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Four Generations

4 Aug

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;
he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love
to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. 
Deuteronomy 7:9

  

4 Generations

Hot sandy beaches, warm ocean waters, delicious food, and lots and lots of fun!  We are on vacation!  Blending in with the other thousands of people who are visiting the Delaware coastline this week, we are unique in that we are the only one that has ‘us’ in it.  We have 8 people in our ‘us’, and we range between the ages of 73 and 2 years old, with a lot of precious life in between.  Four generations fill this beach house with the noises of life, laughter, and love  ~  and here I am … right in the middle of it all. 

Sometimes I wonder how much love one person can experience in a lifetime.  The first love of my life, obviously, would be my mother.  I felt the comfort of her beating heart long before my tiny ears could hear anything.  Still to this day, the sound of her voice puts a smile on my face and a sigh in my spirit.  Mom!  I consider it a privilege to have her by my side this week as together she and I enjoy my family, each other, and God’s signature on the beautiful east coast. 

I will never be able to fully express my heart and the love it feels when I think of my own two children.  Next to Jesus and the salvation He offers to me, there is no greater gift I have ever received than Kim and Ryan.  Thousands of miles have sometimes separated us, but I keep a connection through continual prayer that welds my heart to theirs.  I daily claim these two promises …

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
 Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
 to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.  
2 Timothy 1:12

To share this week with Kim and her husband,Troy… and Ryan and his girlfriend, Brittany, is beyond words for me.  I will, on purpose, soak in every morsel of time spent with them and tuck it away inside my heart for another time… to once again feel the joy of their love and being with them.

Mimi’s love is like no other love.  It’s reserved for the little one who resembles so many different people in his life, but yet tie all of that variety into one bundle, and you have Cole.  His silly antics, his fresh new perspective on life, and his HUGE love for tractors and his Uncle RyRy have been the best entertainment of all!  But I consider myself blessed beyond measure to be me … and to observe his parents, his Papaw, his Uncle and Brittany, and his ‘Mimi Wells’  all experience Cole’s wonder, his excitement, his trust, and his love for life.  I have the best seat in the house … to watch everyone else enjoy my little grandson.  What joy!!  Of course, he and I have our own special moments together.  I volunteered for afternoon Mimi duty. Leaving the middle generations at the beach, my momma and I have been bringing Cole back to the house for lunch and his nap.  This allows some special snuggle time for Mimi and Cole … and special quiet time for mom and daughter.  Sigh …

Sharing all of this week of family fun with me, of course, is Tim.  He reaches a milestone of life himself this week as he turns 50 years old on Friday, August 5th.  Sharing his birthday with our daughter, who will be 28 this year, has always been a unique time of celebration ~ this year being no exception.  What fun to do so with our entire family gathered around to sing, give gifts, and to be festive in honor of these two people we love. 

As the week is beginning to wind down, and everyone will be going in their own direction of home, my heart will be full and overflowing with gratefulness to my God who has so graciously blessed my life with being me  … right in the middle of 4 generations.  To be loved, to be needed, to need, and to love.  Thank you, Father, for the morsels of mercy, of life, and of love. 

Until next time,
Debbie

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 89:1

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

 

*  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 additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of sand castles, ocean & Cole were taken at Bethany Beach on August 3, 2011.

Porch Swing

26 Jul

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus,
his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I John 1:7

There is a tradition in my life that takes me back to very early childhood.   It has remained a constant throughout the years and has grown most dear to me. 

My Mammy and Pappy had a swing on their front porch.  What fun my brother and I had as we stood up and walked backwards against the swing, pushing it up against the wall of the house, then jumping on for the fun ride forward, often times, bumping the wall behind us as the swing swayed back and forth.  Very soon after, an adult would always open the screen door and tell us to stop swinging so hard. When visiting my grandparents alone, Mammy and I would often go out together and enjoy the afternoon summers, waiting for the mailman, and sometimes even the ice cream truck.  I also remember especially admiring the lilies of the valley that grew beside the porch.  My Mammaw Wells also had a porch swing.  Most Sunday afternoons when our family would drive down to the country and visit, if she wasn’t out in her garden picking fresh veggies, we would sometimes find her sitting out on the front porch swing breaking beans. 

