December 30, 2006

Last New Years Eve

We celebrated Derek's 10th Birthday tonight. Just a cozy family gathering, us and Tom and Elaine. Derek chose his most favorite dessert to celebrate, Fudge Brownies! As I put the candles on the pan of brownies the number of years Derek has been alive is totally freaking me out! Where has 10 years gone? He is growing into such a wonderful young man. He and Jack are currently wiggling and tossing and turning trying their best to go to sleep, tomorrow morning we leave early for the Dallas Cowboys game at noon. Derek is more excited than I have EVER seen him. He will be wearing his new Romo jersey he received from Rob's dad for his birthday, and carrying a pocketful of cash that he has received from other family members to spend at the game.
Derek said this was his favorite birthday and Christmas ever. As he was buzzing around the living room shooting Jack, who was shooting back, with his new laser guns he received for his birthday, Elaine reminded me that last year we had to cut short Derek's birthday party because Jack was sick and we had to take him to Cook's hospital in Ft. Worth. Last New Years Eve happened while we were walking through the pediatric cancer ward, pushing Jack in a wheel chair, following a nurse to his room. Jack's immune system had bottomed out due to chemo and he had something going on in his body that had caused him to have a fever. He needed to be admitted and put on iv antibiotics to help his body fight the infection. That was a scary night. As we watched the clock turn to midnight, I knew that people all around the states, back home in Abilene, were celebrating the New Year and we were looking into faces of other families that were holding onto their children's lives and just trying to make it to the next day without falling apart, physically and emotionally. I call that "hospital world," a world that co-exists with the rest of the world, but is totally different. A world where time just stops inside those walls.
I am grateful for the year we have had, we are truly blessed. A mighty God we long to serve, a family that sticks like glue to our sides, and friends that are treasured jewels.
These are the days we will remember for ever.

December 29, 2006

Night Out

Friday morning. Christmas vacation is about half over and time is flying by. Derek turns 10 on Sunday and we will celebrating his birthday at the Dallas Cowboys game. Then home to see the New Year in. 2007 is just around the corner.
Last night I went to dinner and to a movie with 2 good friends, Denise and Judy. We had a great time. We went and saw Dreamgirls which we all really liked. Denise cried like a baby several times and Judy and I weren't quite sure why, apparently there were some emotional moments that slipped by us, but Denise, she got her money's worth. It was a great movie and I am glad to have seen it.
My favorite quote from last night, as we were walking out of Johnny Carino's we had to walk through quite a crowd waiting for a table, and I commented that had we known there were people waiting that we could have left sooner to free up a table. So then Judy and Denise, say "Tammy is so nice, yea I bet we could be mean to her and she would still be nice to us." And for the record I told them that yes, I would!
We had a blast together and I am glad that I have such wonderful friends.
The kids and I have had alot of fun this week, today on the checklist is laundry, laundry and laundry.
Have a great weekend!

December 27, 2006

Goodbye Rocky

Movie Time Review
A Night At The Museum - We went and saw this movie a couple of days ago. All of us except for Sophie really enjoyed this movie, we laughed and laughed. Our favorite people were the little dudes, Jeremiah and Octavious. They did a good job with this movie, it is fast action and I would say slightly scary but none of my kids even commented on the fright factor which means to me that it was pretty kid friendly. Mickey Rooney is pretty funny.
Sophie takes it as a personal affront in a movie if there are no main roles with girls or women and they really need to have long flowing curls and wear princess gowns to really be a quality movie as far as she is concerned. The Indian Scout Sakagawea was the only redeeming factor as far as she was concerned.

Rocky Balboa - We are big Rocky fans at our house. Our boys watched the first 3 this year and when the new one was due out at the movies we were all excited to go and see it. Will this movie be the sleeper hit of the year - probably not. Will it win an award for best dialogue - probably not again. Did it steal my heart and make me fall in love with Rocky Balboa like never before - ABSOLUTELY! This was a wonderful movie about love, family, integrity, self respect and so much more. Sly Stallone said that he had a hard time writing and acting in this movie because he knew it was Rocky's goodbye, and I cried along with him at the end of the movie. Rocky is the neighbor you wish you had and the friend that if you were so lucky to have by your side you would be rich. The boys, Rob, and I loved it. Sophie with the exception of one outburst that she was bored was sucked in and by the end said she really liked it alot. As Rocky laid beautiful roses on Adriane's grave at the end of the movie and waved goodbye, it was like a beloved character was waving goodbye at us. I just wanted to scream out, don't go, make another comeback, but I think we all knew that it was best Rocky say goodbye when we were wanting more. Goodbye Rocky Balboa - may your inspiration to reach goals that are so high that they can't even be seen, keep driving us to reach higher than we ever thought we could.

I think we are going to try and see Charlotte's Web next - has anyone seen it yet? If so what did you think of it?

December 26, 2006

My Favorite Day of the Year
























We had a wonderful Christmas! The kids all enjoyed opening their presents and the adults did too. We had a big surprise for Derek Christmas morning. He will turn 10 years old on New Years Eve and so as a combo present for Christmas and birthday we gave him tickets to the Dallas Vs. Detroit game next Sunday on his birthday at Texas Stadium in Arlington. At first he was stunned and couldn't talk, then he fell backwards and stayed their for a minute or two then when he finally got his words back he screamed in delight and gave us a big smile. He is all happy and I have tears streaming the whole time, to be able to give him a present that brought about such a reaction was my favorite part of the day. We had a great time with my family last night and did our annual scripture and gift exchange, the time was heartfelt and full of laughter and tears, just as family gatherings should be. It was truly a blessed day.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas


For all of those who will be away from your computers until next week! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Please keep Jack's January 17th visit to the Dallas Children's where he will have his next MRI. His last MRI showed a 2mm growth on the tumor, if the next MRI confirms that he will start a new chemo. An MRI has a margin of error of 2mm, so we could just go and find out that the tumor has stayed the same since he finished up chemo 5 months (yes! 5 months) ago. When we were at the Christmas Party for the chemo kids a couple of days ago, it hurt my heart to see the new kids that we have never met before. All the kids Jack went through chemo with are looking pretty good, all except one little girl, she looked very pale and thin, the new kids are all in the midst of it, and have a rough road ahead.
I would love for Jack to be done with all of that, but I know that we will do what we have to do. I am praying for Jack's tumor to go away, or be gone, or to never grow again, and then pray for continued strength to deal with whatever comes up.
I have learned alot of lessons this year and maybe the most important one is "Let go and let God," specifically when it comes to my children. It was a hard lesson to learn with my children, but God's will be done, and He will always be my God and I His child. And may His light shine bright from my heart for all the rest of my days.

December 20, 2006

Holiday Plans

Winter is in Abilene this week. It is cold and rainy. Isn't it amazing after a couple hours of rain how dead brown grass can turn green.
I don't normally post current events on my site, but the 2 men who are missing in the mountains of Oregan's Mt. Hood have brought me to praying for a miracle. Maybe because of the man who lost his life last week while setting out to find help for his family had me already thinking about being stranded in the snow. I pray the men are found alive. Keep praying for the men and comfort for their families, I can't even imagine their states of mind.
Jack and I have a party at the cancer center today with all of his chemo friends. It should be fun.
Every day is a gift, what a blessing!
2 more days and the kids are out of school, I am so excited and I am so looking forward to spending time with my kiddo's. I have decided that the first day we have off we will set a schedule and post it so the kids know what we are doing each day. I would love to just wake up and see what the day brings but that is not how Jack is wired, and normally by the time I am putting on coffee in the morning Jack is asking me what we are doing that day, what can he do, and that he is already bored. I am pulling down the board games, got a couple new movies and have some ideas up my sleeve to keep our holiday low key but with splatterings of fun along the way. I think that with some pre-planning we should all be happy.
Someone told me that shrinky dinks are being stocked at the stores again, I think that will be one afternoon of fun, I remember making shrinky dinks when I was little and I thought it was about the coolest thing ever.
Any big plans out there?

