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The Lifter of my Head……..

December 31st, 2010

 

Psalm 3:3

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

 

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I had to stop my car a few weeks ago and snap a picture when I saw this huge inflatable snowman in someone’s yard.  Doesn’t he look sad?

When I see someone with their head hanging down, my heart aches.

I want to tell them that even in their saddest moments there is a Father who longs to lift their head.

And when they do, guess what can happen next?

Psalm 3:4-5

With my voice I cry to the Lord, and He hears and answers me out of His holy hill. I lay down and sleep; I waken again, for the Lord sustains me.

God promises to hear us.

God promises to answer us.

He promises sleep when we lay down.

And most of all He promises to sustain us.

Tonight, as I head to bed I find comfort in knowing that I have a Father who longs to be the “Lifter of My Head.”

That means that even when I don’t have the strength or desire to lift it myself, He is willing to do it for me.

I’m praying that if you are feeling a little low today, that you will turn to Psalm 3 and claim the verses above as you say goodbye to 2010 and venture into a new year.

God longs to walk beside you…..

Lifting your head towards Him every step of the way.

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Frozen……..

December 30th, 2010

 

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This flower pot is a perfect visual for how I have felt the past few days.

Frozen.

No words to share.

None.

I had a little meltdown last night because I was in so much pain and felt so tired of feeling so incapable of doing much more than alternating from laying on my left side and then my right.

Thankfully, Martha came by and determined that I needed an antibiotic.

Thankfully, my doctor called one in for me.

Thankfully, Tim picked it up last night. 

Thankfully, it seems to be working.  The throbbing seems to be lessening.  My eyes and back don’t seem to be aching.

Thankfully, the sun is shining and maybe that fact alone is causing something inside of me to stir.

I’ve been reading a lot.

I read the entire book I mentioned yesterday called, Heaven is For Real.  I had mixed emotions as I read about the four-year old boy’s journey through emergency surgery and then his revelation of all the things he said he saw when he met Jesus.  I had mixed emotions reading about how God had answered the family’s prayers and saved the boy’s life.  It’s times like these that make me realize how far I still have to go in my healing process from losing Nick.

Reading that God heard this little boy’s father’s prayers to save His son and then knowing that God answered the prayers with a “yes” causes something inside of me to feel uncomfortable, jealous, confused, hurt, and somewhat betrayed.

I’m just being honest.

Deep inside as I read about the amazing things the boy told his parents, I did find comfort knowing that Nick is there with Jesus….

But another part of me wished Nick could have been the child chosen to see all of these things and then come back to tell us all about them.

As I wrestled last night with my immature feelings and self-pity, I couldn’t sleep.  I wished I had talked to Nick more about what he might be seeing in those last new months.  I wished I had listened more when things were quiet and I was alone with him..wondering if he was experiencing amazing and wonderful things but just didn’t know  how to tell me without scaring me.  All kinds of emotions ran through me last night as I was hurting and feeling blue.

I ended up taking medicine to help me with my pain and then venturing into some simple cleaning tasks like dumping out baskets of assorted items like paper clips, erasers, stamps, ink pens, headphones, etc. and organizing them into separate containers.  Simple little tasks I could do without help.  There’s something about tackling things like baskets of clutter that brings a sort-of therapy that nothing else can bring.  I can’t control a lot of things right now in my life, but baskets of junk seem conquerable….

As I went through basket after basket, I came across something that took my breath away.

It was Nick’s Junior High Challenge notebook from 2007, the summer after his intense chemo when we thought we had won the fight with his brain cancer…….. 

the month before we found out he had yet another tumor and the road before us became bleaker and bleaker with every passing month……..

the last July we would spend with Nick without hearing the words, “There’s nothing more we can do.”

The first words I read in his notebook were these,

“I want to go home.”

Now, I know these words were referring to our earthly home, because Nick didn’t feel very good that week.  But the funny thing was that Tim and I were both sponsors for this trip.  We were with Nick the whole time, yet he still wanted to go home.  He loved our house.  He loved being here.  This was his place of comfort and rest even if it meant not being with me and Tim.

