God amazes me...

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For those of you who don't know, Nick gave himself the nickname "7-11" when he found out that he had a second brain tumor at the age of 11.  He had his first one at the age of 7.  We thought this was such a cute response to the news, and the number has been special to us ever since!

Well, not long after Nick died I learned from Lynn, a dear friend of mine here in Grayson, that she too had a very special number with her son Jerry who was killed in a car wreck about 10 years ago.  It is 11 11.

So now we have this special little bond.  If either of us sees the time and it is one of those two numbers, we text or call each other and we say a pray for each other.

The other day I was so excited to see this license plate!

My heart immediately thought of Jerry and of Nick and then I whispered a prayer for Lynn and her husband Bob.

Thank you, Lord, for simple reminders of your faithfulness and to pray for those we love.

Thankful for limited options and clear signs..open my eyes, Lord, to more!

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Do you ever get to a place in life where you feel a little like you're near this kind-of sign?  I felt guilty even stopping to take the picture!

I've been in a long stretch of what I feel like has been a "no parking, stopping, standing...anytime" season.

Partly due to my own desires to see Nick's foundation get up and running successfully and partly because I've sensed the need to keep pressing on in my spite of my grief.

Well, I've reached some sort of new place in my journey.

A place where the sign above has been figuratively yanked out of the ground and replaced by a sign more like the one below:

be stillTrying hard to read and obey....

A Song that Comforts Me Time and Time again...

When this song is played on the radio, it is all I can do to keep my hands on the steering wheel.

Thank you for holding us, Lord.  Thank you.

(Remember to push pause on my blog music to the right.)

One of my favorite songs...

I just imagine Nick and Adrienne and so many others I love worshiping at the feet of Jesus...what a day that will by when we are all gathered round His throne..Oh, Lord, help me remember this song on the days when I feel so far from my children that I miss so much!

(You may have to push "pause" on my blog music in the column to the right in order to hear the song,)

Forever Lifting my hands toward Heaven,

Family Reunion Memories..

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Following My Heart...using His Words

she speaks

Well, Friday morning I am going to pull out of Grayson, KY, all by myself at 6 a.m. and head to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a weekend conference called She Speaks.

I'm going to be honest.

I'm nervous.

I feel unqualified in many ways to think I have anything to share that could make a difference on this planet, and yet I feel such a burden to redeem the losses in my life and give some sort of glory back to God who has carried me through every day of this difficult journey.

On Friday evening I will be sharing "my story" in a three-minute critique group.THREE MINUTES!  Pray that I can condense my journey into something that makes sense and yet shows the power of a God whose faithfulness and love exceed all of my pain.

On Saturday evening I will share a five-minute talk on a Scripture. Marybeth Whelan will be evaluating me.  I'm going to confess that this talk is still buried deep within me and has not yet come out on paper...pray that I can pull it out and communicate it in a way that makes sense.

I am at a point in my life where I am trying to seek God's will for me...

Is it to return to the classroom as a middle school teacher (I'm just going to sub this year while I wait for a clearer answer.) 

Is it to write?

Is it to speak?

I just don't know. 

I do know this:

I am just a regular woman, an everyday wife, a struggling mom, a faithful friend (I hope), a sometimes moody daughter, a wanting-to-be better sister and aunt, a terribly lacking daughter-in-law (I'm so sorry I've been so distant), and the list goes on and on.

But I also know that I am part of the glorious Bride of Christ, I am the mother of four amazing kids and two precious angels, I am blessed to share life with great friends, I owe so much to my mom and dad, I adore my sister and brother and nephews, I am thankful for the parents of my husband...you raised him to be such a great man of God..thank you, and most of all I am a daughter of the King!!!!

I will share about my weekend as soon as I get home.

I'm looking forward to rooming with Melodie, my precious sister in Christ who lost her beautiful Brittany to a brain tumor two years ago.  I am looking forward to meeting another Tammy whose son Brian went home to be with the Lord last summer after being in a car accident.

I know that spending time with these women and so many more will be the biggest blessing of my weekend!  I'm sure we will share many tears and hopefully some laughter too. 

I am praying that God will give me peace and that He will speak to me in very clear ways as I sit in the workshops and as I stand in front of my critique group.

My heart is open to God's leading.

My Words are from Him and Him alone.

So I will enter this She Speaks weekend just as I do my blog..with...

