Posted in March 2019, podcast, Podcast Show Notes

A Little Help from our Friends

Hey y’all!

This week we are ‘officially’ taking a week off, but there’s still a very special announcement for you to listen to. It’s quick, so please tune in!

Listen to the full announcement here

As we approach our 1 year anniversary on this podcast, we are taking some time to reflect on how to move forward. We need your input and feedback, so, please…

Email us your ideas, thoughts, and feelings, as well as any questions you may have.

You can also support us financially by going to our Patreon Page and donating there. If you can’t commit to a monthly pledge, but would like to make a one-time donation, email us and we can direct you from there.

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Listen to the full announcement here

 

Posted in January 2019, podcast

Twenty-fineteen: Everything’s Going to be Fine

Listen to the full episode here!

As we say goodbye to 2018, Matt and I reflect on some of what we learned over the Christmas holiday.

I learned that I’m a judgey, selfish, child who needs to learn to be thankful I get to sit at the feet of a Savior who loves me despite myself. (Yay for self-reflection.)

Matt is reminded of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made simply by setting aside His Godhood to become a man in order to be with His people.

Clearly, we had different things going on.

After that conversation, we move into looking ahead to the new year and ways we hope to grow spiritually as we continue to seek after God.

Listen to the full episode here!

Special Announcement:
We will be taking the month of January off. Previously published episodes will be re-released during this time.

Social Media Links:
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For show ideas or questions:
Email us!

Posted in December 2018, podcast

The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told

Join us one more time by the fire as Matt reads the greatest Christmas story ever told!

This time, it comes straight from the Big Book, the Bible, Luke 2:1-19. Grab a warm drink, a cozy blankie and your loved ones and gather round to hear about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our Website

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Special thanks to James Swanson for permission to use the KJV 401 Reader’s Edition. You can download your own through Amazon.

Special thanks also for the use of “Silent Night (Holy Night)” as our outro music: by Alexander Nakarada
https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Attribution 4.0 International (cc BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Posted in December 2018, podcast

A Visit from St. Nicholas

This Christmas Eve, let’s tuck into a little classic and my own personal favorite, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” otherwise known as “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”

Grab a warm drink, a cozy blanket and someone you love and settle in for this little classic.

For more episodes, show notes, blog posts, etc go to our website

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Posted in December 2018, podcast

“Little Piccola” A Christmas Story

In and amongst all the hoopla for the holidays, we sometimes forget to simply be thankful for the small things.

This week Brandy reads “Little Piccola,” a short story about a little girl who’s been impoverished her whole life, until one Christmas morning when she wakes up to find the greatest gift she could have ever hoped for!

Listen to the “Little Piccola” here

One week til Christmas, you guys! What better time than the present to say thank you to our Father in Heaven for His endless gifts that He has lavishly showered upon us!

Posted in December 2018, podcast

“The Gift of the Magi” Christmas Story

In our second Christmas story for 2018, Matt reads O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”

It’s a simple little tale of a young couple struggling to make ends meet, but who are determined to give the other a nice gift for Christmas. Each of their gifts comes at a great sacrifice, which often, the best gifts do.

This story was written in 1905 so the language is a bit “old-timey” but it’s a Christmas classic that all should hear.

Listen to the story here!

Posted in August 2018, podcast

Remembering God’s Faithfulness

For years I had, on our front door, a little sticky note that read, “Remember what God has already brought you through.” It was a quick visual for me to see each and every day reminding me of God’s faithfulness so that when I stepped out of the relative safety of my home, I would carry this one simple truth with me.

It did, in fact, become such a habit to look at that it lost its punch. I got very good at quoting that little phrase but somehow forgot how to apply its truth to my daily life.

It turns out, I’m not so different from the Israelites, after all. And chances are, neither are you.

Looking through the book of Exodus you will see scores of times that those folks just plumb forgot all the awe-inspiring things God did to provide for them. He made water gush out of a rock because they were thirsty. He dropped manna from the skies so they could eat. He appeared to Moses who proceeded to glow with God’s glory for over a month.

I know some pretty cool and highly talented people, but none of them can do anything even close to that, y’all. And God did this kind of thing on a regular basis.

But somehow, it never seemed to be enough to make a lasting impression on these guys.

Take, for example, chapter 14 in the book of Exodus, the time God led the Israelites through the Red Sea over dry land. Here, the Egyptians are in hot pursuit of the Israelites. I imagine the best car chase scene you’ve ever watched in a movie but with chariots. The Israelites pulled up to the sea’s edge and must have thought it was over. I mean, it’s not like they could just swim across the sea, ya know?

