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Archive for Out to Pastor

Aug
26

Whatever Happened to the Simple Things in Life?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI’m not a very complicated person. I like simple things; things nice and easy. Occasionally I will do a crossword puzzle, but beside that, I enjoy the simple life.

On the other side, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is very complicated. Just when I have everything figured out, I find another side of her that I did not know was there.

I suppose that is what married life is all about; year-by-year discovering new aspects of your spouse.

I am very simple minded when it comes to going out to eat.

When we go to a restaurant, for example, I’m very simple in what I order. Most of the time I order the same thing because I enjoy what I am eating at the time.

My wife is not quite like that. Ordering her supper is quite a complicated thing. It takes several minutes to go through the menu and then several minutes to think about what she wants to eat.

Me, I tell the waitress, “I’ll have a cheeseburger, French fries and a Diet Coke.” And that’s that.

“You had that,” my wife will say, “yesterday. Why don’t you pick something different for tonight?”

I remember one time I made a drastic mistake which I will never repeat. I said to my wife, “Okay, why don’t you choose my supper for tonight?”

Boy, did she have a time ordering for me. I do not even know what she ordered, but it was a lot. I saw more on my plate than I could possibly eat. Some things on my plate I did not know exactly what they were. I was very careful that none of it resembled broccoli.

I have not made that mistake ever again. However, she often asks me, “Would you like me to choose your supper for tonight?”

Since that time, I have reverted to the simple things, especially when it comes to eating out at a restaurant.

Once I had to buy some new shirts along with some new ties. For some reason I went shopping by myself, which in itself is good.

When I came home that night from my shopping spree, my wife looked at all the shirts and ties I bought.

“You bought these shirts?”

She looked at the shirts and then at me with both hands on her hips and said, “These shirts are the same shirts you have in your closet. Why didn’t you get something different?”

My assumption is, a shirt is a shirt and if I am going to get a new shirt, I should get a new shirt that replaces the old shirt. Simple!

In my simple way of life, I only wear white shirts. I can buy these shirts and not even have to think about what I am buying. A shirt is a shirt and what is wrong with white?

The next time my wife took me shopping. It was the worst shopping experience I have ever had.

We went to the men’s clothing store and then the simplicity of life ended in a crash. My wife spent all afternoon looking at all kinds of shirts in all kinds of colors and then trying to find ties that would match. I did not know so many colors existed in the world. I do not even think the rainbow has as many colors.

My idea is that a white shirt never draws attention. A shirt of any color always draws attention to itself. I like to slip in and slip out without notice; it is the simple way of doing things.

When it comes to work, I am rather simple. I start a task and keep at it and to its finished, then I move on to the next task. I do not like to confuse things and so I do everything simply.

My wife is not like that. She is one of those “Multitaskers” that you hear about.

I was watching on television a man juggling four balls in the air at the same time. In the middle of his act, I stopped, looked at my wife and said, “That’s you. You have too many balls in the air.”

It is true. She can juggle four tasks at the same time and get them all done perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong here. I respect and can appreciate that kind of work ethic. I cheer her on and encourage her. There’s only one small problem.

Because my wife is a Multitasker, she expects the person who said, “I do,” at the wedding altar to have the same work ethic. I’ve tried to explain this, but by the time I finished explaining it, she is already on to the next topic. I cannot possibly keep up.

Even when we take a few vacation days, she cannot sit still and enjoy the simple life.

She does more on a two-day vacation spree than I do all year long. I cannot keep up with her. I discovered if I let her do “her thing,” I will have the opportunity to do “my thing,” which is just enjoying the simple things of life. Read More→

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Aug
12

And Then the Thunder Roared

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerlight through cloudsIn our house, thunder has a variety of meanings. Some not as good as others, but that is another story. Either way, I am not a fan of thunder.

Recently, some heavy thunder visited our area along with rain and lightning. I was beginning to understand how Noah felt during his first night in that Ark. Some of the thunder was so loud it seemed like it was inside our house.

