The Lord gives good gifts.  I’ve had many lately.  My parents’ 50th Anniversary last Saturday was amazing…celebrating with family and friends. Family Camp and the opportunity to really just share my heart with the women of MN at The Garden Coffee, hosted yearly by my dear friend and mentor, Carol Lund. But last night I received a gift from God that is rivaled by few other opportunities.  I had an amazing, very real life dream.  Some of you reading this will think I’m crazy, but I truly believe God gave me a gift last night.  I dreamt of my dear friend Jeanne.  For those of you who didn’t know this amazing woman, she was one of the dearest friends I have ever had.  I have had few people in my life that have given to me as much as this incredible woman. When we lived in Hermantown for 10 years she faithfully watched out kids and “loved them like her own”.  She and Ken would watch the youth calendar and put on their family calendar when camps and conventions were so that she’d remind herself to set those days aside to have the Peterson Kids (For years it was just “Reiderson”…Ken’s affectionate name for Reid).

Not long after we moved away from Duluth Jeanne was diagnosed with cancer.  I felt so helpless.  I finally had a way I could pay her back for all she had done for me, and I was 3+ hours away.  But I remember some very dear times God gave us during that time also. I remember going back to see her and just laying on her bed all afternoon with her…into the evening.  She got sick a few times that day (as she was in a round of treatment) but she let me stay.  She told me I was really one of the only ones she would feel that comfortable with, outside of her husband and best friend, Ken, of course.  She gave me a huge gift that day…just being together.  I also remember going back and having a bonfire with her and Ken, the kids and Chuck and our kids.  I remember that night want so amazing and relaxing, even though on that night she also got sick and had to leave the fire for a while. Another time I dropped everything and headed to Duluth when she and Ken had an overnight appointment in the cities and didn’t have anyone to watch her 7 kids. Wow, what a night!  I remember it was a Wednesday night so I took all of the kids to Hermantown Community Church for the evening programs. What an adventure just trying to get them there and in the right places and then BACK in the van and home and to bed.  My many church friends from Hermantown laughed and laughed that night at me trying to round up those kids.  I had always been the one have Jeanne and other friends helping me with my kids when I was in ministry there…so to see me in that role was hilarious for all of us!  I would finally get about 5 or 6 of them rounded up and then one would be missing.  I could have never done it without Amanda, their oldest daughter!

I also remember going to the hospital in Duluth at the end and spending those last couple of days with her, Ken, and other close friends and family.  What a treasure.  She was in so much misery, yet was still trying to talk a little.  She even joked with us a few times. So Jeanne! I remember we were all talking and getting kind of loud and then realized we better tone it down.  Jeanne had just been laying there and we didn’t know how much she was taking in.  After we settled down and got more “respectable” she tried to say something. We couldn’t make it out.  Finally I got right down by her head and said “What is it Jeanne?”  Finally I realized what she was saying…..”Jokes….more….jokes….”  THAT was Jeanne.  She was literally taking some of her final breaths, but she wanted to have fun.  So, we honored her request and started telling great “Jeanne” stories.  It wasn’t hard since she had brought so much joy and love to all of our lives.  That night, to this day, is one of the sweetest, dearest times of my life. A few short hours later she was gone.  Tears are streaming down my face even now as I recall this. What a friend, what a woman, what a treasure.

So last night I dreamt of Jeanne.  Some may find it bizarre, but I look at is as a gift God gave me.  I went to some women’s conference/retreat.  I know it was the current day because Mary Nimmo and a few other Winona gals were with me (I don’t know who…but I know they were ladies from Winona. I just  for sure remember Mary being there.)  I saw Jeanne and I couldn’t believe it!  She was there, alive and well!  It was like nothing had ever happened!  There she was, in her jeans and crew neck sweatshirt with about a 1/2 inch of roots growing out of her last home hair dye job (Oh, I loved that about her!  Being with family and being a mom was WAY more important than keeping her hair up.  Maybe that’s why I only get my hair done about 3 times a year.  Those grown out roots always remind me of Jeanne).  It was such an amazing time!  I went into our sleeping area and she had been assigned to that room also.  I found a top bunk by her, where our heads would be together so we could talk all night (though is was kind of interesting talking to her since she didn’t know she had passed on.)  She didn’t know life HAD actually gone on…even though NONE of us though it would or could without her amazing presence in our life.  She was so happy.  As always we just picked up where we left off.  It was so amazing.  I hugged her and didn’t want to let her go cuz somehow I guess I knew it couldn’t be real (though it felt SO real!). Finally I went to go find the very confused Winona gals, who were wondering why I had kind of ditched them.  I explained to them (as well as one can explain these things) that my friend I had talked of so often, Jeanne, was THERE….ALIVE and WELL and HEALTHY!  I HAD to spend every minute with her I could!  They somehow understood perfectly (as only could happen in a dream) and told me to go spend time with her.  I was walking back to be with her and I woke up.  Then I did what we all try to do when we wake up from a dream we don’t’ want to end….I tried and tried to get back to sleep and have the dream continue.  But I couldn’t.  I laid in bed form 4:45-5:25 AM crying happy tears…and missing her so so so much.  It’s 8 AM now.  After that I got up, had an amazing devotional time, went to my office and couldn’t concentrate so I went in the sanctuary at The Edge and spent time with God.  I love the way I can come in this place and be SO CLOSE to God! It is immediate when I put the music on…I feel like I am in heaven.  Poor Levi has to come up and tell me to turn the music down as He and Mike live downstairs, and though he was up for the day Mike was probably TRYING to sleep through my too loud music playing. (Jeanne would love that…the crazy Youth Director having to come tell the much older College Pastor to tone it down a bit.)

So, today I decided I needed to write about it in my “weekly” blog…that I write about every 2 months. This may only be for me, but I had to record it.

I am reminded to live my life in such a way that I put my God, husband and family first in all I do.  Jeanne was always doing that. She is still and inspiration to me even years after she is gone.  Jeanne, I miss you so much, and can’t wait to see you in heaven someday!  I know everything is perfect in heaven, but I kind hope you and I still have a bout 1/2 inch of roots growing out…for old time sake.  I love you my friend.