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Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Sep
27

My Sneeze Is No Gentle Breeze

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Disgruntled Young Man by Maggie SmithIt has been days (or has it been years) since I have enjoyed a sneeze free day. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage told me it is simply that time of the year and I should learn to deal with it. “After all,” she opined, “you’re not going to die.”

That news was not quite encouraging, because it was the hope of dying keeping me alive so far. If my brain was functioning anywhere half-decent, (and I can’t remember a time it has) I probably could remember when I felt worse. However, it does not matter how I have felt in the past it is how I’m feeling right now that really matters.

I have gone through a million boxes of tissues this past week.

I would not mind an occasional sneeze every now and then. For example I could live with a simple “aah-choo,” and be done with it. But, oh no, my nose has different ideas about the whole thing.

It is what I call the unholy Trinity. It goes something like this.

Aaaaah Choooooooooooo.
Aaaaaah Choooooooooooooo.
Aaaaaaaah Choooooooooooooooo.

Each sneeze tries to outdo the previous one. I can never sneeze one time, it always has to be in multiples of three.

Of course, sometimes my nose tries to outsmart me. For example, when a sneeze comes I gear up for three in a row. Then my nose will sneeze two times and I am ready for the third one and it does not come. It will do this several times in a row, then it will sneeze twice, there is a small pause, and I think it is over and the third thunders forth.

Notwithstanding, this has made certain inconveniences in the life I once enjoyed. For example, in the middle of the night when nature calls I try to be as careful in getting out of bed and going as I possibly can. I never open my eyes so as not to become fully awakened in the middle of the night. Once awake I find it difficult to go back to sleep.

Just the other night I was responding to nature’s call as I normally do and was just about ready to get back into bed when my nose realized what was happening and called forth three mighty sneezes.

Not only did it bring me to full awake status, but also the lady sleeping in my bed was aroused to full alertness, and yelled, “What happened?”

I live by one basic rule. Never wake up grouchy. Read More→

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Sep
20

If “All Things Are Possible,” Why Can’t I Balance My Checkbook?

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For me, the most terrible time of each month is the day our bank statement comes. We commonly call it BSS (Bank Statement Syndrome). I don’t know why it is, but I have trouble getting the parsonage checkbook to balance with the monthly bank statement.

That ominous document intimidates me every time it arrives. After all, the bank’s business is keeping track of accounts. They have hundreds, maybe thousands of accounts and I have just one. On the surface, it seems a rather simple thing for me to keep our checking account up to date, but I assure you, it is not. Every time I try, I lose interest.

Keeping our checkbook accurately balanced is almost like a circus balancing act; everything is up in the air. No matter how often I add those figures, I never get the same result twice. I have resorted to adding up the figures at least three times and then take the average. So far, I’ve been batting a .195 and have been dropped by the major league, which lost interest in my career. This may satisfy my conscience, but it does little to appease the accounting department of my friendly banking institution.

The thing flustering me more than anything else are those fees. The average bank has more fees than a West Virginia hound dog has fleas. Everything I turn around there is another fee. (I need to stop turning around.) Somebody needs to invent a fee powder.

Each bank must employ a stable of employees whose only job is to dream up these fees. How else can you explain it? These fees are creative enough to cover every aspect of a person’s wallet, retroactive three generations.

To open an account there is a fee. Each account carries a monthly maintenance fee. I have been paying this monthly maintenance fee for several years and I have yet to see someone from the bank come out and mow my lawn. What is this maintenance fee? What are they maintaining? They certainly are not maintaining my checkbook. With all the fees I am paying, I would expect someone from the bank come to my house, sit around my table, and help me balance my checkbook. I would supply the coffee and donuts; for a small fee of course.

Another thing I do not understand is the ATM fee. Why do I have to pay money to the bank to get my money out of the bank? Whose money is it anyway? Read More→

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Sep
13

I Didn’t Win $750 Million

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money guyDuring a recent lottery shindig, everybody was watching to see who was going to win all that money. Even I got all caught up in the excitement and was on the edge of my seat too.

“Why,” the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “are you so interested in that lottery?”

“Well,” I said as soberly as possible, “what if I win all that money? Wouldn’t that be tremendous?” Then I flashed a gracious million-dollar smile at her.

