I growed up in these parts.

Main Street Smith Center

I never imagined this is where I would be.

I have imagined lots of things in my lifetime, however.

There was a very long season, most of my adult life actually…only Kathy and Sam have heard the details…a long season of being in the passenger seat of a vehicle and refusing to wear a seat belt, just hoping and imagining that an accident would happen and I would be freed from the prison I felt I was in.

A long season of sleeping half of my days away with the help of sleep aids, just hoping and imagining that the days would pass into oblivion and I could forget the misery.

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A long season of escaping into a world of TV, watching and imagining someone else’s drama to escape my own. A long season of wearing the mask, putting on the smile, pretending that every day was National Smile Day, pretending that I got peace like a river…

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Funny thing. That long season was the season that shaped me. It refined me. It was the dormant season of my life, although there were good times, too. There were parts of dormancy that I would not change for anything. There were many blessings during those years, and those blessings have turned into very sweet memories. There were many painful memories during those years too, and those are the times that brought about shape and refinement. I grew up during that long season.

Those are the memories that are dirt under the fingernails of God, evidence of hard work.

potter and clay

I think about the story of the useless broken water jar that leaked all the way down the path…and the result was a path of flowers that had been watered along the way. I think about broken vases from Japan that are much more unique and beautiful when their pieces are glued back together with gold.

japan vase

Last night, Sam and I hopped in the truck and took a drive to watch the sun set on a country road. We talked about the projects, the many many projects. We talked about what the next season holds for us out here in small town USA. We laughed about the way we can already see changes in the way we do things and vowed we would not adopt the language of “I seen” and “I done did,” or “We have went.” We can begin to imagine lazy evenings on our porch with an iced tea and a good book. We look forward to a home filled with laughter and love instead of tools and turmoil.

We imagine it will be a very long season. And for that, I am grateful.

country road sunset 1

Love is how I will end this day.

Clothesline

I often sit in silence and think. And I think about the time I was impatient to the extreme and caused harm to my daughters. And I think about my tendency to turtle instead of strut. And I think about my neglect when it comes to phone calls and connection.

I often sit in silence and think. And I think about my choices I have made in my life. I think about how smart I am to my inner self and how dumb I am in reality. I think about the choices in my life that have directly affected those whom I love.

I often sit in silence and think. And I think about the promises I have not kept, about the goals I decided were too lofty, about the life I had dreamed but never saw to fruition. I think about the disappointment I must be to others and to God.

Today, I was reminded that it is TODAY. It is not yesterday.

And so I sit here at the end of my work day and think. I think about the relationship I had with my mom in her last years and how I was so blessed. I think about the relationship I have with my dad now, how healthy he is, how I am so blessed. I think about my brothers who serve others by doing. Doing the hard and the thankless. I think about my sister who fights for the nobodies. I think about their example to me, and I am blessed. I think about my second chance to have a godly marriage and the man who shares life with me, and I am so blessed. I think about a daughter who calls me almost daily and shares details and includes me in her life of raising a family, of how just a few short years ago, I thought it would never be…and now I am so very blessed. I think about the total joy it is to hear the distinct video call ringtone, knowing that when I click the button, a grandchild or several will be right there saying, “Ama! Ama! Ama! Guess what, Ama?!” …and I am blessed beyond any sort of measure.

I often sit in silence. Tonight, I will end this day, and I will love the blessings. I will strive to put aside the regrets and the “maybe somedays.” I will think about His blessings to me.

Every. Last. One.

“This Day”

This day is fragile
Soon it will end
And once it has vanished
It will not come again
So let us love
With a love pure and strong
Before this day is gone

This day is fleeting
When it slips away
Not all our money
Can buy back this day
So let us pray
That we might be a friend
Before this day is spent

This day we’re given is golden
Let us show love
This day is ours for one moment
Let us sow love

This day is frail
It will pass by
So before it’s too late
To recapture the time
Let us share love
Let us share God
Before this day is gone

Komodo dragons and Japanese Macaques, oh my.

 

I am very grateful for discovering the incredibleness of Planet Earth, a series that airs on BBC America. Dad, you HAVE to start watching. Wednesday and maybe Thursday nights, too.

Oh my goodness, we are quickly becoming addicted to the awesomeness of God’s creation that we’ve never seen before. The way this show puts together AMAZING video footage with expertly written narrative and music…I AM HOOKED.

I do not ever want to encounter a komodo dragon, that’s for sure. I would, however, LOVE to see the pink flamingos in the Andes, doing their hilarious mating ritual march. We cracked UP.

The other night, we watched the fascinating story of monkeys from all over the world, and I had never heard of Japanese Snow Monkeys (pictured above). These monkeys live in the high elevation where it is colder than cold. But, they mirror the way we humans behave, in a way I was not aware.

The two pictures at the top show the “upper crust” monkeys, monkeys who fall into the category of the “haves.” They are relaxing in a very warm hot spring and loving every minute.

The bottom picture shows another group of monkeys who fall into the category of the “have nots.” They are not allowed to enter the hot spring and must sit close by without ever being afforded the permission to get in and warm up.

It was heartbreaking.

Same monkeys, different standards.

I was very convicted.

Same humans, different standards. May I always love everybody, always. May I always include, not exclude. May I always give what I have to those who do not. May I ALWAYS seek to be like Jesus, serving the nobodies of my world.

 

Potholes I know.

Road traveled

I am grateful for the crunch of the gravel in the very early mornings.

I am grateful to live in small town USA where tomorrow I will wear shorts for the first time in a year or more and almost no one will notice.

I am grateful that our walks happen in the very early mornings.

I am grateful for the shower that takes off all the sweat and sticky after the very early morning walks.

I am grateful for the companionship of a best friend who insists that I get out of bed and go on a very early morning walk.

I am grateful that we don’t put ear buds in our ears and listen to podcasts while we walk in the very early morning. Our music comes from the nature and small town sounds around us and our conversations are just that – conversations.

Great is His Faithfulness

I am grateful for brick streets, for gravel parking lots, for mowed grass where a sidewalk once worked, for no hills, for neighbors who trim their prickly shrubs away from their sidewalks that still work, and for early morning waitresses who yell “Gooooooood MORNNNNNING!!!” and don’t judge as they drive past us down Main Street. They won’t care about my shorts and legs tomorrow.

I am grateful for the road less traveled out here in small town USA, where golf carts and riding lawn mowers are just as suitable transportation as an F-150.

And for The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck.

Life is Difficult

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. – John Lennon

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I am grateful for a Dad who took care of the piano movers today.

I am grateful for the smell of floor stripper.

I am grateful for another bill paid off.

I am grateful for a handful of chocolate chips as an afternoon snack and my mixer that is finally on the counter. Time to bake.

Hurry

I am grateful for cards mailed and list almost complete.

I am grateful for vitamins.

I am grateful for my subject line today, kind of like “The worst thing is not the last thing…”

I am grateful that God has given me just enough patience to withstand the many moments of overwhelm that show up more frequently these days in the midst of remodel chaos.

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Realization: I am a recluse with an official name.

 

I am grateful for another Sam project…a new front porch.

I am grateful that going to the grocery store now takes approximately 10 minutes from the time I leave the house until the time I return to the house.

I am grateful for a feather bed from Aunt Estalene that is now on our bed. I will love it. Sam might not. He could sleep on a board and be happy.

I am grateful for a calendar to keep all the things in schedule order.

I am grateful for goofy laughter this morning when Sam saw the feather bed I had just added to our bed and exclaimed, “What HAPPENED?! Our bed got implants!”

I am grateful for our new friends and neighbors who will now be our Natia-sitter!

I am grateful Natia seems to be getting used to small town USA.

 

Easter bunnies

I am grateful for the extra Easter bunny that I ordered for myself a couple of months ago. She makes me smile.

I am grateful for a butter tub absent of crumbs. Butter tubs with crumbs = grumpy Rhonda.

I am grateful for early morning walks in the darkness with the sounds of “rooster” birds and early evening walks in the sunshine with children on bikes and elderly ladies driving golf carts….and late evening walks under the stars with the flying bats and the barbecue smells.

I am grateful for quiet.

solitudinarian
[sol-i-tood-n-air-ee-uh n]

noun
1. a person who seeks solitude; recluse

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven.  Amen.

Nothing better than a clean bathroom.

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I am grateful for the feelings that are felt when I finish cleaning the bathroom and everything is sparkly.

I am grateful for 76 degree partly cloudy no wind days.

I am grateful for children’s books that make me poor.

I am grateful for a fly swatter.

I am grateful for an after-dark walk with Sam and close friends.

I am grateful that I do not have a clothes-mending pile.

I am grateful for online radio to keep me company while I work.

I am grateful for a yellow finch in the tree.

I am grateful the irises are blooming now that the lilacs are done.

I am grateful for sleepy Natia while the new porch roof is constructed right outside my windows.

I am grateful my sister is on her way home from China.

I am grateful I am not one of those guys on the roof in the sun.

And I am grateful for Jiffy Burger, our substitute for McDonald’s and our version of the old Dairy King on 4th Street.

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