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Jesus Loves Me

29 Sep

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son
 into the world that we might live through him. This is love:
not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends,
since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
 God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 
1 John 4:9-12


In previous years of experience, after having just moved to a new location … new job, different house, an unfamiliar area, and still undecided on which church to regularly attend, Sundays were usually a difficult day for me.  This past weekend, however, was not that way at all.  Please allow me to take you on a journey  …

When our family lived in the state of Pennsylvania back in the ’90s, I baked homemade cinnamon rolls quite frequently on Sunday mornings.  They were tasty and quick to devour just moments before heading out the door to Sunday School and church.  Knowing that we were driving down to Baltimore to attend church with our daughter and her little family this past Sunday, I was inspired to bake these decadent treats once again and take them with us to share.  With a slight chill in the air as it was raining outside, the sweet aroma of the rolls baking put a warmth in the heart from the memories of when we were much younger with much smaller children…and this put a smile on my face. 

Reminders of ‘home’ greeted us on our hour drive to the Arndts as I received texts from a couple Higher Ground friends, checking on us and sending their love.  Rolls and coffee were enjoyed in the usual fashion, just moments before going to church.  Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene is currently gathering its congregation in a really nice school building as new construction is taking place nearby.  A quick glance in the bulletin advertised Caravans, creating a smile of joy as I imagined my grandchildren earning badges while they learned the Articles of Faith and other core values in this Christian scouting program.  As I stood there in the auditorium sharing in the worship experience with my family, I took notice of the pulpit bearing the Nazarene logo “Holiness Unto the Lord”.  A heart full of gratitude for a prayer answered, knowing that a heritage of holiness upbringing will continue another generation in this Arndt/VanHook home.  The music filled the hall, nothing elaborate with a full orchestra or 50 person choir, but a simple platform of instruments and singers that lifted their talents and hearts in worship as they led us to the Father.  There were songs I didn’t know, but the message of these words spoke to me …

“All that is within me cries.
For You alone be glorified Emmanuel, God with us.
My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary, nevertheless we lay it at your feet.
Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary, nevertheless we lay this at your feet.”


Then there were songs I did know, songs that continued to draw me into His presence …

“Blessed be your name, In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow, Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name, When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name, When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be, Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name, On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering, Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away, You give and take away
My heart will choose to say , Lord, Blessed be your name”

Pastor Bolerjack began to relate a story concerning his son who is an avid OU fan and attended the OU vs UC game the night before.  I sat there and had to sort of shake my brain loose and think “Where am I?”  I now live in Pennsylvania, but at this moment am hearing this story in Maryland.  Pastor’s son lives in Oklahoma and attended the game, which was in Cincinnati.  Wow!  A connection … a real BIG connection to our hearts!  I know Tim was anxious to chat with the pastor following the service to tell him that we just left the Cincinnati area and Higher Ground, which is where the University of Cincinnati Bearcats annually hold their pre-season football training camp.  Having just watched the exciting game ourselves, it was quite fun to share this connection with him.  We also inquired of his relationship to R.T. and Pat Bolerjack, who we found out to be his uncle and aunt. More connections were made as we shared of our friendship with them from our days at Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. 

Moments before at the end of the sermon, as the piano began to play a very familiar song, my heart was moved to tears. A few months ago while working in the kitchen at Higher Ground and it was an extremely busy and tough day, I suggested to my friend that when we felt frustrated and and worn out, we should start singing Sunday School songs to help us through our shift.  Just the day before, this friend had texted me that her work day had been very rough, and at one point she began to sing her Sunday School songs.  I then told her that I’m so glad that she could sing Jesus Loves Me. As I stood there the next morning at the close of the service, the melody of that childhood tune began to fill that church auditorium.  Once again, I felt the extreme love of Jesus, His approval of me, my walk, and my relationship with Him. 

I knew right then that I would write about all of this … a personal, very intimate connection with God Himself, knowing that He hand-picked details of this day, at this time in my life, just for me!  Somehow, I need to express that just believing there is a God, religion, and all the churchy stuff of life is not what it’s all about.  It’s even so much more than a daily routine of Bible reading and prayer time.  It’s a relationship with God, communication with One Another, and as I read this morning in Streams in the Desert, it’s a ‘Peace that breathes music in my breast.’  Do you hear the music? … “Jesus Loves Me!”

Till next time,


Family Camp

24 Jun

God said. “Take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” 
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.
 I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers,
and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down
to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up
out of that land into a good and spacious land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.” 
Exodus 3:5-8


It was an interesting and very enjoyable week … one that started with busy clean-up, preparation, and set-up.  Just two days before families and friends began to cross the bridge which welcomed them onto the property, flood waters quickly rose that Saturday morning and not only covered the bridge, but temporarily transformed our small creek into a 30 foot-wide raging river.  When guests drove onto the grounds on the first day of Family Camp, they were greeted by the huge fallen trees that had traveled, clustered in piles, and came to rest near the banks of our receded swollen stream.  There was a lot of excited chatter and questions that first evening regarding the recent flash flood.  It set the stage for an unusual concern the second night of camp when severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings were posted.  Following some blinding rain, heavy winds, and bright lightning, the storm passed, and we enjoyed good weather the remainder of the week.

Family Camp is the modern-day term for what we always called Camp Meeting … a revival of sorts, complete with evangelists, special singers, and the church.  Except this revival is held in one location with large enough facilities so that many churches can attend.  Another special aspect of Family Camp is that a lot of people come and stay for the entire week.  They rent lodge rooms, an area in one of the dorms, or an entire cabin for several families.  We also have those that stay in their RVs … filling the camping area with the sounds of children, the smells of campfires, and the taste of homemade ice cream.  What a fun place Family Camp is!

For me personally, I had several highlights this year.  I LOVE people and I so enjoy our Nazarene district church folk!  Some of them I get to see often, while others I only see once or twice a year.  I was able to spend some time with my friend Linda and her two grandchildren, and I joined in the fun of swimming in the pool with them on Friday afternoon.  Being with these kids made my heart ache even more for my own grandson!  Maybe someday Cole can come and stay the week of Family Camp with his Grami and Gramps!  There were those who helped Tim run the technical side of Family Camp, so they made up the techno table at each meal.  Great huge bouquets of grateful flowers go out to these friends for your faithful help and concern.  Friends and more friends warmed my heart throughout the week, and I am eternally grateful for the privilege of getting to know so many precious and special people.  People asked about my grandbaby and of course, Grami had pictures!  We chatted about health issues, family members, motorcycles, and Morsels of Mercy.  The church services were special, having two former District Superintendents in attendance and behind the pulpit on various occasions.  The Collingsworth Family ended the week-long celebration on Sunday evening with a concert … and then as quickly as everyone arrived, they all left. 

Family Camp  …Camp Meeting  (whichever you prefer to call it)  is only a memory now for 2010.  The hundreds of chairs in the Graves Family Life Center have been stacked and put away.  The meals were cleaned up and new menus planned.  Windows had handprints smeared on them and more spiders and bugs had settled on the ledges outside.  Monday morning was a busy time of clean-up, preparation, and set-up … but this time for the next batch of guests arriving by noon and ready to have their summer visit to Higher Ground.   

The real reason for Family Camp is spiritual renewal.  There were sessions of Bible study, morning and evening services, complete with music, preaching, and prayer.  We sang a song that first morning service that went like this …

This Is Holy Ground
We’re Standing On Holy Ground
For The Lord Is Present And Where He Is, Is Holy

I have to admit that as I sat there singing this chorus, tears spilled down my face as the Lord spoke to my own heart.  There are days the ground on which I stand does not seem very holy to me.  Remember the spiders and bugs?  I found myself kneeling at an altar of prayer that morning, recommitting my everything to Him so that I could know that I stood on Holy Ground no matter where I was. 

Wherever you are at any given moment of the day or night, is the ground where you are standing Holy?  It is Holy simply because the Lord is present and where He is, it is Holy.  Is He present in your life?  Join me today in making sure that we are indeed standing on Holy Ground.

