Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Last Week Before My Birthday!

After being married for about 6 years, we had been attending Oakwood Christian Church and we moved to Oklahoma City to attend Midwest Christian College! I thoroughly enjoyed those 4 years. I loved working with college age young adults. We had 3 kids at the time and they really enjoyed living on campus, too. We made some great friends at MCC.

Our first ministry was in Columbus, Indiana. I loved Columbus! I loved the parsonage  we lived in! Best house ever!  We lived close to Brown County State Park and Nashville, Indiana. Some of my favorite places to visit. Jonathan is named after two of our very dear friends from Newhope Christian Church!

From Indiana we served a Church in Wichita. I met some of my best friends while living in Wichita.  Not all of them are still in Wichita but we keep in touch and I'm truly blessed by having them in my life. I'm really excited about moving there again and being able to spend time with  old friends and making new friends. While at Glenn Park Christian Church we met Errol and Carmen Bolt from Jamaica. Many of my best memories in ministry were made while hosting Errol in our home. Then we had the tremendous privilege of moving to Jamaica and working with him and his beautiful family at Pennwood Church of Christ. 

From Kingston, Jamaica our ministry took us to Beaver, Oklahoma and from there to Ringwood, OK. Here we worked with the most wonderful group of people at the First Presbyterian Church! Love those people!

Now here I am, getting ready to have my 58th birthday and changing my life completely  - except for the one constant that has been with me from the beginning of this roller coaster ride called life - 

My relationship with God. 

He has stood constant - even when I was a mess.

I am a truly blessed woman.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Birthday Month Week 3

My childhood was good! My high school years were good!  I got married  at 19 and we had 4 WONDERFUL children!

I counted up the other day and I've moved 17 times since I left home at the age of 18! I feel like I have moving down to a fine art! One of those times was to Jamaica and then back again. That was probably my most organized moved. I've thought of starting my own business - packing up people's houses!

Heather was born in Edmond, Holly and Tim were born in Enid and Jonathan was born in Wichita! What an exciting time it was with young children around! I thoroughly enjoyed being a stay at home Mom. I realize that it's hard in today's economy for Mom's to stay at home but I am so thankful that I was able to do that.

For many years I wanted to be a teacher but economics and other reason's kept me from becoming one. However, I have had the opportunity of teaching Bible Studies over the  years. - And am hoping to again in the near future.

I went to High School at Oklahoma Bible Academy and I attended Midwest Christian College - just taking a few classes. Mostly Mission classes and Family Ministry classes.

I had the opportunity to attend CLASS - Christian Leaders And Speakers Seminars by Florence Littauer while living in Wichita.

Then when we lived in Beaver, Oklahoma, I had the opportunity to take Precept on Precept Inductive Bible Study training with Kay Arthur.

Both have given me a thirst for learning more and gave me an even stronger love of teaching. 

We have always worked in the Independent Christian Church until moving back to Ringwood and here we pastored part time at the local Presbyterian Church. Now I attend Crossroads Fellowship in Wichita and I really enjoy my Sunday School Class and the Sunday morning worship. 

I've had such a good life. I can't think of anything I regret and I'm looking forward to many more good years in the future! I'm excited about this new chapter in my life. Getting married to Randy and making a home with him in Wichita. God has been so good to me and I am so thankful for all He has brought my way.

I try to live my life being
strong and courageous,
with dignity and grace,
and being kinder than necessary.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Unfrozen Water Pipes

You will happy to hear my pipes are now thawed out! I put a space heater by the pipes in the garage yesterday, that along with the warm temperatures :) thawed them out! This is just an update on my crazy life.

(ps to Debra, one time in the last 2 years I heard something and got scared. It's easy to do. I just put it out of my mind, made sure my doors were locked and have never let my mind go back to that place since....
Love you and even though our circumstances are different, in many ways they are the same. You are a wonderful strong woman and you will make it.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Frozen Pipes

I have done such a good job this winter leaving my water on for just a trickle. My water pump is in the garage and if the wind is blowing or it gets very cold the pipes freeze. It happened last year and I promised myself I would be more careful this winter. And I have been.

Until last night.... I came home, was doing things in the kitchen, you know just piddling as I have a tendency to do. So while piddling - I turned the water off.