So, God, being God, works through Moses, who bangs down his staff and wah-la! The sea begins to dry up and the Israelites, looking back and forth at each other, shrug their shoulders and start to walk across the dry seabed.

They cross and meanwhile, the Egyptians get swallowed up by the raging waters that are coming back to life after the Israelites pass by. Boom! Mic drop.

God did a super big thing. Surely this is the event that is going to stick in their minds for the rest of their lives and they will never again complain to God about His timing, His provision, His purpose…whatever.

In fact, in chapter 15 of Exodus, following this Main Event, the Israelites write a song of praise and sing it to God.

          “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this
          is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him. The
          Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name. Who is like You among the gods, O
          Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working
          wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. In
          Your lovingkindness You have led the people who You have redeemed; in
          Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”
-Exodus 15: 2-3, 11-13

That’s beautiful! They get it! They recognize that God is far above all other gods, that He alone saves and redeems His people and that He is worthy of praise.

Until…

Man, they didn’t even wait for the next chapter before things go south.

In verse 22, directly after they have sung this beautiful song to the Lord who saved them, they come to a place where they are thirsty and there’s no sign of water. Granted, it had been three days. I imagine that’s got to be uncomfortable in ways I’ve never personally experienced. All the same, the grumbling begins.

How quickly they seem to have forgotten what God has already brought them through. How easily they have let that miraculous event fall to the back of their memory like some far off dream.

I look at that and I want to smack those foolish Israelites up-side the head and say, “Pull it together, man! Don’t you remember what happened three ding-dang days ago?” I get so exasperated as I read of the Israelite’s wanderings. They are a tiresome lot, aren’t they?

But then…ah, you knew it was coming…I think about all the times I forget about all that God has brought me through. I forget the times when he provided money just as the cupboards were running dry. I forget about the times that doctors have been willing to treat some very serious medical conditions even though I didn’t have a penny to pay them. I forget about the healing God has brought about in broken relationships, relationships that by worldly standards should never have been redeemed.

I forget.

But still, He is faithful.

Here’s my challenge…and I mean this. I don’t want you to just read this and think what a great idea it is and then fail to do it. I want you to take a few minutes and on sticky notes or notecards or scrap paper, write out the ways that God has been faithful in your life. One word or phrase per piece of paper; enough for you to be able to glance at and be reminded of God’s faithfulness in your past.

These are little memorials, guys. That’s all they are. Little markers that you can then post around your house, your car, your office to remind you that even in the midst of this current storm, you can be sure that God is with you because He’s been with you in the past.

It’ll take no more than 15 minutes. That’s less than the time it takes to watch a dumb sitcom. What are you waiting for?

Go make a memorial so you never forget that God is faithful even when we grumble.

Love, B.

 

Posted in podcast

For the Love of Staying in Love

“…it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever. You and me, every day.” – The Notebook

Alright, be honest. How many of you had a list, like I did, when you were in your early teen years highlighting some of the qualities that you were looking for in the “perfect” person? Come on…I said be honest. No shame, here.

Some of the qualities that I looked for: Cute (of course), funny, smart, athletic build, liked theater, liked to read, tall but not too tall (I’m only 5′ 0″ if I round up), likes my family, drives a cool car, Christian. Cute, smart and funny were definitely the most important to me. Mind you, this is not always the type of boy I dated. There were a couple that made rocks seem pretty smart, but they were really cute, so….

Needless to say, this approach to finding Mr. Right didn’t really work too well. And yet, I somehow managed to land him. (I chalk that up to God looking out for me.) But here we are, Mr. Right and Me, approaching our 23rd year of marriage and as we reflect on what makes a relationship that can go the distance, we thought we’d share those insights with you, our friends.

In no particular order:

1. Respect

Here’s a good way to assess if the person you’re dating is going to be a jerk or not: Go to a restaurant and order something complicated. When it comes to the table let your date know that it isn’t how you ordered it. Don’t make a big deal out of it…just wait and see how they respond. If their response is, “Oh, no. Should we send it back?” and then they follow your desire, congratulations! You’ve found a nice person. If, however, they make a big deal about it, ranting about lousy service or belittling the wait staff, puffing their chest out or making bold declarations about customer service, excuse yourself to the restroom and “peace out.” Call a friend or an Uber and treat yourself to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s – you just survived a monster.

Seriously, respect is kind of a big deal. If you have a partner who calls you names or makes threats of separation or self-harm every time there is conflict, you’re in for a lifetime of pain and suffering. I’m not being dramatic. Your needs and desires, your values and feelings are important and deserve to be respected. It is possible to disagree with someone and still show respect.

2. Be Equally Yoked

Yup…I said it. I hated this concept when I was a dating person. I thought it was dumb. I just wanted to have fun. Guess what? If you’re trying to live a Christian life and your partner isn’t, it isn’t very fun at all. It’s really pretty hard.

You see, the way you see God informs everything you do. If your world-view doesn’t include God as a major player, your approach to sexual temptation, finances, even having children may be very different. It’s not always something that you see in those early dating days, but when those conflicts arise (as they are prone to do in a marriage), the differences you have in your approach to the world will become apparent and could potentially put a serious wedge between you and your spouse.

Nip it in the bud from the start – marry someone who’s faith you share.

3. Be friends

Life is hard, right? I think we can all agree on that. And isn’t it also true that when you’re going through a bad time in life, it’s just easier when you have a friend by your side? The world just seems a little bit safer when you have a friend to share it with.

Now, I know it’s easy to assume that if you marry someone you must be friends with them. That’s not necessarily true. Haven’t we all seen that couple at the restaurant that doesn’t even look at each other over the course of a full meal, much less talk?

Admittedly, it’s possible they are in the midst of a crisis which may well inhibit a jovial conversation, but I think more often than not, it’s just a couple that lost touch with each other along the way.

Stay connected. Engage in dialogue. Share your hopes and fears, your regrets and victories. Celebrate the little milestones. Pray for and with each other.

Your friendship may well be the one thing that keeps you married when everything else comes crashing down. It was for us, anyway.

4. Share Common Interests

This relates to being friends. Go do fun things together. Hike, watch movies, go to the museum, race cars, play in a band. Whatever floats your boat…. The point is, sharing common interests keeps us engaged with each other.

That being said, I think it’s equally important to have things that you can do apart from each other. Your partner or spouse can’t be expected to fill your every need for companionship, but having a few things that you enjoy together can keep your relationship grounded when it feels like the world is trying to tear you apart.

This is also a great way to meet your future Mr. or Mrs. if you’re currently dating. I found my true love doing high school theater. You never know where they may be, but if you meet while doing something you both enjoy, it’s a really great start to building a beautiful friendship.

5. Have Integrity

Here’s a chance to do some honest self-reflection: Are you the same at church as you are at work? Does your behavior and words in the ‘real world’ match what people see any given Sunday? Is your word reliable? Can you be trusted to do what you say will?

Let me put this out there – this is a hard one for me. As a kid I learned early on how to adapt to any environment in order to fit in. This worked great for me socially, but it wrecked me personally because I lost my internal compass that kept me pointed toward the God I loved. I’ve had to learn the hard way what integrity does and does not look like.

Here’s the thing, if you can be trusted to be the same person in a crowd of thousands as you are for an audience of one, that’s integrity. It builds trust. It inspires honesty. It grows love.

That’s it.
Those are the five qualities that every strong, go-the-distance marriage I personally know has. There might be others. There are certainly other characteristics that will be beneficial, but as Matt and I talked about in this episode, these are really the main ones. It’s no guarantee that it will all be smooth sailing, but I honestly believe that if you start with this foundation, the life you build will indeed stand the test of time.

God bless!
– Brandy

P.S. The photo is of my great grandmother and great grandfather, Mabel and George Morris. They were married in 1924 and remained so until 1957 when George died. They had three children, Norma Jean, Lila Lee (my grandmother), and Bill. They loved going dancing, baseball and spending time with family. 

Posted in podcast

Episode 1: Meet Your Road Trip Buddies!

Here we are, gang! Episode 1 is published and available for your ear-holes. I’m still working out all the details…you know, like where it’s available and all that good stuff, but hang with me. Any minute now this is going to be super professional! In the meantime, you get lil’ ol’ messy us…full of flaws, but oh, so much charm.

Also, it’s entirely possible that I get the name of our podcast wrong for the first several episodes! Remember that charm I was talking about?

Listen to Episode 1 here

Full Transcript here

Episode 1: Show Notes

As an introduction to the podcast, Matt and Brandy share a little bit of their backgrounds beginning with what led each of them to the Lord. From there they share a bit about their dating and early adult years.

They also share some of the subjects they hope to cover in upcoming episodes including marriage, parenting, codependency, recovery, current events and letters from listeners. Finally, they share how they came up with the name of the podcast (which has gone through several iterations (which is why I maybe say it wrong for a few episodes).

Links:
Youth With A Mission www.ywam.or

Brandy’s childhood church camp Black Lake Bible Camp; Olympia, WA

Newsong; the song is called “Between the Cross and Crown”
listen to the song here

Intro and Outro Music:
“The Long Road Home” Written by Brandy J. Goebel, Arrangement by James Swanson, Performed by James Page; copyright 2018

Contact us:
e-mail us!
Check us out on Facebook

 

Posted in advice, christian living, podcast

Between the Cross and the Crown

“And You are sovereign over all that’s been broken by the fall/ So give us strength, Lord, here and now/ In the days between The Cross and Crown.”

-Newsong, One True God

I’m a sucker for road trips. Seriously. I love them. If all I have is my camera, a notebook, coffee, snacks and good tunes or podcasts to listen to, I can drive anywhere for any amount of time.

This last June, my 15-year old daughter, Molly and I hit the road from Portland, Oregon to Anaheim, California. Just the two of us. We were headed to Vid-Con and to meet her internet bestie for the first time. It’s a 16 hour drive without stops.

Inevitably, things never go quite as you hope, but after I remembered how to pump my own gas and got over the fear of motorcyclists passing between cars, it was pretty smooth sailing. We stopped about halfway to stay the night in a hotel then rushed out the next morning, eager to get there. Molly had made a variety of playlists so we sang and giggled and snacked our way south.

The way back was a different story. It turns out that Molly and the friend she’d met didn’t want to say goodbye. (Go figure, right?) So we did the logical thing and drove to her house, near San Francisco and hung out for a few hours. The plan was to drive a couple more hours north then get another hotel. But…plans changed. As Molly drifted off to sleep beside me around 10:00 pm, I just kept driving. By the time I made it across the state line back into Oregon I felt like I was so close to home that I might as well keep going. Medford, Roseburg, Eugene, Corvallis, Salem…every mile I was getting closer and closer to home. Closer to my own bed. Closer to my own shower. Closer to my son and husband. I just wanted to get home.

I finally gave up somewhere between Salem and Oregon City. I honestly don’t remember where. I just pulled into a parking lot and slept. Hard. And 45 minutes later, we were back on the road. I couldn’t wait to be back where I belonged.

Isn’t that true for all of us? We look around at this world and we recognize that it’s broken and somehow ‘not right’ and that we don’t quite fit in.

It doesn’t take a genius to look around and see a fractured and fearful people. Between the threats of war, political leaders and Hollywood celebrities falling off their pedestals as women cry out, ‘Me too,’ and the moral fabric that’s always been associated with the American  Dream, baseball and apple pie collapsing, is it any wonder that we, as Christians, feel torn and ill-at-ease in this world?

In speaking of His disciples as He prayed, Jesus said, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:14-17).

Even the earliest disciples of Christ felt the pull between their earthly life and the knowledge that there was something yet to come. They not only felt that pull, but Jesus himself recognized it and prayed for their protection. Why do we feel like we should be exempt from the same struggle?

The fact is, this world is vastly different than when I was a teenager. I didn’t have a home computer until I was 22 years old and married, in 1995. As it is now, my 15 year old daughter has never lived in a home that hasn’t had a cell phone. She’s never known the joy of getting wrapped up in the extra long cord that leashed you to the kitchen wall while you tried desperately to have a private conversation as your mom cooked dinner nearby. Conversely, I don’t have any idea the pressure she faces as her every move is being documented and watched by thousands on myriad social media sites.

Regardless, there are some things that never change. Sin is sin and truth is truth. God has set boundaries for His followers and we will always try to push those boundaries. We will want to follow Him and be used by Him for mighty purposes and we will struggle with overcoming our basest, most selfish desires that directly oppose the very thing He’s taught us. We will long to be at Home with our Heavenly Father but will also long to see our children grow and have children of their own, taking our final breath as we sleep at a ripe old age.

We are caught between the cross and the crown; the finishing work that Jesus did on the cross as He bore our sins and nailed them to a tree as the ultimate sacrifice and the time when, at last our bodies are restored and perfected and we will be able to worship at the literal feet of the One who saved us.

Until that time, we are on a long road home. Sometimes, it takes us through some very treacherous terrain; the road is winding and narrow with cliffs on either side. Other times the road is broad and gentle, with nothing but blue skies and birdsong. Either way, we are all travelling along, crossing paths with some who see the world as we do and others who don’t. We have to navigate this road. And we are called to navigate it well.

We know where our destination is: standing before God and answering for the life we have lived. How we get there is what this blog – and eventually the podcast – are all about. Our journeys will look different; we’ll have a variety of experiences along the way. In the end, we hope – Matt and I – that this will provide you with a little extra glimpse at the roadmap. We certainly don’t have all the answers. But we know Who does.

Happy travels, friends! We’ll see you on the other side.

      -Brandy and Matt