Thursday, September 30, 2010

Poor Dog, Dumb Dog

My dog almost died a few days ago.
He wasn't in an accident nor did he acquire some weird disease.
This is Scooby normally. Happy. Fun. Energetic.
Scooby got up on our dinner table when we were at
church and ate half a chocolate cake.
The next 24 hours were messy and painful.
Here is a picture of Scooby during that time.
He looks as miserable as he felt. Notice the bloated stomach?
I went between the sentiments
of "Poor Dog" to "Dumb Dog" back and forth.

Of course, part of me felt compassion for the puggle.
I've felt like this. :0)  Haven't you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


(This is something I wrote two and a half years ago. I was thinking about seasons this morning because it is officially fall, but still feels like summer. So I thought I would put this on my blog today.)


Seven inches of snow fell upon our lovely home of Centennial, Colorado last Sunday. Twenty-four hours earlier Noah and I were driving to Chucky Cheese and calling out all the different colors of the leaves on trees lining the streets as they sang songs of metamorphosis.

“Yellow. Red.”

“Orange. Brown.”

“Green. Dark purple.”


We drove down the same street to go to church. The trees and bushes now sang winter wonderland tunes, all in the key of white.

Seasons are new for me. We moved to Colorado last December from the sunny paradise of San Diego. In California, the calendar notified us of the changes of seasons with labels reading “First day of winter,” “First day of spring.” But the trees, the bushes, the sky sang nothing but a sweet song of sunshine. I liked that music, too. It was in my Ipod and made me walk faster when I exercised.

But variety in the weather and the feel of the air has brought pensive thoughts. No one has ever accused me of being a deep thinker but nature does that to a person. I think Colorado and its seasons have taught me the lesson of letting go. San Diego never could.

Moving is difficult. Ask anyone who has had to pack their belongings, turn off the utilities and say goodbye to their friends. It is a kind of chronic pain that stings like grief. At our going away party I began to cry at the very end and I felt this throbbing of my heart. At the airport when I hugged my friend Stacey goodbye my heart felt like it was torn, a scraped knee that only bled slightly but hurt badly. I thought those moments were the worst of it. I was wrong. The adjustment to a new home and place and people was excruciating and brought new pain sporadically. During the past ten months, I have had fleeting thoughts that my life in Colorado was a vacation. Soon, I would be back home under that glaring friend of mine, the sun.

Last winter was a shock to my system. Within a week of having all of our furniture moved into our new home, a blizzard hit Denver and we were surrounded by walls of snow. We couldn’t see our cars in the parking lot because they were literally buried. I wrote a lot and that saved me, plus the incredible love of my sister-in-law Lory and my brother Phil, Coloradoans for years. One day, the temperature was 0 degrees and Noah had to go to school. I called Lory.

“Lory it is 0 degrees. I can’t let Noah go out in this.”

“Robbie, calm down. He has a coat and gloves, right?”

“Yes, but it is 0 degrees! I can’t do it.”

“Keep him home. But listen, this can’t happen again. You are in Colorado. You have to keep living your life, even if it is cold.”

Eventually, I ventured out and the snow and ice became normal to me, like neighbors who might seem a little odd at first but after a while are no big deal.

Spring glided in and the beauty of the area we live in began to appear to me in little snapshots of life. I would go to the grocery store and witness colors of flowers and trees budding. We began to travel around Colorado as a family and I saw the beauty of Estes Park and Golden. After we toured Wild Bill Hickock’s museum and grave we stood on a mountainside with a breathtaking view. The three of us played a game to see who could see the farthest. I breathed easier in spring.

Summer was a party. Noah and I splashed at the pool almost every day. The warm days beckoned me to sit underneath my old friend and purr like a cat and take lazy naps. The sky began to call my name. I began to look up and I noticed that the sky seemed nearer here, closer, like it wanted to get to know me. It whispered my name so often I began to look up and just stare. The stars at night were so close. The expanse of the blue in the day was almost too blue.

Fall fell into my heart. This time I was looking for the change. Waiting for it, almost expectantly. I knew that the plants would talk to me as if I was the Dr. Doolittle of botany. They did. Walking Scooby around early in the morning became a delight and as I breathed in the air my lungs filled up with chill and my soul filled up with hope. The autumn leaves crunched beneath his little paws and my tennis shoes and the colors made me think we were walking on a Jackson Pollack painting.

So yesterday it snowed. Change again calls to me. But as I walk through the cold, grateful for my hat and scarf, I am no longer questioning and clinging to the things of the past. My California sun will always be a good friend. I cherish the time I scribbled in my journal sitting under those solar rays, watching the Pacific Ocean lap upon the sand beneath my feet, playing a game of water tag with my toes.

