Not Everything in Life Is Automatic

By James Snyder

Expert Author James Snyder

Two days in the year I don’t like. Somebody is thinking it is my wife’s birthday and our wedding anniversary.

I worked that out a long time ago. My birthday is two days before the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and our anniversary is three weeks after our birthday. No way can I forget that.

When my wife gives me a birthday card with some gift it reminds me that I have two days to reciprocate. And reciprocate, I do very well. I love it when a plan comes together.

I remember my wife’s birthday and I remember our wedding anniversary, but more often than not, I cannot remember the years. I do not know how old my wife is. At least, that’s my story. And, I am not sure how long we’ve been married.

I know we have been married long enough to work out many things.

The two days I’m not very happy with are the days when we turn the clock forward an hour and then turn the clock backward an hour. I still do not know why in the world we do that. We gain an hour in the spring, but then we lose an hour in the fall. What’s the sense in all that?

I finally figured out what the sense of all that is. It is to confuse me, in particular. It is not that I am easily confused, but rather, I confuse easily. If that makes sense, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

Why would you want to gain something and then give it back a couple months later?

I grew up in the non-technical age. I had to wind my watch every day to make sure it had the right time. It was not like it is today worth the time is set automatically.

I look at my cell phone and the time is updated automatically. I look at our TV set and see that the time is updated automatically. I like that.

My problem is that I like it too much. I have become accustomed to things being adjusted automatically.

Now they have cars that part automatically and you can be sure I’m not going to buy one. I am satisfied with the automatic setting of my clock and TV.

When I was in high school, I worked part-time for a woman. I mowed the grass and cleaned inside the house. One big thing she had in the house was about 25 clocks. I’m serious. Twenty-five clocks that all had to be set manually.

The first time I did it, I did not realize that each clock was set differently. You go upstairs and the clocks were 15 minutes faster than the clocks on the first floor so she would not be late for an appointment.

Being my employer, it would have been nice for her to explain that to me. But, as most employers do, they do not explain everything to their employees.

I was the kind of employee that liked to impress my employer with how good I was.

It was in the fall and we were to set the clocks back one hour. I thought she would appreciate the fact that I went around and reset all 25 of her clocks. After all, I was doing something on my own that needed done.

The thing I did not know of course, the clocks were all set different on different levels of the house. I went around and set all 25 clocks to the same time. I was so happy.

I did not tell her because I wanted her to be surprised.

I was anxious to hear her commend me for a “job well done.” I was not prepared for what she was going to do.

When I arrived on her property, she comes out yelling and screaming at me at the top of her lungs. Trust me, she had lungs. At first, I could not understand what she was so upset about.

“Did you,” she said hysterically, “reset all the clocks in my house?”

I smiled back at her and said quite cheerfully, “Yes, ma’am, I did.”

Courtesy keeps me from quoting her right here. It was more than French she was yelling back at me.

I have never been yelled at so much in my life and I did not really understand why.

I stayed away from her for a couple of days and then I was working for her husband at his store. When I walked in, he looked at me and laughed hysterically.

I was not sure what he was laughing at that he motioned me to come over. So, I did.

“My wife,” he said between laughs, “told me what you did the other day.” Then he broke into some more hysterical laughter.

Why he was so cheerful about the incident was beyond me at the time.

Then he sat me down and explained the whole situation to me. I must confess when he finished telling me the whole story, I joined him in some hysterical laughter. We kept this to ourselves for as long as I worked there.

I thought of what Paul said, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest-if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Not everything is automatic, some things you have to work for.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. His web site is http://www.jamessnyderministries.com.

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It Was An Apple Fritter Kind Of Week

By James Snyder

Expert Author James Snyder

Have you ever had a week where everything went exactly as planned? Neither have I. Every week I start out believing this week is going to be different from all the other weeks of my life. If this has ever occurred, I cannot recall it.

Take last week, please! I start every week about the same. I meticulously prepare my weekly to-do-list. This is not to be confused with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage’s honey-do-list. Her list, and I learned this by experience, takes precedence over every other list in the world.

My weekly to-do-list is a very important part of my week. I chronicle everything needing accomplished during the week along with appointments with people that I need to see. With the religious ferocity of the Pharisee, I follow this list throughout the week and dutifully check off each item as it is completed. Then, Saturday evening I can look back with a great deal of satisfaction and see what I have accomplished.

Unfortunately, I can also look back on my list and see what I have not accomplished this week. With a deep sigh, I carry these items over to next week’s to-do-list. Just between you and me, some items I have carried over for 36 consecutive weeks. By this time, I usually drop the whole notion and get on with my life.

My philosophy is, if you aim at nothing; you will hit it every time. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but what I take away from it is simply that if I do not aim to do something I probably never will do it.

I live day by day by this weekly to-do-list. If it were not for this marvelous tool, I would never get anything done during the week. It is my great joy late Saturday night to work out the following week’s to-do-list.

Sometimes my wife will look at me, sigh and say, “You’re not working on your to-do-list, are you?” Then she says something that actually irritates me. Not everything she says irritates me, but this one does. “You know, if you would spend as much time actually doing those things as you spend planning to do them you might actually get something done during the week.”

I developed this to-do-list so I would not have to keep trying to remember what I was supposed to do during the week. They keep me free to think more creatively about things that need that kind of attention. All I had to do was consult my to-do-list and find out what needed to be done. After all, I don’t want to tax my brain too much. Who do you think I am? The government?

Then last week it happened. Something I had feared for many a year.

Tuesday morning I looked around for my to-do-list and the more I looked, the more elusive it was. I took a deep breath, trying to keep panic at bay because I knew that would not help me. Verging on frantic, I began searching the house.

“What are you looking for?” my wife asked. “Maybe I can help you find it.”

Now, I faced a very deep quandary. Do I confess to my wife that I lost my to-do-list? Or, do I forge ahead on my own hoping I will find it myself. Life is full of these deep, dark quandaries.

Finally, I confessed I had lost my to-do-list. Then she said, “Where did you have it last?”

If I knew that, I thought to myself, it would not be lost. I mumbled something along the line that I could not remember. At my age, not being able to remember comes with the territory.

“You didn’t have it in your shirt pocket, by any chance?”

Of course, I always have it in my shirt pocket. I never go out of the house without my to-do-list in my shirt pocket where it is readily accessible to me.

“You didn’t have it in the shirt pocket of the shirt you put in the laundry yesterday, did you?”

With that, she went to the washing machine, which had just finished its cycle and pulled out some of my shirts. She found a shirt with something in the pocket.

“Oh, here it is, in your shirt I just washed.” She pulled it out and began unfolding it and with a tone a little more sarcastic than I appreciate, she said, “My, your to-do-list is nice and clean.” Then she handed it to me.

With my to-do-list expunged, I had no idea what I needed to do for the rest of the week. It was then that I came up with a solution. If I do not know what I need to do this week, I will do the one thing I have been putting off a little too long.

I went to the Publix bakery and ordered myself, not one, but two Apple fritters. One for myself and one for my guilty conscience. That should teach someone a lesson.

Just when you think everything is going your way, something happens to prove otherwise. A verse in the Bible says this, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Thankfully, I always have a backup plan. Nothing takes my mind off the contingencies of life like a warm, freshly baked Apple fritter.

Since 1997, Rev. James L. Snyder has written a weekly religion/humor column, “Out To Pastor,” syndicated to over 300 newspapers and many websites. The Rev. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 30 books altogether.

James L. Snyder was given an honorary doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters) by Trinity College in Florida. His weekly humor column, “Out To Pastor,” is syndicated to more than 325 weekly newspapers.

Through 45 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.

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I Thought But Then I Unthought

By James Snyder

Expert Author James Snyder

Looking back over my life I honestly can say, giving it a great deal of thought, the biggest problem I have is when I actually think. Thinking can get me into more trouble than anything else I do.

This was no more evident than recently we got a phone call from the bank. I hate it when the bank calls because they never call to wish me happy birthday or wonder how in the world I am doing today. They always have an agenda. Usually, that agenda has to do with my money.

When I answered the phone all I could say was, “Here we go again.”

Much to my relief it was not about my account, but rather it was the bank account of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I cannot tell you the smile that slapped itself all over my face when I heard this.

Immediately I called my wife to the phone and said, “It’s your bank calling you about your account.” Smilingly I handed the phone to her.

For years, we have had separate accounts and it has worked out rather well. I remember when we first were married we had a joint account and it was always getting messed up. We had two checkbooks for the same account, which did not make any sense at all. Everything was messed up and checks bounced all over the place.

To solve this dilemma we decided to have our own checking account in separate banks. I am not quite sure about her account, but the checks keep bouncing in my account and I am not exactly sure why.

The bank was calling my wife because there had been a suspicious activity on her account. I thought about telling them that other activity on her bank account was also suspicious, but sometimes I know when not to speak.

According to the bank, my wife bought a package of wine costing $600 and they were wondering if she was buying it for the church communion service. I heard my wife laugh and figured out there is something going on. We do not use wine in our communion service, we use grape juice. However, the bank did not know why my wife was buying wine.

The only wine in our house is me, who whines all the time and believe me, according to my wife, my whining is very intoxicating. At least to her it is.

We finally had to go down to the bank and try to sort this mess out. My wife tried to tell them that she did not make such a purchase.

I would like to tell you how delighted I was to go to the bank with her and see her in a dilemma that I did not create. I know I create a lot of dilemma in our home. The fact that we been married as long as we have been married says a lot for her tolerance of whiny old people like me.

“We did not think,” the bank manager said to my wife, “that you were buying wine like this. We thought perhaps you might have been buying wine for the church communion service.”

All three of us laughed a very hearty laugh because she knew we did not use wine in our communion service.

However, the truth of the matter was, there was this activity on her account in the amount of $600. My surprise was that she had that much money in her account. I scratched my head a bit and thought, where did she get all that money? Immediately I had to unthought that and get back to the basics of our visit here in the bank.

The bank manager got out all of the paperwork with this transaction.

The first thing of note was that it took place in a liquor store in Southern California where my wife had never been.

My wife looked at me and said sarcastically, “Why are you smiling?”

I thought about telling her, but then I unthought that and got back to the details of the transaction.

In looking at that transaction, the bank manager happened to notice that it was on a particular Sunday when it took place. That Sunday my wife was in church. In fact, the time of the transaction was when my wife was playing the organ.

“Can you verify that she was playing the organ at that time?” The bank manager asked me.

A thought that came into my mind was to tell the bank manager that my wife was so talented that she could be in two places at the same time. After further thought on that, I unthought that idea.

The bank manager finally took care of that transaction and we were able to leave the bank knowing us, or rather she, was free from that transaction. I did not say anything on the way home, but I was smiling on the inside.

Thinking can be a very hazardous occupation, but I was reminded what Paul said. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

I am trying to learn to think about important things and not things that are negative and damaging.

Since 1997, Rev. James L. Snyder has written a weekly religion/humor column, “Out To Pastor,” syndicated to over 300 newspapers and many websites. The Rev. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 30 books altogether.

James L. Snyder was given an honorary doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters) by Trinity College in Florida. His weekly humor column, “Out To Pastor,” is syndicated to more than 325 weekly newspapers.

Through 45 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.

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How to Live With a Veggie-Holic

By James Snyder

Expert Author James Snyder

In our house, not many conflicts expose themselves. For the most part, it is a very quiet and serene home occupied by two lovebirds.

I am not saying we are perfect. For we are not. The imperfect side of this marvelous relationship is Yours Truly. I was born imperfect and I have honored my birthright ever since.

I do not care what some may say about crazy people, I have enjoyed my craziness all my life. When you are perfect, you have to be careful that you do not make any mistake or act crazy.

When, however, you are imperfect and tilt towards the crazy side of life, your life is a joy. If you make a mistake, well, that is part of life. But on the positive side, when you do something right, you become the amazement of people around you.

So, our relationship in the Parsonage has been a very wonderful relationship. At least, from my side of the room. What the other resident says may be quite different.

We do make a great team, though. I can break anything and she can fix anything. How much better do you need to be?

When I make a mistake, she can correct me even in front of people. Now that is what I like. I would hate people to think I am stupid, crazy is one thing but stupid is something altogether different. And it is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that consistently rescues me from being stupid.

Being a non-perfectionist, I can enjoy every day of my life, no matter what happens or what doesn’t happen.

I cannot imagine what life is like for that person who is a perfectionist, like my wife.

She sees something that needs fixing, and she is busy trying to fix it.

If something is out of place, she is the first one to put it in its place. She has put me in my place for many years.

Few things we disagree on but there is one thing on top of that list. They can be boiled down into one word, Vegetables.

