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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Out to Pastor

May
25

My Advice: Twice Is Just As Nice

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NWhat is your marriage modelingothing is more important to a blissful marriage than finding a point of agreement. Every veteran husband knows if he wants to change his wife’s mind about anything, just agree with her. It is amazing how this works. The technical name for this is “re-wife psychology.”

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I have been married since 1971 and have not had a serious argument or disagreement. (She does not allow me to talk back.) We have had rough times, but not with each other.

We have survived nine congregations, 19 homes, three children with nine grandchildren and all without compromising our relationship. My sanity is another issue.

Throughout our marriage, we have always held to the advice not to go to bed angry. Of course, there have been a few sleepless nights. I have a simple rule: do not close your eyes if there is an angry woman in the vicinity.

I honestly can say our marital relationship through the years has been most amicable. Since our marriage, my wife and I spend a lot of time working together and we never seem to get bored with one another.

We are a great team. She puts up with me and I let her. It works wonderfully and we have been able to accomplish a good deal together.

Only one area where we disagree and there may not be much of a remedy for this departure in company.

Never fear. Our marital dissolution is not near.

We have just learned to live with this dissent and, I might add, have survived quite happily.

I suppose no relationship is absolutely perfect this side of the Pearly Gates. Not to boast, but I have my wife beat in this one area. I do not often get the upper hand with her; in fact, I cannot remember any other occasion where this has occurred.

Nevertheless, we have come to a meeting of the minds on this subject. Really, if you don’t mind, the meeting doesn’t matter. Read More→

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May
11

Mother Said There’d Be Days Like This

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mom and daughterMothers are the greatest dispensers of advice since God said, “Let there be light.” Some, not me, refer to it as maternal instinct.

My own mother gave me some splendid advice when I was growing up. Unfortunately, much of Mom’s advice shed light on nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.

Let me outline some advice my mother gave me that, to this day, I have no idea what she was talking about.

I distinctly remember my mother standing before me, with hands on her hips, scolding me for something and then saying, “Who do you think you are?”

This always disturbed me and caused me to wonder about my nativity. As a young person, I often pondered this question myself.

As with most teens, I had long moments of identity crisis. (When you are young most of your energy goes into producing hormones, and so the brain functions on low voltage.) It greatly confused me that the person who should know who I was, asked me the question I had been asking myself. If she does not know who I am, what hope do I have?

Then there was the time I asked my mother for money. She whirled around and replied, “Do you think money grows on trees?”

Up to that point, I have never given the matter much thought. I simply assumed money came from my father going to work and being paid. However, here was something new to ponder. Where does money come from, really? What added to my confusion was the name of our bank ‑ The Elm Tree Branch of First National Bank of Harrisburg. Now I was totally confused.

When I was quite young, I remember asking my mother for something in the store. I think it was some small toy that I took a fancy to and asked my mother to buy it for me. She flatly refused. I complained and demanded to know why. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Because I am the mother, that’s why.”

To this day, I still do not know what in the world that statement meant. What did her being a mother have to do with buying me that toy?

When she saw my confusion, she told me, “When you have children of your own, you will understand.” I have children of my own as well as grandchildren, and I still do not know what she meant. It must be a mother thing, which is all I know.

Then there was the time I wanted to do something with some friends and my mother would not let me. “But everyone else is going,” I protested in vain. That’s when my mother gave me her spin on the situation at hand.

“What if EVERYONE jumped off a cliff? Would you do it, too?”

The thing that confused me was, nobody was going to jump off any cliff. In fact, nobody in his or her right mind would ever think of such a stupid thing. Nobody, that is, but my mother. I figured she must have gotten her sadistic side from her mother. It must be something mothers pass on to their daughters, because as a man, I don’t get it.

Most memorable of her nuggets of wisdom to me is that piece of advice I still abide by. Before I would leave the house, my mother would say, “Make sure you have clean underwear on in case you get in a car accident and have to go to the hospital.”

I have never figured out what clean underwear has to do with going to the hospital, but that piece of advice made for the worst day of my high school years. Just as I drove into the school parking lot one day it dawned on me that I had forgotten to put on clean underwear. Panic raced through my teenage heart like never before. I was certain some disaster awaited me around the next corridor. Read More→

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May
04

Black Eye Causes Quandary of the First Order

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bedroomQuandaries come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. As someone who is somewhat of a connoisseur in this area, I can readily attest to this. However, many do not realize quandaries come in two categories.

First are those quandaries that come about through no fault of the person in said quandary. For all practical purposes (and those in a quandary are usually not practical), it is impossible to adequately prepare for such an event in life.

Second are self-imposed quandaries. This, unfortunately, is the area where I flounder the most. To be perfectly honest, and I’m not suggesting that I’m perfect; I have created most of the havoc in my life.

Believe me, I would like to put the blame on someone other than myself in many of these situations but, alas, I am to blame. What I am about to relate belongs to the first category.

I found myself in a quandary recently through no fault of mine. And yet, I’m not able to prove it. This is the most discouraging thing. I know it was not my fault, but nobody will believe me.

Through the years, I have adopted a certain nocturnal procedure. When I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom I keep my eyes closed. There are two very simple reasons for this:

One, I know exactly where I am going, so I don’t need to open my eyes.

Two, I do not want my body to know that I’m awake. I want to fool my body into believing I’m asleep. Read More→

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Apr
27

Life Does Have Its Compensations – Occasionally

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sun through the cloudsAt times, it seems as if there is absolutely no justice in this world, and then something wonderful happens making up for almost everything. This past week I was fortunate enough to experience one of those rare jewels of life.

I must say not all weeks are like this. My weeks usually range from bad to worse to when will this ever stop?

A normal week for me is when I take two steps forward and get run over by a car. Or, just when I think I’m caught up, I discover I’ve been working on last week’s to-do list.

Not that I’m complaining because complaining never gets anywhere in life. At least, no place I want to go.

A man who complains aloud is a man who is not married. Wives have a way of turning their husband’s complaining into “Well, its your own fault.” It’s amazing how this one phrase can cover a multitude of sins.

So, I’m not complaining, I’m just musing on my life and celebrating a great event this week.

I got home on Tuesday and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was not there. I made myself a cup of coffee and got comfortable in my easy chair to rest from the labors of the day.

A good cup of Joe goes a long way to smooth the rough edges of any day. No sooner was I settled than the telephone rang. It was my wife.

“Are you home yet?” she said in a very meek and quiet voice. From the tone of her voice, I knew something wasn’t exactly right.

For a moment, I was tempted to answer her question in the negative. But then I do value my life. I knew the question was rhetorical and was not the reason for her calling. Something was up.

“Could you come over to the church right now?” she asked.

I had just settled in my easy chair and was a little reluctant to extricate myself from my comfort zone. I could, but I wondered why she wanted me to come over.

It wasn’t my birthday so I knew it was not a surprise party. It wasn’t our anniversary. And as far as I knew I was not in any trouble, which in itself does not rule out my being in trouble.

“Why,” I queried.

“I just need you to come over here right now, pleeease.”

When my wife says “pleeease,” I know there’s a very good reason for it. Namely, she is in trouble and needs my assistance. Granted, this is a rare occurrence.

“Is there something wrong? Are you all right?” I asked.

“Well,” she hesitated, “I think I locked my keys in the car.”

Life does not get any better than this. Read More→

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Apr
20

The High Cost Of Speaking Your Mind

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What is your marriage modelingOne thing I have learned throughout my life is sometimes speaking your mind only gets a piece of somebody else’s mind – and not the good piece.

The old saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’m surprised the old dog doesn’t know the old tricks. What good is a new trick if you have not really mastered and learned from the old tricks?

