Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Marriage Sharpens Me

Michael and I met when I was 16 years old, and it wasn’t long before he said we were going to get married. I’m not sure how many girls wish to discuss a wedding at 16, but I was not one of them. We went in and out of each other’s lives until, six years later, we were married. I still didn’t think I was ready. “I don’t like to cook,” I said. Ever the salesman, he replied, “If you marry me, you’ll never have to cook. I’ll do it all.”
We’re very different, and at times I’ve become confused and annoyed by his refusal to be like me. I’m impulsive; he analyzes everything. I love a light-filled home; he wants it dark. I like to go out for dinner; he’d rather go to a movie, which I consider buying a seat in the dark where I can’t talk or even make a phone call.
To read or write, I like total silence, and preferably an empty house. He can work at the kitchen table in the midst of people and noise. At least I don’t disturb him by cooking. He reacts very quickly to negative circumstances. I take a lot longer to arrive at anger, but when I do, I camp for a while. Michael moves on and never looks back.
Our children are well aware of our differences. At an early age, Geoffrey named his father’s vehicle, The Library, because of the silence his father sought while driving. Both of us like clean cars, but we approach the goal in different ways. When Michael drives my car, he makes snide little comments about the contents of my trash bag. “Wow, lots of garbage in there.” Or, “When’s the last time you emptied this thing?” I don’t respond, nor do I remind him of what once happened when we were in his car, but I’ll tell you.
Michael was driving and I had just finished drinking a Coke. Offering the empty can to him I asked, “Would you please put this in the trash bag?”
“I’d rather not,” he said, “It will take up too much room. I don’t like to fill the bag.”
“No problem,” I said, and threw the can in the back seat, shocking both of us. I still can’t believe I did that, nor can I believe we both just burst out laughing.
Despite our differences, or perhaps because of them, last week we celebrated 29 years of marriage. Bill Gothard once said, “If two people agree on everything, one of them isn’t necessary.”
Not only are we both necessary in this marriage, I believe we have both become better, more patient, more flexible individuals through the course of married life. Whenever I think of our differences, I also think of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Yes, we’re different, with different roles, different temperaments, and different outlooks on life. But much to my children’s disappointment, neither of us enjoys cooking.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Thankful

Can we all agree not to rush Thanksgiving? I realize the stores are already displaying Christmas trees, gifts, and candy. I understand the desire for Christmas music, and I admit to already collecting Christmas lists from my children. Well, two of them. Monique and Geoffrey were the only ones to respond, so I guess Lauren, Elise, and Victoria want to be surprised. But please allow me a chance to enjoy this week of Giving Thanks. It won’t take long. I promise. I’m only thankful for three things.
First of all, I’m thankful for the past. My sister, Kay, and I have a pact. We will not become people who long to relive those days gone by. Although the past holds many wonderful memories, there are also times tucked between the good which were bad. To be honest, some were awful days we never wish to repeat. Kay and I agree to be thankful for the blessings of the good days, appreciate the growth resulting from the bad ones, and forever be grateful for God’s ability to weave them all together for our good.
Next, I’m thankful for the present; the gift of today. I only have this moment, so I’m going to squeeze all of the life I can out of every minute. I want to live in such a way that the people in my life have no reason to doubt my love. Before most of them even open their eyes in the morning, I have already brought their names before God in prayer. In addition, today I am going to work diligently to complete the projects I have begun so I can start new ones. This gives me little time to weep over the past, or worry about the future.
And speaking of the future brings me to my third area of thankfulness. I am so grateful for the days to come. They are all in God’s hands, and I trust Him. I commit the unknown future to the well-known God, Who said in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As the days are revealed, He will provide the wisdom and grace to handle each one. I am sure of it.
While Thanksgiving Day comes once a year, taking a few minutes to thank God for all He has done should be daily. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leave a Legacy

