Yes, It Matters

Hello! I’m still taking a break from the blog, but I wanted to pop in to tell you about an awesome book. Have you ever wanted to tell your story, but maybe you weren’t sure how to get started?

Your Story Matters: Finding, Writing, and Living the Truth of Your Life by Leslie Leyland Fields was not something I had planned on reading and working through. But somehow I found myself doing that very thing…and loving it. My paperback copy is dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined. I bought four more copies that I’ve given away to friends. I even have a Kindle version for when I want to lighten my load. I’ve also read the first three chapters aloud to my grandma over the phone, which always ends with me listening to her retell her own stories because she gets inspired. I’ve enjoyed this book that much, my friends!

I’m going to leave the information here for Your Story Matters, but if you’re interested in my thoughts about this book feel free to keep reading on. 🙂

When this book caught my eye, I paused in my scrolling on Facebook and glared at it.

Your Story Matters, I read. Hmmm…I don’t know about that, I thought.

At that point, I was pretty sure my story didn’t matter. I’d been writing (or at least trying to write), but it just didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere. So when I saw this book cover I looked into it a little more. Honestly, don’t many of us hide a little hope in our heart that our stories do matter? To someone? To anyone?

As I found more info, I saw that Leslie Leyland Fields is a writing teacher. Okay, this is good, I thought. I don’t really feel like writing about myself—that’s always a struggle—but maybe through this book I could learn how to be a better writer since she’s a writing teacher. After all, it said right there on the back cover that it’s a “practical guide” that will lead me “step by step”. Maybe if I learned to write better, I thought to myself, then more people might want to read what I write. I decided to buy the book.

While waiting for the book to arrive in the mail, I discovered that the author herself was going to offer a Zoom class for Your Story Matters. This was at the height of the COVID quarantine, so she would be “meeting” us from a small island in Alaska. Before I knew it, I found myself in that live Zoom class beginning in April. Each week, I excitedly tore myself away from my own online class that I taught for a lunch break session with Leslie along with nearly a thousand other participants.

From rookie writers to the more experienced, we all stared at the screen to see a petite, vibrant woman with a heart bigger than the ocean standing in her own home giving us not only her wisdom on writing stories, but her authentic self, as well. There were moments when we watched on the edge of our seats: when the call came in to update her regarding a joyous family event, the moment when we felt along with her the sting of technology woes, and always the beautiful show of respect and care that she gave to everyone who shared their stories. It was the best part of each week for me that doomy 2020 spring. It was one of the things that kept me going. A dash of joy in a season of darkness.

After the spring class ended, I signed up for the next Your Story Matters experience: a journey through the book’s companion DVD which features Leslie along with Ann Voskamp. It also included an opportunity to be part of a small private group on Facebook where we could share our “homework” and get feedback from Leslie. I never had a writing community before so that was scary but amazing, and what an encourager Leslie is! Her enthusiasm and gentle suggestions were just what this discouraged, perfectionist soul needed. So this summer, I’ve been diving in even more, trying to hone and work on the stories that have shaped my life. I’m pretty slow at it, trying to fit writing time in when I’m not exhausted and overwhelmed by my job, but I am ever so grateful for the experience.

Even before the first class, I was hooked by the Intro in the book. Passages like this one took my breath away because they reached parts of my heart that I thought no one else understood:

“No matter what country we live in, no matter our neighborhood, our politics, our religion, our age, no matter even our shared pursuit of God, we risk passing like strange ships in the long night. Time, busyness, the speed of life will keep us apart unless we braid word around word from our own passage, then toss it out, coiled, shimmering, toward the hands on the other deck open, waiting to catch, to coil, and secure the two ships together, hull to hull. Don’t we all sail the same turbulent waters? Aren’t we longing to stop for awhile, to not be alone on the high seas?….But we have this chance now to stop. We’re stopping to ask the questions we did not know to ask. We’re stopping to find the difficult and beautiful truths of our lives.”

