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Dear Daddy

24 Jun

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

Revelation 21:23-25

 

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

 

Me and my Daddy

Me and my Daddy

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ryan and Kim with their grandpa

Ryan and Kim with their grandpa

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

 

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

 

I love you, Daddy!
Your Bobbie Naw

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Happy Birthday, Daddy!

24 Dec

 

“This is a day you are to commemorate;
for the generations to come you shall celebrate
it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
Exodus 12:14

Dear Daddy,

Today’s the day! I echo the thought of every child around the world – Today’s Christmas Eve! But for me, in my child-like heart, this day is more than special because of Christmas. It’s your birthday!

As a young girl, I always thought there was something magical about the fact that your birthday was on Christmas Eve … it made the day more fun and added to the excitement and anticipation! Now that I’m all grown up, I realize that you so willingly shared your one day of the year with us kids and Mom, making sure that “all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care”. I love you, Dad!

Remi

Remi

Tim and I are on our way to Indy to spend the next few days with Mom and the family. Family – oh Daddy! Much has taken place since last year’s birthday letter. Your Grandpa heart would be a melted gooey mess these days as Tim and Courtney have been blessed with a new little life. Remington Kimber has brought an unexpected joy to the family, along with her adorable older sisters, Azure and Zarah. I’m sure that Remi’s daddy will fill her heart with stories and tales of her Grandpa Johnny and your love for her all the way from Heaven!

A special blessing will be added to the family in March when another great granddaughter arrives! Jay and Sue are excited as Jason and Leslie will be bringing a little sister home to Jaxon and Bo. I’m sure that you can remember those special days when you and Mom brought us kids home from the hospital … and then your “grandchillren”.

Enough about us here … let’s chat about your news! How about that Joe Talhelm?! I imagine you were a bit surprised to see him so soon! Did he tell you that I flew down to Louisiana to visit him and Becky back in April? Life has a way of turning crazy, unexpected and unthinkably difficult moments into morsels of mercy … wake-up calls , second chances, renewed opportunities, blessings and personal gifts from God. We will never understand  how all of that works.  Then Tim’s step-father, Bill ~ Jesus Himself no doubt introduced you to him. He was a good man, and Tim’s mom misses him so. I know that people say our loss is Heaven’s gain, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those who lost. I read this a few days ago …

“Christmas this year will be unavoidably sad for many people … perhaps for you.
Take heart!
Christmas needn’t be merry to be meaningful.
It’s the Christ of Christmas we celebrate,
not Christmas itself.”

Daddy, as your family gathers to celebrate Jesus during this Christmas season, please know that for those of us who you called your chillren, we will always celebrate YOU on December 24th … and everyday when we see you in the eyes of your siblings, in the actions of your grandkids, and in the hearts of all who loved you!

I love you, Daddy … happy birthday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

“Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of our recent move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbiage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.”

Happy 80th Birthday Daddy … and Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

“Honor your father and mother”–
which is the first commandment with a promise– 
“that it may go well with you and that you
may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2

Dear Daddy…

I’m sure the cries of a tiny baby born on Christmas Eve 80 years ago really added to the excitement of Christmas! I wonder, Daddy, if your arrival made the story of Baby Jesus become more tangible for your young brothers and sisters. There probably weren’t many gifts wrapped and placed under the tree in your home in that small coal mining town in the hills of Lee County, Virginia, but there was a new baby.

Oh what a party we would be having today if you were still here with us! The invitation list would be long – friends and family would gather, and those who couldn’t would send cards to you! And what fun you would have reading each and every card, over and over again, for days … adding your own few words to make it say exactly what you felt it should say! We would have balloons, party hats, streamers, and party blowouts that the kids of all ages would enjoy! We would hang a bright banner, announcing that we were celebrating your 80th birthday, and we would take lots of pictures, although you would ‘humbly’ say not to take any pictures of you! We would have cake and ice cream, along with all sorts of snacks and goodies. You would unwrap presents, no doubt with the help of all the little kids who like to do that sort of thing.  I imagine you would get a new pair of pajamas and a maybe new sweatshirt with tiny little painted hand prints all over the front … from the new generation of little ones in our family. We would watch several of our home movie DVDs and have a lot of laughs about how everyone has changed over the years. After everyone would go home and the house would be a bit less chaotic, my family would still be there … in town from Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, for a few days to celebrate you, mom, and Christmas. Since I am still day-dreaming, the normal would be Mimi and Papaw Wells … and all would be right in the world, at least as we know it. What a wonderful day of celebrating you and 80 years!!

