Socks, socks, and more socks! It looked like my dryer contained more men’s socks than the Gold Toe sock display at Macy’s.
The sight of so many socks now piled on top of the dryer made me exasperated. My best estimate told me there must be at least 50 socks that I needed to match, fold, and put away. I definitely was not pleased with this menial, time-consuming chore.
“It’s all in a person’s perspective. You can either find the blessing and be grateful or find the fault and feel awful.” I could hear my friend Miss Caroline explain the value of perspective as clearly as if she stood next to me. It made me take a second look at the sock pile.
I suddenly realized several important things:
- These socks belong to my husband.
- I have a precious husband.
- If my husband owns 50 socks, then it’s because he has a job and can afford to buy socks.
- And if my husband has a job, it’s because God provided it for him – for us!
My disdain at having to fold so many socks turned to joy when I adjusted my perspective. A chore that could be viewed as drudgery was actually a blessing.
What things in your life need a change in perspective?
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter © 2013Read More
Dear Readers, my first writings as a teenager were humorous short stories. I would take something ordinary that had actually transpired and after finding the levity in it, compose a story. My closest friends have been the recipients of these stories in recent years, but until now, I’ve never published them. While the following incident actually occurred, my husband wants you to know that I, as an author of humor, have embellished it (but not much). I hope you enjoy it! Without further delay, I bring to you my husband’s incredible dance debut.
For the first time in 20 years, my husband and I found ourselves alone on a Saturday. It didn’t seem right to spend a free day at home, so we decided to visit Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum.
As soon as we entered the temporary exhibit about life in the African Congo, I took note of several cute young men dressed in African attire.
“They’re probably local kids earning extra money,” I whispered knowingly to my husband. He nodded his agreement.
Further into the exhibit, we encountered an older man, similarly dressed.
“Must be members of a local church group,” I mouthed to hubby. Tim wasn’t so sure.
Upon leaving the exhibit, a docent asked if we’d like to watch a show in the auditorium. “It’s the Wacongo Dance Company from the African Congo. They’re on an international tour and they’re going to perform traditional African dances.”
I looked at hubby, eyes pleading. What could be more fascinating than an authentic African dance recital?
We sat close to the stage. Hand-pounded drums, straight from the Congo, signaled the start of the show and pushed the room’s acoustic system to the limit. The audience sat mesmerized as a young man pranced, swooped, jumped and whirled in the air. He wasn’t a local school kid after all. Who knew?
Several dances later, the older man from the exhibit, the Chief, stood on stage and asked the audience for a show of hands from those who had toured the exhibit. My hand shot straight up.
Tim leaned over and said, “I wouldn’t do that.”
I ignored his comment. The stage lights were surely blinding the chief’s eyes because he repeated the request.
“Tim, put your hand up and make them feel welcome!”
My husband ignored me.
“Come on,” I insisted.
Hubby sighed as he complied. “I hope I don’t regret this, Cyndi.”
I realized the chief’s vision was extremely impaired when he asked everyone who had toured the exhibit to put their hands down and stand up. “He probably hasn’t had an eye exam,” I told hubby. “You know, over there in Africa and all.” My knowledge made Tim close his eyes and shudder in awe.
By now, all of the young African men were standing in the aisles.
“This can’t be good,” Tim muttered.
“The young men will escort everyone standing to the stage,” the Chief announced.
“What?” I asked.
“I knew it!” Tim shot a not-so-nice glare at me.
One of the young men took my arm and, even though I graciously declined, pulled me to the stage. “Oh, crap,” I gasped. Horrified, I turned to tell Tim to help me, but he, too, was being pulled toward the stage.
With all of the foolish people in the audience who had stood up now lined across the length of the stage, the chief instructed us to imitate his dance movements as the drums began. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of it, the movements loosely resembling my aerobic class dances.
Tim, on the other hand, was putting on a show all by himself. If the chief lifted his right arm, Tim lifted his left arm. If the chief turned to the left, Tim turned to the right. This wouldn’t have been so bad except that when Tim threw his arms the opposite direction of the chief, he belted me in the mouth, the face and various parts of my upper anatomy. It was obvious that Tim had never set foot in an aerobics class.
“Stop it,” I said as I smiled through clenched teeth. Smack. Tim’s wayward arm hit me again. “What are you doing? Stop hitting me!”
Tim stopped gesticulating and turned to face me, both hands on his hips. “I can’t figure out which direction to go.”
“Just do what the chief does.”
“No, you’re not! You’re out of sync and smacking me.”
“What do you want me to do, Cyndi?” Tim threw both arms in the air. At least he missed me.
“Here, trade places with me. You’ll be on the end and you won’t hurt anyone.”
Before we could trade places, peels of laughter from the audience nearly drowned out the drums. It only took Tim and me a second to realize that we were stealing the show.
The chief, sensing trouble, came over to us. “I dance wit chew,” he said to Tim as he jabbed his index finger into Tim’s chest.
“Oh, no you’re not,” Tim replied with a wild-eyed look.
“You dance wit me,” Chiefy said as he again jabbed Tim’s chest.
“No! I am not dancing with a man.” The arteries in Tim’s neck began to bulge.
“You dance wit me.” Another chest jab.
While in college, Tim worked summers as a baseball umpire. Hand signals that had laid dormant for years sprang to life as he spoke with Chiefy. “I’m not dancing with you and that’s final!” Tim returned the chest jab.
The audience was screaming with laughter. I rolled my eyes and wondered why I had let Tim talk me into this. “Let me dance with you, Chief. I’m a much better dancer.”
“I dance wit him,” Chiefy insisted, again poking hubby.
Oh, no. This wasn’t good. Tim had that look that comes right before he does his Jackie Gleason meltdown.
“Ya gotta leave my husband alone, Chief. He’s about ready to blow.”
“How do I get off this stage? Where’s the steps?” Tim frantically shouted off to the right.
The chief and I both turned and looked at Tim. Standing precariously at the edge of the stage, it looked like he was going to belly-flop into the audience.
The music ended. “Thank God!” Tim exclaimed too loudly. The audience loved it.
The remainder of our museum tour was one interruption after another. It’s what happens to celebrities. Not only had every person in the entire museum watched the Congo dance recital, they each had the same question for Tim and me: “Did you two rehearse that scene with the Chief beforehand?”
On the drive home, hubby enlightened me. “Now you know why I have never danced with you.”
“Now you know why I will never dance with you!” I informed hubby.
Tim says I always have to get the last word in.
But that’s not true.
Author’s Note: The Wacongo Dance Company is a traditional ensemble of master drummers, musicians and dancers, residents of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who perform the ancestral songs and dances of Central Africa.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012
At the end of January, my husband was temporarily re-assigned to a corporate facility five hours away. Tim’s company initially believed he would be there for 6 to 8 weeks. Now it’s looking like the assignment will last months.
With God, there’s a purpose to everything. Perhaps someone at the facility needs my husband to witness to them. Maybe my husband will benefit from the testimony of someone else. One thing’s certain: God has a need for Tim to be there.
My husband is a gift to me from the Lord, and I miss him terribly. But I’ve learned to be grateful in all situations. Truly, there is something good in everything that is bad, albeit we sometimes have to really look for it.
How can you say that? you ask. Because adversity has taught me to look beyond the difficulty that I face, to seek what God would have me learn through the situation. God is teaching me to allow my trials, great and small, to deepen my relationship with Him.
I know, without question, that no matter what situation I’m in, God is right alongside me and He wants me to draw closer to Him, not to the TV, not to the computer.
Although it would always our first choice, God won’t take us around trouble. No, He escorts us right through the middle of it, staying by our side all the way to the exit door.
As much as I miss my husband, I know that no difficult situation lasts forever. The Scriptures and my experiences have taught me that. When Tim’s assignment is complete, the Lord will bring him home to me.
But I’m not waiting until then to rejoice. I have reasons to celebrate now: God has given Tim a job. Thanks to Him, we have a steady income, we have a house, we can buy food. God is seeing to it that all of our needs are being met no matter where one of us is assigned or where the other lives. The Lord is crossing every “t” and dotting every ”i.”
No matter where my husband might be, I know he loves me and is counting the minutes until he can come home.
And I am here waiting patiently, keeping my focus on the One who placed every star in the sky and the love in our hearts.
Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:4, 7a. NKJV.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
Do you ever have times when you’re working as hard as you can, wheels are spinning, brain is whirring and you know you are getting nowhere? That was me last Saturday. Call me exhausted, burned out, useless.
My husband studied me as we had our early morning coffee. “Are you okay, Cyn?”
“No,” I told him. “Nothing’s going right. I’m tired. I have no energy. I feel terrible.”
He looked at me as he swallowed more coffee. Then he asked how long it would take before I’d be ready to go.
“Go where?” I asked.
“I know what you need. You need a day up on the Blue Ridge. Just you and me and God.”
I wasn’t sure I had the energy to take an all-day trip, but my husband prodded me. Near Charlottesville, we stopped for lunch and I began to feel a little better.
Back in the car, it wasn’t long before we were driving the ridge line of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern Virginia. We’d never been there when the mountains were bare of foliage and I wasn’t so sure our drive would make me feel better with such bleakness surrounding us.
I offered to drive, but my husband said that it was I who most needed to see God’s creation. How does he know these things?
Without leaves and undergrowth blocking our vision, we saw small mountain streams tumbling over mossy rocks. We stopped at different lookouts and got out of the car. The spring blush covered the mountains and twice we heard the wind rustling from the peaks down through the passes on its way to the valley below. I sat on a rock and closed my eyes. This is how God speaks to those who will listen and recognize His presence. I wanted to sit on the rock for a long time, soaking in God. But, too soon, it was time to get back into our car and travel further down the mountains’ spine.
We saw where wind storms had toppled some trees while others still stood. The metaphor soothed my heart: storms will come and try to blow us down, but those who hope in the Lord will be left standing.
Further down the road, the unmistakable black charring of trees and rocks told of a recent fire. Amidst the devastation, life was peeking out here and there through the ground and on tree branches that were spared. Life’s fires scorch and burn us, but only God can use those flames to refine us. I needed to be reminded of this.
Several thousand feet above the valley, we rounded a curve and saw clouds so close we could almost touch them. I thought of the woman I know who insists there is no God. Has she never looked at clouds?
“Can you go home now?” my husband asked.
“Are you asking if I want to go home?”
“I’m asking if you can go home. Are you able to leave here and go home now?”
I understood. “Yes, I can go home now.” I smiled at him and he took my hand and kissed it.
Only God could have found such a man for me.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV 1984).
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012
Photography: Cynthia Howerter © 2012