Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Life Ended Well

Reverend Art Brown
 Arthur (Art) Horace Brown was born on January 25, 1918 to Will and Louise Brown. He was the second child born in a family of 4 siblings, and the brother to his three sisters.
Art was born into a farming family, and grew up helping his father farm their rented acreage.
                                                               Art with his older sister Wilma Brown
After high school graduation, Art wanted to go on to college. However, when Art was 18, his father suffered a stroke and was ill in bed for the next couple of years before his death. Art had to put his college plans on hold to run the farm and help out at home. For 10 years he worked the farm, and helped locate a job in Ontario for his oldest sister at the county library. He also helped put his sister Bethel through nursing school, and his youngest sister Elna through seminary in Portland.
World War II was on, and the government had notified Art that he would be called up for service shortly. He made plans to sell the farm and found a small house in town for his mother and sister Wilma.
His sister Elna wrote him from Portland about a classmate she had become friends with and in February of 1946 Art took a trip to Portland to go see her and her friend Miriam Knowles.

He spent a week there, and then began to write to Miriam. The next summer Elna and Miriam spent some time in the Ontario area leading Vacation Bible Schools, and Art and Miriam became engaged. The farm sold and while Art was waiting on the government, Miriam suggested he enroll at Western Seminary as well. He did, and the government soon changed his classification from 1A to 4F, and he received a deferment. Art and Miriam were married on September 8th of that year and they both continued on with their studies. Three children later, Art managed to graduate in Pastoral Studies.
His first job as Pastor was at a Conservative Baptist Church in Scapoose, Oregon, where he was ordained as Reverend Art Brown.
Art maintained a close relationship with his widowed mother and 3 sisters.
Art went on to Pastor two more churches during his career in two small Oregon rural communities, Hermiston and Grass Valley, Oregon. Art and Miriam adopted a girl, Wendy, while living in Grass Valley so ended up with a total of one son and three daughters.
Art was a wonderful son and brother to his family, and they remained close all the days they lived. God has graciously blessed the Brown family with long lives, serving Him. Art's mother Louise lived to be 107 years old, and died in 2001. Art's older sister Wilma was a librarian in Ontario, Oregon and died last April at age 96. His younger sister Bethel was a nurse and is living in Burns, Oregon. His youngest sister Elna was a missionary in Taiwan for 32 years and is currently living in Salem, Oregon.
 Art and Wilma
Art always remained a farmer at heart, planting and harvesting a large garden everywhere he lived. It was a wonderful hobby, relieving the burdens of being a Pastor. After retiring from Grass Valley, Art became the Pastor to seniors at Oak Grove Church for 12 years and moved to Rose Villa, a senior retirement community in Milwaukie, Oregon. Finally, in his last years he and Miriam became chaplains  for Nursing Home Ministries, serving at the nursing home facility at Rose Villa. He remained active in this work, making his last visit as chaplain a week before his death  last week at age 96.

In these last years of Art's life he and Miriam found a new friend in Chloe the dog. She went with Art as he made his rounds in the nursing facility, and was a great favorite with the residents. Art was active in serving God every day of his life, and was a wonderful example of a life well lived until the very end of his days on earth. What better thing could be said of a person, than to be faithful to God and to end well. Thank you Uncle Art!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jones Valentines

 A dinner date with the girls, at Bob Evans where kids eat free for Valentines.  :)
 Beautiful flowers whose bright red contrasts so nicely with the white snow surrounding the house.
Cookies with tea. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Welcome Snow

"The first fall of snow is not only an event....it is a magical event"
J.B. Priestly
Welcome Snow
We, along with our entire state, have had winter storm 'Orion' sweep through. Although it is not our first snow of the winter, it is the first that has amounted to any depth.
 It hasn't stopped snowing since Thursday, and this morning I got out for a walk and a few photos in the neighborhood. This is the biggest snow storm we have seen since the late 1980's, and at last check we have between 11/2 to 2 feet of the beautiful whiteness. (The insurance man has just reported 20 inches.)
 Evergreens are so pretty with their frosting of white.
 Our front yard....