Then I took such a luxurious bath. Had wonderful bubbles from Bath and Body works! The water was just the right temperature - and that isn't always easy at my house but that makes for another story.

I was so relaxed, cozy, toasty, and curled up on the couch with a soft old quilt to watch a TV show with Randy. - No, he wasn't here but we like to watch the same show and text back and forth. 

ANYWAY - was sleepy so went to bed early. DID NOT even think to turn the water back on to the trickle.... So----

Today my pipes are frozen.... 
I make myself so irritated...

Birthday Month # 4

Once my Mom married my Dad we moved out to "the farm". My Dad was and still is a wheat farmer. I loved the old farm house we lived in those first years.  Around the time I was 12, my Dad bought a house from Kenneth and Clara Mae Briley. The State was going to pave - what is now high-way 58 and they had to move their house to make way for the new high-way. Dad wrote them a check for the house after church one Sunday and we moved it out to the farm. My parent's still live in that house but it has been remodeled.

I spent my time reading and playing! My Aunt Linda the one that  is 5 years older than me, used to spend time at my house in the summers or I would spend time with her at my Grandma's house. She would often get mad at me because she would want to play and I would be reading! We would  sometimes play "Dairy Queen" through a window in the "wash room". One would ride the bike up to the window, the other would make a malt! I spent time playing school or church with all of my dolls and stuffed animals. I always enjoyed playing "pretend".

I had a dog named Friskee, numerous farm cats and a pig named Ricky Nelson! - Not kidding. I was crushed when we ate Ricky Nelson!

Probably my very favorite thing to do - and I did it until I was way too old to be doing it :) was to act out the books I read. The best one to act out was Head of the House by Grace Livingston Hill. Not the only one I acted out, but my favorite to act out!

When I was around 12, my parent's adopted my brother Raymond. He was 7 at the time and I am the first to admit, I wasn't a very good sister. I had been an only child and was spoiled. I appreciate him much more as an adult than I did as a child. When he came to live with us I  was only there for two years before I went to live in the dorm at OBA so I really never got to know him until we were both adults.

I went to grade school at Ringwood Public School - where I now work! And went to High School at Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno. I loved my high school years but will admit that grades weren't nearly as important to me as my very important social life! I loved drama and worked on the school newspaper and was editor of our yearbook. Was never good at sports but always supported my team!

I dated the same guy from 9th grade until the end of 11th grade. Then dated lots of guys my senior year. Just had a good time and enjoyed my friends immensely. 

My parents always took me to church from the time they married and that set a good foundation for my life. Attending OBA just made that foundation firmer and gave me memories to take with me throughout my life. In high school I always wanted to "grow up" and be a minister's wife or a missionary.

 I worked during the summers while I was in high school. I worked in the Ringwood Drug Store, I babysat for the Jantzen kids one summer and the next two summers I went to Beeches Beauty College in Enid.

That first summer of Beauty School my friend Cheryl Brown and I lived in a boarding house in Enid! What an interesting summer that was for both of us! She was taking a high school  English class at Enid High so she could graduate a year early. The women that owned the house were very strict (which was very good - even though I didn't think so at the time)!

Going to Beauty School was a very eye opening experience for this farm girl! My classmates were older - girls out of high school except for maybe 1 or 2 and they lived very "wild" lives! They smoked, drank and went out dancing!! What an education I got that summer! I'm sure they laughed about the wide eyed farm girl that was their new classmate!

I had a typical farm girl life except that I didn't have to help doing farm chores very much. I would help mom cook. As I reached "driving" age - and for farm kids in the 60's that was around 12 or 13, Dad did have me drive the tractor. May I explain that driving the tractor then was NOT like driving the tractor now! No cabs... PLUS my feet wouldn't reach the pedals so when I had to push on a pedal I couldn't set on the seat!

My growing up years were safe 
and I consider them very ordinary.

Monday, January 10, 2011

More of my Mom's story

Well, I told you the miraculous story of my Mom's recovery from the car accident in 1953. Next let me tell you about how she met my Dad. (this is really my step dad but I've always just known him as my Dad.)

I was three or four years old and  spoiled! My Mom and I lived in a small house in my Grandparent's yard. I had two uncles and two aunts that still lived at home with my Grandparent's. The youngest Aunt was only five years older than me so I had a playmate!

