Monday, May 25, 2009


Last night we went to a cook out at my husband's aunt and uncle's house. This aunt is his mom's sister. He and his first cousin, Cindy were born only about 12 hours apart, and our kids are the same ages, too. Cindy has an older sister, Jacque whose son Max is about the same age as my oldest, Brock. Did you get all that? lol All together, there were four boys and two girls, and did they have fun playing with each other.

We had a cookout with way too much food and a table groaning with sweets of all kinds - cookies, pies, ice cream. Then we went into the backyard and watched as the kids played. It was wonderful watching them run around and have so much fun. They didn't have any tech toys or expensive things. Mostly it was balls and baseball gloves and cornhole and racing each other. I even played kickball with the kids (of course, now I can hardly walk since I twisted my ankle in my sandals which were not made for rounding the bases! lol)

There is just something about watching the innocent play of children that is almost magical. Maybe because childhood is so fleeting and the days seem to feel like water running through your hands.

The evening came and a chill hit the air. We all started to shiver. So Uncle Lee started a fire in his little fire pot thingy. We drew our chairs around. There was laughing and giggling and teasing and playing. I took a picture of all the cousins together which represented three families. I thought as I looked at the picture, they will see this photo of all of them together when they are older and remember this night as one of those perfect times. We'll probably say to each other as we get older, "Remember when..."

It occurred to me then that I am so lucky. I have my parents right here in town with us. My husband has parents, plus extended family, right here in town too. My kids have cousins that they see and play with all the time. My youngest son and his cousin Jonathan are almost inseperable. (I think Brody would like it if he could have JJ live at our house one week and then go live at his house the next week and so on lol)

But not everyone is surrounded by family or even friends. I and my family are blessed. God just nudged my soul last night and said, "Share your blessings." So, the next holiday that rolls around, I'll be looking for someone whose family is maybe far away or who has recently lost a loved one and will be spending their holidays alone. Loneliness is always lonely but it just seems to be magnified on a holiday when it seems like everyone else has someone and you don't. I'll be praying for those I know of that are far from home (like our troops in Iraq) or are newly widowed or that have lost a child.

It would be fairly easy for me to start to feel guilty about my blessings, but that isn't what God would have me to do. HE blessed me and to feel anything other than thankfulness and privilege is a slap in HIS face. BUT, I do believe He wants us to see our blessings and not take them for granted, and then out of that thankfulness and gratitude to share them with others so they in turn can feel God's blessing too. So, as we head into the balmy days of summer, I'll be looking around for people I can share my blessings with. That is the best way to tell God thanks!
~ blessings, Bronte

Friday, May 22, 2009


I have been praying about where to start with my writing. Currently, I write articles for our local Christian radio station's newsletter. I enjoy interviewing these people, most of whom have overcome great obstacles or tragedies. However, it is not high paying, nor does it take up a lot of my time, really.

Because I just am not sure where to start, I thought it would be a great idea to take an online writing class, to brush up on things, to connect with other writers, to get the benefit of someone who has been there and done that. Unfortunately, there are a lot of frauds on the internet so I combed through many sites. Finally, I found it! Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers Guild offers online courses. They are very high quality and you are assigned a mentor. Perfect.

Perfect, except for one small detail. The coursework was expensive, as in major investment for us. I started praying. I told God I felt He had led me to this site, but how was I supposed to ask my husband, sweet and kind as he is, for this much money on something that is NOT a sure thing? How could I ask to spend that kind of money on something I had NOT shown a self-discipline in up to this point. Sure, I am planning on structured writing time every day this summer, but up until now, I haven't shown that I was willing or able to accomplish that.

Let me explain about my husband. He is the greatest guy in the world. He has integrity and he is even tempered and has lots of integrity. He is also a realist. I am a dreamer. Together, we make the perfect team- he keeps me tethered to the earth so I don't fly off into the clouds. He is the one that asks the questions to take me from an idea to a reality. In turn, I (or at least I hope I do) inspire him to dream a little and get away from hard facts for a while. Neither of us are going to change significantly but we do complement each other - a sum greater than its parts, so to speak.

I was really praying about not only how I was going to approach this or even if I should, but also which coursework that I should pursue - fiction or nonfiction. While my dream is to write a book and I plan to start that, the hard truth is writing nonfiction is what pays the bills for most writers, me included. Either course track - fiction or nonfiction - required a commitment of money and time. I was torn.

