Longing to see the whole picture
Todd and his friend Caleb have spent the last couple of nights putting together this puzzle.

Since Todd received a new camera for Christmas, he has been taking pictures of everything! Thankfully, he took a picture of the puzzle from time to time along the way! When I was looking through his photos and saw this one, it spoke to me in such a powerful way.

Especially when I saw the "accidental" heart right in the middle!! And the smaller "accidental" heart in the middle of the upper middle section!!

I couldn't help but think of I Corinthians 13 when it says that now we "see through a glass darkly" and then goes on to promise that one day we will fully know just as we are known.

Oh, for that day!

Oh, to see how each piece of our life fits together to make God's masterpiece.

Oh, to understand that sometimes it is in the missing pieces that God can form a perfect heart!

Tonight as I watch 2008 end and prepare for 2009.............

My first year without Nick and my seventeenth year without Adrienne.........

I am praying that God will keep my heart focused on His masterpiece not on my missing pieces.

I am praying that I will remember that until that day when my faith becomes sight, I will not be able to see the "whole picture."

But when I do............

Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

Praying for you too,

Embracing the Day

Well, Christmas Day came and went.

The reality of Nick's absence rang in my ears constantly-sometimes like a clanging cymbal other times like the light ringing of a gentle chime.

This is a photo we took in my Aunt Earlene's back yard on Christmas Day.

Our first "family picture" without Nick.

I'm not sure that I'll ever get use to looking at a picture of our family without Nick's radiant smile.

I can't help but think that somewhere among the branches he is grinning and sharing this moment with us. I know he was in my heart.

So, what do you do on Christmas Day when you are grieving?

You embrace the day.

What else can you do when you have the hope the Heaven?

If Nick could have made the choice of spending the day with us climbing an old tree to say "cheese" or of spending the day in the presence of the One for whom we celebrate the holiday, Our Lord and Savior, I just have to believe he would have chosen praising Jesus.

So, as Nick's mom, I have to honor my son by choosing to spend God's Son's birthday praising Him as well! Nick would have wanted nothing less from me.

I have much to share about our wild trip across America.

I'll save stories for another time.

Just had to write in the wee hours of this morning to say, "We're home. We made it through Christmas. We are thankful. We love you all so much!"

God bless you as you walk into 2009.

May it be a year of many blessings, laughs, and love!

Checking In....Quickly
The lodge we are staying in has one computer with a 30-minute time limit!

I just checked my email and wanted to quickly say "hi" and tell you we are having a very nice time.

We have our moments when we talk of Nick and feel very sad, but thankfully we feel your prayers in such a strong way. We BELIEVE and KNOW that Nick is where we all long to be!

We know his Christmas will be better than we could ever imagine.

Oh, we miss him so much.

I just wanted to tell you that we love and are so thankful for every prayer.

We are taking lots of pictures......

I'll write more later.

Love and Christmas hugs and blessings to each of you!

Packing for the first time.....

That seems to be the first word out of my mouth lately.......

Or in my texts to friends..........

Or in my emails.............


I'm just taking deep breaths in and deep breaths out.

Sometimes the simplest things become the most difficult when you are walking the road of grief.

Packing, for example.

We decided that staying home for Christmas would simply be too difficult. Too many traditions that Nick loved and looked forward to.

So, my husband, Erich, Evan, Todd, and Olivia (our four kids) are leaving at 4 a.m. for Oklahoma to go see my grandpa, aunt, and cousins.

My parents, who live "on the way" are meeting us at an exit a few hours from here and traveling along with us in their car.

We will be driving 13 hours tomorrow and spending three nights in Branson, Missouri, on the way to the panhandle of Oklahoma.

Then on Christmas Eve we will drive 6 more hours and arrive at our next hotel in time to go spend the evening with family in Beaver, Oklahoma.


So, here I sit.

I just had to stop and say, "Packing is so hard when you're grieving."

I miss Nick so much and not packing for him has been so hard. He loved trips. He would have been right here reminding me of things we needed, asking if I needed help. He was just that kind of kid.

And walking through his room, I long to stop and help him pick out jammies, video games, and other things he would definitely want to bring along.

