Sunday, July 14, 2013


**as posted on**

We never thought we'd know so many versions of this word. 

Initially, we think of Jace being on isolation because his ANC is so low. But after 7 months of the day-in-day-out, I can tell you there's a lot more to the word.

I searched and searched this week for articles and blogs on the emotional affects of families affected by cancer. Nothing.

Well, there IS stuff, but not the stuff I was particularly looking for and nothing genuinely written. It was a lot of medical research done on families who had a family member with cancer or taking chemo.


Not a coincidence that on Friday, Jason ran into some other families who were staying in the stem cell portion of the hospital that we were. (No, Jace doesn't need a stem cell transplant, he just gets the first room available)

Their conversations to him went something like this:

"We've been going through this for 2 1/2 years. It does feel like isolation. People don't know what you're going through. Even if they think they know, they really don't unless they are in the middle of it all with you." 

"People do help with meals and gift cards and/or cleaning our house and it DOES help, but we never feel like anyone truly understands." 

"I'm a grandma and the only one who is really taking care of [him.] I don't have a car and taking care of everything is hard."

This is one of the most isolating experiences ever. The emotional toll that it all takes on us is something that can barely be put into words. It's like the 5 of us have gone to war together and really no one else can come close to knowing all of the feelings involved. We've got a bond together that no one can touch and it's definitely brought us all a lot closer together.

As I continued to think on the topic of "isolation," I began thinking of it in a deeper sense. (I know you're not surprised.)

Isolating experiences are necessary for God to mold you and make you. I think back to Esther, Daniel, Job, Noah, Mary and Joseph from the Bible. Each one of them had some sort of isolating experience(s) and many times those were the times they were touched by God for something great.

Today, during a run, I did my own little Bible study on isolation. At first it seems to be seen as negative thing to shut yourself off from the world:

"A man, having separated himself, seeks his own desire, and rages against all sound wisdom." ~Proverbs 18:1
Then, as I dug deeper I found more of what I was feeling:

"Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world isolates out love for the Father. ~1 John 2:15  Msg
"Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray". ~Mark 1:35 NLT

"He said to them, “Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while” (for many were coming and going, and there was no time to eat)." ~Mark 6:31 NET

Since Thursday, we've taken a step back from social media, texting, etc. If you have heard from us less, this is why. We've needed to take a spiritual and emotional deep breath. No noise, no world, just us and God. We need time to recharge, to gain strength, to have clarity and just be.

Jason and I have had this conversation a lot in the last 6 months.
We often feel out of the loop and as if we do not fit in anywhere. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just something we haven't felt. It's not a secret. We don't fit in. We are different. Life has changed.

People tend to think, 'Well, Jace is doing chemo and once it's over, everything will go back to how it was before. They'll be back to who they were.'

Nope. Not even close. We will all never, ever be the way were were before. We will not respond as before, we will not live as before, we will not love as before, we will not go back to the before.  Right now it's hard for people to understand that we cannot be as available as we were before: emotionally & physically.

Typically, we believe to give 110% to everything we do, but now, we can't step up and go above and beyond at work, at church, with friends, with family. It takes some getting use to and people close to us have chosen to not be a part of our lives anymore because of the great change. We aren't angry by this, we just know that as others' seasons change from winter/spring to summer/fall, our season is leukemia, chemo, healing, and maintenance.

It's hard for others to understand how deep we've been touched by this experience. Work seems trivial, we aren't as OCD about laundry, dishes, scheduling, and on another level our passions have changed completely. We want to speak out for those who've come before us on this journey. We want to raise awareness for childhood cancer and, more importantly, we want to support the FAMILIES affected on an emotional level.

We don't know what our future holds, but we hold strong to the knowledge that God is for us and wants to prosper us and give hope.

For now, we leave you with this reading from Jesus Calling. 
July 14: Keep Walking

Keep walking with Me along the path I have chosen for you. Your desire to live closer to Me is a delight to my heart. I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. Together we will forge a pathway up the hight mountain. The journey arduous at times and you are weak. Someday you will dance light-footed on the high peaks, but for now your walk is often plodding and heavy. All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging My hand for strength and direction. Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend. Stay on the path I have selected for you. It is truly the path of Life. 

Love and gratitude,
Tisha & Jason

Monday, July 8, 2013

...A child will lead

We talk a lot in our family about being a leader and how important leadership is in life. 
We never expected our 3 year old to be the one leading US during the most difficult time of his life. 
On a rare occasion I was able to capture this moment. He often gathers us up for prayers, in addition to our morning affirmation and nighttime prayers. He speaks very quietly and clasps his hands together like this. 
It IS the most amazing thing to watch. His faith and his heart for The Lord is such an inspiring thing to witness. 

I am humbly honored to be his mom! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stuff Dreams are made of. . . .

As most of you know, the past year has been one of the most difficult years ever for me and my family. 

In October, my mom was very, very sick and I wasn't sure she was going to make it. At that time, I thought that week was the most difficult in a very long time. I've had a lot of "crying-on-the-floor" moments in my life and that was one of them. 

In that week, though, I saw God do some amazing things I never expected. She got better and was able to go home again. 

Little did I know, just a few months later, I'd be sitting in an ER room hearing these words. . . 

"It looks like leukemia. I'm sorry." 

It's sort of odd being in the place I'm in right now. I look back at the last year and see all the things that happened and all the amazing things God has done. 

I reflect on the word of our pastor. "2013 is the year of ENLARGE!" I remember sitting in a service in February trying with all of my heart to believe that God had a plan to ENLARGE my life, my faith, my experiences, and my trust in Him during such a rough year. 

But I believed. 

