Putting Off the Job That Has To Be Done

This morning I woke up committed to do our taxes.  This is not a job I love, like, or in any way look forward to.  It is right up there with getting my toenails ripped out.  Alas, I must because my son, Cole alerted me that the FAFSA is calling so he can file for college funding.  This is right up there with breathing as a priority. He must have the numbers by March 1st in order to get in on the first wave of grants, loans and scholarships.  I had totally forgotten. I have coasted into Empty Nest mindset of ignoring those deadlines.

Yesterday I had way too many important of things I had to do to mess with this.  (The truth is I had a couple of days wiggle room and I knew it.)  The memory of us having to pay in last year did not inspire me either.

So this morning I give myself my quit-being-a-weinie pep talk.  I was rip raring to go!  I gather up all the important papers to the kitchen.

I see the recycling by the kitchen door that needs to go to the center.  I didn’t have a whole lot, but I sure didn’t want it cluttering up things. That led me to see the baby gift I need to get around for a shower I have to miss.  Lucky for me, the grandma lives right on the way to the recycling center.  Since I didn’t have an appropriate gift bag, I end up in Dollar General perusing the aisles.  The baby department reminded me that I got a letter from the Pratt Family Life Center saying business has been booming to the point of financial turmoil.  I grab several baby bottles and immediately implement a plan in my head to pitch a fund-raiser for our church where people put spare change in the bottles for the sake of these young families this outreach touches. I deliver the baby gift and have to visit with the proud new grandparents since it’s been forever since I have seen them.  At the recycling center, I chat it up with my recycling buddy, Elbert, who I call my ‘sweet hook-up”.  He is always on the look out for items I can use for craft projects at the church.

When I get home I feel satisfaction of being less cluttered in my space.  I clip up the Dollar General bags and do the loopy trick  to make ‘plarn.”  Plarn is the key for that wonderful art of crocheting mats for the homeless.  Of course I add a few rows.  That reminds me that I need to change out my laundry.  My dryer is some kind of dead so I hang up everything in the basement. Once back upstairs here sit some coupons on the coffee table I snuck by Elbert to send to Robin.  Well, those certainly need clipped.  That won’t take but a minute, then I will attack the taxes.

Coupon clipping is evidently way more strenuous that I thought as I got so sleepy.  A nap is in order.  This would be an investment for my brain.  Being able to focus as my next task would be rather ‘taxing.”  (Oh, I just crack myself up some times!)

I wake up kind of groggy, which is not good. Cliff reminds me of a webinar I have to watch for a class. Oh yeah.  I get my laptop and notebook all set up in the dining room. It has trouble loading, so while I’m waiting, I notice how the hardwood floor needs swept, which then led to dusting the bookcases.  Some of my titles have gotten out of order and some I just need to find a new home for.  I do some purging.  Finally the webinar fires up, but it was still having trouble, so I start weeding out my newly started tomato and pepper plants that are under grow lights on the other end of the table.  After I persevere though the halty technological session, I start pondering the taxes again.

My mistake was going back into the living room.  I hear the announcers taking about our Jayhawks.  When I say ‘our Jayhawks’, I mean sometimes Cliff and I forget that we did not give birth to these boys.  The world stopped and I was suddenly transported to Norman, OK  by way of ESPN.  Once that game was over, the taxes were mine!

And they would have been, gosh darn it, if he hadn’t made that cheddar cheese popcorn.  I am sure H& R Block would tell you that a quick snack is crucial to keep up one’s energy when dealing with the rigors of  exemptions and deductions.  My, it was tasty.

After reading a great article that Patricia Heaton had written in last month’s Guideposts, I pondered a bath or calling a friend I needed to check in with.   Thank goodness, reality came and whacked me up the side of the head.

I sit down, draw a deep breath and take on the beast.

How silly I am!  Putting the job off is irrelevant to if the news was going to be good or bad.  The point is the job needs to be done and done with gusto.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving”  Colossians 3: 23-24.   Especially the jobs we dread!

