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Best Buds

21 Oct

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. 
Proverbs 27:9

There she was … on the escalator, smiling and riding down toward me. The next few days were planned with outings and activities, but at that moment, it was just good to see her again and to give her a big hug!

 

Several months before, Becky had hinted that she would like to come see me in the fall, but I knew how fragile life had been since Joe died more than 2 years ago, along with the fact that she is the primary caregiver of her 89 year-old momma. Airline tickets were purchased and the dates put on the calendar. Anticipation mounted as time drew closer. Several incidents took place that made us wonder if we would have to postpone, but God knew that Becky needed the respite and time away.

 

Best Buds at Hershey Chocolate World

Best Buds at Hershey Chocolate World

On our first full day together, we enjoyed an afternoon of fun and a tasty lunch at Hershey Chocolate World. This was followed by a drive-thru tour of our former life in Middletown, where we built our home in 1991, and then where Kim and Troy were married in Hershey. Later that evening I was honored to have Becky join me as I hosted the October Refresh meeting … the monthly small group that meets in my home. Ten of us ladies gathered to reminisce about childhood friendships and to be reminded that God is all about relationships, most importantly ours with Him!

 

Lancaster County PA is the heart of Amish country in PA … and that is where we spent the following day. Nearly every moment was a Kodak one, and how we both embraced the beauty of the day, the culture, and the sites! It was a perfect day filled with friendship, fun and delicious food!

 

Vintage photo albums provided Saturday morning with hearts full of warm memories, laced with fun and laughter as we flipped through pictures of old boyfriends, church teen activities and friends. The giggles eventually turned into sighs and expressions of sweet sentiment as photos of her Joe and my Tim began to fill the pages with the early days of falling in love, getting married and starting families … the love stories that have been ours for over 3 decades now. At some point, we had to close the albums and quietly remind ourselves that today and tomorrow are new days, full of the promise of new memories yet to experience!

 

Dinner at Dobbins House Gettysburg, PA

Dinner at Dobbins House
Gettysburg, PA

And experience we did! For our final hoorah, we spent the afternoon with my hubby, meandering our way through Gettysburg and catching glimpses of monuments, acres and acres of battlefields, and even a few true historians who dressed for the part. We took advantage of the gorgeous warm sunshine and beautiful autumn leaves as we enjoyed our time together.

As a keepsake of our special time together, Becky’s daughter provided prayer/friendship beads for us to creatively string and use as a reminder to pray for one another. Also, my husband caught the lyrics of a song he was listening to as he was riding the motorcycle over the weekend.  He brought the CD inside and played it for me and Becky … Here are the lyrics.

Click here to listen … https://youtu.be/jk8cPNTBOwc

Reunion of Friends by Phil Keaggy

Look at you, look at me, Together once again.
This is a day to celebrate reunion of friends.
Sha la la la la la la la la la.

Time to dance, time to sing, Time to join our hands.
This is a day to celebrate reunion of friends.

We can recapture the years that slipped away,
We can relive all the memories still,
So don’t you be sad for our prayers
Have been answered today.
It’s time to celebrate.

See you laugh, see you smile, Blessed with innocence.
This is the day to celebrate reunion of friends.
This is the day to celebrate reunion of friends.

We can recapture the years that slipped away,
We can relive all the memories still,
So don’t you be sad for our prayers
Have been answered today.
It’s time to celebrate.

We can recapture the years that slipped away,
We can relive all the memories still,
We can rebuild all His mercy, peace, and grace.
And there is no dream that He can’t fulfill
So let’s celebrate today.

 

Becky’s early Sunday afternoon return flight to Louisiana came all too quickly, but we both felt incredibly grateful for this special weekend that God gifted to us.  As childhood friends and life-time best buds, we recaptured, relived and celebrated! Won’t you join us as we rebuild all His mercy, peace, and grace, knowing that there is no dream that He can’t fulfill!   So let’s celebrate today!

Until next time,
Debbie

 

In God’s wisdom, He frequently chooses to meet our needs
by showing His love toward us through the hands and hearts of others.
Jack Hayford

 

 

Sunshine on the Eastern Shore

14 Jun

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Psalm 97:1

 

Many years ago in Hershey, two cute little blond-headed kids came to our Wednesday night Caravan program. They were brought faithfully by a friend of their momma. Some of us ladies began praying for this momma … that she would come to church with her children and fall in love with Jesus. Soon after, the momma did come to church with her kids, and she fell head over heels in love with Jesus. A vibrant personality, contagious cheerfulness and a glow that is unmistakably Jesus is the reason for my term of endearment for Miss Mary Sunshine.

 

Mary was eager to jump in head-first, with no hesitation, into whatever God asked her to do! So in September of 1997, Mary moved to Albuquerque, NM, just a few months after we arrived there to be part of the ministry team at Nazarene Indian Bible College. Mary became our neighbor, our co-worker, my prayer partner and a dear friend.

 

June 10, 2016

On our way to Virginia

Life’s been a journey since that time in our lives nearly 19 years ago. Much has taken place for us both, including a few changes of address. But right here, right now, we find ourselves only 6 hours away from one another. This past weekend, that gap was temporarily closed when Tim and I packed every nook and cranny of our Harley Davidson and rode the 260 miles to see our friend. Mary moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in November of 2015 and was recently installed as the new Pastor of the Bloxom Community Church of the Nazarene.

 

Mary’s enthusiastic spirit and visionary heart has begun the restart of a church that once thrived in Bloxom and reached into the surrounding communities … hosting camp meetings and revivals, youth camps and gospel sings. The rich heritage that many locals remember, along with God’s call and the contagious excitement of the new pastor, Bloxom is beginning a new chapter.

 

June 11, 2016

After dinner group photo

Life-long friends with hours to catch up on, local seafood to eat, roads with beautiful sites to explore on the motorcycle, and three precious Chihuahuas to love on … what a fun weekend! A lot of things have changed since those days of praying for that young single mother, but the one forever constant is her glowing love for Jesus. No matter her circumstances or where she calls home, she will always be my Miss Mary Sunshine!

 

Won’t you join me today in celebrating friendships, God’s undeniable call, and His love that continues to redeem lost and broken lives?

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

P.S.  Click here http://www.bloxomchurchofthenazarene.org/site/cs/Index.asp to go to the church website to see how you can help with the restoration process of the property.  Many years without a pastor or congregation has taken its toll on the buildings and grounds.  Consider taking a work team to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I guarantee that Mary Sunshine will be a gracious hostess!   Drop her an email and schedule a time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to that small but growing church!

ohmary02@gmail.com

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:19

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the
light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

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

refresh

21 Jul

A big tall glass of ice water or a pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade…a popsicle or an ice cream cone with sprinkles. How about an afternoon in the swimming pool or a few days at the beach? It’s mid July and it’s that time of year when we want to feel refreshed.

 

Then there’s the long days of having to be mature and responsible. Work. Even though we may enjoy what we do to earn our living, it is still an obligation of our time and our energy. By the time Friday rolls around, I am ready to be refreshed. I always look forward to the occasional weekend that I get to spend with my grandkids … their very presence and their love always refreshes my spirit! When they are not around, simple activities such as cleaning my house, going to yard sales, and riding the motorcycle with my husband … these also refresh me.

 

One morning a few months ago, God threw the word ‘refresh’ out to me. I was expecting it. Or at least I was waiting on Him to give me something. And there it was. A simple word and concept. Within moments, as I sat down for my quiet time with Jesus, there was the word again … refresh … written in black and white in one of my devotional books. I smiled as I knew that God was confirming His direction, His idea, His plans and His desires. I quickly turned to the back of my Bible and looked up this most interesting word and found several scriptures that fit perfectly. A perfect fit for a new mission and a new ministry. Many years ago, God called me to be a missionary. His definition of missionary has been unique and most creative for me, and is still very real today. That morning back in January, He had already been nudging me, ever so slightly, about starting another group for ladies…something similar to what I did before with the Munchy Monday/Tasty Tuesday ladies from Higher Ground, but different. The difference being that was then and this is now … and the word refresh.

 

refresh 2

is a group of ladies who get together, once a month … for encouragement, inspiration, and refreshment. Our lives are busy, often full of circumstances and events that sap our energy and try to steal our joy, so we make a priority to refresh our souls with good company, tasty treats, and most importantly, Jesus.

 

IMG_2853 Five ladies met in my home on March 17th…a neighbor, two new friends from church, and a gal that also works for York County, and me. I shared God’s idea of ‘refresh’ that evening and expressed my heart’s desire to open my home to whoever would like to come for just one evening a month for a time to simply be refreshed. In April we were refreshed with Spring Cleaning as we read scriptures about being a sweet aroma of Christ and hiding the Word of God in our hearts in order to keep our way pure…and then my favorite,

Repent, then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be washed away,
that times of REFRESHING may come from the Lord.
Acts 3:19

 

The months of May and June took us to the basics of being refreshed in the Word and in Prayer. Our time together each month combines a delicious evening meal with relaxing around the table, chatting about the everyday, followed with an emphasis of the word refresh, scripture, and prayer. Ladies share concerns and prayer needs, sometimes in tears driven by the fears and disappointments of life. Just a couple nights ago during our July meeting, we read passages from the Bible and excerpts from devotional books that encouraged us to “refresh our wardrobe”.

“Seek My face at the beginning of your day.
This practice enables you to “put Me on” and
“wear Me” throughout the day. Most people put
on clothes soon after rising from bed. Similarly,
the sooner you “put Me on” by communicating with Me,
the better prepared you are for whatever comes your way.”

imagesATKVFZSX

“To ‘wear Me’ is essentially to have My mind:
to think My thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to
control your thinking; be transformed by this
renewal within you. Thus you are well-equipped to face
whatever people and situations bring your way.
Clothing your mind in Me is your best preparation for each day.
This discipline brings Joy and Peace to you and those around you.”

So, chosen by God for this new life of Love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, content with second place,
quick to forgive an offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear Love.
It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message

Jesus is Love.
Regardless of what else you put on, wear Jesus.
He is your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without Him!

God promised me that if I would be willing to invite a few friends and even neighbors that I do not know, He would provide the rest. There is never a lack of inspiration for the study, there is plenty of energy to welcome the ladies into a clean home, and I’m blessed with a supportive husband who is witnessing first hand how God is connecting neighbors, co-workers and mere acquaintances from church and uniting hearts with a common purpose of being refreshed in Jesus.

 

I plan to create a refresh group on Facebook — a place for ladies to share encouraging words and scriptures throughout the month. I daydream about going away for a weekend retreat, or evening hosting it right here in my own home, (send the hubby to Baltimore for a few days) allowing us time to briefly study an entire book or a DVD series, or even invite a special speaker. As God has already been providing, all ideas and dreams are His and all will fall into place as He desires.

 

There are many of my friends and family from all over the country who have been covering this new ministry in prayer each month … words cannot express my heart, knowing that we are being lifted up to Jesus in prayer support!

 

I will soon begin to prepare for August’s meeting, anxious to switch from Tuesday to Thursday night, which will allow a few other ladies to attend who have prior commitments earlier in the week. If you are local to York, PA, won’t you join us? If it’s your first time, there is no need to bring anything along except yourself and a desire to be refreshed. If you are not local, won’t you join us in prayer support?  And most importantly, won’t you all join us in finding ways to refresh ourselves in Jesus?

 

I do wish, ladies,
that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord,
refresh my heart in Christ.
Philemon 1:20

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

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 New Year ~ 2015

30 Jan

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Some may think that I’m a bit late, but I choose to say that I embraced every moment of the Christmas season that I could. Now that the trimmings and the tree are all down and put away, and everyone has gone back home, I am going to devote some specific time to send greetings to all of our family and friends as yet another year has completed its chapter in our book called life.

Snowstorm that brought 23" of snow!

Snowstorm that brought 23″ of snow!

One thing most of us across America had in common in 2014 was our crazy winter weather! Our little town always seemed be in an overactive band of snow, burying us under several more inches than others in south central PA. Mimi and Papaw’s ‘big hill’ provided a lot of fun times and memories for our little loves when they and their parents could visit.

 

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Needless to say, warm and sunny spring days eventually came, which brought new adventures, the first of which when Ryan flew in for a few days in March. He came bearing gifts for a belated Christmas celebration, and in turn we sang Happy Birthday to him!

 

In April I made a long-over due trip to Louisiana to visit dear friends, a journey of the heart that will forever be changed and grateful for much that has often been taken for granted. Mother’s Day weekend was spent with my mom in Indy, with the added joy of meeting my newborn niece, Remington. Then just a couple of weeks later, Tim and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Ohio at a small reunion of friends who volunteered and worked with us on the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. What a blessed time we had together in those days and again at this gathering!
Mingled in between trips, the grand-kids’ birthday celebrations and the everyday routine of work and life, we were packing and preparing to move. We finally found a house to buy and de-clutter became my new motto. By mid-June, we were moved in and getting settled, excited to spend time with Ryan who was once again out east … this time on a Verizon business trip with some added time for family!

 

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

The adventures continued as Mimi loaded Momma and the kiddos in her van and we drove to Indy for the Wells Family reunion in July. What fun to share those of my little family with my precious aunts, uncles and cousins! The traditional annual August 5th weekend birthday celebration once again found us at the shore with Kim and her family, enjoying the surf, sand, and sun. Then a few weeks later, Tim and I took advantage of frequent flier points for a long-over due visit to our beloved Albuquerque! The hospitality of our host family was a blessing, the itinerary of visits with friends and church family was heart warming, and just the experience of being there in that special place we called home for nearly 10 years was simply over-whelming.

 

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

September arrived with an invitation to meet my life-long ‘best bud’ in Florida for a few days of respite with her, following the death of her husband on August 1st. Beach therapy was the theme for our time together as childhood friends tried to make sense of life and its uncertain path … all the while being confident that God is the one true certainty on our journey.

 

Another leg of our journey was our annual motorcycle trip to Toms River, New Jersey and our visit with Pastor Del and Patsy Bieber. What fun we had as we spent time with their family, shopped at a local flea market, ate some outstanding food and as always, enjoyed our Sunday morning of worship with our seaside friends. Several weeks later, it was our privilege and pleasure to host these friends in our own home as Pastor Del preached in a local revival service.

