Tuesday, April 3

more about brandt.
about God's surprises and gifts.

it was a friday afternoon.
as a mother, i loved fridays. having
the children around all week-end was
something i loved. and i had told brandt that
tyler, his best friend, could spend the night.
fixing dinner, i noticed that they were playing
with little lighters. and they looked NEW!

where did you guys get those, i asked?
oh, some kids at school were passing them out.
hmmmmm. giving away new lighters?! i may be
naive, but this sounded too good. i questioned
them thoroughly and was NOT convinced. so i
began a journey on my own. mothers can sniff
things out. in the bookshelves in will's closet,
under the bottom drawer, was taped some more
lighters. i caught them!

brandt can't, even today, believe that i FOUND
those other lighters. he felt something between horror
and respect. with the boys standing there, i picked up
the phone, and called 911.

"i need to report a theft!"

brandt and tyler were wide-eyed. terrified. for me, i
was now the mother and the father. just trying to parent
the way i thought God would be pleased. within minutes,
two officers were knocking. they put the boys in different
rooms. after questioning each one, the entire arson squad
arrived. did we know the big house a couple blocks over
had burned to the ground? an historical home?!!

by this time, i realized i was in way over my head. i reported
a theft; what is this about the boys lighting little papers and
failing to stomp them out?? NONE of us knew. not even
brandt and tyler. our mouths were wide open. tears ran down
my face. tyler's mother was now with us. the boys were hand-
cuffed and led to the officer's car and juvenile hall. call in
two days...the officers shouted over their shoulders. how was i
going to keep this a secret? no one would ever again respect
me as a mother.

brandt got an ankle monitor for three months. many, many
court dates. at midnight that first night, i called my pastor,
otis ledbetter. i wept. "otis, HOW am i going to keep this
a secret? what will people think?"

"oh, ann, this will be the best lesson in the world for brandt.
there are always consequences. gather the other boys around
you now, and all pray for brandt. that the Lord will work this
for good." that is what i love about otis. he ALWAYS has an
instant answer, and you know, in your gut, it is truth.

today, brandt is a firefighter for the air force. married to an
amazing girl. and they delivered my first grandbaby. today,
brandt brings honor to his family. though the youngest,
he is the one to keep us all together. tonight, brock and
i had dinner with brandt's birth mom. lives outside dallas.
a miracle. how we all came to be one family.

brandt? he is the first morning light and the evening's
setting sun. he is beautiful and strong and as faithful as a
mother could ever imagine.

he is beautiful and strong
a warrior. just like my other three.


  1. Dear Ann,
    Thank you for these real-life, honest stories of what it is like to be a single mom with a bunch of boys. I have been raising 5 boys on my own for 15 years now. Such heartache, such joy. I'm so happy that you are writing again. Your books have played such a role in my life as a Christian. There was just always something that spoke to me on such a deep level.
    Keep writing. For people like me. I know he will transform everything you've been through for people just like me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Janet (brinkhausjm@yahoo.com)

  2. Your posts are so beautiful about your children!
    It is beautiful how greatly you love them!