Tag Archives: Son

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

 

 

 

 

 

At the Playground

6 May

Is anyone among you in trouble?
Let them pray.
Is anyone happy?
Let them sing songs of praise.
James 5:13

 

What kid doesn’t like a playground?!   Just driving by the brightly colored community play area will bring shrills of laughter, whining, begging and pleading! Once the child is unstrapped from his or her car seat, a mad dash ensues, followed by darting motions as they try to quickly make up their minds in which direction they want to head first! The big slide or the twisty one? The swaying bridge or the hamster cage? The monkey bars or the swings? It doesn’t really matter where they start … the playground will be a fun place to run and play until it is time to go home.

 

Life is like a playground. I know Forrest Gump thinks otherwise, but I believe it to be true. Just driving by fills a little one’s heart and mind with the excitement of anticipation! There are difference sizes of playgrounds – some only have the basics … swings and a slide, while others look like castles full of adventurous places to climb, hop, jump, slide and run!   And just like life, the playground is always so much more fun if you have family or friends along to play!

 

March 26, 2016

Gettysburg, PA

March 25, 2016

Hershey Chocolate World

It seems that the past few months have been a playground to me! The month of March was full of family excitement as Ryan and Brittany came to visit for Easter weekend! We celebrated Ryan’s 30th and Cole’s 7th birthday with an afternoon spent at Sky Zone, along with some fun mini road trips to local attractions. Hershey was a fun favorite as we visited Chocolate World and the Cocoa Castle playground, followed by the next day of touring the battlegrounds and statues of Gettysburg. There were Easter eggs and baskets, and even some left-over Christmas gifts that were finally exchanged! This Momma had her entire family with her in church on Easter Sunday morning and my heart was truly blessed … full and overflowing! It was a whirlwind extended weekend, full of family fun and love!

 

April 16, 2016

Lillie climbing the blue ladder –  to the super fast slide!

On my playground called Mimi’s World, exciting days were enjoyed by family and friends as we recently celebrated Cole and Lillianne’s birthdays with monster trucks and dancing princesses. On another occasion, the kids also cashed in a Christmas Gift Coupon for an adventure to Cabela’s where they saw hundreds of animals on display, shot guns for target practice, walked through a fresh water aquarium, petted a live goat and fed the fish. To complete our day together, I took them over to the community playground in hopes to zap any remaining energy they might have left before baths and bedtime.

 

The playground that day was the inspiration for an original song, written and performed by our Lillie. Here are the lyrics to her song, so you can follow along …

Click here  https://youtu.be/luieEeDTubl  to watch the music video,
At the Playground…

Lyrics —
I go at the playground with my Mimi,
and I’m there with the blue ladder
then that last slide is super fast …

That’s why I know the playground is special for me and you,
God will make us all the times … at the playground.

~~

Life is like a playground.
You go there with your special people.
You hang on tight as you climb up the ladders and go down the super fast slides!  And you know it’s all special for you and yours…
and God is at the Center of it all …
at the playground!!

Won’t you join me … at the playground?

Until next time,
Mimi

But be very careful to keep the commandment
and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you:
to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him,
to keep His commands, to hold fast to Him
and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Joshua 22:5

 

 

Merry Christmas 2015

24 Dec

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the Light of Life.”
John 8:12

Excitement and anticipation are in the air! Decorated trees, greeting cards and carols accompany the yummy tastes of holiday treats, giggles of little children, and weary sighs from adults. In the midst of the festivities of the season, we want to take the time to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

 

It really wasn’t that long ago when we began flipping pages in the new 2015 calendar, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and special days throughout the year. One such day was in March when Ryan, down on one knee, presented Brittany with a beautiful ring and asked her to marry him. We are all very excited for the days ahead as their dreams come true!   Ryan was promoted to Government Account Executive – City, County and non-profit sales with Verizon. He thoroughly enjoys his new job! Ryan plays on a couple different Ultimate Frisbee leagues throughout the year, which gives him the chance to travel some, including a recent tournament in Hawaii. Brittany continues to study for her MCAT exam and enjoys her job at Harborview Medical Center, downtown Seattle. They will be celebrating Christmas with her family this year, so we are all looking forward to some Ryan/Brittany time soon after the holidays!

December 2015

Cole and Lillianne

Cole and Lillie celebrated their spring birthdays this year with a special trip to Disneyland in California with their parents … Cole turned 6 years old in March and Lillianne was 3 in April. Cole is now in the first grade, has collected quite the savings from the tooth fairy, and has his own Sunkist Bearded Dragon named Blender. He played baseball and soccer this year and is looking forward to his first season of basketball. Lillie attends preschool 2 mornings a week and loves it! She sings, dances, loves to wear twirly dresses, and adores her dog, Tadpole. Cole and Lillie both enjoyed swimming at the community pool this past summer, along with a couple trips to the beach. They come and visit Mimi and Papaw as often as everyone’s busy schedule allows, where they have a swingset and a creek in the back yard and a room full of toys, wild animals, princess clothes and some more of their favorite things. These two kids add so much joy to Mimi and Papaw’s life!

 

Kim and Troy celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in September. Their family continues to be extremely involved in various ministries at Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Severn, MD; one of which Kim is in charge of the annual women’s ministry retreat held at the shore in Ocean City, MD. Kim is a busy stay-at-home mom and a Pampered Chef consultant. Troy made a shift in his career and is now an Information Technology Specialist with the Marine Corps Civil Service. He also just finished his Masters of Science in Cybersecurity through University of Maryland University College. The 82 miles between their home and ours is only an hour and a half drive — we are blessed!

 

In March, I became the full-time receptionist/secretary for the York County CASA Program. Assigning ‘Court Appointed Special Advocates’ to neglected and abused children in the dependency courts is the focus of our mission. We are a small staff of 4, but our office is located in the county courthouse where I enjoy making many new friends!

