Friday, December 30, 2011

More News From Russia

Mark sent another email about their Thursday in Russia. : )
We love hearing from him! Keep praying for him and the team, their safety and trouble with the time difference. Pray for Mark to be able to savor every moment!
Enjoy the update!

Good Morning and Greetings from Russia!
Sorry for the sporadic e-mail blurbs. We have wifi here but have been experiencing difficulties over the past few days. I believe that we have it worked out now, but I have to access through Paul's computer and it doesn't always work out.
Another good day yesterday! Rode the Metro around to all of our places which is an experience in and of itself. Another day of renovation work at the girls apartment followed by dinner at one of the boys apartments. Borscht (beet soup) for lunch which was excellent and ballinis (crepes) for dinner which were even better. The girls had a day off and met with the girls in their apartment for dinner and making cookies and a gingerbread manger. Saw pics, it was cool. returned home by midnight and had a team meeting and devotion until 1 am.
Off now to morning devotion and then another day of renovation work and then dinner again with the boys. We gave them all scarves last night and they were very appreciative. I think the ladies are going to try to take the girls ice skating after dinner and maybe we can join them. :-)
Love you!
Kiss the girls for me!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Update on Elena

Yesterday was Elena's regularly scheduled appt. We now go every two months for counts and a physical exam. We will do this until August 2013 and then she will be transfered to what they call the survivor clinic. We will still go to the Aflac Cancer Center, she will just have a new set of doctors who specialize in survivors and late term effects.

On to the update - - Elena's counts are low - her doctor said he suspects a virus, not a relapse, but he wants to see her again in one month, not two months like we have been doing since August. He also took her off the weekend antibiotic that she's been on for well over a year as a part of her treatment. It is to help prevent pneumonia. She was scheduled to stop taking it in early February. The doctor said it can suppress counts, so he wants to take her off of it now.

Needless to say I like clinic visits much better when they say "everything looks great"!

Please pray that when we go back to the clinic on January 23rd Elena's counts will have risen and that they will be no signs of anything abnormal!
Please pray for peace in the days between now and then.
We were getting used to our new new normal and this definitively wasn't expected.
Pray for our hearts and minds to be calm and patient in the waiting.
I know worry can rob you of your joy and much more. I don't want that.
I want to continue to love each day.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family!
In Him,
The Tates

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear."
Psalm 46:1-2

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mark's in Russia!

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

We enjoyed spending time at home and had a wonderful, fun filled Christmas dinner with some of our friends and their families. Twenty four people came to our house! We ate great food, played games, and enjoyed being together.
We stayed in Georgia for Christmas this year because Mark was leaving the day after Christmas to go on a mission trip to Russia. Since we were home "alone", it was fun to gather with friends to celebrate the day together!

Mark left Monday for his trip. We have heard from him twice so far. I am so excited for him and can't wait for him to come home and share all of the wonderful thing God has done through him and the team.

Here's an update he sent to us today:

Things are going well here. We had a busy day today and everyone is tired. I still can't get used to the idea that it is the middle of the afternoon there and it is way past my bed time here!
Today we split up into two groups and went to two different Harbor locations. I was with Paul, Rick, Bill and Charlie at the girls dorm / apartment doing renovation work. I think between morning tea, (and cookies) lunch, and afternoon tea, (and yes, more cookies), we were actually able to get some of the work done! :-) We left a liitle bit for tomorrow so we can go back and have more cookies!!
Everyone is so nice here. I was worried yesterday because of the overall feeling you get at first glance, but once you get to know people you get a glimpse of the hope and love they have here. It is pretty neat! I'm even picking up a little of the language from our fabulous translators!
I love you and miss you and wish you were right here with me experiencing all that I am and will be on this trip. God is so good! Again, give my love to all and have a fabulous afternoon! I'm going to see if anyone needs any help before I turn in for my beauty rest! I'm long overdue and it shows!!
Love you bunches!!

We miss him too! I am so proud of him and love that he has a heart for missions!
Please pray for him and the team.
Pray for their safety.
Pray for their time in Russia, that every person they work with and meet will be blessed by their service.
Pray for their strength and energy as they deal with the nine hour time difference.

Thank you!

In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord will keep you from all harm, He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. " Psalm 121:7-8

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I thought when we were home for Christmas, I'd have plenty of time to update the blog. Well, as you know that didn't happen, but we have so enjoyed the season of Christmas!
We have been busy decorating, shopping, wrapping, going to parties, being with friends, attending Christmas musicals at church (both girls sang in the choir), going to Elena's guitar ensemble concert, the girls' Christmas dance mini recital, and most importantly serving others!

