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Archive for Out to Pastor


When I’m beside Myself, I’m in Bad Company

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itIn the beginning of the week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “On Thursday the girls and I will be going to St. Augustine for the day to visit thrift shops.” It was spring break and so the girls did not have school. It was the perfect opportunity for an outing for them.

“Do you think,” she asked, “you’ll be able to handle the day without me?”

I laughed, but not too hard, and said, “I think so. Just go and have a wonderful time in St. Augustine.”

That was Monday and when Thursday came, I was drinking my morning coffee and my wife came in and said, “Well, it’s time for us to go. Are you sure you’ll be able to take care of yourself today?”

I looked at her and said, “Where are you going?”

“Don’t you remember what I told you Monday?”

Actually, I really did not remember what she told me Monday. She tells me so much that it is very hard to remember everything.

“Don’t you remember I said the girls and I will be spending the day in St. Augustine?”

I had been working so hard all week trying to catch up, I forgot about this Thursday trip.

I walked her to the door and kissed her goodbye. She turned and looked at me and said, “You’re not smiling are you?”

Then she said, “I have your lunch prepared with instructions. Follow those instructions to the letter.”

It is not often I have a free day all to myself. I do not need too many of them but occasionally it is good to have a free day where all you have to deal with is yourself. Of course, that can get a little tiring when I am dealing with myself.

I went to my office, sat down and started to catch up on some work I had gotten behind on. It’s terrible when you get behind on your work and it takes twice as long to try to catch up. I often wonder if you ever really do catch up?

I was working so hard that I as I glanced at my watch I noticed it was noon. I love lunchtime. My wife makes such wonderful meals for lunch.

I arrived at the house, got out of my truck and walked through the front door and as I did I said, “Honey, I’m home. What’s for lunch?”

As I walked through the door, I got a strange sense. Usually there is a wonderful aroma of lunch. This time, there was no aroma whatsoever.

It then dawned on me. The wife is away for the day and I am in charge of lunch.

That can be a good thing or it can be a very bad thing. One good thing was, my wife had prepared my lunch, all I had to do was put it in the little micro oven and it would be finished. It was pizza for the day.

She had written instructions. She said, “Use the third button and set it for 15 minutes.” Usually, she is quite precise in what she says. This time I was confused.

On the micro oven, there were four buttons. Now, when she said use the third button, was it the third button from the top or the third button from the bottom?

At the time I was tempted to text her and get a clarification on this instruction. However, I knew if I did that I would never hear the end of it for the rest of my life. She put the instructions there and I was supposed to interpret those instructions.

That is what it means to be a husband these days. Your wife tells you something and you have to interpret it and most of the time we husbands get it wrong. I know I do. Read More→

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“Can I Get an Amen?”

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerquestion markAn interesting aspect to people is there proclivity toward hypocrisy. By that I mean we say one thing but we really do not mean it or it does not really apply to us personally.

I was complaining about this to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage this past week.

“Why is it,” I said most curiously, “people really don’t mean what they say?”

She responded by saying, “I always mean what I say.”

Being the kind of husband that I am, I refused to contradict her reply. Therefore, I am not referring to her in these comments. People just don’t say what they mean.

For the past month, I’ve been having issues with shingles and nerve pain all the way down my right arm. It’s very painful and I hope it goes away soon. Let it be clear that pain and me are not friends. The sooner the pain leaves, the better it’s going to be for me.

But I digress. My condition has been a very clear focus of my life these days. After all, it’s my pain that I have to live with every day.

It happened just the other day when somebody that I was passing on my way into Publix said to me, “Hi, how you doing?”

Well, I thought to myself, he asked so I begin to tell him about my condition and all of the aspects associated with it. Within a few moments I could tell he was not very much interested in how I was doing.

I continued with all of the details and then he suddenly looked at his watch and said, “That’s interesting, but I am late for an appointment and I have to leave right now.”

Well, okay, but after all, he asked the question I didn’t. If he wasn’t interested in how I was doing, why did he ask?

See how people say things they don’t really mean?

This happened to me several times with people I had never met before. The asked the question about how I was doing, when I began telling them how I was doing, they had no real interest in how I was doing.

That rather frustrated me. How I was doing was a very important aspect of my life and sharing my pain was someone else was something I wanted to do. However, nobody was interested in my pain.

It brought me down to a point of discouragement. I had to stay home for several days because of the condition I was in. I could not drive and so I stayed home.

Then something different opened up for me.

As I was sitting there, reveling in my displeasure and discomfort the telephone rang.

I answered the phone and it was somebody trying to sell me something. They began by saying, “Hello, how are you doing today?” Read More→

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Wishing Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThe last several months have been rather busy with hardly a break anywhere. Sometimes the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I get so busy we forget about the necessity of taking a break every now and then. Soon one day becomes just like the last day. And tomorrow? Will be just like today.

