68, 45, and 18

April 30th, 2010


These three numbers are significant today in our house.

68 years ago today Tim’s dad joined life on this earth and began a journey into ministry that has led him and his wife to Dallas, Texas, where he oversees the finances of Pioneer Bible Institute. 

Happy birthday, Papaw Nischan!  We love you!  (And happy birthday 6 days late to Mamaw Nischan!!)

45 years ago today Tim joined life on this earth and began a journey into ministry that has led him and me to Grayson, KY, where he is a professor at Kentucky Christian University as well as a part-time minister of discipleship at First Church of Christ.

Happy birthday, Tim!

18 years ago today our sweet little Adrienne ended her journey here on this earth after only 6 1/2 short little weeks of being our precious daughter.  That morning will forever be etched in my mind as one of the most horrible days of my life. 

For many years after losing Adrienne, we couldn’t even celebrate Tim’s birthday.  It was almost as if we just had to get through the day somehow. Thankfully, God has a way of softening pain over time; and while holding such a profound memory of horror, I can now replay it through God’s eyes and see the beauty in God’s gift of Adrienne and the reality that He still uses her today in very amazing ways.  Our Adrienne’s Angel Memory Boxes have been delivered all over the United States to over 25 families in the past year and one was even sent to Canada just a few weeks ago.  These memory boxes contain seven books on grief that have helped both me and Tim as well as a wind chime and several other small gifts.  Without the gift of Adrienne, I know that I would not be who I am today.  She changed parts of me in just 6 1/2 weeks and still today I know that there are parts of me that are “under construction” and Adrienne’s little life continues to nudge me in my journey to become totally pleasing in God’s eyes.  I know Tim would say the same for him and Tim’s dad too.

Last spring, Tim gave me a gift not long after Nick passed away that began a series of blog posts that led to a story about Adrienne’s name and then to an encounter with Beth Moore.  By clicking on phrases in the next few sentences you can go back into my blog and see how the timing of the sharing of the story of Nick’s necklace began this little journey.  One night not long after receiving my necklace I had a blogging experience that led me to the writing of last year’s memories of Adrienne.  And then just a few weeks after that I wrote about my moment with Beth Moore.

Looking back on these three memories that I shared on my blog last year, I can see the hand of God working and bringing me even to this very day where I can hear Beth’s words again, “You will be whole..I prophesy that you will be whole,” and realize that over time the wholeness is coming somehow……slowly, painfully……..

I know that in this life I will never have the same wholeness as I would have had if I had never been forced to let go of Adrienne and Nick, but I do believe today on April 30, 2010, that I can have a wholeness that God longs to give to mom’s who have lost children.

That is the wholeness I pray for daily.  A broken wholeness.

So, today, I will smile because it is Tim’s birthday, and  I will think of Tim’s mom and dad in Texas and pray that they are smiling too.

.And I will think of Adrienne and Nick and I will smile with tears and remember the words of Barbara Johnson who use to say of her two sons who had passed away before her, “I have two deposits in Heaven.”

Happy 18th Birthday, Adrienne!  Have the best birthday ever!!!  I am sure that Nick is right there with you celebrating every minute!!!

Love you both so much, Momadrienne's tombstone adrienne

The words at the bottom of Adrienne’s stone say,

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”

Thankful for that promise,




One of Nick’s friends from his football team left this football (pictured above) at the cemetery with the words “Forever #14” written on it.  Another football buddy left the little football figurine.  Maria and I ran to the cemetery about a week ago and picked them to add to our new memory garden at the house so that we could keep them safe from being thrown away by anyone cleaning up the cemetery.  A few days after that I saw this little reading angel at KMart and had to get it because Nick loved to read more than just about anything else.

I’m starting to cherish my little memory garden more and more every day.

If you’ve had to temporarily say ‘goodbye’ to someone who is very special to you, I encourage you to find some way to establish something in their memory. 

I think there’s something powerful about memory gardens….if you think about it, Jesus  chose to go to a garden to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           be alone with His Father…..

I’m amazed every day at just how human Jesus was while He was here…..and yet just how Divine He was at the same time.

I’m thankful for a Savior who understands the road of grief so intimately that He can walk right alongside all of us who have broken hearts, and yet I’m thankful that He demonstrated where to go with with our pain and our sadness so that we can still live for God.

