Tag Archives: Tractor

Rise and Shine

17 Jan

Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!
Revelation 19:7

 

Rise and Shine

It had been over a month since he had been to our house for a sleepover.  We were so excited as we anticipated the next two days with this little boy who would be celebrating his third birthday in just a couple months.  As the three of us sat down to eat dinner that first evening, with chicken nugget in hand, he looked at me and his Papaw and simply said, “I missed you guys!”  Melt is the word that described our hearts at that moment.  It’s not like Cole hadn’t seen us for weeks and weeks … in fact, we stayed over at his house for New Year’s Eve, and we traveled together to Indiana for Christmas.  But, in his little boy heart, he had missed us.  We knew the feeling.  We had missed him, too.

Wearing the appropriate attire of a John Deere tractor sweatshirt, Cole was more than excited to go to his first Pennsylvania Farm Show.  He had no idea what to expect, but he assumed by the name that there would be animals and tractors there ~ and boy was he excited!  As we entered the tractor display area and he saw other children climbing and crawling all over the machinery, it didn’t take him long to figure out that he could do the same.  Papaw picked him up and placed him on the top step of a very tall green tractor, where he had a bird’s eye view of all the tractors … and he began pointing in every direction.  A few minutes later, he let out a loud and excited giggle as he ran up to an old antique, squealing “Look at the old Farmall tractor!”  He’s not even 3 years old yet …  What does a toddler know about tractors?! 

Cock-a-Doodle Doooo!!

On to the animals ~ the squeals were just as loud and just as excited!  We saw cows, pigs, ducks, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and horses ~ but his favorite was the rooster.  These birds were all confused, sounding their wake-up calls continuously … and Cole would stand right beside their cage and echo it back to them.  Cock-a-doodle Doooo … followed by a giggle and a squeal!  And on to the next cage!  As we were getting ready to leave, he wanted to know where the hamsters were.  I simply told him that I don’t think many farms have hamsters.  Silly boy!

Even a short period of time makes a difference in a little life.  Since the last time he stayed with us, his pajamas that are upstairs in his dresser drawer fit a bit snug on his taller frame, and his playtime has become more imaginable.  While in the bathtub the other night, he was on his knees, lining up all of his rubber ducks into a row on the side of the tub … separating the yellow ones from the white ones ~ describing each group as a family.  Then each member was turned around and very dramatically dove head first into the pool below.   Once the bubbles had gone down the drain along with little boy dirt, Cole was finally ready for bed.  For 2 weeks now, he’s been sleeping at home in his converted baby bed that is now a big boy bed, so Mimi and Papaw folded up his pak-n-play at our house and simply put a twin mattress on the floor as his transitional big boy bed.  He thought that was the greatest thing!  Not having a pillow in his pak-n-play before, I asked him where he wanted to lay his head and he quickly responded “on the pillow, Mimi!”  He crawled in and laid between the sheets with his head up on the pillow like a big boy – but such a tiny little bundle of a boy in such a big bed.  I know … he won’t stay little very long. 

Cole singing with Mimi

Keeping with the tradition of his usual night time routine at home, I read at least one book to Cole before we pray and he lays down to sleep.  One of his favorite books is not a story book, but a Play-A-Song book.  Jesus Loves Me is the name of it.  With hardback pages, there are 4 songs, complete with pictures and lyrics written out for each and a corresponding shape that matches a button on the side that plays the music to each song.  Jesus Loves Me is a Sunday School favorite, and he has helped me sing that song for months now. 

Yes, Jesus loves me,
the Bible tells me so!

The green circle song …

 Rise and Shine and give God the glory, glory!
Rise and Shine and give God the glory, glory!
Rise and Shine and give God the glory, glory,
Children of the Lord!

 

I was amazed as Cole kept up with the tempo and sang every word with me.  He’s not necessarily singing on tune, but his heart sure is!  I remember singing this little chorus to him on a number of occasions in the past when he was upset, knowing that he would recognize it from our special quiet time before bed … and it has always caught his attention and calmed him.  “Rise and Shine and give God the glory, glory, children of the Lord!”

