Tag Archives: Mercy

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

 

 

Life Is A Journey

21 Sep

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

 

We stood in the foyer of the church following the memorial service of our young friend who had passed away just days before. As what often happens at such life events, a reunion of sorts was taking place among many of us who once shared the same church. When it was time to say our good-byes, my now out-of-state friend hugged me and we exchanged a few more words and went our separate ways. That very brief conversation left me thinking. It left me praying.

 

Cindy reminded me that the last time we were together, I had mentioned to her that I was on a journey. My mind quickly rewound the tape of life to recall what had actually been said, but in that moment and in those circumstances that brought us back together that day, my response was simple. LIFE is a journey.

 

Since that Sunday afternoon just a few short weeks ago, God and I have discussed this journey…and oh what a journey it has been! I continually cover my children and their loves with prayer, thanking Him for His prevenient grace, His constant protection over their lives and for His blessings – even when they don’t always recognize His Touch and Presence. 35 years of this journey has been shared with my husband. Our relationship has taken me across paths that I never thought I would travel — some very special places and wonderful memories… and others not so much. God has picked us both up and carried us at times when we couldn’t take the next step. But here we are today. Still on the journey and extremely grateful for our Guide. Then over the course of 4 major moves, we have so many friends that have contributed to this adventure. Friends that only joined us for a season and others for a lifetime. All part of the journey.  Over these past few weeks, I have brought bits and pieces of this journey back out into the bright sunshine of God’s Grace and Mercy, once again humbled and so eternally grateful for His forgiveness and for His redeeming Love to me. Life is truly a journey.

 

A few days after that thought provoking conversation, while sitting at my desk at work, my eye caught a glimpse of a card that a former co-worker gave to me when I left the law firm. “Life is a journey”  I smiled as I wondered if God was quietly nudging me to write. Later that day, all doubts were erased as I sang along with one of Colton Dixon’s song … Click here to watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0Dzh3RZn0E
(please ignore the brief advertisement before the video begins)

 

 

“Through All Of It”

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter of tears and troubled times
This has been the story of my life

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

You were there when it all came down on me
And I was blinded by my fear and I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do And I’m always going to

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey I’ve seen joy I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God through all of it
Oh and You have been my God through all of it
Oh and You have been my God through all of it

We are all on this journey called life.  Won’t you join me today in embracing the One Who has been Our God through all of it?

Until next time,
Debbie

 

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you
that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

and that you may love the Lord your God,
listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.
For the Lord is your life,
and He will give you many years in the land
He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

 

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5

 

Surely Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the Stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

 

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue; be my Rock of Refuge,
a Strong Fortress to save me.
Since You are my Rock and my Fortress,
for the sake of Your name, lead and guide me.
 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for You are my Refuge.
Into Your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God
Psalm 31:1-5

CASA

3 Apr

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon,
that have I given unto you
.

Joshua 1:3

 

I smile and nod as I walk past the sheriffs standing in security at the front lobby of the York County Courthouse. As part of my job, I have done that once a week for the past 4 years, running errands for the law firm – bringing paperwork and payments relating to probated estates to be time stamped and processed, and to record deeds. Now, I walk through those same doors every morning, Monday – Friday. It was just last week that one of the sheriffs smiled at those of us coming in at the same time and greeted us with a warm “Good morning, family!” If hearts can smile, mine did that morning!

I started a new full-time job on March 16th. I am the receptionist/secretary for York County CASA.

Details. You know that God and I love details and there are so many when it comes to the Red Sea moments of my life. Moments that when I’m a bit discouraged and doubt wants to trickle in around the edges, all I need to do is recall each detail, when glued all together, forms a picture perfect memento of God and His amazing love for me.

One Sunday toward the end of January, my friend Donna came up to me in church and hugged me real big and asked me if I was still at the attorney’s office.

Detail … Donna use to work for Express Employment Agency and was instrumental in me getting my two temporary work gigs back in 2011. Since then, she has moved on and is now working for the York County Human Services Department.

The look on my face was answer enough to Donna’s question. She began to tell me about an opened position in a different department of the County, but one that she would highly recommend me applying for. So I did. Long story short, I got the job.

Details … God used Donna once again in my life regarding employment! God blessed me with the opportunity of training Amanda, my replacement, and knowing that she was a great fit for the job! He also worked out His perfect timing that benefited all parties involved and I began my new job on March 16th.

I was beyond ready for a new mission field! I appreciate all the opportunities and things learned while at the law firm, but as scripture says, knock the dust off of your feet and move on! I had already been visualizing in my mind’s eye that I would walk all around inside that large facility, meeting new people, getting to know them, and being Jesus with skin on!

