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?



















s
















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).



###


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

Saturday, August 3, 2019

DOES THE FUTURE LOOK DARK?




By Ada Brownell

I've never been afraid of the dark. When I was a kid the darker it was, the better we liked it.

The main reason for that is during the summer my siblings and I played Kick the Can after dark. The game was similar to Hide and Seek, except we set an empty can upside down in the middle of the yard.  The person who was “It” had to count to 100 while we hid and then begin searching.

 If the “It” person found us, we could race and kick the can before the person who was “It” could do it.  If we beat him to the can, then we could hide again and the person who was “It” had to count and go back to hunting. Sometimes we’d sneak around and kick the can even when we hadn’t been found because then the “It” person had to count to 100 again and we’d hide.

I slept outside under the stars with friends during the summer, too. Dark night didn’t scare me. In those days there wasn’t much to be frightened of in the dark, or even the light.

One night, though, while walking to church by myself when I was 12 or 13, I noticed the neighbor who lived across the street stumbling along toward me on the sidewalk, singing. He was drunk! I was halfway between church and home so I decided to walk as quietly as I could on the edge of the sidewalk and perhaps he wouldn’t notice me.

 Instead, when I tiptoed beside him, he shouted, “Boo!”

I shot down the street as his loud laughs echoed all over the neighborhood.  I arrived at church in record time, huffing and puffing.

After I was married, in a little town with no street lights I went out to empty the trash in a fenced pit area. Thought nothing of it because I knew where it was, even in the dark. Just as I dumped the waste basket a cat shot up out of the bin with a loud yowl. I about left my skin there.

Today, however, on occasion reality causes me and many Christians to view the future as a trip into darkness because of fearsome unknowns. We’re told in 2 Timothy 3:1 that in the last days before Christ’s return, perilous times shall come. Jesus even said, “In this world you will have tribulation.”

How should we respond? The answer is to get into God’s Word. God inspired the writers to insert so many promises there. Jesus’s warning in John 16:33 is followed by, “But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Only recently I noticed a scripture that hadn’t caught my attention before, “The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick darkness” (1 Kings 8:12).

Solomon reminded Israel of that during the temple dedication when the presence of God came as a cloud and filled the temple and priests couldn’t even minister. Perhaps some in attendance trembled, scared out of what they couldn’t see. It was as silly then to be afraid of the dark as it is now. The cloud blocking the light in the temple was God’s awesome glory and should cause joy instead of fear.

Today if He’s our Lord, we know God is with us—even in the dark. He promised to never leave or forsake (Hebrews 13:5), and we can hold on to that, even when the future seems to look dark and foreboding. God even dwells in the thick darkness!

Copyright Ada Brownell 2016

Ada Brownell, a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, is the author of nine books, including Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance released  by Elk Lake Publishing. Go to her Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell










Tuesday, July 30, 2019

THE BEAUTY OF A BUSY WOMAN




Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (the place of the dead), where you are going.
Ecclesiastes 9:9-11 

BY ADA NICIHOLSON BROWNELL

Solomon, in his kingly robe, his once-handsome face now etched with the journey of his smiles and frowns, must have shut his tired eyes before he wrote Proverbs 31.

All around the palace, his wives chattered, screamed at children and giggled. A few primped before a mirror, hoping to catch their husband’s attention that night. Perhaps the first of the 700 wives started the trend of doing nothing but looking beautiful and criticizing other women in the house.  I imagine each woman wanted to be the loveliest, the sexiest, and the one he would choose most.

 But after being surrounded by all that outward splendor, Solomon ‘s mind caught a vision of a different kind of woman. He imagined a lady who “looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.”

A traveling evangelist also wrote about the value of not being idle. The evangelist, the Apostle Paul, picked up a reed with his rough hands, work-worn from stitching tents,  and wrote to the Thessalonian church, his graying head filled with love and yet, frustration.

“Keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teachings you received from us,” he wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. He pointed out his team was not idle all the while they worked  with the church in Thessalonica.

Paul became even more bold in his statements about lazy people. “If any will not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Although many people work at avoiding things they don’t think they enjoy—like washing dishes, cleaning the house, doing laundry, bathing the children, doing odd jobs, working diligently at a career—they miss out on the satisfaction work gives and the joy of having chores done.

My Mom loved to quote the scripture about “No work, no food,” but I grew to enjoy what I could find to do constructively with my hands. I did it with all my might, as another scripture says. Even as a kid when I cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor, I loved to look back at what I’d done as if I’d created a work of art out of chaos. To me, it was beautiful.

