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YARD SALE THOUGHTS!

April 30th, 2008

 

I’m getting ready to dive into my garage which has been my storage bin for the winter as I have cleaned closets and drawers! Four tables heaped with stuff I don’t need and things I’ll never wear await me! Piles and piles of more stuff surround the tables! YIKES! What have I gotten myself into? But the time has finally come. I can wait no longer! The sun is shining, it’s the first of the month, and the phrase “yard sale” is calling my name!

I feel like this in life so many times! Things about my character, my tongue, my parenting style, my marriage habits just get piled up with “STUFF” that doesn’t need to be there. Maybe I become critical or bitter, maybe I become harsh or judgmental, or maybe I just become complacent. Whatever the issue of the season, I find myself periodically at crossroads where I have allowed my life to become CLUTTERED and IN NEED OF PURGING!

So, as I venture to my very, very scary garage to do some difficult physical work, I am taking my sometimes very, very scary heart with me. While sorting yard sale items, I am going to be sorting out my spiritual life by praying, confessing, and reevaluating…..and finally I am going to praise God for a clean garage and a clean heart!

Sharing Life…

April 29th, 2008

 

This is me and my friend, Melissa. We have decided, along with another girlfriend, to raise a garden this summer!!! Yes, that’s right! We are planting squash, broccoli, corn, beans, and who knows what else!
This whole idea came up when we were talking about nutrition, and I was overwhelmed about Nick’s health. One thing led to another and before we knew it, we had decided to become “farm girls!”
The great part is that all three of us are not only trying to be good moms, we are all trying to cope with the life in way that glorifies God. See, in 1992 when I lost my daughter to SIDS, one of these girls was losing a baby to a rare form of cancer that had formed inside of her uterus, and I did not even know her yet. At the same time, my other friend was going through a very tough marriage situation which ended in divorce. Since then, I have been in a battle with my son against cancer, one of these girls has lost her mom and brother with in a month of each other and the other is now going through a divorce as well.
Life is tough.
But, we are committed to God!!!!
Psalm 125 says, 1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken; it remains forever.
So that’s what we do. We trust in the Lord. In spite of life’s struggles, we will not be shaken. So, what do we do while going through hard times?
We trust. We pray. We laugh. We share life. We help each other. And now, we plant a garden!

A Night to Remember!!!

April 25th, 2008

 

Okay, I know this is a little gross to look at, but this story doesn’t mean near as much without the picture! I was organizing my email inbox and came across a memory I have to share!

One night in January when it was very, very cold, Olivia and I decided to thoroughly clean her bedroom….

Now, we are a clean family in most every respect. However, we live at the base of a very large tree-covered hill and often times in the winter we discover that a mouse has made its way into our home to keep warm. We must have a tiny little sign hanging somewhere near a tiny little hole that simply reads, “Vacancy.”

Unfortunately, when a mouse decides to get a room at the Nischan’s Do Drop Inn, he doesn’t call first and make reservations. He doesn’t even knock on the door and enter with a little suitcase. So, it never fails. I begin a task that normally should be quite mundane and the next thing I know I am experiencing emotions that should be saved for an amusement park’s most extreme roller coaster. Here’s this year’s story and as one of the little girls in my mom’s Sunday school would say after one of her big stories, “and this really happened!”

Olivia was busy organizing her dresser drawers. I moved into Olivia’s little corner area where she keeps her school and craft supplies. As I sat on the floor in the not-so-well-lit corner, I began sorting out notebooks, scissors, beads, pipe cleaners, and THEN IT HAPPENED! I reached for the little brown pom pom! Oh yes, that’s exactly what I thought it was! But as I squeezed it to pick it up and toss it in the craft box, IT BEGAN RUNNING AWAY! The fuzzy little “pom pom” had a tail, eyes, and legs!

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you actually picked up a live mouse? Well, to be honest, I had never asked myself that question before. But on that cozy winter evening, I sure found out!

I screamed at the top of my lungs and ran as fast as I could out of Olivia’s room and into Todd’s room where he was not only playing a video game but also entertaining a friend! Yes, the secret was out to more than just my family……I had a mouse in my house!