He went to the garden, and I just have to believe that while He was there he soaked up every ounce of creation around Him.

Praying you will choose to soak up creation around you as you spend time alone with your Heavenly Father,

Last night as Tim and I were driving back from Todd’s choir concert in Ashland this was the conversation in our car:

Tammy: “Have you heard Amy Grant’s song about hallelujah (I couldn’t remember the name).”

Tim:  Yes, I don’t care for it.

Tammy:  What!?!?! I love that song.

Tim:  Really?   I feel like it’s saying that God loves when we are sad  or crying.

Tammy: Oh, I didn’t hear it that way.  I guess I just think that “hallelujah, praise the Lord” is easy to say when life is going our way.  I think the song is trying to say that God loves when people cry out to Him even when life is tough.

Tim:  Hmmmmm, I’ll have to listen to it again.

Well, Tim, here you go. 🙂

I’d love to know what you all think of this song.

If you share even just a word or two, you’ll be entered to win a little prize (a book and a thumbs-up rupee.)

The drawing will be next Friday afternoon.

  (Remember, you’ll want to pause my blog music on the right side column about halfway down in the red box before clicking “play” on this video. You’ll probably have to allow it a minute or two to load after clicking “play” if you want to watch it smoothly.)

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I’m not getting anything from Amy Grant for sharing this song.  I’m just looking for a little conversation about a song that obviously can affect people in lots of different ways.  I can definitely see Tim’s point of view.  I had just never thought of it that way until he said that.  (Just click on the words “Precious Comments” to leave your thoughts.)

Offering God my cries because sometimes “hallelujah” is hard for me to say,


Tick, Tick, Tick…..

April 28th, 2010



Time has a way of marching on, doesn’t it?

In big ways I see how much time has passed since I was a little girl, since I was a college student, since I was a new wife and mom, since I was…

In little ways I see how much time has passed since I got up at 6 a.m. and began ironing Todd’s shirt for today and my pants, since I looked through the entire house for Todd’s black dress shoes for his concert tonight, since I helped Olivia with her hair, since I read a few short devotionals to get my morning focused, since I…

Now I’m bustling out the door for training before testing starts next week at school and time is still ticking….

But the good news is this.

With every tick we’re one day closer to our Savior.

With every tick we have the chance to live for Him.

With every tick we are reminded of God’s faithfulness.

Like the ocean waves that beat against the shore with such consistency, our clock’s second hand moves methodically around our clock minute by minute hour by hour.

I guess this morning my question is how I am spending these seconds, these minutes, these hours………

I want to spend them for Him.

Praying that as you see clocks and watches today that you will be reminded of His control over even the routine reality of TIME……….

Psalm 62:7-8

My salvation and my honor depend on God; 
       he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
       pour out your hearts to him,
       for God is our refuge.

Have a great day!


Who’s Holding Your Hand?

April 27th, 2010


I the Lord Your God hold your right

hand; I am the Lord, Who says to

you, “Fear not; I will help you!”

Is. 41:13

Just picturing me, my friends, and my family each individually going throughout life holding hands with God makes me smile.

Knowing that Olivia is not alone while dealing with some normal middle school “drama”  gives me comfort as I drop her off each morning.

Realizing that Erich, as he interviews for nursing positions in Nashville, does not enter the various hospitals alone brings me peace.

Believing that as Evan boards a plane for Burbank, CA, on May 25th, that he will be boarding the plan in the hands of God makes the summer internship not seem near as scary.

Trusting that Todd faces the challenges of being a high school boy with God beside him helps me relax when I know the pressures that he faces daily.

And the list goes on and on to Tim, Maria, Mallory, my parents, Tim’s parents, and on and on and on all the way to YOU………

My blogging family.

You are not alone.

God says, “I hold your right hand.  Fear not.  I will help you.”

I’m heading out the door, but I had to take a minute to send my love and prayers for a Tuesday where God’s presence is felt RIGHT BESIDE YOU ALL DAY LONG!

Holding His Hand,

I Kings 19:11-13

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
      Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
      Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

My head is spinning tonight with all of the things that are written on our family calendar for this week.  It’s almost as if I am in the powerful winds that tore through the mountains around Elijah so many years ago.

