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Heartbroken

28 Jul

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Last Friday started out like any other Friday – the final day of the work week with the peaceful anticipation of a weekend with no real obligations or commitments. As I drove into work, I let my mind wander to where Tim and I could ride the motorcycle to that evening for dinner … setting the pace for a couple days of relaxing and leisure time together.

At 10:53 am, I heard my phone buzz with a text … as I read it, my heart and my head began to swim with confusion and fear over the message and the possibility of what it meant. There were 9 minutes between the first text and the next, but it seemed like an eternity…

Life happened. The weekend was not leisure and relaxing, but instead it was heart wrenching and sad. I’m going to let my daughter tell this story, for she has already beautifully expressed the emotions and anguish that suddenly consumed our family’s world last Friday morning…

Tuesday, July 25th ~

WARNING: About to get REAL heavy and REAL personal….

Today is the 2nd hardest day of my life….next to last Friday. Today I have to get my lifeless baby removed from my body as it wasn’t exiting on it’s own. Friday at my 11 ½ week check-up it was discovered that our SURPRISE baby that God had gifted us had stopped growing around 8-9 weeks. There was no flicker…no heartbeat…just my little gummy bear motionless on the screen in front of me. I had lost my baby.

When we first realized I was pregnant, SHOCK was the emotion of the hour, of the day, of the week…. Yes, yes, I do KNOW what causes one to become with child… but, we are always so careful…. Apparently, God had other plans in mind! So, Troy and I shifted mental gears and began preparing for our new life as a family of 5! Researching bigger vehicles, making plans to rearrange living spaces, and sharing this exciting news with our children. They could not have been more thrilled….they LOVE babies! Names began flying around, “what about this one mom?” Questions….lots of questions…. hugs, and kisses for the baby were a constant… it was a joyous time.

Friday morning Lillie rubbed my belly, kissed the baby and told it she loved it…. Then I sent the kids to a friend’s house and went on my way to my check-up. Expecting nothing out of the ordinary… we had already had our first appointment, we have our baby’s first picture at 7 ½ weeks, heard his or her heart beating strong… I imagined a quick listen of the heart, questions/answers, and we’d be about our day….

Then my world came crashing down…. Instead of tips to help me sleep better at night I was listening to my options from here. Through tears I drove home – Troy was meeting me there from work- he held me-we cried. All our plans, our dreams, our hopes… the baby’s future…gone. Just like that. Now to tell the kids. Lots of questions…lots of not having answers… lots of not understanding. Heck, I don’t understand. Lots of tears.

Lillie still comes up to my belly and hugs it and says “why did baby have to die?? I wanted to be a big sister so bad!” Those moments hurt the most. Knowing the confusion and the disappointment in my children’s mind. Cole’s biggest frustration is not knowing if it was a boy or a girl… I feel ya, buddy…me too. Last night we had special family time saying goodbye to our baby and again this morning…

Through all this… we hold on to the promise that we will see him or her one day in heaven! We don’t understand why this happened, and we probably never will… I mean…why?! Why even give us this amazing miracle, this incredible surprise…just to take it away before we could even meet them…. But, again, we don’t know. But, I do know God loves us. We are holding on to that. We are holding on to each other. We are holding on to the prayers and the love from our friends and family. Please keep them coming as we navigate through this raw and unfamiliar road of grieving along with our children…. Never take for granted the blessing that our lives are.

I am sharing our story: 1. In hopes to help me heal…talking things out sometimes really helps…. 2. To validate my baby’s life by speaking of him or her…. 3. Not for attention or sympathy, but for prayers and to let others know they are not alone in their hurt.

Kim

*** *** ***

Once I received the initial text followed by the sobbing phone call, I dropped everything at work and drove the hour and a half to be with our daughter and her precious family. The safety and familiarity of the routines of life help to stabilize children and keep adults on track. Prescheduled and important obligations were met and the distractions were somewhat appreciated. As cruel as it seems, time marches on, even when the heart is broken. Even when the loss is still physically present and the world around you has no idea.

