Tag Archives: humor

I Don’t Need 20 Bucks

27 Jul

I Don’t Need 20 Bucks

Prayer is a strange thing.
I wish I could say I understand it, but I don’t.
Despite our lack of understanding, we still pray.
I guess that’s what faith is all about.

I don’t know about you, but I live in a bubble.
Most of my days are insulated away from people who don’t know Christ.
I’ve been praying this would change.
Really praying.
Expectant praying.

You know what? God has been answering.

In just a few weeks we’ve been having crazy awesome experiences.

The other night my wife sent me to a house to buy a cabinet.
It’s not like me to go to some strangers house with a since of expectation that God is doing something, but I did. So did my wife.

The young couple invited me in and took me to the cabinet.
There was pain on their faces.
Even I could see they were in need.
I didn’t want the cabinet, and their faces dropped.
I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until I was in my car that I realized I don’t need 20 bucks.

I headed back into their house.
“Excuse me, I know this may sound weird, but I want you to have this 20 bucks.”
I should have bought their cabinet to help insulate them from shame, but God knows.
Regardless, they seemed thankful.
“Can I be praying for you for anything,” I asked?
She said, “yes.”

Call me silly, but I think that encounter only happened because of prayer.

At least, I think because of prayer I actually realized the need.

People desperately need to hear the words of life.

I got back in my car and wept.

I prayed.

And I realized, I don’t need 20 bucks.

What is it you are expectantly praying for?

Today

12 Jul

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Today I’m going to live.
Today I’m going to do something I don’t usually do just to do it.
Today when I go to the sushi place, I’m not going to order the teriyaki bowl-you know, because I hate sushi, but I’m ordering sushi.
Today I’m going to gag.
Today I’m going to look people in the eyes as I walk down the street.
Today I’m going to believe the best.
Today I’m going to fail and believe the worst.
Today I’m going to believe the best again.
Today I’m going to laugh.
Today in going to make fun of something I shouldn’t.
Today I’m going to feel bad I made fun of something I shouldn’t.
Today I’m going to wish I wouldn’t of posted that thing on Facebook.
Today when that guy at Walmart tells me how horrible his life is, I’m going to ask him if I can pray for him.
Today I’m actually going to pray for him.
Today I’m going to hope-the bible kind of hope.
Today I’m going to believe God CAN.

What are you doing today?

I actually ordered this!

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Okay, I lied. I ordered this.

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The proof I ate it.

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This Mess

11 Jul

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My life’s a mess.
I woke up this morning and stepped on a pile of books.
I stumbled into the bathroom to take a shower, but had to remove a million toys from the tub.
A rubber ducky leaked on my leg.
I poured a bowl of granola, sat at the table, and felt something between my toes.
I wiped my brow in relief, it was only some black beans. It could have been much worse.
As I sat there crunching away I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about this beautiful mess called my life.
I smiled at the thought of Addie pouring oatmeal on her head as she learns how to use her spoon.
I thought about Ellie running out of the bathroom naked and sopping wet as she says, “I want Daddy.”
I thought about my beautiful wife who is adventuress enough to take a toddler and an infant camping, and then willing to document our disheveled self for all to see.
My life’s a mess.
Today, I’m embracing it.

You can embrace the mess today.
God’s willing to embrace you.
Regardless of your mess.

I won’t even tell you what my car looked like….

Pierced Ear

16 Aug

I’ve been thinking about getting my ear pierced. I’ve been contemplating it for years now, but finally, I think I’m ready to do the deed. I don’t want one of those tiny little shinny studs that most men get either. If I’m going to do this, I want to go big.

I recently saw a picture of a guy who turned his face into a tiger. When you see that, all you can say is, wow. Now, I’m not ready to commit on that level, but if I’m going to do this thing, it’s got to stand out. What’s the point in doing it half heartedly? It has to make a statement, right? Not the, I turned my face into a tiger statement that screams, “Woah, you got issues dude,” but something a little more subtle yet profound.

Now, I know everyone’s thinking; “this is just like that time you wanted to get ‘courageous’ tattooed across your forearm in Hebrew.” No, this is different, but for the record, I wanted to do that long before it was cool. I’m pretty sure I was the originator of that trend. I think I shared my idea with Al Gore right before he started the internet, and the idea spread like wild fire. That was all me!

No, this is more than a passing thought. I’m really going to do it.

The fact is I already did. And, so did you.

Right about now you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind. You would remember getting the top of your ear run through with giant piece of metal, right? Well, perhaps I need to explain myself.

You know when you read a verse, and no matter how much you try to juke it (yes, I just used the word, juke), it sticks with you? This is a concept that’s been with me since college and recently I ran across the verse, but it’s been marinating in my soul for quite some time now. The concept comes right out of Exodus. Picture this; you’re a slave. I know, stinks huh. Well, now imagine you’re a slave 4000 years ago (wow, this story just keeps getting worse). You weren’t always a slave. You used to be a farmer, but one year the crops dried up and you had very little options to keep your family alive.

By now you’re thinking, “wow Tom, you’re a depressing story teller.” Just stick with me, it gets worse.

So, in order to feed your family, you go to the wealthiest man in town and sell yourself as a slave (bummer).I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to conceive of a scenario in which I have to sell myself and my family into slavery in order to survive. Crazy! But something else happens that you didn’t expect. You actually like the master.

After spending years experiencing the goodness of your master, the time comes when he by law has to set you free. Finally, freedom is at the door. This is where you and I would do an awesome little jig just like that guy Matt who travels around the world doing a stupid little dance. You don’t know him, well, look him up. Where In The World Is Matt Dancing.

Okay, back to you being a slave. You’re about to be free. You would be elated, right? What if you had nothing to go back to? What if times had become worse over years, and now your freedom meant certain death. What would you do and would your new freedom be as great as imagined? When you begin to weigh your options, you begin to realize how good you have it. Your family is cared for. There’s food on the table and a roof over your head. Most of all, you love the master.

It’s at this point you realize you have another difficult choice to make. You have to choose a pill to swallow. Do you want the red pill or the blue pill? Sorry, I just got all Matrixy on you. You can have your freedom, if that’s what you want to call it, but there is a price you’re going to pay. If will most likely be the death of you and your family. Slavery’s starting to look pretty good, no? But, there’s a catch. If you decide to stay with your master this time, it’s not going to be for just seven years, it will be for the rest of your life. This is where the ear piercing thing comes in.

If you decide to stay, it will mean forever, and to solidify your decision you will be given a mark. This isn’t just any mark. It’s a mark that will be visible for all to see. It’s not only a testament to your decision to be a lifelong servant, but it’s a testament to the character of the master. Then, your master is going to take a metal awl, which is like a giant nail, and drive it through your ear. Ouch!

Exodus 21:5-6

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

Do you realize, you and I are the slave?

I don’t know about you, but this is a good reminder that my life is not my own. We have been bought with a price. Our ear has been pierced.

Who do you know who needs their ear pierced?

The Trouble With Poetry by Billy Collins

21 Apr

The Trouble With Poetry

The trouble with poetry, I realized as I walked along a beach one night–
Cold Florida sand under my bare feet, a show of stars in the sky–

The trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry, more guppies crowding the fish tank, more baby rabbits hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
Unless the day finally arrives when we have compared everything in the world to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks and sit with our hands folded in our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorry
an I shrink like a chain flung from a bridge.

but mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal, to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thrives we are, cut-purses, common shoplifters, I thought to myself as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly from Lawrence Ferlinghetti-to be perfectly honest for a moment–

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

By Billy Collins

The Lanyard: A Darn Good Poem

20 Apr

Excerpt from: The Trouble With Poetry And Other Poems by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricochetting slowly off the pale blue walls of this room, bouncing from typewriter to piano, from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor, I found myself in the L section of the dictionary where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist could send one more suddenly into the past–a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard or wear one, if that’s what you did with them, but that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand again and again until I had made a boxy red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her a lanyard. She nursed me in many a sickroom, lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips, set cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim, and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard. Here are thousands of meals, she said, and here is clothing and a good education. And here is your lanyard, I replied, which I made witha little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered, and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp. And here, I wish to say to her now, is a smaller gift–not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother, but the rueful admission that when she took the two-tone lanyard from my hands, I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Billy Collins

Five Reason Why I’m Not A Vegetarian

20 Apr

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While out shopping today I was struck with an odd thought. Chalk it up to the fact that I’m currently getting my oil changed and that kind I boredom can spark interesting thoughts a you wait for the pushy salesman to come back and tell you of all the other fluids your car needs. Along with wipers, a vacuum, and a radiator flush. So what’s the random thought you ask? I’m betting the suspense is killing you. Well, here it is, How in the world do people go with out meat? So, I came up with five reasons why I’m not a vegetarian. I could come up with more no doubt, but five sounded trendy and cool.

