Tuesday, September 30, 2008
So, What Are You In Here For?
I'm subbing today. Yes, my mom is with Nick, and I am actually out in the work world trying to have a somewhat "normal" day! I am in the BD (Behavior Disorder) room today where kids often come when they are not doing what they should be doing in class.
I had to laugh today when one of the students who had been brought down to the classroom looked over at another boy and said, "So what are you in here for?" Actually, I laughed out loud. It was so cute and so innocent and yet so powerful when you think about it.
Kids know when they've done something wrong, and kids know that punishment is the consequence. And yet, time and time again many of these kids seem to make the wrong choices placing them right back where they had been the day before....
Aren't we just like kids?
I know how to be patient. I know how to control my tongue. I know how to encourage my husband and not discourage him. I know how to praise my kids rather than belittle them. I know how keep my thoughts focused on things above. I know how to trust God even though life is very uncertain.
Just like a child, I find myself "right back where I was before" so many times. Feeling disappointed in myself, feeling depressed, feeling guilty, feeling lonely, and the list goes on and on.
The next time I find myself having one of those days where I'm feeling much less worthy of the name Christian than I'd like, I am going to look in the mirror and say, "So, what are you in here for?"
Maybe then, I can begin to hold myself more accountable.
Paul knew just how I feel when he said, "The things I want to do, I don't do; and the things I don't want to do, I do."
I will be looking for Paul when I get to Heaven, because I want to give him a hug and tell him, "thank you" for being honest. He could very easily have been the boy in my class today who was trying to figure out what he had done wrong............this time.
Grateful for the wisdom of a child's heart,
PS Nick is having a good day with Mamaw!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
To everything there is a season....
Where has this month gone?
September is creeping out the window and the cool breeze of October's reality is frequently slipping in to replace it! I love fall with all of the colored leaves, pumpkins, mums, and CANDY CORN! (I think I actually like candy corn more than Boston Baked Beans!)
I have to admit, though, that as much as I love fall, there is something about this summer ending that is especially difficult for me. At times I look at our yard and all the summer memories we have made there; and I suddenly am overwhelmed with questions too difficult for me to even vocalize in writing. Without actually penning the words, I think you all know what I am saying.
Life is so uncertain. I trust God....but oh, it is hard sometimes to totally let go and know that no matter what we will make it.
At these moments of deep summer reflecting, I have to make a choice EVERY TIME. Will I allow the devil to overtake my thoughts and cause me to fear, worry, doubt, or dread the changing of the seasons, or will I allow the Spirit to lead me day by day, moment by moment, confident that He will never leave me or forsake me.? And just as confident that He will never leave or forsake Nick.
This is the truth:
None of us knows about tomorrow. None of us knows FOR SURE that next summer will begin the same as this one ends. That is one scary aspect of life. And yet, isn't it freeing to know that God knows!? And He is already working to prepare us all for the next day, the next week, the next month, the next season.
Oh, precious blogging friends. I have written many of your names on my prayer board. I smile when I read your names and then in parentheses see, "blogging friend." Isn't God amazing? He has brought lives together that never would have met on this planet through the technology of computers!
I would love to add all of your blogs to my blog roll. When you have time, please post your blog name and address for me! I want to update my list. I also want to come to your blogs and leave sweet notes like you do for me. And if you don't have a blog, please leave a note when you can with your email address.
I drove down the road the other day and saw my first tree of the season letting go of its leaves so beautifully in front of me. The leaves were swirling around in the air like miniature kites. I thought to myself, "And fall begins...."
Just as this tree knew that it was okay to let go of summer, I have to know it is okay too.
My prayer is that I can let go as beautifully as this tree.......and that I can embrace the colors of fall with all of their splendor knowing God holds the seasons in His hands just as He holds me and Nick ....
AND YOU! I love you all!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Nick Update (Just my email today)
This is Nick with his oldest brother, Erich. You can see that Nick's smile is sometimes a little weak on the left side...but he keeps smiling anyway!
I am just posting my prayer email update for today.
I love you all so much Thanks for every prayer!
