Monday, December 28, 2009

One Year Ago Today...




One year ago this morning, my wonderful husband John crashed his motorcycle into a guardrail and went flying in the air to hit his head on the frozen ground. He was wearing a helmet and much safety gear (he looked like Neil Armstrong) but he still suffered a traumatic brain injury and then a pulmonary embolism and then an infected leg that required surgery.

But you know what? John is doing wonderfully today. God chose to heal him. Recovery built our faith as a family even as we battled fear.

If you prayed for John or my family during that time, THANK YOU! I want to write something profound about the experience but I can't. I am just grateful. Today Noah and I are going to go to John's work and take him out to lunch. We aren't having a big party. But the most meaningful celebrations are those moments when John and I look back and then up, praising our God once again for being who He is and having mercy on who we are.

The Old Testament is full of stories in which altars are built after God showed Himself to be the one true God, full of miracles and mercy and majesty.

Today I build another altar in my heart. I give thanks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blessed are the Gift-Givers!



(This is a Joyvotion - a devotional I send out every Wednesday/Thursday. If you would like to receive them in your email box, just email me and I will add you.)

“…It is more blessed to give than receive.”
Acts 20:35


On my mother’s last Christmas, she gave each of her four children a quilt she’d made. It was a beautiful gesture. Mama was battling cancer and she was weak. She didn’t go shopping. Instead, she gave us beautiful masterpieces. Works of art that took time and love.

When I think of gift giving at Christmas, I try to remind myself that giving is an act of love, not obligation or even tradition. My mother didn’t shop that Christmas so long ago. Yet it was one of the most valuable gifts I’ve ever received. That kind of giving takes time and effort. I’m not as good at it as I want to be.

This week, my friend Lynne reminded me that gift giving can be a precious act – a simple gesture of love.

I meet with Lynne and Sue once a week at Sue’s house to pray for our kids who go to a neighborhood public school. Moms in Touch is an excellent organization and I have come to love praying with other moms.

This past Monday, Lynne gave Sue and I presents. When I saw the beautifully wrapped package, my first reaction was guilt.

“I didn’t get you anything.”

“That’s fine, Robbie.”

I could tell she meant it.

I opened up the gift and was taken aback.

It was a Hallmark ornament. A miniature Barbie case that opened up to make a dream house, just like the ones when I was young. And of course, a little moveable Barbie was included.

I looked at Lynne, curious.

She said, “Robbie, I know you want a house and a Barbie body. We don’t care if you ever get a house or a Barbie body, but I wanted to support your dreams.”

I started laughing, even as tears filled my eyes.

“What a thoughtful gift.” I hugged Lynne as I started to cry. “Thank you for thinking of me.”

A simple gesture of love. Silly and sweet. And perfect for me.

I could envision Lynne walking around a store, trying to decide how to give me something that I’d enjoy and something that told me she loved me.

My mother’s quilt is a priceless heirloom. Lynne’s gift will be a treasured memory that will make me smile every Christmas. Both gifts exemplify love and friendship.

As I look on my Christmas tree and spy Barbie hanging out in her dream house, I am reminded to take my focus off the To-Do shopping list and focus on what truly matters – my family and friends whom God has given me to love. This season of celebrating Christ’s birth and all the gifts He’s given us is the perfect opportunity to love those around us through giving.

Be it an elaborate masterpiece or a simple symbolic gesture of love.

May we all be grateful in receiving and blessed beyond measure in giving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!



I want to wish each of you a wonderful holiday. Look up and thank our God for His provision in good times and bad.

And thank you for reading my blog. It means the world to me to have someone pop in and read my scribbling!

If you visit consistently, you've probably noticed my lack of consistency. Well, there is a reason. I am trying to put together a website and it takes a lot of tinkering and dreaming and planning. It also takes enormous self control to not throw the computer against the wall at times. :0)

So please be patient and give me a wee bit of grace for my lack of consistent posts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Time to take my Health Issues Seriously!



A few weeks ago, I went to my doctor for a complete physical. A week later, I sat in the doctor's office conference room to go over my notebook with him. Yes, notebook. It was a complete physical including all my blood cell levels, the hormone levels and of course, cholesterol.

My trigliceride level, the bad cholesterol, is off the chart. Basically, I'm one foot out of the grave. Although I can joke about it, the seriousness of this issue made a huge imprint.

That afternoon, I tickled Noah and we were laughing and laughing. It occured to me that I may never see his wedding or hold his kids. Ouch. It is time! Time for me to seriously take my health issues seriously!! Seriously.

But how? I've tried every diet known to mankind. Okay, almost. But it seems like every one.

First of all, I have to give God my will. Basically I have to make the decision every day to surrender. Throw up my hands, wave the white flag and stop fighting. My spoiled brat ways of "I am going to eat this because I WANT to eat this must stop.

But I need help! Enter a nutritionist and a counselor. By combining their advice to me, I have begun a eating program that is doable and realistic.

See, I'm an all or nothing gal. This has sabatoged every single one of my diets. If I don't do it perfectly, well then, have a pint of ice cream.:0)

No more. Another weapon I've used against myself is self doubt which becomes self fulfilling. The belief that "This really won't work, because I've never been able to lose weight and get healthy before," is imbedded in me because of the past. So I have to combat that lie. Constantly.

Change is difficult. Change takes purposeful effort. Change takes time.

And it is time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Soul Food!



Today at my writer's group, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, our leader said something profound. Michele Cushatt has a habit of doing that. She talked about taking breaks from the busy-ness of life to refresh ourselves.

"Take time to take care of your soul. Don't just let it be. Feed it."

Thanks, Michele.

It is easy for me to be lazy. Unfortunately, I don't have to think about being lazy. Just comes naturally. But being lazy, sitting around playing stupid computer games or watching TV is not necessarily taking care of my soul. It's letting it be.

To take care of my soul is to nurture it, like I would my child. I make sure Noah is well fed and clothed. But I also see to it that he has opportunities for joy, for challenge, for adventure, for peace.

So do I do the same for my soul? Do you?

I took a little time today and decided to purposely look for ways to give my soul opportunites for joy, for challenge, for adventure and for peace.

The holidays are coming. Busy-ness will be a constant temptation. I encourage you as I encourage myself to take time for our souls. Prepare a banquet for yourself, rich in delicious moments.

This year let's feed our souls, instead of feeding them to the tyranny of the clock.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Ivanka Trump's Wisdom. Seriously.



I watch The View. I will now pause for booing and clapping, depending on your view of The View. I like it, occasionally. Deal with that.

This past week Ivanka Trump and her mom were on talking about Ivanka’s wedding and new book. During the interview Ivanka said something that affected me profoundly.

Pause for “Seriously. Ivanka Trump.” and “Yeah, right.”

Barbara Walters asked what it was like to go through the divorce of her parents and all of the awful press during that time. Ivanka’s response was something near “I think if that hadn’t have happened to me, my life would’ve been too easy. I was very privileged so dealing with all the pain of that time helped me grow character.”

What wonderful perspective. How fabulous to see wisdom come from one who is young. Younger than me, at least.

So I’ve started to list (in my mind, but I may do it on paper) the awful periods of me life. Then I say, If
XYZ
hadn’t have happened, my life would have been too easy. I apply this idea to the fact that God is growing and molding me. Pain is a great teacher.

To further the thought, I considered my son. I would love it if one day he said “If that hadn’t happened, my life would have been too easy.”

