Tag Archives: United States

All the cool kids!

Sometimes in this life we have to give reverence to those that go before us, today again I am confronted with mortality or even more the immortality of our lives. A great man, even more ….a great man of God has given his all…he has fought the good fight and is now realizing that what he knew and shared about ….his entire life… is really true. I see him busting on the scene saying…”I knew it would be like this!”

My sweet friend, actually my Uncle-in-law is receiving his reward for a life lived in Christ. He was a Pastor for several churches in Tennessee, but even more dramatic ……he was a missionary. In the early years in Guyana and later in Kenya, Africa. He had the heart of a missionary, along with his precious wife, Francis…..his help mate, who herself is the force behind his strength. He knew the love of his life was as called as he was, her undeniable faith and vision was the backbone for many years in the “wilds of Africa!”

Africa Screams was first released in 1949 and ...
Africa Screams was first released in 1949 and stars Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always loved this couple and respect their willingness to sacrifice life and convenience of the States; to leave their three beautiful daughters and grandchildren, parents, siblings and all the rest of us to follow their calling as missionaries….I still am in awe. His stories were as big and exciting as I had hoped….as well as hilarious. My children always loved to listen to him talk of his adventures, especially when their own dad (Charles) went to work with Fred and Francis for a short term. I really don’t know for sure if they actually ministered to anyone but each other…..when they tried to tell the stories it was always with a laugh…crossing rivers waist high, eating with “witch doctors” and driving in traffic fearing for their lives. Old black and white Abbott and Costello movie is what it sounds like to me(the resemblance is scary, lol), but I know they had many moments of pure love and joy while leading people in the knowledge of a Savior, many of who will welcome him “home.”

I don’t know if missionaries get a special sticker or gold star in heaven, if not they should….takes special people to follow that leading, I know that is not why they went, they had a heart to serve, to lead those who may not have heard….that Jesus loves them. That truth is real and true and our sweet Fred Brannen who fought the good fight, is now completely healed and free to dance and sing with those who have gone before him……all the cool kids….. who now know what all the fuss is about…..God is real and He is waiting for us….O HAPPY DAY!

Until then, we keep on working, making them proud, they taught us how to love and live and be missionaries in our own little worlds. We will miss the stories Uncle Fred, but thank you for giving your life to us all. You are a hero in the faith. Sweet peace to you……….you made it!

On a side note: Fred was one person who read my blog….kind sweet Man and always commented and encouraged me…..I know he would enjoy the picture and above reference! No disrespect was meant.

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Finding Balance

As I sit here on the second day of January in contemplation of how to start….the year, month, day…morning! Already saying UGH! Which is not a good sign. The full one day of the new year has already been …UMMMM……needles to say gut wrenching and if this is any sign of the next three hundred and sixty four days…..hang on to your hat…Here we go!


I have only one plan in place and that is to count the days and in this counting of the days tally up the ups and downs…..take stock each day of the distance I travel in the right direction. There will be downs and I am prepared. These are roads I have traveled numerous times. My hope is there will be many more ups and to acknowledge them as fuel to move forward even faster.


Time is short, I am old…older…..and that ain’t gonna change, but I can get better…back to that HOPE thang again….ugh! This is my challenge and as best as I can I will day by day accomplish the task. It doesn’t really feel like a mountain but more like a level flat line with little tic lines as if like a very long ruler and each day is divided into segments.


I have a list of objectives…moderations…….checks and balances. I tend to be a beinge worker. I clean house on days that involve top to bottom tasks…I take side roads; one thing leads to another and I am overwhelmed by the chores so I dread them. I paint in big blocks of time…in the “zone” and hope to be left alone to get what’s in my head out and let what’s in my spirit flow.


I am a huge procrastinator which tends to cause me to sit and ponder all the great feats I can do ……if only I had the time! This need for alone time is a family trait…..I come from people who are very self sufficient and that enjoy the peace and quiet. In my brain it’s all or nothing, for some reason I think …”someday I will be done with all these people and have time to do what I want!” BOO HOO!


