Archive | May, 2012

Manure

21 May

Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose
and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 4:5

Tim and I

This was one of the best weather weekends of the year so far…absolutely beautiful!!  Not willing to waste the gorgeous sunshine on yard work, Tim and I hopped on the motorcycle Saturday afternoon and set out for a nice ride through the country.  Families with children were out in their yards playing together.  Couples like us were out working in gardens or tending to their flowers.  Swimming pools were being opened.  Yards were being mowed.  Yard sale signs were posted, directing shoppers to their treasures.  Treasures were littered all over lawns, tables, and in garages … and yes, we stayed the course without stopping.  Bright balloons were tied to a mailbox, pointing the way to a birthday party.  A church parking lot full of vehicles and the marquee at the road announced congratulations to the bride and groom.  Ice cream shops, pizza parlors, gas stations, and post offices.  Life everywhere!  How fun to truly take a back seat to it all and watch the world in full bloom of activity as we rode by!  Just as we went around a bend, the houses on both sides of the road were beautifully landscaped, lawns were well manicured, and the flowers were pristine ~ and then it hit us!  Well, it didn’t literally hit us, but the stench of the manure slammed into our full-faced helmets and immediately made its way through the vents and into our noses.  The initial whiff was not so bad since reflex usually dictates a shortened breath.  But once I began to inhale again, the thick odor was still there and getting worse as we traveled.  I looked over at the field beside us and saw the guilty spread, fertilization at its best.  With every breath I took, I felt sorry for all the home owners living within a mile of that farm.  I could hardly breathe … my eyes were burning, my stomach was churning, and I was slowly suffocating.  Just as I was about to pass out and fall off the back of the bike, we finally rode into the clearing of fresh air.  Slow deep breaths cleansed my lungs while I began to mentally write this blog.

I don’t know about you, but this is so exemplary of real life.  Busy with the usual and normal things – just like I saw all afternoon while on the back of that motorcycle.  The way is nice, in fact quite beautiful at times.  Well manicured and maintained, beautifully blooming, and even enjoyable.  And then WHAM!  The manure hits … and yes, in real life, it truly does hit!  It stinks, it makes my tummy hurt, I find it hard to breathe, and I feel like I’m going to pass out and fall off the ride.  But just like I did Saturday, I hold on tight to the Driver.  I know that He doesn’t like it either, but to get where God has purposed for me to go, I have to pass beside the fields of manure.  And there isn’t only one freshly fertilized field to endure, but many.  The crazy thing about manure is that it’s extremely valuable to the field over which it is spread.  It gives nourishment and fertilization, which without the key element of manure, the very life and existence of the crop would be damaged due to lack of nutrients.  It’s the same in my own personal life … God allows the manure in my life to nourish and fertilize life-giving qualities to my never-dying soul  ~ like dependency, trust, grace, forgiveness, and love.

Won’t you join me today in putting our trust in the One who is in charge, knowing that He will get us through to our final destination, including manure fields and all?  He will get us through …

Until next time,
Debbie

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Isaiah 43:1-2

 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this
all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,
but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down,
but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the
death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed
in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given
over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed
in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work
in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12

***  For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see the latest pictures of our granddaughter, Lillianne.        https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

 

