Our Family and Our Journey

With Curt - 1 (1)

My sweet husband Curt was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Oct 1st 2010 at the age of 46. He has no family history of Alzheimer’s, so this came as such a surprise!  But in hindsight there were many signs of this horrid disease as far back as 2006, but back then we certainly we not thinking Alzheimer’s!  At the time of his diagnosis our kids were 13 and 15…a tough age for such a tough diagnosis.  But somehow we survived the middle school and high school years amidst such hardships and chaos. 

So come along with us on this journey, you can read the good the bad and the ugly of it all and see the hand of God moving in our lives.    

Our lives have forever been changed.  But we are thankful for such caring friends and family and a faithful God who continues to direct our steps on this unplanned journey our family is on!

If you want to read more about Curt when he was first diagnosed check out my archives section between the dates of Oct-Dec. of 2010.

He was officially diagnosed Oct. 1st 2010.

A little about our family……..

I am a wife of 30 years to dear hubby, he was an awesome worship drummer and a beloved public high school teacher before Alzheimer’s struck.  I am mom to a 24 year old son, who currently works as a Youth Pastor at our church, he is a sports guy and played college baseball.  I am also mom to a hilarious 22  year old daughter, who played lacrosse  in college and is our creative spirit with a fun sense of humor and is currently living the dream by living for 6 weeks in Hawaii!!

I am  a follower of Jesus, a public school special ed. teacher, and a weary lady.  The journey has not been easy the last 9 years, but we have seen God’s hand in such a personal way that we move forward walking in His grace and strength.

Thanks for sharing our journey with us.


Here is the link to one of my first post about how we knew Curt had Alzheimer’s at age 46!!!

How did I know?

A current picture of the kids and I….we continue to press on, and I am one proud mom!

1 (3)Maine - 4



  1. Very impressive.

    How did you get the “Good Morning Dad” coment to appear? Is the site set to recognize a visitor’s address, or did you just add the comment because I said I’d be here this morning?

    This is neat. I’ll put it in our tool tray so we can get here with one click.

    I tried to submit this reply without an email address but the site operator wouldn’t let me. Any idea why or what they do with the email addresses?

  2. Hi Sandy, I already sent a note on regular e-mail, not is this will go through. I enjoyed it all what a clever idea. Thanks for sending it. Love, AUNT c.

  3. How did we raise such a clever daughter? I Love your ‘blog’ Sammie Sue! You are lovin life!….even tho’ it is SO busy. Do you ever have some “me time?”
    You may have to “schedule” time for you alone. Save time this summer for our lunch. It got lost in the shuffle last summer. Have a good nite, my busy girl!
    Love, and more love,

  4. Just stopped by for the first time. I love the blog! Dark chocolate is way up there on my list of things I like. We have three little kids here so life is busy much like yours. Hope to read more!

  5. My first time here, but your blog title intrigued me – I, too, love Jesus & dark chocolate! Also have 2 boys (13 & 12) and I’ve been married almost 21 years. Looking forward to checking your place out some more!

    Dianne 😀

  6. I found you b/c of the Dog Days contest. I’ve only just read a few of your posts but it looks like you’re a PA girl. I grew up in PA from the age of 10 and my parents are presently living in Carlisle. Oh, and dark chocolate is also a passion of mine!

  7. I’m visiting again because I’m leading worship at a women’s retreat called, “Chocolate Boutique: where women taste and see that the Lord is good.” The theme compares God’s grace and love with the extravagance of chocolate. I thought about your site “Jesus and Dark Chocolate,” and thought I’d pop over and say Hi! I may link to you in my post, too, because I LOVE your heart!

  8. Dear Sandy,

    Hello, this is Lydia over at: http://www.thepangburns.blogspot.com.

    I wanted to personally thank you for participating in my very first ‘Bloggy Giveaway’! Please feel free to visit my website at http://www.marykay.com/lpangburn at any time. If you have a moment please fill out the customer information. I would love to be able to fulfill your every Mary Kay Skin Care & Cosmetic need! 🙂

    Check out my blog dedicated completely to Mary Kay and fashion at: http://www.marykaybylydia.blogspot.com.

    Thank you once again for your time!
    God bless!!

  9. I’m very excited to find your blog and read more about you. The title caught my eye immediately and I loved your explanation of how you chose it! But I think the reason you’ll be one of my favorite blogs to read is the phrase “laundry hater”. It made me laugh out loud! Looking forward to reading more.

  10. Sandy-Your blog is great and how I wish I had known some of your creative ideas when my kids were young! May the Lord bless you in all that you do to serve Him and that includes doing your laundry and eating chocolate! God is good!

  11. Greetings from Boston, MA!

    First things first, I love your blog!!

    Secondly, my husband and I have just cooked up a new musical project called, “Butterflyfish” — it’s an indie folk/bluegrass band dedicated to making Christian music for (sm)all ages on themes so characteristic of old American music.

    Check out our debut album, “Ladybug”: http://www.butterflyfishband.com It’s already been called, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” for kids!

    Anyway, we’d be honored if you’d let us know what you think of the project, if it might be something you’re interested in reviewing on your blog, if you’d like us to send you a CD, and/or if you have any advice on how to get the word out…

    Thanks so much!


  12. Hi Sandy, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the past few weeks! I’m an editor at Family Circle and we just started a social networking site for moms of tweens and teens, Momster.com. Would love you to check it out. E-mail me if you want to find out more.

  13. Dear Name,

    My name is Anthony DeStefano and I‘ve written a couple of bestselling non-fiction books—A Travel Guide to Heaven, and Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To—both published by Doubleday.

    I’m writing to you because my first children’s book is coming out February 16th!

    It’s called This Little Prayer of Mine and it’s a very simple rhyming book which introduces children to prayer. It’s illustrated by Mark Elliott (who did the popular Princess Tales series), and it’s been endorsed by a wide range of people, from Bernice King, the daughter of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., to the folks at the National Day of Prayer.

    I don’t know a whole lot about children’s book promotion, but I figured the blogging world was a good place to start! I heard about your blog from some mommy-friends of mine, so I decided to send you a quick email.

    I was wondering if you would take a look at the book to see if it’s something that your readers might be interested in.

    Here’s a link to a page that will give you more information about This Little Prayer of Mine. Thanks for taking a peek!



    Anthony DeStefano

  14. Hi there,
    I wanted to introduce you to Centricity Music, you can check out some our artists at http://www.centricitymusic.com. If you are interested in receiving info on our upcoming releases before they come out to review, let me know! Enjoy our artists, there are some on there who your Jr. high sunday school students might like.


  15. Sandy,
    My name is Rachel, and I’ve read your blog and really love your topics and the way you express yourself. Thank you for being so open about your devotion to God, and for reaching out to help and build up others with your inspiring words. I’ve recently created a website called FlutterGram.com. It’s a fun new way to build up those around you while also feeling more uplifted in your own life. At FlutterGram.com, you can send anonymous compliments to deserving individuals, brightening their day and creating joy in the world. I have personally experienced the joy of sending and receiving FlutterGrams, and I know what a difference it has a made in my life. There’s nothing like waking up and finding an extremely kind and personal note in your inbox from “anonymous.” You can’t help but pass the kindness along.
    Compliments are always nice to receive, even if you do know who the sender is. But I’ve found that when sending a compliment, being anonymous allows you to compliment selflessly, honestly sending uplifting words to another. I decided to go the anonymous route, because oftentimes it’s more fun to be left wondering who could have sent you such an awesome note. And then, with that good feeling, it’s easier to pass it on to the rest of the world.
    I would be very grateful if you would take the time to write a review of my site on your blog, and share with your readership the joy of noticing and complimenting others. I know FlutterGrams have the potential to positively impact many lives.

    Thank you!