I’m not sure how I old was when our own family got a porch swing.  It certainly was after the years of neighborhood tournaments of Life, Monopoly, and Concentration, which seemed to almost always take place on our front porch.  Also, it was after the years of using the front porch as my own personal roller skating rink.  I remember well sitting on the swing to read, to write, and to think.  Later in my teen years, it was a nice place to sit and talk on the phone to my friends … and to even share the swing with a special friend.  As I married and began to have my own children, Mom’s front porch swing was a relaxing place to sit and watch the kids play in the front yard when we were all together on a Sunday afternoon.  It was also a favorite place for my mom and I to sit with Mammy when they came to Mom and Dad’s for a visit.  This time, though, with no pesky little ones bumping the swing up against the house!

Several years later, we built a house in Pennsylvania and I was so excited to put my very own swing on my front porch. I especially enjoyed the evenings as I sat overlooking a cow pasture, a pond, and the infamous Star Barn just across the street from our home.  When we later sold our home, packed up our kiddos, and headed to New Mexico, the cheaply-built, store bought swing stayed behind on that porch. 

God blessed our lives in a variety of wonderful ways while we lived in Albuquerque.  One of those ways was in the many dear friends we made while in ministry at Nazarene Indian Bible College.  Work and Witness teams faithfully came to work on the campus, along with dedicated and committed volunteers that came every year for weeks and even months at a time to work by our sides at NIBC.  One such couple was our precious friends, Mike and Norma Johnson.  Having retired and desiring to be obedient to God’s leadership, they arrived every December and were our Christmas elves.  One year, they brought an extra special gift for me … a porch swing, made special for me, by Mike himself.  What a treat! 

Jayla, Destanee & Scottie

It was immediately hung with joy on my back porch, overlooking the yard and a nice glance of the ditchbank road where Scottie and I walked each morning.   It also offered a gorgeous view of the brilliant sparkling night sky of the southwest and the moon that I often felt like I could literally reach out and touch.  I enjoyed the surprise visit of a beautiful horse that wandered into my yard one morning while sitting on my swing having my devotions.  Summer of 2005 found me often sitting with two precious little girls on my back porch swing, watching the silly antics of the rufous hummingbirds that would dart back and forth, hovering at eye-level to see for themselves the beautiful girls behind the giggles. Teens would fill the house and spill out onto the back porch and onto the swing, grilling hamburgers, laughing, and having fun.  The swing always seemed to be a favorite place to gather, relax, visit, enjoy life, and spend time with Jesus.

After weathering the hot dry summers of New Mexico, my porch swing was packed away into a big yellow truck and moved to the extreme humidity of southern Indiana.  There it  became the supporting framework for mud-dauber’s nests and was also drilled a couple times by carpenter bees.  After realizing that I wasn’t the only one enjoying the swing, a can of hornet/bee spray kept me company as I sat on my front porch swing, overlooking the thick woods of Higher Ground Conference andRetreatCenter.  Birds, rabbits, squirrels and deer were my visiting friends this time…with an occasional co-worker or neighbor who would stop by for a chat. 

Papaw & Cole

Just this past September, the swing was packed away again in another big truck and moved to the beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania.  Since then, it has been greatly enjoyed by Papaw, Mimi, and their precious little Cole.  By now, however, the swing’s wood has darkened with age, weather, and use.  When we recently received a phone call from the swing’s creator, informing us of an upcoming visit, I got all excited to clean up my special friend.  In the midst of the extreme heat and humidity we have endured for the past 3 weeks, the swing received a good scrubbing and a chemical bath, removing embedded Albuquerque dirt, weathered elements, and no doubt some sticky little boy fingerprints from roasted marshmallows.  A nice coat of wood sealer covered the fresh clean surface, offering a brand new look to my old faithful friend. 

