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Christmas Offering

30 Dec

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

 

 

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

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

Our Family ~ Dec 23, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Family at the beach

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

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

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

Click here to listen to …  Christmas Offering by Casting Crowns

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

 

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



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

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

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

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

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

O Lord, we bring an offering to you

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

 

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

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

 

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

Please feel welcomed to be a regular follower of my blog at https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com
For those of you who receive my blog via email, check out the new photos on the actual website at the above address.

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Merry Christmas Daddy!

16 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**  Blog photo of Christmas decorations … 2011 

Four Generations

4 Aug

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;
he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love
to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. 
Deuteronomy 7:9

  

4 Generations

Hot sandy beaches, warm ocean waters, delicious food, and lots and lots of fun!  We are on vacation!  Blending in with the other thousands of people who are visiting the Delaware coastline this week, we are unique in that we are the only one that has ‘us’ in it.  We have 8 people in our ‘us’, and we range between the ages of 73 and 2 years old, with a lot of precious life in between.  Four generations fill this beach house with the noises of life, laughter, and love  ~  and here I am … right in the middle of it all. 

Sometimes I wonder how much love one person can experience in a lifetime.  The first love of my life, obviously, would be my mother.  I felt the comfort of her beating heart long before my tiny ears could hear anything.  Still to this day, the sound of her voice puts a smile on my face and a sigh in my spirit.  Mom!  I consider it a privilege to have her by my side this week as together she and I enjoy my family, each other, and God’s signature on the beautiful east coast. 

I will never be able to fully express my heart and the love it feels when I think of my own two children.  Next to Jesus and the salvation He offers to me, there is no greater gift I have ever received than Kim and Ryan.  Thousands of miles have sometimes separated us, but I keep a connection through continual prayer that welds my heart to theirs.  I daily claim these two promises …

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
 Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
 to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.  
2 Timothy 1:12

To share this week with Kim and her husband,Troy… and Ryan and his girlfriend, Brittany, is beyond words for me.  I will, on purpose, soak in every morsel of time spent with them and tuck it away inside my heart for another time… to once again feel the joy of their love and being with them.

Mimi’s love is like no other love.  It’s reserved for the little one who resembles so many different people in his life, but yet tie all of that variety into one bundle, and you have Cole.  His silly antics, his fresh new perspective on life, and his HUGE love for tractors and his Uncle RyRy have been the best entertainment of all!  But I consider myself blessed beyond measure to be me … and to observe his parents, his Papaw, his Uncle and Brittany, and his ‘Mimi Wells’  all experience Cole’s wonder, his excitement, his trust, and his love for life.  I have the best seat in the house … to watch everyone else enjoy my little grandson.  What joy!!  Of course, he and I have our own special moments together.  I volunteered for afternoon Mimi duty. Leaving the middle generations at the beach, my momma and I have been bringing Cole back to the house for lunch and his nap.  This allows some special snuggle time for Mimi and Cole … and special quiet time for mom and daughter.  Sigh …

Sharing all of this week of family fun with me, of course, is Tim.  He reaches a milestone of life himself this week as he turns 50 years old on Friday, August 5th.  Sharing his birthday with our daughter, who will be 28 this year, has always been a unique time of celebration ~ this year being no exception.  What fun to do so with our entire family gathered around to sing, give gifts, and to be festive in honor of these two people we love. 

As the week is beginning to wind down, and everyone will be going in their own direction of home, my heart will be full and overflowing with gratefulness to my God who has so graciously blessed my life with being me  … right in the middle of 4 generations.  To be loved, to be needed, to need, and to love.  Thank you, Father, for the morsels of mercy, of life, and of love. 

Until next time,
Debbie

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 89:1

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

 

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

**  Blog photo of sand castles, ocean & Cole were taken at Bethany Beach on August 3, 2011.

A Mother’s Day Prayer

8 May

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

Happy Mother’s Day!

