Tag Archives: Memories

Uncle Johnse

26 Jun

Though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;
For You are with me.
Psalm 23:4

Uncle Johnse and Aunt Bert

As kids growing up, routines and the traditions of life become a part of who we are. For our own family of 5, summer vacation consisted of 2 parts – we always spent one week in Holland, Michigan and the other week with family. Family, meaning West Virginia and Big Stone Gap, Virginia … with Chattanooga thrown in from time to time. Between my brothers and I, I’m sure we could write a book or two, each chapter telling a different story of our favorite memories, many of which took place up a hill and down a small lane in Switzer, West Virginia. Aunt Bert never let us go hungry and fed us till we could eat no more … and to this day, I still make my iced tea like she taught me. Barbara and I spent hours on the back porch playing jacks and twirling her baton while the boys were off getting dirty somewhere. Speaking of dirty, then Uncle Johnse would come home just in time for dinner, looking like he had been playing in the coal all day, which he had. I can still hear the front door open as he walked in … his gravely voice chuckled as we came running to greet him, excited to see him after a long day apart. He always made us feel like we were the most special kids around, letting us climb up inside his coal truck, sitting there behind the steering wheel and pretending we were as big a deal as we believed our Uncle Johnse was.

I remember being at home and my parents talking about Uncle Johnse getting severely burned in a coal mine fire. To this day, my little-girl thoughts and imagination still fill my mind with visions of what that must have been like for him and how scary it must have been for Aunt Bert, Mike and Barbara. I hope he knew that no amount of scars or wounds would have ever affected our love and affection for him.

There were several things in life that Uncle Johnse loved — from my perspective, anyway … Family, Cadillacs, coal trucks, to sleep with the TV on, horse shoes, and Aunt Bert. Oddly enough, some of my fondest memories were hearing them sometimes bicker and fuss back and forth, but at that the end of the day, they were always snuggled up together, either on the floor or on the couch, sound asleep in front of the TV, which was left on all night.

Time has a way of slipping by all too quickly, and little kids grow up and become adults and begin having children and then grandchildren of their own. That’s what happened to us, but a resemblance of that engrained tradition from our early childhood remained in our hearts and Uncle Johnse has always been our hero. Weddings, funerals, phone calls, road trips and Aunt Nan’s reunions have kept us close through the years. Uncle Johnse’s December 26th birthday has and will always be a red-letter day on our calendars, and I will miss our usual exchange of silly names — I called him Dirty Bird and I was his Yard Bird.

Uncle Johnse was a hero to many of us — a special man who loved life, loved his family and loved the Lord. This past Sunday morning, Heaven’s front gate was opened and Uncle Johnse walked in … his gravely voice no doubt chuckled as he once again saw the love of his life, excited to see her after such a long time apart. My own Daddy, gone 23 years ago tomorrow, and their brother, Kyle, were no doubt standing nearby, anxious for a hug from their brother … and the reunion of all reunions has just begun.

*******

Tim & I with my brothers & their wives
June 23, 2017

It was an honor and privilege to attend Uncle Johnse’s funeral this past Friday with my husband and my brothers and their wives … and to participate in the service by reading this writing.  As we left the beautiful lush mountains of West Virginia the following afternoon, my heart was full and overflowing with gratitude for special family memories and love that already stems across the great divide and into eternity.

Until next time,
Debbie

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.


 

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Christmas 2016

21 Dec

Yes, it’s that time of year already. Unbelievable. Crazy. Fast. In fact, it’s been so fast that I’m not even sure of anything that has changed since this time last year! I do know that my grandkids have gotten taller and the beards on our men have come and gone … and come back again, and the digital read-out on the bathroom scales keeps changing. Other than that, life has carried on with just a few variations to keep things interesting.

We ‘celebrated’ winter in early 2016 with 36″ of snow in one snowfall in March.

Kim is now a LuLaRoe consultant and enjoys bringing ladies together to have fun while they shop, try on, and buy trendy, comfortable clothing. Check out her Facebook page at… http://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoeKimArndtvip

In May, Troy graduated with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity from University of Maryland University College.

Cole is now 7½ years old and in the 2nd grade, and our 4½ year-old Lillianne is in pre-K. These two little people continually bring joy and fun to Mimi and Papaw’s hearts!!

Merry Christmas!

Ryan and Brittany flew out from Seattle to spend an extended Easter weekend with the family. We toured Hershey and Gettysburg, colored Easter eggs and also celebrated Christmas 2015. Later in August, Verizon flew Ryan out for a business trip in DC, enabling us to see our son again for a quick visit.

After much preparation and anticipation, Brittany was just accepted into the University of Washington School of Medicine at Gonzaga in Spokane, WA. We celebrate with her and Ryan and in her great ambitions to be a doctor!

Tim rode around 12,000 miles on his motorcycle this year … he and his brother, along with 2 buddies put 4800 of those miles on their Harleys and went to Sturgis, South Dakota. Tim and I took 2 major rides on the bike – one to Wadsworth, OH and another to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, along with many local day trips. We really enjoy this time together!

I took a road trip this summer with some of my family to visit special relatives in Kentucky and Virginia – what a wonderful time we had as we loved on one another and ate some really good southern-cooked food! I also flew to Indy a few times this year to visit my momma and family, taking Cole with me once as part of his Christmas present from last year. It’s always great to spend time with family!

We hosted some out-of-town guests this year … my Mom came for Memorial Day weekend, my little brother and his family came for the 4th of July followed by my other brother a couple of weeks later. Then, my life-long best bud, Becky, flew out from Crowley, Louisiana to help celebrate my birthday in October.

A very special group of women gather in my home each month to be refreshed by one another and by Jesus. I’m in awe of the lives He has hand-picked to be part of this ministry and am blessed by these ladies and their own personal journeys and walks with Jesus.

As Christmas draws near, with it comes the excitement of good times with friends and family, gifts and giving, carols and cards. This past year, I once again started up an old family tradition that Tim and I used to do with our children when they were young. Every new greeting card that we received for Christmas 2015 went into a festive gift bag and kept in a prominent place where I have my daily devotions. Beginning with January 1st, I pulled a new Christmas card from the bag and prayed for them that day. Once I had gone through the complete bag, I started over, that time I either texted or emailed the card giver, told them of my tradition and that I would be praying for them that week … asking them to share specifics on how I could pray. So, if you would like to be included in my Christmas card prayers for 2017, we would love to receive a card from you!   I’m excited to be part of what God wants to do in the lives of my family and friends this next year!

From our home to yours,
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Tim and Debbie

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3

If you receive Morsels of Mercy via email, go directly to the website for additional pictures of our family
https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Buds

21 Oct

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. 
Proverbs 27:9

There she was … on the escalator, smiling and riding down toward me. The next few days were planned with outings and activities, but at that moment, it was just good to see her again and to give her a big hug!

 

Several months before, Becky had hinted that she would like to come see me in the fall, but I knew how fragile life had been since Joe died more than 2 years ago, along with the fact that she is the primary caregiver of her 89 year-old momma. Airline tickets were purchased and the dates put on the calendar. Anticipation mounted as time drew closer. Several incidents took place that made us wonder if we would have to postpone, but God knew that Becky needed the respite and time away.

 

Best Buds at Hershey Chocolate World

Best Buds at Hershey Chocolate World

On our first full day together, we enjoyed an afternoon of fun and a tasty lunch at Hershey Chocolate World. This was followed by a drive-thru tour of our former life in Middletown, where we built our home in 1991, and then where Kim and Troy were married in Hershey. Later that evening I was honored to have Becky join me as I hosted the October Refresh meeting … the monthly small group that meets in my home. Ten of us ladies gathered to reminisce about childhood friendships and to be reminded that God is all about relationships, most importantly ours with Him!

 

Lancaster County PA is the heart of Amish country in PA … and that is where we spent the following day. Nearly every moment was a Kodak one, and how we both embraced the beauty of the day, the culture, and the sites! It was a perfect day filled with friendship, fun and delicious food!

 

Vintage photo albums provided Saturday morning with hearts full of warm memories, laced with fun and laughter as we flipped through pictures of old boyfriends, church teen activities and friends. The giggles eventually turned into sighs and expressions of sweet sentiment as photos of her Joe and my Tim began to fill the pages with the early days of falling in love, getting married and starting families … the love stories that have been ours for over 3 decades now. At some point, we had to close the albums and quietly remind ourselves that today and tomorrow are new days, full of the promise of new memories yet to experience!

