Tuesday, August 28, 2012


It's time! Each fall hundreds of thousands of men, women and children around the world gear up for the  BSF year!

Last night Honeybuns attended the beginning- of- the- year leadership training for the Tulsa Men's Class and came home so excited I was reminded that I'd NEVER blogged about BSF.   Can't let that omission stand!

Bible Study Fellowship International is an international, inter-denominational, in-depth Bible Study that has been in existence since the 50's.  Members meet weekly from September - May, with a vacation at Christmastime and a week in the spring. The  2 hour class time involves a discussion  with other members, listening to a lecture by a Teaching Leader, notes over the passage and questions for the next week.  By the time you've participated one week, you've studied a section of the Bible FOUR time!  It's fabulous! The course includes year long studies of Genesis, Matthew, History of Israel and the Minor Prophets, Acts, Isaiah, Romans, John, and soon to be released REVELATION.

This year the study is GENESIS! I've titled it, the GOD of NEW BEGINNINGS!

Several years ago they added a children's program. The Day Class members can bring their children until it's time for them to go to school.  THEN, they kiddos can go to an evening class where classes are provided for 1-12 grades.  The children study the same passage as their mom, dad or grandparent that takes them and helps them with their lesson.

My BSF story:
I first learned about this organization through my Little Rock friend, ChrisW, and I am forever grateful.  That was way back in 1984. She invited me several times and I went to "get her off my front porch" so to speak!   (We became close friends for years.) I was "HOOKED" at that first introduction class I attended and I signed up right then and there.  A year later I became a discussion leader, then the Substitute Teaching leader and then Teaching Leader in Little Rock. (That was an AMAZING journey that covered a period of several years.)

After we moved to Savannah, GA , my friend Melissa T. and I helped start an Evening Women's Class there! (Lots of FUN stories about that endeavor!) When we moved to Dallas I signed up again and became a Teaching Leader again for several years in the metro-plex. (More FUN stories!) The classes ranged from 150 -500 members, the energy was fabulous, the people and their stories forever seared onto my heart.

Attending the class is one thing, serving as a Teaching Leader is another amazing experience BUT the leadership training was off the charts wonderful as well.  Relationships that were formed during those times are eternal, and those leaders and former leaders from Little Rock, Savannah and Dallas are still my soul-mate buddies. Our hearts beat in the same rhythm, even though separated by hundreds of miles.

The leaders meet weekly at another time and place for invaluable training, the Evening Women's Class leaders did and still do meet for a couple of hours beginning at 5:30 AM on Saturday mornings.  YEP, you read that right! That early morning session became the "highlight" of the week for most of us.  The materials and support from BSF headquarters at San Antonio Texas changed me forever.  That training still "splashes" over into all areas of my life.

Last week an acquaintance asked me, "Well, just what DID you get out of all those years at BSF?"
(Asked with a tone of disgust, which for mysterious reasons almost always emanates from people that have never attended.)

It's a great question, easily answered. Along with deep, deep friendships all over the country, I have a  working knowledge of the Bible AND AN EXTREMELY HIGH VIEW OF GOD and therefore a pretty low view (and expectation) of mankind. That's it!

That viewpoint changes EVERYTHING!!!

I'm confidant that many of our troubles occur because we MERE mortals try to relate to a deity of our own imaginations, rather than the one revealed in HIS book.

My many years my time in BSF was a "season of preparation, for a lifetime of ministry."  I cannot overstate the important principle, "you behave the way you behave, because you believe what you believe." The battles are always fought, won, or lost in our minds.

Honeybuns could not be BLASTED out of that men's class.  It meets at Tulsa Kirk of the Hills on Monday nights.

If this seems like a commercial, I suppose it is!  Lives are changed for the better when people are introduced to and learn to love and obey the AUTHOR OF THE BOOK! 

BSF is simply a very effective "tool" where thousands have come to know the holiness, authority, love and justice of the AUTHOR.

It's GENEIS this year, time for a NEW BEGINING!


Well, I DO feel like a fool!  I thought I'd invented this, but then checked on the world-wide-web and discovered I'm WAY behind the curve when it comes to OATMEAL!  Evidently millions of women and a popular fast-food chain have already discovered this. 

BUT, I'm inserting it in my blog anyway. (For future Braner generations!)

Find yourself a microwaveable bowl.....one with high sides.  (it might "boil" over)
Put 1/2 cup of Old Fashioned Quaker oatmeal in the bowl, add 1 cup of water and microwave for 3 min.
Stir it up a little and add:  chopped walnuts, dried cranberries,  diced apple, a tablespoon of brown sugar, fried crispy bacon bits and a little milk.  (Leave out the things you don't like!)

You will be AMAZED at the goodness.  Thompson would rub his tummy and say...."Num, Num, Num, Num,"  It'll make your heart SING!

Better than McDonalds!

Now, what ELSE can I re-invent today?

Monday, August 13, 2012


The inside toys are packed away into the toy closet.  The laundry is done, sheets are washed, yard toys are back in the garage and it's VERY quiet here at the house.
BeBe Camp 2012 is officially closed.  The campers (grandkids) have returned home to get ready for school.

It's been a busy summer, kid-wise.  Hays and Tiki were here for just a couple of days.  Gracie, Mollie and Thompson (his first year) attended BeBe camp for a week.  Gabby was the  lone camper for five days. 

BeBe Camp is a Braner tradition that will continue.  Gracie decided this year that she will "never get too old to attend."  We'll see! Right now toys and games saved from their Daddy's era are fascinating.  I'm thinking that  in time the activities might have to change from unending games of chicken foot, art class, musical bands, and disco parties to shopping excursions, theme parks and spa trips.

But for the next few years we're still in business.  After all Betsy is only one, she has yet to experience the thrill of  the Magic Tent and being spoiled by two doting grandparents for a week.  Mollie, Thompson and Gabby are still entertained by shadows on the wall and stories of the Berenstein Bears. Hays, Tiki, Dax and Maggie enjoy video games and bicycles, we hold out hopes that their schedules will allow them to return before they are all grown up. (I'm thinking Hays might enjoy a trip to OSH KOSH  to the airplane show next summer! See older post!)

This week it's time for detox!  That is the period of time when all becomes silent and the only laughter comes from remembering the crazy things we did and the funniest quotes from the short people!  Gazing at the pictures of our adventures is a fun time.

Detox time means I get to rest and regroup.  Its a time for the parents to exhibit extraordinary patience as the kiddos readjust to "real life" without their every wish being met with a resounding, "you bet, let's do it!"   Yes, its' the job and the delight of the OLD people to make smiles appear on young faces.  (Parents WILL understand it one day, we'll just tolerate their intolerance until they become grandparents! Then they'll "get it." )

We are in the season of life called PLAY!  Constant, fully engaged PLAY when the kiddos are around.  I highly recommend it.

In a few days planning will begin for next season.  New games, new toys, new ideas?  Parents better get them registered soon.  The Camp Calendar will fill up FAST!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This week we received another update on my elderly uncle that is living in the Veterans Home in Quincy, Illinois.  It's been 5 months since we moved him in to that wonderful place filled with WWII vets.
The nurse reported, "He's doing fine, I don't think he's worrying about anything in the past or the future. He's a sweet man that is living in the present."

LIVING IN THE PRESENT!  Only concerned with the now! Well, that caught my attention.  First of all, I'm VERY grateful that he's doing good,  that he's receiving the careful attention that he needs from trained professionals.  It is extremely comforting to know he is safe, well cared for and making a new life rolling up and down the hallways in his wheelchair visiting with his new friends.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT!  Wow, what a great attribute!  Did it take him 86 years to learn that trait?  Do I know HOW to do that???  Do others that I love? Is it possible to step off the George Jetson mental treadmill and enjoy each moment?

It almost seems like a fantasy life.  Can an intelligent being actually accomplish that?  Is it possible to forgive and forget all that has gone before so that the mention of that hurt no longer brings any pain at all?  Is it possible to look at your children and grandchildren through the lens of our present culture and fragile world and abandon the worry that sneaks into your heart as you wonder how their future will unfold?

If obsessing with the past OR the future were an Olympic Sport most of  us would qualify for the final event.  I talk to  many women in all stages of life and it doesn't take long before tears roll down those sweet cheeks as they relate a terrible wrong from their past or an even bigger fear clouding their future which is stealing their present joy.

We all know it's true that you can't change the past and worrying about the future is a colossal waste of time since most of the stuff we think MIGHT happen NEVER does anyway! We KNOW it, but often don't live it!

I'm thinking that LIVING IN THE PRESENT might involve a whole lot of forgiveness, of ourselves and others, AND abandoning future fears as vain imaginations!  There's way too much time spent on what DID happen or what MAY! Truth be told, we can't do much about either one.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT! We could add years to our lives!  Moments, seconds, minutes, days, weeks and years consumed with worry and fear could be made available instantly to ENJOY.

If we fully engage in the moment we might actually experience meaningful conversations, enjoy the beauty of our surroundings, accomplish our work with joy and purpose, feel deeply and laugh more freely.  If this idea were to go viral the whole US population could get extra hours of deep peaceful  sleep and be able to survive without the myriad of mood altering anti-depressants.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT!  I think I'll practice this for the next ten minutes!  You with me?

Instant forgiveness and joyful abandonment! This is going to take some mental discipline!
I think my elderly uncle has won the gold!  I'd be VERY happy with the silver or bronze, OR just grateful to be in the race.