Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Michelle's Reflections About Sandy At The Celebration Service

It was suggested to me by some wonderful ladies at Glenkirk that I Post some of the reflections and thoughts our family shared at Sandy's Celebration Service about her.  I've checked with my girls, and have their blessing to do so.  Over the next week or so as Thanksgiving approaches, I will be posting a little more regularly.

The first one is from Michelle, age 14, a freshman at Bonita:

We can all cry and we can all scream at God for why he  didn't save her. But where would we all be if she didn't have cancer? If her body was whole and cancer free, would you even be close to God or even know God? She came to the earth to serve a purpose and be a pathway to God's love. She came in with a heart full of love and courage, and gave away her body to have God use it for his plan. Not only through it all was she faithful and humble, but also loyal to God's request. Everyone says she is strong but that is an understatement. She was more. I will miss scanning the crowds for her face at games, or even the simple Survivor family nights. But I could not be more proud of my mom who impacted so many, including myself. She is home, leaving us with joy but also pain. You fought hard mom, and in my eyes you won the battle. The battle wasn't to beat cancer, it was to keep fighting in God's kingdom to show everyone who he is. You taught me strength is something you choose, and you chose it - so I will too.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Soccer and Breast Cancer Awareness!

Throughout the month of October many tributes have been made to Sandy, and I wanted to share this one from our local AYSO Region 112 that was posted on their Website recently:

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs.  October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go.

Earlier this year, AYSO Region 112 lost one of our dear moms and breast cancer fighter to this horrible disease.  Sandy Boulware was a Region 112 volunteer for her two daughters, Rachel and Michelle.  She stood alongside her husband, Jon Boulware, cheering on her daughters and their teammates.  Sandy embraced the AYSO philosophies and supported and encouraged every child who stepped on the field.  Sandy was a beacon of strength and courage as she battled breast cancer for 7 years.  She taught so many of us to fight on and have faith.  Sandy was an amazing woman, mother, and friend.  Region 112 honors the memory of Sandy Boulware and will miss her smile, her compassion, and her love.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Sandy! We love you and miss you!

Sometimes when I go for a run I really struggle.  Maybe it's the heat?  Maybe I'm coming down with something?  Maybe it's the distance?  For some reason, some days are just tough.  (And as I get older, I'm having more of those tough running days!)  On those days, somewhere along the run, I tell myself that I'm going to just run to the next street light or telephone pole and then stop.  Once I get there, I tell myself that I can make it to the next one - and for sure I'm going to stop there.  And so it goes.  Often I can trick myself that way into finishing the entire run.  Sometimes I can't.  Sandy made it to a lot of telephone poles in the 7 years.  Two important ones were the girl's Graduations this year, and our family vacation to Hawaii.  A pole she couldn't get to was her Birthday, and it's been hard on our family this weekend.   

Today would have been Sandy's 50th Birthday - it was a milestone she wanted to get to so that we could have a celebration, and another opportunity to talk with people about Jesus Christ.  God had other plans, but we had the celebration of her life anyway at her service, and almost 900 of you showed up to honor her race.  Thank you for being there, and for the prayers, love, and support you have shown my family - it's been incredible!  I can't even begin to thank everyone for the help I've received, not just in putting on her service, but in all of the little things since.  The meals have been fantastic!  It really does take a village, and this village has blown me away - time and time again!  I honestly don't know how people get through this without their faith, and without the support system I have in place with my family, friends, and Allstate family.   

Everyone wants to know how we are?  The truth is, because of all of the love, support and prayers, we really are doing pretty well.  I'm sure I'm going through some depression.  How do I know?  I find myself listening to Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond - two entertainers Sandy loved, but me not so much!  I guess I'd better up the St. John's Wort?!  I know people mean well, but I get the same text a lot.  "How r u?"  I'm tempted to text back, "D press D", but I don't.  LOL  We did have a fantastic event with the La Verne Girls Softball Association yesterday.  They organized a blood drive on Sandy's behalf for The City of Hope, and had the Bloodmobile at the field.  A special thank you to everyone who took time out of their Saturday to come out!  There is also a "Sandy Strong" Breast Cancer Banner hanging on the field, (Thank you Kris & Lori Martin - you continue to go above and beyond....) and the girls have the same logo on their jerseys this fall.  Also - a wonderful woman in our neighborhood is putting together a Bible Study based on Sandy's Blog.  (Maybe more on that the next time I post?)  I'm humbled by things like this, and I'm sure Sandy would feel the same way.  It just points to the difference she continues to make. 

I know a lot of you have wanted to get together this weekend to make sure I'm ok, and I appreciate that.  I'm sorry, but I just haven't had the energy for it - blame it on being a pint low.....CS Lewis really described it well - it's like walking around with a minor concussion.  He hit the nail on the head.  (No pun intended.)  You are functioning, just not at your best.

I did want to close with something from Sandy's service that was so good I wanted to make sure everyone saw it - or saw it again.  It was written by Sandy's step brother Jim's wife, Jolee. 

Exactly how long did we think we could keep her from Him.

When her name was called, we cried out NO!!! Not yet! We are not done with her!

We still need her love, her guidance, her physical being sitting in a chair

How long did we think she could suffer?

Once her name had been called

How graceful was her own plea, for her children’s sake.

But once He wants you back, one has to go.

How could we think we could hide her from Him with chemicals and pills?

How selfish we were when He called her name.

She is His child after all.

We were blinded by our love for her.

Addicted to the being that she had become.

Never wanting to let her go.

It was Him that made her the being that we loved.

It was her love of Him that made here shine the way she did.

That glow is what we loved the most.

She had a physical beauty it is true.

Even after the chemicals stripped her of her golden hair.

It was that love of Him that kept her beautiful through all the pain she had to endure.

How could we think we could keep her from His plan?

Her mission?

Their reunion?

In His grace and wisdom we had Seven years to prepare ourselves for her departure.

And now she has gone Home,

An Angel in Heaven watching over us,

Knowing everything and feeling no pain!


Jolee Ann Mauricio Goodridge

Happy Birthday Sandy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Celebration of a Life Well Lived

A celebration of Sandy's life will be held at Glenkirk Presbyterian Church on Sunday, July 27th at 2:00 PM.  A reception will follow.  The address is 1700 E. Palopinto Ave., Glendora, CA  91741.  (626) 914-4833.  We are requesting that everyone wear pink!  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Glenkirk Building Fund for the Children's Ministry in Sandy's name at the address above.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day For Sandy

Dear friends.  Sandy passed from this life into the presence of her Lord and Savior last night after a brave, courageous, and inspiring battle with breast cancer.  She is now in her Savior's arms!  We are devastated, but knowing Sandy's sincere personal relationship with Jesus Christ was genuine and real, we take great comfort in knowing that God's word gives us certainty that those who place their trust in the Lord will have eternal life.  We rejoice that this is not the end, but the Beginning!  She touched countless others, both known and unknown, and made a difference in this world.  Sandy lived a life of significance!  Those who knew Sandy were deeply influenced by her kindness, loyalty, love for all, servant's heart, and most importantly her unwavering dedication to and love for our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Our family would like to thank everyone for their tireless love, prayers, and support during her faithful 7 year battle.  It truly takes a village, and your unwavering help and support during difficult days will never be forgotten.  Sandy's continuing passionate desire is that all whom she loved and knew here on earth would know the same joy she found in her Savior Jesus Christ, and that all of those individuals would know that she is waiting for them with open arms, as she resides now with her Lord.

I will post "Celebration of Her Life" details when they are finalized.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Will Someone Be In Heaven Because Of You?

by Rick Warren
“The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me — to tell people the Good News about God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24 NCV)

The Bible says in Acts 20:24, “The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me — to tell people the Good News about God’s grace” (NCV).
Notice it doesn’t say the most important thing in life is to get married, fund your retirement, travel a lot, become famous, or pay off the house. It says the most important thing in life is to fulfill your mission. If Jesus died on the cross for you so that you can fulfill your mission and you don’t do it, that is a massive, eternal waste.

