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Archive for Just for Him

Sep
19

Hallelujah, It IS a Scam

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggeremailI know I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, or the brightest bulb on the porch, and a few bricks shy of a load. However, my philosophy is simple, if you know what you are not, then you can soon figure out what you really are.

If somebody can’t con me, they can’t con anybody. I admit that I am naïve about many things. A Girl Scout needs only smile, wink her brown eyes at me and I will buy all the cookies she has.

My problem is, I have a hard time believing anyone would lie to me. Why would someone lie in the first place? What does lying get you?

An incident happened this past week that sucked me into that whirlpool of naivety.

I received an email from somebody who wanted to give me a lot of money. It seems this woman was recently widowed and her husband was very wealthy and she wanted to give money to some charity. Would I be interested in receiving money?

Well, when it comes to money you do have my interest.

Immediately I printed this email out and brought it to show the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Now, if anybody can con her, they can con everybody. She can spot a lie three generations back.

She read the email and then looked at me with one of those “stares” and said, “You do know that this is a scam?”

“But,” I said rather hesitatingly, “what if it isn’t a scam? What if it’s real? What have I got to lose?”

“You mean,” she said rather sarcastically, “besides your mind?”

It was at that moment I had an overwhelming urge to prove finally that she did not know everything. When I follow through with this and get all that money in our bank, I will have a laughing party heard around the world at her expense.

I decided to see if maybe this was legitimate. So, I emailed them back and said I was interested in their money for our charity and explained a little bit about our charity.

Very soon, I got an email back congratulating me on a wise decision.

I sat back and grinned to myself; at least somebody appreciates my wisdom.

Then I received an email saying I needed to send them some information, so I immediately sent it.

All the while, I’m thinking of how I’m going to rub this in someone’s face for a very long time. After all, the amount of money they were talking about was $4.7 million. I started thinking about what I could do with all that money.

It is amazing what happens when a person starts thinking about all the money he is going to get. Then the thoughts go to “things.” Things that I cannot afford right now. I tried to think of all of the things that I would buy as soon as I got this money. I got some paper and a pen and started to make a list.

I ran into a little problem here. I could not think of anything I wanted that I did not already have. I don’t have a long list of things I want. I like books, pens and pocketknives. Of course, I could buy my own Apple fritter bakery. That would be a good option.

For a couple days, I shot emails back and forth with this company that happened to be in Nigeria, Africa. I have some wonderful friends there so I was not even thinking on the negative side of this transaction.

Of course, being a pastor, I would donate some of that money to my church. Then I got thinking about what we could do in the church with that kind of money. How many people could we bless and encourage with the programs we could do with that kind of money?

I continued emailing back to this widow and she connected me with the bank that was going to handle the transaction. I was beginning to feel a little more comfortable with this. I know my wife thought this was a scam, but I’m not so sure it is a scam. I think it is some dear widow who wants to give her money to somebody that she doesn’t know. What a sweet and wonderful woman she must be. Read More→

Sep
12

I Never Thought I Could

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAs a person gets older things change. By things, I am referring to my body.

When I was young, I never gave a thought to what it would be like when I got old. I was too busy enjoying my being young. What young person wants to waste their time thinking about what they are going to be when they are old?

However, as a person gets older there is more time to think about things. To think about your health and strength and is it time to go to bed yet?

I can remember as a young person my parents had to wrestle me into my bed to go to sleep at night. I never wanted to go to bed; I wanted to stay up all night and watch TV.

I tried to think of many reasons not to go to bed when I was younger.

Now that I’m older, I’m trying to think of many reasons TO go to bed early.

The problem is it is not feasible to go to bed when the sun hasn’t set yet.

“Is it time to go to bed?” I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

Looking at me she simply said, “Has the sun set yet?”

I understood what she was saying and it is hard to say that the sun has set when it is still light outside. For this reason, I like a very cloudy afternoon when it hides the sun. It is so dark that I’m trying to convince my wife that it must be time to go to bed because it’s dark outside.

I must not be a very good salesman because my wife never buys what I’m trying to sell.

