Yesterday was the blogger's phone conference with William P. Young, the author of The Shack. The way it worked was; 10 bloggers were asked to submit questions for Mr. Young, who goes by Paul, not William. Then the coordinator organized a schedule of who would ask their question when. Each of us were given a phone number where we would call and punch in a code number that would enter us into a huge conference call. We could hear each other speak. It was very well organized and so much fun to be a part of. There will be a link to hear the call yourself and when I get that I will post it.
My question was first, thanks to Jana B. for suggesting it. Where did the inspiration come from for heaven and the garden of your soul? Mr. Young responded that over the centuries garden's have been used in literature to represent the soul...he took his inspiration from past literature.
Some tidbits of info I learned yesterday. The first printing for The Shack was for 15 copies. Mr. Young's wife had suggested he write a story for his kids that shared with them his thoughts. He wrote this book for them. He has 6 children, gave a book to each child and one to his wife, then others to some close friends. When he started receiving feedback on the book from his friends, they suggested he publish the book. No one would publish it, so together they formed a publishing company and published it themselves. The total advertising budget thus far on The Shack has been $300.
2 million books have been sold.
Mr. Young said that the characters of MacKenzie and Missy were really based mostly on his life. He was abused as a child and he said that he takes Mackenzie on a journey in the Shack that lasts one weekend, but it was based on his journey in his own shack, the place of healing for him which took 11 years.
Mr. Young refers to himself as an accidental author. He would write stories as gifts to people, but never dreamed that he would ever have a published work. He gives all the credit to the Lord, and said that he is happy to follow along and just carry the bags.
The entire interview process was very interesting. Many questions were asked about the controversy of the book, how he chose the name of Sarayu, why he chose to make God a woman. Each answer was articulate and the entire time Mr. Young was speaking of his love for scripture and the love of Christ. Once I get the podcast address I will post it so you can hear the whole interview.
If you haven't read The Shack yet, it is certainly worth your time. I think that I am ready for round 2.
July 31, 2008
July 29, 2008
Thanks to everyone who signed up to be in the drawing for "The Shack." I love giveaways. I wrote everyone's name on a strip of paper. Put them all in Jack's cereal bowl, tossed them around many, many times, closed my eyes and drew out.....
Congrats Karene....I will get you your new book. When you get done reading it you will have to give me your review so I can post it here on my blog!!!
I received this letter in my email this morning. Nick started his journey with cancer 6 years ago, through treatments everything looked clear, then not too long ago things started to happen which led their family back to all the tests and doctors. The mom's name is Tammy, same as mine, and that is originally how we found each other in the blog world. She saw my name on a blog somewhere and clicked on it then saw that my son was going through chemo at the time. I thought about pulling out a bit of her letter, but really it all is so wonderfully written and I just couldn't edit it for shortening purposes for the blog. I pray for this family and I hope you will too. They are really having a hard time right now. Tammy's blog address is at the bottom of the letter, so if you want to bookmark it to keep up with Nick's progress please do.
from Tammy N. (Nick's mom)
Dear Prayer Warriors,
Our day started early and ended late. We pulled out of our driveway at 5:45 a.m. and pulled back in around 6:30 p.m. After three IV attempts (the last being successful), Nick was ready for the dye for the bone scan. Then we waited for ninety minutes for the dye to travel throughout Nick's body. Finally, the time came for Nick to enter the large machine that would search every nook and cranny of his bones.........nothing could be kept secret anymore. As I watched Nick's little body lay and slowly move through the machine, I felt panic well up inside of me to a level that I had never felt before.
Nick did great!
Then we were sent upstairs to wait again. A couple of hours later, the doctor and her assistants came to talk to us. We felt encouraged by several things she said and were told to go ahead and begin our journey home. They would call with test results. Nick was thrilled!
As we pulled up to leave the parking garage, Tim's phone rang. The doctor wanted us to come back. Nick's bone scan showed multiple places that they wanted to look at more closely. Nick began to cry. I have to tell you that up to this point over the past 6 years, I have very, very rarely seen Nick shed one tear. My heart ached.