December 19, 2006

The Monkey Called Flax

This was the discussion in our kitchen last night. I am standing by my little vitamin shelf and shaking out my daily supplements, which consist of vitaman c, flax seed oil capsules, and a multi vitamin. Derek says to me, "You know mom, people can get addicted to dr*gs that aren't even real dr*gs, like medicines you can take for colds." and I said, you are right Derek, and then I say but these are vitamins.... and leave it there, waiting for his response which I know is coming because he pretty much knows everything. Well those vitamins are just like medicines, maybe you shouldn't take them all the time. I calmly in my most unassuming voice say, "Derek, these vitamins are to keep me healthy, there is nothing bad about them." I guess he hears the strain in my voice and doesn't say anything else, but I can see the pained look on his face, like he has a mother who has given in to the monkey called flax seed oil.

I will say this about the D.A.R.E. program, it certainly works and has turned my kids into the house police. First it was my occassional glass of wine, like once every 3 months occassional, and now it is my vitamins. I have for the most part given up the wine, one - because I don't want my kids to be thinking that their mothers 6oz of wine on a special occassion will send me to the Serenity House, and because it is now disrupting my sleep patterns, (I am getting older - 14 months till I am 40 you know), but I refuse to give up my flax seed oil, vitamin c's and my daily multi vitamin. I draw the line on the influence of the D.A.R.E. program in my house when it starts infringing on my freedom of vitamins. What is my house coming to I ask? I have the mini D.A.R.E. patrol who sleep down the hall from me, is nothing personal or sacred, least of all my vitamin intake?!

I am all for Vitamin Freedom, I am ready to wave my banner high!

December 15, 2006

Virtual Meetings and the AFLAC Duck

Have you ever been just going along with your day like normal and all of a sudden in the moment everything around you seems surreal. Well yesterday was one of those days for me. I had a great day, it just was filled with quirky little moments that were filled with pockets of entertainment and wonder.
I had a meeting with a bride and groom to go over wedding details yesterday morning at Starbuck's (my 2nd favorite place to drink coffee, my first is now Tuscany's), the meeting was purely delightful. The bride and groom are going to be alot of fun to work with and the meeting was great. After the meeting was over, my good friend Denise joined me at my table, and while we were visiting, off to the right hand side in the middle of Starbuck's is a business meeting of the virtual kind. A man in his 30's or so was sitting on a chair with his laptop computer open, a bluetooth earpiece in his ear and he was going to town talking into the isight camera on the top of his laptop. He was talking to someone about an employee who was by the sound of his voice, and frankly by the words he was using, a less than desirable employee. Hello - Mr. Man on your computer laptop, I now know the name of your employee, first and last, all the derogatory comments (which could very well have been deserved, but didn't need to be overheard), and let's just say that's a bit too much information for me to hear over my morning coffee. This man could have gone to the back of the building, several tables were open, and he wouldn't have been within 3 feet of the coffee bar and in the heart of the shop. We even found out where he worked for, because as soon as his virtual employee bashing was over a prospective employee showed up for an interview and to fill out an application which we all saw. Maybe she was being interviewed to replace said employee. That was on the right side of our table.

On the left side of the table was a less obtrusive business meeting. A nice AFLAC salesperson who was signing up a woman for a new policy. They were both projecting their words at a nice normal level, but the funny part was the AFLAC Duck was sitting on the table next to the AFLAC Employee's computer. He was dressed up in a doctor's uniform. I was waiting to hear AFLAC honking from its felt beak at any moment, I mean after all on the commercial it does say AFLAC, but I guess that was too much to hope for. Each time I looked at that duck I just couldn't help but laugh. It must be a requirement to have a stuffed duck involved in all business transactions. I am after all still thinking about someone elses business transaction about 30 hours later, that is some good advertising.

The day continued to have droplets of craziness in it, but I had that much fun before 9:30am, what a day.

December 13, 2006

How We Do Christmas

Christmas Craziness. Just as my post yesterday says I love Christmas. What is it that I love....The spirit of the season (which is not easily found in the Walmart aisles), the focus on Christ's Birth, that's actually my favorite, the excitement of my kids counting down the days to Christmas morning, 2 weeks playing with my kids while they are on break, focusing on others and trying to figure out a meaningful gift for them.

I think that it is a stressful time for many because there is not enough funds to go around. My husband and I have set some guidelines for the Christmas season and we are part of a family that is also conscience about the money issues of the holidays. Here are some of the things we have done to make the season as stress free as possible.
1. Our kids get 3 gifts plus some stocking stuffers each. They get one gift that is their main gift from us then two smaller gifts. Santa brings one of those, so we buy 3 gifts total for each child. This is not easy, mainly because I want to make sure that the 3 gifts they get are something they really like and want and will use. There is no ... well maybe I will just get them this too. 3 gifts - Jesus received three gifts for His birth, my kids get 3 gifts to celebrate that birth. There has not been very many gifts that get tossed to the side and forgotten about, each of their gifts is normally played with and appreciated. Sometimes the stocking stuffers add up, I will do some and Rob's mom is thoughtful and will pass on some stocking stuffers too. What happens when I find the most perfect gift 3 days before Christmas and I have already wrapped 3 gifts, I either unwrap a gift and return it and buy the "perfect" gift, or I put the "perfect" gift on my list for the birthdays which days or weeks after Christmas.
2. I have a large extended family, we buy for each others kids, what ever we can afford, my kids have received dollar store gifts that they have loved and played with. I make alot of those gifts, this year I am making all of those gifts. It is not about the money spent, it is more about finding something that the child will love, my daughter Sophie received a dish towel from someone a couple of years ago, each time she helps me in the kitchen she uses her dish towel with the kitty on it. That relative knew she loved kitty's and loved helping in the kitchen, voila, perfect gift that she is using 3 years later, dollar store gift!
3. Scripture Exchange, the adults in our family do something called a scripture exchange. We each bring a wrapped gift for a gift exchange. This is like the typical gift exchanges you have done, draw a number, pick a gift when it is your turn, because scripture is involved - you know when the Lord is involved it is not good to steal, so we do not steal these gifts. You pick the gift, read the scripture on it, then the person who brought the gift makes a note of who picked their gift and prays that scripture for that person all year long. These gifts can be a handwritten scripture in a frame, a coffee mug from the Christian bookstore that has a meaningful scripture on it, it doesn't matter what it is, but it must have a scripture on it.
After this exchange we go around the room with someone keeping notes and share our praises and struggles and give our family our concerns to keep in their prayers for the following year. And then the note keeper gets copies to everyone through email or hardcopy. Then we...
4. White Elephant. $10 limit and the gloves are off, we pick numbers again and we choose a gift on our turn that can be stolen up to 3 times, each year I bring a big back of peanut m and m's for this and it is always a big hit. Sometimes people do a white elephant exchange that is filled with old used stuff, but that is not the kind we do, we do real gifts just keep the limit at $10. We laugh and steal and then in the end, we have made memories that we will remember for years to come.

