Sell it!

As many of you know, I have been very convicted on how I am (or am not) supposed to raise money for this mission journey I am taking to South Africa.

I felt like I should not actively solicit funds for this trip.  An opportunity arose recently to host a Gold Party.  If you've ever seen those corny commercials on TV about bringing in or selling your gold and were skeptical, well, then this is for you.

A year or so ago, I found myself in the same place but a friend of mine had a party and in a show of support for her and to check it out myself, I went.  If you knew me as a teenager, you will recall, I wore rings on every finger and sometimes more than one.  So, I loaded up all those rings that I haven't worn since I got engaged (a girl has her priorities!) and took them to this party.

And I walked out with $350 cash.  C-A-S-H!  I'm not joking.  It was stuff I would never have worn again!  So, to help those of you like me and to earn just a little money for this trip, I have decided to have a gold party soon.  Because of the nature of this party, I'm not putting out the details on this public blog, but if you think you might be interested in coming, shoot me an email at sandras_junk@charter.net (or my work email address if you have it) and I'll get you the details.

I will admit, I have invited about 50 folks already by email and have gotten very low response for a variety of reasons.  There is a possibility that I will not have enough folks in attendance to make it worth having, so if you are interested OR if I've sent you an email invite and you haven't RSVP'd, please let me know ASAP.

And finally, I've had several people ask me if they can just donate directly to the trip and the answer is of course.  If this is something you feel led to do, you can do it online at https://public.serviceu.com/payment/default.asp?OrgID=8568&PaymentID=3047 and just select the S. Africa September (VBS) trip and enter my name in the field for the recipient name.  You can also make a check payable to Brentwood Baptist Church and put my name and "South Africa mission journey" in the memo line and send it to myself or the church.

More to come......


A year ago...

I've often used the phrase, "My how time flies!" or "Where does the time go?"  Today is no exception.  A year ago today, my Daddy joined my mother and Mary in heaven.  I remember the day like it was yesterday, mostly because that's what it feels like.

How can you go from celebrating your child's entrance into this world 9 years ago yesterday to mourning the exit of one you love today?

I've had several comments and posts about how we are doing with the recent loss of my brother, Danny.  All I can say is that we are coping.  Each of us in different ways.  But we continue to mourn the loss of what was and what was not.

But in this, I take hope...

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”-Revelation 21:4 (NLT)



I've been bad at blogging lately, but summer is kicking my butt.  I am all off my schedule and still struggling to find my groove.

I did some thinking this morning on the drive in.  With Jenna at home during the summer, the drive in can be quite boring.  I think this morning was the first time I really had time to myself to process what happened last week with the loss of my brother.

I find myself vascillating back and forth between being terrified to die and leaving my family prematurely and feeling drawn towards heaven.  I'm not suicidal, so don't misunderstand.  But just the thought of being with family that I love and have lost and not having so much pain is definitely a desire.

I admit, I am good at faking it.  On the outside, I can smile and say I'm fine and thank everyone for their words of sympathy and support.  And occasionally I'm good enough to actually make myself forget for short moments at a time.  But inside, I'm wondering why. 

Wondering what God is wanting me to learn through these last few years. 

Wondering when it will stop. 

Wondering when things will go back to normal for me. 

Wondering if I can even remember what normal is.

Outside I might look "fine".  I say the right words and smile in the right places, but inside...I'm hurting.  I don't like to hurt, but it lets me know that I'm still alive.  As long as I can feel pain, there is life in me.  In the song by Natalie Grant, "Held", she talks about Christians not being exempt from pain in this world.  I'm not the exception.  But I know that God is walking me through all of this.  While I don't understand why, there is a reason.  And at some level, I have no choice but to trust Him.

It's funny, but I find God speaks to me so much through music.  I so missed my calling to be a performer because I do love music.  Today I heard the song "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant.  Now, I'll admit, since she went mainstream, I've not been a huge Amy Grant fan (and it had NOTHING to do with her going mainstream...just thought her music changed too much).  But the words to this song just touched me.  Because I have satellite radio, I was able to listen to it several times.  The words spoke to me.  And maybe they speak to you too.

God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves the drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

Better than a church bell ringing, Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.


Another Loss

Yesterday we found out that my brother, Danny, passed away in his sleep. 

Danny and my brother David are the sons of my mother and her first husband, Carl, who was killed in an explosion when my brothers were very young.  When my mother passed away in 1992, Danny basically disappeared from all of our lives.  I guess ultimately, he just didn't know how to handle the loss of his only remaining parent.

For years, I've wondered where he was and what he was doing and whether he was even alive.  He missed my graduation from college, my marriage to Steve and the birth of Jenna Grace. 

Back last September, he found me on Facebook.  He reconnected with me and the rest of my family and while he was living in Indiana, we spoke periodically and he came down after Christmas to see us and meet Jenna.

We received a call yesterday that he had passed away in his sleep probably several days ago.  He was not in great health but he was only 53.  I'm saddened to have lost this brother who I had just reconnected with, but I know he is in a better place.

My remaining brother is devastated.  Please pray for us during this time of loss.