Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. – John Lennon

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I am grateful for a Dad who took care of the piano movers today.

I am grateful for the smell of floor stripper.

I am grateful for another bill paid off.

I am grateful for a handful of chocolate chips as an afternoon snack and my mixer that is finally on the counter. Time to bake.

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I am grateful for cards mailed and list almost complete.

I am grateful for vitamins.

I am grateful for my subject line today, kind of like “The worst thing is not the last thing…”

I am grateful that God has given me just enough patience to withstand the many moments of overwhelm that show up more frequently these days in the midst of remodel chaos.

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Realization: I am a recluse with an official name.

 

I am grateful for another Sam project…a new front porch.

I am grateful that going to the grocery store now takes approximately 10 minutes from the time I leave the house until the time I return to the house.

I am grateful for a feather bed from Aunt Estalene that is now on our bed. I will love it. Sam might not. He could sleep on a board and be happy.

I am grateful for a calendar to keep all the things in schedule order.

I am grateful for goofy laughter this morning when Sam saw the feather bed I had just added to our bed and exclaimed, “What HAPPENED?! Our bed got implants!”

I am grateful for our new friends and neighbors who will now be our Natia-sitter!

I am grateful Natia seems to be getting used to small town USA.

 

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I am grateful for the extra Easter bunny that I ordered for myself a couple of months ago. She makes me smile.

I am grateful for a butter tub absent of crumbs. Butter tubs with crumbs = grumpy Rhonda.

I am grateful for early morning walks in the darkness with the sounds of “rooster” birds and early evening walks in the sunshine with children on bikes and elderly ladies driving golf carts….and late evening walks under the stars with the flying bats and the barbecue smells.

I am grateful for quiet.

solitudinarian
[sol-i-tood-n-air-ee-uh n]

noun
1. a person who seeks solitude; recluse

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven.  Amen.

Nothing better than a clean bathroom.

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I am grateful for the feelings that are felt when I finish cleaning the bathroom and everything is sparkly.

I am grateful for 76 degree partly cloudy no wind days.

I am grateful for children’s books that make me poor.

I am grateful for a fly swatter.

I am grateful for an after-dark walk with Sam and close friends.

I am grateful that I do not have a clothes-mending pile.

I am grateful for online radio to keep me company while I work.

I am grateful for a yellow finch in the tree.

I am grateful the irises are blooming now that the lilacs are done.

I am grateful for sleepy Natia while the new porch roof is constructed right outside my windows.

I am grateful my sister is on her way home from China.

I am grateful I am not one of those guys on the roof in the sun.

And I am grateful for Jiffy Burger, our substitute for McDonald’s and our version of the old Dairy King on 4th Street.

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Mending.

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Mom used to have a pile of clothing that was her “mending pile.” There were the pants and jeans that needed a patch on the knees, or a hem that had come loose, or a button that needed sewn back on, or dresses that needed to be shortened or lengthened. Until she sat at her sewing machine, that pile would remain a lump in the corner.

I liked when she taught me how to sew a button. I could do that. She even had my sister and I take sewing lessons one summer and I made something horrific but she was so proud.  Florence Marie a.k.a. Mrs. Walter, my home ec teacher in high school, attempted once again to teach me the finer skills of patterns and zippers, but all I took out of her class was a dreadful pair of bright orange balloon pants. I am SURE I was dinnertime conversation for her and Glen, a.k.a Mr. Walter.

I would rather just sign in to Amazon Prime or any other .com and order new, rather than mend. It’s easier. It’s lazier. It’s not hard. It doesn’t require effort and time…and skill.

As we listened to the message from church yesterday, our pastor mentioned lots of different “Mom” scenarios and the hard parts of celebrating Mother’s Day. He spoke on the passage of scripture in Luke when Joseph and Mary lost Jesus and didn’t even realize it. He spoke about moms who live with guilt and regret, moms who have lost a child, moms who are estranged from their children, women who couldn’t have children, moms who have gone on to heaven and are no longer with us. It seems to me that the older I become, the harder this day is for me. For the last seven years, I have not enjoyed this day. And since my mending Mom has gone to heaven, I try to pretend this day does not exist and try to make it a regular Sunday, just so the pain is buried.

I can relate to our pastor’s list. (1) My mom is no longer here,  (2) I live with much regret and guilt, but (3) I am also a mom who is estranged from a child.

Mending is hard. Mending a relationship, a broken heart – I can’t just order a new one from Amazon.

I am grateful today for these words from I Corinthians, reminders to me that my years AS a mom brought me so many beautiful memories, memories WITH my mom live on, memories of BEING a mom carry me on the hard days when I hurt and feel sorry for myself, and they spur me on to live by these words, to continue mending, as I am able:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Mending heart

I married Sanford Clampett Douglass.

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Sanford, because if Sam had a son, they both would own a junk yard full of things that the guys from American Pickers would love. Sanford, because Sam likes auctions and buying boxes of things to store in the basement, never to be seen again until moving day.

Sanford-and-Son

 

 

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Clampett, because…well, the pictures describe that perfectly. The two of us packed up all our belongin’s on Sunday and headed west to our “Beverly Hills.” Besides, I have the personality of Granny sometimes, and Sam is most definitely Jed.

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But I also have a little Ellie Mae in me – because the passenger seat and blanket were completely reserved for little Natia. All she had to share was the floor…with our plant named Klahr.

Beverly Hillbillies

 

Douglass, because Sam is also Oliver Wendell, none other. He’s a farmer at heart, and he tinkers. Boy does he ever. And he farms our football field-sized yard, better known as “Green Acres.” And he and his wife are living in a constant state of mess and remodel, just like on the tv show.

