Thursday, March 21, 2013


           Although it’s officially Spring, I am refusing the urge to dig in and add flowers to my yard. I just can’t. My Maw Maw Jello always told me to wait until after Easter to plant new flowers. Though she’s been gone for many years, her gardening advice lives on and I don’t hesitate to share it with my children.
            I can’t wait to tell my granddaughters about their great, great grandmother, the one who crocheted the beautiful edges of the baby blankets they now use. I sure hope Adeline and Olivia want to hear my stories of her because I have so many of them to share.
I’m even more anxious to share the Word of God with the next generation, and like I did with my own children, I will tell the Easter story many, many times throughout the year. The Resurrection of Jesus should be celebrated daily.
            As a child, I never understood why it was necessary for Jesus to die. I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around the idea of a sinless man dying a brutal death. Now, when I think of Easter, my thoughts go back to the Garden of Eden. 
Created in the image of God and clothed with His Glory, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Once they disobeyed God, they realized their nakedness. Their guilt brought shame so they attempted to clothe themselves with fig leaves, and then tried to hide from the presence of God.
            Before banishing them from the Garden, God made them garments from the skin of animals. Animals were sacrificed to cover the guilt and shame brought on by the sin of Adam and Eve. For many years after that, people sacrificed animals to atone for their sins, while prophets predicted God would send a Messiah to redeem man.
            John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. God had sent His Son to be the sacrifice for the sins of the people. Although tempted in every area, Jesus was without sin, yet He willingly became the final sacrifice for our sins. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” I Peter 2:24
            I could make a lengthy list of the sins from which I’ve been forgiven, the sicknesses from which I’ve been healed, and the freedom I’ve found from financial difficulties, fear, and mental torment, all as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice. As difficult as each one was to bear in my life, they were spread out over a 53 year period. What astounds me is that Jesus bore not only the contents of my list, but the lists of everyone at one time. This is a pain I cannot imagine, endured by a Savior I will not deny.
            Although my sins were enough to nail Jesus to the cross, they couldn’t keep Him there. Easter Sunday marks His triumph over death. May we daily experience the results of His sacrifice, and live in the freedom He so willingly purchased for us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

They're Getting Married

When I noticed one of the prongs on my diamond ring had bent, I put it away. Maybe the time had come. Maybe the conversation I had planned to have with my son Geoffrey was near.
                I got engaged without a diamond ring. (The sounds you just heard were my daughters wailing and moaning and gasping for breath.) Right out of college, Michael and I began planning for our wedding and decided to put our money on appliances, furniture, and car payments. In retrospect, I would have gone the traditional engagement ring route. Thirty one years has made me older, hopefully wiser, but apparently less practical.
                Following the birth of my second child, Geoffrey, Michael surprised me with a diamond ring. Sometime, over the course of the years, when I realized my family was complete and Geoffrey was to be my only son, I knew, just knew, he would be offered the diamond when he selected his wife. (Don’t worry, that’s still my daughters wailing and moaning and gasping for breath.)
                Not long after I had put the ring away, one or more of Geoffrey’s sisters asked him if he was going to marry Ashley Schwertz, the young lady he had been dating. (We’re not sure how long they’ve dated. He was initially very worried about her meeting us and hid us from her for a while. Imagine that!) As their conversation continued, I knew it was time to offer the diamond.
                Geoffrey selected the setting for the ring, received permission from Ashley’s father, and planned the proposal. We all breathed a little easier when this sweet elementary schoolteacher from Cut Off said, “Yes!”
                The whirlwind of wedding preparations has begun. My daughters almost gently advised me to stay out of it, “It’s not your party this time. Ashley’s family has their own plans and ideas and they don’t need your help.” Like that was going to stop me.
Seriously, I’ve been very good and only offer advice when questioned. And even more seriously, Ashley already has everything organized and is making much progress for the November 23rd wedding.  She even surprised me by asking me to join her and her Mom when they shop for her wedding dress.
But wait! This may be unnecessary. I’ll just let her wear my wedding dress! (The sounds you now hear are Ashley wailing and moaning and gasping for air.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Korah and Company

