Okay people. I will not name any names but you know who you are.

why i oughta

You know what really toasts my bread? What really bursts my bubble? What really drains my battery?

  1. When someone refers to their partner as “the wife.” THE WIFE has a name, sir.
  2. When someone refers to their child as “the kid,” or “the boy.” What kind of example are you SETTING for that young, impressionable mind?!
  3. I want to come across a table when I hear someone refer to their partner as “the old ball and chain.”

Why-I-oughta…

put-em-up-put-em-up

Names are important.

There is power in a name. Names are defining. Calling her “the wife” insinuates she’s property, not your partner. Calling them “the kid” makes them sub-level, beneath you. And calling her “the old ball and chain” demeans, insults, and hurts, even when it is said in jest.

And let me just pass on a little nugget I learned this year, thanks to my boss friend. I have always addressed envelopes and written cards by using the man’s name first followed by the woman’s:

Sam and Rhonda Scofield

Nay nay, people. Au contraire mon frère:

Outside of the traditional, formal “Mr. & Mrs. John Doe”, the wife’s name is ALWAYS first when using first names: “Jane and John Doe” (1). In social importance, the woman is always first, then males, then children. Traditionally, the man’s first and surnames are never separated. – rules of etiquette from emilypost.com

So, I corrected myself early in the year and have retrained my brained.

Rhonda and Sam Scofield

I’ve written about this already, but this afternoon I heard someone refer to their partner as “the wife” once again, and it shred my newspaper, it broke my internet, it wound my clock. I spent too many years of my adult life feeling less than and losing my identity as Rhonda.

Nay nay.

I am grateful, beyond grateful…

 

Name scripture 4

Name scripture

Heart check: The courtesy of a reply.

Aisle Cleanup

A woman’s mind is a complicated mess, like a grocery store display that gets bumped by a rogue shopping cart manned by a 2 year old. Okay, maybe not a woman’s mind. Maybe just mine.

We try to do the right thing. Sometimes we err. Err is the kind way of saying, “screw up.” This week, a few things have happened to us that have been a “Holy Spirit gentle reminder” to point the finger at ourselves rather than at others.

Case in points:

  • Someone hung up on Sam when he just wanted to ask a question. Granted, the relationship was tender, but still. The hang up didn’t feel good. And now, Sam will not continue that business relationship.
  • A text message sent with a kind and thoughtful message to our loved ones went unnoticed, or at least unanswered.
  • A special date on the calendar wasn’t acknowledged, and my tender feelings were hurt.
  • Someone closest to us has not mentioned our current journey. Silence isn’t silence – it speaks volumes.
  • An unpleasant and disparaging comment about us was made on the other end of the phone while the oblivious was unaware they had answered the phone call and we were listening.

Problems and Pity

All of these things weigh a lot. My shoulders droop with the trivial but real heartache. And then there is a little pin prick, a little irritation in my conscience…

  1. How many times have I read a text message and not responded at the very least, to let the sender know I heard their sentiment? It might be that I was right in the middle of something or I didn’t have time for the back and forth, but still.
  2. How many times have I been so busy I let an important date pass me by without sending my love to someone?
  3. How many times have I listened to a voicemail but that was all I did? I should have offered the courtesy of a reply call…
  4. How many times have I not known what to say, so I remained silent, avoided, rather than reach out?
  5. How many times have I spoken critically of someone, but by the grace of God, my phone had not accidentally called someone on its own at that moment?
  6. How many times have I thought, “I need to call just to see how they are doing,” but I haven’t done so?

Today, I am grateful for heart checks.

As the Holy Spirit and Sam so often remind me: We are better than this. We must do better… Acknowledge

 

Funerals and Focus.

Winter

Yesterday, my daughter and I had a conversation about focusing our thoughts and our words on the positive, the praiseworthy…rather than the negative and ugly. By focusing our thoughts in this way, our attitude changes. Maybe not our circumstances, but most definitely our attitude. We talked about how some people in our circle like to describe this practice as “putting it out there into the world” and receiving back positive energy or negative energy. But we both agreed, that plain and simple, focusing on the positive and praiseworthy is actually praise and worship to our Creator, God.

Today, I caught glimpses of a most beautiful focus on the positive and praiseworthy – the funeral of a great American President. The focus was not on the negative aspects of his Presidency. The focus was on his life of service, of his love for his family and country, of his love of God, and his family’s love for him. It reminded me of a song my choirs used to sing at the end of their concerts…

 

Tonight, I am grateful for the reminder of what is important in life.

I am grateful for President George H.W. Bush and his family.

I am grateful for anticipation of a full house of family and laughter once again.

I am grateful for beautiful sunsets, the warm glow of a fire in the fireplace, and shelter from the cold.

I am grateful for sweet memories that can block the painful ones.

I am grateful for tears as I watch from my bedroom window, our neighbor and his dog at the end of a day.

I am grateful for presents under our tree, wrapped and not sent, because most of my family will be HERE this year.

