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“Shouts of Grace! Grace to it!”

Happy Birthday, Husband o’ Mine

“Tomorrow I hit my life’s halfway mark.” – said by Dave on Saturday afternoon about turning 55 on Sunday. Yes, he plans to make it to 110. No kidding.

22 + 33 = 55 (You were 22 when you married me 33 years ago).

road sign 55 mph limit

Forget the speed limit sign.  You’re 55 and just hitting your stride!

I love that your big sister reminded you that in the Bible, the number 5 symbolizes grace.  And I love that she said since you’re 55, it must mean double-grace.  Immediately I thought of one of your all-time favorite passages from Zechariah.  It is such a word of courage, such a call to remember, “‘It’s not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.”

And the confidence that passage inspires goes on to challenge the mountains that seemingly stand in our way, sometimes, “Who are you, mountain – you’ll become a molehill,” and the man of God will get to finish what he started by the power of the Holy Spirit and he will get to place the capstone on the whole thing with people all around rejoicing, shouting “Grace! Grace to it!”

“For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!”  Zechariah 4.7 Amp.

It’s the cherry on top promise. It’s the star on the Christmas tree. It’s the king of the hill scenario, that finishing gable stone story.

And it is your story. It is your revelation.

Remember years ago when we attended James Ryle’s Grace-Grace-Grace weekend in Boulder Valley?  We found out grace really had nothing to do with unmerited favor (that’s more like mercy), but that grace was

“The empowering presence of God enabling  us to be who He created us to be and to do what He created us to do.”*

Grace is God’s presence and His power and I love that you have always understood  the grace of God and so been able to receive it and walk in it and share it freely.

So, 55 years ago

dave rhoades baby pic

A teen-age girl gives up a baby. For 5 days you were in a Topeka, Kansas hospital, motherless, fatherless, it would seem to the staff. But I know that is when you first encountered Grace, His power, His comforting Presence and must be why you know Him so deeply that way.

Then they came for you – the Rhoades family. They signed papers and took you home, then moved you to Colorado and raised you for me.

the little moslander 1968 rhoades family circa 1970

I didn’t know, the summer of our big Colorado vacation in the early 70s that you were living here in Denver, all brown-skinned and dimpled, being prepared to be my husband.  You had no idea those same June days that some stringy-long-haired tourist from Iowa, in a station wagon with her family was being prepared for you, to be your wife.

Maybe we passed you, madly pedaling your bike through the neighborhood. Maybe I saw your super-short, good Baptist-boy haircut. Maybe you saw me flash the peace sign out the rolled-down window (something I wasn’t allowed to do) and thought me rather sinful?

All I know is, you have been the gift of grace* to me. You have spent all the years preaching the message of it, reminding me time and again that I can’t earn it and I don’t even have to try. You have graced me with your love and your presence and you have opened the door for me to live in the Grace of God, not churchy-ness, not religiousness (my fall back every time), but in His empowering Presence.

It happens, the bad with the good…

I once saw a bumper sticker that said, in other words (if you get my drift), “Dung happens.”  And I remember thinking, “No kidding.  This bumper sticker speaks the truth. Dung does happen!” And it was in a season to which I could fully attest to it.  Dung had happened.  Lots of dung.

But then, we saw another bumper sticker.  It spoke of what you have nurtured in our family through love and sweat and tears and sacrifice and more love and and tending to. I see this, now.  And this is truer than true, the truest of all things, this bumper sticker: “Grace happens.” And it does, freely, abundantly, time and again. Grace happens!

grace happens


Tara, Stephanie, Tredessa, Rocky & Stormie

Grace does happen. I am living proof. Our family – those wonderful 5 we got to raise together: aren’t they just so beautiful? Aren’t they darling human beings? Don’t they just make you want to burst with pride and thankfulness? They’re all so pretty and so talented and passionate about so many cool things.  I look at them and I am in awe. Thank-you, honey, for these children, for the ones you hinted to me about when you proposed marriage in 1981, for when you told me, “I want you to be the mother of my children.” I had no idea how amazing that was going to turn out to be, to get to be mommy to the children of grace, grace.

Tristan, Dave, Jovan, & Ryan

And hasn’t Grace, His holy Presence, so graced us yet again with the 4 who have joined us by marriage (so far…one to go)? Aren’t they the perfect additions? Aren’t they all just people we would have chosen for our babies, anyway? And didn’t Grace show up and bless these unions? He did! Aren’t we just unworthy of this, yet graced anyway?

Gavin, Hunter, Guinivere, Gemma, Averi, Amelie, Malakai, Bailey, & Evangeline

And now – we’re practically mush, aren’t we? To see these 9 and enjoy them so, so, so much. Gifts – just *boom* happiness pouring-sparkling-raining like a summer shower straight from heaven.

For all you were born to do and for all you were born to be (Psalm 112 and Psalm 128 man of mine), these 9 have been added to you. Added to you.

You are no longer a baby in a hospital nursery in cold Kansas of 1959. You are Dave, Jeanie’s husband, her lover and hero. You are dad, who checks in making sure everything is ok, who prays for and is prayed for and who leads his family beside peaceful waters; you are a spiritual father to the sweetest ones (others the ages of our own tribe) who respect you and honor you in the gates and who seek that supernatural fathering you possess; you are grandpa, poppa, grand-poppa – pouring mercy, love, peace and grace on the next generation – making an impact into the 22nd century from where you stand today.

christmas rhoades family 2013

That beautiful baby boy, once alone, has been increased and Graced beyond measure. And all the people who know you and love you now are cheering you as mountains become molehills, as barriers are blasted through as you finish everything you have started with strength: Cheers-rejoicing-yay!-Blessing-Grace and more Grace!

Happy Birthday, my best  friend and love, my husband, and the grace of my heart.

Happy Birthday to my Husband!

Dave is 50 today!  He took the day off and we hung out.  Then the kids and grandkids and Elise (except for Dave and Tara who are traveling the great northwest right now) popped over for tortellini and some Wii tournaments.  Gavin is an amazing bowler!  I am 68 years old according to the Wii fitness thingy.  If Stormie hadn’t sabotaged me, I’d have been younger. *smile….


Half a century ago, you were born with nothing and no one to call your own, my honey.  Who could’ve known what was in your future?  Happy Birthday, David Allen Rhoades!

We are all yours, truly…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: I am the luckiest woman.  I am blessed.

Dave’s previous birthday posts for this landmark celebration (I appreciate your kind indulgence, dear readers):

I was Twi-lighted

My girls flipped over the movie (I can’t even tell you how many times they saw it collectively) and then madly read all the books.   When the DVD was released yesterday, we had to re-arrange furniture, black out windows and generally cease from all other activity to watch Twilight.  Dave punched his hair up with product and put some of my foundation on (I am apparently paler) and some plum eye shadow under his eyes and mugged for the camera to make the girls laugh.  And we watched it with the girls (including Elise-the-Niece and Stef-with-an-f).

It is about vampires.  It is not a romance.  It is a love story (there is a difference).  It is also for much younger women than me, but I did enjoy the the line from Edward: Your scent is like a drug to me – like my own personal brand of heroin.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to evoke that kind of passion?  Elise happened to be wearing a t-shirt with the same quote.

march-twilight-09-006 march-twilight-09-011

We kiddingly declared it another in a series of Dave’s birthday celebrations.  So, I finally saw it.  I was Twilighted.

NOTE:  Dave turns 50 tomorrow!  May I just say thanks to the Kansas farm girl who gave birth and let him go?  Thank-you for your courage and for doing the right thing.

50 Songs about Me and Dave

Dave’s 50th birthday is Monday.  This is the 4th in a week-long series of love-tributes to my Dave.  The previous posts are 50 Things I Love about Dave, 50 Words that Describe Dave, and 50 Reasons Dave was born.   

We thought every song was about us and our love for the first, oh, 26 or 27 years (we’ll celebrate 28 years of marriage this summer)…Below are a few of the early ones that ignite some memories.


  1. Endless Love  Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie 1981.  This was a huge hit the summer of our getting together and my sister, Tami, wanted us to sing it to each other at our wedding.  We didn’t, but there is some early-marriage video of us lip-syncing to it very late one night.
  2. Eddie Rabbit Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places (meaning before we got together :) )
  3. “Some people are made for each other.  Some people can love one another for life, how ’bout us?”  How ‘Bout Us? by Champagne 1981
  4. Cliff and Olivia   Suddenly…the wheels are in motion, and I am ready to sail any ocean…
  5. Reminds me of youth group trips: Careless Whisper by George Michael 1984
  6. Up Where We Belong 1984 “The road is long, and there are mountains in our way…”  Jennifer Warren and Joe Cocker from the great movie, An Officer and a Gentleman.  Dave and I actually sang a “Christian” rendition of it which was quite well-liked.  Hokey, yes, but Bebe and Cece did it first.
  7. 1984 Tina Turner What’s Love Got to Do with it?  Got to do with it?!
  8. Whitney Houston 1985 “No other man’s gonna do ~ so I’m saving all my love for you…” Saving All My Love whew!
  9. 1984  I Just Called to Say I love You, Stevie Wonder, naturally
  10. We lived near the fairgrounds and our first night at home as newly marrieds, we listened to Air Supply singing at the fair, but through our windows  So Lost in Love  1981
  11. Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley
  12. Dave and I have sang this song at many many weddings, Always by Atlantic Starr “Boy, I love you so, can’t find enough ways to let you know.  But you can be sure I’m yours for always…We both know that our love will grow…”
  13. Patti Labelle and James Ingram “Baby, come to me.  Let me put my arms around you this was meant to be…”  Baby, Come to Me
  14. Little Jeanie  Elton
  15. “Once in your life you find her..”  Arthur’s Theme: The Best that You can Do, Christopher Cross
  16. I Love a Rainy Night  Another Eddie Rabbit from 1981
  17. “My friends wonder why I call you all the time, what can I say?…Because your kiss is on my list of the best things in life…”  Kiss on My List  Darryl Hall and John Oates 
  18. My baby takes the Morning Train, 9-5  Sheena Easton
  19. Olivia Newton-John 1981 Physical  I wanna get physical, physical…let me hear your body talk…
  20. Rapture 1981 by Blondie, the first “rap” song I had ever heard.  And she was blond and white.
  21. “Please remember my life is in your hands”  Woman by John Lennon
  22. The Boy from New York City
  23. 1981 Slow Hand  The Pointer Sisters
  24. Ronnie Milsap  Smoky Mountain Rain “keeps on fallin’…”
  25. IOU Lee Greenwood, the song of our first anniversary in 1982.  We danced to it.
  26. Survivor Eye of the Tiger  We actually used to work out to this song.
  27. Another Ronnie Milsap: I Wouldn’t Have Missed It
  28. Michael Jackson just hitting his stride Billie Jean 1983  Didyou see the Motown 25th Anniversary Special?  It was historic!
  29. Islands in the Stream Dolly & Kenny  channeling the sounds of the Bee Gees
  30. Sweet Dreams are Made of This  Eurythmics
  31. Making Love ot of Nothing at All Air Supply
  32. The Girl is Mine “the doggone girl is mine…” Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
  33. Laying out in the backyard getting a good tan just after Tre was born in 1983 listening to Taco Puttin on the Ritz
  34. “Just you and I sharing our love together.  And I know in time we’ll build the dreams we treasure.  We’ll be alright…”  Just You and I  Crystal Gayle and Eddie Rabbit
  35. Take a Look at Me Now (Against All Odds)   Phil Collins 1984
  36. Kenny Loggins Footloose
  37. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go  Wham
  38. “I’m addicted to you, baby.  You’re a hard habit to break.”  Hard Habit to Break
  39. Everytime You Go Away “you take a piece of my with you…”
  40. You’re the Inspiration you still are, honey!
  41. Amy Grant and Peter Cetera (he had just left Chicago and she was stepping out ino secular music The Next Time I Fall in Love  I’ll know better what to do…
  42. Sorry, but yes, Barry Manilow   Wouldn’t it be nice being Lonely Together (we listened to this on our first date!  haha!)
  43. It’s Sad to Belong to Some One Else when the right one comes along
  44. Dave sang to me at our wedding, a Carpenter’s hit I Won’t Last a Day without You
  45. That’s the Way, a contemporary Christian wedding song was another one he sang to me in our ceremony
  46. So romantic Wonderful Tonight.
  47. But old songs are ours, too God Only Knows The Beach Boys
  48. I’ll be Seeing You, we love the old love songs of the WWII era
  49. Once on a walk in Dallas (around our 2nd anniversary, I sang the entire Gladys Knight rendition of Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me to Dave, because he is.
  50. I had to delete a bunch of “our songs”.  Too many.  But last night on American Idol, I heard yet another song about Dave and me by Brad Paisley, Then.  It is a song of memory,  looking back to the first kiss and having babies days.  It recalls all the love of those days, but then goes on:

Now you’re my whole life
Now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than its ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then

I can just see you
When you’re hair is turning gray
What I can’t see
is how I’m gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before

Now you’re my whole life
Now you’re my whole world
We’ll look back someday at this moment that we’re in
And I’ll look at you and say
And I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then…

Keep singing to me, babe and I’ll keep singing to you!…Jeanie

Happy 50th Birthday, Dave!

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…

50 Words that Describe Dave

gentle – quiet – sincere – loving – loyal – godly – giver – humble – lover – friend – strong – wry – phlegmatic – finisher – husband – father – daddy – grandpa – poppa – pastor – shepherd – worshiper – genuine – instructor – actor – painter – artist – novelist – listener – tidy (except for the garage) – peacemaker – son – brother – uncle – dad – teachable – reachable – loveable – loved – insightful – peaceful – funny – tender – craftsman – creative – thoughtful – shepherd – watchful – teacher – mine.

Dave’s 50th birthday is March 23.  You can tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY here at the blog or here: dave@daverhoades.com

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Pictured:   from the family party we had early (we’re out of town right now, when we get home, a bunch of the fam will be out of town – so we had it 8 days ahead of schedule!).  Stormie and Elise provided pies at the birthday boy’s request.  Steph headed up decor: quotes about writing and books and from his favorite authors (Tara included actual quotes from Dave like, “Who is burning something?” which was usually Tara burning candles in her room.  And “Jiggle the handle.”); candles and books, tree branches on which to hang photos of family and the kids with their dad.  The kids gave him things like: 50 cans of Diet Pepsi, $50 to Auto Zone, 50 Little Debbies, etc.  Tara got a Mexican meal together.  The boys arranged a laser tag event.  We ate.  We sang.  We enjoyed pie.  We did presents.  We played Movie Charades because Dave loves movies!  Then we had a fire on the patio and roasted marshmallows.  We got to do all of this because David Allen Rhoades was born.

50 Things I Love about Dave

  1. His squinty eyes (that nearly disappear when he smiles).
  2. His brown skin.
  3. His deep dimples.
  4. His pearly white smile.
  5. His black, shiny hair.
  6. His hands.
  7. His broad shoulders.
  8. The way he can coax me out of grumpiness.
  9. All the private jokes we share.
  10. His never-ending movie-knowledge.
  11. He builds.
  12. He paints (art).
  13. He acts.
  14. He sings.
  15. He writes.
  16. He kisses really, really well.  He is just such a good kisser.
  17. The foot rubs, omygosh, the foot rubs!…!
  18. He gets me, and I am pretty un-gettable.
  19. He lets me choose the movies I want to watch.
  20. He is not threatened by chick-flicks because he understands the rewards of seeing them with me.
  21. He lets me choose the restaurants I want to go to.
  22. He cooks for me. 
  23. He knows when I just cannot face the kitchen and he feeds me food to soothe my soul.
  24. He buys me junk food even when I have sworn off of it and hides it until I really need it.
  25. He stashes candy bars around for emergency chocolate fixes.
  26. He secretly charts my months and knows exactly when to appease me entirely.  This is an art!
  27. His hugs, my safe place.
  28. Sleeping snuggled to his arm and shoulder, my other safe place.
  29. The backrubs (though he stinks at back-scratching, I am sorry to say).
  30. He washes my clothes and hangs them before they have a chance to wrinkle!
  31. He organizes my closet – by color!
  32. He plays with my hair while we watch TV.
  33. He threw out that shirt I hated!
  34. He was a we’re-in-this-thing-together kind of dad.  He never “babysat” our kids – he daddy’ed them!
  35. He changed as many diapers as I did.
  36. There wasn’t ever, ever: it’s-your-turn-with-the-kids, because it was always all of us together ~ a family.
  37. He loves me.
  38. He loves his family.
  39. He is the most loyal man I have ever known.
  40. He would do anything, lay down anything, pay any amount of money for me or our kids.
  41. When I was pregnant, he never let me vacuum or do laundry.  Sometimes we still play that game!  Or we play “Queen for the Night” and that is fun, too!
  42. He likes to hear me sing.
  43. He reads all my blogs.
  44. When I was having a total meltdown a few years back, he would quote scriptures over me until I could sleep.  He knows hundreds of scriptures.  Sometimes that was the only thing that kept me afloat.
  45. He prays for me.
  46. He hears from God on my behalf and speaks into my heart.
  47. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night and hear him praying for our family beside me in bed.  Those moments make me love him more.
  48. He is humble.  He is sometimes too hard on himself.
  49. He is a finisher. 
  50. No matter how hard life gets, he keeps going and…he keeps staying.

Dave turns 50 on March 23.  You can tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY here at the blog, or here: dave@daverhoades.com