Norma, me, and Mike

This past weekend, Mike and Norma treated us with a couple days of sweet fellowship.  I was so excited to once again sit on the swing between the two of them, eternally grateful for their friendship, their prayers for me and my family, and for my swing.  I wanted them to know that no matter the circumstances of life that have come my way, my porch swing has been faithful and supported me through them all.  The wood on the swing will eventually deteriorate and the wood screws will no longer hold tight, but I confidently believe in my heart that Jesus will have another beautiful swing waiting for me on the back porch of my mansion … overlooking the rolling and majestic hills of Glory.  Won’t you plan on stopping by for a visit on my porch swing and a chat that could quite easily last for a thousand years? 

Until next time,
Debbie

 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. 
Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,
so that our joy may be complete. 
2 John 1:12

*  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 additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of flowers taken in our backyard ~ July 8, 2011

 

 

Camping

8 Jul

The LORD will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame. 
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

We used to camp a lot when our kids were growing up.  Honestly, it was the only way we could afford a vacation that provided swimming, hiking trails, and playground equipment that did not include staying with relatives or friends.  Through the years we had a variety of shapes and sizes of campers which depended on our income level and the amount of people in our family.  When we were first married, we worked some special deal while buying a used Fiesta from some friends, and they threw in their very old and very tattered fold-down camper.  We took great pride in fixing up this box on wheels.  We scrubbed, we repaired, we painted, replaced, and took along a big tarp to cover the skylight and to keep out the mosquitoes.  It wasn’t much, but it was enough to allow us to travel to Niagara Falls on our first wedding anniversary.  Now, 30 years later, we can look back on those days and smile with fond memories. 

Camping at Rehoboth Beach

As the kids came along and we needed to have more amenities to make life more comfortable for all, we bought a Viking pop-up, complete with ice box, sink, stove, lights, and a furnace!  We felt like we had moved right up into a Holiday Inn!  We still made sure we were within walking distance to the bathhouse, but we had most of the other luxuries of home!  A few years later as Kim and Ryan were getting bigger and Dad’s job provided us with the extra income, we bought a 22’ Prowler travel trailer.  Wow!  We now had a couch, an overhead fold-down bunk, a kitchen with stove, counter top, sink, refrigerator and table, a closet, and a bathroom with toilet, sink and tub/shower!  Nice!!  We felt like we went from a Holiday Inn to a Residence Inn!!  

Those were fun times, full of memories that will last a lifetime!  Hot, humid days were survivable because we spent nearly the entire day at the beach or in the pool.  Fans were set up against the screen ‘windows’ at night to pull in the not necessarily cool night air, but the less hot air of the evening.   A quick passing thunderstorm was always welcomed as we often sat near the screened windows in order to feel the cool mist from the rain outside.  The distinct smell of charcoal burning and the aroma of bacon frying tweaks a camping memory every time!  Sigh …

Well, this past weekend was a gentle reminder of those days as the air conditioner in our home went out Saturday evening.  Not quite sure why the house wasn’t staying cool as we went to bed, we opened windows and doors, setting up fans to pull in the less hot air of the evening.  By the light of the following morning, Tim diagnosed the problem as a simple fix, but it was Sunday and a holiday weekend.  A family cook-out was on the schedule for our day, so we loaded up food, swim gear, the grandson and his parents, and headed up to Harrisburg.  The hot, humid day was survivable because we spent a big part of the day in the pool.  After eating, swimming, and visiting with siblings, nephews and nieces, babies and children, aunts and uncles, we headed back home to our non-air conditioned home.  The pre-plan to build a bon-fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows was quickly vetoed, so we ordered a yummy white pizza from our favorite local pizza shop and had it delivered.  We sat out on our screened-in back porch with the ceiling fan on high, listening to the constant chirp of our backyard birds while we welcomed a quick passing thunderstorm that blew in a refreshing mist that lowered the temperature several degrees!  With fans strategically set up throughout the house (including one on the grandson while he napped) to pull in the cooler evening air, I believe we actually began to enjoy the ambiance of the moment.  As the “noisy pretty lights” were beginning to show in the sky, we all piled in our van and drove a short distance to gain a better view of the local fireworks.  Years ago we would find the right spot to sit with the kids to watch the sky light up,  and then head back to the camper.  We did the same again this year. 

