Tag Archives: Travel

Christmas 2016

21 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim and Debbie

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

Psalm 5:3

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September

30 Sep

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

Annual Labor Day visit with Mikie and Norma

Annual Labor Day visit with Mikie and Norma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Sturgis and Back

24 Aug

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

 

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

 

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

 

August 2016

Mt. Rushmore

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

 

August 6, 2016

Welcome home committee

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

Aug 2016

Tim’s ride

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

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

Until next time,
Debbie

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas in July

29 Jul

In all my prayers for all of you,
I always pray with joy …
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you,
since I have you in my heart.
Philippians 1:3 and 7

 

It sure has been a fun and exciting July … a visit over the 4th with my little brother and his young family, then two weeks later, my big brother and his wife made a spontaneous trip to the east coast. They also came to visit some of her family, making our home their place to kick back and get a couple good night’s sleep. We were especially blessed to also have Cole and Lillie with us that weekend for their mid-summer visit with Mimi and Papaw. Blueberry picking, yard sales, and catching lightning bugs were some of the favorite things enjoyed by our little Loves, not to mention the fun play time with Uncle Jay and Aunt Sue while the guys repeated the weekend motto of “It wasn’t me!” With only a few more days left in this month, anticipation of more family fun time this weekend catapults me into August!

IMG_7357

So where are the Jingle bells, red Santa suits and the mangers filled with hay? I have my own assortment of them and more in greeting-card form in a bright and shiny gift bag, easily accessible and set in a prominent place. If you sent a Christmas card to us this past December, you have received this text or email from me … or a similar version.

I once again started up an old Van Hook
family tradition this year and began
putting my Christmas cards that we
just received in a bright shiny Christmas gift bag.
Each morning I pull the front card from the bag and
pray specifically for that family that day.
I just wanted you to know that today is your day.
Thank you for the Christmas greetings and the
year-long reminder of you and yours
and our special friendship! Much love!!

IMG_7355

Once the stack of cards cycled through the first time, I then began to pull a new card at the beginning of each week, followed by another text or email …

In keeping with our family Christmas tradition,
I pulled your Christmas card once again this morning.
I will be praying specifically for you and yours this week …
could you please share how you would like me to pray?
Are there any urgent requests, concerns on your heart,
or needs that I can take to Jesus on your behalf?

I have received requests from parents with children who need Jesus. Others have concerns regarding job frustrations. Some have severe health issues. Children have requested prayer for their parents. There is a need for guidance and direction during a recent divorce and others have requested prayer for safe travels this summer. Another friend reached out regarding her husband’s addiction to alcohol.  No matter who we are, the sun will shine and the rain will fall. We will experience immense joy and extreme sorrow. We embrace peace, but also suffer pain. There are always reasons to pray for others.

With the ease and convenience of real-time communication and opportunities to send virtually “cost-free” greetings on various forms of social media, we don’t put postage stamps on envelopes and mail Christmas cards out like we used to. However, if you would like to be included in my tradition of Christmas card prayers, put Tim and I on your Christmas card list this year! I would be honored to take you and yours to Jesus throughout the coming new year!

Won’t you join me in celebrating Christmas in July … and all the other months, too? This could become a tradition in your own life – one that by the very act of doing connects hearts, tears down walls, and boosts our faith in the One who has the answers!

Until next time,
Debbie

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

Brotherly Love

10 Jul

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

 

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

 

July 2, 2016

Enjoying the new patio set with family!

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

 

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

 

Hershey Chocolate World

Hershey Chocolate World

Tim and Courtney with their family

Tim and Courtney with their family

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Until next time,
Debbie

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

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

 

 

 

 

Sunshine on the Eastern Shore

14 Jun

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Psalm 97:1

 

Many years ago in Hershey, two cute little blond-headed kids came to our Wednesday night Caravan program. They were brought faithfully by a friend of their momma. Some of us ladies began praying for this momma … that she would come to church with her children and fall in love with Jesus. Soon after, the momma did come to church with her kids, and she fell head over heels in love with Jesus. A vibrant personality, contagious cheerfulness and a glow that is unmistakably Jesus is the reason for my term of endearment for Miss Mary Sunshine.

