Finding My Mind Back in India.......

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:19, NLT

If I could say anything to the people of India, this verse probably sums it up.

When I witnessed this precious woman standing literally on the brink of a very, very deep well lifting bucket after bucket of water to fill her pots, I couldn't help but think of the time when Jesus met the woman at the well and offered so much more than water......

I just thought of her today and wondered what she was doing.....

Wondered if she will ever know about the Living Water.......


Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.

~ Hebrews 6:18, NLT

I read this verse yesterday and WOW! I just kept reading it over and over and over......

"We who have fled to Him for refuge"....that would be me and you! Any of us who have turned to God in our times of fear, grief, anxiety, loneliness, betrayal......"WE WHO HAVE FLED TO HIM FOR REFUGE".....

"Can have great confidence".....not just confidence but GREAT confidence....not the thought that "maybe God will be there for us "but the knowledge that HE is there for us....not wondering but KNOWING.....not even "hoping" as we often use the word when we say, "I hope He comes through for me or I hope God answers my prayer"......."WE WHO HAVE FLED TO HIM FOR REFUGE CAN HAVE GREAT CONFIDENCE"....

"As we hold to the hope that lies before us...." So we're holding on. That's where our great confidence comes from......the fact that we KNOW that there is something that lies before us that is amazing, wonderful, worthy.......THE HOPE....

And then Hebrews6 goes on to say.

19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Even the Hindu religion uses a curtain to separate the worshipers from the high priest. We attended a Hindu worship service and I was amazed to see the curtain drawn until the service began and then the opening of the curtain so that the people could watch a Hindu priest perform a ritual of smoke and fire on the Hindu god. It was very sad to see so many Indian people clamoring for just a glimpse into this shrine that represented one of thousands of their gods. A god that offers no hope.

And yet we have the blessing of KNOWING JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith, THE HOPE......and the curtain has been torn that once separated us from the throne of grace...which we are told in yet another passage can be approached with....



So I recalled a couple other verses that are so packed with power as I thought about "the hope that lies before us!"

Romans 5:1-8

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Isaiah 49:23

Then you will know that I am the LORD;
those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

And after reading these I just sit back and think WOW! all over again.

For some reason, God has called me to a life of "disappointing circumstances," but I feel He has "appointed" me to share THE HOPE that does not disappoint.

So, today, as we celebrate Tim's 44th birthday and reflect on the 17th anniversary of the loss of our daughter (she died of SIDS on the morning of Tim's 27th birthday) and as we enter the month of May tomorrow and head towards Nick's 14th birthday on the 22nd......knowing he will celebrate it with Adrienne and with Jesus, I can't help but feel a sense of earthly disappointment....


Believe me when I say that the hope that comes from God does not disappoint!!

I am able to write to you today because of this deep-rooted confidence in

"the hope that lies before us!!"

Jesus will return or I will go to Him one day - I just don't know which will come first - We all will!

And immediately we will understand and KNOW and EMBRACE Jesus Christ...

THE HOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Praying for all of those who do not have THE HOPE,

Written by a friend after Nick's death......
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY LARRY MARSHALL, THE ALUMNI DIRECTOR AT Kentucky Christian University where my husband is a professor.

I read it recently and it touched me so deeply that I had to share it...


From the title, I assume you know from the outset that I never actually met Nick Nischan. His family arrived at my alma mater just after I graduated, and I only casually met his dad on random visits back to the university. But where the title of my thoughts tonight might mislead a bit is that I feel like I know Nick Nischan, especially after the events of the past few days.

Nick's funeral celebration was this afternoon in a crowded church of family and friends. His battle with brain cancer for the past 6 years of his life has been well documented in this little corner of the the world, though his influence has gone far beyond Eastern Kentucky.

For the past several years before I arrived back at my alma mater to assume employment, I had heard about this kid named Nick. What set him apart was not that he was dealing with a sickness that was robbing him of being, in a physical sense anyway, what any 13-year-old boy wanted to be. But words that I had always heard were "courageous," "inspirational," "brave."

After the events of the past few days, I can only assume that was all true. As I sat through the funeral - which was actually more of a celebration service - I heard those descriptive words used over & over again by the several who spoke at the service. I can't imagine the funeral service for one of my own children. But to actually get up and speak.....remarkable. And yet, both Dad & Mom took their turn. I wish I could script out for you their was beautiful, well-said, and very touching. I'm beginning to sense that this remarkable little boy was one of those "apples that didn't fall far from the tree" as they say. Nick's mom, Tammy, is a prolific blogger, and has been documenting this 6-year journey at it wouldn't surprise me if she posts the manuscripts of both her talk and Tim's. If you get a chance to read some of her posts, it won't be a waste of your time.

The service itself was as unique as the life it commemorated. The four-piece band did an instrumental version of Audio Adrenaline's 'Big House' as a prelude. I didn't put two and two together at first. But if you know the song, the lyrics refer to the "big, big house, with lots & lots of room...with a big, big yard, where we can play football." Nick was a huge football fan, and reference was made later in the service to Nick playing football in that big, big yard at his father's house. I don't know if the Audio A guys ever dreamed that song, or any of theirs, would be used at a funeral. But it was perfect. In fact, it was used as an invitation song at the end. Again, this won't show up in any handbook on how to perform a funeral (neither would the video tribute to Nick sent from Chuck Norris!). But Nick's life was celebrated tonight much like it was lived. Full of life. Taking advantage of every opportunity and every moment. Pointing to Jesus all along the way.