Daddy at his 60th birthday party

Daddy at his 60th birthday party

But life is what it is …. fragile. The last bright banner we hung in celebration of you announced your 60th birthday. The invitation list was long, the guests were many, the gifts were fun, and cards were poured over for days and days. After everyone had gone home and the house was a bit less chaotic, my young family was there, enjoying life as it was then with Grandma and Grandpa Wells. However, everything really was not right in the world even then. You had struggled with so much sickness for the past few years and you still were not real well, but we made the most of every opportunity that we had to celebrate you and your life. And that’s what I want to still do, as long as possible … to honor the man who loved my mom, his family and his Jesus. Happy 80th birthday, Daddy!

Me and Mom playing in the snow

Me and Mom playing in the snow

In celebration of the Christmas season this year, mom flew out to spend a few days with us here in Pennsylvania. We exchanged gifts with one another, and Kim’s two kids especially had a great time unwrapping fun presents from Mimi Wells! The highlight of our time was the additional 4” of snow that fell on our already white-covered ground on Saturday, creating a beautiful winter wonderland and an awesome playground for sledding down the big hill! Mom even giggled her way down the slope a couple of times! What fun we all had as we made new memories … and I know that mom was feeling the tug from memories past … of other snowfalls, other big hills, other little people, and you. After nearly 20 years without you, it’s all still bittersweet, Daddy. All of it.

Well, this Eve of Christmas will come to an end, soon to be announcing the arrival and celebration of Christ’s birth. But before it does, I simply ask the Lord to hand deliver this birthday letter to you … so you know that in my heart you are still loved deeply and celebrated not just on your birthday, but everyday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

Seattle? Yes, Please!

27 Sep

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you … the faith and love that spring
from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that
you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
that has come to you.
Colossians 1:1-6

There it is! As I peered out my window at the endless sea of clouds, I saw it! My heart began to stir with excitement as I saw my first glimpse of the awesome and majestic 14,411 foot Mt. Rainier … for that meant my son and his world was within moments of my grasp! Not literally moments, of course, but after a 5 hour flight, it was as good as moments!!

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

There she is! After gathering our few items we carried onto the plane and made our necessary stops, we wound our way through the concourse of the SeaTac airport to find the one person who knew us and was happy to see us! Brittany’s bright smile and warm hugs melted my heart as she greeted us, posed for pictures with the disheveled travelers, and graciously chauffeured us to a quaint little local spot for breakfast. With full tummies and contented hearts, we relaxed in the cuteness and comfort of Ryan and Brittany’s apartment, chatting non stop and catching up about life.

Group family photo!!

Group family photo!!


There he is! One last shift of work before taking off several days to spend with his parents, I greeted Ryan at the door when he came home a few hours after we arrived. Words will never be able to sufficiently express my heart when that boy of mine wraps me in his arms. It had been over four long months since we were together, so all of a sudden, my world was beyond happy. That first Saturday was completed with a trip to the theater to see Star Trek, Golden Gardens beach, and a big ginormous bowl of homemade guacamole and chips!

We were greeted with bright sunshine and blue sky as we walked over to Caffé Vita for our Sunday morning brew. Coffee and cinnamon rolls jumpstarted our day that then began with worship at Aurora Church of the Nazarene, followed by an afternoon stroll through the Fremont Sunday street market. We then came back, fired up the grill and enjoyed a delicious grilled salmon dinner … family prepared and devoured!!

