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.