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Authors: Karen Scalf Linamen

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Welcome to the Funny Farm

BOOK: Welcome to the Funny Farm
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© 2001 by Karen Scalf Linamen


Published by Revell
a division of Baker Publishing Group
P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287


Ebook edition created 2012


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.


ISBN 978-1-4412-3576-3


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.


Scripture marked
is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®. Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.


Scripture marked
is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.


Chapter 26 is adapted from myth #7 in
Happily Ever After
(Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1997), 86–96. Used by permission.


The internet addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers in this book are accurate at the time of publication. They are provided as a resource. Baker Publishing Group does not endorse them or vouch for their content or permanence.


Cover Page

Title Page


Welcome to the Funny Farm



1. No Woman Is an Island

2. No Batteries Required

3. Common Treasures

4. The Best-Laid Plans

5. More Than Meets the Eye

6. Shop 'Til You Drop

7. It's Beginning to Feel a Lot like Christmas

8. Name That Tune

9. Christmas, a Labor of Love

10. The Christmas Babies

11. Cold Weather Sports

12. The Secret to Foolproof Resolutions



13. Meet Walter

14. Clutter Management 101

15. Say Good-bye to Good Intentions

16. Crash Diet at Freeway Speeds

17. Battle Strategies for Lovers

18. Read My Lips

19. Who Loves Ya, Baby?

20. Dahling, You Look Marvelous!

21. Wanna Enrich Your Life? Swap Insights with Your Friends

22. Never Underestimate the Power of an Imperfect Woman

23. The Sunday Morning Comics (and Other Indispensable Gardening Tools)

24. Easy Does It



25. In the Company of Critters

26. Motherhood's Unsolved Mysteries

27. It's the Heart That Counts

28. We're Definitely Getting Older . . . But Are We Getting Wiser?

29. C'mon In, the Water's Fine

30. Dogs, Teenagers, and Other Noncompliant Life-Forms

31. Sometimes You Just Gotta Go

32. Freebie, Schmeebie

33. Takin' It to the Street

34. Open Mouth, Insert Foot?

35. Chocolate Lovers, Unite!

36. Recycling Mom

37. Don't Believe Everything You Hear



38. Help Is on the Way

39. Things I've Learned from My Kids

40. Tandem Belching, Anyone?

41. Holiday Traditions Worth Remembering

42. How to Survive Cold and Flu Season

43. Creepy Crawlers

44. Clean Sweep

45. Crazy for Cocoa Puffs

46. Spin Doctors

47. Quack, Quack

48. Lose the Loose Ends

49. Boy Crazy

50. Good Gifts


About the Author

Other books by Karen Linamen


Welcome to the Funny Farm

About eighteen months ago, I met up with Chris Buri at New Life Clinic, founders of Women of Faith. He told me the organization was launching a web site and asked if I would be interested in writing a weekly humor column.

Thus began “The Funny Farm.”

This book contains many of the columns that originally appeared at It also contains some new ones.

More than anything, it contains stories of wild and wacky moments from my life, many of which will be strangely familiar to you because they are probably very much like the wild and wacky moments that occur in YOUR life (if this is indeed true, then you have my condolences).

You'll find stories about the dehydrated gecko my kids make me keep in a jar on top of the refrigerator. Stories about defrosting turkeys with blow-dryers. Stories about AWOL pet tarantulas, wayward waistlines, and how to get sympathy from your dog when there's no one else around to listen to you whine.

You'll also find, sprinkled throughout these tales like the chocolate chips in Toll House cookies, some truths about life, and if you don't think there's a truth about life lurking somewhere in a story about a dehydrated gecko, then read on, dear friend, because you're about to make a discovery.

And the discovery is this: God cares about every aspect of our crazy lives.

Some folks think there's a difference between the secular and the sacred. But the truth is that God is so big that nothing that happens in our lives is outside the circle of who he is or beyond the realm of his great love for us.

It's ALL sacred. Which may seem like an odd way to begin a book that includes the phrase “tandem burping,” but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

So when you feel like your life is going crazy . . .

 . . . when you need a good laugh to keep from bawling . . .

 . . . when you suspect you've got one foot in the Funny Farm and the other foot on a banana peel . . .

 . . . take heart. I'm there. I'm with you. In the words of one infamous former president, “I feel your pain.”

And here's the best part. God's there. He's there when you find your dog standing on the dining room table sampling the Thanksgiving turkey or when your best friend moves away or when you discover your second chin.

He's there when your kids surprise you with breakfast in bed and you open your mouth for that first bite and glance down at the festive red sprinkles adorning your deviled egg and realize that the aroma filling your nostrils is the scent of cinnamon.

In short, whenever you laugh or cry or sigh or wonder why, God's there, and he's got something good for you: some nugget of insight, chunk of grace, gem of wisdom, or even a chocolate chip of comfort.

So, welcome to the Funny Farm. I hope you have as much fun reading these columns as I had writing them, and may you tap into some inner joy and encouraging insights in the process.

Oh, by the way, next time you feel like you're going crazy, you should give me a call.

I know the way by heart.


No Woman Is an Island


Whether we're talking about the attitudes of our kids, the contents of our refrigerators, or the girth of our waistlines, we members of the sisterhood of women just seem to have a lot in common.

Maybe it's because we battle so many of the same problems.

Last week I was visiting my folks in Colorado. My mom and I were puttering around together in the kitchen when she said, “Wanna know the best piece of advice I ever got from you?”

Now, I don't normally go around giving advice to my mom—she's a lot wiser than I am—so I was interested to hear what she was about to say. Maybe she had been impressed with some profound insight she'd picked up from something I'd written or while she and I were having an intimate conversation on some deeply spiritual topic.

She said, “It was when you told me to soak crusty pans overnight in automatic dishwashing soap. I haven't scrubbed a pot since.”

It's true. If you have a pot or pan with baked-on goo from supper, just fill it with water and toss in some Cascade. The pan wipes clean in the morning.

See? That's what I'm talking about. We all face so many of the same challenges. Whether we're single gals or empty nesters, newlyweds or midlife moms, we all know what it's like to try to scrape the remains of last night's lasagna off our favorite Corningware.

I love it when another woman shares some little tidbit from her own life—an experience or insight—and it's something I've experienced or thought, but figured I was the only one.

I loved it, for example, when a reader wrote to me and confessed that she sometimes cleans her house and then realizes that lurking in the back of her mind is the motivating thought, barely acknowledged, that once her house is clean someone— she doesn't really know who—will arrive at her home and rescue her from all of her troubles. And my eyes blinked wide as I read, and I laughed out loud in amazement.

I thought I was the only one who had experienced that sensation.

I love it when I go to my friend Beth's house. We've been friends for four years now. Not just friends. Close friends. Bosom buddies. And in all our many hours together, I've never once visited her home and used the bathroom frequented by her kids and found the roll of toilet paper ON THE DISPENSER. Not a single time. And I love it because I can relate. In my bathrooms, entire generations of toilet paper rolls will come and go without ever having been introduced to the dispenser next to the toilet. It's as if the dispenser has been relegated to the role of some antiquated appliance that once served a purpose, but has fallen into disuse, like the twenty-pound waffle makers we all used to own or the toaster oven or the rotary dial phone.

BOOK: Welcome to the Funny Farm
6.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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