We did take a little break and went out for supper one evening at one of our favorite restaurants. This has become a rather rare occasion and so we tried to enjoy the moment as much as we could.

We were chit chatting and enjoying our company as the waitress brought our food to us. It was a delicious meal and I was beginning to enjoy myself, maybe just a little too much.

“You know,” I said rather cheerfully, “what I really wish for?”

Not knowing where I’m coming from my wife said, “I really have no idea what you’re wishing for right now. Just be careful what you wish for.”

Staring off into space a little bit I responded by saying, “I wish I could take a week off and do nothing.”

When she finished laughing she said, “Don’t wish for something that you can’t follow through on. You know that’s not possible.”

Together we laughed and enjoyed that far-reaching impossible idea.

A week later, almost to the day, I was scheduled to go to my doctor for blood work. I don’t know why doctors are so interested in blood, especially my blood. It was on a Monday and the day before I had pain in my right shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. I figured I would ask the doctor when I was in for my scheduled appointment. I assumed I had a pinched nerve somewhere.

I showed my arm to the doctor and there was a little rash beginning to develop near my elbow. The doctor looked at that, smiled wickedly and said, “You have shingles.”

I have heard of shingles, but I did not know anything about it. I did not know if I should call for some roofing contractor to work on my shingles or what.

After further examination, he confirmed his first guess and said, “You do have shingles and it’s good that you’re here today because we got it just in time.”

The doctor went out of the room, came back in the room, went out of the room and came back in the room all the time smiling. Up to this time, he had not been able to find anything wrong with me. His comment always has been, “A person your age should have something wrong with them.”

Well, now I have something wrong with me. Are you happy now, Dr. Dracula? Read More→

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Looking for Money in All the Wrong Pockets

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggermoney down the drainAn incident happened this past week in which I am still scratching my head. Have you ever known you had something, but for the life of you could not find it? I will accede to the fact that occasionally, I do have a streak of absent-mindedness running through me. At times, I wish it would just walk.

I was fairly certain I had an extra $20 in one of my pant’s pockets. It was what I affectionately refer to as my “mad Money.” My wife would be mad if she knew I had it. I do not remember where it came from but my real problem was, I could not find those pants.

Usually, if I find money in my pants pocket there is only one explanation. I’m wearing somebody’s pants, but not mine. The truth is, my pants rarely see any extra money. If there is an occasion when I do have money in my pocket, my pants get all excited and wrinkly.

Only this was different. I distinctly remember putting a $20 bill in one of my pants pockets and thinking what I could do with it. But now, I cannot find it. I knew I had an extra $20. I distinctly remember putting it somewhere. I’ve looked everywhere… maybe I should have looked somewhere.

With the aimless look on my face, more aimless than normal, I wandered the house in search of the missing $20. I tried to act inconspicuous so the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage would not discover what I was doing.

Obviously, no Emmy award will come my way because my acting inconspicuous was a complete failure.

“What are you looking for?” My wife queried.

“Nothing,” I stammered.

“When you find it, let me know. I really don’t know what nothing looks like.”

Ha. Ha. Ha. Sometimes she thinks she is a comedian. However, I was not laughing. If I find that money, the joke will be on her. Then we will see who is laughing.

I had two fears facing me at this point. First, she could have found the money and was waiting for me to admit that I actually had some extra money. This would invite a great deal of grief on top of my balding head.

Second, if I told her I was looking for money she would want to know where I got extra money. If I cannot remember where the money is, how in the world am I going to remember where it came from?

Then, she would want to know how much more money I had misplaced somewhere in the house. Actually, I want to know that myself.

Such interrogation from her borders on waterboarding. If the FBI wants to learn a thing or two about torturing people, they could learn an awful lot from her. She can torture a person and not lay a glove on them. Of course it is not her glove I am worried about, it is her evil eye that goes through a person, me in particular, like a laser beam. Read More→

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Oh, Dem Golden Tones Of Silence

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerquiet momentsLast Saturday evening the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were reclining on the living room sofa enjoying our evening cup of coffee. It is a wonderful way to unwind after a week of activity. No matter how hectic the week was, a few quiet moments with a cup of Joe can put everything in perspective.

After an extended time of silence my wife spoke.

“Listen. Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” I enquired.

“That. Don’t you hear it?”

The smile on her face indicated that what she was hearing was rather pleasing.

Well, I strained my ears as if they were corn and I still did not hear a thing. Usually, I am up on all the sounds echoing throughout our abode, mainly because I am the source of most of them, but this had me baffled. The more I strained the less I heard.

