Category Archives: Opinion

Make The Most of Opportunities By Patty LaRoche

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (Col. 4:5)

We met in the exercise room. “I’ll only be in here two minutes,” she said as a way of introduction. Two became twenty, during which time I learned the following:

  • She is divorced from an abusive man who pays her only $600 a month in alimony. Her attorneys took most of her life savings.
  • She has fibromyalgia and has battled Lyme’s disease for 20 years.
  • She has been in three car accidents.
  • Her siblings all say she is a hypochondriac.
  • Some of the doctors she has seen have been really mean, especially her urologist.
  • The house she put a bid on won’t be ready for three weeks, all of her possessions are in five storage bins, and that’s what led her to stay in the same 2-Star motel as I am. (Read last week’s article.) She is not happy here for several reasons.
  • Feral cats live by the dumpster and someone feeds them.
  • Geese, which are a protected species but should not be, leave their feces everywhere around the motel.
  • Her room is filthy and filled with cockroaches. (I have seen only one.)
  • The people above her have children who bounce off the bed.
  • Last night she was awakened by a woman screaming. It was “really hard” to go back to sleep.
  • Her previous apartment had mold.
  • Her Labrador/best friend returned neurotic from a week at dog obedience school, refusing to mind and jumping on people. Not what she expected for $1500.00, and since there is so much geese/feral cat feces and people-litter around this motel, she has difficulty finding a place to get him some exercise.
  • She has gained twelve pounds, has a muffin-top, and her hair is falling out.

Twice I interjected some thoughts, like how I probably would have alerted the desk about the screaming and surely there are some dog parks nearby. She ignored the first suggestion and spent five minutes explaining how, in her condition, it is difficult to navigate the dog park.

From that point on, I vowed to keep my thoughts to myself.

Then, looking at her watch, she said she had to scoot because she had a fibro-myalgia massage scheduled but maybe I could go out with her this weekend to a fun bar or movie.

Rats!” I answered insincerely. “In two days my husband and I will be relocating to the other side of Jacksonville.” She seemed disappointed and said she hoped we could get together sometime.

Lord, please, NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I said to myself.

As a Christian, I know God wastes no opportunities. Pastor Andy Stanley once wrote, “We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way.” Do I believe God had a reason for Ms. Chatterbox and me meeting? Yes. Maybe to tell her Jesus is the answer or maybe just to be a listening ear or maybe to hear someone complain non-stop so I know what I sometimes sound like to God. No doubt to pray for her.

In actuality, I did all of the above…well, except for telling her Jesus is the answer. For that one, as I had vowed, I kept my thoughts to myself.

And with that opportunity, I failed her the greatest.

Obituary for Barbara Rose Ivey

Barbara Rose Ivey, age 83, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Saturday, May 19, 2018, at the Mercy Hospital Emergency Room in Ft. Scott.

She was born February 12, 1935, in Frederick, Oklahoma, the daughter of James Davis and Josephine Harmon Davis.

Barbara married Loyd Alton Ivey on July 31, 1952, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

Barbara had worked in customer service for Ennis Business Forms for thirty years. She enjoyed spending time with her family especially at Christmas. She enjoyed writing poetry, tending her flowers and working on art projects. She was an active resident of Ft. Scott Manor where she liked to play Bingo and participate in various activities. She also served as President of the Resident’s Advisory Board. She was a member of the Community Christian Church.

Survivors include a daughter, Sharon Button, of Ft. Scott and a son, John Ivey, and wife, Teresa, of Wichita, Kansas; twelve grandchildren, Stacey Culpepper, Jessica Ivey, Kelley Tucker, Kimberly Graham, Kristy Sickles, Kaylee Button, Scotty Button, Brandon Ivey, Justin Ivey, Crystal Ivey, Dylan Ivey and Quintin Ivey and twenty-six great-grandchildren.

Her husband, Loyd Ivey, Sr., preceded her in death on April 28, 2009. She was also preceded in death by three sons, Loyd Ivey, Jr., Randy Ivey and Roger Ivey, who died in infancy; two great-grandchildren; two brothers and two sisters.

Rev. Kevin Moyers will conduct funeral services at 1:30 P.M. Wednesday, May 23rd, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 12:30 P.M. until service time at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association and may be left in the care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.

Discipline By Patty LaRoche

Helicopter parents, as I wrote last week, refuse to let their kiddies suffer consequences. These folks are the first ones in the principal’s/coach’s/ dance instructor’s office when their child complains about unfair treatment.

Not my mom.

No matter how many times in grade school I whined about how mean my teacher, Sister Deloris Marie, was to me, my mother never changed her tune: “Well, Patty, you must have done something to irritate poor Sister.”

Yea, like breathe,” I reminded her and then added dramatically, “But when I come home dead someday, you will know who is responsible.” And then I went outside to play kick-the-can. In my mother’s eyes, I was guilty until proven innocent and had Sister Deloris Marie notified my mother of me misbehaving, there would have been double-trouble at home.

Then the unexpected happened. A classmate’s mother came to our house to share that her daughter was bothered by how Sister treated me. It was a Hallelujah moment. My typically non-interfering mother, now forced to resolve the issue, set up a visit with Sister Deloris Marie, expecting, I’m sure, to hear she had a grave sinner for a daughter. I feared that intervention, knowing that had I done even one teensy thing wrong, my kick-the-can days would be over. Things must have gone well because neither my mother nor Sister tortured me after that conversation.

Unlike Mom, some parents turn a deaf ear to complaints of their kiddos’ bad behavior. One of the most bothersome Biblical stories about ignoring the children’s sin involves the high priest and judge, Eli, and his two scoundrel sons and fellow priests, Hophni and Phinehas. In 1 Samuel we read the dastardly duo stole money from the offering and slept with women who served outside the sanctuary.

Eli confronted his boys. “What’s going on here? Why are you doing these things? I hear story after story of your corrupt and evil carrying on. Oh, my sons, this is not right! These are terrible reports I’m getting, stories spreading right and left among God’s people!”

At this point, I expect to read that Eli responded the way my mom would have, had she been alive in 1100 B.C. You know, like take away his sons’ camels for a week or force them to repay the treasury by sheering a few extra sheep or demote them from temple priests to keepers of the doves. Nope.

He does nothing.

So, God does. His message—“Judgment is coming because you refused to discipline your sons”– cannot be misinterpreted. Who of us wouldn’t be on our knees begging God for a second chance to do the right thing and discipline our children? Not Eli. His comment? “He is God. Let him do whatever he thinks best.”

Get a donkey prod for this guy! These are his heirs, his flesh and blood, and he doesn’t have the gumption to beg God for mercy! What is wrong with this man? This is no slap-on-the-wrist correction. God even directs a prophet to tell Eli that his sons both will die on the same day. Read 1 Samuel 4:10-18. The father dies a few hours after his sons. It is a discipline that never needed to happen, had Eli parented like his kids mattered…

which, of course, makes me appreciate a mother who cared enough never to let me get away with anything. Thankfully, she saved God a lot of time making His point.

Micromanaging Children by Patty LaRoche

Why is it that we try and keep from our kids the very thing that made us successful, our failures.” (anonymous)


You obsess over your child’s homework. And his diet, as if a hotdog for breakfast will doom him to a life of obesity. You interfere in childish skirmishes and insist your little angel is right, even if six witnesses disagree. You expect at least three phone calls a day when Princess enters adulthood. And every time Bubba loses a job or a wife, the Welcome Home banner is draped across the threshold of his childhood home where his clean bedsheets await.

Helicopter parents, hovering to micro-manage, please stop!

Many of this generation are babied, protected and entitled because the only location good enough for them is Easy Street. My plea to you is simple: Let your children struggle. Stop masking your kids’ mistakes by refusing to allow them to suffer consequences for their behavior. In my day (yes, when dinosaurs roamed the earth), parents believed their role was to grow independent children. Taking a few knocks was part of that process. No more.

Drake, my grandson, holds the local high school record for being penalized during his basketball practices this year.

Failure to bring tennis shoes? Run a few sets of stairs.

Being late? More stair laps.

Forgetting tennis shoes AGAIN? Add more laps.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

When it became apparent Drake had mastered the stairs but failed to elicit the desired rehabilitation, he was assigned the towel drill. Placing his hands on a towel on the floor, he ran from one side of the gym to the other in that bent position. In fact, he performed that drill so many times, when baseball season rolled around, he was the best-conditioned player on the team.

His parents laughed with each escapade. It never crossed their minds to complain or to rush to school with that forgotten pair of tennis shoes to cover for their child or to ask for a private meeting with Coach Young. Yea, them.

Recently, Fort Scott celebrated when eight wounded veterans caravanned through town. School children were given an opportunity to be dismissed from class so they could wave flags and cheer for the soldiers. They, like many of the rest of us, came together and showed our appreciation for those who fought to give us the freedoms we all share.

One mother felt differently. She was livid that her young child had to stand in the rain waiting for the caravan to arrive and drove to the site where his classmates were waiting, insisting he get in the car while she berated the adults who were there with the other kids.

Really? REALLY? I wonder if it dawned on her that those soldiers probably spent more than a little time in the rain, protecting our homeland. What message did she give her child about honoring the real heroes of our nation? (Not to mention, for goodness sakes, when we were little, we played in the rain.)

In the book Weird, author Craig Groeschel reminds us that our greatest priority as parents is to gradually transfer our children’s dependence away from us until it rests solely on God. To raise boys and girls who do not idolize their dads and moms; instead, they honor the only One who truly knows what is best for their lives…which probably includes not a few lessons about consequences.

Helicopter parents, please let God be God. Land that runaway plane of interference, turn off your blades of privilege and let your children’s failures be their lessons. Before it’s too late.

Obituary Of Ralph Wayne Daniels

Ralph Wayne Daniels, age 48, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away unexpectedly Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Ft. Scott.
He was born April 7, 1970, in Jackson County, Missouri, the son of Haskel Wayne Daniels and Nellie May Dorsey Daniels.  He married Cathy Smith on June 12, 2009, at Ada, Oklahoma.  Ralph graduated from the Jayhawk Linn High School with the Class of 1988.
He later attended Trucking School at Ft. Scott Community College and had worked as a truck driver for various trucking companies throughout the United States.  He was currently employed by O’Brien Ready Mix.
Ralph will be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor.  He was a Messianic believer who was loyal and faithful to both his family and his faith.
 
Survivors include his wife, Cathy, of the home; seven children, Desiree Kidwell of Baltimore, Maryland; Peter Mauk, Seth Daniels, and Zachary Daniels, all of Mound City, Kansas; Faith Cox and husband, Jeremy, of Ada, Oklahoma; Hope Daniels, of Ft. Scott and Raylee Bledsoe and husband, Caleb, also of Ft. Scott. Also, surviving are six grandchildren Adriahna, Owen, Skarlet, Roman, Gabriel, and Aidan with two more on the way.
Additional survivors are four brothers, Charlie Daniels, Curtis Daniels, Corby Daniels and James Newman and two sisters, Julie Glaves and Lorelei Daniels.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
 
Stephen Coursen will conduct funeral services at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, May 9th at the Cheney Witt Chapel.
Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 P.M. Tuesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Memorials are suggested to the Ralph Daniels Memorial Fund and may be left in the care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.

God’s Ways Are Higher by Patty LaRoche

I asked God to stop the rain, to allow a rainless window of only an hour so people would attend the parade for the Combat Veterans. I texted prayer warriors. And every half-hour, I checked the radar. 100% chance of rain. Not to worry—meteorologists have been known to make mistakes. Besides, God’s decrees overrule anything weather forecasters predict.

Right?

Right.

Only this time, God didn’t intervene. As the Fort Scott police and sheriff’s officers lined up at the airport, no one complained about getting wet, and when the soldiers exited the plane, one of the officers told all of the staff to remove their hats—the hats that would somewhat protect them from the rain– in honor of those they were meeting. So, they stood there, hats over hearts, they, our own local heroes, saying thank you to their fellow protectors.

Leaving the airport before the caravan, I drove through town, praying harder for the rain to let up, and if that didn’t happen, that people would forego the bad weather and support the troops. I couldn’t help but tear up, seeing our American flag draping between two firetrucks on 10th and National. Friends congregating nearby with a huge, homemade banner. Houses sporting the Red, White, and Blue. Community College students lining the median on Highway 69. School children waiting in the rain with flags and posters. (Thank you, Mr. Beckham, school administrators and teachers for making this happen.) Civil War reenactors sitting atop their horses while carrying American flags and saluting these national champions. And then there was the mother of a veteran, waving pom-poms, alone at the end of Wall Street, jumping and cheering.

Small town caring at its best.

Still, God did not stop the rain.

The day after the parade, I spoke with Jenn, my daughter-in-law who, along with Adam, her husband, worked tirelessly to organize this event. When I asked her what the soldiers’ favorite part of the day had been, she did not hesitate. They all agreed. “That people would stand in the rain for us.”

Get that?

It was the rain that blew them away (thankfully, not literally).

At that moment, it dawned on me. Who wouldn’t eagerly leave school or their job or organize a yard get-together on a sunny day for such an occasion? But our citizens refused to let bad weather prevent them from saying thank you for the enormous sacrifices these men made for us.

God did not stop the rain. No doubt because Isaiah 55:8-9 is true. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I need to remember that.

Rain or shine.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously by Patty LaRoche

Eighty-three-year-old Howard, a tennis partner of Dave and mine in Mexico, commented about Carolyn, a Canadian friend who also winters in Mazatlan. Carolyn had been ailing for several months and had lost so much weight, she offered me all of her “big-sized clothes” because she no longer could wear them.

(Good friends do that, you know.)

Both men and I were discussing Carolyn’s weight loss. Howard said she looked feeble. It was an opening I could not resist.

Howard, do you think I’m feeble?”

He took no time to respond. “I think you’re a tank.”

The cannonball had been shot. It was too late to reload.

I responded, as together as my personality would allow. “A tank? I’M A TANK?”

Backpedaling out of this potential war zone, Howard attempted to take a different aim. “A tank, in a good sense. Like a formidable force, an arsenal to be reckoned with.”

It was a nice save, I’ll admit, even if it was too desperate and too late.

For Howard, that is. It was the perfect time for Dave to defend me.

And he would have, I’m sure, had he been able to stop laughing.

Howard would live to regret that remark. Everyone who knows Howard—who, not coincidentally, headed the lab that worked on the first nuclear bomb and frequently uses military metaphors– soon learned of his verbal faux pas, which, of course, I couldn’t wait to share. His size-two wife was mortified, and our other friends at first were shocked by his directness. Then it became funny, the word spread and tank jokes became the norm.

To everyone’s—except Howard’s delight, I must add.

Was I offended? Absolutely not. I know Howard. I know his intent. As a military man, he honestly thought he was paying me a compliment.

And no, my head is not stuck in a turret. I am well aware that there are others whose “tank” comment would be anything but funny. The truth is, we are all concerned about Carolyn’s weight loss (which, I must admit, I have found.) Add to that the fact that when I play the net in tennis and the men try to break my nose with their shot, I say “Bring it on!” instead of acting wimpy. Howard knows I am tough, a trait I wear like a badge of honor.

No one likes to be around thin-skinned people who don’t take laughter seriously. In medieval times, those who viewed themselves with such self-importance that they acted with extreme seriousness were labeled “accidy,” which just “happens” to be one of the seven deadly sins. People like the Pharisees were viewed in this light. They poked fun at nothing, especially themselves. B-O-R-I-N-G!

I am the opposite. I laugh at myself. As a Christian, I must, if I am to obey God and love my neighbors. In 1 Corinthians 13:5, we learn that “loving” means we are not to be easily provoked or stirred to anger. When the fuse of offense is lit, I must check the intent and ask God to guard my heart and help my reaction.

I have watched marriages dissolve and friendships implode because one (or both) of the parties are hyper-sensitive. Innocent comments offend those who are so preoccupied with “self” that they fail to understand that we all are sinners, we all make mistakes, we all say things without thinking them through.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This column is not about comments intended to wound or destroy. This is about not taking ourselves so seriously. There is a huge difference, much like a tank to a pistol. To make it clear…Howard’s a pistol.

I’m a tank.

Cool Encounters by Patty LaRoche

Mollie has a multitude of physical problems including Fibromuscular Dysplasia and Parkinson’s disease. Lael has rheumatoid arthritis. They are long-time friends, and the three of us were together last weekend in Austin, Texas, for Lael’s son’s wedding. Over the years I have watched both friends struggle with their health, refuse to complain, and fight not to give in to—or dwell on– their complications.

My trip to Texas was one of encouraging encounters, no doubt because the Lord wastes no opportunities.

Alone with a woman on the airport shuttle in Kansas City, I complimented her purse (so, so cool), and we began chatting. She works for FEMA. Recently she had helped in the Houston clean-up of a demolished house where she found a purple heart and dog tags from World War II and was able to return them to the aging owner who, as you can imagine, was ecstatic. So was I, after hearing her story.

Walking down the jetway, I struck up a conversation with a young gal who shared that she had never flown before. I told her the flight would be pretty bumpy (As proof, I was putrid green when we landed) and not to be alarmed by it because forty mph winds have a way of testing our stomachs but never the plane.

When I asked if she was on vacation, she answered that she was going to meet her biological father for the first time. Through Facebook, they had linked, and he had sent her a plane ticket. Talk about cool! (Had my connection to Austin not been so tight, I might have hidden behind a pillar in Houston’s baggage claim to eavesdrop.)

Then there was the young executive, returning from a NYC business trip, who sat beside me and proudly shared videos of his one-year-old son eating his first corn dog and later playing with a garden hose. I told him what every grandmother tells a young parent about cherishing every moment because these babies grow up way too fast, etc., etc., etc. Our conversation flitted like a moth to a flame, and I ended up learning he teaches baseball to inner-city children in his spare time. More cool stuff.

Three total strangers had brightened my day, helping somewhat to minimize the airline losing my luggage. Still, the best was yet to come.

Mollie picked me up at the Austin airport, and even though her palsy was more pronounced than I expected, she was upbeat and reassuring, praising God that her disease had claimed only one arm and not two.

My friend invited me to attend her Parkinson’s boxing class which, I learned, slows the progression of the incapacitating disease. I told Mollie that this could be an exercise class where I finally might have a chance!

The technique focuses on both cognitive and physical demands. Some repetitions require counting backward from 100 by three’s. (So, okay, maybe I wouldn’t have a chance after all!) Other actions involve boxing glove strikes numbered for specific positions. Upper-cuts, for instance, is called out by the instructor as “five” for the left hand and “six” for the right hand. And get this! The leader, Dr. Shirley (Chow) had been raised in Fort Scott! Cooler yet.

Mollie encouraged all of the attendees, especially those with advanced deterioration, and it was clear they all loved her and her cheerful attitude. I left there refreshed and not a little sweaty.

The best part about my time with Mollie was to catch up on all she and her husband, Cal, are doing to serve God. They lead Celebrate Recovery meetings, teach Bible studies and are testimonies of a healed marriage because they “got real” with Jesus Christ by understanding the Bible is not a “how to learn to fix yourself” book; rather, it is a “how to learn of God’s mind-blowing love” book. They love God passionately, no matter their circumstances.

And that, Readers, was the coolest part of it all.