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Kitties number three and four went to their new home this week!!!  Can’t you tell they are going to get a lot of love and attention!!!camp and kittens 0011 (2)_resizeWe had to laugh at this kitties poor little face!!!!!  HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Kitty number five traveled all the way to Lexington with us and was a surprise graduation gift for our friend’s daughter. (pre-approved)

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We’ve received word that this kitty has been named “Smokey Robinson and will be called “Smokes.”  As you can see from the picture above, Smokes met a new little friends when he arrived in Lexington.  🙂camp and kittens 0059 (2)_resize  And finally……kitty number six was delivered last night to his new home.

Kitties number one and two are doing great and have been named Shadow and Crookshanks.  Still waiting for a few names to be reported to us!

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We’re back to only having Marbles..Olivia’s trying to give her extra love…she’s been crying for her babies.  ;(

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Bible Study – DAY ONE

June 11th, 2010

 

Well, today is the day!  We’re venturing into a weekly study of Joyce Meyer’s book, Battlefield of the Mind, that will more than likely take us the rest of the summer and maybe a little into the fall….

 

But I believe that once we get into this very far at all, you will all agree that the material within her book is relevant, powerful, and useful in facing our daily battle with satan.  I highly recommend ordering a copy of Joyce’s book so that you can read along with us.  She has a chapter book as well as a pocket-sized devotional that, I believe, are both well worth the cost.  You might even be able to check them out an area library and just keep renewing them for a while. 🙂

First, I think it is vital to remember that the Bible clearly says in Ephesians 6:12 that “we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms.”   To some, these words may sound scary, foreign, or almost unreal; but my prayer is that by the time we end this weekly study that all of us will see more clearly the war that is being waged against us CONSTANTLY in the spiritual world.

The good news is this:

WE KNOW THAT IN THE END GOD WINS!!!!!!!!

And

WE KNOW THAT “Greater is He that is us than He that is in the world.”

I use to see the Bible as a book full of so many words that couldn’t possibly make a difference in my personal life.  I remember going to church and listening to sermons and even sitting in Sunday school and thinking that the only things in the Bible that made sense were the stories of Noah, Moses, David and Goliath, and those other heroes of the Scripture.

But life has forced me to make a choice.

Dig into the Word and realize that I am not facing the tough things of this world alone or somehow trudge through the storms of this life by myself hoping that in the end something will make sense.

I have chosen the first, and because of that I understand what Joyce means when her book begins with the words, “we are in a war.”

So, for our first day together in this journey to become equipped to face the battle that goes on in our mind’s daily, I want you to remember the power of this next passage:

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I cling to this verse every day.  Knowing that God has given us the power to demolish thoughts that go against His Word and make them obedient to Christ is life-changing to me.

In your grief, confusion, depression, loneliness, fear, doubt, insecurity, sadness, anxiety, and the list goes on and on, you are not powerless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!sword-of-the-spirit-maryn-chilson

The Bible is our Sword of the Spirit!

It is our weapon!

Use it today to take down the devil when he allows thoughts to creep into your mind that are not from God,

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Erich had two days off in a row from his new job; so Tim, Todd, and I decided to slip down and spend a day and a half with him while Olivia was at camp.

We picked up a small grill for Erich’s apartment deck and threw in our ice cream freezer, so we could take a little bit of Kentucky with us!

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Todd, Mallory, and Erich on the campus of David Lipscomb College where Mallory will be finishing her senior year this fall.

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A little glimpse at the inside of Erich’s apartment. 

nashville 0007_resize Todd brought his Zelda movies to show Erich. 🙂

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Tim and Erich outside of Belmont Church of Christ where Erich and Mallory worship every Sunday.nashville 0022Our soon-to-be daughter-in-law. 🙂 nashville 0076_resize Tim, Elvis, and Erich in downtown Nashville.

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The pool in Erich’s apartment complex.

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We were downtown as they were setting up the runway for the CMT music awards!

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Erich’s first nursing job started with an interview in the building next to this sign…Thank you, Middle Tennesse Medical Center for allowing Erich to begin his nursing career with you!!!  nashville 0122_resize As Erich and I walked across the “walking bridge” that connects downtown Nashville with the Titans’ Stadium, he said, “This is where Mallory and I started dating.”  I had to take a picture, and of course I LOVED that the Titan’s Stadium was in view of such a special moment in Erich’s life! 

