She and her husband Gary, who is retired from Federal-Mogul and Honda, have lived there for the past 25 years. They’re proud of their goldfish pond and big lake in the back yard.
“We have a quiet, peaceful life out here,” said Brenda. “We can sit out on our deck and see all kind of wildlife.”
Brenda said they take frequent walks through their land.
She and Gary have had an ongoing project for 15 years. They’ve hauled in thousands of rocks from the forest surrounding their home to make a rock wall. Brenda said the wall is almost a mile long and about three feet high. They hope to have it completed in about three months.
“It’s a landmark in this community,” she said. “If people are looking for a certain house or location, someone will always point out how far it is from our rock wall.”
When they finish the wall, she will have more time to work in her flowers, which she’s looking forward to.
Brenda attended Jacksonville High School. Her mother and step-father are Margie Newell and Cecil Burns. Her father is the late Arnold Newell. Her son, Scotty Smith, lives in Pleasant Valley. Her grandchildren are Ethan, 22, and Kaylee, 18. Brenda has two brothers, Gary and Heath.
Brenda has worked at Federal-Mogul 31 years. As team leader, she is responsible for a lot of work that goes out of the building.
“When we come in every morning, I look at the work we have and place the people on the jobs that I need them to do,” she said. “Then, I might have to move them around as the work shifts. We work with UPS and Fed-Ex. We use them to ship out orders for car parts. The parts come upstairs on a conveyor and we pallitize them. Then we pull the orders together, box them up, run them through a meter, they go down to a trailer, and we load them on the trailer at the end of the day. Everyone knows what their job is and they do it. We all work great together as a team.”
Brenda is associate pastor at House of God Worship Center in Chulafinnee.
“I was reading the Bible one night, I can’t remember what scripture it was, but God revealed to me that He had a calling for my life,” she said. “He showed me a vision that I would preach. I didn’t want to. I fought it and prayed about it.”
Brenda said she asked God to give her a sign if that’s what He really had in mind for her.
“One night around midnight I heard three knocks at the front door,” she said. “I went to the door and there was nobody there. It was like it was God saying, ‘I’m knocking on the door, are you going to answer it?’”
Six months later she delivered her first sermon. She was a little nervous at first and was somewhat startled to realize that she was suddenly at ease and the words were flowing out of her.
Brenda cooks every day and, every other Sunday she prepares a meal for her entire family. Her niece and great-nephew, Brook and Hayden Jones, live with her and Gary, and she likes the fact that there are four to cook for. She said she has gotten many of her recipes from her friend and co-worker, Cheryl Haynes.
Some of Brenda’s favorite recipes are Caramel Pie, Baked Fish Amandine, Mexican Chicken Casserole and Cornbread Cake.
2 deep dish pie crusts or make your own
1 ½ c. coconut
¼ c. butter or margarine
½ c. chopped pecans
16 oz. Cool Whip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 can Eagle Brand milk
2 - 12 oz. jars caramel topping
Brown coconut, butter and pecans until it almost looks burned. Cool. Cream the cream cheese and Eagle Brand milk together. Add Cool Whip. Layer cream mixture, sprinkle with coconut-pecan mixture. Pour caramel. Layer again. Freeze.
Baked Fish Amandine
1 T. butter or margarine, melted
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. fresh fillets, such as flounder or orange roughy
¼ t. salt
3 T. mayonnaise
½ c. saltine cracker crumbs
3 T. butter or margarine, melted
¼ c. slivered almonds, toasted
Combine 1 T. butter and lemon juice in a 13x9 inch baking dish. Arrange fillets in a dish. Sprinkle with salt. Spread mayonnaise on fillets.
Combine cracker crumbs, 3 T. melted butter and almonds. Sprinkle over fillets. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.
Mexican Chicken Casserole
1 bag Cool Ranch Doritos
2 c. chicken (cooked and cubed)
1 onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small jar Picante sauce
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cheddar cheese
8 oz. mozzerella cheese
Spray pan with Pam
Layer in order. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
1 ½ c. self-rising flour
2 c. chopped pecans
Mix together and put into iron skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
Contact Margaret at email@example.com