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Not being a seamstress myself, I was quickly overwhelmed this evening as Olivia was having her dress pinned to be altered……….wedding preparations 2010 0018_resize

Overwhelmed to see this much thread in one room…….wedding preparations 2010 0020_resize

Overwhelmed to think that someone actually alters over 500 dresses a year!

(I am happy when I sew one button on a shirt….a month!)wedding preparations 2010 0019_resize

Overwhelmed to think that Josie’s hands can maneuver this machine and transform evening gowns and wedding dresses into girl’s dream dresses…

But more than all of that I was simply overwhelmed as I watched Olivia and Josie work together to get Olivia’s dress fitting “just right.”

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Olivia’s favorite moment of the night was when Josie discovered a  pocket in her dress! 🙂      

After the dress altering was finished, I joined Topsy, Wilma and Donna to make the mints for the wedding reception……

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And I was overwhelmed again………. wedding preparations 2010 0021_resizeOverwhelmed because my friends had sacrificed their evening to help me and my family….wedding preparations 2010 0022_resize

wedding preparations 2010 0031_resizeOverwhelmed that cream cheese and powdered sugar could make such yummy mints!wedding preparations 2010 0033_resize

Overwhelmed at the reality that the wedding is only two weeks from this coming Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!

When I think of all the things we have been working on over the past few months- the phone calls and emails that have been made- ……all to make sure that Erich and Mallory’s day is perfectly beautiful, I can’t help but think about the wedding we will be a part of when Jesus comes to claim His Bride, the church!!!!!!!!

I hope I am spending more time, emotionally and physically, preparing for that wedding day than this one!!

I want to be ready on that day….. not overwhelmed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Revelation 19:6-20

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
      For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
      and give him glory!

   For the wedding of the Lamb has


      and his bride has made herself


Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

Praying you are preparing for that wedding day too!

erich and mallory  on boat Erich and Mallory!  We are so excited for you!

We love you!  (And Hugo!)



Doubt and Unbelief……

At first glace these words seem similar in many ways, but after reading chapter eleven of Joyce Meyer’s book Battlefield of the Mind it was easy to see just how different these two words are when being spoken in reference to our relationship with God.

Doubt has to do with wavering between hope and fear. When we choose to be filled with doubt we will soon be filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

Unbelief, on the other hand, is much more serious.  When we choose not to believe we are choosing disobedience.

The devil uses BOTH doubt and unbelief to keep our minds all worked up.

Joyce talks about the faith that Abraham had to have to keep believing God’s promise for a son years after the promise had been made.  He believed God’s Word would come true….and eventually it did.

Joyce talks about Peter’s desire to walk on the water to meet Jesus and how after stepping out of the boat and taking a few steps Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink…….doubt overcame him as he realized that he was doing something that was beyond human capability, and he chose to look too closely at the reality of where he was standing rather than keeping his eyes on the one who was leading him over his reality.

When I think about my personal life and the words “doubt” and “unbelief,” I have to say that I have struggled with both at different seasons.

I remember writing to my mom and dad after we lost Adrienne and I was so sad.  I remember saying that I was struggling to believe..that I was beginning to feel like Jesus didn’t love me.  In my mind I was beginning to believe that if He truly loved me, then He wouldn’t have allowed our little baby girl to die.  Dad wrote me back and some day I hope I can find the letter that he wrote, because in it he told me that my belief in Jesus was not about how I “felt.”  It was about KNOWING that Jesus is God’s Son no matter what.  It took several years for me to climb out of the pit of depression after losing Adrienne, but I clung to those words.  I could not base my love for Jesus or His love for me on MY feelings.  My relationship had to be deeper and stronger than how I felt, because my feelings change dramatically from day to day.  Had I chosen to continue to allow my doubt to turn to unbelief, I would be a bitter, cold person today.  Unbelief leads to disobedience.  Thank you, Lord, for protecting me from that path.  If you feel that you are on this path, please know that I am praying for you right this minute..passionately and with deep love.

Years later when Nick began his fight with cancer, I entered an entirely new chapter of being stretched in the areas of doubt and unbelief.  Hearing of other people’s children beating cancer and then discovering that Nick had yet another brain tumor became more and more difficult with every passing year.  Realizing that the doctors could do no more, I remember walking through every room in our house one night in the middle of the night, crying over Nick who was sleeping, and then over Todd as he was sleeping and then over Olivia as she was sleeping….all the time pleading with God to heal our son.  I finally came downstairs and woke up Tim and cried some more.  We went down to the family room and I cried and cried and told Tim that I couldn’t live if Nick died.  I felt our life was spinning frighteningly out of control and I didn’t know what to do.  We were walking in the valley of the shadow of death, and I wanted out of the valley…..desperately.

Through the prayers of many, many prayer warriors all over the world, we somehow gained a peace in those last few months of Nick’s life and were able to share many more special memories, but I have to be honest…..it is still hard for me to hear of other people’s miracles.  I have to make a choice EVERY TIME I hear a “God is so good, because He……” to not give in to unbelief.

Remember the kitten “Miracle” that arrived at our home a couple of months ago after being thrown from a car window?  Well, our cat Marbles has not liked Miracle ever since the minute she arrived.  I have felt great sympathy for Marbles and have jokingly said, “It’s hard to live near a miracle when it’s not yours.”

I guess I say all of this today to say this:

If you are full of praise because God has answered your prayers in the ways you wanted, please be gentle near those who have not had the same kinds of answers.

And if you feel as if you have prayed and prayed, but God seems to be answering your prayers with a “no” or “wait,” please do not give in to doubt or unbelief.

One day we will understand God’s ways…….but that “one day” won’t be while we’re here on this planet; so it’s best to not even try to understand right now.

That’s where faith comes in.

We have to walk by faith……and often it is a walk that moves from faith to faith…….requiring a little more with each step we take.

Romans 1:17

(New American Standard Bible)

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

This chapter really spoke to me this weekend. I want to walk from faith to faith not doubting or being overcome with unbelief.

Like Abraham, I want these words from

Romans 4 to be true for me too:

“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Am I sad?  Yes

Am I full of joy? Yes

Do I have questions?  Yes

Do I know the One who will provide the answers?  Yes

Thankful, so thankful, for a God who understands how I can say “yes” to all these questions and who longs to help me win the battle for my mind.

Praying that you realize how much He loves you too.

 todds birthday photos 2010 0060

I know this picture has nothing to do with doubt or unbelief, but it does have to do with trying to stay strong in the battle of life……..See, this is me in Nick’s football jersey with four of Nick’s friends’ moms in their son’s jerseys last weekend the day after the football field dedication in memory of Nick.  As we all cried at the football field, I said to these friends of mind, “One day this will all make sense….IT BETTER!!” 

And deep inside, I know it will.  For me and for you. 🙂

Stay strong.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.

I love you all so much,


Focus, Focus, Focus…….

August 27th, 2010


Well, I said it would be Friday night, but here I am…..

Writing a post on Thursday night.

I had a few moments of quiet and was thinking of all of you and thought “I’m going to look through my recent pictures and see if my spirit stirs.”

And it did.

I came across the photo from my overgrown garden, and I remembered the day I took this picture.  Mom was here visiting, and I had gotten a new lens for my birthday.  We were trying some different kinds of shots and mom noticed the beach ball hiding in the weeds.  I took several pictures of the ball, but this one seemed to really pop out as I was looking through them.

august odds and ends 2010 0022

I focused the lens on the stake in front of the beach ball instead of directly on the ball, because I wanted to capture summer slipping away.

But tonight as I was looking at this picture and how the focus changed the message of the photograph, I remembered one of my students last week recalling what it had felt like to score his first touchdown.

He came into the gym on Friday morning and was reliving the memory of the night before.  These were his words,

It was like I had tunnel vision.  All I could think about was crossing that end zone.  I knew people were all around me cheering, but I couldn’t hear anything.  I just kept running.  I had goose bumps when I crossed the line.”

As I listened to him share this great moment in his life when he scored not just his first touchdown but an amazing 90-yard touchdown, I couldn’t help but think about how it must feel to finish this race of life.  You hear of people seeing a tunnel of light who have near – death experiences.  You read in the Bible of how we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. 

It just made me think.

Will we have goose bumps when we reach the pearly gates?

I hope so!

I just can’t get my mind around how wonderful that day is going to be!

In the midst of trying to understand several new software programs at school, trying to become more proficient at using technology in my lesson plans, handling discipline issues with kids who need so much attention and yet need so badly to learn, continuing to give all I have left at the end of the day to my family, and longing for quiet moments just like this where I can think out my thoughts onto a screen in front of me, I have got to remember that I am in a race……….

I have GOT to stay focused and remember that with tunnel vision I can blur out  the things around me that are distractions……..

Distractions from Him……….

My prayer tonight is that tomorrow as I head out very early for “early duty” I can somehow stay…….


Yes, summer is slipping away much like the beach ball in my picture above……but for tonight that picture was asking me a question.

“Tammy, what are you focusing on?”

I remember a song that my dad had us sing at Adrienne’s funeral,

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus-

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

in the light of His glory and grace.”

Praying you can live today and every day with tunnel vision,



Between an early and slightly crazy day today followed by a late afternoon, and an extra, extra early day tomorrow, I will be away from my computer until tomorrow night.

I wanted to send my love and let you all know that even when I don’t write a new blog post, you are so near to my heart.
I never thought I could fall in love with many people I may never meet until Heaven, but I have……………..deeply.
Lifting you up daily,

Inside Out………

August 25th, 2010


I Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Last week I had an evening at home where I could actually dive into a little cleaning.  I was actually so excited all day at work knowing that when I got home, I could get comfy, light some candles, and dig in to some house work! (I’ve always loved cleaning for some strange reason.  It’s therapy for me.)

As I was cleaning, I opened the cupboard below to put something away, and I was horrified at the condition I had allowed something to get into – mainly because it was a place no one could really see.

Why does a door seem to make a mess less of a problem?????

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I knew that it was now or never, so I began dumping everything onto the floor.  Most of the time when you are really getting organized you have to make a bigger mess before you can put things back in an orderly fashion.  Lots of things needed to be thrown away or taken to a better location in my house. todds birthday photos 2010 0013_resize I had been at Family Dollar the day before with Evan getting college supplies, and I remembered that they had the cutest little fabric storage boxes in packages of three for 5$!!  I ran to the store (hoping I wouldn’t see anyone I knew because I definitely looked like someone who had been cleaning for several hours), and I picked some up!todds birthday photos 2010 0015_resize

Here’s my closet now!  Yippee!!  Even though most people will never see the inside of this cupboard, I feel so much better!

Our minister is doing a sermon series on the subject of living “Inside Out” right now, and as I was working on this project I kept thinking about my heart.

No one can really “see” my heart so it’s easy to let it get pretty messy…..

Sometimes it’s good for me to just sit down and dump it all out before God and let Him throw away the things that have got to go and reorganize my passions so that I can have a heart that reflects Him beautifully even when no one is looking.

I have a lot of work to do…….

in the corners of my house and in the corners of my heart.

But step by step, I long to be a person who is living for Christ INSIDE OUT.

Have a great day!

I love you all!

I opened my blog to make sure this loaded properly and noticed that all of my hearts are missing on the sides. 🙁  I will have to check into this after work today…shew!  Maybe God has already taken “My Hearts” and dumped them out for a little reorganizing and purging……


A Special Place……

August 24th, 2010


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I bought this mirror at a yard sale a few weeks ago, and I haven’t had a chance to paint it yet or find a place for it to hang.  In the meantime, our dog Snoopy has found that she loves to lay right in front of it…….a lot!

I think she feels like she is not alone when she is here.  It is so cute.

Do you have a special place that brings you comfort?

I know mine is definitely NOT in front of a mirror?

Jesus went to the garden to be alone and spend time with God.

Where do you go?

Lately, I’ve had to be squeeze in early morning time and bedtime.  I also like to listen to CDs on the trip from work to home and home to work.  I’m not going to try to pretend, though, that I don’t miss my longer quiet times that I enjoyed on days when I wasn’t subbing.when I wasn’t working full time.

I’m still trying to find a balance.

Snoopy has found her special place and time.

I’m still searching.  How about you?

Have a wonderful day!

Oh, and I woke up this morning thinking about the words I wrote about casting all my cares on my Heavenly Father, and I just wanted to be sure everyone knew that I am thankful for an earthly father who has shown me so much love and care too.  When I was writing about all the things I was thankful NOT to find when I reached out to God, I was thinking about how I often react when my kids need me…….parenting is not always easy. 🙂  I’m thankful that our Heavenly Father is a perfect Father in every way. 

Trying to be more like Him,


Happy Birthday, Todd!

August 24th, 2010


todds birthday photos 2010 0068 Seventeen years ago today Todd entered this world and helped begin the healing of our broken hearts after losing Adrienne to SIDS just two years before.

His infant months were very scary for me.  Every time his apnea monitor went off, I would come running.  I remember so clearly the day that I was making cookies and Todd was in his little baby swing.  As I slipped upstairs to put away some laundry, I heard the horrifying “beeping” coming from the living room….I dropped clothes all the way down the stairs to get back down to Todd, only to find that the beeping sound was simply the stove going off to say the cookies were ready.  Todd was just swinging and grinning ear to ear.  I remember sitting down and having a good cry.  My adrenalin level had reached its limit that day.

Lots of years have passed since that season of fear and sadness.

Todd journeyed through Nick’s cancer with us every step of they way.  He still deals with grief and lots of times I’m not sure exactly how to handle his pain.  Nick and Todd were best buddies.  It feels good to just type the names Nick and Todd together, because I referred to them so often as a pair.

We’re proud of Todd.

He spent today at a sports leadership conference in Lexington as a representative from the tennis team, and he started a college class for seniors tonight at KCU. 

Time seems to keep on ticking……….

So for tonight, I just wanted to wish Todd a happy birthday!

Tomorrow I’ll share about the special football field dedication this past Saturday in memory of Nick.  It was more wonderful than I ever dreamed.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared much family news, so here are a few family updates:

Erich and Mallory get married three weeks from Saturday!!!!!!! We’re busy, busy with wedding plans. 🙂

Evan starts his internship tomorrow morning with Grayson Physical Therapy!  You may see him on Tuesdays in different schools in the county. 🙂

Maria finished her masters program!  Go, Maria!!  She is teaching high school Spanish again this year and researching schools for her doctorate program.

Tim’s classes started back up tonight with a night class!  Between church and the college, his days are full.

I’m plugging along at West Middle.  Precious kids.  Rough lives. I think about them all the time and wonder what they are doing outside of school. Praying they are safe and loved.

Thank you for sharing life with me!  I love you all so much!  Post updates on your life ANYTIME by clicking on the words  “precious comments.”  I love to hear from you!


Monday morning…….

August 23rd, 2010


I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.

I remember hearing a sermon on this verse one time and how the word “cast” is all about throwing something out and not reeling it back in.

And then the word “all” is about EVERYTHING…not just a few things, but every single thing that is stirring up anxious thoughts in your heart and mind.


Because He cares for us.

I love to think of a Father who doesn’t take a deep sigh when I come to Him with a request as if I am keeping Him from what He really wants to do.

I love to think of a Father who always has time.

I love to think of a Father who is so absorbed in His children that nothing can cause Him to become exasperated………

or disappointed……

or frustrated……..

or tired……

When I picture God like this, I feel safe pouring out my heart.

And I believe that God wants us to feel safe with Him.

If you woke up this morning feeling anxious about your week or about your life, please know that you have a Father who wants to take it all from you and allow you to walk in peace.

I’m heading to work early and hoping that along the way, I can do some casting. 

PS  Our son Todd is 17 today!  Where does the time go????

Love you all,


What Are You Missing?????

August 20th, 2010


Yesterday as I entered the hallway at school, I began to hear students talking about Mr. Becker’s birthday..”He’s 40!” I heard one boy say.  “Today’s Mr. Becker’s birthday!” I heard another kid say.  They were all so excited!

I walked down the hall to the room next to mine and said to my neighbor Mrs. Knipp, ‘I didn’t know today was Mr. Becker’s birthday!”  She laughed and said, “Didn’t you see the sign when you were coming in?”  We talked for a few minutes about the fact that I was on the phone with my mom as I was pulling in and somehow my mind must have been somewhere else…..and then I told Mr. Becker “Happy Birthday!” and headed to my classroom.  I thought to myself, “I’m going to have to look for that sign as I’m leaving today.”

Later in the day the secretary of the school sent this picture in an email.

random august photos 2010 0014 How in the world did I miss this?!?!?

All I can think is that a school bus was going by as I was driving in…….

I hope anyway!

As I was leaving school, my teacher neighbor was outside and said, “Did you see the sign?”

I told her I had gotten the email and couldn’t believe it!  We both laughed.

She’s a Christian too, so I knew she’d understand what I was saying as I walked over to take a picture.  I told her that sometimes God tries to speak that loudly and clearly, but we still miss it! 

I pray everyday that I will be still enough to hear from God.

Maybe His message yesterday was sent through a missed birthday announcement………My prayer today is that God will still my heart, open my eyes, and “MOVE THAT BUS!” if He has to so I can hear what He wants me to hear!

Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

I’m praying that today we can all “be still” enough to hear, see, and understand what God is trying to teach us.

I love you all!

Happy Friday!




Football season is beginning soon. 

Tim is trying to get back into the “swing” of his fantasy football teams.  This was something that Nick and Tim enjoyed so much.

As I was doing lunch duty the other day, I was talking to the boys as they went by and one boy was telling me about his favorite video game…

Madden 11


My heart sank as I tried to keep a smile on my face.

Nick saved his birthday money every year in May so that he would be ready to go to WalMart at midnight in August when the next edition of Madden came out.

I miss those days.

So does Tim.

I just had to slip back in time this morning and find a happy picture of Nick wearing a football jersey.  This Saturday at 11:30 a.m. our county junior football league (Carter County JFL) is dedicating their field to Nick.  There will be a mural of Nick in his uniform on the side of the building eventually and an engraved rock on the 50 yard line that shares Nick’s favorite verse  – Joshua 1:9. (Be strong and courageous..)  They are naming the field The Field of Courage.

I’m honored that Nick is leaving such a legacy,  but his smile is missed so much in this house.

I think that is why verses like this one are in the Bible:

Phil. 3:15

I press on toward the goal to win the

prize for which God has called me

heavenward in Christ Jesus.

If I am going to survive my grief, I have to cling to verses like this one.

While I can slip back in time and give thanks for all the wonderful years with Nick, I have to keep pressing on…..

so that I can win the prize!

Nick has won the race of a lifetime!

If you are reading this, you are still in the race!

Live for Jesus.

Press on toward the goal.

Win the prize.

Someday I want to hug all of you at the finish line!

All My Love,