Sunday, August 16, 2009

UPDATE on my Daddy dear & More Prayer Requests

Dad had lost his voice over the last few months. After going to the doctors they discovered a new tumor pressing on a nerve, causing him pain and difficulty while speaking. They are treating it with radiation and that is now over, and the next steps are the chemo. The chemo is new and goes quicker with less hair loss and best of all less nausea. He finds he is still extremely lethargic so I pray that his energy would rise up and let him be more of his old self once again.
I thank all of you who continue to pray and lift up my father.


I please ask you to also pray for my very dear friends who are all three battling breast cancers (in various stages and forms) Cheryl Weber, Sammie Murphy (Sammie's hubby Paul is also suffering from lung & bone cancer) & Missy Brownfield (our pastor's wife). All 3 women are undergoing treatments right now for breast cancer. Having been down this road with Shelly, I am of course extremely fearful for them... but have faith that the outcomes will be different than what happened with Shelly. We must remain faithful and be in continual talking with God. It's all that will get us through.
I love all 3 of these women dearly. I have known Sammie, since I was about 12 years old. She is a longtime friend of my Mom and her and I have also been close friends as I grew into my having a very close relationship with her daughter Jamie from birth. Sammie lives in Florida, so I will need to support her from afar in any way I can. I recently helped her with a letter trying to get her proper health care that she is fighting for under the CHAMPSVA, her husband has. I hope she gets what she is entitled to.

Cheryl Weber is my darling friend who brought me to Christ by inviting me to North Way Christian Community when I was grieving the loss of my third son Tanner. Cheryl has been there for me through his loss, as well as my speech at TCF to speak about his loss, along with bringing me meals when I had my surgery. We have grown together in the Lord and I was always happy to help her paint scenery for Vacation Bible School when her family decorated NWCC in the summers. Her family is very dear to me as well. She is such a loving, sweet person and I will be there for her in whatever way she needs me to.

And last, but certainly not least is the Pastor's wife Missy Brownfield. She is one of the kindest people you would ever meet. The way they welcomed us to Dorseyville Alliance Church as the family of the Pastor was so warm. I have never had a welcome like that! They even invited us to their home for a lovely luncheon to talk and get to know them better. We were sold on the friendliness of this great church and have been there ever since. Missy is sure to find you if you attend, and offer up a huge smile and a big hug every Sunday! Her joyous spirit is surely something that will come in handy during this battle. The good news for Missy is they got everything out with her surgery, there was no expansion into the lymph nodes and after radiation we are aiming for complete recovery!


I personally have been so busy WRITING, WRITING, WRITING... with the busiest season ever for my calligraphy. While it's great for the money, it's hard on my RSD and my carpal tunnel syndrome. I am grateful for the many orders from wonderful brides. It's been hard getting used to working at this level with RSD. I sometimes cry and wish I didn't have a business...but when I am feeling better, I start advertising on sites like Wedding Bee and such looking for more work. I have had orders from brides all over the country! I am grateful and honored to be a part of these many weddings. It is an honor to be trusted with such important work. It's become a full time job for me though, and I am not sure if I can handle it at times. Some mistakes were made, some unhappy brides, but anyone who operates a business can't operate at 100% perfection. NO one could... even someone who is healthy. So I had to try my best to make up for it by offering gifts to the unhappy brides and also to forgive myself. I hate when things like that happen and I truly hate when folks are mad at me. It is frustrating to work like this. My husband put it to me this way, this week... and he's absolutely right. He said, "You have a few days where you feel good and you think you are normal and you take on the world and try to do everything for everyone. Then the RSD kicks in and you remember that you can't do it." It's true and I need to remember that I have RSD and learn to ask for more time from clients, as well as not take on so many jobs, that I am unable to do them. Lessons learned the hard way eh?

As for our family... we have been camping in our new camper, a 2009 Grey Wolf. WE LOVE IT!!! We are so excited about camping and having fun in that thing. We try to go as much as possible, aiming for every other weekend as Brian works a lot in the summer and with my being busy as well, it's all we could fit in. Things have worked out for us to keep our home (HOORAY!) and we were even able to manage to purchase a new camper! I have been so extremely busy with calligraphy that I was able to help Brian come up with a down payment. Plus they give you 12 years to pay them off so the payment is extremely low (1/2 price of my car payment!). My car payments on my van "Myrna" (we call the minivan Myrna, after all she can't have a cool name, being a Dodge Grand Caravan and all ....LOL... the Queen of all minivans!) are soon over, so we can do this for sure. We are excited to take the boys camping, where they happily play and pick up girls. LOL They can now bring friends since it's way bigger than the old one! The old one was 16ft. and this one is 29 ft.! So I am grateful for my business taking off that it brought us our new fun camper!

Here is a picture of it... it's amazing and we are so thankful that things have worked out so that we are able to keep our home and were even able to purchase this! God is great and works things out if we wait patiently. I know, I know, I wasn't very patient! But He knows I am still ever thankful for all that we have.

This is the bedroom for me and Bri and the TV swivels into our side. Very cool! Came with a 20" flat screen.

The boys have a bunkhouse room at the other end, so they can bring friends.

And here is just the bumpout side where we eat and sit.

We are going to love this for years to come! Maybe we will see you at a campground! I am hoping to do a camping retreat for our bible study girls one weekend using my camper and some of the other girls' campers. It would be SO FUN!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update on my Father

As I suspected in my previous post, it is my father's cancer that is causing his loss of speech. There is a new tumor pressing on a nerve that has to do with speech. It actually hurts him to try to talk, so it's very difficult for him. The good news is he will be having surgery on the 8th that will hopefully correct this and give him back his speech! Let's pray that it works, so he can get about the business of going back to chemo for healing the rest of that cancer! We must address this problem first as it certainly affects his every day! Thanks again for praying and keep them coming! I love you all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poor Daddy dear is still sick....

I just felt the need to update you all on my Dad and his condition. Though he was administered antibiotics for his lack of voice, he still continues to be unable to speak and mentioned that it actually hurts to talk. He still feels very lethargic and is just plain tired of being sick. He has an appointment on Thursday to follow up, but I wish he had called earlier as it has been over 2 weeks without being able to speak. I surely hope it's not the cancer, and just the flu. Though with the horrible types of flu that have been going around, they certainly aren't easy to overcome either, because poor Shane was never so sick in his life. He is perfectly fine now and back to normal! Praise God and you for your kind prayers!
I just wish to ask you to pray a bit more for my father and for a bit longer and I will be ever so grateful. And while you are whispering in the ear of our God, could you say another couple of prayers for my dear friend Jeff Hoover who has been waiting forever for a kidney transplant! This boy has been through so much, I can't even begin to tell you. Just lift him in both spirit and health. And even more that the kidney he has waited for, for almost 2 years, will finally come through.
My bible study friend Robin's father recently passed away, and I attended the funeral last Friday. He sounded like a lovely wonderful man who touched many lives! Pray a blessing of peace and comfort over their family. Her Mom had to endure surgery this week for a cancer removal! This poor family is enduring so much right now. Please lift them all up as well.

We know there is power in prayers! So I come to you now once again for those wonderful prayers. And I thank you and remind you that should you need me ever to be there for you and kneel before the throne on your behalf, I am there!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Honeysuckles Dance in June... a summertime poem... by me ;o)

As I have no time for cards with the busy wedding season upon me, I have decided to take a moment and share some poetry! I love to write poetry and you probably noticed from the poems I have written for Shelly, Ryan & Jimmy.
Since this blog has often been a memorial tribute space, I thought it was time to spruce it up with a few poems about fun things! Time to bring a smile (I hope) to anyone's face who cares to read it. LOL

The painting at left is called Picking Honeysuckle by artist Sophie Anderson. Click on the picture to go to a page to learn more about her and see more of her work.

Honeysuckles Dance in June

In dark of night,
while others slept,
my senses
suddenly took note
of a magical midnight show...

attention caught
by the wafting aroma

oh delightful smell of June
her sweet perfume
drawing me into her
late night show
bringing a smile
to my psyche

Familiar is the bouquet
instantly recognizable
aaah....take it in

the ever tiny
yet exquisitely fragrant

dancing honeysuckle
(take a bow)

perfuming the midnight air
a premiere performance
just for me!
(I applaud excitedly)

the tiny blossom
nighttime poetry

accompanied by
her extensive orchestra

hark thine ear
to the incredible symphony
that plays at her feet...

chirping crickets
celebrate their gentle song
they sing it loud
they sing it long

sad for some
who at this hour of night
would rather dwell
asleep on pillows soft
and dream silently
of boring things
eyes closed and out of sight.

Oh fortunate me
my soul is here

the honeysuckle's
audience of one
ever grateful for
her pageantry

bravo! bravo!

alive oh my senses

astonishingly sweet
dancing honeysuckles
my senses doth greet
orchestras of crickets sing
Thank you
for the wonders of nature
dear God
you and the month of June
doth bring.

written by T.L. Tobac
June 2007

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update on Shane's swine flu! ....and thank you...

Thanks so much for praying for the guys in my life, my son, my stepfather and my Daddy dear. What a rough week!
After hearing on the news that many local area children had been diagnosed with swine flu, I decided to take Shane to our pediatrician! And lo and behold, she said he had had swine flu! Oh mercy me! No wonder my poor boy was so sick. By the time he was at the doctor's, however, his fever had broken and he was no longer contagious, nor was he needing any further testing or anything. She said he would just be tired for a few more days and that he would recover fine. I think I may be better off finding that out at the end, as I don't believe I could have slept knowing my baby was suffering with swine flu! I do know that I had never seen him that sick before. Now crossing our fingers and saying a prayer that no one else in our family comes down with it! Whew! I got a speeding ticket on the way to the pediatrician's on the phone worrying about my stepfather! What a week last week was... unbelievable. But grateful for the good outcomes.
My Daddy dear (that's what I call him face to face LOL)-Tom, is still having struggles with his flu, though given antibiotics. I think it's just harder for someone with cancer to fight off everything that comes their way. He can barely speak, so please kindly continue to pray for him! I will let you know when he's back to "normal". He will likely need to start chemo up again fairly soon, after his respite of 3 months. I will be sure to let folks know as things change.
My stepfather, Marty, had his heart cath on Friday and everything looks good with him! Hooray! They believe he suffered some sort of attack that may only require an adjustment in his medications. So we area all grateful for that! No heart attack occurred and he didn't need any further stents or anything...the one in place is still looking good.
So I praise God for the good things and ask him to continue to work on healing my Daddy dear of both his flu and his lung cancer. There is power in your prayers and I am grateful to each of you for sharing that power with me. I am honored to pray for you as well, so please let me know anytime I can return the favor.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prayer Request for my Son, my Father, my Stepfather

We have some health issues going on in my family outside of the normal prayer requests for my Father's ongoing cancer.
Shane, my 12 year old, (he turned 12 yeseterday and spent it in bed with no fun at all...poor baby), has been home sick all week with the flu. He has a high fever and is lethargic, can barely speak and is just plain miserable. I haven't seen him this sick for years.

Please pray that this would quickly pass and he would return to his normal lively self soon. We hope to celebrate his birthday with him soon as he had requested a celebration that includes a crab legs dinner and a sleepover with friends. We need him to get better before we can celebrate!

It felt so sad to see his birthday come and go without so much as a candle or song. He didn't even want us to sing. Poor baby. It came and went without celebration as he simply wasn't up to it at all. So while I should be here wishing him a happy birthday, I am instead asking for your prayers for his health to return to normal.
He won't even eat candy! Anyone who knows Shane, knows that's a sure fire sign, that he isn't well. Brian bought him a bag of mixed goodies, and he forced down a carmel and a couple of gummy worms, and that was the end of it. :o(

My stepfather, Marty, was having chest pains today at work in Washington, D.C. and went to the hospital. He was later released but will be driving home on Thursday morning for further testing here in Pittsburgh on Friday morning, including a heart cath. Please pray for safe travel mercies and that they would quickly get to the bottom of the pains with little discomfort for Dad.

And last but not least, my Daddy - Tom, whom you have been praying for, for his cancer. He has lost his voice and is pretty much just under the weather. He is sick and is coming around a bit but still has no voice and no energy. Pray for his continued healing from the bug that has hold of him and of course we continue to thank you and ask that you please continue to pray for complete healing from his cancer. In regards to the cancer, he continues to do very well, responding well to treatment and hasn't lost weight and is pretty spry, but for this bug. We are grateful for all good results and thank the Lord for the good work he is doing in my Dad.

Thanks so much for taking a moment to pray for my family... should you ever need the favor returned, I am here for you as well. Email me anytime.
Wishing you all healthy happy days with your families this summer.

Much Love,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Goodbye to our friend - Big Jim Sollinger

It is with sadness, that I offer the poem below. Our dear friend Jim Sollinger, or as his "bar friends" affectionately called him Toby, passed away last Saturday night at the age of 67. Jimmy fought a brave battle with lung cancer. Diagnosis to his final passing happened quickly taking only 8 weeks. We were rather shocked to see how quickly the cancer spread. His cousin Carolyn and her husband Bob took wonderful care of Jimmy through his illness. They will miss him greatly.

As my blog is often a memorial tribute ... I wish to share Jimmy with all of you.
Brian has known Jimmy since he was 12 years old. Jimmy used to work with Bri's big brother Lenny at the time. Through the years Jimmy and Brian remained very close friends. Jimmy helped work on both of our houses. When we had a dog that didn't quite fit into our family, she chose Jimmy to be her new Doggy Daddy. She followed him around our home, constantly looking at him with those big expressive eyes, begging him to save her from the chaos that is a home with 2 boisterous boys. LOL We thought she was a good pet for our family but she did much better with an older owner with no children. Trixie and Jim remained good buddies through the past 5 years and I know she is missing him big time. Luckily Jimmy's other friend Scott was kind enough to adopt Trixie into his family where she is now being loved with their other dogs.
Brian was a pall bearer at the funeral and Carolyn asked if he would say something at the funeral. Brian is not a person to speak in front of a crowd. As I watched the color drain from his face at the mere thought of doing that, I stepped in and offered to do it for him.
I hate attending a funeral, where nothing personal is said about the person who has died. They lived a life full of friendship, family and fun. While it's always difficult to say something at a funeral... Jimmy was worthy of being shared. Being quite the character, I decided to write a poem about him and include some pictures. His face is dirty in the picture with the other gentlemen, one being my husband Brian (with that late 80's perm! LOL) and the other their friend Mike, because they were working on remodeling our home in Etna. They were obviously in the demolition phase. The other is at the housewarming party for the same home and Jim is making one of those classic goofy faces.
He was a kind man, a funny man, a man with a big heart and even heartier laugh. He will be missed by many friends in Lawrenceville and especially by my husband, his friend for always, Brian. I was very touched with my husband's reaction to Jimmy's death... he cried more than I had imagined he would. A true testimony to his friendship. I present to you now, the poem I wrote about Jimmy and read at his funeral. It's a tad humorous too, so you will get a better idea of the man he was. Thanks for letting me share Jimmy.

Whether you knew him for many years,
or if you had only just met.
Jimmy is one of those crazy characters
you could never ever forget.

With a happy twinkle in his eyes
and the heartiest laugh you'll ever hear.
A cigarette in one hand
and in the other an Iron City beer.

Some folks called him Toby,
while others called him Big Jim.
It matters not which name you chose
You always had a friend in him.

He was a rather well known man
a self made king of Lawrenceville
and when he hit that football poll
it gave him quite a thrill!

Spinning records to the masses
He was our DJ man.
He even DJ'd our wedding
with a mike and a beer in his hand.

Always hanging and eating with Billy
even fighting with him too!
But they loved each other anyways.
Their friendship was true blue.

Hanging out at Salac's bar
and even some bars in between.
You would really him holler,
when he won on that poker machine.

Our Jim was always happy
you would never find him down
always smiling and laughing right out loud,
you would never see him frown.

He helped Brian build our houses
with his stong and loving hands.
You could always hear him coming,
in that beat up hippie van!

Years he spent working with Lenny and Brian
and Kevin & Bruce at First Glass
The upholstery store with his new friends.
Who knew it would all end so fast?

He loved his sweet dog Trixie
and boy how she loved him too.
Say a little prayer for his canine friend
though she now lives with Scott's family
I know she's feeling blue.

He loved his aunt and cousins,
they were there when things looked grim.
Caroline even gave him a bell,
so she and Bob could take good care of him.

We sadly now must say good-bye
Your soul now heaven will claim.
I know that our hearts and Lawrenceville
Will never be the same.

But our Good Lord made us a promise.
That who so ever believes in Him.
Will one day be reunited
With our friend and brother Big Jim.

And when you get to heaven
as you near those pearly gates,
There Big Jim will stand
with a beer in his hand
laughing out loud as for you he waits.

written by Tammy L. Tobac
for our dear friend Jimmy Sollinger

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bonnie & Clyde - the Birdfeeder Bandits ;o)

HMMmmmm.... just what is that sticking out of my birdfeeder, made by my older son Zane?
Why it's the Birdfeeder Bandits! Caught in the act!
I swear I am going to have the fattest squirrels in West Deer Township, because this thieving duo has wiped out both of my bird feeders of ALL content, several times over this winter! Somewhere is a squirrel lair filled with about 50 pounds of birdseed!
Nothing deters these little buggers. I even pulled one of their tails when I got close enough, and they still came right back!

Care for a look at my friend Clyde from a ... uh, more pleasing perspective rather than bottoms up!
He's rather darling, even if he is a petty thief for a living!

Here he is with his accomplice, the fair furred Bonnie, helping themselves to not just one birdfeeder, but two! They think it's their own personal buffet. ;o)

How can I stay mad at one of God's sweet creatures? After all.... look at that sweet little fuzzy face!
And that very full tummy. ;o) I think he was posing for me to show me how he'd won the battle! They have won! My birdfeeder sits empty, until we can find some way to keep them from emptying the entire thing in one sitting!
We made it far too easy as it's right at their level on our deck. LOL
Anyone out there have any ways to keep my Bonnie & Clyde out of the birdfeeders?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Update on my Dad, and the Blog goes on....

I wish all of you fellow Mommies out there a very happy belated Mother's day! I hope that you got breakfast in bed, or brunch out with family (what our family did) and hand made cards and gifts that touched your souls. My son Shane made me a lovely computer created chart denoting that he thought I am Loving, Friendly, #1 Mom, Very Craftsy (lol-new word, don't you love it?) and Fun to go to Concerts With (My favorite!). I love the thought he put into it. My older son, well, let's just let that one go, shall we? What can we do to make our boys be more thoughful and caring? LOL My hubby has lovingly allowed me to go for a facial (which I will blissfully submit to once my business slows down a bit!).
I attended a mother/daughter banquet at my Mom's church (my old childhood church) this evening. It was delightful to visit with old friends and to share an evening with family and my darling goddaughter Brianna. Dinner was delish and cake from the Oakmont bakery was the perfect end to this perfect evening!

Mother's Day was also a day for me to think about my dear friend Shelly and the first Mother's Day her children had without her and her own mother who struggled to survive her first Mother's Day without her daughter in it. My heart broke at the thoughts of 4 children who I am sure felt a huge void in their Sunday. I watched Good Morning America on Friday morning followed by Regis & Kelly and all of the worthy moms they honored. One of course had me sobbing aloud as I heard the letter from a Mom who knew she had little time due to the cancer that ravaged her body, but had written and asked for a basketball court for her sons and husband. She had taken the time to set up little boxes for their future milestone moments where they were to receive gifts from a Mom who would no longer be here on this earth, but chose to gift them from beyond the grave at their graduation, wedding, etc. She sadly died, before Regis & Kelly were able to grant her wish, but her children and husband were thrilled at the new basketball court that was given to them. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
It made me grateful to just be here... here with my sons. Able to hug them. Able to see them grow into young men. Able to care for them, despite my own health issues, into the future. There but for the grace of God, go I. So this Mother's Day I was grateful to just be with family and friends and to share hugs and smiles. What could mean more?
(singing like Sonny 'n Cher!- you know you were too!)
I am reviving this tired blog after a lengthy time of solitude. I have decided, that though I have very little time to play with my rubber stamps and create cards, which was what this blog was originally intended for... I am still living life and feel a need to share good things and thoughts and perhaps it's time to bring this blog back to life with a new purpose! A daily gratitude journal. A place for poems and thoughts and prayers. A place to catch my breath and share just LIFE.
Though I won't be sharing cards for a while, I am grateful for the work that has come my way in the form of my calligraphy business. I am happily snowed under in wedding orders. While it is often overwhelming and no one can really help me with the writing aspect of it, I am happy to pay others to help with folding and ribbon tying and even today paid my nephew to chauffeur my tired, lagging butt around town to deliver artwork to a gallery who requested art of me to display in their church gallery. It was an honor to be asked and a challenge to complete the task during this very busy time of year. But it felt good to finish it at last this morning and to see it hanging on the walls of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair. Jenny Gallo, the curator found my art online at my calligraphy blog and asked me to be her artist for the month of May. No one has ever considered my work to be a collection, so it was truly a privilege!
UPDATE ON MY FATHER -- After a recent trip to Florida with his sister to visit their southern brother Joe, he is feeling quite well! He was allowed to have a 3 month break from all chemo treatments and welcomed it quite willingly! No medical tests, no needles, no blood giving, no chemo for 3 whole months. I am glad he got this reprieve and glad he used it to it's fullest with a plane trip to Florida and a joyful time with his siblings.
I still have other friends who are struggling with health issues, such as Jeff who needs a kidney transplant, Mary Ellen who is being treated for cancer and our dear friend Big Jim, who now also has lung cancer and various cancerous spots throughout his body. I ask that you just take a moment and say a little prayer for these kind people as I thank you again for praying for my father.
So, as the blog goes on... I will be here more often, not with cards, but life.
la de da da dee.... la de da da daaaaaaa... and the blog goes on, and the blog goes on.....

Friday, March 6, 2009

Update on my father...

Thank you so much for praying for my father. After about 7 chemo treatments we were excited to hear that his tumors were shrinking! The doctors were amazed and we were all extremely grateful. To make his chemo a bit easier on him, they decided to put a port in his chest. Well the port ended up bringing with it a horrible life threatening staph infection. After weeks of antibiotics and a week in the hospital, he is at home still having antibiotics administered via a pick-line. We are hoping that the infection has at last cleared and chemo may resume shortly. I can't thank you all enough for lifting my father before our Lord. He is grateful for your prayers and thought and concerns as am I. Please continue to lift him in prayer, as he continues on this journey of life with this dreadful disease cancer.
I will be taking a moment right now to lift all of you who read this before our Lord with a little prayer for you my friends.
Lord, bless all who read these words, all who took the time to pray for my father. May this year be a year full of blessings of health, joy, love and peace. May they find comfort in your presence in their daily walk and may they find joy in every aspect of their lives with their family.
I pray a prayer of protection over all of these friends and thank you for all the answered prayers of those who prayed for me and my father. In Jesus name, I thank you. ...... Amen.