Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Focus on THIS Day

We wanted to share part of a devotion from the book Jesus Calling.
This is from Monday’s devotion:
"Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow's burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens."

We needed to hear those words.
A dear friend spoke this truth to us Sunday at church.
Another precious friend shared it on her daughter’s blog. Her daughter recently relapsed with Ewing’s sarcoma. She had surgery and began her treatment on Monday. You can pray for her and follow her journey at

Throughout Elena's treatment, this family has brought great joy, comfort, and encouragement to our family. We cannot believe that our daughters are going through this again!

After reading the above entry from Jesus Calling, this is what Heather shared on their blog: “We are looking ahead as far as asking God to direct us in making plans for Sarah's treatment, but past that, we are trying to keep our eyes on today. This is hard to do, and God has to help us with this....but it is the only way to keep from being overwhelmed.”

She speaks the truth and we feel the same way, just insert Elena's name above.
Thank you Heather and to everyone else who speaks the truth to us.
Thank you for taking the time to send us a verse, a card, a text, an email, or a blog post that encourages us. They always come at the right time.

Please pray for our upcoming appointment with Elena's doctor on Monday.
Pray for continued guidance as we are faced with making decisions in the days ahead.
Pray for Elena to continue to feel well and enjoy each day.
Pray for Liv to not feel lost or get lost in the midst of it all.

In Him,
The Tates

"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Monday, February 27, 2012

How are we feeling...

How are we feeling?

We are feeling all of these things.

We are also feeling thankful, happy, grateful, and hopeful.
We are thankful that we have friends, family, and strangers praying for us.
We are happy while laughing with friends and with one another.
We are grateful for the words of encouragement that have come in the form of cards, texts, emails, calls, and blog comments.
We are hopeful that even though we do not know what lies ahead, we know there will be a plan.

It feels like we are in the ocean. One moment, we are standing at the water’s edge, feeling ok. The next moment, we are being knocked down by an enormous wave, gasping for air, body aching, struggling to stand up. Then, we find our footing and stand, only to be knocked down again by the next thought, feeling, or action.

It is so strange to have a child who looks good and feels good, yet you know that cancer is in her body.
You have already done everything you could the first time and it hasn't worked.
You have harmed her body and her brain in the process of saving her and it hasn't worked.
What will happen this time?

We heard from Elena's doctor today. We are going to meet with him on Monday, March 5th. He will then share with us our options for treating Elena. He is also going to check Elena's counts to make sure they are not droppping drastically. She will also have an Echo/EKG that day as well. He would like for her to be able to start treatment sometime during the week of March 12th.

While there is still so much that we do not know, we do know that we have time.
Time to think. Time to pray. Time to love. Time to prepare.

We are trusting God to provide exactly what Elena needs in the time she needs it.
We pray that the best possible treatment plan for Elena will become clear and that it will offer the best possible outcome for her.

We pray that you are doing the same.

In Him,
The Tates

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life." Psalm 143:8

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What a Weekend!

Who would have thought after hearing such devasting news on Friday, we would have had a weekend filled with so much fun, love, and laughter!?

Normally, our weekends are filled with our traditional Friday night pizza and movie, laundry, homework, cleaning, church, some fun, and planning for the week ahead.

This weekend, we actually had "plans".
Saturday afternoon, our dear friends, Cori and Phil,were going to be
'on our side of town' and were coming over for visit.
Sunday afternoon, thanks to Camp Sunshine, we were going to see the play, Wizard of Oz, at the Alliance Theatre.

We never have plans. But, God was in the details weeks ago when these plans were made and they brought us much needed laughter and fun.

We also enjoyed "spur of the moment plans" and went over to our friends' house for dinner.
It was an absolutely perfect night! A roaring fire, fabulous food, four giggling girls, time to talk (and talk and talk!) and laugh out loud fun! Over many years, our lives, our joys, and our sorrows have been woven together. The Vickers are a part of us.

We are so very grateful to our friends for making this weekend as fun and care free as possible and to God for giving us the peace and rest we needed.

Looking this time, it is unclear what our next steps are.

Elena's doctor is trying to determine what treatment options are available and which one would be best for Elena. He has been making many calls to colleagues over the weekend. His initial plan to arrange an appointment for Elena at Egleston this week hit an "unexpected snag" as there seems to be a "temporary (but significant) staffing hole" in the research office, so we may not be able to enroll Elena on any clinical trials.

While this completely boggles our minds and we wish we had a plan, we have to be patient and trust that God is guiding Elena's doctor in finding the best possible treatment plan for her. We are cherising this extra time and counting it among our blessings. We know that once Elena's starts treatment, it is going to be hard on all of us.

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement. Your blog comments, emails, texts, and calls help us know that we are not fighting alone and are not forgotten.

Please pray:

-for God to guide Elena's doctor in finding the best possible treatment plan for her

-for Elena's heart and spirit to be calm at school this week

-for Olivia to know she is loved and to have peace in the midst of this and not feel "alone"

-for God to give us the time, rest, and peace we need as we wait and trust in Him

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 you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Sorry for the long post! Sorry for the crazy spacing in this post - I can't fix it! Enjoy the pics from the weekend!

Saturday morning delivery for Elena from Grandma and Grandpa Tate - YUM!

Cori and Phil - FABULOUS!

Trampoline fun!

Fun and games!

Love these girls!
Can you see why we were laughing all night!?

Lunch at the Buckhead Diner before seeing the play

Elena and her friends at church

This pic so warms my heart!

Girls who know God and love one another!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What are we thinking and saying...

It's not fair!
Is this really happening?
I feel overwhelmed.
I don't want to have cancer again.
I'm not ready for this.
I don't want to do this again.
What choice do we have - we have to do it again.
I guess that means no Spring Break trip.
I guess that means I won't be dancing in the dance recital in May.
I guess that means no Make A Wish trip in June. (Yes, we found out LAST Friday that Elena's wish to go on a Caribbean cruise and swim with dolphins was granted. We were to set sail June 10th...)
What do we do now?

What you are saying:

In tears with you friend. I am so very sorry.
Don't know what to say except that I love all of you a lot and am in this with you in every way I can be.
Please know that I am praying and will do anything I can to make this journey easier.
One day at a time....pass that and it's beyond overwhelming.
I hate this.
My heart is broken.
Praying without ceasing.
We can do this.
I am actually so mad for you. Elena does not deserve this. I love that girl and I'm angry. If you don't want to get mad, I will do it for you.

Thank you for letting us know how you are feeling.
Thank you for being real with us. That's what we need right now.

We are not strong.
Our faith in God is strong.
Through His grace and mercy, your prayer coverage, taking one day at a time, and trying our best to keep our eyes on Him - He will give us peace - He will see us through this again.

In Him,
The Tates

"I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me it is you who knows my way." Psalm 142:1-2

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Night News

This afternoon, we learned the results of Elena's bone marrow test and the fact that there were leukemia cells present in her bone marrow. Needless to say, this news was not very easy to hear. While cancer is a bad word, relapse is even worse. Tonight we find ourselves about to re-enter this fight, but unsure of what lies ahead. At this time it is unclear what our next steps are.

As of right now all we know is that Elena will probably begin her treatment some time next week. Her doctor is trying to determine where Elena should receive treatment. He has made many calls to colleagues today and will continue to do so over the weekend. Hopefully, we will know more on Monday.

We need your love, support, encouragement, and prayers now more than ever. The best way for us to keep you updated on the details, on what to pray for, and on how we are doing is through this family blog. It allows us to get out all of our information to everyone at the same time. Please continue to check here often.

For now, we hope you will please pray for the following:
-for God to be with Elena and Olivia as they begin to process this news for themselves

-for God to give us the words as we guide and encourage our girls through this
-for God to direct Elena's doctors as they try to determine what our next steps are
-for God to give us and the doctors His perfect wisdom about what is right for Elena
-for God to continue to give us His peace
-for God to give us the strength, courage, and rest we need in the days ahead

We pray you will be a part of our journey once again.

In Him,
Mark and Christy

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Friday Update on Elena's Appt

Praise God that everything this morning went smoothly!

