Glad Game #14 ~ Grateful

Rhen’s Kitchen:  Cioppino is “redder” (tomato base) than it looks in photo…Check out the cutting board against wall: it goes back at least to 1973 (a Morton Salt offer I purchased for my “hopeless chest”)🙂 “When It Rains It Pours” (true)

Another Friday, another opportunity to play the Glad Game—just like “Pollyanna”, the only rule is that we find something to be “glad” about (Grateful/Thankful) in life’s less-than-perfect circumstances.  So, here’s my list🙂

a) First, I’m grateful to have a respite, after 3 days of unrelenting pain…thus, at 4 a.m I’m cooking a pot of Cioppino (Italian seafood stew)!  Praying it will be delish, since it’s not an “economy” dish…the last things to go in will be shrimp and scallops.  I’ll let it marinate in the fridge 24 hours, then reheat and serve with hot sourdough bread.  Don’t you wish you lived close enough to stop by for a bowl?!

b) Speaking of food, I’m thankful for some reader-interest in fave recipes—I’ve put up a Page titled, “Hungry? Recipes!” (See Above), which I’ll add to now and then.

c) I feel compelled to apologize for my recent post in which I challenged you all to be brave and take on the new Block format WordPress introduced. 

After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I persuaded a WP staff person to “fix” a new(separate) blog…giving me back the old-school classic editor.  Color me Grateful.  

Should you find yourself needing assistance on this topic, go to WP Support Forums.  Perhaps there will be someone helpful to you—keep in mind that, like everything else, results depend on who replies to your query. 

So, I’m sorry if I sounded “mean” in that earlier post—I was preaching to myself, hopeful  I’d have courageous success.  (At least for now, I won’t have to go over to the “other side”…blogspot)😉

d) Grateful to have managed 2 trips up the little hill for groceries.  Normally I shun boxed mixes, but Betty Crocker brownie mixes were only 99-cents—it would have been a sin NOT to get a couple, right?  Oh gosh, they’re good…I added the Mexican Chocolate tip: cinnamon and a bit of chili powder—WOWZA, you seriously need to try it!!  (I just realized my “thankfuls” are a lot about food!)

e) Exhausted and sentimental, I again want to underscore how grateful I am for all of you who continue to visit frequently…reading, liking, commenting.  Such a wonderful world it is, to be able to “click” and find friendship among big-hearted, talented people💝

f) “F” is for FAITH—of utmost importance to me.  I’m beyond thankful for Almighty God who sought me out (called me by name); offered me His embrace of love, protection, provision; and life with Him forever and ever—never-ending😇

There is none like Him, no other life of grace except through Jesus Christ.  Faith is not a magic wand, God’s not Santa Claus…but even worst days WITH HIM are far better than the Best days Without Him.  I promise, no kidding—“taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)🥄

May HE bless you so Abundantly you’re knocked off your feet!Love, Rhen

Glad Game #13 ~ Let Us Eat Cake

Here we are, together again…ready to play the Glad Game?  That’s where we count our blessings gratefully, like “Pollyanna”—who always found something to be glad about in the worst of circumstances.  And right now feels as close to “worst” as anyone wants to imagine…so I’ve brought you what’s left of my “desperation cake”🙃

a) I’m grateful for freedom…not everyone in the world is so entitled, and all the forums are buzzing with people discussing the unrest in the US, and other global issues.  I’ll just say that I wish people used their freedom to express kindness, love, peace, generosity, prayers—rather than words and actions that wound, murder, and cause immeasurable destruction in lives.

b) Thankful, indeed, for reports that pandemic safety measures might be decreased by August, where I live—not completely unrestricted, but we may be able to visit in person.  That will be something to celebrate, sing praises about!

c) Very grateful my housing recertification is over, with only a minimal change in rent.  And I’m glad to have a good relationship with my property manager, who works diligently in a challenging job—she helps make my life easier.

