Tag Archives: Heart

My Squishy Heart

1 Feb
December 25, 2016

Family Christmas Fun!!
December 25, 2016

The recent holidays were chocked full of family fun … from the annual gathering of Tim’s family at his sister’s home for Thanksgiving, Christmas weekend with my momma and brothers in Indy, to a Christmas/New Year’s celebration with our own kids and little ones. It was a busy time and we were oh so blessed!

This squishy heart of mine thrives on every moment spent with our kids … our big kids, those two who will forever hold the key to my Mommy heart – the heart that feels the same way it did 33 years ago, times 1000! My loves, my concerns, my prayers, and my admiration of the adults that they have become … my squishy heart is full and running over, melting into an ever-growing puddle of love. Love for them, their loves, and a couple of little loves along the way.

This past weekend was filled to the brim with those little loves, our BubbaLou! (My combo nickname for Bubba and Lou, better known as Cole and Lillie) It had been October since they had been to Mimi and Pawpaw’s house be-out (Lillie’s word for ‘without’) the parents, which is always a different kind of fun! Going to exciting places, playing games and toys, eating special tasty food, cuddling and reading books and watching neat kid videos for morning devotions … making memories is what it’s always about! Filling their hearts and minds with fun, adventure, love and Jesus … and of course, Mimi and PawPaw!

Jan 28, 2017

Mimi and her Loves
Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tim and I chuckled and exchanged looks of shared amusement as we listened to dramatic conversations, attended a concert re-enactment performed by the infamous Branch Troll (a very colorful paper version) and Poppy Troll, and were quite surprised by their collaborative creativity with their mom and Uncle Ryan’s aged Legos. Then later when we looked through the photos taken during the weekend, shock was the emotion we felt as we saw how tall both kids are getting and the realization that time is quickly slipping through our fingers.

As I stood on the platform with the praise team on Sunday, we sang the words to the Chris Tomlin song … “Age to age we stand, and time is in His hands – beginning and the end … How Great is Our God, Sing with me How Great is our God, and all will sing How Great, How Great is our God!” I looked out into the congregation and saw Tim holding Lillie, with Cole standing beside them, and I began to think about the “age to age” and how time is in His hands! My heart pounded as I thought about our mothers and our aunts and uncles, cousins, our siblings and their children – and of course, our own beloved immediate family. An overwhelming and immense Presence came over me with an urgent responsibility to pray and to love my family more than ever.

The world around us is becoming more and more volatile and distracting … Satan is out to deceive, divide and destroy any of us who do not have our focus completely on Jesus. If we are not careful, we will allow worry, anxiety, and fear to dominate our thinking, our actions and our voice. The Good News is that our God IS great … He’s greater than the one who is in the world!

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them,
because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4

Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God,
Who is among you, is a great and awesome God.
Deuteronomy 7:21

This squishy heart of mine loves deeply … and that love drives me to pray.  Won’t you join me in loving and praying for our families and friends?   Life is fragile, but God is great!

Until next time,
Debbie

 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you,
since I have you in my heart and,
whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel,
all of you share in God’s grace with me.
God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound
more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

so that you may be able to discern what is best
and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—
to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:7-11

Advertisements

Crazy Days

6 Mar

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

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

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

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

    Cole and Lillie

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Debbie

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

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

Hebrews 11:1

You make known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

 

With All My Heart

13 Feb

Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:27

We’ve all said it. Most of us have written it. It is sung as lyrics in songs. It is found in scripture. The sentiment of it is found in every room in my home. The effect from the Reality of it brings Life.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. A holiday created by Hallmark, florists and chocolate companies. So some say. As with every holiday on the calendar, it’s all in the perspectives and traditions in your life.

Mimi and Lillie

Mimi and Lillie

I mailed cute Valentine’s Day cards to my sweet little loves in Baltimore – knowing that they light up when something comes to them in the mail! I sent a card to Ryan and Brittany, always looking for ways to bridge the too-many miles between us, always wanting to remind them of our love! Tim and I spent time with friends last evening, exchanging little tokens of appreciation of life-long friendships. Celebrating loves, friendships, commitments and life together is not just for February 14th. It should be how we live life every day.

