Tuesday, October 22, 2019

ROMANCE, RAILROADING AND WRITING




I thought I was going to retire. After all, I’ve been writing for publication since I was in my teens.

I was bored with retirement in a hurry, and I knew I still had things I wanted to do. When I told people about some of the adventures we had working for the Rio Grande Western Railroad, they asked, “Why haven’t you written that story?”

So, I kicked retirement aside, and made my way back to my desk.

We married in October 1953. Les asked me out when I was barely 15 and he was 19, but already working for the railroad. Daddy would have chased him off, but he was my brother-law Junior’s brother.

I wasn’t any ordinary kid. I’d been cleaning houses and taking care of children since I was in the sixth grade. At that time, I helped my aunt manage her small motel, even helping with painting and updating rooms and the exterior. I was the youth leader at our church. Sometimes I sang solos, or a duet with a sister, during services so I was noticed for more than my red hair and freckles.

I was surprised when Les asked me out, and kept being surprised at how determined he was to make me his wife. My older sister had been engaged five times, so when he asked me to marry him, I thought, “That’s once.”

He sent me telegrams that I picked up at Fruita’s railroad depot every week when he worked out of town. He wrote letters in between.

So we had a beautiful wedding and began living all over Colorado’s majestic mountains.

We spent our first anniversary at Pando, near the top of Tennessee Pass, and lived in a log cabin across from the depot.

We lived in the depot in Avon, close to Vail, in the agent’s quarters, but within reaching distance of the dispatcher’s phone and we could hear the click of the telegraph key’s sounder from the living room. The bay window where Les worked sat only about ten feet from the tracks.

When a train headed up the mountain, you could hear the locomotive’s wheels grinding and pushing for miles. Often the train had a helper engine behind the caboose. The monster locomotives pulled probably sixty cars then. But downhill was different. Loaded boxcars jostled against each other like huge creatures trying to be first in line. The locomotive whistled for the crossing, shook the depot like it wanted to make all the nails rattle, and then disappeared down the two shiny steel ribbons.

In Malta, we lived in a railroad boxcar, with a lean-to mud-room and living room built on.

Junior and my sister Joan came to visit there, with Linda, their tiny daughter. They were fascinated by our home. We bought a beautiful white Maytag gas range for the kitchen, and purchased a propane tank to haul around with us for fuel. The kitchen part of the boxcar house was about three feet above the lean-to area. It still sat on wheels.

When we turned off the lights that night and started to snooze, a shaky little voice said, “Mama, is a train going to come in the night and take us away?”

Some little railroad towns had no company housing and few rentals available, When we arrived in Thompson, Utah (at that time Les could bid on jobs in Utah) , only one house was up for rent—a dilapidated shack covered with wind-blown tar paper on one section, and rusty corrugated metal on the remainder. As with much of the housing in those days, no bathroom, only an outhouse. The boxcar had a pipe with running water in a little cabinet in the kitchen, but no sink. An ancient wood-burning cook stove sat in one end of the two-bedroom building.

I scrubbed and scrubbed the flowered linoleum floor and waxed it until it gleamed. I put curtains, colorful shelf paper on the kitchen cabinet, and when we brought in our furniture it didn’t look too bad.

My rich Uncle Bill dropped by to see us there. I was mortified.

He looked around and grinned. “I could build a house like this for about fifty bucks. But take a picture of this, and when your kids grow up tell them, “We started out the hard way.”

I have more stories about our lives revolving around the railroad, such as after we bought a beautiful mobile home and had it pulled by a truck to Leadville, Colo. Les was working a temporary job in Texas Creek and with about two feet of snow on the mobile home, our water froze. If you read the upcoming book, you’ll find out what happened when I went out at 2 a.m. to thaw the water pipes.

Yet, I have no regrets about marrying a telegrapher or going from town to town. God sent amazing people into our lives, and He walked with us every step of the way.

We’re in our 80s now, and in five days we will be married 66 years.

God’s faithful love and promise to direct our footsteps has been amazing. I look back today and marvel and the Lord’s plans for our lives and how He fulfills them.

*Copyright Ada Brownell 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019

HOW CHRISTIANITY MAKES THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE






How Christianity changes the world

By Ada Brownell

The world has changed before my eyes during my lifetime.

