Less than 48 hours until we leave.......
It's beginning to look a little like India......

All through the house.....

Thank you, Connie, for mailing me "Indian clothes" to wear while traveling.....

We had to try these on the other night when we had company!! Special prize to anyone who knows everyone in this picture......(sorry about that for those of you who haven't visited Grayson)

Our house is finally beginning to show signs of an approaching trip.

A mixture of suitcases and supplies for Nick's Foundation ministries -Basket of Hope, Nick Nooks, and Adrienne's Angel Memory Boxes- cover our living room floor and furniture.

God has definitely opened the door for so many opportunities to reach out to others who are hurting. We are thankful even though we would trade all of this for Nick's presence with us.

We fly out of Cincinnati at 4 p.m. on Thursday and then out of New York at 11 p.m. We land in New Delhi, India around 7:00ish pm (India time) on Friday evening.

We lose a day as we are flying, which truthfully boggles my mind.

I told my mom that if you can lose a day and stay on this planet, then there is no telling how time really works in Heaven.

The Bible says that to God, "a day is like a thousand years." I truly believe that!

Someone told me recently that if that is literally true, then a lifetime on earth is just a few hours in God's time, so Nick and Adrienne may only be "waiting" for us for a couple of hours at the most!!! I love that thought!!!!!!!!!

Well, I just wanted to send a little note and let you know that I am not sure how often I will be near a computer after tomorrow and how much time I will have to blog until Easter Sunday, but I will write in my journal the entire trip and pray for you all constantly.

When I get home, I will share all of my memories with you.
I am praying that God will use this trip to touch all of our children's lives in very significant ways and that we will feel Nick and Adrienne's presence with us constantly.
I am praying that this trip can form a bond of ministry between Nick's Foundation and the orphanage that will help the children there in very special ways.

Who knows? Some of you who are reading this may very well be traveling to India some day to do a week or so of mission work! I'll be praying about that too!
I really can't imagine what we are going to see and experience.
I am nervous, excited, sad, happy, anxious, calm, and every other emotion rolled into one.......

This is God's trip. I'm going to have to totally lean on Him for my every need.
I'll write one more time (at least) before we head out Thursday.

Love you all so much,

I will write again tonight, but I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you that in the midst of our packing and planning, you are all on my heart and mind.

Thankful for all of you,

Trying to keep Nick's smile alive through ours.......
I just recently received all of the pictures from Nick's first annual Night to Remember (thank you, Lesa!!).

I wanted to share a photo from that special evening of our family (along with my mom and dad.)

Behind all of these smiles there is a depth of sadness that words can never express.

But there is also a spirit of thanksgiving because of the knowledge and oh-so-certain belief that Nick is in Heaven with His Heavenly Father cheering us on as we strive to "not grow weary in doing good."

My prayer for all of you today is that you will feel love, joy, peace, and hope as you walk with Him!

Smiling, not because of life's circumstances, but because of Him,

And the winners are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A list of names I knew I had.
For all to win....I wanted....bad!
So carefully I took each name
Wrote with care, and cut the same.

Said a prayer as I filled my bowl.
Asking for joy to fill each soul.
Then took the names to my little sick one-
She drew with care until she was done.

I wanted all to be able to win
But three books is all the publishers did send-
So until we draw again, don't be blue.
You never know-next time-it might be YOU!!!

I will be sending a copy of One Wish for You to the following three wonderful women:

Karen ???
Christine Larrabee
Zoie's Mom


Do Not Move Rocks.........

This sign caught my eye at Grayson Lake a couple of weeks ago.


What is it about rocks that tempts us to want to pick them up and see "how far we can throw them," or "how many times we can skip them across the top of water?"

I guess if we pick up enough of these rocks and try one of these feats, eventually the hill underneath these rocks begins to erode and the beach begins to wash away.

The camp rangers at Grayson Lake must have decided that they had to put up a sign in order to remind people that moving these particular rocks was not a good idea!

Just a few days after taking this picture, I was reading in Joshua about the time he was told to take rocks from the bottom of the Jordan River (after the miraculous crossing) and build a monument to remind the generations that would follow of God's faithfulness, I was struck by God's Words that said,


Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

Wow!!! Those rocks are there to this day!!!
Now those are some unmoved rocks!

In the New Testament, Jesus has this conversation with Peter in Matthew 16:

5"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it

Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God!!

Now there's a Rock that hasn't changed or moved!!!

I think of all the things in my life that seem to so easily slip away.......right from underneath my feet.

And then I think of Jesus!!! And I think of the promises in His Word!

Psalm 62

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.

Over and over again, God's Word reminds us that Jesus is the Rock on which we must stand and that this Rock cannot be moved.

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Oh, thank you, Father, for being my Rock.

Even when I feel as if everything that matters in my life is being washed away around me, help me find comfort in knowing that my feet are firmly planted on You!!!

My Rock, My Fortress, My Salvation.

You are the one Rock I pray I will never try to move!

Blog Giveway Winners.....coming soon......
You have another day or so to enter the give away by posting on the "giveaway" blog below.

The package hasn't arrived from the publisher, so I'm not sure how many copies they are sending me yet.

I'll post winners just as soon as we find out how many to pick!

Love you all,

Perspective is everything......
Col. 3:1-2 (The Message)

"So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective."

I was sitting in an 8th grade gifted class yesterday observing students as they "interviewed" each other to try and discover the "mystery history person" they were impersonating.

As the kids were talking, laughing, and learning, I looked at the board and this photograph struck me as so powerfully.

I walked up to the board to read the description below the photo and felt as if for some reason higher than mine, I was suppose to photograph this photograph. It just spoke to me.

This morning I did a little "google search" of the photographer's and read the most amazing story of how Dorothea Lange had been on a month-long assignment for the Farm Security Administration when she was traveling back home and happened upon a tiny, fabric tarp propped on sticks in the middle of a field with this mother and her seven children (there is a baby in her arms) huddled inside.