I never knew Nick Nischan. But in a whole lot of ways, I feel like I know him now. I just wonder if any of us will leave a legacy after we're gone like this 13-year-old inspirational young man.

Below is a link to a very good article written by our college president about Nick and his family's journey. (You may have to copy and paste the web address below into your web address line in order to get to the story.)

What God Really Wants From Us.................

1 Samuel 15:21-23 (New International Version)

21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."

22 But Samuel replied:
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king."

This verse jumped out at me this morning as I was making my way through the Old Testament...............

I guess because I long to give God my life, my praise, my everything.......

But then I read verses like the ones above and think, "It's not just about giving Him my life. It's about obeying His commands."

See, God had specifically told Saul to destroy everything in this city. Saul had decided to keep "the best of what was devoted to God." And when Saul was questioned about this decision, he insisted that they had only done this in order to present these "prizes" as sacrifices to God.

I don't know if Saul really meant that or if he just made it up under the pressure. I don't know if Saul really understood what it meant to OBEY God fully. He seemed very comfortable with listening to God's orders and then changing them around a bit.

Whatever the case, God told Saul one thing and he chose to do another.

And Samuel let Saul know that God longed to be obeyed much more than He longed to be the receiver of burnt offerings and sacrifices.

If you notice, the time that I started writing this particular blog was Monday morning. The day was filled with cleaning, running errands, a tennis match, and other normal "mom stuff."

So, I decided to finish my blog post later in the day.

Well, I guess God really wanted to drive home the truth that He longs for obedience much more than sacrifices before I finished writing on these verses, because after school I had one of those "not-going-to-listen-to-you-defiant" moments with Olivia that just made my blood boil.

It wasn't even that big of a deal.......(the situation)

It was just her spirit that got to me......

That "I'm not listening to you, I'm walking away from you, I don't care what you say kind-of attitudes."


I even said to Olivia at one point in the car,

"I know why God put in the Bible "Do everything without grumbling or complaining!" He must just hate it when we do -- after all the things He has done for us."

There she sat, drinking a Fruitista from Taco Bell (her favorite little treat!) and looking like she had the worse life on the planet.

And then of course I felt this holy nudge saying,

"Oh Tammy, how many times do I give you good and wonderful treats and then you turn around and walk away from Me as if I don't matter."


That's where I went yesterday.........


I want to be an obedient child of the King. I want to be thankful, grateful, full of praise, turning my back from sin, keeping my tongue from idle words, searching His Word daily, praying fervently, forgiving those who have hurt me, loving others without judging them..........

I do not want to just be a child who gives you glory. I want to be a child who hears Your voice and listens and obeys. I do not want to be a rebellious child.

I saw one yesterday. And it was not pretty!

Thank you, Lord, for bringing this verse to life for me in a way that allowed me to feel Your heart when I disobey You......Forgive me for those times of disobedience.

Winners of the Rupee Giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, I couldn't stand it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all so much, and I feel so strongly that Nick's story and the story of this amazing (a thumbs-up rupee) from God need to be shared with as many people as possible..................

So, here's the deal!

If you posted a comment under the "Another Give Away!" about the rupee, email me at and give me your address. I will mail you a rupee in the next week!

The only request is that you go to and look back through Nick's journey and see the power of the thumbs-up throughout Nick's life (I haven't updated this site since Nick passed's just been too hard to go there). After you see how the thumbs -up became such a great source of encouragment and strength to our family, SHARE the story of Jesus' never-ending love even in the midst of great suffering, sadness, and pain with someone who needs to hear it.

My prayer is that the rupee you receive will be a way for you to share the love of Jesus with those in your circle for years to come!

I am going to pray over each rupee before placing it in the mail, so just know that it will arrive at your home covered with God's blessing!

I love you all so much!

Don't forget to email me with your home address if you entered the give away contest for the rupee!!!!

Congratulations to all who posted!!!!

I'm already praying for your opportunities to share God's love with your friends and family!

Are You Hiding Among Your Baggage?
While we were in India we had to take two very long train rides (one for 11 for 13!!)
To get from the taxi to the train and from the train to another taxi, men called "kulis" (I think that's how you spell it) would help us get our baggage to each location.

This morning as I was reading in I Samuel, I just froze on the story of God selecting Saul as the much-desired king of the Israelites.

God had told Samuel that the people were not rejecting Samuel himself by asking for a king, they were rejecting God as their one and only king.
So......God does what He does best! He answers they plea by choosing an ordinary donkey herder for an extraordinary job!!
But when the lots are cast and the selection is narrowed from all tribes to the tiny tribe of Benjamin........
And then to the family of Saul.........
And then to Saul...........guess what? Saul is hiding in the baggage!!
One concordance suggests that maybe Saul was more comfortable with the baggage carriers of the day (donkeys!) then he was with the thought of being king of Israel.

