Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 11 of #40Days - The Backpack

Every one of our babies loved riding on my back in a backpack.  I'll admit, I did a few things with a baby on my back that probably weren't the safest, but no one got hurt.  So don't do anything foolish with your baby.

Nathan was the first to discover the baby backpack.  He was our second foster child.  Jill brought home a backpack she picked up at a thrift store or consignment shop.  By the time Nathan left our home at the age of eleven months, he was so attached to riding in the backpack that he would cry to get in it.

When Tucker came along, I tried him in it, after he was big enough.  The backpack was comfortable for both of us.  So, if any walking was involved, he went on my back.  At the mall.  Mowing the lawn.  Walking the dog.  Just about anywhere.

Riley and Tilley loved it.  But only one at a time could ride.  So we depended on a stroller, too.  Between Tucker, Riley and Tilley, we'd have two kids in a stroller and one in the backpack.

Asher, Kaymie and Levi all rode in backpacks.

Drake is next.  Sadly, all my kids are too big for the backpack these days.  But Drake isn't.  I hope to see him more often and to ride him in the backpack.  Yes, we have one especially for him.   I bought it at a thrift store shortly after his birth.

They like the movement, the view, and the comfort of being close.  If you have a baby, try riding him/her in a backpack.  Sometimes, a fussy kid can be calmed this way.  And it's good exercise.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

God Bless,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 10 of #40Days - It's only the beginning.

I went to Jill's house to wake her. "Jill. Wake up. We need to get married today."

It was Dec 22, 1987.

We had planned to get married the next day, Dec 23.  But I was offered an interview on the 23rd and couldn't get it any other day.  It wasn't that I didn't have a job. But I had the opportunity at a much better job.

We called a few friends together and hustled to the courthouse where the justice of the peace was on duty. Jill wore a beautiful dress from her closet. I wore my best suit. I wrote a ten dollar check to the justice of the peace. We just didn't have much to spare.

Then Jill dropped me off at work.  I was late to my first job of the day, as Santa in the mall. My boss didn't take me serious on my excuse, until I showed her my wedding ring.  My second job of the day was selling shoes at Kinney's. After the mall closed, my third job of the day was to make an appearance as Santa at a company party, also in the mall.

Our wedding day wasn't like most.  But our marriage is now in its twenty third year. We started out as two young people in love and trying to do the right thing.  We've built a loving relationship filled with life and joy.

We've endured some hard times and some dark days. But rather than being driven apart, we have held more tightly to one another.

Our success has not been of our own ability. We've leaned on the Lord. Without God's help, we would have fallen apart. I am thankful for His blessings.  And I am thankful for my Jilly.

 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 

I love you, Jilly.


PS.  This is post #10 of 40.  Learn more here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 9 of #40Days - Man up.

I've seen guys who are proud that they don't change their baby's diapers.  They'll pass a stinky little one off to the wife.  I'm not saying to push anybody out of the way for a chance to change a stinky.  But I am saying, "Man up!"  You can change the oil in your truck and let it run down your arm when you remove the oil drain plug.  You can dig a hook out of a fish's mouth.  But you can't clean poop off your baby or wipe puke up from the floor?

I've been puked on and pooped on more times than I could possibly remember. So the Forty Day project wouldn't be complete without at least one poop story.

Riley and Tilley were infants when the roto virus struck everybody in our house.  Roto virus is a very mean stomach flu.  I happened to be changing the babies' diapers. With a diaper removed, I was hit with a brown blast that soaked me. Fortunately, I was only dressed in a bath robe and underwear.

Then there was that time at Shoney's restaurant when one of the babies puked on me. I finished my meal in my undershirt.

And the time Tucker filled his car seat with a puddle of poop on the way to church. We discovered it as we took him out of the car in the church parking lot. What a mess.
Georgia made mustard in her diapers.  It got to where I would lay out newspapers in the floor and put her on them.  It was like a disposable changing pad.

Babies are messy. That's for sure.   But there's nothing sweeter than a baby.

God bless,

This is day #9 of 40 Days.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 8 of #40Days -Stand Still

For many years, I've had this speech I give the kids when we go somewhere with large crowds.  If it's a concert, sporting event, anywhere with a large parking lot, especially out of town, they're sure to hear it again.

"There are a lot of people here.  It would be easy to get separated.  If you get lost, stand still.  Don't come looking for me.  I'll come looking for you."

We took Daniel, Laken and Brooklyn to Disney World in Florida.  Brooklyn was about three years old.  In addition to the stand still speech, we put our phone numbers in their pockets.

Things were going great.  The kids were having fun.  There was a play ground.  True to Disney's style, this playground had huge characters to climb, and tunnels.  It was really nice.  A good place to rest for a few minutes while the kids played.  There was only one way in and out of the playground.  But then...

Little Brooklyn.
Brooklyn went missing.

I quickly ran through the playground looking every where.  She was not there.  Jill started to panic.  I ran out of the playground, looking frantically for both Brooklyn and for a security officer or park employee.  I found an employee and told him she was missing.  He asked what she looked like, then went to get help.  I continued to look for Brooklyn.

After a few minutes of running larger and larger circles around the playground, I saw her standing by a light pole.  Waiting for me.

She said, "I did what you said.  I stood still.  And you found me."

We were so happy and relieved.  I still get emotional thinking about it.

God says the same thing in Exodus 14:13, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today."  If you get lost, you don't have to go looking for God.  He'll be looking for you.

God bless,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 7 of #40Days - Center of attention.

I was pretty rough on bikes.  Jumping ramps.  Popping wheelies.  Doing any stunt I could dream up.  It wasn't unusual for something to break.  With no dad in the house, I taught myself to work on them.  I took apart the rear wheel and learned that coaster brakes have a lot of parts inside.  Putting them back together proved to be a challenge.

It was common for handle bars to give out.  After tightening and re-tightening, I might find myself with handle bars that wobbled as I rode.  There was a pile of old bikes behind the storage shed in the back yard.  It was a junk yard of sorts for bicycles.  Usually, I could find about any spare part needed to make a repair.  Not this time.

I found this example on the Internet.
I had been through all the handle bars in the junk yard.  The set on my bike was absolutely useless.  So I thought up a solution.  I would try to use the bike without any handle bars.  Since I was pretty good at riding with no hands, maybe I could do the no hands stunt with no handle bars.

And it worked.  I would start by reaching down and holding the forks to get started.  After my momentum was up, I could let go and sit up straight while pedalling.  With a little more practice, I was able to start with no hands, too.

I rode the bike to school without handle bars.  When everybody noticed what I was doing, they acted like I was crazy.  I loved the attention.  Everywhere I went on the bike with no handlebars, people said something. 

It became about performing.  I wanted to be the center of attention.  It took me a lot of years to realize that.  I still like being the center of attention.  Who can resist a good pat on the back, right? 

First pride, then the crash—
the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.

God bless,

PS.  This is post #7 of 40.  Learn more here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 6 of #40Days - Guilt by Association

My mom and my brothers all told me I shouldn't play with Bubba.  "He's bad news," they said.

But I wanted to prove that I wouldn't be influenced by Bubba.  In fact, I thought, I might be a good influence on him.

Bubba and I rode our bikes all over North Shore subdivision.  His grandma lived just outside the boundary of my permissible travels, across Lynch Drive.  He wanted to go visit her, so I went along.  She seemed nice enough to me, a ten year old boy who'd rather be outside playing.  As we left, Bubba seemed in a hurry.  He had gone in his grandma's coins and taken several of them.

Back at my house, we inventoried the stash.  They were mostly old collectible coins.  Silver dollars.  Half dollars.  He told me she'd given them to him.  I knew he was lying because I was there.  There'd been no mention of money or coins.  But I went along, after telling him he should return them.  We went to the nearby drive-in and bought ice cream.  The lady questioned why we were spending such coins, but we insisted she take them.

My ability to influence Bubba was not as great as I thought.

On another occasion, Bubba's bike was broken or something.  He rode on back of mine while I pedaled.  No big deal.  But when we passed Gary's house, Bubba jumped off.  Gary had left his motorcycle bicycle in his yard.  It was a sweet bike.  It had a gas tank, throttle and hand brakes - even made motorcycle sounds.  Bubba got on Gary's bike and pedaled as fast as he could.  The whole time, I yelled at him, telling him he couldn't take it.

But I followed him anyway.

When we got to the woods, where no one could see, Bubba stopped and celebrated.  My continued pleading to return the bike was ignored.  Now, he explained, we needed to change the bike's appearance, so it couldn't be recognized.  Bubba tore off all the fancy motorcycle accessories.  All that was left was a plain bike.  It was really sad.

That's when I realized my mom and my brothers were right.  I left Bubba.

It wasn't long till the cops showed up at my house.  I had been seen with Bubba, so I was guilty by association.  When I told them what happened, they went looking for him.

Poor Gary.  He was heartbroken.

Although I haven't given this much detail before, I have told this story to my kids in hopes they could learn from my experience.  I've told it or referred to it many times.  Nowadays, all I have to say is "Bubba" for them to know what I'm saying.

"He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20

That's Day 6 of The Forty Day Project.

God Bless,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 5 of #40Days. That smell.

A few years ago, we noticed a foul smell.  We thought Asher had a sinus infection.  His breath was horrible.  Then Kk got the same odor. 

Asher and Kk in 2006.
It was weird.  So, to the doctor we went with both of them.  We have a great pediatrician, Dr. Cameron Blevins.  When he looked in Asher's nose, he laughed and reached for some tweezers.

