Oh to be a kid again.

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My jolly playmate, 
Come out and play with me, 
And bring your dollies three, 
Climb up my apple tree, 
Slide down my rainbarrel, 
Into my cellar door, 
And we’ll be jolly friends, 
Forever more, more, more, more!

Oh jolly playmate, I can’t come play with you.
My dolly has the flu, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo.
I have no rainbarrel, ain’t got no cellar door, 
But we’ll be jolly friends for ever more, more, more, more!

I am grateful for memories of hand clapping games.

I am grateful for memories of snapping beans on the porch.

I am grateful for memories of swinging in the tire swing at sunset and hearing the locusts buzz.

I am grateful for memories of playing in the playhouse, except for the times when Mom yelled my name in anger from the back porch and I wished the playhouse had a door I could close and lock.

I am grateful for memories of catching minnows in the creek.

I am grateful for memories of water skiing and for the opportunity to even learn how to water ski. Thank you, Lori Mendenhall. 🙂

I am grateful for memories of making Hollyhock dolls with Kristin Walter. We walked this morning and saw hollyhocks in someone’s yard, and everything came back to me – Sunday afternoons in the Walters’ yard, pulling the biggest blooms for the perfect little lady. Now I think we need to plant some hollyhocks for the grandchildrens’ next visit.

Hollyhock Dolls

 

I am grateful for memories of the smell of Vacation Bible School booklets with stickers in the back.

I am grateful for macaroni & cheese with Dad after bedtime and a bowl of vanilla ice cream with Nestle Quik sprinkled all over the top.

I am grateful for new school supplies and the smell of Haven Elementary and its shiny floors.

I am grateful for memories of the yellow light and walk up window at the Dairy King on 4th street, a special treat of an ice cream cone after church on Sunday nights.

I am grateful that I had birthday parties and vacations and pets and Christmas presents and a week at camp each summer and money to go to the city pool and get a package of FunDip to eat or a cinnamon square shooter while sitting on a wet towel in a wet swimming suit. Not every kid has these delights…

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I’d rather sit in the darkness watching him sleep.

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We were supposed to go to a movie this evening.

But instead, this evening, he rests.

I am grateful for little things right now.

  • For a meal shared on the couch watching Wheel of Fortune and then a ballgame.
  • For a hint of a smile when a smile doesn’t come very easy.
  • For sleep when his body says “no more.”
  • For a box of macaroni and cheese when all the so good homemade is just too much on this less than 50% evening.
  • For a couch that is long enough for his body to stretch out.
  • For disposable containers and just enough freezer space.
  • For the rainbow colors in a soap bubble.
  • For extra pillows.
  • For a new good friend who stayed to eat some so-good-homemade and keep him company while he is less than 50%.
  • For a setting sun and just enough breeze to keep the stifling at bay.
  • For a new book of stories.
  • For electricity after a storm, even if it is three days later.
  • For his shoes off and his sore feet elevated.
  • For pill boxes and lukewarm water.
  • For the simple joy of watching birds on a wire and making up stories about what they must be saying to each other.
  • For the hum of a window air conditioner.
  • For soapy water and clean dishes.
  • For sweet watermelon.
  • For a squeeze of the hand and an “I’m sorry you have to put up with this.”
  • For the gift it is to have a hand to hold and a partner to love.
  • For the presence of mind to appreciate the little things.

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That’s some pig!

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We went to the county 4H fair last night. Sam bought a 300 pound pig named Little Red Riding Hood from the sweetest little 7-year-old who was showing at her very first fair.

I had visions of Wilbur and Charlotte all evening long and it was such fun to watch these little kids and medium-sized kids manhandling livestock.

 

I am grateful for a warm breeze blowing across the ring at the fair.

I am grateful I wasn’t relying on that nasty tea to quench my thirst.

I am grateful for silly friends who text funny messages when I am excited about buying a pig.

I am grateful we didn’t have to bring Little Red Riding Hood home with us, even though it would have been an adventure.

I am grateful for the simple pleasure of spending a Monday evening watching kids shine and show.

I am grateful for little girls in sparkle jeans and dirty cowboy boots.

I am grateful for hilarious sheep baaaaaaa’s.

 

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I feel very much like Wilbur today. Probably look a little like him as well, but definitely feeling some Wilburishness. I have Charlottes in my life.

  1. I have a friend who drove an hour on Sunday night to meet us on our trip back west, just to deliver an entire week’s worth of homecooked meals that she had made for us.
  2. I have another friend who sent us a package of blue bracelets, just because, and ordered more for us to give to those who would like one.
  3. I have another friend from out of state who sent a card with a poem and money enough for several meals as we manage this crazy 2017.
  4. I have another anonymous friend who sent a book today that showed up at our door, just in time for a long drive to Colorado this weekend. I don’t know who to thank, so I will post it here, so that he or she knows I cannot wait to read it to Sam.
  5. I have another friend who shared Sam’s story with her quilt group and provided a beautiful handmade quilt for him to use at the cancer center, and then included me in an email to the entire group, so that I could see what a HUGE blessing this group is to not only us, but to each person they serve through their sewing.
  6. I have more friends who email and text and call and send cards in the mail-mail and are content with one-sided correspondence since I am overwhelmed at the moment.

