Thursday, November 17, 2011


Attention. Attention. I have an announcement to make. For the first time ever, I am responsible for the Thanksgiving turkey. Okay, so maybe it's not earth-shattering to you, but it's a big deal to me. When a family of great cooks, like mine, combines with a family of equally talented cooks, like Michael's, the culinary-challenged in the group, like me, are rarely given such a responsibility. I don't even pretend to have been the first choice, but I will rise to the challenge.
When I shared the news with my friend Lisa Young, whose hospitality is outshined only by her always abundant display of artfully and deliciously prepared food, she said, "Well, you know you have to brine the turkey." I did not know. But now I do, so I will begin to research what that means. But first, please allow me a chance to express the things for which I am thankful. 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 live each one to the fullest. I am sure of it.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to Keep?

Sign me up. I both qualify and welcome the opportunity to participate in a few reality shows. The door is wide open to any producer looking to redecorate or in any way improve my home. Same for my closet. The show What Not to Wear would love me. Tired of hearing my son call me Johnny Cash due to my tendency to wear black, I decided to branch out. I'm not sure I journeyed far enough because yesterday Geoffrey looked at me and said, "I didn't know there were so many shades of grey." (Maybe I should just begin a new reality show, My Children Try to Run My Life.)
There is one show in which I would not be able to participate: Hoarders. This show focuses on people whose homes are filled to the brim with their belongings. I love to throw things away, but cringe when my husband starts to look for a small kitchen appliance. He rummages through the cabinets saying, "I just know we have a ___." Fill in the blank: George Forman grill, tea brewer, fruit juicer, or salad shooter. Through the course of my episodes of decluttering, none them made the cut and were tossed. For some reason though, I held onto my hot rollers, a decision for which my daughter Lauren is grateful. (Upon hearing of Farrah Fawcett's death in 2009, she decided to try them as a memorial and never turned back.)
Not only do I frequently purge my home of unused items, I don't even stock a decent pantry. A recent attempt to create a meal without a trip to the grocery store was futile. All I had to work with were pork and beans, blueberry pie filling, artichokes, and marshmallow crème. Add to that the deer sausage I found in the freezer, and the fact that I'm the only one in my family who eats pork and beans, and I still had nothing. Well, nothing but a good excuse to order pizza.
So what do I keep? Photographs, cards, anything my children write, and journals. And in the absence of a well-stocked pantry, I work to obey Proverbs 3 by storing God's teachings and commands in my heart, and keeping kindness and truth so close to me that my actions and attitudes reflect my God.
What about the bad things? The times when life doesn't follow my plans? Or when disappointments threaten to cloud my days? I can't throw them out, but I can trust God to work all those things together for my good. To somehow make the bitter sweet. To make lemonade from lemons.
And speaking of lemonade, my Dad makes the best ever! It's not uncommon for me to call him and ask, "Would you like to come over and make a pitcher of lemonade?" But now I have to add, "And could you bring your juicer?"
Ronny may be reached at