Things I’d Tell My Grandma Evelyn

For some reason, as I’ve grown older, my comfort zone seems to have gradually gotten smaller.

Maybe it’s hormonal? Maybe it just happens to some folks with age? Maybe it’s something else?

All I know is that when I think about my comfort zone nowadays, I think of it as being a bit on the small side- and I don’t like that. It’s edges feel harder and closer in than they used to- and I don’t like that either.

At some point, as my comfort zone shrunk, I decided that there wasn’t room for airplanes inside it anymore…so out they went. No more flying for me.

But here’s the thing. The more I Grow, the more I really, really know that there’s evidence of God’s love and salvation in each and every day…even the hardest, most personal of ones.

So as we fly to Peru today, November 12, 2012- I’ll take comfort in those evidences, and I’ll try with all my might to be optimistic about the chance to soften and expand a few edges along the way, too.

Dearest Grandma Evelyn,

It just occured to me that when someone passes away, you tend to stop writing them letters, and the longer you stop writing them letters, the harder it is to start up again.

I’m sorry I haven’t written you in so long. 

(deep breath)

I still think about you and feel your presence in my life all the time.

I got a box full of your things from my Dad recently. I can’t make it to the bottom without crying…but boy am I thankful to have it.

I remember some of the things inside of it as clear as a bell…

…but there are a few things I don’t remember seeing before.

Important reminders…

… and sweet souvenirs…

…and captured moments…

I can’t stop looking at into them…

I do remember seeing these photos…

But this book…I don’t remember this book…

You wrote down everyone’s birthdays in it.

Even yours…

November 12th.

The day that, since you went to Heaven, I have continued to cherish because of how safe and loved you always made me feel.

Love always,

*November 12th is just one of the Evidences that made me feel less afraid to say “yes” to Peru, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share the story of one of my most personal of days with you here today. I hope to “e-see” you again when we get to Lima!

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  1. says

    I’m glad you’re getting out of your comfort zone….it makes me wanna get out of mine. Yep, my comfort zone has shrunk considerably as I’ve gotten older. I need to chip away the edges of my comfort zone and do what God wants me to do….even if it’s uncomfortable. I’ll be praying for you today as you fly…that’s another one of my “not in my comfort zone” items, so I know what you’ll be going through. Praying God gives you the peace that only he can provide, and a trip that not only enlarges your comfort zone, but also your heart.
    Love you lady

  2. says

    PS OH and Happy birthday to your grandma….mine passed away a long time ago, but her birthday is coming up soon too. It’s always a bittersweet day.

  3. says

    Seeing those old pictures of your grandma remind me of my own grandma and how much I miss her.
    I know what you mean about shrinking comfort zones. Why does that happen? I ‘ll be praying for you and Kevin on this journey.

  4. says

    Here’s one of the things I remember about flying to Peru. We left from Miami, landed in Lima and stayed in the same time zone! A whole new country…a whole new hemisphere…a whole new culture, but the SAME time zone. Just didn’t seem possible. Oh and you can put your toes (or whole self) in to the Atlantic AND Pacific oceans in the SAME time zone! At least that’s what I remember….
    Find joy in this journey.

  5. Kel says

    I prayed yesterday for your flight, safety, and fearlessness as you fly. God is not one of fear, but of overcoming fear. All the best!!!

  6. says

    Good luck! I know how you feel about comfort zones–I have anxiety about a lot more things the older I get (postpartum anxiety after baby #2 didn’t help) but flying has always been difficult for me because no matter what prescription they give me I get sick. It’s embarrassing and no fun. Irony is that I have a desire to see the world. Anyway all of this is my way of saying that I fly still (rarely but I do) and I’ll be thinking of you today!! xox friend & I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  7. Katie Currin says

    Wishing you well on this exciting journey. And about your Grandma Evelyn, what a beautiful woman. Today is my late Grandmother’s birthday as well and I also cherish this date. Thinking of you and your groom as you fly to Peru this morning. xoxoxox

  8. says

    Oh Layla. I am crying.
    Because I miss my gramma so much right now.
    She has been gone for 5 years now and I still talk to her in Heaven with tears running down my face.
    All of those items in that box could have been MY gramma’s.
    Even the handwriting looked so much like hers.
    She was a letter writer too and now I think I will start writing letters to her.
    I miss her so much and maybe that will help ease the pain.
    Thanks for this post.

  9. Carrie says

    So sweet! And I am not at all biased because my four year old is named Evelyn as well. : ) Hope your trip is a huge blessing to you and encourages you to keep pushing the borders of that comfort zone.

