Living simply, loving deeply!

Archive for the category “Humor”

God is For Me

Last spring, I led some of the ladies at my church through Beth Moore’s Stepping Up Bible study. It was a study on the Songs of Ascent found in Psalms 120 – 134. As I am preparing to go to Israel in 33 days (I’m so excited I could jump out of my skin!!!) I thought it would be good to study these Psalms again. These particular Psalms were songs that the Jewish pilgrims would sing on their way up to Jerusalem for one of the three religious feasts that took place throughout the year.



As I pulled out my notes from this study, I found the psalms that I had written based on the corresponding Psalms we were studying. I thought I would share a few of them as I continue my preparation for my own pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

God Is For Me (Response from the study of Psalm 124)

If God had not been on my side – (and He is on my side!!!)          I will say it again, if God had not been on my side when the enemy of my soul and my own sinful desires afflicted me,

I would be lost – I would be miserable –                                                 I would be drowned by lust and addictive behaviors                       I would be battered and worn.                                                                  I would be an old soul –                                                                                I would have been swept away in waves of anger, depression, and remorse.

But thanks be to God

He has not allowed me to be ripped to shreds by the enemy or by my own stupid, sinful choices.                                                        He showed me the way out –

I am free

My help came from the Lord, the Maker of the Heavens and the earth.



Valentine’s Day from a Single Girl’s Perspective

With Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I thought I would reblog my favorite blog from last year! Enjoy!


In case you are living under a rock, today is Valentine’s Day. The one day that single people are treated like they have just been diagnosed with a deadly disease. Or you’re told that Jesus is your valentine or Facebook statuses state they are praying for those who are alone (i.e. single and pathetic) on this day that love is celebrated. While attempting to “comfort” those who are single, they do the exact opposite.

This made me laugh!!!!!! This made me laugh!!!!!!

Valentine’s Day can put pressure on single people that is simply unnecessary. Last night in youth group, I used Valentine’s Day as a theme for my lesson. It was actually a fun night. And the history of Valentine’s Day is fascinating. We played name that tune of songs with the word “love” in the title. (As a side-note…kids don’t know good music these days…none of them knew the Beatles song “All You…

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Weather: The Last Frontier

This Sunday I am preaching on the seasons of life. And how God is faithful in every season. And how we must remain faithful in every season. Even the tough ones. The Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes says,

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”  3:1

My studying led me to pose the question on Facebook about which season do you consider to be the first season. Spring, summer, winter, or fall. I got quite a response. Though the question that I should have asked is “what is your favorite season and why?” And that led me to study the benefits of the four seasons (not to be confused with Frankie Valli and his Four Seasons)….confused yet? Yeah….I thought so. I’m letting you into a rare look on how my brain processes stuff. Not for the faint of heart.

Ha! Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Ha! Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Up here in Northeast Ohio, we have had one of the coldest, snowiest winters  we have seen in a long time. Looking at the 10 day forecast, there doesn’t look to be much of a reprieve on the horizon. We are all hoping that the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow….or is he supposed to see his shadow? I don’t know, I get mixed-up. I’m from a town where a guy predicts our winter by looking at a Woolly bear and his stripes and 100,000 people come to hear him make this prediction. He got it wrong this year. So very wrong. So I’m not putting much stock in the ground-hog either.

In case you wondering...this is a woollybear....

In case you wondering…this is a woollybear….

So while studying today in my office, I read a quote  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He said, “The best thing one can do when its raining is to let it rain”. Thanks, Henry. Like we can do anything else. I think it was Henry’s way of deluding himself to the fact that he has absolutely no control over whether it rains or not. I also thought of Creedance Clearwater Revival and their deep, probing question in the popular song “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”. In all of our scientific advancement, we cannot control the weather. We can track it, talk about it, fear it, respect it, prepare for it BUT…you can’t stop it from coming. You have no choice but to let it rain or snow or sleet or hail or monsoon or whatever it chooses to do.

The South got hit with snow this week. 2 inches. And it shut them down for a week. Motorists left their cars stranded along the interstate. I heard the Mayor of Atlanta saying it wasn’t his fault, he is only responsible for the roads in Atlanta. I heard the Governor blame someone else. I think I heard the President blame global warming or maybe the republicans. And republicans blaming democrats. The whole world has gone mad! And we are taking it out on each other. I realized today that fear is big motivator. And we fear what we can’t control.

Seasons and the weather make me stand in awe of God. We need the winter to let the ground rest and plants to die so the soil can be nourished for the next season. We need the cold to kill germs. We need the spring rains and hot summer sun.

I love the fact that there are still things in the world that are shrouded in mystery. Things that still capture our imagination. Things that we cannot control. Things that point us to our Creator. Like the weather. It’s powerful and something we cannot control. I’m grateful that there is still something that shows us that we are not as in control as we think we are.

Laying on the frozen Vermilion River!

Laying on the frozen Vermilion River!

Frozen Lake Erie

Frozen Lake Erie

For Women Only: Most Embarrassing Moment…

Tonight one of the most embarrassing things happened to me. Ever. I blame it on being sick and the meds I’m taking. (Though how an ear infection and vertigo can be blamed for  a momentary lack of judgement will be up for you, the reader to decide.)

I also need to preface this with a disclaimer. While I am a self-proclaimed broad (not very ladylike at all…I can burp 80 times a minute… and feel more comfortable at a baseball game than a tea party) I dress very modestly. And have opinions on how we women should dress! I believe you need to leave some things to the imagination. I have never understood a bikini…if we wore our bras and underwear to the beach, people would think we were crazy. Yet add some shiny material and some cute colors… and WALLA…no longer underwear but swimwear…kind of reminds me of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”…

And I believe you dress according to body type. Do not squeeze a size 14 body into a size 10 pair of shorts. Or a size 8 into a size 4, etc…do not accentuate the fat. Ever. I’ve even struggled wearing sleeveless shirts because I don’t want my fat jiggling and somehow knocking me out…I can see the headlines now:

Woman taken to hospital after being knocked out by her own arm fat…witnesses say she never saw it coming….live report at 11

And my second disclaimer before I regale the events of this evening…is that I really love Jesus. He has me. I have given up everything to know Him and make Him known. I am not ashamed of Him but tonight He may have been a little ashamed of me 😉

I have been sick this week. Ear infection, eye problems and vertigo. Quite the mess. I have missed work. Tonight I felt good enough to mow the lawn. And I wanted some sun on my back. So I decided “Why not kill two birds with one stone”. So I broke one of my fashion rules…not only did I wear a sleeveless blouse but a strapless one as well. It’s a blouse I wear over my bathing suit as a cover up. I do not have much to hold it up. My size (I’m not kiddin’ ya) is a barely A…yes, there is actually a size called that. When I lie down, they invert…I think my size goes negative…is there such a thing as -A?…anyway…I digress…my ladies are small.

So I start mowing. What happens next is a blur. Can you say Janet Jackson? Wardrobe malfunction? Debuting the ladies for all of Exchange Street to see? Yep…the blouse fell down to my stomach. Don’t know for how long I mowed before I even noticed. Don’t know if anyone driving by saw. Or any of the neighbors. Or any of the old people in the nursing home across the street.

I officially became the crazy lady (who also happens to be a pastor at a local congregation in town) on Exchange Street wearing inappropriate clothes while mowing. An embarrassment to my nieces and nephew who live in town (I am no longer the fun aunt, I am now the crazy aunt). All I need is a couple of cats and I’d be the Crazy Cat Lady. Pretty soon kids will start tp’ing and potato’ing my house (oh…wait…they already do that)….

My house having been "potato'ed"

My house having been “potato’ed”


House saran wrapped and potato’ed


Being potato’ed is much cuter than being tp’ed…actually had a neighbor asked me why people kept putting potatoes in my yard!





Once I recovered and put everything back into place…I continued mowing. What else could I do? And I decided to blog about it. Admit it, we all have our own most embarrassing moments! We just need to learn from them and laugh at them! My lesson learned? Do not mow in a strapless top. Lesson learned.

Valentine’s Day from a Single Girl’s Perspective

In case you are living under a rock, today is Valentine’s Day. The one day that single people are treated like they have just been diagnosed with a deadly disease. Or you’re told that Jesus is your valentine or Facebook statuses state they are praying for those who are alone (i.e. single and pathetic) on this day that love is celebrated. While attempting to “comfort” those who are single, they do the exact opposite.

This made me laugh!!!!!!

This made me laugh!!!!!!

Valentine’s Day can put pressure on single people that is simply unnecessary. Last night in youth group, I used Valentine’s Day as a theme for my lesson. It was actually a fun night. And the history of Valentine’s Day is fascinating. We played name that tune of songs with the word “love” in the title. (As a side-note…kids don’t know good music these days…none of them knew the Beatles song “All You Need is Love”). I asked the teens “What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?” One junior higher answered “the day that kids are allowed to make out in the halls and teachers look the other way.” Another junior high kid said “the day you realize you are pathetic and all by yourself.”

One of the young adults told me that today is also known as Single Awareness Day (Acronym S.A.D.). He and his friends decided to embrace it and are going out to dinner to celebrate S.A.D. and then go watch the most violent movie they could find. That’s awesome! 🙂



But what do I really think about being a single on a couple’s day? Am I lonely? Do I need to be told that Jesus is my Valentine?  Does it make me sad? Not at all. I do not see singleness as a disease. Some of the loneliest people I have met are people who are married. One of my favorite stories of my Bible College mentor (who was a single lady in ministry) was when she called me into her office. We were talking about life and being a single woman in ministry. I asked her if she ever got tired of people trying to fix her up. She said “did you ever notice that the people who try to fix you up are the ones that are the most unhappily married people. I guess it’s true, misery loves company.” Haha!! She was totally being funny but it made me laugh! And it showed me that she was content on where God brought her in life.

Apostle Paul says in the book of Philippians on how he had learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself in. I have learned the same thing. I am content with where God has led me. In fact, I feel very fulfilled. I don’t feel lonely or less than because I don’t have someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with.