My Heart His Words,

I Never Would Have Known...

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At the family reunion this past weekend, I was so surprised to learn that this sweet distant relative has also lost a son (who was only 12 at the time).  His name was Timmy. 

After all of these reunions where I have seen him smiling, laughing, visiting..I learned that he too has walked this painful road of grief..

And survived.

He shared about how Timmy's life is still making a difference today in the lives of so many.  He shared his hope of Heaven.  We talked about how Nick and Timmy are together!!

I guess "my Tim" caught this photo.  I found it when looking through my pictures.

I'm glad to have it as a constant reminder that grief is a road walked by many others and that often you have to be on the road yourself before someone feels safe telling you they are there too. 

My heart goes out to all of you who walk this road with me, beside me, before me, and after me.

You are not alone,

The Rock


"There is no one holy like the LORD;
       there is no one besides you;
       there is no Rock like our God.

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There it was..

Right in front of me...

See my toes to the left? 

I was walking in our backyard, sharing a little of my heartache with a friend on the phone when right there in front of me,

God spoke.

Do you see what I saw?

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I saw "love."

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I saw God's love in a rock...The Lord of the Universe was reminding me that He truly is the Rock beneath my feet.  My foundation.  On Him I stand.  Even when I stub my toe and am hurt by things around me.  Even when I trip on things that I should have seen coming and stumble to the weaknesses of my fleshly emotions.  Even when I slip and totally fall...showing my absolute ugliness and desperate need for a Savior. july 12 160 HE'S STILL MY ROCK...

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Praying that the Rock of our salvation will always bring us to our knees as well,

I'm Home......
Good Morning and Happy Monday.

Thank you for all of your prayers as we faced our first family reunion without Nick.

We definitely needed every prayer.

Overall we had a very nice time. Always so good to see family who we only get to see once every three years. I just love the way we can pick up right where we left off and feel connected so closely.

It is special.

Grief ambushed me several times though, I can't lie.

Like when we were in the ice cream shop and I was looking at the flavors. I remember Nick loving to pick mint chocolate chip!!! Last July we spent a week at the beach and we got ice cream every day! Nick just grinned and grinned!! Oh, I miss his grin.

Or when the boys were playing putt putt or shuffleboard and Nick wasn't there.

Or when Todd and my two nephews were sitting at a table for four in a restaurant and there was an empty seat across from Todd.

Deep inside I KNOW that Nick is great!!!!!!

But my heart still aches.

I know it will get easier. I guess in some ways it already has.

Yet I always thought as Nick was sick that I NEVER could live without him here, and so in some ways, I hate that I am able to. That may not make sense to some of you.......maybe to none of you. But that's how my heart feels.

Nick's wind chime just began chiming loudly on the back porch. I think he's saying, "Mom, I'm GREAT!!!!!!!!!"

I placed Nick on God's lap over and over again while he was fighting cancer. I took him back a lot, but I always tried to put him right back where I knew he was safest and most loved.

This time I just couldn't physically have him back.

That's what I'm trying to adjust to......still......eight months later.

Needing to get a lot of things done today. Have already been to basketball camp twice and to the grocery store and to the furniture store with Maria to pick furniture for her apartment! Now I need to go pick up Todd from soccer camp and get him to a hair cut appointment!

God has a way of keeping me going........

But sometimes it feels good to just stop and pour out a little of what I stuff down over and over again.

Thanks for allowing me to pour out my heart all over you.


Another First..............

Well, it's 11:36 p.m. and I'm packing (trying to anyway) for our first family reunion without Nick.


Sometimes that's about all I can muster.

Nick loved trips.

He always got so excited about getting his video games ready, his jammies picked out, his pillow.....oh, his favorite pillow...it's with him. I miss seeing it too. It was such a special part of him.

Well, tomorrow will be a 10-hour drive for a weekend with family from all over the United States. It's a once-every-three-years event, so it's always a fun weekend. I still want it to be fun.

I just have to keep praying for strength, for joy, for peace.......

I know that "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

So, I turn around to face the suit cases again. And I try to stay focused.