Detail … The morning I called to accept the position, which was the day before I gave my 2 week notice, Streams in the Desert had a devotion that was written just for me! February 25th

Enter Into Your Inheritance

Josh 1:3 – Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you

Beside the literal ground, unoccupied for Christ, there is the unclaimed, untrodden territory of Divine promises. What did God say to Joshua? “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you,” and then He draws the outlines of the Land of Promise—all theirs on one condition: that they shall march through the length and breadth of it, and measure it off with their own feet.

They never did that to more than one-third of the property, and consequently they never had more than one-third; they had just what they measured off, and no more.

In 2 Peter, we read of the “land of promise” that is opened up to us, and it is God’s will that we should, as it were, measure off that territory by the feet of obedient faith and believing obedience, thus claiming and appropriating it for our own.

How many of us have ever taken possession of the promises of God in the name of Christ?

Here is a magnificent territory for faith to lay hold on and march through the length and breadth of, and faith has never done it yet.

Let us enter into all our inheritance. Let us lift up our eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, and hear Him say, “All the land that thou seest will I give to thee.” —A. T. Pierson

The CASA office is located on the 4th floor of the Judicial Center (York County Courthouse). Of course there are elevators in the building, but come on! 77 actual steps, with 5 landings in between, makes for quite a nice work-out, multiply by 4-6 times a day!! I walk down to the mail room 3 times a day, and often will walk outside on my breaks and lunch. I also deliver CASA court reports to various Judges who are located on floors 6 and 7. Then I park ½ a block down the street, so every morning and afternoon I add more steps to my day. I LOVE IT! Everywhere I go, my prayer is that my steps will be filled with the joy of Jesus and that I will meet new friends to whom I can give Him away!

CASASo what is CASA you ask?

Court Appointed Special Advocates – an advocate for children who find themselves involved in the court system through no fault of their own. The children are victims of child abuse and neglect, and many are in foster care. They need a ‘voice in court’ in order to find a safe, permanent home quickly – whether that means returning to a parent or being adopted. The CASA is a volunteer who serves as the “eyes and ears of the court” by providing a detailed account of each child’s situation to aid the Judge in permanency planning decisions.

  1. to serve as fact finder and gather all information surrounding the child’s case
  2. monitor the case and oversee that all necessary services are being offered, court orders are followed and the case is brought to a swift conclusion in the child’s best interest
  3. Report findings and make recommendations to the court

The York County CASA office is a small group of people with big hearts who recruit, train, and give support to lay people who have decided to invest their time and efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children. I personally answer the phone, scan, email and file court documents, reports, and various types of paperwork, keeping the Outlook calendar up to date with court hearings, meetings, training sessions, and a multitude of other activities that keep everyone busy. Each person has much to do and my desire is to be of service to them all as much as possible … with the final result of making a difference in the lives of children.

Today is Good Friday … my first ‘government employee’ holiday! Original plans were to celebrate Easter with my family in Indiana, but due to being sick with the crud and a fever most of the week, we decided to stay home and fully recuperate.

As we all focus our attention on Jesus, His death and resurrection this weekend, won’t you join me in committing to live every day for Him, grateful for His love, His forgiveness, His redemption, and His faithfulness to you, to me, and to the children!

Until next time,
Debbie

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

24 Dec

 

“This is a day you are to commemorate;
for the generations to come you shall celebrate
it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
Exodus 12:14

Dear Daddy,

Today’s the day! I echo the thought of every child around the world – Today’s Christmas Eve! But for me, in my child-like heart, this day is more than special because of Christmas. It’s your birthday!

As a young girl, I always thought there was something magical about the fact that your birthday was on Christmas Eve … it made the day more fun and added to the excitement and anticipation! Now that I’m all grown up, I realize that you so willingly shared your one day of the year with us kids and Mom, making sure that “all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care”. I love you, Dad!

Remi

Remi

Tim and I are on our way to Indy to spend the next few days with Mom and the family. Family – oh Daddy! Much has taken place since last year’s birthday letter. Your Grandpa heart would be a melted gooey mess these days as Tim and Courtney have been blessed with a new little life. Remington Kimber has brought an unexpected joy to the family, along with her adorable older sisters, Azure and Zarah. I’m sure that Remi’s daddy will fill her heart with stories and tales of her Grandpa Johnny and your love for her all the way from Heaven!

A special blessing will be added to the family in March when another great granddaughter arrives! Jay and Sue are excited as Jason and Leslie will be bringing a little sister home to Jaxon and Bo. I’m sure that you can remember those special days when you and Mom brought us kids home from the hospital … and then your “grandchillren”.

Enough about us here … let’s chat about your news! How about that Joe Talhelm?! I imagine you were a bit surprised to see him so soon! Did he tell you that I flew down to Louisiana to visit him and Becky back in April? Life has a way of turning crazy, unexpected and unthinkably difficult moments into morsels of mercy … wake-up calls , second chances, renewed opportunities, blessings and personal gifts from God. We will never understand  how all of that works.  Then Tim’s step-father, Bill ~ Jesus Himself no doubt introduced you to him. He was a good man, and Tim’s mom misses him so. I know that people say our loss is Heaven’s gain, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those who lost. I read this a few days ago …

“Christmas this year will be unavoidably sad for many people … perhaps for you.
Take heart!
Christmas needn’t be merry to be meaningful.
It’s the Christ of Christmas we celebrate,
not Christmas itself.”

Daddy, as your family gathers to celebrate Jesus during this Christmas season, please know that for those of us who you called your chillren, we will always celebrate YOU on December 24th … and everyday when we see you in the eyes of your siblings, in the actions of your grandkids, and in the hearts of all who loved you!

I love you, Daddy … happy birthday!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

“Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of our recent move, our domain name expired causing us to unexpectedly and immediately change email addresses … causing a crash to my morselsofmercy site and its format of family pictures.  There is a fix to all things, but I simply have not felt like I could justify the time needed to put everything in its proper place again.  So, please excuse the mess.  At least there is new verbiage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.”

Crowley, Louisiana

18 Apr

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

 

My flight into Baton Rouge landed earlier than scheduled, which allowed some quiet time to sit on a park bench in front of the airport as I waited for my gracious chauffeurs to arrive.  I appreciated the extra time to catch my breath in prayer and anticipation of the next few day’s visit with my dear friends.  Life and its unpredictable way of turning circumstances up-side down and throwing them in your face has done just that to them.

 

Becky's wedding

Becky’s wedding – November 1978

 

As Joe told one of his nurses the other day, Becky and I have been bosom buddies before we had bosoms.   She and I were inseparable as little girls and then into our teen years, growing up in the Southport Church of the Nazarene where our families attended for many many years.  Our love for one another was strengthened by our mutual love for Jesus, piano and singing, Bible quizzing, fun weekends and nearly every Sunday afternoon either at her house or mine.  Memories are piled on top of memories – People called me Becky and they often called her Debbie.  If you saw one of us, you were sure to find the other.  I was by her side on that evening in November 1978 when she said I do to Joe, as she was by mine less than two years later. She shared her maternity clothes and we gave each other baby showers.  But as God sometimes does, He calls pastors and missionaries, so the many miles then between began to separate.  That separation seemed to stretch the very cord of friendship while the busyness of ministries, families, life and other relationships weaved their way into hearts.  But there we were, just a few days ago,  reaching back into time, trying to fill in the gaps with stories full of details and facts of how God has guided and directed our paths through the years…our paths that crossed only on rare occasions … the last being in 2001.  This visit was long-over due, but nonetheless was God-ordained from the start.

 

Becky and Joe's grandson, Layne Joseph ... he picked a flower for 'Aunt Debbie' ... Sha!

Becky and Joe’s grandson, Layne Joseph … he picked a flower for ‘Aunt Debbie’ … Sha!

Frequent flyer points and a burdened heart for my friends encouraged my trip to Crowley, Louisiana, where Joe and Becky have been pastoring for the past 22 years.   It was beyond wonderful to hug my friends, to visit with their children, and to love on their grandson … “Sha!”  Becky’s mom, Pauline, was also there, her sweet smile, big hugs, and stories about Bob warmed my heart with memories.  I ate tasty food, unique to the Cajun culture – fresh shrimp, boudin, crawfish étouffée, and fig jelly, among many other delicious meals.  Within a short walking distance from their house is the Quere de Torte Bayou, which surprisingly looks like an extremely muddy creek.  We drove through a nearby town that stakes the claim to be the frog capital of the world.   While out and about, I noticed that the landscape in every direction was littered with houses on stilts, crawfish ponds and rice fields, while the sky was buzzing with cropduster planes dropping seeds to plant those rice fields.  We visited the ‘Alligator House’ where we held baby gators and gratefully saw bigger ones behind tall fences.  We looked through old photos and smiled at younger faces and slimmer bodies ~ all from a different time and a different place.  However, given the circumstances of cancer and its evil and relentless grip, a special highlight to my visit was to walk into a hospital room Thursday morning and be cheerfully greeted by the patient as he fondly said “Skeeter!”  This is a name Joe gave me back when we were teenagers … as I stood in the outfield swatting mosquitoes instead of catching softballs, on any given Tuesday night at Back Door.   My dear friend’s husband, bearing fresh wounds and battle scars of melanoma cancer on his head, face, and neck, looked like a million bucks to me as we came to take him home after his 7th surgery.  Joe’s charm, his huge heart of fun and tease, his kind and compassionate spirit, and the love and joy of Jesus that fills him to the brim … all of this together and more cushioned anything disturbing that I saw.  It was my extreme pleasure to spend those few days in Joe and Becky’s world – to get a feel for the daily routine that keeps everything and everybody in its proper place at the right time.  I was constantly in awe of the abundance of Strength and Peace that Becky has, that only Jesus Himself can supply to my friend.  I pray that my short visit was a God-given distraction for all in the midst of these uncertain days.