It actually went smoother than expected and we are getting money back!  (Insert ‘happy praise dance’ here)  Since all the forms are supposed to be in our grubby little hands by Jan 31st, I should have been on this like a duck on a June bug at one minute after mid-night on Feb 1st.   For now I know out there somewhere there is a brand new dryer with my name on it!

Is Everybody Ready?

I was in a land last night totally foreign to me.  A Jr. High wrestling meet, tournament, throw-down or whatever you call it was the event.  My last real wrestling exposure was the 1985 movie Vision Quest with Matthew Modine, therefore I admit my ignorance right up front.   Pro-wrestling used to be a debate with my husband on whether it was real or not when Hulkamania was the rage, but that pretty much taps out my aptitude in this realm.

Meeting my brother, sister-in-law and Dad at the gym in Pratt we took our seats in the bleachers amidst giggling jr. high girls, parents, and participants scattered hither and yon.

There were many body types, but 2 main ones stuck out.  The first was scrawny, but wiry.  While they looked like multi-colored lizards, they were pretty wicked with their cat-like reflexes.  They were scramblers and scraplers.  The other were ones that went to the other end of the spectrum.  The growth spurt ‘up’ had not hit yet, but when it did, the moms had better be ready to go shopping because the waistbands would be too big and the pant legs too short overnight. Their gift was their sturdy resilence.

Jake, my nephew, stood out in the sea of pubescent bodies.  If anyone  in the family is going to get the coveted Grandpa Moore (aka Paul Bunyan) build, it’s him.  He was taller than any of the herd.   While still lanky, one can see he is going to broaden out to be a big ol’ boy someday. Family reports have been that  ‘he’s an animal, Aunt Kel!”  Hence the reason I was there.  I couldn’t miss a display of Incredible Hulk proportions

Being a wrestler with a hospitable side, he came up in the bleachers to say ‘hi’, but quickly hustled away to get ready for his first round.  As he was dismounting onto the floor, Stacey, his mom, yelled “Go Jake Parkin!”  This ricocheted off the cement walls like a gong in a cave.  Stac is not one to sit quietly and golf-clap when her kids are involved.  She goes into battle with them, cheering them on and encouraging.  No one would mistake who her baby is.

When one is a Jr. High boy, this is usually not appreciated and at this particular moment, the Jedi Death Glare that came firing out from under Jake’s shelf of eyebrows confirmed that.  If there were laser beams attached to his retinas, she would have been ashes.  Stac was totally unmoved as she was implementing a plan, unbeknownst to him.  She had just given him the proverbial ‘eye of the tiger.’  (Ok, so that is a classic boxing line.  Work with me here, folks.)

Sure enough, the first round started and bam!  Some poor unsuspecting lizard man was down.  Surprizing myself, I was hollering as well.   I turned to Clay and whispered, “I’m supposed to yell stuff?” since no one except Stac was and she would yell at a forensics meet.   “Sure, go for it,”  he said with arms crossed across his chest as he relaxed in his seat.  I was not mistaken by his calm demeanor.  His arms were crossed to keep the pride from blowing his chest apart.

Before long Jake was up to wrestle again.  This time the opponent was not so easy.  The kid tried to take Jake’s legs out from under him at the get-go.  Not a smart move as that totally ticked our hero off.  They flipped and scrappled.  Jake had a contorted look on his face, but was racking up points like crazy.  I turned to Clay.  “Points are good, aren’t they?”  He rolled his eyes.  At this stage I imagine I would not be invited to another meet with the Parkin family.  After an exhausting couple minutes, Jake came out victorious, and I had broken a sweat in my seat.

My Jake experience reminded me of  the ‘Jake” wrestling with God scene in the Old Testament.   It is an intriguing story that messes with all reason.  If you recall, a lone Jacob wrestles with a random man from night to morning.  Exhaustion had to weigh heavy him as they scuffled for hours until Jacob prevails and demands the man blesses him.  Later he finds out that he was wrestling with God, who could have squashed him like a bug.  The story ends with Jacob having a new appreciation of God and a life-long limp.  While it is a story that baffles the mind with unanswered questions there is much to glean from this passage.  God loves to initiate wrestling matches with us.  Most of time we are like Jacob and don’t recognize God’s face as we tumble with him-upclose and personal.  We end up exhausted, then humbled, but changed forever with the encounter.  In fact, could a plan have been implemented by God to try to initiate a personal wrestling match with us through this seemingly random story?  Plenty of questions are there for us to ask.  The mat awaits in Genesis 32:22-32.  The question is: are you ready to rumble?

Cat + Dishwasher=So Not Good!

Yes, it really was an accident!  I swear on my Kenmore Smart Wash.

Many years ago my brother-in-law landed in the burn center in St. Francis Hospital after a terrible oil rig explosion.  I won’t go into all the details, but he was in critical condition and awaiting grafts.  There was even talk of using Cliff as a donor if Mike’s sites were non-usable.  We had run home to feed critters, grab clothes and money to head back to Wichita for God knows how long.

I had a few minutes extra so I commenced to loading the dishwasher with all those nasty dishes that were piled to the heavens when we got the emergency call.  Why it always happens, I don’t know, but a crisis never happens when the house is clean.  I was loading at break neck speed and getting the latest update from my mother-in-law, who was still at the hospital.

I went to hang up the phone-we’re talking 1987, so it’s still the one with the long curly cord at least 1/2 a mile long.  I came back, slammed the dishwasher door shut and jetted out of the room to finish another pressing task before Cliff buzzed in.

Yowls began from somewhere.  I didn’t think much of it as our kitten, Grady, was always yowling about something.  I finally relented and walked into the kitchen.  Here sat the dishwasher with steam rising, rising, rising when it hit me what was going on.  I yanked open the door and fought through the mist to find Grady draped on the bottom rack like a drowned rat.  Evidently, he jumped in when he saw his opportunity to get a little snack off of a plate.

I yanked him up and ran him into the wash room of our 1880’s house.  I flushed him and flushed him with cold water as he fought for breath.   When he seemed to be coming around I wrapped him in a towel and did what I always did when things fell apart.  I called my mom for sympathy.  She did not disappoint and gave great comfort that only a mama can give.  Through tears I also sprung on her my suspicions that I was pregnant again-3 times in less than 4 years.  Her reaction was “My goodness, Kelly, you  just ran a cat through the dishwasher and what are you going to do with another baby?”  Though very rare, chalk this up as not one of Mom’s finest Mom moments.  Honestly, who could blame her?

Cliff came in to find me with Grady wrapped in the towel, rocking him and crying.  I explained through the blubbers.  He snapped me out of it with a blunt wake up call.  “Kelly, we have got to get to Wichita.  Put food and water on the back porch as my brother is more important than the cat.   We have to go!”

All weekend I wondered about that all gray bundle of fur as the unbelievable drama unfolded in Wichita.  To make a very long story short, the burn center was a shocking world like none we had been in.  Miraculously, Mike was able to have all of his own grafts and started on the road to a very successful recovery.  On the ride home from Wichita, Cliff gently said, “Kelly, you know Grady won’t be alive when we get home.”  Yes, those thoughts were there, but I am a hopeless optimist.  I ran to the screened-in porch and guess who greeted me with his cocky little walk and tail flicking in the air? Yes, Mr. Grady had come out with flying colors—or so we thought.

Since of a story like this can not stay hidden, this was the talk of St. Francis Hospital.  I don’t know how many times I overheard “You’ve heard the one about the lady who put the cat in the microwave, well…. ”  In a packed elevator I heard someone behind me whisper “that’s her.  She’s the one.”

After 3 weeks in the burn center, Mike got to come home to our house.  We were taught how to care for the grafts and nurse him back to health.  Right before his release, Grady started losing patches of fur.  I won’t gross you out, but it was…well….gross.  The burn center took sympathy on us and sent home vats of Neosporin and rolls gauze for Mike and Grady, individually marked. We would go through the huge undertaking of getting Mike all bandaged up and then start in on Grady.  Grady got so bad and was so miserable.  Many times when Cliff would come in at lunch, I would whisper to him “this evening you have a job to do”.  Then in the afternoons, the cat would revive and do the wild-jungle-cat-run-like-crazy-behind-and-over-furniture thing.  I guess he understood people language and figured he had best pull at all the stops if he was going to survive.

Both recovered as ‘crispy critter’ buddies quite nicely, though the road be hard.  Grady didn’t grow much after that.  His gray eyes turned green, his fur the softest ever, and the end of his tail broke off.  He couldn’t handle extreme temperatures anymore.  Everywhere I went, he went.  I could not go into the bathroom with out him following me.  I could never be alone for a second.  For awhile it drove me crazy.  Finally Cliff’s mom said, “Kelly, he knows you are the one who pulled him out of cat hell.”  Yes, water and steam would constitute a cat’s worst nightmare.

I have pondered this over the many years, because blocking it out was a luxury that never happened.  Right before this incident I had decided God and I needed to be on speaking terms again.  I am so glad, because I am so like Grady.  I can get into more trouble going places I shouldn’t and need rescued.   The Bible says “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth….he hears their cry and saves them.”  Psalm 145: 18-19.   That is what he has done for me and that is why I choose to follow him, no matter where he leads me.

Tonight I ask for prayer for someone near and dear to my heart.  He has gotten himself in big trouble for going places he shouldn’t.  My hope is that he calls on the Lord.  That’s why he’s called Savior.

Thank you so much!  If you have one on your heart, let me know as I will return the favor.

The Comfort Zone

Ok, I want to see a show of hands.  Who loves to be out of their comfort zone?  What?  No hands?

Let me rephrase.  Who likes to be out of their comfort zone?  So, no takers there either.  Hmmm…

Ok, let’s try this one.   Who is kicks and screams as they are shoved out of it?  I knew it!  Same here.

While life has a lot of those experiences, sometimes it heaps up and you are not sure you can dig out and survive it.  I fight it every step of the way.  Some times when I have felt like a target was drawn on me, I relish the thought of taking a vacation by crawling back in mine for just a little bit.

A friend and I were talking the other day.  He was sharing about how years ago he was asked to take a job he felt like he was very unqualified for.  He prayed about it and did the proverbial ‘pro and con’ list.  Everything he could think of landed in the ‘pro’ column except for one item.  The lone concern was “it would take me out of my comfort zone.”  After much prayer he decided that issue wasn’t enough to keep him from saying ‘yes’.  He has never regretted the growth that came from that decision.

After I had thought about where God catapulted me in the last year of chaos and how our relationship has grown, I realized the root of fear of the uncomfortable is that I won’t survive what ever comes my way.  I’m not necessarily talking from a physical standpoint, but most generally from the pride corner.  I will look stupid.  People will think I am crazy.  What if I’m terrible at whatever is asked of me?  What if I’m not smart enough?   What if I fail?  I am sure you can think of as many reasons as I can.

Oh, how precious our pride is to us that we clinch it to our chests.   God has to use a lot of things to pry our fingers off of it.

While minor in comparison to some situations, when the class I am taking asks me to do things I cringe at, I grab onto the truth that ‘perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)  If I have to interview someone I don’t really know about her infamous bear story or pick the brain of an engineer in the aircraft industry who probably thinks I am a nutty idiot,  it may kill my pride, but it allows God to work in ways I would have never guessed.  Even with my stomach feeling icky and I wanted to pass out, I got to spend an afternoon with a good friend as she took professional pictures of me.  It  was such a blessing to watch her in her shutterbug element.    Surprisingly, dreading to learn how to build a website that I have no clue how to do, is starting to turn into an adventure.  It’s apparent the more I am out of my comfort zone, the more God can work.  I limit me, when God has so much more in mind.  With each challenge a confidence in him grows and I grow.  Once again we are working together on me becoming one of his masterpieces-not lacking in anything.

