February 28, 2007

24 in Dreamland

I received a call from the insurance company yesterday saying that all the paperwork has been forwarded to the Dr. employed by the insurance company who makes the decisions on what should be covered as far as Jack's insurance should go. I should hear back today regarding his decision. There is a 24 hour timeline that he is required to abide by.

Rob and the kids were invited by one of Rob's friends who is a pilot at the Air Force Base to go to the base and see the B1 and also go into the simulator where they fly and land the plane, I guess maybe the largest video game ever. They all had a good time. Thanks David!

In past blogs I have written that I fall short of the tooth fairy duties. I love the deal that Derek and I have worked out now that he knows that I am the tooth fairy. He pulls out a loose tooth, washes it off, brings it to me and I hand him a dollar. Now this is a plan I can work with.

In my dreams last night the kids and I were in our house. 2 helicopters landed on the front lawn. A guy from church who I don't really even know walked up to the window with a cell phone in his hand and told me I better "bunker down," get the kids into one room with me and lock the door. I did that, then out of no where one of the pilots from the helicopter walks over to the window and says hello. She was the mother of a bride whose wedding I shot last year and I also go to church with her. She said that they had to clear the air space because an airplane had to get by. My dream was a combination of 24, my job and my church family. It is rare that I remember my dreams so well, but that one was so weird I guess it just stuck with me. I wondered when 24 would show itself in dreamland, so many helicopters, and terrorists...atleast it was a disney style 24.

Hope this light hearted blog finds you well today.

February 27, 2007

Wedding Pics on Blog

The wedding pics from this weekend are posted on my photo blog.

February 26, 2007

Your Love Story

WOW! What a weekend. Every moment was spoken for. Every moment was incredible. Friday night and Saturday morning have left a warmth in my heart for my friends and the Lord. It was an incredible retreat, there were opportunities for small groups to share parts of their love story with the Lord. Here are a couple of the questions we discussed.
1. List ONE person in your life who has been a religious mentor. We couldn't list biblical characters. Had to be someone that we came into personal contact with.
2. What significant moment in your life has most influenced you?

Saturday afternoon took me straight to the Grace Museum to shoot pre-wedding pics of the bride and groom. I will have some amazing photographs on my photo blog tonight or tomorrow. I took 1500 pics that day and there is ALOT to go through. Love, Love, Love, that is what is in every picture with this beautiful couple.

Sunday morning I prepared for the Bridal Extravaganza that took place Sunday afternoon. It was a great show. I think that people loved what they saw. It is always fun to show my photographs. My husband was such a trooper this weekend. He helped me load and unload, set up my booth, he is most wonderful.

My body has worked hard this weekend and it needs a bit of a break. It will for sure get it, I will be in front of the computer sorting and tweaking files, then ordering a beautiful storybook proof album for the bride and groom, for days to come.

So go back up to the questions from the retreat, think about them for a moment and write me an answer. I will be stuck to my computer and your responses will give me a bit of sunshine during my day. Share with me a bit of your love story.

February 24, 2007

Lubbock Blows Through

I just returned home from our Ladies Retreat this weekend. I had to leave a couple hours early due to a wedding this evening. I loved every minute of the retreat. Judy Thomas was our speaker, she came in from Nashville for the retreat. She is a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart who helped us focus on our love story with the Lord. Great weekend, great friends, and most of all a Most Great Jesus who is the center of it all.

West Texas Wind....as I was leaving the hotel, I saw Lubbock had not only blown in but has blown through. It is so windy here right now it is brown outside. The big sign for the hotel had blown down and was blowing across cars and the mall parking lot across the street. I am sitting in my house at my computer and I can taste the dust. This is the West Texas Wind at it's loudest and wildest.

I am hoping the bride's dress is not brown by the end of the night.

