Archive | October, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

29 Oct

The rain came down, the streams rose,
and the winds blew and beat against that house;
yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matthew 7:25

As Hurricane Sandy bears down on my everyday world, I am anxiously watching all the details from the safe haven of my mother’s family room in central Indiana.  In August, my daughter and I purchased airline tickets to come see my mother for my annual birthday-month visit.  That trip began last Thursday as Kim, 6 month old Lillianne and Mimi flew into Indy just 24 hours prior to my mother having surgery to remove her gall bladder … which began consistently rearing its ugly and diseased head in the past 2 weeks.  Only God could have orchestrated such timing, allowing us to be present to help take care of my precious mom.

As the weather forecast developed over the past several days, our return flight back to the east coast, scheduled for last evening, was canceled.  So, here we are, ‘only’ expecting some high winds gusting to around 50 mph and some rain, watching as the news reports about those areas many miles away that we call home.   Prepared for power outages and extreme amounts of rainfall and wind, prayers are with our husbands and Cole as they honker down for whatever Sandy delivers.

Second Cousins
Jaxon 8 months and Lillianne 6 months

Our new departure is set for Wednesday morning, but we’ll see.  In the mean time, we are blessed with extra time with my mom, enjoying each giggle from Lillie, visits from family, and the satisfaction of personally knowing that Mom is healing and getting stronger each day.

Won’t you join me as we all pray for the safety of so many people affected by this storm?  Once home and able to do so, I’ll bring you the rest of the story …

Until then,
Debbie

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Mike and Norma

25 Oct

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:3-4

 

We meet all kinds of people throughout our lives.  Some are brief acquaintances while others leave lasting impressions on our hearts.  We are truly blessed to say that we have several that fit into that category, for we have many cherished friendships.  One such couple is Mike and Norma.

The Johnsons walked into our lives, and back out rather abruptly the first time we met … the day our family drove onto the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in late July of 1997.  They had been helping to keep Work and Witness teams busy, and no doubt entertained, until the new W&W Coordinators arrived in Albuquerque.  Once the big yellow truck pulled up, and the weary travelers from Pennsylvania crawled out, introductions were made, handshakes were exchanged, and no doubt Mike greeted us with his life-time motto, “I’m filled with the joy of living!”  Gracious to have helped out in the pinch, Mike and Norma were anxious to get back into their vehicle and head to their next missions assignment.

Mike with Ryan and Kim
Christmas 2000

The next few months were busy as we hosted several Work and Witness teams, and before we knew it, the Christmas season was upon us … as was the arrival of Mike and Norma Johnson.  Faithfully, every December, Mike worked along side of Tim while Norma spent the entire month of December sorting through donated items and putting together a large gift bag full of Christmas presents for every student of Nazarene Indian Bible College and each member of their family.  Including several years before we were on staff, Mike and Norma served NIBC for a total of 13 Christmases.  In time, as the educational structure of the Bible College changed, their own personal mission remained the same as they continued to volunteer their time and efforts towards the on-going ministry in Albuquerque.  As the history books now recite, the campus was sold and everyone who once called NIBC home disbursed and moved elsewhere.

Apparently, the lasting impressions were also made on their hearts, as the Johnsons found their way to the hills of southeastern Indiana where we were then on staff at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center.  It was so good to catch back up with our friends and to once again visit on the front porch swing that Mikie had made for me several years before.

The ladies … Carol, me and Norma

Having their home base located in Hondo, Texas for over 10 years, we wanted to visit our friends in their world, but the distance and our own responsibilities prevented that from happening.  This past winter, however, they made the decision to finally retire and move back up to their old hometown in northern Ohio.  Excited that a 6 hour weekend jaunt was feasible, we began making plans for a road trip.

Our mid-October drive through the mountains of western Pennsylvania into the northern hills of Ohio provided a most colorful canvas for our trip.  It was a blessing to finally meet family members and put faces to the names we have heard so much about through the years!  Mike and Norma’s home, their keepsakes, their community, church, and even Miss Kitti was a joy to share with them this past weekend.  It was also a special treat to visit with another NIBC family member, Carol Hileman.  What fun we had at Sunday dinner!

Mike and Norma’s love and dedication for God has been expressed by their love and care for people.  While raising their boys, they were caretakers at a Holiness campground for 22 years.  They later traveled all over the country, serving in various ministries, including Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque and a Navajo mission in Rough Rock, Arizona.  Endless stories, a song thrown in here and there, and countless moments of laughter and enjoyment filled our hearts as we visited.

Mike and Norma

Now, I’m sure that most of you do not know Mike and Norma.  But I do imagine you have at least one Mike and Norma in your life.  Is there someone or a couple, age not important, who has walked across your heart, leaving imprints of love?  Time and circumstances have brought changes to visits, but relationships remain strong.  Although you do not share the same name or blood line, you know that you are still family.  I know that I am a better person today for knowing and loving Mike and Norma.  Won’t you join me today in thanking God for such people?  We just spent an entire weekend with ours … why don’t you call yours or go visit them.  You will be glad you did!  You will be “filled with the joy of living!!”

Until next time,
Debbie

        I have found a wondrous Savior, Jesus Christ, The Soul’s Delight
        Ev’ry blessing of His favor Fills my heart with hope so bright
        Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the King of Life to me;
        Unto Him my all I’m giving, His forevermore to be.
        I will do what He commands me, Anywhere He leads I’ll go;
      Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the dearest Friend I know.

O Be Careful Little Feet

5 Oct

So be careful to do what the LORD
your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right
or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God
has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong
your days in the land that you will possess.
Deuteronomy 5:32-33

 

Cole and Lillianne are at Papaw and Mimi’s house for a couple days while Momma is away at Women’s Retreat and Daddy is working. What a time we will have together, enjoying life on such a different level than the usual Monday through Friday routine.  I marvel how quickly they are growing, becoming their own little persons.  I am in awe of how God created each of them in His own image … and I know that it is my responsibility as Mimi to help nurture, to help lead by example, and to pray diligently for them both to become the big people that God has dreamed they would be.

Mimi and her loves!

During another fun moment with the kiddos this past summer, I took this photo of our feet.  Three pairs of feet, each pair belonging to a different individual, each pair a different size, each a different shade and skin tone, all the while all three pair share the same blood line and are attached to bodies that were all scrunched together for the picture.  I can’t help but smile, then sigh every time I see this picture, because I know that it will only be a blink in time before those little feet will be as big or bigger than their Mimi’s.  Where will those little feet take them in their lifetime?

I quickly think back to just a couple months ago when our family spent the weekend at the shore.  Cole’s first reaction to the sand this summer was not a pleasant one, irritated by the immediate feel of grit.  But it wasn’t too long before he found that the same gritty sand was fun to play in with his loader and dump truck, and great to run on in the wet surf.  As we left the beach, Cole appreciated the security of his favorite yellow crocks from the hot temperatures of the sand, and at day’s in, he was happiest with clean dry feet all snug and warm in his socks.

Our feet carry great loads, some heavier than others, depending on the activity of the moment ~ how important it is for our feet to wear the appropriate attire for proper care.  Boots, sneakers, flip flops, high heels, flats, and house slippers are among the most common gear for our feet, all serving their purpose in protection, comfort, and decoration.  Scrubs, lotions, and polishes all lend a helping hand in keeping the rough edges smooth and adding grace and color.  And for some, a toe ring adds that special touch of décor and individuality.

It’s imperative to do more than just walk on our feet.  We must care for them…

If standing on them too long, feet hurt.  If the right amount of support is not offered, feet ache.  If not bundled up enough, feet get cold.  If not sufficiently protected by sunscreen, feet burn.  If calluses and corns are not properly tended to, feet get infected.  If walking on a rough and rocky path, feet trip.

Remember the little Sunday School song we sang as kids?

O be careful little feet where you go,
O be careful little feet where you go …
There’s a Father up above
He’s looking down in love,
O be careful little feet where you go.

What an incredible message in this simple song.

O be careful little eyes what you see …
O be careful little ears what you hear …
O be careful little hands what you touch …
O be careful little lips what you say …
There’s a Father up above
He’s looking down in love,
O be careful…

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Ephesians 5:15-17

Each day of our lives, we are faced with decision after decision ~ choices that can be influenced by others, by our surroundings, and by our circumstances … but the responsibility of these decisions belong to us personally.  They all reflect our heart and our core beliefs.  Therefore, we must do all we can to guard our heart…

My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.

Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.

 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.

 Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.

 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
listen well to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
Proverbs 4:20-5:2

 

Listen to this song by Casting Crowns … “It’s a Slow Fade”
Click on this link to read the lyrics and listen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wo26sCH-Fw

We must pay more careful attention,
therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
Hebrews 2:1

The simple message in the Sunday School song is a serious one.
Won’t you join me in being careful?
It is a slow fade … people never crumble in a day.
But they do crumble.
Lives are forever changed.
But the good news is that we can throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
We can RUN (little feet) with perseverance the race marked out for us.
BECAUSE WE FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS.
HE is our ONLY hope in being careful.

Jesus is the Only hope for Cole and Lillie … for Kim and Ryan …
for me … for you.

“O be careful little feet…”

Until next time,
Debbie

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3