 

Speaking of friends, beginning in March, I invited a few of my friends, neighbors and co-workers to my house for an evening of tasty treats, fun fellowship, and a short devotion. Refresh is the group name and the intention of this monthly meeting. 15 different women have attended at one time or another with an average of 8 or so who come most of the time. This is God’s idea, His name, His inspiration and His ladies. I am excited with anticipation each month as He pulls it all together for me and I share His heart to these friends.

 

After 8 years of riding, 2 motorcycles later and many hours of research and on-line shopping, Tim finally found the Harley Davidson of his dreams. Spending time together riding the motorcycle has become something we both really enjoy! Weekend trips, day rides and summer-evening ice cream runs have become the norm for us. Tim, his brother and 2 of their riding buddies also rode down to the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee during the summer.

 

Another favorite fun activity of ours is to spend time in the kitchen together creating tasty dishes and meals! We also invested in a pressure canner this summer, so we canned peaches, green beans, peach salsa, gluten-free tomato soup for our grandson Cole, and apple sauce. We also froze peaches, corn, blueberries, broccoli and cauliflower. Every few months, Tim also smokes a bunch of meat and we freeze beef brisket and pulled pork. Oh! I mustn’t forget the tastiest item we burrowed away! New Mexico green chiles! Our friend Daniel is our connection in Albuquerque, and he shipped us the best chiles yet! Like a pro, Tim perfectly roasted them and we then put them in the freezer to enjoy throughout the year!

Ready for church!

Ready for church

We took several extended weekend trips for our annual visits with friends and family. Seattle was our vacation destination this year — and we shared the experience with my mother! Ryan and Brittany were gracious hosts to the 3 of us, highlighting a few of our favorite tourist stops for mom, eating lots of yummy food and simply enjoying each other’s company! No matter how many days we are blessed to spend with Ryan and Brittany, it is never enough for this Mommy’s heart!

 

Heaven is always becoming a bit sweeter, isn’t it?   With the passing of friends and family this year, we are all reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of living ready.   We never know what today will bring, so let’s keep in mind that Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season, but He’s the reason for every day of our life!

Merry Christmas and a Very Blessed New Year,
Debbie

God sent a Star to light the way.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the Light of Life.”
John 8:12

 

 

 

 

Seattle 2015

2 Oct

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all people to Myself.
John 12:32

 

My Mommy heart was full and overflowing as I peered out the window to catch my last glimpse of Mt. Rainier … until next time. The view of that majestic peak symbolizes my excited anticipation of being with my son and his future bride … and represents to my heart the awesome Love of God that continually watches over Ryan and Brittany.

 

As Tim and I boarded our Southwest Airline early last Thursday morning, my mother in Indianapolis began her own journey … both flights converging at the Sea-Tac Airport just minutes apart. What a joy to be welcomed to Seattle by our son and my mom! Those moments of hugs and kisses were just the beginning of a 5-day adventure that will forever fill our hearts with priceless memories!

 

On the day we arrived, just a quarter of a mile from Ryan and Brittany’s apartment was the scene of the fatal accident involving a tour bus of international students and the Seattle Duck Tour. This created quite a delay in getting to their home, along with a change in our itinerary of riding the Duck Tour later in the weekend.

 

Ready for church!

Ready for church!

Speaking of our itinerary, the list of places to see, foods to eat, and things to do over the next several days was extensive, and we were successful in accomplishing all but a few. Ryan and Brittany took time off from work to be our entertaining and personal tour guides and warmly opened their home to us with comfy accommodations and delicious meals! We ate out at some of our favorite spots and enjoyed the brew of coffee that is so famous in Seattle. We drove across the floating bridge and enjoyed the misty view of the Snoqualmie Falls, and we walked through Pike’s Market as we stopped from time to time to graze on cheese curds, crumpets and tasty bakery treats. We rode the elevators to the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center and spent the afternoon with a bird’s eye view of our host city and its surrounding towns. We spent leisure time cheering for the Colts, Broncos, and the Seahawks, watching an assortment of movies each evening, and Brittany and I spent a few hours shopping at the world’s best Goodwill where we found awesome deals to compliment our wardrobes!

 

As the blood moon eclipsed over the eastern skyline of Seattle on Sunday evening, my heart knew that it needed to prepare for the inevitable good-byes that would soon take place the following morning. Our favorite Seattle brew of Cafe Vita graced our Monday-morning breakfast table and within a short time I was once again hugging and kissing my loved ones. Grateful beyond words to have finally shared the special experience of Ryan/Brittany and Seattle with my mother, I sent her in the direction of her flight back to Indianapolis, knowing that I will see her again in just two weeks for my annual birthday visit. Discussion of a hopeful visit to our home in celebration of Christmas and the New Year kept the tears at bay as I embraced our kids and told them thanks for allowing us to come and spend a few days with them. I always feel that my hug is just not quite long enough nor tight enough to fully express my love to them.

 

Five days before as we neared our descent into Seattle, my heart sank with disappointment as I realized that we were sitting on the wrong side of the plane in order to see Mt. Rainier. Knowing that the weather while in Seattle can sometimes be overcast with clouds that hide any view of the mountain, seeing it while above the clouds is always a guarantee … that is as long as we’re seated on the correct side of the plane. As I was making mental notes to pick better seats next time, our pilot began to do a dance in the sky, twirling our plane into a complete circle, literally allowing me full view of that majestic mountain that towers above everything else in view. What I’m sure was a maneuver ordered by flight control in order to get into the proper flow of air traffic, God used it as a very personal gesture, showing His huge heart of Love to me!

 

Now as I once again leave behind Mt. Rainier, the beautiful city of Seattle, and those two precious children, my prayer is that our God will continue to watch over them, that He would be their Constant Companion, and that I can rest in His promise to always draw their hearts to His.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.
John 12:32

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8

 For this reason, since the day we heard about you,
we have not stopped praying for you.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge
of His will through all the wisdom and understanding
that the Spirit gives,
so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord
and please Him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,

being strengthened with all power according to
His glorious might so that you may have
great endurance and patience
and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the
inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of
darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link…whether you have Facebook or not!  Enjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205896195298804.1073741892.1076414018&type=1&l=a015608a95

Blinked

28 May

But encourage one another daily,
as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened
by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13

 

How is it possible that Cole is 6 years old already and Lillie is 3?
Our Ryan celebrated his 29th birthday in March.
March and April are two very special birthday months for our family … and it’s crazy to realize we have whooped and hollered and celebrated already and it’s now the end of May.
Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day …
Spring has pretty much come and gone and hot and humid days are already here.
In a few days, the calendars will flip to June.  What happened??

