan God had in bringing His Son into this world, and I just hope and pray that Nick could hear the movie as he slept there with us watching it.

This morning, Nick's breathing seemed much more strained, but he still would not respond when we talked to him. Evan, who normally sleeps in very late, was up by a little after 9 and was sitting right at Nick's head just watching him and touching his shoulder. I came down and suggested Evan get under his feet and rub them for a while. I looked down into the room a bit later and Evan had leaned over on Nick and was holding hand and was sleeping. I wanted to take a picture, but I chose to just take one with my heart. It just didn't seem right to violate that moment for Evan. But I couldn't help but think of the verse that says Mary, "pondered all these things in her heart." That is what I have tried so hard to do this Thanksgiving break....simply ponder and soak up every precious minute. Every single word.

Around 11 (I think), I had been outside talking to mom for a minute on the porch about Nick's condition and then came in to give him another kiss. I noticed that something did not seem quite right and went to get mom. I called Martha and a couple of other people from church and they were at our house within minutes. It was amazing how Nick seemed to know that the stage was set for his beautiful departure to glory. Erich came to hold his hand and was crying, Todd came down beside him and cried harder than I have ever heard him cry in my life, Evan sat at Nick's side and held onto him crying, Caleb (Todd and Nick's buddy from birth sat right there along with us), and my brother got there in time to be with us too. Tim was at Nick's head and I was at Nick's side...............It was so hard to let go and whisper in Nick's ear that it was okay to go. I reminded him of Bill Leamon and John Mark Pemberton....I asked him to take care of Adrienne until we get there.............I told him we would be there soon. Mom sat at Nick's feet and told him she loved him too. It was a moment in time that I will hold close to my heart every minute of every day for the rest of my life. Nick simply began breathing less and less frequently until he took his last breath.

From that moment on our house has been a constant whirlwind of friends and family. We are sure that at least 100 people have been in and out of our home today. We feel so loved and so thankful. I have so much more to say, but I know that I am already going to be in trouble for the hour at which I am writing this. For tonight, I have to say this, Of all moms ever handed a child, I consider myself one of the most blessed to have been handed Nicholas Yancy Nischan, my sweet Nick. Oh, please know that I have cried so many times today.

I will share tomorrow about Olivia's learning of Nick's passing.

Tonight as I went up to get my computer, I saw Nick's cell phone lying on the table still hooked to its charger from Thanksgiving Day. I just broke down in my mom's arms. Oh, I love Nick so much. I will miss him more than words can ever say.....EVER SAY. However, I am determined and committed to being the vessel through which Nick's testimony and love for God will touch lives from this day forward. I will share more with you later about how you can be a part of Nick's continuing journey.

Olivia so sweetly said tonight, "I would love it if Nick showed up at his foundation." Then she said, "He probably won't though." It was so precious. She misses him so much. I told her Nick will be everywhere we are. At every game, every concert, everything. Oh, I love you all so much.

I have a lot to learn about prayer and miracles and times when prayers seem to not be answered in the ways we desire.............. I hope and pray that you will walk this chapter of Nick's journey with me as faithfully as you did the first.

With Gratitude for Every Prayer Whispered on Nick's Behalf,

Tammy (and Tim)

Relying On God's Word

Psalm 56

3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;

I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Thanksgiving was full of mixed emotions for our family. Nick was able to watch the Titans win over the Lions! That was exciting! My mom, dad, and brother were all here with us, so we enjoyed simply being together.

But Nick seems to be getting weaker and weaker. It is 6:53 on Friday evening, and Nick hasn't woken up at all today. He is sleeping peacefully on the couch. But when we talk to him, he seems to just keep sleeping.

The boys brought Rock Band down to the room Nick is in, and they tried to liven up the room with some music and laughter. They all take turns talking to Nick which is so sweet to watch.

Friends have stopped by from time to time all day to pray with us, or check on Nick, or hug us, or help with laundry, or whatever they can think of at the moment.

We are thankful!

I find myself with Bible in hand every time I sit down. Trying to stay focused on eternal promises. Trying to find my trust and confidence in God's Word and it alone!

So, for tonight, I ask you to please, please, please, pray for Nick. I still believe he can wake up and shock us all! I still believe in miracles!

I praise God for the fact that Nick is not hurting. He is sleeping so peacefully and calmly.

It brings comfort to my heart just knowing that.

Thankful for every prayer.


Needing to Sleep....

Nick was determined to sleep in his bed tonight which meant going up a flight of stairs which he has not attempted in about two weeks. Erich, my oldest son, was such an encourager practically carrying him as they made it up the staircase together. Nick was so out of breath at the top of the stairs, yet he managed to walk to his bed and get into it before giving up.

Where does he get his determination?

Where does his will to conquer the unconquerable come from?

How does he stay so funny in spite of his physical battle?

Nick is handling this journey better than I am right now. He just amazes me. Here I sit, fighting back tears and wanting to scream while he is sleeping oh, so peacefully, in his Titans' bedroom.

Thoughts and emotions are swarming inside of my head. The fear of getting stung by any of these thoughts or feelings keeps me running. It's as if one thought that is frightening flies through my head, and I shoo it away just in time for another to take its place. There is a fine line between holding it together and having a nervous breakdown. A very fine line. I sometimes think I teeter there.

Then I look at the clock and realize that most normal people are asleep by now (no offense if you are still awake), and I justify my wandering mind as a symptom of fatigue.

