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Why Am I Here?

August 31st, 2009

 

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There was just something about Olivia’s bright orange bucket tossed over to the side of the creek that made me smile.

The contrast of the buckets bright cheerful color against the backdrop of the gray rocks struck me as a picture of Christianity today and possibly how God may see us in the midst of the world we live in.

Christians..trying to stay bright and cheerful even in the tough times. 

Christians…trying to stand out in a way that brings positive results.

Christians..sometimes standing alone in a work place full of gray hopelessness or in a home where others don’t believe in Him like we do.

The good news is that just like this bucket we all have the opportunity to bring a smile.  We all have a chance today to allow ourselves to be overflowing with His love.and like this bucket literally “pour” out His love on those around us.

Yes, it is easy to feel “tossed aside” and possibly like a “misfit” sometimes.  It’s also possible to just lay in the grayness and serve no purpose at all.  We have to choose to be used by God. I’m sure if Olivia’s bucket could have talked, it would have asked, “Why am I here?”  Knowing that it belonged near the creek being used to catch crawdads, but even in its time of being unused for its original purpose, God still used it to speak to me!!! 

Thankfully, God didn’t just put us here to lay in the rocks and feel hopeless.  But when we are in those times of life, He can still use us…sometimes in a more special way!!!

He gave us a job to do.  He wants to use us to share His Son with a gray world.  Imagine a picture of a thousand orange buckets!  That should be our goal.

Forgive me, Lord, when I’m not being used to pour out Your love.  Forgive me when I hurt Your Kingdom more than I help it.  Help me be a Living Water-Sharer! 

Thankful to be a simple plastic bucket with a not-so-simple job,

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Nine Months…

August 30th, 2009

 

I just couldn’t head to bed without sending a quick note to acknowledge the 9-month anniversary of Nick’s life in Heaven.

Nine months……

I carried you inside of me, Nick, for a sweet nine months.  I remember wanting a girl so badly……after having two boys, losing our sweet little Adrienne, and then having another precious boy, I was just so hoping and praying for a little girl to dress in pink.  Then you came!  Chubby, smiley, full of everything perfectly wonderful…………our fourth little boy!  A true bundle of joy!  You brought some sort-of peace to my heart, Nick.  You made me feel complete.  You were my one and only brown-eyed baby, and my heart melted when I held you. 

Nine months……

I have lived without you here with me, Nick, for a long yet busy nine months.  I didn’t think I could do it.  I begged, pleaded, and believed that God could heal you.  I really did.  With every inch of my heart, I believed and I poured out my soul over and over again at the feet of Jesus trying to convince Him that I couldn’t make it without you here, trying to convince Him that we could serve Him more effectively if you were a cancer survivor, trying to convince Him that so many more would believe in His amazing healing power if you could just be spared an earthly death.  But in the end, Nick, God had other plans.  He wanted you back.  He made it 13 long years without you near Him, and He wanted you back Home.  He wanted to heal you in a way that medicine never could, in a way that herbs never could, in a way that food never could.  He wanted to make you perfect, Nick, and now you are.  And He wanted me to trust Him through it all……and I have tried and am still trying.  It’s not easy. 
But giving up on God now would be the worst decision I’ve ever made.
He’s carried our family through so much and He still does.

Tomorrow a group of boys from the high school and some guys from KCU will be coming to our house to draft a Fantasy Football  League called  “The Big Yard League,” named after one of Nick’s favorite songs, “Big House.”  It will be bittersweet to not have Nick in the middle of all the commotion making his picks, grinning as he chose his favorite players, smiling when I would hand him a warm brownie on a plate.  But we’ll get through it.  We’ll laugh, we’ll visit, we’ll eat, we’ll reminisce, and we’ll love.

Nick would expect nothing less.

I love you all and thank you for sharing life with us.  Thank you for every prayer for our family!

I just had to take a minute to pay tribute to my little man in Heaven.

He is still so loved here in the Nischan house!  And always will be!

In Him,
Tammy

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Go Raiders!!

August 29th, 2009

 

  2009-08-270094 carter caves resized About two weeks after Nick died, Olivia had a dream.  I think I shared about it at the time, but it just comes back to me so often when I watch Olivia play basketball!!  The dream gave her such a feeling of peace about Nick’s death.

2009-08-270095 carter caves resized 2009-08-270096 carter caves resized She dreamt that Nick was sitting on the backboard of the basketball hoop wearing a cream-colored robe.  She said, “Mom, his head was perfect, he was smiling, and he was glowing!”

2009-08-270098 carter caves resized Her dear friend, Whit, traded her jerseys so she could have Nick’s basketball number – 13!!!

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Thank you, Whit!!

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I can’t help but think that Nick is cheering her on in her basketball career!!!! 

Who could ask for a better audience!?!?

These pictures were taken last Saturday during the East Carter – Boyd County game!

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Here’s some of the gang in between games!!!2009-08-270120 carter caves resized

Press on, Lady Raiders!!

Nick is your biggest fan!!!  He loved coming to your games, and when he couldn’t come, he always texted me to check on the score and see how everyone was doing!