 

Mary was eager to jump in head-first, with no hesitation, into whatever God asked her to do! So in September of 1997, Mary moved to Albuquerque, NM, just a few months after we arrived there to be part of the ministry team at Nazarene Indian Bible College. Mary became our neighbor, our co-worker, my prayer partner and a dear friend.

 

June 10, 2016

On our way to Virginia

Life’s been a journey since that time in our lives nearly 19 years ago. Much has taken place for us both, including a few changes of address. But right here, right now, we find ourselves only 6 hours away from one another. This past weekend, that gap was temporarily closed when Tim and I packed every nook and cranny of our Harley Davidson and rode the 260 miles to see our friend. Mary moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in November of 2015 and was recently installed as the new Pastor of the Bloxom Community Church of the Nazarene.

 

Mary’s enthusiastic spirit and visionary heart has begun the restart of a church that once thrived in Bloxom and reached into the surrounding communities … hosting camp meetings and revivals, youth camps and gospel sings. The rich heritage that many locals remember, along with God’s call and the contagious excitement of the new pastor, Bloxom is beginning a new chapter.

 

June 11, 2016

After dinner group photo

Life-long friends with hours to catch up on, local seafood to eat, roads with beautiful sites to explore on the motorcycle, and three precious Chihuahuas to love on … what a fun weekend! A lot of things have changed since those days of praying for that young single mother, but the one forever constant is her glowing love for Jesus. No matter her circumstances or where she calls home, she will always be my Miss Mary Sunshine!

 

Won’t you join me today in celebrating friendships, God’s undeniable call, and His love that continues to redeem lost and broken lives?

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

P.S.  Click here http://www.bloxomchurchofthenazarene.org/site/cs/Index.asp to go to the church website to see how you can help with the restoration process of the property.  Many years without a pastor or congregation has taken its toll on the buildings and grounds.  Consider taking a work team to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I guarantee that Mary Sunshine will be a gracious hostess!   Drop her an email and schedule a time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to that small but growing church!

ohmary02@gmail.com

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
Psalm 80:19

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the
light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

Still Celebrating Christmas!!

22 Jan

Lord, You have been our Dwelling Place
throughout all generations.
Psalm 90:1

 

There has been a cute little monkey bank sitting in various places in our home since Cole Michael was born in 2009. It has been emptied a few times, with the contents accumulating to enough cash to do something fun and meaningful. Along with the assistance of a great sale on Southwest.com, I booked two flights to Indianapolis and presented the best, once-in-a-lifetime Christmas present to our grandson… a trip with Mimi to visit Mimi Wells and family!

 

The details of our visit would be very boring for most, so I will spare you. However, the specifics about a 6 year old little boy are priceless gems to share. His views, his comments and his actions are note worthy and things I want to remember!

 

Jamba Juice! A simple act of giving him options and talking with him through making a decision was fun and I could tell he felt important as he carried his Jamba Juice cup onto the airplane.

 

Pilot Cole

Pilot Cole

So as we were standing in line to board the plane, we heard someone behind us saying ‘excuse me!’ as they made their way up through the line coming toward us. The gentleman in uniform approached us and as I ushered Cole to get out of his way, I asked him if he was the pilot. Within moments, he and Cole had a conversation that ended with an invitation for Cole to join him in the cockpit of the plane. The flight attendant just inside the plane asked my traveling companion if his name was Cole and said that the pilot was waiting for him. Pilot Tim took pictures for Mimi while Cole sat in the pilot’s seat with his hands on the controls. What a fun way to start a late night flight to Indy!

 

Our shuttle ride from the airport to Mimi Wells’ house was provided by my policeman brother and his wife. Even though Cole slept part of the way there, he was impressed with the flashing lights and loud siren display that Uncle Tim put on for him.

 

Sleeping! I gave Cole the option of sleeping alone in my old bedroom or together downstairs on a queen size bed. I could tell he wanted to be with me, but he seemed rather concerned that he might fall out of bed since the bed was not against any walls. So, I decided to sleep on the side of the bed where Cole is used to having a wall … and this Mimi became his wall. This wall was kicked, head butted, covers stolen, coughed on and snuggled against. But when I felt a little arm wrap around me and pull me tight with a ‘good morning Mimi’, all bumps and bruises to the wall dissipated.