This system works for our family. There is meaning and love throughout. Christ is the center.

Whenever I start getting frazzled about all the demands of the holiday season I take a step back, take a deep breath, decide where that falls in the scheme of Christmas, if it is just a stressor I don't do it, unless it is a need or a service to someone who is in need. Then I will find a way, I will take the opportunity to help someone who is in need, because that is more important than anything else listed above, if the Lord has given me that opportunity then He will provide the means. My radar is always lifted a bit higher in this season because of the financial stress it puts on people. Some people can't afford one present for their child unless their food budget is cut, or they don't put gas in their car this week, those are the people I watch for. Those are the real tidbits of celebration of the season.

Since Jack got sick periphery things have simplified for me. If I was to die tomorrow, if my child was to die tomorrow, what is really important. Our relationship with the Lord is the only thing, are my actions bringing glory to Him, am I a beacon of light, or has the world covered me up so much that I just blend in and match everyone else, I strive and pray every day for the strength to be used by the Lord, all the other stuff is just that.

December 12, 2006

Potpourri of Christmas thoughts.

I love Christmas time! I started shopping a bit this week for Christmas and am trying to decide if I am going to wrap the presents as I get them and put them under the tree, or wait until Christmas eve and put them all out. Does anyone have any feelings on this. Storage is always an issue for me.

I just finished making the teacher gifts for the kids to take to school. I had seen on the Today show several months ago how to make a purse from a scarf. When I went to Sam Moon a couple of months ago with some of my girlfriends I bought some scarfs with this project in mind for teacher gifts. In each purse I would put a Starbucks card ($5), a homemade cinnamon ornament made by my kids, and some candy. I chose the cherry cordial kisses to be the sweet treat!

Jack has a port flush tomorrow, it is always fun to see the staff at the oncology office.

I need to sit down and finish addressing my Christmas Cards. I am having a hard time staying still long enough to do that. That is on my list for today.

I am grateful for all of my friends and family. This morning I was sitting next to Jack on the couch waiting for the bus to come. Every moment is sweet with him. Every moment with each of my children is sweet. These quiet moments are times to savor. At the end of the day my favorite memories are the gentle, soft, quiet moments with my children. I want to lodge those memories in a permanent bank in my head.

I always remember the words by Mary the mother of Jesus, loosely quoted, she stores up memories like treasures in her heart. I know that our lives never stay the same, and Lord willing our children will grow up and spread their wings, and start their own families...

If you haven't seen The Nativity - go see it. It is wonderfully made and was heart felt and touching. I didn't cry too much during the movie, but the next morning we were at church, we sang some Christmas songs about the birth of Jesus, and that is when the tears started to fall. Thank you Jesus for becoming flesh, being born of Mary, a sweet baby boy.

December 08, 2006

Yo-Yo Santa

Jack brought home a letter to Santa Clause yesterday. This was the first couple of sentences:
Yo-Yo Santa Clause, Jack here, how are you? How is Mrs. Clause? Did she have a baby this year?
I think he was in sentence 8 or 9 before he listed a toy he wanted.

Rob's dad is here visiting this weekend. We have alot of fun stuff ahead of us!

I am thankful for all of my good friends. Sometimes I can get a bit overwhelmed by my little view of the world, all it takes is to step out and insert some work or prayer in someone elses life and the peace of heart steps in. One of my very good friends always says that when she gets down she starts to look out to others and see where she can help. I am not down, just a bit busy, and looking out to others blesses the "looker" ten times more than it blesses the "lookee" We are made to serve others and not be so self centered, when those moments are offered for us by God to grab on to, which I am sure is more than I realize it is like the world makes sense. All is right.

This season, Reach out and Help Someone, whether it be through cleaning their house, praying with them, washing their car, fixing a meal,... take time to give of yourself. And you will be touched and your giving will never come back empty even if the givee never knows it is you, God will be touched and it will make Him smile.

December 06, 2006

My Captains



Here is my Captain Jack and his collaborator Captain D.
Enemy Ships Beware!

December 04, 2006

Make a Wish Christmas Party







Jack and our family were invited to a Make A Wish Christmas party in San Angelo on Saturday. Wells Fargo bank sponsors this event each year. The party is in the gym of a beautiful church in downtown San Angelo. The kids had a blast. Santa and Mrs. Clause showed up and gave presents to the wish kids and their siblings. There were prizes galore for games and one game that even gave $1 bills when you knocked a bowling pin down. The kids had a total blast and we did too. It was overwhelming at first being in a room with children who have had wishes, children who have been sick or still are, and maybe always will be. There was joy in all the faces of these sweet children and their parents who just take one day at a time and make the most of each moment. We even met a boy who is in Derek's class at school who is a cancer survivor, we didn't know about his health issues in his past. Isn't it funny how a child can fight for his life, with years of chemo like this little boy, and 5 years later he doesn't look or act different than any other child in his classroom. Life is always full of surpises.
Have a most wonderful day!

December 02, 2006

Check your Palm Pilot.

Wouldn't you hate it if you woke up at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning to get ready for a 7am pedicure appt., made some coffee to go, stopped by Mary's Mexican to pick up a couple of egg burrito's one for you and one to share, drove up at 7:02, still a bit dark out. See a dark shop, wait 30 minutes in your car, check your palm pilot, see the appointment is for next Saturday and drive home thinking you wished you would have checked your palm pilot earlier. I would hate that too!

December 01, 2006

The Most Fun Snow Day





Yesterday morning started with watching the scrolling words across the bottom of the tv screen. School starts at 10am. I made breakfast and to celebrate the extra couple of hours hot chocolate. Then came the call from Elaine, did you hear that school is cancelled today....SNOW DAY!
More hot chocolate, the video Santa Clause is Coming to Town. Ahh, warm and toasty.
I finished up the tile picture project you see above.
Then a trip to Walmart, one of my least favorite places, but as we were down to a half a roll of tp it became a necessity, and I needed a new printer cartidge, along with craft ingredients, and to make a bank deposit. Where else can one go when the roads are a bit snowy and icy for one stop shopping. I am not sure I have ever been so glad for Walmart.
Grocery shopping done, lunch time, then we made the cute cinnamon ornaments you saw above. The kids, Rob and I cut them out and baked them then decorated them. That was so much fun and our house smells like cinnamon.
We went and saw Santa Clause 3
Made homemade chilli and extra yummy cornbread and our day was complete.
Somewhere in there the kids played outside in the snow several times and came in with little red noses and cheeks.
We had the best day ever.

November 29, 2006

MRI Date

January 17 - 7:30 am Jack's next MRI then we will find out the results on January 18 at 8:45 am.

