January 30, 2007

Consultation Scheduled

Tuesday Evening. We got a call from Jack's new Pediatric Oncology Radiologist today and they gave us an appt. for Wednesday, February 7th for a consultation appt. It will be a quick day trip to Dallas and back for the meeting. After the consult then they will schedule Jack's appt. for the radiation.

January 29, 2007

When it rains....

Looks like we might be a one car family pretty soon. I took our van into the shop this morning and they just called and told us that it looks like there is a cracked cylinder and that they would put some magic coating in it to prolong the life, but that we should start looking for a new vehicle, as there is no certainty how long our van will actually last. Before we get a new vehicle we would actually have to pay off the one that is causing all the trouble. Girls....start the sign up list I might need a ride to our coffee group before long. I would like to say in the midst of this sad news that we heard today, that if we had gotten this news before Thanksgiving when Rob's sister and brother in law, traded us their 5 seater honda for Rob's 2 seater truck then traded that in for their vehicle, I might just be freaking out right now. But because of Tamara and Daryl and their kindness, we will have a car that actually fits our whole family.

Add that to my searching today to find out about the gamma knife radiation and learning that Jack will have a helmet screwed into his head in 4 different places to disperse the radiation into the correct position in his brain, and I would say that I am on the verge of tears.

Please keep our family in your prayers. These are all temperal things but it seems very overwhelming at this very moment.

January 28, 2007

Captain Jack's Birthday Party

































































We celebrated Jack's birthday yesterday. This is the first year we have done separate parties for Jack and Sophie. One the weekend before the birthdate and one after. Jack's party was at our church and it was a pirate party. The kids were lead by my favorite Captain Rob on an expedition for treasure. They followed a treasure map to find the treasure waiting. Each treasure was part of their final pirate costume. They had a blast. I kept the numbers small, and that was probably a good thing as swords of the plastic variety were involved. The kids busted open a peg leg pirate pinata, searched for treasure, ate cake and ice cream, and best of all ran around the gym as fighting pirates. One of the boys mom's thought I had hired Rob as entertainment for the party. The party was almost over when she found our that he was Jack's dad. I love the picture of the kids where they are posing with their swords. I just said, "let me take a picture of you with your swords," and then they immediately got some serious action poses going on. It was a fun party and Jack said that he wants this exact same party until he is 13 years old. Sophie's party will be next week, so stay tuned for her party pictures.

January 27, 2007

Would you brush a strangers hair?

If you have read my blog for long you know I love Beth Moore Bible studies. The following story she told on one of her video's. After she finished the story the 20 or so women and I were red faced and tear stained. We all were so touched by God's love for the man in this story and for Beth following God's prompting to insert herself in his life if only for the time it took to brush his hair. The God of the universe continually brings me to tears with his love and mercy. I am so blessed to be able to read this story thanks to Jana B. who sent it to me. It is a bit long, but it changed me when I heard it the first time and blessed me when I read it again. I hope you take the time to read it.
______
Beth Moore's Hairbrush Story


For those of you who don't know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible
teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.
This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005
At the Airport in Knoxville , TN

Waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Slumped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The
strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting.

Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport...an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere?

There I sat, trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him.

Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. "Oh, no, God, please, no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane." Then I heard it... "I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair." The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm you're girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man." Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair."

I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?" God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?" He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?" "May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?" To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that." At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?" At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to."

Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."

"I have one in my bag," he responded. I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but I must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls.

Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair.
I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's.

His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's. I slipped the brush back in the bag, went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees, and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?"

He said, "Yes, I do." Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride."

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it.

Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?" I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!" And we got to share. I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted because you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on, but you feel too responsible to budge.

He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way...all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, "Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!"

January 26, 2007

Hello, Tammy....this is Dr. B.....

The doctor called!!!! He said the team decided that Jack should do the gamma or cyber knife radiation. This means that it will be a one day procedure and we wont have to be in Dallas for 6 weeks! Another doctor's office will call us early next week to work out the details. I am a bit scared of the radiation, but I am incredibly hopeful that this could be the treatment that will destroy the tumor. Please join me in prayer for God to use these doctors and nurses and this radiation to be the final treatment needed for Jack.

One thing is for sure, we know God is faithful.

Hello Mr. Telephone Man Is My Phone Working?

Torture I tell you, torture. In response to Sarah's comment, I do feel like a high schooler again, checking the phone to see if it has a dial tone, only this time it is not a boy, but a doctor I am wishing would call.

Have you ever seen When Harry Met Sally? If so, remember the part when Harry calls Sally to apologize and Sally wont pick up the phone and Harry says, you are either A. Still mad and don't want to talk to me. B. Stuck under your desk, desperately wanting to talk to me, but unable to free yourself from the large object on top of you. or C. Been kidnapped, still wishing desperately to talk to me but can't get to a phone. If the answer is B or C call me back.

This is the message I wanted to leave on the answering machine at the doctors office when I called about 20 minutes ago. Hi this is Jack's mom Tammy, please return my call, don't you know I am living with my telephone glued to my hip, and have been for the last day and a half. You have either not called me back because A. Your board meeting was rescheduled and are still waiting to talk to the other doctors. B. You had your board meeting, talked with the other doctors, and are waiting to hear back for some last minute details needed. C. You have talked to the other doctors, a decision was made, and you are waiting for the scheduling department to call you back as to when Jack's treatment will be scheduled, hence turning 2 phone calls into one. Or D. Have been captured by a pack of anxious mother's awaiting your call about their children, and they have bound you up and are not allowing you to call me back. If the answer is A, B or C, please call me and let me know that you are still working on a plan, but nothing is finalized yet. If the answer is D. Have one of the anxious mother's call me and I will be there to rescue you in record time, dressed as Jack Bauer.

But this is the message I really left, Hi this is Tammy, Jack's mom, just calling to see if there is any info on Jack's treatment plan. Please call me back when you can. click.

Back to thumb twidling and phone watching. Dial tone....check.

January 25, 2007

No Phone Call Yet

I have not forgotten to post, I just haven't heard from Jack's oncologist yet. So far today I have done 6 loads of laundry, tweaked a number of pics in photoshop and ordered them, watched from 12:00 - 4:00 episodes of 24 in the 2nd season, cleaned the kitchen, walked by a batch of brownies about 100 times and only gave in once for a small bite! I have checked the phone several times, left one message in the oncology dept., and started to email about 3 times, but didn't want to bug them too much. Still waiting.....


8:19 am - Friday - no phone call yet.

January 23, 2007

Valentine's



Last night I was watching 24 and playing on my computer. I thought I would make the kids valentines that they hand out at school this year. So I opened up photoshop and created these little wallet size greetings. Aren't they fun!

The Virtue of Patience

Just one question.

Is it Thursday yet?

January 20, 2007

HOPE

We have been home a couple of days now. I was so glad to see Sophie and Derek. Derek asked all of us if Jack's tumor had grown, and Jack answered Derek verbatim as to what Doctor Bowers said, "yes, it has grown, but it is not quite the size of a grape yet." Both Derek and Sophie had sadness in their eyes when they heard the news. We are all staying in good spirits.
I really feel like the team of dr.'s that are working on Jack's case are the best we could hope for. When I asked Dr. Bower's what he would do if it was his son we were talking about, his eyes welled up with tears. One thing I LOVE about Jack's doctors at Children's is that they are real people, they are real with us and real with Jack. I didn't mean to bring tears to the doctor's eyes by any means, but I did want to know if he would take the risk of radiation as compared to the chemo if it was his child. After explaining some other things he answered my question and said that he would not be happy with the risks that are associated with radiation, but the benefits and possibilities would make him accept the risks along with it. He sat in the office with us for almost an hour and gave us his undivided attention, that is amazing care.
We still don't know what the board will recommend, and still assume that we will find out Thursday, but I am hopeful for any treatments that Jack will receive.
I told Rob, "just think, if Jack is prescribed radiation, he could be tumor free in a matter of months." I am praying that whatever road we travel that we are getting closer to having a healthy boy again.

All the days of this earth will be gone some day and my time on earth is but a whisp of dust. My hope is that I never lose sight of what is important and what will bless others and mostly bless my God. I am a warrior for Christ and defender of hope, I am never far away from a fall, but I know that if my hand holds the Sword of the Spirit, and my heart is humble and set in the Lord, I will look into the eyes of Jesus and He will be glad to look upon me. Mine eyes long for Your coming, but until You do, let me breathe in your goodness, strength and mercy and fight a good fight against the enemy.

January 18, 2007

Results

Hello friends and family. We are just cleaning up at the good old Ronald McDonald House and heading home. We had our visit with Dr. Bowers this morning and he told us that Jack's tumor has grown, the first MRI results were definately accurate, and in the last 2 months the tumor has continued to grow. So he said that we will be looking at starting treatment soon. The tumor board which is made up of radiologists, neurosurgeons, oncologists, and other docs will meet one week from today to discuss Jack's case. They will make their recommendation as to the next treatment. Dr. Bowers said he believes they will recommend radiation. I know that I have written here that he said they would hope to wait until Jack turns 10 before they used that option, but he believes that is the best course of action. The location of the tumor is in a place that has already completed it's growing, it is hard wired, there are minimal damage risks to Jack's intelligence, maybe a slight loss of IQ, he thinks between 2-5 points, which he said will not be a big deal because Jack is a smart boy.
Anyway the tumor board will meet next Thursday and Dr. Bowers will call us with the results from the meeting. He is hoping that Jack will start on treatment within the month. The treatments will be in Dallas. The radiation options are traditional radiation a 6 week long treatment, or the gamma knife or cyber knife, which are 1-3 time treatments and we would come home that same week I think.
Please be in prayer that the doctors will choose what is right for Jack.
Thanks for your prayers so far. God is faithful and so are you.
Heading home.....
----------

We made it home safely. It rained on us most of the way but
no ice : )

January 17, 2007

MRI Today

Hello! O.K. it is not Thursday yet, but Wednesday about lunch time. We just returned from the hospital. Jack was spectacular during his MRI. He always does a great job, but today at the last minute we found out that he was going to need a "different" type of MRI, which requires a different head piece with NO movie screen available. Jack was still able to listen to Spongebob, and he held back those tears when he found out that he couldn't see the movie. Not a big deal, but he had been planning which movie he was going to watch during the MRI for 2 days, he is quite the planner. He recovered well from the kink in his movie watching plans and was perfectly still. I don't know exactly what was different in this MRI, I can only guess that it is an even more precise reading than the previous ones. The really loud banging, alarm going off in your head sound, screechingly loud, that normally comes and goes went for most of the time, probably about 30 of the 45 minutes. Needless to say I think all of our heads were throbbing when we left the room.
We went straight to the cafeteria as it was 11am by the time we finished up. The MRI actually started quite a bit later due to snow and bad roads here, and the lack of morning staff present at the hospital but it worked out.
We at lunch, Jack had his same lunch that he eats at the hospital every time. One ham and cheese on wheat, chips and 2 krispy creme donuts! And a large drink that he only filled half way and had no ice in it. I tried to convince him that he could have saved a bit of cash by getting a medium drink and filling it to the top, he was not in the least bit concerned and was just glad he had the biggest cup there was.
We stopped by the chaplin office to see if Jesse Stroup happened to be in the hospital, but he wasn't. He was one of our previous ministers that is now a chaplin in the area hospitals.
Now we are back at the Ronald McDonald House, and ready to hang out and play for the rest of the day. Last night the "Healing Hounds" came to visit the kids and Jack enjoyed petting the dogs. It is always fun to see the hospital dogs.
Tonight I think there is a hair salon that will come and give haircuts in the laundry room to whoever wants one. If they do come, I am hoping Jack will be their first customer, he is looking a bit shaggy at the moment, but cute as ever.
By the way the roads were great coming, all dry, no ice on the roads. The drive was beautiful, the trees and grass were covered in snow and ice for the first 2 hours of the trip, then things weren't quite so white anymore. The weather is supposed to be 35 tomorrow, so hopefully the roads will dry back up after all the snow and we will have a non eventful drive home.
I am grateful for all of the prayers. God has blessed me with a strength only He can give. I spent the time during the MRI sitting in a chair at Jack's feet reading my Bible, something I have neglected sorely in the last weeks. I can feel the fear creeping in, and until I stop and spend time in God's word, it only gets worse. God's word told me that He would hear my cries, and He would give me shelter, He will be faithful, all those things my head knows, but when my heart is dry from not being in his word they seem more distant. He heard my cries yesterday, you heard them too and prayed, and for that I am grateful, thank you.

January 16, 2007

I Cry Out


Tuesday morning. Jack's MRI is tomorrow morning and we will get the results on Thursday morning, so I will post the update when I get to a computer on Thursday.
This is when my stomach starts turning over. I am dreading this visit. Sometimes I wish I could just put my head under the sand and pretend like none of this is real, but unfortunately I don't think that will work very well. I am certainly praying that there was no growth and that the MRI's margin of error was to blame for the last results. Maybe not very realistic and that is where I tend to reside, realism. But not today, I am finding the wiggle room and climbing in, grabbing a blanket and staying a while.
My only hope is in the Lord. I cry out for His hand of mercy to heal. I am weak and I need Your love. I lift my eyes to the hills and that is where my Help comes from. O Lord my God you are the lifter of my head. Without God I would not know how to have sorrow and hope at the same time. The Lord is my Rock and my Shelter.

January 12, 2007

Friends, podcasting and weather.

I have just had coffee at Tuscany's with my good friend Jana and we had a great time. Jana always travels during the holidays so it is good to catch up after not seeing her for a month. I still say that Tuscany's is the best place in town to have coffee, lovely atmosphere, awesome coffee and friendly service. This morning I made my protein shake which I have been drinking for breakfast ever since I saw the recipe for it on the Today show, and because I didn't eat any dinner last night for lack of time before it was too late to eat, I was still hungry. So, because I was hungry I joined Jana and chose breakfast which was organic vanilla yogurt, chopped strawberries and banana's, and 2 pieces of multi-grain toast, which I didn't finish, but was very yummy. Tell me where you can get a healthy breakfast, excellent coffee, and a beautiful atmosphere, besides one's home ofcourse in Abilene. Only at Tuscany's I believe.
I have borrowed (actually taken over), my husbands 30 gig video ipod. I am sure that if he asked me to return it to him, it's rightful owner, I would do so, but thankfully he has let me play with it for several days now. I have loaded 4 movies for our trip to Dallas next week, for Jack to watch. Our portable dvd player that became Jack's best friend for dr.s trips to Dallas and hours of chemo, bit the dust several months ago. So the ipod will come in very handy for the trip. And for myself I have been downloading pictures, some of my last sittings, so I can show prospective clients a slideshow of engagement sittings, or weddings if I don't have my books with me. I have downloaded quite a bit of music, and now for my favorite item - podcasts. I along with the rest of the free-world am still in the midst of the New Years resolution, this year will be the year I will get in shape again, after all my youngest children are turning 8 in a few short weeks, I can no longer in good conscience blame my figure on post partum baby weight. Ideally for me to work out with a friend works best, because there is accountability and conversation that gets me through it. I get bored when I am working out, even in classes, my mind will wander and I will wish that I was at home cleaning my kitchen, or whatever, but the addition of podcasts to my walking has made time fly by and I certainly wont quit walking until the podcast is over, so every night I have been downloading podcasts to listen to from Focus on the Family. I love Dr. Dobson's half hour show, but am rarely in my car at the right time to hear it and don't think about turning on the radio at home at the right time. So I am listening to them while I walk in the mall each morning. Yesterday I was listening to the inspiring story of a woman and then her husband who were hard core addicts that had no hope for life, and then someone told them about Jesus, they went to a rehab that is based on Jesus and years later they married and had children and they testify to the power of Jesus in their lives. I was walking through the mall, crying and whimpering for this amazing story and before I knew it, my 3 miles were done! I don't even remember feeling one time, I wish I wasn't here. So one of my favorite things is podcasting on my (oop's my husbands) ipod. I do ofcourse have my own shuffle, so if he does call back his ownership then I can use my own ipod. It just doesn't have as many bells and whistles, but it does very nicely clip to my clothes and is effortless to exercise with, one perk the video ipod does not offer.

To a totally different situation - we go Tuesday to Dallas for Jack's MRI which is early Wednesday morning, the weather is looking a bit iffy, if the roads are safe we will go, if not then we will need to reschedule, please keep Jack and our family in your prayers next week.

January 08, 2007

Unwritten Pages

Monday morning and the kids are back in school. I set my alarm clock wrong I guess and was woken up by the 1st bus that drives by our house in the morning at 6:44, woke the kiddo's up and they were ready for their bus about 13 minutes later. The kids were all excited to go back to school, I think we had a most wonderful Christmas break but it must end at some point.
Today my goals are to do laundry, clean, and exercise. Jack really wanted me to eat lunch with him at school, so I will. We are looking forward to next week on the 17th for Jack's MRI in Dallas.
There has been alot of posts on other blogs regarding New Years resolutions. I have enjoyed reading them, and have some personal goals for myself this year. Similar to most there is exercise, eating healthier, and being more organized.
The epiphany that has hit me over the last year has come in stages is a concept that I wish to make a part of my thinking all the time.
These are words or quotes that will explain a bit about it.
"Girls we need to meet our full potential." by Judy
"Those that succeed are not always the most talented but those who never give up trying." - Olympic athlete (loosely quoted)
"Don't ever let anyone tell you what you can or can't do, go for your dreams." - Will Smith in the Pursuit of Happyness
"I do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - the Bible
"If God is with us, who can be against us." - the Bible

I have come to the conclusion that I have put limits on myself over the last several decades, on what I think I should do, or what someone else wants me to do, probably most comes from a self esteem that was lacking before I found my worth in the Lord. I have quieted the voices telling me I am not good enough, that I need to prove myself to people over and over again, I have driven myself crazy in the past rethinking a perfectly normal conversation that I twist in my head and wish I would have responded differently, Satan was doing a good job of making me suffer especially at that time, doubt, insecurity, fear, embarassment.
Like I said above I have finally found my worth in the Lord, that started not when I decided to follow the Lord, but when I started filling my mind with the words of God on a regular basis. God's word is like medicine to the disease of insecurity. It is amazing the internal transformation to the voices in my head since I started reading and believing the words of blessing that God gives us through the Word.
This has been a concept that started coming to fruition for me after Jack got sick. The reality of a life ending prematurely had never hit me so clearly. Jack has taught me alot through these 2 years. Not only am I grateful for Jack and his life that thrives today, but it was the beginning of a wake up call for me.
I tell my friends, "I am going to be 40 in just 13 months," and then Denise will say, "What about 39, are you just going to skip it completely?", I am not dreading getting older, or turning 40. Naomi Judd is on the Today show right now talking about a book called How To Age Gratefully.
I do not know how long I will be walking on earth, when will the day come that I see Jesus face to face?
Each day that I continue to wake up I will be glad to be me, I will work hard to strive toward my potential, I will be grateful, I will be finding God's path for me and walk it.
What do I think that God wants from me? He wants me to love Him with all of my heart, mind, body and soul. He wants me to love my husband and make him feel loved, to love my children and raise them in the Lord, learning to lean on His truth, for me to nurture friendships that glorify Him, to reach out to people who do not know Him, and to work my photography business with excellence and continue learning. Everything I do, do for the Glory of the Lord.
There is nothing on that list above that is easy. Everything on that list takes work and commitment. You might think it is easy for me to put my life in God's control, no it is not always easy, I have just seen how dark it was without Him; or you might think, Tammy and Rob have a perfect marriage, how hard can it be to glorify God in that relationship, Rob and I are committed to our relationship, most of all we are committed to the Lord and his wishes for our relationship, so even when we have had struggles we know that if we do not honor God in this relationship, we will forever regret it, because God will bless us if we hold on to Him and each other; motherhood was harder for me when my kids were babies and toddlers, I am in the golden years right now, they are old enough to talk, fix their snacks, tidy up a bit, and tell me that they love me, I imagine things will get harder in their pre-teen and teenage years, so I am loving each moment right now; to reach out to people - with that comes with being vulnerable with your life and your heart - never easy, but with God's help, possible; and my photography business - my brain hurts from all the learning but I love my job - also a very personal vulnerability, because it is a creative job, there is no cut and dry when you are taking someone elses picture.
A song that I have heard many times but never listened to the words until this weekend will finish this post -
There are pages in the book of my life that are unwritten, how will I fill the page that starts today? I can't wait to read how it turns out. When God is with me, who can be against me?

