Friday, February 21, 2014

The Right Connection

          “Great job, Adeline!” I said sarcastically. I grabbed my cell phone and shut it off, hoping to do so before the call was connected.  Though she’s less than two years old, my granddaughter loves to play with phones. Real phones. She can slide her finger along the bottom to open up the screen, browse through my camera roll, take a photo and successfully post it to Instagram. Now she was calling some poor person randomly selected from my list of contacts.
            Minutes later my phone rang. Someone was returning my phone call, well, Adeline’s phone call. “Veronica,” I began, “I’m so sorry, but Adeline had my phone and…” A wonderful conversation with my childhood/college/still good friend ensued. Veronica is a listener. When we visit, either  by phone or in person, she warmly and lovingly gives me space to share my heart. She never seems to be in a rush, is always sincere, and when she does speak, her carefully chosen words brim with kindness, wisdom, and faith.
            After I told her of a recent struggle I was having to be patient while waiting for the answer to a prayer, Veronica shared something she had read only hours before Adeline’s accidental phone call. As promised, as soon as we ended the call, she sent me her morning reflection.
The Scripture referenced was Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” The word ‘wait’ is translated as ‘hope’ in some versions, and the original word in Hebrew can mean “to twist together, as cords of a rope are intertwined.”  The reflection continued with encouragement that as we wait on God to fulfill His promise, it is as though we wrap ourselves around the Lord and He wraps Himself around us. Thoughts of doubts and despair will not pull us apart from the Lord if we wait on Him, but like the strands of a rope, we are pulled tighter together.
            Another Scripture came to mind, Psalm 25:5, and when I looked it up, was pleased to find the same Hebrew word. “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou are the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
I smiled as I sent a text message to thank Veronica and turned to my granddaughter. “Great job, Adeline!” I said sincerely.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Victoria's Valentines Day

It was February 14, 2002. Victoria’s seven-year-old eyes slowly scanned the Valentine loot scattered on the kitchen table. Pushing aside treat-filled plastic bags, small white envelopes bearing
her name, and the wrappings of the candy that didn’t survive the ride home, she reached for the large, red, heart-shaped box.
            “And who is this for?” she asked, her voice filled with hope that she was the intended recipient.
            “Sorry. I bought it for your Dad,” I replied while thinking Victoria’s choice of the Whitman sampler was pretty impressive.
            “May I open it?” she boldly questioned.
            “Well… okay,” I answered after deciding Michael wouldn’t mind. “Just don’t lose the little map inside. It lets you know where each type of candy is located.”
            My husband doesn't like surprises. With regards to candy - and to life - he wants to know what’s in store for him before he sinks his teeth into it.
            “Okay, I won’t lose it,” she happily promised as I left the kitchen.
            Moments after she had ripped the cellophane from the candy it had been protecting, Victoria found me in the study. Her solemn expression revealed that her next words had been carefully chosen.
            “I didn’t lose the map,” she quietly began, then continued with a rush of words, “but I dropped the box and all the candy fell out and I don’t know where any of it belongs.”
            In her defense, I never told her not to drop the box, only to guard the map. She followed me into the kitchen where we began to pick up the candy. The bounty of strewn sweets dwindled as we attempted to return each piece to its proper place. It was a difficult task, except for the cashews. It’s easy to spot a nut, even when it is covered in chocolate and trying to masquerade as candy.
            And so it is with life…
            Sometimes we drop the box. The pieces of our lives are then in disarray and suddenly we don’t know where anything belongs. Spouses, children, jobs, ministries, hobbies, unspoken dreams, friends, and even nutty relatives (Did I write that or just think it?) vie for our attention. 
            Keeping my priorities in order is an ongoing task for me. I am so grateful for my God Who holds His map for me and helps me to take those sweet portions of my life and return them to their proper place. Even the nuts. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

To Undecorate, or Not to Undecorate

I’m usually not one to brag, but guess who is almost finished taking down her Christmas decorations? Almost.
            Why can’t I be one of those people who artistically keeps a little Christmas décor in each room year round? Or creatively decorates the tree to correspond with each season? No, not me.  No matter how I try, it still looks as though the party’s over and I’ve yet to clean up.
I tried to tell myself that red and gold would take me through Valentine’s Day. I even put a heart-trimmed bowl on the kitchen table. It’s just not working so it’s all getting packed away: the red ornaments, the gold ribbon, and maybe even the bowl. It’s all going back to the plastic bins. But not the nativity scene.
When I ordered the plastic Little People nativity scene, I did so with the intention of keeping it out year-round for my granddaughters.  Right now, Olivia just likes to climb over the crèche and Adeline thinks it’s funny to replace the angel on top of the stable with a wise man or a cow.  But I believe with enough repetitive story-telling, (just ask my kids how good I am at that!) the girls will be fully aware of the details surrounding Jesus’ birth before I haul out those bins of Christmas decorations again. And when those little children tell us the Christmas story, well, I’ll leave the bragging rights to their parents. Besides, I’ll be too busy decorating for Christmas.
Ronny may be reached at