Saturday, December 31, 2011


I wish I could say I'll miss you, but honestly I'm rather glad to see you go. It's been a long, difficult year for me and my family, but through it all I've learned several things.

The first is that God is always faithful. He always shows up on time (His, not mine!) and He is so patient and merciful to me it blows me away.

The second thing I have learned is a renewed appreciation for my husband. I mean, I always have loved him and all, but this year, I realized I took a lot of things for granted about his character. To say we are opposites is a bit of an understatement, but one thing I am very glad we are opposites on is how we react to things. I call him my Xanax with legs because he has the capability to calm me down when I have worked myself into an emotional overreaction. I see the end of the world as we know it and he sees a bump in the road. I want to do something RIGHT NOW!!! He wants to wait and weigh all the options. It's a great thing to know that I can count on him to do the right thing - even if it is the hard thing.

The third thing I have realized this year is what true blessings both my boys are to me. I guess working evenings made me realize what a privilege it is to be their mom and to take care of them. I've watched them pitch in to help due to my longer work hours without complaint (at least most of the time!). They love the Lord and each other - those are things I don't take lightly. They are blessings.

This year, after almost six years, I have my brother back. That in itself is a small miracle that I thank God for pretty regularly. It's neat to see him renewing his relationship with his nephews and it's nice to have him around. I missed him!

This year, I learned not to take good health for granted either. Not only did I go through about five months of colds and flus that knocked me off my feet, but my husband found out he had a genetic heart condition. Fortunately, it's manageable, but it made me very aware that nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.

My various jobs taught me a lot too. I learned the art of listening to constructive criticism and attending to details. I learned a lot about humility too as I messed up several times. I learned to learn from a mistake and then let it go, instead of obsessing over it and beating myself up - neither of which helps at all.

I also learned a lot about spiritual warfare. I learned to pick up my shield of faith and wield my sword of His Word. I'm still in training, but I am miles ahead of where I was a year ago!

Finally, I learned to trust God because even if I have no idea what is going on, He does! He's got the path already laid out and He promises to light the path for the next step (not the entire pathway). I can trust Him not to lead me off a cliff! :)

So, what am I thinking about next year? I have always been a person who did New Year's resolutions, but in the past couple of years, I've prayed about having a phrase (although I still make about a jillion resolutions in all categories!). This year, I'm not doing the enormous list of resolutions in all the categories that make up my life. Instead, I feel God has given me a phrase that covers things succinctly and that is "to be intentional." This covers all areas of my life from my relationships to my job to my health - just be intentional. Instead of letting circumstances and feelings swirl me around in the stream of life, I'm going to be intentional about what I do and don't do.

So how about you? How do you see 2012? I don't know what God will do in my life, but I know it will be an adventure!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, December 19, 2011


Tis the season to give - germs, that is! I have my first official cold of the season. I am hoping and praying that this year will not be like last year as far as illnesses go. I feel like I had my quota, thank you very much!

While I was at work tonight, my throat felt a bit scratchy. By about 9 p.m., Brody asked me if I had lost my voice. I suppose the hoarse whisper I was using was his first clue. lol

Fortunately - or unfortunately depending on how you look at it - I can still type. I know you are all so relieved! lol

But I couldn't go to bed tonight without sharing about my oldest son Brock. A few weeks ago, he showed my husband his tract he had written to pass out to the kids on the opposing basketball teams. I read it and could hardly get through the whole thing without choking up. I'll be honest - it wasn't the best thing I've ever read. It was a huge block of text, making it somewhat difficult to read (of course, I'm old so all the dense text is more of an issue for me than some junior high boy) and it was a little, shall we say, fire and brimstone flavored. But it was so sincere and from the heart. He wanted to work on it but hasn't had time so I suggested checking out the church's stash of tracts to see if there were any he liked at all.

Tonight he passed out five of them to the other players. I was really impressed because I remember junior high when just breathing was embarrassing, and I certainly didn't want to do anything to stick out or seem different. Brock is not super gregarious either. He's quiet and sort of shy with people he doesn't know. But it was important to him to share his faith, so he did what wasn't easy.

I'd like to say this was all my doing - that this must mean I am some kind of supermom or spiritual giant. But I'm not. It has nothing to do with me at all really, but it has a lot to do with the Holy Spirit's work in Brock's life. He's always had a heart for lost people, and has led several kids in our neighborhood to the Lord. It's actually sort of convicting to me because I don't share my faith nearly as much as I should. Too many times, I am afraid of offending someone or turning them off or something.

I remember asking Brock a few years ago if he was ever nervous. He said he was always nervous and afraid, but then he said, "Mom, I don't really want to do it because I'm afraid, but God says to do it so I do." I suppose that's why Jesus talked about a child-like faith.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, December 16, 2011


I have a confession to make - I really should be cleaning. BUT, God showed me something while I was in the shower of all places (something about the hot water and zoning out in there must be why so many of my epiphanies happen in the shower lol).

My epiphany was this - the devil wants to seek and destroy all of us. He wants to prevent the lost from being found. He wants to keep the found lost and wandering without purpose. He wants to attack and destroy every thing that Jesus said was important to us.

One of the things Jesus mentions over and over is that the world will know believers by our love and care for each other. What's one thing the church seems riddled with? You guessed it - devisiveness and ugliness to each other. What is one area where we seem to fail over and over? Yep - building meaningful and deep community with each other. This is so heartbreaking because we are supposed to be helping each other - comforting, encouraging, exhorting - all these things are supposed to be present within relationships between believers. How often does that happen?

I was just reading in II Corinthians about how God comforted Titus by sending other believers. That was His chosen means of bringing comfort to His servant.

How often the enemy you are supposed to be praying for is actually a brother or sister in Christ? I am afraid the answer is way too often. :(

It occured to me - again - that we are in a battle. So are our fellow believers. We are NOT each other's enemies. I have often wondered how to pray for your enemies. Being idealistic and having an overblown sense of fairness and justice, I have a hard time praying for people I think are doing the wrong thing. Somehow it feels almost like I'm saying what they did or are doing is okay. Over the past year and half, God has shown me that forgiveness doesn't mean that I am saying what someone did is okay. It just means I'm leaving the consequences up to Him.

But seeing it this way - as another believer being hurt and destroyed by the devil - well, that gives me a whole other level of compassion for those that hurt me and spitefully use me.

Let's be really honest - we sort of expect the world to attack us. It is can blindside us when the "enemy" ends up being someone who is supposed to be our brother or sister in Christ. The hurt goes so much deeper maybe because we instinctively know this isn't how God wants us to treat each other.

This epiphany moment gives me a lot more compassion for others who hurt me. I have the spiritual gift of mercy so if I can have compassion for someone, it really helps me to forgive and to pray for them. It makes me feel less like a victim and more like I have some say in the whole situation.

Seeing this spiritual warfare laid out in front of me, I feel like God has given me glasses when before I was terribly near-sighted.

So, when someone hurts you or does something that feels deeply unfair or unjust - when you can't understand how a believer could act that way to another believer remember that our battle is not with flesh and blood. Our enemy is much trickier and more powerful than that and one of his goals is to turn us against each other. After all, a house divided against itself can't stand!

Okay, back to cleaning for me!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, December 9, 2011


Unfortunately, it didn't come with money but hey, I'll take what I can get.

Apparently this is an award given out to small blogs with less than 200 followers. I am so out of the loop, that I had no idea this even existed, but I'm still very honored that my friend Amber Payne nominated me in HER blog A New Chapter to Write.

I have to do five things:
1.Bring to light the person who nominates you by thanking them for all to see.
2.Post on your site the wonderful Liebster Award stamp.
3.Find 5 of your blogging friends to nominate who have less than 200 followers but deserve to be recognized with praise!
4.List them below these instructions so others will find their blogs and read them. Don’t forget to let them know they have been nominated!

So, now I need to nominate five other blogs. I still don't know how to make the link so you can just click on the name and it takes you there - sorry! But I will include their blog addresses so you can find them! :)

So here are my five nominees in no particular order! All of them frequent a mom's board I belong to so I actually know them mostly by first names or their handles! :)

1. Erin has a gift with words. Her blog Together Forever often makes me laugh so hard I snort. You just can't get better than that. You can find her blog at

2. Lisa and her family moved to Panama this year and it has been really enjoyable watching that transition in her blog Panamom. I've always wanted to live abroad so I'm living vicariously through her! :) You can follow her adventures at

3. Courtney's blog Splashing Grace just makes me smile. I like reading about her family and life. She is always so encouraging to me! You can find her blog at

4. Charity or Yakky which is what I know her by on the mom's board has a writing gift which really comes through in her blog Bound to His Heart. Her words are sometimes funny and sometimes full of wisdom and gentle exhortation.

5. Erica's blog Unfinished Ramble lets me into a world I don't know much about - raising a child with Down's Syndrom. I love Erica's realness and her optimism. It's a blessing when I read her posts, the most recent about the Buddy Walk with the family wearing their camo wear! You can catch her latest posts at

I hope these blogs will give you some new reading and that these women and their words will lift you up, encourage you and make you think like they do for me!

Oh and thanks again Amber! I do this blog for myself mostly, but it's nice to know that your words encourage someone, too. :)
~ Blessings, Bronte


I wish my computer wasn't a dinosaur so I could share pictures on here, but since it is, you will just have to imagine it all with me. Go ahead - close your eyes and picture this: My son, Brody who is skinny and all arms and legs. He has small, oval shaped glasses and his head is basically bald (he likes to get the number 2 or 3 when he gets it buzzed - I won't let him get the #1 because he sort of resembles a cancer patient which freaks me out).

He is dressed as a shepherd, but not like any shepherd I've seen pictures of - his robe is a lovely sour apple green. His head covering is striped with that and a swirl of other psychedlic pastels. He told me, somewhat bitterly, that if he took of his head scarf thingy he would look like a 90 year old woman getting ready for bed. Sadly, I had to agree with him! lol

Last night was the Christmas program at school. I love elementary Christmas programs. There is always - and I mean always - something funny that happens. You just can't get that many 4 and 5 year olds in one place without at least one of them picking her nose or pulling her dress over her head. It's always hysterical (at least for me now that my kids are out of that stage). This time, one little guy in a velvet (VELVET!!) suit fell over backwards into the girl behind him. If looks could kill, that poor little chap would no longer be with us. That little girl - who bore such a striking resemblance to Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch Stole Christmas that my brother even remarked on it! - scowled the entire time and twitched constantly. I think her dress was itchy or something.

Then there are the older kids who are, no matter how "cool", are very earnest in their attempts to remember lines and do a good job. Some of the kids seem to want to fade into the background while others don't want to give up the stage lights. There was one part where some of the kids were dressed in choir robes and stood behind the main character swaying. I could hardly keep from laughing out loud because one boy in the back had, apparently, missed the trait of rhythm when it was handed out - he would dip his shoulder and awkwardly wrench it back upright and then lurch to the other side to do it gain. Then they added hand motions and I was a little afraid his head would explode or he'd run from the stage screaming.

Another little choir robed child didn't have this issue at all. In fact, her shimmy and shake up there made me wonder if perhaps she had forgotten she was supposed to be in a choir and thought she was at a Vegas show. I will say this - she had a lot of rhythm and bounce! lol

My son is a 5th grader now so that means he and his classmates were the oldest ones up there. He took it quite seriously. I found it rather ironic that the child who spends two thirds of his time making movies of himself where he uses various voices, contorts his face like Jim Carey, and basically abandons any scrap of self-consciousness, asked for a part with no lines - insisted on it really.

However, he and his cousin and best friend (we are considing combining their names and calling them either Brody and Jonathan Bowack or Ackman) came up with their own special part in the play. They were cast as two shepherds (and got to carry some very large, very cool looking staffs). Their unique twist was to run up and down the aisles telling everyone the good news. Then they'd meet in the front, give high fives or chest bumps and run again. The would link arms and do a circle, shaking their hands in the air. They were very busy and very fast. I think they ran up and down the aisles at least half a dozen times and their chest bumps and high fives got quite a few chuckles from the audience. I was just glad they had put their giant staffs down. Someone could have poked an eye out.

Kids' Christmas programs are so much fun for me because the kids, for the most part, enjoy it so much. They love sharing the story of Jesus and the manger. They, in all their messy, unorganized, unpolished fervor, gave me the joy of Christmas. Because, to be perfectly honest, I haven't been feelin' it this season.

Sure, the tree is up and there is a growing stash of presents in my closet, but circumstances have not made me very excited about the season. Trying to figure out presents and affording them for everyone, heavy decisions weighing on my mind and my husband's, and even the fact that since I got my tooth pulled my sinuses have gone haywire have all conspired to sort of leave me feeling a bit flat this season. I haven't even put on any Christmas music yet and it is December 9th!

But last night, as I watched the abandoned exuberance and contagious excitement of young kids sharing the Christmas story - not perfectly but enthusiastically - I felt the joy of the season creep into my heart. It's not about presents or unfavorable circumstances. It's about running up and down the aisles shouting that JESUS HAS COME!!! JESUS, the God of heaven and Creator of the universe, came as a tiny baby to save the world.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go blast some "Hallelujah Chorus."

Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, December 4, 2011


If you know me at all, you know I am not very, um, "naturally domestic." I think my exact words to my dear husband when we started discussing marriage way back when were, "I don't know how to cook, clean, or do laundry, and I don't really have a big desire to learn." I was quite the catch! lol

As my kids came along, I realized I had to get a handle on the domestic front, otherwise our lives would chaos all the time. I am not an organized, structured person by nature so it all felt quite alien. I often said I felt like I had to be someone else to live my life.

As I've gotten older and my role as mom, wife and homemaker has changed and evolved, I've found myself more enamored with at least the idea of homemaking. Still, from about 3 p.m. when I picked the kids up from school to their next practice or game when I had to somehow go through papers, make sure homework got done and got everyone fed felt somewhat like a race against the clock. I didn't really enjoy rushing around like a crazy person many days.

God has an interesting way of letting us know when we take things for granted though and giving us a new appreciation for things that we may even have complained about before. Now, most evening I am working at Sylvan as a tutor. The work itself isn't too bad - the kids are cute and the people I work with are extremely kind and fun, too. However, because I am gone from approximately 3:30 to 8 p.m. my afternoon looks totally different than it did just a year ago.

While I am very thankful for the job and the income it provides, to be honest, I miss the crazy rush after school. I don't really feel like I am in the loop anymore - papers, permission slips, school updates all sort of pass me by. I miss being the hub of information central.

I miss taking care of my family. I miss cooking dinner. I miss watching games and driving boys to practices and chatting with other moms.

All those times I grumbled that I had to go to another game, I could kick myself now. Because of my work schedule, I will miss almost all of my oldest son's basketball games this year, and basketball is my favorite of the three sports he plays. After all, it is the only one that is inside so I am not either freezing or boiling in the sun! lol

If I am fortunate enough to be able to not work in the evenings, I will no longer grumble about the after school rush. Instead, I will bask in the blessing of taking care of my family and being immersed in the rush of life.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Tomorrow, I get my tooth pulled. To be honest, I'm a bit nervous as I am a wimp about stuff like this. In fact, I finished up a crazy night at work (tutoring kids under the age of 7 years old is a real experience - I give kudos to all elementary school teachers!!!), and I felt my stomach do that swoopy, drop to my toes thing when I thought about tomorrow's procedure.

My dear mom is taking me - I hope I don't act like a moron when I am loopy from the drugs they give you. It's always funny when it is someone else - not so much when it is you. lol

So, I got home at about 8:15 p.m. and did the whole make lunches, get everyone ready for tomorrow routine. I sat down to put the final spit polish on my article (have to get it in early since I will unavailable tomorrow which is my usual deadline) and here comes Brody with something purple in his hands.

"Here, Mom," he says cheerfully, "your shirt came in." The school had a fundraiser and it had different sayings and then a verse on the back.

Wanna know what mine said? On the front it said FEARLESS. On the back, it said, Be strong and of courage; be not afraid for I the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Isn't that great? God has such a wonderful, timely sense of humor! I have to wear short sleeves tomorrow so I'm definitely wearing it! lol

Wish me luck!
Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I really can't stand fakeness. Please don't pretend you like me and then walk away and tell someone I'm a jerk. I'd rather you just tell me to my face - really. As a former passive-aggressive person, I can spot that attribute a mile away and it drives me absolutely bonkers. Maybe it's like the person who used to smoke but now the smell of smoke bothers them more than the people who never lit a cigerette.

On the other hand though, I don't like it when people use "truth" as an excuse to be mean and ugly to people either. "Well, I'm just telling you the truth," they will say as they stick the knife in and give it a sadistic little twist.

It seems that we either have truth without love or love with much truth. I'm not sure that is the biblical way of things. Granted, truth sometimes is hard to hear and it stings. Love is not always warm and fuzzy - sometimes, it is tough.

I was reading through I Corinthians and I ran across the thirteenth chapter about love. It's read at a lot of weddings, but really, it is a message to all believers, not just the newly wedded. I've also been reading in Ephesians which talks about how to deal with each other, too.

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bone of peace...but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, cause the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." Ephesians 1-3; 15,16

Obviously, this is not an innate skill because Paul had to explain this to the believers in Ephesians. We are one body and we need to dwell together in unity and peace. The only way to do that is with humility (not thinking too highly of ourselves), by being gentle with each other and by showing patience with each other's weaknesses and foibles. You'll notice I emphasized how all this happens - in love.

But what is love? The definition of it we get from popular culture is actually quite selfish - it's all about what you can do for me. According to the Bible, that really isn't what love is all about. It's certainly not what was modeled by Christ - He gave Himself for us without anything in it for Him, really.

In I Corinthians 13, it states more of what love isn't than what it is.

Love IS:
rejoices with the truth
bears all things
believes all things
hopes all things
endures all things

Love is NOT:
act unbecomingly
seek its own
take into account wrongs suffered

Love like this never fails. So, the love I speak with the truth needs to line up with this passage. I guess that means I will be keeping my mouth shut a lot more!

"If I speak with tongues of men and angels, but do not have long, I have beome a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned but do not have love, ti profits me nothing." I Cor. 13:1-3

Blessings, Bronte

Friday, November 18, 2011


I suppose it was inevitable that once I taught on the topic of thankfulness, God would allow some testing to see if I had really absorbed the lesson I shared with others.