Sleep doesn't always come easily when you know the sun is coming up to a home that holds a child fighting for his life.

But deep inside I know that God promises rest for the weary. I am reminded of the verses from Psalm 63 that are hanging on my bedroom door,

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.

Cancer seeks my life in an emotional sense.
Cancer seeks Nick's life in a physical sense.
I know that ultimately cancer will be destroyed.
It will go down to the depths of the earth

Until that day, I must cling to God, trusting His right hand to uphold me.

So, I head to bed and literally remember God through the watches of the night.

He is my help.

He does cause me to sing in the shadow of His wings.

Thankful for each of you who lifts our family up even through the night........

Thankful for Nick's determined spirit........

Thankful for Erich's tender brotherly love..........

Thankful for Evan's ability to make Nick laugh.........

Thankful for Olivia's sweet heart........

Thankful for Todd's high school friends who keep him encouraged.........

Thankful for my mom who shares this journey so closely with me..........

Thankful for my husband who endures my mood swings (who else would?)...........

Thankful for you and Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be filled with love and laughter!

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Thankful for God's View of the Wilderness

Acts 13:18

"....He endured their conduct for about forty years in the wilderness..."

As I was reading the Bible this morning, working my way through the book of Acts, my eyes stopped on this verse above and I sat their speechless wondering what God was trying to say to me.

So, as I read a phrase that I had never noticed before tucked inside Paul's sermon to the people in Pisidian Antioch, I wondered what he meant by the phrase, "He endured their conduct for about forty years in the wilderness...."

I've never thought about the view of the wilderness from God's perspective. I've always imagined the Israelites wandering through the desert, following a cloud by day and fire by night, trusting God for manna as their daily food.

But I've never thought about what God saw from the other side of the wilderness.

I guess I always thought God was proud of them for trusting Him for food and for continuing to walk day by day for forty years. I guess I wanted to forget about their grumbling, their complaining, their moaning, their quick decision to create a new "god" when things got rough.

God was gracious to "endure" their time in the wilderness.

So, today, I think God is saying that He is with me and you, enduring our times in the wilderness.

After all, He sees the big picture. He knows that He will meet all of our needs just when we need them....sometimes not when we think we need them, but always WHEN WE DO!

He longs to be our ONLY GOD.........and oh, how quickly we can turn to material things, other people, books, authors, etc., for the support and love that can only come from God.

So, today, as I step out to face another day of uncertainty with Nick and while I may feel that I am "wandering in the wilderness," I am thankful for a God who endures my imperfections as I often doubt, question, worry, get angry, feel alone, and the list goes on and on.

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, what a perfect time for God to lead me to a passage that reminds me that I have so much to be thankful for even in the wilderness.

And at the top of that list, I am thankful for a God who loves me through the good and the bad days and endures my behavior!

I am thankful for each of you, too, who choose to visit my blog and in a very real way join me in my desert time. Thank you.

God bless your Thanksgiving!!

Nick slept well last night. Mom and I just helped him get on clean jammies. He was stronger yesterday than Monday. Praying for a stronger day today.


My Mighty Rock

Psalm 62:5-8

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

I woke up this morning to the words, "Nick needs to go to the bathroom," and from that moment on the day has not stopped. Tim, Mom, and I got Nick cleaned up and moved downstairs to the new room and once I knew he was settled and comfortable and had had his medicine, I dove in to some much-needed tasks around the house. Mom spent the morning sitting with Nick. My oldest son (Erich) is home from college, and he hung out with them too, being such a great big brother and amazing nursing student all rolled into one! I am so thankful for his knowledge and his love!

Tim ran some errands while I purged our refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and some cupboards. It felt so good to get something productive done! I even pulled out our computer desk and untangled cords that have been driving me crazy for months!

We were suppose to be leaving tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving in Detroit with our dear friends Mike and Koren Furrey. Mike is a wide receiver for the Lions and we were going to be watching the Titans (Nick's favorite team-sorry, Mike) play the Lions (Erich's favorite team) on Thanksgiving Day with the Furreys.

Unfortunately Nick is just too weak for the trip. Our other boys would not go without Nick, so we will be spending Thanksgiving at home watching the game from our family room. It won't be the same, but I just have to believe deep inside that God will bless Nick and our other boys in tremendous ways through this disappointment and their amazing spirits of understanding.

Ladies from our church are already blessing me and my mom by taking away the burden of preparing Thanksgiving and literally "delivering Thanksgiving" to us on Thursday morning. Wow! What a ministry of love. I want to remember this so that one day I can pay it forward to another family who is going through a hard time.

But, anyway, back to my day.......

because we are going to be here and the meal will be spread throughout my house, I just had to regroup in the kitchen. So I dug in, and as they say in our area of the United States, I "got-r-done." Thank you, Lord.

I thought of all of you-Nick's prayer warriors as I worked my way through the kitchen. I imagined all of the beautiful prayers going up for him, and I just KNEW that God was listening because Nick is stronger today than yesterday. His color looks good. He still has a sense of humor. He slept last night with NO Tylenol for pain! Amazing! I am so thankful.

So asI sat down here to write a note, I searched the Scripture for just the right verse and after searching through many different books for the words I felt matched my heart today, I came across one of my very favorites, circled and marked, jumping off the page at me as if it were saying,

"Remember me!?!? You memorized me one time while Nick was in his MRI! You needed me badly that day as the news wasn't good. I'm still here! I'm still true! Your Rock hasn't moved!"