 

Dinner at Dobbins House Gettysburg, PA

Dinner at Dobbins House
Gettysburg, PA

And experience we did! For our final hoorah, we spent the afternoon with my hubby, meandering our way through Gettysburg and catching glimpses of monuments, acres and acres of battlefields, and even a few true historians who dressed for the part. We took advantage of the gorgeous warm sunshine and beautiful autumn leaves as we enjoyed our time together.

As a keepsake of our special time together, Becky’s daughter provided prayer/friendship beads for us to creatively string and use as a reminder to pray for one another. Also, my husband caught the lyrics of a song he was listening to as he was riding the motorcycle over the weekend.  He brought the CD inside and played it for me and Becky … Here are the lyrics.

Click here to listen … https://youtu.be/jk8cPNTBOwc

Reunion of Friends by Phil Keaggy

Look at you, look at me, Together once again.
This is a day to celebrate reunion of friends.
Sha la la la la la la la la la.

Time to dance, time to sing, Time to join our hands.
This is a day to celebrate reunion of friends.

We can recapture the years that slipped away,
We can relive all the memories still,
So don’t you be sad for our prayers
Have been answered today.
It’s time to celebrate.

See you laugh, see you smile, Blessed with innocence.
This is the day to celebrate reunion of friends.
This is the day to celebrate reunion of friends.

We can recapture the years that slipped away,
We can relive all the memories still,
So don’t you be sad for our prayers
Have been answered today.
It’s time to celebrate.

We can recapture the years that slipped away,
We can relive all the memories still,
We can rebuild all His mercy, peace, and grace.
And there is no dream that He can’t fulfill
So let’s celebrate today.

 

Becky’s early Sunday afternoon return flight to Louisiana came all too quickly, but we both felt incredibly grateful for this special weekend that God gifted to us.  As childhood friends and life-time best buds, we recaptured, relived and celebrated! Won’t you join us as we rebuild all His mercy, peace, and grace, knowing that there is no dream that He can’t fulfill!   So let’s celebrate today!

Until next time,
Debbie

 

In God’s wisdom, He frequently chooses to meet our needs
by showing His love toward us through the hands and hearts of others.
Jack Hayford

 

 

September

30 Sep

Yet He has not left Himself without testimony:
He has shown kindness by giving you rain
from heaven and crops in their seasons;
He provides you with plenty of food and
fills your hearts with joy.
Acts 14:17

Annual Labor Day visit with Mikie and Norma

Annual Labor Day visit with Mikie and Norma

It’s almost gone … a warm friend who annually reminds me just how awesome life is! Somehow it always seems to sneak up on me, but never fails to deliver the gift of an extended weekend right at the beginning of the month  –  a few extra days to visit friends and to tuck away memories that will last forever.

September has a way of trying to hang onto the hot summer days, yet tickling our fancy with the chance to enjoy our dinner out on the back deck in the cool of the evening.  It has encouraged us to sleep with the bedroom windows open, loving those extra snuggles with the hubby as the cooler night air fills our room.

Daylight is also influenced by my friend, September … the sun is slower to brighten up the morning as I begin each day, and is quicker to cast shadows as it still sets brilliantly each evening … just sooner.  I have reached for the matches a few times this week, lighting candles throughout our home where hubby and I spend time together after work, slowing breathing in the sweet aroma of vanilla and spice, once again thanking September for ushering in the magic of the changing seasons and the holidays to come.

September is playful in that it continually reminds me of the fun from the recent days of summer, full of great memory-making times with family and friends … all the while its very presence naturally creates an anticipation for more.   The calendar beyond September is already filling up with the exciting events and special moments with those we love!

Just like every other month, September is full of special birthdays and celebrating anniversaries … continued reminders of those we love. But September always leads us to October, which is always extra full of birthday excitement! Even though the years seem to rush by oh-so-quickly, my own aging yet child-like heart loves a grand birthday celebration!

September provides a great harvest of produce from our own garden and others, allowing us to stow away canned jars and frozen packages of tastiness to enjoy throughout the year!   Several other months contribute their portion and product to our storehouse, but September’s contribution is always quite bountiful!

Now don’t get me wrong, the other months are all special in their own way, but September gets my vote. How about you … what is your favorite month?

Won’t you join me in celebrating every month … as quickly as each one passes by, we have life, breath and the ability to make every day in each month count.  Let’s on purpose embrace each moment and make it the best!

