A New Heaven And A New Earth…I Can’t Wait!!

I just love this time of the year when my home is surrounded by God’s beauty!! His handiwork is so amazing. So intricate. So colorful. So uplifting to my spirit. So unbelievably beautiful! But what’s even more amazing to me is that the beauty that we experience today is beauty that is found on a cursed earth. When sin entered the world, God put a curse on the earth. Things that we experience today are not the way He originally planned them. But yet, the trees, the flowers, the oceans, the mountains…..what beauty!

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One day, the curse will be reversed and there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth. Everything will be PERFECT…just the way it was originally designed. No sin, no death, no decay. Only perfection!! Can you even imagine?? If the beauty that we experience today is that of a cursed earth, I cannot fathom what it will be like on the New Earth!! And I can’t wait!

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” Rev 21:1

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Rev 22:20

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Happy Birthday Greg!

Yesterday was Greg’s birthday. He would have been 52. We were sad that we couldn’t celebrate with him, but…we still chose to celebrate! The day that Greg came into this world is certainly a day worth celebrating. The world is a better place for Greg having been here….even if only for 49 short years. He impacted lives. He brought joy and laughter to those that knew him. He loved and was loved. He made a difference.

I thought all day yesterday about what to post and just couldn’t find any words other than what I had posted on Greg’s last two birthdays. Then I saw a post that Jacob wrote yesterday morning and decided that he said very beautifully what we all were feeling. So I thought it fitting that I share his words here.

Happy birthday Dad! Although happy will be hard for me on your birthday I will try my best because if I know anything about you it is that you would do anything for me to be happy. I love you Dad and I miss you more than I though possible. But I’m glad I have the opportunity to miss you. I’m so glad you were a good dad and that I get the chance I think back on all our memories with love. That is way more than a lot of kids get. Even though some people may call me unlucky for the hand I’ve been felt I consider myself blessed beyond measure! I’m not lucky because you’re gone but because I got to spend the first 14 years of my life with who I genuinely believe was one of the greatest men God has ever created. So today I choose not only happiness but thankfulness. Thankful for every second I had with you. I’m thankful for having a dad as awesome as you! Thank you Dad! I love and miss oh so much!
Your number one son,
Jake

For the last two years our family has gone to a Braves game to celebrate Greg’s birthday, but this year there wasn’t a game in town. We decided to just all go out to dinner and spend time together. Here are a few pictures from last night.

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My niece, Amanda with her husband, Ryan and son, Zachary

My niece, Amanda with her husband, Ryan and son, Zachary

Greg's parents and sister

Greg’s parents and sister

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Happy Birthday, Greg! We love and miss you more every day and can’t wait until we’re all together again!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

So Excited!!

I just found out that the book I gave away this morning, The Light Between Oceans, is being made into a movie that will be released in September!! I can’t wait! I know the movies are never as good as the books, but this is such a great story…I’m looking forward to the movie!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Winner!!

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The winner of the book give-away is……Gina!!! Congratulations Gina! I’ll get the book in the mail to you this week!!

Thanks to those of you who left a comment to enter! The winner was chosen using Random.org. Have a great Monday everyone!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

She Did It!!!

Well….she did it!! And I cannot begin to express how very proud I am of her! Katie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Point University last night with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies and a minor in Youth and Family Ministry!! She has worked so hard these last four years, striving for excellence in her studies. She struggled through some very hard, emotional times as she grieved the loss of her father. Yet she persevered and graduated with a 4.0. And although I am extremely proud of her academic success, I am even more proud of her heart for the Lord and her desire to teach others about Him.

It seems just like yesterday that Katie was walking across the stage at Crossroads Church receiving her diploma for graduating from Pre-K!! The days are fleeting, and we must make the most of each one. The Lord humbles me every day as I reflect on the fact that He chose me to be the mother of this amazing young lady! And not just Katie, but Emilie and Jacob too. I am triple-blessed!! My heart overflows with love, joy, pride, gratefulness and thanksgiving today!!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth. 3 John 1:4

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Waiting to see their sister graduate!

Waiting to see their sister graduate!

Greg's parents came to celebrate with us!

Greg’s parents came to celebrate with us!