From personal experience, I know what happened. We blinked.

Birthday celebrations are always an exciting time for our little Loves … a special theme and party, lots of friends and family, and oh so much fun! This year was no exception, but yet it was very different!  A family meeting took place mid-March, complete with a huge surprise and negotiations. An agreed-upon plan formulated and the birthday celebrating began!

 

Cole Michael celebrating his 6th birthday!

Cole Michael celebrating his 6th birthday!

Cole Michael turned 6 on Tuesday, March 24th. 6 years old! I know, right?!? He had a very small party on a Sunday afternoon, where wild animals was his theme choice and camo was the popular attire, along with a zebra and a cheetah! Gluten-free camo cupcakes and pizza for the birthday boy, while his guests enjoyed mom and dad’s stromboli and deer poop (chocolate covered raisins) was in the treat bags.

 

Princess Lillie celebrating her 3rd birthday

Princess Lillie celebrating her 3rd birthday

The first weekend of May was a very small delegation of common people (grandparents) who were invited to participate in a Princess celebration. Lillie turned 3 years old on April 29th … a day full of sweet memories of when this little precious girl took her first breath. I think it’s safe to say that ever since that moment, her sweet love has literally been taking our breath away! A Rapunzel cake, Frozen cupcakes and Princess giggles filled our hearts as we celebrated Lillianne Hope’s 3rd birthday.

 

Disneyland, California

Disneyland, California

Then there was a huge surprise birthday celebration in Disney … Disneyland, that is! Anaheim, California was the location and the two birthday kiddos and their parents were among those guests who spent their spring break visiting Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy! Special friends like Lightning McQueen and Mator welcomed Cole and Lillie into their world of CARSLAND, and Anna and Elsa were delighted to take pictures with our Loves. Both of their autograph books are full from cover to cover of signatures which will forever be reminders of the magical birthday celebrations in 2015.

 

The sweet proposal!

The sweet proposal!

Ryan and Brittany spent Ryan’s birthday weekend along the misty Oregon coast, where he got down on one knee, acknowledged his love and devotion, and then asked Brittany to marry him. Phone calls of excited chatter and celebration, pictures of the special occasion and congratulations triggered tears and oh so much joy from this Momma who loves her boy and his future bride!

 

 

Mother's Day 2015 Deb Park, Tim and Nathan with their Mom

Mother’s Day 2015
Deb Park, Tim and Nathan with their Mom

The spring holidays have been filled with family fun, which makes them extra special! Mother’s Day was spent with Tim’s mom and his siblings who live nearby.  Then my mother just flew out to spend Memorial Day weekend with us. Circumstances beyond her control have kept her from visiting since we bought our home last June, but attempt #4 was successful and we had a wonderful time! The weather was perfect, the time together was relaxing, and the kiddos were able to spend some time with us so they could also enjoy Mimi Wells being in PA! It is so special to have 4 generations all together!

 

My mom and me Memorial Day Weekend

My mom and me
Memorial Day Weekend

June is knocking on the door of our calendars, quickly followed by July, August and September. Several dates are marked in red for special occasions, trips, guests coming to visit and fun summer activities. All we have to do is blink and today and tomorrow will be nothing but memories.

Won’t you join me in making every effort to appreciate the people and the moments of today? And as we live in the moments, let us do so for Jesus!

Until next time!
Debbie

 

 

 

 

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful,
unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly
till the end the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 3:12-14

Make every effort to live in peace
with all men and to be holy;
without holiness no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one misses the grace of God
and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:14-15

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today
are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your
houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Happy New Year ~ 2015

30 Jan

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Some may think that I’m a bit late, but I choose to say that I embraced every moment of the Christmas season that I could. Now that the trimmings and the tree are all down and put away, and everyone has gone back home, I am going to devote some specific time to send greetings to all of our family and friends as yet another year has completed its chapter in our book called life.

Snowstorm that brought 23" of snow!

Snowstorm that brought 23″ of snow!

One thing most of us across America had in common in 2014 was our crazy winter weather! Our little town always seemed be in an overactive band of snow, burying us under several more inches than others in south central PA. Mimi and Papaw’s ‘big hill’ provided a lot of fun times and memories for our little loves when they and their parents could visit.

 

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Enjoying a nice spring day in Maryland

Needless to say, warm and sunny spring days eventually came, which brought new adventures, the first of which when Ryan flew in for a few days in March. He came bearing gifts for a belated Christmas celebration, and in turn we sang Happy Birthday to him!

 

In April I made a long-over due trip to Louisiana to visit dear friends, a journey of the heart that will forever be changed and grateful for much that has often been taken for granted. Mother’s Day weekend was spent with my mom in Indy, with the added joy of meeting my newborn niece, Remington. Then just a couple of weeks later, Tim and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Ohio at a small reunion of friends who volunteered and worked with us on the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque. What a blessed time we had together in those days and again at this gathering!
Mingled in between trips, the grand-kids’ birthday celebrations and the everyday routine of work and life, we were packing and preparing to move. We finally found a house to buy and de-clutter became my new motto. By mid-June, we were moved in and getting settled, excited to spend time with Ryan who was once again out east … this time on a Verizon business trip with some added time for family!

 

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

My Mom and our family at the Wells Reunion

The adventures continued as Mimi loaded Momma and the kiddos in her van and we drove to Indy for the Wells Family reunion in July. What fun to share those of my little family with my precious aunts, uncles and cousins! The traditional annual August 5th weekend birthday celebration once again found us at the shore with Kim and her family, enjoying the surf, sand, and sun. Then a few weeks later, Tim and I took advantage of frequent flier points for a long-over due visit to our beloved Albuquerque! The hospitality of our host family was a blessing, the itinerary of visits with friends and church family was heart warming, and just the experience of being there in that special place we called home for nearly 10 years was simply over-whelming.

