Hi, I’m Bronie ... not brownie or brawny, but trust me when I say, I have heard many entertaining attempts at pronouncing my unusual first name. It’s really pretty simple, like Bonnie with an “r” or Ronnie with a “B”, but I’ll break it down for you –– it’s pronounced [BRA knee], and heaven forbid those two things ever meet! :)
I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the youngest of three kids in a single-parent household. Though I don’t think I have a particularly strong Southern accent, the inherent twang doth eek out occasionally, especially when I sing. And after I’ve been home for a visit. But mostly in my writin’ ... I often drop the “g” off the ends of words when I tell a story because that’s how I hear it in my head. I’m weird like that.
I was raised in church and came to Jesus as a six year old girl, and although I point to that experience as the beginning of my faith journey, it was not until my young adult years that I feel like I really took responsibility for my journey with Christ. I began a relationship with Him with a child’s understanding, which is all that’s required, but as I grew up, a little life experience taught me more about what I’d been saved from. That’s the part that is sometimes lost on a child. Salvation is instant when we ask, but surrender is a process –– letting Him have control on a daily basis.
As a kid I loved singing, playing piano, drawing, painting, playing tennis, writing poetry, and all things artsy-crafty, which I’m pretty sure can be attributed to a long line of DNA. I remember on many occasions (read: every time our family got together for holidays), we were craftin’ it up making dough ornaments, weaving baskets, decorating straw hats that were meant to hang on the wall (the 80’s, anyone?) ... but on one unlucky occasion I recall having to perch one atop my noggin on a long trip home from Myrtle Beach because the car was slap full of cousins and a plethora of hand-crafted masterpieces made during our visit. Good times.
I’m married to the most patient man and have been for almost 21 years. He truly is the better half of this union. He is kinder, more compassionate, way more organized than I am, and he still makes me laugh on a daily basis, though sometimes unintentionally. We have four awesome kids who are 18, 15, 8 and 6. The older kids, Ryan and Emily, were born in Tennessee and currently attend public school, and the littles, Wyatt and Elijah, are our Louisiana “baybays” and are still homeschooled. Jay made me two promises when we got married: 1) that we’d never have much money, and 2) that life would never be boring. My man’s a promisekeeper!
I have been a part of Total Woman U Faculty for the last several years and currently serve as Co-Executive Director, Director of Performing Arts and Editor-in-Chief. Okay, that last bit is unofficial, but a role I have inherited because my friends call me “Word Girl” (“Grammar Nazi” behind my back). I admit it. I love words ... reading, writing, doing word searches and playing word games in my spare time, and let’s not forget talking. My love of words carries with it an aversion to incorrect grammar and all things misspelled. I correct things, sometimes only in my head. This is what has earned me editor responsibilities. See? God can use even our quirks for the good if we’ll let Him.
Just so you know, I have been called on more than one occasion and in a variety of ways, “not very pastor’s wife-y” which just makes me giggle. “You’re just so ... *I wait while they struggle for the word they’re looking for* ... REAL.” Well, here’s the thing. I AM real. (And I really hope they meant it in a good way because that’s how I chose to take it.) I’m not big on pretense and prefer authenticity, even with its flaws. And flaws? Oh, I got ‘em. And if you’re honest, so do you. Everyone has challenges, things they deal with or struggles they face. For example, I live with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and have since I was a young adult. It’s not my identity, but it is part of my story. And it has stolen some abilities like opening pickle jars, playing the piano, and all prospects of making a living as a hand model. :) I am, however, profoundly thankful to our kind God that He still allows me the awesome privilege of leading in worship. All glory to Him! We were asked at our last TWU Faculty retreat to write a personal purpose statement, and while mine is still under construction, it goes something like this:
God has granted me the ability to find humor in the hard things and has lovingly showed me that brokenness does not equal uselessness; He does not waste our struggles and can use them to encourage others in theirs ...
And that’s my hope –– to be an encouragement to people. Life is hard, but God is good! If you decide to journey with us, you’ll hear real stories from real people striving to live their best life in obedience to a real God! And we just might share some laughs along the way!
Keep it real,
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