Published in the Rains County Leader on February 16, 2021:
Many opportunities to be grateful have presented themselves this week – a home that keeps us comfortable even in the worst weather, a full refrigerator and pantry so we don’t have to make a run to the store, and Internet service so we can keep in touch when church is cancelled, to name a few. One thing I’m particularly thankful for is warm water. With the temperature in the teens and twenties, cold water makes all the hand washing we do these days uncomfortable if not downright painful. Every time I turn on the water, I debate whether to be ecologically responsible by using the cold water or to be comfortable and wait for the warm water. I also think of a story I heard many years ago when I was selling insurance.
I entered the insurance business as an office manager, but I soon became a licensed solicitor and then a full-fledged agent. Maintaining an insurance license requires a certain amount of continuing education, and our company often supplied that in the form of seminars. The key note speaker at one of those meetings told a story from his childhood. I don’t remember the finer details of the story, but it made a lasting impression on me.
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 6, 2018:
Next Sunday is one of my least favorite days of the year – the first day of Daylight Savings Time. On that day, people in seventy countries around the world and the entire Continental United States with the exception of Arizona will begin doing everything an hour earlier so that we theoretically have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. The truth is that most of us will miss that “extra” hour because we will fall asleep with our faces in our dinner plates, exhausted from waking up before the crack of dawn. (more…)
Published in The Rains County Leader on February 20, 2018:
Newer readers may not be aware that several years ago I wrote a memoir about Alzheimer’s caregiving. It was structured around a seven-week, sixteen state motor home trip we took with my parents, both of who suffered from some kind of dementia. In one of the early chapters, I shared the difficulties of getting ready for the trip. Following is a paragraph about getting Mom and Dad’s clothes ready to go: (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 12, 2017:
Change is one of those things that few people are neutral about – they either thrive on the new and different or they cling to the old and familiar. I’m more of a clinger. I tend to buy the same brands when I shop, I avoid trendy fashions in favor of the classics, and I almost never rearrange my furniture. This week, however, I’ve had to adjust.
I mentioned last week that David’s sister has ordered a new sofa and is passing on the sofa and love seat that were originally in their mother’s house to us. Since we have no extra space in either the house or the storage shed, our existing sofa, chair, and recliner have to go. I took pictures of those pieces shortly after we returned from our Thanksgiving visit, but for some reason – probably my resistance to change – I didn’t follow through and post them on the Rains County On-Line Garage Sale. Last Friday, I finally got busy, and within four hours of my posting, the recliner was gone. Less than twenty-four hours later, the sofa and chair were sold, and by the time this column is published, they will be gone, too. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on October 17, 2017:
Celebrating Life, the title of this article, is an accurate description of how I spent this past weekend. In a period of forty-eight hours, I attended a gender reveal, a tenth birthday party, a wedding shower, and a memorial service. Each celebration was very different, but each one marked the importance of an event that most of us experience during our time on this earth.
The gender reveal was my first. I’ve seen pictures of them on Facebook had never attended one until Saturday. When I had my son, the gender reveal came in the delivery room when the doctor declared, “It’s a boy!” Medical advances have allowed earlier announcements, and the process has evolved.
This recent reveal was done at a family fish fry. During lunch, young cousins of some designation made the rounds, taking an opinion poll of the gender of the cousin-in-utero and applying Team Pink or Team Blue stickers as appropriate. I was on Team Pink, and David was on Team Blue in the gender reveal game, but in the game of life, we’re both on Team Brendle! (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 30, 2016:
I don’t do change very well. I don’t know if that’s a result of nature or nurture – in other words, I don’t know if I was simply born with a natural aversion to change or if I have developed that aversion because very little changed in my world when I was growing up.
Not that my childhood was boring, but it didn’t involve a lot of variation. When Mom placed furniture in a room, that’s where it stayed. Dinner meant one of a few familiar menus, and family vacations usually included a week in a cabin on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. That kind of lifestyle gives a solid sense of stability and security, but it doesn’t offer much opportunity to learn to deal with change. (more…)
My friendship with Sue is a sisters-in-arms story. As men become brothers in times of war, Sue and I became sisters on the battlefield of caregiving. We first met at our church in a small group that was studying finances from a Christian perspective. The group bonded well and decided to move on from finances to Rick Warren’s study called “The Purpose Driven Church.” During the course of the study, we were challenged to be open to new ministry or service opportunities in which we might become involved. One night I shared that I was considering starting a caregiver support group. Sue caught my eye from across the room and mouthed, I want to do this with you. That’s when our friendship really began. (more…)