by Judy

On November 1, 2003, I was to travel to Boston from Los Angeles to witness the confirmation into the Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Swedenborgian Church of a dear friend and fellow griever, John, on the next day.

The travel day did not start out well; my alarm clock failed to go off at 4:00am and I awoke 45 minutes late. Yet I did manage to get out the door in the time frame that I had set in my mind. Traveling to LAX was not bad at that time in the morning yet two missed turns and having to double back caused a few precious moments to be eaten away. I took a couple of deep breaths; surely God and His angels would help me to make the flight for it was for a good cause. John's beloved wife, Gege, and their 14-year-old daughter, Jana had died in a tragic car accident two years previously. John's confirmation into the Swedenborgian Church was the culmination of a two-year struggle to find the truth about the Other Side and I wanted to be there to give John support.

I was only two minutes late from checking in electronically. Looking at the crowded lines, I took another deep breath. I did not like what I saw and knew that it would be a close call if I got on that flight. I did not want to miss the flight as I was meeting John and his brother Steve at the airport in Boston and from there we would hop the train and travel to Middleboro where Rev. Lee Woofenden, the pastor of Bridgewater Swedenborgian Church lives, and where we were to stay at Zachariah Eddy House Bed and Breakfast.  It would be a real mess to miss this flight.

The lady at the counter was so very nice - her name was Judy too. She immediately escorted me through the lines so that I could get to the security area quickly. She told me that once out of security I would have to literally run for the flight. I had to carry on the bag that I had wanted to check and I was a bit loaded down. After putting back on my shoes, I loaded everything up - winter coat, 1 handbag, 1 purse, 1 travel bag - or so I thought. I ran for the plane and just barely made it. I walked onto the plane and gave thanks to God!

I stashed my two bags and coat in the overhead bin and then sat down; oh, no! I suddenly realized that I had left my purse! But where? I thought it must have been at the boarding gate. I jumped up and a very kind steward helped me. Not to worry; they'd call out and get the purse for me. I sat down and was getting very nervous - which probably didn't have a good effect on the couple sitting next to me. I couldn't believe this! How could I have set my purse down? I then thought that if they couldn't find the purse then I'd just continue on the flight. That thought stayed with me for all of ten seconds as I realized that I would not be able to travel back to Los Angeles from Boston. Oh, I couldn't believe what a dumb thing I had done. After all this - waking up late, taking the wrong exit for the airport, missing the electronic check-in by two minutes, waiting in a long line, running for the plane - actually getting on the plane - only to have left my purse! I got up again and spoke to the steward who informed me that they didn't find the purse at the boarding gate. He said that they called security but they also didn't have the purse. Oh my gosh... I was not only going to miss the flight - it also looked like I wouldn't be able to fly at all - with no identification. I quickly went back to my seat and took my bags from the overhead bin and walked back up the aisle. The stewards were so very kind and gracious and I was so embarrassed for having made everyone wait. I exited hurriedly from the plane and nearly ran to security.

Fortunately, they had my purse, but it was too late for my flight - they couldn't hold it any longer than they did. No use in crying over spilled milk. I quickly went back in the line and coincidentally Judy was again helping me. She took one look at me and said, "I checked - you made the flight??!" And I explained what happened and thanked her for her efforts. In a try to comfort me, she told me that another person had also missed that flight. She then got me onto the next flight to Boston only this one was through a connecting city. I would have to go to Boston by way of Dallas! Dallas? Oh boy, it's going to be a long day.

I would be landing in Boston at 8:00 pm - four long hours after my original flight. John and Steve would be worried. I called my husband and explained what happened. He called Lee. Lee then called the airline that John and Steve were traveling on and left a message. I wanted John and Steve to go ahead and travel to Middleboro without me - even though I had no idea how I was going to travel in a strange city at night by myself.

After boarding the plane headed for Dallas, I had a lot of time to think. It seemed as though there was an unseen force keeping me from the original flight. But why? Oh, no - was something going to happen to that flight from LAX to Boston... or was something going to happen on the flight I was now on? Funny how your mind starts jumping to conclusions...

A young serviceman sat next to me; perhaps that was the reason I had missed my flight. I thanked him for his service and sacrifice and we talked a bit throughout the flight. Perhaps that is why I missed my flight - to give thanks to a young serviceman. He told me that few had done so and he really brightened up. Maybe that's the reason... although it sure didn't seem so to me.

Texas... this would be the second time that I had ever been in Texas. The first time was when I traveled to meet Jim's grandmother. Jim was born and raised in Texas. For nearly 11 years, I've felt Jim's presence in my daily life and often talk to him in my head. After landing in Dallas, I noticed a paper towel holder - the brand name was Fort James. Jim, a Marine who died in Vietnam, often gives me signs with military and Texas themes suggesting that he is watching over and protecting me. Now, if this was his idea to somehow thwart my plans for a direct flight to Boston and to divert me to Texas for some kind of sign, I wasn't very happy about it. Any other time... I told Jim in my mind, "I am NOT amused. This isn't about me; it's about John and this had better be good." I nearly jumped at the terrifically stern tone in my mind.