I jumped in a chair still screaming and realized my hand was throbbing. I had whacked it on Olivia’s bed so hard that it had already developed a large knot! Then I realized that I had left Olivia in the room! I hollered, “Olivia, get out of there.” In reply, I heard a little, scared voice say, “I can’t” Olivia was standing precariously on the edge of her footboard. I managed to get her out of the room and then ran down the stairs to call someone….anyone…I don’t know why….I just couldn’t contain myself. My husband was conveniently sitting at the church around a conference table at an elder’s meeting, so he was unreachable! So I called my oldest son at college across the street and said, “I have been violated by a mouse!” He laughed but didn’t seem interested in leaving the dorm to become a mouse exterminator. I washed my hands over and over again trying to let go of the feeling of a furry thing moving in my grasp! I can still feel it tonight if I think about it long enough!

My second oldest son was home from Morehead State, but he just mumbled, “This house is crazy,” and managed to stay clear of the festivities.

Todd and Caleb somehow were able to actually catch our uninvited visitor in the lid of a hair spray can! This was both good and bad. Good because the mouse was now out of Olivia’s room. Bad because now two teenage boys had a live mouse in a white, plastic lid; and they had me: an easy target for a night of terror! I threatened them within an inch of their lives to not come near me and to please take the mouse to the soccer field across the street. After about 15 minutes of taunting me through the glass front door, they finally released the mouse into freedom. Olivia watched all of this commotion and then actually became upset with me, because she was sure I had injured the mouse when I squeezed it! She wanted to keep it as a pet! I don’t think so!

Nick came into the picture after an hour or so had passed. He had been in his room playing a different game and made the comment that he thought I was just being silly when he saw me run from Olivia’s room to Todd’s. As I think back on his perspective, I have to wonder if I am normally so emotionally unstable that Nick would not be worried about me screaming at the top of my lungs and running from one bedroom to another. Hmmmm…maybe Evan’s right…..our house may be crazier than I thought!

One of my dear friends, Roxy, thought it would be great to make me laugh! Later on that same evening she sent me an email in which she said that on their way to Dairy Queen they had spotted our poor injured mouse on the side of the road! She attached the picture above! I cracked up!

By the time Tim got home from his meeting, the house was back under control and appeared as if our evening had been quiet and peaceful!

Looking back on that night, I am reminded of so many things!

First, I don’t like mice!

Second, I am thankful for my children and all of their different personalities and senses of humor!

Third, I can survive a crisis even while Tim is away!

Fourth, I have funny friends!

Fifth, I am checking every nook and cranny of our house this fall for tiny signs that say, “Vacancy” and I’m replacing them with “No Vacancy” signs!!

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This weekend Nick and I had the opportunity to go to Keeneland with some friends. If you are not familiar with Keeneland, it is a beautiful and historic race track in Lexington, Kentucky.

Now, first of all, the outing was not pre-planned so I didn’t have clothes with me that were fitting were such an outing. Second, even if I had known about the event ahead of time, I still don’t think I would have had the proper clothes for the outing.

As we parked and began walking to the track, I noticed people coming from all directions in shirts and ties, fancy little spring dresses, and definite markings of wealth and luxury.

As I looked down at my jeans and t-shirt, I was at least thankful that I had borrowed some hot- pink toe polish from my friend’s daughter to perk up my flip-flop laden feet!

Upon entering the arena, I quickly realized that if you were not holding a glass of beer or puffing on cigar or cigarette, you were in the minority. Nick was soaking in the sights all around us and squeezing through the crowd was like playing follow the leader as we stayed in a line one behind the other dodging cups filled to the rim with alcohol and saying, “Excuse me” and “sorry” as we made our way to the track.

When we finally reached a spot where we had a clear view of the field, it truly was breath-taking to see the horses looking much like those you see at the Kentucky Derby. As the races began, it was fun to hear the crowd cheer and then moan as their chosen horse went from the top of the pack to the bottom or vice versa. Knowing that we had no money at stake, we chose to cheer for the horse picked by the guys standing behind us and it was so fun to cheer with no fear of loss!

The gift shop proved to be just as entertaining as Nick realized that the ladies’ Derby hats ranged in price from $300 to $500. He was amazed, as was I, that ANYONE would spend this much on a hat for one occasion.

Wow! As I look back on this day at the races, I know one thing for sure! I was not born to be wealthy! I was almost sickened at the wastefulness and greed around me, thinking of those in Haiti who are eating dirt because they are starving.

I definitely was a misfit on Saturday, but I am so thankful!

