Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Sandy, Til We Meet...

Dear Reader,

I have a friend that has gone off to be with our Savior.  She didn't go alone, she took her dear husband with her, they who prayed and worshipped together and gave God the glory He deserved.  What an amazing thing, to be able to take the hand of the one you love the most on this earth and together to meet the One you love above all! 

My friend, Sandy McLeod Humphrey and her husband Brian died in a house fire the night after Thanksgiving.  I can imagine the dinner on Thursday, Sandy, Brian, and their children and grandchildren saying grace and thanking God for all the bounty He gave them.  I can imagine jovial conversation and hugs and warmth everywhere in the house.  Then the next day it was back to doing what they did best, Sandy helping me and 30+ other writers post blurbs to Twitter to promote our books.  Of course Sandy didn't just Twitter our blurbs, she Facebooked them and put them on Goodreads, LinkedIn, and everywhere else they may help.  She pinned, and posted and did so happily.  She blessed us tremendously in that.  She genuinely wanted to see each of us succeed.  And she always did it in a spirit of love.  Brian was busy helping neighbors that day, something he freely did.  He was active in the Intercongregational Communities Association (ICA) Food Shelf, and helped spearhead a food collection drive to donate 2,000 pounds of food earlier this year.

Sandy had this thing for kids.  She had been a clinical psychologist with over 35 years experience working with young people before she retired. She was a writer and consultant for the Heroes & Dreams Foundation which provides character education materials to schools K-8 throughout the United States and Canada and the recipient of the National Character Education Center's Award for "Exemplary Leadership in Ethics Education" (2000). She was also "Author of the Month" for 12/03 and the recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature (7/05). 

In her weekly blog, at she highlighted children who did extraordinary things.  She would tell the story of a child who was making a difference in the world in some of the most adverse situations, and she would usually include a video with it.  She wrote seven books for children, usually in the 'tween' age group.  I have two of them, They Stood Alone, 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference, and I am currently reading Dare to Dream! 25 Extraordinary Lives.  I read a couple of the 5-page stories before I go to sleep, when I only have a few minutes.  I just love these books!  I learned so much about people like Albert Einstein, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, and Jackie Robinson.  The stories are so inspirational. They start out by telling the reader what the person was like as a child, and then as an adult.  The way she wrote them became a testament to how anyone could overcome adversity and live out their dreams. 

I never met Sandy in person, but I call her friend because she was everything a friend is supposed to be--loving, kind, and helpful; and she never judged nor belittled anyone.  When I woke up to read that she had passed a few days ago, the breath was sucked out of me as if by a vacuum, and the tears began to flow.  I felt shock, grief, and sorrow.  My friend was gone.  Earlier that same day that she died, she emailed me about a guest post I might be interested in.  She was always thinking about the rest of us struggling authors.  I couldn't control my tears, and that surprised me.  I hadn't realized until that moment just how much our Sandy meant to me.  I had only known her since June, yet I was able to end emails truthfully with, "I love you so much!"  She always sent hugs and love back. 

Our little group of about five spent so much time on LinkedIn helping each other and chatting that we decided it would be best if we started a little group and emailed each other so we wouldn't clog the system.  We are a tight-knit group, all writers, and all sharing intimate details of our needs for prayer.  Our dreams, our health, our children, our lives, all these things we shared.  We prayed fervently for each other, and we shared the faith of God with each other, knowing that He was listening and answering and bringing miracles to us all the time.  We started to add another author here and there, and finally we grew to about 12 close friends that would do anything to help the other.  We trusted each other immediately, and never worried that anyone else would run off with our idea or that they weren't who we thought they were.

God had placed a little band of merry women together for a season.  Now one of our dear confidants has gone to a much better place.  Sandy and Brian are with Jesus.  What could possibly be better than that, to have lived exemplary lives together blessing others and honoring the Lord and then to have Him welcome you into the Kingdom of Heaven and call you 'good and faithful servant'?  We will see Sandy in all her beauty one day.  I imagine she will be surrounded by children, smiling and laughing, with Brian at her side.

Thank You, Father, for the people you have placed in my life, even if for only a 'season', they all matter in one way or another.  You have intertwined our very lives for a purpose.  I thank you for Sandy and the joy she brought to my life and the lives of her family, neighbors, friends, church, and to children she never met who maybe decided to give it one more try and conquer the difficulties life placed in their way. 