For this we have Jesus. This Mimi is so grateful that His mercies are new and fresh every morning. I am counting on the fact that He promises to be close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. And as a seasoned veteran of life, I know from experience that God wastes nothing. A ministry of comfort and healing will naturally take place as God tenderly allows the pieces from our broken hearts to speak love and understanding to others who are suffering.

Your prayers for our family are deeply appreciated.

Until next time,
Debbie

 

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;

    His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in Him!”
 The Lord is good to those who depend on Him,

    to those who search for Him.
Lamentations 3:23-25

 

 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ,
so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

 

For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was
made in the secret place, when I was woven
together in the depths of the earth.
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 139:13-16

 

 

 

Uncle Johnse

26 Jun

Though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;
For You are with me.
Psalm 23:4

Uncle Johnse and Aunt Bert

As kids growing up, routines and the traditions of life become a part of who we are. For our own family of 5, summer vacation consisted of 2 parts – we always spent one week in Holland, Michigan and the other week with family. Family, meaning West Virginia and Big Stone Gap, Virginia … with Chattanooga thrown in from time to time. Between my brothers and I, I’m sure we could write a book or two, each chapter telling a different story of our favorite memories, many of which took place up a hill and down a small lane in Switzer, West Virginia. Aunt Bert never let us go hungry and fed us till we could eat no more … and to this day, I still make my iced tea like she taught me. Barbara and I spent hours on the back porch playing jacks and twirling her baton while the boys were off getting dirty somewhere. Speaking of dirty, then Uncle Johnse would come home just in time for dinner, looking like he had been playing in the coal all day, which he had. I can still hear the front door open as he walked in … his gravely voice chuckled as we came running to greet him, excited to see him after a long day apart. He always made us feel like we were the most special kids around, letting us climb up inside his coal truck, sitting there behind the steering wheel and pretending we were as big a deal as we believed our Uncle Johnse was.

I remember being at home and my parents talking about Uncle Johnse getting severely burned in a coal mine fire. To this day, my little-girl thoughts and imagination still fill my mind with visions of what that must have been like for him and how scary it must have been for Aunt Bert, Mike and Barbara. I hope he knew that no amount of scars or wounds would have ever affected our love and affection for him.

There were several things in life that Uncle Johnse loved — from my perspective, anyway … Family, Cadillacs, coal trucks, to sleep with the TV on, horse shoes, and Aunt Bert. Oddly enough, some of my fondest memories were hearing them sometimes bicker and fuss back and forth, but at that the end of the day, they were always snuggled up together, either on the floor or on the couch, sound asleep in front of the TV, which was left on all night.

Time has a way of slipping by all too quickly, and little kids grow up and become adults and begin having children and then grandchildren of their own. That’s what happened to us, but a resemblance of that engrained tradition from our early childhood remained in our hearts and Uncle Johnse has always been our hero. Weddings, funerals, phone calls, road trips and Aunt Nan’s reunions have kept us close through the years. Uncle Johnse’s December 26th birthday has and will always be a red-letter day on our calendars, and I will miss our usual exchange of silly names — I called him Dirty Bird and I was his Yard Bird.

Uncle Johnse was a hero to many of us — a special man who loved life, loved his family and loved the Lord. This past Sunday morning, Heaven’s front gate was opened and Uncle Johnse walked in … his gravely voice no doubt chuckled as he once again saw the love of his life, excited to see her after such a long time apart. My own Daddy, gone 23 years ago tomorrow, and their brother, Kyle, were no doubt standing nearby, anxious for a hug from their brother … and the reunion of all reunions has just begun.

*******

Tim & I with my brothers & their wives
June 23, 2017

It was an honor and privilege to attend Uncle Johnse’s funeral this past Friday with my husband and my brothers and their wives … and to participate in the service by reading this writing.  As we left the beautiful lush mountains of West Virginia the following afternoon, my heart was full and overflowing with gratitude for special family memories and love that already stems across the great divide and into eternity.

Until next time,
Debbie

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.


