November 15, 2012

Whom Shall I Fear

...Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

II Kings 6:14b-17


November 10, 2012

Always

My daughter asked me to listen to this song in the car tonight...she handed me her earphones and I began to listen....Even though it's not a new song, I'd never heard this before.  I began to hear the first verse but my heart is so heavy, it couldn't bear to finish listening ...so I asked her to please turn it. . . My heart has been so broken, and I just couldn't bear to cry anymore.  Soon we got to our house...Bryan pulled into the garage and then my daughter said, "MOM!  Turn up the radio!  I can't believe this song is on!!  It's the same song you told me to turn off earlier tonight!"   She stepped out of the car and let me sit there in the garage, listening, sobbing, and taking it as a message from the Lord. I knew it was God's way of speaking to my heart "Listen to this song.  Be encouraged.  I will not delay."

Claiming His promise!!  Do not delay, Father.  I declare my trust in You.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

October 29, 2012

Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has been here, &  she doesn't seem to want to leave. . . .
We've been feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy since mid Saturday.  And it has continued to be rainy, windy and colder than usual here. . . Just wanted to post a new little video of a song that will help us to remember that no matter what storms we may be going through, the Lord has His eye on us and has promised to take care of our every need. . . .Earlier this afternoon I was hearing this "strange" sound outside my window, and when I opened the window it was the sound of a few birds singing. . in the rain and wind!!  ??   I thought, "WHAT IN THE WORLD?"   but it's a lesson to me. . sing in the rain...sing in the storm.  We know Who is in control. . and cares for us even more than we could ever imagine.
Hope you all have a good week. .  .and enjoy the following video. . . take care.
Hugs,
tammi

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:19

 

 

October 25, 2012

Hope for the Journey: I Will Rise

Do not gloat over me, my enemy!  Though I have fallen, I will rise. 
Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 
Michah 7:8
 
Until we reach heaven, we will face many a battle while on this earth.   I pray that the Lord will use this arrangement to give hope to those who may be fighting a battle today, or maybe feel as if they've been "knocked down" by the enemy.  May the LORD give us all the strength to carry on.   He will soon bruise the enemy under our feet.  That means we will be standing upright, on our feet, and not "knocked down!"   So. . .Be encouraged.  "Be thankful, for this is the will of God for us, in Christ Jesus."
 


The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.  Romans 16:20

 

October 20, 2012

Is There Light at the End of This Tunnel?

 

Where's the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Every now and then I need to be reminded that God's timing is perfect.  He is not bound by time like we are.  That concept is extremely difficult to fathom for our finite minds.  When we're going through what seems like an endless tunnel, feeling almost trapped by the circumstances that have surrounded us, we can become overwhelmed because "nothing seems to make sense."  
 
The other morning I whispered to the Lord "There seems to be no light at the end of this tunnel."  Then I reached for a Bible verse on a card that is in a little "bread box of promise cards."  Here's the verse that I drew.  John 8:12 ~  "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."   It was as if the Lord directly responded to my prayer.
 
I had been feeling like "I've sought You, and Your Guidance, Father, each step of the way.  I have asked for Your will to be done, and yet I feel like my present circumstances make no sense....things don't seem to "feel" as if they are "working out" as I thought they would.  I feel like I'm "in the dark" as to the big picture of Your purpose. 
 

Can There be Light in the Darkness?

In John 8:12 Jesus says He is the Light of the world and if we follow Him we will NEVER walk in darkness.  The world in which we live IS dark because of sin.  However, if we follow Jesus step-by-step each day, we won't walk in darkness ~ we won't "walk" (or live) as the world lives:  continually in sin and darkness.
 
Even though we follow the Light of the world (Jesus) there will be times of dark storms that we have to endure.  With God's help, we can still walk uprightly, even in the midst of these dark storms. 
 

Darkness vs. Burdened

Perhaps I've been confusing my feelings of "being in the dark" with feeling burdened by life's circumstances. 
 
God hasn't promised to tell us why He allows everything that happens to us.  There will be times that circumstances leave us "scratching our heads, wondering 'why?'."  This feeling "in the dark" to the Sovereign will of God can easily become a burden if we don't quickly take it to Him with a trusting, thankful heart. 
 

In every thing give thanks, for THIS is the will of God. 

When things don't make sense,
when there seems to be "no light at the end of the tunnel"
~ ~ ~ ~
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:18
 

And when you're running out of steam: 

 


            The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
            T
he LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
                                                 
Psalm 27:1
                           You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
                          my God turns my darkness into light.
                                                   Psalm 18:28

 
 
I thank You, LORD, for even though things don't quite make sense, You are my Light; You are my strength; You are my salvation; You are my Hope and my Future; You are my Shepherd; You are my Guide; You are my Provider.  You are the One Who has promised to "teach me what is best for me," and to "direct me in the way I should go."  (Isaiah 48:17)  I believe Your Word to be true.  I believe that one day the "fog will be lifted," and I will understand what You were doing during these circumstances.  . . and I believe You will enlighten me soon, because "I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."  (Psalm 27:13)  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
 
 

October 7, 2012

Tips to Feel B.E.T.T.E.R.

How to Feel Better

 
 
Ever had one of those days (or years) when you just can't seem to pick yourself up out of the "discouraging dumps". . .you start to lose interest in the normal things that you once enjoyed.  ??    Well not long ago my daughter was telling me how she felt so discouraged and just wanted me to help her "Feel Better."  "Please tell me what to do, Mom!  I don't like feeling this way."   When your child is in need of help and you don't have a clue how to help them, take the request to the Lord.  After all, He is their Heavenly Father and loves them more than you ever could.   So that's what I did.  I quickly whispered, "Father help me to help HER know how to feel better."

Almost immediately an acrostic began to come to my mind, so I started jotting it down.

