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Christmas Offering

30 Dec

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name.
Bring an offering and come before Him;
Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.
I Chronicles 16:29

 

 

“I bring an offering of worship to my King
        No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
                 Jesus, may You receive the honor that You’re due
                        O Lord, I bring an offering to You.”

The offering that I bring is my heart … my heart that is overflowing with gratefulness from Christmas.  Christmas that brought family together from many miles apart.  Christmas that bridges the gaps in relationships.  Christmas that celebrates anticipated new life.  Christmas that honors and remembers those we still love who have gone on before us.  Christmas that embraces the gift of my heart as an offering to Jesus ~ the Baby in the manger ~  my Savior. 

Our Family ~ Dec 23, 2011

My Mother’s home was the hub of our Christmas reunion as our family made its way across the country from two different directions to spend time together.   Six of us, including a dog, a 2 ½  year old little boy, and a pregnant mom, traveled from central Pennsylvania and Baltimore ~ Ryan and Brittany flew into Indianapolis from Seattle.  What a great time we had as we shared laughter, family fun, little boy antics, and the warm company of many extended family members over the course of 4 days.  Special memories were made and will be tucked away in the recesses of our hearts.

Speaking of hearts, just a little more than a month ago, Tim had a second stent inserted inside his original one from 2004.  This original stent, which he received while living in Albuquerque, was 99% blocked.  As soon as he began to shovel the heavy 6” snow that we received late October, he began having immediate pain and shortness of breath.  We are grateful for these modern day miracles that can open a blockage and fix a heart within moments.

Moments are what seems to have passed by when we look at our grandson and realize that he will be three years old in March.  This tiny pre-mature newborn has grown into a healthy, vibrant, smart, and very talkative little boy.  He says what he thinks, and he must think all the time!  His play world still includes tractors of every make, size, and color ~ and they all tip like in the CARS movie!  Dora and Diego, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh, and of course, CARS all entertain him.  He loves to sing, he loves his dog, he dearly loves both sets of grandparents, and he loves life.  Cole Michael will be a big brother in May … and he loves to kiss his momma’s preggie belly ~ his baby sister.

Thrilled doesn’t even come close to describing our hearts as we anticipate the birth of our grand daughter in May.  A cheery bright nursery is being put together with love in the Arndt home, accented in pink and frills.  Kim’s first 5 ½  months of expectant bliss has been survived as she has kept up with Cole during the day, grateful for the time when Daddy comes home from work to give her some rest in the evenings. Troy has been with Booz Allen Hamilton for a year and a half, and is now a Senior Consultant.  This next year he will be working on his Masters degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.   He and Kim are members at the Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Severn, MD where they are part of the leadership team for a new contemporary service beginning the first of the New Year.  They are also active in a weekly Bible study, and Kim and Cole participate in the monthly Mom’s group.  We are so grateful that they have found a church home that has embraced them in love, support, and the Word. 

Words are never enough to express my love for my children.  Besides Kim and her little family being only a little more than an hour away in Maryland, Ryan is still living in Seattle,Washington.  He is an assistant store manager for Verizon Wireless, with his sites set on having his own store soon.  He still enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee with friends, watching sports, and reading.  He is still dating the most precious and beautiful young lady, who has stolen all of our hearts … Brittany Bergam.  She works as a medical transcriptionist and is planning on applying for medical school in the near future.  We were blessed to have them both join us at my Mother’s house last week for Christmas.  Time seems to slip by all too quickly when we are with Ryan and Brittany! 

Family at the beach

However, vacation in August was awesome!  Ryan and Brittany, my Mother, the Arndts, along with Mimi and Papaw, packed, overloaded two vehicles, and headed for Bethany Beach, Delaware!  We rented a condo, which was just a short drive to the ocean, swimming pool, golf, volleyball, and shuffleboard!  We played games, ate delicious meals fixed by all, enjoyed Cole’s slow progression toward liking the sand and the surf, and the company was just superb!  Four generations to love, to share, and to cherish!  The final few days of our family time included a birthday party for Tim, who turned 50 years old on August 5th.  With Ryan and Brittany still here, Tim’s mom, along with some of his siblings came for an afternoon of smoked pulled pork and birthday cake.  He was totally surprised and enjoyed every moment of the attention!

Tim is still employed by Kitchen Savers where he remodeled kitchens until he had knee surgery in June, when he had a torn meniscus repaired.  Following this procedure, he then assumed a position in the office as Installation Manager.  He measures the jobs, orders the material, schedules each crew to a job every week, and makes sure it all gets done to the customer’s satisfaction.  His responsibilities require several hours of his time each day, but we are home together each evening for dinner, and he has his weekends free to relax and enjoy life.  Now since he had the new stent inserted in November, his energy level has picked up, and he’s feeling much better! 

After working a couple temporary jobs earlier in the year, I am currently working part time in the office for the Robert Clofine Elder Care Law Firm.  Office duties are shared and we give support to two attorneys and two paralegals.  It is quite an experience to see first hand the pain, heart ache, and the decline in folks as they age and become dependent upon others.  Although the job was not posted as one of ministry, I use it as such as I daily pray for clients and especially for those with whom I work.  Since my hours are part-time, this allows me to keep up with the house, the yard, my writings, and my grandson!  Tim and I have been attending Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene in York, PA.  I am so grateful that God is faithful to always lead us to a church fellowship where the Pastor preaches Holiness in every message.  God’s Word and my early morning time with Him continue to carry me through the day-to-day routine of life.  I keep an active prayer list, gleaning names and needs from Facebook, emails and texts, and nudges from God Himself, spending time praying for family and friends.  This is my ministry for now … for such a time as this.

Click here to listen to …  Christmas Offering by Casting Crowns

Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three Wiseman seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace

 

Just as the wise men traveled from afar, seeking Truth,
hoping to find the Child from heaven,
our family journeyed many miles to
come together to celebrate His birth …



We bring an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus may you receive the honor that you’re due
O Lord I bring an offering to you

The sun cannot compare to the glory of your love
There is no shadow in your presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It’s only by Your blood
It’s only through Your mercy
Lord, I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you’re due
O Lord, I bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you, Jesus

We are an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you’re due
O Lord, we bring an offering to you

O Lord, we bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you

 

As this Christmas season comes to an end with the beginning of another New Year, may you join me in bringing an offering of worship to our King …

It’s only by Your blood
It’s only through Your mercy
Lord, I come …

 

Merry Christmas and a Most Blessed New Year!
The Van Hooks

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Elder Care Law Firm

27 Sep

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

 

A few months ago, following my days of being an Express Girl and having two temporary job assignments, I once again spent time looking at the various venues of employment opportunities. It wasn’t too many days later that I found a permanent part-time position, which began the Monday following Easter.   

As an office assistant in an Elder Care Law Firm, outside of the generic skills and trades that I have accumulated through the years, I brought nothing to the table from my repertoire concerning law.  But I have come to believe from my own personal experience in life that God wastes nothing, and I was immediately encouraged and reminded that God takes very good care of me.  Here are two wonderful ‘Wow!’ examples that repeat themselves over and over in my daily routine in the office of Robert Clofine, Elder Care Law Firm.

Back during tax season, while working a month and a half as an assistant to a tax accountant, my primary duty, as easy and simple as it is, was to scan.  Hundreds of various forms of documentation were scanned every day and saved to the clients’ files.  Again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put papers into a scanner and properly save them, but I had never done this before.  One of the tasks that I do often to assist the attorneys and paralegals is to scan documents and save them to the clients’ files.  With great pleasure, I was able to answer the affirmative when asked if I had ever worked with a scanner before.   YAY God!!