 

Morning devotions!   Great anticipation was in the air that first morning for a fun day of play with cousins Jax and Lyla, but first Mimi wanted to start our day off with Jesus. While we were still in bed, I pulled up a Really Woolly Kids video on my phone and we watched the silly antics of Jacob and Gracie Woolly and their family, who are sheep. The story talks about The Shepherd bringing us back to Him when we have wandered away. Like a light bulb that went off with an ah ha moment, Cole chuckled and said “Mimi! Jesus is the Shepherd! Do you get it?!? They’re sheep and He’s the Shepherd!” What an awesome way to start our day!

 

Star Wars light sabers!

Star Wars light sabers!

Hide and Seek!    Jax and Cole hid while Mimi stayed in the family room counting. They usually burrowed underneath Jax’s bedcovers with wiggles and giggles, taking away all challenge of finding them! When Mimi’s turn came around to hide, somehow I was able to successfully do so by simply standing behind the curtains, feet showing and all! They ran by me every time! Jax decided he didn’t want to hide, so Cole hid alone. I leisurely looked in each room, expecting to find him beside Lyla’s baby bed or in the tub behind the shower curtain, but all was quiet and Cole was nowhere to be found! After searching for several minutes, I faintly heard a clue — something about the room where you take a shower. I walked back into the restroom and I looked behind the door, behind the shower curtain … there was nowhere else to hide, so I started to leave the room. Then I heard another small noise and I followed it to behind the door … in the clothes hamper! It’s one of those soft sided ones, and sure enough, there he was, all curled up in a ball with his hood over his head, looking like dirty laundry! Needless to say, Cole won the prize for the most creative hiding spot!

 

 

Cole's drawing of a dino

Cole’s drawing of a dino

Let’s keep movin’!    Cole woke up with a fever on Saturday morning, so our plan to meet up with family at the Children’s Museum had to be cancelled. Thankfully, his fever broke mid Sunday morning, so we decided to take him then. I think Cole fell between the prime ages for the museum … too old for the hands-on little kids’ stuff that depends on the child’s imagination … he truly wanted to dig for real dinosaur bones … not pretend that he was! Then he was also too young to be interested in reading very many of the informational placards that helped him understand what he was looking at. When I would attempt reading them to him, he kept saying “let’s keep movin’!”   The dinosaur area was by far his favorite area — he was able to draw, dress up like a dino, and interact with a group of kids his age. When going back to Mimi Wells’ house, I asked him what his favorite part of the museum was … and he said “All of it!”  YAY!!!

 

“You sleep with Papaw!” After sleeping 3 nights as a wall with a sick kid who rooted and rolled around, I explained all of this to Cole and said that I was very tired. He reminded me that I sleep every night with Papaw and that he probably moves around in the bed and he knows that Papaw snores! He then pulled some logic by telling me that this was the last night together and that since he was feeling better he wouldn’t wart around as much. Besides, he said that we need to have devotions together first thing in the morning and it would best if I was there with him. Ok, Buddy …. this one last night!

 

I’m sure Cole is old enough to remember this trip – especially with all of the pictures I took! It’s important to me to do all I can to give him some very special memories, not only of our time together, but of time spent with my precious momma, his Mimi Wells. I also show him pictures of my Dad and talk about Grandpa Johnny, wanting my grandson to know that his great grandfather would’ve loved him so much! At the same time, I want to share Cole with my own mother … so she has a chance to know that her great grandson is a very special little boy. I look forward to doing the same with Cole’s little sister, Lillie, in a few years … also giving her glimpses into the Godly heritage that is mine and hers!

 

Throughout our weekend together, I repeatedly wished Cole a Merry Christmas, wanting to express the celebrative spirit in my heart that centers on Jesus and continually prays for this 6 year-old little boy as he grows into a young man that honors Jesus with his life! Won’t you join me as we pray for our little ones daily … and those that are not so little any longer?

He tends His flock like a Shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart.
Isaiah 40: 11

Until next time,
Debbie