Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This month, I've been doing the whole 30 days of thankfulness. Today, to be honest, I'm just not feeling it. I know - we aren't supposed to let our emotions dictate our actions, but some days that's just hard to do.

Today would be one of those days.

It doesn't help that I am sleep-deprived and there is no sun shining today. Somehow, it just seems easier to be thankful when I can see blue skies and the sun shining - even if the temperatures are in the 30s.

I dragged myself out of bed and did my exercise tape. Then I dropped the kids off at school. When I returned home, I sort of wandered aimlessly around the house, wiping off this counter, putting that load in the washer. I had an article to write and other things to do, but I couldn't seem to get motivated or focused.

I finally did my Bible study and was cheered by the idea that God's work is not frantic activity but trusting Him.

It wasn't until this afternoon though, that God smacked me upside the head with my ungrateful, whiny spirit. I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a link to this blog:

Okay, I admit that I had to get out my tissues because it made me cry. It also made me aware, once again, of the many blessings in my life. I can't imagine going through what this woman has. I am praying for her and I hope you will too.

Then tonight I sat down in my chair with my knitting and caught the last half hour of the Pixar movie Up. I'm actually a big fan of good animated movies. Rio made me laugh out loud and Tangled was charming. Let's face it, there isn't all that much out there these days that I can watch without fear of my kids hearing or seeing something offensive - even on regular television!

I love the main character, Carl Fredricksen - the way his face is square and his glasses are square and his body is square and how he is endearingly grumpy (I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it's true). Carl meets tomboy Ellie when they are young. Eventually they marry and you see a montage of Ellie and Carl's life together - the highs and the lows. Before you know it, they are elderly, and Ellie passes away before Carl can take her on that last grand adventure. He feels like he has failed her, so he holes up in his house becoming a sort of living museum exhibit.

Until Russell shows up - an inept Wilderness Explorer scout. Together, much against Carl's will, they go on a grand adventure.

Up always makes me cry a little, especially at the end when Carl looks at Ellie's adventure book and instead of being blank, it shows pictures of their life together. On the last picture is a little note that says, "Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one. Love, Ellie."

Why does it make me tear up? It's because Ellie chose to see their simple life together as an adventure - joyful and full of life. Realizing that changes Carl. He ends up being a grandpa-like figure to Russell and finding joy and adventure in life, instead of being stuck in a house living a bland, repetitive existence.

My attitude and perspective define how I live my life. I can see things through the lens of discontent and an ungrateful heart OR I can see the it as the grand adventure God intends it to be.

True joy and thankfulness isn't the result of circumstances - it's the result of how I choose to see my circumstances.

~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today, millions of Americans will be gathering around tables to eat turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. They will laugh, eat too much and watch the Lions lose, I mean play.

I love Thanksgiving because it's simply about being together with your loved ones and about being thankful. Although, to be completely honest, the whole food thing isn't so bad either! :)

The thing is though, not everyone is enjoying today. There are many people who sit alone or force a smile even though inside they are hurting for a variety of reasons. Maybe a spouse has left or betrayed them; maybe a child has gone off the rails or is struggling; maybe the person was just told of a terrible diagnosis that will change her life forever; maybe they know this will be the last holiday meal in a home that is going into foreclosure; maybe their family is just so dysfunctional, the idea of being alone is way more appealing than gathering together. Whatever the reason, a day like Thanksgiving just seems to rub salt in the wound.

Although your circumstances might not be ideal or just plain stink at the moment, there is one thing we can all do today - be thankful.

"Whoa," you might say, "how can I be thankful for this (whatever this might be in your life)?"

God tells us to be thankful IN all things, not necessarily FOR all things. No matter what is going on in my life - and trust me, in the past three years there has been quite a lot that hasn't been sunshine and roses - I can choose to be thankful for the many blessings God has given me. I can choose to praise Him even if I don't necessarily feel like it.

Because the truth is God HAS blessed me abundantly, and He is worthy of my praise.

It's so easy when things are going badly to focus on that, but I have found in my own life, if I intentionally turn my eyes on the blessings, it helps me all the way around. My emotions get in a better place. My physical self doesn't feel quite so weighed down. I can smile and mean it. I can look out instead of focusing on myself.

And let's face it, too much navel gazing and inward focus just makes you feel worse in the long run!

