Monday, March 26, 2012


As a general rule, I like change. This makes me part of the minority since, I guess, a majority of the population is not a fan - go figure. I tend to get bored easily (I think I've had about 8 different shower curtains in the 11 years I've lived in this house, and twice that many different hair styles). I love to see new places, meet new people and learn new things. Too much of the same thing makes me restless and even slightly depressed.

However, sometimes change is bittersweet. A very good friend of mine just got a new job. I'm really excited for her, and I think it's a great fit for her talents and abilities. She's over the moon about it, too. It's always a very cool thing to see joyful anticipation in people you care about.

But with every new thing, even good ones, there comes the inevitable changes.

For several years now, she and I have been "work at home" buddies. It wasn't like we could get together every day (we both worked, after all - and yes, you DO work, even if you do it from home), but we did see each other several times a week, mostly during my daily 30 minutes of dog walking. We would grab a quick lunch when we needed a break. Now, I won't see her nearly as much. That's just the reality.

And, I'll miss her.

It doesn't make me any less happy for her, or keep me from wishing and praying for her success in this new venture, but it does make me the teeniest bit sad for myself. Friends are precious commodities to me.

Life is like that, though. Even when we care about people, we don't always float on the same current. It's inevitable - jobs change, people marry or have babies or move - and suddenly, that person you saw all the time, you now see maybe once a month, if that.

I remember when my kids were tiny, I had a group of women I saw weekly, if not more often. They were the only adult voices, sometimes, in a world of Dora the Explorer , diapers and sippy cups. We kept each other sane. We made each other laugh. We promised each other that we weren't scarring our kids for life because we fed them mac and cheese again and let them watch an hour of television. Most of those women I see rarely now. Months go by without us being able to sync our schedules.

So, life will change. Again.

But that's okay. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans, not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

God has great plans for her. God has great plans for me, too. Change doesn't have to be the death knell of a friendship. Sometimes, it even makes a good thing better.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I started a new series in my Sunday School class a few weeks ago on spiritual gifts. We are taking a look at the main passages that deal with the gifts and then looking at each gift individually. I was excited to get started because I've been wanting to study this subject in depth for a while.

Interestingly, what has struck me is not the gifts, but Paul's (and Peter's too) emphasis on unity and love among the body of Christ - and keep in mind by body, Paul is referring to ALL believers around the entire globe, not just a particular church.

Hmm. Not what I was expecting really. I was expecting to learn about the gifts and how they can be used, but over and over again Paul stresses that we are all one body, that we are ONE, that when we use our gifts, it is for the good of everyone and should be done in love.

In fact, all those wedding ceremonies you've been to aside, the I Corinthians 13 "love chapter" is not really about marriage at all (although it can certainly be used in that context since ALL believers should treat each other with this kind of love, including the ones who are married to each other!). It's about how we are to love each other within the body of Christ. Paul also brings up the fact that how we treat each other shows the outside world that we are believers.


One thing I've been finding out as I study the spiritual gifts, is that it seems to be a source of division among believers. People don't get too upset about things like mercy or helping or service, but they sure get their knickers in a twist over things like apostleship, prophecy and healing. Don't even get me started on the ugliness a discussion of the gift of tongues might cause!

The thing is though, spiritual gifts are supposed to bring us together, to give each of us a place and way to serve within the body that is unique. Unlike a lot of exclusive clubs, believers aren't necessarily encouraged in Scripture to be carbon copies of each other. We are encouraged to be who God created us to be and to use our unique talents and gifts for HIS GLORY.

In I Corinthians 12, Paul starts out by saying he doesn't want the believers to be ignorant concerning gifts, but before he gets into the nitty gritty of what those are and how they function, he emphasizes that using spiritual gifts isn't going to look the same for everyone.

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of workings (effects), but the same God works all of them in all men." I Cor. 12:4-6

So, in other words, we have different gifts (which the Holy Spirit dispenses, btw)and those gifts can be used in different ways with different results. Lots of room for all kinds of personalities and styles, isn't there? We don't all have to look and act exactly alike.

Yet, do we give each other this freedom? Unfortunately, many times the answer is "no." For whatever reason, human beings tend toward the homogeneous. They tend to cluster in groups where everyone is just like them and be uncomfortable with people who aren't. While this is a natural tendency for all people, God often calls us to go against our natural inclinations, and this is one of those times.

We may not agree about a specific gift and how it is used these days, but that doesn't mean we can't love each other. It doesn't mean that we have to cluster into our own groups and create a huge canyon between fellow believers that you cross at your own peril.

Now before you think I'm advocating a "one world church," or saying that it doesn't matter what you believe since we are all going to heaven anyway - rest assured, I'm not! The Bible is very clear about how people get to heaven - "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

But there are doctrinal issues that are crucial for salvation, and there are other things, while they are important, are less crucial and shouldn't cause division.

If we know what we believe and why we believe it, we can be less defensive if a brother or sister in Christ doesn't exactly line up with that. We can have the confidence to agree to disagree without division or disunity.

After all, it really isn't about us, is it?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Saturday, March 10, 2012


It's been over a year since I've had a week off. It's been several years since I actually left our home and went somewhere for anything more than a day trip to the zoo. Right now, I am working two regular part time jobs and three that are more sporadic. I enjoy all of them, but some days, I'm feel a teensy bit overwhelmed.

I'm not complaining - I'm just explaining my situation. A few years ago, I read The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. The premise of the book is to completely surrender to Christ - no matter your circumstances - and that is the source of happiness and peace.

At the time, I thought I got what she was saying - at least intellectually. Of course, I knew that we are supposed to surrender ourselves to God, to let ourselves be molded on the potter's wheel.

But I really didn't "get" it.

Until recently, I've been fighting my circumstances, to the point of exhaustion, really. For example, I worked super hard, so I'd have the couple weeks off at Christmas time when my kids were out of school. It was a disaster and a huge source of stress as I was emailing with an editor at 11:30 p.m. trying to figure out pictures.

I wasn't really "off" at all, and I resented it. I was unhappy and completely stressed out the week before Christmas. I felt cheated that everyone else seemed to be able to enjoy the holidays, but I was stuck working at Sylvan and putting out fires at my newspaper job. It was far more stressful trying to be off of work than if I had just worked like normal.

I spent a lot of time whining to God about the fact that I just wanted a couple weeks off - was that too much to ask???

Over the past few weeks, as I have focused on not complaining and being thankful, a funny thing has happened. It was a result I wasn't expecting. Instead of being weary and tired, I feel energetic and hopeful.

The reason for this? I've stopped fighting my circumstances, and find myself seeing things to be thankful for all around me. Instead, of expending my energy pushing against my daily life, I'm resting in Christ. Instead of starting each week with an attitude of "I have way too much to do" or "why can't I have a vacation?" I just look at the week ahead of me and do it. I take one week, sometimes one day, at a time, and have begun to trust that God will provide exactly what I need for each day.

Strangely, I don't feel nearly as overwhelmed. I've begun to use my time much more wisely. I seem to get more accomplished each day. I'm not saying I wouldn't enjoy a vacation to Hawaii if someone would like to spring for the trip. :) What I am saying is that I was wasting a tremendous amount of energy fighting the inevitable.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

God truly does make my burden light when I choose to rest in Him.
~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Many years ago - I believe it was in the 1990's - there was a movie called 10 Things I Hate About You. It was a movie that was loosely (VERY loosely) based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. It starred Julia Stiles (who I haven't seen in a movie in a really, really long time) and Heath Ledger who tragically killed himself a few years ago. It was one of those teen comedies and it was pretty funny from what I can remember.