“You don’t hear that?”

I put my coffee cup down so I could give all my attention to hearing exactly what she was hearing. It is a proven fact that women hear a lot more than men do. It probably is a genetic thing wives inherit from their mothers. The only things men inherit from their fathers are “pull my finger” jokes, which only come in handy at family reunions.

Then, to my delight, I heard it, too. It was the golden tones of silence whistling through the corridors of our house. Ah, silence, my old friend.

For the past week that sound was a stranger within our walls. But now, much to our delight, it had returned and what a return.

For the past week, all the Snyder grandchildren had invaded our home front. At last count, there were eight. I can’t be sure because several of them, I’m not sure how many, were running around so much I could not count them. They ranged from 9 months all the way to 13 years. There are two girls and the rest are…well, not girls. When someone said that boys will be boys, they sure knew what they were talking about.

It was one glorious seven-day-period of activity, noise and, yes, something I had forgotten, smells. I can never figure out how something so cute and so small can smell…well…so bad. Why is it grandchildren always want to sit on grandpa’s lap when they are in such a delicate condition? Do they think, as we get older our nose goes into hibernation? Mine hasn’t, yet. Believe me.

My wife and I tried packing into those 7 days as much memories as humanly possible. It is a rare time when the grandchildren are all in one place – our place. We enjoyed some great times together and went to some local places of interest, interest to children. For some reason my suggestion of visiting some of my favorite used bookstores did not fly, but the beach was a resounding “Yeaaaaaa.”

So, to the beach we went fully attired in the proper swimming gear. As the official family photographer, I could not go into the water. I actually made that rule up, but nobody objected. Everyone was too busy yelling, “Hey, grandpa, watch this,” to worry about my swimming.

Once back home I broke out my secret cache of water pistols and the water fight to end all water fights commenced. All I know is that next month when I get my water bill I will wonder who in the world used all that water. Then, I will smile when I remember how in the world it was used. Money well spent, I assure you.

Now, all of that is memory, and oh, what memories. For months, my wife and I will say to each other, “Do you remember what Owen said?” Then we will laugh again. Or, “Do you remember what Simon did?” And the memory will have us in hysterics.

In some quiet moment one of us will say, “I was just thinking of what Dylan did at the beach when he they were all here.” And the other will smile and nod remembering the incident.

“Remember when all the grandchildren were on the trampoline?”

We will and it will be hard to wipe the smile from our faces. Memories are better remembered in silent moments when they can rightly be appreciated. Read More→

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A Bug on the Plate Is Worth How Much?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerDid you ever have a smile on your face that no matter what you did you could not wipe it off?

Well, that is quite a regular occurrence with me. But this past week was a “smile-on-the-face” to beat all “smiles-on-the-face.” My only regret is that I did not do a Selfie.

It all began in the morning when I suggested that we go out for lunch for a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration. Sometimes with our schedule we cannot celebrate a celebration on that celebration day.

Of course, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage responded in the positive.

“You,” she said rather sarcastically, “will be picking up the check?”

“It’s the least,” I said in response, “I can do for your Valentine’s Day present.”

Smilingly she said, “It sure is the least thing you could do.”

We chuckled simultaneously, which is something we rarely do, but this was a special occasion.

As a culinary whiz, my wife has served me some of the most delightful meals on the globe. No question about it.

So, going out for lunch at a nearby restaurant was a blessing to her, but not quite the blessing to me. Until this luncheon.

The host of the restaurant took us to our table and we sat down to begin our luncheon activity. At this point, everything was going fine.

The waitress took our order and we sent back to relax waiting for our meal to arrive. We filled the time with chitchat of which my wife is an excellent chit-chatter. I, on the other hand, am a great chitchat listener. In this regard, we make an excellent team.

The fun was just about to begin. If I knew how much fun was going to take place, I could have prepared myself a little better. But, you never know what’s going to take place.

Within a few moments, the waitress brought our order.

We both had hamburgers. I had fries with mine while she ordered a plate of vegetables.

The thing I hate about going to a restaurant like this is that I have to pay for the vegetables. I know vegetables are good for you, but do I have to eat them all the time?

We said our prayer over the food and then commenced eating. Looking back on the situation, I do not think my prayer was sufficient for the situation at hand.

My wife always orders her hamburger medium-well. I like mine cooked all the way through. No pink allowed in my burger.

As my wife cut her hamburger in two, that’s the way she likes to eat it, when all of a sudden red liquid leaked all over her plate.

“Oh, my goodness,” she exclaimed, “what is this pink stuff?”

I thought I knew what that pink stuff was, but I was not going to mention it in her presence.

When she pulled both halves apart, both sides were red and oozing pink juice. I could tell immediately that the hamburger was not cooked all the way through. I could have mentioned it to her, but I know better than to jump in where I don’t belong.

