Sunshine on the Eastern Shore

14 Jun

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Psalm 97:1

 

Many years ago in Hershey, two cute little blond-headed kids came to our Wednesday night Caravan program. They were brought faithfully by a friend of their momma. Some of us ladies began praying for this momma … that she would come to church with her children and fall in love with Jesus. Soon after, the momma did come to church with her kids, and she fell head over heels in love with Jesus. A vibrant personality, contagious cheerfulness and a glow that is unmistakably Jesus is the reason for my term of endearment for Miss Mary Sunshine.

 

Mary was eager to jump in head-first, with no hesitation, into whatever God asked her to do! So in September of 1997, Mary moved to Albuquerque, NM, just a few months after we arrived there to be part of the ministry team at Nazarene Indian Bible College. Mary became our neighbor, our co-worker, my prayer partner and a dear friend.

 

June 10, 2016

On our way to Virginia

Life’s been a journey since that time in our lives nearly 19 years ago. Much has taken place for us both, including a few changes of address. But right here, right now, we find ourselves only 6 hours away from one another. This past weekend, that gap was temporarily closed when Tim and I packed every nook and cranny of our Harley Davidson and rode the 260 miles to see our friend. Mary moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in November of 2015 and was recently installed as the new Pastor of the Bloxom Community Church of the Nazarene.

 

Mary’s enthusiastic spirit and visionary heart has begun the restart of a church that once thrived in Bloxom and reached into the surrounding communities … hosting camp meetings and revivals, youth camps and gospel sings. The rich heritage that many locals remember, along with God’s call and the contagious excitement of the new pastor, Bloxom is beginning a new chapter.

 

June 11, 2016

After dinner group photo

Life-long friends with hours to catch up on, local seafood to eat, roads with beautiful sites to explore on the motorcycle, and three precious Chihuahuas to love on … what a fun weekend! A lot of things have changed since those days of praying for that young single mother, but the one forever constant is her glowing love for Jesus. No matter her circumstances or where she calls home, she will always be my Miss Mary Sunshine!

 

Won’t you join me today in celebrating friendships, God’s undeniable call, and His love that continues to redeem lost and broken lives?

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

P.S.  Click here http://www.bloxomchurchofthenazarene.org/site/cs/Index.asp to go to the church website to see how you can help with the restoration process of the property.  Many years without a pastor or congregation has taken its toll on the buildings and grounds.  Consider taking a work team to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I guarantee that Mary Sunshine will be a gracious hostess!   Drop her an email and schedule a time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to that small but growing church!

ohmary02@gmail.com

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:19

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the
light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

At the Playground

6 May

Is anyone among you in trouble?
Let them pray.
Is anyone happy?
Let them sing songs of praise.
James 5:13

 

What kid doesn’t like a playground?!   Just driving by the brightly colored community play area will bring shrills of laughter, whining, begging and pleading! Once the child is unstrapped from his or her car seat, a mad dash ensues, followed by darting motions as they try to quickly make up their minds in which direction they want to head first! The big slide or the twisty one? The swaying bridge or the hamster cage? The monkey bars or the swings? It doesn’t really matter where they start … the playground will be a fun place to run and play until it is time to go home.

 

Life is like a playground. I know Forrest Gump thinks otherwise, but I believe it to be true. Just driving by fills a little one’s heart and mind with the excitement of anticipation! There are difference sizes of playgrounds – some only have the basics … swings and a slide, while others look like castles full of adventurous places to climb, hop, jump, slide and run!   And just like life, the playground is always so much more fun if you have family or friends along to play!

 

March 26, 2016

Gettysburg, PA

March 25, 2016

Hershey Chocolate World

It seems that the past few months have been a playground to me! The month of March was full of family excitement as Ryan and Brittany came to visit for Easter weekend! We celebrated Ryan’s 30th and Cole’s 7th birthday with an afternoon spent at Sky Zone, along with some fun mini road trips to local attractions. Hershey was a fun favorite as we visited Chocolate World and the Cocoa Castle playground, followed by the next day of touring the battlegrounds and statues of Gettysburg. There were Easter eggs and baskets, and even some left-over Christmas gifts that were finally exchanged! This Momma had her entire family with her in church on Easter Sunday morning and my heart was truly blessed … full and overflowing! It was a whirlwind extended weekend, full of family fun and love!