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Next on our trip itinerary was a 3-hour drive down to Portland, Oregon. Leaving Brittany behind to work, the three of us packed lightly on Monday morning and piled into Ryan’s BMW and headed south. Tim had a few eateries on our to-eat-at list with the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as his inspiration. The first destination on the GPS was breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, where we ate enough food to feed an army! We then drove along the Columbia River to the east, where we stopped to look at several scenic views and waterfalls. The two favorite stops were Wahkeena and Multnomah falls – both breathtaking in their own way. So much so that this Mommy/Mimi heart had to share it all with her loves … thanks to my son who makes sure his mom stays technologically savvy, my iphone5 will ‘facetime’ from anywhere! So as Papaw, Uncle RyRy, and Mimi stood on the bridge as close as the railings would allow, Cole got to see and hear what we were experiencing ~ and he said “Wow, Mimi! A waterfall!!” With 2,783 miles between us, my heart was still tightly wrapped around that little boy, his sister and his parents!!

The Sanchez Family

The Sanchez Family

There they are! Pastor Steve and Jennifer looked the same, except for the two little rug rats they had along with them!! Who would’ve thought?? The last time we saw Jen and Steve was when we left Albuquerque in 2006. No murmurings of little kids were ever spoken and now they have two fine little boys, Ezra (4) and Silas (2). The Sanchez family moved in July where they now pastor the Mollola Nazarene Church. We met them at our 2nd Triple D stop, Podnah’s Pit BBQ, where the food was yummy and the fellowship was wonderful! Definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

CAR2GO

CAR2GO

Our second day in Portland was packed full of tasty treats and a lot of walking! The walking was good since there were so many tasty treats!! Our 3rd DDD stop at Arleta’s Library and Bakery Café offered us a unique and delish breakfast of sweet potato biscuits and gravy along with sweet potato hash browns. We meandered around downtown Portland, checking out Powell’s Book store, the Willamette River, Stumptown Coffee, and the food trucks! Oh … and the countless CAR2GO cars – the little ‘smart’ cars that people can drive for $14 an hour or $73 a day – “Experience spontaneity on wheels: car2go makes transportation flexible. Get in and out wherever you like. Drive as long and as often as you want.” I found them quite fascinating!! After our full day of travels by foot and by car, we arrived safely back in Seattle just in time to take Brittany to dinner and ice cream with us. It was good to be back home!

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Wednesday was a local day of fun – Ryan spent the day with us as we made the traditional walk through Pike Place Market – downtown Seattle. We stopped at our favorite places for crumpets, pizza, cheese, pepper jelly samples, and the original Starbucks – although we didn’t partake there due to the long line. We then walked several blocks to the Columbia Center building, where we went up to the 73rd Sky View Observatory floor. Awesome! Twice as high as the Space Needle for ½ the cost!! An amazing view of Seattle and the surrounding areas in every direction! Mimi once again shared the moment with Cole, who quickly asked if I could show him trains from up there! Dinner that evening was a special treat as we checked out Lil’ Woody’s, a hamburger joint that served the “New Mexican”, smothered with Hatch green chile! Needless to say, we were happy and quite full when we left! Ultimate Frisbee was our evening entertainment, as we watched Ryan and friends play a couple games under the lights in a nearby sports field.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

We woke to our first and only rainy day on Thursday, so Ryan decided to take us for a drive. As we left Seattle, we crossed over floating bridges as we headed east through the Snoqualmie pass toward Spokane. The further we drove, the less it was raining, so once the skies cleared and the sun was shining, we stopped to see the Snoqualmie waterfalls. We really didn’t plan this trip around seeing waterfalls … it just happened that way! Back to Seattle with a quick snack from Paseo Caribbean while we watched the second part of the Batman Trilogy, followed with a late evening dinner at our 4th Triple D stop. Bizzarro Italian Café is literally within walking distance of Ryan and Brittany’s place … very good food!

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

The next two days took me and Tim up to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With Caffé Vita in hand, we borrowed Ryan’s car and drove two hours north to cross the border with our new passcards. Friday kept us in the city, experiencing new sites, eating great food, walking several miles, taking lots of pictures, and simply enjoying the time together. We crossed the bridge Saturday morning to enter North and then West Vancouver where we hiked through rain forests, saw twin waterfalls, then visited Lighthouse Park along the Salish Sea. We arrived back in Seattle in time for a grilled steak dinner and the sweet company of our two left coast kids. It was our final evening together before flying home the next day.

There it is! One thing is for certain … I will always see Mt. Rainier as I fly into Seattle and I will always see it as I fly out. As we boarded the plane on that bright Sunday afternoon, the clouds had cleared, allowing me to once again catch my breath as its massive presence captured my attention.

It was truly a blessing to be in Seattle for vacation. God is a gracious and giving God, full of prevenient grace, protection, answered prayers, faithfulness, and His gifts of family!! It was a real gift to share time, good food, great memories, and lots of love with Ryan and Brittany. I can only imagine that someday, as I enter into Heaven, instead of the majesty of Mt. Rainier, there will be the majesty of Jesus Himself that catches my breath with His presence … as I long to hear Him say “There you are! Welcome home!”

Won’t you join me today in looking forward to that day? Let’s accept God’s gifts of love and forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation, family and life. His gifts of divine appointments and His prevenient grace that can altar the course of eternity!

Until next time,
Debbie

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped
praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order
that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being
strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may
have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom
of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness
of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!! Enjoy!!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201126682463964.1073741837.1076414018&type=1&l=f2e1a3712a

Dear Daddy …

7 Jul

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

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

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

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

25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary … 1981

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

Grandma and Grandpa Wells with baby Kimberly.

Grandma and Grandpa Wells with baby Kimberly…August 1983

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

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

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

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

Me and Mom with Uncle Johnse … June 20, 2013

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

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

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

Until next time,
Your Bobbie Naw

Seattle 2012

20 Jul

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

Everyone stayed calm and happy!

As our plane continued to descend, making its way from above the clouds to below them, our travel-weary back sides and our sappy hearts were anxious … for someone special was waiting to meet our entire entourage of 6 people from the east coast.   The pilot banked that monstrous purple and orange beast to one side as he changed direction and headed us toward the city, allowing the passengers to catch our first glimpse of that unmistakable skyline.  My Mommy heart swelled a bit, squeezing a couple tears into my eyes as I anticipated the hug I would receive within a short while.  Looking across the aisle to the 3 year old and his parents, Mimi could only image the thoughts, the feelings, and the need for trust this little guy had going on right then.  Right beside me in her Papaw’s arms, Little Miss was sleeping and snuggled up tight, fully expecting that someone would make sure all of her needs were taken care of.  Within a few minutes, our 5 hour non-stop flight came to an end as we touched down with all the usual jolts, bumps, loud engine sounds, and energy.  Cole was glued to his window, watching as we landed … and once all the drama quieted down and we taxied to our gate, he turned to his Daddy and asked if we could do that again!

July 2 – 9 were the dates of our family vacation this year.  Since Ryan and Brittany has been out to see all of us several times in the past 3 years, we wanted to pack everyone and everything up and go see them this time.  With 2 kiddos under the age of 3 and the distance being traveled, we obviously had to fly.  Two-month old Lillianne flew free, as did all of our luggage, including car seats and stroller … “with Southwest your bags fly free”.   What a blessing!  We were graciously welcomed to stay with Ryan and Brittany, sharing their 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, utilizing their very roomy living room with a large couch as extra sleeping spots for our hosts.  The open design of their place was great as it allowed family fun times and then quiet rest for all when we finally settled down for the night.

The Seattle Space Needle

Seattle is a beautiful city, located on 7 specific hills, and is made up of over 100 ‘neighborhoods’, giving a hometown feel, supporting mom and pop establishments, from vacuum cleaner sales to coffee shops.  When needing one or two forgotten items for a meal, Ryan simply walks down to the corner grocer, picks up the needed ingredients, and is back within a few minutes.  Café Vita was the preferred coffee shop for our morning beverage … a short distance from the apartment.  The zoo was only a few blocks away, allowing the anticipation of our animal adventure to grow as we enjoyed the morning stroll to the gates.  It is a very ‘people friendly’ area.

Our family ~ Duck Tour Seattle

Of course, the City of Seattle comprises of the usual tall skyscrapers, office buildings, and seaport, personalizing these neighborhoods with a distinctive and classy downtown personality.   Giving us a very unique tour of the business district and the surrounding communities of downtown Seattle, Uncle Ryan treated us to a special day of fun on July 4th as we took the Seattle Duck Tour.  Climbing aboard a refurbished and DUCK decorated WWII amphibious landing craft, we went on a 90 minute tour driving around on the streets of the city, along with a jaunt on the waves of Lake Union.  Accompanying our site seeing journey were the persistent quacks of uncle and nephew as they joined several other travelers making noise with their duck calls.What a fun and memorable time!

4th of July fireworks, Pike’s Place Market, Seattle Children’s Museum, Space Needle, the International Fountain, Bowling, Woodland Park Zoo, and the Ballard Locks were the main attractions that kept us busy and about the area of Seattle all week.  The necessity of a daily nap for Cole always brought us back home for a much needed break for all … during which time we would watch a movie or play games.  Family time is so special!

Bergams/Van Hooks/Arndts

The highlight of our trip was our cook-out at the nearby park on Saturday.  Ryan and Brittany invited her family to drive over from Spokane, WA to join us all for a fun-filled day in their neighborhood of Fremont.  Grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, veggies, and fruit were all on the menu … and Frisbee, A-Z, visiting, and family photos were the activities of the day.  When late afternoon naptime rolled around, we all headed back to the apartment for a slide show of the day, Phase 10, and continued eating.  This Mommy heart was pleased to finally meet the parents of our sweet Brittany … and to connect with these fine people who have raised such a precious daughter.  We look forward to many more family gatherings in the future!

Have I mentioned the weather??  It was beautiful!!  Other than the rain that fell on the day we arrived, the sky was blue, the sun was shining bright, and the highest temperature while there was 81 degrees.  Ryan keeps trying to tell us that it is usually cloudy and drizzly, but every time Tim and I have come to visit, we always seem to bring the sunshine along!  This perfect weather was quite a switch for all of us coming from the east coast where we left behind hot and dry temperatures in the high 90s.

Mimi and Papaw with Lillianne at the Zoo

Since our own children are now grown adults with lives of their own, I find it extremely heart satisfying to spend time with them and to simply soak up every morsel of time and activity with them that I can.  There are 2752 miles between Ryan’s home and ours.  That’s far.  I’m grateful for the availability of air travel that allows us to turn 45 hours of expected travel by car into only a matter of 5 – 10 hours, depending on flight schedules.     I prayed a lot about this trip … traveling with a 3 year old and a 2 month old was potential for disaster (especially on the plane), the weather, everyone staying healthy before, during, and after the trip … on and on  ~  all reasons to stay on my knees, asking God for His touch upon our family time.  He truly blessed us with HIS plan.  We still had poopie diapers on the flight, sore and tired bodies from our long days of adventures, and even a 3 hour flight delay that got us back home in the wee hours of the morning … but it was all good, and we are thankful.

As I think about our flight into that beautiful city, my heart is reminded of the anticipation of my arrival to another City. As the Pilot banks the plane for the final descent, I know my heart will swell with emotion as I will finally see the face of Jesus.  Just as all of our lives are literally in the hands of those piloting the plane we are traveling in, won’t you join me in putting our complete trust and confidence in the One who wants to take us on the Journey of a life-time … to a Place where the Skyline is unmistakable, the Son is always shining, the Itinerary never ends, and the Host is our Savior.  I so look forward to seeing you there!

Until next time,
Debbie

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude
that no one could count, from every nation, tribe,
people and language, standing before the throne
and in front of the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes
and were holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out in a loud voice:
 

“Salvation belongs to our God,
W
ho sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-10

The City does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Nothing impure will ever enter it,
nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,
but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:23 and 27

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city,
and his servants will serve Him.  They will see His face,
and His name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night.
They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun,
for the Lord God will give them light.
And they will reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22:3-5

**   If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!!    Enjoy!!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3781228124019.2151740.1076414018&type=3&l=33fd9ae4b9

 

 

In Memory … Scottie

5 Jun

Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving kindness,
giving us constant joy to the end of our lives.
Psalm 90:14  TLB

Four years ago today,
Our family’s 15 year-old Miniature Schnauzer,
Scottie, passed away…
In memory and celebration of his life,
this was written a few days following his death
**  June 5, 2008  ** 

Scottie not feeling well
May 28, 2008

The other evening, I took it out of my purse and very tenderly clasped it back together.  I lovingly touched each shiny little black bone that decorated the red plaid print of the fabric.  I gently shook the jingles that had always represented life and activity, reading the information listed on the bone-shaped tag.  With a heart filled with gratitude for the gift that has been ours for so many years, tears from a broken heart filled my eyes as I hung Scottie’s collar on the corner of his picture frame.  Our precious Bubby Dog went home to Jesus on Thursday afternoon around 2:45 pm.

Scottie ~ shaved for better health

Scottie Von Schultz Van Hook was purchased on a discounted price tag by our family from an Amish kennel on March 20, 1993 at the age of 4 ½  months.  The runt of his litter, he had contracted ringworm from a fellow cohabitant, so our new pet was quickly taken to the Hershey Veterinary Hospital where they shaved him down and stripped him of his Schnauzer identity.  Looking like a mangy gray Chihuahua, he spent the next 6 weeks in a strict regime of being bathed and dipped, all the while we were very careful to wash our hands as we loved and nurtured our little pup.  We were greatly successful in correcting his skin condition, bringing health to his young body and staying clean ourselves.

Scottie on the back deck
1995

The new friend and playmate for all weighed in at 7.4 pounds on that very first trip to the doctor in Hershey.  By the time he was nearly 6 years old and eating treats from the Work & Witness teams along with chips and salsa in Albuquerque, he tipped the scales at 12.7 pounds!  But within the next few years, he and I began to take morning prayer walks along the ditchbank road that ran beside our home, so he became quite fit and trim.

Our children
1995

Scottie loved the outdoors!  In his earlier years in Pennsylvania, he would insist on going out in the snow with the kids … and I mean snow!  Deep snow!  Snow that would engulf him as he tried to run through it, always coming back inside the house with ice chunks hanging from his Schnauzer fur.  In the summer, he even enjoyed going for nice refreshing dips in our friends’ swimming pool  ~  doggie paddle, of course!   In Albuquerque, we all learned the hard way about sticker burrs and goat heads.  When we first moved there, Ryan and Scottie were out playing and began chasing each other around the house.  Before long, Ryan turned around and wondered where the silly pup had gone.  Not too far!  After a few laps around the yard, he began to slow to a dead stop.  He had prickly thorns and stickers in the bottoms of his precious paw pads and all in his under belly Schnauzer fur!  Once again, it was a great identity icon for the boy, but he was always a portable Velcro strip!  A few years later when our daily routine included the ditch-bank road, we visited with the cows, horses, lamas, other canine-type creatures, and birds.  Scottie always thought he was bigger than he really was, so when a cow or horse was up against the fence row munching on the tree leaves, Scottie would stand there kicking out his back feet and would growl, as if they better take notice that HE was there.  Since moving from the desert to Indiana, we adapted to our new outdoors.  Here he barked and got all upset at the many deer that would visit our front yard and surrounding areas.  They were big enough for his aging eyes to see.  The squirrels, rabbits, and wild turkeys would usually go unnoticed.  He had become an old-man dog …

On the back of his favorite chair
2003

In his earlier years, Scottie was well-known for his yappiness.  He wasn’t a yippy dog, but a yappy one.  One that loved to bark.  After comparing notes with other Schnauzer owners either at the vet or at the groomer, we found that this breed of dogs was quite vocal.  So much so that when camping at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with all of our friends, the campground officials requested us to come to the office one day when we returned from the beach.  Apparently, our yappy pup didn’t like being cooped up in the camper all afternoon and announced this continually to anyone willing to listen.  Needless to say, in order to finish our vacation at the ocean, we had to quickly find a dog kennel and board Scottie for the remainder of the week.  Much to my dismay, a few other times he had to stay in a kennel overnight.  No matter how nice the kennel mom was or how many interesting yard ornaments she had for him to pee on, I just couldn’t stand the thought of him sleeping in an out building with only a fence between him and a strange dog.  Thankfully, after that when he couldn’t travel with us, he was able to stay with friends or family.Scottie was the happy and excited door greeter!  Just taking the garbage out and coming back into the house 20 seconds later you would get the royal treatment!  He was the rug under the table that picked up the crumbs.  He was the one that snored first in bed every night.  He was the one that left dirty paw prints across the floor when it rained.  He was the one that when aggravated because you were gone too long, got into the bathroom trash.  In his failing health and picky appetite, he loved the food brought home from Higher Ground’s dining hall ~ BBQ meatballs, prime rib, chicken strips, hamburgers, pulled pork, roast beef, etc.   He was the one that would always come looking for you if he woke from a nap and didn’t see you nearby.   He was all of these and more  ~  but to me …

Scottie and his Mommy

He was by all means, my third child.  I am now, for the first time, an empty-nested mom.  Kim got married in 2005.  Ryan just graduated from college & will soon be starting a new job in Seattle, WA.  Up until now, I still had my 15 ½ year old.  Sigh …   Scottie was also my exercise partner ~ we walked many miles together in many places.  He was my confidant ~ always a great listener and never tried to interrupt.  Many times, he was my altar.  I would kneel beside wherever he was resting and I would pour my heart out to God with him right there.  I’m sure he felt the cry of his mommy’s heart and his precious little spirit joined me in prayer…he was my prayer partner.  During difficult days, Scottie’s love was faithful.  In the midst of transition, Scottie’s love was steadfast.  When the home was filled with tension and turmoil, Scottie’s love was authentic and constant.  That little being gave me companionship, joy, purpose, and an assurance of knowing that I was very, very special to him … and that he loved me.   Dr. Gaston prescribed stronger meds for Scottie on April 17, knowing that his aging heart was tiring.  I began whispering words of love into those precious ears that couldn’t hear very well anymore.  I would tell him that he’s been the best gift God has given to our family.  I would talk of Heaven and the fact that Jesus was there, along with his Grandpas and some of his friends.  I even told him that when it got too hard to breathe, it was ok to go.  I promised to see him again soon.  Thursday afternoon as Tim cradled Scottie’s near-death body in his arms, I smothered his little face with teary kisses, breathing in the sweet, sweet smell of his skin for the last time.  Within moments, he was finally at peace.  Real peace.

About two weeks ago, Scottie became very restless during the dark night hours.  I felt him chilling at the foot of our bed where he slept.  I tried to console him by reaching down and petting him for a few minutes, but to no avail. My Mommy heart couldn’t stand the distance between he and I, so I pulled him up to my pillow and snuggled him close to my heart.  He curled up tight and nestled his tiny face up under my chin until the warmth from my body took the chill from his.  It wasn’t very long at all before I heard the quick shallow breathing of my precious love begin to slow down, giving him some relief and rest.  His body relaxed and he began to snore.  I laid there overcome with praise to God for this gift.  The gift of love, of life, and of need.  Need for one another.

One of my favorite songs came to mind that night  ~  and I softly sang it to Scottie …  Click on this link  Christ For the Nations Institute to listen to Kari Jobe sing …

The more I seek You, the more I find You.
The more I find You, the more I love You.
I want to sit at Your feet,
drink from the cup in Your hand,
Lay back against You and breathe,
feel Your heart beat …

This love is so deep,
it’s more than I can stand,
I melt in Your peace,
it’s overwhelming.

God is love.  That’s why we can love a tiny Miniature Schnauzer for over 15 years and experience pain and sorrow when he is no longer with us.  Scottie knew and understood love.  That night two weeks before, Scottie melted in my peace and it gave him the comfort he needed to rest.  Thursday, June 5, Scottie sat at the feet of Jesus, then jumped up in His lap and laid back against Him  ~  and breathed!!!    Then, he melted in the peace of Jesus …

Until next time,
Debbie