The Bible verse you don’t want to read

The Bible verse you don't want to read

For the third time,

May I have your attention please?

One after another, their eyes met mine as the chattering and laughter died down. I guess they were a little stirred up after the hot pink feather boa, clown-sized sunglasses and mustaches on a stick. I waited while they settled down and the room got quiet. I opened the worn, black leather Bible which belonged to my grandfather.

IT’S A PARTY

Despite several glitches, the birthday party came together perfectly. Preparations however, were not so smooth. Until the last minute, I forgot to buy tea, for the TEA party. My daughter rescued me with yet another trip to the store when I realized I forgot ginger ale too. Almond tea is made with tea AND ginger ale.

My alarm was set, but the moment my feet made contact with the fibers of the carpet, I realized it was set for the time I needed to leave, not the time I needed to get up. Scrambling to slap on makeup and run a straightener through my hair, I was glad I had prepared the night before. The cooking was done, my clothes were ironed and most of the paraphernalia I needed was in already loaded into the trunk of my car.

Then I wrinkled my nose when my finger dented the top of the frozen fruit cups. They were soft and mushy. I could have smacked my forehead when it dawned on me I had put them in the refrigerator, not the freezer. I’m normally better than this.

I scurried to arrange my great aunt’s hand-painted tea pots, cups and bowls on the tables then tucked fresh roses, wisteria and azaleas into the tops. The bubbling water in the big pot on the stove was turning brown from the tea bags. My dad obediently followed the commands of three, make that four, bossy women. When I barked , “Look up that verse in Proverbs about gray hair,” he pulled out his cellphone and complied.

Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” ESV

Walking out of the room, I ordered over my shoulder, “Look it up in the King James, because sometimes it sounds different.” He assured me it would be the same and I moved on to setting out crushed graham crackers and caramel sauce for topping the cheesecake.

NOW THAT I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION

There were not enough wrinkles in the room for one 75 year old face, much less 25. Every mouth was in a full grin after their time with my mom in the “photo booth.” Some still clutched clown noses or Mardi Gras beads.

I opened the treasured  King James Bible whose spine was held together with strips of silk, medical tape. It is our family tradition to read from it at holidays and birthday celebrations. And this was certainly a celebration.

My daughter chortled as she read over my shoulder. I looked up at the smiling faces, beaming out from under the brims of their hats. I looked back at the type set on the page in my hands and my cheeks flushed crimson.

I can’t read it.

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While you were praying, I was putting

While you were praying

 

It’s not funny.

Oh I attempted a little humor, but really, it’s not funny.

All the way around it was an epic fail.

 

On Christmas Eve, I had a tingly itch on my back. When I scratched, my fingernails felt like a hot razor on my skin. Then I felt a linear ridge where two weeks of pain were attributed to an injured rib from an eye-bulging, incessant cough with no identifiable cause which had plagued me for eight weeks. I lifted my shirt and looked in the mirror to see reindeer tracks on my side. See that’s a joke, but since I am obviously terrible at jokes let me explain. As a consequence of taking powerful immunosuppressants to control my disease, I developed shingles.

I thought of a clever play on words (in case you didn’t know I like words) so I posted on my  Facebook wall,

My new favorite Christmas song is Shingle bells Shingle bells.

I was trying to be funny and the pain wasn’t too bad

It was a rare December day with phenomenal weather; abundant sunshine, little wind and record-breaking, seventy degree temperatures. I must have gotten the super juice with my last IVIG infusion because myasthenia gravis was behaving quiet nicely too. As an added bonus, my son was home from college. Life was good. So after I posted, I headed to the golf course and managed to play four holes.

Meanwhile replies to my Facebook post blew up. As I read them I envisioned a community wide prayer vigil cranking up.

And I was on the golf course

1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” KJV

Apparently my post evoked visions of me writhing in pain, valiantly trying to keep my chin up and encourage others with my, albeit limited, wit. Realizing I mislead people, I attempted to paint a clearer picture, so I posted a silly update,

Well after further testing it appears I was actually run over by a reindeer in my sleep.

I expected all manner of comments about drinking eggnog or vermin in my yard. Nope, people were still praying for me. Honestly, the pain was not intense. Tendonitis in my elbow, migraines and a ruptured disc in my neck caused far greater suffering. Only a few people recognized my flailing effort at hilarity and one suggested Rashing through the Snow, as an alternative to Shingle Bells.

Then it got ugly

It was an ambush. Either someone whacked me in the back with a sledgehammer or the virus viciously invaded my spine. My valor quickly turned to whimpering and suddenly I would have traded shingles for ten migraines. Maybe I deserved it; probably so. Prayers, uh yeah, I desperately needed them now. The curtains closed on my satirical routine. Since I am a lousy comedienne anyway, I suppose I will stick to more serious matters. I should have known years ago when I offered to draw my kids a map to the dishwasher and they told me, “Sarcasm does not become you.”

That’s too bad. Occasionally I like it

Forgive the hint of snarkiness, admittedly my sense of humor is a little warped and my posts aren’t always taken the way I intended. Sometimes I am teasing and taken too seriously. So to set the record straight, I do not have cancer, I do have shingles. The prognosis is good, however my funny bone is terminally ill. Sorry, I’ve got to stop. If it’s any consolation, my golf game was terrible. A foreboding discomfort in my back affected my swing. I guess I probably deserved that too.

Please pray for me

In all seriousness, I truly covet your prayers. I had no idea how much I needed them. Your prayers and encouragement mean the world to me. Please keep praying for me. Pray for my strength. Pray the words of my mouth would be pleasing to the Lord. Pray for world peace  and pray for your lost neighbor. But don’t worry about a few red bumps, I’m trying to laugh it off.

Colossians 4:4, “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” NIV

Humor me and laugh. Don’t take life, or me, too seriously.

And next time, you play and I’ll pray for you

Deal?

Philippians 1:4, “Always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer.” HCSB

If you have a specific prayer request, email me privately: vickie@vickiepetzhenderson.com. I am dedicating January to pray for you.

Praying for you with joy #Phil1:4 #prayhard Click To Tweet

On the other side of funny

Laugh!

Laughter is the best medicine after all

Life is good. Maybe you have forgotten, but it is true. I’ve done some crazy, fun things in my life which took a lot of energy, so it would be natural to lament my current physical limitations. Then I realize some of my funniest memories are from an escalator, an elevator and a bathroom. I’ll tell you about the bathroom.

EXCUSE ME

My grandmother laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks whenever she recounted the story of her sister-in-law saying, “Excuse me,” when she bumped into her own reflection in the mirror. Maybe it was amusing when my aunt apologized to herself,  but watching my grandmother get tickled was hysterical. She knew how to laugh.

My family tends to tell and retell stories we think are hilarious. Often they aren’t funny to others but we laugh so hard we cannot breathe.

SKIP

When my kids were young, our normally upbeat family was glum after we we suffered compounded losses. One of my kids suggested we skip, because…

you skip when you are happy, so let’s skip and maybe we will be happy.

We did. Although it was after dark, we held hands and skipped down the street to the corner .Don’t you wonder what the neighbors thought? Instantly our burdens and our spirits lifted.

Philippians 4:8-9, “Summing it all up, friend, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you to his most excellent harmonies.” MSG

Laugh. It changes your attitude and maybe your life #laughter #goodmedicine Click To Tweet

WHAT DID YOU HEAR?

A few months into practicing medicine, one of the senior partners said, “I can hear you all day.” Yikes! I raised my eyebrows. As a gynecologist, thin walls can be a problem. What exactly did he hear? He reassured me he could not hear what was said, but rather he heard me laughing all day. It was good medicine, for both of us.

Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” HCSB

OH YEAH, THE BATHROOM STORY

It’s really not that funny but we were on a high after we spent the day at Beth Moore (as if it is a destination). Inspired by the women’s conference, most of the 20,000 attendees subsequently went to the mall. In the department store along with eight hundred other women, we headed straight for the bathroom. The line tracked out the door and just as my sister inched inside, we cracked up. Whatever she said was not particularly funny, but we totally lost it. As we enjoyed the revelry, the door closed and left her in the bathroom with other waiting women. Let’s just say they were a little more somber than we were. Meanwhile, the whole scenario got funnier and funnier to those of us outside. Every time we tried to open the door and enter we cracked up again as my sister glared from the inside.

TRAPPED

While we were outside enjoying the inside joke,  she was trapped inside but outside of the joke. She got trapped on the wrong side of funny. You know, she could have opened the door and stepped out and joined the fun, instead she remained in her predicament.

Psalm 126:2, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.'” ESV

IS IT TIME?

Life isn’t always funny, trust me I know. Sometimes it is tough and sometimes you get trapped on the wrong side of funny. Laughter is not always appropriate, sometimes grief is the correct emotion. Either way though, it’s better if we do it together.

If you cannot find anything to laugh about, maybe try skipping.

Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” KJV

COME TO THE BRIGHT SIDE

Have you ever found yourself on the wrong side of funny? If everyone else seems to be having a great time and you are stuck in a stinking bathroom, come to the other side. Open the door and walk out. I know it is not simple to change your circumstances, your outlook or your attitude. Start with a laugh. It can’t hurt and it’s about time.

Ecclesiastes 3:4, “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” NIV

I hope it is time to dance. By the way, my mother thinks the chicken picture is hilarious, but then again she is easily amused.