Cut and Dry

November 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

I confess, I’ve done a bad thing. Logic warned me not to do it, but I did it anyway. I cut my own bangs. Every time I take the scissors into my own hands, I promise myself I’ll never do it again. That’s because I never fail to end up looking at little like Star Trek’s Spok, minus the ears. And yet this is definitely no way to live long and prosper.

When am I going to get it? I’m just not a skilled bang-cutter. When I try, I’m operating miles outside my area of expertise.

The gal who cuts my hair, on the other hand, knows what she’s doing around a pair of hair-cutting scissors. She can trim, gel, clip and mousse with the best of them. And she’s pretty adamant about me staying away from hair self-service. She knows whatever mess I make—and I will make a mess—she’ll have to straighten out.

Isn’t it strange that I would take the scissors into my own hands, knowing my past haircutting record? I’ve thought about it, and I don’t care how badly I needed an operation, I’m quite sure I would never snatch the scalpel from the surgeon’s hand with a, “Oh, let me do that! I saw an appendectomy on the Health Channel one time. I can so do this!”

In an eternal perspective, I guess my hair—even my appendix—is not as important as it may seem. As a matter of fact, hair and body parts are simple compared to running a life. Yet how many times have I snatched the controls on that too?

When I take control of my own life, I make a mess every time. I’m operating miles outside my area of expertise. I end up whining to the Father, “Lor-or-ord, can you fix this, plea-ea-ease?” Wouldn’t it be easier to simply be obedient in the first place?

We please God and show our love for Him by “surrendering the scissors,” so to speak, in complete obedience. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Then in John 15:9-11, Jesus tells us that we find real joy as we’re pleasing God, keeping his commands: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Joy. And not just any joy. It’s a joy that’s complete. It’s real life. Even a longer life. Proverbs 10:27 says, “The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.”

It’s a sobering truth.

Still, did it have to say “cut short”? Just another reminder I’m spending the next couple of weeks suffering severe bang humiliation.

Fashion Advice for the Short and Stumpy

November 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Carol Barnier –

There is a woman in my church who is always pulled together. She is sweet, kind, thoughtful, funny AND…she is always perfectly dressed. I mean perfectly. She is just the picture of lovely. Her colors always complement her creamy complexion, they fit her beautifully, and they have just a bit of snazzy to them – enough to make me look at her with admiration…

…which I then follow up with a look of resignation. . .

…which is usually translated into a sigh when I pause to consider my own appearance at that moment. I have two (count them: one, two) “church skirts” that I typically pull out; one is for cooler weather, the other for warmer weather. (I previously had an additional beloved swirly summer skirt but I was informed by the committee-for-unsightly-in-church-offenses that it made me look like a tired bohemian Gypsy. Skirt now retired. Made into lovely throw pillows.)

But now, as I look upon this pulled together woman…let’s call her Grace, (what else) who wafts in each and every Sunday morning looking like a catalog cover, I decided it was time to actually choose my clothing with forethought and proactive intention. Gone will be my previous methodology which basically was “Does it cover my person and was it clean at some point in recent memory?”

Choose Your Shape—I began to research my topic with enthusiasm. My study quickly took me to the science of body shapes. First, I learned, one must “dress to their shape.” My many years of raising preschoolers taught me that round is indeed, also a shape, but apparently it has been callously cast aside by the fashion shape selection police. So while “round” might best suit me, apple, pear and rectangle are the standard industry choices.

Create Proportion—Next I was informed that puffy sleeves add extra dimension to one’s top half if one already has more than enough dimension to one’s bottom half. But further reading revealed that puffy sleeves are not recommended if one has either an abbreviated neck or extra flappery in the neck region. No suggestions if one has all of the above.

Height Assessment—Additionally I learned that certain accommodations can be made if one is too short. To give you perspective: I once stood behind a podium to give a speech and was later accused on an audience survey of having sat down the whole time. Apparently only my head could be seen, given a frightening rendition of the oft used “talking head.” All my animated gestures and meaningful body language were completely lost.

For those with such linear deficiencies, fashion authorities state that one must take hem lines to just above the knee to give a better sense of proportion. But a tad later, in the exact same article, they mention that if, however, one has pudgy knees, the hem length is better just below above said knee pudge.

How had they determined that you were only permitted one body flaw per person? Why hadn’t I gotten that memo long ago?

I continued to follow the lengthy flow chart of questions designed to lead me to the perfect fashion choice, which in the end…big sigh…was a burkha.

One day, when I am finally successful in taking my shape from round to apple or pear, I shall astound them all…even Grace…with my Sunday morning style. But till then, you’ll find me in my American Burkha (read that—winter pajamas) working on my latest book: Fashion Advice for the Short and Stumpy.

Some Days are Like That

November 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

Ever have one of those days? I mean a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day (to quote one of my favorite children’s books titled Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Vorist)? Well, I did just a while back.

Up late in the morning, but by some miracle, we made it to the bus on time, only to discover the substitute driver came five minutes early. Wouldn’t you think he would notice no one was at any of the stops? I drove the boys up to school, teenagers grumbling every mile. The car was almost out of gas but I couldn’t make them late. I hate it when the car is out of gas. Think I’ll move to Australia.

After dropping them, I decided to go to the station with the touch free car wash so I could wash my hubby’s car for him. The last snow storm gunked it up! I got gas, paid for the car wash, then saw the closed sign. I popped in (still in my PJs) to ask why. He answered, “too cold.” I drove to the only other car wash in Conifer and scrounged for change to go with my $5 so I could pay two extra dollars. After all that, the machine wouldn’t take my $5 bill. Think I’ll move to Hawaii.

Enough was enough, I sat right down to my quiet time. I thanked God for helping me through the morning. I asked for protection, lifted up all on my list and I prayed for God to make me into a woman shining His light to everyone I meet, especially my family, and my awful mood lifted. I asked Him to erase my dark countenance.

I no sooner said amen when I remembered to fax a copy of the title to the bank for our refinance. Borrowing my neighbor’s fax machine (because mine just broke), the title somehow lodged in the machine. It took a good bit of coaxing and cajoling to remove it unharmed from the machine. Think I’ll move to Palisade.

My dark countenance returned with a vengeance when my middle son arrived with an attitude. No light from heaven, no sunny optimism spouting from my lips, no siree. How did I go from being determined to be like my best friend Jesus to all I meet, to a screaming meme in just a few short hours? I apologized to everyone as I was a brat to them all.

Then it hit me, I once had a sign in my 6th grade classroom that read “Attitude is Everything.” Oh, I know I will still have bad days but if I could cultivate an attitude of gratitude like Ephesians says. “In everything give thanks.” The key word in both sentences is everything. We are commanded to give thanks in success, in good times, in times of plenty and in not good times, in the hard stuff, in failure, loss and want. I desire to honor my Lord by being someone who looks at a car repair and is thankful she has a car; that deals with an attitudinal, ungrateful teen and is thankful he hasn’t been in a serious car accident like my friends son the same age. Every trial has something I can find to give thanks about. Besides, apart from a few horrific things in my life, most stuff I allow to cause my bad day is really an inconvenience, not a trial at all. And anyway, some days are like that even in Australia!

Visiting Israel

November 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Judy Davis –

I visited Israel many years ago and I’ll never forget seeing God’s chosen land. I bought several souvenirs including slides of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, The Sea of Galilee, Garden of Gethsemane and other significant places in the Holy Land. As I was walking by the shops, I saw a shirt in a window. I stopped and purchased this keepsake for my sister. Across the front was written in bold letters, “I went to Israel and all I brought back for my sister was a t-shirt.”

Jerusalem was our first stop on the bus tour, then on to see the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Dome of the Rock. We arrived in Nazareth at the home of Joseph and Mary. Can you imagine the angel Gabriel telling Mary she was going to have Jesus, the Son of God? And here I was at the very place it occurred.

We had many places to see on our tour and such a short time to visit. Another area in the Holy Land that grabbed my attention was the bridge over the Jordan River. Today many Christians are being baptized in this river. “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River” (Mark 1:9 NIV).

Our new youth pastor, Greg, baptized several of the youth at our church last week. In a baptismal, of course – not in a river. One teen walked out to be baptized and he stood over a foot taller than the youth minister. When Greg went to baptize him, he literally could not lift him out of the water. This incident brought much laughter from our congregation. After the baptismal service was over, our pastor walked up to the podium and said, “This alone was worth the price of admission.”

In getting back to my trip of years ago, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ was one of the most treasured places we visited. One of my favorite souvenirs was an olive wood nativity from Bethlehem. I recently wrote a children’s book, “The Olive Wood Manger,” and it’s full of pictures of this nativity.

After touring Bethlehem we went on a boat across the Sea of Galilee. I’ll never forget going to a restaurant on the other side and eating a delicious Saint Peter’s fish dinner. Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on these shores.

Visiting the Garden of Gethsemane was a sight to behold. The garden is at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Walking where Christ walked was the highlight of this trip and a place never to be forgotten.

Hands Full of Rocks

November 4, 2020 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)

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