As we reentered the elevator and headed back to nuclear medicine, I was overcome with fear and anxiety. I left Mom and Tim with Nick and went to the lobby where I found a somewhat soft loveseat and literally curled up in prayer. I lost all concern for the world hustling and bustling around me. Nick before the Lord was all I cared about.
When Mom, Tim, and Nick finally came out and said we could head home, Nick again burst into tears as we headed to the van. He had reached his limit. His arms had been in an uncomfortable position for 30 minutes straight with his feet taped together so that he felt trapped in the machine. He was afraid to move for fear they would have to start over again, and his stomach was hurting. How much more, Lord, does my baby have to endure?
When we got home, dear friends from Sunday school had delivered a warm meal. Being home made everything better.
Now we wait for another phone call and we know that on Thursday we return to Cincinnati for yet another test....a petscan.
I checked my email last night to discover that the president of P31 Ministries (a conference I attended in June) had dedicated her blog yesterday to Nick's story. Because of this, I have over 100 posts from women I have never met who are now praying for Nick along with all of you. Nick's story continues to reach more lives. And honestly, that is the business God is in..........bringing more and more people to the foot of His Throne and the foot of His Son's cross.
I am placing my blog entry here for those of you who want to read it or you can click on my blog address www.tammynischan.blogspot.com
We love you all so much and are thankful for the thousands of prayers being lifted in Nick's name. Please, please consider fasting for Nick in the upcoming days before his petscan if you feel called to do so and physically able.
Humbly praying for a miracle,
Just to reiterate...that is not me, it is a blog friend Tammy. Jack is fine and at camp, all his tests have looked good over the last couple of months. We go back at the end of August for his next clinic visit. I know that people can kind of skim through words here and there, and I don't want anyone getting confused.
Jack and Nick have alot in common besides chemo and treatments. They are both strong and faced each trial as they came, ready for battle. But the times that it got to Jack and something made him upset, one more test...missing school because of chemo, those were the times that broke my heart. I know that Tammy needs our prayers for Nick's health, but I am also praying for her to feel God through his Spirit and through His people. She is an awesome warrior for Christ and has great friends from her church, but she needs our prayers. God bless this family.
July 28, 2008
Good Monday morning. Today (8pm central time) is the last day to enter in for the giveaway of "The Shack" so leave a comment if you want to be entered on either this post or the previous post.
I knew that July would be busy, and I was 100% correct. Before we know it school will be back. I plan on enjoying my kids to the fullest for the last weeks until school starts. And with a big circle on August 22, 23 - Beth Moore in San Antonio, TX. Can't wait!
This week on my agenda besides work and editing images, Derek and Sophie and I are going to drive to a couple of locations where Derek and Sophie will take some pictures to enter into the Fair. They both are getting interested in photography and it is so rewarding about having your pictures on display for others to view.
Jack is at camp this week. I miss him terribly. Yesterday we woke up at 7am to get ready and out the door at 7:30 to take Jack to camp. We were to have him at Dallas Children's Medical Center at 11:30 to check him in and then we waited in a staging area until 1:30 when they loaded his bus. 3 large charter buses to take 200 kids to camp. The camp is called Camp Esperanza and is for kids of Dallas Children's who have been patients in the oncology unit.
I knew that this camp would be well staffed and well done, but other than that I really didn't know too much. The counselors are all adults who take a vacation week to play and love these kids. In Jack's cabin there could be up to 14 kids, but I think that there are about 10, and there are 6 counselors. Yes, 6 counselors to 10 kids. There will be fishing, swimming, rock walls, a zip line, they will have lessons in making a meal, I think taco's! I told Jack that he was in charge of dinner when he got back, but he quickly assured me that would not be happening.
There were 2 women who were greeting people as they entered the waiting area and they were both so kind and full of energy. One of the women was telling me about all the wonderful opportunities and the feeling of accomplishment that the kids go away with, and tears started to flow. I think she thought I was crying because I wasn't going to be with Jack for the week, but I was just crying because of the incredible growth and confidence that will be taking place this week. Maybe one tear was because I would miss Jack but the rest were out of excitement and amazement of all the volunteers and this amazing gift to all the kids.
Then we met Jeremiah. I hadn't seen him sit down at our table, but when I looked over and saw him sitting by himself I asked him his name. He introduced himself, first and last name. His first name is Jermiah. He is 9 years old and very confidant, he spoke loudly and clearly. Jack and he will be in the same cabin. He told us about camp, this was his 3rd year going. He told Jack there is a fish in the pond at camp that a net can't even contain it, he was going to try to catch it again this year. I asked him what his favorite thing at camp was and he said he loved swimming and going off the diving board. He also liked the athletic activities alot. When it was time to line up for camp, he stood up and he and Jack walked to the line. It wasn't until then I noticed that Jeremiah had only one leg. In the place of his other leg was an artificial limb, a red metal limb. Cancer took his leg, but you wouldn't know it by talking to him. I wish I could be there this week to see him jump off the diving board.
I pick Jack up on Friday. This first pic is of Jack and Jeremiah in line.
I am also over at The Coffee Group's, beautiful new blog today.
July 24, 2008
I am excited to announce a bloggy giveaway of a beautiful hard cover edition of "The Shack," by William P. Young. Last week I was contacted by the publishing company of the book to inquire if I would like to be involved in a "bloggers phone conference" will Mr. Young, the author of the Shack. I told them absolutely. Then she said she could send me a book to giveaway on my blog.
So here it is. It is a great day to give away an incredible book. If you would like to be entered then simply leave a comment. If you are an anonymous commenter you will need to leave an email address for me to contact you. The contest will shut down on Monday night the 28th and I will announce the winner on Tuesday the 29th.
If you have read the book and can think of a question for Mr. Young, then you could leave that in the comments too and I will add it to my list.
So on your mark, get set, comment!!!
July 23, 2008
Wednesday morning. Last night was Girls Nite Out. About 15 or so women-folk headed to Jason's Deli to eat and then to the theatre to see Mamma Mia, then after to Starbuck's to sing the songs together and visit.
Mamma Mia!!! I have always loved ABBA's music. I have never owned any records, cassette tapes, 8 track's, or cd's of their music. But I can remember being in the 3rd grade just listening to Dancing Queen and being swept away in the music. I thought the blonde lady was the most beautiful person ever, and wished I could wear my make up just like hers, alot of blues, pinks, and gold. My adoration of blues, pinks and golds passed, but I could still be swept away when I listened to Dancing Queen. I am not a big musical fan, not that I don't enjoy them, but I am not a crazed musical fan. But I LOVED this movie. The emotion in the music was amazing, and Meryl Streep is amazing in this movie. She can fill each song with the oscar winning emotion she is known for.
The theatre was pretty packed for a Tuesday night. Maybe 400 women and 2 men. After the movie was over one of the men who was in the theatre was sitting a couple of rows ahead of me and he stood up and turned around. Looked at the crowd of women behind him and just smiled. I don't know why he smiled, but it was a big grin. It was sweet to witness that.
I believe that most women in the theatre secretly wanted to get up and dance to Dancing Queen, I loved that scene the most!
July 21, 2008
Monday afternoon. Taking a break from work on my computer thought I would say a big hello.
Busy weekend, shot a great wedding on Saturday, looking forward to another great wedding in North Richland Hills this Saturday. The ladies class that I am in on Sunday night is such a blessing. I am thoroughly enjoying watching God work in myself and the group of women who have come together to study. For such a large group there is amazing intimacy between the women, some new friends and some long time friends. The study is called "Discerning God's Voice" and is taught by Priscilla Shirer (it's video driven) then we have 5 days of homework.
Last night we discussed different times in our lives where we felt the presence of God was so overwhelming and the times where we felt that He was speaking very loudly through His Spirit right into our hearts. God does talk to us today, he talks to us through the Spirit that came upon us when became Christians. His Holy Spirit. If you are like me you can just be too busy to listen, or there is a stronghold that is muddling up the ability to hear. But God is there.
Have you ever felt like God was speaking to you? We are talking about inaudible whispers and speaking here. God could call out to us and wouldn't that be a trip if He did, but what we are discussing is a whisper inside. So share your story with me.
