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Is Thanksgiving Tomorrow?

21 Nov

But Jesus called the children to Him and said,
“Let the little children come to Me,

and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God
belongs to such as these.

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:15-17

Papaw and his little love

Papaw and his little love

During our lunchtime phone conversation last Thursday, I informed Lillie that Mimi was coming to her house that evening to spend the night and the following day. Apparently, once we hung up, Little Miss sighed real big, smiled, and said “I love Papaw … I love Papaw!” Her Momma reminded her that it is Mimi who is coming, not Papaw ~ and the reply? “I know, but I love Papaw!”

While Cole is busy being a 5 year-old boy in the big world of Kindergarten, Lillianne is the princess that magically wraps her tiny self around hearts and melts them. Her Papaw, however, can somehow reverse that effect and cause this little girl to melt. These two have always had a special heart connection … a bond that started during weekend visits at our house while Mimi was tending to Cole and Lillie needed her own attention. Not to say that Mimi isn’t loved or gets her own special time with the little princess, but besides her Daddy, Lillie’s Prince Charming is Papaw.

The local on-site princess attendant reported a few weeks ago that Lillie stated matter-of-factly … “You love Daddy.  I love Papaw.” OH. MY. I totally expect someday to hear that Little Miss wants to marry her Papaw.

Princess of Everything

Princess of Everything

In the past couple months, I have gone down to their castle to spend time with them on my day off. Both times, Lillie and Mimi have gone shopping … quality girl time! This past Friday was no exception. She chatters the whole time, not missing anything exciting to comment on, giving her own personal opinion on colors and design. One moment her favorite color is bright pink. Around the corner and on the next aisle, it is purple. She giggles at this and she squeals at that. And oh my if we pass by a display of Frozen!! This simple act triggers the performer inside her and she reaches into her little bag for her princess wand and she begins to sing with her arms open wide … “Let it go, let it go … can’t hold it back anymore!” What a delightful time we had together … all the way until nap time, when she snuggled underneath her special crocheted blankets and I sang Jesus Loves Me to my little princess. A few hours later when Daddy came home, it was comical to hear her version of our day together as she told him all about it. She’s such a girly girl!

Not wanting to miss out on all of the grandkid fun, Papaw was talking to Cole and Lillie on the phone the next evening. As the conversation was winding down, Papaw mentioned that he would see them on Thanksgiving when they come to our house and stay for a few days. We could hear the immediate excitement on the other end as they both began to anticipate an upcoming visit with Mimi and Papaw! Then our little princess began to speak … “Is Thanksgiving tomorrow?” Our hearts all melted as we realized the love and excitement behind the question. Momma simply said that Thanksgiving was not tomorrow … and Lillie asked concerning the only other day that she is familiar with … “Is it Sunday?”

Little people and their inability to process and understand time.  But they certainly do not have any difficulty in processing and understanding love. Do you know that Jesus expects us to come to Him as a little child? Fully trusting. Fully believing. Fully loving. Fully anticipating that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, because it involves my Papaw and I love him and I get to see him on Thanksgiving.

Will you join me this Thanksgiving in coming to Jesus with as much excitement, with as much trust, and with as much anticipation and love that Lillie comes to her Papaw? For such is the Kingdom of Heaven!

Until next time,
Debbie

 

And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change
and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

“Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of our recent move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbiage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.”

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Throwback Thursday and Thanksgiving 1998

21 Nov

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4

It’s Thursday.  Often in my world of Facebook friends, pictures will be posted that entertain and add a chuckle to the day as we enjoy seeing photos from the past.  Memories of the heart will sometimes be tugged on, and a sigh of “where has time gone” will escape our lips as we smile and shake our heads in disbelief.  In preparation of this fun day called Throwback Thursday, I found myself upstairs digging through boxes of Kodak moments, hunting for some Thanksgiving past.  My search was successful!  As I looked through the pictures and saw the faces of my precious family, my mind took an immediate journey to November 1998.  We were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the time ~ Work and Witness Coordinators for Nazarene Indian Bible College.  In October, we had just moved from one home to another on campus, and were still unpacking boxes and getting settled.  Ryan was 12 years old and from the looks of his bright white smile, he must’ve just gotten his braces off!  Kimberly, our gorgeous 15 year old, was still sporting her new summer short haircut.  And how crazy to realize that Tim and I were still in our 30s … oh my!   Since our family was planning to travel the many miles back east for the Christmas break, we decided that for Thanksgiving we would take a family trip and go somewhere new and exciting and close by … and the Grand Canyon it was!

