Finishing Strong

open bibleAnyone who has ever participated in a race knows it’s how you finish the race that’s most important. Starting out strong can give you a definite advantage, but in order to win, you must be the first one across the finish line.

Second Chronicles lists the kings of Israel and Judah. It states whether or not the kings started out following the Lord. Some did but many did not. Israel and Judah were surrounded by nations who worshipped various false gods and idols. Those worshipping these gods and idols greatly influenced many of the kings.

Israel and Judah knew they were supposed to worship the one true God—the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. God’s prophets repeatedly warned against serving and worshipping false gods.

Some of the kings started out following the Lord. Their intentions were good, but somewhere along the way they were tempted to stray from Him. And did. Some of their decisions might not have seemed like that big of a deal, but they led the kings away from totally serving and depending on God.

King Rehaboam started off serving God but later abandoned the Lord—and all Israel followed him into sin.

Fortunately for King Rehaboam, he repented, so the Lord did not completely destroy him.

King Asa started off doing what was right in God’s sight. However as time went on, King Asa made a military alliance with the evil king, Aram. In doing so he put his faith in Aram rather than in the Lord. Thus pulling Asa away from his close relationship with God.

King Jehosaphat started out pleasing the Lord. He later made an alliance with a godless king, Ahab. The alliance was for Jehosaphat’s son to marry Ahab’s daughter. This alliance displeased the Lord.

King Uzziah started out serving God. The Lord blessed him abundantly. Instead of being thankful to the Lord, Uzziah became proud. In doing so, he depended on himself instead of inquiring of the Lord.

Although it does not seem these kings committed an awful sin, their walk away from the Lord began with the small step of compromise. Compromise can be a slippery slope away from the Lord.

On the other hand, King Manassah was very wicked as he began his reign. However, he later repented and cried out to the Lord.

Any time one of the king’s repented and cried out to the Lord, the Lord forgave him and took him back. The same is true for us—anytime we repent and cry out to the Lord, He will forgive us. That is how loving our God is.

I have known young people who started out on fire for the Lord. They embraced their faith with great enthusiasm. They wanted to win the lost for Jesus.

As they grew and more of the world came to influence them, their faith waned and the fire they once had for the Lord became a cold ember.

Compromise sneaked in. Once these young people stood firm in their beliefs. Now little temptations edged their way in and after giving in to these temptations, the line between right and wrong blurred. Some even lost their faith altogether.

I’ve seen this in adults as well—even preachers. All it takes is giving in to one little temptation, then the next one doesn’t seem so bad. It leads to that slippery slope away from the Lord.

As you can see by the kings I mentioned, it did not take a lot for them to lose their faith and reliance on God–influences from ungodly people, hanging out with the wrong crowd, or becoming prideful.

A strong start definitely has merit whether it is in an actual race, or in the Christian life. In the Christian life, it is important to start with accepting Jesus as your savior. Sound, Biblical teaching and time with the Lord give roots to our faith. It is important for your spiritual roots to go deep, thus helping you stay with the Lord and not being tossed to and fro by the teachings and influences of the world.

If you started out strong in your faith but have lost your fervor, I urge you to repent and ask the Lord to forgive you. He will welcome you back.

If you are strong in your faith, fight to stay strong in your faith. Don’t let those temptations and compromise pull you from your relationship with Jesus. Finish strong.

Each day is a gift. Stay strong in your faith.

 

©2020 Bev Brown—All rights reserved

 

 

 

Kindergarten Friends

boulder cascade creek environment
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The summer before I started kindergarten we moved to a house in the country. We rented the place as we did all our homes until I was in high school. It was a two-bedroom, two-story home with a porch on the side.

It’s hard to imagine a family of seven living in a two-bedroom house. However this was not unusual for us. Katrina slept on a rollaway bed in Mama and Daddy’s room, while the rest of us kids shared the other bedroom—Buddy and R.J. sharing one bed and Sara and I sharing another.

We kids loved that place and each of us have fond memories of it. Even Katrina who was only three or so when we moved there.

Past the land in the back of the house ran a little creek. We kids spent hours there wading, catching crawdads, and swinging across the creek on the vines that hung in the trees by the banks.

A large pasture was on the side of the house. We had a horse we called Tony. On the weekends we took turns riding him. I learned at an early age to mount a horse from the left side. R.J. made the mistake of trying to get on Tony from the other side and was kicked for his efforts. We kids thought that was very funny. R.J. did not see the humor in it. He wasn’t really hurt but his pride was a bit wounded.

One time my grandmother from the south came to visit us. She had a way of catching a chicken by placing a loop of string on the ground. In the middle of the loop she placed some feed. She would then go off a little ways, hold the end of the string and wait for a chicken to wander into the middle of the loop to eat the feed. When it did, my grandma yanked the end of the string catching the chicken by wrapping the loop around its legs.

Katrina has always been one who thought she could do anything anyone else could do. This time was no different. She carefully observed the process.

Shortly after my grandma caught the chicken, she and my mother were in the house visiting when they heard a loud squawking outside. They rushed to the door to see what was causing all the commotion. They could not believe their eyes. There, as pretty as you please, came little Katrina carrying a string holding a big old rooster by its legs slung over her shoulder.

Daddy used to keep a couple of old junkers setting in the pasture. R.J., Katrina and I loved to go sit in one of them. We took turns driving, making many imaginary trips south to visit our relatives.

At the time Mama and Daddy both smoked. R.J. and I thought it would be a dandy idea to sneak one of Mama’s cigarettes and take it to one of the old cars to smoke it. It so happened the cigarette lighter in that car still worked just fine.

As we were sitting there taking turns puffing away, here came Mama. We knew we were in big trouble. She explained all the negative things smoking could cause, while as the same time motioning to R.J. We both understood what she was saying.

I remember very well R.J. and me getting caught by Mama but it was years later before I learned how she knew we were smoking in that old car. Come to find out, our little sister, Katrina, ratted us out.

I went to kindergarten in the afternoons and rode a bus back and forth. Buddy and Sara rode the bus home with me but were already at school when I had to catch the bus. It seemed the bus stop was a long way from where we lived but I’m sure it wasn’t. I didn’t like going so fairly often I would hide until the bus driver gave up and left. I would happily go home and tell Mama I had missed the bus. I’m sure she was on to my tricks.

I do not remember anything about kindergarten itself, but I sure remember where we lived and my wonderful memories there. And you can now see that my kindergarten friends were my brothers and sisters.

 

Each day is a gift. Treasure the memories and the ones you are making them with.

©2020 Bev Brown  All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

The Prayer Mystery

praying handsI try to be transparent in all my posts, but in this one I am really opening myself up. Please read all the way to the end.

Prayer is a mystery to me. Oh, I fully believe in the power of prayer and pray constantly throughout the day, believing and trusting that the Lord hears and answers my prayers.

The thing I find mysterious is that the Lord tells us to pray for things. What goes through my mind is, why do we need to pray for things that the Lord has in His hands?

Many times Jesus told us to pray. For example, He said to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send workers to the fields that are what unto harvest (Matthew 9:38). This is just one of the many times the Lord told us to pray.

Jesus Himself made a habit of praying. Often before He was facing a big decision He would go off and pray. To me the most notable time He prayed was when He was facing death on the cross.

The mystery for me is what in the spiritual realm makes it necessary for us to pray about everything? Prayer is obviously important to God since the Bible says to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).

These are things I have been contemplating and meditating on. My thoughts may sound almost sacrilegious. I don’t mean them to.

The resolution I have come to is this: I am but human, made by and for the Lord. I will never fully understand His mysteries. His ways are far above my ways and His thoughts far above my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).

Mine is to obey and trust in Him with all my heart and to lean not to my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). And I do.

It is obvious from all the scriptures that prayer is extremely important to the Lord. It would almost seem that in some ways God limits Himself by and to our prayers. Just a thought.

I know without a doubt He hears and answers my prayers. Prayers are powerful and essential. I have seen too many impossible situations turn around after praying to doubt that.

I rest in the knowledge that He is God—I’m not. So I can never fully understand or grasp all He is, all He does, and all He knows. If I could then I would be on an equal plane with Him—which I’m not. And I’m thankful I am not. If I were then things that were impossible for me would also be impossible for Him.

The truth is, nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him, my Lord, my God, my Father and my Savior!

In conclusion: Although I may not understand the mystery of prayer, I will keep on praying, keep on believing, and keep on seeing the answers to both small things and large things. I am not ashamed to say I pray about things as minute as remembering to make a call and as significant as someone’s salvation and healing.

I will never stop praying—and I hope you don’t either.

Each day is a gift. Pray without ceasing about the small things and the large.

©2020 Bev Brown—All rights reserved

Visiting Relatives

flower-firsts and lastsWhen we were kids, the only vacation we ever took was a trip down south. That’s where Mama and Daddy were from and our roots go deep there. While there, we stayed with relatives, usually Maw and Paw.

When I was a child it would take us 24 hours to go from where we lived to their house. They lived not too far from a lumber yard and R.J, Katrina, and I would know we were close to their house when saw it and smelled the lumber. Then we got all excited knowing we were almost there.

Twenty-four hours is a long time to be in a car, especially for two adults and five kids. Katrina was usually in the front seat in between Mama and Daddy. Most of the time the rest of us kids sat in the back seat.

Since it took a full 24 hours to get there, a large part of the time we kids slept. It’s hard to imagine daddy driving straight through but he did. It was not unusual for us to go down and back on a three day weekend. I don’t know how he did it.

There were no seat belts then, as hard as that is to imagine now, so we slept in all kinds of places and positions; the area behind the back seat by the rear window, on the floor board, turned with our knees on the floor board and our top half on the seat, leaned up against each other, etc. We argued about who got to sit by the window.

We listened to the radio and sang to help pass the time. Sara and I sang melody and Mama sang harmony. Daddy and Mama listened to country music, so we sang those types of songs and hymns. This is something R.J. and Katrina missed out on, naturally, however they kept themselves occupied in other ways.

R.J., Katrina and I played with a piece of string tied at the ends to make a loop. R.J. was a whiz at the string and could do all kinds of games and tricks with it. We also played games like rock, paper, scissors. This and telling make-believe stories kept us entertained for hours.

Maw and Paw lived in the same place in Selma for as long as I can remember—a house Paw built. It was a four-room square house with a porch the width of the front and a porch the width of the back. Family went in the back where the kitchen was. The sink faced the backyard and everyone drank out of an aluminum dipper which hung on the wall by it. That would totally gross people out now-a-days, but back then we kids thought that was really cool.

On a side note: I recently went back down there and the house where Maw and Paw lived was still there. He built that house to last. I would like to have gone up to the front door and told the people who I was, but it was raining very hard and we didn’t want to get out of the car.

When we visited other relatives besides Maw and Paw, R.J., Katrina and I usually sat on the floor against a wall. Mama was strict with us and we were quiet as mice. That wasn’t too hard for us to be because we signed everything we wanted to say to each other.

One place we loved to visit–even though they didn’t have any kids at home–was my aunt and uncle. The apartments where they lived had a playground. We were able to go out there and play and didn’t have to sit and be still.

I did not realize until many years later that they lived in the projects. It would not have mattered even if we had known when we were younger. We still would have loved the playground.

One thing southerners and Deaf culture has in common is hugging. Southerners tend to hug everyone, while Deaf people tend to hug only those they feel comfortable with. At least that has been my experience.

I am so glad I had R.J. and Katrina as siblings. They were my constant companions.

Each day is a gift. Reminisce on the good times from your childhood.

©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Weaknesses to Strengths

Not a lot of things come naturally to me. I can only think of two or three.

Talking and story-telling come naturally to me. I can talk to just about anyone about almost anything. I don’t mind talking or teaching in front of a crowd. This is said to be the number one fear of most people. Not me. I think because teaching is what I am called to do.

Another thing that comes naturally to me is signing and interpreting. I used to think it was because I grew up with Deaf siblings—which definitely helped. But as an adult I met others who had Deaf siblings or Deaf parents, and they did not have the skill I did. I finally realized and accepted that, too, was one of my gifts.

That’s about it. Unless you count being logical. I am very logical.

Everything else I have to learn to do.

On the other hand, my husband can do just about anything. When he was a teenager he would take the car engine apart and put it back together again in a weekend. When he was in his early 20’s he made a family room in our unfinished basement. There is not much he cannot do.

I couldn’t even operate our riding lawn mower until our son came over and walked me through each step. I meticulously wrote notes for future reference.

Because things don’t seem to come naturally to me, once I learn something I am able to teach others. I am able to do this by breaking down each step.

For example, someone to whom everything comes naturally might say to a person, “Get in and start the car.” The person who is learning might be overwhelmed and have no idea where to start.

I can break it down and say something like, “Get in. Put your foot on the brake. Make sure the car is in Park. Put the key in the ignition. Turn the ignition until the car starts.”

When I worked for the telecommunications company, I wrote training and methods and procedures. I don’t think I would have been as effective if everything came naturally to me.

Why am I telling you all of this? First of all, not everyone has the same giftings, talents and abilities. And second of all, you might excel at something because a certain thing did not come naturally to you.

Don’t be discouraged if something is a challenge. Look for ways you can take something you might feel is your weakness and turn it around to become your strength.

Believe it or not, writing does not come naturally for me. Every time it is time for me to write a post for my blog or an article, I get a little bit of anxiety. I would much rather be telling a story orally than writing it down. But I have friends who are much more comfortable with writing than speaking.

Everyone is different. Embrace who you are—your strengths and weaknesses.

 

Each day is a gift. Look at things you felt might have been a weakness in a different way.

©2020 Bev Brown  All Rights Reserved.

 

Partial Obedience?

open bibleSaul was Israel’s first king. The Lord was actually their king but they wanted a king from among the people, so God, through Samuel, anointed Saul to be their king.

The Lord often spoke to King Saul through Samuel. First Samuel 15 tells about one of those times.

The Lord, through Samuel, commanded Saul to destroy the city of Amalek and all that was therein—men, women, children and livestock.

Saul and his army went to battle against the Amalakites. They killed all the men, women and children but spared the king himself, King Agag, and the best of all the livestock and anything they considered valuable.

The Lord revealed to Samuel Saul’s disobedience. Samuel went to confront Saul. Saul took the offensive and basically told Samuel he performed the commandment of the Lord.

Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and lowing of oxen which I hear? (NKJV)”

I can just imagine Saul trying to backtrack and think of a good excuse why he did not do everything the Lord commanded him. Saul came up with the excuse that they hadn’t destroyed the animals because they had saved the best to sacrifice to Samuel’s God.