 

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

In Florida with Becky and her mom Pauline

September arrived with an invitation to meet my life-long ‘best bud’ in Florida for a few days of respite with her, following the death of her husband on August 1st. Beach therapy was the theme for our time together as childhood friends tried to make sense of life and its uncertain path … all the while being confident that God is the one true certainty on our journey.

 

Another leg of our journey was our annual motorcycle trip to Toms River, New Jersey and our visit with Pastor Del and Patsy Bieber. What fun we had as we spent time with their family, shopped at a local flea market, ate some outstanding food and as always, enjoyed our Sunday morning of worship with our seaside friends. Several weeks later, it was our privilege and pleasure to host these friends in our own home as Pastor Del preached in a local revival service.

 

Tim's Mom with her children

Tim’s Mom with her children

Indiana became our destination of necessity throughout the fall months due to the 6 week battle with cancer and passing of Tim’s step-father on September 23. Life with its reminder of our fragility and total dependence upon God once again knocked on the doors of our hearts. After a lot of prayer and thoughtful consideration, Tim’s Mom …has moved back to PA to be closer to the majority of her children.

 

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

My brothers Tim and Jay, me and Mom

Christmas season! We attended Christmas programs and parties, spent time with family and friends, and simply enjoyed the beautiful season in our new home. Christmas Eve travels took us to Indiana for a few days to celebrate Jesus, His birth, and several other family birthdays with my Mother, brothers and their families. Our trip was highlighted on Sunday morning when my brother Tim and his wife, Courtney, dedicated Remington Kimber Wells to Jesus.

 

The final hoorah for the year was awesome as Ryan and Brittany flew in from Seattle and our entire family spent several days together in our home … still celebrating Jesus and Christmas, New Year’s, and Brittany’s January birthday. Gifts were exchanged, countless games of Memory (and others) were played, creative paper airplanes were flown, and so much tasty food was prepared and enjoyed! Girls went shopping, family came to visit, a few movies were watched, and we worshiped together on Sunday just a few hours before good-byes were said. Every moment of every day, I tried to soak up each and every morsel and speck of family love I could … to hold me until next time!

 

As we begin a new year, I would like to share a page from ‘Jesus Calling’ …

June 12
Let Me prepare you for the day (year) that stretches out before you. I know exactly what this day (year) will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it. You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey. You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead. However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today (this year): Spend quality time with Me.

I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey. My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way. Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts. Thus, you can walk through this day (year) with your focus on Me. My abiding Presence is the best road map available.

 

2014 is behind us and a new road lies ahead. May the comfort and the peace of God’s constant Presence be the Guide and Direction for you and yours for this new year.

You make known to me the Path of Life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go
with you and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

Until next time,
Debbie

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If you would like to read the unabbreviated version of 2014 and more,
please feel free to visit my website and read till your heart is content!  https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com/

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How Long Has It Been?

1 Aug

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

 

OH.  MY. How long has it been?  Over two months, you say?  I deeply apologize for not writing sooner, but it certainly was not done so out of neglect.  My heart’s desire and priority is to write and to do so often … but life and its priorities often trump my heart.  Such is the case of late.

 

Life has been full…full of excitement, busyness, travel, heartache and change.  As brief as possible, I will back up and attempt at highlighting the past couple of months.  Where do I begin?

 

Our new home

Our new home

Let’s start with one rainy Sunday afternoon in April.  We had our realtor show us a house that had just been listed the day before.  As we walked through the front door, we sensed immediately that this home was different than any of the others we had looked at. It was bright inside with big beautiful windows and high ceilings, large and nicely painted rooms, and the price was right. Three days later we made an offer.  Within 24 hours, we knew we were going to be buying a house!

 

De-clutter became my new motto.  I started with closets and drawers, and I was serious.  It was time to look at each and every article of clothing and make a decision.  Items that didn’t make the cut began gathering in large bags in the front hall, later to be donated, while drawers and closets were neatly organized and ready to be packed for the move.  I spent hours and hours and more hours in the basement sorting and going through boxes of stuff that we hadn’t had room to do anything with for years!  As the stack of donated items grew, a true sense of accomplishment began to settle on me, helping to make my tired and sore feet feel better!  I also sorted through keepsakes.  Years and years of them.  I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I am a keeper.  There is a difference.  I love to keep things that bring back memories of special people, times, and places.  Well, my life has been full of all of these, and I’m talking literally full!  I decided it was time to continue the de-clutter process and down-size my treasures by taking a lot of pictures and scanning letters and documents.  As the trash bags filled with countless items, my heart and home began to feel liberated.   I am a blessed woman, and this whole process greatly reminded me of this fact!

 

The sellers were relocating out-of-state and their timeline was flexible, so we agreed on a closing date of June 12.  This gave us plenty of time to continue to methodically de-clutter, organize, pack, and be ready without a huge rush.  Moving is certainly not a foreign word to us, but moving just on the other side of town is definitely a different concept…and even nicer reality!  And then God gives us the best house-warming gift of all when Verizon flew Ryan into Baltimore for a business trip just 2 days after we closed on our new home.  Our entire family (minus Brittany) was together for Father’s Day, and then the following weekend for the big move.  What a hand-picked blessing from God Himself to my heart, allowing me to share this special time with both of my children.

 

More on the house later …

 

May 2014

NIBC friends

Just 2 weeks before we closed, for Memorial Day weekend, we drove to Wadsworth, Ohio for a weekend with friends.  This event was put on the calendar last fall – a reunion of sorts for friends who had worked / volunteered at the Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque while we were there a few years ago.  There were 12 of us who gathered there that day … to reminisce, to catch up, to laugh and cry, and to thank God for bringing us all together then and now.  Since that day in May, one of our dear friends, Carol Hileman, has gone on home to be with Jesus.  She and her hubby, Leonard, were the cooks at NIBC for many years.