So, as I stumble through life right now, trying to make sense of the uncertainty we face every minute, I am thankful that my toe ran smack dab into this Rock of Remembrance!

God planned this toe-stubbing. I just know it!!!

As you stumble through your day, I pray that you ram your toe into just the right Rock too! And I hope the impact is so strong that you notice and take a minute to reflect on the mighty Rock that never moves and that never changes.

Thankful for a Mighty Rock!

Holding On.....

"The Lord is like a father to His children,

tender and compassionate to those who fear Him."
~ Psalm 103:13

Nick slept most of the day away. When he was awake, he was very weak. We were sure to have him drink every time he was awake, and thankfully, we were able to get him to eat a little too. You don't realize how important things like drinking water can become until someone needs to be reminded to drink.

Our biggest concern at this time is a place on Nick's head that has been bleeding. Our wonderful friend, Martha, who is an ER nurse comes every day to check on Nick and has been able to help us keep this under control. She was at our house last night til after midnight. Oh, thank you, Lord, for Martha!

Tonight, I am so thankful to say that Nick went to bed with no pain in his legs or back!! Thank you, Lord!

I wish you could all meet Nick and know him like I do. He is one of those kids that just grabs your heart the instant you are near him. He is so polite, so appreciative, so content............

When you are with him, you just know that he is being ministered to by angels. He radiates peace.

He apologizes for anything that inconveniences the person helping him.

He gives a "thumbs up" when asked how he is doing.

He waves the "I love you" sign across the room when one is waved at him.

So, when I read the verse above, I knew deep inside that Nick must truly fear God; because God is so tender and compassionate with Nick.

Cancer only has limited power on Nick's body. God has set a hedge of protection around Nick's heart. A hedge that says, "You can't hurt my boy's heart....He is mine."

As I go to bed tonight, I have to admit that for me today has been so very hard.

I cried in the shower this morning. I cried several times throughout the day while alone in my bedroom.

I have wrestled with many different emotions from anger to sadness to fear.

But, I can say without question that as I head off to bed, I feel a sense of peace knowing that as much as I love Nick as his mom, the Lord loves him even more and is like a father to him.......tender and compassionate. What more can I ask for?

The Great I Am calls and treats my son as His very own!

I don't know what tonight or tomorrow holds.........but I know who holds tomorrow.

And so I am holding on...............................to the Master's hand!

Praying that all of you are holding on as well!

Thank you for every prayer!

I am still praying for and expecting a miracle!

Please Pray for Nick
I don't have time to write a lot, but I did want to ask all of you who stop by to especially lift Nick up to our Heavenly Father today.

He is very weak.

I will write more tonight.

Thankful for each of you who shares life with our family.

God bless you all,

Holding Hands with Moses and Aaron

Psalm 77

1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.

2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.

3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.

4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.

5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;

6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:

7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?

8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?

9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"

10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."

11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.

13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?

14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.

15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.

17 The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.

18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.

19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.

20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

As I reflect on this passage, I too feel much like this psalmist who often struggles to have his soul comforted. I am so thankful for great men of old who poured out their hearts so honestly and openly. Because of them, I can face my modern-day sea of mighty waters where God's footprints often cannot be seen.....

knowing that just as God led his "people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron," He is leading me today.

He is leading you too. Whatever you face today, remember that you serve "the God who performs miracles and displays His power among His people!"

Take the hand of Moses or Aaron (or any other wonderful man or woman of faith who makes up our great cloud of witnesses - Hebrews 11) and keep on keeping on!!!

Crossing the mighty sea of faith with you,

What does a zebra have to do with anything?!?!

Isaiah 53

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

You'll have to really bear with me today as you can tell my mind is "out there" somewhere! See, this week has been mixed with everything from

basketball practice

to a healing service where Nick was lifted up

to visits from new ministers and old friends

to gifts arriving in the mail from a professional football player (thank you, Donnie Nickey for the Titans helmet and jersey and sweet card! WOW!)

to being rear-ended yesterday while at a red light by a girl who was living out of her car.....and who ended up coming to our home for a shower and to do laundry. I am praying that she will be coming to church Sunday (PLEASE PRAY-Our church is now trying to help her get an apartment and furniture) and PRAISE GOD-My van shows no signs of the impact!

to subbing

to being the mom my healthy kids need

to being the mom Nick needs
and the list goes on and on and on......................

So as I sat here today wanting to share what is on my heart, the word "STRESSED" just came into my mind so quickly that I had to do a little image search. When I found the picture above, I couldn't help but feel it was a little comedy relief from God!

See, one of the ministers who prayed with Nick this week used the verse above ("with His stripes we are healed") in his prayer and when I saw the picture of the zebra with the stripes falling off due to stress, I had to laugh out loud.

Serving a Savior who allowed His stripes to heal us can sometimes lead to a little bit of "earthly stress" where if we were zebras, we may very well LOSE OUR STRIPES!
I think that's what serving Him is all about......
Losing ourselves in order to find Him!
I don't know about you, but sometimes when I try so hard to "lose myself" in Him....the devil just loves to add a little stress!

So, I have decided that the next time I feel shortness of breath and a slight headache from all the things facing me, I am going to remember the picture of the zebra and smile.
And then I am going to remember what Jesus did for me on the cross.
Trying to lose my stripes and remember His!

When Your Footstool is a Basket......

Mark 6:50-52

..."Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,

for they had not understood about the loaves....

