What’s in a name?

 

 

 

I am grateful for a co-worker who thought of me when cleaning out her closet and gave me her discarded items.

I am grateful for fun at Bingo last night.

I am grateful that Anissa’s fingers are not broken and she is better today after having the door slam shut on them.

I am grateful for the anticipation of seeing my Dad tonight.

I am grateful for this quote that I will carry with me: “It can only bother you if you let it.” – Sam

***

My Mom used to call me Rhonda Donda. Kids in grade school used to call me Rhonda Honda. When it was cool to speak in “pig latin” in 5th grade, I was known for a week or two as HondaRay.

I’ve been sung to all my life with this: Help me Rhonda, help, help me, Rhonda…

I went from Rhonda to Mommy, to Mom, to Mrs. Goering, to Mrs. G, to Ama, and now I’m back to Rhonda. There were times when my name was not spoken – I was just whistled at like a dog. You know, the “Hey you” whistle. And somewhere in all those years, I lost my name. I was no longer known as Rhonda, except by my parents and siblings. Everyone else knew me as a “title,” not a name.

I could fashion a name after that weird singer who changed his name to “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” and make my name, “The Woman Formerly Known as Mom, Rhonda Goering, or Mrs. G.”

It has been a process (and still is) to get to know the real Rhonda again. It has been a process to unearth the little girl who grew up and lost herself.

I am grateful for that process, for my counselor, for the prayers of many, and for the support and acceptance during the journey.

I am grateful that God knows my name, knows everything about me, knows where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going, and He still loves me in spite of all of that.

I am grateful for this song:

He Knows My Name 

But now, says the Lord—
the one who created you, [Rhonda],
    the one who formed you, [Rhonda]:
Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched
    and flame won’t burn you.
3 I am the Lord your God,
    the holy one of Israel, your savior…
4 …Because you are precious in my eyes,
    you are honored, and I love you. – Isaiah 43:1-4 (paraphrased)

 

 My name is Rhonda Scofield, Child of the One True King. 

“If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere.”

 

 

I am grateful for my devotions today that are no coincidence:

Good deeds have a way of coming back to bless us. John Wooden, the great basketball coach who passed away recently at the age of 99, was admired for the inspirational influence he left on players and fans alike. His life was shaped by a seven-point creed. He often passed it along to others, explaining that his father had given him this bit of advice upon his graduation from grammar school.

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Make each day your masterpiece.
  3. Help others.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

When we are kind to others and practice a merciful attitude, we become recipients of mercy ourselves. Just as the sower reaps the crop he has sown, so do merciful people reap what has been planted in the lives of others.

Don’t get tired of doing good!

Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be grateful. Conceit is self-given; be careful. – John Wooden

Let Me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything – all your possessions and all that you are – belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with My blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere.

Some of My most precious children have been laid aside in sick beds or shut away in prisons. Others have voluntarily learned the discipline of spending time alone with Me. The secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.

Last evening was interesting. Something bizarre happened that I could not have predicted. I should have expected it, because at this point in my life, when God is involved, bizarre things happen. But once again, I was caught off guard and blown away by His goodness and the way He directs.

As I posted yesterday, Sunday afternoon, Sam and I decided to take a walk, since I had erroneously listened to the weathercasters predict doom and gloom in the form of damaging winds/hail/rain/tornadoes, cancelling our small group party, when in fact, it turned out to be a breezy, sunny afternoon. I was a little irked at myself for cancelling, but we decided to take advantage of the afternoon and take a long walk. And of course, I made another bonehead decision and convinced Sam we should take the much longer route for more exercise…

As my day went…the storm clouds rolled in, and we realized we weren’t going to make it back before they were directly on top of us. We cut through a neighborhood to shorten the distance home, but it wasn’t enough of a shortcut and we were caught in the rain.

And that’s when God decided to rain down a blessing on us in the form of a stranger named Ernie.  He was at a stop sign on his way to the store for some aspirin and saw these two desperate walkers trying to hurry their way to shelter from the storm. So he rolled down his window and asked how far we had to go and would we like a ride? No hesitation on our part, we jumped into his pickup and gushed our thanks, introducing ourselves and giving directions to drop us at the corner of our street. Nothing doing – he insisted on driving us all the way to our front door. As we exited the vehicle, we again said “Thank you” and promised to pay it forward to someone else. His response was a handshake and, “Well, thanks be to God.”

