When our friends come into view…

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We have a calico group of friends and neighbors in this season. This week, those who have gathered around our “table” have included:

  • a retired school teacher who will spend a month overseas in a cabin, fishing the days away in the river out back
  • a group of high school boys set to graduate who have learned the benefits of hard work and helping a neighbor
  • a former resident of the federal pen whom we are honored to consider our adopted son
  • a waitress with an eyebrow piercing who loves every customer and treats us all as though we are her only table
  • a mushroom hunter who likes to smoke and have a beer or three every day, and can fix or build just about anything and everything
  • a young man from Mexico who sends part of his paycheck every month to his family back home
  • a “retired” grandpa who has traveled the world, builds houses, and is very comfortable on a tractor
  • a brilliant and stunning kitchen designer from Viet Nam who knows her stuff and doesn’t back down when her clients throw ridiculous ideas at her
  • a beautiful young mom who struggled with addiction and loves to cook and is married to our “adopted” son

When I think about the colors of our world, in relationships, in personalities, in family members, in cultures and lifestyles, what a beautiful world it is. Everyone around our “table” brings life experience that we could only dream, and ours seems to pale in comparison to their adventures.

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But we are not here to compare whose stories are better or more exciting. We have gathered this week to share, to serve, to bond just a little more, to learn from one another.

There is a new picture on our wall, kind of our motto in this season:

Image result for love god, love people the endLove as a verb.

This is what our “table” of friends and neighbors has done for us. They are loving us, filling our lives full, showing us what servant friendship looks like. We are grateful and very, very blessed.

The most beautiful scenery in the world is when our friends come into view. – Bob Goff

Sam and I were talking this morning about neighbors and what that word should mean.

  • A neighbor is someone who takes homemade cookies across the street to the new family who just moved in, and a neighbor is someone who returns the container with two pieces of fresh-baked pie and a thank you.
  • A neighbor is someone who offers a helping hand when they see the man next door working hard, all by himself. And a neighbor is that man who invites the helping hand over to play cards the next evening.
  • A neighbor is a family who offers rides to another family without transportation, and a neighbor is that family without wheels, sending a handwritten thank you with free babysitting for a night out for mom and dad.
  • A neighbor is someone who drives five hours to help someone landscape their yard or finish their home addition or take a look at their design plans or unload landscaping blocks from the back of a trailer or fix lunch for them while they work or paint a laundry room or introduce the new people to everyone in the cafe or sit down in between waiting tables and share a story from where they grew up.

People loving other people by being kind and compassionate. People being neighborly. People using the word LOVE as a verb. People DOING love. People who refuse to live alone but choose to engage because that is what makes a calico colorful life.

I love this video that is full of a calico world. People are beautiful, even in the midst of turmoil and tension that surrounds us.

God has made such a colorful pattern in our friendships and our families, and because of Him and because of them, it is good to be alive today.

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I am not a fan, but I AM grateful.

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My brain is on hiatus. I know, at 52, my brain could be on permanent hiatus, but I certainly hope not. However, I sometimes think I am losing my mind. In my daily work, I type information that I have discovered in research on the internet. Sometimes, it is a phone number or an email address. Sometimes, it is compensation or education data or a physical address. More often than not, I have to look back at the 10-digit phone number at least 2-3 times, sometimes more, because I cannot store 10 numbers for more than 5 seconds.

What in the world.

I’m the one who worked at Ken’s Pizza and never wrote down orders because I could remember multiple pizza orders from three different tables in one trip around the restaurant before heading to the kitchen to write up a ticket for the doughboys at the ovens.

I’m the daughter who could remember a customer wanted $15 of premium in the tank, tire pressure at 32 all the way around including the spare in the trunk, the oil and transmission fluid checked and added if necessary, and “just the floor in the backseat vacuumed, please”, washed all the windows to boot, and then when the total was $17.32 and they handed me a $20, I made correct change WITHOUT the help of one of those fancy cash registers that does it all for you.