Last night five of my friends traveled with me to a church about 30 miles from our home that I had been told of an email from a nurse who knows of Nick's situation. She felt led to invite me to her church as she said the "Spirit was moving in great ways!" How could I not go?!?!

The song service had me in tears. Surrounded by people who were praising God with all of their hearts and souls just overwhelmed me! Then the minister said, "Tammy Nischan, can you come up here for a minute?" (He had been told of my presence before the service began.) In tears, I walked to the front as he shared with the congregation about Nick's fight with cancer. He then asked people to come pray with me and asked everyone who had had a child with cancer to come pray with me. I don't even know what happened for the next few minutes. I was surrounded by people crying and praying, and I was crying too. It was amazing!

As I went to my seat, I knew that God was working in mighty ways, but I didn't realize that the best was yet to come!

In the sermon, the minister spoke of Jesus' temptations in the wilderness and how the Bible says that when He left the desert he was filled with the POWER of the SPIRIT! He then went on to share that what the devil doesn't realize is that when he tempts us or tests us and we are able to overcome by the power of the Word we are actually EMPOWERED and FILLED even more with the Spirit.

Ready to do bigger and greater things.

God "uses" the devils deception for His glory. God gives us the ability to withstand all temptation and every test and provides a way out of EVERY struggle. When we rely on His Word and do not give in to the devil's schemes, we are then filled with more power!

Then he said something that I will never, ever forget......

The way we make it through our "next test or next temptation" (because there will be one) is by remembering what God has done in the past for us!

He told the story of the feeding of the five thousand and how right after this amazing miracle (which is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels), the disciples gather up twelve "extra!" baskets of bread and head out on the sea.

A storm develops and immediately the disciples are full of fear!

The minister said, "Here they sat with their feet propped up on Jesus' greatest miracle and yet they feared the storm!"


Are you feet propped up on things God has done for you and yet you are still afraid, discouraged, lonely, depressed, angry, or sad!?!

Mine have been.

I have had a basket of God's great works right under my feet and yet I have been feeling fear and depression.

I think if Jesus could talk to us today, He may very well ask us the same question He asked the disciples in Matthew 16:8-10

"You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?"

My prayer today is that all of us will look down and see what our feet are resting on and in that moment find peace for the storm we are facing! Jennifer, you were right! This just had to be a blog post! I love you!

Your Fellow Basket-Footstool Friend,

Hemmed In......

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

These words comfort me as I find myself crying at night as I fall to sleep and then waking up with a feeling of fear and uncertainty as to what each new day will hold.

God is familiar with all of my ways. He hears my cries. He sees my struggle. He feels my pain. He has laid His hand upon me. And before I speak, God knows me completely.

He knows you too.

We are blessed to be called children of the King.

We are hemmed in................behind and before! God was with us yesterday and He is with us tomorrow. He sees the whole quilt...not just the piece we are living out today.

Thankful for a Master who has a beautiful "Master plan."

Trusting Him even in this valley,

Who Do I Think I Am?

Job 38:22

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow

or seen the storehouses of the hail?"

For the first 37 chapters of the book of Job, we read of a man's life literally crumbling under his feet. We read of his friends who tried to come and offer advice and support that ended up being of no help at all. We read of a man who is determined to stay committed to God no matter what happens even when his wife is encouraging him to throw in the towel in his spiritual battle.

And finally, we get to hear what God has to say about the unfair things that have happened in Job's life. We long for these words from God, because by the time we get to chapter 38 we are just about in sackclothes and ashes with Job, feeling his pain as if it were our own. After all, we can all relate to Job in some way, can't we? We try to do what is right. We try to walk blamelessly. We try to put God first. And yet, our lives are frequently filled with pain and turmoil while those around us who seem to rarely, if ever, even think about God often walk around with their heads held high living lives of ease.

So chapter 38 opens with the words, "Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm." Yes!!! As we read we are on the edge of our seats! We, too, are facing storms of sorts, aren't we? So, we long to hear God's answer, His explanation, His reason, His plan.......

Then God begins speaking..........................(and thankfully He prepares us by saying, "Brace yourself like a man." I don't know about you, but if I hear those words, I am definitely prepared for things I might not like to be told!)

But God doesn't start giving answers. He starts asking questions.........................

Questions like, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"

Tough questions like, "Have you ever given orders to the morning?"

By the time God is finished with His interrogation anyone who is reading the book of Job is fairly certain that any doubts or questions they might have about God's plan for their lives are unwarranted.

God truly does have "EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL" even when we feel life is terribly out of control.

Job finally realizes that God's point in all of the suffering He has allowed satan to put him through had a purpose. A purpose that only God had to understand.

Job finally says in chapter 40

4 "I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more."

And then in chapter 42, Job totally gets it when he says,

2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.'
5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

Tonight as my house was abuzz with a forecast of 1 to 3 inches of snow, I thought of the question God asked Job regarding snow,

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?"

Can our minds even begin to wrap around the beauty and wonder of entering the storehouses of the snow...Narnia in all its beauty can't hold a candle to the majesty we would experience.

So, as I head to bed heavy-hearted about Nick's illness................I must place my hands over my mouth and remember that no plans of God's can be thwarted.
I must trust Him.....

No questions asked.

Because God can out-question me any day!

Thankful to Serve the One with Every Answer,

What did I sign up for anyway?

