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To Sturgis and Back

24 Aug

The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8

 

For the past year, my husband and 3 co-conspirators have been planning a trip, a marathon of sorts, to the Black Hills of South Dakota…to the infamous Sturgis.

 

The Iron Butt Award was the first order of business on their ride out, qualifying with over 1000 miles in a 24-hour period — traveling a great deal of that first morning in rain, followed by many hours of unrelenting sunshine before night fall when they finally stopped to bed down in Stuart, Iowa. This certificate of great endurance and manly honor will look wonderful hanging in his office at work! (wink wink)

 

August 2016

Mt. Rushmore

Purposefully avoiding the crazy party atmosphere of the Sturgis bike week by a few days, Tim, Nathan, Terry and Charles took day trips to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil’s Tower and to ride the Needles Highway. Curves, switchbacks and winding corkscrew roads made for the perfect motorcycle experience for these guys.  With 4400 miles traveled, the beautiful landscape with national landmarks, parks, and gorgeous scenic overlooks made excellent memories for Tim and a desire to take a variation of this trip and share it all with me.

 

August 6, 2016

Welcome home committee

So what did I do while my husband was traisping across the country? Determined to not sit at home and worry, I took a trip of my own to Indianapolis and then a road trip to visit a very special uncle in Kentucky and my dear aunt and cousins in Big Stone Gap, VA. What an awesome week of fun with family and friends, followed by about 24 hours with our son in Baltimore, thanks to Verizon Wireless. Having spent the week in the DC area for business, Ryan tacked on a few extra days to his trip so he could spend some time with Kim’s family and then be part of the welcoming committee when Tim and I returned home.

Aug 2016

Tim’s ride

We all have mountains in our lives … for some, they are currently off in the distance while others are actively winding back and forth on the curvy roads of life, enduring the persistent sunshine and heat, hoping for shade around the next bend.  Others are steady travelers, often riding into rain showers while others have to stop to take cover in the midst of a heavy downpour.

Wherever you are on your journey of life, won’t you join me as we lift our eyes to the mountains?  Our help will always come from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let our feet slip, He watches over us as we sleep, and HE is our shade, keeping us from harm … watching over us as we come and go.  Thank you, Lord!

Until next time,
Debbie

I lift up my eyes to the mountains
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord watches over you
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:1-8

 

 

 

 

 

Motorcycle Missionary

6 Sep

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly
till the end the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 3:13-14

Vacations come and go all too quickly!! Tim and I just returned home from visiting with Ryan and Brittany — I haven’t even had time to get caught up on laundry yet or to dump all of the pictures taken from my camera and my iphone … so the Seattle/Portland/Vancouver 2013 story will have to wait until another day.

This vaca season has been a bit odd in the fact that we haven’t taken the usual mini trips to the shore like we have in the past. We did go once with the grandkids and their parents at the end of July, which was a lot of fun! With the formal end of summer bringing less people to the beaches, we plan on going again sometime later this month. It will be a unique and exciting time, for weather permitting, we will ride Tim’s motorcycle. This motorcycle is really the reason why we haven’t gone away much this summer — because in all reality, we go away every chance we get.

Bell Peppers in the saddlebags

Bell Peppers in the saddlebags

After sitting on several motorcycles and doing alot of research, Father’s Day weekend took us over to a community near Lancaster where Tim wanted to test ride a bike that he had his eye on. One thing led to another and by day’s end, we were riding this ‘new’ bike home and all around town! What we both thought was a nice comfortable ride, the motorcycle that Tim bought 6 years ago does not even begin to compare to this Yamaha Stratoliner. I have quite the spacious place to sit behind my husband, with a secure backrest that allows me to travel in comfort. The two saddle bags on both sides of the bike are extremely roomy and have conveniently transported freshly picked blueberries, bell peppers, tomatoes and various other produce that we have purchased along the way.

The beautiful PA countryside

The beautiful PA countryside

A week before we flew out to see the kids, Tim and I set out for yet another Saturday adventure … this time to enjoy some smoked brisket for lunch, fresh produce to purchase, and a stop at our favorite ice cream shop to top off our fun day! It was an exceptionally gorgeous day … and the writer in me longed to somehow capture the sites, sounds, and feelings that made the day so special. The day of smiles began early in our journey as we passed a sign at the end of an old farm lane that simply said “Hay for Sale”, next to another that read “Brown Eggs”. As we drove through the Amish countryside, there were tobacco fields and clothes drying on their unique hanging lines. We saw goats, streams, gardens with tall sunflowers, yards with Weeping Willows, and roadside tree stumps. We laughed at a very large dog that was also enjoying his ride as he hung his head out a car window. We love to look at houses … causing us to dream about some and agreeing that others should be torn down. We stopped at a car show – some were old and vintage and others were new and tricked out. I always hope to see a ’55 Chevy so I can sigh and giggle as I stand there thinking of my precious Daddy. Along the way, we passed a cross beside the road, memorializing someone’s death. Then there was the bridge that carried us from one side of the Susquehanna River to the other … always a favorite of mine. Another favorite is porches. We saw wrap-around porches, screened-in porches and porch swings. We saw cows and tractors, yard sales, and hammocks under a tree, along with a sign that read “Frogtown Café. Speaking of critters, a butterfly got caught up in the burst of wind caused by the traffic and ran into our arms … causing me to think about life and its bumps and bruises all because we get off course and do not stay focused on where we are supposed to be. Hopefully, the wayward butterfly survived our brief encounter and learned to stay out of the road! And near the end of our ride, I noticed an elderly little lady who was walking back from her mailbox … frail and stooped over. My imagination jumped into high gear as I wondered about her life … was it near her birthday and she was hoping to find cards in the mail? Or perhaps she just recently lost her husband and was sadly reminded of her grief when she read his name on the addressed envelope of the electric bill… And most of my musings end up praying for people like this precious little lady ~ praying that she knows Jesus and that He is the Center of her life. I often think about the fact that perhaps I’m the only one who will pray for that person that day.

Tim and I

Tim and I

Won’t you join me today in being a missionary right where we are? The saying goes “You may be the only Bible some people read today”, or you may be that one person who will pray for the little old lady today. Whether on the back of a motorcycle, sitting in an office, taking little ones to preschool, or whatever you find yourself doing today, seize the moment and make the most of it for Jesus.

Until next time,
Debbie

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching,
let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage;
if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously;
if it is leadership, let him govern diligently;
if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil;
cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual
fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you;
bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony
with one another. Do not be proud,
but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do not be conceited.
Romans 12:6-16

Manure

21 May

Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose
and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 4:5

Tim and I

This was one of the best weather weekends of the year so far…absolutely beautiful!!  Not willing to waste the gorgeous sunshine on yard work, Tim and I hopped on the motorcycle Saturday afternoon and set out for a nice ride through the country.  Families with children were out in their yards playing together.  Couples like us were out working in gardens or tending to their flowers.  Swimming pools were being opened.  Yards were being mowed.  Yard sale signs were posted, directing shoppers to their treasures.  Treasures were littered all over lawns, tables, and in garages … and yes, we stayed the course without stopping.  Bright balloons were tied to a mailbox, pointing the way to a birthday party.  A church parking lot full of vehicles and the marquee at the road announced congratulations to the bride and groom.  Ice cream shops, pizza parlors, gas stations, and post offices.  Life everywhere!  How fun to truly take a back seat to it all and watch the world in full bloom of activity as we rode by!  Just as we went around a bend, the houses on both sides of the road were beautifully landscaped, lawns were well manicured, and the flowers were pristine ~ and then it hit us!  Well, it didn’t literally hit us, but the stench of the manure slammed into our full-faced helmets and immediately made its way through the vents and into our noses.  The initial whiff was not so bad since reflex usually dictates a shortened breath.  But once I began to inhale again, the thick odor was still there and getting worse as we traveled.  I looked over at the field beside us and saw the guilty spread, fertilization at its best.  With every breath I took, I felt sorry for all the home owners living within a mile of that farm.  I could hardly breathe … my eyes were burning, my stomach was churning, and I was slowly suffocating.  Just as I was about to pass out and fall off the back of the bike, we finally rode into the clearing of fresh air.  Slow deep breaths cleansed my lungs while I began to mentally write this blog.

I don’t know about you, but this is so exemplary of real life.  Busy with the usual and normal things – just like I saw all afternoon while on the back of that motorcycle.  The way is nice, in fact quite beautiful at times.  Well manicured and maintained, beautifully blooming, and even enjoyable.  And then WHAM!  The manure hits … and yes, in real life, it truly does hit!  It stinks, it makes my tummy hurt, I find it hard to breathe, and I feel like I’m going to pass out and fall off the ride.  But just like I did Saturday, I hold on tight to the Driver.  I know that He doesn’t like it either, but to get where God has purposed for me to go, I have to pass beside the fields of manure.  And there isn’t only one freshly fertilized field to endure, but many.  The crazy thing about manure is that it’s extremely valuable to the field over which it is spread.  It gives nourishment and fertilization, which without the key element of manure, the very life and existence of the crop would be damaged due to lack of nutrients.  It’s the same in my own personal life … God allows the manure in my life to nourish and fertilize life-giving qualities to my never-dying soul  ~ like dependency, trust, grace, forgiveness, and love.

Won’t you join me today in putting our trust in the One who is in charge, knowing that He will get us through to our final destination, including manure fields and all?  He will get us through …

Until next time,
Debbie

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Isaiah 43:1-2

 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this
all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,
but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down,
but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the
death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed
in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given
over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed
in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work
in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12

***  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 the latest pictures of our granddaughter, Lillianne.        https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

 

Motorcycle Momma

19 Oct

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
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. Talk about them
when you sit at home and when you walk [ride] along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7

During our former life while living in southern Indiana, my husband hit a phase of mid-life crisis and purchased a motorcycle.  Tim’s extreme busy work schedule at that time prevented him from riding very often.  Although the invitation was usually extended, I really had no desire to accompany him on his journeys, so when given the opportunity, he would take to the roads alone. 

For those of you who faithfully read Morsels of Mercy, you will recall that my “Munchy Monday” girls blessed me with a black motorcycle helmet as a “See You Later” gift.  Knowing that Tim’s work schedule was going to dramatically change, allowing him evenings and weekends in which to ride, I guess they figured I might want to tag along.  Anyway, just in case, they provided me with the one safety accessory that was a necessity.  Then a few weeks later for my 50th birthday, several of them went in together and bought me a black leather riding jacket. Every time I slip the helmet on and zip the jacket up, I think of my precious friends and once again thank God for their love for me.

I have to say that I have begun to truly enjoy riding on the back of the motorcycle with my husband.  I know there are some very real dangers, but we do our part in eliminating as many of those as possible by our own actions.  We continually find ourselves riding on the back country roads, looking for real estate ‘for sale’ signs, trusting that one of these days we will drive by the perfect house in the perfect setting.  Since we are not high tech with a helmet to helmet intercom system, we’ll tap on each other’s leg – right leg to look to the right or left leg to look to the left.  Creative, aren’t we?  Talking to one another would be sort of nice, but I rather enjoy the quiet.  My thoughts are noisy enough … planning the next day’s wardrobe and dinner, the next blog topic, and the to-do list once we get home.  I also use the quiet time to pray.  There are always people on my mind, their needs, their concerns, and my love for them. 

I really enjoy looking at names of streets while we ride.  Curds Way is my favorite of all!   Then there is Chick A Dee Dr., Pebble Beach Dr. (in the middle of Pennsylvania?), and Ice House Dr., which is right off of Church Street.  I believe every town inPennsylvania has a Church Street– and every town inPennsylvania has at least one United Methodist Church located on Church Street!  We are truly blessed in America for having quite the smorgasbord of churches where we can find Jesus. 

Autumn in southern Pennsylvania

Besides the awesome views of plush rolling hills, dotted with large farm houses, red barns, green tractors, and black and white cows, I so enjoy the smells!  Fresh mown grass, often followed by the distinct odor of the pre-mixed gasoline powered weed-eater.   Something about that combination makes me think of my Dad and my Pappy.  The other day we were riding beside a big row of very tall pine trees to our right, and my heart was instantly warmed as I caught the scent of Christmas.  There are other days that a different kind of pine will send me back a few years to the beautiful grounds of Bonita Park in New Mexico.  Fresh road tar.  Corn fields.  Rain.  We were quite a ways from home this one hot Saturday afternoon when all of a sudden we smelled it.  We immediately poked on each other’s legs and pointed ahead to the wall of rain that we were heading into.  Within moments, we were both drenched but having fun as we cooled off in the summer shower.  There is the fragrance of wild flowers along the road, the mouth watering aroma of someone’s steak dinner cooking on the grill as we pass by, and the mildly pungent odor from the freshly spread manure in the fields back in the spring.  The damp and mossy smell of the woods, along with the fresh strong aroma of wild onions and garlic will always remind me of my Mammaw Wells.  And this time of year as the evening shadows begin to fade, we’ll catch whiffs of bonfires burning and the musty smell of autumn leaves on the ground.  Then there is the unmistakable smell of a chilly evening – the slight tingle in the nose and you just recognize the smell. 

 

This past Saturday offered us perhaps one of the last few days of comfortable riding weather before winter.  With camera in hand and the GPS on my phone, we were gone for several hours as we enjoyed the fall foliage, the smells, thoughts, prayers, and the quiet company of each other.  Won’t you join me in the changing of the seasons, to take the time to enjoy all that God has gifted us with … the sites, smells, our abilities, our relationships with one another … and most importantly, our relationship with Him!

And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
Isaiah 35:8

Until next time,
Debbie

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 fall decorations in my home … October 2011