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Christmas 2016

21 Dec

Yes, it’s that time of year already. Unbelievable. Crazy. Fast. In fact, it’s been so fast that I’m not even sure of anything that has changed since this time last year! I do know that my grandkids have gotten taller and the beards on our men have come and gone … and come back again, and the digital read-out on the bathroom scales keeps changing. Other than that, life has carried on with just a few variations to keep things interesting.

We ‘celebrated’ winter in early 2016 with 36″ of snow in one snowfall in March.

Kim is now a LuLaRoe consultant and enjoys bringing ladies together to have fun while they shop, try on, and buy trendy, comfortable clothing. Check out her Facebook page at… http://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoeKimArndtvip

In May, Troy graduated with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity from University of Maryland University College.

Cole is now 7½ years old and in the 2nd grade, and our 4½ year-old Lillianne is in pre-K. These two little people continually bring joy and fun to Mimi and Papaw’s hearts!!

Merry Christmas!

Ryan and Brittany flew out from Seattle to spend an extended Easter weekend with the family. We toured Hershey and Gettysburg, colored Easter eggs and also celebrated Christmas 2015. Later in August, Verizon flew Ryan out for a business trip in DC, enabling us to see our son again for a quick visit.

After much preparation and anticipation, Brittany was just accepted into the University of Washington School of Medicine at Gonzaga in Spokane, WA. We celebrate with her and Ryan and in her great ambitions to be a doctor!

Tim rode around 12,000 miles on his motorcycle this year … he and his brother, along with 2 buddies put 4800 of those miles on their Harleys and went to Sturgis, South Dakota. Tim and I took 2 major rides on the bike – one to Wadsworth, OH and another to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, along with many local day trips. We really enjoy this time together!

I took a road trip this summer with some of my family to visit special relatives in Kentucky and Virginia – what a wonderful time we had as we loved on one another and ate some really good southern-cooked food! I also flew to Indy a few times this year to visit my momma and family, taking Cole with me once as part of his Christmas present from last year. It’s always great to spend time with family!

We hosted some out-of-town guests this year … my Mom came for Memorial Day weekend, my little brother and his family came for the 4th of July followed by my other brother a couple of weeks later. Then, my life-long best bud, Becky, flew out from Crowley, Louisiana to help celebrate my birthday in October.

A very special group of women gather in my home each month to be refreshed by one another and by Jesus. I’m in awe of the lives He has hand-picked to be part of this ministry and am blessed by these ladies and their own personal journeys and walks with Jesus.

As Christmas draws near, with it comes the excitement of good times with friends and family, gifts and giving, carols and cards. This past year, I once again started up an old family tradition that Tim and I used to do with our children when they were young. Every new greeting card that we received for Christmas 2015 went into a festive gift bag and kept in a prominent place where I have my daily devotions. Beginning with January 1st, I pulled a new Christmas card from the bag and prayed for them that day. Once I had gone through the complete bag, I started over, that time I either texted or emailed the card giver, told them of my tradition and that I would be praying for them that week … asking them to share specifics on how I could pray. So, if you would like to be included in my Christmas card prayers for 2017, we would love to receive a card from you!   I’m excited to be part of what God wants to do in the lives of my family and friends this next year!

From our home to yours,
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Tim and Debbie

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3

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Christmas in July

29 Jul

In all my prayers for all of you,
I always pray with joy …
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you,
since I have you in my heart.
Philippians 1:3 and 7

 

It sure has been a fun and exciting July … a visit over the 4th with my little brother and his young family, then two weeks later, my big brother and his wife made a spontaneous trip to the east coast. They also came to visit some of her family, making our home their place to kick back and get a couple good night’s sleep. We were especially blessed to also have Cole and Lillie with us that weekend for their mid-summer visit with Mimi and Papaw. Blueberry picking, yard sales, and catching lightning bugs were some of the favorite things enjoyed by our little Loves, not to mention the fun play time with Uncle Jay and Aunt Sue while the guys repeated the weekend motto of “It wasn’t me!” With only a few more days left in this month, anticipation of more family fun time this weekend catapults me into August!

