The phone rang early Saturday morning,

and those kind-of calls rarely mean someone just wants to check in and say, “Hi.”

As I lay in bed listening to my friend on the other line,

my heart ached.

She shared about a situation that was affecting her entire family.

She shared about a living nightmare.

Tim was next to me, and he listened too.

His heart, like mine, was heavy with hers.

We love this friend so much,

and it was evident that her heart was feeling the weight of the world .

Words seem so empty in moments like this,

and I found myself struggling with what to say.

Honestly, I wanted to crawl through the phone and be in her kitchen.

I wanted to sit and look her in the eyes and say,

“I love you.”

But distance and an already-full schedule for the weekend kept her at phone’s length,

so I listened.

I talked a little and then, like I do so many times in moments like this,

I handed the phone to Tim so he could talk too.

And then I heard Tim say what I should have said long before,

“Can I pray right now? And I heard her answer softly, ‘Yes.'”

I closed my eyes as Tim prayed over the phone line,

and I wondered what  will happen with all the questions and all the fears dancing in the lives of this precious family we consider part of our own.

This morning, I want to say something to this dear friend that I know others need to hear too.

I want her to read this and know that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS God is in control.

I love Psalm 3:3

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

I love that no matter how scary this world is and how uncertain tomorrow is,





I have learned in life that God never wastes even one of our tears.

He has a way of bringing good from the very worst circumstances,

and if we can literally “release” our doubts and fears into His hands and say,

“Lord, this makes no sense to me at all, but I’m trusting you for today,”

something inside of us changes.

Our heart is lighter.

Our walk is stronger.

Our head is truly lifted up when there’s every kind-of reason for it to be down.

I love you, my sweet friend (and all of your family) who has walked many, many chapters of life with our family.


Tim and I are praying in confidence and with great hope.

We are waiting for more news.

I am praying this verse over you this morning.

I clung to it many of the days Nick was so sick,

and I still cling to it today.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Find reasons to celebrate today……………….

let God work on tomorrow and the next day.

Lean back in His arms.

Feel His peace.

Let Him be your shield, your glory, and the lifter of your head.

You are loved with an everlasting love.


You would have been 20 today.

I can hardly believe it.

It seems like yesterday we were watching you jump on the trampoline in the backyard with your buddies.

It seems like yesterday you were playing with action figures under the kitchen table and wearing a cape everywhere you went.

And Nick, I have to tell you, if I would’ve had any idea your thirteenth birthday cake was going to be the last one I could have for you, I would’ve made sure we had both the “1” and the “3” to put on top, but you know how your mom is about planning ahead!

I still had the number three in a drawer from another year, so I grabbed it and added it to yours at the last minute………….

and you didn’t seem to mind at all.

As usual.

You had such a way of rolling with the punches.

You made cancer look easy.

You made fighting for your life seem like “just another thing a kid might have to do,”

and believe me,

I am who I am today because of you.

You taught me not to sweat the small stuff, and even though I slip up many times, it just takes one glance at a photograph of you to pull me back…………

To calm me down…………

To remind me………….

that life is short,

life is a gift.


life is supposed to be an adventure not a chore.

Nick, if I could climb a ladder with a thousand rungs to hug you today,

I would do it.

If it took me til midnight to get there,

I would set out now.

So much has changed since you left us here,

and sometimes it scares me because I can’t remember what changed before November 29, 2008, and what changed after…………

I’ll see a pillow in the family room and think,

“Nick never even knew I bought this,”

or I’ll rearrange a room and think,

“Nick would have thought this was so cool.”

You float in and out of every part of my day.

7:11 on a clock is yours…………

A.M. and P.M.


You are part of me.

My heart beats and part of it beats for you.

My blood moves through my body and part of it moves for you.

My lungs fill with air and then release and part of my breathing is for you.

I miss you.

There’s really no easy way to say, “Happy birthday,” to someone who isn’t here to blow out candles or open gifts,

but I have to say it anyway.

I have to let you know that I do not forget that TODAY YOU ARE 20!!

And I have to let you know that I am still so incredibly proud of you and so overwhelmed with thanksgiving because God chose me of all moms to be YOUR mom.

Thank you.

Thank you for showing up and smiling your way through thirteen years with all of us here at the Nischan house.

I know that Erich, Evan, Todd, and Olivia all carry you with them wherever they go too.

I believe with all my heart that they see this world as a tiny planet, easy to navigate from continent to continent, because you have given them courage to face any obstacle along the way.

You lived by Joshua 1:9 and they live by it today.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

You made this world a better place by being here and honestly, “Happy birthday,” just doesn’t seem like enough.

But I’ll say it anyway,


Here’s a few of the memories we made along the way………………





 There’s not too many kids who grab the attention of a professional football player like Mike Furrey, who made a special plane trip all the way from Detroit, Michigan, to Grayson, Kentucky, just to surprise you!

Or who inspire Chuck Norris to create a video just for them………

but somehow you did it!

You caused the world to pray harder and love more.

