Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Hills and Valleys



Hills and Valleys’, Three Years Later by Susan Browder


“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 1I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”  Philippians 4:11-12



Jacob & Nick

Next week I will pick up where I left off with Jacob’s story.  I want to mention that tomorrow, September 6th, it will be 3 years since his injury.  Every year when the anniversary of this horrific day approaches, I glance back in my thoughts to that night and compare it to where Jacob is today.  Oh how my head spins as pictures of his healing race through and all I can do is smile and have a heart full of gratitude for the Lord.  We all experience mountain tops and deep valleys.  I can’t compare any other difficult time in my life that was as heavy and as heartbreaking as September 6, 2014 and the weeks that followed.  



My Sunday school class just finished the Matt Chandler study, “To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain.”  In session 12, Matt Chandler speaks of a day that was so horrible in his life that he can never find a day that will top it as the most difficult day in his life.  But he also says that he had so many interactions with the Lord during this time that he would have never had.  That is exactly how I feel about this time in our lives.  My family had so many beautiful interactions with the Lord during this time.  We all came out differently because of these interactions.  It sure was difficult to be content during the toughest time in our life.  This was a process for us.  It was by far the hardest thing we have ever done.  It’s natural for people to lose their minds and be angry when tough times are experienced especially with our children. Only God can move in situations for you to experience contentment.  The only way it happened was through prayer and trusting God to get us through it and bring us out of it as better people and through the healing of our son.  We had peace knowing that God was in control of all that was happening.  We were totally dependent on God and this was our “game changer.”  


Jacob’s First Taxidermy Mount

So three years later, where is Jacob today?  Well let me just tell you.  He is about to finish his first 6 weeks of Taxidermy School in Georgia and will start his second Taxidermy School in Tennessee.  He is thriving.  He is walking like nothing ever happened and his running continues to get better.  We still pray for coordination to improve but it is so good compared to where Jacob started.  We pray for his memory to improve also.  

Every day Jacob wakes up with a smile.  That smile speaks volumes to me daily and reminds me how good and faithful God is. Whatever your toughest time in your life is, just think back and look at how God moved you through the desperation.  Seek him, get to know him, and focus on him.   




“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:10

https://youtu.be/p4rRCjrAyCs  Tauren  Wells  Hills and Valleys

Counting My Blessings,

Susan Browder

God’s Timing is the Best



God’s Timing Is the Best by Susan Browder

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” Acts 1:7

Everyone has been stunned by Jacob’s progress.  What seems like such a slow process for us, doctors, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and countless others are at a loss for words.  Most TBI’s sit on the couch.  Jacob goes almost all day long.  


Pop, my dad, is one of a kind.  My sons always say, “There’s nobody like POP!”  When you are around Pop, you are never hungry or lack for entertainment.  If someone followed my dad around with a camera on a daily basis, we could have our on TV show.  Jacob loves his Pop.  





My husband, Nicky, my dad, Richard or Pop, and my son, Nick were all eager to get Jacob back to his love of hunting.  Two months after Jacob’s injury, he was hunting with all three of them using a crossbow.  He killed a deer and was all smiles.  


This gave Jacob a lot of confidence and he still had something in him that he still loved to do that his injury didn’t take from him.  He did this with blurred and double vision.  We saw an ophthalmologist a few weeks later.  He felt like his could correct the double vision by loosening a muscle in the left eye.  After two surgeries, Jacob’s vision was as successful as it could be.  This did not give him perfect vision.  It did give him perfect vision looking straight ahead, but looking up, down, and to the sides, Jacob still had double vision.  The doctor recommended he learn to tilt his head up, down, or side to side when he needed to look those ways.  


“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

As we all took things day by day, we remained calm and continued to see God’s activity.  At this time, Jacob is really close to walking independently. Mrs. Mary Ann continues to push him at Genesis Rehab.  He is working so hard and aGod's Timingt the same time realizes how far he has to go.  His personality is in full swing too!  He kept us laughing a lot during this time.  Even though we do not see the same Jacob, we know he is slowly coming back.  The doctors at Children’s hospital continue to tell us that his humor and personality are a very good sign that he will do well.  It is not normal to have your personality much less humor when you have a TBI.  We continue to pray for coordination, balance, his right side to improve, short term memory, and comprehension.  He has worked hard every day to remember all of his passwords to all of his social media accounts.  One day sitting on the couch, he yells out “tiger nation ____!”  We run in to see what is going on.  He looks at us and said, “I finally remembered my password!”  




Counting My Blessings,

Susan Browder




Healer  Kari Jobe  https://youtu.be/Yzejd6r9DwE

A Psalm and a Prayer

Psalm 34:1-3


Heavenly Father,
Help me today to use my mouth for good and not evil.  I want to praise you for the marvelous
things you have done.  I thank you for your goodness and your mercy towards us.
We exalt your name for your name is above all other names.   I will tell of your greatness so
those who are downtrodden will hear and be glad.
Open the eyes of those blinded by the enemy that they might see your good works and praise
you.  Bring those that do not know you to yourself that they may see the wonderful plans you
have for them.
In Jesus name we pray,


Glorious Unfolding


Glorious Unfolding by Susan Browder

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

Deuteronomy 31:6 has been Jacob’s favorite bible verse for many years now.  It has been put on t-shirts and bracelets to support him through his injury.  As I look back in my journal on day 44, I see that our prayers were for his right side to get stronger, vision to improve, brain to heal (short term memory, processing, retaining new information), speech to improve, his right side of his face to correct, and to pass the swallow test that he has failed 2 times already.  I also have my praises written down in my journal.

Jacob raises arm



The praises are that his right arm is moving, smiling, walking better with a cane and assistance, speech improving, and going to the game room with his brother, Nick.


The next day, day 45, we got a huge praise.  Jacob passed the swallow test.  He got to EAT!  At this time he was able to eat soft foods and on a pureed diet.  After all of this excitement, we were told something that pumped us up even more.  The doctor walked in and said, “Get ready and start making all necessary arrangements for care because y’all are going home in 3 days!”  I was excited and terrified at the same time.  In my mind I was excited to get Jacob home, but then I wondered why we were being sent home?  Was it because they had done all they could do for Jacob and this is it?  I marched myself down to the conference room and busted up in there crying.  My words were something like this.  “So when you tell me that you are sending us home, what you are really saying is that this is as good as Jacob is going to get, so here you go!”  As I kept crying and rambling at what a huge error in judgement they were making and how wrong they were, the nurse looked up at me and said, “I think you misunderstand, so please let us explain.”  The doctor then said, ”We are only sending him home because you and your family are capable of caring for him.  We see how you all push him and do not cut him any slack.  We know that you all will continue to help him get better.”  As I look at them very embarrassed and say, “Oh….”  What else could I say? So I smiled and quietly backed out of the room.

Day 48 finally came.  So many nurses and doctors came by to see us off.  Jacob was dressed in his western button down, belt buckle, and cowboy boots.  We left in a wheelchair and with a cane.  Walking out of Jacob’s hospital room, I turned for one last look at our life for the past 48 days and it all flashed in my mind of what we all had been through.  My heart was so full.  I felt so grateful to God more at this time for letting me take my son home.

“The Lord is greater than the giants you face.” 1 John 4:4  

The ride home was bitter sweet.  Jacob just stared out the window and was so peaceful.  As we turned down our street, we see a small crowd and a big sign that said, “Welcome Home Jacob.”  As we get inside and start unpacking, I see many things that my friends have done.


I walked into a clean house and food for us.  Sweet friends had loaned us a shower chair, a food puree, and a bed rail.

As things settled down for the day, Jacob started feeling like he was finally at home.  Whatever he asked for, he got.  His first day home, he asked for a milkshake probably around 5 times.  He got it.  For supper, he asked for crab legs.  He got pureed crab legs.  That night he asked for a Reese’s Cup, so Nicky pureed his first Reese’s.

As we put Jacob in his bed this night, I scan the room seeing the IV pump, the feeding pump machine, the bed rails up, and all of the medicine bottles, and even though I am overwhelmed, all I can think in this moment is that I am his mama and I am not going to stop until every tube, pill, puree machine, shower bench, speech therapist, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Doctor, Neurologist, wheelchair and cane is gone and until God restores Jacob the way he made him.