 

Tim's Mom with her children

Tim’s Mom with her children

Indiana became our destination of necessity throughout the fall months due to the 6 week battle with cancer and passing of Tim’s step-father on September 23. Life with its reminder of our fragility and total dependence upon God once again knocked on the doors of our hearts. After a lot of prayer and thoughtful consideration, Tim’s Mom …has moved back to PA to be closer to the majority of her children.

 

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

Christmas season! We attended Christmas programs and parties, spent time with family and friends, and simply enjoyed the beautiful season in our new home. Christmas Eve travels took us to Indiana for a few days to celebrate Jesus, His birth, and several other family birthdays with my Mother, brothers and their families. Our trip was highlighted on Sunday morning when my brother Tim and his wife, Courtney, dedicated Remington Kimber Wells to Jesus.

 

The final hoorah for the year was awesome as Ryan and Brittany flew in from Seattle and our entire family spent several days together in our home … still celebrating Jesus and Christmas, New Year’s, and Brittany’s January birthday. Gifts were exchanged, countless games of Memory (and others) were played, creative paper airplanes were flown, and so much tasty food was prepared and enjoyed! Girls went shopping, family came to visit, a few movies were watched, and we worshiped together on Sunday just a few hours before good-byes were said. Every moment of every day, I tried to soak up each and every morsel and speck of family love I could … to hold me until next time!

 

As we begin a new year, I would like to share a page from ‘Jesus Calling’ …

June 12
Let Me prepare you for the day (year) that stretches out before you. I know exactly what this day (year) will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it. You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey. You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead. However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today (this year): Spend quality time with Me.

I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey. My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way. Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts. Thus, you can walk through this day (year) with your focus on Me. My abiding Presence is the best road map available.

 

2014 is behind us and a new road lies ahead. May the comfort and the peace of God’s constant Presence be the Guide and Direction for you and yours for this new year.

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go
with you and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

Until next time,
Debbie

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If you would like to read the unabbreviated version of 2014 and more,
please feel free to visit my website and read till your heart is content!  https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com/

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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.
 
 ***************************
** 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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Albuquerque

10 Sep

 

 

 The Lord will guide you always;
    He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

 

As the captain instructed the flight crew to prepare the cabin for landing, I glanced out my window and caught my first glimpse in eight years of Sandia Mountain.  Within minutes, our plane flew over the Crest and the familiar view of the city of Albuquerque sprawled out below us.  Tears welled up as our great Southwest plane made a large circle over top of the South Valley, allowing us to recognize buildings and landmarks.  Once landed and inside the airport, memories of days gone by of the arrival and departure of countless Work & Witness teams pulled and yanked on our hearts.  Needless to say, by the time we entered the airport again 6 days later, our hearts were pretty sore.

 

Following the biggest tug on our hearts, the first item on our itinerary that Wednesday evening was to drive to the former campus of the Nazarene Indian Bible College, which is where we called home for 9 years.  As we pulled in and parked our rented car behind the chapel, we grew silent as we looked around us and saw the extreme disrepair and neglect in every direction.  As we slowly walked around on the very sidewalks that our Work & Witness teams poured, tears once again filled our eyes.  A sadness consumed our thoughts as we remembered students and their families, dedicated staff and volunteers, and hundreds of sacrificial team members who gave of their time, their resources, and their lives to make the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College a place for men and women to answer the call of God on their lives.  Eight years ago the property was sold.  The Van Hooks packed up and moved back east.  The rest is history.  Thankfully, while visiting with those who purchased the 17 acre facility, leadership changes have taken place along with immediate plans of major cleanup and repair.  Tim and I will be praying for the Sandia Church as this huge task looms before them, and that they will redeem that which has fallen … that which over 66 years ago was a gift from God to the Native American people and to the Church of the Nazarene.  May it once again become Holy Ground and a place that the community can be proud of.

 

Dusk had stolen the daylight as Tim and I finished our pilgrimage to NIBC.  The sky was dark as we headed north on I-25, but the beautiful lights of the city illuminated our drive and encouraged our hearts as we made our way to the home of our friends, Daniel and Jennifer.  Having just enjoyed the first meal of our ABQ vacation, Lotaburger green chile burgers, we were excitedly greeted by our hosts and were grateful for their warm hospitality!  We were blessed beyond words with the entire lower level of their home, complete with a beautiful guest bath and bedroom, furnished in southwest décor!!