I feel like I’m passing all kinds of ships in the night, every night. So busy we are. So busy. But it’s in taking the time to share our stories that we learn to be better people. To be more compassionate people. To be more understanding people who might be able to show a little more grace to each other.

I loved reading the stories that the people in my group wrote. There were many moments when I would read their stories and my reaction was “Oh yeah, I have felt that, too!” or “I’ve been through that, too!”. There were times when a story was shared that caused me to see things in a different light. There were times when a story broadened my lens to put less focus on myself and more on the lives and feelings of others. And the best thing was that none of us were professionals at this–just regular people diving in to share the worth we found from our memories no matter how messy they were.

I’ve been humbled by this experience, too. My writing goals have changed, and I still have a ways to go. Certainly I am no great writer, but I’m learning it is not so much about the writing…it’s about the story. I can’t let the anxiety of getting all the words right keep me from telling the story. Because of that, I feel like the pressure to produce some great thing has been lifted. So now, I’m just content in writing to remember, writing to try to understand…and most of all, praying that God will give me even just a little glimpse into His purpose behind each story I recall.

What I’ve discovered with Your Story Matters is that truly our stories do matter. They do! I believed that I was no one special. That what I had to say was so small in comparison to greater people who have accomplished greater things. But the truth is that each one of us is here, and each one of us has stories to tell that are important! They mean something. Even if there is no one to read my stories, even if I write them and do nothing with them, my soul is starting to feel so much lighter for telling it. Telling the story gives moments from our lives a place to heal, a place to share the joy, or a place to rest.

Maybe someday I’ll do something with the stories I write, but for now I’m content in experiencing the discovery that comes from the writing. Discoveries not just about myself, but about the people I love and the people who have influenced me. Discoveries such as remembering that God is truly present in every heartbeat, whether it’s slow and steady or racing with fear and anxiety. Discoveries that seem to allow me to understand better, to forgive big, and to love more.

I know you have a story. And, yes…without a doubt your story matters, too.

Image result for pink heart clip art love


Photo by Negative Space

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

-Psalm 139:16

Stay Tuned…

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about how I can make this blog more focused and intentional. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to encourage, but my process has always been to just post something when I feel like it…or when a random thought runs through my mind. There is nothing wrong with that, but I want to think about it and pray about…and it may take several weeks. Meanwhile, I will take a break from posting.

Who knows, I may return with improvements…or I may return and continue to be random. LOL

Until the next post in a couple of months, feel free to check out the old posts via the Categories or Archives. I know we have some newcomers in just the last month, so it’s the perfect time to catch up! Thank you for choosing to come here to read and be encouraged. I hope when I get this sorted out you will continue to visit and read on.

Stay safe and be well. 🙂

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Jacki Drexler on Unsplash

Are You Awake, Too?

The silent nights are too much after such loud days. I want to kick off the blankets and order an immediate sunrise, so that I can leap into morning and get busy. Since I must wait, I find myself wishing I could go outside and watch the stars until I fall asleep. They are a reminder that there is so much more out there than the walls we surround ourselves with.

Do you ever stay up late and wonder?

I wonder if friendships have been torn lately over differences of opinion, assumptions, and disappointments.

Navigating through the rough waters of the shouts of pain and anger of so many people drown out most everything else. I want to throw out life preservers to everyone and call out, “Everything is going to be okay! I hear you, friend! I care! Be nice to each other!”. At the same time, it’s tough to believe that everything will be okay. Has anything ever been?

When the moon appears, I try to go to sleep to dream the night away…

Yet… I sometimes can’t lay still once all the lights have been turned off. Eventually I give in, peel back the covers, and stealthily slide into the other room to try to write myself to sleep. Better to sit in a chair past midnight writing to you then tossing and turning in darkness worrying about viruses and world peace. I can think on those things in the daytime. You are just as important. And right now I wonder how you are.

I wonder if you know you are loved by God, and that you are not alone because He is with you always. Even in the moments when it seems like no one is listening, He is listening. Even in the moments when you feel you are not heard, He hears you. He has not abandoned you, even when you may feel abandoned because everyone is off doing their own thing…searching for answers to solutions that seem so hazy.

Because we are all searching, aren’t we? Searching for something. Trying to make the world a better place even if it’s just in our own corner. Searching for wisdom and understanding, searching for peace. Holding on to hope. Longing to know love, to show love, to be love. We might not know what the future brings, but God knows. When I remember that, it brings me a measure of peace during times of worry.

So, that’s it for now. A rambling for anyone who likes a good ramble. You can ramble back, if you want. Or shake your head and move on. Whatever works. 🙂 I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you, you’re in my prayers, and I’m glad you’re here.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Urip Dunker on Unsplash

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

Be True to Your Dreams*…Don’t Foul Out

*Edited 11/13/20

“What are you doing?” the blinking cursor on the white screen questioned me. “What are you hoping to accomplish with this writing stuff?”

At lightning speed, I bit my lip and tapped out my defiant response in Times New Roman:

“I don’t know, but I’m not going to quit.”

The slim black line of the cursor waited patiently next to the last period. Time was of no importance to it. It could blink all day and all night, waiting. I stared at my foolish sentence, feeling my bravado weakening. Nothing was happening. No words would come forth. I’ve been learning this often happens to writers. I wonder if they call it “writer’s block” to compare it to a block of ice, frozen and unyielding.

I could stop. No one would know if I didn’t write today. My eyes squinted with determination, and a memory of a day in 8th grade announced itself in my mind. A day I’ve regretted for decades.

Thinking back, I could see my 13-year-old self sitting on the bleachers in a school gym that smelled like a mixture of sweat and old basketballs. Every open door teamed up in silent resolve to get the stink out. Even though it was Fall, the Central Valley summer heat hadn’t left yet, which didn’t help matters.

The boys were in motion on the court, and the unfamiliar chorus of squeaky tennis shoes scraping against the gym floor was intimidating. Would I be able to move quick enough to make that sound with my Reeboks? I sat among a large group of girls while we waited for the boys to finish their turn. We were all there to try out for the junior high volleyball teams.

“Hey, Josh wanted me to give this to you.”

I looked up, surprised. A blond girl I didn’t know yet was walking toward me wearing the same P.E. clothes the rest of us had on—gray shorts and a cobalt blue T-shirt with the school’s name in bright yellow letters. Somehow an outfit that made me look frumpy turned out really cute on her. A matching ribbon was tied around her ponytail. It bounced up and down with each step. Her bright green gum peeked through her teeth as she smiled. Her blue eyes held excited secrets.

She held a tiny white bundle in her hand. I looked closer and saw it was lined notebook paper that had been folded a billion times over until it formed a small, thick triangle. It was the standard structure for passing notes in class. My heart sped up a bit.

By the time my eyes left the note in her hand to look up at her face again, she had already moved on to the girl sitting a few feet away from me. The beautiful one who had the long straight hair and the perfect shiny lip gloss. She was in my science class. I envied her Esprit backpack and the way she got along with all the boys so effortlessly. Back then, I was an expert at having crushes on boys from a distance, but I didn’t have a clue how to talk to them. Looking in the other direction, I pretended I never once thought that note was for me.

Trying not to be obvious, I pulled at the hem of my shorts, hoping to hide another inch or two of my chubbiness. Hoping to hide entirely. I was sure I’d never be like them. What was I doing here? I wasn’t very active. It took all my energy just to walk the two blocks to school each day. In the short time I’d been there, I’d seen these two girls all over the track working hard every day to train and stay fit. It took me sixteen minutes to run the mile last week. That was nearly twice the time they could run it. But I really enjoyed when we played volleyball in P.E. There was a certain satisfaction in serving the ball and watching it soar over the net.