I am the teacher who taught K-12 music and played almost every piece by MEMORY at every program.

What has happened to my brain.

It has been two short years since I spent time with all of the kids in the youth choir at church, and this past Sunday, I couldn’t name half of them, even though I KNOW them.

This morning, Sam and I were walking down Main Street USA when a resident of this fine town stopped to talk to Sam about underground sprinkling. Casually, he mentioned Joe who lives on B Street in that house that has the big outbuilding and the roof that is slate and he’s the brother to Larry and they married sisters and his phone number is 555-1234 and if you have any questions you can call me at 555-4321 and I am the croquet coach over in Kville and the croquet buddy of Don over there in Kville…and I walked away with my brain in a tailspin. It’s the details, man, the details.

Yesterday, ‘Manda reminded me of a beta fish named Mr. Boss from high school choir days, and I have absolutely no clue what she is talking about.

I lie in bed at night and think of all the things, I mean ALL THE THINGS, and then want to slam my head into a wall in the morning trying to remember all the things that I should have written down or picked up my phone and recorded my list in the dark of night except that I don’t know how to do that and wouldn’t remember how if you told me.

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Don’t even get me started on the fact that six of our grandchildren are siblings and have names that begin with A… And many times when I think of one, I subconsciously go through the list until I hit the target name.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people sitting, baby and childAynjel, Andersyn, Anjalie, Annistan, Andrae, Anissa…exactly.

I am not a fan of my memory fade.

However, I AM a fan of grandchildren who pack themselves in a box and want to be shipped to Ama’s house.

I am not a fan of the USPS who won’t comply with their wishes.

However, I AM a fan of our friends who have come to small town USA to help us landscape and side a house and design a kitchen in hopes that someday our grandchildren will come and visit.

I am not a fan of a really nice air mattress that apparently has a leak now. It was an uncomfortable night.

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However, I AM a fan of friends who come to visit and crack jokes about being invited to drive five hours to visit us and then are expected to work and then also make wisecracks about coming to a home with no place to sit.

I am not a fan of my once quiet home that was superficially dust-free now turned into a zoo of noise and activity and coated in a fresh coat of earth particles.

However, I AM a fan of corn chips. Especially at lunch time, while sitting around a dining table on the only chairs in this house, with friends who have driven five hours just to help us make our new home a little more inviting so that the other friends don’t have to work when THEY come visit.

Like I mentioned before, I am not a fan of recollection deficiency.

However, I am a fan of dressing and feeding myself. Those could be the next skills to go. I HAVE been known recently to wear my clothes backwards.

Bring on the kale and blueberries and snap shirts. I have arrived.

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I like pleasant surprises.

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I was surprised this morning.  Sam pointed out a lone poppy growing in our front yard. It is beautiful standing there all alone, sharing its brilliance with a large yard, the first of many flowers to come.

I was surprised this morning. Two mourning doves decided to perch on the roof that juts out just below my second story office window here at the house.

I was surprised this morning. Last night, we moved the lone tv from our makeshift bedroom to the living room below so that our guests this week could relax after long days of work, albeit without any “real” furniture to sit upon, but still. And I found that I didn’t miss the morning noise as much as I thought I might.

I was surprised this morning. I had forgotten how good a bowl of Cheerios could taste.

I was surprised this morning. I found that I was grateful all over again for some of the same things that I have counted in the past, and I had taken them for granted in this state of pause I find myself in.

For a chilly day in late April.
For a warm house on this chilly day.
For soap.
For the overwhelming reassurance that I am loved.
For the quiet reminder that even though things will never be as they were, life goes on and we find ways to discover new joys and make new relationships.
For Psalm 121.
For dry hands that appreciate lotion.
For my hearing, even though it has diminished, so that I may hear the birds singing.

I am grateful today for His blessings re-counted and given over and over and over again.

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This is your birrrrthday song, it isn’t very long. The end.

