65 and Still Alive!

Thanksgiving. My mind wanders back through years of various emotions. A whisper, a gentle song begins in my soul:rhondafireplacecropjpg

“Count your blessings name them one by one.

Count your blessings see what God has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one.

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Counting my blessings…a blessed memory like an-old-time-movie began playing in my mind…I was kneeling on the floor, my two little boys beside me. Our elbows were on the lower bunk mattress (the youngest son’s bed) our hands folded in prayer.

I smiled as I remembered their words, and was surprised to realize most of their prayers started with THANK YOU! And went something like this:

“Thank You for my daddy, and thank You for my mommy, and thank You for my brother, and thank you for Spot (yes, we really had a dog named Spot, and Rex swore that white dog with black spots just followed him home) and thank You for . . .” And sometimes the boys would look around and thank God for things they saw in their room. The time was unhurried. And I listened as my little boys talked with God. These are sacred moments, sacred memories, and I was blessed. I’m sure their Creator God was even more blessed as Rex and Luke turned their hearts and prayers toward Him.

After reflecting on the childhood prayers of Rex and Luke, I continued counting my many blessings:

“Thank you Heavenly Father for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You for keeping Your promises. Thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayers. Thank You for working all things together for good. Thank You for saving my soul. Thank you for saving the souls of my loved ones. Thank You for loving those I love with an everlasting love. Thank You for loving me with an everlasting love. Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! I love You! I love You! I love You!”

WOW–The Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth and everything in it (that includes you and me) really does love us and wants a relationship with us. He truly does! And He made it possible through Jesus Christ, His only Son, who opened the door for us to talk to Him anytime, anywhere, about anything. And to think He doesn’t reject us, even when we talk to Him about everything (even though nothing is hidden from Him anyway). He really talks to us! It’s not a one-way conversation. Is that amazing or what?!

There are many examples of Jesus praying in the Bible–examples of Jesus talking to His Father. Early in the morning. All night. Here and there and everywhere. When I think about Jesus praying, I don’t believe He left the place where He had talked with Father God, and Father God stayed behind. No, Father God was always with Jesus.

And that’s the way it is with you and me. He is with us all the time.

Yes, I make specific time with God, my “prayer closet” (whatever words you want to call that time) and when I leave my “prayer closet” I know He is right there with me, all day, 24/7. He never leaves me. He did not stay behind in my “prayer closet” waiting for me until the next day. I can talk to my God anytime, anywhere. And He can talk to me anytime, anywhere…AND HE DOES!

Recently, I had one of my best birthdays ever; a very happy day! I shared with Gary, “I’m 65 and still alive!” It’s amazing, especially when I think about my mother-in-law going home to be with Jesus at 42 years old, my mother at 48 years old, and my youngest sister at 42 years old. I’M 65 AND STILL ALIVE!

Gary asked me what I wanted for my special birthday.

I shared my heart, “A date with you, just being together…enjoying God’s creation, just being with Him. I want to get up early, go out for breakfast, drive the country roads in Snohomish County, out-there-in-the-middle-of-no-where, where there’s lots of peace and quiet and enjoy the magnificent Fall colors.”

Gary opened his laptop, “That’s what we’ll do!” He started googling, found the restaurant and country roads.

That night laying in bed I talked with my God, “Abba Father, for my birthday tomorrow I ask You for a beautiful sunny day.” As I dozed off I remember thinking, “It would be wonderful to see Mt. Rainier”.

The alarm clock beeped, excited I jumped out of bed, hurried down the hall to the dining room. I pushed up the window blinds. The sun was coming up! I heard my Abba Father speak to my heart, “Happy Birthday Precious; I love you!”

In AWE happy tears flowed, “Abba Father, thank You! This IS the day that You have made! The sun is rising!!! OH, WOW! You truly do more than we ask, think or imagine (just as Your Word says). You are the DO MORE God! Thank You for answering my prayers for a BEAUTIFUL SUNNY DAY!  A-BEAUTIFUL-SUNNY-DAY!!! You are so good. I love You so much, too!  THANK YOU for giving me the joy of living to 65 years old and counting!”

View out the dining room window…WOW SUNRISE!

Ready to begin our day, Gary opened the sliding glass door, we stepped outside. He continued walking to the car. I stopped on the patio steps, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and overwhelmed by His answer to tHIS daughter’s prayer. Across the bay fog hovered along the shores of Whidbey Island. Not a cloud in the sky! Folks, NO CLOUDS! That’s rare!

And I took this picture.  Folks, NO CLOUDS! That’s rare!

Chauffeur Gary was waiting for me when I jumped into the passenger seat of the car. He shifted the car into drive and we were on our way to celebrate my birthday ALL DAY.  Driving East on the country roads, the Cascade Mountains in the distance, miles and miles of majestic beauty! Where was everyone? Probably still in bed. Getting up at sunrise is sooooo worth it!  Mountains and forests and lakes, oh my!!!

Mountains and forests and lakes, oh my!!!

Driving along the country roads we saw many farm barn homes (my favorite!) surrounded by evergreen trees mixed in with the reds, golds, oranges, and deep burgundy colors of the autumn trees. Plus the fruit orchards and harvested fields. I’m a country gal at heart and took way too many pictures!

Gary pulled into our first stop–Maltby’s Cafe in the small town of Maltby. There is ALWAYS a line out the door…BUT if you get there when the sun is coming up…you beat that line. Our friendly hostess led us to the table of our choice.

Gary and I talked and talked (or maybe it was me that talked so much and Gary listened a lot!)…and we enjoyed each other as we ate our breakfast and just relaxed on my special day! By the time we were ready to leave, we were stuffed; could not eat one more bite. Maltby’s boasts that they have the biggest cinnamon rolls in the world! IN THE WORLD! They’re bigger than my man’s hands. Yup, see the picture for proof! That cinnamon roll is my Birthday Cake TO GO! OMGreat Cake!!!

First stop, Maltby’s Cafe in the little town of Maltby. We beat the crowds. My Birthday Breakfast was delicious!
Maltby’s boasts that they have the biggest cinnamon rolls in the world! IN THE WORLD! They’re bigger than my man’s hands. That’s my Birthday Cake! OMGreat Cake!!!

Our bellies satisfied, leaving Maltby’s, we walked past the people lined up along the wall, out the door, into the parking lot. Almost to our car I noticed an old planter…the pansies caught my eye.

“OK, Abba Father, You have my attention.” I walked over to the planter and stared. The pansies had seen their better days of Summer…now Fall, their petals fading and leaves wilting. Pansies were my Mama’s favorite flower. I remember her telling my three siblings and me, “See the pansies’ faces?  Watch throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky, their faces follow the sun all day.” And they do! Even these “last-of-their-days” pansies were all facing toward the sun. We would do well to learn from these pansies. May our faces always be turned toward the face of the Son of God. Life passes quickly…and then there’s forever. FOREVER!  

Mama would tell us four kids, “See the pansy’s faces…watch how their faces always follow the sun throughout the day.” And they do. Even these “last of their days” pansies are all faced toward the sun. We would do well to learn from these pansies. May our faces always be turned upon the face of the Son…of God. Life passes quickly…and then forever. FOREVER!

A special blessing, my Mama was born October 15. I was born 21 years later October 18. Mama and I would celebrate our birthdays together. So when Mama passed (December 4, 1980) I missed our times of celebrating together. God is so good! There are 365 days in a year. Of my six grandchildren, two were born in October. A granddaughter born October 12 and a grandson born October 14. Thank You, Abba Father; You give me more joy than I could ever imagine!

Getting my soul-tank filled up with God’s Creation, we continued our drive on the country roads in the Evergreen State. We had no idea where this road was taking us we were just enjoying the ride. Rolling down the windows we breathed in the fresh air. Amazing views. Blue skies. Sunshine. Greenest greens. Brightest Fall colors. A lake…A LAKE!

Getting my soul-tank filled up with God’s Creation!

The road we were on began to slowly veer toward the right and  we were driving along side a big beautiful lake. Within a few miles there was a sign that read “Lake Sammamish” with parking along the side of the road. We parked, got out of the car, and that’s when we noticed a path that led down to the lake. Guess what we did? Yup, we took the path and began walking toward the lake.

As we walked along the lake we saw the weirdest thing. A speed boat. Well, that wasn’t weird but there was a water skier being pulled behind the speed boat through that freezing cold water. And, although it was a beautiful, sunny day…it was 49 degrees outside! I was compelled to get pictures of this weird sight. I took pictures but was not satisfied. I took videos but was not satisfied. I wanted to get closer.


It was then that I noticed a path leading down to a dock. Oh good! The boat pulling the skier was circling the lake again. As fast as I could, I hurried down the path, running to the end of the dock. Oh no! The boat sped by…I couldn’t get my iPhone ready in time for the picture, it was too late. My eyes glued to the boat…hoping they would circle around one more time…the boat and water skier becoming smaller and smaller as they drove further and further away from me. I hadn’t even realized I’d turned from facing west to facing south.


There was something Abba Father was excited to show me….and at first I didn’t see what was right in front of me.

OMGlorious! Tears streamed down my face, and I could sense the presence of God. God had used that weird sight…like a “burning bush” to get my attention.

I saw “her”. I stood on that dock looking at this majestic snow-covered 14,500′ mountain. MT. RAINIER RIGHT THERE!!! 

I heard the still, small voice of my Abba Father again, “Happy Birthday Precious! SURPRISE!”

I responded with laughter through my happy tears, “Abba Father, You sure got me good! You must have been enjoying a good laugh, watching Your daughter (me) thinking I’m going after a boat and water skier…when You knew You had something much more meaningful to show me and say to me. Abba, thank You for the wonderful Birthday SURPRISE! You’re wonderful! You’re awesome!”

I took this picture of Mt. Rainier from the dock.  Abba Father, I love You; I love Your SURPRISES!  Then His whisper, “Like I told you before, ‘I love you more!”
Another picture from the dock…more of Abba’s beautiful creation. And to think He calls US His MASTERPIECES!  THAT’S WOW!!!

Finally meeting back up with Gary, I was so excited showing him my pictures and videos I took of Mt. Rainier…and we continued our walk along the lake.

What could possibly happen next?

If you know me…by now you can probably guess. Yup, DEER. A doe with her fawn.

One of my favorite verses in the God Book is, “As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul longs for You” (Psalm 42:1).


It is my prayer and heart’s desire FOR YOU AND ME that we would always long after God. He so wants a relationship with us. He wants to talk with us Friend to friend.

God has used the Precious In HIS Sight Calendar to help me consistently pray God’s Word for my loved ones…and something else happened through the years that totally took me by surprise–I got to know my Abba more and more .  Turning God’s Words into prayers for my family…turned into God’s Words being hidden in my heart.


This month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Every verse on the Precious in HIS Sight Prayer Calendar is about being thankful.

Click on the Calendar and it enlarges in a new window. Look up the scripture reference for the day in your Bible and turn it into a prayer for your loved ones. I have found that Scripture Prayers are powerful! The Prayer Calendar has been a great tool that God has used in my life helping me faithfully pray for my loved ones. I print my Calendar and keep it in my Bible. I encourage you to do that too.

After praying for your loved ones, I encourage you to do something else. Read the verse AND MAKE IT ABOUT YOU. Read the verse for the day slowly. Pause. Think about YOU– His child who He loves dearly, then “look around the room” (like I shared about how Rex and Luke used to do as little boys…looking for more things to pray about/be thankful for.)

What are you thankful for? What do you see around you that you are thankful for? What does God show you? Then make it a Thanksgiving Prayer to Almighty God. I’m posting my PRAYER AND THANKS this month on FB. Join my.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? Do they include being with family and friends? I hope so. But, whatever you do, be sure to include the Lord–from whom all blessings flow.

And talking about blessings, Psalm 127:3b reads, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” Let your children and grandchildren know (no matter how old they are) that they are a gift from God. Let them know you thank God for them. Let them know how much you love them and that you are praying for them.

We can approach the throne of God with thanksgiving knowing, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”(James 5:16b).


On my Birthday, I took hundreds of pictures and some videos too. This SUNSET from our patio was the last picture I took.  WHAT A BLESSED WOW BIRTHDAY FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET! THANK YOU, GARY! THANK YOU, ABBA!


“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

His love endures forever.”

Psalm 118:1





Published by

Gary Barrett

President and Founder of Deaf Ministries Worldwide

8 thoughts on “65 and Still Alive!

  1. Dear Rhonda, Amazing grace! I love those details, every step of the way on your birthday and what your day was like with God along the way. Amazing grace! Truly God loves you! Thank you for sharing this blessing devotion I have ever seen especially seeing Mt. Rainer. I know it’s December. I just had extra time to read your precious devotion.
    Love and hug,

    1. Dear Dorothy, You are a wonderful encouragement to me. You are gracious and God’s love flows from you to others. Pray that you and Tony have a Wondrous Christmas enjoying the presence of the Prince of Peace–our Savior and Lord, JESUS!. Christian love and Holy hugs to you both.

  2. I love your sharing about the wondrous of God and life, Gary, Birthday trip and treats. God is an awesome God. Share more stories and pixs too. Diane

    1. Dear Diane, Thank you for your encouragement and kind comments. It truly was a wondrous Birthday! I look forward to sharing more stories and pixs. YES! God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!

  3. Dear Rhonda, As I read your birthday adventure, I was also taken back. The restaurant looks amazing.When you left the restaurant and saw the planter with the pansies I wondered if you remembered they were Mom’s favorite flowers and then I read you did. My eyes filled with tears as I finished Precious in His sight. God truly does answer prayers as he gave you a beautiful sunny day, and at the end of your trip you saw Mt Rainier so majestic standing up in her glory to the heavens.You are blessed with the GIFT of writing and I’m praying he answers your prayer of being able to write full time. He really does go beyond what we can think or ask. Thank you for sharing and BLESSING me with what you did on your 65th birthday and I LOVE the pictures. I LOVE YOU !!!!

    1. My Dear Sweet Little Sister Rosie, I’m so glad you shared this with me, and now I’m the one with tears in my eyes. God has been faithful to our family! How could we ever thank Him enough?!!! Even all eternity is not enough time to express how thankful we are for all His love, mercy, grace, faithfulness…the list is endless!!! I loved you before you were even born! I LOVE YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER!!!

  4. HI RHONDA!!! By 6:00 am I saw Deaf Ministries Worldwide by on my email name, I 😭and 😭for God is so good all the time. Can’t stop crying 😭 seriously because I really do love you both including Gary very, very much. Excuse me, I better stop right now. Be in touch with you soon. 🙏❤️SH

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Precious Sheila, Thank you for sharing. I thank God for touching you and blessing you as you read Precious in HIS Sight. Truly our God has been so very good and faithful to you and me through all these years since we met. Even in all the ups and downs through life, God has kept His Word to be with us every step of the way. May you sense God’s love and presence in a special way today. We have much to be thankful for!!! In Christian love and holy hugs.

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