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.

Snow, Snow Glorious Snow!

October 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

We live in the mountains above Denver, Colorado. We often have big snows, especially in March. One year, we had the daddy of all storms, one of those historic six and a half foot heavy wet snow storms.

Our three boys were in elementary school and the school was closed for a whole week. In Colorado that almost never happens!

The storm was so big, the weather guys saw it coming and predicted its arrival way in advance. We, being very scout like, went to the grocery store to stock up on provisions. Even shopping was fun as there was an air of excitement of the coming blizzard. Everyone was shopping for supplies. Many of the shelves were empty. We bought lots of food we could cook on the wood burning stove and eat without cooking just in case. And of course baking supplies.

Then it hit.

Unshoveled decks and roofs were collapsing all over town under the incredible weight of the heavy spring snow. Trees snapped and power lines were down.

Miraculously, we lost power for only a few hours the first day. Others went without for more than seven.

That glorious week holds some of my fondest memories of my children’s early years. We made snow ice cream (several times). We took clothes baskets outside and used them to make snow blocks, then stacked the blocks into an igloo. Our entire family, dogs and all crawled in to play cards by lantern light. We went sledding (of course), skiing, snow shoeing and even jumped off the wall into the snow drifts then crawled out. We made snow men (and women) that looked like us. Even a snow ball fight or two ensued battled behind snow walls.

We trudged to neighbors houses to offer our freshly baked cookies then sat by wood burning stoves drinking hot chocolate and eating s’mores while we warmed up. We watched movies and played Dominoes and Parcheesi. Bliss beyond words. Then we dug out!

Several of us able bodied neighbors and our kids went digging driveways and shaping paths from houses to garages, especially for our elderly neighbors. It really felt like a community.

There were so many times during the storm when neighbors helped each other out. A dear friend, just weeks before the storm, had given me a little plaque that read: Sometimes He calms the storm; sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms His child.

The new plaque, which I loved, sat right above my kitchen sink and almost every day I would read it and be reminded of something. One morning I thought, as I looked out the window at the group of snow shovel toting residents, how great it is that He uses His kids in each other’s lives to bring comfort and help.

Another day, as I watched the snow swirl and drift with the incredible force of the wind I was reminded that every storm we encounter in our lives whether emotional, physical or actual weather related, He controls. He can calm or let rage as He determines necessary. But the best thought of all came to me one morning as I was reading in the book of John. He can calm His child no matter what is happening around her, I found great comfort in that one.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Shouldn’t I Be Scrubbing Toilets?

October 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

The end of the month was fast approaching. That meant deadlines. Several deadlines. So I faced the blank computer screen and dared it to a staring match. It won.

There I sat. Fingers finally glided over the keyboard. Backspace, backspace, backspace. No, that’s no good. Typing frenzy #2. Better. A few keeper sentences, but something nagged the back of my mind. I checked Facebook. Hmm, nothing going on there. OK, back to work.

A few paragraphs were complete. I read back over them and smirked at the computer. Perhaps it had not won our contest after all. Alas, the article required more, so I stared at the screen again, when a sudden thirst overwhelmed me. I felt as though I’d traversed the dessert with not a drop to drink. I downed cool water to refresh my parched mouth, then returned to my seat with renewed vigor. (A march across the dessert is very inspiring, you know!)

Alrighty, back to task. Write, write, write. Done. Right? No, backspace, backspace, backspace. Sigh. Shouldn’t I be scrubbing toilets?

Have you ever had moments like that? Moments when you know you need to get your work done, but you just don’t want to do it? Moments when you’d rather do anything, anything—even scrub toilets—to avoid the job at hand? What do you do in those moments?

Here’s what I have done. First, I have made a commitment to the Lord that in all I do, I want to glorify Him. I desire to live my life in a way that pleases Him. I want every decision I make, every action I take, every word I write, every breath I breathe to be what God desires. I don’t want to get in His way, because when I do, I stumble and struggle.

Second, I pray. First Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually, or pray without ceasing. I must be diligent to do just that. I must make a conscious effort to stop and pray before I ever sit down to write or perform any dutiful task. I know the Lord has blessed me with desire and ability, and I must use it for His purpose. I will be useless in all areas if I do not seek Him first in all I do.

Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Jesus promises that if I do that, He will give me the things I need and perhaps some blessings I hadn’t requested as well. If I seek the Lord first in prayer and devotion, He will reward me with countless ways to glorify Him.

As my writing endeavors turned out, I decided scrubbing toilets wasn’t worth it. So I sat back down, BIC as they call it (bottom in chair), sent up a silent word of prayer, and finished the article you are reading right now. Take that, you rascally computer!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Sometimes Winning is Losing

September 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Connie Cavanaugh –

I love Coupon Day at my local grocery store. You save 15 percent on every hundred bucks you spend. We’re talking pizza for supper! For free! (That’s femonomics, where spending is actually saving.)

One Coupon Day long ago, an item on my list was underwear — I never bought my own until my mother died. At the tender age of 36, I was cruelly thrust into the world of shopping for big girl panties.

A stroll through the aisles confirmed they did not carry my brand but I found my preferred style: I want the whole whale, not just the tail if you get my drift. I chose two packages marked M.

I finished shopping, pocketed my 15 percent and grinned all the way home. I ripped into the first bag and pulled out … a crib sheet with leg holes! I grabbed the package – “M”. As in Mega?

I was steamed. Although I had read the sign in the department saying “No Returns” I felt wronged. There were no samples on the wall. How was I to know not all “M’s” were equal? I headed back to the store.

I couldn’t find my cashier so I chose another near my age. “These are not the size they claim to be and I want to return them,” I whispered, smiling and nodding.

“But madam, there are no returns on….” She smiled and nodded too. We looked like two wooden bobbing birds with a water glass between us.

“Ah, yes. I read the sign,” I murmured. “However, the manufacturer is lying to the customer regarding the size.” I raised my eyebrows and gave one slow nod.

The line of carts grew. Children whined. Mothers grew restless. The cashier and I both stood our ground. She called for reinforcements. A skinny kid strode up. I doubted if he even shaved yet. “Is there a problem?”

I repeated my complaint ending with: “This M must mean Much Much More!” He failed to see the humor.

He leaned toward me. “There. Are. No. Returns. On…,”

I snapped. Grabbing the opened package, I pulled out an M for display. “I’m no Tinkerbell, but does this look like a Medium to you?!” Mothers covered their kids’ eyes. The manager’s face went gray.

“Give her a full refund,” he rasped and dashed.

But the cashier still had some fight in her. “I will refund you for the sealed package, “she huffed, “but not the opened one.” We locked eyes. No more smiles.

“What do you think I did? Wore them all over town? Then washed them, dried them, and ironed these creases back in? I bought them 30 minutes ago!”

She harrumphed, punched some keys, stabbed at some bills, dropped the money into my hand and dismissed me with a toss of her head.

As soon as the cash hit my hand I had a Judas moment. Instead of celebrating my victory I was filled with remorse. When I could have represented the Jesus in me who turns the other cheek, gives the shirt off His back and goes the second mile (Matt 5:39-42) I showed them the Judas who, for a handful of silver, bullishly pursues his/her own agenda.

Thankfully this lesson wasn’t wasted. I became more conscious and careful of whom I represent in all my interactions. The next time I accidentally bought something too big I passed it along to a friend of mine. She never calls anymore….

Green Flowered Bag in a Black Suitcase World

September 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

I was waiting for my luggage at the airport recently and I made an interesting observation: I think about 90% of travelers have black luggage. If you have a black suitcase on wheels, forget about just reaching out, grabbing it off the belt and rolling on your way. Just try it and you could very possibly get mugged by a dozen or so other black-luggage-lugging passengers. I had to take my husband’s black luggage on a trip one time, and I lost two nails in a bad black suitcase scene. I think I still have a couple of emotional scars from that one. Talk about emotional baggage.

It was actually pretty funny when I watched it this week. Tons of luggage was sliding down to the carousel and every time the crowd spotted a black, wheeled bag coming down the pike, the entire mob leaned in as one. It was a little freaky. As the bag got closer, they would all circle around it like over-sized vultures.

Three or four would reach for it to try to check the tags. Then there were several awkward smiles. And then for that one person (who had probably already reached for the wrong bag a good dozen times), it would be sort of like when you guess the right price from contestant’s row and get to go up on stage. Ding, ding, ding! “I won! It’s mine!”

This time I got to simply stand back and observe. Why? Because my luggage is green. Not just green, but green with flowers. And if that’s not distinctive enough, I’ve tied a white scarf in a giant bow around the handle. I can identify my luggage before it’s even all the way down the chute. Never a doubt. I always know when mine is coming.

Jesus knows us that way. He can see us coming. How it fills our lives with hope when we’re assured that we are identified as His.

The Bible tells us that everyone who is born of God wins. 1 John 5:4 says, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

There’s even more dark stuff in this world than there is dark luggage. But for those of us who’ve by faith given our lives to Christ, there’s a bright and shining hope that is our ultimate victory. It’s brighter than the brightest green luggage and more distinctive than any white bow. You can say, “I won! Victory is mine!” Hope is instant once we understand what it is to become that green-flowered bag in a black suitcase world.

So go ahead. Check the name tag. If you’re His, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It’s settled. Never a doubt. The suitcase is yours. It’s a bag that comes packed full of all the hope you’ll ever need to carry you joyfully through this life journey.

And this is actually one of those times when it’s good to be left holding the bag.

Next Page »