My experience in this area stood me in good stead for many years. An incident happened recently bringing to light how valuable this “old trick” really is. I may not be good in the new tricks, but I think I have mastered a few of the old tricks.

I really do not know when this incident started, but somewhere along the line I said something resembling a guttural “uh huh,” and forgot about it. What you say in these odd moments may determine your quality of life for many years to come. This points out the difference between husbands and wives.

The only way a husband can remember what he had for lunch is to look at his shirt. A wife’s memory, on the other hand, is so keen she can remember things that never happened.

In the midst of a mild domestic discussion, any wife worth her salt can bring her husband to his knees by simply stating, “But, Honey, you promised me.”

At that point, no husband has the equipment to counter that argument. He may well have promised, but there is no way to prove one way or the other.

About a month ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage got it into her mind to remodel the kitchen. During this time, I did a pretty good job of staying out of her way. When the rare opportunity came soliciting my personal advice on a matter associated with this remodeling project, I quickly and enthusiastically supported her decisions.

The man who carefully measures his words will add happy years to his life. I sure don’t know how long I’m going to live, but I want that time to be happy.

Following the kitchen remodeling my wife proceeded to remodel her bathroom. At this point I should have had some suspicions, but I didn’t. As a husband, I am not equipped with a “suspicion detector.” Experience should have taught me that if one project is done successfully it only inspires another project.

When a wife gets it in her mind to remodel part of the house that thought gets stuck and there is no stopping her. After each remodeling project is completed, my wife always asks my opinion of the job she has just done. Read More→

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Apr
13

All My Friends Are Getting Old

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Getting old seems to be a long and slow process. The longer it goes the older you get.

I didn’t really think I was getting old until a few weeks ago I was visiting with some friends from high school. You know those old high school friends that you had fun with when you were young enough to have fun? And oh boy, what fun we had.

A sharp difference exists between being young and being old. You have to get old to really understand the difference because when you are young you do not have enough time to think. That’s the problem with young people today. So many things to do and so much technology they do not have any time left over to think.

Those young whippersnappers.

There is a huge difference between being young and being old.

When you are young, you enjoy having lots of fun.

When you are old, you enjoy remembering all the fun you had when you were young.

The best thing about being old and remembering those good old days is that you can exaggerate about how good they really were. Even when you are exaggerating with friends that shared the same fun, they go along with you.

Whether it is the absence of memory or just wanting to enjoy fun to its fullest extent, I do not really know.

As my friends and I were talking about the good old days, I happened to notice wrinkles on their faces. I did not say anything at the time, but they sure looked old to me. Also, I did not quite remember how grey their hair was when we were young.

When I was young and having all that fun, I never gave a thought about how young I was or that I was getting older. My whole focus was on the fun element of life and I thought that would carry me through the rest of my life.

I remember my 20th birthday very well. I was celebrating getting out of those teenage years and becoming an adult. For some reason I thought you became an adult at 20. Little did I know that it takes many years to become an adult and some do not really make it. I simply assume that the older you get, the more fun you can have. Boy, was I ever surprised!

Celebrating the good old days is quite remarkable. Because in it all, I noticed my friends were getting older. One of my friends repeated a story three times and not to embarrass him, I laughed all three times.

After the meeting and driving home, I began to think about myself. Am I as old as they look? Read More→

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Apr
06

A Suspicious Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

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I have discovered over the years several types of minds. The “open mind” which catches everything except the truth. The “analytical mind” which organizes everything to the point of sterility. The “closed mind” which you can bounce ideas and they never stick.

For every man, there is the “woman’s mind.” Every husband knows if he wants to change his wife’s mind, all he has to do is agree with her. Finally, the “political mind,” which for all practical purposes is an oxymoron. Politicians obviously do not have a mind of their own. They change their mind so often you hardly know who they are.

I find most people’s minds are like beds – all made up and tucked neatly away. Many of these people have sound minds – sound asleep, that is.