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I call her ‘Manda.

I have a few students from the past who have remained in my life. Even though life has gone on and their lives are busy with careers and marriages and raising children, they still find a little bit of time for their old music teacher. Sometimes it’s a text message or an email – or it used to be a Facebook post. And on occasion, it is a phone call or an actual visit.

There was a small group of girls in my past teaching life who got to know me quite well, and ‘Manda was one of them.

Our worlds collided in a small town in Oklahoma inside a choir room, and over the years, we spent many, many hours laughing and solving all of the problems in my office or in the library, mixing issues with a box of Cheezits and an ice cold Dr. Pepper. Whether it was the topic of mean girls or cute boys, we could pass the hours and make them seem like minutes.

Shaniqua, ‘Nette, Sky, Karis, Mel Hoo Hoo, and ‘Manda Skye – they’ve all stayed in touch, and so many years later, I feel like these students who were like daughters to me, have become my friends. That doesn’t always happen. I could name MANY students who were very close and are very special to me, but there are a handful who have chosen to reach out, and that does an older, soft heart pretty good.

We laughed so hard we cried. We cried so hard we laughed. We prayed together, we sang together, we took road trips together, we watched seasons of Big Brother and The Bachelor and Survivor while eating tons of popcorn on my bed. I heard ENDLESS tales of boy woes and classroom drama…

I can still hear her giggle.

‘Manda Skye, if I were the dorm supper cook again, I’d bake you a cake. And I’d give you as much ranch dressing as you want. And if I were the choir teacher again, I would make you sing a solo. And if I were the librarian again, I’d let you skip class all the day long and eat Cheezits and M&Ms in the library. And if I were your piano teacher again, I’d give you stickers and candy even if you didn’t practice. I know. I did that already.

Happy birthday. I love you and I am so grateful that you chose to be my friend all these years later.

Betsy goes to the hospital.

I am grateful that DC4 – commonly known as Betsy in my world since I named her just that when she was born because no one needs to be known as DC4, who, you need to know, has a little brother, DC5, commonly known as Ben in my world since I named him too in order to rescue him from DC5-ness, who, you need to know, has parents named Mr. President and The First Lady and they all live free in the National Arboretum in Washington DC – ANYWAY, I am grateful that Betsy is back home in the nest after getting stuck – dangerously stuck – in her nest and had to be rescued by a very nice man who climbed the tree with all the harnesses and ropes and unstuck her from the branches and took her down the tree all the way to the veterinarian hospital to be checked out and was then delivered back safely to the nest to be reunited with her baby brother and her VIPs (very important parents) and she is doing so well now.

THAT was a run-on sentence to compete with some essays I used to have to read when I was a teacher. You’re welcome.

I am grateful that next week, Betsy and Ben will receive official names that will be pretty cool names, living up to their VIP’s names. We live in a very delightful world in which I can watch this family in real time and everyone in the world can vote to name DC4 and DC5, aka Betsy and Ben.

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Watch them live! And vote for their names:

http://www.dceaglecam.org/

 

 

I am grateful for Sunday breakfast lunch on the patio with blue sky, birds singing, and a little time with Dad before we left for the white house.

I am grateful for soft carpet after a plank to 100 and 100 crunches.

I am grateful for the tart of an apple slice.

I am grateful for lots of dust all over every last thing – that way, it is easy to tell what I’ve missed and makes cleaning more efficient.

I am grateful for laughter with good friends whom we haven’t seen for so long.

I am grateful for streets that know how to go north/south or east/west and don’t mess up my sense of direction.

I am grateful for news anchors and reporters who know how to pronounce important words like Iran and nuclear and who know how to avoid saying the non-words “whole nother.” Can’t we all just agree on this one thing? Iran = Eye-ran, or Ee-ron? Eye-rainian, or Ee-ronnian? Pick one and stick with it.

I am grateful, all these years later, for a new notebook with all clean pages. You don’t have to be in school to love this simple pleasure.

