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Archive for Just for Him

Jun
27

The Parsonage Kitchen Shutdown Threat

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerkitchen timerA certain situation has been building in the Parsonage for the last several months. At first, I did not think it too serious but alas, we have reached a terrible impasse.

It started a few months ago when I came home, walked into the house and was hit in the face so hard I almost passed out. At the time, I was hoping I would pass out, but no such luck.

I think everybody knows what it is like to be hit unexpectedly by something you do not actually expect. I guess that is why it is called unexpectedly. It happened to me and I am not sure I am over it yet.

Even though I have been married 46 years, of which most of it has been happily, I did not see this one coming. Just when you think you have your spouse figured out, they do something off the radar. Every husband knows exactly what I am talking about.

This makes it hard to buy Christmas and birthday presents. What they liked last year is not what they like this year. I remember buying my wife a watch one year for Christmas of which she was so delighted that for the next four years after I bought her a watch for Christmas. How was I supposed to know she only wanted one watch!

I think we hit one of those impasses.

Walking into the house, I was hit with the horrific smell of broccoli cooking on the stove. I do not know if you ever smelt such a smell as that but if you are not prepared for it and even if you are prepared for it, it can smack you in the face like you have never been smacked in the face before.

When I came to myself and gathered what little composure I could find, I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who was in the kitchen.

“What is that awful smell?”

“I don’t know, have you taken a shower yet?”

After being married for 46 years, I know when to respond to a question and when not to. I knew if I responded to this question the way I wanted to respond to this question, the smell of broccoli would be the least of my worries at the time.

“No,” I said gathering a little bit of manliness about me, “Something in this house smells dreadful. I smelled it as soon as I walked in the door.”

Then she chuckled. I hate it when she chuckles.

“Oh, that must be the wonderful aroma of broccoli cooking on the stove. Isn’t it marvelous?”

Adhering to my rules about questions, I tossed that one aside and opted for another one.

“You’re not cooking broccoli for supper tonight, are you?”

I was hoping she would catch my attitude of disdain and disgust in this question. Obviously, for whatever reason, she did not catch the drift.

“Yes,” she said as chipper as I have ever heard her chip, “I thought I would surprise you with a wonderful dish of broccoli for supper tonight, to go along with our pork chops.”

Can you live with a person for so long and not know what they like or do not like? Nobody has to be around me for five minutes before they will understand that broccoli and I have had a feud that has been going on since before the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.

“But I thought you knew I do not like broccoli?” Read More→

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Jun
20

Vacation Time Again?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI beach vacationhad just finished my project, sent it to my publisher, took a deep breath and said out loud, “I’m glad that’s done. Now I can rest for a while.”

I must have said it aloud for someone in the house heard it. I need to explain that with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, it does not matter if you say it aloud, mumble it under your breath or just think it, she hears it.

I do not know how she does it and she will not give me her secret.

“So,” my wife said rather suspiciously, “ready to go on our vacation?”

I stuttered a little bit and said, “A what?”

That “V” word rarely resides between my two ears. I just never think of it. I am not a vacation fan. Sure, when the kids were home it was nice to get away and have some fun with them. However, that has been a long time ago. I think someone my age is just too old to go on vacation. What would be the purpose?

I am a little afraid that if I go on vacation, I might forget that I am on vacation and never return home and no one would ever see me again. You know how the memory is for us old guys. So, to be on the safe side, I do not think of vacation time.

“You know exactly what I mean,” my wife said rather sternly with one of her sly smiles. “We should begin making plans for our vacation before you begin your next project.”

She caught me off guard there. Under other circumstances, I might have responded by telling her that it was too late, I’ve already started my next project. I remember trying that once and I may be the writer, but she’s the reader and she always reads between the lines.

Then she began laying out her well thought out plans for what our vacation would be like.

I interrupted her and said as soberly as possible, “That would be nice, but I do not have any money to sponsor a vacation right now.”

All she did was laugh, which rather irritated me. Then she explained, “Don’t give that a thought. I have been saving for this vacation since last year. I have it all worked out.” Read More→

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Jun
14

A Merry Heart Doeth Good

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerWith all the sad news in our country recently, it is about time for some good news. However, the way things are going I am not going to hold my breath.

We just finished supper and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I was watching a little bit of television. We like to try to catch up on the news after a day of working.