Now, we always had the alternative to pack up and spend the time in Baltimore at Kim and Troy’s home, where the air conditioner is always on high.  The suggestion was often mentioned, but I think there was something unusual and alluring about staying here and ‘roughing’ it.  The birds were louder, as were the motorcycles and loud trucks, the smell of the bacon frying was more inviting, the breezes were felt and greatly appreciated, the taste of the ice cream was more refreshing, and the laughter in the little boy’s swimming pool was more fun because our perspective was a bit different.  It felt like we were camping, but we were certainly staying in the Renaissance of the Marriotts this time … minus A/C. 

Once our daughter and her family said their good-byes and headed back to the real world of air conditioning and home, I actually had one more day of vacation.  Computer problems at my place of employment kept me from going to work on Tuesday.  Allowing myself the luxury of sleeping in a few hours, I slowly woke to the bright beams of sunshine that flooded through both of my opened bedroom windows onto my bed, along with the cooler morning air which was being pulled in by the fan.  As I pulled the covers back and crawled out of bed, my heart was full of anticipation of the new day ahead and the hope of seeing the A/C repairman soon.  Later as I clicked the thermostat over to COOL and shut all of the windows and turned off all of the fans, there was a big part of me that was grateful for the excuse I had had to sit out on the porch more than usual, to enjoy the cool mist of the rainstorm, and to wake up with my blinds and my windows opened wide to the bright sunshine. 

Won’t you join me in accepting the unexpected and less comfortable moments while we embrace the improvised, unusual, and rare?  Sometimes it takes times like those to see the ray of sunshine that otherwise would’ve been hidden and never enjoyed.

Until next time,
Debbie

Blog photo of flowers taken in our backyard ~ July 8, 2011

Diet Update

3 Jun

 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God
the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

I wish I could invite you all to come for a visit. We would sit out here on my back screened-in porch and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season while catching up on each other’s lives. I would make some fresh lemonade or peach iced tea and bring out some yummy snacks to munch on.  Healthy snacks, that is …

It has been nearly 50 days now since I began my Flat Belly Diet, and the results continue to make noticeable changes. The suggested length is a 32 day plan, but that day came and went without notice. This past holiday weekend allowed me some extra moments first thing in the morning, so I measured, weighed, and jotted down my findings. On day 41, the official stats revealed the loss of 7 pounds and 7 ½ inches!! Now unfortunately, all of those 7 ½ inches did not come from my belly … in fact, a very small percentage of them melted from my middle. But I’m happy with the results at this stage of my diet. My summer wardrobe fits better, I have more energy and motivation to match the length of daylight hours, and I know my body is healthier with the improved routine of eating.

Along with counting calories, I make sure that I eat a serving of a MUFA (monounsaturated fat) with each meal, and I exercise faithfully. Since moving to PA and becoming a Direct TV customer, we get Fit TV, where I have found my all-time favorite work-out guru, Gilad Janklowicz. 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week with Gilad in Hawaii has complimented my diet and has helped reduce weight and inches. I drink a lot of water, order very carefully when eating out, and for the most part, have not cheated extensively by sneaking potato chips, ice cream, or french fries.

Wouldn’t it be fun if you could come and visit?   I would prepare and serve you food that would be tasty, enjoyable to eat, and most satisfying. We would need to stop at a road side stand in Lancaster Amish country and pick up some fresh veggies and fruit … and then buy some antioxidant laden dark chocolate following our Hershey Chocolate World tour. On another day and in the other direction, we would head an hour south to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor where we would enjoy a heart healthy meal of seafood. We would still keep it healthy in the midst of our fun time together!

So, when are you coming?

Until next time,
Debbie

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink.
Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,
so that our joy may be complete.

II John 1:12

Completely

20 May
 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength. 
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

 

I was honored with an invitation to be the guest speaker at a ladies’ annual spring banquet last Friday night.  The church was located back in my old tromping grounds of southern Indiana, so I was blessed beyond measure to have 12 of my dearest friends from the Cincinnati area come and see me!  The evening’s festivities began with cupcake chat, singing, and a delicious dinner.  What a joy it was for me as I sat there eating, talking, and listening to the different conversations around the table … trying to soak up every moment of being with my friends so I could tuck away the evening’s morsels of memories and savor them later. 

