Sunday, September 9, 2012

A time to laugh

There is . . . a time to laugh. – Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)
I was such a fun-loving child. I created ridiculous skits to make others laugh, played impractical jokes and looked for ways to make everything I did fun. Once I put salt in the sugar bowl and sugar in the salt shaker, then crouched under the table to enjoy the reaction of my unsuspecting victim—which happened to be my mother. Her reaction was enough to convince me not to do that again!
I even found ways to make church fun. At the Catholic grade school I attended, every day started with Mass. We first graders sat up front, close to the statue of Jesus’ mother Mary—a great target to aim for when tossing my best friend’s mittens. After a couple mitten-pitching episodes, Sister Bertrille, my teacher, decided it would be better if I sat beside her. But that wasn’t enough to deter me. When eyes were closed and heads were bent in prayer, I’d reach under the pew and pull off the shoes of the person kneeling in front of me!
Back then, paddling was acceptable, and I made many trips to the supply room, where such discipline was administered. The fun and laughter were worth the risk of a sore bottom.
Although my way of finding fun was often impractical and annoying, I inherently knew the secret to surviving life: Find the fun in everything. A healthy sense of humor is life’s best shock absorber.
Studies have shown that healthy laughter affects the body in positive ways: It stimulates the “feel good” chemicals in the brain, burns calories, gives your face a healthy glow (from the increased blood flow), reduces symptoms of stress, increases your resistance to disease and boosts your immune system, increases the oxygen flowing through your body due to the expanded use of your lungs, helps to keep glucose levels in check, reduces clotting and inflammation in the blood vessels, increases your tolerance for pain and, with all the muscles engaged when you laugh, acts as good exercise, especially for folks who physically are unable, because of infirmity or age, to participate in exercise.
One study showed that convalescing patients who watched funny movies or shows, such as The Three Stooges or I Love Lucy, and spent time engaging in good, belly-shaking, tear-producing laughter, recuperated more quickly than those who did not.
The Bible tells us that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22); “a happy heart makes the face cheerful (Proverbs 15:13), and “the cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15).
That’s why this year’s theme for the Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference is “Chuckles & Chocolate: LOL with Sue Duffield.” As an inspirational speaker, Sue is known for her humor and God-inspired messages. She says her purpose is to give her audience a “faith-lift.”
“Sue brings a balance of humor, music, and God’s Word that refreshes and renews your spiritual journey,” said one lady who’d seen Sue in action.
“She had us laughing until our sides were splitting,” said another.
Need a faith-lift? Then set aside Saturday, Oct. 13 and come to Punxsy for some chuckles and chocolate!
Thank you, Lord, for those who spread joy around with the gift of humor. Amen.

NOTE: The third annual Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference, “Chuckles & Chocolate: LOL with Sue Duffield” will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Punxsutawney First Church of God. Register by sending your check for $25 per person made payable to “PCS Fundraiser” to Conference Director, Punxsutawney Christian School, 216 N. Jefferson St., Punxsutawney, PA  15767. The conference benefits PCS. For more information, visit the conference blog at or phone 814-845-7683.


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