Monday, January 27, 2020

J.C. BROWN AND COMPANY PHOTOS

Grain barge passing through Snake River, Idaho locks. Photo by Chris.


We now have 199 photos for sale on Getty Images.  Most photos were taken by Chris, but some were taken by me, daughter Heather, and daughter-in-law Jessica.  If you would like to see our portfolio click here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

IN TIMES OF TROUBLE PUT ON A SILLY HAT



Moms in Prayer -- Donna, Me, Joyce celebrating Joyce's birthday


Cousins celebrating our birthdays at Loon Lake.  Danny, Dorothy, me, Kathy, Charlie


"Where did that truck go?" I say.   You might ask, "What truck?" "The one that just hit me," I reply.  

No, a truck did not hit me but I felt like one had.  The stress of financial problems, difficult people, house, children, and on top of that chronic pain; every muscle in my body hurt.  The fibromyalgia pain caused adrenaline and stress hormones to surge through my body.  Calm down I told myself.  Exercise I told myself.  Get the good endorphins going. But no I was not going to be able to do this on my own.  I had been to pain clinics, physical therapy, naturopaths, and every other treatment.  What I needed was God's peace in my life.

Prayer was the only answer.  My friends in my Moms in Prayer group prayed for me.  The prayer chain at church prayed for me. I read through the Bible and claimed God's promises in prayer.  Finally I asked God to cause the stings and barbs that pricked me each day to roll off my back like water off of a duck's back.  My daughter told me to ignore the negative things some people said to me.  It worked.  I began to have peace.

Some other things I would do to combat the negative thoughts in my mind are these ---I would go into a toy store and read through Mary Engelbreits calendar sayings.  I'd stop at the perfume samples in the drug store and smell each one.  I'd listen to my favorite music.  Bird listening and watching outside my window would bring joy to my heart.  I started collecting cards with pictures of two chairs on a beach, overlooking water.  I imagined myself sitting in one of those chairs.  And yes, I would wear silly hats. We know that God has provided every good thing and He wants us to enjoy them.  (Ecclesiastes 5: 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.)







I'm still not peaceful all the time but I'm more peaceful now than in the past.  Here are the Psalms I pray back to God.

But you, O Lord, do not be far off!  O you my help, come quickly to my aid!  (Psalm 22:19)  Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! (Psalm 38:22)

Be pleased, O Lord to deliver me!  O Lord, make haste to help me!  (Psalm 40:13)

You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God! (Psalm 40:17)

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! (Psalm 70:1)

But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God!  You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay! (Psalm 70:5)

O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! (Psalm 71:12)

O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! (Psalm 141:1)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

HOME IS WHERE YOU HANG YOUR HEART

Our 4th house 1984. Sold in 1989.

We've moved again.  This time to a "Senior Apartment."  We hope this will be our last move.  Our married life has been a roller coaster ride because of all our moves and all our adventures on the high seas. This was our choice as we wanted to live an unconventional life.  God blessed us with these opportunities. But now I see my cousins, who stayed in the same houses, having their travels now.  Maybe they have chosen the better way.

As a child I was uprooted at least five times.  My mom taught all of us that Spokane was God's country.  So in the back of my mind it was my cousins in Spokane I envied.  They lived in one house and stayed put.  At that time I thought I would settle in Spokane and stay there.  But as a college student, and thinking about marriage,  the thought of a white picket fence, grass to mow, flower beds to tend, and housework, I was sickened.  ( My genetics call for minimal responsibilities.) When Chris proposed that we live on a boat I was intrigued.

Over the last fifty-four years we've experienced living in houses, condos, apartments, and boats.  None is or was perfect.  We were looking for a better place-- (Hebrews 11:16  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.)


It is true that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, (Matthew 6:21.) Our real home is where we hang our hearts and store up our treasures. So some day, for Christians, we will be where our hearts are-- Heaven.  The street is gold there.


Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

LET YOUR HEART BE LIGHT

Our first house 1966. Photo by Chris.



Chris has fond memories of Santa, Christmas trees, and many toys from his childhood Christmases past.  After we were married his mom continued to give him a toy each Christmas until we had children. Then she gave the kids toys.

