THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

April 1, 2009

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Today is April 1st -- or also a day known as "April Fool's Day". It's a day where people are more apt to play practical jokes; trying to trick someone or get them to believe what they say.

I remember last year my oldest sister called and told me that a daughter-in-law was pregnant. Not even thinking about what day it was, I really wasn't shocked by the news and replied by saying, "Really? When is she due?" She then laughed said said, "April fools; she's really not pregnant."

Some people scheme and plan ahead, trying to pull that one ultimate prank that will really get someone. Some have been successful, and some have had their efforts backfire on them.

I've found that some people don't need an excuse or a special day to joke around or try and pull a practical joke on someone. I've been on both the giving and receiving end of such circumstances.

I hosted a baby shower for my niece recently. She has been having contractions for five weeks now, and is on medication to keep them under control, because the baby isn't actually due until May. She has made a few trips to the hospital, and was even hospitalized for a few days shortly after this all began. I had my house all cleaned and decorated for the shower. About half an hour before the shower was to begin, Janee' called and told me that she was sorry, but she was at the hospital and wouldn't be able to come. I thought that she was probably joking, but due to the circumstances couldn't be positive. My response was, "Really?! You better be joking!!" She laughed and said that she was on her way, and her husband would be dropping her off in a few minutes.

I've been the instigator of a few practical jokes myself. I know that's hard to believe! One in particular backfired on me, and is still remembered by a few folk to this day. It didn't happen on April 1st, which goes to show that April's Fools Day can actually occur any day of the year.

I was working for a bank in Missouri, and occasionally had to do something to break the monotony of the job. I had plenty of accomplices, but I seemed to be the one who got the blame. That was fine with me, because it was all done in good fun and was harmless.

One particular time, it was the birthday of one of the executives from the bank's holding company. No one much cared for this gentleman (could be because he tended to be obnoxious and a know-it-all), but for some reason I got along fine with him. Perhaps it was because I wasn't one of the officers who had to deal with him directly, and also because I wasn't intimidated by him and treated him like I would anyone else.

His birthday was in October, and I decided that I should do something to "help" him celebrate. So some of my bookkeepers and I blew up a bunch of balloons. I had some narrow ribbon on a spool. I tied a ribbon to the end of each balloon, then tied the balloons all over the car. I didn't just loosely tie them on, but I knotted each ribbon, which meant that the only way he'd get them off was to cut them. I had balloons tied to the windshield wipers, spokes of the hubcaps, door handles, radio antenna, and anywhere I could find to tie the ribbon onto. I made a big sign and put on the back car window that had a message about it being his birthday. Two things went wrong with my plan.

First of all, it was freezing cold out and started lightly raining and sleeting that afternoon; which meant the cardboard sign on back of the car got all wet and soggy and messy. But that wasn't the worst of it.

We had either FDIC or Division of Finance examiners at the bank that week. I had been told that they would be there for another couple of days. When a bank has examiners, at the end of the exam, they will meet with the bank executives and give the results of their findings. Unknown to me, they ended their exam that day. All afternoon, until around 6:00 or so that evening, the bank president and this man were in a closed door meeting with the examiners; and it wasn't good. There were some issues that had been found, and so it had been a very stressful and tense meeting.

When it finally ends, the bank president knew what I had done to John Paul's car, so he stayed inside the building until everyone left. I believe he was watching out the window to see what would happen. On the other hand, John Paul had no idea the surprise that was in store for him, so exited the building with the examiners. It was cold and nasty out, and not the best timing for a practical joke. I had left some small scissors on the trunk of the car so he could cut the ribbons off, but he didn't see them. He took out his pocket knife and proceeded to pop the balloons. He turned around to the examiners and said, "No, I'm not over here killing myself!"

I came in the next morning and was met at the door by the bank president. He was frankly quite worried about what happened, and told me that he hoped I still have a job. Later that morning, he called John Paul to feel him out, to see how upset he was with me. The next day, John Paul was coming for a meeting at our bank. I wasn't going to be there when he arrived, so the other officers covered for me. At the place where he always sat in the boardroom, they put a placemat and nice plate with the biggest donut they could find (the man liked to eat). Then they had a thermos filled with coffee and the newspaper all rolled up for him. I had made a little white flag out of a coffee stirrer and they put that on top of the donut. Apparently when he walked in and saw it, he thought it was hilarious and gave a big belly laugh. When I came in, I waved a white flag (actually a white kleenex) when I saw him. He laughed and said that I was forgiven. He was aggravated at me when he first walked out and saw the balloons, but later when he calmed down from the examiners' exit meeting, he thought the whole thing was funny.

When things are done with a pure motive, with harmless intentions, it can bring a lot of laughter and humor. There is a difference between doing things just to be funny and silly, and doing them to be mean and spiteful. As long as it's done in good fun, playing pranks and joking with someone can bring about a lot of laughter and enjoyment.

Jon knows exactly how he can "get me going" about certain things. For instance, I may go out and buy something, and he really could care less that I bought it or spent the money, yet his reaction will reflect otherwise. He can give me a certain look or just make one simple comment, and I will start explaining why I bought it or will feel bad about spending the money. He does this on purpose and thinks he's really funny. After letting me go on for a while, he'll start laughing and make some comment about his tactics always working on me. Finally, after almost four years of marriage, it's working less and less on me and I realize when he's joking and what he's trying to do.

There is a big difference between trying to "get" someone on April's Fools Day or other days of the year, and actually playing the part of a fool. Proverbs has many scriptures that speak about being foolish. Fools intentionally do things for evil intent. Their foolishness gets them into trouble and causes grief to others.

Proverbs 10: 23 "To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom."

Proverbs 12:15,16 "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds wisdom is wise. A fool's wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame."

Proverbs 17:25 "A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him."

Proverbs 18:6,7 "A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows. A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul."

There are many other verses in Proverbs about fools or being foolish. But there are also many verses that speak about the wise. Many of these scriptures compare the foolish to those with wisdom. There is a definite difference between the two.

While we may joke around and act silly from time to time, may we do so with wisdom. We are never to speak words that are cutting or that purposely put others down. When we tease and joke around, let us do so with pure motives and intentions. May we never do something or say words that will cripple or do harm to someone. We should never try to make someone look bad, in order to try and make ourselves look good. There is a very distinct line between being funny and humorous, and being sarcastic or demeaning; and may none of us ever cross it.

Laughing and having fun is enjoyable and a necessary part of life. In fact, Proverbs speaks of a merry [happy] heart doing good like medicine. But may we never have fun at the expense of someone else, and crush their spirit. Let's always laugh with someone, not at them.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Some of the guys at my office like to pull pranks. It can be a great way to join together in something fun. I'm fortunate enough to work with a group that does it as a way to join together, not to get revenge or in anger. However, I have heard of quite a few pranks that I want to top. Sure, the other guys have done some pretty clever things: taping a phone handset to the base, then calling the owner; mocking up a bug (listening device) and hiding it in a cubicle; hiding a cell phone in the ceiling then calling it. But now, I feel this need to beat them. The danger is that I will forget to have fun doing it or to make sure the target has fun.

It's all fun and games till someone loses an eye.

ON THE MENEWE:

Corn Dip

2 cans corn -- drained

1 can Rotel -- drained

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream Cheese -- softened

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Chili Powder

Mix all the ingredients together. Serve with Frito chips.

LAMB TALES:

My dad married June in January of 1983, which was my senior year of high school. He moved to her house in Arkansas, and my sister, Linda, and I stayed at our family home in Missouri. That summer, I needed to get a job, but had no car and no money to buy one. So June offered to let me borrow an old white car that she no longer drove. It was not exactly what an 18 year old girl wanted to be seen driving. It was probably made in the 1960's (no, it wasn't a classic) and was a Plymouth or something along those lines. The paint was old and peeling and it was just ugly. June had re-upholstered the car seats, and the fabric she used was kind of a fake suede with huge peacocks all over it. To get it to go into reverse, drive, or park you had push buttons on the dash on the left side of the steering wheel. Occasionally it wouldn't start, and June told me that all you had to do was raise the hood and tap on the battery cables with a rock and then it would start. That wasn't bad if I was home, but when I was out and about and had to raise the hood and tap on the battery cable with a rock to start it, that was another story. There was only one key to the car (yes, I know I could have had another one made but I didn't plan on driving it as long as I did) and it was very worn and I had to be careful. One day I was going to leave work and got into the car. Of course, there were other employees leaving at the same time. The car wouldn't start, so I waited until the majority of them left, then got a rock and pounded on the battery cable. When I tried to turn the key then to start it, the key broke in half in the ignition. Thankfully, I had an uncle and cousin who came by about then and gave me a lift home. I wasn't a very happy camper! I called my dad and he came over and somehow got the car started and back to me. I really can't remember what he did about a key.

My sister, Linda, was working for a Chrysler dealership at that time. Shortly after that, the owner told her that I needed to buy a good car. He gave me a really good deal on a used Chrysler Cordova. It was a big, white two-door car -- but I didn't care. It looked 100% better than what I had been driving and I was proud of it. I think my monthly payments were $150.00. I drove that car until it started having a lot of problems, and the roof lining inside the car started coming unglued and was hanging down.

When I gave the old car back to June, they parked it and it was rarely driven again. In fact, I think they ended up dragging it over the hillside and junking it. Shows just how good of a vehicle it was! But we all need to have those type of humiliating experiencing growing up, to help us appreciate nicer things when we get them.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. Proverbs 15:2

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org