And I kept going. I kept praying. I kept my faith. I continued to believe in the miracles He'd already allowed me see front row. 

6 weeks into Jace's treatment we were able to say "He is in remission. There is NO evidence of disease in his body." 

You cannot even imagine what that is like. :) God is our redeemer and every single time he has taken something that was meant for EVIL in my life and turned it GOOD. 

How can I have complete faith and gratitude in ALL circumstances? Because time and time and time again He shows me that LOVE WINS. 

So, I could probably do a little motivational speech for you over the course of my life and my testimony. If you've followed me on twitter/FB or Jace's caring bridge or Facebook site, you know my philosophy will always be based in gratitude and thanksgiving. 

Fast forward to last week. I had already bought VIP tickets to see New Kids on the Block in Dallas the day before Jace's diagnosis. I'm a huge fan compared to most, but this was only going to be my 2nd 30 second meeting with them. It was only going to be my 6th show in five years. Many, many fans I know have been able to do so much more. I've always wanted to be that girl. 

Last week, I entered a raffle for Remember Betty for 2 tickets to the Oklahoma City show. I warned my friend, Mandy, that if I won she was going. She has helped us so much in the past 6 months by picking up the girls and letting them stay over when we were both with Jace at the hospital. I prayed that I could do something FOR HER. 

Also, I couldn't have a NKOTB fan/friend who'd NEVER been to a show before. ;) #travesty

Imagine her surprise last Sunday when I got word we were going! :) So exciting! A girl road trip to see our favorite band! The plan was to get 2 tix for the show and then get to meet Danny Wood before the show started. 

We had a blast on the way there listening to the songs. She wanted to hear details of my show the night before. (Front row, catching a rose from Boys II Men, meet & greet, and after party) I caught her up on the different "fan levels" and gave her a quick twitter lesson. :) 

We got ready Saturday night and picked up our tickets from Will Call. I could tell our seats would be good right away. We were just right above the floor a couple of rows. Once we got in the venue, it was almost time to meet Victor so he could take us to meet Danny. After a bunch of crazy running around and up and down stairs we found him. He said we were going to have to meet Danny after the show. 

Lesson 1 & 2: Timing is everything. Patience is a virtue. 

So, we found our seats and settled in to enjoy the show. Watching my friend watch the show was the best part. :) 

After the show, Victor found us again and we followed him back. We were just asked to be respectful of other people that we may or may not run into while back there. As teachers, we are pretty much rule followers, so that wasn't going to be a problem. 

As much as I'd like to give FULL DETAILS of our time back there, I'm choosing not to. I want to be able to share with you the awesomeness of it all, yet, still respect their privacy and keep some of the fun details to just us. 

We did get to see some people in the back. We did get to hear some info that wasn't fully known to everyone. We kept quiet and just observed the scene where the dressing rooms were. 

THIS was my 13 year old dream come true - getting to watch things happen in their "safe place." It was kind of like being a fly on the wall. 

The guys we saw just did their own thing. It reminded me of how when we teach, we turn ourselves "on" and do our thing. When teaching is over, we wind down and do our thing, too, yet our students are still in awe that we, too, shop in the grocery store. :)

We heard some singing, some laughing, saw people I'd seen the night before in Dallas and chatted with the venue guy. 

About 25 minutes after we got back there, my stuff fell over in the chair and I just knew Danny would walk out at that moment. (He didn't, thankfully.)

I asked the venue guy if my hair looked ok. He smiled and laughed and said "Yes, honey, you look great." 

I pulled out my phone camera and checked my hair. 

Yep, Danny walked out at that moment. :) 

He was super nice. We got hugs and photos. I told him everything I'd rehearsed. 

Next, Victor was telling us where to go. Down the hall, take a left. Elevator up to Floor 3. Wait there for him.

Ok. Got it. Well, I sort of did. 

Mandy and I walked like we knew exactly where we were going. And then we took a wrong turn. When we realized it, we had to turn around and get back on track. As we were doing that, I saw Donnie in his pink shirt and hat walking down the hall behind us. 

I decided I wasn't turning around for nothing. So, we casually walked to the elevator and pushed the button. Or so we thought. It never turned blue. 


We pushed it again. I could hear the guys coming down the hall closer. The elevator doors opened. I quickly looked for LEVEL 3 when, suddenly, Victor's hand catches the door. Mandy said the guys were just standing there until Victor said "Yep! We are going with you guys!" 

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! <-----this was happening in my head. In reality, I was calm and cool as a cucumber. :)

It was just me, Mandy, Victor and the guys. All of them. Mandy said nothing. :) Jon hugged and kissed us both and asked about my "Hope" necklace. I told them about Jace and how he loved singing and listening to Crash. They all laughed. Again, no full details, but it was nothing short of amazing. 

Then I made a joke that this was the best first ultimate I'd ever dreamed of. :) More laughing.

We all got off. 

Victor walked with us. Then he told us that the guys were going in first to the after party and to go in right behind him. We followed. It was very cool being on the other side of the screaming girls. :) 
The after party was AWESOME. We were able to get lots of photos and Mandy had her moment with Jordan (her favorite).

As we walked back to our car, we were still in complete shock of what had happened. 

Lessons 3 & 4: Feel the fear and do it anyway. Ask & you shall receive. 

Yeah, it was "only NKOTB" to some, but for us, and especially for Mandy there will never be a moment that will top June 29, 2013. 

Nothing that day was planned except for tickets and a quick meet and greet. Everything else came down to timing. 

The two of us feel incredibly blessed with such a unique experience. It's the stuff dreams are made of....... 



Big love and gratitude,

For Dallas Photos:

For OKC Photos: