Saturday, April 5, 2014

Recalling Hugs

      My brother and I had a chat today: after reading my blog about rain and tears, he gently reminded me of something I said several years ago. Sister-in-law Janelle and I were walking around the Village of Winona during a short visit. The day was gray and rainy. I had 'apologized' for the weather and she, ever a beam of God's light had said,

"Oh Lynne. I LOVE this weather. THIS is Oregon weather. It reminds me of home."

     And I promised to remember her words whenever such a day occurred. Promise forgotten. Now      remembered.
     So, as I have been sorting here, I came across one of Janelle's unique hand-made card..treasures to all of us who have them...that she sent in December 2009. Blog followers may recall: Ken and Janelle's life took a turn in 2011 when doctor found a brain tumor. Janelle left for heaven in 2012. Mike would follow the next year.
     For most of our marriage, Mike and I had observed Thanksgiving nearby as he always worked on the Friday after the feast. But this year, as he was retired and I was on leave, we invited ourselves to a long-standing party in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Precious people
     Brother Ken was famous for putting on the feed. He began with a spread sheet and gathered supplies; he began the day with Starbucks and then at 6:30, he commenced. Celebrants were many and their job was to stay out of his way, wash their hands and sit down at 1 PM. We had heard stories from others. This year, we decided to join in.
     By this time on that year, we had decided that we needed to get on with living, even as the specter of dying hovered over. I had informed my school that I would return for the next semester, even as we figured I would not finish it...I mean they gave Mike a year. We were 7 months into that year.  Mike had faced a crisis of faith; God had lead him through it. He had codified the lessons of putting important things first...he had spoken on tape twice and in person once.
     We had chosen to live until we couldn't. Although we had not idea how long that plan would take us, we felt the comfort that comes when you know you are in God's will.
     With the legion of prayer warriors doing battle, God had opened our eyes to so many blessings, some big and some small. By this time, we had already named these HUGS. And together, we felt God's arms around us.
     And, the party was every bit as grand as we had heard. We met their neighbors, The Smithsons, who became great friends over the next few years, when we re-invited ourselves. Ken and Janelle were not only happy that we came: they saw and recorded God's special blessing on us and them.
Dear Lynne and Mike –

OK – I promise that this will be the last time we gush over how meaningful it was to have you spend Thanksgiving with us.

We just thought you might like to know a few of the ways we noticed that God was ‘hugging’ you (Michael especially) throughout the weekend.

1)  OJ and Sprite…we rarely have either in the house. I did buy OJ because we were having company and Ken uses  the Sprite for his gelatin cranberry salad, but he usually gets a small bottle or can. If he’d done that this year there would’ve been none left for you.

2) Chunky applesauce…Ken has never bought chunky applesauce before. In fact, he usually just grabs the smooth, doesn’t look around and leaves. This time he actually read labels and thought, “Hmm. Chunky. That’s different.”  Different isn’t normal for him.

3) Ham…we’ve never had ham for Thanksgiving, no matter how many people we were expecting for dinner. Always turkey. Always. Never even thought of ham. Never even considered that someone might not like turkey. Now we know. Some people don’t.  In my mind, this was a huge hug from God to you, Mike.

There were probably more, but those are the ones that come to mind now. They might seem like little things, coincidences, to some..but not to me. They were big. Really big. God giving you the desires of your heart because you’ve delighted in Him. Incredible blessings. Love from our God who never stops giving.

With all our love and prayers for a Christmas filled with delightful surprises.

Ken and Janelle   09

I saved this card for many reasons but one is to remember how God hugged us all. You are more likely to remember all that He has done when you write it down.


  1. More than anything Lynne, I am really looking forward to fellowship with you when you visit in June. The fellowship's the thing. xo

  2. Thanks for sharing this Lynne! XXOO Little sis

  3. Good Morning Sister.....Thanks for sharing this. Certainly I shed a few tears however a wonderful reminder of what a special lady she was. I am looking forward to our Roadtrip in June...:-)