Focused on Him Who carries me through every first,

Special Request......
A Christian publishing company contacted me this past week and wondered if any of you would be willing to answer four questions for them. They are considering some new Bible studies for women (men, feel free to answer for your wives or ask them what they think) and wondered about the following things:

  • From your perspective, what are the needs if any that aren't currently being met in women's small group studies?
  • Does your women's group currently use women's studies or do you create your own?
  • What would the 'ideal' small group study include - devotionals, journaling, video, etc.?
  • Do you have a favorite study that you've used previously? What is it?

If you have time to either post your answers or email me your answers to:


I will compile them and send them on to the publisher.

Although I am doing this as a favor to the publisher, I still feel that if you take the time to answer these questions you should at least be offered the chance at a prize!

I will have a drawing on August 2nd for a set of Nick's notecards ($20 value!) and your name will be in the drawing if you either post answers to the questions above on this blog entry or if you email me your answers!

Love you all,

A Little Phase.........
I'm going to be very transparent (imagine that).

I have felt so wordless the past week or so.

I have been very busy. Evan's girlfriend got her driver's license and we have spent a lot of time preparing for that and then getting Evan's old car fixed up for her to drive. I have been trying to wrap up things with Nickapalooza and get some paperwork complete. I've been doing some porch cleaning (thank you, Tim, for the help!). I've been reading every chance I can....filling myself with lots of different words from lots of different books........but the words inside of me are stuck right now.

I'm not sure what is holding them back.

I've had laryngitis ever since Nickapalooza, so I thought maybe more words would come from my fingers since my voice was lacking ability....but God seemed to shut down all forms of communication for a little season.

My voice has been back for a couple of days (sorry to everyone who has to listen to me use it again).

But my ability to write just isn't there.

In a way I think it's a little phase where I need to be filling my pitcher back up.......it's hard to pour from an empty pitcher (I've heard that somewhere before, so I didn't create that on my own).

Tim and I are both hitting a different level of grief as football season sneaks up on us. This was Nick's favorite time of year!!!

And flashes of last July keep popping into my mind. This is the month when news became bad and then just got worse and worse. So many emotions everyday. I remember crying so much that I was sick. I remember one time when I ran from our house across the street into the middle of the soccer field just sobbing after getting off the phone with Tim who was with Nick at the hospital. Thank you to my friends who were there to follow me as I ran, but also thank you for giving me space to deal with the devastating news on that day.

It's just a different chapter in our journey, I know.

We're coming down off the excitement of the big music festival and just like the pre-event anxiety and fear there is also the post-event "let-down" and fatigue.

We're heading to a family reunion this weekend 10 hours away. One that happens once every there years. The last reunion was just 6 weeks before Nick began his long 2 1/2 year long intense fight with cancer as he came out of remission in August of 2006 after a four-year period of clear MRIs.


Just remembering all of the celebrations and devastations over the past three years is more than I can take at times.

But, I want you to know that in spite of all of this rambling, we are really doing well.

Yes, we cry often. But we smile and laugh often too.

Olivia is having a fun week of day camp with her middle school friends and then basketball tryouts immediately following each day. Todd has started soccer practice daily. Evan finished up his Morehead job and is now working at the theater in Ashland for the rest of the summer. Erich is LOVING Africa, which reminds me that I have something to share with you later that he wrote on facebook. We get to see him in just two weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In spite of my loss for words, I've managed to at least squeeze out these random thoughts.

Just know I love you all.

Just know I am thankful for all of you.

Just know that the words will return...................

Because His Word is eternal............

Thankful for His Eternal and Living Word,

My Heart...

As I was reading in II Chronicles last night, a short little verse really caught my attention.

II Chronicles 25:2 it says, "Amaziah did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, but not wholeheartedly."

When I sit and read about a person who (for either good or bad reasons) "made" it into the Scriptures as part of our Christian heritage, I am always intrigued about how they are remembered.

Were they someone who did evil in the Lord's sight?

Were they considered someone after God's own heart?

Were they faithful even when not able to understand why they were suffering?

Were they willing to "go" even when they didn't know where to go?

Amaziah made the Book.

He did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight.


not wholeheartedly.


Wouldn't it be sad to get to the end of your life and hear those words?

You did what was pleasing.  But not wholeheartedly.

Do my heart and my actions show that I am sold out, committed, passionate, awestruck for and by God?

My Creator. 

My Redeemer.

My Provider.

My Shelter. 

My Lord.

If I am really honest, I have to answer that question with, "Not always."