But am I taking away that possibility by trying to rescue him? Sometimes I take care of life for Noah so he won’t be bothered. When I do this I am stealing his chance to go through difficulties. And he NEEDS to experience some kind of pain. I don’t wish that on him, but if I don’t allow it, how will he grow and learn perseverance? How will he practice looking to God for help if Mom is trying to save the day every time?

Do you ever look at the difficult times as gifts from God? Do you ever stand in the way of your kids’ growth through pain?

Who’d a thunk it? Ivanka Trump let me to the throne of God's wisdom.

Pause for “Sweet!”

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mind Your Own Business!




"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:1


Are you at peace with God? If you're not, you may relate to how this hamster feels. Without peace, a caged life is ours. God wants to unlock our cages and let us live in freedom. But how?

According to this verse, all it takes to be at peace with Him is to have faith in Jesus. That's it. Simple.

Then why is being at peace with God so difficult?

Enter guilt and judgement.

God has much more grace for us than we have for ourselves. Guilt for not being a "perfect Christian" (which is completely impossible anyway,) attacks us when we let our guards down. The enemy wants us to get our eyes off God and onto our own measly efforts to please. Guilt interferes with peace because it offers up a litany of reasons why we will never be good enough. Ergo, peace flys away.

Judgement interferes with peace because it takes our eyes off God and onto others. "She shouldn't be doing that." "I can't believe she let her son see that movie." At the root of judgement is comparison. Comparison in Christianity is futile. We are each individuals with individual strengths and weaknesses.

My mother used to tell me often to "Mind your own business." If she was alive today to see how our society loves to get in each others' business, she would be disgusted. From reality shows to talk shows, from open courts to blogs and facebook, our society has flung itself into the business of knowing other people's business.

The energy expended in looking around leaves less energy for looking up to God.

So I've started the mantra with Noah. "Mind your own business, Noah."

See, I know that if he learns early to "let it go" when he sees other sins, he will experience much more peace than the average Joe. If he learns now to repent of his failings quickly and then "let them go" he will use more of his time following God and less time wallowing in guilt.

He'll be at peace with God.

Last night and this morning I had the opportunities to go to two different writers' meetings that I enjoy. I made the choice to skip both, due to being tired and having a long list of to-dos. The enemy tempted me this morning to feel guilt about my choice. Ridiculous, but since I am such a people pleaser my first thought was I should go just to support others and make sure they know I'm for them. Nice enough motive, you'd think. But it comes from a place of guilt. I'm not "enough" because I am not pleasing everyone.

Then I heard my mom's voice, "Robbie, mind your own business." So I put down the guilt and looked up.

Peace reigned down on me.

Trust in Jesus, look to Him in faith and mind your own business. Let others' failings go. They're God's business. Repent quickly of your own sins and then let them go. What happens to your sins after you give them to God is well, His business. Not yours.

And enjoy peace. Deep breathing, smile inducing, gratitude rising peace. May Jehovah Shalom (the LORD is peace) bless you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Swine Flu comes in a variety of ways!



Tuesday night Noah came in at 5 p.m after playing outside with his friends. Upon coming into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner, he was white as a sheet.

"Noah are you okay?"

"I'm okay. Just really, really tired."

He asked if he could lie down. This from my ten-year-old son who never, ever, ever, ever, ever wants to sleep.

I knew something was up.

For the next 16 hours, Noah slept. I kept waking him up to check for a fever, but he never had one. I allowed him to be late for school the next day. He seemed okay, but still a little tired.

When I picked him up later, he said, "Mom, I feel great!"

Yesterday morning I woke up and felt as if a train had hit me. Headache and I was just exhausted. I've slept around 18 hours of the last 26. But now? I feel great!

But John woke up this morning and you guessed it, he was achy and exhausted.

I talked to two moms about this and they told me that their kids had the exact same symptoms. One of them asked the doctor about it and he told her it was the mildest form of swine flu without the fever. But it gets worse if you don't allow yourself rest.

So if you or your loved ones feel tired, don't shake it off. Go to bed! If you have what we had, a day or so later, you will feel great!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kimberley Woodhouse's book Welcome Home!



I love this book! Kimberley Woodhouse's book Welcome Home tells the story of the Woodhouse family as they go through many, many trials and tribulations. Kayla, Kim's daughter, is diagnosed with HSAN, a rare disorder that causes Kayla to not be able to sweat or feel pain. The Woodhouses live in Colorado Springs and were recipients of a brand new home care of the ABC show, Extreme Makeover.

Reading this book deeply encouraged me. It's hard to not think, "Well if the Woodhouses went through this and prevailed, I can go through difficult times, too."

Through each leg of Kimberley's journey, we read about God's leading Kim to joy. Joy in the midst of, joy despite, joy no matter what. The phrase "Consider it joy" is peppered thoughout the book.

If you are going through anything difficult, have gone through anything difficult, or believe that difficulties lie ahead, this book will encourage you. The word encourage means "to give courage." Kim gives us courage to keep going,hang on to Jesus and choose joy.

Read it! :0)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life leads us to Humility



I woke up this morning extremely tired, even though I had 7 hours of good sleep. I'm sure that colored the day a little.

After the boy left for school, I watched a little of the Today Show and saw the story about a 15 year old boy who was lit on fire by 5 of his classmates - bullies. He had called the police about one of them trying to steal his dad's bike. They retaliated.

Horrible. Tragic. I cried for him and I cried for his mom. Pray for him - his name is Michael and he received burns over 80% of his body. And pray for his family. And pray for those kids who did an evil, evil thing. This is Michael.



So after I finished crying, I noticed that Noah left his lunch. On my way to go write with a friend, I dropped it off at his school. During that trip I encountered some one who was downright mean to me. Mean with a capital M. I drove on to my friend Loretta's house, mumbling. Not positive mumbles either.

As I got to Loretta's she was on the phone. I set up my computer on her dining room table as is our custom. She hung up the phone and screamed.

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"

"What's the problem, Loretta?"

"Oh, just some woman and miscommunication. But I know this is supposed to lead me to humility."

Lead me to humility. Wow.

I thought about those words and applied them to my own situation. Watching the horrible actions on TV - should that lead me to humility? I think so. God is the only answer to those boys' problems. He is the only one who can heal Michael. I thought about my own son, and I thanked God, in humility, for his safety.

I thought about the mean woman I'd encountered. Was that incident supposed to lead me to humility? Yes. I can love her back, in humility, even if she is in a bad mood or place. If I turn on the pride, which I did this morning, I just get angry and defensive. How dare she? But if I let her words lead me to humility, well then God can show me the high road.

Life's situations often lead us to humility. And humility leads us to better resemble our Father in heaven.

But I have to confess, I hope nothing else happens today that leads me to humility.
:0)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Family, Family, Family!!

This last week a whole bunch of Iobsts came to Denver! My mother-in-law, JoJo Iobst, came to celebrate her 70th birthday. Joining the fun was her sister, Nan, my three beautiful stepdaughters, Marriah, Sarah and Hannah, and Marriah's boyfriend, Schno (pronounced Snow - he said he had hippy parents :0) ) and of course the three of us.
We laughed and ate and celebrated. We played games and visited and loved on one another, especially the patriarch of our family - JoJo. A sweeter woman never lived. :0)

So I am exhausted and happy. Relieved it's over and sad they left.

Here are some pics of the Iobst gang!

Our family - (standing) Sarah, JoJo, John, Noah, Hannah, Nan (sitting) Schno, Marriah
This was taken in front of the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs. We went one night for some western barbeque and music.



My three lovely stepdaughters, Hannah, Sarah and Marriah! They are each wearing heart necklaces JoJo gave them on HER birthday. :0) She is so kind.



Of course, our dog Scooby was a huge hit! This is Nan and JoJo and the dog! :0)



When JoJo was leaving she told us it was the best birthday ever in 70 years. Wow, thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Have You Smelled Yourself Lately?


Ever watch Bravo’s The Actor’s Studio with James Lipton? It’s a show in which Lipton interviews celebrities about the craft of acting. At the end of each interview, he asks his guests the same list of questions. One of them is “What is your least favorite word?”

Sure, I’ve daydreamed about being on that show. Silly. Harmless. And I always answer the same when Mr. Lipton asks me this particular question.

“Robbie, what is your least favorite word?”

“Stagnant.”

I can’t stand this word. When I think of it, I always picture a pond of stinking water. No life going in and none going out. And maybe I don’t like this word because I have hated the times in my life when I was seemingly stagnant.

No growth. No challenge. Kind of stinky.

God made us to be people who are constantly and consistently growing. Not just sideways. But in the core of ourselves. That part that sees our weaknesses and tries to change them into strengths. The part that recognizes the beauty of a simple challenge, whether it be traveling to a place we’ve never been or picking up a new hobby.

I find myself looking at that part of me these days. A corner of it is producing a bit of an odor. Just a little. But definitely a funky kind of scent.

Stagnancy must be addressed as soon as it is recognized or it infects other areas. Courage becomes fear. Productivity becomes laziness.

Are you stagnant? Is there a part of you that God is nudging you to look at?

Do you smell anything stinky?

You have a choice. Let it passively go by the wayside, or get busy.

In that elaborate daydream in which I look absolutely fabulous, James Lipton also asks me “Robbie, what is your favorite word?”

My answer is always the same.

“Growth.”


(I won’t be blogging Thursday. Family in town. See you next Tuesday.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

To Tweet or not to Tweet - Help me out!



To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question.

I tweeted for a while and gave it up. My problem was that I followed a bunch of famous people, some of which who tweeted every day, several times a day. So I would open up my Twitter account and have ENDLESS tweets from people I don't know. I admire them, but I found myself just not caring about their activity updates.

Just had the best coffee ever.

Meeting with Smith right now.

What a glorious sunrise.

The best tacos are in my town.


Seriously? Do I care?

But I look at Facebook and it is basically the same thing, right? Little details about our lives that really aren't that important. Right?

The difference is on Facebook, I find myself getting to know folks. I read their posts and I truly enjoy the details. Why is that? Is it because they are not super famous? Is it because I personally KNOW most of my FB friends?

I read an article today that said I should start tweeting to build up my online presence as an author. But what I don't understand is what Twitter will do for me that Facebook won't do. Can anyone explain this to me?

I just don't get it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's National Coffee Day!



The first smell of every morning of my childhood was Folgers brewing. Mama and Daddy were religious about their cup of caffeine every morning. My pop offered me a taste when I turned 13, and I thought it was horrible. In fact, I didn't pick up the habit until my mid-twenties.

But now, well the first smell that greets my son when he wakes up is Maxwell House brewing. I'd like to take a minute and apologize to my parents, even though they are deceased. I still don't like Folgers. :0)

Today is National Coffee Day, so I thought I would write a little ditty to celebrate.

Webster's Dictionary:
Main Entry: dit·ty
Pronunciation: \ˈdi-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ditties
Etymology: Middle English ditee, from Anglo-French dité story, song, from past participle of diter to compose, from Latin dictare to dictate, compose
Date: 14th century
: an especially simple and unaffected song


Ode to Coffee
A ditty by Robbie Iobst

To the Tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star - roughly.

Better than alarm clocks,
Or water in my face,
Better than yelling
or someone spraying mace!
Better than the sun,
shining in my eyes,
Better than Noah shouting surpise!

What causes me to really wake up,
Only you, coffee in a cup!


See you at your local Starbucks!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I wrote a story in another Chicken Soup! Woo Hoo!

I'm proud to announce that I wrote a story in the soon to be released book: Chicken Soup for the Soul - What I Learned from the Dog!



Scooby was an integral part of the story.



He wanted to be paid because Noah got a percentage of a story about him.
We had a talk and here is Scooby's payment.



I am very grateful and blessed to have been published in 5 compilation books so far. Woo Hoo and thank you God!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ubuiquitous Enemy, Ubiquitous Fear



I’m writing a book about how to become a courageous mom and raise courageous children. I’m about 22,000 words into it. After I clear 25-30 thousand, I will work on diligently :0) finishing the proposal.

So it is a good project. A fulfilling project. But at times, a very difficult project.

I’ve been writing so much about fear that I seem to battling it more than usual these days. For about ten years, my life was filled with fear. Honest to goodness panic attacks in the middle of the night were common. Most of my terror was focused on something bad happening to my son. If you looked up “overprotective mother” on the internet, you would see a picture of me.

But God has given me tremendous victory in this area. In fact, my life has never been more peaceful. That is, until I started writing about fear.

It’s not that surprising. The enemy is after me. But God has provided weapons for me and I am a warrior woman! (I can almost hear Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman, Hear me Roar!” :0))

Don’t you love 2 Corinthians 10:4?

“The weapons we fight with are not like the world’s weapons. On the contrary, they have divine power in order to DEMOLISH strongholds!”

When I am attacked I use my weapons – praise, prayer, the Word of God and gratitude. Afterward, sometimes not immediately, I can almost sense the beeping noise one of those bulldozers makes when it backs up. Beep, beep, beep! And then CRUSH! God demolishes the fear and His courage fills me up.

The other day John, Noah and I were sitting in church and I put my arm around Noah and my hand on John’s knee. In that moment I was filled with gratitude. Here I sat physically touching my two most precious blessings.

And then Wham-o! Fear came whispering a few “What ifs?”

In church! Can you believe it? About that time the worship team starting singing and it was easy to praise God for His presence and His truth.

We each have those moments, don’t we? The enemy attacks us with fear no matter what setting. Join me and arm yourselves. Be ready to stand firm in battle.

And then wait for it. Wait for it….

Beep, beep, beep! CRUSH!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Keep Seeing You Daddy



If you've lost someone, you'll get this. If you haven't, someday you will.

I keep seeing you Daddy

A few weeks ago we went to the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs. BBQ, music and lots of people in a western setting.

And I saw you.

You were wearing a cap and a short sleeve plaid shirt. You had faded jeans on. And of course, you had THOSE suspenders. The bright multi-colored ones. Nothing really matched.

But you didn't care.

You hobbled around looking at the western sites. And in line for chow, you smiled easily and chatted with the man in front of you.

I watched from afar.

I pointed you out to John.

He said, "Wow. Amazing likeness."

Later on, when the country western band was playing, I looked for you across the sea of picnic tables and laughing families. I wanted to see you smile one more time.

I couldn't find you.

When the fiddler started in on "Orange Blossom Special" I laughed out loud.

Remember when you used to play that for us? I saw the train everytime you made your bow dance across the strings of the fiddle you made with your calloused welder hands.

I strained my neck and looked through the crowd. But it was too dark. I couldn't see you.

Just the other day we went to the Country Buffet restaurant and there you were. You were hobbling along in a different outfit. But it was you. I watched you smile at some woman.

I elbowed John and pointed to you.

He just whispered, "Wow."

Noah asked, "What is it?"

I hold him that a man who looked just like Grandpa Walker was across the restaurant.

"But he's dead, right?"

"Yes, Noah. He's been gone for almost five years."