But I have let go.

The seasons offer a glimpse of the brevity of pain and joy. God, as He often does, offers a great lesson about living through these cycles of nature. Nothing lasts forever.

When I was in a very trying season with Noah in his second year of life, I would call my sister Karen and cry, “Give me some wisdom.”

She offered, “This, too, shall pass.”

It did. And so did those precious moments when he was a giggling four-year-old and then a shy kindergartener and a first time soccer player. It all passes.

I got sweet news the other day that a friend who has not worked in a while got a job. It has been a season of waiting for him. A painful one. I pray each day for another friend who is hurting. She wants to get pregnant so badly, but it hasn’t happened yet. A difficult season. My sister is doing quite well after battling breast cancer last year. She is living in a season of fresh gratitude.

I find myself in a season of growth. Right now I guess you might say my life is at that point where the seed is breaking through the soil trying to stretch out its little tendrils to reach for the sun. Tunneling through dirt gets messy.

But change only hurts if I refuse to welcome it. Refusing to accept the season that we find ourselves in is akin to closing our eyes and wishing that summer would come in the winter. It is pointless. We are not in control of the seasons of nature or life. God, the weaver of the intricate tapestry of life, is the ultimate Potentate.

God has used these Colorado seasons to teach me the sweet lesson of moving on. He gave me deep pleasure when I chose to embrace the Colorado sun and the cool spring air. I found laughter in the summer splashes of fun and hope in the autumn leaves splattering their colors on the ground. Now the white drops of winter bring no fear. Just change.

Friday, September 24, 2010

2011 Names of God Calendar - the Perfect Gift for You or Someone Else!

Buy a calendar and support my ministry, Joy Dance and my friend Tonya's professional photography ministry, In Focus.

Introducing the 2011 Names of God Calendar by Robbie Iobst and Tonya Vander.

We are so excited to announce the completion of our new calendar!

Using beautiful photography from Tonya and devotionals (Joyvotions) from Robbie, 
we have created a twelve month display of the majesty behind the Names of God.Here's a taste from the calendar. June's theme is Jehovah Shalom- The LORD of Peace-

displaying a lovely peace rose.

With Christmas just around the corner, this calendar makes a perfect gift for friends and family and an uplifting touch to your own home. Throughout the seasons of the year this will be a wonderful reminder of the Power of the name of the LORD.
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. " Proverbs 18:10

To order just use the pay pal button to the right. Or, email me at robbieiobst at hotmail dot com.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sometimes, We Moms Just Need the Words...

Occasionally, I need to hear the words, “Robbie, you are a good mother.” I think all moms need to be encouraged that in raising our children we are not creating a future thug, bum or criminal. Or worse, a future politician. :0) We need to hear that in doing our best, we are handling the gifts God has given us with the proper mix of fragility and toughness.

We need that. I need that.

Last week, Noah experienced some allergies that turned into a cold that turned into an asthma attack. Not a severe one, but enough that we kept him home from school three days last week in order to make sure a severe one didn’t occur. I made him soup and gave him medicine. I talked with him and played with him and loved on him. Behaviors a good mother would employ.

But what sticks with me is how it all started. Allergies. I know Noah has a bit of an allergy to dogs but since he has become immune to Scooby I don’t worry about it much. The week before last, I took Scooby and Noah to the dog park and made Noah go in. A dog jumped on him to lick him and immediately his allergies flared up. This reaction, brought on by my insisting he go into the bark park, started the chain reaction that developed into cold and then his asthma attack.

Guilt. I believe guilt is a stalker to mothers.

On Sunday, two days ago, Noah seemed great. Completely over the allergy/cold/asthma illness. I breathed a sigh of relief and began planning to do all the things I didn’t get to do last week because I was home with a sick boy.

Yesterday morning, Noah got up, tired but okay. I fed him fruit salad, yogurt and a piece of raisin toast. He ate it up. But then…

“Mom, I don’t feel good.”

“What? Noah you HAVE to go to school. You don’t seem like you have a cold anymore.”

“It’s my stomach.”

Soon after, Noah began throwing up.

Guilt, my stalker, whispered, “That raisin bread was a bit old. You poisoned your child.”

Feeling horrible, I allowed Noah to stay home and recuperate from the evils of his mother. And the sickness, too.

On Facebook, I confessed my crime. My friend Paula came to my rescue. “Robbie, the cold that is going around right now ends in an upset stomach.”

What? You mean it’s not me? I didn’t poison my child?