Most of the gals, plus my Momma!

With satisfied and full tummies, we all made our way back up to the sanctuary for the remainder of the evening.  Moments before I was introduced and welcomed to come up front, a young lady began to sing a very special song.  As the music started to play for her accompaniment, my heart began to swell and my eyes began to fill.  I sat there in that pew, totally transported to another time and another place. 

The time was September 13, 2006 and the place was Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center in West Harrison, Indiana.  Having packed every item we owned, leaving behind our place of ministry in Albuquerque, NM for the past 9 years and friends too many to count, a new life was before us.  After traveling for 3 days and 1400 miles, we were almost there.  As I followed behind the big yellow moving truck and exited off the interstate, I slipped my Sandia Women’s Retreat 2006 Worship CD into the player and found this special song on purpose.  The message of the words penetrated my being as I once again had to let go and surrender everything to His control.  With tears streaming down my face, we pulled onto the grounds of our new home, ministry, and life.  I sang this song as an act of worship … my heart filled with sadness in leaving friends and ministry behind, and my soul filled with the uncertainty of a new place, new work and ministry, and new people.  Right there in that moment …  Click here to listen

COMPLETELY 

The secret of life is letting go
The secret of love is letting it show
In all that I do
In all that I say
Right here in this moment

The power of prayer is in a humble cry
The power of change is in giving my life
And laying it down
Down at your feet
Right here in this moment

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

This journey of life is a search for truth
This journey of faith is following you
Every step of the way
Through the joy and the pain
Right here in this moment

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

Right here, right now, and for the rest of my life
Hear me say

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

I am yours and yours alone
Completely

 

As I sat there last Friday night once again listening to this song, I could still smell the freshly mown grass, I could see the deep plush green of everything (as opposed to the very little green and mostly brown that we had grown to love in Albuquerque), and I could still feel the intense ache, fear, and loneliness that enveloped me at that moment in 2006.   But as that young lady continued to sing, my Jesus wrapped His arms of love around me and whispered in my ear … “Look around you.”  There I was, literally surrounded by 3 rows of women who specifically came to see me.  These weren’t just any women.  They were the ones I rubbed shoulders with on a regular basis … at work, at district functions, Munchy Monday, … all from my life at Higher Ground.   We have laughed together, cried together, prayed together, and lived life together.  They were the result of my letting go, laying it all at His feet, and saying I am Yours and Yours alone … completely.  

I am overwhelmed with how personal and loving my Jesus is to me.    He took the past 5 years, placed it all in a box for me, and wrapped it up with a nice pretty bow on top.  He placed a tag on the outside and wrote “I love you, Debbie!” Those girls, especially, know what that means to me.  They are the jewels inside that shine above all the other stuff. 

With tears still in my eyes, it was my turn to come up front and speak.  Temporarily laying my notes to the side, I had to share my journey through those last 5 minutes and express my love in return to my Jesus.     

Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

I am Yours and Yours alone
Completely

I will share the rest of the story … next time.
Debbie

A Mother’s Day Prayer

8 May

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

Moms sacrifice body, emotions, and mental stability in order to nurture and love another human being.  There are as many different scenarios as there are moms.  Every unique experience  could be written and sold as a best seller to those in their own world.  The following is a borrowed story, penned by a dear friend a few years ago on Mother’s Day.  His short narrative tugs at my own heart strings as I celebrate this special day in honor of my Mom and my own motherhood …

“Swept Away

There is a two hundred year old stream side mill in Allentown, New Jersey, known as the Black Forest Restaurant.  Featuring German cuisine, it is a favorite eatery for my wife.  So that is where we headed to celebrate Mother’s Day 2008.  Patsy has been and continues to be a great mom, and it is always a wonderful privilege to honor her.

