Wishing I could sit on a float…

Right in the middle of Bingo on Tuesday evening, Helen had a “squirrel!” moment. What’s a “squirrel!” moment? This.


Rhonda: “B-14. B, 1, 4.      G-56. G, 5, 6.”

Helen: “I remember when I was a little girl and the school band was marching down the street, practicing during the school day. Several neighbors were standing on their porches watching the kids and listening to their music as they marched, and the band director walking beside the kids yelled out, ‘They’ll get better!'”

Avis: “Shhhhhh!!”

I ignored Avis. Helen stirred up some very fond memories that I was not going to let pass. So we visited for about a minute about parades and bands and Mrs. Ramsey, one of my all-time favorite teachers as the Haven Grade School Band Instructor and fellow french horn player who taught me to love that instrument so much, and Mr. Lee, the other band teacher who wore funny pants that were hiked up to his chest and the other band director known as Very Large Mustache Director because I cannot remember his name and the joys of autumn marching band practice in the middle of the school day with the crunch of leaves underfoot and kids who were antsy to be outside of the classroom and buying those white boots to accompany the drum majorette uniform and having my very own whistle to lead the cadences and LOVING not having to march with my heavy french horn instead carrying the huge silver baton and the Haven Fall Festival and Band Day in McPherson and those goofy plume helmets with the white chin straps and being so glad I got to wear a cute royal blue skirt instead of those nasty-looking blue pants with white tennis shoes even though the skirt was embarrassingly short and being so pompous about my band forming straight lines and keeping their straight lines and loving when the band director would walk clear over on the sidewalk among the people and let me lead all by myself and being jealous of the girls who got to carry the Haven Grade School Bobcat Banner and Susan who twirled that baton and had all of the boys’ attention. Okay. Maybe all of that wasn’t talked about in a minute, but Helen and I were having our moment in spite of Avis shushing us.

(I don’t know who these kids are, but they are adorable.)

And then we talked about how much we love parades and hearing the bands coming down the street during Band Day at the State Fair and pumping gas at the gas station while the bands took over Main Street and watching with the customers while I washed their windows and finding the very best spot on the sidewalk for the tossed candy and thinking how terrific it would be if that local politician would just walk up to me and shake MY hand and the smell of the horses and hearing the sirens on the fire trucks a block away and laughing at the antics of the old guys in the little cars with those funny hats with tassels attached and so wishing I could sit on a float someday and getting mad at those selfish kids who grabbed the candy that was tossed to ME and laughing when a clown did something funny and a souped-up car died in the middle of the street and stalled the whole parade and wishing I could have brought MY dog to the parade because everyone else in the world brought theirs and hating when those souped-up cars revved their engines RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and being so disappointed when the street sweeper arrived, because that meant the parade was over.


So today, I am grateful for Helen’s squirrel moment that conjured up these very pleasant memories.

And I am grateful for those Shriner guys who don’t mind wearing funny hats if it means they get to drive around in funny cars making figure 8’s.



Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue and all will be right again.


I am grateful for moments when my sadness requires me to reflect, when my counselor says something profound and goes straight to the heart, when my anger and whining cause me to step back and appreciate what I DO have, when someone posts something on social media that is just what I needed in the moment, and when I feel God wrapping me tightly in His grasp as if to whisper, “It’s okay, Rhonda. I GET it. I HAVE it. We’ll deal together, and I’ll go first.”




Shawna posted this two days ago. I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I believe it is a quote by Jill Blakeway.  And I’m pretty sure the unknown person who wrote this on a white board in some office building somewhere in the world had no idea that it would end up on social media and come through to this broken person, giving her renewed hope that one day, some day, the unfairness and dark cruelty of it all might come to light and they might see the truth, at least some of the truth, that caused the journey and they might realize that there was always another side to the story they were told.

“I have learned to kiss the wave
that throws me against the rock of ages.”

–Charles Spurgeon

I am grateful for the ones who made a choice to stay in my life despite it all…

But I am also grateful for the ones who threw me against the Rock of Ages, because without their abandonment, I would not necessarily feel the need to cling and hold on while the storm raged in me and still rages around me.