If I made this team, it wouldn’t be like soccer in second grade…when I quit the team after the third practice because I hurt my ankle (which recovered in a week). And nobody in this town would know about my sixth grade year at my old school when I was written up in the newspaper as “the losing pitcher” for the softball team. I didn’t have to mention that we didn’t win a single game that season…did I? I mean, softball…volleyball….totally different, right?

An extra gaggle of girls entered the gym as the boys left for the locker room. Scores of girls. All there for try-outs. In that moment, I decided it was over. I didn’t stand a chance against all of them. Resigned, I stood up when the coach asked us to gather around and followed the crowd. But when it came time to play for a spot on the team, my effort was little to none. My ambition was put on the shelf. And not among the trophies.

At the end of the next day, when the new team list was posted in the locker room, I wasn’t surprised at all when my name wasn’t on it. Beneath my lashes, I watched the two girls from the day before jump up and down in a victorious hug, hair ribbons celebrating, too. The walk home was slow and full of sighs as I clutched my science books to my chest thinking of what went wrong. I was too this, too that. I was sure I wasn’t good enough, and well, technically, I wasn’t. I never tried out for any sport again.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realized what went wrong.

  1. I didn’t prepare.
  2. I didn’t practice.
  3. I gave up before I even started because I compared myself to others.

When it came to my dreams, I fouled out. I just went in there on a whim, hoping to succeed without putting in the hard work. Those girls made the team, but they deserved it. They didn’t make it because of their pretty looks and their cute style. Now that I’m older, I realize they weren’t perfect–because none of us are–but the difference between them and myself was this: they worked for it.

Yeah, maybe they had opportunities I didn’t have. Maybe they had older siblings to help them learn or maybe they had lessons to improve. Maybe they played volleyball on the beach every summer on family vacations. But my adult self knows this: where there is a will to learn, there is a way to make it happen. It might not look the same as everyone else, but it’s possible in some form. Our choices are everything. It takes courage and some cleverness to figure out the way there. It’s also important to not compare ourselves with other people who are (or who have been) on the same path. Each of us is unique in great and small ways.

So now, my hope is simply to keep writing. I don’t really know where it will take me. I don’t necessarily need to write a book. But my main goal is to improve as a writer and connect with others through writing. Why? Because in my every day life I just can’t seem to communicate what’s on my heart…but when I write, everything I am feeling comes out on the page.

It takes a lot of courage for most writers to show up each day and write what’s on their heart…to write about pieces of their lives. Or to overcome the perfectionist in them that shouts, “This isn’t good enough!”. There have been times when I’m tempted to throw in the towel. There are many times when I am not brave enough. But that memory of those volleyball tryouts often crowds in when I’m so close to logging out of my blog or my Google Drive without getting words on the page. In this, I choose to not foul out on my dreams.

I’m thankful to have that tough memory to cheer me on. Because this time around, for however long it takes I hope to do what I can to prepare, practice, and not give up before I even begin. Now, if only I could transition this will power into my exercise and nutrition lifestyle, that would be fantastic. 😉

What are you hoping to do? Whatever it is, I truly wish you all the best. For so many of us, it’s not always easy to stick with it…but I believe with my whole heart that if you put your mind to it you will get there. We will get there.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Nathan Shively on Unsplash

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Phillipians 4:13

Let’s Keep Looking Up

I should eat, I thought. I’ll regret it if I don’t. So I pulled out the eggs, the friendly spinach, and some easy oatmeal and got to work. Well, I did stop for just a minute to turn on the music. Nothing much gets done without the music. The raw green spinach leaves jumped into the warm pan to cozy up with a little rosemary and garlic olive oil.

As I stirred the greens, my ears caught the story of the song. The singer sang of love and how their memories were kept in a photograph, a place where hearts were ”never broken” and where time stays frozen. My smile started small at the idea of it, then grew in salute to the fellow encourager. And I say encourager because to label us idealists might break my heart. An encourager can see potential in what others may see as impossible.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if love could save the world right now amidst all of the pain, chaos, and uncertainty?

