A Little Heavenly Humor Is Just What You Need!
Need a good laugh? Heavenly Humor for the Grandmother’s Soul is where you can find just the right mix of mirth and spiritual refreshment. Whether you’re a doting grandma to one or a dozen, these devotional readings will delight your heart and remind you that every moment of grandmother-hood is meant to be joy-filled.
Come on. . .laugh a little! God knows what a little humor can do for our hearts. After all, He did say, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22 niv).
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Heavenly Humor for the Grandmother's Soul
75 Bliss-Filled Inspirational Readings
By Kathy Douglas, Jean Fischer, Janice Hanna, Anita Higman, Linda Holloway, Marcia Hornok, Ardythe Kolb, Tina Krause, Shelley R. Lee, Betty Ost-Everley, Valorie Quesenberry, Gonover Swofford, Jo Upton
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
From Grandma's Kitchen: Blessings
A grandma is a mom with extra frosting. Unknown
A Bakery Plus Love!
* * *
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 JOHN 4:8 NIV
What is it about grandmothers and sweet confections? When we go to Grandma's house, our sense of smell perks up right away. We burst through the kitchen door with nostrils flared, ready to breathe in all that sugar- and butter-laced air. And then comes the flavor. Our taste buds do sommersaults over Grandma's homemade nut breads, cookies, cobblers, cakes, and pies. But a grandmother's kitchen goes beyond good aesthetics—it's like a bakery plus love.
In my own young life growing up in Oklahoma, on many warm summer evenings after church, my parents would drive my brother and me to Grandmother Metzler's house, and we would sit on the glider, eating one of those sugary treats as the sunlight melted below the horizon like icing on a hot cake. We would relish those twilighthours as the temperatures cooled down and the lightning bugs started their twinkling. We visited while watching the fireflies, but I, no doubt, spent half the evening tripping after them, hoping to catch a few. At the time I had no idea magical memories were being created that would last a lifetime.
And part of the magic on those summer evenings was that each family member was given a bowl of Grandma's homemade cherry cobbler. She always made it from scratch with an extra cup of sugar poured on top, just to make certain it was sweet enough! You'll have to trust me on this one—it was sweet enough to make your lips curl into a gooey grin. It was delicious. Of course, Grandma always gave us a tall glass of iced tea to wash it down with. And go down it did. Just fine. I'm sure the bowls were always empty. And I don't think I have ever eaten finer cherry cobbler since those days at Grandma's house.
As an adult looking back, I realize those evenings weren't just about the delectable desserts at Grandma's house, but they were also about the love. The ingredients were mixed together and baked with care and the knowledge that her beloved grandchildren were going to enjoy every bite. Knowing her grandchildren would leave satisfied and just a little bit more content with life was a joy to Grandma. (And of course, knowing Grandma would be a little more loved was a joy, too!)
I can't help but see bits of God in that story. His world goes beyond good—it's creation plus love. What He created was for our delight. He made it with care, knowing that His beloved children were going to enjoy it all. He, too, wants to sit on the glider with us and visit with us and watch the fireflies in the twilight. He, too, wants us to feel satisfied and more at peace. He, too, wants us to know we are loved, and when we leave those twilight visits, He also hopes we will be more in love with Him!
Chicken 'n' Noodles
* * *
"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
Grandma Halstead did some things just like her mother, Nellie Bell. And yes, that was my poor great-grandma's real name. My mom tells me both farm women, who made their noodles from scratch, would make up the dough then drape it over dish towels hung on the backs of kitchen chairs. That gave the dough time to dry out or puff up or do something before the final rolling out and cutting. Grandma Bell and Grandma Halstead did their noodles the same way. When it came to preparing the chicken for their chicken 'n' noodles, however, these two farmers' wives parted company.
My own mother, who never slaughtered a chicken herself, found the grandmas' procedures neat and orderly. She watched her mother do it many times over. Grandma Mildred Halstead went out and chose the unfortunate bird from their flock. She'd carry it by the scruff of its neck to the chopping block. She put one foot on the chicken's head, held its feet with her free hand, and with a quick swipe of the sharpened butcher knife in her right hand, the chicken was ready to make his or her contribution to the 'n' noodles.
Grandma's meticulous style impressed my mom as a young girl. Some of their neighbors hung their headless chickens on the clothesline and ... well, TMI (too much information) as grandkids today say. Suffice it to say, Grandmas Bell and Halstead's simplicity lacked the spectacle and the barbarism of their neighbors. Me? I never witnessed any of the above. But I never messed with my grandmas either.
From there the grandmas' chicken preparations differed. Nellie plucked her chickens for roasting. A bit squeamish, Mildred couldn't "abide," as she would say, chicken skin. She skinned her chickens before cooking.
Fast forward to the distant future.
In one of my favorite sci-fi television episodes set in the twenty-fifth century, one of the characters was horrified when her husband recounted his mother's meat preparation. The character, whose food came already prepared from a machine called a "replicator," stood horrified.
"Your mother touched raw meat? With her hands?"
Today most of us live somewhere between the chopping block and a replicator. We may anticipate the coming of new appliances like replicators, and we want nothing to do with the old days of slaughtering our own chickens.
Do we take that attitude with the Old Testament scriptures? I'veheard women say, "I'd just rather study the New Testament," or "I find the Old Testament too hard to understand."
The Old Testament deepens our appreciation and understanding of the New Testament scriptures. Jesus said, "These are the very Scriptures that testify about me" (John 5:39 NIV). "The ancient paths" lay down for us all that is to come in both the New Testament and the future. I'm going to keep digging in and studying those foundational words.
As for chicken? I'll eagerly wait for replicators. And—in the meantime—I'll stick with my pre-slaughtered, prepackaged, boneless, skinless chicken.
Chicken Foot Soup
* * *
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. Psalm I43:5 NIV
With three-year-old Erica in tow, Anna and her husband went back to "the old country," Hungary, in 1985. With an independent streak that would eventually repeat itself in her own grown daughters, Anna left Hungary as a young teenager to start a new life for herself in the United States. There she met her husband, established a career, and started her own family. Now she was ready to take her firstborn back to her roots. It was time for daughter Erica to meet her Hungarian grandparents.
Big-eyed and overwhelmed by the strange language and customs, Erica was eagerly and lovingly received by her extended family in Hungary. On their first Sunday in Hungary, her poor but hospitable grandparents invited all the family for a traditional Sunday dinner. That meant the weekly treat: meat as the main course. The first course, however, was the soup.
Erica's nagymama (pronounced "nudgemama") set the pot in the middle of the table. Erica looked in the pot; the color drained from her face.
"What's that, Mommy?"
Like a misplaced bone from a horror movie, a chicken foot floated—complete with its talons—in the soup.
"The chicken foot is for good luck," Anna explained to her wide-eyed toddler.
Erica did eat some of the soup, but she made sure the talon-toed chicken leg didn't make it into her bowl—no matter how much luck came with it.
"We used to use everything on the chicken," Anna said, relating the story with a laugh and her rich accent. "When I was a kid growing up in Hungary, my sister and I used to fight over who got to cut up which part of the chicken. I remember fighting over a chicken brain with my sister." She paused. "My mom could feed our family of six with one scrawny chicken for five or six meals. Funny ... I had forgotten about all this until you asked."
Do we remember the things we should remember? Do we put behind us the things we need to forget? The Bible tells us there are things to be remembered and things best forgotten. Peter wanted to make sure those he instructed in the faith remembered all he taught them (2 Peter 1:15 NIV). Paul says, "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David" (2 Timothy 2:8 NIV).
Yet Paul made it clear that sometimes it's best to forget things.
We don't get everything right, and others don't always either. Costly mistakes hurt. Yet carrying around such baggage doesn't help us get on with the job of living. Paul encourages us to move on. "[I'm] forgetting the past," he wrote, "and looking forward to what lies ahead" (Philippians 3:13 NLT).
Erica never forgot the chicken foot soup. As a college freshman, she and her classmates had to write a story about their personal cultural backgrounds. Erica entitled her paper "Chicken Foot Soup for the Cultured Soul," and wouldn't you know it? ... She got an A.
Grandma's After-Dinner Directive
* * *
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46 NIV
My paternal grandmother was a no-nonsense woman. Raising four sons alone, she demanded obedience and respect, and Lord help the person who challenged her!
Grandma's frequently repeated directives were her trademark. A perfectionist, she was intolerant of disorganization and often quoted the phrase "There's a place for everything and everything in its place!" whenever a family member struggled to find something.
But my personal favorite—a directive I've embraced as my own—resounded at the conclusion of every meal. As the men loosened their belts and migrated to the living room, she'd announce, "I wasn't the only one who ate dinner, you know." Grandma expected everyone—men included—to help clean up.
As a self-proclaimed kitchen evader (and too often an invader), the mother of two adult children, and grandmother of five, I now spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. After all, I've already served most of my life in the mess hall and I'm ready for transfer to a different unit; or at least a promotion from the galley to above-deck duties.
Unlike men, women are expected to cook and clean. I realize this practice dates back to biblical times, but must I enjoy it? Samuel warned the people in the Old Testament what would happen if they insisted on having a king rule them. "He will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake." Note the word force. Yet I've noticed that the younger female generation rejects the you-woman-you-cook concept.
Years ago whenever out-of-town relatives visited, we would gather at my parents' home for family dinner. Mom, who gladly accepted kitchen duty as her lot in life, served a huge meal as always. After-ward, the men moseyed to the couch and recliners to watch television while the women cleared the table. Mom jumped up (she hardly sat down during dinner) and forged into the kitchen, balancing plates and bowls in both hands. I helped, while the younger women dispersed in the same direction as the men.
Instantly my grandmother's words spewed from my mouth to unsuspecting ears, "Excuse me, but the older women weren't the only ones who ate dinner, you know." As the young ladies filed into the kitchen, the men stayed glued to their positions of immunity. Suddenly out of his seat of comfort my father spoke. "You know what my mother always said," he stated flatly. "If you ate, you help clean up!"
Was my imagination running away with me? Did Dad just convey grandma's directive from his cushy portal of self-exemption? I could have sworn he ate, too.
Yes, my paternal grandma was decades ahead of her time. And now as a bona fide grandma myself, I've acquired her no-nonsense approach. So here's how I see it. Although a man is king of his castle, he should still clean up the mess he helped create. Either that or I'm using the mess hall for above-deck duties only. I've been promoted.
Unless, of course, I ate dinner, too.
South of the Border
* * *
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 NIV
From the Great Depression until 1967, Wisconsin banned yellow-colored oleo- margarine—not plain oleo, just the yellow kind. Oleo's overall advantages were that it was cheaper than butter, and it stored better. On the downside, unless yellow coloring was added, oleo looked greasy and white, like lard. Yellow oleo became wildly popular among consumers, yet in The Dairy State the "yellow stuff" was viewed as a demon that threatened to put dairy farmers out of business. This left Wisconsin residents with a dilemma. They could live without their yellow oleo, or smuggle it into the state.
Grandma smuggled it. My parents did, too, and I'm ashamed to admit that I helped them. In the 1950s, when I was just a child, I had already been sucked into the Oleo Wars—and at the hands of my Christian family!
We lived near the Wisconsin–Illinois border, and in Illinois oleo was as legal as butter. Day and night, carloads of dairy-state oleo smugglers crossed south over the border to snatch their portion of golden fat. Grandmothers did it. So did stay-at-home moms, spinster aunts, and (horrors!) even the pastor of our church!
My family's method of smuggling never wavered. At dusk, Grandma loaded a blanket into the back seat of our car. We all settled into our big Buick with Dad acting as the getaway driver and Mom, Grandma, and me pretending to be a "nice" little family out for a twilight drive. We steered clear of the main highway and traveled the back roads to the border. Our hearts thumped hard as we crossed the imaginary line into Zion, Illinois. There, at Packy's Place, a tiny grocery store attached to an AA Club, Grandma purchased a half dozen pounds of yellow oleo. She stuffed it into a shopping bag along with a few other items that she bought to hide "the evidence." Meanwhile, Mom, Dad, and I waited in the car, the engine running, worried that our Wisconsin license plates might give us away. Finally, and almost too casually, Grandma strolled out of the store and slipped into the back seat next to me. She plopped the shopping bag onto my lap, covered my legs with the blanket, and off we drove into the darkness toward the state line. I couldn't help but worry that the oleo police might get us, and I didn't rest until I was safe at home and the contraband yellow stuff was safely stored away, hidden in the back of the refrigerator.
Grandma confessed to me years later that she felt guilty about breaking the law, even if it was only to buy oleo. It may have been just a "little sin," but Grandma pointed out to me that in God's eyes, sin is sin. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I'm certain that Grandma confessed her oleo sin to God ... and now, I think I will, too.
A Ham Salad Christmas
* * *
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV
Mom always served ham salad sandwiches on Christmas Eve. As a kid, I hated eating ham salad when my friends' families were having roast turkey dinners with all the trimmings. I felt embarrassed by our Christmas Eve suppers. Certainly we could afford something better.
"Whoever heard of ham salad for Christmas?" I complained.
"It's a tradition," Mom answered. "One that Grandma started when I was a little girl."
I put up with her tradition until after Grandma passed away. Then when Mom continued to serve the sandwiches, I went on strike. I vowed that I'd never eat another ham salad sandwich. Instead I suffered through Christmas Eve eating anything else that was on the table:potato chips, pickles, and even fruitcake. (You know things are bad when the best choice is fruitcake.)
I grew up and moved away. Still, every Christmas Eve, I went home to celebrate with Mom and Dad, and I continued to resist those awful sandwiches.
Then, one year, when I got there, I smelled turkey roasting. "Turkey!" I exclaimed. "We're having turkey?"
"Just for you," Mom answered. "I'm starting a new tradition."
I celebrated that I could end my strike and eat what "normal" people ate on Christmas Eve. Then as I helped Mom with dinner, I asked, "So why did we always have ham salad sandwiches?"
"Well," Mom began, "there was one Christmas when my family was very poor. We lived in a rented house near the railroad tracks, and freight trains traveled that line connecting Chicago and Milwaukee. Bums rode in the boxcars."
Excerpted from Heavenly Humor for the Grandmother's Soul by Kathy Douglas, Jean Fischer, Janice Hanna, Anita Higman, Linda Holloway, Marcia Hornok, Ardythe Kolb, Tina Krause, Shelley R. Lee, Betty Ost-Everley, Valorie Quesenberry, Gonover Swofford, Jo Upton. Copyright © 2012 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsSection 1—From Grandma's Kitchen: Blessings,
Section 2—Going to Grandma's House: Character,
Section 3—'Twas the Night Before Grandma's Christmas: Gratitude,
Section 4—Delusions of Grandma: Relationship,
Section 5—Traveling With Grandma: Joy,
Section 6—Grandma University: Wisdom,
Section 7—To Grandma With Love: Compassion,
Section 8—The Grandma Diaries: Edification,
Section 9—Grandma's Pearls: Spiritual Life,
Section 10—Grandma's Medicine: Laughter,