Whatever the case, someone spotted him and he was given a role in history that carried many responsibilities and many choices.

Unfortunately, Saul was like many of the Israelites of that time..........not the most God-centered decision maker.....
Which ultimately led to his destruction....
I guess for today, Saturday, April 25th, I am asking myself this question:
What is my baggage? What is my safety zone and does it limit my service to the Kingdom? Is God calling me to step out of it today in some way? If I do, will I be humble enough to constantly turn to Him for guidance?
Wow! I was getting ready to mow the lawn....................I sure have a lot to think about now while I'm mowing!!!!
Looking forward to some baggage soul-searching,

A Special Night....An Exciting Beginning!

Friends from many different parts of our community joined us at First Church of Christ to assemble the first 100 baskets for Basket of Hope!!

I look back on the evening with such amazement.....

God can take the deepest valley and transform it into a mountaintop.

God can take the tiniest gifts and transform them into gigantic treasures.

God can take ordinary people and places and create extraordinary events with extraordinary results!

Just when you think something seems impossible, remember that "with God ALL things are possible" and that He "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us!" Those are promises from His Word!!!!!!!!!!!!

We miss Nick so much. Watching the news tonight and seeing video footage from past news stories of Nick's journey through cancer was so hard for me. To see him smiling and being interviewed.......shew!!!

At the very same time, there is a deep and abiding joy and peace in my heart in spite of my terrible heartache.

A peace and joy that come from the hope and very certain belief of spending eternity with him!

So as we begin this ministry called Basket of Hope, I thank God for Nick's life and inspiration!

I pray for each family who will receive a basket at some time in the future. God already knows who these families are........and He has prepared a way of sharing His Hope with these families when the time is right for them to hear it.

I think this is how God works all the time.....He is constantly smoothing rough places before people arrive.....making a way for them to survive the next tough thing in their life journey......

Lord, Open my eyes to the many times you smooth rough places for me and my family. Continue to give me the only Hope that is eternal......I love you, Lord.

Thankful for Hope!

Olivia and Erich.........
Olivia is going to give softball a whirl this spring/summer! She's never played before, so she's kind-of nervous.

This afternoon was the Opening Day Little League Parade!!!

Her first game is tomorrow at 5! I hope she remembers that she has to stay on base or she'll be "out" (she didn't know that during the scrimmage)...and that she doesn't have to swing at every pitch (she did a little golfing at the scrimmage!)

And Erich, our oldest son, made a huge decision to drive to Nashville, TN, last weekend just to ask his "best friend" of the past three years if she would date him!!! WOW!! We were so happy and shocked!! Mallory is a junior at David Lipscombe College. She has a heart for missions just like Erich!

Tonight was Kentucky Christian University's Junior/Senior Banquet, so Mallory drove to Grayson today!!!

I just had to get a camera before these big events!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When the lady at WalMart asked if I wanted to buy the 2-year warranty, I laughed. I don't think it covers being dropped or having coffee spilled on I decided to "pass" on that deal.

Basket of Hope on WSAZ
If you go to and click on the news story "Small Gifts with the Power to Heal," you can read a story on last night's event and watch an unedited interview they did with me.....please remember it is unedited. :)

Guess God knew my camera would be broken and the story still needed to be shared somehow today!

Love you all,

Grief........Different Worlds...Same Hope!!!

While we were India, we were able to meet this precious couple who work at Mid-India Christian Mission.

As soon as we were introduced and a brief part of our life stories had been shared, we knew that we would be friends for life.

About a year and a half ago, they lost their sweet 5-year old Lia to a very severe illness and high fever. She was perfectly well and within 16 days of becoming sick, she went Home.

As we sat and talked with them through the help of an interpreter at times, I was amazed at how similar our pain was. When they arrived this particular day, they had brought with them several photo albums, Lia's school book with her art work, and precious stories of Lia's life.

I couldn't help but think about how grief knows no cultural boundaries. Loss is loss. Pain is pain. Tears are tears. No matter the language. No matter the skin color.

Then I realized that as Christians we also shared the most wonderful aspect of grief that anyone can have and that was HOPE!

Because of their rejection of the Hindu religion which looks to thousands of gods in hopes of returning to this world in another life at a higher level of existence, this couple has accepted Christianity and the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died so that all of our sins could be forgiven.....and best of all that He rose again promising eternal life for all who accept Him as their Lord and Savior!!!

Lia and Nick are sharing eternity! That's what I have to remember when I am missing Nick so desperately!!!

God has given us hope! Thank you, Father. You knew we needed it in order to make it through this world!! Thank you.

(I dropped my camera last night at the end of the Basket of Hope event, and it is totally, I will be sharing about last night as soon as I get a new camera and am able to download my pictures!)

I saw these photos this morning and knew for today.......the message was suppose to be about HOPE........maybe not Baskets of Hope...............but something even better..........the HOPE OF ETERNITY WITH JESUS and with all of those who have gone before us!!!

I just love how God works......
As we drove to Huntington yesterday morning for our first hospital visit, I knew that in spite of my inner struggle it was the journey planned for me on this particular day.

