Thursday, August 25, 2016

She made a wish...

            Want in on a little secret? Every Thursday morning, I sit down at my computer to write this column. Most often, I think of what my dad told me years ago, “What comes from a mind reaches a mind; what comes from a heart reaches a heart.” Then I imagine what I would say to you if you were seated on my sofa as we visited over coffee.
            This week, since I’ve cleaned out a closet and am in the process of emptying a storage unit, you would have to navigate around numerous boxes. Some are waiting to be donated, but most are going to be reunited with their owners, three of my children, who have homes of their own.
            And then I would fill you in on what happened to me this past Monday.
            After writing in my journal, expressing gratitude that my daughter Elise was starting a new job on her one-month wedding anniversary, I logged into Facebook. A post from years earlier appeared, reminding me that on that very day, fourteen years ago, Elise was diagnosed with cancer.
            Instantly, fourteen years of memories were released: hospital rooms, nurses with thick protective gloves carefully handling bags of chemotherapy, and the abundance of cards, phone calls, flowers, gifts, and food from friends I don’t deserve. Fourteen years ago, I watched my soft-spoken, gentle ten-year-old develop a feistiness, a fight, as she faced the challenge of her young life.
            At the end of that road, Elise took her dream trip to New York, courtesy of Make-A-Wish. Both the trip and the Make-A-Wish organization left such an impression on her that she completed an unpaid internship at the Louisiana branch during her final semester of college.
            Upon her graduation in 2013, Elise remained a Wish volunteer and often commented that she would love to work for the organization one day. Last Monday, on her one-month wedding anniversary, and the fourteenth anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer, Make-A-Wish fulfilled another one of Elise’s dreams when she was hired as the Wish Coordinator for Louisiana.
            I don’t believe that forever is going to be long enough to tell God, “Thank You.”
Ronny may be reached at

Friday, August 5, 2016

Elise and David Southwick

Whew! It’s been a busy, crazy, fun season of wedding preparations! But I know that for God, it’s been over 24 years of preparing my daughter Elise and her husband David for each other.
            I’ll never forget when I realized that I was pregnant for Elise. The Lord led me to Jeremiah 1:5, and although she was barely bigger than a breath, I laid my hands on my belly and prayed for my baby’s life, health, safety, provision, and future spouse. So I’ve been praying for David Southwick since January 1991.
            When she was five, my daughter Elise said, “I want to be a cheerleader and a lifeguard when I grow up.”
            When she was ten and diagnosed with cancer, I prayed that she would grow up.
            When she was 15 and wanted to attend boarding school in Natchitoches (can’t image why!) I said that I wasn’t ready for her to leave home, and even though I still wasn’t ready when she was 17, she moved to Thibodaux to begin college.
            Soon Elise met a large, wonderful group of friends and embraced a city that hugged her in return. She graduated, accepted a job in that beloved city, and one year later when she wanted to move home to be closer to the young man she had begun to date I knew that she was in love.
            On July 22, friends and family members gathered to witness the vows Elise and David wrote and recited as they pledged their lives to each other.
            Elise began with, “It’s probably not always the best idea to stalk someone on Instagram before you even meet them, but obviously in this case it worked out. I was pretty sure then, and am positive now, that God created you just for me.”
            David’s vows ended with, “Above all, I promise to keep God at the center of our marriage because I could never love someone the way I love you until I understood God’s love for me. I promise this will be forever.”
            And may they live happily ever after.
Ronny may be reached at