Dearest Prayer Warriors, I can hardly believe that September is slipping by so quickly. I wanted to send a quick note to let you know that Nick has started physcial therapy with a dear friend of ours. It is so nice to have someone who Nick knows so well coming to help him with his hand. This morning when Kristy came, she was thrilled to see that Nick is starting to be able to move his fingers into a slow curve when asked to! She brought some type of electric therapy machine today too and was so happy to see Nick's hand respond to the electrodes by watching his fingers move up! Nick's grin was ear to ear and was so great to see! It's strange how our perspective on Nick's situation transforms through time. I remember when it broke our hearts to see him in a wheelchair. Now, we are so happy when Nick comes outside in his wheelchair to take a ride down our road! And now the simple of joy of seeing Nick's fingers move brightens our entire day. I called Mom to tell her and she screamed with joy! I can't help but think of Paul in Philippians when he says, "In EVERYTHING give thanks." Today is our first day without Mom here. She left yesterday for a week or so, and it has been a big adjustment! Olivia's comment when she heard that Mom was leaving was, "Oh, everything runs so smoothly when Mamaw is here." Olivia always makes me feel so good. :) In the midst of all of Nick's medicines and struggles, the contruction on the garage has been such a nice diversion for everyone in our family. If things go well, the carpet will go in next Tuesday. The drywall should be finished and ready for paint late on Monday morning, so if anyone has time Monday afternoon or evening, we will be trying to get the entire room painted before Tuesday morning! Just send me an email if you can come so I will know how many rollers to have! I will have snacks and drinks, and we'll get pizzas for dinner! We'd love to have you if you can make it! The more the merrier! (I wish those of you who read this from around the world and across the US could join us.......this is one of those many moments when I realize how wonderful Heaven is going to be!!!) And why am I thinking right now that one of my jobs in Heaven will be painting other people's mansions!?! I think that would be great.....which now makes me think of Jim Neff and Bill Leamon and John Mark Pemberton and so many others who are already there waiting for us and I'm wondering what they are doing today! Well, I've rambled enough for now. I just wanted to let you know how much your love and prayers mean to us. I also wanted to let you know that God has given us a peace that passes all understanding as we face uncertain yet full of life, love, and laughter days. There's something about looking at life as a vapor every single day that makes each day that much more precious. I pray that kind of day for all of you who read this. Soak it up!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Right Prescription
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
If you stopped by our house, you would probably be shocked at the number of prescription and non-prescription medicines that fill our cupboards. Much of my day revolves around the question, "When should Nick be taking his next medicine?"
Today, however, I realized that the very best medicine that was ever prescribed is actually one that cannot be purchased at the pharmacy!!
We decided to pull out all of our old home movies, and Nick spent the entire day watching videos with Mamaw. He saw his first birthday, many Easter and Christmas mornings with his brothers, and lots of other special events we have taped through the years. We have laughed so much! Nick has had such a great day, and tonight as I sjt here reflecting on the day I can't help but think of the verse above and once again sit in awe of a God and Father who knows exactly what we need when we need it!!
I decided to do a word search on http://www.biblegateway.com/
just to see how many other times the word "medicine" was in the Bible and found out that this is the ONLY time it is ever used in the entire New International Version! WOW!
To think that the Great Physician only prescribed a cheerful heart as good medicine! That is a pretty powerful thought!
Oh, and I wanted to let you know that today I made it to Wal Mart and bought two dry erase boards! I feel so much better! Please send your prayer requests my way! I want to pray for you as you pray for my family and especially for my Nick!
God bless you all!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I Should Have Known.......
You're probably wondering what in the world Boston Baked Beans have to do with ANYTHING in my life right now.
Well, here's the truth-----
I woke up this morning and had this anxious feeling that I couldn't quite explain. Nick had had a really rough night. He didn't sleep well and I didn't either. Mom was here, so I decided to run a few errands. I stopped by our church to order new books for the ladies' Sunday school class that I am in, and I did something I have never done before. I stopped in the prayer room at church and got on my knees to pray for Nick. As I knelt there on the floor, I had this uneasy feeling come over me as I realized that there were so many others who needed prayer...........and yet as I knelt there, very few names came into my mind. I felt ashamed. How could I ask over and over again for prayers for Nick and then not be able to remember others who needed prayer as well?
I decided that what I needed was a dry erase board for my frig! I would start writing down the names of those who needed prayer! I left the church and drove to Family Dollar. No luck. I then drove to Dollar General Store......still no dry erase boards, but guess what they did have? Boston Baked Beans! Before I knew it, I was in line buying myself a bag of these little treats....and a can of cashews too!
I headed for KMart popping candy in my mouth the entire way. Have you ever seen someone who is driving and eating at the same time? I mean eating like they have been on a hunger strike for weeks? That's how I think I must have looked. It really disgusts me to even think about it, but that's what I do when I feel edgey and out of sorts. I just eat without even thinking about it, and that is really sad.