I was a kid in the early 1940s when a visiting missionary stretched a snake skin over the church altar. The reptile skin was as wide as the mourner’s bench, and almost went from aisle to aisle in our little church in Fruita, Colo.

“That kind of snake hides in the trees in Africa,” my brother told me. “They drop, squeeze you to death and swallow you whole.”

The missionary showed a movie of almost-naked Africans that heard the gospel for the first time. I thought hearing about Jesus and His love was good, with them living with big snakes and all. Then my brother informed me some were cannibals.

The missionary also told how a witch doctor came to Jesus and the whole village accepted Christ, and danced with joy.

Then I read about Christian missionaries who took the gospel to remote Indian tribes in Ecuador during the 1950s.

 After learning Spanish, Jim Elliot and his wife, Elisabeth, studied tropical diseases and how to treat medical problems in the jungle. Jim and Elisabeth also translated the New Testament into the Quechua language. They ministered to the Quechua Indians from their missionary station at the base of the Andes Mountains.

One day the pilot, Nate Saint, who flew in supplies, spotted Auca Indian houses. The five missionaries prayed for a way to reach Aucas with the gospel.

Saint found a beach where they could land. They prayed, traded gifts with the Indians, and Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian set up camp.

Three Aucas acted friendly, but on January 8, 1956, hostile Aucas speared the missionary men to death.

Yet, Elisabeth Elliot and her daughter Valerie, along with Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) went back and lived with the tribe. With the help of Dayuma, an Auca woman, Elisabeth created a written language and used it to translate the Bible. Now many Auca Indians are literate Christians.

Following Jesus has always been dangerous. In the 20th Century, Christians were among millions killed or starved by Communist dictators Mao (China), Stalin (Russia), Leopold (Belguim), Tojo (Japan), and the world has no idea how many thousands have been killed by Islamic radicals in the 21st Century.

Nevertheless, nations have been changed by Christians who teach what Jesus taught: “Love your neighbor as yourself; Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you; Love your enemies and do good unto those that despitefully use you.”

 A 2011 Pew Research poll showed China now has an estimated 67 million Christians. Africa is the zone of Christianity’s greatest growth today, according to Crux, a Catholic publication. Africa is the world’s most populous Christian continent, with slightly more Christians than in North America. The Pew Forum projects that by 2050, sub-Saharan Africa will have 1.1 billion Christians, almost twice as many as its nearest rival, Islam.

Gospel light blazed from missionaries, but also evangelists such as Billy Graham. Christian organizations built hospitals, orphanages, schools, universities, and charitable agencies. Christians lift up the value of human life, equal human rights, compassion and mercy; education, marriage and family; and freedom.

My friends Ruth and Curtis Butler went to the Philippines to teach the gospel and stayed despite finding cobras in the kitchen. They weren’t harmed and served thirty-one years in missions.

Why take risks like deadly snakes to spread Christianity?

Because each person needs to know God loves him, will forgive sin, and gives eternal life. No one can be forced to believe and receive salvation. It’s a choice, but “how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14).

Ada Brownell, a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, has nine published books and writes occasionally for Christian publications. Her blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com


Thursday, September 19, 2019

DNA: MAGIC IN A BLOSSOM




By Ada Brownell

Ever thought about the DNA in a flower? Or the wonder of love?

In my book, Love’s Delicate Blossom, —I discovered fruit blossoms are much more than pretty flowers. Maybe that’s why bouquets are part of weddings. Here’s what the leading man in the book has to say about blossoms and love.  Joe Nichols, explains it to the beautiful redhead, Ritah O’Casey, who has another fellow after her.

They were almost to Aunt Charlotte’s house, and Joe slowed the team to a crawl. He turned his dark-haired head toward Ritah. “The way I figger it…” He paused, looked away and then back to her. “Love is sort of like growing peaches in an orchard. Doesn’t your uncle have a peach ranch?”

She adjusted her pretty hat trimmed with white roses and moved the hat pin a little to hold it atop her head. “Yes. In Colorado. Uncle John inherited it.” Ritah wondered where Joe was going with his thought. “John grows wonderful tree-ripened peaches, and it’s the best fruit I’ve ever eaten. It’s so sweet, juicy and wonderful.”

Joe smiled at her, his white even teeth reflecting the evening sun. “That’s what I think love is like. Some of the girls I know are like a sour pie cherry. Others are like a plum, sweet but still a little sour. I’ve gone out with one or two who never laughed, smiled, and I felt after I got home like I’d been eating green apples. Yet peaches aren’t as easy to raise as many other fruits. The blossoms are so delicate it doesn’t take much cool weather to kill them. I think real love is like that, something special that must be cared for, like a peach.”

Ritah jerked her head up and blinked at him. “That’s awesome. I’ll have to think on that, and sometime maybe I can tell you why Edmund is in love.”

“Edmund?”

“That’s his name.”

He grinned. “Interesting.”

Then she realized she’d never said she was in love. Her smile flashed back at him and the connection they made with their eyes sent sparks through her.

***

Toward the end of the book Ritah discovers lots more about peach blossoms, and it has to do with the pesky seed.

Hopefully Love’s Delicate Blossom will be published by Sept. 15.

Here’s the summary and links to the other two books in the series, The Lady Fugitive and Peach Blossom Rancher.



Love’s Delicate Blossom Summary:

Ritah Irene O’Casey has three goals: Graduate from college, teach school, and persuade other women to use their brains, talents and ministries. But in 1917 few women attended college and in many districts teachers weren’t allowed to marry. Some women in their Iowa town are throwing their lives away working as prostitutes in the new brothel. Yet, a few don’t even have basic skills for survival as old maids or widows.

Ritah knows the war will make widows of many more women. Too many already sent their children to orphanages when illness death, or alcohol invades their homes.

Ritah believes a woman is as intelligent as a man, and a woman shouldn’t view herself as a slave or a plaything for men. In her mind, women should be respected. First they need to live for God. Then even though they might not have much schooling, they should study like their lives depend on it, because they often do.

The week before Ritah leaves for college, she rescues Tulip, whose parents died of cholera and a man tries to enslave the young lady, only age 14, in prostitution. Ritah finds a feisty widow lady for the gal to live with, but there’s still a mess of trouble.

BOOK 2 in the Peaches and Dreams series.

Ada Brownell’s Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B001KJ2C06?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

Monday, September 16, 2019

THE GOAL OF THE 9/11 BOMBINGS




 BY ADA BROWNELL







What did Muslim extremists expect to accomplish after the first 9-11 bombings?

What were their plans f they succeeded in destroying The World Trade Center Towers, The Pentagon, The White House or U.S. Capitol?

What was their next move?

Perhaps I’m interested in this because as a newspaper reporter I wrote stories about chemical weapons stockpiles in Pueblo, Colo., and Toole, Utah. I wrote mostly about the trouble our nation has in trying to destroy chemical weapons. I’m retired and I don’t think they’ve had success yet.

I’ve written other articles about the military, and have done some reporting on prisons, and mental hospitals.

But I also have done biblical and other research.

I’ve never heard any theory or investigation that the U.S. Government thinks would have been the radical Islamic terrorists’ whole goal in their attempt at destroying America. Would they have laughed at all the destruction, the shock of Americans and the paralyzing of much of our military defense?

Or would they be ready to take over the military if the leadership had been destroyed, including killing the president, much of Congress, and much of our important infrastructure? Did they have a plan to shut down all military bases, state and local government, all law enforcement, airports, and transportation?

Did they have terrorists stationed all over American and a plan to put into into effect?

I’ve heard they can shut down a nation through cyber attacks that take down programed electronic operations, shut off all electricity and power stations. It’s been said during a cyber attack it’s possible sll vehicles would stop and block highways everywhere, probably even stop airplanes and trains.

WE have no idea what terrorists might do in the future, but we’ve been warned. Way back in The Apostle Paul’s era he wrote:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

WHAT CAN WE DO?

St. Paul says,  “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived., But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures” (He’s speaking to Timothy here.) “ e able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

SO LET’S GO INTO THE NEXT CHAPTER:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Then the Apostle Paul tells that he knows he soon will be a martyr, but he said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

WE ARE NOT WITHOUT HOPE. Even though such wickedness was rampant in Paul’s time, millions found a Savior, a Redeemer, in Jesus Christ whom Paul met after the Resurrection. Paul’s letters he wrote in the New Testament point people to salvation, to forgiveness of sins, and abundant and eternal life today all over the world, even in the countries where radical Islam survives.

What will you do in perilous times now?



















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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Summer: A LIVE HELICOPTER




By Ada Brownell



I stopped brushing my teeth long enough to hear the high –pitched hum of an enemy aircraft coming right at me.

I waved my arms hoping to scare it off, but quickly searched for a weapon. A towel was the best I could find and I swung it with all might.

Missed! The flying object went out of sight for a moment, then returned. Immediately I recalled how Christians sometimes complain to God for allowing this persistent enemy to live. Those angry thoughts rattled in my mind as I swung my weapon again and again—and missed.

Periodically I could hear a high-pitched whine as the enemy followed me everywhere.

Suddenly I realized I was trying to get away from an amazing creation. Perhaps it was the prototype for the first mechanical helicopter. I blinked and thought about the size of the thing.

“Lord, you must have had great fun designing that tiny mosquito’s brain,” I said, suddenly in awe. “Lord you are marvelous!”

I’d studied the brain enough to know that tiny insect’s head was crammed with sensory equipment. It was command center for sight for the tiny compound eyes. It governed motion of the all the moving parts, and had sensory information to help the insect find and feed on people and animals. I became so interested I dug into some research.

I discovered the feathery antennae contain sensitive receptors that can detect carbon dioxide in human breath from more than 100 feet, and also detect human sweat.

Next to the antennae is a long serrated mouth used to pierce the skin and suck out blood. Also in there is the proboscis, which holds two tubes, one injects saliva containing an anti-coagulant and a mild pain killer. The other tube draws the blood.

The thorax, or torso is connected to the head. Flight depends on a pair of wings and two small wing-like organs that do the steering (halteres). Six legs attached to the thorax have tiny claws to help the insects hold on to surfaces.

The stomach and lungs are in the abdomen. Small openings draw air into the lungs. In addition, the abdomen holds blood female mosquitoes take in, as well as eggs. A nerve signals when it is full.

Mosquitoes spend their first ten days in water, and despite my desire to see them drown, water is necessary for the larvae to live. If the water evaporates, larvae die.

Despite mosquitoes being such a great example of God’s workmanship, they are more than a menace to humans, causing malaria, encephalitis, Zika, West Nile Virus, dengue and chikungunya—serious diseases.

Yet the pests are examples of God’s supernatural design – a symbol of His love. How special is it that a mosquito emits a shrill warning that it is coming? I consider it a warning like God created similar to the rattles on a poisonous snake, a red spot on a Black Widow Spider, and the roar of a lion.

According to biologists, the buzzing sound of mosquitoes comes from a section of the wings. A comb-like half scrapes against another part whenever the insect flies. Not only do the bugs make noise, but they can hear with an organ in their antennae to recognize other mosquitoes and mate.

The intricate tiny detail God put in the mosquito fascinates me, but I’ll still swat them and use repellant spray.

Things on earth reflect God’s power and glory. So it wasn’t too outlandish to stop chasing the mosquito that night and gasp, “Lord you are wonderful!” God wants us to notice His marvelous works.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).



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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Invaders I don't invite in to my life


August 22, 2019

Dear Beloved Reader:

We have invaders!

My husband just came in from our “Flower-pot” garden, and he had a huge beautiful red ripe tomato in his hands, juice dripping from where a squirrel obviously took a bite. L

Life is full of “invaders,” some just a pest, and some downright dangerous. I had to smile recently when the news reported an invasion of tarantulas in La Junta, Colo., and I remembered my precious friend Sandy Tetley telling me about tarantulas. She grew up in La Junta, and I sang with her and her husband in the Damacus Singers for many years. She told me one summer the huge scary-looking tarantulas were so thick they covered the highway and as you drove you could hear their crunch under the tires because you couldn’t avoid them.

I’m told their bite isn’t that dangerous, but I wouldn’t want to try it and find out, although I’ve seen kids take tarantulas by the leg and go around scaring people. Probably being “scared to death” is more dangerous than the venom.

A big sea turtle came into the yard of our son, Jaron, earlier this week and his wife, son Tyler, and daughter Keira, rescued it after it tried to go through their playground. The turtle’s shell stuck in the equipment. I think they named her “Sally” and they’ll watch out for her when she lays her eggs in sand near the dock on their lake. Last year another turtle came and did that while they peeked.