February 23, 2007

Details and Small Town Texas Feature

I haven't heard from the insurance company or doctor's office today after talking with both several times yesterday. I am assuming that means that all the paperwork is where it should be and we are now waiting for the approvals to take place. There are 2 doctors, one is the radiologist, and the other is a pediatric neurosurgeon. The pediatric neurosurgeon is not Jack's regular doctor, he is someone who has been trained on the gamma knife machine. I was disappointed to hear from the scheduling nurse that the first date open for the pediatric neurosurgeon is March 30th. I emailed Jack's oncologist to get him in the loop for the timeline (don't you love email?) and he said he would check into everything for me. We will see if he can get the date moved up a bit.

I am so excited to announce an upcoming monthly feature....Tammy and Jana Shoot Small Town Texas. One of my very good friends Jana B., loves photography as much as I do and we are aiming for a day trip once a month to explore small towns with in about 100 miles of Abilene, taking pictures of what we see and documenting our day. Be looking for this monthly feature starting in March, I can't wait. I will probably kick off the feature with some favorite pictures of my favorite town, Abilene.

I know alot of you check my photography blog, and it has been off season for a bit, but things are starting to get busy again, look for some new pics in the next week.

February 22, 2007

Logan

Well I called the doctor and insurance company yesterday. The insurance company is waiting for paperwork from the doctor's office to decide if they will cover the procedure. I am still assured by our case manager that everything should be covered. So no date yet, but maybe soon.

We know a little boy named Logan, he is having a major surgery today at Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth. He has a tumor that has entwined his spine and will be the 5th patient to have surgery on their new IMRI surgery table. Please remember Logan today in your prayers. Here is a picture I took of Logan a couple of weeks ago.


There is alot happening this weekend for me, Friday night and Saturday morning is our church Ladies retreat, Saturday afternoon and evening I am shooting a wedding, and Sunday is the Bridal Fair. I will have alot to talk about Monday morning. It will be a GREAT weekend, but alot of big events crammed into the same 48 hours.

We'll talk again soon.

*********************************

Update on Logan -

Logan made it through the surgery fine and the doctors were able to remove nearly all of the tumor around the base of his head and his spine. He will be in ICU for a couple of days. The doctors also found a tumor that is starting to develop on his arm. They are going to take a further look at it later.

February 20, 2007

Scripture of belief

Still waiting for a date for Jack. I am going to call the Dr. today if I don't hear from them.

There have been several scriptures that have been on my mind lately. One scripture comes from my favorite book to study James 2:19, "You believe that there is one God, Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder." I am not sure why that verse keeps coming to mind. But I will share that when I was coming back to the Lord and seeking Him that verse really shocked me. Even though I had turned my back on the Lord, He pursued me without letting up for years. During that time I knew I "believed" in God. I thought that even though many of my choices were sinful according to scripture that I wasn't really hurting anyone but myself, live and let live, was where I laid my hat.
When I came back to the Lord and read that scripture it sent chills down my spine. The belief I had in God was not even as reverant as the demons, because there was no shuddering on my part, just disregard. I am always amazed at how obedient the demons in scripture are to the power and authority (key word there) of Jesus and His name. I fell to the one of the greatest tools wielded by the devil, apathy. If the devil can't have me worship him, then he will still succeed in his plan as long as I don't worship the Lord.
I don't really understand alot about the devil, but that he was a beautiful angel, he was so beautiful that he thought he should be worshiped as only God should be worshiped. He was thrust out of heaven to hell along with his followers, the angels that chose him over God. (God gave the angels free will, just like us.) And so he began his reign as satan and his only focus is to pull all the people he can away from the Lord. Satan is not omnipotent like God, he does not know our words before we say them, he doesn't know our hearts, but he can read us, our actions and reactions, he is a master at it.
Each time I sin it pulls me away from the Lord, but the awesome part of that is that because Jesus came and shed His blood for the atonement (forgiving) of my sins, as soon as I ask for forgiveness and repent, that separation that I have put between myself and God is gone, and the Bible says that my sins are wiped clean.
Praise God for His grace and mercy.

February 17, 2007

Be A Clown




2007 Sing Song is finished. Sophie and all of the 31 kiddos did an excellent job. The musical number was "Be A Clown" and it was so much fun to watch. My little clown was adorable!

February 16, 2007

I Got Mama

Friday morning. Sophie has been busy this week practicing for the children's act for sing song at ACU. She always has a good time learning the dance and ofcourse just loves being on stage. I took some pictures last night, once I get them processed I will post a couple.

We are staying busy this week. I heard from the hospital yesterday and they said that they weren't sure if insurance would cover Jack's gamma knife procedure. I called our case manager from the insurance company and they felt sure it would be, so a bit of red tape is holding up the date. I still think we will be within the one month mark as the radiologist has given us. We are very lucky for all of the healthcare needs Jack has had to have only had minor issues with insurance. Things will work out.

Jack and I were sitting on the couch the other night, we were watching our favorite show, Deal or No Deal. This show drives me crazy. When I say our favorite show, I mean my kids favorite show, and I just enjoy being a part of their excitement and listening to their advice for the contestant. Derek is always pushing for the contestant to open one more suitcase and Jack and I are both saying take the money and go home. Sophie doesn't give her two cents very often.
Jack was playing his gameboy at the same time and he was sitting right next to me. The commercial for H and R Block came on the television. I got people. You hear I got people a half a dozen times, and at the end of the commercial, Jack with his nose in his gameboy, says "I got mama." Tears, tears and tears. I said, "yes, you do Jack."

My meager human heart was swollen with emotion with those three words, I got mama. I love Jack so much, and to write those words right now makes me cry. What must God feel when we things are hard for us and we say in no uncertain terms, "I got God." There is no waiver in our voice, just like there was no waiver in Jack's voice. Jack knows I can not fix his brain tumor, but I am by his side ALL the way. I don't know God's plans for Jack, I pray for healing, but I don't know if that is in God's big scheme of things, no matter where the journey goes, I GOT GOD. There is a peace and confidance in that.

February 14, 2007

Fell 2 Miles From the Sky and Lived

Did anyone see the television footage of the skydiverMichael Holmes who jumped from the plane and he fell 2 miles without either of his parachutes opening and lived to tell about it? I had the Today show on the other day and this young man and his friend who had jumped together were guests on the show. The young man's first chute wouldn't open, his second chute wouldn't open, he tried to release his second chute completely and eject if off his body hoping that it would allow the first to open, it tangled up in the first chute, then realizing he had no other alternatives he waved goodbye to the camera on his head, and fell into a blackberry thatch. All this recorded. His buddy landed right next to him and called out his name, low and behold, he answered. He was alive. He fell 2 miles from the sky and lived. God has some serious plans for that young man.

I can look back at several times in my life where things could have turned out differently and I believe that God protected me because my work on earth was not done. I am sure we all have experiences that we think could have turned out differently but for the grace of God and His plans for us. Tell me yours.

February 12, 2007

Waiting for the Water to Boil

I am making boiling water for noodles, and decided that a watched pot never boils, so I thought I would make a quick post. We haven't heard from the docs yet about a date for Jack's procedure, f.y.i.
I received a copy of a book for my birthday from Rob's aunt Jan. It was Mother Theresa, In My Own Words. The quote on the back of the book is,
"If we were humble, nothing would change us - neither praise nor discouragement. If someone were to cricize us, we would not feel discouraged. If someone would praise us, we also would not feel proud." Mother Teresa.
Several years ago I worked through a bible study that talked about that very thing, pleasing God rather than pleasing the masses. The masses can be quite fickle, God is always the same. That study was a huge eye opener for me, a serious people pleaser. Now I hope that I am a God pleaser.
That is my quick post for today.

February 10, 2007

Captured Emotion

2nd day trip to Dallas in one week completed. I went to a photography seminar yesterday. I woke up at 3:30am and was in the car shortly after 4am. I arrived precisely on time to register at 8:15am and waited for the conference to begin at 9. Two great photographer's joined forces to give some inspiration to others in the photo biz. Joe Buissink and Marcus Bell. Joe is truly a Rockstar Photographer. He has shot weddings for J.Lo, Christina Applegate, Christina Agulara,...just a couple of weeks ago he shot Stephen Spielberg's 60th Birthday party. He was a trip. I loved listening to him and how he runs his business, a very personable man and highly motivated. He started his business only 11 years ago, in his mid 40's and a buddy of his who ran a local bridal show in the L.A. area gave him a space to rangle up his first wedding. Joe showed up and had some flyers to hand out and some business cards. He looked around and saw that all of the other photographers were showing their photograph's, as he hadn't shot a wedding yet, he sent his friend back to his house to get some of the landscape portraits he had taken. He didn't book a wedding that day, but soon after he found a friend who listened to his vision for their wedding images and allowed Joe to shoot their wedding for free. He went to the creme de la creme of wedding coordinators home one morning with enlargements of some of those wedding pictures. He didn't make an appt., he just showed up and when the coordinator opened the door in his bath robe Joe was holding up his pictures and started showing them one by one, by the 3rd the man invited him in and within a week Joe had booked Kelsey Grammar's wedding. And that was how he got his start. Joe still shoot's mostly film, about 80% black and white, his images are spectacular.
Marcus is the complete opposite of Joe, everything is digital, everything is tweaked, but the similarity is the spectacular images. Marcus is also from my mom's hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Both of these men are artists. I was reading a quote about Marcus by Yervant and he said that Marcus shoots a wedding like an emotional woman. All 3 of those links are worth a look see. Their images bring the pj (photojournalistic style) to a level that others aspire to. My take on an awesome wedding photographer is they are someone who is very emotional by nature, they are intuitive, and they search for the story of the spectacular wedding day to be captured in their own eyes, and because they are driven by emotion, the bride and groom will shed tears when they see the images of their wedding day. There is a connection on the level of the heart. I am not a Joe, Marcus or Yervant, nor do I ever want to aspire to be a clone of anyone else's style, but like Joe said, nobody can steal your eyes, nobody can shoot what you see the way you see it, and in that I find inspiration to be the best wedding photographer I can be. I shoot a wedding the way I see it in collaboration with the bride and groom and family, many times during the ceremony I am shooting through tears, there are many moments to savor in a wedding day and my job is to seek those out and capture. I LOVE my job.

February 07, 2007

Round Trip to Dallas

Our quick trip - in and out of Dallas in a day went well. We got home in time for Jack to run around the children's wing in the church for 45 minutes before church began. He needed to stretch those legs after a day of sitting in a car and in a doctors office. The visit with the radiologist went well. The facility we went to is a part of UT Southwestern. The radiologist spelled out the process to us and gave us the pro's and con's and said that he would recommend the gamma knife. So we signed the paperwork, and they gave Jack a look over and we were on our way back home. The procedure will take place within the next month, still no date. Now that we have signed the paperwork they will find a time that will work for all of the people involved. The radiologist said that pedi radiation is a big rigamaroe. They will do the procedure at the Zale Lipsky hospital which has an underground tunnel through Parkland Hospital and then to Children's Hospital. They will have a pediatric neurosurgeon and a pediatric anasthesiologist come over from Children's then they will meet with the radiologist to do the procedure. From beginning to end it is about a 7 hour process. Jack will be under general anasthesia the whole time. They will do an MRI, then the computer will graph out the plan, then put something called a halo, which looked more like a helmet to me on Jack's head, and affix it with 4 pins, to keep it precisely in place. Then the procedure will take place and I think that actually takes about an hour. So after all that is completed then Jack will wake up. There are risks involved but I am not going to write them all out, because that could just freak me and you out needlessly. We are just praying for the best and trusting in the Lord. Thank you for your prayers and keep on praying.