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

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Have you ever thought about why God wants us to pray. He knows our every thought, He holds all things together in His hands, He has the power to create and the power to destroy, He knows what our tomorrows hold, and the list goes on and on. So, why would He even need for us as mere humans to come to Him in prayer………I picture Donald Trump (not in anyway to say he is “God”) asking the janitors in the Trump Towers to check in with him every day just so he knows how they’re doing. I don’t believe that scenario would happen, because Donald Trump probably has no relationship with his employees that would warrant his desire to hear from them. However, God has a deep relationship with us. Think of life on a much grander scale than any human example. Realize that the Creator of Heaven and Earth desires for us to pray. Why?

As I think about this I have to look at the question from a parent’s perspective, because God is our Heavenly Father.

I have two sons in different colleges. They are great young men, but they aren’t always the greatest communicators with me. They will call my husband from time to time to ask questions about class schedules, work, finances, etc., but very rarely do they call me “just to talk.” I call them every few days or so just to check in, but I try very hard to give them their space. On the rare occasions when they have called just to say “hi” or to ask how things or going, I have been elated! Just knowing that they thought of me or our family in general on a normal college day means the world to me.

God is our Father. He loves us so much! So much in fact that He allowed His one and only Son to die for our sins. He doesn’t ask for a lot in return…..He just asks for our love. So, prayer is one way we can demonstrate our love for Him. Imagine God on His throne watching you go about your day. Think of His smile as you stop the busyness of your life long enough to talk to Him! He wants you to cast all of your cares upon Him!

I Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer….”

I am so thankful that God didn’t just create us and then step away. He longs for us to pray, so that He can join us in our daily walk in this world! I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather talk to!

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I would like to think that after all I have been through with my son, Nick, in the past 6 years, that not much would rattle me.

After all, hearing that your son has a brain tumor four different times should make everything else in the world seem so insignificant.

But, I have to admit that there are moments when normal, every day situations send my emotions spiraling downhill much more quickly than not-so-great news from a doctor.

For example, yesterday after hearing that Nick’s MRI showed a small white line that his brain surgeon feels is scar tissue, I was disappointed yet thankful that nothing worse was found. I was able to praise God and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. However, around 5 I was reminded that one of my other sons needed a white shirt for a band concert that he needed to be at in 30 minutes. I won’t give you every minor detail, but I will just say that by the time we ran to KMart and discovered that long-sleeve shirts are now out of season and then ran to a friend’s house to borrow one of her husband’s shirt, I was angry. Not because of the stress but because of my son’s spirit of unthankfulness.

Tonight, I walked upstairs to find that both my daughter and one of my son’s bedrooms were trashed. As I looked into the rooms, I felt such a feeling of anger swelling inside of me, because earlier in the evening EACH of these children had acted restless and bored. I had worked to make their evenings more enjoyable and now I realized that the one thing they could have done to pass their time was CLEAN THEIR ROOMS!

Fortunately, a still small voice reminded me that God must feel like this with me many times. In Numbers and in II Kings we are told that God “burned with anger” against his people. Both of these times it was because of their disobedience to His commands. Ouch! How many times have I not obeyed God? How many times have caused His anger to burn?

I looked up the word “anger” in the back of my Bible and found a verse that made me thankful that tonight I had kept from blowing my cool…..in Proverbs 29:11 it says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger; but a wise man keeps himself under control.” Oh, thank you, Lord, for allowing me to remain calm even when anger burned inside me. And thank you, Lord, for staying calm even when I stumble and am disobedience and cause anger to burn within You.

I have given Nick’s situation to God and tried my best to live each day with joy and peace.

I believe the Lord is asking me to give my kid’s bedrooms to Him too……

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In the Beth Moore Bible study we are doing in Sunday
school, we are being challenged to memorize Psalm 121. The day that my devotions focused on this particular chapter, I had the chance to ride in a tram up a beautiful mountain in Gatlinburg, TN, with my mom and dad and three of my kids.

I couldn’t help but think of this beautiful passage as the tram rose higher and higher and the view became more and more beautiful!

1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.
4 Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.
5 The LORD protects you; the LORD is a shelter right by your side.
6 The sun will not strike you by day, or the moon by night.
7 The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.
8 The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.

Thank you, Lord, for speaking to me from a tram in Gatlinburg. Thank you for allowing me to literally raise my eyes towards the mountains and be reminded that my help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth!

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I don’t think I can write about anything more pressing on my mind than what happened in my family’s life on Friday night.

