family time

The Lord blessed us with a beautiful baby girl 36 years ago today; our first child, Jessica Ann.  She took her time about getting here, but once she decided she made a QUICK entrance with my labor beginning at 6 a.m. and her birth being timed at a little after 9 a.m.  I was not at the hospital very long when she was born.  A little too close for comfort for the first time!  But, I am so glad the Lord blessed me with easy labors and deliveries for all 4 of our children.

2 days old and 4 days old with her handsome and young daddy

Our lives have never been the same.  I am so thankful the Lord allowed me the privilege of being a mother!  It’s an even greater privilege to be a grandmother and have the opportunity to be an influence in their lives.  Our children enjoyed so much being able to spend time at my mom and dad’s house during the summer.  I glad they had an influence in their young lives!  I want to be a godly influence in the lives of my grandchildren, too!

We had our yearly Christmas get-together this weekend, beginning on Thursday evening.  I work so hard getting ready that I am totally exhausted by the time everyone leaves again.  But, it is so worth it to have the family time since we are so scattered out and don’t get to visit too often.

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Jessica and her beautiful family:  From left to right, Terry holding Araya, Thad, Chance, Michael and Jessica.

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Michael with his beautiful family:  Wife, Jessica and daughter, Kara.

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Elisabeth and her beautiful family:  From left to right, Brad, Ryan, Hannah, Abby and Elisabeth.

Unfortunately, Nathanael could not make it with his wife, Cheryl and daughter, Adalina.

This song came to mind while writing this post.  It is the closing song from the Carol Burnette show:

I’m so glad we had this time together

Just to have a laugh or sing a song

Seems we just get started

and before you know it

Comes the time we have to say, “So long.”

I am thankful to the Lord for every minutes he gives us together!

it’s a new year

So, we did it.  We were blessed to live through another year.  As promised, the Lord did not leave us, nor forsake us, as He first promised Joshua in Joshua 1:5.  This is a promise ALL believers can count on!  Thank You, Lord!

I’m not one to make “resolutions” as I NEVER seem to keep them, anyway!  But, really, the Christian has God’s mercies “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22, 23).  And when we confess our sins to Him, we are “resolving” to do better than we have in the past.  And that is a lot of what New Year’s Resolutions are about.  Making ourselves better in some way, shape or form.

Making a resolution to keep to something for a whole year is kind of overwhelming to me.  I do better on a daily basis, committing each and every day to the Lord.  It’s OK to make plans as long as we remember Who is ultimately in charge of what happens to us and what our path way through the year will be.  As long as we are seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, He will take care of the details of our lives.

Here’s praying that the LORD has many mercies and blessings in store for you in 2016!

but God…..

1978
Tim was really growing spiritually. Looking back, I know my comment about not wanting to be a preacher’s wife weighed heavily on him, and even though the Lord was “still” dealing with him about surrendering to full time ministry, he never mentioned it to me or discussed it with me. It makes me sad to think about it. It makes me sad that I was not willing to live as a bold Christian.  BUT, I’m glad God didn’t give up on me or stop dealing with Tim because I was an immature, selfish, uncommitted Christian.

One Sunday morning on the way to church, Tim told me that he felt like the Lord was calling him to preach and that he was going to publicly make it known. I was ashamed that I was so backslidden that I didn’t even know that God was dealing with him. I turned my face to the window and cried silently and asked God to forgive me. I asked Him to help me be willing to be a pastor’s wife. He changed my heart right then and there! I realized that there was nothing else for me to do! Doing anything to hinder Tim’s decision was no longer an option! I would follow Tim and support him no matter where the Lord sent us!

That was 37 1/2 years ago.  I have not regretted one minute of our time in ministry!  I am so glad for God’s patience toward me.  I can’t think of any other place I would rather be than serving the Lord in one of His churches!  Have their been challenges?  Of course!  We are human and we serve humanity!  But the blessings and rewards far out weigh the challenges!

I’m looking forward to growing old with Tim as we work together for the Lord!

unwilling,

1966 was a spiritual turning point for our family. Under Bro. Ginn’s ministry at the Big Bone Baptist church, we learned about some of the deep doctrines (teachings) found in the Word of God. Doctrines like the total depravity of man, the unconditional election of God, the limited atonement of Christ, the irresistible grace of God, the perseverance of the saints (these 5 known as the doctrines of God’s grace), the Trinity, the omniscience of God, the omnipresence of God, the omnipotence of God, the sovereignty of God, salvation, hell……….and I could go on and on and on.