  10. becky up a hill says

    I’ll be praying for you. I’m proud of you. God’s Grace is amazing. Your blog made me cry in my coffee this morning. Yes, please keep us posted as you can. God Bless, sincerely, Becky

  11. says

    I LOVE this: “The more I Grow, the more I really, really know that there’s evidence of God’s love and salvation in each and every day…even the hardest, most personal of ones.”

    So excited to go to Peru “with” you!!

    Praying. Every day.

  12. Cheryl says

    This post moved me deeply; you both are in my thoughts. As I tell my daughter each day- God bless you and watch over you. I hope you enjoy the grace of this trip and the opportunity to expand your comfort zone. It will bring you joy and closer to the beauty all around us.

  13. Terry says

    What a deeply intimate expression of God’s love for you, Layla! Thank you for sharing. Godspeed! I look forward to following your journey to Peru and back. I know it will be life-changing. I am certain the Lord is very proud of you for trusting Him enough to step out of your comfort zone.
    Fix your eyes on Jesus.

  14. Karen says

    Your post was very touching!!! I also have a fear of flying. Two of my children have been on mission trips (to India and Belize) and I know that you will be so moved from your trip. I can’t wait to hear your stories and see your pictures. I hope I also will step outside of my comfort zone and make a trip as well.

  15. Bee Lane says

    No words to say. Just a warm, peaceful sigh through tears – tears at the sweetness of it all.

  16. Mom Palmer - Katie says

    Layla, your post today brought tears to my eyes. I know your grandma Evelyn was a very special person and it is wonderful that you have kept her in your heart. Dad and I are praying for both Kevin and you today that you will have a safe trip and that God will give you peace that will calm your fear of flying. Remember, God is right there with you in that plane and He will take care of you. GOD LOVES YOU: HE ALWAYS HAS-HE ALWAYS WILL
    You will be in our prayers all week. Love Mom and Dad.

  17. Gina says

    Love this!! Prayed for you all this morning!! May God richly bless you for stepping out of your comfort zone and into His!!! :)

  18. Cory S. says

    Remember. Like the T-shirt I saw at the airport, after I prayed to God for peace in my heart, before I got on the plane: “RELAX. YOU’RE IN GOD”S HANDS!” :-)

  19. says

    I just said a prayer for you and your trip. Faith in God will make stepping out of your comfort zones possible. Now, to just remind myself of that often too! I look forward to reading and seeing how God uses you and Kevin on your trip. Have fun!

  20. says

    Grandma Evelyn is so smiling at you right now! I miss my grandmothers too and look forward to seeing them again one day. What a wonderful post! God bless your trip, can’t wait to hear more about it.

  21. says

    Such a sweet letter.I miss my Grandma a lot too.Praying for you as you fly today and are out of your comfort zone.I need to work at chipping away on mine too=)

  22. says

    i love this post. im going through similar experiences my husband left 4 japan last wk and we havent bn apart for more than a day since we first dated 7yrs ago. my dad who i help take care of has terminal cancer and im lost without my rock. its 2 hard 2 see him slipping away all by myself. ill sure b glad when derek comes home saturday

  23. Dawn says

    Layla, I wish you luck and your Grandmother’s lovely memories as you travel (outside your comfort zone).

  24. Sherri says

    Your post touched me so much. I lost my mom in January of this year, and since then, for what reason I do not know, my comfort zone has become so small its confining. I need to get out and challenge myself and glorify God in whatever way he sees fit for me. Prayers for both of you on this journey to Peru. Remember God is good and wants whats best us.

  25. says

    You are brave. In our weakness He is made strong. Praying for His strength to carry you today.

    Such a touching letter to your grandma. I had one who made me feel safe and loved and like I could do anything. We never stop missing them do we?

  26. Patty Page says

    Blessings to you Layla! I’m praying that God’s grace & peace will be so evident to you on your trip! He is our solid rock!

  27. says

    This is the best post I’ve read in a while. It is so sweet and touching. I cherish my grandmother and will continue to long after she is not here with us. I still speak to her every week and spend 1-2 months with her every year since she has moved away to another state. She’s my cheerleader, life coach and allie. She really is a bright light in my sometimes gray world.

    Thank you for sharing and giving me occasion and a forum to share my feelings about my special grandmother.


  28. says

    As I read this and type, you are flying. When you land, your new path will be clear to you. How amazing and wonderful. And your fear will also be erased. For facing the challenge, you are being greatly rewarded.