But I keep seeing you Daddy.

It pulls at my heart. Makes me miss you. Your presence in my life.

I'll always see you in my memories.

And someday, face to face.

Are you playing the "Orange Blossom Special" for Him?

I bet God laughs out loud when your bow dances across the strings.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Does Satan Really Want of You and Me?



I’m a pretty ordinary gal.

Not famous. Not rich. Married with one son and three step-daughters.

Pretty ordinary.

So want does Satan want with me? What does he want with you?

Does he want us to become Satanists? Nope.

How about have affairs? Rob banks? Kill someone?

No. No. No.

What about gossiping? He wants us to become gossipers, right?

Nope.

How about overeaters, cheaters, lusters or haters?

Nah. None of that.

So what is Satan after?

One thing. Started back in the garden of Eden.

“You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. (If she ate the fruit) "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5

There it is. Satan wanted Eve to doubt God. He wanted her to believe that God was not for her, but holding her back.

Satan wants all of us to do the same. He wants us to doubt God’s heart for us. If we don’t believe that God loves us completely and that He is for us, what do we do?

We fall into sin and its patterns.

We lie, steal, cheat, have affairs, overeat, lust, hate, etc.

God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is/are FOR YOU! He adores you. And He is cheering for you to live an abundant full life.

Satan is not.

Here’s the good news:

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

So what do we do?

James 4:7 tells us:

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Easier said than done! But being aware of your enemy and his tactics can be a wonderful step in the right direction.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!



Here is MY OPINION on Facebook!

First, let's start with THE UGLY:

Scams and Viruses: Even though you get to choose you communicate with on Facebook, sometimes hackers manage to get to your friends' page and plant viruses. It happens. One of my friends' friends, (you follow that?) got a message from someone who identified himself as a buddy, but he was lying and tried to scam the guy out of some money. It happens. But if you are on the computer, even email, this can happen.
It's UGLY!

THE BAD:

1)Facebook can suck your time right out of your day. It is sneaky! I can sit down and read and post and connect with people and then look at the clock and YIKES! I've been on Facebook for 2 hours? Are you kidding me? There goes time that I could've been writing. This is BAD! So I have to set a timer or have a clock NEAR me when I sit down to Facebook.
2)Boundaries can be crossed. You have a chance to reconnect with old friends. But what if you don't want to reconnect because of a bad experience? Some people have a hard time ignoring friend requests. Boundaries are crossed. And I've read that some people, especially women, reconnect with old boyfriends, even when they're married. Feelings grow and boom! Boundaries crossed. I hit the ignore button FREELY!

THE GOOD:

1)I recently connected with a good friend who I met when I was six! We were very close until we graduated high school. What a delight to catch up with her. When this kind of thing happens, and it does often, it is simply GOOD! Fun! Innocent. Lovely.
2)On Facebook you can receive encouragement and kindness. The other day I admitted to a mistake I made with my son and I received so many replies that encouraged me and identified with me. What a boost! And today is my birthday and I have already received many,many Happy Birthday greetings! Totally GOOD!

That's my two cents. All in all, I like Facebook. As long as I watch my time and boundaries it is mostly GOOD!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

27 Personal Secrets that Might Surprise You!



This is a meme that I've been asked to do several times, so today is the day!

I am…a follwer of Jesus, a wife to John, a mother to Noah, a feeder of Scooby.
I want…to become less judgmental and more loving.
I have…a new car - a Subaru Legacy Limited and I'm so grateful!
I wish…I could really improve in my writing.
I hate…cruelty.
I miss…my mom.
I fear... a lot less than I used to, thank you God!
I feel…itchy and happy.
I hear…the song by Leeland "Yes you Have!"
I smell…my husband's cologne - He just walked by - oh baby! :0)
I crave…chocolate!
I search…for quotes and articles about fear, currently!
I wonder…why God made front teeth if He first intended us not to eat meat!
I regret…allowing my body to get so big.
I love…my life!
I ache…for people who are angry at God because Christians have wounded them.
I care…about my son's future, my husband's heart, my dog's well being.
I always…forget to put things back in their place.
I am not…dull. At least that's what I've been told.
I believe…that Jesus loves every single one of us, completely, totally, unconditionally!
I dance…often. Usually by myself with no one looking. :0)
I sing…in the car. Loudly. Joyfully. Not necessarily in tune.
I cry…too easily. I think I have faulty tear ducts.
I don’t always…hold my tongue when I should.
I fight…passive aggresively. I'm working on this.
I write…because it is the thing that makes my soul dance!
I never…run marathons.
I listen…not enough.
I need…self-discipline!
I am happy…being with my family.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Writer, How Hungry are You?



In the last two months, I've learned a good deal about hunger, a concept I knew very little about. I've always eaten from the brain. Head hunger. It's time to eat. I could eat. I feel like eating.

Now I am trying to listen to my stomach and let it tell me when to eat. It's a whole new world.

In learning about this, I discovered there are five levels of hunger:

Starving
Hungry
Satisfied
Full
Overfull

As I've been contemplating this, it occured to me that these levels fit writers and their desires along the writing journey.

I've been in the "writing world" for about three years now. What a wonderful place to grow and learn and live! It's become obvious to me that each writer is at a different place in this world.

I've met Starving Writers. This folks are wonderful in that they can talk about writing and books all day. But they also can be annoying. In their hunger, they often speed around in a marketing race car. They carry their business cards everywhere and often give them out just for the possibility of a connection that will further their goal. Starving writers are wonderful to take to lunch because the conversation is always interesting. But in a group, they tend to thrust their own marketing opportunities into conversation, even when it's not appropriate. (And yes, I have been a starving writer.)

Hungry Writers are fabulous people. Most writers I've met fall into this category. They want to learn about the business and they write not just for publication, but also to learn the craft. Hungry writers ask the best questions. In a group setting they are delightful because their eyes get wide often, either from dreaming or being inspired. (I believe today I am a hungry writer.)

Satisfied Writers are that lot of folks who don't necessarily NEED to be published again or even the first time. They write for the simple joy of writing. I love to be with satisfied writers. They often remind me that contentment in Jesus is the most important thing. Sometimes they just know their priorites, and publication is not one of them. OR they have a regular gig writing and in finding their niche, they are completely satisfied. (I find myself in this category in the summertime when I'm with Noah.)

Full Writers are ones who've just gotten a contract and are busy working to its fulfillment. And theirs. They are often writing mentors, at least the best ones are. Having found success they look for ways to help other writers - the hungry or starving especially. (I'm on my way.)

Overfull writers are those souls who just don't have time. Deadlines are approaching and they just can't seem to keep up with all the demands. They sequester themselves often to acquire that single-minded focus needed to finish. They have the experience to tell hungry writers that publication is not the end all of everything. Hungry writers smile but do not believe them. (Someday, Lord Jesus!)

Writers go through these stages consistently. I can be starving today and satisfied tomorrow. Often I'm satisfied in the summer. Noah is home and I know he is my priority. But fall comes and he goes off to school and hunger pains begin. My stomach growls for a new story, a new article to submit. Overfull writers can find a place of completion and suddenly they're starving for a new challenge.

My point is this: We are all in different phases. God has a plan and a desire for each of us, despite where we are on the hunger chart. Accepting each other, where we are, is the way to love other writers. This realization has helped me considerably in my expectations. See, if I sit down with a full writer and I am starving, I sometimes resent his/her lack of ambition and drive for the next publication. If I am hungry and talk to an overfull writer, sometimes I feel jealousy for their success.

