What We’ve Been Up To

Many of you often ask what the kids and I are up to and how we are doing, so I thought I’d share a little about what’s going on in our lives. It’s not all that exciting, but if you’re interested….read on!

I am doing well and trying to learn how to face each day with joy and expectation. I constantly struggle with having to “take every thought captive”, and choose instead to focus on the Truth of God’s Word. I still have difficulty sleeping some nights, but find that I am having more “good” nights than I have in the past.

Jake and I are still homeschooling, so that takes a portion of my time although he does well at working independently.

Currently I am involved in two weekly Bible studies. One is Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) where we are studying the life of Moses. The other study is with two sweet ladies who are also recent widows, and we are currently doing a study called “Steadfast”, which is a book about prayer based on the life of David. Moses and David…two great men of God!

I have recently been dealing with a torn meniscus, which has caused me a great deal of pain and problems with mobility. I ended up with a cortisone shot about 5-6 weeks ago and it finally seems to be on the mend. I even got back to the gym once this past week!

Katie is in her junior year at Point University and is doing really well. She stays busy with classes, homework, a job at the school and being a CLM (campus life minister, or RA). She is also involved in a local church close to her apartment. Katie was asked to go on a Middle School girls’ retreat this weekend as one of the speakers/leaders. She got home this afternoon and said she really enjoyed it, but got very little sleep. :)

Emilie is in her sophomore year at Clayton State University, and is also doing well. She is taking a mix of night and online classes, as she has a full-time day job as a Nanny…..which she loves! She also usually works a couple of nights a week at Chick-fil-A. So even though Emilie “technically” lives at home, many days I just see her as she passes through from one activity to the next.

As I said, Jacob is in 10th grade and is homeschooled for most of his classes. He does take two classes, chemistry and Spanish, through our local homeschool group. He is a good student and is making good grades. Jake enjoys tennis and takes weekly lessons. We’ve been discussing the possibility of him getting a job later in the year. He has his learner’s permit and drives every chance he gets! He is a big help to me around the house, taking on some of the things that Greg used to do.

So, that about sums up what is going on with us these days! Thank you so much for continuing to pray for our family. We appreciate it SO much!

Below are a few pictures of what this past week was like for us.

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Jake taking down some old blinds for me.

Jake taking down some old blinds for me.

For Christmas, I had given the girls tickets to see Wicked at the Fox. The day had finally come!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Dinner before the play.

Dinner before the play.

Excited for the play to start

Excited for the play to start

Christmas in February!

Christmas in February!

We had the honor of attending a graduation ceremony for one of our dear friends. Luke, we are so happy for you and proud of you for your accomplishment!

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Jacob went to a dance…so of course I had to get a few pictures of him all dressed up!

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The "awkward couple pose" as Emilie called it.  :)

The “awkward couple pose” as Emilie called it. :)

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Finally...a normal one!

Finally…a normal one!

We ended the week by attending an excellent play at White Water High School.

Zach and Hannah King did an outstanding job!!

Zach and Hannah King did an outstanding job!!

You Never Know

sandra:

This morning in my Bible reading I came across two verses that reminded me so much of this post that I wrote back in October. Hard times WILL come and often they come with no warning. We MUST be preparing now, so that when our lives are hit we won’t “fall to pieces”. HE is what we need in order to be prepared. We need to know Him, know His Word and daily spend time in His Presence. Make time today to prepare for what’s to come.

If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place. ~Proverbs 24:10 (MSG)

Without warning your life can turn upside down, and who knows how or when it might happen? ~Proverbs 24:22 (MSG)

Originally posted on Trusting His Plan:

“My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.” Jer. 8:18

That is the first verse that I read this morning in my devotion time, and I must say that it pretty much sums up how I feel today. It’s been an emotional week. It’s a struggle to keep my joy. Can’t sleep at night. Can’t turn off the “recording” in my mind that plays over and over and over. Replaying the last few days that Greg was here. It’s coming up on a year now….October 20. How can that be?? How can it seem like yesterday, but also like an eternity? It seems like yesterday because the feelings, the emotions, the memories are still so fresh, so painful, so raw, so real. But at the same time, every day without Greg feels like an eternity. Looking back on my blog posts from this time…

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Monday’s Memory

Memories are so bittersweet. Memories often bring smiles and memories often bring tears. Sometimes they bring both. But I think it’s good to remember. To remember the blessings. To remember the love. To remember the smiles and the laughter. To remember God’s goodness and graciousness to us. Memories also cause us to remember God’s faithfulness, and encourage us to look forward with hope to what the Lord has planned for our future!

These pictures were made in North Georgia in October of 2011. Greg had just been diagnosed with melanoma and we just wanted to take the kids and get away for the day. It was a beautiful day and lots of sweet memories were made!

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Are You A Broken Puzzle?

In the past, my life felt like a magnificent, beautiful puzzle with all of the pieces fitting together perfectly. I had a wonderful marriage, three terrific children, a comfortable home, family and friends that I love. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home Mom. We were a homeschooling family, and part of a fabulous homeschool group. I was healthy, my husband was healthy, my kids were healthy. We belonged to a church that we loved and we each had our place of ministry there. I could easily look at my life and identify my purpose. We had plans; we had dreams. Things were good. We were “living in the blessing”, as my husband would often say!

But lately, my life feels more like a broken, incomplete collection of random puzzle pieces. My heart longs to take those puzzles pieces and put them together to form that beautiful picture that once was my life. But no matter how long I stare at those broken pieces, I know that they will never create that beautiful picture again. Some pieces are missing now. Many pieces are still there, they just don’t look the same anymore. They look as if they’ve been caught up in the vacuum cleaner and they will never fit like they once did.

Can you relate? Does your life represent a broken puzzle? Do you long to put all the pieces together to create a beautiful picture? Do you feel like you’ll just never “get it all together”? Maybe you’ve felt this way a long time….maybe even all your life. Maybe you’ve never experienced that life that resembled a beautifully put-together puzzle. Or maybe you’re like me, and had that life where everything just seemed to “fit”. But recently, it’s as if that puzzle has been knocked off the table and now lies on the floor in pieces. Some pieces may be long gone, never to be found or replaced. And some pieces may be stepped on, and dirty, and torn and broken. It’s not a fun place to be.

But, I’ve got encouraging news for you! Good news! Hopeful news! Trustworthy news! For those of us who are believers, no matter what may happen to our puzzle, no matter how many pieces are lost, no matter how many pieces are stepped on or mangled by this world…..One piece will never be lost, will never be broken, and can never be damaged by this world. That piece is Christ! No matter what happens to our puzzle, that piece will NEVER change! And even if every other piece is damaged or lost..it’s okay. Because this piece is not the last piece that makes the puzzle complete and pretty. It’s not the piece that we add at the very end and say, “Now I’m done.” No, this piece is the FIRST piece! It’s the piece that all of the other pieces are connected to and built around. This piece, this Jesus, is the central, most important piece of the puzzle!

Jesus is the foundation, and if we never have another piece to add to our puzzle, that would be okay. He is enough! But…I believe that He has a bigger plan for us. I believe He wants to build our puzzle into something magnificent, something glorious and beautiful! I also believe that our lives are represented by different puzzles throughout our time on earth. My puzzle won’t look like yours and, yours won’t look like mine. My puzzle that He’s building now doesn’t look like my puzzle from the past.

Sometimes our puzzle is beautiful and complete, sometimes it’s only half-way done, and sometimes our puzzle is nothing more than a bunch of random pieces scattered across the floor. We must choose to reach down, pick up the piece that is Jesus, put it on the table and trust Him to add to our puzzle until it is once again a magnificent, beautiful puzzle with all of the pieces fitting together perfectly. No, it won’t look like the beautiful puzzle of our past, but with Christ at the center, it will be beautiful indeed!!

Listen, God! Please, pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help. Every morning you’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend. ~Psalm 5:1-3 (The Message)

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

“What Are You Reading” Wednesday

I don’t know about you, but I love to read! You might be able to figure that out by the huge number of books I have on my bookshelves or by the hundreds of books I have loaded onto my Kindle. I will never read all of the books that I have, especially since I continue to add to my collection several times a week! (Did you know that Amazon.com has free Kindle downloads every day! :) )

I have loved reading since I was a little girl, and I am so thankful that all three of my children are avid readers. Books can be teachers, entertainers, ministers, or counselors…depending on which type of book you choose to read. Books make you think, help you use your imagination and inspire you to try new things. Books take you away to places that you might never physically be able to go.

Currently I am reading this book:

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My sister-in-law gave me this book a while back and I’ve just really gotten into it recently. I am about halfway through it, and am really enjoying it. Sometimes we really struggle with the idea of “bad things” happening to “good people”. Many people question how a good God can allow such evil and suffering to continue in this world. They think “If He is good, then He wouldn’t let it happen, and if He does allow it to happen, then He must not be such a good God after all.” If you have these same thoughts and just can’t seem to make sense of it, then I would highly recommend this book by Randy Alcorn.

Now…I want to hear what you’re reading! Please share what you are currently reading or what you may have recently read that you really enjoyed. I’m always looking to add another book or two (or fifty or eighty!) to my ever-growing “books to read” list! You just might find some to add to your list too!!

Changes….They Are A-coming

You might notice some upcoming changes with my blog. The Lord has been talking to me and reminding me that my life is about more than just death, and grief, and loss. More than sadness, and tears, and loneliness. More than the past, the unfulfilled dreams and the fears of the future. Of course those things will always be a huge part of my life; they won’t ever go away, but they are not WHO I am. My life is about so much more…..God has so much more for me!

As I’ve been praying about this, the Lord reminded me of this blog post I wrote back in March of 2013…Cancer Does Not Define Our Lives Today I find myself facing the same issue, just different circumstances. If I choose to let grief, sadness, and fears consume and define me, I am guilty of allowing them to become idols in my life. It’s hard. It’s a day by day choice. I often fail. But my prayer is that as the days continue to pass by, I will find myself more and more choosing to tear down the idols of loneliness, grief, sadness, unfulfilled dreams and fears about the future, and instead replacing them with the truth of God’s Word. I am NEVER alone. (Matt. 28:20) I don’t have to grieve like those who have no hope. (1 Thes. 4:13) My weeping won’t last forever; He will restore my joy. (Psalm 30:5) He is close to broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) He is doing something new in my life and will put new dreams within my heart. (Is. 43:19) I do not have to be afraid of what my future holds. (Is. 41:10) (Jer. 29:11)

So, all of that to say that the content of my blog may change a bit. I may be posting more often. The main focus will still be about trusting God’s plan for my life and encouraging you to do the same, but I also want it to be a little more about daily life in general. Not just what’s going on in my life, but what’s going on in yours as well. We all have “hard stuff” in our lives, and I’d like for this to be a place where we can share with one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, support one another, and even make each other laugh! Some posts will be a little more light-hearted, and some will be a little more interactive. I want to hear from YOU!

Stay tuned for my first “audience participation” post coming up later this evening!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

The Greatest Love Of All

February 14 has come and gone once again. How can it be that I have now spent two Valentine’s Days without Greg??
Pictures and posts of romantic dates and dinners, exciting get-aways with the one you love, and the ever popular Valentine’s gifts of flowers, candy and sparkling, new jewelry. Another reminder of what I don’t have.

But, it’s also another opportunity to focus on what I do have. Although, I’ll be the first to tell you that Valentine’s Day without my spouse really stinks, I’ll also be the first to tell you that I still have a love that is worth celebrating.

I have the love of my children. I have the love of my family and friends. And I have the greatest love of all…the love of my Savior! He is my One True Love and He is the One that blesses me with all the other loves in my life. He is the source of all that is good in my life.

So this past Valentine’s weekend, I chose to celebrate the gift of love. Jacob and I spent time with my nephews on Friday night, loving on them while their Mommy and Daddy went out for a Valentine’s dinner. Emilie surprised me with beautiful roses on Saturday morning! Katie came home Saturday afternoon and brought me some yummy chocolates! And Saturday evening, we enjoyed spending some time with Greg’s parents.

Three good-looking guys and CFA ice cream...what could be better??

Three good-looking guys and CFA ice cream…what could be better??

Cousins....friends!

Cousins….friends!

Treats from my sweets!

Treats from my sweets!

I am so thankful for all the “loves” that I been blessed with! And I continue to be humbled by the greatest Love of all….For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should never die, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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