Tag Archives: Birth

Crazy Days

6 Mar

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

Here it is … March 6th already!  It was -6° this morning as the warm sunshine streamed through the window and the fireplace kept me toasty. Yesterday was a snow day from work, gifting us with somewhere between 7 and 9 inches of fluff, depending on where I placed the ruler. I tried to be a good steward of this unexpected free time, making the most of each moment, knowing that soon I will be adjusting to a new schedule.

Crazy days? Yep! Life seems to have exploded in my world since I last wrote. These last three weeks have been the kind of crazy that causes me to make sure I’m holding on tight, closing one eye but peeking out with the other, afraid that I’m going to miss something! Some events are good, others are great and fantastic, some are not so wonderful and even sad, while others simply reflect life as it is … life. For my sanity’s sake, here is the condensed version of the last 3 weeks …

  • A friend in Albuquerque and my sister-in-law had surgery.  Both are doing great!
  • Friends brought home their 79 day-old baby, a 1 lb. 9 oz. micro-preemie born at 25 weeks … she’s healthy & growing like a weed!!
  • My mother was supposed to have flown out for a visit – but several crazy reasons why she didn’t.
  • A life-long dear friend from our beloved Southport Church of the Nazarene passed away. He was 91 years old. A grand reunion took place not only in Heaven, but at his funeral … I wish I could’ve been there.
  • Cole, Kim and Lillie have all been sick with one thing or another in the past 3 weeks.
  • Tim had a ‘routine’ nuclear heart stress test – everything seems to be good.
  • My great niece was born 2 weeks early … welcome Lyla Kay!
  • It snowed 5 inches. A few days later it snowed 3 inches. Yesterday it snowed 7 more inches.
  • Cole and Lillie

    Cole and Lillie

    Our Loves came and spent the night and we went sledding in the fresh snow.

  • Another friend has cancer.
  • A fun-filled visit from Tim’s mom last weekend
  • Refresh. A group of ladies that will meet in my home once a month … starting soon.
  • I applied, interviewed, and accepted a new job. I then gave my 2 week notice at the law firm.
  • I realized that nerves can cause heart-attack symptoms … my arm/chest has been hurting from time to time.

I’m sure my life isn’t any more crazy than yours. Plans change, babies are born and people die every day. Everyone has loved ones who are not well, and the details of our everyday can sometime overwhelm us and cause stress and anxiety, which will often take our focus off of Jesus. These days have been crazy, but at the same time, there has been a Constant, a Presence, and an Assurance that Jesus is in control.

Won’t you join me today in keeping our focus on Jesus even in the midst of the crazy full days of life?

Until next time,
Debbie

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

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

 

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

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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/

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Happy Birthday, Daddy!

24 Dec

 

“This is a day you are to commemorate;
for the generations to come you shall celebrate
it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
Exodus 12:14

Dear Daddy,

Today’s the day! I echo the thought of every child around the world – Today’s Christmas Eve! But for me, in my child-like heart, this day is more than special because of Christmas. It’s your birthday!

As a young girl, I always thought there was something magical about the fact that your birthday was on Christmas Eve … it made the day more fun and added to the excitement and anticipation! Now that I’m all grown up, I realize that you so willingly shared your one day of the year with us kids and Mom, making sure that “all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care”. I love you, Dad!

Remi

Remi

Tim and I are on our way to Indy to spend the next few days with Mom and the family. Family – oh Daddy! Much has taken place since last year’s birthday letter. Your Grandpa heart would be a melted gooey mess these days as Tim and Courtney have been blessed with a new little life. Remington Kimber has brought an unexpected joy to the family, along with her adorable older sisters, Azure and Zarah. I’m sure that Remi’s daddy will fill her heart with stories and tales of her Grandpa Johnny and your love for her all the way from Heaven!

A special blessing will be added to the family in March when another great granddaughter arrives! Jay and Sue are excited as Jason and Leslie will be bringing a little sister home to Jaxon and Bo. I’m sure that you can remember those special days when you and Mom brought us kids home from the hospital … and then your “grandchillren”.

