Until He Comes.........

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.

The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire,

and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

since everything will be destroyed in this way,

what kind of people ought you to be?

You ought to live holy and godly lives"

II Peter 3:10-11

I grew up in a small church family, where the book of Revelation seemed to be studied every Wednesday night for most of my life.  I know that's probably not what really happened, but looking back, those are the Bible studies I remember most clearly.

Riding home from evening services in the back seat of the car, I was often afraid to look out the window.

Looking up at the night sky scared me.

"What if He came while I was looking up?" was a looming thought in my young mind.

I'm not sure why I had so much fear about the end times, but I did.

So this morning, when I read the words above, it occurred to me that, FINALLY, I am not scared of passages like these.

God coming like a thief, the heavens disappearing, the earth being destroyed by fire and laid bare, everything wasted away..........

I'm not afraid of these future events........

No, this kind of prophecy finally brings Hope, of all things, because I totally understand.


Everything we do here, everything we work for here, everything we stress about here, everything we strive to do here,

it'll all be wiped away in a second.

Kings, princes, the wealthiest of men and women........

will be brought to the same level as the poorest of souls.

All that will matter is what we have done for Christ.

Sunday was Faith Promise Sunday at the church I attend.

We watched a video in which we learned of all the places in the world where the Gospel has not yet been shared.

As I saw the eyes of children in poverty, of men and women with hollow eyes, I asked myself, "What can I do for these people?"

I thought of the grieving moms and dads who do not know of the hope of Heaven, and I knew that somehow I'm suppose to reach them.

One day, Jesus will return for all of this.

Until then, we are all called to do everything we can to help others know Him too.


How can you do this today?


By living a holy and godly life and sharing Jesus with those around you.

I'm excited about Jesus coming to take us all Home!!!!  I'm not scared anymore.

Until He comes, though, I want my life focus to be reaching others for Him.

I pray that will be your focus too.


Thankful for each of you,


Three Years Ago Today......

The Saturday immediately after Thanksgiving will always feel like the anniversary of Nick leaving us for Heaven, but glancing at the date on my computer this morning reminded me of the reality of today's date, November 29th....... the ending date on Nick's tombstone.

I really didn't want to have an ending date etched in stone.  I remember talking with Tim about placing a crescendo (<) instead of a dash after his birthdate (May 22, 1995) and just leaving it at that, but years from now people might not have understood.

When I think of Nick, though, I think of him fully alive.

I think of him grinning and, honestly, enjoying the fun of keeping us all encouraged with random pennies here and there and wind chimes blowing just when we need them.

I think of him taking care of Adrienne.  He was always our child who asked about her often.  "Mom, how old would Adrienne be now?" was a question he asked me many times in his little life.  It was so cute to watch him calculate her age.  When I think of them together in Heaven, I wonder, "Is she really almost 20 and Nick 16 or is she still a baby and Nick still 13?"  Or "Are they the same age in Heaven?"  I just don't know.  But I do know this:

They are in the presence of God.

They are safe from this world's evil.

They finished the race beautifully.

Now my focus has to be making sure my other kids do too.

So today, I smile when I think of my sweet angels.  I'm a blessed mom to have two children waiting for me in eternity.  I wonder if they get to help prepare my mansion and Tim's?  If they do, I think I am in for some funny surprises!

Dad played another song for me this weekend.  A song that seems so appropriate to share with you today.   This is a song that  you can also sing as you think of your loved ones who are waiting for you in Heaven. 

Scroll down below my Facebook friend list and pause my blog music if you want to listen to this song that shares exactly why I can smile today and everyday.

This song shares why "I can smile when I should be sad."

HEBREWS 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,

and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,

the author and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Oh So Thankful for the Promise of Eternity and for Each of You,

"I am in Love with Hope..."

Last night while watching Mitch Albom's movie "Have a Little Faith," I was struck by his character's line towards the end of the movie when he said, "I am in love with hope."

As I thought about this line throughout the rest of my evening and again this morning while getting ready for school, I realized that, for me, being in love with hope means being in love with Jesus.


That is why we labor and strive,

because we have put our hope in the

living God,

who is the Savior of all people,

and especially of those who believe.

I Tim. 4:10

Today, as you begin this last week of November and first week of December of 2011, I challenge you to take a few minutes and ask yourself this question,

"Where is my hope?"

On an earthly level, I hope for lots of things. 

I hope for things as a mom, wife, and friend.

I hope for things professionally.

Life is filled with all kinds of hopes and dreams.

But, honestly, this earthly hope is a different kind of hope than the hope God calls me to.

When my HOPE becomes JESUS, I can let go of all my earthly hopes and simply trust Him with everything.

When He is my Hope, I lack nothing.

No matter what I face, He is with me.

No matter where I go, He goes too.

No matter how deep the valley, He walks beside me.


And here is why,

"Therefore, since we have been

justified through faith,

we have peace with God through our

Lord Jesus Christ,

through 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.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our

sufferings, because we know that suffering

produces perseverance; 

perseverance, character; and

character, hope.

And hope does not

disappoint us,

because God has poured out his love

into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,

whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when

we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly. 

Very rarely will anyone die for a

righteous man,

though for a good man someone

might possibly dare to die. 

But God demonstrates his own love

for us in this:

While we were still sinners, Christ

died for us."

Romans 5:1-8

Praying that you will put your Hope in Him today,

A Sweet Reminder.......
I love this song!!

Dad and I were looking through some old photographs during Thanksgiving break, and we ran across the pictures of my baptism along with the baptisms of several other people from our church family from years ago.  Seeing the pictures reminded dad of this song.  As we listened to it, I knew that I wanted to share it with all of you.  (You'll have to pause the blog music to hear it clearly.)

Mitch Albom Interview

Tonight at 9 p.m. you can watch the movie, "Have a Little Faith, based on Mitch Albom's book by the same title.

If you have about 10 minutes, scroll down and pause the blog music under "Tammy's Songs" to the right and you can listen to my interview with Mr. Albom from last week.

If you watch the movie tonight, please let me know what you think about it either  tonight or tomorrow, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a special prize from me to you!


Mrs. Nischan's Ninth Grade Reading Class Listens to Interview and Take Notes While LIstening. :)

A Perfect To-Do List for Every Day............

1.  Rejoice always


2.  Pray continually


3.  Give thanks in all circumstances




This is God's will for you in Christ


I Thess. 5:16-18

Today, as I celebrate Thanksgiving, I rejoice because of the promise of Heaven!  I rejoice that while I'm here I share life with each of you!  I rejoice that my sins are forgiven.

I pray for my family, my friends, and those I do not know.....prayers of peace, strength, hope, and a life filled with Him above all else.

I give thanks for the great things in life, the tough things in life, the valleys I've walked, the mountaintops I've experienced, and the firm belief that God will continue to be with me and with you in every future valley and mountaintop.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Nischan house to yours.

I prayed for all of you, my sweet blogging family, this morning.

What Makes Me Smile...........

I'm entering the season of deepest, sweetest, richest, and yet most bitter memories of Nick's life and passing.

For the first time since he left us, I have decorated trees throughout the house and actually dug out the old homemade ornaments.

Last year, I placed only one ornament on the tree.  It said, "I need an elf." 

It made me smile, and it got me through.

It was enough.

This year, I knew it was time to rekindle the joy of Christmas in a deeper, fuller way.

And honestly, seeing Erich's "first Christmas"  and Lego ornaments........

everything 527

everything 520

And Evan's  Snoopy and Ninja Turtle ornaments........

everything 514

everything 504

And Todd's elementary-school handwriting and little grin......

everything 505

everything 506

And Nick's handprint........

everything 502

And Olivia's Whoopee cushion.......

everything 522

Have made me feel so thankful for all the precious memories!!!!!

Even though there will be moments over the next few days when Tim and I will both feel very sad, I wouldn't trade the pain in our hearts for a life without ever knowing our sweet son Nick.

I know Tim wouldn't either.......

And knowing that Heaven waits for us!!!

What more could I ask for?????

So, I'm smiling today as I look at my decorated tree...........

and I'm thankful that my "I need an elf" ornament has company!!!

everything 525

In the midst of all of this, though, I have a confession to our dear friends from Gardnersville Christian Church in Northern Kentucky!

Erich was absolutely OBSESSED with the ornament pictured below when he was a toddler (22 years ago).  He took it off the Christmas tree in the sanctuary every year at Christmastime and carried it all through the church building not wanting to put it back.  One year I must have let him keep it, because I found it in our container of ornaments!!  It is a thin piece of painted wood that looks like Santa.......probably from a little kit.  Seeing it brought back so many sweet memories of Sunday afternoon dinners, Christmas caroling (Tim's videotaping mishap when he stepped on a cat while singing), late night conversations, weddings, funerals, and so much more..........

everything 529

If this ornament belongs to anyone in particular and you would like it back, I think Erich would be okay with that now!! Smile 

Please forgive your preacher's wife from the late 1980s!


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in case I don't have a chance to write tomorrow!

Have a Little Faith..............

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Galatians 5:6b

I wish you could have been in my classroom yesterday about 1:00 when my students and I were preparing for the phone call from Los Angeles.

The kids were as nervous as I was, and they were all ready to be reporters, taking notes as I interviewed Mitch Albom on speaker phone.

One of my students videotaped the interview, and I am hoping to share it with you.

I just want to check with the parents of the students who were in the background to make sure they approve of them being on the Internet.

Mr. Albom was so kind, and I am going to transcribe our conversation so that you can hear his answers in his words not mine.

For today, I'll just say this:

Mitch Albom's ability to communicate is as eloquent when he speaks as when he writes.

I love how God has moved him from the world of sports reporting to the world of writing books that cause people to think about eternity, their purpose in life, and their priorities while living.

Sunday evening on ABC you can watch the movie, "Have a Little Faith," based on Mitch's book by the same title.

Have your Kleenex handy, but also be ready to laugh.

I'll tell you about one of Mitch's favorite scenes when I write again later, sharing the interview notes.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am keenly aware of the significance of this holiday to our family which also makes me aware of the fact that many others face these upcoming days with mixed emotions of thankfulness and grief.