I’m no Lisa, but I do like pretty things, and I do attempt to cook (tonight is “hotscakes night”), and I do try to make the best of the mess.

Green Acres

So, I am grateful to be almost completely moved to our “Beverly Hills” small town USA.

I am grateful for boxes and boxes of one man’s junk that became Sam’s “treasures,” because they just make the yard sale that much bigger.

I am grateful that we were fit enough to be able to pack and load by ourselves, and I am grateful that we had a nice bed to crash into when the weekend was done and the trip was over.

I am grateful that we were not grumpy with each other and actually laughed all afternoon and sang, “You and me against the world…sometimes it feels like, you and me against the world.”

I am grateful that one neighbor saw our Clampett-mobile and told Sam he would be missed as we left.

I am grateful for the new neighbors who were at the ready with a gallon of homemade ice cream when we pulled into our “Beverly Hills” driveway on Sunday night.

I am grateful for a kitchen to make hotscakes tonight. All we need is a pig named Arnold.

I am grateful for dust to dust, boxes to unpack, counters to clean, tools to put away, floors to sweep/mop/vacuum, furniture to move, the Clampett-mobile and trailer to unload – there’s no time to get bored these days.

And I am grateful for the beautiful “Green Acres” yard that Sam farms, and for the lilacs that line the entire west side.

Good-bye city life! Green acres we are HERE!

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Do you see this woman?

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Woman in Window

Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman?… 

…She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” – Luke 7:44, 47

 

This woman:

  • cries during messages at church that cut to the core.
  • looks in a pantry full of food and cannot put anything together.
  • just wants to stare at sweet Natia all day.
  • cannot break free of the painful memories.
  • gets mad at herself for neglecting her friends.
  • relates to the woman with the alabaster jar, relates to the woman at the well, relates to the woman accused of adultery watching Jesus draw in the sand, relates to Martha, relates to Mary Magdalene, relates to Eve, and relates to Hagar. I would like to relate to Esther, too.
  • is still startled when called by her first name.
  • loves the smell of coffee, but not the taste of coffee.
  • is a sinner.
  • is a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to dandelions gone to seed.
  • is heartbroken over the three dead dogwoods in the front yard.
  • has a mind that swims with regret and bitter and anger and lonely and depression but also joy and peace and happiness and silliness and love and compassion and worry and concern and the desire to fix it all and spill all the feelings out to anyone who will listen.
  • can pay bills now, all by herself.
  • is too fat and knows it and wants to lose the weight but doesn’t want to eat salad and vegetables.
  • loves road trips.
  • prays without ceasing these days.
  • regrets many things in life.
  • worries about her sister.
  • craves Taco Johns and Freddy’s fries and potato chips.
  • misses her music kids but not the stress, misses the musicals but not the stress, misses summers off but not the dread of August.
  • is sore and overwhelmed and so glad to be in small town USA, even though she is sore and overwhelmed with the unpacking and the sorting and the finding a place for it all.
  • realizes she is old and likes things kinda boring and is okay with that.
  • loves time with her husband on the porch at night in the stillness, watching the stars, but also loves time with her husband on the other porch in the early morning stillness, listening to the birds wake up the neighborhood.
  • has heart palpitations and rising blood pressure when reliving the trauma of the past.
  • would rather listen to talk radio than music radio.
  • appreciates a Dad who came to help.
  • wishes she could fix people who hurt with silence.
  • must shower every morning. It’s her luxury.
  • laughs at Jim Gaffigans, Jimmy Kimmels, Jim Halperts, and Jimmy Fallons. Jims make her laugh.
  • is understood by God, is seen by God, is comforted by Him, and she is very, very grateful.

She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!

“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!” – Genesis 16:13, The Message

He will quiet you with His love…

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I am grateful for my beautiful card from Anissa that makes me cry happy and gives me aches when I read it. It says, “Ama, I gave vis to you dekus you can awas wememr me.” Translation for those who do not read Anissish: “Ama, I gave this to you because you can always remember me.”

I will never forget you, my sweet Anissa.

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I am grateful for my work family and for our first annual Dip Off and Pickleball outing. I’m wishing I had some dip off today. The cheescake dip was the winner in my books. Although the chocolate chip dip and the snickers dip were pretty close to the top. I can do without the yucky dips, though. However, put potato chips with just about any dip, and any dip’ll do.

I am grateful for my feast of jello and broth all the day long today. In honor of Sam I Am and because my sister insists.

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The Lord your God is with you… He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

I am grateful for the silence of the morning, for the smell after rain, for the beauty of flowers in the kitchen window.

I am grateful for the feeling that God is rejoicing and singing when I walk from the truck to the office and hear the cardinals, when I sit at my desk and hear them just outside my window, when I wake up in the morning, and when I sit on the patio outside at the end of the day.

I am grateful that my Dad goes above and beyond. Our dumpster is notoriously full one day after trash day, thanks to a husband who throws a whole lotta demo material and unwanted junk away on a regular basis. We are bad citizens who have not recycled, and we are bad dumpster owners who do not break things down to make the most of the space. That’s where Dad comes in. I promise you, almost every week, he takes the time to go through our dumpster and break down boxes and rearrange the order of all things garbage-y. It’s not even his trash. And on top of that, every day when I am in town, Dad drives to the house just to take little Natia for a walk and retrieve the junk mail that will find its way to the dumpster.

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And I am grateful for the joy of watching a dog’s face in the breeze while driving down College Boulevard at lunchtime.

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