So, sitting in my easy chair thinking about stuff like this, I often get a little bit discouraged. What I’m thinking about is the fact that I cannot do what I used to do when I was young.

“What are you,” my wife said one afternoon, “so gloomy about today?”

“You know,” I said very sadly, “I just can’t do what I used to do when I was young.”

I remember all the fun times I had when I was young. It seems I had more energy than I could waste in one day. Now, I don’t seem to have that kind of energy.

My wife got us coffee and came, sat down in the living room with me, and was just quiet for a few moments.

Then she said, “Sure, there’s a lot of things you can’t do that you did when you were young.” She snickered after she said that and then said, “Why don’t you think about the things you can do now that you couldn’t do then?”

As far as I was concerned, there was nothing on that list. I know many people have what they call the “Bucket List” but I certainly don’t have such a list. My list only contains things that I used to do that I can’t do now. I cannot do them now because of the time element and my energy or lack thereof.

“Don’t worry about what you can’t do,” she explained. “Focus on some of the things that you can do and that you enjoy doing.” Read More→

Sep
05

I Think I Now Know How Noah Felt

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerrainbowLooking out the living room window the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage sighed very deeply and said, “When will this stinking rain stop?”

I chuckled to myself very carefully not to let it come up to the surface of my face to let on to anybody in the room.

She turned around and said to me, “I am just about done with all this rain.”

With a fake grimace on my face I said, “I don’t know, but I’m done with it too.”

I had to walk away at that point because I could not control the chuckles that were rising to the level of my face.

When I got some control of my emotions I thought to myself, this must be how Noah felt. Whenever it rains as it has been doing lately, I usually think of Noah. Only this time I was thinking of Noah’s wife.

Listening to my wife talk about the rain, I could not help but think maybe this is exactly what Noah’s wife was saying to him.

“Noah,” his wife said, “when will this stinking rain stop?” Then I can imagine her saying, “I can handle one day of rain or maybe two, but this is getting to be ridiculous.”

After all, Noah’s wife was just like anybody else’s wife especially the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

Knowing my wife like I do, I know she likes to be in control. From the moment she gets up in the morning until she goes to bed at night, she likes to be in control. When something is going on that she cannot control, then we have a different situation.

Could that be said of Noah’s wife? This rain was coming down day after day after day for 40 days and 40 nights. Nothing had ever happened like that before. I believe Noah’s wife was a little frustrated with the fact that she was not in control with the rain.

My wife gets up every morning with a large list of things she wants to accomplish during the day. I need to be careful because sometimes she has one of her “Honey-Do-Lists” for you know who. She is very productive in her day and she hardly sits down to rest. She is proactive all day long.

When she decides to do something, she does it no matter what.

Now, for the last several weeks it has been raining just about every day. She enjoys yard work and even mowing. Now with the rain, it has disrupted her schedule.

The fact that she cannot control the rain carries with it a little hidden giggle inside of me. She takes pride in planning her day and fulfilling her plan to the letter. She is in control of everything.

Everything, that is, except the rain. I know the rain is playing with her.

Several times, especially this past week, the morning started out bright and sunny with barely a cloud in the air. When my wife saw that, she was very excited. Read More→

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Aug
29

I Fell for It… Again

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAn old saying more or less defines my life, “What we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

When I was younger, I assumed that the older I got, the smarter I would become. I have not achieved that at this point in my life. It gets so tiresome to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

I do hope though, that this will change somewhere along my life. I am hoping it changes before I die.

I was reminded of this flaw in my personality several weeks ago when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I spent a little bit of vacation time at St. Augustine. Someone had given us tickets for several nights in a bed and breakfast.

We spent the whole week just enjoying ourselves. I should correct that though. I spent the whole week reading and meditating with my eyes closed.

The other side of our relationship went to all the thrift stores in the area. She would leave right after breakfast, stop back for lunch, then spend the rest of the day until suppertime going from one thrift shop to another. How she can do this for days on end is beyond my wildest dream.

Several times, she asked if I wanted to go with her, but I declined this most gracious invitation. I remember the last time I took her up on that offer and we bounce from one thrift store to the next thrift store. They all started to look alike after a while.

