Archive | Death RSS feed for this section

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
 ***********************************************************
 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.
******************************************************************************************************
** 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
***************************************************

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

Dear Daddy …

7 Jul

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Dad and Mom on their wedding day. July 7, 1956

Dad and Mom on their wedding day.
July 7, 1956

Happy Wedding Anniversary, Dad! It’s been 57 years today since you married that pretty young woman from Friendship Church. Considering all the stories that have been told of your wandering years from early teens until you met this special lady, committing yourself to her in marriage was a huge life-style change. And as they say, the rest is history.

25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary … 1981

It’s that time of year again, you know…between the middle of June into the first week of July, my mind and heart are heavy with thoughts of you. Father’s Day comes and goes with much celebration for those in my life who are dads, but there will always be an ache as I card shop, knowing that I must once again overlook the cards that say ‘To Dad ~ from your Daughter’. Then right around the corner rolls the 24th of June. It’s so hard to believe that it has now been 19 years since I have held your hand and felt your scruffy face against mine. And then today is your anniversary with mom. She and I were just talking about you on Friday and how much you have been on her mind … and how much she misses you. Especially on days like today. But today will very quickly turn into tomorrow, and the next day … and before we know it, the weather will begin to cool and the seasons change. There will be a nip in the air, along with the smell of burning leaves, and the realization of another year soon coming to a close. Another year without you…

Grandma and Grandpa Wells with baby Kimberly.

Grandma and Grandpa Wells with baby Kimberly…August 1983

I will always question why, you know. Why did you have to die at such a young age? 60 years old is right in the middle of loving grandchildren, just before retirement, and too soon to walk your beloved down the aisle at your grandchildren’s weddings and to hold their babies in your arms. Why? But the answer to that question is known only to God. In the midst of my tears that still fall, I continue to relinquish you and my loss of you to Him. And to trust Mom to Him, as well. She is most precious … but then you knew that 57 years ago.

Just a few weeks ago, Mom and I drove down to West Virginia to see Uncle Johnse. I had flown into Indy to attend the Nazarene Church General Assembly, and we decided to be spontaneous and make a quick trip to the boonies. What fun we had as we drove through the beautiful countryside, chatting about this and that, and reminiscing a lot about years gone by and our annual family vacations to visit relatives in West Virginia, Virginia, and Chattanooga. I’m sure you remember those trips well!! Especially the train trip into West Virginia … or more specifically, the return trip back home. I had gotten sick the last few days of our stay, so this 6 year-old little girl was still not feeling well when we began our journey back to Indy. I still remember vivid details of a large train station where our family was seated to eat breakfast. Orange juice, my sick tummy, a yucky mess all over me and the table, and you taking me into the men’s restroom to clean me up. I remember feeling very special and cared for by you … Oh the memories! I would love to know what you remember about that moment!

As mom and I meandered our way along the twisty-turny roads that have not changed much through the years, we eventually arrived at Lick Creek Holler and slowly drove the remaining 2 miles of gravel to the old home place. I know that you and mom loved to come visit Uncle Johnse and Aunt Bert … and as we pulled in, I wondered what all Mom was thinking and feeling as she returned yet another time without you.

Me and Mom with Uncle Johnse ... June 20, 2013

Me and Mom with Uncle Johnse … June 20, 2013

The next 6 hours were full, Daddy … full of stories and tales and lots of love. There Uncle Johnse laid in a hospital bed in the living room, unable to get up any longer, eye sight nearly gone, but a mind that was sharp with memories, dates, and details, and a heart that was so sweet and kind and thrilled that we came to see him. Your big brother, now 82 years old, laughing about how spoiled you were as a child, but all for good reason, he said, since you had asthma and were so sick ever since you were little. I felt like a sponge that day as I sat there and listened to stories … some I have heard told over and over, while others were new, each one full of life and love. From the portals of Heaven, I’m sure that you had gathered together as many family members as possible to join you and dear Aunt Bert in having a reunion of your own as Uncle Johnse so fondly spoke of his Elizabeth and his brother, John D. Obviously we couldn’t see you two, but we could feel your love in our hearts. Before we left, mom and I, along with Cathy and Uncle Johnse, held hands and I prayed…feeling as though I was standing in the gap between you and Jesus and Uncle Johnse. As I leaned over to kiss him ‘until next time’, I knew that someday you will be at the Gate waiting for him.

