Monday, September 15, 2014

Grief Stinks

My original post title was: Grief Sucks.  But, I would not say "sucks" in front of my Auntie; nor do I say it in front of my Moma when I have my wits about me; so I changed it to "stinks."  Because it does.  Grief is never welcomed.  It is never wanted.  It is not my friend.  After reading the words my great-aunt shared, though, I think I should re-think something.  Perhaps, RAW, GUT-WRENCHING, PHYSICAL HEARTACHE PAIN stinks but grief changes, moves, and is part of a journey.  I do not care for this part of the journey and I let God know my thoughts on the whole thing.  I even used the word sucks with Him because while He loves me as I am; while He accepts me as I am; as He takes me as I am; He is working in me and someday that word may change in my vocabulary and I will find a more polite way of describing my feelings.  Until then, stinks, sucks, and whatever word aptly describes what no words can convey will suffice.  

My Great-Aunt Ella shared these words to my Uncle and his family, "Grief never ends, but it changes.  It's a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith.  It is the price of love."

I looked up these words and the whole poem is:

Grief never ends,
But it changes.

It’s a passage,
Not a place to stay.

The sense of loss
Must give way
If we are to value
The life that was lived.

Grief is not a sign of weakness;
Nor lack of faith.
It is the price of love. 
~author unknown~

I have a pretty special family.  We have the hope in Jesus Christ to strengthen us and give us peace that we know that my Auntie is in heaven; her real home.

I am just selfish.  I was not ready to say good-bye; nor ever would be ready.  Many feel the same.

#grief #Brownfamily 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

"Unafraid to Speak"

Joseph John Gurney was unafraid to speak out regarding "the spirit of unbelief which had subtly crept in and was robbing Quakerism of much of its vitality, and even of its saving message." (Williams, pg. 172)

I love how Walter Williams describes Gurney: "Gurney was at heart a true Quaker, careful in conduct, a lover of silent worship, ever eager to sense and obey the Spirit's leading.  He studied the Bible carefully, and restored to almost daily self-examination." (pg. 172) 

Each day he would ask himself questions like these:
Have I this day been guarded in all my conversation, saying not one thing inconsistent with truth, purity, or charity?
Have I felt love toward my neighbor?
Have I done my part towards my family?
Have I been temperate in all respects and refrained from unlawful desires, habits, and anxieties?
Have I been diligent in business?
Have I given full time to effectual study?
Have I admitted any other fear than that of God?
Have I in everything acted, to the best of knowledge, according to the will of God? (Williams, pg. (172)
In a world where political correctness governs the way people think about us, I am drawn to the idea that sometimes, "the truth hurts."  Does speaking Truth, even if offends, mean I am not loving or not "politically correct?"  Honestly, I despise that phrase.  I would much rather use "offensive" versus political correct.

I am not trying to fire anyone up.  I'm trying to get my head and heart around the idea of "How does my not agreeing with you mean I am unloving?"  I have always been one that either stands for what is unpopular or one who stands up for the opposition. 

In reading the self examination questions above, I think these are questions that, for the most part, everyone I know can agree with.  Maybe I am naive. 

I am not saying that we all can answer them the way we hope to, but that they are questions worth asking ourselves at the end of the day. 

In reading through the questions, a few pop out for me, anxieties, any other fear than God, to name two.  I think the next step is to ask ourselves "HOW?"  

How have I guarded my day to consistent with truth, purity, or charity?
How did I show my neighbor that I felt love for him?
How have I done my part for my family?

Thinking along the same lines of my, "Cleaning House" post, I am in a state of discernment and clearness and appreciate your prayers!

I give all the credit for these words to Joseph John Gurney, Walter Williams, and the Light Within me:

Williams, W. (1962). The rich heritage of Quakerism. Barclay Press: Newberg, Oregon.

#Quakers #Friendsmovement #selfexamination #politicallycorrect 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Time to Clean House

"Clean house" can mean different things to different people. 

If you asked my Mom what it means to clean house, she would probably reply, "dust, vacuum, sweep, mop, clean the bathrooms, wash the windows...". You get the idea.

As a person in recovery and you might get a totally different answer!  You might hear:
  • It's step 4
  • It's steps 4-10
  • It means "keeping your side of the street clean." (Which would launch into what that means. ha!)
For me, the two are connected now.  The more cluttered my home is, the more cluttered my thoughts are.  When my house is clean, I feel better, I think better, I act nicer.

Why, then, don't I keep my house clean?  Sadly, I don't have an answer for you.  The Holy Spirit is nudging me to simplify the physical side of my life, though.  I need to be obedient in this.  

I can tell you this, I am ready for my DH to back the dump trailer up to the front door and haul out everything I throw at him.  That would be a good first step at cleaning house. 

I can also say, I am grateful for:
1) Tools I learned in AA for dealing with real life.  "Trust God, Clean house, Help others."
2) A beautiful home.
3) Having a dump trailer at my disposal.... pun intended!

Now, finding time to do this is another issue. 