So, today, may I encourage you to take a few moments and count your blessings and praise the Lord? I know it sounds cliched, but it really does help. God never asks us to do hard things that aren't for our own good.

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalms 34:1

Happy Thanksgiving!
~ Blessings, Bronte

p.s. For days 21 and 22 in my 30 days of thankfulness, I am thankful for my home because it holds so many memories< and I am thankful for the fact that I can be home today with my family and not have to work like so many do. I consider that a huge blessing! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Yesterday and today I subbed for high school English. I have to say, I certainly enjoyed finishing up Ethan Frome with the seniors. Everyone had this horrified look on their faces when they realized the deliciously ironic way that story ends.(No - I'm not telling you the ending. Go read it for yourself - it's really not that long. You know you're dying to know the ending now).

Anyway, when you sub, you usually do a lot of sitting around and waiting for students to finish their busy work, assignments left by the departed teacher. So, I brought along my 2013 Writer's Market book. If you aren't familiar with it, this is a book that lists all the various markets for your writing. From poetry, to novels, to magazine articles - Writers Market has it all.

For the first time, I saw my dream of writing, not as a dream, but something that was real. Something I could wrap my hands around.

I'm not sure what the difference was this time. It's not like I haven't gone through Writer's Markets from other years. It's not like I haven't made lists of possible places for my ideas, but it was the first time I really, truly saw the possibilities, not just as a maybe - but as a yes!

Maybe it's because I've been meeting multiple weekly deadlines for almost two years now. Maybe it's because in just a couple months I'll be 40 years old, and really, if not now - when? Maybe it's because I just believe I can, that I have something to say and there are people out there who are willing to listen.

I'm sure I'll get rejected. For a writer, being rejected is just a part of life. But that's okay because sometimes, I won't.

The thing is, God created me to be a storyteller. Whether that is sharing someone else's story or spinning one of my own, I've been telling stories in one form or another all my life.

When I was in elementary school, we always went out to recess no matter how cold it was, but I was always warm. My secret was that most recesses, you'd find a group of girls huddled together next to the brick wall. I was at the center, a pint-sized Scheherazade, knowing that as long as I spun a good story, my audience would stay huddled around me and I would not have to fear the cold.

One girl would throw out a sentence, and another one would send some other detail my way. I'd pick up the threads and start to weave, holding the other little girls captive with my words.

It was heady stuff. I felt invincible - well, until the teacher blew the whistle and I morphed back into the somewhat nerdy kid with the red afro and freckles.

The thing is, writing is my dream, and for the first time in a long time, I have enough time to truly visualize that dream becoming a reality.

I can't tell you how good that feels.

So, I guess, staying with my theme of 30 days of thankfulness, today I'm thankful for the God given courage to not just think about what I'd like to do, but to, as Nike would say, just do it.

What is God asking you to step out and do?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Yes, I know - once again I'm behind. I kept meaning to get to this and then I would forget or someone needed the computer or - well, you get the idea.

On Day 15 I chose to be thankful for my husband, Bruce. There are very few people in this world with true integrity, but I'm lucky enough to have a husband that espouses that very virtue.

I wrote a whole post about the 20 things I love about him, so I won't bore you with a lot of repetition. I will say he is a great husband and father. Jesus said to lead you need to serve. In my eyes, that makes my husband a truly great leader!

On Day 16 I chose to be thankful for my Bible. I was on a mom's board and was listing all the different translations that I own. I realized how very spoiled I am. Many people around the world have given their lives to own a Bible or to keep the one they had. There are over 6000 languages and only 2000 linguistic translations. For some believers, a Bible in their own language is still an unfulfilled dream.

I remember a radio program I heard with this woman that was from the former USSR. Their small village came into the possession of one Bible. They tore it up and passed out a few pages to each person, and oh how cherished those few pages were. Yet, in the U.S., the statistics say that less than 25% of those that profess to be believers read or study their Bibles in any meaningful way. So, I am so thankful for my Bible. It gives me comfort; it encourages me; it convicts me. I would be like a rudderless ship without it!

On Day 17, I chose to be thankful for something very mundane - a full night's sleep. However, if you have a newborn or suffer from insomnia (often mistaken for the same thing! lol), you know what a blessing a full night's sleep actually is. I have had this tickly cough for the past few weeks which has majorly interrupted my sleep at night. On Friday, for the first time in many weeks, I slept all the way through the night. I was truly thankful!!

