Thursday, June 26, 2014

Who Likes Linen?

My daughter didn’t ask me to do her laundry. I was in her home only to watch my granddaughter Olivia for the day, but when I heard the dryer stop, I thought I’d fold the batch of clothes for Monique. Once in laundry room I found more clothes that needed to be washed and began the project. By the time Monique got home I was almost done. I’d tell you how many hangers my husband had to buy and bring to me so the clean clothes wouldn’t get wrinkled, but then I’d have to tell you how many more I should have asked for, and Monique may not appreciate me airing additional dirty/clean laundry information.
            It was really no trouble compared to the way my Memere did laundry. Her washer was an open tub with a wringer attached. Each item had to be hand fed through the wringer to squeeze out the excess water, loaded in a basket and carried outside to be hung on the clothesline. Yes, I’m that old and I only added that little memory to delay revealing my laundry mistake which I finally remembered to tell Monique.
            “I ruined Frank’s white linen shirt by accidentally washing it with dark clothes. It’s now the first stage of pink.”
            “That’s okay. I hate that shirt.”
            “How can you hate a white linen shirt? It’s classic.” I later asked if she hated seersucker too. She doesn’t. Only linen because it wrinkles. I  insisted she bring the shirt to me, with the other white clothes I didn’t have time to wash. My laundry expert and husband assured me he can restore the shirt to its original color, or lack thereof.
            I love linen. In addition to being cool and comfortable, it was God’s fabric of choice for the priests who ministered in the tabernacle. “When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes… they must not wear anything that makes them perspire.” Ezekiel 44:17-18.
In the inner courts, work gave way to worship; physical labor ceased as worship to the Lord began; relinquishment of self bowed in reverence of God. And on the occasions when I enter into that place of directed devotion, I find the peaceful revelation that my labors are fruitless unless they are His anointed plans.
Challenged by the often quoted phrase, “When man works, man works; when man prays, God works,” I seek increased times of worship, not to be relieved of actual labor for that has it’s time and place, but to simply honor God. Is it possible, even in the busiest of days, to set aside a time of prayer and worship? I think so. No sweat.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

It was many years after my childhood when I realized my father was way ahead of his time. He blazed a trail, going where few men had gone before… the kitchen. If we went to school hungry, it certainly wasn't his fault. In fact, it was very difficult to get out of the house without eating breakfast. Don't think he did as I would later do with my own children and point to the Pop-Tarts, or tell them to fix cereal in a plastic cup to eat on the way to school. No way. He insisted we sit down to eat the most important meal of the day. Bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits, fruit, and freshly squeezed orange juice were our breakfast staples.
            To give us a break from the cafeteria, he would occasionally bring us lunch at school. In addition to the hamburger, fries, and a Coke from Mac's Grill, the bag would also hold a York peppermint patty bought from Donaldson's Drug Store, conveniently located across the street from the bank where he worked. But the candy always smelled like Brut. I concluded that he would buy the candy, put it in his suit pocket where it absorbed the scent of the cologne, then pick up the hamburgers and deliver them to school. This helps to explain why I think of Brut and Dad and hamburgers and St. Peter School, when I see a York Peppermint patty. (Why I can remember all of this, yet walk into a parking lot without a clue as to the location of my car, remains a mystery.)
            I love celebrations, and am happy to celebrate Father's Day with him this month. I'd also like to wish a Happy Father's Day to the men whose lives I've observed, some from a distance, and some up close.
            Happy Father's Day…
            …to the fathers who work 40+ hours per week to house, feed, clothe, and educate their children. On top of that, they volunteer hours of their time at school, church, and in the community. May their diligent example echo for generations to come and urge many others into lives of service.
            …to the men who have jumped off of the corporate ladder, realizing the money they made was nothing compared to the moments they missed. May they experience the overflowing blessings of God for their commitment to their family.
            …to the dads who have the wisdom to draw boundary lines for their children and the courage to maintain those boundaries. Remember that the best guards are placed around the most valuable treasures. May they be strengthened in their God-ordained positions.
            …to the men who, for a season, or for a lifetime, have found room in their hearts and in their homes to care for someone else's child. May they reap bountifully from their giving.
            …to the fathers who are waiting for their prodigals to come home, or for those whose child has preceded them to our Heavenly home. May they find continual comfort from the Holy Spirit of our God.
            …to the dads who, at times, were called to also fulfill the role of Mom. This includes my own husband who spent nearly a year cleaning up after I suffered the effects of chemotherapy, taking care of our four young children, and keeping up with his job. He has never, ever, even in the midst of our most lively conversations, brought up all of the sacrifices he's made. May he one day see in himself what I see in him daily.
            …to the men who have been diligent to train their children in the ways of our Lord. May they find great joy in watching the seeds they've planted bear much fruit.
            These men may never see their names in lights or as the byline of a best-seller, but no earthly achievements would make me respect them more. They are men of integrity. They do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do, and I believe all of Heaven applauds them.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Adventures at Chuck E. Cheese

I wanted to take my granddaughters Adeline, 2, and Olivia, 1, to Chuck E. Cheese. I thought it was a good idea. Wait. It gets worse. We went on a Saturday night. My husband Michael and I brought Adeline;  my son-in-law Frank and Olivia met us there.
            The packed parking lot should have scared us away, but it didn’t. Adeline’s screams when the greeter stamped a number on her arm should have caused us to turn around; instead, we marched on. “Secure a table and I’ll get the pizza and tokens.” I didn’t mean to sound so bossy; the chaos we willingly entered required a plan if we were going to succeed in my mission to have a fun night with the girls.
            Tables were occupied with adults whose time here left them shell-shocked. Moving in and out of the tables and games were children who were running and screaming. Adeline and Olivia were slow to leave our sides. Gradually, they began to enjoy a plastic play space and slide reserved for toddlers. From there they graduated to sitting on a yellow bus that, when fed a token, sang “The Wheels on the Bus.” Over and over they rode and sang and performed the appropriate hand motions until their pizza was ready.
            I should have called it a night after they ate, but no, I had to push on and attempt to conquer the games. Frank and I (once Michael sat the table, he wisely stayed put) brought the girls from game to game, thrilled to watch the girls’ growing excitement. At this point, Olivia was scooping up forgotten tickets that lay on the floor and Adeline was running back to the table periodically for bites of pizza.
            Then it happened. Sensory overload. While pressing a lever to feed balls into a mechanical dog’s mouth, one of their favorite activities up to this point, they crashed. Olivia stopped dancing, held the bar of the game and leaned against the machine and faded away. Adeline went between two of the games, leaned against one, and refused to come out of the little alley where she sought refuge. We left with a mound of tickets that may or may not ever be redeemed.
            Sometimes, I’d like to hide, too. Or fade away. If the personal challenges of life aren’t enough, tragedies on the local, national, and world-wide news are often overwhelming.
            Adeline and Olivia will one day face challenges greater than the noisy chaos of a game room. By that time, I hope to have taught them Psalm 94:17-19 the Scripture I run to when I’m stressed. The Message version of the Bible reads, “If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.”
Ronny may be reached at