Until next time,

Spiders and Bugs

16 Jun

Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.  
Resist him, standing firm in the faith…
I Peter 5:8-9


I don’t like them.  Although they seem to run the other way when they see me, their presence just makes my skin crawl and I grimace as I set out on my task to eradicate them.  Just Monday as I was swiping the Bug Grabber across the vinyl siding at the dining hall, I spied a particular healthy looking black spider with a white dot on its back, and I aimed my bug tool at him.  He went tumbling through the air and conveniently landed in the seam between two concrete pads.  I know what he was thinking as he quietly scrunched into a tiny ball of spider fur in that crevice on the porch… he was playing dead.  Well, I went about my business, knocking down more masterfully built webs, along with their builders, if they dared to be around as I walked the long length of the sidewalk.  I saw Granddaddy Long Leggers strategically dot the brick environment, trusting that their camouflaged bodies of brown and dark red would sufficiently hide them till the danger was past.  There were so many of them that I did allow most to go about their day unscathed.  All the while, however, I kept an eye on the trickster spider in the crack.  He eventually pulled himself to the edge of his foxhole, getting enough nerve to make a made dash to safety. Needless to say, he didn’t get very far.  A black crock, size 7, was his demise.  I really do not like spiders and bugs.  Have I said that already?

 Tim & I are employed at a Nazarene district-owned campground/conference & retreat center ~ and it truly is more than employment.  It is ministry.  I have always said that when you are in ministry, you wear not just one hat, but many.  One of which I literally put on while I work outside with the spiders and bugs.  The wide-brimmed straw hat serves the great purpose of protecting my curly locks from being nested in by the likes of those furry black spiders and his compadres as they are displaced by my efforts to clean up the place.  I now go by the alias name of Farmer Jane on Spider and Bug day.

 How about you?  Got any spiders and bugs in your life? The other day, one of my clients was out in a visible location, so I discreetly took care of him.  I walked away momentarily to get my cleaning supplies and when I returned, a thousand gazillion itty bitty clients were swarming that spot.  Do you ever feel that way?  Just when you thought you took care of the problem, it seemed that you were flooded with several more … 

 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
Psalm 25:17-22 


Guard my life scripture says.  Put on your wide-brimmed straw hat for head protection, proper shoes for shielding, supporting, and stomping, and always have your Bug Grabber tool handy!

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18


 Watch out for the enemy that you thought was swept off the vinyl siding of your life ~ just when you least expect it, it will crawl out of its hiding place, ready to wreck havoc to your soul again.   Resist him by standing firm in the faith  ~  stomp on him!


Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  
Resist him, standing firm in the faith…
I Peter 5:8-9


To pass the time by in an enjoyable manner as I wash windows, knock down the various homes and play areas of our resident bugs and spiders, and then sweep away the remains, I sing!  I sing along with Chris Tomlin, Selah, Adam’s Voice, and others that encourage my heart to worship in all that I do.  To ensure a spirit of victory in the midst of the cobwebs and gnat clouds of life, sing a song of praise! 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:16-17


I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.
Psalm 104:33-34


May my meditation be pleasing to you, as I rejoice in You, oh God.  But I still don’t like the spiders and bugs.


Until next time,





It’s All For the Birds!

9 Jun

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  
Luke 12:24

Is it just me or do the birds seem to be louder and more noticeable this year?   We were blessed with a drop in temperature and humidity a couple days ago, so we actually turned off the AC and opened the windows for the night.  Though the alarm clock was set, we certainly didn’t need one to wake up by!  At the crack of dawn, which was much earlier than the alarm was set for, the birds began to go crazy.  Seriously!  There is a family of such creatures who have built their small abode just above the outside trim of our bedroom window…only a short distance from my pillow.  As I tried to sleep through their insistent chirps of ‘Hello … it’s morning time!’ I pulled the covers up even tighter to my head, trying to block out the all-too-cheerful peeps of exclamation.

Later in the morning as I walked out on my front porch to hang up a fresh batch of hummingbird nectar, two feisty feathery friends were chasing each other from tree to tree, carrying on like a couple of young feuding lovers.  I’ve seen them before, darting back and forth in a frantic rush, always seeming to be irritated with one another.  Perhaps they are the parents to the little ones in the back, and they are not getting enough sleep at night!