It is interesting to me that Saul did not say to sacrifice to “Our God,” but instead said “Your God.” This showed he did not consider God his God but instead thought of Him as Samuel’s God only.

Of course Samuel knew Saul was not being completely honest and told Saul so. Saul once again tried to defend his actions.

Because of Saul’s disobedience and disregard for the Lord, the Lord decided to reject Saul as king over Israel.

I find this story very sobering. I wonder how many times the Lord told us to do something and we did only part of it? Then made excuses why we did not do everything He directed us to? Even made excuses that sounded religious or righteous.

We all have probably done this at one time or another, sometimes without even realizing it.

The only thing we can do at this point is to ask the Lord to forgive us for any time we have failed Him. And then ask Him to let us be more aware in the future and help us not to only do part of what He tells us to do.

I would encourage you to read the entire chapter of I Samuel 15. It contains so much more than I’ve mentioned here. I never tire of reading it. Each time I read it, something new jumps out at me. It holds so many lessons for us.

Each day is a gift. Determine today to totally obey God in whatever He tells you to do.

©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Never Felt Sorry for Them

black catI never felt sorry for R.J. or Katrina. To me they were no better or worse than I was. As a matter of fact, when we were young, I was jealous of Katrina. And in some ways, as we grew older, I was envious of opportunities she had that I didn’t.

Some of my earliest memories are of standing next to Katrina when people would come up to us. Most of them would look at her and say, “She’s so cute!” Then they would look at me and say, “She has such big eyes.”

I grew up hating my eyes. I felt like a freak.

Katrina really did have the cute factor going for her with her round, pretty little face and naturally curly hair. Plus the fact that she was Deaf and most people had never seen a Deaf child. She looked like a doll.

One Halloween when I was in kindergarten, Sara, R.J., Katrina and I went trick-or-treating around our neighborhood. We never had store-bought costumes—we made our costumes from things around the house. I was usually a hobo.

The lady at one house thought Katrina was so cute that, instead of giving her one piece of candy, she gave her a whole hand full. Not fair.

Another time, when I was in first grade, we were visiting friends. While there we happened to go to their neighbor’s house. The woman there thought Katrina was so adorable, she gave her a stuffed toy kitten.

I was standing right night to Katrina and, more than likely was signing to Katrina what the lady said. Even though I was a young child and not quite two years older than Katrina, the lady did not bother to give me anything. Yet another thing to be jealous about.

As far back as I can remember, relatives would have me tell her and R.J. they were “pretty.” You know it had to be in the south for them to tell a boy he was “pretty.” Katrina usually felt sorry for me and would point to me, indicating I was pretty too. They would usually take the hint and say something like, “Oh yeah, she’s pretty too.”

Bless Katrina’s heart, she did not want me to feel bad or left out. But it made me feel like I was a puppy waiting for crumbs to be tossed my way. In my mind, if they had to be coaxed by her to give me a compliment, then the compliment was obligatory and not sincere and therefore worthless.

When I was in high school, R.J. and Katrina attended the state school for the Deaf. Because of that, they had many opportunities I did not.

R.J. and Katrina became very close because they had so much in common and knew all the kids who attended there.

R.J. became captain of the football team.

Katrina learned to swim there and even became a life guard. I still can’t swim.

Katrina learned to bowl. I bowled for the first time when I was 19.

She was a cheerleader. I could not even be in the pep club because I would have had to buy a pep club jacket which my folks could not afford.

Katrina went to the prom every year in the latest style because she made her beautiful prom dresses there at the school.

When I went to the one and only prom I ever attended, I had to wear a borrowed, hand-me-down dress that was embarrassingly outdated.

Nope I never felt sorry for R.J. and Katrina.

But I loved them with all my heart. Still do. To this day, we are still very close.

You might think I would have hated Katrina since I was so jealous, but I didn’t. Katrina was so sweet she made it impossible for me to hate her.

Next time, I will tell you stories about us growing up together. They were my best friends.

 

Each day is a gift. Don’t waste today being jealous of anything or anyone.

©2020 Bev Brown—All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

Remove the Leaven

There are so many valuable lessons in the Bible. Here is an example.

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. The Lord planned on bringing them out to a better land—a better life.

Moses was to be their deliverer. Pharaoh did not want to let the Israelites leave. Because of Pharaoh’s hardened heart, the Lord sent many plagues even the last plague which was that the first born of everyone and everything would die.

Still Pharaoh would not listen.

The Lord did not plan on any of the first born of the Israelites to die. He told them exactly what they needed to do. This is when the Passover was instituted.

Several guidelines were to be followed. One was they were not to eat any leavened bread for seven days. They were even to remove any leaven from their households on the first day, thus removing the temptation to eat it.

Here is my point in telling you all of this: In the kindness and wisdom of the Lord, He knew that if there was any leaven in the household, the temptation to make and eat leavened bread would be great—almost impossible to resist. That is why he told them to remove the leaven from their homes on the first day.

We need to do the same thing. If there is something in our home or life that tempts us to do wrong, we need to remove it.

It could be anything from removing something we know we should not eat to any number of other things that might cause you to do wrong.

Your temptation might be in something you can’t really get rid of, like a computer or television. If this is the case, you will need to have the self-control to turn the channel or find a different website—or turn it off.

If there is a person with whom you are tempted to do things you should not, avoid that person. If you cannot completely avoid the person, limit your interaction with them. This might mean not going to lunch or dinner, or talking to them needlessly.

Maybe you feel it is something that has too big a hold on you. Get counseling if you need to or perhaps an accountability partner. Remember, the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

There is an old song that says, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, slowly but wholly taking control.” This is so true. No one ever plans on becoming ensnared in a harmful habit, relationship or lifestyle.

 

Each day is a gift. Determine today to remove the leaven from your home and life.

©2020 Bev Brown—All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Vibrations are Sounds

I love you signAs I mentioned before, R.J. and Katrina are totally Deaf. They have no hearing at all.

They will, however, say they “heard” something. This means they feel the vibration of something. It is as close as they can come to understanding what it means to hear. To them it is hearing.

When we were young, Katrina would sometimes ask me what she “heard.” I realized early on this meant she was feeling the vibrations of something.

I would have to stop and become aware of what I could hear. Often it was an airplane going by. Or maybe a train off in the distance. As hearing people often do, these were noises I shut out. The sounds wouldn’t even register to me until Katrina brought them to my attention. I wasn’t even aware they were making a noise.

In cases like this, Katrina was much more aware of the sound than I.

When we were teenagers, we had a horse that was kept in a pasture with other horses. We lived in the middle of town so couldn’t keep him at our house.

Katrina and I went to see him as often as we could. On one of these visits Katrina’s sensitivity to vibrations might have saved her from being run into by one of the horses kept in the pasture.

I was walking ahead of Katrina and glanced back at her just in time to see her holding her chest. Right behind her a horse was digging his front hooves into the ground in an effort to stop. He was digging up the dirt beneath his hooves and almost sitting down on his back haunches.

I quickly realized the horse almost ran right into her. I asked her, “What happened?” What made the horse stop?

Katrina said as she was walking to catch up with me, she she suddenly “heard the horse coming.” I knew right away that she didn’t actually “hear” the horse but felt the ground underneath her feet vibrating, thus signaling to her something was approaching.

She quickly jerked around just in time to see the horse. When the horse saw her turn around, he came to an abrupt halt.

I was amazed. I neither heard the horse approaching nor felt the vibrations.

When my youngest son was a teenager, he took up drums. He had a full set in his bedroom and faithfully practiced in there.

One day R.J. came to visit just as my son had decided to practice his drums.

R.J. started down the hall where my son’s bedroom was. He abruptly stopped and signed to me, “It’s too loud!”

I could not believe it. As far as I knew R.J. could not hear a thing,

“You can hear the drum?” I asked, astonished.

“No, I can feel,” he stated and proceeded to show me how he could feel the vibrations from the drums going up and down his body.

So, to both R.J. and Katrina when they say they “hear” something, it actually means they “feel the vibrations.”

To them, vibrations equal sounds.

 

Each day is a gift. See how many vibrations you feel today.

©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Unknown Sacrifices

country homeOne thing I have noticed in the last several years is that young couples often get married thinking they should have the same things their parents have. They think they should start out with a big house, nice furniture, nice cars, etc. Often this leads them to go in debt in order to have these things.

What they don’t realize is that their parents worked for years to be able to accumulate all these nice things.

A young person may look at the things my husband and I now have and not realize we started out with almost nothing.

My husband bought three rooms of furniture for the low price of $200 which he borrowed from his father. Even 50 years ago $200 for three rooms of furniture was pretty cheap. The furniture was far from good quality but served us well enough until we could get better.

Through the years, we took people’s old furniture when they bought new. Or we bought second-hand furniture. After many, many years we were able to buy new furniture of our choosing.

My husband and I worked and made sacrifices to be able to have what we now have. When our children were small, I didn’t know how we were going to be able to buy a pair of shoes for $2.00 at K-mart.

When they were young, all of our children were sick and required frequent visits to the doctor and prescription medications.

Through it all, we never stopped tithing. Even though sometimes I had to hold the check back until the next payday.

I wholeheartedly believe in the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping. I believed that when  we gave (or sowed), we would reap and the Lord would provide for us. And He always did.

For many years I was over the Deaf ministry in several churches. I sacrificed sitting with my husband and children during church services or special events so that I could interpret during those times. My small children did not know what it was like for mama to sit with them in church because I was always up front interpreting.

Several years ago I traveled with a well-known ministry as the Sign Language interpreter. I did this for almost five years. Once again I was in front interpreting but this time, it was in a venue holding several thousand people.

More times than I can remember, some starry-eyed person who could sign would come up to me and ask, “How did you get to be interpreter with such an awesome ministry?”

All they could see was what they thought was the glamour of interpreting for a well-known television teacher-evangelist in front of thousands of people.

They did not see all the years I had sown being over the Deaf ministries at church and all the times I had interpreted every service and special event. Not to mention all the times I taught Sunday School to the Deaf people, and organized special events for the Deaf ministry.

They did not think about the sacrifices I made in order to travel with the ministry. Being gone from Thursday through Sunday twice a month; often interpreting for two straight hours during each of the four to five services when there was no one to help me; being totally exhausted when I got home.

I often missed out on loved one’s birthdays, celebrations and special events.

Let me say here that all the sacrifices of being over the Deaf ministries and traveling with the well-known ministry were totally worth it. I was very blessed to be able to do them.

My point is this; often when you look at something someone has or has the privilege to do, you don’t realize all the sacrifices that person has made along the way. Or what they have sown in order to get the blessings they are now reaping. Very seldom do we have anything worthwhile in life that didn’t cost us something.

 

Each day is a gift. Remember most things require some kind of sowing or sacrifices.

©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

 

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I launched this blog. It was probably the most frightening thing I have ever done.

The only reason I started a blog was because I felt it was a directive from the Lord. As I was seeking Him about what I should do, He told me I was filled with His word and life experiences, and it was time to share that with people.

But how, Lord? And where?

I have felt called to teach for a long time. I have had the privilege to doing so here and there but nothing long term. So how was I supposed to teach and share?

He dropped the idea of a blog into my heart.

I knew it had to be Him because I had no idea how to go about starting a blog. I had never even read one.

I was blessed to still have my writing coach. She walked me through the process and got me all set up.

But can I be transparent and tell you that every post is a challenge for me? Not because I don’t have anything to say. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have lots to say—sometimes too much.

So it was not the saying something. It was the other reasons why it is a challenge.

One reason is because writing is not something that comes naturally to me. Speaking and oral story telling is very natural for me. It does not bother me to stand and teach in front of a room full of people. But writing is completely different.

Each time I sit down to write, it is a challenge to write things that express what I want to say and make sense.

Another reason is because it is something I committed to do every week for at least a year and longer.

I am not a maintenance person. I’m more of a “Let’s do it once and go on to something else” kind of a person. When I was a manager, I found the maintenance things boring—employees attendance, observations, etc.

Be give me a project that had a deadline attached to it, and my adrenalin flowed! That was where I excelled.

The third main reason it is such a challenge and was so scary for me was because each time I post something, I’m putting a little bit of myself out there for all the world to see.

Believe me, I would have never started this if I hadn’t thought it was what the Lord wanted. In many ways, I feel woefully inadequate.

Having said all that, let me say I hope these posts have in some way encouraged, inspired, taught or blessed you in some small way.

Also having said all that, I want you to know that, while I will still be posting things, I may not be able to keep doing one a week. You will still be hearing from me though, so please keep checking in.

Thank you so much for having read as many of my posts as you have.

Each day is a gift. Spend today on things that give you pleasure and fulfillment.
©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved.

God’s Promises

As I’ve mentioned before, I love God’s word. It is so rich and filled with promises.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 37. It contains so much—promises, instruction, and information.

Today’s post is just me sharing some of my thoughts regarding one of His promises.

An important thing to remember when reading the Bible is not to take things out of context. Also meditate on the verse or verses and ask the Lord to give you revelation and insight.

Psalm 37:4 states, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desire of your heart (NKJV).”

I have heard many people use this verse to say that whatever their heart desires, the Lord will give them.

They ignore the verse before which says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness,” Proverbs 37:3 NJKV.

As I was meditating on this verse, the Lord gave me a different take on it. First we have to trust in the Lord and do good. We rely on Him.

Then we have to delight ourselves in the Lord. To me this means to have a relationship with Him, praising and worshiping Him. Surrender yourself to Him and His goodness. Meditate on His word.

Then if we delight ourselves in the Lord, the desires we have will come from Him–He Himself will put those desires within us. And if those desires come from Him, then he will give us those desires.

Psalm 37:5 states, “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (NKJV).”

As we commit our way to the Lord, seeking His will, and as we trust in Him, then he will bring it to pass.

So if you seek the Lord and His will, then the desires you have will come from Him and if they come from Him, He will give them to you.

We can’t claim this verse if we never give the Lord or His desires in our life a thought. It’s as we seek and trust Him and do good, that he will give us the desires of our hearts.

I find this very exciting. To know that when I trust Him and commit my way to Him, He will not only put His desires in my heart but He will then bring them to pass.

Each day is a gift. Use today to draw close to the Lord. Seek His will and His way.
©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Precious Sounds

childrenThis week I am continuing with the theme of sounds we as hearing people take for granted, and a deaf person misses out on.

One time when my kids were young, I happened to see a Deaf friend and her children while in a store. Our kids were about the same age and knew each other.

I started talking with my Deaf friend. Proper etiquette teaches that you don’t just say “Hi” and walk on by when seeing a Deaf person you know. You stop and start small talk like, “Hi, how are you? How is the family?” and so on.

As we talked, our children wandered off to other aisles to look at toys.

After talking a few minutes I heard my middle child calling me.

I signed, “Just a minute, I hear so and so calling me.” She knew the names of all my children so knew who I was talking about.

She stopped and looked down the aisle to see if she could see him. Children of Deaf parents will always come in view of the parent when wanting to talk to them. They realize their parent has to see them to be able to converse. This is why my friend thought my son would be in that aisle.

My son was not in sight. In a few minutes he came around the end of the aisle into our view, calling my name.

She looked at me in amazement. “How did you know?” she signed. “How did you know that was who was calling you?”

I explained to her I knew his voice. “I know all my children’s voices,” I explained. “When they call me from another room, I know which one called me. I even know who coughed even if I can’t see them.”

Her eyes widened at this information. She was astounded!

For the first time it truly hit me that she could not hear the precious sound of her children’s voices. How much she missed out on!

So much we take for granted. That day I was truly thankful I could hear my kids’ voices.

Another thing we tend to take for granted is music. There is no way we can describe it to a Deaf person. Some Deaf persons can hear some music depending on the degree of their hearing loss.

This does not mean that they can’t enjoy the beat of the music. They can and do.

They also can enjoy dancing. They have proms and dances at school, just like hearing kids. They often have music and dancing at their weddings.

Katrina loves to dance. We used to dance around the house when we were teenagers. She was a great dancer.

I once tried to describe why music is important to us hearing people to a Deaf friend of mine. I told him the emotions it evokes. How it brings to mind moments and memories of what we were doing, where we were, and who we were with when we heard certain songs.

Most Deaf people realize music is important to hearing people. Deaf parents will often buy music boxes or musical devices so their hearing children can listen to the music.

R.J. and Katrina cannot hear anything. If they say they hear something, it means they feel the vibration. I will give examples of this next month.

Meanwhile, remember, each day is a gift. Take a moment and be conscious of the sounds you hear.

© 2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

 

Needing Others

My oldest brother, Buddy, used to race dragsters and funny cars. He was a very talented helpingdriver and, as a matter of fact, was World Champion in his class five times. He became known as one of the fastest drivers off the starting line.

Dragsters and funny car go down a quarter mile strip. They can go 200 mph or more in that quarter of a mile. To slow them down at the finish line a parachute on the back is released. Some cars have two parachutes.

The parachute is vital for the driver’s safety. And packing the parachute correctly is essential. If it is not packed right, it won’t open. For that reason most drivers pack their own parachutes.

Before Buddy got in the seat to drive, he donned a fire-proof suit, fire-proof gloves and a helmet. He then put on goggles. His peripheral vision was very restricted.

Buddy was totally dependent on others to let him know when he was lined up right before he started the race. His eyes took in what the guy in front told him to do—come forward a bit, go to the left a bit, go to the right some, back up. It was very important for him to be positioned correctly in his lane behind the starting line.

As I think of him in the seat of that dragster or funny car, totally dependent on the person in front of him to direct and guide him, I am reminded of how I want to be with the Lord. I want to be totally dependent on Him—not looking to the right nor to the left, but looking only to Him to guide and direct me.

I am also reminded that there are times in our lives when we have to rely on others–when we need them. This is harder for some than for others.

For some of us, it’s much easier to help others than to let others help us. We don’t like that feeling of helplessness or dependence.

I must confess it is hard for me to accept help. It’s much easier for me to do things for others. It’s very humbling to have to ask for help. I also don’t want to be a bother or burden to someone.

When I do need help such as when I’m sick or after surgery, I have to remind myself that it might be a blessing to others for them to have the opportunity to help me. By not wanting to ask for help, I might be robbing them of a blessing.

If you are a person who has no problem asking for help or having others help you, and find it hard to help or serve others, I suggest you make it a point to try to help someone in return. It would be a blessing to them.

We do need each other.

Each day is a gift. Accept help today if you need it. And be open to helping others.

©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Jinx

black catI thought for this week’s post I would share a story from my childhood. I hope you enjoy the story of Jinx.

After a trip to the dump, Mama and Daddy brought home an all-black kitten. Mama dubbed him Jinx.

He was one of the few cats I really liked. Other cats we had often grabbed my legs scratching me with their claws. Jinx wound his feet around my leg without digging in with his claws and gently rubbed against my leg with his face.

Jinx was a pretty sharp cat. If he needed to go out, he went to the front door and meowed.

However, if Katrina was asleep in the chair and he needed to go out, he gently touched her arm with his paw until she opened her eyes. Then he went over and stood by the front door and waited for her to let him out. He seemed to know she could not hear his meow.

Jinx loved playing with R.J., who worked in the evenings. Jinx would be sound asleep on the couch until he heard R.J.’s car pull into the driveway. Then he quickly ran and crouched by the door.

As soon as R.J. walked through the door, Jinx jumped up threw his front paws up in the air like a stick-up, then wrapped his feet around R.J.’s leg. Then he ran to hide, usually behind the sofa or by the doorway to R.J.’s bedroom.

R.J. dropped to his hands and knees and slowly crawled around looking for the cat. As soon as he found him, R.J. threw his arms in the air startling Jinx so much that he jumped into the air while throwing his front paws and legs out. He came down on all fours and like a flash, ran with his ears back, his back arched and his tail held high.

Then the game of hide and seek began all over again. This went on for half an hour or longer until one or both of them tuckered out.

One of our cousins marveled at that cat. “I’ve never seen anything like that before! I didn’t know cats could play like that,” he remarked.

One evening we noticed Jinx was not acting normally. Something was wrong with his neck. It looked like he had a hole in it right below his mouth.

I called the vet that evening. Katrina and I took him right to the clinic.

Jinx did not appreciate the vet trying to handle him. The vet had to put some kind of a restraining bag on him. The vet muttered something about that cat being a nasty cat and awful to treat.

After close examination, the vet declared, “He’s been shot with a pellet gun and has a pellet in his neck.”

I was highly offended by the vet’s attitude and said, “I guess you’d be hard to handle too, if you had a pellet in your neck!”

The vet got the pellet out and we took Jinx home that night. He recovered quite nicely. I told Mama what I said to the vet. She was rather surprised and tickled at my nerve–and my mouth.

The one thing I couldn’t stand was when Jinx jumped on my and Katrina’s bed in the middle of the night and kneaded the covers while he sucked on the blanket. It grossed me out but didn’t bother Katrina at all.

Katrina has had several cats over the years.

My husband and I got two gray kittens the first year we were married. Those kittens terrorized my home. They ran up and down the curtains, jumped on the counters and pottied in my basket of clean clothes. Needless to say, we didn’t keep them very long.

We never got any more indoor cats. I later developed an allergy to cats. Two of my kids are allergic to them too. I have had a couple outdoor cats, though.

One day Jinx went missing. He never came back home. Mama and Katrina felt sure someone poisoned him.

Each day is a gift. Animals can be some of our biggest blessings.

© 2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Practicing What I Teach

airport-802008_960_720Almost always when I teach about something, I have a chance to practice it. This happens again and again.

On one post entitled “Just Let it Go,” I emphasized not wasting time, energy and emotions being upset about something you cannot change. I gave the example of going on a short vacation and not getting the hotel room we had made reservations for.

We reserved a suite on the first floor because we need a sofa or a chair and have a hard time going up and down the stairs. The place where we stayed had given us a suite but it was up two long flights of stairs. Not what we asked for at all.

After stewing about it for a while, I decided I was not going to ruin my vacation by continuing to be upset.

In my post I pointed out that you could choose to not continue to be upset about something.

Not long after posting that, we went on a cruise. Our flight coming home would put us here at 11:30 at night. This made for a long, exhausting day. A day filled with hanging around at the airport for several hours before flying out.

First our flight changed gates, so we had to trudge across the airport to a different gate.

After getting settled in and expecting to leave at a certain time, the announcement was made we would be leaving 2 ½ hours later. I was already exhausted and tired of hanging around the airport.

I found myself grumbling about the delay.

Then I realized—this was a test. It was a test for me because after teaching about making a choice to not be upset, I had the opportunity to choose to be upset—over something I could not change, or accept it for what it was and be a whole lot happier and more pleasant to be around.

I chuckled to myself. Once again, I had the opportunity to practice what I teach.

Life is full of disappointments. Things happen that we are not expecting. You can decide how you will react to them.

You can make yourself miserable by continuing to be upset. Or you can decide to accept it for what it is.

I understand it might take a little while to work through the disappointment. However the more you choose to accept it and be happy, the easier it becomes.

In closing, I suggest you might want to consider what you preach or teach because, I promise you, you will have lots of occasions to practice it.

Each day is a gift. Decide today not to let unexpected circumstances or experiences take away your peace.

©2020 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Unfathomable Love

OceanAs I was sitting on the balcony of our room while on a cruise, I looked out at the vastness of the ocean. Nothing else was in sight. Water for as far as I could see. I could not see where it began nor where it ended. It seemed to go on forever.

As I considered the vastness of the ocean, I thought of how it was so like God’s love. A love I cannot truly comprehend. I was inspired to write the following poem. I doubt it is grammatically correct, but I hope it blesses you.

Unfathomable Love

I look out my window and see nothing but water.
The vastness of the sea makes me diminish in my own eyes.
Clouds billowing in the sky; gentle movement of the waves-
But other than that, nothing.

As I ponder the immeasurable depth of the sea
I am reminded of Your love which is unfathomable.
Such are Your grace, mercy and goodness toward me.
Though they be cast into the sea,
There would not be room enough to receive them.

In my mind I am small, insignificant, yet You view me
As beloved, chosen, worth giving Your all for.
Not because of any goodness in me or greatness I have done
But because of who You are – Your innate being.

I wonder at Your works which are too marvelous for me to comprehend.
If I could comprehend, then You wouldn’t be the One
True and living God, the Maker of all things.
In this I rejoice.

Bev Brown
©2012

Each day is a gift. Ponder God’s love for you. It has no beginning and no ending. His love goes on and on.

©2019 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Missing Out

faucetI took a little break from talking about some things a deaf person misses out on but thought I’d get back to it this month.

We know to be deaf means to be unable to hear, but we can’t possibly realize the full impact it has. Little things missed out on.

I thought I would tell some stories related things a deaf person misses out on.

At one time, Katrina had several parakeets. One day when I walked into her home I commented I could hear the birds. She asked me what they sounded like. How do you describe a sound to a person who has never heard before?

I was not very creative in trying to describe the sounds a bird makes. I was stumped. My younger brother, Bryce, was much better at giving her an idea. He said they sound like, “Cheep, peep, chirp.”

While Katrina still could not possibly know the sounds, she at least had a better idea. This seemed to satisfy her.

One day Bryce was riding in the car with Katrina who was driving. After turning a corner, the signal didn’t go off.

In a few minutes, Bryce signed to her, “Your blinker is still on.”

She glanced down, saw that, indeed, the turn signal was still blinking, and asked Bryce, “How did you know it was still on?”

“I heard it,” he responded. He heard it because of his peripheral hearing.

Katrina was astounded. She did not realize the turn signals not only blinked the right and left arrows to indicate turning, but they made a sound when they did so. How would she since she could not hear? No one had ever bothered to tell her.

As a family we used to go on long trips together. Women know one of the things we do is go to the restroom at the same time, especially sisters and mothers. It’s a girl thing.

On one of these trips, when Daddy stopped to get gas, Katrina–who was 17– and Mama went into the restroom together. The restroom was located right inside the gas station.

Mama reached over and turned on the faucet. Katrina wanted to know why she turned the water on?

“So they can’t hear us when we go to the bathroom,” Mama replied.

Katrina was shocked! “You can hear that?!” she exclaimed.

She had no idea it made noise. I’m sure her mind went back to all the times she had innocently gone to the bathroom when other people could hear her and was now embarrassed about it.

Again, how would she know? This was another thing she missed out on because of not having peripheral hearing.

So many little things in life we as hearing people take for granted. Because we take them for granted, we never think to tell our Deaf friend or loved one about them.

I strive to be more aware of this. I try to be sensitive to sounds and conversations going on around me and let the Deaf person with me know about them. I think I am better but still fall short.

Next month I will tell more stories about some of the things a Deaf person misses out on.

Each day is a gift. Today try to be aware of sounds you. Little sounds you would miss out on if you could not hear.

©2019 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

A Christmas Wish

christmas-1869902_960_720I don’t know about you but Christmas is a very special time for me and my family. Special because it is the time to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus. And a time to celebrate those I love.

We gather with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews. We have loads of food and plenty of love and laughter.

We have a get together on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and another on Christmas day to share a big dinner.

Christmas dinner is at my house. Everyone brings a dish to share. We gather around the tables and sit on every chair or sofa available.

I pray this holiday season finds you sharing the day with your loved ones.

Hold fast to the time you have together. This day will never pass this way again.

I wish for you a day filled with priceless, precious memories.

I know some people experience heartache and loneliness during this time of year. If this is you, I pray for love, comfort, and peace to surround and fill you.

It is hard to believe this will be my last post for this year. Writing this blog has been a new and challenging experience for me.

At the same time, it has been very fulfilling. You will never know how much your words of encouragement have blessed me. My prayer is that my words have blessed, encouraged, inspired and uplifted you in some small way.

Thank you for sharing in this time with me.

Each day is a gift. Hold those you love close to you.

©2019 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

More Firsts

roses-821705_960_720I promised I would tell you more about the “firsts” I experienced after I turned 50, so here goes.

When I was young I used to fanaticize about having a horse. I thought it would be wonderful.

We finally got a horse when I was in junior high school. He wasn’t at all what I had imagined. He wasn’t crazy about being ridden and would chase us around the pasture.

As I became older I decided I would like to take horseback-riding lessons. I was finally able to do this when I was 58.

I also took motorcycle lessons when I was 58. I had ridden with other people but wanted to operate a motorcycle on my own. I wanted a motorcycle license.

Unfortunately, because of my health, I was not able to complete either the horseback-riding lessons nor the motorcycle lessons. However, I felt a certain sense of accomplishment for just having tried.

As something of a consolation prize, I bought a 49cc scooter. It only went as fast as 45 mph but that was plenty fast for me.

Another dream I had was to be able to shoot a gun. When I was 64, I took a gun course and was able to get my conceal and carry license.

At the time, “Conceal and Carry” was printed in red letters on my regular driver’s license. I wasn’t crazy about this. Thankfully, they have since changed that and now issue a  conceal and carry license separate from the driver’s license.

Once, when I had the driver’s license with “conceal and carry” plastered across the front, I went to visit someone who was incarcerated. When I went in, I had to give my license to the guard at the front desk.

As I came out, the officer who had my license looked up at me. “This is yours?” he asked as he handed it to me.

“Yes,” I replied, somewhat embarrassed.

He laughed and said, “So you’re a pistol packing grandma.”

I’m glad he found that quite humorous.

I was ordained when I was 52 and became a licensed minister when I was 63.

I officiated my first funeral when I was in my late 50’s and my first wedding just this year.

When I was almost 66, I was able to go to Africa. This had been a dream of mine for as long as I could remember. I never thought I would ever be able to  go.

While there we stayed on a game preserve so we were able to see the animals up close and personal while riding in a jeep. I still consider it an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was everything I hoped it would be.

In my late 60’s I took art lessons for a short time. My family has many talented artists. Unfortunately I am not one of them. I do enjoy drawing, though.

I started a memoir when I was 54. I wanted my children to know about me and their heritage, thus they would knew themselves better. I wanted them to know what diseases and illnesses ran in the family.

However I put it aside because of working and not being able to easily go upstairs to my office to work on it.

A few years ago my older sister became ill and passed away a scant month later.

This was very sobering for me. I thought, “If I became ill and only had a month to live, what would I have wanted to accomplish before I died?”

The answer was my book. So, fifteen years after starting it, I hired a writing coach and seriously set about finishing my book when I was in my late 60’s. One and a half years later I finished and printed my memoir.

Not long ago I started this blog. Definitely a first.

As you can probably tell, I strive to do things excellently. That is why I took horseback-riding and motorcycle lessons. It is also why I took the gun course to learn how to shoot. That plus the fact that almost nothing comes naturally to me. It is also why I hired a writing coach even though I never planned to publish my book.

You might wonder why I am telling you all of this. It is because I want you to keep pursuing your dreams even though it may seem to take forever for them to come true.

I sincerely hope this does not come across as being boastful. I am very humbled and thankful for all of these experiences.

Don’t give up on your desires. Pursue your dream. Strive for excellence. Follow your heart. It may take a while and your dreams may change but do what is in your heart. Don’t let age discourage you.

Each day is a gift. What is your dream? What are you doing to accomplish that desire?

©2019 Bev Brown—All Rights Reserved

Life Application of the Word

open bibleI have been a student of the Word for many, many years. I’m not a theologian—I read the Bible to find out what the Lord says about any given situation. As I read and study, I endeavor to apply its principles to everyday life.

Sometimes I do not see the connection right away, but I believe the Word gets into and stays in my spirit.

The following is a story I have told very few people.

As many of you know, I used to work as a manager at a large phone company. Several years after I started, a new manager with the same job title as me started working there.

At the time, the company had taken on two new services. I was project manager over writing and conducting training and some parts of equipment. I worked long hours and was often on call even at home.

This new manager would come in about 8:30 and leave around 4:15 or 4:30 while I usually worked 12 or more hours Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekend.

As managers were both salaried employees

One day I happened to need to use the fax machine. When I got there, some papers for my boss were laying on top. I went to take them to his desk, and one of the papers caught my eye. It told the new manager’s wages.

I was dismayed and a little outraged to see she was only getting about $200 less a year than I was.

It wasn’t the money, it was a matter of fairness.

I cannot tell you how upset I was. I was not upset with the other manager. She had no control over what we were making. I was upset with the company.

There I was working all those hours and had so much more responsibility than she did and yet I was only making $200 a year more than she.

This about drove me crazy. It simply was not fair.

I struggled with this several days and had long talks to the Lord about it.

One morning while I was getting ready for work and pondering this once again, the Lord brought a scripture to mind.

It is the parable told in Matthew 20:1-15.

The story tells of a landowner who hired laborers in the morning to work that day for a denarius (the amount of wage). A few hours later, the landowner hired more people to work for the same amount. A few hours later, he went out and hired more people to work for the same amount of a denarius. And as the work day was almost over, he hired even more laborers for the same wage.

When it was time to get paid, the workers who had started early in the morning were very upset that the laborers who started later in the day were getting the same wage they were. They had worked all day in the hot sun and got paid the same amount as the ones who had only worked an hour or two. They felt this was extremely unfair.

The landowner basically told them they had agreed to work for the wage when they started working that morning and it was up to him to decide what to pay the laborers.

I felt the Lord speak to my spirit, “You were more than happy with the wage you received when you started working there. Now all of a sudden you are unhappy because you found out this person is making almost as much as you. You are getting paid what you agreed to.”

I thought, “You’re right, Lord.”

After hearing from the Lord, I had peace with the wages. When He speaks, it calms my spirit. I know that He sees and knows all things and has my best interest at heart.

But not just my interest—He has all of his children’s interests at heart. He loves us all.

Each day is a gift. Take comfort in what the Lord shares with you today.
©2019 Bev Brown-All Rights Reserved

Christmas at Our House

christmas-1869902_960_720Growing up, Christmas was always a very special time. Mama and Daddy didn’t have much money but they always tried to make special for us. Excitement was in the air.

R.J., Katrina and I would get so excited. We would count the down the days until Santa Claus came.

When we were very young, we used home signs to indicate a day. Our sign for days simulated going to sleep and waking up. We put our hands close to our eyes, made a fist (like our eyes closing) then opened our hand wide (like our eyes opening and waking up). This meant one day.

We usually started when there were ten days until Christmas. We would hold up ten fingers, then our sign for “day.” And so we would count down the days until Santa came.

We had a home sign for Santa too.

Usually a month or so before Christmas a Sears and Roebucks Christmas catalog came in the mail. It was filled with all kinds of wonderful toys for us to look at. Katrina and I would sit in a chair with the catalog opened between us on our laps.

We spent hours looking through that catalog picking out toys we wanted. We knew that, more than likely, we would never get any of them but that did not diminish the excitement of dreaming. I secretly desired a stuffed chimpanzee holding a banana. But I did not tell anyone except Katrina.

I never really expected to get it. We kids never dared ask for anything. Although we wholeheartedly believed in Santa, we knew he could only bring us what Mama and Daddy could afford–which wasn’t much.

About a week or two before Christmas, Daddy brought home a live evergreen tree. The wonderful, fresh smell of that pine tree let us know Christmas was almost here.

Mama would get out the box of decorations, and we would start on the tree. The string of lights always went on first. Then we hung the ornaments which were like old friends greeting us again after not seeing them for almost a year. Lastly, loads of silver tinsel was carefully hung on the branches. Unlike most people, we were not allowed to just throw it on.

As Christmas day drew near the tantalizing aromas of Christmas filled the air—pies, cakes, and other Christmas scents. Mama started baking goodies several days before Christmas.

We opened our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve. We always got one from Mama and Daddy.

Then off to bed we went. Of course going to sleep was almost impossible because we were so excited.

It seemed we had just gotten to sleep when Daddy and Mama came in and woke us up to see what Santa had brought. It was still hours before Christmas morning.

We rushed into the living room to see what awaited us under the tree. The sight that greeted us was a dream for any child. Oh, the wonder of it all!

None of the presents from Santa were wrapped. They were grouped together by child. Buddy’s in one group, Sara’s in another, R.J.’s in another, and so on.

Katrina and I always got a doll each but also got other toys. Usually we got different things that we were able to share. For instance, one Christmas Katrina got a tea set while I got a bake set. We used her dishes to eat the little cakes I baked.

After all the excitement of seeing what we got died down a bit, we went back to bed to await Christmas morning.

Even though we had already seen what Santa brought, Christmas day was still special for us. Around one o clock we had a big dinner with lots of desserts. We played with our toys and enjoyed this special time of year.

Times and traditions have changed, but Christmas remains my favorite time of year.

Each day is a gift. Enjoy this special time of year.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

My First Tattoo

butterfly-220207_960_720Last week I promised to tell you about some “Firsts” I have experienced since turning 50. This week I will elaborate on one.

I was 50 when I got my first tattoo. I had always liked tattoos. Not the ones that cover all of the body but small ones that have significance. My husband has one on the upper part of his arm by his shoulder, and I’ve always admired it.

I would never get one because I was concerned it would hinder my Christian witness. While I did not see anything wrong with them, I knew some who did.

Here is how my getting my first tattoo came about.

Our family often takes vacations together. This particular time, my husband and one of our sons and his family, two of my brothers and their families, and my sister and her son were all on Florida on vacation.

In that particular vacation spot, there were many tattoo establishments along the strip.

One day as all our families were at lunch, I announced, “I think I’m going to get a tattoo.”

Everyone started talking at once. One brother wanted a tattoo of a fish. A sister-in-law wanted a little butterfly. A nephew also wanted a tattoo. A sister wanted to get a piercing.

We didn’t go to get one right then but went back to the resort. All afternoon as I swam, I prayed asking the Lord is it was okay. I felt a release and peace about getting one.

That evening we all stormed the tattoo place and picked out tattoos. I chose a small bird holding a rose to go on the top of my foot. I love birds, and roses are my favorite flower.

When we got home from vacation, Mama could not believe it. “Did you all have mass hysteria while you were there?” she exclaimed.

My brother who did not go on vacation had a very hard time believing I actually got a tattoo. Most people who knew me did. They just could not believe I actually got a tat.

That’s the story of my first tattoo.

Seven years later, I got my second one. This one had a spiritual significance for me. It’s a rose with a butterfly.

I never dreamed I would get another. How wrong I was.

When I was 65, my then 16-year-old granddaughter approached me. “Grandma, when I turn 17 I want us to get matching tattoos.”

“Okay, honey,” I replied.

I thought, “I’m 65 years old and already have two tattoos. If my granddaughter thinks enough of me to want to get matching tattoos, I am certainly going to do it.”

As the time drew near for her to turn 17, I approached her. “Honey, are you sure you want to get matching tattoos?”

I know a year is a long time when you’re 16, and there was a very real possibility she had changed her mind. I wanted her to be sure since tattoos are permanent.

“Oh, yeah, Grandma. You and I are just like this!” And she crossed her fingers to show how tight we were.

We picked out a tattoo we both liked and shortly after she turned 17, she, her folks and I went to the tattoo place where we got our matching tattoos.

Since then, another granddaughter wanted to get matching tattoos. We went a couple weeks ago and got our matching tattoos. Her mom, dad and aunt also went. Her parents had to give permission since she was 17.

Another loved one who is like a granddaughter to me also wants to get matching tattoos. So we will.

How many people have their granddaughters want to get matching tattoos?

It looks like I will be the most tatted up grandma there is. Especially considering I was hesitant to get my first one. I never thought I would have two much less four, soon to be five or six.

I am in the latter years of my life. I am not trying to be morbid—just stating a fact. After I am gone, my granddaughters can look at their tattoos and say, “My grandma and I got this tattoo.” And they will have that remembrance of me. This is very precious to me.

Each day is a gift. Embrace the firsts that come your way.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Firsts and Lasts

flower-firsts and lastsAt my age I’ve experienced many firsts and lasts. I’m going to spend a few posts talking about these. As with anything, some firsts are good and some not so good. Same thing with the lasts.

In future posts I’m going to focus on some of my good firsts. And most were when I was older.

Some good lasts I recall are when I had my last round of chemo-therapy and radiation.
This week I’m going to focus on some more memorable “lasts” I’ve experienced.
The last Christmas I spent with Mama. We did not know it would be the last Christmas.

We knew she had not been in great health for a few years but, still, did not know that was the last Christmas.

My siblings and I gathered for our usual holiday gift exchange and snacks. Mama did not eat much. As a matter of fact, she seemed somewhat detached from the activities around her. Right in the middle of us taking turns sharing our most memorable Christmas, Mama announced to her husband she was ready to go. And promptly left.

At the time it seemed rather rude. But in looking back, I realized she felt really bad and had tolerated all she could. She did not even feel like opening any of her presents. Later some of us kids went to her house and took turns opening them for her.

It might seem like this was a negative but it wasn’t. My sister and her husband traveled here from another state—a 15 hour drive– to be with her that Christmas. They were so glad they did and treasured the time they had with her. Mama passed away the following April.

Another last I experienced with the last mini-vacation we took with my mother- and father-in-law. Little did we realize it was the last trip we would be taking with them. We had another trip planned but were unable to go because of my mother-in-law’s failing health. She passed away a few weeks later. We were so happy for the last vacation we spent with her.

My sister came to visit the summer a few weeks after I had my knee replaced. Because of the knee replacement I wasn’t able to go places with her like I normally would.

She passed away in December of that year, after being sick a scant month.
After she passed, I found myself grieving that the last time she came to visit, I was not able to fully enjoy her visit because of the restrictions of the knee replacement.

Finally, one day I realized how blessed I was that she came that summer and we were able to visit the time we did.

You’ve probably noticed I end every post with “Each day is a gift.” I’ve learned that is so true.

I certainly don’t mean to sound morbid. Even though this post may seem negative and sad, I do not mean for it to be. In every example I mentioned, I shared with a thankful heart for the time I did have with my loved ones. I consider the lasts sweet.

Now I try to seize the moments, knowing that there may be a last in each occasion. I am the first to admit this is not always easy. We go about our lives experiencing moments, occasions and holidays in what seems to be a normal fashion. We (myself included) take things for granted.

Next week and during other posts I will tell of firsts I’ve experienced, focusing on the firsts I have experienced since turning 50. That should cheer you up and make you look forward to your latter years.

Each day is a gift. Try to enjoy each moment with your loved ones.

©2019 – Bev Brown All Rights Reserved

A Soft Answer

A soft answerI find the teaching of the Bible so practical. However, if we don’t know what the Bible has to say about a certain subject, it is hard to apply its principles.

One of the verses I think is so helpful is, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1.”

Even though I have been a Christian from a young age, I did not really become a student of the Bible until I was in my early 30’s. Therefore, I was not even aware of this verse until then. I sincerely wish I had known it. There were situations before I knew of this verse where I could have used the principle of it. There are also situations since learning of it that I have used it and defused potential volatile situations.

When my son was young, a relative got very upset with him and started yelling at him. I came to my son’s defense and yelled back at the person. The situation escalated to the point where the relative told my very young son to leave and not come back.

This was very hurtful for both my son and me. I felt like I had to defend my son in that situation since an adult had in essence attacked him – not physically but verbally. In that, I felt I had done no wrong.

As I sought the Lord and prayed about the situation, asking Him how I could have handled the situation differently, I realized I could have not yelled back but instead, answered him with a calm voice. I believe in doing so, I would have diffused the situation.

That was an instance where I could have used the wisdom from Proverbs 15:1.

Next is a situation where I used the principles of Proverbs 15:1 even though, at the time, I did not realize it was in the Bible.

One of my children was very emotional as a child. When he was happy, he was very happy but when he became upset, his emotions took over.

When he became upset with one of his friends, he would storm in the house stating, “I hate him! I am never going to play with him again! I hate him!”

All might life I was taught you never said you hated someone. It was just wrong. So when my son would say that, it upset me to the point of yelling back, “Don’t say you hate him!”

This did not help the situation at all. My son became even more upset and emotional.
One day I read in a magazine that if your child comes to you upset, just calmly affirm his feelings. “Calmly” being the key word.

The next time my son came to me upset, stating he hated so-and-so and was never going to play with him again, I quietly said, “Is that right? Well, I don’t blame you.”

“Yeah!” he said. Then I would watch him visibly calm down. Within a few minutes he would be back outside playing with that friend.

I only wished I had known the Bible verse and principle years before. It would have made a lot of difference and save me a lot of heartache.

Since learning and applying the verse, I always try to respond in a calm way during a potentially tense and volatile situation. One person commented to me, “I’ve never seen you mad. I’d like to see you mad.”

To which I replied, “No, you really don’t. The Lord and I have worked really hard to get me to this point.”

It might be hard to cultivate the habit of answering in a soft manner, but you can do it. When you answer in a quiet manner, it can diffuse the situation and often opens the door for communication.

Each day is a gift. Today try to answer someone who is upset using a soft, calm voice.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

The Souped Up ’55

1955 ChevyOne of R.J.’s friends – who was also Deaf – was a whiz with cars. To my knowledge he never had any training in mechanics but just learned from experience. R.J. was also good with cars.

In the late 1960’s he bought a 1955 Chevrolet. He then bought a brand new Corvette engine to put in it. He and some of his friends diligently worked on getting the old engine out and the new Corvette engine installed.

He lived right across the street from where we lived. His place had a detached garage which is where they worked on the car.

One evening while they were working on it, Katrina rushed into our house. “What is counter-clockwise?” she quickly asked Mama.

Mama explained that counter-clockwise meant turning it to the left or opposite of the way the hands on the clock turn. Mama took the opportunity to explain that clockwise meant to turn to the right which is the way the hands on the clock turn.

“Ohhhh…” Katrina exclaimed.

The guys working on the car were reading the instructions that came with the new engine when they came across the term “turn counter-clockwise.” Katrina said “They looked and looked for a ‘Clounter-clockwise’ but could not find it.” So they sent Katrina over to ask Mama what it meant.

The reason they did not know what “Counter-clockwise” meant was because the term never came up in conversation, and no one had taken time to explain to any of them; “Oh, by the way, the term ‘Clockwise’ means the way the hands on a clock go, and ‘Counter-clockwise’ means the opposite way the hands on a clock turn.”

This is something they probably missed out on because of not having peripheral hearing.

Lest you think less of any of them because they did not know the meaning of “Counter-clockwise,” imagine them successfully taking one engine out and put another engine in a car in a backyard garage. And having that car run like it came from the factory that way.

I later had an opportunity to ride in that car.

A drag strip happened to be in the area. This was a place where people could take their cars to safely race other people. They could challenge someone there instead of on the street.

Two cars would race down the straight quarter-mile track – one at the starting line on the right side of the strip and the other on the left side.

Someone would stand about fifteen feet front of the cars in the middle of the track. That person would signal the cars to start down the track by throwing both arms in the air.

The drivers knew the race was on. They took off as fast as they could down that track.
Whoever reached the quarter of a mile first, won. The cars would slowly make their way around a side road to get in line to race again.

I had the privilege of riding down the drag strip with R.J.’s friend in his souped up ’55 Chevy. When the race was over and we were driving around to get in line to run again, he placed his hand on the dash. He turned to me and asked, “Does it sound like it’s missing out?”

I was astounded! All I could hear was the loud pounding sound of the engine. I could not tell if it was missing out or not. Our Deaf friend could tell just by the vibration that it was not running as smoothly as it should have been.

In that case his sense of touch was as acute as his hearing would have been. He was definitely more tuned in to his car than I was, even though I could hear and he could not.

By the way, we won the race.

In the next few months I will be giving more stories and examples of things a Deaf person misses out on by not being able to hear.

Each day is a gift. Don’t be too quick to judge someone who is different.
©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

The Amazing Cannonball

swimming-pool-4218006_960_720Where we used to live we had a round above ground  swimming pool. While being rather large in diameter –27 feet– it was only about four feet deep.

It was very conveniently located, practically next to the house. To get to it, all we had to do was to go through the sliding glass door in the kitchen out onto the screened-in back porch. The porch was attached to a deck which was built around the pool.

It was not uncommon for my sons’ families and their friends to come use it while my husband and I were at work.

One afternoon when I got home from work, my daughter-in-law, her children and their friends were there swimming. I went out to say hi to her. She was sitting at the table on the screened-in back porch.

Right when I got out there, I watched as one of my grandson’s teenage friends climbed out of the pool onto the deck, through the screened in porch and out to the back yard.
He proceeded to the side of the large yard. He was about twenty-five yards from the side of the pool. He then took off running across the lawn toward the pool. What in the world was he doing?

I watched in horrified fascination as he jumped into the air, dived over the side and curled his body just in time to do a cannonball into our above ground pool.

All I could think of were the things that could have happened to him. What if he had caught his foot on the side of the pool? What if he had misjudged and hit his back on the side? What if he had hit his head on the bottom of the pool?

Any of these things could have resulted in, at the least, a broken bone, or worse, breaking his back or neck.

I turned to my daughter-in-law and said, “I can’t believe he just did that! He could have really hurt himself!”

She was pretty nonchalant about it and replied, “I didn’t think anything of it. They have a trampoline at home and do things like that all the time.”

To which I replied, “Well, they are responsible for what happened to him at his own home. I’m responsible if he hurts himself here.”

I shuddered every time I thought about the possibilities.

Later that summer, my teenage grandson wanted to have that same kid and his brothers over for a swim party at my house.

When they were standing on the back porch ready to go swimming, I gave them the rules. “No holding each other under, no diving, no walking on the edge and (I looked directly at the kid who had done this) definitely no running across the yard and jumping over the side to do a cannonball into the water.”

He looked somewhat embarrassed by me looking directly at him, so I added, “But I gotta say, that was pretty impressive” and smiled at him.

He smiled back. All was well.

So many times we are spared having something tragic happen because of thoughtlessness or carelessness. I am so grateful for the times the Lord protects us.

Each day is a gift. Take a moment to be thankful for the times you and your loved ones were kept safe.

 

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Contentment

two dogsI have two dogs. One is a seven-year-old yorkie and the other is a four-month-old shih-poo (shih-tzu-poodle mix).

I’ve had the yorkie a little over a year. She is a great dog.

We brought the puppy home from vacation about eight weeks ago.

They get along pretty well considering how old the yorkie is and how young and playful the puppy is. The puppy torments the yorkie most of the time. The only reprieve the yorkie has is to jump on the furniture to get away from the little bugger.

I feed them both at the same time but have to separate them when they eat because I give the puppy puppy food and give the yorkie adult dog food. They eat their food but as soon as they are done, they run over to the other one’s food dish to see if anything is left to eat.

I also give them bully sticks to chew on. I give one each at the same time. The bully sticks are exactly the same kind. They might be slightly different in size but not enough to really make a difference.

Without fail, the yorkie tries to get the bully stick I gave the puppy, and the puppy tries to get the bully stick I gave the yorkie. Each dog wants what the other one has and actually wants both of the bully sticks if they can get away with it.

As I watch them go through this each and every time, I can’t help but think how people are often like that.

If we are not careful, we always want what someone else has. What we have doesn’t seem nearly as appealing or desirable as what someone else has. Discontentment takes over.

This can be something that sneaks up on us. We find it easy to want what someone has even though what we have may be just as good as what they have. Jealousy can sneak in and when it does, we find ourselves being discontent with what we have.

I think one way to prevent this from happening is to practice being thankful for what we do have.

Regardless of what we have, there is someone who has something better. They is also always someone who has something not as good.

Peace and contentment come when we are thankful for what we have, realizing there is always someone less fortunate.

There is nothing wrong with wanting something better. The problem comes when we are never satisfied with what we have.

It might not be easy to get in the habit of being content but you can do it. It takes discipline and practice.

Don’t be like my dogs and constantly try to get what someone else has just because they have it. Be content with what you have.

Each day is a gift. Don’t waste it longing for something someone else has.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved.

Why Ask Why?

whyAll of us have had things happen in our lives we did not understand. It is easy for us to ask “Why?”

Sometimes asking why can be beneficial. Trying to get to the root of something can sometimes give revelation and resolution.

An example might be something health-related. Why did I have this heart attack? Why am I tired all the time? Why is my arm swollen?

In these incidences, looking for an answer is the smart thing to do. Having tests done to determine what is causing something is the first step in possibly resolving the issue.

A blockage requiring surgery might have been the cause for the heart attack. Being anemic or hypothyroidism might be the cause of fatigue. A blood clot might be the reason for that swollen arm.

In all these cases, asking why is wise. By asking why, we can then find a treatment or medication to treat the condition.

Another time it might be beneficial to ask why is when miscommunication takes place.

By asking yourself why there was a misunderstanding, you can go over the conversation or action in your mind and pinpoint the breakdown. Then rectify it.

However there are other instances you will ask until you are blue in the face and never find an answer to the question “Why?” All it will do is cause you to be frustrated and possibly bitter and angry.

Things like, “Why did that person get the raise and I didn’t?” “Why did I get sick?” “Why did my loved one die?”

These are things you may never know the answer to, as hard as that might be to accept.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to accept it and move on. Especially if it’s something you have no control over and can’t change. You might have to talk yourself through times like these.

By dwelling on trying to understand things we may never understand, we lose our peace.

Remember, bad things happen to good people and vice versa. That is just part of life.

You probably wonder why I am even talking about this. The reason is because my heart’s desire is for you to have peace. Struggling with questions that can never be answered causes unrest and frustration. It can even lead to bitterness which is a sure way to unhappiness.

Please, don’t make yourself frustrated, bitter or angry trying to find answers to questions you may never know the answers to.

Each day is a gift. There are things in life we may never know the answer to.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Overwhelming Heartache

broken heartjpgHave you ever felt overwhelmed by life? Does it feel like the hits just keep coming?

Even as Christians we have things happen that seem to overwhelm us. The pain is just as real.

I have felt that way several times in my life. Just when it feels things cannot get much worse, they do. My way of dealing with these things is to call out to the Lord. He is my rock and my answer.

I wrote the following poem in January of 2011. I had just gone through a year of chemo and radiation. After going through that, someone I care deeply about was arrested and sentenced to many years of incarceration. I felt like the pain was too much to bear.

This poem is actually a prayer of affirmation. If you are experiencing trials and sorrows, consider reading this as your prayer.

His Faithfulness
By Bev Brown

I wake and wonder
What new heartache
Awaits me today?
In my despair,
I cry out to my Lord.

“Lord, I feel overwhelmed
By the issues of life.
I feel I have no reserve resources
Left within me.

But deep within my spirit
I know You are ever faithful
And Your word is ever true.
You are my Lord –
My strength, my source and my song.
You never give me
More than I can bear.

As I draw unto You
And rely on You,
You give me peace
That passes understanding;
Joy in the midst of sorrow
And hope when there
Seems to be no hope.

Even in the midst of
These trials and heartaches,
My heart if filled to overflowing
With love for and
Gratitude to You,
My Lord and my Savior.

You are my very present
Help in time of trouble.
Therefore, I will praise You,
My ever faithful King.
I know You hold me,
And everything else,
In the palm of Your hand.
I rest in the knowledge
Of Your love for me.”

©2011 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

When you feel the pain is too much to bear, I encourage you to put your hope in the Lord for He cares for you. Encourage yourself in Him.

Each day is a gift. Some good can come even during our darkest hours.

© 2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved.

Peripheral Hearing

sharing too muchWhen I talk about my siblings being Deaf, you might think to yourself, “I know what that means. It means they can’t hear.” And you would be correct, of course. But have you ever thought about what all that might encompass and signify?

I grew up knowing R.J. and Katrina could not hear anything but I did not learn the full implications until I was an adult. And the truth is, I still do not understand the total significance of it, because I am not Deaf.

We learn so many things by our peripheral hearing. That means we learn from things we overhear – things that are not told us directly but that we overhear.

For example, you learn how your parents feel about certain issues by just hearing them talk at the dinner table or in the car. Or listening as they talk to Aunt Jane and Uncle Louis.

You might learn some of what is or is not acceptable in society by listening to the people in the booth next to you at a restaurant, even though they are not talking to you.

These are things that a Deaf person does not have the ability to do. Because of this, many things we assume they would or should know, they don’t. Not because they are lacking in intelligence but because they have simply never been exposed to them.

Things have to be told to a Deaf person directly. As much as my family thought we included R.J. and Katrina (and we did), I later realized there were many things we just did not think to tell them.

Here is an example.

A fun little tradition my family had when I was growing up and on into adulthood was something we called a “Trade-last.” A trade-last means I’ve heard something nice about you and I will tell you what I’ve heard but first you have to tell me something nice you’ve heard about me.

I would start the conversation this way, “I have a trade-last for you.”

Then you would have to think of something nice someone has said about me. After you told me that something nice someone said about me, I would then tell you the nice thing someone said about you.

Basically, it’s a way of getting a compliment for whomever is giving the compliment.

Sometimes, you might not be able to think of something nice someone had said about me. If that was the case, I would say something like, “Okay, I will give it to you ‘On credit.’” Meaning you would owe me a trade-last without me having to come up with something I had heard about you.

Basically, this was just a fun little way to pass something nice on to someone else while getting a compliment for yourself at the same time. This is something I’ve taught many people over the years and they seem to enjoy the spirit of it.

When Katrina and I were in our forties, I told Katrina I had a “Trade-last.” She had no idea what I was talking about. I was horrified and embarrassed that something which was so common to the hearing members of our family was completely unknown to the Deaf family members.

We had never, in all the years of doing them, explained directly to R.J. and Katrina what they were.

I quickly explained to Katrina what a trade-last was. Katrina embraced the spirit of it and has many times since then told me she had a “Trade-last” for me – and I her.

Over the years, I have learned there were more things we did not think to tell and explain to Katrina and R.J.

Next month I will give more examples of things R.J. and Katrina missed out on, simply because of being Deaf.

Remember, each day is a gift. Try not to take things you hear for granted.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

To Speak or Not to Speak

surprisedOne of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is when to say something and when to keep quiet. There is a time for both.

I tend to be an outspoken person. I try to temper what I say with grace and love, but still, I often say what I feel – especially if it is something I feel would help the other person.

