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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

 

 

 

 

 

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’Tis the Season

25 Nov

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Papaw and Cole

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  People all over our good country gathered with family and friends in celebration of gratitude and thankfulness.  This year was no exception in my own heart for realizing the true significance of this holiday.  We have much to be thankful for.  Tim and I are both employed, and we have a nice home in which we live.  Our children are healthy, happy, and will be with us for Christmas.  Just a week ago, Tim underwent a heart catheterization during which a new stent was placed inside the stent that he received in November of 2004 while living in Albuquerque.  The original was 99% blocked, creating chest pain and discomfort that necessitated intervention.  A few days past Tim’s emergency medical situation, I had a minor hernia repair and am taking advantage of the quiet days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday to rest and to heal.  We are truly blessed this year by doctors and medical professionals who know how to take care of our bodies when they fail. 

Today is the day after Thanksgiving.  Many followed the traditional holiday feast by going out late, or early, as the case may be, to shop and find the first great deals of the Christmas season.  Others are busy transforming their homes with festive garland, lights, and décor that somehow ushers in this special time of year with its music, its gifts, and its Love.  Today is exactly one month until Christmas Day.   We all have much to do between now and then, but let’s not get so caught up in the hurry and the rush that we forget the season of Thanksgiving!  It was a season in which we celebrated the birth of brand new babies and still anxiously anticipate others.  A season in which we were pleased with successful surgeries that gave hope to scary diagnoses.  A season in which there was God-given peace over life-changing events and decisions.  A season of rejoicing over long awaited answers to prayers, and the continued realization of God’s gift of breath and life, His grace, and His mercy each and every day.  Please join me as we place the Christ Child’s manger in our focus again this Christmas season, that we still hold on to the Spirit of Thanksgiving and keep it with us into the New Year. 

Until next time,
Debbie

“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus,
because He will save His people from their sins.” 
Matthew 1:21

 

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 

A – Z

4 Nov

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; 
worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Does it seem like your calendar has the hiccups, and every little bit another page turns?  Here it is already the first week of November!  Didn’t my family just get back from the shore a few short weeks ago?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I returned from my birthday visit to Indiana?  I find it quite crazy to realize the mad rush that life gets into as the holidays approach, so I am determined to do things a little differently this year. 

For the next several days between now and Thanksgiving, I’m adding an exciting twist to my mornings.  Last Friday, I took the letter A and listed as many words as I could that described the attributes of God.  I found the concordance in the back of my Bible to be a great resource, providing wonderful words along with the corresponding scriptures – sort of like feasting on homemade guacamole and having fresh tortilla chips to eat with it!  It seems that with each day and my quest with a different letter, my acceptance of words has broadened.  You know how two friends share a vocabulary of special words?  Well, there are some that are just special between God and me.  After checking the back of my Bible, I then find myself combing through the hymnal that I keep in my special spot of quiet time.  A few words are usually added, but more exciting is the memory jog that takes place as I read titles of songs that have formed this very heart that loves Jesus.   I enjoy much of today’s contemporary Christian music, but when I hear a hymn, the very foundation of my soul catches its breath as the melody, the words, and the message still ring true through the ages of life.  The unexpected addition to the music portion of my holiday devotional journey has even surprised me, as today I even sat down at my piano and played several songs that I haven’t even thought of for several years, let alone sit down and play. 

 I don’t expect anyone else to do what I’m doing, but I would like to throw out a challenge to not allow the next two months of busyness and activity to steal an opportunity to on-purpose turn your focus on your relationship with God.  As I read over my freshly written list each morning, I do so in intimate conversation with my Lord…prayer, songs, tears, and even some laughter.  God and I have a history, and these words and more tell part of our story. 

Abba, Abide, Absolute, Above, Active, Adore, Air, ALL, Always, Arms, Aroma, Assurance, …

Balm, Banner, Beautiful, Believe, Belong, Beloved, Blessing, Bread, Breath, Broken, Builder, …

Calling, Cherish, Cling, Comfort, Companion, Compels, Complete, Constant, Consumes, …

Dance, Daughter, Dedicate, Defender, Delight, Deliverer, Demands, Depend, Desire, Draw, …

Effort, Emmanuel, Encourage, Endurance, Engraved, Everything, Expectation, Express, …

Face, Faithful, Father, Favor, Feet, Fit, Fix, Forever, Forgiven, Forsake, Fortress, Fragrance, …

Gap, Gentle, Gift, Giver, Glad, Glory, Grace, Gratitude, Great, Groanings, Guard, Guide, …

Haunt, Healthy, Heart, Hedge, Helper, Hide, Highway, Hold, Holiness, Hope, Hover, Hunger, Hymn, …

Won’t you join me in the next several weeks, as the 2011 calendar turns its last pages, to finish out the year with a renewed eagerness to be thankful?  … Ever alert to God’s constant presence in our lives, and to then be responsive to Him and His eternal love for each of us. 

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

Completely

20 May
 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength. 
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

 

I was honored with an invitation to be the guest speaker at a ladies’ annual spring banquet last Friday night.  The church was located back in my old tromping grounds of southern Indiana, so I was blessed beyond measure to have 12 of my dearest friends from the Cincinnati area come and see me!  The evening’s festivities began with cupcake chat, singing, and a delicious dinner.  What a joy it was for me as I sat there eating, talking, and listening to the different conversations around the table … trying to soak up every moment of being with my friends so I could tuck away the evening’s morsels of memories and savor them later. 

Most of the gals, plus my Momma!

With satisfied and full tummies, we all made our way back up to the sanctuary for the remainder of the evening.  Moments before I was introduced and welcomed to come up front, a young lady began to sing a very special song.  As the music started to play for her accompaniment, my heart began to swell and my eyes began to fill.  I sat there in that pew, totally transported to another time and another place. 

The time was September 13, 2006 and the place was Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center in West Harrison, Indiana.  Having packed every item we owned, leaving behind our place of ministry in Albuquerque, NM for the past 9 years and friends too many to count, a new life was before us.  After traveling for 3 days and 1400 miles, we were almost there.  As I followed behind the big yellow moving truck and exited off the interstate, I slipped my Sandia Women’s Retreat 2006 Worship CD into the player and found this special song on purpose.  The message of the words penetrated my being as I once again had to let go and surrender everything to His control.  With tears streaming down my face, we pulled onto the grounds of our new home, ministry, and life.  I sang this song as an act of worship … my heart filled with sadness in leaving friends and ministry behind, and my soul filled with the uncertainty of a new place, new work and ministry, and new people.  Right there in that moment …  Click here to listen

COMPLETELY 

The secret of life is letting go
The secret of love is letting it show
In all that I do
In all that I say
Right here in this moment

The power of prayer is in a humble cry
The power of change is in giving my life
And laying it down
Down at your feet
Right here in this moment

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

This journey of life is a search for truth
This journey of faith is following you
Every step of the way
Through the joy and the pain
Right here in this moment

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

Right here, right now, and for the rest of my life
Hear me say

(Chorus)
Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

I am yours and yours alone
Completely

 

As I sat there last Friday night once again listening to this song, I could still smell the freshly mown grass, I could see the deep plush green of everything (as opposed to the very little green and mostly brown that we had grown to love in Albuquerque), and I could still feel the intense ache, fear, and loneliness that enveloped me at that moment in 2006.   But as that young lady continued to sing, my Jesus wrapped His arms of love around me and whispered in my ear … “Look around you.”  There I was, literally surrounded by 3 rows of women who specifically came to see me.  These weren’t just any women.  They were the ones I rubbed shoulders with on a regular basis … at work, at district functions, Munchy Monday, … all from my life at Higher Ground.   We have laughed together, cried together, prayed together, and lived life together.  They were the result of my letting go, laying it all at His feet, and saying I am Yours and Yours alone … completely.  

I am overwhelmed with how personal and loving my Jesus is to me.    He took the past 5 years, placed it all in a box for me, and wrapped it up with a nice pretty bow on top.  He placed a tag on the outside and wrote “I love you, Debbie!” Those girls, especially, know what that means to me.  They are the jewels inside that shine above all the other stuff. 

With tears still in my eyes, it was my turn to come up front and speak.  Temporarily laying my notes to the side, I had to share my journey through those last 5 minutes and express my love in return to my Jesus.     

Take my heart
Take my soul
I surrender everything to your control
And let all that is within me lift up to you and say
I am yours and yours alone
Completely

I am Yours and Yours alone
Completely

I will share the rest of the story … next time.
Debbie

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

Two

24 Mar

Your eyes saw my unformed body. 
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
 before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

 

 Life took an unexpected twist and turn two years ago and blessed us with the premature birth of our first grandchild, Cole Michael.  A severe case of pre-eclampsia dictated his six-week early arrival.  An emergency c-section delivery followed by 20 days in the NICU was the dramatic start to his little life. 

Cole Michael ... 2 hours old

The miracle of life itself  … the way that God creates little people to grow, develop, and to become bigger little people is an amazing reality.  Just two hours old, Cole’s tiny but deliberate and strong hand clutched the tubes and wires that literally were keeping him alive.  Now at two years old, he reaches out and grasps at life with purpose and enthusiasm, excited to be healthy, happy, and loved.

Gender traits early on revealed this little boy’s favorite toys and obsessions, like tractors, cars, trucks, trains, and balls.  Genetics has already determined Cole’s dark hair and his preference in using his left hand.  Environmental influences have molded a tender and loving heart, a fondness toward puppies, an enjoyment of watching ‘ball’ or ‘cars’ on TV, and an appreciation of discovery and learning new things. 

Just the other day, Cole began to tug at the hem of his momma’s capri pants, thinking they must be hiked up and he needed to pull them down to the proper length.  Later the same day, he was caught taking the honey bear out of the pantry and giving it kisses … believing it was Winnie the Pooh.  Every day is filled with stories of funny little antics that bring joy and laughter to our hearts. 

We will spend today and throughout the coming weekend to celebrate this precious little boy and the miracle of life God has given to us.  Won’t you join me in thanking God, the Great Creator, for His design, His plan, and His purpose  …

Until next time,
Debbie  …  Mimi

PS … to read the full account of Cole’s birthday, read my blog dated March 24, 2010 … called Anticipation.

Happy Birthday Ryan!

18 Mar

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

 

Back in the day, it was not in the usual routine of anticipated visits to find out if the baby growing inside was a girl or a boy.  Observations of how high or how low, round belly or round body, fast or slow heart beat … all were used as a means of forming opinions.  But the only one true test was that of birth.   Having only been in labor for 2 ½ hours, I rejoiced with my husband at 1:02 am on March 18, 1986 to find out that we were the parents of a baby boy!  With a little girl already wrapped around our hearts, adding Ryan to our family was a joy beyond words!  Blonde hair, blue eyes, and 2 dimples in his chubby cheeks, he was undeniably a Van Hook.

Growing up with a sister who was quite vocal, Ryan really had no need for many words.  Kim understood the language of little people and did a wonderful job of interpreting his gestures and mutterings.  But it’s safe to say, now at the brand new age of 25, he is well versed in his vocabulary and does well in communication.  Ryan is an assistant store manager for Verizon Wireless in Seattle … looking forward to managing his own store in the near future.  Easter Seals speech therapy to Android and iPhone sales!

Super Mario, baseball and Chuck, Caravans, soccer, basketball, cousins, Work and Witness teams, green chilis, Sandia youth group, Mario and Conrad, Gonzaga,  …

The memories are endless and the future is before him!   

Uncle RyRy and Cole

Now that a new generation has graced our family with the life of Kim and Troy’s own son, Cole, I continue to be in awe of God’s Signature upon my life.  Being a Mimi is incredibly special … a special all of its own!!  So many other grandparents have commented that if they had known having grandchildren was so much fun, they would have had them first.  I do not agree.  Although being a parent has been hard work, frustrating and heartbreaking at times, there is no greater joy to my heart than my own two children.  I love them so!!

I live this day, Ryan, in celebration of you and in honor of God who blessed my life with yours!  I thank Him every day for your life, asking Him to surround you with His protection, His love, His grace, and His mercy.  Morsels of Mercy!!!  Happy Birthday, my precious son!

Until next time,
Debbie