So tonight has been a night of tears. I took a bath and just cried and cried. Then I thought I had regrouped when my mom called to remind me of something to bring, and I found myself losing it on the phone with her.


Oh, Nick, I miss you. I miss your great big smile and gentle spirit. I miss your hugs. I miss your sweet hand rubbing my back as I walk by.

In the midst of my sadness, I came across a burned CD that Nick had titled, "Nick's Amazingly Awesome Music CD." I put it in the CD player in the kitchen and was reminded again of just what a fun boy he was! When I get home from this trip, I am going to list all the songs on the CD. I promise it will lift your spirits like it is lifting mine right now!

Thank you, God, for continuing to remind me what a great blessing Nick was and will continue to be to me. Thank you for the hope of Heaven!

I'm not sure how often I will be able to write this week, so I had to take a minute to let you know I'll be away from the computer.........

Thank you for every prayer for our family.

Lifting all of you to our "Amazingly Awesome" Father,

You Tube
If you go to www.youtube.com and type in Nick Nischan Celebration, you can watch Nick's service in small sections.

Or go to



And you can watch Olivia and her friends introduce their gingerbread village pieces and sing "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree."

Thanks for sharing life with us,

The Battle Within........

II Corinthians 10:4-5
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I truly don't know how people walk the road of grief without the hope of Heaven.

I am struggling.........

even while I have this hope.

I can't imagine where I'd be without it.

Christ says,

"If anyone is thirsty, they should come to me and drink." (John 7:37)
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples." (John 8:31)

And regarding a man blind from birth, Jesus says,

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (John 9:3-4)

I believe these words....all of them.

I really do.

But somehow grief, like some sort of monster, plays games with my minds.

I feel parched spiritually even though I stay deep in the Word.

I feel darkness around me even though I strive to stay in the light.

I do not feel like one of Jesus' disciples even though I love Him more than anyone in this world.

I feel guilt even though I KNOW I did not cause Nick to be sick.

Oh, grief.

You are cruel.

So, I look to II Corinthians and I keep praying this passage.

Lord, demolish all arguments that set themselves up against Your knowledge. Take all of my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Your Son.

Captive, Lord. I long to take all my grief-driven thoughts captive. Put them behind bars. Lock them up for life.

And yet I know that somehow because of the evil of this world and the somewhat limited and yet often effective power of the devil, the bars are loosened time and time again..........

Freeing my thoughts to wander, scramble, stray, doubt, fear...............

So, my prayer tonight is that every time I feel the door swinging open I will become more and more equipped to shut it quickly and bravely.

When I am afraid, I will trust in You
In God Whose Word I praise!!!!!!!!!!

Simply Resting On His Promises Today
Micah 4

6 "In that day," declares the LORD,
"I will gather the lame;
I will assemble the exiles
and those I have brought to grief.

7 I will make the lame a remnant,
those driven away a strong nation.
The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion
from that day and forever.

8 As for you, O watchtower of the flock,
O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion,
the former dominion will be restored to you;
kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem."

9 Why do you now cry aloud—
have you no king?
Has your counselor perished,
that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?

10 Writhe in agony, O Daughter of Zion,
like a woman in labor,

for now you must leave the city
to camp in the open field.
You will go to Babylon;
there you will be rescued.
There the LORD will redeem you
out of the hand of your enemies.

11 But now many nations
are gathered against you.
They say, "Let her be defiled,
let our eyes gloat over Zion!"

12 But they do not know
the thoughts of the LORD;
they do not understand his plan,
he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor.

Nick's IPod Sent Me an Important Reminder
I woke up this morning feeling very blue. Visions of Nick danced through my head to the point that I thought I would not be able to face the day.

I managed to get Olivia and Todd off to school and start on some laundry.

Then I sat down to have my quiet time and remembered that last night I had found Nick's IPod and had plugged it in to charge. I picked it up and turned it on and began looking through his song list when my eye caught the title of the song "Seasons of Love."

I turned it on and immediately felt Nick's spirit as he so often sang along with this song at the top of his lungs (as my mom even reminded me later today and our youth minister's wife reminded me tonight at the Christmas play). Nick loved this song!

