Had It Not Been You

Why do girls get to preface friends with girl? Guys don't go around calling their friends boyfriends. I like that we can.

And I don't know why or if a 57 year old woman, sister, mom, mom-in-law and grandma, needs to still specify; she's my best friend.

But she is THE best friend I could ask for. And I'd give anything to have a drink with her on my porch this evening.

Happy birthday, Kate!

And then there's July 30, 1977. We've been together since way back when ... and I made this video way back then, too!

Holy 36th Anniversary Brannman1.

I love you and wouldn't want to be on this roller coaster with anyone else.


Open Door Invitation

When all the plans finally fell in place for my son-in-law to propose to our daughter on her grandparents family farm ... it went down something like this.

After a beautiful day of decorating and planning how we would help him implement getting her into the barn bay, it turned windy, cold, and extremely nasty by nightfall.

His whole family had come for the week-end and our whole family was on their way. She thought it was just our family and was sorta bummed that her boyfriend had to work that week-end.

The candles were lit, the music was playing and the soft fabric took full effect as the wind picked up.

Places everyone!

God will not come barging in the door to your heart. He could have created us to automatically love Him, but He gave us a choice. I believe He did it in a way in which no other could.  He wanted us to want Him. He wants us to choose to open the door. But there IS a door, and He will not come in without an invitation. He may have chosen us for salvation for, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 He is not willing to lose any one of the almost 7 billion of us. But the door to an intimate relationship with the creator of the universe can only be opened from within. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Revelation 3:20

The plan was for him to take her on a walk down the memory lane of their lives together up to this point, including  pictures, remember when's, music, love, and laughter.

He told us to give him 1/2 hour - 45 min.

After her shock at seeing him emerge from the corner of this magical cove in her grandparents barn, and after looking at all the pictures, and dancing to Stevie Wonder, he asked her if she would spend the rest of her life with him.

He told us he would open the barn door a ways and that would be our signal to converge on their sacred site to congratulate and bring the party indoors.

As a batch of kittens played among the pickets, tugging at the fabric, and 15 pairs of eyes, and 2 sleepy babies,  watched and waited from across the driveway. Fixed totally on that barn door, wondering at every wind gust; waiting. Waiting for movement from within. Waiting for an invitation. He used every one of those 45 minutes and then the door opened, and we were invited in.

Spencer knew exactly what Melissa wanted and needed for an engagment proposal. He knew she wanted it to be thought out and romantic. He knew she would love to dance with him. He knew that having all the families there would mean the world to her.  He knew what was best for her and he orchestrated it perfectly.

He WANTS to have a relationship with us. He knows what is best for us. He wants to eat dinner with us. He wants to come in. He only needs an invitation. An open door.

grey barn farmgrey barn farm

March 3, 2012

Red Door in Paris, Sept 2002


You're Lovely Even With Your Scars

I like to think I discovered stuff first.

Technically, I (we) discovered one of the first contemporary church services, and I write about it here.

I did come up with the name "Before And Africa" for my daughter's blog and she writes about that here.

I'd take all the credit for finding and keeping the love of my life, but I don't always live in the reality of truth.

More and more my reality is steeped in divine appointments, so sitting and discussing our breast cancer options in the friendly confines of the doctor's office, has come to mean just as much, if not more, than sitting along side Mark at the Willow Creek Movie theatre some 40 years ago.

Even with my most recent physical scar (which will always be a reminder that God is faithful to save, heal, and set free),  He and Mark are the reason I look at myself the way I do today. Beautiful.

It's funny, and full circle, that I've had two major surgeries in my life, both in Lafayette, IN. In a way, the first surgeries of skin grafts after my burn accident have shaped my outward appearance attitude to what it is today. I'm strong enough in my inner woman (along with Mark's strength of character) to live unaffected by the pressures of what the world considers beauty. I want to shout it from the roof-tops, I want to talk about it to each girl/woman I sit beside in a waiting room, I want my girlfriends, granddaughters, nieces, nephews, and neighbors hear me  preach  say it.

Pause here for a MOMent, and think about what your conversations, attitudes, time and money spent, are saying to your children.

Stop concentrating on your outward appearance. I've come to accept a compliment about my appearance as more of an insult.  "Oh, you look so good, have you lost weight?" means to me, "Oh, you didn't look so good a while back when you hadn't lost weight."
And right along those same lines, and even one toke over the line is the way one feels they can say, "Oh, you're so tall, or you're so skinny, and consider it a compliment. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say, "Oh, you're so short, or you're so fat!!!" Is this just me?

'Course, I'm not much for small talk, but if I go take a nap while you tell me about your exercise regime, forgive me.

If my eyes glaze over during mascara or manicure discussions, poke me when you get to some inner (wo)man discussions.

I will talk about health, but the line I won't cross is a "show and tell" about smooth skin or scars, veins or waxing,  lipo or lipstick, and tummy tucks or reconstruction.  Maybe it is just me, I can't tell or listen to birthing stories, and I can't stand to shop, either. Go figure.

Let's get over ourselves.

Philippians 2:1-4
My college sweetheart once had the whole 2nd chapter of Philippians memorized, we would all be wise to do the same 

"Now if your experience of Christ’s encouragement and love means anything to you, if you have known something of the fellowship of his Spirit, and all that it means in kindness and deep sympathy, do make my best hope for you come true! Live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you. Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves. None of you should think only of his own affairs, but should learn to see things from other people’s point of view."

