Changing the World One Child At a Time – Thank You, Mothers! By Jo Russell

Motherhood: America’s humorist Erma Bombeck claimed it was the second oldest profession.

In the world’s oldest profession, the women’s dressier wardrobes were free of baby urp on the shoulders–a deposit that comes with motherhood.

If the Marines will only take and make the few, the proud, and the Marines, motherhood requires even more: 360 degree vision, a warm and welcoming lap, strength enough to leap tall buildings in a single bound with a child under each arm while answering the phone, fixing dinner, and keeping the cat from coughing up a fur ball on the rug. Plus during the teen years, a mother must continue to enforce and teach children who are hacking away at the umbilical cord with a machete. She finds the strength to hold tougher boundaries than a drill sergeant.

But the rewards come. In a job cut out for the proud, the few, the strong, a mother rises above all. God smiles at mothers. For their job is to change the world one person and one child at a time.

They do.

When Thomas Edison’s elementary teacher told his parents he was not able to learn and wouldn’t contribute anything to society, his mother took over with encouragement as well as teaching. She found he was drawn to read reference books. He loved those on science. When grown, the inventor/businessman contributed over 1500 inventions, including the famous light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera. His company supplied the concrete for the Yankee Stadium, built in 1922. He continued to dream, create and invent all of his life. Where a teacher had not seen his potential and believed, his mother did. And God never stopped believing in Edison’s ability and talent.

Thousands of years ago, a king advised his son to look closely for the sterling qualities of a good wife and mother. “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” [Proverbs 31:27-29 NIV]

Along with the hard work of multitasking, mothers and grandmothers everywhere touch the world with influence and training about values. What character rises above and spans the generations?

What Mom and Grandma teach, plus the solid ideas and teaching of Christ from the Bible, help shape character, not just when children are young, but all through the years.

For example, Gina’s family and children grew together with daily Bible studies at the breakfast table.

When the teen years came, ATTITUDE stepped up to home plate. Gina had enlisted the help of many stable couples at church to continue her sons’ ongoing moral and spiritual growth. It had been a team effort. While she saw other parents let their growing children decide if they wanted to go to church, pray, or study the Bible, Gina didn’t.

Gina, who taught elementary school, thought that giving them a choice seemed to be something like the mom whose daughter flunked first grade reading and stood at the summer reading class door saying, “Honey, would you like to go to summer school with Mrs. MacArthur or go with us to Disneyland next week?” Gina MacArthur never saw the wee girl again.

Gina opened a small devotional with Bible studies at the breakfast table with her sons.

“Don’t give me that eye-rolling!” She warned them.

Instead, they sighed noisily. “Anything more to eat? Can we have seconds?” one asked.

It was Gina’s turn to sigh. At times, she felt there seemed to be so little feedback, Gina thought she was talking to the napkins. In spite of that, she persisted.

Her young men both left home, announcing they were glad to be out from under the rules of the roost!

Only months later, she got a package from her son, George, who had finished Army boot camp. Inside was a devotional inscribed with these words penned by my son: “Merry Christmas, Mom. God gave the greatest gift of all, but I thought this book would help in using that gift….Though there is such a distance between us, we can look to the Lord and know we are united in Christ. Merry Christmas and God bless you now and forever.”

The next year, her second son, Norman wrote her, too. “Things are awesome since I rededicated my life. People get along with me better. I smile more. I went grocery shopping, and for the first time in two months, I wasn’t in the ten items or less line!

Gina found herself wiping her eyes with a rag and saw that it was one of her son’s tattered cross country tee shirts. The caring parent cried even more as she realized that God had continued the work in her young adult offspring.

Moms, parents, and grandparents everywhere, persist as you raise your children. Teach them how to find the laundry hamper, but also how to find and seek out God. Your job is to plant the seeds. Count on God for the rest!

A big thank you for all you do! Happy Mother’s 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.]

 

 

 

 

 

She Thought He’d Run Away by Jo Russell

Carole, new to the senior discount class, announced to her long-time friend Paul after their first lunch together, “I’d like to have a friend, but I’m not interested in dating anyone. I swore off dating five years ago.” She thought he’d run away.

The newly widowed man thoughtfully nodded. Then he commented, “How about going to church with me? You could hardly call that a date. You always go to church.”

“Okay.”

“We’ll go to breakfast first because we both have to eat.”

“I knew there was a catch, but that’s a good point.”

When the skilled do-it-yourself woman who knew her way around a circular saw couldn’t figure out how to build a food prep table the same height as her barbeque, she asked Paul if he could show her how. “I’m not trying to be coy. I just don’t know how.” She fixed him lunch.

Her admirer sawed, constructed and finished the table. The last hour, the rain drizzled over his head and dripped down his pearl-buttoned shirt.

“Yum!” Paul commented after the first bite of the hot lunch. “You’re a good cook. I haven’t had home-cooked food in ages.”

“Don’t read anything into it.” she explained. “I like to cook and I love to have company over.”

Carole thought he’d run away when she told him, “Stop proposing every week. It’s a relationship killer. You’ll have to wait a year.”  But he kept coming around.

Carole thought he’d run away when she told him she couldn’t date anyone her age unless he got a shingles vaccination. The next day, Paul waited three hours and paid three bills to get the shot.

She thought she’d run him off when she said, “I can’t possibly consider a serious relationship with anyone unless I know their credit score.”

He printed it up and handed it to her. As they exchanged credit scores instead of rings, Paul mentioned he wanted to see her more often. “How about Saturday?”

“I’m busy Saturday with a mission project for a widow.”  But Paul volunteered to come along with a smile and a tool box. He didn’t even mind that the widow added four extra chores to the “honey do” list.

Carole thought he’d sprint for the nearest internet dating site when she was out of town with her freelance business.

“That’s okay. I miss you, but I’ll just call you in the afternoons. Does that give you enough time?”

Carole kept thinking he’d run away. But like the new formula wood glue that held Paul used to bond her barbeque table tight, the man stuck fast, determined to win at the game of love.

Even Paul’s steadfast commitment to the relationship pales when compared to God’s stick-to-it-iveness that spans lives and generations.

God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He gifted Abraham and Sarah with a baby boy when everyone said it could never happen at their age. He did the same for Zechariah and Elizabeth, senior-aged parents of John the Baptist. God protected Joseph when he had been sold into slavery as a teen. God groomed him as Prime Minister of Egypt. All nations but his suffered from drought. God was with Daniel in the lions’ den. He enabled an orphaned child to become the Queen of Persia and save her people from extinction. He was with Apostle Paul through a handful of shipwrecks on the Mediterranean Sea.

But perhaps in spite of all those ancient stories of God’s steadfast watch care and miracles, you’d been thinking it’s too late for a relationship with God. Surely, He would run away when he knew what you had done. Does He need you? Nope. Do you need Him? Yep.

Maybe you’d been thinking, “I thought God would run away when I told him I was going to do my own thing and didn’t have time for him.”

But He just waited.

Maybe you’d been predicting that God would run away when you stopped going to church.

He just waited.

It could be that you wondered if God would run away when you realized you had a job to do and you didn’t know how to do it.

When you asked for help, He was there with more power, strength and know-how.

You just knew that God would run away when you made a bad choice and got into trouble.

But He stood beside you.

Over 1400 years before the appearance of Christ, the psalmist wrote, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” [Psalm 33:20-22 NIV].

In those days, as is today, God stands firm, waiting on you. And He won’t run away.

[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.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Pass Go! Do Not Collect $200.! By Jo Russell

Date Night at the movies! What a rare treat for Pastor Rick and his wife, Shannon! The couple with grown sons exercised veto power on most films due to ratings, subject matter, and their own lack of time juggling many programs at church. But the humorous new release with a well-known star and PG rating made it irresistible.

“Welcome! Enjoy the show!” Employee Wayne smiled as he tore the couple’s tickets and directed them to the right theatre. With only two theatre complexes in a thirty-five mile radius, Wayne recognized most movie-goers. Some came from 60 miles away. With a short-staff schedule, Wayne and other employees had at least four jobs. He couldn’t remember Rick and Shannon’s usual choice of movies, but from the audience’s laughter erupting from the theatre during that film, he thought they’d enjoy it. 

