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.