With all my heart … speaking of which, I had mine examined last week. For a few days I experienced a dull ache in my upper left arm that eventually turned into a burning pain that radiated into my chest and down to my fingers. I thought it would be in my best interest if I went to the ER to be checked out. With these classic heart attack symptoms, I was rewarded with an EKG, chest x-rays, blood work and a treadmill stress test that I passed with flying colors. I was sent home the next day to follow up with my primary care. He congratulated me for having a strong healthy heart, but encouraged me to begin a regular routine of exercise that would strengthen my muscular/skeletal systems throughout my body. I do admit that somewhere along the way I have lost the motivation to work out, but with this recent overnight visit to the hospital, I am determined to make sure that I take better care of myself. I read this just this morning on Facebook … “Don’t regret getting older. It’s a privilege denied to many.” With that in mind, I promise to embrace it – with all my heart!

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
Psalm 9:1

What better time than now to also embrace the reality of ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) Valentine’s Day is not just one day to express a thought or an intention, but a reminder of what really counts in life. Our loved ones, our friends, and most importantly, our relationship with God.  Without putting Him front and center of your ‘with all my heart’, everything else will be out of balance.

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

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

It is only when we seek God with all our heart that we can truly love Him with all our heart …
Won’t you join me today  …   with all my heart?!

Until next time,
Debbie

Company is (was) Coming!

25 Jan

Love the LORD your God with all your heart
Deuteronomy 6:5

The scheduled visit was put on the calendar a few weeks ago which pumped great incentive and fresh motivation through my veins to get my house in order. It’s not like my house is in shambles on a regular basis, but there are details and areas of my home that need some extra attention to make it worthy of a guest.

Besides her normal responsibilities as mom, wife, and pastor’s wife, my sister-in-law, Amy, has been the sole care-giver of her recuperating husband and is in need of a small vacation. Her husband was in a motorcycle accident in August, which required surgery and many months of therapy, and recovery. David encouraged Amy to take a break and fly out for a short visit. Her flight was booked and plans were being made, and I began doing special projects around the house…you know ~ the kind you do when someone is coming to visit.

Our guest room is only a guest room when the air mattress is filled and covered with bed linens. That happens on occasion when the parents come with our Little Loves. Other than that, it looks like it could be an office, due to the desk, swivel chair and filing cabinet. But it hasn’t ever functioned as an office since we’ve lived here. We both have laptops and they go where we go, which is hardly ever upstairs…except when our Little Loves are here and then we are in the bedroom across the hall.

Treasures on my book shelf

Treasures on my book shelf

The spare room

The ‘office’

Last weekend, cleaning supplies in hand, I decided it was time to get the guest room ready for Amy’s arrival in a few days. There were piles upon piles of paid bills, insurance policies, statements and receipts all over the desk top, from months and months of neglect of filing and organization. I quickly scooped them all up into a couple boxes and stuffed them into the closet, where I will tend to them later when I have more time. I made sure the bed was in order with plenty of air and clean sheets, after which I sat down at the desk to begin the task of dusting. For the first time in a very long time I took a good look at this room. As I drew in breaths of the sweet smell of unlit vanilla candles, the real contents of this room began to speak to me. Items that represent life, friendships, love, ministries, and Jesus. A semblance of this room, minus the air mattress, was in our home in Albuquerque and again in West Harrison, Indiana. It was always somewhat of a sanctuary for me then … a quiet haven to retreat to for my daily devotions, prayer, and writing. Pictures are everywhere of my friends, wall plaques and hangings that were special gifts, and a gazillion things kept, saved and cherished from some of life’s most precious people and moments. But to be perfectly honest, I have avoided this room for the past couple of years. From the tiniest little smiley face sticker stuck to the bulletin board to the bookshelf full of books, this room reminds me of another time and another place, a place far away from where I am today. At least that is what my head has been telling me…but as I began to dust ceramic cows, picture frames, and hanging snowflakes, my heart began to tell me otherwise. I have missed being in the sweet, quiet, sacredness of this room. So, with a few minor changes and tweaking that will bring the room up-to-date, just maybe I’ll pull the glider/rocker from Cole’s bedroom from across the hall and find that even in a different time and a different place, there is still a place for this room and all its treasures.