d) Thankful to learn food assistance resources will be increased again, for June—I’ll be able to grocery shop with wild abandon!  Not that I’m in least danger of becoming malnourished…I’m simply happiest when cupboards, freezer are well laden.  Variety is the spice of life, supposedly, and that surely applies to meal-planning😉

e) Let’s see…I’m grateful yet again for mild temps.  If I could bother the Lord for just one more favor, I pray summer won’t be HOT.

f) I’m beyond thankful for blogging…who’d-a-thunk the world would open its doors to reveal a wide vista on such engaging people to meet—without leaving home?!  My readers are each a precious gem…jewelry I can wear everyday, accessorizing my old T-shirts!😊  Thank you all!

g) More grateful than ever for humor—and my faith in “the God who stays” (song).  He’s promised to never forsake us, and His word is true and reliable.

Confession:  I’ve consumed nearly the entire (9 x 13) delish Chocolate Cake I baked recently…if you’d like the recipe for a super-moist cake, I’ll share.  Part of the secret is, ingredients include a can of condensed tomato soup (without spices), and buttermilk.  The 100% cacao Hershey’s Cocoa Powder gives it rich flavor, and color to make a fashion designer drool!  I’m so sorry it’s not gluten-free…

Alrighty-then, I’ll leave you with virtual hugs all ’round, and continued prayers for your well-being.  You’re wonderful…and, yes we’ll make it through a deplorable season, together!💖Rhen

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Glad Game #12 ~ Friendship’s Mirror

More photos below ~

Hello to all who gather for the weekly Glad Game, a reference to the book and character, “Pollyanna”—who learned gratitude early and always found something to be “glad” about, even in circumstances that were unpleasant, trying or cloaked in grief.

I confess that I’m wobbly this week, so you’re free to grab some refreshments and sneak out the door—I won’t be offended, I promise

a) I’m grateful the weather remains mostly sunny, with cool temps for good sleeping at night.

b) Thankful I still have plenty of food, so I can avoid the grocery store another week.

c) I’m grateful for this blog, the meeting place where I come to greet and exchange thoughts with folks who are so talented, lovely—you are all treasures.  I appreciate God’s generosity in giving me the gift of poetry…it’s cathartic, fun.  Some days I imagine writing as a loaf of freshly baked “something” I can share with you (or soup, lasagna, cake, brownies, fudge…whatever you’re hungry for)😊

d) Thankful for my wind chimes (playing as I type)…their music has eternal quality which engages my spirit.  The melody’s never exactly the same, but always offers message of faith and hope that God has more for us than whatever lack or loss we may be wading through at a given moment.

e) This week, again, I gratefully received the gift of true friendship…and realized what my definition of such friendship is.  A genuine, and stalwart friend offers a ‘new mirror’—or flips the one we have to the other, better side.  Often when I peer into mine, self-loathing eyes see only wretchedness; depression creates an unreliable perspective. 

My friend, via email, held up the mirror God shines daily:  gleaming glass displaying my favorable traits, and the loving transformation God is actively working in me to reflect His glorious character.

f) I’m ever glad for God’s grace and Presence—so near, when we’re running low on strength to ‘keep keeping on’.

g) For those who celebrate it, Sunday is Pentecost*…a meaningful reminder of God’s Holy Spirit.  This Person of the Trinity is alive and available to anyone who requests His indwelling.  Just as He breathed on the early disciples and changed everything for them, today He longs to breathe a fresh, reviving breeze that brings power, peace and unity to our lives.

May you experience God’s love and abundant blessings as we persevere togetherRhen

*“On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” Acts 2:1-4, New Living Translation

Photos are Rhen’s home: above, west window with mirror & live plant; below, silk “peony” flower ~

Glad Game #9 ~ Keep Keeping-On!