1. Costco-Have you been to Costco lately? Being a vegetarian at Costco must be the most depressing thing EVER! It’s like going to Diary Queen and deciding to just get a water. Going to Costco is all about the samples, and the best samples are always meat.

2. Bacon-I take pride in the fact that I’m a bacon connoisseur. I can still remember the two best bacon experiences I’ve had. One was in Seattle at this dive in Queen Ann Hill called, Cafe Mecca. My mouth still waters at the thought of that thick salty goodness. The other was on a mission trip to Africa. The whole time we ate really skinny chickens without salt, hot sauce, or any other flavor. After weeks of suppressing your tastebuds like that anything would taste good, right? It was on a tour of the Zambezi river that I tasted the most delectable meal I’ve ever encountered. I still wake up longing for those slabs of fatty meat. To become a vegetarian would be to deny that inner voice that colors my life.

3. Starbucks-This one doesn’t really have anything to do with meat, but I really love coffee and I just had to let the world know. I guess I could spin it to make it work. I don’t want to be a vegan either, so that counts right?

4. Bacon Cheeseburgers-Need I say anything else? Who doesn’t love bacon cheeseburgers. I have a philosophy that I live by; never trust anyone that doesn’t crave a good bacon cheeseburger every once in a while.

5. Jesus ate meat-this is the single biggest factor in me loathing being a vegetarian. Who doesn’t want to be like Jesus. It’s what we all aspire too, right? Well, at the end of the day, Jesus at meat.

 

Anniversary Dates You Didn’t Know Existed

18 Apr

Last night my wife and I brought our 1 year old over to some friends house for dinner. As new parents we are always freaked out about other peoples things since our little girl could careless about stuff and just wants to put it all in her mouth or throw it on the floor. Thankfully, last night was the perfect house to bring her since their living room was showcased with stuffed animals, Build-A-Bears to be exact, and a small wooden rocking chair placed in the dinning area just for her riding enjoyment. As my daughter man handled ever animal she could get her grips on, we soon discovered that every bear came with a story. Most of the animals were gifts, and after further conversation we realized they were anniversary gifts at that. Now, as a newlywed, I’ve discovered that the term ‘anniversary’ has a very loose definition that no man on the planet can define or fully comprehend. Remember that time in sixth grade when they separated the boy’s and girl’s to give you the ‘big talk,’ and each gender was wondering what in the world the other was hearing about. Well, I ‘m convinced that in that class all little girls were informed of anniversary dates that should be adhered too in a marriage relationship. These are not dates that will come up until after the wedding bells, so don’t try to figure them out before the big day. Remember these dates or suffer the consequences.

1. The First Date: I decided to start with an easy one. The first date is a no brainer, right? Well, this would be the case if you knew the first date. The fact is, you only think you know the first date. In her mind the first date actually started two days before the actual date. Why, you might ask? Well, remember that time you and her were out with a bunch of friends. You didn’t classify it as a date, but believe me, she did. If you don’t remember this date, which you won’t because you don’t even know when it is, you will be in the dog house. Good luck.

2. The First Time You Met: I bet you didn’t realize this was an anniversary. It is. Don’t make the mistake of over looking this crucial day, because if you do, you’ll be sleeping on the futon in the kids room. In your mind, this date ranks right up there with the first time you guys ate spaghetti together, but to her it’s the beginning of it all. If you don’t remember this date, find out quick.

3. The First Gift: One day you’re going to walk in the door from work and she is going to hand you a present. Panic will immediately set in because you’ll know you forgot something, and then she’ll remind you of the first present you ever gave her. It’s in this moment you’ll realize this is a special anniversary date you have forgotten. At this point it’s to late to do anything, but by now you’re starting to realize there are a lot of dates you don’t seem to have marked down. If you’re smart you’ll buy a couple presents, wrap them, and keep them in your car. This way you can always say, “Oh, I forgot your present in the car.”

4. The First Time You Met Her Parents: Remember this awkward day? This event is one of the official markers of commitment in her mind, so don’t forget it. The day she invited you over to meet the parents was actually the day you proposed and didn’t know it.

5. The First Time You Talked Marriage: Remember that time you were watching the Princess Bride, and that funny look guy that say’s “Mawage, is what bings us togeber today?” Well, that was your first official conversation about marriage and you totally missed it. I can only pray you don’t forget this while she’s pregnant.

6. The First Time You Talked About Having Kids: This one will be a challenge for you to remember because it wasn’t an actual conversation. You were at Best Buy getting ink for the printer and you saw a cute little kid and said something like, “Wow, that’s a cute little guy. I can’t wait to have kids.” She won’t even have said a word, but that date was just logged into the database in her mind as a new anniversary date you are now expected to celebrate.

7. The First Argument: I know what you’re thinking; why in the world would she remember this day? In her mind, the first argument marks the day your relationship went from being a surface level relationship to one of depth and true love. Forgetting this day is the equivalent of taking off your ring and stomping on it. Don’t do this.

8. The First Time You Didn’t Die: Remember that time you were driving home from her house and you got caught in traffic? You usually always call her to let her know you’re home, but that day you decided you didn’t need too. Well, the second you made the decision not to call was also the second she started thinking you were dead. With every passing minute she planned your funeral and her tragic life without you. Once she had figured out every last detail is when you finally got home and made the call. After an outburst of anger she then book marked that event into her mind as a day to remember forever. You forgot all about it, but she has immortalized the fact that you didn’t die.

9. The First Picture Together: Here is a day no guy remembers. In our digital age, the first picture was likely taken on your iPhone at Chipotle’s, but in her mind is was as significant as any wedding photo. You probably have guacamole on your lip, but she was mentally marking that photo as a day to celebrate.

10. The First Prayer: There is no doubt this was a significant moment, but once again she probably remember it differently than you do. You remember asking God to bless your burrito’s, but she heard was a quote from Pride and Prejudice. “Elizabeth quietly answered “Undoubtedly;” and after an awkward pause, they returned to the rest of the family. Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard.  It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins’s making two offers of marriage within three days was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted.  She had always felt that Charlotte’s opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own, but she had not supposed it to be possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.” Scary stuff, but that’s the significance of the first prayer.

11. The First Time You Hurt Her Feelings: This day will never be forgotten because you’re a big jerk. End of story.

12. The First Time You Made Up: Need I say more.

13. The First Time Of Her Parents Anniversary: I know, right now you’re saying ‘what?’ Yes, at some point you’re going to celebrate the fact that her parents fell in love and got married. It’s going to confuse you, but go with it. It’s not that you don’t want to celebrate things like this, but you just don’t know what is celebratory and what isn’t. At this point it’s time for you to throw out an anniversary date of your own just to switch things up a bit. This is an opportunity for you to celebrate something like the first ball game you took her too. Once you tell her of the date, she will then inform you that you have the wrong date, and then she will go grab the ticket stub to prove you wrong.

14. The First Time You Made Her Laugh: This is a day she celebrates because once kids come along there is just a lot of crying and sleepless nights. The fact you don’t remember the first time you made her laugh will make her cry though, so be prepared.

15. The First Time You Did The Dishes: Before getting married we only did the dishes once, and that was just to wash off the mold growing on the side of our coffee cup. We probably didn’t even use soap to get it off. So you can appreciate the fact she celebrates this day. The day represents the day you as a man were domesticated and transformed from a disgusting bachelor to a well mannered family man.

16. The First Diaper You Changed: She celebrates this day because of the comic relief involved in it all. For most of us men we had no idea our babies could poop on their heads, let alone poop a sticky paste that is impossible to wipe off. This is the one date you don’t need to remember. She is celebrating this one all on her own.

17. The First Time You Touched: This one isn’t what you think. Remember that time you took her to Starbucks and ordered a triple grande four raw sugar soy latte for her, which she takes to sips of, and when you handed her the cup your fingers brushed. You didn’t think anything of it, but she immediately went to the bathroom and tweeted sixteen of her friends about the encounter. I hope you enjoyed that touch because during pregnancy her favorite words will be, “Don’t touch me.”

18. The First Time You Held Hands: Finally, a day you can understand, kind of anyway.

19. The First Time You Danced: 90% of men try with all their might to erase this moment from their memory, but she won’t let you. She might even make you dance in the living room. No doubt you have forgotten the moves you learned for your wedding, but don’t worry, she’ll remind you.

20. ?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve celebrated?