My wife loves vegetables almost as much as I love apple fritters. I do not think since the day she was born a day has passed without her consuming some kind of vegetable. She knows vegetables like I know apple fritters. There is not a vegetable known to mankind that she has not consumed.

Even for breakfast, she likes to sneak in some kind of vegetable. With my oatmeal, for example, she likes to sneak in a carrot. What in the world do carrots have to do with breakfast?

Her response to this is simply, “Vegetables are good for you and it’s good to start the day off with a vegetable.”

For her sake, I will grudgingly put up with some vegetables. Some vegetables, however, I will not put up with, I have made my stand strong through the years and I have not moved. Leading the list would be Broccoli.

Yes, I know all of the benefits of eating broccoli. My wife has told me this over and over throughout the years and I can repeat it verbatim.

My problem is, I do not believe what anybody says about broccoli. First, broccoli looks like a miniature tree that has not grown up yet. Who likes to eat trees?

There is no way to prepare broccoli that my wife does not already know. For years, she tried to entice me and con me into eating broccoli. I will fall for just about anything, except broccoli.

Every once in a while my wife will say, “What would you like for supper tonight?”

I do not pause, but immediately say, “Anything but broccoli.”

I have the same apprehension for broccoli as she does for apple fritters.

I believe that an Apple fritter is basically “a fruit.”

Once when I was trying to explain to her that an Apple fritter was a fruit she replied in disgust, “Anybody that believes that is just fruity.”

What she does not realize is, I do not mind being fruity. I would rather be fruity than eat any broccoli.

The question here is how do you live with someone who is such a veggie-Holic?

There could not be any bigger span of separation than between a veggie-holic and an Apple fritter fan.

Recently we have come to an amicable agreement, which simply is, she does not talk about broccoli and I do not talk about apple fritters. She does not believe what I say about apple fritters anyway. And, I do not believe what she says about broccoli.

So, we have learned to respect each other’s differences. That is what makes a relationship good. The only question I have is, and I don’t bring it up very often, does an Apple fritter smell as bad as broccoli cooking on the stove?

Looking back over our relationship very few things we disagree on and the things we disagree on are not that important that it should affect our relationship.

I love what that wise old prophet in the Old Testament said, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

It is not what we disagree on; rather, it is what we agree on that is important. If you are going in one direction, you must have the same opinion that it is the direction you are going.

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

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Financial Tip Of The Week: Pay Attention

By James Snyder

Expert Author James Snyder

Enjoying a casual evening at home, reclining in my favorite easy chair reading, while the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was chatting on the telephone. I seldom pay attention to phone conversations. After all, I only get one side of the conversation, which may be misleading at the very best. I’ve been caught in that trap before with some pretty dire consequences. I am not going to get caught again, if I can help it.

Then an odd phrase caught my attention: “plastic surgery.” My ears perked up and I heard my wife say, “I certainly agree with that article and I’m going to do some plastic surgery myself.”

Well, you can imagine what thoughts were racing through my head. When she hung up the telephone, I queried her about it.

In my book, plastic surgery is a big step.

“You do support me in this plastic surgery plan, don’t you?”

There are times to disagree with your spouse, but as a husband for over 45 years, I have never discovered that time. Forcing a smile, I nodded in the affirmative and told her she had my full support in whatever she decided.

I had to admit that the “time” had finally come to our humble abode. Who am I to fight it? I go by this motto, “He who smiles and agrees with his spouse lives to smile another day.”

I plan to smile until the day I die.

I never really thought about plastic surgery, but perhaps my wife was right. Perhaps she could use a little face-lift. For me to get a face-lift, the surgeon would need a huge construction crane. Then comes the awkward part, what do they do with my face after it was lifted?

Women, more than men, are a little sensitive about their appearance. For a man, “appearance” means he showed up. A woman has an altogether different approach to the term “appearance.”

Some women look in the mirror and see where some improvements could be made. For example, they see bags under their eyes that could not get through the airport carry-on luggage size requirement.

Then there is the problem with their nose, which could stand a little tweaking. For all practical purposes, one of those double chins has to go. Moreover, what woman couldn’t use a tummy tuck and other snippings of the flesh?

Believe me; I never would have brought it up, but if that makes my wife happy, then whatever it costs, we can put it on a credit card. The only problem with putting something like this on a credit card is that by the time you pay it off you need another procedure.

But, she is worth it in my checkbook. I have no compunction whatsoever of writing out that check.

Each day I checked the appointment calendar hanging on our refrigerator to find out when she would be going in for the surgery. Day after day, I looked, but could never find any appointment.

I supposed she was a little sensitive about the whole thing and did not want it staring at her day after day on the appointment calendar. Whatever the reason, she had my silent support, for all it was worth. I am sure she would do the same for me. That is what marriage is all about. Supporting one another in the developments of life, whatever that development might be.

I decided to tuck this little bit in the back of my mind and, however it developed would be all right with me.

One day this week, I went to the Slurp N’ Burp Café for a quiet lunch. The issue was far from my mind as I enjoyed a delicious lunch. As I finished my last cup of coffee, the waitress brought my bill and I pulled my wallet out to pay for it.

In searching my wallet for a credit card I discovered, much to my chagrin, that there were no credit cards to be found. Somehow, I had lost my credit cards. Perhaps, in the morning when I was getting dressed they dropped out of my wallet as I was placing it in my trousers.

The problem with that theory was that all the other cards in my wallet were intact.

Fortunately, I had my cell phone and called my wife.

“Honey, I’ve lost all my credit cards. I’m here at the restaurant and I can’t find any credit cards in my wallet. Do you have any idea what I did with my credit cards?”

“I cut them all up.”

“You did what?”

“You said you supported my plastic surgery plan, didn’t you?”

“But, I thought… “

“You, thought what?”

Oh boy.

Dear reader: please disregard the first part of this column. If you happen to read my obituary in next week’s newspaper, you will know that my lovely, vivacious, eternally youthful wife did not disregard the first part and I’m currently Resting In Pieces.

I must confess that my hearing is good; it is my understanding that falls so far short. The only exercise I’m really good at is “jumping-to-conclusions.”

This is common among many people who call themselves Christians. Their hearing is good but their “doing” is not up to par.

The apostle James understood this truth quite well. He writes, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

It is not so much what you hear that pays dividends in life, but what you do.

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

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Pretend You Live Alone

By Linda Hancock

Expert Author Linda Hancock

So often I hear family members complain about how others make a mess and are not willing to help with the cleanup. They want things done a certain way at a certain time and feel upset, blaming everyone else who lives in the house for this mood.

When they come to me as clients, they believe that I have magic powers that will instantly change everyone but don’t expect what I have to say about their dilemma.

I frequently see looks of surprise when I tell them that I live alone and therefore don’t have anyone to blame when the place is messy. I also don’t have anyone to pick up or organize everything. When you live alone, you don’t waste a lot of time feeling resentment of others who might not have done things when or how you would have done them.

However, here are some hints to help deal with the domestic tasks:

  1. Meet with everyone living in the household and set out a list of items that need to be done as well as the timeframe to complete them.
  2. Let each person decide what they are willing to do and put their name on the list next to the item chosen. Make sure that they are not just making a false promise but understand truly what it expected.
  3. Select appropriate and realistic consequences for not completing the task on time. For example, the movie isn’t watched until it is done. Outings are delayed or cancelled.
  4. Be consistent and never make an exception on consequences (or you will be setting a precedent for the future).
  5. Get rid of the things that are causing the most work. If there is too much laundry, perhaps it is because you have too many clothes. Too much on the floor perhaps indicates too many toys. Dusting taking too long – declutter!
  6. Use your machines. I view my appliances as free labour. All I need to do is load the dishwasher and I get almost a half hour of unpaid kitchen help. The washing machine gives me about twenty minutes of work that I don’t need to do or supervise, and the dryer provides another sixty minutes of unpaid labour. All I need to do is invest a few minutes to fill each machine and push the buttons.
  7. Make chores fun. Instead of nagging or feeling annoyed, try setting a timer to see how much can be accomplished before it rings.
  8. Plan a reward for everyone when the tasks are completed. A board game, movie or cup of hot chocolate can be motivation.
  9. Hold yourself accountable. Make sure that you have done what you are committed to do before complaining about others.
  10. Practice and teach habits for cleaning your environment as you go.

My aunt used to have the following “Golden Rules for Living” framed on the kitchen counter to remind everyone about what matters:

If you open it, close it.

If you turn it on, turn it off.

