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One Year at CASA

16 Mar

When Jesus spoke again to the people,
He said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

While the world around us is focused on candidates, primaries, and all that goes with an election, life still happens…the good and the not-so-good. In my immediate work day, little children continue to be taken into protective custody and placed into foster care homes. Physical and sexual abuse, neglect, deplorable living conditions, drugs and alcohol addictions, domestic violence – and the list goes on and on …

 

Nearly every day in the York County CASA office, I sign children into our playroom … a safe and fun environment where kids can be kids while their world comes together in a court room to discuss their future. ‘Bio mom and dad’ stand before the judge, usually stammering and stuttering, full of excuses as to why they have not made much progress toward the goal of getting their children back … if they even show up at all. Foster parents, attorneys, caseworkers, service providers, a CASA and other professionals speak on behalf of the children whose lives are currently upside down.

 

Today is March 16 … my one-year anniversary as the receptionist for York County CASA. I am blessed beyond measure for the awesome opportunity to be a part of this program! Even though I am not personally trained and sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children, I do have direct participation in the process of being a voice for the children.

 

Not only am I thrilled with the mission of what I do for CASA, I thoroughly enjoy making new friends with many people who also work in the County Court House! We have laughed and cried together, shared stories and prayer requests … and it always warms my heart to look across the hall to see a smile and a friendly wave directed toward me as I walk by!

 

I always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in my prayers.
I remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love, and your endurance
inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:2-3

In the midst of major election campaigns that are full of promises to fix, to renew, and to make great again, I am committed to be fully devoted to the Only One who can make good on those kind of promises! While I celebrate my 1 year CASA anniversary today, this song will be playing in my heart as I walk through my mission field that God has laid before me in York County, PA. Won’t you join me as we stand united in the wonder of His love .. we follow after the One who gave it all, Christ alone be praised!

Click here to listen to the song  …    https://youtu.be/LW3XPazLHg0

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Until next time,
Debbie

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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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Potpourri

5 Aug

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions,
give it all you’ve got, be resolute,
and love without stopping.
I Corinthians 16:13
The Message

Most of the time, life seems like one great big blur, filled with everyday routines.  Each day is different, depending on the day of the week, the weather, and the schedule.  Just like the other night.  I was at the kitchen sink washing the dishes … all the while peering out the window watching the huge moon rise into the evening sky, it’s fullness being a beacon of light reaching out to everyone all at the same time.  The moon, a hot summer afternoon thunderstorm, a visit to a restaurant, time spent with family, and more … the potpourri that helps bring special moments to the mundane of the everyday blur of life.

I think it’s safe to say that no matter where YOU are reading this from, it’s been a hot summer.  Summer is the season for hot weather, but for some locals, the hot dug in deep with not much intention of leaving.  And not much rain.  For some, that is.  Here in our area of the world, we have been blessed with sufficient showers and thunderstorms that have kept our crops healthy and our yards green.  In fact, our plush green lawn has bluish gray streaks all through it … Google says it’s called slime mold, a symptom of hot temperatures and high humidity.  As the season changes, this oddity will automatically clear up and go away.   In other parts of the country there is drought with lost crops, dead lawns, and thirsty rivers and creeks  … and here there is thick green grass and slime mold…crazy!  Oh!  And the bugs!!  We have a friend who lives in Denver … he made the comment once that due to their near perfect climate, there are “no bugs in Denver!”  I can’t imagine!  Due to our very mild winter that blurred right into a very hot summer with lots of moisture, we have a gazillion bugs!  As I mow the yard each week, I day dream of mosquito netting and how nice it would be to be wrapped in some.  Oh well, this too will pass  ~  in our everyday blur of life, we’ll be shoveling snow before we know it.