Family and friends have asked me if I want to get married. To be 43 and not having ever been married is not the norm in our society. People think you’re either gay or have deep emotional issues (the latter may be true 😉 ). But the truth is, I don’t think about it much. I just live life. Fully. Passionately. Without excuses. There are times that I would like to get married (two incomes and having someone to help with things around the house would be amazing 😉 ) but most of the time I love the freedom of being single. I do know that I do not want to get married just to be able to say I’m married or to have a Valentine. But if the right one came along and loved Jesus more than anything and enjoyed baseball and laughing and Bruce Springsteen and brought me chocolate covered strawberries then I’d consider it! 🙂

All this being said…I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day or a Happy S.A.D.!  Tell someone you love them and eat lots of chocolate…now that’s a holiday I can get behind!


Lessons From a Very Bad Hair Day

What makes a family? Is it blood? Shared experiences? Marriage? Dysfunction?  This is a question I have been asking myself all week. The catalyst to this question was an e-mail I received from my sister, Nancy. Now this e-mail was not to me but it was about me! It was a short e-mail between Nancy and Douglas.  Who is Douglas, you ask? Douglas is family. Not by blood or marriage but by God. I believe God sends us people to make our families complete. And in our case, God brought us Douglas all the way from Brazil.

Douglas and me!

I come from a rather large family. My dad was 1 of 7 and I am the youngest of 6. We are a loud and boisterous family. Never boring. And not perfect by any means. In fact if you were to look up the word dysfunction in Webster’s, you would probably see a picture of the Strickler’s right next to it (just kidding…kind of, but seriously, whose family isn’t dysfunctional?).  But even as crazy as our family can be, there is always room for one more.

As the youngest I was picked on by the older ones (and this is where my siblings will say I’m dramatic and make stuff up).  There is a story that happened when I was a little girl. My oldest sister, Karen, is a beautician. She would give me a perm and make me look like Shirley Temple. She obviously kept the perm in too long. I had no control over this. I was just a kid.  My siblings would tease me because of my hair. I actually tell them that I spent years in therapy recovering from these traumatic experiences (again, dramatic, I know). My brothers did something one day that solidified my hair-do trials and tribulations in Strickler folklore for generations to come. They made up a song. Not just any song but a song to the tune of the 80’s classic “Jessie’s Girl.”  These were the lyrics Bill and Jerry sang, “Lately something’s changed that is hard define, Heidi’s got herself a hairdo and I wanna make it mine. I wish I had Heidi’s hair. Where can I find me a hair do like that? Like Heidi’s hair” And they would sing it to me.  And go through the whole song. I think I cried at first. I’ve repressed some of the memories. Too painful. I was 11 for crying out loud! For a pre-adolescent girl that is such a fragile age.  (Added drama inserted here and the rolling of the eyes and groaning of my family). Since that time, the song has been sung to me at almost every family function.  My nieces sing it to me. And they don’t even know who Rick Springfield is!!! This all leads back to Douglas.

A picture of the “hair-do” that started it all! Junior high was not kind to me nor was that perm!

Douglas was a foreign exchange student from Brazil while he was in high school. He became like a son to my sister and brother-in-law. Upon graduation, he received a scholarship for basketball and stayed in the States to attend college.  He lived with my sister and her family during this whole time. I have never met anyone like Douglas. He is one of the most charismatic, intelligent, genuine and funny people I have ever met. Whatever “it” is, Douglas has it.

So when did Douglas become family to me? From the beginning. But the moment in time I point to is when he sang, “Heidi has a hairdo” to me for the very first time. When someone is comfortable enough to tease you, then you’re family! And then this summer, he made a surprise visit from Brazil for my nephew’s graduation. As I pulled into the driveway of my sister’s house, I saw Douglas in the neighbor’s yard. As I got out of the car, there was no “hello”, no “hi,” no “oi” but his voice booming across the yard, singing “Heidi has a hair do –do – do – do—do — do”. And this is the e-mail I was copied on this week that brought the subject of family to the forefront of my thoughts:


(Douglas had sent Nancy and Scott a picture in which he had grown his hair out. The whole time playing basketball, Douglas kept it shaved. We are not used to seeing him with hair. Douglas sends them an email with the picture attached, and all he says is in the e-mail below. And notice my sister’s response. I’m not suave or debonair. LOL!)


From: Nancy Kranstuber <>

To: Douglas Viegas <>; Heidi Strickler <>

Sent: Thursday, December 8, 2011 10:15 PM

Subject: Re: photos

Doug – You look AWESOME!  Mr. Movie Star.  Very suave and debonair.  Nothing like Heidi’s hair-do!

On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 9:38 PM, Douglas Viegas ‪<>‬ wrote:


Heidie’s gotta a hair doo do do do do do dooo!!!

So what makes a family? It can be blood, marriage, and shared experiences.  But I give God the credit. Psalms 68:6, says, “God sets the lonely in families.” God knew that the Strickler’s needed Douglas. And I think God knew that Douglas needed us. As we go into the Christmas holiday, remember those who may not have family around. And look to see whom God wants to set in your family! I could not imagine my family without Douglas!

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