Chris with Santa.

The highlight of my childhood Christmases was when my folks gave me a HopALong Cassidy wrist watch for Christmas. They respected my dislike of girly things.


Photo by Bobbi.


Now our Christmases have been enlarged with our grandchildren.


Sammy and Natalie. Photo by Bobbi.


Sammy and Natalie.  Photo by Chris.


Samantha, Andrew, Natalie 2019 Christmas. Photo by Bobbi.


As they grow we downsize.  

Our small Christmas tree. Photo by Bobbi.

So my thoughts on big and little Christmases I relate with this story-- One year, right before Christmas break, I was in a Bible Study Fellowship discussion group.  A member of the group was bemoaning the upcoming chore of making tons of corn tamales that her family liked for Christmas.  My comment was, "God loves a cheerful giver. If you can't do it cheerfully then don't do it."
   
 (II Corinthians 9: 6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.)

Later that year I saw this gal in the grocery store and asked if she had made the tamales.  She hadn't, but she thought she would be up to it next year.

So sometimes we need to give ourselves a break.  Through rest, prayer, and some lighthearted times we can keep up the pace later.  

In our family we have decided to downsize our Christmases.  Again this year we are limiting gifts to $5.00.  Our meal will be a brunch shared in the Courtyard Lounge at our active senior community.  Decor consists of a Nativity scene, a basket of greens, and our musical miniature skating rink complete with skaters. 

Photo by Chris.



Photo by Chris


Whether we are the creative types who love to shop, decorate, cook a big dinner, and have a "big" Christmas, or we are the types who prefer a simple Christmas, "Have yourself a merry Christmas," whether big or little. May our hearts be light and let us seek Jesus -- The Light. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

BE ANGRY

Big sister opening little brother's birthday present.


Sometimes is is good to be angry.  For instance the Psalmist declares:  My eyes shed streams of tears,because people do not keep your law. Psalm 119:136.  Lot is spoken of In II Peter 2:8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

But God will take care of the wickedness as stated in Isaiah 28:17 "And I will make justice the line,
 and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”  And again in Romans 13:3-4  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.

So when we are righteously angry we must speak up--  first to God, and then to those in authority.  Little brother must speak up when big sister commandeers his birthday present.


But what if our anger is unrighteous?  Everyone, except Jesus, has been angry because of their own selfish interests.  
Cousin Alf couldn't believe that our friend Ralph had ever been rebellious.  He was such a pleasant and kind man.  But his wife, Nan, explained that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  So even if we have never been aware of any failing by Ralph we know that at some point in his life he had missed the mark of perfection.  Only Jesus lived the perfect life.

In God's word we learn that we will become angry but we are to not sin.  How are we supposed to do this?  My daughter's small church group studied a book about leadership.  In one chapter all emotions were listed.  She found the emotion of "annoyed" was related to anger.  Getting in touch with our emotion of anger could give us a clue.  Why are we angry?  Is it because we have been resisted, inconvenienced, worried, fearful, proud, etc.?

Or are we angry because God's laws are not obeyed.  Jesus had zeal for the "House of the Lord." When He saw that the money changers had turned God's house into a den of thieves He was angry --  but self controlled.  He prepared a cord and proceeded to drive out the wicked.

Another time when the Jews would not believe that He was the Christ He said in John 8:44 -- "
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

When we are angry let us ask ourselves these questions-- Is this spreading the gospel and making disciples?  Will our attitude somehow build the Kingdom of God?

Ephesians 4:26  Be angry and do not sin; 


Monday, October 28, 2019

DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP KID

1958

When I was fifteen I got this thing in my head that I was the only one in the family who could take care of everybody.  I felt that I had to take care of my parents, my three brothers, and my sister.  It was up to me to do something great so that I could help my family. I had no talent or abilities that were outstanding.  So this thought was overwhelming to me. I had placed on myself an impossible task.  

 What I didn't know at the time was that I was proud.  I thought too highly of myself.  I was taught in my family we wanted to be humble.  We believed that bragging was wrong.  Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."  We wanted to be meek.  Unfortunately some of us went about it in the wrong way.  Instead of bragging we would put ourselves down.  Our family friend, Nan, said, "Don't put yourself down kid.  Everybody else will do it for you." 

This led me to the conclusion that either bragging or putting your self down is actually pride-- conceit or inordinate self esteem.  When we call attention to ourselves, or are self involved, this is pointing to ourselves in a prideful way.  Instead we should look to God to help us.  

Then after studying the Bible for many years God opened  I Corinthians 1: 26- 31 up to me:

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 

So it wasn't up to me to do something great--it was just necessary to be open to what God would have me to do.  He would use me in some way even if I had no talents.

Those who believe and trust in Jesus have self esteem because we can trust God completely to do His work in us.  We can forget about ourselves and keep our eyes on Jesus.




Monday, October 21, 2019

WOMAN TO WOMAN

Mom 1957

In the Christian religion we are told in God's word, the Bible, that the older women should teach the younger women.  Fortunately, I had a mom who was a Christian.  She taught me everything she knew up until I left home at 18.  Because I moved 3000 miles away from home it was too difficult to go to my mom for advice. So God put some incredible women into my life.

The second Christian woman who had an impact on my life was Evelyn Christenson.  She came to Spokane to lead a Sunday School teacher work shop.  She had us form groups of 3 or 4.  Then she instructed us to go around our circle and say a one sentence prayer.  I had never prayed out loud before but I did manage one sentence.  



BSF luncheon

Next I joined Bible Study Fellowship and had many wonderful group leaders pour into me. I was asked every year to lead a group but I turned that opportunity down because it required a commitment of 2 days a week. Dealing with my chronic pain would make that too difficult. 



College and career Moms in Prayer

A few years later Fern Nichols started "Moms in Touch", now "Mom's in Prayer," a group who prays for their children and schools. I joined a group and I learned to pray Bible verses back to God and to pray of one accord.  One mom would pray about something on her heart and anyone else who has something put on her heart by the Holy Spirit would pray about the same subject.  My prayer life grew by leaps and bounds.

After attending a women's retreat and meeting with the speaker one on one, she recommended that I work through Myrna Alexander's book, "Behold Your God." In studying the attributes of God all problems tend to grow smaller in the light of the greatness of God.


Nan and Heather 1994

The next mentor I had was Nan.  Her husband was a close friend of my dad's.  His mother was my dad's first Sunday School teacher. Nan was about 15 years older than me.  Even though we weren't living in the same town I could call her and opine my troubles to her.  She was empathetic and a woman of prayer. 


2004

Then we moved again and began attending the church we had been members of years before.  Two of the older women had started a prayer group to pray once a week for one hour for our families, church, the government, and many other topics.  I joined and loved praying with them.  After each move to a new church I followed their example.



Kay 2012

When we began attending a different church I met Kay.  She was 92 and still going strong.  I asked her if she would pray with me every week.  We prayed together for 6 years.  Kay invited me to attend Precept Bible study with her.  A move was necessary so I lost that connection. 

At my new church I signed up for Precept Bible study.    The class had some of the most Spirit filled and intelligent women I have ever met in a Bible study.  

But I longed for a group of ladies to pray with.  It seemed difficult to do in a big church.  It was then that I signed up to mentor a young woman who wanted to be mentored through our church's mentoring program.  God had nudged me out of the receiving group and into the giving group.  I was very nervous but I figured somehow God could take what I gummed up and make it work for good.  I committed to one hour a week which I thought I could manage and not cause my chronic pain to flare up.



Me with Deb

So I met Deb 6 months ago at a dessert meeting. Through all her problems she has learned the same thing that I have learned--there is no where else to go but to Jesus.  Only He has the words of life!  So after talking to Deb, and hearing her concerns, I recommended that we work through, "Behold Your God."  The process has seemed slow to me as we have only gotten through 1/2 of the book.  But looking back on all the years I have had mentors nurture me I shouldn't be impatient.  So we will keep working through the workbook and God will keep growing both of us to become the women of God He wants us to be.

Proverbs 31: 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: