Just Once

Just once I would like to get into my car to go someplace without having to go back inside the house to get something I forgot.

Just once I would like to have a good hair day when I am actually planning to go out of the house and see people.

Just once I would like my strand of used dental floss to drop obediently into the bathroom trash can instead of landing on the floor, in the toilet, or in that dark, obscure space behind the toilet.

Just once I would like to reject a pair of jeans at Kohl’s because they are too big.

Just once I would like to try a new recipe without having to go to the store to get some ingredient I thought I had on hand but didn’t.

Just once I would like to open my mailbox and find no junk mail

Just once I would like to hear my dentist say, “Your teeth look great!  See you back in eight years.”

Just once I would like to find an even number of socks in my dryer.

Just once I would like to remember where I laid my phone without having to ask my husband to call me.

Just once I would like to go to the store for a gallon of milk and come out with only a gallon of milk.

Just once I would like to cook a pot of pinto beans without having to clean my entire stove top afterwards.

Just once I would like to open the blinds in my living room without immediately closing them because of all the dust the sunlight reveals.

Just once I would like to have both an apple and a brownie in my house and choose to eat the apple.

Just once I would like to call my grandchild by the right name without saying all my other grandchildren’s names first.

Just once I would like to touch a light switch without getting shocked.

Just once I would like to reach into my purse and pull out a pen without first pulling out my wallet, my Kleenex packet, my calendar, my photo of the grandkids, my hand sanitizer, my eyeglass cleaner and three Life Savers.

Just once I would like my eyebrows to grow into attractive, even arches above my eyes instead of growing together above my nose and out to my ears on both sides.

Just once I would like to get into bed without having to get back up because I forgot to take my medicine, plug in my phone, set my alarm clock, or lock the doors.

Just once I would like to ask my family members where or what they would like to eat without hearing a chorus of, “I don’t care.”

Just once I would like to find my missing glove the first place I look for it instead of the thirteenth place.

Just once I wish I would remember there is no soap in the shower before I step in.

Just once this week I wish I had sat down at my computer and composed a worthwhile article instead of having to resort to making a dumb list.

Debbie Scales               February 7, 2016               532 Words

Advertisements

Redeemed

I witnessed a beautiful scene last week.  I was visiting our two-year-old grandson at his house.  Shine, as I call him in my writings, was watching Team Umizoomi on television and playing with a toy train set as his mommy and I looked on.

At a particular point, Shine became excited about something he saw on the television.  He ran to the TV screen and pointed to a particular character, saying something like, “Look at Milli!”  When he pointed, his little finger pushed against the television screen.  His mommy said, “Don’t touch the TV when you point.”

Shine backed away, but a minute later he did the same thing.  “Don’t touch the TV when you point,” his mommy said.  “It leaves a messy fingerprint on the screen.”

However, in his excitement, Shine ran again to the television, pushed his finger against the screen a third time, and pointed out something about Milli or Bot or Geo.  This time his mother clapped her hands together sharply and said sternly, “Hey!  I told you not to touch the TV screen with your finger!”

Shine instantly collapsed onto the floor, lay down on his stomach, put his head down on his crossed arms and sobbed.  He knew he had disobeyed and disappointed his mother, and he was crushed with sadness.  His mommy reached toward him and said softly, “Come here, Baby.  It’s okay.”

Immediately Shine jumped to his feet and ran, tears streaming and arms outstretched, into the warm embrace of his mommy.  There he was cuddled, assured of his mother’s love for him, and comforted.  In a few minutes he returned to playing and watching television.

I was struck with the realization that it was to the person who issued the command, the person he had directly disobeyed, the person who reprimanded him that Shine ran for consolation.  I could not help making a spiritual application.

We children of God know the commands of our Father.  We love Him, want to please Him, and determine to obey Him completely.  Yet, some brightly colored object catches our eye, and, despite the fact that our Father has denied the possession of that object to us, we reach out a finger and touch it.

We do precisely what we have been told not to do.  Adam and Eve did it.  King David did it.  Christ’s Chosen Twelve did it, and every child of God since then has done it.  Though we want to honor our Heavenly Parent with perfect obedience, we fail.

Like my precious grandson, we are then filled with remorse and great sorrow.  Feeling unredeemable, we fall on our faces and cry.

To what or whom do we then run for comfort?  Some people run to food or alcohol.  Others run to find a friend who will downplay the offense and help the offender rationalize his or her action.

The only Person who can offer us true comfort is the Person we directly disobeyed.  Like my little grandson, we need to run immediately to that Person and then bask in the forgiveness, love and redemption He offers.

© Debbie Scales               January 31, 2016              511 Words

 

There’s an Ad for That!

Do you suffer from RA, IBS, UTI, ED, PUD, UC, or IBS? Good news!  There’s an ad for that!

Simply turn on your television and an ad will tell you everything you need to know about your specific malady’s causes and symptoms. The ad will also tell you the name of the drug your completely clueless physician should prescribe for you once you educate him/her on its benefits.

These ads tell me I need not allow toenail fungus, outbreaks of psoriasis, urinary frequency or urgency, headaches, or excessive stomach acid get in the way of my living a full and active life. However, the ads themselves have gotten in the way of my enjoying my television-watching life.

No medical condition is too sensitive for discussion. Courtesy of a television ad, not only will you yourself learn about vaginal yeast infections, but so will your inquisitive six-year-old, your great-uncle who is visiting from Cleveland, and the repairman who happens to be working on the ceiling fan in your living room.

I remember when my mother used to step discreetly into the kitchen whenever an ad for the Cross-Your-Heart bra, guaranteed to “lift and separate,” aired. If only I could quietly step off to the planet Jupiter when an ad for Cialis comes on as my grandkids, their mommies, their daddies, their grandpa and I are watching an old rerun of Leave It to Beaver.

Have you noticed that the suffering people in these ads are always attractive, gregarious, fun-loving folks who would enjoy perfect lives were it not for the specific affliction that ails them?  No doubt even those experiencing the sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy head, and fever of the common cold would be fun companions for an evening of Euchre if only they would take some Nyquil.

Just when an ad almost convinces me to try a specific medicine to treat the twinge of heartburn I get after eating at Taco Bell, the list of potential side effects scrolls across the TV screen. Compared to the headaches, stomachaches, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, dehydration, sleepwalking, incontinence, internal bleeding, pulmonary embolism, brain tumor, heart attack, stroke, cancer, liver damage, and potential death this drug may cause, a bit of heartburn seems like something I can tolerate.

In the old days, a TV ad for Alka-Seltzer featured simply a live-action shot of two white tablets being dropped into a glass of water where they generated an upward surge of happy bubbles, accompanied by the “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is” jingle.  Today’s high-tech ads rely heavily upon animation. A slimy, green, mucous-coated glob of yuk is depicted taking up residence within a person’s respiratory tract, and an insistent, rubbery-looking, pink bladder is shown dragging a woman away from her turn at the bowling alley in order to visit the restroom.

The power of suggestion is a commanding force. If I am not feeling sick when I sit down to watch television in the evening, I soon will be. Before long I am itching, cramping, sweating, burping, sneezing, aching and feeling depressed right along with the real and animated people I see in the television ads. Eventually I give up and go to bed, only, of course, after taking the sleep aid advertised by the soothing, little, yellow-green moth featured in the TV commercial.

Bring back the days when a little Vick’s salve rubbed on the chest at bedtime guaranteed a person a night of rest and a dawning new day of health and happiness.

Debbie Scales                    January 24, 2016                   586 Words

I’m Not Buying It

 

Why is it even necessary to advertise bathroom tissue? This household product is as essential to life as air. All of us buy it and will continue to buy it until we become incapable of making decisions for ourselves.  At that point, other people will buy it for us. Its sales will never hit bottom.

Most shoppers select at random whatever brand of bathroom tissue is displayed at eye level on the store shelf. A few careful consumers determine the number of sheets per roll of tissue and the number of rolls per package and divide those numbers into the total cost of the product and choose the cheapest one. No one, absolutely no one, chooses bathroom tissue in order to “enjoy the go,” or “to go commando,” or to experience the “ideal balance of softness and strength.”

Manufacturers of bathroom tissue who pay big bucks to promote their product are flushing good money down the toilet. People will buy their product whether it is advertised or not, and in the end, one brand is as good as another.

No laundry detergent will remove from a white T-shirt a stain comprised of chocolate, grape juice, mud, lipstick, crayon, grass stain, blood and motor oil. Regardless of how many times I am shown before-and-after proof of such miracles on television, I do not believe the ads.

If you tell me that your car dealership has the largest selection of high-quality, low-mileage cars and trucks in the Midwest, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. If you claim that your brand of mattress assures perfect alignment of the neck, back and hips and guarantees 20 years of restful sleep, I won’t question your honesty.

But try convincing me that a certain brand of laundry detergent will remove the stain on the front of a onesie that has been serially saturated with the slobber of four siblings, and I will call you a liar right out of the box, or right out of the 64-ounce, recyclable, plastic bottle.

I cringe when I see the television advertisement for life insurance that shows an insensitive young woman, who, upon hearing that her aging father has suffered a potentially serious fall, immediately urges her mother to buy life insurance.

While she is at it, why doesn’t the daughter go ahead and encourage her mother to clean out the attic before she dies so the daughter won’t have to do it herself?

Where is the concern for her father that this daughter should be showing?  Where are the reassuring words and warm embraces?  Where is the love?

“Where,” the daughter asks, “are your CD’s, your jewels, your deed to the house and title to your car? Where have you hidden money inside the house?  How quickly can I cash in your assets when you and dad kick off?”

As a consumer, I am fed up with these disgusting, deceitful and disrespectful television ads. They make me so angry I would quit watching television entirely were it not for the highly educational, morally pure and enormously entertaining shows such products sponsor.

 

©Debbie Scales                         January 21, 2016                    594 Words

Of Snowmen, Worms and Birthday Cakes

I spend a good part of most weeks playing with Play-Doh.  My Play-Doh basket contains a wide assortment of primary, pastel and neon colors, plus at least 20 shape cutters, a small rolling pin, some plastic knives and a few birthday candles.

My two-year-old and three-year-old grandchildren are in the process of teaching me the finer points of the art of Play-Doh.   I am at about a level two out of ten, while my young grandchildren are established masters of the craft.

Here are some things I have learned while playing with Play-Doh.

  • You can never have too many cans of Play-Doh open at any given time.  Even if you are assembling a whole family of snow-people from white Play-Doh, cans containing other colors should be open and at the ready.
  • Pretending goes a long way in the world of Play-Doh.  Worms can quickly be transformed into snakes, ropes, coiled pots or even necklaces.  Small balls can become bird eggs or even eyeballs; a flattened circle can become one-half of a hamburger bun, or with the addition of candles, a birthday cake.  A triangle can become a clown hat, the base of a teeter-totter, or an Egyptian pyramid.  Don’t tell me that pyramids can’t be red.  I have seen them.
  • As a general rule, the different colors of clay should not be mixed.  When this inevitably happens though, mixing red and blue clay creates purple clay; mixing yellow and blue creates green; mixing red and yellow creates orange; and mixing five or six random colors creates a muddy hue that has no place in the forming of a rainbow.
  • If one player declares a certain formation of clay to be a horse, it is a horse.
  • Play-Doh snowmen need legs.
  • Yellow Play-Doh spiders are nice but blue ones with red spots are mean.
  • You never really eat Play-Doh, but you can pretend to eat all colors of cookies, hamburgers and birthday cakes.  If an item of Play-Doh food accidentally touches your lips, it tastes salty.  It tastes even saltier if it touches your tongue.  This grandma moves at the speed of an Amtrak train if she sees Play-Doh beginning to be chewed.
  • When an adult plays with Play-Doh, she is reminded that its smell is unique among all smells.  Catching a whiff of it transports her back to a time when she was a pony-tailed seven-year-old whose biggest challenge in life was getting past her threesies when playing jacks.

Truly, people who play with Play-Doh learn to express themselves without inhibition, to appreciate other people’s artwork, and to give and receive both praise and constructive criticism with grace.  Best of all, people who play with Play-Doh together create not only beautiful works of art but also sweet memories that may last a lifetime.

 

©Debbie Scales                 January 9, 2016                 478 Words

 

Remind Me Never to Run for President

I have watched with some interest as a dozen or more candidates smile, deliver speeches and kiss babies in their effort to be elected President of the United States in 2016.  These brave souls are subjected to scrutiny that would make even the most stalwart politician quake in his or her designer shoes.

I wince as nervous candidates field questions about inconsistencies in their statements, or stumble over themselves trying to remember statistics, or work hard to look just right.  Because I am an empathetic person, I feel anxious right along with them.

I don’t want to watch any candidate endure the pain of looking stupid or inexperienced.  I want each one to speak and perform well and to feel good about his or her effort in this endeavor.

I wish everyone could possess this “good-about-myself” feeling because I know how miserable it is to feel bad about myself.  Many times I have been uncomfortable with the way I looked or performed, and I hate feeling like that.

When I was about 13, I had a growth spurt and was suddenly taller than my mother, my grandmother, and the aunts with whom I sat at church.  When we stood to sing or to pray, I felt like a sunflower in a daisy patch.  Feeling ungainly, oversized and awkward, I suspected that everyone in the room was looking at and laughing at me.

In this same, small church that I attended, only two Sunday School classes were provided for the kids:  a little kids’ class and a big kids’ class.  I transferred from one class to the other somewhere around fifth grade.  I was nervous the first Sunday that I attended the big kids’ class.  The last thing I wanted to do was call attention to myself.

Unfortunately, I entered the room, sat down on a folding chair and placed the palm of my right hand on the seat of the chair next to me where a yellow jacket happened to be resting.  It stung me, of course, and I jumped up, screaming and wildly shaking my hand.  So much for my inconspicuous entrance into the world of the big kids.

Another time I was conversing with a group of people with whom I felt a bit uncomfortable.  They were discussing a fire that had burned a field in our community.  Wanting to enter the conversation, but also feeling timid, I nervously made a comment.  Regrettably though, I transposed the beginning of two words in the sentence and what I said was, “I wonder what caused the star to fart.”

My experiences prove that even when people do their best, no one is perfect in appearance, speech and conduct 100% of the time.  Yet, a 100% person is the one I want to see sitting in the Oval Office of the White House.

Remind me never to run for President.

 

©Debbie Scales          January 3, 2016          486 Words

I Hereby Resolve . . . Maybe Not

Before you make any resolutions for the upcoming year, let me caution you to think twice.  Until I gave some serious thought to what I would resolve to do in 2016, these are the resolutions I had planned to make.

  • In 2016 I will stop eating junk and eat only healthful, nutritious, organically grown fruits and vegetables that have been thoroughly washed with Veggie Fit.  I will consume no canned, bottled or packaged foods and will eat absolutely nothing containing caffeine, fat, sugar, salt, cholesterol, gluten, carbohydrates, artificial dyes or preservatives.
  • I will power-walk walk three miles a day, every day, regardless of the weather, the road conditions, or my state of health.
  • I will read or listen to all 89 of the Pulitzer Prize winning novels.

Future scenario:  Look for a scowling, emaciated woman slogging along snow-covered streets in a central Indiana neighborhood, gnawing on a stalk of celery, listening to The Old Man and the Sea on her iPod and murmuring, “Caffeine.  Get me some caffeine.”

 

  • In 2016, through careful organization and the efficient use of sticky notes and calendars, I will show up on the right day and at the right time for all dental and doctor appointments, psychologist visits, hair appointments, lunches with friends, Pampered Chef parties, church, etc.
  • I will neatly store all current and future incoming bills, warranties, catalogs, insurance policies, advertisements, receipts, etc. inside my house.  No piece of paper will ever again be placed on my kitchen island to be dealt with later.

Future scenario:    Look for a wild-eyed woman plastered in assorted-color sticky notes and having a large, well-marked calendar taped to the front of her refrigerator, to her car’s steering wheel, to her bathroom mirror, to the edge of the TV screen, beside her laptop, and on both the front and back sides of her husband.  She will spend entire days filing papers in well organized and clearly labeled storage containers, three-ring binders, manila folders, and filing cabinets.

 

  • In 2016 I will finally get a grip on my housework.  My home will be devoid of dust, clutter, dirty dishes, untended  laundry, soap scum, spider webs, grimy windows, sticky refrigerator shelves, and baked-on oven residue.

Future scenario:  Look for a woman whose furniture, appliances, bookshelves, table tops, and electronic equipment will be draped in bed sheets which are not to be removed under any circumstances.  In order to prevent soap scum, her sinks, showers and bathtubs will not be available for use.  You may see this woman and her husband eating in local restaurants, wearing the same items of clothing day after day and emitting an unpleasant odor.

 

  • In 2016 I will dedicate myself to improving the lives of the important people in my world.  I will boldly inform my husband, children and friends of all the changes I think they need to make in the upcoming year.  I will be attentive to my grandchildren 24/7, teaching them life principles, helping them develop their motor skills, reading to them, improving their handwriting and vocabulary, encouraging them in all worthwhile pursuits, and coaching them in memorizing long passages of scripture on a daily basis.

Future scenario:  Look for a lonely woman whose eyes are bloodshot and swollen from continuous crying because her husband, children and grandchildren have moved to another country and left no forwarding address.  Her friends have suddenly become unreachable by phone or email, and no one answers when the doorbell rings at their houses.

 

In short, had this perfectly sane, well-balanced, and productive woman stuck with these resolutions, she would have morphed in 2016 into an angry, skinny, foul-smelling but well-read, psychotic woman who lives alone in an immaculately clean, well-organized, sheet-draped home, eating tasteless food, never bathing, and venturing outside only to walk three miles a day, retrieve her mail, and appear on time for appointments.

Resolutions can ruin your life.  They almost ruined mine.

 

©Debbie Scales           December 27, 2015          657 Words

 

For friends who share common interests with me and enjoy reading lighthearted, inspirational, and entertaining articles, many with spiritual applications.