On Day 18, today, I'm thankful for my Sunday school class. What a great group of women they are - always willing to listen to me and try to absorb whatever I happen to be teaching. We pray for one another and encourage each other, too.

Christian life was not meant to be lived in a vacuum. We NEED fellow believers with which to journey. I am so thankful for the group God has blessed me with. It's a real privilege to teach them - and I probably learn a lot more than I teach, to be completely honest.

Finally, I'll add one more thing. I was driving home from my parents' house, and I saw the most gorgeous fall sky. It was like someone had taken a paintbrush and swirled it across the glowing sky. Beauty is not something God HAD to create - He could have made a world that worked just fine but was bland and utilitarian. But He didn't. Instead, He chose to bless us with incredible beauty each and every day in just our sunrises and sunsets (I see more of the latter than the former!).

So, I am grateful for God's creativity and the beauty He chose to include in this world for our enjoyment!

I hope you are finding things around you for which to be thankful - even the mundane things are worth stopping to say a quick thank you for!

~ Blessings, Bronte

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Today, I sat down with a cup of Dunkin Donuts gingerbread cookie coffee (and yes, it is as good as it sounds!) and did my morning routine. That is, I opened Facebook to see what fascinating things had happened while I slept. Then I went to my favorite mom's board, and finally, I opened my email accounts.

Maybe I should back up a little bit. Last night, as I was walking my dog, I felt overwhelmed - overwhelmed by the possibilities that is. I was praying for direction with my writing. I know - wah, wah, wah right? It's not that I don't have passion and it's not that I don't have interests - it's that I have too many.

I'd love to write a book (and I'm working on a zoo mystery at the moment -ssshhh, don't tell!). I'd love to write a Bible study. I love writing on this blog - so should I try to expand that into a ministry? I'd love to show women that God really does make a daily difference in their lives.

I would love to write devotionals and guest blog. I would enjoy writing articles on a wide variety of topics - and perhaps make a little money while doing it. Or, speaking of money, maybe I should start doing business writing.

I already write two features for our local newspaper which I love doing because I get to meet so many great people and at the same time, maybe help people too a little.

I'm sure you can see the problem - there is only so much that one person can do and do well. I need a little focus with my passion. I can't run around willy nilly, doing a little of this and a little of that because then I won't do anything with excellence.

But that means I have to choose.

Did I mention I hate choosing? When I was a kid, I had a very elaborate system to rotate which stuffed animals slept in my bed with me. Yes, I know - I was an odd child, but I didn't want anyone to feel left out.

Then, because I felt overwhelmed, I started thinking, well, maybe it would be easier to just quit. Yeah - brilliant plan isn't it. I'll quit so I don't have to choose. (rolling my eyes at myself here)

So, back to this morning - I open my Facebook page and one of the first things I read was from Jennifer Keat-Beck. It said, "Everything in life that is worthwhile takes effort. Don't give up."

Apparently, God realizes that He needs to be fairly blunt with me. lol Then I opened my email and found out I got picked to be on the "God-sized Dream Team." I had filled out the application several weeks ago, and quite frankly, forgot about it.

I'm sure my neighbor (or at least her dogs) could hear me squealing this morning. I'M SO STINKIN' EXCITED for this opportunity. You can read a little about this God-sized Dream Team here.

So, today, I am thankful for the ability to dream big dreams, and I am thankful for opportunities.

What step of faith is God asking you to take?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 DAYS OF THANKFULNESS - Days 12 & 13

I had a hard time feeling very thankful today. That is because I'm tired. I get kind of cranky when I'm tired.

The reason I'm tired is because I have "The Cough." I've had "The Cough" for about four weeks and it often wakes me up at night. Last night, I was up for a couple hours which made me somewhat incoherent this morning.

Even though I'm tired, I can still be thankful right? So, here goes my list for yesterday and today.

On day 12, I am thankful for my boys. Brock is now 14 and Brody is 11. I look at them and I'm sort of amazed. I distinctly remember looking at Brock when he was a newborn, and thinking, I am responsible for this little being. Then I promptly burst into tears. I remember wondering how in the world I was going to teach him to feed himself. It seemed so complicated. Potty training seemed like rocket science to me.

