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Archive for the ‘christianity’ Category

Local Couple in The Chosen | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 30, 2022:

The Chosen is described on its website as “a fan-supported, seven-season episodic television series that creates an authentic and intimate picture of Jesus’ life and ministry, seen through the eyes of the people who knew Him.” It is also described as the #1 highest crowd-funded entertainment project of all-time, raising $10 million for Season 1 and over $40 million for Seasons 2 and 3. A press release says The Chosen has garnered praise from critics and fans alike for its historical and biblical accuracy, playful spirit, stirring drama, genuine humor, and disruptive impact.

The Chosen is offered free of charge on mobile and smart TV apps. Some income is generated for future episodes through the sale of series merchandise, but the majority of the funds comes from viewers who “pay it forward” by donating at certain levels based on the number of episodes that will be viewed for free because of their gift. Since they believed strongly in the project, local couple Kent and Stella Larson decided to support the series.

The Larsons faithfully followed website updates and newletters, and when a casting call for extras in Season 3 went out to funding partners early this year, their interest was piqued. Donors and immediate family members were eligible to participate and singles could bring one friend. The Larsons signed up and were accepted for the feeding of the 5,000 scene. Around the first of March Kent began to let his beard and hair grow, and they began to work on their costumes. Participants were given a choice of who they wanted to be – Jews, Greeks, Romans – and they were given a color palate based on that choice. Because of their Scandanavian and Northern European heritage, the Larsons opted to dress as merchants from the north.

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Sunday’s Coming!  by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 14, 2022:

Last week was a hard one, not so much for me personally, but for several people who are important to me. A friend lost a long-fought battle with cancer, a family member was unjustly accused of scandalous behavior, a sweet young lady lost her first love, and a friend who is normally the life of the party is suffering through a bout of depression. As if that weren’t enough, we’re entering the week on the Christian calendar during which we remember the betrayal, death, and burial of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In deciding what to share this week, my thoughts drifted back to a time when my own son experienced what the doctor called a psychotic depression. To paraphrase the opening line from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, it was the worst of times, but it ended up being the best of times. Following is an excerpt from my first memoir about a special day during that time:

My heart ached as I watched this brilliant young man, who was always going, doing, thinking, or creating, do little more than exist. Day after day, wearing baggy shorts, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, he sat in front of the TV until I came home from work. His long, blond hair that was normally meticulously washed and brushed became stringy and oily, and more often than not, he forgot to eat. He lost weight and began to look severely emaciated. His normally erect posture became slumped and downcast. He visited with Dr. E periodically and took the various medications he prescribed, looking for the magic combination that would break the bonds that held him in his pit. I continued to pray.

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Plans vs Resolutions | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 7, 2022:

On New Year’s Eve, David asked me the big question of the day: Have you made any resolutions this year? I was already prepared with my answer based on a memory that had popped up on Facebook earlier that day.

“No,” I said, quoting the 2013 version of myself, “I think I’ll make plans instead of resolutions. Less pressure!”

As the day went on, I thought about some specific plans for 2022. First on my list is the same on the lists of many others this time of year – I plan to go to the gym on a more regular basis. I will be starting with a large advantage over most of those others, though, because I’ve only been a couch potato for less than a month as opposed to years or forever. Still, I became aware last week of what a difference a few weeks can make in the area of fitness.

David and I joined Anytime Fitness in February of 2020. Since then we have worked out four to five days a week with very few breaks. We have both seen significant changes in our weight and shape, and more importantly, we both felt better. Then in December, he began suffering from sciatic pain, and although he was going to physical therapy, he didn’t feel up to a more serious gym workout. And when he didn’t go, of course, I didn’t go either.

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Excuses for an Afternoon Nap | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 6, 2021:

Naps are not a normal part of my routine, but I made an exception Sunday afternoon. In my defense, it had been a hectic week. Keeping in mind that hectic has a different meaning to retired people than to those still in the work force, here’s my story.

Monday’s schedule was normal with nothing more hectic than an afternoon workout at the gym. But Tuesday we drove to Bonham for David’s 2nd COVID shot which meant leaving the house shortly after sunrise. On the way home, we stopped at the Library to pick up a movie for later and at Brookshire’s for our contribution to lunch with Bill and Susan. They are regulars at our Friday night Bible study and recently invited the group to their home for a hymn sing. I was nominated to play the piano, and although I thoroughly enjoyed her Baldwin baby grand, I’m very rusty after ten years without a piano in my home. She loves to sing, so she invited us to come over for burgers and a practice session.

We had a great time, but we had to stop when my arthritic hands began to protest. By the time we made it home, it was time to get ready for movie night. One of our neighbors had offered to bring the makings for nachos if we would provide the venue and the movie. We watched The Matrix Revolutions and discussed things we had missed in previous viewings. It was a fun day, but hectic by our standards.

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Good Friday | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 30, 2021:

Holy Week began this past Sunday and ends this coming Sunday on Easter. But before we can get to Resurrection Sunday, we have to go through Good Friday.

Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Because it’s a somber day with an intense religious meaning, few if any traditional celebrations or secular customs have developed around it. Instead, this solemn day is often observed with worship services, prayer, penance, and fasting.

One of the first questions that comes up around this sacred day is why the observation of such a grim reality is call “Good.” There are several theories, but one makes a little more sense than the others. One idea is that Good Friday derives from “God’s” Friday; however, there’s no evidence of this in the history of the word. Another idea is that Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of sins was a good thing, so the anniversary of that event is a good thing, a Good Friday. Although, this might be a logical theory, those who are supposed to know about these things believe there is a better one. They say that at one time good meant holy. In some traditions, the Friday of Holy Week has been called Sacred Friday, Passion Friday, and in German, Sorrowful Friday. Other days of this week are called Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and so forth. So it seems reasonable that just as Holy Thursday has become Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday has become Good Friday.

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And it was good! with Stacy Rolen, Guest Columnist

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 14, 2020:

writers blockThe coronavirus isolation has not been kind to my creativity. I write about people and life and community, and my community is now limited to David and Kitty. I love them both dearly, and they provide plenty of writing material – but I’ve used most of the good stuff in my books, so I depend on outside contacts for inspiration. Consequently, when I sat down at my computer Sunday afternoon, I would write a sentence, delete it, and go to the kitchen to do a little prep work for dinner.

This went on until everything was in either the oven or the InstantPot, and I was giving serious thought to running an old column. Then I clicked over to Facebook and saw a post from Stacy Rolen, wife of Pastor Jason Rolen, both of Believers’ Baptist Church. As I read her thoughts about Easter in isolation, I wanted to share her words with my readers. I messaged her, and she graciously agreed to be a guest columnist this week.

By way of explanation, Believers’ has been doing drive-in church for several weeks. TylerDrive in churchJones, BBC worship leader and media expert, pre-records Pastor Jason’s message and several praise songs which he then submits to KRER 102.5. On Sunday mornings, the church family gathers on the parking lot where they stay in their cars and attend church through the magic of radio.

One last note – the Rolen family is made up of Jason, Stacy, Bree Allie who is a junior at Alba-Golden where Stacy teaches, and Brady – aka Bubba – who is working on his masters degree at Dallas Baptist University in Dallas. Following is a look into Easter with Rolens – and it’s very good.

We talked this week about how crazy it felt to not have the same kind of Easter morning we have had for every year of our lives. For the first time ever, there would be no plans made of what to wear, who gets up when to make this sunrise service, this breakfast, this praise team practice, this Sunday School class, or that service. We decided that we would just sit on the deck to see the sunrise together, in the quiet and the still. And it would be good!

Then the alarm went off, and the rain hit against the roof, and the thunder roared. So we snuggled in tighter and snoozed. And snoozed. Slept five hours past Jason’s normal Sunday morning alarm. It was different, but it was good.

Finally got up and ready for the day. A different kind of Easter morning. No fanfare. Caught an early service message on TV, followed by our normal Sunday morning Spotify playlist – but this time we were at home, together, and it was good.

All showered, all dressed for a different kind of Easter. But it was good!

Rolens on EasterHow wonderful to see our church family! We miss everyone so much, but getting to gather in the parking lot for waves of hello to those whom we hold so dearly – it was beautiful! The smiles, the joy – it surely does the heart good! Then came Tyler’s voice over the radio, and I wept because it was beautiful. All this was followed by the reminder from Jason of the final act of humiliation which brought the first act of exaltation to Christ our Savior! A reminder that in these different days, our God is the same! He is still seated at the right hand of the Father. He is the same – yesterday, today, and forever. For He is risen indeed!

Easter 2020 will be a year to remember. We sure do miss our family today! We sure do miss the fellowship with our church family! I SURE DO miss my Bubba whom I haven’t seen in forever!!!

Times are different. But…things are still good. And that is beautiful! Love you all!

Thank you, Stacy, for sharing your Easter morning with us.

Blessings,

Linda

Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

He Is Risen! (Video – Then Came the Morning)

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.      Mark 16:1-6

 

Community | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains  County Leader on August 20, 2019:

communityAccording to several on-line dictionaries, community is 1) a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common and 2) a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Last weekend I attended the 5th Annual White Chapel Girls Retreat at the White Chapel Bed & Breakfast in Mountain Home, Texas. Every year about this time, a dozen women withdraw from everyday responsibilities and gather for Bible study and prayer along with lots of food and fellowship.

Before it became a B and B, the site of the retreat was simply the home of Julee White, a Donkey twinswoman with a heart that is much bigger than the six acres on which she lives. She has the gift of hospitality, and because of this, she has become the go-to place for strays of all kinds. At present, she has 4 dogs, 4 cats, 7 goats, and 3 donkeys in residence. The dogs and cats have free access through a pet door into the laundry room where they find a variety of food and water dishes which, although intended to be species specific, are often shared equally. The donkeys and goats share their food with each other as well as with the small herd of deer that sidle over when they hear the door to the feed shed squeak open. In addition to the four-legged critters, Julee feeds her feathered friends from countless hummingbird and regular bird feeders. The deer have been known to help themselves to the spillage there as well. Because of her many mealtime guests, especially the goats who have become very well-rounded since coming to live with her, Julee originally named her place the F & H (Fat & Happy) Ranch .

Julee also has many human friends, and her home is a museum of their love. Her lawn is encircled by a walking path lined with yard art, and her front walk is embedded with mementos, all from people who love her. The interior of her home is filled with treasures, and she can tell you who gave her each piece and when.

ChapelHowever, the focal point is the White Chapel, also referred to as the Broken Chapel. Several years ago, Julee felt a Divine Call to build a chapel toward the back of her property. She tried to brush the idea off, but it wouldn’t go away. She wanted it to have special meaning, so she sent out a call to friends for materials that were broken or discarded from other projects, and the response was overwhelming. The resulting chapel is more than can be described in this small space, but it is all she had imagined and more.

In 2014 Julee received a call from two friends who wanted to organize several women’s retreats, and they wanted to know if she wanted to participate. “Now I know why God wanted me to build the Chapel,” she said through tears. “Can we have one here?”

Friend invited friend, and in August of 2015 ten women invaded Julee’s home for the first annual White Chapel Girls Retreat. We were all a little uneasy at first. Some of us knew only one other person, and the teacher had never done anything of this scope, but Julee wasn’t fazed. She spread air mattresses on the floor, pulled casseroles out of the freezer, and by the end of the long weekend, we were all Fat and Happy sisters.

Five years later, the F & H Ranch has become the White Chapel Bed & Breakfast, and the White Chapel Girls, now an even dozen, have become a community. For most of the year, we live in places scattered across the country, but for one weekend a year we live together. I don’t know if that qualifies us as a community, but we definitely have a particular characteristic in common – we all believe in Jesus as our personal Savior. As for the second definition, that fits us to a Tee. Throughout the year, we share attitudes, interests, and goals through Facebook and email so that each year there is a feeling of fellowship as if we had been apart days instead of months.

WCG with paintings

On our last night together, we shared Communion in the Chapel. Community and Communion come from the same root word, and one definition of Communion is sharing or exchanging intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. As we communicated with God and remembered His sacrifice, we also looked around the circle and thanked God for each other.

Our world has become a scattered place where we can live, work, shop, and travel without ever seeing another person. But like Julee’s menagerie of birds and animals, we were made for community. “Reach out and touch someone” is more than a telephone company commercial.

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

The Good Light | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 12, 2019:

Kitty in the Light 043016I’ve learned a lot about good and bad light from Connie, my photographer neighbor. Good light results in pictures that make me look like I want to look, and bad light makes me look like I do in a changing room mirror under the awful lighting the retail stores seem to favor.

It’s difficult to take good pictures inside our home, at least in the daytime. There are windows in every room, and I’ve learned that natural light pouring in from one of those windows results in washed out photos and lots of silhouettes. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture Kitty in her condo, which is in front of a large window, Connie advised me to change my position by ninety degrees so the light would illuminate my subject from the side. The result is one of my favorite pictures of Kitty. She is looking out through one of the round holes in the side of the condo with a regal look on her face and a halo of light bouncing off her shiny fur. (more…)

Multi-Author Christmas Giveaways | by Linda Brendle

Copy of Christmas giveaway (1)

Sara Beth Williams, Christian romance author with Anaiah Press, has used her marketing skills to organize several fellow authors into a special Christmas giveaway, and you readers receive the benefits. During the twelve days leading up to Christmas, Ms. Williams will feature a different author each day on her blog Live, Love, Writing. Each blog will include an opportunity to enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway to win ebooks, autographed paperbacks, gift cards, and other goodies. Check this blog daily beginning on December 13th for details and a link to each giveaway.

Mini spa pkgMy day is Sunday, December 16th. My giveaway package includes a paperback copy of the first edition of my memoir, A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life,  Love, and Chaos. The book was written in the hopes of amusing, inspiring, and encouraging other caregivers or people who are going through a hard time. To provide the most relaxing atmosphere possible for reading, I’m also offering the following: 1) an envelope of mineral bath soak, 2) a cooling watermelon and aloe gel mask, 3) several herbal tea bags, and 4) most important of all – chocolate.

No purchase or subscription is required to enter the giveaways, but physical prizes can only be shipped to U.S. addresses. Come and join the Christmas fun.

Blessings,

Linda

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