The world has so many things for us to see, study and enjoy and we have little time to sample it all. As we know, knowledge is vital to our lives. Yet, we don’t need or want to know everything. I’m tired of news that seems to only report murder and mayhem. I’m a retired newspaper reporter (The Pueblo Chieftain) and I know the internet has taken a big gulp of newspapers’ budgets, but I keep wondering, “Can’t they hire a few observant reporters to find good news?”

There’s good news out there. Scientific knowledge, especially in health care, is constantly making advances in treatments and saving lives. Many achievers are doing fantastic things, and God is still working miracles, but most of these stories aren’t seeing the light of day.

 Some things I don’t want to know. Schools and universities now are assigning obscenity for youth to study. Once you’re exposed, you can’t get that stuff out of your head. I thank God for Christian schools and homeschooling. I’m also thankful I went to school in a different era—although in college I had to ask for a substitute for assigned and extra-credit books.

Too many Christians exposed to filthy language and obscenity are becoming immune to it. I heard a lot of it during my work years and I’ve prayed if I come down with Alzheimer’s’ or any other kind of dementia, I won’t speak what I overheard.

We know what we read, study, or hear can affect who we are. See how St. John was affected by experiences: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; (1 John 1-2).

John was talking about Jesus and the Resurrection.

I have nine books: four fiction and five non-fiction, all written with great characters, suspense, and Stick-to Your Soul Encouragement. They contain knowledge you can use, even the fiction.  Get them here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06




Saturday, August 24, 2019

WHY DO WE AGE?

                                       

  By Ada Brownell

      My skin is shriveling up like wadded paper while I’m still in it. My face is showing tracks of all my smiles and frowns.

      “You know, Mom, if you wore long dangly earrings I could use your wrinkles like venetian blinds,” my youngest son once told me—and that was years ago.

      Now my arms joined the show, the covering looking like a balloon that’s been blown up and released one time too many. My hide is so loose I could shake it like a dog’s. If this keeps up, two people will fit in my skin.

      Why do our bodies age anyway?

      Some of us might make jokes about wrinkles, white hair, deafness and “senior moments,” but as my step-mother used to say, aging isn’t for sissies.

      David wrote, “Lord make me to know my end and what is the measure of my days that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, you have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before you” (Psalm 39:4-5).        

      When I wrote the book, Swallowed by LIFE, Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, I told how our cells are constantly dying and being replaced, rebuilding our bodies, including the skeleton, every seven years. Now I ask, “Why aren’t we like new every seven years?”

      In my research about aging, one section I studied was titled, “Aging: A Vital Process.” (Not encouraging.)

      “No matter what genes you have inherited, your body is continually undergoing complex biochemical reactions and ultimately, aging in the body,” explained Mark Stibich, Ph.D., author of Why We Age—Theories and Effects of Aging.

Here are theories about why we grow old, and a few of my comments:

·       The human body is programmed to age. (Duh!)

·       Certain genes switch off and on over time (Turn them back on, Doc!)

·       Aging is caused by hormonal changes

·       Immune systems are programmed to lessen their battle against attack

·       Environmental damage (Where’s the EPA?)

·       Wear and tear of tissues and cells

·       A faster pace of living shortens life (What happened to wear out or rust out?)

·       Cross-linked proteins slow down body processes

·       Free radicals damage and impair cells

·       Cells malfunction because of genetic mutations

Some of the above are theories, but seriously, we know our flesh gets sick, wears out and dies because of sin. That’s the harmful gene we inherit from Adam and Eve, and the only way to conquer it is to accept life eternal through God’s sacrifice for sin, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (See John 3:16).

Sidebar:

HOW TO STAY YOUNGER AND LIVE LONGER (This is more than a theory)

·                 Inherit longevity genes

·                 Eat foods loaded with antioxidants such as green tea and blueberries

·                 Exercise to limit muscle and bone loss

·                 Keep cholesterol low

·                 Use your brain cells to keep them fit

·                 Practice positive thinking

·                 Accept redemption through Jesus Christ and live forever! (see John 3:16).

Ada’s blog: http://www.inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com

Ada Brownell is author of the book, Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal. Paperbacks are available at Amazon.com http://buhff.ly/TLkr0a
8aDA BROWNELL IS A RETIRED MEDICAL REPORTER FOR THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN