28 Years

We did it!

We did it!


Today would have been mine and Greg’s 28th anniversary. I’ve actually been dreading this day for several weeks now. But after much prayer (aka whining and complaining), the Lord began to show me that I needed to celebrate this day…..not sit around and feel sorry for myself. An anniversary is a day to remember a significant event. September 27, 1986 was one of the very best days of my life. I look back on that day with much joy and happiness! It is a day that I always want to remember. So, today I choose to celebrate (with some difficulty and a few tears :( ) the gift of marriage and the fact that He chose to bless me with that gift for 27 years!

My day was filled with sweet surprises…from thoughtful texts and messages from friends and family, to flowers and gifts, to a delicious dinner out with my three great kids. If I can’t celebrate my anniversary with my husband, then celebrating with the three biggest blessings that came from my marriage is the next best thing!!
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I am so thankful for the Lord’s sweet reminders to me that He loves me and remembers me. That He is always with me and will never leave me. That He is for me and not against me. So tonight, although I go to bed with a lonely heart, I also go to bed with a full heart! A heart full of love for my husband. A heart full of love for my children. A heart full of love for my family and friends. A heart full of love for my Savior!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

He Remembers

My beautiful niece, Amanda, will soon be delivering her first baby….a boy! We are so excited for her and her husband, Ryan. They just recently shared with us the name that they have chosen and why they chose it. These are Amanda’s words….

“We have told several of you, but we are happy to officially announce the name of our little boy, who is scheduled to arrive in 6 short weeks: Zachary Gregory Kurz!
His middle name is after my Uncle Gregory Masters, who passed away of malignant melanoma a little less than a year ago. Zachary means, “God remembers,” and we believe that God remembers the pain and suffering that my uncle and our family went through and has been redeeming this difficulty in our lives, as well as bringing new life through our little one. We hope to honor my uncle, who is pictured with us below, by incorporating his name in our child’s name because my uncle was the godly, loving, humble, and devoted kind of man that we hope our little Zachary Gregory will one day become. Thank you for sharing in our joy!”

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I am humbled and blessed that Amanda and Ryan would choose to honor Greg’s memory in this very special way. Greg loved babies (most things about them, anyway :) ) and I’m sad that he won’t be here to enjoy spending time with our sweet great-nephew, Zack. But how exciting will that day be when we are all together in Heaven and Greg is able to meet his namesake for the first time!

The same God that was present with us in our tears as Greg left this world and entered into the very Presence of God, is the same God that will be present with us in our joy as we welcome sweet Zachary Gregory Kurz into this world. He is the SAME God….He does NOT change! Thank you Jesus!!

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The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

One Thing

“But that’s not fair! It’s the ONE THING that I REALLY want!” That was a lament that Greg and I often heard from one of our children when they were younger and didn’t get what they wanted. Maybe it was an item they wanted, something they wanted to do or somewhere they wanted to go. But whatever it was, if we said “No”, we were often met with this response. As if, had we agreed to it, all would be right with this child’s world……at least until the next “One Thing” came along!

There was quite a bit of drama included in these little episodes, and we joke about it now. But how many of us, as adults, have that ONE THING in our lives? How do we feel when we want something so badly, but we can’t have it? Maybe we stand shaking our little fists at God and saying, “But that’s not fair! It’s the ONE THING that I REALLY want!” “If I could just have this One Thing, my life would be complete or at least so much better.” “This is the One Thing that would make me happy.” “I’m not asking for much, I don’t understand why I can’t have it!”

That One Thing can be different for different people. For some it may be a spouse. “God, if you’d just bring that special someone into my life, I’d be happy.” For some it may be a changed spouse. “God, if you’d just change him/her, things would be so much better.” Maybe your One Thing is a good friend. “God, all I want is one good friend who I can be myself around. Someone who “gets me”. For others that One Thing might be a child. “God, why can’t I have a baby? I don’t get it! If You would just give me a baby, I’d never ask for anything else.” Your One Thing might be a better job or a different work environment. Maybe it’s a house, a newer house, or a bigger house. For many the One Thing is more money. “God, if I had more money and didn’t have to stress about finances so much, I could spend more time with my family. I could tithe more. I could be more generous.”

If we’re honest, most of us have our One Thing, and often our One Thing changes throughout the seasons of our lives. I personally have been dealing with my own One Thing over the last several years. From October 2011 until October 2013, my One Thing was “God please heal my husband this side of Heaven. This is the ONE THING that I REALLY want, God.” I prayed, and I begged and I believed with all of my heart that God was going to give me my ONE THING. I claimed His promises, I hid His Word in my heart and hung it in my house as a constant reminder. But God, in His Sovereignty, did not give me my ONE THING. My heart was crushed and my world was rocked. I didn’t understand. It made no sense to me. I just didn’t “get it”. But by God’s grace, I can honestly say that I never got angry at God or stood shaking my fist at Him. But on October 20, 2013 I did find myself dealing with another One Thing. I often found myself saying, “God, the One Thing that I want, I can never have. I just want Greg back here with me and the kids. I just want our family back.” I have struggled with the pain of knowing that the One Thing that I want, I can never, ever have. I know that I will see Greg again and our family will be reunited, but oh, how I long to have him here with me now!

Over the past several months, the Lord has been dealing with me regarding these two little words…..One Thing. He is showing me that all of these One Things are the wrong things. It’s not that they are all bad desires, but they should not be the biggest desires of our hearts. I began to study God’s Word and what He has to say about “One Thing”. Here are a few things that He’s teaching me (and that I’m trying to learn :) )

1. The One Thing that I should ask for and seek after is that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, and that I might gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Psalm 27:4

2. The One Thing that should be more important to me than anything else is spending time with Jesus. Luke 10:41-42

3. I should not forget this One Thing…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8

4. I need to get rid of the “One Things” in my life that are distracting me from my relationship with God. Mark 10:21

5. I may not know the answer to many things, but One Thing I do know….I once was lost, but now I’m found. I once was blind, but now I see! John 9:25

6. I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this ONE THING: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling me up to Heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for me. Philippians 3:13-14

I leave you with a song that means so much to me. As a matter of fact, it has been the ringtone on my phone for about the last two years. In a world that seems to be crashing down around me and always changing, I am learning that Jesus is the ONE THING that never changes. His love endures forever. Praise God for His faithfulness! This ONE THING remains!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Great Read

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Hello friends! I just finished reading this great book and wanted to share it with you all. If you have experienced a loss of any sort…death, divorce, etc…I highly recommend this book. It was excellent and so good at putting into words so many of the feelings that I have experienced.

Here is one of the many, many excerpts that I found so helpful:

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I’ve been really busy lately with starting a new year of homeschooling, along with all of the day-to-day things that need to be done. I’ve missed blogging and hope to get back to it soon. The Lord continues to show me that He is who He says He is, and that He will be faithful to keep His promises. He is my Protector, He is my Defender, He is my Provider, He is my Redeemer! He IS all that I need! He is teaching me much and I am eager to learn more and more! I hope you all have had a wonderful summer and are preparing to enter this new season with great expectation of what God is going to do in your life!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Birthdays And Welcome Homes

***Warning*** LOTS of pictures!

This past week, Emilie and I spent a few days in Chattanooga celebrating her 19th birthday! (Her birthday was actually June 30) We started out by attending the Sunday morning service at Scenic City Church. This is a church plant that was started by our friends Daniel and Heidi Hicks. Emilie used to babysit their children, Isabelle, Carson and Kylie, when they lived in Newnan. I think her favorite part of the weekend was being able to spend time with them. :)

Emilie and Isa

Emilie and Isa

Emilie and Heidi

Emilie and Heidi

After church we got a bite for lunch then checked in at a cute little Bed and Breakfast on top of Lookout Mountain. Our room was called Marsie Doats and was decorated in a 40’s theme.

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Later that afternoon, we visited Ruby Falls! Unfortunately, pictures of the actual falls didn’t turn out too well. :(

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Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls

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Beautiful view of the city!

Beautiful view of the city!

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The next morning we enjoyed a lovely breakfast out on the porch.

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Peach French toast!

Peach French toast!

Breakfast Crossaint  Sandwich

Breakfast Crossaint Sandwich

Rita...the resident dog.  She refused to look at the camera!

Rita…the resident dog. She refused to look at the camera!

After breakfast we went to the Tennessee Aquarium! Isa and Carson were the perfect tour guides!

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We loved watching the otters.

We loved watching the otters.

Emilie hates escalators, so Isa held her hand so Emilie wouldn't be scared.  :)

Emilie hates escalators, so Isa held her hand so Emilie wouldn’t be scared. :)

Emilie loves owls!

Emilie loves owls!

Touching a shark!

Touching a shark!

Loved holding the butterflies!

Loved holding the butterflies!

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In the shark cage!

In the shark cage!

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Then….on to lunch at Mellow Mushroom.

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After lunch, we headed to the children’s hospital to visit with Isa and Carson’s four-year old sister, Kylie. Kylie was just recently diagnosed with leukemia. Please keep this precious little girl in your prayers.

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Emilie and I ended the evening at the Starbucks sitting atop Lookout Mountain.

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The next morning, after another delicious breakfast we headed to Coolidge Park. It was a beautiful day!

A view of the park from the pedestrian bridge.

A view of the park from the pedestrian bridge.

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On the other side of the pedestrian bridge we ran right into an ice cream shop….so we decided we must have one! Great way to end a great trip!

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So, that’s the birthday part…now for the welcome home part! We picked Jake up from Camp Winshape yesterday. He had a GREAT time and is already talking about going again next year! So very thankful for this opportunity that he was blessed with! I am so glad to have him back home! Unfortunately, he didn’t bring back just dirty laundry. He also brought back a cold and sore throat. :(

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And…another welcome home, as Katie should be coming in from her summer job at Winshape Camps late tonight! Unfortunately, it will be a quick in and out for her as she has to be at a retreat tomorrow evening for all of the CLM’s (RA’s) at her school.

So thankful for the joyful and happy times that the Lord provides for our family to enjoy!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Life Goes On

Life is filled with ups and downs, happy times and sad times, joys and sorrows. There are many days I wish I could call it quits, gather up my kids, exit this world and go ahead and enter our eternal home. Where we would be reunited with Greg. Where we would no longer have to experience sadness, sickness, ugliness, disappointments, tears and sorrow. Where we would live in the very Presence of our Savior. But…that’s not an option. Life goes on. And although life can be difficult, the Lord continues to be good to us. He continues to bless us, to provide for us, to protect us, and to be faithful to us. And in the midst of our pain, He continues to give us glimpses of beauty, and joy, and happiness and laughter.

Today I choose to focus on the good. I thought I’d share some of the “beauty” that He has blessed us with over the last few weeks.

In June we celebrated the marriage of my nephew, Michael and his lovely Bride Molly. Jacob was honored to be asked to be a part of the wedding!

The bride and groom at the rehearsal

The bride and groom at the rehearsal

Jacob at the rehearsal

Jacob at the rehearsal

At the rehearsal dinner

At the rehearsal dinner

Sibling love!

Sibling love!

Fun with family!

Fun with family!

Beautiful sunset in Atlanta

Beautiful sunset in Atlanta

Wedding day!  Two handsome guys!

Wedding day! Two handsome guys!

Look Mom.....no Braves cap!

Look Mom…..no Braves cap!

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Entering the reception.  Michael had chosen Chipper Jones' walk-up song to be played as Jacob came in.  Of course, Jake loved it!

Entering the reception. Michael had chosen Chipper Jones’ walk-up song to be played as Jacob came in. Of course, Jake loved it!

Mr. and Mrs!

Mr. and Mrs!

The girls and I redeemed a gift certificate that we received from a sweet family at Christmas, and enjoyed a relaxing pedicure. Christmas in June!!

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We celebrated part 1 of Emilie’s 19th birthday! Part 2 is yet to come!

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My nephew Ryan was able to come and stay with us for a week. He and Jake had a great time!

Pool time!

Pool time!

Belated birthday lunch at Steak and Shake compliments of Nana!

Belated birthday lunch at Steak and Shake compliments of Nana!

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Jacob has been blessed this year to be able to attend Winshape Camps for Boys for the first time. We are so grateful and humbled by an anonymous donor who made this possible! He left this past Sunday and will be gone for another week. I can’t wait for him to get back and tell me all about it! I have received one postcard from him and he said that he was having a great time. What a wonderful opportunity for him!

Saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye.

Look how tall he is!!

Look how tall he is!!

Ready for the time of his life!!

Ready for the time of his life!!

Sometimes the ugliness overshadows the beauty….but it’s there. We just have to have eyes and hearts to see it. Today I thank God for the beauty that’s always there and I pray that He will continue to give me the eyes and heart to see it!

The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:3

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

It’s Not Meaningless

My heart is heavy tonight. This heaviness has been building over the past year. So much pain. So much suffering. This past year has been filled with much sadness for me. It began in June of 2013 when Katie’s best friend’s Dad passed away from brain cancer. In August, Greg and I attended another funeral for a friend who also passed away from cancer. And then in October, the love of my life went home to be with the Lord. Still grieving and somewhat in shock, just a couple of days after Greg’s funeral, I attended the funeral of one of my cousins. In February, I received the news that a dear friend that I used to work with had passed away….yet another funeral. In June a friend that I met through facebook lost her husband to cancer. She is left to raise three young children alone. I have three sweet friends who have experienced the death of a parent over this past year. Just in the past week, we have found out that the four-year old daughter of some of our friends has been diagnosed with Leukemia. And today, another dear friend has gone home to be with the Lord….again cancer. Also, at this very moment two more sweet friends of mine are at home with their husbands who are under the care of hospice.

What is going on??? Why is the Lord allowing all of these things to happen? It’s all so sad. It’s all so painful. It’s all so heartbreaking. Why are parents being taken from their children? Why are parents having to bury their children? Why are sweet, innocent children having to go through harsh treatments while their parents stand by feeling helpless? Why are children having to grow up without their Mom or Dad? Why are marriages being ripped apart because of death?? I don’t get it! It doesn’t seem right; it doesn’t seem fair! It all seems meaningless!

Although this is what my heart feels, God’s Word tells me differently. God is Sovereign and His plan is perfect. As believers, everything that happens to us is for our good and His glory. I’m not pretending to understand this, but I believe it to be true. I struggle with this, but I trust my God. But just because I trust Him, doesn’t mean that the pain is any less. But I do believe that He is who He says He is, and that He has a good and perfect plan for each of us. And the things that happen in our life are not meaningless, but instead are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” And because of this, I will still praise Him!

Please take a few minutes to watch this. I have posted it before, but it is so good it’s worth posting again. I pray it encourages you and helps you to realize that the things we experience in this life are NOT meaningless.

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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