Friday, August 17, 2012

Prayers for My Parish

In retrospect, it doesn’t really matter what I intended to write for today's column. The notes I had made during the week and the anecdotes lodged in my frontal lobe were shaken from their place of importance when my son Geoffrey and I sat down to watch the news early on the morning of August 16th.  It was then we learned of the assault on four St. John the Baptist Parish deputies which resulted in the deaths of Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche, and the hospitalization of injured deputies Michael Boyington and Jason Triche.
            The news jolted my community and almost every conversation I've engaged in since has included a reference to the tragedy. Sometimes, many times, I talk too much. Whether speaking to friends or praying to God, I use my ability to just go on and on filling up the empty spaces with more and more noise. The early morning shoot-out left even me at a loss for words. My heart still aches for the families and friends of the victims, for our Sheriff Mike Tregre and the men and women he leads, and for our parish as we grieve. And at times like this, my prayers become very, very simple and are most often whispers of 'help' amidst tears.
            I didn't need the command from 1 Timothy 2:1,2 to remind me to pray, but the timeless instruction found in those verses bears repeating: "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity."
            May our prayers for the victims, the families, and our law enforcement only increase.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I'm not sure what I'm going to do when the Olympic games are over. I'm not even joking. In the short time since the opening ceremonies in London, my family has logged in many hours watching athletes compete for the Gold. The entertainment value of the games only dims when compared to my family's conversations during the events.
            The tension of a backstroke swimming race was shattered when Elise blurted out, "I can't believe we're all sitting around watching people swim backwards."
            When a member of the US gymnastics team stepped out of bounds during her floor exercise, our disappointment quickly turned to confusion as Lauren explained, "Those Chinese girls won't step on the line. They're Communists."
            Geoffrey, who remains quiet during the Olympics, and throughout life, was unimpressed as the announcers boasted of a rider in the Equestrian event. "So who gets the medal? The rider or the horse? The horse is doing all the work!"
            I managed to avoid the Olympic spoilers Geoffrey sought. He knew the results of most of the competitions before they were shown. Michael usually did, too, except for one day. It was the day Michael Phelps was swimming for his record-breaking 19th Olympic medal. My husband asked that no one inform him of the results of the race beforehand. He spent the day without the news, radio, or internet. He should have just avoided Elise because she walked into the living room soon after the race started and said, "Is this the one he wins and breaks the record?" My family will never, ever, not in a billion years be allowed to work as sports commentators.
            I have an immense appreciation of these world class athletes, I thought as I finished off a bowl of ice cream after another gym-less day. I hold my breath when they swim, gasp when they fall, and lean forward as though my efforts will help them to cross the finish line victoriously. But although they are the best of the best, they are not perfect. While I anxiously await the judges' scoring of the performances, I thank God that He does not judge like the judges for the Olympics.
            It must be frustrating for the Olympic athletes to have trained so long and worked so hard, then judged on a performance of just a few minutes, or even seconds. I'm grateful that God is with me everyday, constantly aware of my actions, thoughts, and even my motives, then judges me accordingly. If I fall, I don't get a deduction like the gymnasts. I have the opportunity to get back up and go on, not even getting penalized if I ask for help.  The important thing is that I admit my mistake and try again. It isn't always easy to stay balanced on a narrow path, but with my God at my side, all things are possible. I also find such peace in knowing God will not choose only one winner. I am judged independently, therefore there is no need for me to compare myself to anyone else.
            What am I going to do when the Olympic flame is extinguished? I may not be sure of my life after the Olympics, but I am quite certain of life after death. In the words of 1 John 5:13, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." We are all capable of winning the Gold. In fact, in Heaven, the streets we walk on will be paved with it.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Elise's Moving Day. Take Five.

Elise is moving. Again. This is her fifth move in three years. I can't believe it, either, but her fourth year at Nicholls will be spent at yet another address.
            My daughter's packing style mimics my own. She sorts as she goes, verbalizing both her thoughts and actions. Although there to help, I spent a few minutes observing.
            "Where do I begin?" Elise began as she scanned her large bedroom. I was hoping she had a plan that was better than mine. Or at least more honest. I told her to put all the stuff by the side of the road, tell her Daddy she was robbed, and go shopping. Now, don't judge me just yet. If you had seen her room, you'd understand. It looked a little like a crime scene, and a lot like my sewing space when I'm in the middle of a project. I get it. School, work and friends leave little time for cleaning, hanging up clothes, and organizing. In the midst of this clothing chaos, a Scentsy warmer, prominently displayed on an otherwise crowded nightstand, filled the room with a sweet fragrance. I continued to watch the fifth episode of 'Elise's Moving Day.'
            "This is Victoria's. This is Victoria's. This, too," she repeated over and over as she handed me her sister's clothes. Items belonging to friends were placed in a plastic bag for later distribution. Suitcases and laundry baskets were filled with her things, and although we were far from finished in the bedroom, we moved to the kitchen. What was not thrown or given away was transported to the condo she'll be sharing with Nikki, her best friend. I was little surprised, but a lot more pleased as I watched her clean up to leave the house ready for the next tenants. (Or to get back her deposit, but please let me just believe she cleaned because it was the right thing to do.)
            If you've moved lately, you can relate. Maybe your residence has remained the same for decades, but it's likely you've still made a few moves to a new job, church, ministry, relationship, or a different season of life. Some moves we direct ourselves, many are beyond our control. Births, deaths, and other people's decisions often force changes we neither want nor welcome. It doesn't really matter. Moving and adjusting to new circumstances are part of the journey. My prayer is always for smooth transitions.
            I was a little sad about Elise moving from the larger than necessary house to a bedroom with half the space she's accustomed to. She's not. Elise is excited because she is looking at the benefits. She's moving forward and looking forward to this new chapter of her young life. When moving into a new area of life, I need to force myself to look at the positive changes.
            Elise sorted as she packed, throwing out what no longer works. Whether it's a broken hair straightener or a burnt pizza pan, unproductive methods or life-draining thoughts, only bring what you need to your next place.
            Stay flexible. To make the most of her new room, Elise's dresser will hold her TV, her desk will double as her nightstand, and her bookcase will be given to her niece, Adeline. Old relationships don't have to be discarded in new phases of life, but sometimes the nature of the friendship changes.
            And please remember to clean up. My goal is to leave every place a little better than it was when I got there. Thanks to Scentsy, Elise's old bedroom will smell fresh for a while after she's moved. May the essence of who we are linger long after we've left.
Ronny may be reached at