God put you on Earth for a purpose. He has a mission that only you can fulfill. Part of that mission is to tell other people the Good News of God’s grace. You know Christ because somebody told you about him. Now, who are you going to tell?

If somebody died for you, wouldn’t you want to know about it? Jesus died for every single person in the world. This weekend, the typical American will sit at home watching TV, with a soda or beer, maybe reading the newspaper, kicked back and relaxed — and totally unaware that Jesus Christ died for him and unaware of the grace that is available to him.

The Bible tells us in 2 Peter that the Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. God wants everybody in his family, and because God cares, we must care.
Don’t waste that opportunity!  If you can’t think of anyone, start praying that God would open up your heart to see people around you who are desperate for the Good News. They are running from fad to therapy to books, trying to find fulfillment in an affair, work, a sport, or a hobby. There’s this gaping hole in their lives that only the grace of God can fill.

The way we show our gratitude for the grace of God is by making our own lives count, by living a life of extravagant generosity, and by telling as many people as we can about the Good News.

Is anybody going to be in Heaven because of you?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Graduating Gifts

Forgive me for writing far and few between posts, it has been an insane week for all of us.  Just typing this first sentence took 10 minutes at 2:40 am.  Sitting at the computer is not as easy for me as it once was.  Very frustrating.

We has two wonderful Honor Roll Ceremonies that made us very proud.  Michelle was a straight A student her entire Jr. High experience, which earned her the Gold Presidential Award.  Her promotion was beautiful, and I was so grateful to make this first milestone in June that I have been holding on to.


My second huge milestone was to be at Rachel's High School Graduation.  Due to the generosity of the Bonita Superintendent, we had VIP Parking and a family seating area at Citrus College.  I don't know how I would have made it there without his help. 

It was a beautiful afternoon and ceremony.  The speakers were great, and we were able to see Rachel walk right by us in the procession.  Rachel leaves Bonita a very confident girl with so much ahead of her.

Rachel is headed to Cal Baptist University in Riverside, which will be a great mix of a Christian environment, and an amazing college atmosphere.  She will major in Communications.

Though I got to see these exciting events, my health has taken me on a roller coaster ride.  The week of these two graduations I had a huge set back and was unable to get up and down from chairs on my own.  My legs had become so full of fluid, there was no upper muscle to give me leverage.  It was very discouraging, especially the one week I was counting on energy and feeling half decent.  It is scary when things turn on a dime.  At first I argued with God and wondered what He was thinking.  Now, I can look back and see the many gifts that God gave me that week in quiet moments of trust, and quality time with people.
At Rachel's graduation party at our house, all I could do was sit and visit as friends grabbed chairs around me and rotated in and out.  Normally, I would be running around making sure everything was perfect, but I had no choice but to sit in peace and let others care for me.  I had some people sit and pray, hold my hand, encourage me, and laugh with me.  My amazing Cousin Debbie surprised us all by flying in and showing up to celebrate the day.  What a treat that was!!!
We have our sight set on Hawaii at the moment.  It will be hard getting there, but I can sit around the house or sit in Hawaii.  I pray that God gives me extra strength to travel and enjoy my family in such a beautiful place.  I am counting down the days. 
I know you continue to pray for me.  Sorry it is far and few between posts.  I read your messages and cry, and I am so thankful.  Pray for lethargy, strength to get around, new chemo to shrink liver, and that I can put a little more fat on my body. 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Always on Time

The writing below comes from Rick Warren and it really hit home for me this week.  I get frustrated when things are not improving, or sometimes feel like they are getting worse.  I must constantly remind myself that God is on a completely different time table that we are.  What seems late, slow, a negative answer... may not be at all.  He is just working out things behind the scenes that we don't see the results of immediately.  I hate waiting!  You hate waiting! 

I am sure this will strike a cord with all of us in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.

“Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed.” (James 1:4b MSG)
Be patient with God and with yourself. One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life.

Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.

The Bible is filled with examples of how God uses a long process to develop character, especially in leaders. He took 80 years to prepare Moses, including 40 in the wilderness. For 14,600 days Moses kept waiting and wondering, “Is it time yet?” But God kept saying, “Not yet.”

Contrary to popular book titles, there are no “Easy Steps to Maturity” or “Secrets of Instant Sainthood.” When God wants to make a giant oak, he takes a hundred years, but when he wants to make a mushroom, he does it overnight.

Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process. James advised, “Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed” (James 1:4b MSG).

Don’t get discouraged. When Habakkuk became depressed because he didn’t think God was acting quickly enough, God had this to say: “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” (Habakkuk 2:3 LB)

A delay is not a denial from God!

Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. Years ago people wore a popular button with the letters PBPGINFWMY. It stood for “Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet.” God isn’t finished with you, either, so keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering!

--Rick Warren


Monday, May 19, 2014

An Update

There have been a few fun and personal events in my life this past week (or more).  My Girl Scout Troop (9 years) were awarded their Silver Award in a very special ceremony Tuesday, May 13.  I was able to talk about their achievement in front of an auditorium of parents and Girl Scout dignitaries.  In order to walk up the six stairs and talk in front of 500 people, I had to have my lung drained of 1,100 ml so I could breathe.  Crazy, but got it done!

My second big event was Saturday night when the Girl Scout Troop had a wonderful family dinner at the home of our friends, the Hollars.  It was a beautiful night, and God was very gracious in giving me the strength to speak in front of parents and grandparents about the honor it has been for me to be the Leader of their girls since kindergarten.  This night was the official end of the Girl Scout Troop for me.  I talked for awhile about the fun we had, and we all laughed and cried together.  At the end of my little talk, I was able to empower the girls to go forward with faith.  I hope that when they think of me, they will always think of a woman of faith, and I want them to grow their own faith by trusting God at all times and turning to Him in all circumstances. 

On the health front, things have been a little frustrating.  I have started having sporadic headaches starting two weeks ago in my left temple.  The last time I had headaches like this was on my right side and I had to have radiation.  On Mother's Day evening I had a migraine, and two days later I had another migraine, and last week I was waking up with a headache.  This has been concerning, to say the least, and we are looking into a brain MRI to see what this means for the future.  Two of the severe headaches seem to set off some sharp tingling in my mouth that felt like shingles, which was really upsetting.  I am told it is just nerve related pain from what is happening in left temple.

I am also frustrated with enlargement of liver, which makes me look very bloated and sometimes pushes on other organs and causes discomfort.  Also, I had a really bad charley horse in my right leg and I am hobbling around like a peg-leg pirate. 

Meanwhile, I just want to get to Hawaii in a month and be with my family.  It is my greatest prayer and hope to make it through graduation week (June 1-7) and leave for Hawaii on June 20th.  I don't know why these things keep coming up, but I pray every day that God would just stabilize me and let me be able to travel.  Sometimes it is really hard to see God's work in things when they are not going the way you think they should.  Trust...Obey...Faith...Hope...I'm still there and leaning on the everlasting arms.

So, you know how to pray for me.  I am starting a chemo that I was on well over a year ago.  The biopsy came back and said it was the best one for me.  Let's hope it has minimum side effects and does some major shrinking of tumors in the next month.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Is It Wrong To Be Angry With God?

One of my daughters broke down and bitterly cried, "I am so mad at God!  Why would He take my mother when there are really lousy moms out there and I need mine so bad?" 

We cried together, and I told her it was O.K to be mad at God.  We have the perfect Father who understands our hearts, and knows our pain.  The key for me was that she not carry that anger her entire life, but at some point reconcile her feelings and discover God's great love for her, and that He never does anything to intentionally hurt us.  I reminded her that in my situation, there is more going on behind the scenes than we know, and at some point you have to surrender your life to God and trust that in the big picture there is a purpose.  He will take care of her, and so many others, if she stays open to His word and stands on faith.  Bottom line, a painful conversation for me, and not one that is easily answered that will satisfy her young heart. 

Being angry at God is something that many people, both believers and unbelievers, have wrestled with throughout time. When something tragic happens in our lives, we ask God the question, “Why?” because it is our natural response. What we are really asking Him, though, is not so much “Why, God?” as “Why me, God?” This response indicates two flaws in our thinking. First, as believers we operate under the impression that life should be easy, and that God should prevent tragedy from happening to us. When He does not, we get angry with Him. Second, when we do not understand the extent of God’s sovereignty, we lose confidence in His ability to control circumstances, other people, and the way they affect us. Then we get angry with God because He seems to have lost control of the universe and especially control of our lives. When we lose faith in God’s sovereignty, it is because our frail human flesh is grappling with our own frustration and our lack of control over events. When good things happen, we all too often attribute it to our own achievements and success. When bad things happen, however, we are quick to blame God, and we get angry with Him for not preventing it, which indicates the first flaw in our thinking—that we deserve to be immune to unpleasant circumstances.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31

Tragedies bring home the awful truth that we are not in charge. Everything that happens is either caused by or allowed by God. We can complain, get angry, and blame God for what is happening. Yet if we will trust Him and yield our bitterness and pain to Him, acknowledging the prideful sin of trying to force our own will over His, He can and will grant us His peace and strength to get us through any difficult situation

 Our understanding of the sovereignty of God in all circumstances must be accompanied by our understanding of His other attributes: love, mercy, kindness, goodness, righteousness, justice, and holiness. When we see our difficulties through the truth of God’s Word (which tells us that our loving and holy God works all things together for our good, and that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us which cannot be thwarted) we begin to see our problems in a different light. Just because we come to Christ for salvation from sin does not mean we are guaranteed a life free from problems. In fact, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” but that He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33), enabling us to have peace within, in spite of the storms that rage around us.

One thing is certain: inappropriate anger is sin. Ungodly anger is self-defeating, gives the devil a foothold in our lives, and can destroy our joy and peace if we hang on to it. Holding on to our anger will allow bitterness and resentment to spring up in our hearts. We must confess it to the Lord, and then in His forgiveness, we can release those feelings to Him. We must go before the Lord in prayer often in our grief, anger, and pain. The Bible tells us that David went before the throne of grace on behalf of his sick baby, fasting, weeping, and praying for him to survive. When the baby passed away, David got up and worshipped the Lord and then told his servants that he knew where his baby was and that he would someday be with him in God’s presence. David cried out to God during the baby’s illness, and afterward he bowed before Him in worship. That is a wonderful testimony. God knows our hearts, and it is pointless to try to hide how we really feel, so talking to Him about it is one of the best ways to handle our grief. If we do so humbly, pouring out our hearts to Him, He will work through us, and in the process, will make us more like Him.

The bottom line is can we trust God with everything, our very lives and the lives of our loved ones? Of course we can! Our God is compassionate, full of grace and love, and as disciples of Christ we can trust Him with all things. When tragedies happen to us, we know God can use them to bring us closer to Him and to strengthen our faith, bringing us to maturity and completeness.  Is it wrong to be angry at God.  Yes.  Anger at God is a result of an inability or unwillingness to trust God even when we do not understand what He is doing. Anger at God is essentially telling God that He has done something wrong, which He never does. Does God understand when we are angry, frustrated, or disappointed with Him? Yes, He knows our hearts and He knows how difficult and painful life in this world can be. Does that make it right to be angry with God? Absolutely not. Instead of being angry with God, we should pour out our hearts to God in prayer and then trust that He is in control and that His plan is perfect