I had to read it again. Did a man really fall to his death when a sinkhole opened up under his bed? What is unfathomable to me was Jeff Bush’s reality when the 37 year old of Seffner, Florida died on the last day of February after the earth beneath him collapsed. Awakened by his cries for help, his brother Jeremy raced to the scene, jumped in, but was unable to locate Jeff. It sounds like a National Enquirer headline, the plot of a science fiction movie, or even a story from the Old Testament.
            Yep. Right there in the Bible, in the middle of Moses’ trials with the people he led out of slavery in Egypt, is the account of the earth opening up to consume Korah. And this is where I’ll close the story of Jeff Bush, a man dearly loved by his family and friends. A man who, according to the home’s owner Leland Wicker would, “give you the shirt off of his back... he'd do anything for you… he'd say, 'Is there anything I can do for you? Can I help you do anything?' He was just a fabulous guy." It wasn’t Bush’s life, but rather his death which caused me to spend the past few days flipping through the Old Testament in search the story of Korah. I found it in Numbers 16.
            Korah, an Israelite leader discontent in his role of assisting in the service of the tabernacle, rallied a group of men to challenge Moses. Their desire for more power ended the next day with their destruction. Korah, joined by Dathan, Abiram and their families, were swept away when the earth split apart and swallowed them. Fire then consumed the 250 men who were allies of Korah.
            One simple line in Numbers 26:11 is significant to the continuation of the story, “The line of Korah, however, did not die out.” So what did they do? What comes next for the family of Korah? Did they learn from his life, or did they repeat his mistake?
            The answer lies in I Chronicles 9:19. They “were responsible for guarding the thresholds of the Tent just as their fathers had been responsible for guarding the entrance to the dwelling of the Lord.” But this isn’t even the end of their story. A visit to the book of Psalms reveals the hearts of these servants of God. Among others,  Korah’s descendants are credited with writing Psalm 84. Verse 10 seems to summarize their view of their ministry, “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
            The evidence of Korah’s effect on their lives is also seen in Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way…”
            I need to read that again.
Ronny may be reached at

Friday, March 1, 2013

Where's Your Storage Unit?

There’s a storage unit near my home that I admire every time I pass by. I’ve occasionally said, “If I ever have anything to store, this is where I’ll bring it.” The person in the car with me, usually my husband, typically responds with a comment such as, “The way you get rid of stuff, you’ll never have anything to store.” Remarks such as these are likely criticisms, but I choose to take them as compliments.
            It’s true. It’s not a question of being right or wrong, I just don’t enjoy hanging on to many things. I’m quick to give away items I no longer use, and throw away things that cannot or should not be used. A transcript of my son Geoffrey’s thoughts at this point of the story would read, “What about all of your journals?”  I would have to admit he is correct. Journals, pictures, and anything my children have written are tucked away in a file cabinet, pretty boxes, and on my computer’s hard drive.  Other than that, I don’t keep much.       
Nor have I amassed any interesting or valuable collections, unless you consider a file cabinet, pretty boxes, and a hard drive a collection. (Geoff does.) My friend Amy used to scour the city of New Orleans in search of the best and the brightest objects to add to her mother’s owl collection. Finally, after opening another year’s worth of gifts bearing the images of owls, Amy’s mom took the floor. “I have an announcement to make. I am no longer collecting owls. I am now collecting diamonds.” Hmmm… now that’s an idea…
            I just figure the less I own, the less chance I’ll have of becoming attached to things.  I think my daughter Elise is beginning to feel that way as well. At the end of a recent trip to a large city, during the daylight hours, at a gas station on the side of a busy highway, her purse was stolen while she was putting gas in the car. It was the purse her boyfriend gave her. The one containing her matching wallet filled with identification cards, a couple of credit cards, and five dollars in cash.
            You could never tell by looking at her, but trust me, Elise has a feisty side she doesn’t try to hide. After cancelling her cards, filling out a police report, and identifying the thieves on the store’s security cameras, Elise came to the conclusion that from now on she will carry her belongings in a Ziploc storage bag and use a rubber band to secure her money. (This might be a good time to add ‘dramatic’ to her list of character traits.)
            I waited until she took a breath, then said, “I’m just thankful you weren’t hurt or kidnapped.”
            “Oh, no,” she began, “if they had touched me…”
            I had to wait a few minutes before continuing with the advice I heard from a young man after Hurricane Isaac. “Love only what can love you back. Insure the rest.”
            Jesus’ advice was much better, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy , and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
            Being generous, willing to share with those in need, investing time in people and acts of obedience to God are a few ways of storing treasures in heaven. I like to think there’s a storage unit in heaven awaiting the treasures I am to send. When this is my priority, my chance of growing attached to things on earth greatly diminishes.
It’s also my belief that when our priorities are in order, God provides time for hobbies we enjoy, whether it’s sports, travel, housing antiques that have been handed down, organizing scrapbooks for the photographs we have stored in boxes, or adding to whatever collections hold our interest.
Oh, and if our collections become too large, there’s a storage unit near my home