Lightening Sabers: A Whistle In The Dark Teaser

12 Apr

 

“Whoa!” Henry Thomas exclaimed at the sight of lightening bugs.  “Come with me,” Eaner said, leaving two of the eight positions in the outfield vacant as he and Henry Thomas scurried off to the grassy lot adjacent to his house.  “Take off your hat Henry and use it as a net and I’ll show you something really cool.  My sister hates when I do this because it’s a little gross, but you have to see this.”  Eaner waved his hat into the night sky, snagging unsuspecting fireflies in mid-flight.  “Here’s what you do,” Eaner said fingering an innocent bug.  “You see the light at the end here?”  “You mean the butt?”  Henry snickered.  “Yeah, the butt I guess.”  Eaner replied.  “Take the butt and tear it off.”  “That’s disgusting!”  Henry protested.  “Just wait and see.  I told you it was kind of gross.  So once you rip off the butt, as you call it, you squeeze the juice out of it and onto your hands.”  “I’m not squeezing the juice of a bugs butt onto my hands.  That’s gross!”  “You haven’t seen the cool part yet.  You see, you squeeze the juice out and smear it wherever you want it to glow, and then wa la, you have your very own light saber.”  Eaner waved his hand leaving trails of light behind wherever it had been.  “That’s so awesome!”  Henry gawked.  “See, I told you.”

Quickly, Henry caught a bug and repeated the act.  In a matter of moments the two boys were glowing warriors battling the forces of darkness with bug juice and boyish energy.  “I forgot to tell you one thing,” Eaner said, putting a pause to the galactic battle.  “What?”  “Smell your hand”.  Henry lifted his hand toward his nostril and let out a putrid holler as the scent registered in his senses.  “I was so excited to show you it that I forgot how bad it smells.”  “It’s horrible!”  Henry exclaimed.  “There’s one more thing though.”  Eaner said hesitantly as if he’d just snuck a quarter out of his mom’s purse and been caught red handed.  “What?”  Henry replied not really sure he wanted to know what Eaner was going to tell him.  “This glow juice is really hard to wash off,  I mean really hard!”  “How hard, Eaner?”  “Like, maybe a couple days to wash off hard!”  Eaner replied sheepishly.  “Awwwe!, Henry let out in a light hearted disgusted gasp of disapproval as the previous battle resumed with heightened intensity.  Soon the two boys were rolling in oak leaves laughing and stinking the night away.

 

Excerpt: A Whistle In The Dark: The Adventures Of Eaner Pickernan

 

 

It’s All In The Follow Through

11 Apr

Remember back in little league, or swim lessons, or basketball camp, or underwater basket weaving school, and your coach kept telling you, “it’s all in the follow through,” and you had no idea what in the world they were talking about? They always over emphasized the second syllable when they said it too, driving home to our eight year old brains that everything in life somehow depended upon that moment in time, and the swing you were about to perform. Never mind that 98% of us missed that swing and are still dealing with the emotional aftermath of our epic failure. To this day we still flash back to the moment our lives spiraled out of control because we missed that pitch. We didn’t follow through.

Well, years have come and gone, and whether or not we’ve healed from the traumatic experiences of our childhood, we’re beginning to realize what our coaches told us is true. Follow through is everything. No matter what we put our hands to in life, we soon discover that only the things we follow through on actually come to fruition. For once the grown ups were right.

I’m pathetic at follow through. There are so many things I’ve started over the past few years that I just haven’t finished. Those things are like a splinter in my brain. Doing anything worth while takes determination to see it to it’s end. Easter is the perfect example of the ultimate follow through. In a garden long ago our ancestors succumbed to the temptation to be like God, and through disobedience spiraled all of mankind into darkness. But, it was in a garden two thousand years ago that another battle ensued. A battle for our freedom. It was at an olive press where our Lord was crushed in taking on the weight of our sins. It was in this garden that He delivered a death blow to self and surrendered Himself to the will of His father. What was once lost through disobedience was recovered once and for all through perfect obedience. In this garden His mind was made up, and we know the rest of the story well. He followed through.

I’m so glad Jesus isn’t as horrible at follow through as I am, but he’s calling us to something more. Like our coach’s in the past, Jesus is calling us to follow through. To follow through with that conversation you don’t want to have. To follow through with an apology we need to give. To follow through with forgiveness we need to extend. He even wants us to follow through with those dreams we’ve put off. Everything depends on the follow through.

What is it you need to follow through on today?

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