I love that he is known as the “Comforter”.  I am the closest to who he created me to be when I am in his comfort zone.

How Far Can a Blessing Go?

When I was 15, my mom came up with a grand idea, which I was sure would scar me for life.

One of Mom’s best friends was Dixie Hazen.  Dixie was the Spiritual Jedi Warrior Knight of our neighborhood.  She was in her bible constantly and had the biggest collection of Kenneth Copeland teaching tapes on the planet.  She would bring wonderful potato soup to our house when my mama was so depressed she would cover her head in bed for weeks at a time.  Dixie would come to sit and listen.  What a wonderful and trusted friend she was.

Dixie also had twins that were my younger brother’s age-6 years younger to be exact.  It had been laid on Dixie’s heart that everyday should start out with her 4th grade twins saying “I’m God’s Happy Child!”-heavy on the exclamation point.  Blessing her children was working with great results at her house. Although it is in the 10 Commandments not to steal, Mom chose to steal this idea and try implementing it.

I was not a fan from day one.

Mom and my Mexican stand-off would start the minute we walked out the door to head to school.   She would start priming the pump being so darn cheerful.  Thank goodness we only lived about 6 blocks  from the school.  She would pull the car to the crosswalk.   My brother, who had not one ounce of pride, would spout off the “I’m God’s Happy Child” phrase and smirk a smile at me as he slammed the car door.  He knew what was coming and relished my discomfort.  I would watch him run across the street and fly into the school.  Oh, no, I was not such an easy sell as Clay was.

I was not about to cave on this stupid mom-sense.  I was much too old and this was way beneath me.  I  would set my jaw, fume and pout.  Mom was like the Rock of Gibraltar.  As we could hear the bells going off in the school, I would force through gritted teeth, “I’m God’s Happy Child!”  Then I would bang that car door so hard, I can’t believe the windows in the Monte Carlo didn’t shatter.  Grrrrr!!!!

Not long after that my 16th birthday hit and I was surprised by a car.  Freedom! Sweet Freedom!  I was in the driver’s seat now.   No more parental oppression when it came to school mornings.  No more dorky “God’s Happy Child” sentiments was coming from this girl’s Buick.  I still had to transport the creepy little brother, but the sacrifice was worth being relieved of the unreasonable torture.

Through the years I have started to understand what Mom was doing and respect her for having faith even when blessing us looked like an epic fail.  I compare her resilience to Hebrews 11:8.  “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  Mom, by faith, invested in Clay and I, even when we were not thrilled about the avenue she was taking.  She obeyed and trapped us in the car with our families being her inheritance eventhough she did not know it at the time.

While I never forced the “I’m God’s Happy Child!” phrase on my four, I would do things that caused them to be looking for the nearest hole to crawl in.  I did cheers in the front yard to send them off on big test days.  This tended to cause huge embarrassment at times, but they all survived and can thank me for the improvement in their circulatory system from their faces flushing.  I did open-eyed prayers over them as I took them to school, which weren’t as humiliating unless we were giving someone a ride.  The blessings continued to be only limited by my creativity.  Now the nest is empty, so I picked up texting them bible verses to bless them and encourage them.

The texting thing has turned into a ‘blessing ministry’ of sorts.  On my daily list is my 4 kids, my son-in-law, a staffer for a Kansas congressman, a young guy who has wormed his way into my heart, and 2 young moms who are being wow-ed by God.  I was floored when my husband requested to be added on the list, because “you’ll text everyone else…”   He is the first to remind when the day gets away and I have yet to do it.  Last night a friend asked me to put her two kids on the text list, because she doesn’t have a cell phone.  I sent them both a pre-scripture warning email this morning and assured them their mama kind of liked them.  That’s why she asked.  Mom’s investment keeps reproducing in ways she couldn’t have seen coming, as well as Dixie’s investment and the person Dixie stole the “God’s Happy Child” idea from.

