The Perks and Perils of Prime Numbers by Jo Russell

Two and a half rescued critters live at my house. Two are happy to be here. Why, the perks alone put them right up there with the benefits of a luxury getaway:

-prime seating and views throughout the resort

-soothing for the psyche indoor and outdoor fountains

– 24-hour spa benefits including on-site massage therapist

– steak and salmon (kibble) No need to bring your lunch!

– tasty appetizers offered several times daily

– health care

– group and individual recreation and activities

AAAH! The Good Life! Well, two would give it a five-star rating.

 

Recently, the half-time critter traded his status as Alpha Cat to be Prime Numbers Feline, with 1, 3, 5 and 7 taking top billing. Though his early life had been entirely inside to protect him from predators like the hawk who killed his mother, he yawned with boredom. Every day the same old thing. Declawed and defenseless as fighting a grizzly with a barbeque brush, he sprinted around my leg out the door two or three times each day to flee his oppressive home and the rules—a teenager in cat years.

That’s where the prime numbers came in. Prime Numbers Feline took to being gone one day, a quick trip home, gone three days, made a quick pit stop to fill up on kibble, and then roamed seven adventurous days filled with fights for survival, death-defying escapes, and danger. It was anything but boring! One wilderness excursion left him with a piece out of his ear and a bloody patch of hair pulled out to the very roots. It has never grown back. When he came back that time, he found one less food bowl out. It had been the first time the battle-wounded cat ever fought his way back inside.

For cats, dogs, critters, as well as people, walking the middle of the road is dangerous! Anyone doing so risks getting run over by a car. Sitting on the fence of indecision is also unwise. It took his own blood to finally convince Mr. Prime Numbers of his true home.

It takes Christ’s blood to convict us of our true home. Are you still sitting on the fence?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

What’s in a Name? Daddy, Papa, Abba Father By Jo Russell

At first, the request seemed tougher for twin 8-year-old brothers than deciphering Egyptian. Or being challenged to build a suspension bridge spanning the Mississippi only using popsicle sticks and bubble gum. Make a Father’s Day card? It left my sons more confused than ever.

In their summer enrichment program at the university where I was taking summer grad classes, a cheerful counselor explained the cards would be their project for the special occasion.

But how? And who should get it? Since boys had been infants, their biological father had excused himself from their lives. They had never known him. But the boys already knew that with God everything was possible.

“We can do this!” the two cried together and set to work as a team. Remembering how much their mom and grandma meant to them and their gifts to both for Mother’s Day, the twins encouraged each other making a card. Even though they didn’t know where to send it, they proudly put their best efforts into it. An hour later, drippy with glitter glue and foam hearts, the message they created read,

“Happy Father’s Day, Mr. Russell.
Wherever you are,
We love you.”

They gave it to me. My eyes grew wet.

Yet even at that point, my sons’ sentiment truly belonged to an entire team of men who invested time and faith in them as well as nurtured the boys. It continued through the teen and young adult years.

One father, a coworker/coach, persuaded my sons to try cross country running. Coming out of shyness, one twin enjoyed competing throughout high school and earned athletic letters. He experienced a runner’s high and radiated confidence. Great job, Coach!

A middle-aged deacon pedaled across town on a racing bicycle. He stood at our front door and invited my other teen to bicycle our steep hills and dales with him. From then on, the boy was crazy about bicycles, racing, and building bicycles. It became his passion and livelihood. Thank you, Don!

One shop teacher/ father welcomed my sons after school for rock climbing practice at his house. He also urged the twins to join the student team of builders constructing a house on campus, which would be auctioned and moved. One became student foreman. Both teens learned building trades. Thanks a million, Bob!

Calling them “our boys,” Ben and Jan spent hours guiding my sons in careers, challenges, and tough adult decisions. Thanks so much!

Later as an Army recruit, one son was mentored into manhood and adulthood by a young officer and husband. High five for Todd!

The common denominators in all these fathers included caring, a strong belief in God and in my sons’ value. It didn’t matter that there was no direct family connection. The Christian mens’ concern for non-family members overcame the lack of blood relation.

Like God’s bond with us, caring, time and commitment provided the glue.

To all you fathers out there, thanks for all you do!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

The Hunt, Seize, and Leave Shopping Style by Jo Russell

Sounds like pure fiction, I decided. Author Dr. John Gray of Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus compared a man’s shopping experience to going on a hunt. If a man were shopping for a shirt, he would take his place at the highest perch in the store akin to a deer stand, determine the location of the prey, nab it, bag it at the checkout and leave. Five minutes tops.