Today, I got in a car accident. This is my second accident in eight months. Honestly - I've driven for 22 years and have been in 4 accidents in that entire time. It's just two of them happen to be this year. It was my fault - I rearended someone while talkng on my cell phone. I shouldn't have answered it. Talking and driving are just not a good combo.

So, as I sat sobbing on the side of the road, I can say I felt pretty discouraged, particularly since the day started out so well. I got a call from the head editor who asked me to do another weekly feature. He also asked me to do the front page for Christmas Day! I couldn't believe it - I was so excited I think I actually squealed when I got off the phone. Then I went to interview some people for a different article. It is going to be on a chapel in a senior citizen home. The ladies I talked to were so sweet - I enjoyed meeting them so much.

It just seemed like such a huge drop from the top of the mountain to the puddle in the valley. My first thought was, "I give up!" But an interesting thing happened while we waited and waited and then waited some more for the police officer to show up (I think it was about 90 minutes total). I began to calm down and God poked me about being thankful for my blessings.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that at first I irritably wanted to know "WHAT blessings exactly? The large ticket or perhaps my increased insurance premiums?"

But the truth was, I was sitting there without a scratch. The other driver wasn't hurt either. My car was also not in bad shape either - just a broken headlight. The other driver had some damage to their bumper.

In addition, the other driver was so nice to me about the whole thing. She apologized for having to call the police to the scene of the accident. The police officer, once he arrived, was very kind, too. Before he left he told me not to feel too badly because as he put it, "They are called accidents for a reason - they aren't on purposes."

Finally, my dear husband came to the scene. He was so kind and never laid any guilt on me at all. And really, after the year I've had and the money I've cost us with my accidents, even if they weren't "on purposes", it wouldn't have been too out there for him to be upset with me, even temporarily. Instead, he rubbed my back and talked to the police officer when he arrived. He made sure I wasn't too shakey to drive home. In other words, he took good care of me. :)

It could have been so much worse. God protected me and He showed me that I had a choice. I could grumble and beat myself up and descend into discouragement or I could take my thoughts captive and choose to be thankful instead. I'm glad I chose to be thankful - it made things that much easier. Which brings me to another truth - God never asks us to do things that aren't for our own good. He's just cool like that!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I find it sort of ironic that yesterday I gave a devotional at my mom's Bible study group about thankfulness. Yes, I waxed almost poetic how thankfulness is a choice, a perspective, and something that is good for us.

God has a funny way of putting things I teach about to the test in my own life. Over the past couple months I've been interviewing for a job to be a insurance salesperson. I've felt a lot of angst over it, to be honest. The idea of working in an office from 9 to 5 every day sort of gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'm not much of an office person and neither am I much of a structured person. The idea of doing basically the same exact thing every day would wake me in the middle of the night in a panic. At the same time, we do need me to bring in more income - at least more than I am doing at the moment. Things are, well, let's just say interesting, at the moment around our house. There were many pros about getting this job.

However, the bottom line was I felt like I was selling out my calling for money. I prayed very earnestly though that if this is what God wanted for me, then I would do it to the best of my ability and with joy in my heart. After all, just because God puts you in a place that isn't what you imagined, it doesn't mean He doesn't have things for you to do for Him there either.

So, to say I was conflicted about this possible job opportunity would be an understatement. Turns out, I didn't need to decide. I got a letter today stating that I just wasn't what they were looking for. Ouch!

It doesn't matter that I wasn't sure the job was for me - it was still rejection. That's never very much fun, but at the same time, would I put into practice what I had been preaching just yesterday?

I decided yes I would. The truth is I had been praying that God would make it VERY clear to me if this was not the job for me. I had felt that but I felt like I had to see it through to the end because of our financial situation. The boss telling you he isn't hiring you would be very clear direction right?

The other thing I am thankful for is the graciousness of the person I interviewed with - instead of leaving me hanging to wonder, he graciously sent me a letter and even offered to explain why he didn't hire me. (although I am pretty sure I know how I messed up the interview - note to self, do NOT ramble incoherently about your dog when asked about teamwork).

The final thing I am thankful for is now I have possiblities in front of me for job opportunities that would probably be a much better fit, that would work better for our family and that I'd enjoy more. Who knows what's around that bend in the road?

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you, not to harm you and give you a future." Jer. 29:11

I can't wait to see what He has in store!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


If you thought this would be a deep blog post, you might want to stop reading now. My youngest son, Brody, has a goldfish. He (or she as I have no idea how to tell the gender of a goldfish)has been with us for over five years. Yes, you read that right - FIVE YEARS!!!

As a household that appears to be the Bates Motel for cats, we were all pleasantly surprised when Finner (my son named him - I thought it was quite creative for a 5 year old) was still swimming around in his tank when we got up every morning.

Well, today, I sat down to work on articles, got up to grab a snack (need carbs to think clearly and creatively) and realized that Finner was looking a bit odd. On closer inspection, Finner appeared to be floating on his side. Then he'd wiggle and struggle and swim to the bottom of the tank, only to bob to the surface and slowly roll to his side again. This is when I knew that Finner's days - probably hours at this point - were numbered.

While I feel badly that poor Finner seems to be fighting so hard to live (as I type, he is still doing his wiggle, swim to the bottom, bob to the top, roll to the side thing), I have to be completely honest and say that his passing won't leave a very large hole in my life. In fact, if you promise not to tell my son, I'll share that I'm sort of looking forward to not having to clean that tank anymore!

Of course, his death - presumably today sometime - leaves me with a parenting dilemma. If he dies before Brody comes home do I flush him (will he clog the toilet as he is rather large-ish for a goldfish)? Do I leave him floating for my 10 year old to find? Do I pull a switcheroo and get another, identical fish and hope nobody notices? Do I buy a new one that is obviously different and let Brody find out that way? Do I leave it all up to Brody?

In the grand scheme of things, this is not a huge issue, but I have this haunting feeling that some day about 20 years down the road, my dear son will be sitting in some therapists office lamenting the shock and trauma he suffered because his mom did X with his goldfish.

I still remember my mom telling me that when you flush a fish it comes up in your neigbor's toilet. I think I was in high school before I stopped peering nervously into the bowl every time I went into the restroom.

In this small thing, God showed me a bigger truth. The little things we do as parents matter. No, my son probably won't have lifelong scars if I choose the wrong choice of how to deal with Finner's demise (or if, heaven forbid, the fish clogs the toilet in at sea burial), but he will notice if I talk about other people when they aren't there. He'll notice if I actually read my Bible rather than just tell him to read his. He'll notice if I tell the occasional little white lie but scold him for doing the same. He'll notice if I am loving and gracious or if I am short tempered and harsh in dealing with those around me.

I'm guilty of getting hung up on the big decisions and not paying nearly enough attention to the daily, little things that show my kids what I truly believe. After all, daily decisions and actions are what living out our beliefs and principles is all about.

Hopefully, in the end, I come out flush!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, October 31, 2011


My two favorite months of the year are October and May. Both, to me, are signals of change. October to me brings to mind beatiful trees, crisp days when I can wear my cozy sweaters and sweet, juicy apples. We love apples at my house - I think we go through one to two of those 5lb bags every week. Hey, it's better than sweets right?

November is my least favorite month - mostly because the weather is usually ugly. It's starts to get dark and the trees have lost their leaves. It is that time between the breathtaking wonder of changing leaves and the beauty when snow blankets the trees. I don't like March for the same reason - everything seems to be colorless and wet. Bleck!

Of course, today is also Halloween. I know there is a lot of angst in the Christian world about Halloween - do we celebrate or don't we? Is it bad or harmless fun? Maybe it's okay if we pass out tracts with the candy. So, a lot of places take the middle road and either do harvest parties or draw the lines at "evil" costumes like witches or devils. For me, Halloween is just a non-issue.

I have kids, and when they were little they dressed up in costumes and we visited grandparents and maybe about 10 houses in my inlaws' neighborhood. Nobody has had any interest in doing that for a good 4 to 5 years now.

Growing up, my parents took me trick or treating, but I didn't really like it. I was easily scared and prone to nightmares so going around to houses with cobwebs, eery lighting and adults who answered the door dressed as very realistic werewolves wasn't exactly something I liked. On top of that, we had those nylon costumes with the plastic masks. Those masks really weren't very comfortable and we lived in Michigan. Generally the weather was on the chilly side and those nylon costumes weren't much protection. I think I stopped by the time I was about 5 or 6.

The only issue I've ever had with Halloween is with the well-meaning folks who took it upon themselves to share with my kids that by dressing up as Bob the Builder and getting candy from a few houses they were worshipping satan. Honestly, my kids had no idea that Halloween was anything but costumes and candy until someone said something to the contrary. Personally, I don't know anyone to whom Halloween is anything but costumes and candy.

My only thought about Halloween is I do hope that we can all be considerate of each other, no matter what side of the Halloween debate we fall on. As for me, I'm going to revel in the last of the fall colors.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's been interesting around here with all the health issues that have come up recently. The big one for me has been my tooth. Honestly, most of the time, unless I am brushing them, I don't really think about my teeth. They are just there and come in very handy when I need to eat something.