We had the opportunity to do three things.
Elena and I were able to join Melissa and Kristen Brooks for their fifth annual Taylor Brooks Foundation Christmas party at CHOA - Scottish Rite. It was a special night watching children and their families on the Aflac cancer floor shop for gifts donated by the foundation. Elena was a great elf! Liv wasn't able to go because of the age limit on that floor. Soon she will be able to join us. You might remember that we all helped stuff Easter baskets for children in the hospital with Melissa and her husband, Jeff, back in the spring. Combined, our girls have received three of the Taylor Brooks Easter baskets during their own stays in the hospital.
To learn more about the foundation:

All four of us were able to go to the Aflac Cancer Center at Scottish Rite to deliver over 100 stuffed lions and lambs to be given out to the outpatient children. The girls were SO excited as they were unpacking the boxes and sharing their joy with Karen, one of the Child Life Specialist at the clinic. Mark's company generously donated the stuffed animals to the cancer center.

Finally, we were able to spend Friday morning with a family in a homeless situation. We spent the morning decorating cookies, making a craft and playing games. We volunteer with this organization on a regular basis, Family Promise of Gwinnett. They are a remarkable organization making the difference in families lives daily. They are a national organization.
To learn more click here:

I feel like each of these organizations deserve their own posts! They are dear to our hearts and we are blessed to be able to work with them!

We pray that each of you have found time to celebrate this season and remember to celebrate the reason for this season - Jesus - God's son sent to as a gift to us so that we may know Him and His grace. Take time to thank God for the gift of salvation that came from His son.

In Him,
The Tates

"For unto you is born this day in the city of david, a savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Moments

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It's hard to believe that it has been three weeks since Thanksgiving! We finally downloaded all of our pictures from our Louisiana Thanksgiving.
It is always SO good to "go home".

This year it was special to see our girls love on their younger cousins, just like they have been loved on by their older cousins. We are so thankful that while we are separated physically by hundreds of miles, there is no distance in our hearts or theirs!!
Enjoy these few shots capturing the love between sisters and cousins!

Geaux Tigers!!

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Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Tate,
all four of us were able to go to the
LSU/Arkansas game this year.
It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
We had such a great time!!
It was an absolutely wonderful, fun-filled day!
Full of smiles, family, and of course, great food!
The Smilebox above captures just a few of
those great moments and memories.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thinking Thankful Thoughts

It hard to believe that here we sit on the eve of the last day of November!
Where did 2011 go? Wasn't it just the start of another school year?
In the busyness of life, it is often hard to just stop and reflect. Over this last week there was time to think, but my thouhgts seemed so scattered. Last week, it was a joy to be able to travel to Lousiana to see our families for the Thanksgiving holiday. I really wanted to be able to share our thankful thoughts with you. While we had time to talk and think, my thoughts were so scattered. So instead of writing something, I wrote nothing.

However, there is one dear friend, Shannon, who was able to write so eloquently what I was thinking. Below you will read part of what she posted on her father's Caring Bridge site.

I am reminded this morning that each and every day we have something to be thankful for, whether it be a something that the Lord has given us or something that He has taken away from us. As humans, living in this fallen world, we often forget that we can be thankful even in challenging patches of life. Yes, it may be more difficult to find a heart of praise, but it is possible..and it's what we are called to do!

I can't even begin to write a full list of things (we are thankful for) because the most important thing on our list is God...
He tells us He will always provide.
He will give and take away.
He will be our strength in weakness.
He will love us through all circumstances.
He will guard our hearts.
He will shelter us.
He will comfort us.
He will test us.
In all of His promises He is simply providing us blessings time and time again.

So, does that mean the journey is smooth sailing? No!
Does that mean (we) are 100%? No!
But it does mean have a a reason to find hope and thankfulness in each new day!

Shannon, thank you for sharing your heart and your thoughts! Thank you for letting me share them with others! You are an amazing woman of God! I am thankful you are a part of our life!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to Mark!

Today Mark turned 45!

He is strong and smart.

He is unselfish.

He is funny and athletic.

He is a hard worker.

He makes sure his girls (all of us) are safe and cared for.

He always puts our needs (and wants!) ahead of his own.

He always cheers us on.

He is a morning person. I'm not!

He brings me my first cup of coffee almost every morning.

Fixed just the way I like it!

He folds laundry when I desperately need the laundry fairy.

Ditto with the dishwasher fairy!

He can fix most anything.

He makes the best burgers in the world.

He has no problems helping the girls with their homework - especially math!

I could go on and on.

He is wonderful!

Counting today,I have celebrated the past 24 birthdays with Mark!

I can't imagine it any other way. Together, we have grown in so many ways.

As friends, as individuals, as parents, and as followers of Christ.

I can't imagine going through the trials in our life without Mark by my side.



"Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Cornithians 13:7

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Great Gift Idea

We recently purchased these platters for some people in our family.

We think they are a great gift idea and we wanted to share the idea with you!

We ordered them from a friend I went to high school with.

The website is:

Click on 'personalized melamine' to see the great trays, platters, plates and bowls. You can design your own in many,many different color combinations.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Fun

Fall is such a wonderful time of year!
Fall brings glorious colors, brilliant sunshine,
warm days, cool nights,
special traditions and college football!!

These are just a few of the joys that fall brings!
We count the beauty and joy of fall
as one of many blessings God has given us!

A few weeks ago, Liv made a fall fun list.
We make one for the summer, why not the fall?

So tonight, we compiled some of our fall fun list activities into a slideshow.
They are:
our fall trip to Tennessee to see family
raking leaves
our yearly corn maze and hayride trip with the Taylors
going to pick out pumpkins

Still left to do on our fall fun list are:
make s'mores with friends in our backyard

Enjoy the pics!
In Him,
The Tates
"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Days!

That's what we have been having at the Tate house - happy days - Praise God!
We are so happy to be having more good days than bad ones lately!
We are also finding more joy than sorrow or anger in those days!

Things finally seem to be settling for all of us. There have been a few times that life even seems 'normal'. There is still too much homework that seems to consume our evenings, but the girls are beginning to do a little more on their own and seem more confident as well.

We are so proud of them and how they handle their challenges. They work so hard and rarely give up.

We also have good news about last month's CURE Childhood Cancer initiative.
Thanks to over 40 donors, $4,293 has been raised for CURE in honor of Elena and Liv. This money will help countless children. Thanks to all who decided to honor our family in such a special way! Overall, with 71 teams participating, $263,000 was raised in CURE's September intiative!! Wow!

Thank you for continuing to love us, pray for us and support us!
In Him,
The Tates

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All is Well

Praise the Lord for a great visit today!
All is well with Elena.
Her counts were great. Remaining steady as expected.
Her reflexes were nonexsistent as usual. However, this time Dr. B had Elena close her eyes and clasp her hands in front of her and he got a reflex from her knee! Thank you Lord!

Please continue to pray that the side effects from Vincristine (the drug causing the nerve problems in Elena's hands and feet) continue to lessen.

Thank you for your prayers today!

In Him,
The Tates

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." Philippians 4:4

Monday, October 10, 2011

Appointment Time

It's hard to believe that it has been two months since Elena's last clinic appointment.
Tomorrow we go for her second off treatment appointment.

Please pray for great counts and for the physical side effects from chemo to indicate they are diminishing, especially Elena's reflexes.

Pray for peace of mind.

In Him,
The Tates

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5: 7

Monday, September 26, 2011

An Overdue Update

Sorry it has been so long in between posts! You probably get tired of hearing that!

Things are pretty much the same here: school, work, homework and studying.
And as usual we really try to make having fun and resting a priority on the weekends.

Unfortunately, right now, Liv has a stomach bug. It has been a minor one and tonight she just feels puny. She didn't go to school today. Please pray the bug is over and that she will feel better in the morning.

A praise from last week is that on Friday the students and staff at our school donated $633 to CURE! It made my heart overflow with joy to see SO many children wearing hats! They really cared and wanted to make a difference. Some kids told me that they brought more than a dollar to donate. Others said they didn't wear a hat, but brought a dollar anyway. Some said they donated their ice cream money. It doesn't take much. We all can make a difference in another child's life.

On Saturday, I attended a special luncheon hosted by Chris Glavine. It is called “A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes”. After personally witnessing the burdens that all families carry while caring for a child with cancer, Chris Glavine found herself empathizing with the moms and decided she wanted to do something special for them. Seven years ago, she hosted the first luncheon. Not only does it pay tribute to the mothers of children with cancer, it helps raise much needed funds to support pediatric cancer research. Over the past seven years, this event, the raffles, and the silent and live auctions have raised over 1.8 million dollars for CURE!!

It is a wonderful luncheon and fundraiser for CURE. This was my second year attending. It is a reunion of sorts. It is a time to reconnect with the extraordinary women I have met on this journey, to meet new ones and even personally meet others I have only known through their child's blog or Caring Bridge site. Everything about the day was wonderful! The friends, the fellowship, the food, and this year's remarkable speaker.

Kristin Connor, the executive director of CURE, shared some fabulous “You know you are a cancer mom when” comments with us. A friend looked online to see if she could them. She did. It will give you a laugh, but will also give you some perspective into what families are dealing with when their child is on treatment.

You know you are a cancer parent when:

  1. You carry a tube of Emla cream in your purse instead of a tube of lipstick
  2. You can sleep anywhere and anything that reclines more than 15 degrees looks “comfy”
  3. You enjoy the drive at 3:00 am to the emergency room because there aren’t any other cars on the freeway
  4. Your child is estatic because all she is getting done is counts in her arm and a shot in her leg. That's a good chemo day at the clinic!
  5. The nurses stop responding to the IV alarm, knowing you’ll fix it anyway
  6. Your 2-year-old knows where all of the medical equipment goes, and how to use it
  7. You keep a bag packed at all times like your 9 1/2 months pregnant
  8. You correct the doctors spelling on the chemo meds
  9. You have more meds in your cupboard (or on your counter) than food
  10. Your child uses Legos® to build “MRI” machines
  11. The siblings want to know what the child’s counts are to see if they can go inside and eat at McDonald’s or have to go through the drive-thru
  12. You can reset the IV machines overnight, in your sleep, every 30 minutes without waking up once and still call it a good nights sleep!
  13. Your kid takes more pills than you
  14. Your child has his/her own website to keep family and friends updated on his/her progress because calling everyone gets to be too expensive and repeating the report over and over is tiring.
  15. A Radio Flyer wagon is considered an essential transportation device
  16. Every little thing can make you cry in a heartbeat, but this list has you rolling on the floor!
(this list was taken from

Hope you laughed like we did when we heard these. Laughter really is one of many things that help you stay sane in the world of childhood cancer!

Blessings to each of you!
In Him,
The Tates

"The God of all grace...will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CURE Update

We are all well here at the Tate house. Weekdays are still filled with school, work, homework and studying and we try to fill the weekends with as much rest and fun as we can!!

Please continue to pray for us to find balance in our lives in all things.

Here's an update from CURE:

"We're halfway through National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and CURE's Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time.

We are just two weeks in and already off to a great start.

Thanks to all of our supporters, CURE's Kids have already raised over $123,000!

CURE Childhood Cancer is committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease. Our goal at month's end is to raise $250,000 to put towards the fight to end childhood cancer and, most importantly, to honor our brave warriors One Day at a Time! Help us reach our goal!"

You can still donate to CURE's September Initiative: CURE's "Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time" all month. You never know....maybe CURE will have another $1,000 by the end of this week, this month.

Click here for more information or to donate.

We will be having at Hat Day at school this Friday. We are praying that every kid will wear a hat and bring a dollar for CURE. I'm thankful that I work for a principal who didn't even hesitate in saying yes to sponsoring the event! Liv is excited because she will be on the morning announcements this week to help promote the fundraiser.

On a sad note, if any of you noticed the sweet little girl with pink glasses under the girls picture on the CURE website, Regan Boatner, she lost her battle against cancer this morning.
This is the notice her parents sent out.
Angel Baby
On Saturday September 17 at 8:25 am, Regan Eva received her miracle of complete healing from cancer.To God be the glory, great things he has and through this precious little girl.
Mommy and Daddy love you, Regan. We will see you soon. - This is her Caring Bridge Site -

Blessings to all of you!
In Him,
The Tates

"Let us not become weary in doing good..." Galatians 6:9

Monday, September 12, 2011

Continued Thanks!

Another day, another $1,000 for CURE Childhood Cancer!!

We are humbled and overwhelmed by your donations to CURE in honor of the girls. Thank you for caring and for continuing to support us in so many ways!

You can still donate to CURE's September Intiative: CURE's "Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time" all month. You never know....maybe CURE will have another $1,000 by the end of this week, this month.

Click here for more information or to donate.

In Him,
The Tates

"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm 118:24

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Thanks to our generous family and friends we passed our goal of raising $2000 for CURE Childhood Cancer's research initiatives! Thank you for making a difference is the lives of children as CURE works to find better treatments for childhood cancer and most importantly to find a cure!

Thank you for making a difference in our lives!
Thank you for loving our family through the good and the bad!

Thank you for joining us in the fight!

Just because today is coming to an end, doesn't mean you still can't donate.
CURE's September Intiative: CURE's "Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time" continues all month.

Click here for more information or to donate.

In Him,
The Tates

"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

Today's the Day!

This is it! Today is the day that CURE Childhood Cancer is honoring our girls!

We are grateful to those of you who have already donated. We are a little over half way toward making our goal of $2000.

Please consider donating today!
Click here for more information or to donate.

In Him,
The Tates

"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

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tate Girls' Day with CURE Childhood Cancer

Just a reminder that tomorrow Elena and Olivia will be honored by CURE Childhood Cancer for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Please help us in our goal to raise awareness and to raise $2000 in honor of our girls. This money will help fund research that will lead to better treatments and cures for pediatric cancers.

Click here for more information or to donate.

Thank you to those who have already donated.
We are 29% of the way toward making our goal. Please help us reach 100%.
Every dollar helps fund the research needed for a cure.

In case you missed them the first are the facts:
Each day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.
Each day, 7 children die from cancer.

There's more:
1 in 320 children will develop cancer by age 20
Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children
Cancer treatments cause serious side effects that last a lifetime
All children cancers combined receive 3% of the American Cancer Society's research funds.