 

On a Day Like Today …

24 Jun

A time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:4

On a day like today, I find it difficult to grasp the fact that I am an adult woman and not an innocent little girl who adores her Daddy. My thoughts, my memories and my heart are all taking me back to a day and time when my world revolved around my parents and my brothers … a world where life seemed to be so simple and very safe. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was always calm and without noise, for a family is all about emotions and moods, good days and bad, sunshine and rain. Snowstorms and snow days. Dogs and cats. Neighbor kids and bicycles. ’55 Chevys and shammy towels. Yes, shammy towels. Google it. It’s a wonder we didn’t get them for Christmas! Fishing poles and night crawlers. I could go on and on. That’s where I am today. It’s nice, but it also hurts.

unnamed

Me and Daddy 1967

My little-girl world fell apart 22 years ago today. I was 33 years old at the time, but life as I had always known it had changed in the instant of a heartbeat. Literally. I remember the feeling of utter disbelief and helplessness when I received the phone call that he was gone.

So here I am today. I posted a bunch of pictures of my Dad this morning on Facebook. In his honor, I stopped and picked up a coffee on my way to work…Daddy loved coffee. I chatted about him to my accommodating co-worker as we both began our work day. I sent an ‘I love you, brother!’ to both boys this morning.  I texted my mom, complete with a row or two of emojis that represented Daddy. She got a big kick out of that, so I challenged her to come up with her own cutie little icons! I then slipped out of the office for a few moments to call her, just to hear her voice and to let her hear mine. We laughed about our selections of emojis and about how silly we were, and also talked about how much we miss him.

 

After work, I stopped at Kohl’s. As I walked through the store, I kept thinking how the world goes on as usual for everyone around me … they have no idea that my Daddy died 22 years ago today. On my way out of the store, I passed an older gentleman who was sitting on the bench in the entrance, no doubt biding time with his cell phone while his wife shopped. I couldn’t believe that I had this passing thought to go up and hug him! Debbie … get a grip! My next ‘I must do this today’ was to stop and wash my car. Unfortunately I do not have a shammy towel, but I thought of Daddy the whole time I was washing and wiping my car dry.

 

The day is winding down now and soon it will be June 25th. God does give Morsels of Mercy to us in the fact that tomorrow does come and it will be a brand new day. It’s only natural to feel the loss deeper on certain days, but thankfully we don’t stay there. Family is coming for a visit over the 4th of July weekend, and we are looking forward to and are excited to celebrate life and freedom together!

 

Won’t you join me in thanking God for Daddies and little girls, sweet memories of years gone by, and the anticipation of tomorrow?   And best of all, with Jesus as the Lord of our life, we also have the promise of eternal life!

Until next time,
Debbie

Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

 

 

Dear Daddy

24 Jun

 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth
will bring their splendor into it.
  On no day will its gates ever be shut,
for there will be no night there.

Revelation 21:23-25

 

Life is busy and it always seems like there are never enough hours in a day to accomplish the to-do list.  So, I usually don’t make one any more.  If it gets done, then terrific.  If it doesn’t, then there’s tomorrow.  The dust accumulates, the laundry piles up, and the grass needs to be cut every few days.  In the midst of the normal and the usual, there remains a void.  A vacancy that entered my life 21 years ago.  It came without being invited or even expected, although there were all kinds of symptoms pointing out the obvious.  Denial maybe, or simply love wouldn’t let my heart and my mind go there.  But it happened anyway.

 

Me and my Daddy

Me and my Daddy

It’s that time of year, you know.  Father’s Day, June 24th, and then your 59th wedding anniversary on July 7th.  We really don’t need these special days to remember you.  You truly do live on in our hearts and in our minds.  We post pictures of you on Facebook and tell stories about ’55 Chevys, fishing trips, vacations and working midnights at Ford Motor Company.   These photos and tales trigger personal nuggets of warm fond memories that usually bring a smile to the hearts of friends and family.