If you unlock it, lock it up.

If you break it, admit it.

If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.

If you borrow it, return it.

If you value it, take care of it.

If you make a mess clean it up.

If you move it, put it back.

If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, get permission.

If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.

If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

If it will brighten someone’s day, say it.

If it will tarnish someone’s reputation, keep it to yourself.

Wise thoughts to ponder!

And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to a complimentary list of 10 Steps to Making Your Life an Adventure when you visit http://lindahancock.com

From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker

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Home Has Never Been Sweeter

By James Snyder

Expert Author James Snyder

If the good Lord ever intended me to travel as much as I have been traveling, I’m sure He would have given me wings. I like the idea of traveling; it is the actual traveling that gets me. The only good thing about traveling is that home looks so good from so far away.

Several years ago, I received an invitation to speak at a conference. It sounded like a great idea at the time. I have been there before and have had a wonderful time. The thing about this trip was it was the same week my son and daughter-in-law were expecting their fifth baby, which would have been our ninth grandchild. Whether it is the first or the ninth grandchild makes no difference whatsoever to those creatures called grandmothers.

When the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage learned of my plans and that the conference I would be speaking at was in close proximity to the ninth grandchild, which was the end of the story. Plans for “our” travel began. According to her, I could drop her off at my son’s house and continue to my conference.

My wife loves it when her plan comes together.

I am not exactly sure how you plan the birth date of a child, but my wife was keeping close contact to make sure it would happen when she wanted it to happen. Grandmothers are like that. According to her, the baby was to be born at such a time that she could go and spend the entire week with the new baby. I do not know how grandmothers do it, but they have a secret power unbeknownst to us on the male side of the ledger.

As the time approached for our departure and the imminent birth, my wife became a little nervous.

“What if we get there and the baby isn’t born yet?”

As if, I knew the answer to that question. Why is it wives have the innate ability to ask questions that no husband in his right mind or in any mind, for that matter, could answer?

“I will not leave their home if the baby isn’t born yet.”

Although it sounded like a threat, it was a plan I could work with, but I kept that information to myself.

The day before we were scheduled to leave, the blessed event happened. My wife’s ninth grandchild entered this world and that made everything all right. It was my ninth grandchild too, but nobody paid me any mind. If the truth were known, I was the one paying. I paid for the whole trip.

It turned out to be a little girl, which was a surprise to everyone. Therefore, Grandmother had to do some last-minute shopping. I paid for that too; in more ways than I can count here.

The two days driving to the scene of the blessed event were filled with nonstop chatter about the new granddaughter. I nodded my head a lot and judiciously filtered in an occasion “aha.” I do not know who this new granddaughter thinks she is but I do know who the grandmother thinks the granddaughter is. Maybe that is all that really matters.

Although we never met this new addition to the family, my wife seemed to know everything about her. I have often wondered how mothers and grandmothers know so much about their offspring. I often get their names mixed up.

I dropped the newly crowned grandmother at my son’s house and proceeded to my conference. I like speaking at conferences, primarily because people pay to hear me talk, and they actually want to hear what I have to say.

My cell phone was all a flutter because almost every hour I got an update on what this new grandchild was all about. According to the reports I received, this was the most beautiful, the most wonderful, the most extraordinary grandchild ever born on planet earth.

I agreed, because, well, look at her grandfather.

My conference was over and I headed back to the difficult job of prying the grandmother loose from her ninth grandchild. It took some doing, but I accomplished it and we were on the road again.

On the trip home, we, and I say “we” rather loosely, were planning a return trip to see the grandchild.

I, weary from traveling, was planning how wonderful it would be to get home, sit in my chair, eat at my table and sleep in my bed. Traveling is wonderful, especially if you are going to see a granddaughter, but the most delicious aspect of traveling is heading home.

As my wife glowed over the recent granddaughter and rehearsed in my weary ears the extraordinary attributes of this latest addition to our family, I was thinking about home. When people say that home is where the heart is, I am thinking of other body parts. There is no reclining chair quite like the reclining chair awaiting me at home. I must say that my posterior has grown weary of all these foreign seats.

As we traveled weary mile after weary mile a verse of Scripture seemed to rest in my head. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2).

I really will not get home until I go to the Father’s House, where He has a place prepared especially for me.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. The church web site is http://www.whatafellowship.com.

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