Breathing thankfulness.

Tonight, I am just grateful to hear Sam breathing as he sleeps.

I am grateful for a few emesis bags to keep in the vehicle.

I am grateful for a quiet evening to just be…

I am grateful for National Geographic Channel to keep us entertained while Sam rests — without the drama of mind-numbing reality TV and mind-stupidifying politics.

I am grateful for Instant Breakfast to put in a shake tonight for some protein.

I am grateful for a week of rest now from all things cancer. Well, kinda sorta.

I am grateful for God messages that He pings on my heart when I read…

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. – Philippians 4:12-13 (THE MESSAGE)

I am grateful for that ping that makes me want to live a life like Paul, being content wherever we are on this journey, knowing that we can make it through anything with God leading our way.

And I am grateful to have heard the chemo bell ring for Sam three times this afternoon.

Gratitude in pictures, when your computer has been hijacked.

I am grateful for a beautiful morning.
I am grateful for a pretty yard, weeds and all.
I am grateful for a beautiful basket flowering plant from our “adopted” son’s family.
I am grateful for a Father’s Day cup for Sam from my daughter.
I am grateful for artwork on our refrigerator from granddaughters, evidence they sat at our table and created not too long ago.
I am grateful to be a member of AARP, and I am grateful they offer books like above because one day, I AM GOING TO NEED THESE.
I am grateful for reminders: 1) to be grateful and 2) that my sister loves me because she gives me perfect things for our walls.
I am grateful for hymnals to play and that decorate a wall, and see 2) above.
I am grateful for evidence that we are very loved – a picture puzzle masterpiece from Dad, a floral arrangement from my sister-in-law, a clock from the Nisly gang, and a basket FULL of cards of continual encouragement.
I am grateful for reminders that projects last forever and there is ALWAYS something to do.
I am grateful for a new ZZ plant and my Home Goods birds that will just have to suffice until I can convince Sam we must have a canary or a finch aviary.
I am grateful for this daily reminder in our kitchen, especially in this season of life.
I am grateful for little miniatures – my pewter fox from Karen, my tiny cardinal from Delores, my church with a cardinal from Ann, and little Buddha from Angela.
I am grateful for a collection of handmade “pins” from George, Dad’s bulletin-stuffing buddy.
I am grateful for a pile of shirts to iron – I like to iron, because I do not like wrinkles and it is my time to WATCH BIG BROTHER!
And finally, I am grateful for my current stack.

Quiet, with a punchline.

We got a letter in the mail today from Johnny Carson. Actually, Dad, but Johnny Carson. I tore open that envelope because Dad RARELY sends us anything and so my heart was a mix of excitement and panic, yay and uh-oh.

He didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure. Inside, he was soooo Dad. The contents were just as Dad is – quiet, with a punchline.

He sent photocopies, cut nice and neatly, of three cartoons. That’s all.

It was just the right timing, too. We are dealing with several things right now in this home. My good friend, soon-to-be-author-Linda wrote last week:

In my mind, this is how I often picture what your days are like.  Having to be the strong one, the calm one, the compassionate one, the nurturing one, the gottaholditalltogether one is a tiring task.  I pray for you and Sam daily.  I have scolded God for your situation and asked Him why life is so unfair.  He guides my prayers to prayers of healing, faith,and miracles.   I want to move to [small town USA] and take care of you both.  To make sure you have time for each other and to make sure that laughter rings through your home. Silly I know.  It has to be hard living a life you didn’t ask for. But then I think this life is so much better than your past.  You have love, you have worth, you have strength.  Rhonda, I will quit yammering and just say I love you and your hubby.   I know this isn’t the master plan you may have had, but it is the Master’s plan and He will not fail you.  Hugs! Love you more than mosquito repellent.

Between Karen and Linda and Geri and Lisa and Chris, and now Dad – we feel very loved through our mailbox.

I am grateful on this Friday evening for moments that make me smile or grin big or chuckle or guffaw.

