Tag Archives: love

My Funny Valentines

NOTE:  To be able to view and pause photos a little more slowly, click on “View All Images.”  You can control it from there.


I love you my little Grandbébes. 

Happy days and love and kisses from your Nonna! 

You light up my life.  You are my sunshine.  All I ever need is you. 

Why do stars fall down from the sky everytime you walk by? 

Just like me they long to be close to you. 

I need you like the flowers need the rain. 

You made me love you and I’d be lost without your love. 

I can’t stop loving you.  I will always love you and I won’t last a day without you. 

Unforgettable-that’s what you are.  It’s impossible, I wish I had more than words to tell you…

And I love you so.  I don’t want to miss a thing. 

Somewhere out there, I must have done something good. 

I believe in you, my little grandbebes.  God only knows where I’d be without you. 

Don’t make me go on…because I could!





(There are 89 images in the slide show…I can’t help it.  My grandbebes are soooo cute!)

Love Actually is All Around

Opening scene at a London airport as people are reunited, voice-over by the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant):  Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is ~ all around.

Spoiler Alert:  I am going to talk about this 2003 movie, which I love!


We kicked off the holiday-movie viewing season with one of my favorites last night:  Love Actually, from British Director, Richard Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and “Pirate Radio”) who has a knack for using a large array of actors and juggling multiple storylines within one pretty cohesive tale.  Love Actually focuses on more than a dozen characters, happy and sad threads being woven together during the Christmas season.  It isn’t a love story per se, but many stories about love, love that is good and happy, sad and devastating, surprising, open, closed, whatever.  But ultimately it explodes and multiplies in the giving.  Love.

In 2007, I watched this movie about 17 times between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I cried everytime.  I won’t tell  you why I cried, but I’ll tell you some things I love, songs (I have the soundtrack, naturally) and scenes.

Why I Actually Love Love Actually

  • Keira Knightly plays a gorgeous bride in a spectacular wedding scene in which almost all of the cast is present.  I have decided to surprise Tredessa with a similar ending to her wedding…when it happens.  Shh. Don’t tell her.  All you need is love…
  •  The best man, later found to have been hiding a secret crush is emotionally powerful, first in his “self-preservation” scene to the Dido song, “I won’t go, I won’t sleep,  I can’t breathe, until you’re resting Here with Me” (I love his sweater, his vulnerability, his angst), and later with a CD player and hand-written signs in his hands. {“But for now, let me say – Without hope or agenda – Just because it’s Christmas – And at Christmas you tell the truth – To me, you are perfect – And my wasted heart will love you – Until you look like this. [picture of a mummy]}
  • Kelly Clarkson’s “The Trouble with Love Is, it can tear you up inside; make your heart believe a lie;  it’s stronger than your pride…”
  • The sweet conversations between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia even though he speaks English and she speaks Portuguese.  They don’t understand each other, yet, somehow, they do.  Jamie: [in English] It’s my favorite time of day, driving you home.   Aurelia: [in Portuguese] It’s the saddest part of my day, leaving you.
  • Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) ditching an Elton party for friendship.
  • {sigh} Sarah?  The dang phone over Karl?  Seriously?  What are you thinking…family.  I guess that is it.  But I love the happy dance on the stairwell!
  • The Nativity play is pretty modern and odd: Lobsters at the birth of Jesus?  More than one?  And an octopus!  But I don’t think a Hollywood filmmaker would even have put one in at all.
  • Natalie and the Prime Minister.  Oooohhhh.  So cute.  Her Christmas card to him.  Sweet.  And unlike everyone else, he does not see her as “chubby.”    Gotta love him!  But she does need to watch her mouth.
  • I kind of enjoy Billy Bob Thornton’s portrayal as the cocky, entitlement-mongering American President.  That is, before I wanted to slap him.  So-I guess it was a good performance.
  • Such strong emotion with the funeral scene set to the Bay City Rollers’ “Bye, Bye, Baby, baby, good-bye;  Bye Bye, baby, baby don’t cry.  You’re the one girl in town I’d marry...”  Then Liam Neeson as the grieving widower building relationship with his stepson, helping the boy express his true love to his classmate (who sings a crazy-amazing version of Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want for Christmas is You!  That little girl can sing!). 
  • The no-nonsense Karen (played by Emma Thompson).  She is the rock.  She is the hardworking woman doing everything right for everyone, while still questioning her purpose (compared to, say, her brother – the Prime Minister).  But Joni Mitchell’s music is proof of her strong, deep emotion.
  • Rowan Atkinson’s performance as a slightly “Our-Town-‘stage-manager’-esque” character, sort of an all-knowing, otherworld diviner in a couple of small, but pivotal scenes is hilarious.  I have often wondered why, maybe, there wasn’t more of him.  But that may have taken the film to a whole new level of fantasy? 


It’s a silly, sad, sweet, funny, ridiculous, strange and adorable movie.  There are too many nude scenes and you have to fast-forward the “skin-flick” scenes a little, but hopefully not enough to miss the cute story that comes from it.  The storyline I could have done without was the strange-looking boy who went to America and very successfully got lots of girls because of his “cute, British accent.”  Yes, I can believe American girls are that shallow at times, sadly.  And the little vixen in the workplace is a {bad word I can’t say here} and I could have done without her, too.  But, it is full of great music and really good actors and lighthearted scenes.  It starts sweetly and ends amazingly!  It is the longest, most enjoyable ending after ending ever, set to the Beach Boys singing, “I may not always love you, but as sure as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it.  I’ll make you so sure about it, God Only Knows what I’d be without you…”

I LOVE the ending. 

I wish I could show it here, but everytime it shows up on Youtube, it gets taken off again.  I will be watching this movie again before Christmas.  Maybe more than once.  Probably more than once.


Love Actually is Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language.  It is NOT for children.

Miss you, babe

I miss you.

Twenty-eight years of you and still, I have not had my fill.  You are only across the state, but it seems just as far as if you were across the ocean.

The evening is perfect.  If you were here you’d make me quit working to join you on the swing. 

Thank-you for stocking the fridge for me and filling up my tank and for your help on my projects before you left and for marrying me 28 years ago. 

I miss you, babe.  I’d marry you all over again, too.  xxxooo.

50 Reasons Dave was born

This is installment #3 of Dave’s birthday blogs.  See 50 Things I Love about Dave here.  See 50 Words that Describe Dave here.


  1. To meet me.
  2. To love me.
  3. To marry me – be my husband.
  4. To change my life forever.
  5. To have lots of babies with me.
  6. Tara…and Dave (DP)
  7. Stephanie…and Tristan
  8. Tredessa…and ?
  9. Rocky…and Jovan
  10. Stormie…and ?
  11. For all the grandkids we’d share…The amazing grandkids:
  12. Gavin – anything Grandpa does, Gavin wants to do!
  13. Hunter – can keep Poppa talking about anything and everything all. day. long!
  14. Guini – “again!  again!”  If one twirl in the air good, 2 will be fantastic!
  15. Gemma – pointing out to us everything in life that is funny.
  16. Averi – Poppa’s dimples and cheeks!
  17. And all the grandchildren to come and great-grandchildren and the husbands we will add through Tredessa and Stormie…we are increasing!
  18. He was born because God is good.
  19. Because of a summer teen fling in the Heartland.
  20. Because the birth mother (who was really just a girl) chose life.
  21. Because the Rhoades family still had family love to share.
  22. Because Garry & Dale needed a little brother.
  23. Because Sandra and Sharon did, too.
  24. Because Debbie would need a big brother when the time came.
  25. Because Dad Rhoades had stories to tell and Dave had the heart to listen.
  26. Because worship teams would need a drummer.
  27. Because churches would need a pastor.
  28. Because people would need to be led beside quiet waters.
  29. To bring peace to any situation.
  30. To teach peace and live peace.
  31. To teach me the strength and power of gentleness, the value of just being nice.
  32. To bless people.  When he prays God’s blessings-he knows what that means.
  33. There are stories to be told.
  34. Stephen King won’t live forever.
  35. The grandkids need their crazy-cool-swingset-playset-climbing apparatus.
  36. There are daughters to walk down the aisle.
  37. The world needs more twinkling Christmas lights and Christmas spirit.
  38. To leave a legacy of godly fathering.
  39. To leave a legacy of the faithfulness of God.
  40. To equip our children for all that lies ahead.
  41. To be an example as a godly man.
  42. To make a place for worship and for the One we worship.
  43. To worship the One.
  44. To own everything you could possibly need for absolutely anything and be able to keep it all in one 3-car garage.
  45. There are still passionate kisses to be kissed, hands to hold, love to be made.
  46. For indulging my ideas and new projects, all the while tempering me.
  47. To make toys and play GI Joe with the kids and put up the pool  every summer.
  48. To dig the deep holes for my garden.
  49. Because no one else can pack like he does.  A suitcase, the trunk, whatever…
  50. As proof that God is good.

Dave turns 50 on the 23rd.  You can leave him a birthday comment here or send one to: dave@daverhoades.com

pictured:  Dave and I at a backyard soiree last fall (yes, I cut Bryan out of the picture!).  I love Dave in his Latino-lover Western-Mexican snap shirt (from Stormie), though he is always timid wearing it, fearing people will really think he is trying to be a Latino-lover, which…he is. Really one.  Not ‘trying’.  *smile…

Just Like Daddy


Gavin drops in for a quick hello just before he goes to Kindergarten today.  He is sporting a faux-hawk and asks me what I think, as he carefully touches the pointed tips of his hair to make sure it has remained where it was carefully coiffed and coaxed with gel to remain.

You look so cool, Gavin.  I love your hair!

He peels off his coat, exhuberantly explains, “Look, Nonna!  I have on two shirts!”  He reveals a black t-shirt under a long-sleeved, vertically striped, button-down, dress shirt.  I respond with appropriate glee at how good he looks.

“I have two shirts,” he finishes his thought.  “Just like my daddy.”  A resolute nod of his head along with a knowing look and the gentle smile on his lips – and I know that today, in this moment,  Gavin has attained his highest and most precious goal: to be just like his daddy.

And I think of Tristan and quickly thank God that Gavin has a daddy worth emulating.  He is becoming remarkable, just like his unusually remarkable father.

How full can one heart get?…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Make my highest goal – to be like Father

The Sacred Romance, Some Catching Up

Heather and I commented on Chapter Ten here.   Amy Jo shared her thoughts on both Chapters 10 and 11 here.   And now our good friend, Candi shares some insights she has received from Chapters 10 and  11: “On the Road,” and “Desert Communion – Learning to Live on Heaven’s Shores”  and I add my 2-cents’ worth on Chapter 11.  
pictured:   Heather and her family and Amy Jo and her husband

We are nearing the  end of the book,  The Sacred  Romance~Drawing Closer to the Heart of God  by John Elderidge and Brent Curtis.   We have all been reading the book and jotting down our reactions and thoughts to share with you.   I am glad to know some of you have read the book along with us and even though you didn’t necessarily wish to “tell all” via the blog, it has been good to hear how God has reaffirmed His love to you through the reading.   If you want to re-cap where we started and see how far we have come during our “summer romance”, just click on the “Sacred Romance” category link on the left, or here to get you started.


Candi picks up at Chapter 10: I’ve been away from The Sacred Romance for awhile.   Not THE Sacred Romance, but the book.   In fact, although I’ve been out of the book I have completely had THE Sacred Romance on my mind the whole time.   As I reread Chapter 10 (I’ve read it about 4 times now) I’m realizing that I AM starting to view things differently, from a different perspective.   It is all about “wondering what God is up to in all of this.”   Pg 145.  

I’m ready for the Journey.   From Pg. 149,   “So much of the journey forward involves a letting go of all that once brought us life.   We turn away from the familiar abiding places of the heart, the false selves we have lived out, the strengths we have used to make a place for ourselves and all our false loves, and we venture forth in our hearts to trace the steps of the One who said, ‘Follow me.’   In a way, it means that we stop pretending: that life is better than it is, that we are happier than we are, that the false selves we present to the world are really us.”As I prepare for the journey (finally!) I’m looking back at the many times I’ve desired to go on it but for various reasons have not completely surrendered to it.   I’m starting to analyze past situations, relationships, thoughts, “Nits”, and my roles in them for what many of them really were, but I’m also asking what God’s real purpose is in all of this.   It’s really been a path to discovery more than a hard road.   And it’s all leading me to Jesus!

About 3 years ago I started realizing that my focus for salvation was for what I could get (the streets of gold!) rather than really desiring and fostering a relationship with God.   A dear spiritual teacher (MaryJean!) gave me this and I pass it along because it really was the beginning to my Sacred Romance with Jesus:


              It’s not healing I need – It’s the healer.

It’s not help I need – It’s the helper.

It’s not comfort I need – It’s the comforter.

It’s not teaching I need – It’s the teacher.

It’s not provision I need – It’s the provider.

It’s not protection I need – It’s the defender.

It’s not strength I need – It’s the strong one.

I don’t need to get a life; I need life, HIMSELF.

On Chapter 11: Now I find myself at a time of desert communion.   I understand this as the path that I’ve been on from reading this.   Had I written on this a month ago I wouldn’t have had much application.   Just this past month my husband and I have completely stepped out of ministry at our church.   A couple years ago our church faced a “perfect storm” scenario that if it wasn’t for God’s will and power I know it may not have survived.   At times like this God calls you to help man the ship although you may not be the best sailor.   You do the best you can through obedience knowing that He will provide the sails.   Well, through God’s glory there has been much healing and the church is sailing on much more secure waters.  

My husband and I were still a part of the crew.   However, we were still feeling caught up in the “doing” of it all.   I was trying to seek God in the aftermath, but too busy to really hear Him.   Isn’t it funny we were “doing” church things?   And so, for our various reasons we have stopped everything.   In this break, I’m asking myself, “Is my identity synonymous with activity?”   Pg. 163.   “Am I experiencing my spiritual life not as a love affair, but as burdensome, heavy, exhausting and alien?”   Pg. 165.

Jesus’ answer is this:  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)  

“Only Christ can carry us to rest.   The kinds of ‘doing’s’ we have learned are not weighty enough to allow us to walk in the spiritual fields of the kingdom of God.”   Pg. 169.

My next destination on my journey, I now know, is to “give up everything else but Him.   We experience the freedom of knowing that he simply loves us where we are.   We begin to just be, having our identity anchored in him.   We begin to experience our spiritual life as the ‘easy yoke and light burden’ Jesus tells us is his experience.”   Pg. 175.

Lord, I pray that I am always “hearing” your soft whisper and in turn whispering back to you.   Forgive me for not always making our desert communion the focus of my spiritual walk, and instill in me a repentant attitude.   Bring healing, rest, focus, and peace at this time, so I can serve once again with my whole heart to glorify your Name.

My turn on Chapter 11 (Jeanie):   This chapter is about learning to rest in God and His unbridled love for us as we follow Christ’s own tradition (as well as early church “Desert  Fathers”) to pull away from the restlessness and activity of life into the “spiritual disciplines of silence, solitude, meditation (heart prayer), fasting and simplicity” (Mark Buchanan includes these in his “holy habits” in the book, Your God is too Safe).

The author talks about that place when you really stop for just a minute, when you have pulled your heart away from your adrenalin-addicted, activity captivity and your heart tells you how truly tired and burdened and worn down you are.   He said, “…it is of no use to ask God to give us energy to make our way back up the cliff over which we have fallen.”   I had to laugh at that because I have tried.   Lord knows I have prayed and prayed (God, heal me, give me energy to do kingdom work, yada yada yada)  and made all my friends pray it, too!  

But I love the prayer in the book, “Jesus, help me.   All my lovers have failed me.   Forgive me.   I cannot quench my thirst.   Give me the water of life.”   It is prayer God can answer in the deep places of our hearts.     And He’ll tell us, “Go, and sin no more.”

I’ve most recently been overwhelmed in the tiniest beginning of understanding about the Father-Heart of God towards me.   And in that, God is practically leading me through verdant woodlands of his love, green lush life and babbling brooks of refreshment, a recognition that all He has is mine because, and simply because, I am His child.   He is a few steps ahead and spreading the branches so I can navigate this place of purity and life.   I keep getting glimpses, as He is calling me toward Himself, right over here, Jeanie, come on, and I can see my true homeland just beyond in fleeting moments.   Just a few more steps and I may actually get this thing…

But I backslide.   I slide back into thinking I need to impress Him with my righteousness or my work for Him or by “paying my own way.”   Wait – the branches just moved.   He keeps wooing me.   My Father loves me.   It is OK for me to go into the desert with Him.   It is OK not to have an answer when some one wonders what all I have been “doing” for Him.   He calls us to the Secret Place.

I so enjoyed the author’s word pictures describing the intimate and wild-love of the Song of Solomon in direct contrast to the imaginary couple at a sidewalk cafe, where as the bride-to-be is talking about her excitement for the upcoming wedding and how she can’t wait to get to know her  lover better and be with him more and experience true intimacy, he, a cad, tells her, “I’ll send you a book that describes more about my life.   I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it,” and “…I’d like to send you to a weekend seminar [about intimacy with me] and that should be very helpful.”   The writers pointed out that that is the way we very often carry on our love affair with God.   When in reality, the conversation would be more like that in The Song of Songs, which everybody knows is some pretty hot talk!   But on page 161 when the  writer is explaining that God isn’t giving us this glimpse through the bedroom window at the love affair between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba just to be voyeuristic (but rather to realize that “this is the kind of passion He feels for us and desires from us in return”), I had to laugh!  

It turns out I am, indeed, the Queen of Sheba!   Spiritually speaking, of course, and you are, too!

Sincerely Yours, The Queen of Sheba, aka…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF:   So grateful for the friends who have so openly shared the glimpses of God’s work in their lives through their responses to this book.   That ain’t always easy!