Anyway, as I pulled into the KMart parking lot I saw a Grayson Parking Enforcement vehicle which made me think, "Do we have our city sticker yet?" I called Tim, and he didn't think we even needed those anymore since they had changed the way they were doing taxes. But I just had this feeling that it was one of those days where I didn't want to take my chances and I decided to go on home.
So, here I sit tonight. The same "dry erase board-less me" that I was this morning. The same
"aimless pray-er" that I was this morning. The only difference is that I am now totally stuffed with Boston Baked Beans.
I write this blog entry tonight as a way of holding myself accountable to two things:
First, I am buying my prayer board tomorrow,
and I am beginning to pray with much more commitment to those I love and to all of you who ask for prayer.
Second, I am going to STOP eating when I am not even hungry! Especially when driving down the road!
I should have known when I walked down the candy aisle that I would not find a dry erase board there!
I should have know that taking time to pray at church this morning wasn't really a "Tammy-time for Nick." It was a "God-time for Tammy." Isn't that just how God works?
We think we are praying for what is on our heart when really God is using our prayer time to work on our heart.
I should have known that God had a plan all along! I am thankful that He did!
I will update you on Nick tomorrow! I have missed you all so much! God used Boston Baked Beans to wake me up to the needs of others! I am so thankful!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
A Picture Paints A Thousand Words
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when your cry for help!As soon as he hears, he will answer you.
This week has been so busy for our family. Nick has radiation every day about 30 minutes away, so we are on the road a lot. My mom is here with us helping out with our other children. We have started construction in our garage.... we are changing it into a family room which I am calling our "healing room." We want a place for Nick to be able to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of everything and not be "stuck" in our living room when someone comes to our front door.
This is a picture of Nick yesterday when we were describing the room to him on the way to his radiation appointment!
He is doing SO WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I will write more later, but I had to let you know that I love you all and your prayers are getting us through each and every day!
The verses at the top were part of my quiet time the other day and I just loved them!
Thank you, Lord, for hearing our cries for help and showing compassion!!!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Special Words from Olivia Last Night
This is a picture of me and Oliva on Nick's Make a Wish trip this summer to the Bahamas! What a great memory for our whole family!
Last night, I was cleaning out our deep freeze (finally). Olivia was in the garage with me riding around on a skateboard. As I pulled out some of the food, an overwhelming feeling of sadness came over me as I realized how little Nick is eating right now, and before I knew it I had begun to cry.
I looked over at Olivia and said, "Oliva, Nick is very sick. The doctors don't think he is going to make it." Olivia looked at me and said, "Why did you have to tell me that?" I looked down and began crying even more. Olivia ran over to me and wrapped her arms around me and held me really tight. Then while still holding me, she said the following words:
"Mommy, I've been thinking about this for a long, long time. Do you remember when Adrienne died"
I said, "Yes."
Then Olivia said, "And then you adopted me?"
I said, "Yes."
She replied, "Well, I didn't replace Adrienne. She is still with us, and I don't think Nick is going to die."
I just held her and cried and cried. It was one of those moments I don't ever want to forget.
After I regrouped emotionally, I finished the deep freeze and Olivia went back to skateboarding, but I think we both felt better than we had before.
Olivia is right, Nick will never die.....no matter what happens here on this earth.
And I am still praying for an earthly miracle!
I just had to share Olivia's sweet words with you all.
God bless you and thank you for sharing this journey with our family.
If you would like to be on my prayer email update list, just email me at:email@example.com
I will add you immediately!
Thanks for checking in and keeping Nick in your daily prayers! I love you all so much!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Facing Your Giant
You've probably noticed that my postings have been a little less frequent the past few weeks.
A friend of mine who lives out of town called to me to read some excerpts from the book "Facing Your Giants" yesterday, and it made me start thinking.
I am sure that as David prepared to face Goliath and during the actual battle, he wasn't turning around to the crowd of supporters to let them know how he was doing. He was just DOING what he had to do to win the fight. That's where I'm at right now.
Nick's battle with cancer has become a Goliath in our life. He is not doing well at all. We have decided not to try another type of chemo. After six years of living with cancer, Nick is tired of needles, hospitals, everything that has to do with the medical world. At this time we are simply going to be taking Nick for 10 to 15 rounds of radiation to his hips to help with pain and then focusing on supplements and nutrition. Down the road, if God gives us the opportunity, we may look into another surgery. However, at this time Nick is too weak to even think about that.
He sleeps a lot and he has lost his appetite for most everything.
So, as I think about the Goliath that we are facing, I have to rethink what I have thought for 6 years. See, I have seen cancer as our Goliath and the belief that if Nick could beat the cancer then we would win the battle. But, after some soul-searching and talks with friends, I have come to this sobering truth.
Our battle and Nick's battle is against satan not cancer. Satan doesn't really care if we live or die. He just cares about where our heart is when we move to eternity. So, while I fight to keep Nick alive, I am fighting more to keep his heart focused on the most important reality: GOD!
That's really a Goliath we all face in this world. Whether we are facing depression, divorce, loneliness, grief, anger, jealousy, or any other tough situation, the devil is right there hoping to trip us up in our walk.
So as I ask for all of your prayers as my family faces the Goliath of cancer, I am asking even more for your prayers that our family win this battle with the devil. Protect Nick's heart as well as all of our other kid's along with Tim and me and my precious mom who is walking this road with Nick right along with us. Help us to stay focused on God's love and blessings even on the darkest days.
Love from one warrior to another,
Monday, September 1, 2008
What are you doing here, Tammy?!?
I Kings 19
11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came...................
As I think back over my past few blog entries, I can't help but feel a little connection with Elijah.
See, in I Kings 18, Elijah had been one of God's brave spokesmen. He had stood up against 450 prophets of Baal in a very dramatic challenge. These prophets had called on Baal all day long trying to get him to start the fire of their sacrifices, but Baal never answered them or responded to their screams and pleading. After watching this production for hours, Elijah called his men together and told them to pour water all over the wood of his sacrifice three times! Then he called on God to start his fire, and a fire came that was so powerful that it not only burned the sacrifice and wood completely but also the stones and soil..... AND the water was "licked from the trench."
You would think that after seeing God perform in such mighty ways, Elijah would have walked away feeling confident that God was on his side and in control..........
But no, Elijah, just like us, was soon overcome with fear by a threat from Jezebel and the Bible says he "ran for his life." After he was far enough away to feel a little safe, he sat down under a tree and told God that he had had enough and literally asked God to take his life.
I love that the next thing that happened was that Elijah fell to sleep two different times and both times was attended to by angels who told him to, "Get up and eat." He then journeyed for 40 days to a cave where God found him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
That's how I feel tonight! I feel like God is saying to me,
"What are you doing here, Tammy?!
You have seen Me do amazing things! You have proclaimed My strength and power and peace to so many and now you have curled up in a ball in your little "cave" (ok, your house) and become fearful and full of doubt in My ability to PROTECT AND SUSTAIN YOU!"
Not once, but twice God had to ask Elijah the same question. I'm not sure why God asks him twice....Elijah gives the same exact answer both times. Maybe God wants Elijah to "hear" what he is saying. Don't you think that's how we are sometimes? We have to step out of our caves and listen for God......and sometimes hearing God isn't as easy as hearing the earth quake, or a fire burning, or a whirlwind roaring.
Sometimes God whispers.
I know as a teacher one of the best ways to get my class' attention was to talk very softly so that they had to really listen to hear my voice! God is so wise!
So, as I write tonight I look back over the past few weeks of fear and depression and I thank God for his continual efforts to speak to me...........and I thank Him for all of you who encourage me and my family with prayers and words of love.
And then I think, so what am I supposed to do now? And I read about Elijah's depression and fear. I read about his running. I read about his hiding in a cave. I read about God whispering to get his attention. And then I desperately read on for God's advice to Elijah, and I have to smile! Did you catch the beginning of God's words to Elijah after Elijah poured out his heart about the fact that his life was in danger and that he felt like "no one" was left but him?
God simply started His advice with the words, "Go back the way you came...."
So tonight, I am committing to all of you that I am going to do just that....
I am going back the way I came!
That means that I am going to regain my strength, my sleep, my hope, my peace, my joy, my energy, my passion, my love, my everything!!!!!
God has been with my family EVERY step of the way on this journey with Nick, AND HE WILL NOT ABANDON US NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That means I can give God my marriage, my kids, my life, my all................and trust Him for tomorrow's needs!
Which by the way include giving me the strength to reenter the working world for a few hours!
Mom is coming early tomorrow morning to stay with Nick so I can go back to the middle school where I taught and sub for four hours for a friend of mine!
Yes, I am going to go back the way I came! And reclaim God's mercy and love!
Oh, thank you, dear friends, for walking into the cave with me and helping me find my way out to the mountain where I could hear God whisper,
What are you doing here, Tammy?!?!