 

I often wonder what you would think about some of the trends of the day, like Starbucks.  You, the king of coffee – would you have become a coffee snob and preferred the fresh roasted coffee beans of the local coffee shops?   How about cable TV, laptop computers and tablets, and smart phones?  Mother just upgraded to one and is even impressing me with her ability to conquer the newest technology of an iphone 6!  Would you two share a cell phone or would you both need to have your own so Mom could track you down at the lake and remind you that it was soon time for supper?  Sigh …

 

Much talk of a grand reunion of great friends and brothers in Christ has taken place in the past few months since Bro. Bill Denny passed away in February.  I’m sure you enjoy watching the shuffle board tournaments along the Streets of Gold as you cast your fishing line out into the Crystal River nearby.  I also wonder about the trends of the day there … what is it like to be reunited with life-long friends and loved ones?  Does Heaven have seasons?  Are your hunting beagles there, along with Pudgy, Toy, Angie … and my Scottie?  How about my sibling … my twin?  Did I have a sister or another brother?  And then there’s Jesus.  Do you actually fish, talk to others and walk about, or are you forever enthralled with the Presence of Jesus Himself?  Sigh …

 

Ryan and Kim with their grandpa

Ryan and Kim with their grandpa

You are never far from my thoughts, Daddy.  Somehow we have learned to live this crazy busy life without you.  We have loved, laughed and lived.  I miss you more than words could ever begin to express — I personally ache inside over my own loss of you not being in my children’s lives and in Cole and Lillie’s lives … and for the fact that you are not here growing old with mom.  Sigh …

 

I celebrate you today, Dad!  Even in the midst of the busy days, the thoughts of you, the random sadness that settles down on my spirit from time to time, even after 21 years, I celebrate you and the victory over death and the grave!  Heaven continues to get sweeter and sweeter with the passing of our friends and family.  It is quite possible that you still work the midnight shift (although Jesus will be the Light even at midnight!), coffee cup in one hand and the other outstretched to greet and welcome those arriving.  Someday …

 

I love you, Daddy!
Your Bobbie Naw

Claude McCool

26 Apr

 

 

A great faith is like an oak that spreads its roots deep
and is not easily blown down.
Colossians 2:7

 

There are a some things in life that are constants. You can always expect them, and they are consistent so that time and circumstances never change them. On this journey we call Life, the same holds true regarding just a handful of people we have met along the way. Our friend, Claude, was at the top of that list.

Claude and Mary Jane

Claude and Mary Jane

We could always expect him. Every October during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Claude, his wife, Mary Jane, and a small delegation of others would make their annual trek across country to Nazarene Indian Bible College. In 1997, as brand new Work & Witness Coordinators for NIBC, little did we know that they had a life-long repeat appearance scheduled for every October. This made for an interesting collaboration of teams on occasion as other W & W teams from around the country also desired to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. No matter what, we could always expect Claude and his small entourage to happily join right in and get the job done!

Claude was always consistent. He came to help us work at NIBC every year. If Tim was working on a special project, sometimes Claude would come a second time that year. His desire to be of help to others was always consistent. Claude was consistent in always wearing a hat, except in church. He always wore his hat tilted to one side … every time. Claude loved to drive. Claude loved to love. He loved people. Claude loved Nazarene Indian Bible College. Claude loved the students and staff of NIBC. Even when his beloved wife, Mary Jane, was no longer able to make the long trip to Albuquerque, Claude came a few times without her. He continued to love, and continued to love Jesus through his ability to help others.

As the pages in our own life’s story narrates, the property of Nazarene Indian Bible College was eventually sold and the mission that brought Claude into our lives ended. But time and circumstances do not change some people, and Claude was one of those. He made a point to stay in touch with us and to see us wherever we were. As life often does, it threw several curves along Claude’s pathway, but he remained steady, always loving, always caring, and always helping. Always with his hat tilted to one side.

While Claude and his son, Steve, were recently visiting his granddaughter in the state of Tennessee, he suffered a major stroke. After so many miles here and so many miles there, Claude answered the Ultimate call to serve and finally made it safe and sound to the presence of Jesus. For all of us who are left behind, our hearts will never be the same. We are eternally grateful for knowing Claude McCool, for laughing with him, loving him, and for having the privilege of working for Jesus along side of him!

Won’t you join me today in celebrating those who have made an eternal difference in our lives?

Until next time,
Debbie

The Spirit of God has so firmly printed Heavenly truths upon his heart
that you may as well remove the sun out of the firmament as remove him
from those holy principles he has imbibed. 
Behold here a pillar in the temple of God. 
Revelation 3:12

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.”