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This is one of my favorite places at Carter Caves State Park. I took the kids here the other day!

carter caves and lexington 236 These trees have literally grown up and around and through gigantic rocks!

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My friend and I looked and looked at this amazing feat of nature and decided that just like this tree, Christians are called to grow even in the rocky times. In these times of difficult growth, we are often required to show much more of ourselves than we’d really like to and in our transparency we become extremely vulnerable to our surroundings. I have felt like these trees so many times over the past few years. No part of my pain has been hidden and it has been so obvious to the world that I am hanging on for dear life to whatever foundation I can find beneath me.

carter caves and lexington 240 Through our example, though, our kids learn that it’s okay to keep on growing even though life is tough.

(I just love this little tree above trying to follow in the “root”steps of the big tree next to it!)

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I had the boys climb to the top of the rocks and try out a little posing!

They decided to go with the “CD Cover” look!

Lord, help me remember that even though the soil beneath me often seems rocky and painful, You are still there providing the light and water that I need to grow.

Thank you for using nature to encourage me! Thankful that You are the Rock upon which I can expose my roots and upon which I can find my stability.

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Can you see something in my dryer that shouldn’t be there?

Probably not..

I didn’t see it either!

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Until I did a load of laundry and opened it to find this…  carter caves and lexington 143

What I didn’t know was that an ink pen had somehow wedged itself in one of the holes of the dryer vent and had become a perfect place for Evan’s t-shirts to “hang out” and “get all tangled up.”

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When I was finally able to pull and tug and pull some more and get the ink pen loosened and free…

This was the shape the ink pen was in!  Not really useful as an ink pen anymore!

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Our lives are so much like this ink pen.

We need to know where we belong and from where we need to run!

I should have realized this weekend when I took these pictures that God was preparing me for a time to share them.  At the time, I just knew that I needed to photograph the mess.  I wasn’t really sure why.

Now I know.

He wanted me to see myself as this ink pen.

Useful for writing.  Useful for sharing.  But not useful in heated situations..as a matter of fact….when placed in these situations, I think that I can easily become someone who makes things worse and gets things all tangled up.

Once removed from the heated situation, I look much like my ink pen above.  Bent, broken, and in some ways unable to serve my original purpose.

I love God.

I love how He led me to photograph a silly little laundry nightmare…..

for such a time as this!

I’m thankful that God is the “Restorer and Refiner” of all ink pens!

I’m thankful that God uses us in spite of our brokenness. I’ve attached one of my newest favorite songs..I can’t help but think of the lyrics..

“Loves like a hurricane, I am the tree..bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.”

For me this week the lyrics may be…

“Loves like a dryer, I am the pen…bending beneath the weight of His heat and mercy….I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way..Oh, how He loves us so…”

Enjoy this song and love Him..Love Him with every inch of your being…

and know that HE LOVES YOU TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He is jealous for you..He will get your attention somehow..even if it hurts.

(Don’t forget to pause my blog music)

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Humbling and Casting……..

August 26th, 2009

 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

I PETER 5:6-7

There’s nothing like messing up to bring us to a state of humility.

There’s nothing like hurting a friend to bring us to a place of total relinquishing of pride.

There’s nothing like realizing that no matter how hard we try, we’re not perfect.

There’s nothing like knowing that God can handle all of this.

So today, I’m humbling myself and casting all my cares on Him.

Thankful for a God who cares.

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My kids……..

August 25th, 2009

 

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Olivia couldn’t wait to give me my birthday present that she had bought on a little summer field trip with her school a few weeks ago.  birthday and sleepover 162  

I couldn’t believe it when I opened the little box.  I was expecting a bracelet or something with some type of Kentucky charms on it.  She had been to the state capitol.

birthday and sleepover 164  But look what she found for me!!! 

The biggest penny I’ve ever seen or held!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!birthday and sleepover 165 Thank you, Olivia!  It is definitely the coolest present ever!

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Todd made me a funny card and is showing it to my mom!  My kids still have fun making us cards!  Of course we never know what they are going to say any more….Thank you, Todd!!

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birthday and sleepover 172 Above is my card from Evan.  Thank you, Evan!!

Erich managed to pop in for a few minutes that evening between different parts of his job at KCU, but I didn’t get his picture.  🙁

birthday and sleepover 152  So I’ll add my kiss from my nephew Phillip. 

Somehow God keeps me going.  With special gifts, funny homemade cards, and little-kid kisses, but I still miss Nick so much.IMG_2785 

This is Nick last year on my birthday.  He frosted my cake. 

Goodness, I miss him more every day.

Thankful that one day I will be with all of my kids for eternity. 

Just praying daily that Erich, Evan, Todd, and Olivia will continue to grow stronger and stronger in their faith.

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Unbelievable………

August 21st, 2009

 

 

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If anyone wondered why my parents weren’t in any of my graduation or surprise party pictures, this will explain—–

Their anniversary fell on the same weekend, so dad had planned a trip with mom to Niagara Falls before they realized the dates would conflict.

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While they were on their trip, mom said she looked everywhere for a penny..our special little way of feeling Nick’s presence.

We had taken all four of the boys to this very same spot with mom and dad in 1999, so it brought back lots of memories for my mom.

