Friday, June 25, 2021

Sweet Memories, They Do Make Me Smile

These are memories from when my children were very young. Now that they are all adults, let me tell you a little about them:


Benjamin helps me, with much patience, with my computer problems.

Sarah shares books and movies with me.

Rebecca sent me flowers when my kitty died.

Caleb got me dark chocolate for Mother’s Day.

And any time Ping-Hwei says, “Open your mouth,” I do not hesitate. I trust him to give me something good.


June 8, 1998: Sarah told Kathy today, "I know I'm supposed to love Jesus most of all, but sometimes I love the cats a little more."


June 9, 1998: At the optician's today, Sarah asked Murray what 700 plus 700 was. Well, what's 7 plus 7? "14," she answered. So 700 plus 700 is 1400. Sarah smiled. "There's no such thing as 1400. Hundreds stop at 900."


June 13, 1998: This morning, little Benjie, 18 months old, pinched Kathy. It hurt, and made her mad: "Benjamin, don't pinch me!" He chortled, "No, no, no."


June 16, 1998: The back yard grass got really long, so that after Murray cut it, it needed to be raked. Ping-Hwei raked it, and Sarah helped Murray put the grass in garbage bags. She came in the house and told me, "I helped Daddy clean up the hay."


June 18, 1998: Benjamin cried for hours this evening, and little Sarah came upstairs from the basement and rocked him to sleep. Kathy said she was a good sister, and Sarah said, "I was downstairs looking around, and I thought about how Mary took care of Jesus, and she didn't look around, so I came up to take care of Benjie."


A few days ago, Rebecca noticed the cat box and said, "Somebody needs to clean this cat box. Angel won't even go in it."


June 22, 1998: The other day Murray was out with Rebecca, and she saw a horse at a store, the kind kids ride for a quarter. In the car, she said she wanted to ride next time she was there, and told him, "It said, 'Warning, ride may start with a jolt'. I hope my ride starts with a jolt. What does that mean?"


June 27, 1998: Rebecca is weaving pot holders, some with cotton loops and some with nylon loops. She asked me if when I made pot holders as a kid, if I had cotton loops. I said I didn't remember, and she said, "Maybe they didn't have cotton way back then."


Murray used some tools, and asked Rebecca to put the hammer away. She said, "I'll put away the nose head, too." (needle nose pliers)


July 9, 1998: It's been raining a lot lately. Yesterday Ping-Hwei said he didn't like the rain because he didn't want his feet to get muddy. He asked if it was okay if he asked God not to let it rain any more.


July 19, 1998: At church Doug always says, "God is good" and all the people say, "All the time." Then Doug says, "All the time" and the people say "God is good." Yesterday Murray was telling me about a new book he got for Sarah, and he read from it that it said, "God is good," and quickly, Ping-Hwei said, "All the time."


July 27, 1998: Last night was YMCA night with the church. After swimming, Caleb reached into his locker to get his shoes out. He jumped up with surprise and said, "The bottom of the locker is dusty!" (He must not have been used to dust at home, right?) 

Friday, June 18, 2021

In My Inbox

When worries filled my days—about the future, about my family, my faith—God popped some verses into my inbox.


Matthew 6:34: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”


Looking more at Matthew 6, I’m reminded of the uselessness of worrying about things over which I have no control.

                                                                                                                                                                       2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”


1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”


And the verse which I often use in my prayers when I wrestle with the thoughts in my head.


Ezekiel 36:26: “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”


Ephesians 3:17-19: “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”


Lord, wrap me in the immenseness of your love. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Guest Author, Janyce Brawn

Janyce Brawn shares a little with us about her writing journey. And, her book sounds like a lot of fun.


Hello, my name is Janyce Brawn. I live in NWPA with my husband and our “nosey” Boston Terrier, Gracie. Our three grown sons’ pranks and struggles over the years have inspired my writing and illustrating. Life in general has a way of sharpening your outlook and honing your skills. I’ve written and illustrated books since I used crayons for the pictures of the stories that my twin sister and I wrote in elementary school. We would make up plays of our understanding of Romeo and Juliet and add goofy lines for the neighborhood kids to laugh at. We let our imaginations soar, the sillier, and improbable, the better. My sister and I devoured Nancy Drew and any other mystery books we could get our hands on growing up. Often we would pretend to be explorers and go into the woods and nearby creek pretending to be Nancy Drew and her girlfriends. We discovered our own “secret place” under pine trees, and a “witch tree” that had a long, low branch that we would climb on and bounce up and down as if we were on a magical ride.

