Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long 2014! God has been so good to us this year!

From Genesis to Revelation. Here are the verses that linger with me as we walked through 2014:
1. Our year started with the best little Christmas gift ever from dear friends---an unheard of, rare vacation where Bob and I and my four kids/spouses were all snowbound together in a cabin in the Colorado woods. Unbelievable time! I have loved being their momma.  Oh! I have more kids. It thrills me being a high school teacher. Seeing God move in the lives of students like Richmond, Adison, Elizabeth, Timothy, Catherine...and the list goes on and on and on and on. My hand is over 
my mouth as this year closes its door.
2. Five years cancer free this year. And the prognosis: you never know, really. My oncologist took me off all of the cancer meds and bade me farewell after 50+ visits. It was a safety net slit open. But, the Anchor of my soul is firm, sure, immovable. Exodus 14:14.
3. There has been an uncommon Providential way of providing for us this year from friends. Like Elijah who found God in rain and ravens. I Kings 19:13 - Elijah found God in the "low whispers." Elijah was on the shelf. Eating from mouths of birds. And a lonely widow is the handpicked one who blessed him. Learned a tad more to stand up when called from the obscure places and speak and share and write and wonder---even when there are so few wanting to listen, wanting what I have to offer.  I wrestle with this.

4. I hope I learned this year an iota better how to cry from my heart not just all that wailing on my bed. It's a Beautiful God pursuing me when I was unlovely. "I will give her a door of hope." Hosea 2:14-15. Oh, I needed hope this year in the midst of real relationships. And God said: I'll have mercy on "Miss No Mercy."  He did. He is.

5. My love for the church grew immensely this year. I want so much to be on a church staff someday. It's the cry of my heart.  I know I am called to the ministry.  A firmer conviction grew within me to not heal wounds lightly saying, Peace! Peace! All is good! Jeremiah 6:14. I love the next verse for it speaks conviction to me: "They have no shame over their sins, for they don't even know how to blush." Jeremiah 6:15. I learned a little more about blushing this year over what is not right in me.

6. "I send my heart up to Thee. All my heart." Elizabeth Barrett Browning. That's what you have to do when the person in your life longest takes your hand for the last time and breathes his last breath on earth. Transferred into the Kingdom, the day he lived for. Surreal. It's over here. And now we hold in our hands a flood of memories. I hope that we become stronger in dependence in our loss. 
  7. Reading through the bible this year for the 9th time in a row---and I thought I couldn't do it once. Still think I can't finish it this year. But nothing will stop me. A friend once said to me: “Face the hard questions that life requires you to ask. Gather with other travelers on the narrow road, pilgrims who acknowledge their confusion and feel their fears. Then, together, live those questions in My Presence.”. And that's what my little tiny community of readers has done for me. There's only a handful of us yet we are trying to live this one messy life of ours with courage to more than hang in there but to follow in our confusion and feel our fears.

8. Reading blogs like yours and Cottrell and Tripp and Buechner and Metaxas and ... I love that you guys don't move to "fix" people or give steps & solutions for life. You offer genuine realness in a webworld that offers to move to fix me. I want to wrestle with words and life. I want to glean from a curious heart that draws me to God. That makes me want to press in and lean on God and find Him in my need. The people I find here hold a present awareness of their own brokenness and that is just beautiful. You understand a little more than most people about the evil that lies within all of us.

9. Nothing in my life has given me words, given me direction, given me life like one imperfect author I read every year. Deut 32:2. I read him over and over and again this year and it happened all over again! Oh! I'm still a mess but a little more of a glorious mess than ever. I think I am doing well in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances, holding fast to a Good God and finding a little deeper rest in Him this 2014. I'm not the same person that I started out this year to be. I give credit to that author who helped me find a little more wider the real Author. Reading books is like having a weighty conversation with a pretend friend. Works for me.

10. Think I somewhat believed a little more that God is at work in me. Way too much I feel that I am waiting for something to happen. The truth is: it is already happening. Daniel 4:23---God is laying me low that I may know. His Strength in me. For those times this year when things have not changed which has surfaced in all 12 months.

11. Our son graduated from college. Headed off to grad school. Law School. Changing alma maters. Emptynesters for sure now.  Stripped of something.  I see God has my back.  Strong Hands.  Like Steel.  The iron rod of the Holy Spirit cause my kids have been in my house for 33 years in a row.  No more.

