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Seattle 2012

20 Jul

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

Everyone stayed calm and happy!

As our plane continued to descend, making its way from above the clouds to below them, our travel-weary back sides and our sappy hearts were anxious … for someone special was waiting to meet our entire entourage of 6 people from the east coast.   The pilot banked that monstrous purple and orange beast to one side as he changed direction and headed us toward the city, allowing the passengers to catch our first glimpse of that unmistakable skyline.  My Mommy heart swelled a bit, squeezing a couple tears into my eyes as I anticipated the hug I would receive within a short while.  Looking across the aisle to the 3 year old and his parents, Mimi could only image the thoughts, the feelings, and the need for trust this little guy had going on right then.  Right beside me in her Papaw’s arms, Little Miss was sleeping and snuggled up tight, fully expecting that someone would make sure all of her needs were taken care of.  Within a few minutes, our 5 hour non-stop flight came to an end as we touched down with all the usual jolts, bumps, loud engine sounds, and energy.  Cole was glued to his window, watching as we landed … and once all the drama quieted down and we taxied to our gate, he turned to his Daddy and asked if we could do that again!

July 2 – 9 were the dates of our family vacation this year.  Since Ryan and Brittany has been out to see all of us several times in the past 3 years, we wanted to pack everyone and everything up and go see them this time.  With 2 kiddos under the age of 3 and the distance being traveled, we obviously had to fly.  Two-month old Lillianne flew free, as did all of our luggage, including car seats and stroller … “with Southwest your bags fly free”.   What a blessing!  We were graciously welcomed to stay with Ryan and Brittany, sharing their 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, utilizing their very roomy living room with a large couch as extra sleeping spots for our hosts.  The open design of their place was great as it allowed family fun times and then quiet rest for all when we finally settled down for the night.

The Seattle Space Needle

Seattle is a beautiful city, located on 7 specific hills, and is made up of over 100 ‘neighborhoods’, giving a hometown feel, supporting mom and pop establishments, from vacuum cleaner sales to coffee shops.  When needing one or two forgotten items for a meal, Ryan simply walks down to the corner grocer, picks up the needed ingredients, and is back within a few minutes.  Café Vita was the preferred coffee shop for our morning beverage … a short distance from the apartment.  The zoo was only a few blocks away, allowing the anticipation of our animal adventure to grow as we enjoyed the morning stroll to the gates.  It is a very ‘people friendly’ area.

Our family ~ Duck Tour Seattle

Of course, the City of Seattle comprises of the usual tall skyscrapers, office buildings, and seaport, personalizing these neighborhoods with a distinctive and classy downtown personality.   Giving us a very unique tour of the business district and the surrounding communities of downtown Seattle, Uncle Ryan treated us to a special day of fun on July 4th as we took the Seattle Duck Tour.  Climbing aboard a refurbished and DUCK decorated WWII amphibious landing craft, we went on a 90 minute tour driving around on the streets of the city, along with a jaunt on the waves of Lake Union.  Accompanying our site seeing journey were the persistent quacks of uncle and nephew as they joined several other travelers making noise with their duck calls.What a fun and memorable time!

4th of July fireworks, Pike’s Place Market, Seattle Children’s Museum, Space Needle, the International Fountain, Bowling, Woodland Park Zoo, and the Ballard Locks were the main attractions that kept us busy and about the area of Seattle all week.  The necessity of a daily nap for Cole always brought us back home for a much needed break for all … during which time we would watch a movie or play games.  Family time is so special!

Bergams/Van Hooks/Arndts

The highlight of our trip was our cook-out at the nearby park on Saturday.  Ryan and Brittany invited her family to drive over from Spokane, WA to join us all for a fun-filled day in their neighborhood of Fremont.  Grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, veggies, and fruit were all on the menu … and Frisbee, A-Z, visiting, and family photos were the activities of the day.  When late afternoon naptime rolled around, we all headed back to the apartment for a slide show of the day, Phase 10, and continued eating.  This Mommy heart was pleased to finally meet the parents of our sweet Brittany … and to connect with these fine people who have raised such a precious daughter.  We look forward to many more family gatherings in the future!

Have I mentioned the weather??  It was beautiful!!  Other than the rain that fell on the day we arrived, the sky was blue, the sun was shining bright, and the highest temperature while there was 81 degrees.  Ryan keeps trying to tell us that it is usually cloudy and drizzly, but every time Tim and I have come to visit, we always seem to bring the sunshine along!  This perfect weather was quite a switch for all of us coming from the east coast where we left behind hot and dry temperatures in the high 90s.

Mimi and Papaw with Lillianne at the Zoo

Since our own children are now grown adults with lives of their own, I find it extremely heart satisfying to spend time with them and to simply soak up every morsel of time and activity with them that I can.  There are 2752 miles between Ryan’s home and ours.  That’s far.  I’m grateful for the availability of air travel that allows us to turn 45 hours of expected travel by car into only a matter of 5 – 10 hours, depending on flight schedules.     I prayed a lot about this trip … traveling with a 3 year old and a 2 month old was potential for disaster (especially on the plane), the weather, everyone staying healthy before, during, and after the trip … on and on  ~  all reasons to stay on my knees, asking God for His touch upon our family time.  He truly blessed us with HIS plan.  We still had poopie diapers on the flight, sore and tired bodies from our long days of adventures, and even a 3 hour flight delay that got us back home in the wee hours of the morning … but it was all good, and we are thankful.

As I think about our flight into that beautiful city, my heart is reminded of the anticipation of my arrival to another City. As the Pilot banks the plane for the final descent, I know my heart will swell with emotion as I will finally see the face of Jesus.  Just as all of our lives are literally in the hands of those piloting the plane we are traveling in, won’t you join me in putting our complete trust and confidence in the One who wants to take us on the Journey of a life-time … to a Place where the Skyline is unmistakable, the Son is always shining, the Itinerary never ends, and the Host is our Savior.  I so look forward to seeing you there!

Until next time,
Debbie

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude
that no one could count, from every nation, tribe,
people and language, standing before the throne
and in front of the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes
and were holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out in a loud voice:
 

“Salvation belongs to our God,
W
ho sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-10

The City does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Nothing impure will ever enter it,
nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,
but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:23 and 27

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city,
and his servants will serve Him.  They will see His face,
and His name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night.
They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun,
for the Lord God will give them light.
And they will reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22:3-5

**   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.3781228124019.2151740.1076414018&type=3&l=33fd9ae4b9

 

 

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Dear Daddy

23 Jun

He asked you for life, and You gave it to him—
   length of days, for ever and ever.
Psalm 21:4

 

Father’s Day was just a few days ago … and tomorrow is June 24th.  I just wanted to tell you that I love you and miss you.  You have been in my thoughts and on my heart so much lately … more so than usual.  I think it’s because of a combination of things.  My job has me sitting in an office at an elder care law firm, where clients come and go, discussing serious subjects like health care, money, relationship issues, and death.  My thoughts of you and mom at this stage of life are never too far from my heart these days.  Another reason would be that Tim and I are now grandparents to little Cole, and I often dream about how much fun and joy this little boy would be bringing to your own great grandpa heart.  I’m sure he would have given you a name that’s special … like Papaw Johnny.  I like that!  Cole loves tractors and trains, loud cars and trucks, motorcycles, fire trucks, and balls … all the usual things that a two year old boy likes.  He’s at the age now where you would have had him outside helping you to wash the cars … and he would’ve kept you entertained by his constant chatter the entire time!   Oh what fun the two of you would’ve had. You would’ve fixed him a fried bologna and cheese sandwich for lunch and he would’ve  loved it because it came from his Papaw Johnny!  I look forward to telling him all about you someday when he’s old enough to understand about a great grandpa’s love, life, death, and Heaven.

