Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking Ahead

It is hard to believe that August is coming to an end and we will soon be moving into September! At times, the days seem to stand still, while others simply fly by.

While we have had our struggles moving into new school routines and realizing that we will forever fight this demon cancer and its lasting side effects, we have had our share of joys too.

Joy has come in the form of hearing girls giggle, sitting together on a porch swing, and all sharing about our day at dinner. Just today a precious friend reminded me that, "God did not mean for you and Mark to carry this alone. You need him and you need folks like me who are willing to carry some of the load. Life is not easy. We have real struggles everyday and it is okay be sad, angry, and disappointed. God loves you and he will come to you wherever you are and you can pour out your heart to him – he can take it." We are thankful that God is there for us and will be with each of us today, tomorrow, and each day to come. We are thankful that there are friends here to help us through.

We are also thankful for two special organizations that have really been at the center of Elena's care this past year. They are the Aflac Cancer Center at CHOA and CURE Childhood Cancer.

We will be participating in two separate events that will benefits these two groups.

The first event is the
WSB 750 AM Care-a-Thon . This annual Care-a-Thon has raised more than $8.5 million for the Aflac Cancer Center. Our family will be participating in this year's Care-a-Thon. We will be doing a live interview this Thursday, August 27th at 6:45pm.

I'm nervous just thinking about it!!
Pray one of us can tell our story, making it meaningful to the listeners, all while glorifying God. The Aflac Cancer Center is where Elena's and Olivia's doctors are. It is where they have received all of their treatments, evaluations and care. They are one of the top pediatric cancer centers in the country. They are staffed by the most amazing, dedicated people you will ever meet. They are a non-profit organization and rely on donations and fundraisers like the one WSB 750 AM is doing.

The second event in in September. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. One organization that works hard towards a cure for childhood cancer is CURE Childhood Cancer. Some of you may remember that last year at this time, we participated in CURE's Kids Conquer Cancer fund raising event. It was the first year that CURE held this event. Their goal was to raise $30,000 for research. They easily passed that goal and have raised this year's goal to $60,000. We are happy to say that CURE would like Elena to be one of the children spotlighted again this year!

It is a privilege to be a part of an incredible local organization that is committed to raising awareness to the issues of childhood cancer, as well as raise money for research and more. We will let you know when Elena's day will be. Before then, you can go to, to learn more about this amazing organization.

We ask you to prayerfully consideration giving to either or both of these fundraisers. The benefits that comes from the work both the Aflac Cancer Center and CURE Childhood Cancer do could never be measured. The blessings they give each child and each family they touch are countless. We know we have been blessed by both organizations!

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family. We continue to be reminded to see the joy in each day and to fully rely on God.

In Him,

The Tates

"This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Picture Post Review

I thought this would be a quick way to review the last week : )

Friday: The girls were treated to manicures and pedicures.
A back to school tradition. Thanks Gram! (and Grandpa!)
Are you trying to guess who's toes are whose?

Saturday: Fun at the pool

Liv on the water slide.

Elena on another waterside.
Outside by the pool there was a Back to School Bash.

We finished our second 1000 piece puzzle of the summer.
Can you tell there is one piece missing?

Check out Liv's new school shoes.
This is the BEFORE shot.

This is the AFTER 180 days of school shot.
Yes, these are the same shoes, last year's shoes.

I guess you can say Liv got plenty of wear out of last year's shoes!
They almost lasted through the summer.

Monday, August 8, 2010
The First Day of School
Elena's in the sixth grade, Liv's in the third. WOW!

Mark sneaked this shot of Elena getting on the bus!
She hasn't ridden the bus since this first part of kindergarten.
We quickly switched to being a "car rider" back then.
I think she will be just fine now. : )

Monday night....the Justin Bieber concert.

Thanks to CURE Childhood Cancer's gift of four tickets in a suite, we all four went to the concert! We found out it was a suite that belonged to the Gwinnett Arena. Thanks to them for donating the tickets to CURE! The assistant GM of the arena even got the girls t-shirts before we left. It was a really great "first concert" experience for the girls! We all had great time.

The girls have had three fabulous days at school.
LOVE their teachers! LOVE their schools! (I do too!)
Thankfully, it has been a really super school transition week for them!

The only exception has been two really rough homework nights with Elena : (

Tonight, she was in tears (again) saying it is so hard for her to be at school for 7 hours and come home and do homework. I miss that girl (before diagnosis) who would come in, sit down, and breeze through homework. These nights are so hard on all FOUR of us! Please pray for us, for Elena's ability to focus and communicate calmly, and for peace, patience and understanding for all.

Thanks for continuing to check in on us!
In Him,
The Tates

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Monday, August 2, 2010

Great Clinic Visit

Good Afternoon! Just wanted to let you know that Elena had a great visit at the clinic today. Our prayers were answered. Everything went well. Praise God! Elena's counts were good and we do not have to go back for a month. Really! A whole month! It's actually beginning to feel like we are truly in the maintenance portion of Elena's treatment!

Here are some pictures from today's visit:

Elena's fabulous sedation nurses!
Ashley, Dione, and Liz

Port accessed...waiting...bored....

Elena still sleeping after her lumbar puncture.
Ashley by her side.
Didn't we say her nurses were fabulous!

After Elena's outpatient visit at the clinic,
we walked over to the hospital
to see some of our favorite inpatient nurses.
Here are Deia and Stephanie.

Just a small glimpse of our morning. A great bonus to our week is that Gram and Grandpa are here visiting! The girls are thrilled! It is a great annual tradition to have them here for the last week of summer vacation. A plus for us since, I have to go back to work before the girls and they still get to enjoy more summer fun with Gram and Grandpa. We are so very thankful to everyone in our lives who continue to care for us and pray for us. Some are pictured above, some are miles and miles away. We are grateful to all!

In Him,
The Tates

"I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you, I will sustain you and rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

Sunday, August 1, 2010


***Quick Elena update.....She goes to the clinic tomorrow, 8/2, 8:30 am, to have a lumbar puncture to receive chemo in her spine, Vincristine via her port, her counts checked, meds adjusted, and a check-up. Please pray all goes well and that we will not have to go back for a month!***

Here's our long overdue camping update!
We had such a GREAT time camping with our dear, dear friends the Vickers.
We played, hiked, ate, slept, laughed,
swam, and ate some more!
It was a fun-filled, wonderful, relaxing weekend.
Just what we needed! Thank you Vickers!!
Enjoy the pics!

Who knew you needed so much stuff to go camping?!

Tent, Sweet, Tent

Here's a picture of our super sized,
deluxe accommodations for the weekend.
Complete with air mattresses, fans, and lanterns.
Thanks to our friends, the Taylors and the Vickers!

Good Morning!!

One of many delicious meals!

One view of Tallulah Gorge during a hike.

Hiking together

Robbie, Stacee, and Ella
on the "front porch" of their camper