I’ve lived a long time and have experienced many things. I’ve also learned from others along the way. At times, I want to pass these along the things I’ve learned.

I also try to give people a different perspective. Something they might not have thought of.

There are times, however, when, regardless of all the experience and expertise we might have, we should keep quiet.

One of those times might be when someone has just experienced a huge loss. If all you have to say are flip comments, then refrain from saying anything. For example, when someone passes away from an illness, it is not the time to say to their loved one something like, “Well, they or you just did not have enough faith.”

The person is already experiencing heartache. They don’t need condemnation heaped on top of it.

Proverbs 23:4 tells us of another time we should keep silent. “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

This verse shows that sometimes it is better to just keep quiet even though you might have something wise to say.

So not only should you keep quiet when it is an inappropriate time to speak, you should also keep quiet when you are in the hearing of someone who will not listen to or receive your words of experience and wisdom. The Bible calls them a fool.

Some people will not only refuse to listen to you, but they will resent and despise what you have to say.

Such a person might be someone who has an unteachable or prideful spirit

I used to know someone who would take back any gift her husband bought her. She would always find something wrong with it. “It’s too expensive. We can’t afford it.” Or, “This is the one I asked for, but I don’t want it now.” Or any of a number of reasons.

I told her, “If you return everything he gives you, he will stop giving you anything.” And, sure enough, that is basically what happened. Then she resented the fact he didn’t buy her much, if anything at all.

Regardless, she continued doing this for years. I probably should not have said anything. She did not appreciate or value what I had to say.

My point is, be sensitive in not only what you have to say, but also to whom you’re speaking. This will save you a lot of frustration and heartache.

I just want to add this as food for thought. Are you a person who will listen to the wisdom of others? Does it depend on who is doing the talking?

Will you receive instruction or suggestions from someone you admire and have respect for but not anyone else? Are you willing to listen to someone you think is arrogant?

Often we can learn from even those we feel are not worthy to give instruction.

My suggestion to you today is to consider the person to whom you are offering words of wisdom and advice. If you do not think they will receive your words, it is better to keep quiet.

On the flip side, do not be a person who is unwise and despises the wisdom of others. Be teachable.

Each day is a gift. Guard your words. Take into consideration whom you’re talking to.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved.

Trash or Treasure

treasure-My sisters and I like going to flea markets and antique markets. We all have different interests and different things catch our eyes. We don’t do it as often now but it used to be a source of great enjoyment.

My older sister, Sara, and I liked dolls. We liked composition baby dolls from the “40’s and ‘50’s. We liked the ones dressed up really cute. We liked them because they are all different and unique.

I think I liked them because I didn’t get to keep any from my childhood because of moving so often and leaving things behind. That might be the reason Sara liked them, too.

I liked some drinking glasses and pitchers and glassware.

My younger sisters, Katrina and Sissy, liked household items from the past.

It always interested me as to what each of us was drawn to.

Katrina and Sissy might admire something like an old cookie jar with the top partially rusted. They looked at these old, imperfect items and envisioned what they could do with them and how they could make them beautiful and functional.

I was always astounded because when I looked at the same items, all I saw was old, broken down, rusted things that should have been thrown away.

As I pondered this, I thought how Katrina and Sissy were like the Lord in seeing what the items could become.

The Lord doesn’t see you as you are but, instead, He sees you as you can and will become.

He does not see you as others see you. He sees the worth and potential in you.

He does not see you as something that cannot be fixed or turned around or improved. Or something that is useless and worthy only of the trash.

Regardless of what you have done or have become, it is never too late to let the Lord change you from within. When you are changed within, it effects what you do on the outside – your actions.

You may feel you are like that old cookie jar with a rusted lid fit only for the trash. But you are wrong in thinking that.

Do not ever feel you are worthless! You have great value and worth. You are a treasure.

Your past actions do not have to define who and what you are.

Let this thought get into your being. Believe it. You are of value.

Each day is a gift. Remember, God sees you as someone to be treasured.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Being Thankful

The Bible talks often about being thankful. One verse is I Thessalonians 5:18 which states “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (NKJV).”

Maybe you think there is no way you can give thanks for everything or for certain instances. This verse states “In” everything give thanks, not necessarily “for” all things.

Regardless what happens to you, there is always something in it to be thankful for. If you are not in the habit of doing this, it might take a conscientious effort on your part to start finding things to be thankful for.

This verse says it is the will of God for you to be thankful in all things. If you’re a

Christian, that alone should make you desire to start thanking God.

I had a harrowing experience on a cruise a couple years ago.

About 10:30 on the third evening of a seven-day cruise, while at sea, I started experiencing chest pains. When the pains became intense, I finally went to the sick bay.

I had a minor heart attack two years before this so knew the pains were nothing to mess around with. Besides I wanted something to relieve the pain.

The medical staff there quickly started an IV in which they gave me medicine to reduce the pain. They ran blood tests and later took chest X-rays.

Early the next morning, the doctor informed me I had a heart attack. The cruise director came and informed my husband and me we were going to have to leave the ship. We had a scheduled stop at a port in Mexico and was just pulling into dock.

The cruise director told my husband he had 20 minutes to go get everything packed and ready to get off the ship.

I went by ambulance to the hospital. My husband came shortly thereafter.

I was in the hospital in Mexico for three days until they released me to fly home. While there I had a heart catheterization done. I had to lay flat on my back for at least 24 hours afterward.

It was frightening to have such a serious procedure done at a Mexican hospital and stay there where Spanish was spoken. It was traumatic to have a heart attack on a ship in the ocean and then be told to vacate the ship in a matter of minutes.

But in all that, I was thankful.open bible

I was thankful that we pulled into port early the next morning so I could be taken by ambulance to the hospital and not have to be life-flighted from the ship in the middle of the ocean. I was thankful we had purchased the travel insurance to help pay the medical expenses. I was thankful I could communicate with my family through texts while I was in the hospital. I was thankful my husband could stay in the room with me.

Most of all, I was thankful the Lord was with me the whole time and heard my prayers.

This is just one example of a opportunity I had to give thanks.

Sometimes it takes a while for us to remember to be thankful, and then to think of things we are thankful for.

However, you can become thankful in any situation, and this pleases the Lord.

Each day is a gift.  Think of things to be thankful for today.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Forming Bonds

little-girls-walking-jpgWhen I was in first grade we moved again. R.J. went to the school for the Deaf but Katrina was too young to. My school was only a block away so I walked to and from. Of course, we were all home during the summer which is when these stories happened.

We moved where we didn’t have friends nearby, so Katrina and R.J. continued to be my constant companions.

The bathroom in that house was in the basement. One memory I have was Mama taking us to the bathroom and showing us not to use over four sheets of toilet paper when we went to the bathroom. I can see her pointing to the squares and showing 1-2-3-4 to R.J., Katrina and me. We all got the message. I guess as kids we were pretty generous with the toilet paper, and Mama felt we needed to have direction.

Daddy built a window fan. For those of you who are too young to know what that is, it is a big fan placed in the window to draw the warm air in the house out and bring the cooler air from outside in, thus cooling down the house. Air conditioning was uncommon in homes during that time. I don’t know of anyone who had it.

The fan worked fine except Daddy neglected to saw the axle off the motor. When the blades turned, the axle turned.

Mama rarely worked outside the home but at this time she did. Sara babysat us.

One time as I was calling Sara, I was standing close enough to the fan to hear my voice quiver as I was yelling. All of a sudden, my head jerked back as my long hair was pulled into the fan and wrapped around the axle. I screamed for all I was worth.

The axle on the motor yanked out a chunk of  hair at the back of my head out by the roots. The spot was significant, about two inches by three inches.

We kids were horrified and did not know what to do since Mama was at work.

We were blessed to have a wonderful neighbor. Sara, R.J., Katrina and I marched over to her house to show her my bald spot. We were all concerned my hair would not grow back.

“Ah, yeah,” she said with a smile. “It will grow back.” And it did. We were much relieved.

Another day Katrina and I went missing. Mama and Daddy and my siblings searched everywhere in the house and around the yard for us. With a sinking feeling they realized we were nowhere to be found.

Daddy got in the car and drove around looking for us. When he found us, we were a few blocks from home, walking along the sidewalk holding hands. We were headed in the opposite direction of home.

Mama was the disciplinarian in the family. “Did you spank them?” she asked Daddy when he brought us home. Mama would have spanked us for wandering off.

“Aw, honey, I didn’t have the heart to spank them,” Daddy replied. “They looked so cute and innocent walking along holding hands. I just couldn’t spank them.”

As you can see, R.J., Katrina and I formed bonds at an early age. Even as a child in first grade, I felt it was my responsibility to look after Katrina. I was always protective of her. I still am.

Each day is a gift. Take care of those you love.

 

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Compliments

peach-rose-complimentsAre you a person who freely gives compliments? Or are they hard for you to give? Is it easier to compliment some people more than others?

There may be several reasons why you find it hard to pay people compliments.

You might feel that complimenting a person takes away some of your worth. If they are good at something and you compliment them, it might feel like you are lacking in that area.

Sometimes it is hard to compliment a person you feel does not deserve complimenting. In your eyes, they seem unworthy. There are so many things you do not like or respect about the person it’s hard for you to even find something to compliment them on.

Or it may be just the opposite – you feel they already think highly enough of themselves and complimenting them would only make them more prideful or arrogant. You might feel they get enough accolades regarding a particular feature you admire.

It could be something that goes way back to your childhood. Maybe you were not raised with compliments. You might feel artificial giving them. And awkward receiving them.

Regardless of the reason, may I encourage you to make an effort to compliment people? Even those you feel are not worthy or are too arrogant.

When you compliment someone, it takes nothing from your personal worth. In my opinion, it actually adds to it.

It used to be extremely difficult for me to compliment people. One reason was, I was bashful and felt awkward. I know that’s hard to believe but I was. I had a huge inferiority complex.

My cousin helped me learn how to sincerely compliment. We were visiting a friend’s home and he noticed things in the home he admired. He was quick to compliment the parents on them. I could see the ice around the folks breaking.

I learned from this.

I believe in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. My love language is words of affirmation. When someone sincerely compliments me, it builds me up and makes me feel worthwhile. So I try to compliment people as often as I can.

I’m not talking about false compliments or just flattery. I’m talking about sincerely complimenting someone.

If this is something you are not used to doing, at first it might make you feel awkward. It will take practice.

A compliment can be something as simple as telling someone you like their hair or shoes or shirt. It might be something deeper like telling them you like the way they make others feel at ease, or how they tell a story, or how talented they are. Or how much they bless you.

Remember complimenting someone takes nothing away from you, and it can mean the world to them. You never know how your words touch them. It might be the only positive thing they’ve heard that day, or week or month.

Each day is a gift. Make an effort to compliment someone today.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Unconditional Love

canary-unconditional loveMy canary lost his song because of molting. I knew this was a transitional thing and that it would not go on forever. However for a while, it seemed I was wrong.

The average time for birds to molt is six – twelve weeks. Six weeks passed – I wasn’t too concerned. As the weeks turned into months, I became a little more concerned.

Three then four then five months passed with no song from my bird. I went from expectation to concern to aggravation.

I enjoy chirps, peeps and cheeps from any bird, even those that do not have what is considered a beautiful song. During this period, my canary barely made any sounds. Just the occasional peep when I was talking to him. Silence reigned in my home. It was like I had no bird at all.

I found myself thinking and actually saying to him, “What good are you? I got you so I could listen to your chirping and beautiful song, and now you don’t make any sound at all.”

How could I even think that, you say? I was looking for a specific performance from him. I bought him for a specific – albeit selfish – reason, and he wasn’t fulfilling his part of the deal.

One day as I approached my silent bird, the same thoughts came. “What good is this bird?”

I felt the Lord speak clearly to my spirit. “What if I felt that way about you?” He said. “What if my love was conditional based on your performance and what you did or did not do?”

I stopped short.

I quickly thanked Him that His love is unconditional. It is not based on what we do or don’t do. His love is based on Him because He is love. Not on our performance. He does not snatch His love away if we don’t please Him.

This is a hard concept for some people to actually believe and receive. Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe all your life, you have felt like you have to work to earn someone’s love – especially God’s love.

I am not saying we should not try to do what is right. And that the Lord is pleased with everything we say or do. We should try to do what the Lord wants us to do and what we feel is right. But whether we do or don’t, His love for us never changes.

After the Lord spoke to me so clearly about this, I became concerned rather than irritated with my little bird. I looked up what might be causing him to have such a lengthy molting season.

I read that he might need more protein in his diet. Also that he might need to be covered at night so he wasn’t exposed to too much sunlight.

I provided these things for him.

Finally, a couple weeks ago after five long months, I heard a faint trill from him. I was thrilled! It was like he was “whisper” singing. As time has gone by, his song has gotten stronger and louder.

Needless to say, I am delighted.

But whether or not he ever sings again, he will have a place in my home. I will take care of him to the best of my ability. I will love him regardless of how he performs. I will try to be with him as Christ is with us.

Each day is a gift. Remember, God loves you unconditionally.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Rarely the Same Way Twice

praying hands The Bible in I Chronicles 14:9-14 tells the story of when the Philistines came against King David. David was unsure if he should go out to battle against them or not. He wanted to be victorious. As was his custom, David asked the Lord what he should do.

The Lord told David to go up after them and He would deliver them into David’s hand. Meaning David would win the battle. Sure enough, David won the battle.

Not much later, the Philistines made a raid on another one of David’s lands. David once again inquired of the Lord as to what he should do.

This time, the Lord told him not to go after the Philistines. Instead, he and his army should circle around the Philistine army and attack them from the front.

David obeyed the Lord and pushed the Philistine army back thus winning that battle, too.

Sometimes, when we are praying about something, we expect the Lord to answer us in the same way He answered in the past.

It has been my experience (and I’ve been serving the Lord over 50 years) that the Lord seldom – and in fact, rarely, answers our needs the same way twice.

Back in the late ‘90’s, my shoulder became frozen. I could only lift my arm so far in front of me and out to the side. I could not put my hand all the way around to put it in my front pocket without tremendous pain. It was frozen.

I had trouble sleeping. I could only lay in one position for about 20 minutes before the pain in my shoulder woke me up. So all night I went from my right side, to my back, to my left side, to my back, to the right side, and so on.

For a short time, my doctor had me put my arm in a sling.

I was at church when one of the men noticed the sling. He came up to me and said, “What’s this?” pointing to the sling.

I said, “Oh, I’m having trouble with my shoulder.”

He placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “In the name of Jesus, I command this shoulder to align with the word of God.”