It’s been 17 years now … tomorrow.    So much has taken place in our family since that day.  Births, relocations, deaths, graduations, divorces, weddings, accidents, surgeries … but we have remained intact, always loving, praying, and supporting one another. 

Mom is doing really well these days.  You know she fell last spring and shattered her elbow.  What an ordeal that was!   She pretty much lost all of her summer since she was so limited in the things she could do.  But she is a trooper and has shown quite some spunk when it comes to making sure she stays active.  She bought a riding lawn mower a few years ago so she could still be responsible for taking care of the yards…and she does a great job, too!  She is the life of the party when our families invite her to come along on vacations, and she enjoys the convenience of hopping on an airplane and quickly and comfortably arriving at her destination.  I know she misses you, though.  When we lived in Albuquerque and she would fly in to visit us, I knew her heart was aching to share the experience of that special place with you.  Just like she does now when she is surrounded by family and friends … I see it in her eyes.  She’s wishing you were still by her side to enjoy these slower and less hectic years of life.

You left quite a legacy in your sons … their looks, their humor, and their character.  You would be most proud of the men they have both become.  Me?  The best thing you passed along to me was the tenacity of never letting go of Jesus.  I know that life was not always easy for you and there were some really difficult circumstances that knocked you down from time to time.  But you always kept grasping the hand of Jesus who would always pull you back up.  Thank you, Daddy, for your faithful example to my own heart and life. 

Me and Daddy 1968

The reality of Heaven became very intimate for me since you died.  I have always pictured in my mind’s eye that you will be waiting at the front gates for me with arms wide open, saying “My Bobby Naw!  My sweet little girl!”  On that day when my heart is reunited with yours, I will also see Jesus face to face!  What a glorious day that will be!

Well, I will hush for now, Daddy.  I promise to meet you here again, from time to time, on the pages of my heart. 

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

 

Scriptures that I read to Daddy while he was in the hospital …
and later read at his funeral.
(When I was a child, Daddy was often referred to as “King”.)

The king rejoices in Your strength, LORD.
   How great is his joy in the victories You give!

You have granted him his heart’s desire
   and have not withheld the request of his lips.

You came to greet him with rich blessings
   and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

He asked you for life, and You gave it to him—
   length of days, for ever and ever.

Through the victories You gave, his glory is great; 
   You have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
Surely You have granted him unending blessings
   and made him glad with the joy of Your presence.

For the king trusts in the LORD;
   through the unfailing love of the Most High
   he will not be shaken.

Psalm 21:1-7

 

 

Completely

20 May
 

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

 

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

Most of the gals, plus my Momma!

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

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

COMPLETELY 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am yours and yours alone
Completely

 

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

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

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

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

I am Yours and Yours alone
Completely

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

Morsels of Mercy

24 Feb

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. 
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 

February 24, 2010

 

I have a BLOG.  For many of you in my close circle, you will ask “what exactly is a blog?”  I’m not sure of the technical terms associated with the strange word BLOG, but really and truly it’s just a means through which I am going to start writing again on a consistent basis.  I am so excited!  Life is constantly changing and is so full … and I find myself longing to write about it, so I am going to. 

MORSELS OF MERCY  ~  This will be a compilation of entries or small stories about life.  The everyday.  Morsels of the everyday that is only possible by the goodness and mercy of God.  My key verse is found at the end of the all familiar Psalm 23.  The Amplified version states it this way …

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.”

I find it exhilarating and comforting to know that God’s goodness, God’s mercy, and His unfailing love will follow me all the days of my life!!  Therefore, I bask in His very presence … my dwelling place.  Wow!

Wherever you find yourself at today … at this very moment, it’s all because of the mercies of God.  They are following you, along with His goodness and His unfailing love.  As always in life, you have a choice.  Join me today in choosing to live in His presence. 

Till next time … 
Debbie