November 28, 2006

Grandparents Presents Shown - Spoiler Alert





The holiday season has officially begun at our house. We decorated our Christmas tree about a week and a half ago, but that is not what officially kicks off the season for us. Last night our family watched Frosty and Rudolph while eating warm chocolate chip cookies and drinking hot chocolate. All the while we were sweating from the heat, Jack finally went and got the box fan from his room and set it up in the living room. It might have been a warm night in Abilene but it was Frosty at our house. This warm spell in Abilene will be over after today, I think we are looking at winter starting in the morning. Almost 80 today and I think it will be 30 tomorrow. Give or take ten degree's. Ah, Texas.
Tonight is the Christmas Parade in downtown Abilene, another highlight! We love this parade. It is about 45 minutes long, and a great variety of entries. I do love this holiday season.
Late afternoon yesterday I took some pictures of the kids to give as holiday gifts to grandparents. They were so accomadating. Normally the picture taking scene is not pretty at our house. I become the parent that makes me crazy when I take pictures. The words, "You better smile or ....." came out of my mouth not too long ago when I was taking our Christmas card picture. Then came the "We will go to Sonic on the way home if you smile...."
When I am working and taking pictures of other peoples kids the scene is totally different, I am very flexible, the thought of frustration never even enters my head, go with the flow, distractions, change locations, whatever works, and their are great pictures to show for the sitting. When it is my kids, something happens to my creativity and patience. That is very strange to me. Why is that?
Anyway last night was a joy, I had suggested that the kids give pictures of themselves to their grandparents for Christmas. They were all about that, include them in the process, I need to remember that in the future. They were coming up with poses left and right and had a great time. I had to pull them away when there was no light left outside, I even heard Derek say, I can stand under the street light and maybe you can get another picture with that light. I just laughed that I was the one that was ready to go and they wanted more, which never happens. So this is a spoiler alert to grandparents you have seen your gifts from your grandkids if you have looked at this post. But they were so cute I just couldn't help posting them.
Wishing you a happy last couple of days in November.

November 25, 2006

November 23, 2006

Tammy's Guide to Turkey Preparation and Roasting

1. Buy the Turkey. Walk around the grocery store one week before Thanksgiving. Go to the dairy aisle to buy the only thing on your list, 1 gallon whole milk (yes we drink whole). See the turkey's piled up in the frozen food section. Calculate how many days until Thanksgiving (eek, only one week away). Pick out biggest turkey in pile, heave into basket. Read the sign, ".39 cents a pound with $10 purchase." Continue on to the dairy aisle to select milk. $3.29. Wander aimlessly around the store to decide what other items I can buy to get to $10. After walking through the snack aisle, quota is met. Buy groceries and go home.

2. Look at the turkey, count the days until Thanksgiving again, decide the turkey needs to go into the freezer.

3. 3 days before Thanksgiving, panic because the Turkey is still in the freezer.

4. Leave turkey in sink overnight (not recommending this to anyone else) to get that deep freeze frozen thawed a bit.

5. Put turkey in fridge to continue thawing for the next 2 days. Note: Still rock solid frozen.

6. Poke turkey with one finger twice a day to see if it has thawed. No luck.

7. Ah...glorious Thanksgiving morning. Wake up to the sound of my alarm clock at 5am to get the turkey in the oven.

8. Look in fridge, cry for my departed mother, I wish she was the one making the turkey, not me.

9. Take a deep breath, heave partially thawed turkey out of fridge and drop it in freshly scrubbed sink.

10. Cut open plastic to reveal a fleshy, white, 22 lb. turkey, partially frozen.

11. Cry again for my mom, why me? Why do I have to touch this huge hunk of raw bird? Think pretty thoughts. Go somewhere else, ahh, the beach,....

12. Turn water on to complete thawing process, grab knive to start prying turkey legs from the metal leg holder device.

13. Jab legs with knive, pry, grab turkey as it is doing a 360 degree turn, and hopping around in sink from me jabbing at it.

14. Get large ziploc bag, (bread bags work best), stick hand in ziploc bag and go to that pretty place in head again while I put my ziploc covered hand and forearm into turkey. YUCK. Dig around feeling for the neck. Pry the neck loose, pull it out. What ever you do, don't look at it. This alone could cause one to never eat turkey again.

15. Turn turkey around and feel around neck area, still with bag on hand. Turn on faucet, steaming hot to melt ice around turkey flap to open up other end and pull out a bag of something I will not even mention here. Again, do not look at it!

16. Finish rinsing turkey. Plop in big pan that hasn't been used since last November. That 10 minutes before had dust bunnies in it, until washed out.

17. Pour oil over turkey. Cover all turkey with oil, you can use 1 tablespoon and rub it around, or half a bottle and never have to touch anything, just drizzle till all covered.

18. Salt and cover with foil. Ahhh...raw dead bird out of sight.

19. Bake for 4 hours pull foil, smell delicious aroma, let turkey brown for another 45-1hr. make sure popper thing is popped, take out of oven. Let cool a bit so as not to burn fingers when hacking or carving as I like to call it.

20. I will spare you the details of carving a turkey, but just know I try only to touch what looks like belongs on your plate. Anything that looks a little iffy, I go to my happy place and just throw that part away.

21. Serve the turkey to loved ones, and give them big hugs because all the raw bird touching was worth it to see the smiles on their faces when they eat their Thanksgiving meal. Thank you God for my family.

22. I thank God for you too! Happy Thanksgiving Day.

p.s. my daugher who is now 7 years old has prepared our turkey for 3 years now. She double crossed me and spent the night with her grandma to hang out with her cousins who are in town for the holiday. She loves the turkey experience, but not enough to give up a night with cousins. Go figure.

November 21, 2006

A new front door for marcelainphotography.com

My new website for Marcelain Photography is live. Click over and check it out. You might be thinking...didn't she just announce a new website like, 2 months ago, and the answer is a big yes, I have tried out a couple of different options, but this is the style I wanted, it just took me a while to get there. So click on over and check it out. Tell me what you think about it!
Tammy

November 19, 2006

Superbowl Champions







And the Raiders win the Superbowl! 22-0. This year the Raiders have scored 323 points to 7 points being scored on them. What a fun season for the kids! The game was great, and the kids did a great job. Derek had a great time. I posted a great play made by Derek, you see him, #81 see a guy who needs to be stopped, Derek runs across the field and gets to him and makes the tackle. It was a fun night.

The Fans




It was so cold! Sophie is drinking her hot chocolate, Jack is not in the mood for picture taking!

November 16, 2006

Big Ol' Deer Sighting

Thursday morning. I am sitting in front of my computer that has twice as many gigabytes than it did just a mere 15 hours ago! Thanks George for working on my computer this week, and thanks to Kristen his wonderful wife and my good friend for missing out on time with her husband while he sooopped up my Mac. Can't wait to take ya'll out to dinner!
Yesterday afternoon Jack's best buddy in the whole world came home with Jack on the school bus yesterday, they had so much fun hanging out. Last night after church I was driving him home which is a bit out of town, in the country. As I was driving back into town, on Buffalo Gap Rd. right before you get to the Lack's furniture store I had to slam on my brakes to stop from hitting a running deer. This deer was huge, it had 4 points on each side of it's antlers. It was so cool to see it run, and it ran across a somewhat busy two way street and didn't get hit or cause an accident.
I myself am not a hunter, my dad and 2 brothers were and are. But not to the extent that we have here in West Texas. It is not unusual to go into a restaurant or a convenience store and see a field of camoflauge on men, women, boys and girls alike. They are getting their last home cooked meal before they head out for the hunt, or sometimes on their way back in. The scene I see at the convenience store is a bit more disturbing, I have seen this twice this last week, Dad and son both in head to toe camo walking out of the store, kid with a bag of candy and dad with a twelve pack of beer, headed out to hunt. The way people hunt around here is to sit still for a very long time and wait for the deer to walk by, I would imagine it can get a bit boring, but I think that hot chocolate mixes with ammo better than budweiser.
My dad was a drinker, there was never self-control involved, he never had just one, the bible says all things in moderation....one glass of wine, one bottle of beer, no problem, but 12 by the time lunch is served is definately not moderation. I remember one time when my dad took my brother's hunting and my dad drank too much and I think he almost shot my littlest brother by accident. I don't think my mom ever let my dad take my brothers hunting again. My personal opinion is that alcohol and hunting do not mix, too many guns around. But I am sure there are hundreds maybe thousands of West Texans that highly disagree.
Now just to clarify all the West Texas men I know that hunt do not bring any alcohol, nor would they ever consider it. But I don't know if that is the norm or not.
So the deer spotting goes up, one in a Walmart, one in a business office, and one on the streets of Abilene. They are everywhere.

