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As I drove past the cemetery yesterday afternoon, I realized that I needed to do something special for Nick and Adrienne as we entered Memorial Day Weekend.

I left the house this afternoon and told Tim I was going to go see what I could find.  I ended up wandering through three different stores, looking for things that I thought best represented the spirit of the weekend and the heart of Nick and Adrienne.  Nick loved the American flag so much that I knew this had to be the theme of the decorating on a weekend when our country, as a holiday, takes time to remember all those who have gone before us and especially those who have lost their lives defending our freedom.

I have to admit that when I was buying the balloons, I had a sick feeling in my stomach that the cashier was going to ask me what the balloons were for and that I would burst into tears.  Thankfully, she did not.  She simply said, “Have a nice weekend,” and I was able to smile and reply, “You too!”  as I headed towards my car.

In one store as I was looking for a little something special to place in Adrienne’s vase, I accidentally knocked something off on the other side of the shelf.  As I tried to adjust the items in front of me, I knocked off a second item.  I walked around the shelf to pick up the things I had caused to fall to the ground and immediately wished that my camera was in my purse.  Laying in front of me were two packages of soaps and bath gel each in the shapes of a pair of feet.

I couldn’t help but think that God was telling me to keep walking, keep pressing on, and to simply follow in the footsteps of both Jesus and my children who are with Him…..it was a moment that I had to soak up all alone but a moment that I will never, ever forget.

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As my friend Donnette and I headed to the cemetery, I was secretly hoping that somewhere along the way I would find a penny.  Mom and I have found, however, that we never seem to find pennies when we are looking for them so I kept telling myself to quit thinking about it and simply KNOW that God was with me.

As we finished our  decorating and got back into the car, there was a flyer in between the two front seats that I had gotten in the mail today and that had somehow slipped from inside the newspaper and was positioned so that the first words I saw were these:

 

 

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I looked at Donnette and said, “Read what this says!”  She looked at the flyer that had been mailed to us from Tim’s Alma Mater and shook her head.

We both had a good laugh right there in the cemetery drive believing that Nick was cheering us on not with ONE penny but with ONE BILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t even begin to tell you how loved we felt in that very moment.

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I share this story in hopes of encouraging you in your walk with God.  I know how tough life can be.  I know how confusing it can seem when you are trying to live the right kind of life and yet bad things happen.

There is a Scripture that I held on to so tightly when Nick was sick and truthfully felt somewhat betrayed by when Nick was taken from us, because I was praying for Nick’s cancer to be taken away and this verse seemed to say to me that God could not only take away Nick’s cancer but even do more than I could ask or imagine……Over the past year and a half, however, I feel that God has had me on a special journey so that He could redeem this passage’s promise deep within my heart.  And for some reason, I feel compelled to share the verses with you tonight in hopes of strengthening your faith in a God who truly longs to do more than we could ask or imagine.  This doesn’t mean that He will always do EXACTLY what we ask…..but it does mean that if we trust Him NO MATTER WHAT then, I believe, He will give us the ability to grasp just how GREAT THE LOVE OF CHRIST IS FOR US and He will fill us with the fullness of Himself.  He will do all of this to bring glory to His name, and that is why I write tonight……for His glory and His alone.

Ephesians 3:20-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole familyin

heaven and on earth

derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I am sometimes still overcome with grief.  I was mowing just the other day and had a flashback to a day that Nick was zipping through that very place in our backyard in his electric wheelchair..smiling as he sped past me, knowing that he was scaring me as he would turn sharply and zip back across the yard.  I found myself crying while mowing and thinking, “How am I ever going to get through this grief?”

And then, almost as quickly as the sadness came, it was lifted from me.

Why did I have such extreme emotions back to back?

I believe it was so that God could show me once again just how amazing His love is and what it means to have the Holy Spirit as my Comforter 24/7…even when I am doing something as simple as mowing.

The one billion pennies was just one more way that God demonstrated His ability to do immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine!