 

August 28, 2014

7 of us met for lunch at the Sandwich Company

Aug 28, 2014

Stevie and Jenee with their children

While Tim and Daniel were busy taking care of guy things, Thursday was my day to spend with the girls.  Mani/pedis were on the morning agenda, as well as an afternoon surprise massage … all special treats with and from my friend, Jenee.  In the middle of our fun day, we met 5 other of my friends for lunch, where we all talked at once and tried to catch up on the past 8 years of life.  The evening was extra special as Tim met me at the beautiful Yarbrough home where Jenee prepared a delicious dinner, complimented by red and green chiles. What a blessing to sit around the table with Stevie and Jenee, their 4 children, Jenee’s father and his lady friend…to participate in family conversations, to watch the various personalities interact, and to soak up every morsel of every moment.  As we all went outside to play in the backyard, I couldn’t help but to thank God for His answer to a shared prayer that was prayed over 9 years ago – His answer was the drug addicted life of Jenee Noriega.  Thank you, Jesus!

 

Aug 29, 2014

Breakfast at Barelas with Mario, Vinny and his 2 boys

Aug 29, 2014

Emilio and Martha

The next morning brought us back down to the south valley where our children grew up, where we met two of our son’s best friends from high school for breakfast … at Barelas Coffee House.  Mario and Vinny – and Vinny’s two little guys, Javier and Joaquin.  What a treat to sit and visit with these boys – now all grown up with adult lives of their own!  My heart swelled with lots of love and pride, along with gratefulness to a God who blessed my son’s life those many years ago with the friendship of these two fine young men.  What an awesome start to our Friday!  Since we were so close, we drove back down to our old stomping ground, this time stopping to visit our neighbors who live behind the NIBC campus.  Emilio and Martha were thrilled to see us, inviting us inside their home where we shared stories of kids and grandkids, work and life.  Taking us out to their large garden before we left, they sent us away with two bags full of freshly picked green chile, jalapenos, and other veggies.  What a treat!!

 

Aug 29, 2014

Dinner at Henriettas with the McKinneys and Mary

Later that evening, Tim and I made our way back across town to find our dear friend, Mary Jimenez, and the 3 of us drove the familiar route to Los Lunas for dinner, where we met Tom and Laurita McKinney.  Once again, sitting inside Henrietta’s and across the table and beside dear friends from NIBC, I found my heart was full and running over.  Several years, a lot of life, and many changes have all taken place … but I will always remember the scripture that Tom, without hesitation, proposed to be the theme verse for the 50th anniversary celebration of Nazarene Indian Bible College in 1998.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8   As we realized that time had even taken an adverse toll on one of our favorite restaurants, I was comforted by evening’s end to know that Jesus had Tom and Laurita and Mary safely in His unchanging hands.  It was a fun time of catching up, laughing and remembering many, many good times in ministry together!   It was a very heart-warming evening!

 

Sept 1, 2014

Our gracious hosts … Daniel and Jennifer

The weekend arrived and we had set aside Saturday to spend time with our gracious hosts.  Following an adventurous time of early morning travel east of the city, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a country corner restaurant in Edgewood.  I enjoyed two over easy eggs on top of a chile rellano…oh my goodness!   Since I was literally 5 minutes away from my sweet friend, Sonja, I drove over to visit with her for a couple hours as we chatted the afternoon by.  That evening was quiet, relaxing, and spent at home with Daniel, Jennifer and their bird, Pepe.

 

Aug 31, 2014

Sarah and Cynthia with Sarah’s twins

Sunday was truly a marathon day as there were many people and many places on our agenda!  I arrived at Sandia Mountain church at 9:00 am, where I was given a facility tour by Cynthia Myers … as I greeted and hugged friends, surprising many, and chatting with several.  My allotted hour flew by all too quickly, but my next stop was over 20 minutes away and I needed to hurry.  As I drove to Rio Rancho, I began to pray for Jenee as she was going to be preaching this morning … and I didn’t want to miss it.  Entering the service just moments after it had started, I stood beside my friend as our voices harmonized, both of us in tears as we worshipped the One Who brought us together over 9 years ago.

 

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
praise to the King of kings
You are my everything
and I will adore You.

 

Aug 31, 2014

Pastor Jenee

As Jenee got up to preach, I hung onto every word … incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be there at that moment.  My mind kept traveling back to 2005 and 2006 when Jenee was a brand new Christian, struggling to stay above the drugs and the lifestyle that had held her captive for 19 years.  Watching her, not only as she preached, but in the everyday … and even on the phone, the joy of Jesus and her love for Him literally radiates from the inside out of Jenee.    Following her message, there was a small reunion of friends that took place as I greeted old friends from Sandia … and then Stevie’s cousin JoeJoe!  What an awesome morning!  As I drove back across Paseo Del Norte to the northeast side of Albuquerque, my heart was full and running over…thrilled to be back in Albuquerque and to see so many dear faces.

 

Tim had gone to Heights First Church with the Denigs, representing us there and seeing so many people from our past, including Dr. John Griffin from NIBC.  Tim and I shared stories from our morning while we sat and enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner at Los Cuates with our friends, Daniel and Jennifer.

 

Aug 31, 2014

Bernita, Sandra and Ophie at Apache Ave.

