Friday, August 3, 2012



Anime, Japanese produced cartoons, have never been my thing. Speed Racer was the only one that ever captured my heart as a child. I have spent many hours happily watching Speed Racer with my son. Pokémon, on the other hand, has never been a part of our daily routine. I was hesitant about the show because I did not want to expose Joshua to the often subtle animism found in Japanese produced Anime. I just never encouraged it. Joshua already had too many things he was collecting and there was no need to add another show that had so many action figures and cards.

Early in his life, I gave Joshua the option to donate his entire Batman or Ben 10 collection if he intended on switching shows. When he went to school, many of the other children played and collected Pokémon toys. I gave Joshua a choice, this time between Lego Ninjago or Pokémon. He chose to hold onto his current Toy Empire. We played this game of back and forth, a dance if you will, of “want vs. wants” in harmony until…Pokémon showed up in Happy Meals.

Joshua worked out a deal between his father and I that he would collect 4 of the happy meal toys and then the hunting, asking, nagging etc., would cease. To Joshua’s advantage, we traveled this weekend. We made a few extra stops at McDonalds and the collection was complete. We now possessed all six Pokémon action figures and their trading cards. Then Joshua began to worry that these toys might not be pleasing to God. I explained to him that he has a very powerful God that can transform anything. That night, Josh must have put the pieces together. “If God can transform anything, He can transform my Pokémon as well.” He prayed that all of the Pokémon would accept Jesus and promise to follow His ways all of the days of their lives. His father and I went along with this. We had a little talk with the creatures and then tucked Joshua into bed with his newly sanctified friends.

This thorn in my side turned out to be such a teachable moment for our family. We can now accept these figures because they were transformed by Jesus. Because of my words and how I approached the subject with my son, he viewed them as bad. We used this situation to reinforce that even if Satan had intended Pokémon for evil; they can be changed and used by God for good. Their past did not matter any longer. Jesus had washed them clean and freed them from it. They were completely new creatures in Him.

The intent of our travel was to go back to Clovis and reconnect with friends. We attended the church picnic where baptisms were being done for a couple of the children. While the baptisms were taking place, Joshua informed me he was ready to be baptized. After a discussion with his dad and I, we went and spoke with the pastor. We knew the time was right and Joshua was baptized. Joshua was so enthusiastic and I burst with pride. Afterwards, Joshua said he felt all new and clean inside. Our whole family has walked in a bit of a glow for the past few days. When we returned from our trip, Joshua immediately baptized all of the Pokémon. We can hear our son at night talking to his animals and training them up in the way they should go. I bet we have the only sanctified and baptized Pokémon on the block.

I could have dug my heels in and refused to reverse my decisions about Pokémon. It would have made a real mess of our weekend, filling it with power struggles and passive aggression. I could have forced my family to take the road that I had mapped out for them. But I yielded. I let God have my disapproval and God moved my son’s heart, all of our hearts really. There are times that God’s plan is not my plan. If I would only give Him a minute to work things out…I would see that.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Little Batter

Baseball season is upon us and the Brison family has embraced it with gusto.  My son, Joshua, is what I call a “free range baby.”  He has never played a sport at all.   While other moms I know shuttled their 2-4 year olds from one program to another, I conceived the notion not to enroll my son in anything.  Sometimes this bothered me because I was not with my friends, but our family had an opportunity to live in Sequoia National Park and travel with my husband. Our schedule has never allowed for any activities, not even preschool.  Now he is 7, we are settled in one place, and we felt it was time.  We offered to enroll him in Soccer this past fall and he said, “NO, I am waiting for baseball.”  We explained to him that he could do soccer now and baseball in the spring.  He emphatically replied, “NO, baseball.”

We are not sure where this desire for baseball came from.  We don’t watch games on TV nor have we ever gone to a stadium, but since he was tiny, he has only had eyes for baseball.  By the age of 3, we purchased him an over sized bat, a t-ball stand, and glove.  Every night after dinner, I went outside to throw him some balls and when he got a hit, he would run his imaginary bases in triumph.  He showed his father and his Gramps his amazing batting skills.  I often worried he might not like baseball as much as he thought.  After all, it is not just about hitting the ball.
Spring finally arrived, he was one of the first signed up for Calaveras County Little League and assigned to the Rangers team.  He still had over a month to wait and his anticipation was contagious.  Baseball practice has been very enlightening.  We’ve all gone together as a family.  Joshua’s coach is nothing shy of amazing. He has taught this little band of 7-9 year olds how to be a team and actually throw and hit the ball.  He has even attempted to teach them how to catch.  He has the patience of Job, especially with my son, who has not participated in an organized anything a day in his life! 
“Are you ready Josh?” 
"Heads up Josh!”
“Eye on the ball Josh!”
“No twirling Josh!”
It was finally opening day and pictures were to be taken.  His uniform was spotless with matching socks and belt.  He was adorable. (Mom’s point of view.) These pictures mean more to us than any school pictures.  We ordered enough to give them away on the street corner if necessary.  The form asked for the position of the player.  The coach advised me to put down my son’s position preference.  I asked Joshua what position he liked best and he said, “Put me down as a batter.”
Joshua was ready for his individual shot.  He threw the bat over his shoulder and stared a deliberate scowl right into the lens.  The photographer looked up and said, “Hey are you mad at me?”  I heard him use this on other kids and it produced a number of big smiles.  Not my child.  He just hunkered down a bit more and reset his face.  “Are you going to smile?”  Josh answered, “No, I take my batting very seriously.”  He continued to glare straight into the camera.  “Really, we need you to smile…say cheese.”  “I am a serious batter!” Joshua replied. 
There was no smiling that day.
We are very proud of our Little League Batter. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Perfect Cat

13 years ago, I lived in Hawaii. I had only been married for 3 years and my husband’s job had already taken me to Alaska, Las Vegas, and now Hawaii.  I had not seen my family in years and the loneliness and heartbreak from missing them was overwhelming.  Keith was working as a tour helicopter pilot on the island of Maui.  We were grateful for this job, but tours meant that he was required to work holidays.  It is one thing to miss your family during the holidays; it is entirely another thing to be all alone for the holidays.  Newly moved, no job, no friends, no family, and for the day…no husband.  It was the ache of loneliness, mixed with pain and frosted with grief. 
We were living in an apartment that did not allow pets, but I had it in my head that a cat would solve my problems.  After visiting the shelter a number of times just to "pet the kitties," I called my landlord.  She was a very sweet woman and when she heard my lonely heartbroken sobs, she caved.  She gave me permission to get a pet. 
I marched right back to the shelter and within minutes I made my selection, I just had to get my husband on board with my plan.  He finally relented and came with me to the shelter.  My cat of choice was a beautiful three year old tortoise shell colored cat that looked like a Maine Coon.  She was enormous, fluffy, and oh so lovely.  She crawled into our laps, purred, and cuddled – exactly what I had in mind. 
There was paperwork, the approval, the check, and then she was all mine.  We brought her home and within two days, we knew we did not have the same cat we had found at the shelter.  She refused to sit in our laps.  She was skittish, bordering on terrified, and hid under the bed or in the bathroom.  The only way I could get near her was to pet her in the bathroom while she was eating.  Within two days she graced us with a neat trick of urinating right in the middle of our bed.  Needless to say, we were quite disillusioned with our pet choice.  We called Keith’s mom to complain about our bad kitty.   She was very quick to point out that our “wayward wild cat” might be ill.  That had not dawned on us at all.  We took her into the vet only to find out she had a bladder infection.   The treatment plan included an overnight stay with the vet, a prescription and special food.  $150.00 later the vet handed the cat back to my husband with a smirk, “So much for free cats.” 
We loved her through her sickness and she got more comfortable in our home, but she never allowed us to hold her or cuddle her; that trick was performed in the shelter only.  Apparently Maine Coon kitties do not ever allow people to hold them.  They will, however, sit beside you all day but not ever in your lap. Never. Ever. Never, ever! 
My kitten has traveled with me from Hawaii to California and we have taken her with us everywhere we have lived.  She has helped me through so many lonely seasons and times.  She helped me get past that painful loneliness. She was not the cat I envisioned. She did not meet my needs the way I wanted her to. I had an idea in my head about what my cat should do in order for me to feel better. My ideal cat was never realized. However, my needs, in spite of her refusal to follow my program, were in fact, met.  My cat did for me exactly what I needed to be done, just not in the way I had wished and hoped for. 
Isn’t that just the way life works sometimes?  I look to God to fix our current situation and I have an idea and a plan in my head.  My plans have not come to fruition, but my needs are being met nevertheless.  I am looking forward to the day when I can look back on this time in my life and see how fully I have been cared for.  In my mind, I know it is happening even though the eyes of my heart do not always see it right now.   I look to the example of my cat and realize that what I want might not be what I need.  God knew what I needed to soothe the lonely pain I was feeling and He knows what I need right here and right now. 
Living Comopletely Undone ~ Catherine

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Artistic Flair

In my 20’s, I became what is known as “artistic” ~ with all of the good and bad that this label conjures up.  I have always been crafty, but my horizons expanded and I began to do crafty things with blown glass, clay, and handmade paper.  I was beginning to have my work in shops and shows.  I was having fun and really loved this time in my life.

Then my life took a different turn. I married a helicopter pilot and my life became about travel and adventure.  I always pined for my art and in my time off you could often find me volunteering to teach ceramics to older ladies. They were always good about letting me do a few projects of my own.

When we lived in Hawaii, I began making jewelry.  I am not passionate about jewelry making; I never have been.  I make gifts and it keeps my hands busy, but it is not really my heart’s desire.

Now I am a mom and my gallery hopping days are far behind me, at least for now.  My dreams are not gone, though they are very different.  These days my art still comes out and there are moments I am just as proud of my creations as the old days.  I love to make character pancakes and have learned to manipulate the medium with my artistic flair.  When complete, I place my creations proudly on the table hoping my boy can guess what I made.  This week I wielded a Quetzalcoatlus (a flying dinosaur) and an Angry Bird in one meal.  This past Christmas, I specialized in HO cakes.

My gifts really shine when it comes time to making our Halloween costumes.  I take cardboard, paint, duct tape, pipe cleaners…. and create like crazy.  I have made Batman, Robin, and Bat Girl; a whale; Ghost Busters complete with flashing light proton pack; and this year Joshua was an Ice Watermelon Cannon from our favorite video game Plants vs. Zombies.

Life did not turn out the way I had ever planned.  There have been so many unexpected traveled roads, but I have come to realize that my artistic days are not gone. I am still creating. My palette has grown so much larger and more important. I may work in dough, cardboard, and duct tape making creations for my audience of one, but I never fail to remember that I am helping to sculpt my boy into a Godly man. My work is always on display in the galley of the world for all to see who wish to look.  This “work” will endure and remain far beyond my life as it echoes down through time.

What artist could ask for more?

  Posts from the Trailer Park ~ Catherine 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It has been 6 months since we packed up our home and started on this adventure.  6 months of living in 400 square feet of temporary housing.  6 months of not knowing when this will end.  6 months of fighting with my teeny tiny kitchen.   6 months since we packed away my washer and dryer.  It has been hard for me to choose to pack up all of my stuff and take a 25 year step backwards to a dormitory style of living, which includes the Laundromat.

Laundromats and I do not get along.  I am the kind of person who plays by the rules. I attempt to be courteous to others and I am always hoping others will treat me in kind.  I think there are rules for behavior when other people’s time is at stake.  My #1 Laundromat rule is (because it has happened to me twice) DO NOT STEAL THE DRYERS!  Who comes into a Laundromat where all the washers are busy and fills up all of the dryers with no regard to the washing person? 15 years ago was the first time this happened to me and I still talk about it.  It is remembered as the “Horrible, Awful, No Good Day.”  Then a few months back, it happened again. 

Who has this done to them twice in one lifetime?? 

So, with this enormous chip on my shoulder is there any hope for God to use my laundry time for good?  Well, yes…

6 months ago I would have told you that no good can come from laundry day.  But I am here to tell you, it has become one of my favorite days of the week.  Joshua and I begin our day by going out into the town to the grocery store and the doughnut shop, getting all that we need for the morning and visiting with people all the way.  We then head for the laundry room which is right by the mobile home park office. 

Almost as soon as we arrive, the gathering begins.  I love visiting with the park staff and all the people that are stopping by the office.  No two days are alike.  The office is in the middle of the park and people stop as they are driving by or walk in for a visit.  Often the manager’s family is around.  It has turned into a great opportunity to meet people.

Joshua has made friends so he can play while I work.  I have had the opportunity to turn casual acquaintances into the beginnings of friendship.  Life is about people and relationships.  I am learning that if I yield to God He can turn something as dreadful as using a Laundromat into a wonderful blessing where lives can become interwoven.  I am trusting Him with the messy bits of my existence and looking forward to what we do next.

  Posts from the Trailer Park ~ Catherine

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Mothers Kitchen

Growing up, our home was captivating.  We lived on a farm in Massachusetts in a log cabin.  By December, there was often snow on the ground and our home was a wonderland.  The trees would become heavy-laden with snow and we would watch out of frosted windows for the red cardinal to show up bouncing from bough to bough.  The chickadees would fight over the suet hanging just beyond the window pane.  Our wood stove and fire place would pump all of their warmth and light into our home.   The wood stove was in the kitchen and my mother had positioned an old rocking chair right beside it.  How I loved to be in my mother’s kitchen.  I would rock there as she conjured up the most comforting of foods. 

We talked in the kitchen.  The subject did not always matter; Birds, bees, boys - whatever teenagers and their mothers talk about. Our lives were shared right there amidst pots, pans, and dishes.  She had an 8 track on top of the refrigerator and from October on, sounds of Christmas would fill the warm air.  Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole would croon to us while we talked.  Laughing, dancing, and singing were all part of our days.
Our lives were far from perfect.  Dad had left us, we were very poor, and school was a hard place for me to be.  From the outside it would seem like I was one of those kids who had no refuge and no place to be safe, but I had plenty.  My mother wrapped me in so much good, that many days I was insulated from much of the pain.

It is not surprising that right there on that kitchen floor, by the wood stove and rocker, with music flowing from the eight track singing, “give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus, shattered dreams, wounded hearts, broken toys” that I asked Jesus to take my pain and help me, to come and live in my heart, and never leave me.  I knew at that moment, without anyone telling me, that the gates of heaven opened up for me and I would never be the same.

I was fortunate that God gave me a mother with such a gift for creating love and warmth.  She was the one to hold me and listen to me, to teach and guide me. In the following years, our conversations were often about God and living a Christian life.  She discipled me right there while cooking dinners and washing dishes.

In the years that followed, I strayed from the warmth and comfort of my mother’s kitchen and from the lessons she taught me there.  No matter what choices I made, she and the Lord were always there.  They never left me and always believed in me. In hind sight, I am grateful she took advantage of what little she had and the time available to make such a difference that has endured throughout my life. 
Proverbs 31:28   Her children rise up and call her blessed.

Posts from the Trailer Park ~ Catherine

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I have been struggling with the word Grace.  I have heard about God's Grace my whole life in sermons, songs, and many platitudes.  I have always wondered, ‘What is Grace’???  My new pastor defined it recently as, “The unconditional love given to those who don’t deserve it.” Even with this definition in hand, the personal meaning of Grace has eluded me until just recently when I was given a real life example of Grace.

My friend Pamela and her family have opened their home to my family ever since we moved from Clovis.  On a moment’s notice, she has let me spend the night in order to raid my storage unit.  These trips have been a wonderful blessing in and of themselves.  On our last family trip to visit, Pamela offered me her home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  She was taking her family to Germany and the house would be empty, so she could see no reason for us to stay in our trailer on a holiday when her home was available. 

This of course sounded great to us, but we had no concept of how kind hearted a gift they were offering us.  As we spent time alone in Pamela’s home, my family became more and more aware of how we had been given something special and unique.  I cooked in her kitchen, we bathed, ironed, cleaned etc. When something was needed, be it a pen or pet cleaner, the hostess was not there to help me find it.  She opened her home to me in a way that I would not normally access it.  I was overwhelmed with the trust and generosity my family had been given.

As the days passed I began to realize this was not going to be a fair trade.  No thank you note, gift or any good deed I could think of would repay this act of kindness.  I had done nothing to earn or deserve such a blessing.  We’ve been good friends, but this was something so much more.  My heart became almost heavy with the amount of gratitude I felt and I knew I was going to have to accept this gift, simply accept it. 

It then dawned on me that this is Grace.   I hear the word and now I have a clear picture with the emotions to match.  Before me is a real life example illustrating how Grace feels. Jesus came to this earth and sacrificed his life so I may have a relationship with His Father.  There is no way to earn His affection, I cannot repay His sacrifice and I will never deserve what He did for me on Calvary. Grace is accompanied by a very deep, heavy and wonderful feeling. Grace is a gift and all I can do is allow my heart to feel the weight of gratitude.  I know I am going to accept this gift, simply accept it.

Thank you Pamela.

  Posts from the Trailer Park ~ Catherine