It does create some work, but the chance to work outdoors is pleasing to an indoor insurance salesman. 

 Our back spiral staircase...
 And a bird house with an amazing top hat-
 There wasn't much wind with this storm, but our back patio and table did get some drifts along the way.
 Our trees get so heavy with the snow that when a branch dumps its load, it is similar to an avalanche. The insurance man got caught in one, but came up smiling!
Moving a mountain of snow they say...


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Circle of Life

 "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have noticed over the twelve years or so that I have been home full time, and basically free from parental obligations, that it would be easy to lose focus or purpose in my life. I have watched as many other women have struggled with depression, illness or have even lost their way after their children have left home, or they have retired from a rewarding job.
 I was thinking about this the other day and there doesn't seem to be many books written on the subject of older women, but not yet elderly. What is it they seem to need at that stage of life? I know for me, I need a purpose, a focus and to feel needed. It seems many loose this after their productive child rearing years are past. Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about the different stages of life. In the beginning of chapter three is a familiar passage that encompasses several items we struggle with in our 60's, 70's and 80's. It states that there is a time to build up and a time to tear down, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to keep and a time to throw away.
I was visiting with an older lady friend last night who has just moved from her spacious, beautiful house into a small apartment in a retirement center. She has embraced the idea that there is a time to build up, a time to plant and prosper and a time to keep. She is now in the stage where it is her time to uproot, tear down and throw (or give) away. It struck me how graciously she is doing that and finishing her race well. I know that we each have individual personalities, and each of us handles things differently, but the sadness and depression I have seen seems universally present.
There is a circle of life, and it does no one good to mourn over the part of the circle that is no longer yours. Finding a purpose in this newest phase of life is key, and the primary purpose of course is to love God and enjoy Him. Secondly, I have made it my purpose to lovingly take care of my insurance man and provide him with good food, good company and clean clothes (among many other things). Ecclesiastes also states: "Enjoy life with the husband whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun, for this is your reward in life." In my case I am home alone most days as the insurance man plans on many more years of working in his career. I do not have a retired husband in the home, and many women at this stage of life do have parents to care for, a husband at home at least part-time, an adult child living in the home or even a disabled family member present. Their purpose should be clear. But for women who do not have family to care for, this is the time to find ways to serve God and continue to enjoy life.
God has given me a renewed passion for music, and God has rewarded me with piano students to share my love of piano with. This has been good for those who can't afford music lessons as well as for those who can. But, I know that I am the one who gets the most blessing and rewards. It provides me with grand kids when my own are far away. It provides me with people (Moms and kids) to interact with on a weekly basis. It brings laughter and chatter into my quiet house. It keeps me from being too selfish with my time. It makes me continue to learn in order to teach well. It makes me feel NEEDED. Here are last years students after a spring recital, and I have added two boys and two adult women to the roster this year.

One other thing that keeps me fulfilled, is working with my interests. I am not just sitting around during the days watching TV or other unproductive choices. I love to scrapbook, mainly along with my interest in family history. I am creating wonderful scrapbooks for my family of the people and stories that have gone before. I love to do handwork of all sorts, and am usually making gifts from sweaters for new babies, to
embroidered pillowslips for wedding gifts, to birthday surprises. I have time to sew for my granddaughters and time to spend talking with all my daughters. All women at this stage need interests and hobbies to keep them busy and productive.
There are always health challenges during the older years, but being kind to ourselves in allowing rest times and a slower pace helps.
And finally, I find great contentment in doing what God places on my plate. It's seldom easy or expected but always rewarding. We continue to have a big house, for now. It has been our conviction that as long as God allows us to live here we will share it. And share it we do, as God brings many, many people through our doors. Some months it seems that we have a revolving door. But that is a ministry that I can do while being home and while the insurance man works. There are so many things God will bring into a woman's life when we listen and follow His plans. These priorities have brought beauty and purpose into my life and I hope will bring the same to other women. If beautiful God-honoring living has been the foundation of your life, the new phases will reveal that foundation ever more clearly as things (health, possessions, family) are slowly stripped away, and once again we return to simplicity before walking into our final phase of life with Christ.