Tag Archives: Beach

Happy New Year ~ 2015

30 Jan

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Some may think that I’m a bit late, but I choose to say that I embraced every moment of the Christmas season that I could. Now that the trimmings and the tree are all down and put away, and everyone has gone back home, I am going to devote some specific time to send greetings to all of our family and friends as yet another year has completed its chapter in our book called life.

Snowstorm that brought 23" of snow!

Snowstorm that brought 23″ of snow!

One thing most of us across America had in common in 2014 was our crazy winter weather! Our little town always seemed be in an overactive band of snow, burying us under several more inches than others in south central PA. Mimi and Papaw’s ‘big hill’ provided a lot of fun times and memories for our little loves when they and their parents could visit.

 

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Needless to say, warm and sunny spring days eventually came, which brought new adventures, the first of which when Ryan flew in for a few days in March. He came bearing gifts for a belated Christmas celebration, and in turn we sang Happy Birthday to him!

 

In April I made a long-over due trip to Louisiana to visit dear friends, a journey of the heart that will forever be changed and grateful for much that has often been taken for granted. Mother’s Day weekend was spent with my mom in Indy, with the added joy of meeting my newborn niece, Remington. Then just a couple of weeks later, Tim and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Ohio at a small reunion of friends who volunteered and worked with us on the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. What a blessed time we had together in those days and again at this gathering!
Mingled in between trips, the grand-kids’ birthday celebrations and the everyday routine of work and life, we were packing and preparing to move. We finally found a house to buy and de-clutter became my new motto. By mid-June, we were moved in and getting settled, excited to spend time with Ryan who was once again out east … this time on a Verizon business trip with some added time for family!

 

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

The adventures continued as Mimi loaded Momma and the kiddos in her van and we drove to Indy for the Wells Family reunion in July. What fun to share those of my little family with my precious aunts, uncles and cousins! The traditional annual August 5th weekend birthday celebration once again found us at the shore with Kim and her family, enjoying the surf, sand, and sun. Then a few weeks later, Tim and I took advantage of frequent flier points for a long-over due visit to our beloved Albuquerque! The hospitality of our host family was a blessing, the itinerary of visits with friends and church family was heart warming, and just the experience of being there in that special place we called home for nearly 10 years was simply over-whelming.

 

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

September arrived with an invitation to meet my life-long ‘best bud’ in Florida for a few days of respite with her, following the death of her husband on August 1st. Beach therapy was the theme for our time together as childhood friends tried to make sense of life and its uncertain path … all the while being confident that God is the one true certainty on our journey.

 

Another leg of our journey was our annual motorcycle trip to Toms River, New Jersey and our visit with Pastor Del and Patsy Bieber. What fun we had as we spent time with their family, shopped at a local flea market, ate some outstanding food and as always, enjoyed our Sunday morning of worship with our seaside friends. Several weeks later, it was our privilege and pleasure to host these friends in our own home as Pastor Del preached in a local revival service.

 

Tim's Mom with her children

Tim’s Mom with her children

Indiana became our destination of necessity throughout the fall months due to the 6 week battle with cancer and passing of Tim’s step-father on September 23. Life with its reminder of our fragility and total dependence upon God once again knocked on the doors of our hearts. After a lot of prayer and thoughtful consideration, Tim’s Mom …has moved back to PA to be closer to the majority of her children.

 

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

Christmas season! We attended Christmas programs and parties, spent time with family and friends, and simply enjoyed the beautiful season in our new home. Christmas Eve travels took us to Indiana for a few days to celebrate Jesus, His birth, and several other family birthdays with my Mother, brothers and their families. Our trip was highlighted on Sunday morning when my brother Tim and his wife, Courtney, dedicated Remington Kimber Wells to Jesus.

