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.