Monday, February 21, 2011


I think I started telling stories out of self-preservation. When I went to school, there was none of this "if it's below freezing you stay inside for recess." We went out - no matter how cold it was. So often, we girls would huddle by the wall in a clump, trying to stay warm.

I found a way to be in the center of the huddle - always warm. I would tell stories. Like Shehazarade, I kept the other girls grouped around me while I, with my back to the wall and warm bodies surrounding me, kept the cold at bay by spinning tales.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved to read - didn't matter what type of story, it would pull me in. I love stories still - whether books or movies - I can find myself walking by the kids' movie and end up standing there with dust rag or folded laundry forgotten in my hands as I get pulled into the story.

Maybe this is why I've always wanted to write - the true joy of a good tale. Let's face it, for a very long time in human history, story was the way that history, morals, and lessons took place. A mother could tell her child not to wander in the woods alone because it was dangerous, but how much more effective to share the story of Hansel and Gretel to get the point across?

Even Jesus shared truths wrapped up in stories. Who of us who have gotten off the path can forget the power of the Prodigal Son? The word picture of the seeds thrown on different types of ground has us vowing not to be the hard or thorny ground.

Stories have power. Stories reach us when plain facts or statistics never will. How many times have you heard about the poor and hungry children in other countries, but ah, when you put a face and an individual child's story with those facts and statistics, suddenly our hearts are engaged.

Growing up, the fictional people in my life had great influence over me. I loved the series Anne of Green Gables and Anne was a guiding light in my teenage years. She kept me from doing things I might have otherwise tried but for the fact, "that wasn't something Anne would do!"

I suppose that is why I have the desire to write not just things like Bible studies or articles for a newspaper - I want to help people. And let's face, a story can deliver a lesson -while we are entertained and enthralled - in a way no straight forward lecture ever can.

After a busy few months taken up with learning two news jobs and dealing with illness and a variety of other things, I have decided to get serious about writing. Since a workshop or conference are out of the budget, I am doing my own version. For 90 minutes every day, I will do a lesson out of two different books to hone my craft. I have the germ of a story idea and I hope through these lessons to get things rolling. Maybe some day, the people I create will help someone else along their way.

As they say, "The pen IS mightier than the sword."
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, February 20, 2011


When I was in kindergarten, I had this friend named Emily. Emily wasn't always the nicest of little girls. For instance, she invited me over to her house and then spent the entire visit hiding under the bed - not exactly a playdate success. She could also say some mean things once in a while. I remember one day we were playing on recess and for whatever reason (I can't remember now), Emily was mad at me. Since she was a little girl and not a little boy, she decided to take a verbal swing at me.

I was adopted and Emily knew this. She lifted her little chin, looked down her button nose at me and said, "Your mommy and daddy didn't want you."

Not cowed in the least, I narrowed my eyes, stuck my face within an inch of hers and informed her, "MY parents chose me; yours were stuck with you!" And off I flounced, leaving little Emily standing on the playground.

For some kids, a comment like that would have been devastating, but it didn't hurt me at all. Why is that, you might ask. It was because, even at the tender age of five, I knew who I belonged to and that I was loved, and because of that knowledge I knew who I was and was confident in that. For me, being adopted was never a cause for angst because I saw it not as being rejected by someone, but as being chosen by someone.

In our spiritual lives, the Bible says that we were "predestined for adoption." In those tmes, when a child was adopted, all the legal rights associated with a child born into the family were given to the adopted child.

How many of us live as if we are not quite sure of our place in God's family? I know I am guilty of times like living as a guest and not a true family member, with all rights, priveleges and powers that being a child of God entails.

Over and over again this year, through Bible studies and teachings that I hear, I am impressed by the importance to really KNOW who I am in Christ and then to choose to believe that truth, no matter how I happen to be feeling that day. That means, I'm a princess whether I am having a good hair day or not!

