God's Penman

  • Nobody enjoys privacy more than Yours Truly. I confess I am not a very happy camper when that privacy is compromised in any fashion. Recently, I endured a tremendous trespass on my privacy.

    One day last week, I got up as usual and tottered off to the bathroom for my accustomed bathroom routine. It was then I got the shock of my life of which I am not over as of yet. I am sure this experience will be with me many years down the road. I am not sure I need counseling but maybe a day or two at a rehab center just might do the trick.

    I do confess that I am not at my best early in the morning prior to my bathroom ritual. As far as I am concerned, the bathroom is . . .

  • Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly enjoyed a trip to Asia. Thailand was our destination and adventure was our disposition. We thrilled with many new experiences on our excursion.

    One fascinating aspect of our travel was the language. The one thing I noticed about the Thai language had to do with the alphabet.

    The Thai alphabet is composed of little squiggly, curly figamajigs. To be quite honest, it looked like someone was eating a spaghetti dinner when they had to sneeze. Turning to the wall, they sneezed vigorously, covering the wall with squiggly, curly fragments of spaghetti.

    Someone looked at it and said, ?Wow, that looks like an alphabet.? And since that time the Thai alphabet looked like squiggly curly fragments of spaghetti. Picking up and thumbing through some books in Thailand, I could never tell if I was holding it upside down or right side up. It all looked the same to me.

    I'm not sure how long it takes to learn the Thai language, but I can assure you there is not enough time throughout all eternity for me to learn it. I'm still struggling with English.

    Most impressive were the . . .


    I love children. I love being around them and watching them play. Each Sunday, following morning worship service, I delight in handing out little bags of jellybeans to all the children.

    Just between you and me, some adults have sneaked a bag or two. If it weren't for You-Know-Who, I would hand out several bags to each child.

    Not long ago the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage laid down the law on my generous distribution of jellybeans. I may give each child one bag after the Sunday morning service - and that's it.

  • picture of Christmas tree made of moneyFor the last several hours, I have been slouching in my easy chair basking in the soothing aura of the season. I have not moved in several hours, and it probably will be several more hours before I even think of moving.

    Just a few days ago, we were in the middle of our Christmas holiday celebration with family and friends. The only thing I enjoy more is the peace and quiet that follows upon the heels of all that festivity. Do not get me wrong, I love my family and friends but boy do I love peace and quiet.

    Isn’t one of the sayings of the season, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men”? I am not sure of all the ramifications of that phrase, but I do enjoy the peace that comes following an exuberant time of celebration with family and friends.

  • Angel Chritmas OrnamentEvery family has those traditions and days that help define their family. I personally know some families (although I shall not divulge any names unless there is enough cash present) that are adequately defined by April 1. For me, Christmas Eve clearly defines me.

    Christmas Eve means many things to me. For one, it means shopping. Yes, it is true; I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It cuts down on the stress. I know some people who spend weeks shopping and their life is full of stress.

    Unlike me in many ways, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage begins her Christmas shopping in January and by August, she is in full shopping spree. There should be a law that any present bought before December cannot be considered a Christmas present.

    When the children were still at home, I was just as eager as they were on Christmas morning to see what I had bought them for Christmas. They always appreciated the thought that went into their gift. You did not hear this from me, but sometimes my wife was surprised at the gift as well.

  • The only thing you can believe when a politician speaks is that you can't believe what a politician says. How else can they be elected to an office in our country? Every one of them promises the moon and then once elected they moon the public. I guess we always get what we ask for.

    This latest is simply an addition to those famous last words that have gone on before. Let me list several of them.

    "I'm not a crook."

    "I did not have sex with that woman."

    And now the latest, "I've done nothing wrong."

    History has proven the first two false and I am not betting the third one is true.

    You would think that by this time a person, whether a politician or a normal person, makes any kind of public statement that it would have some grain of truth in it somewhere. And, perchance, if a politician is saying something of significant you can be sure somebody else wrote the speech for him. We live in a day and age where people say anything to get what they want.

    The other side of this is that many people are willing to hear anything to get what they think they are being offered.

    I suppose there is an appropriate time to lie, but I've never really figured it out completely.

    I do know, as every husband knows, that there are appropriate times to lie to your wife. In fact, if the truth were known, every wife expects her husband to lie about certain things.

    For example, when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has purchased a new dress, tries it on and asked me a simple question, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

    If there ever was a time to abandon all truth, it is when your life is in such dire straits.

    If I say "yes," life as I once enjoyed it will become a fond memory.

    If I say "no," then I am in for the grilling of my life.

    "Then," she will say with a threatening tone in her voice, "you think the dress I wore yesterday made me look fat."

    A husband does not know how his wife can leap from one area to another area in a single bound without ever wearing a cape, which would make her look fat.

    Then, if I say, "No, that dress yesterday did not make you look fat," it only makes it worse.

    Any husband who thinks he is off the hook at this point has only been married three days and has yet to come back from his honeymoon. Because at this point the Mrs. will go through her entire wardrobe trying to find out which dress you think makes her look fat. She is convinced you think she has a dress that makes her look fat.

    Another area where prevarication might seem appropriate is in the kitchen. I go by one simple rule in life, never offend the person who makes your meals or you just may sit down to your last supper.

    My wife will watch Martha Stewart on TV and get an idea about a new culinary dish and nothing will do until she tries this dish out on Yours Truly. As a husband, I take what she dishes out.

    I fondly remember when we were first married my wife treated me like a god. She offered me burnt sacrifices three times a day. Once, I thought she was serving me meatloaf three days in a row. Little did I know the third day was a casserole.

    Therefore, when my wife comes up with some new dish that she has labored over all day long and kindly asks my opinion of it, it is my solemn obligation to fib. It does not matter if the first bite destroys all the taste buds in my mouth or if it takes several attempts to keep it down, my obligation is to love it and tell her so.

    Of course, there is another area where stretching the truth is highly recommended. This has to do with birthdays, but particularly the year of birth. My wife wants me to be truthful and exact when it comes to the day of her birthday but she is not quite as stringent when it comes to the year of her birth.

    It is the one day of the year where lying is quite appropriate. My wife expects me to say on her birthday, "My, you sure don't look a year older. In fact, he looked as young as the day we were married."

    I do not believe that and neither does she, but those will remain my famous last words, which is the only time a husband can have the last word.

    One area where the truth is absolutely imperative is in our relationship with God. As husbands and wives, we joke around and many things we do not take seriously. But with God, we must be serious.

    The Bible instructs us, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." (Ephesians 4:23-25 KJV).

    Someone once said, "What a web we weave when we practice to deceive." This is one area where practice does not make perfect.

    Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
    Used With Permission
    For reprint permission, contact the author through his site at:
  • What triggers old memories? I’m not sure what the answer to that question is but recently I had the shock of my life. And at my age, I don’t have too many shocks left.