Surrounding the restaurant are a variety of small shops filled with antique and artsy stuff.  They are a magnet for my wife.  Beyond the shops is a winding path that parallels a noble brook.  It is a magnet for me.  So we bid farewell to one another and became temporarily lost in our respective magnetic fields.

As I followed the wood-chipped walkway through springtime’s blossoming flora, I inhaled deeply the sweet elixir of wild rose and honeysuckle.  Blackbirds, robins and sparrows sang joyfully from behind leafy curtains.  I stopped to listen to the chorus of a favorite hymn, and that is when I heard the cry.

Baby Duck

Rapid-fire peep-chirps of distress were coming from somewhere upstream.  Listening to determine the precise location, I soon became aware that the source of the siren was approaching.   And just then, riding on the current, coming around the bend, floating down stream was recently hatched duckling.  Most likely this little peep had wandered too far from his brothers, sisters and mom and had been taken captive by the rushing madness of a storm swollen stream.

For the next twenty minutes I tried desperately to rescue the little fellow while the current whisked him farther from home.  Unfortunately the creek’s bank became too muddy and steep, and stream-side’s briars became impenetrable.  There was nothing left to do but stand and listen as the peep-chirps faded.

Following the path back to civilization I could not help but contemplate about Mother’s Day, families, and the currents of this world that too often sweep our own children into danger.

“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!”
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Therein is our hope! 

Your servant in Christ – Pastor Bieber”  **

Mother’s Day is a special day of celebration!  Celebration of our moms for their love, their prayers, their care, and their gift of life to us.  It is also a day of celebration for the privilege and the awesome responsibility for the priceless and eternal gifts God gives to us as mothers.  This tender little story will always tug on my Mommy heart as I daily spend time on my knees for my children and their loves, just as I’m sure my own mother stays on her knees for me and my brothers and our families.  The undercurrents of life are strong, but there IS hope when we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength.  Join me today as we celebrate our moms, and as we continue to pray for our families.

Until next week,
Debbie

** Del Bieber is Pastor at Tom’s River, New Jersey Churchof the Nazarene
You may subscribe to his written stories by contacting Pastor Del at trnazarene@juno.com
You may also subscribe to his podcast (you listen to him read his stories) at http://jerseypilgrim.blogspot.com
Thank you, Pastor Del!

Two

24 Mar

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

 

 Life took an unexpected twist and turn two years ago and blessed us with the premature birth of our first grandchild, Cole Michael.  A severe case of pre-eclampsia dictated his six-week early arrival.  An emergency c-section delivery followed by 20 days in the NICU was the dramatic start to his little life. 

Cole Michael ... 2 hours old

The miracle of life itself  … the way that God creates little people to grow, develop, and to become bigger little people is an amazing reality.  Just two hours old, Cole’s tiny but deliberate and strong hand clutched the tubes and wires that literally were keeping him alive.  Now at two years old, he reaches out and grasps at life with purpose and enthusiasm, excited to be healthy, happy, and loved.

Gender traits early on revealed this little boy’s favorite toys and obsessions, like tractors, cars, trucks, trains, and balls.  Genetics has already determined Cole’s dark hair and his preference in using his left hand.  Environmental influences have molded a tender and loving heart, a fondness toward puppies, an enjoyment of watching ‘ball’ or ‘cars’ on TV, and an appreciation of discovery and learning new things. 

Just the other day, Cole began to tug at the hem of his momma’s capri pants, thinking they must be hiked up and he needed to pull them down to the proper length.  Later the same day, he was caught taking the honey bear out of the pantry and giving it kisses … believing it was Winnie the Pooh.  Every day is filled with stories of funny little antics that bring joy and laughter to our hearts. 

We will spend today and throughout the coming weekend to celebrate this precious little boy and the miracle of life God has given to us.  Won’t you join me in thanking God, the Great Creator, for His design, His plan, and His purpose  …

Until next time,
Debbie  …  Mimi

PS … to read the full account of Cole’s birthday, read my blog dated March 24, 2010 … called Anticipation.

Happy Birthday Ryan!

