Tag Archives: food

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,
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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

Please feel welcomed to be a regular follower of my blog at
https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

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Seattle? Yes, Please!

27 Sep

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you … the faith and love that spring
from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that
you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
that has come to you.
Colossians 1:1-6

There it is! As I peered out my window at the endless sea of clouds, I saw it! My heart began to stir with excitement as I saw my first glimpse of the awesome and majestic 14,411 foot Mt. Rainier … for that meant my son and his world was within moments of my grasp! Not literally moments, of course, but after a 5 hour flight, it was as good as moments!!

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

There she is! After gathering our few items we carried onto the plane and made our necessary stops, we wound our way through the concourse of the SeaTac airport to find the one person who knew us and was happy to see us! Brittany’s bright smile and warm hugs melted my heart as she greeted us, posed for pictures with the disheveled travelers, and graciously chauffeured us to a quaint little local spot for breakfast. With full tummies and contented hearts, we relaxed in the cuteness and comfort of Ryan and Brittany’s apartment, chatting non stop and catching up about life.

Group family photo!!

Group family photo!!


There he is! One last shift of work before taking off several days to spend with his parents, I greeted Ryan at the door when he came home a few hours after we arrived. Words will never be able to sufficiently express my heart when that boy of mine wraps me in his arms. It had been over four long months since we were together, so all of a sudden, my world was beyond happy. That first Saturday was completed with a trip to the theater to see Star Trek, Golden Gardens beach, and a big ginormous bowl of homemade guacamole and chips!

We were greeted with bright sunshine and blue sky as we walked over to Caffé Vita for our Sunday morning brew. Coffee and cinnamon rolls jumpstarted our day that then began with worship at Aurora Church of the Nazarene, followed by an afternoon stroll through the Fremont Sunday street market. We then came back, fired up the grill and enjoyed a delicious grilled salmon dinner … family prepared and devoured!!

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Next on our trip itinerary was a 3-hour drive down to Portland, Oregon. Leaving Brittany behind to work, the three of us packed lightly on Monday morning and piled into Ryan’s BMW and headed south. Tim had a few eateries on our to-eat-at list with the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as his inspiration. The first destination on the GPS was breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, where we ate enough food to feed an army! We then drove along the Columbia River to the east, where we stopped to look at several scenic views and waterfalls. The two favorite stops were Wahkeena and Multnomah falls – both breathtaking in their own way. So much so that this Mommy/Mimi heart had to share it all with her loves … thanks to my son who makes sure his mom stays technologically savvy, my iphone5 will ‘facetime’ from anywhere! So as Papaw, Uncle RyRy, and Mimi stood on the bridge as close as the railings would allow, Cole got to see and hear what we were experiencing ~ and he said “Wow, Mimi! A waterfall!!” With 2,783 miles between us, my heart was still tightly wrapped around that little boy, his sister and his parents!!

The Sanchez Family

The Sanchez Family

There they are! Pastor Steve and Jennifer looked the same, except for the two little rug rats they had along with them!! Who would’ve thought?? The last time we saw Jen and Steve was when we left Albuquerque in 2006. No murmurings of little kids were ever spoken and now they have two fine little boys, Ezra (4) and Silas (2). The Sanchez family moved in July where they now pastor the Mollola Nazarene Church. We met them at our 2nd Triple D stop, Podnah’s Pit BBQ, where the food was yummy and the fellowship was wonderful! Definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

CAR2GO

CAR2GO

Our second day in Portland was packed full of tasty treats and a lot of walking! The walking was good since there were so many tasty treats!! Our 3rd DDD stop at Arleta’s Library and Bakery Café offered us a unique and delish breakfast of sweet potato biscuits and gravy along with sweet potato hash browns. We meandered around downtown Portland, checking out Powell’s Book store, the Willamette River, Stumptown Coffee, and the food trucks! Oh … and the countless CAR2GO cars – the little ‘smart’ cars that people can drive for $14 an hour or $73 a day – “Experience spontaneity on wheels: car2go makes transportation flexible. Get in and out wherever you like. Drive as long and as often as you want.” I found them quite fascinating!! After our full day of travels by foot and by car, we arrived safely back in Seattle just in time to take Brittany to dinner and ice cream with us. It was good to be back home!