With plans to only post these pictures today on my Facebook, the thought hit me that I could actually pull up my weekly newsletter from that very same week and post it in my blog.  As a busy missionary family back then, I wrote a newsy letter full of Van Hook life and emailed it to a gazillion people every week.  I did this for many years … and all of these posts are safely stored on an external hard drive, waiting to be put into a book someday!!

Having just driven a few hours into Ohio to visit our friends, Mike and Norma Johnson 2 weeks ago, how fun it was to sit here and be reminded that they were quite the blessing that year to Scottie-sit for us!  In their earlier years, they had already hiked down into the bottom of the Grand Canyon and knew that it was no place for a noisy Miniature Schnauzer!

So, with Thanksgiving 2013 just one week away, I share with you today Thanksgiving 1998.  Enjoy!

     ~~~                 ~~~                 ~~~                 ~~~                 ~~~

November 29, 1998
Sunday evening

Dear family & friends,

We’re home!  We are unloaded, unpacked, and unwinding.  Kim, suffering from youth-group withdrawal, keys in hand and orders to call home as soon as she arrived, went on to church tonight.  The rest of us are munching on junk food, doing laundry (well, I am), and enjoying ‘no place like home’.  Scottie is also relaxing in the comfy-ness of his home.  Praise the Lord once again for His perfect timing!  Last Sunday, another one of our volunteer couples who come each year to NIBC and help with the Christmas festivities, pulled into the campus with their motor home…guess who very willingly agreed to Scottie-sit?  Mike & Norma Johnson opened their home to our little guy, allowing this Mom much more enjoyable Thanksgiving travels.  There were a gazillion signs prohibiting pets on the Canyon trails – on a leash or in a back pack!  And now since I have hiked back up a trail, that in a 1 ½ mile distance, the elevation rose 940 feet, I guarantee none of us would have wanted to haul Scottie’s heavy 14 pound dog body on our backs, with him barking the whole way, no doubt!  We probably would have been tempted to just leave him on the cliffs…  Just kidding!  No, Scottie celebrated Thanksgiving with the Johnsons, and we are very grateful for their kindness!

This past week was NIBC’s Thanksgiving holiday break.  After putting in so many extra hours of work throughout the Work & Witness season, not to mention preparing for the 50th anniversary celebration earlier in the year, I planned on taking off as much time this week as possible.  I went in on Monday, hoping to be home by noon … ha!  Once you’re in the door, watch out!  I was able to tie up loose ends by 5:00 pm, not setting foot back in the office until an hour before we left on our trip on Wednesday.  I did have to make several phone calls and check in with Kathleen a few times, but I managed to do so from home.  Miraculously, by the time we pulled out for our trip, the house was freshly interior decorated, cleaned, and looking good. How satisfying and refreshing to know that piles of clutter from several months were filed or trashed, stacks of pictures, shelves, and pretties were now hung,  that the ½ inch of dust had been happily wiped away and the carpets vacuumed…    SIGH!  If my house is in shambles (I mean long term stuff!), I am grouchy… if my house is in order, Mom smiles!  It’s a woman thing, I guess.  I am so thankful that I am smiling!!

Once the kids got home from school on Wednesday, the last minute packing finished, and instructions to the Scottie-sitters given, we were on our way to the Grand Canyon.  Squinting as we drove into the setting sun, we stopped in Navajo land, Gallup, New Mexico, for the  Wednesday special at McD…29¢ hamburgers!  We stopped for the night just a couple more hours down the road at Sun Valley Indian School outside of Holbrook, Arizona.  Extremely cheap accommodations are always available there for our NIBC staff.  We do the same for their people while they are traveling through Albuquerque … this time it was our turn!  We truly appreciated their hospitality!  Waking to a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, we continued our journey to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.  Unless you have seen this wonder, words will never ever begin to describe the immense, breathtaking, … And you know what?  Last week, while hiking at Sandia with the family, in mid-picture, my camera died…needing 2 of those tiny round batteries to make it work again.  Being the procrastinator that I am at times, I figured that we would drive by a K-Mart or Wal-mart somewhere between Albuquerque and the Grand Canyon.   Little did I know that Indian reservations make up most of the miles of space between here and there…and the biggie?  You are lucky to find a gas station or a restaurant opened on Thanksgiving Day, let alone a K-Mart, at least on an Indian reservation! I then thought that maybe I could just purchase one of those handy disposable cameras at one of the gift shops … $25 for 17 pictures?  I don’t think so!  Yes, you guessed it!  I was unable to take any 35mm pictures of our day at the south rim of the Grand Canyon!  Thank goodness for the video camera, but it’s just not the same!  Sigh!  When we were able to stop the following day at a Wal-Mart, which was extremely busy with Christmas shoppers, I not only bought the two tiny round batteries that I needed for the moment, I purchased two extra ones for future emergencies!  Good planning, I thought – until Tim spoiled it by saying that they would probably be dead once I needed them in a year and half…

Despite the fact that we have no pictures to show from that first day, what a beautiful day it was!  It is truly hard to fathom the depth, the vastness, the distance of this thing!  From a beginning  elevation of around 7000’, we hiked a trail along a rim, down an elevation of 940’ in a distance of 1 ½ miles.  The round trip took us 2 hours.  Going down made my legs feel wobbly and shaky, but going back up nearly made my lungs explode and my back ache!  But it was great!  To see the views, to experience and make memories … it was all worth it!  Following an exhaustive day of travel and touring, we headed to our hotel, where we swam in an indoor pool and relaxed in the churning waters of the whirlpool…ah-h-h!  Suddenly realizing that it was indeed still Thanksgiving and that there just might not be any restaurants opened, we quickly cleaned up and went hunting for a place to eat. Denny’s was still opened! It was ok…nothing AT ALL like Mom’s Thanksgiving dinner!   Such was our Thanksgiving Day …

Free continental breakfast – Tim always reminds us that a Continental car is nice, really big, and is worth a lot of money…why do they call this pitiful and skimpy idea of a breakfast ‘continental’?  No, we are always grateful for the powdered donuts, toast, Fruit Loops, milk, juice and coffee.  I don’t usually eat more than that anyway!  Every little bit of $$ savings helps!  This was the day for a new adventure.  We had already conquered the south rim of the canyon … on to the north rim! However, what is no more than 10 miles via a crow, is a total of 215 miles via our Saturn!  And usually the medium dots on a map signify sizable towns with Burger Kings, McDs, Taco Bells, but that is not the case in Arizona!  They are simply marking points for travel, with maybe two or three homes in the area.  Finally, we spotted a Chevron gas station which sold hot dogs!   More fun memories for us all!  The miles clicked by, but as we drove through the Painted Desert, traveled across the Navajo Bridge, which safely took us over the Colorado River, which flowed 480’ below us, journeyed beside the Vermillion Cliffs,  then headed into the Grand Canyon Park – North rim…the miles did not matter.  God’s creation is absolutely breathtaking!   With my 35mm camera in hand, we hiked 2 different trails, one having several inches of snow in sections of our path.  The fun of crunching hundreds of pine cones, throwing snow balls, and wondering what belonged to the paw prints we passed … what a day!  Heading north to Page, Arizona, we  treated ourselves to Pizza Hut and a good night sleep.