As I listened to the words and then did a search for the lyrics, I realized that God was sending me a gentle reminder that while I may be very sad, I also have a life to live with my children who are here.............I still have seasons of love to be shared just as I shared so many seasons with Nick.

None of us knows what our tomorrow holds.

But as the saying goes, "we know Who holds tomorrow."

If I truly believe that God holds tomorrow in His hands (and today and yesterday), then I must embrace this season of life........this season of love.

Yes, I know I will still have sad days, hard days, lonely days, long days.............

However, I have to keep walking and talking with Him and listening for His still small voice.......

For God can speak even through an IPod!

Thank you, Lord, for using Nick's IPod to refresh my hurting spirit.


Five hundrend twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundrend twenty five thousand
moments so dear
Five hundrend twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year

In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights,
in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles
in laughter, in strife,

In Five hundrend twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

How about Love
how about love
how about love
measure in love
seasons of love
seasons of love

Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand
journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
how do you measure the life of a woman
or a man

In truth that she learned
or in times that he cried
In the bridges he burned
or the way that she died

Its time now to sing out
though the story never ends
lets celebrate remember a year
in the life of friends

You can hear the song by clicking on the link below:


Thankful, once again, for a God Who never fails to provide just what I need to make it through another day,

Late Night Thoughts
Our phone rang late tonight..........

It was an elderly lady from church asking if my husband could stop by to see her brother (who lives with her) some time tomorrow. He has cancer, and he is scared.

I had Tim come to the phone to pray with him, because they wouldn't let Tim drive to their home tonight.

Fear-it grabs us, consumes us, and often controls us.

I can remember so many days and nights of feeling fearful as Nick faced medical tests, new treatments, pain, and oh, so many needles.

And I remember memorizing a verse that kept me from drowning in my fear time after time....

When I am afraid, I will trust in You
In God, whose Word I praise.
In God I will trust, I will not be afraid
What can mortal man do to me?

This Psalm brought comfort when nothing else could. It reminded me over and over again that clinging to God's Word was truly my only HOPE!

It reminded me that NO MATTER WHAT this world throws at me, I cannot be overtaken with God on my side. And neither could Nick.

So, tonight, as I head to bed-

Another day of life soaked up with heartache, yes, but laughter too, and time with Tim, Erich, Evan, Todd, and Olivia.........and a few visits with friends, and a nice phone call with an old friend, and lots of emails from encouragers and blog posts from even more encouragers

I feel thankful.

Thankful that God keeps His promises.

Yes, that's right.

He is Faithful.

Faithful to provide just what we need when we need it most.

So tonight, I ask all of you to pray for a man in our church who has cancer and is scared.

I just know God will send the peace He needs tonight.

Needing Extra Prayers
Grief has a way of taking over my mind sometimes.

So strongly that even words are hard to string together into sentences.

Thoughts swirl in my mind.............

Good memories
Tough memories
Sad memories
Feelings of confusion
Feelings of anger
Feelings of loneliness
Questions with no answers

Then I step away from my thoughts and can almost see them swirling beside me. As I watch them swirl, I look around at other things that have created their own little "cyclones" .......

Evan's heart
Erich's heart
Todd's heart
Olivia's heart
Tim's heart
My mom's heart
My friends' hearts

All hurting, all unsure of how to regroup or what to say, all broken in different ways........

Grief is not a simple emotion that can be faced one day and then quietly pushed away.

It is complex and long-lasting. I remember.

I remember losing Adrienne.

And while I know deep inside that eventually the pain lessened and life became somewhat "normal" again, I guess I just can't bear the thought of life without Nick ever being easy........

That's where I'm at today.

Hurting and yet not wanting NOT to hurt. That probably makes no sense, but in my heart it does.

I have been so full of grief this weekend that even coming here to share seemed like a daunting task.........and yet your prayers and words of love and Scriptures are what I need so desperately.

It's almost as if the devil pushes me down and stands on my chest in some sort of victory stance from time to time, and I have to somehow figure out how to push him off of me and stand back up again.