After I married and we eventually grew to seven people in the house, I used to set time goals for completing different tasks. Did you know you can make your bed in less than five minutes? Clean out the dishwasher in just a few seconds more than it takes to heat a cup of water in the microwave? Less than 15 minutes to clean to kitchen after a normal meal? Put everything on your bathroom vanity away and polish the sink in about 30 seconds? Fold and hang the laundry straight from the dryer in five to seven minutes?

Furthermore, have you tried planning meals in your head while doing some of the above tasks? Time? Zero.

An orderly home creates a different atmosphere. We can do a little deeper cleaning once a week, once a month or twice a year. I find if I notice dirt to go after it at that moment.  I can do that much of the bime.

We don’t need to be fanatics about neatness and put the bread away before the person who got it out can get peanut butter on it, but doing what we can when we can, gives us a chance for fun if we plan.

Planning is the key to hospitality, budgeting our finances, finding ways to stretch the family income—and getting adequate rest, too. The secret is being organized. You can always fit more into organized space.

                                             Sidebar: Polishing the Inner Woman

Giving hubby or the children at least five minutes of attention after work or school usually makes the rest of the day go better.  With effort and a sense of urgency, a woman can love every member of the family and train children in the way they ought to go while multi-tasking.

But there is more. Some mothers and fathers pray briefly with their children before they leave the house each day, but if we can’t manage that, we need to pray with them sometime. It’s even better if the family has devotions together. Reading scripture and praying for one another only takes a few minutes, but every once in a while we can devote more time so we can discuss problems, answer questions, or have intense Bible study together.

Other important tasks that actually aren’t that time-consuming: Reading the Word and connecting with God privately. We can pray and memorize scripture while doing other tasks, even while jogging or doing a few exercises and stretches. But it’s important to kneel for a few minutes daily to give the Lord undivided attention.

Most of all, being in God’s House also is time well spent.  When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, everything else we need and sometimes even our desires will be added (Matthew 6:33). Pastors, Sunday school teachers, children’s workers, youth leaders, Christian friends, become positive mentors, tea ching our children to obey their parents and The Ten Commandments. The church can help couples make solid marriages, and help individuals to allow God to direct their steps—making the rest of their lives better.

As with budgeting  money, we can find ways we waste minutes and hours that would be better spent if we managed them correctly.

The results help us at the moment—and possibly change our family for eternity.

©Copyright Ada Brownell 2012

  1. Ada Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15. She is a retired medical journalist for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado  and is the author of Swallowed by Life, Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; and Confessions of a Pentecostal.








Friday, July 26, 2019




SOMEONE FOR KIDS TO LATCH ONTO: JESUS

By Ada Brownell



      “The police came last night to our house to get Daddy,” the little boy announced. “He hid in the back on the shelf in the closet and they didn’t find him!”

      His eyes sparkled with triumph.

      The report came during our opening moments at the Dunamis Academy, an after-school and summers program where I heard similar stories. Dunamis means supernatural power.

       I started the program at our church daycare after retirement. A number of the elementary children in the class were Social Services children who didn’t attend our church.[1]           When I had the idea for the after-school program, I was concerned about latch-key children because I’d written about them in my work as a daily newspaper reporter. I prayed about it and thought God would raise up a  someone with the vision to use the church’s empty spaces to reach youngsters who needed the gospel, and also bring the congregation’s children into deeper knowledge of the Word, and help children not doing well in school with tutoring. I hoped spiritually mature teenagers and other volunteers would help.

      Then I spoke to the daycare director and she also caught the vision because the older children already enrolled in the daycare after-school-and- summers needed something constructive to do.

      The first summer the director taught the lower grades and I took upper elementary and a few junior high youth. We continued the program after school and summer for two years. We charged a nominal fee to children not enrolled in day care. There was no charge to students already enrolled.

      Summers for three hours Monday through Thursday we sang, prayed, played, studied Bible stories, memorized scripture, did skits, saw object lessons, participated in discussion, listened to guest speakers, did crafts and learned how to operate puppets in ministry (the children’s pastor taught puppetry).  Daycare children stayed for a leisurely afternoon.

       On Fridays we went on all-day field trips to ministries in Colorado Springs to show children some of the ministries for which they could prepare. We watched a Christian radio missionary who was broadcasting the gospel around the world. We visited Focus on the Family. At David C. Cook we saw how artists create illustrations for their publications. We visited the Navigator’s castle and others. The next year we visited soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other charities in our city, Pueblo, Colo.