In 1975, “all hell broke loose” at the church. I don’t even know all of the details and don’t care to know them. What I do know is that Bro. Ginn ended up having to resign. Several members, including my family, left with Bro. Ginn and became members of the First Baptist Church of Harrison, Ohio, desiring to be sent out as a mission church in Florence, KY.

The following details came from the history of the Grace Baptist Church in Florence, KY’s web site here: http://gracebaptistflorence.org/our-history/

“In March 1975 a group of members from the Big Bone Baptist Church of Union Kentucky joined the First Baptist Church (of Harrison, OH) and asked to be a mission until such time that they saw fit to organize. Their first meeting was in the home of Marvin and Margaret Howard on Skyline Drive or March 31, 1975. In the fall of that year they bought a house on Mt. Zion Road in Florence, Kentucky. This work was organized on January 10, 1976 with 42 charter members. They called Robert Ginn who had been their mission pastor to be pastor of the Grace Baptist Church. A new building joining the old was constructed and started having services in it on August 3, 1980.

Bro. Ginn remained as pastor until December 31, 1991 when his resigned to retire.”

So, let me backtrack a bit.

I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point we moved from the farm house on Big Bone Road in Union, KY into another farm house on Long Branch Road in Union, KY. This house belonged to one of the families who were members at the Big Bone Baptist Church.

The house had no running water and no indoor toilet. But, as a kid, I loved the house! There were some GREAT climbing-trees around the house and I would climb one in particular ALL the time…..as high as I could! There was a barn and there were cattle in the field that belonged to the owners. We used to walk the fields, go through some woods to get to the house of the owners. They had a girl there that was my age.

We used to spend time in the creek below the house when it was hot. My sister, Kim, ended up with a crawdad in her shirt pinching her one day! I don’t imagine that kept us from going back, however! We would also go down and slide on the frozen-up creek in the winter.

One year, while we were waiting at the bottom of the driveway for the school bus, my brother, Joey had his coat up over his head and walked off the side of the bridge over the creek! He broke his right patella (knee cap) in half and had to have stitches in his head!

One time, Kim was in the pasture with the cows, down on all fours, mooing at the cows. Unbeknownst to her, further out in the field, a bull was pawing the ground and getting ready to charge her with his head down. Fortunately, mom was around and saw what was happening and ordered her out of the field!

One day, Joey and I were running through the house, which we were not supposed to be doing. He had done who-knows-what to me and I was in hot pursuit of him. He ran through mom and dad’s bedroom, which had a door on either side of the bed. As he ran in one door and out the other, I rounded their 4-poster bed and one of the posts at the foot of the bed broke off in my hand! Mom “let dad handle” the situation when he came home from work! I just knew I was going to get the belt used on me! However, it was worse than that! He made me lay across my bed and he whacked me a couple of times with the bed post! YIKES! I don’t remember that it hurt so much, but that I was humiliated! I’m sure that would be considered child abuse now! 😀 But, I learned a lesson! 😀 I do remember that he hated doing it as he gave me a kiss good night and sent me to bed, I could see tears beginning in his eyes and his lips quiver! WOW! It probably hurt him worse than it did me! Actually, I’m sure of it, now that I’m a parent!

I had a white, long-haired Spitz dog that was stolen while we lived there. I had Snowball ever since she was a pup and I was maybe a year old! Everyone that saw her wanted her. She was either stolen, or she wandered off to die somewhere.

1969
I believe we moved from the farm house on Long Branch to a ranch home at 859 River Road, Hebron, KY in 1969 where I began the 9th grade in Conner Junior High School. It may have been that I started in the 8th grade, but I don’t remember for certain. It’s neither here nor there.

1970
I never was in with the popular crowd at school. I did OK in school, grade-wise. I could have done better, I know, but I was not disciplined in studying. I would cram for exams. I don’t remember mom and dad ever talking to me about my grades. The only thing I remember is that we got a certain amount of money depending on what our grades were on the report card.

This was the year that Tim and his family moved into our neighborhood, about a quarter of a mile up the road. He had 3 siblings and we are all pretty close in age. Tim is almost a year older than me. My brother is in between Tim’s 2nd and 3rd siblings, which are both boys. My sister is 11 months older than Tim’s baby sister.

I’ll never forget the first time Tim got on the bus. He walked to the back of the bus (which is where I usually sat) and sat in the seat next to me. Well, when I got off the bus after him Mrs. Roark (the bus driver) asked me if I had a new boyfriend! I told her in no uncertain terms that Tim was NOT my boyfriend, and furthermore, he “stank!” I have NO idea where that came from, except that I had my eyes on one of the other guys on the bus and wanted to make sure my feelings for Tim were made clear to him. Like I would EVER have a chance at being HIS girlfriend! ALL the girls were head over heels for him!

Before long, Tim and his siblings would come to the house to play softball with us and the neighbor kid. We would also play football, LOL! Eventually, I started taking notice of Tim!

It took a while, but on March 13, 1971 Tim and I became an item! 😀 We were inseparable! He would come down and we would do homework together. I always tried to get in his classes, at least the ones I could handle, LOL, which did NOT include Chemistry, Calculus or German! 😀 We would meet under the steps in between classes. NOW we sat together EVERYWHERE we could, including on the bus! We walked up and down River Road with a short-wave radio in one hand and holding hands with him.

We broke up once for a short time when I thought I liked someone else! How dumb I was! It didn’t take me long to realize what I was missing! We got back together, much to his mother’s dismay, since I had been the one to hurt her son. When Tim mentioned at the dinner table one night that I wanted to go back together with him, his mother said, “over my dead body!” After all these years of marriage to her son, I can honestly say that she does NOT still feel that way towards me! She KNOWS how much I love her son! I’m glad she has forgiven my teenage fickleness! But, more importantly, I’m so glad Tim forgave me!

June 3, 1973
High School Graduation from Conner Senior High School. In the fall, Tim headed off to college at the University of Louisville. I went to work. I would send money every couple of weeks so he could ride a greyhound bus back to see me! I would go to the bus terminal in Covington, KY to pick him up in my 1969 white Corvair that dad bought for me after high school. We would always eat at the Skyline in Covington.

There was no question in my mind of IF we would get married. The question for me was WHEN! Before Tim came into the picture, I was considering being an elementary school teacher. But, I gave that thought up and replaced it with wanting to get married and starting a family with Tim. As the years rolled on and he was away at college, I began to think it wasn’t going to happen!

Christmas 1975 changed all of those thoughts when Tim gave me a pre-engagement ring for Christmas! I was beside myself with joy! My parents, on the other hand, even though they liked Tim, did not want me being “unequally yoked” with a lost boy. So, they were not overjoyed with my engagement.

unwilling,
It is sad to say, but I never talked to Tim or asked him if he knew where he would go when he died. I was not growing in my Christian walk. I also knew that our pastor, Bro. Ginn, would not marry us. At some point during Tim’s time at U of L, he had asked me what I would think of him transferring to the Louisville Theological Seminary. In my rebellion and Christian immaturity, I told him that I did NOT want to be a preacher’s wife! WOW! How bold I was! How stupid I was! Looking back, I’m sure God just laughed!

Tim didn’t mention seminary again. He also did not mention to me that he had asked God to save him one night in 1972 as he walked back home from my house. I know I did not have much influence in his decision as I was living totally for myself, not God.

I don’t know whether I was getting flack from mom and dad about marrying Tim or not, but I finally talked with Tim during one of our many long-distance conversations while he was at U of L. I asked him if he was saved. He told me he was. I asked him where we would go to church once we were married. He said we would go to my church, Grace Baptist Church. I was satisfied, but mom and dad were doubtful.

May 8, 1976
Tim ended the year at U of L on May 7th and we got married by the justice of the peace the next day in our apartment that I had moved into in April. He kept his word to me and we went to Grace on Sunday and headed out on our honeymoon on Monday.

At some point, he made a profession of faith and was baptized. He became the church treasurer and we taught the kids in SS class. He finished up his Accounting degree at Northern KY University.

 

was…..

…..is a word about the past.  That is the topic for today’s post…..my past.  I’m not a person who “dwells” in the past really, but while I still have some of my faculties about me, I will try to recall as many events of my past as I can.  I don’t think there is much in my past that will be earth-shattering to anyone reading this, but it might be of some interest to my children, at best!  😀  Some of this will be information that I have learned over the years from my parents, especially from my earlier years.

1955 – 1960 Siblings

I really have no recollection of the time between October 8, 1955 (my birth date) to the birth date of my brother, Joseph William, on April 8, 1957.  That made us 18 months apart to the day.  At some point we moved to a house on Mud Pike Road in Osgood, Indiana.  On February 3, 1960 our baby sister, Kimberly Kay, was born.  I started 1st grade in the fall…..Kindergarten was not required then as it is now.  I vaguely remember a very old school building with a huge metal cylinder on the side of the school being the fire escape.

1964 – 1965 California here we come!

