Hands Full of Rocks

April 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

My oldest child’s passion for cars began in infancy. Kyle loved anything with wheels, really. As a toddler, he played with vacuums, even had his own toy Dirt Devil. He knew who had what color sweeper and where it was kept. If we went to Grandma S’s house, he’d head straight for the hall closet and drag out her red Hoover. A visit to Grandma W’s meant a whirl with a white Eureka. Of course, by the time he got big enough to actually use one, he lost all interest. Now, Hot Wheels were another story.

At one point, my son had over 1,200 Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars and like models. Believe it or not, very few were duplicates. Many were unique, like the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and several authentic D.A.R.E. replica police cars. He had an entire field of NASCARs. He could host his own Daytona 500!

One day our little family browsed a local shopping venue that opens one weekend per month. (OK, it’s a flea market!) Anyway, Kyle tooled along in his stroller while Mom and Dad perused the booths. At one point, he bent over and scooped up a handful of white rocks that lined the path. In typical little boy fashion, he was content to play with dirt. He admired each stone, knocked them together, guarded them. Kyle was so busy with his hands full of rocks he did not notice Daddy purchase something special. When Daddy turned around, he held a shiny schoolbus in his hand. Kyle immediately threw his hands down and forgot all about the rocks that only moments before had captivated him. He exchanged dusty gravel for a much more valuable gift from his father.

Are your hands full of rocks this Easter season? Are you holding on to something that may beautiful in its own right, but that diverts your attention from the gift your heavenly Father is holding out to you? Maybe your something is not so beautiful. Maybe the boulder you carry is so big it obscures your vision. Throw it down! Empty your hands and reach up with unhindered delight to grab hold of the free gift of salvation. I promise it’s of much greater value than anything this world can offer.

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!” (Mark 16:4-6 NIV)

Shouldn’t I Be Scrubbing Toilets?

March 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

The end of the month was fast approaching. That meant deadlines. Several deadlines. So I faced the blank computer screen and dared it to a staring match. It won.

There I sat. Fingers finally glided over the keyboard. Backspace, backspace, backspace. No, that’s no good. Typing frenzy #2. Better. A few keeper sentences, but something nagged the back of my mind. I checked Facebook. Hmm, nothing going on there. OK, back to work.

A few paragraphs were complete. I read back over them and smirked at the computer. Perhaps it had not won our contest after all. Alas, the article required more, so I stared at the screen again, when a sudden thirst overwhelmed me. I felt as though I’d traversed the dessert with not a drop to drink. I downed cool water to refresh my parched mouth, then returned to my seat with renewed vigor. (A march across the dessert is very inspiring, you know!)

Alrighty, back to task. Write, write, write. Done. Right? No, backspace, backspace, backspace. Sigh. Shouldn’t I be scrubbing toilets?

Have you ever had moments like that? Moments when you know you need to get your work done, but you just don’t want to do it? Moments when you’d rather do anything, anything—even scrub toilets—to avoid the job at hand? What do you do in those moments?

Here’s what I have done. First, I have made a commitment to the Lord that in all I do, I want to glorify Him. I desire to live my life in a way that pleases Him. I want every decision I make, every action I take, every word I write, every breath I breathe to be what God desires. I don’t want to get in His way, because when I do, I stumble and struggle.

Second, I pray. First Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually, or pray without ceasing. I must be diligent to do just that. I must make a conscious effort to stop and pray before I ever sit down to write or perform any dutiful task. I know the Lord has blessed me with desire and ability, and I must use it for His purpose. I will be useless in all areas if I do not seek Him first in all I do.

Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Jesus promises that if I do that, He will give me the things I need and perhaps some blessings I hadn’t requested as well. If I seek the Lord first in prayer and devotion, He will reward me with countless ways to glorify Him.

As my writing endeavors turned out, I decided scrubbing toilets wasn’t worth it. So I sat back down, BIC as they call it (bottom in chair), sent up a silent word of prayer, and finished the article you are reading right now. Take that, you rascally computer!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

I Hab a Code

February 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

Achoo! Bless me. I mean, excuse me. I hab a code, er, I have a cold. It’s a good thing I don’t use voice recognition software right now, because I hardly have a voice, and what does squeak out is a bit jumbled. The computer would likely transcribe it in Jabberwocky. You know, “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.”

When I was in high school, I wrote a research paper on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, focusing on the books’ oddities and their real life parallels. Back in those days, word processors were brand new and very expensive. We lived on my mom’s single-parent income, so I had to rely on my trusty typewriter to prepare assignments.

As I typed my first draft, I chose not to hit “backspace.” I just kept on going even when I knew I’d made an error. That drove my internal editor crazy, but I persevered until I finished the task. Then, I sat back and read it aloud and laughed until I cried. The whole thing was Jabberwocky!

I considered turning the paper in as it was. I thought surely the teacher would appreciate my efforts to authenticate the theme by speaking Carroll’s own language, but in the end, I chickened out and handed in a clean, error-free version. I guess I made the right decision, because that one scored an A+.

I’m just so glad the Lord understands me no matter how I sound. I may hab a code, I may type without backspacing, I may mumble, stammer or “uh,” but my heavenly Father knows what I mean. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV). Look, “…the Spirit himself…groans,” and the Lord gets it.

Of the Jabberwocky poem, Alice replied, “Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don’t know exactly what they are!” But you know what? Whether I speak English, Spanish, French or Jabberwocky, I can rest in confidence my Lord knows exactly what I am saying and that my prayers are heard.

Down…Set…Hut!

January 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

Some say life is like a roller coaster zooming full speed through loop-de-loops, up steep hills, then down and backward with herky jerks and lilting hills. And it can be. Often is, come to think of it. But I view life more like a game of football.

If you’re the offense, you control the game. Let’s say you’re the quarterback. You call the plays. You determine who’s open and able to catch what you throw their way. Or perhaps you hand what you carry to a teammate. You entrust valuable cargo to his sturdy grasp. You depend on him to carry it through a minefield of aggressors and across the goal line. Sometimes it takes several attempts to get where you aim to go. Sometimes you need to call an audible and change the play on the fly. You need referees to moderate sticky situations. You rely heavily on your pals to protect you. Yet often you’re knocked flat on your back. Sometimes you even lose your bearings or suffer injury. Some games find you victorious; others see you fail.

If you’re the defense, your job is to stop your opponent’s forward progress because their progress means your defeat. Whether you’re a solid, stable defensive tackle or a quick, fleet-footed cornerback, your goal is to keep the other team from achieving their goals, lest you meet destruction.

If you’re the ball, now that’s most like a roller coaster. You’re constantly tossed about, unstable. You may have direction but not always go the distance. Sometimes you’re fumbled, knocked around, fought over. For a while you head downfield one direction, then you’re handed over to the other team who runs you the opposite way. You’re kicked, batted, grabbed…held close, valued, celebrated. It’s a veritable storm of upheaval.

As rough and tumble as life’s game can be, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:7-9).

Be strong in the Lord. Remember He is on your side: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b). So call the audible, block the charge, catch the “hail Mary,” and run toward victory in Jesus.

Wavy Lines

December 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

Hemingway’s endearingly tragic infatuation with the sea was unavoidable given the parallels of its ebbs and flows with those of life. Not long ago I spent an entire week at the beach, and I developed a similar consuming respect.

Every day the water was different. One day, it was calm and soothing. The next, jellyfish swarmed. The day after, clear waves chopped. Our final day, rough storms threatened. I was cut by seashells, burned by the sun’s rays, stung by slimy, floating globs of “jelly,” and chased by tiny, translucent crabs. I shared a mother’s panic and prayers for her lost little boy and crumbled in tears of relief when he was found. I watched lightning spark the night sky and stars twinkle from afar. I was lulled to sleep by the steady breakers and laughed at by gulls.

Every day of life is different too. One day, everything flows easily and coherently. The next, nothing makes sense. The day after, choppy but fun! And, of course, some days are dark and dreary. Rejections wound my spirit. They cut, burn, sting, and pinch. Many times I have panicked and prayed over frustrations; others I have wept with joy of discovery. Every now and then, inspiration strikes with great electricity and incites my creative energy. At those moments, my jitters ease and my tensions release with a giggle.

After several days of yielding to the surf, my body adjusted to the habit, anticipating the next surge. I’d find myself swaying with the waves of the sea when I was standing on dry land. And so it is with life, a cohesive oscillation with God that in the end leaves me both exhausted and exhilarated.

And I rejoice that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

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