As Olivia unpacked her back pack one day last week, she started talking in a very "put out" kind-of way and said,
"I don't get it! I thought I was the secretary for 4-H. Well, actually, I am the secretary, but then they had to go and give me this notebook."
With that, she plopped down the green notebook (pictured above)on our kitchen table.
I had to laugh when I picked it up and saw that it was entitled, "Secretary's Handbook."
Olivia began pulling pieces of paper out of the handbook and acting so disgusted with the "work" she had not realized would be part of her "title."
It made me stop and think about how we view our lives as Christians so many times.
"I don't get it. I thought I was a Christian. Well, actually, I am a Christian. But then God had to go and give me this Book!"

Becoming a Christian doesn't just mean "easy street or ticket to Heaven."
It means realizing that "the rain falls on the just and the unjust" .....
and that everything we want to say should not be said.....
and that putting others first is not an option but a requirement ........
and that going the extra mile is exactly what God wants us to do EVERY time we have a chance to serve........
and that being content in all situations is what God desires from us.......
and that we should "do everything without grumlbing or complaining"......
and the list goes on and on and on...
What did we sign up for?
Yes, we have been given the honor of wearing the title "Christians!"
But we have to remember that part of the deal is following the handbook!
Even when it's difficult!
Striving to be what I "signed up" to be even when the handbook seems overwhelming!

Thankful for A Guarded Heart and Mind

Philippians 4:6-8

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

From Isaiah to Philippians the message doesn't change. God offers perfect peace to those whose minds are fixed on Him and on those whose trust is in Him and Him alone.

So, I learned today (again!) that God can take our weakest daybreaks and turn them into our strongest sunsets! That's what He did for me today.

I woke up this morning feeling fear, dread, uncertainty, anxiety, and the list goes on and on. After a couple of hours of Bible reading, I decided to lay back down only to find myself having nightmares about Nick's illness until the minute Olivia woke me up! I had allowed the devil to get a foothold before going to sleep, and he took advantage of the situation by sneaking in and messing with my dreams.

You can imagine how horrible I felt when I got up to get ready for Sunday school. Needless to say, I didn't even bother wearing my contacts. I knew tears would be coming from time to time, so I decided to be prepared. However, I was amazed at the strength God gave me to keep pressing on all day long.

I made it to Sunday school. I came home with Nick during church. I took Olivia and three of her friends to see a movie this afternoon. Nick had an enjoyable day of watching football with Tim, Evan, and Todd. The Titans are now 10 and 0!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of my early morning fears seemed to fade away as the day progressed.

Thank you for praying for me! Thank you for praying for Nick!

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a peace that transcends my understanding. Thank you for guarding my heart and my mind.

Faithfully Serving Him,

Depending on Him

The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
~ Lamentations 3:25

I woke up in the darkness of the night with Nick sleeping near me, and I was overcome with a feeling that I needed to get up and go to my Bible. I didn't feel totally prepared for Sunday school this morning, so I felt that God was saying, "Now is your chance." I tossed and turned for a bit hoping I would fall back to sleep and that I was just imagining the call from God to "rise and shine" at 4:30 in the morning.

Finally, at 4:54 I knew sleep was not coming so I slipped to the kitchen and got a little glass of orange juice and headed to my Bible.

It is now 6:27 a.m. I have been from Psalms to Hebrews to I Thessalonians to II Corinthians......it has been a great reminder that this world is not our home. We are on a pilgrimage with a destination that will place us at the feet of our Heavenly Father and will surpass any beauty and wonder we ever experience while on this planet. I have enjoyed my quiet time so much.

However, before slipping back to bed for hopefully an hour of rest before the day begins, I decided to check Nick's website and my email. As I clicked to Nick's site and started scrolling through past memories, I found myself overcome with emotion.

As I type, the tears are rolling down my cheeks and dripping onto my pajamas uncontrollably. I just read of two more little girls who have passed away this week from brain tumors, and I look at Nick's pictures from this summer and I realize how different he looks now and how his smile has weakened. My heart feels the struggle between KNOWING how wonderful Heaven will be and NEVER WANTING to see another child of mine go there before me. It has been 16 1/2 years since we lost Adrienne and yet the memory of the pain of the loss is almost more than I can bear. So, my tears this morning are 100% for me...........not for Adrienne or even for Nick, although I ache to see him suffer in any way.

As I was caught up in all of this, I went to my email and the Scripture above was the Scripture for today in KLove's email. I couldn't help but feel that God was once again saying to me....

"Keep depending upon me. Keep searching for me. I will be good to you."

So, as I leave the computer to crawl back into bed, I am overwhelmed with emotions.

Fear. Confusion. Sadness. I cannot lie. I cannot pretend that my heart is not full of all of these emotions.

And yet, under all of these worldly feelings, I still sense.......

Thanksgiving. Joy. Peace. Contentment. Hope.

Thank you for every prayer for me as I strive to depend on God and search for Him.

I long to know Him so much more than I do now.

I still praise Him for the miracle that Nick already is! It has been a month since the MRI that was so devastating. I have to believe and praise God for Nick's ability to still watch movies, read books, and have basically good days. I long to see Nick totally healed,and I will continue praying for this miracle.

Thankful for each of you,

Jesus Knew We Would Doubt

Habakkuk 3

17-19Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!

A friend of mine stopped by our house the other night and was sharing about a book she had just finished reading. In the book the author discusses John the Baptist’s time in prison when he sent messengers to Jesus saying, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus tells the messengers to go back and tell John that He is giving sight to the blind, healing the lame, raising the dead, and preaching the good news to the poor. Then he says, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

As my friend and I talked about this passage and the author’s opinion that John was struggling with doubt as he sat in prison while the one he had proclaimed to the world was out healing the sick and raising the dead….

