Tag Archives: Hope

PLANES Birthday

7 Apr

They celebrate Your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
Psalm 145:7

 

The birthday boy!

The birthday boy!

Miniature race flags lined the sidewalk, welcoming the birthday boy as he arrived at his party. Having spent the previous night at Mimi and Papaw’s house, his anticipation level had reached its all-time high and he was past ready for the festivities to begin! As he opened the front door, he was transported into another world – a world where airplanes come alive. The Disney movie, PLANES, was the theme, and Cole was the birthday boy.

Puffy white clouds were hung in the sky while planes of various sizes, shapes, and personalities flew nearby. Jet streams stretched across the open expanse above while airplanes landed at the airport below. Paper airplanes, clothes-pin airplanes and wooden airplanes were constructed, and a giant Dusty Crophopper waited patiently as blind-folded little munchkins pinned propellers all over him.   Little kids and their imaginations enjoyed the various activities and games, all excited to be part of their friend’s special day.

Cole's birthday cake

Cole’s birthday cake

A tasty lunch of deli meats and cheeses were served, followed by cupcakes and birthday cake. Once again, the talented little momma baked and decorated to the hilt and the party was a flying success. The most exciting moments for the birthday boy and his guests, of course, were those gathered around the gifts. Even though most of Cole’s little friends from church are girls, they were all excited over all the toys and presents, joining in the fun of playtime following the party.

Two days after the PLANES party was Cole’s actual 5th birthday – March 24. An assortment of memories always flood our minds and our hearts at this time of year as we recall Cole’s six-weeks-early debut into our family. Those were scary and quite troubling days and weeks, but we are grateful for the miracle of life that God blessed us with in the person of Cole Michael.

Once again I find myself asking you to join me in celebrating life …it seems like I do this often, for there is much to celebrate. Even when the days are dark and life’s circumstances are darker yet, Jesus is our eternal Hope and the Giver of Life…of Eternal Life.

Until next time,
Debbie

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from Cole’s party 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.10202235583145788.1073741850.1076414018&type=1&l=7c81a8c7e4

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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

** 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.10201126682463964.1073741837.1076414018&type=1&l=f2e1a3712a

Red Sea, Gall Bladder & a Hurricane

9 Nov

You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

 

The offer to buy a companion ticket expired Aug 30.  In true form, my daughter and I made our decision that final day, purchasing two airline tickets to Indianapolis for the end of October.  Excited to introduce our new little one to extended family and friends, we were making it a ladies’ weekend away, since 6 month old Lillianne can fly free until she’s two years old.

Flying to Indy!

My mother did some strategizing of her own as she scheduled her foot surgery for nearly a month before our anticipated arrival.  Once Mom got settled following the procedure, all was well as she adjusted to hobbling around the house with her left foot encased in the boot.  After a couple weeks, I did begin to take notice that Mom sounded really tired and she often mentioned that there was discomfort in her abdomen that would come and go. Then just a week before our flight, it became very apparent that Mom was in a great deal of pain.  So those whose watch she is on, on a regular basis, took her to several doctor appointments and tests, coming to the conclusion that it was likely her gall bladder giving her fits, and that surgery was a great probability.  As Kim and I did our final packing for the trip, we switched clothing around for hospital and home instead of friends and family, restaurants, and church.

A few years ago, a dear friend of mine was going through difficult days when a Pastor friend called her out of the blue and asked what was going on.  God laid my friend on her heart, and she knew she needed to call and find out how she should be praying.  We were completely in awe of God’s hand in her life at that exact time, so we named that a “Parting of the Red Sea Moment”… a moment when only God could literally move the sea, or move someone to make a phone call, or to coordinate a much-needed surgery with a pre-scheduled visit.  My oldest brother, Jay, was on vacation all week … a week set aside to cut firewood for the upcoming winter … placed in the books at the Martinsville Post Office back in December 2011.  Tim’s sister, Amy, was cleared 2 weeks prior to have Friday off from work in order to spend the day with us girls and have lunch with her mom. Instead, she was able to sit with us at the hospital during my mom’s surgery, bringing us lunch, Mountain Dew, and lots of laughs!!  God was dishing out Red Sea Moments left and right!!

Mimi Wells with 4 of her 7 great grandkids
A’yden, Leyton, Jaxon, and Lillianne

What a privilege it was for me to be caregiver for those few days we were in town.  Before settling down to bed each night, Mom and I would pull up my Facebook on my  iPhone and read all of the sweet comments from dear friends and family … from 20 different states and 2 countries!!  It was like opening a mailbox full of get well cards, knowing that they had been thinking about her and praying for her!    Each day was a new day, gaining more strength, reclaiming her lost appetite, looking more rested, and feeling better.  Family times were extra special, as babies Lillianne, Jaxon, and Leyton (all second cousins, within 4 months in age) were introduced to one another, mommas and daddies compared stories, and Great Grandma (Mimi Wells) had several photo shoots with the children.

The first night we were at my Mom’s, my husband called and briefly mentioned something about a big storm coming up the east coastline … wanted to know if I had been listening to the weather.  I laughed at his silly question, thinking back over the extremely eventful day.  With surgery scheduled the following day, there was no thought about a storm and very little time to watch TV.  Sometime on Saturday, the realization hit us that our return flight into Baltimore could very possibly be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.  We literally spent 2 hours on hold that night with the airline, waiting to ask questions about cancellations, refunds, and rescheduling.  If we made the decision to not fly, then it would cost us.  If we waited on the airline to cancel the flight, then we could rebook at no cost.  We decided to trust the airline … if they choose to fly, then we would be along for the ride. So, on the way to the airport, we received the recorded message that our flight into Baltimore was cancelled.  Knowing that our hubbies were back east, weathering the storm alone (Troy had Cole’s assistance!), we were disappointed but yet relieved to not be sharing the same air space as the hurricane.

The first unexpected day was pretty much a wash, literally, as we were glued to the Weather Channel, watching the reports of flooding, fire, wind, power outages, and extreme devastation.  Having friends and family in the path of the storm was unsettling, knowing that our own homes could be damaged or be without power for days.  But as the hours passed, so did the winds and rain.  Grateful reports from home came in that there was no loss of electricity and that all was ok.  The brunt of the damage was closer to the shore … our beloved New Jersey beaches, the gorgeous homes and communities where we visit each summer ~ much of it flooded and destroyed.

Our last day with Mimi Wells was a productive one as we were determined to turn off the Weather Channel and work on some projects that we had already started for her.  By the day’s end, we were all packed again, ready and hoping for an early morning flight back home.

I often write about my personal relationship with God … how He and I have a special vocabulary, and He literally speaks to me through His Word.  A couple of days before our scheduled flight to Indy, my morning devotions had me reading in Lamentations 3 …

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

 

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love 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 3:19-26

 

Those 2 days before our trip, I knew right then and there that it was Mom’s gall bladder … and that my God was telling me that He had it all under control.

A few days later, before getting out of bed the morning of Mom’s surgery, I snuggled up next to her, and I prayed for her.  I asked God to guide the doctors and nurses as they tended to her that day, and thanked Him for parting the Red Sea so I could be there with her.  Just minutes later as I was having my devotions, Our Daily Bread had me reading in Joshua 2.  My heart began to soar as I read verse 10, knowing that once again, my personal and loving God was shouting to me “I LOVE YOU DEBBIE!!”

We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea
for you when you came out of Egypt, …
…for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below
.
Joshua 2:10 & 11

Four days later and wondering if it was really safe to be flying home, my devotions were in Psalm 32.  Verse 7 jumped out at me …

 You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah

With confidence, I shared the verse with Kim and reassured her that despite the storm and the unsettled weather still along the east coast, God was safely going to take us back home.  Thank you, Father, for loving us so!

That Wednesday was an uneventful day … Lillie travels like a pro, taking everything in stride … flirting and smiling at anyone who looks her way.  Once landed in Baltimore, her eyes sparkled even brighter as her big brother held her hand all the way home.

