Day 52: Feeling the Peace

February 21, 2012:  Ever since I was young, I enjoyed watching wildlife in the winter– birds at the feeders, squirrels stealing the birdseed, whitetail deer meandering through the field behind the house, tracks of wild cottontails bouncing around the backyard.  Taking a few moments to wander around the perimeter of my parents’ house in the freshly fallen snow on my last day home, I scooped up a handful of ice crystals and took a big bite.  The birds singing in the trees were louder than the traffic a mile away on the highway.  The breeze was crisp and more fresh, the stars twinkled brighter.  And the cardinal in the pine fluttered starkly against the white snow.  Grandma loved cardinals and I can’t help but think she might have sent the bird my way to thank me for coming.

When I was young, one of things which enraptured me was holding still enough with birdseed in my hand to have a chickadee land in my palm.

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Day 51: There’s No Place Like Home

February 20, 2012: Although it was difficult to watch Grandma’s struggle with leaving the earth this past weekend, it was amazing to share a depth of love with my family that I will forever treasure.  Cherish your family, mend broken relationships with them, and love without condition because you don’t know that today might be their (or your) last.

Thank you, my family, for celebrating my birthday with me a couple days late!

Day 50: Goodbye, Sweet Grandma

February 19, 2012: On Sunday afternoon with the song “There Will Be A Day” by Jeremy Camp playing on the radio, Grandma Betty opened her eyes for the last time and looked up as she heard her name being called, closed her eyes again, and breathed her last.

Grandma, I will always remember your laughter and the funny sayings that were yours alone– when you were surprised: “Goodness gracious!” “There are no words! No words!” “Can you believe it?!”  “That was the best {insert any food here} I ever had!” Then you would bite the corner of your lip, scrunch up your nose and laugh really hard.  We grandkids could tease you incessantly with frogs that you loathed, pretend that you forgot to put a $20 bill in one of our Christmas cards while everyone else got one (you were mortified! until we burst out laughing and did it again the next year), and called you by your real first name.

When I was young and we came to visit, the first thing I’d do was to search around your living room to find the new decoration you’d purchased to make your home beautiful.  I learned to take less of a first helping at dinner because we’d have to have seconds of everything– and when it came to your famous scalloped potatoes and flat bread (“Look how flat it is! It’s very flat!”) seconds and thirds were no problem. Any present you received, you’d feel it, shake it a few times, and say over and over, “What could it be? I wonder what it could be?” and we’d start yelling, “Grandma! Just open it!” And you’d start laughing and take your time slowly peeling the tape back.

I remember sitting on your “davenport” and looking through the enchanting smelling encyclopedias (that’s when I began to appreciate smelling old books, and when I come across that particular scent, I’m transported back 25 years), admiring your beautiful geraniums and pansies on the red deck of the old white farmhouse, falling asleep in the summertime upstairs in that same farmhouse with the night breeze wafting gently through screen while the crickets chirped in the field, Easter egg hunting through the yard with my cousins in early spring, the ancient hollyhocks that kept guard by the side of the house year after year,  the willow tree in the backyard, and then your new apartment that you loved and it was just perfect!  When serving coffee to me, you were horrified that I wanted to put milk in my coffee, not drink it black.  And your molasses cookies with the creamy white frosting!

Grandma you were always so full of love, laughter, wisdom, determination, tears for every occasion, and concern for your family.  Your faith brought you through this past year of trials and brought our family closer together.  Thank you for giving me life, because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.  I miss you, but I know that you’re in Heaven with Jesus and playing cards with your sisters (they don’t allow “cheating” in Heaven, so you can’t make up your own rules as you go along!), and you don’t have to worry for us anymore…  Love you Grandma Betty!

“There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face”

 

Day 49: Birthday in the Land of My Birth

February 18, 2012: A random fact about me is that I was born in Fargo, ND, but never lived there.  Today I flew into Fargo to be with my family on my birthday because my grandma is dying.  It was her birthday yesterday, so I told her when I arrived in her hospital room that since I didn’t make it for her birthday, I came to see her on mine.  Her face lit up and a big grin forced it’s way through the struggle for breath.  She grabbed my hands, pulled me closed and kissed my cheek.  What a precious two hours I had with her before she fell into a deep, restful sleep.

Another beautiful part of the day was taking a walk with my dad in the sunshine and playing in the snow!

Day 48: Gifting Self

February 17, 2012: After a winter-long search for the perfect brown boots, and the imminent trip to the Great White North, I found the perfect end-of-season sale at Freddy’s.  Happy Birthday to me.

Day 47: Life Changing

February 16, 2012: This was one of those days that life-as-I-knew-it changed.  It was one of those days that the realization of how God takes care of me hit me like a Tri-Met bus full of elephants.  There’s no photo of today, but I wanted to remember today with word images instead.

Grandma Betty is dying and I am 1,600 miles away from the frozen tundra of western Minnesota.  A dear, precious friend told me that I needed to see my grandma while she was still alive and provided the way for me to go.  I can never repay the entire experience of her generosity.

It felt like a gift too big to accept; I did nothing to deserve it.  Imagine then, that God does the same for us when he offers forgiveness of anything we’re guilty of through Jesus dying on the cross and being victorious over death.  We don’t deserve it, but it is offered to us all, because God so loves!  You have to accept it, book the ticket.  Get on the plane.

Day 46: No.

In the ever increasing quest to be healthy and get more sleep, I said “No” tonight.  And the result was relaxing on the couch with my cat.  Although we’re watching a scary movie. And I’m freaking myself out.

Day 45: Hey Nonny Nonny

Happy Valentine’s Day to me!  My roommate and I had a girl’s night with wine, sushi, chocolate, and Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
        Then sigh not so,
        But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into. Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no mo,
    Or dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
    Since summer first was leavy.
        Then sigh not so, 
        But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into. Hey, nonny, nonny.