Tag Archives: Heaven

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

 

 

In Memory … Scottie

5 Jun

Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving kindness,
giving us constant joy to the end of our lives.
Psalm 90:14  TLB

Four years ago today,
Our family’s 15 year-old Miniature Schnauzer,
Scottie, passed away…
In memory and celebration of his life,
this was written a few days following his death
**  June 5, 2008  ** 

Scottie not feeling well
May 28, 2008

The other evening, I took it out of my purse and very tenderly clasped it back together.  I lovingly touched each shiny little black bone that decorated the red plaid print of the fabric.  I gently shook the jingles that had always represented life and activity, reading the information listed on the bone-shaped tag.  With a heart filled with gratitude for the gift that has been ours for so many years, tears from a broken heart filled my eyes as I hung Scottie’s collar on the corner of his picture frame.  Our precious Bubby Dog went home to Jesus on Thursday afternoon around 2:45 pm.

Scottie ~ shaved for better health

Scottie Von Schultz Van Hook was purchased on a discounted price tag by our family from an Amish kennel on March 20, 1993 at the age of 4 ½  months.  The runt of his litter, he had contracted ringworm from a fellow cohabitant, so our new pet was quickly taken to the Hershey Veterinary Hospital where they shaved him down and stripped him of his Schnauzer identity.  Looking like a mangy gray Chihuahua, he spent the next 6 weeks in a strict regime of being bathed and dipped, all the while we were very careful to wash our hands as we loved and nurtured our little pup.  We were greatly successful in correcting his skin condition, bringing health to his young body and staying clean ourselves.

Scottie on the back deck
1995

The new friend and playmate for all weighed in at 7.4 pounds on that very first trip to the doctor in Hershey.  By the time he was nearly 6 years old and eating treats from the Work & Witness teams along with chips and salsa in Albuquerque, he tipped the scales at 12.7 pounds!  But within the next few years, he and I began to take morning prayer walks along the ditchbank road that ran beside our home, so he became quite fit and trim.

Our children
1995

Scottie loved the outdoors!  In his earlier years in Pennsylvania, he would insist on going out in the snow with the kids … and I mean snow!  Deep snow!  Snow that would engulf him as he tried to run through it, always coming back inside the house with ice chunks hanging from his Schnauzer fur.  In the summer, he even enjoyed going for nice refreshing dips in our friends’ swimming pool  ~  doggie paddle, of course!   In Albuquerque, we all learned the hard way about sticker burrs and goat heads.  When we first moved there, Ryan and Scottie were out playing and began chasing each other around the house.  Before long, Ryan turned around and wondered where the silly pup had gone.  Not too far!  After a few laps around the yard, he began to slow to a dead stop.  He had prickly thorns and stickers in the bottoms of his precious paw pads and all in his under belly Schnauzer fur!  Once again, it was a great identity icon for the boy, but he was always a portable Velcro strip!  A few years later when our daily routine included the ditch-bank road, we visited with the cows, horses, lamas, other canine-type creatures, and birds.  Scottie always thought he was bigger than he really was, so when a cow or horse was up against the fence row munching on the tree leaves, Scottie would stand there kicking out his back feet and would growl, as if they better take notice that HE was there.  Since moving from the desert to Indiana, we adapted to our new outdoors.  Here he barked and got all upset at the many deer that would visit our front yard and surrounding areas.  They were big enough for his aging eyes to see.  The squirrels, rabbits, and wild turkeys would usually go unnoticed.  He had become an old-man dog …

On the back of his favorite chair
2003

In his earlier years, Scottie was well-known for his yappiness.  He wasn’t a yippy dog, but a yappy one.  One that loved to bark.  After comparing notes with other Schnauzer owners either at the vet or at the groomer, we found that this breed of dogs was quite vocal.  So much so that when camping at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with all of our friends, the campground officials requested us to come to the office one day when we returned from the beach.  Apparently, our yappy pup didn’t like being cooped up in the camper all afternoon and announced this continually to anyone willing to listen.  Needless to say, in order to finish our vacation at the ocean, we had to quickly find a dog kennel and board Scottie for the remainder of the week.  Much to my dismay, a few other times he had to stay in a kennel overnight.  No matter how nice the kennel mom was or how many interesting yard ornaments she had for him to pee on, I just couldn’t stand the thought of him sleeping in an out building with only a fence between him and a strange dog.  Thankfully, after that when he couldn’t travel with us, he was able to stay with friends or family.Scottie was the happy and excited door greeter!  Just taking the garbage out and coming back into the house 20 seconds later you would get the royal treatment!  He was the rug under the table that picked up the crumbs.  He was the one that snored first in bed every night.  He was the one that left dirty paw prints across the floor when it rained.  He was the one that when aggravated because you were gone too long, got into the bathroom trash.  In his failing health and picky appetite, he loved the food brought home from Higher Ground’s dining hall ~ BBQ meatballs, prime rib, chicken strips, hamburgers, pulled pork, roast beef, etc.   He was the one that would always come looking for you if he woke from a nap and didn’t see you nearby.   He was all of these and more  ~  but to me …

Scottie and his Mommy

He was by all means, my third child.  I am now, for the first time, an empty-nested mom.  Kim got married in 2005.  Ryan just graduated from college & will soon be starting a new job in Seattle, WA.  Up until now, I still had my 15 ½ year old.  Sigh …   Scottie was also my exercise partner ~ we walked many miles together in many places.  He was my confidant ~ always a great listener and never tried to interrupt.  Many times, he was my altar.  I would kneel beside wherever he was resting and I would pour my heart out to God with him right there.  I’m sure he felt the cry of his mommy’s heart and his precious little spirit joined me in prayer…he was my prayer partner.  During difficult days, Scottie’s love was faithful.  In the midst of transition, Scottie’s love was steadfast.  When the home was filled with tension and turmoil, Scottie’s love was authentic and constant.  That little being gave me companionship, joy, purpose, and an assurance of knowing that I was very, very special to him … and that he loved me.   Dr. Gaston prescribed stronger meds for Scottie on April 17, knowing that his aging heart was tiring.  I began whispering words of love into those precious ears that couldn’t hear very well anymore.  I would tell him that he’s been the best gift God has given to our family.  I would talk of Heaven and the fact that Jesus was there, along with his Grandpas and some of his friends.  I even told him that when it got too hard to breathe, it was ok to go.  I promised to see him again soon.  Thursday afternoon as Tim cradled Scottie’s near-death body in his arms, I smothered his little face with teary kisses, breathing in the sweet, sweet smell of his skin for the last time.  Within moments, he was finally at peace.  Real peace.

About two weeks ago, Scottie became very restless during the dark night hours.  I felt him chilling at the foot of our bed where he slept.  I tried to console him by reaching down and petting him for a few minutes, but to no avail. My Mommy heart couldn’t stand the distance between he and I, so I pulled him up to my pillow and snuggled him close to my heart.  He curled up tight and nestled his tiny face up under my chin until the warmth from my body took the chill from his.  It wasn’t very long at all before I heard the quick shallow breathing of my precious love begin to slow down, giving him some relief and rest.  His body relaxed and he began to snore.  I laid there overcome with praise to God for this gift.  The gift of love, of life, and of need.  Need for one another.

One of my favorite songs came to mind that night  ~  and I softly sang it to Scottie …  Click on this link  Christ For the Nations Institute to listen to Kari Jobe sing …

The more I seek You, the more I find You.
The more I find You, the more I love You.
I want to sit at Your feet,
drink from the cup in Your hand,
Lay back against You and breathe,
feel Your heart beat …

This love is so deep,
it’s more than I can stand,
I melt in Your peace,
it’s overwhelming.

God is love.  That’s why we can love a tiny Miniature Schnauzer for over 15 years and experience pain and sorrow when he is no longer with us.  Scottie knew and understood love.  That night two weeks before, Scottie melted in my peace and it gave him the comfort he needed to rest.  Thursday, June 5, Scottie sat at the feet of Jesus, then jumped up in His lap and laid back against Him  ~  and breathed!!!    Then, he melted in the peace of Jesus …

Until next time,
Debbie

Merry Christmas Daddy!

16 Dec

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father
deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting
and urging you to live lives worthy of God,
who calls you into His kingdom and glory.
I Thessalonians 2:11-12 

It would only be most appropriate to sit here and sip on a hot cup of coffee (with cream and sugar, as opposed to black) as I jingle Heaven’s portals with a Christmas greeting to you.  The sights and sounds of the holidays have a way of tugging at the memories of my heart, and I always miss you so much during the holidays. 

You know that I so enjoy all of the music this time of year, but there is a distinct genre of songs that melt this little girl’s heart into a puddle of warm memories.  Just a few notes of one of these songs, and I am immediately transported back to any cold December day in my childhood. Remember how you and I would go shopping together every Christmas and buy gifts for Mom?  Every store we went into and every station on the radio would be playing Burl Ives’ “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” or Nat King Cole’s “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.   I loved being with you, Daddy … your funny little quirks of always stopping at the men’s cologne counter to splash a half dozen different scents of after shave lotion on your face, often taking my own little face in your hands and lovingly pat the potpourri of manly fragrances on my little girl cheeks.  A few more songs like the musical rendition of “Sleigh Ride” by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” sung by Andy Williams would serenade us as we began our quest for the right gift that year for mom.  You loved to have a lot of gifts under the tree for her ~ I always felt like it was your way of showing her how much you loved and appreciated her.  Soft and flowing night gowns with matching robes, a new winter coat with accompanying boots, and peanut brittle.  Oh, the big gifts were different every year, but we also always got her a box of peanut brittle.   I picked up that yummy tradition in your honor until a few years ago when she began to make her own homemade brittle … thinking of you the entire time she’s doing so, I’m sure.  Speaking of peanuts, on our way out of Sears and Roebuck, you would usually swing by the snack area and buy you and me a small bag of warm salted cashews.  How fun to remember how special that made me feel that you would stop and buy this special treat for me … you and me.  I don’t even know if we saved any for mom and the boys. 

I had to chuckle the other day as I was walking through the grocery store and passed by the infamous bag of mixed nuts!  Do you remember the glass dish that mom got out at Christmas and filled with all sorts of hard candy, oranges, and nuts?   I think of you every time I look for something in the utility drawer in my own kitchen and I see the nut cracker and pick.  I have so many simple, but oh so special holiday memories of you, Daddy. 

Your birthday is coming soon, which always means that Christmas is only a few hours away.  You were always so gracious, having a Christmas Eve birthday, to excitedly accept your annual birthday gift of new Christmas pajamas right along with us kids!  Still to this day, you are always remembered and sung to in the unique Wells tradition … as the birthday cake is shared by many December birthdays each year.  “… Happy Birthday, dear Daddy / Grandpa Johnny!” 

There is an unmistakable warmth, safe and secure, and happy feeling ~ embraced with all the love a little girl’s heart can hold ~ when I think of you, Daddy … especially at Christmas time.  The aromas, the sounds of the holidays, the fun varieties of cookies, snacks, fruit, and the Christmas dinner itself, … and just the presence of our family together.  Thank you, Daddy, for sufficiently providing for us, with not only the things we needed, but with lots of love, attention, and security.   I know your grandkids still remember you for your extreme heart of fun and love that always made each one of them feel so special.  You have great grandkids now, Daddy!  Tim is a grandpa to Kailee’s kids, and Jay is just weeks away from holding his first grandson!  And I will once again be Mimi as Kim is expecting her second little one in May … her own little girl!   Oh Daddy … I miss you so!

You know how busy it gets this time of year, but we all plan to be together once again at your house.  You may not physically be there, but you will be there.  Your example, your jovial and sometimes feisty spirit, and your love will always be with us!  Instead of the 5 of us, plus Mammy and Pappy ~ like it was every year for many years, there will be 25 of us and 3 babies on the way.  What a blessed heritage you gave to each of us … yes, you will be there.   Make that 26.

The older I get, the more I miss you.  There must be something about better understanding the struggles and the hard times of life ~ and wishing that I had paid more attention and spent more time on my knees then than I did.  But here we are.  The journey for me continues, and I know that my tears will continue to flow from time to time … until they will be dried by Jesus Himself as I am met by you at that great Gate … Someday.   

Well, I will hush for now, Daddy.  I promise to meet you here again, from time to time, on the pages of my heart.  Happy 78th Birthday, Merry Christmas, and I love you!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

For a nostalgic walk through some of these favorite classis  Christmas songs … click below!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFtb3EtjEic

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqpyfa2EmzQ

Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives                                                         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up1t5siifEw

Sleigh Ride by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops                         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAm9TloD2bA

White Christmas by Bing Crosby                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aShUFAG_WgM

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  by Gene Autry                           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5VdsuQ-YfM

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnIqLlBwzrc

Let It Snow by Dean Martin                                                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN7LW0Y00kE

It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas by Perry Como                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KjSsTagY3s

Silver Bells by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards                                 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4mkRR4oJNM

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause by Jimmy Boyd                       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI8spatbGEo

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 Christmas decorations … 2011 

Porch Swing

26 Jul

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus,
his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I John 1:7

There is a tradition in my life that takes me back to very early childhood.   It has remained a constant throughout the years and has grown most dear to me. 

My Mammy and Pappy had a swing on their front porch.  What fun my brother and I had as we stood up and walked backwards against the swing, pushing it up against the wall of the house, then jumping on for the fun ride forward, often times, bumping the wall behind us as the swing swayed back and forth.  Very soon after, an adult would always open the screen door and tell us to stop swinging so hard. When visiting my grandparents alone, Mammy and I would often go out together and enjoy the afternoon summers, waiting for the mailman, and sometimes even the ice cream truck.  I also remember especially admiring the lilies of the valley that grew beside the porch.  My Mammaw Wells also had a porch swing.  Most Sunday afternoons when our family would drive down to the country and visit, if she wasn’t out in her garden picking fresh veggies, we would sometimes find her sitting out on the front porch swing breaking beans. 

I’m not sure how I old was when our own family got a porch swing.  It certainly was after the years of neighborhood tournaments of Life, Monopoly, and Concentration, which seemed to almost always take place on our front porch.  Also, it was after the years of using the front porch as my own personal roller skating rink.  I remember well sitting on the swing to read, to write, and to think.  Later in my teen years, it was a nice place to sit and talk on the phone to my friends … and to even share the swing with a special friend.  As I married and began to have my own children, Mom’s front porch swing was a relaxing place to sit and watch the kids play in the front yard when we were all together on a Sunday afternoon.  It was also a favorite place for my mom and I to sit with Mammy when they came to Mom and Dad’s for a visit.  This time, though, with no pesky little ones bumping the swing up against the house!

Several years later, we built a house in Pennsylvania and I was so excited to put my very own swing on my front porch. I especially enjoyed the evenings as I sat overlooking a cow pasture, a pond, and the infamous Star Barn just across the street from our home.  When we later sold our home, packed up our kiddos, and headed to New Mexico, the cheaply-built, store bought swing stayed behind on that porch. 

God blessed our lives in a variety of wonderful ways while we lived in Albuquerque.  One of those ways was in the many dear friends we made while in ministry at Nazarene Indian Bible College.  Work and Witness teams faithfully came to work on the campus, along with dedicated and committed volunteers that came every year for weeks and even months at a time to work by our sides at NIBC.  One such couple was our precious friends, Mike and Norma Johnson.  Having retired and desiring to be obedient to God’s leadership, they arrived every December and were our Christmas elves.  One year, they brought an extra special gift for me … a porch swing, made special for me, by Mike himself.  What a treat! 

Jayla, Destanee & Scottie

It was immediately hung with joy on my back porch, overlooking the yard and a nice glance of the ditchbank road where Scottie and I walked each morning.   It also offered a gorgeous view of the brilliant sparkling night sky of the southwest and the moon that I often felt like I could literally reach out and touch.  I enjoyed the surprise visit of a beautiful horse that wandered into my yard one morning while sitting on my swing having my devotions.  Summer of 2005 found me often sitting with two precious little girls on my back porch swing, watching the silly antics of the rufous hummingbirds that would dart back and forth, hovering at eye-level to see for themselves the beautiful girls behind the giggles. Teens would fill the house and spill out onto the back porch and onto the swing, grilling hamburgers, laughing, and having fun.  The swing always seemed to be a favorite place to gather, relax, visit, enjoy life, and spend time with Jesus.