In July, I started to think about them a lot more because a couple them started to make their presence known through pain. I was sort of kerflummoxed though because the pain moved around. Hmmmm. Then the pain would go away and I'd forget about it for a couple days. Finally, it came back with a vengence and didn't leave. So, off to the dentist I went. I thought maybe he'd tell me I had an abscessed tooth or something. But no - there was a huge crack in one of my molars going up into the root of the tooth. (just for your information - percacet will only make you feel high and your tooth will still hurt but it will be slightly funny)

Now, I'm not blaming my oldest son, but the truth is I cracked a couple of my molars when I was in labor with him. It's not his fault, of course, and I'm really not bitter. Really. But I have had the four of them worked on in some fashion or other over the past 13 years.

So, the dentist, after drilling in my mouth for over an hour (did I mention I had clenched every muscle in my body on the off chance it might hurt and was drenched in sweat by the time he was done?). He put in this temporary crown. It's a metal one and I kind of liked it. I felt very edgy with my metal tooth (I have to take coolness wherever I can find it).

However, the temporary crown didn't work. It still hurt. Oh and the dentist's bill lady informed me that she would only do 3 months of payments to pay off the approximately $465. She wasn't very happy when I told her I couldn't pay it off in 3 months. That was just the crown. The root canal I was pretty sure I needed at this point would cost another $900. I called around to oral surgeons and found I could have it pulled for about half that.

So, back to the dentist I went to get my referral - grumbling the whole way I might add about the added trip and the expense and, well, you get the idea.

In addition to my costly dental issues, my dear hubby had had some expensive tests for his heart issues, the largest of which had not yet rolled in. To say I was a bit concerned would be like saying Obama is a little bit liberal.

I was trying really hard not to fret about it but to trust God to provide. I received a very generous amount for catsitting from some friends who are out of the country, so I was very thankful because I saw that as God providing.

He wasn't done yet though. At the appointment at the dentist, the nice man told me he'd just waive the rest of the bill for my crown work since I was going to have the tooth pulled! That would be $400 waived. Add to that my normal monthly income from the newspaper was a couple hundred more because of the happy circumstance of October having five Saturdays and Mondays plus an extra article, and God came through BIG TIME!

This is not the first time God has come through for us financially. It isn't the first time, by any stretch, that He has provided what we needed. Yet, I still doubted. I still wondered how it would all work out. I tried not to - my head knew that He would come through but my heart fretted and freaked out a bit.

Thank goodness that God is patient and loving and kind. I remember reading about the Israelites and wondering how they could doubt God when He so clearly intervened for them so many times. Yeah - feeling a bit of egg on my face now. The truth is, I'm just as bad sometimes. I suppose that is why God always told the Israelites to build alters and memorials to remind them of His provision and intercession on their behalf.

"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

My God provides over and above what I need or expect because that's just the way He rolls.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I hate it when I make dumb mistakes! I recently made two dumb mistakes in an article I wrote - I wrote SOUTH America instead of CENTRAL America (although technically you could say central america is part of the continent of south america) and then I got a number wrong, too. The person the article was about wasn't very happy about it and I felt terrible that she weren't happy with the finished product.

To be honest, in the almost year since I've been writing for our local newspaper, I've only gotten positive feedback from the subjects of my articles and readers alike. So, for me to get very negative feedback, well, let's say it was sort of like a kick in the gut.

I'm sort of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. My goal is to accurately portray the people I write about - to give them a true voice so readers can be helped and encouraged and maybe even want to get involved. The result of my dumb mistakes was that the past two days I've spent kicking myself - going over and over the "what ifs." What if I had stuck with my original wording (which, ironically, would have been correct)? What if I had done this, that or the other? On and on, around and around I have gone in my mind - regret tasting very sour.

At this point, though, there isn't much I can do about it. We could print a correction nobody would see or probably care about if they did see it. I have already apologized profusely. Nothing, however, changes the image this person has in their head of me, my writing and my incompetance. And that is hard to swallow.

The truth is, more than anything, my pride hurts. I can honestly say I tried my best with the article - I didn't make the mistakes on purpose. I can also say that in the grand scheme of things, they won't matter much in eternity. I can also say that the average person reading the article didn't notice them. Nobody was hurt in the publishing of that article - including the subject. But I want everyone to like me and my writing and I can't seem to let it go, can't seem to stop beating myself up about it.

It's embarrassing.

It's my pride kicking up a fuss.

Even if it isn't perfect by normal standards, God can still use it - despite me. And really, that's how He always uses anything I do - despite my own weaknesses and frailities that come from being human. Through my weaknesses, God is made strong. Personally, I win some and lose some, but God ALWAYS comes through.

So, I have to let it go and move on. I can learn from this and hopefully, not make the same mistakes next time. The truth is, it is a little article, in a little paper, in a little state, on a small part of the earth, on a small planet in a huge solar system. I'm really not important enough for all this angst. Seriously.

As Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Blessings, Bronte

Monday, October 17, 2011


I'm a fretter by nature. I think, if you have read my blog for any length of time, you have probably figured that out by now. lol Most of the time, I tend to be sort of laid back and go with the flow, but in certain areas, I can get very uptight. I think part of this is an over-active imagination and the other part is because I tend to overthink things. I mean REALLY overthink things.

I'm doing this Bible study by Beth Moore called The Psalms of Ascent. I'm really enjoying it because for one reason, it's Beth Moore. (I just love her!) The other reason is I love, love, love Psalms. I spent about two years reading through the Psalms and recording all the things they say about God. It completely changed my perspective of who God is and His character. So, I've been enjoying this Bible study.

Of course, it goes without saying that this Bible study had things I needed to hear and learn just when I needed to hear and learn them. God is always so good to me in that way. :)

Recently, I've been facing a lot of indecision and a lot of the unknown. I don't really mind new things or jumping into something different, but I can be a really horrible decision maker, particularly when I let fear get into the mix. Then I become sort of paralyzed with this deer in the headlights look - "Which way should I go?" So I fret and stew and go through all the "what if" scenerios in my head and basically make myself (and those around me) nuts. I've spent a lot of time borrowing trouble. The only problem with that is you always end up paying interest in peace and serenity.

The day I was really struggling with this feeling of "what should I do next," was the day we went over Psalm 131. It's short, so I'll include the whole thing here.

"O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from thi time forth and forever." Psalms 131

This picture of a toddler resting in its parent's arms is so sweet to me. My youngest is 10 years old, but he will still climb up in my lap and rest his head on my shoulder when he is really tired. I'm so thankful neither of my boys is too old yet to hug me (although not in public of course!).

That picture of complete trust is so sweet to me. The truth is God knows my heart. He knows my desire is to go where He wants me to go. He knows our needs (and even wants and desires) better than I know them myself, plus He knows the future. He promises to direct my paths,and I can trust that whichever path He directs me to, He will also give me the strength and perserverence to walk it.

Like a young child tired from being so busy, I can climb into my Abba's lap and rest in His love, His faithfulness and His mercy. I don't have to figure it all out - He's got it covered.

I'll leave you with the refrain from another Jamie Grace called God Girl that I really love.

I'm a God girl, that's who I be
from the top of my head to the soles of my feet
No I can't deny it, wouldn't even try
I'm your girl, in a crazy world
God girl that's who I be,
from the top of my head to the soles of my feet
I can't deny it, wouldn't even try
I'm yours
Oh I'm a loved girl and I'll always be
from the top of my head to the soles of my feet
I can't deny it, wouldn't even try
I'm Your girl for the whole wide world to see."

Monday, October 10, 2011


I have found a new singer I really like. Her name is Jamie Grace and she looks like she is about 15 years old. Of course, the older I get the younger everyone else starts to look. I see college graduates and think, "Wow, how did you get out when you are only 12?" lol

God is always so gracious to me. He seems to bring books or speakers or songs into my life just when I need them. To be perfectly frank, I'm tired. I'm weary. It's been a tough 18 months in my life. It started out a year ago this past April I had a betrayal. Well, it wasn't me so much as a loved one. Why is it that fellow believers, the ones that are supposed to have our back, seem to the one to stick the knife IN your back? And why is it that it hurts so much worse? Maybe because, since we are one body, it's just unnatural to stab yourself, so to speak. I really struggled with anger and forgiveness over that one. God and I wrestled it out for months.

Just about the time, I was really able to forgive, I started to get sick. Three colds, influenza, the stomach flu, strep throat, pink eye and a double ear infection later, we were now into spring.

I had two car accidents. My brother who I hadn't seen in a long time, came home. While this was a good thing, reunions after that long are always a bit stressful.

We had to replace more things than I think have ever happened in our married life. It started with our washing machine and progressed to my car's brakes, alternator, starter and tires. Add to that our coffee pot, telephone/answering machine, and a sewer pipe that needed cleaning and it was rather expensive.

Of course, the list just wouldn't be complete without several medical issues. My last post I shared about my husband's heart issues. To find that out included a lot of expensive tests. About the same time, my tooth started to hurt. I mean REALLY hurt, and I found out I had a cracked tooth that still might require a root canal. And let's not forget the precancerous spot that needed to be removed from my lip. Fun times.

The final straw was that I got kicked off my husband's insurance. Fortunately, I was allowed to stay on the policy but now have to pay the full premium.