Let's look inward and concentrate on these things:

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

God looks on the heart.

I Peter 3: 2-4 ...when they see the purity and reverence of your lives, your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Don't try so hard 
God gives you grace and you can't earn it 
Don't think that you're not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He's not leaving 

Gave you His Son so you'd believe it 
You're lovely even with your scars 
Don't try so hard

 ~ Amy Grant

On July 30, we will celebrate 36 years together.  

I love you more today than yesterday, but not half as much as tomorrow. 

What is the 36th year anniversary present? Paper? Flowers? Crystal? China? Sapphire? Silver?  

I'm leaning towards paper train tickets to Broadway, or a silver retro camper.


Cicada's And All-Stars

I know it's confusing when I repost from the past.  So let's be clear ... here are a couple from from July 24 & 27, 2009.

“Typical Teenager.”

An airport agent once ushered those words to me after a stressful travel day with my daughters.  A red flag went off in my head and to this day, after prayerful consideration during that silent cross country flight home, believe there is no such thing.

But that’s a story for another day.

Let me tell you about her.  She is, by no stretch of the imagination, a typical teenager.  She has never once given me any back talk.  Nor has she broken curfew or the bank.  In fact, she’s never asked for anything.  She’s never slammed her bedroom door and yelled “I hate you!”  She’s never worn out my last nerve with the “everyone else is doing it mantra.”  She did not feel the need to rebel or get her own place. She never slept around, rolled her own cigarettes or brought home undesirables. As far as I know, she didn’t experiment with an alternative lifestyle or ever complain about my country music.  I’m positive she did not care if I wore mom jeans or blazers when we went out.  To be quite honest, I’ve never heard a derogatory word from her … ever.

I show blatant favoritism toward the others and she unselfishly waits for a mere drop of  my attention. Whether she gets it or not, she stays at my side and that is enough for her.

Of all the household members, I love her the least and she loves me the most.

As of late, she has changed me.  I watch from afar while others shower her with hugs and kisses. Despite her breath, they smother her with unconditional love.  She accepts their offers, but returns to her self appointed spot—by me—when they go.

I’ll always remember her last vacation with us on our 6-week romp at the farm.  She ran free, chased bunnies, and enjoyed every inch of the wide open spaces.  You’d think she died and gone to heaven. 

I wanted to give up on her more times than I care to mention.  She’s such an inconvenience–sitting by me, eating and sleeping. When the time comes … I will use the excuse; I don’t want her to suffer. Just this morning for the first time, I realized the inevitable. 

I love her more than I thought and can not nor will not be the one to call her name and watch her jump into the car for her last ride.

She turned 15 (105) with great expectations. 

Whoa! Almost a month & half since I’ve written here.  Never have I been one to follow the crowd, especially a blogger one.  Pretty sure my readership has dropped way off ~ don’t care. 

My lack of writing doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, and singing, and praying, and feeling pretty good about life.  I miss the kids, though!  I miss their laughter and their hearts.  I miss their passion and their bullshit. As far as kids & Kate go it’s been a quiet summer, therefore pretty much happyhourless, as well.  That’s gonna change tonight, when I get to belly up to the new Wisenheimer Bar! Happy days are here again.

Seriously, I could blow this pop stand. I feel the need for adventure.  I want to see the usa in a chevrolet ... or a VW bus.  What is wrong with me?  People work all their lives for nice homes, and stuff to put in them--and I’m looking for a 12’ foot Shasta camper to pull to Monument Valley.

Do you hear what I hear?  Cicadas.  Hence, the post today!  I’m getting off here cuz I’ve got a lot of summer livin’ left to do. it may or may not include an estate (and I use the term loosely) sale, a dinner theatre, a bicycle trail, a Schpilke reunion, and a brand new-to-me retro camper ... but it’s my last half of summer and I’m on it.


Back to the future, now ... well, almost. I can't believe it's been a year since we showered Melissa. 
Lately, I'm on the couch recouperating from surgery and time travelling at will. 

Just so you know, even though Apple saw fit to cancel Mobile Me, my iWeb software still opens and there it is in black and white and technicolor.  

I can see it all on my transistor radio. 

My trip to bountiful, so far.


My Three Sons

So I've had a few things on my mind, but just wanted to pause for a moment and talk about Ben, Tony, & Spencer.

I'm blessed to call these guys my sons. One of them an original and two grafted in. Adopted, so to speak.

All of them celebrating birthdays in May, June, & July, while I do what is mine to do.

All of them are smart, funny, hard working, intuitive, crazy about sports, protective of their girls, and two of them are fantastic dads, so I have no qualms about the third.

All of them like to adventure out, are creative gift givers, love technology, to laugh, and board games.

All of them watch The Walking Dead, Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, U of M, MSU, and the Colts. (Note: I said "watch" not "cheer on")

Did I say all of them are funny? And caring, and kind, and dog lovers, and full of faith, hope, and love.

All of them are family guys and my friends.

But most importantly, they're all in love with their Heavenly Father and on their own faith journeys, discovering new joys, learning new lessons, disciplining themselves when it counts, and living life to the full.

And I love them all like a crazy woman.

Hope they feel the same about me.

Happy birthday to all of you and I pray great blessing upon you all in the year ahead. God bless you as  you continue on the journey.

PS. Thank you.