    My comfort zone is shattered right now. My dear companion, my 12 year-old Husky, Skye, died on Friday night. I’m working through the tears and looking for the door that will open as the door to my life with him in it slammed shut. My heart is broken, but I am hoping it will be filled again soon.

    Here’s to YOUR full hearts and lives!!

  29. Denise says

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts of your grandma. My grandma passed away yesterday on her 95th birthday. As hard as it is to let her go, I know that she is in heaven receiving her reward. Thanks again.

  30. Rachel Carey says

    My comfort zone has grown! I still have so much to do. Flying is very comforting to me…I love that I can leave oh and be in my beloved Germany within a few hours. Fly safely and relax!,,,,,

  31. Gina says

    I feel exactly the same way–even about flying. I haven’t flown since my honeymoon. I don’t like this part of my personality…I want to trust God more. Our church recently sent a group to India where we partner with a Compassion church there. One of our pastors took a photo of the little girl I sponsor through Compassion…seeing it appear unexpectedly on my fb wall brought tears to my eyes. There was sweet little Reshmi, holding in her hands the bag I had packed for her–that had once been in my hands. Having been touched so deeply by this photograph, I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have been a part of the group and to have had the chance to meet her. But here’s the thing…I could have been….and my ever-shrinking comfort zone kept me from doing so. I will be praying for you today and for your entire trip. I admire you for stepping out in faith!

  32. Lindsey says

    We just found out that we are expecting a little girl in April and we have named her Evelyn :)

    Safe travels! Looking forward to reading about your adventure.

  33. Janny A. says

    Layla, this post really touches home with me. I am from Honduras and have not seen my grandmothers for the past 4 yrs. I miss them both but mainly my mom’s mom with whom I spent most of my childhood. I am hoping on God’s provision to buy a plane ticket to go see her before the year ends. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Nicola Blake says

    I lost my maternal G-ma last year. However my Paternal G-ma is still alive. I am so happy that you are erasing the edges of your comfort zone and stepping into god’s grace and wonder. Have fun in Peru and be safe. I consider you part of my life group… Iron sharpening Iron. Thanks for being a blessing online.

  35. Tina Catoe says

    Alright, did you have to make me cry today! This post was so touching. You must be the sweetest person on the earth. Wish everyone was as sincere and kind as you. Have a safe trip Layla and Kevin.

  36. says

    So proud of you for getting out of your comfort zone!

    The letter to your grandma is beautiful and something I’m going to consider doing. Especially this time of year, I miss so many wonderful people that are no longer with me.

  37. Anita says

    Your post today made me cry. I miss my grandma and I am afraid to fly in airplanes. Hold on to your wonderful hubby and think about your grandma and everything will be okay.

  38. Joanne B. says

    beautiful post Layla and a wonderful tribute to your beloved Grandma…I hope you had a window seat on your jet to Peru, because Grandma Evelyn was sitting’ right on the wing to guide you and Kevin safely on your journey. And this journey sounds like it was much more than to Peru- it is the first stop to wherever you are meant to be. Thanks for sharing your private thoughts and inspiring us to realize life is more than the destination- it’s all about the journey…May God continue to bless you and validate your every breath…

  39. says

    Thank you, Layla. I lost my grandpa at the young age of 92 almost 6 months ago. Last week was his birthday and today, being Veteran’s Day, I am trying to hold it together. I miss him.

    Just this week I snuck into my office, opened my wedding album to find his picture. I must have stared at it for five mintues and quiety blew him a kiss. Memories are a beautiful thing.


  40. says

    Hi Layla, the story of your grandma brought rushing feelings back to me. I so get the looking at her things and how it makes you feel. My Mom passed away 15 months ago during open heart surgery. My sweet Dad at 81 is still living and he still has all of her things still in the house…her hairbrush, hairspray, everything is still on the bathroom counter. Her eyeglasses are on her dresser and the book she was reading the night before her surgery still beside the bed on her side with the page she was on marked. I have read that page that she was on, just to read what she had read. It somehow makes me feel closer to her. There is a drawer in a bureau in their room that is full of pictures, letters, cards, and memories that someday we will be able to sift through. I am sure that there are many treasures in there. Sorry for the book…..memories are sweet but so emotional.

  41. says

    Today, November 12, is my birthday. My grandma Evelyn died many years ago, and I too think of her often. This was a beautiful reflection. Godspeed!

  42. Sandy says

    You are a sweet, sweet girl who I would love to meet in person someday. I hope your trip is beyond wonderful and that God blesses you and the guy you are holding hands with on this journey! Safe travels….

