Archive | Munchy Monday RSS feed for this section

Louise

21 Oct

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Things happen that we don’t expect, changing the course of the usual to the unusual. Take today for example. I sit here at home on a Monday because I caught some awful bug that has made me achy with a fever and a nose that won’t stop running. A dear friend in Louisiana was diagnosed with melanoma cancer last December and had his third surgery this morning. And another precious friend of mine is going to bury his wife in Maysville, Kentucky this afternoon.

Munchy Monday girls, including Louise ... the beautiful blonde in the back row!

Munchy Monday girls, including Louise … the beautiful blonde in the back row!

It was just a little more than 2 weeks ago when I made my annual trip to Indy for my birthday weekend. As always, one of my favorite highlights is to drive down to my old tromping grounds just outside of Cincinnati and meet up with my Munchy Monday girls. This time was no exception as 12 of us gathered on a covered back porch overlooking a beautiful evening. I was blessed by being with some of my dearest friends … even if for a brief couple of hours. Although I do talk to several of them on a regular basis, it’s always good to get to see them and breathe the same air. Louise was one of those friends. I call her every Monday morning on my way into work.  This morning was the first Monday affected by the unexpected, changing the course of the usual to the unusual. Louise died last Wednesday.

Louise Doyle

Louise Doyle

This lovely 82 year old blonde was a classy lady. Her makeup was never out of place, her clothes were always in style, and she loved to be in the middle of the fun! The first time I met Louise was at a Southwest Ohio District Ladies’ Retreat, which was being held at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center back in 2006. I was brand new to the area, brand new to Higher Ground, and brand new to the district, so I on purpose went around to the different tables of ladies to meet them. From the first moment of introductions, Louise and the Fairfield ladies warmly welcomed me and I quickly learned their names and made a point to become friends with them. Louise and I seemed to have a special connection, which was bonded even tighter after I moved away a few years later. Our weekly chats on the phone have kept us both current in each other’s worlds and allowed us a chance to share prayer concerns with one another.

“Hey you!” Louise would say as she answered the phone, expecting my call every Monday morning around 8:10 am. Last Monday, she was full of stories about their recent trip to Pigeon Forge to attend the General Prime Time Retreat, along with concern about a mutual friend who was not well and in the hospital. Our usual parting words as I arrive at work are “Talk to you next week!” Little did I know that early Wednesday afternoon I would receive a call at work and the voice on the other end would say, “Puddin? This is Papa Ray … we’ve lost Louise.”

There is still a birthday card on my shelf with her name inside. There are handwritten recipes in my file from her, and pictures of our Munchy Monday girls with her in the middle of it all up in my office. There is a Louise-sized empty spot in my heart and in the heart of all who love her!

Won’t you join me today in doing something unexpected? An act of kindness, some words of love, or a prayer for a troubled soul … something unexpected and positive that will change the course of the usual to unusual for someone today.

Until next time,
Debbie

Advertisements

Yellow Day

4 Feb

.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

 

I was so thrilled to see that the incoming call was from my friend, Valerie … knowing that she was among some of my dearest friends in all the world.  She held in her hand a new iphone, which was requesting my iphone to connect the call so we could not only talk, but see one another.  Face Time is the correct term for this wonderful technology, which brings back childhood memories of watching the futuristic cartoon ‘The Jetsons’. I was then carried from lady to lady, laughing together as I got to say hello, blow kisses, laugh some more, and even received a tour of the hostess’ new home.  What a joy it was to share in that brief moment with these friends, thanking God for their commitment to one another and to Him.

A week ago tonight was a special evening of love and support for a dear friend of mine who lost her husband just days before Christmas.   A unique group of ladies, with hearts as big as Cincinnati, gathered together to shower Debra with gifts of yellow.  This special tradition of cheer was born this past summer as these women desired to brighten up the day for another hurting friend whose husband lost his long battle against cancer.  These Munchy Monday girls continue to stand by one another in celebration, sympathy, friendship, and love … spurring each other on spiritually as well.

Deb opening her sunshine basket of YELLOW

Deb opening her sunshine basket of YELLOW

Since I am here and they are all there, I wrote a letter and mailed it inside a greeting card so that Debra would have it to open that night along with the other gifts.  I would invite you to sit down for a few moments and share another morsel of mercy in my life as you read my heart to my hurting friend…

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Dearest Debra,

Today is your YELLOW day!  To be honored with such a fun day means that life has not been real pleasant for the recipient.  For that, I am so sorry.  Words cannot even begin to express my feelings when I think of your loss, your hurt, your confusion, your disbelief, …  In our small and meager attempt at showing you our love in the midst of your circumstances, here we are, bearing YELLOW.  Mine is a bit different than the others, due to the distance that it had to travel, so let me explain…

I was at Kohl’s last week, returning items from Christmas.  I also had YELLOW on my mind.  I started in the house wares department, looking for a big bright YELLOW bath towel, hand towel, and wash cloth.  I found them!  I wanted you to be reminded each time you wrapped yourself in the plush towel that you have friends who love you and embrace you with our love, ultimately representing the love that Jesus has for you.  His arms of love and comfort are always there with you, even when ours cannot be! He will also hold you while you cry, and then wipe the tears away.

I then went on a search for bright and cheery table placemats.  I found 2 round woven YELLOW ones, matched them with spring print cloth napkins, and then looked for coffee cups of YELLOW.  I wanted you to be reminded each time you sat down to eat, that you are never eating alone.  “Give us this day, our Daily Bread.”  Jesus is our Daily Bread.  He will always be the unseen guest at your dining room table.

As I walked through the store and on-purpose looked for more YELLOW, I saw YELLOW sweaters, YELLOW bras, YELLOW earrings, YELLOW shoes, and YELLOW ipad covers.   Then I saw it.  This simple little YELLOW gift card.  It says ‘You’re a Lucky Ducky’.  I have never cared much for the word “luck” because I firmly believe that God has His hand on the heartbeat of all life, and luck has nothing to do with it.  So, instead of it saying ‘You’re a Lucky Ducky’, let’s pretend it says ‘You’re a Special YELLOW Ducky with a Special YELLOW Day’!!  Now you can take this card with you to your own Kohl’s and buy something you need or want.  It doesn’t have to be yellow at all.  But whatever you purchase, please remember this day and the significance behind it … that you are always surrounded by us, your Munchy Monday friends, who love you, pray for you, and care very deeply for you!

Please know that you may pick up the phone any hour of any day or night … you can just cry, you can get angry, you can just talk for a solid hour about your Steve, saying his name as many times as you want.  We can pray together, or we can just catch up.  Do not hesitate to call.   I remember when my Daddy died several years ago now … there were a couple times in the middle of the night that my phone rang …  it was my precious mother.  All she could do was sob on the other end of the line … so all I could do was pray.   Please, don’t hesitate when that time comes that you just need to cry.  Although I’m many miles away, I’m as close as your phone.

Happy YELLOW day, Debra!  May you be showered with many things that will remind you for days, weeks, and months ahead that you are loved, prayed for, and thought of often!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Our world is full of circumstances that bring sorrow, disappointment, disbelief, fear, and doubt into the hearts of people all around us…even into our own hearts.  Won’t you join me today in finding someone who needs a YELLOW day and bless their life with the bright sunshine of Jesus, love, and support!

Until next time,
Debbie

 For the LORD God is a Sun and Shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does He withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 84:11

The Fork

4 Sep
 
 

 

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6

 

It’s September 4th…a special day marked on my calendar.  Today is the first Saturday in our new residence in Pennsylvania.  No alarm clock to wake up by with no real agenda … except to keep unpacking boxes and to make this house our home.  Sigh … the tearful good-byes, the long trip on Thursday, and the stresses that accompany the initial move seem a bit distant right now as I sit out on the screened-in porch, enjoying the recent welcomed change of temperature and some Constant Comment in my Schnauzer mug.

On Facebook, I named the photos taken and posted during the last couple weeks “Crazy Last Days at Higher Ground”.   That really says it all.  Packing and working, sleeping very little, and spending some last minute cherished moments with friends and family … non-stop!  This past Monday evening was a special edition of Munchy Monday when the girls threw a ‘See you Later’ party for me.  The usual spread of delicious food, warm hospitality, and fun fellowship was blended quite heavily with lots of tears, prayer time, and gift giving.  At one point in the evening, long past the time of dinner and dessert, plastic forks were passed out and each lady held hers in her hand while this story was told to us …

A Woman and a Fork  

 
There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.  

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.  

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.  

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.  

“What’s that?” came the Pastor’s reply.  

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”  

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.  

That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.  

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Pastor.  

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…..like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!’  

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.”  

The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.  

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.   During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.   He was right.

The best is yet to come!  How I appreciated that simple act of encouragment  as I sat there surrounded by my precious friends and co-workers.  I’ve experienced moving far away a few times already, and it is very difficult on my heart to leave friends and family behind.  But it is receiving text messages like this one that helps cushion the ache …

“Four years ago you came to Higher Ground. 
Three years ago my life took some pretty crazy turns. 
It took me awhile but I ended up just where I needed to be. 
God is at work again, as you leave us to touch the lives of others.”

I’m grateful for the blessed opportunity to serve and to love while at Higher Ground … and I look forward to the same privilege, honor, and responsibility throughout the rest of my days.  Won’t you join me in picking up the fork and saying “the best is yet to come!”

Until next time,
Debbie

I lift up my eyes to the hills–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

 

 

 

Munchy Monday

25 May

Taste and see that the Lord is good. 
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 
Psalm 34:8

Munchy Monday Ladies in May

One Monday evening every month … September – May, a group of ladies gather in someone’s home for a time of fun, fellowship, food, and Jesus.  Last night was one such evening.  The warm hospitality of our friend Pam was enjoyed by all as 20 women claimed an inviting place to sit on her shaded back porch.  As the late day breezes cooled the remnants of a hot May afternoon, salad was the refreshment of choice, prayer was the spiritual emphasis, and love and laughter, as always, were the comforting agents to any heavy hearts. 

 Tasty Tuesday is where it all started in September of 2007, as an ache in my own heart to create an opportunity for friends to get together outside of the workplace.  It was a time to put the black aprons, the laundry carts, cleaning rags, and the payroll away and simply be together because we wanted to.  To make it even more interesting was to invite a few others, those who didn’t work with us, but were friends from other settings.  Just a bunch of women.  Women who love to share food and recipes, who love to laugh and have a good time, and who appreciate the quiet time of learning more about Jesus and His love for us.   

 It wasn’t long before we realized that Tuesday was not an available evening for all, so in an effort to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule, we transitioned from Tasty Tuesday to Munchy Monday.  Both are applicable to our purpose, as to taste or munch means to simply take a small portion.  Our ladies bring a lot of food, but in order to taste it all, we take small portions ~ of each yummy item!  Our evening doesn’t last for several hours … just a small portion of our day.  We don’t live and experience each others’ lives, but through our meeting together, we share a small portion with one another.  We don’t sit and listen to an hour and a half sermon, just a short devotional.  We have found that our lives are crazy busy with the responsibilities of family, church, home, work and all the other things that pull at each of us.  Tasty Tuesday, Munchy Monday, or Scrumptious Soupy Sunday (only twice on Sunday so far) allows a small allotment of time for us to experience that the Lord is indeed good.

 Our journey during the past 3 seasons of Tasting and Munching have been fun.  Here are just a “small portion” of our themes …

Mug, Muffin & Tasty Tea
Divine Romance
Spring Cleaning Clutter & Self Inventory
Pretty Purse Passion
What Tree are You?
St. Patrick’s Prayer
The 4:8 Principle
Summer Sisters-in-Prayer

Please let me encourage you … if you are not currently meeting with friends for fellowship, accountability, good food, and just plain fun … you should seriously consider doing so.  Everyone needs a break away from the normal routines to share life, to laugh and sometimes cry, to build friendships, and to pray.  For once we taste and see that the Lord is good, the prayer of my heart … for my precious friends and for all of us … is that we will all desire to take refuge in Him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. 
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 
Psalm 34:8

Until next time,
Debbie