James 1:2-4
The Message 

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends,
when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
You know that under pressure,
your faith-life is forced into the open
and shows its true colors.
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work
so you become mature and well-developed,
not deficient in any way.”

I am grateful for Eugene Peterson who wrote The Message translation of the Bible.

And I am grateful for renewed hope, even if it is just a thought.

I have a lot to say but nobody ever listens. – Donna’s grandson


I am grateful for strawberry shakes and for Nestle Quik that makes strawberry milk. I miss the days when it looked like this, okay not the days, I just miss the packaging:

I am grateful for newly tiled floors.

I am grateful for shiny cars that reflect the sunshine in the early morning.

I have never been a millionaire. But I have enjoyed a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend… There are plenty of life’s tiny delights for all of us. – Jack Anthony

I am grateful for happy cardinals that share their song.

I am grateful for a relatively clean house.

I am grateful for two guys to do the landscaping so that I didn’t have to help shovel and hear the scraping of the rocks.

I am grateful for the message of the prostitute and the Pharisee. I could relate in both directions.

I am grateful for the beauty of clouds.

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 am grateful for entertainment as I watch the person in front of me enjoying their song on the radio.

I am grateful for sounds of grandchildren in the background.

I am grateful for stories of Donna and her grandson.

I am grateful for memories of my grandchildren.

I am grateful for the feeling of no allergies, no colds, no clogged ears, no sore throat, no constant need to blow a nose, no pressure headache, and no itchy tired eyes.

And finally, I am grateful for this very simple concept:

A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.



That made me laugh today. I am grateful for little things that cause me to laugh.

I am grateful for a new straightener that my boss brought to work to give to my CASA girl this evening.

I am grateful for shirts that are to be worn untucked so that when I do not wear a belt, it’s okay.

I am grateful that my boss is an encourager and makes her employees feel valued.

I am grateful for the convenience of mail delivery.

I am grateful for Sam’s big heart.

I am grateful for creative business cards.

I am grateful for perspective that I would not have if I were younger than 50. It is pretty amazing the things I used to think, the things I thought I knew, and how my perspective as an older person has changed.

I am grateful for the freedom feeling of overalls and the funny of them, too.

I am grateful for new friends entering our world from a variety of places.

I am grateful for a pretty day out the window.

I am grateful for that feeling I get when the car is filled with gas, is newly serviced, and is sparkly clean.

And I am grateful on this Friday before the weekend begins, for moments of reflection and worship this morning on my way to work as I listened to this:




All this and a bag of bliss.

I learned something about myself this morning. Actually, I already knew this, but seeing my former self in another person was like a slap in the face and just one more reason to be so grateful for the journey to a better life and leaving the past behind.

As this person lamented in a “woe is me, I hate myself, everything is my fault” email,  I began to see slight similarities to previous Rhonda.

I can’t do anything right. I mess everything up. Hint hint. Don’t you feel so sorry for me I need you to feel sorry for me where are the booster encouraging words that will carry me through my weakness sadness depression self sabotage judgment?


My son-in-law told me once that I had a martyr complex, and of course, I was offended.

Read this!
Martyr Complex Symptoms

Oh my goodness, this was me.

So, I am very, very grateful today that I’m sinking in Grace Ocean.

I am very, very grateful today that God did not give up on me, when many in previous Rhonda’s life did.

I am very, very grateful today that most of the time Morticia Martyr is buried and gone and I have learned to own myself and independently function with God’s help.

I am very, very grateful today that my counselor and Sam and my parents and brother and sister and Aunt Patsy and Aunt Estalene and a few other family members and Michelle and Jeanine and Linda and Ginny and Deb put up with the broken and helped glue it all back into one piece with lots of love and prayer and wise words and patience and an occasional kick…


And I am grateful for this life – sometimes messy, busy, lonely, crazy, and painful…but still a beautiful bliss.

Well, what does THAT have to do with the price of gas in China?


I am grateful for laughter at work. It is good to enjoy the people we spend the most time with.

I am grateful for doctor offices that accept people who enter without an appointment.

I am grateful for the sound of rain pattering on an umbrella.

I am grateful that the Royals play ball tonight.

I am grateful for funny sayings.

I am grateful for taxes done without extensions.



A person who is given words of beauty is a person who will express beauty. – Christopher De Vinck


I am grateful for hotdogs.

And I am grateful for bottles of root beer that are Bingo prizes tonight.

Her mess will become her message.

Some weeks are rough. Some weeks are rougher – more rough. And some weeks are roughest.

There’s a saying that goes like this:

It will either make you or break you.

I’ve been pondering that saying this week. A crisis in a life provides a very unique opportunity for growth. It also provides the opportunity to throw in the towel and give up or in. That crisis can become such a powerful message of hope and perseverance, but it can also become a message of despair and failure. We have the choice to grow or to stall out.

My mess has been my message at different points in my life. I cringe at what I broadcast to the world in my teens. I slink at the way I handled my mess in my 20’s. Actually, I could stand a re-do on most parts of my life.


I’m grateful for 2nd chances. And for 70×7 grace.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to walk beside her in her mess and offer that grace and unconditional love that I have experienced over and over in my life.

I’m grateful she is safe tonight.

I am grateful that this rougher week is almost over.

And I am grateful that she is “mine.”













Hang on to the people in your life who want you in theirs.

I am grateful for the reminder to find a spring flower and actually look at it, appreciating the beauty and the intricacies while giving thanks for its Creator.

I am grateful that Dad drove to Hutchinson to spend some time.

I am grateful for the satisfaction of pulling a dandelion.

I am grateful for cinnamon and sugar mixed together.

I am grateful for my devotion this morning. A simple message but one that penetrated today.

Babe Ruth, one of the most famous baseball players of all time, finished his career in a slump. According to a legendary story, he was ridiculed mercilessly after one game as he made his way back to the dugout. The fans continued to boo and yell obscenities until a little boy jumped the fence and ran to Babe’s side.

The child threw his arms around Babe’s legs, crying as he fiercely hugged him. Moved by the young boy’s display of affection, Ruth gently lifted the boy up into his arms. As they walked off the field, the man and boy cried together.

This young boy demonstrated the true nature of compassion – he sympathized with the sorrows of another. His example reminds us that a compassionate man does not stand detached from the sufferings of others. Rather, he steps into the world of the hurting and feels the pain and anguish of the one suffering. And he expresses his compassion through sincere concern, through a listening ear, a shed tear.

The world is full of hurting people, many who are longing for a compassionate friend. Will you be that friend?

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15

I am grateful for the opportunity to sit and hold a hand for an hour last night in a place I never thought I would see or be.

I am grateful to have talked to three of my girls yesterday.

I am grateful for social workers and my CASA supervisor.

And I am grateful for a big heart, even though it really hurts sometimes.

Never waste an opportunity to laugh. – Mary (her quote for today)

I’m not very grateful for that feeling I get when I swallow something wrong and it is stuck in the middle of my back.

And I’m not very grateful for air puffs in the eye at the doctor’s office that make my eyes water and wish they didn’t have to open.

I’m not very grateful for loud yawners, bad breath breathers, knuckle poppers, and those who cannot say the words, “I’m sorry.”

And I’m not very grateful for a dog who screams – Angela, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

But I am grateful for the ability to swallow. And for swallows.


And I am grateful for my eyes that still mostly work. And also grateful for a really expensive eye picture machine that has taken the place of dilation.

I am grateful for people around me who are careful to cover their mouths when they cough or yawn or sneeze, for people who are aware of their breath and keep mints or gum close in order to be pleasant for everyone in their air space, for people who CARE IF THEIR KNUCKLES GROW ABNORMALLY LARGE and refrain from pulling and popping in the presence of others, and for people who have learned the value and the humility of saying the simple words, “I am sorry.”

And even though she screams like a banshee – what in the world is a banshee – I am grateful for that thumping tail and the “hurry up and get inside” or “please, please don’t leave me” howl of Natia, known as Naughty, Doggie, Dog, Tippy, and Goof Nut.


This is Goof Nut, not laughing.
She’s not laughing because this picture was taken by a stranger HVAC man who rescued her and she was in a stranger’s house waiting for my sister to come and take her home.

(I just looked up banshee. I shall not post a picture of a banshee. Not so pretty.)