With God on our side, how can we lose?

grateful

So much for which to be grateful today.

  1. A neighbor who shares her devotion because it made her think of Sam
  2. A little space heater that is taking the chill out of my office area on this cold front day
  3. A charged phone
  4. The smell of spruce and balsam that is throughout our home thanks to Bath & Body Works
  5. Extra good steak from Costco
  6. CaringBridge
  7. A monarch surprise in the mail
  8. A Romans 8 reminder from Chris
  9. The ability to walk away from the politics
  10. Friday night football with the Redmen and Saturday afternoon football with the Wildcats
  11. An invitation to join a clinical trial
  12. A surprise afternoon Homecoming parade that went past our house, complete with sirens, flags, police cars, two firetrucks loaded with athletes, and golf carts for all the candidates
  13. A happy husband who has new garage shelves and storage
  14. Mozart and John Legend, two favorites
  15. One less vehicle in the driveway and a good Samaritan named Sam
  16. Miracles expected

 

grateful 2

The greatest battles are reserved for the best warriors. – The tough French lady

sunrise

 

Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

That’s right. Because I, your God,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.’

Isaiah 41:10, 13

 

Last night, stress prevailed. Perfectly normal conversation turned into tension and I turtled, which caused a quiet end to the evening.

turtle

This morning, he hugged me and looked me in the eyes.

“Rhonda, we cannot do this. We don’t have a minute to waste.”

I am still grateful for a husband who does not tolerate the silent treatment but pulls me out with the sweetest words.

I am still grateful for a husband who is the best warrior.

I am still grateful for Oklahoma cooks who send scripture that breaks through and funny memes and Big Brother updates and they let me know we are not alone in the fight.

I am still grateful God has a firm grip.

I am still grateful for my sister who calls just to find out how we’re doing and then listens to me unload.

I am still grateful for Pandora and my Passion station that is carrying me through the day with music to fill my mind with worship.

And I am still grateful for the tough French lady who is painting our bedroom today.

sunrise 3

Would you take some eggs?

Crazy Talk

Will the sun always shine?!

Are potato chips the best food on the planet?!

Are baby giggles the happiest sounds in the room?!

OF COURSE I will take some eggs!

Eggs

Our painter/tiler/grouter/build-a-deck/do-anything-lady from Canada was here today working on the new master bathroom. She’s a hoot. Very French, very independent, very in-your-face, overall-wearing, wouldn’t-wanna-mess-with-her-when-she’s-mad tough. And the sweetest friend and loyal to her boss, Sam.

As she was leaving this afternoon, she asked me if I would take some farm fresh eggs.

“Only if you let me pay you for them!”

“No, no, no!” said Chantel in that beautiful French accent. “We have so many t’ere is no room in d’e fridge – I had to feed this morning’s eggs to d’e CATS!”

say what

I am grateful for farm fresh eggs since it’s our every morning breakfast.

I am grateful for an overall-wearing French lady who likes to share her cat food with us.

And I am grateful to have a painted master bathroom tonight.

When I’m numb.

psalm-112-7

I am not sure I have experienced this “emotion”  – numbness. Is it an emotion? I find myself sitting and staring out the window today, not able to focus on work. It’s not that I am thinking about anything in particular, but I just sit in blankness.

Sure, in the back of my mind is the gnawing, the unknown, the fear that shouldn’t be there but I’m human –

Last night, a new friend here in Small Town USA texted Sam and I this video:

 

So I have hung on to the words today.

In the midst of all that we face, my daughter sent Sam her prayer.

A new tenant spoke words of healing and faith after hearing our challenge and promised prayer warriors.

One of our ministers from our church reached us via voicemail, email, and CaringBridge with words that were so soothing to this fresh wound.

Good friends and fellow employees are texting us with their love, their brokenness, their encouragement.

And Kelli reminded me 45 minutes ago to name the blessings, one by one.

  1. Breeze that isn’t cold but isn’t hot
  2. Natia’s sweetness
  3. My two girls who still make my heart skip a beat
  4. Fall flowers
  5. Chiefs and Mahomes
  6. Sam is with his family today, enjoying a cross country meet with a favorite great nephew
  7. Fly swatter success
  8. A call from my Dad, a call from my second mom, a call from Joyce
  9. The best doctors
  10. Time spent with my sister
  11. Sam’s happiness when he has a video call with his daughter
  12. Afternoon shadows on a freshly mowed lawn
  13. My job and my bosses whom I dearly love
  14. Attending church on the couch, holding hands, staring out the windows while listening to the message last night
  15. First attempt at pork ribs on the grill and whaddayaknow – edible!
  16. Help from my brother and Dad
  17. Watching Sam cry and realizing how blessed I am to have a husband who feels and doesn’t hide
  18. The Voice begins tonight after our walk
  19. Tatum, Parker, Anissa, Reilly, Andrae, Annistan, Anjalie, Andersyn, Aynjel, and Ansyr
  20. A young man who has made such a difference in Sam’s life and is wise beyond his years, showing such gratitude and maturity
  21. Great neighbors on every side
  22. An ache for my piano – it is time for it to come home. Today, I need it…

 

life-quote-piano

 

We’ve reached the age where every day is a gift. – Karen

 

Gift

I am grateful for…

  • days of summer that make me long for days of autumn.
  • new old shoes that are now being used on our walks, saving the new new shoes for when they are really needed.
  • sleep.
  • a new bar stool at the kitchen island.
  • a lack of good bookkeeping that was a nice surprise instead of a rotten surprise, resulting in a utility bill double paid.
  • new grass planted and a new soaker hose.
  • planning underway for our Blessings Breakfast.
  • resolve to cut out starches and sugars.
  • the smell of popcorn as we walked by the movie theater – if I can’t eat it, at least my nose can enjoy.
  • talent that makes us cry.
  • silly videos of granddaughters.
  • growing up enough to eat yogurt.
  • a husband who sings hymns all through the house.
  • WD-40.
  • our house that smells really good since the crockpot has been cooking all day.
  • finally uncovering the Life Application Bible that I usually use but had not been able to find since the move.
  • potato chips, whole sleeves of Ritz, chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream with Nestle Quik powder on top, potato chips, Dr. Pepper, fresh hot bread with cinnamon or honey butter, pineapple, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, cupcakes, potato chips, Baskin Robbins chocolate peanut butter ice cream, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Snickers, Taco Johns Potato Ole’s, Kit Kats, Mounds, honeycrisp and pink lady apples, potato chips, Cap’n Crunch peanut butter cereal, Cheezits, Quisp cereal, pizza, french fries, mashed potatoes, and peanut buster parfaits…all things I am not supposed to have, since at this age, every day is now a gift.  I will just pretend and be grateful anyway.

Gratitude Begins

Beep beep.

wiley coyote 3

This week, my church devotions are focused on the verse in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

It has been refreshing to hear the differences between the words sins, debts, and trespasses. It has been enlightening to understand the Greek words used in scripture: “hamartia” and “paraptoma” and “opheleima.” It has been refreshing to be reminded about our need for forgiveness and the necessity to forgive.

What has been perplexing to me, however, and what has been continually on my mind…when we ask for forgiveness from others, and it is not extended to us, where do we go from there?

I find myself in this position with a few people in my life. I have acknowledged my wrongdoing, I have repented of it, I have asked to be forgiven, I have taken those steps towards reconciliation, I have put myself in that vulnerable position, and yet, I have been met with silence.

The heartache is real. The Looney Toons going-over-the-cliff-at-a-dead-run-only-to-realize-there’s-nothing-beneath-you pause is gut-wrenching. And, it is where I find myself with these few relationships. Met with silence and a back turned.

roadrunner

I am grateful for all of the scripture on forgiveness, on turning to God in times of trouble, on casting all my care on Him. Psalm 103:9-13 is where I rest.

I am grateful, I guess, that I don’t have the answer to “where do I go from here?” It makes me just want to keep trying to run full speed ahead off that cliff – maybe this time I will make it to the other side and I won’t be met with a cold shoulder, with silence. Maybe just maybe it will be a smile, or an invitation, or a hug with an, “I forgive you.”  Or maybe, just maybe, I will get an “I’m sorry I have not accepted you. I have missed out on a big part of your life.”

But mostly, I am grateful that God has forgiven me, and I have forgiven myself, and I have been able to forgive the ones who have been the source of many hurts in my life. I am grateful for the support and encouragement from those in my life who tell me to keep running off that cliff, keep reaching out, keep trying.

Beep beep.

wiley coyote 4

Hunkering Zombies.

Sunday morning, Sam and I woke up before the world did, and we went for our 3 1/2 mile walk. It was so pleasant and so peaceful as we walked through our small town USA. The birds were waking up, there was an occasional dog bark or a lazy cat in a driveway staring at us. We noticed the odd abundance of a lot of really ugly caterpillar-like squirmers on the street in front of one particular house – “they must have sprayed their yard or something…”

We have a new route. We walk west, past Main street several blocks and then make our way back to Main after going south for several blocks. As we approached downtown, I began to hear a faint gospel song on some not-so-Bosey-speakers. I love that about our little town. Someone has the job of setting a station on the outdoor speakers that hang from the light poles on Main Street, probably the owner of the store that sells televisions. Sometimes you will hear classic oldies as you run into the pharmacy, sometimes you will hear the ballgame. But on Sunday early morning, it was scratchy bad speakers gospel.

We turned the corner onto Main and we walked onto a movie set. It was the eeriest feeling. Not a real movie set, but it could have been. 90’s gospel music on a scratchy speaker, a few dry leaves rustling across main street, and NOT A SOUL BUT US. No cars, no humans, no creatures. Just us and the scratchy music with a little ghost town breeze.

I mentioned to Sam that it felt like we were the last humans on earth and zombies were waiting around every corner to chase us. About a mile later, we made our way back to Main to head north, and I was breathing a sigh of relief. The church door unlocker-ers were driving to their destinations, a few farmers were heading out to the field to check on cows, and the town was joining us to welcome Sunday morning. Gospel music had turned to a local missionary sharing his adventures, and not one zombie had been spotted.

30 minutes earlier, I had been ready to hunker down and panic over bread and milk.

Funny how perspective changed so quickly.

It made me think back to Katrina’s childhood when she would take showers with the shower curtain completely open and sing at the top of her lungs, just in case sharks came up through the drain.

Not reality, but when you have a “hunker down” mindset, it’s all the reality you need to panic.

How DO you hunker down, anyway? And is there such a thing as hunkering up?

Zombies obliterated, sharks have gone to the waste water treatment plant. Everybody can hunker up now.

***

I am grateful there’s no such thing as zombies or sharks in drains.

I am grateful for scratchy speakers on Main street.

I am grateful for early Sunday morning walks.

Go donate all that bread and milk, or make french toast on a Sunday morning and be grateful for it.