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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

May 2019    Issue 1


BUSYNESS: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) declared, “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants.  What are you industrious about?”  Busyness is nothing new, as evidenced by the famed poet’s words from nearly two centuries ago.  Taking time to reflect upon the direction and pace of life is essential if we hope to live well.  Author Anne Lamott has wisely stated, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Reader’s Digest, November 2015, p.152

FAMILY: Everyone longs for a perfect family and often gets caught up in the fallacy of believing others don’t face similar issues in their home.  Novelist Namwali Serpell notes, “Every family is a war but some are more civil than others.” The Week, 4/12/19, p.17

LOVE: “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” Mother Teresa (1910-1997)Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, Canfield & Hansen, 1997, p.1

MOTHERHOOD: Billy & Ruth Graham knew the agony of prodigal behavior in their home so Ruth came to realize there are limits to what a parent can do.  In her definitive book about parenting a prodigal, Ruth Graham said, “We mothers must take care of the possible and trust God for the impossible.”  She explained that a mom can “love, affirm, encourage, teach, listen, and care for physical needs” but “we cannot convict of sin, create hunger and thirst after God, or convert.  These are miracles, and miracles are not in our department.” Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham, 1991, p.81

MOTHERHOOD: In her timeless article about mothers, Debra Hook noted the “mental load” phenomenon experienced by women.  She explained how it’s common knowledge to females that even when they aren’t doing chores around the house, they’re thinking about what needs to be done.  Although stereotypes have shifted and many homes divide the workload, women still carry that mental load of thinking ahead to what’s needed next.  Taking the initiative to help is a mom’s coveted gift. Beaumont Enterprise, 3/20/19, p.B1

MOTHERHOOD: Women must continually learn new skills for being a mother at different stages of life.  Once children are grown, verses like Proverbs 10:19 take on renewed meaning: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”  Author & musician Annie Chapman wrote it this way in her classic book about the role of a mother-in-law: “Keeping our words to a minimum is one of the smartest ways to stay out of trouble.  In fact, most any response that needs to be addressed can be summed up with three individual words.  Those words are “sure,” “really,” and “wow.”” The Mother-in-Law Dance, Annie Chapman, 2004, p.37

MOTHERHOOD: Reader's Digest hosts a regular feature called Finish This Sentence.  Subscribers are invited to submit their responses to an incomplete sentence and replies pour in from around the country, and sometimes throughout the world.  In 2016 they offered this sentence: "If I could go back in time and study anything, it would be..."  All across the U.S. people offered their answer with a brief explanation.  For one it was British history, another noted The Old West, someone was curious about Southern cuisine while someone else was interested in knowing the history behind social work due to her involvement with hospice.  One responder said Benjamin Franklin because she'd "love to hang with that incredible man."  But the most poignant reply came from a lady in Maine who said, "If I could go back in time and study anything, it would be… my mom."  Her brief explanation was, "I wish I knew more about her dreams, her life, her thoughts, and what was in her beautiful heart."  This woman's keen insight from hindsight should inspire us all to be intentional about better understanding our moms so we can deepen that special relationship.  I certainly concur as we approach this Mother's Day with my mom's memory evaporating before our eyes. Reader's Digest, February 2016, p.23

MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS: Survey results show that 40% of moms fake their reaction to gifts they don’t particularly like.  If you hear “Awww” “I love it” or “I really needed one of these” you might have gotten her a dud. Daily Briefing, 5/16/18



CONFLICT: During a spat, Danielle pushed back against her husband’s last comment.  She said, “Do we have to go there again?  Every time we have a little disagreement you have to bring up that ONE time I tried to poison you.” Houston Chronicle, 5/7/19, p.D5

HOUSEWORK: Mary Mehring was playing a guessing game with her 4-year-old grandson when she thought of a broom and said, “It’s something your mom uses to clean.”  He excitedly replied, “A cleaning lady!” Reader’s Digest, July 2008, p.31

MATERNAL ADVICE: Upon reflection of her own experience as a mom, actress Reese Witherspoon quipped, “If you are not yelling at your kids, you are not spending enough time with them.”  Reader’s Digest, April 2015, p.152

MOTHERHOOD: One young mom was complimenting the figure of another and asked, “What are you doing to look so good?”  The mother of three small children replied, “I’m on this new diet where whenever I try to eat something, a child screams at me until I stop.” Reader’s Digest, October 2015, p.99

MOTHER’S DAY: Here are some Mother’s Day notes from children.  Angie - "Dear Mom, I’m going to make dinner for you on Mother’s Day.  It’s going to be a surprise. P.S. I hope you like pizza & popcorn."  Robert - "I got you a turtle for Mother’s Day.  I hope you like the turtle better than the snake I got you last year."  Eileen - "Mommy, I wish Mother’s Day wasn’t always on Sunday.  It would be better if it were on Monday so we wouldn’t have to go to school."  Diane - "I hope you like the flowers I got you for Mother’s Day.  I picked them myself when Mr. Smith wasn’t looking."  Carol - "Here are two aspirins.  Have a happy Mother’s Day!"Michael Duduit’s Preaching NOW publication.  You can subscribe to this email resource & his magazine at

WOMEN: The late Margaret Thatcher famously said, “In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man.  If you want anything done, ask a woman.” The Week, 3/22/19, p.1


IN OTHER WORDS... began in 1991 and is produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry, Senior Pastor of the Westgate Memorial Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.  Subscribers receive full access to our Web site of over 5,000 illustrations PLUS two email issues per month filled with fascinating facts, quotes, humor, and spiritual illustrations from headline news.  All content is copyrighted.  Visit to start a new subscription or send inquiries to:

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