March 31, 2007

The Sun Came Out Today

Good Sunny Afternoon! The sun came out in Dallas today, the storms have passed on through. It was such a beautiful day that we thought the Ft. Worth Zoo sounded better than a mall. Jack was definately in the mindset he wanted to go somewhere. By the time we got to the zoo Jack was looking a bit pale. He wanted to give it a try, so we wandered for about an hour, and then we came back to the RMH. My cousin Dave and his wife, Karise and their two girls, Keely and Kinlie met us there, so it was great to spend time with them.

Jack is more tired than he thinks. Even sitting in the wheelchair he is struggling for energy and feeling nautious. But each day that should improve. It will probably take him several weeks or more to feel back to normal.

We were all glad to stretch our legs and walk around the zoo on the most perfect weather day we have seen since we can remember and hang out with family.

Keep Jack in your prayers.

March 30, 2007

Great Procedure

Everything went amazingly well! The day started a bit shaky but couldn't have ended better. When Jack started getting hooked up to all the wires and his E.T. finger, he started getting very upset. He was crying and got sick to his stomach several times. He did the same thing a couple of years ago when we went to Cook's for his port and eye surgery. He hates the wires and the sticky things they attach them to his skin with. Once he was able to keep down his "giggle juice" he started to calm down quite a bit. I was able to go into the gamma knife room with him while they started administering the gas through the mask. Then once his eyes closed I had to meet up with everyone else in the lobby of the hospital. We had several people from Abilene drive in; Tom and Elaine (ofcourse, what would we do without mommer and Tom), Glen and Cindy B., and Donnie C., to sit it out with us.
At about 1pm they came to get me to go back up with Jack. When I walked into the room he looked at me and said with his scratchy horse voice, "When am I going to do the Gamma Knife?" I was so glad to hear his voice, see his eyes open, and have him ask me a question. Immediately my mind was at ease. He has a couple of band aids over the areas that the halo was attached, but other than that he looks pretty normal. He was discharged at about 3pm.

He is pretty tired, we went ahead and got him a wheelchair for the Ronald McDonald House, he had big plans and his body was having a hard time keeping up. He has eaten a bit, feels a bit nautious here and there, but all in all he is doing well.

Not too long after we arrived at the RMH, Linda and Don B. from Dallas came to bring us some banana nut bread, a card, and best of all hugs.

We will take it easy for the rest of the weekend, we might go to the mall and push Jack around in his wheelchair tomorrow, those are Jack's plans anyway.

We come back in 2 weeks for his follow up on his halo boo-boo's. In three months will be his next MRI, and that is when we know if this was a successful procedure or not. At this point I am just thrilled he is feeling as well as he is and that he is walking and talking.

I am tired and I feel like I am rambling. I hope this made sense.
Thank you for all of your prayers, love and friendship. Thank you God for shining your mercy on us today. In all things praise God.

March 29, 2007

Gamma Knife in the Morning

We made it!!! We are at the Ronald McDonald House and have done all the pre admission paperwork and run through all the procedural items for tomorrow! Let me just say my husband ROCKS! The rain was so bad on the way here I thought I was going to have a major anxiety attack. But Rob drove through it, safely and calmly, all the while with me doing breathing exercises in the passenger seat, quietly so no one would know that I was even scared. The kids didn't even notice how bad the rain was, thank goodness. Thank you Lord for our safe delivery to Dallas.

We will be at Zale Lipshy tomorrow at 6am. Jack will be put under general anasthesia for everything tomorrow. So he wont remember any of it. He should be waking up about 12:30 or 1pm and after he recovers we should be checking out of the hospital and heading back to ye old Ronald McDonald, where our friends and family can spend the afternoon hanging out with us. For our family and friends who are driving up tomorrow, the address for Zale is 5151 Harry Hines Blvd. The valet parking is $5 and park yourself is $4 which is across the street and through an above ground tunnel, elevator... if you can afford the extra dollar valet. Zale is not a children's hospital, in fact, children are not allowed in any waiting rooms, therefore we will be waiting in the lobby of the hospital, which is about 20 steps from the valet park station. They were very sweet to us today, and I know that they don't deal with alot of kiddo's but the staff that helped us went out of their way to make us comfortable.

God has poured out His Spirit on me this week. I continue to call on His name to bring us through this victorious and honoring Him.

I know you all are praying, thank you so much, and please continue.

I will post late tomorrow afternoon once we get back to the Ron.Mcd.House to let you know how Jack is doing.

Love, Tammy

March 27, 2007

Baptism Compilation


I made this yesterday. I took words from scripture and compiled some of my favorite pics.