B- Busy.   Get busy.  Most of us find when we have nothing to do that's when the enemy comes in to steal our joy, tempt us to do wrong. Simply put:  "Idleness is the Devil's workshop."

E- Exercise.   I know this may seem silly.  But really it's not.  When we exercise our bodies, the special little chemicals in our brains called Endorphines are released, and they are our bodies' natural way to help us feel GOOD emotionally.

T-Think Positive.  Guard your thoughts.  Being idle can tempt us to think negatively, if we're not careful.  Whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT, think on These Things. 

T-Treat others as you want to be treated.    Sometimes when I'm burdened or discouraged, I find my thoughts to lean towards the negative spectrum...causing ME to feel negatively about everything AND EVERYONE around me.  If I think negatively about others (or even myself) then I am apt to TREAT others (or even myself) unkindly.

E-Eat right.   I know...this seems obvious. . but think about it.  When we're discouraged, we're apt to either STOP eating all together, or eat TOO much---and it's likely that we're eating too much of junk. . . causing a vitamin and mineral deficiency...which has a direct affect on our brains (our thoughts, and subsequently our bodies ~ which affects our relationships.)  It's like a snowball affect. 

R-Rest & Relax.   Discouragement tends to keep us awake at night, which in turn steals our bodies' time to regroup, refresh, fight germs, and replenish the neurotransmitters called serotonin....those have a direct affect on our thoughts and impact whether we will feel "good" or "bad."     Relax....Rest in the LORD..He has control of every aspect of our lives.  This should cause us to breathe a sigh of Relief!   

It amazed me to see just how QUICKLY the LORD gave me a response to share with  my daughter.  I got tickled as I began writing the letters and acrostic down as He was guiding my thoughts.  I told her that if you notice, these tips are even in PERFECT ORDER.  If we are NOT BUSY then it snowballs downhill from there.  God is so good.  He says, "Before you call, I will answer, and while you are still speaking, I will hear."  That means even before I came to Him with this problem, needing an answer, He already had the answer...and while I was still speaking, He took the time to listen to me....then gave me the solution to share with her. . and NOW I'm sharing this with you.

Simple tips...but I hope that you will always remember when you're feeling discouraged, these are some practical tips to putting you on track to Feeling B.E.T.T.E.R.  

Feel free to pass this little "Rx" ( prescription) along to anyone you know that may need some encouragement.  :)

Hope you all have a great week!

Thank You, LORD, for answering me so quickly when I presented this problem to You.  I am still tickled at how quickly You responded by giving me these thoughts to share.  I pray that You will receive glory for all that is done this week in our lives. . .may we always look to YOU to help us.   
In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

September 23, 2012

Update on Michael

Michael (L) and his nephew, Brandon (R) at Brandon's b-day party.

 

Just wanted to sharŠµ an Update on my cousin, Michael:


Just wanted to update you on Michael as far as his treatments are concerned. They have had to stop all types of treatments for now due to some complications from the chemo. The doctors are trying to find out just how to treat this rare cancer in his liver (which Michael has named "Joe," after Joe Frazier, the boxer who lost his life due to liver cancer.) The nerves in his feet have been damaged from the chemo. Even in all this Michael, has continued to have his good sense of humor. Please pray for the doctors to find out what type of cancer cell they are dealing with and how to treat it without damage to the rest of his body. Thank you for your prayers for Michael and his family. God bless you for all you do to help keep these prayer requests before the Lord.

1Peter 5:7

"Casting all your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you."

 

August 12, 2012

When the Dust Settles

He raises the poor out of the dust.
He lifts the needy out of the ash heap.

He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.  Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 113: 7, 9

During my short break I've been straightening up the house, cleaning, re-organizing---doing much needed chores that have been overlooked due to my strenuous class and clinical schedule the past 8 months.  I came across a little index card booklet that has Bible verses and thoughts that I've been jotting down over the past few years.  Like jewels that have meant a lot to me, these verses have been set apart, in the hopes that I can quickly refer to them in time of need.  Well, the above Bible verse is one that is on a card in this little collection. 

It was very much what I needed to be reminded of tonight.  On the back of the index card is a note. . I had looked up the words "Dust" and "Ash Heap" in the Strongs Concordance. . .and here's what's written on the back of the card:   "Dust is what's left after a war zone, or storm."  "Ash heap is what is left after a fire."

He raises the poor out of the Dust . . .     

"What is left after a warzone or storm."


"...for dust you are and to dust you will return.” 
Gen. 3:19

While living in this world, we can count on one fact to remain constant: LIFE IS HARD.  It's one stinkin' battle after another.  Each morning I am faced with another battle, and it's not just the Battle of the "Bulge" but even more so: the "Battle of my Flesh."  I am in a battle with my FLESH, my selfish desires, my lack of dependence on the Holy Spirit's power within me, EVERY single DAY of my life.  No matter how old I get, my flesh is still my number one enemy.  Sometimes A LOT of times, my flesh wins. . and I end up discouraged, frustrated, and almost to the breaking point of giving up.   And that's where I'm found:  in the dust on the battlefield.  The enemy has ridden off with the trophy, and all that's left is me, covered by the dust.  My heart is poor...needy...weak....lean....beaten down.  But Jesus said, "blessed are those who are poor in spirit..."   As I lay on the battlefield, wounded, alone, covered in dirt and dust, unable to see anything in front of my face due to the dust storm around me, my heart hears the sound of Someone walking towards me.  Still unable to see, I feel the Lord reach down and begin to pick me up, out of the dust. 

He lifts the needy out of the Ash Heap . . .   

 "What is left after a fire."


