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 MyShelf.com 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 www.kidscandoit.com 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 www.kidscandoit.com.  Just the name of her website shows that she had all the faith in the world for our future generation!

Deirdre

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Deirdre! I am going to post the link on my dedication which doesn't include most of the information you provide. Thank you.

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  2. Beautiful Deirdre! As you state, Sandra was a wonderful person. May she rest in peace.

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  3. Lovely, Deirdre, even if it brought forth the tears rolling down my face again. Like you, I felt the wind knocked out of me when I heard of her horrible double death with her husband. I grieve for her as a dear friend and like the sister I never had. She touched a place in all our hearts in a unigue way--her way. I cannot even bring myself to write of her--to her-- as I am mute with sorrow.

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  4. Hi my dear friend,
    You have said what we all feel in our hearts. I too was added to this wonderful group of sisters in June or July and there are some things about Sandra that I will never forget. Her love and concern was exemplary, and even though I knew her only a short time, I loved her.
    Thank you for expressing the love that all of us have, and more than that, thank you for reminding us of the blessed hope that we all have. We will see Sandra again. What a joy that will be, because it will mean that we have crossed over to be with the LORD.
    Love you, Deirdre.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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  5. My interaction with Sandy was always friendly and meaningful. As you have written so eloquently, she was helpful, supportive, and considerate of all our writing endeavors, and that certainly boosted our hopes and our hearts. Once she even mentioned that she loved my hat in my profile pix -- need I say more. Deirdre, I am so pleased with what you have written, that I once again, feel I am priviledged to call you a friend. Bless Sandy, Brian and her family.

    Peter Healy, author of "Vengeance Is Sacred."

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