February 06, 2007

The Local Car Wash - Delicious

Getting ready for our day trip to visit with Jack's new doctor, the pediatric oncology radiologist. 2 years ago when Jack was diagnosed with his brain tumor we found out the diagnosis and had to get to Dallas Children's ASAP. So how do you pack for that trip. Not very well if I remember, I just ran in circles throwing aimless items in my small bag, most importantly I brought my sustinance - my Bible. Other than that I packed off the wall. I didn't return home for a month after our departure to Dallas and what I left behind was a sink full of breakfast dishes, a cluttered living room and numerous other unfinished chores and a to do list. None of those things really mattered, my sister in law moved in with Derek and Sophie and picked up right where I left off, but I never look at a trip the same way. Dishes need to be clean, dried and put away, house vacuumed, rooms cleaned, trashes emptied,...so that is what I am working on today.
My friend Robin S. treated me to lunch today for my birthday (it's the 10th), thanks Robin, and then I went and got our car washed as it was covered in 3 weeks of slush and mud from all the bad weather we have had. Everyone else in Abilene had the same idea and we all showed up at the car wash at the same time and I think they were caught a bit short handed. I sat in the sunshine for an hour which felt glorious. The sun was bright and had the smell of spring on the way. I hadn't planned on getting the car washed when I left my house so I showed up with no book, no ipod, no notebook, just my purse and me. So I people watched, which turned out to be a good show in and of itself. There just happens to be a young man whose voice reminded me alot of Chris Rock who works at the car wash. The woman who was sitting next to me on the bench was waiting for her pretty yellow mustang to be washed and dried. She was a bit stressed as she had paid for the gold wash and she saw a spot that the young man had missed on her car when drying it. She tried to show it to me, I couldn't see it, but nodded in agreement anyway. She couldn't take it any more and hopped up and informed the worker of what he missed. He just smiled and took care of the smudge. Later on I heard him say that when he gets to heaven he is going to remind the Lord that he worked for a time at the car wash, I think he was hoping for some extra jewels in his crown, far be it for me to say that he doesn't.
Then a man who drove a pretty green truck, one of those new Nissan Titans was not happy with something and he talked to the manager and they took it through the car wash again, then they had several workers hop on the drying as soon as it drove back around the corner, I heard one of the workers say that his truck was just real dirty, so maybe the 2nd time was the charm.
But the funniest thing I heard during my 60 minutes of entertainment was when Chris Rock (not the real Chris Rock ofcourse) came over to the lady with the yellow mustang and told her that he saw where she had chosen "New Car" smell, and he said that even though it is called New Car it is actually a code name for "Wet Dog" smell, and might she consider a different fragrance if she was not in love with the smell of a big wet dog. And then he said the Coconut Creme Scent smelled D-E-L-icious and he would recommend that over the nasty smelling new car scent. She obliged to his words of wisdom.
A few minutes later he thought that it would be a great customer service tactic to spray a bit of the coconut creme smell in the air for her to smell just how good it was, he was several feet away from us at the time, but the wind took the spray and we both had to wipe our faces clean of the coconut creme spray. It did smell good.
60 minutes of fun at the local car wash.

