Monday, December 15, 2014

Dating Challenged


I stink at dating – always have.  I sputter.  I hyperventilate.  I fail miserably every time.

I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties.

 I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.  While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several).

But this time I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”  I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along.

The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.  You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blog posting.  

Me first: 

I’m fourteen. My mom fixed me up.  He spent the evening licking his lips and leering at my chest.  I never let her forget it.  (Count them: 25 words)

Again:

I once dated six men, all at one time.  It was a Speed Date for 50-year-olds.  Let’s just say, some people don’t improve with age. (Twenty-five again.  Yeeha!)

These are two of my horror stories, one from each end of my life.

Here’s one more but it is not a horror story.  It is my happy ending:

We met online and decided to meet in person at a baseball game.  He proposed.  I panicked. He was right.  We married three months later.

Your turn. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grace Not Greed
By Raquel Martina Martinez
“May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.”
Jude 1:2 (NSRV)

The winter of 1991 found me in the middle of a messy divorce.  I struggled to pay a four-digit mortgage and to feed and clothe three growing adolescents on a teacher’s salary.
           On previous Christmases, our letters to Santa had been long and expensive lists of toys and electronics, but this year we would have to find a different way to “make merry.”
I tried to explain our situation to the kids, but they stopped me mid-apology with an announcement of their own.
“We don’t want anything for Christmas.” They explained they already had everything they needed – we had each other, a roof over our heads and a safe place at night, food to eat (even if it was way too many servings of boxed mac and cheese or ramen noodles), and they had me.  They knew I wasn’t going to abandon them.
Grace replaced greed in our letters to Santa that year.
Our Nativity set dwarfed the centerpiece-sized Christmas tree.  Three small store bought presents lay next to a mound of homemade gifts, but the best present of all sat on the carpet next to me – my three wise children, smiles on their faces, drinking hot chocolate and singing carols. 
Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for the love and comfort of family.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Cheeto Dreams (Again)


The bag of Cheetos in the pantry sings its siren song.
There is no way to sneak a handful without it leaving guilty orange stains on your fingers, under your nails, and stuck to the inside valleys of your teeth.  You suck the evidence from your fingers, but first, since no one is looking, you pry the sticky mess from between your back molars and the inside of your cheek.
You know they are not good for you, but if powdered milk, powdered eggs, and powdered potatoes are allowed to exist, why not a corn puff covered in powdered cheddar cheese? Why not count it as part of your daily calcium intake?
You’ve tried the puffs, the balls, the X’s and the O’s.  They come in white cheddar, baked, natural, and flaming hot, but since they were first created in San Antonio in 1948, and you are proud of your heritage - you are a purist!
Only Crunchy Cheetos for you!
You follow a sacred ritual.  You inspect them, looking for those rare Cheetos that look like famous people (so you can sell them on eBay and get rich and famous), then you eat all the big ones first and save the small, broken bits for last.  
If you are in danger of being discovered, you skip the ritual and upend the bag, gobbling all the evidence in big mouthfuls before some goody-two-shoes (in a size four dress) comes along and saves you from yourself and your overactive imagination.
You hide the empty bag at the bottom of the trash can.  You scrub your hands and check your teeth; you make promises to yourself not to do that again.  No one will ever know your guilty secret, but wait!
Was that a bag of Oreos hiding behind the steel cut oatmeal?
Quick.  No one is looking. You need something sweet to offset all that sodium but be careful. There is no way to sneak an Oreo without it leaving its calling card on your teeth and announcing what you have done.   


Monday, December 1, 2014

No Room for Jesus


 “. . . and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. . . . and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:7 NIV

Every year we have to move furniture around to make room for the Christmas tree.  Things get shoved into a corner and sometimes end up on top of each other in the walk-in closet. After I put up all the Christmas decorations I am going to use, I have to temporarily hide the everyday stuff in the same Christmas storage boxes I just emptied.
We do not have room for all the Christmas angels my husband collected over the years, and I have to limit the Hallmark ornaments I want to display.
Wrapping paper, gift boxes, and ribbon cover every inch of the double bed in our one guest room. No one is allowed in there, especially the children, because it hides all of the gifts from Santa.  Anyone who plans to stay at our house during Christmas has to find a room at the closest motel.  
Our house is full of “stuff.”
Is your house and your life like mine?  Is it full of “Christmas” things leaving no room for Jesus? If so, maybe it is time to make a change.
Prayer:  Dear Lord, come into my heart and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I promise there will always be room for you there.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Twelve Must-do’s for Thanksgiving


(To be sung to the melody of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Good luck.)
1.     The first must-do for Thanksgiving: buy a pair of sweatpants in one size larger.
2.    The second must-do on Thanksgiving: run both parades on the TV even though no one will watch them.
3.    The third must-do on Thanksgiving: watch all three NFL football games (or take a nap while they are on).
4.    The fourth must-do for Thanksgiving: create four meals with the leftover turkey.
5.    The fifth must-do: eat five servings of your favorite dish: stuffing, potatoes, pie, whatever.
6.    The sixth must-do: eat six pork tamales to offset all that turkey.
7.    The seventh must-do on Thanksgiving: watch seven holiday specials (parades and football games count also).
8.    The eighth must-do: take 8 shots or 8 squirts of any or all of the following: booze (tequila), beer, wine, canned whip cream.
9.    The ninth must-do of Thanksgiving: if on the ninth day, you still have leftovers in the fridge, throw them away, plastic container and all. Eww.
10. The tenth must-do: give $10.00 to your local food bank for each person living under your roof.
11.  The eleventh must-do: say Happy Holidays to eleven family members or friends before the end of the day, especially those who live alone or live far away.
12. The twelfth must-do on Thanksgiving: learn how to say Thank you in twelve different languages and use them all today. Here’s a starter:
Shukran (Shoe-Krahn) - Arabic
Xie xie (Syeh-syeh) - Mandarin
Merci – French
Danke – German
Efharisto (ef-har-rih-stowe) – Greek
Mahalo – Hawaiian
Toda (Toh-dah) – Hebrew
Grazie – Italian
Arigato – Japanese
Obrigado – Portuguese
Gracias – Spanish

Asante (ah-sahn-the) - Swahili