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I am very grateful today for 4H fairs and pigs that bring back memories of great stories and the Charlottes in my life who bless us with their words and their deeds and live out Galatians 6:10: “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”

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A day in the life of my brain.

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There is a city of roly polies in the bathroom on the first floor this week. The floor is tiny-tiled, so it looks like the 4,367 bugs are little Volkswagens driving on roads and meeting in intersections. And by mid-afternoon, there are multiple accidents on the roads and the tow trucks have not yet arrived to remove the debris.

I’m hungry.

Recently, my feelings were stung by comments about ham salad. I didn’t even make the ham salad. I just delivered it as a token gift from my boss to my family members. He thought they would like it as much as he does. But they didn’t. And they poked fun about the ham salad and my insistence they try it to the point it was a big joke to everyone in the room. And I felt bad for my boss. And I felt like the 11-year-old at the dance who is the laughing stock but laughs along with everyone else to cover up the sting. I’m 52 years old and had hurt feelings over a dish of ham salad. Still trying to grow up…

Why can I never finish a book?

I really, really, really dislike being scared. When someone comes up behind me and says, “Boo!” I seriously have an internal meltdown. Why do people think that is so funny? It isn’t funny. It’s mean. I used to be the “BOO!-er,” but over the years as I have become more mature and wise, I have repented of my ways and wouldn’t do that intentionally to anyone else. That stomach in the throat feeling is not fun. That keeps me away from rollercoasters, too. Who needs to ride a rollercoaster anyway? Or bungee jump? WHY, people. It’s the same feeling as sitting in the darkness watching any of the “Saw” movies or Criminal Minds. WHY, people. Fill your minds with goodness. Treat your people with “Excuse me’s” rather than “Boo! I’m right behind you!”

Is it possible for me to go a week without my phone? But if I didn’t have my phone, how would I take pictures of roly-polies in the bathroom?!

I could use a winning lottery ticket so I could get some new clothes for our trip and rugs for the white house and all the greeting cards on Etsy and back-to-school clothes for granddaughters and new shoes for me and take Sam out for his birthday and order good water for the white house and put a down payment on a new place for Dad and wash the car and pay off the Home Depot bill and –

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory it is joy unspeakable and full of glory, oh the half has never yet been told!

I never knew baby powder on a greasy food drip would take care of a stain. If only I had all those shirts I’ve thrown out.

I wonder if those cookies are still in the conference room. If they are there when I go check on the Volkswagens, I’m grabbing one.

Karissa just sent me pictures of their visit two weeks ago. I have GOT to lose weight. I wonder if that food is still stuck to the front porch. That snake looks like poop. Awww, that piggy. I miss my kids. All 13 of them, in Texas and in Washington.

 

I am grateful that my brain is a little goofy. It sure makes the day go faster. Nights are longer, but days go faster.

And I am grateful my brain does not resemble this.

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I heard a voice.

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Experiences for which I am so grateful:

Chicago beef with au jus and hoagie buns, mac & cheese, corn on the cob, and the best cake in the history of bundt cakes arrived at our door this past Friday night. We had a slightly stressful day with an unexpected doctor appointment and a long day at work, and when the doorbell rang, our small group friends, the Batemens’, marched inside carrying our dinner. They were headed to a restaurant with their daughter for the evening all dressed to the hilt, but on their way, they brought us a homemade meal and one of Roxanne’s latest cake creations, soon to be a page in her new cookbook.

*****

Gold, yellow, navy. Patterns of varying pieces of cloth, stitched together by servant hands into a lap-sized blanket covered in love and prayer. Our small group had lunch together on Saturday, a day when Sam was supposed to be feeling great but was feeling a little less than. No one would have known since he does not complain. After lunch was over and we were finishing conversation, Linda presented Sam with a beautiful new chemo blanket made by the quilt group at our church, chosen especially by Linda and prayed over by her group.

IMG_2818.JPGI love Sam. And his blanket. And his blanket giver.

*****

It was in the middle of church on Sunday morning, during an announcement, of all things.

Almost audible, that voice said, “It’s time to start writing, Rhonda.”

And this week, several times through devotions and prayer time, the point has been made, that to move forward, it takes one small step. One thought change. One word on a page.

So this weekend, I will begin. I am not an outline person and have never been an outline person. I have very disorganized thoughts. I am Vice President/Head, Process Procrastination. Random Rhonda. But in order to start writing, I have to put onto paper what swirls in my head – after the brain-unloading storm, then I’ll worry about Operation Organize by Outline.

*****

We met an angel on Sunday morning. His name is James. He is 1st chair cellist in heaven, I am sure, although he told us he goes to school in St. Louis. He played music that needed no words and ushered us into worship. We cried real tears. They were tears that happen when God reveals and His Presence surrounds, although that should be continually all day every day, but on this particular Sunday morning, we entered worship with palms up, and God sent James to provide the music.

*****

I am grateful for Roxanne’s talent of hospitality blended with her gift of food creation.

I am grateful for Linda’s sweet soul and her ministry of thoughtfulness through stitching and sewing machines combined with prayer.

I am grateful for that still, small voice that speaks so clearly to me and continues to prompt.

I am grateful for angels who manifest themselves in human form via cellists and seamstresses and chefs.

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This morning, this former music “leader” read Psalm 40, one of her most favorite chapters in the Bible.

This is my story, this is my song…and I am so very grateful.

Psalm 40 – CEB

For the music leader. Of David. A psalm.

40 I put all my hope in the Lord.
    He leaned down to me;
    he listened to my cry for help.
He lifted me out of the pit of death,
    out of the mud and filth,
    and set my feet on solid rock.
        He steadied my legs.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise for our God.
Many people will learn of this and be amazed;
    they will trust the Lord.
Those who put their trust in the Lord,
    who pay no attention to the proud
    or to those who follow lies,
    are truly happy!

You, Lord my God!
    You’ve done so many things—
    your wonderful deeds and your plans for us—
        no one can compare with you!
    If I were to proclaim and talk about all of them,
        they would be too numerous to count!
You don’t relish sacrifices or offerings;
    you don’t require entirely burned offerings or compensation offerings—
    but you have given me ears!
So I said, “Here I come!
    I’m inscribed in the written scroll.
    I want to do your will, my God.
    Your Instruction is deep within me.”
I’ve told the good news of your righteousness
    in the great assembly.
    I didn’t hold anything back—
        as you well know, Lord!
10 I didn’t keep your righteousness only to myself.
    I declared your faithfulness and your salvation.
I didn’t hide your loyal love and trustworthiness
    from the great assembly.

11 So now you, Lord—
    don’t hold back any of your compassion from me.
Let your loyal love and faithfulness always protect me,
12     because countless evils surround me.
My wrongdoings have caught up with me—
    I can’t see a thing!
There’s more of them than hairs on my head—
    my courage leaves me.
13 Favor me, Lord, and deliver me!
    Lord, come quickly and help me!
14 Let those who seek my life, who want me dead,
    be disgraced and put to shame.
Let those who want to do me harm
    be thoroughly frustrated and humiliated.
15 Let those who say to me, “Yes! Oh, yes!”[a]
    be destroyed by their shame.
16 But let all who seek you
    celebrate and rejoice in you.
Let those who love your salvation always say,
    “The Lord is great!”
17 But me? I’m weak and needy.
    Let my Lord think of me.
You are my help and my rescuer.
    My God, don’t wait any longer!

 

I’m Friday tired.

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I am grateful for the taste of spearmint in the first bite of a piece of gum when thirsty.

I am grateful for fingernails not broken or torn or chipped.

I am grateful for the smell of a fresh towel.

I am grateful for internet shopping when my world is scattered and grandchild birthdays don’t wait.

I am grateful for a bed and a little less than full weekend.

I am grateful for green grass in mid July.

I am grateful for pretty glassware from which to drink.

I am grateful to have held Natia once again last night.

I am grateful Sam is okay and has a week of rest from chemo.

And I am grateful for his oncologist and his surgeon who have the biggest hearts and made us laugh today in the middle of the scary and ugly.

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Pavarotti the bird.

 

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The alarm went off this morning. Not that unusual, but it wasn’t the typical cell phone alarm. It was a most beautiful alarm of singing, right outside the bedroom window that was open just enough to assist the attic fan.  Normally, the singing we hear in small town USA is the cooing of the mourning doves, one whole family in every stinkin’ tree in town…or else those doves follow me everywhere I go.

But this morning, it was a GRAND song with many voices coming from one little beak.

I didn’t want to get up – I wanted to stay until the encore was finished, but the little guy did like the old Quaker song, and couldn’t keep from singing.

And it made me smile.

We went on our first-thing-in-the-morning walk, and I forgot temporarily about today’s alarm.

But when we came back home and sat on the kitchen porch for devotions and breakfast, Pavarotti joined us and couldn’t keep from singing again.

And it made us smile.

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Turns out, Pavarotti is a catbird.

I am grateful for Pavarotti today, because I needed a reminder.

I am grateful for Pavarotti today, because I needed a song.

I am grateful for Pavarotti today, because Sam and I needed to smile.

How Can I Keep From Singing – Robert Lowry, 1860

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—
How can I keep from singing?

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