Below are just a few things that God says in His Word are true about one of His children. I hope they bless you and amaze you as much as they did me this week.

* Part of the true vine (John 15:1-2)
* Receive every spiritual blessing in the heavently places (Eph. 1:6)
* God will complete a good work in you (Phil. 1:6)
* Member of Christ's body (I Cor. 12:27)
* Free from condemnation (Rom. 8:31)
* Can't be seperated from God's love (Rom.8:32-39)
* Light in the world (Matt. 5:14)
* Hidden in Christ (Col. 3:1-4)
* Born of God and Satan cannot touch me (I John 5:18)
* Christ's friend (John 15:15)
* Redeemed and forgiven (Eph. 1:3)
* Given the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16)
* Made alive with Chris (Eph. 2:5)
* Child of God (I John 3:1,2)

There are many more things we are as children of God than this, but I hope these few encourage you.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, February 14, 2011


This past Sunday, I spent most of the service talking to a friend of mine. We hit a lot of topics and the time went by so quickly, both of us were surprised when people started leaving and we realized church was over! Whoops!

One of the things she told me was that her husband had read or listened online to someone saying that in only a few years time, our U.S. economy would collapse and we all need to be ready to survive when that happens.

I don't know about you, but disaster scenerios tend to make me feel panicky. I feel very vulnerable because I live in the city and our home and property are not necessarily conducive to "living off the land." Unless, by living off the land, you mean killing squirrels with a shovel and cooking them on our gas grill.

Add to this, I really don't have a lot of "Little House on the Prairie" type of skills. I'm lucky if I can get a button sewn on straight. If I tried to can anything, I'd probably poison all of us! I am a city girl and sort of wimp, to tell the truth.

My problem is I have a very active imagination though, so I can leap frog rather quickly from a possibility to a worst-case scenerio in a matter of seconds.

I left church feeling a bit shaky, picturing the kids trying to kill squirrels with rocks and wondering how I would skin and cook the things anyway! See? Overactive imagination at work! I pushed the idea out of my mind. But I could still feel my fears breathing down my neck. I tried to act like they weren't there, but I wasn't fooling anyone.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's important to have some emergency precautions taken care of. I mean, if the power goes out, it's a good idea to have some flashlights or candles and maybe a battery-powered radio. It's probably a good idea to have some extra food on hand.

But for me, fear is something that is always ready to be my companion. It is just waiting for the least little invitation to come barging into my life and make itself at home.

Let's face it, the old U.S.A. isn't in the best shape these days. As time goes by, we DO get closer to the end times, too. I don't know what those will look like but my guess is it won't be all roses and daisies. Even though I believe in the Rapture, that doesn't mean it might not get kind of bad before it happens. World events can seem scary and make us feel vulnerable and frightened.

It's would be easy for me to start piling up toilet paper and toothe paste; to stock up on first aid supplies and extra water. I'm not saying that it is necessarily bad to do a little preparing, BUT it I have to be careful NOT to put my faith in the stockpile.

Eventually, even the best stocked emergency pile will run out. When we put our faith in things of this earth, we will be eventually disappointed and we are still vulnerable.

As I was praying about this, God brought to mind Phil. 4:6-8, particularly the last part of that. "Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things."

The part that caught my attention was "whatever is true." It IS true that the world can be a scary place - disasters, illness, tragedies, ugliness in all forms are all around us. But it is also true that THIS is not our home. We have something much greater waiting for us AND we have Someone much bigger on our side.

It is also true that God has made some promises to us to calm our fears, to reassure us that He cares, He sees us and we have no reason to worry or be anxious about anything - even the end of the world as we know it.

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

"Do not worry then, saying "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear for clothing?" For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." Matt. 6:31-33

Whatever the future brings, as long as I have my God, my emergency kit is full!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, February 4, 2011


I'll be honest - this has been a very hard few weeks. It sort of culminated last Thursday night as I passed the night hours wide awake, fretting and worrying about all I needed to get done the next day.