November 15, 2006

Hay-de, Hi-de, Hoe-de

Hay-de, Hi-de, Hoe-de - that is how I answer my phone when my friend Denise calls, it always makes her laugh. I am definately not above making my friends laugh at my cost.
I have had a busy with taking pictures, all images processed - check, all proof books ordered - check.
I heard that Christmas is 6 weeks away! I keep on asking my kids what they want for Christmas and they keep telling me obscure things I have never heard of. I have officially moved anything with more than a handful of parts or that requires hours of assembly time. We do the 3 present rule for Christmas. Jesus received 3 presents from the wise men for his birthday, we are celebrating Jesus' birthday, so we don't get more than He did, this really is a good tool to help me not go crazy for presents. It requires me to be thoughtful and consider the staying power of gifts. My kids end up getting gifts from other family members so they still make out like bandits, but they don't have so much that they don't appreciate what they get. This is something that has worked for us. And I say again, it really is the reigns that hold me in from shopping like crazy for them. I love Christmas so much and it just seems like shopping is so easy to do in the month of December, everything is on sale and the hype is over the top. So this 3 present rule helps me focus on other ways to make memories for my kids...
I am taking my kids pics for Christmas cards this weekend, now that I am a photoshop junkie that opens up a bit more creativity at my disposal, but I am not sure which direction to go yet...
I am thinking about my Nana as we are planning our Thanksgiving menu this year. She always had specific items that were a bit off the wall that she wanted - like sauerkraut, I guess I wont be making my sauerkraut this year. It won't be the same holiday for any of us, the first's are always the hardest, then each passing year it gets easier. My Nana's personality was so strong that her lack of presence will be evident. I am sure it will be hardest on my Gran.

November 14, 2006

blogthing - personality test.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile

Extroversion:

You have high extroversion.
You are outgoing and engaging, with both strangers and friends.
You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation.
Enthusiastic and fun, you're the first to say "let's go!"

Conscientiousness:

You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.

Agreeableness:

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.

Neuroticism:

You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

November 11, 2006

Superbowl

...and the Raiders go to the Superbowl. Next Sunday 4pm at Jim Ned's High School stadium.
Let me just say that there is a BIG difference between a regular season game and the play off games! I was sitting in the stands before Derek's game played and the teams that were playing were the next age group down from Derek's team. Well let me tell you it was very animated. I was secretly thinking to myself, boy, I am glad our games don't get this ugly. I am all for the loud cheering and hollering, although I am not much of a holler-er, but on occasion I stand and holler with the best of the mom's. So I am sitting on my cold behind thinking, "I am glad our team is positive and doesn't trash talk."
In the first quarter of our game I realized that our team's cheering section was just as animated as the team before us. The ref's made a couple of questionable calls and I thought people were going to storm the field, or at the very least wait for the ref's down a dark alley later on. At one point I saw one of the opposing teams coaches throw his clip board in great discontent with a call. The team we played today gave us a good run for our money but in the end the Raiders won 13-0. The players did a good job of keeping it positive on the field, but I think the adults need to realize that Jesus is sitting right next to them in the bleachers as well as in the pew on Sunday mornings.
We will be excited to play the Superbowl game next week! I think I am bringing my earplugs.

By the way I am officially in the Christmas spirit, my toenails have a beautifully blingy Christmas tree and a star on them. Can anyone say...wassail, hot chocolate, Bing Crosby Christmas music, and the reason for the season, our sweet Jesus. This is my favorite time of year.

November 08, 2006

Lauren Winner at ACU

Thanks to Amber for the heads up on Lauren Winner speaking tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 9th at ACU. She will be speaking at 11am Chapel and again at 7pm, both in Moody Coliseum. She is a wonderful author - I have only read one of her three books she currently has published, Girl Meets God. I loved it! Very Exciting!

November 07, 2006

Baby Maci

It has been a while since I took baby pictures. Click here to see baby Maci, she is adorable. When you get past the front page click on "blog." Warning, Warning, Warning, Sarah - do not click over.... this might throw you over the edge and you will want one more of these cute little beings a.s.a.p. everybody else feel free to check out this sweet baby girl.

Voice of the Martyrs

Hi Friends. I just finished re-reading Hearts of Fire, a book written about 8 women's stories of accepting Christ and how that changed their lives. In the free world if someone accepts Christ what changes? I study and ask God to help me fine tune my spiritual walk. I don't watch R rated movies - trash in trash out. I listen to Christian music - holy in holy out. I try and help other people in their walk. I spend time in prayer looking for where God would have me. I try to take captive my thoughts for Jesus....this list goes on, but in essence it is not that hard. Fighting my carnal nature seems extremely overwhelming at times, but that might be as tough as it gets. Some people might look at me and think I am a religious freak, and maybe I have just taken this whole "spiritual walk" thing a bit too far. I think I have not gone far enough, and I know that God will grow me more and more every day. I can look at my life with Christ as the center and compare it to my life without Christ and I have peace where there was none, joy where there was only temperal happiness, I have an understanding of why I am on earth, there is a plan for me, a higher calling than live, work, play, die. There is a higher calling for each and every being created whether we choose that or live life with our eyes closed to that calling is purely a choice. What I am getting at is that for the most part I am in no bodily danger for choosing to be a Christian.
The women (and young teenagers) in the book I just finished choose Christ at a cost. The cost for them is being disowned, beaten, jailed, spit on and hunted by the police and by their families who would think it best that they be killed rather than bring dishonor to their family name. These women and other Christians who choose Christ where the laws prevent free religion, religion on the governments terms is the only easy option. They chose Christ. They started sharing the story of Christ many never having even seen a bible only a traveling preacher who told the story. Bibles obviously are not allowed in their countries, they must be smuggled in at great risk to the deliverer. Some of these women have chosen to help others by being the smugglers of the bibles. They put their lives on the line every day for Christ. Their friends have been murdered right in front of their faces, and their faith is unwavering - the Holy Spirit is well with them.
One of the young women, she was a teenager. Her name is Ling. She had been called to share the word of Jesus. She lives in China (1973). She did not have a bible, she had only heard the story of Christ. Without a bible she set out to share His story. After a while of sharing Christ, she had heard of a woman who had some bibles 4 miles away. She ran there, asked the women for the bible. The woman would only give Ling a bible if she memorized the Lord's prayer. Ling ran back to town and went to the only believer in the town who had a bible. Knocked on his door and asked him to look at his bible to copy the Lord's Prayer so she could memorize it. He carefully handed her his handwritten bible, his hands were malformed from handwriting his bible, word for word, from someone else's bible. It was a treasure to him. Ling copied the prayer, memorized it, went back to the woman and quoted the prayer. She gave Ling a bible and told her she had to make sure she was serious about needing a bible. The woman had found these bibles washed up on shore from a boat of missionaries and had hand dried each page. Ling has been jailed numerous times, beaten, and suffers for Christ. She would have it no other way, she would choose death rather than denounce Christ.
Ling still shares the word of God today and in the epilogue of her story it says that she was very excited about the 2008 Olympic games coming to Bejing, she thinks that it will be an incredible opportunity for house churches to grow and flourish.
Reading the stories of these women and their families really helps me put in perspective my life and my choices. The apostle Paul talks about his suffering for Christ and that testimony is very powerful, but there is just something even more concrete about hearing stories of our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering that helps me kick my walk up a notch. There are several books out there on martyr's for Christ. You can also click here to go to the Voice of the Martyrs website which is like an online magazine and gives updates on persecution. They are the voice that get's out the needs and happenings of someone we will meet in heaven someday. You can write a letter to a persecuted Christian, find out who needs our prayers, and most of all raise your awareness of what the cost for Christ is for people who do not live where they are free to worship.
When we are forced to make serious choices for our faith, God is with us each step of the way, filling us with His Spirit in proportion to what we need, with God all things are possible.
Father God be with these struggling men, women and children who are bringing your message to people in their land. They are following your call at a huge cost. I pray blessings of encouragement on these wonderful souls. Help me be more like them. In Jesus Name, Amen

November 06, 2006

The Hair Salon Experience

Jack and Sophie's Hair salon was a big success. Yesterday afternoon I sat down for my high falutin' hair treatment from the world renound hair stylists Jack and Sophie. Jack's job was to take the water sprayer and spray all around my hair. He noticed that the water was dripping down on my shirt and he laid towels all over me to keep me from getting wet. While he was fixing my hair he told me he thought about quitting this job earlier in the afternoon but he was glad that he had stuck with it. (I was just the inspiration he needed I guess) So he wet my hair down and then Sophie very gently might I add combed out my hair with a big brush. All the while Jack was examining every side of my hair to make sure every strand of hair was in its place. He would say to Sophie while on tip toes and looking around the side of my head, "did you get that part?", to which Sophie would say, "yea, got it." and he would nod his head and put his hand under his chin and examine some more. Once the combing was done then Jack used my hair dryer on the cool setting and dried my hair, all the while holding his hand on my hair so it wouldn't get messed up while he was drying it. He thinks of everything. Then they were so pleased with what they were seeing that they were deciding what to do with all the serious cash they were going to make, Jack said he couldn't wait to be rich. Sophie said she was going to give all her money to the poor (a girl after my own heart), to which Jack replied that he would give a little money to the poor but he would still have enough to buy alot of toys. They have decided to pursue this career until they are about 13 years old, so if you need a style any time in the next 6 years give your business to Jack and Sophie's Hair Salon. I told them that I actually didn't have any money to pay and they said that was o.k. and even though their sign says $2 for a haircut, they take pennies too. So their prices are very flexible.

November 05, 2006

Jack and Sophie's Hair Salon

Sunday afternoon. I just fixed tortilla soup for lunch and it was delicious. It is soup weather today in Abilene, cloudy and a bit drizzly. Ah, the look of fall. We have had a good couple of days since our trip to Dallas. Jack is doing great. I continue to be encouraged at the outlook, God is giving me an overwhelming peace and I know that He will be with us though the thick and thin.
Derek's football team the Raiders won their first play off game yesterday. So far this year the Raiders have scored 312 points to 7 points that have been scored against them. Go Raiders! During the game yesterday Derek made some great tackles and his name was announced twice over the loud speaker, very exciting for our family!
They play next Saturday and if they win they will play in the Superbowl on Sunday, November 19, 4pm at the Jim Ned High School football field.
Last night Jack and Sophie came up with the idea to have a hair salon in our house. Rob was the first customer. If you know Rob that might have just made you laugh, as he has no hair, he is bald. He got the scrub down treatment with a special cloth, then he had a massage with Mango Lotion, and then to top it off, they sprayed cologne on his head. He got the clean, buff, and shine deal. All for $2. I am next on the appointment schedule.
Jack came out to me before church this morning and said that he could do my hair for church. I wasn't sure what to say, being that it would be such an honor for my 7 year old son to fix my hair for church. As I was thinking of what to say, he said, "Mom, do you still color your hair?" to which I replied a big "yes," then he said, "well, can I use the spray bottle on your hair?" I think he thought that if he wet my hair the red would just run out or something. I said, "yes, you can use a spray bottle when you do my hair." and then he said, "o.k., I know what I am going to do, I am going to spray all aroud your hair with the water, and get it real wet and comb it all straight down, then I am going to swipe your bangs over to the side and tuck them behind your ears." Funny I thought to myself, that is what I do to Jack's hair everyday. So I told Jack that I wasn't sure that would work for my hair before church, maybe we should try it after church, and then he said that maybe he should stick to fixing boys hair, as he doesn't know what to do with girls hair. Sophie then said that she would be doing my hair. I am very excited to see what the finished product will look like. Just for the record, when your son has just had an MRI that showed growth in the tumor on his brainstem, a mother is willing to have her hair wet down and combed with a brush and have bangs swept to the side and tucked behind her ears and enjoy every moment of it.

November 02, 2006

A Bit of Growth, A Road to Share

Hello - Back in Abilene. Glad to be home. Jack did extremely well during his MRI last evening. Never moved an inch! We felt your prayers each step of the way. This morning we had his clinic visit and were able to talk with Jack's oncologist, his neurosurgeon whom we haven't seen in over a year, and a new neurologist that we hadn't met until today. It was one stop shopping, we just sat in a room and one after another doctors came to see us.
The report of the MRI was that there seemed to be a small bit of growth on one of the area's they were watching. They measured it for us and it was 2 millimeters to be exact larger than the last time they measured it. The many doctors on the team including those listed above and a couple more have looked at Jack's scans and felt it necessary to move his next MRI up one month to the first of January then re-scan and see what the results look like. If those results are in line with the results from last nights MRI then Jack will be starting a new treatment. Most likely a different form of chemo but no specifics were talked about today. Dr. Price, Jack's neurosurgeon said that every time there is any change and additional treatments are needed it is always between chemo, radiation, or surgery. The team involved looks at all the pro's and con's and decide what is the next step.
The area that is growing is on Jack's brainstem. It is on the outside, so many options are ahead of us. When Jack had his resection surgery in April of 2005, this is the area that Dr. Price tried to get at, removed a baseball size of a tumor down to this little miniscule area and Jack's body would not tolerate the last bit being removed as it was interwoven inside his brain stem.
You might wonder why they don't start treatment right now? Dr. Bowers said that the area of growth is so small that there is no immediate necessity of treatment until they can confirm with Jack's next MRI that there is consistant growth. They want to make sure that Jack doesn't needlessly get put through another round of something unless it is necessary. The chemo and radiation bring with it risks of future cancers being developed because of the treatment, so treatment is not taken lightly.
We have an awesome team of pediatric doctors who are at the top of their profession and not one felt like this was life threatening for Jack at this point. We are very lucky that this is benign and not malignant.
I was thinking on the way home just how I felt about this, was I going to worry about it? No. Then I thought this really is just more of an inconvenience than it is a tragedy. And then the Lord convicted me this is not an inconvenience, there is road to walk, people to meet, smile's to share and most of all Jesus to be shared. This is not an inconvenience it is an opportunity to live life to the fullest and share the Lord. Thank you Jesus.

November 01, 2006

MRI




Last night we went to church for trunk or treat. Rob and I signed up to bring our car, decorate it, and hand out candy. The kids made the rounds to all the other trunks then helped us hand out candy. We had a blast. In the last couple of years we have waited in line with all the treaters with our kids and that was fun, but this year I got to see everyone's costume and to greet all the visitors and goo goo gaa gaa over all the little one's costumes. Next year more of my friends must sign up to be trunkers.
Here are a couple of pics of my angels. Derek was a football player, Sophie a Princess Kitty, and Jack Mr. Incredible.
Jack has his MRI today. Please pray for no growth of tumors in that sweet head, and pray that Jack is very still for the MRI. We will get the results on Thursday morning and we will post what the results are after we find out. It sure wouldn't hurt to pray for peace and patience for Rob and I through this 2 day process. It is at these times of Jack's tests and uncertainty on what will happen next medically that the words of God give me comfort, peace and strength, I am reminded of how much I need the Jesus to live in victory.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

I am going to say those words in my prayer tonight. I love that the Lord gives us a sweet sleep without fear, he goes above and beyond our needs and gives us the sweetest blessings.

October 31, 2006

My Gran

Hello -
Busy week. My grandpa who I call Gran is still in the hospital. He had his last stints put in yesterday so hopefully after a day or two of recovery he will be heading home. Gran is 86 years old. When asking his surgeon what he recommended as far as diet and exercise his surgeon said, if he looks this good at 86 years old I wouldn't change anything. Granted he had 3 largely blocked arteries in his heart, but he is 86 years old, something has to start wearing out at some point in your life. So Gran is free to eat bacon every morning for breakfast. A funny story about my Gran, he is known for his "budgeting." He went for breakfast at a local restaurant in town, where my younger sister was working at the time. He ordered his breakfast which was probably one or two eggs and toast, my sister asked if he wanted bacon with that, and he replied, "No, bacon costs an extra .75 cents so I brought my own." He opened up his coat, reached into the pocket in his shirt and pulled out a couple of pieces of bacon wrapped up in a paper towel. Ofcourse everyone laughed and gave him a hard time, well for 13 years and still counting, that story still lives on. He is a glorious man, just yesterday he thanked me again for a Christmas present I gave him about 6 years ago. He is someone who does not take presents lightly, and hand written thank you cards are regular fare coming from him.
He is a living example of a strong man's man who loves God first, family second, and has a smile and a handshake for everyone in his path.
Yesterday when I went to visit I double checked his room number with the nurses station, as he has been moved several times. When I told them who I was looking for all the nurses started giggling and said he is in 3613, we were just talking about him. He makes everyone laugh. I am blessed.
One of my grandfather's proudest moments is when he looks down the row at church and see's his family, he used to lean over to my Nana and say, "Look what we started." and they would both smile. He is also as tender as any man I have known, he prays everyday for our family members who do not have a relationship with Christ. His eyes fill up with tears when he hears of his grandchildren not attending church regularly or pursuing a relationship with the Lord. My Gran has me wrapped around his pinky finger. I think he is dreamy.

October 25, 2006

Hot Cocoa

Hey long lost friends and readers - It has been a week since I updated my site. I tried yesterday but blogger freaked out when I was trying to publish my 5 sentence quick post. Atleast I hadn't spent an hour writing where the fruits went into that cyberspace where all lost posts go.
I have stayed busy working and taking pictures, along with visiting with my grandpa who is in the hospital. He had a heart attack on Friday night. His testing has come back to show that he is in need of some work on his heart and I am sure they will start putting in the first of 9 stints sometime this week. If he was younger open heart surgery would have been the way to go but as he is 86 years old he doesn't want to go there, and the dr.'s agree that the risks increase dramatically after 80 years old. So keep my sweet Gran in your prayers. I personally am tired of people dying around me, the people who have passed are praising and hallaluia-ing in glorious Zion, I am left wandering around this earth without all the wisdom that I have counted on for years in counsel and prayer. This is life.
Now let's find some sunshine.
The kids are all doing well. Jack has his MRI next week, November 1st and then we get the results at the clinic visit on November 2nd.
Derek's football team is still undefeated. They play their final regular season game next Monday night. Then the playoffs. It is starting to get cold for all of those practices and games, time to bundle up and bring some hot cocoa to keep warm. Yum.
It is starting to feel like Christmas time with the cool air and the smell of fireplaces burning. I am one of those crazy people who start listening to Christmas music in the first week or two of November. 3-4 weeks is just not enough for the sounds of Christmas. I think I need to purchase a holiday candle!
Just so you know I don't bring down the Christmas movies until after Thanksgiving, I do have my limits after all.
Happy Holidays!

October 18, 2006

Unashamed

I saw this letter written below on boomama's blog today. Then I went to the funeral of Brock Latham. This is how Brock's parents have lived out there faith. There would not be one person I would guess that has ever been in their presence and wondered if they are people of faith, believers, proclaimers, unashamed of their God. The word unashamed reminds me of the scripture Luke 9:26 NIV "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." These words are spoken by Jesus. The Latham's wave their Jesus Banner High, and that makes our Lord Jesus Christ smile a big beautiful smile. To proclaim Jesus in times of suffering pierces my heart. Whether it is a martyr like the man who wrote what is below or a mom or dad speaking and singing praise through their grief and mourning at the funeral of their 4 year old son. May God continue to be glorified by the legacy of Brock and the faith of his family.

___________________________

"I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My banner will be clear!"

-Found among the papers of a young Zimbabwe pastor after he was martyred

October 17, 2006

Brock

I want to just praise God for the example that the Latham Family has been to me through the struggles of their son Brock's battle with brain cancer. I just read on the blogsite that Brock has gone on to be with the Lord. Brock was 4 years old. His funeral services are Wednesday at 1pm at Beltway Baptist Church. As someone who has gone through brain tumors and chemo with my own son, this is a place that I have not gone. Our fleshly bodies on this earth are so fragile. At any moment things could change from an accident or illness. I learned through my experience with Jack that not one day should be taken for granted. Not one laugh or giggle from my children, each day on earth is a blessing with our loved ones. There is not one day that can go by that we are guaranteed will end the same way it started. Brock's death is a reminder to me that life is fleeting, we must prepare for we do not know when the Bridegroom will return for His bride. Are the lamps lit, are we ready, if we are not, then this is the time. Make haste and call up on the Lord for Him to guide you down the path of salvation.
God sometimes takes away the fire, sometimes He walks us through the flames right by our sides, like he did with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and other times we will be delivered straight into the arms of Jesus. Brock is right there. His family is being walked through the flames, probably even carried, and they call upon the Name of the Lord and continue to praise Him in this storm.
Latham's I am praying for each of you.

October 16, 2006

It is hard to hit delete.

Ponderings. When Rob and I first married we each had our own address books. I am curious if most people when combining their households immediately combine their address books, or if each person keeps their own for a while, forever? I was all about combining our households when Rob and I got married, we immediately shared a bank account, what was mine was his and his mine. But the one thing I couldn't seem to combine was our address books. Names of people who were in our pasts that we would probably never talk to again, do you forward those to your new address book? Or do you just put in the names of people who are currently in your life? These questions plagued me into keeping separate address books for years. Then the largest obstacle is when someone who you are close to dies, do you erase their name, or in this case do you forward their name, just because that person should always have a place in your address book. Maybe under the address I could have written... heaven. Right before Rob and I married his grandpa died in an accident, I knew how much Rob admired and loved his grandpa and his death was hard on all who knew him. So for years when I would look through Rob's address book to get an address, I would see Grandpa and his Waukegan, Ill. address and phone number. I didn't even want to think about what to do with that name and address, so we continued our separate address books. Then my dad died, then my mom died. When do you delete a phone number off of your cell phone? Do you just do it matter of factly or do you go through the grieving process all over again. I was sitting at Derek's football practice last Thursday night, trying to pass some time and I was cleaning up the phone numbers of people who have moved away and their numbers weren't correct anymore. I scrolled down and saw "Nana." I thought about it for a moment, should I change the name on that number to Grandpa or just leave it because I am not ready to erase her from my phone book yet. I left her name.
Rob and I have in the last year combined address books, my mom, dad and Rob's grandpa's name are not in there any more. There are huge gaping holes that are present on the M, G, and Z pages. Once very loved and important people held the top lines, and now they have been filled with other very loved and important people in our families.
I know that the new address for these people are all in Gloryland. But the Texas, Arizona and Illinois landscapes are missing some special people. Even when there is a peace in their passing, it is just hard to hit delete.

October 14, 2006

inspi (red)

inspi (red)

Several months ago I heard about the

product red www.joinred.com
line that was being developed by Bono and Bobby Shriver. This line of goods and services would be a way for us as consumers to buy cool stuff and a good portion of the profits would go to Africa for aids relief. I was so excited when I saw on Oprah yesterday that the line has been rolled out. Gap, Georgio Armani, Motorola phones, Ipod, and Converse, are some of the companies which have developed items in their lines that will benefit Product Red. Our Gap outlet in Abilene does not have the inspi (red) shirt that I want, so I went online to buy one this morning and they are sold out. I am going to keep checking back and get one as soon as I can. I love to buy gifts that give back, that is why I love the Eternal Threads Bags and have them listed on my sidebar. One can purchase a beautiful gift that helps someone so far away that we tend to forget about their plythe, or maybe we just don't want to think about it in the first place. Buying Product Red or Eternal Threads bags are a way that we can make a big difference in a persons life.
Shop Eternal and Red!!!

October 10, 2006

No Fun Allowed Today

Tuesday night. Derek and I just returned from football practice. He had a great night. It is hard to believe that there are just 3 games left, then we go into the playoffs which is a couple more games after that. The season is starting to come to an end. I needed to take some pictures with my black backdrop yesterday, and I couldn't locate part of it, so Stan at Photo Image Center let me use his studio to take the pics. As I have always been an "environmental photographer" using studio gear was a learning experience for me. I took Sophie with me to the studio to get my lighting and stuff right with her as my subject. She loves the camera. Click here to go to my website and click on blog to see my adorable child. ( I tried to link that directly to her page but for some reason the pics don't come up.) She was all about the posing. I moved my photography blog to my .mac website where my business website lives. I had plenty of space on that server and blogger was making me want to scream every time I was trying to post pics, which is the whole purpose of the photography blog. You can subscribe to the main blog page and it will tell you when I update. I have put 3 sittings on it this week including Sophie's.
Jack came home from school sick today. I could tell he wasn't feeling great when he left for school, but he wasn't stay at home sick, so I encouraged him to go on to school. A couple of hours into school the nurse called and said that Jack was in her office and he said he wasn't feeling good. I told him that if I came to get him then he would have to lay in his bed all day long and he quickly agreed. So he layed in his bed all day reading Harry Potter. I think that the point of my day was to make sure he had no fun at all. I can remember when Derek wanted to stay home from school the no TV rule and stay in your bed rule made staying at home a bit less appealing. So I gave that a go with Jack today and I think that it might have worked. I don't doubt he didn't feel 100% but he was not sick by any means. Now don't spill the beans on me but if they really are sick I go out of my way to make them happy, movies, playstation, anything to take their mind off of their sick tummy's or heads, but the" I am not feeling good" a.k.a. "I would rather be home hanging out with mom consequences are not as fun."
I am in the 3rd week on the bible study of Daniel. It is such a challenging study, I love it! Daniel is one awesome dude.
Blessings,
Tammy

October 09, 2006

Happy Homecoming Raiders


The Raiders had their homecoming game this weekend. Here is a picture of the team on their float. The Raiders continue to go undefeated, and Derek will say that they have only allowed one touchdown all year long. The scores are in the 40's-0 most of the time. They work hard for those scores. At practice last week the boys ran and ran and then ran some more. I think that working hard is a good thing, but as a mom (not the coach) I am thinking that maybe they could cut out one of the 3 practices a week, or cut down the time, but I don't think that thought has entered any of the coaches thoughts. They continue to work the team out just as hard as when they began, maybe even harder. I guess that is the difference between a mom and a coach. Then I realize to many of the boys and families that this season is more than just Jr. PeeWee, it is a foundation that will take these boys to their dream of playing football in high school and beyond. They are getting a thorough foundation with these coaches. I also appreciate that the praises come frequently and that the boys are respected by the coaches. Derek is lucky to be on a team with hard working (volunteer) coaches, solid instruction, and high expectations.

This has Troy's name all over it


I saw this bumper sticker on a car in the Target parking lot. I thought I would dedicate this blog to Troy S., but my surprise was foiled when I found out Troy had already seen this bumper sticker, and in fact has it on the back of his truck. Troy even has a bit of hunting memorabilia lodged in the back of his head, which makes this sticker even more apres paux.

October 03, 2006

Dream Night At The Zoo












After Geoff and Jamie's wedding on Saturday we made a mad dash to the zoo. It was Dream Night at the Zoo, a night for special need/disabled/chronically ill kids. Jack was invited because of his association with West Texas Rehab and the treatments he receives there. We got there late, missed about half the animals, but it is not like we haven't seen the animals at the zoo a zillion, literally times. The kids sat in a police car, met a friendly man with a puppet, ate some snacks, saw a big lizard and snake up close. Here are some pics of the night. It was a dreamy night at the zoo! The lioness and giraffe were delightfully cooperative and photogenic to boot.

October 02, 2006

Princess and the Queen

Check out some photograph's from this weekend. I am looking for a "hipper" name for mother/daughter pictures, help me think of one. I have thought of Princess and the Queen, but that is a bit long. Click here to see images of Tamara and Halley.

October 01, 2006

A Wedding of Heritage





Last night our evening was filled with celebrations. First we celebrated Don M.'s birthday, then we zoomed over to celebrate the marriage of Geoff and Jamie. Geoff and Jamie were attending a university in Israel when they started dating. The message of their wedding was a blending of Christian, Jewish and personal traditions. While in attendance I had to snap some photograph's it is not every day that I will be blessed to attend a wedding with a Chuppah (hoo-pa). The dad's did a great job of leading the ceremony and Geoff and Jamie were amazing. It brought tears to my eyes to see what God intends marriage to be, holy, 2 pure bodies and souls, and hearts that claim the Lord as their deliverer and salvation. God will use this union to do mighty things in His name. Glory. Here are a couple of pics from the wedding.