Nick's last day to speak, share life with us, and watch football with his brothers and dad was Thanksgiving Day three years ago.

That evening he slipped into what was probably a coma and then peacefully went Home two days later on Saturday morning.

Looking back, there are so many things I wish I would have talked to Nick about in these last few months of his life, but fear held me back.

I did not want to scare Nick, and honestly, I did not want to admit that he was not going to win the fight with cancer.

Sitting here now, three years later, I am amazed at how God has carried our family.

I've had a lot of valleys in my grief, but even in those valleys, God has been with me.

If you are in the midst of a difficult season in life or even if your life is going smoothly at this time, I want to share one thought with you as you walk through your holiday season. A thought that Mitch learned about as he walked through life with his Rabbi and a pastor from an inner-city church and then chose to share about in a beautifully-written book.

Have a little faith.

The Bible says that our faith need only be the size of mustard seed in order to move a mountain.

Do you believe?

Hebrews 11:1-3

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command,

so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Thankful for the confidence we have in what we hope for,

Scrapbook Software Giveaway!!!!

I've never really ventured out of book reviews when it comes to give-aways, but when I was contacted by My Memories and took a look at their products, I knew I wanted to share this digital scrapbooking software with you!!  MyMemories software is an Amazon best-seller and the #1 rated Scrapbook Software available!


Look what I made in just a few minutes while sitting with Olivia on the couch watching a Christmas movie this evening after school! I did these pages with just a small amount of effort.  You can just imagine how pages look that have been made my people who have had more practice time!  You can see better results by visiting www.MyMemories.com and then clicking on their blog!  My kids' memories are stored in Rubbermaid containers under their beds and on the computer in photo folders.  I've never been a scrapbook person, so I'm looking forward to spending some time this winter making books for each of them.



If you would like to enter this give-away, here's what you need to do:

Go to www.MyMemories.com and choose a favorite paper pack or layout and then post what you liked in a comment by clicking on "precious comments" below.  Be sure to leave your email address, so I can contact you if you are the winner!!!

In the future if you decide to purchase anything from this software company, please use the special code below when making purchases from the MyMemories site.  Just copy and paste this number as your promo code and any proceeds that our made from your purchases will go directly to Nick's Foundation in order to help fund the Adrienne's Angel Memory Box Ministry to families who are grieving the loss of a child: 


For creative ideas when using this software, visit their blog by clicking here.

Join their Facebook family by clicking here.

I will announce the winner of the the "My Memories Suite V2" software on December 1st, so enter as many times as you would like by visiting www.MyMemories.com.  Find something new that you like each time you visit and then share what you found with all of us here on my blog and you will be entered again!!  Here's a gift for everyone if you decide to make a purchase at any time in the future.  I will add this  button to my sidebar when I figure out how!



Thankful for all of you,

Are you thirsty?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

Matt. 5:6

Saturday night, our dog Peppy woke me up about 3 a.m. whimpering and restless.  

Peppy has been our dog since the kids were small, and his age is showing in many ways.

His back right leg is limp, his eyes look tired, and he can't hop up on the couch anymore (we have to lift him).

But he still follows me all through the house. 

When I go to bed, he's right behind me, ready to climb on his pillow on the floor right next to where I sleep.

So when I heard him whining in the night, I stumbled through the darkness to see what he needed.

He didn't want to go out.

He didn't want his pillow adjusted.

He wanted water.

I went to the kitchen to get the water dish, and he immediately became excited.

As soon as I sat it on the floor, he was gulping.  Snoopy, our other old, faithful dog, joined him and they both began gulping.

I felt horrible, wondering how long they had been thirsty.  We must have let the dishes run out of water during the day.

As I heard them both drinking and drinking, I thought about the verse above.....

Do I thirst for righteousness like my dogs thirst for water?

Am I restless until my thirst is quenched??

I love that God promises that when we thirst (and hunger) for righteousness, WE WILL BE FILLED!!

That means that He is waiting to fill our bowl!

That means that He hears our cries and takes care of us.

We don't even have to wake God up!

Psalm 121:3-4 says this,

He will not let your foot slip-
   he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.

I am so thankful this morning that God is my Master and my Guide.

I am reading a book called "The Dream Giver" right now, and I am so thankful that when God places dreams inside of us He leads the way in making those dreams come true when the dreams involve His glory not our own.

If you are thirsty for righteousness today, there is only One who can truly satisfy your need.

Any other thirst may be quenched temporarily, but it will not last for long.
Please do not waste your time thirsting for things of this world.

Friday night at the prison, we sat around a table with a group of women dressed in orange jumpsuits who are ready to change their lives.  They each had Bibles and lots and lots of questions.  They are thirsting for righteousness, and I know God is with them.  As we closed in prayer, arms wrapped around each other, you could feel God's presence in a mighty way.  He is leading these women from darkness to light.

He longs to lead us too.

Today, as you venture into the week of Thanksgiving, I'm praying for you.

Praying that you can feel God's presence in every step of your day.