It’s one of those weeks where I know that each day holds so many different things “to do” that it would be easy to miss those gentle whispered words from God all along the way.

When I miss them, I end up ugly and stressed out, and I do not want to have that kind of week.  I’m sure that Tim doesn’t want me to have that kind of week either. 🙂

My goal as I head to bed tonight is to have a meaning”full” Monday in spite of the long list of things I need to accomplish.  I want to be still enough to hear God say, “What are you doing here, Tammy?”

Being able to hear Him in spite of the craziness around me keeps me focused on what’s important and helps me remember the real reason I am here.

I’m praying that you have a meaning”full” Monday too and that you are able to be still enough to hear God’s voice when it comes not in a whirlwind or in an earthquake…..but in a gentle whisper.

What I’m trying to say is this,

Please have a Monday that is full of meaning……



Gods peace

Psalm 73:21-28 

When my heart was grieved
       and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant;
       I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;
       you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,
       and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
       And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
       but God is the strength of my heart
       and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;
       you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.
       I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
       I will tell of all your deeds.


Thankful Thursday …….

April 22nd, 2010



wedding cy and maura 539

Last night I received a text from Maura saying “thank you” for the gift we had given them at the wedding.  She said, “A real thank you note will be coming but I just wanted to say how much we love the gift you gave us.”  It was a wall hanging that I found that held Nick’s favorite verse (Joshua 1:9) and had the word TRUST spelled out in letters created from black and white photographs in nature.  I had written them a note explaining how important trust is in marriage and also how we wanted Nick to be a part of their marriage in some way.  Nick would have absolutely LOVED Maura!

The truth is this:  we all long to give the perfect gifts to those we love, don’t we?  Something significant that will mean something for years to come.  How would we feel if our gifts were “unwanted…rejected?”   Even taken back as “not good enough?”  I know how I would feel.  Maura’s little text made me smile last night.  I knew she had received my gift with the love in which it had been sent.

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Well, God loves us more than we could ever possibly imagine and He chose to give us some pretty amazing gifts.

God gave us His Son.  He offers us the chance to have the GIFT of the Holy Spirit within us.  And most of all He promises the GIFT of eternal life to those who accept His other gifts.  I love how the Scriptures take such a powerful story of gift-giving and relate it in terms that we can understand even today.

I guess for me on this early Thursday morning I just wanted to share how thankful I am for all of God’s gifts and I wanted to be sure that you knew they were your gifts too. 

Thanking God for these gifts is the first thing on my list of things to do on this Thankful Thursday.  I hope it’s your first thing too.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not

perish but have eternal life.

Acts 2:38-29

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Praying your day is filled with all sorts of surprising gifts,



One of these shoes is my sister’s…cy and mauras wedding 04-18-2010 0214 resized

The other shoe is mine.

These shoes say a lot about who we are.

My sister has always been a risk taker…..an adventurer…she moved to Florida right out of college, she’s been white water rafting several times, she works in a newborn intensive care unit as a nurse and deals with tough stuff every day.

She can walk in high heels with great ease.

I can’t.

I’ve always been afraid of change.  I’ve been a worrier by nature since I was a little girl.  I tend to play it safe in life.

I wear flats and this allows me to walk without being afraid of falling.

As Brenda and I sat together at the wedding, we laughed at the difference in our shoes..we had to take a picture!  It was so “us.”

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It use to really bother me that my sister and I were so different, but the truth is Brenda is Brenda and I am Tammy.  We are sisters on totally different roads and that’s okay.  We love each other and that’s all that matters.

I can honestly say that somehow God has freed me from whatever held me back as a child.  I’m not afraid of much anymore.  Change has become my new “normal.”  Taking risks is something I am learning to do more and more every day. 

Yes, I still wear flats.

But I’m thankful to have a sister who is daring enough to wear heels!  She inspires me.

And I’m thankful for a God who can take a nervous, insecure little girl and help her become so much more.

Are there people in your life that you wish you could be more like?  Are there things about you that you wish were different?

Take these longings to God.  I’ll bet you’ll discover that God made you just the way you are for a reason AND that He longs to use your strengths and weaknesses to help others know Him better.cy and mauras wedding 04-18-2010 1054 resized

Still learning to walk this road of life for His glory  …even if I’m walking in flats,


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