Then Brody came along, and I thought I had this mom thing down pat. Well, you know how people say "never say never?" Yeah - that would be me as I realized that despite almost three years on the job, I had to start over from scratch because while yes, he was a human being and yes, he was also male- there the similarities ended.

I'm sure if you have more than one child, you know what I'm talking about. It still amazes me that two boys who came from the same parents, raised in the same home could be so different.

It just goes to show that God makes each person unique and special. I am so thankful for that uniqueness. I love each of my boys and am so thankful for exactly who God created them to be. I enjoy spending time with them and watching them grow up (but not too fast - please!). I am so blessed by my boys.

On day 13, I am thankful for another being - one that isn't quite as far up the list as my sons, but I certainly think of him as part of the family.

Today, I am thankful for my dog Kipper. If you know me at all, you knew this was coming. ;)

I have always loved animals and wanted a dog of my own, but I didn't get my first dog until I was 34 years old. He really IS the best dog. He's funny and sweet. He's loyal and patient.

He will let a toddler give him a dental exam, but I would not envy someone trying to hurt myself or my kids. He might even protect Bruce too in a pinch!

Together, my dog and I have walked over 1,000 miles. If I didn't have him, it would be way too easy to skip that walk when I was tired or the weather wasn't that great. Kipper doesn't let me though. He looks at me and nudges his leash. If I get my walking shoes on, he starts to wag his tail and get excited.

I call him my satellite dog because he is always in the vicinity, and he's always tuned in. If anyone is upset, Kipper will make his way out and lay that long, pointy nose in the person's lap. He'll lick away tears and lean against you in a show of solidarity.

I often have people stop and tell me how beautiful he is, and I always tell them he's as nice as he is handsome.

I am so thankful that God has given us the gift of animals, pets in particular. Yes, I know they are "just" animals, but they bring so much joy in our lives. I can never quite get over my amazement that I can communicate with another species. There is just something very cool about that.

So, what are you thankful for this week?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I know, I'm way behind. That's why I'm breaking my "no computer on Sunday rule," and listing the things I'm thankful for this week.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, I was thankful that God loved me. His love is something I sometimes have a hard time getting my mind wrapped around. It's not even that I don't deserve it - it's that it's GOD who loves me. The God of the universe, who created everything - and He loves and cares about me. I'm also thankful that He assures me that nothing can separate me from that love.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, I had a very, very busy day. I ended up interviewing six people. Now I really like people and all, but six is a lot in one day. One of the men I interviewed grew up in Kenya, Africa. The poverty he described was beyond my comprehension. When he talked about having nothing, he wasn't referring to not being able to afford cable and latest techno gadget. He literally had nothing. So, on Thursday, I was thankful anew for material things I've been blessed with - things like hot water, a working toilet, a bed to sleep in, blankets and pillows, not to mention a computer, two cars and the numerous other things we've been blessed with. It's true that sometimes the budget gets a bit tight, but at least I have something with which to budget. In this country, the vast majority of us have no idea what true poverty really is!

On Friday, Nov. 9, I put a pork roast in my crockpot and realized how thankful I am that someone invented the crockpot. I know that's a very mundane thing to be thankful for, but my crockpot let's me put a hot meal on the table even if I have a very busy day. I'm thankful for all the modern conveniences like dishwashers, washers, dryers and the like. I'm not much of a domestic goddess, so while I enjoyed reading about Little House on the Prairie, I don't think I'd actually want to live there!

On Saturday, Nov. 10, I was out and about. Part of the day, I spent with my mom at a ladies' tea her church was doing at a cute little place in Ottawa-Glandorf called Touches. Then there was an auction at our school. In the evening, I spent my time baking for the week - one of which I burned because I set the pan on a burner I had left on. This just goes to show, I am definitely not very domestically inclined! In all that busyness, my kids were laughing and having fun. My youngest had a friend spend the night and I could hear them cackling away from down the hall. I am very thankful for the fact that my kids are laughing and having fun. When you read of these children with cancer or other major issues, it's sobering. Life can change in the blink of an eye, so I am thankful that my boys are healthy and whole at this moment.