Remembering Nick in his stroller NOT happy when mom took his picture next to a Canadian Mounty,

Remembering Nick LOVING the huge ice cream cones we bought one evening,

Remembering Nick loving to play with his action “figguhs” (that’s what he called his little super heroes) in the motor home on the way…image I found some pictures online of the falls…it’s hard to find pictures that really do it justice.  It’s just one of those natural wonders that takes your breath away in real life.  The sound of the water as it rushes over the falls simply amazes me even now.  The power of the falls, the reality that water plummets over these rocks 24/7 and yet never empties out the river above or floods the river below simply leaves me speechless.

image I remember being a nervous wreck while we were there.  No fences hold back children as you stroll the sidewalks along the water’s edge before the falls begin. I was quietly yet constantly terrified that one of the boys would get away from us and somehow fall into the seemingly calm river above the falls leaving me unable to do anything but watch them disappear from my sight as the river literally ends where the falls begin.

When we finally got back to Grayson in 1999, I remember being flat on my back on the couch for the entire day with some sort of stress issue that had settled into my back.  I think I had stuffed down my anxiety throughout the entire vacation, and it had somehow decided to attack my body when we got home safe and sound. 

Little did I know that just three years later, Nick would face the beginning of something so much more frightening than a waterfall.

Little did I know that ten years later Nick would not be with us.  

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I guess it’s good that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. 

I know it’s WONDERFUL that we do know WHO holds tomorrow!!

Well, mom called me as they were leaving their little vacation this past weekend to tell me congratulations and to tell me about their trip.  I remember her mentioning that she was disappointed that she hadn’t found a penny anywhere but that she had gotten a Canadian penny and was bringing it home.

On Tuesday of this week, Mom was going through her pictures from the trip and came across the one below that simply TOOK HER BREATH AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you see what she saw?!?!?!?!? 

This is a photo she took zoomed in of the water as it is going over the falls.  She emailed me the picture and said, “I did not see this when I was taking the picture and I’m so glad..I would have tried to get it!”

Do you see it?

So close to the edge.  In such an almost unbelievable location!!  How could it have gotten there?  How!?!!??!  Who would be that close to the edge of Niagara Falls!?!??!

Mom and I think we know!

It was almost as if Nick was trying to tell my mom that he is great!  That he can literally sit on the edge of the Niagara Falls without a worry in the world!!!!

Wow!!!

Will God ever cease to amaze us?!?!?

I don’t think so!!!!  And I’m not going to stop believing that He wants us all to be assured that Nick is safe in His loving hands….

 

Safe and yet having the time of his life!!!

Let me know if you see what we saw in this picture?!?!?IMGP3508

Thank you, God, for touching my mom’s heart in such a special way!

Thank you!

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He Keeps His Word…..

August 20th, 2009

 

Olivia had a sleepover last Friday night, and at the top of her list of “things to do” was “making buckeyes.”

I’m not going to lie.  My first thought was, “UGH!  Can we please wait til Christmas?”  After all, this is one of Erich’s favorite holiday traditions.

But, in a moment of weakness, I told Olivia we would make them.

So when Friday night rolled around, it took everything inside of me to run to the store and get a few supplies and then drag out the mixer and all the rest of the ingredients.  But when I pulled out my cookbook, I realized that it didn’t really take that long to make the peanut butter balls, and then with the help of the girls we were able to have them dipped in chocolate within minutes.

When it was all said and done, I felt thankful that I had not backed out on this little “wish” of Olivia’s. 

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Fortunately for this one evening, I felt that I was faithful to my “mom words.”  But many times I know I let my kids down by saying one thing and then doing another.

I am so thankful that my Father ALWAYS keeps His Word! 

His promises never fail.

His love is never-ending. 

His mercy and grace never run out.

He never grows tired or weary.

Thank you, Lord, for being my faithful Father and the Keeper of Your Every Word!

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A Surprise When I Got Home..

August 19th, 2009

 

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Maria, wow!  I was shocked when I opened the door and heard screaming

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Thank you ALL for sharing the special day with us!!!

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Olivia and Marble even celebrated with me!

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Jim, Billy, and Kelly…..what great men of God you are!

I love you all three!!

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Maria and Evan…you tricked me into believing you were in Morehead at WalMart…you stinkers!  I was clueless on the phone!

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Topsy and Maria make some last-minute plans!

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Todd and Jon, I love you!

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I love you, Ian, Ruthie and Mike!

Thanks for sharing life with us!

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Brett and Cindy, thanks for being great friends!  We’ve shared more “restaurant time” than any two families of our caliber should ever be allowed to share in one town!

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Tiffany, we are quite the Lucy and Ethel, aren’t we?

Thankful that we share life’s ups and downs together!

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Donnette, You really had me tricked about the party!  Good going!

I love sharing life with you….motherhood, wife stuff, and all of the other “girly topics” that aren’t always so easy to love.

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One of Nick’s best buddies ever..Jon…celebrates with me!

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My boys, Erich and Evan, both came home from college to celebrate with me!  Thank you, guys, I love you!

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Ian was ready to slice the cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!