They were living off of frozen vegetables on the land and birds that her children could kill. They were pea pickers and all of the peas had frozen, so they were jobless.

The precious lady pictured above with some of her children was only 32 at the time this photograph was taken.

The photographer wrote about her decision to go back and photograph the family after driving by at full speed. She shared the thoughts that were going through her mind:

"Dorothea, how about that camp back there? What is the situation back there?

Are you going back?

Nobody could ask this of you, now could they?

To turn back certainly is not necessary. Haven't you plenty of negatives already on this subject? Isn't this just one more if the same? Besides, if you take a camera out in this rain, you're just asking for trouble. Now be reasonable, etc. etc., etc.

Having well convinced myself for 20 miles that I could continue on, I did the opposite. Almost without realizing what I was doing I made a U-turn on the empty highway. I went back those 20 miles and turned off the highway at that sign, PEA-PICKERS CAMP.

"Destitute in a pea pickers camp,
because of the failure of the early
pea crop. These people had just sold
their tent in order to buy food."
I was following instinct, not reason; I drove into that wet and soggy camp and parked my car like a homing pigeon"

She went on to share that the woman allowed her to take pictures of their situation as if she knew that these pictures may in some way help her family.


I hope they did.

I wonder what happened to this lady after the picture day in 1936. I am struck at the thought that yesterday was Olivia's picture day at school and I was able to help her curl her hair so that she felt "pretty" and excited about being photographed.

Then I look at this photo and think, "Am I thankful enough? Do I really thank God enough?" "Are my kids thankful enough?"

And I also think, "Do I ever have the right to be negative or complain?" No wonder God does not like grumbling or complaining....He sees the sufferings of all. He knows how blessed we are even when EVERYTHING around us may seem dreadful at times....He knows how much more dreadful it could become.

Oh, thank you for this middle school teacher who is sharing the hardships of the past. I hope the students are as moved by this picture as I was.

Thank you for this woman who years ago allowed herself to be humble enough to be photographed at her lowest point in order to help her family.

I have a feeling that she has helped more than just her family in the past 70+ years since that photo was taken.

I know that yesterday she helped me.

Thank you, migrant mother.

Forgive me, Father, when I complain. Keep this photo forever in my heart.

First Blog Give Away!! And "Hi" Ian....From Phillip!!

Phillip got in on the "holey" jean action and sent these pictures tonight to his buddy Ian!!!

Thank you, Phillip!!

I also wanted to let everyone know that the publishers of "One Wish For You" have asked if I would like to give away a few copies of this new book!!

So, if you post a comment with your email address you will be in a random drawing that I will have this weekend!!! I am not sure how many copies they are sending, but I will announce the winners on Sunday and then email you to get your mailing addresses!!

Love you all so much!

Hi, Phillip!! From Your Buddy Ian!!!

My nephew Phillip lives five hours away......

When he comes to visit, he loves to play with Olivia's friend's little brother, Ian. They are "best friends" according to Phillip!!

The other day Jennifer emailed to tell me that Phillip is going through this stage where he'll only wear jeans if they a hole in one knee!!!

I just about lost it when Ian walked up to our house to get Cameron the other day and had on a pair of jeans with....

you guessed it!!!

a hole in one knee!!!!!!

I had to take a picture of Ian!! Now I'm hoping to get one of Phillip in the same pose!

Isn't that the great thing about friendship......you don't even have to "know" what each other is doing to share a special bond!

I had to run to Cameron's house tonight to pay for Girl Scout cookies and Brooke (Cameron and Ian's mom) was on my blog. Ian was looking at the pictures of Nick and saying, "I miss Nick..." Cameron came out of her bedroom and was wearing her "Remember to Celebrate My Life - Nick t-shirt." The whole experience just touched me so deeply!!!

Nick's spirit is everywhere!!

When I got home from paying for cookies and stopping at the store with Olivia for "school lunch supplies," Nick's buddy Brandon was at the house(at 9 p.m.) to show me a "thumbs up" picture his girlfriend had found under her mouse pad in the computer lab at school today!! WOW!!! Brandon, I enjoyed our visit so much! You are one of my boys, you know?!


You still amaze me. You are with me every second of every day...and truly I think you are with so many more than just me!!!

I've only had one meltdown today...an unexpected one....

Driving by the outreach center, I just had a flashback to all of the times we went in the back door for blood work and then waited to see if Nick needed another transfusion....

He was such a trooper...and the nurses were amazing....

Thank you, Roxy, for being on the other end of the phone when I called the middle school about a meeting I had........you let me cry.......and that meant the world to me.....thank you, Nicki, for coming out to the car for our "meeting." You saved me from facing the masses....that meant the world to me, too!

Thank you Grayson Church of God and Karen for having me out tonight to talk about....

Peace...when the river runs wild!

Your prayer circle around me will never be forgotten! I feel blessed.

Ian, you asked if I would put a heart on this blog for you......

Look what I found!

I "heart" Ian!!! I love you, sweet little boy!!! I love you, too, Phillip!!

A Daily Choice.......

Joshua 24

14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

If you have ever visited a McDonalds with one of these kinds of drive-thrus you have experienced what many of us experience in Grayson every time we want a large diet coke or cheeseburger.........

a mild sense of road rage.......

The concept behind the drive-thru is that everyone gets in one line and then as you reach this portion of the drive-thru you branch off into whichever lane is open next. But sometimes a customer will come barreling past all waiting customers and "cut" into the right lane.....nothing against you if you've done this.....I've probably even done this.....

But I've been in line when I've had friends further behind me in the line who have actually called me and said, "Can you believe some people!?!?!" It's hilarious! I might start out in the line just wanting a diet coke and the next I know I'm judging people's motives and feeling injustice of some kind.....