Since we’ve been back home, Mom has gotten the pin out of her toe and is slowing making progress in getting out and walking without the protective boot.  Her small incisions from the gall bladder surgery are healing and she is regaining strength and hopefully putting some meat back on her frail little body.  I’m so looking forward to spending more time with her over the Christmas holiday … every moment with my momma is a precious moment!

Our hearts are still hurting for those still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Tim’s youngest sister and her family live on Long Island, just 4 blocks away from having lost everything.  Their everyday routines have been disrupted as the simple things like gas, groceries, and errands are no longer simple.  Our pastor friends, Del and Patsy Bieber in Tom’s River, New Jersey report that Samaritan’s Purse has set up headquarters in their parking lot, and that their church is very involved in the care of people in their area.

As we all think back over the events of the last few weeks, including the election just a few days ago, won’t you join me in continuing to pray for people everywhere whose very existence has been ravaged by the storms of life?  God wants to wrap His arms of Love, Mercy, and Hope around each of us … not just in His Red Sea Moments, but all the time.

Until next time,
Debbie

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

** The header photo was taken at Avon-by-the Sea, New Jersey … August 5, 2012.

LILLIANNE HOPE … the story

11 May

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

Lillianne ~ one name among several scribbled on a note pad belonging to a junior high girl, dreaming of the day when she would have her own daughter.  That name, along with that hope, became reality several days ago when my granddaughter was born.

Purpose was involved for several months ~ what occurred so effortlessly 3 years previous was not going to be so easy this time.  Repeated non success led to disappointment, and disappointment led to frustration.  Perhaps there is magic in the month of August … magic that Divinely and mysteriously combined that school girl’s dreams with hope, and then that hope into reality.  Reality was confirmed and then anticipation immediately hit the calendars for the first week of May…nearly the exact same day that the older sibling had been due to arrive.  As the pages of the calendar began to turn, so did the Momma’s stomach, limiting the items on the menu, and once again not able to even tolerate the aroma of brewing coffee.  Necessary changes were made without much grumble, and the family of three (plus dog) adjusted.  By early December, ultrasound photos revealed the hidden secret of gender and all were thrilled beyond words to officially refer to the ever-growing baby belly as Lillie. Along with her big brother Cole, Lillie had gifts under the Christmas tree, and was quite noticeable in the annual holiday family photo.  The New Year started and with it came some concern from Momma’s doctor which sent her to bed for a couple of weeks.  Those weeks of rest proved to be helpful, but only temporarily.  As spring dropped hints of its existence throughout our very mild winter, Kim’s body began to show signs of early dilation and possible pre-term labor.  Once again, orders were made to rest and do very little … Prayers were prayed, food was brought in, and child care was provided during those long weeks of caution.  For all of this and more, we are so appreciative!  The phrase ‘full-term’ finally made its way into our vocabulary and the little momma received professional permission to emerge from her couch. A slow but deliberate re-entry into activity began to take place, as well as ‘practice’ contractions and pressure.  Substantial dilation secretly moved in on the scene and was detected and announced by the attending physician during the final weekly visit.  A suggestion was made to have all bags packed and to expect a quick trip to the hospital before the scheduled day of surgery.  A fun-filled weekend, including movie night with popcorn and milkshakes, a family picnic on Saturday, and kickball in the park ended with timely contractions and extreme discomfort during the wee hours of Sunday.   A call to the doctor in charge during those sleepy hours instructed the waiting parents to arrive in Annapolis as soon as possible for an exam, at which time the number 8 seemed to boost workers into sudden activity.  The preferred C-section delivery was prepped, as was the patient, and at 5:50 am on Sunday, April 29, 2012, Lillianne Hope was born.

Welcome, Baby Lillie!