 

The final hoorah for the year was awesome as Ryan and Brittany flew in from Seattle and our entire family spent several days together in our home … still celebrating Jesus and Christmas, New Year’s, and Brittany’s January birthday. Gifts were exchanged, countless games of Memory (and others) were played, creative paper airplanes were flown, and so much tasty food was prepared and enjoyed! Girls went shopping, family came to visit, a few movies were watched, and we worshiped together on Sunday just a few hours before good-byes were said. Every moment of every day, I tried to soak up each and every morsel and speck of family love I could … to hold me until next time!

 

As we begin a new year, I would like to share a page from ‘Jesus Calling’ …

June 12
Let Me prepare you for the day (year) that stretches out before you. I know exactly what this day (year) will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it. You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey. You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead. However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today (this year): Spend quality time with Me.

I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey. My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way. Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts. Thus, you can walk through this day (year) with your focus on Me. My abiding Presence is the best road map available.

 

2014 is behind us and a new road lies ahead. May the comfort and the peace of God’s constant Presence be the Guide and Direction for you and yours for this new year.

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go
with you and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

Until next time,
Debbie

***  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***

If you would like to read the unabbreviated version of 2014 and more,
please feel free to visit my website and read till your heart is content!  https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com/

***  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***

Advertisements

Beach Therapy

19 Sep

Be at rest, once more, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7

With great excitement, she leaned across the dinner table and asked me if I had ever been parasailing.  I giggled as I quickly responded with a ‘no, but I would love to!’

For you see, on August 9, I stood in the surf on Fenwick Island Beach, Delaware watching a boat pull a pair of parasailers.  I allowed my mind and heart to daydream about how fun it would be to someday parasail in Florida with my best bud.  That day, just 8 days after her husband’s death, Becky and her family were part of my every breath and thought as they were celebrating Joe’s life in Crowley, Louisiana … some 1300 miles away.

Back to the dinner table in Florida on the evening of September 11th … with great animation, I told my story to Becky, exclaiming over the fact that her invitation to me to join her for some beach therapy was not presented for nearly another 2 weeks later after my Fenwick Beach moment.  In fact, it was the same day I finally took a small zip lock bag of sand that I had gathered from that weekend on the beach and mailed it to her, the sand representing her hope of getting to Florida soon for some much needed rest.  I placed that sand-laden card in the mail … and later that morning I chuckled out loud as I read Becky’s email invitation to me to join her and her momma in Florida in September.

God does things like this in my life quite often.  I guess He knows He must keep it somewhat simple, but yet for me they are Red Sea moments.  Sand in a zip lock bag, just picked up by the mailman, followed by an immediate invitation to Florida.  Thoughts and hopes of parasailing with my dear friend on the same day as her husband’s memorial service  …  to be parasailing with her a month and 3 days later!!  Also, my airfare was provided by a frequent flier charge card that had accumulated enough points to send me to Florida for a minimal fee.  I do not believe in coincidences … my steps are ordered by the God Who loves me in every way possible.

A man’s mind plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
Proverbs 16:9 amp

I flew on September 11th.  I arrived in Tampa without incident and was warmly welcomed by the hug of a lifetime … one that expressed deep sorrow and disbelief, but a gratefulness and excitement for the few days we had together.  Two friends reunited after tragedy and loss … together for some beach therapy.

Therapy comes in different forms – for Becky, the beach has always been a place of relaxation and respite.  Her parents retired several years ago in Florida, giving her the perfect setting for fun vacations with her family.  Now just one month since Joe’s death, Becky and her momma planned a short time to get away for some much needed quiet time and rest.  Becky and her family have been extremely busy in the past few weeks while they sort, toss, organize, box, and donate items that have accumulated over the past 22 years of living in the church parsonage.  A much smaller place just down the road is where Becky and Pauline will call home … anticipating a move-in date of early October.

Our days together in Florida were full – leisure morning time with coffee and a simple breakfast followed by a couple hours of beach time.  Most early evenings were spent with Becky’s extended family who also live in the area, giving me a chance to see people I had not seen in many, many years, and to meet others who are newer additions.  Hallmark movies were the choice of late evening entertainment, sending us to bed with hearts full of gratefulness for another blessed day.