 

April 16, 2016

Lillie climbing the blue ladder –  to the super fast slide!

On my playground called Mimi’s World, exciting days were enjoyed by family and friends as we recently celebrated Cole and Lillianne’s birthdays with monster trucks and dancing princesses. On another occasion, the kids also cashed in a Christmas Gift Coupon for an adventure to Cabela’s where they saw hundreds of animals on display, shot guns for target practice, walked through a fresh water aquarium, petted a live goat and fed the fish. To complete our day together, I took them over to the community playground in hopes to zap any remaining energy they might have left before baths and bedtime.

 

The playground that day was the inspiration for an original song, written and performed by our Lillie. Here are the lyrics to her song, so you can follow along …

Click here  https://youtu.be/luieEeDTubl  to watch the music video,
At the Playground…

Lyrics —
I go at the playground with my Mimi,
and I’m there with the blue ladder
then that last slide is super fast …

That’s why I know the playground is special for me and you,
God will make us all the times … at the playground.

~~

Life is like a playground.
You go there with your special people.
You hang on tight as you climb up the ladders and go down the super fast slides!  And you know it’s all special for you and yours…
and God is at the Center of it all …
at the playground!!

Won’t you join me … at the playground?

Until next time,
Mimi

But be very careful to keep the commandment
and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you:
to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him,
to keep His commands, to hold fast to Him
and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Joshua 22:5

 

 

One Year at CASA

16 Mar

When Jesus spoke again to the people,
He said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

While the world around us is focused on candidates, primaries, and all that goes with an election, life still happens…the good and the not-so-good. In my immediate work day, little children continue to be taken into protective custody and placed into foster care homes. Physical and sexual abuse, neglect, deplorable living conditions, drugs and alcohol addictions, domestic violence – and the list goes on and on …

 

Nearly every day in the York County CASA office, I sign children into our playroom … a safe and fun environment where kids can be kids while their world comes together in a court room to discuss their future. ‘Bio mom and dad’ stand before the judge, usually stammering and stuttering, full of excuses as to why they have not made much progress toward the goal of getting their children back … if they even show up at all. Foster parents, attorneys, caseworkers, service providers, a CASA and other professionals speak on behalf of the children whose lives are currently upside down.

 

Today is March 16 … my one-year anniversary as the receptionist for York County CASA. I am blessed beyond measure for the awesome opportunity to be a part of this program! Even though I am not personally trained and sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children, I do have direct participation in the process of being a voice for the children.

 

Not only am I thrilled with the mission of what I do for CASA, I thoroughly enjoy making new friends with many people who also work in the County Court House! We have laughed and cried together, shared stories and prayer requests … and it always warms my heart to look across the hall to see a smile and a friendly wave directed toward me as I walk by!

 

I always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in my prayers.
I remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love, and your endurance
inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:2-3

In the midst of major election campaigns that are full of promises to fix, to renew, and to make great again, I am committed to be fully devoted to the Only One who can make good on those kind of promises! While I celebrate my 1 year CASA anniversary today, this song will be playing in my heart as I walk through my mission field that God has laid before me in York County, PA. Won’t you join me as we stand united in the wonder of His love .. we follow after the One who gave it all, Christ alone be praised!

Click here to listen to the song  …    https://youtu.be/LW3XPazLHg0

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Until next time,
Debbie

Our Extra Day!

29 Feb

 

This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it!!
Psalm 118:24

Because 2016 is Leap Year, today is the last day of February instead of yesterday! Wikipedia gives a great explanation as to why this extra day is inserted into our calendars every four years, but somehow I feel a great responsibility to not waste this gift of 24 hours! Although it is still Monday and I am still expected to go to work today, I want to do so with my heart filled with the joy of living!!

 This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it!!
Psalm 118:24

It is a good day to think about the passing of winter and the arrival of spring! I don’t know about you, but I always anticipate each change of season. I look forward to wearing sweaters, boots and scarves in the winter, and I always enjoy a good snow storm or two! But by the time March begins, I’m ready to put away the snow blower and hot cocoa and swap them for a motorcycle and Cherry Coke!

The Blizzard of 2016 did make headlines for the east coast last month, dumping between 2 and 3 feet of snow throughout our local area of south central Pennsylvania. Such wide-spread and consistent depth of coverage closed York City and County government offices for two business days!   Yes please and thank you!!

Our kiddos, just south of Baltimore, received their own Blizzard of 2016, so there was no great appeal to travel north to Papaw and Mimi’s house to go snow sledding. As the neighbors all around us partied in the snow with their little ones, our home remained quiet and the snow-covered yard remained untouched.

Fun Snow Day!!

Fun Snow Day!!

Within a week or so, temperatures rose and the rains fell, melting away some of our huge drifts of snow. But it was still winter. The rain soon became snow again and began to add to the piles once more. Valentine’s Day weekend brought love to our house and so much fun in the snow!   Bright sunshine and warm snow suits kept everyone bundled and warm as our family played and laughed and enjoyed winter and love together on that Valentine’s Day.

Now with the official start of spring being literally three weeks away, I can use this extra day to think happy thoughts about melting snow piles and warming temperatures, beautiful spring flowers and motorcycle rides instead of snow sleds! With the change of seasons, it’s also time to begin to think about seeds and planting a new garden.

 He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven
and crops in their seasons;
He provides you with plenty of food
and fills your hearts with joy.
Acts 14:17

It is a great day to pray! My prayer journal is daily filled with names of people I know who need Jesus. Cancers, relationships, loss of loved ones, drug and alcohol addictions, spiritual needs, health concerns, financial crises, and the list goes on and on each day.

I always thank God for all of you and
continually mention you in my prayers.
I Thessalonians 1:2

 What a fabulous day to encourage someone … or two! A helpful hand, a simple smile, a Facebook post, a quick text or even a longer email can all warm a heart, add joy to another’s day and lighten the heavy load of a burdened soul.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart
and united in love,
so that they may have the full riches
of complete understanding,
in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.
Colossians 2:2

 Since this bonus day is still full of responsibility and duty, I must get ready to start my day! Let’s make the most of this gift, February 29th! I plan to do something that will bring joy, hope, love and encouragement to others today … and everyday!  Won’t you join me?

Until next time,
Debbie

Still Celebrating Christmas!!

22 Jan

Lord, You have been our Dwelling Place
throughout all generations.
Psalm 90:1

 

There has been a cute little monkey bank sitting in various places in our home since Cole Michael was born in 2009. It has been emptied a few times, with the contents accumulating to enough cash to do something fun and meaningful. Along with the assistance of a great sale on Southwest.com, I booked two flights to Indianapolis and presented the best, once-in-a-lifetime Christmas present to our grandson… a trip with Mimi to visit Mimi Wells and family!

 

The details of our visit would be very boring for most, so I will spare you. However, the specifics about a 6 year old little boy are priceless gems to share. His views, his comments and his actions are note worthy and things I want to remember!

 

Jamba Juice! A simple act of giving him options and talking with him through making a decision was fun and I could tell he felt important as he carried his Jamba Juice cup onto the airplane.

 

Pilot Cole

Pilot Cole

So as we were standing in line to board the plane, we heard someone behind us saying ‘excuse me!’ as they made their way up through the line coming toward us. The gentleman in uniform approached us and as I ushered Cole to get out of his way, I asked him if he was the pilot. Within moments, he and Cole had a conversation that ended with an invitation for Cole to join him in the cockpit of the plane. The flight attendant just inside the plane asked my traveling companion if his name was Cole and said that the pilot was waiting for him. Pilot Tim took pictures for Mimi while Cole sat in the pilot’s seat with his hands on the controls. What a fun way to start a late night flight to Indy!

 

Our shuttle ride from the airport to Mimi Wells’ house was provided by my policeman brother and his wife. Even though Cole slept part of the way there, he was impressed with the flashing lights and loud siren display that Uncle Tim put on for him.

 

Sleeping! I gave Cole the option of sleeping alone in my old bedroom or together downstairs on a queen size bed. I could tell he wanted to be with me, but he seemed rather concerned that he might fall out of bed since the bed was not against any walls. So, I decided to sleep on the side of the bed where Cole is used to having a wall … and this Mimi became his wall. This wall was kicked, head butted, covers stolen, coughed on and snuggled against. But when I felt a little arm wrap around me and pull me tight with a ‘good morning Mimi’, all bumps and bruises to the wall dissipated.

 

Morning devotions!   Great anticipation was in the air that first morning for a fun day of play with cousins Jax and Lyla, but first Mimi wanted to start our day off with Jesus. While we were still in bed, I pulled up a Really Woolly Kids video on my phone and we watched the silly antics of Jacob and Gracie Woolly and their family, who are sheep. The story talks about The Shepherd bringing us back to Him when we have wandered away. Like a light bulb that went off with an ah ha moment, Cole chuckled and said “Mimi! Jesus is the Shepherd! Do you get it?!? They’re sheep and He’s the Shepherd!” What an awesome way to start our day!

 

Star Wars light sabers!

Star Wars light sabers!

Hide and Seek!    Jax and Cole hid while Mimi stayed in the family room counting. They usually burrowed underneath Jax’s bedcovers with wiggles and giggles, taking away all challenge of finding them! When Mimi’s turn came around to hide, somehow I was able to successfully do so by simply standing behind the curtains, feet showing and all! They ran by me every time! Jax decided he didn’t want to hide, so Cole hid alone. I leisurely looked in each room, expecting to find him beside Lyla’s baby bed or in the tub behind the shower curtain, but all was quiet and Cole was nowhere to be found! After searching for several minutes, I faintly heard a clue — something about the room where you take a shower. I walked back into the restroom and I looked behind the door, behind the shower curtain … there was nowhere else to hide, so I started to leave the room. Then I heard another small noise and I followed it to behind the door … in the clothes hamper! It’s one of those soft sided ones, and sure enough, there he was, all curled up in a ball with his hood over his head, looking like dirty laundry! Needless to say, Cole won the prize for the most creative hiding spot!

 

 

Cole's drawing of a dino

Cole’s drawing of a dino

Let’s keep movin’!    Cole woke up with a fever on Saturday morning, so our plan to meet up with family at the Children’s Museum had to be cancelled. Thankfully, his fever broke mid Sunday morning, so we decided to take him then. I think Cole fell between the prime ages for the museum … too old for the hands-on little kids’ stuff that depends on the child’s imagination … he truly wanted to dig for real dinosaur bones … not pretend that he was! Then he was also too young to be interested in reading very many of the informational placards that helped him understand what he was looking at. When I would attempt reading them to him, he kept saying “let’s keep movin’!”   The dinosaur area was by far his favorite area — he was able to draw, dress up like a dino, and interact with a group of kids his age. When going back to Mimi Wells’ house, I asked him what his favorite part of the museum was … and he said “All of it!”  YAY!!!

 

“You sleep with Papaw!” After sleeping 3 nights as a wall with a sick kid who rooted and rolled around, I explained all of this to Cole and said that I was very tired. He reminded me that I sleep every night with Papaw and that he probably moves around in the bed and he knows that Papaw snores! He then pulled some logic by telling me that this was the last night together and that since he was feeling better he wouldn’t wart around as much. Besides, he said that we need to have devotions together first thing in the morning and it would best if I was there with him. Ok, Buddy …. this one last night!

 

I’m sure Cole is old enough to remember this trip – especially with all of the pictures I took! It’s important to me to do all I can to give him some very special memories, not only of our time together, but of time spent with my precious momma, his Mimi Wells. I also show him pictures of my Dad and talk about Grandpa Johnny, wanting my grandson to know that his great grandfather would’ve loved him so much! At the same time, I want to share Cole with my own mother … so she has a chance to know that her great grandson is a very special little boy. I look forward to doing the same with Cole’s little sister, Lillie, in a few years … also giving her glimpses into the Godly heritage that is mine and hers!

 

Throughout our weekend together, I repeatedly wished Cole a Merry Christmas, wanting to express the celebrative spirit in my heart that centers on Jesus and continually prays for this 6 year-old little boy as he grows into a young man that honors Jesus with his life! Won’t you join me as we pray for our little ones daily … and those that are not so little any longer?

He tends His flock like a Shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart.
Isaiah 40: 11

Until next time,
Debbie

Merry Christmas 2015

24 Dec

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the Light of Life.”
John 8:12

Excitement and anticipation are in the air! Decorated trees, greeting cards and carols accompany the yummy tastes of holiday treats, giggles of little children, and weary sighs from adults. In the midst of the festivities of the season, we want to take the time to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

 

It really wasn’t that long ago when we began flipping pages in the new 2015 calendar, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and special days throughout the year. One such day was in March when Ryan, down on one knee, presented Brittany with a beautiful ring and asked her to marry him. We are all very excited for the days ahead as their dreams come true!   Ryan was promoted to Government Account Executive – City, County and non-profit sales with Verizon. He thoroughly enjoys his new job! Ryan plays on a couple different Ultimate Frisbee leagues throughout the year, which gives him the chance to travel some, including a recent tournament in Hawaii. Brittany continues to study for her MCAT exam and enjoys her job at Harborview Medical Center, downtown Seattle. They will be celebrating Christmas with her family this year, so we are all looking forward to some Ryan/Brittany time soon after the holidays!

December 2015

Cole and Lillianne

Cole and Lillie celebrated their spring birthdays this year with a special trip to Disneyland in California with their parents … Cole turned 6 years old in March and Lillianne was 3 in April. Cole is now in the first grade, has collected quite the savings from the tooth fairy, and has his own Sunkist Bearded Dragon named Blender. He played baseball and soccer this year and is looking forward to his first season of basketball. Lillie attends preschool 2 mornings a week and loves it! She sings, dances, loves to wear twirly dresses, and adores her dog, Tadpole. Cole and Lillie both enjoyed swimming at the community pool this past summer, along with a couple trips to the beach. They come and visit Mimi and Papaw as often as everyone’s busy schedule allows, where they have a swingset and a creek in the back yard and a room full of toys, wild animals, princess clothes and some more of their favorite things. These two kids add so much joy to Mimi and Papaw’s life!

 

Kim and Troy celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in September. Their family continues to be extremely involved in various ministries at Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Severn, MD; one of which Kim is in charge of the annual women’s ministry retreat held at the shore in Ocean City, MD. Kim is a busy stay-at-home mom and a Pampered Chef consultant. Troy made a shift in his career and is now an Information Technology Specialist with the Marine Corps Civil Service. He also just finished his Masters of Science in Cybersecurity through University of Maryland University College. The 82 miles between their home and ours is only an hour and a half drive — we are blessed!

 

In March, I became the full-time receptionist/secretary for the York County CASA Program. Assigning ‘Court Appointed Special Advocates’ to neglected and abused children in the dependency courts is the focus of our mission. We are a small staff of 4, but our office is located in the county courthouse where I enjoy making many new friends!

 

Speaking of friends, beginning in March, I invited a few of my friends, neighbors and co-workers to my house for an evening of tasty treats, fun fellowship, and a short devotion. Refresh is the group name and the intention of this monthly meeting. 15 different women have attended at one time or another with an average of 8 or so who come most of the time. This is God’s idea, His name, His inspiration and His ladies. I am excited with anticipation each month as He pulls it all together for me and I share His heart to these friends.

 

After 8 years of riding, 2 motorcycles later and many hours of research and on-line shopping, Tim finally found the Harley Davidson of his dreams. Spending time together riding the motorcycle has become something we both really enjoy! Weekend trips, day rides and summer-evening ice cream runs have become the norm for us. Tim, his brother and 2 of their riding buddies also rode down to the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee during the summer.

 

Another favorite fun activity of ours is to spend time in the kitchen together creating tasty dishes and meals! We also invested in a pressure canner this summer, so we canned peaches, green beans, peach salsa, gluten-free tomato soup for our grandson Cole, and apple sauce. We also froze peaches, corn, blueberries, broccoli and cauliflower. Every few months, Tim also smokes a bunch of meat and we freeze beef brisket and pulled pork. Oh! I mustn’t forget the tastiest item we burrowed away! New Mexico green chiles! Our friend Daniel is our connection in Albuquerque, and he shipped us the best chiles yet! Like a pro, Tim perfectly roasted them and we then put them in the freezer to enjoy throughout the year!

Ready for church!

Ready for church

We took several extended weekend trips for our annual visits with friends and family. Seattle was our vacation destination this year — and we shared the experience with my mother! Ryan and Brittany were gracious hosts to the 3 of us, highlighting a few of our favorite tourist stops for mom, eating lots of yummy food and simply enjoying each other’s company! No matter how many days we are blessed to spend with Ryan and Brittany, it is never enough for this Mommy’s heart!

 

Heaven is always becoming a bit sweeter, isn’t it?   With the passing of friends and family this year, we are all reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of living ready.   We never know what today will bring, so let’s keep in mind that Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season, but He’s the reason for every day of our life!