Thankfully, I lost my heebie-jeebies a long time ago.

All week long the rain came and with the rain was lightning and of course, thunder. What in the world would a rainstorm be without thunder?

One night the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I decided to stay inside and enjoy listening to the thunder on the outside. Nothing is more cozy than listening to it rain and thunder while drinking a nice hot cup of coffee. It is even better when an Apple fritter comes with that coffee, but that would create a different kind of thunder on the inside.

I must point out during this time, young people were breaking into cars, rummaging through them and stealing whatever they could find. Even locked cars were broken into and I wished I knew how they did that. I have locked myself out of my car several times. If only I had the skills of a car thief, I would not worry so much nor call AAA.

I had my vehicle broken into once and they rummaged all through it. Unfortunately, for them, I had nothing of value to steal, except several Bibles and a dozen gospel tracts. Not one of my Bibles or one of my tracts was stolen. All that work and they found nothing to steal. I had considered putting an offering plate on my seat with a sign that said, “Your tithe goes here.”

When it comes to robbing vehicles, I have no experience. If I were going to rob a car the best time to do it is doing a heavy thunderstorm when nobody wants to come outside.

If I was going to invest time in stealing, which I am not, I would not focus on cars, especially in my neighborhood. People keep the dumbest things in cars.

While listening to the storm, it suddenly got quiet. Both my wife and I took a deep breath and she said, “I think the storm’s over. I’m going to go out and check my car.”

I really never gave it much thought. I went back to the book I was reading and then I heard it. The thunder roared again like I have never heard it roar before. I was waiting for the lightning to flash, but again the thunder roared. Read More→

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Jun
19

Eating Out Of My Comfort Zone

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerwoman laughingOne pleasure the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and myself enjoy is going out for a quiet dinner together. It does not happen often, at least not often enough. When it does, it is always a delightful time and we try to take advantage of it.

The delight on my wife’s side is that she does not have to cook the meal and then clean up afterwards. I have offered to help clean up, but only once and I am now forbidden to get anywhere near the dishwasher. And, for good reason.

Once in the early days of our marriage, I decided to surprise her by cooking supper for her. She spent the afternoon shopping with some friends and so I thought it was the proper time for me to do this.

Up until that time, I did not know how difficult cooking was. I’ve seen my grandmother do it and my mother and now my wife, so I thought it was a rather easy thing to do.

I must confess I have never studied these ladies while they were preparing the meal. I enjoyed the meal when it was done and that satisfied me.

I spent all afternoon that day preparing a very romantic dinner for us to enjoy together. The kids were at camp or somewhere so we had the house to ourselves. I worked very hard doing what I thought was cooking a nice meal.

As soon as my wife walked in the door, she stopped and said, “What is that awful smell? What are you burning?”

I must confess that the kitchen was filled with smoke and I am not sure the source. What I was cooking that night escapes me at this point, but I thought I put enough time, thought, and it to do it properly.

The whole meal that night was a complete and perfect disaster. I know there is nothing perfect, but this came as close to perfect as I have ever seen.

I must confess there was a nice balance to that meal. Some was undercooked and some overcooked. If you balance them together, maybe something comes out right, I am not sure. Nothing, however, met the standard that my wife upholds in the culinary department. All the appliances in the kitchen were shocked by a disaster they had never seen before. And, never since, because I am banned from cooking in the kitchen.

The only thing I can do in the morning his turn the coffee pot on, that is the limit to my kitchen activities.

As we were sitting at our table at the restaurant, I was smiling. My wife looked at me and said, “Okay, what are you smiling about?” Read More→

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Jun
05

And Then It Was Friday

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerLike many people, I try planning and arranging my week so I can accomplish as much as possible.

For example, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage on Monday morning hands me her “honey-do-list” to complete by the end of the week. When she hands it to me, I smile and underneath that list I have concealed from her my “to-do-list.”