"He has cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes." Job 30:19

Sometimes  A LOT of times when life is hard, storms are raging, things aren't going as "I" would "like them to be going," my  heart grows weary and turns from being thankful, to grumbling, complaining, or even "harbouring hard thoughts of God."   If my inward temptations to become bitter are coupled with the outward calamities of "life," then my soul becomes tossed as if in a raging storm, and I'm filled with confusion. 

The fact is, God is in the process of restoration. . . He says, "See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."  Isaiah 48:10    God is purging the old sinful flesh that I battle daily; and He has chosen to purge me of my flesh in the hot furnace of affliction.  The Heat is almost unbearable.  But as I melt in the fiery furnace, and am become as an ash heap, the Refiner lifts my restored spirit out of the fleshly ash heap that has been purged away. 

He lifts the needy out of the ash heap.  Who exactly are "the needy?"  Who are the ones that are melted down and found in an ash heap?   The needy are the ones "in want, poor, cared for by God."   When my grief over my sin has stripped me down completely, I realize my emptiness, my inability to reach God of my own strength...I am truly "in want."  Were it not for God's grace and mercy, through His Son Jesus' shed blood on Calvary, I would remain forever "in want."  But as the last part of verse 9 says, "Praise ye the LORD!"  I am cared for by God!

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. The Dust has Settled.

What exactly IS LEFT after the "dust settles?"   Well, after I have battled (and sometimes A LOT of times, LOST to my flesh) my heart is poor---grieved---at how I've lost another battle.  Yet, God raises me OUT of the dust.  God pities me as His child, and truly cares for me.  He takes it upon Himself to remove the tarnish and restore me by placing me in the furnace of affliction.  My flesh (sinful nature) is turned into a heap of ash, and that's when God lifts me out.  I feel empty and barren.  Fruitless and scarred.   Yet He settles my heart, as a joyful mother of children, because the Fruit that is borne is of His Spirit, not mine.  As long as I live on this earth, I will battle my flesh. Yes, but each time the dust settles, maybe it'll be less and less of my "Dusty Flesh" left.  No matter what, He will always settle my heart after each battle...and one day He will settle my heart and soul in my eternal Home:  Heaven...when I will shake the dust of my sinful nature from my feet, once and for all!  Never to battle it again.  Finally Free.  Finally Home.  Finally Settled.




July 27, 2012

Can it Truly Be?

It's so hard for me to believe, but it's been 15 years since my sister, Sherri, went to be with the Lord.  I remember standing in the florist shop ordering flowers for her funeral, and thinking, "Surely the Lord is going to return soon, because I can not bear the thought of living without her...and He won't put more on us than we can bear...this is clearly too much.  I know He must be on His way back.  We won't be here in another 10 years...surely."    Well....it's been 15. . .and has that caused me to doubt Him?  Has that caused me to become bitter?  Has my faith diminished?  Certainly one would think that any of those would be reasonably expected outcomes, especially considering how I distinctly recall saying "Surely He will not expect us to actually have to DEAL with her loss on a daily, or even worse: YEARLY basis." 

But here I sit. . . 15 years later.  I can truly testify to the fact that God is faithful.  No matter WHAT circumstances cause your grief.  Sudden tragedy..Sudden loss of a job.  Sudden death of a loved one.   Psalm 34:18 says The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  I clung to that promise even when I could not even pray any words to express my grief.

In the wake of her sudden death, and the days leading up to her funeral I recall very little...guess from the shock.  But one thing God allowed my memory to retain, and subsequently He has etched it into my heart:  Standing at her casket the night before her funeral.  People were lined up outside, waiting to come in. . .and there was my former piano instructor . . as we stood at Sherri's casket I told Lynn, "I can never play again. .. how can I play from a  heart that is broken?"  She said "You have all the more reason to now."  I didn't understand. .. but that was 15 years ago. . . Now I understand. 

God uses music as a tool in the healing process. . .and in the few months or even years after she passed, I could not hear certain songs sung without boo-hooing.  One specific song was "Serenaded by Angels."   Couldn't hear it sung, or played on the radio.  

How could I continue to PLAY from a heart that was broken?  In order to get the refreshing juice from grapes, they must be crushed. . .and little did I know that God was going to use Sherri's untimely death to become a platform for me to offer encouragement and comfort to others. . .and do it through the music that He caused to come forth from that once crushed spirit and broken heart of mine.  

God is faithful.   15  years later, here I sit . . .with a healed heart. . . still thinking of and missing my sister, but with a new perspective.  God WILL allow us to go through hard times, sometimes they seem even more than we can bear...but it's to reveal HIMSELF to us.  . and draw us closer to Him.  

And below is a musical arrangement of none other than Serenaded by Angels. . in memory of my sister's 15th year with the Lord.  Her time in eternity has only just begun.



July 15, 2012

 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."   Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Even though you may be wondering where this road you're on is going to take you, just remember, God is with you.  He is taking you on a journey that may not make any sense to you yet, but one day it will.  Trusting in His plans for your life should give you hope and the promise of a prosperous future.

 

 

 

June 7, 2012

A Special Day to Remember

Checking in on everyone.

Hey y'all....I'm getting ready for an early morning again tomorrow....Bryan made it through his first week back to work.  It's been a tough transition, but he said he's very thankful for his job. . . so let's just leave it at that!  :)  God has been very good to us. . .and as I reflect on the past six months (wow this year has FLOWN BY!) I can tell you that at the beginning of the process (finding out Bryan needed kidney surgery, etc) we were really wondering how this was going to all work out. . .especially with me being in my first semester of the DMS program. . . . six classes!!  Goodness. . . But I just want to report to you that God worked in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.   He pulled Bryan through. . .saved most of his kidney. . . .got the cancer before it had spread, got me through the first (and probably toughest) semester I have ever had to go through....and with a 4.0!  WOW!   And of all, God met our needs...we were never once without any need being met.  God met them.

That's it....simply put...but I had to give a quick testimony!

Trust Him.  God is faithful and more than able to meet your every need...even the one you won't dare to share with anyone...God knows your heart's deepest desire...and cares!  Just let go, and invite Him into your world...however troubled you may think it is. . . Invite Him into your heart, and to take over your problems.  After all, when you put all of your troubles next to God....don't they just pale in comparison to Him and His power!??  Of course they do!  :)

Have a great weekend...
and thanks to everyone for their comments and checking in even though I'm totally unable to respond in any timely manner!   thanks so much for understanding! :)
I hope to be back soon(er .. or later)  :)
P.S.  I'd like to say too I am thinking of my sister. . .Sherri...who passed away in 1997... 15 years ago. . today was her birthday.  she would have been 37.   I miss you Sher-Bear.


Love and hugs
t


May 20, 2012

Where did the time go?

Just wanted to give a quick update before I hit the sack.  Tomorrow begins my summer semester. . .and as I wrote out my agenda for the summer schedule, I wonder how in the world it will all get done. . . but, thankfully the Lord got me and my classmates through the first semester. . .six classes.  Geesh.   So I know He'll do the same again.

Bryan has been recovering pretty well. . .still has some soreness and even had some trouble with a sensory nerve in his upper thigh. . thankfully that part of his leg is just numb, as opposed to the burning and severe pain he had a week or two ago.

He is supposed to go back to work around the first week in June.  That should be interesting considering the type of manual labor he does. . .drives a tractor trailer . .lots of heavy lifting.  I hope he'll be okay.

I enjoyed the little bit of time off I had between semesters and was actually glad to have Bryan home so we could spend some quality time together. 

My cousin, Michael, received some encouraging news. . .the DR at UVA told him the last scan revealed that the cancer had not spread and in fact was shrinking some. . so they have decided to stay at UVA for more treatment. . . . If the cancer was not responding to that treatment, they were going to seek treatment elsewhere. . . so this is good news ~ they can continue to go to UVA which is closer than the other place they were considering. . . Thank you all for continuing to pray for them. 


I probably won't be on the blog for a while since I'll be full time again through the end of July. . .I won't even get one day off a week like we had last semester.  Will be doing clinical rotations in a hospital Tuesdays through Fridays and have classes on Mondays from 8:30 to 5.  Whew. . this is going to be gruelling.  Ready or not. . . here we go!

Thanks again to you all for checking in and especially for praying for us. . .it means a lot to Bryan!  . . and of course to me too! :)
Hope you all have a wonderful summer. . . and maybe I'll be in touch sometime before too long.

Until then. . . stay focused on the Lord. .  I have to say that has proven to be very difficult for me especially during the past couple months . . . and as usual, when our eyes are taken off the Lord and onto our stormy circumstances and others around us, what happens?   We sink and are overwhelmed by it all.

I will lift up my eyes. . . . unto the hills....where is my help?  My help comes from the Lord.  Lifting up one's eyes implies that one is "looking down in the valley" right?  And when we're down in the valley and then look up, those hills look almost impossible to climb!   We need HELP!  Our Help comes from the Lord. . .and so as we face an uncertain future, we will look unto the Lord.


Sending hugs!  And many thanks!  Enjoy your summer and God's goodness. . It's all around, but remember, the enemy tries to remove our focus off of God's goodness and ONTO our troubles.  It's not a new trick!  It's the same old dirty trick Satan has been using for all these years!  So stay alert and focused, that way the enemy doesn't get the upper hand and have you down in the valley before long.  (speaking from experience.)  :)

April 21, 2012

Update...from......

....HOME!

We made it home around dinner time this evening.  Just wanted to say thank you to each of you for your prayers, emails, cards, encouragement!   Even though we're home, it certainly doesn't seem like he's 100%. . and I know that's because he isn't.    I don't like to see him hurting, but am thankful that each day that passes brings us that much closer to him being back to feeling 100%.

God has been good to us. . has provided meals for the family while I was staying up there at the hospital with him.  Has provided a supportive DMS staff ( my sonography program) who have been willing to work with me and allow me to miss time from school so I could be there for Bryan.   The simple fact that God allowed us to find this cancer before it had a chance to spread:  Well, that's just still hard to believe!!  We're so grateful.

Continued prayers are needed for strength, and no complications during the healing process.  I'd really like to see the Lord draw us closer to Him and to each other during this time as well.  Bryan has already said how he never wants to forget how I was there for him during this time.  And here I've felt pretty much helpless in the matter because I can't make the pain go away.   Yet is has been an honor to be there to help in every way possible.

And without you all holding us up in prayers before the Lord, we'd be in a different situation.  I've been so tired, and on the go for sooo long now, that I've not actually had time to mentally process all that has occurred, so it's really hard to grasp just how good God has been. . .but I readily admit without God's goodness, this would have turned out to be a totally different situation.  So I thank the LORD!

I better close for now. . .he'll be needing his next dose of meds around 2:00 a.m. . . which is just around the corner!  

Many many thanks!!

Thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:4


April 20, 2012

Update from Hospital

Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.   Isaiah 41:10


Hi everyone. . as I type this I'm sitting on a cot in Bryan's room. . .he's waiting for the 10 p.m. vitals to be taken, then he wants to try to take another walk before we try to get a few hours' sleep .  The next vitals are taken at 2:00 a.m..   His oxygen levels aren't 100% but they're better than they have been for the past few days. . so that's good news!

Today he was taken off the morphine drip....not because the pain has subsided, but because the Dr wants to let him go home tomorrow. . .so they have to get Bryan off that IV pain meds.   I would like to say that he adjusted fine and dandy to that.  But, it has been a rough go of it.   Around 5:00 p.m. his pain was so bad that he could barely whisper and was just shaking.  thankfully the pain pill kicked in. . .and he was able to rest for a little bit.

