Alyce Faye Bragg: New beginnings not limited to the New Year

Many folks think the beginning of a new year is the time for new beginnings, and that will work if you stay on the right path. It is great and heartwarming to know that “new beginnings” can begin at any time. When a person comes to the place in their life that they are completely disgusted and tired of the way that things are going, it is time for a new beginning.

Actually, the best way to make a new beginning is to turn your life over to the One who can lead us the right way. I believe there is a vacancy in the heart of everyone that can be filled only by our Savior.

I can remember when I was only a teenager feeling as if something was missing in my heart. I wrote to a good friend (now deceased) about it, and he thought it was just the normal “growing up” emotions an adolescent girl has.

I know now it was our Redeemer knocking at my heart’s door, trying to get me to turn my life over to Him. If I had responded, it would have saved a lot of grief and heartache I went through trying to make it on my own. It took a lot of time until I awakened and realized that I had made a mess of my life.

How wonderful it has been since I turned my life over to Him and let Him lead my way.

I wish I could get it across to teenagers (my own family included) that the wisest thing to do is to dedicate your life to the Lord early, and thus be spared the ravages of sin and the complications sin brings. So many of them are like I was, however, having to try out things for myself and suffering the consequences. I am so glad that I have found the “better way.”

This is the time of year people make many resolutions, and the problem is they usually fade away in just a few weeks. If we are not serving the Lord, we have another master that has control over our actions. Luke 16-13 tells us, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other, Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

I realize this has been more of a sermon than an ordinary column, but the fact is, I am deeply concerned about our younger generation, and for much of the older ones, too. I pray every day for our nation to turn to the old paths, and reverence God, as we should.


Someone asked me the other day if I longed for the past and the way things used to be, and I have to confess that I would like to live that way now. However, I would have to trade this old, infirm body into that of a young girl in order to be able to enjoy the things that we used to do.

After this first real snowstorm that came, I watched one of my great-granddaughters riding her sled off the barn hill. I remember how we greeted each snow with excitement, and would haul out sleighs, sleds, pieces of linoleum or anything that we could slide on and head for the barn hill.

We would have to watch out for the barbed wire fence though, because we could really get torn up.

The best sleigh riding happened when the road got so bad that there was no traffic, and we could ride with the wind down the road from the church. Sometimes we would build a bonfire to warm ourselves between rides, and Mom would make a big cooker of hot cocoa to warm our insides.

Yes, it was great fun and we loved to come home to a pot of potato soup and batter bread.

When the latest snow covered our landscape, I got the urge to make a kettle of vegetable beef soup. (Is it possible to make a small pot of soup?) I scraped and chopped vegetables, cooked beef soup bones and spent more than half a day concocting my soup.

By the time it was done, the snow had mostly melted! Ah well, maybe there will come another snow, and another soup-making urge.

This has been a mild winter, to say the least. Criss calls it an “open winter” and we really need some snow. An old Jackson County farmer once told me that snow puts something needed into the soil that makes for better gardening. My sister-in-law Alice tells me that snow is what brings a big merkle (morel mushroom) crop. So — let it snow!


We received our first garden catalog in the mail this morning, and the vividly colored pictures of red, ripe strawberries and garden vegetables starts the person to planning their spring garden. For some reason though, the actual things we raise don’t look as enticing as the pictures in the catalog. Still, a person can dream and plan, and start digging in the soil once the time is right.

There is something so satisfying in putting seeds in the ground, watching them sprout and spring up, and then nurturing them with plant food and water that feeds the soul.

There is an elemental urge to produce your own food and know you are capable of taking care of yourself. This may be our heritage that goes back to our Scotch-Irish ancestors who came into our hills and made their own way.

It is good to know that even if the supermarkets would go out of business, we can make it on our own. That is, if we have a little plot of land and the ability to grow our own food.

So, let come what may...

New Beginnings

How often we wish for another chance

To make a fresh beginning,

A chance to blot out our mistakes

And change failure into winning —

And it does not take a new year

To make a brand new start,

It only takes the deep desire

To try with all our heart

To live a little better

And to always be forgiving

And to add a little “sunshine”

To the world in which we’re living —

So never give up in despair

And think that you are through,

For there’s always a tomorrow

And a chance to start anew.

Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at or write to 2556 Ovapa Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.

Funerals Saturday, January 25, 2020

Asbury, Betty - 1 p.m., Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Bailey, Jonathan - 11 a.m., Faith Christian Fellowship, Buffalo.

Britton, Karen - Noon, New Covenant Baptist Church, Charleston.

Brooks, Stephen - 12:30 p.m., Levi First Missionary Baptist Church.

Crites, Joseph - 1 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Easter, Patricia - 11 a.m., Bartlett - Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Finley, Ann - 10 a.m., Tomblyn Funeral Home, Elkins.

Fisher, Howard - 2 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Garrett, Betty - 11 a.m., Wallace Funeral Home & Chapel, Barboursville.

Graham, Alma - 1 p.m., Laurel Fork Missionary Baptist Church.

Graybeal, Joseph - 2 p.m., Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.

Harper, Marnetta - Noon, First Baptist Church of London.

Jeffers, Ashley - 2 p.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home Chapel, Poca.

Moore, Ida - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Inc, Grantsville.

Moss, Gary - Noon, Kanawha City Baptist Church, Charleston.

Ramsey Jr., Shelby - 10 a.m., North Charleston Baptist Church, Charleston.

Sears, Everett - 2 p.m., Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Shafer, Murry - 1 p.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Sheppard, Betty - 1 p.m., JOY Classroom, First Baptist Church of Nitro.

Sutphin, Calvin - 11 a.m., Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg.

Valentine, Kathy - Noon, O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Vaughn, William - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor Chapel.

Vilain, Nancy - 3 p.m., Elk Hills Presbyterian Church.

Warwick, Harry - 2 p.m., First United Methodist Church of South Charleston.

Wood, John - 11 a.m., Blessed Sacrament Church, South Charleston.

Young, Terry - 1 p.m., Cross Lanes Baptist Church.