    The shock came one day last week when I was in the bathroom shaving. Not quite awake at the time, I happened to glance in the mirror and was startled to see my father staring back at me. What he was doing in my mirror still baffles me, and why he chose to reflect himself at this particular time I will never know.

    Blinking my eyes, I recovered from my shock, looked again and sure enough, what I had feared all my life happened. Right before my eyes I had become my father, which just goes to show how unfair life is.

    I mean, you spend your whole childhood trying not to be your father and when least expected … there he is in your bathroom mirror.

    I no sooner adjusted to becoming my father when I distinctly heard . . .

  • My favorite novel, as a young person, was In His Steps, written by Charles Sheldon. The premise of this novel is simple. A group of people in the church made a spiritual pact that before doing or saying anything they would preface it by asking the probing question, "What would Jesus do?" (WWJD).

    If you have read that novel, you know this simple query put everyone's life in jeopardy. Everyone, that is, who was serious about it.

    Some want enough religion to keep from getting the real thing but not enough to change or inconvenience their lifestyle. Not everyone is serious about his or her religious life.

    Many people want to go to heaven but they want to do it their way and in their own good time. If these people treated their job the same way they treat God, they would not have a job for long.

  • walkWe had just started our vacation, or so I thought, when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Hurry up; it’s time to go home.”

    I have been married to my wife for almost 46 years and during that time, she has always teased me and tried to get my goat. My goat has long been gotten. So, I thought she was trying to tease me about our vacation time.

    As she said that, I noticed she was packing her suitcase. That was just strange. She is really going all out to fool me into thinking it is time to go home. I, however, know better and cannot be fooled even by her.

  • Rev. James Snyder's wife got a bug on her plateDid you ever have a smile on your face that no matter what you did you could not wipe it off?

    Well, that is quite a regular occurrence with me. But this past week was a “smile-on-the-face” to beat all “smiles-on-the-face.” My only regret is that I did not do a Selfie.

    It all began in the morning when I suggested that we go out for lunch for a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration. Sometimes with our schedule we cannot celebrate a celebration on that celebration day.

    Of course, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage responded in the positive.

  • Every family has those traditions and days that help define their family. I personally know some families (although I shall not divulge any names unless there is enough cash offered) that are adequately defined by April 1.

    For me, Christmas Eve clearly defines me. Christmas Eve means many things to me. For one, it means shopping. Yes, it is true; I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It cuts down on the stress. Some people spend weeks shopping and their life is full of stress.

    Personally, I focus all that stress of shopping into one 24-hour period.

    The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage begins her Christmas shopping in January and by August, she is in full shopping mode. (There should be a law that any present bought before December cannot be considered a Christmas present.) When the children were still at home, I was just as eager as they were on Christmas morning to see what I had bought them for Christmas.

    There have been times, and you did not hear it from me, when my wife bought a Christmas present and forgot about it by the time December rolled around. Once, and I will never repeat this, we discovered a cache of Christmas presents in the corner of our garage when we were packing to move. Only Santa really knows how long they were there.

    My Christmas Eve ritual starts bright and early in the morning at the "Slurp 'N Burp Café" for a big breakfast. Every good day begins with a hearty breakfast and especially when I am about to embark on a day of Christmas shopping.

    Then it is off to the mall for my Christmas Eve ritual of shopping. My philosophy is, the more torturous the shopping experience the more the recipient will appreciate the gift. Nothing is more torturous than a visit at the local shopping mall.

    Some go to the mall for pleasure and recreation; some go and are never seen again. I go for penitence.

    The average mall is so anti-man that every man enters its doors at his own peril. Many insurance companies have in fine print a disclosure in their policies to men making all insurance claims invalid when an accident happens in a shopping mall.

    Shopping malls are deliberately designed to frustrate the male equation of the marital state of mind. Let me list a few observations in this regard.

    Is it just me, or do they move the mall stores around from year to year just to confuse the average man? And, to confuse me further, why is it, no matter what door I enter the mall it is never there when I want to leave?

    Once inside the mall it only takes me three hours to acclimate myself to the hostile environment. By that time, I am hopelessly lost. As I wander aimlessly around the mall, I try to remember why I am there. One of the things on my shopping agenda is a Christmas present for my wife. Although I have had over 30 years experience in this, I am no better off than our first Christmas.

    In all those years, I have given her everything from jewelry to perfume to bubble bath. At this stage in my life, I do not know what to get her.

    Last year I was tempted to wrap myself and put the box under the tree, but I was afraid I would suffocate by Christmas morning.

    Wandering from store to store, I could not find anything to buy for her. I could get her a card with money in it but I am afraid the check would bounce - and then would I.

    If I bought her a dress, I would only be putting my life on the line. If the dress I bought was too small, she would be offended to think I thought she was gaining weight. If the dress I bought was too large… well, you know what that would mean.

    If I did not get her something I would look pretty silly come Christmas morning - I mean sillier than usual.

    Wandering in and out of store after store brought me no closer to that gift of all gifts that would say, "I think you're terrific."

    I was exhausted and about to give up and go home in shameful disgrace. And then, when I was about to give up, there it was. The perfect gift. I could not believe my eyes. I rubbed them in disbelief and loudly exclaimed, "There is a Santa Claus after all."

    I wept, I laughed, I burped (Musta been the soda). Right before my eyes was the perfect gift for my wife. A gift that said, "Honey, you're the greatest." Watching the salesperson carefully wrap my Christmas trophy, I could not help thinking about the real meaning of Christmas.

    God searched all of heaven to find that one special gift to tell mankind, "I think you're terrific." Finding nothing better, He settled on that Gift of all gifts, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 KJV).

    My Christmas prayer is that this year you will celebrate with me God's gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

    What was my Christmas trophy for my beloved? I will never tell.

    Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
    Used With Permission
    For reprint permission, contact the author through his site at:

  • coffee cupThis week I came face-to-face with a genuine dilemma. I had several meetings across town and for some reason I miscalculated and ended up with a 2-1/2 hour gap between meetings. I hate to waste time, but if I drove back to my office, I would simply have to return to my meeting later and with the cost of gas these days, one cannot be too cautious.

    You know gas is getting high when it costs more to fill up the car than the car is actually worth. The most valuable thing in my car is in my gas tank.

    I remedied the situation by stopping in a small coffee shop for cup of Joe. As far as I'm concerned, there is no bad time to have a cup of coffee, in spite of the price. I ordered my coffee and when the waitress brought it to me, I began to think about coffee. Why did God give us coffee?

  • In light of the controversies swirling around the Christmas holiday, I have yet to see anybody raise a suspicious eyebrow toward one particular aspect of the Christmas season. Year after year, this significant part of a holiday celebration continues without one voice raised in opposition. I’m beginning to think there is a conspiracy here somewhere.

    My reference, of course, is none other than good old, jolly Santa Claus. He goes by a variety of names, which in and of itself is rather suspicious. He is Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle and a variety of other descriptive names, which leads me to believe he has some secret to hide.

    What do we really know about this person?

    I’ve done a little investigating and found some disturbing things regarding this person.

    According to some of the . . .

  • Discount SignI find too often I get all caught up with the busyness of life that I forget some things. For example, last week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had birthdays.

    Our birthdays are only two days apart, which is convenient for me. My birthday is first, and if my wife gets me anything for my birthday, it reminds me I need to get something for her birthday two days later. I could not plan it out any better had I tried.

  • Everyone who is anybody has a hobby or at least entertains the idea. Hobbies range from sports to crafts to reading and even traveling. Some hobbies don't make sense to me like collecting dead insects.

    My long established hobby has earned me a membership in the POP (People Observing People) Culture. The rules specify that each member must swear not to divulge anything observed.

    Being a minister, I'm not allowed to swear, so I am exempted from this rule.

    I love to get a nice hot cup of coffee, a local newspaper and situate myself where I can see the most people in their natural environment. Nothing is more hilarious than observing people who don't realize they are being watched.
  • Having a good time may not be the highest priority in life but it sure beats hitting your thumb with a hammer. Sometimes, try as we might, having a good time is an elusive dream.

    Recently, I and some good friends from our congregation developed a very highly sophisticated plan with the main objective of having a good time. Even my two daughters, my son and his family from Ohio got in on the plan. In fact, the only person not in on the plan was the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. With great deliberation, she was excluded from all of the planning. Excluding her from something either in the congregation or in the family takes a miracle in par with walking on water.

    Normally, I do not like excluding people from having a good time and yet there comes a time when such action is in the best interest of everybody involved. The basic plan was a surprise birthday party for my wife. She was celebrating a milestone in her life and we wanted to make sure it would be one she would remember for a long time.

    There is nothing in our church or family of which she is not at the very center of the planning and preparation. Excluding her would take all of the deviousness of my children, our entire congregation and me. I never thought we could pull it off but I had underestimated the deviousness of my family and congregation.

    The success of this plan depended upon the ability of everyone involved to lie through their teeth. Fortunately, everybody had teeth to lie through, either their own or ones purchased through some dental program.

    The basic ruse that we used was a retirement party for one of the men in the congregation. If we tried planning a party without involving my wife, it would have been a disaster. She has a nose that can smell something five months away. So, it was a retirement party in full swing and for the last few weeks, all anybody talked about was the alleged retirement party.

    For a month leading up to the party my wife kept asking me, "What do you get someone who is retiring?" She never suspected a thing and the surprise element was at the top of our game. The reason it was so successful is that all of us were pretty good liars.

    For example, the day before the party, I had to sneak to Tampa, which is about two hours away, then sneak back into town my son and his family without arousing the suspicion of you know who.

    "What do you have planned for today?" my wife queried that morning.

    "Oh," I stammered trying to be very careful with my wording, "I've got to go downtown and pay some bills."

    "Will you be home for lunch?"

    "No, I have a lot to do; I'll catch a bite of lunch downtown."

    That was the end of it. Fortunately, it was a busy week for both of us and we were pretty much going in separate directions. It took two hours to drive to the Tampa airport, two hours back and one hour fooling around so the whole trip would take five hours.

    Halfway back from the airport my cell phone rang and it was my wife checking up on me.

    "Where are you now?" She asked.

    Lying is a very difficult thing to do. I never knew just how hard it was before, because when you tell one lie, it takes a half a dozen other lies to support the first lie.

    Being a novice at this I simply said, "I'm finishing up my errands and will soon be home." All the time I am trying to keep four little children in the back seat quiet, so they would not spoil the surprise. When I hung up the cell phone, I sighed a deep sigh promising myself I would never lie again. It is just too plain hard to lie.

    I successfully smuggled my son and his family into town and got them settled in their accommodations so that nobody would know they were in town. By nobody, I had only one person in mind. My two daughters knew about this and were eager, too eager, to help in the deception. I am wondering where they learned to lie so.

    On the way from the Tampa airport, the grandchildren in the back seat did so many hilarious things that it was all I could do to keep from telling my wife about their antics while we were eating supper that night.

    Finally, the time arrived for my wife and me to go to the "retirement party." I was never so anxious for a party to begin than this one. As soon as we opened the door everybody yelled, "Surprise, surprise and happy birthday."

    She sure was surprised. But that was only the first surprise.

    About a half-hour later, our son and his family from Ohio just happened to come through the front door and surprise her again.

    This began a very delightful weekend celebrating someone's birthday.

    After everything was over, I turned to my Bible and read, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16 KJV).

    Everyone has faults and confession is the only way to have a good time.

    The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

  • retiredmanA large segment of the human population takes things way too seriously for their own good. The strange anomaly is that most people laugh at the wrong thing and fail to laugh at the right thing. This serious incongruity has robbed people of a healthy attitude towards life in general.

    Those who take life too seriously are in danger of missing the great joys of living in a crazy world like ours. I am not sure about the scientific research but I would guess that for every sad moment it takes one hundred laughs to balance the books. Some people are about ninety-nine laughs short of a real sane moment.

  • A key fault I have, and I can only talk about one fault at a time, is the tendency to get busy. I often find myself chasing my own tail. What I will do with it when I catch it is beyond my understanding. However, this notwithstanding, I fall into the trap time after time of getting too busy for my own good.

    The faster I try to go; the less I seem to accomplish.

    This past week proved no exception; in fact, everything came to a head on Monday. I had my To-Do-List all prioritized and neatly written on several 3 by 5 cards stuffed in my shirt pocket. Earlier I went through them item by item to make sure I could maximize the day. After all, "The early bird catches the worm."

    Being the turkey I am, I have no idea what I'm going to do with the worm when I catch it, particularly if it's early in the morning when all I want is a good cup of coffee. Yet, I can often be found imitating . . .
  • Last week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage left Yours Truly for another man. Actually, it was three little men n the grandsons. When it comes to grandsons, grandfathers haven’t a chance in the world. Grandmothers will drop everything, including grandfather (which is why many grandfathers limp a lot), and rush to the sides of the grandchildren for the flimsiest of reasons.

    At times, I have to remember that before I was a grandfather I was a father, and before that, I was a man. Therefore, I shouldered the whole situation like the man I am, or used to be.

    It was my responsibility and privilege to make the travel arrangements for my wife’s visit with the grandchildren. I’m still not sure how it all works out like this: I get to pay; she gets to play with the grandchildren.

    The original plan was for both of us to make the trip. Since the parsonage treasury had limited funds, the travel arrangements were . . .

  • couple coffeeCelebrating another "Mother's Day,” gave opportunity to reflect on the influence and importance of mothers in our society today. I think for the most part mothers get a bad rap these days, or at least they don’t get the kind of appreciation they truly deserve, and they sure don’t get the pay-package they earn. Of course, if they did nobody could afford a mother.

    Sometimes it's great to remember the personal influence a person's mother has had on them throughout the years. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "All I am or ever hope to be I owe to my mother." Perhaps he said this in lieu of a Mother's Day card. Why didn’t I think of that?

    Because of the way God has designed things, a person's mother is the first relationship he or she has in life. If it is a good relationship, it will have a positive influence throughout a person's lifetime.

    Of course, there are those who have never known their mother. Perhaps she died in childbirth or maybe a few days or months after giving birth. The cause is not important, the real importance is the fact that a person never really gets to know his or her mother.

    [gbwl]Even for us who have had mothers in our lives, it is often difficult to say we knew our mothers. Because nothing in all of God's creation is quite like a mother. All I know is, they start out as women, which may explain a lot.

    From my youth I recognized a big difference between my mother and my father. I could never really put my finger on it until years after I left home. Looking back over my life and appreciating some of her influences in my life, I began to understand some things about my mother.

    The most astounding thing I discovered about my mother is that mothers are not fathers.

    I know this may come as a shock to many people; it came as a terrific shock to me. I'm not sure I have gotten over it yet. I knew there was a difference somewhere, but I really could not put my finger on it until I made this awesome discovery.

    Once the shock of this truth waned, I gave this some thought and came up with a few comparisons that helped me understand the difference.

    For example, I remember my mother always having a funny smell about her not quite like the good earthy aroma my father had. My mother always went to great pains so she would smell "pretty." I never did like perfume. It made my nose burn. I remember liking the smell of my father. It was just more natural. And some days it was more natural than other days.

    As I think of my mother, I remember she was highly allergic to dirt, while my father was quite at home with it. Whenever I would come into the house with dirt from head to toe, my mother would go into some kind of hysterical fit wanting me to take off all my clothes and get in the tub right away, and sometimes, it was not even Saturday night.

    Father, on the other hand, seemed happier when he was the dirtiest. Dirt never seemed to bother him. Grease spots or grass stains never offended him at all. But all of this offended my mother. 

    With a “holier-than-thou” air she would always say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness."

    I've often thought to myself, if God did not like dirt why did he make so much of it? And, why was it so much fun to play in?

    Another thing I noticed about my mother was that she didn't know how to play catch in the backyard with her children. When she tried, she always threw like a girl. Father, on the other hand, caught everything, especially flak from mother. He caught everything she could throw, even a fit or two.

    [gbwr]My mother was always laying down the law while father just lay down. I think my mother had some kind of nervous problem because she never could sit still long enough to really relax. Dad, could relax just about anywhere, and he did... often.

    My mother and father made a good team, particularly in the building business. I can remember my mother always raised the roof while father enjoyed painting the town. My brother, sister and I enjoyed the painting exercises of my father, which may explain why his finances were always in the red.

    Another thing I observed about my mother and mothers in general for that matter. There are times when mothers will have a good bawl for no reason, while fathers just loved having a ball for no reason.

    I'm sure there were other differences between my mother and my father. When I realized that mothers are not fathers, the whole world began to make more sense to me. A good father is a perfect balance between a mother and a boy.

    The Bible encourages us to honor both our father and mother. "My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" (Proverbs 6:20).

    Perhaps wise Solomon had our generation in mind when he wrote, "There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother." (Proverbs 30:11).

    Mothers may not be fathers but they are exactly what God ordered. 

    Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.

    Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

  • Shopping Centre Fashion Sense can be criminalI do not want to alarm anyone – I’m not wound that tight – but there is a devious conspiracy in our country. A cabal of murderous distortions.

    To be quite honest about all this, I was not the first to notice this conspiracy. In fact, it is quite unusual for me to notice anything first. As all husbands know, the husband is the last to know . . . anything.

    It was the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who first become aware of this conspiracy and brought it to my attention. I like to give credit where credit is due, unlike some banks I know of, or who know me.

    This is not the first time something like this has happened. Don’t ask me how she does it, for I do not know. I just wish I knew her secret. My wife is the first to notice everything.

  • The Year 2010From a practical standpoint, and if I am anything I am practical, well, practically, this year has gone by rather quickly. The fact I have survived this past year has to count for something.

    I was musing on this with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage just the other day. I was feeling rather comfortable with myself and was congratulating myself on making it through another year. After all, the facts speak for themselves.

    "Well," my wife began rather deliberately, "I guess you did survive the year."

    "What in the world is that supposed to mean," I queried. I must say I was a little agitated by the tone of her voice. After all, I did survive the year.

    It was quiet for a few moments and then she said, "What about your New Year's resolutions?"

  • Recently, while sitting in my chair drinking the last of my breakfast coffee, a thought staggered into my mind. I must confess most thoughts are quite lonely once they enter my mind, but this one had a nagging element to it.

    Experience has taught me I should never give in to these strange trespassers. Every time I entertain any of them, I'm the one getting burnt.

    This time was different. Don't ask me how it was different, or how I knew it was different, it just was. Of course, looking back I could have been wrong.

    The thought: why not surprise my wife by baking her a cake?

    I know what you're thinking. I thought the same thing when this suggested itself to me. But, the more I thought about it, the more delightfully delicious it sounded. How can anything go wrong if I am doing it for my wife?

    The only question I needed to answer was what kind of cake should I bake.

    After a long period of ruminating, I settled on a lemon sponge cake with peanut butter icing. This was going to be the best surprise my wife has ever . . .
  • atticNow that Thanksgiving is over, I am able to sit back and recoup from the activity. I'm not sure about anybody else, but a holiday such as Thanksgiving takes a lot out of me. Of course, it puts a lot in me, but that's another story.

    The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were catching our breath right after our Thanksgiving fiesta. I was enjoying the quiet moment when my wife said to me, "Do you know what time it is?"

    I glanced at my wrist watch and said, "It's 8:30 right on the dot."

    My wife threw one of those looks at me I was tempted not to catch and said, "That's not what I mean, and you know it."

  • This month the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly celebrate 35 years of what we like to call a romantic ramble through life. Thirty-five years ago this month, we became engaged and our lives took a change for what I believe is the better.

    Although no expert on romance, I have observed several important things about romance. For example, romance goes through stages much like a stagecoach ride. It takes a lot of horsepower to get going, the ride is usually rough and it never arrives on schedule.

    For someone who likes to have a firm grip on his schedule this has been most trying for me. Just when I think I have everything figured out, my better half reveals a side I have never seen before, and there goes my beloved schedule. I can't remember how many times I have gone back to the drawing board to start all over again.

    This points out a very specific difference between men and women, specifically husbands and wives. Husbands age, while wives evolve.

    Men have mastered the fine art of growing old. Women, on the other hand, have mastered the art of . . .
  • People say, as they get older their hearing is not what it used to be. I have found this to be true for myself. The older I get, and I plan to get as old as I can, the more I hear noises in the middle of the night. Noises, I might add, that I have never heard before.

    I’m not against noise. Personally, I try to make as much noise as possible. I’m just against noise not orchestrated with my sleeping habits.

    And at this juncture of my career, sleeping has become a habit. In fact, I might describe it as an addiction. I tried breaking this addiction once but my wife complained I was just becoming crotchety.

    When I was younger, I didn’t need as much sleep as today. Some experts opine that as a person gets older they don’t need as much sleep as they used to. I find this absolutely, positively untrue. I need more sleep today than I have ever needed in my entire life.

    Actually, what I really need is to be able to sleep all night without disturbance. My definition of disturbance is anything I hear when I am trying to go to sleep and I demand everything to be . . .

    and I demand everything to be . . .
  • After several quality moments in deep thought, I have concluded that being an American is a very taxing occupation. Of course, we have to give it to our government (and boy would I like to give it to them) that when it comes to creativity they lead the pack. They have found more creative ways to tax the American people than any generation of politicians this country has ever known. Moreover, you can be sure, if they have not thought up a tax yet, it is just around the corner.

    It is very comforting to know that they have left change in your pocket that you can believe in. You cannot buy anything with it, but you can believe in it. Personally, I do not want change I can believe in, I want dollars I can spend.

    In my humble opinion, which is the only thing humble about me, the government should contact the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and have her oversee the stimulus plan. After all, she has been doing that in our household for many years.

    Several things she has used to stimulate our household financial plan that I think the government could implement.

    First off, she has an absolute rule that if you do not work you do not eat. This was a hard one for me to wrap my head around. Even on my day off, I needed to do something that would qualify in her mind, as work or I would not be able to eat that day. I suffered many hungry days before I acclimated to this rule of our house.

    I'm not so sure but it might be a good idea to put this kind of rule in place.

    Then she had another rule that first did not make too much sense to me. After all these years, I have begun to appreciate this rule and highly recommend it to others.

    The rule simply is, never buy what you cannot afford or do not need. This was hard for me to get a hold of in the beginning. But I have learned that what I cannot afford I probably do not need.

    We had just been married only a year or so and I had gotten into my head the idea that I wanted to buy another car. So I began looking around for another car. I knew I could not afford a brand-new car, but there were many used cars that caught my fancy. Then I broached the subject with my new bride thinking she would be as excited about this as I was.

    "What's wrong with the car we have now?" she queried.

    This question caught me by surprise and I stammered, "There's nothing wrong with the car, I just think it's time that we got another car."

    She then did something I really did not expect her to do. She pried into the financial situation of purchasing another car. I do not give her this much hassle when we go grocery shopping and buy groceries.

    Then she put me on the old grill.

    "Does the car we have now paid for?"

    I thought for a moment and said, "Yes, it's been paid for several months now."

    "Will we have to make car payments if we get this other car?"

    Duh, of course we would have to make car payments if we got another car. Anybody in his or her right mind would know that. Not being in my right mind, I even knew it.

    Then she asked me one of the most stupid questions I had ever heard at the time.

    "Can we afford car payments at this time?" When she said this, she looked at me with one of those looks that rather made me squirm.

    As it was at the time, we were just making it financially. Paying off our old car had helped in the financial department. Then it dawned on me, getting back to making monthly car payments would put us back in the same bind as we were a few months ago.

    Thinking about the whole car business, not only could I not afford it, I really did not need it. The old car was working just fine and there were other priorities that demanded attention from our checkbook.

    It was at that time we established the principle that if we wanted something we would save our money until we could afford it. And it was amazing to me that by the time I saved up enough money for something I discovered that I really did not need it. I cannot tell how much money I have saved by discovering how much I really did not need. The difference between want and need is sometimes just a matter of time.

    I have been thinking of what the apostle Paul said. "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:7-10 KJV).

    Money does not solve anything but rather, is the source of many sorrows.

    Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
    Used With Permission
    For reprint permission, contact the author through his site at:

  • A bird with a very suspicious look and mind - wasit pitched a timeshare vacation proposal?I have discovered over the years several types of minds. The “open mind” which catches everything except the truth. The “analytical mind” which organizes everything to the point of sterility. The “closed mind” which you can bounce ideas and they never stick.

    For every man, there is the “woman’s mind.” Every husband knows if he wants to change his wife’s mind, all he has to do is agree with her. Finally, the “political mind,” which for all practical purposes is an oxymoron. Politicians obviously do not have a mind of their own. They change their mind so often you hardly know who they are.

    I find most people’s minds are like beds – all made up and tucked neatly away. Many of these people have sound minds – sound asleep, that is.

    The most valuable mind is the suspicious mind. It is in this frame of mind that the real picture has developed for me. An incident several years ago illustrated this to me.

  • I was frantically searching for something I desperately needed when I stumbled upon something I had long ago forgotten. I am always trying to find something that I know where it is at but I just cannot put my fingers on it at the moment. It is not that my office is messy and disorganized; I just have a very complicated filing system. It is so complicated that most time I do not understand it myself.

    The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is always getting after me about organizing my office. "If you would spend some time organizing this office you would be able to find something when you need it."

    The only recourse I have is simply that I do not have enough time to waste in organizing my office correctly.

    "If you would spend the time you squander searching for something," my wife argues, "in organizing your office, you wouldn't be wasting so much time."

    Of course, this only goes to show that she has no idea how my mind works. Invariably, when I am searching for something I need at the time, I find something I had long ago forgotten about. That is the exciting thing about searching for things in my office. Although I rarely find what I am looking for, I usually run across something I have not seen for years, which sets me off on a completely different direction.

    As a country boy, I grew up hunting rabbits. And rabbit trails are about as natural to me as anything I can think of at the time. I feel sorry for those people who know exactly what they are doing and where they are going. What kind of life is that?

    The exciting thing for me is that when I start a project I never know what I am going to discover or where I will end up.

    Such a thing happened to me this week. I was searching for something; I cannot remember what it was now, when I uncovered an old friend.

    It was hidden away in the corner covered by files and books and other such artifacts. I could not remember the last time I saw it, which really may not be that long ago the way my mind works. But there it was and it brought back a flood of wonderful memories.

    What I discovered was my old Underwood typewriter. None of those electric typewriters that sissies use, but a man's typewriter. When you typed on this typewriter, you knew you were working.

    I took the cover off, dusted it a little and just admired it. Oh, what fond memories I had of that piece of equipment. I took it off the stand and gently placed it on my desk so I could see if it still worked. I rolled a sheet of paper in it, adjusted the bar and began typing away.

    One thing about those old typewriters, they gave you a sense of being in control of what you were doing at the time. As I typed, I had a sense of power I had long ago forgotten about.

    Admiring my old typewriter, I recalled when I switched from my good old friend to a computer. At the time, I remember it being quite a decision for me. I, being a literary purist, decided I would continue using my old typewriter until I died. None of that new fangled technology for me, I vowed.

    The reason men are much larger than women is that we have to eat our words all the time. I had to eat my words on this issue.

    I was in the middle of writing my first book when out of frustration I started thinking about getting a computer. I had retyped one page four or five times and I was still making mistakes on it. I had run out of Whiteout and was simply frustrated with the process.

    Seeing my frustration, my wife suggested, "Why don't you go and get a computer?"

    Why, indeed!

    Normally, I do not take my wife's advice until I have convinced myself it was my idea in the first place. It is just a little rule I have.

    A week later, I came home with my first computer promising myself I would only use this computer on big jobs. My preference, of course, was my old Underwood typewriter, where I would do most of my work. Dignity has its standards.

    Little by little, I began using my computer more and more. It was not long before I was neglecting my old friend. It was not long before all of my thoughts were for my new computer. Gradually, I moved the old Underwood typewriter into the corner where I found it this week.

    Old friends should never be forgotten. Even if the only thing they give us are fond memories of the past, at the least that's a good thing and should not be despaired. Old friends should be celebrated if only for all the wonderful memories they have generated in the past.

    As I thought about my old typewriter, a wonderful verse of Scripture came to mind.

    "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 KJV).

    The more friends a person has, the more memories to indulge. Choose your friends wisely for they are the stuff memories are made of.

    The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

  • I recently heard a report suggesting that an absolutely sterile world would not be a healthy world. According to the report, some germs play an important part in maintaining a healthy environment. The report did not identify those healthy germs.

    What I want to know is where these people were when my mother was leading a no holds barred crusade against germs? I could have used some support back in “the day.”

    As I remember it, my mother hated germs with a passion unequal to . . .

  • pens

    I am one who firmly believes the pen is mightier than the sword. Consequently, I have a fully stocked arsenal with every pen and pencil imaginable. I look with a jaundiced eye at the person who is ill equipped with writing instruments. I am fully prepared at all times with the exact pen or pencil needed.

    I suppose there are those who feel that a pen can be used for everything. Sort of a jack-of-all-trade writing instrument. Each pen and pencil is designed for a specific job. That is the way I feel about it.

    My collection of pens and pencils is quite extensive. Moreover, I am always on the lookout for a new pen. After all, you cannot have too many pens.

  • jesterMy paternal grandfather’s favorite holiday was April 1. He would spend months putting together some trick to fool either a family member or a friend. Both were assessable to his “tricks.”

    He could read a person and within a few moments have an idea of what the best trick to play on that person. Nobody really saw it coming. They knew his reputation, of course, but he was so skillful in his acts of foolery that nobody ever guessed they were a target until was too late.

    One thing I learned from my grandfather is that it is almost impossible to fool the Fool-Master. If he had spent as much time being a grandfather as being a reputable Fool-Master, he would have been the greatest grandfather in the world. His priorities, however, were not in that direction.

  • loafing puppyTwenty-four hours ago, I was seated with my family and friends around the Thanksgiving table. Now, I am seated in my chair and cannot move. I won’t say I ate too much yesterday. I did, I just won’t say it.

    Why is it on Thanksgiving we give ourselves permission to gorge ourselves to the point of semi-consciousness? The difference between consciousness and semi-consciousness is that with semi-consciousness you feel like you have been run over by a semi-truck.

    Of course, a great thing about Thanksgiving is the fabulous dinner spread, surrounded by family and friends. It is truly a time to give thanks to God for the manifold blessings he has showered on us throughout the year.  Although there have been a few drought times during the past year, God's showers of blessing always came at the right time.

  • One day last week while draining my morning cup of coffee for the sixth n or was it the seventh n time, I can’t remember, a thought struck me. It has been such a long time since a thought has struck me I did not know what to make of it. I felt a little dizzy at the moment. When I regained my senses I shared my thought with my wife.

    "I’ve had a strange thought just now," I said to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

    "I’m not surprised," she said as she cleared the breakfast table.

    "No," I said, "I’m serious. It just dawned on me that our kids have gotten older."

    "Well," she said just a little impatiently, "there’s nothing wrong with that."

    "Yea," I replied soberly, "if they’re getting older it means I’m getting older and there’s something radically wrong about that."

    I don’t know what it is about getting older that causes a pause for some serious thought. When you are young there is so much going on a person doesn’t have time to think about such things. Then when the children . . .

  • A man is not a man, in my opinion, unless he has adequately mastered the art of snoring. When I say mastered, I mean there is more to snoring than the mere act of making ze noise.

    It is an ancient art form passed down from generation to generation, from father to son. It is the one thing men share in common and one of the few pleasures left in life that don't cost an arm and a leg.

    Everything of late is too expensive, too fattening or too politically incorrect.

    Once upon a time, a real man could enjoy the simple pleasures of life without any outside interference. Ah, for those good old days. Now, everybody and their tree-hugging cousin wants to tell me what I can and cannot do.

    I have yet to understand how this simple practice of snoring can jeopardize the environment, but I was . . .
  • telephoneWe had just finished our morning coffee for the morning and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me and said, "Let's go Christmas shopping."

    This little piece of news ruined my meticulously worked out plans of doing nothing for the day. I was suspicious of her plans to go shopping for the day, but I did not know it included Yours Truly. Therefore, when I discovered I was part of her plans for the day my heart sank... just a little.

    Shopping, whether Christmas or any other time of year, is not my cup of tea, although I always get in plenty of hot water. It would be different if I could go to the mall, get what I want and escape with as little collateral damage as possible. This is never the case. Shopping malls have been so designed to inflict as much collateral damage on husbands as possible. I think the reason they do it is so that when we get home we appreciate being at home.

    I have long ago discovered that when the wife suggests going shopping for the day it is not a suggestion. Therefore, when she put forth her proposal, I humbly, even if halfheartedly, agreed.

  • Christmas is the one time of the year when it is OK to be traditional. That may be the reason why so many people look forward to the Christmas holidays.

    The rest of the year most people are under the pressure to be ?non-traditional,? whatever that may mean. Today it is not politically correct to be traditional, and if you are you run the risk of being out of favor with the rest of society.

    Christmas, however, is a different time altogether for everyone. July may be a good month to be non-traditional, but not December. There is a time to be non-traditional and then there is a time to regain your senses and enjoy the amenities of good, old-fashion, traditionalism.

  • James Snyder's friends are all getting oldGetting old seems to be a long and slow process. The longer it goes the older you get.

    I didn’t really think I was getting old until a few weeks ago I was visiting with some friends from high school. You know those old high school friends that you had fun with when you were young enough to have fun? And oh boy, what fun we had.

    A sharp difference exists between being young and being old. You have to get old to really understand the difference because when you are young you do not have enough time to think. That’s the problem with young people today. So many things to do and so much technology they do not have any time left over to think.

    Those young whippersnappers.

  • The one great event that brings people together is the annual family vacation. It brings them together so they viciously argue about where they want to go. At least it seems to be a common experience with most families.

    Throughout the year, family members go their separate ways and only see each other as they pass in the hallway. What with mom and dad going to work and the kids going to school there seems to be very little time during the year for real family togetherness, which may cut down on family arguments.

    Because of this high-level activity during the rest of the year somebody, nobody knows who that somebody is, came up with the idea of the family summer vacation. I only wish they had come up with a good way to pay for these vacations.

    Usually, I look forward to these yearly family activities. Of course, if I ever looked backward, I probably would think about it a little more than I do.

    However, as a forward-looking person I take these things in . . .

  • American Idol MicrophoneNobody needs to tell me I cannot sing, although I have many fine friends who forward this information to me on a regular basis. It is as though there was a friend-wide conspiracy trying to convince me not to sing in public. Even the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage gets in on this act.

    We will be driving down the road and suddenly she will say, "What's that awful noise?" Then she will look at me and say, "You weren't singing were you? I thought we were having engine trouble."

    I have no intention to sign-up for an American Idol audition. If I did happen to win the contest I would have to quit what I am doing now and travel around the country singing for people. I'm quite happy doing what I'm doing right now, thank you.

  • This week I was reminded of some gangster movies I had watched as a child. Every gangster movie I could remember had the same phrase, “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.” This refers to the tyrannical persuasive power of gangsters to get people to do what they want them to do. The offer does not have the option to refuse. It carries with it the implication of “do it or die.”

    What brought all this to my mind was that I ran across something on the Internet I thought I would enjoy. It was some book on a subject I had interest in and it was offered free n I only had to pay shipping and handling. I figured it was a good deal as the shipping and handling only came to $2.97.

    I quickly went through the process of ordering the book ,giving all the pertinent information needed for the company to mail it to me. I came to the credit card part of the application. It seems so very . . . 

  • Without question, going to the hospital is teamwork from the time you arrive until you are wheeled out the front door. Everyone is working together for the common good of the patient, or at least a crack at his bank account. That is as it should be in such mercenary endeavors.

    Spending a few days in the hospital recently reinforced this in my own mind. Although my time in the hospital was brief, I was given the full treatment.

    The hospital staff left no bed unturned in the holy quest of my recuperation. No matter what time of night it was, each nurse cooperated in awakening me and asking, "And how do we feel tonight?"

    Teamwork is good for a number of things in life. Peanut butter and jelly, ham and eggs, and bologna and cheese are a few things benefiting from cooperation.

  • award winnerRare is the time when I actually am all caught up with my schedule. Whenever I think I am caught up, something happens that takes that and throws it out the window.

    Such was the case this past week. I was very much happy with the fact that I was on schedule and I had everything in hand. Nothing makes me feel better.

    Of course, this is mostly delusional, at least for me. If there ever was an award for being delusional, I am quite certain I would be at the top of the list. The amazing thing about being delusional is that you never think you are.

    As I was wallowing in my delusion and enjoying every moment of it, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came and said rather sharply, “Are you ready to go?”

    At the moment, I had no idea what she was talking about. And so I responded, “Huh?”

    I’m not sure if that is really a word or not, but it accurately described my delusional moment at that time. I had no idea what she was talking about.

    “You haven’t,” she said, “forgotten what day it is, have you?”

    I was tempted to say, “Of course not. It’s Tuesday.” Fortunately, I did not yield to that temptation and just responded with another, “Huh?”

    [gbwl]With a disdaining look she said, “You would forget your head if it wasn’t attached.”

    I wouldn’t tell her, but I probably would not miss my head if I would forget it. After all, I don’t wear a hat.

    “Today,” she said in a very serene voice, “the two grandchildren are getting awards at school.”

    I’m not quite sure if I forgot or if I was not listening when the instructions came my way. At this point, I was not going to let anybody know, particularly my wife.

    “Oh, yes,” I said getting up from my chair, “I’m all ready to go. Let’s go.”

    She gave me one of her classic sarcastic grins and we headed for the door.

    Our one granddaughter was graduating from the third grade and the other from the fifth grade. Unfortunately, one was at 8:30 in the morning and the other was it 1 o’clock in the afternoon. It would make sense to have them all at once, but what has sense to do in our world today?

    I did not want to complain, after all, it is our grandchildren, but I think the planning could have been just a little bit better than that. After all, sitting in the school cafeteria listening to the award ceremony is about as exciting as it can get.

    The chairs that we had to sit on were uncomfortable, which was very fortunate for me because I was not tempted to fall asleep during the ceremony. I believe that was done on purpose.

    Imagine getting an award for completing the third grade!

    I cannot remember any such thing when I was going to grade school. Our great award was leaving school and going home in the afternoon. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

    We live in a different world today where everybody gets an award for something or sometimes for nothing.

    [gbwr]Then I remembered my cell phone in my shirt pocket. It is times like this that God had in mind when he invented this cell phone technology. I pulled out my cell phone and started checking my email.

    Then I felt a sharp pain in my right ribs (thanks Eve) and I heard a voice saying, “Put that away and pay attention.”

    Slowly and reluctantly, I returned my cell phone to my shirt pocket and tried to pay attention but I didn’t have enough quarters. Paying attention can be very expensive when you’re in situations like this.

    The problem is that the grade school, particularly the third grade, had more children than my grandchildren. They were trying to give awards and recognition to all the children and I was only interested in one, my granddaughter.

    I was musing on this for a while and then my companion said, “Look, there she is.”

    When she said that, out came her cell phone and she began taking pictures of our granddaughter walking up to the stage to get an award. I can’t use my cell phone, but she’s at liberty to use her cell phone. Where’s the fairness in that?

    Taking a hint from my wife, I reached for my cell phone only to realize that I was too late and the moment was gone. I glanced over at my wife and all I could see was the big smile on her face and her saying, “I got her picture.” All I could do was return her smile and congratulate her on getting the picture.

    After each of the award ceremonies my wife and I went forward and she took pictures of me in the grandchildren together which made her rather happy.

    All the way home that afternoon, she was giggling and chattering very excitedly. “Her” grandchildren received some awards. According to her, these were very special awards.

    I smiled and was tempted to say, “Aren’t they my grandchildren too?” Why spoil the moment. She was excited and happy and it was worth my silence.

    I was reminded of what Solomon said. “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).

    A wise man knows when “to keep silence.”

    Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com 

  • This past week found me in a bit of trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage... well, more than normal. It has become rather normal for me to be in trouble with her. No matter how hard I try "not to be," it always is "to be."

