Monday, November 26, 2007


We have an advantage on the Christmas holidays. A lotta years ago we started having our Brannen Christmas at Thanksgiving because my parents and Frances' parents lived about 600 miles apart - and we could not afford the gas money to make two trips to visit them with no time to recoup the travel expense in between. I think it was my Mom's idea (maybe because she was always wanting to open Christmas presents early?) Or maybe it was Daddy who wanted to open presents early. :) Anyhow — we have the Brannen Christmas at Thanksgiving - then go to the Hildreth's at Christmas until now. Works nicely for us. So our Christmas tree was put together early and holly is hanging already.

Thursday, we had our normal food fling at my sister Bonita's house. More food and drink and merry-making than the law allows. I am SO BLESSED to have been with all my siblings (Wilmon, Lowell, Bonita, and Donice and their spouses). Of our Fred Brannen's family, only Tabitha, the preacher in our group, is experiencing the same thing that we used to experience in earlier years, the need to be in two different places at the same time. And Mom was there. Alive and well, and still able to preach. She recently traveled more than a thousand miles to preach. My two sisters both live here in Cleveland. One brother lives here. The other brother lives in Texas but has bought near here (about 20 miles away) in anticipation of his retirement. Aren't I blessed?

Friday, I took my good friend Ed Williams and his son and three grandsons, plus one of the grandson's friends up to my cabin in the mountains. We built a campfire and ate and played music and sung and had a great time roasting marshmallows for the finale. It was deer hunting season so Ed and I took rifles. Young people left about 2:00p so Ed and I hunted some - then took the long way home through Tellico Plains. I started to feel nauseous and head-achy, so decided to let Ed drive. By the time I got home I was losing my lunch. I was S-I-C-K! This morning I am feeling a little better but not much. After losing all that food and going through all that pain I had a good thought - "ahhhhh" said I, "The good thing is I've probably lost weight!" But guess what? I still weigh the thing that I did before Thanksgiving.

Go figure!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You've Gotta Hear This

Jerry Lee Lewis from YouTube!

This is the way I remember him. There are other videos of him in more recent years which you also may enjoy. I once had a long play record album of him singing 10 or 12 religious songs but alas it is no longer to be found. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fall Foliage Tour

Frances and I together with Dewain and Debbie, and Rhonda (Debbie's Sister) and her husband Jerry took the train from Chattanooga's Grand Junction down to Summerville, Georgia on Saturday. It was a terrific time of family fun for us all. If you haven't ridden the train lately you should aim to do this with someone you love. Here's a few pictures!
Along the way I thought of Daddy too often to mention. His stories of his hobo days were in our conversations of course. Also Frances and I sung some train songs, or at least parts thereof, like "weeeeeee ouuuuuuuu, weee-ouuuu, weee-ouuu, wee - oh brother if you get to heaven you must get off th freight, just the glory special takes you to the pearly gates -- don't you hear that whistle blowing, hear it coming down the track, hear them wheels a turnin, see the smoke a rollin back, better get your ticket, sinner it's not comin back -- all a board, all a board, all aboard this train for Glory Land!"
What a fun way to spend a Saturday in the Fall in Tennessee.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Phoebe Grey Orphanage, Liberia

It is sad to see the poverty and devastation that I see on a regular basis in my travels through many countries in Africa. I have been to the Phoebe Grey Memorial Orphanage in Monrovia, Liberia and know that this video is totally a true picture of genuine needs. If you click on this link <> you will see a report which was inspired by Richard Baker when he was there about two or three months ago. He was deeply touched by what he saw and came home with a committment in his heart to do something. It convicts me that I often find myself looking at these situations and thinking that the need is so great that I cannot do it all, therefore do nothing. I have five major orphanage efforts going in Africa and do just a little towards helping them all - but I don't do near enough. I invite you to see this video with an open heart and let the Lord speak to you.

If clicking fails to take you there, try copying and pasting into your browser.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Few Pictures

The Atlantic Ocean to the left - The Gulf of Mexico to the right.

One of our tour bus "comfort" stops.

Picture of our ship made from the tour bus.

Wonderful views were had from the deck of our ship at each port of call.

Fred spent lots of time on the balconey

Frances fit in perfectly with the exotic scenery!

Inside one of the ship's many dining rooms.

Can't Believe I Did It

Have you missed me?

As I sit here and reflect on the FANTASTIC CRUISE Frances and I took from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to St. Maartens, St Lucia, and St. Kitts aboard the Carnival Miracle, my body is still swaying to the gentle roll of the great ship. It was indeed a "once in a life-time" thing. I was in the Coast Guard for four years, so I had been on ships both large and small but I was not prepared for this experience. It was a royal treat to have coffee already made (24 hours a day) and waiting for one to turn on the spigot and draw out a cup full of the full-bodied aromatic blend that only a sailor can make! Can you believe 24 hours a day fresh Pizza? Exotic Asian foods of every sort? Escargot, Kalamari, Shrimp, Red Snapper, Tilapia, baked, grilled, fried, grits, gravy eggs benedict, boiled eggs, omelette of your choice, French toast, pancakes, bacon, sirloin steaks every night - or your choice of a dozen entrees...too much to consume and too much to remember it all. This was the third vacation we have taken in the last nine years so I was ready for it. Now it's time to get back to work - but - waaaaaaaaaaashhhhhhhh! I don't wanna gooooooooooo!

We were with friends from Lenoir City - Frances' sister andbrother-in-law Curtis and Elizabeth Fritts, Ron and Priscilla Tarpley, Tom and Barbara Evensen, together with Roy and Geneva Hamilton. The fellowship with them while experiencing this trip was like icing on the cake. Our getting onto the ship, relaxing aboard ship, the sight-seeing trips into the islands, going through customs and immigration, were all made more pleasant because of this company.

One thing I must tell you about is the fact that there was a chapel on board the ship. On Sunday, our tour leader (Barbara Evensen) had made arrangements for us to have a worship time in the chapel and asked me to be the speaker. It was a wonderful thing for me to be able share my heart with these friends.

OK - gotta get to work! Ugh.

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton