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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

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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

Jesus Loves Me

29 Sep

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son
 into the world that we might live through him. This is love:
not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends,
since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
 God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 
1 John 4:9-12

 

In previous years of experience, after having just moved to a new location … new job, different house, an unfamiliar area, and still undecided on which church to regularly attend, Sundays were usually a difficult day for me.  This past weekend, however, was not that way at all.  Please allow me to take you on a journey  …

When our family lived in the state of Pennsylvania back in the ’90s, I baked homemade cinnamon rolls quite frequently on Sunday mornings.  They were tasty and quick to devour just moments before heading out the door to Sunday School and church.  Knowing that we were driving down to Baltimore to attend church with our daughter and her little family this past Sunday, I was inspired to bake these decadent treats once again and take them with us to share.  With a slight chill in the air as it was raining outside, the sweet aroma of the rolls baking put a warmth in the heart from the memories of when we were much younger with much smaller children…and this put a smile on my face. 

Reminders of ‘home’ greeted us on our hour drive to the Arndts as I received texts from a couple Higher Ground friends, checking on us and sending their love.  Rolls and coffee were enjoyed in the usual fashion, just moments before going to church.  Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene is currently gathering its congregation in a really nice school building as new construction is taking place nearby.  A quick glance in the bulletin advertised Caravans, creating a smile of joy as I imagined my grandchildren earning badges while they learned the Articles of Faith and other core values in this Christian scouting program.  As I stood there in the auditorium sharing in the worship experience with my family, I took notice of the pulpit bearing the Nazarene logo “Holiness Unto the Lord”.  A heart full of gratitude for a prayer answered, knowing that a heritage of holiness upbringing will continue another generation in this Arndt/VanHook home.  The music filled the hall, nothing elaborate with a full orchestra or 50 person choir, but a simple platform of instruments and singers that lifted their talents and hearts in worship as they led us to the Father.  There were songs I didn’t know, but the message of these words spoke to me …

“All that is within me cries.
For You alone be glorified Emmanuel, God with us.
My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary, nevertheless we lay it at your feet.
Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary, nevertheless we lay this at your feet.”

 

Then there were songs I did know, songs that continued to draw me into His presence …

“Blessed be your name, In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow, Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name, When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name, When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be, Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name, On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering, Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away, You give and take away
My heart will choose to say , Lord, Blessed be your name”

Pastor Bolerjack began to relate a story concerning his son who is an avid OU fan and attended the OU vs UC game the night before.  I sat there and had to sort of shake my brain loose and think “Where am I?”  I now live in Pennsylvania, but at this moment am hearing this story in Maryland.  Pastor’s son lives in Oklahoma and attended the game, which was in Cincinnati.  Wow!  A connection … a real BIG connection to our hearts!  I know Tim was anxious to chat with the pastor following the service to tell him that we just left the Cincinnati area and Higher Ground, which is where the University of Cincinnati Bearcats annually hold their pre-season football training camp.  Having just watched the exciting game ourselves, it was quite fun to share this connection with him.  We also inquired of his relationship to R.T. and Pat Bolerjack, who we found out to be his uncle and aunt. More connections were made as we shared of our friendship with them from our days at Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. 

Moments before at the end of the sermon, as the piano began to play a very familiar song, my heart was moved to tears. A few months ago while working in the kitchen at Higher Ground and it was an extremely busy and tough day, I suggested to my friend that when we felt frustrated and and worn out, we should start singing Sunday School songs to help us through our shift.  Just the day before, this friend had texted me that her work day had been very rough, and at one point she began to sing her Sunday School songs.  I then told her that I’m so glad that she could sing Jesus Loves Me. As I stood there the next morning at the close of the service, the melody of that childhood tune began to fill that church auditorium.  Once again, I felt the extreme love of Jesus, His approval of me, my walk, and my relationship with Him. 

I knew right then that I would write about all of this … a personal, very intimate connection with God Himself, knowing that He hand-picked details of this day, at this time in my life, just for me!  Somehow, I need to express that just believing there is a God, religion, and all the churchy stuff of life is not what it’s all about.  It’s even so much more than a daily routine of Bible reading and prayer time.  It’s a relationship with God, communication with One Another, and as I read this morning in Streams in the Desert, it’s a ‘Peace that breathes music in my breast.’  Do you hear the music? … “Jesus Loves Me!”