The devil loves grief, I am sure. He loves its power to immobilize and anger God's people.

But deep inside I know that God loves it too, because it drives me back to Him time and time again.....in spite of my questions and my sadness........

Searching for joy today, knowing that somehow God will send it,

Thankful for a God Who is able to bring smiles in spite of tears

Jeremiah 32:17

"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."

I woke up yesterday feeling so very blue. I hadn't really cried since Monday night.
I guess the pool of tears had just built up to overflowing.

Everytime I opened my mouth to talk, I would choke up and cry.

Thankfully, the Lord knew I was going to be having one of those days and sent friend after friend and text after text to keep me busy and remind me that I was not alone!

Last night Olivia had 8 little friends over (all of the girls who had stood beside her throughout Nick's visitation and service as well as some more) to make gingerbread houses. I have to admit that deep inside I was thinking, "I am NOT up for this!"

But as it would turn out (of course), it was medicine to my soul. We turned on Christmas music and the girls sang and giggled the evening away. I asked them to name their houses at the end, because I wanted to photograph each of them with their new creations. These little girls are such sweeties.........little did I know they had devised such a special surprise for me!

I saw them whispering and then passing around some paper plates.

The next thing I knew they had lined my kitchen counters with gingerbread houses, creating a village they named, "Thumbs Up!" Then they wrote, "We "heart" Nick" and signed another paper plate and hung it over my stove! And still another that said, "In Memory of NYN!"

I was overjoyed. It was a perfect night! Oh, I love these girls so much! And I know they truly love Nick. He loved all of them so much and got the biggest kick out of each them when they would come over to stay all night!

Evan got home from college last night for Christmas break and Erich got home today, so I have been knee-deep in laundry! The washer and dryer haven't stopped all day!

Olivia and I made a run to WalMart today......

Our first trip since losing Nick.

Shew! I didn't realize how shopping had become so centered around his needs.

Everywhere I turned I thought of him and what he would like and want and wouldn't like and wouldn't want.

Thankfully, we made it through the shopping experience without tears. (Olivia holds me to a pretty high standard in public places!)

Tonight we are headed to a friend's house to help make baskets for shut-ins from church. When we get home, the older boys are going to watch Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation with us. It is one of Tim's favorites, and I am praying we can have a good family time.

Nothing is easy. And yet God never fails to be right here...........to lean on for comfort and hope.

Oh, thank you, Lord.

Thank you for sharing in our grief and helping us smile...............

Even through gingerbread houses!

Nothing is too hard for you.

Not the only one hurting......

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.
~ Psalm 39:7, NLT

Tonight as I opened up my computer one of the headlines in the news caught my eye. You've probably read about the gentleman in San Diego whose wife, two young daughters, and mother-in-law were all killed this week when a military jet crashed into their home.

As I read the story, I couldn't help but think of a couple of things.

First, this man has a heart of forgiveness. He is asking everyone to pray for the pilot, because he doesn't want him to suffer because of the accident.

Second, this man has a heart of patriotism. He stated that he knew the pilot was "one of our treasured for the country." I thought that was such a precious way of referring to someone serving in the military.

Third, this man is hurting. As he stood by his minister and siblings and wondered how he would make it, he said, "Please tell me how to do it. I don't know what to do."

Tonight as I think of my sweet Nick and how I miss him, my heart is also aching for a man that I may never meet who is experiencing extreme grief tonight.

I am hoping that all of you will take the time to read the news article below and then take a minute to not only lift up the pilot in prayer ( I am sure he will experience extreme feelings of guilt even though it was an accident) but also lift up Dong Yun Yoon.

My prayer is that he will look up and put his hope in the only One who can carry him through such a tragedy.


Love to all of you who visit here today,

Todd's Concert

Here's Todd at his concert last night. Somehow I was able to snap this picture right as he went to sit back down with the band.

He had sung with the choir earlier and now the band was joining with the choir to do one last Christmas finale, so Todd had to take his place in the brass section.

I tried to load a video so you could hear the choir sing, but I guess I am going to need some help with that. :)

I have to admit that I fell into some kind of "funk" just an hour or so before the concert. I had had a decent day and then had felt tired, so I laid down to rest for a few minutes and wouldn't you know it?