Having driven the hour and a half to Annapolis and arriving at the hospital around 4:30 am, I knew there was nothing I could do but sit and pray, so I did everything I knew to do ~ sit and pray.  I received an occasional text from Kim or Troy, informing me of the latest detail … until all went quiet when she said “we are going in soon”.  For the next hour or so, my mind played back to the scene three years before when they rushed my very ill daughter down the hall to deliver her first-born by emergency surgery…6 weeks early.  My heart soared in prayer as the minutes clicked by that God’s presence would be with these kids as they experienced another special moment in their lives together.  An excited text interrupted my sanctuary as the new Dad informed me that Mom and baby were fine and that I would get to come see them both soon.  As I entered that hospital room and saw the glow on my daughter’s face as she sat there holding her own daughter, my heart was full and ready to burst with joy!  No wires, no tubes, no alarms, no special machines!  Although everything worked out and Cole is an active and healthy little 3-year-old boy now … this time, it’s a new and different beginning to life!  Thank you Jesus!

Cole meeting his little sister, Lillianne

I drove back to Cole’s house where he and Papaw were playing and waiting for me to come get them.  We explained to the little guy that Baby Lillie had finally arrived and she was at the hospital with his mom and dad.  As we were getting out of our van to go inside, Cole looked over at me and asked … “Baby Lillie is not in Mommy’s tummy now?”  It was so fun to be able to tell him that she was now out … and that he was going to get to see her eyes, her nose, her hair, and her little fingers!  I believe in his little boy heart and mind, he understood.  Sporting his ‘big brother’ sticker that the nurse’s station handed him, with excitement and the thrill of many, many months of anticipation, Cole squealed with delight as he reached for his baby sister and touched her for the first time.Visitors came and went.  So did the nurses and doctors … providing care, instructions, and advice.  The little family was reunited in their home on Wednesday, just 4 days following Lillie’s birth.  One couldn’t help but remember that it was on day 4 that Mom and Dad were finally able to hold Baby Cole for the first time …still connected to wires, tubes, and machines.   Again, thank you Jesus.

Mimi with Lillie, Cole, and Uncle RyRy

The weekend was extra special as Uncle RyRy and Britt flew in from Seattle to officially meet little Miss Lillianne.  Ryan arrived on Thursday morning, giving us a couple extra days of playtime with Cole at Mimi and Papaw’s house so Mom and Dad and little Miss could get settled without added commotion. Brittany then joined the party Saturday morning ~ allowing this Mom and Mimi to feel blessed beyond words to be surrounded by her entire family for a few days.  It was a busy time – cooking, loving the babies, cooking again, loving all the babies some more, and cooking again.  Sunday night came all too quickly as Tim and I headed back to PA in order to go back to work the following day.  Reality always has a way of interrupting.  The salve to help soothe the aching Mommy heart this time is our upcoming family vacation to Seattle in July!

Another week has nearly come and gone – Lillianne will be 2 weeks old this Sunday … Mother’s Day.  I look forward to spending the day with both of my grandchildren and their parents ~ Mimi and Papaw taking turns to hold the itty bitty one while the other plays with tractors, cars, and dinosaurs.  It will be a special day, full of life, love, and little ones.

Just as her name was first written on a piece of scratch paper many years ago, all of Lillianne’s days were ordained by God and written in His book before one of them came to be … Psalms 139:16.  I count it a privilege and honor to also document this little life’s days in my own journal!  As specific and detailed her tiny ears are, or to hear every squeak and whimper from her perfect little lips ~ may I begin this journey of writing with a heart full of praise and awe of the One who created her.  Won’t you join me?

Until next time,
Debbie

Lillianne Hope … 1 week old

Baby Lillie

HOPE

9 Feb

For You have been my HOPE, O Sovereign LORD,
my Confidence since my youth.
Psalm 71:5

  

Through tears of discouragement, shocking disbelief, and a broken heart, I listened as my friend poured out her heart to me.  A pot of mixed emotions began to stir inside of me as I weighed the injustice against a soul who has overcome so much, victorious only by the grace and mercies of God.  Knowing the fragility of her mind and spirit, I spoke very little, praying all the while that God Himself would speak through me when it was time.  When the word ‘hopeless’ made its way into the focus of our time together, I felt the Nudge … and I began to pour out my heart.  After several sentences and a couple paragraphs later, I presented a challenge to my dear friend.  Realizing that there are times when one’s heart hurts too much to even utter a prayer, I encouraged her to sit down with her Bible and do a search on HOPE.  I know that God will speak to her heart through scripture, and she will once again know that He not only offers and provides hope, He is her Hope. 


