Archive | May, 2010

Munchy Monday

25 May

Taste and see that the Lord is good. 
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 
Psalm 34:8

Munchy Monday Ladies in May

One Monday evening every month … September – May, a group of ladies gather in someone’s home for a time of fun, fellowship, food, and Jesus.  Last night was one such evening.  The warm hospitality of our friend Pam was enjoyed by all as 20 women claimed an inviting place to sit on her shaded back porch.  As the late day breezes cooled the remnants of a hot May afternoon, salad was the refreshment of choice, prayer was the spiritual emphasis, and love and laughter, as always, were the comforting agents to any heavy hearts. 

 Tasty Tuesday is where it all started in September of 2007, as an ache in my own heart to create an opportunity for friends to get together outside of the workplace.  It was a time to put the black aprons, the laundry carts, cleaning rags, and the payroll away and simply be together because we wanted to.  To make it even more interesting was to invite a few others, those who didn’t work with us, but were friends from other settings.  Just a bunch of women.  Women who love to share food and recipes, who love to laugh and have a good time, and who appreciate the quiet time of learning more about Jesus and His love for us.   

 It wasn’t long before we realized that Tuesday was not an available evening for all, so in an effort to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule, we transitioned from Tasty Tuesday to Munchy Monday.  Both are applicable to our purpose, as to taste or munch means to simply take a small portion.  Our ladies bring a lot of food, but in order to taste it all, we take small portions ~ of each yummy item!  Our evening doesn’t last for several hours … just a small portion of our day.  We don’t live and experience each others’ lives, but through our meeting together, we share a small portion with one another.  We don’t sit and listen to an hour and a half sermon, just a short devotional.  We have found that our lives are crazy busy with the responsibilities of family, church, home, work and all the other things that pull at each of us.  Tasty Tuesday, Munchy Monday, or Scrumptious Soupy Sunday (only twice on Sunday so far) allows a small allotment of time for us to experience that the Lord is indeed good.

 Our journey during the past 3 seasons of Tasting and Munching have been fun.  Here are just a “small portion” of our themes …

Mug, Muffin & Tasty Tea
Divine Romance
Spring Cleaning Clutter & Self Inventory
Pretty Purse Passion
What Tree are You?
St. Patrick’s Prayer
The 4:8 Principle
Summer Sisters-in-Prayer

Please let me encourage you … if you are not currently meeting with friends for fellowship, accountability, good food, and just plain fun … you should seriously consider doing so.  Everyone needs a break away from the normal routines to share life, to laugh and sometimes cry, to build friendships, and to pray.  For once we taste and see that the Lord is good, the prayer of my heart … for my precious friends and for all of us … is that we will all desire to take refuge in Him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. 
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 
Psalm 34:8

Until next time,


14 May

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,  and I will dwell in the
house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6


It’s that time of year.  The cap and gown, complete with tassel, and the infamous certificate of declaration that the task at hand is finished.  Complete.    

Troy, Kim & Cole

There are two graduations impacting the lives of the Van Hooks in 2010.  Our son-in-law Troy is graduating with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis from Penn State University in just a few short days.  Having served in the US Marine Corps following graduation from high school, Troy is using his G.I. Bill for these past four years of college. 

Brittany & Ryan

Our son’s girlfriend, Brittany, walked across the platform at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington on Mother’s Day … receiving her degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology.    

Graduation is only a step of transition, really.  It’s a time for congratulations, hugs, slaps on the back, and words like “Well done!”, and “We’re so proud of you!”  But nearly in the same breath, there will be additional things said, like “What are your plans now?”  or “Did you get that job you applied for?”    

Troy will be moving his family to the Baltimore area where he will begin his new career in June.  Brittany has applied for a job in Seattle and is hopeful that she will begin to take the next step toward her life-long ambitions.  Life is full of dreams,  preparation, experience, change, and celebration.   

How about you?  Is GRADUATION a word that applies to your life right now?  Perhaps you know someone who has also put on the cap and gown and walked across their platform of life.  A new baby, fresh out of the womb … the past 9 months developed and ready for a lifetime of graduations.  A precious aged parent, surrounded by years of memories and a loving family … crosses that threshold of the ultimate graduation, completed the task of earthly living to finally sit at the feet of Jesus.    

Precious in the sight of the LORD  is the death of his saints.   Psalm 116:15   

For such a time as this, join me in celebrating the graduations of life.   

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,
if only I may finish the race and
complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–
the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.  Act 20:24

Until next time,

Mother’s Day

8 May

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
With my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
May I never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. 
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5    NLT


The infamous second Sunday in the month of May is upon us.  Flowers, cards, jewelry, and trinkets of all kinds fill the aisles of every store in America this week.  Reminders are everywhere that Mother’s Day is tomorrow.  I chuckle as this year is quite different for me since my mom fell and shattered her elbow 7 weeks ago.  She has been at the top of the priority list for weeks now, and I feel like I have already been celebrating this special holiday of honor with her on a regular basis!    

