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Archive for Just for Him


My Somber Longing for Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A healthy dose of medicine for the soul

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerIt is well with my soulA large segment of the human population takes things way too seriously for their own good. The strange anomaly is that most people laugh at the wrong thing and fail to laugh at the right thing. This serious incongruity has robbed people of a healthy attitude towards life in general.

Those who take life too seriously are in danger of missing the great joys of living in a crazy world like ours. I am not sure about the scientific research but I would guess that for every sad moment it takes one hundred laughs to balance the books. Some people are about ninety-nine laughs short of a real sane moment.

I like the old English proverb that says, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.”

From my perspective, if you cannot laugh with someone you will not be able to cry with him or her and have it mean anything.

According to some medical advice, it takes more facial muscles and energy to frown than it does to smile. Of course, the only exercise some people have is frowning and who am I to take that away from them.

I am determined, no matter what, to exercise my right to smile and laugh and enjoy the world around me. I must confess that I get this attitude quite honestly.

My paternal grandfather was a Past Master in the area of practical jokes. No amount of time was too much to spend preparing for one of his famous practical jokes. His favorite holiday was April 1 and began preparing for this holiday right after Christmas.

The fact that his practical jokes at times got him into trouble did not seem to affect him at all.

Once while in the hospital for an extended period he had somebody smuggle in to him a can of snuff. For some reason he liked chewing snuff. It is the most disgusting habit I know of on earth.

He no sooner received his smuggled goods then he began chewing it. If you know anything about chewing snuff, you know it is accompanied by a lot of spitting. As usual, his timing was impeccable. Just as the head nurse passed his door and looked in, he leaned over and spit in to the garbage can he had next to his bed. The nurse, not knowing about the chewing snuff, thought he was spitting blood and immediately went into emergency mode. Immediately my grandfather was rushed into the operating room and the surgeon and medical team were assembled.

My grandfather was very sick at the time. Some did not think he would get out of the hospital.

Just as they got him situated in the operating room he pulled from under his sheet his can of chewing snuff and smiled at them. The only person in the room that thought this was in any way amusing was my grandfather. The doctors were so angry with him that they refused to see him for three days and confiscated his can of chewing snuff. Read More→

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Spring Has Sprung a Leak This Year

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerIt was in the middle of February during a very shivering cold time that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said most dramatically, “I can’t wait for Spring. When in the world is Spring going to get here?”

As a veteran husband, I knew this was not a question for me to ponder or even to answer. Rather, it was something I needed to ignore completely. I learned these things down the years, which is why I have survived so many years. If silence is golden then I have reached those golden years of life.

I wouldn’t say this to her, but I was thinking the same thing myself. When is Spring ever going to get here?

I was counting the days when it would be Spring and we could enjoy some graciously warm weather for a change. This weather has been stinking chilly for a long time and I was getting tired of it. I could tell my wife was getting tired of it too, but I didn’t want to go in that direction with any kind of conversation. Sometimes the best thing to do is not do or say anything.

It was unusually cold here in Florida and I was tired of it. Personally, I was looking forward to Spring when things would automatically change and I could put away my sweater.

That magical day arrived. The day before my wife said, “Well, tomorrow is Spring and all this nasty, rainy, chilly weather will be over.”

If only my wife was in charge of the weather. That would be a wonderful thing because the weather would be perfect every day. At least according to her calculation.

I remember when I tried to explain to her that we needed change in the weather and we needed rain in order for crops to grow, trees to grow and so forth. After my explanation she put both hands on her hips and stared at me one of those stares that I’m so familiar with. She didn’t say anything, she didn’t have to. Read More→

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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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