It only takes me five minutes to thoroughly examine the thrift store, while my wife takes two hours to go through bit-by-bit every aspect of that thrift store. Every thrift store in the area knows her by name at this point.

I, the lazier part of the marital equation, chose to stay in our room and just relax. I am just as addicted to relaxation as my wife is addicted to thrift store shopping. I am not certain who suffers the worst addiction.

To be honest, she has gotten many wonderful deals at some of these thrift stores. Whenever we need anything, she knows exactly which thrift store to go to and she can barter them down to the very bottom. How they make any money on her shopping I do not know.

Every once in a while I suffer this awful nightmare. I wake up sweating and breathing really hard.

The nightmare is that we have opened up our own thrift store. No dream can get any worse than that!

I never tell her of these nightmares because I do not want to plant any ideas in her head. I lean strictly away from that idea.

In spite of all of this, I still have failed to learn anything from history.

My wife had spent most of the day visiting these thrift stores, and also buying things from these thrift stores, and had come home and we had a little bit of supper in our room. I assumed we were in for the evening.

I wish I would know when to keep my mouth shut. As we were finishing our casual supper, I said something that I now regret very much. I said, “Boy, it sure would be nice to have one of those lap desks so I could use my computer while I’m sitting here in the bed.”

I did not mean for this to be a point of discussion just a casual observation, that is all.

Then I took it a step further. “Have you ever seen any lap desks in the thrift stores that you visit?”

If there is anything I could ever take back in my life, this would have been one of them. I did not know how serious the subject was.

“I don’t know,” she said most enthusiastically, “but I’ll go and find out right…”

Before she could say the word “now,” she had gone out the door and shut it most soundly. The rest of the evening she was visiting thrift stores all over the place. I was afraid, very much afraid, that she would actually find one and bring it back.

I suppose they are to be found in thrift stores somewhere. But I just meant it as a passing bit of conversation.

Four hours later, she returned and was very much excited. She had found something she had been looking for, for a very long time. It was a very eloquent teapot with 6 cups and saucers to it.

“Look what I found,” she said most excitedly. “I’ve been looking for this and we can use it at our next lady’s tea.” According to her, this tea set matches the one she had back home. She was so excited about it. Read More→

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Aug
22

Enough Is Enough and I’ve Had Enough

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI have had enough of some things. There are, however, some things I can never have enough. Apple fritters and coffee are things I can never have enough of. I would never use the word “enough” with these words.

Some things are in this category of “I’ve Had Enough.”

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Your birthday is coming up. What do you want to do for your birthday?”

I looked at her like I have never looked at her before and said, “Enough, I’ve had enough of birthdays I don’t want another birthday.”

She looked at me, laughed like usual and said, “Silly boy, everybody has a birthday.”

In a way, I guess she is right, but I have had enough birthdays and I do not want another birthday.

I think birthday celebrations are rather silly when you get to be a certain age. Sure, when you are young and full of energy, you looked forward to birthday celebrations. You looked forward to all the birthday presents you are going to be getting. Nothing is more exciting than celebrating your birthday.

That certainly is one stage of life. However, that stagecoach has left the ranch. I have had enough birthdays.

One of the aggravating things about a birthday is that you have to disclose your age. You know when you say, for example, “I’m 60,” people will always respond by saying, “You don’t look 60.”

Everybody knows that is the code for saying, “You sure do look old.”

Or, somebody will say, “60 is the new 40.” I have no idea what that means, but I certainly do not want to live 40 again.

Mind you, I have nothing against birthday cakes and such. I have had enough birthday cakes throughout my life that I probably do not need anymore. If only I could get a birthday cake without all of the hullabaloo and the singing, “Happy birthday to you…”

But there is a main concern I have about my birthday. I have given this some rather deep thought and I have come to my ultimate conclusion.

That conclusion is, I really do not know when my birthday is.

That may sound silly, but I have good reasons to question the actual birth date. Unfortunately, I cannot remember anything about that day. I do have a vague memory of being hung upside down by my feet and somebody slapping my backside. That is all I remember.

I do not know the actual date and year.

My wife one time said to me, “Well, your parents told you what your birthday was. You should trust them.”