IMG_7357

So where are the Jingle bells, red Santa suits and the mangers filled with hay? I have my own assortment of them and more in greeting-card form in a bright and shiny gift bag, easily accessible and set in a prominent place. If you sent a Christmas card to us this past December, you have received this text or email from me … or a similar version.

I once again started up an old Van Hook
family tradition this year and began
putting my Christmas cards that we
just received in a bright shiny Christmas gift bag.
Each morning I pull the front card from the bag and
pray specifically for that family that day.
I just wanted you to know that today is your day.
Thank you for the Christmas greetings and the
year-long reminder of you and yours
and our special friendship! Much love!!

IMG_7355

Once the stack of cards cycled through the first time, I then began to pull a new card at the beginning of each week, followed by another text or email …

In keeping with our family Christmas tradition,
I pulled your Christmas card once again this morning.
I will be praying specifically for you and yours this week …
could you please share how you would like me to pray?
Are there any urgent requests, concerns on your heart,
or needs that I can take to Jesus on your behalf?

I have received requests from parents with children who need Jesus. Others have concerns regarding job frustrations. Some have severe health issues. Children have requested prayer for their parents. There is a need for guidance and direction during a recent divorce and others have requested prayer for safe travels this summer. Another friend reached out regarding her husband’s addiction to alcohol.  No matter who we are, the sun will shine and the rain will fall. We will experience immense joy and extreme sorrow. We embrace peace, but also suffer pain. There are always reasons to pray for others.

With the ease and convenience of real-time communication and opportunities to send virtually “cost-free” greetings on various forms of social media, we don’t put postage stamps on envelopes and mail Christmas cards out like we used to. However, if you would like to be included in my tradition of Christmas card prayers, put Tim and I on your Christmas card list this year! I would be honored to take you and yours to Jesus throughout the coming new year!

Won’t you join me in celebrating Christmas in July … and all the other months, too? This could become a tradition in your own life – one that by the very act of doing connects hearts, tears down walls, and boosts our faith in the One who has the answers!

Until next time,
Debbie

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

Still Celebrating Christmas!!

22 Jan

Lord, You have been our Dwelling Place
throughout all generations.
Psalm 90:1

 

There has been a cute little monkey bank sitting in various places in our home since Cole Michael was born in 2009. It has been emptied a few times, with the contents accumulating to enough cash to do something fun and meaningful. Along with the assistance of a great sale on Southwest.com, I booked two flights to Indianapolis and presented the best, once-in-a-lifetime Christmas present to our grandson… a trip with Mimi to visit Mimi Wells and family!

 

The details of our visit would be very boring for most, so I will spare you. However, the specifics about a 6 year old little boy are priceless gems to share. His views, his comments and his actions are note worthy and things I want to remember!

 

Jamba Juice! A simple act of giving him options and talking with him through making a decision was fun and I could tell he felt important as he carried his Jamba Juice cup onto the airplane.

 

Pilot Cole

Pilot Cole

So as we were standing in line to board the plane, we heard someone behind us saying ‘excuse me!’ as they made their way up through the line coming toward us. The gentleman in uniform approached us and as I ushered Cole to get out of his way, I asked him if he was the pilot. Within moments, he and Cole had a conversation that ended with an invitation for Cole to join him in the cockpit of the plane. The flight attendant just inside the plane asked my traveling companion if his name was Cole and said that the pilot was waiting for him. Pilot Tim took pictures for Mimi while Cole sat in the pilot’s seat with his hands on the controls. What a fun way to start a late night flight to Indy!

 

Our shuttle ride from the airport to Mimi Wells’ house was provided by my policeman brother and his wife. Even though Cole slept part of the way there, he was impressed with the flashing lights and loud siren display that Uncle Tim put on for him.