Resentment and jealousy are thrown out of the equation if I remember that we are all individuals, in unique positions. Not every writer wants the accomplishment I WANT today. I don't want what other writers desire.

God works that way. And He is GOOD. When He created the starving, hungry, satisfied, full and overfull writers He said, "It is good. It's all good!"

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

(To the tune of "Feelings) Healing...Wo, Oh, Oh Healing!

WARNING: SOME WOUND PHOTOS ARE AHEAD!


Many people have emailed me and asked how John is doing after his December 28th motorcycle accident put him in the hospital for a month and kept him on blood thinners for almost seven months.

He's great!

The Lord chose to completely heal him. Thus the song I sing - Healing, Wo, Oh, Oh Healing!

Here is the progression of John's leg wound:

This is John's wound in rehab, about two weeks after his accident:



The infected wound about two months after accident. This required surgery:



John's wound after the surgery.




The wound vac came after the surgery. This little device did wonders for his healing.



This is his wound now. Completely healed but a red scar. John calls it the "Shark Bite." :0)



This is a picture of John now! Handsome, happy and healed! Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mary and Martha - It's Not What You Think!




Today I celebrate aging. Why not? It happens to all of us. And as some have said, the alternative is not that appealing.

Today I celebrate Mary and Martha. I don't know why I named them those names, but I did. Five years ago I discovered them. They have nothing to do with those sisters in the Bible.

Or do they?

In September I will turn 47 years old. It's not a big deal.

27 was earth-shattering. 30 was torture. 40 was an absolute blast.

But 47 is just a number.

However, I have found myself fixated lately with Mary and Martha, two signs I am definitely getting older.

At age 42, I sat deep in thought one day. If you know me, you know this is not a daily event. But as I thought, I reached up and touched my cheek. No big deal.

But then I felt Martha. I couldn't believe it. I reached to the other cheek and I felt Mary.

See, for some strange reason, part of the aging process for me has been the appearance of two single hairs. Symmetrically placed on each of my cheeks.

Left to grow, they shoot up like tall lonely reeds. Sometimes, I twirl them. Of course no one can be anywhere near me when I do this. I'm sure I look like a man straightening out his handlebar mustache. Or a cat cleaning his whiskers.

Two hairs. No more. No less.

Mary and Martha.

So, though I've owned these aging oddities for 5 years, just recently I've pondered, no, I've obsessed over them.

Maybe Martha represents that part of me that is worried about getting older. It's easy to get sidetracked into the disappointment of unrealized dreams. Or caught up in thoughts of wrinkles, walkers and wasting away.

Mary, on the other hand, or cheek, may represent that part of me that says "Who cares about the past or the future? Right now is what counts!" Sitting at Jesus’ feet and enjoying my life today as a 46 year old woman.

Every time I pluck Martha, I pluck Mary, too. I always hope I've seen the last of them. But they always come back. As a reminder of the ticking clock. Or a reminder to Carpe Diem.

Maybe I'm analyzing them too much. Yep, that's probably it.

So today I celebrate my two-haired beard. My symmetrical whiskers.

My Mary and Martha.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Simple Pleasures Like Taking a Break!



This is my last post until THURSDAY, August 27th!

It is time for me to think through and redefine some things in my writing/speaking career. This includes a possible website and new blog. We'll see. I need some time away from my blog to process, plan and put into action whatever God guides me to do.

Summer is such an important time for me and Noah, too. It is the time of year we play and swim and hang out without any pressure from school or school activities. I love getting up and looking at Noah and saying, "Should we swim?" or "Should we go bowling or a movie?" I love it that Noah has friends in our neighborhood and spends hours with them enjoying "little boyhood." Of course, he would never say it that way. :0)

But now is a time to enjoy the simple pleasures God has for me in my family. While I do that, I'll take time to ask God, "What next?" If you think of me, please pray that I would listen and heed His leadings.

And take some time yourself and enjoy the summer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are you a "Knower" or a "Seeker?"




Are you a "knower" or a "seeker?"

I want to be a constant seeker. Of course, my pride leads me to be a knower often.

Let me explain what I'm talking about.

I'm no Bible scholar, but from what I've studied, seeking is the way to go.

Matthew 6:33 says "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you."

Hebrews 11:6 says "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him."

It doesn't say know all about the kingdom of God. It doesn't say diligently know Him.

It says seek.

God's working on this part of me in my inner Robbie. That part of me that must stop daily and just sit at His feet and glean from Him. The lesson has been reflected in conversations. I've suddenly noticed how so many Christians I talk to love to use the phrase, "I know."

I know that verse.

I know what I should do.

I know He loves me.

I know Jesus.

So I'm learning that knowing is well, in a way, stagnant. It's not enough to know. I think this is more difficult for those of us who've been Christians for a while or for those who were raised in the church. We have all this knowledge in us. Sometimes
that host of Bible stories and verses work against us. Sometimes, we Christians, rely on our past experiences with Jesus to pave the way for future growth.

But what if God has this really new wonderful thing for you or me, but in order to experience it we need to do nothing but seek Him. Not visit old glory days or tried and true Bible verses and lessons. A completely new work.

So now I seek. At least I try.

Instead of just knowing verses, I read verses and seek new meanings, new applications. I listen carefully.

Instead of knowing what I should do, I seek what I should do. Today, tomorrow, this year.

Instead of just knowing He loves me, I seek HOW He loves me. I look around and discover the new ways He wants to love me every day.

Instead of knowing Jesus, I seek Jesus. I'll never understand or know all that is the Creator and Savior of the Universe. Never. But today I can seek Him and learn more.

I hope this encourages you to seek more and know less. Makes living for Jesus more of an adventure, and less of a duty.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Don't Grieve for Michael Jackson, but...




A month ago I sat at a restaurant with a friend and the subject of death came up. I mentioned I’d been to many funerals for family and friends.

“So you’ve had a lot of people die in your life?” She asked.

“Yes.”

“Who?”

I began listing the many people that I’ve lost from childhood friends to family members to neighbors to students and fellow teachers. After I finished my list, she gave me the incredulous look I’ve come to expect after I recite this morbid inventory I happen to own.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t respond in empathy when Ed, Farrah and Michael died last week. I’ve experienced grief so many times for people I actually know. So no empathy came. Just judgment.

I’m not proud that I often judge others, but I do. I wish I could blame it on some genetic disease or the altitude in Colorado, but I can’t. Part of my sinful nature, that dark part of me that Jesus has redeemed but that I still have to battle, is this tendency to judge first, empathize later.

So I looked down my nose at all the folks who were sad about Michael Jackson. I made jokes and I tsked at the outpouring of people on Facebook who’d never met the man.

Puulllease! He was a weirdo!

But then…

God got a hold of me. He is sneaky and surprises me often. As He did Saturday night.

My husband knows my history of love for John Denver. Growing up in Van Horn, Texas, I discovered the music of John Denver and fell head over heals. I learned all his songs and could play many of them on the piano and guitar. I spent endless hours singing them with childhood friends and folks from my youth group at church.

I have wonderful memories of “Back Home Again” and “This Old Guitar.” “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Country Roads, Take me Home.” Sweet moments that come to me delicious, like butter pecan ice cream.

So for our anniversary, my husband bought us tickets to a John Denver tribute at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The man who sang, Roy Rivers, sounded just like John and brought me right back to Van Horn, Texas. Once again I was a cotton topped kid singing his songs at the top of my voice, loving the smells of wildflowers in a forest and the soft winds of friendship.

