Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to the Old and New

Happy New Year Old Friend!
Happy New Year New Friend!
So grateful to each of you for friendship and kindness and love.

I awoke to a steel grey Dallas sky above but I'll watch the sun set in Austin tonight. Jeremiah 33:20 talks about the covenant of the day----and it is the same covenant of promise for me and you this day and forever in 2010. The dawn will break and with each sunset, no one can break that arrangement. Just the same, no one can break the promise of our God to be good to us this year. He will. He will be good to you, no matter what.

Reminded of Oswald Chambers words this New Year's Eve:
Our goal is God Himself.
Not peace, not joy, not even blessings but God Himself!

May we see what is happening in our hearts this year like Peter did. He was a different guy in the Book of Acts. Remember in the Book of John when he cut off the ear of the soldier in spite. Peter didn't see the viciousness of his heart. But he did see his heart in Acts. May I really see and wrestle and deal with the fray of my heart this coming year. There is hope for our sin. A Beautiful Redeemer!

As the moments of 2009 tick off the clock, may you find a Beautiful God, a Wonderful Counselor waiting to show up in your 2010. He's there preparing a place for you.

Happy New Year! God bless my new and old friends!

Monday, December 28, 2009

66 Love Letters

Join us in reading through the Bible this year from Cover to Cover, Genesis to Revelation. Alongside the bible readings, we will read a devotional book, Lawrence Crabb's new book 66 LOVE LETTERS (release date is January 12, 2010). As we read a book of the Bible, we will also read the corresponding chapter in Crabb's book.

We will start January 1st using a One-Year Reading Plan from beginning to end. I invite you to read The Message version this year or you may choose another version. You are invited to comment on my blog "A STRING OF PEARLS" and link us to your own blog comments about your Scripture readings and devotional readings in 66 Love Letters.

There is no commitment. Just an invitation to read and allow the LORD to show up for you. We want to hear what God stirs in your heart as you open his Love Letter. What lingers with you throughout your day?

You can go to and sign up to receive the one-year reading plan in your e-mail inbox or cell phone. You can purchase Larry Crabb's new book 66 Love Letters from, available January 12th. "Written in a conversational tone, Dr. Crabb looks at each individual book in Scripture and boils it down to a one-or two-sentence message to us from that particular book." Larry answers the question: What does God want me to hear from this love letter?

I believe the Truth of God's Word---Psalm 51:6--- will sink deep into our hearts and change our lives this year.

Start with us on January 1st. Larry's book will not be available before January 12th. You can jump in or take a break at any time. This invitation is for you to listen to God not to check off boxes that you've read every day. You are invited to post the stirrings of your heart at any may be just be one verse or one thought or even more as we listen to His Love Letters to us in 2010. Or you may just want to read along and not comment.

See you on January 1st on my other blog, A String of Pearls. You won't find any postings on this blog about the 66 Love Letters, only about life with The Brandons. You can access A String of Pearls blog in two ways: 1) click on A String of Pearls in left margin of this blog 2.) go to my profile and click on A String of Pearls.

We would be so delighted for you to join us in listening to what God has to say to each of us in 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For the past 30 years, I have always sent a Christmas newsletter to let you know what's happening in the Brandon household. About 4 years ago, the length of the letters became briefer than before (made a lot of readers happy). We went through a time of evaluating our lives and what's really important. We have No One Else Like Him to go to in the midst of our suffering but the Beautiful God we so love. John 6:68. As we approach 100 years old (you're supposed to laugh right now), things look a lot different to me than they did 4 years ago. Once again this year, we went through a little more suffering that brought us a step of faith closer to the One Who holds us all together (Col 1:17). God has used so many of you to give me hope and courage as I battled cancer. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Beautiful Fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ that you have brought to me this year (2 Cor 2:14). My Deep Gratitude, Bev

Here is our 2010 Family Newsletter:

A New December dawns and draws us in to reflect on 2009. A verse that has gripped me for 3 decades---Psalm 27:13-14---took on new meaning this year. I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the Goodness of God. We will remember 2009 for we found a Good God in the midst of difficult days. Groping for that Invisible Hand in dark times, He met me in my weakness 2 Cor 12:9. We are alive in ways we have not been before.