By the time I get my diet coke, I am often thinking, "Was it worth it?!?"

But I guess my point is this.........

Every day we have choices to make.

Personal choices.

And sometimes a choice that is right for me might not be right for someone else....but truly as long as we are going the same direction......towards God and not towards the world.....then we are okay to "choose either lane."

However, there are some decisions that scream......ONE WAY ONLY!

We know deep inside that making the other choice is AGAINST GOD!

So, this morning I was faced with a dilemma.....

I have to leave early for an observation at a school. I stacked all my books into my container and there sat my Bible. I moved it quickly up onto the desk thinking to myself, "God, You know I Love You....I'll read when I get home..."

I felt so guilty.

Then I called my friend whom I was going to caravan with and she had already left. This meant that I could come out a little later giving me a more flexible schedule. Now the choice sits before me again.

Take time to be still or keep on rushing......

I am going to have to choose "to be still"

I feel like God gave me a second chance to spend some time with Him.

As you face decisions today, I hope you can do the following things:

First of all, as hard as it is sometimes, try to worry about your own decisions...not other people's (I'm talking to myself on this one too!).

Secondly, know that sometimes both choices might be acceptable in God's eyes, so just pray for peace as you decide on one them.

Thirdly, watch for red flags along the way alerting to things crossroads that say, "ONE WAY ONLY!"

Praying we all can "drive thru" today pleasing God along the way,

One Wish for You........

Several weeks ago I was contacted by a publisher about writing a review on my blog about this new little book written by Celia Whitler. I've never done anything like this before and to be honest, I was a little nervous...thinking, "what if I don't like the book?"

So when it arrived in the mail, I was very anxious to see what it had to say!

First of all, I was so excited because not only was it a great little book but it also had a bonus CD which has some very powerful songs on it! Wow! Celia, you have a beautiful voice!!

As I began to read through the pages....

I was touched by the presence of Scripture as I turned every page and soaked in every wish.The photography accompanying each Scripture wish was perfect too! I truly felt as if someone had written the book just for me.....

full of heartfelt wishes based on Scripture!

This little book is easy to pick up and simply savor one page at a time. Short, sweet wishes, wrapped in Scriptures. That's what you find on each page.

I imagined slipping this into my purse to take to a doctor's appointment.

Or mailing a copy to a friend who is having a difficult time.

Or tucking in my daughter's backpack so she'll remember how much I love her and that more than anything my wishes for her are all rooted in His Word!

Or handing a copy to any of my children's teachers (Sunday school or school) or coaches......just to let them know I'm cheering them on with Heavenly wishes.

If you're looking for a little something to place in an Easter basket or to brighten a girlfriend's day or to give your mom on Mother's Day, this would be a great option!

Thanks, Julie, for allowing me the chance to preview this book of treasures!

Check out this link if you want to know more:


As I read Celia's bio, I couldn't help but wonder if she knows my friend Lara.....they are both from Franklin, TN!!! Wouldn't that just be something?! I could see God doing that!

For tonight, my wish for all of you who have clicked open my blog is this:

A week....

showered with moments of love because the Creator of the Universe loves you!

wrapped in peace because the Prince of Peace promises nothing less to those who trust in Him!

filled with hope because you KNOW who holds tomorrow!

sprinkled with joy........in all things at all times........because the Joy-Giver walks beside You....transforming your heart as you turn all things over to Him!

Thankful to share life with all of you,

Broken and Spilled Out.........
John 12:3
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume

Most the time when something breaks and/or spills, it is because of carelessness....

being in a hurry

not holding on tight enough

trying to do move something with unsteady hands

All three of those factors played into my little mess this morning. My mind was spinning with a swirl of "things to do," but my body was longing for that early morning cup of coffee. So, hurriedly, I decided to brew a pot of my morning breakfast before diving into my list of things needing to be "checked off" my mental list. Of course, last night's coffee grounds had never been thrown away, so the whole process started by doing what I should have done yesterday......prepare the place for a new filter.....and as they say,

"The rest is history."

Before I knew it, the filter and its holder and everything inside of it went flying from my hand and splattering out onto the floor. Yuck! There's just something about moist coffee grounds!

Fortunately, the clean up wasn't too difficult and before I knew it I was back on my way to getting things done!

So I made my coffee, dove in to my classwork, and didn't take a break for hours....Tim walked through at one point Saturday night and took this lovely picture. I had to make a pouting face. I was feeling sorry for myself.....

At one point during the day, Olivia and her little friend came through and plopped down - restless and tired of seeing me surrounded by papers. Part of me wanted to tell them that I really had too much to do to be interrupted but, thankfully, God whispered a thought in my ear that changed my day!!

I looked at the girls and said, "Want to go to the lake and feed the ducks?"

Both of the girls jumped in air!! They were so excited. We haven't been out to the lake since last year........Sue, remember your visit? That's the last time I was at the lake......with you, your sweet friends, and Nick. Remember our hike? What a great day that was!!!

So, off we went!!!!! Of course we went to Speedway for drinks on the way. I got a pumpkin cappuccino to enjoy while watching the girls!!!

When we got to the lake, the girls ran around and played on the swings for a bit then we headed down to the rocks to feed the ducks. At first there were only a couple, but it was hilarious to see how ducks started coming from every direction....they must have a secret code for "Hey, someone brought old bread to the shore!"

The girls laughed and had so much fun! They found all kinds of shells which still amazes me! Where do they come from?

I enjoyed the cool breeze and warm sun, leaning back on a rock and just soaking in the sounds of fishing boats humming, hungry ducks squawking, and little girls laughing. It felt so good to take a break from all that was on my mind.

Sipping my warm drink, I thought to myself, "I am so glad I took a break and came here!!"

Then, wouldn't you know it? I went to take a picture and it happened again......I made another mess!!

Just like my day had begun with coffee grounds on my kitchen floor, I now had hot (very hot!) pumpkin cappuccino all over my pants, socks, and shoes!!!

What was God saying?

Why was my day so messy?!?!

Then it occurred to me........I had started my day so "stressed out." I had tossed and turned in bed thinking of all the things I had to get done in the next two weeks.....woken up and went straight to my list of things to do..............and it wasn't until I took this break at the lake that I really heard God saying, "Tammy, remember what it's important. Stay focused." He brought the memory of the song, "Broken and Spilled Out," into my heart. The words, "You spared no expense for my pardon.....you were used up and wasted for me......."

Wow! I can't believe that I so often need such a jolting reminder of what is important and where my treasure has to be. Sometimes I think God must get exhausted pulling me back to Him over and over again........

It's not about me feeling better. It's about Him being praised for what He's done for me.

That's what God is calling me to. Praise and thanksgiving for all He has done.

So, I learned on Saturday that even in my carelessness God can speak. He longs to be heard...and I think I hear him best in my brokenness and in my spilling out of what is not important........

But the more I think about the things that break or spill from carelessness, the more I realize that it is in the purposeful breaking and spilling of our spirit, our will, our desires, our dreams that God is truly able to see our commitment to Him.

I want to be broken and spilled out......for Him and Him alone!

If you want to listen to this song, you will probably have to push pause on my blog music to the right.......enjoy.......and have a "broken and spilled out" kind of day........even if God has to speak through your messes........

Feasting on Fragments......."Bee"lieving in More

Phil. 3:8

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

I've been reading a little booklet I picked up at the Beth Moore conference this past weekend, and in it she shares the verse above with some thoughts on "knowing Christ."

She shares that the verb "to know" is "nosis" in the Greek and can be translated "the knowledge," but that the deeper meaning of the verb implies "present and fragmentary knowledge!"

She goes on to talk about how Paul is trying to stress the fact that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, NO MATTER WHAT WE MAY LOSE, nothing compares with even the little fragments of what we know already about Jesus Christ. We may have lots of questions that seem unanswerable, lots of mysteries that seem unsolvable, lots of difficult situations that seem unnecessary. But just resting in the little that we do know about Jesus-the snippets of His story-is enough to declare His SURPASSING GREATNESS!

Then she looks at I Corinthians 13 and talks about how in this passage when it says, "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known," uses a form of the word "know" that gives us hope because it means "full and complete" knowledge!

Reading this book has reminded me of a few Sundays ago. I was getting a cup of coffee in the hallway before Sunday school and I could hear Nick's Sunday school teacher teaching his lesson around the corner to all of Nick's friends.

A sad and panicked pain rushed through my heart as I realized Nick wasn't in there and never would be again, but then almost immediately the Lord placed on my heart this very verse,

"Then I shall KNOW even as I am fully KNOWN!!!!"

Nick doesn't need a Sunday school lesson anymore! He is sitting at the feet of Jesus......KNOWING ALL that we now can only long to know.

I loved what I was reading today about the different forms of the word "know," but I didn't plan to write about it until something happened while I was subbing today!

Maybe I should have known by the name of the school that this type of memory was inevitable, but it still took me by great surprise!!!

I had lunch duty, so I was sittting at a cafeteria table with about 45 precious third graders. The boy on my left was telling me one story while the boy on my right was trying to tell me an entirely different one. While I sat there, trying to eat and trying to soak up their words, a group of kids at the other end of the table began to scream loudly! I quickly looked towards that end of the long table to see kids swaying from side to side and screaming. Then I saw it....

a wasp was flying over the table sometimes dipping down into the middle of the table and then sometimes taking a sharp turn and going up into the air. The kids were hysterical.....I thought "surely not......surely this isn't happening to me.....how will I ever get these kids calmed down." Thankfully, the wasp made it to the end of the table where I had gone to try and "swat it" out of the air and a sweet lunch lady managed to "whack it with a towel" and then stomp on it right there in the cafeteria! The kids burst into applause! It was hilarious.

As we lined up and headed back to the room, the kids couldn't stop talking about the memory. I heard so many different versions of the story that I thought it would be neat to have the kids share the memory in writing from their own perspectives. I told them that when someone writes choosing the right perspective to tell it from is a powerful part of their writing's impression on the reader. I asked the other third grade teacher if she would have her kids do the same thing. As I sat later and read all of their versions of this same little moment in time, I was amazed at how pieces of the story all came together and made a much more full and complete story than I ever could have imagined on my own.

By reading all of the stories, I learned that....

the wasp flew in through an open window

the wasp landed on someone's biscuit

that student still ate the biscuit!

some kids were terrified

some thought it was funny

some kids kept on eating because they didn't want to get stung

some kids tried to dodge the wasp and almost fell out of their seats

the lunch lady used a towel for her weapon

and the list goes on and on.......

It wasn't until I sat and read all of these short and funny stories that I had a clear picture of what had really happened in those few short minutes at lunch today.
Suddenly, I knew how the bee arrived, what he did while he was on the scene, and how his journey had ended!!

Suddenly the words I had been reading about "knowing" Jesus in fragments made so much more sense!

I believe that there will come a day when we will stand before the throne and SUDDENLY just as if we are reading a million notes at one time from a million different perspectives we will have the complete and full story of our lives.................


The "almost" accidents, the unexplainable losses,

every tear, every blessing, every disappointment, every pain and every gain.......

SUDDENLY we will understand them all!!!

From my tiny, human, imperfect view, it is easy to look at life and ask lots of questions.

The secret to peace comes in being able to remember that one day we will KNOW all things completely!!!

But until that day, just having fragments of the knowledge of the surpassing greatness of Jesus Christ should be enough to keep us pressing on!!!