I had shared with Angela before we left the fact that I was feeling oppressed, discouraged, and somewhat confused about why Nick had to die in order for these good things to happen......I believed so strongly throughout Nick's entire illness that he would be healed....that God would use him in mighty ways.....

And if you followed our journey through cancer you know that I did my best to praise God NO MATTER WHAT the news was for that day or what we as a family or Nick as a sweet patient had had to endure.

However, in spite of all of that, for some reason I may not totally grasp until the day I stand before my Heavenly Father, Nick's life was ordained to last 13 years. I love Psalm 139,

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

This passage gave me such strength when we lost Adrienne too. Knowing that God had ordained 6 weeks for her to be with us before one of her days came to be. It gave me peace so that I would not always wonder things like, "What she would have been, what she would have looked like, etc." I just knew that God never, ever planned her life past 6 weeks. She was a 6-week gift that changed my life in amazing ways.

Now I have to come to grips with the reality that Nick was a 13-year gift. A precious gift.

And as I do, I have to enjoy and cherish all of the things that both Nick and Adrienne have brought not only to my life but also to the world........things that are eternal.

So, after talking a bit with Angela we prayed and headed on our way to Cabell Hospital with Kim, a friend whose son has also been down the chemo road.

When we arrived at the hospital, we were told to go to human resources. A room had been reserved. We were a little early and the room was not quite ready, so Janet took us up an elevator to her "plan B" conference room which, as God would have it, was also being used by someone else. By this time we were all kind of chuckling as we wandered around looking for a free space.....a waiting room, anywhere to sit and talk. Janet found a conference room in one hall with no light on and we walked in and sat down. I couldn't believe it when I looked on the table and right in front of me lay................of all things..................

a penny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I knew so deeply in my heart that God had directed our steps and that Nick was affirming our journey!!! I didn't have a meltdown in front of this lady I had never met, but I wanted to!!

I saved my tears til I got back to Grayson, and then I just let them pour in the privacy of my living room!!

Oh, God, You just amaze me!!

Thank you, Father of Nick, Father of Adrienne, and Father of all my other children as well as Father of all of us, I can't imagine surviving this life without You! You are my Sustainer, Provider, Comforter, Shepherd, and so much more!

Today is Yours again, Lord. Help us live it for You and You alone. In Your Son's Precious and Holy Name of Jesus, Amen

Today we head to another hospital....actually in just 15 minutes so I had better finish getting ready!!

Tonight is our big assembly tonight! 100 baskets!!! I'll take lots of pictures.

And I promise that after we get through this adventure, I'll get back to sharing India!

Thankful for each of you! Don't forget to sign up for the give away below!


Why Am I Surprised?
This is a huge week in our town. We are kicking off our local branch of Basket of Hope (

Angela Brunette, the Executive Director, arrived in Grayson yesterday from St. Louis, and I was able to spend the entire evening with her. It was wonderful! I know that God will use this ministry to encourage many children and families in Eastern Kentucky throughout the years to come as they face the news that their child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Today Angela and I, along with a friend of mine whose son just recently finished his journey with chemo, will be visiting several area hospitals to present this volunteer ministry program. Tonight we're having our first basket-delivery and training session and tomorrow night the goal is for our community to assemble our first 100 baskets!!! Churches, a girl scout troop, and schools have collecting items for the last month, and our town is "pumped up" about making a difference to hurting families.

So why am I surprised that Tim and I are both "crushed in spirit" right now?

Why am I shocked that last night of all nights Olivia had to find a "summer picture" of herself for the school play and Tim and I walked through as she was going through all of the pictures from Nick's Make A Wish trip to the Bahamas.

There was Nick's precious face on the computer screen.

Smiling. Beaming. So happy at the ocean.

I found Tim later crying in the bathroom.

I found myself not being able to get to sleep.

And now, less than an hour before I leave for a full day of hospital visits and time with two precious moms whose children are thankfully cancer survivors, I am struggling with self-pity.

Why am I surprised?

The devil just can't stand when someone is trying so desperately to turn something bad into good. He just can't rest when God is up to something bigger than he thought possible.

So, as I read the Bible this morning, I was comforted with words like,

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
II Cor. 4:8-9

Absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Rom. 3:29 (The Message)

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
I Thess. 4:13

5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:5

So, as I cling to the only Words that have life.........the Word of Life........I am determined to step forward today with a smile on my face in spite of the anguish in my heart.

Nick may not be with me physically, but I know he is with me in my heart......

And more than that I know that he is with Our Father....who somehow loves him even more than I do!!!

Lord, I trust you with my pain and my sadness. Fill me up with Your joy and peace as You have time and time again. I am resting in Your unfailing arms. Keep the devil far from my thoughts. Help me to take every thought I have captive and make it obedient to Your Son Jesus Christ. Father, without Him I do not know where I would be today...........In His' Precious Name, Your Son who Suffered for All of Us, Amen

Be sure to eat your sandwich first!

Many time when Olivia gets home from school, I find her carrots and her sandwich still in their sandwich bags. She has chosen to eat her fruit snacks, her chips, and her other goodies first and then either become full or ran out of time.

This morning as I was packing her lunch, I said it again, "Be sure to eat your sandwich first..."