12. God has given me a little more than last year, an "eye to the Word of God."  I cannot explain that one.  Luke 5:5.  Like the pro fishermen disciples toiling all night long, catching no draught of fish.  Yet. They had an eye to the Word spoken by God---spread your nets, spread your case before God.  I am floored that This Word has so caught me eye like not before.  

13. Faced some impossible odds this year.  God controls my odds.  5 loaves and 2 fish.  It's all God had to work with.  Luke 9:10. I have known depression that I thought I wouldn't even make it through, where I could not even stand up.  My circumstances are somewhat still the same but God is so changing me.  

14. My soul shipwrecked this summer.  Right smack dab by the shore.  I learned a few feet more that tribulations come and they will pass.  Acts 27:39.  He is the God of Tight Places.  I could see the shore but I shipwrecked in that stupid harbor before making it safe to shore.  YET, I still made it to shore.  

15. Divine Providence has me where I am.  And 2014 unsettled me even more.  You see, I think that I am nowhere where I thought I would be in this stage of the game of life. It's not even where I think I want to be.  But I am seeking Christ not chief places. And I'm learning this one day in/ day out---it's the Hand of Providence that has me here---I mean my bags are packed in a storage unit for 4 years now.  I Cor 12:28. Maybe they'll stay packed in 2015, maybe not. 
16. I learned about Right-Now Grace this year.  Hope I learned a little more true to cleanse myself from what controls me. 2 Cor 7:1, 10.  It is right to be disconcerted over what bothers me.  May I be more bothered about how I act wrongly in anything that happens.  His Right-Now Grace purifies me.

17. God loaned a little boy to my oldest daughter.  Our first grandchild.  To watch that unfold was such a #miracle.  I mean, prejudices and pride I held hidden didn't seem to matter as a life hung on the balance.  Psalm 139 - all our ordained days, will we truly live and let go of what holds us locked up in our hearts.  I was able to wrestle with that with some victory.  Immense gratitude holding this fresh face of God to me. 

18. Something clicked for me as 365 days waxed and waned.  Philemon 1:17 - "Charge that to my account."  All the distance people have put between me and them.  The hurtful words.  The missing actions.  The revengeful innuendos.  I don't know how, but my God is---a little more than usual---reversing my thinking and making me care more about what I'm doing to them.  Just charge what they have done to me to my account.

19. I am surrounded by some incredibly supportive people.  I've seen the 2 John 1:2 Advocate of my soul in someways I've never seen before.  If I could sit across from you and tell you how He has cared for me in 2014, it would make you weep with me.  Honestly!  Maybe all we need is one Advocate and our little broken community of lovers.
20. Something peaked for me as the pages fold right this New Year's Eve night of 2014. Reading through the Bible this year has changed me---cause it read me. And I can't keep on unless it is right. I know a little more firmer in my soul of an Anchor in the midst of this darkness in which I sit.  I'm all right cause He wrote to me in Revelation 21:5: "My little child, I am making all things new." I'll be a little more new tomorrow when I wake up in 2015.
                                                                           Merry Christmas and Happy New from The Brandons

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hyde Park's Star-Spangled Banner Waved Over the Land of the Free Today

Celebrating Veteran's Day

April 20, 1943. The Submarine USS Grenadier was discovered and attacked by the enemy, the Japanese. Onboard that night was our chapel speaker this past week, Tim McCoy, a Seaman First Class. Losing all power and lighting the submarine sank in 270 feet of water, sinking to the bottom of the sea with a fire burning in the control room. Using boy scout methods and all hands on board, they repaired the damaged submarine enough to raise it to the surface. That's where they were detected by a Japanese ship. His captain ordered all men to scuttle. Abandon the ship! Right into the hands of the Japanese. Taken prisoner onboard the Japanese ship and taken to Penang. Confined to two separate rooms at the Light Street Catholic Convert where the nuns were also held captive. These prisoners would carve their names on the door of the convent. The names are still there today. A memorial. The first 7 days---one spoonful of water total for each seaman. They had to stand at attention for 24 hours for those 7 days. When one would collapse, the other would pick him up and let them rest on their shoulder. Meanwhile the Commanding Officer went through waterboarding for those 7 days. Then enemy's intent: to strip him of any info he would give about America and its operations. Never did any of McCoy's troops divulge any information to the enemy, no matter what!