If Tim and I were supposed to list a favorite hobby, we would have to say that near the top of the list is eating.  As we get older and our bodies are reminding us of that fact, we have become more conscience of eating healthy.  We have gone out to the u-pick fields this year and brought back lots of tasty strawberries and blueberries, freezing the majority of our finds so we can enjoy them all year long.  It is now peach season … nothing like a bowl of hot fresh peach cobbler with ice cream!  I know…not so healthy.  But the hour of workout at the gym helps to offset the tasty treats!  The Food Network Channel is also another favorite – watching competitions, food preps, and our all-time favorite, Guy Fieri with Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  In a previous blog post, I told all about our DDD trip to Philadelphia.  Well, we have recently been to three other places in Baltimore, another breakfast joint outside of Philly on our way to the shore, where we also ate at 10th Ave. Burrito in Belmar, NJ.  More potpourri in the everyday blur of life.

Cole Michael at soccer camp

Soccer camp for three-year olds … what fun!  One hour, every evening for 5 days.  Mimi and Papaw drove down in the middle of the week (freshly baked blueberry cobbler in hand) and watched with the parents as Cole ran, kicked, tossed, chased, laughed, and burned off a lot of energy with 19 other little people.  The intention of signing him up for this slight taste of organized sports was to get an idea if he (and they) were really ready for the focus, understanding, and the commitment of time which would be involved in an entire season of the sport.  The conclusion was no.  This week was fun and made for some really good memories, but all of that older-kid stuff will come all too quickly, with the everyday blur of life.

One of Cole’s soccer mates was a young lady whom Cole accidently knocked down.  As soon as he realized what he did, he went over to her, told her he was sorry and kissed her.  What a testimony of love and care this little guy has been taught at home … which now the parents realize needs to be tweaked just a bit.  Kissing his classmates at school each time he needs to apologize to them will not go over very well.   What a blessing it is to be Mimi and Papaw to two precious little lives.  At three months old, Lillianne just went to the doctor the other day and now weighs 13 lbs and 5 oz.

Mimi and Lillianne

Wildfires in Nebraska, Aurora Colorado shootings, the Olympics, Chick Fil-A …  news and happenings that contribute to the potpourri in the everyday blur of life.  Today’s headlines will be old news next week, for life doesn’t slow down for anything or anybody.  We’ve all heard the saying … “Seize the moment!”   I think of that often in the busyness of life, as a reminder to not be SO busy that I miss out on the blessings that are hidden and only revealed if we slow down.  Just a couple evenings ago as Tim and I were sitting down to supper with Cole at the head of our table, he was his usual distracted and pokey eater.  After taking a bite of my own food, I was just getting ready to turn to him and fuss at him to start eating his chicken nuggets.  As I looked his way, I quickly noticed that he was already very intent at watching me.  Instead of opening my mouth to speak, I simply sat there and smiled at him.  His little face lit up in the biggest grin as he reached over to lovingly hold my hand as he began to eat the rest of his dinner with the other.  I would have missed that very special moment with my grandson had I not been paying attention and had just swooped in to hurry him along.

Today is a potpourri day of birthdays in our family.  My husband turns 51 and our daughter shares his special day by turning 29 years old.  Born an hour and 45 minutes before our daughter Kim, was our niece Joanna.  Tim’s baby sister, Becca, also shares in the occasion of August 5 by turning 36 today.  Mimi and Papaw are celebrating this year by having Cole and Lillianne with them at the beach in New Jersey.  Oh … their parents are along, too!  We are enjoying sunshine, ocean waves, sand, tasty food, and the blessings of family … on this on-purpose, not-so blurry day of life.

Won’t you join me in not allowing the blur to detract and take away from embracing as many moments as we can? … for there just might be a smile to melt your heart and a hand to hold.

Until next time,
Debbie

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.

I Corinthians 16:13
NIV

 

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions,
give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

I Corinthians 16:13
The Message

 

Bread Bites

21 Mar

Give us this day our Daily Bread.
Matthew 6:11

Definition by Domino’s Pizza ~

Bread Bites by Domino's

Parmesan Bread Bites:
Oven-baked, bite size breadsticks lightly sprinkled
with parmesan-asiago cheese and seasoned with garlic
and more parmesan.  Available in 16-piece or 32-piece orders.
Share them with everyone or no one!

Debbie’s definition ~

Delicious little bites of airy dough balls … the texture reminiscent of a Krispy Kreme donut FRESH from the production line … tastefully seasoned with garlic and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.  Oh SO yummy!

On top of the two boxes of pizzas that were picked up to bring back for dinner, was a bag of piping hot Bread Bites.  The aroma of fresh baked bread and its seasoning quickly filled the vehicle, causing my taste buds and my tummy to turn summersaults in anticipation!  Not to be unfair to the others, I only snitched one of the Bites from the tempting bag, savoring every morsel of garlic and speck of parmesan. That meal was over two weeks ago and I still think about those Bites … but for more reasons than their taste.

The 2nd year anniversary for Morsels of Mercy has come and gone.  I had great intentions of once again finding a new blog theme, freshen things up a bit, and add new pictures, but life has been a little crazy.  Not necessarily bad crazy, but crazy nonetheless.  Just when I think I have a few extra moments to sit down and peruse the various different new blog formats on Word Press, my attention is diverted by something more important.  It’s these little bites of bread in my world that I keep partaking of … seasoned with the spices of life and then lavished with the love of Jesus.  Bread Bites are meant to be shared … so don’t mind if I do!

Kim and Cole

Baby Lillianne … This Bread Bite is the one right up on top.  The months of anticipation have suddenly become weeks ~ with only 6 left at the time of this post.  Six weeks early was when her big brother, Cole, arrived on the scene – in a state of emergency for Mom and Baby.  Momma has done her best at preventing a repeat of circumstances, but sometimes our best is not enough.  Kim’s body seems to react adversely to pregnancy – last time with pre-eclampsia and this time with cervix issues.  After the initial period of moderate bed rest at week 24, permission to resume normal activity was given.  Several weeks later, after a routine OB visit, an exam showed early dilation and cervix issues again.  Prompt attention and concern were immediately put into place as Kim was once again placed on bed rest – this time restrictive.  Her daily routine of caring for her home, husband, and nearly 3 year old son quickly came to a halt as she found herself lying on the couch for hours on end, except when she made her way upstairs to sleep and to shower.  Appreciation beyond words cannot express my heart when I think of those friends from Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene where Kim and Troy belong.  They truly do belong there, for it has been that family that recently blessed them with an overwhelmingly bountiful shower of baby gifts, and has provided meals and extra care for Cole during the week days while Daddy and Mimi were at work.  Kim’s latest appointment with the doctor showed great signs of improvement, releasing her from the bonds of strict bed rest to that of moderation.  Help with meals and care for Cole will continue as these final weeks bring us closer to the birth of our Baby Lillie!

Cole ... on purpose spilling himself.

The world of Mimi … this Bread Bite is huge, sprinkled with a lot of seasoning!  To share every speck of parmesan would require the writing of a book all of its own entitled Cole Michael.  The fun, the laughter, the non-stop chatter, the busyness, the curiosity, the tenderness, the stubbornness, the love, and even occasional frustration …   Need I go on?  With every effort to do all we can to help lighten the load for his parents, Papaw and Mimi have had Cole at their house as often as possible, or Mimi has spent weekends in Baltimore.  Cole’s world continues to be all boy – cars, tractors, stickers, balls, and monster trucks.  Despite the unusually warm temperatures this winter, we were truly blessed with a few inches of snow during an overnight visit from Kim and Cole.  A year makes such a difference in the fun of a little boy … he graduated from his protective and safe little sled to the adult long board, which allowed him to self-spill and tumble out into the snow.  Cole is very excited and shares in the anticipation of Baby Lillie … not quite sure what he is expecting, although the details of tiny, crying, pooping, and sleeping have all been explained to him.  For the moment, Baby Lillie is the existence behind Momma’s ever-growing belly, which he kisses, includes in his prayers, and enjoys her company as he raises momma’s maternity top up so she can also watch the CAR movie with him…the preciousness of a little child.