On Sunday, Nov. 11, I am getting ready to head out to church. I am thankful for my church and the fact that I live in a country where I can attend church without fearing the ramifications. I don't worry that I'll be bombed while I sing worship songs or that officials will burst in and cart me off to jail. Sometimes I can take church and the body of believers that attend there for granted, but our church family, they are the people who help us practically when we have tough times. So, today, I am thankful for my church.

As November rolls along, what are you thankful for? Are you taking the time to stop and really thank God for His many blessings? I can say that taking the time to do this changes my whole perspective. I find myself thanking God throughout the day for the small and mundane things, as well as the big things. A thankful attitude makes me happier. While that's not the main reason to cultivate a thankful heart, it sure is a nice by product!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, November 9, 2012


I'll be honest, I woke up Wednesday with a heavy heart. I knew the outcome before I actually heard it (I went to bed and didn't stay up to hear all the gritty details) and as I laid there in my bed in the predawn light, I felt immeasurably sad. I felt very strongly that America, the grand experiment, had finally come to its end. Maybe her heart would continue to beat, but she was on life support at this point. I know - that's really melodramatic isn't it? But that's how I felt - like I was witnessing America's slow topple from greatness.

As I got ready for my day, an old song kept running through my mind. I hadn't really thought of it in years but it popped in my head - providentially, I believe.

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand."

The truth is, I was kind of surprised by my feelings on Wednesday. Throughout the election season, I had thought President Obama was going to win. I guess I got caught up in some of the political talking heads that were giving a different picture in the last weeks before election day. I guess I had started to hope for a different outcome.

The truth is while I believe that President Obama's policies will have a very negative impact on America in a lot of ways, I also believe that Mitt Romney wasn't going to be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat either and turn America around all by himself or even with other conservatives in Washington. He would just slow the downward descent is all.

You can't force inward change on people by outward mandates. Culture changes government, not the other way around.

Yes, President Obama is extremely liberal in all areas - socially, fiscally, you name it, but is he really all that much different than many of the people he governs?

Four years ago, he promised hope and change. He was an unknown entity. He rode into office on a wave of optimism and voters didn't really know what they were getting. Tuesday, they did. We knew who he was and what he stood for. The election showed that just over half the American public (that voted anyway) agreed with what he stood for.

In a democracy, your government reflects the values and priorities of the people.

Looking at the tide of American culture it would be really easy to get discouraged and depressed. It can feel like I don't have a voice and that my vote, my opinion, my interests, my values mean nothing. I can start to feel like that boy who was trying to plug the holes in the dam with his fingers.

The thing is, on the grand scale of the American political landscape, I can't make much difference. BUT, in my own community, that's a different story. I can reach out to the hurting. I can meet people's needs. I can share God's love and His light in my own sphere of influence.

For instance, even if we enacted legislation that would make abortion illegal, that would not necessarily change the behavior behind those terminated pregnancies. Abortion - as horrible as it is - is a symptom of a greater problem.

We can rail about the "problem" with the younger generation, but how many of them do you know personally? How many of them have you sat down and really listened to lately? How many of them have you loved on and showed that you cared?

We can force a mask of morality on our country, but it doesn't change people's actions or their hearts. It just delays the inevitable.

On the other hand, I can volunteer with a youth ministry or at an unwed teen home. I can take the time to notice the people around me and meet them where they are at and love them. Those things, while relatively small, can make a huge difference in someone's life - a positive difference.

I can't change a whole country, but I can influence one.

I was reminded in the past few days, that my hope and my help is not in the government because the government is made up of people. Eventually, people let you down because they are human.

My trust is in Someone a whole lot bigger and more trustworthy. Someone who is reliable and actually keeps His promises.

"Do not trust in princes or mortal men, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In this very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is the Lord his God." Psalms 146:3-5

~ Blessings, Bronte

p.s. Tomorrow, I'll get back to 30 days of thankfulness! ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


This morning, after dropping off my kids, I voted. Can I just say how thankful I am to live in a country where I can vote?

Not everyone lives in a country where going to the polls to vote is a violence-free event. I'm thankful that I live in a country where I don't have to fear for my physical safety when I fill out my ballot.

Despite our freedom to vote and the wonderful privilege that is, this particular election season seems to have been extra brutal. The race is tight. If the political pundits are right, it will probably go down to the wire.

