All Aboard

January 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Judy Davis –

My daughter, Cindi, and I always dreamed of going on a cruise. The excitement of thinking about the rest and relaxation thrilled us. We decided to celebrate our birthdays on a cruise to the Bahamas.

As I reflect on the memories, I know God blessed us with this time of fun and fellowship. We had the opportunity to not only enjoy rest from our jobs, but time together reading and meditating on God’s Word. Each morning we started off the day reading our devotions and sharing prayer time.

Cindi picked me up early in her red sports car, all dressed in a straw hat, shorts, and sandals. She said, “Hey Mom, let’s stop at Waffle House.” After eating delicious waffles, we were on our way.

I had made reservations at a motel for our first night in Florida. The ocean view room was breathtaking and the weather delightful. After checking into the Holiday Inn, I said, “Let’s eat lunch at the Cove, a nice little sea food restaurant.” We ate a delicious lunch filled to the brim with shrimp, clams, and fish.

We woke up bright and early the next morning and got ready for another great day. “Oh, Mom, look out your window,” Cindi pointed at the great big ship with a huge red fin on top. Wow! We were ecstatic! We arrived at the Cruise line by 9:00 and couldn’t board until one o’clock. But we found a close parking place. I laughed, “We have the whole parking lot.” We found a nice cool area to sit and dream of our next few days.

The stewards treated us so special. They placed neat little towels folded like cute little animals on our bed each evening and left little pieces of chocolate on our pillow.

We shopped at the straw market and bought a few souvenirs. As I was looking through my selected items, I heard Cindi yell, “Hey mom, look, take a picture.” She ran across the street to have her picture made with one of the native Bahamians.

Later that evening, we dressed up in beautiful black and gold evening dresses for the Captain’s dinner.” The crew always takes plenty of pictures so we have special memories of a most delightful journey.

Then, of course, the midnight buffet was “a sight for sore eyes” my grandmother would have said. We took plenty of pictures as no one would believe us if we told them how much food was on the buffet.

What a blessing we shared on our first cruise! It was truly a wonderful trip full of memories. Our birthdays will be remembered forever as a time of celebration, reflection, and most of all, the love of a mother and daughter. “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” Psalm 90:14.

Grand Opening

January 6, 2021 by  
Filed under Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

I read somewhere that when a man can’t open a jar, he has to throw it away and never speak of it again. Another guy told me that if he can’t open a jar, he comes back with a blunt instrument. What is it with guys looking for any excuse to crank up the chain saw? Okay, so I do understand a chain saw is not a blunt instrument. Unless, of course, you use it to try to pry open a pickle jar.

I admit I personally have an extremely underdeveloped jar-opening-muscle. It’s withered away from lack of use. That’s because I’ve been married all these years to a really great jar-opener. When Richie is out of town for any length of time, I’m in a real pickle, jar-wise. Not a pickle jar. A pickle. Jar-wise.

On the spiritual side of the story, however, I’m all about opening up. I never want to neglect exercising my faith by failing to keep a prayer connection with the Father open and active. We need to build spiritual muscle or we become withered, wimpy semi-believers who shrivel at the slightest pressure. It’s true, if we want to keep our spiritual muscle operating at full capacity, we have to consistently pray, thanking and praising Him, loving Him with our thoughts and words, trusting Him with every need, struggle and hurt, staying ever open and transparent before Him.

Allowing “prayer” to become merely a “churchy word” can happen all too readily. It’s easy to let it become more about what we want, or what we want others to think we’re doing, or what we say we’ll do, or even what we intend to do, than it is about communing with the Heavenly Father. It can become a ritualistic, empty religious duty in our hearts and minds rather than the enormously high privilege and sweet exchange that it truly is meant to be.

Any time we find ourselves stuck in a prayer funk, we need to give ourselves a little tap on the shoulder—a reminder of our vital need to open up those lines of communication and to see our intimacy restored. Paul said in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer.”

We need to get extreme in that devotion, and to stay extreme in our desperate desire to faithfully connect with the Father, heart to heart. Romans 12:11-12 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Dictionaries further describe that zeal as enthusiastic devotion and diligence, tirelessly passionate about a cause, idea, person or goal. That’s the kind of passion we want to take with us every time we enter our prayer closet.

A sluggish or apathetic spirit may squeeze out that passion now and again, but if we want to please the Lord and fruitfully live in His joy, we need to be all about getting right back on track in opening that prayer closet door.

That’s one thing we can always open on our own. With a grateful and expectant heart. And it’s the sure way out of any spiritual pickle.

Of course, now I’ve gotten myself all hungry for pickles. Guess I’d better call my husband. Somebody’s got to open this jar.

The Joy of Juicing

January 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

My husband and I have started juicing. (Just as an aside, when did nouns become verbs like juicing or texting? And I no longer exercise, I “ellipticate.”)

A friend of ours gave us a juicer. “It works great,” she said as she handed it to me.

“It could juice a cracker!” her husband promised.

“If it’s so great,” I asked, “why are you giving it away?”

“We just don’t have the time.”

Time? How much time can juicing take? You throw some stuff in the machine and voila! Juice, right?

A recent Saturday morning found me in my kitchen surrounded by various fruits. A veritable orchard out in the Nebraska cornfields. I had mangos, strawberries, tangerines, apples and pears all piled high and ready to go. I plugged in the juicer, let the motor run for the allotted ten second “start up” time and then threw the fruit down the chute.

The machine roared to life. It shook and rattled as the inner blades decimated my offerings into a tall glass of colorful goodness, chock full of various vitamins and antioxidants.

*sigh*

Really? All that fruit and all I got was one lousy glass of juice. Ok, it wasn’t lousy. It was actually quite tasty, but besides the cost of the fruit, I now had to clean the machine. I understood what my friend meant about the time factor. To squeeze the pulp out, the machine chops it up then spins out the dry pulp. The juice runs out a little spout, the pulp collects (theoretically) in the tub behind the machine. In reality, it goes everywhere. The machine has to be taken apart and each component washed separately.

With the cost of fresh fruit and veggies nowadays, I hated the thought of wasting all the pulp. We’ve started putting it into waffle and muffin mixes. They’ve been delicious. The other day I snuck veggie pulp into my meatballs when the kids weren’t looking. They loved them and anytime I can get them to eat an extra vegetable is a good day for me.

It got me thinking about how God views our lives. (It’s a stretch, I know, but work with me here!) Every moment of our lives is precious. It costs us something, time we can never get back. It’s easy to spot the good stuff that comes out of each day. We drink that down easily and thank God for his gifts. But even the bad stuff, the “garbage” can be turned into something good if we take the time to let God clean it out and mix it with His love and mercy. It may take some work, but the results are well worth the effort.

Mistaken Restroom

December 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Stephanie Prichard –

Yep, I did it. Walked smack dab into a Men’s Restroom. I was in such a hurry I raced straight to a stall and was in and out before I stopped short at what was supposed to be the sink but instead turned out to be a row of urinals. Oh my heart! I honestly believe I died in that one microsecond of horrid comprehension.

My next brain-conscious moment was the realization that at least I was alone. Follow that with a mad dash for the door to get out before anyone saw me.

Only, the door was locked.

What?

There wasn’t even a handle to pull. The door was supposed to stand open, and I must have jarred it shut.

I sucked in a lungful of oxygen. Slow down, Steph. Breathe. Take stock of the situation. Think.

It was Election Day, and I was the precinct chairman overseeing the voting procedure for my sector. The poll was located at one of our local high schools, and I’d been there guzzling coffee all day to keep me on my toes against rogue voters and invading high schoolers. When I went out for lunch I’d taken a restroom break, and my bladder had been signaling for the past half hour that I was due for another. Thus my brisk pace into the, ulp, facilities for the other gender.

School was over for the day, which explained the absence of needy users other than (blush) me. Now, instead of dreading discovery, I faced the stomach-acid-blazing fear that I wouldn’t be. I could end up here, locked overnight, with a hard tile floor for my bed and my stiff leather purse for a pillow. What would my poll workers think when I didn’t return to tally the day’s votes with them? Would my husband send for the police when I didn’t show up at home and he found my car all by itself in the school parking lot? Would they think to enter the school and look in … men’s restrooms?

Did I mention I didn’t have a cell phone on me? Uh-huh, live and learn.

I began pounding the door. Yelling. Screaming. Please, somebody had to hear me!

But wait! Had the janitors cleaned the restroom yet? Desperate, I dared a hefty sniff. The odor of industrialized cleansers eradicated any lingering bacteria in my nostrils. My hope for rescue faded. I would have to find my own way out.

The only other escape route was the windows. They were a slight four-foot stretch above my head. All I needed was a little boost and I could climb up and crawl out. I scanned the room for something not bolted to the floor. Something like a bucket I could turn over and stand on. Something that, hey, might be in that closet over there.

Of course, chances were it was locked. I held my breath, gripped the door’s handle, and pulled.

It opened.

Into the school hallway.

I stood, stunned. The truth trickled painfully over my numb gray cells. You know, Steph, where there’s an In door, there’s usually an Out door.

I remember that incident now whenever I face a trial designed by God for my good. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape.” Don’t trap yourself in the emotion of your trials. Look for God’s way out. It’s handier than you think.

Costly Cookies

December 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Karen O’Connor –

When I think of my mother, I think of her butter horn cookies. Mmm! The kids in our family could polish off a plate of these melt-in-your-mouth treats in minutes. So when it was my turn to provide dessert for the married couples group my husband and I belong to, I decided to make a batch of Eva’s Butter Horns.

I looked in the pantry and fridge for the ingredients and realized I didn’t have any of them on hand. Our oven had been on the blitz for months, so I had not been able to bake anything. But the day of the meeting I had no more excuses. We had purchased a new oven when we updated our kitchen.

I drove to the store and purchased flour, butter, cane sugar, powdered sugar, chopped nuts, eggs and salt. Then I remembered I didn’t have a rolling pin, so I picked up that too. Total bill: $40.21. Add to that the $1634.03, the purchase price for the built-in oven, and I could see this was going to be one expensive batch of cookies, let me tell you. To be exact, each cookie—48 in all––cost $34.88.

But the worst was yet to come. As I tried to roll out the flour mass (make that mess), the dough stuck to the rolling pin for dear life. I added a bit of flour to the board and to the dough, but no luck. So I started over. Then it dawned on me that it makes sense to flour the rolling pin before rolling out the dough. That helped a bit, but the result was anything but the perfect circle my mother used to make.

It’s pretty hard to make butter horns (visualize miniature crescent rolls) unless the circle of dough is very thin and very round. After much frustration, I managed to make three-dozen cookies that only vaguely resembled the perfect ones Mom used to make.

However, the guests didn’t know the difference. Every cookie vanished from the plate within ten minutes of my arrival. I was lucky to eat just one, but I was determined to get my $34.88 share.

Recipe for Eva’s Butter Horns
Dough:
1 cup butter (softened)
2 cups flour (white or wheat)
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
3/4 cup light sour cream

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup of finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Directions
Cut butter into flour. Combine egg yolk and sour cream. Blend with flour mixture. Form into ball and cover with waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for several hours before baking.

Divide dough into three parts. Roll each part into a circle about 12″ in diameter. Cut each circle into 16 wedges with knife or pizza cutter.

Prepare the filling. Combine sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture over the dough. Roll each wedge, starting with the wide end, shaping into crescents.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until light brown at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

Share and enjoy!

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