It's time to get ready for school.  Today I interview at Mitch Albom at 1:20.  Please say a prayer.  I'm nervous about speaking to him for some reason.  I want to ask the right questions about his book and the upcoming movie, "Have a Little Faith."  I want to interview him during my class time, so that the students can be a part of the experience, so please also pray that the students will be on their best behavior. Smile

I love you all so much.

Remember these promises as you step out into another week of life on this planet.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32:8

And the Lord will guide you continually

and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11


Because of Him,


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A Perfect Love Story........

The LORD is gracious



   slow to anger and rich in love.

Psalm 145:8

Could there be a more powerful love story than the story of God's love for us?

Any well-written romance has conflict, pain, drama, suspense, passion..........

And the Bible lacks none of these qualities.

To think that in a world where bad things happen, there is Someone Who chooses to walk with us through it all,

feeling our pain, carrying our loneliness, healing our brokenness........

God promises to do all of this and more.

It's Friday, and I am so thankful.

Today is silent reading day at school, and for me, this is a chance to be a little more still in the classroom.

I love the stillness of 30 students reading books quietly.  I often look around the room and wonder what words each of them are soaking in from their novels.

I've thought before how neat it would be to hear their thoughts as they read, just bouncing around from mind to mind hearing bits of this novel and then that one.

I am so thankful that there is one Book that reads the same for all of us.

A Book about a Creator who offers total freedom to His Creation and then spends the rest of time wooing us back to Him.

He's longing for your love today.

He is gracious, though, and won't ever demand it.

He is compassionate, too, and understands all of your questions and doubts.

Thankfully, he is also slow to anger when we turn against Him yet rich in love when we turn back.

God loves you.

If there could only be one message from me to you, it would be this,

God loves you.

What Teachers Can Do...........

If you teach, you are probably well aware of the need to have "I can.." statements posted in your classroom.  These sentences serve as guides for  students as they move through the day's material.  Sometimes, I find myself focused on the need to mention these "I can." statements more than I do on the actual teaching of my lesson.  I worry that I am going to be observed and, while being observed, forget to refer back to this wall.  I worry that I am not using enough differentiation or formative assessment.  I find myself feeling tense when the door knob moves, because I am afraid that someone is coming in to evaluate me as a teacher; and even though I feel that my students are learning, I live in a constant state of uneasiness while at school.

I have to get a grip if I'm going to make it through the school year, so I'm trying to create my own list of "I can.." statements. 

Here are my goals for this school year. 

1.  I can love every student in my classroom equally because they are all created in the image of God.

2.  I can treat every student in the same way that I want teachers to treat my own children, with patience and love.

3.  I can whisper prayers for peace in the midst of chaotic days.

4.  I can take deep breaths and know that all I can do is my best, remembering that there is a certain amount of responsibility that falls on the students.

5.  I can plan creative lessons and then hope that my technology works properly.

6.  I can allow students to sit on the carpet while I read if that is how they listen best.

7.  I can laugh at my students jokes, because sometimes they're actually funny!

8.  I can stay late a couple days a week and catch up on grades...because taking work home never seems to be a good idea.

9.  I can share my beliefs through connections to our reading material and allow my students to freely share theirs.

10.  I can be positive. I can be positive.  I can be positive.


Yesterday, as the day was winding down and ten minutes remained before the final bell rang, one of my students noticed that in the corner of my room a mouse had been successfully caught on the janitor's sticky trap.  Now, if you've read my blog for a while, you will remember vividly that I am TERRIFIED of mice!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Before I could say, "Stay away from the mouse," a herd of boys had surrounded it and were bending down to pick it up.   I made my way for the door, because I told my students a long time ago, "If there is a fire, I will not leave the room until you are all safely out and on your way to the exit; but if there is a mouse, I will meet you outside."

I ran across the hall, but of course the instructional couch was not in her office.  I turned to see one of our Frankfort ladies at the end of the hall to whom I screamed, 'We've caught a mouse and it is still alive.'

I turned back towards my room to see my entire class coming out of the room, with a grinning boy carrying the mouse on the sticky paper leading the way.

I ran to the next teacher's room and tried to run in.  His door was locked.

I ran to the next door, opened it, ran in, and shut it.  I wish you could have seen the look on the new teacher's face as well the looks on her student's faces.  Several boys from her room ran to the door as I ran to the phone, trying to reach our assistant principal or a teacher in the same hall who could help me.

Finally, Mr. Jarvis answered his phone and headed towards the group of kids and the wriggling mouse.

They were able to get a trash bag and take care of removing the mouse from the premises, and I was able to safely walk the hall.


Somehow, these kinds of moments don't seem to fit into a normal "I can.." lesson, so I have to remember that while I am teaching I have to be prepared for anything, because.... 

Crazy things happen. 

Unexpected events occur. 

Mice get caught. 

Boys love these moments.

Girls scream.

Teachers (like me) run. 

And then life goes on.


I don't know what the future holds for me, but I do know this.

Today I'm a teacher.

And I have no idea what is going to happen.


But thankfully, God does.  And I'm just thinking that He's already smiling.........

About your day and mine.

Because no matter how tough, how painful, how scary, how uncertain, He's there.

Our Father is there.


And knowing He is with me reminds me of my most important "I CAN" statement!!!!


