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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Sunday – past and present | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2022:

Sundays have changed a lot since I was a kid, in fact, weekends in general were a lot different. Saturdays were sleep late days, but not very late. During the week Mom woke me up while it was still dark so she could fix my hair and make sure I was presentable before she left to catch the bus to work at 6:30. On Saturdays she let me sleep a little later, but I usually woke up on my own when the smells of coffee and bacon made their way into my room.

After breakfast, it was housecleaning time. My job was cleaning bathrooms and dusting while Dad did the floors and Mom did the laundry and cleaned the kitchen – and her kitchen was always spotless except when I cooked. After lunch, Dad would move to his outdoor chores and Mom and I would go shopping. There were a few interesting stores in downtown Mesquite, but after the Big Town Mall opened in 1959, that was our usual destination. After a quick tour of the bargain racks, and maybe a stop at the candy counter in Woolworth’s for a small bag of cashews or chocolate candy, we’d move on to Minyard’s, the only grocery store in town besides Anderson’s Market. We always finished our rounds well before dinner time because everything but the convenience stores closed at 6:00 pm on Saturday and didn’t reopen until Monday morning.

Saturday evening was dedicated to getting ready for Sunday. I had long, thick hair – and this was before home hair dryers – so the first task was to wash my hair and roll it up in pin curls or brush rollers. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very comfortably on Saturday nights, and I had to get up early on Sunday so I could stand in front of the heater if my hair wasn’t dry. Sunday clothes were also checked to be sure everything was clean and neatly pressed, and shoes were shined. Mom probably did some preparation for Sunday dinner, but I don’t remember that part. By then I was probably reading – first my Sunday School lesson so I could check that box on my offering envelope and then whatever library book I was reading at the time.

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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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Daddy’s Legacy

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Today is the 100th anniversary of Elmer Loyd Robinson’s birth. In honor of the occasion, I’m reposting the first blog post I wrote on July 20, 2011.

Daddy was a simple man. I don’t mean that he wasn’t smart. Quite the opposite. He was valedictorian of his high school graduating class, and he was great at helping me with my homework. He could figure out how to fix or build anything. When he worked for the Post Office, he could quote the manual verbatim and knew where every Texas town was located, no matter how small. But his needs and wants were simple, and he sometimes didn’t understand the complexities of the modern world. He didn’t leave behind a collection of awards and trophies or a big estate, but he left behind a legacy of peace and love that will live for a long time.

Daddy was hard to buy for because he didn’t need much to be happy. If he had a pair of shoes for work and another for Sunday, he didn’t see the need of another pair for his birthday. He didn’t understand why Givenchy for Men was better than Aqua Velva or Old Spice, and the stylish shirts and sweaters he received for Christmas or Father’s Day hung in the back of his closet while he wore his favorite button-up plaid shirts. He played golf with a set of used clubs, and he docked his used fishing boat at a dock he built with his own hands. The most excited I ever saw him about a gift was Christmas of 1957. We had a brand new Plymouth, maybe the first new car he ever owned. In those days, outside rear-view mirrors were an accessory, and one on each side was a real luxury. That year Jim and I pooled our money and bought Daddy a matching pair of chrome rear-view mirrors. He opened the present with a half-smile that said, Oh, goody, another pair of shoes, but when he saw the glitter of chrome, he broke into a real smile. When he saw the second mirror, he absolutely beamed.

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We Will Still Trust Him | by Linda Brendle

Last night as I lay in bed trying to sleep, my mind was anything but peaceful. The recent news of Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida, and school and business closings for deep cleaning due to COVID along with more new prayer requests for loved ones who are suffering from serious illnesses had my thoughts spinning like a hamster on a wheel. I finally fell asleep quoting Psalm 23 to myself.

This morning during my quiet time, I picked up 31 Days of Prayer by Warren & Ruth Myers. As often happens, the prayer for today was just what I needed. One paragraph read:

“Day by day, may I rest my faith in Your tender love and Your infinite wisdom – Your deep, unsearchable wisdom. With quiet faith I trust You for health and healing, confident and expectant. But keep me from demanding, from clenching my fingers around what I think is best for myself and others. May I honor You by affirming, ‘Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, and He will deliver us. But even if He does not, we will still trust Him.’”

The quote is a paraphrase of Daniel 3:17-18 before the king threw three young men into the fiery furnace because they refused to worship the idol he had made. May God grant you that kind of faith today regardless of what kind of furnace you may be facing.

Blessings,

Linda

Kids in Church | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 10, 2021:

There was a time when children were to be “seen and not heard,” especially in church. The only thing I was allowed to do in church other than sit quietly and listen was lean against one of my parents and take a nap. Since I have always been able to drop off to sleep any time I get still, that was never a problem for me.

When Christian was born, we attended a large church in Dallas that had Sunday School for children only. The classes were during the worship service, so I didn’t have to worry about his behavior for the first few years of his life. By the time he was around four, we were living in Garland and began attending a smaller church. A Children’s Church might have been available, but I was a bit over-protective, so I kept him with me.

He was no trouble. First, he knew what was expected of him and second, he was easily entertained. I carried a plastic bag of cereal – non-crunchy if possible – and a special notebook that was saved for Sunday only. Christian was an early reader, and he enjoyed the children’s puzzle section from the Sunday comics. I cut them out, pasted them into the notebook, and gave it to him when he got wiggly.

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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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Texas First Lady to host week of prayer to end human trafficking

A recent article from the Hill Country Journal:

Texas First Lady to host week of prayer to end human trafficking

Austin – Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott today announced the “Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation” initiative will host a statewide interfaith “Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking” on Jan. 11-17.

The week of prayer coincides with Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the state of Texas and serves as a call to action to the faith-based community to unite in prayer, learn more about human trafficking, and discern opportunities to prevent exploitation and support survivors.

GRACE will launch the Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking through a virtual interfaith event on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. on Facebook. The event will include remarks from state officials, prayer, and a panel discussion of faith leaders and members of the Office of the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team.

“The Governor’s GRACE Initiative is working closely with communities of faith all across Texas to help prevent human trafficking an bring hope an healing to survivors – and the Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking is an important part of our efforts,” said First Lady Cecilia Abbott. “I urge Texans of all faiths across the state to join us in prayer and action so that we can put an end to human trafficking once and for all.”

GRACE is a collaboration between the Office of the Texas First Lady, CSTT, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), and a diverse group of faith leaders across Texas that work together to develop effective strategies to end human trafficking. The initiative launched in December 2019.

Daily Prayer Intentions for the Week of Prayer include:

Monday, Jan. 11 – Pray for an end to human trafficking;

Tuesday, Jan 12 – Pray for survivors to find healing;

Wednesday, Jan. 13 – Pray for all those working on the front line to support survivors;

Thursday, Jan. 14 – Pray for all those working to bring traffickers and exploiters to justice;

Friday, Jan 15 – Pray for an end to demand and societal factors that lead to exploitation;

Saturday, Jan. 16 – Pray for discernment on the actions you can personally take to address human trafficking.

Texans can use the hashtag #TXPraysToEndHT on social media to share their support for the Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking. To coincide with the announcement, the First Lady released a video encouraging Texans to participate in the Week of Prayer.

Blessings,

Linda

A Lone Indian Paintbrush and Paul McMerrell | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 17, 2020:

David and I visited with our dog friend Spike this weekend while his people took a break from raising cattle. Spike was unusually subdued, maybe feeling the pressure of 2020 like the rest of us. More likely, though, his calm attitude is because of the strict restraints he’s under to keep him from chasing several new calves. Instead of having the run of the ranch, he stays in the barn, the house, or tethered on the patio, and he walks on a leash. He’s a country dog living a city life, but he doesn’t seem to mind as long as there are plenty of treats and an occasional session of petting.

Sunday morning I woke up a little before 6:00 am. I thought I might catch a few more winks, but I must have stirred around too much because Spike appeared at the bedroom door and did his I-need-to-go-out dance. I knew more sleep was probably out of the question, so I dressed and took him for a quick turn around the yard. He did his duty and we came back inside for a treat and a cup of coffee – his treat and my coffee. He had his breakfast while I had my quiet time, and once the sun was up enough to take the chill off the air, we took another walk to the gate and back, about a quarter of a mile round trip. He ambled along at my pace, sniffed a few bushes, and barked at a passing car. On the return trip I noticed a splash of color in the grass between the gravel driveway and the fence. It was a single Indian Paintbrush waving happily in the breeze, unaware that it was completely alone and out of season. It was a hopeful sight, a promise of Spring in the midst of bare branches and fallen leaves.

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God’s Choir | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Community Chronicle in the June, 2020 edition and the Rains County Leader on June 23, 2020:

Porch gliderLast year, our front porch began to list to the southeast. Investigation showed that the support post on that corner was rotting away. We discussed our options with a local handyman, and several months and several thousand dollars later, we had a beautiful covered porch furnished with an indoor/outdoor rug, two padded rocking chairs and a comfy glider for two. We have spent many happy hours on our new addition, especially during this time of social distancing when God has blessed us with a lot of porch-sitting weather.

One morning, I was rocking and reading when I was distracted by a birdsong I didn’t Birdsongrecognize. It sounded like someone had pressed a key on a synthesizer and held it for a couple of seconds. The song continued for a minute or two with brief breaks between notes, but I was never able to find the singer. While I was looking for him, I noticed another bird singing what could have been a riff from a doo-wop song. I closed my book for a while and just listened, and I heard more birdsongs than I could count. (more…)

Living in Fear, Part 2 | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on May 12, 2020:

RIPHas anyone ever asked you if you’re afraid of death? I think all of us have dealt with that question at some time in our lives, even if it was only in our own minds. My stock answer has been, “I’m not afraid of dying, but I don’t look forward to the process.” Twice in my life I’ve had a chance to test the validity of that answer, and I’d say it pretty much passed the test.

The first incident happened about fifteen years ago while we were living in Florida. I woke up around 4:00 am feeling really odd. There was no pain, but I felt as if someone was doing a very uncoordinated tap dance in my chest. David was dabbling in currency trading at that time and often rose very early to check the foreign exchanges before they closed. I lay in the darkness for a while, taking a mental inventory of symptoms and feelings, and finally went into the office. (more…)

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