Please comfort and bless her children and their children who now grieve.  Reassure them that she is very happy and will meet them that side of the rainbow!  Help them to remember that their Mom and Dad closed their eyes to this world and opened them up to look into the eyes of their Creator, Jesus Christ Himself!!  What a reward for a life well done!

Thank you, dear Reader, for coming on this little journey with me and allowing me to tell you about Sandy.  You can see the work she has done by going to  Just the name of her website shows that she had all the faith in the world for our future generation!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks to God for His Blessings in My Life

"Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."  Psalm 107:1-2

Today, on this Thanksgiving Day, I thank my dear Savior, Jesus Christ for dying for me so that I could live.  I thank my Father God that salvation is only a prayer away.  I thank my best friend, the Holy Spirit who constantly feeds me words of encouragement and wisdom.

I thank God for forgiveness and mercy, for bestowing them on me and showing me how to do the same.  I thank God for for my husband, the love of my life after Jesus alone, of whom  I have been so blessed, a man of godly wisdom and integrity who loves me unconditionally and without boundaries.  I thank You Lord for him.  Please bless him with boldness and strength and protect him from the enemy's fiery darts.  Thank You that he is healthy and that his feet are planted like roots in your word getting fed by the river of living water.

For my daughter, my darling child, my dear friend.  I am so grateful for all she has taught me, and that we both grew to new levels together, mother and child, hand-in-hand.  Thank You, Father, for her infectious humor and her honesty.  Please bless her with all that You know she needs to be a godly woman and nurturing mother.  Thank You for replacing all her pain with gain and her struggles with joy.

Thank You Lord, for my granddaughter, who will be born in just about 10 weeks.  Thank You that You already have Your hand on her life, and that You took so much love and care in forming her in her mother's womb.  Thank You that she is the apple of Your eye, just like the rest of us.  Thank You that she is already changing lives.

And I thank You, Father, for me!  I have grown so much, and I haven't even begun.  I thank You for the gifts You have given me, and the talents You have blessed me with.

For all of my friends, family, associates, my Pastors and their families, and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ the world over, please bless us all with godly wisdom, that our eyes and ears are open to the cries of those less fortunate around us.  Allow us to better ourselves, to become humble so that we may serve them.  Thank You for our eyes, to see Your majesty in even the smallest things.  Thank You for our ears, that we can hear Your voice in the cry of a baby or the beauty of a melody.  Thank You that we can listen with our hearts and hear Your still, small voice letting us know You're there.

Thank You Lord that our backs are strong enough to lift the weight of our burdens so we can place them at Your throne and that our feet keep carrying us through this beautiful life You've so graciously given us.  Please place before us those that we can help, and let it be with peace and joy in our hearts that we go to sleep each night.  May we be a blessing to You, Lord.

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  Colossians 3:17

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

God I Need You...NOW!!!

Dear Reader,

How many times in our lives do we call on God?  How many in a day?  We should make it a habit to call on Him as often as we possibly can.  If only just to say, "I love You!"  He is always there, always ready to take our hand and walk us through adversity after adversity.  Call on Him.  Let Him know that you need Him.  Let Him comfort you in your pain... in your sorrow.... in your confusion.... in your weariness.  Let Him know you need Him.  He is right there for you.

I need Him desperately right now.  He is there.  He is here.  He is a part of me.  He is why I am alive.  I love my Lord!  I trust my Jesus.  I want my God!!

May God bless you and take care of all your needs, as I know He does mine, even if not in my own time.  Just call out to Him, "God I Need You NOW!"  See if He won't be there! 

When I heard this song, I threw my arms up and cried, because I know He is all I need in all my darkest and trying hours.  I never want to forget that He is called my Savior for a reason!  He saves me again and again...

"Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble."  Psalm 69:17 NIV

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

After the Storm, What's Left? God Is!

Sandy, the Super Storm, did her damage and left.  Many people are exclaiming, "The Jersey shore is gone, completely gone!"  I have seen the pictures, and it breaks my heart.  All the debris, all the homes with no walls to hold them up.  Sand-covered streets everywhere.  I heard that the sand cannot just be bulldozed back to the shore; it has to be sifted first.  What a monumental task is ahead for the people who live on the Jersey shore.

In Staten Island it doesn't seem to stop.  The stories are heart wrenching, and the lights are still off over a week later.  There were more killed on this little island than anywhere else in the area hit. 

In Northern New Jersey the trees have sheared houses in half, and brought towns to their knees.  The cost of the damage is astronomical. 