I Lift My Eyes

I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 47:7

It is strange for this post to follow, O Happy Day. But I made a commitment when I decided to let this blog get personal that it would do just that be a personal account of how this journey looks as we walk through the ups and downs of cancer.

The week before the big tests and procedures are the hardest for me. I am able with God’s help for the most part to be strong and trust in the Lord without much waivering. But as the days close in it seems that my flesh nature becomes weaker and I start to let the what if’s have a little corner of my wonderings. So this is the time that I MUST find ALL my strength in the Lord. These are the days that I must keep His word with me at all times, to wallpaper the crevices of my thoughts with the promises of God.

When people say with their words or sometimes with their eyes, “How do you do it?” I can honestly say that it is not me. Several months before Jack was diagnosed I fell apart one day with the thought of one of my kids getting cancer. I had no idea that I would ever have a child with cancer, but just the thought of it made me shake and cry. I knew I couldn’t handle it emotionally, I could never be strong enough. And those words hold true today, I could never be strong enough, my help comes from the Lord, the Maker who created all the world, is my Helper who gives me strength.

It is during this week that I will keep my index cards with me that hold scriptures that give me strength and bring the power of God through His inspired Word.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6,7

When you lie down, you will not be afraid, yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Prov 3:24

Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:2

This post is a celebration of the God who saves. He saves those who are in the midst of struggles who lift their eyes to Him. My eyes are lifted and I am calling on the name of the Lord.

March 25, 2007

O Happy Day











Jack and Sophie were baptized today, here are some of their cute pics. The ones in the beginning were the kids hanging out waiting for the baptisms. It was a day of joy.

March 22, 2007

Tammy and Jana Shoot Buffalo Gap Images

Buffalo Gap pics are up. You can click on the sidebar where it says "Tammy and Jana Shoot Small Town Texas" to see them. Some quirky computer thing, it wont let me link into the .mac site from here. The link will take you to the front page and then you can just select "Buffalo Gap, Tx" and it will take you to the page. Remember that if you want to see the images larger it is best to look at them through the slideshow.

March 21, 2007

Jack

Tomorrow Wylie Intermediate is going to have their first of several, "Hats for Jack," days. The kids that want to participate just bring $1 to buy a ticket to wear a hat all day at school. The money then will be donated to our family to help with the expenses that go along with all of this medical stuff. Jack is very excited to wear a hat, and he said that he doesn't have to bring a dollar, he asked his teacher, he can wear a hat for free.

This morning a little boy asked Jack, "Are you going to die soon?" and I love Jack's answer..."Not that I am aware of."

Ofcourse tonight when I was lying down with Jack saying prayers and just talking about stuff, because of his conversation with the little boy at his school Jack asked me if he would die from his tumor, I always say that we never know when God will decide to bring us home to heaven. We never know. Then I told him that I thought he would live until he was an old man, he would have his own family, be married, be a grandpa....and he smiled.

This is what I saw in my mind when Jack and I were talking:

There will be a day that Jack will be walking down the aisle to his bride, or holding his newborn child in his arms,...and if I am still alive I will be crying like a baby, because my prayers will have been answered.

Jack and Sophie to be baptized Sunday!!!

Wednesday Afternoon. I have spent most of the week in front of my mac processing images from several sittings over the weekend. I am almost done. Tomorrow morning I will start processing our Buffalo Gap images. They look great! I am always amazed that Buffalo Gap is only 10 minutes away but still so different than Abilene. Thanks for your patience.
After alot of prayer and talk with Jack and Sophie they are convicted that they want to be baptized this Sunday at church. I am SO excited!

I heard from UT Southwestern today and they are still not sure our insurance will cover Jack's procedure. I thought we were past this part, but apparently not. So we will be looking forward to hearing back tomorrow from all parties involved about the final decision. I feel like they are going to cover it, but we will know for sure soon. It seems a bit funny, but when I talked with the hospital they told me it was all about code's and such, they need something to put in a computer somewhere, but because Gamma Knife is not normally covered by our insurance company they have no code for gamma knife. Maybe they could code it GK, just a suggestion.

So that is a quick update, look for pics tomorrow on Tammy and Jana Shoot Buffalo Gap, you can link to it from my blog tomorrow, or the sidebar.

Heaps of blessings on each of you.
Love, Tammy

March 18, 2007

Goodbye Spring Break 2007

This is the last day of Spring Break. I am going to feel the early wake up alarm in the morning. I don't think that my body has adjusted to the time change with it being on a holiday, we have stayed up late, and slept in a bit with family in town. The main source of fun at home this week has been the game, Apples to Apples. All the kids love it and so do the adults. My kids are improving their vocabulary and it is Spring Break, that doesn't happen very often. There is a kids version of the game but we have the regular adult one and for the most part the kids have done great with it.