Merry Christmas and a Very Blessed New Year,
Debbie

God sent a Star to light the way.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the Light of Life.”
John 8:12

 

 

 

 

Your Love Never Fails

11 Nov

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Our little granddaughter loves life!   She loves to sing.  She loves to perform.  I believe in her little 3 year-old heart that she loves Jesus.  You put all of that together and you get Lillie in a variety of entertaining conversations, situations and performances!

 

This past summer’s VBS filled Lillie to over-flowing with songs, scriptures, hand motions and excitement!  Just last week when Lillie and Cole were going to the doctor for their annual flu shot, she reminded her big brother about being “strong and courageous, do not be terrified!”  Lillie’s simple trust in Jesus and the scripture that she repeats over and over and over has begun to set a firm foundation of real faith and Relationship for this little girl.

 

Another favorite and very repetitive past time for Lillie is to sing.  If there are hand motions to the song, then she’s all about it!  And if it’s a song that she has learned from a Disney movie, she choreographs the song herself and literally puts on a show that must be watched by all!  She’s so fun!

 

My birthday was last month.  It was a fun time, filled with lots of birthday greetings and fuss (love the fuss!) great food, and a trip to Indianapolis to celebrate with family.  One of the best gifts, however, was not wrapped or even presented to me as part of my special day.  It was a video sent to Mimi, during my workday, of Lillie riding her scooter … singing a very repetitive song with hand motions.  Little does this energetic preschooler know that she has a ministry of sharing God’s Love to those around her … the neighbors, her momma, her Mimi, and now you.  Does she realize the true meaning of the message she sings?  She slurs right over the first ‘never’, but with each and every repetitive phrase, the truth of God’s love that NEVER fails, never gives up and never runs out is being embedded into this tender and impressionable young soul.  Just knowing that is a gift!!

 

We all have things in our life that fail us, that give up and even run out on us…  Appliances, patience, computers, energy, vehicles, jobs, health, money, … and  people. In the midst of a fallen world, our God is Faithful.  Won’t you join me in being reminded of this truth?  Click here https://youtu.be/cZvrBOyWq08  to watch the video of this precious little missionary who continually reminds her world that God’s Love never fails, It never gives up and It never runs out on us!

Until next time!
Debbie

 

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains

On and on and on and on It goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

In death, in life I’m confident and covered
by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid
There’s nothing that can separate
my heart from Your great love

Seattle 2015

2 Oct

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all people to Myself.
John 12:32

 

My Mommy heart was full and overflowing as I peered out the window to catch my last glimpse of Mt. Rainier … until next time. The view of that majestic peak symbolizes my excited anticipation of being with my son and his future bride … and represents to my heart the awesome Love of God that continually watches over Ryan and Brittany.

 

As Tim and I boarded our Southwest Airline early last Thursday morning, my mother in Indianapolis began her own journey … both flights converging at the Sea-Tac Airport just minutes apart. What a joy to be welcomed to Seattle by our son and my mom! Those moments of hugs and kisses were just the beginning of a 5-day adventure that will forever fill our hearts with priceless memories!

 

On the day we arrived, just a quarter of a mile from Ryan and Brittany’s apartment was the scene of the fatal accident involving a tour bus of international students and the Seattle Duck Tour. This created quite a delay in getting to their home, along with a change in our itinerary of riding the Duck Tour later in the weekend.

 

Ready for church!

Ready for church!

Speaking of our itinerary, the list of places to see, foods to eat, and things to do over the next several days was extensive, and we were successful in accomplishing all but a few. Ryan and Brittany took time off from work to be our entertaining and personal tour guides and warmly opened their home to us with comfy accommodations and delicious meals! We ate out at some of our favorite spots and enjoyed the brew of coffee that is so famous in Seattle. We drove across the floating bridge and enjoyed the misty view of the Snoqualmie Falls, and we walked through Pike’s Market as we stopped from time to time to graze on cheese curds, crumpets and tasty bakery treats. We rode the elevators to the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center and spent the afternoon with a bird’s eye view of our host city and its surrounding towns. We spent leisure time cheering for the Colts, Broncos, and the Seahawks, watching an assortment of movies each evening, and Brittany and I spent a few hours shopping at the world’s best Goodwill where we found awesome deals to compliment our wardrobes!

 

As the blood moon eclipsed over the eastern skyline of Seattle on Sunday evening, my heart knew that it needed to prepare for the inevitable good-byes that would soon take place the following morning. Our favorite Seattle brew of Cafe Vita graced our Monday-morning breakfast table and within a short time I was once again hugging and kissing my loved ones. Grateful beyond words to have finally shared the special experience of Ryan/Brittany and Seattle with my mother, I sent her in the direction of her flight back to Indianapolis, knowing that I will see her again in just two weeks for my annual birthday visit. Discussion of a hopeful visit to our home in celebration of Christmas and the New Year kept the tears at bay as I embraced our kids and told them thanks for allowing us to come and spend a few days with them. I always feel that my hug is just not quite long enough nor tight enough to fully express my love to them.

 

Five days before as we neared our descent into Seattle, my heart sank with disappointment as I realized that we were sitting on the wrong side of the plane in order to see Mt. Rainier. Knowing that the weather while in Seattle can sometimes be overcast with clouds that hide any view of the mountain, seeing it while above the clouds is always a guarantee … that is as long as we’re seated on the correct side of the plane. As I was making mental notes to pick better seats next time, our pilot began to do a dance in the sky, twirling our plane into a complete circle, literally allowing me full view of that majestic mountain that towers above everything else in view. What I’m sure was a maneuver ordered by flight control in order to get into the proper flow of air traffic, God used it as a very personal gesture, showing His huge heart of Love to me!

 

Now as I once again leave behind Mt. Rainier, the beautiful city of Seattle, and those two precious children, my prayer is that our God will continue to watch over them, that He would be their Constant Companion, and that I can rest in His promise to always draw their hearts to His.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.
John 12:32

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8

 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.10205896195298804.1073741892.1076414018&type=1&l=a015608a95

Life Is A Journey

21 Sep

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

 

We stood in the foyer of the church following the memorial service of our young friend who had passed away just days before. As what often happens at such life events, a reunion of sorts was taking place among many of us who once shared the same church. When it was time to say our good-byes, my now out-of-state friend hugged me and we exchanged a few more words and went our separate ways. That very brief conversation left me thinking. It left me praying.

 

Cindy reminded me that the last time we were together, I had mentioned to her that I was on a journey. My mind quickly rewound the tape of life to recall what had actually been said, but in that moment and in those circumstances that brought us back together that day, my response was simple. LIFE is a journey.

 

Since that Sunday afternoon just a few short weeks ago, God and I have discussed this journey…and oh what a journey it has been! I continually cover my children and their loves with prayer, thanking Him for His prevenient grace, His constant protection over their lives and for His blessings – even when they don’t always recognize His Touch and Presence. 35 years of this journey has been shared with my husband. Our relationship has taken me across paths that I never thought I would travel — some very special places and wonderful memories… and others not so much. God has picked us both up and carried us at times when we couldn’t take the next step. But here we are today. Still on the journey and extremely grateful for our Guide. Then over the course of 4 major moves, we have so many friends that have contributed to this adventure. Friends that only joined us for a season and others for a lifetime. All part of the journey.  Over these past few weeks, I have brought bits and pieces of this journey back out into the bright sunshine of God’s Grace and Mercy, once again humbled and so eternally grateful for His forgiveness and for His redeeming Love to me. Life is truly a journey.

 

A few days after that thought provoking conversation, while sitting at my desk at work, my eye caught a glimpse of a card that a former co-worker gave to me when I left the law firm. “Life is a journey”  I smiled as I wondered if God was quietly nudging me to write. Later that day, all doubts were erased as I sang along with one of Colton Dixon’s song … Click here to watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0Dzh3RZn0E
(please ignore the brief advertisement before the video begins)

 

 

“Through All Of It”

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter of tears and troubled times
This has been the story of my life

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

You were there when it all came down on me
And I was blinded by my fear and I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do And I’m always going to

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it
Oh and You have been my God through all of it
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

We are all on this journey called life.  Won’t you join me today in embracing the One Who has been Our God through all of it?

Until next time,
Debbie

 

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you
that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

and that you may love the Lord your God,
listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.
For the Lord is your life,
and He will give you many years in the land
He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

 

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5

 

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

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the Stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

 

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue; be my Rock of Refuge,
a Strong Fortress to save me.
Since You are my Rock and my Fortress,
for the sake of Your name, lead and guide me.
 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for You are my Refuge.
Into Your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God
Psalm 31:1-5

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.”

imagesATKVFZSX

“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