But after Pastor Rick and Shannon worked their way through two buttered popcorns, cold drinks, advertisements, and previews, they settled in to watch the movie. The opening scene tracked a beach party with an abundance of enthusiasm, skin, and adult activities. It seemed to rival what had been written about the party the Israelites staged while Moses was up on Mt. Sinai getting God’s commandments. After five minutes, the film left much room for improvement. Pastor Rick and his wife trekked back to the lobby.   

Wayne was now manning the snack bar, taking tickets, sweeping up popcorn, and getting ready to clean the restrooms. “What can I get you? More popcorn? Sodas? Candy?”

“No, we want our money back,” requested Pastor Rick.

Now the theatre employee remembered them! Wayne studied his watch, and then crossed his arms.  After he checked the time, he announced, “I can’t do that.”

“Why not? I’ve only seen five minutes of the movie. I didn’t like it. I want you to call the manager. ”

 “Today, I’m the manager, ticket taker, snack bar server, and janitor. You can’t get any higher than that. See, I remember you’ve been here before. You were five minutes into the movie this time. If it had been three, I could give you your money back.  After five minutes, you cannot pass go and cannot get your money back. My decision is final!”

So was Pastor Rick’s. The husband and wife looked at each other and laughed. Wayne didn’t.  Then Rick and Shannon left holding hands in their quest for another venue for Date Night. 

Walking upright with the Lord takes a real man. Forget about popular signs of manhood: nice aftershave, owning a pick-up truck, opening doors for ladies, working hard, supporting a family, as well as remembering birthdays and anniversaries. It takes courage and commitment to submit to a life mentored by God.  God decided that a man’s role is also to be the spiritual leader of a family.

As a father of three sons, Pastor Rick took his role seriously as the God-honoring leader in his family. While raising their children, he and Shannon modeled what they wanted to see in their sons’ choices in adulthood, challenges, and spiritual life and growth. Pastor Rick taught his congregation and his family from the Bible, and took to heart the passage, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 [NIV].

On Father’s Day, we honor men around the world for their important role in families – changing the future by shaping, teaching, and modeling character and integrity for children, whether their own or in their care as leaders. Add to that God’s take: There is nothing of higher value than a father who models and walks with His Creator. It takes courage to make big decisions as well as small ones – like taking a stand on what makes good entertainment on a Date Night.

Many blessings on you guys out there who know how to be fathers to your and others’ children. Happy Father’s Day! God bless you all!

[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, available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]   

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Over Messiness: God Can Do the Impossible! By Jo Russell

“I’m Jo and I’m a slob.” I could just imagine standing up in a 12-step meeting and admitting this horrible habit. Before God stepped in, I figured I was helpless to overcome this behavior. I’m a great test case for God’s promise that with Him all things are possible. [Matthew 19:26.]

Now and then, I felt guilty when I remembered a friend who has an immaculate home 24/7. She never battles disorder, dirt, and chaos. Her children learned to give themselves a bath,19:26. make their beds and fix their own meals by the time they were four. None ever showed up in a mud-covered trash bag after being towed on an inner tube behind someone’s four-wheel drive. That was my sons’ style.
Messiness seemed like our family’s shared gene. “Dear Lord, I know you can heal me of anything. Please guide me and help me over my sloppiness.” It wasn’t long after my prayer that I forgot I’d asked Him. If you pray for God to heal you of your messiness, then stock up on cleaning supplies and rags. I didn’t.

God has a sense of humor, you know that?

One day, the doorbell rang and I answered wearing my project clothes covered with a layer of drywall dust, which I’d tracked through the house. On the porch were two women: Miss Beauty Contest Winner with immaculate hair and manicured fingernails, tiara, heels and hose, plus a designer dress. Her sponsor stood beside her with her mouth open. I’d completely forgotten this day I was coaching the scholarship candidate on her public speaking. The appointment was in my day planner, but I hadn’t looked at it that day. My fingernails were as ragged as the Grand Teton range. Dusted white were my face, glasses and clothes. Two tufts of hair stuck out through the leg holes of an old pair of underwear over my hair. The two women were stunned.

Grand Mal Embarrassment set in. It was time to be serious about changing my habit for good and turning to God for help, not just with the house, but with organization. God got busy right away as I overhauled my day planner. Then I changed my habits after painting a few houses during the summer. I went to the first house to work. The dust bunnies were big enough to knit together into a Volkswagen. To say there was disorder in that house was like calling a boat wake the same as a tidal wave. After that 15-hour day, I went home, vacuumed, cleaned toilets and washed dishes. “I can actually do this,” I realized.

The next two houses were about the same.

“Very funny, God!” I told Him. “What’s next?”
Over time, I changed for the better. Though I would like to use the word “spotless,” that’s entirely too strong a word. What I did learn was if you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. You can tackle all messes a little at a time this way.

There is all planning and no disorder in God’s world. Having an uncluttered house helps to have an uncluttered life. God smiles down at us when we don’t have to make a second trip to the hardware store for cup hooks because we couldn’t find the ones we just bought.

God had indeed done the impossible with me, and with a sense of humor at that. He healed me of my sloppiness, just as I asked Him!

[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, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

 

SAVE THE DATE! CROSSWORD OLD TESTAMENT QUIZ DEC. 9 WIN A FREE BOOK SHIPPED ANYWHERE IF YOU ANSWER CORRECTLY FIRST!

Rest In Peace, Tabitha Tomato By Jo Russell

Tabitha died today, much before her time. Neighbors reported her death to Plant Protective Service (P.P.S.) and officers rushed right out to investigate–at my house! They wanted to know how the best and healthiest of the entire group could succumb to pneumonia. Never mind the freezing temperatures after weeks of playful winds up to sixty miles per hour. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

As they quizzed me, one leveled a stare at me. It was like looking down the barrel of a .357. “Did you, her owner, contributed to her death by neglecting to cover her every night?” I shrugged. Another asked, “Did you, the accused, deny Tabitha water while you were treating the lawn with Weed and Feed?”

“How would you evaluate your daily parental attention and care?”

Before I could answer, the second cut in, “Did you, the custodial guardian, completely blown off the ‘storm watch’ warnings on weather.com?”

I hung my head, ashamed. “Well, yes,” I mumbled. “Somehow I only got to the top four on my ‘to do list.’”

“I thought so,” the officer said. “I remember Tabitha when we sent her home with you for adoption. Her leaves were strong, full, ruffled and dark. Now all she has are brown stumps. She had been budding out to produce fruit.”

“But I carefully prepared her bed and dug out wads of wrecking-ball sized roots.” I whined. “I even put in new soil and fertilizer.”

“Then why did you neglect her?”

“I FORGOT.”

“Forgot? That’s no excuse for murder! We will have to cite you on behalf of the Ned’s Nursery Adoption Agency. Don’t even think about applying for adoption again before June 15!”
Fortunately, God does not forget. Read Psalm 121:3-8. Pay attention to verse 7: “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life.” [NIV]

His care, love, and consistency for us are built into every day. He covers us with a blanket of warmth and love when we need it, tucks us in with encouragement and challenges us while giving us food and water we need. When he is finished, he will have made us all the cream of his crop!

[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.]

 

 

 

Need Love Insurance? By Jo Russell

Day or night, you couldn’t miss the two-foot high, lighted letters on the top of a multi-story building close to a major freeway: LOVE INSURANCE!

Every trip down the highway during my stay in the sprawling city, I strained to catch a glimpse at LOVE INSURANCE to see if the parking area was overflowing. If LOVE INSURANCE lives up to its promise, it should be!

Regardless of age, sex, or culture, anyone with a credit card can participate in today’s popular searches for love. Whether coping with loneliness, romance, or the lack of it, computer searches for love and acceptance are a popular pastime. The objective of “love insurance” is assurance that one’s love is always two-way and that the outcome of heartfelt investments of time and money always win. If love can be guaranteed, LOVE INSURANCE be ever-growing in staff and should need a bigger building!

As a planner, I like guarantees. But I know I’ll never find any perfect love from an agency that sizes me up by age, appearance, liabilities, and pre-existing conditions.

But there is a different kind of love that is insured and guaranteed with no pre-requisite. That is the type of love that God has for us. No matter who we are, what value the world places on us or what we look like, God loves us without limits. When we get out of line in thoughts, words, or action, Jesus steps in to take the consequences. Just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, he wipes our lives clean, too.

God’s love to us shows in the gifts of every day. Life itself, a place to stay, a variety of food, spring sunshine, and the company of others all come from our loving God. Most of all, “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners that Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8. [NIV]

So do you need love insurance? You’ve already got it. God cares for you!

[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 Button-to-God.com.]

Rena’s Resolution By Jo Russell New Year’s Day, 2012

Rena lined up her four boys and lovable family dog in order of size: Brent, age 16; Rick, 13, Rodney, 8 and Shawn, 6. Last in line in front of the garage was Floppy Joe, a shaggy brown mutt with ears that hung down like pancakes.

A successful businesswoman who ran a pre-school, Rena knew how to handle children. She wore a look that would stop traffic. She waited for silence from her sons. It came quickly. Even the flies stopped buzzing.

“This is the new family car,” Rena announced. “Your dad and I haven’t had a new car since Rick was born. So these are the new rules: No trash in the van! No eating! No milkshakes! Forget riding in wet swim suits! No cleats on the carpet, and no throwing up! When we park, no one will bang the doors into cars parked next to us. We will keep this car clean and polished. That will take teamwork from all of us. Any questions?”

“What about Floppy Joe?” Shawn patted the dog as the animal swatted at his own ears. An irreverent puff of dust within soiling distance of the polished new van shot out of Floppy’s fur. “Can he still ride with us?

“As long as you put a towel on the seat for him to sit on.”

Despite her best intentions and the boys’ efforts, life happened and the van took the rap for it. On day twenty, a shopping cart careened into the van, denting the rear quarter panel. Soon after, young Shawn grew woozy coming down a twisted mountain road. Rena warned him, “Whatever you do, don’t throw up in the van!” She tossed her large purse in the back seat. “Do it on my purse!” But he couldn’t stop himself and decorated the carpet instead.

Weeks later, Floppy Joe (on a scrunched-up towel) dropped to the floor to lick up grease from a juicy hamburger. “Who was eating in the van? Where did all this sauce and goo come from?” Rena never got an answer. Nobody was talking.

Car washing and detailing improved the van, but the family no longer cleaned it on a regular basis. Rena’s resolution that was supposed to last a decade or so went by the wayside in weeks, as they often do.

That’s life.

Paul advises, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks for all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 [NIV]

My resolution was to improve my relationship with God by doing better at my prayer time. My spiritual life deepened two-fold when I took ten minutes at the table to pray with my sons and share a short Bible study. My faith leaped with growth when I prayed and studied every day, even when a rotating work schedule forced me to do prayer/study time anytime from 3:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. As a person who would probably test as Attention Deficit Disorder today, I recently learned to keep more focused by praying out loud. Too often, I had found myself in “La La Land,” skimming the written petitions and praises each day. If I’m not paying attention, is God? Hearing the words gives more weight, attention, and importance to prayers when I read them aloud.

Like Rena, I am not always consistent in my resolutions. However, I can make a new start if I fail. Overall, God guides me to stay on the path. I move forward.

So don’t give up if you fall. Begin again with a promise to yourself. Decide and do it, day by day. God will be helping along the way.

[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, check her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]

 

Seek and Find A Logical Place By Jo Russell

One afternoon Melody manned the office supply store by herself, phone to her ear. While the employee listened, she scanned every surface, the tops and inside of every machine, and the work bench. Panic was etched in her face. As she finished the phone call, Melody scribbled a message. She cried, “I just hate it when that happens! Now, where is the paper I just had in my hand?”

Poor lady. That’s the common syndrome of putting things in a logical place, only to have them turn up in the refrigerator or disappear forever without a trace. This cognitive condition doesn’t seem to be limited to age, just multi-tasking.

For Melody is nineteen years old!

Just in one week, I had been searching for logical locations where I had stashed a lock box key, my briefcase containing a map and schedule for an out-of-town conference, and dark dress socks that weren’t snowy with lint. But then, what good are the socks when I am still pondering where I put the lint roller?

Helen complained when she stood at the cash register to pay for her meal, “Honestly, I had my billfold when I left home. I flipped through everything in my purse to find it. I am so embarrassed! It’s not here!”

The hostess pointed, “It’s in your other hand!”

We seek our entire lives: relationships with family and friends, the right mate, children, a good job with benefits, fun, happiness, health, answers to problems, and misplaced lint rollers.

In my youth, my search was for anything but God. My idea was the Supreme Being hefted a sledge hammer, ready to clobber me for any mistakes. Opinion, of course – and many bad choices with natural consequences I brought on myself. Once God had my attention, I learned to seek him. The keys to action: read, study, and pray. He became a friend.

In Jeremiah 29:13, the Lord says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” [NIV] That search begins with seeking his face, not just his hand. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus talks about provision and advises, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [NIV].

So no worries about the car keys I need in the next twenty minutes, or the grocery list or the bills due. I believe God will help me with every need—and even guide me to the lint roller.

What about you? Where is God on the list of the things you seek?

[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 Button-to-God.com.]

Anticipation or Procrastination? By Jo Russell

“Anticipation! An-ti-ci-pa-a-a-tion is making me wait!” The popular ad for catsup flaunted the idea of having to wait for the tomato finishing sauce to come out on the hamburger. And you could hardly wait for this delicious thing!

Procrastination has the same number of syllables and the same ending.
But instead of it being a delicious and positive thing, it ranks right up
there in business circles with insufficient funds, lawsuits and lice.

Fear gripped me so tightly I thought I would have to cut it off me like
clothes. The cause? A new assignment thickly frosted with new skills and
technology.

After all, I just learned how to burn a disc (Throw it in the fireplace?),
enter more than 420 characters on Face Book (It’s called a “note.”
How old-fashioned!) and followed the iPod road to the Emerald City for
the first time.

Before I faced my impossible giants, I thought of all the signs of
procrastinating:
– You’re ironing the creases in pants that you have already ironed.
– You’re cleaning the shed when you just organized it on Monday.
– You’re peeling the caulk off a caulk gun that has been stuck
to it like glue for five years.
– You’ve done everything on the “Honey Do” list except top billing.
– You’ve started the great American novel and can’t stop
until you finish (either writing or reading it)

Before I dived head first into the fearfully unfamiliar territory of
the Black Hole, I reminded myself that God promises, “I am with you always
even to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:20 NIV]. We know that with Him,
we can do anything. Sure enough, we did. I finished the task and did it
well in thirty minutes.

What task with week will you tackle with God as your partner?

[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 Button-to-God.com.]

Do You Practice Every Day? The Secret to Conquering Everyday Challenges By Jo Russell

Eight-year-old Ronnie had rushed breathlessly into my classroom and caught me coloring a picture to go with a story we would write that day in class.”Wow, Ms. Russell, you sure are good at coloring!” Ronnie told me.
“Do you practice every day?”
Ronnie didn’t know why I had laughed. Later, thinking of my college art degree, (which helped at coloring,) I realized that his idea of practicing every day was the just-right advice I needed.

Though I had felt guilty for not having more time with my then high-school aged sons, I was doing my best. Demands on my time as a full-time professional spanned more than eight hours and sometimes part of the weekend. What more time did I have as a single parent than checking my sons’ report cards, meeting with their teachers, and planning a few shared outdoor family activities? There did not seem to be enough of me to go around.

Everything I fretted over would all come together, not in big pieces, but a little bit at a time–with God’s help! Here’s the proof: It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:32 [NIV].

The real secret to changing my world and everyone else’s comes from faith in God through the journey and Ronnie’s question.

Do you practice every day?

[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 Button-to-God.com.]