In a few weeks, Bob will marry our oldest son to the love of his life, lovely Lauren Bailey of California. Barrett coaches and continues to compete in the ITU professional triathlon circuit.

Brooke completed her 3-year commitment in Thailand & is serving one year with the IMB in Arlington, working toward Seminary classes.

Blair serves on Capitol Hill in Washington DC as a Legislative Correspondent. Our precious girl will notably become Mrs. Patrick Walsh in July.

Britt is loving his senior year at Hyde Park. The old anecdote says: “All men die; but few men ever really live.” We’ve raised him for this moment to let him go as he heads to be an Aggie or Longhorn---maybe even UNC. My prayer for this humble, hard-working kid is that he fights the right battles in life. He’s been such a joy! May he continue to find his God and really live!

It has been one of the scariest years for me in battling cancer but Psalm 18:28 speaks to deep places in me: God is turning my darkness into Light. Learning a bit more to kept still & not fight my own battles. Nahum 1:7 says the LORD is good. He has been my Refuge in times of trouble. I am finding a deeper Rest, growing in a little more dependence on a Sovereign God. Bob serves faithfully on a church staff here in Austin and loves what God has called him to. My husband has been Isaiah 33:6 to me, a Stability of times and a Wealth of God’s goodness. We want to struggle well with His Energy---Col. 1:29---and finish our lives well.

We hold so much gratitude in our hearts for you. The outpour of God’s Love has been overwhelming---old friends and new friends, even strangers whom God has used to put hope in my hand & heart. God is carrying us through all our ordeals- Isaiah 46:4. We are grateful to be fellow strugglers with you passing through this life to our real home. Take courage, O my soul, and wait upon the LORD, not the solution of our problems, not the closure of sickness, not the escape from trials. We wait on a Beautiful God not on any man nor any circumstance.

Our prayer for you is Isaiah 40: 3-5 - There is a Voice calling in your wilderness. May every valley be raised up & every mountain made low that the glory of God be revealed in you in 2010. We join you in advancing His Kingdom. May we all deal with the competing kingdoms in our hearts. All praise & honor this Christmas to the Beautiful & Invisible & Eternal God Whom we adore! Now unto HIM Who is able to keep us together, Jude 2:24. Holding fast to our Good God and Psalm 46: 5,10 --- God is in our midst; I will not be moved. God will help me when morning dawns every day in 2010. Be still, my heart, and know He is God.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year -

Bob & Bev - Barrett, Brooke, Blair and Britt

Friday, December 18, 2009


I made the nurse repeat it TWICE. B.E.N.I.G.N. Thank YOU God! The suspicious spot on my leg is a benign seborrheic keratosis. Seb k. I've had this barnacle on my shin for about 3 years but it's gone now.

I don't want to live my life encouraged only by my circumstances. LIKE...we finally got our car back after 5 months in the car repair shop; however it doesn't run quite right. Ha. Or, my computer is so messed up that I just went to Fran's blog and it said it was an ATOM XML and I couldn't post on atoms? What in the world does that mean? I think my computer might not recover and I'll be cyber homeless. My Facebook is frozen---but so is every link I have to open.
But I can rejoice when the news is good. And this is good news that the lesion was benign. And I can embrace the Truth when the news is not good. And entering that truth will not only be sadness but can also be joy as we draw near to Him.

For what do want this moment MORE THAN drawing near to God. May we all listen to our hearts and what is really going on inside of us. It matters so much what is happening inside of me. Way more than it matters what I am doing! So grateful to a very good God for bringing me to this place in life.

We read Christmas cards every day and think that people are doing great by what they are DOING---wonder what is really going on in their hearts.

