Live Oaks of Midland: Tammy Nelson

Summer Camp season is upon us... many of you will send a loved one off for a week of swimming, kayaking, paddle-boards, crafts, volleyball, camp songs & loads of fun!  We are so grateful to the many selfless camp counselors who impact our kid's lives by making the time for play & adventure.  There are so many awesome camps... but one that is very close to our hearts is Royal Family Kids Camp.  This camp is special...  the children who are guests come from very challenging and painful situations and their week at this particular camp is designed to give them a little piece of heaven on earth.  One of my favorite things about Royal Family Kids Camp is the Princess Party... creating a space to celebrate & show the campers how beautiful and worthy of love they are is a highlight and memory I will cherish in my heart.  Tammy Nelson is my dear friend who invited me to be a part of this camp activity and I am so grateful for the opportunity.  I admire her compassion, strength and seamless way she handled all of her many responsibilities associated with running the camp.  I am so inspired by her and all of the amazing staff who give weeks of their lives each summer & throughout the year to show kindness to the hurting. Tammy, you are most definitely and Oak... a place of safety, nourishment, strength and rest for people.  I love your heart for kids and specifically kids who have been abused.  Thank you for taking your personal heart aches and not wasting your pain but instead using it as fuel to be a bright spot in the life of someone else. 

Name: Tammy Nelson   

Occupation: Lead Preschool Teacher for Meridian’s Preschool Program

Family background:  Mother of 5 boys, married to John for 17 years

How many years in Midland:  Grew up in the Midland area and attended Sanford and Meridian Schools

Community Involvement:  The June Camp Director of Royal Family Kids for 7 Years

Personal Testimony of Grace:  I was a young & lost single mother of 3 and needed a guide.  I had so many questions… I was looking for answers and would ask what book of the Bible would talk about family?  My mom suggested Midland Assembly of God… it was there that I found what I needed!  I was encouraged, nourished, taught the Bible, challenged AND eventually met the love of my life there.  Together now for 17 years, we are such a good team.  It has been John who has challenged me to step out into leadership.  He continues to prod our family on to the next yes.  Farming has become our latest adventure!

Personal Philosophy:  Embrace people where they are, notice the unique gifts and talents they possess.  People just need a little encouragement and confidence.

Favorite Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-13New International Version (NIV)11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

What are some of the defining pruning moments of your life:  When I was on my own with my boys… I had to learn to discern between what God had for me and to learn how to not define my worth outside of other accolades.  I had to ask myself, am i okay to just be?  I had to find my worth in Christ alone.

Where do you get your grounding?  My husband, and the relationships with Pastor Joel Stocker & Pastor Kelly & Traci… they love people the way they are and are everyone’s cheerleader

How have the winds of life made you stronger?  The challenges of a blended family with strong opinions & strong expectations was something I had to learn to navigate.  I gained a lot of perspective and relied on Christ to be my anchor.

What are your most treasured connections?  My boys and my husband...

What are your dreams?  Simply to be healthy & vibrant & ready for the next yes.  I am excited for the future.  I desire for children to feel that they are okay, capable & valued.  I wish every kid could have a secure, healthy and loving environment.

What are you passionate about?  I want to give kids a solid foundation and challenge them to not waste a pain.  I want to teach them how they can use it as fuel to make things better for others.  

What breaks your heart?  Hurting children…. I believe every single child deserves to feel safe & loved.

How do you want to change or improve Midland?  I want to see families continue to be supported in Faith, Finances, Family and Friends.  And that we will know the needs better and do what you can to be a connector & a part of the solution.


Live Oaks of Midland | Kim Reinhardt

Summer break is here!  It is the moment all of our kids have been waiting for and we are so excited for slower mornings, more time at the lake... bike rides, fun, rest & exploration.  We, however, didn't want to miss an opportunity to pause and say thank you to those that have invested in our kids all year long.  Teachers, thank you for your constant patience, your passion to nurture, equip, challenge and inspire the next generation.  We see your hard work and applaud your achievements.  Because I have Teacher Appreciation on the brain, for this month's Live Oak Spotlight, I have chosen to feature an innovative & passionate teacher, Kim Reinhardt.

Kim has not only been a significant teacher in our lives personally... she makes a difference in the lives of hundreds of students every day.  I am forever grateful for the impact she has had on us and am inspired by her heart & ambition.  One of the interesting things that sticks out to me is how she has arranged her classroom like a coffeehouse!  She was the blessed recipient of Journey's extra furniture when they closed their downtown location.  I was very curious about how the new set up has positively impacted the tone and learning experience for her students and was excited to hear her say she has seen a considerable improvement in the student's ability to collaborate.  The classroom's "coffeehouse setting" fosters an atmosphere of community and encourages the students to work with one another more comfortably.

Name: Kim Reinhardt
Occupation: Teacher

Family: Mom to Isaac & Clarissa

How many years in Midland: Since I was 4 years old... I attended Chestnut Hill, Northeast, & Midland High

Educational background: Graceland University, 22 years of teaching Kindergarten, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders

Community Involvement: Lifelong teacher & Board of Directors at the Nature Center

Personal Testimony: I have lived a blessed life... I have come out of a divorce happier & stronger and have become a better mother.

Favorite Quote: “

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”

Amelia Earhart

Personal Philosophy: Take the negative and make something good out of it.  There is always a silver lining.  We get to choose good over bitterness.  When things are good, remember to be thankful... 

Be open-minded, look for the good in everyone.

Where do you get your grounding?  Family... my parents are solid, faith-filled and a steady & constant in my life.  My kids... my job... it gives me perspective.

What are your most treasured connections? My family & friends.  My sister is my best friend... she is my number one cheer leader & supporter.

What are your dreams? To be financially free... to raise happy children who are good people & passionate about what they do.  I want my kids to be comfortable with themselves and to have good friendships.  Teaching is my dream.  It is literally what I have always wanted to do.  It isn't only what I do... it is who I am.  It allows me to be creative and to make a difference by investing in our kids, our future.

What are you passionate about? Teaching!  I am living the dream!  Giving kids a solid sense of self in a very pivotal year sets them up to live to their fullest potential.  Kids need the opportunity to explore what they want to learn.  My goal is to expose students to many different ideas or solution and let them figure out what works best for them.

What breaks your heart? Injustice drives me crazy, the divisiveness in our society.  Not being able to be who you are and feel safe.

How have the winds of life strengthened you?  The birth of my children changed me from no longer putting myself first.  The responsibility of nurturing these little people to grow into decent adults is a huge responsibility.  My priorities were shifted and redefined and my love multiplied. 

My divorce was another season of challenge & reflection.  I have always had a strong sense of self, but by the end of my marriage I was so discontent.  I had to reflect on what was in me and define more clearly who I would want to be with and I have learned that I can be happy by myself.

How do you want to change or improve Midland? I want Midland to become a great place and expand to become a haven for all families and all people.  And I desire more respect, trust & support of public education.

Thank you for your authenticity and vulnerability in sharing with us Kim.  At the end of the day, "we all live at the same address" (a favorite quote of mine by Joel Stocker)  Thank you for how you have served our community and our families.  Let's continue to make Midland a great place... one act of kindness at a time.



-Written with love,  Renee' Deckrow