The DR said that he thinks Bryan can go home tomorrow sometime, so maybe he'll be able to actually rest at the house, as opposed to being here in "Grand Central Station" (that's what this hospital wing sounds like---even on the midnight shift.)   As a side note, Bryan said to share with you that he and this bed are not getting along very well.  The SICU had a nice air-adjustable mattress that adjusted every time he would try to move. . now that we're on the regular floor, he said it feels like he's sleeping on the floor.  LOL

Okay....it's time for our last walk til 2:00 a.m.    Just wanted to say thank you to each of you!! 
I'll be in touch, and thanks again for praying.  Your thoughts and prayers and been such an encouragement to us both!!  We could not have made it this far without the strength of the Lord each and every day.  . and we know it's because He's answering prayers from everyone on our behalf.

I'll be talking to you all soon.

Until then,
Goodnight from Sentara Norfolk General.

April 18, 2012

Update from hospital

Hi everyone.  
Yesterday was surgery day . . . Bryan went in around 11:40 and they called from the OR around 12:30 to let me know they had begun.   I didn't get to see him til about 8:00 p.m. last night though.

They were able to save 85% of his kidney and only remove the mass.  Pathological reports show that it was cancer. . .although we won't know the exact kind for several weeks.  More than likely was renal cell carcinoma, since that's the most common renal tumor. . .but I won't speculate at this point.  If it was RCC, we can be thankful that God allowed them to catch it in time!!  That particular cancer doesn't respond to treatment once it spreads out of the kidney.  The Dr said the margins came back clear. . so that means they got it all.   So...we can look back and thank the LORD for Bryan having kidney stones last summer.  that allowed them to do a CT scan and find the cancer early!!

The surgery went as smoothly as possible.  The recovery was a bit rough though. Due to the pain, and Bryan having sleep apnea, Bryan was not able to take deep breaths and that caused his oxygen levels to be too low.  he was in recovery for several hours, and they never let me go back to see him.  Once he was stabilized, they transferred him to a step down unit (unit below ICU, but more intensive care than a regular floor room).  Due to the incision size and site, his pain has been bad.  He's okay as long as he doesn't move.   However, the DR wants Bryan up and out of bed today.  so our goal is to have him sitting up and in a recliner between the noon and one o'clock hour.  He has asked for prayer re: that, due to the pain.  He is high risk for blood clots . . so we want to try our best to prevent that. . .at least Bryan is willing to try.   He'll do his part, and you all can uphold him in prayer, and we'll trust the Lord to strengthen and enable him.
We may be in the step down unit for a day or so, then to the regular floor through Sat. or Sunday.

We both thank you so much for your prayers.  I can tell God has been with us the entire way.  In fact, before we left the house yesterday, I drew a promise card from my "Bible Bread Box" and asked the Lord to give us a specific verse to claim for Bryan.  I went to pick one card, but saw a pink one sticking up, so I grabbed that one.  It said, For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD."  Jeremiah 30:17. 

What better promise could we have asked for.  It was as if the Lord sent a direct phone call to our hearts!  :) :) 
By the way, I was able to get internet access here in the hospital, so that's why I'm updating this blog. . but that means I have to do homework now.  BOO!!!   :)
Thanks y'all for your prayers, phone calls and emails!!  My class has been taking care of us for meals this week too.  They've been a blessing to us too!
Will be in touch soon.


April 10, 2012

Surgery: One week from today

Hi everyone.  .just a quick note.  Bryan's surgery is one week from today.  .  .The surgery is supposed to begin at 12:00. . . we are to arrive by 10:00.   The DR told him on last Thursday that he really wants to try and remove only a portion of the kidney, but there's a risk of him not being able to stop the bleeding, so if that happens, he'll have to take the entire kidney.  He said that Bryan really is going to need two kidneys. . .  .so . . . that makes me wonder. . . but anyway, I don't know if I'll be able to do any more updates before next Tuesday because I have four big tests: one tomorrow, one Friday, and two big ones on Monday.  And honestly I have not even studied for the last three. . only tomorrow's.  I also have a huge presentation to prepare for that is next Friday. . .strength is needed.

There are so many people who are  going through difficult storms and hurting. . . and one thing that this situation has taught me is:  I get so caught up in the storm, and our difficult circumstances, that my eyes have neglected to truly see the burdens of others  to an extent that I could make a difference in their lives, regardless of what we're going through.  I definintely need God's help in keeping everything in the proper perspective.   . . . and a few hours sleep would probably be nice too.  ;o)

Thanks everyone for your prayers.
I'll be in touch as soon as I can.
Much love
Tammi

April 2, 2012

Worrier ~or~ Warrior?


Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground... 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:11-17


Just a quick thought tonight.  Are you and I a worrier?  Or a Warrior?  Say those two words quickly, and you'll find they sound alike; but what a difference their meanings are!!  
You and I are in a battle every single day!   Why would we even attempt to enter the battlefield without first preparing for it?  We prepare by putting on the WHOLE armour of God. . and by praying.  It seems that the battle actually is won in the time that is spent praying



The enemy wants us to think that WE are supposed to fight, on our own, and in our own strength.  But notice the last verse in our text: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  The sword is our defense and weapon.  What is our Defense?  Actually it's not "what" but WHO!  Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1) ....The knowledge of God's gift of grace surrounds our minds, then we acknowledge that the battle is too big for us by seeking God.  Take the Lord by His hand, and now we are equipped with our DEFENSE and WEAPON!  Jesus is the One Who will fight our battles for us, if we ask Him to. . .He will strengthen us with HIS mighty power to overcome the difficulties we are facing!

I encourage you to not be a worrier, but bravely be a WARRIOR!  Prayer Warrior!  The Battle is won when we are on our knees in prayer! 

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!  Your continued prayers for Michael, our family, and for Bryan's upcoming surgery are very much appreciated.