Thank you Father for "bee"ing faithful, "bee"ing creative in the way You speak, "bee"ing my Father, Savior, Lord, Comforter, Protector, Provider, and so much more!

I "bee"lieve that one day my faith will "bee" sight and I will know even as I am known! My knowledge that right now seems so lacking in details, explanations, reasons......so fragmented.....

will one day be full and complete!!

Thank you for this promise!

And for tonight thank you for simple things like a kind lunch lady who took the time to swat a "bee" and save me from a nearly out-of-control and hysterical group of third graders!!!!

"Bee"lieving from my fragmented view!

Yes, I threw it away....

James 1: 21-22

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

I was at my mom's for a few days last week with Olivia and had taken my shoes off in the car for a bit when I realized I felt a draft....

I was shocked to look at my foot and realize that my sock was hardly functioning anymore!

I just had to take this picture as we were driving down the highway! (I promise the sock was clean in spite of the "holes!" and I promise I wasn't the one behind the steering wheel....)

As I think about my spiritual life, I am saddened to say that I often reach points in my life when, like my foot, I discover that I am running on "little to no support!"

When I start to feel the "draft" of doubt, fear, insecurity, and other negative emotions, it is not unusual to discover that my "soul" is not being protected like it should be.

Maybe it's my prayer life that has weakened.

Maybe it's my time in the Word.

Maybe it's just finding time to be still and simply KNOW that He is Lord!

Maybe it's my actions not matching what I'm learning as I do read the Word.

Whatever it is, I have to make a decision to "get rid" of whatever is holding me back in my walk with Lord and in the confidence that comes from knowing Him as my personal Savior. And then I need to cover myself in His Presence......

My "holey" ness truly can hinder my "holiness."

Determined to wear new spiritual socks tomorrow so that my walk matches my talk!

My Necklace....Beth Moore....(continued from March 15th)

Matthew 7:11

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

This is the rest of the March 15th story.....

I should probably set the stage a bit for what happened, so it will hopefully make sense.

First of all, I am a huge Beth Moore fan. I have done MANY of her Bible studies: some with dear friends at church, some in Sunday school, and some on my own by borrowing the DVDs from other churches, ordering the workbooks, and watching them while sitting in Nick's room at the hospital as he went through chemo or other treatments.

Beth Moore has ministered to me in a profound way throughout Nick's journey. She has taught me so much about walking through the fire (Daniel), loving God will all my heart (David), stepping up (Psalms), and realizing that God's timing is critical (Esther)...and so much more!!! Thank you, Beth, so very much for carrying me through a dark valley by keeping me close to my Lord and Savior!

About a month ago, a friend of mine (Lara) discovered that she had two extra tickets to the Beth Moore Minister's Wives' Retreat in Nashville which was this past weekend. She wasn't sure who to ask and said that she was awoken in the night with my name and another friend's name on her heart. So, she called Pam who then called me and we decided we should go!!

At about the same time that this all happened, I wrote a blog post about the Academy Awards. Amber (one of my blogging friends) posted a comment telling me that Beth Moore's daughter had written about these awards as well and that I should read what she had to say. So, I went to the Living Proof blog and read her entry. While I was on her site, I scrolled down through other blog entries and the name "Annabeth" caught my eye. Beth Moore had a new granddaughter and her name was Annabeth! I couldn't believe it! It moved me so much and brought back a flood of memories about our sweet Adrienne Annabeth. I just had to go back to my blog and write about our daughter who had died in 1992.

A few days later I received a comment from Amber telling me that she had shared my story with the Living Proof website, but I never thought another thing about it.

On this past Saturday morning at Beth Moore's conference we enjoyed an amazing worship service followed by Beth's teaching. She inspires me sooooo much! At the end of her morning session, she challenged the minister's wives in the audience who were in a safe place to share their hearts openly to "come forward" and ask for prayer, confess sins, etc.

About twenty women in blue vests stood across the front of the room waiting for women to come forward. Music played softly as women began making their way to the front of the room, most of them in tears.

I sat by Pam and Lara and watched the constant flow of women as they brought their broken hearts to the front of the sanctuary. I truly felt that I had nothing to bring before these wonderful women. I had no "secret sin" or huge "prayer request." I was just sad about missing Nick. Or so I thought.

As time passed, Pam began to cry and share some things with me that were on her heart...while comforting her and listening to her share, I realized that my heart had started to race with emotion. I began to realize that feelings of anger were flaring up in me. Anger from the fact that I tried so hard to do all the right things throughout Nick's fight with cancer and God seemed to not care or hear my passionate and persistent prayers.

I praised God no matter what was happening.

I fasted frequently in prayer.

I didn't question God.....most all of the time.

I tried not to complain or whine about how our world had been turned upside down.

I tried to keep smiling.

I tried to trust God with each new bit of bad news.

And yet Nick still died.

So as I sat and listened to Pam, I began to cry. Before I knew it, Pam was comforting me instead of me comforting her. I felt bad about this too. I felt selfish.....like it had to be about me which I didn't want it to be.

Pam wanted me to go forward and talk to someone, but as I looked at the women across the front of the sanctuary, I said to Pam, "What can they say to help me? What can they say to change the reality that Nick is gone?" I'm okay. After a few minutes, I felt my pride being stripped away as I said, "No I'm really not. I'm really angry and I'm tired of feeling angry."

I agreed to go forward with Pam only if I could talk to someone who had lost a child. As I surveyed the women, I honestly thought to myself, "The only person I want to talk to is Beth Moore," but I knew deep inside that every woman probably felt the same way and that that was selfish of me.

So, Pam and I walked forward. I was crying. We went to the first two women who were dressed in blue vests and Pam asked them if there was someone I could talk to who had lost a child. Without even thinking, I said out loud through my tears, "Or two children." My pain was so deep at that moment. The reality that I had held in for so long the pain of Adrienne's sudden death and then been dealt the blow of losing Nick in such a long and suffering way suddenly surfaced.

The women looked around as if they weren't sure who to get and then asked the woman next to them who said, "We have a counselor in the back room."

Now even in the midst of my tears, I was able to comprehend these words and was thinking, "I DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO A COUNSELOR!"

However, it was too late, I had come forward and was now at the mercy of whomever was helping me. So we started across the front of the room headed for the back.

As we were walking and I was crying, I realized that Beth Moore was standing right beside me with her back to me. I looked at the woman leading me out of the room and held up my hand as if to say, "Just one minute." With my other hand, I reached out and literally took a hold of Beth's arm as if it were my only chance to ever be that close to her and feel her love. I couldn't help but think of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe......not implying that Beth has this same power, but simply saying that I truly wanted a blessing from Beth and in touching her hoped that I would receive it.

Beth turned towards me and through my tears I told her, "My son died in November," and then I just started crying more and more. I'll never forget Beth's words to me............She said,

"It's you."

That's exactly what she said! She knew me!

Then I said, "I'm the one whose daughter Adrienne Annabeth died...."

And Beth finished my sentence, "of SIDS." She went on to say that she wanted to find me but didn't know how. That she wanted to say something from the front but didn't want to be insensitive. I don't even know how she knew I was there or if she even knew ahead of time. But she had read of Adrienne and Nick before that morning and she already knew my story.

She even said, "I have goose bumps on my arms," and held out her arm. I was sobbing and saying, "I tried to do everything right and Nick still died....I'm tired of feeling angry." As I cried and later my friend said I could barely stand, Beth took my hand and gently went down on her knees and brought me down on my knees right in front of her. I leaned forward on her and sobbed deeper and louder than ever in my life for what seemed such a long time. I remember hearing her praying, "Lord, this lady has been faithful......." And then something about "til she's with her babies again in Heaven..." I could feel women all around me touching me and crying. I could hear Pam and Lara saying "It's okay, Tammy. This is why we're here."

Then Beth said, "You're washing His feet with your tears." I looked up at her and said, "I do love Him." And then she said, "And He's holding every tear."

Then with a very purposeful voice she said, "Look me straight in the eyes." I realized at that time that I had been looking down most all of the time, and as I looked up she took my face in her hand and said very firmly,



My hands were shaking but I was able to lift Nick's necklace off my chest towards her and through my tears said, "This is Nick's thumb print."

Beth very gently and sweetly leaned down and kissed my heart pendant as if she were kissing Nick's forehead. I'll never forget the love I felt at that moment. I instantly knew that this was why I hadn't yet shared about Nick's necklace! Now it was time!

As we stood up together and Beth began to walk away, she took my arm and said, "I'll never forget you. I'll never forget you."

And then my friends took me to a back stairwell where I cried and cried some more. Eventually a counselor came in and prayed with me, and helped me to receive words of peace from God.

Shew. I still can't believe it happened.

When I look back on this memory, I have to say that I believe God orchestrated every part of it. I truly believe that He longs to give us the desires of our heart, and on that day I needed more than anything else in the world to be blessed by Beth Moore in a very personal way. She has been my spiritual mentor, my lifeline to God's Word, my encourager in my journey...

Thank you, Lord, for knowing just what I needed and providing it in such a dramatic way.

I have always thought that if I could meet Beth Moore I would love to laugh with her, have a cup of coffee with her, share our passion for God and His Word.....

I never dreamt that God would humble me to the point of literally laying over her lap sobbing my eyes out.

I feel released from something powerful.

I have tried so hard even in Nick's death to see the "good," the "purpose," the "big picture."

But to be honest, I have also carried a piece of anger that had to be let go of or it was going to be part of me forever. I do not want to be an angry, bitter mom who has lost two children.

I want to be a joy-filled light of hope for others who may have to walk the road behind me.

I don't think that was a possibility before I fell on my knees and confessed my true feelings on Saturday.

Thank you, Lord, for understanding my pain and loving me through it. Thank you for giving me permission to not always "understand" Your ways. I know that Your ways are higher than mine. Help me to continue to trust You in the dark days ahead, and Lord, help me to be a willing servant.

Thank you, Lara and Pam and Amber for being beautiful servants of the Lord. Because of you, God was able to give a "good gift" to me. Thank you.

Forever Grateful for My Moment with Beth Moore and for Her Precious Kiss on Nick's Necklace.

My prayer now is for a day to sit with Beth Moore and have coffee and laugh and share our passion for God's Word!
As Mordecai said to Esther.......
Who Knows?!?!?

The Beginning of Special Story is Below.....
Scroll down to March 15, 2009, for the beginning of a new story of God's amazing gift of love........

and like a little girl I love so much so often says,

"This really happened!!"

I'll share more of the story tomorrow night!

Have a happy Tuesday!

I'm Not David......

1 O LORD, remember David
and all the hardships he endured.

2 He swore an oath to the LORD
and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:

3 "I will not enter my house
or go to my bed-

4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
no slumber to my eyelids,

5 till I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."

I apologize for allowing the weekend to get by without sharing.....

I tried to finish writing an entry this evening, but I cannot keep my eyes open.

And I'm subbing tomorrow..............

I'll finish what I started when I get home.

I love you all so much, but I'm definitely not David. My eyelids need slumber!

Have a happy Monday.

My Necklace.....A Sweet Boy....God's Timing....God's Blessing
My breath is nearly taken away when I look back on this past weekend and think of how God brought me to a place I thought I might never go................

And in bringing me to this place, He also brought me to the time when I could share a story I have held on to until I felt God saying, "It is time to share....."

Now is the time:

In mid-January during the ice storm that paralyzed most of the state of Kentucky, there was one particular night when we were up late knowing that many "snow days" would be following.....

I was in bed reading a book at about 1 a.m. I was missing Nick so much, because he loved snow days more than any of our kids. Thinking of him was causing me to have one of those "sad nights." Tim came into the bedroom holding two jewelry boxes. Now, this isn't a "normal" event in our house, so I looked at Tim with an expression of "What? Why? No." I truly thought that for some reason Tim had decided that if he bought me something it might "cheer me up." And I knew immediately upon seeing the two boxes that there was nothing that this world could give me that could ease the pain of losing Nick........

or so I thought.

I opened the first box...a long thin rectangular box and in it was a silver chain. Tim then handed me the smaller square box. My first thought was that Tim was giving me the little "boy and girl" birthstone charms that I had seen on sale at KMart before Christmas.....and while I thought they were sweet and that having all six of our kids' birthstones might be special, I just knew deep inside that even that would do nothing for my spirit.

As I opened the smaller box I saw a silver heart pendant. I picked it up and looked it over carefully. On the back it said, "Nick"and then had the dates "1995-2008." It was very pretty, but I still didn't feel like it was enough to make my heart feel any kind of special peace.

I turned the heart over and noticed that the textureon the front was not smooth.....and as I was rubbing my fingers across it, looking at it, still wondering why Tim had done this, Tim looked at me and said,

"That's Nick's thumb print."

I looked down at the heart and sure enough, I could see the small lines, the intricate curves, the impression of a part of Nick I would never see again in his flesh-like form. I gasped and then began to sob.

I was moved to a point that I had not been moved in such a long time.

I thought to myself, "I will never need another diamond. I have the most priceless jewel around my neck- forever."

One of my very next thoughts was that I couldn't wait to write about Nick's thumbprint! Especially as Nick's journey had such significance related to thumbs up....starting with my mom's photograph of the most unbelievable "thumbs-up" cloud all the way to the ultrasound of a friend's baby doing a "thumbs up" in her mommy's belly to another baby who did a random "thumbs up" while being photographed at the lake (pictured here) and then finally seeing the "thumbs up" come full circle on the logo for Nick's foundation. I truly believe that God has allowed Nick's "thumb print" to be imprinted on history in a very powerful way! My necklace is such a treasured memory of Nick's character, passion, love, strength, and courage....I wear it everyday with such a sense of "motherly pride!"

I couldn't wait to tell you all about the necklace, so the very next day I tried to take photographs of the necklace for my blog, but I couldn't capture it in a clear enough way. I just felt like I needed to until Mom was here to help me before I wrote about my special gift and shared photos.

Several weeks went by and then one evening I was picking Olivia up from a little friend's house when I received an unexpected blessing from a three-old little boy. Olivia's friend's little brother, Kallen (Thomas the Tank Engine in the photo below), had just woken up when I arrived. He was snuggled on his daddy's arm, cheeks pink from being curled up on a pillow, and eyes half open and half shut. I stood and talked with Olivia's friend's mom for a few minutes and I made a few comments to Kallen while standing there about how cute his haircut was. He just kept snuggling deeper into the neck of his daddy- looking oh, so precious and sweet. Kallen's never been one to "talk" a lot to me. He might smile at me, but he generally passes me with only a grin.

I finished up my little visit with his mommy and turned to walk from the hallway into their living room when out of the blue, Kallen popped his head up and said in the sweetest voice, "I like your necklace." And then immediately tucked his head back down into his dad's neck. I looked at his mom and dad, they looked at each other, and then his mom said, "That was so weird.....he never comments on anyone's jewelry."

I was so touched.

I walked to my car confident that Kallen had seen a glimpse of Nick or an angel or something special about Nick's "thumbprint" necklace. Maybe it was glowing. I'll never know. But I just know that somehow his innocent childlike vision had seen something more beautiful than I could ever imagine. I felt such peace.

Then I just knew it was time to write about the necklace. So, I went home and emailed Kallen's mom and dad to ask if they cared if I shared the story and possibly a photo of Kallen. I began to open my blog and download one of my "not so great" photos of the necklace and blogger.com was having technical difficulty with downloading pictures. I was so disappointed and yet I knew deep inside that there must be more.

So, I waited.....

And I waited......

Well, this past Saturday something extraordinary happened that made me realize that God had been orchestrating events with my necklace for "such a time as this." And on the very same day as this special happening, a package arrived in our mailbox which contained two CDs full of pictures from Nick's Foundation dinner....

And wouldn't you know it?!!? Beautiful pictures of Nick's necklace were on these very CDs!!

Oh, Father in Heaven, You never cease to amaze me!

So, tomorrow I'll share what happened and how God blessed my life in a way that I never would have dreamed or imagined.

Happy 17th birthday to Adrienne.....we miss you and love you so much! Give Nick a kiss for me.

Until tomorrow,

Spring's Promise!
Romans 1

20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

John 11

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies...."

Cold and harsh winds blowing....

Through lifeless branches swaying....

The frozen ground beneath us....

Halting life's ability to progress.

Winter symbolizes death so poetically, doesn't it?

The frigid winds that whip through our clothes are as painful as the......

Empty, hollow, and bitter feelings that often fill our hearts and minds in times of grief

Death seems to be painted all around us in winter scenes.

Everything seems hopeless when the once-lush ground seems to have been swallowed up by winter's hunger.

As time passes, we learn to accept this phase of life called winter. Sometimes even embracing its beauty as we realize it is part of God's natural order of things.

Then something happens.

Something miraculous.

One day we look and SURE ENOUGH! Life is bursting forth where death seemed to have taken hold!

Colors appear through the brownness of the landscape! Yellows, blues, greens, purples........promising color to our drab lives of winter!

I just love springtime! It reminds me that death truly has no power over life.....

God makes all things new..............flowers, trees, bushes.........and US!!

