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Birthday Visit

21 Mar

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Psalm 116:5-7

What a pleasant surprise when my phone rang a couple weeks ago and the familiar voice on the other end asked if he could come visit for a few days!  Seriously?  Does Nemo swim?  Within moments, plans were being made and my heart began to fill with joy and excitement!

Since Ryan moved to Spokane, WA to attend Gonzaga University several years ago, the beauty of the northwest and a very special young lady captured the heart of our son.  Now residing in Seattle, the opportunities to get to see he and Brittany are few and far between.  Tim and I flew out for our vacation last August/Sept, but it had nearly been a year since Ryan had seen Cole and Lillie and their parents.  Cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, and a lot of praying took place during the few days of preparation.  A major snowstorm was in the forecast to march across much of the country on the very day of Ryan’s travels, but thankfully it tracked north of his flight plan of Seattle-Boston-Baltimore and he was only delayed a couple of hours.  Thank you, Jesus, for answered prayers!

Cole Michael, the chauffer and his assistant, Miss Lillie

Cole Michael, the chauffer and his assistant, Miss Lillie

Ryan was met by his own personal chauffer and assistant upon arrival at BWI ~  what a cute sight they were!  Thus began the next 3 ½ days of non-stop fun … playing with the kiddos, eating yummy food, catching up with the adults, celebrating birthdays and Christmas, and simply loving family.

Sunday noon came all too quickly when Ryan had to gather all of his stuff and head back to the airport, this time leaving the chauffer and his assistant at home with their parents.  Tim and I were awarded the honors of driving him, soaking up every possible morsel of time with our boy.   Hugs and kisses at the curb, prayers in my heart, and a fleeting glance as our grown son walked out of sight to catch a flight to go home.

Uncle Ryan and his loves.

Uncle Ryan and his loves.

Ryan’s birthday was Tuesday, March 18.  What a blessing to be able to celebrate a few days early with him when he was here.  28 years ago, our little family of three welcomed a tiny new member, never to be the same again.

Won’t you join me in celebrating life today?  Babies are born every day, people we know and love are coming to the end of their journey called life, while others continue in the daily routines of family, work, and responsibilities.  It’s all part of the life God has gifted to each of us … let’s celebrate it together!

Until next time,
Debbie

For this reason, since the day we heard about you,
we have not stopped praying for you.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him
in every way: bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,
 being strengthened with all power according to His
glorious might so that you may have great
endurance and patience,
 and giving joyful
thanks to the Father, who has qualified you
to share in the inheritance of His holy people
in the kingdom of light.
 For He has rescued us from the dominion
of darkness and brought us into the kingdom
of the Son He loves,  in whom we
have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!! Enjoy!!https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202208136099629.1073741849.1076414018&type=1&l=b5c84d394f

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Company is (was) Coming!

25 Jan

Love the LORD your God with all your heart
Deuteronomy 6:5

The scheduled visit was put on the calendar a few weeks ago which pumped great incentive and fresh motivation through my veins to get my house in order. It’s not like my house is in shambles on a regular basis, but there are details and areas of my home that need some extra attention to make it worthy of a guest.

Besides her normal responsibilities as mom, wife, and pastor’s wife, my sister-in-law, Amy, has been the sole care-giver of her recuperating husband and is in need of a small vacation. Her husband was in a motorcycle accident in August, which required surgery and many months of therapy, and recovery. David encouraged Amy to take a break and fly out for a short visit. Her flight was booked and plans were being made, and I began doing special projects around the house…you know ~ the kind you do when someone is coming to visit.

Our guest room is only a guest room when the air mattress is filled and covered with bed linens. That happens on occasion when the parents come with our Little Loves. Other than that, it looks like it could be an office, due to the desk, swivel chair and filing cabinet. But it hasn’t ever functioned as an office since we’ve lived here. We both have laptops and they go where we go, which is hardly ever upstairs…except when our Little Loves are here and then we are in the bedroom across the hall.

