Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time in the dead of a harsh winter a gallant minivan lost its transmission and left its riders stranded on the mountain.


Those brave souls searched their pockets and raided the change in the couch. They scrimped and saved and worked and borrowed and bought an even older minivan that carried them through the cold and snow until at last the springtime came.


Then, as if it knew the winter was past and its duty done, this van too fell ill and at last began to die with horrible groans and many flashing lights and dinging noises.

The family who owned it were now at their wits end. Their savings were all spent. The father already worked two job. The mother now attempted to work the dark magic known as Tupperware sales. They scrimped and saved and cut corners but to no avail.

Even after all their efforts they still had not the funds to buy even half of a new van and so they risked spending the summer in the same way as they had spent the wintertime: stranded on the mountain with their two princesses and this made the princesses very sad.

And so the father swallowed his pride and sallied forth to the land of Gofundmia where he had heard tell that there was a good and generous people who sometimes helped those in need.

And there the story waits for you to help write the ending. If you can, please help us find our happily ever after.

Here are some other ways to help out too:

You can buy some Tupperware. (No seriously, buy a LOT of Tupperware. The start-up costs on getting into this racket are higher than you might think.)


Use this link the next time you buy something on Amazon. Like this Mont Blanc pen. Or this Banana Slicer.

109 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time…”

  1. What, no way to buy a new Jaguar on Amazon?

    Until now, I never knew I needed a banana slicer …

        1. It’s called the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.
          Does that mean that Hutzler makes or has made 570 other models of banana slicers?

      1. I like the Q&A section too! That’s a superb product just for the commentary!

        Does that banana slicer prevent me from being defauded as a man if I view a young lady using it?

        1. I actually think I need one. My younger child loves bananas. That way I can slice one up for her before she starts chewing through the skin again (true story) or bites me. 🙂

        2. So do you visit the ungodly with explanatory pamphlets about banana slicers now?

    1. Every man needs a banana slicer. Women shouldn’t ever think that you have a large banana in your possession.

    2. I use the banana slicer as an analogy quite a bit as a math teacher. A banana slicer something that is extremely good at only one single task, and absolutely useless for anything else. A knife is almost as fast, but can be used for lots and lots of other tasks. It’s like some math methods, formulas, or memory tools. A multiplication table is great, but it’s far better to know HOW to multiply, etc… Most of my students don’t get it. It’s sad because it’s an analogy that extends to lots of areas of life.
      Then again, I guess a banana slicer is useful for analogies.

  2. Thanks for all you do Darrell! – will help a little in the next couple weeks

  3. After reading about the pen at montblanc.com, I don’t know how I ever got by without one.

    Writing Instruments
    Montblanc StarWalker

    Uncharted territory awaits you when you study the craftsmanship that goes into the writing instruments of Montblanc’s Starwalker Collection. Follow esteemed explorers to encounter effervescent elegance.

    1. ” Follow esteemed explorers to encounter effervescent elegance.”

      And now it becomes clear why fundy preachers love them.

      1. “Oh, what a relief it is” (when your pen is able to survive a horrific accident against overwhelming – 98% odds)

    2. When I encounter the word “effervescence” and its various forms I think of Alka Seltzer.

      1. Don’t be so sure of that Darrell. This blog has been a lifeline to me many days and I am pretty sure I am not the only one who feels that way. Recovering Fundies Anon.

        1. Darrell, you know that in years past, I have found solace here. I have been incognito for quite a while, but the impetus to change I received here starting in 2009 has been invaluable. I know you call this a “silly blog,” but it is anything but silly. At times, the content can get a little silly, but the discussions, especially on the forum are course setting.

  4. That’s a neato-keen ice-scraper in the top picture. One swipe and the windshield is clean. Down here, we can only get small scrapers that require multiple passes across the window.

  5. Mechanic’s Opinion:

    Is the first one a 2000ish Odyssey? Pre2005s are Transmission Roulette–sooner or later your number will come up, not if but when, do not pass go, do not collect warranty benefits, been there done that on the weekend eve of a 1500 mile deputation trip with 4 kidlets bedded down in the back for the overnight drive.

    I do love Odysseys, don’t trust many other minivans except newer Chrysler/Dodge. Other than occasional adventures with the electric doors, post 2005 Odys I trust.

    But I was trained at BJU Skool of Applyd Studdlies, so you can decide how much that’s worth. Apparently my Associates Degree wasn’t accredited.

      1. As Click and Clack used to say, “Those were the Dark Years for Chrysler.”

        I recommend Asian brands, except for Kia.

  6. I’ll get some money sent in the next couple of days. Not allowed to do anything at work.

    Sorry to hear about your tale of woe. Perhaps you should try flipping it 4 times? – perhaps that is the path to prosperity.

    After spending years in a HAC church, it was very helpful to interact with others on this site. It helped work out some of the issues, and guilt that I’ve been ridden with for not being the perfect (soul-winning, tithing) church member.

      1. They are hard to flip, actually. Minivans are very practical and decidedly unsexy vehicles. They are sturdy with a low center of gravity.

        BTW, I hate minivans and dream at night of driving an F150.

        1. Lol. My vehicle is a truck (“cowboy camaro”). My wife’s is a minivan. We looked at a bunch of SUVs and then drove a minivan. After that it was no going back. It was so much more roomy, practical, fast, better handling…not sexy, but probably the most practical vehicle design of all time.

        2. It’s very practical. More economical than a truck. I miss my truck.

          We used to have an SUV with an 8′ Fisher. We got about 16 mpg downhill on the highway with a tailwind without the plow. Probably got about 16 fpg with the plow on.

        3. We entered the mini-van era when we returned from our overseas stint in 2010. It truly has been my pickup truck replacement (although I still miss my truck). We were moving 300 miles away from where all our stuff was stored – our Caravan pulled a large-ish Uhaul trailer that distance twice. Then we bought a couch and washer/dryer set – each fit inside, with one seat still up for a baby seat with no problem.

    1. Well, goal already reached in a single day! I guess I’m too late — or will you still take donations?

  7. Silver and gold have I none. But what I can offer…. Sorry, fell into a fundy flash back. Feeling better now, will help this next payday.

    1. Your e-mail address doesn’t show up on posts, but if you are going to be anon, you can’t use an e-mail address that is associated with a gravatar.

        1. No, I knew it would show my icon. Once in a while I change it up. But thanks. 🙂

    1. Indeed. There’s a big difference between someone telling you that God told them to give them money, of which if they don’t God will take what’s his anyway, and someone asking for help buy a $3000 dollar minivan. Darrel’s not asking for 10% of your income. That Norton guy’s a dick.

      1. FB Dick for sure. Much like a porch dick, but not man enough to even be one on the porch, just FB.

  8. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all scrape together $100 each and get the princesses enough for a new chariot?

  9. Hopefully, my tax return will come in soon so I can lend a hand. This blog has meant a lot over the past couple years.

  10. All I can do at the moment is pray for you and for myself. And tell the Lord that putting His people in ever more desperate circumstances is NOT the way to build faith and trust. He needs to come through and make good. I hope in your case He will.

  11. I highly recommend a post 2005 Kia Sedona for balance of build quality, included options, and price. Just have the subframe checked for rust before buying. Ours was from NY and came to Texas with a completely rusted out subframe. Had it not been under warranty still, it would have been a $2,000 bill.

    1. It’s better to go the other way– If you’re from New York, come to Texas to get a used car. The reason is we don’t have long winters of road salt rusting out our car bodies and chassis in Texas, and we usually have dry periods between rains so the car’s underparts don’t stay wet (Arizona would likely be even better). So even really old cars usually aren’t too rusted if they’ve been here the whole time.

      A lot of people from northern states actually use this strategy.

    2. Why would any southerner buy a northern vehicle? That’s just crazy.

      1. We bought it used outside of Dallas. The body was all so perfect, it was a shock to find out later at the dealer that it had spent time in NY. I grew up in Syracuse so i know alllllll about snow, ice, salt, sludge but now live in Houston for the last 15 years. It was absolutely not our intention to buy a NY car. However, since the subframe was replaced, it is an awesome van!