Moms sacrifice body, emotions, and mental stability in order to nurture and love another human being.  There are as many different scenarios as there are moms.  Every unique experience  could be written and sold as a best seller to those in their own world.  The following is a borrowed story, penned by a dear friend a few years ago on Mother’s Day.  His short narrative tugs at my own heart strings as I celebrate this special day in honor of my Mom and my own motherhood …

“Swept Away

There is a two hundred year old stream side mill in Allentown, New Jersey, known as the Black Forest Restaurant.  Featuring German cuisine, it is a favorite eatery for my wife.  So that is where we headed to celebrate Mother’s Day 2008.  Patsy has been and continues to be a great mom, and it is always a wonderful privilege to honor her.

Surrounding the restaurant are a variety of small shops filled with antique and artsy stuff.  They are a magnet for my wife.  Beyond the shops is a winding path that parallels a noble brook.  It is a magnet for me.  So we bid farewell to one another and became temporarily lost in our respective magnetic fields.

As I followed the wood-chipped walkway through springtime’s blossoming flora, I inhaled deeply the sweet elixir of wild rose and honeysuckle.  Blackbirds, robins and sparrows sang joyfully from behind leafy curtains.  I stopped to listen to the chorus of a favorite hymn, and that is when I heard the cry.

Baby Duck

Rapid-fire peep-chirps of distress were coming from somewhere upstream.  Listening to determine the precise location, I soon became aware that the source of the siren was approaching.   And just then, riding on the current, coming around the bend, floating down stream was recently hatched duckling.  Most likely this little peep had wandered too far from his brothers, sisters and mom and had been taken captive by the rushing madness of a storm swollen stream.

For the next twenty minutes I tried desperately to rescue the little fellow while the current whisked him farther from home.  Unfortunately the creek’s bank became too muddy and steep, and stream-side’s briars became impenetrable.  There was nothing left to do but stand and listen as the peep-chirps faded.

Following the path back to civilization I could not help but contemplate about Mother’s Day, families, and the currents of this world that too often sweep our own children into danger.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children!”
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Therein is our hope! 

Your servant in Christ – Pastor Bieber”  **

Mother’s Day is a special day of celebration!  Celebration of our moms for their love, their prayers, their care, and their gift of life to us.  It is also a day of celebration for the privilege and the awesome responsibility for the priceless and eternal gifts God gives to us as mothers.  This tender little story will always tug on my Mommy heart as I daily spend time on my knees for my children and their loves, just as I’m sure my own mother stays on her knees for me and my brothers and our families.  The undercurrents of life are strong, but there IS hope when we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength.  Join me today as we celebrate our moms, and as we continue to pray for our families.

Until next week,
Debbie

** Del Bieber is Pastor at Tom’s River, New Jersey Churchof the Nazarene
You may subscribe to his written stories by contacting Pastor Del at trnazarene@juno.com
You may also subscribe to his podcast (you listen to him read his stories) at http://jerseypilgrim.blogspot.com
Thank you, Pastor Del!

Hot Flashes

14 Apr

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name…
Psalm 103:1

  

Back in the day, I remember sitting on the bleachers during soccer, softball, and baseball games to cheer our two kids and their team mates on to victory.  We sat there through all kinds of weather.  The earlier games of the season would require that we brought blankets to wrap up in to stay warm, but as the weeks progressed, the temperatures would rise, and before we knew it, it felt like summer.  The sun was hot and sometimes accompanied by a welcomed breeze.  As a young mother in her early 30s, I made the most of those days by having plenty of suntan lotion, cold water, and sunflower seeds.  Little did I know then, that undoubtedly somewhere on the bleachers was some kid’s grandma watching the game.  I can now only imagine the conversation that took place between that grandma and the younger mom … the mom complaining about how hot it was outside in the sun, and the grandma quickly replying that she has NO idea about hot! 

This may seem too personal for some of you, and it probably is.  But you know?  It’s my blog, it’s my hot flashes, and I simply want to share how God shared a morsel of mercy with me yesterday in His attempt to help me through my own ‘personal summer’.  After yet another miserable night of kicking covers off one minute, then waking up an hour or so later because I’m cold from laying there all sweaty and wet with no covers on … so I grab the covers again and snuggle up in their warmth to once again an hour later wake in a new puddle …  (I know some of you have no idea, but there are others of you who KNOW what I’m talking about!)  I feel exhausted!   Not only does this happen at night, but at any given moment during the day.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, it’s spring.  One day it’s rainy and in the 40’s and the next day it’s sunny and nearly 85 degrees.  I try to dress according to the weather forecast for that day  …  a light sweater with jeans and a spring scarf to accessorize the outfit.  Something triggers the moment and the radiating heat starts to boil from within.  I’m sure my face is red, my mascara is running, and I wish I could jump into a cold swimming pool.  But I’m sitting at a desk at work, it’s raining outside, and it’s only 45 degrees.  Help! 

Now, these friendly bouts with the internal radiator began a couple years ago while working with my girls at Higher Ground.  All of a sudden I would exclaim about how hot it was in the kitchen … they would all look at one another and with big grins, they would shake their heads and inform me that they were all very comfortable … it was me.  Sigh!  Really?  Seriously?  Every woman hears other OLDER women talk about such things, but there’s always that security of knowing you’re not there yet … in fact, you’re not even close to being there yet.  I know I even thought that it probably wouldn’t even happen to me!   HA!   Well, here I am. 

During my devotional time yesterday morning, not feeling rested from my long night of tossing and turning, God met me.  My daily reading of the book of Psalm took me to chapter 103.  As I began to read out loud one of my favorite passages, God began to speak.  I have always taken scripture very personal, and I believe that is how God once again extended a new morsel of mercy to me in the midst of my current plight.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name…

 

Inmost being, huh?  I can tell you all about my inmost being!  It radiates and power surges with untold amounts of heat!  Sigh …  Praise the Lord, huh?  Sigh …  ok.   I can do that.   ALL my inmost being?   Ok.    Sigh …    God just encouraged me to praise Him when I lie awake during the wee hours of the morning, uncomfortable with the flashing reminders that I am only getting older. 

 

Praise the LORD, O my soul,and forget not all his benefits—

  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

 who redeems your life from the pit

 and crowns you with love and compassion,

 

I could go on and on about these verses and what they mean to me, but right now, my heart is set on quoting this passage when those moments hit me  ~  day or night  ~  to Praise the Lord from my inmost being for ALL His benefits!  Forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, and compassion!

 

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

Woo Hoo!!  As I read that next verse, I began to cry as I realized that my personal God met me just when I desperately needed Him to.   YOUTH is RENEWED when HE satisfies my desires with good things!!   Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Won’t you join me today as I praise the Lord with my inmost being?  Yours may not be radiating with hot flashes due to your aging body, but let’s praise the Lord together and forget not ALL His benefits!!  Praise His Holy Name!

Until next time,
Debbie

Class Reunion

30 Jun

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.
  Rev 7:9           

Some had arrived early.  Others were right on time, while there were those that did not make it at all.  Glasses and hearing aids were the predominant accessories of the morning, with an overall sense of comfortable and belonging.  Nods and smiles of recognition were shared by all as the tables filled with excited classmates from the class of ’56. 

Mom (3rd from right) & her classmates

My mother graduated in 1956 from Nashville High School, located in Brown County, IN, better known in these parts as ‘Little Nashville’.  Twenty-two young people received their diploma, marking the beginning of the rest of their adult lives.  Eleven of the 17 graduates who are still living gathered this past Saturday for breakfast at the Brown County Inn to celebrate another year.  A few spouses and a daughter (that’s me!) joined in the fun of catching up on the latest, looking at lots of family pictures (of course, I brought 2 photos of Baby Cole!) and making plans for next year. 

Mom's childhood home

Surprisingly to me, the party broke up in less than 2 hours.  I’ve come to realize that sometimes the seniors in our world are busier and more productive than the rest of us!!  Apparently they all had somewhere else to be and things to do!!  Since I was my mom’s official chauffer for the day (she’s STILL not able to drive yet), I decided that we would meander the streets of Nashville and see what we could find.  I quickly changed my glasses, so to speak, from those that saw all the little quaint shops full of tourists, trinkets, and tasty treats to the spectacles belonging to a little girl growing up in a small town where everybody knew her name.  Our first stop was on the south edge of town in front of a little white house with a big front porch … the house is now brown and the front porch is now enclosed as part of the home.  My mother, her two older brothers, and their parents moved to this very house in 1938 when she was 9 months old.  The rock ledge and sidewalk out by the road were laid by her daddy, and the huge tree out front was the same one that she used to climb in.  We drove down Blood Alley, directly behind the old Bond’s funeral home and I listened with great interest to how this little drive got its name.  As we sat back behind the old homestead, she told another story of how she and her neighbor friend nearly caught the entire south end of town on fire.  Her own dad, who was the town mechanic and fire truck driver, was the one who came to dowse out the flames that had spread through the fresh autumn leaves.  As we slowly made our way from one side of town to the other, mother became quite animated by the memories and tales that accompanied those happy days, most likely feeling the impossibility that it all took place so many many years ago.  In the center of town are the old State Bank and Post Office.  Mom remembers riding with her dad in the big wrecker truck to the Post Office one day…she was about  10 years old.   As they pulled away and turned left, the passenger door, on which she was probably leaning, came open and out she went, clinging to the door as it swung out wide in the corner.  Can you imagine?  Other stories included Camel Hill Road, where the town’s people would shut down part of the street for the kids to snow sled down in the winter, the old jail house, which was already a museum when she was a little girl, Miller’s drug store with the soda fountain counter, and the original Nazarene Church that my Pappy helped build on the north side of town.

What a fun day we had!  It’s always a good time when we can reconnect with friends and memories from our past, realizing that by the grace and mercies of God, it all contributes to the people we are today.  It also causes me to focus on the grand reunion yet to come! 

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.
Rev 7:9           

 

Just like on Saturday, some arrived early.  Others got there at the scheduled time.  But there were some that did not make it at all to this day of celebration.

If my people, who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chron 7:14

 

Join me with a humble and seeking heart … and in great anticipation of the best reunion of all time!  We will clasp hands with friends and loved ones around the throne of God, singing His praises throughout all eternity!   SOMEDAY!

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!”
Rev 19:6-7

 

Until next time,
Debbie

Mother’s Day

8 May

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
With my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
May I never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. 
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5    NLT

 

The infamous second Sunday in the month of May is upon us.  Flowers, cards, jewelry, and trinkets of all kinds fill the aisles of every store in America this week.  Reminders are everywhere that Mother’s Day is tomorrow.  I chuckle as this year is quite different for me since my mom fell and shattered her elbow 7 weeks ago.  She has been at the top of the priority list for weeks now, and I feel like I have already been celebrating this special holiday of honor with her on a regular basis!    

 My pre-holiday celebration is simply what one does when the heart is full of love.  My best friend from childhood is presently in Florida caring for her parents who have both recently become ill.  My mother-in-law is in New York filling the much needed role of mother and grandma as a new baby brother is patiently waiting to be delivered.  My own daughter, her husband and baby are going to spend Mother’s Day with the family of a fellow Marine who was killed in Afghanistan 5 years ago.  Various forms of love … various forms of celebration … very forms of honor.

Mom, Mammy and Uncle Marvin apx 1947

I would like to honor those in my life that have brought me to the place where I am today.  My mom’s mother, whom we affectionately called Mammy, was always a sweet and dear woman.  Mammy spent time with me in the kitchen baking wacky cakes, apple pies with homemade crusts,  and making homemade ice cream.  She listened to hours and hours of my playing her little electric table top organ  ~  no doubt praying the whole time that my apparent love for music would be used to glorify God someday.  Mammy sewed clothes for me … and for my Barbie.  I could go on and on about her … a real treasure to my own heart and to the legacy of who I am today.  Mammy went home to be with Jesus in January of 1992.

I have been reminded of your sincere faith,
which first lived in your grandmother
Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded,
now lives in you also.  For this reason I remind you
to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in youthrough the laying on of my hands.  For God did not
 give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power,
of love and of self-discipline.    
2 Timothy 1:5 -7

Mammaw & Pappaw Wells and family Apx 1957

 My Mammaw Wells was a woman of tenacity, courage, and grit.  She had to be. She raised 3 of Pappaw’s youngsters by his first wife, and birthed 14 of her own, of which 2 died as children.  My Daddy is the only adult who has passed away.  He’s the handsome one in the upper left corner.    Mammaw set a wonderful example of hospitality for me … always ready to throw some food on the stove to cook and would produce a feast for many to enjoy around her kitchen table.  With grandchildren nearly too many to count running through the front door, she would swat at a few behinds to coax them to quickly get in or out. It was always an adventure in Martinsville … not only to see Mammaw, but hoping for the spontaneous visit by another family full of cousins and fun.  My Mammaw passed away in January of 2003.

Mom with Jay & I 1960

Mother’s Day was celebrated for their first time by a sweet couple in love when my brother Jay was born in 1957… Mom and Daddy had been married for 15 months.  I added one more jewel in her crown of motherhood in 1960, followed by a diamond in the rough when my little brother Tim came along 6 years later.  Grandchildren and now great grandchildren have embedded her tiara with sparkles, as she wears it gracefully.  Words truly cannot express the depth of love and appreciation for my mother, but I can say that it is her faithful and consistent walk with Jesus that has set an example and a pattern for my brothers and I through the years.  We grew up knowing that Jesus loves us and that He desires a relationship with us.  Thank you, Mom, for being true and real  ~  even in the hard and difficult times.  I love you!

 

 

Join with others in following my example, brothers,
and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears,
many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction,
their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.
Their mind is on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven.
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control,
will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
Philippians 3:17 – 4:1.

Mom, my brothers & I 2008

My mother-in-law & I

Unlike many women, I have been blessed by my mother-in-law.  Having had a full and demanding life throughout the years of raising her own family, she is rich in wisdom, advise, and has learned to pray, love, and laugh in the midst of it all  ~  good and bad.  She is the woman who loved and nurtured a little boy who later became the one I have loved for almost 30 years now.  Thank you, mom, for embracing me as one of your daughters, for your love, and also for your walk with Jesus.

 

One Mother’s Day many years ago, my Daddy proudly expressed his hand-picked sentiments to my mom with the help of Hallmark.  As she opened the card and read the front, she tried to hide the giggle that kept pushing its way through her attempt at being serious.  In Daddy’s best effort at finding just the right card, he accidently picked up a greeting that looked like one he had just read but had put back on the rack … but this one wasn’t the same.  This one read “To Someone Who Has Been Like a Mother to Me.”  Daddy just couldn’t figure out how he goofed so bad, but it gave us a big laugh for years to come!  I’m sure you’re like me … we have those special women in our lives who are not blood related, but they hold a very precious place in our hearts.  They have ‘Been Like a Mother’ to us.  Since I have lived in several places throughout my life and home has been far away from my own mother, I have had several such women.  Joan, Evelyn, Viola, Jeanie, Pat, and Louise.  I’m so grateful for these Godly women, their prayers, and their love for me.

Kim, Ryan & I 1989

 A tiny girl named Kimberly and a little guy by the name of Ryan set my heart into a tailspin of love … and my perspective on life AND of this special holiday was changed forever.  Dimples and lace, baseball and volleyball, braces and glasses, love and more love … Years of Mother’s Day celebration took place and now they are both all grown up.  There is no greater honor or privilege than to continually stay on my knees in prayer, seeking God’s divine intervention and will for my children. 

I have no greater joy
than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

 

Ryan, Kim, Troy, Cole & Tadpole 2009

 

Grami’s love is the newest form of Mother’s Day celebration … Cole Michael.  Words are simply not enough. 

 There are various forms of love …
various forms of celebration …
various forms of honor taking place this weekend.  Please feel free to leave a comment or two regarding someone special that you wish to honor and celebrate this Mother’s Day. 

Until next time,
Debbie