Yesterday I listened to a CD on pondering the Trinity. Relating to God and others takes first place in our lives. Love the LORD with all your heart. Enter the souls of your family and friends to model and invite brokenness.

Everything but drawing near to God is a "second thing" as C.S. Lewis said: Put first things first. There is only One First Thing. Had a conversation with a good friend yesterday about people saying that if you have your health, you have everything. Not so! Our health, our families, even our ministries are all "second things." And some of those, as one of my friends quotes, are "painful doorways to deeper intimacy. "

So as I face my own brokenness this Christmas, I have to face what's going on in my own heart, not how I want my world and people in my world to change. And I will face that I am profoundly not able to be strong enough to love and change anything apart from the power of God. I Cor 2: 2-4.

May we all seek HIM this Christmas in the midst of whatever it is that we face. Draw near to Him and HE will draw near to you. Plead for His Mercy rather than demand that the pain and the hurts go away.

The CD talked about the church being a community of broken people who long to know a Beautiful God and relate like HIM in our world RATHER than being a community of responsible reasonable people trying very hard to do a lot of very good things for the Kingdom. Are we frenetic and frantic for Christmas? Hmmm. Trying to make something happen...which leads to strategy and valuing people that are on board with us rather than offering them grace right where they are.

I'm still Miss Shingles over here (affectionately called by my youngest). Looks to me like I have a mild case of shingles compared to the scary shingle stories I've heard.

I'll post my Christmas letter next. Just wanted to say what was stirring in my heart this grateful morn. For whatever that's worth! I'm very grateful this Texas wintry season (it's 75 degrees outside) that I have the privilege to warmly walk alongside of friends like you!

Signed: Miss Shingles

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Shingle Bells. Shingle Bells. Oh me, oh my! I have the shingles.

Went for a second opinion for a suspicious spot on my shin. The dermatologist did a biopsy on my leg right there on the spot! Didn't have time to text anyone to pray. The most wonderful thing was that God was right there with me holding my hand. Psalm 15:8. He had just brought to my mind Psalm 112:7 an hour before. I was waiting with another friend for their pathology to come back. No fear of bad news for our hearts are steadfast, trusting HIM alone, not the closure of unwanted circumstances.

The word "biopsy" strikes fear in me. "Can I call my husband before you do it?" I could have scheduled it for the future. No, take it out right now. She removed the whole lesion. But God continues to remove lesions from my heart. He reached down on Tuesday and took hold of me and drew me out of some deep waters of fear. Psalm 18:16. The pathology report comes back on Friday.

I've been thinking a lot lately about personal holiness. You know, the kind of holiness that trumps impact. We can get so caught up in wanting to be somebody and make a mark and change the world for Christ, that we miss dealing with this present moment of our own stuff. We will be advancing the Kingdom if we are dealing with what is going on inside of our hearts. So grateful to Him for bringing me to a place where I'm aware that the Love of Christ is more important than any ministry. Oh, I don't know. I wish I could better verbalize what's going on inside of me. Dealing with some pretty dark feelings and learning a bit more what it means to let them go.

So the doctor proceeds to check me from head to toe...OH have SHINGLES ON YOUR BACK. And I thought I was there for my shin! But actually I was probably there for my sin for our Beautiful God rescues us because He delights in us, Psalm 18:19, and He won't let us stay in our sin. So surprised by a sin of quiet demandingness that one more thing does not need to happen to me before this year ends. And what about starting deductibles over again in January with multitudinous doctor bills? What about trusting He will take care of it all? It is the Kindness of our God that leads us to repentance. Romans 2:4. What do I want more than the Love of my Christ? The good what would that look like? SHINGLE BELLS. SHINGLE BELLS.

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home
"Whoever welcomes a little child in My Name, welcomes Me." Matthew 18:5 We have posted pictures of the orphans receiving their gifts from you. Scroll down to the post entitled "Today Was the Big Day." Many orphans didn't own anything of their own, but now do, because of you.

My Family

My Family
Britt, Blair, Bev, Bob, Brooke, Barrett


I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.


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