Thursday, December 11, 2014

Also from Sandy's Service.......The Big Why?

The Big Why?
Why did God let this happen to Sandy?  I know this is a question on a lot of hearts and minds right now, and it worries me - especially for my kids and believers.  Interestingly enough, I never heard Sandy ask this question.  To me, it’s one of the most troubling questions in human experience.  Sandy didn’t ask it because she knew better, and she knew her Bible.  She steeled herself against the assault of her cancer, and felt that she had prepared for it all of her life.  Cancer was her opportunity to minister to all of you, and she believed that it was her purpose to do so.  Sandy’s attitude was that God could save her, but if not, she would serve him anyway right up until her last breath.

Now I’m not a theologian, or even remotely qualified to address the big why question with you.  I could talk about free will, or sin in a fallen world, and you’d walk away confused and disappointed.  Let me simply say that there are things in this world that we are just not going to understand in this lifetime.  Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that having faith in God guarantees you a happy, carefree life - quite the opposite.  Trust me, I’ve looked.  Sometimes God just doesn’t make sense to us.  You just don’t get enough information to figure it all out.  Maybe that’s by design?  Who are we to demand explanations?  Who are we to lean on our own understanding?  You can’t turn loose of your faith, because the alternative is despair, and that would dishonor Sandy’s legacy and all that she stood for.

Sandy understood the biblical response to death, and that God views death very differently than we do.  It is not a disaster, but a triumph for the believer.  As hard as this is for all of us, Sandy knew she was going to be far better off in the next world, than in this one.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, she knew that death is a transition to the unfathomable joys and fellowship of eternal life.  That’s why we try and celebrate today. 

On behalf of my family, I want to thank you for being here and for all of the love, support, and kindness you have shown us.  We love you.  


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jon's Reflections On Sandy At The Celebration Service

Sandy and I met when I was 21 and she was 17.  We met in September.  I had just graduated from the University of La Verne and Sandy from Wilson High School.  I was working at William Pitt Jewelers in the Puente Hills Mall, and Sandy and her mom Judi were shopping for a ring for her 18th birthday coming up in a couple of weeks.  I had just moved into Hacienda Heights, and was getting ready to start Law School at Southwestern University in Los Angeles.  Judi likes to embellish the story and say that I jumped over the counter to get to them.  I like to tease Judi by telling her that once she found out I was a Law School Student, she was quick to put the ring on lay-a-way so that I would have Sandy’s number!  The truth is probably somewhere in the middle – I did hustle in those days as I do now, knowing I wasn’t the best salesperson, student, or athlete – but that I could outwork my peers and try to help everyone first who came into the store!  Regardless, the spark was there and Judi did put the ring on lay-a-way so that I had Sandy’s phone number.  When Judi came to pick up the ring I gave her a cheesy plastic flower to give to Sandy, and I did indeed call Sandy on her birthday to wish her a Happy Birthday and to ask her out!  On our first date, which was on September 27th – our Wedding Anniversary – we went to the movies.  After I dropped her off I drove about a half a mile, and then my crummy car broke down.  I went back to Sandy’s house, but Sandy wouldn’t come to the door because she had already taken off her make up!  Her dad Marv then helped me with the car.  Little did Marv know that it was just the first of many times he would be helping me with car and mechanical issues!  We dated for 3 years before we got engaged, and then a year later got married on September 27th, 1986.  I had flunked out of Law School by then, but managed to get my MBA.  Sandy would say she married her bad boy – I would simply say I was just a poor kid from Baldwin Park, and a little rough around the edges.  She might have been right.  While we were dating and first married, we attended Hacienda Heights Baptist Church, Sandy’s home Church.  We grew in our faith, (mine having been pretty weak) and in our marriage.  Dr. Bill Tipton and his wife Cathye were instrumental in our growth.  We ate a lot of top Raman and Ragu – for entertainment we would have friends over for pizza and a movie, or we would be playing basketball, volleyball, or softball on a HHBC team.  Sandy would never enjoy the car rides home when we lost, and was always trying to refine my language by instituting monetary fines – that didn’t go over very well, but it did help us save money.  I started with Allstate the same year we were married.  Eventually she started working with Libbey Glass in the accounting department.  We struggled in an apartment for two years, and at one point couldn’t save money fast enough to keep pace with the rising cost of buying a house in the late 80’s.  I distinctly remember opening the fridge one time and there was nothing in it but a pitcher of water.  We bought our first house in Rowland Heights that was for sale by owner – I think he felt sorry for us, and wanted his house to go to this poor young couple.  It needed so much work – you should have seen Marv’s face when we showed it to him!  Family and friends worked right alongside with us to fix the house up.  2 years later we sold it and moved to La Verne – a place I loved since college.  It was right around this time we were invited to Glenkirk by Cindy Axton who was Sandy’s boss at Libbey Glass.  Well, you more or less know the rest……….

Sandy is the most courageous and inspiring person I ever met.  I have never met anyone who lived her faith like she did.  She wasn’t a perfect person, but she was genuine.  She was tough.  Tough beyond description – there was a lot of pain that others just didn’t see.  Her attitude and her faith in the face of her cancer were incredible.  She felt that this was her God given purpose in life – to encourage and inspire others, and to share the good news about Jesus Christ with others through her cancer.  She loved her children, her family, and her friends deeply – but honestly, she loved Jesus Christ more.  I know that’s going to bother some people – sometimes it bothered me.  (Usually when I was doing the dishes or the laundry, and she was working on her Blog!)  Sandy had her priorities straight – she knew the difference between what was important and what was merely urgent.  She worked very hard at not playing “the cancer card” and keeping things as normal as possible, for as long as possible.  There is not a lot that I could have you say that others won’t be mentioning today about Sandy, and some things are just meant to be private.  I do want you to tell people not to feel sorry for my family.  We have been extremely blessed.  We have had a great marriage, and great experiences.  We have been blessed with two great children whose character and personality have been forever etched by Sandy.  If you miss Sandy, look no further than to my girls.  There you will find her.  We have had fun.  Yes, even with the cancer.  Sandy and I could always find something funny about her conditions or treatments – there was humor and laughter everywhere we looked.  We have had a great life together, yet we know that we are just passing through this one.  Better things await the believer, and as usual, Sandy is leading the way for me……...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rachel's Reflections On Sandy At The Celebration Service

This is from Rachel, a freshman at California Baptist University in Riverside.

When picking a verse to describe my Mom, the verse Proverbs 31:25 comes to mind: "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." Without my Mom's undeniable strength, I would not be who I am today. The laughter that always filled the house is something I will remember always. One verse she often shared with Michelle and I is Matthew 17:20:  "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."  I think this is true of any Christian faith, including my own. One quote I look to in these hard times is the quote "How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." With that being said, I know this is not goodbye forever. As the Carrie Underwood song says, "I will see you again, this is not where it ends, I will carry you with me, until I see you again."  I take great comfort knowing we will be reunited one day.

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.