      We had guest speakers for the older children, two I’d like to mention. The guest teenager emigrated from Africa, and told about the differences in freedoms there and America.  She also taught a song in Swahili: “Hold on to Jesus.”  The other was a public high school teacher who taught about preparing for your future, and that included through playing a game called “Virus X” that taught how quickly sexually transmitted diseases spread.

      According to the last statistics I gathered at that time, five million elementary-age U.S. children grow up with no supervision after school. Twenty-two million adolescents are unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m. on a typical day, according to the U.S. Department of Health’s Child Care Bureau.

      That happens while thousands of large church buildings are unoccupied except for a few people working in the office.

      Large numbers of America’s youth have never heard the gospel. The church is losing young people to secularism.  Some churches have eliminated Christian education, thereby carelessly dropping their sterling silver youth down the garbage disposal. Churches that emphasize discipleship often have only a small percentage of children and youth receiving training.

      The first summer of the Dunamis Academy, the two daycare assistants in my classes put the date they accepted Jesus as Savior during that time. Most of the children and youth also invited Jesus into their hearts.

      I wrote my own curriculum, Dynamite Decisions for Youth, and that plus teaching was a great deal of work, But sharing the gospel to those young people was an amazing spiritual reward. If I were young again, I’d love to help establish more programs like it.

      One note I’d like to add. Quite a few churches have after-school programs, but the ones I’ve seen don’t emphasize the gospel. We informed parents we would teach undenominational Bible classes and had them sign their permission. We didn’t have one parent opt out. In fact, we had great feedback, with parents coming to awards ceremonies.

      I imagine they were like my dad when our family started going to church. He told Mama, “Let them go. I heard they teach children to obey their parents.”



[1] Social Services ended that program, which required children from at-risk families to have supervision when their parents weren’t home.

Monday, July 22, 2019

PROPAGANDA AND POLITICS


By Ada Brownell
“For a long time propagandists have recognized that lying must be avoided,” says Jacques Ellul, author of “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes”. [1]“In propaganda, truth pays off.”
Where propaganda goes to work to change minds is in the “interpretation” of the truth, or the way they twist the truth. In today’s terms—a spin on the truth.
Ellul told how the Communist Party in France made progress between 1921 and 1936  because of election propaganda. The same was true in other countries in the 20th Century.
Mao Tse-tung said propaganda can “force” people to become Marxist. His first techniques failed, but then he went to public discussion, criticism, persuasion and Marxist education, especially for children, and he turned China to his way of thinking.
This in spite of Mao executing an estimated two to five million people and several million were sent to labor camps.
 To have the greatest effect, propaganda must base its self on existing tendencies, Ellul said,[2] and not go against ingrained attitudes. Instead of going against what you believe, it gives you something else to believe--using your own desires and needs as a basis--and without knowing it, your attitudes are replaced.
Ellul said pre-existing attitudes fade quickly in real propaganda campaigns where it surrounds a person from morning to night, childhood to old age, in all he reads, hears, without giving him rest, a moment to pause, think or catch his breath.[3]
I notice how schools, universities, and government are changing the way we think. I received my degree after I was age 40 from a state university and shuddered at how different the youth came in, but how similar they were when they went out. After studying texts that ridiculed belief in God and especially Christianity, attending classes that held up immorality as no big deal, being taught about the advantages of a one-world government and criticism of America, most students graduated talking alike, thinking alike, and believing similar things. They resembled a line of toy soldiers where it was difficult to distinguish one from another.
I think they were brain washed. Why didn’t my attitudes change? Because I consciously rejected everything I knew was in error. Sometimes I spoke up and continually prayed for God to guard my heart and mind.
But brain washing has entered our homes as well. Television and movies have a large part in that and we become so desensitized we don’t even notice.
Are we no longer horrified by abortion? Do we ask God for mercy on us when we see the proliferation of immorality? Do we resist the attempt to force acceptance?
What can we do?
Although some sin is now embraced by our government and people can be fined for not accepting it, such as businesses being required to buy insurance for employees that pays for abortion, we can resist. But that might mean a difficult road.
We also can consciously put profitable things into our heads instead of garbage or tainted messages. We can live in God’s Word, find squeaky clean entertainment, and acquire a knowledge of things that add to our talents and ministries.
We can resist opinion leaders who spin the conversation away from the truth.
Finally, and this is huge, we can go to our knees. Ask for miraculous wisdom and knowledge. Then pray that God will send revival to America. We need it.




[1] Vintage Books, 1973, Random House, New York, Copyright 1965 by Alfred A. Knopf Inc., page 53
[2] Propaganda, page 279
[3] Ibid, page 280