Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Visit With our Jaycox Grand-children

Pastor Philip Jaycox, our son-in-law.

There is just nothing like grand-children! Each one is special and each adds their own sweet flavor to our family life. Tabitha, our "Pet" (the name she has given herself) has three girls whom we love dearly. Rebecca, Hannah, and Gracie are always so loving and respectful with their Pop-paw and Memaw. Not saying the others are not - just sayin'.

I started to write this particular blog just about one year ago right after the Jaycox
family came to visit us before moving to Watertown, New York to Pastor the Church of God congregation there. Then I got busy with something else (I can’t remember what) - saved it as a draft and just now pulled it up again. Guess what? Rebecca (Phil and Tabi's first-born) is now 18 years old, graduated from High School this past Spring, and last week decided to come down to Tennessee to spend some time hanging out with her grand-parents.

She flew down on Delta Airlines (her first-ever flight alone) for a week's visit! Hearing her tell of walking from one concourse to the other in the Atlanta Airport, then realizing that she was not in the right place, grabbing her purse and running back to almost where she had just come from, reminded me of part of the reason I’m glad I have retired!

Frances and Rebecca posed for the camera several times but I think this is the best of the lot of pictures I took. Do you see the thing that Frances is passing down to Rebecca? IT'S THAT SMILE!

Yesterday, Rebecca's cousin Jessica Durham (also 18) and her cousin Lydia Brannen (now 23) all met at our house and we went to Chik-fil-A for dinner. It was such fun having all three of them with us and watching them interact and hearing the two who live in our town talking with Rebecca whom they had not seen in a year. They had so much "girly stuff" to catch up on!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Moving Right Along

Dear "Diary" :D

Yes, time and events move right along and it's hard to believe that it was this time one year ago when I formally retired. I have enjoyed this past year! God is continually with me. I can see His hand at work in so many, many ways. My buddy (Ed Williams) and I have visited many of our small churches together and blessed them by playing music and singing for them. We have had opportunities to witness to lost people whom we had never previously met. One day we went to Signal Mountain and gave ourselves to the task of helping making the Church's State Campground a cleaner and prettier place. Ed has helped me personally in so many ways like helping with improvements on my cabin (Pumzika Acres), listening to my funny stories that have happened in my ministry, sharing his knowledge of the Word with me, crying with me and praying with me. I thank God for this friend.

The year brought on some challenges - such as Frances having open-heart surgery on March 9, 2009. Our friends and family really "showed up and showed off" as it were - with many encouraging words, phone calls, cards, visits and acts of kindness. Each of them have blessed us in special ways. Time and space (and perhaps lack of creativeness) put limits on my ability to give proper recognition to all who have been so kind. We were especially touched during that time by the thoughtfulness of Gordon and Glenda Bloodworth who served as our Education Director while we were overseers of Kenya. They sent live flowers via FedEx! Also, Kathy and Rob Davis sent live flowers from Colorado.Speaking of Kathy and Rob - they and two of their children (Lauren and Tristan) came to our home for Christmas this year! They are what Frances calls her "Nairobi Children" because that's where we met them. While the Davises were here we spent one night at the Cabin in the mountains. When 23 year old Lauren wanted to sleep on the porch I was frightened for her because the cabin is in bear country. Because Lauren is so pretty and charming and young-looking I could not feel good about that. Maybe she has by now forgiven her "Uncle Fred" for not allowing her to make her own decision on the safety of sleeping outside at night. After all - she had just come back from spending a full year on her own in Ethiopia as a single young lady teacher with a mission organization.

OK - here's the latest...After much prayer and reflection over the past several weeks, I finally decided to take action on something that has been on my heart and mind for at least 5 - maybe 6 months. On Wednesday of this week (August 5) I went to Tellico Plains and committed myself to teach a Sunday School Class for the Church of God in Tellico. My friend (Pastor Paul Fritts) says he welcomes me there and feels that this is a "God-Send". My thought is to teach the Bible through in one year using Alan B. Stringfellow's "Through The Bible In A Year" study notes. I have used it before while I pastored the Cedar Hill Church and also used these notes to teach "Introduction To The Bible" as a class for the Bible School which we organized in Kenya. I am as excited about this project as anything I have undertaken since retirement. In a way - I'm "going home again"! This is the first church I pastored (began there on March 1, 1961) and was their pastor for five years. During those years Paul Fritts (now the pastor) came to work with me as my Sunday School Superintendent. I feel that this is God at work in and through my life. Pray that God protects us during the 50 mile trip each week. Pray that the funds are always there for fuel. Pray that the time is meaningful to the students in this special Sunday School class.

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