So here it is, July 7th. We all will make mention of this special day to those we are with, and even shed a tear or two as we continue to think about you and our loss. But as a child of God, I cannot help but believe that you are simply having the time of your Life. You are fishing in a new spot every day. You have been reunited with your hunting beagles and have no doubt rustled up a few rabbits from the bushes. You are surrounded by the elite of eternity, not to mention family and friends.  And above all, you get to celebrate this special day, and every day, with Jesus. It is because of Him that my questions can remain unanswered. It is because of Him, that I know all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes. It is because of Him that “I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

Happy Anniversary, Daddy!
Thanks for always loving mom … back then and still today.
More importantly, thank you, for loving Jesus…back then and still today.

Until next time,
Your Bobbie Naw

Yellow Day

4 Feb

.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

 

I was so thrilled to see that the incoming call was from my friend, Valerie … knowing that she was among some of my dearest friends in all the world.  She held in her hand a new iphone, which was requesting my iphone to connect the call so we could not only talk, but see one another.  Face Time is the correct term for this wonderful technology, which brings back childhood memories of watching the futuristic cartoon ‘The Jetsons’. I was then carried from lady to lady, laughing together as I got to say hello, blow kisses, laugh some more, and even received a tour of the hostess’ new home.  What a joy it was to share in that brief moment with these friends, thanking God for their commitment to one another and to Him.

A week ago tonight was a special evening of love and support for a dear friend of mine who lost her husband just days before Christmas.   A unique group of ladies, with hearts as big as Cincinnati, gathered together to shower Debra with gifts of yellow.  This special tradition of cheer was born this past summer as these women desired to brighten up the day for another hurting friend whose husband lost his long battle against cancer.  These Munchy Monday girls continue to stand by one another in celebration, sympathy, friendship, and love … spurring each other on spiritually as well.

Deb opening her sunshine basket of YELLOW

Deb opening her sunshine basket of YELLOW

Since I am here and they are all there, I wrote a letter and mailed it inside a greeting card so that Debra would have it to open that night along with the other gifts.  I would invite you to sit down for a few moments and share another morsel of mercy in my life as you read my heart to my hurting friend…

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Dearest Debra,

Today is your YELLOW day!  To be honored with such a fun day means that life has not been real pleasant for the recipient.  For that, I am so sorry.  Words cannot even begin to express my feelings when I think of your loss, your hurt, your confusion, your disbelief, …  In our small and meager attempt at showing you our love in the midst of your circumstances, here we are, bearing YELLOW.  Mine is a bit different than the others, due to the distance that it had to travel, so let me explain…

I was at Kohl’s last week, returning items from Christmas.  I also had YELLOW on my mind.  I started in the house wares department, looking for a big bright YELLOW bath towel, hand towel, and wash cloth.  I found them!  I wanted you to be reminded each time you wrapped yourself in the plush towel that you have friends who love you and embrace you with our love, ultimately representing the love that Jesus has for you.  His arms of love and comfort are always there with you, even when ours cannot be! He will also hold you while you cry, and then wipe the tears away.

I then went on a search for bright and cheery table placemats.  I found 2 round woven YELLOW ones, matched them with spring print cloth napkins, and then looked for coffee cups of YELLOW.  I wanted you to be reminded each time you sat down to eat, that you are never eating alone.  “Give us this day, our Daily Bread.”  Jesus is our Daily Bread.  He will always be the unseen guest at your dining room table.