I think Heaven is like that for Nick.

He’s Home.

He’s resting.

He’s more than comfortable,and even though Tim and I aren’t there yet…

He’s happy to be home.

As I opened the notebook at 2 a.m. last night, I read his sermon notes and I want to share them all with you one day.  They were precious.

But for today, I’ll share his answer to the question, “What did you learn about yourself today?”

His answer was this,

“When the music starts, my heart just wants to sing.”

As I read these words, a smile grew across my face as I saw Nick’s sweet face like it always was during worship time at church.  His little eyes closed and his face looking up…….totally focused on Jesus.  Nick loved to sing.

I remembered the morning Nick died and how he had not given any signs of hearing us or been able to make any kinds of sounds for almost two days and how suddenly he had begun to hum over and over and over again…..

and then he was gone.

Mom said, “Tammy, he was singing.”

And I know he was!

Our family room has never felt like it did that morning.

Full of something so powerfully electric that the pressure on my skin was indescribable.  And as soon as Nick took his last breath, the room was like a vacuum.  Empty. The feeling of pressure gone.

Oh, I believe that room was packed with angels that day singing.

I believe that when the music started, Nick’s heart began to sing.

Oh, I believe.

So, as I look at the book beside me called, “Heaven is For Real,” I am thankful that God loved me enough to send me to a basket last night that has been so close to me for over 3 years yet so untouched and that He was able to leave a message in that basket from Nick to me for the night that I needed it so badly.

I know that the flower pot in the picture above will eventually thaw and that this spring I will plant something beautiful inside it.

I know that just as surely as winter becomes spring, death becomes life again.

Yes, Heaven is for real.

I feel the icicles dripping in my heart today, and I am thankful.

Thank you for loving me through a very deep freeze.

Praying your day is full of sunshine that melts away the things that may be holding you back from blooming into all God longs for you to be,

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Where Have I Been????????

December 29th, 2010

 

The truth is:

I’ve been pretty much right here on the couch for the last week. 

I tried to soak up all my time with Mom while she was here.  I don’t know what I would have done without her for this first week of recovery.  She was such a big help.

I’ve had some visitors in the past few days:

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Cindy and I have been friends for 21 years..Her son Jon was one of Nick’s best buds! I now teach at the same school as Cindy..she is the choir teacher!

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I think Josh came to see Olivia, not me!  Josh is dating my friend Pam’s daughter, Katelyn!  He was in town visiting from Canada!! 🙂 Olivia thinks Katelyn has picked a very good boyfriend! 🙂
E-Harmony Works!! Isn’t that cool?!?!?december visits  0006_resize

My friend, Cynde, came by while she was in town from Lexington!  We raised Erich and Daniel together! Oh, the memories!mamaw visit 0092_resize

Tim probably wanted to leave from time to time instead of visiting me, but he has been a big help! Kandi and Olivia are enjoying some snuggle time.mamaw visit 0106_resize

Mom and I are wearing our “Spread the Love” shirts she got us for Christmas! 🙂 Can you tell I actually got up and cleaned up a bit on this day???mamaw visit 0097_resize

Kandi looks a little scared, doesn’t she??? december visits  0003_resize

So does Todd!

Caleb and Todd have done puzzles together since they were about 4!

Good times! december visits  0019_resize

This is my lovely Christmas Eve look….shew…Donnette saw me at a low point!  december visits  0012_resize

Andrew, another one of Nick’s buddies, brought by his girlfriend for me to meet (she’s beside me) and Kathryn (Andrew’s sister) is holding Kandi! They bonded quickly! december visits  0011_resize  Martha, another lifelong friend (she held our sweet little Adrienne until the coroner arrived 18 years ago) and Tiffany (in the blue), another friend for nearly 20 years both stopped by to check in on me at about the same time.december visits  0008_resize

John and Brett visited with Tim while I visited with their wives (Cindy and Cynde).

Mom left yesterday around noon. 🙁

After she left, I felt a little restless and started a project that ended up requiring Tim to do most of the hard work…….thankfully, he jumped in and helped my vision become reality.

He moved furniture all around the house and in the end my office is now in Nick’s bedroom (still totally Nick’s Titans’ theme) and my old office is now a little game room for Olivia and her friends.  I feel like we have two new rooms, and I know I’ll enjoy writing in Nick’s room so much more than in the little room right off the kitchen.  I’ll take pictures when I muster the strength to go back upstairs.  I spent yesterday afternoon upstairs sorting books and video games, and I’m now remembering that I still have more than several stacks of old VHS movies to go through that are sitting around all over the floor of Nick’s room. 

Thankfully, the TV show about hoarders (is that how you spell you it?) was running a marathon yesterday and our TV just happened to be on that  channel when one of the kids left the room. As Tim moved furniture and I sorted junk, I started to worry that I was showing symptoms of not being able to let go of things………

So, I did make a decision to throw some things away and had Tim place some things in boxes to give away when I get to a point where I can drive and actually deliver them.  Beware, you may be receiving gifts in the next few weeks!

Today, I’m back on the couch.

And that’s probably where I’ll stay until I go back to the doctor’s office on Friday for a check-up.

Tiffany just dropped off a book that I can’t wait to read.

It’s called:

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

by

Todd Burpo

I’m going to dive into it now, and I’ll let you know all about it!

I’ve missed you all!

Much love,

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There was no possible way for me to even imagine actually trying to walk to a car and then sit through a church service this morning.

So, here I am-laying on my side in bed with a pillow supporting my back and our puppy Kandi snoozing beside me.  She is the sweetest little companion.  It’s hard to imagine our house without her already. 🙂  I have to share a picture of her and Olivia from last night.

olivia and kandi

I’ve been thinking about the fact that 2010 is coming to an end and a whole new year lies ahead of each of us.

What will we change in 2011?

How can we make it the best year possible?

What resolutions can we commit to that we feel strongly enough to actually keep?

I need this week to really pray and think about 2011.  I want to challenge each of you to do the same.

I’ve already determined that I want to be more consistent in my blogging. For example, my entries from the book Battlefield of the Mind stopped a month or so ago when life at our house got crazy.  I am determining to finish that book with all of you in the first few months of this new year.

So, I took the time this morning to reread the next chapter in this book and thought the timing was perfect with the ending of another year on our calendar.

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” is the key verse in this first section on overcoming a wilderness mentality. For the next few weeks we will be looking at thought processes that lead us into the wilderness instead of into the freedom God longs to give us in Christ.

Joyce talks in this chapter about the fact that our past as well as our present should not determine our future. 

I love that God is all about making things new!

I love that God looks at us and sees potential not a series of bad decisions or unfortunate events.

I love that even now when my present situation seems so confining, God says, “Have a vision!  Have a dream!”

As you think about 2011, make sure you remember that you can avoid a wilderness mentality by choosing not to think certain thoughts.

For today, December 26th, 2010, let’s all decide to have a vision about our future!

How can we do this?

Remember when Abraham gave Lot the chance to pick the land in which he wanted to settle?  Lot chose the best land, leaving Abraham on a not-so-great piece of property.  God then said to him,

“Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are….”

In other words, don’t look at where you are but look FROM WHERE you are!  I am in my  bed today unable to do much more than read or write, but I am going to look from this place and see a year full of potential!

Where are you today?

Look from there, cast a vision, and believe that God has big dreams for you in 2011!!

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He Knew All Along………….

December 25th, 2010

 

Genesis 1:3

And God said,

“Let there be light,” and there was light.

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Psalm 104

Praise the LORD, my soul.

   LORD my God, you are very great;
   you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment;
   he stretches out the heavens like a tent
and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.

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John 9:5

Jesus said, ‘….While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

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Revelation 22:4-5

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Thankful daily for the knowledge that when God began this world with a beautiful plan He promised to be faithful to complete it with a beautiful ending!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

May the lights of Christmas remind you of Him,

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Last weekend we traveled to Nashville to celebrate Christmas with Erich and Mallory and attend Mallory’s graduation from college.

We were excited to meet their new little family member, Phoebe! 

Isn’t she adorable????  Copy (2) of nashville mallory 0003_resizeWe were so proud of Mallory as we watched her receive her diploma.

I’ve never shared a lot about Mallory’s journey through college, because Nick was so sick while she was also facing a battle for her own life.

Mallory was diagnosed with anaplastic anemia not long after transferring from KCU to David Lipscomb.

At the time Erich and Mallory were only great friends, but he still traveled to see her several times during her time in the hospital.  I remember talking to her on the phone while she was waiting for her bone marrow transplant and telling her how sorry I was that we couldn’t come see her….

it was the fall of 2008 and Nick’s health was slipping quickly.

It was a bittersweet season in our lives as Nick lost his fight and Mallory won hers.  About six months after Nick went Home, Erich drove back to Nashville and asked Mallory to be his girlfriend.

A year later she became his bride-to-be and now she is his beautiful wife!nashville mallory 0167_resize  I cried as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma.

God still has great work for Mallory to do!

Nick would have been so proud!  He loved Mallory so much!Copy of nashville mallory 0182_resize

I love this picture of Erich and Mallory with the president of David Lipscomb!  nashville mallory 0200_resize After the ceremony, we went to dinner and then walked through the Opryland Hotel looking at all of the lights.

It was so beautiful!!!!!!!!

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At the end of the evening, Tim, Todd, and I headed back to Grayson.

We weren’t expecting the phone call we received as we were driving home, though.

Erich was on the phone asking whether or not we had put Hugo in the bathroom before leaving their apartment. (Tim and I were the last ones to leave.)

We hadn’t. 🙁

I guess in the 8 hours that we were out and about, Hugo had turned their apartment into a nightmare.

He ate Mallory’s entire graduation cake and then got sick in front of their tree.

He ate their nativity set from Kenya, Africa, which was made out of corn silk.

He drug out everything you can imagine from anywhere he could find.

Even though we were thankful that Phoebe was safe and their tree was still standing, Tim and I still felt horrible.

Tonight, as I was looking through pictures from the weekend with mom,  I found the last photo I had taken of Hugo as I was leaving their apartment.

Mom and I got tickled, because it looked like Hugo was already sorry for what he was about to do.

Since I can’t do much else right now, I decided it was a good time to learn a little about Photoshop and chose to work with Hugo’s picture first.

I sent this to Erich on Facebook tonight.hugo

Puppies and graduation…….

A weekend I don’t think we will ever forget!

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Risky………

December 23rd, 2010

 

I’m heavily medicated tonight, so I’m probably taking a big risk by trying to share about my day.  But here I go.  Please remember that I am partially not responsible for typos, grammar, and content this evening.

I woke up this morning knowing that I could consume no food or liquids before arriving at the hospital for my surgery which was at 11 a.m.  Truthfully, I’m not a big breakfast eater so the food part wasn’t too difficult, but I did miss my morning coffee.

Mom arrived at our house just as Tim and I were preparing to leave, so I was able to give her a big hug and introduce her to Kandi (our new puppy) before we headed to Ashland.  I am so thankful to have my mom here to help out for the holidays.  She brightens our house like a beautiful sunrise.  If I made a list of my favorite sounds, I am sure that hearing the kids laughing with her would be right up at the top.

Tim and I pulled into the hospital parking lot at the very minute I was suppose to arrive for my surgery prep, so Tim dropped me off at the door and I went on in to get registered.  The drop-off location is the same one I used throughout the winter and spring of 2007 for valet parking when Nick was going for his weekly blood transfusions in between chemo treatments, so my emotions almost got the best of me as I walked through the door.  Thankfully, the receptionist was very sweet, and I was able to move through that process quickly and head on to the surgery waiting room. 