The most valuable mind is the suspicious mind. It is in this frame of mind that the real picture has developed for me. An incident several years ago illustrated this to me.

We received one of those calls every American gets at least once a month. An invitation to come to Daytona Beach and spend two nights at a motel on the beach. The sponsor even offered to throw in breakfast, which we promptly threw out (or was it “up?”).

It all sounded wonderful. My wife and I had never stayed on the beach and thought it would be an excellent opportunity. Eagerly we said “yes” thrilled with the prospect.

“Oh, by the way,” the young woman on the telephone said, “you will be required to listen to a 90-minute presentation.”

It was then my suspicious mind kicked in. To be more honest, the kick came from my wife, who had the suspicious mind.

“Is there anything we have to buy?” my wife made me ask the delightful woman on the telephone.

“Absolutely nothing,” she said so cheerily, I believed her. My wife, “Miss Suspicion,” did not buy it for a second.

Finally, I convinced her to go and I arranged with the woman on the telephone for the two nights on the beach.

Looking back on this incident, I realize a suspicious mind does come in handy.

I must confess (which is hard for me to do) my wife’s suspicious mind has saved us from a few potentially disastrous situations. (But you didn’t hear it from me.)

When we arrived at the Daytona Beach office, they greeted us most graciously. I was smiling a smile that said, “See, I told you this was going to be great.” Read More→

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Mar
30

Would You Like A Burp With That Hiccup?

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Looking at the alarm clock by my bedside, it clearly read 2:37 a.m. The loud buzzing sound was not in my head after all. Who in the world could be calling me at this hour of the night?

I grumbled to myself, sat straight up in bed and gasped. An emergency! Someone’s in the hospital! Someone has died!

All kinds of such thoughts danced through my sluggish brain as I reached for the telephone.

Pastors are on call 24/7 and never know when an emergency will summon to duty. It may be in the middle of the day, or in this case, in the middle of the night.

Many telephone calls I’m not so anxious to get.

Mr. Alexander Graham Bell has a lot of answering to do for this contraption of his.

Among telephone calls I’m not too thrilled about are those infernal automatic political calls advising me to vote for some candidate – them in particular. Like most politicians, these calls never give me an opportunity to answer them.

They unleash their spiel and then hang up, probably to go to the next phone number.
What I want to know is, why don’t these aspiring politicians ever call me when they’re not running for some office? Why don’t they call me on my birthday and sing happy birthday to me?

Why don’t they give me their home phone number so I can call them and give them a piece of my mind?

I would like to get my hands on the person who taught these politicians how to dial phone numbers.

Another category of phone calls I am not too enthralled with are telemarketers. I have a difficult time hanging up on people. As long as they want to talk I can’t, or I don’t have the heart to hang up on them.

I know they are just people doing their job. I know much of what is sold via the telephone is excellent and useful, but I do not like anyone telling me what I should be buying, especially when I have just put on the feedbag.

The only thing I have been able to do is take the conversation in hand from the very beginning. As soon as the person on the other end of the phone begins talking, I start engaging them in chitchat.

I ask about their family, about the kind of day they are having and what they plan to do on the weekend. I ask for their home phone number so I can call them back.

It has become a sport for me and I am anxious for the next phone call to come so I can tell them about my day and my plans for the weekend. After all, they called me, it is my turf.

This telephone call at 2:37 a.m. was not from a politician or a telemarketer.

When I answered the telephone, I heard a raspy voice on the other end say, “Is the reverend home? I need to ask him a question ‘bout the Bible.”

By this time, every fiber of my being stood at attention, ready to serve. Someone needed me, which was all I had to know to fly full-speed into action. Read More→

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Mar
23

Hearing and Listening Are Not Necessarily the Same

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hearing GodAs big as my ears are, you would think I would be able to hear everything I am listening to.