POOR OLD TIRED MOM!…. I am sure my family would like to tell me to zip it! They know it’s not them (always)..usually it is me. My overly dramatic woe is me attitude is what I allow to sneak in…..so putting each day in doable increments may just work. The financial guru, Dave Ramsey preaches that “every dollar has a name” and I believe it so in that vein the minutes of my day will too.


Dave Ramsey
Cover of Dave Ramsey


Time for this southern girl to get on with it….this year looks as if it will be a whopper and I am on the verge of greatness… I have art to create, books to read, people to meet and relationships to nurture. I am the one that can create change and with the Lord’s help stop settling for the sad and mundane. I was created for greatness and I will walk in it….


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Milestones-three hundred and sixty five more chances

tech-trends-2014Here we are again, the dawn of a new year….leaving behind the ups and downs of the last year…looking forward to what’s next. I adore the opportunity for new possibilities, doors to be opened or roads to travel. Each one brings hope, some of them may be not so great but there is always that moment of question…anticipation…the unknown.

Like most Americans, I must acknowledge (..or at least act like I should!)….the need for a better diet as well as an exercise program which for me is…..just parking my car further away from the door; the hope for financial security and good health and my family to prosper. We all have in our minds, resolutions ….that we hold dear, hoping against hope that we make it past January without failure.

These resolutions or “goals” are many and the start of a new year jump-start us in the right direction. God bless our hearts for the effort! I have said for the past six years, in my heart, that I do not want to be in the same shape (in all areas) this time next year and I think this next year may be the winner. I have a hope that is beyond me. Beyond my brain and into my soul, my heart…..hope.

My anticipation is starting…what will it be first? Will it be the loss of five or fifty (it could happen!) Pounds? Will it be a true love for one of my four kids?(oops! Excluding my seventeen year old!)…Will it be the welcoming of many new souls born into to kingdom of God…I hope so!

Whatever “IT” is…..I look forward to the challenge. We got this ….we spunky Americans are stubborn and bold and will not stop till we get what we want. Yes, Hillary Clinton….it does take a village and we will always stand together against anyone who tries to push us around. Our individual families as well as our towns and country will always overcome.

Today I conquered a challenge, silly as it may sound, but I have for the first time ever….wait for it…….made/cooked  dumplings, chicken and dumplings actually. My sister did it first on Christmas day, they were de-lish! I know the secret now ……..so I tried it. It is ALL ABOUT THE BROTH!! This has been my probably twentieth try…..finally successful!

This southern girl needed to do this one….my mom was the pro at them, but sadly she will make no more of them, my granny who taught my mom was a ….card-carrying member of the southern woman’s chicken and dumplings cooking team. It could be an Olympic sport. SHE WAS A MASTER!

I now am proud to say I have done it…EUREAKA!!!!! Superbly I might add and I will brag about it……a Milestone-three hundred and sixty five more chances to do something great…..welcome new year!

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Shutdown or Meltdown?

The times…they are changin’....yes, they sure are! In this country we have always known a time of plenty or at least since the Great Depression. That lasted way too long and it had always made me wonder WHY? What exactly made the climate in this country so abstract that our financial stability is blown to smithereens? Do we not have wise MEN that control it all? Have we not been proven to be the greatest nation of the world? Were President Hoover and President Roosevelt not equipped to handle the workings of our country? Where do we lay the blame…or do we?

So many questions I have always had….now I have one or two of the answers. Today, as I sit and wonder the same exact questions…Day 4 of the Shutdown of the U.S. Government, I see how it happens….the wise and equally able “MEN” and some Women who are “in charge” of us all just can’t get it worked out. For around twenty years our country lived in utter failure and it mostly started with an ACT. (aren’t they blaming the Affordable Health Care Act now for this?)