God's grace is sufficient.   And by His grace, we will be warriors and not worriers! :)

Dear Father in heaven, thank You for this lesson!   Life's circumstances are often difficult, but it's usually in the difficult storms when You teach me the deepest lessons.  I pray that You will encourage others to be a prayer warrior and not a worrier.  I wonder if it is prideful to be a worrier?  Because it seems that if I worry, I am putting myself in the position of responsibility to overcome my situations...quite frankly they are too much to attempt to overcome in my own strength.  That IS pride!  Please forgive me for being a Proud Worrier, and make me and my friends who are reading this, PRAYER WARRIORS.   Our victory is only found in Your Son, Jesus!  In His name we pray, Amen.


This being the week of Easter, I will post one of Bryan's favorite songs that God has helped me record.  May the Lord use this to bless you.  and Happy Easter! :)

March 23, 2012

Bryan's Surgery Date and update on Michael

Bryan's surgery date will be April 17 at 12:00.  Doctor says he hopes to be able to remove only part of the kidney. . but can't guarantee...Bryan will be in the hospital 6 days. Out of work 6 weeks. I appreciate your emails and checking in, and most certainly your prayers on our behalf.   I will try to keep everyone posted as soon as I am able to post updates.  Burden of school work, projects, etc. is also weighing heavy on my heart. . .so I'm not able to post as often as I'd like to. 

Also: Please pray for my cousin Michael and the family as well.  The recent update we received was not a good one.  The Dr's have found 15 new tumors in his liver.  This particular type of cancer is extremely rare, so there is very little research out there regarding treatment, etc. The DR's told them that it will "take him quickly." Please pray for their strength and comfort during this time.. and pray for God to do a miracle according to His will.  Thank you so much!!

the following is taken from "Jesus Calling," a devotional that was given to me for my birthday.
March 24:
"This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control.  In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love.  As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care.
You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of my continual presence.  The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes:I am the same yesterday, today and forever.  As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand.  herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you."
Psalm 89:15     Hebrews 13:8    Isaiah 41:13


March 9, 2012

burden to share, request for prayer

Hello everyone.
it's been a while. .but I have to post an update.  Things have been going so fast around here that it's hard to keep my head from spinning. . . but I really need to stop and post and update for prayer. Have to keep this short due to time limits. .

Bryan, my husband, was told today that there is a growth on his kidney.  We have spoken to two different doctors today. . .both agree that it's best to not  even biopsy this because the mass/growth/lesion has "crossed the line" and needs to be removed.

Also...benign solid masses in the kidney are rare...so it is standard to treat this as malignant until proven otherwise. 

We see another DR on this coming Thursday.  We are facing certain surgery and him being out of work for approx. 6 weeks.  They are saying it is very possible Bryan will lose his kidney, but will try to remove just a portion of the kidney--if they feel confident it wouldn't become a problem later.  But we'll just wait and see what happens.

Praises:  God allowed Bryan to have kidney stones and in the CT scan they "happened to find" this place on the kidney. Bryan had a follow-up CT scan a month or so ago and that's when we were told this is not a cyst, it has grown, and something must be done. . so that's where we are today....seeing both DR's and facing certain surgery and an unknown future (unknown to us; but God is fully aware.) 

It appears that this is contained to the kidney which is very good news.

Requests:  Pray for Bryan. . for strength, wisdom, and healing. . and a full recovery.  His burden as the sole provider for us is great. . . But God is greater.    Pray for me.  Trying to be there for him and remaining calm for the family, while keeping up with the intense work load at school, as well as keeping my focus, without falling apart. . . it's a job too big for me.  But God is greater.    Praying that this mass will stay in the kidney between now and the actual surgery when it can be removed.

Thank you all so much. . . And continue to pray for my cousin Michael as well.  He is in treatment currently.   I will be in touch at some point, Lord willing.

Love and hugs to everyone and thanking God for the prayers and support of His children and for the promise to see us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are greater than all of the problems this entire world has ever or ever will face.   So I lift my heart, with all its burdens, to You.  Admitting this is too much for me to figure out.  Claiming Your promise "I know the plans I have for you....to give you a hope and a future and not to harm you."  Jeremiah 29:11.  Even though our troubles seem like they could never be a source of hope and promise for a future, but rather a way "to harm" us----You have promised that even our troubles, can be a source of Your blessings---in fact, I wonder if the blessings could be even greater because of them being camouflaged as troubles. ??   Very well could be.    I feel exhausted.
So...I just climb up in Your lap and quietly ask You to hold us as a family, and somehow, some way, get the glory out of this too.  It's too big for me.  But nothing is impossible with You.  "With God all things, (even getting the glory out of this) are possible."
So...thank You for promising to be with us, and for already having the answer even before we ever began to pray. . .and for listening, while we are still speaking.
Bless everyone with the sense of Your presence in the midst of their storms.  
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

February 11, 2012

From 'Flawed ~ to ~ Awed'


My strength is made perfect in weakness.  II Corinthians 12:9

Been a while since I've been able to write..and actually I should be studying for a physics test which is Monday. . but I wanted to log this lesson as a written reminder to myself of what God has taught me over the past week or two.

One day, I will hopefully look back on this specific time in my life and admit that the difficulties were worth every single degree of suffering, or pain. . .and actually I am almost certain that I will...because it is when I realize and readily ADMIT my weakness, and visualize my "smallness" in comparison to the all-powerful-strength and creativity of our God (Who is beyond any measure or limit) that's when my perspective on life's difficult challenges begin to change.

One way to do that is to take a step back, and look at our universe....go beyond myself and look at the vast expanse of God's creation...keeping in mind that even the universe can not contain God.

