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refresh

21 Jul

A big tall glass of ice water or a pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade…a popsicle or an ice cream cone with sprinkles. How about an afternoon in the swimming pool or a few days at the beach? It’s mid July and it’s that time of year when we want to feel refreshed.

 

Then there’s the long days of having to be mature and responsible. Work. Even though we may enjoy what we do to earn our living, it is still an obligation of our time and our energy. By the time Friday rolls around, I am ready to be refreshed. I always look forward to the occasional weekend that I get to spend with my grandkids … their very presence and their love always refreshes my spirit! When they are not around, simple activities such as cleaning my house, going to yard sales, and riding the motorcycle with my husband … these also refresh me.

 

One morning a few months ago, God threw the word ‘refresh’ out to me. I was expecting it. Or at least I was waiting on Him to give me something. And there it was. A simple word and concept. Within moments, as I sat down for my quiet time with Jesus, there was the word again … refresh … written in black and white in one of my devotional books. I smiled as I knew that God was confirming His direction, His idea, His plans and His desires. I quickly turned to the back of my Bible and looked up this most interesting word and found several scriptures that fit perfectly. A perfect fit for a new mission and a new ministry. Many years ago, God called me to be a missionary. His definition of missionary has been unique and most creative for me, and is still very real today. That morning back in January, He had already been nudging me, ever so slightly, about starting another group for ladies…something similar to what I did before with the Munchy Monday/Tasty Tuesday ladies from Higher Ground, but different. The difference being that was then and this is now … and the word refresh.

 

refresh 2

is a group of ladies who get together, once a month … for encouragement, inspiration, and refreshment. Our lives are busy, often full of circumstances and events that sap our energy and try to steal our joy, so we make a priority to refresh our souls with good company, tasty treats, and most importantly, Jesus.

 

IMG_2853 Five ladies met in my home on March 17th…a neighbor, two new friends from church, and a gal that also works for York County, and me. I shared God’s idea of ‘refresh’ that evening and expressed my heart’s desire to open my home to whoever would like to come for just one evening a month for a time to simply be refreshed. In April we were refreshed with Spring Cleaning as we read scriptures about being a sweet aroma of Christ and hiding the Word of God in our hearts in order to keep our way pure…and then my favorite,

Repent, then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be washed away,
that times of REFRESHING may come from the Lord.
Acts 3:19

 

The months of May and June took us to the basics of being refreshed in the Word and in Prayer. Our time together each month combines a delicious evening meal with relaxing around the table, chatting about the everyday, followed with an emphasis of the word refresh, scripture, and prayer. Ladies share concerns and prayer needs, sometimes in tears driven by the fears and disappointments of life. Just a couple nights ago during our July meeting, we read passages from the Bible and excerpts from devotional books that encouraged us to “refresh our wardrobe”.

“Seek My face at the beginning of your day.
This practice enables you to “put Me on” and
“wear Me” throughout the day. Most people put
on clothes soon after rising from bed. Similarly,
the sooner you “put Me on” by communicating with Me,
the better prepared you are for whatever comes your way.”

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“To ‘wear Me’ is essentially to have My mind:
to think My thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to
control your thinking; be transformed by this
renewal within you. Thus you are well-equipped to face
whatever people and situations bring your way.
Clothing your mind in Me is your best preparation for each day.
This discipline brings Joy and Peace to you and those around you.”

So, chosen by God for this new life of Love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, content with second place,
quick to forgive an offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear Love.
It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message

Jesus is Love.
Regardless of what else you put on, wear Jesus.
He is your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without Him!

God promised me that if I would be willing to invite a few friends and even neighbors that I do not know, He would provide the rest. There is never a lack of inspiration for the study, there is plenty of energy to welcome the ladies into a clean home, and I’m blessed with a supportive husband who is witnessing first hand how God is connecting neighbors, co-workers and mere acquaintances from church and uniting hearts with a common purpose of being refreshed in Jesus.

 

I plan to create a refresh group on Facebook — a place for ladies to share encouraging words and scriptures throughout the month. I daydream about going away for a weekend retreat, or evening hosting it right here in my own home, (send the hubby to Baltimore for a few days) allowing us time to briefly study an entire book or a DVD series, or even invite a special speaker. As God has already been providing, all ideas and dreams are His and all will fall into place as He desires.

 

There are many of my friends and family from all over the country who have been covering this new ministry in prayer each month … words cannot express my heart, knowing that we are being lifted up to Jesus in prayer support!

 

I will soon begin to prepare for August’s meeting, anxious to switch from Tuesday to Thursday night, which will allow a few other ladies to attend who have prior commitments earlier in the week. If you are local to York, PA, won’t you join us? If it’s your first time, there is no need to bring anything along except yourself and a desire to be refreshed. If you are not local, won’t you join us in prayer support?  And most importantly, won’t you all join us in finding ways to refresh ourselves in Jesus?

 

I do wish, ladies,
that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord,
refresh my heart in Christ.
Philemon 1:20

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

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General Assembly

28 Jun

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Me and Linda Clark

Me and Linda Clark

Within moments of my delayed arrival, I made my way to the registration desk, where I picked up my visitor bag full of information and found my dear friend, Linda.  Linda’s husband pastors a church on the SWO district, and we have been friends since my days at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center.  She was one of the few people I had made specific plans to spend time with, so we sat down to visit as we ate our food court pizza.  Having a friendship that is based on long-distance communication and not personal interaction, it was a special treat to get to actually spend time with her.  Since an unexpected trip to the ER with my mother was the alternate activity of the morning, the time together with Linda went by too quickly.

After Linda and I said good-bye, I headed back into the building that had already been haunting me with memories from 8 and 12 years ago when Tim and I were there as official exhibitors, experiencing the ‘other side’ of General Assembly.  Feelings of the heart began to surface as I walked around by myself for a little while, running into friends, acquaintances, and colleagues from our former lives when we worked for Nazarene Indian Bible College and the General Church.  There was a hint of sadness in my spirit as I remembered the multitudes of visitors that came by our NIBC booth in 2001, many of them we had worked side by side with as their Work and Witness teams had come to Albuquerque to work at NIBC. Those were extremely long and exhausting days at General Assembly, but oh how wonderful!   Every evening, we went out to eat with someone new … often including our friends Rusty and Nancy Bellomy as well.  Oh, how life has changed since then.  As I strolled through the World Missions side of the exhibit hall, my already-wounded heart took another leap back into time … remembering back to 2005 when Tim climbed up on tall ladders as he literally helped to construct the large exhibit.  Our then USA/CANADA Work & Witness booth was visited by our former W&W team members, along with others who were excited to work in various areas of the country.  And yes, life has changed so much since then.  Before leaving the area, I saw John Cunningham, a former colleague who knew first hand the passion and calling I had for missions … it did my heart good to stand and visit with him for a few moments.  We spoke of family and grandchildren.  That conversation brought me back to reality and where God has placed me now.  I was able to walk out of the exhibit hall with a smile inside.