Last night, I opened my email to find a message from the director. Of course, it wasn't specifically for me but for all the people on the guy's mailing list. They had just started a new course. It was MUCH less expensive (as in at least $1000 less!) and it was for a much shorter time frame. There was my answer! I will not have nearly as much problem asking to spend the price of this course, nor will I balk at the time commitment.

I asked God to make a way. And He did! I know it is a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it is a specific, tailored answer to prayer. Not only is the way to take an online course and get serious about my writing while having contact with other writers and having accountability happen, but my prayer of finding a mentor who has walked this road before was also answered!!!!

"My God will supply all your needs, according to His riches..." Every day God shows me that I can trust Him with everything, even the small details because His love is perfect, because He has plans and a purpose for me, because He wants to prosper me and not to harm me. It's so awesome to know that God is not just the God of the universe but a personal God that is involved intimately in my life!
~blessings, Bronte

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Now isn't that a question? Not worrying was one of my New Year's goals for this year. Interestingly, I've had lots of opportunities to practice this skill but not always very successfully. How do you not worry? Is it really a sin if you do? (this one I can answer - it is because we are commanded point blank 25x in the New Testament - I know - Ouch!)

I was getting some books at the library the other week and decided to look up a couple by Beth Moore. I had been wanting to read Get Out of That Pit, so off I went to that section. While browsing, I found another book I've been meaning to read - Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. I took that one home too, thinking this will be a nice, little read encouraging me to chill instead of work. That is something I can totally relate to.

Instead, I found this paragraph: "The word used most often for worry and anxiety in the New Testament come from the same Greek word, meridzoe which means "to be divided, to be pulled in opposite directions, to choke"... The Old English word for worry menat "to gnaw." Like a dog with a bone, a worrier chews on his problems all day long. Jesus warned us specifically against this kind of chronic anxiety when he said,"Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life" (Matthew 6:25, AMP) Why is the Bible adamant about our avoiding fear and worry? Because God konws worry short-circuits our relationship with Him. It fixes our eyes on our situation rather than on our Savior."

Does that strike a sore spot in you too? I had to reread it several times, just taking in that truth. Worry chokes us. We swallow down those anxieties and they get caught in the throat - too big for us to swallow and digest yet still we swallow them down. The thought hit me that if I don't put something in my mouth, I have very little chance of choking on it. Instead, when I take a bite out of some circumstance or suck in that thought and let it wallow around, instead of trying to swallow it down, I need to spit it back out at God in confession, discussion or praise.

There is that simple song that says, "Why worry when you can pray", but it really IS that simple. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace which surpasses all expectation will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6,7) It's rather ironic that for years I told people this was my life's verse as I worried away and was filled with anxiety.

If we unpack that verse, the answer is very simple and right there for us. First there is the command - "Be anxious for nothing." It doesn't say try not to be anxious or strive not to worry, but DON'T DO IT! God knew that was hard to do so He gave us an alternative to anxiety - "but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Then He gives us the incentive or the WHY we should do this instead of worry - "the peace which surpasses our expectations." And what does that peace do? It will "keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." This is right where our minds need to be - not on the circumstances but on Jesus. (again another old song comes to mind - "Turn your eyes upon Jesus/look full in His wonderful face/ and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace")

In the next verse, Paul shares with us the way to avoid anxiety to begin with - what to keep our minds occupied with - "Finally bretheren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

I find it interesting that the very first thing on this list is what is true. How many times do we go down the anxiety rabbit trail based on untruth? I know I can work myself into a tizzy about what might have beens or even miscommunications or plain old untruths. The ONLY way we will know truth is if we read and study it in God's Word. Closely studying REAL truth tends to make things that are false more evident.

So there it is in three verses located in Philippians - the recipe to throw worry out the door for good. I have always thought not worrying was a nice thing to attain to, but surely God didn't expect us to really NOT worry about ANYTHING. But He shows us right here how to do it.

I am sitting here having a major DUH moment. It was there all along, but my eyes didn't see nor did my ears really hear (I mean how many sermons have I heard on this subject???). The light bulb has finally turned on for me. These verses work if we believe that God is good and we trust Him. Otherwise, we won't want to turn to Him nor will we trust His answers if we do. Maybe God just needed to lay the groundwork for the other things before He could turn the lightbulb on for me.