As I walked through the store and on-purpose looked for more YELLOW, I saw YELLOW sweaters, YELLOW bras, YELLOW earrings, YELLOW shoes, and YELLOW ipad covers.   Then I saw it.  This simple little YELLOW gift card.  It says ‘You’re a Lucky Ducky’.  I have never cared much for the word “luck” because I firmly believe that God has His hand on the heartbeat of all life, and luck has nothing to do with it.  So, instead of it saying ‘You’re a Lucky Ducky’, let’s pretend it says ‘You’re a Special YELLOW Ducky with a Special YELLOW Day’!!  Now you can take this card with you to your own Kohl’s and buy something you need or want.  It doesn’t have to be yellow at all.  But whatever you purchase, please remember this day and the significance behind it … that you are always surrounded by us, your Munchy Monday friends, who love you, pray for you, and care very deeply for you!

Please know that you may pick up the phone any hour of any day or night … you can just cry, you can get angry, you can just talk for a solid hour about your Steve, saying his name as many times as you want.  We can pray together, or we can just catch up.  Do not hesitate to call.   I remember when my Daddy died several years ago now … there were a couple times in the middle of the night that my phone rang …  it was my precious mother.  All she could do was sob on the other end of the line … so all I could do was pray.   Please, don’t hesitate when that time comes that you just need to cry.  Although I’m many miles away, I’m as close as your phone.

Happy YELLOW day, Debra!  May you be showered with many things that will remind you for days, weeks, and months ahead that you are loved, prayed for, and thought of often!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Our world is full of circumstances that bring sorrow, disappointment, disbelief, fear, and doubt into the hearts of people all around us…even into our own hearts.  Won’t you join me today in finding someone who needs a YELLOW day and bless their life with the bright sunshine of Jesus, love, and support!

Until next time,
Debbie

 For the LORD God is a Sun and Shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does He withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 84:11

The Same Air

15 Jun

You will guard him and keep him in
perfect and constant peace whose mind
[both its inclination and its character]
is stayed on You, because he commits
himself to You, leans on You,
and hopes confidently in You.
Isaiah 26:3
The Message

Oh my!!  My heart ~ such inexpressible longing …With fingers poised on the keyboard, I will try to sort out my feelings and aches.  Oh how much good it would do my heart to pull up next to a kindred spirit, to take a few deep breaths in, and to pour out what is inside.  Not just to share, but to lay down a very burdened heart.  Since writing has always been my therapeutic refuge, here I am.  Please remember that the venting is more for my good and you are simply along for the read.

The past several days have been consumed with news ~ the bad nearly smothering and snuffing out the very life of the good.  It all started with a desperate attempt at getting all the yard work done before spending the remainder of the week in Baltimore to visit with my mom and Kim’s little family.  In a rush, I neglected to tend to the proper maintenance of the riding mower.  It ran out of oil.  It died.  It’s bad enough that we now have to buy a different mower, the deceased one wasn’t even ours!  It belonged to our landlord.  Sigh …

In one week’s time, there were 3 people who I knew that passed away.  Frances Zeilinga was the mother of one of my oldest brother’s childhood best friends.  Even though I hadn’t seen Frances for many years, there is a sense of finality when parents of our friends are beginning to pass away.  Just a few days later, my own childhood best friend’s father passed away.   Becky’s daddy had been miraculously healed of cancer many years ago and God blessed him with nearly 30 additional years to enjoy life and family.  Just a few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with cancer once again, endured a battery of treatments and was finally beginning to feel better.  Then simply in his sleep last week, he bade farewell to his earthly body and was welcomed into the arms of his Savior, leaving behind his wife of 6 plus decades, children, grandchildren and greats.   Another couple days later, Pam Carnder’s ‘fairy tale’ finally ended when her beloved husband, Steve, passed away after his long 5 ½ year battle with cancer.  Pam and I worked together at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center … a faithful participant of Munchy Monday, my 2009 summer prayer partner, and a dear friend.

Cancer is rearing its ugly head in the life of another dear friend.  Back in the ‘90s when our family lived out here in PA, but in the Harrisburg/Hershey area, Sandie and I were pretty much inseparable ~  we worked together, went to church together, and our families often vacationed together.  Recent visits for evaluations, tests, and results have proven to be alarming and quite sobering as she is facing extensive treatments and procedures in attempt to defeat this disease at its own evil game.

