Rhoda Lea

Thoughts on the Journey of Life


I have had a saying that I have sometimes been very good at following and at other times pretty lousy at living.  It is, “Grow where you’re planted, bear fruit where you grow.”  Having just visited my family in Illinois for some reason this saying has been brought to the forefront of my mind.  My sister is a late riser in the morning.  She always has been.  Nine thirty is about right for her most days.  Years of being the ministers daughter and then the ministers wife has instilled in her a habit of late to bed then late to rise.  Her husband, in contrast is one of those classic type A personalities that seems to function at his best on about five to six hours of sleep at night and, although he is often up late, it is rare that he is not out of the house by eight in the morning.  I, like John, have a tendency to get up early.  I love those early morning hours when the dew is still on the grass and the birds are just waking up.  I love that even in the hottest climates on the hottest days the morning feels fresh and the air is clear with a hint of coolness.

No where was that more true this past week than in Illinois.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on my sisters back porch with my coffee in one hand and a book in the other for that couple of hours that she was still catching her beauty sleep.  It was uncharacteristically perfect Seattle or San Diego weather the whole week I was there.  Perfectly clear, no mugginess, cool nights and crisp mornings.  Not at all how I remembered Illinois in August.  The thing that impressed me the most about her home and her yard while I was there were her hostas.  They were HUGE and full and perfectly lovely, about three feet in diameter, all along her brick pathway through her yard.  I asked her about them and she said they just grow like weeds and each year they divide them and they just flourish.  These hostas truly exemplified to me those words I have tried diligently to live by.

With these hostas in the back of my mind I made the rounds, visiting with each of my nieces and my nephew, and their spouses.  We celebrated my sister’s birthday joking once again that we are the only family we know who sings “Happy Birthday” in six part harmony.  That meshing of voices on a well-known song always brings me joy as I dutifully find my second soprano line to blend with my sisters alto, her daughter Debbie’s clear soprano, and her daughter Rachel’s well-trained mezzo soprano.   We even called my nephew Joel on speaker phone who was out of town on business to insure we had the base line.  This miracle of music is the fruit of my mother’s natural gift for music and love for it.

I looked around at my nieces children and saw these little babies coming into their teens years, much like my two boys, and marveled at the miracle of  that fruit in our lives.  Despite whatever our personal challenges and short comings we are all raising some pretty amazing kids.  Sixty-six years ago my handsome father and my beautiful mother got married and had three pretty amazing daughters, who have raised seven pretty amazing kids.  Other than my two young men, these amazing kids are now raising even more amazing kids.  I hope and pray that God gives me the strength and wisdom to insure that my two also go on to raising amazing kids.

I have spent the greater part of the last six months just plodding forward, often torn by sadness and regret.  I have looked at my life and wondered where it all went so wrong.  Sitting around that table looking at just one segment of what has become a very fruitful family I recognized that I come from a legacy of strength and faith that just seems to survive no matter how hard the struggle.  I found hope.  I am not as messed up as I have been thinking I was and I have a wealth of gifts to give to the world.  More importantly, I have a history of faith, love, and family as well as my own talents to pass on to my sons.  I truly am blessed and my years of struggle have not been fruitless.

I have two great kids who have a great legacy and destiny ahead of them.  I did that.  I have good friends who love me and tolerate me with grace and wisdom, to include my ex-husband (or soon to be ex).  I have never had a day without food or a night without a roof over my head.  The greatest thing I have is a deep abiding faith in the mercy, love and goodness of my creator.  This faith has been fought for, cried over, questioned and defined – then redefined.  It challenges me daily in my actions, my choices, my past and my future.  It comforts my heart, emboldens my spirit, and engages my mind.  I am who I am today because of my parents, my sisters, my nieces, my nephew, their children and even my husband, and I am at peace with the person I am.  I will grow where I am planted and bear fruit where I grow.  Sometimes it requires a clear view of the present to move on from the past.

That and some beautifully fruitful hostas in the morning dew.


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6 thoughts on “Fruitfulness

  1. Becky Sprecher on said:

    What a delightful, heartwarming story of your trip to see all of us! It just seemed to exude all kinds of “warm fuzzies” as you went into detail to explain to us what your trip meant to you. I loved the analogy with the hostas! As the sister you came to visit, it makes me feel so happy inside knowing that my family was able to remind you of the wonderful heritage you truly have. Much of what you gleaned here was imparted to you by my children—that makes me so proud! I believe that your boys will grow in faith and hope as you pass on to them these attributes that you, too, possess.

    This is my challenge to you—it is your job to pass on to them all of the wealth of gifts you possess. This is always best done by example, So, any excuses you may have had are indeed null and void!. Through all of the pain and sorrow God has once again made it clear to you that you HAVE been given an incredible heritage, and you owe it to your sons to pass that wealth of faith on to them. You are fully aware that we would not have known that faith as adults if we had not seen it lived out in our own parents, especially OUR mother. No one else in this world will influence your kids anymore than you will. You are with them more than anyone else, and it’s up to you to make the pilgrimage an exciting journey as you literally share with your boys how God is their rock and fortress each and every minute of their lives. Tell them when God has provided in a miraculous way. Lead them in the prayers of the saints so they, too, will know how to pray. Read the Word with them on a regular basis, and challenge them with the pondering questions. All any of us need to do is to tap into that strength and move on in victory. Do it with your head held high and your faith rooted deep in the ways of God as nothing else you ever do will bring more satisfaction or joy to you. Rhoda, I love you, and believe me, I am one of your biggest fans. The strength you possess is second to none, and I know you are on your way to live victoriously in the days to come.

  2. rhodalea on said:

    I love you, too! I agree that our mother had great faithfulness. She was stalwart in her service to God and others. However, some of the things I like best about myself are things I learned from our father. His grasp of scripture and understanding of God’s story with man was amazing and ahead of its times, in many ways. I learned to seek the deeper truths from him and acquired his inquisitive mind in the process. Daddy was fearless and bold. I have gotten that from him as well. The trick for me has been to combine my mothers faithfulness with my fathers understanding. I really think I am starting to learn that and am thankful. Being LeRoy Miller’s daughter had it’s challenges but it also came with rewards. I choose to focus on those things as it allows me to celebrate him at his best and relish in the good memories; not dwelling on those things that were sad, difficult and hard.

    It is truly lovely to know that I have you as a fan. Your last sentence made me cry. I never knew you thought of me as strong. But, you probably know me best and I will own the strength you see in me.

  3. Wanda Miller on said:

    OK, my wonderful sisters, now I am a blubbering idiot too. Rhoda, you have been through the fire and now is the time to come out on the other side. Get up everyday with your head held high, your shoulders back and go take on the day!!! I, unlike Becky, am not good with writing me feelings out, but know you are in my heart and mind every day. I am thankful for the great gift of “sisters”. I know you will both be my shoulder when I need one.

    I love you, Rhodent!

    • rhodalea on said:

      I love you, too, Wanda-bear! You are amazing and you have mother’s gentle spirit and caring heart – you don’t need to blab on and on the way Becky and I do. You can say it all with a smile or a hug! You are right about the fire – kind of done with that – new theme song: “I am strong, I’m invincible, I am woman!” LOL!

      • Becky Sprecher on said:

        Hey Rhoda—–I finally have it figured out!! YEAH! Nice to talk briefly an hour or so ago. I’m now getting ready to get a pedicure—-my feet are bad and nice to get one b/4 our trip! Just gave Gabe a haircut and he is traumatized, as usual, as he doesn’t want his hair to look like he got a haircut!! Debbie was here, so I tried to follow her directions. He likes it long in the front, and with his curly hair even a 1/2 inch seems to make a big difference—to him. I wish he would get out of this “long hair in the front” thing!!! He is so fussy about his hair—worse than the big boys.
        So must get out the door as Drew is coming over for a haircut about 2:00. Take care of yourself, and hugs for you and the boys!

  4. Becky Sprecher on said:

    I forgot to check the little boxes before I sent note above.

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Rhoda Lea

Thoughts on the Journey of Life

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