 

Sleeping! I gave Cole the option of sleeping alone in my old bedroom or together downstairs on a queen size bed. I could tell he wanted to be with me, but he seemed rather concerned that he might fall out of bed since the bed was not against any walls. So, I decided to sleep on the side of the bed where Cole is used to having a wall … and this Mimi became his wall. This wall was kicked, head butted, covers stolen, coughed on and snuggled against. But when I felt a little arm wrap around me and pull me tight with a ‘good morning Mimi’, all bumps and bruises to the wall dissipated.

 

Morning devotions!   Great anticipation was in the air that first morning for a fun day of play with cousins Jax and Lyla, but first Mimi wanted to start our day off with Jesus. While we were still in bed, I pulled up a Really Woolly Kids video on my phone and we watched the silly antics of Jacob and Gracie Woolly and their family, who are sheep. The story talks about The Shepherd bringing us back to Him when we have wandered away. Like a light bulb that went off with an ah ha moment, Cole chuckled and said “Mimi! Jesus is the Shepherd! Do you get it?!? They’re sheep and He’s the Shepherd!” What an awesome way to start our day!

 

Star Wars light sabers!

Star Wars light sabers!

Hide and Seek!    Jax and Cole hid while Mimi stayed in the family room counting. They usually burrowed underneath Jax’s bedcovers with wiggles and giggles, taking away all challenge of finding them! When Mimi’s turn came around to hide, somehow I was able to successfully do so by simply standing behind the curtains, feet showing and all! They ran by me every time! Jax decided he didn’t want to hide, so Cole hid alone. I leisurely looked in each room, expecting to find him beside Lyla’s baby bed or in the tub behind the shower curtain, but all was quiet and Cole was nowhere to be found! After searching for several minutes, I faintly heard a clue — something about the room where you take a shower. I walked back into the restroom and I looked behind the door, behind the shower curtain … there was nowhere else to hide, so I started to leave the room. Then I heard another small noise and I followed it to behind the door … in the clothes hamper! It’s one of those soft sided ones, and sure enough, there he was, all curled up in a ball with his hood over his head, looking like dirty laundry! Needless to say, Cole won the prize for the most creative hiding spot!

 

 

Cole's drawing of a dino

Cole’s drawing of a dino

Let’s keep movin’!    Cole woke up with a fever on Saturday morning, so our plan to meet up with family at the Children’s Museum had to be cancelled. Thankfully, his fever broke mid Sunday morning, so we decided to take him then. I think Cole fell between the prime ages for the museum … too old for the hands-on little kids’ stuff that depends on the child’s imagination … he truly wanted to dig for real dinosaur bones … not pretend that he was! Then he was also too young to be interested in reading very many of the informational placards that helped him understand what he was looking at. When I would attempt reading them to him, he kept saying “let’s keep movin’!”   The dinosaur area was by far his favorite area — he was able to draw, dress up like a dino, and interact with a group of kids his age. When going back to Mimi Wells’ house, I asked him what his favorite part of the museum was … and he said “All of it!”  YAY!!!

 

“You sleep with Papaw!” After sleeping 3 nights as a wall with a sick kid who rooted and rolled around, I explained all of this to Cole and said that I was very tired. He reminded me that I sleep every night with Papaw and that he probably moves around in the bed and he knows that Papaw snores! He then pulled some logic by telling me that this was the last night together and that since he was feeling better he wouldn’t wart around as much. Besides, he said that we need to have devotions together first thing in the morning and it would best if I was there with him. Ok, Buddy …. this one last night!

 

I’m sure Cole is old enough to remember this trip – especially with all of the pictures I took! It’s important to me to do all I can to give him some very special memories, not only of our time together, but of time spent with my precious momma, his Mimi Wells. I also show him pictures of my Dad and talk about Grandpa Johnny, wanting my grandson to know that his great grandfather would’ve loved him so much! At the same time, I want to share Cole with my own mother … so she has a chance to know that her great grandson is a very special little boy. I look forward to doing the same with Cole’s little sister, Lillie, in a few years … also giving her glimpses into the Godly heritage that is mine and hers!

 

Throughout our weekend together, I repeatedly wished Cole a Merry Christmas, wanting to express the celebrative spirit in my heart that centers on Jesus and continually prays for this 6 year-old little boy as he grows into a young man that honors Jesus with his life! Won’t you join me as we pray for our little ones daily … and those that are not so little any longer?

He tends His flock like a Shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart.
Isaiah 40: 11

Until next time,
Debbie

Merry Christmas 2015

24 Dec

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the Light of Life.”
John 8:12

Excitement and anticipation are in the air! Decorated trees, greeting cards and carols accompany the yummy tastes of holiday treats, giggles of little children, and weary sighs from adults. In the midst of the festivities of the season, we want to take the time to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

 

It really wasn’t that long ago when we began flipping pages in the new 2015 calendar, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and special days throughout the year. One such day was in March when Ryan, down on one knee, presented Brittany with a beautiful ring and asked her to marry him. We are all very excited for the days ahead as their dreams come true!   Ryan was promoted to Government Account Executive – City, County and non-profit sales with Verizon. He thoroughly enjoys his new job! Ryan plays on a couple different Ultimate Frisbee leagues throughout the year, which gives him the chance to travel some, including a recent tournament in Hawaii. Brittany continues to study for her MCAT exam and enjoys her job at Harborview Medical Center, downtown Seattle. They will be celebrating Christmas with her family this year, so we are all looking forward to some Ryan/Brittany time soon after the holidays!

December 2015

Cole and Lillianne

Cole and Lillie celebrated their spring birthdays this year with a special trip to Disneyland in California with their parents … Cole turned 6 years old in March and Lillianne was 3 in April. Cole is now in the first grade, has collected quite the savings from the tooth fairy, and has his own Sunkist Bearded Dragon named Blender. He played baseball and soccer this year and is looking forward to his first season of basketball. Lillie attends preschool 2 mornings a week and loves it! She sings, dances, loves to wear twirly dresses, and adores her dog, Tadpole. Cole and Lillie both enjoyed swimming at the community pool this past summer, along with a couple trips to the beach. They come and visit Mimi and Papaw as often as everyone’s busy schedule allows, where they have a swingset and a creek in the back yard and a room full of toys, wild animals, princess clothes and some more of their favorite things. These two kids add so much joy to Mimi and Papaw’s life!

 

Kim and Troy celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in September. Their family continues to be extremely involved in various ministries at Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Severn, MD; one of which Kim is in charge of the annual women’s ministry retreat held at the shore in Ocean City, MD. Kim is a busy stay-at-home mom and a Pampered Chef consultant. Troy made a shift in his career and is now an Information Technology Specialist with the Marine Corps Civil Service. He also just finished his Masters of Science in Cybersecurity through University of Maryland University College. The 82 miles between their home and ours is only an hour and a half drive — we are blessed!

 

In March, I became the full-time receptionist/secretary for the York County CASA Program. Assigning ‘Court Appointed Special Advocates’ to neglected and abused children in the dependency courts is the focus of our mission. We are a small staff of 4, but our office is located in the county courthouse where I enjoy making many new friends!

 

Speaking of friends, beginning in March, I invited a few of my friends, neighbors and co-workers to my house for an evening of tasty treats, fun fellowship, and a short devotion. Refresh is the group name and the intention of this monthly meeting. 15 different women have attended at one time or another with an average of 8 or so who come most of the time. This is God’s idea, His name, His inspiration and His ladies. I am excited with anticipation each month as He pulls it all together for me and I share His heart to these friends.

 

After 8 years of riding, 2 motorcycles later and many hours of research and on-line shopping, Tim finally found the Harley Davidson of his dreams. Spending time together riding the motorcycle has become something we both really enjoy! Weekend trips, day rides and summer-evening ice cream runs have become the norm for us. Tim, his brother and 2 of their riding buddies also rode down to the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee during the summer.

 

Another favorite fun activity of ours is to spend time in the kitchen together creating tasty dishes and meals! We also invested in a pressure canner this summer, so we canned peaches, green beans, peach salsa, gluten-free tomato soup for our grandson Cole, and apple sauce. We also froze peaches, corn, blueberries, broccoli and cauliflower. Every few months, Tim also smokes a bunch of meat and we freeze beef brisket and pulled pork. Oh! I mustn’t forget the tastiest item we burrowed away! New Mexico green chiles! Our friend Daniel is our connection in Albuquerque, and he shipped us the best chiles yet! Like a pro, Tim perfectly roasted them and we then put them in the freezer to enjoy throughout the year!

Ready for church!

Ready for church

We took several extended weekend trips for our annual visits with friends and family. Seattle was our vacation destination this year — and we shared the experience with my mother! Ryan and Brittany were gracious hosts to the 3 of us, highlighting a few of our favorite tourist stops for mom, eating lots of yummy food and simply enjoying each other’s company! No matter how many days we are blessed to spend with Ryan and Brittany, it is never enough for this Mommy’s heart!

 

Heaven is always becoming a bit sweeter, isn’t it?   With the passing of friends and family this year, we are all reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of living ready.   We never know what today will bring, so let’s keep in mind that Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season, but He’s the reason for every day of our life!

Merry Christmas and a Very Blessed New Year,
Debbie

God sent a Star to light the way.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the Light of Life.”
John 8:12

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

24 Dec

 

“This is a day you are to commemorate;
for the generations to come you shall celebrate
it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
Exodus 12:14

Dear Daddy,

Today’s the day! I echo the thought of every child around the world – Today’s Christmas Eve! But for me, in my child-like heart, this day is more than special because of Christmas. It’s your birthday!

As a young girl, I always thought there was something magical about the fact that your birthday was on Christmas Eve … it made the day more fun and added to the excitement and anticipation! Now that I’m all grown up, I realize that you so willingly shared your one day of the year with us kids and Mom, making sure that “all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care”. I love you, Dad!

Remi

Remi

Tim and I are on our way to Indy to spend the next few days with Mom and the family. Family – oh Daddy! Much has taken place since last year’s birthday letter. Your Grandpa heart would be a melted gooey mess these days as Tim and Courtney have been blessed with a new little life. Remington Kimber has brought an unexpected joy to the family, along with her adorable older sisters, Azure and Zarah. I’m sure that Remi’s daddy will fill her heart with stories and tales of her Grandpa Johnny and your love for her all the way from Heaven!

A special blessing will be added to the family in March when another great granddaughter arrives! Jay and Sue are excited as Jason and Leslie will be bringing a little sister home to Jaxon and Bo. I’m sure that you can remember those special days when you and Mom brought us kids home from the hospital … and then your “grandchillren”.

Enough about us here … let’s chat about your news! How about that Joe Talhelm?! I imagine you were a bit surprised to see him so soon! Did he tell you that I flew down to Louisiana to visit him and Becky back in April? Life has a way of turning crazy, unexpected and unthinkably difficult moments into morsels of mercy … wake-up calls , second chances, renewed opportunities, blessings and personal gifts from God. We will never understand  how all of that works.  Then Tim’s step-father, Bill ~ Jesus Himself no doubt introduced you to him. He was a good man, and Tim’s mom misses him so. I know that people say our loss is Heaven’s gain, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those who lost. I read this a few days ago …

“Christmas this year will be unavoidably sad for many people … perhaps for you.
Take heart!
Christmas needn’t be merry to be meaningful.
It’s the Christ of Christmas we celebrate,
not Christmas itself.”

Daddy, as your family gathers to celebrate Jesus during this Christmas season, please know that for those of us who you called your chillren, we will always celebrate YOU on December 24th … and everyday when we see you in the eyes of your siblings, in the actions of your grandkids, and in the hearts of all who loved you!

I love you, Daddy … happy birthday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

“Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of our recent move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbiage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.”

Happy New Year from the Van Hooks!

1 Jan

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Mimi and Papaw with their loves

Mimi and Papaw with their loves

Just a few days ago, Tim and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our little loves and their parents in their Baltimore home.  A couple weeks previous, God blessed us with an extra special Christmas visit from my mother when we received our 4th snowfall of the season while she was here.  What fun we all had as we took turns sledding down our big hill and watching the pure delight in the eyes of our little loves.  And now as the New Year arrives, we anticipate a belated Christmas celebration with our kids from Seattle.  We learned long ago that there’s so much more to celebrating Christmas than what we do or where we are on the 25th of December.  It truly is a season … a Spirit of celebration that centers our focus on the gift of Jesus and His birth.

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate)
and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us;
and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty),
such glory as an only begotten son receives from His father,
full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.
John 1:14 Amplified

 

For out of His fullness (abundance)
we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with]
one grace after another and
spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing
and even favor upon favor
and gift [heaped] upon gift.
John 1:16 Amplified

 

Out of His abundance, God provides for our every need …  Tim continues to be busy working for Kitchen Saver as the Installation Manager, and I remain at the Elder Law Firm of Robert Clofine where I work in the office.  When not working and the weather permits, Tim and I enjoying riding our ‘new’ motorcycle which we bought in June.  When not on the bike, we love spending time in the kitchen, looking for new recipes, creating healthy dishes, smoking meats, and eating tasty foods.  We grew a small garden this past summer, freezing much of what we grew and buying even more at local produce stands.  Our freezers are once again full and overflowing, providing us with tasty treats throughout the next year.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Out of His abundance, God provides one grace after another!  I think of our trip to Seattle in the fall … what a great time we had with Ryan and Brittany!  They are gracious hosts, always providing us with warm hospitality, great food, and wonderful memories of another special time together!  This particular time, we included a short trip to Portland, Oregon and another few days to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Our other travel destinations were Indiana, West Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio, not to mention the trips here and there all on the motorcycle and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Of course, we can’t leave out the all-important short journeys back and forth to the south side of Baltimore to see our little loves and their parents.  And in April, Kim’s house was full and running over as Uncle Ryan and Auntie Britt, along with Mimi Wells came to visit and to be present at Lillianne’s baby dedication.  We have certainly been blessed this year by being with friends and family!

The Arndt Family

The Arndt Family

Out of His abundance, God provides His favor!  The Arndt family purchased a house in January of 2013, and have had no problems spreading out into all corners and cubbies of this nice large home.  Both Troy and Kim turned 30 years old when celebrating birthdays this year, while Cole will turn five years old in March and Lillianne two in April.  Troy continues to be employed by Booz Allen Hamilton and has two remaining semesters in the process of earning a master’s degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.   Kim enjoys being a stay-at-home mom, with a new twist to the routine as Cole attends preschool three mornings each week.  Their family is extremely involved in various ministries at Grace Pointe Nazarene Church in Severn, MD, where they have an awesome network of friends and church family!

Ryan and Brittany   at a friend's wedding

Ryan and Brittany
at a friend’s wedding

Out of His abundance, He provides favor!Ryan is still employed by Verizon Wireless and is currently working at a store in Bellevue, WA – literally in Microsoft’s backyard.  Brittany changed jobs this year and loves her new position … working for the University of Washington at Harborview in the Internal Medicine Department as a Project Coordinator for the residents and medical students.  She has her sights set on medical school, so her spare time is spent studying so she can take the entrance exam this coming spring.  In Ryan’s spare time, one would most likely find him with a good book at a nearby coffee shop, playing Frisbee, or watching the sport of the season.

Out of His abundance, God provides spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing!  If nothing else existed in my life, knowing Jesus as my Redeemer and Savior would be enough.  But God has gifted me this year with special blessings that I will forever hold dear to my heart!  I was able spend time with special friends that I had not seen since we left Albuquerque 7 years ago.  Also, my continued prayers for my co-workers, boss, and myself have finally begun to tear down guarded walls of tension that have made for a better work environment and opportunities to talk about Jesus.  My prayer list is full of names that belong to people I know and love – some with illnesses and diseases, others with relational troubles, those that have lost loved ones, while still others need to know the life-changing love of Jesus.  I’m daily learning that a life of true obedience to God is one of spiritual blessing … overflowing from His abundance!

Well, another year has quickly flipped the pages of our calendars … a year full of God’s gifts, favor, spiritual blessings, and grace.  As we move forward into 2014, let us not forget that it is in Him that we live, and move and have our being.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:28

Our prayer is that you had a wonderful Christmas, and that it will be followed by an awesome and an abundant New Year!
Tim and Debbie

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https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

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Happy 80th Birthday Daddy … and Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

“Honor your father and mother”–
which is the first commandment with a promise– 
“that it may go well with you and that you
may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2

Dear Daddy…

I’m sure the cries of a tiny baby born on Christmas Eve 80 years ago really added to the excitement of Christmas! I wonder, Daddy, if your arrival made the story of Baby Jesus become more tangible for your young brothers and sisters. There probably weren’t many gifts wrapped and placed under the tree in your home in that small coal mining town in the hills of Lee County, Virginia, but there was a new baby.

Oh what a party we would be having today if you were still here with us! The invitation list would be long – friends and family would gather, and those who couldn’t would send cards to you! And what fun you would have reading each and every card, over and over again, for days … adding your own few words to make it say exactly what you felt it should say! We would have balloons, party hats, streamers, and party blowouts that the kids of all ages would enjoy! We would hang a bright banner, announcing that we were celebrating your 80th birthday, and we would take lots of pictures, although you would ‘humbly’ say not to take any pictures of you! We would have cake and ice cream, along with all sorts of snacks and goodies. You would unwrap presents, no doubt with the help of all the little kids who like to do that sort of thing.  I imagine you would get a new pair of pajamas and a maybe new sweatshirt with tiny little painted hand prints all over the front … from the new generation of little ones in our family. We would watch several of our home movie DVDs and have a lot of laughs about how everyone has changed over the years. After everyone would go home and the house would be a bit less chaotic, my family would still be there … in town from Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, for a few days to celebrate you, mom, and Christmas. Since I am still day-dreaming, the normal would be Mimi and Papaw Wells … and all would be right in the world, at least as we know it. What a wonderful day of celebrating you and 80 years!!

Daddy at his 60th birthday party

Daddy at his 60th birthday party

But life is what it is …. fragile. The last bright banner we hung in celebration of you announced your 60th birthday. The invitation list was long, the guests were many, the gifts were fun, and cards were poured over for days and days. After everyone had gone home and the house was a bit less chaotic, my young family was there, enjoying life as it was then with Grandma and Grandpa Wells. However, everything really was not right in the world even then. You had struggled with so much sickness for the past few years and you still were not real well, but we made the most of every opportunity that we had to celebrate you and your life. And that’s what I want to still do, as long as possible … to honor the man who loved my mom, his family and his Jesus. Happy 80th birthday, Daddy!

Me and Mom playing in the snow

Me and Mom playing in the snow

In celebration of the Christmas season this year, mom flew out to spend a few days with us here in Pennsylvania. We exchanged gifts with one another, and Kim’s two kids especially had a great time unwrapping fun presents from Mimi Wells! The highlight of our time was the additional 4” of snow that fell on our already white-covered ground on Saturday, creating a beautiful winter wonderland and an awesome playground for sledding down the big hill! Mom even giggled her way down the slope a couple of times! What fun we all had as we made new memories … and I know that mom was feeling the tug from memories past … of other snowfalls, other big hills, other little people, and you. After nearly 20 years without you, it’s all still bittersweet, Daddy. All of it.

Well, this Eve of Christmas will come to an end, soon to be announcing the arrival and celebration of Christ’s birth. But before it does, I simply ask the Lord to hand deliver this birthday letter to you … so you know that in my heart you are still loved deeply and celebrated not just on your birthday, but everyday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw