Sherry Carter, Reformed Engineer

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Giggles & Games

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September 2014

Gotta Have It!

Birthdays can be wonderful things. Not only do you get to celebrate the fact you've survived—endured—a whole year you also Get STUFF. I seriously like STUFF. My Bestest Sister EVER got me an awesome birthday present. A James Avery bracelet and a James Avery charm. Isn't that the coolest thing?! I had several charms I'd been wearing on a long chain. There's an engraved flower with the words, Sisters Forever; the silver half of a BFF heart, the other half is gold and Ann Tatlock wears it; an "Esther's Crown" I bought from Christians United For Israel; a Messianic Star of David. I had those put on the bracelet. I even bought a couple James Avery charms for myself because, like, how could I not? I was IN the James Avery store. Have you been in one? The Scripture, "Lead me not into temptation. . . " was created for a James Avery store. All those delightful charms glistening beneath the glass. Gleaming silver or gold. Super sparkly stones. It's enough to make you hyperventilate and pass out.

I'd been oh-so happily wearing the bracelet for a week, practically dislocating my shoulder so people would see the bracelet dangling at the end of my arm, when early one morning prior to work I heard a tiny voice coming from my computer. "Come to the James Avery website!" I looked around. "Hello?" No answer. I looked at my dogs, two pitbull mixes. They looked at me. "Nah," I said. Back to a Kim and Kanye story.

"Come to the James Avery website!" There it was again. What could I do? I certainly couldn't tell anybody I was hearing voices. My psychiatrist routinely asks me if I hear voices telling me things inside my head. I'd like to say, "The only voices I hear inside my head are ones telling me not to trust my shrink." But I don't think he'd find that humorous in the least. I've been a patient in the psychiatric ward. Terrible food. Terrible television programs. For me, personally, a terrible experience. I'd prefer not to irritate the man who can write me a one-way ticket back inside.

So. . . I accidentally went to the James Avery website. I accidentally bought two more charms. I don't know how it happened. Really. One minute I was perusing each of the different Texas-themed charms, the next minute a window popped up with, "Thank you for your order!" Uh-oh, I thought. Oh, well. Too late now. It's not like I can un-order them. I'm not that computer literate.

The next payday it was the strangest thing. I was on the laptop looking through Yahoo stories prior to work. A tiny voice came from my computer. "Come to the James Avery website!" I don't think so, I told the tiny voice. I did that last time and I ended up with a couple new charms. Do you know how much those things cost? I can resist your. . . charms. Ha-ha! I laughed at my clever repartee. If I had a long black mustache I would've twirled the very end. All of a sudden a window popped up with, "Thank you for your order!" I don't know how it happened. Really. I stared aghast at the computer screen. Holy cow! What The Fire?!

When I told Amy at work she asked if they should have a James Avery Intervention for me. I told her if it happens one more time they might have to. Another payday has come and gone. When I opened the laptop lid that morning I told the computer, "Get thee behind me tiny voice with the James Avery website! Step away from me, you are too close!" Whaddaya know? Success! Then I got to work. Amy told me the rumor a James Avery store is moving next door to Moo-Yah Burgers in front of Academy on Garth Road. Doesn't know for sure, but. . . . Noooo!!

Finished at the laundromat the other day I was on the way home when I saw the General Wok restaurant half-a-block up on the left. Carefully glancing beside me and in the rearview mirror to ensure there was no up-coming traffic—which is more than most Houston drivers do—I cut across a lane, okay three, to the turn around. I gotta have me some Chinese! Last time I was there I ordered the Shrimp and Vegetables. This time I ordered the Shrimp Chow Mein because I wanted noodles. I know I did. I was looking at the words when I ordered. Imagine my surprise when upon arrival at my abode I discovered Shrimp and Vegetables. With ten crunchy noodles on top. "Is that what they call Chow Mein?" Perhaps the young woman at the window thought I meant to order Shrimp and Vegetables, realized her mistake so dumped crunchy noodles on top to create Chow Mein. It's been a while since I was there. Maybe she thought I'd forgotten what I ordered last. Not sure how she'd remember back that far. I can't even remember yesterday. Which was. . . Thursday. . . no, Wednesday. . . .

Cold weather has come to the Texas Gulf Coast. Mornings in the low-30s. Highs in the mid-40s. I was flipping through a catalogue when I saw a pair of burgundy knit sweater boots called MukLuks. Fleece on the inside, "suede" soles. (Not sure how "suede" transformed itself into "plastic" in my brain prior to buying the MukLuks, but it did.) I gotta have those MukLuks! Doesn't matter I'm outside only long enough to get from a building to a vehicle and back, three minutes, tops. I looked at the price. Picked my jaw up from my stomach. But my feet'll be warm! The first time I wore them it had stopped raining, was drying off. The soles got damp, hence the fleece got damp. I decided that was a fluke. Next time I wore them it was on-and-off raining, puddles everywhere. House to car. Car to Mall. Mall to car. Car to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart to car. Car back-and-forth unloading to house. Dripping wet with cold rain from soles to above the ankles for three hours. Yesterday I seriously thought about allowing Mallory to sneak one of the MukLuks into her crate. Then I remembered the price tag. I'll wear them again when it's cold. And completely dry.

I tell myself, I gotta have. . . ! several times a week. If I'm honest with myself, are those things things I really gotta have? I love my James Avery bracelet now jingling with several charms. I enjoyed the Shrimp with Vegetables/Chow Mein. The MukLuks will keep my feet and lower legs warm—and dry—in the future. But would my life end if I didn't have those things? Of course not. My, I gotta have. . . ! is almost always, I wanna have. . . !

There is only ONE thing I GOTTA have: Jesus (Yeshua is His Hebrew name). Without Yeshua as my Lord and Savior it doesn't matter how many bracelets I have—or don't have. Without His eternal patience and mercy it doesn't matter if I get Shrimp with Vegetables or Moo Goo Gai Pan—or eat a PB and J. Without His unwavering, unending grace and forgiveness it doesn't matter if I wear my favorite pair of New Balance shoes or the fancy MukLuks to keep my feet warm and dry. Yeshua residing in the deepest, most intimate part of my soul is the ONLY thing I GOTTA have.

Wait. What was that? Did you hear a tiny voice? "Hello? Is somebody there?" "Come to the James Avery website!"

Until next time, may you be filled with God's tender mercies.


Jann (Sherry's sister)



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