Tag Archives: Penn State University

Merry Christmas from the Van Hooks!

21 Dec

Our beautiful children!

Once again, we are in awe of God’s blessings, His great mercy, and His precious gift of His son Jesus as we celebrate this Christmas season and enter into the New Year.  As the song writer penned … “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.”

 

Bahama Cruise

This year has been eventful!  Our grandson, Cole Michael, celebrated his first birthday in March.  How quickly that year seemed to fly by, and how quickly this little guy is growing and changing!  Following our trip out to PA for his birthday party, we headed on down to Florida for our vacation.  In celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary (July 11th) we enjoyed a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas, then soaked up some Florida sunshine for several more days before heading back to reality.  Reality consisted of the normal things of life, like home and work, but it also suddenly included helping to take care of my mother who fell and shattered her elbow while we were away on vacation.  After surgery, months of physical therapy, doctor visits, and lots of help from us kids and her church family, Mom is continuing to gain use and strength of her right arm and hand. We are so grateful for the Lord’s touch on her as she has slowly healed!

Our son-in-law, Troy, graduated from Penn State University this past May.  With his degree in Security and Risk Analysis, his new career as a consultant relocated this little family to Glen Burnie, MD, located on the south side of Baltimore.  Up until their move, Kim worked at the Courtyard by Marriott where she was the Assistant General Manager.  Now she is blessed by being able to stay home with Cole full time, employed by the cutest little toddler around!   Kim enjoys working out at their local gym where she takes Zumba and other exercise classes.  She is also involved in the Mom’s group at Grace Pointe Church of the Nazarene.

As the busy days of spring collided into the even busier days of summer, Tim was offered and he accepted a new job in the state of Pennsylvania.   September 1, just two weeks short of beginning our 5th year at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center, we relocated to Red Lion, PA.  He is now employed by K/S Remodeling Systems, where his talent for detail and craftsmanship is utilized on a daily basis to refurbish and remodel kitchens.   This is very similar to what Tim did when we lived in PA back in the 90s.   We are renting a very nice home that is very roomy and spacious for when our family gathers in, which happens quite frequently since we moved.  Kim and her family only live an hour away, so we are overwhelmed with the blessing of being able to watch Cole grow and become his own little person.  His favorite things in the whole world are tractors, and Dora the Explorer, fire trucks, cars, animal crackers, puzzles, and his dog all coming in tied for second place!   He is so much fun and has brought such joy to Grami and Grampi’s life!

Not wanting to miss out on the excitement of our move, Ryan flew in for a visit and spent a week with us.  Since it was his first time out to see his sister’s new home as well, we all took the time to relax and enjoy some of the favorite sites of Baltimore for a few days.  The highlight was our trip to the beach and to play in the sand and ocean with Cole.  Once we got back to our house, there were boxes to unpack, and furniture to arrange, all the while we had lots of fun and cooked lots of yummy food in our big kitchen!  Family time is such a blessing!!

Regis Philbin, Mom, myself, and Kim

Christmas began early in December at our house this year.  Kim and I surprised my mom with a trip to New York City and tickets to be on LIVE with Regis and Kelly!  What a fun time we had!!  The following day, Ryan and his girlfriend Brittany flew in from Seattle to join the festivities that had already started a few days prior.  We enjoyed lots of family fun playing Wii, going bowling, watching movies, and enjoying a houseful of good cooks.  “Fake Christmas” was celebrated as gifts were exchanged, stuffed stockings were emptied, and Cole rode around on his new tractor. 

Cole and his new TRACTOR!

As many of you already know, I love to write and started a blog back in February.  Morsels of Mercy is just that ~ short stories inspired by God’s mercies through my journey of life!   https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com     Many of the details of this past year that I skipped over here in my Christmas letter you can read about in my blog.  Enjoy reading!!

Christmas week is now upon us, and we will be back in Indiana for the holiday.  As we travel the many miles and gather with our families, my heart and thoughts will be turning toward many of you who are hurting this Christmas season.  I will be praying that you will find Jesus to be so much more than a baby in the manger, but that He will be your Healer, your Comforter, your Strength, your Everything. 

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great mercies
we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning:
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:21-26

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!!
The Van Hooks

 

Tim & Debbie
Troy, Kim, Cole & Tadpole
Ryan & Brittany
My mom, Wilma

Our family

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Graduation

14 May

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
   

    

It’s that time of year.  The cap and gown, complete with tassel, and the infamous certificate of declaration that the task at hand is finished.  Complete.    

Troy, Kim & Cole

There are two graduations impacting the lives of the Van Hooks in 2010.  Our son-in-law Troy is graduating with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis from Penn State University in just a few short days.  Having served in the US Marine Corps following graduation from high school, Troy is using his G.I. Bill for these past four years of college. 

Brittany & Ryan

Our son’s girlfriend, Brittany, walked across the platform at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington on Mother’s Day … receiving her degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology.    

Graduation is only a step of transition, really.  It’s a time for congratulations, hugs, slaps on the back, and words like “Well done!”, and “We’re so proud of you!”  But nearly in the same breath, there will be additional things said, like “What are your plans now?”  or “Did you get that job you applied for?”    

Troy will be moving his family to the Baltimore area where he will begin his new career in June.  Brittany has applied for a job in Seattle and is hopeful that she will begin to take the next step toward her life-long ambitions.  Life is full of dreams,  preparation, experience, change, and celebration.   

How about you?  Is GRADUATION a word that applies to your life right now?  Perhaps you know someone who has also put on the cap and gown and walked across their platform of life.  A new baby, fresh out of the womb … the past 9 months developed and ready for a lifetime of graduations.  A precious aged parent, surrounded by years of memories and a loving family … crosses that threshold of the ultimate graduation, completed the task of earthly living to finally sit at the feet of Jesus.    

Precious in the sight of the LORD  is the death of his saints.   Psalm 116:15   

For such a time as this, join me in celebrating the graduations of life.   

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,
if only I may finish the race and
complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–
the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.  Act 20:24
   

Until next time,
Debbie