And that is the problem. It is a problem of trust. In the beginning years of my life, whenever it started, my parents had the habit of lying to me.

For instance. It took me years to discover that they had been lying to me about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. For many years, they assured me there was a real Santa Claus and a real Easter Bunny. Can you imagine the heartache I experienced when I discovered that they were not being truthful to me?

If they were not truthful to me about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, how can I be sure they were truthful to me about my actual birth date?

Someone once pointed out that I had a birth certificate, but I do not know the validity of that birth certificate. I do not remember being present when that certificate was signed. How do I know it is not fake?

It took me a long time to realize that even the Tooth Fairy was not actually true. When they told me about the Tooth Fairy, I could hardly wait to yank a tooth out of my mouth and put it under my pillow.

Imagine the disappointment I felt when I discovered there was no such thing as a Tooth Fairy.

If I would take the time to investigate, I probably would find a lot more things my parents told me that turned out not to be true. So, when it comes to my birth date, how can I really believe that that is my actual birth date?

What, if I am not as old as my parents say I am?

So, with all the information I have not found, how can I celebrate my birthday again? I think I should just put it aside as I did Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I should put it in the same category, laugh it off and say, “Ha, ha, ha, none of this is true.”

“What do you mean,” my wife queried, “you’re not going to celebrate your birthday anymore?”

I explained to her that I celebrated enough birthdays, birthday I’m not quite sure is my actual birthday, so I don’t need to celebrate anymore. Enough is certainly enough.

“What about my birthday?”

I simply looked at her and said, “We sure will be celebrating your birthday at least once a year.” She smiled and I let it at that.

Later that night I thought of some Scripture I had read in the morning. “The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount” (Deuteronomy 1:6). God was trying to get Israel to move on.

Like Israel, sometimes we can stay “long enough” at a certain place and then we need to move on.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, in Ocala, Florida. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

SHORT VERSION = 550 WORDS

Enough Is Enough and I’ve Had Enough

Dr. James L. Snyder

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Your birthday is coming up. What do you want to do for your birthday?”

I looked at her like I have never looked at her before and said, “Enough, I’ve had enough of birthdays I don’t want another birthday.”

She looked at me, laughed like usual and said, “Silly boy, everybody has a birthday.”

I think birthday celebrations are rather silly when you get to be a certain age.

That certainly is one stage of life. However, that stagecoach has left the ranch. I have had enough birthdays.

But there is a main concern I have about my birthday. I have given this some rather deep thought and I have come to my ultimate conclusion.

That conclusion is, I really do not know when my birthday is.

That may sound silly, but I have good reasons to question the actual birth date. Unfortunately, I cannot remember anything about that day. I do have a vague memory of being hung upside down by my feet and somebody slapping my backside. That is all I remember.

I do not know the actual date and year. Read More→

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Jul
23

Covert Code for your Kids

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I wrote a previous article about teaching your kids a code of ethics/values.  It was awesome and you can read it here.   

This article is about the type of code that is a lot more clandestine . . . that is to say “secret,” and can help your kids manage social interactions without their peers becoming aware.  It’s especially valuable in helping your kids stay safe as they start visiting other friends and are out of your watchful eye.

Here is a situation:

Mel has been playing over at your house all afternoon.  You, being the great dad that you are, have been helping your wife make dinner (or, maybe she’s helping you) while you keep an ‘eye’ on the kids playing.

At some point, Mel, asks your kid if he can stay overnight for a sleepover.

Your son/daughter still sleeps with a stuffed Snoopy, and doesn’t want to have to explain that to Mel because he/she will be the laughingstock of the school the next week.

So, your offspring comes to you:  Dad, can Mel spend the night?  We can put up the old camping cot in my room . . .

You have arranged a secret ‘code word’ with your kid . . . and “camping cot” is the term that means:  “please say no to a sleepover.”

So, you reply, “Oh I’m sorry, but we have to [_insert excuse_] and you can’t do a sleepover tonight.

Your son/daughter turns to Mel, “Oh rats! Sorry, maybe next time.”

Crisis averted!

You can see by the above example that the idea is simple:  Set up a secret code with your kids to give them an appropriate social ‘out’ if a situation is tense, uncomfortable, or unsafe.

