Happy Birthday to Dave {applause-cheers-standing ovation-the crowd goes wild!}


Maybe far away
Or maybe real nearby
He may be pouring her coffee
She may be straighting his tie!
Maybe in a house
All hidden by a hill
She’s sitting playing piano,
He’s sitting paying a bill!*


He was born “Baby boy Bigham” on March 23rd, fifty-one years ago to a young girl in rural Kansas who would leave the hospital without him.  When he was 5 days old, the Rhoades family signed adoption papers and picked him up there, where he’d been left to himself those first important days.  That precarious beginning is probably why little David Allen Rhoades, a gentle-hearted, deeply-dimpled boy grew up to be such a family man, so devoted to creating a large, loving, caring and loyal family.  And why his motto is, and the kids still laugh about it, “Never go against the family,” from The Godfather.

*Betcha they’re young
Betcha they’re smart
Bet they collect things
Like ashtrays, and art!
Betcha they’re good —
(Why shouldn’t they be?)
Their one mistake
Was giving up me!
So maybe now it’s time,
And maybe when I wake
They’ll be there calling me “Baby”…



When Dave married me and took Tara as his own daughter on July 23, 1981, he alleviated my parents’ fears for her future by telling them he now understood why he’d been given in adoption.  He found purpose, believing he could become her daddy and they’d have that special *chosen* bond in common, something they would understand about each other. 

And when he proposed, he looked into our future and told me, “I want you to be the mother of my children.”  I could not have comprehended the depth of the honor of that request in that moment, lovesick and swept away by emotion as I was.  But in saying yes!  I do!  I have reaped the benefit of being married to a man who has been committed to building a lasting heritage, a legacy that will live on for a very long time. 

*Betcha he reads
Betcha she sews
Maybe she’s made me
A closet of clothes!
Maybe they’re strict
As straight as a line…
Don’t really care
As long as they’re mine!

He is…


He is an extraordinary “poppa,” loving those grandbabies zealously.  As for his passionate love for his children?  His pride and pleasure in the people his children have become and the spouses they have chosen?  It’s evident in his beam when he speaks of them to his students or friends. 

He teaches.  He preaches.  He stretches his own canvases and paints in color.  He sings and dances and acts – on stage!  He writes books and has story after story inside him – just waiting to be told! 

He is honoring to my mom and respects my dad so much.  He is a pal to my siblings and loves the nieces and nephews.  He reminds me to call my mom and anytime I mention going to visit my parents he says: Do it, honey.  You should go.  They’ll like that.

Dave is a thoughtful man, making sure the toilet ring is never up to surprise me, and he never forgets to take the trash out on the right day.  He’s man enough to buy *woman-stuff* for me and just seems to divine when I must have a Cheetos night 2 or 3 times a year – as if he just knew that nothing else on that night would suffice. 

He does dishes and laundry (not big on folding, but he hangs anything and everything that can be hung and seems to enjoy it – which is why I will keep letting him do it).  He cooks for me if I need him to and tucks cash in to my wallet just because.  He charges my phone, fills the gas tank and carries heavy stuff for me. 

Dave is a nice guy and a good husband.  And I am mostly thankful that even though I kinda think I am, he tells me I am not crazy.  And he sees my drive and tendency to jump into the deep end of life (he has called it, going at everything in life “like a house on fire“) as me being passionate, alive and lively.  And he likes that about me.

Loving and loved.


So today, I celebrate Dave’s life.  Even though 51 years ago he was alone, today he is surrounded by hundreds of students and family and friends and even fans (he was a spectacular Daddy Warbucks) who know his worth and his value and how lucky they are to know him.  I know I am. 

And I am happy that he spent the last 6 months getting that A1c level down from 13-14% to 6% and has taken huge strides in reversing his Type 2 Diabetes!  He is healthier now than he has been for 5+ years. I have always loved those Perry Mason-broad shoulders and  I am so proud of him, he is looking good!  So glad that we’ll be celebrating his birth and the life he lives for many years to come!


Happy birthday, my husband.  I love you.  I am loving all the changes. 

And so glad the hair will be growing back now, too!

*So maybe now this prayer’s
The last one of it’s kind…
Won’t you please come get your “Baby”
Pictured:  Top, Dave at age 1, then at age 4 or 5 with his mom and in April 1981 speaking at chapel at Northwest Bible College just before he graduated.  Next, Dave and the original 4 daughters at Stonebrook Manor last week.  Then, watching a video of his Annie performance with some of the grandbebes one Sunday night (Gavin, Guini, Gemma, and Averi);  Next, Dave with some of the grandkids the night he was going to be getting his hair shaved off (Hunter, Averi, Guini and Gemma).  Then, Dave at Stonebrook Manor for one of the fundraising dinners, Dave backstage with some “orphans” from Annie.  Finally, Dave and I at Stonebrook Manor last week and on our way to a Heaven Fest potluck a couple of weeks ago.

*Lyrics:  “Maybe” from Annie, the song that made Dave tear up at almost every performance over the past couple of months…because he understood…

17 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Dave {applause-cheers-standing ovation-the crowd goes wild!}

  1. Jeanie, this is what LOVE is all about and I so enjoy seeing your family through pictures and reading these words of truth. You are all beautiful spirits making this world a better place..Bless you ALL and especially the birthday boy. Much love and big hugs, Heather

  2. Happy Birthday Brother-in-law…you’re proving to us everyday that age is no barrier to success and adventure. Hope you and the family there celebrate until the cows come home!!! Have a great day!

  3. WOW, honey! I have one of my students sitting in the room with me pretending not to see that I’m sitting her bawling like a baby!
    He probably thinks I’m nuts, but it doesn’t matter…
    Thank you so much for a tribute that I fall short on so many times….
    But many things that you said are true (you would say all of them) I do love you and my kids and my grandkids. I am proud to call you all my own. I love you with all that is within me, thank you, thank you, thank you for seeing the potential in me, for being my support and my foundation, for being my love, my friend and my home.
    We are made successful and complete by the people that surround us.
    I am surrounded by spectacular people that cheer me on to be the best that I can be in all aspects of my life.
    To you, my Jeanie, to Tara and Dave, Stephanie and Tristan, Tredessa, Rocky and Jovan, Stormie, Gavin, Hunter, Guini, Gemma, Averi and new Baby Rhoades yet to be named (hopefully born TODAY!) I love you all with all of the passion within me. I pray for you all everyday that God’s destiny for today will be fulfilled in you. I bless you with the blessing of the father and the blessing of The Father. I bless your coming in and your going out. I bless you in hard times and in times of prosperity. You are the finest people I know, bar none. I love you all so much and am proud to be called husband, lover, father and friend.
    YOU all are my greatest accomplisment.
    I can die a happy man… but not for another 51 years :)

  4. Jeanie, what a tribute to a wonderful man. Happy Birthday Dave! Who would have thought all those year’s ago what God had in store for you all. I am in awe at His work! Love you both!

  5. Happy Birthday to a wonderful example of what a father and husband should be. We are blessed to have you and your family in our lives and I am honored to have the privilege to call you my friend.

  6. Wow dad I’m pretty sure mom loves you a little bit! Haha! What an amazing wife you chose! Happy birthday today dad! We love you so much and we are all so proud of who you are and what you have done in your 51 years of life! It is crazy that you look younger on your 51st birthday than you did on your 50th! You look amazing dad! Healthier then ever! You are so loved by the people around you and you are such a blessing to us all! What an amazing dad you have been to your kids and kids in laws and a fabulous papa to your grandbabies! Have an amazing birthday, we celebrate you today dad!

  7. Happy birthday dad! It has been so awesome seeing you shine with all of your creativity and talent these past months and years, I am so glad you are finally getting back on the stage, I know you loved it in high-school! :) I am so proud to call you my dad and I am so blessed to see you everyday and talk to you every morning when you call to make sure I made it to work okay. You are so caring and we all feel your love so deeply, thank-you for filling our lives with love and help and hope. I love you and pray today and this year are blessed beyond your imagination(which is HUGE!). :)

  8. Happy Birthday, dad! Yes, everything mom says here is so true. I wish I could put it so eloquently. I look at pictures of you with all of us and am moved to tears as well. How could I have been so lucky when so many others aren’t? When so many others live without their dads or with dads who don’t know how to love them? It makes me think that God has big plans for me to set me up in such a solid home with a dad who reflects Him so completely. Yikes, that’s scary. But I know whatever God brings, I can make it because I have someone like you behind me. I have learned so much for you…not just how to love a good movie or book, or how to take good care of a laptop, or that you always get to a movie theater in plenty of time to get the best seats, or to record EVERY event or special moment through picture-taking or videoing. No, no…not just all of those things, but also how to love my family above everything else on this earth, how to discipline in love(still learning this one, but I’ll eventually get it), how to write meaningful letters to those you love and how to love God above ANYTHING else! Thank you for being the best teacher I know and the best father I know. I love you SO very much!

  9. okay, so now I’m finally home, sitting in the warmth of the house with a blizzard raging outside, everyone on laptops and Dessa getting ready to rent a movie on line for us to watch… and bawling again… I better hit the treadmill again after that wonderful supper…

  10. Happy Birthday, Dave. One of my earliest memories of you was seeing the way you lovingly took care of your five very small children during a visit at Mom and Dad’s house on Roosevelt Place (changing the baby, chasing the new runner, playing, feeding, bathing, and bedtime). I was told that you did all of this on purpose so that Jeanie could have some visiting time with her parents. I’m glad to know you, and even gladder to be related to you. :)

  11. Happy Birthday Dave. Hope your day was great. You are an awesome person and we are so happy to call you a best, dear friend. Love you so much.

  12. Hi, just doing some research for my Ovation Guitars website. Truly more information than you can imagine on the web. Not what I was looking for, but interesting page. Take care.

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