Counting the Miles

June 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Emily Parke Chase –

“Mom, are we there yet?”

Our kids are no different from yours. Their energetic minds and bodies rebel against the inactivity of sitting in a car for hours at a time. And, as every parent soon learns, we know that idle minds become the devil’s playground.

To head mischief off at the pass, my husband and I use a sure-fire way to entertain our kids on long trips in the car. No, it does not involve OnStar movies or iPods with ear buds. We don’t even hire a professional clown or bribe our kids with stops at Walt Disney World.

Of course old standbys like the alphabet game, I Spy and collecting license plates from fifty states, not to mention the geography game and travel bingo, can help. But with the assistance of my OC husband who has a counting compulsion, we have a new way to keep the kids attention from the start of a trip all the way to the arrival at our destination.

“What shall we count today?” we ask as we settle into our seats and head for the highway.

Flags? US postal trucks? Police cars? Coca Cola signs? Each child suggests a theme. Once we agree on an item, each person in the car, including parents, estimates how many of that item we will encounter in the course of the trip. From then on, everyone joins together in seeking out objects that fit the theme. At the end of the trip, the person closest to the actual total, without going over, receives mega honor and glory.

Of course, counting American flags quickly becomes passé, especially if we plan a trip close to Memorial Day. Do you have any idea how many flags appear in each cemetery along your route? Thus our themes become more targeted. For example, one Fall season we count every orange leaf bag decorated like a pumpkin. Another time, we count houses with dangling Christmas lights. This is in July.

On one memorable trip returning from a visit to my husband’s folks, we decide to count tacky lawn ornaments. Does this sound easy? We soon have to define “tacky.” Is a birdbath, clearly a lawn ornament, tacky? We agree that it serves a useful function and therefore is not tacky. Bathtubs and pedestal sinks, though filled with flowers, are. And crystal balls in varying shades of blue or green, and the plywood cut-outs of female backsides bending over a garden scream tackiness.

Some houses offer more ornaments than we can number as we drive by at 55 miles per hour, so a new rule says that no single domicile may contribute more than six objects to the overall count. That rule saves us from digging out our pocket abacus.

The “tackiest ornament of the day” award? How can you choose between the yard decorated with five porcelain toilets (filled with flowers) and the yard that offered an oversized wagon wheel with ceramic horses attached to each wooden spoke?

We arrive at our own driveway in time for supper. “Aw, are we home already?”

“Preserve sound judgment and discernment . . . [as] an ornament to grace your neck.” (Proverbs 3:21,22 NIV)

The author is busy counting hits at her website. Visit her at to learn more about her books, including Help! My Family’s Messed Up! (Kregel, 2008).

Stringing Along

June 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

“Son, did you clean your room?”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s all done.”

Funny how when you look into your teenage son’s room, you find that it’s “all done,” yet things still seem to be swarming in there. Personally, I rarely go in without haz-mat gear.

Teen vision is amazing. I’m nearing the finish line in raising five of them and it’s still remarkable to me that a teenager can look directly at the biggest, ugliest, most disgusting mess and totally not see it.

I opened my microwave not too ago and found a big, fat mound of cheese cooked onto the bottom of the microwave. Someone obviously tried to make one of those nacho mountains. But how could a person zap Mt. Nacho and completely miss the fact that it’s doing a volcano cheese eruption kind of a thing a couple of minutes in? And then how could that teen just walk away and leave all the cheese-lava smoldering there? You would think even a teen would notice something was up when he pulled the plate out, got halfway across the kitchen, then realized the plate was still connected to the microwave by a 6-foot stretchy string of cheese. The only viable answer? Teenage select-a-vision.

Of course, it’s also just about as easy to have selective vision in our spiritual lives sometimes. Isn’t it so much more pleasant to find a fault in someone else than it is to notice a weakness of our own? I don’t even want to think about how many nacho-type messes I’ve noticed in others, all the while stringing along a six-foot-long cheese rope of my own.

But Jesus can give us a different kind of vision. It’s vision that’s not so quick to dismiss our own messes. He asked in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus’ kind of vision clears those hypocrisies right up. And His kind of vision is the kind that sees the best in others. His vision is filtered through love. First Corinthians 13:5 tells us that real love “is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

According to verse two in that chapter, even mountain-moving faith gets us nowhere if there’s no love.

Loving according to the Lord’s example will keep us on the right track and help us to consistently see things more clearly. It’s not only better vision, it’s the best vision.

By that mountain-moving faith, I’m seeking to hang on to that kind of love vision through those weird scenes in the microwave. Getting plenty of practice. Last week somebody exploded a dozen or so pizza rolls into a forest-looking scene just before another nacho-cano. Now I can’t see the mountain for the cheese.

Rhonda Rhea is a radio personality, conference speaker, humor columnist and author of seven books, including High Heels in High Places and her newest book, Whatsoever Things Are Lovely: Must-Have Accessories for God’s Perfect Peace. You can find out more at

Marshmallow Fondant—Priceless!

June 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Donna McCrary –

Cake decorating kit $19.99, two boxes of powdered sugar $3.59, one bag of marshmallows $1.99. “Mom, you’re turning into a smurf!”—Priceless!

This past weekend my daughter and I had a little girl time. We decided to practice our cake decorating skills with the Ace of Cakes decorating station. As we unwrapped the gizmos and gadgets, washed the utensils, and collected the necessary ingredients, we began our girl time. First, we mixed the cake batter and poured the two tablespoons of chocolate mixture into the microwave cooker. I set the timer and stepped back expecting the aroma of fresh baked goodness to fill the air. To our surprise, out of the microwave came a choking black smog. Oops! My daughter fell in the floor laughing when we pulled the Oreo sized black remains out of the smoke. We decided to stick with traditional cake making, the box-to-bowl-to-batter-with-two-eggs-method.

With the fool-proof cake in the oven, we started to make the fondant included in the decorating kit only to discover we would not have enough to cover our now larger cake. We were determined to let nothing hinder our precious girl time so I quickly researched recipes of fondant on the Internet. To my surprise, marshmallow fondant seemed to be a quick easy way to spare our unraveling girl time. I followed the directions. Melted the marshmallows, slathered the table with shortening, and stirred in one box of powdered sugar. What came next was an hour-long battle with four hands and the stickiest pile of goo imaginable—seasoned with side-splitting laughter! In the middle of all the goo the phone rang. We both just froze and looked at each other. Then our eyes sunk to our hands. No matter, it was girl time!

Now time to add the blue food coloring. The next thing I knew my hands looked like Smurffette. My daughter doubled over as she hollered, “Mom, you’re turning into a smurf!”

This time together was priceless. In my quiet time the next day the Spirit of God reminded me of how much He wants to spend time with me creating treasured memories. He says “Seek Me and you will find Me and I will show you great and mighty things.” Now, that is priceless!

PRAYER: God help me to treasure our time together and make it a priority in my daily schedule. Help me seek You in every aspect of my life.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Today’s devotion is by Donna McCrary, wife, mother of two, author, and life coach. Busy is an understatement but she is always thrilled to share laughter and life lessons through her writing and speaking. Join her on the journey at

Loose Connection

June 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

My daughter’s television pixilates. Turn it on to watch a show, and every few minutes the action stops. Like a game of Red Light-Green Light, actors freeze in odd poses. Their faces blur. Sometimes the audio continues, giving the frozen frames a storyboard effect. So, naturally, we worked that into a homeschool lesson on the art of animation.

Despite its educational value, interrupted programming is annoying and hard on the eyes. My husband tried troubleshooting. He replaced the cable. No difference. He traded boxes from another room. No difference. He reset the entire system multiple times. No difference. When all else failed, he called for help.

The cable guy was scheduled to arrive between 8:00 AM and noon. You know what that means—he arrived at 11:59 with a few seconds to spare. He proceeded to do all the things we had already done. No difference. He then checked the main connection upstairs. It was so loose the cable detached when he touched it! He tightened some wires, and voila! Big difference.

All that for a loose connection.

Sometimes life gets pixilated. I go along my merry way when suddenly my forward progress halts. Images become unrecognizable. The continuous audio is the chatter in my head, the noise of me making my own plans.

I troubleshoot. Did I skip something on my schedule? No difference. Did I neglect to pay a bill? No difference. Did I leave the iron on when I left the house? No difference. Time to reset the system and call for help.

In John chapter 15, Jesus gave an illustration regarding the importance of staying connected to Him. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5). When we disconnect from Christ, our lives pixilate and our signals scramble, much like a faulty TV. The scene gets fuzzy, and despite our own best efforts, nothing makes it any better. Clarity is not restored until we reconnect to the Source.

Don’t miss the educational value of the pixilation. Go to the Man Upstairs and tighten your loose connection.

Jodi Whisenhunt is an Amy Award winning freelance writer and Senior Content Editor of The Christian Pulse. Find her editing services at, and let her show you how Disney IS school at

Lemons and Lemonade

June 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kathi Macias –

“When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Okay, I get it. Don’t cry over spilled milk and all that—just clean up the mess and find a way to make something good out of it. Before you know it, those tears might just turn into laughter, right?

Right. Seriously! It happens.

We’ve been going through a really tough time lately—walking my almost 90-year-old mother through the last of her days/weeks/months (years?) on earth before bidding her farewell when she goes home at last. It’s the cry of her heart to leave this world and “graduate” to heaven, as she so longs to see her Savior and be reunited with loved ones who have gone ahead of her—particularly my dad. In fact, she says that’s one of the most difficult things of living so long: you soon find that nearly everyone your own age has already checked out! On the positive side (making lemonade again!), you don’t have to deal with peer pressure.

Mom lived with us for almost eleven years before we realized we could no longer care for her. She needed someone with her 24/7, and we simply couldn’t do it. We visited a lot of nursing and private care homes before deciding on an assisted living facility within fifteen minutes of our home. It’s a lovely place with delightful people and gorgeous grounds. Mom has her own private room, which we decorated with many of her personal things, and yet she still has the care she needs. It’s ideal!

But every now and then we’re reminded that we won’t find “perfect” until we get to heaven. It happened to me the other day when I went to visit Mom. I was walking down the hallway toward her apartment, thrilled that we had found such a nice place for Mom, when I heard a voice behind me mumbling, “It’s so hot in here! Why do they keep it so hot in this place? And where is my apartment?”

Uh oh. I asked myself if I should turn around or just keep walking. I made the wrong choice. I turned around and there, heading straight toward me, was a woman who had no doubt marked a minimum of eighty years on this planet—and was as naked as a jaybird! Her clothes were strewn along the hallway behind her where she had apparently tossed them in an attempt to escape the “heat” as she searched for her home.

A couple of phone calls quickly confirmed that she was a new arrival who had managed to “escape” her apartment (they are now working on getting her moved to the dementia wing) and had no idea how to find her way back—or even where “home” was.

I know. That really isn’t funny, though the incident did cause a few chuckles among the other residents who are now being much more careful to keep their doors locked, since apparently the “happy wanderer” had stopped into their places while seeking her own.

I couldn’t help thinking of that precious woman when I sat with my mother at the Sunday afternoon church service held at the facility each week. There are several hundred residents there, but only about thirty or forty who avail themselves of the chance to come together for corporate worship. (Some ride the van to their own churches, but many others do not, and each has the opportunity to come downstairs to join in.) Is it possible that at least some of those who don’t attend are as spiritually naked and lost as the woman I saw in the hallway that day? At least she was making an effort to find her way home; how many of the others have no idea where “home” really is—and they’re running out of time!

Makes me that much more determined to make lemonade out of lemons! Moving my mom into the assisted living facility has been difficult, but it has opened a new door for ministry—both for her and for me when I visit. We are determined to make a difference there and to walk in such a way as to light the way home for all those who are lost and homesick…even if they don’t know it.

Kathi Macias (; is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her upcoming April release, People of the Book, the final installment of the Extreme Devotion series from New Hope Publishers.

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