Sharing my not-Mother’s-Day roses♥

Hello, Glad Game groupies!  I think I see new faces, so for your benefit I’ll explain:  the Glad Game originated in the book, Pollyanna (which became a popular series).  “Pollyanna” was a young gal ‘cursed with optimism’…she could find silver linings in darkest clouds.  I didn’t learn about her till I was 59, but she contributed to that being a banner year.  So now I focus on “gratitudes” daily, and bring you my list each week.  Here we go!

a) I’m beyond thankful it’s Friday…the week was fast and busy.  Grocery shopping is braved during “senior hours”—Tuesday and Thursday, 7-9 am; and because I’m allergic to getting up early, I stay up all night.  Fortunately, I don’t shop every week🛒  And I’m making progress in obeying the One-Way directional signs at each store aisle…who’d-a-thunk we’d be doing such crazy things?!

b) My grocery store features “$5-Fridays”, with certain items reduced in price to attract shoppers.  The offers don’t always interest me, but I’m thankful cheese was the must-have bargain today!  Soon I’ll look like a “Big Cheese”🙂  But you’ll be proud of me…I resisted the bakery’s $5/dozen donuts.  (Okay, I confess:  yesterday I bought 2 packages of molasses cookies on sale.)

c) Very grateful for sunny days, and that dawn’s “bright” arrives earlier now.  Pandemic precautions may pinch, but they’d be far worse if this trying time had started in Fall–Winter, when DARK is the word.

d) Cinco de Mayo was less festive than in previous years, however I did make a fabulous “Layered Black Bean Dip”.  Delish and addictive…thankful I managed to eat only 2 pans of it throughout the week.  It’s easy/quick and I’ll happily share the recipe, if you request🙂

e) Exciting news:  I’m grateful to have been matched up with a nice Senior Companion Volunteer.  Our first meeting was by phone, or course, but I think it will be an enjoyable association once the end of “social distancing” permits face-to-face visits.

f) I continue thankful prayers for the extra financial/food assistance I’ve received…a huge blessing which I don’t take for granted.  This month, it enabled me to double the amount I send to the local mission which helps homeless and hungry folks in far-more-dire straits than mine.  I’m not boasting—merely glad and grateful to “be of use”.  The Lord loves a cheerful giver!*

g) Alrighty-then!  My concluding gratitude is always the same, and ever from my sincere heart.  I’m thankful the Lord God continues to find me worthy of His loving attention, protection and provision.  Everyday, each week, He fills me with His grace, hope, peace and JOY…abundance to share with you, my friends and family afar.  Thank you for your lovely comments, our little chats bless me big-time🙂

May God make His Presence known to you in special ways, enriching your days with surprise blessings as we “keep keeping-on”Rhen

*“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give , not out of regret or compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Berean Study Bible

Glad Game #8 ~ Life’s Challenges Continue!

Yep, it’s me…by whatever name, the real deal ~

Well, we made it through April, survived to see May—that’s something to be glad and grateful about!  And what a nice crowd we have to play the Glad Game…invented by Pollyanna, who never saw a cloud without a silver lining!  Let’s get started, here’s my list:

a) Much as I thoroughly enjoyed NaPoWriMo and A-to-Z, I’m thankful to have finished with half a brain intact!  Maybe it takes a pandemic for this poet to reach down deep and find enough hopeful words to fill 30 days🙂

b) I’m ecstatically grateful that God showed up to bring beautiful resolution to my grocery store crisis of April 10th.  I’m not talkin’ TP shortage…I mean, everyone’s so frazzled about Corona that there was a store-wide lack of patience, consideration, focused attention, and general regard for others.  And I wasn’t exactly a saint in this scenario, either.  The “issue” on April 10th caused me to avoid the store (avoidance being my default).

But when I ran out of Doritos, desperation set in…there was no choice but to don mask, and pray my way up the little hill to Safeway.  Prayer and humility, and a time-out, can create space for the good Lord to smooth wrinkles among flawed humans. 

I’d written a brief note to the manager (nice young man whom employees thought was my nephew)…and hoped to slip by him unnoticed.  I reached the water and soft drink aisle, where he hunted me down…my note in his hand.  He felt terrible about the bad experience I’d had—blamed himself, which is a good way to start peace talks!  The blessing was that he took time to listen and hear me—that’s all I wanted, and his promise to correct the problem. 

So there we were, alone in the aisle with our masks, not allowed to hug (social distancing)—communicating well with mutual respect, our friendly association mended and strong.  He was unaware some of the staff had tagged me as his aunt, so I mentioned that I was available to fill an honorary position—he seemed agreeable😁  Auntie L collects new nephew!

c) Okay, here’s my report on the No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars I made last week.  They’re pretty tasty, plenty chewy with the quick oats and crunchy peanut butter in ’em…so you won’t want more than one modest square.  If you’d like the recipe, leave a comment and I’ll post it🙂

Another food thankful:  I splurged on a humongous pizza (Domino’s) to celebrate completion of National Poetry Month.  Delight in every bite!

Final food note:  Cinco de Mayo is Tuesday, so I’ll be making black bean dip!  Stay tuned for results🙂

d) Grateful for a good message on “Attitude”, last week at online church.  Not to boast, but it’s gratifying when a preacher’s talking and you realize you’ve matured sufficiently to be on the same page with him🙂  The three attitudes he noted are “false positivism”, “hopeless pessimism”, and “triumphant realism”.  I used to live in the 2nd group, and despised the first one —well, hallelujah, I’m now a triumphant realist!! 

The pastor spoke of Abraham Lincoln…who really deserved a gold statuette for “Perseverance”.  Prior to his assassination, President Lincoln endured myriad setbacks throughout his personal and professional life, with heroic resilience. 

And here’s a quote from Franklin D Roosevelt:  “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”  Many of you know it’s difficulties which make our character great, IF we have the right attitude. The pandemic is not only a stormy sea—it offers a classroom.  Life’s challenges will continue affording us opportunity to polish our attitudes, and emerge as stalwart seamen (and women)🙂

e) I’m running long on words, so I’ll finish with my repeated, yet no-less-sincere gratitude for God’s faithful and generous goodness toward me.  And for my nonpareil readers! 

A million thank-you’s to all who visit, read and comment—your presence adds sparkle to my days.  Now, as Tracy Ullman used to say at the end of her TV program, “go home, go home!”

God bless you hugely See you next week (or tomorrow)! Rhen

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Dusk Blessings (NaPoWriMo 2020)/Poem In Your Pocket Day

If I haven’t completely lost my mind, we’ve come to the end of this year’s NaPoWriMo—what a month it’s been!! 

And I’m fairly sure it’s “Poem In Your Pocket Day”…the poem I offered in 2013 follows the haiku.


Mother-of-pearl dusk

Silver’d gray-blue, faintest pink

Day o’er-flowed blessings

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

In 2013, I wrote under the name Jael Sterling.  I saved this limerick, written for Poem In Your Pocket Day that year…and dusted it off to share🙂

Poem in Your Pocket Day—2013

I keep a poem in my pocket,

More treasured than heirloom heart locket.

Words filled with God’s grace

Light a smile, wreathe my face—

Worst days, I’m still starred on His docket.

©Jael Sterling, 2013/©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Daily Light #29 ~ Future Good

“Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.”” Isaiah 42:9, New Living Translation

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19, NLT

“He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river!” Psalm 78:16, NLT

“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.” Isaiah 35:1, NLT

“The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.” Isaiah 35:6, NLT

“They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters.” Isaiah 49:10, NLT

Daily Light #24 ~ Healed and Delivered

“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

Psalm 107:20, New King James Version

“Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?  Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.” Psalm 85:6-7, New Living Translation

“Unfailing love and truth have met together.  Righteousness and peace have kissed!  Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven.  Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.  Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.  Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.” Psalm 85:10-13, NLT