Wishing I didn’t have photographs from a cemetery that meant so much to me and yet thankful for a God who PROMISES that even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death HE IS WITH US (Psalm 23) and that…..

Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives,
       and we will dwell in the house of the LORD
       forever!

With that knowledge how can we not have a wonderful weekend!?!?!

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Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; 
therefore I will wait for him.”

I am so thankful that God has given us the perfect verses for every occasion in our lives!

This morning I needed this promise!

I hear the birds chirping outside and the sun is brightly shining!

I love that our imperfect yesterdays can be erased and that God is with us in our todays.

And even more than that I love that even the best day here can never compare to what awaits us in eternity.

I told Tim yesterday morning that even though I miss Erich and Evan it is so neat to hear how much fun they are having where they are, and I am so thankful that they are enjoying their lives right now.

I have got to keep that same spirit about Nick’s absence from us.  If I received a phone call from Nick telling me how amazing Heaven is, I know that I would never want him back here in this world of temptation and often difficult situations.  So, this is where faith has to step in and be my Rock.

Hebrews 11:1-2
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

So for today, my prayer is that each of you will allow God to erase your mistakes from your yesterdays and bless your todays, trusting that at the very same time He is preparing an eternal Home for you that will be greater than your greatest moment while on this earth.

Thank you for sharing my ups, downs, and everything in between…

Oh, and in case you forgot…

We still have four sweet kittens that are hoping for wonderful homes soon!!   🙂

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Confession Time………

May 28th, 2010

 

1 John 1:8-10

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Well, they say that “confession is good for the soul,” so here it goes…

I lost my cool this evening.

Not to the point of throwing things (although that thought has occasionally entered my mind).

Not to the point of full-blown yelling (although sometimes I think that that is the only way some messages seem to ever be heard).

But definitely to the point where I think I ended our families’ night on an ugly note with everyone going to bed not feeling very “happy.”

The very human part of me wants to sit here and justify my feelings.

1.  Dirty, wet laundry left in several different rooms by a child who seems to have plenty of time to flip through the television channels.

2.  Phone texting by a teenage son that seems to be a preferred way to “live” in our house and yet be connected with fellow teens 24/7.

3.  Computer surfing in the kitchen to “catch up on the news” instead of a totally engaged-in-our-family husband.

Oh, yes, I have lots of reasons to feel okay with being irritable tonight.

But none of them seem to make me feel better now.

The truth is this:

1.  Many times my kids don’t pick up their things because they know I will eventually.  They don’t say that, but I know they must think it from time to time.  I know I would if I left stuff laying around and noticed that several days later an elf had magically made it all disappear!  That sounds amazing to me right now!  I need to be more consistent with my expectations…

2.  When I was a teenager, I talked on the phone to my friends…today, teens text.  Somewhere in the midst of this reality, we have got to find a balance in our home.  After all, I know I didn’t carry a phone with me everywhere I went  when I was 16 just in case someone called or just wanted to say “lol” or something.

3.  My husband does a lot of totally-engaged-family things, and he needs some down time.  I need to be thankful for all he does do for our family and with us.  He had, after all, just spent an hour and a half videotaping Todd’s final choir concert and then joining me at Olivia’s softball game until after 9:30.

Yes, tonight I am totally GUILTY of having a short fuse and an ugly tone of voice.

You’d think that things would be calmer here with only two children at home for the summer…….

But somehow I am allowing everyday things to become stressors again (something I thought I’d never do after losing Nick), and I want to regain the spirit I had when Nick was in his last months of life.

Nothing else mattered at that time.

I had no calendar where I was writing down upcoming things, because I knew that, according to every doctor who saw Nick, somewhere out there in the future on my calendar was looming the day I would be forced to say bye to Nick.

So, time froze for me.

There was no to-do list.

There was no stress about laundry.

There was no noticing other people’s use of time.

There was just Nick and life for that day ,and THAT WAS ALL I NEEDED OR WANTED.

Please pray that God can renew a clean heart in me and a steadfast spirit.