My mind started wandering and then remembering Nick running in the yard catching a football with Tim or jumping on our trampoline or speeding around in our friend's golf cart.............the next thing I knew, I was so blue.

It took everything within me to get my camera, be nice to my husband, and get Olivia to her friend's for her basketbal game.

As I entered the chapel for the concert, I wanted to crawl under a pew. I felt as if everyone were looking at me to see "how I was doing?" I am sure they weren't, but when you feel out of sorts, things like that just become amplified.

Anyway, we found our seats and Tim videotaped while I took pictures. We were able to make a fairly quick get away afterwards, hugging some people along the way.

I'm glad we went. I just missed Nick's commentary throughout the program. He would always say the funniest things.

Every first is going to be hard. I know that deep inside.

But knowing something doesn't always prepare you for doing something.

Praying God's Protection on our next First Thing,

Nick's Story Has Only Just Begun.....
Donna, Barbara, my mom, me, Donnette, and Brenda

About three months ago, I received an email asking if I could come speak at a church's Christmas Luncheon on December 6th. At the time, everything was so uncertain with Nick's health, so I told them "Yes," with the understanding that I may have to back out at the last minute.

They were very understanding, and I was very thankful.

Well, time went by and as December 6th approached, I knew that Nick's health was going to make the engagement a difficult one to keep.

Unfortunately, as you all know, Nick ended his battle with cancer on Saturday, November 29th, at around 10:50 in the morning.

Suddenly, time literally stopped for our family.

Each day since Nick's entrance into Heaven, our family has struggled to find a new kind of normal here at our home.

One of the first big decisions I had to make was whether or not to keep my speaking engagement.

I decided that Nick would be very disappointed if I didn't go, and I also felt it was a great way to be with mom when she reentered her friendship circle as the church was in the town just next to her home.

So, two friends of mine and I headed out on Saturday at 7:15 in the morning with my mom and drove straight to Ekron Baptist Church in Ekron, KY. The program began at 11. When we arrived, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the decorations throughout the banquet room. Low-lighting, candles, and Christmas lights surrounded us as we walked through the door.

I have to admit that part of my heart was saying, "Why didn't I just say I couldn't make it?"

Each table was decorated beautifully by a different lady....

the creativity was unreal! We were so inspired to take this idea back to our home church.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal, listened to some great Christmas music, and then it was my turn to take the stage.

Honestly, I felt sick inside. But, I also felt determined to share hope with the nearly 150 women in the audience.

The topic they had asked me to speak on in September was, "There's Always a Bright Side."

Having lost Nick since agreeing to this topic, I had to do some deep soul-searching to share truth on this day.

Is there a bright side to losing a child? Does every cloud have a silver lining?

These are tough questions, but questions that scream for answers.

I shared from my heart, and I shared from God's Word.................that yes, there is a bright side to everything we face in this world. Finding the bright side often takes time....lots of time..........but in time it will come.

After I spoke, I was amazed at how many women came to me crying who had also lost a child or even more than one child in their lifetime. We hugged, talked, and just shared time together.

I walked away from this very special event knowing deep in my heart that although Nick's life here on this planet may have been brought to an early end, Nick's life story is only beginning. God is going to use Nick for years to come to bring comfort, hope, strength, and peace to hurting families.

While I am sad and broken-hearted in a physical sense, I am energized and excited in a spiritual sense.

When I can keep my focus on the eternal, I see so clearly that God has a plan and purpose for Nick's life that I must carry out......and for Adrienne's life.

The Nicholas Yancy Nischan Foundation is in the process of becoming incorporated. Under this foundation's umbrella, seven ministries will be served as Nick was seven when he first became sick. One of these ministries will be outreach to grieving families who have lost a child. I will share more about the other ministries after our first board meeting in January.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. Please pray for this foundation as well.

The Empty Chair.....

I long to see you sitting there

I glance from time to time

The reminder of your absence

Is always on my mind

Sometimes Olivia plops right down

And shares a minute or two

Snoopy sleeps there often

As if that will be your cue

To walk in and say, "Get up, girl"

And give me back my seat

But then I quickly realize

As my heart seems to skip a beat

That even your voice is missing

From our home but not our heart

The memory of your smile

Will never from me part

Oh, Nick, we love you so much

You taught us more than a degree

Your chair may lack your presence

But it's never really empty

Cause your spirit's here-

It really is!

You still keep us on our toes

Every action, every word we say

From your memory flows.....

Thank you, Nick, for leading the way

With your courage and your love

We'll live for Him until the day

We meet you up above!

See you soon.

Love, Your Mommy

Todd's Journey
This is photo of Nick with my mom, Olivia, and Todd.

Todd, our 15-year old son, was only 8 when Nick was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through the years he has definitely had the biggest battle with the largest range of emotions-everything from fear to jealousy to anger to indifference to denial....

And many of these emotions have fluctuated back and forth throughout the past 7 years....

But I have never seen him cry or even seem sad.

So last Saturday when we realized that Nick was not going to be with us much longer, I was sitting on the floor beside Nick who was lying on our couch. Erich and Tim and my brother had already joined me. Mom was at Nick's feet. I looked back to see if Evan was coming yet, and there stood Todd at the top of the ramp that leads to our "new room" looking down on everything. I said, "Todd, come say bye."

As Todd neared Nick I could feel his fear. As he placed his hand on Nick's shoulder and said, "bye," he burst into tears and fell back on the chair behind him and cried and cried and cried and cried-loudly. My heart just broke for him.

See Todd and Nick were only 21 months apart, so in many ways they were treated like twins. They wore matching clothes when they were little. They shared the same friends. They played the same games. If Todd had someone over to stay all night, Nick was part of the pack....

And vice versa.

Over the past year and 1/2 Todd has branched out and created a new world for himself in high school with band, choir and new friends It has been hard to watch Todd form a new circle that didn't include Nick, but at the same time, I am thankful that he has been able to do this.

Now that Nick is not with us in a physical sense, I know that Todd misses him greatly. He stays busy chatting online with friends and texting them, but I was in his room earlier today and noticed Nick's program from his service is pinned right in the middle of his bulletin board.

Nick will always be with Todd.

They were such great buddies.

Please keep Todd in your prayers today. His Christmas concert is tomorrow night. I know it will be hard for all of us. Nick was with us last year for this event.

Trying to stay focused on the big picture in spite of the brokenness I feel so deeply inside,

Olivia's Dream

Saturday on the way to Olivia's basketball game, she told Tim (my husband) that she had had a dream and that in it Nick was sitting on the backboard of the basketball hoop.

She played with all of her life in both of her games Saturday, scoring 12 points in one game and 8 in the other as well as having many assists and rebounds! I just know she was seeing Nick on the backboard cheering her on.

When I got home Saturday night from being gone all day, I sat with Olivia to watch Polar Express. As we were watching it, I asked her about her dream. I said, "Did Nick look happy?"

Very matter of factly, Olivia began to speak. She said, "Yes, he was smiling. Actually, he was laughing. He was wearing a robe. It wasn't really white...........it was kind-of creamish. And he had wings. Oh, and his head was normal size."

Later in the movie, I asked her again if she felt good about seeing Nick.

She simply looked at me, and said, "Yes....he was glowing."

And then returned her attention to the movie.

I sat there with tears in my eyes. My little girl had comforted me so much.

Oh, to have the faith of a child. She was so "at peace" with the dream, so confident she had seen Nick.

And you know what, I truly believe she did!

The devil doesn't want Olivia to have peace and joy about Nick's death. And he certainly doesn't want her to feel that there is a Heaven. Of course, he would like to see Olivia crying all the time, quitting sports, and just throwing in the towel on life.

To the devil, I say,

"I don't think so. Get behind us, satan. We believe in the God of Resurrection!"

I have to add, though, that Tim is having a difficut time right now. He just cried and cried tonight. This was the real "first" day of football without Nick, and oh, how Tim missed his company.

Please whisper a prayer for my husband.

And thank God for Olivia's dream!!

