Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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May God Bless You With . . .

true love
good health
restful sleep
stronger faith
financial stability
abundant wisdom
a generous spirit
hearty laughter
sweet peace
food enough
loyal friends
pure joy
Turkey 2015
Thanks for your love and encouragement!
Clarice

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)


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God’s Antonyms to News Sound Bytes

hope PsalmIn the wake of the world events of last week, I could find nothing funny to write about. When God makes my heart merry again, the upbeat person I purport to be will return.

Until then, God help us all.

“. . .  if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.: ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

Antonym — Noun. A word that means the opposite of another word.

  • Allies vs. Enemies
  • Balanced vs. Radical
  • Blessing vs. Tragedy
  • Comfort vs. Torture
  • Compassionate vs. Heartless
  • Concern vs. Disregard
  • Defend vs. Attack
  • Educated vs. Ignorant
  • Feed vs. Starve
  • Forgiveness vs. Bitterness
  • Free Will vs. Brainwash
  • Gentle vs. Brutal
  • Genuine vs. Fake
  • Healed vs. Injured
  • Healthy vs. Sick
  • Heaven vs. Hell
  • Hero vs. Villain
  • Holy vs. Evil
  • Hope vs. Despair
  • Joy vs. Heartache
  • Kindness vs. Harm
  • Life vs. Death
  • Light vs. Darkness
  • Love vs. Hate
  • Mentor vs. Mislead
  • Merciful vs. Merciless
  • Peacemaker vs. Terrorist
  • Peace vs. Violence
  • Purification vs. Defilement
  • Rescued vs. Imprisoned
  • Reverence vs. Desecration
  • Reward vs. Payback
  • Spare vs. Kill
  • Sensitive vs. Desensitized
  • Sighted vs. Blind
  • Tenderhearted vs. Hardhearted
  • Truth vs. Lies
  • Victory vs. Defeat

One more antonym:  God’s bloodshed for the love and salvation of us all versus man’s bloodshed for hate and power over all.  

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him [Jesus] there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar  and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews 

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  ~ Luke 23:33-4 (NIV)


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Is It My Imagination or Is Dandruff Waning?

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. ~ Psalm 40:405 (NIV)

thinking thoughtSome people study the planets and their solar systems. Others look to solve the mysteries of climate change and geological shifts. Many more grapple with hardened political landscapes and the suffering human condition.

Me, I ponder the mundane.

I’m not blind to the reason. It’s a form of denial and/or self-preservation. The realities of this world are too much for my tender mind to grasp. When my heart is breaking from all the bad news–and there seems to be no end to it–these less than deep thoughts and random questions creep in.

If you have any answers, send them my way.

  1. Is it my imagination or is dandruff waning? If it’s so, then why no online chatter? Will the CDC soon keep a sample in their vaults for research?
  2. Why did break-dancing go out of style just when I had it mastered?
  3. Who decided brass was out and silver and bronze were in? And now that I’ve switched, what evil minion decided brass was back?
  4. How come we want our cats to eat all natural food but don’t buy them bags of live mice?
  5. Where have all the nuns gone? No, seriously?Nuns
  6. When did local libraries become venues for video game matches, Pokémon clubs, and life-coaching sessions?
  7. When someone says, “I’m telling you this in love,” consider it more of a warning.
  8. Why are all female meteorologists required to have long hair? (Don’t believe me? Check for yourself.)
  9. Have I slowed down or has everyone else sped up? And do I really want to catch them?
  10. It makes me smile to imagine a community of fat, happy squirrels, squealing hysterically over the acorn harvest this fall.
  11. When did my beauty routine begin to include “check for chin hairs”?
  12. When someone feels the need to say, “You know, she really is a very smart person,” chances are no observable evidence will follow.
  13. If I apply for the “entry-level” position I saw online, what will I answer if they ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” The way I see it, I can go one of two ways: “It depends” or “In Depends.”
  14. While I waited with bated breath for formal white gloves to make a comeback, bobby pins resurfaced. Who thought that was a fashion-forward statement?
  15. Nine out of ten people I ask say they never watch reality shows. Yet more keep cropping up. I suspect someone—besides the producers and cast—is lying.BobbyPin2

Speaking of reality shows, what about a show called “Real Housewives of New Hampshire”? Don’t the producers think we have what it takes? We might not be what you call fancy, but we’ve got us some stuff. (I, for one, own at least seven sweatshirts and three pairs of wear-in-public flannel pajama bottoms.)

Oh, and we have a dollar store of some kind within a stone’s throw of every AutoZone. No Nordstrom, but there are WalMarts and Goodwills aplenty.

And our homes? Many of us females have double or triple-car garages filled with man-sized toys and tools. More than a few of us own generators and snow blowers the size of Rhode Island. And if we have an overflow, it can be stored neatly in a dome-shaped polyethylene garage.

And talk about holiday decorations! Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and New York have nothing on us! We can display four holidays at once–maybe five if you count Groundhog Day–and leave them up all year round! No décor zoning laws in our Live Free or Die state. No siree, Shirley!

With all we have, it’s hard to stay humble. I know many around town mistake my 2001 mini-van for a 2000 model, but do I ever correct them to show off? Never! Cause that’s how Real Housewives from New Hampshire roll.

“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” ~ Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)


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There’s a Reason the Road is Less Traveled. People Like Me Can’t Find It.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

road_less_traveled_GNYou know that famous “road less traveled” that M. Scott Peck wrote about? There’s a reason it’s less traveled. People like me can’t find it.

Kind friends refer to me as “directionally challenged.” Others call me names school children are forbidden to use. I’m more of an in-the-moment type of person rather than an observer-of-signs. Being in the moment is tough enough without  navigating simultaneously.

Maps, shmaps. My internal compass has convinced my brain that these statements make perfect sense: 1) NORTH is always the direction I’m facing; 2) SOUTH is always behind me; 3) EAST is to my right; and 4) WEST, to my left. Hey, it works a quarter of the time, so I can’t complain.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I second guess my every turn. You know what they say about second guesses. They’re stupid wrong. By the time I’m lost, it’s too late to determine if my first guess would have been right. Even now, after nine years of living in a small town in southern New Hampshire, every intersection brings a surprise. “Huh. So this is where this road comes out?”

I had my first big, lost adventure as a high school senior. I took a trip from Cape Cod to Providence, RI to visit my boyfriend with his young cousin. I assured her parents we’d be back before dark. As promised, with plenty of time, we got on the road. Which road was the question.

Searching for signs to the highway led me to dead ends and questionable neighborhoods. Each time I stopped for directions, I only remembered the last instruction the gas station attendant had given me me—which is never a good place to start. My young passenger became anxious. As darkness fell, her anxiety turned to fear. So did mine.

Being the older, more responsible one, it fell to me to reassure her. At the next turn, I sang out, “We’re fine! Yup. This looks familiar.” When the street lights grew further apart, I slowed to a crawl and clicked on my brights.

Good thing. We were in a beach parking lot about twenty feet from the ocean. In New Bedford.Road Sign Lost

Many years later, after I was widowed, I realized I had nothing to hold me back from traveling. When I noticed a “Lease Me” sign on a large, van-sized camper, I thought about driving across country. My excitement mounted. My mind raced. My bravado grew. Now all I had to do was run the idea past my friend, Kellie, who had taken on the role of my mentor (a nice word for watchdog. Every widow needs one. Trust me.)

While driving her home one afternoon, I broached the subject positively and coveted her blessing. She pondered the matter for about as long as it took me to miss her exit and circle the rotary three times. I can still see her folded arms and smug stare.

I know I’m not alone in this condition. Once, my friend, Brenda, and I decided to attend a women’s conference in Sturbridge, MA, about two hours away from our home on Cape Cod. We thought if we drove together, one of us could act as the navigator. We soon learned “acting” as a navigator didn’t necessarily equate to being one.

After we backtracked a few exits out of Connecticut, we arrived in Sturbridge and found the sprawling hotel. For three days we trekked up and down endless hallways, the conference rooms eluding us. I was relieved when we reached our destination almost on time for one of the events. Not wanting to disturb the speaker, I opened the door quietly, stepped in, then stopped short. Brenda, hot on my heels, rear-ended me, thrusting us unceremoniously into the small room.

We might have been publically humiliated—if it hadn’t been the janitor’s closet.

When travelling by car with my husband, he does most of the driving.  Okay, all of the driving. But I did offer once on our way to Virginia.

ME, with a pure motive and generous heart: “Want me to spell you for a while?”
HIM, glancing at me with raised eyebrows: “With your sense of direction?”
ME, gesturing with my hand toward the open road: “We’re on the highway! How lost could I get?”
HIM, narrowing his eyes: “What about your other issue?”
ME, my forehead furrowed: “What other issue?”
HIM, treading carefully: “Uh, haven’t you fallen asleep behind the wheel before?”
ME, pointing to the edge of the road, “Yeah, but that’s what rumble strips are for!”

Highway to Heaven Goes Through Jesus

Uh? Oh. I thought this was an artist’s depiction of a road to Heaven. My husband just told me it’s a picture of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I can even get lost in Google.

While on Earth, I’ll have to deal with roundabouts, stop signs, deadends, and plenty of wrong turns. Thankfully, to get to Heaven, all I have to do is hang onto Jesus. He’ll take me the rest of the way.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see. ~ Hymn by John Newton (1779)