Tim and I had barely sat down when they opened the door and called my name. They pronounced it “Nitchin,” which made me laugh a little so that sort-of relaxed my nerves a bit.  Our last name rhymes with the word “baton” if you’ve wondered.

Baton – Nischan

That’s about the only word I’ve ever been able to think of to help my students when they can’t seem to remember how my name is pronounced.

I then said “bye” to Tim and headed back to the dreaded “prep room.”  Just saying “prep room” makes me feel nervous.

The nurse left me behind a curtained area for a few minutes so I could place every personal belonging I had with me into one small plastic bag. While I was doing this, I couldn’t help but overhear the elderly lady next to me wailing in a very high-pitched voice, “It hurts,” over and over again.  I think they had given her a medicine in her IV that burned as it went into her bloodstream.  Poor thing.

At moments like this,  I am reminded that as we age we seem to revert to the habits of childhood which then reminded me of the time that I humiliated my mom at the doctor’s office as a young girl.   When I was little I did not like green beans, so I would repeat the words “Tastes like pudding, tastes like pudding, tastes like pudding” in my head the entire time I was eating them, thinking this might help the green beans taste better.  During that same era of my life, I had to get a shot in my bottom.  Mom was in the waiting room (I think back in those days moms must have left the room when kids were getting shots or maybe mom just knew it would be easier for the nurse if she left.)  As mom was sitting and waiting, she heard me screaming the words, “Tastes like pudding, tastes like pudding, tastes like pudding!”   I guess I thought if it worked with green beans, it would work with needles.

I didn’t try screaming that today as the nurse was starting my IV, but I kind-of felt like it.  I do not like needles.  Thankfully for Tim, I had listened to the lady next to me moaning about her arm for so long before the nurse arrived in my curtained cubicle that I decided it wouldn’t be very nice to put her through anymore drama.  I would have loved to have seen Tim’s face, though, if suddenly he would have heard me screaming, “Tastes like pudding!” all the way out in the waiting room.  I’m pretty sure he might have left me at the hospital and called someone else to pick me up. 😉

I was doing okay and even complimenting the nurse on how gentle she was when she innocently and sweetly said, “I use to work with cancer patients.  Their veins can be very tricky.”   Without even thinking, I said, “Yes, my son had cancer.  He passed away.”  My poor nurse didn’t know what to say, and before we knew it we were both crying.  There I was, flat on my back with huge crocodile tears running down both sides of my face.  When the anesthesiologist came to talk to me, I’m not sure what she was thinking as I wiped back tears the entire time she was asking me all of her standard questions.

I don’t really remember much else except that in the recovery room my nurse said, “Why don’t you try to sleep?  You keep asking the same question.”  I wish I knew what that question was……I guess.  I remember writing down every word Evan said one time as he was waking up after surgery, and it was hilarious!  Maybe it’s best that I don’t know what was on my mind at that particular moment today.

The good news for the day was that I got to come home!  There was a chance I would have to stay overnight, but thankfully, I’ve been able to spend the afternoon and evening on our couch in our living room!

Since I’m not fully “with it” this evening and since you’re probably wondering why in the world I had surgery three days before Christmas, I guess I’ll share the humbling truth that I had several cysts removed from my tailbone today. I’ve lived with this pain for several years, but while Nick was sick the last thing I cared about was my own health, and honestly I’ve just continued to endure it over the past two years as we have tried to cope with Nick’s absence in our home.  This fall, however, I knew that I had reached a point where I had to face the reality that I needed professional help.

The surgeon told me that I would need to be off of work for two to three weeks because of the pain while recovering, but I knew that I did not have that many sick days available so having surgery over Christmas break was my only option.

I’m thankful that I had this built-in holiday break in my profession.

Several friends visited briefly today.  I didn’t think to have mom take pictures when Kim or Carla stopped by, but here are pictures of my precious friends Clara and Donna.