Sitting in that gorgeous amphitheatre, I cried when I thought about the day John Denver died. I’d heard the news in my car on the way to work. I drove into the Horizon High School parking lot and chose to miss our teacher meeting before 1st period. I needed a while to grieve. I sat in my car and cried for those moments of singing with my guitar in the backyard at night. I cried thinking of the sweet laughter with my friends around the piano.

This is when God snuck up on me and whacked me upside my head. It hurt a little. It was supposed to.

Empathy poured over me and I felt badly for those grieving over Michael Jackson. Maybe they weren’t trying to grieve as if they’d lost someone they personally knew. Maybe they were grieving moments of memory. The sweet times that MJ’s music had come into their life and provided the backdrop for joy or sorrow.

I still don’t grieve for Michal Jackson. I feel bad for his kids. Not him.

But in the middle of a song, under a perfect Rocky Mountain High sky, I discovered empathy for those who do grieve for him.

For you guys, I am truly sorry for your loss.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sign up for Joyvotions!



I write a devotional each week and send it out via email to people all over the country. I would love to send it to YOU. Joyvotions are always under 500 words and I never reveal or sell your email address. Just email me (my email address is on the right side of this posting)and I will add you to my list. The following Joyvotion is the one I sent out this week.

The Devil Wears Lies!

This is my first Joyvotions Series! Over the next six weeks, I am going to write about the Armor of God from Ephesians 6. As a believer in 2009, it is crucial to be ready to live in the abundant joy God has for me. This means protecting myself with God’s armor.

Ephesians 6:13-14
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth.”


If you’ve watched “The Devil Wears Prada” you might remember the line Stanley Tucci’s character yells into the halls of the Runway Magazine office just before Meryl Streep’s character (the boss from hell) makes an entrance.

“Gird up your loins!”

A funny moment in a hilarious movie. Words warning the fashion peons to prepare themselves for the worst. In this case, a malevolent editor-in-chief.

The phrase “gird up your loins” refers to a common act by the Roman army. In the days of the Bible, the soldiers wore long tunics. In battle, a soldier would gather up his tunic around his waist so he wouldn’t trip as he fought his enemies. He wanted to be his most agile and mobile.

Paul uses this phrase in Ephesians 6, admonishing Christians to “Gird up their loins with truth.” From what I’ve studied and read he was conveying two things. First, it is crucial for believers to protect that part of our “gut” that holds our intuition. The enemy assaults that part of us daily, attacking our security in God and our position as the children of Jehovah.

Second, we must be alert to protect ourselves from the world’s lies that would cause us to stumble. As a woman and wife, as a mom and follower of Christ, I want to run the race God has for me in joy and purpose. The moment I believe the enemy’s lies I trip up.

It’s a choice I must make each day. Do I take time to wrap my heart and mind in the Word of God and His truth? Or do I envelope myself in other people’s opinions or the mantras I hear on the TV?

Standing firm in the battle of today means choosing to gird my heart, my gut, in the truth of who God is and what He says about me.

So tomorrow when you wake up, remember that a malevolent force is headed your way and wants you to doubt yourself and God.

Take action – “Gird up your loins!”

Monday, June 08, 2009

Try This! Write a letter in Faith and Fun!



Tomorrow starts 10 weeks of summer vacation with my 10-year-old boy. As I thought about the summer and our plans and goals, an idea popped into mind. Why not look at the summer as if it was over? Looking back at those 10 weeks, what would I want to say?

I wrote the following letter this morning. It helped me set goals and yet see the summer for what it is: another wonderful season created and guided by the Father!

August 18, 2009

Dear Lord,

Thank you for a glorious summer. One of the best ever. Why? Because I did not live in the bondage of self, but instead chose freedom in YOU!

What a delight it was to meet with You every day and hang out! It always prepared me. And You surprised me a few times. Remember?

What joy to hang with Noah and see him grow in You and the Bible. How freeing it was to not worry about entertaining him all the time but instead going with the flow and enjoying every day for whatever it had to offer. And we had a blast swimming, seeing movies, bowling and just being. Thank You for our time reading about Mythology and teaching Noah to type. And Lord, thank You for a great summer soccer season!

And I am so thankful for the strength You gave me this summer to take care of myself physically. Because of You I took my pills on time each day and moved often. And because of Your Spirit I watched, paid attention and WOKE UP to see and limit what I put into my body!

You were with me during my continued organizational efforts and You guided me in furthering my writing and speaking career!

What a blessing You gave John in celebrating his 50th birthday! I am so thankful God to watch my beloved be loved by You.

So it was a great summer, Lord!

Thank You that is wasn't perfect at all. But it was exactly what guided our family to cuddle up with You even more in desperation and gratitude.

Now bring on the fall for You are God of every season!

Robbie


Try this yourself! Write a letter of gratitude to God from AFTER the summer. Of course, the summer may be totally different than what I think. So what? God will be there. Writing this is a fun exercise in faith!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How Do You Deal With Disappointment?



How do you deal with disappointment?

Here are three methods I WISH I used:

1) Pray and become philosophical and look for the lesson God has for me.
2) Feel the feelings and then turn that energy into usefulness like feeding the poor or running a mile.
3) Logically look at what happened and analyze the long term benefits that may be initially hidden.

Here are the three methods I ACTUALLY use:

1) Ranting. I am one of the top three ranters in the country. I believe number one is a reality TV star and number two, a TV evangelist.
2) Eating. Yep. I eat my feelings, Oprah. And I’m working on putting the cookie down.
3) Taking a mental trip to the worst possible location. I am my own travel agent and I take Concord flights to “This Is Happening Because I Am A Bad Mother Island” or “Why Can’t I Ever Get Ahead In Life Beach.” I stay, get sunburned and crawl back to reality, aloe lotion in hand.

Today I experienced disappointment. I employed my 3 methods in order. First, I got angry and ranted. Next, I cooked peanut butter cookies although I was not hungry. And finally, I packed my bags and visited “I Am So Overwhelmed Luxury Spa And Resort.”

But I am home again. It’s late and the guys are all asleep.

Maybe because it is so quiet, His voice is easier to hear. Or maybe because I’m feeling a little desperate. So I ask, “Okay Lord, how should I deal with disappointment?”

I pause and wait for the Spirit to start enumerating a list. Maybe some verses or words from a recent sermon that will help me out or at least guide me to perspective.

And what do I hear? Over and over?

Just this:

Robbie, I LOVE YOU with an everlasting love. Therefore with loving-kindness I draw you close to me. (It’s from Jeremiah 31:3.)

That’s all God tells me tonight. No formula. No Bible Study. Just His love. An agape love that casts out fear and soothes every inch of my disappointed heart.

I breathe and take it in. I sit a minute in stillness.

I receive my Creator’s love, for it is never forced.

And now I can sleep in peace.

I don’t need methods. I just need HIM.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

God at the Movies Part 5 - Paul Blart Mall Cop



I have moments when I fantasize about having a little daughter, a little darling who asks me to have imaginary tea with her and play Barbies. And then every weekend I imagine she asks me in a sweet high voice, "Oh Mommy, can we get a girl movie? Something with a castle and long dresses and a princess?"

But then I wake up to my 10-year-old son with dirty knees and spaghetti on his face begging, "Mom, please! We gotta rent Paul Blart Mall Cop!"

So we did. And it was better than I thought. Of course, my expectations could NOT have been lower. :0)

Paul Blart is a mall cop who dreams of love and a job as a policeman. His extreme hypoglycemia has limited his career to that of a security guard, no wait I mean, security officer.