Then as I closed the lunch box I couldn't help but think of my habits. Not in a literal sense with food (although that's an entirely different subject that probably would require an entirely different blog!) but in a spiritual sense with God.

It never fails. If I choose to clean the house first or run errands first or even exercise first, I often find myself "running out of time" for the most important part of my time with God.

Time with God is like our carrots or our sandwich. It's the part of life that matters, that strengthens, that makes a difference, that keeps us sustained.

Reading a secular magazine or book, cleaning the house, running errands, watching something on TV....

These are the fruit snacks of life.

For the most part, they really don't do anything for us that is going to make a difference in an eternal sense.

Mom and I like to say that life is really just a time of "staying busy" until we go Home!! And I believe God calls us to a life of His-kind-of busy....Kingdom busy!!!!

This morning as I was reading about Gideon I learned something that I never had realized before. After God had weeded down his army to just 300 men (God didn't want the Israelites bragging on their own strength), He told Gideon to "Get up and go down into the camp for He had given Gideon the victory over them."

But then God says, "But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. They you will be eager to attack."

Here comes the part I love!!!

The next verse doesn't say that Gideoan attacked the Midianites. It says,

"So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp"

Gideon was afraid!!! He wouldn't have gone down to listen if he wasn't!!!!!


After hearing straight from God.

After watching God work in mighty ways in the past.

After hearing God say, "I have given you the victory over them."

Gideon was still afraid.

I don't know about you, but that makes me feel so normal! So accepted by God!

And it also reminds me that God wants to send that extra confirmation when we need it.....even when we feel that so much has already been confirmed!!!

Thank you, Lord, for using men like Gideon who trusted You and yet were still afraid.

Thank you for promising to give us just what we need so that we can put our trust in You.....confidently!!!

I'm listening, Lord. Speak to me. Show me Your will for my life. Many times I feel afraid.

Fearfully Trusting Him and Thankful I ate My Sandwich First....I needed it!!!

Another Give Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you've followed Nick's journey for long enough, you know how significant the "thumbs up" has become to our family!!

From pictures we began taking of friends and family after Nick's successful surgery in August 2006 to the thumbs up cloud my mom saw shortly thereafter.................all the way to the ultrasound of one of my friend's daughter's baby..............we have had thumbs up signs all along Nick's journey. You can look back through blog posts to find these pictures.

Well, you can imagine how we felt the first day in India when Tim received change that included this rupee coin!!!

Later we discovered that this coin was just issued in 2008, and NOONE we met had ever seen it before we arrived!!!!

We truly felt that God was giving us His "thumbs up" on our entire trip's purpose and that Nick was putting in his "two cents worth" (the value of this particular coin!) from Heaven. Leave it to Nick to somehow influence the Indian government's choice for a coin decoration.

I would love to share this little message from God with you, so I thought it would be fun to do a little give away! I will draw 7 names from the comments left on this particular blog entry this Saturday night at 11 p.m.

So just leave a little post that includes your email address, so I can contact you for your mailing address, and your name will be added to the drawing!!!

I love you all so much!!

PS Karen, I mailed your book today!!! And Christine......I missed you at church Sunday. Zoie's Mom is getting her book Wednesday.

He Meets Our Needs..........

Phil. 4
19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

One chair......

That's all we really needed.

A place for Olivia to sit down. The crowds, the heat, the smell, the flies,


all of this mixed together had made for

one sick little girl.

And wouldn't you know it? All along the train station we found nothing but people, trash, vendors, beggars.....

and these two chairs!

One of which had held

an Indian gentleman who graciously gave it up so that I could sit by Olivia.

Thank you, Lord, for not only providing for our every need but for also giving us just a little more!

Nick Nooks....

march 038 One of the ministries of Nick's foundation is to provide wooden book display cases filled with children's books to doctor's offices and hospital waiting rooms across America. These cases will also share a little about Nick's life as well as about the hope that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

For the next two months we will be having a book drive for this outreach program. If you have any new or used children's books (for any ages) that you would like to donate, please contact Trish Brammell through her blog ( Just post a comment on any of her blog postings and she'll get back to you. She, along with Jenna McGuire, are heading up this ministry, and I am forever thankful!!!

I am convinced that Nick's love for reading was a gift from God as he was able to "escape" into the wonders of books so many times when things were tough.

If you know of a doctor's office or hospital that would be interested in having a Nick's Nook, please let us know! We are taking orders at this time.

Special thanks to the Carter County Vocational School for your time and talent! Also, thank you, Tony Collier, for building our model after hearing about our dream.

I'm Glad He Understands....
Isaiah 53
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows......

It seems that coming home this week from such an emotional trip and then being so sick on top of my exhaustion has heightened my depth of sorrow in Nick's absence from our lives.

Yesterday as Tim and I were trying to clean off the back porch, I stumbled across memory after memory of Nick...

his first cowboy boots,

his well-used football,

a notebook full of questions for the oncologist.....

The swing seemed to sway emptily crying out for Nick's presence, his smile, his joy, his love for the simple things-like watching Tim and me clean!! He would have loved yesterday!

So last night as I curled up on the couch to check my email, my heart was extra-saddened to read of a tragic death of one of my friends' friends' grandson. A troubled seven-year old boy who had been found in Florida dead from what appeared to be a suicide.