I had this overwhelming feeling that this unexpected visit with this friend was a message for me directly from God. I did a little research online in some commentaries and wanted to share some thoughts from http://www.biblegateway.com/ on this passage:

God Does Not Always Act As We Expect (11:1-3)

John has already recognized Jesus' identity (3:14); now, in prison, he is undoubtedly discouraged and doubting, like many other men and women of God facing trials that seem greater than their power to endure. Pursued by Jezebel and finding that even the fire at Mount Carmel had not been sufficient to dislodge idolatry from the land, Elijah asked for God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4; compare Mt 17:12-13). Pursued by Saul and frustrated by continual obstacles to God's promises, David nearly committed an act that would have stained the rest of his career, had God not intervened through wise Abigail (1 Sam 25:21-35). Most of his life the only prophet of his generation speaking the truth, torn by the hatred and impending destruction of people he loved, Jeremiah cursed the day of his birth (Jer 20:14-18; compare 15:10). Dismayed by long delays in fulfillment of God's promises to Israel, the inspired psalmist protested his people's humiliation (Ps 89:38-51). All men and women of God are of like passions as we-that reminds us to always trust in God's power rather than our own (Jas 5:16-18).

Matthew recorded John's struggle with doubt, not to condemn John, but to encourage subsequent disciples whose faith would be tested by hardships. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me could be translated "How happy will be the one who does not stumble on my account." In view of its serious use in the Gospel tradition (for example, 5:29-30; Mk 9:42-47; compare especially Mt 21:42-44), the language of "stumbling" here suggests that one's response to Jesus determines one's place at the final judgment (Witherington 1990:43-44)

Wow! Jesus wanted John the Baptist to trust..no matter what. And just as Paul learned to share God’s message even from within a dark, cold prison cell (Philippians, for example), I must do the same with my personal time in a prison of sorts (helping my son fight cancer).

See, it is easy to doubt at times when you see your son unable to do so many things other boys his age are doing.

It is easy to doubt when the highlight of his day might be sitting on the back porch for ten minutes. (Although I'm thankful to see him on the porch!)

It is easy to doubt when Nick's friends have ball games and you know Nick would love to be playing ball. (Yet I would never want these other boys to feel guilty-they should be playing ball!)

It is easy to doubt when other families receive clear MRIs and praise God for miracles.(However, I rejoice with those who receive such news....I remember similar days..they are priceless!!)

It is easy to doubt when kids who are not very nice seem to have everything they want and your son who is so sweet can’t even play his video games anymore…..(Yet I know that many of these kids still need Jesus in their heart, and I am thankful Nick has Him right where He belongs!)


He knew there would be times when we faced prison moments while others were embracing life with total freedom. He knew there would be times when we couldn’t see Him clearly because of the darkness surrounding our life.

Thank you, Jesus, for answering John’s doubting question not by condemning him for doubting (after all, John the Baptist had already baptized Jesus and seen the dove come down from Heaven!) but by gently saying, “Do not fall away on account of me.”

Today, I hear Jesus saying to me, ‘Do not fall away on account of me.” Yes, Jesus brings healing, hope, life, joy……..but there are times when those things aren’t as easy to grasp on a personal level……times in our personal prisons. It is in these cold, dark times that our faith is tested and we find our greatest opportunities to offer genuine praise not based on our life’s experiences but based on our dependence on our Savior Jesus Christ.

Habakkuk 3

17-19Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!

Praising God,

I Subbed with Santa!
You just never know what's going to happen when you sub!
Look who was subbing on the same day as I was!

Well, actually, he said he is Santa's twin brother.
I just had to share!

Teens and Cell Phones....They're Not All Bad

Last night Olivia had a basketball game in Ashland. I had this big idea that Mom and Nick could meet me, Tim, Todd, and Olivia after the game to eat at a restaurant in Ashland that is fairly new (at least we've never been there).

I was so excited when Nick agreed to take a bath and try this little outing. However, soon after sitting down in the restaurant booth, it was apparent that Nick's back was hurting too much to enjoy the meal. So mom took Nick to the car and we decided to order theirs to go. Olivia and Todd became very quiet. I didn't want the night ruined for them, because they were so excited about going out to eat. They had been singing along with Christmas music the whole way from Olivia's game. Now we sat in silence.

Tim arrived a few minutes later after running to the library to check out a few books for Nick. Stress filled our table as we were all struggling with the reality of Nick's condition. When the waitress came to take our order, I tried to say that I needed to order two of the dinners to go because my son was sick, but I was overcome with tears and couldn't finish my sentences. I felt like I was in a bad dream. I got up and walked out of the restaurant with tears running down my face, and I remember thinking that people probably thought I had had a fight with my husband or something. When I regrouped and got back to the table, Olivia's head was down and she was crying so hard. We tried to regroup, but there was so much tension at our table. I ended up asking the waitress to have Tim's order placed in a "to go" bag too, so he could go on home with Nick and mom. Then Olivia cried again.

Thankfully, God led two couples from our town to eat at the same restaurant, and they walked over to say, "Hi." Little did they know that they were walking up on an emotional mess. One of the women sat down by Olivia and started rubbing her back (Olivia's head was down on the table in her arms) and I leaned over on the other woman and just lost it right there in the booth. I couldn't hold it in any longer.

Later, I found out that my son Todd who had been sitting there the entire time texting away on his cell phone had actually been sending out pleas to his friends that said, "Please pray for my little brother Nick. Please forward this to ten people." One of my friends in Grayson received the text through her daughter and forwarded it to me. It was precious. On the way home, Todd shared what he had done and said he was getting texts from people who didn't even know his number.

I guess I say all of this to remind myself that while I sometimes get frustrated at the amount of texting Todd seems to do every minute of the day, I am thankful that he is able to use his area of interest to draw people into prayer when needed.

And I believe that there are hundreds of other teens out there who are just like Todd.

Using what they have to do what they can in a world where we are all struggling to survive!

Thankful for Todd's Cell Phone and His Heart,

(by the way this is the same child who caused my outburst of anger in the van that I wrote about a month or so ago)

A Sacred Call.....

I wanted to share my latest prayer email with you, because I wanted all of you who read my blog to be "in" on the thoughts I am having about prayer. So, below you will read the email I have sent this morning to Nick's prayer warriors all over the world. Thanks for reading, caring, and praying!

Dear Prayer Warriors,

It seems like weeks since I have written. Mom has been here visiting for the past week, and so I have taken the opportunity to sub when I can. Today I didn't have a sub assignment, so I am enjoying the chance to spend time with Nick and Mom and also update all of you! Tomorrow I am subbing for the high school band director at West (in case you needed a laugh today). I have enjoyed seeing my friends at East the past couple of days! Thank you for your love and hugs! I also had the privilege of speaking at a Church of God here in Grayson on Tuesday evening and I walked away so blessed. The women of the church encircled and prayed out loud in unison over me. I was brought to tears as I heard bits and pieces of each woman's words lifted to God...I specifically remembering hearing the phrase, "you knew Nick before he was born....you knew his parents were just the ones he needed.....You trusted Nick to them..." Wow! Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to be Nick's mom.

You really lifted my spirits!

Because of Nick's battle, I have become a little more active in several brain tumor groups online. This has been eye-opening especially in the past week. Many children are having recurrences in their tumors right now. I don't know why. I say that only to say that there are families all across the world who need your prayers right now. Also, several families are grieving through the holidays from recent losses, so I ask you to pray for them as well.

Today, my burden is heavy for these kids. And I especially wanted to mention both Nick and Natalie (remember Natalie from the Jericho Walk in August). Her family just learned that her tumor is growing in her brain stem and the only option open to them at this time is an experimental drug. Like us, they need a miracle.I have talked with Natalie's mom via email, and they ask for all of your prayers as do we.

Nick continues to amaze us with his ability to make us laugh. In most ways he is the same old Nick we all know and love. His head definitely shows the difference between him and other children, but we have adjusted to this reality and we are thankful for Nick's favorite hat which you have all seen in pictures. He just keeps it nearby in case people stop by and then simply slides it on as needed. He never complains. He never questions. He truly blows me away!

I have been burdened with one aspect of prayer that has meant so much to me through the years, and I guess my challenge today is for all of you to consider reading the article below and then joining me in prayer combined with fasting. I say this not because I believe that fasting in and of itself will cause God to feel pressure to heal Nick or Natalie or any of these other kids. I say this because I believe that when we take time to fast while praying, our hearts show a commitment to prayer that draws us closer to Him in many ways......and ultimately, my prayer is that Nick and Natalie's lives will have eternal impacts on so many lives!

Seeing your child suffer is very hard, but seeing them suffer for no reason is even harder.

Knowing that through their suffering and ours any of you who read these emails will become a stronger Christian, a more active part of God's Kingdom, less negative, more positive, more full of joy, more content, more thankful, more gentle and kind, and the list goes on and on..........makes my heart smile.

So with that "out there," I am asking you to read through some of this research article on fasting and see if you might consider joining me in Friday Fasts for Nick and Natalie. Maybe all-day fasting doesn't work for you medically. If that is the case, then consider fasting one meal. Whatever you can do, just remember that in place of the time of eating or whenever you have thoughts of hunger simply whisper prayers of healing for our children. Of course, this is a great time to pray for all of your other concerns as well and to thank God for the miracles He gives us every day. Nick and Natalie are both already miracles in many, many ways. So we thank God for their lives! As parents, though, we continue to pray for God's healing hand to touch them in a mighty way. And we know that He is able.

Here is the article: http://www.new-life.net/fasting.htm

Joel 2:11-15

11 The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
Rend Your Heart

12 "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."
13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.

Calling All of You to a Sacred Assembly!

I am thankful for all of you!

Have a wonderful day!

Keep Looking Up!

It's Beginning to Look a "Little" Like Christmas
Poor Snoopy.....He just seems a little "out of place" standing near the pumpkins and very-dried out mums! There's just something about this time of year that seems about that awkward. Christmas is in the air but Thanksgiving longs to be celebrated for all its worth!

So, as we began our decorating a little early, I had to laugh when I realized we had plopped Snoopy down so near to our remnants of fall!

I wanted to share a few photos from our night of decorating, but I just had to share the one of Snoopy first!

I am subbing this week since mom is here to stay with Nick, so my blog posts are a little shorter!

I will write more this weekend!

Wish I could stop by each of your homes for a cup of coffee! I would love to help all of you put up your lights!

Looking forward to Christmas but savoring the season of Thanksgiving for all its worth!