Nick was a HUGE Titans fan!!!  He would definitely give this a THUMBS UP!

It’s been an emotional week in so many ways…saying bye to Erich, seeing the Titan’s stadium and knowing Nick wasn’t with us to enjoy it, and then driving back home so that we could be at Aaron’s funeral was enough to do me in for a while.

I thought that after having to say good-bye to Adrienne and Nick until I see them in Heaven, I would find it a little easier to say good-bye to my other kids when they simply move to other places, but……..

I’m realizing that there is a level of sadness in all of life’s changes.

I’m excited to see all that God has in store for Erich and Mallory, but my mommy heart still can’t believe that I am on the other side of Legos, action figures, and video games with this great child of mine.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything,
       and a season for every activity under heaven….

Cherish your time today,

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Thanks to Facebook and a wonderful dean’s wife, I’ve been able to have a sneak preview of Olivia’s week at church camp.

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This is Olivia BEFORE the faculty scavenger hunt… smiling olivia

During a worship service, Olivia took a minute to say “cheese.”talent show olivia 

Olivia and her friend Emily WON the talent show!!! 

They sang Francesca Battistelli’s song, “Free To Be Me.” 

Here’s the song, in case you haven’t heard it.

(Oh, don’t forget to click “pause” on my blog music to the right.)

 

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Looking forward to hearing all of Olivia’s stories when I pick her up tomorrow,

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SONY DSC You’ve probably watched someone walk across a tightrope before…arms outstretched, toes perfectly pointed while feet carefully cross in front of each other. The tightrope walker moves slowly and steadily attempting to keep his balance on the thin, small rope as he moves from one side of the arena to the other high above the unnerved crowd who as a group seems to be holding its breath with every step of the brave entertainer.

I find life to be a lot like tightrope walking.

I teeter daily between these two things:

praise and joy for a God who created such a beautiful world and Who gave His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could have the Hope and Promise of eternity with Him and

sadness for a world so full of pain and heartache.

Tim and I just left Aaron’s funeral.  Hugging Tim and Sandy and crying as we embraced for what seemed forever, I felt the pain all over again and the depth of sadness that comes when forced to let go of a child long before it seems fair.  Does it ever seem fair?  I don’t think so.

I sat with another friend during the funeral who also had to let go of her 13 1/2 year old daughter years ago after a fight with leukemia.  Her daughter would be my age now, so the loss for her has been nearly 30 years. Even though that much time has passed, tears flowed from her eyes in the same way they flowed from mine. Grief has no ending.  I held her arm throughout the service and hoped that in some way my hands were comforting her in the way her daughter Andrea would have wanted to do if she were here. 

I find myself mentally stretching my arms out far on each side so as to take the next step in life without falling to one side or the other.

I cling to verses like Psalm 37:23-24:

 If the LORD delights in a man’s way,
       he makes his steps firm;

though he stumble, he will not fall,
       for the LORD upholds him with his hand
.

and Psalm 40:1-3:

I waited patiently for the LORD;
       he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
       out of the mud and mire;
       he set my feet on a rock
       and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
       a hymn of praise to our God.
       Many will see and fear
       and put their trust in the LORD.

I wonder sometimes how to take the next step, and then I read passages like Proverbs 4:25-27 and I feel inspired.

Let your eyes look straight ahead,
       fix your gaze directly before you.

Make level paths for your feet
       and take only ways that are firm.

Do not swerve to the right or the left;
       keep your foot from evil.

Suddenly, I think of Aaron and Nick and Andrew and Jared and Tyler and Andrea and Colby and Zach and so, so, so many more who have slipped from this old earth into a new and glorious world and I realize that, like them, God is calling me to look straight ahead and fix my gaze directly before me on Him.

Arms outstretched showing my total dependence on Him (no clinging to people or things around me), I determine today to keep looking straight ahead.  After digging into His Word (our only weapon against the devil’s attempts to discourage and steal our joy), I find the strength to regain my composure and become energized once again to press on in this balancing act of life.

Praying you stay focused on Him as you continue this balancing act called life,

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Friends of ours who moved to Tennessee several years ago will be coming back home this week to have the funeral of their 14-year old son who lost his fight with leukemia last Thursday night.  Aaron has been a patient at St. Jude’s for the past 10 months, and like Nick, was a smiling fighter all the way through his battle.

Please keep Aaron’s parents and sister in your prayers.

At church this morning, we learned of an ATV accident yesterday that took the life of 15-year old boy in a town not far from here.  He is related to a family in our church, and his mom works with one of our area optometrists.  I’ve been to Tyler’s mom’s Facebook page today to send her message, and I can tell from all of the sweet words that Tyler, too, was an amazing and special young man.

Please keep Tyler’s parents in your prayers.  He was their only child.

As I think of Aaron and Tyler tonight, I am reminded of so many other families who have been taken down this painful road of grief in just the past couple of years.

I remember the words of Jesus as he refers to the devil as a “thief” who has come to “steal, kill, and destroy,” and I think of all of us who have been robbed of our children’s futures and had our dreams destroyed by the evil one.  I could easily be overcome with fear and sadness when I think of all of the families with broken hearts like ours tonight. 

But then I remind myself of all of the promises tucked within God’s Word…

Jesus says, “in this life you will have trouble but take heart because I have overcome the world!”

In Colossians, Paul says that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

I love Jesus’ words in the book of John,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

And I can never forget God’s words in Psalm 126,

 Those who sow in tears
       will reap with songs of joy.

He who goes out weeping,
       carrying seed to sow,
       will return with songs of joy,
       carrying sheaves with him

 

Somehow God is going to use all of our pain.

Somehow God is going to redeem all of our sorrow.

Until then, I believe that those of us who are grieving are called to rest in God’s arms, trusting Him for each new morning.  The first steps are never easy.  Getting out of bed is often all there is strength to do in those first few months of grief.

Slowly, by clinging to God’s Word, Hope does rise again in our hearts.

So, for tonight, I am heavy-hearted for Aaron and Tyler’s families, but I am still full of Hope; because I know that God is greater than our deepest heartache, and He will be faithful to provide both of these families with exactly what they need to make it through each new day. 

And most of all, I am full of Hope because I know that Aaron and Tyler have been taken Home……..

We can never even begin to imagine just how wonderful life is for them now.

I rest on that knowledge tonight as I pray for the Stampers and Baldridges.

And I also wanted to let you know that I will be away from the Internet for several days and will miss sharing life with all of you.

God bless your Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Until Thursday,

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Mark 13:35-37

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “

I love knowing that Jesus could come back ANYTIME!   Sometimes when I am feeling really blue about the reality that Nick will never be here again…no more feeling his  hugs, no more hearing his voice, no more seeing his sweet face light up…..

I remember that He is with Jesus and that he will get to be a part of the exciting day when Jesus leaves Heaven to come bring us all HOME!  It’s just like Nick to have this kind of opportunity!!!!  It makes me smile just thinking of how excited he will be when that day arrives!

Until then, I have to soak up silly little moments here on this earth where sleeping is something that isn’t safe even at sleepovers!

A few nights ago while Todd, Adrian, Trevor, Caleb, and TJ were soundly sleeping, Olivia decided to pull a little prank.  About 3 a.m., she woke me up to say that she was hiding the boys’ shoes in the deep freeze.  I remember thinking, “Did I just hear what I think I heard?”  I got up to see what was going on, and sure enough, Olivia was slipping through the kitchen with a flashlight!

I had to take pictures the next morning when the boys woke up and discovered her little mischievous deed.  (Oh, remember my deep freeze quit working last spring while we were out of town???  Mom and Dad graciously bought us a new one this spring….but I’m thinking Dad wasn’t planning to have it used for things like this!)

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Adrian finds the evidence!

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Frozen shoes.

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He then makes the deliveries….memorial day and sleepover 0014_resize Trevor and Todd realize that Trevor’s shoes are frozen solid!

memorial day and sleepover 0015_resize   TJ decides that ice cold flip flops are “awesome!”

I hope that your nights of sleep don’t involve sneaky little girls pulling pranks but

MORE THAN THAT

I hope that when Jesus returns you are ready!

Much love,

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Karon Goodman, author of Unafraid: Living God’s Plan on a Ladder and a Promise, has been on an online book tour over the past few months.

You may remember a blog post or two that I wrote about her book at the beginning of April. 

Well, the book tour continues and you can follow her book’s story by either clicking here and going to her blog or by visiting June’s partner blogger!

I have to be honest, I tend to be a closet blogger which means that I don’t venture out very often into the world of blogging, and I probably need to do a little more visiting because when I do, I am always blessed! I know you will be too!

It’s kind-of like going to a neighbor’s house for a cup of coffee and that’s something else I need to make more time for, right Jennie, Sandra, Angie, Trish, Carrie, Martha, Becky, Rachel, Donna, Trish and Topsy?!?! (And these are just a few of my sweet neighbors that I love!!!)

Anyone up for coffee??? Email me at tammynischan@yahoo.com! I think a cup of coffee with some friends sounds wonderful right now!

Please keep Karon in your prayers, too. Life is tough, and she is facing some tough days……….

Thankfully, she i s facing them unafraid.

Can’t help but think of Nick’s favorite verse right now.

JOSHUA 1:9

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified.  Do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Much love,

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Growing in Him……..

June 3rd, 2010

 

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Helicopter seeds have covered our backyard this spring…..even floating into every nook and cranny of our deck and picnic table.

The other day I discovered two small plants growing from the space in between two boards on our deck.  I bent down to pull out the first little leafing plant and realized that one of the helicopter seeds had actually begun to transform from its seedling stage into a little tree (even developing roots!) right there in the emptiness of the deck’s crack.

As I pulled up on the leaves, the entire growth slipped right out of the opening and into my hands with barely a little pull,…..roots and all!

A lot of things went through my mind in that moment.

First, I was amazed at God’s creativity and unbelievable ability to take a tiny, feathery, seed and produce a huge, strong tree.  If he can do that with a seed, what can He do with you?!?!?!  Never underestimate God’s ability to use you for great things!

Second, I was struck with the truth that even though something may begin to grow roots it is not secure unless the roots are growing into something solid and nourishing.  Where are your roots?  Where do you reach for security and sustenance?  Do you reach for people or for God?  Do you reach for self-help books or your Bible?

Third, I wondered how many seedlings fall from trees every spring and never get the chance to reach their full potential because of a lack of sunlight, soil, or rain.  What’s lacking in your life for you to become all that God wants you to be?

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,       which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

       It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Praying that your day is filled with opportunities to grow closer to Him,

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“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”

(Philippians 3:20-21).

I changed my Facebook status about 30 minutes ago to share a quote of C.S. Lewis’ that I love.

He says,

“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Then just five minutes ago, I thought I’d check my email before heading to bed and couldn’t believe it when the GriefShare devotional for tomorrow had just arrived in my inbox and was entitled, “Your New Body.”

This is what it says:

God promises that your earthly body will be transformed to be like Jesus’ glorious body. What does the Bible say about Jesus’ body?

“Our glorified body,” says Joni Eareckson Tada, “will be a body like the Lord Jesus’ body. It was perfectly fit for earth; He could eat a breakfast of fish on the beach with His disciples after His resurrection. His body was also perfectly suited for heaven; He could walk through a wall, or be walking on the road to Emmaus in one moment and appear in the upper room in Jerusalem the next. So we’ll have these incredibly marvelous bodies, perfectly suited for both earth and heaven.”

I’m reminded of a night several months ago when Olivia was making all kinds of comments and asking all sorts of questions about why she had been given her body when she was “made” and I had been given mine……I didn’t have a lot of answers, but it was fun to listen to her deep thoughts. At the end of all of her questions she simply said, “Well, this shell is going to bed.”

I thought that was so funny and yet so true.

Our bodies are simply shells to hold our souls.

C.S. Lewis got it.

Joni Eareckson Tada gets it.

Olivia gets it.

God longs for all of us to get it.

We are souls that simply “have” bodies.

And one day we will be given a “new and glorified body!”

For some reason, this random theme seemed to jump in front of me tonight!

I hope it comforts you like it comforts me!

Take care of your shell while you have it, but more importantly prepare your soul for eternity!!!

Thankful for His promise of a glorious transformation!