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{New Michael Story!}   *Brittnia's Here!*  2/20/01


Today I get to share a story about a very special young lady in our life, Brittnia
Brandl.  We wanted to write up something special and send it out for her
birthday today.  I have been planning this story in my head for the past year,
but have to say that the ending I just finished writing was not how I envisioned
it in my head... but you'll just have to read the story to find out!

Happy Birthday Brittnia!  We love you!

You can send your own birthday wishes to her if you like.
Her email address is at the end of the story...
AOL Users click here: Straight From the Heart

Brittnia's Here!

By Michael T. Powers

"Brittnia's here!!" shouted Caleb and Connor in stereo sound as they saw our
baby-sitter get out of her car and walk up the sidewalk to our house.  Joyful
dancing and a good test of our sofa's warranty followed as my two young
boys jumped up and down on the furniture and acted like Christmas morning
was here once again. Caleb then ran to the door to let her in, while Connor
continued to act as if he had just won a lifetime supply of candy.  Kristi and
I smiled as we watched the scene unfold before us -- a scene that gets
repeated no matter how often Brittnia comes to our house.  But it also made
us both realize how incredibly blessed we are to have her in our life. 

We first met Brittnia Brandl when she walked into basketball practice during
her freshman year of high school, and she soon took up permanent residency
in our family's heart.  Kristi and I began to pray for Brittnia whenever we
thought of her--which was often.  We got to know her a little better as each
month went by until I permanently bonded with her during her sophomore
year. Jamie Rusch and I went to visit Brittnia in the hospital one afternoon
to see how she was doing after her knee surgery. She was fresh out of the
operating room and we came to try and cheer her up.  When we walked into
the room, we were rewarded with a big smile, followed by a wave of vomiting.
Yes, nothing shows your gratitude like stomach bile!  I told Brittnia that once
you throw-up in front of someone, you become friends for life! 

Professor Richard Weaver once stated that what often sets a successful
person apart from others are three simple words: "and then some."  Brittnia
figured this out a long time ago.  When she was playing basketball for me
she worked hard, had a great attitude, loved and respected her teammates,
and then some.

When she helps me videotape weddings for my video production business,
she puts in a full day's work and then some.  She shows up earlier than
expected, stays later than she needs to, and complains that we pay her too
much money. She is the model employee.

But nothing compares to how she is as a baby-sitter!  She is trustworthy,
dependable, responsible, goes out of her way to accommodate us, and
then some!

The very first time Brittnia baby-sat for us we know we had someone special.
From the time she walked in the door until the time she left our house, she
gave our boys 100% of her time and attention.  While some teenagers might
be known for calling their boyfriends, watching TV, or doing their homework
while they baby-sit, Brittnia spends her time playing hide-and-go-seek, tag,
and reading countless books to my overactive children.  She has role-played
the Lion King so many times that I think she must secretly shudder at the
name "Mufasa," as much as the hyenas do in the Disney movie!
("Mufasa!  Mufasa!  Mufasa!")

One night, Caleb jumped on her back for a piggy-back ride as we were
leaving the house in her capable hands.  Kristi and I went to dinner, but
had to stop back at the house two hours later for something before we
went to a movie. As we walked up to the door we could see Brittnia
walking around the living room, with a monkey-boy named Caleb clinging
to her back.  I know better than to think that my boy had stayed there for
the entire two hours, but I can honestly say that it wouldn't surprise me if
it were true.  Many times as we walk up to our house while Brittnia is
baby-sitting, we will pause outside of the window for a minute and watch
her as she lovingly plays with, reads to, and cares for our two rambunctious boys.

In all things in her life, Brittnia does what is expected of her and then some.
In the past four years she has earned our respect, our loyalty, and our love.
We are extremely proud of our Brittnia for everything she does in her life, but
never were we more proud than when we found out that she had committed
her life to Christ towards the end of her freshman year.  She shared with us
that one night she went into her room, cried, and prayed for Jesus to come
into her heart. She asked Him to take over her life because she needed help.
She took all of the things she was dealing with at the time, and surrendered
everything over to Jesus. 

She became a new creation...

This past Sunday, Brittnia was baptized.  She stood before family and
friends and made a public profession of her faith in Christ.  Kristi and I
had been looking forward to sharing this important day with her since
she first told us when she was getting baptized, a little over two months
ago.  We could just picture her beaming face as she would stare out over
the crowd and make eye contact with those who love her dearly... Caleb,
our five-year-old was so excited Sunday morning as we were getting ready
to leave our house.  "Daddy! We get to go see Brittnia get pushed in the
water today, don't we?!" On the ride to Brittnia's church, Kristi and I
explained to Caleb all about baptism and what it stands for in a believer's
life.  All four of us were anticipating Brittnia's big day...

I dropped Kristi off at the door and then went to find a parking spot.  I had
Connor with me and when we walked into the sanctuary, I saw that the
baptism had already started.  A numbness crept towards my heart.  For
one of the few times in our life we thought were early -- twenty minutes
early!  I looked at Kristi and asked, "Please tell me that Brittnia hasn't
been baptized yet?"  She didn't answer right away, and my stomach turned
to ice.  Kristi confirmed that Brittnia has already been "pushed into the
water."  It turned out that the baptism started at 12:00 and not 12:30 as
we incorrectly thought.  Both of us had the time wrong and the invitation
mocked us with the correct time when we got home...

There were about 15-20 believers being baptized that afternoon and I sat
there, totally numb as the pastor finished up with the last seven or eight
people.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to ask the pastor if he could do it again.
I wanted it all to be some kind of a bad dream that I could wake up from...

We let our Brittnia down...

We had wanted to make eye contact with Brittnia, just before she walked
to the baptismal and tell her that we loved her...

We had wanted to silently pray for her young life just as the pastor said,
"I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit..." 

We had wanted our two young sons to see Brittnia as she publicly let
everyone know that four years earlier she asked Jesus to forgive her of her
sins, come into her life, and had given total control of everything over to God.
We had hoped that it might make an impression on them even at their
early ages...

We had wanted to watch Brittnia's future husband, Jeff, as he also got
baptized, and pray for their young relationship, that it might stay strong... 

But it wasn't meant to be...

Jamie Rusch, another former basketball player, who was sitting in front of
me leaned back and whispered, "If it is any conciliation, Brittnia's face got
really red just before she was baptized."  That made me smile, as everyone
who knows Brittnia, knows that she blushes easily...

Caleb, who was sitting on my lap finally realized that it was over and that
Brittnia hadn't been baptized yet.  "Awwwwwwww!  Brittnia didn't get
dunked!!" he shouted.

We gave Brittnia a hug afterwards, wet hair and all, and she asked us if we
got to see it.  I had to tell her that we were about four minutes too late, and
that we had the time mixed up.  She reassured us that it was all right, but
I felt my stomach tighten into knots again.  Not your ordinary knots either,
but the kind that only an Eagle Scout could tie.

All day I have asked myself, and God, why?  "Why God?  Why did we have
to miss this important day in our Brittnia's life?" 

But Brittnia, I wanted to share this with you today, on your 19th birthday.

Jesus will always be there for you.  He never makes promises He can't
keep and He is never, ever late in His timing.  He will be your Friend when
your friends fail you.  He will be your Parent when your parents fail you. He
will be your Husband when your future husband fails you, and he will fill the
void that is in all of our lives like nothing else can...

Brittnia, Jesus will bless your life and then some.  He will provide for all of
your needs, both emotionally and physically, and then some.  He will
comfort you when you are down and then some. He will make your marriage
work then there seems to be no hope, and then some. He will bless you
with wonderful children, loving friends and family, and then some.

You could be our baby-sitter for the next twenty years.  You could help me
with my video business for the next fifty and be the perfect employee.  You
could have been born fourteen years later and ended up marrying Caleb and
be the perfect daughter-in-law....  But there is nothing, absolutely nothing
you could ever do that would top giving your life to Jesus like you have done.
That makes us the happiest people on the face of the whole earth!  No
matter what happens the rest of our lives, no matter how close we may get
to you, it all pales before the thought that we will get to spend the rest of
eternity with our Brittnia.

We love you...and then some!

Happy Birthday!!

Michael T. Powers

Send me an email and let me know what you thought of this story!

Better yet, send Brittnia an email and wish her a happy 19th birthday for
me!!!  Her email address is:

Copyright © 2001 by Michael T. Powers, All rights reserved

Michael is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi, and has
two boys: Caleb (5 years old) and Connor (2 years old).  He is an author,
speaker, business owner, high school girl's coach, and founder of
"Straight From the Heart." 
He also pays much closer attention to details now...


I do not know if you are race fans or not?  The Daytona race was today in
Florida. Dale Earnheart was in the race and he hit the wall and was killed.
I would like everyone to say a prayer for his family. He was so young such
a good person he will be missed very much.
Thank you, Linda


No thoughts for today to save space, due to the length of today's story.
They will be back tomorrow!
\_\  /  
/_/  \    "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
\_\/\ \   Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live for the Son
   \_\/   of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 

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