Yes, I am proud to be one of many that can say I’m ‘God’s Happy Child!’

The Bells and Whistles of Valentines Day

Sorry, girls! He is mine!

Tonight my husband and I have a night planned of quiet, grilled steaks, and college basketball.  No, it isn’t the bells and whistles that some people expect on Valentines Day.  It is where we are.  We are grateful we’re just together on this traditional day of celebrating love.

It also takes me back to some of my Valentines Day memories.  Oh, the excitement of shoeboxes being transformed into heart emblazoned mailboxes.  Everyone gave everyone in our class a valentine and the world was a happy place as we delivered them to.  Sometimes a sucker was included to top of the “Be Mine” sentiment.  Then we would take them home and wear them out looking at them.

In high school we had Twirp Week.  The gals drew the guys names and vice versa.  We were to secretly send notes and little gifts all week with a reveal on the last day.  You would sign the notes with an alias.  This was either the greatest fun in the world or the most awkward experience ever, depending on the luck of the draw.   As a shy freshman, I can remember getting quite creative notes from The Green Hornet that made me blush redder than red.  (Hmmmm…So Green Hornet, if you read this, did you ever wonder if  I could have saved said letters and when you least expect it …..well, revenge can be sweet!)  Some years I made out like a bandit.  Nevertheless, I had more fun making sure I was a great twirp for someone than what I received.   This was far from romance, but the giving was great fun.

Then marriage came.  For the first few years, I got nada, zip, zero.  Disappointed I was, but not mad.  Valentines Day rolled around again and I proclaimed to the girls I worked with that even though I had never gotten anything from Cliff, this year I would.  “How do you know?” came the response.  Well, Cliff had pneumonia.  I knew he was to see the doctor that day, who would in turn give him a prescription.  He would have to walk past the merchandising extravaganza in the pharmacy to get his drugs.  He is Mr. Impulse Buy, so I knew I was set.  When I got home, I had a giant card with an ape face on it, 2 smaller cards, chocolates and a stuffed bear.   It’s amazing how you figure someone out the longer you live with them.

On the flip-side, one year he was working out-of-town, so I wasn’t expecting a thing.  The first  heart shaped gigantic balloon I had ever seen and flowers were delivered to the classroom I was working in.  I was floored! It was very windy day, so I will never forget taking it home.  I almost got a free flight to Oklahoma.  So, maybe he is more of a mystery than I thought.  He had been creative, cutting edge and sneaky.

For the life of me, I can not remember what I have given him, except for one very creative card I made.  I know I have, but the memories are gone.  I am not sure what that means, but it’s just kind of interesting.

One year I took on the enterprise of selling bouquets of silk roses.  The deal was I would deliver a dozen that had been scented with a card to wherever the payee designated.   It was wildly successful.  Unfortunately I contracted blood poisoning through a cut on my hand and had streaks up my arm in route to my heart.  Cliff stepped to the FTD plate and began a delivering adventure.  In the feed pickup, he froze the 11 miles to town with the windows down because I had gotten carried away with the rose scent which was making him gag.  In cowboy gear and 4 buckle overshoes, Mr. Rose Parade delivered dozens of these to the hospital, school, out in the country on extremely muddy roads, and anywhere else I had promised to go.  What a guy! I started to think that maybe this was what romance was all about.

Through the years I have become humbled by the love this guy is constantly showing me and our family.  He is so selfless and would do anything for us, no matter how cold, hot, dirty, or tired he is.

In the old version of Yours, Mine, and Ours” with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, Henry talks about how love is not the ooey, gooey feelings (my paraphrase, as I can’t remember the 60’s lingo he actually used.  I think he said  ‘it’s  not everyday being a love-in’, but it is in the everyday-the cooking, the laundry, the living real life and if its still wonderful-that’s love.   A quiet evening with grilled steaks and college basketball ranks is the stuff that makes this girl’s knees weak.

God knew what he was doing when he allowed a frisbee fly in front of my car in front of the Ben Franklin store in downtown Medicine Lodge.   I drove by the cute guy in the Kansas City Royals baseball cap, who retrieved it and I admit I took a second look in my rearview mirror.   What is still amazing is that he was looking back at me!

Love ya, my Sweet Baboo

You Talk Like A Woman With A Wooden Head

Do random quotes ever come out of your mouth?  Do they catch on and become a part of your history?  I won’t go into the conversation that prompted me to randomly say “My whole life’s goal is to not misquote Montgomery Gentry.”  (If you aren’t a country music fan, MG is a singing duo).  It was a funny random comment that fit at the time, believe it or not.  I hope it doesn’t stick, because its whole value was comedy for the moment.

Cliff is the king of what we have tagged as “Cliff-isms”.  He was constantly warning the kids when they were rough housing that “you are going to rupture your spleen!”  While it is possible, how many people with ruptured spleens has he actually known?  Traffic has always been a great breeding ground for him to wax poetic.  “We are all going to die because stupid people are on the road!” was one that flew out when caught in the flow of  Razorback fans headed to a college game in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  During rush hour in Portland, Oregon, he declared that “this is a menagerie of stupidity.”  I had never heard the ‘m’ word come out of his mouth in my life.  The kids could not miss this historic moment, so I jetted them off an immediate text.  My phone lit up like a Christmas tree with responses.  It is now embedded in the cement of our family vocabulary.  Cliff is always ‘colder than hell’.   I can never leave that one alone.  I love the theological debates that brings up.  The song “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane” will always have substituted in ‘train’ for ‘plane’.  We know it makes no sense but have fun when oldies collections are advertised on tv that the producers once again got the title wrong.  I am considering making a Cliff-isms flip calendar as there are so many more that should be shared with the free world.

Sometimes we use these to get a point across.  When one of my daughters was setting an ex-boyfriend straight who had done her wrong, her go-for-the-juggler line was ‘You are like a tornado in a trailer park.  You leave destruction where ever you go!”  Ouchy-wa-wa!  Point definitely made.  Cliff always had a line for the kids pertaining his no-excuse curfew law.  He would point to his watch and use a very authoritative voice when he would declare “My watch is the official time.  The US government calls me to confirm the time.  The Queen Mother calls me to set Big Ben.  My time is the only time and you had best set your watch to mine.”  The kids had this so engrained they could say it in unison with him.  My guess it will resurface when our grandchildren are teenagers.

My mom had a couple of ones that we have refrained putting on her tombstone, but will always be her legacy.  “Don’t kick a sleeping skunk”  has some deep wisdom if one thinks about it.  A favorite is “You can travel the world over with a toothbrush and a clean pair of underwear.”

Here is a lesson for us all.  My great grandma’s second husband, who was known to be kind of jerky at times, got exasperated with her and spouted off  “Dovey, you talk like a woman with a wooden head!”  Then he keeled over dead.   I kid you not!  If I’m lying, I’m dying on this one.   “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)

There is a huge number of verses  about us guarding our mouths.  I need to take them more to heart.  I’m not saying we can’t have some fun.  Humor was created by God as well.  We just need to use it for good instead of evil.  My favorite verse that has kept me out of a lot of trouble especially on radio is  “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3.  When I forget it, well, let just say it’s true that God disciplines those he loves.

I am thankful today that God is who he says he is, that he can do what he says he can and that his Word is truth.   He is never going to misspeak.  Not now, not never!  “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those you take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5.   That’s a ‘God-ism” I can put my faith in.