For those who don’t know, our youngest son has cancer. Just typing that is painful. However, I have learned in the past nearly 6 years of living with this reality that God is bigger than anything…..even cancer. He has proven time and time again that He can bring good out of the most difficult situations, and Friday night will always stand out as one of those “good” memories that never would have happened without the ugliness of the illness Nick faces every day.

Several months ago, a couple of young ladies from our church decided to have a celebration night for Nick and were able to have April 4, 2008, declared “Nick Nischan Day” in our small town in Kentucky. Shirts were made and commercials were played on the radio, in the newspaper, and on our local TV channel.

Friday night as I entered the church with Nick, I had no idea how amazing the evening was going to be!

On top of being supported by at least 200 prayer warriors, we shared an evening of praise and worship that literally reminded me of how awesome Heaven is going to be!! Kentucky Christian University students led worship followed by University of Kentucky students in concert! I didn’t want the singing and praising to end.

And that’s not all……….Nick was totally surprised when, after watching a short video clip from Mike Furrey (wide receiver with the Detroit Lions) and his wife telling Nick that they wished they could be there to support him, Mike Furrey actually walked onto the stage from a side door! It was amazing!!!!!!!!! Mike spoke to everyone about his and Nick’s favorite verse Joshua 1:9, and he spoke directly to Nick about how Nick has become his hero. Through tears, Mike shared that because of Nick’s bravery and ability to stay positive in spite of his cancer, he has personally became a more committed Christian and a more determined role model who wants nothing more than to use his position as an NFL player to share Jesus with the world.

Wow!

It is difficult in some ways to step down from this memory and simply keep pressing on. I want to sit and savor the feelings from Friday night forever. But the reality of what is ahead of me keeps me pushing onward. Nick has an MRI on Thursday, and until then, we must keep focused on all of Nick’s medicines, treatments, etc.

I am reminded of Paul’s words to “press on toward the prize….” and that is what keeps me going. I know it is what keeps Nick going too!

I am so thankful for everyone who had a part in Friday night! And I just want to say to anyone who reads my blog………………THERE IS NOTHING YOU WILL FACE IN THIS LIFE THAT IS BIGGER THAN WHAT GOD CAN HANDLE! And when we allow God to handle things, He has a way of transforming them into beautiful memories!

My prayer for you today is that you will let go of whatever is holding you back, and step forward in God’s loving arms! He wants to carry you through it all!

I love you, Christine!

April 6th, 2008

 

You are such a special friend and such a blessing to my life!

When I need a hug or prayer, I know you’re there! That means the world to me!

God has blessed my life with so many different kinds of precious friends. I am so thankful! I truly believe that God blessed me with you!

I also believe that God has blessed Olivia by allowing her to have you as a Sunday school teacher! When she runs to hug you at church and when she asks to buy you things when we are shopping, I am reminded that YOU ARE AMAZING! As a mom, I am thankful. As a fellow Christian sister, I am thankful!

I am grinning as I type this, because I know you are grinning as you read this!

Have a great day!

Love, Tammy

PS I LOVE ALL OF MY FRIENDS SO MUCH! I am sending out a challenge to everyone who reads this to say “thank you” to someone today for being a great friend! It may be just what they need to hear!

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I have 11 people sleeping in my house, and my day tomorrow is packed from sunrise to sunset….and I CAN’T SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I tossed and turned tonight, I remembered what I was drinking this evening and suddenly realized I had made a huge mistake! I have been making such an effort to stay away from pop and drink more water, but tonight at WalMart I slipped and bought a Diet Coke! What was I thinking?!?!! Here I sit in bed at 3:00 a.m. with my eyes wide open and my heart racing!

When am I going to learn?

I am sure this is a question God asks about me on a daily basis in so many aspects of life. When I’m short with my kids or my husband, when I stress over unmade beds or piles of laundry, when I make an excuse to start my day without my quiet time with Him……..and the list goes on and on.

When am I going to learn?

Thankfully, God is a God of second chances and His mercy is new every morning. I am so thankful to be covered in His grace.

As I sit here tonight reflecting on the fact that caffeine has kept me from sleeping, I have to admit that if I would have been asleep I would have missed these thoughts from God.

Thank you, God, for speaking to me even in the midst of my frustrating tossing and turning. Thank you, God, for reminding me that just as I mess up and determine to do better tomorrow, You see my flaws and shortcomings and love me anyway.

A Grateful Insomniac!