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

It is a land the Lord your God cares for;
the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it
from the beginning of the year to its end.
 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving
you today—to love the Lord your God
and to serve him with all your heart
and with all your soul –
then I will send rain on your land in its season,
both autumn and spring rains,
so that you may gather in your grain,
new wine and olive oil.
Deuteronomy 11:12-14

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Sturgis and Back

24 Aug

The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8

 

For the past year, my husband and 3 co-conspirators have been planning a trip, a marathon of sorts, to the Black Hills of South Dakota…to the infamous Sturgis.

 

The Iron Butt Award was the first order of business on their ride out, qualifying with over 1000 miles in a 24-hour period — traveling a great deal of that first morning in rain, followed by many hours of unrelenting sunshine before night fall when they finally stopped to bed down in Stuart, Iowa. This certificate of great endurance and manly honor will look wonderful hanging in his office at work! (wink wink)

 

August 2016

Mt. Rushmore

Purposefully avoiding the crazy party atmosphere of the Sturgis bike week by a few days, Tim, Nathan, Terry and Charles took day trips to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil’s Tower and to ride the Needles Highway. Curves, switchbacks and winding corkscrew roads made for the perfect motorcycle experience for these guys.  With 4400 miles traveled, the beautiful landscape with national landmarks, parks, and gorgeous scenic overlooks made excellent memories for Tim and a desire to take a variation of this trip and share it all with me.

 

August 6, 2016

Welcome home committee

So what did I do while my husband was traisping across the country? Determined to not sit at home and worry, I took a trip of my own to Indianapolis and then a road trip to visit a very special uncle in Kentucky and my dear aunt and cousins in Big Stone Gap, VA. What an awesome week of fun with family and friends, followed by about 24 hours with our son in Baltimore, thanks to Verizon Wireless. Having spent the week in the DC area for business, Ryan tacked on a few extra days to his trip so he could spend some time with Kim’s family and then be part of the welcoming committee when Tim and I returned home.

Aug 2016

Tim’s ride

We all have mountains in our lives … for some, they are currently off in the distance while others are actively winding back and forth on the curvy roads of life, enduring the persistent sunshine and heat, hoping for shade around the next bend.  Others are steady travelers, often riding into rain showers while others have to stop to take cover in the midst of a heavy downpour.

Wherever you are on your journey of life, won’t you join me as we lift our eyes to the mountains?  Our help will always come from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let our feet slip, He watches over us as we sleep, and HE is our shade, keeping us from harm … watching over us as we come and go.  Thank you, Lord!

Until next time,
Debbie

I lift up my eyes to the mountains
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord watches over you
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:1-8

 

 

 

 

 

Brotherly Love

10 Jul

Your love has given me
great joy and encouragement,
because you, brother,
have refreshed the hearts
of the Lord’s people.
Philemon 1:7

 

Summertime holidays are always fun — outdoor activities or the cool inside comfort of A/C, sunshine or rain, car or motorcycle! What tops them off as some of the best times of the year is that we make an effort to be with family … whether it’s a quick trip to the south side of Baltimore to see our Loves or a run up north along the Susquehanna River to visit Tim’s mother. Celebrating the 4th of July was no exception!

 

July 2, 2016

Enjoying the new patio set with family!

What an extra special treat July 4th was for us this year as we began to plan a fun-filled weekend with my little brother and his family! Weeks of anticipation, menu-planning, much-needed projects placed on the to-do list (company coming is a great motivator and inspiration!!) and the purchase of a brand new patio set for our back deck! In celebration of our 36th wedding anniversary tomorrow, I consider this first-time ever patio set purchase to be an amazing gift from my loving hubby!

 

The big day finally arrived and numerous updates were texted as they drove from Indiana to Pennsylvania.  Several hours and many miles later, we welcomed five road-weary travelers to our home and began our holiday weekend of family fun. Even before bedtime, we were entertained by Princesses Zarah and Remi as they found the dress-up corner in our playroom. Once the kids were all tucked in bed for the night, it was so good to simply sit and talk to Tim and Courtney.

 

Hershey Chocolate World

Hershey Chocolate World

Tim and Courtney with their family

Tim and Courtney with their family

A visit to Hershey Chocolate World was enjoyed by all, heart strings were pulled as old photo albums were perused, and amazingly comfortable weather allowed us to be outside to enjoy the kids in the backyard and to sit out on the new patio furniture! There was Sunday morning worship together and lots of family games testing our memory and our patience … and always good food and pleasant company!