I am grateful for free popcorn from the plant nursery – what is better than buying plants on a sunny, cool, spring day while eating a bag of fresh, salty, buttery popcorn? That’s smart marketing. Just ask our bank account.

I am grateful for cats and kittens who are so happy they like to rub up against a leg while purring.

I am grateful that my Dad thinks that “it is just a game,” because otherwise, I would be worried right now about our Royals and the impact they are having on him.

I am grateful for the end of the day and a can of Pledge with my name on it.

And I am grateful for the reminder to appreciate the beauty all around us, beauty that sings His praise, if we will only stop to listen and look.

 

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. ~Socrates

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I am grateful for the whipped cream froth blanket on a hot chocolate.

I am grateful for blooming dogwoods.

I am grateful for presents wrapped with care.

I am grateful for shade on a hot day and sunshine on a brisk day.

I am grateful for a song that describes just how I feel, like I wrote the lyrics myself.

I am grateful for the pleasure of sneaking a piece of ham off the platter before dinner.

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. ~ Charles Warner

I am grateful for cool tile under hot feet just removed from tennis shoes.

I am grateful for card-senders.

I am grateful for smiling dogs as the ears are rubbed.

I am grateful for canaries.

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I am grateful for the fun of singing the Brady Bunch song word-for-word, with my sister, annoying my oldest brother.

I am grateful for Sonic ice.

I am grateful for random text messages from former students who turn out to be close friends.

I am grateful for a good walking dog.

I am grateful for faint memories of my little girls singing together.

And I am grateful that sometimes when I pray, I don’t have to have words. I can just be still, and He knows.

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To laugh at yourself is to love yourself. – Mickey Mouse

 

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I put my t-shirt on backwards this morning.

Sad thing is, I didn’t discover that I had done so until I was walking down the street and couldn’t figure out why I felt so constricted around my neck. When I felt the neck line, I also felt a tag.

You gotta be kidding me.

Another one of those times when you hope no one is looking.

At least it was only 6:15 am and still not quite the middle of day. I sure thought about removing my arms from the armholes and switching back around before I got to the busy streets, but, I thought better of it and pretended I was right.

I went through a whole scenario should someone ask me during my walk why I was wearing my shirt backwards.

“I felt bad for my husband because he did it too, and I didn’t want him to feel out of place.”

“Oh, haven’t you heard? It’s the latest thing.”

“Perdon, no hablo bien ingles. Lo siento…”

*****

I am grateful to walk at pre-dawn.

I am grateful no one else walks at pre-dawn.

And I am grateful that at least I didn’t forget to put a shirt on.

Busted Can of Biscuits

Would you still be my friend if…

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Would you still be my friend if…

  • you found out I was addicted to prescription drugs?
  • I left you off the invitation list?
  • you found out I had walked away from my faith?
  • I shared a secret about you with someone else?
  • you found out I was cheating on my spouse?
  • I let you down?
  • you discovered I was gay?
  • I stood on the side of the undocumented?
  • I never call you or respond to your emails or text messages?
  • I welcome Muslims or wiccans or atheists in my home?
  • you knew I was obsessed with pornography?
  • I told you I was a convicted felon?
  • someone told you I left my marriage willingly?
  • I was very blunt and said something rude to you?
  • you heard I had gossiped about you to others?
  • I told you I am politically opposite of you and fight for the things you are completely against?

 

 

When I left my marriage, I had a teacher friend, a close friend, who sent me an email and told me she was so disappointed in my behavior and decision and she had no words for me. Six years later, I have not heard from her again, even after reaching out to her.

A friend reached out to another friend of mine and asked if he and his partner could come and visit for a weekend. He was turned down because of his homosexual lifestyle.  “We have standards and convictions. We do not agree and will not allow sin in our home.”

