Coveting the Red Glass by Jo Russell

“It’s my turn for the red glass!” seven-year-old David complained around the breakfast table and he reached for the shiny tumbler full of milk.

“Not! It’s mine!” His younger sister, Della, protested as he replaced it with his blue one.

Soon the milk glasses were moving around the table faster and faster as if they were on a carousel ride at the fair.

“Mine! It’s my day!” cried, Della. Just then, an inner-family ambassador of good will might have helped, but she was at the store and Dad was working.

“Mom said she’d get another one at the grocery store. You can wait for that one. I had dibs first.”

As two school-aged siblings glared at each other with the tension as thick as peanut butter, they didn’t see the milk splashed all over the table, walls, plates and bowls. The metal tumblers had traveled more miles at breakfast than Phileas Fog in Around the World in 80 Days [Jules Verne]. They looked like it. Now, each reflected battle scars and scrapes. The tiff had been all over a metal glass with no monetary value.

But to Della and David, the red metal tumbler was as valuable as a ruby, with the others in bright blue, gold, or green–just scratched-up aluminum.

Thoughts, time, and effort go funnel into each day of 24-hour choices. That’s a choice for everyone. As we grow older and perhaps part of the work force, what grabs our attention, affects our “wanter,” channels our desires, time and efforts until we get it?

A new car in the garage, a nicer neighborhood, another recreational vehicle, or trip of a lifetime?

The world says that’s good because it’s evidence of goal setting and achieving. Success!

But God evaluates wanting in whole different scale. He addresses it, showing it as jealousy–not being happy with what one has.

The last of the ten commandments spelled out in Exodus 20 is this: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” [Exodus: 20:17]

Jesus adds to attitudes towards money, time, and possessions in his walk on the earth. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21]

What he looks for is obedience to God first, even in handling of money. Worldly possessions  will be part of our world. But he asks that we keep our attitude in check. He meets our needs, he takes care of us. He knows and guides us through the unknown and the ups and downs of life.

When we get to heaven, who knows how many shiny red glasses will be there for us?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

A Hearty Hello for All by Jo Russell

Rickie opened his eyes with alarm. He vaulted out of bed and ran to his mom and dad’s  sleeping forms.

“Mom! Mom! Wake up! Isn’t this the day?”

“What day, Honey?” She asked her pre-school aged son.

“It’s the day Gus comes. Remember? He drives the big truck and picks up the trash.”

“Yeah,” she yawned. “I think it is. I need to put the put the bags out.”

“Hurry! Hurry!” Rick urged her.

Both pajama-clad mom and son rushed outside and got the bags in the barrel just in time.

When Ricky heard the roar of the diesel engine, he cried, “He’s coming! He’s coming!”

And by the time Gus arrived, Rickie waved both hands above his head as he danced with excitement in his chance to give Gus a hearty hello.

“Thanks!” Gus shouted, “You’ve made my day!”

Ricky watched in awe as the mechanical arm picked up the refuse can and dumped it into the truck. To the boy, it was magic. To Gus, it was just a lever that he pulled over and over throughout the hours of his routine job. But it paid the bills and supported his family.

As many of us grow up, the excitement of waving and greeting the trash man, a store clerk, bus driver, or fast-food worker at a local drive-in may hardly warrant our attention.

Yet they and we are all precious to God.

Jesus calls us to be child-like. That doesn’t mean self-centered childishness. It isn’t wrapped up in getting one’s own way. Nor does it mean that as a grown-up, we are entitled to judge and categorize people according to the world’s yardstick of success. All are important. All have important roles.

Jesus meant for us to think like a child. That attitude helps us to connect and learn from God. It builds bridges to others on earth and to God in his kingdom.

Think of the best things that children have to offer: trust, humility, being teachable and open, faithful and believing as well as looking for the good in others rather than judging them.

“Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” [Matthew 18:3-5]

In the light of God’s love and value for us, let us shine with appreciation for him. Let’s share our light of joy with others, beginning with a hearty hello.

You might just make their day!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Through the Tough Times by Jo Russell

“I thought you were going out of town on a mini-vacation this month,” Carlie mentioned to her best friend, Rachel.

“That we were, but I think Larry, Don, and Dave are going in our place.”

“Who are they?”

“The plumber, heater repairman and the electrician. We know each other well enough now they’re on our Christmas card list,” Rachel responded. “Larry even brought us some of his wife’s holiday bread the second time he came this month.”