When he said that, I felt warmth go all through my shoulder. That night I slept through the night for the first time since my shoulder became frozen. Within days I was able to move that arm freely with full range of motion.

About eight years later, my other shoulder did the same thing. I had everyone I knew of pray for my healing. It did not get any better.

I eventually had surgery followed by several weeks of painful physical therapy before my arm was able to have full range of motion again.

Here is my point: Regardless of one shoulder being miraculously healed and having to go through surgery on the other one, the result was the same – I got full range of motion in both shoulders.

Same with David, whether he went after the army or came around and faced the army, the result was the same – the battle was won.

Don’t be so focused on the way the Lord answered your prayer in the past that you overlook the way He may want to answer your prayer this time.

As I said, the Lord rarely answers or moves in the same way twice.

Each day is a gift. Be open to how the Lord wants to move or answer your prayers today.
©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Why Including them was Important

I love you signYou may be wondering why I put so much emphasis on R.J. and Katrina being included with our family. There are several reasons I do.

Back when R.J. and Katrina were born, people often did not bother trying to communicate with a family member who was deaf. The deaf child did not know what was going on and was even left out.

It was not uncommon for parents to drop a child off at the state residential school and leave them there until school was let out and closed for the summer. At that time the parents were required to pick the child up from school to spend the summer at home.

The school closed over Christmas break. If the parents did not plan on picking the child up for Christmas, the staff tried to find a family who would be willing to let that child stay with them over the two-week break.

Sometimes, a child would come home with R.J. or Katrina to visit over the weekend before going back to school on Monday. Kids loved to come to our house because every member of our family could and would communicate with them to one degree or another.

Imagine the isolation the child felt within his or her own family.

This is why so many Deaf people consider the people they went to the residential school with more like family than their own family. They were with each other nine months out of the year. At the school for the Deaf, communication flowed easily. Everyone was included.

Just as with any school, some kids were not as popular as others, but at least they could understand what was going on.

R.J. sucked his thumb up until the time he started school. He sometimes played with my older brother, Buddy’s, hair while he sucked his thumb. The first time he came home from the school for the Deaf, Mama and Daddy noticed he didn’t suck his thumb anymore. They had a feeling he probably got made fun of by the other kids, so he decided to put an end to his thumb sucking.

The superintendent of one of the residential schools R.J. and Katrina attended told Mama and Daddy, “I wish all my parents were like you.”

They did not understand what he meant. To them, including R.J. and Katrina in our family’s life, and being involved in their lives was normal and natural. It wasn’t until later that Mama and Daddy realized not all families felt this way.

When R.J. and Katrina got a little older, we moved to the town where the school for the deaf was located. We moved there so they could come home every day and we could see them more often. They went from being residential students to day students.

Our home became a hub for the Deaf. Mama had limited sign vocabulary but could fingerspell like a whip. The rest of us could also communicate with our visitors. I was the most fluent since I had grown up between R.J. and Katrina.

Most of our Deaf friends used the sign for “mother” when referring to Mama. She became a mother figure to many of them. They spoke of her with respect and affection.

Over the years, I have had so many Deaf people tell me they wish their family could sign to them like our family can sign to R.J. and Katrina. This always touched my heart.

Remember, each day is a gift. Communicate with those you love.
©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Sara and the Drive-in

movie reelsAs I mentioned before, I come from rather large family. My older sister, Sara, was five years older than I. Regardless of the age difference, we were close. She had such a giving heart, and, as soon as she started working, bought clothes for me.

Sara never did much like to drive and usually only drove when she had to.

I don’t know how, but one Saturday my best friend, Leigh, and I convinced her to take us to the drive-in movies that evening. Drive-in movies were quite popular back then.

I think there are a couple drive-ins still around but not many. Just in case you’ve never been, I will try to describe one to you.

Drive-ins had a huge screen outside. People drove their cars through the gates where the entrance fee was paid. Sometimes, you paid per person, but sometimes a whole car load of people could get in for one fixed price.

Along the ground facing the screen, posts with speakers on them stood in rows. There was enough space in between the posts for a car to park. The car would park next to the post on the driver’s side. Then the speaker, about nine inches long by five inches wide by two inches deep, was lifted off the post and hung on the inside the window. Everyone in the car could hear the movie from that speaker.

Three movies were usually shown. So, for the price of one movie, a person could enjoy watching three movies in the privacy and comfort of their car. The movies were shown in the evenings. They started at twilight and went on into the night.

That Saturday evening, Sara drove us to the drive-in. She was not in the best of moods to begin with. As she was trying to maneuver between two of the posts, she backed up to get a better place closer to the speaker post.

As she did, she inadvertently backed over one of the posts behind us. The back bumper caught the speaker part of the post. She was unable to pull forward. The speaker post was stuck.

Leigh and I thought this was hilarious. Sara sure didn’t. Leigh and I got out, cracking up as we did. One of us held the post down, and the other one lifted up on the bumper of the car – just enough so Sara could get the car unstuck and pull forward

Leigh and I were weak from laughing so hard.

It was an unpleasant, and I’m sure embarrassing, experience for Sara. However, Leigh and I still laugh when we think about it.

Needless to say, we could never convince Sara to take us to the drive-in again.

Sara lost her battle with cancer over two years ago. I still miss her and the wonderful times we shared. I rest in the knowledge we will meet again someday. I’m sure we will share a good laugh over our experience at the drive-in.

Remember a merry heart does good like a medicine. I hope this post made you chuckle as it did me when I was writing it.

Each day is a gift. Treasure the times you have with your loved ones.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Sharing Too Much

sharing too muchDo you know how much information is too much to share? Do you tend to want to tell or show everything to just anyone? Do you tend to divulge too much information?

There is a valuable lesson to be learned from the story of King Hezekiah of Judah. II Kings 20 tells this story.

The King had just gotten over being deathly ill. A king from another country – a country with which Judah had a tenuous relationship – heard about it and sent envoys to King Hezekiah with gifts and good wishes.

Hezekiah welcomed the envoys into his palace. He took them around and showed them everything in his palace, his armory, and the treasures in the temple. Even though he had never met these men before, he let them in the innermost rooms.

After the envoys went back home, Isaiah came to the king and said, “What did you show them?”

The king responded with, “I showed them everything. There was nothing they did not see.”

Isaiah said, “The time is coming when everything will be taken from here and your sons will be taken captive to serve that king and some will even become eunichs.”

All of this came to pass just as prophesied.

The king was very unwise in sharing all the information about everything he owned.
I have to admit, I could not believe he showed everything he owned to these men he did not know.

We need to use wisdom and discretion regarding how much and what we share with people. Sometimes we share too much and it can ultimately hurt us.

It is unwise to tell too much to people in general. Unless it is a dear friend who has earned your trust.

The Bible says “Don’t cast your pearls before swine or they will turn and rent you.”

If we tell too much to the wrong person or persons, they can use the information against us.

Bringing people in your home and showing them your valuable collections can turn on you.

Becoming paranoid about what you share is not my intent. My point is to use wisdom and discretion in all you say and do. Look back over your life and reflect on the things you’ve shared that you wish you hadn’t – for whatever reason. Learn from these.

Think about what you are saying. Are you giving too much information? Listen to that little voice in your head that is telling you that you should not be telling what you are.

All of us have said more than we should have for whatever reason. I just want to make us – me included – more aware.

Each day is a gift. Be aware of what you say and guard your tongue from sharing too much.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

They Just Can’t Hear

They just can't hearR.J. clung to the dorm supervisor, shyly peeking around her skirt to look at Mama and Daddy. He made no move to go to them. This was the first time he had seen them in over a month, and he was unsure what to do.

“Mama, didn’t that break your heart?” I asked when she told me the story.

“It did in one way, Bev, but in another way it made me feel good because I figured if he clung to her like that, it meant they were being good to him.”

Mama had a unique way of seeing the big picture. She had wisdom beyond her years. She and Daddy both did. So instead of taking offense and being hurt, they took solace in the fact R.J. was fond of the dorm supervisor.

Their outlook always amazed me especially considering how young they were when they married. She was fifteen and he was eighteen.

I think this common sense approach was how she – and consequently all of us – dealt so well with having Deaf children.

I have already mentioned how she made up home signs to use with R.J. and Katrina. We all did.

We learned other ways to compensate for R.J.’s and Katrina’s deafness. If they were across the room, we learned to stomp on the floor to get their attention. Mama knew they would feel the vibration through the floor and look around.

We also learned to flash the lights to get their attention. Or wave our arms. If they were close enough, a gentle tap on the shoulder for them to look at us was all it took. We knew they had to be looking at us for communication to take place. Calling them, regardless of how loudly, was useless.

As R.J. learned signs, so did Mama and the rest of us. Mama was a whiz at finger-spelling. All of us learned to sign to one degree or another.

R.J. and Katrina were included in everything we did as a family. No difference was made between them and the rest of us kids. They were expected to follow the same rules as we were.

I think this contributed to R.J.’s and Katrina’s self-esteem and overall success.

In later years, when I was in the Interpreter Training Program, I learned that many parents feel guilty when their child is born deaf. I never sensed this in Mama but thought I would ask her just to be sure.

“Mama, did you ever feel guilty because R.J. and Katrina were born deaf?”

“I’d like to know what the dickens I had to feel guilty about,” she quipped. “I didn’t do anything to make them deaf!”

I chuckled to myself. What a truly healthy response. That was one reason why no overcompensating was done with them. They were just normal kids who happened not to be able to hear. And we treated them as such.

Remember, each day is a gift. Sometimes accepting people as they are is the best thing you can do for them.

©2019 Bev Brown – All rights reserved.

Your Pants Dropped Where?

smiley-shockedI have a friend whom I shall affectionately call George. George is a large man – rotund around the middle. However, he has a relatively slender bottom and legs.

A few years ago, he was roughing in a room in the basement since a child was moving back home. When it was time to buy the door, he made a trip to Home Depot, dressed in a t-shirt and pair of shorts.

George wanted to be the door to be the largest size available so it would be easier to move furniture in the room, once completed.

After finding the door he wanted, he loaded it on one of the large flat-bed carts. It was, of course, too large to put in a regular cart. He purchased the door and headed to his car.

George pushed the large cart to his truck but every time he let go of the cart to lift the door into the truck, the cart started rolling down the parking lot. A nice lady saw his dilemma and politely asked, “Would you like me to hold the cart for you so it won’t roll away?”

“Yes, that would be great,” was his ready answer.

As he lifted the door up above his head to put it in the truck, he unwittingly took a breath making his stomach draw in. When he did, his shorts dropped to his ankles.

Embarrassed and humiliated, he glanced around at the woman helping him. She had her head turned the other way.

He had no choice but to go ahead and put the door in the truck, leaving his shorts around his ankles for the short time it took to load the door.

As soon as the door was put in the truck bed, George quickly bent over, grabbed his shorts, and yanked them up as fast as he could. He peeked to see what the woman was doing. She was long gone. No trace of her anywhere.

George brought the door home and successfully put it in.

When he told me of the incident, I thought I was going to split a side laughing. I loved his transparency in telling me. He certainly did not have to.

The next day, George needed to make another trip to Home Depot. His wife noticed he was wearing long pants and a button-down shirt. She knew his usual attire was the t-shirt and shorts he had worn the day before.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

“I have to go Home Depot and I don’t want anyone to recognize me.”

From that time on for several years, friends and family would laughingly point out the Home Depot where he went as the one where “George made his debut.”

I hope you got a chuckle from my story. I know I laughed several times while writing it.

The Bible says a merry heart does good like a medicine. Hopefully, this story gave you your dose of laughter today.

Remember, each day is a gift. Try to find things to make you chuckle today.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Captive Canary

captive canaryI mentioned before that I like animals.

I recently purchased a male singer canary. I love his song. When he really cuts loose, it sounds like there are several birds in the cage with him.

As soon as I uncover his cage in the morning, he blesses me with the peeps, trills and whistles of his song. He sings with all the joy that is within him. He sings off and on all day long. He even sings around 8 or 8:30 in the evening.

His song is so loud and long it can interfere with phone calls or listening to the television or the radio.

I don’t mind. I love it.

Several things have spoken to me as I have observed my bird.

One is he is stuck in the cage all the time, 24/7. He can only flit from perch to perch, food to water and back. He cannot truly set his wings free to fly as he is meant to do.

However, this does not affect his singing at all. He sings like he is totally liberated. He doesn’t let his circumstances get him down.

Oh, that we could be like my canary. That we could learn to sing and be happy regardless of our circumstances.

We can, you know. We can make the decision to, regardless of our situation, find joy in our life and celebrate that joy. Look for the things to be thankful for. There is always something we can be thankful for and rejoice over.

Another thing I thought about is how he is totally dependent on me to provide his needs—his food, water, shelter and health care. He doesn’t even give it a thought I’m sure. He just trusts he is going to be fed and watered.

That is how we should be with the Lord. Look to Him to provide what we need—food, water and shelter. Trust the Lord to provide for you. It may not be exactly what you want but He will provide.

The last thing I want to talk about regarding reflections on my canary, is more about me than about him.

The main reason I got him is because of his song. When I first got him, I was thrilled each time I heard him burst forth in song. It tickled me and I would actually laugh out loud from delight.

But as time has gone on, I find myself so used to his singing that I actually block it out. He can be singing away and I don’t even notice until someone or something brings it to my attention.

Here is my point. We can get so used to blessings in our life that we take them for granted. We don’t even think about them. Things like having a roof over our heads. Or having enough to eat. Or getting clean water just by going to the faucet and turning it on. Even having someone who loves us.

In conclusion, having a bird is not all fun and games. It’s not just about the beautiful song. There are work and effort involved.

Seeds get all over the floor. I have to sweep at least once a day to keep from being overtaken by the seeds he flings out when he eats. I have to feed and water him on a daily basis. His cage needs cleaning once a week.

Here’s the thing—anything worth having requires some effort on your part. Whether it is a pet, or a home. or a car, or even a relationship. Things don’t just maintain themselves.

I hope my reflections encouraged or challenged you today.

Remember each day is a gift. Look for things to sing about regardless of your situation and circumstance.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Who or What are You Seeking?

 

 

iced-coffee I love it when the Lord gives us life lessons, don’t you? It truly inspires me when He can take an experience we’re having and show us spiritual significance in it. Here is an example of one of the most recent ones I’ve had.

I like the bottled Starbucks Mocha Lite Frappicinos. The reason I drink them is because there are only 12 grams of carbohydrates in a bottle. This is the amount of carbs I can have for a snack. Drinking these satisfies my sweet tooth and helps keep me from eating things I shouldn’t.

