A heart full.

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Today is my brother’s birthday. I like to imagine he is having a piece of cake with Mom and little sister Judy. I wish I could bake him a cake today. I’d try to make the best one ever and let him know how much I love him.

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Happy birthday, Steve.

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Today, I received a package from my daughter. I cannot remember a time when my heart has been so full. Inside was a personalized calendar with everyone’s birthdays, a grateful board to hang on our wall, and a beautiful picture of her family that is now hanging next to my desk. But THIS is what makes my heart overflow with love and gratitude and an overwhelming sense of Mama Bear:


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I am very grateful today for a heart that is full.



Tending to turtle.

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Yesterday morning, Sam and I sat at the dining room table in the quiet of the morning before the day began. I read a devotion, and it sparked a good discussion about the words, “I am sorry.”

When I was a teacher, one of my pet peeves formulated when children would be directed to apologize for something, and immediately, the standard response was, “Sorry.” I would always correct them.

“I’M sorry that I…”

“I’M sorry for…”

Obviously, in those immediate moments, the apology was less than heartfelt, and my insistence was annoying.

Back to our morning:

We talked about those who grow up in homes where those words are rarely if ever uttered, homes where children never witness the example of remorse from their parents, homes where spouses never humble themselves and admit their mistakes and failings in order to offer or receive forgiveness. What would it be like to never hear those words?

I know. I lived it once upon a time, and I raised my children in the same type of environment.  Saying “I’m sorry” is hard. Remorse may be there, but vocalizing it is another class. Now that I am in my post-parenting season, this is a lesson that I wish I could re-teach, or re-learn.

When our children are raised never seeing their role models admit they were wrong or owning up to mistakes, surely this affects how they grow up to view their own mistakes.

It is something that Sam and I do often for each other – he, more so than me. In fact, before we began our devotions, we were discussing a to-do list and we got short with each other.

I tend to “turtle” and hide in a dark, quiet corner of my mind.

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Sam doesn’t allow me to do that any longer. He likes to deal. Right now. And he did. He apologized on the spot, and we worked it out.


“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. – Matthew 5:23-24 (THE MESSAGE)


I am so grateful that I have a husband who says the words “I’m sorry” and “Thank you for…”

I am so grateful that the “silent treatment” is not acceptable in our relationship.

I am so grateful for the times when we take the time to discuss devotions and have heartfelt conversations, appreciating the moments and growing in our relationship to each other and to God.

I am so grateful that confession and remorse are not prerequisites to forgiveness. For all the apologies we have not received in our lives, we daily ask for the graciousness to forgive.

The truth is this: being human allows my loved ones to be human. Getting back up after I fall down gives others courage to do the same. Asking for forgiveness lifts a weight – not only from my shoulders, but also from the shoulders of my beloveds. It gives us a chance to discuss what we wished we would have done differently and how we’ll react in the future. – Rachel Macy Stafford in Only Love Today


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Burrrr, it’s a rainy day and Monday.

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I was walking around this morning, hating the underwear I put on. Man, they were uncomfortable. I shifted and pulled, and nothing seemed to help.

After a fast breakfast of an egg in a cup, I told Sam I had to get to work, which meant walking upstairs to my office with a window on the 2nd floor.

Every step was irritating, thanks to my annoying underwear.

I sat down at my desk, the desk I love at the window I love, AND, it was a rainy day, which is another reason to love my work today. After 10 minutes of not being able to concentrate due to infuriating undies, I decided I had ENOUGH.

They’re comin’ off. And then, THIS fell out.



I am grateful today for underwear that are free of sand burrs.

And since I am focused on underclothes, I am grateful for new socks with good elastic, just because.

I am grateful for rainy days and cooler weather.

And, I am grateful for home office, because this experience would have been much more awkward in the work office.

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I am grateful for the ability to update so many people on Sam’s progress:


I am grateful for a truckload of ginormous mums.

I am grateful for lemonade stands on a hot September Saturday.

And I am grateful for anticipation of rain and cool days in small town USA this coming week.

This is my story on Friday afternoon. This is my song…


…praising my Savior all the day long.

I am grateful on this Friday afternoon to have a chair next to a window on which to sit in this chemo room.

I am grateful that Sam is sleeping through this treatment he so dreaded this time.

I am grateful for his surgeon who knows how to make patients laugh and feel very loved at the same time.

I am grateful for blankets in warming drawers.

I am grateful for dings on a cell phone, indication of a sea of support and encouragement via text messages.

I am grateful for clean socks.

I am grateful for the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.” I do.

I am grateful for good news of a sister helping a brother through a crisis, for a high risk pregnancy successful ultrasound, for a grandma’s treat of seeing a granddaughter’s volleyball game during a visit, for friends who share their good news with me.

I am grateful for a scratchy throat, a gentle reminder while I sit in this chair in this particular place, that I am healthy and have been so blessed.

And I am grateful for carbonation.


Friends are friends forever…

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These two beautiful ladies lived in the same neighborhood when I was in high school. One was a year older than me, one was in my class. One shares my first name, one was my bridesmaid. Both share birthdays in the same week, this week.

Both were two of my best friends as I navigated some rough years called teenagerdom.

They know things about me I hope they keep a secret.

They are evidence that while some girls can be catty and mean, other girls can be rock solid friends and forgive the trivial and seasonal. While some girls come and go in our lives, a few remain as lifelong friends and sisters.

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corduroys * Chorale * dragging Main * Def Leppard * big hair * Mr. Yount * french fries at The Hutch * cassette tapes * Ken’s Pizza * E.T. and The Blue Lagoon * writing notes in class * Pac Man and Frogger * Love’s Baby Soft and shiny lip gloss * South Hutch softball games * Trapper Keepers * freezing in that girls’ bathroom * Mrs. Olsen and her scripture singing “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth…”  * the pay phone in the corner * Rhonda’s unforgettable laugh and Cindy’s killer legs, two things I wish I had

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Ah, the memories.

Happy birthday to you both.

I love you, Cindy and Rhonda, and I am grateful for you. I am grateful that you have loved me in spite of.

LOTS of in spite of.

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Humbly grateful or grumbly grayteful?


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Some days are just…


Gray in sky, gray in clothing, gray in washed walls, or gray in outlook. This morning, my day was a sunrise pink, promising to be a tired but satisfying sort of day. I woke up grateful. I drove to work grateful. I welcomed the yawns, evidence of a productive yesterday. But I also welcomed the new day, the renewal of work, the pink sunrise that said, “Good morning, Rhonda. Here is His gift.”

I was reflective and counting blessings as the morning chugged along. I was misty-eyed and sentimental, as I sometimes get in my middle-aged emotions.

Those middle-aged emotions. I’ve had them all my life, actually.

Wouldn’t you know it, in the middle of it all today, the pink faded. All it took was one little thing to cloud over the outlook.

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I HATE when that happens.

One word spoken.
Or one glance.
Or a feeling of outcast.

Maybe a simple misunderstanding.
Most often, one overreaction.

And then…

fade to gray.

GAHHH. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I let the actions and the lives of others affect my color? Why can I not just be oblivious to the concrete-colored blanket of cloud and appreciate the panorama of pink rays that peek over the horizon?

As a result, I beat myself up. I must have done or said something wrong. I am unworthy and not good enough. I will forever pay the price. It will never get better.

Two steps forward. One step back.

But, at the coffee pot in the kitchen this morning, Bob Goff said, “I used to think following God required complicated formulas. I thought I needed a big stack of books, so I could figure out exactly where I was all the time. I thought if I constantly measured the distance between me and God, I’d get closer to Him. What I realized, though, is that all I really needed to know when it came down to it was the direction I was pointing and that I was somewhere inside the large circle of God’s love and forgiveness.”

This is a new concept for the one who thought she had it right, all her years of spiritual righteousness.

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Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23 NLT

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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

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Better to be patient than a warrior, and better to have self-control than to capture a city.
Proverbs 16:32 CEB


Therefore (because I refuse to use the word “so” after my rant yesterday)…

I begin again. I will attempt to smile through hurt feelings and be gracious instead of graycious.

I will be grateful for the blessings I HAVE been given instead of being grayteful while looking across the fence at what I wish I had.

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I will gravitate towards the sunrises and sunsets instead of grayvitating under the cloud.

And I will grade myself with a pencil and eraser instead of grayding myself with a Sharpie, because I am moving in the right direction and I am somewhere inside that large circle of  God’s love and forgiveness. And for THAT, I am grateful.

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