Another Bread Bite that is full of evening gym visits, lots of energy, and better health is one that I’ve already recently shared.  Tim has been on a mission to lose substantial weight, and has experienced great results … giving credit to his exercise routines at the gym and a change in his eating habits.  He has all but cut out all sodas, which is a huge change for him.  He used to drink at least 5 Pepsis every day.  Fruits and vegetables have replaced chips and Swiss Rolls, and we also recently pulled our Champion Juicer out of the archives of the basement.

Not just one, but a handful of Bread Bites represent my recent trip to Indianapolis, leaving behind the aroma of spices and specks of parmesan all over the place!!  Having arrived Wednesday evening of last week and returning home late Sunday night, the sponge of my heart soaks up as much as possible, but there’s never enough time …

Great Grandma, Great Aunt Debbie with Jaxon ... & Daddy

Baby Jaxon melted my heart as I sat there that first evening holding my great nephew and remembering special times over 30 years ago when his Daddy was this size.  It was a real treat on Sunday for his parents to bring him to my home church so his great grandma could show him off.  Hopefully he was the only one who slept through Pastor Swesey’s message!

There were 16 of us at a friends’ home on Thursday as my ‘Higher Ground’ girls gathered in for the evening.  A surprise bridal shower for another friend provided the reason to come, along with the realization that my momma and I were coming to town!  What a true blessing these girls are to my heart as they still seem to love me and miss me, even though I have been gone for over a year!  Those feelings are very mutual!

Friday and Saturday were  both busy from dawn to bedtime … a special lunch with a dear friend, sorting through bags and closets of my Daddy’s clothes, time spent with family, and some relaxing in front of the TV watching movies and special events that Mom recorded for me.  The weather was exceptional all weekend, allowing me to slip on the flip flops and capris for the first time this year.

It’s always a joy for me to attend church with my Mom on Sunday ~ the church in which I grew up in … where I found Jesus, met my husband, got married, dedicated my babies, my Daddy’s funeral, …  During the Sunday School hour, I chose to sit in the Senior Adult class with those I have known for many years, discussing the disciple Peter and his tragic failure of loyalty … a lesson from the Nazarene spring quarterly.  I chimed in with my own comment that even though Peter failed and made a horrible mess of things, because of Christ’s love and forgiveness, Peter was restored and later had a dynamic ministry in spite of his past.  I’m personally grateful that Jesus does not just condemn and leave me in a pile to rot.  But instead, he is all about redemption and restoration.

A Divine Appointment on the flight home … a pastor’s wife from Lancaster was flying back from Denver where her daughter is attending college.  It was nice to once again connect to a total stranger through the bonds of Jesus.

A very special Bread Bite remains in the bag, filled with lots of yummy goodness and extra spices … Sunday was our son Ryan’s 26th birthday.  There will never be enough garlic and specks of parmesan to express this Momma’s love for her boy.  Someday, I would love to be with him in Seattle for his birthday so we could celebrate him and his special day together.

There’s another Birthday Bread Bite still in the bottom of the bag ~ Cole will turn 3 years old on Saturday.  A low-energy level birthday party is being planned, allowing Momma to participate by sitting and watching while an assortment of little tykes and their parents, along with various family members gather to thank God for another year of growth, development, love, and lots of life in the person of Cole Michael.

As a Morsel of Mercy represents God’s gifts of undeserved favor throughout our everday, I believe that from time to time, my life has a bag of warm and tasty Bread Bites.  Moments that are full of life, saturated with time consuming events, and covered with specks of details.  Every Bite is fresh, warm, and lavished with the love of Jesus.  I just shared mine ~ find someone who needs some encouragement or a friendly visit and share your Bread Bites.

Until next time,
Debbie

 Jesus said to them,
“I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is He who comes down from
heaven and gives life to the world.”


“Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this Bread.”

 

Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life.
He who comes to Me will never go hungry,
and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:32-35

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 Baby Shower Gift Bags  –  March 2012