He pulled out a sponge!!!

Then, he did the same with Kk.

They had apparently played with one of my car-wash sponges and torn off a couple pieces when no one was looking.  Yep, they put the sponges up their noses.  After a while, of course, mucus collected in the sponges and turned sour.

Today a friend told about his child's nasal treasure.  With a sneeze, a raisin flew out.  They had raisins with breakfast a couple days ago.

It's funny what little kids will do.  But remembering funny little stories like this is joy.  The joy of parenthood.

Psalm 127:3
   Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
      the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
   Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
      are the children of a vigorous youth.
   Oh, how blessed are you parents,
      with your quivers full of children!
   Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
      you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

That's day #5 of 40 Days.

God Bless,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 4 of #40Days: A Letter to my grandchildren.

Dear Grandchild,

I've been thinking about you lately. There are some things I want to tell you so you can be happy and content.

I love you dearly, even though we haven't met. You'll learn that love is timeless.

I long to see you, but only when the time is right. Your time will come and it should be when your mom and dad are mature enough to take care of you. Even if they rush your arrival, I, along with your Mumzie, will be here for you.

You are a Brasfield. There is a one in four chance that your last name is not Brasfield. But you are still from a family that holds our Creator in highest regard, and understands that what we do each day impacts our family's future. You have lots of aunts, uncles and probably cousins you can watch to see examples of good people. Stay close to your family, especially when times are tough.

You will have good times and bad times. Just as sure as the bad times will come, they will also leave, to be replaced with periods of happy contentment. Never let the bad times take you so low that you forget good times will return. Don't ever let the good times take you so high that you forget about God and family. You will need both again.

Follow Christ will all your heart. He didn't give you a rule book so He could penalize you when you mess up. Instead, He wrote you a love letter, to show you how to continue pursuing life even in the face of death. Read it and listen to what He says to you. You'll be happy you did.

Be faithful to your family, to your friends and to the Lord. Be ready for the world to try and interfere with your relationships. Be determined. You can do it.

Be very careful whom you choose as friends. The right friends can help you follow the path to good things, but the wrong friends can lead you to misery. Ask your parents about Bubba D. and about the bad influence he was to me.

Learn from the successes and failures of others.

Be a good worker, doing everything as if the Lord himself is your boss or your customer. Be content with a modest lifestyle and don't chase after easy money.

I pray your life will be full of love, happiness and contentment.

Let's go fishing.

I love you,


Proverbs 17:6  Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
   and the glory of children is their fathers.

PS. The picture above is of your Mumzie and me in 2008.

PPS.  I originally wrote this letter in 2009, but wasn't ready to publish it then.  It is now 2011 and our first little grandson, Drake, has arrived.  Drake, this letter is for you and for what I pray will be many more grandchildren.

This is post # 4 of 40.  Learn more here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 3 of #40Days: Footloose

I am not a Footloose virgin any more.

In 1984, many of you saw a movie that became a cultural icon of the 80's.  But I didn't see it.  In fact, the only movies I saw in those years, were likely on TV.  No way would I have been seen buying a movie ticket or sitting in a theater.

It was against my religion.  Kinda like in the movie Footloose, where dancing was outlawed.

Honestly, I thought the men's fashion of the day, pink shirts and jazz oxford shoes, was sin and corruption creeping into the Church.  Really.  That's what I thought.

What is this?  27 years later?  And now, I feel just fine watching that movie.  But it was the first time I'd seen it.  I just watched it with my Jilly.

The story was about religious oppression in a small town.  After a fatal teenage car wreck, the town counsel, including the hell-fire and brim-stone preacher, outlawed dancing, among other things like alcohol.  But, like me, the preacher was shown how wrong he was.

Compassion won.

In my teen years, I became rooted in doctrine that said that almost everything young people like to do is sin.  The Bible does in fact teach against drunkenness, fornication, hatred and other things.  My church took that to extremes like the preacher in Footloose.

As I look back on my high school days, when I carried a Bible to school every day and was more interested in putting down evil than I was in lifting up people, I wonder if I did more harm than good.  I've heard from some of my former classmates.  Most of them remember me as a positive influence, they say. 

I remember myself as a judgemental person.  Too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.  But I have changed.

Look up.  God is more interested in seeing us live life to the fullest than he is in forbidding us from things we enjoy.  That doesn't give us a free ticket to abandon prudence.  But it should leave us spiritually Footloose.

God bless,

PS.  This is post #3 of 40.  Learn more here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 2 of #40Days - Some people will get a miracle.

"You have five kids?"  He asked.

"Well, actually six.  There's one in the girls' restroom."

"I have a daughter about the same age as that one," pointing to Tilley.

I began to feel a little creepy.  Maybe he wanted money or something.  But I was wrong.  We ended up talking for several minutes with kids buzzing around us.  Good thing the posters were nearby to keep some of them occupied.

He told me about his daughter, Ellen, who had been involved in a car crash.  Ellen was admitted to Children's Hospital for her injuries.  She was hurt pretty badly, with loss of motor skills and possible brain injury.  We talked about God and what He might be saying to Ellen's dad through this tragedy.

We had never met her, but we couldn't get this little girl and her family off our minds.  We wanted to offer her some love and prayers.  Jill and I went to visit Ellen in the hospital.  She was at physical therapy, but her aunt insisted on taking us to see her.  She was not having a good day when we looked in on the PT session.  So we didn't interrupt.  We left the hospital without ever meeting Ellen.

She reminded me so much of my niece, Falon.  Falon had been hit by a car at the age of three.  The accident caused damage to her head and neck.  She wore a halo for a long time.  Life became a battle for Falon.  She ended it with a handful of pills.

Some time went by.  Maybe a year.  I don't know.

Then there was a service call at an elementary school in Kingston.  I got to the school and located the fax machine in the office, just in time for "Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance."  After the pledge, the announcer read off the day's birthdays with instructions for the students to report to the office for birthday gifts.  As the names were called and I returned my focus to the fax machine.  Then I heard Ellen's name.

How many girls could there be with that name?

Will she be in a wheel chair?  Or maybe on crutches?

As the birthday kids filed into the office, I kept a curious eye on them.  Then Ellen came walking through the office.  Smiling and almost skipping.  Perfectly normal and healthy.  I was so excited, I blurted out, "Do y'all know who that is?!  Do you know what happened to her?!"

I was able to pull aside one of the office staff who said she indeed was aware of Ellen's previous condition.  She told me how the teachers, staff and students of the school had prayed for Ellen.  And God answered by healing her.

I still don't know why God heals some people but not others.  He healed my Jilly in an instant, after years of praying.  Some people say you need faith.  Well, I have faith, but that doesn't guarantee everybody I pray for will get a miracle.

But some people will get a miracle.

God Bless,

PS.  This is post # 2 of 40.  Learn more here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Forty Day Project: Day 1 of #40Days

  • After Noah got all the animals on the boat, it rained forty days.
  • Moses was on the mountain forty days and got the Ten Commandments.
  • The Israelites spied out Canaan Land forty days.
  • Goliath verbally abused Israel's soldiers forty days.
  • Jesus fasted forty days.
  • After the resurrection, Jesus remained with his disciples forty days.  Then he ascended.
I don't expect rain, stone tablets, the promised land, a dead giant,  to be offered the whole world.  But I could handle some time with Jesus.

Let me explain The Forty Day Project.

Sometimes, when God speaks, he makes himself clear.  No question.  Other times, he drops hints; makes suggestions, like a sign over a business you pass every day on the way to work.  You learn the name of the business, but if the name doesn't include what they do, you really don't have a full understanding.  You don't have much info.

I've been passing a sign.  It's a neon sign that flashes "Forty Days".  I think God put the sign there.  I've slowed down to get a better view of the sign and its surroundings.  The building beneath it looks like a blog.  My blog.  But the timeline is out of order.  I see my children and grandchildren reading my blog.  Studying the pictures and videos to see where they got their own physical characteristics.  Drake got his smile from his dad, Daniel.  Kk's little girl has long curly hair and plays the piano, just like her mom did at that age.

Then the time line skips back to 2011.  There's another dad, someone I've never met, looking at my blog posts.  He has a lot in common with me.  And he finds it re-assuring that he's not alone.  There's a young Christian believer there, too.  She wants to know what it was like for Jilly and me to go through the same junk she's going through.  She wants to know if she's gonna come out the other side and be ok.

This is how The Forty Day Project was born.  I may abbreviate it "40 Days".  At this point I still don't know what the end result will look like.  I think God is urging me to trust Him for it.

Let me speak about my fears and objections for a minute.  I'm afraid that I might blog for self gratification, or for recognition.  I still don't know if I'll even go public with this idea.  Just like anybody else, I only have so many hours in a day.  So I don't know if 40 Days will be worth the time it may take away from my family or my business.  I don't know for sure if I have created this vision in my own mind or if God really did give it to me.

But faith may overcome my fears and objections. 

I want to simply do two things:
  1. To love God.
  2. To love my fellow man as I love myself.
Will "40 Days" help me do these two things?  I think it could.  If I am able to keep the focus away from me and on God and my readers.  Again, my readers may include my family, my descendants, my friends, fellow believers and non-believers. You are already one of my readers.

Who are you?  Please comment on this post, regardless of when you found "40 Days".  Let me know something about you.  Do you need anything? Encouragement? Prayer? Hope?  Anything that I have the ability and time to give?

That's Day One.  Thirty nine more to go.  Who's with me?

God bless,

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