The past few weeks have been a time of indecision. Do I get a full time job? Will I be able to take care of my family and work a full time job? Should I start my own business? Would I be able to make enough with my own business? What happened to being called to write? It felt like circumstances were conspiring against me. Add to this my husbands desire to eat healthy - which for him means an endless supply of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

After buying my 3rd loaf of bread in 5 days, I'm really wanting that whole miracle of the feeding of the 5000. I could use a basket of bread about now! lol

So, to say I am feeling tired the past week or so is an understatement. It just sort of all caught up with me and I would really like to take about a 3 day nap.

Enter Jamie Grace and her song "Come to Me." It just couldn't have come at a better time! I'll leave you with the words of her song.

Come To Me
I had a dream I was standing on the shore
Two feet planted in the sand
Soakin' up Your glory
Saw You walking from a distance
Without a hint of resistence
had your arms open
And a warmth in your eyes
You took my hand and whispered
Come to me when you're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurting
rest from your burden now
I woke up to the weight of the world
Right back into reality
And all that's wrong
Cuz in the midest of this chaotic life
I try to find peace of mind
But you've been there all along
And even now I hear you whisper
Come to me when you're weary
and I'll give you hope when you're hurting
I'll give you rest from your burden
I feel the weight is slowly liftin'
As you close the distance
And I know it's gonna be okay when you say
Come to me when you're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurting
oh, I'm gonna carry your burden
Come to me when you're weary and
I'll give you hope when you're hurting
I'll give you rest from your burden now
The weight is lifted now

Blessings, Bronte

Monday, September 26, 2011


Before anyone gets scared by that title, let me reassure you that I'm talking about blogging. :) Lately, every time I think about blogging, my thoughts seem too big for the keyboard. I have been hugging my experiences, thoughts and feelings tightly to me these past few weeks.

About three weeks ago, we found out my husband had some potentially serious heart problems. Needless to say, this sort of rocked my world. We found out in a very roundabout way. He had to have a physical because we wanted to increase some life insurance. We started this journey because of a "blip" on his EKG. Little did we know.

First, he went to his family doctor who sent him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist sent him for an echocardiogram and a stress test. A few days later, we were nervously waiting in the exam room to get his results.

The results ended up being no results. The tests gave an idea of what could be the problem but couldn't exactly pinpoint it. So, last Thursday (9/22), Bruce went to the hospital for a TEE - a transesophagal echo or in plain English, an ultrasound of the back of his heart.

Thankfully, we didn't have to wait for those results. While my dear husband was still out, the doctor told me some great news - no surgery because his heart valve was fine. Instead, he had a left ventricle outflow blockage - basically a blood flow problem caused by some thickened heart muscle. Because of that, my hubby would have to be on beta blockers, and would be seeing the cardiologist on a fairly regular basis. At his next appointment, they will probably strap a HOlt monitor to him for a day or two, and perhaps send him to Columbus to see an electrophysiologist. I don't know what that is either.

The weird thing was - Bruce felt and looked completely fine, even in retrospect.. Looking at him, you'd never know he had any kind of medical problem. HE didn't have any symptoms. The problem, which is congenital, was quietly ticking away inside him and neither of us had any idea there was even a problem.

It was so strange to me to know in my head that he had something seriously wrong, but to not see it with my eyes. The thought that kept coming to me was "this doesn't seem real."

This week, after gearing myself up for the open heart surgery I was sure my husband would have to have, I am sort of floundering. There's nothing to gear up for - we will just go on as we have been, albeit with more whole grains and less junk food. I suppose this feeling is a cross between relief and disbelief that life as I knew it could have changed so quickly and irrevocably. The reminder, once again, that nothing in life is for sure - that things can change from one moment to the next. The fact that I am not in control hit home once more.

I like to think if I am just organized and on top of things enough, I can control things, but as much as I'd like to think that, it's not true. It's an illusion. The same illusion that my husband appeared completely healthy.

Fortunately, we serve a God who IS in complete control. NOthing takes Him by surprise. Not only that, He loves us and is wholeheartedly for us, so we can rest in that.

God gave me this sentence throughout all this and it has been my prayer - that HIS glory will shine through us no matter what happens. "Difficult times are an opportunity for God's glory to shine through ordinary people."

He also gave us a verse the day we were nervously awaiting Bruce's test results from his stress test.

"He will have no fear of bad news; his hears it steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Psalms 112:7

You just can't get more relevant than that!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It seems intrinsic in the telling of stories and myths, that good always overcomes evil, that the hero slays the villain, that the cowboy rides into the sunset. Look at the stories that have been wildly popular movies lately. Harry Potter comes to mind - the last installment came out this summer and people were lined up around the block at the stroke of midnight to see him defeat Voldemort. Or the Lord of the Rings trilogy where the ring and Sauron were finally destroyed.

Have you noticed the stories we love the most all feature unlikely heroes- people who seem unlikely to get through the day, never mind destroy a great villain or overcome evil. But they do. It's why we cheer them on - that could be us up there on the screen.

Even the Bible stories that fill Sunday schools around the world feature young David killing Goliath the giant. Or timid, unimportant Gideon leading the charge and winning the battle. Noah gets an ark (and some cool pets); Daniel isn't eaten by the lions and Shaddrach, Meshach and Abednego walk around in a fiery furnace.

I'm not sure where the idea has seeped into mainstream Christianity that if we just love God and follow Him we will get that happily ever after here on earth. Maybe it is because of all the Bible stories with happy endings we were told as children. Or maybe it is someone taking the verse, "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," and thinking that means their life circumstances will have a movie-worthy ending.

Of course, ALL Christians have a happily ever after in eternity - it's called heaven. But here on earth, there isn't any such promise. In fact, if you take a little tour through the New Testament you'll find that all of Jesus' disciples were put to death - usually in rather gruesome ways. Stephen was stoned because he spoke so eloquently of Jesus.

And let's not forget Paul. Paul who practically wrote the whole New Testament, didn't sugar coat his experiences. He was beaten, whipped, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, snake-bit; and finally beheaded in Rome. That doesn't sound so "happily ever after" to me.

I know this sounds terribly pessimistic, but I do have a point that isn't all doom and gloom. I promise.

The truth is the Bible tells us, that as Christians, we are going to have trouble. Things may not seem to have a happy ending for us here on earth. We aren't promised that.

In fact, our life here is described as a battle. We are soldiers in an epic battle on an unseen battleground. Our lives here on earth will be hard; they will be fraught with difficulties and hardships. But knowing that, understanding that gives us a whole new perspective - the right perspective. When something happens or circumstances knock us down, we aren't disillusioned or bitter because we know - this is part of being war.

I don't know about you, but I want to acquit myself well on the battlefield. I want to hear Jesus tell me "well done, good and faithful servant." I don't want to shrink back in fear but charge with courage into the fray, holding my sword and shield high.

There is joy here on earth. God's blessings are abundant, but there aren't always the world's versions happily ever afters. We would be wise to keep our weapon at the ready, while remembering that we already know the ultimate ending to this war, if not our current battle - we win!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Recently I decided to read through the New Testament for a couple of reasons. First, I have had this burning desire to know exactly who I am in Christ. Truth sets you free and I think, as a whole, we don't know who we are as Christians these days. Our insecurity on this topic affects how we impact the world around us. Several years ago, I spent about 18 months in Psalms and wrote down everything those Psalms said about God. It was eye opening, and it deepened my relationship with God because I saw who He was so much more clearly. The second part of that, though, is to know who I am in Christ, and to learn to stand on that truth rather than just my feelings. (which now that I seem to be approaching menopause are not all that reliable! lol)

The second reason is because I have been in the Old Testament for a couple years now. I thought it might be time to switch over and get a different perspective.

So, I read through Acts which was very interesting. It was exciting to read about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the huge difference that made in the lives of the apostles. It was amazing to see 12 men change the course of history and make a tremendous difference in their world. I also didn't realize how very specifically salvation and the Holy Spirit was brought to the Gentiles. I guess I just thought that Christ died, was resurrected and that was it, but it was so much more intentional and specific.

As I got ready to read Romans, I was a bit intimidated. I'm not a Bible scholar by any stretch, so I sent up a plea to God to help me to understand the deep truths embedded into this book. I love reading God's Word. I am constantly amazed by the way God seems to speak directly to ME through the Scriptures even though they were written centuries ago.

But I have been so blessed by reading Romans because it has shown me what a true GIFT salvation is to us. I mean, I knew that in my head, but growing up in a Christian home and surrounded by church and believers and spiritual things, it is so easy to take the hugeness of that gift for granted.

Every day I read a chapter and savor it. And every day it seems I end my time in tears of thankfulness for the huge thing that God did for me by giving me the gift of salvation. Not just a "get out hell free" pass, but a relationship that makes a daily difference in my life, that changes who I am at a foundational level that I could never accomplish by myself, no matter how many self-help books I read or how many Oprah shows I watched.

I was in Romans 6 & 7 yesterday, and one verse just seemed to leap out at me. It was Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace." I don't have to be a slave to sin anymore. Because of Christ and my salvation in Him, I have the Holy Spirit, and now I have a choice about whether I will live under the yoke of sin. Before salvation, I didn't really have a choice. In my own power, I can't avoid sin or just decide to do better or turn over a new leaf. That is why there are so many self-help books - nobody has the true answer because the answer doesn't lie within ourselves.