When I was asked to be a part of a worship team at a former church I attended, I shared with the worship pastor that I was currently going through a divorce because I left the marriage. He immediately retracted his invitation, saying in effect, “We don’t allow people who are ‘actively in sin’ to be in leadership. Our congregation would have a problem with that.”

Parents have turned their backs on their children because of lifestyle choices; children have abandoned their parents because of the same thing, or because there is too much history of dysfunction. Siblings have refused to reconcile over petty disagreements and hurtful words spoken.

Churches I used to attend have split or have lost members because of their hard-line stance on controversial issues or because of their welcoming stance, pitting friends against each other because of their leanings.

Former students and friends have shared with me that they no longer want anything to do with God and Christianity because of the hypocrisy and the judgment and the righteous pity that is prevalent in the particular Christian community they once knew and lived in.

*****

My close teacher friend never heard my story.

My friend never sat down with the other friend to hear his story, never gave him a chance, never opened her arms to his partner.

That worship pastor, in one fell swoop, lost someone who loved playing the piano, loved serving God through music, loved the church she attended, NEEDED the church she attended, and she has never been back.

Some of my relationships will never be the same…whether it was my doing or theirs, it will never be the same.

*****

I can speak from both sides of the issue – I have been critical and judgmental, drawing a line in the sand about black and white, right and wrong, sin is sin is sin. But, I have also been on the receiving end of criticism and judgment, feeling the pain of rejection and becoming an outcast. Even now, I feel the sting of rejection among some.

But they do not know my story. They do not ask. Maybe they think they know…and it is easier to sit in judgment and ignorance than take the time to understand.

12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 

And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. – From Colossians 3, CEB

I love how Paul gives advice to those of us who follow Jesus. He encourages us to be patient, to forgive, to love, and be thankful. There is a reason for this! We are missing out on the BLESSING of beautiful relationships when we stop short of grace-giving.

I need to be this kind of friend to those who are in my life. I should be a better friend because Jesus was a better friend for me, and He is my role model. He accepted me as I was. He loved me as I was. He hung out with me as I was. He sat in the mud with me as I was. He listened to my story. He held me. He walked with me. He LOVES me, without exception.

I am grateful today for Jesus.

I am grateful today for my many friends and family who have taken the time to understand and listen.

I am grateful for the painful experience of realizing how I used to sit in judgment.

I am grateful for the painful experience of being an outcast.

I am grateful that when I mess up, I have friends who don’t cross me off their list.

I am grateful that I have friends who live a life I probably wouldn’t choose to live, make choices I might not make, but their experience makes my life rich and full, and I can learn from them.

I am grateful for my Dad who has referred to Colossians 3 on many occasions when walking beside me on my journey.

I am grateful for the opportunities I now have to take the time to understand and to listen.

I am grateful for the desire to hear someone else’s story, because I know that there is always a reason behind the behavior or because of the choice, and everyone deserves to be heard. Everyone needs the grace and forgiveness that Jesus gives and that I can also give, if I will just listen.

I am grateful for grace when I mess up, when I go back to the judgment seat, when I forget the instruction from Paul in Colossians.

And I am SO grateful for the relationships we have because of grace, given and received. Our lives are FULL and our blessings MANY, because of grace.

 

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If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Image result for psalm 51:10I say the “anything-I-can-do-to-help” sentence a lot.

And the more I read, the more the Holy Spirit convicts.

I have said that very sentence for years, thinking that it was a good thing to say when someone was hurting or struggling or challenged in some sort. But again, the more I read, the more the Holy Spirit is opening my heart and my mind to the fact that it is not a genuine offer at all.

I say it when I don’t know what else to say.

I hope those who actually know me know, that if there is anything, anything at all, that I could do to help, I would. In a heartbeat. Without hesitation. Mostly without question. At just about any cost. My parents instilled that inside of me, with the guidance and help from God and genuine hearts of gold, molded by God.

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I will drop everything to help. I am Super Girl when it comes to any question beginning with, “Would you mind helping with…?” And if I can’t help because of (insert your choice of anything here), I will take on a tugboat load of guilt for having to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t this time.”

But, I’m going out on a limb here, and I bet I am not alone on that limb.

Sometimes, and I am airing some dirty laundry here, sometimes I say the anything-I-can-do-to-help sentence, because it’s easy and I am fairly certain of the response, “Okay, I will let you know,” knowing that the person will never let me know, and I will be off the hook after having “offered” so graciously. Not so fast, gracious.

Not a genuine offer at all.

The Holy Spirit has really been tapping me, nudging me, and hammering me on the head about this recently.

When someone is hurting or struggling or in the middle of a real challenge, the last thing they are thinking is, “What could Rhonda do to help me?”

Last week, in my Bob Goff Love Does calendar that Aunt Patsy and Uncle Charlie gave to us, one day’s message was simple simpleton. But it was profound. And of course I cannot quote it word-for-word, but I know the message:

A friend doesn’t have to ask. A friend does.

Joyce, my former co-worker and forever friend, taught me this lesson a couple of years ago. She talked about this TWO YEARS AGO, this very simple lesson, and I haven’t forgotten it but I also haven’t exactly implemented it into my routine. Don’t ask someone what needs to be done – just look around and do it without asking.  They will appreciate not having to come up with something to appease their well-meaning friend. And they will appreciate the job much more than the card or the standard, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” There might be all kinds of things that need to be done, but rare is it when someone feels comfortable enough to say, “Um, yah, I have piles of laundry and a sink full of dishes and the lawn hasn’t been mowed in weeks, but I am too stressed/upset/exhausted/depressed…”

I need to do better. I need to listen to the tapping, nudging, hammering. I need to open my eyes and just start doing for others instead of putting the burden on them to come up with something for me to do that will make ME feel better about helping them and make them feel even more burdened to have to deal with all of the things they really don’t want to deal with.

Sam doesn’t ask what he can do to help me – he just starts doing.

My niece Rachel and her mom ask what they can do to help me, but then they just start helping.

Yesterday, Sara just started doing dishes. Didn’t ask. Just did.

My boss doesn’t ask what she can do to help me – she just calls on her way.

A friend doesn’t ask if it’s a good time – she just shows up and starts looking for things to do, making sure I understand she isn’t here to visit and coddle, she’s here to work.

And the funny thing is, they don’t make a big deal about it. They don’t hold it out there and post it all over social media, all look what I did – they help because they want to help. Mom used to say that if we look for recognition here on earth and are acknowledged for our “good deeds” here, we negate or diminish the reward in Heaven.

If I look for recognition and thanks as an end to my good will, how good is my deed, really? Not very genuine.  And certainly not very gracious.

When words don’t flow so freely in difficult situations, just look around and do, Rhonda. Not for thanks or recognition, but for the satisfaction that God leads and directs and calls you to serve others with humility. THAT’s a genuine offer. And when you cannot genuinely offer, then DON’T.

Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.
– Luke 6:31

Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all
in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.
– Colossians 3:17

I am grateful for repeated lessons.

I am grateful for living examples, both good and bad.

I am grateful for conviction that leads to repentance.

I am grateful when I am ASKED to help, because that is so much easier.

But I am grateful for the reminder to open my eyes and DO instead of waiting to be asked.

I am grateful for the freedom from guilt.

And I am grateful for grace unending because I am not perfect and will fail, but each step I take, will lead me closer home.

*****

Oh, and I am grateful for Easter and flowers and The Hallelujah Chorus and gardens and the message yesterday and tears flowing and a home filled with friends who have become our family and my Dad and my husband who loves me and tells me and family reunions and a cousin and aunt who go above and beyond to care for others and for a friend who took care of Natia while we were gone and for Friday out of office and clean gutters and laughter loud and free and bunny bread and doctors who are God’s healers and pretty new dresses and clean hands and no drama and for the privilege and pure joy of talking to one of my girls and her children yesterday on the phone on this grandest of days.

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It’s not what we have in life, but WHO we have in life.

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I am grateful for young squirrels who wake at the crack of dawn, just like me, and decide it is time to begin playing. A little guy was the epitome of the definition of “scurry” this morning.

scur·ry
verb
 (of a person or small animal) move hurriedly with short quick steps.

I am grateful for my best friend/Sam who calls me on my walk every morning, and we walk together, even though we are hundreds of miles apart.

I am grateful for a little dog who doesn’t mind getting up early to go on a walk in the pre-dawn, even if her little paws have to hurry fast to keep up with my exercise. She scurried.

 I am grateful for a little girl who left a secret message for Ama in the middle of a brand-new notebook many months ago, found just this morning as I was hurrying out the door.

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I love you, too, Anissa.

I am grateful for my friend/daughter who calls me almost every day just to talk.

I am grateful for a friend who is driving three hours today to come and visit me, to go to our writing club meeting tonight.

I am grateful for a friend who has been doing some incredible writing and shares it with me in a random email. Her latest entry, and I don’t mind being her second-hand blog:

We took a weekend a couple weeks ago to start the process of cleaning up the yard.  The perennials were popping through trying to reach up to the sun’s rays through the mass of fallen leaves, dead stalks and dead grass left late in the fall when this gardener was tired of weeding.   With the flower beds cleared and the yard sprayed, I decided to tackle the rose bushes. Now, I didn’t literally tackle the roses, but anyone who has dealt with roses knows there isn’t any way to mess with them without getting stuck with a thorn or two or nine.  The mission of cutting back the roses was accomplished with only minor scratches and ouchies.  However, a week or so later I notice a sore spot on my index finger.  You know that feeling of there’s something in there, but no matter how you prod and dig you can’t find the thorn, splinter or whatever foreign object that is causing the pain. 

I waited a couple days and finally the culprit, a tiny piece of thorn, made its way to the top where I could pluck it out.  I felt instant relief and also shame.  I had whined, complained, lamented and dramatized the pain and agony of this small thorn that had festered on my finger.  How dare I.  

I know a man that was beaten, stripped of all dignity, and a whole crown of thorns was placed on his head. Not gently I’m sure. I can’t imagine the pain that was endured by this man. This man that had done nothing wrong, This man who cared more about me than he did about his own self-preservation or excruciating pain.  That small insignificant thorn in my finger was a reminder that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. 

The next time I tangle with the roses, should I encounter a thorn, let it be a reminder of that crown of thorns worn by my Savior and let me rejoice in the knowledge that because of Him my sins are forgiven and a life everlasting is waiting for me. – Linda Francis, soon-to-be author

I am grateful for a friend/boss who shared her Easter tradition with me this morning – she collects papier-mâché eggs and fills them each year with lots of goodies for each family member. She made one for our guests on Sunday, just because.

Easter Egg

I am grateful for my friend and sister from another mother who gave me the daily calendar next to that egg. Today’s message is a quote from William Penn:

I expect to pass through life but once.
If, therefore, there can be any kindness I can show,
or any good thing I can do to any fellow being,
let me do it now…
as I shall not pass this way again.  

I am grateful for another friend/Dad who went to a movie with me last night.

I am grateful for my friends who happen to be my sister and my brother who email me, text me, or call me, more than I reach out to them.

I am grateful and love that I have WHOs in my life.

I am grateful for Maundy Thursday, and even though I have never been to a Maundy Thursday service, I do appreciate the message. If you have time to read this hilarious but very poignant story about foot washing, you will begin to understand my foot trepidation and phobia, and at the same time, you will be touched.  Wonderful message to prepare my heart for tomorrow and the weekend and perfect story to go along with William Penn’s wisdom.

https://theaccidentalmissionary.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/love-fear-and-toenails-in-your-hair-3/

And finally, I am grateful for a day off tomorrow to prepare for Easter weekend.

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