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act passed in June 1930. The act interrupted trade and created an environment of high unemployment (reaching its peak at 25% in 1933). After the crash in October 1929, unemployment peaked at about 9% and returned to about 6% before the tariffs were implemented. While the stock market crash was significant, it was not the beginning of the Great Depression. (Ask.com) This Act hurt foreign trade and after reading about it….I am still lost. As usual most of the mumbo jumbo that comes out of our government is hard to understand for us regular people. (or maybe just ME?)

This leads me to this conclusion: Many smart people “think” they are doing good work by proposing these laws and Acts and assuming they will lead to good for the U.S. but sometimes they backfire. NOT MUCH EVER CHANGES! In 2008 we had a huge housing crash for which we still are muddling through….when is it ever going to stop? Probably never……that is the cold hard facts!

These are the times we ask the hard questions of God….or maybe I am the only one? I have hit a wall, I seem to not be able to get a handle on what is going on these days, world and country wide as well as personally. It feels like the heavens are brass….even though I know they are not. God is ALWAYS working on my behalf, this is what I know for sure. HE has not SHUTDOWN and it seems he is not real upset at my MELTDOWN! I sure do wish he would give me a clue…throw me a bone….send a Dove with a twig in its beak…something to let me know we will survive.

I hope I do not sound as if I have given up, I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP.….but I sure do surrender to HIS WILL. I am unable to assume I have any idea what is going on…with the world as we know it or even my own little life. I can’t even begin to feel the fear the country had back in the 1920’s, my grandparents knew it well and even my parents as children. That seems like a very long time ago and yet it is right here looking down the gun barrel at us. I am not particularly worried, just sober and conscience of what may come. Is this only a shutdown for a short while or will it be a total meltdown for us all? This is not a who’s at fault, we all are. We hired “them” to control what happens to our country.

I am not a super political person, maybe I should be…the lull of apathy has over taken my zeal of civil rights and not take this lying down ……ness! I have learned to allow God be in control and in that know that this shutdown may just turn into a Meltdown. Lord be kind….in your judgement, remember mercy.

Habakkuk 2:3

LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.



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Not on my watch!

Most of the time, people usually go along through their normal day without even a thought of anything catastrophic happening. Most of us usually have just about enough steam to trudge thru the mundane and the what is expected of us duties, so when it comes to looking up and paying attention to something out of the ordinary we mostly just sigh and go on. I don’t think it is just us busy Americans, I think this is a worldwide normal. Of course, the terrorists have this figured out already!

Some days though, something is out of “wack”…just a little bit off…..out of kilter…or off kilter? which ever one…. it just ain’t right!! There is a weird shift in the world, a strange feeling…somethings up! As a mother, I find this a constant in my daily life and anyone who has more than one perfect child (just kidding all the parents of one child, I know they can be a handful also…all ONE OF THEM!) knows that when somethings up there is a vibe. On the one hand, you have the guilty trying their best to lay low and on the other hand you have the one who is dying to snitch but wants to be asked, questioned even ….and not really…. out right blab it all. (helps with the guilt of snitching!) The key is to entice them both….I have many years of experience as a bird dog mom that I am sure my four can attest to. MY record has proven that I am pretty good at detective work, really it is pretty easy….usually they catch themselves, bless their hearts, they are not very good at getting away with what ever “it” is. We raised them right and that usually is the proof. They still haven’t lost all sense of right and wrong...whew!

So being a pretty good sleuth, if I say so myself, for some crazy reason……I become a total novice when it comes to figuring out God. Many great and mighty men and women have come before me attempting this same feat. I also have many years under my belt in this area….I have been a believer for over thirty years, I have studied and believed like a child, never straying from the most trusted and valued tenants of faith, I believe it ALL from the ….In the beginnings to the maps! I have taught Sunday school, children’s church, adult classes even…I have filled in, helped out and stood in the gap for pete’s sake…..I am a preachers wife!  A lot of good that does me……God is no respecter of persons for which I am glad of but gee whiz, could he not throw me a bone ever now and then? I am out of clues about what HE is up too these days!

