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Red Sea, Gall Bladder & a Hurricane

9 Nov

You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

 

The offer to buy a companion ticket expired Aug 30.  In true form, my daughter and I made our decision that final day, purchasing two airline tickets to Indianapolis for the end of October.  Excited to introduce our new little one to extended family and friends, we were making it a ladies’ weekend away, since 6 month old Lillianne can fly free until she’s two years old.

Flying to Indy!

My mother did some strategizing of her own as she scheduled her foot surgery for nearly a month before our anticipated arrival.  Once Mom got settled following the procedure, all was well as she adjusted to hobbling around the house with her left foot encased in the boot.  After a couple weeks, I did begin to take notice that Mom sounded really tired and she often mentioned that there was discomfort in her abdomen that would come and go. Then just a week before our flight, it became very apparent that Mom was in a great deal of pain.  So those whose watch she is on, on a regular basis, took her to several doctor appointments and tests, coming to the conclusion that it was likely her gall bladder giving her fits, and that surgery was a great probability.  As Kim and I did our final packing for the trip, we switched clothing around for hospital and home instead of friends and family, restaurants, and church.

A few years ago, a dear friend of mine was going through difficult days when a Pastor friend called her out of the blue and asked what was going on.  God laid my friend on her heart, and she knew she needed to call and find out how she should be praying.  We were completely in awe of God’s hand in her life at that exact time, so we named that a “Parting of the Red Sea Moment”… a moment when only God could literally move the sea, or move someone to make a phone call, or to coordinate a much-needed surgery with a pre-scheduled visit.  My oldest brother, Jay, was on vacation all week … a week set aside to cut firewood for the upcoming winter … placed in the books at the Martinsville Post Office back in December 2011.  Tim’s sister, Amy, was cleared 2 weeks prior to have Friday off from work in order to spend the day with us girls and have lunch with her mom. Instead, she was able to sit with us at the hospital during my mom’s surgery, bringing us lunch, Mountain Dew, and lots of laughs!!  God was dishing out Red Sea Moments left and right!!

Mimi Wells with 4 of her 7 great grandkids
A’yden, Leyton, Jaxon, and Lillianne

What a privilege it was for me to be caregiver for those few days we were in town.  Before settling down to bed each night, Mom and I would pull up my Facebook on my  iPhone and read all of the sweet comments from dear friends and family … from 20 different states and 2 countries!!  It was like opening a mailbox full of get well cards, knowing that they had been thinking about her and praying for her!    Each day was a new day, gaining more strength, reclaiming her lost appetite, looking more rested, and feeling better.  Family times were extra special, as babies Lillianne, Jaxon, and Leyton (all second cousins, within 4 months in age) were introduced to one another, mommas and daddies compared stories, and Great Grandma (Mimi Wells) had several photo shoots with the children.

The first night we were at my Mom’s, my husband called and briefly mentioned something about a big storm coming up the east coastline … wanted to know if I had been listening to the weather.  I laughed at his silly question, thinking back over the extremely eventful day.  With surgery scheduled the following day, there was no thought about a storm and very little time to watch TV.  Sometime on Saturday, the realization hit us that our return flight into Baltimore could very possibly be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.  We literally spent 2 hours on hold that night with the airline, waiting to ask questions about cancellations, refunds, and rescheduling.  If we made the decision to not fly, then it would cost us.  If we waited on the airline to cancel the flight, then we could rebook at no cost.  We decided to trust the airline … if they choose to fly, then we would be along for the ride. So, on the way to the airport, we received the recorded message that our flight into Baltimore was cancelled.  Knowing that our hubbies were back east, weathering the storm alone (Troy had Cole’s assistance!), we were disappointed but yet relieved to not be sharing the same air space as the hurricane.

The first unexpected day was pretty much a wash, literally, as we were glued to the Weather Channel, watching the reports of flooding, fire, wind, power outages, and extreme devastation.  Having friends and family in the path of the storm was unsettling, knowing that our own homes could be damaged or be without power for days.  But as the hours passed, so did the winds and rain.  Grateful reports from home came in that there was no loss of electricity and that all was ok.  The brunt of the damage was closer to the shore … our beloved New Jersey beaches, the gorgeous homes and communities where we visit each summer ~ much of it flooded and destroyed.

Our last day with Mimi Wells was a productive one as we were determined to turn off the Weather Channel and work on some projects that we had already started for her.  By the day’s end, we were all packed again, ready and hoping for an early morning flight back home.

I often write about my personal relationship with God … how He and I have a special vocabulary, and He literally speaks to me through His Word.  A couple of days before our scheduled flight to Indy, my morning devotions had me reading in Lamentations 3 …

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

 

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.

 

They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.”

 

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:19-26

 

Those 2 days before our trip, I knew right then and there that it was Mom’s gall bladder … and that my God was telling me that He had it all under control.

A few days later, before getting out of bed the morning of Mom’s surgery, I snuggled up next to her, and I prayed for her.  I asked God to guide the doctors and nurses as they tended to her that day, and thanked Him for parting the Red Sea so I could be there with her.  Just minutes later as I was having my devotions, Our Daily Bread had me reading in Joshua 2.  My heart began to soar as I read verse 10, knowing that once again, my personal and loving God was shouting to me “I LOVE YOU DEBBIE!!”

We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea
for you when you came out of Egypt, …
…for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below
.
Joshua 2:10 & 11

Four days later and wondering if it was really safe to be flying home, my devotions were in Psalm 32.  Verse 7 jumped out at me …

 You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah

With confidence, I shared the verse with Kim and reassured her that despite the storm and the unsettled weather still along the east coast, God was safely going to take us back home.  Thank you, Father, for loving us so!

That Wednesday was an uneventful day … Lillie travels like a pro, taking everything in stride … flirting and smiling at anyone who looks her way.  Once landed in Baltimore, her eyes sparkled even brighter as her big brother held her hand all the way home.

Since we’ve been back home, Mom has gotten the pin out of her toe and is slowing making progress in getting out and walking without the protective boot.  Her small incisions from the gall bladder surgery are healing and she is regaining strength and hopefully putting some meat back on her frail little body.  I’m so looking forward to spending more time with her over the Christmas holiday … every moment with my momma is a precious moment!

Our hearts are still hurting for those still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Tim’s youngest sister and her family live on Long Island, just 4 blocks away from having lost everything.  Their everyday routines have been disrupted as the simple things like gas, groceries, and errands are no longer simple.  Our pastor friends, Del and Patsy Bieber in Tom’s River, New Jersey report that Samaritan’s Purse has set up headquarters in their parking lot, and that their church is very involved in the care of people in their area.

As we all think back over the events of the last few weeks, including the election just a few days ago, won’t you join me in continuing to pray for people everywhere whose very existence has been ravaged by the storms of life?  God wants to wrap His arms of Love, Mercy, and Hope around each of us … not just in His Red Sea Moments, but all the time.

Until next time,
Debbie

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

** The header photo was taken at Avon-by-the Sea, New Jersey … August 5, 2012.

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Hurricane Sandy

29 Oct

The rain came down, the streams rose,
and the winds blew and beat against that house;
yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matthew 7:25

As Hurricane Sandy bears down on my everyday world, I am anxiously watching all the details from the safe haven of my mother’s family room in central Indiana.  In August, my daughter and I purchased airline tickets to come see my mother for my annual birthday-month visit.  That trip began last Thursday as Kim, 6 month old Lillianne and Mimi flew into Indy just 24 hours prior to my mother having surgery to remove her gall bladder … which began consistently rearing its ugly and diseased head in the past 2 weeks.  Only God could have orchestrated such timing, allowing us to be present to help take care of my precious mom.

As the weather forecast developed over the past several days, our return flight back to the east coast, scheduled for last evening, was canceled.  So, here we are, ‘only’ expecting some high winds gusting to around 50 mph and some rain, watching as the news reports about those areas many miles away that we call home.   Prepared for power outages and extreme amounts of rainfall and wind, prayers are with our husbands and Cole as they honker down for whatever Sandy delivers.

Second Cousins
Jaxon 8 months and Lillianne 6 months

Our new departure is set for Wednesday morning, but we’ll see.  In the mean time, we are blessed with extra time with my mom, enjoying each giggle from Lillie, visits from family, and the satisfaction of personally knowing that Mom is healing and getting stronger each day.

Won’t you join me as we all pray for the safety of so many people affected by this storm?  Once home and able to do so, I’ll bring you the rest of the story …

Until then,
Debbie

And Then The Floods Came …

9 Sep

I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures
of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember
the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.
Genesis 9:15 -16

 

Taking advantage of the final 3 day weekend of the summer, my hubby and I took off for the New Jersey shore early Saturday morning.  With the impending forecast of rain threatening our mini-vacation, we spent as much time on the sand and in the sea as possible.  Having just returned from our big family vacation with our kids and my mother only four short weeks ago, we anticipated a bit different time of relaxation.  Mingled with the usual noises of the beach and crashing surf was the distinct sound of an occasional snore coming from my husband’s resting body.  I sat comfortably in my sand chair, reading, sunning, laughing at the birds, and people watching.  The little ones were the most intriguing … so much so that Papaw initiated a spontaneous invitation for Cole to bring his parents up for the last day of this holiday weekend.  Prior plans, along with a wet and rainy weather outlook helped make their decision to stay in Baltimore.  Much to our surprise and delight, the sunshine remained bright and clear for most of the day on Monday for those of us who decided to take our chances.  After driving through and admiring the old Victorian and spiritually established beach town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, we headed home.  It was there that we found the rain.

 

Weather forecasts are unpredictable.  I guess they are that way by nature, because weather itself is unpredictable.  To a certain extent, we can be warned about incoming weather, but there always needs to be room for error, change, and adjustment.   This time was no different.  We heard that it was going to rain … the remnant from Tropical Storm Lee was coming up from the gulf coast.  Little did we know that it was going to rain and not stop raining for nearly 60 hours straight, with very small pockets of eerie silence as the rains would momentarily calm down to a sprinkle.  But without fail, the torrential downpours would begin once again, adding to the puddles and gathering ponds and lakes of water everywhere.  Now one of the things so special about south central PA are the many creeks and small streams that literally finger their way through the country side and valleys.  Branching from the stately Susquehanna River that flows through the heart of this picturesque area, they quickly began to overflow their banks and flood everything in their paths. 

Pizza Hut in Hershey, PA

In our former life back in the ‘90s when we used to live out here, a large percentage of our time was spent in the Sweetest Place on Earth.  Our beloved Hershey is one of the worst flooded areas in our local vicinity.  The Swatara Creek flows through the west end of town, where its excessive waters have gathered in great depths in roadways and parking lots, destroying restaurants, businesses, homes, and the zoo.  All up and down the Susquehanna River, from Maryland to New York, widespread damage and destruction is taking place as crest levels are rising to their fullest.

We have been blessed by living where we do … our home is located on the side of a ‘big hill’, as our grandson Cole calls it.  It certainly is not monumental, but from the perspective of this 2 year old, he huffs and puffs and grunts a bit as he carries his kick ball “up the big hill, Mimi!”  He then turns around and kicks the ball and chases it as it naturally races down the hill to the back of the yard.  It is the perfect slant and incline for snow sledding in the winter and slippy slide in the summer!   It is this slope of fun that has protected our home from water damage caused by the heavy rains and flooding. 

In a few days, the rains will cease.  The waters will recede.  The damaged will be rebuilt.  The destroyed will be cleared away and replaced.  Somehow, people will find the hope, the desire, and the motivation to do what is necessary to carry on with life. 

Life does go on … and in its course through the years, it will once again send the heavy rains causing the flood waters to rise.   Much like the circumstances in our lives, the heavy rains come, heartache and sorrow flood our lives and causes damage and destruction.  In the midst of these storms, won’t you join me in asking Jesus Himself to shower on us?  Shower His love, His faithfulness, and His mercy.  click here to listen to the song  Heavy Rain by Adam’s Voice.

Until next time,
Debbie

 

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 
and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood
came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the
coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be
taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding
with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day
your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known
at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch
and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready,
because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Matthew 24:38-44

 

 

 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 sea gull taken at Belmar Beach, New Jersey on September 3, 2011.

 

 

 

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Cole

26 Aug

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them
to their desired haven.  Let them give thanks to the
LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:29-31

EARTHQUAKES   …   HURRICANES   …   COLE

What do all three of the above mentioned items have in common?  YES!   They are all natural disasters!  Once tomorrow’s storm reaches the region of the east coast that will inevitably bring rain and wind our way, I will be able to testify to the fact of experiencing not just one natural disaster in one week, but THREE! 

Whether you felt the earth move or you simply heard about it, the 5.9 earthquake that hit 185 miles south of our little town in south central Pennsylvania shook us all up.  I had just gotten home from work and was on the phone with our daughter, Kim, who lives an hour south in the suburbs of Baltimore, when she paused mid-sentence.  Her chair was shaking and she said she thought they were having an earthquake.  As I chuckled and told her that it was probably a big truck going down the road, I began to feel our house shaking all around me.  The house creaked and rattled as it trembled for about 10-15 seconds.  This was quite unsettling to say the least.  Taking a quick inventory later, I found that several ear rings had jostled their way off of their organizer and fallen to the dresser top, and two picture frames upstairs in my office fell over.  I have felt tremors before in my lifetime, but nothing like this.  After turning on the news and finding out what, where, and when, I went out and mowed the yard.  Life goes on.

Hurricane Irene.  She has already left a wide path of destruction and devastation.  The very nature of her existence guarantees more damage and upheaval as she travels onward.  According to the forecasted weather map, our little town is right on the edge of severe weather, due to bring heavy rains and thunderstorms our way.  Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends living along the coastal areas where the brunt of the hurricane will hit.  We are also trusting that our mini-vacation plans for next weekend’s holiday jaunt to the New Jersey shore will still be on the agenda once the storm has passed by.  Whether we will be able to sit out on the beach and enjoy the last hoorah of the summer or not, life will go on. 

Cole in the grocery-cart truck

Cole.  Two years and five months old.  He wears CARS pull-ups, lives, breathes and dreams tractors, can count to 13, and can write his own name.  You may not be able to read what he has written, but he will tell you that in his own left-handed script he spelled C-O-L-E.  He hears with distinct clarity every tractor, digger, mower, motorcycle, Mack truck, helicopter, and cement mixer that is within hearing distance, but for some odd reason he sometimes has trouble discerning direction and instruction from those currently in charge.  He enjoys playing Mimi’s piano, being careful to only push down one or two keys at a time as he sings Jesus Loves Me.  And he still loves to snuggle up next to his Mimi as he is rocked to sleep when it’s time for bed.  Yes, Cole is the third natural disaster that I will have experienced in one week’s time.  This little boy has made a disaster of my heart.  And just like the others, life will go on.  But unlike the others, this disaster of my heart will only get worse over time.

Won’t you join me in thanking God for His blessings of life, of love, His mercies, and tractors?  … Even in the midst of the disasters of life!

Until next time,
Debbie

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in You my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the Shadow of Your Wings
until the disaster has passed.
Psalm 57:1

 

*  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.