As I watched this I thought about my blog and looked for a lesson. Um. Well. Couldn't find it. Not that Paul Blart Mall Cop isn't a redeeming movie. Paul's rise to an unlikely hero is a path that has many spiritual implications.

But the thing I want to point out about Paul Blart Mall Cop is the silliness. My son laughed. A lot. So did I. The pratfalls reminded me of Jerry Lewis on steroids. The sincere geekiness of Paul made me think of a less sophisticated Steve Martin.

Lots of great moments in this film for family viewing. And the absolute best part? My boy's laughter. If I could bottle it and take it with me wherever I go, I would have instant perspective at all times. Listening to his cackles, guffaws and manic giggling made renting Paul Blart Mall Cop worth every penny.

Who needs princess movies when I have my own little 10 year old jester.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Some Wonderful Cheap Humor!!



Laughter is good for the soul.

No one would actually debate that. It is a universal truth.

One of the cheapest ways to lighten up your soul is to engage in the art of Punnery. I don't know if that's a word, but if it isn't, it should be. People who pun are quick and clever. They are also incredibly un-hip. People groan at their humor, but punners don't care. We know the same people will probably laugh loudly at our puns when they're alone. Maybe even try to retell it later. We know. :0)

Yesterday the last survivor of the Titanic died. When my friend Kay told me this I replied, "Bummer. I have a sinking feeling about this."

She groaned. But she laughed in private later. I know she did.

Here's a little cheap laughter for your day. I hope. At least in private. :0)

Wanna go golfing? I hate golfing because I'm just no good at it. I have to cheat to win and my brother is always telling me I have to play the fair way. I could club him when he says that. He thinks I'm too green to play anyway. I show him. See, I show up in two pair of pants, in case I get a hole in one of them. I wanted to play last week but I didn't - I wasn't feeling up to par. But I went the next day and couldn't finish. My brother got so teed off.

Groan away. Or laugh. It might be good for your soul.

Friday, May 29, 2009

God at the Movies Part 4 - Taken!



Last weekend I rented "Taken" a suspenseful thriller starring Liam Neeson. I'd heard conflicting reports about this movie. One friend told me she loved it and its fast paced action. Another friend said it was creepy and too scary for her.

Fright movies I don't like. Why pay money to get scared when I can experience the same emotion by watching the news?

But for me, "Taken" was not scary. Suspenseful sure, scary no.

Liam Neeson plays a war vet with a 17-year-old daughter who travels to Paris and gets kidnapped for human trafficking. Horrible premise.

But then Enter the Angry Dad!

He's on the phone to his daughter when she gets taken. Neeson has a moment in which he talks to one of the kidnappers. He says, "I have a certain skill set that is a nightmare for people like you."

Boo-yah! He's off and we follow the action as he tracks down the bad guys, his fierce love propelling him to rescue his daughter.

The parallel to our Father God is obvious to me.

God's relentless and fierce love for us propels him to fight for us!

Deuteronomy 20:3-4 says:
He (the priest)shall say: "Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."

Can you see it? The enemy attacks us and kidnaps our courage sweeping us off to a place where we dwell in fear and discouragement.

Enter our Angry Dad! He says to Satan: "I have a skill set that is a nightmare for YOU!"

And off our Father goes, fighting for us and rescuing us!

I love it! And I loved this movie. Definitely only for adults. But a great action packed thriller.

Boo-yah! (I've never used this phrase but it seemed to fit this movie! :0) )

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Buying A Swimsuit. Seriously?



This is my favorite Hallmark Card. The name on the corner is Revilo. My sis-in-law Lory gave me this a couple of years ago and I laughed and laughed. The inside reads:

I think the ruffle really makes a difference, don't you?

Last Friday was D-Day - Time to buy a swimsuit. Please don’t be offended by the military analogy. No, I didn’t storm Normandy. And no I didn’t risk my life. But I still felt I was marching into war.

Me versus the entire clothing industry.

I posted a blurb on Facebook about the upcoming battle and was encouraged by many fellow swimsuit buyers who empathized. Off I went, armed with the well wishes of fellow fashion soldiers.

At least I knew the perfect store. Sure that particular mall was a bit of a drive, but it would be worth it. That store would have the perfect suit for me, just my size and style. Easy in. Easy out.

I arrived at mall. Went in, down corridor, up escalator. There it was. Or where it used to be.

Closed. Shut down. Gone.

NO! You’re kidding me? Seriously?

Okay, Lord, what next?

Next door was a “skinny store.” I am not a small woman and rarely go into skinny stores unless I see they are having a sale on socks or accessories. But this skinny store boasted a sign saying that they had my size in swimsuits. The sign included the tag line – “It’s an attitude, not a size.”

Well, okay! Now we were talking. I walked in and looked everywhere. Couldn’t find size anywhere. I asked salesperson. She looked at me with attitude, but not the nice kind. Then she sighed and walked me to the back of the store, far corner. Apparently my size was the equivalent of back of the bus fashion.

I took the bullet. This was war, right? But it was only a flesh wound. I looked at the one rack of 6 suits that this particular store had to sell. All 6 of the swimsuits were 2 piece suits. The top was a shirt, not a bikini but relatively short.

Really? Seriously? Did anyone want to see me or any woman my size in a 2 piece? Seriously? Well, I’d driven across Denver to this mall so I might as well try one on. Into the dressing room I went. Turned out that my size at a skinny store is well…skinny. The tag that said my size was obviously tampered with. It’s an attitude not a size? Only if the attitude is down right lying. By the time I left this establishment I felt exhausted and slightly bleeding from my flesh wound.

War is hell.

Down the corridor was a big woman store. I knew they’d have something for me, but I was also sure it would cost the same price as a new dish washer. But by this time, I was desperate.

I walked in and looked around. Couldn’t find the swimsuits, even in the back far corner. I asked salesperson. They didn’t sell them.

You’re kidding me? Seriously?

Lord, I know You’re with me. But seriously?

“Have you tried Wal Mart?” the salesperson asked.

I thanked her and left. Wal Mart? Either they would NOT have my size or they would and it would look like a potato sack with huge neon flowers on the front. No way.

But I had to go to Wal Mart anyway. Might as well take a peek.

The first ones I found in my size were one pieces with V neck lines that went down to the belly. Seriously? I mean really? I don’t get why big women (or any women for that matter) would want to wear a swimsuit showing off your chest all the way to the belly button. Come on! Isn’t the point of a swimsuit, I don’t know, maybe, SWIMMING? Does anyone really want to see that? Seriously? I’m not putting myself or anyone else down. I’m just stating the facts. Seriously!

I let out a discouraged sigh and glanced at the bikinis, yes, bikinis, in my size. Laughter bubbled up and came out. You’ve got to be kidding me!!!! Seriously?

And then I saw them. One piece suits in my size without V-necks. Little skirts or
ruffles at the bottom. Love those. :0)

Bingo. I tried on three and chose one. In the dressing room I broke out into Pentecostal worship and got saved again.

Exhausted, bloodied by war and scarred by the many mirror snapshots providing a slide show in my mind, I bought my suit and went to the car.

I glanced at my cell phone and noticed someone had left a message.

“Robbie this is Kay. Listen to me! You are beautiful! You are a beautiful woman! Do not listen to anyone or any nasty thoughts in the dressing rooms. You are beautiful and you are loved!”

I sat in my car and smiled and laughed. What a good friend. Nothing like a loved one’s words encouraging me and welcoming me back from war.