Elena was in and out of sedation in record time and is now back at school. I tried to talk her in to going home to rest but she wanted nothing of it. That girl is amazing! Also amazing were nurses Kelsey and Karen, and of course Dr. Lew for the wonderful way they go about their business. We thank them and we thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers!!

Dr. Lew will call this afternoon with preliminary results, so please pray for the best possible news of no leukemia cells!!

In Him,
The Tates

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:9-11

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prayers for Tomorrow

We found out Elena's appointment time today.

She is scheduled for an 8 am arrival time.
The sedation and bone marrow aspirate will probably happen around 9 am.

Please pray:
-for Elena to not be anxious
-for the IV to go in smoothly
-for Elena to come out of sedation easily
-for the bone marrow to show NO signs of leukemia cells
-for us to have peace and patience as we wait to hear the test results
-for us to be able to get the test results as quickly as possible
(tomorrow would be ideal!)

Thank you for continuing to pray for us!

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Update on Elena

After Elena's clinic visit today, we are no closer to finding out why her counts remain low. Dr. Lew went ahead and scheduled the bone marrow test for Friday morning to determine whether are not this is a relapse of leukemia.
We will not know the results of this test until early next week.

Please continue to pray.

Encouragement for our day came from a dear, sweet friend and from scripture:

Our friend told us she was "Trusting the One who can bring peace and healing." and gave us this scripture, "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all."
2 Thessalonians 3:16

Another scripture that we held close to our hearts today was:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

Going to bed tonight trusting in Him.
The Tates

Friday, February 17, 2012

No Bone Marrow Test on Monday

Just wanted you to know that Elena will not be having a bone marrow test on Monday. Typically, the clinic will call the day before a sedation appointment to let you know what time the appointment has been scheduled. When we hadn't heard by noon today I called to find out what was going on but had to leave a message. Late this afternoon we got word that Elena's doctor had decided not to do the bone marrow test and to just have her come in for her regular counts check up and physical exam.

in addition to finding out if Elena's counts have risen (insert prayer here), it looks like we will have to wait (more prayers needed) until Monday to know more about her doctor's change of mind with regards to the bone marrow test. We know that everyone involved with Elena's care is doing all that they know to do to give us the answers we are searching for and that God will reveal His plans for our lives in His time.

We thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement. We ask that you would continue to pray specifically for patience, peace of mind, and a clear picture of what is going on with Elena.

In Him,
The Tates

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27:13-14

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WOW! What a Night!

It has been a very busy time of year at work - last week another teacher and I completed three weeks of testing nearly 150 ELL students to determine their eligibility status for next year. I have prepared for and attended eight parent conferences in the past four school days. I teach six classes a day in addition to trying to keep up with cleaning, cooking, laundry, and homework at home. It has all been very exhausting and finding time for fun has been nearly non-existant.

Well, last night, thanks to a wonderfully creative husband, the girls and I enjoyed the best Valentine's Day ever!!

I had stayed at work until 5:30.
Mark knew that Liv and I would be late. He also knew what we had planned on having for dinner.

Liv and I arrived home to this:

It was all so absolutely wonderful, magical, and fun!!

We all laughed, smiled, and remembered
how much we love each other.

After dinner, we worked for a while on homework.
Still at the dining room table. Still with dim lights and candles.

We took a homework break for dessert.
Homemade red velvet cupcakes

Even amid the nightly homework, it was the best Valentine's Day EVER!
Perhaps one of the best nights ever!
The girls think it should become a new tradition. So do I!

Mark always makes us feel special, but last night was amazing.
We are so thankful for him!

We hope you enjoyed a wonderful night with the ones you love!

In Him,
The Tates

"Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24

Time for an Update

Sorry it has been so long since we last updated.
We are still waiting.
We are still wondering.
At times, it has been all too consuming.

But, a dear sweet friend recently reminded me to not focus on what we don't know, but to focus on what we do know.
God loves us.
God is with us.
God will never leave us.

I am grateful for the reminder.
God is good - all the time.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us.

In Him,
The Tates

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalms 73:26