Archive | April, 2010

Church in My Pocket

26 Apr

“Amen!
Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”
Revelation 7:12

There is a remodeling project taking place at work.  The old dining hall is being transformed into a new dorm, requiring many hours of labor by many people.  Back in January, during the beginning stages of this process, our good friend and electrician, Jon, stopped by to spend some time with Tim looking over the building and the proposed plans.  Moments before he and his wife Lori were heading home, they tracked me down to say hello.  As we were standing there, out of nowhere (well, not exactly … ) we heard this music.  It was the very majestic and final stanza from an old hymn of the church …

“Glo – ry and ho – nor, praise, ad – o – ra – tion, now and for – e – ver – more be Thine!”

My cell phone was ringing in my pocket.

 With a surprised look on his face, Jon quickly blurted out, “Wow!  Debbie’s having church in her pocket!” 

 His comment brought a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart … but then it made me stop and think more about this.  Am I really having church in my pocket?  Does my world really know that I love Jesus?  It’s so much more than a clip from the song “Fairest Lord Jesus” by Selah, signifying a specific person by a special ringtone.   What really counts is if I have Jesus in my heart.  Does the Light of the world glow bright from my eyes?  Do I portray the silent confidence and peace that only Jesus can give even when my day is full of drudgery and sometimes  disappointment?   Is my heart full of gratitude and praise, defeating Satan by having my focus on Christ?   When the world looks at me, do they see Jesus?   When they hear me talk, do they hear the heart of God?

 If you want to join me in having church in my pocket, MYXER.COM is a fun website that allows you to download clips from your favorite CDs and then sends them to your cell phone as a ringtone … for FREE.  Better yet, having Jesus in our hearts will give us lots of ways to have church in our pockets!

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:3

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5

May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:74

 

Till next time,
Debbie

My Childhood Home

15 Apr

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today
are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

 

I’m sitting in one of my all-time favorite spots … the swing on my mother’s front porch.  Mom spent  a few days with me in my home for a change of scenery, and we just returned back here for a few more days of “Mom duty”.  As I wrote, and you read about, my mother fell and shattered her elbow the same day that Tim & I left for our 2 week vacation.  That was 4 weeks ago yesterday.  A little boy’s first birthday, cruise-ship fun and excitement, Florida sunshine, and many miles traveled … all this took place in those 2 weeks and continues to warm our hearts with special memories as the reality of life now awakens us each morning.  Some of those mornings I wake up and do not feel my husband lying beside me in bed, and I slowly realize that I am once again not home.  Instead, I am in ‘my room’ in my childhood home.

Less than 24 hours after Tim & I returned from our vacation, I unpacked most things and repacked others and headed to Indianapolis to assess the “Mom” situation.  She shattered her right elbow, which prevented her from doing many ordinary and needed tasks.  My brother Jay and his wife Sue had graciously taken mom home with them for most of those first two weeks following her surgery, but she was now back in her own home, waiting for me to come and spend some time with her. 

Since I only live an hour and a half from my mom, I routinely drive the short distance about every two weeks and spend the night with her.  Girl time … we go out to eat, we watch Hallmark movies or anything else she feels is worth recording on her DVR, which she is quite proficient at using, and we laugh a lot.  These days, our visits are a little different. We still watch movies and her favorite TV programs, while I often excuse myself from the room to do a chore or two.  I grocery shop, cook, wash dishes, clean bathrooms, vacuum the carpets, do laundry, and more.  And giving Mom a shower is quite the experience, along with helping her get dressed … so we still laugh a lot.

After spending these days and nights with my mom, I realize how very blessed I am.  Not only do I have the privilege of taking care of the woman who gave me life, I also enjoy being in this house…it’s the same house that I grew up in.  Our family moved here in 1962, when I was a very little girl.  Many changes have taken place to the structure itself … room additions and expansions, wall color and paper, carpets, and room furnishings, but it’s still home.   The biggest change has been the reduction of people living here.  What started out as a family of 4 when we moved in became 5 with the birth of my little brother, Tim.  Several years later, one by one, us kids left home and got married, leaving our parents to an empty nest.  The ultimate change occurred when Daddy passed away in 1994, leaving a houseful of memories that greet us every time we pull into the driveway.  I often mention to mom how wonderful it would be for her to move down closer to me so we could be in each other’s everyday, but I know that will never happen.  For the sake of all of the family, mom will stay right here until she can’t stay here any longer.  This house and the home it has been to us all through the years still touches and warms our hearts.

I still sleep in my old bedroom.  The bright orange, red, and pink shag carpet has long been replaced by newer and a more trendy floor, and the furniture is not the same, but the room will always be special.  I love to open the windows and breathe in the cool night air like I use to do every night before falling asleep, and in the chill of a winter evening, open the floor register and sit over top of it until my back side can’t take the heat any longer.  Simple things like hearing the creaks in the floor as I walk down the hallway, the sound of the light switch in the stairway and the sudden cool that embraces me as I walk down the steps into the basement.  The squeak of the pull chain/light bulb over the ironing board on the ‘other side’ of the basement, and the undeniable feeling of a little-girl, yet grown-up kinship for the neighborhood as I walk down the driveway and out to the mailbox … the same dilapidated mailbox sitting so precariously on the same rusted pole.  Out back there are the original wooden fence posts with the fencing that has square openings ~ perfect for putting even my bare feet on to quickly climb from our yard to the neighbor’s…when I was a  kid.   The piano that I learned to play on still sits in its position of prominence and pride, along with Mom’s “good”  furniture in the living room.  I could go on and on … and perhaps someday I will by writing a book full of these priceless childhood memories.  All I would have to do is dip into the memories that belong to a little girl who grew up in a home surrounded by love, faith, fun, and family.

Lilacs and the fence

Lilacs and the fence

As I smell the fragrance of the fresh lilacs I just picked and allow my mind to skip back through the years to that same aroma, from the same bush, to the same little girl … I thank my Heavenly Father for His great mercy and love … and the blessings I still enjoy and embrace of my childhood home.

Remember, O LORD,
your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Psalm 25:6

 

I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
Psalm 143:5

 

Till next time,
Debbie

Vacation

3 Apr

When I think over the past two weeks, each of the days together creates a big huge colorful blur. This blog entry will be more for my personal sanity probably than for your enjoyment, for as the miles click away and we get closer to home, work, and responsibilities, it will be nice to remember the morsels of mercy that God gifted Tim and I with these past several days.

Cole Michael

Cole ~ 1st bday

Our vacation started so many days ago in the home of our precious grandchild, Cole Michael.  Late night snuggles, walks to Dairy Queen and to the city park, scrambled eggs for breakfast, and bedtime routines were some of the highlights leading up to the day of celebration … Cole’s 1st birthday party.  The day was full of excitement as friends and family gathered in to give all attention to this cutie little man who stole our hearts a year ago.   Accessorized in the appropriate bib for the day “Birthday Boy”, Cole’s face glowed with delight as his own personal cake was set before him.  As his gifts were opened, anything and everything with wheels immediately became his favorite toy, and he genuinely seemed excited to unwrap clothing decked out in monkeys!  Grami and Gramps were the official photographers of the day ~ yielding snapshots and video that documented another special day of family history.  Once the crowds subsided and all was quiet, I escaped to the solitude of our futon where much-needed rest enveloped my aching body and churning tummy.  The stomach flu had attacked me early that morning.  While others were enjoying the novelty items such as ants on a log, pigs in a blanket, and other tasty treats, I was feasting on Pepto Bismol.  Our vacation itinerary was picking up great speed the following day and we had 1300 miles to travel before boarding a cruise ship on Monday.  I had to feel better.

And I did.  Leaving behind the sweetest little boy who wonders why these silly people come and then go, we headed south.  A full day of travel on Sunday, followed by an early start the next morning, ended at the Port of Miami around 1:00 Monday afternoon.  Lots of excited travelers and rain greeted us as we gathered our belongings and set sail for the beautiful isles of the Bahamas.  Being the first time cruisers that we were, we felt like little kids at an Easter egg hunt … going here and there, seeing what we could see, eating a little of this and a little of that … hoping to get the golden egg, which for us, was our luggage delivered to our stateroom.  Tim forgot to put his anti sea-sick patch on earlier in the day and it was in our suitcases that had not been brought to our room yet.  By the time the magical little circle was attached behind his ear, we both were feeling a big queasy.  Before we left for our first true experience of cruise dining, I also peeled the sticky off of a patch and walked away confident of having a grand evening of scrumptious food and entertainment.  It seemed like with every passing moment, however, my stomach felt worse, my appetite left me, and the musical drama lasted for hours … or at least it felt like it.  At evening’s end, I was so disoriented and shaky, that I had to firmly hold on to Tim in order to not fall down while walking to our room.  At some point during the wee hours of the morning, I realized that my distress had to be caused by that magical little patch I thought would cure all … so I yanked it off and prayed for quick healing.  Needless to say, what became Tim’s best friend and allowed him to enjoy his vacation had the adverse effect on me. 

March 24, 2010

Tim & I on our cruise

Tuesday morning found us docked in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island where we followed the masses off the ship and into the coastal town of Lucayan Beach.  Having our blue/white cruise ship beach towels along, we spread out underneath overcast skies and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the surf. After our 3 hour shore excursion ended, we made our way back to the ship where we spent the remainder of the afternoon poolside…so grateful when the sun would shine through the clouds and warm the air.  Hours later, we were once again reminded that the sun still shines and scorches fine white skin through cool breezes and clouds.  Tim’s new best friend was now the green Aloe Vera gel. 

Nassau and New Providence Island was our port of call on Wednesday.  Not spending the extra dollars for a cruise ship sponsored excursion, we opted to find a local guide and take his 4-hour tour of the island.  We visited a small inlet row of hometown eateries where conch was the main menu item.  We received a personal demonstration of how the meat is taken out of the shell and cut up to serve fresh and raw in salads.  Lennix, our guide, also treated us to conch fritters, much like hushpuppies, but with conch meat inside.  He then drove us to various areas of the island, showing us great poverty and great wealth, including Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort.  Several different stops gave us opportunity to shop, to drink fresh coconut milk and take lots of pictures.  It was a fun day … except for the ever-increasing bloat to my tummy.  Oh my … in my quest to cleanse my system from the effects of the patch, I had been drinking a lot of water.  Bottled water on the ship was expensive, so I splurged and bought one, then continued to re-fill it as needed.  Mistake!  Somewhere, I got a hold of bad water and its little gremlins wrecked havoc on my stomach.  Despite the uncomfortable state in which I found myself in for the next few days, I kept up with all the fun and frolic. 

March 25, 2010

Me ... snorkeling

Tim and I set our alarm for early Thursday morning so we could enjoy the sunrise from the deck of the ship.  We were also there to watch as it settled into a ‘spot’ off the coast of the Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, where we would spend part of our day snorkeling in the warm ocean waters. With rented mask, life vest, breathing tube, and flippers, we set out for the reefs and fish.  What an amazing experience to be right there with the fish and sea creatures, trusting the floatation device and air tube to keep me alive as I oohed and ahhed while capturing each Kodak moment with my underwater camera.  Our day in the sun was brought to an end back on board and poolside where we treated ourselves to ice cream cones and Pepsi. 

There are details in between the lines of activities that made our cruise special to us … the cruise director was quite unforgettable with his quirky one-liners, there was food everywhere, all the time, and we enjoyed trying different items on the menus … and we had a favorite quiet spot on one of the outside decks that not many people knew about.  We have also made notes that we will take fewer clothes, a case of bottled water AND Pepto Bismol with us next time.

Friday morning brought us back to the Port of Miami.  Tim and I gathered our belongings and our memories … good and not so good, and headed to our awaiting parked car.  For us, our vacation continued for several more days.  The sunshine of Florida shone bright and gifted us with hours of enjoyment, while an occasional rain brought quiet time and rest. 

The first evening of the cruise my heart took notice of a particular scripture.  I took this verse personally and claimed it throughout the remainder of our vacation as an embrace from Jesus Himself …

You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there myself.
I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel. 
Numbers 35:34

“He lives!  He lives!  Christ Jesus lives today!  He walks with me and He talks with me, along life’s narrow way. 
He lives!  He lives!  Salvation to impart.  You ask me how I know He lives … He lives!!  Within my heart!”

We are home now.  My heart is full and overflowing as I reflect on the blessings that are mine … and yours, too!!

Happy Easter!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4

Till next time,
Debbie

 

March 30, 2010

Hollywood Beach, Florida