I am grateful for silliness last night, all by myself, while Sam was at a meeting. I decided to stop cleaning and relax, so I turned on the TV and watched Holey Moley, the summer miniature golf competition that looked so slapstick dumb. Rob Riggle made me laugh so hard…

I am grateful for grandchildren stories and videos that stop me dead in my tracks – mustseeTV.

I am grateful for the Master’s plan, for mosquito repellent, for photocopied cartoons, for videos of the best grandchildren in the world, for mail that doesn’t include a due date but is full of sweet words and encouragement, for low humidity, and finally,

I am grateful for any meal that I do not have to prepare these days. Well, not ANY meal. I wouldn’t be grateful for seafood or fish. Or turnip gratin. Or Indian or Thai food. Or Greek food. And certainly not stinky cooked cauliflower that is disguised as mashed potatoes or pizza crust or not disguised at all, or beets or artichokes or brussel sprouts or salad with lots of vegetables in it.

Okay. I am grateful for the opportunity to prepare my/our own meals.

A first for me.

Yesterday, I paid college tuition AND book fees in full, from my own savings account. Yay me. I am growing up.

Even at my age, I can experience firsts.

I am so proud of myself, I should be rewarded.

I am grateful for the reward I would like. Ding Dongs. I seriously need a Ding Dong right now, and if I didn’t have to work, I would walk to the grocery store and get a box. Walk, not drive. Because…Ding Dongs.

But I am also grateful for work because it is keeping me from zombie-ing down the street to the grocery store on a stressful day, because I stress eat, and Ding Dongs would be my dinner, dessert, and bedtime snack tonight.

But if you happened to visit, I would share the box. I promise. And I would be grateful for company, but only if you cookie-monstered Ding Dongs with me.

I am grateful for Jack Johnson’s Sharing Song. It goes with Ding Dongs quite nicely.

Finally, and back to that college tuition first, the reason I began this post: I am grateful for a conversation I had with my sister as we walked around the University of Arkansas arena during graduation a month ago. Someday, SOMEDAY, I WILL get my degree. I don’t know what it will be in, but I WILL walk across a stage with a mortarboard making my hair flat.

I am grateful for 6 more hours to tackle this summer.

And I am grateful for walking, not for Ding Dongs, but for that “Freshman 15” that has stuck with me for several years now.

Maybe I’m not actually growing UP, just growing OUT.

Mairzy doats and dozey doats and liddle lamzy divey.

I was listening to an explanation recently about why I am not able to access the server and it involved computer terms and technology and ransomware deciphering codes blah blah blah blah…

I was looking at a transcript that looked like a foreign language.

I was trying to follow the conversation between oncologist and nurse regarding steps going forward.

All I wanted to do was make the white DirecTV remote work on the new TV instead of using the black remote that came with the TV. The simple steps didn’t work the first time or the fifth time, for that matter.

And don’t get me started with AppleTV and Airplay and surround sound and receivers and modems and wireless access and setboxes. (HEAVY sigh.)

I had to ask forgiveness for speaking to tech support Jack and tech support Jill from India with complete and utter exasperation and aggravation.

Alexa is not really my friend these days, either. She’s like the bully at school that acts like your friend all nicey-nice and then doesn’t pick you to be on her team for Red Rover.

The more I tangle with technology, the older I feel.

It doesn’t help that I have never been a friend of technology. My high school students had to do all the sound set-up when it was necessary to use it. It is why I preferred to teach my students to PROJECT their voices, and one reason why I preferred an actual piano, NEVER one that had to be plugged in.

Mares, eat, oats, and, does, eat, oats, and, little, lambs, eat, ivy. THAT’s my technology speed.

I am grateful for good old fashioned books.

I am grateful for “press the power button.”

I am grateful for nice high school boys who come over to the house and don’t laugh too hard but just make it turn on and work.

And I am grateful for all the things that do not have to be plugged in.

This could become a thing:

“I’m okay but I’ll get over it.” – Dad

I am grateful for my Dad.