 

Me with Becky and her momma, Pauline

Me with Becky and her momma, Pauline

Sunday came … what a true blessing to be surrounded by such loving and kind church people who warmly welcomed me!  I sat among them in the choir and worshipped with them in song, and for old time’s sake, Becky and I sung one of our all-time favorites from long ago, Fill My Cup, Lord.  Next time she and I are together, I’m requesting that we on-purpose spend some quality time at the piano and we sing until our hearts are content.

As that southern Louisiana congregation sang the final verse of And Can It Be last Sunday morning, the words jumped out at me as an anthem … “Bold I approach the eternal Throne!”  These words have marched across my mind all week as I have not only prayed BOLDLY for Joe, but I have bombarded Heaven for my precious friend, Sandie, and for our friend and former SWO District Superintendent Dr. Carlton Hansen. My own Aunt June just recently had surgery and will soon be starting treatments.  My Uncle Johnse has been fighting the fight of cancer for many years.  I just found a colleague of mine from my days of Work & Witness USA/CANADA, Laura Sylvester … her husband is battling this horrible disease.  Cancer.  I don’t understand, but thank God I’m not suppose to.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Won’t you please join me in praying BOLDLY?  Without a doubt, Joe, Sandie, and Dr. Hansen need a miracle!  Doctors and medicine have nearly exhausted their resources.  I’m sure you also know people in your life who need a miracle.  Let’s unite in our efforts and go BOLDLY to the Throne of Grace.  If we do so, we will obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  I’ll meet you there.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth
concerning anything that they ask,
it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered
 together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18:19-20

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures from my recent trip to Louisiana that I posted on Facebook,
feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not … enjoy!!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202372872097926.1073741851.1076414018&type=1&l=7b94ce523e

Hands of Time

10 Jan

My times are in Your hands.
Psalm 31:15a

Life is full of illusions, each one based on perspective…especially when it comes to time, don’t you think?  As a little girl, I vividly remember that summers were long and seemed to never end … going fishing with my Daddy,  playing board games on the front porch with the neighbor kids, riding my bike, catching lightning bugs in the dark, and reading until I fell asleep each night.  Then I think back to when I was expecting my two children.  Despite being sick at all hours of the day or night along with the aches and pains from sharing my body with a growing baby, I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant!  But even with all of the excitement and anticipation, those were truly the longest 9 months ever, with the biggest illusion of all time following … the next 30 years were but a mere blink of an eye!

According to the dictionary, an illusion is an erroneous perception of reality.  Of course, every day in the past 30 years truly had 24 hours each, and some of those hours were long and grueling.  In fact, the teen years seemed to last forever … not sure if the next moment would have attitude or a gesture of affection.  But here we are, over a decade later, and those crazy years seem like yesterday…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

I have even come to realize as I walk hand in hand with Jesus, that my own spiritual pathway can be full of illusions.  Countless times through the years, the circumstances of life have literally knocked the breath out of me, leaving me frightened and anxious, not knowing what to expect as I round the next corner of my journey.  That’s where faith comes in … and I mean blind faith.  The kind that leaves me no other option but to hang on to the Hand Who promises to strengthen when I am weak.  The kind of faith that trusts when there is no understanding.  My personal perspective of total and complete disaster has always been salvaged by the redeeming Hand of Jesus …

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
(this present life)
are not worth being compared with the glory
that is about to be revealed to us
and in us and for us and
conferred on us!
Romans 8:18 Amplified

A little over a year ago, Kim, Lillianne and I spent a few days with my mom in Indianapolis.  I was reminded during those brief days together how life is full of illusions, and how quickly time seems to slip through our hands.

Keep His decrees and commands,
which I am giving you today,
so that it may go well with you and your children after you
and that you may live long in the land
the LORD your God gives you for all time.
Deuteronomy 4:40

Oct 2012
Each hand represents life …
life that continually reaches out
Mimi Wells, Mimi, Momma, and Lillianne

Today is January 10th … and tomorrow is already an illusion.  Where does time go?  The following is the devotional reading from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest from December 31.   Won’t you join me in leaving the Irreparable Past in His hands, and reaching out into the Irresistible Future with Him?

