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!

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
This digital collage personalized with Smilebox

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
Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
This free collage created with Smilebox

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

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This slideshow design made with Smilebox

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 evening....one 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

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Another free digital slideshow by Smilebox