I am grateful for a heart full, a soul filled with gratitude, and love for the One who rains blessings all over me.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. – Philippians 4:8-9

whatever is pure

 

Gratitude Latitude.

hope in the Lord

I am grateful for the tart of a good apple.

I am grateful for a charged battery.

I am grateful for neighbors who will take unused dog food so I don’t have to look at it when I go to the laundry room.

I am grateful for dusty surfaces missed, so I can see how great it is to have a clean house, thanks to Michelle and Shelly.

I am grateful for laughter with Linda.

I am grateful for a new book club with the cooks, starting in January.

I am grateful for leftovers to feed Sam, thank you Michelle.

I am grateful that Sam has such a great attitude about his condition – he sang “All I Want for Christmas is a New (fill in the blank) ______,” this morning as he got dressed, and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

I am grateful for Amazon boxes full of presents to wrap.

I am grateful for a found beautiful hand-blown glass ornament that was in the bottom of a gift bag, almost lost…

I am grateful for another found crocheted ornament that someone hid in our laundry room for us to find after the party.

I am grateful for pictures of Natia.

I am grateful for a whole day today without the sounds of a drill, a hammer, an air compressor, or a saw.

I am grateful for new tea towels, a whole week’s worth!

I am grateful for the quiet of snow and the restoring of my soul.

snow

Blessed beyond measure.

 

I am grateful for a very large circle of friends, 54 to be exact, who joined us on a snowy day on Saturday, some driving from Kansas City, Holton, Beloit, Anthony, Hesston, Hutchinson, Inman, Phillipsburg, Manhattan, Corn Oklahoma, and others driving down country roads, slushy city streets, or walking over to the Scofield’s…to help us celebrate our anniversary and allow us to count our blessings and count those who have made a difference in our lives this year.

It was a beautiful day, full of love and laughter and reminders of how very blessed we are.

I am grateful that my dad and sisters were able to be here.

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And I am grateful for their help…after the rough day on Friday, I needed them to help take my sadness away for just a little while, take control of the kitchen and food prep, and distract me with an evening downtown with The Grinch, while Sam napped in front of the fireplace.

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Tonight, I am grateful for pictures of Natia, for her blanket bed washed, for her purple collar on my desk, and for the automatic thoughts that I need to go check on her.

We are blessed. Beyond measure…

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Goodbye, good girl.

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Today was a hard day. It should have been such an exciting day of preparation for our Blessings Breakfast. There was so much to do to get our home ready, and Michelle is here and always makes our home so full of life and energy. Christmas and gratitude are in the air. Shelly was here last night and got the cleaning started with her selfless offer of help. All week long, we have experienced the support of Mike and Cosmo who traveled from Kansas City to help Sam finish up a myriad of projects in time for tomorrow.

There is so much love in this home, put here by those who are closest to us and wanted to lend a hand.

We woke up this morning and noticed Natia having trouble breathing. After an emergency visit to the mobile vet, we learned that she was in congestive heart failure and had a grade five heart murmur. She received a shot and heart meds, and we tentatively took her home, still breathing hard but hopeful it would subside.

It did not.

This afternoon, my companion for over a decade, the little one who walked with me through the darkest of days…passed away in my arms.

My mom had a birthday in heaven yesterday. Today, she received a belated birthday present. I am choosing to believe that mom and Natia are happy tonight, together once again.

Today was our fifth anniversary. Not exactly the way we would have celebrated, but I am grateful for these five years as Sam’s partner, and I am so grateful he was by my side today as we told Natia goodbye together.

 

 

 

 

A blue tree skirt for this house.

Blue blanket 1

It’s a symbol of what is needed in this season.

Linus carries a blue blanket – it’s his safety net. He doesn’t think he can function without it.

I have some blue blankets I hang onto, and I don’t even realize it. Sam is one. Sometimes I think I cannot function without him. My cell phone is another. My memory of bad times in my life, of wrongs committed against me and by me. My need for recognition and gratitude from others. My worries about my grandchildren. My obsession with knowing the news. My fear of many unknowns at the end of this year. I cling to these things and don’t realize how they permeate my life.

But in Linus’ recitation of Luke 2, he drops his blanket as soon as he says, “Fear not.”

It’s the 1965 way to “mic drop.”

Complete sermon with one blue blanket drop.

Mic drop

However, Linus is related to me, because he ends his speech and picks that blanket back up, completely forgetting the point of his own message and God’s call to “fear not.”

But…

At the end of the best Christmas cartoon ever, Linus does the best thing with that blue blanket safety net.

He lets go of it once more, and this time, he wraps it around the tree,  kind of like laying it at the foot of the cross.

Blue blanket

I am grateful for simple lessons that are pretty profound.

I am grateful for Charles Schulz and the way he could weave a sermon into a cartoon.

And I am grateful for our Christmas tree that is now going to remind me to leave it all at the foot of the cross.

Blue blanket tree