I am grateful that I have so many great memories:

  • sitting on his lap while we drove down a country road outside of Haven, me doing the steering while he did the pedals
  • smells of gas station when he walked in the door
  • riding bikes with Dad and Angela when he and Mom lived on Severance
  • flying high above south central Kansas, feeling safe while looking at all the field “carpets” below
  • watching him with my little girls as a first time grandpa
  • always knowing he would give me some money to walk to the Kwik Shop with Lori, David, Kim, and Leroy during church business meetings
  • lots of windshields, lots of dipsticks, lots of tire testers, lots of vacuuming, lots of moving the oil display outside and back inside at the end of the day, and never having to “unplug” the air hose – he did that for me
  • his “one-liners” and jokes
  • calling Mom “Helen,” and then hearing, “Oh, DELmar!” followed by her sticking out her tongue at him
  • after bedtime darkness when Dad would finally come home from work, and Mom would let me sit at the kitchen table with him and share a bowl of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, just the two of us
  • being allowed to sit in a car while he put it up on the lift
  • going through horrible podiatry appointments and a couple of toe surgeries but feeling very loved because Dad was with me through it all
  • cracks in his fingers that were perpetually black from the hard work on cars all the day long
  • feeling very proud when anyone knew/knows my Dad – his stellar reputation in Haven and then in Hutchinson follows him
  • watching his worried face as I put both he and Mom through several traumatic events, beginning at age 15 – and always knowing he loved me anyway…

I am grateful that I know my Dad loves me.

I am grateful to have spent a little bit of time with him yesterday.

I am grateful he goes to my KC church.

I am grateful that we share our faith.

And I am grateful that he is MY dad.

It’s a low humidity moment.

When it is humid, the air is heavy. It’s unpleasant to spend any time outside in the oppressive warmth of a late spring/early summer day.

What would otherwise be an enjoyable morning or evening walk just feels like too much effort, and on return, the moments after the walk are sticky as the body readjusts to indoor atmosphere.

Outdoor activity like working in the yard just isn’t worth it to this entitled 50+ year old body.

But when the humidity has moved on to the south and east with the cool front, there’s almost nothing that makes this body want to stay inside. The sun is brighter, the sky is blue-er, the flowers seem to be flower-y, my hair has bounce, and all is right with the world.

It’s kind of the same with my soul.

When my inner is humid, there is heaviness on my shoulders and my mind is weighed down with oppressive worry or stress. I avoid conversation. I avoid gratitude. I just want to crouch in my corner and not deal with the yuck of the day. I want to search and research for an end to the “soul humidity,” looking for justification for my bitterness and my rightness, and see where God can strike down those who are causing me stress, those who cannot see the error of their ways. My quiet fingerpointing just adds to the humidity and weight, and that “log” I carry around prohibits me from getting close to those who might actually be a dry, cool breeze and sunshine to my soul.

My “poor, pity me-ness” and need to hang on to the ugly actually makes others scatter and avoid the Rhonda humidity that is awkward, oppressive, and uncomfortable.

But today is a low humidity moment. Both actual and inner.

Today, I am grateful for a very pleasant weekend with friends.

I am grateful for the gift of entertaining new possibilities and a husband who encourages.

I am grateful for interesting discussion about agreeing to disagree, about not knowing the answers, about loving God, loving people, and that is all.

I am grateful for a husband who wants to live and doesn’t put things off, at least not when it comes to living. He puts off the finishing, and I am okay with that – especially when it comes to living.

I am grateful for leftover sandwiches.

I am grateful for a really great kid who makes Sam so very happy. “I wish I could adopt him, Rhonda.”

I am grateful for Rachel Held Evans and her book, “Inspired.” I love a book that stirs and teaches and…inspires.

I am grateful for the neighbor’s boxer mix who ALMOST decided I was okay – our relationship is developing.

I am grateful for a beautiful yard.

I am grateful, all over again, for Psalm 121.

And I am grateful for an old beater that Sam thought would be perfect. Yes, I think it will be perfect.

On a low humidity day, this old beater will enhance the bounce in my hair and put a grateful smile on my face.