 My pre-holiday celebration is simply what one does when the heart is full of love.  My best friend from childhood is presently in Florida caring for her parents who have both recently become ill.  My mother-in-law is in New York filling the much needed role of mother and grandma as a new baby brother is patiently waiting to be delivered.  My own daughter, her husband and baby are going to spend Mother’s Day with the family of a fellow Marine who was killed in Afghanistan 5 years ago.  Various forms of love … various forms of celebration … very forms of honor.

Mom, Mammy and Uncle Marvin apx 1947

I would like to honor those in my life that have brought me to the place where I am today.  My mom’s mother, whom we affectionately called Mammy, was always a sweet and dear woman.  Mammy spent time with me in the kitchen baking wacky cakes, apple pies with homemade crusts,  and making homemade ice cream.  She listened to hours and hours of my playing her little electric table top organ  ~  no doubt praying the whole time that my apparent love for music would be used to glorify God someday.  Mammy sewed clothes for me … and for my Barbie.  I could go on and on about her … a real treasure to my own heart and to the legacy of who I am today.  Mammy went home to be with Jesus in January of 1992.

I have been reminded of your sincere faith,
which first lived in your grandmother
Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded,
now lives in you also.  For this reason I remind you
to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in youthrough the laying on of my hands.  For God did not
 give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power,
of love and of self-discipline.    
2 Timothy 1:5 -7

Mammaw & Pappaw Wells and family Apx 1957

 My Mammaw Wells was a woman of tenacity, courage, and grit.  She had to be. She raised 3 of Pappaw’s youngsters by his first wife, and birthed 14 of her own, of which 2 died as children.  My Daddy is the only adult who has passed away.  He’s the handsome one in the upper left corner.    Mammaw set a wonderful example of hospitality for me … always ready to throw some food on the stove to cook and would produce a feast for many to enjoy around her kitchen table.  With grandchildren nearly too many to count running through the front door, she would swat at a few behinds to coax them to quickly get in or out. It was always an adventure in Martinsville … not only to see Mammaw, but hoping for the spontaneous visit by another family full of cousins and fun.  My Mammaw passed away in January of 2003.

Mom with Jay & I 1960

Mother’s Day was celebrated for their first time by a sweet couple in love when my brother Jay was born in 1957… Mom and Daddy had been married for 15 months.  I added one more jewel in her crown of motherhood in 1960, followed by a diamond in the rough when my little brother Tim came along 6 years later.  Grandchildren and now great grandchildren have embedded her tiara with sparkles, as she wears it gracefully.  Words truly cannot express the depth of love and appreciation for my mother, but I can say that it is her faithful and consistent walk with Jesus that has set an example and a pattern for my brothers and I through the years.  We grew up knowing that Jesus loves us and that He desires a relationship with us.  Thank you, Mom, for being true and real  ~  even in the hard and difficult times.  I love you!



Join with others in following my example, brothers,
and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears,
many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction,
their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.
Their mind is on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven.
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control,
will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
Philippians 3:17 – 4:1.

Mom, my brothers & I 2008

My mother-in-law & I

Unlike many women, I have been blessed by my mother-in-law.  Having had a full and demanding life throughout the years of raising her own family, she is rich in wisdom, advise, and has learned to pray, love, and laugh in the midst of it all  ~  good and bad.  She is the woman who loved and nurtured a little boy who later became the one I have loved for almost 30 years now.  Thank you, mom, for embracing me as one of your daughters, for your love, and also for your walk with Jesus.


One Mother’s Day many years ago, my Daddy proudly expressed his hand-picked sentiments to my mom with the help of Hallmark.  As she opened the card and read the front, she tried to hide the giggle that kept pushing its way through her attempt at being serious.  In Daddy’s best effort at finding just the right card, he accidently picked up a greeting that looked like one he had just read but had put back on the rack … but this one wasn’t the same.  This one read “To Someone Who Has Been Like a Mother to Me.”  Daddy just couldn’t figure out how he goofed so bad, but it gave us a big laugh for years to come!  I’m sure you’re like me … we have those special women in our lives who are not blood related, but they hold a very precious place in our hearts.  They have ‘Been Like a Mother’ to us.  Since I have lived in several places throughout my life and home has been far away from my own mother, I have had several such women.  Joan, Evelyn, Viola, Jeanie, Pat, and Louise.  I’m so grateful for these Godly women, their prayers, and their love for me.

Kim, Ryan & I 1989

 A tiny girl named Kimberly and a little guy by the name of Ryan set my heart into a tailspin of love … and my perspective on life AND of this special holiday was changed forever.  Dimples and lace, baseball and volleyball, braces and glasses, love and more love … Years of Mother’s Day celebration took place and now they are both all grown up.  There is no greater honor or privilege than to continually stay on my knees in prayer, seeking God’s divine intervention and will for my children. 

I have no greater joy
than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4


Ryan, Kim, Troy, Cole & Tadpole 2009


Grami’s love is the newest form of Mother’s Day celebration … Cole Michael.  Words are simply not enough. 

 There are various forms of love …
various forms of celebration …
various forms of honor taking place this weekend.  Please feel free to leave a comment or two regarding someone special that you wish to honor and celebrate this Mother’s Day. 

Until next time,