The other day, I noticed a very small blue bird in the drive in front of the house.  He was little, but he sure had a mouth on him.  It fascinated me to watch his beak open and close in such a precise manner … and oh what a loud message he had to proclaim!  He was such a tiny bird with much to say! 

The Cardinal ~ Feb 2010

Yesterday I was sitting here on my little couch having my quiet time and my ears caught the all familiar sound of wings fluttering against a window.  These wings belong to our resident cardinal.  Mr. Cardinal … and what a beauty he is!!  His unruly restroom habits that are all down the side of my car and van are irritating as all get out, but he sure is handsome!  And he knows it.  He is constantly looking at his reflection in the mirrors and windows of our vehicles.  It seems to be his favorite pastime.  We began to notice his annoying addiction several months ago when he would fly and flutter around on our van as it sat in the driveway.  I became so familiar with his song that I knew he was out there without even looking.    And I can’t help but smile just a little bit when I sit down in the driver’s seat and see the tiny thin beak marks in the corners of both front windows … and both mirrors.  I’m not quite sure what the fixation is about seeing his reflection, but he loves it!  Mrs. Cardinal comes around every once in a while, but she must be busy tending to the children, leaving Mr. with a lot of free time to admire his good looks. 

I’ve laughed with others over the antics of these birds and listened to their feathery tales as well.  My mom has been doting over a robin’s nest, full of tiny chicks filled to its brim.  She has also been aggravated by the vain attempts of many a bird who would perch on her window sills and peck, scratch and mess.  Then our daughter, thinking that someone was trying to break into her home while hubby was away, sheepishly peaked around the corner into the kitchen to find a robin of her own at the side window admiring his fine suit of brown and orange. 

Just now, a high-pitched tweet and quick flutter caught my eye, so I sat down the computer, looked straight down below the window to where I just planted some watermelon seeds yesterday.  Oh my … I feared I was catching a thief, but instead, the noisy homemaker was gathering the loosened dead and dry grass from along the edges of the gardened area.  As quickly as it flew in, it flew away. 

Is there a spiritual lesson in the antics of these birds?  I’m sure God wants us to know that even the birds of the air have character, purpose, and His own Creator Signature in their beauty and their abilities.  Do we believe that about ourselves? 

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas,
and let the birds increase on the earth.”
And there was evening, and there was morning–the fifth day. 
Genesis 1:21-23

The song of the bird is quite distinct and often resembles a cheerful chorus of praise.  Even the tiniest feathery friend is deliberate as it opens its beak to communicate and proclaim its message to the world. 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4

Join with me as I watch the birds this summer…fascinated and amazed at how God created them so perfectly to fit in His plan and purpose for their existence in this life.  If He cares so much for them … how much more does He care for you and I?

 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  
Luke 12:24

Until next time,


3 Jun

Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving kindness,
giving us constant joy to the end of our lives.
Psalm 90:14  TLB

June 5, 2008, our family’s 15 year-old Miniature Schnauzer, Scottie, passed away.  In memory and celebration of his life, this was written a few days following his death, 2 years ago… 

Scottie not feeling well ~ 5/28/08

The other evening, I took it out of my purse and very tenderly clasped it back together.  I lovingly touched each shiny little black bone that decorated the red plaid print of the fabric.  I gently shook the jingles that had always represented life and activity, reading the information listed on the bone-shaped tag.  With a heart filled with gratitude for the gift that has been ours for so many years, tears from a broken heart filled my eyes as I hung Scottie’s collar on the corner of his picture frame.  Our precious Bubby Dog went home to Jesus on Thursday afternoon around 2:45 pm. 

Scottie, the shaved rat

Scottie Von Schultz Van Hook was purchased on a discounted price tag by our family from an Amish kennel on March 20, 1993 at the age of 4 ½  months.  The runt of his litter, he had contracted ringworm from a fellow cohabitant, so our new pet was quickly taken to the Hershey Veterinary Hospital where they shaved him down and stripped him of his Schnauzer identity.  Looking like a mangy gray Chihuahua, he spent the next 6 weeks in a strict regime of being bathed and dipped, all the while we were very careful to wash our hands as we loved and nurtured our little pup.  We were greatly successful in correcting his skin condition, bringing health to his young body and staying clean ourselves. 

Scottie on back deck ~ 1995

His salt and pepper coat began to grow back in lush volumes, and we realized that in order to truly retain the Schnauzer identity and not lose it again, but this time to the likeness of a bear, we needed to groom him.  Being the adventurous people that we are, we bought doggie clippers.   I think for being total amateurs at pet grooming, we did a wonderful job!  There was a time or two that we were thankful that his hair grew back quickly, but for the most part, he looked really nice!  Eventually we began taking him to a qualified pet groomer.  It was much easier, quicker & less traumatic for everyone, especially the client.  The clippers?  I used them for years on Ryan and Tim.  In fact, I just got them out last week and gave Tim his summer haircut. 

The new friend and playmate for all weighed in at 7.4 pounds on that very first trip to the doctor in Hershey.  By the time he was nearly 6 years old and eating treats from the Work & Witness teams along with chips and salsa in Albuquerque, he tipped the scales at 12.7 pounds!  But within the next few years, he and I began to take morning prayer walks along the ditchbank road that ran beside our home, so he became quite fit and trim. 

Our 3 children ~ 1995

 Scottie loved the outdoors!  In his earlier years in Pennsylvania, he would insist on going out in the snow with the kids … and I mean snow!  Deep snow!  Snow that would engulf him as he tried to run through it, always coming back inside the house with ice chunks hanging from his Schnauzer fur.  In the summer, he even enjoyed going for nice refreshing dips in our friends’ swimming pool  ~  doggie paddle, of course!   In Albuquerque, we all learned the hard way about sticker burrs and goat heads.  When we first moved there, Ryan and Scottie were out playing and began chasing each other around the house.  Before long, Ryan turned around and wondered where the silly pup had gone.  Not too far!  After a few laps around the yard, he began to slow to a dead stop.  He had prickly thorns and stickers in the bottoms of his precious paw pads and all in his under belly Schnauzer fur!  Once again, it was a great identity icon for the boy, but he was always a portable Velcro strip!  A few years later when our daily routine included the ditch-bank road, we visited with the cows, horses, lamas, other canine-type creatures, and birds.  Scottie always thought he was bigger than he really was, so when a cow or horse was up against the fence row munching on the tree leaves, Scottie would stand there kicking out his back feet and would growl, as if they better take notice that HE was there.  Since moving from the desert to Indiana, we adapted to our new outdoors.  Here he barked and got all upset at the many deer that would visit our front yard and surrounding areas.  They were big enough for his aging eyes to see.  The squirrels, rabbits, and wild turkeys would usually go unnoticed.  He had become an old-man dog …  

Scottie on the back of his favorite chair ~ 2003

Scottie loved to travel!  It’s a good thing, because we did, too!  Whether we drove to see the Van Hooks & Parks or to Indiana to see the Wells gang, he always settled down for the trip and slept.  Of course, back in the day, he was simply gearing up the energy to pester Princess and Snickers, who tried to snip and snap at him to put him in his place, but he usually ran them both either under the couch or into another room.  The pup in him was frisky ~ and to him, they were grumpy girls.  Many years later, the tables turned.  Those in Indiana now have frisky pups, along with his nephew in PA, Tadpole Arndt.  Scottie then became the grumpy one.  More times than not, he might have snapped at them a time or two, but they got use to the fact that the old man didn’t want to be bothered.  He would simply sprawl out underneath a table for safe keeping (therefore he acquired the nickname ‘THE RUG’) and nap through the pups’ silly antics with one another.  They learned to respect him for his stately condition and usually left him alone. 

In his earlier years, Scottie was well-known for his yappiness.  He wasn’t a yippy dog, but a yappy one.  One that loved to bark.  After comparing notes with other Schnauzer owners either at the vet or at the groomer, we found that this breed of dogs was quite vocal.  So much so that when camping at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with all of our friends, the campground officials requested us to come to the office one day when we returned from the beach.  Apparently, our yappy pup didn’t like being cooped up in the camper all afternoon and announced this continually to anyone willing to listen.  Needless to say, in order to finish our vacation at the ocean, we had to quickly find a dog kennel and board Scottie for the remainder of the week.  Much to my dismay, a few other times he had to stay in a kennel overnight.  No matter how nice the kennel mom was or how many interesting yard ornaments she had for him to pee on, I just couldn’t stand the thought of him sleeping in an out building with only a fence between him and a strange dog.  Thankfully, after that when he couldn’t travel with us, he was able to stay with friends or family.

Scottie was the happy and excited door greeter!  Just taking the garbage out and coming back into the house 20 seconds later you would get the royal treatment!  He was the rug under the table that picked up the crumbs.  He was the one that snored first in bed every night.  He was the one that left dirty paw prints across the floor when it rained.  He was the one that when aggravated because you were gone too long, got into the bathroom trash.  In his failing health and picky appetite, he loved the food brought home from Higher Ground’s dining hall ~ BBQ meatballs, prime rib, chicken strips, hamburgers, pulled pork, roast beef, etc.   He was the one that would always come looking for you if he woke from a nap and didn’t see you nearby.   He was all of these and more  ~  but to me …

Scottie & his Mommy

He was by all means, my third child.  I am now, for the first time, an empty-nested mom.  Kim got married in 2005.  Ryan just graduated from college & will soon be starting a new job in Seattle, WA.  Up until now, I still had my 15 ½ year old.  Sigh …   Scottie was also my exercise partner ~ we walked many miles together in many places.  He was my confidant ~ always a great listener and never tried to interrupt.  Many times, he was my altar.  I would kneel beside wherever he was resting and I would pour my heart out to God with him right there.  I’m sure he felt the cry of his mommy’s heart and his precious little spirit joined me in prayer…he was my prayer partner.  During difficult days, Scottie’s love was faithful.  In the midst of transition, Scottie’s love was steadfast.  When the home was filled with tension and turmoil, Scottie’s love was authentic and constant.  That little being gave me companionship, joy, purpose, and an assurance of knowing that I was very, very special to him … and that he loved me.   Dr. Gaston prescribed stronger meds for Scottie on April 17, knowing that his aging heart was tiring.  I began whispering words of love into those precious ears that couldn’t hear very well anymore.  I would tell him that he’s been the best gift God has given to our family.  I would talk of Heaven and the fact that Jesus was there, along with his Grandpas and some of his friends.  I even told him that when it got too hard to breathe, it was ok to go.  I promised to see him again soon.  Thursday afternoon as Tim cradled Scottie’s near-death body in his arms, I smothered his little face with teary kisses, breathing in the sweet, sweet smell of his skin for the last time.  Within moments, he was finally at peace.  Real peace.

 About two weeks ago, Scottie became very restless during the dark night hours.  I felt him chilling at the foot of our bed where he slept.  I tried to console him by reaching down and petting him for a few minutes, but to no avail. My Mommy heart couldn’t stand the distance between he and I, so I pulled him up to my pillow and snuggled him close to my heart.  He curled up tight and nestled his tiny face up under my chin until the warmth from my body took the chill from his.  It wasn’t very long at all before I heard the quick shallow breathing of my precious love begin to slow down, giving him some relief and rest.  His body relaxed and he began to snore.  I laid there overcome with praise to God for this gift.  The gift of love, of life, and of need.  Need for one another. 

 One of my favorite songs came to mind that night  ~  and I softly sang it to Scottie …

The more I seek You, the more I find You.
The more I find You, the more I love You.
I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand,
Lay back against You and breathe, feel Your heart beat …
This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand,
I melt in Your peace, it’s overwhelming.

God is love.  That’s why we can love a tiny Miniature Schnauzer for over 15 years and experience pain and sorrow when he is no longer with us.  Scottie knew and understood love.  That night two weeks before, Scottie melted in my peace and it gave him the comfort he needed to rest.  Thursday, June 5, Scottie sat at the feet of Jesus, then jumped up in His lap and laid back against Him  ~  and breathed!!!    Then, he melted in the peace of Jesus …

Until next time,


Church in My Pocket

26 Apr

Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.
Revelation 7:12

There is a remodeling project taking place at work.  The old dining hall is being transformed into a new dorm, requiring many hours of labor by many people.  Back in January, during the beginning stages of this process, our good friend and electrician, Jon, stopped by to spend some time with Tim looking over the building and the proposed plans.  Moments before he and his wife Lori were heading home, they tracked me down to say hello.  As we were standing there, out of nowhere (well, not exactly … ) we heard this music.  It was the very majestic and final stanza from an old hymn of the church …

“Glo – ry and ho – nor, praise, ad – o – ra – tion, now and for – e – ver – more be Thine!”

My cell phone was ringing in my pocket.

 With a surprised look on his face, Jon quickly blurted out, “Wow!  Debbie’s having church in her pocket!” 

 His comment brought a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart … but then it made me stop and think more about this.  Am I really having church in my pocket?  Does my world really know that I love Jesus?  It’s so much more than a clip from the song “Fairest Lord Jesus” by Selah, signifying a specific person by a special ringtone.   What really counts is if I have Jesus in my heart.  Does the Light of the world glow bright from my eyes?  Do I portray the silent confidence and peace that only Jesus can give even when my day is full of drudgery and sometimes  disappointment?   Is my heart full of gratitude and praise, defeating Satan by having my focus on Christ?   When the world looks at me, do they see Jesus?   When they hear me talk, do they hear the heart of God?

 If you want to join me in having church in my pocket, MYXER.COM is a fun website that allows you to download clips from your favorite CDs and then sends them to your cell phone as a ringtone … for FREE.  Better yet, having Jesus in our hearts will give us lots of ways to have church in our pockets!

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:3

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5

May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:74


Till next time,

Sunday School Songs

1 Mar

 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another
with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.    
Colossians 3:16


Don’t you just love how the scriptures come alive as you read them each day?  My Bible is marked from beginning to end ~ those verses and passages that have spoken to me in their unique and personal way through the years.  Some are highlighted with dates, names, locations, hearts, exclamation marks … and many have musical notes beside them. 


This morning as I began a new month in my Becky Tirabassi “Change your Life Daily Bible”, I continued my trek through the Bible in one year in the 24th book of Leviticus.  Now Leviticus is not ranked up there as one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It is full of all the rules and regulations that God set into place for the children of Israel way back when.  So I started to read …

The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually.  This is the lampstand that stands in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant.  Aaron must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s Presence all night…”


I immediately stopped reading and then read it again.  I smiled real big as the tune of a childhood Sunday School song came to mind.  Sing it with me …

 Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning burning burning
Give me oil in my lamp I pray (hallelujah)
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning burning burning
Keep me burning till the break of day.

 Sing Hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of Kings!
Sing Hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!


After underlining the verse and adding a few musical notes, I continued on with my daily devotions.  After the allotted time spent in the Old Testament, it took me to the New Testament passage for the day.  Today … Mark 10  ~ the account when parents brought their children to Jesus so He could touch and bless them, but the silly disciples scolded the parents for bothering Jesus.  This really upset Him and instead told the kids to come and gather around Him.  He took them in His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them.  At this point, I nearly chuckled to myself as another tune popped up.  Sing along …

 Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world
Red and yellow black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.


I turned the page and read today’s portion from the Psalms  ~  the very first verse mentioned an army  …

I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the Cavalry
Shoot the artillery
I may never fly over the enemy
But I’m in the Lord’s army!  (yes sir!)


Isn’t scripture fun?!?!?  Let’s see how many Sunday School songs we can come up with … and if you know the scriptures that inspired these songs, jot them down as well!!   I’ll give you a few titles to get you started…

Deep and Wide
This Little Light of Mine

As we are all anxiously waiting for spring to arrive, let’s CLIMB, CLIMB UP SUNSHINE MOUNTAIN together in our memories and share a few songs!

Till next time …