It is not that I ignore her list… well, maybe I do. But, I don’t do it on purpose… well, maybe I do.

I have a priority with my “to-do-list” and most times forget about hers.

Through the years, I have become an expert at making excuses about why her “honey-do-list” has not been fully completed by me on time. If there is an excuse to be found anywhere in the room, I have it in my pocket.

Most of the time I get away with it. I am not bragging here, although I lean slightly in that direction. But I have my own things I need to do for the week.

If I do not write down my “to-do-list,” I will never remember what I am supposed to be doing. I have a good memory, but I am saving it for when I am older and I will need more memory. Of course, by that time I will forget everything I have remembered.

When it comes to memory, my wife beats the band. She remembers everything that has ever happened. Even those things that, from my opinion, never happened.

Quite often, she starts a conversation by saying, “Do you remember when…”

Then she goes on with a story that for the life of me I cannot remember. Instead of embarrassing myself, I go along with it and tell her, “Oh, yes I remember that.”

It is easier to go along than to cause any kind of friction. I have no advantage in contradicting any story that she might be telling. So far, I’ve gotten away with it, I’m happy to say.

That is, until once when telling a story she said, “Do you remember the name of that person?”

At the time, I did not know if it was a trick question to see if I am really paying attention or if she did not remember. I am going with the former because of all the years I have known her I cannot remember anything that she has ever forgotten.

Forgetting at times can be a blessing. If someone does something against you and hurts your feelings, the best thing to do is to move ahead and forget it. Read More→

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May
29

Finding “Good” In Our World Is Challenging

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itIn our world today, it is difficult to find anything good, let alone anything good to say about anything or anyone.

One thing I like about the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is that she can find some good in just about everything. Sometimes it just rubs me the wrong way.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding good in anything even though I try so hard. That just demonstrates the difference between us. They say opposites attract, and so we have a very strong attraction here.

For the most part, I go along with her evaluation of “Good” because she has been right more times than wrong. Don’t ask me when she has been wrong, for that would be a very delicate subject and I am not a very delicate person.

One area of life I have a very difficult time finding anything good is politics. I stay completely away from politics as much as possible. Oh yes, there have been those times that I greedily rubbed my hands and wanted to jump into that cesspool. Thankfully, I do have a little bit of common sense still lurking around in my head and refrain.

The question I ponder quite often is, if you put all the politicians together in one room could you find one little gray cell active? Perhaps the cost of being a politician is to give up all those tiny little gray cells that make the rest of us operate in a world of sanity.

I try not to go any further than that, because I cannot trust myself once I get started on the trail. As a young boy, I had a beagle I used to hunt rabbits. You’ve heard of the old rabbit trail. Once “Sparky” got on a rabbit trail he was never going to give up. There were times when I lost him for several hours while he was running that rabbit trail. He did not know how to give up.

I do not want to get involved in that kind of activity. If I do not start it, I do not have the compulsion to end it. It is like me and potato chips. If I eat one chip, I can’t stop until all are gone. If I do not eat one, I do not have any problem.

So, as much as is humanly possible, I stay away from politics.

One evening this past week my wife and I were watching the news and the whole thing was about politics. As for me, when they say Washington is broken, I know they really mean that the politicians are broken. In fact, they are broken beyond repair.

However, as we were watching the news I was getting a little ticked. I was grumbling about everything I was hearing, knowing a politician will say one thing today and the complete opposite tomorrow. That is because there is nothing in their brain cavity to create stability.

For some reason, I started grouching out loud. It is one thing to grouch and not express it out loud. It’s a whole other ball game when I grouch out loud because my wife can hear me. As I was groaning and gritting my teeth my wife said, “You know, you ought to be very grateful about those politicians.”

Oh boy, here we go. I crossed a line somewhere and was not sure how to get back home.

My wife is not afraid to express her opinion about anything. That includes politics and politicians. I was trying to process this idea of being grateful about politicians. I could not come up with one idea that would lead me to a point of being grateful about politicians.