In Brooklyn, the aftermath of fires and floods leave behind broken dreams; and only memories of what used to be are left behind.  Lower Manhattan flooded, the tunnels, literally under water. 

People who were relying on generators to give them some heat, or to run a small stove to feed the children a canned meal have to wait in line for hours for gasoline.  It's like the 1970s again; odd and even days determine who gets gas. 

There is all this devastation.  There is so much loss.  And you know what, dear Reader?  I haven't heard anything about other nations coming to our aid.  It seems they never do.  We, as a country lend quickly to other nations when they are devastated with earthquakes, tsunamis, or other disasters.  The United States sends the help, the laborers, and the money immediately.  Meanwhile, as she sits in ruins, no one calls asking if they can help. 

So the help comes from within this country.  Not from the United Nations which is housed in New York City or from any of the countries represented by it, but from other towns and other cities and other states in this God-blessed land! 

The mayor of Belmar, NJ declared that they will be up and running by Memorial Day!  Here is a town that has damage on almost every street, yet the hope of the residents is to bring it back to life and show the world that they are survivors.  There are thousands of people without power but grateful to still have a roof over their heads. 

Then a week later a nor'easter came through the same areas of New York and New Jersey.  Five inches of snow straddle the remaining branches still covered with leaves, it being so early in the season.  In Connecticut, eight inches of snow fell.  The winds blew at 60 mph, scattering the piles of debris, the belongings of families that were destroyed by water, making it even worse somehow to look at all this and believe that a new day would be coming and with it any hope of renewal or restoration.  In total, so far the death toll from Sandy alone is at least 85.

I’m sure there are many out there wondering where God was through all this.  Some even explaining how this is proof that there is no God, because a loving God wouldn’t do this to His children, would He? 

I shake my head when the God haters and atheists come out in droves at times like this and spew their own miserable kind of stench out for the media to pick up; and it amazes me how they always comment on the stories about the circumstances, whether a tornado, blizzard, earthquake, hurricane, or whatever it may be.  “So where WAS your God?”

I know that our God was there.  I know that He kept His mighty hand of protection on millions of people during that storm; otherwise there would have been many more dead.  We live in a time where society has taken everything good, called it bad, and taken evil and called it good.  We live in a society that fully believes in child sacrifice, votes for the one who promises it the loudest, and then demands that a monument be erected in the area where a delivery truck full of fish turned over.  We should remember and memorialize the dead fish!  Mind you, they were already dead, but let’s sacrifice the children without batting an eye.

Our God is an awesome God, and He is fully aware of every single thing that happens in this universe.  Nothing goes on without Him knowing about it, He created everything down to the last detail, and loves His work.  He made each one of us in His own image.

Why didn’t He stop this storm?  As I said in my last post, I believe that if the people of this country got on their knees and prayed and asked God’s forgiveness for their indignant and immoral behavior and asked Him to keep the storm from hitting that He would have.  With all my heart I believe that.  The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).  God hears our prayers.  He also hears when we curse Him and throw Him out of our schools, and court houses, and in some cases, I think our churches.  He is a gracious God, and will do as asked, even if it breaks His heart.

If you want to see Him back in times of disaster, perhaps it’s time to ask Him back.  We as a country need to put our own greedy desires aside and seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and then, as promised, all those things will be added unto us.  I personally want God to be so big in my life that I can’t ignore Him.  I believe His promises are true, and I believe He is faithful and loving and kind.  I believe that I matter to Him more than anything else He created.  We are His children and He loves us. 

So please, dear Reader, I know the world seems dim right now, and the land is dark and totally messed up, and perhaps what was once your home and your livelihood may be gone, and if you have lost what you believe is everything that mattered, please know that you haven’t lost the love of God.  And you won’t.  No matter what.  He is there, and He is waiting for you to call on Him.  Ask Him back into your heart, and believe that He still works miracles and wonders and that He can take all your pain away.  Sometimes the only way to see the obvious is to remove all the other things. 

My heart goes out to all those who lost their jobs, their homes, their belongings, and some, their family members.  I continue to pray for you and ask God to comfort and guide you and give your weary bodies rest.  We need to believe that with God all things are possible, and that we can do all things through Christ Jesus which strengthens us.  We ARE overcomers.  We ARE more than conquerors.  We are children of the Most High God, and we are victorious!  God bless you, and the United States of America.  May she come back to the country she once was; God-fearing and proud of her Christian roots!

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?  What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.  People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.  Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  Don’t worry about missing out.  You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  Matt 6:31-34 MSG