How do I like my eggs? Um, not on the ceiling, thank you.

"Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable." Joseph B. Wirthlin

There is something very comfortable about the sound of the dryer on a cloudy and dreary afternoon.

There is also something soothing about hearing the steady rhythm of Sam’s breathing as he sleeps in the next room while I work.

There is something satisfying about climbing down from a ladder in the brand new kitchen after having scraped exploded egg from the ceiling and repainting to hide the evidence.

There is something peaceful about being away from drama and recognizing subtle reminders that life is much greater than the insignificant daily annoyances.

There is something so pleasurable about enjoying a lunch of beef noodle soup at the café on Main Street and guffawing about the whole town knowing my husband, thanks to his reputation for burning stumps in our front yard while a burn ban has been issued.

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I am grateful for people who have a laugh funnier than what they happen to laugh about.

I am grateful for a new key holder to hang on our wall.

I am grateful that Sam insisted that I put every backsplash tile into place last night – it was my design (not really, I just found a picture and insisted it was THE one) and it was the first part of the kitchen vision, and it is now coming to fruition and looks SOOOOO good.

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I am grateful that food explosions in this new kitchen have happened in process instead of at completion.

I am grateful for white ceiling paint that is pink until it dries.

And I am grateful that the police chief responds, “Oh, that’s just Sam,” when questioned about the guy who is ignoring the burn ban, which makes me grateful for friends in HIGH places.

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Thanks for squarshing me.


We are, after all, your people
    and the sheep of your very own pasture.
We will give you thanks forever;
    we will proclaim your praises
    from one generation to the next. – Psalm 79:13 CEB


I am grateful today for warmth. The entire town was without gas yesterday due to debris in the line, and it was a cold, cold night.  It made me very grateful for an electric heater that took some of the chill out of the air while we were awake and project-ing in the evening. It also made me very grateful for good blankets on our bed.

I am very grateful for the 26 Kansas Gas Service technicians who had to come to every home and business in town, 950 according to their website, to re-light pilot lights. Our KGS angel arrived at 6:30 am and he said it had been a very long night.

I am grateful for a working boiler and radiators that heat this home very quickly, for warm water again, for a microwave oven that made a great baked potato since the restaurants were shut down last night, for a pressure cooker that made perfect green beans to go along with the baked potato, and for electricity to power it all.

I am grateful that I do not live in the Alaskan tundra. Nice place to visit, but I’m certain I am far better off in small town USA and the luxuries of living the civilized life.

I am grateful for friends who are skilled artisans who were not friends at first but have become friends because they are skilled artisans, we needed them, and they are kind and friendly. They are making our home of our dreams. The latest friend to drive five hours west, did this yesterday with some beautiful polished granite:



I am grateful that we still have an intact bumper and the deer with the rack stayed in the ditch last night.

I am grateful that I rarely have to drive at night.

I am grateful for the opportunity to listen to a couple of country groups that I had never heard before, thanks to the CMA Awards on TV last night while we stained a vanity in the middle of the great room. A lot of the music I could throw out the window, but Brothers Osborne and Eric Church…wowzers. And Carrie Underwood singing “Softly and Tenderly” was perfection. And Little Big Town and “Wichita Lineman” – loved it. And then there’s always Chris Stapleton, the guy who made me re-think country. Yes, former students, I am admitting I have caved. I have crossed over, with a pinky toe maybe, but I have crossed over.

I am grateful that Sam says “squarsh.” Or maybe you spell it “sqwarsh.” However it is spelled, he makes me laugh at 6 am.

So finally, I am also grateful for laughter before the day ever begins.


MAJOR hint, Sam.

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We finished lunch today, and I headed back upstairs to my office.


Sam yelled.

He motioned for me to come quickly and I could see he was staring at something in the new addition. OH NO. We have a bat in the house again?!



It was Wroxy the wren, and she was so scared.  I am SURE she was looking for that aviary we are supposed to have in our entry.

They aren’t called house wrens for nothin’…

After Sam made a lot of noise that was disturbing to someone MY size, little Wroxy decided she was not welcome and flew out the open door. Sam shut the door and began to plug the hole where the deadbolt belongs, because it’s only been there for about nine months…

I headed back upstairs to my office.


Sam yelled.

Wroxy didn’t tell us she brought a friend with her.

There’s only one conclusion – hint hint, Sam I am.

You gotta be grateful for hints that fly.

I am!

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Fulfilling, for certain.


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I have an aviary today, sort of.

If you keep up, you know that I would LIKE a finch aviary, because I would never watch tv again, I would lose weight since I wouldn’t care about eating, AND, I would lose my “au naturel” frown that I have developed over time while I stare at the computer because I would smile all the time staring at sweet birds instead.

But I have an aviary today, sort of.

It’s actually my upstairs window. The window is closed, but on the other side there are no less than a dozen flies of varying sizes, from the monsters that are like little 747s in the bathroom when you least expect to be buzzed in the morning, to the tiny ones that are SO annoying and too fast for a swatter. They are trapped between my glass window and the screen that keeps them from afternoon sun and freedom.

I am pretending that they are zebra finches and lady gouldian finches and parrot finches and I am making up cute chirping noises in my head.

Entertainment is MADE in small town USA, I tell ya. Not provided, MADE.

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I am grateful for Romans 8:38-39. After yesterday’s tragedy, I needed to read and re-read. This is peace in the middle of confusion and fear and despair. This is hope.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Yesterday, I drove the 5+ hour drive west, back to small town USA, and for the first couple of hours, I had a dull ache in my stomach. It was an ache of “I don’t wanna leave the comfort and familiarity of the city and its ways, and stores, and people, and our church.” I love Kansas City. It has been a safe home for me for five years.

But then, in the third hour, I noticed that the ache was dissipating slightly, and I began to enjoy the drive and the view. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the Flint Hills were rolling and a great contrast to the vast blue sky. I loved seeing the fields harvested and yet to be harvested and imagined the parked combines and grain trucks were due to a Chiefs game on tv.

In the fourth hour and beyond, I was so aware of how in the span of a few hours, my outlook changed once more, and I was watching the mile signs closely, anticipating being HOME, back in small town USA, back to a simpler life and schedule. As the sun set and the temperature dropped, my longing for our new home increased, and I LOVED feeling like I couldn’t wait to get there.


This message made me cry.

This message made me proud.

This message lit a fire.

And the Heartland Men’s Chorus that sang afterwards made me want to stand and shout. If you want to know what I am talking about, you really should free up your Friday evening… I have played Mark Hayes piano music for 30 years. I wonder if I could convince Sam to take a 5 hour drive on Friday afternoon.

The Chorus will present From the Heart, a concert of HMC’s greatest hits on Friday, November 10 at 7:30 PM in the stunning new sanctuary of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas. Composer/pianist Mark Hayes will be featured, accompanying pieces he has written for HMC and presenting piano selections from his latest album.



Ephesians 5:20   Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

I am grateful for my imagination.

I am grateful for a sealed window.

I am grateful that I love BOTH of my hometowns, that I am not emotionally running away from one to another, that I miss one when I am gone but love the one I am in at the time. Bloom where you are planted.

I am grateful for peaceful five hour drives and beautiful scenery.

I am grateful for the nudging of the Holy Spirit during some invaluable teaching by our pastor.

I am grateful for continual reformation.

I am grateful for beautiful music that prompts tears to flow and a heart to burst with joy.

I am grateful for time spent with my dad at a great movie on Friday night, time spent with my CASA girl on Saturday, time spent with our small group on Sunday morning after church, and time spent with Truly Julie at the hospital on our drive back west.

It was a fulfilling weekend, for certain.

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Truly, Julie.

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This is my friend, Julie, and her three adorable daughters.

Today is Julie’s birthday and she is spending it in a nice, comfortable hospital bed, complete with tubes and beeps and a beautiful gown with a bow all tied.

