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Archive for Just for Him

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis is Smile Post-itnot my first rodeo when it comes to New Years. I have ridden this Bronco so many times I cannot remember how many. Well, I can remember, but I am not going to let that slip. Something to do with a New Year’s Resolution.

Back in the days of youth, I used to stay up to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Now, I see so many people drop the ball during the year that I don’t want to see another one on New Year’s Eve. I’ve seen enough of that.

At my stage in life, health is more important than watching something I have seen a thousand times before.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage agrees with me on this issue. It is one of the few issues that we agree on so why should I mess with it.

One thing about starting over again is trying not to make the same mistakes you made last year. It is good to sit down and think about all the mistakes you have made last year and mine came to one.

When I got to that issue, I proudly shared it with my spouse. I was so excited that I could only think of one mistake I made last year and I really wanted to share it with her.

“What do you mean,” she said rather suspiciously, “you only made one mistake last year?”

With a great deal of excitement, I nodded enthusiastically and said, “Yes, I only made one mistake last year and my resolution is not to make the same mistake this year.”

“What was that mistake?”

“My biggest mistake last year was that I forgot to give you a birthday card.” Read More→


The Year Slipped into the Silence of the Night

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerNo time in the year is busier than the Christmas holiday season. Under normal circumstances, it would not be too bad, except for the fact that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is in charge.

Not complaining, mind you, but she is in charge 365 days out of the year. Her battery never runs down and never needs charging.

I am glad she is like that because it gives me less to do during such busy holiday times. She knows exactly what she is going to do and how she is going to do it and when she is going to do it. My job during the holiday season is to Stay Out Of Her Way.

However, the hustle and the bustle of the holiday season is over and for a minute or two, we can relax.

I never know when that time comes. Like I got up early the other morning and heard from the other side of the bed, “What are you getting up for? Don’t you know Christmas is over?”

When we did get up, she fixed our morning coffee and we sat around the Christmas tree just enjoying the quietness. A few days ago, the whole room was alive with chatter and laughter. You might recognize that as “grandchildren.” Of course, this was the first year we had our great grandson with us. It was a hilarious time of noise and activity.

What would Christmas be without that kind of celebration?

Now it is over and we were sitting around staring at the Christmas tree drinking our After-Christmas-Morning-Joe.

Not paying attention to anything that was going on, just enjoying the silence I did not hear my wife sighing. It was a gentle sigh, so I did not hear it right away.

That is the difference between husbands and wives. My wife can hear what I am thinking seven days before I even start thinking. A man, on the other hand, takes seven days just to hear something.

It finally came to me what she was doing and so I asked, “What are you in such deep thought about?”

That brought another deep sigh and a moment of silence and then she said, “I can’t believe another year is gone.”

At first, I did not know what she was talking about so I asked her to repeat and explain what she was talking about.

“I can’t believe,” she repeated with a deep sigh, “that another year has gone by so quickly.”

After a few thoughtful seconds, I begin to understand what she was saying. Another year has slipped by into the silence of the night to be seen no more.

At first, it was a little disconcerting. I was having fun, or so I thought, during the year. To see that go was a little bit disturbing and so I began sighing deep sighs. We formed a wonderful duet singing the “Silent-Night-Sighing-Duo.”

With only a few more hours left of the old year I really did not know how to spend it. It goes by so fast that it is hard for me to keep up. What could I do for a couple of hours that would make this year a remarkable year?

Then my wife challenged me with a very sophisticated question. She certainly knows how to interrogate a person and should be on the FBI’s payroll.

“What was,” she said rather thoughtfully, “the one most important part of this year for you?”

What a question. How can you boil a whole year down to one thing? After all, you have 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months, how in the world can you boil all that down to one thing?

“I’m not sure,” I said rather hesitatingly. “What was your one important aspect of the year?” Read More→

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Santa Claus Hasn’t Received My Letter yet

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerIn Christmas treefirst grade, our teacher asked us to pen a letter to Santa for Christmas.

She asked us, “Name one present you would like Santa to bring you for Christmas.”

Then we were to write a letter to Santa, who, according to her, lived at the North Pole, and tell him what we wanted for Christmas and why we wanted it. Then, we put it in an envelope and she mailed it to the North Pole.

At the time, I thought my teacher had a connection with Santa Claus. She said so many nice things about him that she must have known him personally. Accordingly, I thought a letter delivered to him by my teacher would have credit.

The other night the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were sitting around drinking some hot cocoa and thinking about Christmas. She had just put up the Christmas tree with all of the decorations. She does such a wonderful job that I let her do it.

Actually, one year I did try to help her and it was a catastrophe to say the least. Since then, I am to watch and fetch and that’s all. The Christmas decorations are wonderful and create a Christmasy spirit.

As I was admiring the Christmas decorations, I happened to mention to her about the first grade letter to Santa. I casually said, “I guess Santa never got my letter.”

Looking at me she said, “Why do you say that?”

I chuckled and said, “I never got a pony for Christmas.”

Together we laughed and then she said something that caused me to pause. “Do you want a pony for Christmas this year?”

The way she looked at me when she asked that question, I thought she was being serious. It caused me a little bit of pause because what in the world would I do with a pony now.

Then, I’m not one to let a situation go without playing it for all it’s worth.

With a very serious look on my face, I said to her, “I sure would love to have a pony this year. It would make my Christmas just wonderful.”

“Well,” she said rather sarcastically, “you’ll have to send a letter to me if you want that pony this year.”

After a few moments of silence, we both broke out laughing.

Where in the world would we put a pony in the Parsonage? What in the world, would I do with the pony in the Parsonage? Read More→

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Nice Is a Matter of Perspective

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSitting in the living room the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and me were enjoying some hot apple cider tea and listening to some Christmas music. The song came that referred to Santa’s nice list and naughty list. I was not paying too much of attention, but somebody else in the room was.

“Do you think you are on,” my wife said rather sarcastically, “Santa’s nice list or naughty list?”

I always get trapped by such questions. I have been married long enough to know that questions are not posed to get an answer, but rather to get someone in trouble, mainly me.

I did not want to answer that question and I didn’t know how to get away from it. Suddenly the answer came to me.

The telephone rang and I jumped up to answer it. It was some Robo call trying to sell me something I did not want. I took advantage of the situation and carried on a one-way conversation, hoping someone would forget the question they had asked previously.

Finally, I hung up the phone and resumed drinking my hot apple cider tea in the living room.

Then it came back again. “Well, are you on the nice list or the naughty list?”

This only points out the difference between us. Nice is really a matter of perspective. Some people think something is nice while other people think the same thing is naughty.

For instance. My wife thinks eating too many apple fritters is very naughty. I think you cannot eat too many apple fritters and it is really nice to eat one. Or two. Or three, or four.

I cannot see what naughty has to do with eating an apple fritter.

If eating an apple fritter puts me on Santa’s naughty list, then I gladly apply for that position.

My problem is, looking at Santa and the dimensions of his waist, I do not think he believes eating an apple fritter is naughty. I am not sure my wife considered that aspect.

After all, everybody sets out cookies for Santa to eat when he brings the presents. What is the difference between a cookie and an apple fritter?

I think my wife will be surprised when at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven there will be apple fritters for dessert.

Then there is the idea of organizing your mess.

According to the other resident in our home, organizing and cleaning up after yourself is nice. If you do not do that, it is naughty.

I sure would like to know who set those rules. I think if your mess is comfortable and you are happy with it, it should be nice.

If she thinks organizing her space is nice, then why can’t she allow me the same privilege to think that my messy space is also nice?

It is all just a matter of perspective.

Then it is Christmas time and people should be able to indulge in certain activities that at another time may be naughty. Read More→

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As The Cookie Crumbles, So Do My Excuses

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAs the Cookie Crumbles, So Do My Excuses by Dr. James SnyderSeveral weeks ago, I was at home alone when the doorbell rang. I answered the door to find representatives from a local Girl Scout troop doing what they do so well; selling Girl Scout cookies.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was not home so danger was not lurking behind the living room curtains. When Girl Scouts come selling cookies, I am cookie dough in their fund-raising hands.

“Hello, mister,” they chimed, “We’re selling cookies to raise money for ….” I immediately interrupted and exclaimed, “Yes, yes, I’ll take all you have!”

When the passion of the moment passed, I did not need a fortune cookie to know I was going to be in big trouble with the wife, one tough cookie. Catching me with my hand in the cookie jar is serious business with her.

After all, 27 boxes of Girl Scout cookies are rather difficult to conceal, let alone explain. I was about to toss my cookies when an idea presented itself. What I needed was a good surefire excuse.

Excuses, which are a way of life for many people, have been around as long as mankind. In fact, it was the first man, Adam, who invented the pass-the-buck phenomenon for the benefit of all those who would follow him.

It occurred in the Garden of Eden, if you remember your Bible stories, just after Eve encountered the serpent, enticing her to eat of the forbidden fruit. Eve immediately baked an apple pie a la mode for Adam.

When God confronted Adam with the situation, Adam immediately said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” This, then, was the beginning of excuse-making to get out of a difficult situation.

Although a man may have invented excuse-making, it took a woman to develop it into an art form. Men, you see, are too literal and unsophisticated to develop a series of plausible excuses.

For example, a man will say, “Bob, my wife won’t let me go fishing with you next Sunday,” and it stops there. Nothing needs to be added, Bob knows exactly what the score is. After all, he has been there with his own wife.

Women feel compelled to introduce the element of emotion into every situation. Why is it that women are more gifted than men when it comes to making believable excuses? I certainly don’t know the answer, and that’s the only excuse I can think of at the moment.

Getting back to those Girl Scout cookies, I knew I needed to come up with some excuse or better yet, several excuses to explain why I bought 27 boxes of cookies when I’m not supposed to eat cookies.

Because I’m just a man, the only excuse I could come up with was “the Devil made me do it.”

Unfortunately, my wife did not accept that excuse and I immediately knew I was in trouble. Exasperated, my wife decided to help me come up with a list of viable excuses to use the next time Girl Scouts with cookies knock on the parsonage door.

Reasons I can’t buy cookies:

* My mother made me eat cookies when I was young.

* I only eat cookies at Christmas and Easter.

* I don’t believe in eating packaged cookies.

* I’m satisfied with watching people on TV eat cookies.

* I’m too busy to eat cookies. Try another time.

* I don’t have any good clothing to wear while eating cookies.

* I’m too old and cookies really are for the young.

* I don’t believe cookies really exist.

* I don’t eat cookies. I prefer donuts.

* I’m afraid the roof will fall in if I eat cookies.


* My wife and I cannot agree on which cookie we like.

To put it mildly, I was impressed with the growing list of excuses my wife was able to come up with in such a short period. It showed she had practiced this art form for many years. I never could have come up with such a list on my own.

Read More→

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This Fall Was a Major Trip for Me

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis past week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said to me rather casually, “I guess you know today is November?”

She’s always joking with me and I assumed this was one of her jokes.

“You can’t fool me,” I said quite sarcastically, “I know it’s October.”

With that, she led me to the refrigerator where she had a calendar and pointed to me that today was the first day of November.

It was hard for me to believe it; I thought she had made that calendar up herself. After thinking for a few moments, I concluded that she was right. After all, she’s always right and I’m always left holding the bag.

With a little bit of sadness in my voice I said to her, “Where in the world did October go? I’m not finished with October yet.”

“Finished or not,” she said laughingly, “October is over and it is now November.”

I like to enjoy my time and I did not believe I had fully enjoyed all of October yet. That’s just the way life is. Here today, gone tomorrow. October yesterday, November today. When will all of this nonsense stop?

I should have noticed it was November because the whole house smelled of roast turkey in the oven. It is in November that we celebrate Thanksgiving. My wife had already purchased the turkey and was in the process of cooking it for Thanksgiving.

The only turkey we’re not really grateful for is Yours Truly.

When Fall comes, you would think I would be prepared. Fall brings a different attitude in things. All of the nice warm weather is gone and now we have a little bit of Chilly Willy weather.

Summertime is the time to be a little lazy and not get too worked up about anything. The attitude I have during the summer is, “There’s always tomorrow.”

The attitude of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is, “There’s only today.”

Summertime cultivates a sense of laziness in my bones. I can get away with doing the summer because I can always complain about the heat. “It’s too hot to do anything today.” I usually get away with it.

Tripping into November that attitude and excuse goes out the window. Read More→

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Is the Whole World Crazy or Is It Just Me?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerDriving across town the other day I was nearly hit by four different vehicles. One ran a stop sign, another swerved in front of me and almost hit me and I’m sure the other two were on their cell phones. After a while I begin to think my life was at risk here.

I decided to drop into a little coffee shop and cool my heels a little bit. I ordered some coffee, took a table in the corner and just reflected on my day.

Why is it, I thought to myself, do people drive so crazy? How do they get a driver’s license?

Reflecting a little more upon the subject it dawned on me that it is not limited to people driving on the highway. People are just simply crazy.

After giving it more thought, I concluded that I do not mind being crazy, it gives life a little more flavor. Crazy does have its benefits.

For example, if you are crazy, people will not take you seriously and so you can get away with things you otherwise would not be able to get away with. “Oh, don’t ask him to do that, he’s just crazy.”

What I really want to know is that if a person is crazy do they know they are crazy? Or, are they just taking somebody’s word for it that they are crazy?

I was thinking about that in the coffee shop when an older couple came in and sat down across the room from me. Immediately they caught my attention. For one, they were quite a bit older than I am. It is always wonderful to see someone older than you are particularly during these last few years of mine.

The thing that caught my eye about these people was the fact that they were crazy in love, or at least it looked that way.

As they walked in they walked very slowly, she walked in front of him and he followed very gingerly. He waited for her to sit down, as a gentleman should, and then he sat down. He looked at her and smiled and when he smiled, I saw that he had absolutely no teeth in his mouth whatsoever. That, however, did not compromise his smile or her smile back at him.

Read More→

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Why Did I Get Up This Morning?

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question markAll day long, I’ve had this burning question in my mind. One of those questions you just cannot shake and as the day progressed, it loomed larger and larger until I had to address it. Personally, I would like to have addressed it, put a stamp on it and send it to Timbuktu. I just do not know the ZIP code.

It all began first thing in the morning. Some days try to trick you into thinking it’s going to be a good day by starting the day off perfect. Such was not the case with this day.

The amazing thing about this day was it started bad and just got worse as the day wore on. Some days start out bad and then improve by noon. These days I do not mind. I figure the day is trying to play tricks with my mind. I would not mind if I only knew the rules or if my mind could win at least occasionally.

The day began with me oversleeping. It really was not my fault; the alarm clock did not go off. When I looked at my alarm clock, the numbers were blinking indicating sometime during the night the electricity went off. It is my personal opinion the electric company does this intentionally. The electric only has to flicker and all of the digital clocks go on blinking mode. This is a cruel trick perpetrated by our friendly electric company just to show us who is really boss.

When I checked the real time, I discovered I was late. Have you ever noticed when you oversleep it is the day you have an early-morning appointment? Why is it nobody ever oversleeps on his or her day off?

As quick, as I could, I got ready. While I was shaving, however, I nicked my face. It was one of those little nicks that just does not stop bleeding, no matter what you do. I had blood all over my face even dripping down onto my T-shirt.

I quickly dressed and scampered into the kitchen to grab a cup of hot coffee. In my grabbing, I managed to spill the hot coffee on my shirt. Now that I am running late, I have to stop what I am doing, run back to the bedroom and put on a new shirt. It was a good thing because not only did my shirt have coffee stains on it there was a nice splash of blood on it as well.  Read More→

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Have You Seen My Glasses? And Other Trick Questions

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The only person who asks more questions than a lawyer is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I am not saying that questions are bad, at least not all of them. What I am saying is, some questions can be trick questions.

To know the difference between a legitimate question and a trick question takes years of practicing being a husband. If the husband learns anything in his marriage, it is this.

I know people ask questions in order to get information. Not all people ask a question in order to get information. Some people ask questions in order to trick somebody into saying something that is compromising.

Of course, we all know the old joke about Honest Abe and his wife when she asked him, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

What does a person do in a situation like that? If a person is honest and tells the honest truth, it may not fare too well with him. It is not so much the question being asked as it is the answer that goes along with that question.

It is the smart husband who is an expert in this “answer” scenario. How he answers his wife’s questions will determine the quality of his life. To ignore the question is only going to induce more questions and what husband really wants that?

The art of answering a trick question is the only thing that keeps some people on the positive side of marital bliss. If, for one moment, the husband thinks his wife is simply seeking an answer, he is in for a lot of trouble and heartache.

I certainly would not have liked to have been in Honest Abe’s shoes if he ever was presented with such a question from Mrs. Lincoln. Personally, I would have loved to hear how he dealt with that question, after all he was known as Honest Abe.

This past week I was presented with such a question, it caught me a little bit off guard, and I did not know how to deal with it.

I noticed my wife was walking through the house looking at everything. It may be curious, but I tried to keep out of that situation.

Finally, she came to me and said quite sincerely, “Have you seen my glasses?”

It sounds like a very simple question and it should deserve a straightforward answer. But I did not know what to say. What kind of trouble would I be in if I told her where her glasses were?

I stuttered a little bit, and she being very nervous at the time, turned and started searching the house again. What do you do in situations like this?

I knew that her glasses were very important to her, but I was in a position where I did not know if this was a trick question or if I was in serious trouble.

Trying to do the right thing, I said to her, “No, I don’t know where your glasses are? Where did you have them last?”

I thought if I said that it would solve the problem and I could go on with a very happy afternoon.

Looking at me, she said rather smartly, “If I knew that I wouldn’t have to ask you where my glasses are.”

That sorted cued me in to the reality of the situation. I was rather sure this was a trick question and I knew I needed to play this very carefully. One wrong word from me, and my boat was sunk for the day.

She came back into the room and I looked at her and smiled very cheerfully, hoping that that would kinda solve the problem. She looked at me and said, “What are you smiling about?” Read More→

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One Good Deed Deserves A Kick In The Pants

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foodHave you ever had the feeling that any good deed you try is counteracted by a good swift kick in the pants?

I recently grabbed a quick lunch at a local restaurant. I don’t like eating at fast food restaurants, but, occasionally, I don’t have much choice. Then, once in the restaurant the menu doesn’t give me much choice, either.

I ordered my lunch and settled at a corner table. About halfway through my lunch an older couple took the table next to me. Being a “people watcher,” which is a fancy way of saying, “I’m nosy,” I watched this couple out of the corner of my eye.

I noticed right away the woman got her things situated immediately. Not so with the man.

He struggled to unwrap the plastic fork. He fumbled trying to break the plastic wrapping and free his fork so he could begin eating. Nothing he did seemed to advance his cause.

Without missing a beat, his wife reached over, took the wrapped fork from her husband, popped it open in one easy motion and handed it back to him. Without saying a word, he took it and began eating.

This incident reminded me of something that happened the week before.

A friend phoned, asking me if I could help a friend of his who was moving from Florida to Virginia and had nobody to help him. Immediately I agreed to help all I could. After hanging up my phone, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

I told him to have this person call me. I figured if he doesn’t call, I wouldn’t have to help. No sooner had this thought rambled through the little gray cells, then the telephone rang. It was this person requesting my assistance.

I invited him to church on Sunday and we would see how we could help him. I hoped the “we” did not mean “me.” After hanging up the telephone, I told my wife the incident and she reassuringly said, “He may not even come to church.” I took comfort in her suggestion.

On Sunday morning, an hour before services, this person showed up at church. He introduced himself and we got acquainted.

“All I have,” he assured me, “are 25 boxes of books that I need to take to the post office so I can mail them to where I am going.”

Well, I mused, this may not be as bad as I thought.

On awakening Monday morning, second thoughts about the whole project bombarded my empty head. I was trying to think of some way to graciously bow out of the whole mess.

I have a problem pronouncing the word “no.” You have no idea the trouble this has brought me. I’m thinking of consulting a speech therapist to help me.

My watch told me I was running a little late. I wish my watch would tell me how to get out of such predicaments. But when I inquired, it didn’t give a tick. Then an idea burst in my noggin. If he said anything about me being late I will get mad, turn around and go home. Or, if he wasn’t ready to move the boxes when I got there, I would, in a huff, turn around and stomp off and go home.

Read More→

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