A week ago, on my way to school, several mornings the sun was shining so brightly that as traffic was traveling along the interstate and began to round the corner, beyond the trees, the sun was so blinding-bright that traffic began to come to a crawl. .  there as we crept along the interstate and I tried to see past the bright, almost white, sun, I began to realize....this is just the sun. . and look at how we all come to a screeching halt!!


Imagine when we are with God in all His glory . . .purest brightness, in His holiness. . . surely no one will be able to move...but bow down and worship Him.

After feeling unable to "do" what is required of me at this present time, and feeling so unable, and weak, this difficult time reveals my flaws. . . but God's strength is made PERFECT in my weakness. 

Taking a step back, and looking at the marvellous wonder of creation, and seeing the majesty of His power at work around me. . .and that's when I go from feeling "FLAWED" to "AWED.

It's also very helpful for us to remember that even though we may "Feel alone," we really ARE NOT alone..and that the very Creator of the universe not only loves us, but is watching us every second of the day!  "I will guide thee with Mine eye." 


Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking around, at my tiny "box of space on earth" and thinking that this is it...losing perspective on the bigger picture..on Your power, and how MUCH You truly love me and my fellow family in Christ!   I pray that everyone will begin to grasp this truth:  Yes, we ARE flawed!  But the only way to tap into YOUR strength is to go from focusing on being "FLAWED" to being "AWED" by Your power!!    Thank You!!  I again declare my trust in YOU and Your strength!
Please be made perfect in my flaws and weakness.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen

January 19, 2012

Encouraging Update on Michael :)


Just a note to let everyone know the latest on my cousin Michael!   I will copy and paste the email from my Aunt Dianne below!   Thanks so much for praying for him and the family as well!  Like she said, cancer affects the entire family.  Pray for strength and grace for each day, and for the LORD to heal him and get the glory! :)  Romans 8:28

Big hugs and many thanks!  Thanks also to those of you who have left sweet comments and sent personal emails to me!  These have been a source of refreshing encouragement to my heart!!  <3  Big hugs!!! :)
Tammi

Hello, Michael's Team!
We are amazed at how well things went yesterday for Michael. We give the glory and praise to God. Every where we go with Michael and his team of doctors and nurses in Charlottesville ,we see God's hand at work for Michael. In the beginning someone told me that God was using Michael as a witness for others and I believe it. Sometimes we have to walk in the valley to be able to be on the mountain when God needs us for his service. As we have always heard from the televisions that cancer doesn't just affect the person, but the whole family. How true.

We arrived at Charlottesville at 8:30 yesterday. Our older son went with us and to drive us "old people "right up to the door. We were getting out of the car at the Emily Couric Cancer Center and this nice gentleman walked up and wanted to help us get our things from the car and be on the way to our appointments. I guess my son told him about Michael and to our surprise , this nice man whom we have never seen was a Liver Cancer survivor. He came inside and asked if he could talk with Michael. Of course, he wanted to share his story with Michael who was there for his first chemo treatment. This man did not know us and we didn't know him, except for the fact that he worked for UVA and he was the first person we saw at the cancer center. Back in 1996, he battled liver cancer and survived. He was telling Michael that it was hard , but worth all that you go through. He has been cancer free 14 years. What a blessing and uplifting to Michael.

 

We saw the cancer doctor and she had good news for Michael. She told him that the only differences in his Cat Scan from the 4th of November was the lymph node in the middle of his chest has grown a little, still not worried , chemo will take care of it. The tumor hasn't grown and therefore a slow growing tumor will be a slow shrinking tumor. We were told the pros and cons of his treatment and one thing that the doctor and nurse pushed was that right away, he would not be able to eat or drink anything cold, even to the fact of cold wind blowing in his face would feel like cracked glass. So far as of today, Wednesday the 18th at 1:30 p.m., he has not had this to happen. He is feeling great for now and seems to be in a good mood.

 

He ate breakfast this morning and everything has stayed down. He wants to go to Walmart, guess this is another good sign. Don't know what tomorrow will bring. For now , we are thankful for what has happened.

 

Also Michael's blood work was super. it has stayed the same as when he left the hospital on the 2nd of January.

 

Michael had a wonderful nurse and upbeat people in his circle of patients yesterday that were getting chemo treatments. The ladies who volunteer were always coming around and asking him if he wanted anything to eat or drink, a warm blanket, anything they could do for him. After five hours of treatment and watching T.V. or being on facebook, he got up out of his chair and danced and smiled his way out of the cancer center.

Thanks for all of the prayers and concern for Michael and his family. We will be returning on the 1st of February for his second treatment.








January 13, 2012

T.R.Y. God


             
      
Hey Everyone!  Just had to say a quick, "I MADE IT THROUGH THE WEEK!!"  LOL   Yes, tis a very difficult program!  But, with God's help, I'll survive. :)  

Just wanted to post a quick lesson I've been thinking about as I face mounds of work already.  The demands of this program at first glance look to be too much for one person.  But whenever I've felt  overwhelmed, the Lord reminds me that I am to not "TRY" to do this in my own effort. . .  but rather:  T.R.Y. God by going forward, each day:
Trusting in
Relying on (and)
Yielding to

God! 

So....that takes a lot of pressure off of me.  "Lord, I am choosing to TRY You!!!"   This could be a much longer post, fully loaded with lots of thoughts to chew on.  But for now...this week, everyone, let's TRY God!   

OH!!!  How will YOU "T.R.Y. God" this week!?? 

Love and hugs and miss you all! 