#1000gifts #AA #cleanhouse #simplify #Quaker

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Elizabeth Hooton: Fervent & Faithful till Death

“Travelling through some parts of Leicestershire, and into Nottinghamshire, I met with a tender people, and a very tender woman, whose name was Elizabeth Hooton.” George Fox (Jones, pg. 79)


Elizabeth Hooton (Hooten), was born in the early 1600’s in England.  She met George Fox in 1647 (Jones, pg. 78) and the two began a life-long friendship that was filled with imprisonment, beatings, shunning, and more.  In her book, “The Valiant Sixty,” which Elizabeth Hooton is one; Elfirda Vipont describes her as, “motherly, devout, and open-minded.” (Vipont, pg. 8)  Her husband, Oliver, was not as quick to join the movement but eventually was convinced and “meetings were held in their home at Skegby, near Mansfield.” (pg. 15)  Oliver and Elizabeth had five children: Thomas (1636), John (1639), Josiah (1641), Samuel (1633) and Elizabeth (1636).  Samuel and Elizabeth both suffered for religious freedom; like their mother. 


Elizabeth, considered middle-aged when she began ministry, was the first woman Quaker preacher.  Gerald Croese states, “After her example, many of her Sex had the confidence to undertake the same office.” (Manners, pg. 37)  According to Walter Williams, she was part of the first small groups called, “Children of Light” and “Friends of Truth. (Williams, pg. 18)


Reading Emily Manner’s book, “Elizabeth Hooton, the first Quaker woman preacher (1600-1672)” was an eye opening experience of what her life became after becoming a Quaker.  Elizabeth suffered imprisoned numerous times.  The first time was in 1650 at Derby for speaking to a priest.  It was during this time that she wrote her first of many letters, many of them to public officials. 


Her time in the prison at Derby is the first of many.  By 1652, she served sixteen months at York Castle (prison) for preaching.  (Manners, pg. xvii)  During her imprisonments, she wrote letter after letter informing public officials of the harsh treatment of the prisoners; and for their wrongful imprisonment.  She signed her letter, “Elizabeth Hooton, A prisoner of the Lord in Yorke Castle. (pg. xxiv) A common theme in her letters was, “She denounces in no measured terms the corruptness of Judges, Magistrates, teachers and clergymen, and all officers are gaolers and compares them to Herod and Pontius Pilate…”!  (pg. 260) Each time she was released from prison, she went right back to what she had been doing; which landed her in prison repeatedly.  In fact, “she was the first sufferer for the Truth in Lincolnshire.” (pg. 1)


While beatings were common in prison, Elizabeth suffered abuse outside the prison walls, too.  There is record that “April 2, 1660: Elizabeth Hooton, passing quietly on the road, was met by one Jackson, Priest of Selston, who abused her, beat her with many blows, knocked her down, and afterward put her into the water.” (pg. 5)  This is the last record of her early service in England.  “She was stepping from pan to fire.” (Clayton 2013) 


Persecution follows Elizabeth to America where she is imprisoned in Boston for visiting other Friends who were prisoners.  The year is 1661 and she and her companion Joan Broksopp are traveling to Boston.  She states, “… for God and his people to those people in the heate of persecution, and if God required us to lay down our lives for the testimony of Jesus and in love to their soules, not knowing but what they might heare and so be saved so they might be left without excuse and God might have his glory and we cleare of their bloud if they would not heare…”. (pg. 695)  It was a crime to be a Quaker in the new world.  It was in Boston that she and her daughter were whipped together. 


Each time I read of her abuse and imprisonment, followed by her release, followed by her repeat of what landed her in prison before, I realized she had the Light inside her that allowed her to continue whatever task He set before her.  She did not allow abuse, which I have come to believe was rape, to beatings, whippings, flogging, starving, nor disease to alter the coarse set before her.  Her experiences as the first Quaker woman preacher, a valiant sixty, and a sufferer for Jesus are extensive and detailed.  From the time she became a Quaker until her final breath in Jamaica on January of 1672, she never stopped loving man;
“Yea, the Love that I bear to the Souls of all Men,
makes me willing to undergo whatsoever can be inflicted.”
 (pg. 1638)


Emily Manners summarizes Elizabeth’s life beautifully and with a challenge for us today: “She played her part in the heroic age of the Society of Friends: always valiant for the truth, quick to seize any opportunity that offered to plead the cause of her fellow sufferers, even though her own sufferings made the occasion – fearless in denouncing the evils of the time – far in advance of the age I which she lived in her advocacy of prison and other reforms, and though her methods may appear strangely uncouth in our politer days, yet her history is eloquent in its lessons for us, conscious, it may be, that, in the words of Whittier, ‘The spirit’s temper grows too soft in this still air.’” (pg. 1621)


“… She was a Godly Woman and had a great care lay upon her for people to walk in Truth that did profess it, and from her receiving Truth, she never turned her back on it but was fervent and faithful for it till death.”  George Fox (Manners, pg. 1620)

I have cited my sources to the best of my ability and any mistakes regarding citation errors are just that; mistakes.  If you see an error regarding sources, please let me know.
Works Cited

Clayton, J. (2013, January, 08). Tough as nails. [web blog post] Retrieved from

Jones, R. (Ed.). (1976). The journal of George Fox. Friends United Press: Richmond, Indiana.

Manners, E., & Penny, N. (1914). Elizabeth Hooton, the first Quaker woman preacher (1600-1672). (e-book) London: Headley brothers.

Vipont, E. (1975). George Fox and the valiant sixty. London: Hamish Hamilton.

Williams, W. (1987). The rich heritage of Quakerism. Barclay Press: Newberg, Oregon.

#Quakers #womenpreachers #Friendsmovement #ElizabethHooton #GeorgeFox

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not a Backboard!

Not as disturbing as the "before" photos, though.  You are welcome. 
BOYS!  The "lid" of the toilet is not a backboard.  I know you are shocked.  It's not intended to be a game or goal to shoot your pee on the lid and score points if it shoots through the toilet seat' my toilet seat.  Shocker, I know. 

Also, even when you remember to put the seat up, my seat, the game does not change in that you try to shoot your pee through the lid hole and hope it bounces back into the toilet bowl.  You do not "get points" for this sport.  In fact, you lose points.  You lose big time. 

The main problem here, boys, is that the pee does not make into the toilet bowl.  Far from it.  The splatter effect hits its mark on the wall, counter's side, floor, and all over the back of the toilet. 
Mommy does not like this.  She does not like this at all. 
You see, sons, this is mommy's bathroom.  Mommy's.  MINE! and well, frankly, I am tired of cleaning up after your pee in my bathroom. 
When mommy has to get out the "big guns" in order to clean up after you, it is bad.  Bad for you, that is.  You know you're in trouble when I have to call in pumice stone and a toothbrush. 
Speaking of, do you recognize the toothbrush?  I wouldn't use it if I were you. 
I wouldn't use the toilet as a basketball hoop, either, though. 

In the future, use wisdom and stay out of mommy's bathroom.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer is Flying By!

I can't believe we are more than half-way through summer break.  I have finished and started another class, led worship at Kids Camp, gone camping, had Sky go and return from Ireland, go to yearly meeting in Oregon for a week, shop, swim, nap, and hang with my kiddos.

We have a white-water raft trip ahead, a Roaring Springs Water Park day, shopping trip to Utah, and I will drive with Mel to Kansas and fly home this August. 

Before we know it, school will start and I will have to get my children to bed before midnight.  Sigh.

I've also had some leaps in spiritual growth, been humbled some more, and wished I could slow down.

My girl will be 20 in two weeks and I can't believe that I have been her moma since she was 7 years old.  I love her so much. 

I'll post pictures sometime... I think.

In the meantime, I am alive.  Just spending time with my family when I am not doing my school work.


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Double Digits

I must be old enough, although it doesn't seem possible, to have a ten-year old biological son.  He woke me up this morning by climbing in bed with me and whispering, "I'm 10!"  After several minutes of visiting, I allowed the boys to watch a movie in bed while I got some coffee in me. 
Here are some pictures showing our boy growing up and showing off his super cute personality!
brand new baby boy
18 months old and wanting the camera.
These are the eyes that melt my heart.  And those cheeks! 
2 years old
Motorcycle trip with Granddad!
3 years old

Anyone can do hand prints in cement.... it's fun to be different!
2008 - playing in the rain in Mexico
4 years old
2008 - entertaining in the theater pit on the Malecon
It's so much more fun to drink root beer from a bottle with a straw!
Midwest Trip 2009 - 5 years old

Turning six in style... with as many parties as he can.

Favorite birthday cake - EVER!  Turning 6 was awesome.

2011 irrigation water fun - showing off for his Moma.

"Look, Mom, I am pretend floating!"

2012 - ZIP LINE fun at 8 years old.
9 years old and seeming very grown up!
My fun-loving son!
Ten years ago, my first born decided he had had enough fun in the womb and couldn't wait a minute longer to get the party started out here!  At 37 weeks, he was born emergency c-section, weighing a whopping 8lbs 8 oz!   He's been a snuggler and people person his entire life; never wanting a moment alone.  That has not changed.  He doesn't like watching TV alone; reading alone or pretty much anything else by himself.  He is a compassionate happy boy.  He sees when someone is hurting and brightens their day by being himself.  He loves people and he loves Jesus.  What more could I desire in his life; than for him to be true to himself and Jesus.   He is smart and learns things very quickly!  He has great ideas and lots of them.  It's so important to him that we are all happy that I see him sacrificing himself in order to make sure others are happy.  When I see this happening, I try and stop it while reminding him that it is not his job to make others happy.   He adapts to his environment and does so with ease.  He has many friends and enjoys them all.   My darling sweetheart has a fun type 1 nature and he knows it!  Happy Birthday, son!  I know you've loved all the surprises so far and there are a few more in store for you today!  Besos! #DYT #Type1