January 03, 2007

100 Things- o.k. 68 things plus 2 pictures



































1. I was born in San Angelo, TX
2. I carry citizenship to Australia and the good old U.S.A.
3. I am the oldest of 5 kids. 2 brothers and 2 sisters
4. I went to 14 different schools before the 10th grade.
5. My first job was at Carvel Ice Cream Store, I was 15.
6. I graduated 2 months after my 17th birthday and moved out that same week.
7. I was the youngest store manager for Wherehouse Entertainment, Movies, Video, Computer Software at 18 years old.
8. They called me the Hammer because I could clean up a store from internal theft in record time, I had NO mercy.
8. I dropped out of college after 3 semesters.
9. I kissed a boy for the first time in the 11th grade. Leland was his name. I went on Senior Ditch day with him to the lake.
10. I used to be a rocker chick, big platinum blonde hair, ripped up jeans, and hang out at rocker clubs.
11. I was a Prince fanatic in high school, loved his movie, why did my mom ever let me watch that?
12. I was baptized by my father in our swimming pool at home in the 7th grade. Very special.
13. Because of my job at the Wherehouse I was able to meet several singers and musicians. KISS, Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Alabama, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osborne (4 times), many, many more.
14. My favorite Rock and Roll song is Crazy Train by Oz.
15. My oldest friend is Suzanne from the 3rd grade.
16. The favorite meal my Nana would cook when we would visit, biscuits and red eye gravy.
17. I made alot of bad choices after high school, God was merciful to me and brought me through them.
18. In my first apartment my roomate Heather and I lived on Wheat Thins and cream cheese, the kind with chives in it.
19. We lived on some acreage when I was in the 10th grade, my dad asked me to mow, I purposely left huge patches of tall grass behind, he never asked me again.
20. I loved wearing school uniforms when my family lived in Australia.
21. My favorite teacher was Miss Vintilla, 3rd grade, in Phoenix. AZ. I wrote her and told her so, now we trade Xmas cards.
22. My favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee.
23. I have to drink 1 cup of coffee a day or I will get a headache.
24. I love to have company over.
25. Both my parents are deceased.
26. I was chased by a large toad on my way to school in Australia when I was in the 6th grade.
27. My roomate Alicia and I owned chameleon lizards, never could keep them alive.
28. At 23 years old I got down on my knees and asked God to rescue me from my sin, and He did.
29. Within 2 weeks I lived in a different state, working at a church, and living with my grandparents.
30. God listened and moved mightily in my life.
31. I listened and followed the path He set before me.
32. It took about 1 year for me to settle into my new life - I studied the Bible alot and prayed alot.
33. The preacher at my church introduced me to my husband, Rob.
34. Before Rob and I were formally introduced, I saw him at church and knew it was him, and knew that we would get married.
35. It took Rob 3 days to call me after our first lunch with our preacher and his family, he was working alot.
36. After that 3 days we saw each other almost every day and were engaged 5 months later.
37. We had a long engagement, I paid for my own wedding, and went to work as a grocery clerk for 10 months to save enough money.
38. We honeymooned in Jamaica.
39. We both wanted to start a family right away, we were married for 8 months when I became pregnant with Derek.
40. Derek was 16 months old when I became pregnant with the twins.
41. I love sushi.
42. My favorite sushi - spicy scallops, spicy tuna,...
43. I introduced Rob to sushi, he loves it too!
44. Rob and I love to see movies.
45. We also love to just hang out at the house together.
46. I love to read.
47. My favorite book, the Bible.
48. My favorite fiction - Harry Potter Series.
49. Someone who inspires me - Mother Teresa, I have several books by and on her. The Simple Path is my favorite.
50. The same week Mother Teresa died, so did Princess Diana. I was a fan of both ladies, but sad that Mother seemed to be overshadowed by Diana's death. I believe Mother would have had it no other way.
51. When Lady Diana died I was carving a whole chicken that I had cooked in the crockpot, I was already grossed out, then sad, I decided I would never cook a whole chicken again.
52. I hate raw meat. I touch it and cook with it because I am a mom and that is what mom's do.
53. I have been a vegetarian several times, but was not disciplined enough to get all the nutrients that I needed, I ate too many carbs. I would love to be a vegetarian - a lacto- ovo-vegetarian to be exact.
54. I am a bit of a germa-phobe.
55. I love photography.
56. I love art.
57. I love to dance with my kids.
58 I love to dance with my husband.
59. My favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful LIfe," I watch it when I wrap presents every year.
60. I love old movies.
61. One of my favorite newer movies is Gladiator.
62. We have a miniature dachsund who I named Snickers.
63. I have owned 3 other dogs, all of which I named Tupenz.
64. I spent too much time in the Arizona sun when I was younger.
65. I am very interested in long-term mission work.
66. God has transformed my unmerciful heart to a merciful one.
67. I love Bible studies by Beth Moore.
68. I think that there is more about me, but I for the life of me can't think of any.
I added 2 pictures, one of me in Australia feeding a Kangaroo when I was there visiting my family, and the other was a backstage meet and greet with Ozzie and my friend Michelle.

Happy Birthday Judy

This is my 300th post. No big celebrations, no streamers, but thought I would pass on that tidbit of info! I have enjoyed reading several of my friends blogs that include 100 things about them. I am pondering the idea of doing that myself. But not today.
Last night we celebrated the birthday of my friend Judy. She is a wonderful friend full of wit and wisdom. She and her husband Tom are awesome friends to have. These are the kind of friends that tell you, show you, and help you become a better person. Their lives are awesome examples to me. Judy is after all the founder of our Women's Toilet Papering Ministry. We show we care with a couple rolls of toilet paper. Happy Birthday Judy.
Yesterday Sophie was blessed with several huge bags of clothes passed down from a little girl that is a couple years older than she is. As we were exploring the bags Sophie said, "I am the luckiest girl to be the Handy-Down Girl." She is smaller than most girls her size, and she has a wardrobe that has been for the most part made up of her friends "handy-downs". I didn't have the heart to tell her that the words were really Hand Me Downs, because when you think of it, they are quite handy. It was like Christmas all over again for her. She is such a sweet girl.
I am loving having my kids home for the holidays. They will be over too soon. Jack said today that the day of torture is coming soon, 2 things he said qualify for torture, 1. Going to School (he really likes it, he just likes to play misery often) 2. He also said that my voice, waking him up in the morning is torture. He just gets so mad to hear my voice, saying "Good Morning". I guess honesty is the best policy.
5 more days until the torture starts.

January 01, 2007

Da' Boys and My Boys






Here are some pics from the game yesterday. We had a great time! We got there in plenty of time, as you can tell by the lack of other fans in some of the pics. The boys both had a great time, it was colder than I thought, I wish I would have brought stocking caps for all of us, but live and learn. The view of the field was our view from our seats and in my favorite picture of Derek you can see we were pretty close to the top (the side view of him looking down, which he didn't know I took). The game was exciting, maybe too exciting at times, each time Romo fumbled the ball or didn't get the ball to the receiver we were showered with words that my boys have NEVER heard before. From all sides there was ugly words pelted down to the field. America's team and each player is only as loved as their last play's performance. Everything but that was dreamy about the day. Even the traffic and the crowds of people were part of the experience, one my boys will never forget.
After the game was over and we were walking back to our lot we parked in there were thousands of people ahead of us and thousands of people behind us. I wondered if that was what it felt like as Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
I enjoyed the experience. It was cool to see the players warm up and hang out on the field tossing a ball back and forth, with our binoculars I could see their shoe laces. I also noticed that most of the players are wearing football shorts above the knees and their socks go up above their knees, not the old style football pants that go beneath their knees. I never would have known that on television.
It was fun, maybe we will do it again in a couple of years. We were hoping that Da' Bears would be at Dallas next year, but Rob just read that Dallas plays in Chicago for that game, it would have been a fun time as our group is very split down the middle between the two. Rob wore a Cowboys shirt yesterday and cheered for them, that is the true test of a father's love in this house. He made it a great experience for Derek.
Happy New Year.