Friday, August 22, 2014

You Take It As It Comes

Nearly every morning when I wake up, I look out the back window to see what the day will bring. Will it be sunny and warm or gloomy and rainy? It's easy to let the view I see out my window affect my mood all day, especially when this is what I see on my day off. I like to plan outdoor adventures when I'm not working and rainy days and outdoor adventures don't mix well.

The view out my window last week was much more to my liking. My husband took a day off and we went to the beach after work the day before my day off. As I woke up before the sunrise, this was the view out my window.

What makes a perfect day? Does seeing the best sunrise of the year at the beach make the day any more perfect than seeing a gloomy sky and rain? My Mom always said, "You take it as it comes."

Most of us are guilty at times of letting the cloudy days in life affect the way we feel. When you take it as it comes, you appreciate where you are right now in life, whether it's a sunny day spent at the beach or a rainy day spent at home.

Kids have a natural joy for life that is beautiful to watch. Kids laugh, run and play no matter what the weather brings. Whether they are at the beach playing in the waves or in the middle of a downpour, kids understand that you take it as it comes.

As adults, we often lose that sense of wonder and joy. Sometimes we have to see how difficult life is for someone else to truly appreciate what we have. Take it as it comes.

You take it as it comes when you find beauty in the small and insignificant things in life. A butterfly on a flower is a beautiful sight to see if you take the time to enjoy the view.

A view of the mountains from an overlook on a hazy day is a beautiful sight when you appreciate the view you have instead of wishing for a different view. Just take it as it comes.

The sky at sunset is a beautiful view if you appreciate where you are right now in life instead of wishing you were somewhere else. Just take it as it comes.

Find the beauty in life, whether you're walking beside a bed of flowers or sitting in your favorite chair. When you take it as it comes, you look for the little things that make life beautiful.

The wonder of a new baby is a feeling you can't save until later. You have to take it as it comes and feel the joy and wonder of the moment.

Mom went with us on a couple of beach trips about 20 years ago. Although she wasn't a beach kind of person, Mom was delighted to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at the Outer Banks. Mom was so proud of herself for walking up all 268 stairs to the top of the lighthouse. When you take it as it comes, you don't need someone else to tell you that you did a good job. You don't look to others for validation.

The recipe for happiness in life is to take it as it comes. Find joy in the simple and seemingly insignificant moments in life. Sitting on the front porch watching life go by was one of Mom's favorite joys in her later years. Her world shrank more and more each year, but she didn't complain about what she couldn't do anymore. She let the words, "You take it as it comes" be her motto for life.

Mom and Dad aren't here on earth anymore, but they are with me every day from the rising of the sun until the setting of the sun. The lessons they taught all of us and the love they shared with us mean that we're never alone. They are always watching over us as we go through life.

As I wake up each morning and look out the window to see what the day will bring, I can almost hear Mom's voice in the whisper of the wind saying, "You take it as it comes."

Blogging Grandma Sandy, signing out for now.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pennies from Heaven and Other Signs from Beyond

Do you believe in pennies from Heaven? Although I'd heard of people receiving messages from beyond the grave, I hadn't experienced it myself until my Mom died. On the day Mom died, I found this penny on the ground when I walked out of the nursing home at the end of the day.

This poem called "Angel's Pennies" tells what pennies found on the ground mean to many people. When an angel misses you they toss a penny down, or so the story goes. Perhaps my Angel mom sent that penny on the ground for me to see, to turn my sadness into joy.

Even before her death, it was easy to see that Mom could feel God's pull from above, calling her to her eternal home. After Mom's death, this crucifix, statue of Mary and pair of candles, one slightly longer than the other, drew me into a corner of the church basement where Mom spent so many hours of her life. Looking back, the candles seem symbolic of my parents' lives, with Dad's life just slightly longer than Mom's.

Do those who are dying see images we can't see? When they look out the window at the sunrise, do they see God beckoning them home? When they look beyond their loved ones' faces, do they see the face of God smiling upon them? Some people who have returned from the grasp of death say it's true.

Two days before Dad's death, the sun shining through the early morning clouds seemed like a message from beyond, calling Dad to come home. Did God send these rays to brighten the gloomy morning and my gloomy spirit? Did Mom ask for those rays of sunshine to bring peace to my soul?

On the morning after Dad's death, when I went to the cemetery to tell Mom what she already knew, the sun shone brighter than ever. Although Mom's with God, her spirit calls to me from her final resting place. 

As I walked among the newest of the graves, this ribbon beside a bouquet of flowers had a message that called out to me. Let go and let God, we may say the words but our actions don't always match the words.

At the cemetery on the evening of Dad's burial, the rays of the setting sun brought warmth to my spirit and hope for the promise of eternal life.

The early morning skies on the morning after Dad's burial were a palette of colors. Were they mixed by God's loving hands to bring comfort to me and all who were mourning?

The purple skies at dusk the next evening were the color Mom loved so much, reminding me that her love is with me always and her spirit lives inside of me.

On my way back to work after lunch one day, about a month after Mom's death, I found another penny, this one on the ground beside my car. 

Butterflies are another sign from Heaven, or so some people believe. As the caterpillar sheds its cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly, we shed our earthly bodies when we are called home to Heaven.

A month after Dad's death, this butterfly called to me, wings flapping atop these beautiful lavender flowers Mom would have loved.

On the same day, I watched this mother deer leed her fawns to safety, watching over them and teaching them the lessons they will need when they are grown.

Early in August, just before the two month anniversary of Mom's death, I saw butterflies everywhere. This butterfly flew away and returned numerous times as I watched.

Driving through the mountains, I watched this hawk flying overhead. Even after I parked and got out of the car, the hawk's circling flight above continued.

Two months after Mom's death, another penny appeared. Like the second penny I found, it was face up instead of face down on the ground.

Pennies and butterflies, are they signs from above, sent from Mom and Dad to show me their love? On one walk, a butterfly like this one lit on my shoulder for just a moment before flying away.
This poem I found about butterflies reminds me that my parents' spirits will be with me always, forever in my heart. Although I feel their presence every day, each time I see a butterfly, they seem especially near.

This poem by Jill Haley is used at butterfly release ceremonies. Forever in my heart, that's where my parents will always be, right there beside me as I go through each day.

Mom never loved roses. She felt that their beauty was too fleeting and they would soon die. But roses in Heaven must live forever, just as we all will some day. Dear God, place a bouquet of roses in my Mommy's arms. Add some petunias and snapdragons, flowers she loves. I remember her always and feel her love each day. I feel Daddy's love too, present day and night, even in my dreams.

God called to them and they followed Him home. They look down on me and watch as I go through each day. I know that they're safely home now, waiting for that day when we're all together again. As Mom always said, "One day we'll all be together." 

What a party we'll have when that day comes! But until then, I'll take what I can get when I can get it and do the best I can to live the legacy Mom and Dad gave us all. I'll face each day with a smile on my face, a prayer on my lips and a song in my heart.

To paraphrase a favorite story of mine, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living - and beyond - your daughter I'll be." Blogging Grandma Sandy, signing off for now.