18 Mar

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

 

Back in the day, it was not in the usual routine of anticipated visits to find out if the baby growing inside was a girl or a boy.  Observations of how high or how low, round belly or round body, fast or slow heart beat … all were used as a means of forming opinions.  But the only one true test was that of birth.   Having only been in labor for 2 ½ hours, I rejoiced with my husband at 1:02 am on March 18, 1986 to find out that we were the parents of a baby boy!  With a little girl already wrapped around our hearts, adding Ryan to our family was a joy beyond words!  Blonde hair, blue eyes, and 2 dimples in his chubby cheeks, he was undeniably a Van Hook.

Growing up with a sister who was quite vocal, Ryan really had no need for many words.  Kim understood the language of little people and did a wonderful job of interpreting his gestures and mutterings.  But it’s safe to say, now at the brand new age of 25, he is well versed in his vocabulary and does well in communication.  Ryan is an assistant store manager for Verizon Wireless in Seattle … looking forward to managing his own store in the near future.  Easter Seals speech therapy to Android and iPhone sales!

Super Mario, baseball and Chuck, Caravans, soccer, basketball, cousins, Work and Witness teams, green chilis, Sandia youth group, Mario and Conrad, Gonzaga,  …

The memories are endless and the future is before him!   

Uncle RyRy and Cole

Now that a new generation has graced our family with the life of Kim and Troy’s own son, Cole, I continue to be in awe of God’s Signature upon my life.  Being a Mimi is incredibly special … a special all of its own!!  So many other grandparents have commented that if they had known having grandchildren was so much fun, they would have had them first.  I do not agree.  Although being a parent has been hard work, frustrating and heartbreaking at times, there is no greater joy to my heart than my own two children.  I love them so!!

I live this day, Ryan, in celebration of you and in honor of God who blessed my life with yours!  I thank Him every day for your life, asking Him to surround you with His protection, His love, His grace, and His mercy.  Morsels of Mercy!!!  Happy Birthday, my precious son!

Until next time,
Debbie

Divine Appointments

3 Mar

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
   all the days of my life…
Psalm 23:6

Happy Anniversary to Morsels of Mercy!!  It’s so hard to believe that it’s already been an entire year since I posted my first entry.  As you can see, I’m throwing a festive celebration by changing the theme of my blog to something bright and vivacious, updating family photos and periodically switching items around.  The new look will add some pizzazz and excitement as I continue to share more of the precious mercies of God.

Since I’m on the subject of mercy, I want to throw out a couple morsels for you to chew on…

While living in Albuquerque a few years back, I used to travel often to attend conferences, meetings, and to visit family.  With every flight I took, I settled into my seat with anticipation of the Divine Appointments that God had on my schedule for that day.  Conversations would take place, names would be exchanged, and nearly without exception, another request would be added to my prayer list.  Even though the travel isn’t as far, nor the destinations as exotic, God is still sending Divine Appointments my way. 

I have had the privilege of meeting Lavonna, whose father was recently diagnosed with cancer.  I do not consider it a coincidence that I rode her morning commute to downtown York for two weeks while on my first temp assignment.  Divine Appointment.   Surgeries  …  Bill, Bruce, Michelle ~ all people associated with the County office where I was working.    All Divine Appointments.   Another co-worker who is a concerned mom with a son deployed in the Navy… Divine Appointment.    As I have left one job and am starting another temporary position, I will continue to pray for those whose paths I have crossed, and anticipate the new journey that God has in store for me around the corner. 

Prayer requests are made each time I get on the phone with my dear friends in Cincinnati  ~ more Divine Appointments.  Having our precious grandson in our home from time to time for overnight visits is a most blessed Divine Appointment.  This little guy, who is nearly 2 years old now, needs to know that his Mimi fervently prays for him and for his family.  Another vital Divine Appointment is time spent on my knees daily for our own son and his sweet girlfriend.  Some appointments are kept faithfully everyday while others are unexpected and given prompt attention.

As said so perfectly in Streams of the Desert  ~  March 2 …

“Meet Him alone.  Meet Him regularly.  Meet Him with His open Book of counsel before you; and face the regular and the irregular duties of each day with the influence of His personality definitely controlling your every act.”

 It is a privilege to open God’s appointment book each day … to thumb through the scheduled times along with the unexpected moments  ~  all that lead to Divine Appointments … and Divine Appointments lead to more morsels to share with you.  Thank you for your continued interest and support while we celebrate a new year of Morsels of Mercy together!

Until next time,
Debbie

Express Girl

17 Feb

But now, this is what the LORD says–
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
 I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1

 

 

I’m Debbie, the Kelly Girl!   Well, sort of…   Those of us dating back to the era of the ‘60s are very familiar with this term, originally signifying a woman who accepted temporary clerical work in office settings for her source of income.  In all reality, however, I am an Express Girl!   After being so frustrated with Craigslist and their onslaught of SCAMS and bogus ads, I was referred to an employment agency for help.  Express Employment Professionals are not only looking to find permanent part time work for me, but they also offer temporary assignments that are short term and fill a void for companies in need. 

I am currently working for the County of York, Pennsylvania in the Department of Information Services.  Located in the downtown area, I have experienced quite a change in my daily life style since becoming an Express Girl.  To prevent paying nearly 2 hours worth of wages just in parking each day, we spent some research time on line to determine the best alternative, and I now ride the Rabbit Transit to and from work.  I have a photo ID that clips to my clothing, allowing me access to the necessary areas, and I am continuing to tweak my new skills at answering a 22 line telephone system.  These temporary days of being a county employee begin early, full of new experiences and interesting people, and are filled with great anticipation of pulling back into the garage and closing the door to the outside world at the end of the day. 

Having been out of the employment loop for a while, along with the unknown of city traffic, downtown parking, and an unfamiliar work environment, unsettledness was found knocking on the door of my heart for a few days.  Now, I know to Whom I belong and am confident that none of the circumstances of my life march past God unnoticed.  To remind me of these truths throughout my work day, I jotted down some notes that I received from my Constant Companion … and the blue note card now sits on my temporary desk, ready to encourage and settle any unsettledness that might try to return.   

 “Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile…”
From Streams in the Desert ~ Tuesday, Feb 15

    

“But now, this is what the Lord says – He Who created you …
fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have summoned you by name … you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

“Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said,
‘Peace be with you!’”
John 20:26

 

 “Let us sing Hallelujah by ANTICIPATION”
From Streams in the Desert ~ Wednesday, Feb 16

 

I am always in awe of how God takes care of me!  The Red Sea was rolled back personally for me in waves as I experienced His undeniable intervention on my behalf these past few days.  While I heard various ones around the office comment on how crazy quiet the phones were,  I felt like standing up and informing them all that it wasn’t an odd occurrence … it was MY God taking care of me and allowing me the time I needed to learn this new phone system!  Then after researching and noting the scheduled bus stops and transfers and having accepted the fact that I would be walking 2 – 3 blocks to where I needed to be, God WOWed me!  Since the bus driver undoubtedly recognized an amateur passenger, he inquired of my final destination, informing me that if I stayed on the bus at the transfer center, he would then drop me off at the next stop which is directly behind the Administration Building, leaving me with a 30 second walk to the door!  YAY GOD!!  At the end of the work day, all I do is take the same 30 second walk back to the bus stop and within 15 minutes, I’m picked up and headed toward home.  $1.18 each way and I’m singing His praises!! 

 

As an Express Girl, my desire is to truly represent the various meanings of the word EXPRESS …

Verb 1                         To articulate, communicate and convey

Adjective 1                   Fast, direct, nonstop and prompt

Adjective 2                   Precise, definite, exact and specific

Verb 2                          Squeeze out, extract

As these days of temporary employment transition from downtown York to possibly other assignments as an Express Girl, I will be praying.  My prayers are that as I learn new things, meet interesting people, and experience the expected unknowns, may my need for dependence upon Jesus ‘squeeze out’ and extract His love from within me.  My short term missions will require quick, nonstop, prompt, precise, specific communication between my Lord and I … that will be reflected gently to my ever-changing world by a heart that loves Jesus.  Won’t you join me in being an EXPRESS person … depending on Jesus and then taking Him to our world?

Until next time,
Debbie