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