She called the waitress over and showed her that her hamburger was not cooked. The waitress immediately apologized, took the hamburger, went and got her another one and this time it was cooked all the way through just like she likes it.

One calamity fixed. So we set back and began to enjoy the rest of our lunch together.

I couldn’t help but snicker and she said, “And what are you snickering about?”

Then we both began laughing together. There is no sense in trying to grouch your way through a situation like this. There was a problem, the problem was fixed, now we could enjoy lunch together.

If I thought that was the end of our fun, I was to be surprised.

I mentioned to her several times how her hamburger was, and she just looked at me and smiled and I had to smile right back at her. Usually, I’m the one that gets the bloody hamburger. I like mine well done and there are times when it is not well done. This time the joke was on her.

We finished our hamburgers, I was eating my French fries and she was nibbling at her vegetables. I think a French fry is a vegetable, but I’m not going to contest it.

Then I heard her scream, “What’s that?” Read More→

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Please, Just Let Me Grow Old!

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerOne of the New Year’s resolutions I made, which the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage reminded me, is to take a day off and just relax.

That is a rather hard thing for me to do, especially every week.

The first week in January, I was busy about my business and my wife said, “Which day this week are you going to take off and relax?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Remember your New Year’s resolution,” she reminded me, “that you are going to take one day a week off to relax?”

I did remember that, but I did not think anybody was listening. Then I thought if anybody was listening, they really did not think I was serious about it. I have learned after many years of being a husband never to cross swords with “the Wife.”

Looking at her rather casually, I said, “I’m going to do that tomorrow.”

“Today,” she said, “is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.”

I slowly remove my necktie and said, “Can I do this rather slowly until I get used to it?”

Of course, there was no negotiating with her about this. If I was serious about my New Year’s resolutions, which I probably was not, I was going to have to start it today. With her, there was no tomorrow about it.

I sat down in my easy chair, picked up my laptop computer and was getting it running when my wife came into the room and said, “Nope, that is not part of taking your day off. Put that computer away.”

With a deep sigh, I shut down my computer and put it back. Then I picked up a book and began reading, thinking this is okay.

“Nope, that is not part of taking your day off. Put that book away.”

You know what it is like not having access to your computer and not able to read a book? If this is relaxing, oh please, let me get back to work. Her insistence was that I take the day off and as much as possible do nothing.

I queried her, “What can I do on my day off?”

She pointed to the TV and said, “You can watch a little bit of TV, and then take a nap.”

It has been a long time since I watched any daytime TV. I spent the first half hour trying to find something interesting to watch and found absolutely nothing. There were game shows, soap operas and something they call reality shows. In five minutes of watching one reality show, I realized there was no “reality” about any of it. If that is reality, oh please, help me!

Eventually my wife came in to check on me to make sure I was “taking the day off.”

I then said to her, “Would reading my Bible be a part of my day off?” Read More→

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What Time Is It Really?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerTime is a strange thing, if you ask me. Even though I wear a wristwatch every day, most of the time I do not know what time it really is. And for that matter, how important is time?

It came to me in a strange way this past week. I went to bed as normal in the evening. Once we had the grandchildren over and I discovered the difference between grandchildren and grandparents. Grandchildren try to come up with as many excuses not to go to bed while grandparents come up with excuses to go to bed early.

I thought I was having a wonderful time sleeping when all of a sudden I began hearing strange noises and I could not figure out what it was. I thought I was just dreaming. Then there was an explosion in the bedroom and I jumped out of bed and noticed it was the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who had turned on the light and was saying, “Come on and get up. We don’t want to be late.”

Of course, I never want to be late, especially if it involves my wife and me. I just did not remember what I was getting up for.

“Don’t you remember,” she said quite agitatedly, “I have an appointment at the doctors at 9 o’clock. Hurry up and get dressed or we’ll be late.”

I did remember that there was a doctor’s appointment for my wife, but I was so groggy I just could not put things together.

I glanced out the window and it was dark as it has ever been. I looked at my wife and said, “Why is it so dark outside?”

“Don’t bother with that,” she said, “get ready so that we can get to my appointment on time.”

“But…” I said and she replied, “No buts about it, just get dressed.”

Again, I looked out the window and it was dark. As I headed for the bathroom, I said to my wife, “What time is it really?”

“Never you mind, let’s get going.”

I never like to argue, especially with my wife and especially this early in the morning. I was rather groggy and the tiny little gray cells upstairs were still in their snooze position. Read More→

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Back in the Saddle Again…and Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What was that mistake?”

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

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The Year Slipped into the Silence of the Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

What would Christmas be without that kind of celebration?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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