Beach Therapy

19 Sep

Be at rest, once more, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7

With great excitement, she leaned across the dinner table and asked me if I had ever been parasailing.  I giggled as I quickly responded with a ‘no, but I would love to!’

For you see, on August 9, I stood in the surf on Fenwick Island Beach, Delaware watching a boat pull a pair of parasailers.  I allowed my mind and heart to daydream about how fun it would be to someday parasail in Florida with my best bud.  That day, just 8 days after her husband’s death, Becky and her family were part of my every breath and thought as they were celebrating Joe’s life in Crowley, Louisiana … some 1300 miles away.

Back to the dinner table in Florida on the evening of September 11th … with great animation, I told my story to Becky, exclaiming over the fact that her invitation to me to join her for some beach therapy was not presented for nearly another 2 weeks later after my Fenwick Beach moment.  In fact, it was the same day I finally took a small zip lock bag of sand that I had gathered from that weekend on the beach and mailed it to her, the sand representing her hope of getting to Florida soon for some much needed rest.  I placed that sand-laden card in the mail … and later that morning I chuckled out loud as I read Becky’s email invitation to me to join her and her momma in Florida in September.

God does things like this in my life quite often.  I guess He knows He must keep it somewhat simple, but yet for me they are Red Sea moments.  Sand in a zip lock bag, just picked up by the mailman, followed by an immediate invitation to Florida.  Thoughts and hopes of parasailing with my dear friend on the same day as her husband’s memorial service  …  to be parasailing with her a month and 3 days later!!  Also, my airfare was provided by a frequent flier charge card that had accumulated enough points to send me to Florida for a minimal fee.  I do not believe in coincidences … my steps are ordered by the God Who loves me in every way possible.

A man’s mind plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
Proverbs 16:9 amp

I flew on September 11th.  I arrived in Tampa without incident and was warmly welcomed by the hug of a lifetime … one that expressed deep sorrow and disbelief, but a gratefulness and excitement for the few days we had together.  Two friends reunited after tragedy and loss … together for some beach therapy.

Therapy comes in different forms – for Becky, the beach has always been a place of relaxation and respite.  Her parents retired several years ago in Florida, giving her the perfect setting for fun vacations with her family.  Now just one month since Joe’s death, Becky and her momma planned a short time to get away for some much needed quiet time and rest.  Becky and her family have been extremely busy in the past few weeks while they sort, toss, organize, box, and donate items that have accumulated over the past 22 years of living in the church parsonage.  A much smaller place just down the road is where Becky and Pauline will call home … anticipating a move-in date of early October.

Our days together in Florida were full – leisure morning time with coffee and a simple breakfast followed by a couple hours of beach time.  Most early evenings were spent with Becky’s extended family who also live in the area, giving me a chance to see people I had not seen in many, many years, and to meet others who are newer additions.  Hallmark movies were the choice of late evening entertainment, sending us to bed with hearts full of gratefulness for another blessed day.

Enjoying the surf and sun

Enjoying the surf and sun

The highlight of those days together was the beach therapy.  The white sandy shore of the Gulf of Mexico welcomed us as we slathered on protective lotions and creams and enjoyed the late morning sunshine and the silly antics of the birds.  The original email invitation requested my presence and a listening ear … so every time I heard the name Joe, my heart smiled, knowing that she needed to say his name.  I needed to say his name … and we both needed to hear it.  We talked about their family, their kids and grandkids.  We talked about our past … mentioning people of years gone by and laughing about those days in our shared childhood and teen years.  She shared moments of heartache as she recalled Joe’s last days, things said and events that took place, painting a mental picture for me of those personal and intimate moments in her life.  Tears mingled with our sunscreen and sweat as we laid there on the beach for those brief hours each day, tears that were soon to be washed away by the salty waves of the gulf waters.  How refreshing it was as we enjoyed just being in the water, rolling with the tide and swimming … all the while we continued to share hearts, thoughts, and chatter.

Parasailing fun!!

Parasailing fun!!