Then this morning I again was saddened to read of the passing of yet another child from my online brain tumor support group.

Tears fill my eyes as I prepare for Sunday school, confused by the sadness that seems to fill this world so easily.

And yet behind me Olivia and her little friend giggle as they eat their French toast sticks and prepare to straighten their hair.

The faith of a child..............

That's what is required to survive this life.

That's what Nick had that inspired so many.

True, deep, abiding faith!

So, as I venture off to finish getting ready, my prayer is that I will remember that Jesus understands my pain. He was well-acquainted with grief.

And my prayer is that the families who are suffering new and painful losses will feel His presence as they walk the difficult days ahead.

Lord, I love You.

Help me understand the purpose behind our suffering. Help me to trust You until the day I embrace Nick again................forever!

Thankful to serve the One and Only God of the Universe and thankful He understands my pain,

Cinderella is feeling better............
Opening my life story up through a blog is something I never thought I would do.......

But here I am a little over a year into my "open book" life and I am realizing that part of what makes a blog "real" is when the author is able to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It's so much safer to just share the good....or at least the somewhat pleasant part of life.

Even sharing my spiritual struggles has been therapeutic for me.

But, this has been one of those weeks when I have realized that there are just some parts of life, even as the daughter of the King, that are so far from anything I would ever label as "royal!"

You know me well enough by now, though, to know that I try desperately to look for the spiritual application in everything I face, so here is what I've learned this week.

First, when Cinderella is sick, the step-sisters (or in my case the children/husband), don't necessarily step in and do the chores. I will add one level of grace to this comment. Tim was trying to finish up tax season, so he was working from morning til dark (most of the time) and Todd and Olivia were swamped with homework and extracurricular activities........Needless to say, when I did come to my senses I think I spoke up for Cinderella's throughout the kingdoms of this world!!!! There is a new list of daily responsibilities on the dry erase board for the kids!!

Second, it is difficult to spend time at the Father's throne when you are sitting on your own.......endlessly.....sorry, it's just the way it was. You can ask anyone who talked to me over the past few days-I have been near dehydration and simply not totally present on this planet.

Which brings up my third discovery of the week.

If you are seriously dehydrated, don't count on your husband to make you drink. Sorry, Tim, but at this point I am thankful for my friends who popped in from time to time and who even called from out of town. I still love you, Tim. I'm just saying, "I don't think accountants would make the best doctors."

Fourth, I am blessed to have a doctor who is also a dear friend. Thank you, dear friend (I'll leave your name out because I don't want to cause you to have to start a new business), for realizing how sick I was and getting me started on an antibiotic!!!

Fifth, when a battle is over and the victor receives his "spoils" it may not always be what he was expecting. I decided I was up to cooking last night and really hadn't been to the store since we got back from our trip. I found two boxes of taco "Hamburger Helper," which Todd thought sounded good. So, I headed out to our deep freeze, which I quite thankfully had filled with a 1/4 of a cow that I had recently purchased with a friend....thinking that in some way I was being a great Proverbs 31 woman preparing my family for the months to come with grain-fed beef at a great price. When I opened the deep-freeze on our back porch, I noticed no ice around the edges and then a fly coming towards me followed by a horrible smell (talk about being dethroned from any sense of motherly pride). Yes, somehow our deep-freeze had either bit the dust or been struck by lightning (I did hear there was a terrible storm while we were gone) and everything in the freezer was ruined. Ugh!!!!! Is it even worth it to try to be organized?!?!?!!?!??! (You know I love you guys by know.....this is me after being sick for several days and discovering my bovine nightmare.)

So, I'm back in my somewhat "normal" mind. I am thankful beyond words. The devil has done a good job of distracting me from the passions of our trip and the upcoming responsibilities with Basket of Hope.

In spite of his efforts, I can honestly say, that once again, God has turned the devil's plans against himself. I have realized how thankful I am to have my friends. I have realized that when I can't, others can.......and do....................what needs to be done in order to make something a success!

I have learned that while beef may come and go, God never leaves or forsakes me.

I am determined to moooooooooove on from this week of "royal flushes."

Yes, Cinderella is feeling better.

And Prince Charming has learned that sometimes Cinderella looks and acts a little less like a princess than he had hoped or dreamed......

That's life in the real world.

It's good. It's bad. And yes, it's sometimes very ugly.

Thanks for praying for me.

Oh, I never received any "report" on the diagnosis......I just know that either the antibiotic worked or I had the worst virus I could have ever imagined possible......if I hear any details, I'll let you know!!

Thank you for accepting me....

Warts and all..............(and I do have one right now!),

I brought back more than memories :(
I have barely been awake in the past 36 hours.

Our doctor come to the house yesterday to bring some test kits and hopefully we'll know today what is wrong.

I just wanted to let you know that I am still here.

I'll write more when I'm better.

Much love,

A Moment of Sifting................

Luke 22
31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

I took this picture at the house where we stayed for three days while in India. Angela takes wheat and literally dries it out in the sun on their concrete and then has it ground for flour.