Although I don’t dwell there, it’s not unusual for me to reflect upon the past. Planting flowers brings back happy memories of my grandmother and her love of the garden. Old, and even recent, photographs cause me to smile as I remember the occasion which provoked the click of the camera lens. And when I’m in a tight spot, I remember the many times God has either rescued me, or given me grace to endure.
Lately, I’ve found myself swimming in two different streams of thought. I’ve been reflecting on the history of my hometown, Reserve, Louisiana, and planning for the future as I contemplate the letter I will place in the 50 Year Time Capsule.
Reserve is in the midst of a Sesquicentennial Celebration, the 150th anniversary of its founding. The past has been remembered through a Lecture Series and a documentary which weaves historic photographs and interviews into a film sure to be viewed and enjoyed for years to come. (The film will be televised on WLAE, Saturday, November 13, at 9:00 p.m.)Believing there is no better way to preserve the history of Reserve than by transferring it to the future generation, the Sesquicentennial Committee sponsored an Educator’s Workshop which encouraged the inclusion of oral history projects in the classroom. Our personal histories should be passed on to those who follow in our footsteps.
A Fun Day is planned to celebrate the present with the best of Reserve’s food and music, along with games and activities for the next generation. This event, on Sunday, November 14, at Regala Park, from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., is also the event at which a letter and photo may be submitted for the Time Capsule. And here’s where this column takes a peek into my home.
Always the planner, I wanted to be sure my children would attend the opening of the Time Capsule. I asked each of them to make a mental note to show up in 50 years so they could read my letter.
I phoned Monique at work to inform her of the event scheduled to take place in 2060. “I don’t know,” she said, “that’s a big commitment.” She thinks that’s a big commitment?! She’s in the midst of planning a wedding!
Elise took my request quite seriously, and responded, “When I’m 69? I hope I remember! What if I forget? Tell Victoria to remind me! Where will it be?”
Lauren and Victoria were together when I told them the news. “I really don’t think I’ll remember,” Victoria instantly said. She asked her sister, “Lauren, will you remind me?”
“Yes,” Lauren assured her, “I’ll pick you up. We can go together.” I hope they remember to include Elise.
My parents just happened to walk into my kitchen right after I asked Geoff to prioritize this event. “Mom, we talk so much,” he said, “Can’t you tell me everything you want to say right now?”
Turning to my Dad, who is near the age Geoff will be when the Time Capsule is opened, I asked, “What would it mean to you to read a 50 year old letter from your parents right now?” For a man of many words, my Dad found none with which to form a response. Sometimes the absence of words relays more emotion than the most eloquent of speeches.
Although I will add a letter to the Time Capsule, I’d like to warn, I mean, assure Geoff of my intention to tell him everything I need to right now. It’s part of my response to something I read years ago. “If you were going to die soon, who would you call? What would you say? Why are you waiting?”
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Made Any Pearls Lately?

Life’s full of surprises for someone like me. I buy, then hide gifts, and eventually discover them. Recently I was excited to find another one while cleaning out my desk. I quickly lifted the lid of the small white box to expose a double strand of pearls. Instantly I remembered buying the necklace for Victoria’s 13th birthday. Or the Christmas she was 13. Let’s just say I remembered part of the reason for the purchase.
What type of child wants pearls when she’s 13? The type who relaxes by listening to classical music, and who, for her 10th birthday, wanted and received a mixer, cake decorating kit, and various baking accessories so she would be ready to run a restaurant. Victoria and her cousin, Tiffani, dreamed of the day they would open BananaWasps, the name they chose since Applebee’s was already taken. This is my Victoria.
As I looked at the pearls, I was faced with a decision. Give them to her immediately as an early (or three years late) birthday gift, or keep them until the actual celebration? Not trusting myself to find them again, I called Victoria into my room.
“I just found something I bought you three years ago,” I announced. She smiled broadly and quickly looked inside the box.
“Pearls!” she shouted, then carefully dangled them between her fingers as she seemed to examine each one. “I was just looking for my pearl earrings. Do you know where they are?” Great, I thought, she’s just like me.
I jumped over the hurdle of the lost earrings and ran toward the goal of the object lesson for tonight. “Remember how pearls are made?” I asked, as we both sat down on my bed. Before waiting for a response I continued, “When a foreign substance, like a grain of sand, intrudes upon the quiet world of the oyster, the oyster reacts quickly. A substance which lies within the oyster instantly begins to coat the irritant, resulting in the production of a pearl. While I admire many gems, pearls amaze me for they were produced inside of a living creature.
“When we stay close to God, He shows us, too, how to transform irritations into beautiful qualities in our lives. When a trial intrudes upon my life, I want God’s grace to cover the pain, and produce a pearl of wisdom for the future. Just think, one day you’ll tell the story of the pearl to your child.”
“Mom, it’s safe to say I’ll never have these conversations with my kids.”
“Well, do you think one day you’ll give them something you hid three years earlier?”
“Oh, yes,” she said as she placed her new (well, three years old) pearls around her neck.
“Then, that’s a start.”
She laughed while she hugged me, unaware of how much I was thanking God for her life, and knowing beyond doubt that Victoria will be a far better mother than I have ever been.
Ronny may be reached at