Waffle House Wonderment

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines wonderment as “a feeling of being surprised or amazed”.  All of us have many occasions where wonderment has been poured over our lives.  At this time of year, it could be something as simple as gazing at the brilliant fall colors bursting out in nature.

Larry and I rolled out of our driveway early this morning bound for Albemarle, NC to bring Adam back to visit his Caswell County roots for a few days.  As we were driving out of Albemarle, we decided to stop and grab breakfast and, on a whim, I pulled into a Waffle House.  We have not eaten at a WH in years–Larry was craving a waffle, I wanted scrambled eggs and Adam was craving his signature drink–chocolate milk.

We were greeted by Summer, our waitress, who struck up a conversation with Adam right away.  Summer “gets” Adam because her family has been touched by autism.  Adam and Summer began an in-depth discussion of the fabulous Waffle House name tag she is wearing.  Soon, Arn, the WH Manager on Duty, joins in on the conversation and retreats to his office and emerges with a personalized Waffle House name tag for our Name Tag Collector (who, if you look in the picture below is already an honorary Sam’s Club Member!)  Arn tells us that his family also shares this common thread of autism.

Pulling in a Waffle House on a whim and leaving in wonderment–God is in the wonderment business.  Keep your eyes open for the Summers and Arns in your neighborhoods that just may be there to spread joy and compassion.  Planting wonderful wonderment is such a worthwhile daily goal.

“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy.” (Victoria Moran)

Waffle House Wonderment

Waffle House Wonderment

So Be It

Our family first met Pastor Jacob Breeze on a warm June day three years ago.  My Mom had passed away just three months earlier and we could not bear the thought that Dad would walk through the doors of Shady Grove United Methodist Church without her.  So, we traveled full circle and came back to the church I had attended as a child and where Larry and I were married.  Little did we know that this was all part of God’s plan.


Inclusion is a buzzword that has been used in the disability community for many years, but over the last three years Jacob showed our family that inclusion is how Jesus intended for all believers to live out their faith.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)


Dad and I accompanied Jacob on a Sunday afternoon in 2012 to deliver Holy Communion to homebound members.  As we were driving, I explained to Jacob that due to autism, Adam was orally defensive and did not eat food that had to be chewed.  Immediately, Jacob asked if Adam would drink the juice representing the blood of Christ from a cup and I replied that he would.  The very next Sunday there was Adam’s cup, and from that point forward, Adam participated in Holy Communion each Sunday.


In the fall of 2013, Jacob asked Larry and me if Adam had ever been baptized and God began orchestrating another milestone for Adam.  Jacob met with us and discussed with Adam what baptism was and the different methods that Adam could choose to follow Jesus in this act of obedience.  After viewing different baptism methods on YouTube, Adam called me in the bathroom one evening while he was taking a bath.  He held his nose and “immersed” himself.  We had our answer as to how Adam wanted to be baptized!  On December 22, 2013, Adam made his profession of faith public and the baptismal font was in the very place where Larry and I stood on December 30, 1978 and said our wedding vows.



When Adam stood up after being baptized, he turned to the mural of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His Crucifixion and Adam clearly said “Amen”.  I Googled “amen” and it means “so be it”.

Tomorrow, June 14, 2015, our congregation will bid Jacob and his wonderful family Godspeed as they move to Houston, Texas to plant a new church–Holy Family United Methodist Church.


We will all miss this family, but want them to know that the impact they have had on our family, at Shady Grove and in our community will live on forever.

Breeze Family, the Nation of Texas awaits you and a community in need of understanding inclusion into Holy Family United Methodist Church is being raised up as God prepares you all for the next chapter.  Blessings to you all.

SGUMC - Stained Glass

This entry was posted on June 13, 2015. 2 Comments

LOL! (Lots of Lovely!)

Earlier this week, I mentioned to Larry since he was scheduled to work this weekend that I would take a lovely jaunt to Albemarle and take Adam to Pine Grove United Methodist Church where he visits.   As the week progressed, events began to unfold that made me wonder if this trip was being orchestrated by someone other than me.

“Facebook Land” connected me with Kathy, the Stanly County Special Olympics Director, who is a member of Pine Grove UMC.  She was with a group of Special Olympic athletes competing in the 2015 Summer Games in Raleigh for the weekend and would not be there Sunday.  Amid everything that Kathy was doing in Raleigh, she texted Jay Belk, Pine Grove’s Pastor, to let him know that Adam and I would be there Sunday.  Kathy also coordinated with Kim, another member of Pine Grove, for Adam to play the piano since this Sunday would be the church’s Fifth Sunday Song Service.

PGUMC Bulletin

I had no idea what was about to unfold as Adam and I sat in this lovely sanctuary.

PGUMC - Window

Kim, a lovely-spirited soloist sang “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” and these words resonated in my heart and mind:  “You are the One that we praise, You are the One we adore, You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for, our hearts always hunger for.”  Over 26 years ago, I prayed “God, if it’s meant for us to have a child with special needs, you’ll give us the grace”.  But there were many times through the years I felt like these words penned by Sandra McCracken were a lifeline to my doubts, fears and questions:  “Like a flashlight in a dark room, God’s faithfulness is the illumination that comes in and brings a mysterious relief when I am brave enough to say my fears out loud.”  His faithfulness is the lovely in the unlovely moments of my life.

I had asked Kathy to be praying with me that Adam and I would choose the song that he was to play.  All I could think of was “Holy, Holy, Holy” and Adam gave that hymn a thumbs-up during our Saturday FaceTime session.  When it was announced at the beginning of the service that today was Trinity Sunday, I thought of the words in the last verse of this timeless hymn:  “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God Almighty! All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.  Holy! Holy! Holy! Merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” Lovely words.

Prior to Adam’s part in the service, I shared a very brief overview of our journey stating that Adam’s voice–the piano–is one way that God affirms to our family that He is in control of the universe.  Adam played with the same heartfelt confidence that he always plays with and God got a standing ovation.  I expect the founder of this church was rejoicing that the legacy of transforming lovely lives continues today.

PGUMC Founder

As we exited the church, we were stopped by a husband and wife who asked if Adam had ever attended Camp Royall, the camp in North Carolina for children and adults with autism.  “He sure has”, I replied.  “Did he ever attend Camp New Hope?”, the gentleman asked.  Camp New Hope is located in Chapel Hill, NC and the Autism Society of North Carolina utilized these facilities prior to building Camp Royall.  “Wow”, I replied.  “That was the first camp for children with autism that Adam attended.  “I worked with him at Camp New Hope”, the man replied, “and that is where I met my wife.”  Lovely, just lovely, God.  

A trip to Albemarle to visit Adam is not complete without a visit to either Office Max or Dollar Tree.  If he’s running low on name badge supplies, the former store wins out.  Since he was sporting two name tags when I arrived this morning and his supply looked good, Dollar Tree was the winner today.  After getting some pool toys for a scheduled jaunt later this afternoon to the YMCA pool, Adam picked up a magnet that he wanted to purchase.  The magnet read:


It wasn’t until I was driving home in silence admiring the billowing clouds in the sky that my sermon for the day came through the quietness.  It is so easy to allow the to-do list, the mundane tasks and the deadlines to scream at me, but every day also has some “LOL! Lots of lovely!” and as Adam looks at that magnet every day on the shelf about his piano, I, too, need to seek out the daily dose of lots of lovely waiting for me.

Mom and Adam - 5-31-15

Pastor Jay Belk

Pastor Jay Belk

Steadfast Love

Remarkable Race!

Providence to Albemarle.  Albemarle to Providence.  Providence to Wilmington.  Wilmington to Providence. Providence to Albemarle.  Albemarle to Cary.  Cary to Wilmington.  Wilmington to Cary.  Cary to Providence.

That was the Hupp travel itinerary from Wednesday, May 6th through Monday, May 11th.  We covered over 1,200 miles splitting the mileage between two different vehicles.  It just didn’t seem right to let just one of our vehicles have all the fun!

Adam and PawPaw joined us in celebrating Sarah Hupp Williamson, who graduated summa cum laude with her Master’s Degree in Criminology, from UNC-Wilmington on May 9th.  Tropical Storm Ana stayed home in the Atlantic Ocean!

Along with some real muscle from the Williamson family, Larry and I participated in the most organized move of the Willlamson household that we’ve ever witnessed!

And hands down, this was one of the best Mother’s Day weekends ever!  Fun IS good and Larry and I both had a blast making memories with our family on this most remarkable race!

Dr. Christina Lanier, Director of the UNCW Department of Sociology and Criminology, hooding Sarah

Dr. Christina Lanier, Director of the UNCW Department of Sociology and Criminology, hooding Sarah

Thomas and Sarah

Thomas and Sarah

Sarah and PawPaw

Sarah and PawPaw

We love this man!

We love this man!

Adam and the Atlantic

Adam and the Atlantic

We know how to keep it fun and real!

We know how to keep it fun and real!

Sarah Hupp Williamson, Louise Tate Hupp and Jacqueline Blalock Loftis--these women taught and continue to teach this mother how to

Sarah Hupp Williamson, Louise Tate Hupp and Jacqueline Blalock Loftis – These women taught and continue to teach this mother how to “do life”.

Lifesavers for a 1,200 mile journey!

Lifesavers for a 1,200 mile journey!

A Myriad of Gifts

This year is quickly drawing to a close and, in the quiet solitude of this day set aside for celebrations of gratitude, I find myself turning inward to search for the life gifts–some old and some new–born into my life journey in 2014.

Embracing the gift of family is such a natural thing for many of us to do on this day.  We slow down and gather around a table and enjoy the gifts of food and fun and fellowship.  This year I soaked in the moments of a young married couple with their dreams and their hopes all wrapped up in the beauty of believing in each other and I whispered a quiet thanks.  My eyes fell on a young man as he ate his Thanksgiving meal of yogurt and I saw the gift of independence at his new home and his belief in himself–that he, too, can fulfill his desires–his dreams.