I like to think I am hearing what I am listening to but I have so many illustrations that prove otherwise. I’m not sure what it is, but I am working on it with the help of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

It was on a Friday and I was very busy trying to get things done for the weekend. Some in our domicile can multitask and then the other can hardly do one thing at a time.

I’m not quite sure how my wife does it, but she can do half a dozen things at the same time and get them all done perfectly. It is like one of those jugglers at the circus who can keep half a dozen balls in the air at the same time.

Not me. I can’t even keep one ball in the air at the same time, let alone half a dozen.

I was busy trying to get ready for the weekend when the wife came in and said, “Can we borrow your truck on Monday?”

I grunted and nodded my head in the affirmative.

“We need to move some furniture to a storage unit.”

Now, in those two sentences she used the word “we” but I heard the word “I.”

I am okay with her borrowing my truck and doing whatever kind of business she needs to do. A marriage works that way. One has a truck and the other borrows said truck.

I should have thought something was up, but you know how it is with us men. We do not think unless backed into a corner and we cannot do anything else. All through the weekend when I saw my wife, she would look at me and smile and nod her head. I smiled and nodded my head back at her. After all, isn’t that what a good relationship is all about? Smiling and nodding your head at each other.

As I recall, it was a rather pleasant weekend and then it was over.

Early on Monday morning my wife came into the living room where I was watching TV and drinking my morning cup of coffee. I can’t start any day without my coffee. Whoever invented coffee should actually get a Nobel Peace prize.

My wife came in and looked at me and said, “Are we ready to go?” Then she smiled and nodded her head in my direction. Read More→

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Mar
16

What Time Is It, Really?

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lambWhen it comes to certain things, I am quite a bit confused. One thing has to do with time. What I want to know, what time is it?

I do not know why time cannot be the same for everybody. After all, everybody is squirming about equal rights. Why can’t we have equal time rights? Why do we have to split it up so much?

If that is not enough, we have this idea of changing the time. Who in the world came up with such a stupid idea? You turn the clock ahead one hour and then a couple months later you turn it back one hour. What good does that accomplish?

It is like giving somebody a dollar and then six months later taking that dollar back. What exactly is going on? It just does not really make sense to me.

It has taken me quite a while to get adjusted to this idea of “Spring Forward” and “Fall Backward.” I get the idea falling backwards, but I do not know what it means to spring forward. Moreover, why can’t we spring backward and fall forward one year? After all, there is this issue of equal rights.

It has taken me a while to get adjusted to these kinds of time changes.

One year I remember rather well when I got everything confused. I thought I would take control and not tell the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that I was going to change the clocks. I wanted it to be a surprise for her.

Of course, I put things off to the last minute and usually get into trouble. I put this off to the last minute not knowing that my wife had already turned the clocks ahead. So, trying to impress the good lady of the parsonage that I was a responsible gentleman, I went around and turned all the clocks ahead one hour.

Some people say when you get older you forget a lot. I have been forgetting a lot all my life.

A few hours later, after setting the clock forward an hour, I could not remember if I really set the clock forward. So, very quietly I went around and set all of the clocks forward one hour. This was on a Saturday night. I thought I would really surprise my wife with remembering to set the clocks forward.

That night when it came time to go to bed, I noticed that I was not very tired. I try to go to bed by 11 o’clock each night, but this night I just could not even yawn.

“I think,” I told my wife, “I’ve had too much coffee today. I just don’t feel sleepy.”

She looked at the clock, scratched her head and said, “I don’t feel sleepy either.”

What do you do when it is time to go to bed and you do not feel sleepy but you know you have to go to bed or you will not get up on time in the morning. And church services were in the morning.

“Well,” my wife looking at me rather strange, “we better go to bed or we will not be able to get up in the morning. And we can’t be late for church.”

It was a little after 11 when I got to bed and my eyes just would not close. I closed them and they would snap open right away. I tried counting sheep. By the time I got to 10,978 sheep, I was just as awake as before. What do you do with that many sheep? Read More→

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