The second ‘Wow!’ is that at least one time per week, I make a trip downtown to the York County Court House and the Administrative Center … to the very building where I worked for 2 weeks as a temporary receptionist for the IT department.  There is no concern about parking, no concern about where to go in the building, no concern about anything!  God had already taken care of me by preparing the way before I got there.  Each week as I walk up the steps to that stately old building constructed in marble and stone, my heart is always warmed as I confidently take care of the business at hand, thanking God for His preparation for this season of my life. 

As a side note, God has blessed my daily routine with a special co-worker.  What a time we have together as we share music, scriptures, diet tips, prayer concerns, and our love for Jesus.  I am blessed that she is the one who spends the most time training and teaching me … prodding and nudging me with confidence into tackling more and more projects so I can prepare documents and do other tasks on my own.  She has a sense of humor that is unique, a real heartfelt compassion for the bereaved, along with an extra helping of patience, due to the path that life has taken her down.  I thank God for Gala, for her leadership, her friendship, and her walk with Jesus.

Our clients have given me a different perspective on life.  They were all once newly married kids, busy in life having babies, raising their families and earning a living.   As quickly as the years have marched by for them, so did the circumstances of their lives.  Their children grew up, graduated from high school, college, and began adult lives of their own. All the while, however, the now grandma and grandpa still earn a living and do what’s necessary to love their ever-growing family and to put away for retirement.  Then all of a sudden, they realize that many things have changed.  It hurts to walk up and down the stairs.  Knees and back are stiff from just simply getting up out of a chair.  There are too many wrinkles everywhere, sneezing can be quite the experience, and doctor reports are often not good.  Now this is pretty typical in a positive situation.  Many of our clients have suffered from dysfunctional relationships that have torn their families apart and there are battles within the ranks that cause heartache and distress.   Diseases and mental debilitation wreck havoc on many, literally stealing their very life from them.  Many are confused and uncertain, scared and worried.  Medicaid, Medicare, assisted living facilities, nursing home, spend down, gifting, hospice, probate, and many, many more words make up the vocabulary in our office.  For whatever reason belongs to each individual client, life is no longer the same.  They have many questions … but this elder care law firm has the answers.  

I find myself praying for our clients.  My position of employment in the law firm does not give me the opportunity to talk to them about their situation and then to hold their hands and ask for Jesus to calm their fears and to give them peace.  But I do pray for them on my own.  I not only pray for our clients, but I pray for those in my own life who have arrived at their own stages of life where nothing is the same any longer.  Unlike Rob Clofine, who is an expert in his field of elder care law, I am not an expert on life.  But again, I know that God wastes nothing.  If my experiences in life can somehow help someone else see that there is hope, I want to be there for them.  I know I do not have all the answers, but I do know Someone Who does.  In fact, He IS the Answer!!  Here are the words to a song that I used to sing with two of my best friends way back when we were teenagers … Jesus Is Still the Answer.  Click here to listen to Jesus Is Still the Answer  by the Collingsworth Family.

 

VERSE 1

Some men try so hard to prove
That God’s not really real
While others say they know for sure
His love you can not feel
But I know He’s real within my soul
For one day He cleansed and made me whole
And Jesus is still the answer
For that longing deep in your soul 

CHORUS

Jesus is still the answer
And though time and ages roll
Jesus is still the answer
He’s the answer for your soul
And though some may say
He doesn’t fit with their philosophy
I know Jesus is still the answer
He’s always been and always will be

VERSE 2

Some men pretend that things of this world
Have brought them peace of mind
But with the dawn of each new day
New thrills they try to find
Not until they meet the Prince of Peace
Can they ever hope to find relief
For Jesus is still the answer
For a world that’s seeking for peace

 

When your world is full of questions, and your heart is full of fear and discouragement, won’t you join me in going to the One Who truly IS the Answer?!

Until next time,
Debbie

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**  Blog photo of sea gull taken at Belmar Beach, New Jersey on September 3, 2011.