Enjoying the surf and sun

Enjoying the surf and sun

The highlight of those days together was the beach therapy.  The white sandy shore of the Gulf of Mexico welcomed us as we slathered on protective lotions and creams and enjoyed the late morning sunshine and the silly antics of the birds.  The original email invitation requested my presence and a listening ear … so every time I heard the name Joe, my heart smiled, knowing that she needed to say his name.  I needed to say his name … and we both needed to hear it.  We talked about their family, their kids and grandkids.  We talked about our past … mentioning people of years gone by and laughing about those days in our shared childhood and teen years.  She shared moments of heartache as she recalled Joe’s last days, things said and events that took place, painting a mental picture for me of those personal and intimate moments in her life.  Tears mingled with our sunscreen and sweat as we laid there on the beach for those brief hours each day, tears that were soon to be washed away by the salty waves of the gulf waters.  How refreshing it was as we enjoyed just being in the water, rolling with the tide and swimming … all the while we continued to share hearts, thoughts, and chatter.

Parasailing fun!!

Parasailing fun!!

Did we go parasailing?  You betcha!  A bright yellow smiley face chute carried two best buds high into the sky where we chatted some, but also found ourselves quiet, lost in the moment.  I’m sure we were both thinking about Joe and why we were together, doing what we were doing.  Just like a camera captures moments in time, I wish there was a way we could’ve captured the emotion of those minutes together … the exhilaration and blessing of flying so effortlessly through the salty air of the Gulf, high above all of the noise and commotion of life … up near the heart of God and the one we just lost.  It was a special time that ended all too soon.

I don’t remember a specific moment or at what age Becky and I first met, but sometime in the mid 1960’s, two little girls found themselves next to one another and must’ve felt a kindred spirit. A spirit that grew deeper as the years clicked by …  Barbie dolls and board games, her house or mine, Bible quizzing and memory verses, nail polish and curlers, alto and soprano, piano, reading, sewing, sleep-overs, boys, … all the way to Joe and Tim.  The two boys that stole our hearts … along with our own love and devotion to the God Who set the course for the rest of our lives.  Many miles have separated us through much of our adult lives, focusing on family, ministries, and the busyness of life.  Often I am finding that it takes crises to pull hearts back together ~ hearts that sometimes do not fully realize the distance that had crept in.

People all around us are hurting.  Some are grieving the loss of a loved one.  Others are in financial trouble while others are terminally ill with no hope of recovery.  Unresolved matters have been left to fester, leaving pain and disconnect in families.  Marriage relationships are dissolving or an accident has turned someone’s world upside down.  In the midst of our everyday, someone you know and someone I know needs therapy.  Therapy comes in different forms … on purpose, be creative and offer some much needed attention to someone today.  Be a listening ear, a warm body to hug, a heart full of compassion that will laugh and cry, and just be there.  Pray. Be there for whatever it takes for healing of their soul to begin.  Won’t you join me?

Until next time,
Debbie

*************

“Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of our recent move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.
 
 ***************************
** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my trip to Florida
that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!
 
 ***************************

Life Celebrations

22 Aug
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6

 

Going to the shore in early August has become one of our favorite family traditions.  It doesn’t matter which beach or state we choose.  What does matter is that we are all together.  Together to celebrate life.  Like birthdays.  My husband and daughter have a lot of things in common, the most important being their mutual birthday on August 5th.  We have done many things to celebrate theses two through the years, but they have come to an agreement that the sand and surf is where it’s at.

 

This year was no exception. Fenwick Island, Delaware was the beach of choice and our hotel was only one block from the sandy shore.  This so conveniently allowed us to load up the beach cart with sand chairs, umbrella, digger, dump truck and the necessary construction materials to make the best sand castle on the east coast, along with the usual towels, mats, and lotions, and we walked the short distance without having to fight traffic and/or find a parking spot several blocks away.

 

August 9, 20145 year-old Cole spent much of his time along the water’s edge, being close enough that the incoming waves kept him as wet as he wanted to be, but not far enough out to scare him or us.  He helped the construction foreman build the castle community, he flew his Spiderman kite, and threw the whistling football back and forth with Papaw.  Lillianne was not as adventurous – no doubt due to the fact that she did not feel well.  She wanted to like the ocean, but the crashing waves kept her from desiring to be a part of it all.  Somehow, though, those same crashing waves melodically lulled her to sleep, where she spent much of her time both days.  All of us bigger kids enjoyed the sand, surf, and sun  … taking turns to be with the little ones and literally soaking it all in.

 

In the midst of the fun and frolic of the weekend, my heart was stretched the many, many miles to Louisiana where my best bud and her family were having their own life celebration.  In the closing of my last blog post, I updated you on my friend, Joe Talhelm.  Later that evening on August 1st,  I received a text from he and Becky’s daughter, Anne.  “Please call me”.  My heart sank as I read those words, knowing.  Anne cried as she told me that she’s so happy for him … no more melanoma, no more suffering, no more pain.  Just 2 ½ weeks earlier, the doctors told Joe that he had 3 months to live.  Joe knew different.  So as I sat on the beach in Delaware, in Louisiana, Becky gathered with her family, Joe’s family, their church family and friends and celebrated a life that lived, laughed, and loved.  Joe was only 57 years old.

 

Tim’s step-father was just diagnosed last week with his own enormous battle with cancer.  Hospital stay with tests upon tests took place, then a return home to get everything in order while he begins radiation treatments.  I make it a priority to talk to my precious mother-in-law often, for although she is facing difficult days ahead and she is already exhausted from the drama of it all, I can tell she and Bill are determined to celebrate life together as long as possible.  Just like Joe and Becky, they are able to do so because of Jesus.  They are celebrating the everyday.

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Psalm 29:11
August 16, 2014Another recent life celebration was just last Saturday when Tim and I attended the wedding of a very special young man in our lives.   Two 5 year-old little boys met playing t-ball back in 1992 and were truly inseparable until our family moved to Albuquerque in 1997.  Chuck & Mikey were married a few days ago, and we were there to help them celebrate with friends and family.

 

What are you doing to celebrate life?  It’s always fun to throw a birthday party, attend a wedding or go away for an anniversary … and it’s satisfying to the soul to celebrate a life well-lived that has passed away.   But it’s the everyday that really counts.  I came across this saying the other day … “Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life.”   Won’t you join me in doing this?   Let’s make the most of every opportunity and celebrate life with each moment, for this moment is your life.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

 Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
 ***********************************************************
 P.S.   “Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of the move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.
******************************************************************************************************
** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from our excursion to the shore
that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203139143494232.1073741862.1076414018&type=1&l=b9d0add112
***************************************************

Sun, Surf and Sand

2 Aug

  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
T
hey would outnumber the
grains of sand.
Psalm 139:17-18

 

Momma with the little people

Momma with the little people

The after-hours beach crowd was small as the cool of the evening settled upon the sandy shore. The excited anticipation of us big people was at its height after our late afternoon drive through the Pennsylvania countryside to the coastline of New   Jersey.  After parking along the brand new boardwalk, we took two little people to the water’s edge for the first time this season. Not knowing how young feet and tiny toes would take to the gritty sand, we all took off our shoes and walked into the incoming tide.  As the sun was setting in the west, it didn’t take long at all for a little boy to begin running back and forth in the surf, thrilled to finally be at the beach, even if for just a short time.  His sister was not as big of a fan of the sand, but was fascinated by the splash of the salty sea and the spray that made her lips taste most interesting.   There’s truly nothing like watching the sparkle and joy in the eyes of your own little people.  The next two days were going to be a lot of fun!

Dad and kiddos running in the surf

Dad and kiddos running in the surf

Having started when Cole Michael was 2 years old, an annual summer trip to the beach has become tradition. Whether the stay is 4-5 days or just a simple overnight weekend, it has been enjoyable to be part of his experiences and memories.  Of course, the gazillion pictures that I take … from every angle possible to capture every expression given … helps to keep those memories alive.  This year was no exception as we once again set up the beach tent and then accessorized our spot in the sand with chairs, sand castle molds, buckets and shovels, diggers, and dump trucks.  Adding to the fun this year was a very mobile Lillianne.  Wearing the smallest sand shoes I’ve ever seen, Little Miss strutted around with a confidence all of her own.  Her eyes were bright with the excitement of her independence, very limited as it truly was, but nonetheless, she walked through the sand and down into the water … yes, with assistance … and loved every splash, every spray, and every moment in the salty sea.

Daddy and Lillianne

Daddy and Lillianne

Family fun!!

Family fun!!

Cole with this sand castles

Cole with this sand castles

The demolition digger

The demolition digger

Sand castles were constructed by Arndt and Son, then quickly destroyed by Cole Demolitions.  A very contented Lillie Lou sat nearby in her yellow tutu swimsuit, shovel in hand and slinging sand in every direction.  As the noonday sun started its downward descent, a very gritty little girl began to get sleepy.  A quick naked douse in the ocean waves made for a make-shift bathtub, followed by a silky layer of baby powder, a bottle of her favorite beverage (milk) and a warm towel around her tired body … and we soon had a napping 15 month old.  We all took turns as the guardian on duty, while the others continued to play in the sun, sand, and surf with Cole.  By day’s end, happy hearts and tired bodies quickly fell asleep … no doubt dreaming of another fun day at the shore.

Flying kites

Flying kites

Morning brew from a local coffee shop jump started our new day … and within moments, kites were flying overhead and the little people were squealing with excitement.  It wasn’t long, however, before an overcast sky blocked the brilliance of the sun, but a little rain shower couldn’t dampen the activities of the day.  Of course the sun began to shine again as we were picking up sand toys and packing away our beach abode.  After dinner, there was a 3 hour journey back to Mimi and Papaw’s house where baths were taken and snacks were given out freely … and the final leg of the return trip rocked the little ones to sleep.

Silly Lillie Lou!

Silly Lillie Lou!

Lillie LOVES the ocean!

Lillie LOVES the ocean!

As we all sat around the lunch table late Friday afternoon, moments before heading to the shore for our weekend getaway, Cole asked the blessing for our food.  At the end of his usual prayer, he added a spontaneous tag of his own, “and thank You for the beach!”   This little person’s heart-felt prayer was a reminder to us all that God cares about all the details in our lives.

We are blessed to live near this young family … to share in the fun times of traditions, memories, and life experiences.  Won’t you join me in doing the same with those around you?  Whether it be family, friends, or even co-workers, let’s make the most of every moment, realizing that God is the Giver of all good things.

Until next time,
Debbie

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol Him with music and song.
For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to Him.
The sea is His, for He made it,
and His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care.
Psalm 95:1-7

 

A Snowy New Jersey Valentine

15 Feb

Greater Love has no one than this,
that He lay down His life for His friends.
John 15:13

When making plans a week before our scheduled trip, the extended travel forecast trumpeted sunny skies and 50 degree temperatures.  With excitement, I called to confirm our on-line reservations, making sure all was in place for our mid-winter excursion to the east coast.  Wanting to do something different this year to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we both agreed to drive the familiar trek to our favorite summer-time destinations along the New Jersey shoreline.  A Groupon for the Bed and Breakfast, great food, a visit with friends, quiet surroundings, and the nagging curiosity of the damage from Hurricane Sandy pulled our hearts to make the final decision to go.  And at the last minute, despite the fact that the weather forecast dramatically changed in that week from unusually warm to being on the edge of a record-breaking blizzard, last Saturday morning we set out for our pre-holiday adventure.

Blowing snow along the road to New Jersey

Blowing snow along the road to New Jersey

Knowing the alarm clock would wake us before daylight, we went to bed early the night before, anticipating a few inches of snow to fall through the wee hours of the morning.  To our great relief, the local roads were clear with little accumulation.  As we headed into the direction of the gorgeous sunrise, the amount of snow that had fallen on the ground began to increase as we traveled, the strong winds blowing it all around, creating a beautiful sight against the back drop of the brilliant blue sky.

We made our way to Toms River to meet our breakfast companions, where we then drove to a tiny hole-in-the wall for tasty eats and great fellowship.  Hearing stories of Hurricane Sandy survival, clean-up, and ministry warmed our hearts as we ate, grateful for God’s watchful care over our friends.

Lamp posts still standing on the destroyed boardwalk of Ocean Grove, NJ ... at sunset

Lamp posts still standing on the destroyed boardwalk of Ocean Grove, NJ … at sunset

A few more miles up the coastline brought us to our familiar little seaside towns where even more snow had fallen.  We drove from one community to another, noticing the number of trash dumpsters dotting the driveways, big loaders and earth moving equipment parked nearby, and signs of ‘do not enter’ posted throughout the region.  A few homes were still boarded up in hurricane-type style, one was a total loss of charred remains, while others were under new construction.  For the most part, however, the towns seemed in tact – businesses up and running … life as usual.  Everything except the beach area itself.  Entire boardwalks washed away, including restroom buildings and ticket huts, with nothing left but the pilings.  Most communities had some sort of organization to their on-going repair … stacks of lumber and boards waiting for the weather to break.  But most shocking was the beach town of Ocean Grove, where the boardwalk street lights still stood on disheveled planks like skeletons in whatever direction the hurricane gales had blown them in.  Nails remain in the wood, dangerously protruding their points.  And no stacks of fresh lumber waiting.

Swirling snow creating crunchy ice on sand

At sunset, swirling snow creating crunchy ice on sand

Beyond the graveyards of seaside boardwalks, however, we found the one thing that is a constant.  The Atlantic Ocean.  The landscape of the beach has changed somewhat as much of the sand washed up into the towns, later to have been brought back and piled high, making a large ridge between the boardwalk pilings and the ocean.  But the ocean continues on.  Waves cresting quite high and crashing against the rocks and sand, sending spray into the air as blizzard-forced winds blew.  Tim and I walked along the ocean’s edge both days, bundled up from head to toe, enjoying the silly antics of the birds who call the beach their home, and the visiting canines and their owners who were out for exercise.  I was most amazed at how 5 inches of snow had fallen the night before, but the sand on the beach was just that, sand.  What very little snow was on the sand was back by the boardwalk area, and the wind would catch it from time to time and swirl it across the beach, in some places forming layers of snowy ice on the wet sand.  It is a very fascinating winter environment.

The Bed and Breakfast was ok – certainly nothing to write home about, or a blog, for that matter, other than to say it was disappointing.  We ate at our favorite BBQ place in Belmar, where I quizzed the waiter about the restaurant and how it fared during Hurricane Sandy.  Having only lost electricity, they still had the ability to cook with gas and a smoker, so they opened their establishment up as a free soup kitchen for several days … during day-light hours.  They fed rescue workers, FEMA, and those whose homes had been destroyed or severely damaged.  As we ate our brisket and ribs, we listened intently to the story and were very glad to support Jersey Shore BBQ with our business.

Our favorite beach ... Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ

Our favorite beach … Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ

We hope to go back again to the shore before the summer season gets into full swing … while it’s still affordable to stay within walking distance to the ocean.  Much work is left to be done, and it will be exciting to see the progress made since our trip there now.  Two full days went by very quickly, but we are grateful for the chance to get away for a new adventure.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  Love.  Appreciation.  Family.  Friendships.  Gifts.  Won’t you join me today as we continue to think about Love?  The roses will wilt, the chocolates will soon all be eaten, and the trip to the New Jersey shore will be nothing more than a mere memory.   But just like the great ocean, there is one Gift that is Constant and never changes.  Not just on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or Easter, but this Gift is always available to each one of us.  My prayer is that you will accept Him with your whole heart, for He was given to you with the greatest Love there ever was.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Greater Love has no one than this,
that He lay down His life for His friends.
John 15:13

Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Happy Day-After Valentine’s Day …

Until next time,
Debbie

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/

And Then The Floods Came …

9 Sep

I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures
of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember
the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.
Genesis 9:15 -16

 

Taking advantage of the final 3 day weekend of the summer, my hubby and I took off for the New Jersey shore early Saturday morning.  With the impending forecast of rain threatening our mini-vacation, we spent as much time on the sand and in the sea as possible.  Having just returned from our big family vacation with our kids and my mother only four short weeks ago, we anticipated a bit different time of relaxation.  Mingled with the usual noises of the beach and crashing surf was the distinct sound of an occasional snore coming from my husband’s resting body.  I sat comfortably in my sand chair, reading, sunning, laughing at the birds, and people watching.  The little ones were the most intriguing … so much so that Papaw initiated a spontaneous invitation for Cole to bring his parents up for the last day of this holiday weekend.  Prior plans, along with a wet and rainy weather outlook helped make their decision to stay in Baltimore.  Much to our surprise and delight, the sunshine remained bright and clear for most of the day on Monday for those of us who decided to take our chances.  After driving through and admiring the old Victorian and spiritually established beach town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, we headed home.  It was there that we found the rain.

 

Weather forecasts are unpredictable.  I guess they are that way by nature, because weather itself is unpredictable.  To a certain extent, we can be warned about incoming weather, but there always needs to be room for error, change, and adjustment.   This time was no different.  We heard that it was going to rain … the remnant from Tropical Storm Lee was coming up from the gulf coast.  Little did we know that it was going to rain and not stop raining for nearly 60 hours straight, with very small pockets of eerie silence as the rains would momentarily calm down to a sprinkle.  But without fail, the torrential downpours would begin once again, adding to the puddles and gathering ponds and lakes of water everywhere.  Now one of the things so special about south central PA are the many creeks and small streams that literally finger their way through the country side and valleys.  Branching from the stately Susquehanna River that flows through the heart of this picturesque area, they quickly began to overflow their banks and flood everything in their paths. 

Pizza Hut in Hershey, PA

In our former life back in the ‘90s when we used to live out here, a large percentage of our time was spent in the Sweetest Place on Earth.  Our beloved Hershey is one of the worst flooded areas in our local vicinity.  The Swatara Creek flows through the west end of town, where its excessive waters have gathered in great depths in roadways and parking lots, destroying restaurants, businesses, homes, and the zoo.  All up and down the Susquehanna River, from Maryland to New York, widespread damage and destruction is taking place as crest levels are rising to their fullest.

We have been blessed by living where we do … our home is located on the side of a ‘big hill’, as our grandson Cole calls it.  It certainly is not monumental, but from the perspective of this 2 year old, he huffs and puffs and grunts a bit as he carries his kick ball “up the big hill, Mimi!”  He then turns around and kicks the ball and chases it as it naturally races down the hill to the back of the yard.  It is the perfect slant and incline for snow sledding in the winter and slippy slide in the summer!   It is this slope of fun that has protected our home from water damage caused by the heavy rains and flooding. 

In a few days, the rains will cease.  The waters will recede.  The damaged will be rebuilt.  The destroyed will be cleared away and replaced.  Somehow, people will find the hope, the desire, and the motivation to do what is necessary to carry on with life. 

Life does go on … and in its course through the years, it will once again send the heavy rains causing the flood waters to rise.   Much like the circumstances in our lives, the heavy rains come, heartache and sorrow flood our lives and causes damage and destruction.  In the midst of these storms, won’t you join me in asking Jesus Himself to shower on us?  Shower His love, His faithfulness, and His mercy.  click here to listen to the song  Heavy Rain by Adam’s Voice.

Until next time,
Debbie

 

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 
and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood
came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the
coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be
taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding
with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day
your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known
at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch
and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready,
because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Matthew 24:38-44

 

 

 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 sea gull taken at Belmar Beach, New Jersey on September 3, 2011.