I well remember the time when the “world news” was only broadcast for 30 minutes, which was broken up by commercials. It is hard to get all the news that is worth hearing together for 30 minutes. Back in “the day,” the commentators were able to do it. At least we did not hear about all the news of the day, which was a blessing.

It is a different story today. We hear news from around the world all day long. In fact, some television channels are devoted exclusively to news 24/7. The problem with that is 99.9% of the news is bad news. Good news does not have much of a place on television. We are too busy these days to listen to good news.

We had just settled down to catch up and some of the news and I was not paying too much attention. The way I am, I can watch the news and not hear anything they are saying. My wife, on the other side of the room, hears every word the news commentators are talking about.

We were relaxing, enjoying some coffee while watching the TV. I was drifting off into Whatever Land and just chilling. It was then that I heard from across the room some gasping.

“What is wrong with people?” And, “Don’t they know to do any better?” And, “What does all that violence solve?”

I looked over at my wife and saw her grimacing at the TV. Every once in a while she would shake her head and make some kind of a moaning sound.

I knew not to interrupt her Grimacing Moment and allowed her to have her space. After all, everybody needs a little bit of personal space.

“I can’t believe,” she said most disgustingly, “that he actually said that! What is wrong with that person?”

I did not need to tell her that we live in a very crazy world. A world that has lost all sense of sanity. Unless you are insane these days, you are not going to get along with anybody.

At this point in the evening, I certainly did not want to get into a discussion about how crazy our world was. I have ridden in this rodeo before and I am not ready for another ride.

My wife and I agree on many things and this is one of them. Anger, hatred and violence never solve anything. What we need today is a little more laughter. Read More→

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Jun
07

Leading When You’re Wrong

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leadwhenwrongBrad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerHere’s one of the famous quotes and jokes from my Dad:

“I don’t make mistakes.  Except for that one time that I thought I made a mistake . . .  but it turned out that I didn’t . . . so that was actually a mistake.”

That’s the point when my sister, my mom, and I would groan.

Unlike my Dad, I DO make mistakes.  I made a big one a few months ago.  It was my job to handle the tithe portion of our budget.  Every month I take our tithe amount from the budget and PayPal donate it.  It’s not a big job.  I usually just set an alarm in my calendar, then on the designated day, send some $$ through PayPal.

But, I did some reformatting of my email, and, then reinstalling of my e-mail management program . . .  and lost my handy little calendar reminder.

You readers might have great capacities for memory, but I would actually lose my head if it wasn’t attached.  So, you can see where this is going:  Three months I forgot to send out the tithe.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal yet?  But you have to understand, the Washburns aren’t sitting on piles of dough.  My work in ministry and writing doesn’t put us on the Fortune list, and my wife’s steady (thank God for steady) job doesn’t either.  So that designated tithe money sitting in the account . . . got spent.

Yes, yes, the fact that I can’t tell you from our budget where that money was spent is probably also my fault.  I’m lumping it all into the same screw up.

But the point of this article is that I still had to lead even though I screwed up.  And being a good Christian Dad leader means that we tithe.  So that sacrifice of our first fruits of paychecks was still required.  But yet we had spent the money.

. . . and that’s when the fight started.

Actually it wasn’t much of a fight.  All my wife’s accusations of me mishandling funds and calendar were true.  But that fact that the Washburns had to come up with 3 months of tithe, because of my screw up . . .  Yes there was some ‘heated discussion.’

My fellow Dads, this is where I can’t emphasize enough that it’s really tough to lead, to ask your family to ‘dig deep’ and sacrifice, when we ourselves are to blame.  But there is NO WHERE in Scripture that says we quit leading just because we made a mistake.  We are men, and heads of family and marriage whether we are perfect or not.  So my only ‘take away points’ are ones that I’ve learned the hard way:

Admit it.  Take responsibility when you are wrong.  In this situation the resulting fight would have went on a LOT longer if I was unnecessarily trying to defend myself.  This is a great thing for our kids to see also; taking responsibility in a mature way.

