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Happy New Year ~ 2015

30 Jan

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Some may think that I’m a bit late, but I choose to say that I embraced every moment of the Christmas season that I could. Now that the trimmings and the tree are all down and put away, and everyone has gone back home, I am going to devote some specific time to send greetings to all of our family and friends as yet another year has completed its chapter in our book called life.

Snowstorm that brought 23" of snow!

Snowstorm that brought 23″ of snow!

One thing most of us across America had in common in 2014 was our crazy winter weather! Our little town always seemed be in an overactive band of snow, burying us under several more inches than others in south central PA. Mimi and Papaw’s ‘big hill’ provided a lot of fun times and memories for our little loves when they and their parents could visit.

 

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Needless to say, warm and sunny spring days eventually came, which brought new adventures, the first of which when Ryan flew in for a few days in March. He came bearing gifts for a belated Christmas celebration, and in turn we sang Happy Birthday to him!

 

In April I made a long-over due trip to Louisiana to visit dear friends, a journey of the heart that will forever be changed and grateful for much that has often been taken for granted. Mother’s Day weekend was spent with my mom in Indy, with the added joy of meeting my newborn niece, Remington. Then just a couple of weeks later, Tim and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Ohio at a small reunion of friends who volunteered and worked with us on the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. What a blessed time we had together in those days and again at this gathering!
Mingled in between trips, the grand-kids’ birthday celebrations and the everyday routine of work and life, we were packing and preparing to move. We finally found a house to buy and de-clutter became my new motto. By mid-June, we were moved in and getting settled, excited to spend time with Ryan who was once again out east … this time on a Verizon business trip with some added time for family!

 

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

The adventures continued as Mimi loaded Momma and the kiddos in her van and we drove to Indy for the Wells Family reunion in July. What fun to share those of my little family with my precious aunts, uncles and cousins! The traditional annual August 5th weekend birthday celebration once again found us at the shore with Kim and her family, enjoying the surf, sand, and sun. Then a few weeks later, Tim and I took advantage of frequent flier points for a long-over due visit to our beloved Albuquerque! The hospitality of our host family was a blessing, the itinerary of visits with friends and church family was heart warming, and just the experience of being there in that special place we called home for nearly 10 years was simply over-whelming.

 

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

September arrived with an invitation to meet my life-long ‘best bud’ in Florida for a few days of respite with her, following the death of her husband on August 1st. Beach therapy was the theme for our time together as childhood friends tried to make sense of life and its uncertain path … all the while being confident that God is the one true certainty on our journey.

 

Another leg of our journey was our annual motorcycle trip to Toms River, New Jersey and our visit with Pastor Del and Patsy Bieber. What fun we had as we spent time with their family, shopped at a local flea market, ate some outstanding food and as always, enjoyed our Sunday morning of worship with our seaside friends. Several weeks later, it was our privilege and pleasure to host these friends in our own home as Pastor Del preached in a local revival service.

 

Tim's Mom with her children

Tim’s Mom with her children

Indiana became our destination of necessity throughout the fall months due to the 6 week battle with cancer and passing of Tim’s step-father on September 23. Life with its reminder of our fragility and total dependence upon God once again knocked on the doors of our hearts. After a lot of prayer and thoughtful consideration, Tim’s Mom …has moved back to PA to be closer to the majority of her children.

 

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

Christmas season! We attended Christmas programs and parties, spent time with family and friends, and simply enjoyed the beautiful season in our new home. Christmas Eve travels took us to Indiana for a few days to celebrate Jesus, His birth, and several other family birthdays with my Mother, brothers and their families. Our trip was highlighted on Sunday morning when my brother Tim and his wife, Courtney, dedicated Remington Kimber Wells to Jesus.

 

The final hoorah for the year was awesome as Ryan and Brittany flew in from Seattle and our entire family spent several days together in our home … still celebrating Jesus and Christmas, New Year’s, and Brittany’s January birthday. Gifts were exchanged, countless games of Memory (and others) were played, creative paper airplanes were flown, and so much tasty food was prepared and enjoyed! Girls went shopping, family came to visit, a few movies were watched, and we worshiped together on Sunday just a few hours before good-byes were said. Every moment of every day, I tried to soak up each and every morsel and speck of family love I could … to hold me until next time!

 

As we begin a new year, I would like to share a page from ‘Jesus Calling’ …

June 12
Let Me prepare you for the day (year) that stretches out before you. I know exactly what this day (year) will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it. You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey. You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead. However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today (this year): Spend quality time with Me.

I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey. My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way. Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts. Thus, you can walk through this day (year) with your focus on Me. My abiding Presence is the best road map available.

 

2014 is behind us and a new road lies ahead. May the comfort and the peace of God’s constant Presence be the Guide and Direction for you and yours for this new year.

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go
with you and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

Until next time,
Debbie

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If you would like to read the unabbreviated version of 2014 and more,
please feel free to visit my website and read till your heart is content!  https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com/

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Happy New Year from the Van Hooks!

1 Jan

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Mimi and Papaw with their loves

Mimi and Papaw with their loves

Just a few days ago, Tim and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our little loves and their parents in their Baltimore home.  A couple weeks previous, God blessed us with an extra special Christmas visit from my mother when we received our 4th snowfall of the season while she was here.  What fun we all had as we took turns sledding down our big hill and watching the pure delight in the eyes of our little loves.  And now as the New Year arrives, we anticipate a belated Christmas celebration with our kids from Seattle.  We learned long ago that there’s so much more to celebrating Christmas than what we do or where we are on the 25th of December.  It truly is a season … a Spirit of celebration that centers our focus on the gift of Jesus and His birth.

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate)
and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us;
and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty),
such glory as an only begotten son receives from His father,
full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.
John 1:14 Amplified

 

For out of His fullness (abundance)
we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with]
one grace after another and
spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing
and even favor upon favor
and gift [heaped] upon gift.
John 1:16 Amplified

 

Out of His abundance, God provides for our every need …  Tim continues to be busy working for Kitchen Saver as the Installation Manager, and I remain at the Elder Law Firm of Robert Clofine where I work in the office.  When not working and the weather permits, Tim and I enjoying riding our ‘new’ motorcycle which we bought in June.  When not on the bike, we love spending time in the kitchen, looking for new recipes, creating healthy dishes, smoking meats, and eating tasty foods.  We grew a small garden this past summer, freezing much of what we grew and buying even more at local produce stands.  Our freezers are once again full and overflowing, providing us with tasty treats throughout the next year.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Out of His abundance, God provides one grace after another!  I think of our trip to Seattle in the fall … what a great time we had with Ryan and Brittany!  They are gracious hosts, always providing us with warm hospitality, great food, and wonderful memories of another special time together!  This particular time, we included a short trip to Portland, Oregon and another few days to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Our other travel destinations were Indiana, West Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio, not to mention the trips here and there all on the motorcycle and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Of course, we can’t leave out the all-important short journeys back and forth to the south side of Baltimore to see our little loves and their parents.  And in April, Kim’s house was full and running over as Uncle Ryan and Auntie Britt, along with Mimi Wells came to visit and to be present at Lillianne’s baby dedication.  We have certainly been blessed this year by being with friends and family!

The Arndt Family

The Arndt Family

Out of His abundance, God provides His favor!  The Arndt family purchased a house in January of 2013, and have had no problems spreading out into all corners and cubbies of this nice large home.  Both Troy and Kim turned 30 years old when celebrating birthdays this year, while Cole will turn five years old in March and Lillianne two in April.  Troy continues to be employed by Booz Allen Hamilton and has two remaining semesters in the process of earning a master’s degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.   Kim enjoys being a stay-at-home mom, with a new twist to the routine as Cole attends preschool three mornings each week.  Their family is extremely involved in various ministries at Grace Pointe Nazarene Church in Severn, MD, where they have an awesome network of friends and church family!

Ryan and Brittany   at a friend's wedding

Ryan and Brittany
at a friend’s wedding

Out of His abundance, He provides favor!Ryan is still employed by Verizon Wireless and is currently working at a store in Bellevue, WA – literally in Microsoft’s backyard.  Brittany changed jobs this year and loves her new position … working for the University of Washington at Harborview in the Internal Medicine Department as a Project Coordinator for the residents and medical students.  She has her sights set on medical school, so her spare time is spent studying so she can take the entrance exam this coming spring.  In Ryan’s spare time, one would most likely find him with a good book at a nearby coffee shop, playing Frisbee, or watching the sport of the season.

Out of His abundance, God provides spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing!  If nothing else existed in my life, knowing Jesus as my Redeemer and Savior would be enough.  But God has gifted me this year with special blessings that I will forever hold dear to my heart!  I was able spend time with special friends that I had not seen since we left Albuquerque 7 years ago.  Also, my continued prayers for my co-workers, boss, and myself have finally begun to tear down guarded walls of tension that have made for a better work environment and opportunities to talk about Jesus.  My prayer list is full of names that belong to people I know and love – some with illnesses and diseases, others with relational troubles, those that have lost loved ones, while still others need to know the life-changing love of Jesus.  I’m daily learning that a life of true obedience to God is one of spiritual blessing … overflowing from His abundance!

Well, another year has quickly flipped the pages of our calendars … a year full of God’s gifts, favor, spiritual blessings, and grace.  As we move forward into 2014, let us not forget that it is in Him that we live, and move and have our being.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:28

Our prayer is that you had a wonderful Christmas, and that it will be followed by an awesome and an abundant New Year!
Tim and Debbie

Please feel welcomed to be a regular follower of my blog at
https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

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check out the new photos on the actual website at the above address.

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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 

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

 

Spring!

8 Apr

                                                There is a time for everything,
 and a season for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Just yesterday I was sporting a cute little pair of heels that I picked up for a bargain last summer at a yard sale.  Today I feel like cuddling up my toes with a thick pair of comfy socks and slipping them into my boots as I go off to work on this raw and rainy morning.  It’s spring.  Last week it snowed 3 inches.  Four days later we were out on the motorcycle enjoying 80̊  and a sunny day!  It’s spring! 

 Ever notice how noisy spring is?  All of sudden there are birds everywhere … and they are loud!  Even busy little Cole has noticed their vocal existence    ~   “chirp chirp!”   We live just outside of York, PA where a Harley Davidson plant is located.  The roads are Harley silent around here for only about 4 months out of the year.  Guys (and gals) and their motorcycles are loud!   It’s spring!   I’ve heard two chainsaws already in the past month and even a lawnmower!  Thunderstorms have caused little dogs to shiver and hide, while the music of a steady rain sings lullabies to those needing to get out of bed.  Shouts of activity and sport fill the air near the fields where baseball, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee are being played. There are the giggles of little kids, finally able to be outside at the park to play, while moms stand around and catch up with their friends  …  or in our case, a little 2-year old constantly going up and down the slides hollering out “RyRy!” as his Uncle Ryan is watching via Skype and an iPhone.  Spring is noisy!

 As scripture tells us, there is a time and season for all things.  This morning, a dear and precious friend passed away.  Mary Jane had been ill for many years, but she is now dancing in the presence of Jesus and the angels.  Mary Jane has reached her eternal Spring where Life will be full of newness, expectation and satisfaction all at the same time, and freedom.  Freedom, for where the Spirit is there is Freedom.  

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die…
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

 

 Newborn babies cry, toddlers chatter, birds sing, rain falls, and our world embraces life to the fullest!  After a long cold winter, won’t you join me in celebrating a noisy and exciting spring … each day, ALWAYS filled to the brim with the mercies of God!

 

Until next time,
Debbie