Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Light and My Grandpa

During our 5 weeks in Ukraine, I felt God's presence more than any other time in my life. He showed himself to us in so many different ways.  I miss feeling that presence. I know the reason I felt His presence more during this time than any other time in my life is because I sought it out. I prayed almost non stop during our entire time there. Now I'm lucky if I can squeeze in a prayer here and there between the happily busy days life has brought to us.  During our time in Ukraine, I invited God into every second of my day because I knew I could not get through even one day without Him. It was easier to be close to God during the time in Ukraine because all daily distractions, along with comforts, were stripped from us. We had lots of time to "detox" from our busy day-to-day routine of life in comfortable America. We had many times of quiet unease (at first), which turned into quiet peace and a chance to experience God's arms wrapped tightly around us, even during the times when things seemed to be falling apart.

One way we experienced God's love was through the presence of my Grandfather. My Grandfather passed away on March 14, 2008. My Grandfather and I had a very special relationship and his passing was very difficult for me. The night he passed away, before I got the news, I had just fallen asleep and had a dream that my Grandfather was rising up to heaven but stopped on his way up to tell me how much he loved me. I woke from the dream, to a phone call from my Dad telling me my Grandpa had just passed away.  I wasn't surprised that my Grandpa stopped to say goodbye on his way to heaven. For the next year, I would feel my Grandpa's presence at the weirdest times. Sometimes I would dream about him, and wake up thinking I had really just talked to him and hugged him because it felt so real. Other times I would smell his distinct smell. One time I experienced this at a baseball game, out of the blue.  He loved baseball. When we committed to adopt Zoya I was sad with the thought of realizing that my Grandpa would never meet her. He would love her (he DOES love her). Before we traveled to meet Zoya, I mentioned to my Grandma how I was sad that Grandpa would never meet Zoya. My Grandma said, "Oh Sarah, don't you know he probably set this whole thing up." And that was all I needed to hear to remember that he was going to be with us through the journey.

We met Zoya on March 17, 2010. My Grandpa was buried on March 17, 2008. In THIS POST FROM "METCHA DAY" I talk about how it was a very gloomy day, but when Zoya was handed to me, the sun came pouring through the windows. I know it was no coincidence that this was the day we met her, and I know my Grandpa was there in the sunshine that poured through that window.
There were times in Ukraine that I felt my Grandpa's presence without a doubt. I smelled his scent often through the wind while walking to the orphanage, during times I hadn't even been thinking about him. It was like all of the sudden, he was there. My Grandpa was a huge NY Yankees fan. Every day during our walk from our apartment to the orphanage, we passed over this curb (remember this is in the middle of Ukraine, where the language spoken is Russian and the alphabet is Cyrillic, which looks nothing like our letters):
The NY Yankees symbol in the middle of Ukraine. Coincidence? I don't think so.

We captured many pictures that show a huge contrast between dark and light. We found light in the darkest places during our time in Ukraine both literally and figuratively. God made his presence known to us and one way he did that was sending reminders of my Grandpa. I still wish with all my heart that my Grandpa could be here in the flesh because I think their meeting would be so sweet. I think he would call her "pugsy" because that's what he called me when I was little because I was so chubby just like Zoya. Their meeting would make my heart melt. I guess we have that to look forward to one day when we all meet in heaven. Here are some pictures that represent the light we found during our darkest times in Ukraine.

I love how in these 3 pictures the light forms a cross or an angel look

In this picture the dark shadows represent to me, the bars Zoya had been behind too long. But the light is a reminder that freedom and hope are close by.

And a few with some amazing light...

It is awesome to look back at our pictures and see the light shining through during our dark times. Feeling God's presence so closely was breathtaking. Knowing my Grandpa joined us on the journey and helped us through the dark days will always amaze me. During your dark times, even when you think there is no light to be found, look a little closer. Seek out the light and it will find you.


  1. Wow, ok first of all there needed to be a tissue alert with this post. Very powerful post indeed!

    I'm a big "Grandpa's Girl" too. He called me wort because I was always so small. My Grandpa had nicknames for every girl in the family. My moms name was Toots, go figure on that one.... LOL

    I was so blessed that my Grandpa was able to meet my daughter when she was little if just for a short period of time in her life. I have one memory that I refuse to erase from my mind and it is the two of them walking out of my Great Aunt/Uncles home that we were visiting with him and Grandma, the two of them were hand in hand together big and small looking at each other on the way out the door. That memory is 21 years old now but I still see it as clear today in my mind as I did then. To say I miss him and my Grandma who passed away last July would be an understatement. So I know that intense love and missing that you speak of.

    Funny since we moved into our home here I at times smell coffee brewing, weird huh? Don't know why and there is none being made in the house, so where that is coming from is anyones guess.

    Thanks for the post, a very good reminder to take a moment and seek out the light.

    Hey Zoya! Hugs!


  2. I am sorry you lost your grandpa. I know what you mean about God and longing for the feeling you felt during your adoption process. I have felt that way too.

    Be blessed

  3. What a beautiful post! I can completely relate to this. I often think about how my own grandmother will never meet Everlyn (she never met my 2 youngest children either). But oh how she would love them...and Everlyn too! And I too think she knows of our adoption plans and has a hand in it all.

    I look forward to the light....I know I will NEED the light!

  4. Beautiful...brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother was a big part of our experience as well. Amazing how our loved ones who have passed away have kept their presence known to us. God is so good!

  5. That was really beautiful and very touching....thanks for sharing!!
    Sunnie in NC

  6. Well I am in tears... I was actually just talking to my husband about how much I missed my brother in law who passed away back in April and how I keep having dreams about him off and on and I had another dream last night. Then I get on and come across this in your blog. How wonderful! God truly works in amazing ways! Love all the pics of the light shining through!

  7. Awesome. Just Awesome.

  8. I often wish my husband could be here to meet his grandson, his son-in-law, his soon-to-be- share being a grandparent with me...and at times I feel his presence and see him in Lucas...and I feel and see his light sometimes. There is a lot of light coming from your house, too :-) Keep it coming, Sarah. Love, Liz

  9. Very touching, beautifully written post. I cherish the times that I have felt the presence of my dad and brother who have both passed. God is so loving to allow us these experiences.


  10. Ok Sarah, got me again. Very powerful posting. You really need to consider becoming a write of passages. You have a very special way of writing!
    And I thank you for sharing your feelings, b/c I am going through a really rough time this week, with having to redo a few papers and being delayed another week. This was inspiration!!
    I will definitely give you a call this weekend, if you don't mind! I could use more insight from you.
    Hugs to Zoya!!! I look forward to the day we all can meet and I can squeeze on her :)
    Kim B.

  11. Yes, seek out the Light and He will find you.

  12. I am always so moved by your blogs. You have such an insight. I too have witnessed the presence of my Mom after she passed. As we were driving home after her funeral service, I had a vision of her, smiling and healthy, and I knew she had made it to her everafter. It was so peaceful and comforting, I knew it was her way of telling me she was ok. God bless you all. Jeff is so moved by Zoya. He talks about her all the time.

  13. Sarah -
    You did him proud! I have tears in my eyes just thinking about him. Just like Grandma said he definitely had a hand in it!
    Aunt Janice