A Lecture on Living


Over the past few days there has been near mass hysteria over Robin William’s death.  Obviously the fact that he died is gut wrenching but the hysteria has arrived more so in the realm of the social media uprising over particular aspects of his death, primarily the question, is suicide a choice or a mindless path of defeat for one who is battling depression?  I’m not going to weigh in on that issue.  I have thoughts about it, but it’s not extremely relevant in the grand scheme of what’s going on here.  A celebrity died by his own two hands and that act makes us normal folk question everything about life.  A celebrity who had the world at his fingertips could not find the strength within himself to continue on in life as he knew it.  A celebrity with a beautiful, healthy family decided to end it all because, well, we don’t really know why.  We only have our assumptions.

When someone dies, we are painfully slapped in the face with our own mortality, especially when a person dies before what we would deem “their time” as it occurred with Robin Williams or with any young person.  Something about young death, especially child death, is extremely hard on us as a society because it doesn’t seem right.  Children shouldn’t die just as people shouldn’t die by their own doing. When a celebrity dies we are slapped in the face with the glaring fact that one day –


I awoke to the news of William’s death the morning of my son Luke’s birthday, a birthday which holds a little more significance to me than the other kid’s birthdays do.  Luke was never supposed to be born.  He suffered from a stroke in utero (or so they say) and was pronounced terminal at my sixteen week checkup.  I prayed hard for Luke during the remaining four months of that pregnancy.  I laid down my life for this child as I battled day in and day out, pleading with God Almighty to spare my son.  I learned on August 12, 2004, the day I gave birth to him, what a precious gift life is and to never take it for granted.  

I honestly hope to live to be 150 years old.  I know people (my husband) who would rather check out when they get old, but I’m not that person.  I am passionate about the life I live. and I want to continue living for as long as God grants me breath to do so.  I was given a gift at 33 years old – the gift of watching a young man struggle to live as he gave everything he had to his final days – a gift of knowledge, the innate knowledge of how fleeting this thing called life really is.  I have not forgotten that gift, and I don’t believe I ever will. I strive every single day to honor the glimpse of eternity I saw and to honor it through living deeply and purposefully as if each day was truly my last.   

Living intentionally is a choice, and this choice involves people and our relationships with them. Sometimes I’m really good at this and sometimes I’m not, but in simplified terms, life lived well, lived intentionally, does not really include adding another pair of stilettos to an already increasingly expansive collection of shoes nor does it involve chasing down the latest and greatest in Apple technology.  To quote the ever graceful and perceptive author Ann Lamont, we should all “Try not to squander [our] life on meaningless, multi-tasking bullshit.”   Amen sister.

Instead of trying to find ourselves – let’s just be ourselves.  Make those in our life feel valued through actions, however small or large. Give what we have. Give our arms to our husbands as we hold them after long, weary days.  Give a quick note to someone who is struggling with depression or loneliness. Give a meal to a shut in.  Give a kind word to the neighbor we’d rather chuck off a bridge.  That’s life. Giving what we have in the twenty-four hours we’ve been given.  Putting down our personal agendas for a moment or two to think of someone else and the battle that they are deeply entrenched in.  Loving passionately. Responding quickly.  Holding tightly.  Not one of us makes it out of here alive.  Not one, and no one knows when their current existence will turn into shadows as the next life slowly arises into reality.  Don’t be a vacant shell of a person going through the motions.  Have a story, a really good story at the end of your days, and live your story well. Live it intentionally.   

Just keep livin!!

Here’s a new favorite song of mine by One Republic that pretty well sums it up.

River Rats

To commemorate my day of freedom (aka the kids are back in school) I thought I’d write a post, and not only write a post but a list style post to recap how the Ronne’s rocked our summer vacation.  I also promise to try to be a more consistent blogger in the coming days and weeks (in other words, I’m shooting to post more than once every two months).

1.    We had 8 visitors including family friends, Paula and David, Ryan’s sister and her kids, my mom, and last but not least, my dad is coming tomorrow night.


2.    The first week of May it hit me that I was returning to Michigan in 4 weeks.  I also realized that I had gained about ten pounds living in Tennessee (dang fried food).  I didn’t necessarily want my weight gain to be a topic of conversation among family and friends and so I started walking.   I walked 6 days a week, very consistently, up and down our hilly road, about 40 minutes, 2.5 miles a day, 15 miles a week, approximately 180 miles over the summer.  Step by grueling step.  Often like life.  Putting one foot in front of the other.  Rocking out to Brantley Gilbert and Bon Jovi.  God dealing with me and me pretending like I’m dealing with him. Trusting that there won’t be a snake around the bend.  Or if there is, trusting in my ability to outrun the predator.
3.    We spent about 25 days hanging out at the river.



Ultimate River Rat


4.    4 weeks in school (Me) = 80 hours of angst = whole month of June spent in ENG 666, Gothic Lit, taught by Dr. Adams, with 13 students enrolled.  The class was not bound to go well.
5.    Hours of stress, anguish, and totally questioning God’s will for my life – see hours in school.
6.    Hours of peace = everything after June
7.    Three vacations. 1 camping/family excursion to Branson, an adult only vacation to Nashville, and a family trip back to Michigan for a wedding.




8.    A rough calculation of approximately 360 hotdogs consumed by the Ronne family this summer
9.    Along with about 120 loaves of bread used for PB&J’s.
10.   One project almost completed – my long anticipated laundry room.

11.    One major project accomplished – Ryan’s vacation cottage (that is available for rent, details to follow soon!)

 photo House_zps68d56f35.jpg
12.    30 pounds of pizza and spaghetti sauce made from the tomatoes grown in the garden.
13.    About 400 eggs gathered

14.    Ryan and I like to flea market, antique, yard and garage sale.  He likes to find trinkets for his new business (more to come on that), and I just have it in my blood.  Third generation junk (treasure) hunter.  In the process of treasure hunting, because we have seven children, one or more of the kids is always in tow.  They have also picked up on this proud skill of mine, carrying on the tradition by becoming 4th generation treasure hunters.  This has translated into our family owning every single used stuffed animal in the county.


 photo IMG_20601_zps1be75903.jpgA taste of Ryan’s new business
15.    One wedding.  My sister had her beautiful wedding in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Josh and Jada were two of the stars (obviously after the bride, of course).

15.    All of this culminated into this glorious day where my children will not be bored anymore and if they are bored, I won’t have to deal with it because that’s what teachers get paid for! God bless teachers. The first day of school.