Monday, December 22, 2014

AM~Erica Stood Crying in Costco's Parking Lot

So anyway...

Have you ever just gotten yourself into a situation that you just stood full-on teary-eyed while in awe of a situation while standing a parking lot? I have. As recently as yesterday.
(I say "recently" because I'm 94.783% sure I've stood crying in a parking lot before.)

Let me back up to a few days ago. Trust me, you need the backstory...

It was a Thursday morning, and the first actual snowfall of the season. The kiddos only had a couple days left of school before the holiday break, and the school district decided to close for the day. We were having a lazy morning at home while trying to work on some more Christmas finalization in continued prep. The lights on all of our trees were twinkling, and we were watching the news.

Hubby was getting coffee & doing some stuff in the kitchen with Lil Guy, and I sat at the dining room table signing Christmas cards for the church staff while watching the snow fall thru the window of the back door as it collected on the deck, the patio furniture and the grills. It was a beautiful Christmasy-type morning!

With our trees up, we moved our recently purchased furniture back to how we originally had our living room set up, which meant the TV could be seen from the dining room table again. As I sat there taking in the view of the snowfall & signing Christmas cards, something on the television caught my attention!

One of the morning news anchors, Mark Alford, was holding up what appeared to be a card with this image & scripture on it:

After seeing this, I just sat at the dining room table & began to sob. I couldn't believe it! A cardinal in the snow with this particular Psalm on it? I really believed it could only mean one thing.

If you remember, we LOST MY GRANDMOTHER in July. I've been talking about her a lot lately. I miss her greatly. We would have celebrated her birthday earlier this month, so HERE'S WHAT WE DID to celebrate this year.

It's also the time of year when cardinals are seen everywhere. They are beautiful in their contrast to snowy backdrops & evergreen trees. My grandmother loved her birds...especially cardinals. Boy, did she love her red birds! This year has been difficult seeing cardinals adorning all kinds of products of sorts around every corner. I knew I would need to brace myself this year, but it still doesn't make it easier.

My grandma also loved the Lord, our God. She always had her bible & at least one devotional close by her chair. It's how she would spend her mornings. And she prayed a lot. She always made sure we knew that she prayed for her family fervently. She was one of only a couple of people I know who actually was the family-oriented person they claimed to be. And she worried about us often. She just wanted us taken care of & safe, always.

Before I came across the above image that morning, I had a great feeling of anxiety take me over. I get those when I feel like something bad may have happened or might happen. With all of MY OWN ISSUES, I don't get the anxiety like that too often. But that day seemed to be overwhelming. I never remember having intense anxiety that seemed so out of the blue like that before. But I went on with my day...

So...I'm sitting at the dining room table, anxiety-ridden & sobbing. Of all things to come across our large television screen, it was a cardinal with a reassurance that her soul has been restored. She is very much OK in Gloryland. I believe that.

When my hubby was trying to figure out why I was overcome with emotion while signing a few Christmas cards, I backed up the story (thanks to modern technology) to show him what came into my view. When the close up of the card, I paused the TV and snapped a pic (the one above). My hubby was as shocked as I was. What a moment!

The close up of Mark holding the artwork was a preemptive tease for a segment coming up for Rhapsody Imaging. It's a husband & wife business that turns his photography of birds & some florals into her creative & beautiful pieces of art. The piece of artwork in the tease was actually a self-standing concave metal piece. And there were so many other things, and so many of the pieces had scriptures on it...
Whew! That was a hard segment to watch! But beautiful. My grandma used to get a subscription to "Birds & Blooms" magazine, so what a glorious moment as I felt like my grandmother had come for a brief moment.

Shorty after that, the weather came on. They love to show viewers photos of weather events when they happen...and someone had sent them a beautiful pic of a snow-covered tree by a snow-covered wooden fence. The fence had a birdhouse on the post, and then, if you looked closely, the tree was beautifully dotted by red spots of cardinals.


I decided to post the photo I took on Facebook to let folks know my grandmother had stopped by. I had tagged Mark in it, since it was him holding the artwork in my pic. He commented back letting me know touched he was that they could be a part of our lives in that moment. And he also talked up Rhapsody Imaging more as he tagged Pam (the artwork creator) in the comment.

After I'd pulled myself together, and since there was no school, we decided to give another go at trying to get the kiddos to see Santa (the first time was a fiasco on its own). As we stood in line at Bass Pro (like nearly everyone else anymore), I looked down at my phone to see there was a comment on a photo of mine from a name I didn't recognize...
I decided to check Facebook from my phone to see what that was about...
As I read the comment in confusion, and after reading it at least 2 more times, I realized the comment was from Pam at Rhapsody Imaging. It took a moment to sink in that she wanted me to message her my address so she could send me the very piece of artwork I took the picture of! She was so moved by the moment I had, she wanted me to have the concave metal image...

So...there I was crying while in line to see Santa. My older two were freaking out & wanting to know if everything was OK! My hubby wondered why I was crying AGAIN...and I showed him the comment. He was stunned, too. And then we had to explain to the kiddos why mommy is crying in the Bass Pro Santa line...


After I got home, I messaged Pam back in my overwhelmed state. As we had a few back-and-forth messages, we decided to save her some shipping cost, we could meet up since she's located in a neighboring town! This was awesome for me since I could tell her face-to-face what a blessing she was.

We decided to meet at the local Costco. (See where this is going?) Once we figured each other out...we embraced in a hug as our greeting! We stood there in the gray, drizzly weather talking about our losses & our blessings.

And I stood there, crying, in Costco's parking lot.

While I stood there crying with Pam, I told her I'd come to a realization that I saw the cardinal image with the Psalm on the first snowy morning of the season; it would have been a morning my grandmother would have been extra worried about us. However, she could not call us this year to check on she found other ways to make sure we knew she was looking out for us. I also fully believe I had been channeling her anxiety for us that day.

I brought home the beautiful artwork & decided to place it appropriately by the tree we put up in my grandmother's memory:

The beautiful artwork now displayed in our home.

The memory tree with grandma's costumed goose & the beautiful Rhapsody Imaging artwork.

The cardinal I got to put on the tree a couple of weeks ago.

I have a plan for displaying our new concave metal art after Christmas...but this is a fitting display for now.

I'm so emotional, yet happy, about that moment with my grandma on Thursday morning. I'm also so thankful that our favorite morning news team & Rhapsody Imaging were a part of it.

What an amazing & blessed Christmas miracle we got to witness.

I miss my grandma. This Christmas will be different. But it doesn't mean she's not with us. She still wants us to know she's watching out for us.

Even if it means leading to sobbing in the Bass Pro & parking lot of Costco.


*grabs a tissue*

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

** PS - check out the glorious work by Rhapsody Imaging HERE!

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