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What do you get when you mix courage, faith, humor, and a few spunky women? You get Over Joyed!, a brand new devotional by some irrepressible ladies who know how to squeeze the maximum amount of gladness out of life. These sparkling devotions combine fun, candor, and biblically based wisdom that can help you trade gloom for glory even in the midst of great adversity. With the same trademark humor and insight that characterize their conferences across the country, the Women of Faith team will show you the link ...
What do you get when you mix courage, faith, humor, and a few spunky women? You get Over Joyed!, a brand new devotional by some irrepressible ladies who know how to squeeze the maximum amount of gladness out of life. These sparkling devotions combine fun, candor, and biblically based wisdom that can help you trade gloom for glory even in the midst of great adversity. With the same trademark humor and insight that characterize their conferences across the country, the Women of Faith team will show you the link between faith, godly character, and a merry heart. Each devotion includes a Scripture passage, a meditation, and a closing prayer. If you're ready for a boost that will energize your day far better than one more cup of coffee, turn here. Overjoyed! will lift both corners of your mouth . . . and your outlook as well!
If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously.
Romans 12: 8
This morning I read this headline in the newspaper: "Rats Giggle, Tests Find." A researcher at Bowling Green State University found that rats are not only playful but they also love to be tickled. Apparently, scientists have known that about rats for some time, but psychobiologist Jaak Pankseep is doing a study on rats that attempts to track the biological origins of joy.
What I found fascinating was Jaak's description of how to make a rat giggle. He says, "It's quite easy. Rats are small, of course, but it's really no different than using your fingertips as if you were tickling a child. You get the most laughter at the nape of the neck."
In case you, like I, wondered how in the world one would know if a rat is laughing, their sounds are recorded by using "bat detectors," sophisticated instruments that register high-pitched sounds humans cannot hear. "When a bunch of rats are all tickled at the same time," Pankseep says, "it sounds like a children's playground at recess."
Of all creatures on the earth, in my mind rats would be the least likely candidates to take giggle breaks. I have found myself smiling about that fact all day. The article has also caused me to spin off on a reverie concerning "least likely" humans I have either known or briefly encountered whom I wondered if a smile, giggle, or laugh ever escaped their frozen lips.
Eighty-year-old Mrs. Davidson, about whom I write in another devotional in this book, falls into the frozen-lip category. Yet, as a child, I found her fascinating. A good part of my fascination was undoubtedly that she would occasionally shout out disagreements during my father's preaching. I, on the other hand, wasn't even allowed to interrupt during second-grade reading group, much less Dad's sermons. I was tremendously envious of all she got away with.
Since she lived within walking distance of our parsonage, I loved dropping in on her. She never seemed particularly glad to see me; instead, she appeared indifferent to my visits. She had an acre of land on which she housed a number of chickens, a goat named Bert, and a cow also named Bert. (I never thought to question the duplication of names or the appropriateness of a cow's having such a moniker.) Mrs. Davidson was always puttering around outside doing various little chores, and I trailed along behind her chatting and trying in vain to engage her in some way.
One night at supper my parents quizzed me about why I liked visiting Mrs. Davidson. I think they were concerned she might find me a nuisance or that she might hurt my feelings. I told my parents I liked her animals and loved the smell of her few bales of alfalfa, but more than that, I wanted to make her laugh. Both parents put down their forks and looked kindly at me.
"Honey," my father said, "I've never even seen Mrs. Davidson smile, much less laugh."
One of the things we did as a small family of three was make various bets. Dad always was betting my mother about some academic subject which he was sure he was right about only to find he was totally wrong. That never seemed to squelch his enthusiasm, however, and the bets continued as long as they lived.
Thinking I might get in on the betting game, I said to my parents, "I'll bet I can get Mrs. Davidson to laugh before I'm in the third grade!" Rising to the challenge, they agreed and said they hoped I won the bet. Mom asked what kind of payoff I wanted.
"French toast for breakfast every Saturday morning for six weeks," I said without hesitation.
For at least a month I tried every conceivable thing I could think of to make Mrs. Davidson laugh. I told her jokes, I told her all the bad things Lester Courtney did in school, I even did acrobatics for her. No response.
Then one day, as I was heading up the path toward her messy property, I was attempting to perfect my imitation of how Mr. Brownell walked. Mr. Brownell had caught his leg in a threshing machine at some point in his life, and the accident resulted in the most memorable walk I'd ever seen. Whenever his weight landed on his bad leg, his whole body would veer dangerously out of balance. But somehow the flapping of his arms caused him to catapult in the opposite direction until everything appeared to be back in order. His head moved in perfect rhythm to all this disjointedness. It was quite a feat.
I had been working on this imitation for some time purely for my own sense of accomplishment. My efforts were interrupted by the sound of what could be likened to a donkey's braying. It grew louder and louder until finally I located where the noise was coming from. Mrs. Davidson was leaning against the side of her chicken house, laughing. She laughed so long, so loud, and so hard it made me a little nervous. It seemed to me making that much noise could kill a person.
"Well, Mr. Brownell," she finally gasped, "how nice of you to visit me," and then she went into another braying episode.
When I triumphantly announced to my parents that I had won the bet, they were concerned the laughter had come at the expense of another's misfortune. I explained that I had been working on the walk for weeks but never to be used for Mrs. Davidson, and in fact, I had no idea she saw me until I heard her laugh. Apparently convinced that my heart was not cruel, I was rewarded with French toast every Saturday for six weeks.
I still find myself wanting to make people smile or laugh. It's a little game I play with myself when experiencing a gloomy waitress, bank teller, store clerk, or any other frozen-lipped personage. Scripture states that we are to be encouragers and to meet other's needs. What a fun way to take that verse seriously and make an effort to meet the "joy needs" of those around us. It sure beats tickling rats.
"Lord, as you increase our joy, may we make an effort to spread that joy around us in your name. Amen."