Getting back to Amy’s visit, she was supposed to be here now. But life as we know it is quite unpredictable. Tim was sick last weekend and I have been sick with the flu all week. Thankfully, Amy was flying Southwest and it was not a problem to reschedule her flight for another date. In the mean time, my little room is freshly dusted and ready for me to start enjoying its sweet presence once again!

Maybe we should all ask ourselves if we are ready for company that is scheduled to come. For the most part, my house was ready. But there was one room that had been neglected and unkept … just enough to ruin the entire visit for the one coming. Jesus is coming someday ~ is your heart ready? Do you have a room in your heart that you have neglected and have kept closed off? God requires our whole heart … not just part of it.   Won’t you join me in allowing God to make our heart His home?   Listen to Women of Faith sing My Heart, Your Home  http://youtu.be/Of3IVr3G-Bc

Come and make my heart Your home
Come and be everything I am and all I know
Search me through and through
Until my heart becomes a home for You
A home for You oh
Home for You oh
Let everything I do open up a door
For You to come through
Then my heart would be a place
Where You wanna be
‘Til my heart becomes a home for You
‘Till my heart becomes a home for You

~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~   ~~

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Love the LORD your God
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today
are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9

For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

What is That Flutter Thing?

2 Feb

My flesh and my heart may fail,
 but God is the Strength of my heart
 and my Portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

  

“Beautiful” was the first comment from the ultrasound technician yesterday morning as she looked at the image on the screen in front of her.  This one word, simple as it was, sort of gave me a small sense of peace.  My reactive response of ‘Aww’ generated an explanation from the one in charge as she informed me that “beautiful” was her way of saying that the image on the screen was clear and was in full view – not that we had an immediate diagnosis and that all was great.  So, the nerves kicked in again as I laid on my left side with cold ultrasound goo oozing beneath the magic wand that somehow transferred an image of my heart onto the monitor.  Diane told me that since I am so tiny and there is not much open space inside of me (I guess that’s a compliment), that my lungs kept getting in the way of viewing my heart, so I had to exhale and hold my breath for what seemed to be a very long time.  And I had to do this several times throughout the photo shoot, praying each time that my lungs had shrunk enough for her to capture the view of my heart that she needed.  I’m not sure if the office interior decorator planned the placement of a particular picture on the wall just so, but it was perfectly situated for me so that I could see my heart on the monitor in the reflection of the glass.  It was really fascinating as I could feel the beat of my heart beneath the pressure of the magic wand, in perfect rhythm of the indirect view I had of the pulsation and movement of this vital organ that was busy keeping me alive. 

A moment of pure honesty and transparency here … it seems that ever since we have moved back to Pennsylvania, there has been a deeper sense of awe in my soul toward the brevity of life.  Having lost my father nearly 18 years ago, experiencing the premature birth of my first grandchild, Tim being diagnosed with coronary artery disease and having 2 stents,  …  and just the realization that I am no longer a young woman with little kids tagging behind me.  I work in an office where people come and go – some are stooped over with the brokenness of body, others are led in on a son or daughter’s arm, barely able to walk, but all finding it necessary to seek financial guidance and direction from our attorneys who specialize in elder care.  It seems that with each passing day, I am more and more aware that this life is temporary and is only the pathway that will lead me Home.  So, I got a bit mushy inside as I laid there looking at my own heart beating, realizing the frailty of it all.

