Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whose Shoes Are You Wearing?

Growing up with two sisters had many advantages.  Over the years, Kay, Ann, and I have shared numerous things including rooms, secrets, advice, and clothes.  It was great having someone to talk to and truthfully answer the question, “How do I look?”
I also enjoyed going into their closets and emerging with a whole new outfit.  In fact, we even invaded my mom’s closet and proudly wore her things, too.  But we most often wore each other’s shoes.  The fact that we didn’t wear the same size never really bothered us.   We were just happy to have such a variety of footwear.  Life was pretty smooth until the day my Dad discovered we had been swapping shoes.
            “You’re not supposed to wear other people’s shoes.  You’re just going to ruin your feet.  Other shoes don’t fit right and you won’t be able to walk.” he said.
            “But Daddy,” we argued, “We’re saving you money.  You won’t have to buy as many pairs if we just share.”
            “I don’t care,” he insisted.  “I’ll buy all of you as many pairs of shoes as you want.  Just wear your own shoes.”
            I wish that I could remember if we stopped sharing shoes after that, but even as I’m typing this, I’m reminded that we still occasionally wear each other’s boots.  Sorry, Dad.  But the older I get, the more I realize how wise my parents are.  It does feel strange to wear someone else’s shoes.  Even if they are the same size, they don’t fit as well as your own shoes fit.  And think of how awkward little girls walk when they try to wear their mother’s high heels.  Wearing your own shoes just feels better.
            The same is true when we try to be like someone else and attempt to walk in their steps.  Have you ever thought that your life would be better if you just had your brother-in-law’s job, or your co-worker’s family, or your neighbor’s house?  I think that if we were somehow allowed a minute of someone else’s life it would be as awkward as walking in someone else’s shoes.  We’d probably wobble like a little girl in high heels, or trip like a little boy in his Dad’s boots.  God often reminds me of Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”  Not only does this give me peace about my future, it also encourages me to walk in the steps that my Father has laid out for me.  My steps fit me.  When I walk in my God-ordained steps I can walk confidently and securely.  But I’ve noticed that if I try to walk outside of what God has called me to do, I wobble and I trip until I return to the steps that line my own path of life.
            May contentment, grace, and joy abound as we flow in God’s will for our lives.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Balancing Soup

I can’t believe it’s nearing the end of February and I still haven’t experimented with vegetable soup. One of my favorite things about winter, along with warm scarves, cozy fireplaces, and hot chocolate, has always been my mother-in-law’s vegetable soup.
Deeply missed for different reasons every day since her death in July, today I find myself wishing for one more visit over a bowl of soup. Now, when I answer the phone, I no longer hear her voice. No more, “I made a soup. I know how you like it.” No more plastic containers of leftovers in my refrigerator.
Elise thought of her MawMaw when she showed up for shift at The Foundry in Thibodaux. The cooks wanted my daughter to taste their vegetable soup.  She looked at it and asked, “Where’s the meat?”
“Elise, it’s vegetable soup. There’s no meat in vegetable soup.”
“Well, where’s the pasta?”
“Elise, it’s vegetable soup…”
“My MawMaw’s vegetable soup always had meat and pasta. This is not vegetable soup.”
Yes, MawMaw’s soup had meat and potatoes, pasta and tomatoes, carrots, beans, and other things I can’t remember at the moment, all cooked together to produce a delicious flavor predominated by no single elements. It was the balance of all of the ingredients that resulted in the dish I miss.
Balance. Now there’s a word that crops up often. It’s the backbone of healthy diets, tires that offer a smooth ride, stable budgets, and even the scales of justice. If that’s not enough, just ask my mother, or anyone else who has suffered equilibrium problems, how important it is in your daily life.
I sometimes struggle when I try to balance the various roles I play and the activities in which I want to engage. Not surprisingly, working out at the gym is usually left behind while I fulfill my grandmother duties. Cleaning up the yard isn’t as tempting as making tutus, and cooking isn’t as enjoyable to me as reading. Regardless of how I feel, I know that a balanced life is usually healthy and productive, and yes, even enjoyable. Living a balanced life continues to be a goal.
I pray that both the grandmother and the gardener in me continue to grow; the seamstress and the chef are both given a chance to develop; and the reader realizes the need to put down the book and join her friends at the gym. Maybe I’ll bring them some vegetable soup.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Olivia Renee

Dear World,
            Some days, like today, I feel a tremendous need to apologize. Although there is plenty enough time in my day, 24 hours, the same as the President, the Pope, and the patient publisher  who honors me with a column in this paper, I don’t seem to check off many of the items on my ‘To Do’ list.
            For example, the light is streaming in from my front door and one of the sidelites. The other sidelite has the new window treatment I made following my daughter Victoria’s design. I have enough fabric, matching trim, thread, and every intention to finish this project. Stay tuned. As soon as the window covering project is complete, I will move on to Elise’s skirt. Trust me, (Elise seems to), it will not only be cute, it will be finished by the time of her cruise. I promise. So while I’m listing projects, I must confess to a smocked bonnet I’ve yet to complete, two T-shirt quilts I never started, and a couple of ideas for a book.
            But have you heard? My second grandchild, Olivia Renee Roth, was born on the first day of February, at 8:29 p.m. I’m very sure about the time of her birth because I snapped a picture of the clock as soon as I saw her for the first time. Then I jumped into action. I needed to capture  her first moments of life and I did. Over and over again. In addition, I took a few pictures with my phone and sent them to the anxious friends and family members in the waiting room. And all the while, I was trying to catch the emotions spilling out of my heart so that I could offer them up to God in silent, yet fervent prayers of thanksgiving. Oh, how I love this new baby!
            So, while on the outside, I may look like a scattered,  middle-aged woman whose dreams include reaching her driver’s license weight, on the inside, I am running. Many times during the day and sometimes in the middle of the night, I run to the side of my Father for a moment. Sometimes for a favor, but many, many times I just need to say ‘thanks.’
            Thank You, God, for the joy I experience over sunlight pouring through an uncovered window, Victoria’s creativity, and the ability to find more enjoyment in sewing than shopping. (But it’s a close race.) Thank You ringing of my phone, and the beeping of a text message, and the precious people behind each one, but most of all for the ability to talk to You without the need of technology. And thank You, thank You, thank You, for another limb on my family tree. Olivia’s life has already brought a change to mine. My heart has again grown to comfortably and gratefully embrace her.
            Soon enough I will return to my projects, but please be patient, and quiet, while I rock Olivia. It’s now my top priority.
With love, Ronny