Boarding my flight to Boston, I picked up a "Bistro Bag" as American Airlines calls them. Once seated, I took a look - I was hungry and hadn't eaten that day. Hmmmm... a sandwich, chips and a cookie! Having quite a sweet tooth, that cookie looked like Heaven to me. I waited to eat until the beverages were served. I was still upset - worried that John and Steve might not get the message. Oh, why did I miss that flight? It made no sense to me whatsoever and I could literally feel the blood pressure rise as I thought over the day's events. I chomped on the chips thinking about the cookie ahead.

Finishing the sandwich and chips, I placed the trash in the Bistro Bag and then looked at the cookie. I nearly jumped! Oh my gosh... I brought the cookie closer for I could not believe my eyes! The brand name of the cookie was Jana's Cookies - John's daughter's name - and even spelled the same way - with one N! Oh my gosh... I can't tell you how a sense of peace enveloped me at that time.

I was too excited to try to read for the rest of the flight, so I just sat back and closed my eyes. I was smiling and almost giddy with excitement! Oh, hadn't I prayed earlier in the week that if it were God's will, to please give John a message from "his girls"? Oh, what a message!

I started to wonder how I would get to Middleboro but before I could even get worried, a voice in my mind said, "God will provide - do not worry." And I didn't. I just kept getting happier by the moment thinking of Jana's cookie! It was a miracle! I've never seen that brand before - and if I had been on the direct flight to Boston that I missed, I would not have had a cookie since only breakfast was to be served. Surely this was the reason for my bizarre travel day.

When I walked out from the security area, I immediately saw John and Steve - they had waited for me. Instantly I knew that God had provided two angels! I was babbling with excitement! A miracle! A miracle! And I could see the two of them look at me with very puzzled looks - trying to take in what was pouring out of me. This was the first time that I had met them and I was just babbling on! I couldn't help it - a miracle! I pulled the cookie from my purse and presented to John as if it were a precious gift like frankincense, myrrh and gold all wrapped up. A simple cookie yet a most wonderful sign for John that indeed his girls were with him and there for him.

John's had wonderful signs/dreams but like with all grievers, they are never enough. We all wish we could have those experiences each and every day. Steve has had wonderful signs from both Gege and Jana also! I was so happy that God would use me as an instrument to give John a sweet and lovely sign from Jana! I felt so very blessed... oh, the trip to Texas was very much worth it. God could have routed me to China to give John that sign and I'd be happy to oblige!

John pointed out that the colors on the cookie wrapper are the colors of Jana's cheerleading squad - royal blue and gold. Awesome! Absolutely awesome! I heard Jim in my mind asking me (with a bit of humor) if I was amused... I had to laugh hearing that in my mind. Yes, Jim, I'm sorry. Forgive me for not trusting you. I could just see in my mind Jana and Jim cooking (pun!) up that trip down to Texas to pick up a cookie... I know that they must have had fun dreaming that one up!

I also confessed to John and Steve that a small voice told me to go ahead and eat the cookie and just give John the wrapper! But immediately after that voice, I heard another one say, That's a bit tacky, don't you think, Judy?  I had to agree!

We made the last train into Middleboro and everything was perfect. The next day we walked over to Lee and Patty's house and met Lee for the first time. Lee decided to take us on the scenic route - what a different world New England is from dry and brown Southern California! I noticed that we crossed a bridge - dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. I almost missed the sign and yet I did see it. Jim was surely with me on this trip...  Lee took us to church and how beautiful Bridgewater Swedenborgian Church is!

And what a gorgeous day it was - 75 degrees - in Boston - on November 2nd! It was as if the angels were smiling down on John - on all of us really! Lee confirmed three people in the Church that morning - and he delivered a wonderful sermon, A Fish Story to End All Fish Stories.

The Church had a wonderful luncheon afterwards and we were taken on a wonderful mini-historical tour of a small section of town. Lee and Patty then took us out to Duxbury peninsula. Later on, Lee took us to see Blair Haven, a Swedenborgian waterfront retreat. Even though it was turning cold and rainy, it was a wonderful day - one that I will never forget!

I'm still on Cloud Nine - I know that John's girls love him very much - eternally so!

Memorial Page for Gege and Jana Johnson

Rev. Lee Woofenden

Bridgewater Swedenborgian Church

John in front of New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian) Church of Bridgewater, Massachusetts

John, Lee and Steve

Lee and John

Lee, Judy and John

Afterlife Information

Marriage in Heaven

Memorial Page for James Vance

ADCs with Jim by Judy

Graphics by Judy
The font on the title graphic of this page "Jana's Cookies" is Gigi
Just another one of those amazing coincidences!