Security from Yesterday. “God requireth that which is past.” At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “For the Lord will go before you.” This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rereward. God’s hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.

Security for Today. “For ye shall not go out with haste.” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and REACH out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

Leave the past to the mercy of God,
The present to the love of God,
The future to the providence of God.

Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 

God’s goodness and mercy are no illusions … I’m grateful that they will follow me all the days of my life.

Until next time,
Debbie

Merry Christmas 2012

21 Dec

In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in Him, and He saved us.

This is the LORD, we trusted in Him;
let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9

Have you ever noticed that in my midst of the busyness of Christmas, there are questions everywhere?  All are demanding answers in order to stay in the fast track of the season.  What size does he wear?  What color of ribbon goes with this wrap?  Should I bake sandies or sugar cookies?  How much money are we suppose to spend on the office gift?  How many places do I set at the table?  All legitimate queries needing a response to complete an action or thought …

What child is this, who laid to rest
on Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping …

Newborn Lillianne

Newborn Lillianne

A child sleeping … the most precious news of the year for the Van Hook family was the birth of our second grandchild, Lillianne Hope Arndt.  This sweet bundle of pure joy was born early on Sunday morning, April 29.  She arrived one day early of her planned entrance, healthy and happy to finally meet the little boy behind the loud and animated voice that she had heard for the past 9 months.  3 year-old Cole has adored his baby sister from the first moment he saw her, laughing and giggling at her, accepting the simple fact that she now belonged to him and his family.   What a thrill it was to also share those first few days at home from the hospital with our son, Ryan, and his girlfriend Brittany.  They didn’t want to miss out on this awesome family event of welcoming Miss Lillie into our world.

Seattle Duck Tour

Seattle Duck Tour

A couple months later, our east coast family flew across country to spend the week of July 4th with Ryan and Brittany in Seattle.  What gracious hosts they were as they made us feel very comfortable in their home, fed us like royalty, and showed us the sights of the city.  The Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, a Seattle Duck Tour, and the zoo were just some of the fun places we visited.  The highlight of the week was the BBQ in the park we had with Brittany’s family from Spokane.  It was very special to finally meet the parents and sister that belong to the girl we all have fallen in love with. The nice and relaxing vacation was certainly an answer to prayers, for having a rambunctious 3 year-old and an infant along for the occasion was potentially hazardous to everyone’s well being and sanity!

Speaking of nice and relaxing, Tim and I love to take advantage of our less stress and more spontaneous life-style these days and the fact that we only live 3 hours from the Atlantic Ocean.  We found ourselves at the shore on 3 different weekends this past summer, enjoying the sand, sun, and surf.  One fun weekend included Kim, Troy, and the kids, and another weekend we stayed with some friends in Toms River. We take our beach chairs and umbrella to the water’s edge and just soak in the day, after which we dine at one of our favorite DDD joints and head home.  We have become quite the fans of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network Channel.  Living in such a close proximity to a few large cities, we have found several unique and quite tasty establishments that have been featured on the popular reality show.  Honey’s Sit and Eat in Philadelphia, Joe Squared in Baltimore, and 10th Ave. Burrito in Belmar, NJ are three of our favorite places to eat.  Since Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc on our summer playground, we are anxious to take a drive out there sometime after the first of the new year…just to see what we can see ~ and to hopefully stop for a burrito.

Mimi Wells met Miss Lillie in June

Mimi Wells met Miss Lillie in June

 

Tim has become quite the domesticated husband this past year … he loves to cook and bake, trying new recipes, and also finding fresh produce at local stands as much as possible.  We have come to realize there are more than 4 seasons to our year … there is strawberry, blueberry, peach, corn, tomato, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and apple season!  We were busy with each one, and our freezer is full and running over!!  My mother chuckles and says that we are a couple nuts squirreling away for the winter!

Lillianne met Grandma Van Hook on Thanksgiving

Lillianne met Grandma Van Hook on Thanksgiving

Both of our mothers are in relatively good health, (my mom had her gall bladder removed in October), both had 3 new great grandbabies born this year, and these two precious ladies still live in Indiana. We are very excited to be able to spend time with them both over the Christmas holiday!  We don’t get to see them as often as we would like, but they are loved more than words can express.

We also don’t get to see our son, Ryan, and his girlfriend, Brittany, as often as we would like.  He is still working for Verizon Wireless and she as a medical transcriptionist.  Weekends of playing ultimate Frisbee with his buddies, keeping up with the latest sport, and relaxing at Starbucks with a good read are some of Ryan’s favorite things…and Brittany, of course!  They are spending the Christmas holiday with her parents in Spokane this year, enjoying their family traditions … so we will greatly anticipate a visit from them later in the winter!!