You still do today.

So I close this post with a video memory from 2008 made just for you by a man you adored.

I love you, Nick.

I’ll see you soon!!

Until then, keep cheering us on!!

I know you’re there in that great cloud of witnesses, and believe me, that’s all I need to remember to make it through every single day!

Hebrews 12:1-2a

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

 (You’ll need to push pause on the blog music icon in the lower left corner in order to listen to the video below.)


When Your Son is Called

May 20th, 2015


I’ve heard the phrase “called by God” many times in my life.

I’ve read stories in the Bible about people who God called by name to do very specific things to share His love.

But I never really understood what happens when this phrase comes to life.

I never really knew what it looks like when these words change someone from the inside out…………

until my son was  called to Japan.

I now understand the power of this call.

I understand it deeply, because I raised Todd.

I watched him struggle with fears and insecurities as he grew from a scrawny, blonde-haired little boy into a strong, bearded man.


I witnessed with my own eyes how one summer internship didn’t just impact him for a few months after returning home but instead planted deep inside him a love for a people on the other side of the world that is genuine, deep,  passionate, and never-ending.

It’s a privilege and a joy to be called Todd’s mom.

To know that one of the little guys who once needed me to cut his meat and tie his shoes and kiss his boo-boos is now going to share the Hope of Heaven with people on the other side of the ocean takes my breath away.

To know that God already saw today, May 20, 2015, in His mind in 2011 as I was watching video after video of the tsunami in this country that destroyed so many lives and homes brings tears to my eyes.

I remember feeling helpless sitting at my computer screen during my planning period the spring of this disaster, wondering how in the world these people would ever recover from this nightmare.

I remember showing my students the destruction and being overwhelmed for these people.

Todd now knows many of them by name.

He’s heard their stories and seen firsthand just how amazing God’s love is in the middle of a tragedy.

As I type this post, he is in the air.

He’s headed back to the very place where several years ago 18,000 people lost their lives in a single day.

And he couldn’t be happier.

So, even though God’s calling has left our house quieter and my heart emptier and my eyes wetter,

I’m thankful this morning.

I’m thankful that in the story of Todd’s life there are chapters bigger than any I could ever write and that through him God’s love will become more real and more meaningful to people I may never meet this side of Heaven.

I’m thankful that the birds chirping outside my window are reminding me with their song-like faith that God will take care of him when I as a mom can’t anymore.

We only have one life to live, and I am humbled by the privilege of being able to watch a son follow his calling.

You can follow Todd’s journey, too, by looking for him on Instagram or Twitter.  He is @toddn33.

He’ll be sharing his mission photography on Facebook too.


I love you so much, Todd.

I hate that you lost your passport and your trip was delayed a few days,

but I’m thankful for these extra memories with you!


I miss you already.


He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15

Thanks for listening………….and going!

inner beauty


Dear Girls,

Tomorrow is a big day!  You’ve spent hours looking at dresses and shoes and earrings and hairstyles.   You’ve spent even more hours talking to each other about what you will wear and who you will take as dates.  You’ve pinned Pinterest ideas until you could pin no more! You’ve chosen your dress and ordered or bought flowers for your bouquet, and all along the way you’ve made great memories.

However, I wouldn’t be the mom or teacher I want to be if I didn’t take a minute to tell you what’s on my heart this morning.

I’m picturing you dressed up and ready to go.  I’m imagining the photographs and just how beautiful you will look, and I want to remind you of something that I don’t ever, ever want you to forget.

You could shop for years until you found what seemed to be the most perfect ensemble, but there is no








that could outdo a beautiful heart or cover up a not-so-beautiful one.

My prayer for you tomorrow is that in the midst of hair appointments and putting on make-up and slipping into your dress that you will remember that your thoughts and your words will be the part of you that shines through.

You could wear jeans and a t-shirt and no make-up at all and surpass any image of yourself in a prom dress if love, kindness, and selflessness are your top priorities.

Every time you look in a mirror tomorrow I want you to see you all the way to your soul.  I want you to see more than the outer adornment, and  I want you to remember these words,

inner beauty“True beauty comes from the heart.”

Tomorrow is going to be a fun day, but I want you to remember that you are beautiful EVERY SINGLE DAY when your heart is filled with love.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

There’s one more thing I have to say, and it’s very important.

Remember whose you are……………………… all evening long.

As you talk and as you dance and as you interact with others, remember this:

Purity is a choice.

You may wear a purity ring and be totally committed to it, but at the end of the night…………..

I also know you’re human.

 I’m with students every single day, and I know the pressure is real and the pressure is constant.

I wouldn’t be the mom or teacher I want to be if I didn’t say this out loud,

“Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the moment and go where you shouldn’t go, act like you shouldn’t act, or be who you shouldn’t be.”

Tomorrow is going to be fun!!

But when Sunday comes, be sure you can look back at all the beautiful photographs with no regrets!

I love you all whether you know me as Mom, Tammy, or Mrs. Nischan!!