Just as each new life joins heaven and earth in a celebration of life, so it is with the passing of each soul. Mom's final days were filled with an abundance of the spirit as family gathered in prayer and humbly petitioned God's mercy to provide relief from the suffering and bounds of mortal life. Grandpa asked family relative and church Patriarch Rex Graham (Connie's father-in-law) and Bob to pronounce a final Priesthood blessing upon the head of his faithful loving wife of 56 years. It was just hours after kneeling around her bedside in family prayer, and after a series of spiritual witnesses, that Shirley Bernice Goodman passed away peacefully in bed with her daughters, Pam and Connie, at her side. The night was December 21, 2012 (although the time of death was recorded as December 22). The Lord's tender mercy upon his beloved daughter was one of our most memorable Christmas gifts.
With family gatherings occurring on both sides of the veil, it was time for Bob and I to gather with our own children and grand kids. We drove to Utah and spend a couple of nights at Thomas and Chelsea's home in Provo. Thomas's parents recently purchased a new home near Springville as a family gathering place in Utah, and Chelsea and Thomas rent and live in the basement "apartment". Bobby's family stayed with us the first night and then we all gathered at his home in Murray for our Christmas celebration. We missed having Stephanie, Ben, Emma, and Paige with us, but they were in Okpo and Sebu having parties of their own this year. www.lifeasjohnsons.blogspot.com
Our Christmas celebrations this year included attending a performance on Temple Square, "Savior of the World". My oldest brother, Doug, and his wife, Sandra were able to join us. We were also able to provide the kids with tickets to the fabulous Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. But I'll have to say, that my favorite performance again this year, was the nativity as acted out by Linley and Max. It was a somewhat comical version this year, and was witnessed through skype by Stephanie's family.
Christmas Eve dinner was Jill's traditional "Cafe Rio" fare along with Thomas' churros! It was a nice change of palate for us Asians! A few gifts opened provided a lively evening together before cookies for Santa were nibbled on and "sugar-plums" were dancing in our heads.
Christmas morning was truly a gift opening marathon! Thank you all for your generous and thoughtful presents!
Christmas day was filled with the smells of delicious homemade traditional food and treats and the sounds of giggles and laughter in the powdery new snow.
The sweet final touch to an already perfect day was the much anticipated phone call from Peru with Elder Michael M. Goodman! Our skype connection was poor, so after a few frustrating attempts to visit online, the gift of an international calling card worked beautifully. His mission letters and photos can be seen by clicking on the other tabs at the top of this blog. We love and miss you, Michael, but are so blessed by your sincere testimony and diligent service. What better way to celebrate our Savior's birth than by serving him faithfully in word and deed?! Although some of our children were thousands of miles away, this was another very merry Goodman Christmas!
A parting poem (author unknown) in honor of "The Great Mom"
I’m Spending Christmas With Jesus Christ This Year
I see the countless Christmas trees,
Around the world below,
With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars,
Reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear,
For I’m spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can’t compare
With the Christmas choir up here.
For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description
To hear an angel sing.
I can’t tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas
With our Savior, face to face?
I’ll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray one for another
As you lift your eyes above.
Please let your hearts be joyful,
And let your spirit sing,
For I’m spending Christmas in heaven,
And I’m walking with the King!