I find myself searching for answers, so lately I’ve been up to my ears in books. Books about writing. Books about teaching. Recipe books—because my cooking still needs some help. Books about becoming a better me. Books about anti-racism. Of course, there are the books that take my mind away from all of the above, even if just for a little while….the fiction, the make-believe. It’s been a season of books.

I sat down to eat my breakfast, squinting a bit against the morning sunlight through the open window. Looking out, I laughed out loud as I noticed a small grey and white striped cat with a big swashbuckling tail arguing with a pesky bird who kept swooping down at it from a low place in the sky. They were both squawking and hopping in the middle of the otherwise quiet cul-de-sac. That cat must’ve got into the bird’s business again. I wondered if maybe they could learn to be friends. I’m sure it’s possible. Anything is possible, right? With love…

When I finished eating, I got up and rinsed off my plate. The water was as mild as the summer morning, and a new song came on. The tune was catchy, and one I’d never heard before. As I processed the words in my mind, I smiled again. It must be one of those mornings when everything is lining up. All this love stuff. Just the other day on Facebook live I listened to a conversation with Dr. Clarence Jones, who played a role in some pretty amazing history, speak about events going on today and the thing he kept coming back to was…love. Redemptive love. Soul love. I stared out the window above the sink and focused on the new song.

“Love can change the world in a moment, but what do I know?” Ed Sheeran sings from my little speaker propped up on the kitchen counter. From his heart to my house. Isn’t it amazing how songs can travel from so far? Yet we connect with them as if they were born right here in our hearts. I get it…I mean, really, what do I know?

Leaving the music on, I turned and walked into the room where I like to write. With a day free from work, I sorted through the pile of books I could read today. I thought about how lucky I was to have a pile of books. The libraries must be so lonely right now. I picked up one book and then another. Hmm…this one? No. That one? Maybe.

Still undecided, I turned toward my favorite reading chair. It waited for me beneath the window. Golden sunlight would be my lamp. On the wide, curved arm I spied a rather large and familiar book which I knew held 1,809 pages. The spine was terribly damaged from being read over and over for thirty years, even though I’ve been careful. Last night, I set it on my chair to remind myself to revisit it again soon…because it had been awhile. With a Facebook check, a Zoom workshop, taking care of the dog, and breakfast, I’d already forgotten about it this morning. It’s easy for me to forget. Because you know, we fill life up with all these things we feel like we have to do. In order to pay the bills. Or to improve. Or to distract ourselves.

Looking at the big book on my chair, I remembered that it’s the best book I’ve got. It’s got it all in one place. Personal development, action, drama, comedy, and best of all…love. Man, I did have love on the brain. Seriously, though, when my mind does the swirly thing and starts spinning with the what-ifs and what-abouts, there really is no other book than this one that squashes all that. Every time, it guides me back to the truth and the reason for everything. The last time I opened it, I had begun reading about a king from history named Solomon. He’s known for his wisdom. I could use some of that right now. Okay, always.

The greatest love story is all throughout the pages of that great book. Love for me and love for you. It also talks about loving everyone, even those we disagree with. Even loving those who don’t like us. That’s not easy, as we well know. Not easy, but not impossible. That’s why I’m not giving up on this love stuff. It’s the real deal. It can heal. Let’s give it and receive it now more than ever. Just like the One who loves us.

I sat down, ran my hand slowly over the cover and then made that my first choice for today’s reading—the Bible. I wanted to be reminded of the Love. It’s not fleeting. It’s eternal. Sometimes it’s a process that we wait on with patient urgency. Sometimes it’s a call to immediate action. Love will meet you when you’re ready for it; sometimes it will find you when you think you’re not. I may forget again and read something else tomorrow, but one thing is for sure: it will always be there, waiting tenderly…calling on my heart.

The songs in the kitchen have been moving along as I write this. I can’t help but appreciate the words I hear right now as they drift down the hallway and reach my ears. “Love is more precious than gold,” Chris Stapleton’s voice croons confidently, “…I got love enough to spare. That makes me a millionaire.”

May you be rich in Love, friends.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

“…Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” -Colossians 3:12-15

Love Is No Small Thing

A few Wednesdays ago, joy came out of nowhere and surprised me. I was at an outdoor yoga class with my friend. It was just after sunrise. I hadn’t yet heard about George Floyd. Our mats lay on a grassy space above still, sleepy vineyards. We began to move. I lifted my arms, reaching up as far as I could, all the way to my fingertips. A row of young olive trees behind us also stretched toward the brilliant blue sky. A pair of long-necked geese honked “Good morning!” over our heads as they crossed high above the rows of grape vines. I looked upward and watched in contented silence as they continued their flight past the husky golden rays of the newborn sun. 

Twice I nearly burst out laughing, the bubbles of happiness rising inside of me. My hopeful heart ached to dance and play with nature. The sun comforted me with its gentle warmth. I breathed in deeply then pushed all the air out as hard as I could. Whoosh! I felt the frustration of the last three months leave my lungs. With each inhale and exhale, my blood awakened in my veins as it traveled from head to toe.  The glorious simplicity of the rhythm of life amazed me in that moment.

On that morning, I had a hard time staying within the speed limit while driving home from class. The joy in my heart was inspiring, and I hoped to write about it before starting the work day so I could share it with you. Maybe I could try to rebuild the scene so that you might be able to experience the joy, too. My favorite snuggly chair was waiting for me, so I sat and placed my Chromebook on my lap. I decided to check the news first.

Honestly, I rarely check the news. Mostly because I don’t like biased news sources that I feel have hidden—or not so hidden—agendas. Whether it’s the left or the right, they blatantly air their opinions and persuasions. No matter what my political party is, I want news without interjection. But the world cannot be ignored. So it was two days late on that Wednesday morning that I learned about George Floyd, and saw his horrific death on the screen before me. In a heartbeat, all of my giddiness left. As it should. I still can’t get the image out of my mind.

When it was time for yoga a few days later, I was still troubled as I drove up the hill.

“I’m sad today…I was up all night…” I texted my friend before I left the house to meet her for our class. “Just wanted to give you a heads up if I’m quieter than usual. Feeling reflective and prayerful this morning.” I knew she’d understand. When I arrived, the sun wasn’t shining. All around us was a distant, gray fog. The birdsong was oddly quiet, muffled, and it was unusually cold for late May. As if the earth knew and mourned with us.

I lay my forehead on my yoga mat and began the deep slow breaths, thinking of George Floyd who could breathe no more. I didn’t know the circumstances, but it just didn’t seem right. The whole scene flashed again in my mind of that man’s knee on his neck. The officer’s intentional, slow movements… Closing my eyes, a quiet guttural sound escaped from my throat as I grieved the life of a stranger that was so casually taken away. Over what? It didn’t look at all like self-defense. It certainly didn’t look like a humane way to detain someone. I was filled with indignation.

The majority of police officers in our country surely would not condone what happened to George Floyd, and I’ve seen responses to confirm that. The officers I know stood ready to protect my students on our campus several years ago while an armed criminal hid in the nearby neighborhood. What would’ve happened if they weren’t there to call? I thought of the police officers over in Gilroy last summer who ran toward a shooter while the patrons of the Garlic Festival fled from the bullets. How much more death would there have been had those officers not been there to risk their lives for the people?

My own heart, it still aches now. For all of it. For everyone. Cities destroyed, people hurt and killed. Obviously, we need to work toward a solution to this too-old problem and at the same time realize that it will take time. But it shouldn’t take so much time!

The time that has passed between now and that Wednesday has been…I don’t even have the words to explain well enough all that has been on my mind. I have failed in coming here to this space because my thoughts have been such a whirlwind. A dozen blog post drafts have been started and abandoned in the last two weeks or so. I’ve been trying to put off my own thoughts for awhile, and instead listen and learn.

The roller coaster of emotion has been at full speed. Sadness one day, anger the next. Confusion. Love. Resolve. Love. Heartbreak. Love. It all keeps coming back to love. I want the world to know more of it. I want the world to feel all of the love from anyone who is willing to give it. I know it is out there. It just needs to be found and cultivated…nurtured. In some cases, it needs to be taught, the love. It’s not a naive thing, love. It’s a powerful thing.

Love is not just holding hands and singing songs. Love is action, and it can be in many forms. Love is being respectful to all people. Love is educating ourselves and celebrating our cultural differences. Love is registering to vote in the country you live in so that you can be part of change for the better. Love is teaching your children that no one race is better than the other. Love is listening. Love is giving a consequence for crimes against humanity. Love is peacefully protesting what is unjust. Love is casting aside fear to stand up for what is right. Love is creating something healing for those who are hurting. She’s a tough one, love is. Love requires forward motion, courage, and hope—not destruction and chaos.

We need connection. With everyone. To continue walking in love and learning each other’s hearts. To be brave and reach out. To listen and acknowledge. To maintain our integrity, not bypass justice, and lift up respect. To communicate and follow what is right. But most of all, to love one another as we were meant to do…in whatever way we each feel called to show it. I believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. meant what he said in the video below, that “hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.” Love is no small thing. It’s a powerful thing. And we have that power within us.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by JESHOOTS from Pexels

We, Who Think “Too Much”

I’ve been thinking about overthinking. Over and over…because I’m an overthinker, too.

Yes, we feel like concrete statues stuck in our thinking while the swarm of immediate action-takers buzz on by us.

But the thing is, not every body and every mind was designed to be the same. You are you. I am me. That’s the beauty of our existence. Uniquely able to take action on a dream at our own pace and no one else’s.

So, hey, let’s think on this:

Our time is the right time when it’s God’s time.

There’s nothing wrong with a lot of thinking… unless it keeps us from the doing. And that won’t do at all. Keep on thinking, but lock up those doubts and worries and then throw away the key.

That dream is knocking loudly on your heart for a reason, my friend. Did you give up on it? I hope not. It’s time to get back in the groove. I’m rooting for you. And for me, too.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Dick Scholten from Pexels

The Bookshop

Summer 2016

What wonders will I find today? The heavy wooden door resists, barely allowing me in as I push on the rounded brass handle. Despite the effort, I know I am welcome here and nod a greeting to the young clerk with the black glasses. He was the one who helped me find that one about the violinist in Nashville, set in the late 1800s. He glances up from his cash register and waves a quick hello.

I step further inside and breathe in the scent of paper and coffee. An espresso machine to the far left noisily chugs away. The rich aroma is hard to resist. Cappuccino is my candy, but I’m on a mission.

The coolness of the air conditioner reaches my flushed cheeks, giving immediate relief from the heat wave outside. My arms fall at my sides, the outside world fades away, and my shoulders relax as my hazel gaze sweeps across the cavernous room. A small graces my lips, and my heart skips a beat before it begins to race with anticipation. The books are everywhere, and they call to me.

Familiar carpet, thick and stoic, stretches down the wide center aisle all the way to the back wall as if awaiting royalty. Slowly, I let my bright pink flip-flops guide me in the direction of their choice. I’m not worried about where they will lead me first. Before leaving, I will step leisurely, contentedly, into every section of these cherished four walls. The only hard decision will be which book to purchase today out of the thousands laid before me. My budget whispers a reminder that there can be only one. But before I face that inevitable dilemma, I will enjoy every moment in this bookshop.

On the way to the first row of tall shelves to be explored, my fingers dance to a slow rhythm over spines and covers of books that tease me from their place on shelf ends. Pictures and words splash around to get my attention. Just a few paces in, I find myself stopping in front of a particular book that calls to me like fireworks on the 4th of July. The front of it is hot pink, same as my shoes. A blonde, fit woman with a wide, confident smile—everything my opposite—cheers me on to take a look inside the pages. What I find takes my breath away. Stories I can relate to are waiting for me inside. Truths about myself that are loving and God-breathed, not critical and full of doubt as I am so used to thinking. A helper wrapped up between two hundred and eighty-eight unique pages.

Keeping it with me, I continue to browse the store like a lazy bumblebee with a busy mind, stopping here and there for a quick fix of sweet nectar. But I already know that the one I hold onto will be the winner. It’s the one I need most today. Most often it is fiction that saves me from the stress and anxiety that life brings, but sometimes my heart needs clear-cut, straightforward facts in order to continue to heal and thrive.  It’s hard to pick just one, but I know without a doubt that I’ll be back for more.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Caio from Pexels

Patient Grace

Gratitude overwhelms me. Sincere, amazed gratitude. Humbling gratitude. The kind that causes me to weep with thanksgiving over my eggs and toast at the breakfast table while I try, ineptly, to explain how grateful I am to be loved by God. The kind that doesn’t come often enough. How moved I am to remember the point in time leading up to when Jesus rescued me. And how He rescues me still.

How could I ever forget that? Has He been patiently waiting for me to recognize all that I’ve missed the mark on lately? Thank you, Lord, for showing me once again. May I never lose sight of You.


As I approach the autumn of my life,

When I long to hold on to the summer of my existence

To remain…to explore…to inspire…to love…

When spring is what I long to return to—

Back when all things were blossoming and new—

I find now that I have no choice, really,

Than to drop the phone, to close the screen,

To take the time to reflect upon all that led me here…

To this moment in my years, to read His words of grace once more

And fall to my knees, breathless, as I remember how unworthy I was…am…

But it is by His grace I have been saved through faith in Christ alone–

It’s nothing I earned; it’s all a gift….

A wondrous, humbling offering of Love—

Not demanded, not deserved.

Despite my wretchedness, still I am loved…

For who I was, for who I am, for who I will become.

And who am I, to gain such a gift?

How glad I am in knowing

That even if I cannot adequately express to anyone

The love and thankfulness I feel for my Redeemer,

God can decode every single grapheme of gratitude

Etched across the memoir of my heart.

And that is all I need,

As this heart still beats, rejoicing.

For neither autumn, nor summer, nor spring,

Nor even the winter of my life, when it debuts, too,

Can outdo the agenda of God and the glories of Heaven.

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Heart-Musts: #1-10

This is a time when I am restricted from a lot of the things I feel my heart must do. The things I love or the things I hope to some day experience have to be put on hold due to social distancing and the recommendation to stay home as much as possible. In some ways, nothing’s changed in this regard too much…quarantine or not, my job would keep me away from my wanderlust anyway, at least until summer.

To keep my heart entertained, I’ve started a list things I feel I must do when the opportunity comes once again. This is not an exhausted list. As long as the quarantine lasts, I will come back and add to it. It’s a dreamy catalog of happiness sought and joy remembered…continued from all the heart-musts I hope to do—some never done before, some hopefully repeated. There really are no rules….just the things God has put on my heart to someday experience with wonder. I thank Him for that.

  1. Gaze at the stars from the summit of a mountain
  2. Attend an outdoor concert while sitting on the lawn
  3. Watch a sudden downpour of heavy rain from the inside of a car
  4. Share an evening with the fireflies
  5. Drive from the the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean
  6. Sing along at a dueling piano bar (I have a terrible voice, but what does it matter?)
  7. Drink a huge cafe mocha at Red House Cafe in Pacific Grove on a foggy coastal morning (in a real mug or whatever they call it)
  8. See the northern lights—will this ever happen?
  9. Return to the Isle of Skye
  10. Visit the New York Public Library

Will I really do these things? Or see some of these things again? I hope so. So far, the northern lights and fireflies have been elusive…I must be looking in all the wrong places. But in the meantime, it’s nice to dream.

What are some of your heart-musts?

Image result for pink heart clip art loveRobin

Photo by Pixabay by Pexels