I do not want to be a shallow Christian whose personality changes when I feel that life isn’t just like I want or need it to be.

But also pray that I can be the mom I need to be the children I still have at home.  I want them to remember me as a smiling, loving mom who had high expectations but covered every mistake with God’s grace.

I want to be a wife who is fun, easy to talk to, forgiving, and once again filled with grace, grace, grace.

So, tonight, I felt that it was only fair to share the truth right along with the great news that two kitties have a home now!

People write sweet things to me from time to time like “you are such an inspiration,” and I often feel as if they do not know the real me.

The real me gets irritated.

The real me can be a very-annoying backseat driver.

The real me gets stressed about silly things like needing to mail a bunch of graduation cards to kids we know who are graduating but not having them all addressed yet.

The real me needs a hug from her kids now and then without having to ask for one.

The real me needs to take a nap for about three days…and staying up to write this blog post is going to be the end of a late-night era.

Well, a good friend encouraged me to be honest……and I was.

Thank you for loving me in spite of my ability to take a non-stressful night and transform it into something ugly,

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week of may 24 0101 

Thank you, Codi, for wanting kittens as a graduation present!  I love that you said that you wanted “Nick’s kittens.”  He loved our youth group so much and you are such a special part of that group!.  It means the world to me to know that these two kitties will be played with and loved on by your family!!!  I’m sure Jacob will be there a lot playing with them too!!!

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Four more kittens longing to be loved!!!!

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Do you remember the story from last summer about Olivia having a very tough night of missing Nick and then waking up to find a kitten mysteriously on our porch?!?  We named the little kitty Marbles, and she has been part of our family ever since!2009-07-030010 holiday world trip resized kitty cat and bird food 019 Well, Marbles is a CAT now, and I guess she thought we needed a little excitement on top of all of our other events of the past month……..

Look what she “delivered” to us!

(Thank you, Tom and Jennie, for the use of your wood pile for four weeks!  Marbles must have felt safer there with her little secret!!)

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Yes, Marbles is now a mommy to 6 adorable kittens who all need wonderful, wonderful homes!

Help!

As much as I would love to keep them all (outside of course!), we probably have reached our limit with two dogs and one cat.  Needless to say, Marbles will be visiting the vet soon to have some medical work done. 🙂

But honestly, if you know anyone who would like a kitten, PLEASE call or email or text me! Please!!!!! 

Oh, by the way, Evan was in the audience for the filming of The Price is Right today!  He had a great time, although he never was a contestant!  Tomorrow he begins his internship!  And Erich is loving his job as a nurse!  I am so thankful!

But back to the kittens……….

Help!

Thankful for all kitten lovers,

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evan looking back youngIt seems like yesterday Evan was hesitantly stepping onto a school bus for the first time. He ended up being a “preschool dropout.” After about two weeks his teacher came to me and said, “I don’t think he’s quite ready.”

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Many years later and after lots of growing up, Evan flew to California yesterday for a summer internship. Shew. I had him look back for me as he was heading towards the terminal so I could take a picture similar to his preschool beginning. I think he looks a little less hesitant now to branch out and “find his way in the world.”

I can’t help but think that Nick somehow has given each of our boys a boost of confidence in life. Evan and Nick were super close, and Evan missed very few trips to the hospital with Nick. He would sleep wherever he had to just to be near Nick, and I remember when Nick’s left hand couldn’t be used to play video games anymore that Evan was the one who dug out the old Nintendo 64 and found Mario Golf so Nick could play a one-handed video game. It changed our entire world seeing Nick have fun again.

Yesterday morning, when I got up at 4 a.m. to begin getting ready for our early morning trip to the airport, a penny fell out of my capri’s pocket and rolled across the bathroom floor! It was a 1989!!! That’ the year Evan was born! I gave it to Evan and told him Nick was with him!! He slipped it into his backpack!

We miss you, Evan, but we are SOOOOOOO proud of you and excited for you!