July 18, 2008
Friday afternoon. We didn't get our authorization referral number to take Jack to see the Plastic Surgeon. It will come through probably next week, and then we will make another appt. at that time. No biggy. Kind of nice to have 2 days at home you didn't think you had.
48 hours of not being en route to Dallas, sitting in a Dr.'s office and driving home. How delightful.
July 16, 2008
Wednesday morning. The back door is open and I can hear all the birds chirping away. Precious sounds on a quiet morning.
We have finished our second video in our Ladies Bible Class on Discerning God's Voice, by Priscilla Shirer. Everyone is loving the study and it is filled with great insight.
Not a lot going on around here, we will find out today if we will go for a visit to see a plastic surgeon for Jack this week. The woman who handles all the referrals for Jack's insurance was on vacation and I am not sure we will have the all important number to see the doctor this week. If not they will just reschedule. I spoke in my last post about "Same Kind of Different As Me." I am still just savoring that read. 2 things regarding that, Ron Hall and Denver Moore will be speaking at ACU on September 9th at 7pm. Here is the exert from www.samekindofdifferentasme.com
Abilene Christian University will be giving each incoming Freshman a copy of Same Kind of Different as Me. Ron and Denver will be in Abilene to meet with the students. They will be telling their story at an evening event that will be in Moody Coliseum on the ACU campus at 7:00 p.m. A book signing will follow. The event will be open to the community and is free of charge.
And 2nd, I looked at the same website above to see some of Denver's art. They show some pieces he painted and then refer people to a gallery in Dallas that show his work. It just so happens that the gallery is just about 15 minutes (6 miles) from Dallas Children's Medical Center, so our next trip to Dallas I plan to visit the gallery and see his paintings. I can't wait.
Here is the link to Denver's art.
Talk with you again soon.
July 12, 2008
Same Kind of Different As Me. With swollen eyes, a red face and stuffy nose I must say I have never cried so hard for so long while reading a book. I am overwhelmed by God's provision for His children and how He has woven a fabric so intricate for our lives, where one life touches the next, which touches another. Every life on earth is born for purpose and out of God's will. The lives spoken of and shared in Same Kind of Different as Me are amazing. I had to look at the cover several times to make sure that this was not fiction, but a true story. Each time looking back to the cover to make sure I hadn't read it incorrectly. A true story.
If you haven't read it, then add it to your list. Maybe you should read it next. If you are not a reader, go ahead and give this book a try.
I have read 2 amazing books in a couple of weeks time. When I was deciding which to read first, The Shack or Same Kind of Different, I knew from what people had said and the looks in their eyes that each would be spectacular, but I didn't really know what to expect from either book.
Same Kind of Different As Me certainly brought me many gifts. I am grateful for this book and for the men who wrote it.
July 10, 2008
Thanks for all the comments on "Do you believe God is always good?" I talked about my season of darkness last summer, where my faith and belief had grown weak. One scripture the Lord gave me in my reading, you know when you are reading the bible and a scripture almost jumps off the page, you continue reading, but it is like a blue light special is happening all around that scripture, the words are pulsating, saying "come back and read me again, grab your highlighter." That is when I know the Lord is calling me to park there a while. I mediate on those words. I will say, "What do you want me to learn from this God, open my eyes, open my heart, let me be in the center of your will." The scripture that God had me park on last summer was:
From the book of Mark 9:23,24
'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief. Those words hit me right where I was, I did believe "in" God, but did I believe God?
Did I believe that He would work EVERYTHING out for good?
Did I believe His words that I shouldn't worry?
Did I believe His words that he was LOVE?
When things were dark and gloomy for me when Jack's face became paralyzed last summer, did I really believe these things, or did I just believe that there was a God in heaven?
I did a bible study the year before Jack's initial diagnosis. I know God was using this study to bring me to a new place with Him to walk the journey with Jack. It was called "Believing God." The study was written by Beth Moore. Of all the studies I have ever done by Beth Moore, none challeneged me like this. I didn't even want to finish it, because I felt so overwhelmed to actually believe the words in scripture as they applied to me personally. The rules were easy for me to apply, it was the promises and faithfulness that I had trouble with. As I was leading the bible study I couldn't quit, I finished it and felt like I didn't really get it. But over the next year I continued to question if I was just reading the bible like it was a story book of good ideas, a guidebook to life, or if I would allow it to challenge some of the soft places I had chosen to sit, places that were easy to be.
Take worrying for instance. Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I had read that verse in the past and thought to myself, to not worry, was a good idea and all, but not really possible, I really hadn't thought that out loud, more like I just disregarded the scripture as more as an old wives tale.
Last summer this scripture became one of those blue light special lights, shining out at me whenever I saw it. So I sat there and thought, "God is this really possible?" and then the scripture, "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief." would come to my mind. O.k. God I am praying for you to overcome my unbelief. And in His most awesome Glory He did.
I had prayed through the scripture on worry over and over for 3 years previous to this last summer, but I never prayed for God to increase my belief (which also means faith) in Him. I was asking Him to fight the fires rather than to just fix my heart, and grow it for Him. The difference between my prayers were huge, and the response from God was amazing.
Beware, if you pray this prayer, and God starts increasing your belief, if you don't have Christian friends that are comfortable with their Christianity and their place with God (which I am blessed that for the most part I do), your Christian friends might think you have gone a bit too far out for Jesus. Many Christians like it in their safe and soft places, I know, I still do, but I want what God wants for me more. The scripture below convicts me of how important it is for me to be in God's will and not where I think I should be.
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
If you are bored with your Christianity.
If you are afraid.
If you are angry.
If you are desperate.
If you are overwhelmed.
Pray for God to increase your belief, anticipate it, be in His word, pray again, wait on God. This is one of those things that we can confidently ask for, it is in God's will, He wants us to love and trust Him more, He will answer this prayer if you seek Him with all of your heart. Which brings to mind another favorite scripture of mine.
"Consecrate yourself, for tomorrow God will do amazing things through you."
July 09, 2008
Howdy. Wednesday morning. Halfway through camp for Derek and Sophie. I can't wait to see them on Friday.
Derek will be playing the saxophone in school. Which is fun for him, and I am excited he will learn an instrument.
So that brings me to the title of my post do you or anyone you know have a good used Saxophone to sell or loan for the year. You can email me at email@example.com if you have any leads. He needs an Alto Saxophone and the band teachers prefer a yamaha or another brand similar.
July 07, 2008
Drink in life, bless others every day, forgive freely, live out on a limb for Christ.
Those are some of my creeds.
They are not always the quickest nor easiest paths to follow, but so very worth the effort.
I photographed a wedding this weekend in Midland. Which means the morning after the wedding I had a couple of hours to myself in the car to ponder. Pondering is a good thing. In two hours I remembered the last hug the daddy gave his daughter, the bride, before she and her new husband left for their honeymoon. I remembered the streaming tears from the mother of the groom saying goodbye to her son. Each parent knowing that even though they would probably see their children again in a weeks time, their relationship would never be the same. Their kids just left the wing of their parents to cleave and leave with their new spouse.
In the blink of an eye we live our lives. During a wedding or reception it has become almost standard fare to watch a slideshow of the bride and groom growing up. I see them when they are babies, toddlers, kids, teens, their senior portraits and then their engagement pictures. Those moments are flying by in my life with my kids, I don't want to miss any of it, I want to impart my love and passion for the Christ who saved me, I want to impart the importance of treating others with respect and kindness, I want my kids to grow in character and wisdom.
Lord willing one day I will be the mom who is hugging her son or daughter and I am sure there will be tears...I just want to close my eyes that night and know that I did the best I could. Where I messed up, there was love, and the stones I left unturned our gracious Jesus will do the turning.
July 06, 2008
Derek and Sophie went to camp today. Jack is a bit bummed to be hanging out with just me and Rob this week. He will get to go to camp later this month. Here is a pic of Derek and Sophie in their dorm rooms. I told Sophie last week that I would miss her this week, she told me, "It's o.k. mom, we have been together for 9 years, it's time for a 1 week break, sometimes kids just need a break from their parents." Thanks kid.