That's one proud Mama and sister!

That’s one proud Mama and sister!

Waiting her turn to walk in!

Waiting her turn to walk in!

Receiving her diploma!

Receiving her diploma!

Officially a college graduate!

Officially a college graduate!

She was SO happy!!

She was SO happy!!

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Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Three Things That Are Bringing Me Joy This Week!

This life can be hard. But no matter what’s going on in our life, there IS joy to be found! I think it’s important to focus on and be thankful for the things in life that bring us joy. So, here are three things that are bringing me joy this week.

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Katie couldn’t be with me on Mother’s Day, but she was here on Saturday night and brought me these beautiful flowers! I love having fresh flowers in the house….they not only brighten the house, but they also brighten my mood!

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A sweet friend shared this Bible App with me. I am using it alongside the read-thru-the-Bible plan that I’ve been using this year and I love it! You just choose whatever chapter you’re reading and can listen to a brief 4-8 minute commentary on that chapter. It is really enriching my time in the Word! You should check it out!

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This boy got his license a couple of weeks ago! I know the kid always experiences a newfound freedom when they first get their license, but for this Mom…..oh what freedom!! It has been so nice to not have to play taxi service multiple times a day! Another benefit might just be that my prayer life has increased since he is out on the road alone! :)

Have a great Friday and don’t forget to choose JOY!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Reading Goal Update And A Give-Away!!

My reading goal for this year is to read at least twelve books….or one book every month. I got behind on my posting, but not my reading! I’m already way ahead of my goal! So here is what I read in March and April.

In March, I read three books. Book one is When Helping Hurts by Corbett & Fikkert.

I read this book in preparation for our mission trip to Haiti. I found the book very helpful in really looking at the purpose for short-term missions and ways to evaluate the purpose and desired outcomes of these trips. I would recommend this book for anyone involved in missions of any sort.

Book two is The Letter by Marie Tillman.

Although this book was a little sad, I still enjoyed it. I’m such a sap when it comes to true stories.:) I could identify with a lot of the emotions that Tillman expresses. This is part of the book description from Amazon:

In 2003, Pat Tillman, serving in the US Army, hastily wrote a “just in case” letter to his wife, Marie. When he returned on leave before his departure to Afghanistan, he placed the letter on top of their bedroom dresser. For months it sat there, sealed and ever-present, like a black hole through which Marie knew her stable life would be pulled if she ever had reason to open it. Then, in April 2004, Marie’s worst nightmare came true. In the days following his death, it was Pat’s letter that kept her going and, more than that, it was his words that would help her learn to navigate a world she could no longer share with her husband.

Book three is How Sweet the Sound by Amy K. Sorrells.

Another good book! This story was inspired by the story of Tamar in the Bible. “From a distance, the Harlans appear to be the perfect Southern family. Wealth and local fame mask the drama and dysfunction swirling through their family line. But as the summer heats up, a flood tide of long hidden secrets surface. Devastation from a rape followed by the murder of two family members brings three generations of the Harlans together on their pecan plantation in Bay Spring, Alabama. Chief among them is Anniston, who by the time she turned thirteen thought she’d seen it all. But as her heart awakens to the possibility of love, she begins to deal with her loneliness and grief.”

In April, I read four books! Book one is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

I can’t say that I agree with the premise of this book, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. “Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.”

Book two is The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.

For some reason it took a few chapters for me to get into this book, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it! It ended up being one of my favorites that I’ve read so far this year! “After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.”

Book three is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

Yes, another somewhat sad book/true story. Although this one is a little different in that the author is the one that is dying and the story is told from his perspective. This book really makes you think about the importance of making every day count and living each day with purpose. “At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.”

Book four is Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay.

This book has also become one of my favorites from this year! A really easy read that is written in the form of letters between two of the characters. “Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore. But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.”

How’s your reading going? Maybe you’ll find something on my list that will spark your interest! So now for the give-away! I am giving away my copy of The Light Between Oceans! To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me a book that you have read in the last couple of months that you have really enjoyed. The give-away will end on Sunday night, May 15 at 11:59pm. I will pick a random winner on Monday, May 16 from all who have left comments and announce the winner on my blog. So….leave a comment and Happy Reading!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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