Seriously.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another marriage conversation: "You know whose fault this is?"



The Scene: Our home

The Players: My husband John and me

Background info: I voted for Obama. John didn't.


John calling to me from our bathroom: Robbie, did you pick up my prescriptions?

Me: Yes!

John: Where are they?

Me: On the bathroom counter in the bag.

(A few minutes pass)

John: Robbie, did you get all my medicine?

Me as I go to bathroom: Yes, they're in the bag.

John: My Atenolol is not in there.

Me: It's in those blue package things. They don't put them in the bottle anymore.

John: What? No.

Me: You have to punch them out.

John inspects new packaging: No. I don't like this at all.

Me: It's just different packaging. The pills are the same.

John: I don't like it! I don't like change.

Me laughing: Life is hard.

John: I am going to punch them out and put them in my old bottle.

Me laughing: Seriously?

John: Yes. I don't like change.

Me: Okay,honey. Whatever makes you happy.

John: You know why they did this don't you?

Me: Uh, no, I don't.

John. One word. Obama.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Waiting...

My sister Karen sent this to me. Wonderful for where I am today. Maybe you too. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

God at the Movies Part 3 - Slumdog Millionaire



Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. How? By answering the million dollar question on India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

Slumdog won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year. Great movie, but so gritty. It shows life in a slum and it is sad and realistic. But part of the charm of the movie is how one boy grew up in a slum and worked to get out of it. Rags to riches – literally.

I loved this movie but it would be hard to watch again. In order to get to the high of joy and victory, the movie explicitly shows pain and loss. But definitely watch it, but not with kids.

I see a tremendous metaphor in this movie.

God prepares us to do His will with the life experiences He gives us.

Jamal is not a genius. He didn’t even have much of an education. But he is able to answer so many questions in the game show because of specific life experiences. He happens to know who is on the American one hundred dollar bill because one single instance. One moment when he saw one.

In the same way, God prepares me and you for specific tasks, for specific ministry opportunities by giving you life experiences. God is more interested in our willingness than our skill set. So many times the words, “I can’t God” come out of our mouths when what God wants to hear is “I am willing God.” If we’re willing then God enables us. In fact He is already getting you and I ready for future opportunities by putting us in situations or circumstances.

In effect, the million dollar question can be a chance to serve a neighbor or take a risk.

God prepares us for those moments. We just have to be willing and ready.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Big Question



I am back from my time alone with Jesus at a cabin in the Piney woods. Such a gorgeous day yesterday and it seemed as if there were no people around for miles. Lovely day with my Lord. I am so blessed.

During our time together, I asked God what He wanted me to do with my writing.

Let me back up and tell you that although I have enjoyed some publishing success that I am very grateful for, the two times I've tried to get a book published I was only met with rejection. Over and over. It is discouraging and it makes me wonder if I am doing what I am supposed to do.

Every writer will tell you that they face this same dilemna. Is this worth it? Should I go get a job and earn extra money for great vacations or a bigger home?

So I took my sincere question to God.

But He didn't answer at first. All I heard was Him asking me another question.

A big one.

"Robbie, would you still write if you knew that you would never have a book published?"

Yikes. Immediately I countered with "Does that mean I'll never get a book published, God?"

Again a soft whisper in my heart. "Robbie, would you still write if you knew that you would never have a book published?"

I answered quickly. "Of course. I have to write."

And the Spirit of God overwhelmed me with "Then write. Wait on Me for accomplishment. Get busy on serving Me with your words."

So there it is. I still hope to have a book published. It's my dream. But I don't have any control over whether an editor and a publisher like my work. What I can do is discipline myself to work on my craft, write every day and leave the rest to Jesus.

Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do in word or in deed, do it with all your heart as to the Lord and not for publication." Wait. Sorry. The last part is supposed to say "not for men."

But you get my drift.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Off to 24 hours with Jesus in the Woods!



It is so important to hang out with Jesus. It is so wonderful to just be in His presence with no other distractions.

So I am off. In a few minutes, I am out the door and in my car headed for a cabin in the woods. I go to a place called Benet Pines Retreat Center. It's in the middle of tall pines and it's run by the sweetest nuns you've ever met.

I'll get there this morning and spend 24 hours with no phone, internet or TV. Just me and my precious Lord. If you've never done this, you should try it. Nothing, nothing, nothing replaces time alone with God. Takes practice to enjoy Him and hear Him. First time I did this I spent a couple of hours walking around and praying and reading my Bible and then I was like, "Okay. Done. What now?"

But after a few of these excursions, some good books on how to sit at the Father's feet and great advice from my brother Phil, I know each time I go will be different and wonderful and fulfilling. Especially since I don't go with expectations. I don't make an agenda that says I have to pray this long or read the Word this long. I just go and rest in His arms. The time goes by sweetly.

So pray for me that I will hear the Lord. I have questions for Him and I have a deep need to sit on His lap and feel His love engulf me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Please pray....

My writer friend Cheryl Barker writes a wonderful blog called Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls. You can find it at http://www.cherylbarker.blogspot.com

On Mothers Day, Cheryl's friend Amy Blagg was killed in a car crash along with her son. The funeral for Amy and Kyler is this morning. Amy was a loving woman who spent a lot of time serving Christ.

My heart breaks for Cheryl and for Amy's husband and remaining kids. Please say a prayer for them and go over to Cheryl's blog and leave her a note if you feel led.

Only our Father knows why. But He is faithful. He can't help but be faithful.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Me and My Man - A Typical Conversation! :0)



Me: John, tonight you take Noah to Cub Scouts.

John: Will you tape Heroes for me?

Me: Isn't it over for this season?

John: Oh, that's right. (Fake moaning) WHY?

Me: It's just a show, John.

John: WHY?

Me: Don't you think you're being a little dramatic?

John: WHY?

Me: All shows end, honey. In a couple weeks, Dancing with the Stars will end too.

John: That's because there is a God.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

God at the Movies - Part 2 - "Frost Nixon"




As the movie began, memory whisked me away to an elementary playground. My fellow conservative 10-year-olds marched with me, proud signs reading ‘Nixon for President.’ My first foray into politics included kicking sand on the shoes of the lowly 4th grade McGovern supporters.

I no longer march or kick sand. But I sat ready to enter the world of politics again. It didn’t take long for me to realize that “Frost Nixon” did not center on politics, but rather on a battle of wits between two men. The movie was interesting, but I am glad I didn’t spend money at a movie theater. Just rented it.

So was God in this film? Absolutely. Frost and Nixon, for all their differences dealt with the same issue many of us Christians deal with: Pride.

Nixon resigned from office but never admitted wrongdoing. Pride.

Frost interviewed Nixon to get a confession for ratings. This consumed him. Pride.

Neither were sympathetic characters to me. Pride is simply not attractive. It isn’t attractive to my Father in heaven when I am consumed with it either.

But then Frost asked the right questions with the right timing. Nixon humbled himself and admitted he had let everyone down. He confessed to his wrong doing.

For the first time since I was in 4th grade, Nixon appealed to me. Humility has a quality that draws us like a moth to a flame or a bee to honey. Humility smells sweet whereas Pride walks into a room with too much cologne, wanting to impress. Humility has the self control to sit quietly and listen, whereas Pride can’t wait to add his/her two cents to every conversation.

At the end of the movie, I didn’t care about Frost. He got what he wanted. So what? But I empathized with Nixon, a man who admitted that “My political career is over.”

Pride is sneaky and ubiquitous. Humility is to be sought and savored.

Yep, great lesson. In a movie, too.