She just stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked away. As she was walking away, she mumbled something like, “You gotta pay if you’re gonna win.”

Oh yeah, I thought to myself. I am sitting in my chair wondering what in the world I would do with all that money if I actually would win it when in reality I am not even playing the lottery. I just got all caught up with the idea of winning money.

Even if I did play, according to some statistics, only one person in 300 million had a chance of winning that lottery. I’m not sure how they come up with such statistics; I am rather suspicious of the whole thing.

I remember a favorite saying of the late Will Rogers, “All I know is what I read in the newspaper.” That was long before all of this media electronic nonsense that we have today. I think he might change his saying something like this, “All I know is what I see on TV.” Or, some of the younger group might include the Internet.

I am not a skeptic, mind you, I just do not believe everything I hear or see these days. I never guess how much change I have in my pocket, I always count it. I never want to guess at anything.

Some people believe everything they hear and see on TV these days. I think most of it is just entertainment. Entertainment has become such an obsession these days that it is hard to get away from it.

We watch programs that solve problems that don’t even exist. We get all excited about somebody playing some role on some fictitious TV program. Don’t get me started on those reality shows! Read More→

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Sep
06

Celebration Has Become a Way of Life for Me

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Smile Post-itI have just celebrated my birthday, my wife’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. I am not sure how old I am or how long we have been married and I won’t even go to my wife’s age. I’m old enough to know better.

I have long past the idea of candles on my birthday cake representing one candle per year. The fire department will not give us a permit to do that.

Someone asked me how long we have been married and without even thinking, I said, “Forever.” Once that word danced out of my lips I knew I was in trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. One look from her, and I knew that my forever had ended.

All seriousness aside, celebrations are wonderful opportunities, at least from my point of view, to gorge myself with cake. After all, if it is my birthday or anniversary or my wife’s birthday, I should be respectful enough to eat the cake presented.

At my age, I’m not too concerned about eating healthy. That’s why I love the holidays.

Between holidays, my wife insists on eating healthy. I cannot even name all of the vegetables that appear on our table at suppertime. I think they are vegetables, my wife says they are vegetables, but I am not so sure about it. My wife believes that if it is green and leafy it must be a vegetable.

I, on the other hand, with a fork in each hand, have had enough vegetables I want to get to the celebratory cake. After all, what is the sense in celebrating a birthday or an anniversary if you cannot eat the cake presented? Especially if it is my birthday.

I will give my wife the latitude to put vegetables, so-called, on our dinner table between our celebrations. The problem is, my birthday, her birthday and our anniversary are within three weeks of each other. That means, there are 49 weeks that I have to put up with vegetables.

Therefore, I am a great one when it comes to celebrating something. Anything. I am so glad that our culture is assisting me in this. It has come to the point where there is a celebration for every day of the year. I do not care what I’m celebrating, as long as cake is involved, I’m right there. After all, I certainly don’t want to offend anybody.

In my carefulness to not offend anybody in this regard, I have on occasion offended my wife. She is a vegetableaholic if ever there was one. She even eats vegetables as a snack. Once at a church fellowship, she brought in a huge plate of raw vegetables, insinuating it was a snack tray.

Recently, I was sitting in my lazy-boy chair, drinking a nice hot cup of coffee and reflecting on the important issues of life. I cannot tell you how many problems in this world I have solved if only somebody would listen to me. Read More→

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Aug
30

The Endless Flow of Ink

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This past week I had my yearly visit with my doctor. Believe me, it was no vacation but it did vacate the cash in my wallet. It was not the loss I needed at the time.

It is amazing about my doctor. He knows the exact cash I have in my wallet at any given time. More amazing, everything he does for me is covered by that cash in my wallet. One time I try to hide a five spot in my wallet, but to no avail. The doctor knew it was there, somehow, I’m not sure how.

Most doctors are experts in the area of extraction. Mostly, the extraction of cash from their patients. That may be what they learn in medical school, I’m not too sure.

My doctor ordered me to come in the next day for a blood test and the nurse came in to prepare me. One thing she said was I needed to fast before coming to the doctor’s office the next day.

To me, fasting is to see how fast you can eat your food. It’s a contest and I win every time. When I suggested that to the nurse, she surgically removed that thought from my head and explained that it meant I could have no food at all, not even coffee.