Olivia's Week
Each of our children has had such a different reaction to the loss of Nick. Tonight I think of Olivia. Bless her heart.

She wasn't home when Nick passed away.

She had gone to a friend's to stay all night and then go shopping at Target.

So as she bounced down the driveway with her goodies in hand, she had no idea what was awaiting her. My poor precious friend who had driven her home from Huntington along with her own children knew the whole time and didn't tell Olivia. Thank you, Kristy, for carrying that load through stores and down the interstate for me. I know that was difficult to do. I love you.

Several of her basketball and church friends and their moms had come to the house to be there for her. Oh, thank you, Lord, for precious friends.

As she entered the backyard and saw my sister's husband, she exclaimed, 'Uncle Steve, what you are doing here?" Then as she came into the family room and saw her friends, she looked around - almost as if she were looking for Nick - and said, 'What is going on?"

She sat on my lap as I said, "Olivia, Nick died." Immediately, she was screaming and throwing herself backwards on the couch. I remember her screaming, "No, No, I thought for sure Nick would live."

She cried and cried and all of her little friends gathered round and cried with her.

It was a moment I'll never forget.

As she settled down, she said something that made all of the girls laugh about a little secret she had been keeping about a crush on a boy at school.

This week has been hard for her at school. She has started writing in her diary. She is reading a little book on Heaven that one of her friends gave her.

She is lost. Like all of us.

But tonight, she is sitting in Nick's chair, making a Christmas ornament and watching the Josh and Drake Christmas special trying to do something normal.

I think one of the hardest things about losing someone is that even though you know deep inside that they are in a much more wonderful place and even though you know that you have to keep living.......

you don't want to enjoy life without them here. It feels wrong to laugh, to watch TV, to eat....

and yet you have to make a choice to live again.

That's what Olivia is trying to do, and I am so proud of her. A friend from church made shirts for us that have Nick's picture surrounded by balloons with the words, 'Remember to Celebrate My Life" and Joshua 1:9 at the bottom. Olivia wore hers to school, and my mom told her to hold her head high!

Her basketball coach has ordered patches for all of the girl's uniforms with Nick's name, his favorite Scripture, a thumbs up, a basketball, and "Be Strong and Courageous" on them. All the girls squealed when they saw them. Nick loved all those girls so much. He loved to watch them play, and if he couldn't come to a game he would text me to find out how they were doing.

God will use Nick's life in great ways in all of these girl's futures....I know that deep inside.

But for now, we survive one minute at a time....one prayer at a time...one hug at a time.

Please pray for our kids-

Oh, I love you all so much!

Aching Today....
Trying to stay busy
Simple tasks become a chore

Longing for his laughter
Want to hear it just once more

Tears come without a warning
My heart aches beyond compare

Clinging to the promise
That Nick is safely in His care

Is he playing?
Is he singing?
Is he worshiping His King?

Questions without answers
Trying not to feel the sting

Thankful for the honor
That God gave me for awhile

To be the mom of a great boy
Who always wore a smile

Pray for me-I beg you
Keep me lifted to the Lord

As I struggle to recover
Nestled deeply in the Word

Trying to capture memories while they are near....

I have received so many precious and wonderful emails and words of love here on my blog. I cannot even put into words how they minister to my aching heart. I often find myself with eyes so filled with tears that I must blink to read another word. Thank you.

Tonight I read a quote in one email that caused me to stop and come to my blog and reflect on one moment of Nick's special evening that I do not want to ever forget.

As the reality set in that we were facing decisions about funeral arrangements, I felt very strongly that I wanted the service to be a celebration service and to be after school hours. I wanted Nick's friends to be able to come, and I wanted my teacher-friends to be able to come. I knew that so many kids had been praying so hard for Nick to be healed, and I couldn't bear the thought of any child feeling that God had somehow "let them down." So as we decided on the time of 4:00 in the afternoon, the issue of daylight came up with regards to the graveside service.

We decided to have candles available for everyone who attended just in case it was too dark to see.

Oh, how God had His hand in this decision!! It was amazing.

We had asked our dear friend, the funeral director, to take the funeral procession out onto the main street of our town and down through the entrance to the university where my husband teaches so that Nick could have one more trip through the college and down by our house. As we made our way to the cemetery, I remember looking over at our house and seeing the Christmas lights so beautifully lit and being so thankful that Tim had put them up early! Nick loved Christmas lights!!!

Then as we came up the hill to the place where Nick's body would rest, my heart simply leaped for joy at the site of so many candles glowing in the darkness all around Nick's special place right next to our precious Adrienne. Even as I type this, I am in disbelief that we are walking this road of losing a second child.

Wonderful friends from church had brought a beautiful crossed-shaped candlelabra and lit it right beside the canopy. The wind had made it quite a challenge to keep the candle's lit, and I was told that one of the men had told our friends they were "fighting a losing battle," but as God would have it the wind seemed to weaken long enough for Nick's service and the candles burned beautifully.

As we sat in the darkness of the night with candles glowing all around us, faces could barely be recognized as I looked out into the sea of people on all sides. I felt so warm, so loved, so embraced by God's people.

Then our friend who was doing the graveside service spoke of how appropriate it was for Nick's life to end by candlelight as he truly was a "light" to this world!

And my mom and I found the whole evening to be exactly what Nick would have wanted. Nick loved nighttime! Nick loved his jammies. Nick loved to do things differently.

So, tonight, as I was reading some emails from friends and family, my heart once again leaped for joy as I read a quote that was shared.................

It simply said,

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.--Unknown

Nick's life is eternal. He shared his light through the good and bad days.....by sharing he did not shorten his life or decrease his happiness.

Actually, he stretched his life to eternity and he multiplied his joy exponentially.

I feel honored to have walked so closely to the light of Nick's candle.
(I ended this blog entry and should have gone to bed, but instead went to check more emails and had received a devotional from December 2, the day of Nick's service.)
The Scripture for the devotional once again caused my heart to leap for joy. God is speaking so lovingly to me, and I am just in awe of how He longs to be a Comforter.
Imagine the joy that filled my soul as I read these words from Ephesians,
"I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.
Ephesians 1:18-19

WOW! Thank you, God, for knowing just what I need every minute of every day. Thank you.
My heart was truly flooded with light during Nick's candlelight service.
I am just beginning to understand the wonderful future He has promised His people.

Forever Feeling the Warmth of His Glow,

So much to say.......
Dearest Prayer Warriors,

Yes, we still need your fervent prayers......and always will be thankful for each and every one of you.

I have so much to say. It has been so busy here. Family and friends came from so many different places and so many different chapters of our lives.

We were simply overwhelmed with the love. And we could feel your prayers in a great way.

We still have several relatives here with us, so our time has been busy with them.

Nick's Celebration Service simply was beautiful. We had a dear friend videotape the entire service and I will be posting it as soon as I can for any of you who would like to share the special service with us. I can't even begin to thank everyone who worked so hard to make the service something I will cherish for my entire lifetime.

I'll share more about it when I am able to focus. Right now I can't even process my thoughts.

My heart is just so heavy with grief and yet so thankful that Nick's struggle has ended. He put up such a fight!

Oh, I miss him so much. I still can't really believe that he is not here somewhere.

Everytime I see his chair empty, my heart sinks with the reality of what we are facing.

I know that God would not bring us here to leave us, so I find myself whispering prayers for strength almost constantly.

I wish I could write more now.

The words will come....................in time.

A Little Update

Dearest Prayer Warriors,

Couldn't go to bed without sending a little note of love and thanks for all of the support over the past two days.

Visitation this evening was difficult and yet amazingly wonderful. The stream of people never ended from 5 til well after 9. We feel so enveloped in love and prayers.

I will write more tomorrow, but I just wanted to say "I love you" to all of you and THANK YOU so much for continuing to lift our family in prayer.

Nick looked beautiful. The church radiated with God's love. We feel blessed. One very special visitor tonight was Dr. Kosnik!!!

Yes, Nick's brain surgeon came all the way from Columbus, Ohio, to share his love and support!!

I am attaching a picture of me with Dr. Kosnik at the visitation.

I love you all so much.

Until tomorrow,

Tammy (and Tim)

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