The torture continued for 4 months. Starvation.  Beatings. Splinters driven up their nails. Pencils mashed with sledgehammer force between their knuckles and toes. The only food for four months was one cup of uncooked rice in 120 days. They went from strapping young men to under 100 pounds each. Some died of starvation. One fell into a trance, the pain was so overwhelming---his name was George Snyder. He began hallucinating about food, the good life. 

At this point in the chapel talk, McCoy straightened up and with the charm of a gentle giant, he said to us: "Let me give you something to take with you. We all have trouble in our lives. Divorce. Loss. You can fight because of stories like George Snyder. You see, we had to put him in the hospital for losing touch with reality. He was a man of faith in overwhelming pain. Somehow, as I worked as a slave labor, one day it seemed as a blanket had been thrown over me. I knew I had to go to the hospital to see my friend in trouble. I knew he was dying. When I came to him, he was not in this world; but he was not in the next world either. Snyder looked up and said: 'Father, I see Thy Face.' And he slid right into heaven. So, this is my story. When no one can help you, God can. Give it a try. He was there. He is here today. It was my faith in God that got me through this. God carried me."  

After the four months of torture, McCoy's crew was sent to Yokohama in Japan and they were split up and sent to work as slave laborers working in a steel mill, the world's second largest steel mill and shipyard in the world. This required the work ethic of a workhorse, not men barely 100 pounds. He worked as a slave laborer for a couple more years until the time that the war ended and they were released to come home. McCoy would be stateside a mere 3 days before he would meet the love of his life---his wife. That fractured soul met a helpmeet who adored him and would walk by his side for 59 years. 

Now, I may not have all my facts 100% correct but this I know---I was touched in deep places in my heart today.  What I loved about this gentleman is that he offered hope to each one of us. Take Courage! At this moment, a chapel full of awestruck teenagers, 75 years younger than this seaman, stood to join their High School Choir and the esteemed Lieutenant Tim McCoy in singing The Star-Spangled Banner. And that star-spangled banner that stands a few feet from our chapel door, that banner waved over the land of the free and the home of the brave today because of men like Tim McCoy. 

I spoke with McCoy after Chapel and asked what was the difference in subsequent wars where so many do not embrace the same philosophy of being an overcomer. He shared with me: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free, only to find out you were the prisoner." I always tell myself: FIDO… "Forget it and drive on." No one can help you like God can. 

McCoy remained in the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign, and retired as Lieutenant after 24 years of active duty. He went back to the submarine, his friend.  We celebrate this veteran!

Beautiful chapel message. His name is carved on the wall of the Convent in Malaysia. His brave story is engraved on a Navy tablet which time will not efface. And His God has engraved His Name Forever on the palm of His Hands. Isaiah 49:16.  And McCoy's words have sunk into Hyde Park hearts - Psalm 51:6. Forgive. 

I told him, with tears falling down my cheeks. God is the Lifter of your head. Then. And Now! Psalm 3:3. 

God Bless America! God Bless our Veterans!


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Christmas Mission Trip to Peru


Hey, this is Britt on my mom's blog.

I can hardly believe that I have reached the midway point of my undergraduate work at the University of Texas. My college experience has been awesome.

This past summer, I worked at Pine Cove Camps for three months as a Senior Counselor. Last January, I went on an international mission trip with Pine Cove to Cochabamba, Bolivia. I have been selected to go again with Pine Cove on a mission trip this coming January 2013 to Lima, Peru to teach leaders at a national camp how to better run their camps and make a difference in the lives of youth.

Pine Cove has been taking college students on Commission Camping mission work in Latin America for the past seven years.  I hope that I am able to raise the money to be a part of this unbelievable opportunity to reach lives for Christ. 

What I am asking of you is to first pray for God’s direction and provision for this trip to Lima, Peru. Secondly, I am asking you to consider helping me financially to be able to participate in this trip. I want to follow God’s call. This last $1,000 has been difficult to raise.  If you feel led to give, please make your check out to me and send it to:  Britt Brandon, P.O. Box 90814, Austin, TX 78709 or you can directly donate to the PayPal account:  I will forward all of the money on to Pine Cove. All gifts are tax deductible.