Work remains stable for us both, for which we are grateful!  Tim continues his position as installation manager at Kitchen Saver, staying very busy with all of his responsibilities.  A few months ago, I was asked to add more hours to my week at Robert Clofine Elder Law Firm, working 32 hours as the office assistant.  I have diligently protected my Fridays, for they are truly life-giving morsels that help retain my sanity by providing me time to write, shop, clean, travel, and have fun with my grand children and daughter.

These are exciting days for Kim and her family!  They just bought a home and will be closing on the sale at the end of this month.  They are moving from a rented townhome that greeted them 2 ½ years ago with nice accommodations and room to expand, into a much larger house that will provide extra space for growing children and all that accumulates with a family of 4 and a dog.  We are happy for them in their find, for it is still about an hour and 10 minutes away from us, located in a great school district, and close to their church.  Cole is a Benson Buddy in the Caravan program on Wednesday nights, and his parents are on the leadership committee for their Encounter service on Sunday nights.  Troy runs the sound and Kim is in charge of the coffee bar.  They are also involved in a weekly Bible study group, MOPS, retreats, and welcoming first time visitors.  Theirs is a busy and full life … just as it should be!  Troy is still employed by Booz Allen Hamilton and in the process of earning a master’s degree in Cyber Security via an online program through UMUC.  Kim is working full time at home with Cole and Lillie … a job that has the best benefits of all, such as warm hugs, dirty diapers, snotty noses, and slobbery kisses.

This Christmas season, now as a Mimi of two, I find myself asking questions from my heart as I look at Cole and Lillie in awe, … ‘who is this child, asleep here in my arms?’  I can only imagine the questions that the shepherds, the wise men, and even His own parents asked as they gazed down at the Baby before them.

Who is this child asleep on the manger?
Tender and mild, this intimate stranger
Recklessly, wildly loving a dangerous world

Who is this light invading our darkness?
Glorious night, the sun rising for us
Conquering might, He captures the hardest of hearts;
we sing…

Little did they know at that time, what all was wrapped up in that tiny bundle of Life!  The Answers to their questions have filled hearts to overflowing, offered forgiveness, redeemed broken lives, restored marriages, healed the sick, and brought hope to the hopeless.

What child is this?  This is our God!!
Click here to listen to the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JIVojLyymE
Long Hollow Baptist Church Choir and Travis Cottrell

This is our God, living and breathing;
call Him Courageous, Relentless and Brave
This is our God, loving and reaching;
scandalous mercy and mighty to save


Hallelujah, this is our God; hallelujah, this is our God
Hallelujah, this is our God; sing praise…

Who is this One Who will not condemn us?
Why would He come to shoulder our sentence?
Nothing we’ve done will keep Him from giving us grace.

Who is this one?
We watch and we’re speechless God’s only Son,
embracing our weakness He overcomes all death,
and He frees us to live;  and we sing…

This is our God, suffering and dying;
call Him the Hero, redeeming the lost
This is our God, love sacrificing;
all that is holy, accepting our cross


Hallelujah, this is our God; hallelujah, this is our God
Hallelujah, this is our God; sing praise…

Oh, this, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The babe, the Son; the glorious One
The babe, the Son of Mary.

Won’t you join me, not only this Christmas season, but all year long, in responding to the difficult questions of life, with the One true Answer…

This is our God, living and breathing;
call Him Courageous, Relentless and Brave
This is our God, loving and reaching;
scandalous mercy and mighty to save.

This is our God, suffering and dying;
call Him the Hero, redeeming the lost
This is our God, love sacrificing;
all that is holy, accepting our cross…

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Tim and Debbie

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Four Special Ladies

29 Jun

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;
He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love
to a thousand generations of those who love Him
and keep His commands. 
Deuteronomy 7:9

A special gift was delivered just two days after Christmas in 1937.  Belonging to a family of two young boys and their parents, this newborn baby brought grace, sweetness, and all the other charms only a little girl could bring into their lives.  She grew up in a little town in Brown County, Indiana, later met a young man, fell in love, and they married …

Missing her older brother’s birthday by only four days, this chubby baby was the answer to that young couple’s prayers to have a little girl.  That autumn day in 1960 was only the beginning to her journey of love, family (including a baby brother a few years later), and a relationship with Jesus that has grown more and more dear through the years.