I have come to the conclusion, after much prayer and not enough fasting(obviously!) that even though I am steadfastly a student of perception and discernment, it is impossible to get ahead of God. Usually I can get a sense of what may be up, but these are dark days my friend. Where I “pride” myself (oops, this may be a clue) in feeling like I have a handle on things, I now know I do not. I have NO CONTROL on any of it. I would be a fool to think I do. I have been a fool numerous times, apparently! Control is one of those elusive mind games I play….for which I see that it is just an illusion. The best I can do is keep watch over my own heart and mind and thoughts and deeds, even then I am challenged to keep the course. It is not up to me to “watch” and make sure everyone does what is right and expected. The best I can even hope for is what happens in my own kitchen and even that has gotten away from me from time to time. Question for the day: Exactly how high can we fill a trash can before it all falls in the floor?

My only job is to “watch” and pray. Look up for my redemption draweth nigh……there are many snares out there and in my need to be a watchman on the wall I can’t be the commander and chief of everyone I know. There are some pits and some will fall into them and if they ask for help out I will be there to reach out my hand , but we all have our own lives to lead and choose who or what to follow. My heart tells me to follow after God and that will be enough. Even as I right this I have so many BUTS that come to my mind…but I have to just leave them alone. On my watch I must seek the Lord and pray and probably should try some of that fasting stuff…ugh!


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ALL of US are dying

To know the day we are going to die would seem to be very ominous, even somewhat frightening. But would it? All of US are dying…..we just don’t know exactly when.

Funny thing about death, it is so allusive. No one knows what is like because it is a trip we don’t comeback from. No postcards home, no suntan(or we hope not, yikes!) no leftover sand creeping in our luggage. NO LUGGAGE even! Death is the end of a time period.

On the other hand it is the beginning of a new one. The whole universe uses death as a marker of time. B.C/A.D. and with this to be true…why then is there such a controversy about the C part and the A.D. Christ is the marker of the time. Before HE died and then after HE died.

I struggle with my devotion and faith, even sometimes daily, but I can never deny HIS existence and I can’t understand why anyone else would or could. Whether the belief if HE is the one and only SON OF GOD or not…HE must have been pretty important to be the “marking of time post”…. so to speak.

HE knew death was his future and sooner than later, better than anyone else. He carried on even though he was doomed from the start. He carried on…about the father’s business. I would guess that he had a bit of fear and questions. He questioned it even the night before. Also, HE was like US….so he felt the same pain and had some scary nights sleeping alone on the ground with a rock for a pillow.

Sometimes it does feel like we are just marking time and I suppose that is because in the natural world we really just are. So when we come to that moment, if we know and have the time to, will we ask for another chance to go to Disneyland or one more movie to watch or NASCAR Race? Will we want to shop ’til we drop or check our #TWITTER or FACEBOOK account one more time? Really…….what is so profound?

What WILL be the one thing we hope we can do again? I hope not one darn thing! I hope we do all the things we long to do while there is still time and I hope it is more like lay beside our husband and talk about nothing or kiss our children’s forehead. I hope our time spent on this earth has been full of these little moments…with no regrets.

Give the flowers to the living……hug the necks and kiss the foreheads. Walk in the new spring grass with bare feet, be surprised, be loved and love back. Allow the days to be filled with just what is important even if it is working our tired jobs. They serve a purpose also, they give us the other hours to be free and serve others, share our hearts and even waste some of that time.

All of US are dying, most of us just don’t know it.


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Still Not over YOU- Michael Dean Church

Y’all check out this great video…this guy is a great singer and great guy…PLEASE SHARE PLEASE!