Compare that to a woman scanning the horizon for layout, scouting out numerous choices, evaluating which is best, taking in the sights, smells, and enjoyable company as she savors the entire shopping experience. Do you know of any men who boast: “I have a PhD in shopping”? No, but some women do.

 

How would Dr. Gray’s theory test out in my family?

 

One summer, I worked at a resort, choosing a bicycle for transportation and exercise. But shopping space limited to a backpack got heavy.

 

“Could we please stop at the store?” I pleaded with my strong, silent type son as we came back from a canoe trip in his four-wheel drive.

 

“What for?” he wanted to know. “Didn’t you go there yesterday?”

 

“Yes, but I need to pick up my pictures.” While shipments, seasonal specials, and great choices in the deli danced in my head, I remembered that new earrings, outdoor wear and sports clothing would come in today. His car held a lot more than my backpack.

 

My son rolled his eyes. “What are they of?”

 

“You know –Alaska. The stuff I’ve been doing.”

 

“What’s so important about getting your pictures now?”

 

“Stopping here now saves me a six-mile bike ride. Besides, I paste them up every week.”

 

He thought about it long and hard.

 

“Maybe you need something at the store, too?” I asked hopefully.

 

Finally he pulled into a parking space. “Go ahead. I’ll be waiting.” Just to remind me I was only going in for the pictures while his vehicle incinerated a gallon of gas, my son held tight to the wheel with the truck’s engine running.

The hunt, seize and leave shopping style wasn’t what I had in mind. It wasn’t as much fun.

 

Okay, Dr. Gray, you’re right. Men and women do think differently about shopping – and many other things.

 

But in spite of our choices in shopping style, gender, age, language or lifestyle, we all can be united as one in another way.

 

In Jesus’ words, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” [John 17:20-21.]

 

We become one and share a common bond as believers in Jesus as the son of God.

If you don’t know how to do that, a simple prayer can open the door.

Like this:

 

Dear Jesus:

I believe you are the son of God. You died to pay for my mistakes.

I invite you to come into my life, forgive my sin, and make me a part of the family of God. Come into my life. Take control.

Thank you for your gift of eternal life. I also welcome your Holy Spirit to live in me.

I ask this in Your name.  Amen.

 

No matter who you are or what your shopping style, Jesus always welcomes you into his heart and arms.

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing  2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

A big congratulations to residents of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvia who for the past two weeks have topped out numbers on out of town blog enthusiasts! Contact me with your mailing address at jorussell@button-to-god.com for your free panic button!

 

 

What Every Competent Woman Needs By Jo Russell

“You’ve come a long way, baby!” was the popular advertising slogan around the time of the second wave of the women’s movement. The idea was to move women closer to “fully equal partnership with men.” But feminists blew it by overlooking two essential additions to every competent woman’s handbag.

For equality to be complete, any multitasking, do-it-yourself woman needs to pack a pocketknife and a measuring tape.

After finishing out my working career in building trades, I know that every man who is worth his salt carries a pocketknife and a measuring tape on him. Though the measurements of cabinets were shown on the tag, each customer had to measure just to be sure. It is a good idea.

“This tag says it’s eighteen inches wide. It’s really seventeen and three-quarters.” a male customer would tell me.

The pocketknife? I am forever grateful for those who carried them, as my store had given us rounded tipped cutters because they were afraid of our employees hurting ourselves. So when it came to customers who needed fat, thick vinyl tubing that I affectionately tagged “the python,” I knew the customer who was worth his salt would slip out a pocketknife and cut it for himself.

Some companies have gotten the idea, like the long-standing European knife company who had outfitted the military with their multiuse tool. Now they offer a pink model out of respect for competent women. But I ask you, where is the measuring tape that goes with it?

You can bet that inside every handywoman’s handbag are the real equalizers: a purse-sized measuring tape and a pocket knife.

Consider Proverbs 31:17: “She sets about her tasks vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Those guidelines for a good wife were written close to 3000 years ago by King Solomon, guidelines for a good wife. Whether or not you are a wife, you can be a God and Bible-powered woman.

A spiritual woman is a strong one—yesterday, today and tomorrow. You don’t have to tote cement blocks or patio paving stones to be the strong woman of character that God sees in you. He takes you as you are and goes from there. And God is with you in your journey for confidence and competence outside of your current comfort zone. You’re an amazing creation!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking her weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]