Please know that any support you are able to provide for me to go on this trip will be a blessing. I am hoping to find 100 friends who will dontate $10 as a one-time gift.  Every $10 will move me forward to be able to attend this outreach to the people of Peru. Whatever you decide, thank you for your prayers and for your love for the Kingdom. And thanks for reading this.

Britt Brandon
University of Texas, Junior

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Britt

                                                                                                                                                                        We waited 7 l-o-n-g years for your arrival. 

Seven years of infertility after having three children in three years. 

I just had to touch your big toe, first thing, to see if you were really real.  Oh the joy!

Endless swim meets...thirteen years worth.

Exciting AAU basketball games...eight years total.

Epic being named a Terry Scholar at UT
                              and a Coca-Cola Scholar.

Our circumstances do not define us.

Our lives are not centered around our wins and losses.
Only one Center.

In just 21 years, you have been through a lot.
You watched your Madre suffer like none of my other children have.
We could not be any more proud of how you have embraced the God you love.
Look at how young you were when you moved to Austin.

Some memories I hold dear was your trip to Thailand
when you were seventeen.
You raised all kinds of money to help an orphanage
where Brooke volunteered.

Happy 21st Birthday to 6'4" of humility and kindness and love.
Your siblings adore you!

And a verse I pray for you all the time ---
2 Timothy 4:7
Fight the Good Fight
Finish Your Course
Keep Your Faith

Love You Forever.
Miss You So.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Congratulations Brooke & Luke on Your New Life Together

 Brookie Two Shoes is Getting Married.

No words can convey this Mama's gratitude and love
for this girl of mine.  The words just haven't been created yet---not in the dictionary.  I love her more than words can wield the matter, as Shakespeare once said.

Brooke has brought me more joy than
I ever knew possible.
She's been a dream to raise. 
From Cabbage Patch dolls
to coloring books galore
to life-long piano play
to 3-legged race back-to-back 7-year Champion
to Mission Trip lover
to Texas Youth & Govt Attorney General
to U.S. Senate Youth Delegate for Texas
to Coca-Cola Scholar
to Valedictorian
to the perfect Aggie
to Former Aggie with a costly ring
to SBC Journeyman in Thailand
to UTA Student Worker
to Connect Children's Minister
and I've missed a whole bunch in-between ...

Barrett Brookie and Blair ~ Preschoolers Together
Middle School Days - You made your own dresses - sounds like Pioneer Days

High School Days ...
and little Britt says: Why did you part my hair in the middle???

The most awesome Roommates that God brought your way.
Life Long Friends!

18 Times a Bridesmaid ...
Now you will walk the aisle to pledge your Love & Loyalty
Your Life at UTA  -  You loved these girls so much!  And they loved you!
Chiang-Mai, Thailand where you laid down your life for your friends.

You were only four when you crawled over the seats of your siblings
in the movie theater watching The Little Mermaid
to reach your daddy's neck and cry out to him:
"I'll never leave you, Daddy.
I'll never get married."
You were only 4.
The time has come.
Go forth to love this man.
And vow your love away forever.
And become one in the God you both adore.
It is your calling ~ it's your turn ~ and it's good!

And you met Luke from Kansas in Oklahoma ... and you knew ...

Life before Britt
You will always be my little girl
Love You More Than Words Can Tell

Treat Luke like a king among men, he is.
As you open this new chapter of your life,
May the Beautiful God in you
Grace you with His Power & Presence.
And may the Word He gave you yesterday,
2 Corinthians 5:14
be oh-so-ever true in both of you.
Controlled by the Love of your God!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Britt Returns from Bolivia

         * Thank You from Beautiful Bolivia  *

                                        This is Britt.  I want to say a huge Thank You for your awesome support
                                                   of my trip to Bolivia through your prayers and financial gifts.
 It was so exciting to be a part of what God is doing in Bolivia. I was a part of a group of 15 Pine Cove staffers who partnered with Camp KewiƱa in Cochabamba within the network of Christian Camping International. This was the 1st year for this partnership for Pine Cove. It was a humbling experience to help teach their native staff some of the things we do to run a camp well and learn from them how to share the gospel message in their cultural context.

