Tag Archives: Children

Christmas 2016

21 Dec

Yes, it’s that time of year already. Unbelievable. Crazy. Fast. In fact, it’s been so fast that I’m not even sure of anything that has changed since this time last year! I do know that my grandkids have gotten taller and the beards on our men have come and gone … and come back again, and the digital read-out on the bathroom scales keeps changing. Other than that, life has carried on with just a few variations to keep things interesting.

We ‘celebrated’ winter in early 2016 with 36″ of snow in one snowfall in March.

Kim is now a LuLaRoe consultant and enjoys bringing ladies together to have fun while they shop, try on, and buy trendy, comfortable clothing. Check out her Facebook page at… http://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoeKimArndtvip

In May, Troy graduated with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity from University of Maryland University College.

Cole is now 7½ years old and in the 2nd grade, and our 4½ year-old Lillianne is in pre-K. These two little people continually bring joy and fun to Mimi and Papaw’s hearts!!

Merry Christmas!

Ryan and Brittany flew out from Seattle to spend an extended Easter weekend with the family. We toured Hershey and Gettysburg, colored Easter eggs and also celebrated Christmas 2015. Later in August, Verizon flew Ryan out for a business trip in DC, enabling us to see our son again for a quick visit.

After much preparation and anticipation, Brittany was just accepted into the University of Washington School of Medicine at Gonzaga in Spokane, WA. We celebrate with her and Ryan and in her great ambitions to be a doctor!

Tim rode around 12,000 miles on his motorcycle this year … he and his brother, along with 2 buddies put 4800 of those miles on their Harleys and went to Sturgis, South Dakota. Tim and I took 2 major rides on the bike – one to Wadsworth, OH and another to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, along with many local day trips. We really enjoy this time together!

I took a road trip this summer with some of my family to visit special relatives in Kentucky and Virginia – what a wonderful time we had as we loved on one another and ate some really good southern-cooked food! I also flew to Indy a few times this year to visit my momma and family, taking Cole with me once as part of his Christmas present from last year. It’s always great to spend time with family!

We hosted some out-of-town guests this year … my Mom came for Memorial Day weekend, my little brother and his family came for the 4th of July followed by my other brother a couple of weeks later. Then, my life-long best bud, Becky, flew out from Crowley, Louisiana to help celebrate my birthday in October.

A very special group of women gather in my home each month to be refreshed by one another and by Jesus. I’m in awe of the lives He has hand-picked to be part of this ministry and am blessed by these ladies and their own personal journeys and walks with Jesus.

As Christmas draws near, with it comes the excitement of good times with friends and family, gifts and giving, carols and cards. This past year, I once again started up an old family tradition that Tim and I used to do with our children when they were young. Every new greeting card that we received for Christmas 2015 went into a festive gift bag and kept in a prominent place where I have my daily devotions. Beginning with January 1st, I pulled a new Christmas card from the bag and prayed for them that day. Once I had gone through the complete bag, I started over, that time I either texted or emailed the card giver, told them of my tradition and that I would be praying for them that week … asking them to share specifics on how I could pray. So, if you would like to be included in my Christmas card prayers for 2017, we would love to receive a card from you!   I’m excited to be part of what God wants to do in the lives of my family and friends this next year!

From our home to yours,
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Tim and Debbie

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3

If you receive Morsels of Mercy via email, go directly to the website for additional pictures of our family
https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas in July

29 Jul

In all my prayers for all of you,
I always pray with joy …
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you,
since I have you in my heart.
Philippians 1:3 and 7

 

It sure has been a fun and exciting July … a visit over the 4th with my little brother and his young family, then two weeks later, my big brother and his wife made a spontaneous trip to the east coast. They also came to visit some of her family, making our home their place to kick back and get a couple good night’s sleep. We were especially blessed to also have Cole and Lillie with us that weekend for their mid-summer visit with Mimi and Papaw. Blueberry picking, yard sales, and catching lightning bugs were some of the favorite things enjoyed by our little Loves, not to mention the fun play time with Uncle Jay and Aunt Sue while the guys repeated the weekend motto of “It wasn’t me!” With only a few more days left in this month, anticipation of more family fun time this weekend catapults me into August!

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So where are the Jingle bells, red Santa suits and the mangers filled with hay? I have my own assortment of them and more in greeting-card form in a bright and shiny gift bag, easily accessible and set in a prominent place. If you sent a Christmas card to us this past December, you have received this text or email from me … or a similar version.

I once again started up an old Van Hook
family tradition this year and began
putting my Christmas cards that we
just received in a bright shiny Christmas gift bag.
Each morning I pull the front card from the bag and
pray specifically for that family that day.
I just wanted you to know that today is your day.
Thank you for the Christmas greetings and the
year-long reminder of you and yours
and our special friendship! Much love!!

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Once the stack of cards cycled through the first time, I then began to pull a new card at the beginning of each week, followed by another text or email …

In keeping with our family Christmas tradition,
I pulled your Christmas card once again this morning.
I will be praying specifically for you and yours this week …
could you please share how you would like me to pray?
Are there any urgent requests, concerns on your heart,
or needs that I can take to Jesus on your behalf?

I have received requests from parents with children who need Jesus. Others have concerns regarding job frustrations. Some have severe health issues. Children have requested prayer for their parents. There is a need for guidance and direction during a recent divorce and others have requested prayer for safe travels this summer. Another friend reached out regarding her husband’s addiction to alcohol.  No matter who we are, the sun will shine and the rain will fall. We will experience immense joy and extreme sorrow. We embrace peace, but also suffer pain. There are always reasons to pray for others.

With the ease and convenience of real-time communication and opportunities to send virtually “cost-free” greetings on various forms of social media, we don’t put postage stamps on envelopes and mail Christmas cards out like we used to. However, if you would like to be included in my tradition of Christmas card prayers, put Tim and I on your Christmas card list this year! I would be honored to take you and yours to Jesus throughout the coming new year!

Won’t you join me in celebrating Christmas in July … and all the other months, too? This could become a tradition in your own life – one that by the very act of doing connects hearts, tears down walls, and boosts our faith in the One who has the answers!

Until next time,
Debbie

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

At the Playground

6 May

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

 

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

 

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

 

March 26, 2016

Gettysburg, PA

March 25, 2016

Hershey Chocolate World

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

 

April 16, 2016

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

~~

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

Won’t you join me … at the playground?

Until next time,
Mimi

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

Joshua 22:5

 

 

One Year at CASA

16 Mar

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Until next time,
Debbie

Merry Christmas 2015

24 Dec

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

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

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

 

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

December 2015

Cole and Lillianne

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Ready for church!

Ready for church

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

 

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

Merry Christmas and a Very Blessed New Year,
Debbie

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

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

 

 

 

 

Your Love Never Fails

11 Nov

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Until next time!
Debbie

 

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

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

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

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

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

Life Is A Journey

21 Sep

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

“Through All Of It”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Debbie

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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