I’ve been relatively healthy all of my life, with an occasional incident requiring intervention, but nothing major or life changing.  So, when I began experiencing a strange flutter sensation in my chest a few months ago, I took notice.  The initial doctor’s visit before Christmas started the process of blood work, EKGs, 24 hour heart monitor and a follow-up appointment with a cardiologist.  Everything thus far had checked out ok, but the specialist recommended I have a stress echocardiogram to completely rule out any problems with the heart.  So that’s where I was at 7:00 yesterday morning.  The initial EKGs and heart ultrasounds were all a picnic compared to the “stroll” I had to take on the treadmill, followed by an immediate set of ultrasounds on the heart, done in the first 90 seconds … all the while I’m huffing and puffing and trying desperately to catch my breath.  But remember I’m tiny.  My lungs were in the way.  I had to once again exhale and hold my breath several times.  All I could do was pray and ask Jesus to help me not breathe while everything in me was screaming for air.  Finally the essential photo shoot was over.  With goo dripping down my side and my heart beginning to calm down, tears filled my eyes as I thought of my mother going through that traumatic experience a few years ago.  Or even my husband in Albuquerque when he had to go on his treadmill jog with pain in his chest and extremely high blood pressure.  Sigh …    Within moments, the doctor on duty came in and gave me the good report that all is well with my heart.  Praise the Lord!!

So then, what is that flutter thing?  I have felt it at times in my upper chest, but most of the time, the sensation is in the soft spot of my throat.  It comes and goes ~ some days I feel it all day long, and others I notice it from time to time.  There are even moments when I feel like it sort of makes me catch my breath, and I need to cough to release it so I can clear my air passage.  I have found no rhyme or reason as to what triggers this flutter … time of day or night, my body position, food or no food.  It does seem, however, that stress and caffeine eccelerate the flutter to a degree, but they do not cause it.  Instructions for the test yesterday morning required that I did not consume any caffeine (coffee, chocolate, tea, …) in the 24 hours before the appointment, which I heeded, but noticed that the flutters still came and went despite the absence of chocolate and Cherry Coke.  And because I now can, I am sipping a cup of Starbucks Pike’s Place coffee, freshly made at home…with vanilla creamer and some Splenda ~ and a homemade almond/chocolate chip biscotti to dunk in it!  Yum!   Getting back to the flutter!!  Both doctors who have seen me for the flutter have mentioned that if it’s not my heart, then it could possibly be menopause.  Well, the cardiologist tried to be tactful by saying that it all could be a sign of maturity.  Seriously?  I chuckle right now as I am feeling this odd sensation of maturity.  I don’t know what to think.  It’s not painful, just annoying and distracting.  At least now I know that it is not a heart issue.  Maybe a hinge on the flapper in my esophagus has corroded and doesn’t close properly any longer?  Not sure, but I do hope that someone will be able to give me an answer to this flutter question. 

We all have questions that need answered, don’t we?  If it’s not a physical concern, maybe it’s financial or relational.  Whatever the case may be, we seek doctors, lawyers, counselors, pastors, family, and friends for help.  And we are ever so grateful for these people in our lives who can help answer life’s questions.  I’m also eternally indebted to the One who created me and Who knows the very number of red corpuscles that my heart pumps throughout my body.  He is my Physician, my Lawyer, my Counselor, my Pastor, my Family, and my Friend.  He is Jesus.  Won’t you join me in taking our questions to the One with the answers? 

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
Psalm 16:7

  

The LORD is my Strength and my Shield;
my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to Him in song.
Psalm 28:7

 

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

 

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23

  

Until next time,
Debbie

For those of you who have been praying for our daughter, she received a wonderful report from her obstetrician last week … her cervix measured the same, but remains stable, so he lifted the restrictions of light duty and encouraged her to return to normal activity ~ whatever that is at 6 1/2 months pregnant.  Thank you for praying, and thank you Jesus!!

~~~

 A note to all of my ‘mature’ lady friends … have any of you experienced this unusual phenomenon?  Perhaps it’s really not that unusual and many of you know exactly what it is … please tell me!   The flutter seems to have the doctors stumped, but I’m sure someone, somewhere out there knows the answer.  Leave your comments below … please and thank you!!

~~~

For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of my Valentine’s Day decor  –  February 2012