Sunday evening simply topped off a grand and glorious day as we spent the evening with our Native American friends at Apache Avenue Church of the Nazarene.  We all gathered in the fellowship hall for dinner at 5 pm, giving us time to visit and to enjoy some awesome blue corn enchiladas and green chile stew.  We then moved into the sanctuary where we sang hymns in Navajo and enjoyed the evening message by Dr. Julian Gunn.  Nearly 40 people were there, dear friends and acquaintances from our years spent in Albuquerque – some we rubbed shoulders with on a daily basis and others we saw when worshipping together in various church settings.  Tears once again flowed down both of our faces as our hearts swelled with memories of those days, so ordained by God.

 

Sept 1, 2014

Vinny and his momma, Therese

Our final day was filled with packing green chile for the flight home, thanks to Vinny and his Momma for spoiling us rotten!!  “We’re going to be doing chiles tomorrow – let us do them for you so you don’t have to take up your time working on chiles!”  Even though we fussed and said no, they insisted.  Monday morning, we walked away with 30 pounds of roasted green chiles, already peeled and in small freezer bags, frozen, a recipe for chile rellanos, some homemade steak and green chile sauce and a huge smile on our faces and gratefulness in our hearts!!  You don’t find folks like that out east.  You just don’t!  We stopped at a roadside chile stand and picked up 15 more pounds of fresh, non-roasted chile to take home.  Once home, much to the curiosity of our neighbors, Tim roasted them on our charcoal grill, we peeled them and froze them whole for chile rellanos.  Needless to say, our freezer is full of yummy New Mexico goodness and we are happy!!

 

Sept 1, 2014

Green chile

We are grateful for our two Southwest Airlines ‘frequent flyer’ tickets that took us to Albuquerque and even more grateful for their “2 bags fly free” policy that took us and our green chiles safely back to PA with no additional costs!  We have been home now just over a week and we still find it difficult to grasp that we finally went back for a visit … what took us so long?  It had been 8 years since we left.  We both have our unspoken theories, I’m sure … but we did go back. The same God who called us to go as missionaries to the Native American in 1997 met us there when we returned to visit in 2014.  Blessing upon blessing filled those 6 days … and we are anxiously anticipating another trip in the future.  Probably when the freezer has no more green chile.

 

Won’t you join me in rejoicing in the fact that our God is the same, yesterday, today and forever?  Our circumstances change, our children grow up, friendships take on a different perspective, we get older, and our world all around us is always adjusting to a new day … but Jesus Christ will never change!

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

 
“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.
 ***************************
** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from our trip to ABQ
that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!
 ***************************

How Long Has It Been?

1 Aug

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

 

OH.  MY. How long has it been?  Over two months, you say?  I deeply apologize for not writing sooner, but it certainly was not done so out of neglect.  My heart’s desire and priority is to write and to do so often … but life and its priorities often trump my heart.  Such is the case of late.

 

Life has been full…full of excitement, busyness, travel, heartache and change.  As brief as possible, I will back up and attempt at highlighting the past couple of months.  Where do I begin?

 

Our new home

Our new home

Let’s start with one rainy Sunday afternoon in April.  We had our realtor show us a house that had just been listed the day before.  As we walked through the front door, we sensed immediately that this home was different than any of the others we had looked at. It was bright inside with big beautiful windows and high ceilings, large and nicely painted rooms, and the price was right. Three days later we made an offer.  Within 24 hours, we knew we were going to be buying a house!

 

De-clutter became my new motto.  I started with closets and drawers, and I was serious.  It was time to look at each and every article of clothing and make a decision.  Items that didn’t make the cut began gathering in large bags in the front hall, later to be donated, while drawers and closets were neatly organized and ready to be packed for the move.  I spent hours and hours and more hours in the basement sorting and going through boxes of stuff that we hadn’t had room to do anything with for years!  As the stack of donated items grew, a true sense of accomplishment began to settle on me, helping to make my tired and sore feet feel better!  I also sorted through keepsakes.  Years and years of them.  I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I am a keeper.  There is a difference.  I love to keep things that bring back memories of special people, times, and places.  Well, my life has been full of all of these, and I’m talking literally full!  I decided it was time to continue the de-clutter process and down-size my treasures by taking a lot of pictures and scanning letters and documents.  As the trash bags filled with countless items, my heart and home began to feel liberated.   I am a blessed woman, and this whole process greatly reminded me of this fact!

 

The sellers were relocating out-of-state and their timeline was flexible, so we agreed on a closing date of June 12.  This gave us plenty of time to continue to methodically de-clutter, organize, pack, and be ready without a huge rush.  Moving is certainly not a foreign word to us, but moving just on the other side of town is definitely a different concept…and even nicer reality!  And then God gives us the best house-warming gift of all when Verizon flew Ryan into Baltimore for a business trip just 2 days after we closed on our new home.  Our entire family (minus Brittany) was together for Father’s Day, and then the following weekend for the big move.  What a hand-picked blessing from God Himself to my heart, allowing me to share this special time with both of my children.

 

More on the house later …

 

May 2014

NIBC friends

Just 2 weeks before we closed, for Memorial Day weekend, we drove to Wadsworth, Ohio for a weekend with friends.  This event was put on the calendar last fall – a reunion of sorts for friends who had worked / volunteered at the Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque while we were there a few years ago.  There were 12 of us who gathered there that day … to reminisce, to catch up, to laugh and cry, and to thank God for bringing us all together then and now.  Since that day in May, one of our dear friends, Carol Hileman, has gone on home to be with Jesus.  She and her hubby, Leonard, were the cooks at NIBC for many years.

 

Nearly every waking moment in the month of June was consumed with either packing or unpacking.  An occasional motorcycle ride, yard sale, or trip to Lowes was thrown in the mix, but it was a blur of busyness.

 

Cole Michael Lillianne Hope

Cole Michael
Lillianne Hope

July has been more of the same, with a few more opportunities to sit down and appreciate what has actually taken place.  Then a couple weeks ago, the house was filled with the awesome sounds of little people and their love for Mimi, Papaw and life!  What a great weekend of getting them settled into their new big bedroom that they now share, exploring the small stream that runs through our back yard, and soaking up every morsel of love they give to their grandparents!

 

July 2014

Me, my brothers, and our Mom

Then this past weekend, my heart was filled with more love of family as Kim, Cole and Lillie drove out to Indy with me to attend the Wells family reunion, hosted by my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Russell in Brown County.  There were over 70 of us there … I know my Daddy would’ve loved every minute of the time together!  In his honor, I edited my parents’ home movies and put together a “Wells Family Version” … nearly 80 minutes of clips from 1961 to 1987 ~ Christmas parties, birthday parties, family picnics, weddings, vacations, etc.  Several family members took a copy home, anxious to see themselves back in another time and in another place.

 

Kim and I added an extra few days to our trip to visit with some friends and other family, making our trip complete with lots of fun, great memories, and tons of pictures!  And considering that our time on the road was longer than expected, Cole and Lillie travelled very well and made Mimi and Momma very happy!

 

So, here I am today.  I’m finally making the time to do what my heart has wanted to do for weeks!!  I also feel like I need to post a sign that says “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.

 

As I put closure to my thoughts today, my heart desires to express yet another dimension to my life.  As I sit here in my little town in south central PA, my precious friends in Crowley, Louisiana are literally watching the sands of time quickly empty the hour glass on Joe’s life.  My recent visit to Cajun country in April will always be one of the most cherished trips of my life, as I spent several days with Becky and Joe and their family.  Those were the days when Joe, even after just having his 7th surgery to remove melanoma, would get a burst of renewed energy and go into the kitchen and cook an entire meal for us, excited to be of help, although he couldn’t eat any of it himself.  In his raspy yet cheerful voice, Joe and I reminisced about days gone by … and about what God was doing in his heart and life even then as he continued to face this dreaded and vicious disease.  That was April.  A couple weeks ago after receiving the devastating results from his latest scans, Joe was given 3 months to live and was put on hospice care.   The miles between me and Becky are so, so many, but yet our hearts are very connected, as I was so frequently reminded in these past few months as I sorted through my treasures, finding multitudes of letters, cards, pictures, and keepsakes from a lifetime of friendship.  After returning from my trip to Louisiana, I picked up my own copy of Jesus Calling, which is the devotional book that my best Bud reads every day.  Somehow I wanted us both to know that although we cannot talk every day, our hearts were on the same page … literally.  This morning’s words comforted me …  since I cannot be there with my precious friend during these long exhausting days of caring for her dying husband, Jesus reminded me that she is never alone … “My Presence watches over you continually.  I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”

 

Won’t you join me just now in whatever situation you find yourself in … of knowing and embracing the truth that you are never alone – His Presence watches over you continually.  He has engraved you on the palms of His hands.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

 

See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands;
your walls are ever before Me.
Isaiah 49:16

 

Crowley, Louisiana

18 Apr

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

 

My flight into Baton Rouge landed earlier than scheduled, which allowed some quiet time to sit on a park bench in front of the airport as I waited for my gracious chauffeurs to arrive.  I appreciated the extra time to catch my breath in prayer and anticipation of the next few day’s visit with my dear friends.  Life and its unpredictable way of turning circumstances up-side down and throwing them in your face has done just that to them.

 

Becky's wedding

Becky’s wedding – November 1978

 

As Joe told one of his nurses the other day, Becky and I have been bosom buddies before we had bosoms.   She and I were inseparable as little girls and then into our teen years, growing up in the Southport Church of the Nazarene where our families attended for many many years.  Our love for one another was strengthened by our mutual love for Jesus, piano and singing, Bible quizzing, fun weekends and nearly every Sunday afternoon either at her house or mine.  Memories are piled on top of memories – People called me Becky and they often called her Debbie.  If you saw one of us, you were sure to find the other.  I was by her side on that evening in November 1978 when she said I do to Joe, as she was by mine less than two years later. She shared her maternity clothes and we gave each other baby showers.  But as God sometimes does, He calls pastors and missionaries, so the many miles then between began to separate.  That separation seemed to stretch the very cord of friendship while the busyness of ministries, families, life and other relationships weaved their way into hearts.  But there we were, just a few days ago,  reaching back into time, trying to fill in the gaps with stories full of details and facts of how God has guided and directed our paths through the years…our paths that crossed only on rare occasions … the last being in 2001.  This visit was long-over due, but nonetheless was God-ordained from the start.

 

Becky and Joe's grandson, Layne Joseph ... he picked a flower for 'Aunt Debbie' ... Sha!

Becky and Joe’s grandson, Layne Joseph … he picked a flower for ‘Aunt Debbie’ … Sha!

Frequent flyer points and a burdened heart for my friends encouraged my trip to Crowley, Louisiana, where Joe and Becky have been pastoring for the past 22 years.   It was beyond wonderful to hug my friends, to visit with their children, and to love on their grandson … “Sha!”  Becky’s mom, Pauline, was also there, her sweet smile, big hugs, and stories about Bob warmed my heart with memories.  I ate tasty food, unique to the Cajun culture – fresh shrimp, boudin, crawfish étouffée, and fig jelly, among many other delicious meals.  Within a short walking distance from their house is the Quere de Torte Bayou, which surprisingly looks like an extremely muddy creek.  We drove through a nearby town that stakes the claim to be the frog capital of the world.   While out and about, I noticed that the landscape in every direction was littered with houses on stilts, crawfish ponds and rice fields, while the sky was buzzing with cropduster planes dropping seeds to plant those rice fields.  We visited the ‘Alligator House’ where we held baby gators and gratefully saw bigger ones behind tall fences.  We looked through old photos and smiled at younger faces and slimmer bodies ~ all from a different time and a different place.  However, given the circumstances of cancer and its evil and relentless grip, a special highlight to my visit was to walk into a hospital room Thursday morning and be cheerfully greeted by the patient as he fondly said “Skeeter!”  This is a name Joe gave me back when we were teenagers … as I stood in the outfield swatting mosquitoes instead of catching softballs, on any given Tuesday night at Back Door.   My dear friend’s husband, bearing fresh wounds and battle scars of melanoma cancer on his head, face, and neck, looked like a million bucks to me as we came to take him home after his 7th surgery.  Joe’s charm, his huge heart of fun and tease, his kind and compassionate spirit, and the love and joy of Jesus that fills him to the brim … all of this together and more cushioned anything disturbing that I saw.  It was my extreme pleasure to spend those few days in Joe and Becky’s world – to get a feel for the daily routine that keeps everything and everybody in its proper place at the right time.  I was constantly in awe of the abundance of Strength and Peace that Becky has, that only Jesus Himself can supply to my friend.  I pray that my short visit was a God-given distraction for all in the midst of these uncertain days.

 

Me with Becky and her momma, Pauline

Me with Becky and her momma, Pauline

Sunday came … what a true blessing to be surrounded by such loving and kind church people who warmly welcomed me!  I sat among them in the choir and worshipped with them in song, and for old time’s sake, Becky and I sung one of our all-time favorites from long ago, Fill My Cup, Lord.  Next time she and I are together, I’m requesting that we on-purpose spend some quality time at the piano and we sing until our hearts are content.

As that southern Louisiana congregation sang the final verse of And Can It Be last Sunday morning, the words jumped out at me as an anthem … “Bold I approach the eternal Throne!”  These words have marched across my mind all week as I have not only prayed BOLDLY for Joe, but I have bombarded Heaven for my precious friend, Sandie, and for our friend and former SWO District Superintendent Dr. Carlton Hansen. My own Aunt June just recently had surgery and will soon be starting treatments.  My Uncle Johnse has been fighting the fight of cancer for many years.  I just found a colleague of mine from my days of Work & Witness USA/CANADA, Laura Sylvester … her husband is battling this horrible disease.  Cancer.  I don’t understand, but thank God I’m not suppose to.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Won’t you please join me in praying BOLDLY?  Without a doubt, Joe, Sandie, and Dr. Hansen need a miracle!  Doctors and medicine have nearly exhausted their resources.  I’m sure you also know people in your life who need a miracle.  Let’s unite in our efforts and go BOLDLY to the Throne of Grace.  If we do so, we will obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  I’ll meet you there.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth
concerning anything that they ask,
it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered
 together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18:19-20

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my recent trip to Louisiana 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.10202372872097926.1073741851.1076414018&type=1&l=7b94ce523e