 

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

On the edge of his big boy bed, song book in his lap, one would think he was reading the words as he sat there singing to the music.  Papaw and Mimi were very surprised at how well he had remembered most of the words … and even wondered if he had been practicing at home.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer. 

O what peace we often forfeit.
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

As we sang the final song in his little book, I was reminded once again of the privilege we have to carry everything to God in prayer.  Cole’s momma went to the doctor for an unexpected visit this past week, suspecting something was not quite right with the new little baby growing inside.  Baby Lillianne is ok, but a diagnosis of an insufficient cervix was given and instructions of mandatory rest and leisure time for the next 2 weeks must be heeded.  If after the next exam no improvement has been made, then our daughter will be ordered to bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  These are uncertain days for our family … a lively toddler, a potentially serious condition for his momma and baby sister, and several weeks of growing still necessary for a healthy baby.  I believe I’ll keeping singing right along with Cole  … 

“Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong!”

 

“What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.”

 

“For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.”

 

“Rise and Shine and give God the glory, glory,
Children of the Lord!”

 

Won’t you join us?

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 Cole on a tractor at the PA Farm Show – January 14, 2012. 

 

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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

Tractor

27 Oct

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose
mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee.
Isaiah 26:3 

 

The tractor that pulled the wagon to the pumpkin patch

Not quite sure how it happened, but our little grandson loves tractors.  Perhaps it was the John Deere tractor book that sat among all the other children’s books…a tractor tire at each corner so it could roll around on the shelf.  Maybe it was because his Grandpa Arndt took him for rides around their property on their lawn mower tractor, or … just because.  For whatever reason, Cole loves tractors.

Cole really enjoys anything that has wheels, moves, and makes noise.  He becomes quite animated with the various sounds that vehicles make and he is pretty good at differentiating between them all.  Our home sits along a very busy road and he will always respond when he hears something loud that goes down the street.  His eyes will get big, he’ll sort of gasp with excitement, and then make the appropriate noise that matches what he heard. His favorites are motorcycles, loud trucks or cars, and fire trucks.  He loves to stand at the window in our bedroom that faces the busy road and watch the traffic as it comes and goes.  Excited bounces up and down, gasps of delight, motor noises from his cute little lips, and fingers constantly pointing … all the while saying CAR, TRACTOR  ~  with an occasional ‘HOOO  HOOO’ when he thinks he sees a dog over at the neighbor’s house. 

Cole's favorite toy tractor at Grami's house

Cole has a lot of toys and he plays with a great variety of things.  He loves music, so if a particular toy will sing for him, he’ll twist the knob, push the handle, or pull the string that is required to hear the melody.  He has monkeys, tools, balls, and other little kid toys, but if you were to set it all out on display and let him go pick his favorite, it would be a tractor.  He has his tractors at his house and he has his tractors at Grami’s house.  Both grandpas have yard tractors, and he always gets to take rides with them … I wonder why it seems that he loves THESE guys so??  

Cole enjoys a lot of things, but he most certainly has one focus.  A tractor brings a smile all the way from Cole’s heart.  I’ve thought a lot about this during the past several weeks we have been able to get to know the personality of this little guy and to enjoy his antics.  What is my focus?   What is yours?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 
Colossians 3:2

 

Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
 For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

 

Life is busy for all of us.  There’s always work to be done, bills to be paid, places to go, and things to do.   But dare we get so caught up in the duties that demand our attention that we fail to truly focus on why we are able to even take our next breath.  God our Creator desires the TRACTOR in our life to be Him.  He loves us.  In the midst of our busyness, may we fix our eyes, our thoughts, and our hearts on Jesus.  Just like Cole, may Jesus be our last thought as we fall asleep and be our first thought when we awake. 

 

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
 and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
 so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:2-3

 

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling,
fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
Hebrews 3:1

 

My prayer is that as this little 19 month old boy continues to grow up and learn more and more about tractors, ABCs, and life, that we as grandparents will partner with this young family in teaching Cole about the love of Jesus. 

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

 

Won’t you join me in allowing the TRACTOR of our lives to be Jesus?

Till next time,
Debbie