"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!"

Phil. 4:13 (ESV)

All I Really Long For.....

Psalm 122:7

May there be peace within your walls

   and security within your citadels.

I'm not Jerusalem, but I long for the same thing.

Peace within my walls.

Security within my citadels.

I've reached a chapter in my life like none other.

The old me.......busy mom of five.

Constantly picking up toys, straightening the house, entertaining little friends.


I had it.  And I felt safe.

The new me.........not so busy as a mom.

Toys have been exchanged for random phones, tennis shoes, notebooks.

Little friends in the house have been exchanged for big friends inviting my kids to run here or there.

Little control.

That's what I have now.

Children so quickly become adults and you realize that truly there is little more you can do to shape them, mold them, help them become the person you dream for them to be.......

Except pray.


And then, as I type those words, "except pray," I feel God saying, "Tammy, Tammy, Tammy....I am listening.  I hear your prayers.  I love your kids.  More than you.  Trust me."

And with a smile and a sigh, I know that even though the boundaries of my life have been stretched to places I cannot go, God is there.


I turn to Psalm 16:5-7, and I feel better.


LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
   you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
   even at night my heart instructs me.

Today, if your boundary lines seem stretched beyond what you feel is "safe or secure," trust Him with those extended places.

He is working.

You may not feel like you are in control anymore, but guess what?

God is!

And honestly, as much as I like the feeling of being in control, I trust God more than I trust myself.

I give Him everything today and ask in exchange for peace.

Thankful for all of you,

When Your Mind is Spinning........

This morning I find myself trying to get ready for work while my heart and mind are drifting..........

.......to Erich and Mallory and their possible plans to go to the other side of the world as missionaries and how excited and scared and happy and sad the thought of this is to me as a mom,

......then to Evan in California and how much we miss him and pray for him and daily ask God to put a hedge of protection around his soul, constantly drawing him back to the One who loves him even more than we do,

......then to Maria who is planning the next chapter of her life, longing to put God first in all she does,

.......then to Todd and how we are watching him bloom into a man at college and how we long to see him be all that God wants him to be,

......then to Olivia who faces her own kind of struggles at middle school, trying to find herself at the tricky age of 13 when no one really knows exactly "who" they are.


Yes, this morning my mind is spinning.

So what do I do?????


What else is there to do but sit and be still?

Sit and close my eyes and just give everything to God, remembering that He loves Erich, Mallory, Evan, Maria, Todd, and Olivia more than I ever could.

He holds each of them in the palm of His hand.

He hides each of them in the shelter of His wing.


With a deep breath, I realize that no matter where life takes each of them NOTHING CAN SEPARATE THEM FROM THE LOVE OF GOD.


So, today, as I head back into my little cinderblock classroom to read a story about Thanksgiving in Polynesia, I have to let go of my spinning thoughts and ask God to hold them for me.

He is able to do this for me and for you.

So, if you find your mind spinning this morning, take a minute to close your eyes and just be still.  Take a deep breath.  Cast all your cares upon Him.

He really does care for you.

A Special Letter.........

When we returned from Nashville last night after a fun weekend visit with Erich and Mallory, Maria handed me a letter that she had been given while visiting a jail cell on Friday night.  This letter was written to me by an inmate I had met last Friday night while we were sharing devotions with seventeen women who were living in one cell. 

This particular girl had broken my heart.  After walking through such a difficult season in my own life this fall, it was humbling to sit and hold the hands of a person whose life had reached the very bottom of a lonely, dark pit - deeper than any I could ever imagine.

Something about her drew me in.  I'm not sure if it was her youth-like face, extremely crooked wire frame glasses, sweet little hair cut that made her look like she was twelve, or the tears that ran down her face.  Whatever it was, I sat and listened to her story for a long time and have not been able to get her off of my mind.  Maria was able to spend time with her this week, and before Maria could leave she was handed this note:


I was so glad to hear you have been thinking of me.  You have also been in my thoughts all week. 

I really want God in my life and was wanting to know if you had any kind of lessons to get me on the right track and also to help me learn.

It was on my heart to ask you and my heart tells me if I keep you in my life and use to to get to God I will be a great Christian.  You are in my prayers.

I'm going back on Friday night, and I want to take something to Amanda. Please pray that I am led to the right material for her, and if you have any suggestions I'd love to know what they are.

Please keep Amanda in your prayers and all the other men and women who have reached a point in life where their choices have caused them to be separated from the world...but never from God.

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners,

and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 

Hebrews 13:3


And the winner is........

I prayed as I was drawing the name of the winner of Kurt's book, Prayers for Today.   I asked God to lead me to the person who needed this particular book most at this time in life......

I knew that so many of you are in difficult places in life and wished so much that I could draw all of your names, but I knew that for some reason, there had to be ONE PERSON who needed this book NOW.

When I opened my blog to see which person's number matched the one I had drawn, I discovered that the winner was.........


Laura Jungeblut

Laura is a friend I developed a relationship with only through email during the time Nick was sick. Her husband was fighting brain cancer in Texas at the same time, and we were connected through a mutual friend.  We now both have treasures in Heaven, and I just believe that they are sharing eternity together in a very special way, throwing a football and praising God together.

