Wednesday, December 17, 2014


This story has been rolling around in my brain long enough!  I have to get it out and in print.

It is just disturbing. The people in this story are unknown by ANYONE that may read this blog. There is NO way to discover their identities so don't even try. And please don't ask!

Get it is. True story!

A few months ago a friend that I'd known for a long time died. She struggled with cancer for YEARS, for as long as I knew her.  She'd be in remission a while, then it would rear it's ugly head in another part of her body and another battle would begin. We spent many hours discussing her health, her children, her ex-husband, and her single parent struggles.  There were many.

Her mother and two sisters died of that same awful disease in years gone by, but she was determined to be THE one that made it.  Many forms of treatment were repeated time and time again, but she lost the earthly fight for health and longevity.

She left behind two children, a son in his twenties, a daughter in high school. The children's father had abandoned them when the kids were babies, offering no financial or emotional support during their growing up years. Her son was traumatized the day Dad left and never recovered.  He looked in all the wrong places for affirmation and affection, spending too much time in the pokey and too much money paying fines.  He's serving out a 2 year sentence right now, jailed just one week after his mother's funeral.

The absent father spent his life bumming around taking one low paying job after another. He had no home, no ambition, or job when she died, but tried intermittently to repair his relationship with his teen-age daughter and comfort her in her devastating grief. After her mother's death the daughter chose to stay in her home ALONE with every intent to return to high school. (I'm not sure that was even legal.)

Think it can't get any worse???  It does!

The father decided that even a nearly grown girl was too much responsibility and after a 9 page goodbye letter, he took his own life. 

Think it can't get any worse????

A mutual friend called me to tell me this horrible news and read the obituary in the newspaper to me over the phone.
The father was praised as a God-fearing, extremely successful business man who loved his family more than life.  Yep, lies, all lies, right there in black and white.

Was it necessary to ADD such details?

Everybody that knew the family knew the truth.  I've wondered why such blatant lies were printed. They changed nothing. I'm assuming the man's mother or perhaps a sibling submitted the details, perhaps to somehow lead opinions of this man away from the truth. Perhaps grief clouded
DREAMS from reality.

How much pain can one family endure?

Now, here's the good part.

After her father's death, an old friend of her mother's who also has a teenage daughter in the same high school came for a visit and asked the orphan girl if she would PLEASE come live with them and be part of their family.  She agreed and has begun a new life with this very giving, generous and brave woman. God bless her!!!

Cancer, abandonment, drugs, alcohol, laziness, selfishness, grief, lies, pride, single parenthood, fear, loneliness, and poverty all found their way into this family that started out years ago with such hope and expectations. I don't think this is an isolated case.

Love, sacrifice, courage, and generosity found it's way into the heart of the woman who enlarged her home and offered a new life for a lonely, grief-stricken, confused young girl.   May her tribe increase!

I'm SO impressed by this woman and her actions. Yep, immediate action was sorely needed in this situation.

(The long-range plan is for the teenager to eventually live with a young married cousin.)

There's so much in this story to ponder.  I'm wondering how this would have turned out had that young married couple worked VERY HARD to grow together and keep the family intact. I'm wondering if the extended families could have intervened and helped.Were church friends oblivious to the pain.

 BUT, I don't know the details.  No one truly knows what goes on between a husband and wife except the two parties involved. I will not judge them.

No one knows what goes on in a grief stricken mother's mind.  No one knows what goes on in a teenage girls mind that has lost her whole family....two to death, one to prison.

I DO know people everywhere are hurting!  I also know that some folks have huge hearts of love and don't hesitate to offer it when needed.

I DO know that I need to be kind.  Devastating pain is often so very well hidden behind practiced smiles.

I DO know that I am very thankful and extremely blessed with a loving family and a long history of commitment, determination, sacrifice and reconciliation.

AND a faithful, gracious God that supernaturally holds us all together!

I'm praying for strength and divine intervention for today's young families. They need all the help they can get.


DURANGO!  What a great place!  It's beautiful, quirky and fun...AND it is home to the FAB 5 and their parents. They are better known as the  BranerPartyof7.

There is non-stop action at this household! They are thriving and we love it. (We are continually amazed at how Jamie does all she does!) We've suggested that she sell tickets to theses adoring grandparents who get to watch this brood in action!

We've got this Christmas thing, figured out.  In order to see EVERYONE we know and love during Christmas month, we take to the highways and airways, beginning in COLORADO.

Andy, Jamie, Hays, Maggie, Tiki, Dax, & Gabby make up the delightful tribe! Each one is uniquely special and loved obsessively. (They have NO idea how deeply they are loved.)

 We came home with memories of laughter, one-liners, lots of braids, pajama-grams, a BIG doll house, good food, trips to town, new books and books on tape, many SOCKS,  a special church service with Andy preaching, fireplace warmth and SNOW!

And even though we enjoy giving gifts at this time of year, I'm reminded again that "its not the gifts under the tree, but the people around it that are important."

AND even more importantly, the focus on the GREATEST GIFT the world has ever received.....DEITY wrapped up in a baby!

December is GOOD!  We humans NEED to stop and remember and CELEBRATE.

IMMANUEL....God with Us!    That wonder never ceases to amaze!