Showing posts from 2010

The Wind in the Trees

I wrote this for a writing challenge on  Thought I would post it here, too.  Although I wrote this from the third person perspective, this is something that indeed happened to me.

She drove down the highway. Her thoughts careening through her mind at a speed faster than she was traveling and to a place farther than where she was going. She wrestled with the words that were bubbling in her mind. Finally, sensing she could no longer hold it in, she began to pray. Words spilled out of her mouth and up to God’s ears. People driving by would see a woman alone in a car babbling to herself, she was unconcerned. She just kept talking as if He were sitting in the seat beside her.

“God, really? Do you really know what you are asking me to do? You do realize that I am not credentialed enough to do this. We don’t have enough money saved to do this. What if no one ever reads what I write? Seriously, me?”

There was a gentle response back, “Why not you? Aren’t you the one who pray…


We are practicing behaviors that will aid us in going off the grid. The first phase of the experiment involves energy conservation. For example, we are conserving energy by: using lights only when we need to, not using central heat or air, washing dishes by hand, and (heaven help me) washing clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry. Life has been pared down to the very basics. It is much simpler, but more interactive, and I’m not talking about using a game to simulate living. I’m talking about vigorously using all of my senses to live. We sold our t.v.s; consequently, that leaves us with only two noise makers-- the computer when in video mode and the radio. However, I rarely turn them on. Instead, I crave to listen to the surroundings.

Listening to the creation is like hearing God breathe. As my awareness of my environment goes up, so does my sensitivity to the beauty of everything that God has afforded us. My eyes are delighted by the sunrays slipping through the tree canopy to p…

Him Tarzan, Me Jane

Second article I previously published at about Going Of The Grid.

The cabin sits on a slope looking over the lake. From the screened in porch, you can see the lake, but mostly you see sky and trees. It’s like a tree house, which is good for a former tomgirl who pretended to be Jane of the Jungle. Two weeks since moving into the cabin, I can feel my slothful, suburban, corporate minion ways beginning to leave as the Simple Life unfolds.

Every day, we have done something new and outdoorsy. We had a campfire one night so our son could enjoy the sunset while roasting marshmallows. Hubby patiently showed me and the boy how to build a fire and told us about fire safety. We both nodded our little heads as if we understood. After the lesson, I took a mental photograph and thought, “No problem. I can do that. Me Jane”.

Mind you, I am a reformed corporate banker, so I never got the “light- the- fire- with- one- match” badge in girl scouts. Instead, I worked on my “mergers- an…

Going Off The Grid

I previously posted this article and the next two that follow on However, I thought it would be good to publish it here as a springboard to a new posting theme, "The Lake House Experiment".  I will capture what we are doing to go off the grid, here on this blog.  What follows  (this and the next two posts) is our jumping off point that happened this summer.  Enjoy--Robin

My husband and I have officially lost our ever loving minds. We are going to attempt to live off the grid. What does that mean? Why—couldn’t you just start with recycling? Are you sure a life without toilet paper is the way to go? What are you some sort of hippie dippy freak? All of these are common questions asked by our dear friends and loved ones. Let me see if I can supply some meaningful answers.

What does “Going off the grid” mean? It means that we will live in a home that will be self-sufficient for energy, waste, and water needs. Girls, I am submitting myself to a long term camping t…


Six weeks ago, you were in complete control of your body and mind. Since that time, your body has slowly stopped functioning properly. Walking, talking, and toileting have become unfeasible without assistance. Your mind is foggy because your heart cannot pump enough oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Doctor’s are convinced that a full recovery was not possible. How would you feel—frustrated, angry? Would you ask for help? Would you feel overwhelmed with the potentially hopeless, no -win situation?

No-win situations or difficult circumstances always beset my favorite character on Bonanza, Little Joe.  Bonanza was about the Cartwright clan who lived the old west. Center to the drama were the three brothers: Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. Adam, the oldest, was always cool-headed, wise, and persuasive. Hoss was the middle brother—big, brawny, and a heart of gold. Little Joe was the youngest, the scrapper, the underdog.

I have found myself a fan of another underdog named Joe, my…

My Soul Moo

Image  "Again they cried openly. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye; but Ruth embraced her and held on. Naomi said, "Look your sister-in-law is going back home to live with her own people and gods; go with her." But Ruth said, "Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God--not even death itself is going to come between us."--Ruth 1: 14-18 (NIV)
I had not seen my best friend in fourteen years. We were as close as sisters. In fact, we had a shared nickname; we called each other "Moo". We loved life, laughter, creativity, adventure and some times the ill-fated rollerblading trip down suicide hill. We were a pair. Picture Lucy and Ethel, Lavern and Shirley, Calvin and Hobbes, and Thelma and Louise rolled up into one r…

Working It Out at the She Speaks Conference

I've wanted to attend a Christian Writer's Conference called "She Speaks" for three years. They offer tons of teaching, resources, and publishing opportunities for writers, speakers, and ministry leaders. Each year, the desire to go gets more intense and the drum beat is getting loud...louder....LOUDEST. The sound is deafening, and my ears are splitting from the call. I can no longer ignore it or use an excuse to avoid it.

I've prayed and prayed for my desires, the stars and the finances to line up --to no avail or so it would seem. Perhaps the real deal is that rather than just giving me what I want like a cosmic vending machine, God in his sovereign wisdom knows that His stubborn little girl needs something a little different, a little harder to experience Him and grow. This year, the ladies at Proverbs 31 are offering a Cecil Murphy scholarship whi…

The Answer to Anxiety

'May my life be one unbroken gaze, fixed upon the beauty of Your face.' says Vicky Beeching in her worship song "Captivated". That lyric captivated me a few months ago so I copied it down in my prayer journal. I couldn't remember why I wrote it down initially, but it popped out at me a few weeks ago while re-reading the journal.

When I read the lyric again, it rang true. I had an epiphany. If I keep my life as an unbroken gaze fixed upon Jesus’ face; then the circumstantial chaos swirling around me is meaningless. However, I couldn't wrap my head around what that would look like in real life.

Over the weeks that ensued, I have had some ups and downs as far as focusing on the Almighty. It's almost as if I've been jumping on a trampoline looking through a window at God rather than fixing my eyes on Him. I'd bound upward to get a quick glimpse of his face through the window. Then, naturally, I'd return to the trampoline's surface and do it a…

Cookie Failure

"My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father [b] the son he delights in". Proverbs 3:11 - 12 (NIV)

One week prior to an German Competition, my oldest daughter states, "Mom, I have to make cookies for the German Competition. I got Kate's book. Look at the cookies are they 'prettyful'? "
"Yes, they are, but they look awfully hard to make. Wouldn't you prefer to make some real tasty cookies that are easy to make, but crowd favorites?"
"Oh, Momma, I can do it."
 "I'm sure you can. How can I help and when are they due?" I said, not ready to commit to doing it for her.
"One week. I already have the ones I want to make picked out. See?" she held out the Williams Sonoma Pastry book.
"Are you sure you want to do these?" My panic level was rising to warning level. "Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!"

I could …

There's No Such Thing as Giants

I'm officially on an adventure to go where God is calling me. As an act of pure worship, I will be writing devotionals, God stories, life lessons, or whatever else He puts on my heart. It seems simple to say, "I'll go where you say to go, Lord," but is it really? 

Simple by definition means to be composed of one thing, element, or part. Simplicity demands that you take it at face value. Either it is or it ain't. Either you go or you don't. Well, I'm going.

When Jesus called the disciples, He didn't say, "After you get your stuff together, lose weight, sell the house, and raise the kids, meet me in Galilee; then we will do this whole redeeming the world gig." It wasn't complicated. He simply said, "Follow Me." They did not hesitate. They did not ask questions. The Bible says that they went at once. Matthew 4: 18 -20

The decision was coming for years. The jumping off point occurred in January. It was like a long winter, followe…

Love is the Only House

Reposting this one...just because my heart is full and I want to share again that  Love Never Fails.

I hang out with teenagers of every size, shape, and gender.  I have a soft spot for young ladies since I once was one and have two teenage daughters of my own.  I guess you could say that God has softened my heart in a Titus 2 kind of way.  I love to listen to them and to mentor them.  The girls ask me the funniest most heart felt questions:
"Robin, really, how do you do it?"  "Do what?" "Be an adult?  I mean, how do I just go from being a kid to doing all of  this stuff on my own?" "Robin, how did you and Chris meet?  How did you know that Chris was THE One?"