 

Nearly every waking moment in the month of June was consumed with either packing or unpacking.  An occasional motorcycle ride, yard sale, or trip to Lowes was thrown in the mix, but it was a blur of busyness.

 

Cole Michael Lillianne Hope

Cole Michael
Lillianne Hope

July has been more of the same, with a few more opportunities to sit down and appreciate what has actually taken place.  Then a couple weeks ago, the house was filled with the awesome sounds of little people and their love for Mimi, Papaw and life!  What a great weekend of getting them settled into their new big bedroom that they now share, exploring the small stream that runs through our back yard, and soaking up every morsel of love they give to their grandparents!

 

July 2014

Me, my brothers, and our Mom

Then this past weekend, my heart was filled with more love of family as Kim, Cole and Lillie drove out to Indy with me to attend the Wells family reunion, hosted by my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Russell in Brown County.  There were over 70 of us there … I know my Daddy would’ve loved every minute of the time together!  In his honor, I edited my parents’ home movies and put together a “Wells Family Version” … nearly 80 minutes of clips from 1961 to 1987 ~ Christmas parties, birthday parties, family picnics, weddings, vacations, etc.  Several family members took a copy home, anxious to see themselves back in another time and in another place.

 

Kim and I added an extra few days to our trip to visit with some friends and other family, making our trip complete with lots of fun, great memories, and tons of pictures!  And considering that our time on the road was longer than expected, Cole and Lillie travelled very well and made Mimi and Momma very happy!

 

So, here I am today.  I’m finally making the time to do what my heart has wanted to do for weeks!!  I also feel like I need to post a sign that says “Please excuse the mess … site under construction.”  In the midst of the 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 verbage and an update to my crazy but blessed life. The pictures on the sidebar will be a pleasant surprise for another day.

 

As I put closure to my thoughts today, my heart desires to express yet another dimension to my life.  As I sit here in my little town in south central PA, my precious friends in Crowley, Louisiana are literally watching the sands of time quickly empty the hour glass on Joe’s life.  My recent visit to Cajun country in April will always be one of the most cherished trips of my life, as I spent several days with Becky and Joe and their family.  Those were the days when Joe, even after just having his 7th surgery to remove melanoma, would get a burst of renewed energy and go into the kitchen and cook an entire meal for us, excited to be of help, although he couldn’t eat any of it himself.  In his raspy yet cheerful voice, Joe and I reminisced about days gone by … and about what God was doing in his heart and life even then as he continued to face this dreaded and vicious disease.  That was April.  A couple weeks ago after receiving the devastating results from his latest scans, Joe was given 3 months to live and was put on hospice care.   The miles between me and Becky are so, so many, but yet our hearts are very connected, as I was so frequently reminded in these past few months as I sorted through my treasures, finding multitudes of letters, cards, pictures, and keepsakes from a lifetime of friendship.  After returning from my trip to Louisiana, I picked up my own copy of Jesus Calling, which is the devotional book that my best Bud reads every day.  Somehow I wanted us both to know that although we cannot talk every day, our hearts were on the same page … literally.  This morning’s words comforted me …  since I cannot be there with my precious friend during these long exhausting days of caring for her dying husband, Jesus reminded me that she is never alone … “My Presence watches over you continually.  I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.”

 

Won’t you join me just now in whatever situation you find yourself in … of knowing and embracing the truth that you are never alone – His Presence watches over you continually.  He has engraved you on the palms of His hands.

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

 

See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands;
your walls are ever before Me.
Isaiah 49:16

 

Birthday Visit

21 Mar

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, He saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Psalm 116:5-7

What a pleasant surprise when my phone rang a couple weeks ago and the familiar voice on the other end asked if he could come visit for a few days!  Seriously?  Does Nemo swim?  Within moments, plans were being made and my heart began to fill with joy and excitement!

Since Ryan moved to Spokane, WA to attend Gonzaga University several years ago, the beauty of the northwest and a very special young lady captured the heart of our son.  Now residing in Seattle, the opportunities to get to see he and Brittany are few and far between.  Tim and I flew out for our vacation last August/Sept, but it had nearly been a year since Ryan had seen Cole and Lillie and their parents.  Cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, and a lot of praying took place during the few days of preparation.  A major snowstorm was in the forecast to march across much of the country on the very day of Ryan’s travels, but thankfully it tracked north of his flight plan of Seattle-Boston-Baltimore and he was only delayed a couple of hours.  Thank you, Jesus, for answered prayers!

Cole Michael, the chauffer and his assistant, Miss Lillie

Cole Michael, the chauffer and his assistant, Miss Lillie

Ryan was met by his own personal chauffer and assistant upon arrival at BWI ~  what a cute sight they were!  Thus began the next 3 ½ days of non-stop fun … playing with the kiddos, eating yummy food, catching up with the adults, celebrating birthdays and Christmas, and simply loving family.

Sunday noon came all too quickly when Ryan had to gather all of his stuff and head back to the airport, this time leaving the chauffer and his assistant at home with their parents.  Tim and I were awarded the honors of driving him, soaking up every possible morsel of time with our boy.   Hugs and kisses at the curb, prayers in my heart, and a fleeting glance as our grown son walked out of sight to catch a flight to go home.

Uncle Ryan and his loves.

Uncle Ryan and his loves.

Ryan’s birthday was Tuesday, March 18.  What a blessing to be able to celebrate a few days early with him when he was here.  28 years ago, our little family of three welcomed a tiny new member, never to be the same again.

Won’t you join me in celebrating life today?  Babies are born every day, people we know and love are coming to the end of their journey called life, while others continue in the daily routines of family, work, and responsibilities.  It’s all part of the life God has gifted to each of us … let’s celebrate it together!