I knew I needed to keep my mouth shut at this point. If I would express any ideas along this line, I know my wife, as usual, would have the last word. Read More→

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May
24

Lazy Does Have Its Advantages

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAs a young boy, my father tried drilling into my brain that laziness was not acceptable in his house. If I wanted to be lazy, I had to go outside. He provided a wonderful role model for me because if my father was anything, he was not lazy. He tried to encourage me not to be lazy.

Laziness, according to him, was an attack on common decency and energy. After all these years, I have tried to live up to his standard. And yet, I must confess that I have found that laziness may have an advantage or two. I’m leaning towards the two.

It was my fortune to marry a young lady who did not have an inkling of laziness in any of her bones. I thought when I first married her; she was trying to impress me with how active she was and how much she could get done. I have discovered, however, that that certainly was not the case. Laziness and she have never met as far as I understand it.

I have tried not to be lazy and to a certain extent, I have succeeded. However, as I get older I begin to appreciate the opportunity of laziness. It does not have the bad connotation I was taught down through the years.

Everything has its good side and its bad side. The great joy of life is trying to find the good side in everything. This includes laziness. Anybody can point out the bad side to laziness, but it takes a genius to discover the good side of laziness. I am not pretending to be that genius, but I can say that I have discovered a good side to laziness.

The good side of laziness occurred to me recently. My wife loves to put together “Honey-Do-Lists” for her husband. That would be me, of course.

Let me say that just because it’s called a “Honey-Do-Lists” does not mean that there is any sweetness to it. In fact, from my own personal experience I have yet to find any sweetness in that activity. I call it an activity because I am supposed to actively do everything on that list.

It was a Monday morning and as usual, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage handed to me her weekly “Honey-Do-List.” As usual, the list was quite long and in great detail.

“Make sure,” she said rather seriously, “that you do everything on that list as soon as possible.”

One of the things I have often wanted to ask my wife is what is her meaning of “as soon as possible”? It seems that I have not the faintest idea of what it really means. As a well-seasoned husband, I smile most graciously as she hands me that list and say, “Yes, dear.” Her list comes as close to a novel as anything she does.

It takes several days for me to read that list and try to understand what I am supposed to do with it. But, with my experience, I do the best I can and there have been several times, not many, that I have finished her list to the last point.

It was about Thursday when I was going over the list and saw several things that had not been checked off. I sighed very deeply, and with determination planned to get back in the saddle again. I find it very hard to juggle what I want to do with her “Honey-Do-List.” It is always a struggle because I know I have to do her list, but in my mind, I really want to do my list.

I was drinking some coffee and looking over this list to see what my next assignment was. At that time, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into the room and said, “Did you do the 12th item on my list?”

At the time, I was a little startled because I did not know what she was getting at. I did not know if this was a quiz or if I was being evaluated by my work. I was a little concerned because there were some little nuggets of lazy that had peppered my week up to this point.

Looking at her I said, “No, I haven’t got to number 12 yet. I’m still working on number 10.”

She sighed such a deep sigh of relief that it frightened me a little. I was afraid if I said I had not accomplished number 12 I would be in serious trouble. After all, it was on the list and I was supposed to do everything on the list.

“I’m so glad you didn’t do that. It was my mistake and I would’ve been in serious trouble had you done it.” Read More→

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Mar
12

I Miss My Good Friend, Tom Foolery

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis past week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were having a conversation. Of course, it was more like a monologue, but you know how that works.

We were thinking back over the years of our life together and reminding ourselves of some of the great and wonderful times we have had. The friends we have made. The activities we have enjoyed together. Of course, there were the grandchildren and my wife had a great time talking about the grandchildren and I chuckling along with her.

After a moment of quietness, my wife said rather seriously, “Who is the friend you miss the most?”

Boy, was that a question!

I had to really think about that, then I mention somebody she knew and we moved on to another subject.

However, thinking about that a little bit later I did acknowledge that the friend I missed the most was Tom Foolery. I guess, as you get older you more or less outgrow that friendship. But I certainly do miss him.

Being older now, and supposedly wiser, I am expected to have a certain serious decorum. I am to take everything very seriously and professionally. I suppose I am seriously a professional geezer.

Why is it when you get older people expect different things out of you?

I do have fond memories of my high school years when I was not expected to be serious minded or professional. The great expectation back then was to enjoy yourself and have fun. Do not take life too seriously, was the motto of my younger years.

Now that I am older, I have to take life seriously. Who came up with that rule? I would like to send him to the principal’s office.

Someone once said in my hearing that 60 was the new 40. I do not know what that means, but I like to lean in that direction. Too many people, including my wife, take things way too serious. Where is the fun in that though?

I do remember quite fondly my friend Tom Foolery. We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed each other’s company totally.

I think, even at my age that a little bit of Tom Foolery is not going to hurt me in the least. Of course, my ribs might ache because of all the laughter involved. That it is a small price to pay.

I was thinking about my friend, Tom, when I was at the post office this past week. Every once in a while I have to take a package to the post office to have it mailed.

This day the line was quite long and the service people were working as hard and fast as they could. However, too many people had problems that could not be solved in a moment.

The line got longer and longer, the people inhabiting the line grew a little grouchy and grumpy, and I could hear some of the complaining behind me.

I notice loads of problems in life, but if standing in line for a long period is the worst of my problems, I certainly have a wonderful life. Not everybody goes along with that idea. Especially, the people standing behind me.

Pretty soon, one of the lady managers from the back came out to try to assist in the service. She said, “Is anybody here for pick up?”

I do not offer any logical excuse or explanation for what I said. Just that, the noodle soup upstairs was boiling and my mouth was unlocked at the moment.

I said to the lady, “Are you handling the pickup?”

“Yes I am,” she said very professionally as she walked over towards me.

“Are you available?”

Walking towards me, she said, “Yes.”

Quite seriously, I extended my hand and responded to her, “Where would you like to go?”

She stopped in her tracks and looked at me and immediately behind me the customers began laughing and clapping their hands. Read More→

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Mar
06

Have Mouth, Will Stutter

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI pride myself with the ability to express myself with the proper wording. I enjoy words and seeing how they relate one to another. Unfortunately, it has not always the case.

I have found through the years that I have developed quite the art of stuttering. It happens at the most inconvenient moments.

It is like the story of Honest Abe Lincoln and his wife. The story is not true of course, but it is very interesting. Mrs. Lincoln asks Honest Abe, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

Known as “Honest Abe” we all chuckle at that moment of stuttering for him.

I have had such moments of my own.

For example, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I might be sitting in the living room watching TV and all the time the person on the other couch is chattering. Me, I am not listening, just smiling and nodding my head in agreement. That has cost me quite a bit throughout the years.

The wife was chattering and then she stopped and said, “I want to know what you think about that? And please be honest with me.”

Now the stuttering syndrome begins. I had no idea what she was talking about. Now I am backed into the proverbial corner with nowhere to go. How I answer that question, may determine my health.

“Well,” my dear, I stuttered, “if you think it’s a good idea I just want you to know that I support you 100%.” Getting that out gives me a great sigh of relief. While saying this I am looking at her smiling very graciously.

“Oh,” my wife says rather sarcastically, which should have been a warning to me, “you want broccoli for supper tonight. Right?”

How you get out of a situation like that is something I have yet to learn. Sometimes, or maybe I should say, all the time, it is crucial to listen to what your wife is saying particularly the questions.

One morning after finishing breakfast, she looked at me smilingly and said, “Ya wanna take a ride with me this morning?”