After weathering the hot dry summers of New Mexico, my porch swing was packed away into a big yellow truck and moved to the extreme humidity of southern Indiana.  There it  became the supporting framework for mud-dauber’s nests and was also drilled a couple times by carpenter bees.  After realizing that I wasn’t the only one enjoying the swing, a can of hornet/bee spray kept me company as I sat on my front porch swing, overlooking the thick woods of Higher Ground Conference andRetreatCenter.  Birds, rabbits, squirrels and deer were my visiting friends this time…with an occasional co-worker or neighbor who would stop by for a chat. 

Papaw & Cole

Just this past September, the swing was packed away again in another big truck and moved to the beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania.  Since then, it has been greatly enjoyed by Papaw, Mimi, and their precious little Cole.  By now, however, the swing’s wood has darkened with age, weather, and use.  When we recently received a phone call from the swing’s creator, informing us of an upcoming visit, I got all excited to clean up my special friend.  In the midst of the extreme heat and humidity we have endured for the past 3 weeks, the swing received a good scrubbing and a chemical bath, removing embedded Albuquerque dirt, weathered elements, and no doubt some sticky little boy fingerprints from roasted marshmallows.  A nice coat of wood sealer covered the fresh clean surface, offering a brand new look to my old faithful friend. 

Norma, me, and Mike

This past weekend, Mike and Norma treated us with a couple days of sweet fellowship.  I was so excited to once again sit on the swing between the two of them, eternally grateful for their friendship, their prayers for me and my family, and for my swing.  I wanted them to know that no matter the circumstances of life that have come my way, my porch swing has been faithful and supported me through them all.  The wood on the swing will eventually deteriorate and the wood screws will no longer hold tight, but I confidently believe in my heart that Jesus will have another beautiful swing waiting for me on the back porch of my mansion … overlooking the rolling and majestic hills of Glory.  Won’t you plan on stopping by for a visit on my porch swing and a chat that could quite easily last for a thousand years? 

Until next time,
Debbie

 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. 
Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,
so that our joy may be complete. 
2 John 1:12

*  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 flowers taken in our backyard ~ July 8, 2011

 

 

Dear Daddy

23 Jun

He asked you for life, and You gave it to him—
   length of days, for ever and ever.
Psalm 21:4

 

Father’s Day was just a few days ago … and tomorrow is June 24th.  I just wanted to tell you that I love you and miss you.  You have been in my thoughts and on my heart so much lately … more so than usual.  I think it’s because of a combination of things.  My job has me sitting in an office at an elder care law firm, where clients come and go, discussing serious subjects like health care, money, relationship issues, and death.  My thoughts of you and mom at this stage of life are never too far from my heart these days.  Another reason would be that Tim and I are now grandparents to little Cole, and I often dream about how much fun and joy this little boy would be bringing to your own great grandpa heart.  I’m sure he would have given you a name that’s special … like Papaw Johnny.  I like that!  Cole loves tractors and trains, loud cars and trucks, motorcycles, fire trucks, and balls … all the usual things that a two year old boy likes.  He’s at the age now where you would have had him outside helping you to wash the cars … and he would’ve kept you entertained by his constant chatter the entire time!   Oh what fun the two of you would’ve had. You would’ve fixed him a fried bologna and cheese sandwich for lunch and he would’ve  loved it because it came from his Papaw Johnny!  I look forward to telling him all about you someday when he’s old enough to understand about a great grandpa’s love, life, death, and Heaven.

It’s been 17 years now … tomorrow.    So much has taken place in our family since that day.  Births, relocations, deaths, graduations, divorces, weddings, accidents, surgeries … but we have remained intact, always loving, praying, and supporting one another. 

Mom is doing really well these days.  You know she fell last spring and shattered her elbow.  What an ordeal that was!   She pretty much lost all of her summer since she was so limited in the things she could do.  But she is a trooper and has shown quite some spunk when it comes to making sure she stays active.  She bought a riding lawn mower a few years ago so she could still be responsible for taking care of the yards…and she does a great job, too!  She is the life of the party when our families invite her to come along on vacations, and she enjoys the convenience of hopping on an airplane and quickly and comfortably arriving at her destination.  I know she misses you, though.  When we lived in Albuquerque and she would fly in to visit us, I knew her heart was aching to share the experience of that special place with you.  Just like she does now when she is surrounded by family and friends … I see it in her eyes.  She’s wishing you were still by her side to enjoy these slower and less hectic years of life.

You left quite a legacy in your sons … their looks, their humor, and their character.  You would be most proud of the men they have both become.  Me?  The best thing you passed along to me was the tenacity of never letting go of Jesus.  I know that life was not always easy for you and there were some really difficult circumstances that knocked you down from time to time.  But you always kept grasping the hand of Jesus who would always pull you back up.  Thank you, Daddy, for your faithful example to my own heart and life. 

Me and Daddy 1968

The reality of Heaven became very intimate for me since you died.  I have always pictured in my mind’s eye that you will be waiting at the front gates for me with arms wide open, saying “My Bobby Naw!  My sweet little girl!”  On that day when my heart is reunited with yours, I will also see Jesus face to face!  What a glorious day that will be!

Well, I will hush for now, Daddy.  I promise to meet you here again, from time to time, on the pages of my heart. 

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

 

Scriptures that I read to Daddy while he was in the hospital …
and later read at his funeral.
(When I was a child, Daddy was often referred to as “King”.)

The king rejoices in Your strength, LORD.
   How great is his joy in the victories You give!

You have granted him his heart’s desire
   and have not withheld the request of his lips.

You came to greet him with rich blessings
   and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

He asked you for life, and You gave it to him—
   length of days, for ever and ever.

Through the victories You gave, his glory is great; 
   You have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
Surely You have granted him unending blessings
   and made him glad with the joy of Your presence.

For the king trusts in the LORD;
   through the unfailing love of the Most High
   he will not be shaken.

Psalm 21:1-7

 

 

Breath of Heaven

24 Dec

                                                                                                The Spirit of God has made me;
   the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 33:4

 

The songs of the season are one of my favorite things about Christmas!  There are tunes dating back to when I was a little girl and soundtracks from childhood movies such as Rudolph and Frosty.  Carpenter’s Christmas Portrait would be the winning answer for a trivia question asked to Kim or Ryan  …   “What is THE #1 album that means Christmas to you?”  There are fun songs that playfully express the sounds of the holidays while there are melodies that fill the air with nostalgia and memories of days gone by.  Timeless Christmas carols with their message of a Savior born to take away our sins  …  and newer songs of praise  ~  all drawing me into an attitude of worship. 

A few weeks ago, I caught the familiar sound of a song I’ve heard countless times, but for the first time ever I actually listened to the words…really listened.   Hopefully on this Eve of Christmas Day, you will find a moment of quiet, and you can also listen to this song and allow the words from Mary’s own journey to be the cry of your heart.   

Click to play “Breath of Heaven”  … sung by Point of Grace.

Just like Mary, I have traveled many moonless nights … dark and cold nights where I was so tired and weary from the burdens I carried.  And yes, I’ve also wondered … “what have I done?”   Do I honestly believe that You have chosen me … for this, my life’s journey?

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father You have come
Chosen me now to carry Your son
 

 

Frightened and alone, I have silently waited in prayer … Be with me now, be with me now.

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone must I walk this path alone
Be with me now, be with me now

What a precious prayer … how intimate … how personal … how desparate

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me … Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your Holiness
For You are Holy … Breath of Heaven 

I, like Mary, have doubted and questioned … but I offer all I am, for the mercy of His plan …
so help me be strong,
help me be,
help me …

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But i offer all i am for the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me … Breath of Heaven 

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your Holiness
For You are Holy … Breath of Heaven

 

A portion of a devotional, dated Nov 28th ~ Streams in the Desert ~ reads …

“And the wind that blew from the sunrise made me hope in the God who had first breathed into my nostrils the breath of life;  that He would at length so fill me with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that I should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein my own life, only glorified infinitely.” 

 

Won’t you join me, this night before Christmas, in asking God the Father to fill us with His breath, His mind, His Spirit … to think only His thoughts, and to live His life, finding therein my own  ~  to be near us, to lighten our darkness, and to pour over us His Holiness … Breath of Heaven?

Till next time,
Debbie

This is what God the LORD says–
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it: 

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah 42:5-7