  12. Darrell, how is your wife’s health? It’s been on my thoughts often since you mentioned it awhile ago.

    And do this annually, if for nothing else to pay the hosting fees for the site.

  13. If one doesn’t have an international credit card and lives out of the U.S., is there a way to contribute?

    1. Paypal. To an email address. I used it to pay some missionaries in Morocco for sending me some ras el hanout and some Moroccan cumin.

  14. Was thinking about this last night. I’m very grateful for Darrell and SFL for helping challenge me and break me up and restore me and being there for me over the past 5-6 years. It’s a light shining in a darkness. There are monsters in the world, but even here, George is a saint slaying the dragons. I’m glad I can contribute in any way.

    Only Darrell really knows how well known and followed SFL is in the fundy world. Do the people at Sharper Iron visit it regularly for criticism? Are IFB pastors hate reading it each week for sermon material? I don’t know. But it’s had a huge reach and influence among many, and many more to come.

    You know what’s really damning about the IFB world? Jesus. He damns them. SFL, to the IFB world, is the enemy. And they know damn well Jesus said to bless those that curse you. To show kindness to them. To heap coals on their head. To love your enemies. There’s a whole sermon on a mount about it.

    While I don’t think SFL is the enemy, or curses IFB, or whatever, they do think that. And what should be their response? Love. Charity. Grace. There should be such an outpouring of blessing that Darrell is able to buy two or three new minivans, and a WordPress template too.

    If the IFB has any connection to Jesus at all, that should be the response.

    But there isn’t. There doesn’t appear to be any.

    May God continue to damn you all, IFB. You have been a cancer in the body of Christ and this world. The Lord rebuke you. There is no true in you. There is no grace. There is no life.

    You are nothing. You are nothing, and you never were.

  15. I see on the gofundme site that both Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap have contributed. In fact Schaap was kind enough to leave a comment stating that he reads SFL everyday in his cell.

    1. I’m sure Hyles thought “No need to comment. We’ll just add it to my obituary.”

  16. Wow, just one day in and only 100 dollars left before reaching the goal. A group of decent people were given an opportunity to meet a need and did so.

    So different than how I’ve seen it work at IFB churches. First the pastor has to get up and talk about how the person with the need gas sacrificed so much. Then he hasvto talk about how if you can’t help today it’s ok. Then they go around the auditorium and get verbal commitments for various amounts, usually starting at 100 dollars and working down to 5 dollars. Of course if you give a lot everyone knows it and if you give nothing tgey also know so everyone is pressured to give whether they can afford it or not. Then there is the obligatory speech about how the church has such a giving spirit and how God bkesses such faithfulness. So the people leave full of pride about how good they are and how much God thinks of them.

    1. *has sacraficed* not gas sacraficed. I don’t even know what a gas sacraficed is. Maybe it’s what Darrell will have to do with his new vehicle to fill the tank.

      1. “gas sacraficed” is how people feel after a fundy fund raising. If we at SFL had put up a cross/thermometre it would have been full before it even got noticed. Today there was a practical show of love (with a little typical SFL humour thrown in thanks to Hyles and Schaap-better men than anyone could have guessed.) People here have confirmed what I suspected all along – they are an amazing group of kind people.

        1. This is exactly how one of my spiritual mentors always said funds should be raised– tell the people there’s a need, explain how much money is needed and what it’s for, and people will give according to their abilities. No bake sales, wacky auctions, or car washes.
          It worked for him.
          Your milage may vary.

    2. Don’t forget about the classic thermometer in the shape of a cross board sitting on the stage that is updated weekly.

      1. I’ve seen those fundraising thermometers, but not cross-shaped ones.
        How would a cross-shaped thermometer work, anyhow?

        1. Maybe the cross piece is to keep it from going in too far …
          am I overthinking this?

  17. Ho, ho. I had a rectal thermometer break off in my butt once, when I was a little boy.

    Oy veh!

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