Death has no hold on plants. It definitely has no hold on us!

I find these words so comforting when I think of my sweet Nick. Oh, the emptiness of life without him. And yet I believe that just as tiny flowers miraculously appear after a long, hard winter, Christians arise from death to live a new and beautiful life with Him in Heaven.

Olivia and her friend Cameron helped me photograph our first signs of spring in Grayson this year!!

We were dropping some things off at church for an upcoming yard sale when we noticed some tiny little flowers popping through the cold, hard ground right near the edge of the sidewalk.....

It was so exciting!

As we looked around we noticed other signs of spring popping up through piles of leaves!

Peeking through....

Promising new life.....

I think the miracle of spring is one of the things God was talking about when He said that His eternal power can be seen in nature....making men "without excuse."

So, if you're doubting whether there is life after death.....

Take a walk and see what's happening as winter melts away and spring goes on display!

It's God's way of saying........

I have the final word on death.......

And it is LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clinging to Spring's Promise,

I love Mandisa.......

When I opened my email a bit ago, I wasn't expecting an email from Tim (my husband) telling me that he had read a story on CNN about Mandisa's new song (he knows I love her so much.)

He gave me the link to click on so I could listen to it and said, "you'll need a kleenex."


He was right!

I just couldn't wait to share it with all of you......

So I hope you can click on the link below and go to imeem website. Scroll down to Number 11 on the list......yes.....NUMBER 11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And close your eyes and listen to the song, "You Wouldn't Cry (Andrew's Song)," that she wrote for a friend who lost a child.

Oh my goodness.

It takes my breath away even now.

Thank you, Tim, for sharing this with me. I love you.

And thank you, Mandisa! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing with all of us!

Andrew, Nick is saying all of this to you too!! He's waiting for you on the other side of that mountain!!

Pursuing Peace......

Psalm 34:14b

"...seek peace and pursue it."

When I sit and read just this little tiny snippet of a powerful chapter, God is trying to tell me so much.

First of all, I think He's telling me that peace isn't something that is always easy to find...

But it is something that can get easier to find when I put forth a little effort.

Have you ever played "hide and seek?" Everyone except the person who is "it" goes and hides while "it" counts to 100. Then the ones hiding sit quietly in their secret places trying not to make a peep.....even their breathing becomes shallow and their body becomes tense....as they listen for the footsteps of "it."

One by one, "it" discovers each hiding place as he/she witnesses even a small sign of life within each area. Maybe a shoe is sticking out. Maybe an arm. Whatever it is, the secret place soon becomes "not so secret" as "it" moves through the rooms "calling out" the hiders.

The longer you play hide and seek in the same area, the easier it is to find the people hiding because those once-secret spots don't seem as secret anymore.

I think "peace" is a lot like this. When we are seeking peace for the first time after having gone through a time of "no peace," it is very difficult to discover where that peace may be hiding. But the more we learn to seek peace with purpose, the easier it is to find!

I have found that peace can be hiding right under my nose.

Maybe it's a few minutes in the car in between errands when a powerful song comes on the radio. My neighbor Sandra has gotten use to seeing me pull into our driveway and then sit in the car for a few minutes as I finish listening to a favorite song. She knows I have found a little peace behind my steering wheel with my van door closed.

Oh, music speaks such peace to me.....thank you, God, for Christian songwriters!

Peace can be found while pushing a child in a swing. The rythmic movement of the child as he/she comes towards you and then moves away can be enough to remind me of the faithfulness of God, His promise to be the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In this thought, I find great peace.

Oh, children and your simple pleasures.....floating through the air....up and down...back and forth....thank you for reminding me that God is just like You.......always moving but never changing....thank you, God, for speaking even through a child's fun.

Peace can be found on a walk as the breeze gently blows through the trees speaking God's whispers of love and devotion. It's almost as if the trees are saying, "God made me, and I love Him....."

Oh, I love to hear the wind blow through the trees. This sound brings me peace. Thank you, God, for pushing air along through Your creation so as to stir our senses.......

Stirring us to feel Your peace.

Immediately after reading that God wants us to "seek peace," however, He goes on to say, "pursue it."

This doesn't sound as relaxing as a simple game of hide and seek where I can mosey through life looking behind couches and in dark closets.

This sounds more like I might be moving quickly towards something that is trying to get away!

As if I am in pursuit of something.

And doesn't that make sense to me if I think about the world I am in?

The devil has no desire for me or you to EVER feel God's peace....

So why wouldn't I expect him to do anything he could to keep me from catching up with the peace I so deeply desire.

Olivia's little group of friends have decided that the "peace sign" is their friendship sign....they want peace in their friendships, peace in their lives.

I think that is a great idea!

Because of this, Olivia is attracted to anything she sees that bears this symbol.

Today, Olivia and I had the chance to go shopping with my mom. I was amazed at how the peace sign is EVERYWHERE....on clothes, jewelry, purses, socks, EVERYTHING!

As we were paying in one store, I said to the worker jokingly, "Peace is popular!"

She replied, "This year it really is."

As I walked away I thought about the times we're living in.

Gunmen randomly killing people, wars, drugs, the economy, our nation's morals.........

So many things that seem to have chased away our peace.

I do think God knows that it is going to take more than seeking it most days.

We are going to have to pursue it!

What will that involve?

More than just saying, "I wish I could feel peace." More than just listening to a song, or pushing a child in a swing, or enjoying a cool breeze.

No, it's time to get serious about truly pursuing peace. Praying for it. Praying expecting it. Reading God's promises about it. Memorizing God's promises about it. Claiming it. Sharing it. Falling back in it even when it doesn't make sense.

Peace is powerful

God's peace doesn't make sense to those who do not know Him.

So if you have it, others will notice it........

Because whether they believe in God or not, they cannot deny that "peace is popular!"

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