Till next time,
Debbie

Love Notes

16 Sep

The angel went to her and said,
“Greetings, you who are highly favored!
The Lord is with you.”
Luke 1:28

 

Just this morning, on a paper towel tucked away in his lunch box, I wrote a few words of affection to my husband.  During the recent visit to our daughter and son-in-law’s home, I caught a glimpse of a note lying on a dresser in their bedroom.  It was from him to her, no doubt written in the wee hours of a morning before he went to work … for her to find as she woke a few hours later to the giggles and sweetness of their toddler.  Earlier today, I slipped a couple cards into the mail, with sentiments of love and prayer for friends. 

Two weeks ago this evening, Tim and I pulled down into the driveway of our new home.  Life had already set an incredible pace of busyness several weeks previous, including packing, work, more packing, and more work.  Once the big white truck was unloaded and returned, that pace continued for a few days in order for our household to function while our kids came to help us get settled.  Boxes were emptied, their contents placed throughout, allowing the house to quickly become our home.  What joy it was to cut open the protective tape from the sides of each box and to randomly come across a love note written somewhere on the box!   The gift givers were my precious friends from Higher Ground with whom I’ve worked side by side in the kitchen now for about a year. 

“Is the salad bar finished yet?    Love ya, Chrissy”

 

“Don’t worry  –  Be happy!     Love, Pat”

 

“Are you there yet?  Gonna miss you!  Don’t be too persnickety!
Ha! Ha!   Joy”

 

“Debbie, do you miss me yet?    I promise to come visit you! 
I wuv you so much!  Love Courtney”

 

“Hi   Miss you already    BP”

 

“- Tim and Deb –
Do you know that you are blessed and highly favored? 
Have a great day!
Love, Pat”

 

“   😮     I love you   BP”

 

 

“I’ll fly away!”

 

As the girls were using the products from these boxes, instead of their usual routine of breaking down the boxes for easy disposal, they took them to the back, often with a marker and a message.  How delightful it has been during these days of unpacking to reach into a box and find a simple greeting  …  a love note. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting
and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be
 thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I Tim 3:16

 

Throughout the New Testament, the various authors of the Bible penned letters which became God’s personal love notes to us.  Scriptures offer direction, love, correction, accountability, encouragement, and friendship.  With God’s Word as our only true example of love, will you join me as I desire to stay alert to the nudgings from the Holy Spirit … and to give notes of love that will express support, prayer, encouragement, accountability and friendship?

I have several more boxes to unpack  …  and I do so with great anticipation of more love notes!

Till next time,
Debbie

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts,
known and read by everybody.
You show that you are a letter from Christ,
result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3

 

Skype

29 Jul

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

 

Tim & I have a 16 month old grandson.  He’s a very active and energetic little boy, full of curiosity, fun, and love.  As all grandparents know, there is a special bond we share with these little people that is unique to any other relationship we have.

7 month old Cole & Grami sharing a moment!

Cole has always lived many miles from his Grami and Gramps, so we have consistently made the effort to bridge the distance by talking to him on Skype.  For those of you who may not know about this technological wonder, Skype is a web based program that allows us to see and hear Cole through the use of our computer’s webcam … and Cole shrieks with delight as his mommy’s computer allows him to interact with us.  Ever since the little guy was just a few months old, our hearts have stayed connected through cyberspace.

Peek-a-boo has been the all-time favorite game played with Gramps.  Hiding his face behind his grandpa hands, Tim’s silly antics have brought about giggles and smiles on the other end.  In recent weeks since Cole has become quite proficient in walking, HE is now the one who initiates the peeking as he ducks down below the coffee table, on which the computer sits, and pops back up with a grin and a twinkle in his eyes!  “Peekies!”

Cole & Grampi playing Peekies!

Not quite understanding the concept of a built-in camera and mic on the top of the computer, along with long distance, Cole DOES know all about love, affection, and relationships.  Just last week in a sweet moment of bonding, Cole raised his toddler arms to the computer and wanted his Grampi to pick him up.  A few days later, I asked him to give me his pacy … he stood there and stared at me through that computer screen for several seconds, took his prized possession out of his mouth, and then held it up for me.

Other such offerings, like his favorite John Deere tractor, any car, and the animal book with the tiger page opened are always eagerly brought to the computer to show his Grami.  What fun to also get the accompanying growl or motor sound!

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

 

As wonderful as Skype is, there is nothing like seeing our little grandson ‘face to face’.  To smell his baby skin, to snuggle him close when he’s sleepy or to take his hand while walking through the park, there is nothing like being with him.  The same is true with Jesus.  Spending time in the Word is life sustaining.  Fellowship with other believers is encouraging and refreshing.  Prayer is the key that unlocks the portals of Heaven.  While all of this is essential for our spiritual walk today, join with me in the greatest anticipation of all time … that moment when we will see Jesus face to face, and with outstretched arms, He will say … “There you are!” 

Until next time,
Debbie