Isn't that just like God? He cares enough to prepare my heart and mind for a truth that is life changing so that when I get it, I can really get it. Don't we serve an awesome, loving, HUGE God?
~Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Morning rolled around and I was NOT wanting to get up. My bed felt soft and inviting and the rain was coming down outside. It was a great day to stay under the covers, but unfortunately, my job doesn't give rain days! Too bad huh?

But off I went to school, feeling just a little blue. At this time of year, with only a couple weeks of school left, I am eager for summer vacation like most of my students. So, it wasn't with enthusiasm that I greeted my classes today, but ironically, it was my students that brought a smile to my face.

First, in my junior class, we are going through the Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. We were on the final song by Feste when the bell rang the day before and I instructed the boy that was "playing" Feste to come prepared to give the song. He arrived with music and everything. By the end, we were all singing along with him.

Then, in came my seniors. They had video reports that were supposed to reflect our play Taming of the Shrew. They were hysterical. By the time class was done, my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. I then shared the videos with my sophomore class and a few others.

By the time I went home, I had a smile on my face. It's amazing what a really great belly laugh will do for your attitude and mood. I guess Provers is right when it says, "A merry heart does good like medicine." Guess God's wisdom still can't be beat!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Baseball season has officially started! I'm tired already. lol With two boys, both going different directions, often on the same night, I feel sort of like we are starting on a two month journey and I need to be storing up my energy for that race every afternoon from when the kids get out of school until when they have to be at their appointed places for the games. Whew! Some prayers for strength and a sense of humor (and good quick meal ideas!) would sure come in handy! :)

Last night was both of my boys first game of the season. We had the excitement of wearing their uniforms for the first time. We also had the angst of: "where is my glove?" "I can't find a belt for these pants and they're going to fall down!" and "I'll do my homework AFTER the game." (to which I said no! lol) I dug out my chair and packed our water bottles and the dog's chew bone and off my youngest son, Brody and I went to his first game. He informed me on the way over, he was going to get a homerun every time he got up to bat. I told him that was aiming maybe a tad bit too high, but even hitting the ball every time he got up to bat would be a great goal!

Being one of the older kids on the team now (it's for 6-8 year olds and Brody will be 8 yo in June), he did very well. He hit the ball and got on base every time he got up to bat. He even hit a homerun. I cheered loudly and wanted to tell everyone, "That's MY boy that hit that one!" He caught balls and tagged the other team out. Overall, I thought the game had been a success, both for the team (we won 17-21, not much defense lol) and for Brody personally.

Brody climbed into the car, and I said, "Wow! That was a great game, buddy! And you got a home run! You'll have to tell Dad about that one." His head drooped, "Yeah, but I had three errors, Mom," he said, his voice full of disappointment. Amazing, I had watched that game and thought how well the team had done in general and how well my son had done in particular, and I don't think it was totally a mom's bias. But somehow it wasn't enough. He hadn't done well enough. Instead of looking at the good things, he was focused on the three things he had done wrong.

While I am all for learning from our mistakes and I dont' believe in giving kids false praise or puffing up their egos, I also believe in acknowleding a job well done. I thought my son had done a good job. He thought he hadn't done good enough. After talking about what he could do about those errors (learn what he had done wrong and do it differently for a couple and one that there really wasn't anything he could have done), I told Brody that he needed to be happy with his game being good enough, even though it wasn't perfect. Rarely, do we give a perfect performance in anything.

It made me think how many times, we as Christians aren't content with good enough. We want perfect or better or bigger or higher. I wonder how many times that God shakes His head at us and thinks, "But child have enough. You don't need perfect - you just need enough." I wonder how many times, instead of being thankful for enough, I have felt it wasn't good enough or I wasn't good enough. God tells us His faith is sufficient for us and that our HIS strength is made perfect in OUR weaknesses." HE is always just enough for every need, every obstacle, every difficulty. He always gives us just enough to make it through every difficult place. Sometimes, we make it through by the skin of our teeth and sometimes, we hit it out of the park. But HIS grace and mercy and love are always just enough.
~ Blessings, Bronte