Yes. Thanks be to God. End of story, right? Nope. Normally, yes. But God had an even better blessing in mind.

We had been inside for a few minutes, still marveling over the kindness of a stranger and how in fact, we were so thankful to God for Ernie, and Sam wished out loud that if only we knew his contact information, we could take him some homemade banana bread or cookies or something in appreciation. We knew the neighborhood he lived in, so we made a batch of cookies, and just before dark and after the storm ended, we set out to find that green Ford pickup.

It took awhile. But after 20 minutes of driving up and down street after street, in the darkness of the evening, and just when we were about to give up and so disappointed, there it was.  Parked in the driveway of a nice home with no porch light on, we took a chance and rang the doorbell. And sure enough, Ernie answered the door. Sam quickly handed him the container of cookies and a thank you note, we apologized for interrupting the night, and we got back in the car, once again so grateful for the chance encounter with this kind older man. End of story, right? Nope. Better blessing to follow…

Fast forward to last evening, just before dinner. Sam and I were in the driveway, getting ready to go inside, when he noticed a green Ford pickup that had pulled up to the curb next door. A kind, older gentleman got out and was walking up the sidewalk to the house, and Sam realized it was none other than Ernie! He called out to him, and Ernie realized he was at the wrong house.  What a surprise to see him once again! He wanted to stop by to thank US for the cookies and note. And he wanted to introduce us to his wife, Delores. What ensued was a beautiful conversation with the two of them and the beginning of a new friendship.  We discovered that we had something in common – they also attend a Methodist church and work with children and youth in the church. And we all agreed to keep in touch and get together again soon, that this connection was no coincidence – it was God-inspired, and God-blessed.

I am grateful for chance meetings that aren’t chance at all.

I am grateful for devotions that continue the life lesson God is teaching at the moment.

I am grateful that Sam has taught me to reach out and touch.

And I am grateful for Ernie and Delores, no longer kind strangers, but new friends.

God isn’t worried whether the cup is half empty or half full. He wonders which thirsty person we will give it to. – Bob Goff

 

I LOVE MY DAUGHTER. I am so grateful for the privilege of having her back in my life again.

I am grateful for chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies – the best recipe ever:

PEANUT BUTTER-OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.

4. Use a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

I am grateful for sprinkles that made us “hoof it” to beat the rain, and even more grateful for Ernie, a kind older stranger who saw us desperately trying to get home quickly while getting wet and gave us a ride all the way to our front door.

I am grateful for the satisfaction that comes as a result of hard work.

I am grateful for yesterday’s message about the “nobodies” that Jesus revealed Himself to after His resurrection, and about the call He’s given us “nobodies” to spread the Word and be a light to the world. And I am especially grateful for the story Glen shared about the blessing that he had on Friday when he witnessed a chapel full of people on “the front porch of eternity,” residents of local assisted living and nursing homes, singing Great is Thy Faithfulness. What a beautiful sight to the eyes and the ears…

 

 

I am grateful for the sound of rain.

I am grateful for people who go out of their way to compliment the musicians after a church service. Too often, people exit and don’t take the time to say “Thank you.”

I am grateful for Neal, the sample guy at Sam’s Club, who made us smile with another joke yesterday.

And I am grateful for all of the people in my life who get back up more times than they are knocked down, who give more than they ever expect to receive, who still show love to others even when their own heart is broken, who smile through the sad times, who light the way for others, and who spread laughter and joy. You know who you are. Thank you for making the world a better place.

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I am grateful for Fridays. I used to dread them, but now I love them.

 

 

Worry is an old man with a bent head, carrying a load of feathers he thinks is lead.

 

I am grateful for a very unexpected lunch invitation today.

I am grateful for the silliness of a man pushing a broken down lawn mower all the way home that he found in someone else’s trash pile. It created some unexpected laughter and under-the-cover-of-dawn neighbor theft at 6 am. As Sergeant Schultz said, “I know NAHTHINK! NAH-THINK!”

 

Ah, I loved Hogan’s Heroes. What a great show. May its theme song play in your head for hours:

Dah dah dah dah dah dee daht dah dah…

 

I am grateful for the wonderful taste of a hot dog and a helping of baked beans. And for the fact that I enjoyed those two things more than the potato chips and salad last night.

I am grateful for a good pair of scissors, because when a cheap pair of scissors breaks and it’s all you’ve got, it isn’t any fun. Next time, I should use some garden clippers instead.

 

I am so grateful for a forgiven past.

I am grateful for the beauty of fresh flowers sitting on the counter in the bathroom. Thank you, Sam. It was a sweet surprise.

I am grateful for these four adorable grandchildren:

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And I am grateful for a “new” car.

 

When we take time to notice the simple things in life, we never lack for encouragement. We discover we are surrounded by a limitless hope that’s just wearing everyday clothes.

I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!

 

 

 

I hope you whistle this all day long:

Gene Kelly puts a smile on my face and a song in my internal jukebox.

 

I am grateful for a baked sweet potato last night. I’d never had a sweet potato other than sweet potato fries. A sliver of butter and a little cinnamon, and it was wonderful. Still love the fries better, but after going 25 days without potatoes, it was so good.

I am grateful for my umbrella.

 

I am grateful for texted pictures of my Texas grandkids this morning.

I am grateful for the privilege of taking a walk at the beginning of the rain this morning.

I am grateful that my children are grown and raised and I am not responsible for raising them in this culture we find ourselves in. Parents of young ones need so much support and prayer. God, please protect my grandchildren from this world.

I am grateful for a McDonald’s vanilla ice cream cone during an evening walk.

 

And I am grateful for the sound of thunder and the patter of raindrops.

 

Give away love and grace like you’re made of the stuff. – Bob Goff

 

I am grateful for Bob Goff and his message to do love. If you haven’t read the book yet, how many times are you going to read me imploring you to read the book? If you want a copy, I will send one to you. You just have to promise to read it and pass it on to someone else when you are done. You will NOT REGRET reading his book.

 

 

I am grateful for the loss of 12 pounds!

 

Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice. – Bob Goff 

 

I am grateful for my cousin Sheri.

I am grateful for a video of Anjalie rolling over for the first time.

 Anjalie Rolls Over

 

I am grateful for indoor plumbing.

I am grateful for anticipation of finally getting to eat a potato again! 

I wonder if this works with squirrels:

Chicken Hypnosis with Bob Goff

 

I am grateful for beautiful flowers that Moira brought to me this morning.

 

 

I am grateful for beautiful lilacs that Joyce brought to work this morning from her yard. The whole office smells heavenly today. Mom would approve.

 

 

I am grateful to have co-workers who blessed me with kind words, gift certificates to the movies, and a gift bag of wonderful smelling soaps, just because.

I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them. – Bob Goff

And I am grateful for the birth of a little guy named Gabriel, arriving on Tuesday afternoon weighing 5 lbs, 12 oz. You’ve got a wonderful Mommy, little one.

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Chapter 4, verse 22.

 

 

I am grateful for a text message from my daughter on Sunday that said, “Happy Resurrection Day!”

I am grateful for another part of the Easter message on Sunday about our “defining story.”  What or whom we choose to focus our attention, with whom we associate, what fills our mind and thoughts, the shows we watch, the music we listen to, the material we read, our experiences and how we allow those experiences to affect us – it all plays a part in our defining story. Adam spoke of the man who filled his mind with hate and associated with people who also filled their minds with hate, and after so many years, that hate defined this man, until he acted out on the hate and killed three people on Palm Sunday. He didn’t begin life this way. But his story began to change course when he invited hatred/evil/Satan into his daily life.

From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:8

 

I am grateful for memories of Mom’s “Easter Story in an Egg” project that she would always do for her Children’s Church kids and for my girls. She would collect those enormous pantyhose eggs, L’eggs eggs, and fill them with a dime or nickel, a hard piece of bread, a piece of fabric that was ripped, a thorny stick, a nail, two toothpicks tied together to form a cross, a white piece of cloth, a smooth stone, etc., and then she would always want to sit with the girls and teach them the whole Easter story and ask them to tell her what every item meant. I loved this about Mom’s Easter. Part of her defining story… 

 

I am grateful for the softness of a baby blanket.

 

 

I am grateful for the cool, crisp mornings. Too soon they will be warm and sticky.