Did we go parasailing?  You betcha!  A bright yellow smiley face chute carried two best buds high into the sky where we chatted some, but also found ourselves quiet, lost in the moment.  I’m sure we were both thinking about Joe and why we were together, doing what we were doing.  Just like a camera captures moments in time, I wish there was a way we could’ve captured the emotion of those minutes together … the exhilaration and blessing of flying so effortlessly through the salty air of the Gulf, high above all of the noise and commotion of life … up near the heart of God and the one we just lost.  It was a special time that ended all too soon.

I don’t remember a specific moment or at what age Becky and I first met, but sometime in the mid 1960’s, two little girls found themselves next to one another and must’ve felt a kindred spirit. A spirit that grew deeper as the years clicked by …  Barbie dolls and board games, her house or mine, Bible quizzing and memory verses, nail polish and curlers, alto and soprano, piano, reading, sewing, sleep-overs, boys, … all the way to Joe and Tim.  The two boys that stole our hearts … along with our own love and devotion to the God Who set the course for the rest of our lives.  Many miles have separated us through much of our adult lives, focusing on family, ministries, and the busyness of life.  Often I am finding that it takes crises to pull hearts back together ~ hearts that sometimes do not fully realize the distance that had crept in.

People all around us are hurting.  Some are grieving the loss of a loved one.  Others are in financial trouble while others are terminally ill with no hope of recovery.  Unresolved matters have been left to fester, leaving pain and disconnect in families.  Marriage relationships are dissolving or an accident has turned someone’s world upside down.  In the midst of our everyday, someone you know and someone I know needs therapy.  Therapy comes in different forms … on purpose, be creative and offer some much needed attention to someone today.  Be a listening ear, a warm body to hug, a heart full of compassion that will laugh and cry, and just be there.  Pray. Be there for whatever it takes for healing of their soul to begin.  Won’t you join me?

Until next time,
Debbie

*************

“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 verbage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.
 
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** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my trip to Florida
that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!
 
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Life Celebrations

22 Aug
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6

 

Going to the shore in early August has become one of our favorite family traditions.  It doesn’t matter which beach or state we choose.  What does matter is that we are all together.  Together to celebrate life.  Like birthdays.  My husband and daughter have a lot of things in common, the most important being their mutual birthday on August 5th.  We have done many things to celebrate theses two through the years, but they have come to an agreement that the sand and surf is where it’s at.

 

This year was no exception. Fenwick Island, Delaware was the beach of choice and our hotel was only one block from the sandy shore.  This so conveniently allowed us to load up the beach cart with sand chairs, umbrella, digger, dump truck and the necessary construction materials to make the best sand castle on the east coast, along with the usual towels, mats, and lotions, and we walked the short distance without having to fight traffic and/or find a parking spot several blocks away.

 

August 9, 20145 year-old Cole spent much of his time along the water’s edge, being close enough that the incoming waves kept him as wet as he wanted to be, but not far enough out to scare him or us.  He helped the construction foreman build the castle community, he flew his Spiderman kite, and threw the whistling football back and forth with Papaw.  Lillianne was not as adventurous – no doubt due to the fact that she did not feel well.  She wanted to like the ocean, but the crashing waves kept her from desiring to be a part of it all.  Somehow, though, those same crashing waves melodically lulled her to sleep, where she spent much of her time both days.  All of us bigger kids enjoyed the sand, surf, and sun  … taking turns to be with the little ones and literally soaking it all in.

 

In the midst of the fun and frolic of the weekend, my heart was stretched the many, many miles to Louisiana where my best bud and her family were having their own life celebration.  In the closing of my last blog post, I updated you on my friend, Joe Talhelm.  Later that evening on August 1st,  I received a text from he and Becky’s daughter, Anne.  “Please call me”.  My heart sank as I read those words, knowing.  Anne cried as she told me that she’s so happy for him … no more melanoma, no more suffering, no more pain.  Just 2 ½ weeks earlier, the doctors told Joe that he had 3 months to live.  Joe knew different.  So as I sat on the beach in Delaware, in Louisiana, Becky gathered with her family, Joe’s family, their church family and friends and celebrated a life that lived, laughed, and loved.  Joe was only 57 years old.