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…and more yet…ART/Paintings

I would say this is the last of them…but I know ME!!!!ImageDSCN0687


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In honor of our long list of pResidents….God Bless America!

yes I know I capitalized the “R” in presidents….because although I honor the past presidents on this the day we recognize them…it is the residents of these great UNITED STATES of America that have carried the load…..we are still the best place in the world to live!! Yea! US!!!Image…..and a shameful way to show my painting once again!!….ahhhhhh!

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All choked up…..

Today is the day we honor a leader of our nation, a man who did more for civil rights in our time than any other, though many other men and women paved the way. He lost his own life for the cause of freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr gave all for his beliefs. Not unlike the original Martin Luther who we can thank for many of our God truths, he stood the gap for religious freedoms and truths.

I am a fan of most civil rights leaders, although raised in the south, I was never “taught” to be a racist, my family had its own troubles but, we weren’t idiots. My heart was forever touched after, as a young girl watching the story of Alex Haley unfold in the movie version of his acclaimed book, ROOTS. Later on after I had married, when visiting a mall in Knoxville, my husband, myself and my first-born was noticed while getting out of our car by Alex Haley. We had not seen him but, later while in the mall he walked by and I knew who he was and introduced myself…….he mentioned he had seen us come in the mall and what a nice family we appeared to be, he bragged on my son…..WOW!!!!!…..I was overwhelmed to say the least. Of course I asked him for his autograph (yes, I am shameless, but THIS WAS ALEX HALEY!!!) for which I still have. This man was the voice of all the people who had been through so much. Definitely a high point for me.

Today also is a day of Honor and the swearing-in of the new President elect, Barak H. Obama. This being his second term it is a little less heroic(well, not really!), the first African- American President elected to lead our country. But, great all the same. No one, whether for or against could ever honestly admit that it is a BIG DEAL! Who’d of thunk it……and it is about time and even more true….come on girls, when is it going to be our turn?

I was not in awe of his politics, I wish I could be fully behind him but, no. And that’s okay too, I have my rights to my opinion. But I am fully behind his office and the honor of being the first and I respect the hard time that he has to get anything done. All presidents struggle with this I am sure and for him I am sure it is even more of a struggle. As long as civil rights is an issue and as long there is people, they will be, it will always be a historic day to have a African-American or a woman or a Latino or which ever minority there is.

I watch this whole process and I can not help but be….all choked up! I is a BIG DEAL when any person is given the office of the President. The pomp and circumstance are pretty cool. Just listening to all the words of The Battle Hymn of the Republic (see below) is a spiritual experience. To think, that all the people in our country fuss and feud about our collective freedoms and rights, at this time of celebration the playing field gets even, we all collectively feel the awe and responsibility of the office and the job before us ALL to work this out.

We only have one America and no matter our ethnic origin (by the way, we all came from the same start!) on days like this we are AMERICANS in the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! This is why everyone wants to come here. The opportunities are endless and we have the obligation to do our best with our lives. It is such a waste of chances we use up squandering our lives on useless endeavors.

It is time for us all to get about the Fathers business and stop complaining and get on board to change at least our world around us. It starts with ME…..talk about getting all choked up!

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the lord,
He is trampling out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath are stored,
He hath loosed his fateful lightning
of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on

Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on

I have seen Him in the watch fires
of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar
in the evening dews and damps,
I can read his righteous sentence
in the dim and daring lamps,
His day is marching on

Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on

I have read a fiery Gospel
writ in burnished rows of steel,
“As ye deal with My contemners
so with you My grace shall deal,”
Let the Hero born of woman
crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on

Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on He has sounded forth the trumpet
that shall never call retreat,
He is sitting out the hearts of men
before His judgment seat,
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him!
Be jubilant, my feet,
Our God is marching on

Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on

The following stanzas are presented
as sung by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1960

In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom
that transfigures you and me,
As He died to make men holy
let us live to make men free,
His truth is marching on

Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on

He is coming like the glory
of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty
He is honor to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool
and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on

Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory ! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on


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