Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thirty-three years and Counting

            “I always cry at weddings,” said the twenty-six-year-old visiting our home.
            “Me, too!” his friend immediately agreed. “How can you not weep at a wedding?”
            Had she been home, my daughter Victoria could have chimed in, “I sobbed throughout Monique’s wedding and used up all of the tissues I had stuffed in my bridesmaid’s bouquet.”
            “I used to cry at weddings before I was married,” I added. “Now I just sit there, smile and pray that the couple knows what they are doing and that they remember the vows they are taking.”
            This month will mark the thirty-third year Michael and I have been married. How can it seem like we’ve been married forever and also feel as though the years have quickly flown by? But back to the wedding vows.
            Michael and I wrote our own vows which I hope to have saved somewhere. It would be interesting to see if we’ve kept those promises. The only promise I know that he broke was one he made when we discussed whether or not we would wed. I had finished college, moved back home, was anticipating my first year of teaching, and unsure about marriage. When pressed on the subject, I summarized my hesitancy with, “I don’t like to cook.”
            His response should have been my clue that his future would not be in engineering, but sales. “If you marry me, I will cook every day.” To his credit, he has been faithful to a few things we didn’t think to put into our vows.
            Michael always heard our babies cry. Each and every time they woke up during the night, he would go to get them and bring them to bed for me to nurse.
            He took care of me, too. At the time I felt very old, but I was only thirty-three. Michael navigated my 117 pound, bald body through eleven months of chemotherapy. Let’s move on.
            My husband continues to encourage my dreams for the future and helps me in the present to prepare for the family and friends I love to welcome into our home. We never dreamed of all of the precious souls God would choose to enrich our lives.
            With regards to traditional vows, we’ve had better and worse, richer and poorer. We’ve endured sickness, and we’ve enjoyed health. And, thirty-three years later, we still encounter hurdles,  continue to ask God for help, and He faithfully meets us where we are and shows us how to get to where we need to be. I pray that it will be this way until death parts us.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dr. Myles Munroe

            You may have heard about the death of Dr. Myles Munroe, a Bahamas pastor, author, lecturer, teacher, life coach, government consultant and leadership mentor. During his lifetime, he was invited to over 80 nations to address government bodies, business leaders, universities and religious organizations.
            What you may not know is that one of the many places he accepted a speaking engagement was Reserve Christian Church in Reserve, La. It was there that I was first introduced to Dr. Munroe and have never forgotten his message.
           “The wealthiest places in the world are not the gold mines of South America or the oil fields of Iraq or Iran. They are not the diamond mines of South Africa or the banks of the world.
The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. There lies buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, best-selling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.”
            Whatever your gift is, use it, share it with your world and encourage others to do the same. I believe we greatly honor God when we put the gifts He’s given us to use.
            Dr. Munroe was once asked about his mission in life. He said that he wanted to help people to become all they were born to be and to discover who they were in Christ. Quoting Ephesians 3:20, he praised God “Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with us.” Munroe continued, “The power for you to be successful is not in your teachers, government or society. God put the power in you. I was born to transform followers into leaders and leaders into agents of change.”
            Dr. Munroe is also quoted as saying, “The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live. And most people are concerned about growing old rather than being effective.” As the author or co-author of more than 100 books, study guides and audio tapes, Munroe’s life will continue to enrich our world.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sweet Reminders

            Let me make one thing crystal clear – I don’t like to cook. It’s just not on my list of favorites, which is funny because ‘eating’ definitely made the cut. Also awarded a place in my priorities, even higher than eating and trying to invent new holidays for reasons to dine out, is helping my children. That explains why I offered to cook for my daughter Elise.
          She was invited to a potluck dinner and didn’t have time to prepare a dish. I quickly convinced her to let me cook something to bring. I thumbed through a rarely used recipe book, chose a shrimp and pasta dish, grabbed my car keys, and headed to the store.
          My mom will now have to stop reading for a moment to catch her breath. She never tries a new recipe on others until she has practiced it first. Only when it meets her approval, will she cook another batch to serve. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have time for that. I’d also be lying if I said I taste the food as I cook. None of this is my mom’s fault. She tried.
         Back to my shrimp dish. I assembled the ingredients and fired up the range. Shrimp, butter, seasonings, cream, and cheese were all getting along and blending to form an aromatic dish. The recipe also called for flour, so I grabbed a canister, and removed the pan from the heat before adding it (to avoid lumps). I hesitated for a moment, shrugged, scooped and stirred in the new ingredient. At this point I entertained the foreign-to-me idea to taste.
         It was so sweet! Adding powdered sugar to sauce does that. I tried liberal doses of salt, garlic powder and crab boil which helped, but never masked the sweetness. I started all over.
        Yes, the addition of sugar changes a dish just as the words we speak change situations. Proverbs 16:24 is as clear about that as I am about my feelings toward cooking. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” A kind word can invigorate, strengthen and turn a person’s day around. It’s a practice I highly recommend and sincerely appreciate when I am on the receiving end.  My little powdered sugar/flour mix-up was a great reminder of the power of words.
        I learned a couple of other lessons that day. From now on, I will pay more attention to what I’m doing and I will always be prepared. I’ve already got a plan.
        The next time Elise asks me to cook for her, I’ll tell her that it’s National Order Your Kid A Meal for their Friend’s Potluck day.
Ronny may be reached at