I have taken a ton of pictures this week, several sittings worth. Tomorrow Jana and I head out to Buffalo Gap to take pics. I am so excited. I was there on Friday to shoot some engagement portraits and love that town. For such a small town it has several Art Galleries, the Historical Museum, a couple of business corners with great shops and restaurants, then of course the world famous Perini Steakhouse. I am hoping we can make it to all those locations tomorrow.

Jack and Sophie have been talking alot about being baptized lately. Rob and I are going to study the bible with them about the subject. Derek was wanting to be baptized a year or two ago and I think that we told him he needed to be a bit older first. The night that Jack and Sophie talked with Rob and me about it, I went to sleep praying for guidance, had dreams all night about it, but woke up with no clear direction. I haven't slept well since that night either. I know that they are young, only 8. It seems to me that they both have dealt with so much over the past 2 years that they have matured in a way that I would probably feel good about letting them make the decision without encouraging them to wait. They both have a trust in the Lord and a desire to follow Jesus that brings me to my knees with thankfulness and humility to God. I would love to hear from other parents who have a child that has been baptized, and their points of view on this. If you would have asked me a 2 years ago, I would have never dreamed that I would consider my kids getting baptized at this age, but with all our family has been through and with the maturity that my children have dealt with it, it doesn't seem so ludicrous. If my child tells me they want to follow Jesus for the rest of their life, be baptized, anticipating the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through that baptism, how silly does it sound for me to say, "no, you have to wait." My heart says to rejoice and praise God with them.

March 13, 2007

Ft. Worth Zoo and the Smile on My Child.

Today we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo. We went with a LARGE group. Family and family and more family. We had a blast. Our morning started out by pulling out of the driveway at 6:35am. We caravaned to Ft. Worth, met up with family and ate at the Ol' South Pancake House. It was super delicious. I recommend the German Pancakes with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice. Then on to the zoo.
The weather has been a bit on the wet side in this part of the country this week, but we had 5 hours of zoo-ing until the thunderstorms hit, so we were able to see the most favorite exhibits. The kids fed birds on the end of popsicle sticks that have bird seed on the end of them, rode the train, saw the Komodo Dragon,...
There was a moment as this 20 something crowd I was a part of today that we were spread over a block. Trying to keep up with the group ahead and not loose site of the group behind and I thought to myself, "This is alot of work for the zoo." At that very moment I looked at Jack's face which was lit up as bright as the sun because he was looking at some crazy animal, and I thought, "every moment of work was worth that face at that moment." Jack LOVES the zoo more than any child I have ever known. Through the eyes of a child.
It was a great day.

We are a couple of weeks away from the Gamma Knife Procedure for Jack. March 30th is still the date.

Spring Break has been filled with alot of fun and family. We could not ask for a better week.

Be looking for the next post on "Tammy and Jana Shoot Small Town Texas" next Monday night or Tuesday. Jana and I will shoot Buffalo Gap on Monday. We are very excited. This location is much closer to home, and very artsy and ecclectic. If you haven't been to Buffalo Gap you wont want to miss the pictures.

March 11, 2007

A Soul Called Leslie

This week I was talking to my friend Evette. She doesn't read my blog, but many of you from church know her, and I am sure she wont mind me retelling her story. She inspired me.
First of all let me tell you about a soul called Leslie. The first time I saw Leslie, 7-8 years ago, he was standing in the back of my church wearing a tight teal blue dress, 3" red heals, make up, bright red lipstick, his hair was and is still long, and carrying a gold purse.
He just stood as plain as day looking for a seat. My family sits on the back row, and my twins were infants at the time, so I can't say that my whole attention was on this visitor, but he certainly caught my attention.
Several people went up to Leslie and visited with him. I am assuming someone asked him to sit with them. He came back to church while he was in Abilene several times, maybe off and on for several months, but one day he decided it was time to move on. There were several people who tried to reach out a helping hand to Leslie, food, money and even some men's clothing, although he was not interested in the latter.

Leslie found his way to Austin. That is where he lives now. And that is where my story starts. My friend Evette told me she was in Austin for a teacher's conference. She knew that Leslie hung out on 6th street, and she went looking for him. She had been one of the people who had befriended Leslie in Abilene. She asked several people if they knew where Leslie was and one woman said to her, "Why would you want to find him?" and Evette said as plain as day, and very convicted, "He is my friend." She found him and visited with him on the street. She asked him if he remembered her, and he said, "Yes, you are Evette, from Abilene." Leslie works the streets. He is addicted and looks gaunt and thin. His hair is thinning. The clothes he was wearing were women's und*r g*rments and he was on the street. People that walked by knew the person he was, his character, his life, but my friend Evette talked with him as though he was a long lost friend, and she was proud to know him.

I told Evette, "God bless you. I am not sure that I would have sought out Leslie". Later on further reflection, I realized, I would never have sought out Leslie, if I would have seen Leslie in his street attire, I would have avoided him, put my eyes down and never looked up. This is a sad and sorry confession, but I would have let my fear of the unknown keep me from loving and engaging the soul called Leslie. God forgive me, help me see your children with your eyes, help me love with your compassion, help my heart break for those who you love that are lost, even when it gets messy. God bless Evette, may she continue to love with your love, and inspire me and others to get out of our comfort zones. God loves Leslie, and so must we.

There will be Leslie's in all of our lives. People that make us uncomfortable, people that don't fit our mold, people that are obnoxious and arrogant, people that hurt our feelings, but those are our Leslie's. God loves us, and we must love.

March 08, 2007

Graham Pics

When you click the link below be sure and select "graham" from the welcome page, I noticed some people are not going past the front page of the website. Then to see larger images, select "slide show" option and it will enlarge the pics and show them to you one at a time.

Jana and I just had the best time yesterday during our trip to Graham. We visited the whole way there and back, and loved the adventure of the day. I am going to give you a bit of perspective about what a step out of our comfort zones this is...we both don't really like to drive, neither of us are gifted with directions, but I do have to say she is about 100 times better than I am. Jana said yesterday, "We sure have made alot of little circles in the car today." Without Mapquest I am not sure either of us would be up to the task, but thanks to modern technology and our desire to see some new places, it was a go.
We were just a couple of errands short of a flat tire, as Jana called me this morning and said that she was sitting on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck to come and fix a flat tire. Sorry Jana. So here is the link to our website, has a very funky site name as it lives within my .mac site, so you can link to it here or from my side bar. Enjoy the pictures.
Click Here.

March 07, 2007

Tammy and Jana Shoot Graham, TX Today

Today is the day. Graham, Tx. is our destination. The way I look at it we will be in the car 2 hours each way and have about 3 hours to shoot before we head back. There is a town square, a tea room, and wonderful old buildings with character. I can't wait to bring back our pics and get them on the site. It might take a couple of days, but I will let you know when they go live. Graham or bust....

March 06, 2007

Be Wise, Be Bold, Love Hard

Good Tuesday morning. Tomorrow Jana and I hit the road for our "Tammy and Jana Shoot Small Town Texas" Day trip. Our first one. We both are beyond ourselves with excitement! I am setting up a website for the purpose of those trips, and will link it through this site.

Things are pretty quiet on the home front. Next week is Spring Break and we are all counting down the days.

Thanks for all of your continued prayers for Jack. He is back wearing his eye patch for 2 hours a day. His right eye is turning in a bit more, from the intercranial pressure, and the patch will help strengthen those muscles.

I attended the funeral of one of my favorite men yesterday. Mel Holt. He was one of our elders at church for 36 years. He was an awesome example of a man. He was larger than life, a very colorful wardrobe, and a smile that could launch ships. He loved the Lord with all he had, loved his wife of 68 years with all of his being, his family, his church family, music (he wrote spiritual and country music songs), art... I loved the description, he was a modern day Renaissance man. When I would see Mel, my standard greeting was Hi-Ya Mel, and his standard greeting was a big hug and hello. Be Wise, Be Bold, Love Hard. Those were his words. Those are good words.

March 04, 2007

No Shame Here Buddy!

I hope this post does not offend you. That is not my intention at all. Please forgive me if I upset you at all.

We have had a great week. Our family has played games, gone to church, read together, prayed together...These are the days that I want to put in a treasure box. Glory to God.

Several posts ago I wrote "I Got Mama. Phil turned it into a Heartlight Article here. Then this week Phil asked me to do a video testimonial on the article because it fit with the content of the Sunday service. So this week I have thought alot again about "I Got God."

Today the article was run on heartlight.org. A couple of my blog posts have been turned into articles and been sent out to thousands, and each time they have brought comments from some of the people who read them. Most people are kind and encouraging, some just see things differently than I do, which is not a problem, it is hard (maybe impossible) to read any material, a magazine article, the newspaper, or even the Bible, and not have our rose colored glasses tint it in the way that our mind works, bringing into it our background and our experiences.