Until next time,
Debbie

For this reason, since the day we heard about you,
we have not stopped praying for you.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him
in every way: bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,
 being strengthened with all power according to His
glorious might so that you may have great
endurance and patience,
 and giving joyful
thanks to the Father, who has qualified you
to share in the inheritance of His holy people
in the kingdom of light.
 For He has rescued us from the dominion
of darkness and brought us into the kingdom
of the Son He loves,  in whom we
have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!! Enjoy!!https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202208136099629.1073741849.1076414018&type=1&l=b5c84d394f

Throwback Thursday and Thanksgiving 1998

21 Nov

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4

It’s Thursday.  Often in my world of Facebook friends, pictures will be posted that entertain and add a chuckle to the day as we enjoy seeing photos from the past.  Memories of the heart will sometimes be tugged on, and a sigh of “where has time gone” will escape our lips as we smile and shake our heads in disbelief.  In preparation of this fun day called Throwback Thursday, I found myself upstairs digging through boxes of Kodak moments, hunting for some Thanksgiving past.  My search was successful!  As I looked through the pictures and saw the faces of my precious family, my mind took an immediate journey to November 1998.  We were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the time ~ Work and Witness Coordinators for Nazarene Indian Bible College.  In October, we had just moved from one home to another on campus, and were still unpacking boxes and getting settled.  Ryan was 12 years old and from the looks of his bright white smile, he must’ve just gotten his braces off!  Kimberly, our gorgeous 15 year old, was still sporting her new summer short haircut.  And how crazy to realize that Tim and I were still in our 30s … oh my!   Since our family was planning to travel the many miles back east for the Christmas break, we decided that for Thanksgiving we would take a family trip and go somewhere new and exciting and close by … and the Grand Canyon it was!

With plans to only post these pictures today on my Facebook, the thought hit me that I could actually pull up my weekly newsletter from that very same week and post it in my blog.  As a busy missionary family back then, I wrote a newsy letter full of Van Hook life and emailed it to a gazillion people every week.  I did this for many years … and all of these posts are safely stored on an external hard drive, waiting to be put into a book someday!!

Having just driven a few hours into Ohio to visit our friends, Mike and Norma Johnson 2 weeks ago, how fun it was to sit here and be reminded that they were quite the blessing that year to Scottie-sit for us!  In their earlier years, they had already hiked down into the bottom of the Grand Canyon and knew that it was no place for a noisy Miniature Schnauzer!

So, with Thanksgiving 2013 just one week away, I share with you today Thanksgiving 1998.  Enjoy!

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

November 29, 1998
Sunday evening

Dear family & friends,

We’re home!  We are unloaded, unpacked, and unwinding.  Kim, suffering from youth-group withdrawal, keys in hand and orders to call home as soon as she arrived, went on to church tonight.  The rest of us are munching on junk food, doing laundry (well, I am), and enjoying ‘no place like home’.  Scottie is also relaxing in the comfy-ness of his home.  Praise the Lord once again for His perfect timing!  Last Sunday, another one of our volunteer couples who come each year to NIBC and help with the Christmas festivities, pulled into the campus with their motor home…guess who very willingly agreed to Scottie-sit?  Mike & Norma Johnson opened their home to our little guy, allowing this Mom much more enjoyable Thanksgiving travels.  There were a gazillion signs prohibiting pets on the Canyon trails – on a leash or in a back pack!  And now since I have hiked back up a trail, that in a 1 ½ mile distance, the elevation rose 940 feet, I guarantee none of us would have wanted to haul Scottie’s heavy 14 pound dog body on our backs, with him barking the whole way, no doubt!  We probably would have been tempted to just leave him on the cliffs…  Just kidding!  No, Scottie celebrated Thanksgiving with the Johnsons, and we are very grateful for their kindness!

This past week was NIBC’s Thanksgiving holiday break.  After putting in so many extra hours of work throughout the Work & Witness season, not to mention preparing for the 50th anniversary celebration earlier in the year, I planned on taking off as much time this week as possible.  I went in on Monday, hoping to be home by noon … ha!  Once you’re in the door, watch out!  I was able to tie up loose ends by 5:00 pm, not setting foot back in the office until an hour before we left on our trip on Wednesday.  I did have to make several phone calls and check in with Kathleen a few times, but I managed to do so from home.  Miraculously, by the time we pulled out for our trip, the house was freshly interior decorated, cleaned, and looking good. How satisfying and refreshing to know that piles of clutter from several months were filed or trashed, stacks of pictures, shelves, and pretties were now hung,  that the ½ inch of dust had been happily wiped away and the carpets vacuumed…    SIGH!  If my house is in shambles (I mean long term stuff!), I am grouchy… if my house is in order, Mom smiles!  It’s a woman thing, I guess.  I am so thankful that I am smiling!!

Once the kids got home from school on Wednesday, the last minute packing finished, and instructions to the Scottie-sitters given, we were on our way to the Grand Canyon.  Squinting as we drove into the setting sun, we stopped in Navajo land, Gallup, New Mexico, for the  Wednesday special at McD…29¢ hamburgers!  We stopped for the night just a couple more hours down the road at Sun Valley Indian School outside of Holbrook, Arizona.  Extremely cheap accommodations are always available there for our NIBC staff.  We do the same for their people while they are traveling through Albuquerque … this time it was our turn!  We truly appreciated their hospitality!  Waking to a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, we continued our journey to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.  Unless you have seen this wonder, words will never ever begin to describe the immense, breathtaking, … And you know what?  Last week, while hiking at Sandia with the family, in mid-picture, my camera died…needing 2 of those tiny round batteries to make it work again.  Being the procrastinator that I am at times, I figured that we would drive by a K-Mart or Wal-mart somewhere between Albuquerque and the Grand Canyon.   Little did I know that Indian reservations make up most of the miles of space between here and there…and the biggie?  You are lucky to find a gas station or a restaurant opened on Thanksgiving Day, let alone a K-Mart, at least on an Indian reservation! I then thought that maybe I could just purchase one of those handy disposable cameras at one of the gift shops … $25 for 17 pictures?  I don’t think so!  Yes, you guessed it!  I was unable to take any 35mm pictures of our day at the south rim of the Grand Canyon!  Thank goodness for the video camera, but it’s just not the same!  Sigh!  When we were able to stop the following day at a Wal-Mart, which was extremely busy with Christmas shoppers, I not only bought the two tiny round batteries that I needed for the moment, I purchased two extra ones for future emergencies!  Good planning, I thought – until Tim spoiled it by saying that they would probably be dead once I needed them in a year and half…

Despite the fact that we have no pictures to show from that first day, what a beautiful day it was!  It is truly hard to fathom the depth, the vastness, the distance of this thing!  From a beginning  elevation of around 7000’, we hiked a trail along a rim, down an elevation of 940’ in a distance of 1 ½ miles.  The round trip took us 2 hours.  Going down made my legs feel wobbly and shaky, but going back up nearly made my lungs explode and my back ache!  But it was great!  To see the views, to experience and make memories … it was all worth it!  Following an exhaustive day of travel and touring, we headed to our hotel, where we swam in an indoor pool and relaxed in the churning waters of the whirlpool…ah-h-h!  Suddenly realizing that it was indeed still Thanksgiving and that there just might not be any restaurants opened, we quickly cleaned up and went hunting for a place to eat. Denny’s was still opened! It was ok…nothing AT ALL like Mom’s Thanksgiving dinner!   Such was our Thanksgiving Day …

Free continental breakfast – Tim always reminds us that a Continental car is nice, really big, and is worth a lot of money…why do they call this pitiful and skimpy idea of a breakfast ‘continental’?  No, we are always grateful for the powdered donuts, toast, Fruit Loops, milk, juice and coffee.  I don’t usually eat more than that anyway!  Every little bit of $$ savings helps!  This was the day for a new adventure.  We had already conquered the south rim of the canyon … on to the north rim! However, what is no more than 10 miles via a crow, is a total of 215 miles via our Saturn!  And usually the medium dots on a map signify sizable towns with Burger Kings, McDs, Taco Bells, but that is not the case in Arizona!  They are simply marking points for travel, with maybe two or three homes in the area.  Finally, we spotted a Chevron gas station which sold hot dogs!   More fun memories for us all!  The miles clicked by, but as we drove through the Painted Desert, traveled across the Navajo Bridge, which safely took us over the Colorado River, which flowed 480’ below us, journeyed beside the Vermillion Cliffs,  then headed into the Grand Canyon Park – North rim…the miles did not matter.  God’s creation is absolutely breathtaking!   With my 35mm camera in hand, we hiked 2 different trails, one having several inches of snow in sections of our path.  The fun of crunching hundreds of pine cones, throwing snow balls, and wondering what belonged to the paw prints we passed … what a day!  Heading north to Page, Arizona, we  treated ourselves to Pizza Hut and a good night sleep.

Being only 10 miles from the Utah state line, we drove just that far, took a picture by the sign, and then  headed southeast.   We drove through the heart of the Navajo Nation, finding it quite interesting to see the sort of homes they live in.  Usually beside a relatively decent home, was a traditional hogan.  This is a small ‘round’ home, made of logs and mud thatched roof.  We saw many herds of sheep and cows … and more beautiful scenery.  Arriving in Chinle, Arizona, we made our last tour stop at Canyon de Chelly  (pronounced de shay).  Due to a rain shower that lasted the rest of the evening and was forecasted not to stop until sometime today, we postponed our hiking until another time.  We did drive through the park, however, and enjoyed many awesome views of another magnificent canyon area, which is  still inhabited by a Navajo community in the lush valley.  Signs that warn of 600’ and 700’ sheer cliffs startled my heart as I then looked up to see my son balancing on all fours on the barrier wall along the cliff’s edge.  Little did I know that there was at least 5’ of rock ledge beyond the wall…sigh!   With a fine mist of rain over us all, we headed to the hotel where our reservations were made.  Much to our dismay, we found out that their indoor pool was not working…on the road again!  With four hours of travel between us and home, we stopped after two hours and checked into a nice hotel at a discounted rate – indoor pool, whirlpool and that free Continental breakfast!   This morning, following a rousing game of Scrabble, through a mixture of sunshine and snow flurries, we headed east for Albuquerque.  Our hearts are very grateful to those Work & Witness teams this past year who lovingly gave our family gifts of money.  We are able to make these special memories with our family because you all gave from hearts of love…thank you!

Gracious!  Two whole pages!  Please keep in mind that these letters are also pages in our family book…memories are priceless, and I love to document them!  Hey!  December arrives this week!  Time to drag out those boxes full of holiday cheer…ugh!  I just put boxes away!  Oh well!  More memories!!  Until next week…

With my love,
Debbie  

Tim

Tim

The kids and I

The kids and I

Ryan

Ryan

Ryan and the Grand Canyon

Ryan and the Grand Canyon

Kimberly

Kimberly

November 1998

Tim and I on the Navajo Bridge

November 1998

Tim and the kids on the Navajo Bridge

November 1998

Kim hiding out

November 1998

Grand Canyon

Seattle? Yes, Please!

27 Sep

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you … the faith and love that spring
from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that
you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
that has come to you.
Colossians 1:1-6

There it is! As I peered out my window at the endless sea of clouds, I saw it! My heart began to stir with excitement as I saw my first glimpse of the awesome and majestic 14,411 foot Mt. Rainier … for that meant my son and his world was within moments of my grasp! Not literally moments, of course, but after a 5 hour flight, it was as good as moments!!

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

There she is! After gathering our few items we carried onto the plane and made our necessary stops, we wound our way through the concourse of the SeaTac airport to find the one person who knew us and was happy to see us! Brittany’s bright smile and warm hugs melted my heart as she greeted us, posed for pictures with the disheveled travelers, and graciously chauffeured us to a quaint little local spot for breakfast. With full tummies and contented hearts, we relaxed in the cuteness and comfort of Ryan and Brittany’s apartment, chatting non stop and catching up about life.

Group family photo!!

Group family photo!!


There he is! One last shift of work before taking off several days to spend with his parents, I greeted Ryan at the door when he came home a few hours after we arrived. Words will never be able to sufficiently express my heart when that boy of mine wraps me in his arms. It had been over four long months since we were together, so all of a sudden, my world was beyond happy. That first Saturday was completed with a trip to the theater to see Star Trek, Golden Gardens beach, and a big ginormous bowl of homemade guacamole and chips!

We were greeted with bright sunshine and blue sky as we walked over to Caffé Vita for our Sunday morning brew. Coffee and cinnamon rolls jumpstarted our day that then began with worship at Aurora Church of the Nazarene, followed by an afternoon stroll through the Fremont Sunday street market. We then came back, fired up the grill and enjoyed a delicious grilled salmon dinner … family prepared and devoured!!

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Next on our trip itinerary was a 3-hour drive down to Portland, Oregon. Leaving Brittany behind to work, the three of us packed lightly on Monday morning and piled into Ryan’s BMW and headed south. Tim had a few eateries on our to-eat-at list with the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as his inspiration. The first destination on the GPS was breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, where we ate enough food to feed an army! We then drove along the Columbia River to the east, where we stopped to look at several scenic views and waterfalls. The two favorite stops were Wahkeena and Multnomah falls – both breathtaking in their own way. So much so that this Mommy/Mimi heart had to share it all with her loves … thanks to my son who makes sure his mom stays technologically savvy, my iphone5 will ‘facetime’ from anywhere! So as Papaw, Uncle RyRy, and Mimi stood on the bridge as close as the railings would allow, Cole got to see and hear what we were experiencing ~ and he said “Wow, Mimi! A waterfall!!” With 2,783 miles between us, my heart was still tightly wrapped around that little boy, his sister and his parents!!

The Sanchez Family

The Sanchez Family

There they are! Pastor Steve and Jennifer looked the same, except for the two little rug rats they had along with them!! Who would’ve thought?? The last time we saw Jen and Steve was when we left Albuquerque in 2006. No murmurings of little kids were ever spoken and now they have two fine little boys, Ezra (4) and Silas (2). The Sanchez family moved in July where they now pastor the Mollola Nazarene Church. We met them at our 2nd Triple D stop, Podnah’s Pit BBQ, where the food was yummy and the fellowship was wonderful! Definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

CAR2GO

CAR2GO

Our second day in Portland was packed full of tasty treats and a lot of walking! The walking was good since there were so many tasty treats!! Our 3rd DDD stop at Arleta’s Library and Bakery Café offered us a unique and delish breakfast of sweet potato biscuits and gravy along with sweet potato hash browns. We meandered around downtown Portland, checking out Powell’s Book store, the Willamette River, Stumptown Coffee, and the food trucks! Oh … and the countless CAR2GO cars – the little ‘smart’ cars that people can drive for $14 an hour or $73 a day – “Experience spontaneity on wheels: car2go makes transportation flexible. Get in and out wherever you like. Drive as long and as often as you want.” I found them quite fascinating!! After our full day of travels by foot and by car, we arrived safely back in Seattle just in time to take Brittany to dinner and ice cream with us. It was good to be back home!

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Wednesday was a local day of fun – Ryan spent the day with us as we made the traditional walk through Pike Place Market – downtown Seattle. We stopped at our favorite places for crumpets, pizza, cheese, pepper jelly samples, and the original Starbucks – although we didn’t partake there due to the long line. We then walked several blocks to the Columbia Center building, where we went up to the 73rd Sky View Observatory floor. Awesome! Twice as high as the Space Needle for ½ the cost!! An amazing view of Seattle and the surrounding areas in every direction! Mimi once again shared the moment with Cole, who quickly asked if I could show him trains from up there! Dinner that evening was a special treat as we checked out Lil’ Woody’s, a hamburger joint that served the “New Mexican”, smothered with Hatch green chile! Needless to say, we were happy and quite full when we left! Ultimate Frisbee was our evening entertainment, as we watched Ryan and friends play a couple games under the lights in a nearby sports field.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

We woke to our first and only rainy day on Thursday, so Ryan decided to take us for a drive. As we left Seattle, we crossed over floating bridges as we headed east through the Snoqualmie pass toward Spokane. The further we drove, the less it was raining, so once the skies cleared and the sun was shining, we stopped to see the Snoqualmie waterfalls. We really didn’t plan this trip around seeing waterfalls … it just happened that way! Back to Seattle with a quick snack from Paseo Caribbean while we watched the second part of the Batman Trilogy, followed with a late evening dinner at our 4th Triple D stop. Bizzarro Italian Café is literally within walking distance of Ryan and Brittany’s place … very good food!

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

The next two days took me and Tim up to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With Caffé Vita in hand, we borrowed Ryan’s car and drove two hours north to cross the border with our new passcards. Friday kept us in the city, experiencing new sites, eating great food, walking several miles, taking lots of pictures, and simply enjoying the time together. We crossed the bridge Saturday morning to enter North and then West Vancouver where we hiked through rain forests, saw twin waterfalls, then visited Lighthouse Park along the Salish Sea. We arrived back in Seattle in time for a grilled steak dinner and the sweet company of our two left coast kids. It was our final evening together before flying home the next day.

There it is! One thing is for certain … I will always see Mt. Rainier as I fly into Seattle and I will always see it as I fly out. As we boarded the plane on that bright Sunday afternoon, the clouds had cleared, allowing me to once again catch my breath as its massive presence captured my attention.

It was truly a blessing to be in Seattle for vacation. God is a gracious and giving God, full of prevenient grace, protection, answered prayers, faithfulness, and His gifts of family!! It was a real gift to share time, good food, great memories, and lots of love with Ryan and Brittany. I can only imagine that someday, as I enter into Heaven, instead of the majesty of Mt. Rainier, there will be the majesty of Jesus Himself that catches my breath with His presence … as I long to hear Him say “There you are! Welcome home!”

Won’t you join me today in looking forward to that day? Let’s accept God’s gifts of love and forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation, family and life. His gifts of divine appointments and His prevenient grace that can altar the course of eternity!

Until next time,
Debbie

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped
praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order
that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being
strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may
have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom
of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness
of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!! Enjoy!!
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