  1. Remember that as Christians and Dads we are not alone.  God is with us.  Just like He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  2. Remember that as Christians and Dads our family is “our people” — when Solomon prays for “wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Chronicles 1:10), he’s not just talking about the nation of Israel; he’s’ talking about families like ours.  Your people are yours and you are not alone — even if they complain.  Yes, even if they complain a LOT
  3. The Bible is pretty clear that being a Christian and a Dad is going to be tough.  The Devil’s schemes are against us (Eph 6:10), and we are encouraged to not be weary of doing good (Gal 6:9) — why would we need such encouragement if God didn’t know that it was going to be hard?
  4. You will come out of it and it will be better.  Yes, we finally paid the tithe I had missed.  We are still surviving, and, as my waistline is showing, no one has starved to death.  In fact, we all noticed some unexplained blessings that made the extra financial amount easier to handle during the last several months.  I can honestly say it was an example to my wife, and to me, of how God has a Master Plan.

Read More→

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Jun
06

A Key On the Table Is Worth Many A Chuckle

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itWhen it comes to forgetting anything, I am king of the hill. My forgetting has nothing to do with age because I have been forgetting as long as I can remember.

Of course, with age comes an excuse for forgetting something. Don’t let anybody know this, but sometimes I use my age to say I forgot something which in reality I had not forgotten. Sometimes forgetting something is the best expression of valor.

I can’t remember all the things I have forgotten, however, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage remembers everything, even things I did not forget. Her memory is impeccable and I just have to live with it.

Often she will start a conversation with, “Do you remember…?”

Being married as long as I have, I always go with the affirmative nod, which I never forget to do.

When I was a young husband, I remember very distinctly correcting her about what I remembered about an incident she was talking about. I have remembered never to make that mistake again.

I am forgetting everything these days. It may be my keys. I get to the church office, check my pocket and realize I forgot my keys. Then I have to get on my cell phone (when I don’t forget that) and call my wife explaining that I forgot my keys.

Once we went for supper with some friends, I was to pick up the tab, and when the tab came, I had forgotten to bring my wallet. I am definitely not going to do that again.

Once I went on a trip and forgot where I was going. Fortunately, I had the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage with me who is an expert in telling me where to go.

I can’t tell you how many lectures she has given to Yours Truly in this area of forgetting. I think she should win some kind of a prize or a doctorate in this area. Maybe I should begin calling her, Dr. Never Forget.

I could not remember all of the things that I have forgotten. I could ask my wife, but that would take a day and a half for her to get them all on the table. Read More→

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May
30

What Would We Do without Rain?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerrainbowSometimes I cannot help being a grouch. I guess it is what happens to a person when they get older. They get older, grouchier and grumpier. With that in mind, I guess I qualify for being an old geezer.

The past several weeks I was grouchy about the weather. What else is there to grouch about these days? I would grouch about politics, but it is a world of craziness. I suppose good people go to Washington, DC, but they don’t stay good for long. Therefore, I have given up grouching about politics and politicians and such.

One of the good things about grouching about the weather is it there is nothing you can do about the weather. You may not like the weather. You may want a different kind of weather. However, there is actually nothing you can do to change the weather on the outside.

Through the years, I have realized that if I wanted to bet on which day it was going to rain, it would be the day I wash my car. When I am out there washing my car, Mother Nature is looking down on me grinning one of her sarcastic grins, knowing that she is going to send rain my way that day.

I still like grouching about the weather. After all, you need to grouch about something and I would rather grouch about something that I had nothing at all to do with then something I could change.

The other day I started downtown and the sky was bright and sunny. Twenty minutes later, it was raining cats and dogs.

Three weeks ago at the church, we bought a brand-new lawnmower. We have not been able to use it yet so we do not know if it really works or not. The rain has come down for three weeks.

Thinking about the rain condition, we are in I often wonder about how Noah felt about the rain in his day. He built an ark and there was not a drop of rain to be found. He told everybody that it was going to rain; nobody had ever seen rain before and did not know what he was talking about.

For 100 years, Noah was building his ark and telling people that the rain was coming soon. They laughed at him and probably he was the first person called The Rainman. They were not laughing so much when the rain actually did come.

I was sitting in my easy chair, looking out the glass door, watching it rain and rain and rain. Just when I thought it was about over, there was a crackling thunder and the rain came down worse than before.

“When will this rain,” I said in a very disgusted attitude, “stop so I can go outside?”

My wife looked at me and said, “What do you want to go outside for?”

Well, she had me there. Because there is nothing for me to do outside and furthermore, I am not permitted to do any repair work on the outside by decree of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. No matter how bad something is broken, five minutes with me and it will be worse than before. That is, according to her estimation.

Read More→

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May
24

It’s Your Dad Thing

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bradA brief quote of lyrics from the Isley Brothers:

 It’s your thing 
Do what you wanna do

Don’t let the world tell you how to be a good dad.  Sure, let the Bible tell you how to be a good dad.  But not the world.  Not Facebook, or your buddies, or, yeah, I’m going to say it; your wife.  Or the TV – geesh especially not the TV.  The TV is never a resource to be a good anything . . . unless it’s zombie killer.  You can find some good tips for zombie slaying, but that’s it.

Part of being a good dad is doing the role of dad your way.  Some guys rock at being an efficient homemaker, some rock at bringing home the bacon.  Some rock at cooking the bacon, or are handy with every kind of tool in the book.  It’s easy to get jealous; but don’t.  God made you with your very own parenting style.  He’s made you with the correct gifts and skills and learning ability to be the best dad for the kids that He gave you.

So find out how you do the dad thing.  How do you shop?  I put in the headphones and go though Wally World like a commando.  How do you make dinner?  Some guys are grill masters, some are Iron Chef wannabes.  But how are you with doing dinner?  Find out your specific style and be the best dad at it.

There is a big difference in right and wrong.  The Bible is the definitive manual for being a good dad.  But just like Tom Cruise says in A Few Good Men (clipped from IMBD) . . .

Kaffee (Tom Cruise): Corporal, would you turn to the page in this book that says where the mess hall is, please.

Cpl. Barnes: Well, Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book, sir.

Kaffee: You mean to say in all your time at Gitmo you’ve never had a meal?

Cpl. Barnes: No, sir. Three squares a day, sir.

Kaffee: I don’t understand. How did you know where the mess hall was if it’s not in this book?

. . . the Bible doesn’t specifically say how you will parent your kids.  The guidelines are there:  Train a child up in the way he(she) should go . . .  (Proverbs 22:6), but there is not a specific addendum to the Bible telling you exactly how to manage your child’s internet use, or grades, or social involvement.

Read More→

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May
22

Dealing with Tuesday, the Worst Day of the Week

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThe worst day of the week for me is Monday. That means that I’m starting a new week and usually I have to start from scratch. All the things around me that annoy me, make me itchy and I have to scratch.

I cannot wait until the weekend gets here. It is the weekend where I can enjoy myself the most.

I know on Sunday, the best day of the week for me, I enjoy fellowshipping with other believers and preaching the word of God. I do not claim to be the best preacher in the world, I just love preaching. When Sunday comes around, I have an opportunity to preach.

The rest of the week, however, is really a drag.

It was Tuesday morning and I was a little down, drinking my coffee rather slowly and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me and said quite sternly, “What’s wrong with you?”

It is a simple question and deserves a simple answer. From my point of view, it’s not really that simple.

Tuesday is not really Monday, which is a little better. However, Tuesday is not Wednesday either. Tuesday is a very slow day in my week and, do not quote me here, but I think there are at least 30 hours on Tuesday. At least 30. Probably more.

No matter what I do on Tuesday, it has nothing whatsoever to do with getting me to the weekend. Not only is this the slowest day of the week, but it is the least productive.

If I do not do very much on Monday, I can always blame the fact that it’s Monday and I am just getting started. Tuesday I can’t say that. Monday should prepare me for Tuesday and Tuesday should be the most productive day of my week. Either, I’m not using Monday as I should or, Tuesday is just a bad day for me.

I still did not know how to answer my wife. I was so gloomy that I really did not have any way to explain why I was so gloomy.

“Why,” my wife said, “Tuesday is my favorite day of the week.”

I just looked at her in my gloomy attire, grunted and couldn’t say anything to her.

“I can get more done on Tuesday than any day of the week,” she boasted.

I do admit she gets a lot done on Tuesday, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with me. She is the most talented multitasker I have ever known. She can handle up to a dozen projects simultaneously. Get her going, and she does not know how to stop.

If I had her talent, I could conquer the world. However, after all, it’s only Tuesday and I was a little gloomy.

On Monday, I can say I worked hard over the weekend and deserve to take a little bit of a rest. Nobody would worry about that not even my wife.

But Tuesday? There is no excuse I have ever made that justifies not doing something on a Tuesday, I know because I have tried everyone on my wife.

Tuesday is the dead point in my week. On Monday, for example, I can relax and just think about what I did over the weekend and how my sermon went.

I cannot do that on a Tuesday. The weekend is already over and the next weekend is far down the road. I can sit in my chair, sigh deeply and think about how soon the weekend will get here.

It could be that as you get older your brain does not function as much as it did when you were younger. I wonder if that is a good excuse?

“Oh,” I could say to my wife, “I’m getting older now and my brain doesn’t function as it once did. I got to slow down a little bit.” Read More→

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May
09

I Enjoy a Mess, Especially Mine

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerIt's My Mess and I Love It, by Dr. James SnyderThe Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were in a little bit of a tussle this past week.

Normally (whoever said I was normal) I stay away from such activity in our very humble domicile. Sometimes it is completely unavoidable. This was one of those times.

I was in the study area of our home doing some kind of work when my wife came in, looked around with both hands on her hips and said, “What is all of this mess about?”

At first, I didn’t quite understand what she was talking about. In fact, I usually don’t understand what she’s talking about first off. Experience has taught me that if I just nod in the affirmative and smile the problem will go away. This time it didn’t go away.

“I’m referring to,” she said rather sarcastically, “all of this mess in this room!”

The problem I was having at the time was her definition of “mess.” I have found throughout my married life that we differ on definitions.

It is true, we use the same words, but those words have different meanings to her then to me. My wife has the habit of finely defining her words to the letter. I, on the other hand, just generalize.

If you ask her how much money she had in her purse, she would say, “I have $21.19.”

If you asked me the same question (eliminate the purse) I would say, “I have around $20.”

She is precise whereas I don’t care about the exact numbers.

When she said, “All of this mess in the room,” it had a different meaning than what I understood it to mean.

If, for example, one book is slightly out of line with the rest of the books, the room is a mess.

I look at my room as “my room,” and I should be able to have it, as I wanted to be. If I want it to be messy, then I’m going to let it be messy. My idea of messy is having my things surrounding me. Nothing is more cozy than being surrounded by what my wife calls my “mess.”

Continuing her conversation, she said, “What are we going to do about this mess?”

When she said the word “we” I was confused. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything about what she called the mess in my room and I didn’t know if she had somebody that was going to help her do something about the mess in my room. She just looked at me as though she was expecting a response from me. I’m assuming a positive response.

Stuttering for a few moments as I was trying to collect my thoughts and when thoughts wander as much as mine do, it is very difficult to get them lined up in order. Read More→

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May
02

My Somber Longing for Summer

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerMy favorite time of the year is summer and I don’t care what the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage says. Summer is what I live for especially here in Florida.

As soon as Fall arrives in full steam I am looking forward to summer with uncontrollable anticipation.

One thing that attracts me to summer has to do with the weather.

I don’t like cold because I’m growing too old now to shiver properly. When it is cold and I am supposed to be shivering, I don’t have the energy. I admit that I don’t have the energy I had a few years back. Let’s not talk about how many years back. Shivering now is really not part of my exercise program.

I think God created winter for someone like me to appreciate summer. I have had enough winter now so that I can appreciate summer for the rest of my life. I wonder if heaven is going to be like summer?

Another thing I don’t like about being cold is having to wear sweaters and sometimes coats and hats and mittens. When it’s really cold outside by the time I get dressed to go outside I’m either too tired to go outside or I can’t remember why I wanted to go outside in the first place.

It takes me “forever” to get dressed for cold weather.

Another thing about being cold is my brain doesn’t function 100%. When it is cold, parts of my brain have to be used to deal with the cold weather on my body. Don’t ask me how that works, I just know it works.

I have a brain and I take care of my brain and feed my brain so I can use my brain for my things and not for things like the weather!

What I like about summer is that it is hot. I love hot, contrary to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Don’t let this get around, but she doesn’t like when the weather is hot outside. She complains and complains about how hot it is outside.

I remember one time she was complaining about how hot it was outside and I was sitting there smiling. I try not to let a smile break out on my face when she is complaining about something. This time, the smile broke out on my face and I could not control it.

“What are you,” she said rather snarly, “smiling about now?” Read More→

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