February 05, 2007

15 Minutes of Glory

So the Superbowl was last night. I would just like to say that for the record the first 15 minutes were absolutely spectacular. We were at Tom and Elaine's house. The pre-game vibe in the house was over the top. Elaine and I were in the kitchen, they guys were in their Bears garb. Rob was armed with his 5 Bears shirts, his Bears sleep pants on, Bears cap sitting on the top of his head. In one hand a bag of chips, the other some queso, the anticipation built to the extreme, over the top. I thought Derek, my 10 year old son was going to explode. The moment had come, the Colts kick off, the Bears catch the ball, and low and behold the run starts, the screaming at our house was over the top. Derek was jumping up and down, his face a bright shade of red, his screams of support, his shouts of glee, and in this first run a pinnacle was reached, the glory of the Bears shown brightly. We couldn't believe what we were seeing, the game just started and the Bears had already scored a touchdown! Then the commercial with the mouse in it happened, the two pet shop animals trying to get the mouse to work...Derek laughed so hard...I think fireworks were exploding from the house on Willis Street. Derek says after he regains his composure, a super cool touch down and then a funny commercial smushing a mouse, I think I better stop eating...I feel like I am going to throw up. (exact wording used, I could have used a less sickening term, but the boy is only 10, and it wouldn't have seemed as real if I would have said regurgitate) Well I think we should have turned off the television after the first quarter because by the end of the night we were all feeling a little queasy. But that first 15 minutes....it was absolutely spectacular!
Go Cubs!

February 04, 2007

Happy Birthday Sophie





































































Sophie's 8th Birthday party was yesterday. She had a "Fashion" Party. Each of the girls brought 2 of their favorite outfits and they fixed their own makeup then make a couple of walks down the runway. They had so much fun. When they weren't getting ready or walking down the runway or having their picture's made, several of the girls were chasing Derek around. I think Sophie was proud she had an older brother that her friends thought was cute. Derek enjoyed it, even though he tried not to show it. It was an extra fun day and everyone involved had a great time. Happy Birthday Sophie Girl.

February 01, 2007

Here Comes The Sun

Jack and Sophie are so excited for their birthday tomorrow. My babies are turning 8! Jack is still talking about his party last week and Sophie is very excited about her party on Saturday.

We are Chicago Bears fans in our family thanks to my husbands family's roots in Illinois. Derek is ofcourse a Cowboys fan number 1, but Chicago makes its way in as second. Rob has 5 Chicago Bears T-Shirts/Sweatshirts, and he is planning on wearing each of them during the game, one for each quarter and one for half-time. I am sure I will have some pictures of the family craziness. Rob has been saving up some Christmas money for special snacks for the game, so far he has 3 different kind of chips, beef jerkey, and chex mix, I think that pizza rolls are coming soon. I think I might make a homemade snack too, we are going to watch the game at Elaine and Tom's (Rob's mom and her husband) and they are supply several snacks and some hot wings. Last time Derek ate those wings at Tom and Elaine's house, he ate 17!!! My kids LOVE wings. I like wings, but unfortunately I only really love them with bleu cheese dressing and celery, so besides the celery it is really not a very healthy snack. But there is just something about your mouth burning and that cool bleu cheese taste that is so yummy. Go Bears!

I am so excited to have just heard on the TV (my background noise of choice today) that JK Rowlings just announced the release date for the final Harry Potter book - July 21st at Midnight. Almost 6 months away. Ahhhh, but a date to put on the calendar. 6 more months to enjoy the anticipation, which will come to an end after this last novel.

I have had some pitifully sad days. Sarah came over to cheer me up yesterday and brought me the most delicious salad from Jason's Deli. This week has been filled with some tough days, last week I felt strong and encouraged, this week I have felt just yucky. I am not a sad person by nature, but I have felt like I just needed some time to lament, really lament. Not just put on a happy face when what was inside was not happy. I think that it has helped me to get out some feelings that I have just shoved under the rug for a while. I think that for whatever reason it was beneficial for me to just lament, but I will tell you that I could feel the pull of the devil to keep me down. There was a point where I felt like I didn't want to see anyone, talk on the phone, or go to church last night, and that I think was where the devil was stepping in, and trying to take a honest emotion and turn it into pity, anger and reclusiveness, none of which honor God. So I went to church and talked with friends, sang in worship, prayed and I felt the fog lift to a certain degree. The sun might not be out in Abilene today, but it's peeking out again for me.

I know that if I continue to seek the Lord and His plan for my life I will not be left without meaning or purpose. He will guide my days and make my path straight. He will help me be a mother, wife and friend that will be a light of His love. I will trust in Him and He will be faithful.