“So now we have sinks that drain, toilets that flush, and a warm glow when we unlock the door that isn’t because something shorted out and is smoldering. Praise God! That counts for a blessing.”

A few weeks later, Carlie asked, “Am I supposed to watch your pets this weekend? I saw on my calendar your family is going to Sea World for a few days.”

“I think that Jerry is going in our place.”

“Oh, no! Who’s that?”

“He’s the appliance repairman. Now he’s on our Christmas card list, too. But the stove cooked the Thanksgiving turkey nicely and dishwasher handled most of the kitchen mess. We don’t have to go to the laundromat to wash mountains of clothes. I sent Jerry off with a card and a plate of chocolate chip cookies for his family.”

“So what are you going to do for vacation?”

“We’re going to vacation in front of the fireplace roasting chestnuts and marshmallows. The house is warm with baking. You should come and smell! Plus Rick and the kids promised to wash all the dishes during the holidays! What a gift!”

Rachel has the right attitude.

With the full-color hype of the holidays advertising the perfect Thanksgiving, the vacation of a lifetime, the greatest Christmas, and astonishing gifts for everyone on your list, it may be hard conceive being happy with anything else.

Forfeiting vacation plans in lieu of emergency expenses? Bummer. But an attitude of gratitude can make all the difference.

These words from the Bible provide just the right encouragement to change worry to prayer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7]

Rachel counts each experience and day as a gift because it is founded in Christ. He is the Prince of Peace. He provides the foundation and security of a place in his kingdom, even after an “emergency fund” on earth is exhausted.

As she observed, “When you’re the cook, you always get to lick the bowl!”

That’s a perc that even Sea World doesn’t offer.

Life is a blessing. Give God thanks today!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

And the best thing about that is the cook—that’s me—always gets to lick the bowl!”

As the Spatula Turns By Jo Russell

Project Chairman Jamie was packing the car with equipment, including spatulas and door prizes, for the cooking demonstration the next morning. It wasn’t easy with the roaring in her ears – and everyone else’s. For the last two hours, the plumber was on the roof with an auger attacking the clogged drains.

RRRRRrrrrrrr!….RRRRRrrrr!…. RRRRrrr!

That’s when phone rang. “Hello!” Jamie shouted.

“This is Beth. What should I cook for the demo tomorrow?”

Jamie’s confidence melted like a Hershey bar. She had been confident with the three of them demonstrating preparing simple meals for low-income families would pull off the event without a hitch. Dottie was a gourmet cook and a mother of four grown children. Jamie herself was a gourmet cook and had been a single mother of two. She didn’t know about Beth.

Jamie was a plan-ahead person–maybe to an extreme.

Jamie wouldn’t be caught dead in a toilet paper mummy costume. Never was she making Halloween costumes the night before. Her children had put together their own Halloween costumes in August from the craft closet and the thrift stores. Jamie trained the entire family to finish Christmas shopping by the end of October.

After Jamie suggested easy recipe after easy recipe weeks ahead of the event, Beth voted them all down. “I want something different than that.”

Jamie began to wonder, Does Beth even know how to cook? This is a little late to find out.

The week of the event, she announced, “I’m going to wing it, and make a meal from the food box items. The food box comes in Thursday.”

Now the day before the demo was Beth’s question, “What should I cook?”

Jamie didn’t have time to worry about it. “Whatever you want.”

The next day, each of the demos went off without problems, and Beth’s was a delicious layered casserole from a recipe she printed from the internet.

“Chop the onions carefully like this,” Beth guided her pre-teen neighbors she brought with her to prepare the ingredients. “We’ll sprinkle lots of cheese on top and bake it now for 35 minutes. Yummy!”

And it was.

 

Jamie realized that she had judged Beth by her own standards of preparedness. But God makes people in all shapes and forms, as well as with different skills and abilities. As Jamie watched, she was awestruck at how Beth reacted with the audience and involved the teens. Beth had done as good a job in the demo as the two gourmet cooks.

Jesus advised us not to judge others – even those who don’t prepare ahead. “Do not judge and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” [Luke 6:37]

As people move into your world who are different than you, remember Beth and others who may not do their Christmas shopping until December 24. They still are shining stars in God’s eyes – as are you.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

When Surrender is a Good Thing by Jo Russell

Bruce left work smiling. “Interesting woman!” he decided. He’d asked the trim, attractive brunette for a date in the great outdoors and she said she would go fishing with him the next weekend. From the first, she had been a mystery to him, working two jobs and showing up for work at the convenience store in nicer clothes than fit the job.

He knew Dee had fled across an ocean and a continent. Why? Bruce didn’t know yet. He only recognized that this bouncy, stunning woman had brought sunshine into his life and work–whether day or night shift. Life was good.

But it wasn’t an hour later that he grabbed the phone at home and Dee announced, “I’m really not into the dating thing. This is really structured. I’m more spontaneous. I just can’t go with you Saturday.”

When he was convinced after much debate she wouldn’t be swayed, he closed the conversation. “But I’m not giving up,” he said aloud to no one in particular. Then he thought of an answer.

When ringing jarred her awake at 3:30 the next Saturday morning, Dee fumbled to find the phone.

“Dave and I are going fishing. We’d like you to come along. We can pick you up in 30 minutes,” Bruce announced. He then added, “Is that spontaneous enough?”

Dee scrambled from bed, got ready for the outdoor adventure in 20 minutes flat.

But conceding to a date did not include surrendering her independence. She thought she would never, ever again throw a white flag into the battle between the sexes.

Once they stopped near the stream, she volunteered, “I’ll carry the ice chest.”

I’ll help you,” Bruce’s friend Dave offered.

“No, I’ll do it myself,” Dee insisted.

A few steps into the stream, tottering with the weight of the cooler, she slipped on the wet rocks.  The white foam ice chest shattered. It was like Abraham’s descendants – pieces that were more numerous than the sands. Bits of the chest bobbed downstream, along with a pint of fishing worms, potato salad, and bagged, seasoned steaks.  The cold sodas were intact, however.  Dee heard coughing on the shore. Both Dave and Bruce were doubled over with their faces turned from her – or were they laughing?

So began the zany, zigzag journey of Bruce and Dee’s courtship. It led to the realization that they  needed each other and God. The Bruce and Dee Team have been happily married more than 20 years now.


Feeling independent and competent? Like Dee, I find that feeling doesn’t last for long. I need God.

It’s not a new idea. Around 500 B.C., God asked the prophet Jeremiah to walk into town for a message. He was to go to the potter’s house, watch and learn. [Jeremiah 18: 1-3] As Jeremiah studied the skilled craftsman working, he saw the process of making a useful vessel isn’t always right the first time. Sometimes a pot is marred and needs to be reshaped. Or sometimes, it needs to be redesigned. A potter pushes it down and begins again with a hunk of clay. And what he or she creates then may be beautiful and perfect for its purpose. It is the same with us and God.

Jeremiah understood. None of us may stand cemented on the pedestal of independence and stay there on our own. We are dependent on God, the Master Potter. We are the clay.

Do you find yourself saying or thinking, “No, I’ll do it myself.”

Isn’t it time to let your Creator help? For what better purpose is trading independence to becoming the remarkable vessel that God makes us to be.

[I originally posted this blog 8/23/2013. I have reposted it in honor of Brad and Deedo of Pinetop, Arizona, the upbeat couple who inspired many and always maintained a positive attitude. Former Red Hat Queen Deedo of the Pinetop Prissies has been fighting cancer for the past year and is not expected to survive another day. God bless them both!]

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

“Old Fogies, Go Home!” by Jo Russell

“These old fogy visitors need to go home!” Carlie complained about the seasonal visitors to her mother as she battled for a place on six lanes of highway heading to her destination in the heavy metro traffic. “A turtle could outrun and outmaneuver that one! Just look at the way they drive! They need to get off the roads when the rest of us are trying to get someplace! Just look at that! Bet they can’t see for their cataracts!”

Her mother, Patty, turned her head to look. “Which old fogy is bugging you so?”

Carlie pointed to a gas-saving economy car piloted by a bespectacled, grey-haired driver.

That’s when Patty’s mouth dropped in astonishment. “Old fogy? Honey, those people are younger than I am! I’m a senior, too.”

Her daughter was speechless. She stammered to redeem herself, “But Mom, you’re not like them! You drive faster! You have great hobbies! You travel! You’re a granny extraordinaire!”

Grandma Patty couldn’t help but think that love and shared experiences colored her daughter’s idea of her own age and usefulness. But the old fogies crowding the byways are somebody’s fabulous grandparents, too.

In Jesus’ time and culture, many felt that others didn’t deserve compassion and kindness, such as the old fogies in with everyone else who were hungry at the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus looked on the crippled, ill, blind, disabled, and unemployable, had compassion and healed them. His words and assurance of care—still with us now—bring hope, healing, and relief to the innermost being. We are loved!

Just as love and compassion colored Carlie’s view of her mother, Jesus showed us that love is the key to make strangers into friends. Jesus stated the most important commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:29-30].

If  Jesus made room in his heart and mind for old fogies in his time who didn’t drive, we can do so in ours. It’s worth it. Love can change of one heart at a time in the world and make it a better place.

[For your information, Jo Russell is a bespectacled old fogy, too, who doesn’t drive as fast as metro residents when she travels to new places or when the GPS is acting up.]

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Can Almonds and Attitudes be a Source of Joy? By Jo Russell

Something fell off the kitchen counter in the middle of the night and bounced.

Home alone, Gracie listened in the darkness, and then heard a furious clack, bang, and crash! The police had posted a notice on the doors of her neighborhood a few weeks before.

Gracie tried to remember. “What did it say? Lock your doors and windows!” A burglar hit seven homes in the neighborhood, mostly by just walking in.

On this busy night, she had passed out with exhaustion after work and had fallen asleep in her clothes. Gracie’s heart thumped and she felt icy as her life flashed in front of her eyes!  She clasped her hand around heavy metal. It wasn’t a Smith and Wesson, but a fitness pack full of drinks, work- out clothes, bras, and underwear that could pack a wallop.

Gracie sat up and listened for footsteps. None. Tiptoeing out of bed, the woman took her defensive stance with the gym bag. More clack, clack, bang! No footsteps!

She flattened herself against the walls close to the kitchen, scanned the room and the next, and another, and then returned to the kitchen where the noise continued. Gracie flipped on the light and backed away quickly to avoid a bullet.

Nothing!

Where was the large, clumsy intruder who had entered the house with such a clatter? An almond shot by her feet. Then a black streak zig-zagged across the room chasing it and yowling until the nut bounced off the baseboards.

“Penny Kitty!” Grace winced as she stepped forward. Something brown and hard pushed into her bare feet. She was afraid to look.

What is a cat litter box for anyway? Gracie lifted her toes off the mound. But it was only a Brazil nut Penny had propelled across the room.

Gracie growled with irritation and scooped up the energized feline. She purred. The overworked lady concluded, “I am taking life’s lessons from a cat. She can be perfectly happy just playing with nuts!”

Almonds, that is.

What can we learn from this? The pure joy of simple experiences.

Being loved and held in God’s hands every day does bring joy! Is your life more work and not enough play? Have you missed moments of joy?

Like Gracie, have thoughts, plans and worries about the past and the future kept you in a numb state?

Penny Kitty taught Gracie to wake up to the joy of today and a thankful heart for each moment in time.

God gives us the present. It’s a panorama of beauty and experiences like a gift. Jesus said, “If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy will be in your and your joy may be complete.” John 15:10-11

Penny Kitty had the right idea. Enjoy life now—right down to the last almond!

Where do you find joy today?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Attitude is Everything By Jo Russell

“Howdy and hello again!”  Dave greeted the white-coated specialist at a skin clinic where he regularly reported for bouts with skin cancer. “Check it out! I’m good today except for one little spot!” he chattered on with a smile. “What’s one after twenty other visits?! Why, I’ve see all of you more this year than family members who show up for the holidays!”

“Glad to hear you so happy,” the doctor smiled. “You’ve made my day!”

“You betcha! I figure that the more you take off, the less I’ll weigh!” Dave turned a full circle to give the physician a complete view of his roundness.

Dave is a flesh- and- blood example of attitude changing his world. “When my coworkers see how I deal with a fairly constant battle with skin cancer, they smile. It helps them deal with their own problems.”

The first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, the Johnson Dictionary, defines enthusiasm as “a vain confidence of divine favour or communication.” Dave’s attitude reflects confidence in divine favor, enthusiasm, and a zest for living.

Life happens to everyone. Going through troubles? Health issues? Emotional stress? Financial issues? Grieving and loss? Change of family circumstances?

Early in his reign that began about three thousand years ago, King Solomon penned these words, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart and good news gives health to the bones. [Proverbs  15:30].

Though these words of advice came out of ancient times, isn’t it strange that medical sources now say that a positive attitude is therapeutic?

