Thursday, July 25, 2013


He really tried. He would crouch down during low notes and jump up with a shout to match a quicker beat, yet still failed to properly lead the orchestra. Maybe it was because he sometimes jumped too soon, causing the musicians to seek direction from the first violinist. Or perhaps it was the time he instructed the orchestra to skip a passage, forgot his own instruction, and when they didn’t play it, stopped them and shouted, ‘Stop! Wrong! That will not do! Again! Again!”
            Multi-tasking didn’t work, either. His attempt to conduct while playing the piano resulted in candles flying off of the piano and a choir boy thrown to the ground. Finally, he laid down his ambitions of conducting an orchestra, remained seated at the piano, and focused on composing. The result of Ludwig van Beethoven’s concentrated effort produced hundreds of pieces of music still enjoyed today.
            A little focus is a powerful thing. Ask the photographer adjusting her lens to bring clarity to a point of interest. Or the surgeon carefully wielding a laser. Yes, focus is important. It’s why  Drew Brees, who would make any of the thousands of fans surrounding him happy to catch his thrown football, narrows his vision to find the hands of the teammate positioned for victory.
            So what about us? What do these examples have to do with our lives? I don’t know about you, but I’m walking away from this with two thoughts and the first one is about finding the task upon which I should devote my attention.
I believe it’s our responsibility to use the gifts God has place in us to the best of our ability. What if we placed a football in the surgeon’s hand, a laser in Beethoven’s, Brees behind the camera, and the photographer at the piano? What is the assignment you know you are called by God to complete? Now, focus on that.
I want to learn from the example of the trainer who puts blinders on the horse, blocking out distractions, allowing the horse’s eyes to look only to the race ahead.
Do you see your finish line? Now run until you cross it.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where Have the Years Gone?

            “Let’s just stop and soak in this moment.” So we do. Victoria and I. At 8 pm., in the middle of Target, while selecting accessories for my college-bound daughter. 
            I wasn’t even surprised by her request to slow down the process and savor the moment. Victoria spent the day  ‘taking mental pictures’ (for emphasis, she blinked her eyes every time she said it) as we traveled through Thibodaux tracing routes to school and touring her Fall address.
            As I humored my 18-year-old, so proud of her realization of this next important step in her life, I did not wonder where the years have gone. No mystery at all. The very thought of the past lifts the lid of the treasure chest of memories and  images gently fill my mind.
            The past was spent on the sofa, cuddled up while reading books, watching cartoons, or talking. Or in the kitchen, cooking while Victoria sat at her Little Tykes art center in the bay window, creating. In the pool. Running beside her when the training wheels disappeared. On the trampoline. Listening to her giggle or play or  plan another adventure with her cousin Tiffani.
            Carpools, cheer camps, beach walks and beach talks took up a few years. So did shopping, tasting her latest smoothie inventions, and watching her spin little lumps of clay into small vessels on her first pottery wheel. Then her second. Then driving her,  and Tiffani, to pottery classes.
            Yes, Victoria managed to fill those years. Covering her notebooks with fabric to make them prettier (3rd grade), enjoying the snack she called my Mom to bring her (a dozen char-grilled oysters), and ice-skating against the flow, on one skate, while I sat on the edge of the rink, horrified.
            She even crammed excitement into Easter breaks at the beach. My sister Kay and I were sitting by the pool as we watched Victoria emerge from the building wearing a silver pleather skirt and a huge multi-colored, striped sweater. It was my own fault for letting such a young child pack for herself. “Pretend we don’t know her,” whispered Kay, as we lifted our magazines a little higher over our eyes.
            “Aunt Kay! Mama!” she yelled as she ran to us, creating a memory which still causes us to smile.
            Then there were the pets she carefully chose and loyally loved. Cayenne, the Australian shepherd. Gucci, the Maltipoo. Oreo, Bacon, and Mittens, her cats. And the many fish whose names I won’t spend time trying to remember.
            So many, many scenes and segments of conversations race through my mind making it easy to know exactly what happened to those years. They were busy, sometimes exhausting; fun, often hilarious, but never boring. Uncertainties were met, decisions were made, problems were solved, and we somehow survived. We even survived our mistakes, grew a little wiser, and learned to lean on God a lot more.
In the midst of all of this remembering, another memory is created. A mental snapshot develops as Victoria and I briefly pause in our day’s dance. We devote a tiny moment of our life  to a brief rest before proceeding with the next step. And that’s what we did, right in the middle of Target. We stopped and smiled and added a few more items to the shopping cart.
            Yes, I know exactly where the years have gone. The millions of moments have melted into memories and moved into my heart.
            And I’m so grateful.  
Ronny may be reached at

Friday, July 5, 2013


           I once belonged to a book club. Well, it started off as a book club. Some of the members read every book suggested even if it meant going without sleep the night before the meeting. Others read portions of the book, and the rest never read a word. It didn’t matter. I considered the books an excuse to visit over dinner, and in that respect, the group was 100% successful.
            I miss that book club. Until another one begins, I have my writers’ group. Well, it started off as a writers’ group before evolving into a monthly lunch date. We still talk about writing, yet there’s no pressure to produce. Catching up on each other’s lives, sharing events of common interest, and having lunch are the items on the agenda and we thoroughly cover each topic.
            I also belong to a Bible study group. Well, it started off as a Bible study group. (Does anyone see a pattern developing?) After watching a few DVDs, we decided to nix the formal study and focus on fellowship and prayer. Oh, and breakfast.
            Last week’s gathering began casually, then took an unexpected turn and dove headfirst into current events: crime, immigration, social issues, and politics. Facts and opinions flew as we uncovered breakfast casseroles, poured coffee, and settled into position around the table before verbalizing the answer to every question raised. Prayer. Not throwing our hands up in resignation with a quick “God Bless America,” but fervent prayer on behalf of our nation fulfilling the instructions of 1 Timothy 2:1-3 to pray for our leaders.
Our role of daily prayer for the community, state, and nation may not be visible; however, it is vital. May we never forget God’s promise to King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
That morning, as I prayed with my friends, I marveled at the privilege of prayer. While communicating with the God of the universe, burdens go from our hearts to His ear. Although an important element of our church services, prayer is just as effective in our homes, while gathered around a friend’s kitchen table, as I rock my granddaughters, welcome the sun from my favorite spot on the patio swing, or even while in the check-out line. Standing behind someone with a basketful of groceries and a handful of coupons is a great opportunity to cover a lot of ground.
Hmmm. Coupons. I could save a lot of money if I join a coupon club. Maybe we could meet at Baskin-Robbins