You'd think after three days at home, I'd be all caught up and relaxed. But I wasn't. I'd been fighting a very bad cold all week, and while I was exceedingly grateful for the three days of rest, I didn't get a whole lot done.

So last Thursday about 3 a.m. (how cliched is that? lol) I woke up since my cold meds had worn off, and my nose was all stuffed up and my cough had started up again. I trotted out to the kitchen to get some medicine and something hot to drink.

Just as I started to climb back into bed, the dog started whining. Now, those of you who know me, know I love my dog. But I have to admit, I wasn't feeling the love as I stuffed my feet back into my slippers and let him outside, shivering in the laundry room. I was feeling even LESS love when I let him back in and realized why he needed to make a middle of the night potty stop. Doggy diarrhea. Did I mention my dog has a lot of long hair? Yeah - yuck!

I climbed back into bed. As I laid there, the reel of things I needed to get done started running through my head. Anxiety piled onto worry onto fretting. Why does it seem somehow more desperate and difficult in the middle of the night? Maybe because it seems like you are the only one awake anywhere. Meanwhile, my dear husband snored on.

After tossing and turning for another hour, I just started to drift off to sleep when my husband's alarm went off. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang announcing a school delay. Some 40 minutes after that, my husband's alarm went off AGAIN, just as I started to doze AGAIN. And yes, I felt a little bitter about it at that point.

It wasn't until several hours later, after I dragged myself out of bed, gotten the kids off to school and sat down with a cup of coffee and my Bible that I figured out something.

Ever since I started writing my column in our local paper, things have been hard. I haven't had this many viruses right in a row since my youngest son was a baby (and he'll be 10 yo in June!). Discouragement, weariness, anxiety - all these things have dogged my steps in the five or so weeks since I started.

I hesitate to say this because somehow it feels sort of puffed up and prideful or something, but it began to occur to me that maybe, just maybe, I might be under spiritual attack. Suddenly, the past weeks seemed different to me - like a training ground. In the movie screen in my head, I heard the clash of steel swords against heavy shields. I saw soldiers sweating and grunting and working at learning how to defend and parry blows.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces and wickedness in the heavenly places." ~ Ephesians 6:12

My weeks of difficulty were not just happenstance. But still I was hesitant to label what I had experienced spiritual warfare. That seemed something reserved more for people who were in "real" ministry. Writing a weekly story in a small local newspaper hardly seemed worthy of any kind of attack.

As I closed up my quiet time with God, I got out my notecards. I am trying to memorize Scripture. Not being as young as I once was, this is a challenge - not only to memorize it in the first place, but then to keep it memorized. It had been a little while since I got out my latest project - Isaiah 61.

This passage had called out to me to be memorized back in December. I don't even remember how I came across it again, but that is how it is - a passage will speak to me and I know I need to get out my notecards and start memorizing.

The first verse in the passage is, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners."

As I read this verse, it just hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. THAT is what God has called ME to do. It was the word "news" that drew my attention like a magnet. The stories I write, the things I cover ARE to bring good news to people. I am hoping and praying that they DO set people free and help the brokenhearted. I hesitate to even type that because it sounds sort of conceited, but in reality, it is very humbling.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to write. I've loved stories and words as far back as I can remember. The reason is because things I have read have helped me, and I have always wanted to do that for other people - whether that was a good fiction story or an article. To think, something that brings me great joy in doing could help someone else, could be something God was using to help others, it just sort of blows my mind.

I'll close out with this quote I found while studying for my Sunday school class lesson in Romans 12 by F.B. Meyer. "It is urgently needful that hte church understands it is not a company of invalids that need to be cossetted and nursed and handfed with the senior pastor being seen as the head physician and chief nurse. But we need to see ourselves as a tough, capable garret of soldiers in enemy territory - each with an assignment to do."

~ Blessings, Bronte