Treasures on my book shelf

Treasures on my book shelf

The spare room

The ‘office’

Last weekend, cleaning supplies in hand, I decided it was time to get the guest room ready for Amy’s arrival in a few days. There were piles upon piles of paid bills, insurance policies, statements and receipts all over the desk top, from months and months of neglect of filing and organization. I quickly scooped them all up into a couple boxes and stuffed them into the closet, where I will tend to them later when I have more time. I made sure the bed was in order with plenty of air and clean sheets, after which I sat down at the desk to begin the task of dusting. For the first time in a very long time I took a good look at this room. As I drew in breaths of the sweet smell of unlit vanilla candles, the real contents of this room began to speak to me. Items that represent life, friendships, love, ministries, and Jesus. A semblance of this room, minus the air mattress, was in our home in Albuquerque and again in West Harrison, Indiana. It was always somewhat of a sanctuary for me then … a quiet haven to retreat to for my daily devotions, prayer, and writing. Pictures are everywhere of my friends, wall plaques and hangings that were special gifts, and a gazillion things kept, saved and cherished from some of life’s most precious people and moments. But to be perfectly honest, I have avoided this room for the past couple of years. From the tiniest little smiley face sticker stuck to the bulletin board to the bookshelf full of books, this room reminds me of another time and another place, a place far away from where I am today. At least that is what my head has been telling me…but as I began to dust ceramic cows, picture frames, and hanging snowflakes, my heart began to tell me otherwise. I have missed being in the sweet, quiet, sacredness of this room. So, with a few minor changes and tweaking that will bring the room up-to-date, just maybe I’ll pull the glider/rocker from Cole’s bedroom from across the hall and find that even in a different time and a different place, there is still a place for this room and all its treasures.

Getting back to Amy’s visit, she was supposed to be here now. But life as we know it is quite unpredictable. Tim was sick last weekend and I have been sick with the flu all week. Thankfully, Amy was flying Southwest and it was not a problem to reschedule her flight for another date. In the mean time, my little room is freshly dusted and ready for me to start enjoying its sweet presence once again!

Maybe we should all ask ourselves if we are ready for company that is scheduled to come. For the most part, my house was ready. But there was one room that had been neglected and unkept … just enough to ruin the entire visit for the one coming. Jesus is coming someday ~ is your heart ready? Do you have a room in your heart that you have neglected and have kept closed off? God requires our whole heart … not just part of it.   Won’t you join me in allowing God to make our heart His home?   Listen to Women of Faith sing My Heart, Your Home  http://youtu.be/Of3IVr3G-Bc

Come and make my heart Your home
Come and be everything I am and all I know
Search me through and through
Until my heart becomes a home for You
A home for You oh
Home for You oh
Let everything I do open up a door
For You to come through
Then my heart would be a place
Where You wanna be
‘Til my heart becomes a home for You
‘Till my heart becomes a home for You

~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

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 on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9

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

Dear Daddy …

7 Jul

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Dad and Mom on their wedding day. July 7, 1956

Dad and Mom on their wedding day.
July 7, 1956

Happy Wedding Anniversary, Dad! It’s been 57 years today since you married that pretty young woman from Friendship Church. Considering all the stories that have been told of your wandering years from early teens until you met this special lady, committing yourself to her in marriage was a huge life-style change. And as they say, the rest is history.

25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary … 1981

It’s that time of year again, you know…between the middle of June into the first week of July, my mind and heart are heavy with thoughts of you. Father’s Day comes and goes with much celebration for those in my life who are dads, but there will always be an ache as I card shop, knowing that I must once again overlook the cards that say ‘To Dad ~ from your Daughter’. Then right around the corner rolls the 24th of June. It’s so hard to believe that it has now been 19 years since I have held your hand and felt your scruffy face against mine. And then today is your anniversary with mom. She and I were just talking about you on Friday and how much you have been on her mind … and how much she misses you. Especially on days like today. But today will very quickly turn into tomorrow, and the next day … and before we know it, the weather will begin to cool and the seasons change. There will be a nip in the air, along with the smell of burning leaves, and the realization of another year soon coming to a close. Another year without you…

Grandma and Grandpa Wells with baby Kimberly.

Grandma and Grandpa Wells with baby Kimberly…August 1983

I will always question why, you know. Why did you have to die at such a young age? 60 years old is right in the middle of loving grandchildren, just before retirement, and too soon to walk your beloved down the aisle at your grandchildren’s weddings and to hold their babies in your arms. Why? But the answer to that question is known only to God. In the midst of my tears that still fall, I continue to relinquish you and my loss of you to Him. And to trust Mom to Him, as well. She is most precious … but then you knew that 57 years ago.

Just a few weeks ago, Mom and I drove down to West Virginia to see Uncle Johnse. I had flown into Indy to attend the Nazarene Church General Assembly, and we decided to be spontaneous and make a quick trip to the boonies. What fun we had as we drove through the beautiful countryside, chatting about this and that, and reminiscing a lot about years gone by and our annual family vacations to visit relatives in West Virginia, Virginia, and Chattanooga. I’m sure you remember those trips well!! Especially the train trip into West Virginia … or more specifically, the return trip back home. I had gotten sick the last few days of our stay, so this 6 year-old little girl was still not feeling well when we began our journey back to Indy. I still remember vivid details of a large train station where our family was seated to eat breakfast. Orange juice, my sick tummy, a yucky mess all over me and the table, and you taking me into the men’s restroom to clean me up. I remember feeling very special and cared for by you … Oh the memories! I would love to know what you remember about that moment!

As mom and I meandered our way along the twisty-turny roads that have not changed much through the years, we eventually arrived at Lick Creek Holler and slowly drove the remaining 2 miles of gravel to the old home place. I know that you and mom loved to come visit Uncle Johnse and Aunt Bert … and as we pulled in, I wondered what all Mom was thinking and feeling as she returned yet another time without you.

Me and Mom with Uncle Johnse ... June 20, 2013

Me and Mom with Uncle Johnse … June 20, 2013

The next 6 hours were full, Daddy … full of stories and tales and lots of love. There Uncle Johnse laid in a hospital bed in the living room, unable to get up any longer, eye sight nearly gone, but a mind that was sharp with memories, dates, and details, and a heart that was so sweet and kind and thrilled that we came to see him. Your big brother, now 82 years old, laughing about how spoiled you were as a child, but all for good reason, he said, since you had asthma and were so sick ever since you were little. I felt like a sponge that day as I sat there and listened to stories … some I have heard told over and over, while others were new, each one full of life and love. From the portals of Heaven, I’m sure that you had gathered together as many family members as possible to join you and dear Aunt Bert in having a reunion of your own as Uncle Johnse so fondly spoke of his Elizabeth and his brother, John D. Obviously we couldn’t see you two, but we could feel your love in our hearts. Before we left, mom and I, along with Cathy and Uncle Johnse, held hands and I prayed…feeling as though I was standing in the gap between you and Jesus and Uncle Johnse. As I leaned over to kiss him ‘until next time’, I knew that someday you will be at the Gate waiting for him.

So here it is, July 7th. We all will make mention of this special day to those we are with, and even shed a tear or two as we continue to think about you and our loss. But as a child of God, I cannot help but believe that you are simply having the time of your Life. You are fishing in a new spot every day. You have been reunited with your hunting beagles and have no doubt rustled up a few rabbits from the bushes. You are surrounded by the elite of eternity, not to mention family and friends.  And above all, you get to celebrate this special day, and every day, with Jesus. It is because of Him that my questions can remain unanswered. It is because of Him, that I know all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes. It is because of Him that “I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

Happy Anniversary, Daddy!
Thanks for always loving mom … back then and still today.
More importantly, thank you, for loving Jesus…back then and still today.

Until next time,
Your Bobbie Naw

Mom in the Middle

17 May

But Mary treasured up all these things
and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

 

Even though this past weekend was full of fun times and lots of Mimi/Mom love, the ultimate Mother’s Day celebration started in my heart a month ago when our entire family gathered in Baltimore for several days.

Our 2nd airport pick-up!

Our 2nd airport pick-up!

The anticipation mounted for days as groceries were purchased, meals were prepared, gifts were wrapped, and beds were made.  Two trips to the airport completed our guest list as Ryan and Brittany arrived from Seattle and my mom flew in from Indianapolis for what we considered a montage of celebration … Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Baby Lillie’s dedication.   And celebrate we did!  Regardless of holiday or occasion, family love is the best, and this Mommy’s heart was a sponge, soaking up every morsel possible … to tuck away for the weeks and months ahead.

After picking Ryan and Brittany up on day one, we loaded my van and took an afternoon trip up north to my everyday world.  Ryan wanted to see his dad before the weekend, so a tour of Tim’s workplace followed by an evening visit and a sleepover at Mimi and Papaw’s house completed our very busy day.  The following morning, long after Papaw had left for work, the day began to buzz with the busyness of playtime, a yummy leisurely breakfast and a timely departure to once again head to the airport.  It was now time to pick up Mimi Wells!  As always, she arrives bearing gifts for the little ones.  For the rest of us, her very presence is our gift … what a privilege to have my mother with me to enjoy my precious family.

Homemade biscuits and gravy greeted us all for breakfast on Friday morning, taking advantage of the fact that Mimi Wells was among us!  Playground and a duck pond, a trip to the shopping mall, Papaw’s arrival, and Kim and Troy’s stromboli for dinner completed another family fun day!

Christmas & Birthday in April!!

Christmas, Birthdays and  Mother’s Day in April!!

Saturday was full and overflowing with excitement and anticipation!  Ryan and Brittany prepared the traditional Christmas breakfast of green chili breakfast burritos…and yes, I did say Christmas.  Since our northwest kids spent the not-so recent holiday with Brittany’s family in Spokane, we postponed our own family celebration until now.  We also had a few birthday gifts included in the mound of secrecy, celebrating Ryan and Cole’s March birthdays and Lillianne the end of April.  I believe there were even a couple Mother’s Day gifts, too!  Presents were appropriately wrapped in their unique festive wear, and then clustered underneath a creatively drawn and colored Christmas tree.  A potpourri of gifts were given and received … and great fun was had by all!!

Cousins and their kids...Jason, Jax, Lillie and Kim

Cousins and their kids…Jason, Jax, Lillie, and Kim

We suddenly had to switch gears, literally … and travel 30 minutes, which was half-way to Washington DC to meet up with my nephew and his family for lunch.  They were in town from Indianapolis to meet their newborn nephew, so they accepted our invitation for the cousins and kids to all see one another.  With 3 kids under the age of 4, what better place than a nearby playground to spend some extra time after lunch!  Even the big kids had fun playing on the swings, slides, and see saws!

Our family at Lillie's dedication

Our family at Lillie’s dedication

Sunday was a very special day for our family as we all stood beside Lillianne’s parents as they presented her to the Lord in dedication.  As I listened to the words of their Pastor, I was taken back in time to two separate occasions when Tim and I stood with our families with a tiny newborn in our arms.  So long ago, we too made promises to God that we would raise our two children up to know and love Jesus.  With tears in my eyes, I am reminded of those sacred moments every time we witness another baby dedication … and this time was no exception.  As our own little granddaughter, beautiful in her special dress, was held and prayed over that morning, joy filled my heart as I realized that her parents, we her family, and this church would truly do all we could to ensure that Lillie understands what it means to walk in the way of Jesus and to entrust her life to Him.

Grandma and Pop Arndt joined us on this special day, filling the dining room table to capacity as we all gathered for yet another tasty meal.  When the excitement of the day began to settle and the guests had all gone home, the realization hit that our time together was quickly coming to an end.  We migrated into the kitchen where we simply sat around talking, laughing, discussing, telling stories … just to be together, with no distractions.  Finally, extra suitcases were brought out so the Christmas and birthday gifts could be added to the take-home luggage.  Thank goodness for Southwest Airlines and their ‘bags fly free’ policy!!

As always, family time ALWAYS comes to an end too quickly.  With my van loaded with precious cargo, I headed back to the airport early Monday morning … only this time to say “until next time!”  To hold, hug, and kiss each of my loved ones … I longed to stay in that moment, but I knew that life was waiting for them on the other side of their flights.  I had to let go.

Mimi and her loves in Annapolis, MD

Mimi and her loves in Annapolis, MD

That day was nearly a month ago now.  As we all know, life doesn’t take a holiday nor does it slow down.  The calendar announced Mother’s Day last weekend … and we did celebrate.  A week ago this morning, I drove down to Baltimore, where Kim, the kids, and I spent the day at Dock City in Annapolis ~ walking along the water’s edge, touristy shopping in the many establishments, and tasting yummy treats throughout the day.  Then on Saturday, mother and daughter attended a ladies’ tea at Grace Pointe Nazarene, where Kim was the hostess of our Hawaiian-themed table.  After dinner out that evening with Papaw, Mimi came back home.  The fun weekend with my loves was a wonderful closure to a celebration that started back in April.   Having the privilege of us all being together for those few short days was a gift to my own heart that will last forever.

I am the Mom in the middle.  My heart swells with an inexpressible love, honor, and respect for my precious mother … and the deepest gratitude to her and Daddy for raising me in a home where I knew I was loved and most importantly, that Jesus loved me.  Then my heart is humbled and in awe of the miracles of life that have literally come from God, through me.  The deep deep love for my own two children will always grip the depth of my soul and keep me on my knees for them until I die.  And the loves of their life have wrapped themselves around my heart and have captured my affections.  And now there is Cole and Lillianne.  I am the Mom in the middle … what a blessed place to be.  I have great reason and cause for celebration!!

I’m beginning to realize that we should be celebrating Jesus and Christmas every day.  Jesus and Easter every day.  Moms and Mother’s Day every day.  Won’t you join me today in living a life of continual celebration of what really counts?

Until next time,
Debbie

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

If you would like to see the entire album I posted to Facebook on this wonderful family time, please click here … https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200291340340933.1073741829.1076414018&type=1&l=b1e084fd75

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Red Sea, Gall Bladder & a Hurricane

9 Nov

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

 

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

Flying to Indy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Debbie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurricane Sandy

29 Oct

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

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

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

Second Cousins
Jaxon 8 months and Lillianne 6 months

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

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

Until then,
Debbie

Mike and Norma

25 Oct

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:3-4

 

We meet all kinds of people throughout our lives.  Some are brief acquaintances while others leave lasting impressions on our hearts.  We are truly blessed to say that we have several that fit into that category, for we have many cherished friendships.  One such couple is Mike and Norma.

The Johnsons walked into our lives, and back out rather abruptly the first time we met … the day our family drove onto the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in late July of 1997.  They had been helping to keep Work and Witness teams busy, and no doubt entertained, until the new W&W Coordinators arrived in Albuquerque.  Once the big yellow truck pulled up, and the weary travelers from Pennsylvania crawled out, introductions were made, handshakes were exchanged, and no doubt Mike greeted us with his life-time motto, “I’m filled with the joy of living!”  Gracious to have helped out in the pinch, Mike and Norma were anxious to get back into their vehicle and head to their next missions assignment.

Mike with Ryan and Kim
Christmas 2000

The next few months were busy as we hosted several Work and Witness teams, and before we knew it, the Christmas season was upon us … as was the arrival of Mike and Norma Johnson.  Faithfully, every December, Mike worked along side of Tim while Norma spent the entire month of December sorting through donated items and putting together a large gift bag full of Christmas presents for every student of Nazarene Indian Bible College and each member of their family.  Including several years before we were on staff, Mike and Norma served NIBC for a total of 13 Christmases.  In time, as the educational structure of the Bible College changed, their own personal mission remained the same as they continued to volunteer their time and efforts towards the on-going ministry in Albuquerque.  As the history books now recite, the campus was sold and everyone who once called NIBC home disbursed and moved elsewhere.

Apparently, the lasting impressions were also made on their hearts, as the Johnsons found their way to the hills of southeastern Indiana where we were then on staff at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center.  It was so good to catch back up with our friends and to once again visit on the front porch swing that Mikie had made for me several years before.

The ladies … Carol, me and Norma

Having their home base located in Hondo, Texas for over 10 years, we wanted to visit our friends in their world, but the distance and our own responsibilities prevented that from happening.  This past winter, however, they made the decision to finally retire and move back up to their old hometown in northern Ohio.  Excited that a 6 hour weekend jaunt was feasible, we began making plans for a road trip.

Our mid-October drive through the mountains of western Pennsylvania into the northern hills of Ohio provided a most colorful canvas for our trip.  It was a blessing to finally meet family members and put faces to the names we have heard so much about through the years!  Mike and Norma’s home, their keepsakes, their community, church, and even Miss Kitti was a joy to share with them this past weekend.  It was also a special treat to visit with another NIBC family member, Carol Hileman.  What fun we had at Sunday dinner!

Mike and Norma’s love and dedication for God has been expressed by their love and care for people.  While raising their boys, they were caretakers at a Holiness campground for 22 years.  They later traveled all over the country, serving in various ministries, including Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque and a Navajo mission in Rough Rock, Arizona.  Endless stories, a song thrown in here and there, and countless moments of laughter and enjoyment filled our hearts as we visited.

Mike and Norma

Now, I’m sure that most of you do not know Mike and Norma.  But I do imagine you have at least one Mike and Norma in your life.  Is there someone or a couple, age not important, who has walked across your heart, leaving imprints of love?  Time and circumstances have brought changes to visits, but relationships remain strong.  Although you do not share the same name or blood line, you know that you are still family.  I know that I am a better person today for knowing and loving Mike and Norma.  Won’t you join me today in thanking God for such people?  We just spent an entire weekend with ours … why don’t you call yours or go visit them.  You will be glad you did!  You will be “filled with the joy of living!!”

Until next time,
Debbie

        I have found a wondrous Savior, Jesus Christ, The Soul’s Delight
        Ev’ry blessing of His favor Fills my heart with hope so bright
        Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the King of Life to me;
        Unto Him my all I’m giving, His forevermore to be.
        I will do what He commands me, Anywhere He leads I’ll go;
      Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the dearest Friend I know.