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Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

An evening at the theater | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 18, 2020:

Line at Historic Select TheaterDavid and I had a new experience last week. At lunch at the Senior Center on Thursday, our friend Peggy approached us with an offer of theater tickets for that night. She had won four tickets in a call-in contest at Radio Station KMOO in Mineola, and two of her guests couldn’t make it. How could we turn down and invitation to the annual KMOO Valentine Date Night that included dinner and a performance of Skin Deep, the 2020 season opener of the Lake Country Playhouse at The Historic Select Theater in Mineola?

Peggy told us to be there no later than 6:00 pm, but in order to get a good parking place and a good seat, to try for 5:30. We made it a little before 5:30, and on that cold and windy night, there were plenty of parking places. Since the doors opened at 6:00, we decided to battle the crowd rather than the weather and stayed in the car until a few minutes before opening. Fortunately, KMOO didn’t overbook, so we were able to connect with Peggy and get in out of the cold quickly. (more…)

Country folks are prepared | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 10, 2019:

Unpredictable weatherAt the end of last week’s column I mentioned that I was planning to be one of the vendors at the Christmas Around the Square event on Saturday. It took a bit more planning than some of the events I’ve done because it was my first outdoor one.

First of all, I had to plan for the weather. I know that everyone thinks the weather where they live is the most unpredictable, but if you’ve ever experienced a Texas Blue Norther and felt the temperature drop thirty or forty degrees in as many minutes, you know that Texas ranks pretty high on the volatile weather list.

I watched the long range forecast for several weeks, and the predicted temperature was consistently in a forty to sixty degree range. Of course, allowing for a ten to twenty degree variance along with wind chill, that could mean anything from a snowsuit in the morning to short sleeves in the afternoon. I settled on multiple layers and moved on to precipitation. (more…)

Stories | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 3, 2019:

Lane Street Collectibles

Lane Street Collectibles, Nov., 2019

Most of my Saturday was taken up by a book event. Angela Snyder and Billy Watkins, partners in Lane Street Collectibles in Quitman, hosted a book signing for me. After helping me set up and tear down, Billy commented, “There’s a lot involved in these book signings.”

He’s right. I have a banner, banner stand, and several boxes and bags of books and other supplies that have to be carried in, set up, and positioned for traffic patterns and visibility. In addition to my inventory of books, my supplies include several tablecloths because you never know what size table will be available; business cards and holder; book marks; Lucite sign holders and signs; candy and a decorative bowl; tape, twine, scissors, pens, note pad, and other miscellaneous supplies; and snacks for me. I believe in being prepared.

I’ve spent quite a few Saturdays in the past few months at the craft fairs and markets that are popular this time of year. I sometimes check the numbers and wonder if it’s worth the effort. I sell enough books to cover my expenses, but not enough to make any best seller lists. However, all the interesting people I meet and the stories they share make up for any shortfall. (more…)

What your pastor gives up | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 19, 2019:

Pastor Appreciation 111919Pastor Appreciation Day was last month, and I pretty much let it slide by. I told myself that I let Pastor Jason know on a regular basis how much I appreciate him, but something happened on Sunday that I couldn’t let pass without notice.

Last weekend, Pastor Jason and his wife Stacy took some much deserved personal time. Believers’ Baptist is blessed with people who can step in to fill the pulpit and play the keyboard when the Rolens are gone, but it’s always nice to have the family back together. Sunday was extra special because we were celebrating the Lord’s Supper after the worship service.

After Stacy finished the prelude, Pastor Jason went through the announcements, read a passage of Scripture as a call to worship, and lead us in the opening prayer. Before he began, he mentioned how much he and Stacy had enjoyed their weekend, especially Sunday morning. The church they visited was celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and for the first time in their 20+ years of marriage, they were able to sit in the pew together and take Communion as a couple. That’s just one of many things they give up to minister to their church family. (more…)

Plenty to do in Emory | by Linda Brendle

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

Theres nothing to doMany people don’t like the idea of small town life. “There’s nothing to do!” they cry. That might be true if they want first-run movies, Broadway-style stage performances, world class theme parks, or five-star dining. But if they can be content with fun, heart-warming events shared with warm-hearted, friendly people, Emory just might be the place.

David and I have always been happy to stay at home, working on small projects around the house, reading, or watching football or old movies. But after living in Emory almost nine years and making lots of friends, it’s hard not to get involved. The past few days have been really busy for a couple of less than social butterflies like us.

On Friday, we dropped in on the Women’s Service Club Reception and Open House at the Rose Community Center kitchenRose Community Center. The newly renovated building looks amazing, and even though we were a bit early, the women graciously took time from last minute preparations to show us around and answer my reporter-type questions. The trays of cheese, veggies, and cookies may not have been five-star, but they looked beautiful, and whatever was in the covered warming trays smelled even better.  We didn’t stay long, though, foregoing the refreshments and opting for lunch at the Senior Center.

Saturday morning we went to the American Legion breakfast, the place to be on the second Saturday of each month if you’re hungry for a delicious country-style breakfast. Apparently a lot of people decided to start their Veterans Day weekend celebration the same way, because we had trouble finding a place to park or a place to sit. We did, however, find one empty patch of grass and two empty seats at a table with some friends. We chatted with them, and I met a Navy Seabee who spent two tours of duty in Vietnam. There are some really interesting people in this little town.

David in Model ADavid had been invited by a friend to ride in his Model A in the Veterans Day parade, so after breakfast I dropped him off among a group of antique car enthusiasts and went in search of a good place to watch the parade and take a few pictures. I was early enough to snag a good spot in the Court House parking lot next to a couple of ladies I had met at the Senior Center. The weather was beautiful, the conversation was entertaining, and before I knew it, I heard the sound of drums as the Rains County High School Band led the parade down Highway 19. The Model As were close to the front, and David was in the second one, so I didn’t have long to wait. He was sitting in the rumble seat, so I got a great picture of him before he disappeared around the corner. The rest of the parade was fun with several floats, some marching groups, and a group of jump rope experts. It was over before the drivers who were stopped behind the barriers could become too restless, and all that was left was a few stray pieces of candy that would soon be flattened by oncoming traffic.

The festivities weren’t over, though. A canopy and folding chairs had been set up in preparation for a short ceremony honoring the veterans and dedicating several new personalized bricks that had been added to the memorial. Across the parking lot, several tables had been set up and filled with hot dogs, chips, cookies, cupcakes, and bottled water in preparation for the annual Veterans Day picnic. It had been several hours since breakfast, and parading raises an appetite, so David and I snagged some food and found an empty stretch of shaded curb. Several friends joined us, and I listened to one of them tell stories about her father’s years of service.

There was a chili cook-off and concert at Sidekicks later in the day, and maybe other David at Vet Day Program 2019events, but David and I had partied enough, so we went home. We’ll go to the high school on Monday for the annual Veterans Day program. There will be a nice Continental breakfast, and friends and family will applaud as each veteran is introduced. The color guard will present the flags, the band and chorus will perform several patriotic songs, and there will be ceremonies in remembrance of MIAs, POWs, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Most of all, we’ll shake hands, hug, and chat with friends who have become extended family.

As the holidays approach, there are many other activities coming up. The 4th annual Jingle Mingle, the Women’s Service Club Thanksgiving Luncheon, the Community Thanksgiving Service, and Christmas around the Square just to name a few. These events may not have the “WOW” factor that appeals to the younger generations, but to those of us who’ve fought all the crowds and stood in line for all the hours we care to, they are just perfect. Regardless of how you feel about the activities that are offered, you can’t say there’s nothing to do in Emory.

Blessings,

Linda

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My tech guru | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rain County Leader on October 29, 2019:

David and Linda at Fay's 2018David has earned a reputation as the tech guru at the Senior Center because of his knowledge of all things electronic – computers, phones, tablets, and even high-tech watches. Many of our friends have asked him questions about how to fix or operate their devices, and when they didn’t understand the answer, they brought the contrary gadget to him for help. Problems range from a phone that won’t ring because the sound is turned off to a new computer that needs a complete setup.

Reactions differ, too. Some take his services for granted like the man who dropped a new phone in front of him with a curt, “Set that up for me,” as he headed over to another table to visit with friends. Others offer to pay him, which he usually refuses. My favorite though is the man who was having trouble getting his new TV up and running. David made a house call, and once the TV was set up, the man offered money. David wouldn’t take it, but he gave him several packages of home grown frozen purple hull peas and two packages of peaches. Later in the week, he brought us a pie. Now that’s gratitude!

People often ask how David knows what to do to fix whatever ails these mysterioustech guru machines that have become such a necessity to modern life. The answer is simple – he reads – a lot. He is the only person I know who reads the owner’s manuals of everything he owns. He also reads blogs, articles, and updates from the major communication companies. And although he may not remember what he had for breakfast, or if he had breakfast, he seems to remember most of what he reads.

Through our almost twenty years together, I have been the main beneficiary of his technical knowledge. When we met, I had a small desktop computer and a VCR, both of which I knew how to turn on but not much else. Since then I’ve been through several phones and a few laptops and all the problems that come with them. He has always been there to help, even when the problems were with company computers at my office.

Computer filesHowever, there is an old adage that says the doctor’s children are the last to be treated, the cobbler’s children have worn out shoes, and so forth. This past weekend I wondered if the same principal applied to the wives of tech gurus. I’m working on a new book and am trying to do the design and setup myself. In order to format the cover to suit the publisher, I had to download a new program to my laptop. In the process, my computer froze up, and all I had was a black screen with the silhouettes of a few ghostly boxes. I’ve learned enough from David to know what to try first. I hit the Escape key several times with no effect, and I tried to open the Task Manager with the same result. Finally, crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t lose anything vital, I rebooted. The same screen came up.

After going through this series of moves several more times, I told David about my troubles. He was watching the LSU football game, so I’m not sure he even heard me. At half time he announced he was going across the street for a cup of coffee with Charles, and I felt as if the doctor had left the building. But I had a few Saturday chores to do, so like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, I decided to worry about my computer later.

When David came home, he noticed that my laptop was closed, so he asked if I had everything taken care of. When I said no, he immediately sat down in my spot and went to work. I could tell he was going through the same routine I had with the same results. He said unsettling things like “I don’t know…” and “…bad hard drive.” I wracked my brain trying to remember if I had backed up my latest manuscript on my flash drive. Then, he went into the office. A few minutes later, he yelled for me to bring my laptop in there. He hooked it up to an external hard drive, and it started. In the next few hours, I was able to download the new program and finish my book cover. The next day, my laptop was back to normal, and I made sure to backup all my files.

Sometimes David thinks I understand more about technology than I do. I’ve learned a lot from him, as you can tell by some of the techie terms I throw around, but new devices are invented much more quickly than I can learn. Sure, I can download a program and use some pretty sophisticated software to create and share the things I write. But I still have no idea how to operate the DVD player we’ve had for almost a decade. And since we discontinued satellite TV and began streaming everything through the Internet, if my tech guru isn’t home, I read a book.

Blessings

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

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

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