It's sort of a recipe for anxiety, isn't it? Will my candidate win? What will happen if he doesn't? Will I be able to talk to my relatives and friends again after some of the things I posted on Facebook?

People are passionate about their candidate and sometimes that passion has spilled over into hostility and ugly words. Even among believers. Even at church.

While I am grateful for living in a country that still uses the political process, I don't really enjoy all the ugliness that accompanies this time of year.

For the record, I voted for Romney and Ryan. I didn't do that because I think President Obama is a horrible person. I didn't do it because I'm some kind of racist. If truth be told, President Obama and his wife are probably lovely people. I'd probably enjoy talking with them. There are things I greatly admire about them - how they've kept their girls out of the spotlight during the past four years being one of them. I appreciate Michelle Obama's passion to get kids eating better and moving more.

However, I don't agree with the current President's view of what our government should look like. We have very different ideology. I could talk to him for hours and I don't think we could find a compromise because our views are just so different.

Can I just say, though, that differing opinions or views or ideologies don't give me the right to call someone ugly names or denigrate his character without solid proof.

It also doesn't allow me to judge your Christian walk because you may have marked a different name than I did on your ballot.

I voted for Romney, so, obviously, I hope he wins. But if he doesn't? That's okay, too. I won't necessarily like it, but I serve a God that Scripture says holds the heart of kings in His hands.

It's really easy to get caught up in the hype and get completely wigged out about the outcome of something as serious as a presidential election, but God is still on His throne. He still loves me and my family. He still has plans and a purpose for me, for my family, for my community - no matter who wins tonight.

So, today, as we wait with bated breath for the announcement of who our next president will be - let's agree that no matter who we voted for, we can be truly grateful that we live in a country that allows widely differing political views and discussion of those views (even very, ahem, heated discussions) without fear of retaliation. There are many people around the world who don't have that luxury.

Even if our views are different, let's agree that under the blood of Christ, we are all in a red state (even if your party affiliation happens to be blue).

"The Lord established His throne in heaven and His sovereignty rules over all." Psalms 103:19

~ Blessings, Bronte

Monday, November 5, 2012


I've been trying to take some computer-free days, so I am going to play catch up on here for my month of thankfulness.

For day three, I was thankful for the beautiful fall weather. I actually like winter which I know makes me not only weird, but in the minority, BUT fall is my very favorite season. Maybe it's because I have lived in a household that has revolved around the school calendar, but fall to me speaks of new beginnings. The muggy, hot days of summer are over. There is a crispness in the air that encourages new plans and activity and the turning over of new leaves. I love the smell of wood smoke, the need for a sweatshirt and the return of cozy sweaters and jeans. (hey, I don't tan so shorts are NOT my friend!).

Heck, I'm thankful for seasons, period. I know that God would give me contentment even if I lived in a place that did not have definite seasons, but it wouldn't be my first choice. There is something about the ending of one season that makes you so thankful for the next season. Spring wouldn't be half so enjoyable if it wasn't preceded by the cold days of winter.

For day four, I was thankful for good friends. Not just friends who are fun to laugh with or are nice, but true friends who care enough about you to be honest with you - even if it stings a bit (faithful are the wounds of a friend and all that). Friends who care enough to cry with you when you're hurting and rejoice with you when good things are happening to you. Friends who care enough to pray for you and uplift you even when you can't seem to pray yourself.

I am so blessed to have a number of those true friends in my life. While we are all busy with kids and schedules and what have you, we are still there for each other. I know they have my back, and I hope they know I have theirs. :)

Today, day 5, I am thankful for my job. There are sometimes when the weekly deadlines get to me. There are times when things sort of fall apart - the photographer doesn't show up or the pictures don't turn out (or get stolen - which actually happened!) or the editor pulls a sudden switcharoo that leaves me scrambling. Then, there are the weeks when I look at the calendar and have no earthly idea what I should write about next, but the bottom line is that even on the stressful days, I get to do what I love.

I get to meet some extraordinary people whose stories have left a lasting impression on me. I get to work at home in my sweats, taking breaks to play with my dog or eat chocolate. Mostly, I'm grateful that I can be home to be available to my kids or my husband or my family or my friends if they need me. To me, that is definitely a win-win thing.

If you haven't joined in on 30 Days of Thankfulness, it's not too late to start. Jump in and share what YOU'RE thankful for these days!
~ Blessings, Bronte

Friday, November 2, 2012


Some of my favorite books when I was growing up were the Anne of Green Gable series. I wanted to BE Anne. Hey, we were both adopted and had red hair and green eyes, so I felt I was well on my way! :)

One thing she and I did NOT have in common was that she was one of those perky morning people. I don't hold it against her though. In her perky little way, she'd come into the kitchen where Marilla was invariably making something with fresh cream and say, "Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it."

Yesterday was a tough day, but this morning the sun is shining. Today is a fresh day with no mistakes in it. It reminds me of the verses in Lamentations 3:22-24, that say, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses (mercies) indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul; therefore, I will hope in Him."

In Psalms 146:5 says, "How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God."

Continuing on the theme of thankfulness this month, I am thankful for the various ways that God's mercies are new every morning. I am thankful that His compassions never fail and that HE is my hope and help and that's a blessing.

One way that God's mercies are new every morning are the special people He puts in our lives. For me, I am very thankful for my extended family - my parents, my brother, my in-laws and my sister-in-law.

It's unusual in this day and age to actually live near one set of grandparents, never mind, two. It's also somewhat unusual to see your aunts and uncle on a regular basis, but my kids have that blessing as well.

I know some people whose kids don't have any relationship with the grandparents for whatever reason, but my kids are blessed to have close ties with not one, but TWO sets of grandparents.

I am a firm believer in the wisdom of those who have lived a bit longer, and I am grateful that my kids are the recipient of that wisdom and that love.

This morning, my parents came to pick up my youngest son Brody for a day of fun. His older brother is hanging out with a friend so he was at loose ends. I'm just not terribly exciting these days, I guess. ;) All though, to be fair, I can see how hanging with the grandparents, going to Hobby Lobby and doing fun projects is WAY more fun than working in the garden. lol

So today, on day 2 of my month of thankfulness, I'm thankful for the great relationships my kids have with both sets of grandparents. These days, I know that isn't the norm so it is a very precious gift to me.

What are you thankful for today?
~ Blessings, Bronte

Thursday, November 1, 2012


To say our family is having a difficult time at the moment would be a vast understatement. And while I want to be transparent, I don't want to be mooning the world either, so let's just leave it at - these are difficult times for us. (and no, by difficult times I am not referring to anything to do with my marriage, and nobody has cancer - those are the two things which always seems to be everyone's first and second guess for some reason when you say you are struggling with something).

Today is the first day of November and I suppose it's sort of natural to turn to the idea of thankfulness when Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

To be honest, I haven't been feeling all that thankful lately. In fact, if I can be super honest, I've been a bit angry with God. We've had some long, very frank conversations, and I always come away with the knowledge that God loves me and He is big enough to handle my anger - it doesn't threaten Him at all. In a weird way, it is very comforting to know that God is not shaken in the least when I get angry with Him - I guess it's like the kid that knows he or she can act out and their parents will still love them.

Yesterday, as I was praying, I was hit by the fact that I have been so focused on my own problems, I had sort of tuned out the rest of the world. I am not the only person hurting or struggling - there are people much worse off.

In fact, I have a lot to be thankful for, even in the midst of this very difficult time. For years, I misunderstood the verse that says to "be thankful in all things." You'll notice it didn't say FOR all things, but IN all things. That means that even in the midst of difficulty, I can be thankful.

God knows what He is talking about here too. Even though it can be difficult to get your eyes off your own problems, mental health professionals will tell you that one of the best ways to feel better during down times is to help others.

So, since this is the month of Thanksgiving, I am going to choose one thing every day for which to be thankful.

On day one, the thing I am thankful for is God's Word and His presence in my life. While sometimes He seems silent, I know that He never, ever leaves me. My performance or lack of faith doesn't drive Him away. Instead,He is my rock and my fortress.

He always seems to provide what I need when I need it. He IS my strength and for that, I'm very grateful because on my own I am pretty much a wimp!

Yesterday, He led me to Psalms 31 and the first eight verses really encouraged me. I hope they encourage you to be thankful for the bigness and power and reliability of God, too.

Psalms 31:1-8
In You O Lord, I have taken refuge
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.
I hate those who regard vainidols,
But I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of myu soul,
And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.

~ Blessings, Bronte