Please consider joining us in the fight to find a cure and in doing so honoring our girls.
In Him,
The Tates

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me (us)." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, September 2, 2011

11 Alive Clip

After a 4:30 am wake up call, we all got ready and headed downtown to the 11 Alive news station. We were welcomed and as soon as we all got into the green room, we were all quickly escorted to the set. We walked in while the taped portion of the story was playing. It was great to see Jill so surprised. She was very moved. We are thankful to have been apart of a brief but touching part of her day and to help represent such a wonderful organization, CURE Childhood Cancer.

I can't believe we are all still up! That will be changing quickly! We just finished watching 'Where the Red Fern Grows' and are all headed to bed.

My aunt found the clip and sent the link.
Our girls (and their friends) ended up being in the right place for the camera : )
It was a fun morning for all.

In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy."
Psalm 126:3

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Little Fun

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will be driving downtown to 11Alive's TV station.

We will be helping to help honor Jill Becker.
She is retiring after 22 years of newscasting. Her last newscast is tomorrow. Jill has been a champion for children with cancer, using her position of influence in the community and on the air to get stories of children and families told and to raise awareness of the devastation of childhood cancer. She has been one of the best friends to CURE and the families they serve and she plans to join their Board of Directors in 2012 to continue to work for and serve families.

The station wants to end
tomorrow's show and celebration with a story about Jill being a warrior for children with cancer. When a taped video segment about childhood cancer concludes, several children who have been touched by cancer (patients and their siblings) will walk onto the set of the morning news and surround her as the final “goodbye." It is a surprise for Jill. (No, she doesn't read the blog! haha)

We will be leaving at 5:15 to be at the station by 6:00. We were told we would be done by 7:00. So, if you are up and watch the local morning news...check out Jill Becker's farewell on 11Alive, maybe you'll see two beautiful red heads!

CURE's "Kids
Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time."
UPDATE from CURE's website:

The month just began and you're already off to a great start. Thanks to all of our supporters, CURE's Kids have already raised over $29,000!

CURE Childhood Cancer is committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease. Our goal at month's end is to raise $250,000 to put towards the fight to end childhood cancer and, most importantly, to honor our brave warriors One Day at a Time! Help us reach our goal!

So...check out our story and please consider giving.

In Him,
The Tates

"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."
Psalm 126:3

Please Join Us in the Fight Against Childhood Cancer

It is September 1st.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Here are some startling facts about childhood cancer.

Cancer is the number one disease killer of children in our country, more than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and pediatric AIDS combined! After accidents, it is the second leading cause of death in children.

Today the parents of 46 children will hear the words, “Your child has cancer.”

Today 7 children took their last breath. On April 2, 2009 Elena was one of the 46. We can’t even think about her being one of the 7! Overall, 80% of childhood cancer cases can be successfully treated.....that sounds great until you think of putting 5 children in a room, look around and realize that one of them won’t survive…..from there, 80% doesn't look so good!

While over the years the survival rate for kids with cancer has risen, many of the children who survive face health problems from the harsh cancer fighting treatments they have endured. With children still dying and many others suffering late effects, much more research for safer and better treatments is needed. This research requires money. Unfortunately, less than 2% of federal funding for cancer research is given to childhood cancers.

CURE is an organization based in Atlanta that is funding research specifically for pediatric cancers. You may think this research can't help. You’re wrong. A beautiful, bright eight year old girl in our neighborhood was diagnosed with ALL almost two years after Elena. Six months before Abby’s treatment started there was a different treatment protocol. Elena's protocol was different from Abby's. The protocol was altered because of the results of an ongoing study. A study that ended early because the results were so overwhelmingly positive that it will increase Abby’s chance of survival. That’s where the dollars you give today are going.

For the third year in a row, we are participating in an initiative called “CURE's Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time.” On September 11, both Elena and Olivia will be honored. CURE Childhood Cancer will feature our story on CURE’s website, CURE’s blog and on

Our goal is to raise as much money as we can to fund research that will lead to better treatments and cures for pediatric cancers. Please consider donating to help fund this research. For us, participating in this month's initiative with CURE is a way to honor our girls, their fight, their perseverance and their grace.

We hope you will help and share our story with your families and friends. We will keep you posted on the initiative's progress.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us and care for us!
In Him,
The Tates

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me (us)." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sometimes we struggle.
We think about how much we have lost over the past several years.
We have lost time - time together, time with our children, time with our families.
Our girls have lost time too - time to do what they want, time to go where they want, time to grow up slowly.

Sometimes we lose our joy.
We remember when the joy outshined the pain.
There is still joy in our lives. Sometimes it is easy to see.
Sometimes we have to stop and find it.
Sometimes simply surviving the day is a struggle.

But, we have not lost sight of the fact that we still have days to live.
Others do not.

Our girls have reached great milestones:
In June, Liv had her fifth consecutive MRI showing no signs of a recurrent tumor.
In August, Elena completed her treatment for leukemia.

We are so thankful that they reached these milestones!
Others do not.

Our battle is not over. We all are now fighting the cognitive late term effects on a daily basis.
Our battle is not over. Children die from cancer every day.

Nine days ago we attended our first memorial service for a child. Abby lost her battle against cancer on August 17, 2011. We first met Abby on a Tuesday several years ago. It was a brain tumor clinic day for Liv. Our girls looked forward to the days they would see Abby.
Abby was a beautiful seven year old, who always had a smile to share. Many times Abby's parents reminded us to cherish every moment, hold our girls close, and remember that God is always near.

At the service to celebrate Abby's life, Abby's parents provided everyone cards with bible verses on them. They said that God had used these verses to bring them comfort and peace throughout Abby's journey and then continued to provide them reassurance in their loss. Their hope was that the verses would speak to others too.

This is one of the verses:
"My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising You; I declare Your glory all day long. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with You, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but You will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth."
Psalm 71: 7,8,19-20

These verses give us hope, comfort, peace, and reassurance that no matter how large our battles may seem, God has protected us, strengthened us and He will restore us.

Even though sometimes the battles seem too great, we always know that God is here.
We hope our journey has made you want to join the fight to find a cure for childhood cancer.

In Him,
The Tates

Monday, August 29, 2011

Life - Summer + School = Craziness

I wish there was a way to ease back into school. So quickly we move from plenty of hours to do what we want whenever we want to early mornings, late nights and one hundred and one things to do in between! That being said, we are slowly adjusting to our new days and new schedules.

There's been very little time to let you know how we are doing. Our days are filled with work and school. Our nights have been filled with back to school meetings and homework. Our weekends, we fill with as much rest and fun as we can.

Here are a few highlights:

*We spent a fabulous day with friends at Lake Hartwell. Boating, eating, tubing, jet skiing, eating, and laughing. It was relaxing and fun filled!! Thank you Robbie and Stacee for the get away!

*We have had the opportunity to meet with most of the girls' teachers to discuss their education needs, review their IEPs and make sure we are all on the same track to help the girls succeed in school. We are so fortunate to have some of the best teachers working with our girls. We are thankful for their willingness to do whatever is needed to help deal with the effects of Elena's chemo and Liv's surgeries.

*We all went to a reception to kick off CURE Childhood Cancer's September initiative. It was a special night. Mark and I had been asked to share our story, how CURE has impacted our life and why we are involved with their September initiative to raise funds for research. We were honored to be asked. CURE holds a special place in our hearts and we have been blessed by their kindness and service.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
On September 1st, we will post how you can join us in the fight against childhood cancer.

Thank you for your prayers!
In Him,
The Tates

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Clinic Update

Sorry for the delay in updating! Weekend fun quickly took up our time!
We are happy to report all is well! Praise God!

Elena's clinic visit Friday was super. Her counts were great. She was able to celebrate this milestone with Dr. B, her nurses, Mary and Kim and the other wonderful staff members at the clinic. They surprised Elena with a balloon, singing, and a gift card from Target. It was fun to celebrate with the special people who have cared for Elena over these past 28 months.

We are also happy to say that Dr. B told us we do not have to go for counts and checkups every month! The protocol allows checkups every two months!! So, Elena's next appointment will be in October! Another blessing! More time to return to our new normal, a new life without chemo. As we have said before, we have changed. Our lives will never be the same. We are not the family we were before all of this. We are a family who loves God and loves one another. So, instead of focusing on what was or what could have been, we will focus on what we are and what we can do. Our God is greater!

In Him,
The Tates

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reunion with the Knaacks

Before things got busy around here and as summer was coming to an end, we spent July 25th on the lake with some special friends. When our girls were little, the Knaacks lived one door down from us. There were days that we spent almost every waking hour together! Lots of memories were made on the street, in the yards, in the basement, at the lake and in the snow!! We were blessed to make new memories together a couple of weekends ago!

Below you will see all five girls. Only three years and three months separate the oldest (Elena) from the youngest (the twins, Meagan and Lindsey).
We had the best time! We laughed and played all afternoon and into the night!
We all had fun on the tube. Elena got up on the kneeboard and Mark looked great skiing (as usual!).

Thanks Knaacks for the new memories! We love you!

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Tomorrow will be Elena's first off treatment appointment!!
Please pray for fabulous counts and peace of mind!

In Him,

The Tates

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The First Day of School 2011

The morning of our first day back to school was a little eventful.
Immediately after taking our traditional "back to school picture" on the front steps, Liv was stung on the hand by a wasp. Ouch!
So, in the house we went. After a few tears and some ice, we were back outside for a few more pictures. It is fun to share a "back to school" day with the girls. It is new and exciting for each of us each year.

The girls came home from the first day so excited about their new teachers. We heard how great their days were, which friends were in their classes, and what great fun they had on the first day. Elena was still chatting away at ten that night! : )

We thank God for their enthusiasm and joy. We pray that this school year will continue to be filled with these things as they live, learn and grow throughout another year in school.

In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!"
Psalm 126:3
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

A New Year

It's hard to believe that tomorrow morning is the start of another new year of school. Elena will be in seventh grade and Olivia in fourth.

I remember after I had Olivia, my aunt (who has two girls herself) telling me to savor the days because the years really do pass quickly. She was so right!

Tonight is mixed with sadness that summer has come to an end and excitement about the new school year. We are ready. Backpacks are packed and clothes are laid out.

Please pray for a great night's sleep tonight and for sustained energy, peace and joy tomorrow.

In Him,
The Tates

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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oh What a Night!!

Oh what a night we had celebrating the end of 847 days of chemo!!
We kept it small and simple.
A few friends came over to help us celebrate.

The best part of the evening was when we gathered for a time of prayer.
We thanked God for his never ending presence in our lives and for surrounding us with amazing friends and family who chose to walk every step of this journey with us.
God's blessings have been immeasurable. We will be forever grateful to Him and to those who where His hands and feet here on earth.

Enjoy the slideshow from the evening!

In Him,
The Tates

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


We've made it through!
We're all here together, everyone is healthy, and it is time to celebrate!

So, 'naturally' we started thinking of things that we could do without going to the 'middle of nowhere'. But with so many choices you can see 'my dilemma'. We could go 'round and round' trying to find a place where we can 'live like there's no tomorrow', and 'when the sun goes down', and they 'hit the lights', feel like we 'own the night'. Who knows, maybe we can even find some fireworks that go 'bang, bang, bang'!

Whatever we decide to do, I promise you, by the end of the night you will know that we 'love you like a love song'! But we need your help. 'Who says' that we know where you want to go. So put on your thinking caps and tell us where you think we should go to check out the scene and get this party started!

Can you guess where we took the girls and three of their friends tonight to celebrate the end of Elena's treatment????

Mark wrote the above riddle to surprise the girls with a special treat. The words in quotations are actual song titles by Selena Gomez. After reading the riddle to the girls, it still took them a moment to figure it out.

We had a blast singing and dancing the night away!
Enjoy the smilebox below!

Tomorrow will be the actual last day of treatment!! Elena will take her final chemo pill in the hour after eating!!! Just like she has for the past 366 days!!!

As always thank you for your continued prayers!!

In Him,
The Tates

"God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

Celebrate Smilebox

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All is Well!

We are still happy to be home and happy Elena is bouncing back from surgery!
Yesterday was a do nothing kind of day.

We all slept in and got some much needed rest.
After going to Sonic for lunch, we came home and read and played games.

Elena's chest and back are a little sore, but other than that all is well.
Praise God!

Today we are venturing out for a little back-to-school shopping.

Thank you for the prayers!

In Him,

The Tates

"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're Home!!

We are so very grateful for all of the prayers lifted up today on our behalf!
We are so happy to say that we are home!! Thank you Lord!!

After continuing to monitor Elena at the hospital, her nurse felt comfortable enough to send her home, even though she wasn't feeling better. We were all in agreement that it would be better to feel bad at home instead of at the hospital. So home we went!!

Elena is now resting on the couch and would like to eat some mashed potatoes later : )

Even though today did not goes as planned, we were reminded, "the Lord is near." Philippians 4:5
We can bring every worry and concern in our heart to Him.
Because He is near, we do not need to be anxious about anything.
Because He is near, we can have peace.
Because He is near, our hearts and minds can be renewed.

While fretting, reading scripture, and reminding myself that the Lord really was near, I thought of a song a dear sweet friend told me about, At Your Feet by Casting Crowns. I had it with me and quickly began to listen to it. "Here at Your feet, I lay this day down. Not in my strength, but in Yours, I've found all I need. You're all I need." As my friend reminded me, it really is the best place to be, at His feet!

Thank you for continuing to follow our journey!
With much love and thankfulness tonight,

The Tates

The necklace we gave to Elena this morning.

Happy and ready to go!
This was during the first hour : )

Really struggling, not so sure now.
The quick turn of events and sudden fast pace of it all
really threw us for a loop!

Liv eating a slushie, patiently waiting for Elena to wake up.
Little did we know what the next hours would bring.

Not feeling too good

Love this one!
The ice pack wouldn't stay up without someone holding it.

The girls on the way home.
My view from the front seat....I felt the same way!

Treats were waiting for us both inside the house and out!
Here's the outside treat!

Second update....

Elena woke up about 2:00. She has had a headache and been nauseous since then.
Her nurse has tried a number of things to help her, including giving her a second bag of fluids. At 3:15, she was given an antinausea medicine. Her vitals continue to be good.
Still unsure of when we will be able to go home....

Today has been much more emotional that we ever thought it would be!
It has been a long day....and it's not over yet....
Praying we will make it home before bedtime!