At least there is HOPE for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
Job 14:7-9

 

Show me Your ways, O LORD,
teach me Your paths;
guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my Savior,
and my HOPE is in You all day long.
Psalm 25:4-5

 

Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in You.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my HOPE is in You.
Psalm 25:20-21

 

Be strong and take heart,
all You who HOPE in the LORD.
Psalm 31:24

 

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him,
on those whose HOPE is in His unfailing love,
to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in HOPE for the LORD; He is our Help and our Shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our HOPE in You.
Psalm 33:18-22

 

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your HOPE in God, for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and  my God.
Psalm 42:5-6

 

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my HOPE comes from Him.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation;
He is my Fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty Rock, my Refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our Refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8

 

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior, the HOPE of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
Who formed the mountains by Your power,
having armed Yourself with strength,
Who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
Psalm 65:5-7

 

O Israel, put your HOPE in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with Him is full redemption.
Psalm 130:7

 

The LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their HOPE in His unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11

 

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
There is surely a future HOPE for you,
and your HOPE will not be cut off.
Listen, my son, and be wise,
and keep your heart on the right path.
Proverbs 23:17-19

 

And we rejoice in the HOPE of the glory of God. 
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
 perseverance, character; and character, HOPE.
And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His
love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
Romans 5:3-5

 

 For even Christ did not please Himself but, as it is written:
“The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.”
  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,
so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have HOPE.
Romans 15:3-4

 

May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal
encouragement and good HOPE,
encourage your hearts and strengthen
you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  
Hebrews 6:19

 

Therefore, prepare your minds for action;
be self-controlled; set your HOPE fully on the grace
to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
 As obedient children, do not conform to the
evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
 But just as He who called you is Holy, so be Holy in all you do;
 for it is written: “Be Holy, because I am Holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16

 

On my way to work yesterday morning, I spotted this couple as they walked down their driveway and out to the edge of the road  ~  a young father, holding the hand of his little boy.  Off in the distance, I saw the yellow school bus rounding the corner, coming toward the waiting pair.  I noticed that the young lad turned to look at his approaching ride, then quickly lifted his eyes to meet his father’s.  As I drove by in that brief moment, I saw a glance of hope, assurance, and love.  Even in the event of the usual, one little boy gathered confidence and courage to face another day from his strong, trusting, and loving relationship with his father.  How about us?  In the usual or in the depths of great disappointment and pain, do we seek out the One relationship that provides peace, assurance, and hope for our day? 

 Won’t you join me … and the little boy down the street, as we look to our Father for Hope?

Until next time,
Debbie

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

Blue Skies and A Hair Cut

25 Jan

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

Escorting me on the way to work yesterday morning was the brightest blue sky I have seen in a while.  As the fog that had kept us company for a few days began to lift, so did my spirits.  Regardless of the temperature outside, if the sun is shining and the sky is blue, it is difficult to keep a smile from my face and my heart from soaring.  Just moments from work, I passed by a meadow of sheep where a few were munching on their breakfast out at the fence row by the road.  They were no doubt excited as they were finding pockets of fresh grass poking through the clumps of melting snow.  I chuckled as I realized that these sheep looked a lot like the side of the road where the snow was once white but is now dirty.  To be expected, I suppose … it is winter.  January is winding down, but there are still several weeks left of the gray, the wet, and the cold.  That’s why I love blue skies and hair cuts!

My new hair cut

Trends, styles, and the impulse to do something different encouraged me over a year ago to begin the process of letting my hair grow out.  The end result was to be an A-line cut, which I was successful in reaching the correct lengths for, but my hair is just not suited for the look.  Thanks to my Mother, I have volumes of hair … and thanks to my Daddy, it’s naturally curly.  Even after using a flat iron to straighten my locks, more times than not they become frizzy and bumpy … and I become very frustrated.  The mirror was often giggling and pointing fingers at me, reminding me that I am no longer 32 years old, but never giving any advice or assistance in slowing down the aging process.  I did, however, catch the hint that I should chop the heaviness from around my face and cheerfully welcome back the curls that smile and dance in the sunshine or rain!   So on Monday, in the midst of the drizzling cold mist of the day, the simple thing like a fresh new hair style was an immediate boost and encouragement!  Rain?  What rain?

I know I’m silly.  I know I’m sappy.  But in the midst of life with its difficult days, we all need an occasional blue sky and a hair cut!  I have a friend who is holding on to a thread of hope and sanity as her husband continues to suffer with the cancer that keeps stealing his very life from him.  Little babies and children have been battling serious illnesses this winter.  Others are in pain and have gone to the doctors time and again trying to find out what the problem is.  Strokes, heart attacks, and diseases are constantly claiming the lives of people we know and love.  Concerned pregnancies, troubled marriages, insufficient funds, and on and on and on.  Even while the unexpected continues to invade our routines of life, time marches on.  It marches on with determination and is very deliberate in its agenda.  All the while I find myself lagging behind and sometimes stopping to catch my breath in the wake of the dust.  It is in those moments that when the dust begins to settle and the clouds clear away, I look up and see blue skies.  Or I call and make a hair appointment … or I decide to do something out of the ordinary that makes my heart happy.  Maybe a quick stop at Starbucks for a white chocolate mocha!  What is it for you?  A night at the gym to work out the stress and tension?  How about a walk along the ditch bank road or wherever your heart finds solace.  For some, it may be a favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, or a ride in the country on a motorcycle.  Whatever the temporary calm to your storm might be, embrace it to the fullest, knowing that it came from God’s hand of mercy and love.  It is in moments like those that He desires us to wait in hope for Him … our Help and our Shield…our Refuge and Strength … an ever-present Help in trouble.

As I catch my breath and once again expect the known and the unknown of life, won’t you join me in anticipation of the next clearing of blue skies and a new hair cut?

We wait in hope for the LORD;
He is our Help and our Shield.

In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in You.
Psalm 33:20-22

~~~~

God is our Refuge and Strength,
an ever-present Help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
                                                                                      Selah
Psalm 46:1-3

 

Until next time,
Debbie

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 the blue sky  ~  tree in our back yard, fall of 2011.

 

’Tis the Season

25 Nov

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Papaw and Cole

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  People all over our good country gathered with family and friends in celebration of gratitude and thankfulness.  This year was no exception in my own heart for realizing the true significance of this holiday.  We have much to be thankful for.  Tim and I are both employed, and we have a nice home in which we live.  Our children are healthy, happy, and will be with us for Christmas.  Just a week ago, Tim underwent a heart catheterization during which a new stent was placed inside the stent that he received in November of 2004 while living in Albuquerque.  The original was 99% blocked, creating chest pain and discomfort that necessitated intervention.  A few days past Tim’s emergency medical situation, I had a minor hernia repair and am taking advantage of the quiet days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday to rest and to heal.  We are truly blessed this year by doctors and medical professionals who know how to take care of our bodies when they fail. 

Today is the day after Thanksgiving.  Many followed the traditional holiday feast by going out late, or early, as the case may be, to shop and find the first great deals of the Christmas season.  Others are busy transforming their homes with festive garland, lights, and décor that somehow ushers in this special time of year with its music, its gifts, and its Love.  Today is exactly one month until Christmas Day.   We all have much to do between now and then, but let’s not get so caught up in the hurry and the rush that we forget the season of Thanksgiving!  It was a season in which we celebrated the birth of brand new babies and still anxiously anticipate others.  A season in which we were pleased with successful surgeries that gave hope to scary diagnoses.  A season in which there was God-given peace over life-changing events and decisions.  A season of rejoicing over long awaited answers to prayers, and the continued realization of God’s gift of breath and life, His grace, and His mercy each and every day.  Please join me as we place the Christ Child’s manger in our focus again this Christmas season, that we still hold on to the Spirit of Thanksgiving and keep it with us into the New Year. 

Until next time,
Debbie

“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus,
because He will save His people from their sins.” 
Matthew 1:21

 

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