I received a LONG email today telling me that "he" was shocked that I had such little faith that God might not heal Jack, and if I prayed correctly and believed it in my heart that Jack would be healed. So basically I am doing it wrong, and if Jack is not healed it will be because of my lack of faith. HELLO WHERE IS GOD IN THAT? I have done several bible studies and listened to some wise gifted men and women talk about healing. I pray for healing every day. I have known persons that have lost a child and have prayed until the dying moment for healing, with faith, and boldness, and conviction, humility...I have seen that there are times God chooses to heal those stripes on earth, and times that the healing is complete when He brings his beloved child home to heaven. That child could be 8 or 80.

I went to a seminar, by Rich Atchley, at the ACU Lectures several years ago now, that has prepared some road maps for me to work through some of the thoughts I have. I have referenced it here in the past. One day was on, "When God Chooses to Heal," the second, "When God Chooses Not To Heal." There was good information on both days. One of the days Rick spoke of people who had not been healed of afflictions. These people had come from denominations that believed that the faith of the afflicted was not strong enough, they were treated like it was their own fault that they were not healed. They had been shamed, ridiculed and eventually left that church with self esteem's that were so low, they felt like they had done something wrong. Where is God in that scenario? Where is Jesus? Where's the love?

By His stripes you are healed. Those are words I hear on occassion, and that were spoken to me in the letter I received. I love the power in those words, the words give you a visualization of Jesus on the cross, stripes of blood where he was whipped, for you and me. Were those stripes so we could live without bodily affliction or were those stripes for our spiritual affliction? I say spiritual affliction. When we call on Jesus and the power of His blood, we gain salvation, we gain the Holy Spirit, we are confidant that God will be faithful to us through our valleys. When David called on God to save his son, born of Bathsheba, he had a faith that I can not even fathom (that is Old Testament I do realize).

If I had not pleaded, prayed, believed and loved God's word over the last 15 years, I might have taken the letter's words to heart and owned that shame that was put on me. But I claim Jesus as My Savior and each day of my life I will claim Him as King, and I will never presume that I know what is best. People can be reached, the lost saved, hearts encouraged, bonds formed, through each our lives, and sometimes it is the valley's that speak the loudest to the hurting. As a mom, I pray that Jack is healed, but one day he will be healed forever, as we will all die someday, no matter how hard we pray. Unless you are like that really old man in the Old Testament that God just lifted up to heaven, what was his name?

God hears my prayers through His son Jesus, God loves Jack, God will hear my prayers and He will be faithful. Faithful doesn't mean He fixes our lives to suit us, He fixes our lives, so we can be closer to Him. God will continue to hear my prayers, I will continue to ask for healing, God can do whatever He chooses, He can make a miracle with the blink of an eye, or the breath of His words, but I will be a humble servant that follows His will for my life, and I will not take on shame that died with the cross.

Glory Halleluiah. This prayer just came in from a sweet email from a woman with alot of her own struggles. She shared with me her inspiring and victorious battles. This prayer was at the bottom of her email. I say yes and amen to these words.

Holy and Almighty God, King of the Ages, you alone live in
complete wisdom, justice, and grace. Please help me to know what
time it is in my life and the role you want me to play at this
stage of my journey. I want my life to be lived glorifying you. In
Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.

God is good.

March 01, 2007

Insurance

Great News! Insurance called today and Jack's Gamma Knife procedure will be covered. So as far as I know now, Jack is scheduled on March 30th for the procedure.

We had a busy day today. I went "for real" grocery shopping for the first time in over a month. I bought several meals of food plus snacks, fruit, cereal, toiletries....One of the managers asked me if I had bought them out. We have been fast fooding more than is good, or making toast and eggs, or cereal...running into the store for 2 ingredients that I need to throw something together.

I am not a good meal planner. That would break my Nana's heart if she only knew that. She would call several times a week to check on my plans for dinner, she loved to cook. Feeding people was her greatest talent and she did it better than anyone I know. She always said that she could throw together a 7 course meal in 30 minutes...and it would be the best meal you had ever eaten.

For the most part menu planning is drudgery for me. So about every 6 weeks I will make a major grocery store run then fill in with easy stuff until I can't stand the easy stuff any more. So tonight I made Jana's super declicious chicken tortilla soup with chopped avocado's and fresh cilantro. It was so yummy. I bought too many snacky type things because I broke the cardinal rule, I went to the grocery store hungry. Rob loves those snacky type things so he is always grateful for my grumbling stomach when I go to the grocery.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday night.

Blessings.