    This week was a high point for me getting into trouble. I never relish getting into a pickle with her, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

    All week long, I had been murmuring and complaining about how hot it was. "I've never seen such hot weather," I grumbled. "I don't know how long I can take this hot weather."

    You would think that someone my age would have learned long ago that some things should not be vocalized. This is America, and we all have the right to speak our mind although much of the time we should not speak our mind aloud; at least, not to the point that someone, especially someone living under the same roof, can hear you. I have found that the thing that enhances romance is the sounds of silence.

    I guess it was getting a little wearisome with all my complaining, but after all, the weather was really hot.

    Then, she looked at me and said, "If I hear you complain about the weather one more time, I'm... I'm... I'm..." The look on her face indicated that she was not at a loss for words; she was just trying to control herself and save herself from early widowhood.

    I truly respect people who have the ability to control themselves, especially the people who live under our roof.

    I almost said something, but for some reason I had a flash of temporary sanity. I said nothing, but smiled. I am not boasting here, but I am really good at saying nothing. Even when talking, my wife tells me I am saying nothing.

    Saying nothing has gotten me out of many a jam, particularly with my wife. There are times when husbands and wives should sit down and have a rather invigorating conversation. Then there are times when the husband should shut up. I never know which time is which.

    It was then that my wife laid out the facts for me to evaluate. How she can remember everything is simply beyond me. However, how do I know she is actually remembering things as they were and not making them up?

    It seems, according to her impeccable recollection, that a few months ago I was complaining about how cold it was and anxious for the hot weather to come. "You were just as grumpy about how cold it was as you are now about how hot it is."

    Then she put her hands on her hip and looked at me with "that look," and said, "I don't mind you complaining about one or the other but I really do mind you complaining about everything. You're going to have to make up your mind whether you hate the cold or the heat, and then stick to it."

    That put a new light on the situation, and a new burden on me. Now, according to her latest admonition, I need to choose the heat or the cold. I am tempted, although I know better, to complain about this. I do not think it is fair that I have to choose one or the other. I think I should be able to hate both the cold and the heat.

    However, here is the problem. If I choose to complain about the heat, then what do I do in the wintertime when it gets cold? Faced with a real dilemma I took it to my good wife and asked, "Can I hate the heat in the summer and hate the cold in the winter, if I alternate it every other year?" To me this sounded like a very reasonable request. After all, I was accommodating her request and getting in my share of complaining.

    "If you would spend as much time thinking of positive things to say as you do complaining it would be absolutely wonderful."

    But how can you think of something positive about the heat when you are sweltering? And, how can you think about something positive about the cold when your bones are shivering to death? Mistakenly I told my wife my dilemma.

    "I think I have you figured out," she said. "You're positively negative about everything."

    There is only one thing worse than having your wife figure you out. There must be, but I cannot think of any thing right now.

    I will not say my wife is right, only that she is not wrong. I must say I have a tendency to complain about everything. Some people can see the silver lining in every cloud whereas I see a cloud over every silver lining. I guess it is a person's perspective.

    Thinking along this line, I remembered a verse in the Bible. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8 KJV).

    Some people (like me) see a glass as half empty while others see it as half-full. There are those few souls (like my wife) who are thankful that there is any water in the glass of all.

    The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

  • I never have to check the calendar to see if the Christmas season is approaching. As soon as the “season to be jolly” approaches all those jolly-challenged people begin their sniping. I think Jack Frost is nipping at more than their noses and some people are nipping at more than hot chocolate.

    The Christmas season is filled with tradition. The newest tradition to arrive on bobsled is the annual war on Christmas. I wait for this annual tradition with baited breath. (Actually, it's eggnog.) In fact, I refuse to start putting up any Christmas decorations until the war begins. After all, protocol is important to me, and a tradition is a tradition.

    It seems a little incongruent to me that those who are antiwar are usually the ones behind . . .

  • Today, (July 21) is my birthday. As birthdays go, mine seem to go pretty fast. It used to be that my birthday came every year. Now, every time I turn around it’s my birthday. I’m tempted to stop turning around.

    This week I’ve given some thought to the aging process and the very idea of getting older. One conclusion I’ve come to, I plan to get as old as I possibly can.

    I’m ready to die, of course, but I’m planning to live as long as I can. Even now, I am practicing diminished mental capacity, so when I go completely senile nobody will recognize the difference. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage believes, and has said as much, that I have achieved my goal already.

    I’m not sure if I’m happy with her evaluation or if she is just being sarcastic. I’m in no position to ask, plus I really don’t want to know the answer.

    On contemplating the aging process, I also concluded that . . .

  • christmas tree burningIt hardly seems possible that another Christmas has come and gone. I think it comes quicker than it goes, but then that is just my opinion.

    We were sitting for the last time around the Christmas tree which was about to be disassembled and I happen to say, “I can’t believe Christmas is over. Where does the time go?”

    To that, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me and said, “The older you get, the faster time goes.”

    I remember as if it was yesterday when without thinking, which is usually dangerous for me, I once responded, “You must know.”

    I got the “stare” that encouraged me not to respond in that vein ever again.

  • No day is complete for me unless I forget something. It does not matter what I forget as long as what I forget disrupts my day in some way. Rare is the day in May when I forget to forget something. Of course, I can't forget those days when I can't remember what day it is.

    The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has brought this to my attention on many occasions. For example, when we are about to start on a trip and are nicely settled in the car, my wife will look at me and say, "Did you get everything?"

    This irritates me to no end and glaring at her I mumble, "Of course I got everything."

    Then, to drive the knife deeper, she returns my glare and demands, "Are you sure?"

    Without saying one word, (that's just the kind of guy I am) I back out of the driveway and begin our journey. Two blocks down the road I stop the car and . . .

  • Another year has gone by and I find myself facing the same quandary I faced last year. I was hoping somehow this year would be different but, alas, it is not. Many people complain about how fast things are changing I have a complaint that some things do not change at all.

    Is it interesting that the things you want to change refuse to do so and the things you want to stay the same never do. I wish somebody would figure out how to reverse this tedious trend of life. I’ve worked on it but to no success.

    What I’m referring to, of course, is the annual Mother’s Day card fetish. I’m not sure where this started or why, but I do have my suspicions though. I think we can safely rule out husbands and men as suspects.

    I could see a man doing it one year but to do it year after year is not within the . . .

  • It has been a quiet week in the parsonage. The old year faded as the New Year silently slipped into the parsonage parlor. I don't know about anybody else, but I can't believe another year is under way - again.

    What I want to know is where are all those prophets of doom that only a few years ago warned us the end was near?

    Whatever happened to the Y2K Bug? Everything prophesied that would happen hasn't. For some reason, nobody holds these ?prophets? accountable for what they forecast.

    Perhaps the reason is that people, for the most part, forget quite easily and eagerly look for the next juicy bit of propaganda.