Thankful for all of you!

Tim Needed a Little Lift!
Psalm 3
1 O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him."
3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.

When Tim came home for lunch today, he confessed that he was having a "bad day." Nick's health situation was really getting to him today, and he was feeling blue.
As he headed back to work, I felt bad for him. I didn't really know what I could say or do to make him feel better.
This roller coaster we are on is so unpredictable. Some days I am sad. Other days Tim is sad. Some days I feel positive. Other days Tim does.
The good news is...............God is the same every day and HE knows just what each of us needs!
Today, God knew that Tim needed a lift!!
Late this afternoon one of my friends had stopped by to drop off Nick's medicine she had picked up for us. She was commenting on our house being decorated for the holidays, and I was telling her that Tim was planning to add Christmas lights to the side of our house when he got home from work. My mom jokingly said, "He needs a bucket truck!" As God would have it, my friend chimed in, "We have one at work." I couldn't believe it!
Within two hours, Tim was home for work and riding up to the top of our house in a bucket! He was grinning ear to ear as he was doing something for the first time in his life AND getting lights to a place he didn't know if he could really reach any other way!
I talked to my friend on the phone this evening and said, "Thank you so much! Tim really needed a lift!!!" In a real and a spiritual way, the bucket brought both!
Isn't God amazing!?!?! He really does supply just what each of us needs. And I truly believe that when we are open to hearing from Him, He loves to be creative in answering our prayers!!

Praying God Sends Just the Right "Bucket" to You Today!!
Love you all so much,

My Morning Plea........My Mid-Morning Plea...My Noon Plea.......and so on.....

Psalm 141:1-3

1 O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Lifting you to our Father today too,

Would God Speak Through a Deer?
Last night as I was driving back from a movie with Olivia and four of her little friends we saw a house totally decked out in lights for the holidays! Even the bushes were sparkling with color! I couldn't believe it! My heart has struggled to be filled with the spirit of the season this year as we live so much "one day at a time" with Nick's illness.

This morning I was sharing with my mom about the house we had seen, and she seemed to have the same "season struggle" as I have this year. We simply agreed that we just couldn't get in the mood.

Little did I know that God was setting me up for a day I'll never forget!

I headed out to run some errands. The first was to pick up a prescription for Nick at the pharmacy. While in the store, I decided to buy a couple new candle tarts for my tart warmer. While sniffing through the many scents, my eyes landed on a snowman air freshener for the car. I thought, "Maybe this will help me feel a little more "Christmasy," so for $1.99, I decided it was a good investment.

While paying for my little treats, again my eye was drawn away by yet another holiday reminder - a huge Christmas tree near the checkout counter. On the tree, I spotted an ornament of a Ninja Turtle holding a candy cane! Nick has been watching all of the old Ninja Turtle movies lately, so I couldn't resist!

When I got home, I told mom, "I think I may have gotten us started on our Christmas spirit!" She was so excited with the ornament especially!!! And we agreed that we needed to write 2008 right on his turtle shell as a reminder of this special year!

Later I ran to a different store for paper towels and laundry detergent. While checking out, my wandering eye caught sight of Christmas CDs (2 for $5.00!!). The first one I saw cracked me up! It was called, "NO WAY....It's like so Christmas!" Guess what! It's in my van now! (Yes, I paid for it!)

I left this store and ran to a friend's house to drop off a little "happy fall" gift (I knew she liked candle tarts too!) and on the way was talking to another out-of-town friend who was celebrating a birthday today............as I drove through the subdivision, I happened to look out my window and running along beside me was a deer much like the one above....antlers and all!!! As I looked at the deer, it looked back at me and then ran ahead and into the woods!!

I couldn't believe it! I felt as if a reindeer had just ran alongside me saying, "Come on, Tammy, get in the spirit...........at least for your kids' sake!!"

Now, I am not a huge Santa fan and I definitely don't think God promotes a belief in reindeer, BUT, I do believe that He may have used this deer to remind me that my Christmas spirit isn't just about how I feel. It's also about how my kids feel. And kids LOVE Christmas!!!

So, when I got back home, I told my mom (who is visiting for a week or so) that I thought we should decorate the house tonight! She couldn't believe it! She was so excited! Suddenly, we were planning for something both of us had just been struggling to come to grips with hours before.

Thankfully, my husband is a huge Christmas lover and he jumped right in with the plans!! After Olivia's basketball games we stopped at WalMart to get new lights, and I am thrilled to say that we now have our trees up sparkling with colored Christmas lights!! The kids had a blast! My oldest son came over from his college dorm to help with decorating and played Candy Land with Todd, Nick, and Olivia!!! It was hilarious! They all wore Santa hats and used two game boards hooked together.....Extreme Candy Land!!!!

Mom made cookies and brownies. Tim took care of the lights. I did the rearranging and decorating. We had Christmas music playing in every room!

This morning as I sat in the kitchen sipping my coffee and feeling rather melancholy about the holidays I never would have dreamed that tonight would have turned out to be such a special evening!!!

I thank God for causing my eyes to wander to reminders of the beauty of the season........from snowmen to Ninja Turtles holding candy canes to Christmas music to "reindeer!"

If you are struggling to find a reason for the season, I am praying that God will cause your eyes to wander to His messages sent just for you! And if those messages seem difficult to hear or see, maybe reading God's Words below will give you a reason to get in the Christmas spirit!

Luke 2:1-14

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Praying God's Peace on You Tonight!

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