I hit a wall about the fourth day of our trip. An emotional wall. I had seen so many disturbing things. I was tired. My whole body ached from the train ride, and I had a little meltdown in our room. Truthfully, I was ready to come home.

It's weird when you're up against such a looming wall. I knew that there was no possible way to run from where I 12-hour train ride and a 14-hour plane ride just to get back to America......getting "out" of where I found myself was not possible. So, I had to make a choice. A choice to be miserable or a choice to embrace where I was.

It was amazing how God knew just what I needed when the devil had tried so hard to pull me down. I had looked at Tim on this particular morning after he had said, "How are you doin, baby?" And my reply was very sadly, "I want to go home."

It was just within three hours of saying this that we were taken to a village women's meeting where we had the opportunity to spend an hour or so with a group of women who live day in and day out with very little. Foot-pedal sewing machines, bare walls, dirt roads, no vehicles, no luxuries.........

And it was in this hour that I was revived. I saw happy women. Thankful women. Smiling women. Women who loved matter what. Ladies who were not quitters.

When we were introduced and the story of Nick's death was told to them, tears began to fall down my face and one Indian woman touched my arm and said, "No cry....," as she continued to smile at me and rub my arm. I smiled back through my tears.

As we pulled away from the home where the women had been meeting, I waved out the window looking so many women right in the eye as they lined the street waving and smiling. In their eyes I saw the love of Jesus.

I saw genuine faith in action.

I saw hope for India.

I saw new friends we will all share Heaven with.

I saw God saying, "Tammy, you can make it through this trip...."

And from that moment on, I was reenergized.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing satan to sift me like wheat....but for being there to help my faith from failing.

Now, my prayer is that I can strengthen others who are trying to walk close to you,

The children.........

One day during their morning chapel service, the children from the blind and disabled home wanted to perform some skits for us.

This picture was taken after the program.

The girl on the far left in the front row and the girl in between me and Olivia are both deaf but were able to perform in a dance routine with a group of girls that was so beautiful. The girl to my immediate left has no feet but did a solo dance routine that was precious. We are all on our knees next to her so that she doesn't feel uncomfortable.

The children who have blonde hair in the photo are actually albino Indian children. The two behind me are brother and sister and were found living on their own several years ago with two younger siblings. The oldest sister would go to the streets after a wheat truck had made a delivery and would scoop up the wheat and dirt on the ground and then take it back to her brothers and sister and wash it so that they had food to eat.

Tonight as I have had an evening of sickness (I think the trip has caught up with my body), I can't help but think of these kids in their dorm rooms and wonder what it is like for them when they are sick. Their caretakers are precious, but their facilities at this point are incredibly lacking in the way of comfort that most of us are blessed to have.

So even as my head is pounding and my stomach is not feeling so well, I feel thankful and undeserving of a home that provides love, security, a soft pillow, and so much more.

When these kids hugged us, you could feel their need for so many more hugs.

My prayer tonight is that each of these kids feels the hugs of angels so tightly that they know without a doubt that God loves them and has a beautiful plan for their lives in spite of their beginnings and their disabilities.

Humbly heading to bed,

Why We Went......................

Seeing this precious village woman holding the brochure for Nick's foundation seems like the only fitting way to begin this journey with you.

After all, Nick is the reason we journeyed to the other side of the world........

To somehow take our pain and use it for God's glory........

To somehow take Nick's love and share it with people who long to know the one and only God of Creation........

I have so much to share. I personally took over 2000 photographs, and honestly each one of them has a story of its own. So as the Lord leads, I will post a photo and the thoughts God puts on my heart.

I've missed you all more than words can express. I thought of you daily as we journeyed by airplane, train, camel, elephant, jeep, taxi..........

But for this morning, as I try to unpack, do laundry, sort through piles of mail, and simply come to grips with a new world view, I had to share this photo.............

This photo of why we went to India.

Nick, we love you. You were with us in so many ways............

Father, we love you even more. Your presence gave us strength when it seemed there was none left.

Until next time.....which may be in only a few hours!

My love and blessings are sent to each of you in a very special way today,

My Morning Thoughts.................

Isaiah 42

16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Well, it's just two hours until we pull out of Grayson, Kentucky, onto an adventure that I never thought we'd be taking.

I've heard so much about how we won't believe the sights, smells, crowds, living conditions, etc., when we step out of the airport in New Delhi.

I've heard so much about how the train ride we will have to take is like nothing else we've ever experienced (11 hours with a first-class bathroom that is only a hole in the floor with the train tracks running underneath).

I've heard so much about how hot it will be when we arrive there (100 degrees or hotter).

But my mind can't grasp any of it yet.

I'm sitting in a quiet kitchen with just about anything I need at my fingertips.

I feel clean. I feel safe. And I'm not going to lie.......

I feel nervous.

Leaving our sweet dogs (thank you, Jennie), all of our friends, our family to go somewhere so unfamiliar is scary. Imagining the plane taking off for a flight across the ocean causes my chest to cave in.

But then I think of Vivek and Angie, the Pembertons, the Brants, and so many more who have done this for a lifetime! WOW!

And I think of Jesus, leaving the glory of Heaven not just for 10 days but for 33 years! WOW!