Being only 10 miles from the Utah state line, we drove just that far, took a picture by the sign, and then  headed southeast.   We drove through the heart of the Navajo Nation, finding it quite interesting to see the sort of homes they live in.  Usually beside a relatively decent home, was a traditional hogan.  This is a small ‘round’ home, made of logs and mud thatched roof.  We saw many herds of sheep and cows … and more beautiful scenery.  Arriving in Chinle, Arizona, we made our last tour stop at Canyon de Chelly  (pronounced de shay).  Due to a rain shower that lasted the rest of the evening and was forecasted not to stop until sometime today, we postponed our hiking until another time.  We did drive through the park, however, and enjoyed many awesome views of another magnificent canyon area, which is  still inhabited by a Navajo community in the lush valley.  Signs that warn of 600’ and 700’ sheer cliffs startled my heart as I then looked up to see my son balancing on all fours on the barrier wall along the cliff’s edge.  Little did I know that there was at least 5’ of rock ledge beyond the wall…sigh!   With a fine mist of rain over us all, we headed to the hotel where our reservations were made.  Much to our dismay, we found out that their indoor pool was not working…on the road again!  With four hours of travel between us and home, we stopped after two hours and checked into a nice hotel at a discounted rate – indoor pool, whirlpool and that free Continental breakfast!   This morning, following a rousing game of Scrabble, through a mixture of sunshine and snow flurries, we headed east for Albuquerque.  Our hearts are very grateful to those Work & Witness teams this past year who lovingly gave our family gifts of money.  We are able to make these special memories with our family because you all gave from hearts of love…thank you!

Gracious!  Two whole pages!  Please keep in mind that these letters are also pages in our family book…memories are priceless, and I love to document them!  Hey!  December arrives this week!  Time to drag out those boxes full of holiday cheer…ugh!  I just put boxes away!  Oh well!  More memories!!  Until next week…

With my love,
Debbie  

Tim

Tim

The kids and I

The kids and I

Ryan

Ryan

Ryan and the Grand Canyon

Ryan and the Grand Canyon

Kimberly

Kimberly

November 1998

Tim and I on the Navajo Bridge

November 1998

Tim and the kids on the Navajo Bridge

November 1998

Kim hiding out

November 1998

Grand Canyon

Happy Thanksgiving!

21 Nov

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give
thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7

My hubby began to slowly stir as the sounds of the morning radio began to play.  With a shower, a bowl of cereal, and a kiss good-bye, he headed out for another day of work.  My own alarm is due to go off any moment now … which will trigger my actions into the usual morning routine of preparing for my day of work at the law firm.   I will run errands at lunch, and excitedly anticipate the final hour at my desk so I can go home and put the finishing touches to our home before our guests arrive a few hours later.  I chuckle as I think about using the word guests, because they really aren’t.  They’re family and they come for over nights often, but they are booked as our guests for the entire weekend, which has motivated me to make their stay a bit more comfy.

As the house fills with the aroma of dinner tonight, it will also spill over with the noises of life.  Cole will be excited to play with his toys that are exclusive to being at Mimi and Papaw’s house, while Lillie will be giggling as no doubt Papaw will be tickling her and giving her smooches.  A happy Tadpole will be underfoot and under table as we all sit down for a Thanksgiving Eve dinner of smoked pulled pork and baked beans.  A belated birthday celebration for Troy will follow the meal as we enjoy some homemade pie and ice cream.  It will be fun to have my daughter in the kitchen with me tonight as we make preparations for Thanksgiving Day before going to bed. We will work on our contributions for the annual family gathering, tomorrow at Tim’s sister’s home.

Cole and Miss Lillie
at Mimi and Papaw’s house

I look forward to spending some alone-time with Cole as he begins to wind down from his busy and eventful day.  Since he is a regular in our home, we have our own routine for bed time, which includes bath, jammies, and Winnie the Pooh’s Eeyore.  I cherish each opportunity I have for him to snuggle with me on our rocker, read a couple books and sing our favorite songs, and tuck him into his bed.  Lillie’s little bed sits quietly in the corner of our own bedroom, where she’s close enough for us to hear her stir at night, but far enough away from Cole’s play during the day.  She’s such a good baby, sleeps soundly all night and always wakes with a smile.  Nearly 7 months old now, she wants to be where the action is, which is usually with her brother.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  For all of the above, and more, I am thankful.   We are so blessed to have the privilege of living only an hour apart from our daughter and her family so we can spend time with them!   To be an active part in Cole and Lillie’s lives, to lend a helping hand when needed, and to just enjoy each one of them as the people that God created and placed in our hearts and lives as our own.  I am thankful for our annual family gathering at Park Place, where we will visit with Tim’s siblings and their families … and my favorite part, his mother … my dear mother-in-law.  The day will be full and over flowing!  The rest of the weekend will be fun as we shop, prepare for the upcoming Christmas season, and just enjoy being with each other…obviously missing Ryan and Brittany, as they are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with Brittany’s family who traveled to be with them in Seattle.

