Happy?????? New Year

We made it through our first Christmas without Greg. As you can imagine it was very difficult, but the Lord continues to show His goodness and faithfulness to us despite the sadness. We decided it would be best to continue with our usual Christmas traditions, and I think that was the best decision. Even though I didn’t feel very festive, I went ahead with getting a Christmas tree and doing a little decorating around the house. I’m glad I did…it would have been much more “dreary” without the tree, lights and decorations. Plus, the Christmas tree proved to be a source of humor for us! Of course, I have never dealt with getting the tree in the stand, getting it in the house, keeping it watered or putting the lights on. Needless to say, getting the lights on the tree was challenging for me….I ended up having a half a strand of lights that wouldn’t light tied up and shoved into the center of the tree! I wasn’t about to take them off once I had gotten them on the tree….even if they weren’t working!! And then we had the “fun” of the tree crashing to the floor after it had been up for about a week. (I knew that tree looked like it was leaning!!) So, with help from our neighbors at 10pm, we got the tree back up and I got to re-decorate it! Most of the lights were now mainly at the bottom of the tree…but that’s where they stayed. I wasn’t about to tackle the lights again!

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Christmas Eve was spent with all of my family at my parent’s house. We enjoyed our time of food, fellowship and present-opening! I struggled with keeping my emotions in check and had to take one short “time-out”, but other than that I did fine.

The kids and I enjoyed a nice morning at home on Christmas day. It was an emotional time for all of us as we shared sweet times of remembering Greg. We enjoyed several special gifts; although they were bittersweet. I gave each of the kids a large collage photo frame. Each of the frames contained one or two pictures of Greg and the rest were pictures of them with their Dad. Then they surprised me with a large framed family photo. It was the last photo that was taking of all of us together…it was taken at the Circle of Prayer that was held at our home in August. I was so surprised and I just love it! I was so touched by their thoughtfulness. The picture is now hanging over our sofa! Greg has always bought Jacob’s Christmas and birthday gifts. Although, we had not really talked specifically about gifts for this year, I knew that Greg wanted to give Jake a Playstation 3 so that’s what I wanted to get him. There is a HUGE God-story behind how it happened, but Jake ended up with that Playstation along with many games and controllers to go with it!! Again…..God reminds us that He cares about all things in our lives….even the small things like Playstations!! Jake also received another very special gift. The gift was very small in size, and would be meaningless to most, but to Jake, it meant the world! Although, I am not at liberty to elaborate..I just want to say a BIG thank you to those of you that made that gift happen for Jake. You know who you are!! I appreciate you going the extra mile to make a 14 year old boy so happy on Christmas morning!

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After the kids and I had our time together, my parents came over for our traditional Christmas breakfast! Later that evening, we celebrated Christmas with Greg’s family at his parent’s home. The evening was filled with more food, more presents and lots of laughter!

Now Christmas is behind us and we have said goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. I can easily say that 2013 has been the worst year of my life. I have never experienced sadness, grief, despair, and loneliness such as what I have felt this past year. And as much as you would think I would be more than happy to say goodbye to 2013, I am kind of sad to say hello to 2014. At least most of my days in 2013 were spent with Greg. None of the days in 2014 will be with him. As I look back over the past several years in my life, they have all been hard and I found myself eager to say goodbye to them. 2010 was filled with lots of spiritual warfare for our family. So to 2010, I said “Goodbye and good riddance! Bring on 2011!” 2011 was filled with physical issues…headaches for Jake, kidney stones for me, and Greg’s diagnosis of metastatic melanoma. So to 2011 I said, “Goodbye and good riddance! Bring on 2012!” 2012 brought the heartbreaking news that the melanoma had progressed in Greg’s body. So to 2012 I said, “Goodbye and good riddance! Bring on 2013!” I had no possible way of knowing that 2013 would be the year that I would say “Goodbye” to my best friend, my other half, my husband of 27 years. I had no way of knowing that 2013 would be the year that my children would have to say “Goodbye” to their Daddy.

As I’ve pondered all of this, the Lord just continues to remind me that we never know what the coming year is going to bring us. We don’t even know what the coming month, day or hour is going to bring. So, we should live each day to the fullest….enjoying the gifts, the relationships, the health, the freedoms that He has blessed us with. Instead of “resolutions” this year, I have decided to focus on these things. I am praying that He will remind me to focus on these things every day. I am praying that my children and I will be more intentional than ever about walking in God’s Presence so that we are equipped to face whatever comes our way in 2014. I am praying that as we continue to choose joy during this difficult season, that we will begin to experience more and more times where joy chooses us. That we will not have to be so deliberate about “choosing” joy, but that we will begin to once again be “surprised” by joy. And I pray that our family will indeed have a “Happy” New year!

I pray that each of you will experience God’s Presence in a real and new way this year. That you will live and love with eternity in mind. That if you don’t already know Him, that you would seek to know the God that loves you so much that He sent his only Son to die for you. And lastly, that you will truly have a Happy New Year!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carrie Roberts
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 08:35:42

    Hi Sandra – your post is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your real feelings and for inspiring me. With Love, Carrie Roberts

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  2. sandra
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 09:22:42

    Thank you Carrie. I am praying for your family often!

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  3. celeste
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 09:23:11

    I have been praying for you all over the holidays. May 2014 be a year of healing for you.

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  4. Kim
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:03:48

    So glad to hear you have family to help carry your burden & keep your spirits up, that is huge for your children, so you don’t have that weight on you too. Prayers were sent your way as we remembered all of our friends who have lost loved ones this past year. Praying this new year God will bless you richly for your faithfulness to serve Him even in hard times. All our love to your family.

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  5. Claudia
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:39:36

    Thank you Sandra for sharing your heart. I can only imagine how much you miss your beloved Greg. He was an amazing man, husband,& daddy. My prayer is that 2014 will bring healing & unexpected joy as you trudge forward each day. I’m glad you know the Great Physician,
    Messiah, King of Kings & Lord of Lords who is enough for you and you’re family.

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  6. Gina Ramsey
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:44:40

    Thank you Sandra for always caring about others, even during the hardest time of you life. You are such an inspiration to me!

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  7. Aunt Cricket
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:53:58

    Your post continue to inspire me to always look at the good and strive to be all that He wants me to be. Praying for you and your family. Love, Aunt Cricket

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  8. marykprather
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 13:29:58

    Sandra ~ It’s been great to see you at Sam’s recently 😉

    Thank you again for sharing so much of yourself here. Your grace during the worst year of your life has been a blessing to me — I’m thankful to call you friend.

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  9. Ike Copper
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 15:17:22

    I share Carrie’s words. Sandra, you are an exceptional person.

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  10. Dana Rilling
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 19:03:08

    Sandra, thank you for sharing your heart! You are an amazing person and your kids are blessed to have you as their mother! You definitely challange and inspire me to be a better person. I hope you and your children have a Blessed & Happy New Year!

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  11. kddmyers
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 08:52:42

    Sandra, it was good to spend a few minutes with you the other day. I was blessed by our brief time together, because I could truly see the joy and peace in your face… a beautiful witness of the fruit of the Holy Spirit shining through you. We are thinking of you and praying for you as we begin a new year.

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