Tag Archives: Joy

Mike and Norma

25 Oct

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:3-4

 

We meet all kinds of people throughout our lives.  Some are brief acquaintances while others leave lasting impressions on our hearts.  We are truly blessed to say that we have several that fit into that category, for we have many cherished friendships.  One such couple is Mike and Norma.

The Johnsons walked into our lives, and back out rather abruptly the first time we met … the day our family drove onto the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in late July of 1997.  They had been helping to keep Work and Witness teams busy, and no doubt entertained, until the new W&W Coordinators arrived in Albuquerque.  Once the big yellow truck pulled up, and the weary travelers from Pennsylvania crawled out, introductions were made, handshakes were exchanged, and no doubt Mike greeted us with his life-time motto, “I’m filled with the joy of living!”  Gracious to have helped out in the pinch, Mike and Norma were anxious to get back into their vehicle and head to their next missions assignment.

Mike with Ryan and Kim
Christmas 2000

The next few months were busy as we hosted several Work and Witness teams, and before we knew it, the Christmas season was upon us … as was the arrival of Mike and Norma Johnson.  Faithfully, every December, Mike worked along side of Tim while Norma spent the entire month of December sorting through donated items and putting together a large gift bag full of Christmas presents for every student of Nazarene Indian Bible College and each member of their family.  Including several years before we were on staff, Mike and Norma served NIBC for a total of 13 Christmases.  In time, as the educational structure of the Bible College changed, their own personal mission remained the same as they continued to volunteer their time and efforts towards the on-going ministry in Albuquerque.  As the history books now recite, the campus was sold and everyone who once called NIBC home disbursed and moved elsewhere.

Apparently, the lasting impressions were also made on their hearts, as the Johnsons found their way to the hills of southeastern Indiana where we were then on staff at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center.  It was so good to catch back up with our friends and to once again visit on the front porch swing that Mikie had made for me several years before.

The ladies … Carol, me and Norma

Having their home base located in Hondo, Texas for over 10 years, we wanted to visit our friends in their world, but the distance and our own responsibilities prevented that from happening.  This past winter, however, they made the decision to finally retire and move back up to their old hometown in northern Ohio.  Excited that a 6 hour weekend jaunt was feasible, we began making plans for a road trip.

Our mid-October drive through the mountains of western Pennsylvania into the northern hills of Ohio provided a most colorful canvas for our trip.  It was a blessing to finally meet family members and put faces to the names we have heard so much about through the years!  Mike and Norma’s home, their keepsakes, their community, church, and even Miss Kitti was a joy to share with them this past weekend.  It was also a special treat to visit with another NIBC family member, Carol Hileman.  What fun we had at Sunday dinner!

Mike and Norma’s love and dedication for God has been expressed by their love and care for people.  While raising their boys, they were caretakers at a Holiness campground for 22 years.  They later traveled all over the country, serving in various ministries, including Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque and a Navajo mission in Rough Rock, Arizona.  Endless stories, a song thrown in here and there, and countless moments of laughter and enjoyment filled our hearts as we visited.

Mike and Norma

Now, I’m sure that most of you do not know Mike and Norma.  But I do imagine you have at least one Mike and Norma in your life.  Is there someone or a couple, age not important, who has walked across your heart, leaving imprints of love?  Time and circumstances have brought changes to visits, but relationships remain strong.  Although you do not share the same name or blood line, you know that you are still family.  I know that I am a better person today for knowing and loving Mike and Norma.  Won’t you join me today in thanking God for such people?  We just spent an entire weekend with ours … why don’t you call yours or go visit them.  You will be glad you did!  You will be “filled with the joy of living!!”

Until next time,
Debbie

        I have found a wondrous Savior, Jesus Christ, The Soul’s Delight
        Ev’ry blessing of His favor Fills my heart with hope so bright
        Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the King of Life to me;
        Unto Him my all I’m giving, His forevermore to be.
        I will do what He commands me, Anywhere He leads I’ll go;
      Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the dearest Friend I know.
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CARS Birthday

28 Mar

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

I wish little-boy excitement could be bottled up and later dispensed whenever Mimi starts to run low of her own.  Afternoon playtime at the park, a trip to McDonald’s, or a birthday party are all occasions for squeals, loads of fun, and endless energy.

Flo's V-8 Cafe

Cole Michael turned 3 years old this past Saturday.  For him, the day began like any other Saturday when he spends Friday night at Mimi and Papaw’s house ~ stickers, breakfast, and playtime with Papaw.  But the rest of the day was anything but normal.  Cole must have sensed the electricity in the live currents of his parents and grandparents, for he absolutely refused to settle down for a nap, but instead cried and warted around in his bed till he was a mess.  Last minute details were loaded into Mimi’s van, including the birthday boy himself, while Papaw and Daddy went to the scene of the party before hand, to transform the church Sunday School room into a bright and colorful Hall of Fame for the Movie CARS.

Tow Mater Cupcakes
Made by Momma

As Cole walked into the decorated room, complete with friends, family, gifts, tasty treats, and balloons, his less than agreeable mood quickly was checked at the door as he began to shriek with happiness and excitement.   Not knowing where to go or what to look at first, Cole was bouncing all over the room, totally filled with little boy wonder and awe.  Since his Momma has been on moderate bed rest for the past several weeks, she had meticulously drawn out a diagram of each table, each display, and each station, creating the best birthday celebration possible for Cole, in spite of the circumstances surrounding the upcoming birth of Baby Lillie.  Playing on the various personalities of particular CARS characters, signs portraying Flo’s V-8 Café to Guido’s Pit Stop Challenge guided children and adults alike toward food, games, coloring station, and drinks.  The flow of the party went smoothly, all the while the birthday boy was bouncing with energy… now sufficiently fueled by sugar.

Camera in hand, I followed the birthday boy around, capturing as many ‘Kodak Moments’ as possible as Cole and his little friends played games, ate birthday cake and Tow Mater cupcakes, and even at times made it a group effort to unwrap the gifts.  His expressions and interactions with the little people and the big were priceless, as 30 guests came to gift him with a day of  love.

Exciting Gift Time!

Cole’s play area at home now has a lot of additional items that will bring him much fun and happiness in the days to come … not to mention the new pieces to his ever-growing collection of CARS characters.  I find it quite interesting how a small child mixes his energetic imagination with a movie that he has seen a gazillion times and how it places words into his vocabulary, influences the way he runs, and brings such joy to his playtime.  This has caused me to really think about my relationship with Jesus.  Has my love for  Him introduced new words and thought processes into my  life?  Has my love for Jesus influenced the run of life that I am participating in?  Do I find joy in my relationship with Jesus?  Won’t you join me as I reflect on the life of a little 3 year old boy ~ full of energy and love for life … do we embrace Jesus with as much gusto as Cole embraces life?

Until next time,
Debbie

Family Photo

Fix these words of mine in your
hearts and minds;
tie them as symbols on your hands and
bind them on your foreheads.
Teach them to your children, talking about
them when you sit at home
and when you walk along
the road, when you
lie down and when you get up.
Write them on the doorframes of
your houses and on your gates,
so that your days and the days of your
children may be many in the land
that the LORD swore to
give your forefathers,
as many as the days that the
heavens are above the earth.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evil men.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
Proverbs 4:10-15

 

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

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

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 Cole’s birthday decor  –  March 2012