Madeline L’Engel and her book, A Wrinkle in Time, fascinated me with her unique names of characters, mystery, connected and disconnected family elements, and wonderful possibilities that all stoked my imagination. My own stories then took on an other worldly aspect.

In college, I studied art, Spanish and English as a second language and then taught for over 25 years, retiring to finally write and illustrate. I have illustrated for the Time of Singing Poetry magazine, one issue of 12-15 pen and ink illustrations each, for over 20 years. My creative works have always nurtured my spirit.  After my husband and I put our young sons in bed, and had our story time, I’d make jewelry as something feminine to balance all the maleness in my life.  My creativity grew to encompass poetry, inspirational articles, illustrations, and illustrated prayers in the Penned From The Heart anthologies, and with illustrating the chapter books Angels in the Forest, and Compassion in the City- Amish stories by Tim Moriarity.

 I love to explore imaginary worlds where I can create unique, fun characters in unusual situations. This is true in my new middle grade fantasy novel, David and the Drainosaurs. This story evolved from an exercise I did with one of my English as a Second Language students. We picked an alphabet letter (D) then opened a dictionary to the d section and closed our eyes and picked 3 words. We chose: drain, dinosaur and diamond. My student wrote his story and I wrote mine. My simple paragraph evolved from a paragraph to a picture book to a novel after winning a writing contest. The judge, an editor, told me it was a fun story but should be developed into a novel. So, my journey began, with my critique groups helping me hone the story and conferences feeding my knowledge of the craft of writing.

Likewise, my main character, David is also on a journey. He accidentally drops his mother’s diamond ring down the kitchen sink drain. In a struggle with a dinosaur-like creature, Princess Doris Drainosaurus, who thinks it’s her kingdom’s missing crown, David shrinks and falls down into Drainovia. He has three days to find the real missing crown to exchange for his mother’s ring or be stuck forever in a land where doors fly, hats teleport and treachery abounds.

In the story, David’s character goes from a basically selfish boy who wants to do only ‘his’ thing. He has to learn to put others’ needs before his before he can have any success in his quest. This parallels life too. When we serve others, we are rewarded more than we can imagine.

I hope you read my book. I’m working on a companion coloring book to go with it. Books 2 and 3 are in the works with coloring books also. You can follow me as Janyce Brawn on Facebook and you can write me at:

Thank you for allowing me to share a bit about my writing and life. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

A Variety of Interesting Books

This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges. By the woman who, as a six-year-old in 1960, became the first black child in her all-white school. She tells how she spent her entire first grade alone in the classroom with a wonderful white teacher, because the parents of the others in her class would not let them attend. She tells of some of the children she has met while speaking at schools over the years, who give her hope, the young peacemakers.


The war comes to Plum Street by Bruce C. Smith. Looks at lives of a few families in a small town in Indiana, before and during World War II. This book is easy to read and has detailed descriptions of life at home and at war. Topics include shortages, rationing, and lines; factories that switched from making cars and other home items to war manufacturing; the news they heard from the radio or paper, sometimes delayed; women going to work in defense factories; news about local men and women who were killed, missing in action, or in POW camps. Marriages before husbands went away and babies born while they were gone. Descriptions of some of the war action and soldiers’ travel overseas which included local people, in the Pacific, Africa, Italy, France, Germany. It tells of soldiers’ returning home; lessening of rations until sugar was the last thing rationed; final news of those who died or who left prisoner of war camps and returned, or whose bodies were never found. Beginning new lives.


The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren. A story about professional rescuers and soldiers, and a beautiful description of Jesus’ forgiveness—“Because if Jesus can forgive you, if he paid the price for those sins, what right do you have not to forgive yourself?”


Strait of Hormuz by T. Davis Bunn. Suspense, takes place in Switzerland, France, and Israel.


The Promise of Dawn by Loraine Snelling. In 1909, a family emigrates from Norway to Minnesota and works to have a farm of their own.


A Promised Land by Barack Obama, the first volume of Mr. Obama’s presidential memoirs.