Looking at her with a rather somber scowl, I said, “You really don’t want to see me before I drink my morning coffee, do you?” I was snickering as I said it to her.

Without blinking, she simply said, “I’m in charge of the needle!”

I remember the last time I gave a nurse a hard time, I called her Miss Dracula and she stabbed me with the needle six times before she found any blood. I know she did it intentionally, because while she was doing it, I barely noticed a smile giggling on her face. Read More→

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Aug
23

A Discount by Any Other Name

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Smile Post-itI find too often I get all caught up with the busyness of life that I forget some things. For example, last week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had birthdays.

Our birthdays are only two days apart, which is convenient for me. My birthday is first, and if my wife gets me anything for my birthday, it reminds me I need to get something for her birthday two days later. I could not plan it out any better had I tried.

When we celebrate our birthdays, I know which one I was celebrating but I’m not allowed to mention the one my wife was celebrating. I did that once, but I learned my lesson and I will never, ever do it, ever again. Did I mention ever?

Our week was so busy we really did not have time to formally celebrate our birthdays. We try to do that every year, but this year our schedules did not permit such a celebration.

The following week, however, went a little bit slower and we had a day where by lunchtime we were finished. I suggested to my wife, “Why don’t we go out and celebrate our birthdays at some restaurant?”

Without even blinking, she responded in the affirmative.

“You,” I said as I always say, “pick out the restaurant you would like to go to and we’ll celebrate our birthdays together.”

This has been the procedure all through our life. She gets to pick the restaurant, and I get to pick up the ticket. This has worked most famously for us and as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to change anything that still works. I have been married too long to jeopardize anything that works.

We got ready and got in the car, I allowed her to drive as I always do, and we headed for the restaurant of her choice. I love it when a plan comes together.

All the way to the restaurant, we were smiling, giggling and just enjoying ourselves.

At the restaurant, the hostess took us to our seat and gave us our menus. We still were smiling and giggling because we had a whole night with nothing to do except celebrate our birthdays. Read More→

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Aug
16

As Summers Go, This One Is Going

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sunny dayDuring my high school career I was no thespian, however, I could act the fool when called upon. My friend was the thespian and starred in our senior high school play, “Finian’s Rainbow.” One of the musical numbers was, “When I’m not near the girl I love,
I love the girl I’m near.”

I have altered this title a little to fit my own needs. My version goes, “When I’m not in the season I love, I love the season I’m in.” It is a wonderful motto and has solved quite a few problems down the years. Just don’t ask me to sing it for you. I can, but you do not want to hear it… believe me.

At my age I have learned a thing or two. One of the things I have learned is that you might as well be content where you are at because that is where you are. All these people that are jumpy and nervous because they are not exactly where they want to be, waste a lot of precious time and energy.

I am old enough to appreciate where I am at. I could bemoan the fact that I’m not somewhere else, but what good would that do. I know I’m not at my destination yet, so I am determined to enjoy the journey and not miss one thing along the way.

This is the difference between the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly.

Just the other day her Majesty was complaining about the weather. “It’s so hot outside, I can hardly stand it.”

Of course, I could not resist saying, “Well, why don’t you sit down.” To which, she treated me to one of her infamous glares. Somehow, in the hot sunshine her glare did not have its normal effect. For one, she was too hot and did not have the energy to follow through on her glare.

But I love the summer. It is a wonderful time of the year and my affection for the season goes all the way back to my days in school.

I enjoy every aspect of summer and when God created summer, he created a masterpiece. Not a summer day goes by that I do not thank Him for the summer.

I need to get one thing quite clear. I am not one of those who lay out in the sun to get a suntan. That is not my cup of tea… or rather glass of lemonade. I do not fault those who lay out in the sun to get what they call a suntan. Rather, I feel sorry for those old saps. Why ruin a good day by laying in the sun? Read More→

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Aug
09

The Amazing Wonder of A.G.E.

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I have just celebrated my recent birthday. By now, it is getting to be old business for me. Just another day of the year to celebrate something, which just happens to be my birthday.

I believe that if it is my birthday, I should be able to celebrate whatever birthday I want to celebrate. You are only as old as you celebrate.

I am not embarrassed at how old I am, I just sometimes cannot remember the exact figure. Some of my friends are rather legalistic along this line and are demanding the exact number of my birthday. Is it really that important? Does it really matter how old you are?

Well, if you spoke to some of my friends it matters to them. For those of us, however, who have experienced a succession of birthdays it does not really matter.

Thinking of my birthday this past week I was trying to figure out what was my best birthday. All of them had certain significance to them. For example, my 16th birthday allowed me to drive the car. However, I could only drive the car when my father said I could drive the car.

My 21st birthday was very important because I then could get married. Back then, you could not get married unless you were 21 years of age. Before that, you had to have your parent’s permission. I have asked my parents for many things throughout the years, but I think asking to get married is just crossing the line somewhere.

Every birthday starts a new year of adventure and excitement. When you get older, adventure and excitement sort of goes away a little bit. It can be exciting to celebrate another birthday and wonder where you going to be at when your next birthday comes around.

Some people feel it’s a little negative to get older. If you do not get older, it means that you have… Well, you know the rest of that sentence. I find nothing negative about getting older. I find certain amenities are associated with getting older that I could not cash in when I was younger.

When I was younger, I could not get away with much of anything. Now that I am older, I can get away with things because I have a few niches I can use. “I’m sorry,” I often say to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, “I forgot all about that. You know I’m getting older now.”

She smiles and shakes an understanding head. It is wonderful to have an excuse for things of that nature.

For my birthday this year, I discovered something rather interesting. This year I discovered the amazing wonder of A.G.E. If you look at age from the proper perspective, you do get some very interesting enjoyments.

I suppose I should explain to you what I mean by A.G.E. It never occurred to me until this birthday celebration. A.G.E is simply Aggressive Grumpy Elegance. I never saw this before, but then of course I was not old enough to appreciate it.

When I was young, I noticed my grandfather had some rather grumpy sessions and I did not quite understand. Now that I am approaching my grandfather’s age, I appreciate that grumpy attitude. Oh, the wonder of Aggressive Grumpy Elegance.

If I ever thought youth was exciting, it is nothing compared to this A.G.E. that I am experiencing right now. It is so wonderful to be grumpy whenever you choose.

I know some people are grumpy because they are just grumpy. That has nothing to do with this wonderful Aggressive Grumpy Elegance that I have discovered.

It takes quite a few decades to master this kind of attitude. I am delighted to say I have reached that stage in my life and I am mastering this part of Aggressive Grumpy Elegance. I just cannot say it often enough.

For example, when I want a quiet afternoon and maybe take a little bit of a nap, the result of this would be somebody saying, “Stay away from grandpa, he’s acting a little grumpy today.” The key to that is “acting.”

Some people are grumpy because they are grumpy, but those of us who have reached a certain level in life are grumpy because we are acting grumpy and to act grumpy takes a great deal of thespian skill.

If someone, and I will not mention the real name here, wants me to go shopping with her, all I need to do is put on the grumpy act. “Well,” she will say, “I guess you’re too grumpy to go shopping with me today!”

The person who has reached this level of A.G.E can turn it on when needed and turn it off when not needed. That is the “elegance” part of this whole business.

When the grandchildren are around making noise and excitement, I do not have to act grumpy. When their parents, however, come around that is the time when grumpy kicks in.

You have to know when to act grumpy and when not to act grumpy. That is the wonderful aspect of getting to the age I am at right now.

I believe Solomon understood this when he wrote, “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head” (Proverbs 20:29).

One of the great privileges in life is to earn that “grey head.” More important, to use that grey head in a positive, affirmative fashion.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship and an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals, including GUIDEPOSTS. “In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer,” Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today.

Snyder has authored 35 books altogether. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores, Florida. Learn more about Rev. Snyder at WhataFellowship.com.

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Aug
03

Go Ahead, Call Me If You Dare

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Ipink telephone don’t think it was in the mind of Dr. Bell when he invented the telephone for people like me to be harassed by people who are only after my money. Don’t get me wrong here. The telephone has been a great blessing to many people. But lately, the wrong people have my number.

It finally came to a head this past week. At least as far as I was concerned.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had a very busy week and by Thursday we had accomplished a lot, or at least we thought we had. We had lunch with a very good friend and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.

On our way home from lunch I mentioned the fact to my wife that I was feeling very tired and I probably could do with a Power Nap, as they call them today. She just looked at me and said, “Go ahead and get your nap in.”

Being the husband that I am, I always obey my wife. And so, off to the parsonage I headed to get in a well-deserved, at least I thought it was, Power Nap to rejuvenate what little energy I had left.

Nothing feels better to me than stretching out on my easy chair, closing my eyes and drifting off into Lala land, of which I am a frequent visitor.

I am not quite sure how long I was sleeping, but suddenly I heard a weird noise that awakened me. That weird noise was the telephone ringing. I never know who’s calling and I never know if it might be important, so I answered the phone.

I am so tired of getting telephone calls that just interrupts my day. I get calls from somebody who has a solution for my student loan and how to pay it off. I never went to college and therefore I don’t have a student loan. At my age, if I had a student loan it would be a tragic situation.

The call was from some health agency that had a deep concern about my health. More particularly, they had solutions for pains that I was experiencing.

“I understand,” the person on the other end of the telephone said very businesslike, “that you are having problems with pain in your body.”

I do not know where he got that understanding or why he would be interested in any of my pain.

“No, sir,” I said with a healthy yawn, “there ain’t no pain here.”

“Is there someone in your house,” he went on to say, “that has some back pain?”

Without giving me time to respond, he continued, “I believe you qualify for one of our back braces to help manage your back pain.”

“No, sir,” I said most pathetically, “nobody here has that kind of pain.”

Not hindered in his salesman pitch, he said, “Is there someone in your home that has an ankle pain? I have a wonderful solution that I would like to send you to deal with that pain?” Read More→

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Jul
26

Did I Just Blow My Cover?

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This month I celebrate another birthday. At my age, I cannot remember exactly which one but that does not really matter. The number of the birthday, in my point of view, does not influence the celebration of the birthday.

Life has been rather good to me in many respects. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I are a wonderful team and have been for so many years; I’m not allowed to say how many.

As a team, she can fix anything and I can break anything. That certainly goes hand-in-hand with life. No matter what I can break, she can fix. This has made life rather good.

Throughout life, I have gone under the ruse that when it comes to fixing things I am all thumbs and no fingers. I cannot seem to fix anything. Of course, if it can be fixed with a hammer I might try. When anything goes wrong in our house, I offer to fix it and my wife steps in most gallantly and retires me to my easy chair.

When I try to fix something it usually turns out worse than when I started.

I am not sure if I have created this ruse or if I really am “all thumbs.”

Regardless of the situation, as long as she can fix it, I’m comfortable in breaking it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t break things on purpose. At least, I do not think I do. At my age, what’s thinking got to do with anything? It just happens that I have the knack of breaking things.

Nobody has ever created anything that I cannot in some way break.

So, life has been wonderful and I hope it continues to be wonderful and it will be as long as both of us stay to our role in the marriage. When I try to take over her spot or she tries to take over my spot, there is trouble a’ stirring.

Everything was going wonderfully until something happened this past week.

One thing my wife enjoys is mowing the lawn. I am not allowed to ride the lawnmower and I am not quite sure why at this point. However, if it makes her happy, it makes me happy. She spends many happy hours mowing the grass.

It is not so much that I don’t like to mow, but she likes to mow much better than I do and of course, she does a much better job at it. She knows how to keep that lawnmower running and if the engine sounds a little off key, she knows exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it and she does.

My responsibility is to give her a hand whenever I can. When she passes the front porch, I stand up and applaud as she goes by. It’s the least I can do.

Then this past week brought in a new picture. She was mowing the grass when, unbeknownst to her, she ran over a long dog chain the neighbor had somehow got into our lawn. By the time she realized what had happened, the chain had twisted all over the blades of that mower.

She pulled the mower up to the house, turned it off and began repairing it. The wire was all twisted very tightly around one of the blades under the mower. She pulled, yanked and twisted, but nothing happened.

I walked up to her and said, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Without even looking at me she said, “No, I got everything under control.”

What I have learned throughout life is never contradict your wife. That’s the recipe for a cooked goose. Read More→

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