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Mom tried to take a picture of Trish tonight when she dropped off hot cinnamon rolls at 11:30 p.m.  The photo below is all she was able to snap! visitors 0011_resize It was so funny, because I was laying on the couch upstairs and could hear Trish say, “NO PICTURES!” as she opened the door, gave mom the warm rolls, and ran!  Now, honestly, you saw the picture of Trish from a few days ago and there is never a time when I see that girl that she doesn’t look as cute as a button.  She is so funny!  Oh, she did promise me that one day soon (after I recover in case you are worried that I will get up and start doing things too quickly) we will have a homemade cinnamon roll cooking class, so I promise to share this memory with pictures and a recipe!  They are delicious!

Oh, I also wanted to say “thank you” for all of the texts and phone calls today checking in on me.  Knowing that I was being prayed for made my morning so much easier.  

I kept thinking of the verses in Psalm 62 that I would pray back to God so often when Nick was in surgery,

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
   my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Tonight I am thankful.

Thankful for nice nurses, especially nurses who will cry with me.

Thankful for a wonderful surgeon.

Thankful that the surgery is behind me (literally). 🙂

Thankful for all of my friends and family.

Thankful for medicine to control the pain – for the most part.

Thankful that my mom is here to help out with the kids and Christmas.

Thankful that I have permission to rest. 

I know that my dear, dear friend Topsy is looking at the time of this post and thinking, “Tammy, this is not what I call rest.”  But, Topsy, I promise that I have slept so much this afternoon and evening that I truly couldn’t sleep anymore.  However, my eyes are getting heavy and I can tell that once I click “publish” on this blog post, I will be closing my eyes for the night.  I promise.

Oh, I also wanted to share that I am not the only one who is thankful tonight.

This was my view from the couch this evening. Can’t you see in Snoopy’s eyes how thankful she is that Mamaw is here!?  And look at Kandi!  She’s already claimed Mamaw’s lap as her very own!! 🙂

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I never dreamed I could write so much while under the influence of medicine, but somehow I have once again shared a little more about me than you may have ever wanted to know.  We are definitely bonding in new ways daily!  Makes me wonder what 2011 has in store for all of us!

Please post a comment here, email me, or send me a message on Facebook if there is ever a way I can pray for you or help you.  I will have plenty of time to lift you up in prayer in the next few weeks!  I love you all so much!

Hoping I didn’t take too big of a risk tonight but I just knew it was going to be hard for me to keep blogging without sharing why I was taking pictures mostly from my couch for the next couple of weeks,

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What is Ahead for You?

December 22nd, 2010

 

I Peter 3:6

“So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”

Luke 2:25

“Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him.” 

Max Lucado’s devotion contained this passage from Luke the other day.  I loved how he talked about the fact that Simeon was not only trying to live a righteous life but he was also looking “forward” to the day Jesus would arrive.

Then yesterday I read I Peter 3:6  and thought,

“God is calling us all to live a Simeon-kind-of life.”

While we try to live the most righteous lives we can in a very messed up world, we can also be truly glad.

Why?

Because we are looking forward to a wonderful joy that lies ahead!!!!!!!!!!

So, no matter what you’re facing even today,

Be truly glad..there is a wonderful joy ahead.

No matter what pain you have endured in this life.

Be truly glad…there is wonderful joy ahead.

No matter what tomorrow holds.

Be truly glad….there is wonderful joy ahead.

I guess that’s what Paul meant when he wrote these words from a dark, cold prison cell:

“Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, again, I say, REJOICE!!”

Phil 4:4

What’s ahead for you?

God says, “Wonderful joy!”

Knowing this, I hope you can have a wonderful, wonderful day and be truly glad!!!

Much love,

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This may seem like a totally random topic to write about on my 25th wedding anniversary, but actually if you have time to read to the bottom you might think it makes sense somehow…….

See, it all started Sunday morning right after the invitation hymn when my sweet friend Trish turned to my pew and invited me to try one of her homemade truffles and I’m pretty sure I bit into a little piece of Heaven.