The first time she asked me this question I was startled because I could not remember the previous conversation as to where she wanted to go that morning. Trying to be the gracious husband that I sometimes think I am, which is a solo opinion, I smiled, nodded and said, “Yes, of course, I want to go with you this morning.” Read More→

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Feb
06

Now, Do You Feel like a Big Boy?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerbeach vacationVacations mean different things to different people. For me, the vacation means I am vacating one place and going to another place to do nothing.

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and me vacated the parsonage to go to some place where we could major on doing nothing. We have mastered this over the years.

My definition of “nothing” is quite different from my wife’s definition.

My definition is simply that I spend the day doing nothing.

My wife’s definition is simply that she will spend the day doing nothing but thrift store shopping.

At this point, I am not quite sure who has mastered their “nothing.” We might be equal at this point. As long as each of our “nothing” activity does not collide with each other.

One of the aspects of getting to that “nothing” point is travel. The older I get, the less fond I am of traveling especially long distances. But if we are going to get to our destination, travel is part of the activity.

A long time ago, I made the decision, that on our vacations would use my wife’s van. Henceforth, she does all the driving.

How I got to this point was simply that if she is going to go thrift shopping she will need space to put the stuff that she buys. Hence, she needs to take her van, and consequently, she needs to do all the driving.

I have long ago come to my point of manhood that I do not have to do all the driving. My father was quite different. He felt that because he was the man in the house, he should do all the driving. I am not my father’s son. At least, in that respect.

If my wife is going to go thrift store shopping, she will need her van and so this problem has been worked out quite nicely, if you ask me.

On our travel I can either do some reading or log sawing, at which I am pretty good.

She’s a very good driver; after all, I trained her. I remember the time training her to drive a car, I would not say anything now, but there were some very anxious moments. So, there is nothing she could do now that would in any way cause me to be anxious.

This past vacation time I did see something that startled me to no end. We were driving down the main street in St. Augustine when we passed an old man riding his bicycle. That in itself is not an unusual sight, after all a lot of people ride bicycles. As we passed him, I noticed his trousers were down to his knees and I saw something that I am not supposed to see under any circumstance. My eyes burned for the next two days.

Then, the next day as we were driving and I saw this large Cadillac coming in our direction and there was nobody in the driver’s seat. Believe me, I was a little excited about that for sure. When we passed this car, I looked over and behind the steering wheel, barely able to see through the steering wheel, was a little old lady sitting.

Where do people get their driver’s license? Who gives them their driver’s license?

The next day we were driving home and I had just about fallen asleep. The Sandman had just started his activity and I was fast approaching dreamland. Then I heard a noise…“Bah room boom boom boom boom boom. Bah room boom boom boom boom boom.”

I jumped out of my sleep and looked over at my wife and she was looking at me. At first, I thought we were entering the apocalypse and was tempted to get down and start praying. Read More→

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Jan
30

The end of all nonsense and other practical jokes

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerWhen it comes to practical jokes, Yours Truly is always on the ready. Throughout my earthly passage, I have perpetuated my share of practical jokes. I will not enumerate them here, the simple reason being, I might want to bring one out of retirement.

I must say that most practical jokes are neither practical nor funny. However, I operate on the biblical premise, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). With the high cost of medicine these days, I will take a merry heart every time. Just call me Dr. Merry Heart, and I will dispense some good medicine to everybody who needs it.

Now, the practical joke I am thinking of has to do with New Year’s Resolutions. I always look forward to the last week in January for this very reason. For the first several weeks of January, I am nervous and sweating over those lousy New Year’s Resolutions I am forced to make. Pardon my French.

Somewhere there is someone laughing at all of those stupid enough to make New Year’s Resolutions. It is probably the quintessential practical joke played on all humanity. Is there a culture anywhere in our world today that does not fall for this practical joke? If there is, I want to move there.

The first week in January is probably the worst week when it comes to these New Year’s Resolutions. They are fresh in our mind not to mention fresh on our lips. A New Year’s Resolution would not be so bad if nobody knew that we made one. The problem comes when somebody knows what our resolution is and constantly reminds us, “How’re your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?” Read More→

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