 

The 4th of July was made even more special as our Loves from the south side of Baltimore joined our holiday party with more excitement, more chatter and lots more yummy food! We enjoyed outdoor and indoor play, a piano recital, many pretend goodies prepared in the play kitchen and served to all, and a brief interlude of evening showers so the kids could light sparklers! What a fantastic family fun-filled day to end our holiday weekend!

 

The toys have been put away, the kitchen cleaned up and even the left-overs have been eaten. Sometimes I think that the house is too quiet and too big, but then I remember how incredibly blessed we are to literally have a haven of rest for guests to come to, a place for children to play, and a warm and inviting home for friends and family to gather and simply sit and talk. Those few days with my little brother and his wife were priceless to my big-sister heart! In preparation for their visit, I prayed that God would mend any old wounds and restore a sibling relationship that just existed through the years without any real connection. I longed for a renewed appreciation and respect for him – one that he deserves as a person, as a husband and a father, as a police officer, and as my brother. As I stood in the driveway and hugged and kissed them all good-bye on Tuesday morning, my heart was full and running over with gratitude, love, and anticipation of the next time!

 

Won’t you join me as I continue to celebrate and embrace the days of summer, appreciation of family and friends, and most importantly, God’s love for each of us?!

 

Until next time,
Debbie

This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives
for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16

We ought always to thank God for you,
brothers and sisters, and rightly so,
because your faith is growing more and more,
and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
1 Thessalonians 1:3

 

 

 

 

On a Day Like Today …

24 Jun

A time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:4

On a day like today, I find it difficult to grasp the fact that I am an adult woman and not an innocent little girl who adores her Daddy. My thoughts, my memories and my heart are all taking me back to a day and time when my world revolved around my parents and my brothers … a world where life seemed to be so simple and very safe. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was always calm and without noise, for a family is all about emotions and moods, good days and bad, sunshine and rain. Snowstorms and snow days. Dogs and cats. Neighbor kids and bicycles. ’55 Chevys and shammy towels. Yes, shammy towels. Google it. It’s a wonder we didn’t get them for Christmas! Fishing poles and night crawlers. I could go on and on. That’s where I am today. It’s nice, but it also hurts.

unnamed

Me and Daddy 1967

My little-girl world fell apart 22 years ago today. I was 33 years old at the time, but life as I had always known it had changed in the instant of a heartbeat. Literally. I remember the feeling of utter disbelief and helplessness when I received the phone call that he was gone.

So here I am today. I posted a bunch of pictures of my Dad this morning on Facebook. In his honor, I stopped and picked up a coffee on my way to work…Daddy loved coffee. I chatted about him to my accommodating co-worker as we both began our work day. I sent an ‘I love you, brother!’ to both boys this morning.  I texted my mom, complete with a row or two of emojis that represented Daddy. She got a big kick out of that, so I challenged her to come up with her own cutie little icons! I then slipped out of the office for a few moments to call her, just to hear her voice and to let her hear mine. We laughed about our selections of emojis and about how silly we were, and also talked about how much we miss him.

 

After work, I stopped at Kohl’s. As I walked through the store, I kept thinking how the world goes on as usual for everyone around me … they have no idea that my Daddy died 22 years ago today. On my way out of the store, I passed an older gentleman who was sitting on the bench in the entrance, no doubt biding time with his cell phone while his wife shopped. I couldn’t believe that I had this passing thought to go up and hug him! Debbie … get a grip! My next ‘I must do this today’ was to stop and wash my car. Unfortunately I do not have a shammy towel, but I thought of Daddy the whole time I was washing and wiping my car dry.

 

The day is winding down now and soon it will be June 25th. God does give Morsels of Mercy to us in the fact that tomorrow does come and it will be a brand new day. It’s only natural to feel the loss deeper on certain days, but thankfully we don’t stay there. Family is coming for a visit over the 4th of July weekend, and we are looking forward to and are excited to celebrate life and freedom together!

 

Won’t you join me in thanking God for Daddies and little girls, sweet memories of years gone by, and the anticipation of tomorrow?   And best of all, with Jesus as the Lord of our life, we also have the promise of eternal life!

Until next time,
Debbie

Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5