Attitude is everything. What will others see in yours today?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

Words and Actions Work Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly By Jo Russell

As teen Laura Jeane and her younger sibling, Betty, cleared dinner dishes at their home after a meal for more than ten, Mama swiped a strand of hair from her forehead wet with sweat and sweetly asked the girls, “Could you two please wash the dishes tonight?”

A large dinner with extra guests like this was common for the family of five who ran a hotel. But back in the days before automatic dishwashers, the chore meant much soap, time, commitment, and hot water.

Sixteen-year-old Betty smiled and replied, “Of course, Mama! You’ve worked hard on this meal. I’ll be glad to help. But I need to make a phone call first.” An hour later, Betty was still giggling on the phone with her significant other.

Dishes seemed unimportant compared to, “And what do you want me to wear for the anniversary of our first date?” she queried. “Oooo. I can hardly wait!  You’re bringing a corsage, too?! Gee whiz! That’s swell!”

In spite of her great smile and promise, Betty never made it to the suds in the kitchen.

Laura Jeane did. She scrubbed the plates so hard, she nearly demolished the delicate design. Then slamming the clean plates on the counter, she groused aloud, “Just because I’m the oldest, I get stuck with chores to do by myself. It’s not fair! When will Betty get in here and help me?”

Betty was a total no-show. Though Laura Jeane finished cleaning the dishes and the kitchen as well, the teen verbalized a non-stop string of complaints about child labor, oppression, dictatorship, and unpaid overtime.

Her mother heard every word even as she reminded her daughter, “Remember, Dear, a smile goes a long way. Words and actions go together like peanut butter and jelly.” She couldn’t decide whose words and actions made her more angry.

Which of her teens’ actions was closer to what Mama wanted–promising but not doing or doing and complaining the entire time?

What is God’s take on this?

Jesus himself has the answer in this story in the book of Matthew, “There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

‘I will not,’ he answered, but later changed his mind and went.

Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

Which of the two did what his father wanted?” [Matthew 21:31]

Jesus explained that saying one will obey [God’s will] and not doing it is a mismatch between words and action. It was common in Jesus’ time and can be today as well.

Does keeping one’s promise count even count today?

King David advises, “Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them.” Psalm 76:ll.

Jesus shined with integrity and boldness. He always kept his word and promises, even in giving his life as a sacrifice.

The responsibility of saying we will do God’s will and just going through the motions doesn’t fool the Creator. He can always see the truth in our hearts. Words and action go together like peanut butter and jelly, like hamburgers and fries, like socks and shoes—even like a dishrag and soap.

When Laura Jeane washed the next mountain of dishes at the hotel another day, she had the help of her sweetie, Gus, who reminded her, “You meet the nicest people doing dishes, and you’re one of them.” And theirs turned into an even better match than peanut butter and jelly.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

The Valentine’s Day Hype By Jo Russell

When Valentine’s Day comes, Roberta often feels a pang of longing to be kissed by someone, to feel a warm body curled around her legs, and to be showered with dark chocolates from Brussels.

But she once said, “Who doesn’t when you’re over twenty-nine and still good looking?”

It did happen, but not in the form she was expecting. Her poodle, Lady Star, puckered up and showered her with kisses and enthusiasm. One cat curled her luxurious fur coat around Roberta’s feet. The chocolates? Roberta would say this is a do-it-yourself project with cream, butter, cocoa, sugar, and time.

One time, Roberta remembered feeling relieved when a truck pulling in the driveway wasn’t an electrician, plumber, or carpenter. It was a florist’s delivery van.  “Must be in the wrong driveway,” she thought and waved him away. But he didn’t go. Instead, he came to the door carrying a vase of flowers exploding in her favorite color: purple. The one-time gift surprised the single lady. Roberta’s grown children had ordered them for her for this special day of love.

Paul mentioned that single people are valuable in the ministry when he wrote “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs:  Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in body and spirit.”  [1 Corinthians 7:34]

Singles can often be the odd one out during events geared for couples.

At Roberta’s Sunday class, someone popped their head in to ask the widows, divorcees, and singles, “Anyone want to go to the Valentine’s Banquet put on by the men this year?” With a vengeance that would go with a question like, “Does anyone want to go sky-diving?” three responded, “NO!” But after the door closed, Vera had an idea. It only took a few minutes for the Faithful Friends Class to plan a Valentine’s activity that included everyone, and which allowed someone who needed a visit to have the party brought to her. It was a win-win situation!

What can you do to remember a single woman on Happy Hearts Day?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]