A tiny and perfectly created baby girl was an unexpected and special birthday surprise to her Daddy  ~  that most popular day in August of 1983.  Later joined by a little brother,  this sweet girl grew up surrounded by a family that loved and supported her, and the strength of faith to face the joys and challenges of life …

A most specific request of prayer was answered just two months ago as weeks of a troubled pregnancy finally delivered a beautiful baby girl.  Having been excitedly welcomed into the family by parents and big brother, this special little lady has a lifetime of Love and life just waiting for her to experience …

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The townhome in Baltimore was bustling with activity as the hour finally arrived when the flight from Indianapolis was due.  Mimi Wells was the anticipated special guest of honor.  And honor it was as she held her great granddaughter for the first time.  Once again, love that spanned the years of generations melted four hearts, but this time it was even more special …

Mimi, Mommy, Baby Lillie and Mimi Wells

Since the birth of Cole Michael in 2009, our family has shared in the heritage of four generations.  But we now have a little girl that brings a different dynamic to the celebration.   A celebration that embraces giggles, recipes, hair ribbons, and shopping … and a specific way of caring for those we love.  These four special ladies have each other to go to for wisdom, for prayer, for shelter, and for love.  We not only share in the same heritage of family, faith, and love, we still have today and tomorrow to continue adding to those memories and moments of life.

The wildfires of life are burning out of control all around us … but in the midst of these difficult days, there is Jesus.  Jesus is there, giving us strength, hope, and His very presence in the middle of it all.  And then sometimes, there is an added blessing of four special ladies … with their common threads being Mimi Wells, Mimi, Mommy and Baby Lillie  — all unique and individual, but all connected by love.

Until next time,
Debbie

Four Generations

Bread Bites

21 Mar

Give us this day our Daily Bread.
Matthew 6:11

Definition by Domino’s Pizza ~

Bread Bites by Domino's

Parmesan Bread Bites:
Oven-baked, bite size breadsticks lightly sprinkled
with parmesan-asiago cheese and seasoned with garlic
and more parmesan.  Available in 16-piece or 32-piece orders.
Share them with everyone or no one!

Debbie’s definition ~

Delicious little bites of airy dough balls … the texture reminiscent of a Krispy Kreme donut FRESH from the production line … tastefully seasoned with garlic and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.  Oh SO yummy!

On top of the two boxes of pizzas that were picked up to bring back for dinner, was a bag of piping hot Bread Bites.  The aroma of fresh baked bread and its seasoning quickly filled the vehicle, causing my taste buds and my tummy to turn summersaults in anticipation!  Not to be unfair to the others, I only snitched one of the Bites from the tempting bag, savoring every morsel of garlic and speck of parmesan. That meal was over two weeks ago and I still think about those Bites … but for more reasons than their taste.

The 2nd year anniversary for Morsels of Mercy has come and gone.  I had great intentions of once again finding a new blog theme, freshen things up a bit, and add new pictures, but life has been a little crazy.  Not necessarily bad crazy, but crazy nonetheless.  Just when I think I have a few extra moments to sit down and peruse the various different new blog formats on Word Press, my attention is diverted by something more important.  It’s these little bites of bread in my world that I keep partaking of … seasoned with the spices of life and then lavished with the love of Jesus.  Bread Bites are meant to be shared … so don’t mind if I do!

Kim and Cole

Baby Lillianne … This Bread Bite is the one right up on top.  The months of anticipation have suddenly become weeks ~ with only 6 left at the time of this post.  Six weeks early was when her big brother, Cole, arrived on the scene – in a state of emergency for Mom and Baby.  Momma has done her best at preventing a repeat of circumstances, but sometimes our best is not enough.  Kim’s body seems to react adversely to pregnancy – last time with pre-eclampsia and this time with cervix issues.  After the initial period of moderate bed rest at week 24, permission to resume normal activity was given.  Several weeks later, after a routine OB visit, an exam showed early dilation and cervix issues again.  Prompt attention and concern were immediately put into place as Kim was once again placed on bed rest – this time restrictive.  Her daily routine of caring for her home, husband, and nearly 3 year old son quickly came to a halt as she found herself lying on the couch for hours on end, except when she made her way upstairs to sleep and to shower.  Appreciation beyond words cannot express my heart when I think of those friends from Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene where Kim and Troy belong.  They truly do belong there, for it has been that family that recently blessed them with an overwhelmingly bountiful shower of baby gifts, and has provided meals and extra care for Cole during the week days while Daddy and Mimi were at work.  Kim’s latest appointment with the doctor showed great signs of improvement, releasing her from the bonds of strict bed rest to that of moderation.  Help with meals and care for Cole will continue as these final weeks bring us closer to the birth of our Baby Lillie!

Cole ... on purpose spilling himself.

