White Knuckle Ride

October 31, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Karen O’Connor –

What fun it was for Amy to be invited to lead women’s groups to London on a tour of tearooms. Not only was she tickled to have this opportunity – something she felt God had planted in her mind years before – but she enjoyed being with a group of women who had never been on such a trip before. Their laughter and exclamations made all the preparation worthwhile. For many this was a vacation of a lifetime.

Most of the women were middle-aged and older, and at a point in life where they had time to appreciate the lovely British tradition of High Tea and to enjoy the various cultural differences between the English and the Americans. One special attraction in the city was the famous double-decker buses.

Amy recalled with a smile the first group she took. “None of the ladies had been to England before so everything was new and they were like little kids, taking in the sights and sounds as though they were at an amusement park.” That is until something happened that set her back. “As group leader, it was my fault in a way,” she added. “I realized later that I didn’t spend enough time going over the instructions. Now that I’m planning another trip I must take care of that oversight.”

One afternoon, the women had gathered at the street curb, eager for their first ride on one of the double deckers. “As we boarded the bus, most of the gals decided to sit downstairs to be out of the damp weather and to protect their hair from the wind. A few, however, were brave enough to sit on the top deck. I split my time between both so neither group would feel left out. I wanted to be certain everyone heard what I had to say.

“The women downstairs were attentive and happy and asked me some observant questions. When I walked up the stairs to speak to those on the upper level, however, I noticed my passengers were sitting like soldiers on alert. Not a word was spoken and most of them clutched the seats in front of them. It appeared to
be a white knuckle ride!

“Is anything wrong?” I asked. “We’re having a great time downstairs, but you don’t appear to be enjoying yourselves.”

One of the ladies looked up at me with a touch of fear in her eyes. “Well,” she said, in a small voice, “that’s because you have a driver!”

Spring Has Sprung—Time for Some ‘Scrubbing’

October 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

I read that one woman who hates housework said she doesn’t do spring cleaning because she loves all the seasons and doesn’t want the others to get jealous.

My mom believed in spring cleaning. Me? Not so much.

I mean, I’m the woman who—knowing company is coming a week before Christmas—piles all the out-of-place junk and papers in the house in one corner of the living room, throws a red tablecloth over all of it, and pins on a sign that reads, “Christmas wrapping underway. Do not peek!”

Spring cleaning is not my cup of … Lysol.

It seems there is always something more pressing and exciting than house cleaning. There are articles to write, messages to prepare, cookies to bake, grandchildren to entertain—fun stuff. And secretly, I think I’ve always wondered why it’s only women who do all the spring cleaning anyway. Is spring cleaning hormonal?

Still, I have to admit that when I don’t take a little time for housecleaning, then other things that I love to do are almost impossible to enjoy. Beyond my fear that Sister Cecilia might stop by for a visit and see the inch of crud on my kitchen floor, the truth is, when my desk is out of order, I can’t find the notes I need. When the laundry piles up, I can’t find something clean to wear. When my carpet looks like it’s shag—but it’s not—I don’t feel free to invite in the neighbors.

Likewise, when I don’t take time to set my heart in order, I can’t really enjoy the blessings of God. He is my faithful Father, and His abundant gifts continue to flow into my life; but I may not see or appreciate them if I’m blinded by my grimy attitudes or grungy behavior. Sinful “stuff” gets in the way, zapping out the joy.

Sometimes I forget the promise of 1 John 1:9. Other times, I take the power of those words for granted. “If we confess [admit] our sins,” the scripture says, “he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV).

Repentance, confession, and cleansing aren’t a once-and-I’m-done proposition relegated to the day I received Christ. These spiritual disciplines are needed every day, and spending time in the Word of God exposes new areas that need some “scrubbing” (Psalm 119:9, 11).

Proverbs 4:23 warns me to guard my heart with diligence, because the heart is the wellspring of life. Just as a glass of clear water that sits for a long time becomes stagnant unless the water is replaced and refreshed from a running faucet, even so my heart needs constant “refreshing” with the cleansing water of the Word of God.

So this spring I’m trying something new. With every spring cleaning task, I’m going to apply some related “spiritual cleaning” as I meditate on the truth of scripture.

For example, when I wash my windows and mirrors, I’ll consider whether people can see Christ in me (John 12:21b). When I clean out the junk drawer or overstuffed closet, I’ll consider what might be in my life that needs tossing (Hebrews 12:1). When I wash my floors or steam clean my rugs, I’ll ponder my walk with Christ (Proverbs 4:26).

With a fresh, focused perspective on clean living, my prayer echoes King David’s in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

It’s time for some “scrubbing!”

Quite a Spectacle

October 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Karen O’Connor –

As I slip on my sunglasses today I’m reminded of how they might just as easily still be in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

I walked out of Community Presbyterian Church one Sunday morning in April––the day before my appearance on the Canadian television program, 100 Huntley Street, fresh from the inspiring sermon, and delighting in the brisk morning air. I felt free, excited, and eager for what lay ahead.

I exchanged my clear glasses for sunglasses. Then I pulled on my warm jacket to shield myself from the wind. I thrust my hands into the side pockets––checking, as my husband Charles has taught me to do––for each item I had brought with me. I had left my purse behind in the hotel room.

Kleenex™ tissues. Room key. Identification. Check! Check! Check! All there—except my prescription glasses. Where were they? I had been wearing them just a moment before. I was certain I had returned them to my pocket after putting on my sunglasses. I couldn’t lose them. Not now. Not in a foreign country.

“What did you do?” I drilled myself.

I retraced my steps over the half-block from the church to where I was now standing. Back and forth I walked, looking at every square inch of pavement, in the street gutter, around bushes, under tall clumps of weeds. I might have appeared to be a spy or a detective to anyone passing by.

My glasses were gone. Out of sight. Vanished.

I rushed back to the church and checked in and around the pew where I had sat. Then I dashed to the hotel to be sure I had really taken them with me. Maybe I hadn’t been wearing them after all. By that point I didn’t know what to believe. This was more than a mere senior moment. It was a disaster in the making. I had to have my glasses to see!

Then I became downright giddy. “Hang on, glasses. I know you’re out there somewhere. I will not leave without you. You don’t belong here in Canada. You live with me in the United States.”

I was sure I was losing it by then. I prayed like mad, then returned once again to the route I had taken, and looked at every speck of ground in front, behind, and beside me. I begged God to show me the answer.

Then I felt His counsel––to relax, breathe deeply, walk slowly, look up. And then it happened. I saw my glass case with my glasses snuggled safely inside, sitting on top of a fire hydrant in front of an abandoned cottage.

“Hallelujah!” I shouted right there in the middle of the block on a Sunday morning in Burlington, Ontario, Canada–and I didn’t care who heard me. I kissed the case and slipped it into my pocket, my right hand holding it firmly. Then I nearly skipped all the way back to the hotel.

But it was not until I stopped to thank and praise God that I received the gift He had for me. “Look up, Karen. Up to me. And I will hear and answer you.”

I’m still not sure how my glasses ended up on top of a fire hydrant. Perhaps a kind person found them on the sidewalk and placed them there for the owner to notice. Or maybe I laid them there for a second while I pulled on my coat and switched to my sunglasses. I don’t remember. Nor does it matter. God knows.

Mind the Gap

October 21, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Is it just my kids, or do others recall the oddest things from family vacations? We take them to Disney World and they don’t talk about rollercoaster rides or Mickey Mouse, but hotel pools and getting wet in the rain. And if you ask my children what they remember most from their vacation to England several years ago, they’ll probably laugh and tell you to, “Mind the gap!”

If you press them they’ll tell you about Stonehenge and the Tower of London, but the thing that stands out most in their minds is the ever present, disembodied voice on the tube (the underground train) telling passengers to “mind the gap” at every station. The gap is the space between the train car and the platform, sometimes several inches wide. As the rattling subway approached the station, a proper British voice, like an invisible, yet vigilant sentinel, would call out its warning and we’d laugh, repeating it to each other as we jumped off the car to go sightseeing.

Even with the cautioning voice, we saw several people trip as their foot got caught in the gap. They’d stumble, but manage to right themselves, before they fell. I must confess to a little self-righteous judgment when I saw them. If they’d only paid attention, they’d have been fine. The funny thing is, most of the people we saw trip weren’t obvious tourists, like my family, but Londoners who more than likely ride the tube every day. People for whom the journey had become routine. They didn’t hear the warning because of being caught up in their own thoughts and worries about the day.

I wonder how often it is that I ignore God’s reminders to “mind the gap?” I may not hear a voice with a British accent cautioning me, but I know there are daily signs He gives me to keep me in His will. And yet I, like those passengers on the subway, often get so focused on my own little world and the hurried pace of the day, that I find my foot caught in the gap (or sometimes planted solidly in my mouth) and I end up sprawled in sin or just consumed by needless angst. Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (NLT). It can also be that still, small voice that reminds us daily to “mind the gap!”

Not Yet Ready to Titus

October 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Carol Barnier –

I should have seen it coming. The Bible says, “For everything, there is a season,” but somehow I missed that memo saying “. . .and Missy, your Autumn approacheth.”

It’s true, I no long qualify for MOPS. I haven’t had a preschooler in, well, awhile. My calendar no longer schedules play dates, but rather, testing dates for the SAT, and ACT.

Whether I’ve taken note or not, time is marching on in my life, even though I’ve made every attempt to age only on alternate leap years. But I think it hit me hardest when I was approached by a lovely young woman in my church asking me to assist in a program. I assumed I was about to be asked to help in the nursery, to perhaps teach Sunday School. But no. . . instead, she asked me to become. . . wait for it. . .a Titus woman. The surest sign that you have aged is being asked to become a mentor to younger married women, which of course means that you are no longer one of them.

I don’t know if my face gave testimony to my shock, but inside I felt the sudden stirrings of rheumatism, and a shocking need for more fiber.

Now I know it’s an honor to receive such a request but I have problems even with the name. Titus. Think of it. It rhymes with Phlebitis, Gastritis, Hemorrhaging Encephalitis—ALL good words to stay away from.

Nonetheless, since it’s an honor, perhaps I could manage it. I decided to go home and look up just what this job description entails.

Have the older women. . .[ah. . .that’s supposed to be me I think. . . joy] to be reverent in the way they live.

Uh oh. We may have a problem right off the bat. My humor is often described as IR-reverent. Perhaps I’m not qualified for this matronly honor after all.

She is not to be a slanderer. Okay, I think I’m good there. In fact, I sincerely hope that I’m more a Barnabus—you know, an encourager and keeper of the heart rather than a slanderer. Moving on.

She is not to be addicted to much wine. . .

That one’s easy. I don’t even like wine. But if addiction is the key word here, I must confess to a less-than-healthy relationship with my morning cup of coffee. My favorite mug reads “I drink coffee for YOUR protection.”

Moving on again.

. . .but she is to teach what is good.
Well, maybe I could teach one or two good things. Perhaps age does bring some worthwhile experiences with it.

In the end, maybe I could pull this off. But somehow, I’m just not quite ready for this Titus-Woman thing. The honor of the request is not lost on me, but it seems such a serious responsibility. And perhaps, I’m really not right for such a task, even with the aging requirement easily fulfilled. God doesn’t call each of us to be the same thing. That’s why He said, while we’re all a part of the body, some of us will be an eye, others a foot, others an ear, still others a hand. Yet all are a part of His bride, which I think means I fall somewhere near the elbow—a silly looking part of the body, the purpose for which is not totally clear, but is nonetheless directly connected to the funny bone.

« Previous PageNext Page »