I am grateful for the invention of cooking spray. It’s a pretty convenient item to have. Especially when needing to coat a bird feeder pole right before leaving for work in the mornings so that the squirrels can have a slide to play on during the day.

 

 

I am grateful for the yellow bird that blessed us with its presence on the bird feeder on Saturday. 

This day, I choose to speak thankfulness, not bitterness. I choose to speak blessing, not complaint.

And I am grateful that my church is named “Church of the Resurrection.” I am grateful that I am a part of a group known as “Resurrection people,” followers of Jesus.  I am grateful that my story is daily being re-defined and I am one step closer to Christ-likeness and heaven.

 

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective. – Colossians 3:1-2 (The Message)

 

 

Blessings are falling all around me, and I’m “tasting” as many as I can.

 

I am grateful to have learned a very valuable lesson about treating parents with respect and honor, about appreciating time spent while there is still time. So many that I love are dealing with the heartache of their children making choices to sever ties, to distance themselves from their parents and extended family, treating them with either polite detachment, or even worse, with obvious disrespect… and my heart hurts for them all. I am grateful to have had the time to spend with my Mom, to see the fragile person she was and get a glimpse of the brokenness in her life that made her even more beautiful as she aged. I am grateful to have the time now to spend with my Dad and get to know him and share life with him – those times will become more and more precious as we age. I am so sad to see children who say they love God and are followers of Jesus treat their parents and families with distance, silence, and a lack of respect, not caring to take an interest in their lives, only concerned about their own.  I am grateful to have two parents who are/were far from perfect but taught me to love unconditionally and accept one another, regardless of behavior/beliefs/status, who taught me that family is important and should be a priority. I am grateful that I learned early on that making those visits to see grandparents is important in the life of a child. I am grateful that through the heartache of so many loved ones all around me right now, I am learning for myself how important it is to be a good example and share love, share Christ’s love, because people watch how we treat our loved ones.

I am grateful for a beautiful, challenging Easter message about Mary Magdalene, the tragedy of the past week, and this scripture…

Romans 12:17-21

New Living Translation (NLT)

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”
    says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

…and for a variety of music to listen to during the services.

Easter Song – Keith Green

 

I am grateful that my Dad drives, doesn’t mind making the trip to Kansas City, and chose to spend Easter with us this year. It was such an enjoyable weekend, and I love spending time with him.

I am grateful for time spent with Angela and Rachel.

I am grateful for the privilege of playing for Abbie, Heather, and Tara at their middle school vocal contest on Saturday morning.

I am grateful for a picture of Anjalie on her dedication day yesterday.

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I am grateful for pictures of Parker/Reilly this morning in my inbox.

Image   Image

 

I am grateful for memories of Easter egg hunts with my girls and with Parker. Some of my favorite memories ever are of creating Easter baskets for the girls and putting them at the foot of their beds on Saturday nights after they were fast asleep, and then hearing them wake up in the morning and discover their baskets, complete with whispers and giggles. Oh, to experience that sound again…

I am grateful that my church has a sunrise service, even if it is indoors. We got to watch the sun rise on our way, so early in the morning. I am glad that Sam is an early riser and doesn’t mind beginning the day this way, rather than sleeping in.

I am grateful for a wonderful Saturday afternoon attending a Royals game with family.

I am grateful for peanuts in the shell.

I am grateful for pictures of the two Ferguson graduates, Adam and Jarod, and for a graduation announcement poem from their parents, straight out of the “Grace’s Guide to Writing a Family Poem” book.

I am grateful for time spent working in the yard, pulling weeds. It’s good therapy.

I am grateful for a long walk that resulted in some sore muscles this morning.

 

 

I am grateful for Pink Lady apples. And for an abundance of blessings falling from the trees all around me.

I am grateful for a very pleasant drive, looking at trees and houses on Saturday evening with Sam and Dad.

I am grateful for a freshly painted, very sunny yellow room, and grateful for Orlando, the fastest room painter ever.

I am grateful for un-manicured fingers that show evidence of hard work. They’re not pretty, but they aren’t afraid of getting dirty, either.

I am grateful for the smell of Mexican food that wafts through the air, almost as good as tasting the food.

I am grateful for the taste of fresh pineapple.

I am grateful that Sam’s Club had big boxes of watermelons in April, and grateful that we decided to chance it and get one – it was so good.

I am grateful for relaxing conversation on the patio during lunch yesterday. A warm breeze and the music of birds added a beautiful touch to the Easter afternoon.

I am grateful for the smell of flowering trees.

I am grateful for friendly people to sit by at the Royals game.

I am grateful for a new mixer. Thank you, Sam.

And I am grateful for friends and family who share their heartaches with me. It’s true that we go through our own heartaches in life so that we are able to listen and support others in their time of heartache. I want to be a good listener.

Not Good Friday…it’s Great Friday. And I am grateful.

 

I went to a concert this morning. Talk about an awesome venue. The backdrop on the stage was so gorgeous, perfect for a Great Friday. It was this massive screen that had been designed by the Artist, with brilliant splashes of grays, blues, oranges and pinks, and as the music played, the screen changed, going from a pale dim to a brilliance that took my breath away. 

The musicians sat on a stunning stage, too. The chairs were a variety of styles, some draped in florals, some in delicate greenery, others showing the bare beauty of the craftmanship of their Creator, each chair designed to be unique, showing off its lovely individuality against the glowing backdrop I was so privileged to view.

 

 

And the music. Oh, the music was the sound of Heaven, I am sure. The instruments were expertly tuned to the precise specifications of the Conductor. And the songs those musicians played took my breath away. I am absolutely sure if words had been added to the music, would have gone something like this:

At the Cross

Alas! and did my Savior bleed and did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

Thus might I hide my blushing face while His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away, ’tis all that I can do.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

 

But this is what I actually heard:  

Great Friday Music

Write your hurts in sand. Carve your blessings in stone.

 

I am grateful that I am not a mattress mover. I would hate my job. Someone needs to invent handles on the sides of mattresses, or a mattress sling or something like that for average people when we have to move mattresses. There’s nothing to hold onto, they are heavy and awkward and in the way of our feet, and if I never had to move another one, that would be okay with me. Wait. I just looked it up on the internet. THERE ARE SLINGS MADE TO MOVE MATTRESSES!! But how often does the average person move a mattress in order to justify purchasing a mattress sling. Oh, the dilemma.

 

I am grateful for yesterday’s devotion in Dad’s book from Charlie and Patsy. What a great story and message for me today:

Thomas Carlyle labored with intensity on the first volume of a three-part study of the French Revolution. He felt it could be his greatest work. He loaned the manuscript to his friend John Stuart Mill to read, and Mill read it by the fire. One morning, the maid, cleaning the room and seeing the scattered pages on the floor, threw them in the fire. When Carlyle learned his manuscript was burned to ash, he sank into abysmal depression. Sometime later, still desolate, he saw a brick mason through the window. The man was standing on a scaffold, singing and whistling to himself as he built the wall of a house one brick at a time. Watching him, Carlyle decided he would write his book again, one page at a time. His history of the revolution became famous, and he is remembered as one of Scotland’s literary giants.

Perhaps you’ve lost something very valuable to you. Don’t give up. Tomorrow still holds a bright promise, and the Lord blesses faithful, plodding work. Let’s take it step-by-step, day-by-day, and moment-by-moment.

 

I am grateful for Windex and Comet.

 

 

I am grateful for the wisdom in the following sentence. When I first read this, my reactive thought was, “Oh, Angela needs this one. And Sam. And Dwight. And Michelle:”

Learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph.

And then the Holy Spirit’s conviction kicked in.

Now, to follow through and DO IT, in not just my activities and commitments, but my spending, my eating habits, and my relationships…

 

I am grateful for the space heater at my feet.

At this point in life, I am grateful for time to just sit and relax. Life is too short to be busy all of the time. I know in a new season of life, I will be grateful for things to do, because life is too short to waste it just sitting with nothing to do. But for now, I am grateful for that time when I don’t have to fill it with busy-ness. It’s okay to relax and enjoy a book, or a movie, or a ballgame, or a bike ride, or a pleasant afternoon on the patio listening to nature. The projects and work and cleaning will still be there. For another day. 


And I am grateful for the conviction of the Holy Spirit when I make the choice to complain, when I say something totally worthless, hurtful, and unnecessary, and when I am less than Christ-like. Like last night. I am grateful God forgives and loves me in spite of my ugly.