The Glory of God on a Bun

October 6, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Have you ever wondered why God gave us taste buds? If we were to ingest food merely as a way to get nutrition, to fuel our bodies, couldn’t He have made a bush that grew all-purpose super berries? Something that contained every vitamin and mineral we needed to survive?

Instead, the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, gave us tiny nodules on our tongues that register all kinds of flavors—sweet, sour, bitter and salty. I’ve come to the conclusion that He gave us these little bundles of sensitivity so that we could truly experience, in an internal way, His great and awesome splendor.

Think about it. A beautiful mountain vista or colorful sunset inspires praise. Handel’s Messiah sung in perfect harmony or a simple, but heart-felt worship song, can make us weep. The aroma of incense was an ordained part of worship in the Tabernacle. But what about taste?
I recently had the joy of experiencing the glory of God on a bun.

I sat on an unassuming dock, overlooking the calm waters of Long Island Sound, and took a bite of a plain hot dog roll overflowing with chunks of red and white lobster meat. As my teeth sunk into the bread and tender seafood, my mouth exploded with flavor. First, a savory burst of butter (my arteries are hardening just from the thought of it), then the subtle sweetness of the lobster. Time slowed as my taste buds reveled in celebration. I think I may have wiped away a tear of sheer happiness. Just as the Mayans believe their gods instructed them how to make chocolate, I believe God must have sent a dream to some unknown man so he would see that ugly, bug-like lobster and think, I wonder what would happen if I boiled that thing and soaked it in butter?

Surely everyone has experienced something like this at one time or another. A perfectly grilled steak, a decadent cheesecake or perhaps, a morsel of chocolate so rich and sweet you thought you heard angels singing as it melted on your tongue? When our taste buds encounter such flavor, they send out signals to the rest of our body−we shiver with pleasure, our hearts beat faster and, for a moment, everything is right with the world.

Ezekiel ate a scroll containing God’s word and claimed it tasted as sweet as honey (Ezekiel 3:3.) God’s word should not only educate us, but give us the same pleasure we experience when we eat a scrumptious meal or delectable dessert. It is not meant to be perused casually, but savored slowly, so we can revel in all He has to say to us.

The Bible commands us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Psalm 34:8.) I hope to do that each day as I read His word and as I return to that unassuming dock on Long Island Sound.

A Change of Perspective

August 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor

By Kim Stokely –

For the hundredth time that day I looked in the mirror and cringed. My schedule had been too busy to drive the extra miles to the woman who usually cut my hair and I’d let it get too long. Cousin It from the Addams Family had more style than I did. To top it off, I had less than a week before I hopped a plane to visit my mother back East whom I hadn’t seen in a year. I’ve always said her biggest disappointment with me was that I never cared if my purse matched my shoes. What would she say to the kitchen mop draped over my head?

In desperation, I texted a girlfriend of mine who used to work in a beauty salon, “Do you have anytime this week you could give me a haircut? If not, I’m shaving it all off.”

Bless her heart, my friend texted right back, “NO! No! Don’t shave it! Come over anytime today and I’ll see what I can do!”

Two hours, a pile of hair on the floor, and a tube of dye later, and she’d given me a radical new hairstyle and a new outlook on life. Now when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a frazzled, frumpy, forty-five (plus some) year-old woman with desperation leaking out of her eyes; instead, I saw a vibrant, put together, forty(ish)-year-old woman, ready to take on the world and my fashion savvy mother. Nothing could hold me down.

It’s amazing what a little change can do for our perspective. It can invigorate us to set a new goal or energize us to pursue old goals with renewed passion.

I thought about how that can be true in our relationship with God as well. God says in Isaiah 29:13, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (NIV). Do you get excited by your time in the word or are you reading out of habit? Have you let your prayer life become a laundry list of needs interspersed with a few moments of praise? Maybe pray at a different time of day or write out your prayers instead of saying them silently. Buy a new Bible study or a find a devotional to help you focus your thoughts and stir your curiosity. If we think our relationship with God has grown stale, imagine what He thinks. Perhaps it’s time for a change of perspective.

10 Things I Learned

July 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Well, the day has finally come. My youngest has gone off to college. For my friends who are still battling the mommy blues, wondering what happened to your life, I provide the following 10 things I’ve learned about surviving the early years.

10. Most unauthorized things they eat won’t kill them. My children survived eating cookies they’d made out of Play-Do and various old cereal pieces they found on the floor. I’m not saying to let them get into the ant bait, but really, a bug or two won’t hurt them.

9. Germs are smart and understand human language. They hear the word “vacation” or “deployment” and get to work. Your best laid plans will be way-laid by an ear infection or strep throat. Learn to roll with the punches and carry a small pharmaceutical department with you. Especially on road trips.

8. Let your “no” mean NO and your “yes” mean SURE THING. Never confuse either of these words with MAYBE.

7. This one is a corollary to #8. If you’ve threatened a consequence for a behavior, follow through with it, even if it means more pain for you. A dinner out in a restaurant often became take-out when we had waiters pack up our food to go.

6. The best toys are free or really cheap. Walks in the trees became grand adventures in the Hundred Acre Woods. The latest gadgets soon broke or were forgotten, but a picnic lunch in the toy closet with flashlight became a lasting memory.

5. You can’t spoil children by giving them things you want to give them, but by giving them things they demand. It’s a subtle but important difference kids pick up quickly.

4. As often as you can, eat together. We rarely had conversation that I’d label intelligent, but our kids knew they were important enough that we wanted to sit down and talk with them. As they’ve gotten older, my husband and I have saved a bunch of money on tickets to movies and comedy shows. Our kids perform for us regularly over pasta bowls and sloppy Joes!

3. Be prepared to read your child’s favorite story book over and over and over again. Not just at bedtime, but several times throughout the day. You may want to gouge your eyes out, but they are learning and loving the gift of your time and the magic of a story.

2. As a corollary to #3, don’t be afraid to change things up a little when they get older. My husband got tired reading the same books to the kids at bedtime and one day changed up some of the story. It soon became a tradition to see how far he could mangle it and still come up with the same ending. I can still hear the gales of laughter coming from their bedrooms!

1. Again, I know you’ve heard it from a lot of people, but these early years do go by fast. Enjoy them for everything they’re worth: the good (when your kids think you’re superhuman, hugs after bath time when they’re still warm and their hair smells like baby shampoo), the bad (temper tantrums in Wal-Mart, birthday parties with 15 screaming pre-schoolers), and the ugly (stomach flues at midnight). Know that there is life after parenthood, although you may have a few more gray hairs and a little less of your sanity.

Mistaken Identity

May 31, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Almost everyone who calls the home of a friend with teenagers has experienced something like the following:

(Sound of phone ringing)

Voice on the other end: Hello?

You: Hi Mary (or Alice or Karen…) Have you heard about the sale Kohl’s is having on bras? Buy two get one free. I remembered you saying yours are shot—your bras, not your—

Voice: Let me get my mom.

You: (Loud groan as you realize you’ve been talking to her thirteen-year-old daughter.)

My kids try and pick up the phones in our house that have caller ID so they can prep the person on the other end as soon as they answer. My son even goes to the extreme of sounding like we’re a mortuary or rehab center, “Hello, this is Ian of the Stokely House. How may I direct your call?”

The funniest mix-up happened a couple of years ago when we arranged to reunite with friends we hadn’t seen in over ten years. The restaurant we were meeting at was crowded so my husband and I saved a table while our kids, 14 and 16, went to place their order. My friends walked up to my son exclaiming, “John! You haven’t changed a bit since college.”

My son, with eyes like a deer in the headlights, stared at these strangers a moment before pointing behind him, “I think you want my dad.”

It’s been a fun journey, watching my children grow up into adults. They may not like being mistaken for their parents, but my husband and I take a certain pleasure in thinking at least our voices still sound young! Physically, the resemblances between us are becoming more prominent too. My son, fortunately, has inherited my thick hair. I’m sure he’ll thank me when he’s fifty and nowhere near balding. My daughter has my husband’s metabolism. She’ll never have to worry about gaining weight. (I’ll try not to hold it against her.)

It occurred to me the other day as I watched my son pass the phone to my husband after another case of mistaken identity, that I too, hope to be mistaken for my Father—my heavenly Father, that is. I hope that the words I say, and the things I do, might always be such a reflection of His truth that people see Him in me. It would be awesome to come to the end of my life and have God exclaim, “Welcome to heaven! I’d know you anywhere! You look just like me!”

Driving Me Crazy

March 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

I pulled up behind a minivan today while waiting for a red light. Through the rear window I could see the glow of a television screen.

I sighed.

Not that I begrudge you if you own such a decked out vehicle, but oh, how I remember the simpler days when parents had to listen to inane children’s songs over and over again on rides around town. Like prisoners in a torture chamber, those of us who survived Raffi’s “Baby Beluga” a hundred times-a-day became tougher parents; able to withstand the onslaught of the latest teen sensation without batting an eyelash.

And if your child is watching television while you’re driving, you no longer have to endure the constant barrage of questions I remember so well:

“Mom! Where are we going?”

“The store.”

“Why?”

“Because we’re out of milk.”

“Why?”

“Because you and your father and your sister drank it all.”

“Why?”

“Because you like it.”

“Can we get a toy at the store?”

“No.”

“Why not?” Sniffle, sniffle.

“Because it’s a grocery store, they sell food, not toys.”

“Why?”

“Because they do.”

“But why?”

“I don’t know why. They just do.”

“They do what?”

“They…uh…they…” I’d completely forgotten what we were talking about. “Because.”

But lest my train of thought get permanently derailed, I’d get kicked from behind by a light up sneaker. The blue and red LEDs flashing in the rearview mirror like lights on a police car. “Why don’t they sell toys at the food store?”

And our conversation would circle back around like an airplane in a holding pattern.

I feel sorry for those who no longer take pleasure in a four-year-old’s random thoughts. I learned a lot about my kids on those rides when we had errands to run and doctor’s appointments. No one can enjoy a puffy cloud like a child. Or dump trucks on a construction site. And a trip through the car wash became a wild, underwater adventure with giant blue squids and hurricanes.

Without a television to distract us, car rides also became lessons in faith for myself as well as my kids. Nothing makes you hold your tongue quicker than a precocious two-year-old. Instead of letting loose with my anger, I often found myself yelling, “God…bless that man and help him get to wherever he’s going safely!” and “Please God, not another red light.” A premier parking spot in the pouring rain became a time of praise, “Thank you, Jesus!”

As my kids are now old enough to drive themselves, I have a new perspective on God’s sense of time. Psalm 90:4 reminds us, “…a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by” (NIV). When you’re in the midst of diapers and play dates you can’t believe you’ll ever miss the chatter, the clutter and the constant attention your kids demand. But I know I do. Perhaps I’ll dig through the basement, I’m sure I’ve got an old Raffi CD hiding in a box down there. If not, maybe I’ll download a song or two and drive around town singing “Baby Beluga” for old times’ sake.

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