Other mothers chimed in and told me that a piece of raisin bread couldn’t have done this. It must be a bug. Ahhh…

And many of those moms used the magic words of comfort I needed to hear: “You are a good mother.”

Sometimes I just need that.

We all do. Don’t you?

BTW: After being "sick" over and over and over yesterday, Noah seems better today, but quite weak. We're staying home. :0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Walked a 5K!!

After a summer of walking and a few weeks of preparation for this specific event, I walked and completed a 5K race last Saturday, September 11th. This is something I never thought I could or would do. But God gave me strength to get out of bed many mornings, put on my walking shoes and head out the door. Because of Him, I found the perseverance to set a goal and complete it. Here is a pictorial journey of a great day!

John took this picture in the morning before I left. The shirt says Cherry Creek Fitness Festival. I have owned many shirts with the words "Cookie" and "Ice Cream" on them,but this was my first shirt with thword "Fitness." Notice Scooby at the bottom of photo. Having been my training partner,
he wanted to go too but I had to tell him no.

My sis-in-law Lory picked me up and we went to the event.
First stop, pick up our numbers. (The fitness people call them bibs.) :0)

I was number 572!

What a sweet surprise! I ran into Chris Richards, a friend from 
my writing group, who was also walking in her first 5K!

We're ready! I told Lory that when the race started she should
feel free to run or walk ahead of me. She told me she came to
support me and was going to stay with me the entire way. What a great friend!

We passed these guys and I began saying out loud, "I'm not going
to need you. I'm not going to need you." :0)

The Fitness Festival had a few booths to facillitate
 the fun feeling. How's that for alliteration?

Smoky Hills High School Band played the national anthem.

There it is! The Start!


We're off!

I can do this!

We'd just rounded a corner, and I noticed there were
many folks behind me. This was a surprise to me. A nice surprise.

When we neared the finish, Lory said, "Let's finish strong!" So I
jogged the last part. She ran ahead by the finish line to take my Rocky
picture. Can't you just hear that music? :0)

I finished in 54 minutes!

Lory and I after the race - Victors!
We never know what we can accomplish until we try!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

One Type of Grief for a Mom

Buy a 2011 Names of God Calendar by scrolling down to August 31st! This Joyvotion Calendar will be a wonderful present for those you love!!

Last Monday, Labor Day, John and Noah were quite content to hang out at the domicile, eat, watch TV and play. I wanted to go somewhere. So I decided to see “Toy Story 3” a movie of which Noah has consistently said, “Mom, I am too old to see that!”

The first Toy Story came out in 1995, followed by the second one in 1999, the year Noah was born. He’s never experience Toy Story in a theatre, but of course, when he was young we delighted him with the VHS versions. (Remember those?)

When he was four, he was the proud owner of a Woody and a Buzz Lightyear. He loved those toys and played with them often. I watched in bliss.

But, well, he’s growing up. Now 11 and ½, (the ½ of course is important) is in his first
year of middle school. Woody and Buzz made the move to Denver when he was seven, but they were relegated to a top shelf where they collected dust.

A few weeks ago, a family we love came over for dinner. With them, was their three-year-old son Riley. Riley is a big Toy Story fan and saw Woody and Buzz in Noah’s room and squealed, so Noah got them down for Riley to play with. When our guests were leaving, Noah made an unexpected move.

“Riley can have Woody and Buzz if he wants.”

Silence. Riley’s mom quickly glanced my way. I swallowed hard.

“Are you sure, Noah?”

“Yeah. I never play with them.”

So Riley went home with Woody and Buzz, each of whom has the letters N O A H printed on their bottom feet.

When Noah started middle school, John got a little emotional but I didn’t cry one tear. I think it was because I was ready for Noah to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE already. :0)

But as Toy Story 3 came to an end, the tears became a Niagara Falls event. I won’t ruin the story, but if you have seen it, you know you need hankies at the end. For me, it was a cathartic cry, or actually a sob-fest. Only one other couple was in the theatre, so it wasn’t as if I made a scene. Well, maybe I did.

I couldn’t help it. Watching this movie brought all the emotions, a type of grief, a mother experiences as she sees her children grow up. I will never hold Noah in my lap like a little ball of warmth and love. I will never again pick lift him up so he can reach something. I will never go over his times tables or go over spelling words with him.
I will never again walk into his room and see him playing with Woody or Buzz.

As it should be, yes. But it still hurts.

When the credits rolled I wiped my eyes and blew my nose and left the theatre. At home, I hugged Noah hard and told him I loved him.

“Noah, Toy Story 3 was so good. I wish you’d come. It made me cry.”

Without a beat, he replied, “Exactly why I didn’t want to go, Mom.”