And then my eyes fell on the man at the head of our table–that man who may have a little less hair, a few more wrinkles and tons more wisdom due to the past 36 years of this journey.  The lessons learned from watching him live a quiet life loving on his family and believing in the individual uniqueness of this crew residing under this roof affectionately labeled the Hupp Kingdom fills my heart to overflowing.

The new lessons of 2014 have steamrolled into my life with God’s handprints all over them.  Earlier this year, a friend of mine contacted me about an opportunity to be a part of Give Her Wings, an agency that provides hope and healing to mothers and children who have removed themselves from abusive relationships.  What I didn’t know at the time I accepted this opportunity is that the team members and the mothers that we have the privilege of serving would be teaching me a few things about having that mustard seed faith.

The church full of love that I was raised in and where Larry and I were married is yet another instrument that God used to stretch me.  Once a month at the Food Pantry, love and acceptance and smiles are placed into grocery bags–yes, there’s physical sustenance in those bags, but there’s so much more–the emotional sustenance that every human being needs that walks into that church basement.

God wasn’t quite finished with my life assignments just yet.  In August, we started walking the final steps of  a journey began three years earlier.  GHA Autism Supports extended its invitation for Adam to become part of their family and our family grew exponentially!  From the Administrative Office personnel to the warm and loving ladies in Adam’s home and the five young men who live in the same home with Adam–we have been reminded that for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under Heaven.

This morning I received a text from a gentleman whom I have the privilege of serving with on the Consumer and Family Advisory Council for Cardinal Innovations, a North Carolina agency that serves the population of those affected by mental illness, substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disabilities.  This gentleman is, in fact, a consumer and he is an accomplished poet.  “For it’s not the things that we possess that signify our wealth, but the blessings that are priceless like our family, friends and health.”  Such a lovely reminder from a gentle spirit.

The laying open of myself, my dreams, my desires, my goals continues to be an ongoing journey that God and I work on together.  This year He has allowed me to see His works in my life and in the lives of those I love and cherish.  The myriad of gifts brought into my life this year have grown my patience and my faith as I continue to learn to lie empty and open to joys, sorrows, triumphs, failures, suffering, comfort and certainly, always, change.

“Lord, help me now to unclutter my life, to organize myself in the direction of simplicity.  Lord, teach me to listen to my heart; teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it.  Lord, I give you these stirrings inside me.  I give you my discontent.  I give you my restlessness.  I give you my doubt.  I give you my despair.  I give you all the longings I hold inside.  Help me to listen to these signs of change, of growth; help me to listen seriously and follow where they lead through the breathtaking empty space of an open door.”  (from “Common Prayer:  A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals”)

Welcome Change

This entry was posted on November 27, 2014. 1 Comment

Lessons Learned from Sunflowers

It all started with a volunteer sunflower that popped up in the herb garden beside the playhouse earlier this summer.  That prompted Dad and me to plant more of these joy-filled flowers.  I’ve wondered if one of the many birds that visit our feeders dropped that seed there one day.  Dropping seeds of joy and happiness–what a great idea!

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” ~Unknown

photo 2

“Which makes it ironic my favourite flower isn’t even indigenous to the British Isles, let alone Yorkshire. I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me, that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” ~ Calendar Girls 2003 Movie

photo 3

“He restores my soul.” ~Psalm 23:3

photo 4

“Live life like a sunflower. Reach for the sky. Stay open. Bend with the breeze. Bloom where you are planted. Grow from the rain. Turn your face to the sun.” ~Unknown


“I want to be like a sunflower; so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight.” ~M.K.

photo 1

“You are altogether beautiful my love; there is no flaw in you.” ~Song of Solomon 4:7 (The  photos of the sunflower below is where it all began beside the playhouse.)

sunflowers - soul shine

This entry was posted on July 27, 2014. 2 Comments

Bluebirds and Birthdays

My husband knows that look I get when my brain is cooking up a project and, thankfully, he doesn’t jump on the lawnmower or head out to his beehives.  He patiently listens to me spill out the details of the project and then the work commences.  That’s exactly what happened earlier this year in April when we erected three nest boxes on our property in an attempt to expand the bird population to include bluebirds.  I could hardly contain my excitement when, a few weeks later, I saw pine needles in the cracks of one of the nest boxes.  I carefully peeked in and saw five tiny blue eggs!!!  Performing weekly checks on that nest box has given me great joy.

On an entirely different topic, I’ve been finding more projects to keep my mind occupied this week–something I typically do when Momma’s birthday is approaching.  I know that tomorrow she will be experiencing an absolutely heavenly birthday, but that doesn’t take the sting out of wanting to touch her face and tell her how much I love her.  As I was heading home from work this afternoon, I popped in Dollar General to see if anything caught my eye that I could add to Momma’s grave that I pass by every single day.  It only took a few minutes for my eyes to fall on the perfect addition to her gravesite.

As the sun was setting this evening, I realized that in my attempt to stay occupied lately, that I had not checked the nest box.  I set up the step ladder and had my camera ready when I opened the nest box that contained five eggs when I last checked.

Well, I left Momma a gift at her grave and I got a gift in our nest box.  Happy Birthday, Momma, and I’m looking forward to these five babies spreading their wings and flying confidently into the world, just as you taught me to do.