 

Tim’s step-father was just diagnosed last week with his own enormous battle with cancer.  Hospital stay with tests upon tests took place, then a return home to get everything in order while he begins radiation treatments.  I make it a priority to talk to my precious mother-in-law often, for although she is facing difficult days ahead and she is already exhausted from the drama of it all, I can tell she and Bill are determined to celebrate life together as long as possible.  Just like Joe and Becky, they are able to do so because of Jesus.  They are celebrating the everyday.

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Psalm 29:11
August 16, 2014Another recent life celebration was just last Saturday when Tim and I attended the wedding of a very special young man in our lives.   Two 5 year-old little boys met playing t-ball back in 1992 and were truly inseparable until our family moved to Albuquerque in 1997.  Chuck & Mikey were married a few days ago, and we were there to help them celebrate with friends and family.

 

What are you doing to celebrate life?  It’s always fun to throw a birthday party, attend a wedding or go away for an anniversary … and it’s satisfying to the soul to celebrate a life well-lived that has passed away.   But it’s the everyday that really counts.  I came across this saying the other day … “Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life.”   Won’t you join me in doing this?   Let’s make the most of every opportunity and celebrate life with each moment, for this moment is your life.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

 Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
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 P.S.   “Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of the 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 verbage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.
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** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from our excursion to the shore
that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203139143494232.1073741862.1076414018&type=1&l=b9d0add112
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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

Louise

21 Oct

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Things happen that we don’t expect, changing the course of the usual to the unusual. Take today for example. I sit here at home on a Monday because I caught some awful bug that has made me achy with a fever and a nose that won’t stop running. A dear friend in Louisiana was diagnosed with melanoma cancer last December and had his third surgery this morning. And another precious friend of mine is going to bury his wife in Maysville, Kentucky this afternoon.

Munchy Monday girls, including Louise ... the beautiful blonde in the back row!

Munchy Monday girls, including Louise … the beautiful blonde in the back row!

It was just a little more than 2 weeks ago when I made my annual trip to Indy for my birthday weekend. As always, one of my favorite highlights is to drive down to my old tromping grounds just outside of Cincinnati and meet up with my Munchy Monday girls. This time was no exception as 12 of us gathered on a covered back porch overlooking a beautiful evening. I was blessed by being with some of my dearest friends … even if for a brief couple of hours. Although I do talk to several of them on a regular basis, it’s always good to get to see them and breathe the same air. Louise was one of those friends. I call her every Monday morning on my way into work.  This morning was the first Monday affected by the unexpected, changing the course of the usual to the unusual. Louise died last Wednesday.

Louise Doyle

Louise Doyle

This lovely 82 year old blonde was a classy lady. Her makeup was never out of place, her clothes were always in style, and she loved to be in the middle of the fun! The first time I met Louise was at a Southwest Ohio District Ladies’ Retreat, which was being held at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center back in 2006. I was brand new to the area, brand new to Higher Ground, and brand new to the district, so I on purpose went around to the different tables of ladies to meet them. From the first moment of introductions, Louise and the Fairfield ladies warmly welcomed me and I quickly learned their names and made a point to become friends with them. Louise and I seemed to have a special connection, which was bonded even tighter after I moved away a few years later. Our weekly chats on the phone have kept us both current in each other’s worlds and allowed us a chance to share prayer concerns with one another.

“Hey you!” Louise would say as she answered the phone, expecting my call every Monday morning around 8:10 am. Last Monday, she was full of stories about their recent trip to Pigeon Forge to attend the General Prime Time Retreat, along with concern about a mutual friend who was not well and in the hospital. Our usual parting words as I arrive at work are “Talk to you next week!” Little did I know that early Wednesday afternoon I would receive a call at work and the voice on the other end would say, “Puddin? This is Papa Ray … we’ve lost Louise.”

There is still a birthday card on my shelf with her name inside. There are handwritten recipes in my file from her, and pictures of our Munchy Monday girls with her in the middle of it all up in my office. There is a Louise-sized empty spot in my heart and in the heart of all who love her!

Won’t you join me today in doing something unexpected? An act of kindness, some words of love, or a prayer for a troubled soul … something unexpected and positive that will change the course of the usual to unusual for someone today.

Until next time,
Debbie