Some years ago, I had a bout of sickness for the majority of seven weeksl. While I was sick, I drank the last of the bottled frappicinos I had here at the house. Shortly after that I went to buy some more. I went to two or three different stores and, while they had a good supply of the other kinds of bottled frappicinos, none of the stores had any of the Mocha Lite.

Well, this became a quest for me. I looked at the Wal-Mart in Gardner, the Target in Overland Park, at one or two of the Price Choppers and no one had any. My husband joined in the search and looked at two or three other stores in Olathe, not to mention looking at the Super Center Wal-Mart in Wichita and Springfield.

No luck at any of them. I even called Starbuck’s customer service to make sure they were still manufacturing them. Then called Pepsi distribution customer service (because they are the ones who decide what and how much to take to stores to sell).

As I was thinking about this the other day, the Lord spoke to my heart and said He wished I would seek Him with the same intense diligence I had been seeking my Starbuck’s Mocha Lite Frappicinos.

This really struck me. I thought how frivolous it was for me to be so intent on finding my drink which has no eternal significance at all.

We really do need to be seeking His kingdom and His righteousness above anything else. The Word says to, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.

To seek His kingdom means to seek the things of God. To seek is to spend time in prayer and His Word; to seek His will in our lives; to seek the things that are important to Him and of eternal significance. Seeking His righteousness means to do what is right in God’s sight. When we do this, then we find everything we need in life; the important things of life.

I pray for myself and for you that we will seek His kingdom and His righteousness above all others. That is where true happiness and contentment are found.

A post script to this message is that several weeks after my quest, my husband bought some Mocha Lite Frappicinos in Saint Louis. He bought quite a few cartons of them for me. I had already accepted the fact that I wouldn’t have any more to drink, so this was a special delight. I thought of how like the Lord this is–to give us our hearts desire even in the little insignificant things like my bottled drinks.

I now have no problem at all finding my frappicinos.
Remember each day is a gift. Be mindful of what and/or who you are seeking today.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

The Baby is Deaf

baby is deafHoney, don’t you think our baby’s deaf?” my father asked my mother after being home from the war only a few days. That was it! What had been nagging at the back of her mind.

Something had been bothering Mama about their youngest of three children,10 month old, R.J. Like many babies during this time, R.J. had been born while Daddy was overseas fighting in World War II, so Daddy didn’t see him until he got home. R.J. had a stocky build, curly light brown hair and brown eyes.

Mama couldn’t put her finger on exactly what had been bothering her. R.J. was such a bright, happy baby. Sometimes, when he rolled over on his tummy, his arm got caught under his ribs. He laughed and laughed because it tickled him so. His eyes would shine with intelligence especially when playing with his older brother and sister, Buddy and Sara.

But what was it that bothered Mama? She didn’t know. Maybe it was because he didn’t make the usual baby cooing and jabbering noises. Mama kept dismissing her feelings as making much ado about nothing. So when Daddy asked the poignant question, it was almost a relief to be able to identify what had been bothering her all along.

Daddy and Mama took R.J. to several doctors to determine what caused his deafness. Finally, one doctor said, “It’s obvious he is a happy, well-adjusted baby. Why don’t you not be so concerned about what caused his deafness. He was just born deaf.”

Years before, Mama and Daddy happened to pass a Deaf woman on the street who had a card with the manual alphabet on it. The card in exchange for a donation of any amount. They had never seen a Deaf person before but both had tremendous compassion for anyone less fortunate. They gave a nominal donation and took the card.

For some reason, Mama decided to keep the card and put it in the bottom of a drawer, never dreaming she would ever get it out, much less use it so she could communicate with one (and then later two) of her own children.

But that’s exactly what she did. Once they determined R.J. was deaf, Mama got the card out. She and Daddy began memorizing the manual alphabet which they taught to Ronnie.

Mama’s line of reasoning was, “I’ve got to communicate with him and if he can’t hear me, the only way to do that is to sign.”

Mama always felt it was a blessing she never consulted any “experts” who encouraged her to use Oralism—teach the child to lipread and speak. Allow no signs whatsoever. This was the trend back then.

I am the fourth child. I was born almost three years after R.J. Not quite two years after I was born, Katrina, was born. Katrina was also born deaf. Eight years later, Sissy was born and almost four years after that, Bryce came along. Bryce also had a hearing loss caused from a high fever when he was almost three.

Our family as a whole felt having Deaf siblings in the family was a huge blessing. We felt our lives were enriched by it. I honestly felt sorry for people who didn’t have a Deaf brother and sister.

Mama and Daddy never treated R.J. and Katrina any differently from the rest of us. They were included in whatever we did. They were also expected to follow the same rules as the rest of us kids. Even though Mama’s and Daddy’s signing was limited, they got their point across.

There was no place to learn Sign Language so we came up with home signs. Some Mama came up with and some R.J. and Katrina thought of.

I hope to post something about growing up with Deaf siblings the first Wednesday of the month. I hope you find it interesting.

Each day is a gift. Today realize that some of the things that might throw us off can end up being a blessing.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Pitfalls of Comparison

venus-fly-trap-2403031_960_720  I have a good friend who has been my friend since high school. We eventually married friends and our families hung out together. We often went over to their house and they came to ours.

I have never been the best housekeeper, especially when my kids were small. Toys would be in the family room, dishes in the sink, and dust wasn’t a stranger in our home.

And what in the world did people do with the socks taken out of the dryer that didn’t have a mate? My solution was to have a laundry basket filled with mismatched socks hoping to find a mate and miscellaneous items.

I picked up when company came over, trying to have a decent looking house. When company left, I was fine with doing the dishes and cleaning up the mess the next day.

When we went to my friend’s house, everything seemed to be in immaculate order—regardless of when we went over. Every towel in place and every toy in the toy box, exactly where they should be, and not a speck of dust to be found.

If our kids played a board game, no one could leave until every piece had been found and put back in the box. The dishes were immediately loaded in the dishwasher before we moved on to do anything else.

If necessary, my friend would stay up until two o’clock in the morning putting things back where they belonged and her house back in order. This just wasn’t that important to me.

I so admired her ability to keep everything in order. But not only did I admire her, I was intimidated and felt vastly inferior to her. I felt like I never measured up in every area, not just in the area of keeping a clean and tidy house.

We were dear friends but I always felt she was better than I was. I panicked any time they wanted to drop by before I had enough time to get everything just right.
I felt that way for years and years.

I recently wrote a book, and it was only after writing it I realized I actually had talents and abilities that she might not have. I had opportunities she never had.

My point is this–I wasted many years–decades in fact–feeling inferior every time I was around her. This is what comparison does to a person. She and I differed on things we valued. It didn’t make one of us wrong and the other one right—just different.

You might feel inferior to another person because you might not be able to do something as well as they can. Because of this, you might overlook and not appreciate the talents you do have. If the truth was known, you more than likely have talents they wish they had.

One of the pitfalls of comparison is this–if you feel you don’t measure up, you can overlook and not appreciate the abilities you do have. You may constantly feel you are lacking when in fact you are not.

There is another way comparison can be a pitfall. You might have the opposite reaction and feel you are vastly superior to someone. And, actually,  you might be better in a certain area. But not in all areas.

Each of us has things we excel at doing, and things we could do a little better.

Comparison is a waste of time, energy and emotions.

Each day is a gift. Don’t waste the happiness of today by comparing yourself to someone else.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Unexpected Incident

shockedMama died almost 13 years ago. Her visitation and funeral were lovely and pretty standard except for one incident that will probably be talked about for years to come by the people who attended the visitation.

I must admit, it’s a story that still makes me chuckle. I’m fully convinced if Mama was alive, it would make her chuckle too.

All of Mama’s children, grandchildren and extended family loved her very much. She was loving and kind.

About three months before Mama passed, my niece, Bridget, had a baby three months premature. The baby weighed only one pound nine ounces. Consequently, he had to stay in the hospital until he was big and strong enough to make it on his own.

While Mama lay dying at the nursing home, Bridget and her husband, Bill, came to visit her. By that time, Mama was unresponsive.

Within a day or two, the baby, B.T., was finally released from a three-month stay in the hospital. The first place Bridget and Bill went after picking up that precious little baby was straight to the nursing home to show him to Mama.

They brought the baby in and put him on the bed with Mama. They told her, “Grandma, here is B.T. He just got out of the hospital and we brought him right here to show you.” Of course, Mama didn’t respond.

Mama passed away within a day or two.

At the funeral home, we had set up posters with pictures of Mama and all her kids and grandkids.

As Bill looked at all the pictures, he kept saying, “There are no pictures of Grandma and B.T.”

Later, as people were sitting around after viewing Mama in the casket, Bill decided there needed to be a picture of B.T. and Grandma.

Bill’s mother-in-law agreed to take the picture. She had no idea what was about to happen.

Before we knew it, Bill had placed the baby in the casket with Mama.

The color drained from his mother-in-law’s face.

Audible gasps were heard around the room.

I frantically thought, “What do I do? What do I do?”

It seemed like an eternity passed but it was actually only a matter of seconds. I reached over to gently take the baby out of the casket while saying to Bill, “Bill, this is upsetting people. Why don’t you hold the baby in front of Grandma and get a picture that way?”

Bill said, “Oh. Okay.” He then held the baby in front of the casket so a picture could be taken of them and Mama.

You may be wondering why I told this story. The main reason was to hopefully give you a chuckle.

Another reason is to hopefully help you see there is humor and deeper significance in most situations.

The Bible says that the Lord looks on the heart and not the outward appearance.

It would have been easy for us to have become upset with Bill for daring to place the baby in the casket with Mama’s body and disrupting what should have been a sober, meaningful time. However, I knew Bill meant no disrespect by placing him there. Bill just wanted make sure he had a picture of B.T. and his great grandma.

I knew Mama would have totally understood his heart. And that made everything all right.

But it was still a shock for those in attendance.

Each day is a gift. Today try to find humor and deeper significance in unexpected situations.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Personal Examples of Forgiveness

dog with roseWe all have examples in our lives of times we have or should have forgiven someone.
I will give you an example of forgiveness from my own life.

I have been a Christian since I was eleven. After I was married there was a situation where I felt extremely jealous of how my in-laws were preferring other kids in the family over mine. My kids were being left out.

This jealousy, bitterness and resentment consumed me. So much so that I started experiencing stomach pains.

One day as I was thinking about it, the Lord spoke to my spirit. “Look at them,” He said.
I envisioned them. They were going about their merry lives, happy as ever.

“Now look at you,” He said.

I was miserable. “Who has your jealousy and bitterness hurt?”

I realized it had hurt me, not them. I determined right then to forgive them. In my heart and mind, I let it go.

The situation did not change. They still spent more time with the other kids than with mine. However, I had peace instead of experiencing all the emotions I had felt before. I had no more stomach pains.

Let me just add one thought here–One way to obtain happiness is learning to deal with and accept things you cannot change. I had no control over how they treated my kids.

As time went on, occasionally, something would happen to cause those old feelings of jealousy to come back. And I had to decide to let it go and forgive them once again.

One day, one of these same in-laws told my then six-year-old son to leave their home and not come back. This was devastating to me. I had never experienced anything like this before. I loved my son and was, of course, very protective of him.

I also loved the person who did that. I could not stand the thought of there being a rift within the family.

I wept about it for weeks.

They eventually sent a letter of apology, saying they had been under a lot of stress and so on and so forth.

I had a decision to make. I could accept the apology at face value and forgive them. Or I could remain angry with them–cut off all ties. And continue to be miserable.

I decided to forgive them and go back to their house. I do not regret the decision. My kids and I benefitted from the restored relationship.

For years, I didn’t think about the incident except in passing. When I did think of it, I didn’t have the feeling of bitterness and resentment. And I didn’t think of it every time I saw the relative.

I thought all the feelings regarding this incident were completely resolved. However, years later, when that son was in high school, the same relative made a critical remark about him which caused all those wounded emotions to come rushing back—feelings of anger and bitterness.

I had to work through the process of forgiveness all over again. Which I did.

I know the incidences I’ve mentioned are nothing compared to what you might have experienced. Things beyond your control – often for years.

But you can forgive them. I promise. The first step is being willing to. You will be so much happier and at peace when you do.

Do it for yourself. And for those you love.

Remember, forgiveness is a process, and you might have to release things again and again until you are completely free. And forgiveness has truly taken place.

Each day is a gift. Decide today to let go of the bitterness, anger and unforgiveness.

©2019 Bev Brown – All Rights Reserved

Achieving Forgiveness

peaceThe first step in forgiveness is being willing to forgive. Sounds easy, right? It’s not easy but it IS powerful, and you can do it.

You have to determine in your heart, “I will forgive so and so for what they’ve done.”

You might have to do this many times. Every time something comes up to bring back the hurt, resentment, or bitterness, decide–once again–to forgive.

Release it. This more than likely will be a process. The deeper the hurt or offense, the longer the process may take. Don’t be embarrassed if it does take some time. The most important thing is to be willing to forgive.

This might be a foreign concept to some of you. Some people just tend to forgive more easily than others.

Then there’s the fact that some hurts are deeper than others. For example, not getting invited to a party is on a whole different level than being abused.

They both involve getting hurt and require forgiveness but one might take more time and determination to forgive.

I discussed some of the benefits of forgiving in my previous post, so I won’t go over them again.

So, how will you know you have truly forgiven?

Think of the person who you feel has wronged you. What kind of emotions does this bring up? This helps you determine if you have forgiven that person or not.

I’ve heard people say if you have truly forgiven you’ve forgotten. I do not agree with this. I do not think we can ever totally forget something that has really wounded or hurt us. Those emotions run deep.

However, you can forget to the point where you don’t think of the hurtful thing they did every time you think of that person. You can forgive to the point that you are impervious to them.

You may never have intimate interaction or fellowship with the person again, and that’s okay. Sometimes you should not.

Boundaries are healthy. Forgiveness does not mean you have no boundaries. Nor does it mean you have to embrace that person into your personal life again.

But you can get to the point where you have no feelings one way or the other. You can remember the incident without all the anger and emotions roiling inside.

That’s also not to say there will never be triggers. Depending on what has happened, there certainly might be triggers.

However, if you do constantly think of what they have done to you and feel resentful or bitter anytime you see them, or talk to them or they to you or can’t stand the sight of them, then you haven’t truly forgiven them.

I want to stress again that forgiving someone does not mean you condone what they did. It simply means you are ready to be released from the hold of bitterness and anger.

Remember, forgiveness frees you and benefits you.

Next week, I will give you some examples of how I had to forgive and how it benefitted me.

Each day is a gift—you determine what you will do with it.