{Heaven's hugs}

I remember lying in the grass with my girls a few years back and staring up at the sky--my mind flitting from one task to another and everywhere but focused on the moment I was in and the beauty of the clouds dancing across the sky.  Not long after we laid down the girls began giggling as they pointed from one cloud formation after another declaring what shape each one was. It didn't take long before my to-do list disappeared into the clouds and I was laughing, pointing, and discovering right along with them. 

Childhood rushes by so quickly--without a whisper of warning; without whistle to prepare us of the changes lurking just around the bend.  I find myself so often lately just pouring over old pictures, drawings, etc of the girls.  With all the chaos, stress, and busyness of this life, their laughter, hugs, kisses, trickery, and presence still seems to keep me on track through life's most precarious detours. 

I took the picture above recently, shortly after the passing of my Aunt Peggy.  She was a woman whose faith knew no boundaries; whose forgiveness was swift and endless; whose love knew no stranger; whose patience carried through the generations; whose prayers could be felt across the miles and years; and whose strength and courage was unlike any I have ever known. 

She battled and overcame cancer when doctors were unwilling to give a prognosis or shred of hope.  She lived nearly two decades longer before the side effects of her treatments took her life.  In those years as her family grew, so too grew her devotion to her family and friends.  There was nothing Aunt Peggy would not pray for or do for anyone.  There was no mistake too unforgivable; no argument too bitter to resolve; no distance too far to stop her thoughts and prayers for you.

The morning of her passing, after waking periodically throughout the night to pray for her, I dreamt of her.  I could not see her, but felt her love as she told me goodbye, reminded me that she loved me, that our move was going to be a "new life" for us and "just like Christmas", and that "heaven's hugs are inside out." I do not recall all that she spoke to me in that dream, but I awoke with a start (about a half an hour before the time that I later learned she had passed away) and I could still feel the incredible peace, warmth, and love of her inside out hug.  It is a feeling I have only ever felt once before in my life, but that was Aunt Peggy for you--always finding ways to show her love and bring others closer to God. 

No matter what you are feeling today, where you are at in your life, what you are doing right now as you read this, I hope that heaven finds a way to send an inside out hug your way so that you too will know that somewhere out there, someone is watching out for you and loving you. 


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