Her heart is bigger than Dallas and for that, I am so very grateful and privileged to know firsthand.

It is also a little ill and being tended to by a cardiologist, nurses, and a loving family.

I am grateful for a lady who has anxiety about a crowd of unknown people, just like me, so that we attracted and friended in a corner of a big room in Colorado one summer.

I am grateful she loves birds more than I do, because her love is contagious, and I caught it.

I am grateful that she taught me how to Facetime.

I am grateful that when I am around her, I feel loved and I feel normal.

I am grateful that her husband kind of sort of works with my husband – otherwise, we would have never met.

I am grateful that David treats her like a princess and is not leaving her bedside because he loves her truly.

I am grateful that she has three girls who I’m sure are in her hospital room with her, making her feel very loved and special right now. I can imagine the wisecracks but I can also imagine the heartwarmth.

I am grateful she has parents and in-laws who are supportive and helpful in her absence and love those girls fiercely.

I am grateful that she is my friend and is where she needs to be on this birthday.

Happy birthday, dear Julie. Much love and prayers…from me to you.

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Don’t reheat baked beans in the new microwave.

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I am grateful for good advice…BEFORE I need it, not after.

I am grateful for paper towels.

I am grateful when the electricity finally comes back on, which makes me grateful for those guys who do that job.

I am grateful for howling wind because it makes me grateful I am inside and warm.

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In order for this to happen, I would like a winning lottery ticket or a genie in a bottle.

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I am grateful for good friends who don’t just offer but actually drive 3-5 hours to come and help us with our new addition, and I am grateful for the anticipation of a very fun and productive weekend.

I am grateful for wonderful news via two different text messages today from a former student and friend, and from Sam’s former nurse and friend. The first message, this morning:

“I’m pregnant!!”  

And then, this afternoon:

“I’m getting married!!”

I am grateful for letters mailed.

I am grateful for the smell of Lysol.

I am grateful for heartbreaking news that is a constant reminder of our need to be Jesus to others through ACTION instead of saying “Let me know if there is anything I can do.”

I am grateful for suppertime.

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I am grateful for this song and the words that have been going through my internal jukebox all day:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.


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I am grateful that I found an envelope this week that my sister sent a few years ago with Five Wishes, a document I need to fill out for my end-of-life wishes. I’m working on it, Angela.

I am grateful for a clean phone screen.

I am grateful for fresh breath, once again. I know I have used this one before, but people, come on. Fresh breath attracts instead of repels. Listerine. Minty fresh Crest. Scope. Certs. SOMETHING, for cryin’ out loud.

And finally this evening, I am grateful for just one more reason to work on convincing Sam that I need a nursing home finch aviary in our home, without the nursing home, but with the finches.


Easy on the eyes.


Here is my solution to yesterday’s problem of computer-generated frown lines.

It definitely makes me smile more.

This morning, I got into the vehicle in the dark of the morning, pre-fall back time, and as I turned the corner to head east, my breathing ceased. That dawn pink and purple and orangy blue…ahhhhh.

It was stunning.

I am so so so grateful that Sam taught me to be an early riser to appreciate the new day’s beauty and gift from above.

I am so so so grateful for the best surprise of forgetting that I changed my background at the end of the day yesterday so that when I turned on my screens this morning, I was greeted with the most beautiful smiles from my most favorite girls in the whole world.

I am so so so grateful that my world is filled with beauty, from autumn leaves to sweet dog faces to a white moth orchid in the kitchen window to computer screens big with smiles and eyes that only their daddy and I have known from the moment they entered this world.

I am so so so grateful for lady bug wing design, the shine of chrome, cashmere softness, stained wood all polished, a sheet of warm cookies cooling on the stove, clean carpet with vacuum lines, rainbow bubbles, and little girl light up shoes.

I am so so so grateful that even though my face needs some smile work, my eyes are working just fine, fine enough to notice all of the blessings God places right in front of me all the day long…