I was attending another school the year of 1963-64.  That may have been the year we sold our house to Bill and Thelma Lay and moved into a house that was shaped like a barn and was pretty close to some railroad tracks.  I have no recollection of where this house was and that must have been the reason for my changing schools.

Dad was stationed in California during his Army days and he decided that we would take a 2-week vacation during school’s spring break in 1964 and head to California.  The plan was that if he found a job we would stay.  The Thursday before we were going to come back on Saturday, he found a job at a gas station.  We lived in 3 different places in the 10 months we lived in California!  I finished out my 3rd grade, began the 4th grade and we moved back to Indiana where I finished the 4th grade at an elementary school in College Corner, Indiana.

We lived in the big farm house with dad’s sisters for awhile til we found a house to rent in College Corner.  I do not have any idea what type of work dad did when we came back to Indiana.  I do remember that we moved from College Corner to Liberty, Indiana where dad worked on a farm and part of the deal was living in the big farm house.  I have no recollection of school for the beginning of the 5th grade.  I recall the owner of the farm was awful to work for and dad was very stressed to the point of losing weight.

1966 – “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

The major turning point in our lives was when we began attending a Baptist church in College Corner, after we came back to Indiana, that my Aunts attended.  Eventually, mom and dad and I made professions of faith as we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior.  Dad applied for and got a job hauling freight with Emery Air Freight out of the Greater Cincinnati Airport which was located in Northern Kentucky.  We were all 3 baptized in a church in Dartown, Ohio and then Dad moved the family to a house in Union, Kentucky in January of 1966.  That meant another school to finish out the year in…..a very small country school where there were 2 grades in one room.

One of the greatest things that happened to us was when Brother Robert T. Ginn knocked on our door, welcomed us to the neighborhood and invited us to attend his church, the Big Bone Baptist Church.  What a blessing this man and his family was and has been down through the years!  We learned about the doctrines of Grace and the sovereignty of God from him.  Eventually, Tim would surrender to the ministry under Brother Ginn’s ministry.  But, I think this is a good place to stop for now.  The details from this time in my life to the present are numerous and filled to overflowing with the blessing of God, along with many trials!

Until next time!

she…..

I thought I would begin my story with the first word of my 5-word autobiography, “she.” This “she” is me! “Who are you?” you may be asking. Well, I’m so glad you asked, because that is what I am going to begin telling you today.  I don’t plan to give you the whole shebang today, however!

My maiden name is Vicky Lynn Brandenburg. I was born in a very small hospital in Milan, Indiana on October 8, 1955. My parents were Alice Winniebee Ryker Brandenburg and Joseph Leroy Brandenburg of Osgood, Indiana.

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Brandenburg

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Brandenburg

Mom and dad had a quick romance of 3 months before tying the knot on December 20, 1954 (2 days after my future husband was born).

Side note:  It wasn’t until my early teen years that I found out that mom had been married once before to an abusive man, whom she divorced.  I have no other knowledge of him.  Probably just as well!  He really has no part in my history other than this little bit of being married to my mother for a very short time.

dad, mom and me at 1 month and 22 days old

dad, mom and me at 1 month and 22 days old

I was born 9 months and 18 days later!   This is one of the earliest pictures of me that I have, taken on November 30, 1955.  If I had to guess, I would say the picture was probably taken by mom and dad’s good friend, Marie Schmaltz.  Her husband (his name escapes me at the moment) was dad’s boss and owned a gas station in Osgood.  Dad pumped gas and did mechanic work there.

 

So, there you have it.  The first bit of history of “she.”  That would be ME!

she was unwilling, but God…..

she was unwilling, but God.....

she was unwilling, but God…..

Do you have an autobiography? Here is the one God gave to me today…..

“She (meaning me) was unwilling, but God………”

This is my 5-word autobiography. There is a story behind this, which is what an autobiography is all about, right? (I’ll save that part of my story for later!) No matter who you are, you have an autobiography. Think about it and leave a comment! I’d love to read YOUR autobiography!

I get an artist’s newsletter from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, via e-mail. She is the one that stirred these thoughts in my soul this morning. God truly works in mysterious ways! It inspired me to create this blog. I hope and pray it is a blessing to all who may happen by to read.

You can read the post by Julie that stirred me into action today, here: http://balzerdesigns.typepad.com/balzer_designs/2013/08/art-journal-every-day-the-7-word-autobiography.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=handmadeart

 

Photo Credits:

“Carefree – Color Play 12” bundle by Cilenia Curtis at Scrap Art Studio found here:  http://www.scrapartstudio.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=127_128&products_id=1875

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