This is the story as it's been told to me all my life!

My Mom had been dating and one night she went to Enid with a friend of hers. - her friend brought her boyfriend. After skating for awhile the couple wanted to go to a movie. Mom said she didn't want to go because she would feel like a "fifth wheel". So the young man said, "I'm going to ask the next man that walks in that door [of the skating rink] if he will go to the movie with you."  My dad, Frank, was the next man to walk in the door! If you know my Dad at all, you know how shy he is and the fact that he went is almost more remarkable to me than my Mom's recovery from the car accident!!

I'm not sure how long they knew each other before they married but they got married in June of 1957. (I think it was 1957, I'm really not very good with dates.)

Over the years I've often asked WHY did you get married during June? It's usually wheat harvest on their anniversary! I tease Dad and say it must have been raining!

I love this story of my Dad and Mom!

So, tell me, how did you meet your spouse?

Friday, January 7, 2011

What's in a name?

This is the end of the first week of my birthday month. It has been  productive week! I've been able to start packing and I took 5 trash bags full of "stuff" to Community Care last evening! I've packed all of my tea pots, and several boxes of books.

Tuesday evening I took supper out to the farm to eat with my Mom and Dad. This is something we started doing several months ago and I really enjoy it. I have found that if I need to miss a Tuesday night "supper at the farm" they aren't very happy with me! 

After my parent's first met Randy, my Mom had a hard time remembering his name. She kept calling him Dan! It became a joke and now she just calls him any name that comes to mind and she always laughs when she says the name. Tuesday he was Jimmy. - I've told Randy not to feel bad, she often forgets the grand kids names, too!! but then again, I get them mixed up myself sometimes!

I'm not sure young parent's realize the importance of the names they bestow upon their children. There has been much research done on naming children. There are lists of baby names. Names that supposedly strengthen the national economy, names that make outstanding children and believe it or not - evil baby names! Children with certain names do better in school than others! I'm surprised all children aren't named those few "good" names!

I did a little research on my own and found out this information on the first name of Randy
  • creates a shrewd, aggressive, business nature, intent on personal gain.
  • The desires for independence and financial success have been strong motivating forces from early in his life
  • He is capable of logical and analytical thinking along practical business lines, and could excel in financial fields, law or politics
  • His judgment is seldom swayed through his feelings
  • this name creates the urge to be a leader and organizer.
Continuing in my research I discovered that this information on my first name Brenda:
  • it gives me a responsible, self-sufficient, and dependable nature.
  • if given the opportunity I will do well in business developing leadership, administrative and managing abilities. 
  • appreciates quality in all things, desires to be prosperous
  • does not like to relinquish control , doesn't readily accept advice :)
  • has a strong, determined nature and must be careful not to dominate or interfere in the lives of others in your desire to be helpful  (hope my kids don't comment on this one!!)  
  • this name makes me too forceful at times, limiting the natural feminine qualities of tenderness and tack
You can enter your name at this free website to get info on your name:

The Bible stresses the importance of names. Names are so important that God named many of the people - He told parents what names to use and many times changed names during their lives. Many names reflect faith, gratitude to God, and many have prophetic significance.

Then of course from Shakespeare's famous play Romeo and Juliet, 1600:
      'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
      Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
      What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
      Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
      Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
      What's in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;

      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.

What matters is what something is, not what it's called. 

So do names really matter? 
You are still you.
Or are you - you because of your name?

 Roses from Randy - or Dan - or Jimmy :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"There's a story there!" A Story About My Mom

I first published this in 2011. It's part of the story about my Mom and her amazing journey. This is why I am so blessed to still have my Mom with me.   

  I promised on my last blog that I would tell the story of my Mom, Ramona. The story of my mom has been told to me all my life. My Aunt Doris told me her memories, my Mom told me her memories and my Grandma Elsie told me her memories. In 1991 my Grandma wrote Mom's story down. Mom wrote a few notes on what she could remember. I am so thankful I have these written versions and I will try to put her story into my own words but before I do that, I think it's important for me to write Mom's notes exactly like she has written them down.

" Working - Western Light and Telephone - Medicine Lodge, Kansas
evening, Decoration Day weekend, May 30, 1953
car wreck north of Chester 2 miles Hiway
Moreland Hospital by) resurfacing road
dirt on edge
Got in touch with Mom & Dad, they came to Moreland that night.
Nylon dresses - washed out
glasses in car broke from heat @ Howards
plastic over head (tent) shaved fr. hair, back long
damaged brain
pneumonia to OKC from Moreland
never do anything again, walk talk
last rights by nuns
chairs and pillows for bed
after came home mama, nervous breakdown
Tom Simons helped oversee chores
Assembly of God prayed Virginia Carrawridge
Minnie Love
unconsous 52 days July 21-22
Dad worked for county
Broomcorn pullers
note The people that ran cafe in Chester were sitting out front of cafe as we went thro town. (on the west side of street)
Cliff & Violet Enterline
Brenda landed in soft shoulder
I hit pavement"

The end of my Mom's notes.

     I was born in Medicine Lodge, Kansas on January 31st, 1953. My mom and dad were Leland and Ramona (Turner) Louthan. They were both young. My mom was 16 when I was born and turned 17 in April. I believe leland was about 21 or so.
     In May of 1953, on Memorial Day weekend, we came to Oklahoma to visit family. Leland's family lived in the rural area around Chester, Oklahoma and Mom's family didn't live far from Chester - about 8 miles. 
     We spent Saturday night at Grandma and Grandpa Turner's and Sunday we went to Louthan's. We left their house after dark. Some say it was raining, others don't remember. When we got to "that bend in the road 1 1/2 mile north of Chester", Leland said he met a car with bright lights that never dimmed and he pulled too far  off the road and hit the soft shoulder. The car started rolling, the door on the passenger side came open and I was asleep beside Mom on the front seat.  When the door came open I slid out on the ground and my mom was thrown through the windshield and hit several yards away on a hillside. (Grandma says hillside in her notes but I've always been told she landed on the pavement) She landed  on her jaw. The car stopped rolling where my Mom landed. Leland "rode the car thru" and didn't get hurt. I landed on the soft shoulder and didn't get hurt.
     My Mom was unconscious. She broke both of her jaws. At Moreland, they put her in traction and had her on her back because they thought her neck was broken. This hospital wasn't equipped to handle such an emergency so they took Mom to Oklahoma City to St Anthony's in an ambulance as fast as they could take her. When they reached Watonga some police on motor cycles escorted the ambulance the rest of the way to St. Anthony's. 
     Once there the Doctor looked Mom over and said he didn't give her a chance.  On the trip from Moreland to St. Anthony's she got pneumonia.
     At this point my Mom had not regained consciousness.  While in the hospital she had 2 brain surgery's.  They never covered the holes in her skull with metal - or anything else and her skull never grew over the holes. To this day, you can feel the holes in her skull. This always fascinated me as a child! 
     They never set her jaws because they said she wouldn't be able to stand the anesthesia. (not sure how they did the brain surgeries) After a few weeks they finally put rubber bands and elasticized her jaws together as best they could. 
     Irene (Leland's Mom) went home after a few days to take care of me. My Mom was unconscious for 52 days.  I've been told she was in hospital for 6 months but that's not in my Grandma's notes.
        Grandma Elsie stayed in Oklahoma City much of the time my Mom was there.  I've been told my Grandma stayed there the whole time but she didn't say that in her notes either. The Doctor told them that my Mom wouldn't live and if she did she would be a vegetable.
      This was just too much pressure for my biological father. He asked for a divorce. 
       My Mom defied all odds. Grandma and family helped her relearn everything. As you read in my Mom's notes, she had to learn how to talk and how to walk. It was a long road but she persevered and recovered.
       I had stayed with my Louthan Grandparents all this time my Mom was in hospital. Once she came back home and Leland insisted on the divorce - the story as I've been told goes like this - my Grandma Elsie went over to Louthan's -  walked out to the clothes line and got all my diapers off the line, then walked into the house picked me up out of my bassinet and took me home with her.  However Grandma's notes remember things a bit differently and I added those at the end of this blog.
      I don't remember ever seeing the Louthan's again until I was a freshman in high school. I didn't see Leland until I was 25 years old. It was one of the most emotional , traumatic days of my life. I will never forget how I felt that day.
     BUT - I am so proud of my Mom. She has had such a productive life. Here's a picture of her and my step dad. And that is another story for another blog!!!
My Mom and Dad
taken for their 50th wedding anniversary

(my Grandma gave me 6 pages of handwritten notes. Which includes interesting details about the hospital and other things that happened. I condensed the story for the blog. However, in her notes she says she didn't pick me up at Louthan's. She remembered that she had gone to Chester to take Mom her birthday present. ( apparently Mom was staying with Louthan's)
(and yes this was a year later and mom was still recovering) Irene told Grandma that Leland did want the divorce. Grandma was in Chester doing laundry and her sister Nettie stopped by to tell her she was going to Seiling and was going to stop at Louthan's and take Mom with her to town. Grandma told her not to take my Mom without taking me. So Nettie picked us up and took us to town - then to Grandma's. In the meantime Grandma went to Irene's walked out to the clothesline and took all my diapers of the line and left.)



January: birthday month

Flower that symbolizes being born in the month of January.

The Snowdrop isn't nearly as well known or heard of as the Carnation, but it symbolizes being born in the month of January.  A fun fact about the Snowdrop is that in 1983 it was suggested that the magical herb "moly" from Homer's Odyssey is really a snowdrop. Galantamine  which is an active substance in a Snowdrop could act as an antidote to poison. Today galantamine is used to help treat patients with Alzheimer's disease.

January is my birth month. This year I will be 58. Sometimes I think "you gotta be kidding me..." I can't be that old! Other times I feel every day of my 58 years! I remember when I turned 50 my mom said "how old are you?" When I told her 50 she said, "Oh, you can't be that old, I'm barely that age myself!"

I'm going to spend my birthday month by telling the story of my life. hee hee. Promise it won't be that long and I'll just hit the high lights! But really my story begins with my mom.  As Truvy says in Steel Magnolia's "There's a story there."

But my lunch hour is over! So I will start it tonight!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reverb10: Day 31

December 31 Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? 

I was raised on a farm in the 50's and 60's. My family didn't think education for girls was necessary. The goal of all girls should be to grow up, marry as soon as possible out of high school, have children and exist as a wife and mother. I did that. I married at 19 and by the time I was 32 had 4 children. (only because Jonathan was born after the others were 12, 10 and 8.)  :)

We went into full time ministry in 1978. So my core became surviving as a young mother, a wife and a Minister's wife. - Being a wife and a minister's wife  were two different personalities for me for a few years until I became  more mature as a Christian and realized that my priorities had been skewed.  Then my core changed into a better list of priorities, a Christian first -  learning to put God first, my husband second and children next.
I didn't always accomplish that list of priorities and often failed. As most mom's of youngsters, I discovered because of their needs, the children often fall first on this list. As they are more independent the list gets back into correct order.

Then my life took a very strange turn. When I became divorced, not only did I lose my husband, I lost my minister and I lost my church. (the church only because it was very small and the wonderful people were all older and we decided to close its doors.) Losing all of this was a huge blow. I had adjusted to the realization that my marriage was over but not until it ended did the realization of losing my minister and my church hit me. These were very sad, very complicated times for me.   

So in  50 - some years of life, I had never discovered my core. I was always doing for others and filling a role that had been handed to me or that I had taken up.  Working in different churches, working in Jamaica, being a mom, being a wife - all were very full filling for me however, I had to slow down, reevaluate and spend much -  much time with God to discover my true core.

I realized that I am a woman with much courage and great strength. This is a gift from God. It's a gift I asked for and God gave it to me. 

I am  a woman that can  have dignity and grace in all circumstances. This is not always easy. This is a gift from God. I sincerely asked to be able to have dignity and grace through all things that were being thrown at me and God gave it to me.

I realized that kindness shown is much more important than being right. It's much more important than being busy.  I've made "be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"  my badge. I learned how important kindness is during my years of trying to save my marriage, during my divorce and since then.

My core story, my central story starts with the farm. It has many chapters. In the current chapter it is about a woman that has had a very interesting life. A woman that has gone through a fire but  only became stronger because of it and it gave her more courage. It taught her how to have dignity and grace and how to be kind. That is the chapter my central story is on today, the end of 2010.