Tag Archives: Graduation

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Van Hooks!

21 Dec

Our beautiful children!

Once again, we are in awe of God’s blessings, His great mercy, and His precious gift of His son Jesus as we celebrate this Christmas season and enter into the New Year.  As the song writer penned … “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.”

 

Bahama Cruise

This year has been eventful!  Our grandson, Cole Michael, celebrated his first birthday in March.  How quickly that year seemed to fly by, and how quickly this little guy is growing and changing!  Following our trip out to PA for his birthday party, we headed on down to Florida for our vacation.  In celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary (July 11th) we enjoyed a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas, then soaked up some Florida sunshine for several more days before heading back to reality.  Reality consisted of the normal things of life, like home and work, but it also suddenly included helping to take care of my mother who fell and shattered her elbow while we were away on vacation.  After surgery, months of physical therapy, doctor visits, and lots of help from us kids and her church family, Mom is continuing to gain use and strength of her right arm and hand. We are so grateful for the Lord’s touch on her as she has slowly healed!

Our son-in-law, Troy, graduated from Penn State University this past May.  With his degree in Security and Risk Analysis, his new career as a consultant relocated this little family to Glen Burnie, MD, located on the south side of Baltimore.  Up until their move, Kim worked at the Courtyard by Marriott where she was the Assistant General Manager.  Now she is blessed by being able to stay home with Cole full time, employed by the cutest little toddler around!   Kim enjoys working out at their local gym where she takes Zumba and other exercise classes.  She is also involved in the Mom’s group at Grace Pointe Church of the Nazarene.

As the busy days of spring collided into the even busier days of summer, Tim was offered and he accepted a new job in the state of Pennsylvania.   September 1, just two weeks short of beginning our 5th year at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center, we relocated to Red Lion, PA.  He is now employed by K/S Remodeling Systems, where his talent for detail and craftsmanship is utilized on a daily basis to refurbish and remodel kitchens.   This is very similar to what Tim did when we lived in PA back in the 90s.   We are renting a very nice home that is very roomy and spacious for when our family gathers in, which happens quite frequently since we moved.  Kim and her family only live an hour away, so we are overwhelmed with the blessing of being able to watch Cole grow and become his own little person.  His favorite things in the whole world are tractors, and Dora the Explorer, fire trucks, cars, animal crackers, puzzles, and his dog all coming in tied for second place!   He is so much fun and has brought such joy to Grami and Grampi’s life!

Not wanting to miss out on the excitement of our move, Ryan flew in for a visit and spent a week with us.  Since it was his first time out to see his sister’s new home as well, we all took the time to relax and enjoy some of the favorite sites of Baltimore for a few days.  The highlight was our trip to the beach and to play in the sand and ocean with Cole.  Once we got back to our house, there were boxes to unpack, and furniture to arrange, all the while we had lots of fun and cooked lots of yummy food in our big kitchen!  Family time is such a blessing!!

Regis Philbin, Mom, myself, and Kim

Christmas began early in December at our house this year.  Kim and I surprised my mom with a trip to New York City and tickets to be on LIVE with Regis and Kelly!  What a fun time we had!!  The following day, Ryan and his girlfriend Brittany flew in from Seattle to join the festivities that had already started a few days prior.  We enjoyed lots of family fun playing Wii, going bowling, watching movies, and enjoying a houseful of good cooks.  “Fake Christmas” was celebrated as gifts were exchanged, stuffed stockings were emptied, and Cole rode around on his new tractor. 

Cole and his new TRACTOR!

As many of you already know, I love to write and started a blog back in February.  Morsels of Mercy is just that ~ short stories inspired by God’s mercies through my journey of life!   https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com     Many of the details of this past year that I skipped over here in my Christmas letter you can read about in my blog.  Enjoy reading!!

Christmas week is now upon us, and we will be back in Indiana for the holiday.  As we travel the many miles and gather with our families, my heart and thoughts will be turning toward many of you who are hurting this Christmas season.  I will be praying that you will find Jesus to be so much more than a baby in the manger, but that He will be your Healer, your Comforter, your Strength, your Everything. 

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great mercies
we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning:
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:21-26

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!!
The Van Hooks

 

Tim & Debbie
Troy, Kim, Cole & Tadpole
Ryan & Brittany
My mom, Wilma

Our family

Class Reunion

30 Jun

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.
  Rev 7:9           

Some had arrived early.  Others were right on time, while there were those that did not make it at all.  Glasses and hearing aids were the predominant accessories of the morning, with an overall sense of comfortable and belonging.  Nods and smiles of recognition were shared by all as the tables filled with excited classmates from the class of ’56. 

Mom (3rd from right) & her classmates

My mother graduated in 1956 from Nashville High School, located in Brown County, IN, better known in these parts as ‘Little Nashville’.  Twenty-two young people received their diploma, marking the beginning of the rest of their adult lives.  Eleven of the 17 graduates who are still living gathered this past Saturday for breakfast at the Brown County Inn to celebrate another year.  A few spouses and a daughter (that’s me!) joined in the fun of catching up on the latest, looking at lots of family pictures (of course, I brought 2 photos of Baby Cole!) and making plans for next year. 

Mom's childhood home

Surprisingly to me, the party broke up in less than 2 hours.  I’ve come to realize that sometimes the seniors in our world are busier and more productive than the rest of us!!  Apparently they all had somewhere else to be and things to do!!  Since I was my mom’s official chauffer for the day (she’s STILL not able to drive yet), I decided that we would meander the streets of Nashville and see what we could find.  I quickly changed my glasses, so to speak, from those that saw all the little quaint shops full of tourists, trinkets, and tasty treats to the spectacles belonging to a little girl growing up in a small town where everybody knew her name.  Our first stop was on the south edge of town in front of a little white house with a big front porch … the house is now brown and the front porch is now enclosed as part of the home.  My mother, her two older brothers, and their parents moved to this very house in 1938 when she was 9 months old.  The rock ledge and sidewalk out by the road were laid by her daddy, and the huge tree out front was the same one that she used to climb in.  We drove down Blood Alley, directly behind the old Bond’s funeral home and I listened with great interest to how this little drive got its name.  As we sat back behind the old homestead, she told another story of how she and her neighbor friend nearly caught the entire south end of town on fire.  Her own dad, who was the town mechanic and fire truck driver, was the one who came to dowse out the flames that had spread through the fresh autumn leaves.  As we slowly made our way from one side of town to the other, mother became quite animated by the memories and tales that accompanied those happy days, most likely feeling the impossibility that it all took place so many many years ago.  In the center of town are the old State Bank and Post Office.  Mom remembers riding with her dad in the big wrecker truck to the Post Office one day…she was about  10 years old.   As they pulled away and turned left, the passenger door, on which she was probably leaning, came open and out she went, clinging to the door as it swung out wide in the corner.  Can you imagine?  Other stories included Camel Hill Road, where the town’s people would shut down part of the street for the kids to snow sled down in the winter, the old jail house, which was already a museum when she was a little girl, Miller’s drug store with the soda fountain counter, and the original Nazarene Church that my Pappy helped build on the north side of town.

What a fun day we had!  It’s always a good time when we can reconnect with friends and memories from our past, realizing that by the grace and mercies of God, it all contributes to the people we are today.  It also causes me to focus on the grand reunion yet to come! 

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.
Rev 7:9           

 

Just like on Saturday, some arrived early.  Others got there at the scheduled time.  But there were some that did not make it at all to this day of celebration.

If my people, who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chron 7:14

 

Join me with a humble and seeking heart … and in great anticipation of the best reunion of all time!  We will clasp hands with friends and loved ones around the throne of God, singing His praises throughout all eternity!   SOMEDAY!

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!”
Rev 19:6-7

 

Until next time,
Debbie

Graduation

14 May

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
   

    

It’s that time of year.  The cap and gown, complete with tassel, and the infamous certificate of declaration that the task at hand is finished.  Complete.    

Troy, Kim & Cole

There are two graduations impacting the lives of the Van Hooks in 2010.  Our son-in-law Troy is graduating with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis from Penn State University in just a few short days.  Having served in the US Marine Corps following graduation from high school, Troy is using his G.I. Bill for these past four years of college. 

Brittany & Ryan

Our son’s girlfriend, Brittany, walked across the platform at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington on Mother’s Day … receiving her degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology.    

Graduation is only a step of transition, really.  It’s a time for congratulations, hugs, slaps on the back, and words like “Well done!”, and “We’re so proud of you!”  But nearly in the same breath, there will be additional things said, like “What are your plans now?”  or “Did you get that job you applied for?”    

Troy will be moving his family to the Baltimore area where he will begin his new career in June.  Brittany has applied for a job in Seattle and is hopeful that she will begin to take the next step toward her life-long ambitions.  Life is full of dreams,  preparation, experience, change, and celebration.   

How about you?  Is GRADUATION a word that applies to your life right now?  Perhaps you know someone who has also put on the cap and gown and walked across their platform of life.  A new baby, fresh out of the womb … the past 9 months developed and ready for a lifetime of graduations.  A precious aged parent, surrounded by years of memories and a loving family … crosses that threshold of the ultimate graduation, completed the task of earthly living to finally sit at the feet of Jesus.    

Precious in the sight of the LORD  is the death of his saints.   Psalm 116:15   

For such a time as this, join me in celebrating the graduations of life.   

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,
if only I may finish the race and
complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–
the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.  Act 20:24
   

Until next time,
Debbie