I hate when I get to the end of a day and I've not been His..in every aspect of my being.  Either with my words.  My actions.  My thoughts. 

How do we become wholeheartedly His?

That's what I'm striving for today and tomorrow and the next day.

A life that bears His inscription not only my heart but also in every single thing I say and do.

Do I have a long ways to go?  Yes.

Am I willing to confess that I am trying and I want my friends to hold me accountable?  Yes.

I know perfection is something we will never attain while on this planet..but if I am not striving with all of my heart than I am not truly pressing on towards the prize like a runner who wants to complete a race victoriously.  Committed runners start a race wholeheartedly and they stick with it until they cross the finish line.....sweat, tears, tumbles, roadblocks....nothing holds them back.  That's how I want to live for God. 

I hope your day is a day that is not just pleasing in the LORD's sight but also that shows you are His....


I love you all,

Sorry I've Been Away From My Computer!!!
I think of all of you so often and feel so guilty that I haven't been online since Friday!

I will write soon.

Just wanted to let you all know I love you and I'm back online!

Much love and prayers and blessings to all of you,

And the winner is.......

Susan!!  From Forever His!!


Email me at tammynischan@yahoo.com or tammynischan@gmail.com with your mailing address and shirt size! 

Oh, I wish I could give everyone a shirt who entered the drawing!!

I love you all so much!

In my heart you are ALL winners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Give-Away Reminder

I'll be drawing for the free Nickapalooza t-shirt at noon today.

Post below on the give-away post if you want your name in the drawing!

Love you!

One of those moments...


Just as the second torrential downpour ended in the late afternoon of our all-day Christian music festival, I noticed my friend Cindy and several others looking up at the sky.  I went to them and was just amazed to learn that during the entire storm this one penetrating area of light had stayed bright and shiny.  Cindy said she had been watching it for half an hour and it had never gone away.  We had to pose pointing at it!! It was so special for me to think that maybe Nick had been allowed to continue to "peek" through the clouds and enjoy Nickapalooza even through the storm!

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2009-07-120416 holiday world trip resized2009-07-120539 holiday world trip resized I couldn't stop looking at the sky and smiling!  It just made my heart sing to think that in some way God was sending yet another promise of His love and faithfulness even in the storms of life!!! Thank you, Jennifer and Aaron, for sharing the moment too!nickapalooza 416


2009-07-120537 holiday world trip resized I wanted to stand there forever and gaze at the beauty!

I felt so close to God almost as if I could hear the angels singing,
"Glory, glory, to the Lord Almighty!"

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It finally got the best of me and I had to have a little cry.  Thank you, Cindy, for crying with me.  She even said, "I miss Nick too." There's something powerful in those words. Kaleb, I know you were missing Nick too..right along with me and Cindy and Aaron and Jennifer and everyone else who was standing nearby at that special moment.

Knowing that I don't grieve alone means so much to me.2009-07-120400 holiday world trip resizedLater I had to snap a photo of the brochure for Nick's foundation...my sweet Nick smiling through the rain..He always did keep that smile and it brings me peace to know that he always will! 

He loved thunderstorms so much...I think I know why!!!  God often spoke through thunder! I can't help but think that Nick knew that more deeply than we could ever imagine!    

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As the clouds started separating, I sure felt like I could see a heart below the circle of sunshine!!  Thank you, Lord, for once again speaking through your clouds!

You must know how much I need Your daily encouragement in order to keep pressing on. 

A mom who continues to grieve but not without Hope,

Pre-Nickapalooza Activities....

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Shopping at Sam's for all of our concession stand supplies!!!

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Don't kill me, Linda, but you looked so cute!

Who ever thought WalMart's parking lot could be so much fun!!

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Loaded down and ready to head back to Grayson!

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Last-minute search for cotton candy sugar...ended up at Ohio Valley Wholesale!  Not sure what this guy thought of us..we didn't quite match the normal semis that were backed up to these loading docks.

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Lots and lots of water!! 

2009-07-120105 holiday world trip resized 2009-07-120103 holiday world trip resized Emily Pelsue shares a little of Posey's story with Tim (she is their newly adopted daughter that Tim is holding.)

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Aaron Pelsue gets in on the trailer-loading action by helping carry ice to the ice chests!

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Mom and Maria decorate all of the signs!

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Finally, we are ready to unload and set up our concessions tent!

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