"What do you mean wait to have sex until I get married? What if he's not good at it?"Most of these questions lead to frank discussions. For the girls to really respect and hear the answers to their questions, I have to open myself up.  I have to be honest and vulnerable about my…

Empty Boxes

The second lesson I learned was about Money.  Here's a blog from a few months ago that illustrates this.

One magnificient May morning a few years ago, while visiting friends in Maryland, I arose early to take a walk. I couldn’t wait to get outside because Maryland is delightful in the springtime. The brisk wind spurs the Chesapeake to dance on the shore.The emerald grass rushes from side to side. The flowering trees on the rolling hills sway like a southern belle carrying a jug of sweet tea to her man plowing the field.  Talk about inviting. It's gorgeous.

As I strolled through my friend’s neighborhood, I observed home after attractive home. Some of the buildings were brick contemporaries. Others were crisp, white farm houses, or Mid-Atlantic salt boxes. I pondered deeply about my love affair with architecture and Better Homes and Gardens.

All my life I’ve been drawn to beautiful homes. As a teenager, I drove through the “uptown” neighborhoods and fawned over the sprawling, so…

Eat Like Someone Else is Paying

Saturday's blog ("Heart Problems") was the 30,000 foot view of some lessons I I've learned over the past eight years. I'd like to take the next few days and unpack these "Heart Problems" and the basic cause. 

Let's start with the big problem the Lord has me working on right now...Food.  

A seminal moment in this struggle happened a few weeks back. I was at a fast food chain. I saw signs posted throughout the establishment that read, "eat like someone else is paying". I stopped. What do they mean? They want us to eat more of this unhealthy food and not worry about it? At some point, I will pay for eating this stuff, not someone else. I will be the one with diabetes or heart disease, not someone else. I wanted to run away as fast as possible.

God has provided food since the beginning. Remember the creation story?
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, &q…

Heart Problems

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also".-- Luke 12: 34, Matthew 6:21 (NIV)A few years ago, I was trying to get in shape.  I made a decision to go to the gym next door to my office and work out during lunch. During this time, I got on an elliptical machine and frantically pumped my feet and arms back and forth and up and down for 30 minutes.  (Envision a chubby little hamster running for his life on a wheel that goes nowhere.)

Sometimes, I listened to music. Sometimes, a friend came with me and we chatted.  One day, I had neither my iPod nor a friend to keep me company; so, I tuned into one of the four televisions suspended over the exercise machines. You could pick the channel you wanted to listen to via headphones.  "There were four shows on, which one should I choose", I thought to myself. " eyes darted back and forth......Bloomberg, Food Network, a news segment about tantric sex, or religious programming". 

I selected Blo…

Ish Way Part 2

A while back I published a blog called "Ish Way." It was the way my 3 year old said "this way." However, when I spelled out how he said it, I saw an anagram for something bigger, something that could either be a blessing or a curse... "HIS WAY."
"I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."-- Deuteronomy 30:18 - 20 (MSG)
"His way," "ish way," or "my way", when you boil it down, is ususally rebellion in disguise. Going off the path to do my own thing has cost me greatly. It has also cost others greatly. Take for example Timothy McVeigh the notorious Oklahoma City Bomber.

From an article on B…

Cactus Practice

Prickly people develop our character, but how? Is it they who need to morph or is it us? What does God show us when he puts difficult people in our path? Is it a reflection of our own character that needs to be changed or is it a lesson in loving someone who is not very lovable, maybe even detestable? Is it both?

I was chatting with a particularly ‘cactus-y’ teenager over lunch this week. He related his life story to me. It was one of the more repugnant ones I had heard in a while. His story, unfortunately, was no grimmer than some of the others I have heard, but it was equally heart breaking. The saddest part was his hopelessness and the depth of unforgiveness toward himself.

Could I be irritated with him anymore? No, God had put His glasses on my face. I could no longer see this person as sandpaper. I could see him how God sees him--a young kid who was lost, alone, and hopeless. My heart broke.

All at once, I remembered my favorite account in the Bible -the Samaritan Woman. The Sam…