Here is a pic of Derek, Jack and Sophie with Lauren and Zach our Albuquerque cousins.
July 04, 2008
A most strange 4th of July. It is not unusual over past years for Rob and I to not go out to see fireworks. Sometimes we go and fight the crowd, sometimes we sit in a friends backyard, and sometimes we just call it an early night and try and sleep through our neighbors lighting of fireworks. We don't really have a tradition for the 4th, we just go with the flow. So today has been that kind of day. Rob's sister and her kids are in town visiting this week so to get out of the house today, all of the girl folk and the kids went to Kohl's to check out the sale, and it's a whopper might I add, then off to the mall so the kids could play in the play area.
After we finished our shopping and got back to my MIL's house I realized I had much to do at home. 2 kids going to camp on Sunday and I am leaving before dawn tomorrow morning to shoot a wedding in Midland, TX. I had laundry to do, camp bags to go through and pack what still needed to be packed, charge camera and flash batteries, clean sensors....so I came on home. Rob and the kids are with the family, not sure if they are watching the fireworks live or on T.V., Rob will be home shortly I am sure and I will get the full report. I have finished my list, I am packed, 2 kids packed, laundry folded, camera's cleaned, it is 9:43 and fireworks are blasting and I am typing here on my computer and listening to Season 4, disc 2 of The Gilmore Girls.
This was a delightful respit of quiet and marking off my to do list. Wonderful but a little weird.
July 01, 2008
God is good all the time. All the time God is good. One of our worship leaders used to say this from the pulpit each Sunday morning. One of my greatest struggles in my life has been really believing that God is good. Coming from a background of uncertainty and insecurity in my childhood and then growing into an age where I began to notice all of the pain in the world, then experiencing more tribulation with Jack's diagnosis, I could have said the words, God is good all the time, each Sunday when led to, in fact I did say them, but I really didn't believe them. In the deepest of my heart I might have believed God was good some of the time, but certainly not all of the time.
Now that didn't stop me from loving Him or pursuing Him with all of my heart. I knew that as questionable as "All the time" was with God, that I was completely lost without Him. I didn't understand Him, but I knew in my heart that someday maybe that grace would come and I could rest easy in the words God is good.
I walk through the hall often at church and people will ask me about Jack. Our church has 1800 members, so there are people that are concerned for Jack that I might not see for months at a time. So each Sunday I will walk through the halls going from point A. to point B. and almost always someone will check on Jack. I will tell them that he is healed. His tumor is gone, completely, and all praise goes to God for that. Sometimes, maybe a large percentage of the time, they will say God is so good.
And then in that same millisecond a flash of a little face of another child will run across my mind, then the picture of his mom who when I see her face in my mind is struggling just to breathe. Her son is on his last months maybe weeks on this earth. He will soon fall asleep in our world and wake up in Jesus' arms. For that child He will be where all things are complete in Jesus. He will be happy for eternity and will wait for the day that he will see His mom again, maybe timelessly for him, but those days will not be timeless for his mom.
I have finally been brought to a place in my relationship with Jesus where there is trust and belief, I praise Him for that, because it is not from myself but from God's Spirit in me. This time last summer I would call My Summer of Darkness. My faith and belief were a facade. I didn't want them to be but the enemy had pushed me in from every side with oppression and I was fading fast. I was sinking in depression. Then God showed me that it was my faith and belief that were weak, and I prayed for Him to increase both in a huge way. It is funny that at the time it seemed like day to day I couldn't feel changes, but looking back over a year I can see the clear hand of God in my life. I can see that He poured Himself into me like He had never done before. Not because He didn't want to, but because I had never asked. Ask and you shall receive. Anything that is in alignment with God's will, anything that will bring us closer in our relationship with Jesus, is there for us. We have a God who gave us freedom, and he will never force something down our throats that we don't ask for but He is waiting for us to look to Him for the answers not ourselves.
So this weekend someone asked me about Jack, they said "God is Good," I said "All praise goes to our heavenly Father," and the two faces again came into my mind and I know that even in the bleakest of circumstances God is good. How hard is it to follow a God you believe is good? It is the easiest thing I have ever done once I started asking for help.