I immediately asked for the recipe and of course neighbors share recipes, not on cards but on Facebook, so later in the day I had an inbox message with a link to the recipe.  A link that I will break down and share later in this blog.

I clicked on the link thinking I’d go to a site like “Taste of Home”or “Betty Crocker,” but ended up on a blog written by a lady who calls herself “Pioneer Woman.”

As I read through the recipe and then popped around a bit on her blog, I embarrassingly am going to share that I became OVERWHELMED with blog/life ENVY.

I am so humiliated to admit that in spite of all I have been through as a human being another woman’s blog brought me down…….

See, Pioneer Woman is living one of my dreams. 

She lives on a ranch..

She married a rugged rancher.

And she home schools four beautiful children while also being an amazing writer, photographer, and cook.  Honestly, how did a recipe for truffles take me down such a road of self pity????

As a child we lived on my grandpa’s 3,000 acre farm in Oklahoma which we continued to visit every year after moving to Kentucky.  In my little girl heart, I just knew that I would end up living on this farm my whole life married to a rodeo cowboy…

Well, fate, destiny, Providence, or whatever you want to call it, led me to college in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I met Tim and am now married to a professor/accountant/minister.

No rodeos for me.

Poor Tammy.

I’m just amazed at how the devil stepped in during the invitation hymn at church (not you Trish!) and offered me a bite of something that definitely could have caused a middle-aged woman venturing into her 25-year anniversary to doubt everything about her choices in life.

So, as I stumbled through Walmart yesterday trying to finish up Christmas shopping, I thought, “I’m going to try to make those truffles!”  If I can’t BE Pioneer Woman, I can at least make her truffles!”

I called Trish to find out exactly what I needed and she graciously offered to supply the sea salt if I would stop by her house.  When I stopped, she then graciously offered to come down later and HELP ME!!!  Since I am NOT Pioneer Woman, I decided that having help was a better choice than taking a chance on totally destroying my self-esteem by not even being able to pull off a truffle recipe….not to mention Olivia was with me and as soon as she heard Trish offer to help she began begging, “Please mom, let her help you.”  Not only am I NOT Pioneer Woman, my children are fully aware of all of the other things about me that are lacking-one of which is a talent for cooking. 🙁

Trish arrived around 9:30 last night.

I had eagerly pulled out the pans we would be needing, and we got our first laugh when we realized that I had chosen my strainer as the top part to my double boiler!

december evening 0007_resize I’m pretty sure chocolate chips would not have melted so well in here! So was Trish!december evening 0008_resize We then placed the appropriate pan on top of the bottom pan, dumped out our chocolate chips and turned on the burner when I realized that there was no water in the bottom of the double boiler……AAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!  I scare myself.

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We finally took all necessary steps to begin the process of melting the chocolate.december evening 0012_resize As Trish poured in the sweetened condensed milk, I got tickled realizing that I will never be asked to advertise for any baking supply companies since I buy generic every chance I get….december evening 0013_resize Every chance!december evening 0017_resize When Trish asked for the vanilla, she seemed shocked when I handed her the above utensil as a measuring tool!  I thought for sure the lid to my vanilla was a teaspoon……maybe this is why I do not have a lot of luck in the kitchen. december evening 0018_resize

After getting the chocolate mixture ready, we placed it in the frig to firm up and all the while I was somewhat panicked because I could not for the life of me find the sea salt that I had picked up from Trish just a few hours before.

As I was digging in the trash for the Ziploc bag, I once again realized that there are so many things about me that disqualify me from being Pioneer Woman..

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Finally, on about the fourth dig, I discovered the little bag buried under all the other things that I must feel need to be not-so-easily located in the outside pocket of my purse.

At the same time that I was searching for this mysterious bag, I was also searching for baking soda because Olivia decided that since Trish was here it would be a great time to have “good” chocolate chip cookies….I love that Olivia is so confident in my ability not to cook anything well.

Of course, I could find no baking soda and had to send Olivia tromping through the snow at 10 p.m. to our neighbor Jennie’s house (Thank you, Jennie, for always having what I  need!).

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Now I have two Ziploc bags containing white baking supplies…thankfully and shockingly, I thought to label them! 

Trish began combining ingredients for the cookies.  I didn’t know you could use your hands like this when making cookies, but Trish says it is the secret to yummy cookies! 🙂   december evening 0024_resize  I’ve never seen Olivia look like this while I am cooking…december evening 0027_resize

Of course, I’ve never doubled the amount of chocolate chips that are needed, so I’ve learned yet another trick to making my kids smile. december evening 0028_resize

As Trish opened the preheated oven to place the first sheet of cookies in, we found a very overdone batch of cinnamon rolls that I forgotten that I had placed in the oven that morning……Honestly, I am admitting way too much today.december evening 0030_resize After all of that, Trish turned out the most delicious chocolate chip cookies!

december evening 0032_resize  We then turned our attention back to the truffles and Trish made perfect little chocolate balls from our refrigerated mixture.december evening 0035_resize She then dipped them all in yet another type of chocolate..december evening 0037_resize And there it was!!!december evening 0039_resize A beautiful truffle….

In my kitchen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!december evening 0041_resize

We ended up with two pans filled with yummy truffles and of course had to pour a glass of milk to enjoy with them!december evening 0033_resize

Now, I write all of this to say this:

I AM NOT PIONEER WOMAN.

I AM TAMMY.

No cute nickname.

No exciting rancher life.

Just Tammy.

And Tim is not the Marlboro Man.

He’s  not the rodeo rider I dreamed of as a little girl.

But I think God is telling me that I am not the June Cleaver he dreamed of either….

No, we’re just two people who love God more than each other and try desperately to do the right thing in the midst of all of life’s crazy, disappointing, and even tragic events.

I do not have a blog about cooking because if I did it would have to be a comedy.

I do not have a blog about home schooling because if I did it would have to be a comedy.

I have a blog about my journey with God through a life that often feels very routine, tough, and even DIFFICULT.

I am thankful today for Pioneer Woman.

And I am going to share a link to her blog even though I know I am taking a risk that I may never have you visit my blog again……..

I love you all so much, and it was good for me to remember why I stared blogging in the first place.

It wasn’t about what I had to say.

It was about what He had so say.

I just use My Heart to share His Words…

That’s been the reason I’ve blogged since 2007, and it will continue to be the reason until the Internet is shut down or my fingers quit working……

So much love to all of you!

Oh, and here is the link for the truffle recipe!

TRUFFLES BY PIONEER WOMAN

heartBG2

25 Years……….

December 19th, 2010

 

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It’s hard to believe that on Tuesday Tim and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

When we started dating as freshman at Cincinnati Christian University, I know we had no clue just how much we would go through in life together.

We’ve had lots of great times and we’ve shared a lot of sadness…….

Raising our kids has been our biggest blessing.

Sharing in ministry has been another HUGE and wonderful part of our marriage.

There have been some moments when I thought we wouldn’t make it.

Stress and grief take a toll on people and when you put two people together who are facing the same stress and/or grief, it’s not always pretty. 🙁

But, somehow, by the grace of God, we are still plugging along.

I’m not the same person I was 25 years ago.

In some ways, I am thankful.  In other ways, I realize I have so much further to go in my maturity and my faith.

We’ve had a special weekend with Erich and Mallory, watching Mallory graduate from college and celebrating our first Christmas with them as a married couple.

Watching them as they laugh together and then thinking of all that life holds for them takes my breath away.

Today as I think about the past 25 years with Tim, I want to make a commitment to pray faithfully for the future of Erich and Mallory as a couple.

And I want to thank God for the grace with which He has covered my marriage.

I couldn’t post honestly about our anniversary without saying that marriage for us, while it has been a blessing in so many ways, has also been a labor of love, patience, mercy, grace, and healing.

Still healing,