Surely I can do this. Surely I can trust Him to do just what He says......

turn the darkness into light before us.......

make the rough places smooth.......

Thank you, Lord, for going before us. You are already in India. You have a plan. Help us to lean on You for our every need. Send us reminders of your faithfulness and simple signs that Nick and Adrienne are cheering us on as we try to learn new ways to bring people closer to You.

I received this sweet email yesterday from a dear friend of mine: I wanted to share her wonderful words:

Good Morning, Sweet Tammy,

It is 4:30 am and it is raining....and, I am up. Not partially up, not slightly up, I am totally up as if it is 6am when I normally get up...maybe it was the bath I took last night which made me sleep so well, maybe it was the rain pattering on the roof of my home...OR, maybe I am supposed to go read my facebook messages...OR, maybe I am up to pray....

So, I go to my computer and look at new messages since 11pm...imagine that...

No new email messages...

the dog does not need letting out...

no child is up sick...

Hubby is not awake wanting attention (Had to throw that in for a good laugh) Wink:;)

So...I am thinking that God wanted me to pray....

Pray for what...???

I turn to my favorite blog..."Tammy Nischan" "My heart, His words".....ahhhhh....lovely their scarves...

Tammy is taking a trip...pray for her...that is what God is telling me to do...whispering in my ear....

"Dear Heavenly who loves travel so much you came from heaven to earth...from nothing to something.....from dusk to dawn...from the ocean to the prairie.....
God, my friend Tammy and her family are headed on a journey you have mapped out long before any of them were even knew the steps they would take which would bring them to this day.
You would know how Tim and Tammy would be children.
Lord, you not only know each major step in their lives, but you also know each small step
You know what excites know what draws fear in them especially know what challenges them..
You know about Tammy's fear of flying....give her peace
You know the snafus which their family will run in to on this trip....please clear their paths
You know the life changing experiences they will face....draw them close
You know their heartaches for Nick and Adrianne....please soothe them
You know the exciting people they will meet....bring them on...
You know the physical challenges they will face....protect them

In fact, God, you are such the perfect travel planner....we just ask that you start this moment, at 5:12am and bless every single step they take, every single piece of luggage (help them pack just the right things)....from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet, bless them Lord...protect them Lord...keep them them focus...challenge their sight...let their hands be your hands...let their ears hear what you want them to hear...let their hearts be your hearts and their words be your words...

Let this be an adventure of such proportions that the KNOW you are God and you are with every moment they are there.

Please Lord...give them travel from here to there...pick up their plane in your hands...take it heavenward...fill their souls with peace and land them there and then back home again..

Lord...we love you....

Lord...we love you so much...

Lord...we need you

Lord...we are grateful that you planned this, the ultimate trip planner...

Use this family for your Glory...

Let your spirit fill them so that like Moses, they glow from having been in your presence...

And, Lord, please bring them safely home...

In your Son, Jesus' precious and Holy Name,


I love you.

Thank you, Lesa, for blessing my morning.

Thank you to all of you who are praying for us. I will be praying for all of you as I travel.......I promise!!

Until Next Time,

Don't Leave Home Without Them..........
As I worked on packing tonight, I discovered that some of the most important things weren't exactly the most obvious things.....

First, the passports!

We definitely can't leave home without these!


We can't leave anywhere without these!!!!

Second, toilet paper!!

Yes, we were told by several people to "take our own" as most places would probably not have this "luxury!!" YIKES, again!!!!

Third, flashlights!!!

We were also told that there can be unexpected power outages in India and we'd better be prepared!

YIKES, yet again!!!!

Fourth, animal crackers.......................

Animal crackers!?!?!? Why Animal Crackers......?????

Well, years ago (almost 17 years ago!!) our family went on vacation with our dear friends John and Martha Jordan (and their kids)--- the summer after Adrienne died.

Martha bought a gigantic bag of animal crackers for the kids to eat on the beach.

It was so funny, because all week we kept pushing the crackers, but the kids weren't interested and we ended up back in Grayson with our almost-full huge bag!!

So, for the next few years, we took turns "delivering" the bag of crackers to each other as a joke! Mailing them, wrapping them and putting them under the tree at church at Christmastime, whatever we could think of to surprise the other family! Then one year I mailed them to the Jordans while they were at a state park in southern Kentucky, but I didn't mail them soon enough and the crackers sadly arrived after they had checked out of the lodge.......and that was the end of our animal cracker adventure. :(

Until tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Martha texted me to find out where I was and said, "I have a little something for you."

So, I stopped by her house on my way home from WalMart and she handed me a gift bag. Right before I opened it, I almost said, "If our plane goes down in the ocean, you be sure and come get this and take it back," but when I pulled off the tissue paper I discovered a huge bag of animal crackers!!! That was the last thing I ever would have guessed!!!!!

I "cracked up!!!"

So, be watching for the adventure of the animal crackers throughout our trip to India!! I plan to make sure these little animals have a fun time everywhere we go!!!!!!

Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!!!

Passports, and toilet paper, and flashlights.............

oh, sigh............

I need to go finish packing.

Love to all of you! Next time I type it will be a long, long ways from here!! YIKES once more!!!!

Clinging to Nick's Favorite Verse, Joshua 1:9,

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