This Just Makes Good Scents

February 28, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

My favorite places to write are coffee shops. There’s something about the aroma of so many good coffees that seems to cause more of my neurons to start firing. Somebody should make a scratch-n-sniff version I can take home. But since I haven’t found one, when there’s a deadline looming, I head to my fave café spot until I’m finished. I think I almost won the employee of the month award there once.

Last time I walked into “my” café just for a fun lunch, I took a long sniff and said, “Mmm, smells like a book deadline in here.” Another writer friend fired right back, “Hmm, smells like procrastination to me.” Potato/Po-tah-to.

They do have a great potato/po-tah-to soup on the lunch menu at my coffee café. It’s not often I have any left over, but I did a few months ago. I packaged it up to take home and got it as far as my car, but then I forgot it. My son borrowed my car for a week or so and the soup ended up shoved way under the seat in the back.

By the time I got back in my car, it made my eyes water. It didn’t help that on top of the potato soup stench, Daniel had left several socks in a kind of compost pile. The whole car smelled like the monkey cages at the zoo. This was scratching and sniffing of a whole different order. Some smells are hard to ignore. Even with the windows down. Even with the windows down for several weeks in a row. It’s clear that sometimes a to-go order loses something in translation. Or in transportation.

In Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Faith,” we read that God gave Abraham a to-go order of a different kind. What did Abraham do? He took off! Nevermind the where. He packed up his faith and hit the road. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going,” (Hebrews 11:8). What a great example of faith and obedience—going!

We’ve been given a to-go order too. In John 20:21, the resurrected Jesus said to His followers, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And He made no bones about it in Matthew 28:19-20. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” His “therefore go” is our charge. What a privilege to be sent on such a thrilling mission by the Savior Himself.

As we go, we’re His billboards. And we’re spreading the sweet perfume of Christ at the same time. This is so much better than anything scratch-n-sniff. “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place,” (2 Corinthians 2:14, HCSB). The aroma of Christ! Others are influenced—changed, even, by Christ—when we wear His perfume. We’re sent. And we’re His scent.

It’s a glorious aroma. No matter how long you drive it around in your car.

First Humiliation

February 24, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Stephanie Prichard –

My first incident of total humiliation happened when I was age eight. My older brother hadn’t descended into the pit of adolescence yet, so we were friends. He not only acknowledged me as his sister, but he looked out for me. The window of our camaraderie occurred in the two-year time frame of the early fifties when our family lived in Japan.

Dad was stationed at the army base in Yokohama, where we lived on post. Our favorite play spot was a giant hill not far from our backyard. A pleasant walk through a lightly wooded area added to the fun of getting to “Little Mount Fuji,” as we fondly called our hill.

After an afternoon of playing there, my brother and I headed home for dinner. I trudged behind him through the woods, leaving him to guide our footsteps while I let my mind wander. We had explored the woods many times and discovered several small huts inhabited by Japanese families. I wondered if their children spied on our house like we did on theirs.

As we got closer to home, we heard our mother call us. My brother took off at a run, and I picked up my pace to keep up with him. Without so much as a hey-watch-out-sis, he swerved suddenly to the left. Did I say he looked out for me? Not this time.

There was a reason for his zigzag, and I didn’t zig in time. I plunged straight into a four-foot-deep honey-bucket well. A tidal wave of fermented urine and feces splashed high over my head and plopped (notice I didn’t say rained) straight down on top of me.

The shock of my fall ratcheted up as the stench engulfed me. Weeks—months—years of fomenting organisms had churned the waste products of our Japanese neighbors into a powerful, homegrown fertilizer for their gardens, and I was standing up to my armpits in it.

Adding insult to injury was my brother, bent double with laughter at the sight of his poor, little sister drenched in you-know-what. My scream out-powered his mirth, and he hastened to pull me out and lead me—at a safe distance—home. “Whew, you stink!” he said over and over. As I entered our neighborhood, men, women and children backed away, hands over their mouths and noses. Like Pepe Le Pu, a distinct aura trailed me down the street.

At home, the humiliation continued. No sympathetic hug from my mother, no. Instead she made me strip naked outside, at the back of our house, and hosed—yes, hosed!—me off. I was sure all the little Japanese neighbor boys were hiding at the edge of the woods, watching and giggling. Finally I was whisked into the house and submerged in soap and shampoo in a long, hot shower. I didn’t stop crying until I fell exhausted into bed.

As Christians, we carry an aroma too. Second Corinthians 2:15-16 says, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” When the world rejects you for being a Christian, it’s not because you are Pepe Le Pu. It’s because they smell their own death. They smell the “fragrance of Christ”—His amazing humiliation in becoming human and dying for our sins that we might have “life leading to life.” That’s my prayer for my loved ones—life—because it’s no stinking good any other way.

The Keys to my Heart

February 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Connie Cavanaugh –

Four drivers, two keys, one car – no matter how you add it up, it equals frustration. No one has the time to get more keys cut because we’re too busy hunting for the two keys we allegedly have.

I was working at my desk when my iPhone™ alerted me to a haircut appointment in fifteen minutes. Grabbing my purse, I lunged for the key rack. No key. Where was the one all by itself on a Free Willy key chain that I shared with our two driving daughters?

I ran to my youngest daughter’s bedroom and barged in. She was working a string of night shifts as her summer job and had to sleep during the day. Our encounter was not something I’d recommend in Good Parenting magazine.

“Where is the key to the Volkswagen?” I demanded.

“Mrrphh kublah, zzzz.”

I waded into a room that looked like it had been recently vandalized and began flinging clothes aside in an effort to find the floor and perhaps, the vagrant key.

Peeking out from under her pillow she moaned and mumbled, “I never drove the Volkswagen last, mom, you did! Please let me sleep!”

“If I drove the car last, the keys would be on the key rack!” I huffed, all righteous indignation.

Sitting up in bed with tears beginning to spill over, she reminded me she hadn’t slept properly for a week and now she probably wouldn’t be able to fall sleep again. She assured me she had nothing to do with the lost key.

By now, I was hopelessly late, frustrated and not totally convinced Willy wasn’t somewhere under the one of the piles surrounding me. I called my husband at his nearby office and he came to my rescue. He rushed into the foyer where I waited, ready to hand over his Volkswagen key when something caught his eye and stopped him cold.

“What’s this?” he asked. He stepped over to the key rack, bent down and picked up Free Willy from the floor directly below. “It looks like Willy made a break for it….”

“I am the world’s worst mother!” I wailed, tears bursting forth. Gerry was a bit dazed by my emotional reaction but he gallantly assured me that it wasn’t so. I managed to get a grip on my emotions long enough to endure the haircut while seated in front of an acre of mirrors that reflected the person I most despised at the moment – The World’s Worst Mother. Every barren woman I had ever known, biblically and literally, came to mind as I wondered why I was chosen to procreate and not them. I questioned God’s wisdom.

On the way home I stocked up on some provisions. Tiptoeing around so as not to reawaken my exhausted daughter, I set up a shrine outside her bedroom door with two 12-packs of cola and several gift certificates for free pizza. Atop this was a lengthy note confessing my grievous sin and begging forgiveness for blaming her for my own misplacement of the key. I left again to run more errands.

By the time I returned home hours later, ready to grovel, my daughter was already up and gone. She had obviously read my note, removed a can of cola and taken the pizza certificates. Ripping off a corner from the note I had written, she penned a response I’ll never forget: All is forgiven. Hey mom, you can yell at me again tomorrow. This could be a lucrative enterprise!!! xoxoxo.

I no longer questioned God’s wisdom. Thank God for children. They teach us grace.

Spray Away

February 16, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Karen O’Connor –

It had been a long flight from California to New York. I was tired but excited about the opportunity to speak at a large convention. Finally I arrived with time to spare before walking onstage to wow the crowd with the dynamic message I’d prepared and then rehearsed at least a dozen times. I checked into my hotel room, unpacked, rested my voice, and ordered hot tea with lemon and honey from room service. There wasn’t anything I hadn’t thought of––or so it seemed. I took time to press my business suit and apply my makeup carefully.

At the last moment I walked into the bathroom to refresh my lipstick and touch up my hair. A little spray would do the trick. I didn’t want even one hair to escape. I hadn’t paid the stylist thirty dollars for nothing.

I opened my purse, took out a small plastic bottle and turned this way and that in front of the mirror, taking charge of every stray hair. Spritz! Spritz! Even a stiff breeze couldn’t ruffle my tresses after that.

But something went terribly wrong. Instead of holding my hair in place, the entire ‘do’ collapsed into wet strands. I looked at the container in my hand, ready to pitch it out the sixteenth story window. So much for my professional coiffure––not yet twenty-four hours old. Indignant, I looked in the mirror, ready to return to the corner drug store and demand my money back. How could the clerk sell me this counterfeit when I expressly asked for a purse-sized bottle of hair spray?

Then I glanced at the label. Starry Night cologne. Oh for heaven’s sake. Where were my glasses when I needed them?

It was too late to start over. I had to walk out there and hold my own—regardless of how I appeared. Well, I smelled nice that day––but I didn’t look too swift!

I was pleased to see how well my audience paid attention. Every eye was on me––but probably not for the reason I hoped. I soon found out.

A woman came up to me after my presentation. It was clear she had a few words of encouragement for me after listening to my lament over the state of my hair. “You may not be the most attractive thing on the block,” she said, “but you’re a good speaker!”

The Love of God, from the Roots Up

February 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Carol Barnier –

“This is where we create the gold bowls that prayers are kept in.” The small group of newcomers moved along behind the winged angel tour guide and nodded as they viewed the large room of worker angels pouring gold into bowl-shaped molds.

The group shuffled along to a massive room that looked like an airplane hangar, open at the far end, with angels coming and going at a rapid rate. “This is our message dispatch room where delivery angels get their assignments to carry personal messages to folks on earth. Lots of serious stuff coming and going in this room.” Indeed, the looks on the faces of these angels were all business, even grim, but the occasional beaming smile crossed the face of a delivery angel when given some obviously joyful news. One can only imagine.

The small group moved down a long hallway, and on to a quieter wing. In a room off to the side sat a group of angels, each with an iPad™ looking device in their hands. They were chatting merrily with each other. There was no tension, no seeming deadline or urgency. There was even a seeming merriment in the exchanges between them.

“This is the hair counting room.”

“The what?” a confused tour group member immediately interjected.

“Hair counting. You know. . .even the very hairs on your head are numbered? In God’s word?”

The tour guide suggested they take a closer look and the group was allowed to mill about, spreading out in the room to get a sense of what was going on in much greater detail. The device held by each of the angels displayed the names of dozens of people, each name with a corresponding number. Every so often an angel would tap a name, note an increase in hair number, and return to the name to adjust the entry. It seemed a pretty easy assignment. But as the group of newbies moved on a bit, going deeper into the very long room, they noticed that the angels seemed busier, less chatty. And finally at the very end of the room, the angels were downright intense. They were constantly checking the names and adjusting the numbers. They clearly had more to deal with, and the demands of their increased work load evident on their furrowed faces.

Finally one of the group spoke up. “What’s happening here? Why are these guys so much busier than those at the start of the room?”

“The folks at the beginning of the room were tracking the hairs of babies.” The smiling guide continued. “That’s pretty easy duty. You add about 100 hairs a day and you’re done. But at the end here, we’re tracking folks over 50. They’re losing hairs at an alarming rate. And if the person gets a shampoo, you almost have to do a total recount.”

At that moment an angel taped his iPad and gleefully said, “Yay. We’re up two for a change!”

“Angel Jarrod. . .” Our guide directed his very serious tone at the delighted angel, who now looked up with a sheepish expression. “We’ve talked about this before. What is the rule?”

The angel dropped his winged shoulders, made an adjustment on his iPad, and said, “We don’t count stray chin hairs. It’s just not nice.”

“And what else?”

He dropped his head ashamedly and added, “Or nose hairs or ear hairs.”

I’m immensely grateful that God is so invested in us that He even numbers the hairs on our heads. I’m perhaps more grateful that He keeps that number to Himself.

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