It would take more time than I have this morning to make a list of things I’m thankful for.  Most likely, my list wouldn’t be too different than yours.  We would all have names of family members, friends, circumstances, places, … all the good things that make life what it is.  So instead, on this day-before Thanksgiving Day (not quite Eve) I will simply extend my heart felt prayer that you and yours will join me in having a blessed holiday weekend, set aside to thank God for His mercies in our lives.  For His forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.  And above all, for Jesus.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Until next time,
Debbie

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
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 3:15-17

 

’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

Ornaments

29 Nov

 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:16-17

 

After the busyness of the past several days of precious family time, I find myself, in the quietness of my thoughts and the sacredness of the holidays, wondering where Thanksgiving is suppose to end and Christmas is suppose to start.  Can we honestly celebrate one without the other?   How fitting that both special days are so close on the calendar!!

Our daughter and her little family spent much of this past week with us in our home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  With a 20 month-old toddler around, we laughed a lot, were entertained by the simplest gestures and words, and watched a few episodes of Dora the Explorer.  Turkey Day itself was shared with a total of 23 around the dinner table at ‘Park Place’ … the home of  Tim’s oldest sister.  This is becoming quite a holiday tradition as the individual Van Hook kids have married and had kids, and their kids are now getting married and having kids…and we can all gather at Aunt Debbie’s house to visit.   What a blessing this year as four baby boys were born into the family since last Thanksgiving!

Once family all went home, I rearranged the living room furniture in order to make room for our Christmas tree.  My thoughts and prayers were going out to several friends who are struggling with life.  My mom’s best friend suffered a heart attack during the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning.  The medical staff at the hospital in Greenwood was able to save Nellie’s life with an immediate surgery and procedure … A big thank you goes out to those who work on special days when most of us have time off!  Another friend in Albuquerque lost everything in an apartment fire last week.  A dear friend in Cincinnati is leaning hard on Jesus since her husband’s cancer has returned.  Another precious friend is going through the holidays for the first time without her father, who passed away in August.  It seems that everywhere we look, life is full.  It is full of joy and it is full of sorrow.  Even through the sorrow, we can still have joy as we have SO much to be grateful for! 

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great mercies 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 3:21-26

 

With the tradition of Karen Carpenter, 4 Him, and Amy Grant filling our home with songs of the season, my heart was still celebrating Thanksgiving as I opened boxes packed full of 30 years of life.  Inside were memories all wrapped up in garland, lights, holiday tins, a musical moose, stuffed Christmas veggies, gingerbread houses made of clay, and ornaments.  Ornaments that tell stories about people, places, events, and times.

As I hung each ornament on the tree, my heart was overwhelmed by God’s love and His mercies, for they ARE new every morning and every year.  Testimonies to His faithfulness hang all over my Christmas tree!  Homemade treasures made out construction paper and paper doilies, complete with school photos, represent sweet blessings all grown up now.  Friendships old and new, special places like Kauai and Venice, and many ‘1st’ ornaments, for the various locations we have called home.  An attitude of prayer filled my living room as I gently placed each memento on the branches, thanking God for the people who came to mind, and seeking Him on their behalf … wherever they are, whatever they are doing this Christmas season, and for their part in my life  ~ sometime between 1980 and 2010.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:16-17

 

I look forward to this special prayer service next year.  My own personal Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration.  I know that my home would never be displayed in a trendy home décor magazine, but that’s ok.  The simple decorations and the tree, complete with icicles and unique ornaments never to be found in a boutique shop, adorn a most sacred chapel of worship. 

Won’t you join me in continuing to give thanks for His blessings as we enter into this Christmas season to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior?

Until next time,
Debbie

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
His love endures forever.
Psalm 118:28-29