Laura, send me your mailing address when you can, and I'll send this book your way!

I'll be having more give-aways very soon.

Thankful for each of you,

Every Moment Matters..........

If I could boil down my philosophy of life into one sentence it would be this,

"Make  every moment matter."

I've struggled the past few months with doing this, but thankfully, God is merciful and has heard my cry for help. 

He is strengthening me day by day, and I am thankful.

I remember a song from my childhood and found the lyrics to share with you this morning.

The song is called, "We Have This Moment."  Here are the words.  You can listen to the song by clicking on the title below.


Hold tight to the sounds of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Take my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making memories of what was today.
We have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday's gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.
You hear that tiny voice? It's my not so tiny daughter,
Who's still calling for me to stop and listen to what she has to say;
And my little son running there down that hillside,
May never be quite like today.
We have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday's gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.

As you venture into your Friday, I hope that in the good moments, the bad moments, the stressful moments, and even the mundane moments, you will find something that matters.  God longs to be in every single moment of your today. 

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

An Opportunity I Want to Share With You........

I received an email and then a phone call from a company called Grace Media, a PR firm in Los Angeles that works with faith-based movie studios on reaching out to the faith-based community.  They asked me if I would consider a phone interview with author Mitch Albom regarding his book Have a Little Faith, which has been made into a movie.  The movie will be airing on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving on ABC and is the true story of Mitch's invitation to write the eulogy for an 82-year old rabbi from his old hometown and the relationship they develop over the next eight years as they share life together.Mitch Albom- Have a Little Faith

I visited Mitch's website and knew that he was an author I would be honored to support.  I already use one of his books in my classroom in literature circles (The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven), and my students love his writing.mitch heaven

So, next week they are scheduling my interview and this is what I would like to know from all of you................


What questions would you ask Mitch?

What would you like to know about his, his life, his work, his view of faith?

Click on "Mitch's website" in the second paragraph above and visit his website then email me or post a comment here with your question.

I consider this interview "our" interview not mine, because Grace Media found me through my blog, and you are the reason my blog exists.

Have a wonderful day and don't forget to post on yesterday's blog for a chance to win Prayers for Today by Kurt Bjorklund. 



Mitch Albom, Author


Always in my prayers,

A Hug from Heaven, A Prayer for Today, and a Give-Away!

On the first day of school this year, I nervously waited for my first group of 30 students to enter my room. I hadn't taught a full-size class since Nick had passed away, and truthfully, I felt out of my comfort zone. As I took attendance, I couldn't hide my joy when my front row of students included not only a "Nick" but also an "Angel" and a "Heaven." As I looked at these students, I felt as if God was saying, "You're where you need to be this year, and I'm here too."

As you know, it's been a tough chapter in my life. So tough, that physically I've had some major symptoms that, after much testing, have turned out to be totally related to the overload on my body. I've turned to God daily for the strength to make it through each new day and honestly, He's never let me down. I'm not saying I haven't cried in the evenings or had moments of feeling like I couldn't do one more thing, however, I am saying that every step of the way, I have KNOWN that I am not alone.

We're in a new trimester now at school, so my class rosters have totally changed. I don't start my day with Nick, Heaven, and Angel anymore. I miss that morning assurance of God's plan for me.

But I have something wonderful to share!

Of all the students that left my class, one student stops by to hug me every day. She even said to me one day, "I decided I was going to come hug you every day, Mrs. Nischan. I miss you."

Guess who it is?


Isn't that just like God to give me such a gift! A hug from Heaven!

Well, I wish I could give each of you a hug this morning and let you know that God is with you too. He longs to be the first person you talk to every morning, the One you whisper help to all day, and the One you close your eyes and think of as you fall to sleep every evening.

If your prayer life seems to be weak right now, I have a book that I believe you will find very helpful!

Kurt Bjorklund has written a book entitled Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer. In this book, he combines his own prayers, prayers from Scripture, and prayers of other "champions of faith" to create a 260-day journal of prayers to carry you through all sorts of situations. Organized topically, you can choose to flip through the book and select specific prayer topics and Scriptures as needed or you can start at the beginning of the book and work your way through day by day.

prayers for today banner

When I was asked to review this book, I felt as if God was hugging me yet again because I needed something to help bolster my prayer life back to a place of passion and purpose. In the midst of lesson plans, grading papers, and situations in our home, I had begun struggling to find the right words to say when I finally settled down enough to talk to God.

The first Scripture and prayer I read in Kurt's book are below:

Whoever drinks of the water that You give will never thirst again. Your water will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:13

You are the bread of life. Whoever comes to You will never hunger again.

John 5:35

Father, I give You the places of my life where I am not satisfied....

I ask to be fully satisfied in You and the direction You are leading my life.

Show me what changes I could make in my life that would be most pleasing to You.


I want to be satisfied in my life, and I know that satisfaction comes from being filled..........only Jesus is able to fill us in a way that it is truly satisfying. I want to thirst and hunger after Him and Him alone.

And I want you to have this same spiritual satisfaction.