Several weeks before, I put a post on Facebook asking my Nazarene friends if any of them were coming to Indianapolis for the Assembly.  I received a few comments, which I noted, but I also made some phone calls to friends who didn’t respond.  I was greatly disappointed that my friends Becky and Nancy were not coming from Louisiana and Nebraska, as well as Jenee Noriega and her family from New Mexico.  Since my flight into Indy was bringing me out for several days and there were few friends on my priority list, my mom and I planned for a two-day trip to West Virginia to visit my bed-fast uncle.  (Another story for another blog).  In the mean time, little hints were beginning to be dropped on Facebook of a possible upcoming surprise.  After begging to be told, my heart soared into the Heavens to find out that Jenee Noriega and her brood was coming to Indianapolis!  MY Jenee in MY Indianapolis!!  I don’t expect most of you to understand the depth of my heart here, but I could literally write an entire book about this young woman and how God miraculously transformed her 19 year drug-addicted life and sin-ravaged heart into something brand new!  Jenee was the tangible and personal answer to a prayer prayed by two friends in ministry who desperately wanted to help the addicted.  Clean and sober now for nearly 10 years, Jenee and Stevie have a testimony that is exciting, vibrant, and relevant still to this day.  Knowing that I wasn’t going to see them until Saturday, even as I walked off of my plane Wednesday evening, I smiled as I took deep breaths, knowing that I was breathing the same air as my precious friend and her family! As I traveled to West Virginia the following day with my mom, and I saw the pictures that Jenee was posting on Facebook of her family already at the Assembly, I told story after story to my mom about Jenee and her previously messed-up life.  It has now been 7 long years since we said good-bye in Albuquerque … since I have seen her face-to-face, since I have held her precious children in my arms, and since I have hugged that big man-of-a-husband we all fondly call Stevie.

Jayla & Destanee with Scottie Albuquerque 2005

Jayla & Destanee with Scottie
Albuquerque 2005

Anxious to finally find them, Jenee and her family left the Kidz Zone and I my nostalgic walk in the past … and we met in the wide hall way among hundreds of people going this way and that way – but it didn’t matter to us!!  Hugs and kisses, laughing and crying, smiles and quizzical looks from the children, taking pictures and more pictures!   As I held Jayla and then Destanee in my arms and squeezed them tight, my heart nearly burst as I realized that these two girls had no idea who I was, but I knew them!!  I brought out a picture of the two of them sitting on my back porch swing beside Scottie … they were out watching the hummingbirds play around the feeder that morning.  This was a picture I no doubt printed out at the time and mailed to their momma, who was in the Bernalillo County Jail.  Tim and I, along with others, were helping Stevie take care of their girls while Jenee was in jail for relapsing on cocaine.  The girls laughed at the sight of themselves so many years ago, but had no memory of the moment.  Bre’ Asia will soon be 7 years old … I was there and was one of the first to get to hold her after she was born.  I still say that she was the whitest black baby I’ve even seen!  And now there is Davion … born on Sept 4, 2007 – this was my first time meeting this handsome young man who looks so much like his daddy.  What a joy beyond words … a joy that took away the sadness and replaced it with a grateful heart.  The remainder of my attendance at the General Assembly was accompanied by this precious family.  The girls were ushers Saturday evening, so this allowed us special seating, which was a nice perk.  An added treat to the night was to stop and visit with Pastor Gregg and Robin, Kristen and her two little girls, and Grandma!  After the evening service, hungry tummies of all ages were satisfied as we enjoyed hamburgers and milkshakes at Steak & Shake.   It was so nice to be able to hug them all good-night, knowing I would see them again the following morning!

Stevie, Jenee Jayla, Davion, Destanee & Bre' Asia

Stevie, Jenee
Jayla, Davion, Destanee & Bre’ Asia

Once back to my childhood home, with a heart that was full to the brim, I crawled in bed beside my mom and talked and talked and talked.  I once again told story after story, this time, current ones from today…how the Joy of Jesus so radiates from Jenee and Stevie’s hearts that It literally overflows onto whoever will listen!  My favorite listener was my own Pastor Bud, for in those brief but jam-packed moments, Jenee and Stevie shared their testimony, excitement, and gratefulness to a God who delivered them from addictions and sin.  I finally wound down long enough to sleep a few hours before heading downtown again for the morning worship/communion service.  This time, Mom and I went together in a van with Bill Denny and a few others from my beloved Southport Church … conveniently dropped off at the front entrance.  After finding seats and saving more for Jenee and Stevie’s family, I stole away for a few moments to mingle with the crowds and to give hugs to Sandia friends, Cynthia and Pete, Julia, Therese and a few others.  Later as I sat between my mom and Jenee, sharing the experience of communion with both, along with thousands of Nazarenes world wide who love Jesus, my heart tried to absorb every morsel of that moment.

Me and Cynthia Myers

Me and Cynthia Myers

Good-byes were necessary that early afternoon as I climbed back into that church van and mom and I headed home.  Just as I was reminded by my brief chat with John Cunningham, life is full of a lot of things these days.  Family is most definitely at the top of the list.  For the final few hours I had left with my mom, we spent it enjoying family…eating together, laughing, watching the antics of my brother’s 16-month old grandson, and simply loving life and thanking God for His gifts.

The Church of the Nazarene has General Assembly every 4 years.  Church business meetings, elections, worship services, workshops, reunions, and wonderful fellowship always takes place.  It has been in Indianapolis 5 times since my first attendance in 1989. Once again, my own personal trip to General Assembly was full and overflowing!  I have come back home with a refreshed heart!  Sometimes the distance seems so far and the miles so many, but God reminded me that He always has my best interest and His plan at work.  I am deeply grateful!  Won’t you join me in thanking God for His plan?

Until next time,
Debbie

Many are the plans in a man’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

 

“God’s purposes are bigger than our hearts”
~ Still written across the top of my computer ~

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Labor Day Mini-Vaca

7 Sep

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching
and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

There were several options floating around as possible destinations for the final long weekend of the summer … and we chose the one that combined a few of our favorite things, and topped it off with a visit to Toms River, New Jersey.

Having taken two weekend trips already to the beach this summer, we put the car on auto pilot and headed the 3 hours east to the sandy shores of New Jersey.  Our early morning arrival at the board walk secured us a front-row parking spot and a short distance to walk to the ocean with our strategically packed bags, beach umbrella and sand chairs.  Since the day was still young and only a handful of seasonal guests were already set up, we claimed our spot at the water’s edge and were in awe at the calmness of the sea.  It looked more like a lake than an ocean that continually slipped further and further away as the tide went out.  We pulled the umbrella and dragged the chairs down closer to the surf a couple times, and by afternoon, children were giggling, older kids were skim boarding, and people of all ages were wading out to where the waves were finally picking up some momentum and adding some splash to the day.  That is usually where Tim will be found.  He loves to go out as far as he can in the water and still barely touch … and just roll with the flow.  Literally.  When he’s not bobbing up and down in the waves, he’s back up on the sand taking a nap in the sunshine.  For me, the act of sitting and doing nothing is very foreign to my normal daily routine, but at the beach, it’s acceptable and embraced…what luxury!!  So, I enjoy watching people and sometimes reading.  After a full day in the sun and surf, a quick clean-up and change takes place in the bath house, followed by a delicious dinner at our favorite local DDD spot (Diners, Drive-in and Dives) and a leisurely evening drive south to find some friends of ours.

Toms River, New Jersey has been a special place in my heart ever since 1996 when a pastor friend of ours accompanied Hershey Nazarene Church on a Work & Witness trip to Albuquerque, NM.  In the next 4 years, Pastor Del returned to Nazarene  Indian Bible College a few times with teams from his own congregation, this time working with our family as the host Work & Witness coordinators and giving us the privilege of getting to know all those fine folks from New Jersey.  Through the years, a connection has remained in tact due to the creative pens of my friend and I.  Del Bieber can tell a story like no other and has captured my attention every time he publishes a new devotional.

Del and Patsy Bieber

Having received an invitation to stay at their home during one of our weekend jaunts to the shore, Tim and I graciously accepted and found our way last weekend to the parsonage of Del and Patsy Bieber.  It did my heart so much good to simply sit and mutually share about life, family, health, prayer concerns and the memories that originated the friendship.  I love to hear missionaries share their stories, feeling every fiber and thread of their narrative … and I feel much the same way toward Pastor Del.  He’s been a missionary to the people in his world for more than three decades, and he also has stories that I could sit and listen to for hours!  Pastor Del is not only a pastor, he is an avid hunter, a sportsman, a photographer, a writer, a narrator, a PopPop, father, husband, and friend.

Sunday morning was a highlight for me as I always anticipate God’s personal and intimate communication with me when I worship…our ‘secret’ vocabulary, if you will.  I’m one that enjoys the newer songs of today … popular praise and worship, but my heart is truly lifted to another level of worship as I’m carried back to my roots when I join a congregation to sing a familiar hymn.  Even though I can recite every written word as I harmonize to When We All Get to Heaven and I Will Serve Thee, the fact that I no longer sing them very often just magnifies the message of these old-time favorites.  In a warm embrace of God’s love to my soul, the service was closed with an extra special hymn that I remember all so well … gathered around the piano with two dear friends and singing from the depths of our hearts …

Sometimes the day seems long, Our trials hard to bear.
We´re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear to catch his bride away!
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day!

CHORUS:
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Mr. Fox

It WILL be worth it all … but until that day when we do see Jesus, won’t you join me as I follow the example of Pastor Del in being a missionary to my world?  Whether there is a certificate of ordination on the study wall, several pounds of deer bologna in the freezer, a beautiful stuffed critter by the name of Mr. Fox in the corner of the living room, or Spike, a lively spider who eats mosquitos by the porch light at the back door, in our unique and special ways, let’s do all we can do to be Jesus to the people in our lives every day.

Until next time,
Debbie

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
 In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

PS  –  I would highly recommend a listen to Pastor Del’s sermon from this past Sunday, Sept 2.  It is not yet posted on the church’s website, but check back from time to time until you see it listed.  It’s part 2 to “You Ran Well”.  You will enjoy it!
http://www.tomsrivernaz.com/

Also, Pastor Del writes and then narrates a devotional … Enjoy his creativity and his love for nature, his family, and life.
http://www.jerseypilgrim.com/

Zumba

28 Feb

A heart at peace gives life to the body…
Proverbs 14:30

Sigh!  Hold on a minute – let me catch my breath!  Sigh!

Ok …Wow!!  An hour of non-stop, energy exerting, muscle moving, body bouncing, serious sweating activity!  Included in our membership at Gold’s Gym is the privilege of participating in any of the classes provided by the facility.  Tuesday night at 6:30 is Zumba, and tonight was my third week to join in the fun.  I say fun loosely, for this fun is a lot of work, but when that hour is up, although I am totally exhausted and spent, I really feel like I have accomplished something monumental.

Zumba is a Latin inspired fitness program involving dance and aerobic moves.  Dance has never been in my vocabulary, let alone in my repertoire of activity, so I rather feel like I have multiple feet and they all have lead in them.  But, in my defense, I at least keep moving in the general direction that all the others are going … attempting to shake, kick, pump, and stretch at all the right times.

According to Google, “Zumba exercises include music with fast and slow rhythms, as well as resistance training.  The choreography incorporates cumbia, hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, tango, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves.  Squats and lunges are also included.”  With my only dance experience consisting of some form of a slow dance at our daughter’s wedding 6 years ago, those various names of dances and moves are quite overwhelming.  I have to admit, that once in the classroom and surrounded by all the other younger women, I smile and do my best to not trip over my own feet … or worse, theirs!!

Although I’m new to this fun craze of exercising, Zumba is no stranger to our family!   Our daughter, Kim, was persistent and tenacious as she trudged through the pounds of pregnancy and lost them all and more ~ due to her faithfulness to better eating habits, her routines at the gym, and Zumba.  With the upcoming birth of our granddaughter, she is looking forward to summer and returning to the gym to lose those extra pounds gained in preparation for Baby Lillieanne.  Since we both belong to Gold’s Gym, maybe we’ll be able to attend some Zumba classes together – leaving the two grandkids with their Daddy and Papaw.

With the onset of aging and aching joints, I find that having a healthy and active lifestyle with a routine of exercise is necessary for me to be able to function and not feel the maturing process so much.  I also have learned the secret to having Inner Strength that flows out into all areas of my life.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

My inner strength is Jesus.
My contentment.
His heart.
His Word.
His Strength.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and
nourishment to your bones.
Proverb 3:5-8

My trust.
My heart.
His Understanding.
My health.
My body.
My nourishment.
My bones.

Not only in Zumba do I need to pay attention to the instructions, to keep my eyes straight ahead,  follow the one who is leading, and to not swerve to the right or to the left, but in my every day world.

My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet and
take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
Proverb 4:20-27

I need to do my best to keep my body healthy ~ for I was bought with a price and am the Temple where God abides …

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
Who is in you, Whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body.
I Corinthians 6:19-20

Whether you have a gym membership, participate in Zumba, or walk 3 miles a week to help stay fit … or none of these  ~   They do not even compare to the importance of staying fit spiritually.  Won’t you join me …

… in view of God’s mercy, to offer OUR bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God–this is OUR spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of OUR minds.
Then WE will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–
His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

 

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 my Valentine’s Day decor  –  February 2012

 

Christmas Offering

30 Dec

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name.
Bring an offering and come before Him;
Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.
I Chronicles 16:29

 

 

“I bring an offering of worship to my King
        No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
                 Jesus, may You receive the honor that You’re due
                        O Lord, I bring an offering to You.”

The offering that I bring is my heart … my heart that is overflowing with gratefulness from Christmas.  Christmas that brought family together from many miles apart.  Christmas that bridges the gaps in relationships.  Christmas that celebrates anticipated new life.  Christmas that honors and remembers those we still love who have gone on before us.  Christmas that embraces the gift of my heart as an offering to Jesus ~ the Baby in the manger ~  my Savior. 

Our Family ~ Dec 23, 2011

My Mother’s home was the hub of our Christmas reunion as our family made its way across the country from two different directions to spend time together.   Six of us, including a dog, a 2 ½  year old little boy, and a pregnant mom, traveled from central Pennsylvania and Baltimore ~ Ryan and Brittany flew into Indianapolis from Seattle.  What a great time we had as we shared laughter, family fun, little boy antics, and the warm company of many extended family members over the course of 4 days.  Special memories were made and will be tucked away in the recesses of our hearts.

Speaking of hearts, just a little more than a month ago, Tim had a second stent inserted inside his original one from 2004.  This original stent, which he received while living in Albuquerque, was 99% blocked.  As soon as he began to shovel the heavy 6” snow that we received late October, he began having immediate pain and shortness of breath.  We are grateful for these modern day miracles that can open a blockage and fix a heart within moments.

Moments are what seems to have passed by when we look at our grandson and realize that he will be three years old in March.  This tiny pre-mature newborn has grown into a healthy, vibrant, smart, and very talkative little boy.  He says what he thinks, and he must think all the time!  His play world still includes tractors of every make, size, and color ~ and they all tip like in the CARS movie!  Dora and Diego, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh, and of course, CARS all entertain him.  He loves to sing, he loves his dog, he dearly loves both sets of grandparents, and he loves life.  Cole Michael will be a big brother in May … and he loves to kiss his momma’s preggie belly ~ his baby sister.

Thrilled doesn’t even come close to describing our hearts as we anticipate the birth of our grand daughter in May.  A cheery bright nursery is being put together with love in the Arndt home, accented in pink and frills.  Kim’s first 5 ½  months of expectant bliss has been survived as she has kept up with Cole during the day, grateful for the time when Daddy comes home from work to give her some rest in the evenings. Troy has been with Booz Allen Hamilton for a year and a half, and is now a Senior Consultant.  This next year he will be working on his Masters degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.   He and Kim are members at the Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Severn, MD where they are part of the leadership team for a new contemporary service beginning the first of the New Year.  They are also active in a weekly Bible study, and Kim and Cole participate in the monthly Mom’s group.  We are so grateful that they have found a church home that has embraced them in love, support, and the Word. 

Words are never enough to express my love for my children.  Besides Kim and her little family being only a little more than an hour away in Maryland, Ryan is still living in Seattle,Washington.  He is an assistant store manager for Verizon Wireless, with his sites set on having his own store soon.  He still enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee with friends, watching sports, and reading.  He is still dating the most precious and beautiful young lady, who has stolen all of our hearts … Brittany Bergam.  She works as a medical transcriptionist and is planning on applying for medical school in the near future.  We were blessed to have them both join us at my Mother’s house last week for Christmas.  Time seems to slip by all too quickly when we are with Ryan and Brittany! 

Family at the beach

However, vacation in August was awesome!  Ryan and Brittany, my Mother, the Arndts, along with Mimi and Papaw, packed, overloaded two vehicles, and headed for Bethany Beach, Delaware!  We rented a condo, which was just a short drive to the ocean, swimming pool, golf, volleyball, and shuffleboard!  We played games, ate delicious meals fixed by all, enjoyed Cole’s slow progression toward liking the sand and the surf, and the company was just superb!  Four generations to love, to share, and to cherish!  The final few days of our family time included a birthday party for Tim, who turned 50 years old on August 5th.  With Ryan and Brittany still here, Tim’s mom, along with some of his siblings came for an afternoon of smoked pulled pork and birthday cake.  He was totally surprised and enjoyed every moment of the attention!

Tim is still employed by Kitchen Savers where he remodeled kitchens until he had knee surgery in June, when he had a torn meniscus repaired.  Following this procedure, he then assumed a position in the office as Installation Manager.  He measures the jobs, orders the material, schedules each crew to a job every week, and makes sure it all gets done to the customer’s satisfaction.  His responsibilities require several hours of his time each day, but we are home together each evening for dinner, and he has his weekends free to relax and enjoy life.  Now since he had the new stent inserted in November, his energy level has picked up, and he’s feeling much better! 

After working a couple temporary jobs earlier in the year, I am currently working part time in the office for the Robert Clofine Elder Care Law Firm.  Office duties are shared and we give support to two attorneys and two paralegals.  It is quite an experience to see first hand the pain, heart ache, and the decline in folks as they age and become dependent upon others.  Although the job was not posted as one of ministry, I use it as such as I daily pray for clients and especially for those with whom I work.  Since my hours are part-time, this allows me to keep up with the house, the yard, my writings, and my grandson!  Tim and I have been attending Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene in York, PA.  I am so grateful that God is faithful to always lead us to a church fellowship where the Pastor preaches Holiness in every message.  God’s Word and my early morning time with Him continue to carry me through the day-to-day routine of life.  I keep an active prayer list, gleaning names and needs from Facebook, emails and texts, and nudges from God Himself, spending time praying for family and friends.  This is my ministry for now … for such a time as this.

Click here to listen to …  Christmas Offering by Casting Crowns

Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three Wiseman seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace

 

Just as the wise men traveled from afar, seeking Truth,
hoping to find the Child from heaven,
our family journeyed many miles to
come together to celebrate His birth …



We bring an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus may you receive the honor that you’re due
O Lord I bring an offering to you

The sun cannot compare to the glory of your love
There is no shadow in your presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It’s only by Your blood
It’s only through Your mercy
Lord, I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you’re due
O Lord, I bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you, Jesus

We are an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may you receive the honor that you’re due
O Lord, we bring an offering to you

O Lord, we bring an offering to you

We bring an offering to you
We are an offering to you
We are an offering to you

 

As this Christmas season comes to an end with the beginning of another New Year, may you join me in bringing an offering of worship to our King …

It’s only by Your blood
It’s only through Your mercy
Lord, I come …

 

Merry Christmas and a Most Blessed New Year!
The Van Hooks

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