Enough about us here … let’s chat about your news! How about that Joe Talhelm?! I imagine you were a bit surprised to see him so soon! Did he tell you that I flew down to Louisiana to visit him and Becky back in April? Life has a way of turning crazy, unexpected and unthinkably difficult moments into morsels of mercy … wake-up calls , second chances, renewed opportunities, blessings and personal gifts from God. We will never understand  how all of that works.  Then Tim’s step-father, Bill ~ Jesus Himself no doubt introduced you to him. He was a good man, and Tim’s mom misses him so. I know that people say our loss is Heaven’s gain, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those who lost. I read this a few days ago …

“Christmas this year will be unavoidably sad for many people … perhaps for you.
Take heart!
Christmas needn’t be merry to be meaningful.
It’s the Christ of Christmas we celebrate,
not Christmas itself.”

Daddy, as your family gathers to celebrate Jesus during this Christmas season, please know that for those of us who you called your chillren, we will always celebrate YOU on December 24th … and everyday when we see you in the eyes of your siblings, in the actions of your grandkids, and in the hearts of all who loved you!

I love you, Daddy … happy birthday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

“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 verbiage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.”

Mother’s Day Weekend

16 May

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

This time last week I was waking to the sound of a couple barking dogs and feeling refreshed after my long journey on the road. My iPhone and I left work on Thursday afternoon and arrived in my mom’s driveway several conversations later. Driving the long distance between my house in PA and hers in Indy is always improved as I talk to friends and family along the way.

It was December since I had last been with my momma – when she flew out to celebrate an early Christmas with our family … and an October birthday visit was the last time I had been in Indy. No matter how much time has passed, mom’s Chihuahuas, Ginger and Walker, always greet me at the door with an exuberant welcome! It felt good to be home … my childhood home, where my parents raised me and my brothers.

The moms and daughters at Steak & Shake

The moms and daughters at Steak & Shake

The weekend started out with a bunch of hugs and laughter when mom and I met my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for lunch Friday noon. The same fun-loving, silly mold was used for these two ladies and we’re always guaranteed a great visit! A celebration of Amy’s birthday made our time together even more special! Until next time, sweet ladies …

 

Aunt Debbie and Remington Kimber Wells

Aunt Debbie and Remington Kimber Wells

Another form of a birth day celebration was next on our agenda as we drove the few miles to my youngest brother’s home to meet my 6 day-old niece. Remington Kimber was bright-eyed and awake for our visit, giving plenty of opportunity for several photos to be taken. What a doll baby – lots of dark hair, pudgy little nose, and a sweet momma and proud papa besides!

 

Once back to the house, I ventured out to the garage to see how daunting my next task was going to be. 17 years ago when our family moved from PA to Albuquerque, we left several boxes for safe keeping … items we didn’t necessarily need right then, but didn’t want to get rid of, but knew we didn’t have the room to store them where we were going. Since I drove out, and since we’re finally buying a house that has plenty of room for such storage, [‘Buying a House’ … an upcoming blog] I began to open boxes of keepsakes … or not so keeping. Such mixed feelings overwhelmed me as I found mold and mildew that had wreaked havoc on some of the contents, creating a pile of trash instead of treasures. My favorite find was a particular set of 3 long boxes that I knew were filled with memories from my high school years, CB radio days, and mementos of young loves. Oh my! [‘Keepsake Treasures … or Not’ – another upcoming blog] Gratefully, the items that held most value to my heart were fine and I began to load my car till it was full and overflowing – barely leaving enough room for travel bags and driver! The grandkids will be excited to find some ‘new’ toys to add to their assortment of playthings at Mimi and Papaw’s house – but probably not as excited as their mom and Uncle Ryan will be! Care-A-Lot car and castle, complete with all of the Care Bear gang … Hot Wheels, Match Box cars, and even a Tonka truck or two!

 

Mother's Day with my momma

Mother’s Day with my momma

TV shows, computer updates, and enjoying the front porch swing filled in the gaps between projects and family time. 15 of us gathered for dinner on Saturday evening, laughing at the antics of 2 year-old Jaxon as we all took turns cuddling Baby Remi.

 

Mother’s Day was filled to the brim – an unexpected and extremely special visit from Louisiana, [‘Joe Talhelm … a Film Documentary’ …  another upcoming blog!] church service with family and friends, lunch out with my precious baby niece and her family, followed by my long drive home. It was a day that was without a doubt ordained by God … a gift. I’m trying my best to always seize the moment – to appreciate every aspect of the day, giving praise to the One who raises and sets the sun. Won’t you join me in seizing each moment … every morsel of time … and every blessing?

Until next time,
Debbie

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my recent trip to Indy 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.10202527516323935.1073741854.1076414018&type=1&l=0aaf67d0b2

TWO ~ Minnie Mouse Birthday

2 May

 Oh, that they had such a [mind and] heart in them
always [reverently] to fear Me and keep all My commandments,
that it might go well with them and with their children forever!
Deuteronomy 5:29

 

Lillianne Hope

Lillianne Hope

Dressed in her own little red and white polka dot Minnie Mouse dress, the birthday girl was caught up in the excitement of yet another birthday party.  Being an invited guest and participant to several birthday parties already, I wasn’t sure if she really realized that all the hoopla was for her this time…until the room erupted into singing Happy Birthday.  At that moment, her little face lit up into a big grin, turned and looked at everyone while adding her own precious voice to the chorus of celebration ~ all the way down to ‘dear Lillie’!  Dear, dear sweet Lillie!

 

With plenty to chose from, Minnie Mouse and the gang have been top entertainers in Lillie’s world for quite some time … relatively speaking for a two year old.  The creative momma once again ran with a theme ~ this time of red and white polka dots and the infamous Disney Mouse, and turned their home into a place of fun birthday celebration!  Lunch was served on the buffet as Hot Diggity Dogs and Peanut Butter and Jelly were the main course, complimented by Daisy’s Garden Veggies and Donald’s Dip, Carabaella’s Cheese and Crackers, Goofy’s Grapes and Minnie Bow Ties.  After tummies were full, games and activities followed … pin the bow on Minnie’s head, Minnie Mouse bean bag toss, and the Disney gang tattoo parlor and coloring shop.  Little ones have so much fun playing party games and simply being together…always wanting to be in the middle of the excitement!  Surrounded by her friends and family, Lillianne helped sing happy birthday to herself and then enjoyed the deliciousness of yet another of her momma’s creatively decorated and very tasty cakes.  Gift time escalated into quite a frenzy of wrap and bows, colorful and glittery tissue paper, and little girls jumping up and down wanting to be the next one to help Lillie open her present! It was all fun … a bit chaotic, but fun!  Among lots of pretty dresses and outfits, princess boutiques, jewelry and shoes, Lillie was immediately attracted to this one gift, which still in the package went straight up to her mouth.  From somewhere deep inside of our Lillie, she is a performer, making this microphone a perfect gift for the little girl who stands on the hearth belting out songs and twirling around as she sings!

 

Lillie and her microphone

Lillie and her microphone

What a wonderful day of birthday fun, ending the celebration with family photos with the grandparents and a Skype session with Uncle Ryan and Aunt Brittany in Seattle.  A very happy but exhausted little Minnie Mouse was taken upstairs for a much needed nap.  It’s hard work turning two years old and being the center of attention all day!

 

It seems like just yesterday when I made my middle-of-the night trip down to the hospital in Annapolis.  I prayed as I waited in the quiet of the lobby for news of a successful C Section and the announcement that our long-awaited little granddaughter had arrived.  That day, Sunday, April 29, 2012, was truly life-changing as we welcomed Lillianne Hope into our hearts.

 

Once again, there’s reason to celebrate!  Won’t you join me in the midst of our busy and hectic day to find a special morsel of life that brings joy and happiness to our hearts?  Let’s on-purpose celebrate!

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

One day children were brought to Jesus
in the hope that he would lay hands  on them and pray over them.
The disciples shooed them off.
But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone,
don’t prevent them from coming to me.
God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.”
Matthew 19:13-15
The Message

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my recent trip to Louisiana 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.10202452320004074.1073741853.1076414018&type=1&l=958d7a6723

 

 

Hands of Time

10 Jan

My times are in Your hands.
Psalm 31:15a

Life is full of illusions, each one based on perspective…especially when it comes to time, don’t you think?  As a little girl, I vividly remember that summers were long and seemed to never end … going fishing with my Daddy,  playing board games on the front porch with the neighbor kids, riding my bike, catching lightning bugs in the dark, and reading until I fell asleep each night.  Then I think back to when I was expecting my two children.  Despite being sick at all hours of the day or night along with the aches and pains from sharing my body with a growing baby, I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant!  But even with all of the excitement and anticipation, those were truly the longest 9 months ever, with the biggest illusion of all time following … the next 30 years were but a mere blink of an eye!

According to the dictionary, an illusion is an erroneous perception of reality.  Of course, every day in the past 30 years truly had 24 hours each, and some of those hours were long and grueling.  In fact, the teen years seemed to last forever … not sure if the next moment would have attitude or a gesture of affection.  But here we are, over a decade later, and those crazy years seem like yesterday…

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

I have even come to realize as I walk hand in hand with Jesus, that my own spiritual pathway can be full of illusions.  Countless times through the years, the circumstances of life have literally knocked the breath out of me, leaving me frightened and anxious, not knowing what to expect as I round the next corner of my journey.  That’s where faith comes in … and I mean blind faith.  The kind that leaves me no other option but to hang on to the Hand Who promises to strengthen when I am weak.  The kind of faith that trusts when there is no understanding.  My personal perspective of total and complete disaster has always been salvaged by the redeeming Hand of Jesus …

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
(this present life)
are not worth being compared with the glory
that is about to be revealed to us
and in us and for us and
conferred on us!
Romans 8:18 Amplified

A little over a year ago, Kim, Lillianne and I spent a few days with my mom in Indianapolis.  I was reminded during those brief days together how life is full of illusions, and how quickly time seems to slip through our hands.

Keep His decrees and commands,
which I am giving you today,
so that it may go well with you and your children after you
and that you may live long in the land
the LORD your God gives you for all time.
Deuteronomy 4:40

Oct 2012
Each hand represents life …
life that continually reaches out
Mimi Wells, Mimi, Momma, and Lillianne

Today is January 10th … and tomorrow is already an illusion.  Where does time go?  The following is the devotional reading from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest from December 31.   Won’t you join me in leaving the Irreparable Past in His hands, and reaching out into the Irresistible Future with Him?

Security from Yesterday. “God requireth that which is past.” At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “For the Lord will go before you.” This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rereward. God’s hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.

Security for Today. “For ye shall not go out with haste.” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and REACH out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

Leave the past to the mercy of God,
The present to the love of God,
The future to the providence of God.

Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 

God’s goodness and mercy are no illusions … I’m grateful that they will follow me all the days of my life.

Until next time,
Debbie

Happy New Year from the Van Hooks!

1 Jan

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

Mimi and Papaw with their loves

Mimi and Papaw with their loves

Just a few days ago, Tim and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our little loves and their parents in their Baltimore home.  A couple weeks previous, God blessed us with an extra special Christmas visit from my mother when we received our 4th snowfall of the season while she was here.  What fun we all had as we took turns sledding down our big hill and watching the pure delight in the eyes of our little loves.  And now as the New Year arrives, we anticipate a belated Christmas celebration with our kids from Seattle.  We learned long ago that there’s so much more to celebrating Christmas than what we do or where we are on the 25th of December.  It truly is a season … a Spirit of celebration that centers our focus on the gift of Jesus and His birth.

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate)
and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us;
and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty),
such glory as an only begotten son receives from His father,
full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.
John 1:14 Amplified

 

For out of His fullness (abundance)
we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with]
one grace after another and
spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing
and even favor upon favor
and gift [heaped] upon gift.
John 1:16 Amplified

 

Out of His abundance, God provides for our every need …  Tim continues to be busy working for Kitchen Saver as the Installation Manager, and I remain at the Elder Law Firm of Robert Clofine where I work in the office.  When not working and the weather permits, Tim and I enjoying riding our ‘new’ motorcycle which we bought in June.  When not on the bike, we love spending time in the kitchen, looking for new recipes, creating healthy dishes, smoking meats, and eating tasty foods.  We grew a small garden this past summer, freezing much of what we grew and buying even more at local produce stands.  Our freezers are once again full and overflowing, providing us with tasty treats throughout the next year.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Out of His abundance, God provides one grace after another!  I think of our trip to Seattle in the fall … what a great time we had with Ryan and Brittany!  They are gracious hosts, always providing us with warm hospitality, great food, and wonderful memories of another special time together!  This particular time, we included a short trip to Portland, Oregon and another few days to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Our other travel destinations were Indiana, West Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio, not to mention the trips here and there all on the motorcycle and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Of course, we can’t leave out the all-important short journeys back and forth to the south side of Baltimore to see our little loves and their parents.  And in April, Kim’s house was full and running over as Uncle Ryan and Auntie Britt, along with Mimi Wells came to visit and to be present at Lillianne’s baby dedication.  We have certainly been blessed this year by being with friends and family!

The Arndt Family

The Arndt Family

Out of His abundance, God provides His favor!  The Arndt family purchased a house in January of 2013, and have had no problems spreading out into all corners and cubbies of this nice large home.  Both Troy and Kim turned 30 years old when celebrating birthdays this year, while Cole will turn five years old in March and Lillianne two in April.  Troy continues to be employed by Booz Allen Hamilton and has two remaining semesters in the process of earning a master’s degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.   Kim enjoys being a stay-at-home mom, with a new twist to the routine as Cole attends preschool three mornings each week.  Their family is extremely involved in various ministries at Grace Pointe Nazarene Church in Severn, MD, where they have an awesome network of friends and church family!

Ryan and Brittany   at a friend's wedding

Ryan and Brittany
at a friend’s wedding

Out of His abundance, He provides favor!Ryan is still employed by Verizon Wireless and is currently working at a store in Bellevue, WA – literally in Microsoft’s backyard.  Brittany changed jobs this year and loves her new position … working for the University of Washington at Harborview in the Internal Medicine Department as a Project Coordinator for the residents and medical students.  She has her sights set on medical school, so her spare time is spent studying so she can take the entrance exam this coming spring.  In Ryan’s spare time, one would most likely find him with a good book at a nearby coffee shop, playing Frisbee, or watching the sport of the season.

Out of His abundance, God provides spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing!  If nothing else existed in my life, knowing Jesus as my Redeemer and Savior would be enough.  But God has gifted me this year with special blessings that I will forever hold dear to my heart!  I was able spend time with special friends that I had not seen since we left Albuquerque 7 years ago.  Also, my continued prayers for my co-workers, boss, and myself have finally begun to tear down guarded walls of tension that have made for a better work environment and opportunities to talk about Jesus.  My prayer list is full of names that belong to people I know and love – some with illnesses and diseases, others with relational troubles, those that have lost loved ones, while still others need to know the life-changing love of Jesus.  I’m daily learning that a life of true obedience to God is one of spiritual blessing … overflowing from His abundance!

Well, another year has quickly flipped the pages of our calendars … a year full of God’s gifts, favor, spiritual blessings, and grace.  As we move forward into 2014, let us not forget that it is in Him that we live, and move and have our being.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:28

Our prayer is that you had a wonderful Christmas, and that it will be followed by an awesome and an abundant New Year!
Tim and Debbie

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Happy 80th Birthday Daddy … and Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

“Honor your father and mother”–
which is the first commandment with a promise– 
“that it may go well with you and that you
may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2

Dear Daddy…

I’m sure the cries of a tiny baby born on Christmas Eve 80 years ago really added to the excitement of Christmas! I wonder, Daddy, if your arrival made the story of Baby Jesus become more tangible for your young brothers and sisters. There probably weren’t many gifts wrapped and placed under the tree in your home in that small coal mining town in the hills of Lee County, Virginia, but there was a new baby.

Oh what a party we would be having today if you were still here with us! The invitation list would be long – friends and family would gather, and those who couldn’t would send cards to you! And what fun you would have reading each and every card, over and over again, for days … adding your own few words to make it say exactly what you felt it should say! We would have balloons, party hats, streamers, and party blowouts that the kids of all ages would enjoy! We would hang a bright banner, announcing that we were celebrating your 80th birthday, and we would take lots of pictures, although you would ‘humbly’ say not to take any pictures of you! We would have cake and ice cream, along with all sorts of snacks and goodies. You would unwrap presents, no doubt with the help of all the little kids who like to do that sort of thing.  I imagine you would get a new pair of pajamas and a maybe new sweatshirt with tiny little painted hand prints all over the front … from the new generation of little ones in our family. We would watch several of our home movie DVDs and have a lot of laughs about how everyone has changed over the years. After everyone would go home and the house would be a bit less chaotic, my family would still be there … in town from Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, for a few days to celebrate you, mom, and Christmas. Since I am still day-dreaming, the normal would be Mimi and Papaw Wells … and all would be right in the world, at least as we know it. What a wonderful day of celebrating you and 80 years!!

Daddy at his 60th birthday party

Daddy at his 60th birthday party

But life is what it is …. fragile. The last bright banner we hung in celebration of you announced your 60th birthday. The invitation list was long, the guests were many, the gifts were fun, and cards were poured over for days and days. After everyone had gone home and the house was a bit less chaotic, my young family was there, enjoying life as it was then with Grandma and Grandpa Wells. However, everything really was not right in the world even then. You had struggled with so much sickness for the past few years and you still were not real well, but we made the most of every opportunity that we had to celebrate you and your life. And that’s what I want to still do, as long as possible … to honor the man who loved my mom, his family and his Jesus. Happy 80th birthday, Daddy!

Me and Mom playing in the snow

Me and Mom playing in the snow

In celebration of the Christmas season this year, mom flew out to spend a few days with us here in Pennsylvania. We exchanged gifts with one another, and Kim’s two kids especially had a great time unwrapping fun presents from Mimi Wells! The highlight of our time was the additional 4” of snow that fell on our already white-covered ground on Saturday, creating a beautiful winter wonderland and an awesome playground for sledding down the big hill! Mom even giggled her way down the slope a couple of times! What fun we all had as we made new memories … and I know that mom was feeling the tug from memories past … of other snowfalls, other big hills, other little people, and you. After nearly 20 years without you, it’s all still bittersweet, Daddy. All of it.

Well, this Eve of Christmas will come to an end, soon to be announcing the arrival and celebration of Christ’s birth. But before it does, I simply ask the Lord to hand deliver this birthday letter to you … so you know that in my heart you are still loved deeply and celebrated not just on your birthday, but everyday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

Happy 30th!

5 Aug

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come;
but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish
because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
John 16:21

 

It had been a very hot summer so far, and my feet and ankles were beginning to swell by day’s end.  The next day was Tim’s birthday, so despite the heat, I gathered up our dirty clothes and did the wash at the nearby laundromat.  We had also just received word that my sister-in-law was finally in labor, so I wanted to have all of the household chores caught up so I could spend as much time as I wanted during the weekend to visit the new baby and to help out with my young nephew.  Sue was past her due date, and I knew that she was more than ready to have this baby!  I called my mom before going to bed to make sure she would call me when Jay and Sue left for the hospital.   After putting the clean laundry away, I went ahead and set my alarm clock to get up for work, just in case Sue had an exceptionally long labor … all the while hoping that I was going to call in to work so I could take the day off and be with my family.  I then climbed into bed and cuddled my own nearly 9 month pregnant belly up as close as I could to my husband.  Sleep quickly took over my tired and swollen body.

 

A few hours later … Wow!  Something just popped and an unmistakable release of pressure immediately came over me!  I jumped out of bed … the best that I could … and with my hands pressed against my body in a protective way, I quickly waddled into the restroom.  A few minutes of inspection confirmed my speculation of what just took place … and all I could think was OH MY GOODNESS!!!!  IT’S NOT TIME YET!!!  Our baby is not due for another 10 days!   What a shock it was for my mother when the phone rang at 4:00 am and it was me on the other end instead of Jay!  She had said from the beginning that this would happen … that Sue would go late and I would go early and we would end up having babies on the same day.  And to make it even more crazy, this was Tim’s birthday!  So much for the awesome gift of a 10-speed bike that I bought him this year!  I was one-upping my own gift by giving him a baby!

Kimberly Kay  5 lbs 5 oz

Kimberly Kay
5 lbs 5 oz

 

Tim holding his little girl

Tim holding his little girl

Within the hour, I began to have contractions that quickly sent us to IU Med Center … about the same time that Jay and Sue were making their way to St. Francis.  My poor parents were zig-zagging across Indianapolis all morning, not wanting to miss either big event, but not sure where to be at what time.  After only 6 hours of labor, Kimberly Kay was born at 10:55 am, weighing 5 pounds and 5 ounces and 18 ½ inches long … such a tiny thing!  An hour and 41 minutes earlier, Sue had delivered Joanna Sue … weighing in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces and 21 ½ inches long.  The girls have always called themselves ‘twin cousins’.

Sue holding Kimberly next to Joanna

Sue holding Kimberly next to Joanna

 

What a day that was!  Oh, and happy birthday, Tim!!  And as a side note, August 5th is also Tim’s little sister’s birthday, too.  Becca turned 7 years old that year in 1983.  Two of Tim’s cousins have birthdays on this day.  And August 5th was his grandparents’ wedding anniversary.  Through the years, we have accumulated even more names to the list of birthdays on this crazy day in August!

7 year old Aunt Becca holding 3 day old Kimberly Kay

7 year old Aunt Becca holding 3 day old Kimberly Kay

 

Kimberly Kay was and still is a special answer to a lot of prayers prayed. Many years have come and gone since those times of infertility, and we continue to thank God for blessing our lives with the life of this precious person we call our daughter.

 

Kimberly Kay  ~ 1 year old

Kimberly Kay ~ 1 year old

It has been 30 years since that eventful day in 1983.  We have traveled quite a journey together as a family and find ourselves where we are today, still in love with the tiny little girl who has grown up to be a beautiful woman, wife, and mother of her own two precious children.

 

Happy Birthday Tim and Kim!!

Happy Birthday Tim and Kim!!

Won’t you join me in celebrating life?   Whether you know someone with a birthday today or not, find a special person and tell them that you love them!!  And if you have an August 5th birthday person in your life, please drop me a note and let me know!

 

Happy Birthday Tim, Kim, Joanna, Becca!
Have a special day!!

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
1 John 3:4

 

 

 

Four

29 Mar

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us
New Birth into a Living Hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

He excitedly jumped up from his chair, whirled around to the crowd of party on-lookers and busted out with “Water Wheels! Water Wheels!”   I glanced over at his momma with a quizzical look, and she could only shrug her shoulders in return as her son obviously knew all about this fun bathtub toy.  CARS Hydro Wheels, along with many other nice gifts will supply my young grandson with countless hours and hours of playtime!

As I do each year when my kids, and now my grandkids, have a birthday, I take a trip down memory lane and look at pictures.  Last weekend was no exception as Cole Michael celebrated his 4th birthday.  The haunting memories of the events surrounding his emergency birth six weeks early still seem so fresh to my heart.  With tears in my eyes, I relived those frightening moments that stretched into many days as this tiny baby was forced to make an early entrance due to severe pre-eclampsia.  But those days quickly turned into weeks, months, and now years.  Four of them!  Each year comes with a gazillion photos taken, every one telling the story of how God enabled two people, instantly-turned-parents, to care for and nurture, love and provide for this little boy I affectionately call Bubbas … short for Bubbalicious!

Cole checking out the birthday cake and bird launcher

Cole checking out the birthday cake and bird launcher

Having been sick with the flu just days before the grand celebration, Cole was still alittle on the reserved and quiet side as he walked into the fully transformed Sunday School room (at their church) to find he was surrounded by ANGRY BIRDS and their pigs.  For those of you who may not be up on the latest electronic games, this seems to be a favorite among old and young alike … and is most often found and played on smart phones and ipads.  In the game, players use a slingshot to launch silly wingless birds at pigs stationed on or within various scaffold-type structures, with the intent of destroying all the pigs on the playing field.  Mom and dad’s cell  … and even Mimi’s have been handed to Cole since he was very young … and his chubby little fingers have mastered the concept of the game and have kept him quiet and entertained on many occasions.

Cole paying close attention as his Dad reads a birthday card.

Cole paying close attention as his Dad reads a birthday card.

Several game stations were set up around the birthday room, where little kiddos could throw balls and knock down boxes or pin the tail on the ANGRY BIRD.  There were fruit and veggie plates, along with pepperoni pizza … and birthday cupcakes / cake  ~ each in ANGRY BIRDS décor.  Cole entered the room and slowly walked around, taking it all in … lingering at the gift table and eyeing the packages with C-O-L-E written on each card.  The evening before the party, I heard his parents talking to him about how people will give cards with their gifts and that it is important to read each one first before opening the gift.  Troy told him that he needs to listen to what the card says and then he will also find out who the gift is from, so he can then thank them.  From Mimi’s perspective, I was most impressed with how Cole listened and followed through on those instructions.  Before opening each gift, he patiently sat beside his Daddy and listened as the card was read.  His little buddy Bella was sitting next to him as he opened his presents.  When Troy read the card that said “from Bella, Irina, and Brian”, Cole reached over, touched her arm, and with a big grin, said “Thanks, Bella!”

Saturday was the party day.  His actual birthday was Sunday, March 24th.  Even though we set aside a particular day to celebrate his birth, in all reality, we celebrate this precious little life every day!  Most days, there is usually a moment or two that Cole wants to hold the phone and tell his Mimi something exciting about his day.  This causes me to think about my relationship with Jesus.   Today is Good Friday.  Sunday is Easter.  We all have great reason to celebrate and rejoice as we consider the death and resurrection of our Savior.  But let’s not stop here.  After the Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies have all been eaten, and the last chorus of “He Lives” has been sung, let’s determine in our hearts that we will continue the celebration of His life, death and resurrection … for it is only through His life that I can truly live…

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
 I do not set aside the grace of God,
for if righteousness could be gained through the law,
Christ died for nothing!
Galatians 2:20-21

It is only by His example that I lay down my life for others …

This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 3:16

I have friends who lost husband, father, and grandpa just a few days ago to cancer … much pain and suffering was endured ~ but now David has a new body and is celebrating Easter at the nail scarred feet of Jesus!

I want to know Christ and the power of His
resurrection and the fellowship of
sharing in His sufferings,
becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow,
to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

 

Just like we celebrated Cole’s birth, and will continue to celebrate his life all year, let’s celebrate our New Birth into a Living Hope through the resurrection of our Jesus!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us
New Birth into a Living Hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish,
spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,
who through faith are shielded by God’s power
until the coming of the salvation that is
ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to
suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire–
be proved genuine and may result in praise,
glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him;
and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9

 

Until next time,
Debbie

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