  16. Hi Sandy,
    I’m sorry to hear about your husband. My 43 year old Husband was diagnosed on January 4th with early onset stage 4 Alzheimer’s and he was taken out of work the same day. He won’t be going back. We have four Children 18, 17, 15 and 14 in 12th 11th, 10th and 8th grade. My sister-in-love introduced me to your blog and I’ve been reading for the past few weeks. It helped so much that I started my own praying it helps others like yours has helped me.

    It brings me hope that I’m not alone. You are not alone. It does seem that everywhere we turn the information is for older people. It would be nice to be able to talk or e-mail with you since we are in the same boat. Feel free to email me or visit my blog http://alzsallrightwithgod.blogspot.com/. My comments are monitored so your personal information wouldn’t be published it would only come to me. I know this is hard but I’m finding hope in Christ’s love. May He bless you and your family.


  17. My dear daughter -in-law,
    What a SPECIAL gal you are !! It does my heart good to see your faith in action. What a prize you were when Curt found you. We have loved you from the beginning. You have poured yourself into your family and IT SHOWS. I think the dark chocolate of God`s love is melting , and spreading all over the place through your gifted web site. His Grace is in action. You have a way with words that touch people. We are so greatful that your ski trip was safe and filled with memories BTW, I have read The Shack.–makes you think on a different plane.
    Now I can keep posted with your web site. We CARE and pray for YOU SANDY,the care giver to Curt.
    Love Mom

  18. Hi Gods Girl,

    I’m so glad you had a fun filled vacation. I know how good it feels to forget if for just a moment.

    I’m sorry to hear about Curt. David was taken off the Axona on Thursday. The Dr told us it wasn’t going to work and I didn’t see an improvement anyway. We have been sent to the University of Miami Hospital for a second opinion. We pray we get more answers.

    I think it’s a hoot you picked up The Shack. Three of us started it this week. It’s an amazing read.

    You are in our prayers.

  19. Sammy Sue! I wrote you an email at your old email address, but I don’t think it went through! Did you get pictures? Please email me. Then, someone used your email to send unpleasant spam! Ick! Thought you would want to know.

  20. I adore your fave five. I can see how hard you are trying to keep your head up. It is an encouragement to me that through this darkness you can see light. Keep your head up God’s Girl!

  21. I found your blog today and enjoyed reading about your life. Sorry to hear about your husband and EOAD. I have several friends dealing with EOAD. I would like to recommend a very good website for spouses dealing with all kinds of dementia. thealzheimerspouse.com. My husband had parkenism with dementia. I am bookmarking your blog.

  22. Hi! I’m a 30 year old mom in Nashville, and I came across your blog because of the pictures of your kids forts in the woods. I am working on publishing a children’s non-fiction book about forts, featuring pictures of creative kids’ forts across the country. I love the pictures that you have posted… your kids are great fort builders!… and I was wondering if you would be interested in being a part of my book. Please email me back and I can give you details.
    Thanks 🙂

  23. Sandy,
    Not sure if you remember me from a Bible study from LEFC, several years ago. I have been a faithful reader of your blog and a faithful prayer for your family. Just wanted to tell you that just after I read your “I don’t know” “I do know” blog…..i got word that my brother-in-law has passed away suddenly. I went to Illinois for 2 weeka to be with my sister. Several days after I arrived I felt so helpless in encourafinf her,,,,and then I thought about you and your blog. So I plageurized and wrote “I don’t know” “I do know” just for her in her mourning, She shared it with her family and it did so much to enlighten and encourage them. Sad to say they are not Christians but I did “sneak” a bit of spirituality under the “I do know” category.
    i DO know the patience the Lord is requiring of you, as I work in a nursing home and spend time with Alzheimer residents. It is almost the ultimate of patience and compassion for a spouse. The Lord has blessed you in that Curt strives to have a positive and pleasant attitude……I pray that you have an abundance of Grace for your precious family!!! Your blog is an encouragement to me because as my husband ages his “motto” is “I don’t know.” After 50 years I find myself needing a new set of patience and so often think of your determination. Thank you and God bless you with HIS abundant mercy!!! Blessings…Judith Scalyer

  24. Sandy, dear,
    This is your Mom’s friend, Lois, from the Gaithersburg days, and though I haven’t seen you in YEARS Nancy has kept me updated from time to time. Occasionally we speak on the phone (not so much now that there is e-mail) and we pick up on the original “bonding” immediately. I just read your blog and saw the pictures of your beautiful family. I must say you have your Mother’s charm and gift with words! I have a favorite memory of you when you were a very little girl: You were visiting our house in Gaith. when son John was a baby. Looking at him and his baby’s bubbly mouth, you said you “missed Brian’s bubbles”! Now you have had your own babys’ bubbles, and they look great all grown up. The years fly by and you are so right to cherish every moment, especially now. I am so moved by your photos and your words. I heard once a long time ago that the definition of courage is “fear that has said it’s prayers”. So keep on praying and I will try to remember to pray with you once in a while. Peace, Love, Courage. Lois Skehan

  25. Hi –

    My name is Alix Rosenberg and I work in Digital Marketing at Universal Music Group.

    I will occasionally send out offers to bloggers of our newly released albums to use as product giveaways and for review and would love to include you on that list. If you’d like to be contacted in the future, please send me your email address at Alix.Rosenberg@umusic.com.



  26. My husband is 62 and was diagnosed in May with Alzheimers. We have two teenagers, 13 and 15. Your recent post mirrors my conversations with people. Thank you for articulating what has rolled around in my brain unsaid.

  27. I found your blog today and enjoyed reading about your family and your life as a mom. I’m sorry to hear about your husbands EOA, that must be a huge challenge for you all and test your faith at times. It looks like you have some great friends here who are encouraging and supportive of you and Jesus and Dark Chocolate. Your blessed to have such affirming friends in your corner.


  28. A friend of mine from church told me about dark chocolate and I thought I’d share my story how god healed me when I was born.
    I was born with something called VATER SYNDROME you see I was supposed to be twins but it didn’t quite work out that way instead its taken more then 50 operations to stitch me back to gather.
    So here I am the oldest alive with this gift? Yes I say gift for jesus has made me into a writer and poet
    Im 34 now and about as healthy as I can expect. Just never forget gods love for you and your family
    Ill pray for you. Heres one of my first poems I hade published ENJOY. Nathan

    When time has come and life is
    Done gone from here ill be,
    A new born star in heavens yard
    Shining down on thee, high above
    The meadow where lovers stroll-n-
    Arm, looking up in wonder deep
    Into my scar.
    Remember all the rhymes i
    Bled every word for you i
    Wrote, put flowers on my
    Grave each spring and dust
    Away the snow. . . . . . . .

  29. Sandy,
    Amazing site. Similar story here. My wife was diagnosed with early onset Alz. She too, was a teacher. .collegiate professor. . Son is a senior in college and also Mr. Sports guy. We have been in this situation now for about 6-7 years. .My wife is 55. I am 57. Your story is inspirational. Glad I stumbled on to it. . I continue to work (education as well).
    Blessings on you and family,

  30. Sandy, This is an amazing site. I went to school with Curt and stumbled upon your website. My heart breaks for Curt and your family. Curt was always so nice in school, one of those people who I wish I had gotten to know better. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I agree with previous postings you are an inspiration, we take so much for granted.
    Best wishes to your family, tell Curt I said hello.
    Stephani Hays Catlin

  31. I just found you on twitter and must say my heart skipped a beat. My mother was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s in her early 50’s. I was her full-time Caregiver for 9 1/2 yrs. in my home. I KNOW the journey you are on, and KNOW where you are heading. I want you to know I am here if you ever need to talk, or vent. I wrote a book that’s just been released about my 13 year storm, and would love for you to read it. You can check it out at my website: http://www.tonya-ferguson.com. If you would be interested please email me at tonya@tonya-ferguson.com. You can find me on twitter @Tonya_Ferguson. God is our STRENGTH. I stood on Philippians 4:13 every single day. You and your precious family will be in my prayers. Please know I am here for you…

    Philippians 4:13,
    Tonya Ferguson

  32. Dear Sandy – I found your site by accident – no accidents. I was searching for an image of a pioneer woman – and found the beautiful one you posted date mark October. And then I read your update re your husband, and the journey you are now on. My heart goes out to you. God bless you both and your family on this path that will have its ups and downs, wonderful times and aches. My mother was in her eighties when dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s visited her. We had a very special next seven years. I wish you courage and love – like that pioneer woman image. Where did you find it? So captures the strength of those women – which we all need today. If you ever want to be in touch, Pattye@mac.com will reach me. God will guide you in everything.


  33. Dear Sandy, Thank you for your heartfelt blog..I found it last month and check frequently for updates…there is a lot of familiarity as I read your story…it so mimics mine and I find great comfort in knowing that I am not the only one feeling the way I do. My husband of almost 14 years was diagnosed last summer with early onset dementia. This has been confirmed to be Alzheimer’s disease just recently. I too looking back over the past 4-5 years (possibly even as far back as 10 years) saw many things in Bill’s words,behavior and actions that now make sense in lieu of his diagnosis. Bill was a gifted judge here in our state of N.C….his greatest gift was that he could read beyond what was being said and always used common sense while interpreting the law. The 2 areas in court that he was passionate about were children and young people and abused women. We are the proud parents of a son and a daughter that Jesus blessed us with via adoption, ages 12 and 7 and both of whom struggle with neurological,learning and behavioral issues of their own. Bill is 59 and I am 46….the Lord gifted me with the human love of my life and Sandy I always pictured growing old with him. I know the Lord does not make mistakes and He has proven Himself faithful through the years in so many ways but there are those days I look at my precious husband and children and wonder what God was thinking! I do remind myself that His ways are NOT our ways and that if I keep my eyes fixed on Christ He will glorify Himself and bless us as well. This is not an easy life…we live in a fallen world but we do have Hope of better to come! Thank you again Sandy and may Christ’s peace and strength rest heavy upon you as you walk through the journey He has allowed into your life. May we be women that exude the Hope and Love of Jesus to the watching world as we move through our day to day loving our families!

    1 Thess. 5:18

    Because of Jesus,
    Cyndi Leavell

  34. Sandy- thank you for your wonderful blog. My best friend & husband was diagnosed at 52. He also kept his sense of humor through this disease, which is so important. Bob was such a strong believer in Christ. Now he is in a nursing home in the end stage. I find great joy reading his copy of My Utmost for His Highest and seeing the pages that Bob underlined or put an ! May GOD bless you and your family through this challenging period in your lives.

  35. Hi! I’m a manager for Godly Girls For God, a website for Christian teenage girls. We are celebrating our 10th year as a ministry, and sometimes I search “godly girls” on Google to try to make connections with other like minded ladies – that’s how I found your site!

    I actually saw the post about hating shopping and kept reading – I’m not one to get a lot out of shopping, either! (In fact I often feel a little frustrated and maybe even sad if I have to go to the mall lol!)

    I don’t know if you’re interested in knowing more about our ministry – if so, read on! Our site is http://www.godlygirlsforgod.com

    Last year we released a book, “Write for Him: The Story of GGFG” (http://www.amazon.com/Write-For-Him-Story-Ggfg/dp/1300504730)

    This book, like our site, is the story of how God brought together an online community of girls, bound together by a hobby of writing. The 25 young ladies featured in this book represent 10 different countries and many different backgrounds.

    They put their trust in God to overcome addictions, put away distorted views of God, learn how to cope with losing a parent, deal with bullies, face their fears about the future, and trade the messages of this world for the Truth.

    When they wrote these devotionals, fictional stories, testimonies, poems, and quizzes, they ranged in age from 11 to 24.

    We have a links page for those interested in networking with us – let me know if you’d like to promote your site in this way!

    Thank you for your time!

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