Prayer Mowing

17 May

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 
Philippians 1:3

Following a couple days of consistent rain and clouds, the sun has once again graced the sky, drying up any lingering puddles and moisture in the yard.  After filling the tank with gas and checking the oil on the riding mower, I set out on my weekly adventure to keep the grass cut and any new pesky weeds pulled.  For an hour and a half, I ride back and forth, across, around, and up and down.  What would seem to be quite the mindless activity is nothing of the sort for me.  I take full advantage of the ‘quiet’ alone time to pray.  Usually, it’s not just the hour and a half prayer meeting, but if I have planned on the afternoon duty since morning, then I have already spent the day in a special attitude of prayer.  Yesterday was no exception.  With my list of names already fresh on my mind and in my heart, I began my week’s assignment of lawn maintenance and heart care.  Having had Kerrie on my mind all day, I continued to pray for her as she had heart surgery earlier in the morning in Oregon.  Just having talked to two friends on my way home from work, both hurting from life’s hard blows, my mind then immediately went in their direction.  My friend, Louise, lost an older brother a few days ago to a heart attack.  A family crisis has reared its ugly head in another home, leaving my dear friend to wonder what will happen next.  A text on Monday from my precious friend, Wendy, brought a smile to my heart as she wished me a happy Mother’s Day and then requested prayer for her friend Sheila.  Cancer has returned to Bob, my childhood best friend’s dad, wringing out the hearts of those who love him and Pauline.  Many many miles separate Becky from her parents … and I understand the ache that is caused by that distance.  The memories associated with the anniversary dates of loved ones who have passed away, graduations and unknown futures, expectant families, marriages that are in trouble, those who are in pain and have unanswered health questions ~ and of course, my own precious family … Kim and Troy, Cole and Lillianne, Ryan and Brittany, and Tim.  It truly seems like the list goes on and on.  I name names on purpose.  I know that most of you have no idea who I’m referring to, and that’s ok.   But behind every name is a soul that needs Jesus.  I read something on Facebook the other day that made quite the impression on me ~

Peace is not the absence of trouble …
Peace is the Presence of Jesus.

Not only do I pray that for my friends, and their friends, but I pray that for myself as well.

May flowers

As spring quickly flows into summer and the grass continues to grow, I will be busy mowing.  It’s certainly not the only time I pray, but I do feel like it’s the perfect time to make it a day of prayer and fasting, interceding on behalf of those in my life who need the Presence of Jesus.  I would love to pray for you and your concerns.  Please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog, and I promise to add your name to my list.  If your request is too personal and you would like to share it privately, you may email me at dvanhook@hgcrc.com.

Looking forward to praying for you and yours …

Until next time,
Debbie

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy?
Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick?
He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him
with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will
make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned,
he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:13-16


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
  

I thank my God every time I remember you.  
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,  
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will
carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you,
since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or
defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s
grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all
of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more
and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  
so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be
pure and blameless until the day of Christ,  filled with the
fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—
to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:3-11

***  For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see the latest pictures of our granddaughter, Lillianne.        https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

LILLIANNE HOPE … the story

11 May

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

Lillianne ~ one name among several scribbled on a note pad belonging to a junior high girl, dreaming of the day when she would have her own daughter.  That name, along with that hope, became reality several days ago when my granddaughter was born.

Purpose was involved for several months ~ what occurred so effortlessly 3 years previous was not going to be so easy this time.  Repeated non success led to disappointment, and disappointment led to frustration.  Perhaps there is magic in the month of August … magic that Divinely and mysteriously combined that school girl’s dreams with hope, and then that hope into reality.  Reality was confirmed and then anticipation immediately hit the calendars for the first week of May…nearly the exact same day that the older sibling had been due to arrive.  As the pages of the calendar began to turn, so did the Momma’s stomach, limiting the items on the menu, and once again not able to even tolerate the aroma of brewing coffee.  Necessary changes were made without much grumble, and the family of three (plus dog) adjusted.  By early December, ultrasound photos revealed the hidden secret of gender and all were thrilled beyond words to officially refer to the ever-growing baby belly as Lillie. Along with her big brother Cole, Lillie had gifts under the Christmas tree, and was quite noticeable in the annual holiday family photo.  The New Year started and with it came some concern from Momma’s doctor which sent her to bed for a couple of weeks.  Those weeks of rest proved to be helpful, but only temporarily.  As spring dropped hints of its existence throughout our very mild winter, Kim’s body began to show signs of early dilation and possible pre-term labor.  Once again, orders were made to rest and do very little … Prayers were prayed, food was brought in, and child care was provided during those long weeks of caution.  For all of this and more, we are so appreciative!  The phrase ‘full-term’ finally made its way into our vocabulary and the little momma received professional permission to emerge from her couch. A slow but deliberate re-entry into activity began to take place, as well as ‘practice’ contractions and pressure.  Substantial dilation secretly moved in on the scene and was detected and announced by the attending physician during the final weekly visit.  A suggestion was made to have all bags packed and to expect a quick trip to the hospital before the scheduled day of surgery.  A fun-filled weekend, including movie night with popcorn and milkshakes, a family picnic on Saturday, and kickball in the park ended with timely contractions and extreme discomfort during the wee hours of Sunday.   A call to the doctor in charge during those sleepy hours instructed the waiting parents to arrive in Annapolis as soon as possible for an exam, at which time the number 8 seemed to boost workers into sudden activity.  The preferred C-section delivery was prepped, as was the patient, and at 5:50 am on Sunday, April 29, 2012, Lillianne Hope was born.

Welcome, Baby Lillie!

Having driven the hour and a half to Annapolis and arriving at the hospital around 4:30 am, I knew there was nothing I could do but sit and pray, so I did everything I knew to do ~ sit and pray.  I received an occasional text from Kim or Troy, informing me of the latest detail … until all went quiet when she said “we are going in soon”.  For the next hour or so, my mind played back to the scene three years before when they rushed my very ill daughter down the hall to deliver her first-born by emergency surgery…6 weeks early.  My heart soared in prayer as the minutes clicked by that God’s presence would be with these kids as they experienced another special moment in their lives together.  An excited text interrupted my sanctuary as the new Dad informed me that Mom and baby were fine and that I would get to come see them both soon.  As I entered that hospital room and saw the glow on my daughter’s face as she sat there holding her own daughter, my heart was full and ready to burst with joy!  No wires, no tubes, no alarms, no special machines!  Although everything worked out and Cole is an active and healthy little 3-year-old boy now … this time, it’s a new and different beginning to life!  Thank you Jesus!

Cole meeting his little sister, Lillianne

I drove back to Cole’s house where he and Papaw were playing and waiting for me to come get them.  We explained to the little guy that Baby Lillie had finally arrived and she was at the hospital with his mom and dad.  As we were getting out of our van to go inside, Cole looked over at me and asked … “Baby Lillie is not in Mommy’s tummy now?”  It was so fun to be able to tell him that she was now out … and that he was going to get to see her eyes, her nose, her hair, and her little fingers!  I believe in his little boy heart and mind, he understood.  Sporting his ‘big brother’ sticker that the nurse’s station handed him, with excitement and the thrill of many, many months of anticipation, Cole squealed with delight as he reached for his baby sister and touched her for the first time.Visitors came and went.  So did the nurses and doctors … providing care, instructions, and advice.  The little family was reunited in their home on Wednesday, just 4 days following Lillie’s birth.  One couldn’t help but remember that it was on day 4 that Mom and Dad were finally able to hold Baby Cole for the first time …still connected to wires, tubes, and machines.   Again, thank you Jesus.

Mimi with Lillie, Cole, and Uncle RyRy

The weekend was extra special as Uncle RyRy and Britt flew in from Seattle to officially meet little Miss Lillianne.  Ryan arrived on Thursday morning, giving us a couple extra days of playtime with Cole at Mimi and Papaw’s house so Mom and Dad and little Miss could get settled without added commotion. Brittany then joined the party Saturday morning ~ allowing this Mom and Mimi to feel blessed beyond words to be surrounded by her entire family for a few days.  It was a busy time – cooking, loving the babies, cooking again, loving all the babies some more, and cooking again.  Sunday night came all too quickly as Tim and I headed back to PA in order to go back to work the following day.  Reality always has a way of interrupting.  The salve to help soothe the aching Mommy heart this time is our upcoming family vacation to Seattle in July!

Another week has nearly come and gone – Lillianne will be 2 weeks old this Sunday … Mother’s Day.  I look forward to spending the day with both of my grandchildren and their parents ~ Mimi and Papaw taking turns to hold the itty bitty one while the other plays with tractors, cars, and dinosaurs.  It will be a special day, full of life, love, and little ones.

Just as her name was first written on a piece of scratch paper many years ago, all of Lillianne’s days were ordained by God and written in His book before one of them came to be … Psalms 139:16.  I count it a privilege and honor to also document this little life’s days in my own journal!  As specific and detailed her tiny ears are, or to hear every squeak and whimper from her perfect little lips ~ may I begin this journey of writing with a heart full of praise and awe of the One who created her.  Won’t you join me?

Until next time,
Debbie

Lillianne Hope … 1 week old

Baby Lillie