Well, today, I'm going to do 20 Things I Love About You (the you meaning my dear husband). While I appreciate who my husband is, while doing this Bible study, What's It Like Being Married To Me, I've realized how far down my priority list he's slipped. It hasn't been on purpose, but life just gets busy and it is easy to let the important get trumped by the urgent. To celebrate what a great guy my hubby really is, here is my list!

20 Things I Love About You

1. You can trust what he says.
2. He has integrity.
3. He is kind - he truly does not want to hurt anyone
4. The way he can walk into a room, and without saying a word, be in charge
5. He rarely gets angry, and when he does, he doesn't lose control.
6. We've been married almost 19 years and he's never raised his voice at me. Ever.
7. He is calm in a crisis.
8. His ability to see the long-term consequences for decisions made today.
9. He is honest.
10. He's a great dad whose willing to learn.
11. He honors his parents.
12. Despite his natural alpha-ness, he still respects authority.
13. He has a gift for teaching.
14. He has a gift for coaching.
15. He has an incredible amount of self-control.
16. He is discreet.
17. He can keep a secret. (seriously, the man could work for the CIA)
18. He does not run off at the mouth (well, they do say opposites attract!)
19. He is not materialistic at all.
20. He lives out his life verse.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


What did you do with your extra day this year? This is a leap year, and yesterday, February 29th, was leap day. I'd like to say I used mine productively, but I woke up to a computer that would NOT turn on and things seemed to go downhill from there.

Can I just say how thankful I was that I emailed my rough drafts to my online email account at 4 a.m.? That really was the only thing that kept me from tipping right over the edge into panic mode.

When you make your living with your computer, it not starting sort of puts a damper on your day. I spent a lot of time yesterday spinning my wheels in frustration, and then from there, going into irritation with my life in general.

It's amazing how quickly I can take an isolated event, and suddenly, it becomes about a lot more than just that particular event. Now it's about my life as a whole and what is wrong with it. Do you ever do that? It's like when you have a small misunderstanding with your husband over something minor and suddenly it becomes about something a whole lot bigger than a missed bill or not taking out the trash.

Eventually, I did calm down and realize that life had not ended because my computer wouldn't turn on - there were other possibilities. My good friend, Amber, loaned me her old laptop which, with a little visit to Office Max, I could have gotten up and running. My husband reminded me I could use his computer at work for a day or so. A panic attack was not really necessary.

It also drove home to me the importance of weeding through my files and saving important documents to a flash drive. To be honest, I've known I needed to do this for a while, but this incident made me realize doing it sooner rather than later might be the wiser course of action. As a procrastinator, sometimes, I need a fire lit under me to get me moving on something.

I ended up getting lost on my way to an interview with a really interesting lady who researches grave stones. Fortunately, I had a) remembered my cell phone and b) it was actually charged up and c)I could get reception where I was at.

The woman I was interviewing very kindly turned me back onto the right road. The whole interview ended up being a blessing. The stories behind the grave stones are really fascinating. I really enjoyed walking through the cemetary with her, as she pointed things out to me, and it was refreshing listening to her passion to make sure these people who died a long time ago are not completely forgotten.

the best thing about the interview was that it gave me a new perspective on my "difficult day." As I stood in the late afternoon sunshine - it was a gorgeous day with unusually warm temps of close to 70 - my problems seemed very minor compared to a lot of the people that were buried under my feet.

It was truly shocking to see the number of babies, toddlers and young children that died. Both of my boys are healthy, and I take for granted that they will live to adulthood. Most of the people in that cemetary could not have said the same.

There were numerous women who died at very young ages - presumably in childbirth. I had a team of doctors and the whole force of modern medicine, so giving birth to my boys was exciting and joyful - not full of the fear of death. Back in the 1800's, nearly in 1 in 3 women died in childbirth. I would not have liked those odds if I lived back then.

So my conclusion at the end of my extra day this year was that I had a lot for which to be thankful. It was definitely a different perspective than I had at the beginning of the day!

Oh and my computer eventually turned back on, so all that angst was for nothing (which is usually the case).

What blessings has God given you?
~ Blessings, Bronte