Olivia has been a wonderful sister! Holding Elena's icepack on her head and rubbing her hand.

Please don't stop praying!
In Him,
The Tates

Afternoon Update

Elena is now back in the room with us. She was teary eyed at first, but is now sleeping peacefully. Her first set of vitals were good. Not sure how long it will be before we can go home....
We are breathing easier now and praising God for a successful surgery!

Please continue to pray for:
Elena to not be anxious or scared when she wakes up
Elena to be able to go home as soon as possible
Elena to not have any adverse effects from the anesthesia
Elena to not be in any pain
for us to be patient in this period of waiting...

In Him,
The Tates

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Surgery Update

Good Afternoon!

We thought we'd have a nice leisurely wait this morning before Elena's actual surgery....that quickly changed when within 20 minutes after check-in, the nurse informed us that Elena's surgery time was moved up. We were now in the fast lane and didn't really want to be there. Our little room was bustling with activity. Everyone was ready except us!! Within 40 minutes, we were meeting the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the OR nurse, signing consents, verifying medication info, changing Elena into a gown, and Elena was taking sleepy medicine!! It was nonstop and a little overwhelming. By 11:15, Elena was in surgery. We had to leave her while she was crying : (
Since then, the surgeon has told us that all went well and that she was receiving her final chemo treatment via a lumbar puncture. We now have Elena's port in a jar and are patiently awaiting her arrival.
She should be here any minute now!

Thanks for being with us in prayer!
In Him,
The Tates

"....the Lord is near." Philippians 4:5

Friday, July 22, 2011

Surgery Plans on Monday

On Monday, July 25th, Elena will have surgery to remove her port!!
We still can't believe this day is here! This is such a BIG day!!
The end is actually here.

This is the first email we sent out after Elena was diagnosed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good Evening All,
Where do I begin....those of you hearing this for the first time, please forgive has been a whirlwind 30 hours! Praise the Lord that we are in his hands....Yesterday at 3:30pm, Elena was diagnosed with leukemia. We found out this afternoon that it is "the good kind" of leukemia to have, it is called ALL. It is highly treatable and curable. We were admitted to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital (same as Liv) last night. Today, has been a day of tests and figuring out exactly what is going on in her precious body. She had to have a blood transfusion today and an EKG.
Tomorrow morning, she will have a platelet transfusion. At 1pm, she is scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap, spinal chemo, and a port will be inserted and she will have chemo through the port as well. All of this will be done at the same time while she is sedated. Prayers for Elena to not be anxious, tense or scared. We did tell Elena her diagnosis this morning, she was upset and scared. She asked about chemo and losing her hair. Ok, deep breath...looking ahead....if all goes well after tomorrow, no bad side effects, no bad reactions to the drugs, we may possibly go home Saturday. Looking way ahead...a doctor mapped out her treatment plan for us today....of course this may change and vary....we are looking at chemo every week for the next six months, and chemo once a month for two to two and half years. Six to ten months out , she should start to feel "normal" again and her hair should start growing back. This is when we would enter the "maintenance phase".
By the grace of God, we are all doing well. Please pray for Elena's pain to be well controlled, she is still experiencing severe back pain, for God to grant her the strength and courage to get up and move when she needs to, for her to tolerate the chemo, and for it to do its job. We are so thankful for each and every one of you and that once again you are storming heaven with prayers for us.

With thankful hearts,
Much love, Christy and Mark

Psalm 33: 20-22
"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

Most of you know that that course of treatment did change and Elena's body did not respond to treatment as quickly as it should. She was then moved to the high risk protocol map and had to repeat the first six months of treatment. She did not enter the maintenance phase of treatment until August 2010.

Here's part of another email update from April 8, 2009:

Good Afternoon Mighty Prayer Warriors!!!
GOD is so GOOD!! Elena has come out of a successful surgery to install her port and her other procedures and is resting comfortably in her room. The port is working as it should and things are progressing nicely. We will know more about how she is feeling when she wakes up later this evening.
We are in awe at the countless emails we have received, some from as far away as Switzerland and Aruba : ) Thanks Renee, Tim, Rebecca , and Taylor!! We told Elena that people around the world were praying for her.
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

We had no idea then just how long and difficult the road would be! Here, 28 months later, this part of the journey is ending.

We will head to Scottish Rite at 9:00 on Monday morning. Elena has an arrival time of 10 am and surgery is scheduled for noon. This means it will be popsicles for breakfast at the Tate house that morning : )
Elena will also receive her final chemo treatment to her brain and spine via a lumbar puncture at this time.

Please pray for:
*Elena to not be tense, anxious or scared
*Dr. Bussey to not experience any complications during the surgery
*Elena's incision to heal well
*no negative side effects from the final lumbar puncture
*Elena to have no pain or discomfort following the two procedures

Thank you for traveling this road with us and for being mighty prayer warriors!
In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3