Oh, BTW, T.R.Y. --- that's my initials!  LOL

January 6, 2012

The Long GoodBye




Well, it's been a while...and I just wanted to do a "final post" for what may seem like eternity. . . .(for me that is.)  :)    Anyway....my ultrasound program starts Monday....I've been looking at the syllabi's for each of the classes, and it's obvious that I will be swimming up to my ears in homework and reading. . . so if you ever think of me, please whisper a prayer!   thanks so much... I trust God has brought me this far and will take me as far as He wants me to go in this..which will hopefully be to the finish line.  :) 
A few of my thoughts before I go:
  • God's timing is PERFECT!  He led me to start this blog back in Feb 2010 .. I had no idea WHY!  I just knew He was urging me to do it. . .And He led you all to this blog for multi-reasons:  Hopefully to be a blessing to your hearts....but I do know for sure that YOU ALL have been a blessing to ME!  And even though I've been AWOL in the blogging world lately, there are still some of you sweet friends who check in on me. ..and I get your emails usually when I'm on the run or most recently when I was in between a break and class time. . . and it cheers my heart....even if I'm unable to respond right away.  T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!
  • I absolutely need to depend upon God each and every day...ASK HIM to be the Source of my Energy and Strength.
  • God wants me to PRAISE HIM OUT LOUD each morning even before my toes hit the floor!  WHY!?  Because That shuts the enemy up....He has to stop and listen!  PRAISE IS A WEAPON!  Why don't we USE IT MORE OFTEN!!!!!????? (I think because our enemy KNOWS it's a weapon and his "goal" is to keep us UNDER the weather, down in the dumps, and doubting God instead of PRAISING GOD!  So, let's all right now OUT LOUD say PRAISE THE LORD for HE IS WORTHY!   Praise His Holy NAME!  Whoooo! 
  • God sets the boundaries of the ocean and sky, the universe, even though He is limitless, infinite!  So I trust Him to take me to the limits of what He has called me to do...and when I reach the end of a particular chapter, He will lead me to the next phase in my journey.
  • God is not interested in my ultimate OUTCOME and comfort nearly as much as He is INTERESTED in me TRUSTING HIM in "my NOW!" 
  • There is POWER in the cleansing blood of Christ.  Name it! CLAIM IT!  Plunge deep into the cleansing fountain of LIFE!   It is foolish and futile to depend upon anything LESS THAN the POWER OF CHRIST!    
  • GOD wants us to succeed!  Once we place our hearts and lives in His hands by accepting His gift of Salvation through Jesus, HE IS ALL ABOUT OUR SUCCESS :  Spiritually!  HE HAS PROMISED if we SEEK HIM FIRST, His RIGHTEOUSNESS---that is JESUS!   SEEK HIS DEAR SON JESUS, FIRST, then HE WILL MEET OUR EVERY SINGLE NEED GLORIOUSLY!!!  JUST SIMPLY TRUST AND SEEK JESUS!  (And no, I'm not "yelling" by typing in all caps.. . just wanted to stress this lesson to my eyes as I am typing this. )   :)
Okay....I will miss each of you. . .and think of you...and do hope and pray to be back. . .this is not the "end" but just "I'll be back as soon as I can, Lord willing."   I know He's not done with this blog because He's not done teaching me!! LOL  (Remember: this blog is a place for me to journal those lessons.)  

Also:  I am posting the music videos (You Tube) that He has allowed me to put together and some were done at my concert in October. . . I've struggled with "letting go"---of what my IDEAS were ... It seemed "obvious" or "logical" that music was how God had "wired me" to serve Him...But He is causing me to release my grip on the music once again. . .possibly pruning this part of my life...maybe, hopefully, Lord willing, the music will come back stronger and more powerful through His Divine enabling, for His glory.  We shall see, in His time.  However, for now, the dust cover's going over the Korg (Keyboard) and the music will be "out there" for all that He leads to YouTube. . .may it be a source of refreshment to the hearts of His children.

ONE FINAL NOTE:  I have a promise card box with cards of verses...the other day I drew a card saying "I need to hear from You, Father..." And two cards were drawn at the same time.  Here is what they said,

 

AS I WAS WITH MOSES, SO will I be with you..I will not fail you nor forsake you.  Josh. 1:5
ASK and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.  Matt. 7:7

SO....as Moses had an idea of God's calling on his life, but yet was sent to the desert for 40 years for training first, so I too am going. . . to a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. (Psalm 63:1)  Funny how I turned 40 last March!  ??   hee hee  And, no, I didn't get sent out because of a murder.  :)  Actually, it is sort of:  the Death of the Flesh of Tammi. . .Egypt represented the world, and flesh. . . Moses killed an Egyptian. . Well, the death in my situation is the death of the Egyptian represented by Tammi's flesh.  I am surrendering to God's will, and depending not on ME, but on GOD! 

Anyway....I'm off...."and I know not where."  BUT I do know this:  I'm in GOD's HANDS...and He is leading me, "in a way that I don't know."   Just as He promised.

God bless you all and Keep in touch . .  .my homework load for this semester is an average of 4-5 hours a night.  ooomph.  ouch. . . yikes !   hee hee.  .. (that's a sort-of laugh!)  HA  Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful New Year....and we shall see what GOD is going to do!
REMEMBER PRAISE HIM OUT LOUD! 

Tis our weapon!!!
Love and hugs!
Dear Father, I'm off....to where YOU are leading me. . .trusting YOU ... thanking You for this opportunity. .  looking only to YOU..Begging You to afford me the time to keep myself rightly related to you.  RxR like the railroad crossing....Rightly Related to You....by  looking to the CROSS....the finished work on the cross by Your Son, Jesus. . . I can not succeed in any area of life without YOU..and it's just silly and foolish to even try.  My initials are T.R.Y.  But I'm not going to TRY in my own strength.   I will most certainly T.R.Y.  Trust, Rely and Yield to YOUR PERFECT WILL!    Thank You for this blog, for leading me to start it 2 years ago, and for the special friends You have given me. . . bless them this year....and may You bring me back in Your time, only stronger, and in the center of Your perfect will. . In Jesus' Name!!  amen.