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Wednesday was a local day of fun – Ryan spent the day with us as we made the traditional walk through Pike Place Market – downtown Seattle. We stopped at our favorite places for crumpets, pizza, cheese, pepper jelly samples, and the original Starbucks – although we didn’t partake there due to the long line. We then walked several blocks to the Columbia Center building, where we went up to the 73rd Sky View Observatory floor. Awesome! Twice as high as the Space Needle for ½ the cost!! An amazing view of Seattle and the surrounding areas in every direction! Mimi once again shared the moment with Cole, who quickly asked if I could show him trains from up there! Dinner that evening was a special treat as we checked out Lil’ Woody’s, a hamburger joint that served the “New Mexican”, smothered with Hatch green chile! Needless to say, we were happy and quite full when we left! Ultimate Frisbee was our evening entertainment, as we watched Ryan and friends play a couple games under the lights in a nearby sports field.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

We woke to our first and only rainy day on Thursday, so Ryan decided to take us for a drive. As we left Seattle, we crossed over floating bridges as we headed east through the Snoqualmie pass toward Spokane. The further we drove, the less it was raining, so once the skies cleared and the sun was shining, we stopped to see the Snoqualmie waterfalls. We really didn’t plan this trip around seeing waterfalls … it just happened that way! Back to Seattle with a quick snack from Paseo Caribbean while we watched the second part of the Batman Trilogy, followed with a late evening dinner at our 4th Triple D stop. Bizzarro Italian Café is literally within walking distance of Ryan and Brittany’s place … very good food!

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

The next two days took me and Tim up to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With Caffé Vita in hand, we borrowed Ryan’s car and drove two hours north to cross the border with our new passcards. Friday kept us in the city, experiencing new sites, eating great food, walking several miles, taking lots of pictures, and simply enjoying the time together. We crossed the bridge Saturday morning to enter North and then West Vancouver where we hiked through rain forests, saw twin waterfalls, then visited Lighthouse Park along the Salish Sea. We arrived back in Seattle in time for a grilled steak dinner and the sweet company of our two left coast kids. It was our final evening together before flying home the next day.

There it is! One thing is for certain … I will always see Mt. Rainier as I fly into Seattle and I will always see it as I fly out. As we boarded the plane on that bright Sunday afternoon, the clouds had cleared, allowing me to once again catch my breath as its massive presence captured my attention.

It was truly a blessing to be in Seattle for vacation. God is a gracious and giving God, full of prevenient grace, protection, answered prayers, faithfulness, and His gifts of family!! It was a real gift to share time, good food, great memories, and lots of love with Ryan and Brittany. I can only imagine that someday, as I enter into Heaven, instead of the majesty of Mt. Rainier, there will be the majesty of Jesus Himself that catches my breath with His presence … as I long to hear Him say “There you are! Welcome home!”

Won’t you join me today in looking forward to that day? Let’s accept God’s gifts of love and forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation, family and life. His gifts of divine appointments and His prevenient grace that can altar the course of eternity!

Until next time,
Debbie

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped
praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order
that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being
strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may
have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom
of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness
of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

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Merry Christmas 2012

21 Dec

In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in Him, and He saved us.

This is the LORD, we trusted in Him;
let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9

Have you ever noticed that in my midst of the busyness of Christmas, there are questions everywhere?  All are demanding answers in order to stay in the fast track of the season.  What size does he wear?  What color of ribbon goes with this wrap?  Should I bake sandies or sugar cookies?  How much money are we suppose to spend on the office gift?  How many places do I set at the table?  All legitimate queries needing a response to complete an action or thought …

What child is this, who laid to rest
on Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping …

Newborn Lillianne

Newborn Lillianne

A child sleeping … the most precious news of the year for the Van Hook family was the birth of our second grandchild, Lillianne Hope Arndt.  This sweet bundle of pure joy was born early on Sunday morning, April 29.  She arrived one day early of her planned entrance, healthy and happy to finally meet the little boy behind the loud and animated voice that she had heard for the past 9 months.  3 year-old Cole has adored his baby sister from the first moment he saw her, laughing and giggling at her, accepting the simple fact that she now belonged to him and his family.   What a thrill it was to also share those first few days at home from the hospital with our son, Ryan, and his girlfriend Brittany.  They didn’t want to miss out on this awesome family event of welcoming Miss Lillie into our world.

Seattle Duck Tour

Seattle Duck Tour

A couple months later, our east coast family flew across country to spend the week of July 4th with Ryan and Brittany in Seattle.  What gracious hosts they were as they made us feel very comfortable in their home, fed us like royalty, and showed us the sights of the city.  The Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, a Seattle Duck Tour, and the zoo were just some of the fun places we visited.  The highlight of the week was the BBQ in the park we had with Brittany’s family from Spokane.  It was very special to finally meet the parents and sister that belong to the girl we all have fallen in love with. The nice and relaxing vacation was certainly an answer to prayers, for having a rambunctious 3 year-old and an infant along for the occasion was potentially hazardous to everyone’s well being and sanity!

Speaking of nice and relaxing, Tim and I love to take advantage of our less stress and more spontaneous life-style these days and the fact that we only live 3 hours from the Atlantic Ocean.  We found ourselves at the shore on 3 different weekends this past summer, enjoying the sand, sun, and surf.  One fun weekend included Kim, Troy, and the kids, and another weekend we stayed with some friends in Toms River. We take our beach chairs and umbrella to the water’s edge and just soak in the day, after which we dine at one of our favorite DDD joints and head home.  We have become quite the fans of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network Channel.  Living in such a close proximity to a few large cities, we have found several unique and quite tasty establishments that have been featured on the popular reality show.  Honey’s Sit and Eat in Philadelphia, Joe Squared in Baltimore, and 10th Ave. Burrito in Belmar, NJ are three of our favorite places to eat.  Since Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc on our summer playground, we are anxious to take a drive out there sometime after the first of the new year…just to see what we can see ~ and to hopefully stop for a burrito.

Mimi Wells met Miss Lillie in June

Mimi Wells met Miss Lillie in June

 

Tim has become quite the domesticated husband this past year … he loves to cook and bake, trying new recipes, and also finding fresh produce at local stands as much as possible.  We have come to realize there are more than 4 seasons to our year … there is strawberry, blueberry, peach, corn, tomato, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and apple season!  We were busy with each one, and our freezer is full and running over!!  My mother chuckles and says that we are a couple nuts squirreling away for the winter!

Lillianne met Grandma Van Hook on Thanksgiving

Lillianne met Grandma Van Hook on Thanksgiving

Both of our mothers are in relatively good health, (my mom had her gall bladder removed in October), both had 3 new great grandbabies born this year, and these two precious ladies still live in Indiana. We are very excited to be able to spend time with them both over the Christmas holiday!  We don’t get to see them as often as we would like, but they are loved more than words can express.

We also don’t get to see our son, Ryan, and his girlfriend, Brittany, as often as we would like.  He is still working for Verizon Wireless and she as a medical transcriptionist.  Weekends of playing ultimate Frisbee with his buddies, keeping up with the latest sport, and relaxing at Starbucks with a good read are some of Ryan’s favorite things…and Brittany, of course!  They are spending the Christmas holiday with her parents in Spokane this year, enjoying their family traditions … so we will greatly anticipate a visit from them later in the winter!!

Work remains stable for us both, for which we are grateful!  Tim continues his position as installation manager at Kitchen Saver, staying very busy with all of his responsibilities.  A few months ago, I was asked to add more hours to my week at Robert Clofine Elder Law Firm, working 32 hours as the office assistant.  I have diligently protected my Fridays, for they are truly life-giving morsels that help retain my sanity by providing me time to write, shop, clean, travel, and have fun with my grand children and daughter.

These are exciting days for Kim and her family!  They just bought a home and will be closing on the sale at the end of this month.  They are moving from a rented townhome that greeted them 2 ½ years ago with nice accommodations and room to expand, into a much larger house that will provide extra space for growing children and all that accumulates with a family of 4 and a dog.  We are happy for them in their find, for it is still about an hour and 10 minutes away from us, located in a great school district, and close to their church.  Cole is a Benson Buddy in the Caravan program on Wednesday nights, and his parents are on the leadership committee for their Encounter service on Sunday nights.  Troy runs the sound and Kim is in charge of the coffee bar.  They are also involved in a weekly Bible study group, MOPS, retreats, and welcoming first time visitors.  Theirs is a busy and full life … just as it should be!  Troy is still employed by Booz Allen Hamilton and in the process of earning a master’s degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.  Kim is working full time at home with Cole and Lillie … a job that has the best benefits of all, such as warm hugs, dirty diapers, snotty noses, and slobbery kisses.

This Christmas season, now as a Mimi of two, I find myself asking questions from my heart as I look at Cole and Lillie in awe, … ‘who is this child, asleep here in my arms?’  I can only imagine the questions that the shepherds, the wise men, and even His own parents asked as they gazed down at the Baby before them.

Who is this child asleep on the manger?
Tender and mild, this intimate stranger
Recklessly, wildly loving a dangerous world

Who is this light invading our darkness?
Glorious night, the sun rising for us
Conquering might, He captures the hardest of hearts;
we sing…

Little did they know at that time, what all was wrapped up in that tiny bundle of Life!  The Answers to their questions have filled hearts to overflowing, offered forgiveness, redeemed broken lives, restored marriages, healed the sick, and brought hope to the hopeless.

What child is this?  This is our God!!
Click here to listen to the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JIVojLyymE
Long Hollow Baptist Church Choir and Travis Cottrell

This is our God, living and breathing;
call Him Courageous, Relentless and Brave
This is our God, loving and reaching;
scandalous mercy and mighty to save


Hallelujah, this is our God; hallelujah, this is our God
Hallelujah, this is our God; sing praise…

Who is this One Who will not condemn us?
Why would He come to shoulder our sentence?
Nothing we’ve done will keep Him from giving us grace.

Who is this one?
We watch and we’re speechless God’s only Son,
embracing our weakness He overcomes all death,
and He frees us to live;  and we sing…

This is our God, suffering and dying;
call Him the Hero, redeeming the lost
This is our God, love sacrificing;
all that is holy, accepting our cross


Hallelujah, this is our God; hallelujah, this is our God
Hallelujah, this is our God; sing praise…

Oh, this, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The babe, the Son; the glorious One
The babe, the Son of Mary.

Won’t you join me, not only this Christmas season, but all year long, in responding to the difficult questions of life, with the One true Answer…

This is our God, living and breathing;
call Him Courageous, Relentless and Brave
This is our God, loving and reaching;
scandalous mercy and mighty to save.

This is our God, suffering and dying;
call Him the Hero, redeeming the lost
This is our God, love sacrificing;
all that is holy, accepting our cross…

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Tim and Debbie

Please feel welcomed to be a regular follower of my blog at https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

For those of you who receive my blog via email, check out the new photos on the actual website at the above address.

Green Chile

24 Aug

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6

While living in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 9 years, we quickly learned that the state colors were red and green … along with the state question “Red or green?”  Chile, that is.

It also didn’t take very long for us to become quite the fans of this staple ingredient, which was served in, on, or beside most every dish served in the Land of Enchantment.

As Work and Witness coordinators for the Nazarene Indian Bible College for those years, we picked up on several fun facts to share with our visiting team members, all the while trying to educate them on the popularity, the heat, and the addictive qualities of the chile.

Did you know that one medium green chile has the same amount of Vitamin C as 6 oranges?  Also, more people consume green/red chile in the state of New Mexico than all of the other states combined.

For those of us who were temporary transplants, but acquired the appreciation and anticipation of its flavorful addition to our meals, we do what we can to keep a stock of chiles on hand.  One confirmation that our move from Albuquerque to the Cincinnati area was God ordained was the fact that an international market by the name of Jungle Jim’s was no less than ½ hour away from our home!  They sold frozen tubs of Bueno roasted green chiles, processed in Albuquerque – mild, medium, hot, and extra hot, so we kept our freezer well stocked.  Since we now live in Pennsylvania, a dear friend of ours in Cincinnati fills her cooler full of our ‘hot’ commodity and it makes for a perfect excuse to get to see her and other friends while visiting our family in Indiana.   Green chile chicken enchiladas and breakfast burritos smothered in green chile have both remained regular menu items for our family.

Roasting our green chile

A week ago today, we received a special 12 pound care package full of fresh Hatch green chile from Albuquerque.  The gift giver was our son who had spent 4 days visiting with his high school buddies, playing ultimate Frisbee, making the rounds at his favorite restaurants, and driving by the old campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College.  Before leaving town and heading back to Seattle, he sent us a picture of 2 burlap bags full of fresh chile, captioned with the question “How can I get you one of these?”  We began scheming and Ryan ended up making a quick trip to the post office nearest the airport where he filled a box for priority mail with his treasures … knowing delivery would be 2-3 days.  Sure enough, by Friday evening, our home was filled with the unique aroma of roasted green chile ~ our method was crude, but simple and efficient.  Following an award-winning recipe from an Albuquerque web-site, we treated ourselves to chili rellenos for dinner.   The following day we completed the task of roasting the remaining 11 pounds of chile and storing them away into the freezer … which caused visions and dreams of another shipment… or maybe even a visit of our own back to the place, the people, and the food that we left behind.

Scripture talks about hungering and thirsting after righteousness  ~  To satisfy our own personal hunger and thirst, Tim and I have gone to great efforts this summer to store away fresh fruit and veggies in the freezer, along with some meats and now green chile.  Makes me think about how much effort is put forth to hunger and thirst after Jesus.  Won’t you join me in seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, with a real hunger and a real thirst for Him?

Until next time,
Debbie

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;
without holiness no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one misses the grace of God
and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrew 12:14-15

Potpourri

5 Aug

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions,
give it all you’ve got, be resolute,
and love without stopping.
I Corinthians 16:13
The Message

Most of the time, life seems like one great big blur, filled with everyday routines.  Each day is different, depending on the day of the week, the weather, and the schedule.  Just like the other night.  I was at the kitchen sink washing the dishes … all the while peering out the window watching the huge moon rise into the evening sky, it’s fullness being a beacon of light reaching out to everyone all at the same time.  The moon, a hot summer afternoon thunderstorm, a visit to a restaurant, time spent with family, and more … the potpourri that helps bring special moments to the mundane of the everyday blur of life.

I think it’s safe to say that no matter where YOU are reading this from, it’s been a hot summer.  Summer is the season for hot weather, but for some locals, the hot dug in deep with not much intention of leaving.  And not much rain.  For some, that is.  Here in our area of the world, we have been blessed with sufficient showers and thunderstorms that have kept our crops healthy and our yards green.  In fact, our plush green lawn has bluish gray streaks all through it … Google says it’s called slime mold, a symptom of hot temperatures and high humidity.  As the season changes, this oddity will automatically clear up and go away.   In other parts of the country there is drought with lost crops, dead lawns, and thirsty rivers and creeks  … and here there is thick green grass and slime mold…crazy!  Oh!  And the bugs!!  We have a friend who lives in Denver … he made the comment once that due to their near perfect climate, there are “no bugs in Denver!”  I can’t imagine!  Due to our very mild winter that blurred right into a very hot summer with lots of moisture, we have a gazillion bugs!  As I mow the yard each week, I day dream of mosquito netting and how nice it would be to be wrapped in some.  Oh well, this too will pass  ~  in our everyday blur of life, we’ll be shoveling snow before we know it.

If Tim and I were supposed to list a favorite hobby, we would have to say that near the top of the list is eating.  As we get older and our bodies are reminding us of that fact, we have become more conscience of eating healthy.  We have gone out to the u-pick fields this year and brought back lots of tasty strawberries and blueberries, freezing the majority of our finds so we can enjoy them all year long.  It is now peach season … nothing like a bowl of hot fresh peach cobbler with ice cream!  I know…not so healthy.  But the hour of workout at the gym helps to offset the tasty treats!  The Food Network Channel is also another favorite – watching competitions, food preps, and our all-time favorite, Guy Fieri with Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  In a previous blog post, I told all about our DDD trip to Philadelphia.  Well, we have recently been to three other places in Baltimore, another breakfast joint outside of Philly on our way to the shore, where we also ate at 10th Ave. Burrito in Belmar, NJ.  More potpourri in the everyday blur of life.

Cole Michael at soccer camp

Soccer camp for three-year olds … what fun!  One hour, every evening for 5 days.  Mimi and Papaw drove down in the middle of the week (freshly baked blueberry cobbler in hand) and watched with the parents as Cole ran, kicked, tossed, chased, laughed, and burned off a lot of energy with 19 other little people.  The intention of signing him up for this slight taste of organized sports was to get an idea if he (and they) were really ready for the focus, understanding, and the commitment of time which would be involved in an entire season of the sport.  The conclusion was no.  This week was fun and made for some really good memories, but all of that older-kid stuff will come all too quickly, with the everyday blur of life.

One of Cole’s soccer mates was a young lady whom Cole accidently knocked down.  As soon as he realized what he did, he went over to her, told her he was sorry and kissed her.  What a testimony of love and care this little guy has been taught at home … which now the parents realize needs to be tweaked just a bit.  Kissing his classmates at school each time he needs to apologize to them will not go over very well.   What a blessing it is to be Mimi and Papaw to two precious little lives.  At three months old, Lillianne just went to the doctor the other day and now weighs 13 lbs and 5 oz.

Mimi and Lillianne

Wildfires in Nebraska, Aurora Colorado shootings, the Olympics, Chick Fil-A …  news and happenings that contribute to the potpourri in the everyday blur of life.  Today’s headlines will be old news next week, for life doesn’t slow down for anything or anybody.  We’ve all heard the saying … “Seize the moment!”   I think of that often in the busyness of life, as a reminder to not be SO busy that I miss out on the blessings that are hidden and only revealed if we slow down.  Just a couple evenings ago as Tim and I were sitting down to supper with Cole at the head of our table, he was his usual distracted and pokey eater.  After taking a bite of my own food, I was just getting ready to turn to him and fuss at him to start eating his chicken nuggets.  As I looked his way, I quickly noticed that he was already very intent at watching me.  Instead of opening my mouth to speak, I simply sat there and smiled at him.  His little face lit up in the biggest grin as he reached over to lovingly hold my hand as he began to eat the rest of his dinner with the other.  I would have missed that very special moment with my grandson had I not been paying attention and had just swooped in to hurry him along.

Today is a potpourri day of birthdays in our family.  My husband turns 51 and our daughter shares his special day by turning 29 years old.  Born an hour and 45 minutes before our daughter Kim, was our niece Joanna.  Tim’s baby sister, Becca, also shares in the occasion of August 5 by turning 36 today.  Mimi and Papaw are celebrating this year by having Cole and Lillianne with them at the beach in New Jersey.  Oh … their parents are along, too!  We are enjoying sunshine, ocean waves, sand, tasty food, and the blessings of family … on this on-purpose, not-so blurry day of life.

Won’t you join me in not allowing the blur to detract and take away from embracing as many moments as we can? … for there just might be a smile to melt your heart and a hand to hold.

Until next time,
Debbie

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.

I Corinthians 16:13
NIV

 

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions,
give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

I Corinthians 16:13
The Message

 

Seattle 2012

20 Jul

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

Everyone stayed calm and happy!

As our plane continued to descend, making its way from above the clouds to below them, our travel-weary back sides and our sappy hearts were anxious … for someone special was waiting to meet our entire entourage of 6 people from the east coast.   The pilot banked that monstrous purple and orange beast to one side as he changed direction and headed us toward the city, allowing the passengers to catch our first glimpse of that unmistakable skyline.  My Mommy heart swelled a bit, squeezing a couple tears into my eyes as I anticipated the hug I would receive within a short while.  Looking across the aisle to the 3 year old and his parents, Mimi could only image the thoughts, the feelings, and the need for trust this little guy had going on right then.  Right beside me in her Papaw’s arms, Little Miss was sleeping and snuggled up tight, fully expecting that someone would make sure all of her needs were taken care of.  Within a few minutes, our 5 hour non-stop flight came to an end as we touched down with all the usual jolts, bumps, loud engine sounds, and energy.  Cole was glued to his window, watching as we landed … and once all the drama quieted down and we taxied to our gate, he turned to his Daddy and asked if we could do that again!

July 2 – 9 were the dates of our family vacation this year.  Since Ryan and Brittany has been out to see all of us several times in the past 3 years, we wanted to pack everyone and everything up and go see them this time.  With 2 kiddos under the age of 3 and the distance being traveled, we obviously had to fly.  Two-month old Lillianne flew free, as did all of our luggage, including car seats and stroller … “with Southwest your bags fly free”.   What a blessing!  We were graciously welcomed to stay with Ryan and Brittany, sharing their 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, utilizing their very roomy living room with a large couch as extra sleeping spots for our hosts.  The open design of their place was great as it allowed family fun times and then quiet rest for all when we finally settled down for the night.

The Seattle Space Needle

Seattle is a beautiful city, located on 7 specific hills, and is made up of over 100 ‘neighborhoods’, giving a hometown feel, supporting mom and pop establishments, from vacuum cleaner sales to coffee shops.  When needing one or two forgotten items for a meal, Ryan simply walks down to the corner grocer, picks up the needed ingredients, and is back within a few minutes.  Café Vita was the preferred coffee shop for our morning beverage … a short distance from the apartment.  The zoo was only a few blocks away, allowing the anticipation of our animal adventure to grow as we enjoyed the morning stroll to the gates.  It is a very ‘people friendly’ area.

Our family ~ Duck Tour Seattle

Of course, the City of Seattle comprises of the usual tall skyscrapers, office buildings, and seaport, personalizing these neighborhoods with a distinctive and classy downtown personality.   Giving us a very unique tour of the business district and the surrounding communities of downtown Seattle, Uncle Ryan treated us to a special day of fun on July 4th as we took the Seattle Duck Tour.  Climbing aboard a refurbished and DUCK decorated WWII amphibious landing craft, we went on a 90 minute tour driving around on the streets of the city, along with a jaunt on the waves of Lake Union.  Accompanying our site seeing journey were the persistent quacks of uncle and nephew as they joined several other travelers making noise with their duck calls.What a fun and memorable time!

4th of July fireworks, Pike’s Place Market, Seattle Children’s Museum, Space Needle, the International Fountain, Bowling, Woodland Park Zoo, and the Ballard Locks were the main attractions that kept us busy and about the area of Seattle all week.  The necessity of a daily nap for Cole always brought us back home for a much needed break for all … during which time we would watch a movie or play games.  Family time is so special!

Bergams/Van Hooks/Arndts

The highlight of our trip was our cook-out at the nearby park on Saturday.  Ryan and Brittany invited her family to drive over from Spokane, WA to join us all for a fun-filled day in their neighborhood of Fremont.  Grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, veggies, and fruit were all on the menu … and Frisbee, A-Z, visiting, and family photos were the activities of the day.  When late afternoon naptime rolled around, we all headed back to the apartment for a slide show of the day, Phase 10, and continued eating.  This Mommy heart was pleased to finally meet the parents of our sweet Brittany … and to connect with these fine people who have raised such a precious daughter.  We look forward to many more family gatherings in the future!

Have I mentioned the weather??  It was beautiful!!  Other than the rain that fell on the day we arrived, the sky was blue, the sun was shining bright, and the highest temperature while there was 81 degrees.  Ryan keeps trying to tell us that it is usually cloudy and drizzly, but every time Tim and I have come to visit, we always seem to bring the sunshine along!  This perfect weather was quite a switch for all of us coming from the east coast where we left behind hot and dry temperatures in the high 90s.

Mimi and Papaw with Lillianne at the Zoo

Since our own children are now grown adults with lives of their own, I find it extremely heart satisfying to spend time with them and to simply soak up every morsel of time and activity with them that I can.  There are 2752 miles between Ryan’s home and ours.  That’s far.  I’m grateful for the availability of air travel that allows us to turn 45 hours of expected travel by car into only a matter of 5 – 10 hours, depending on flight schedules.     I prayed a lot about this trip … traveling with a 3 year old and a 2 month old was potential for disaster (especially on the plane), the weather, everyone staying healthy before, during, and after the trip … on and on  ~  all reasons to stay on my knees, asking God for His touch upon our family time.  He truly blessed us with HIS plan.  We still had poopie diapers on the flight, sore and tired bodies from our long days of adventures, and even a 3 hour flight delay that got us back home in the wee hours of the morning … but it was all good, and we are thankful.

As I think about our flight into that beautiful city, my heart is reminded of the anticipation of my arrival to another City. As the Pilot banks the plane for the final descent, I know my heart will swell with emotion as I will finally see the face of Jesus.  Just as all of our lives are literally in the hands of those piloting the plane we are traveling in, won’t you join me in putting our complete trust and confidence in the One who wants to take us on the Journey of a life-time … to a Place where the Skyline is unmistakable, the Son is always shining, the Itinerary never ends, and the Host is our Savior.  I so look forward to seeing you there!

Until next time,
Debbie

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude
that no one could count, from every nation, tribe,
people and language, standing before the throne
and in front of the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes
and were holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out in a loud voice:
 

“Salvation belongs to our God,
W
ho sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-10

The City does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Nothing impure will ever enter it,
nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,
but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:23 and 27

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city,
and his servants will serve Him.  They will see His face,
and His name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night.
They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun,
for the Lord God will give them light.
And they will reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22:3-5

**   If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!!    Enjoy!!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3781228124019.2151740.1076414018&type=3&l=33fd9ae4b9