  43. says

    My great grandma was born on this day way back in 1913. I still have very vivid memories of her and just like you, a few of her things. Happy birthday to both of our grandmother’s today!

  44. Debbie Schaffer says

    Beautiful post. I’m so glad you were able to go. Looking forward to sharing your journey.

  45. Lisa W. says

    This is SO very special…you gotta love those Grandma’s. So full of wisdom and love! You are very lucky to be able to have such treasures, and thank you for sharing them with us! I hope your safe in your “comfort zone” now. And I can’t leave without saying how special it is to read your blog. Your love for your husband and family is like a breath of fresh air. It just seems this country has lost some important morals along the way. THIS is so comforting to me to read about the small stuff, AND the big stuff today like your travels, and your Grandma’s special things. Thank you for making our everyday “good stuff”!!!

  46. Lisa says

    Layla, I hope by the time you read this you and Kevin are safely in Peru. What an adventure! One you will never forget! My comfort zone has shrunk SO much that I often wish I could just stay home in my comfy home ALL day EVERY day, but I cannot. Enjoy the experience. I was so afraid to fly ALL THE way to London to visit my sister, but it was one of those dream trips that to this day makes me so happy to think about ;)

  47. Theodene Allen says

    Aloha! I’m so excited to learn about Peru, as my son and I recently began sponsoring a little boy there. I am touched by your blog and the importance of November 12, which was yesterday. My prayers go out to you and the team during this trip. The angels are rejoicing because y’all are sharing significant moments that will change someone’s life forever. Thank you for sharing!

  48. Kate Bartho says

    Layla, it is a joy to see you walking in obedience to God by traveling to Peru to share His love. It is also an encouragement to see you and Kevin move from financially and prayerfully supporting your Compassion child to actively GOING. How exciting! I can see that God is growing your family in great ways and will continue to use for His glory as you serve others in His name. Thank you for sharing with us.

  49. Joyce Adinolfi says

    Wishing you God Speed in your trip to Peru. I have a child in Peru and we wish we could join you. Now I can visit through your journey that you have so generously offered to share. Bless you.

  50. says

    My wonderful, amazing grandma died just a few hours ago. I am sad (for me) because I already miss her so much, but happy for her knowing she is now reunited with the love of her life, her parents &her sisters and that, after being blind for the past 15 years, today she woke up being able to see.
    thanks for your thoughts and letting us peek at your treasured keepsakes.

  51. says

    After all these years of working at Compassion, I am still so moved when God chooses to use a simple thing like a date in an old book to confirm something in the heart of someone wondering if they should go. I know how precious these children are to Him, but He still takes the time to confirm. Thank you for going and for looking to Him for the confirmation.

  52. Geri says

    Layla I love your open heart.
    Your grandma is with you always and so proud of the
    creative, passionate, compassionate and full of life woman you are.
    Grandmas rock! Prayers on your journey. Geri.

  53. tracyo says

    Just a beautiful post Layla. I know how you feel. Have a fantastic trip to Peru. It’ll be so good for you!

  54. Wendy M says

    You made me tear up Layla. My Grandma’s name was Evelyn too, and she always told me that I was her favorite Granddaughter… largely due to the fact that she only had one! Good one, Grandma! We were very close and I got a lot of her kitchen things and recipes when she had to go into a home (she got alzheimers and passed away many years ago). Funny thing is, we were having some work done in the basement last weekend, and in cleaning up I came across some old kitchen items in a box that I had not seen for years. Brought back so many memories, in much the same way you were just talking about. Bitter-sweet, but very heavy on the sweet!

  55. says

    I know the feeling with those shrinking edges, so strange isn’t it? I love the letter idea. I have one of my grandma’s letters to me framed. I think it’s time I wrote her back:)

  56. says

    awww sweet post Layla. You have brought tears to my eyes because as I read this, I thought of my gram who passed away last year (one of the ones that lived with us). I think she had the same mirror and beautiful handwriting like your gram :) We have so many of those old photo’s as well. I know what you mean about looking “into” them. I often stare at some of them and wonder, “did you go through this to gram?”. It’s so funny when you are a kid and oblivious to what goes on around you. When I look at my gram’s pictures I think about her life and the stress she must have had but yet in those pictures, she looks so peaceful. Hmmm, I wonder if my grandchildren {yikes my son is only 6!} will look at pictures of me in 80 years and think awwww, cute gram! haha. :) Look now, you got me all sentimental and I wrote a book for a comment!

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