Evan arrived safely in Burbank yesterday around 12:30 (their time) and already ventured out on some walks to see the sights in his area. He will be doing an internship at Warner Brothers Studio’s Fitness Center as a fitness trainer, so it should be fun to hear about all of the people he gets to meet.

He begins his internship tomorrow, so today he is in line to try being in the audience (and maybe become a contestant) on the last day of taping for this season of “The Price is Right!” We’ll see what happens!!! It’s hard to believe that my shy little four-year old is now 20 and brave enough to spend two months all the way across America all by himself! Just another testimony to the strength and courage only God can develop and give.

Please keep Evan in your prayers – that he can be a light for Jesus in a place that I’d say needs some bright light and that angels will surround Evan keeping him safe and protected from danger and temptation. Pray for Maria, too. She will be continuing to work on her Masters here in Kentucky all summer!

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When Evan waved his final “good-bye,” Tim looked at his phone and it was 7:11!!!!! We all felt like God and Nick were saying, “All is well!!!”evan leaving for california and kttens (69)_resize evan leaving for california and kttens (70)_resizeAll of this change in our family’s lives lately is just another reminder that the one thing all of us can count on FOR SURE in this life is that very thing……………..CHANGE.

That’s why having our Hope and Faith in an unchanging God makes handling all of this world’s changes so much better.

He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Trusting Him to be my Unchanging Source of Strength and hoping you are too!

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Yesterday Tim was trying to place all of our pictures from my brother’s wedding and Erich’s graduation on a flash drive to give to my mom, and for about 10 minutes we could not find Erich’s graduation pictures ANYWHERE on the computer.

A feeling of panic and sickness went through me as I clicked through various folders, fearing that I had forgotten to download them from my camera before deleting them from my memory card.

Thankfully, we found the pictures safely in a folder under a different name.

This morning, I finally was able to sit down and write for a bit and wanted to share some pictures from yesterday but have found myself searching and searching once again for the memories of yesterday afternoon……so far with no luck.

All of this “memory searching” and fears of erased photos seems to be some kind of little message from God.

The message actually started a few weeks ago when my  my Aunt Earlene visited while on a cross-country road trip.  As she was sharing about some old cemeteries she had visited where her ancestors can be found, I asked if she had taken any pictures and she simply replied, “No, I don’t take many pictures.”   I’ve thought about that a lot since she left.  She still has the memories.  She can talk about them vividly and with great expression….without the need for photos.

I think that sometimes I rely too heavily on a photo for a memory, as if I cannot recall a special event without being able to see or share the picture.

In the same way , I often find myself having this same “problem” when it comes to recalling Scripture.  I often rely too heavily on holding a Bible in my hand in order to be able to share and/or remember God’s Word.  I have a few key verses that I cling to and pray and reflect on, but I have gotten to a point where adding new Scriptures to my memory banks is not the norm…..

I believe that God longs for us to soak His Words in and literally make them PART of us so that no matter where we are or what we’re in the middle of He is with us as well as His promises.

That must be one of the reasons God says to “hide His Word in our heart” not “carry your Bible everywhere you go and refer to it when needed.”

For me all of this picture-searching and fear of losing memories has been a wake-up call to several things:

1.  Memories can never be erased from my heart even if the pictures are taken away.

2.  Memories are made every minute of every day, so looking at life as if our eyes are a camera lens can help us see the beauty of even the tiniest special moments even when pictures aren’t actually taken.  Right now, I see video game remotes and an electric keyboard at my feet…they remind me of the fun Todd had last night with some guys that came over to hang out.  I see his tux still laying over a chair and that reminds me of the beautiful job the East Carter High School Choir did yesterday at Broadway Christian Church in Lexington, KY.  I see a backpack that is waiting to be packed for Evan’s big internship in California (we take him to the Louisville airport in the morning).

3.  BUT MOST OF ALL, I find myself somehow challenged by all of this to renew my passion for hiding God’s Word in my heart.  We live in a time in history where memorizing Scripture may be the only way to carry it with us at some point.  Just as I can’t always rely on a computer to hold my memories of life, I cannot rely on having a Bible with me in order to remember God’s Words.

Have a great day, make lots of good memories, and try to hide a new verse in your heart somewhere along the way!

I’ll try to write again later and share some pictures!

PSALM 119:9-16

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

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What Would I Do????

May 22nd, 2010

 

In just 41 minutes, it will be May 22.

May 22 is Nick’s birthday.

This means that 15 years ago tonight was my last night to not have Nicholas Yancy Nischan in my life…to never have another day of living without the knowledge of Nick.

Knowing the pain that our family has endured because of our grief and the pain that Nick endured in his fight with cancer can easily make a person wonder what you would do if you could go back in time and change anything about history?

Would I choose a life where I never got to meet Nick simply so that I could be spared sadness and he could be spared illness?

In some ways the logical answer seems to be “yes.”

But somehow God goes beyond human logic when He sets us out on this crazy journey called, “life,” knowing all the twists and turns and ups and downs we will face ALL ALONG THE WAY.

In spite of this Almighty view of life, God chooses to set us out into this world anyway and THANKFULLY gives us some promises to keep us on the right track.

He promises to go before us.

He promises to make the rough places smooth.

He promises to give us life and LIFE ABUNDANTLY!

He promises that He will turn our tears into laughter.

He promises to bring good from all situations for those who love Him.

He promises to never leave us.

He promises to never forsake us.

He promises that His love is never-ending.

He promises that His mercy is new every morning.

He promises that those who are absent from the body are present with the Lord.

He promises that He is preparing a place for us..a place with many rooms!!!

And the list goes on and on and on and on……..

So, tomorrow is Nick’s 15th birthday and he is not here to celebrate his special day.

It hurts.

But as Joyce Meyer would say, “I know that I know that I know that NICK IS GREAT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So, if I could go back to this time in my life 15 years ago, what would I do?

I’d do the very same thing I did last time!

I would love every minute with my sweet Nick during his wonderful 13 years here on Earth and be thankful for a precious boy who made life better for so, so many…and still does every day!

That’s what I would do!

Happy Birthday to my sweet brown-eyed baby boy!

I love you so much!!!

Here’s a thumbs-up piece of cake from Olivia’s birthday party in January! 

We couldn’t believe it when this piece of cake was unknowingly set on a plate straight from the spatula!!!!!!!!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

olivias  birthday and quelf 131 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICHOLAS YANCY NISCHAN!

WE LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN EVEN EXPRESS!

WE MISS YOU EVEN MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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What are your gifts???

May 22nd, 2010

 

Last Sunday night, our junior high group took Play-doh and created representations of what our gifts might be that God can use to bring people closer to Him.

Here’s our hands at work……

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Here’s some of our gifts…. church and erichs apartment 024_resize A friend who likes to share the Bible and God’s love…

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A loving friend who makes people smile… church and erichs apartment 031_resize A creative lover of music……

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When I showed my creation to the kids, they said “Is your gift making people cry?”  I smiled and said, “No, I just feel like my heart is here for people who are crying.”  I’ve shed enough tears of my own – even this week..

Maybe you have some Play-doh at your house or maybe you’re going to be  at the store soon and can pick some up……….

Why not sit with some Play-doh and think about how God can use YOU to share His love with others?

Thankful for all of the different kinds of gifts God has given to His children,

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My Prayer for You Today

May 20th, 2010

 

Psalm 46:10


‘Be Still  and Know that I AM GOD’

 

Praying that you find time today to just “be still and know.”

At our house there has been very little time for this unless I get up extra-early or stay up extra-late, and honestly, I haven’t done well at getting up extra-early and my time at night often ends with me asleep in my glasses with my books on my lap.

So, today, in the midst of all my little errands, I am praying that I can find moments of stillness just to KNOW THAT GOD IS GOD……

This is my desire today and every day.

Just to know.

Praying you KNOW today too,