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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Popcorn for Adults


Give me a show of hands for those that love a box of Cracker Jacks. My love of popcorn began with a box of that caramel coated goodness. And let’s face it, what kid doesn’t root around for the “surprise” that’s in the box. My tattoo dreams came true many a day with a lick and stick tattoo I pulled up from the sticky contents of my Cracker Jack box. Oh, those were the days.

I’m a grown-up now and prefer more sophisticated delicacies, i.e. Angie’s Boom-Chicka Pop. That’s right, Angie, the Popcorn Queen, as I like to call her, is the creator/CEO of Boom-Chicka Pop. It’s delicious and she has marketed many flavors. But my Sparky and I have a big obsession with the purple bag, The Kettle Corn flavor. We eat a bowl of it every night!  We purchase it in giant 1 lb. 9 oz bags that look like king sized bed pillows. We load up on them at Costco, sometimes 5 bags at a time. We do this because one time Costco didn’t have them. We cried real tears and friends felt so bad for us they were offering to mail us bags from their town. Costco always has them now. They claim it has nothing to do with the temper tantrum I had in the aisle there, but I’ve got me a feelin’!

Because of all our grown-up distinctiveness we no longer eat right out of the bag. We transfer our sweet snack to a big metal popcorn tin that sits on our counter. ‘Cause we’re just fancy like that! Even the dog knows the sound of the tin shutting and begs for his share of the goodness.

This morning as Sparky was leaving for work, he couldn’t find his wallet. We looked all over the place. He was sure he had put it on the counter when he came home from work. He retraced his steps from the prior night in his poor feeble little mind to no avail. Perhaps he left it at CVS when he stopped there on the way home. He drove by there and scoured the parking lot. I drove there when they opened for business and inquired if a wallet had been turned in. He prayed. I prayed. We begged the Lord to show us the wallet! Where or where could it be?

Once at work, Spark decided to view our Nest camera video footage. Ah the Nest cam – the thing I love to hate. I hate the thought that this camera is watching my every move all day long, but Spark is convinced that if ever there is a burglar – we’ll nab him! He texted me and tells me to look at the footage from 5:31 the night before. And there he is, as plain as day, pulling his phone out of his right pocket and his wallet out of the left pocket and depositing them on the counter as he has done for the past 30 plus years.

This put our minds at ease for the rest of the day, enough that we could get something accomplished.  The wallet had to be in the house. Once home from work, I pulled all the trash out, looked around the house again and watched over 3 hours of video clips from that @#$& video camera. Nothing. Never do I see either of us go back to the spot where the wallet had laid.

Having exhausted all possibilities, I sat down and thought long and hard about the night before. It was pretty boring actually, and not very fun to think about. As a side note, we need to get a life. Then it dawned on me, the only place we didn’t look was the popcorn tin. He did have his nightly bowl of Boom-Chicka. “Now, wouldn’t that be crazy if his wallet was in the popcorn tin,” I mused to myself as I lifted the lid.

And there…to my disbelief laid Sparky’s wallet amongst the fluffy kernels! What on
earth!!! That’s it, my husband is officially losing his mind. This is very concerning. I didn’t know if I should laugh, feel relieved or be highly concerned about his mental well-being. I quickly snapped a pic and sent it to him.

Relieved as he was, he was in shock and kind of thinking the same thing as me – is he losing his mind? However, he did remind me that I got popcorn after he did. Now the plot thickens.

I am completely baffled by this and although I was relieved to have found the wallet – the mystery now remained as to how in the world it found its way to the popcorn bucket. Did I put it in there? I was the last one to dip my bowl in the tin.

I logged back on to the @#$& video footage. I scanned through videos until I saw one of myself getting popcorn. I watched it over and over. I took the lid off, laid it on the counter, and returned it to the tin. I took the lid off a second time and got a handful more to fill my bowl up and returned the lid again.   

Now, Spark’s wallet is not a typical wallet. It’s actually a money clip. The clip is magnetic. It wasn’t until I watched the video a fourth time that it dawned on me – Hey, I bet I put that darn lid over the wallet, and it was magnetized to the lid. Sure enough, I tested out my theory and that is what happened. Somewhere along the line the wallet became too heavy and the magnetization gave way plummeting it into it’s sweet and salty safety net!

The moral of this story is that I’ve come a long way from a lick and stick tattoo in my cracker jack box. I’m now finding 4 credit cards, $50 in cash and a Five Lakes Coffee Card in my Boom-Chicka! Growing up has its perks! Welcome to my adult world!

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Don't Sink

 Here's another article from my column in our hometown paper that was published in May. I hope this encourages you today...

Don't Sink


A sinkhole was discovered in the concrete parking lot of a local entity. The excavator who was called on to repair the hole was shocked at his findings. Digging 30 x 60 ft wide and some 9 ft down, it appeared the area may have been a burial ground for debris from the 1965 tornado. Amongst the treasures were an 8,000 lb. tree, a mangled bicycle, and a trailer hitch. Over 58 years, these items began to rot and shift, and air pockets were formed, causing the earth around them to give way, concrete and all.


A life lesson stared back at me as I stared into that big hole. Debris, buried and forgotten for 58 years, had caused considerable destruction. I imagine the farmer, who dug the hole, worked tirelessly to eliminate every reminder of that horrific day. Palm Sunday 1965 - when twin twisters ripped through our community, leaving a swath of death and destruction. He shoved the debris down into the earth and rebuilt his life.


I thought about past "storms" in my life and the destruction they've left behind. Have I buried that wreckage deep into my soul, thinking they will no longer harm me, only for them to be unearthed later? Or worse yet, do I occasionally go back to the hiding place and dig them up? The bitterness I haven't dealt with, people I haven't forgiven, unhealed wounds of broken relationships?


Can you relate? Do you have any past hurts that you've shoved down deep? The items in the sinkhole eventually wreaked havoc – will our hidden pain finally do the same in our lives? Well, I'm not a psychologist, but in my experience, anything that I have shoved down deep and not dealt with has eventually returned to haunt me. Why? Because instead of learning from it or getting rid of it, I have just stored it away in my heart for a while.


Sure, it's hard to not remember hard things that happen in life. The loss of a loved one, financial demise, beating cancer, and the list could go on. A friend once told me that she can forgive and forget but never forgets the lessons she learned from the experience. She doesn't want to. Those lessons are the fruit that has sprouted from the hurt we have planted. The lessons learned when cleaning up the debris from our personal storms is what propel us forward into a future filled with wisdom and hope.


When Israel became stuck between the past and the future, God revealed himself to them through Isaiah the prophet, giving them great hope. He says in Isaiah 43:10, "Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing, Now, it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland". 


This is a great word for me as I deal with the junk I have buried and refuse the lesson it speaks into my life. Dwelling on the former things doesn't do me (or you) any good. They may cause us to sink. Let our focus be on the hope that springs eternal from the solid foundation of Jesus Christ! He is doing a new thing!