Just yesterday, another precious friend with whom I’ve shared life and also death … in the hills of West Virginia, Cindy suffered a heart attack and was life-lined to a larger hospital where she had a stint inserted in her severely blocked artery.  Having just spoken to her on the phone and hearing her weak voice just added to the ache that is mounting inside.

The trees on the grounds of Bonita Park

If the morning reports or the evening news has caught your eye in the past week concerning the wild fires that have devastated south New Mexico, this has also heaped sadness and sorrow to my already bleeding heart.  Bonita Park, the New Mexico District (Church of the Nazarene) Camp and Conference Center, was in the direct path of the Little Bear wildfire, which incinerated much of the 200 acre camp.  While living in Albuquerque for nearly 10 years, Bonita Park became very dear to me … several retreats, family camps, and many precious friends had homes there.  Gratefully, the main buildings which support the functionality of the campground, were spared ~ Offices, dining hall, the tabernacle, the local Nazarene church, and some dorms.  But nearly all of the residences, belonging to camp staff, camp volunteers, retirees, and leaseholders who have had camp property since the early beginning years of Bonita Park, perished in the flames.  Original buildings whose walls breathed the holiness tradition and heritage on those sacred grounds are now reduced to ashes.  Scheduled summer retreats, reunions, and camps, including the anticipated annual family camp are all now written in pencil on the camp calendar, waiting on God’s intervention in all areas.

Precious memories have flooded my heart and my mind these past several days as I have thought about each circumstance and each person.  And here I sit in York, Pennsylvania.  The memorial service for Becky’s dad is in Florida.  Steve’s funeral was yesterday in Cincinnati.  West Virginia is several hours away, and even Sandie, who lives the closest, is an hour away.  I won’t even think about how far away New Mexico is.  And then when I get all mushy inside like this, I can’t help but cry alittle more for my son who lives in Seattle … so far away.  Have I mentioned that my heart hurts?

Not everything has been bad … two new healthy babies have been born to nephews and nieces in the past 2 weeks, and my mother-in-law received a good and treatable report from the doctor concerning a health issue.  Also, my precious mother came out last week to meet her little great-granddaughter for the first time.  We had a very special time enjoying the wide span of ages included in the 4 generations.  For these good things, I am grateful!

In the mix of the good and the bad, playing in the background is the extreme static of my own life, reminding me that the dial is not placed just right on the station, and it’s consuming my world with a lot of noise.  Even though the air around me is filled with smoke, illness, death, and static, in order to survive, I am allowing Jesus to carry me close to Himself.  Jesus and I are breathing the same air.

Until next time,
Debbie

19-21I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
   the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
   the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
   and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

 22-24God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
   his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
   How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
   He’s all I’ve got left.

 25-27God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
   to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
   quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
   to stick it out through the hard times.

Lamentations 3:19-26
The Message

The header picture are deer out in the woods of Bonita Park
March 2006

Merry Christmas Daddy!

16 Dec

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father
deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting
and urging you to live lives worthy of God,
who calls you into His kingdom and glory.
I Thessalonians 2:11-12 

It would only be most appropriate to sit here and sip on a hot cup of coffee (with cream and sugar, as opposed to black) as I jingle Heaven’s portals with a Christmas greeting to you.  The sights and sounds of the holidays have a way of tugging at the memories of my heart, and I always miss you so much during the holidays. 

You know that I so enjoy all of the music this time of year, but there is a distinct genre of songs that melt this little girl’s heart into a puddle of warm memories.  Just a few notes of one of these songs, and I am immediately transported back to any cold December day in my childhood. Remember how you and I would go shopping together every Christmas and buy gifts for Mom?  Every store we went into and every station on the radio would be playing Burl Ives’ “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” or Nat King Cole’s “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.   I loved being with you, Daddy … your funny little quirks of always stopping at the men’s cologne counter to splash a half dozen different scents of after shave lotion on your face, often taking my own little face in your hands and lovingly pat the potpourri of manly fragrances on my little girl cheeks.  A few more songs like the musical rendition of “Sleigh Ride” by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” sung by Andy Williams would serenade us as we began our quest for the right gift that year for mom.  You loved to have a lot of gifts under the tree for her ~ I always felt like it was your way of showing her how much you loved and appreciated her.  Soft and flowing night gowns with matching robes, a new winter coat with accompanying boots, and peanut brittle.  Oh, the big gifts were different every year, but we also always got her a box of peanut brittle.   I picked up that yummy tradition in your honor until a few years ago when she began to make her own homemade brittle … thinking of you the entire time she’s doing so, I’m sure.  Speaking of peanuts, on our way out of Sears and Roebuck, you would usually swing by the snack area and buy you and me a small bag of warm salted cashews.  How fun to remember how special that made me feel that you would stop and buy this special treat for me … you and me.  I don’t even know if we saved any for mom and the boys. 

I had to chuckle the other day as I was walking through the grocery store and passed by the infamous bag of mixed nuts!  Do you remember the glass dish that mom got out at Christmas and filled with all sorts of hard candy, oranges, and nuts?   I think of you every time I look for something in the utility drawer in my own kitchen and I see the nut cracker and pick.  I have so many simple, but oh so special holiday memories of you, Daddy. 

Your birthday is coming soon, which always means that Christmas is only a few hours away.  You were always so gracious, having a Christmas Eve birthday, to excitedly accept your annual birthday gift of new Christmas pajamas right along with us kids!  Still to this day, you are always remembered and sung to in the unique Wells tradition … as the birthday cake is shared by many December birthdays each year.  “… Happy Birthday, dear Daddy / Grandpa Johnny!” 

There is an unmistakable warmth, safe and secure, and happy feeling ~ embraced with all the love a little girl’s heart can hold ~ when I think of you, Daddy … especially at Christmas time.  The aromas, the sounds of the holidays, the fun varieties of cookies, snacks, fruit, and the Christmas dinner itself, … and just the presence of our family together.  Thank you, Daddy, for sufficiently providing for us, with not only the things we needed, but with lots of love, attention, and security.   I know your grandkids still remember you for your extreme heart of fun and love that always made each one of them feel so special.  You have great grandkids now, Daddy!  Tim is a grandpa to Kailee’s kids, and Jay is just weeks away from holding his first grandson!  And I will once again be Mimi as Kim is expecting her second little one in May … her own little girl!   Oh Daddy … I miss you so!

You know how busy it gets this time of year, but we all plan to be together once again at your house.  You may not physically be there, but you will be there.  Your example, your jovial and sometimes feisty spirit, and your love will always be with us!  Instead of the 5 of us, plus Mammy and Pappy ~ like it was every year for many years, there will be 25 of us and 3 babies on the way.  What a blessed heritage you gave to each of us … yes, you will be there.   Make that 26.

The older I get, the more I miss you.  There must be something about better understanding the struggles and the hard times of life ~ and wishing that I had paid more attention and spent more time on my knees then than I did.  But here we are.  The journey for me continues, and I know that my tears will continue to flow from time to time … until they will be dried by Jesus Himself as I am met by you at that great Gate … Someday.   

Well, I will hush for now, Daddy.  I promise to meet you here again, from time to time, on the pages of my heart.  Happy 78th Birthday, Merry Christmas, and I love you!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

For a nostalgic walk through some of these favorite classis  Christmas songs … click below!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFtb3EtjEic

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqpyfa2EmzQ

Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives                                                         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up1t5siifEw

Sleigh Ride by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops                         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAm9TloD2bA

White Christmas by Bing Crosby                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aShUFAG_WgM

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  by Gene Autry                           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5VdsuQ-YfM

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnIqLlBwzrc

Let It Snow by Dean Martin                                                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN7LW0Y00kE

It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas by Perry Como                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KjSsTagY3s

Silver Bells by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards                                 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4mkRR4oJNM

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause by Jimmy Boyd                       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI8spatbGEo

For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of Christmas decorations … 2011