“For this child I have prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Counting My Blessing,

Susan Browder


Pietro Perugino [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



Everything to Me by Avalon

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.  Matthew 27:57-60

Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.  Mark 15:42-46

“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.”  Luke 23:50-53

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.  John 19:38-42

A tale of two Joseph’s:  Two very different bookends to the life of Christ.   A man named Joseph welcomed Jesus into the world.  Another man named Joseph prepared His body after Jesus departed the world.   The first Joseph was poor.  This Joseph rich.  The first Joseph wrapped the baby in swaddling clothes and laid Jesus in a manger, the last Joseph wrapped His Savior in a clean linen shroud and laid him in his very own, never before used tomb.   The Joseph of Jesus’ youth was a carpenter, carving wood.  Joseph of the town of Arimathea, was a follower of Jesus and had a tomb carved out of the rock.  Mary’s Joseph served as a father to Jesus.  Joseph of Arimathea served as a disciple, benefactor, and friend.  Joseph of Nazareth protected Jesus from death and provided for his early years and Joseph from Arimathea was unable to protect Jesus from death but provided a respectable  burial.

Joseph of Arimathea, as a member of the Sanhedrin, was now in a precarious position.  Somehow, he summoned the courage to approach Pilate and request the body of Jesus for burial.  This was granted and he took Jesus body and out of his own wealth, he purchased the burial linen and placed Him in the tomb purchased for his own resting place, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah.  (Isaiah 53:9)  Joseph and fellow Sanhedrin member, Nicodemus, completed the task of preparing the body of Jesus for burial as best they could as nightfall quickly approached and then Joseph sealed the tomb.  Silence now follows a day of unbelievable chaos and confusion.  All will be silent until……………….

All four gospel authors took note of the service of Joseph of Arimathea.  He was well known to them.  Had Joseph stood and watched the Lamb of God take away the sins of the world and because he was “looking for the kingdom of God,”  Did he understand he witnessed the fulfillment of prophecy?  I wonder if Joseph is aware the curtain in the Temple has been ripped in two and now the Holy of Holies is open to all?  Can you sense how this rich, wise, and religious man’s mind is spinning like a top?  Did Joseph and Nicodemus utter a word as they walked away from the garden tomb?

As awful as this day was for Christ, as He felt the hate, he looked across the faces and He knew He was loved his entire earthly life.  He knew He had accomplished all the Father had given Him to do.   Not one word He was suppose to say went unsaid.   Courage had risen from deep within, not only in Christ Jesus, but the women, Joseph and Nicodemus, a man named Simon, John the beloved disciple, and even a thief.   As His body lay on the cold slab of granite, The King of Kings was completing His mission.  He was facing the enemy of God and as He held out His nail-pierced hand, the enemy accepted defeat and relinquished the keys of hell and death!   His disciples had run away, this is true.  Jesus told them they would.  He was not caught by surprise.  He knew they would return, find forgiveness, and never again be fearful.  The rest of their lives would be characterized by great boldness, incredible courage, and the faith to move mountains.

Two bookends named Joseph play a vital role in the life of Christ and assisting Mary in the care of the Son of God.  A picture of the humanity Christ came to save: rich and poor, learned and simple, blue collar and white collar, fearful and courageous, family and friend.”  Perfect love had been perfectly provided for by His Father from first to final breath.


Perfect Love by Darlene Zschech

Treading in Love,

Yvonne Jones

Just a Sunday morning ride through town

Matthew 21:1-11
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
 ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
 and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

What seems like a simple joy ride to the city of Jerusalem, is the beginning of the end for Jesus.  It will be the last week he spends on this earth and will end with his crucifixion and resurrection.
I am ALWAYS amazed at God’s perfect timing.  How everything single detail is clouded with significance.  We have said many times the Old Testament images are foreshadows of things to come.
Let’s go back to the old testament story of the children of Israel deliverance from Egypt.  Exodus 12:3-11
Exodus 12:3-11New International Version (NIV)
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.








In celebration of the deliverance out of Egypt, the children of Israel were to select a lamb, unblemished, one year old male and just the right size for their family. This would take place on the 10th day of the first month, Nissan.  They would take the baby lamb into their home and care for him in their midst daily.  At the end of the 14th day, the lamb was to be slaughter by the firstborn of the household signifying the night the Lord’s death angel passed over and salvation was brought to the household.  On that night in Egypt, they took the blood of the lamb that had lived with them and sprinkled it on the two doorpost and the lintel.  The Lord told them, “When I see the blood, I will pass over your house (household).
Where am I going with this history lesson?
On the day that Jesus enters into Jerusalem, there would have been thousands and thousands of people traveling to Jerusalem for the feasts.  Beginning with Passover and ending with the festival of first fruits, the crowds’ first stop would be to choose a lamb.


Do you wonder now why Jesus wept when He looked over Jerusalem that day?
He understood that He would be their Passover lamb!  He would be their final sacrifice that would redeem man from his sin and be victorious of Satan!
Yet even today, sadly, we sing Hosanna in the highest, and then go about our business as usual.  We never realize there is such rich treasures in all God has given to us.

A study of the word Hosanna in the Hebrew reveals a golden nugget for this story. The word is “Hoshiya na!”  It literally means “Save, please!” It is a cry to God for help!   It is found in only one place in the Old Testament. Psalms 118:25  25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!
“Hoshiya na” gradually became translated “Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!”
Today as we go to worship on this Palm Sunday, consider that Jesus was the God’s selection of a sacrificial lamb for His household.  We are the household of God. We have much to praise Him for today!
Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come.  Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!
For your kingdom Lord, grant us hearts that bubble up with Hosanna in the Highest.
May we serve you and complete the works you gave us to do before the foundation of the world.


David Phelps   Behold the Lamb

Treading on In His Service

Freda Reynolds

Tiding of Great Joy



“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and the were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you, You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it (him), they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”  Luke 2:8-20

The good tidings of great joy!

The announcement of the most important birth in the history of the world came to shepherds abiding in the fields outside of Bethlehem.  Shepherds!  Most probably the least influential people of that day.   Most were outcasts. They were the lower class of society.   They worked on the Sabbath!!!  No one was to work on the Sabbath; it was against Jewish law.   Because they could not keep the Jewish laws,  they were considered unclean. But, their profession was essential to the Jews.  The people needed sheep to bring to the temple for the sacrifices.

John MacArthur notes that Rabbinic teaching “required that flocks be kept only in wilderness areas.” (http://www.gty.org/resources)  Bethlehem is located about six miles from Jerusalem. The area between Jerusalem and Bethlehem would have been purposely used to keep the sheep for sacrificing.  The sheep would be close enough to be available but not so close as to break Rabbinic laws.

These particular shepherds may have been caring for the sheep that would used as sacrifices. If they were in charge of shepherding the sheep to be used in the temple, they may well have believed in God.   They would have been aware of the need for a quarter of a million animals killed during Passover.  They had probably heard the priest speak of a day when there would be no more sacrifices.  A day when their Messiah would be with them.  Immanuel. God with us was their hope.  Maybe they heard discussions of what Yahweh had told the prophets concerning the coming of this one who would be their shepherd.  I can imagine them re-tell stories they had heard about David and his shepherding skills.  Yes, I believe because of their actions when they heard the good news, they believed in the true and living God.

If we believe in the true and living God, can the world tell by our actions?


They could have been devout righteous men who were looking for the Messiah to come. MacArthur writes, “How interesting that the announcement of the final and full sacrifice, the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world, the Savior of the world, was made to shepherds, who very likely took care of sheep who were offered as pictures of that coming sacrifice.” (http://gty.org/resources)

When the angel appears, the shepherds were frightened just like we would be.  But they believed the message given to them.  We see that they “made haste.” (Luke 2:16)  They didn’t want to miss this one who would be the Savior.  Once they saw the baby, they didn’t just go on back to the fields and forget about it.   “When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.” (verse 17)  They did not keep it to themselves.  They felt great joy and they spread their excitement.  “And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds,” (verse 18)

We are separated by 2000 years from Jesus’ birth.  The story has become so familiar to us that we lose the excitement that the shepherds felt.  This same Jesus who was born in a stable told us in His love letter to us that he will return.   The wonder of Jesus birth and the anticipation of His return is “good news”.   Ask the Lord God to revive the wonder and excitement of His story this Christmas.   Then go out and tell someone the good news that we have a Savior who came as a baby born in a stable, announced to the least of society, and given to a young couple of humble means.  He has come to bring us forgiveness of our sins and an eternal home in heaven with Him.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son” John 3:16


Angels We Have Heard on High

Merry Christmas

Freda Reynolds