Please leave your name and email address below, and I will enter you in a drawing for a copy of Kurt's wonderful book Prayers for Today. I know he is praying for everyone all over the world who reads the pages of his book .

The winner will be announced Sunday evening, November 13th.

Praying that your Wednesday is filled to overflowing with God's Presence,

Being Still............

Sometimes we choose to sit and simply listen for God's voice.

Other times we're forced to sit.

I've had a lot of forced "sitting" throughout my life. 

Waiting in waiting rooms, waiting for test results, waiting for answers, waiting for kids to be done with different kinds of practices (piano soccer, basketball, and on and on.), waiting for kids to arrive home from dates........

Sometimes I've  used these sitting and waiting times for good.

I've prayed.  I've read.  I've written.  I've soaked in God's presence.

Other times, though, I've blown it.

I've flipped through pointless tabloids to see which movie star is doing what.

I've fretted.

I've chewed my nails.

I've focused on me, my health, my kids' health, the world, and on and on.... rather than on Him.

Lately, and it's no secret, I've been in a valley.

A depth of despair that has superseded most depths to which I have traveled.

I have allowed stress to consume my thoughts, my actions, my spirit.

And God, in His faithfulness and in His time, has heard my cry.

I love the verse that says,

"I waited patiently for the Lord.  He turned to me and heard my cry."

Today, I've allowed God to speak a lot.

We didn't have school, and I was able to watch three different sermons on the Holy Spirit. 

I spent some time outside enjoying the sunshine.  My classroom has no windows, so it felt WONDERFUL to be in the fresh air!

Tomorrow I'll share about a book I've been reading and offer another give-away!

No matter how deep the valleys we travel, I am comforted to know that God is there........

All My Love,

What a Responsibility........

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. 

James 5:17-20

I can't imagine being Elijah, standing up to the evil people around him.

But he did.

And God listened.

Elijah knew that unless something drastic happened, the Israelites were doomed.

Earnest prayer changed the course of history, and I just wonder what our earnest prayers can do today?

We live in a time when sin is so "common" that to stand up for what is right seems almost crazy or overly judgmental.

Elijah had to know that if he prayed for "no rain" that this was going to cause pain in his own life too.

Droughts affect everyone.

Elijah took the risk, though, and prayed for no rain...and the rain stopped.

I love that God took Elijah away to the home of a starving widow, and this woman was able to help Elijah survive through a miraculous act of God.

I also love that God showed Elijah the place of a small stream so that he could drink freely during the drought.

Today, I am praying that we can pray bold prayers for the sins of our world, knowing that the answers to our prayers may cause us to suffer as well.

If we are able to do this earnestly and together, I wonder what can happen?

I do know this:

God will take care of us through the tough times that may result from our fervent prayers.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for God to make Himself known to everyone.

I'm ready to see some things shaken up in this world.  I'm ready for the evil that is spreading in this world to be called out into Light.


I love that James immediately moves from the reminder of Elijah's earnest but very human prayers to the truth that we are called to help bring back those who have wandered from the truth.

We should not feel overwhelmed by our task.

God is with us.

He will provide strength...even though it may come from a frail, starving widow.

He will provide streams....even though they may be small and difficult to find without His guidance.


I'm earnestly praying this morning for a lost and broken world.

I hope you are too.

What is it going to take????

The Lord says:

"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Isaiah 29:13

Am I the only person whose prayer life wavers from day to day?

Clinging to God for every breath seems so much more necessary on the dark days.

When things get just a little easier, though,

I lean on myself.

I trust in my own strength.

I rely on my own ability to make decisions.......


Part of the world is turned upside down around me, and I find myself crying out more fervently.

I search my phone for the number of someone I can talk to who can comfort me, give me wise counsel; but I know deep, deep inside of me that only God can take these burdens and carry them.

So I pray.

Honest, transparent, raw...

I dump it all out, even though for weeks I've kept it all in or only shared it with a few other human beings.

Suddenly, my heart seems drawn straight to the One who made my heart.

He knows me.

He knows everything about the situation I am in the midst of and He cares.

He's never surprised when things happen.

Nothing catches Him off guard.

So, I turn to Him who already knew to tell Him what He already knows......

and I feel better.



Somewhat free.

Thankful that there is Someone who can take ANY situation and "work it out for good."

And I realize that every single day of my life, God is working to draw me (and you) CLOSER and CLOSER to Him.

Whatever it takes.

He doesn't simply want our words to be about Him.

He doesn't merely want our obedience to His rules.

He wants our hearts.

Fully, completely, surrendered to His plan.

The Bible promises in Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans for us are good......He doesn't want to harm us. He longs to give us a Hope and a future!

Lord, forgive me for the days when my heart is so caught up in "me" that I don't reach out to You.

You are my everything.

In Jesus' Name, Amen

I'm praying for all of you, too. I'm praying that if today is an easy day, you'll turn to God in praise. If it's a tough day, I'm praying you'll turn to God for help. If it's a lonely day, I'm praying you'll turn to God for comfort. If it's a stressful day, I'm praying you'll turn to God for peace. And no matter, what I'm praying you'll turn to God in thanks.

All My Love,

Tough Chapters..Happy Ending!!!

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:13-20

I rarely know what thoughts I'll be having as I begin to blog each morning.

Honestly, when I woke up this morning, after whispering the verse "I rise before dawn and cry for help.  My homes comes from Your Word," I immediately began thinking of my lesson plan for today and whether or not I had video links to share that went along with our reading passage.  My mind seems so full anymore of what I am teaching next that when I sit down to write, I often find myself facing some sort of writer's block.

"But God,"

I love that phrase!

"But God"

He shows up and speaks to me through His Word and suddenly all the things that spin in my mind from this crazy life seem to fade away for a while and I find myself lost in my thoughts, in His promises, in the part of life that keeps me above the swelling waters that seem to engulf me daily.

Oftentimes I become so consumed with clicking away at the computer that I look at the clock and realize I have stayed too long, leaving me a little short on time to fully get ready for school.

I can tell that this morning will be no different.
I sat down to read the next few verses in James and WHAM!

I had no idea I was entering the passage above.

A passage that could easily torment me forever.

See, Nick was anointed with oil three times by our elders throughout his fight with cancer.

We believed in the power of these words, and we clung to them over and over again....

But most of you know that in the end, God chose to take Nick Home to be with Him.

I would be lying if I said, "I understand fully God's plan or these verses above."

I would be lying if I said, "When I read these verses I feel comforted."

However, I've come A LONG WAY in my grief journey over the past three years, and I do believe this:

Nick is healed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nick is perfect now!!!!!!!!!!

NIck wouldn't come back to this stress-filled, evil world if I begged him...and I wouldn't want him to leave Heaven for this.

And the part that REALLY MATTERS in the passage above is that the person who is sick and is anointed with oil has their sins forgiven!

I love that after James talks about the elders, he says,

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."

In God's eyes, healing is a spiritual thing not a physical thing.

He wants our hearts purified.

He knows that eventually our physical life is going to end.....

and it's the condition of our soul that determines eternity!

So, as I read James this morning, I'm reminded that Jesus prayed that He would be spared from the cross, but He wasn't. 

Paul prayed that the thorn in his flesh be removed, but it wasn't.

God needed Jesus and Paul to walk difficult roads for Him.

And sometimes in life God needs us to walk difficult roads for Him, too.

If you feel as if you are walking on a difficult, unchosen road this morning, please know that you are not alone.
I am praying for you.

I love you.

And most of all, God LOVES you and He is with you every painful step of the way.

I love getting to the end of a great book and seeing how the author chooses to wrap up a powerful story!

I especially love happy endings!

Our life story is written throughout Scripture, and I love looking to Revelation for a happy ending!!!

Soak in these happy-ending promises this morning from the end of God's beautiful story!!  They make James 5 a lot easier for me to read!!!

Revelation 21:4

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming.

See how the farmer waits for

the land to yield its

valuable crop,

patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 

Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

As you know, we count as blessed

those who have persevered.

You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

James 5:7-11

One of my favorite verses in my grief has been.......

Those who sow with tears will reap

with songs of joy.

Psalm 126:5

I feel very convicted this morning.  I am not being patient as I wait for the harvest.

I want songs of joy now.

I have choruses from time to time in my life.

I hear the music often in my head...the music of hope.

But still....... I do not feel I have reached the day of "songs of joy."


I don't believe I'll totally reach that day until I stand before God and hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

So, what do I do with that knowledge???

I believe this morning God is saying to me, "I am full of compassion and mercy, so be patient and stand firm.  I am coming soon!"

When I wrap my mind around that promise, I feel better.

I want to be considered "one who persevered..."

Not just in my grief, but in my daily life.

I am under a great deal of stress at work, and I find myself wanting to run.

Deep inside, I know God wants me to persevere.

He has a plan for me, and this is one short chapter in my life story.

A chapter that I do not want to ruin, but in many ways I am....

I spend way too much time in self-doubt.

I spend way too much time unhappy.

I spend way too much time in a state of stress.


Is there something in your life that you cannot change but want to?

If so, do what I am going to do today.........

I'm laying everything at the foot of the cross.


I'm asking God to take over and make it very clear to me as to how to finish out this chapter.


Like a farmer, I want to patiently wait for the autumn and spring rains...

which means that I must endure some hot, dry summers and some bitter, cold winters..



Oh, Lord, forgive me.

Give me strength I do not have.

Give me wisdom I am lacking.

Give me peace that passes human understanding.

Help me be a light to students and to other teachers who are carrying heavy loads this year too.

You open doors for a reason, Lord.

Help me to trust You, who began a good work, to be faithful to complete it.

Help me persevere, Lord.

Help me have the patience of a farmer waiting for his harvest as I sow in tears.

You are all-knowing, all-powerful, and Almighty.

Lord, I place all my stress in Your hands and ask in return for Your blessings and comfort.

Lord, this life is meaningless without You.

Thank you, Father, for being You.

My Lord, My Protector, My Redeemer, My Everything.

I give you my grief, my job, my health.......

Thank you for holding them in the same hands with which You created the universe.

I know they are safe there.

In Your Son's Precious Name,



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