Fall 2013-dark leaves

Friday, December 31, 2010

Stepping Heavenward--on being quick-tempered

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss  p. 187-188

Ernest (her husband) said, "...I want you to make a distinction for yourself, which I made for you, between ill-temper, and the irritability that is the result of a goaded state of the nerves.  Until you do that, nothing can be done to relieve you from what I am sure distresses and grieves you exceedingly.  Now, I suppose that whenever you speak to me or the children in this irritated way that you lose your own self-respect, for the time, at least, and feel degraded in the sight of God also."

"Oh, Ernest! there are no words in any language that mean enough to express the anguish I feel when I speak quick, impatient words to you, the one human being in the universe whom I love with al lmy heart and soul, and to my darling little children who are almost as dear!  I pray and mourn over it day and night.  God only knows how I hate myself on account of this one horrible sin!"

"It is a sin only as you deliberately and willfully fulfill the conditions that lead to such results.  Now I am sure if you could once make up your mind in the fear of God, never to undertake more work of any sort than you can carry on calmly, quietly, without hurry or flurry, and the instant you find yourself growing nervous and like one out of breath, would stop and take breath, you would find this simple, commonsense rule doing for you what no prayers or tears could ever accomplish.  Will you try it for one month, my darling?"

"But we can't afford it," I cried, with almost a groan.  "Why, you have told me this very day that our expenses must be cut down, and now you want me to add to them by doing less work.  But the work must be done.  The children must be clothed, and there is not end to the stitches to be taken for them, and your stockings must be mended -you make enormous holes in them! and you don't like it if you ever find a button lacking to a shirt or your supply of shirts getting low."

"All you say may be true," he returned, "but I am determined that you shall not be driven to desperation as you have been of late."

By this time we had reached the house where his visit was to be made, and I had nothing to do but lean back and consider all he had been saying, over and over again, and to see its reasonableness while I could not see what was to be done for my relief.  Ah, I have often felt in moments of bitter grief at my impatience with my children, that perhaps God pitied more than He blamed me for it!  And now my dear husband was doing the same! 

...Ernest said, "Just think, dear, suppose for fifty or a hundred or two hundred dollars a year you could buy a sweet, cheerful, quiet tone of mind, would you hesitate one moment to do so?  And you can do it if you will.  You are not ill-tempered but quick-tempered; the irritability which annoys you so is a physical infirmity which will disappear the moment you cease to be goaded into it by that exacting mistress you have hitherto been to yourself."

Months ago my counselor said I needed to offer grace to myself.  Maybe I'll try grace through deep breaths. 

Stepping Heavenward--on peace

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.  p. 129-130

   I have just been to see Mrs. Campbell.  In answer to my routine of lamentations, she took up a book and read me what was called, as nearly as I can remember, "Four Steps that Lead to Peace." The four steps she read are as follows:

   "Be desirous of doing the will of another, rather than your own.'
   "Choose always to have less, rather than more.'
   "Seek always to the lowest place, and to be inferior to every one.'
   "Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in you.'

   I was much struck with these directions; but I said, despondently:  "If peace can only be found at the end of such hard roads, I am sure I shall always be miserable."

   "Are you miserable now?" she asked.

   "Yes, just now I am.  I do not mean that I have no happiness; I mean that I am in a disheartened mood, weary of going round and round in circles, committing the same sins, uttering the same confessions, and making no advance."
   "My dear," she said, after a time, "have you a perfectly distinct, settled view of what Christ is to the human soul?"

  "I do not know.  I unerstand, of course, more or less perfectly, that my salvation depends on Him alone; it is His gift."

  "But do you see, with equal clearness, that your sanctification must be as fully His gift, as your salvation is?"

  "No," I said, after a little thought.  "I have had a feeling that He has done His part, and now I must do mine."

   "My dear," she said, with such tenderness and feeling, "then the first thing you have to do is to learn Christ."

   "But how?"

   "On your knees, my child, on your knees!"  She was tired and I came away; and I have indeed been on my knees.

Oh, peace sounds nice.  Plus, those are such practical and implement-able things to do.  (I like a list!)  And wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  The Bible says all I have to do is ask (so it says somewhere in James chapter 1).  So I'm hitting my knees in 2011, literally.  There's something about praying on your knees.  I highly recommend it if you haven't tried it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mixed Emotions

How can I be
1. nauseated at the volume of gifts and toys our family received -- i.e. it's too much, while being
2. honestly, truly thankful for what we did receive, and yet
3. bitterly jealous that I didn't some other things.

Those dots just don't line up.  Lord, please take away my sin of entitlement.  Gifts all come from you through many different ways.  And they're gifts, not prizes I earn or treats I deserve.  Free gifts given to me through the sacrifices of the giver.  What I receive is up to them.  Please change my heart to be more wholly grateful.  So grateful and joyful that the jealousy and bitterness are pushed out entirely. 

And remind me momently that your SACRIFICE to give me salvation through Jesus, through a faith you GIVE me, is truly the GREATEST AND ONLY GIFT I need.  It should supply all the joy and contentment I need.  And does, when I keep a right perspective.  But this has been my heart's struggle over the last few days.

Now don't get me wrong--it has been a wonderful, fabulous Christmas with all our family.  I'd say the very best ever. :)  And largely because I'm seeing my sin in new ways and fighting against it.  That's always good.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas too!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chloe Kathryn Pruitt

I'm a little late posting the joyous news, but Chloe Kathryn was born to Emily and John Pruitt (my brother) on Thursday, December 9!  She came in at 7lb 7oz, and 18 1/2 inches long.  I wish I had a picture to share, but not yet.  We will see them in a bit, so hopefully I can show you how beautiful she is very soon.  It will be interesting and cool to see my little brother being a dad.  

Anna (my sis) is planning on coming up to Shreveport when we're there, and I'm so glad.  John and Emily won't travel for Christmas, so this is the one opportunity for all 3 of us to be together with our families.  Minus Stephen, Anna's other half.  But we'll see him at Mom and Dad's later on.

Just remembered right this minute that today is Stephen's birthday.  21 minutes to spare--plenty of time!  So is a text an appropriate acknowledgement of your bil's birthday?  I hope so!

OK, my better half needs my help--better scoot.  Merry Christmas, y'all, in case I don't get back to this before next Saturday.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh, well...

FYI, the potential renters decided to not take our house. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

House Stuff

Have I shared on here how the Lord provided us with our first renters, the Cooks?  Amy came to see the house for the first time the day the movers were there.  She walked through the chaos with me, loved the house, and handed me a cash deposit on the spot.  Our prayer had been that God would bring renters before we moved to St Louis, and he did.  The night before we left town.

Today, on the day the movers are there for the Cooks, one of the men helping load the moving truck called his sister about the house.  She and her husband went over, walked through the chaos, loved it, and called Brian right away.  They've asked to see a lease agreement, which we promptly emailed.  Our prayer has been that we'd be provided a renter/buyer that we could sign papers with while we are in Bham over Christmas.  This is promising...

So pray on, friends!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anniversary Top 10

Top Ten things about being Rebecca Brown:

10.  It's an easy last name to spell--no clarification necessary.

9.  Brown also sounds pretty cute with Rebecca.

8.  My mother-in-law is the best mother-in-law you've ever heard of.  Seriously. 

7.  Marrying a man from your church means you get to stay at that church without any haggling!

6.  Brian has great taste--he always out-orders me at a restaurant and can tell me which shoe looks better with a particular outfit--great assetts in a husband.  His great taste also landed me! ;)

5.  Brian was also the best-kept secret in Birmingham.  He's soooooo funny and kind and gracious and compassionate and patient and has great hair (although that's not a secret) and loves his God and his family fiercely.  I'm just lucky no one figured it all out before I did.

3.  I get to be that man's wife, hopefully for another 5 decades or so.  Lord willing we'll have a long life together!

2.  Sarah Frances, Catherine, Patrick and Lillian Brown

1.  I don't deserve any of these wonderful things--God is simply so gracious and oh so good to me!

And please feel free to add anything that you know I forgot.  The list could go on and on...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ready, Set, Go

I'm going to have to stop calling our friends the Cooks our renters, because they expect to be out of the house on Saturday.  I'll definitely have to call them our partners in ministry though because of how many ways they have helped us since we moved here to start our ministry career.  We have been so blessed to be in relationship with them, and had we been neighbors, I feel like we would have been great friends.  Both sides are disappointed that circumstances are changing, but we are all trusting in our good, soverign Lord to place us in the right new ones.

As far as the house goes, we've contracted with a realtor and there should be a sign in the yard this weekend.  The woman from last week has decided our house is not for her.  I'm not even sure she went through it, which is fine.  There are SO MANY options for buyers now.  But you can pray with us that someone wants 3637 Leslie Ann Rd for a Christmas gift! :)

In other news, I'm struggling with my back.  Silly me tried to lift Patrick (50+ pounds) out of the big side of a shopping cart last week and it pulled my lower right side some.  Then this afternoon as I was turning around, my left ankle rolled hard and my entire right side wrenched.  So now all the inner, core muscles on my right side--my hip flexors in front, my lower back, and my back side up to the middle of my ribcage--are knotted and tight.  I've iced and taken my ibuprofen, but this is not the time for an injury! 

Lastly, it's finals time.  Brian has 2 more to go, as far as I can remember.  We're pretty out of touch lately, but tomorrow is our TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY.  We have a date Sat. for dessert, so I can probably tell you more details after that.  I do know he's planning on taking his Hebrew final on Friday morning.

Oh, and tomorrow is also when we expect our first Pruitt cousin to make her debut.  Emily and John will go in for an induction in the morning.  More details on Chloe Kathryn Pruitt as I know them.

So prayers all around, please. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I did not grow up celebrating Advent, per se.  Or maybe it was mentioned, but I don't remember.  It probably sounded too Catholic, lol.  And there's a lot I don't remember about my childhood anyway, so maybe it was taught and I've forgotten.  Come to think of it, we did have this beautiful felt calendar (I think my mother made?) that we flipped a number on every day in December.  ANYWAY...I also know I've been in a church for the last 12 or more years that most likely did teach about celebrating Advent but I don't really remember it from there either.  Before tonight, I'm sure I've heard about it and probably sung about it and been taught about it plenty of times but didn't get it.

Tonight I got it.  We went to an Advent Hymn Sing.  We sang many exquisite, old, familiar hymns and several exquisite new ones I'm going to learn.  And Scriptures were read.  And Psalms sung too.  Then tonight when I was putting the kids down and saying prayers, I prayed that we would anticipate Jesus' return as much as we anticipate celebrating his birth.  And it clicked in my mind at the same time the words were coming out of my mouth.  Yes, Advent helps us richly cherish "the reason for the season" but it also points us to Christ's final return.  So now I think we should celebrate Advent all year long.  Am I so new to this Advent thing that there is already a name for anticipating his ultimate return that I've not clued into yet?