Tag Archives: Volunteers

CASA

3 Apr

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

Joshua 1:3

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter Into Your Inheritance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CASASo what is CASA you ask?

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Debbie

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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

 

Mike and Norma

25 Oct

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:3-4

 

We meet all kinds of people throughout our lives.  Some are brief acquaintances while others leave lasting impressions on our hearts.  We are truly blessed to say that we have several that fit into that category, for we have many cherished friendships.  One such couple is Mike and Norma.

The Johnsons walked into our lives, and back out rather abruptly the first time we met … the day our family drove onto the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in late July of 1997.  They had been helping to keep Work and Witness teams busy, and no doubt entertained, until the new W&W Coordinators arrived in Albuquerque.  Once the big yellow truck pulled up, and the weary travelers from Pennsylvania crawled out, introductions were made, handshakes were exchanged, and no doubt Mike greeted us with his life-time motto, “I’m filled with the joy of living!”  Gracious to have helped out in the pinch, Mike and Norma were anxious to get back into their vehicle and head to their next missions assignment.

Mike with Ryan and Kim
Christmas 2000

The next few months were busy as we hosted several Work and Witness teams, and before we knew it, the Christmas season was upon us … as was the arrival of Mike and Norma Johnson.  Faithfully, every December, Mike worked along side of Tim while Norma spent the entire month of December sorting through donated items and putting together a large gift bag full of Christmas presents for every student of Nazarene Indian Bible College and each member of their family.  Including several years before we were on staff, Mike and Norma served NIBC for a total of 13 Christmases.  In time, as the educational structure of the Bible College changed, their own personal mission remained the same as they continued to volunteer their time and efforts towards the on-going ministry in Albuquerque.  As the history books now recite, the campus was sold and everyone who once called NIBC home disbursed and moved elsewhere.

Apparently, the lasting impressions were also made on their hearts, as the Johnsons found their way to the hills of southeastern Indiana where we were then on staff at Higher Ground Conference and Retreat Center.  It was so good to catch back up with our friends and to once again visit on the front porch swing that Mikie had made for me several years before.

The ladies … Carol, me and Norma

Having their home base located in Hondo, Texas for over 10 years, we wanted to visit our friends in their world, but the distance and our own responsibilities prevented that from happening.  This past winter, however, they made the decision to finally retire and move back up to their old hometown in northern Ohio.  Excited that a 6 hour weekend jaunt was feasible, we began making plans for a road trip.

Our mid-October drive through the mountains of western Pennsylvania into the northern hills of Ohio provided a most colorful canvas for our trip.  It was a blessing to finally meet family members and put faces to the names we have heard so much about through the years!  Mike and Norma’s home, their keepsakes, their community, church, and even Miss Kitti was a joy to share with them this past weekend.  It was also a special treat to visit with another NIBC family member, Carol Hileman.  What fun we had at Sunday dinner!

Mike and Norma’s love and dedication for God has been expressed by their love and care for people.  While raising their boys, they were caretakers at a Holiness campground for 22 years.  They later traveled all over the country, serving in various ministries, including Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque and a Navajo mission in Rough Rock, Arizona.  Endless stories, a song thrown in here and there, and countless moments of laughter and enjoyment filled our hearts as we visited.

Mike and Norma

Now, I’m sure that most of you do not know Mike and Norma.  But I do imagine you have at least one Mike and Norma in your life.  Is there someone or a couple, age not important, who has walked across your heart, leaving imprints of love?  Time and circumstances have brought changes to visits, but relationships remain strong.  Although you do not share the same name or blood line, you know that you are still family.  I know that I am a better person today for knowing and loving Mike and Norma.  Won’t you join me today in thanking God for such people?  We just spent an entire weekend with ours … why don’t you call yours or go visit them.  You will be glad you did!  You will be “filled with the joy of living!!”

Until next time,
Debbie

        I have found a wondrous Savior, Jesus Christ, The Soul’s Delight
        Ev’ry blessing of His favor Fills my heart with hope so bright
        Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the King of Life to me;
        Unto Him my all I’m giving, His forevermore to be.
        I will do what He commands me, Anywhere He leads I’ll go;
      Jesus is the Joy of Living, He’s the dearest Friend I know.

Porch Swing

26 Jul

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus,
his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I John 1:7

There is a tradition in my life that takes me back to very early childhood.   It has remained a constant throughout the years and has grown most dear to me. 

My Mammy and Pappy had a swing on their front porch.  What fun my brother and I had as we stood up and walked backwards against the swing, pushing it up against the wall of the house, then jumping on for the fun ride forward, often times, bumping the wall behind us as the swing swayed back and forth.  Very soon after, an adult would always open the screen door and tell us to stop swinging so hard. When visiting my grandparents alone, Mammy and I would often go out together and enjoy the afternoon summers, waiting for the mailman, and sometimes even the ice cream truck.  I also remember especially admiring the lilies of the valley that grew beside the porch.  My Mammaw Wells also had a porch swing.  Most Sunday afternoons when our family would drive down to the country and visit, if she wasn’t out in her garden picking fresh veggies, we would sometimes find her sitting out on the front porch swing breaking beans. 

I’m not sure how I old was when our own family got a porch swing.  It certainly was after the years of neighborhood tournaments of Life, Monopoly, and Concentration, which seemed to almost always take place on our front porch.  Also, it was after the years of using the front porch as my own personal roller skating rink.  I remember well sitting on the swing to read, to write, and to think.  Later in my teen years, it was a nice place to sit and talk on the phone to my friends … and to even share the swing with a special friend.  As I married and began to have my own children, Mom’s front porch swing was a relaxing place to sit and watch the kids play in the front yard when we were all together on a Sunday afternoon.  It was also a favorite place for my mom and I to sit with Mammy when they came to Mom and Dad’s for a visit.  This time, though, with no pesky little ones bumping the swing up against the house!

Several years later, we built a house in Pennsylvania and I was so excited to put my very own swing on my front porch. I especially enjoyed the evenings as I sat overlooking a cow pasture, a pond, and the infamous Star Barn just across the street from our home.  When we later sold our home, packed up our kiddos, and headed to New Mexico, the cheaply-built, store bought swing stayed behind on that porch. 

God blessed our lives in a variety of wonderful ways while we lived in Albuquerque.  One of those ways was in the many dear friends we made while in ministry at Nazarene Indian Bible College.  Work and Witness teams faithfully came to work on the campus, along with dedicated and committed volunteers that came every year for weeks and even months at a time to work by our sides at NIBC.  One such couple was our precious friends, Mike and Norma Johnson.  Having retired and desiring to be obedient to God’s leadership, they arrived every December and were our Christmas elves.  One year, they brought an extra special gift for me … a porch swing, made special for me, by Mike himself.  What a treat! 

Jayla, Destanee & Scottie

It was immediately hung with joy on my back porch, overlooking the yard and a nice glance of the ditchbank road where Scottie and I walked each morning.   It also offered a gorgeous view of the brilliant sparkling night sky of the southwest and the moon that I often felt like I could literally reach out and touch.  I enjoyed the surprise visit of a beautiful horse that wandered into my yard one morning while sitting on my swing having my devotions.  Summer of 2005 found me often sitting with two precious little girls on my back porch swing, watching the silly antics of the rufous hummingbirds that would dart back and forth, hovering at eye-level to see for themselves the beautiful girls behind the giggles. Teens would fill the house and spill out onto the back porch and onto the swing, grilling hamburgers, laughing, and having fun.  The swing always seemed to be a favorite place to gather, relax, visit, enjoy life, and spend time with Jesus.

After weathering the hot dry summers of New Mexico, my porch swing was packed away into a big yellow truck and moved to the extreme humidity of southern Indiana.  There it  became the supporting framework for mud-dauber’s nests and was also drilled a couple times by carpenter bees.  After realizing that I wasn’t the only one enjoying the swing, a can of hornet/bee spray kept me company as I sat on my front porch swing, overlooking the thick woods of Higher Ground Conference andRetreatCenter.  Birds, rabbits, squirrels and deer were my visiting friends this time…with an occasional co-worker or neighbor who would stop by for a chat. 

Papaw & Cole

Just this past September, the swing was packed away again in another big truck and moved to the beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania.  Since then, it has been greatly enjoyed by Papaw, Mimi, and their precious little Cole.  By now, however, the swing’s wood has darkened with age, weather, and use.  When we recently received a phone call from the swing’s creator, informing us of an upcoming visit, I got all excited to clean up my special friend.  In the midst of the extreme heat and humidity we have endured for the past 3 weeks, the swing received a good scrubbing and a chemical bath, removing embedded Albuquerque dirt, weathered elements, and no doubt some sticky little boy fingerprints from roasted marshmallows.  A nice coat of wood sealer covered the fresh clean surface, offering a brand new look to my old faithful friend. 

Norma, me, and Mike

This past weekend, Mike and Norma treated us with a couple days of sweet fellowship.  I was so excited to once again sit on the swing between the two of them, eternally grateful for their friendship, their prayers for me and my family, and for my swing.  I wanted them to know that no matter the circumstances of life that have come my way, my porch swing has been faithful and supported me through them all.  The wood on the swing will eventually deteriorate and the wood screws will no longer hold tight, but I confidently believe in my heart that Jesus will have another beautiful swing waiting for me on the back porch of my mansion … overlooking the rolling and majestic hills of Glory.  Won’t you plan on stopping by for a visit on my porch swing and a chat that could quite easily last for a thousand years? 

Until next time,
Debbie

 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. 
Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,
so that our joy may be complete. 
2 John 1:12

*  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 flowers taken in our backyard ~ July 8, 2011