                                            We actually ran a camp of high school students with the Bolivian leadership,
                                  incorporating theme nights and all those things that make Pine Cove what it is---
                                                         an awesome place to find God and know Him better. 
                                                       I learned that God moves despite the cultural barriers.
                                                        God is working all over the world, not just America. 

                                           We share one common goal to know Christ and make Him known. Philippians 3:10
On our day off, we hiked up a mountain with a crazy steep incline & visited the Cristo de la Concordia. Look at the amazing view of  2 million people in Cochabamba as we gazed from inside of the huge statue of Christ.

I made lifelong friends in Bolivia. I’ll serve with these guys this summer as I’ll be a Senior Counselor at Pine Cove Camps. If you’d like to read more about our time in Bolivia, our ministry blog is: 

Because of you, I could go.
My sincere gratitude
for helping to send me to Bolivia.        Britt

Friday, December 30, 2011

Whisper A Little Prayer for Britt in Bolivia

Would you whisper a little prayer for my boy? Britt leaves for Bolivia on Tuesday on a mission trip with the leaders of Pine Cove Camps.  It's a beautiful vision PCC is bringing to several places in South America.

We're on our way to Pine Cove this weekend.  What stirs in Britt's heart is such a good thing.  He could be spending his Christmas break skiing with his buddies.  He wanted to be a part of making a difference in Bolivia.

We would be so humbled if you joined us in praying for Britt sometime during the next two weeks.  Pray God's Protection over my boy.  He has finally recovered from a year-long bout with mono.  Pray God's Good Hand over the 15 college students and Pine Cove leaders on this trip.  May they all be "gripped" by a very Good God. 

And pray that the rest of his money comes in by this Tuesday when he leaves.  He still is in need of about $500. Would you like to join in on what God is doing in another country? If God leads you to send $5 or $50, you can send it to Britt by PayPal. So appreciative! Our PayPal account address is: You may call Britt directly to talk or pray with him about his trip, if you would like ~ 817.915.3349.

To those of you who gave to Britt to make this dream of his come true, this mom sends a huge note of thanks.  This has been a very tight tough year financially for us, coming off of cancer.  God has stepped into our midst and provided in our need in ways that just doesn't happen very often in America.  Long story.  Big God!  We are so grateful that Britt has this awesome opportunity.

There is always a "ram in the thicket" and may we have eyes to see what God is doing in our lives.  May He provide for our son and those he will reach, beyond what we can ask.

A Thousand Thanks for caring about our youngest boy whom God is stirring. Would you say a little prayer for him this day?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Barrett

Happy 30th Birthday Barrett
We've watched you train to become one of the most awesome pro triathletes out there.
You've always had an awesome work ethic.
You have your dad's #1-in-the-country genes.

Your mom remembers most of the past three decades.
You brought us more joy than I can ever tell.
Your sisters adored you ... and they still do!

Whether it's placing 5th in the ITU Team Triathlon World Championships in Switzerland
Or 1st in a 25-mile bike ride when you were four, your family believes in you
and loves you more than you will ever know.
Not for what you do, but for who you are.
We may not be able to travel the world to follow you, but you will always be in our hearts.
And this mom is right there with you---I'm staying forever there
praying for you every day of your awesome life.
Loving the young man whom you have become!
Little Britt came along ten years after you were born.
Looks like you are almost passing up the 6' 4" fella.
He doesn't remember much of the three of you being at home.
But as he has entered college last year, he is fast becoming your best buddy. I love my boys!
Three Christmas decades ago I checked into a Fort Worth hospital to deliver an overdue baby
who took 2 MORE DAYS to be born.
You have always approached life
with brewing curiosity and boiling charm.
Whether we were on a Real Farm like above or the Worm Farm we enjoyed or watching tractors
You have marked us all forever
 beyond my dreams!
Your family thinks the world of you!
And now your wife has stepped in
to love and cherish and she does!
On Christmas Day when you were asked
what is beautiful in your life,
your immediate response was: My Wife!

You're humble and passionate and tenacious and bright and
you're on the right path of life.
Keep on fighting the good fight of faith. I Tim 6:12
Happy Birthday Son!
Your Madre Loves You More Than Tongue Can Tell

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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