This verse to me was a battle cry, a victory slogan. Yes, I know in chapter 7, Paul goes on to say that his flesh is weak and that he does the things he doesn't want to do, and doesn't do the things he does want to do. But that is just it - in his flesh. When he would try to avoid sin in his body or flesh, it was impossible. We don't have that kind of will power. However, when we live in the Spirit, we can be overcomers. We can be victorious over sin - not in our strength or power - but in Christ who lives in us.

I have said this numerous times in my Sunday school class in the past year - I am so tired of the defeatedness of most believers. This attitude of I'm just a sinner saved by grace. While this is true, it's not the whole truth. Once we are saved we become saints, saints that can turn the world around us upside down if we allow God to work through us. After salvation, the Scriptures do not refer to believers as sinners, but we are referred to many times as saints.

Isn't it time we start living as victors instead of losers?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I recently ordered a book called Focus in the Whirlwind by Jean Fleming. (free - thank you swagbucks!) I often feel overwhelmed by all that life seems to ask of me: be a good wife, be a good mom, eat healthy (that always seems to take longer doesn't it?), exercise, spend time with God every day, clean the house, walk the dog, work, be a good friend, and on and on it goes. So, saying that I often feel at the vortex of a whirlwind seemed an understatement.

It was interesting, because I've been reading on several blogs and in books about simplifying life. That sounds so appealing to me - a simple life, pared down to the essentials. However, as I was reading this book, Fleming challenged my thinking on the simple life. She asked a very disturbing question, "The question, 'What do I mean by simple?' uncovered a disturbing possibility. As I struggled to define simple, I realized that perhaps my desire was to eliminate the hassle, to control life, to make it more manageable. Having a blazing streak of the escapist in me, was I trying to redefine life minus the stresses and pressures?"

I, like Mrs. Fleming, also have a rather wide streak of escapist in me, too. I want a life without hassles, a life where I feel in control, but if you read in the New Testament for any length of time, it becomes clear that a life of no hassles is not promised to any believer. Quite the opposite in fact.

She then added another sentence that sort of rocked my world. "The question is not, How can I do more? but, Am I doing the right thing?" Whoa! It seems every organizational type book or article is about how to get more done in less time. No wonder everyone feels stressed in this pressure cooker of expectations. I know I struggle with the feeling of never getting enough done, and not getting it done fast enough.

Finally, Fleming gave a better way to go about this quest for simplicity - because I think we all wish for simplicity, but trying to find it in a new organizational system isn't the answer. "The simplicity man seeks is not one of organization and management, but of relationship... To add Christ to our already busy life is to complicate living; to allow Christ to absorb all the elements of our life is to simplify it."

In other words, it's not simplicity we need but focus. Who or what am I focused on? The answer should be Christ. When we make our life an offering to an audience of one - God - then our lives get infinitely simpler. It's focus even in a whirlwind.

I'll leave you with one last quote from this chapter of the book. "Neither the approval nor the disapproval of people is any sure indicator of the validity of our work; our faithfulness and obedience to God stand as the true test."

Am I passing this test? Are you?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I am a why person. I want to know why all the time. It can really drive people nuts - just ask my dear husband! :) This past week, I was listening to a Beth Moore online Bible teaching (I LOVE Beth Moore btw) and she was saying how that her abuse in her past was part of God's plan for her and that He allowed it for her good so that she could then use it in ministry. She said while God is never the author of sin, He can use awful things for our ultimate good, even if it doesn't seem that way at the time.

This, of course, led me to start asking about God's sovereignty and our free will. I was left with my brain in a tangle trying to figure out where and how these intersected with God's foreknowledge. Confused yet? Yeah, so was I!

On top of this, I was having a bad week. It just seems one thing after another keeps hitting us, and as I was looking at God's sovereignty it became sort of personal as I applied it all to my life. I mean, how was it God's will - His PLAN - for people to sin against my family? How was it His plan that after He called me and gave me a desire to write, I would have to find a full time job with benefits? I was left with this feeling of how can I trust God if I don't understand this? How can I be at peace with it all even if I can't fully wrap my mind around it?

Well, over the course of several days of wrestling with this(and honestly, this idea of God being in total control even of the bad stuff that happens has cropped up in my daily Bible study, sermons and even the Beth Moore lesson I clicked on!) I had a sort of epiphany during church (where once again this subject came up!). If I will only trust God when I can see the big picture and understand what He is doing, well, that isn't really trust is it?

It was like I was saying to God, "I'll trust You as soon as You explain Yourself to me and assure me of a happily ever after ending." What audacity! What cheek! To say to God Almighty - "Prove Yourself trustworthy to me." My pride and arrogance sort of make me shudder now when I think about it!

One thing that I have read several times in my Bible study is the phrase, "Will you trust God's character more than your circumstances." I guess I could add - "Will I trust God's character even when I can't understand how and what He is doing?" The bottom line is life is hard. Bad things happen to everyone because we live in a fallen world. However, I would rather go through it with God at my side, holding my hand even if I am walking in the dark than to walk in full light without Him.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Do you ever find yourself asking "what if"? I do it all the time. In fact, I'm so good at it, I can work myself into a mind-blowing tizzy in a matter of seconds - from serene to freaked out in under 60 seconds! That's not quite the kind of record I can be proud of though!

At the bottom the whirling, churning of "what if" worries though is the truth that what I am really doing is not trusting God with the future. I am choosing instead, to trust myself. All my excuses - I have an active imagination so I can't help it; I need to be practical and find solutions; etc. - are just a cover up that I am allowing circumstances that haven't even happened yet to trump what I know and profess to believe about God. Ouch!

Today in my Bible study, Linda Dillow shared several verses that really hit home - that whole Word of God being a sharp two-edged sword I guess. The one is a bit long so I won't write it all here but it is found in Jeremiah 17:5-8. It compares the life of a person who trusts in themselves - "like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitants" - to the person whose trust is in the Lord - "for he will be like a tree planted by the water, that etends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."

As I read those verses, I realized that I really, really don't want to be like that dried up bush in the desert. I want to be like the green tree that still produces fruit even during a drought. I don't want to blend into the dry, thirsty landscape, no different than my surroundings. I want to stand out like a green beacon, a testiment to God's faithfulness even in seemingly unconducive conditions for growth.

Another verse that stuck with me was Psalms 112:7 which says, "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Can you imagine serenity and peace in the face of any news at all? That's what I want - to be fearless.

Of course, I can't get there on my own. I am weak and, well, rather wimpy if you want t know the truth. But I guess that is the whole point. I am not trusting in myself. I am trusting in God and His character, His promises, His faithfulness.

So, how do I do that practically? I think that if there is something looming on the horizon, I need to face it head on - what is the worst of my "what if" that could happen? Then I need to trust that God will be with me and carry me through even in that worst case scenerio. I'm reminded of Esther. She feared going in before the king without being summoned because he could kill her for that inpertinance. But she got to the point where she said, "If I perish, I perish." Only then could she do what God had asked of her.

The other thing I need to do is take my thoughts captive. I don't know about you, but my thoughts are pretty wild and uncontrollable sometimes and not very submissive to being tamed. But I have to run them through the filters of what is true and good and right. I have to saturate my mind with God's Word so that instead of Satan's lies, I can hold onto truth even when my feelings and thoughts aren't there yet.

So I'm left with another "what if." What if I trusted God's character and faithfulness rather than my circumstances and imaginings? What if you did?

~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yes, it is true - I am the mother of a teenager. It really doesn't seem possible - I don't feel nearly old enough to have a teenager. It's strange how 12 sounds so much younger than 13 for some reason.

But my oldest son, Brock Howard, is now 13 years old. He turned 13 on Friday, July 29th. I remember his birth like it was yesterday. From the day he was born, that child has had a laser-like focus. He's still that way today.

I distinctly remember when Brock was about 2 years old. He was playing on the floor in front of the sliding glass doors that went out to our patio. That was when we lived in the condo. He had on one of those sleepers with feet and was happily building something with his blocks. The sun streamed in and gilded his blonde head. I remember thinking at the time that I wanted to freeze that moment, that I would blink and he'd be all grown up. Well, I blinked. He's not all grown up but in five (5!!) years, he'll be 18 years old. My job will essentially be over.

Even now, my job is lessening. When God told Eve about the curse of pain in childbirth, I don't think He meant all physical. Being a mother is at times bittersweet because the whole point is to work yourself out of a job. With each year that passes, my influence, my guidance will get less and less.

So far, Brock has been a great kid. He reads his Bible every day without fail and asks insightful questions. He has a heart for the lost and has lead several of his neighborhood friends to the Lord. He is kind to other people, even his little brother most of the time. He is respectful and polite (if a bit quiet and shy with adults). He has high standards for himself. I mean, how often do you have a 13 year old who blares the Canton Spirituals as his music of choice? lol He is so smart, he takes my breath away sometimes. The thing I admire most about Brock though is his self-discipline - probably because that doesn't come very naturally to me. From the time he was very young, Brock has had the ability to decide to do something and then follow through. I hope he retains that trait as I believe it will serve him well in his life.

Although very serious by nature, he has a dry sense of humor that catches you off guard and makes me laugh until I can't breath and tears leak from my eyes.