The world of Mimi … this Bread Bite is huge, sprinkled with a lot of seasoning!  To share every speck of parmesan would require the writing of a book all of its own entitled Cole Michael.  The fun, the laughter, the non-stop chatter, the busyness, the curiosity, the tenderness, the stubbornness, the love, and even occasional frustration …   Need I go on?  With every effort to do all we can to help lighten the load for his parents, Papaw and Mimi have had Cole at their house as often as possible, or Mimi has spent weekends in Baltimore.  Cole’s world continues to be all boy – cars, tractors, stickers, balls, and monster trucks.  Despite the unusually warm temperatures this winter, we were truly blessed with a few inches of snow during an overnight visit from Kim and Cole.  A year makes such a difference in the fun of a little boy … he graduated from his protective and safe little sled to the adult long board, which allowed him to self-spill and tumble out into the snow.  Cole is very excited and shares in the anticipation of Baby Lillie … not quite sure what he is expecting, although the details of tiny, crying, pooping, and sleeping have all been explained to him.  For the moment, Baby Lillie is the existence behind Momma’s ever-growing belly, which he kisses, includes in his prayers, and enjoys her company as he raises momma’s maternity top up so she can also watch the CAR movie with him…the preciousness of a little child.

Another Bread Bite that is full of evening gym visits, lots of energy, and better health is one that I’ve already recently shared.  Tim has been on a mission to lose substantial weight, and has experienced great results … giving credit to his exercise routines at the gym and a change in his eating habits.  He has all but cut out all sodas, which is a huge change for him.  He used to drink at least 5 Pepsis every day.  Fruits and vegetables have replaced chips and Swiss Rolls, and we also recently pulled our Champion Juicer out of the archives of the basement.

Not just one, but a handful of Bread Bites represent my recent trip to Indianapolis, leaving behind the aroma of spices and specks of parmesan all over the place!!  Having arrived Wednesday evening of last week and returning home late Sunday night, the sponge of my heart soaks up as much as possible, but there’s never enough time …

Great Grandma, Great Aunt Debbie with Jaxon ... & Daddy

Baby Jaxon melted my heart as I sat there that first evening holding my great nephew and remembering special times over 30 years ago when his Daddy was this size.  It was a real treat on Sunday for his parents to bring him to my home church so his great grandma could show him off.  Hopefully he was the only one who slept through Pastor Swesey’s message!

There were 16 of us at a friends’ home on Thursday as my ‘Higher Ground’ girls gathered in for the evening.  A surprise bridal shower for another friend provided the reason to come, along with the realization that my momma and I were coming to town!  What a true blessing these girls are to my heart as they still seem to love me and miss me, even though I have been gone for over a year!  Those feelings are very mutual!

Friday and Saturday were  both busy from dawn to bedtime … a special lunch with a dear friend, sorting through bags and closets of my Daddy’s clothes, time spent with family, and some relaxing in front of the TV watching movies and special events that Mom recorded for me.  The weather was exceptional all weekend, allowing me to slip on the flip flops and capris for the first time this year.

It’s always a joy for me to attend church with my Mom on Sunday ~ the church in which I grew up in … where I found Jesus, met my husband, got married, dedicated my babies, my Daddy’s funeral, …  During the Sunday School hour, I chose to sit in the Senior Adult class with those I have known for many years, discussing the disciple Peter and his tragic failure of loyalty … a lesson from the Nazarene spring quarterly.  I chimed in with my own comment that even though Peter failed and made a horrible mess of things, because of Christ’s love and forgiveness, Peter was restored and later had a dynamic ministry in spite of his past.  I’m personally grateful that Jesus does not just condemn and leave me in a pile to rot.  But instead, he is all about redemption and restoration.

A Divine Appointment on the flight home … a pastor’s wife from Lancaster was flying back from Denver where her daughter is attending college.  It was nice to once again connect to a total stranger through the bonds of Jesus.

A very special Bread Bite remains in the bag, filled with lots of yummy goodness and extra spices … Sunday was our son Ryan’s 26th birthday.  There will never be enough garlic and specks of parmesan to express this Momma’s love for her boy.  Someday, I would love to be with him in Seattle for his birthday so we could celebrate him and his special day together.

There’s another Birthday Bread Bite still in the bottom of the bag ~ Cole will turn 3 years old on Saturday.  A low-energy level birthday party is being planned, allowing Momma to participate by sitting and watching while an assortment of little tykes and their parents, along with various family members gather to thank God for another year of growth, development, love, and lots of life in the person of Cole Michael.

As a Morsel of Mercy represents God’s gifts of undeserved favor throughout our everday, I believe that from time to time, my life has a bag of warm and tasty Bread Bites.  Moments that are full of life, saturated with time consuming events, and covered with specks of details.  Every Bite is fresh, warm, and lavished with the love of Jesus.  I just shared mine ~ find someone who needs some encouragement or a friendly visit and share your Bread Bites.

Until next time,
Debbie

 Jesus said to them,
“I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is He who comes down from
heaven and gives life to the world.”


“Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this Bread.”

 

Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life.
He who comes to Me will never go hungry,
and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:32-35

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 Baby Shower Gift Bags  –  March 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.