I suggest having a family meeting and arranging some codes.  The sleepover one is good.  You might also want to construct one for friends that ask to stay for dinner, etc.  You might need to have the codes work both for kids wanting to stay at your house, and transversely when kids invite your child to social engagements. 

Codes can be non-verbal also.  Rubbing your head (I’m bald and this one works for me) could mean ‘come rescue me from this conversation.’  Rubbing your elbows could mean ‘say no to anything I ask.’  Rubbing your forearms could mean ‘steal second base.’

Quick note:  Kids need to learn how to be assertive and tell people ‘no’ and speak honestly.  However, there are always those situations where visiting kids don’t pick up on social cues, or beg, or situations that might involve protection from social ridicule or embarrassment.  It’s probably a good idea to discuss the difference with your kids in a family meeting. 

There are many uses for a family code and one of the best is to keep your child safe.  When kids are teens, they are sometimes invited to social engagements that turn illegal or illicit.  What if your kid rode with several other kids to a party?  Then, the party gets ‘out of hand’ and drinking/drugs are involved?

Peers:  Come on!  Stay, it will be fun.

Your Child:  No, I think we should go.

Peers:  We’ll I drove, and I’m going to stay for a little while.  I’m not going to drive you home and come back.

This is a great opportunity for your kid to call to check in (because you have set up that they check-in on a regular basis throughout the night – good job Dad!), or to have your son/daughter drop you a quick call/text that includes the code.

For phone calls, the code can even contain a prompt for you to start asking questions.

[Ring]

Child:  Hey dad, I’m checking in. (dramatically rolls eyes to friends to show that he hates having to call to check in) I’m excellent.

Dad:  [Recognizes that your child used the code word “excellent” instead of fine] Do I need to come and get you?

Child:  Yeah, we are just messing around playing ping-pong and stuff.

Dad:  Ok, I’ll come.  Do I need to create some emergency text and excuse to get you?

Child:  Sure, I’ll check in again later.

Dad:  [Hangs up.  Waits about 15 minutes, then texts “Hey, something came up and I have to come get you.  I’ll explain in the car.  Tell your buddies sorry.”

Child:  [Shows friends the text and feigns disappointment while cursing all parents for being ‘losers’]

I recently read online about using a similar system where the code is just a texted ‘X’ to mean “make up an excuse to come get me because things are ‘not good.’  The article even added a little suggestion that is worth including.  If you have to rescue your teen/pre-teen from a “not good” situation via the secret code, then don’t ask any questions about the situation on the ride home – that way your son/daughter won’t have to elaborate how they got into a rescue situation.  They can bring it up on their own time.  (Kids will always bring things up later if they can trust you.)

Codes don’t just have to be for extraction.  In our house, we have the accepted code “for real” to mean “tell the truth.”  If my wife or I think that there is a lie involved in something we are hearing, we say, “for real.”  That gives our kids, or each other, the prompt to tell the full, gritty truth because it will be worse if they don’t. 

Wife:  Did you kill that enormous spider in the bathroom?

Me:  Yeah. Guts went everywhere.

Wife:  For real.

Me:  No, It was freaky-big.  I was trying to figure out how to kill it, then the little sucker ran at me and I panicked.  Turns out it was just a feint and it ran under the cabinet to escape.

Wife:  Great.  Now we have to burn down th bathroom.

Here is something you might find interesting:  They used secret codes in the Bible, and early Christians also used a code to stay safe.  When the idea of ‘church’ had just started after the first Easter . . .  the FIRST Easter, the one where Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven . . . people that followed Jesus and met together could be arrested or killed by the Roman government.  Christians would draw a fish on their door as a secret code.  The Greek word “ΙΧΘΥΣ” means “fish” and those letters are also the initial letters of the phrase, “Lesous (Jesus), Xristos (Christ), Theou (God), Yios (Son), Sotare (Savior).  If you saw the fish drawing, then you knew there was a secret meeting of Christ-followers that met at that location.

Well, either that or a bass angler lived there . . .  which probably led to some awkward situations. Read More→

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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.

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