Time goes by so quickly. It is hard to believe that 13 years have gone by since Brock was born early and tiny. But here we are. I pray that I can be the mother he needs to finish guiding him to manhood. I pray, as I always do, that he will love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself. I pray that he will continue to love God's Word and study it. Brock is a blessing that I thank God for every day. Despite my lack of maternal instincts, God has blessed me with not one, but two wonderful sons.

So, welcome to the teen years, Brock. May God bless you and keep you through these fun but turbulent years. I can't wait to see what the years bring in the next 13 years!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, July 30, 2011


When I was a kid, I used to play down in our basement with my best friend, Karen. I remember how cool the basement was compared to the hot summer days outside. In fact, it was so cool in the basement, Karen and I would drag down blankets and pile them on top of ourselves. I always felt very snug and safe during those times. I felt somehow, like I was hidden from the world where nobody could ever find me. Of course, this was all an illusion since we were just underneath the stairs and anybody could have walked down them, peered through the slats and seen us. But nonetheless, I felt like I was safe in that cubby hole beneath the stairs, wrapped in the scratchy Afghans my grandmother had crocheted.

Fast forward to the other day. I was walking in Walmart of all places, looking for a loaf of bread. I searched up and down the aisles and couldn't find the bread anywhere. This Walmart had only opened up recently and I'd only been there once before for something completely unrelated to bread. Finally, I asked someone and they pointed me to the "bakery" section. It was a nook with shelves lined with soft loaves of bread in plastic wrappers proclaiming names I was very familiar with like Wonder and Aunt Millie's. Suddenly, as I stood there, surrounded by the familiar and comforting smell of starch, I had that same feeling of safeness that I used to get as a kid under my basement stairs. It was tempting to stay in that safe little nook surrounded by bread indefinitely. Don't ask me why a bread area in a box store made me feel that waym but it did.

It also brought to mind that lately, I've felt like I have been free falling. Circumstances and frustrations have given me the uneasy feeling of walking on a very shaky bridge, never sure if the next step will hold me or not. To be honest, it makes me feel very tired and weary. But amongst those shelves of bread, I suddenly felt cocooned and insulated from the real world, like its noise was somehow muffled.

As I made my way to the check out, my Wonder Whole Wheat Italian loaf in my cart, it hit me that I am always safe, starch or no starch. I am wrapped in the love of the Father who never lets me go and never leaves me. Not to mention, Jesus is my ever ready "bread" of life. Walmart is a strange place to have an epiphany, but I find God is just as much present in the mundane as the sublime, somehow transforming something daily into something holy. At any rate, eating toast has a whole new meaning to me now! :)

~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This Bible study I'm doing, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow isn't at all what I thought it would be. I guess I was thinking it would be a bit more warm and fuzzy. I wasn't expected to be challenged, convicted and prodded quite so much. But that's a good thing. I think, anyway.

She pointed out I Peter 5:6,7 in the reading and the homework portion. This resonated with me so strongly that I didn't finish yesterday's homework but just sat there meditating on these veres. Not only were the verses the author mentioned gripping, but the ones that came after struck me even more forcefully. Here they are:

"Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, frim in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." I Peter 5:6-10

Interestingly, the verse before this ends with "God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble." Verse 6 makes it plain that we need to be humble AND give all of our anxieties to God. The word casting literally means "to hurl" which gives a funny sort of picture in my mind of me running by God, pelting Him with all my anxieties and worries. It seems to give this picture of anxiety hot potato - get rid of them as quickly as possible by hurling them at God who is big enough to handle them all.

The next verse tells us to be sober and alert because Satan is looking for people to devour. The words be sober in the Greek mean to be calm and collected in spirit. I've seen these verses before but suddenly, when looking at them all together something clicked into place for me. In order to be sober and alert about the devil so I can avoid being devoured by him, I need to be humble and not full of anxiety and fear. Those things - pride and fearfulness - make me a prime target for the Satan's attacks. They certainly don't give me a calm and collected spirit!

Even the very first sin took place because of both pride and fear. Pride that Eve knew better than God and wanted to be in control. Fear because she feared that God wasn't really good and was holding out on her with the good stuff. How many times do I fall into Satan's trap because of pride (it does come before a fall after all!) or fears/anxieties? Way more than I want to admit!

But the next verse tells me what to DO: "resist him, firm in your faith..." Faith is utter trust in God - not myself (pride) or in circumstances (fears/anxieties). In these verses, Peter is saying "yes, things might be hard and you might suffer but if we hold on to God - have faith - then He will do something wonderful in us.

The last verse gives us the results of not letting fear or pride make us an easy target. It says God HIMSELF will "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." Because I am somewhat of a Bible nerd, I had to look up those words in the Greek. Perfect means to render complete or sound. Confirm means to make stable, place firmly, set fast. Strengthen here means to make steadfast. Finally, establish means to lay the foundation. This presents such a different picture than the one that the devil is seeking to devour doesn't it?

I don't know about you, but I want to be the final picture - completed, placed firmly, steadfast and with a solid foundation NOT a tasty entree for the devil's neverending appetite! God tells me how too - be humble and giving (throwing) my anxieties to Him. I guess I better start working on my throwing arm!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Lately, I've been coming up against the call I feel God has placed on my life - ministering to women through writing, teaching and speaking - and the reality of my life which is the financial need to work a lot.

I feel like I am standing, like the Israelites, on the banks of the Jordan River. On the other side is the Promised Land. I can see it and oh does it sparkle in the sun! But between me and the Promised Land is a raging river. It froths and churns. It does not appear to be crossable in any way. My meager attempts to build rafts or rig up some kind of conveyance to get across have been futile. Every time I try to get across, waves and rocks crash into me and send me scrambling back to the shore.

To be honest, I feel sort of abandoned on this shore with the promise seemingly taunting me from the other side. I feel like I did take that first step of faith by quitting my job last year with nothing to count on but God's call and promise.

Yes, God was very good to provide me with two jobs, but the time it took to do them (and the string of health issues I've had in the past months) left me with nothing to give to my calling. Now another financial burden has been heaped on my shoulders and it seems impossible to cross this raging river with it tied onto my back.

I wish I could say I had the answers to this. But I don't. I wish I could say I saw a way that God was making for me. But I don't. I wish I could say I feel hopeful and optimistic here on my rocky shore. But I don't.

What I do know though is that God is faithful. Always. What I do know is that He is bigger than any circumstance that comes my way. What I do know is that He is always with me because He promises to never leave me or forsake me. What I do know is that He has a plan and a purpose for my life and if I let Him, even difficult, seemingly overwhelming circumstances can be used to bring Him glory and deepen my relationship with Him. What I do know is that HE is the Blessed Controller, not me. What I do know is that nothing can seperate me from His love. What I do know, that no matter how it feels, I am overwhelmingly a conqueror through Christ. (Interesting that Greek word for overwhelmingly conquerors is the root for Nike and their slogan for "Just Do It.")

"But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able tosepearte us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our God." Romans 8:37-39

So, I can stand on the rocky shore and know that my footing is firm even if the river seems too big and wild for me. Blessed be the Rock of my Salvation!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


"Contentment is not about our circumstances - it is about our heart." I'm currently doing a Bible study by Linda Dillow on the subject of anxiety and contentment. When I picked up the study, the idea of being calm no matter the circumstances appealed to me. Over the past several years, I have struggled with anxiety quite a bit.

Some of it is my personality - all the what if's that crowd in to my head, regularly make mountains out of molehills. But I recently found out that a lot of it had to do with some medication I'd been taking - who knew?

But regardless, my natural state is not calmness. My natural state tends toward worry and what ifs. I thought it interesting that in the very first chapter, the author tied peace and calmness in to contentment. Hmmm, interesting. I had not tied those two together in my quest for peace and calmness. I saw them as two seperate things - apparently not.

The verses she focused on were Philippians 4:11-13 where Paul talks about being content in whatever state he finds himself in - needy or prosperous. Strangely enough, just last week I found a blog ( a woman was talking about how God was working in her life to live more for Him and serving others than working on her savings portfolio. She specifically mentioned Dave Ramsey and how she wasn't going to be following his steps to savings.

Whoo- boy, did a "discussion" evolve from that. I mean, people were definitely taking sides and some were even taking cheap shots at the blogger, as well as, other posters. I felt badly for the poor woman since she was just wanting to share what God was doing in HER life - how He had turned her thinking upside down! Yes, it did come across a little bit like everyone should do what she was doing, but sometimes, it's hard to not get carried away in our enthusiasm and come across that way even if that is NOT the intent.

And let's face it, there are far more Christians who don't seem to even be aware there IS suffering or any different realities than their own present one than ones who shed tears over the persecuted, the hungry and the oppressed. But I digress...

After reading her blog, I was convicted to look up and out more often, to look for opportunities to share the blessings God has given me. This in turn made me so much more aware of all that God HAS blessed me with. I was also left with a couple questions from all those comments. Is it a sin to save for the future and have an emergency fund? I don't think so. Is it a sin NOT to save for the future and have an emergency fund? Again, I don't believe so. I was left with this answer: What IS a sin is to NOT do whatever God is telling you to do. The Bible DOES specifically say that if we know we are to do something and then don't do it, that is sin.

Anyway, the reason the verses and that blog collided in my mind was because as I read that Paul was content not just in humble circumstances but also when he was prosperous, it hit me like a 2 x 4 that God isn't in the business of blessing us to then guilt us because we ARE blessed. I think we all need to open our eyes to how richly we are blessed in this country and also to the needs around the world, but it isn't supposed to be another cause of anxiety.

Instead, it's another opportunity to trust God and follow Him. It is a chance to once again come face to face with the fact that "The Lord has established His thrones in heaven and His sovereignty rules over all." Psalms 103:19

Coming to God and realizing that everything we have is really His gives you a different perspective on what to do with "your" money - whether that is saving or giving. God tells us in James that if we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us, so I don't think God is up there trying to leave us in the dark about this subject. What a burden lifter to know that I don't have to figure it all out. I can ask for God's guidance in all things, including my blessings, and He will give it! And that is just anoher thing to be thankful for and a thankful, gratitude-filled heart is one way to find some contentment!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The package lay on the table. It was wrapped in beautiful paper with a shiny bow. The tag said, Love, Daddy. I opened it and stared in dismay at what lay inside. It was a dress. But... the color was all wrong for me. And the fit - well, it did fit but it was so uncomfortable, not me at all. I shoved the gift back in its box and set it aside in an out of the way closet.

Later that day, Daddy came to find me. "Daughter," he said, "where is the gift I gave you? Why aren't you wearing it?"

I hesitated, looked at the ground and then the ceiling. "Um, well, I, well, that is, I put it away for now," I stammered.

"But, Daughter, I chose that for you because I knew it was just what you needed."

Finally, in frustration, I blurted, "But it's the wrong color and it's not comfortable and it, well, it just wasn't what I wanted. Not at all - how could you say it's good for me?"

"Don't you trust me to give you good things?" my Father asked gently.

"I do, but everyone makes mistakes," I said. "If you would just let me show you what I want, it would work so much better."

"No, that is what I chose for you," he said. "It is what you need, but it is your choice whether you will accept it and wear it."

That night, I couldn't get the look of sorrow my Daddy's face held. So, the next morning, I pulled the box out of the closet. I smoothed my hand over the rumpled fabric. Maybe the color wasn't so bad. I pulled it on and it still did not feel comfortable. Yet, I decided I would wear it. I would accept this gift my Father gave me and even though it wasn't what I would choose myself, I would be thankful my father gave it to me.

When my Father saw me the next day, his face lit up and his smile warmed my heart. "Daughter, you look beautiful."

Strangely, even though I originally thought the color was wrong and the fit was wrong, every time I wore the dress, people would comment on how radiant I looked; how it brought out things in me they never noticed before. I wore the dress for years, and it became a favorite - a visible reminder of my Father's love for me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


That phrase sounds so great when we hear it coming from the pastor - "walk by faith." It sounds inspiring when we hear other people share how "walking by faith" got them through a tough situation. It doesn't sound so marvelous when you are applying it to your own situation.

With God, there is always a reason for everything. Nothing is by chance, and He knows just what you need, when you need it. For the past few weeks, I have been very, very busy with my kids' activities. It's made me feel a bit crazy, truth be known. In addition to that, I have been plagued by "what if's" and "how will we..." with our finances.

Midweek, I found myself jealous and envious of a good friend because she was getting to do what I want to do - speak God's Truth to others. I know, that sounds so immature and selfish doesn't it? I cringe typing those words, but there it is.

Some days, I feel old, washed up - like it is getting close to being too late to realize my dreams. I feel stuck in what I have to do and what I feel called to do.

Because of these things converging all at the same time, I have been frantically running around, trying to fix it, trying to figure out what to do next. I've been exhausting myself, scrabbling for answers like someone running around in the dark, running into the furniture but without the good sense to stop and turn on the light.

This week, as I was praying about this, complaining really about how was I supposed to do what God called me to do and still fix all these things, I felt God tell me to be still. To just stop already.

This morning, in my quiet time I was reading Psalms 18 and verse 28 caught my eye. It says, "For You light my lamp; the Lord my God illumines my darkness." What hit me was the psalmist did not say THE darkness. He said MY darkness. In other words, God lights up OUR areas of darkness so we can see the path, sometimes only one foot fall in front of us, but that is all we need with God at our side.

Today, I also attended a Thelma Wells conference. I don't know if you know who Thelma Wells is, but you can find out more about her at What I can tell you is she is a 70-year- old woman with a great sense of humor, a realness, a "tell it like it is" forthrightness and a deep faith that make you want to curl up and listen to what she says. She talked about walking by faith.

The thing that she said that really hit me was that nobody can keep you from what God has for you but yourself, and also, that we are not in control. I have been trying to control things, trying to fix things, trying to arrange things neatly and in order. And guess what? That isn't my job. What a relief!! It was like a great big boulder rolled off my shoulders. "Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Through Mama T, as they call her, God shined His light on my darkness. "Be still and know that I am God." I think this summer that is what I am going to do - just be still.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My boys are big sports fanatics, so instead of relaxing this first week of summer vacation we are going back and forth to basketball camp and baseball practice/games. At least they aren't bored, right?

Yesterday, I was sitting in the bleachers waiting for my youngest, Brody, to finish up. From behind me I heard this woman talking to her son. She was complaining and criticizing the camp. I have no idea who the woman was, but I do know that she did not seem to be very happy.

The Bible tells us that man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. The thing is though that the only way people have to know we are Christians is by our actions and words. The fruit of our lives gives them a picture not only of our hearts but also of who God is.

My impression of the woman behind me wasn't a positive one, to be honest. My first thought was that she would be difficult to get along with. I have no idea if that is actually true - she could be the nicest person ever. But her complaining and criticism gave me a picture of who she was - right or wrong though that picture might be.

It hit me, as I sat there, that people watch us. They watch us when we are not aware we are being watched. How do I act? Am I negative, complaining or critical? Or do I radiate God's joy and love? How do I treat workers at stores that might not be so polite? How do I treat the waitress at the restaurant who has too many tables and seems a bit slow in service? What is my reaction to the man who cuts me off in traffic?

It was a bit sobering to realize that people, including my own kids, form a picture of me based on my behavior and words. It is true that we can't be perfect and that we do not earn our salvation or earn more of God's love based on our actions. But it is equally true that our fruits or behavior/words give others the only picture they can really have of who we are, what we believe and often who God is. I am praying that God makes my picture a true reflection of Him.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


So, it's been exactly a week since my outpatient surgery. Before I get into what God showed me today in my quiet time, I really need to give some public praise for God's goodness to me this past week.

First of all, the one thing I was really nervous about was the IV. Usually, the nurse has a terrible time getting the IV in and it hurts and I come home black and blue. This time, they numbed it! It was a breeze and the IV went in on the first stick! What I want to know is where has this stuff been all my life??? lol

Second, my recovery has been very easy. I wasn't sure what to expect, but from everything I read and what the doctor told me, more pain seemed to be in the forecast. But there wasn't. I think I took a total of 3 pain pills the entire week, including Tylenol. They prescribed me enough percacet to last a month though. Now I'm prepared if the summer gets a bit tedious - just kidding!

Okay, now on to my study this morning. We are starting a new study in my Sunday School class - an indepth look at Romans 8. To be honest, I was intimidated because I have to teach it, and Romans has always seemed to me so, well, Biblically scholarly. There is a lot of great stuff in Romans, but there is also a lot of foundational theology and I am NOT a Bible scholar. I mean, I was wondering if I could DO the study, nevermind TEACH it!

So, wasn't it interesting that today's lesson focused on the Spirit in us. As I noted how walking in the Spirit was infinitely better than walking in the flesh, it occured to me that while I have to be willing, the Spirit is the one that does all the heavy lifting.

My study took me back to John 16:5-15, where Jesus is telling His disciples that He needs to go but that He will send the Spirit to them. Jesus started telling the all the benefits the Holy Spirit will bring. He will convict and He will instruct and He will comfort.

I've spent my whole life in church. I went to a Christian school and for several years, to a Christian college. It's not like the fact that once you are saved, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you is news to me. But today, I was just overwhelmed by what an awesome gift that really is!

Then my study took me to a brief perusal of Acts to look at the changes in the disciples. It was the typical before and after idea, but spiritual instead of physical.

The first person that caught my eye was Peter. Peter, who denied Christ three times. Peter, who brashly cut off the soldiers ear. Peter, who seemed to always be sticking his foot in it. THAT Peter was different on the day of Pentecost. The new Peter was bold. He took a stand and stepped out in leadership on that day. The Holy Spirit changed him from the inside out in a way that even his years living with Jesus didn't.

Then there are the miracles the disciples performed. They healed. They cast out demons. These were the same disciples who back in the book of Mark couldn't cast out one demon from a boy because they lacked the faith. Not now though. Suddenly, they had the confidence that God would show His power through them. The difference? The Holy Spirit.

It is a huge testament of what the Spirit can do, if we let Him. If we live like we are conquerors, instead of the vanquished. If we live for God without apology instead of worrying about offending. If we live like God dwells in us, instead of relying on ourselves and our own puny strength. I can't wait to share these things God showed me with my class. And guess what? I'm no longer worried about being out of my depth because it's really not about what I know or don't know. It's about what God shows me to share with others. I can trust Him to always come through!

~ Blessings, Bronte