From My Window

It’s a misty, moisty morning here in our wee cove.

The kind of morning that begs you to just sit and listen—

A gentle rain peppers our tin roof…

A wren trills for her mate…

In the distance there’s a low rumble of thunder…the remnant of an early storm.

It’s the kind of stillness one wishes they could bottle

Like a fine perfume.

And bring out later, to dab behind the ears—when one hears grumbling

Or on one’s wrist—when busyness threatens to steal the day.

Even to spray in the air—to sweeten the odor of conflict and discord.

As I write this, a cardinal is calling in the timber.

Cardinals have long been my God Speak

So I will listen

Listen , this time, to what He wants to say to me.

 

Teach me, Lord, to Be Still

So even when the storms rage

I will hear the sweetness of Your voice

And know that You are God!misty moisty morning 11168953_936142416409039_6173322773301740598_n

 

Monday Morning Musings

A dear friend sent me a message last night: “He asked me to marry him, and I said ‘yes’.” And I rejoiced for her.

Another dear friend sent me a message last night: “…he went to heaven this afternoon.” And I wept for her.

Each message shouted “change”.

For one—who was one, now needs learn to become two.

For the other—who was two, now needs learn to become one.

Both will rejoice.

Both will weep.

Both will need prayer…lots of prayer.

Oh, Lord. Cause me to be faithful to pray—

To rejoice with the one who rejoices, and weep with the one who weeps.

You have promised strength ‘as thy days’,

And grace sufficient

Help them claim both.

And may they embrace ‘change’ as a reminder of Your constancy.

You who never changes.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Know You Want to Write

Give even a small child a pencil, and they intuitively know what to do with it. Thus–they write!!  We are all writers.

BUT IF YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, YOU MIGHT CONSIDER JOINING A WRITER’S CLUB!!

1.  You are a reader.

2.  The stationery aisle is your favorite haunt.

3.  You like to make up stories. (not lies, just stories)

4.  You’d rather sit and watch people than shop.

5.  You have characters who talk to you, tell you what to do and when–and you listen and often talk back.

6.  You keep a file of names that you don’t share because you want to be the first to tell their story.

7.  You keep a pad of paper and a pencil by your bedside because some of the best ideas come to you at night, and you know you’ll forget by morning if you don’t write it down.

8.  You read an account of a tragedy, and want to give it a happy ending.

9.  A leaf blowing past your window gives birth to a new idea for a story.

10. You realize you march to a different drummer, and there’s no parade!

 

FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THE LIST, READERS!   THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG!

 

A WAY OF SEEING

Lessons I learned as a youth are somewhat different than the lessons I continue to experience. From my youth, I think the lessons were  mostly in the negative–things I learned NOT to do again.

But in this stage of my life, things have changed a bit. I can now look back and see there are some lessons that are worth repeating. For instance:

1. IT’S OKAY TO KEEP DUST BUNNIES UNDER YOUR BED. REALLY IT IS!! I don’t recall even one instance when any of the friends our kids drug home even mentioned them…and the grands and their friends haven’t found them, either.

2. DISHES DONE WITH A TWO-YEAR-OLD IS MUCH MORE ENTERTAINING THAN A DISHWASHER. And you know what–if they’ll talk with you while doing dishes at two, guess what they will still find time to do when they are 12, or 15, or 18? Even boys!!

3. ONE DANDELION IN A JUICE GLASS WILL BRING BACK MORE MEMORIES THAN A DOZEN ROSES. Trust me on this one.

4.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘NORMAL‘ BREAKFAST FOOD. Who says a child can’t have leftover pizza first thing in the morning?

5. AND OLD MATTRESS THROWN IN THE YARD IS MORE FUN THAN A TRAMPOLINE FOR A TODDLER. And much safer for the grandma who jumps with them.

6.  DON’T FRET MISMATCHED ANYTHING–EVENTUALLY IT WILL BE THE STYLE. Seen the socks lately?  FUN!!

7. MATCHED TOWELS ARE HIGHLY OVERRATED. Keep a set for company if it’s important to you–but I guarantee your legs don’t know, or care, what color terry cloth you dried then with, or if they clashed with the wash cloth.

8.  POPCORN IS A DELIGHTFUL SUNDAY NIGHT SUPPER. And it’s even better with lots of butter on it, a cold soda, and a movie!! (after church, of course)

9.  A DIRTY CUP LEFT IN THE SINK OVERNIGHT WILL NOT MULTIPLY. However, keep close watch on the dirty clothes hamper.  It rendezvous with the dust bunnies under the bed and multiplies faster than you can calculate.

10. LIFE IS TOO SHORT NOT TO TAKE TIME FOR THE EVERYDAY THINGS. Which brings us full circle to the negatives again. Funny how that works, But even a battery has a positive and negative end. It’s just knowing which end to put where that  makes it work.

All too often I try to plug the negative into the positive and expect my plans to work. Remind me, Lord, that unless You are my source of power, it won’t make a whit of difference which side I present to You. Without  You, there is no power and any light I put forth will quickly dim.

Out of the Fullness of the Heart

My hubby LOVES apple pie. It’s his favorite. And our oldest son has an uncanny sense to know when I have just pulled one out of the oven. He says it’s a gift..

I never use a recipe for the filling. Hubby doesn’t like a tart apple . . . actually prefers that I use a Red Delicious. But sometimes I splurge and buy Granny Smith’s.

I can usually get the crust to look inviting. Flaky, brown, lots of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. But no matter how pretty it looks on the outside, it’s what’s under the crust that screams the loudest.

We ‘so very fallible people’ are like that, you know. We can manage to look pretty good on the outside . . . all shiny and sprinkled with the sugar of our good works, or kind words, etc.. But what happens when we are ‘cut and tasted”?

I have to admit that all too many times who I am on the inside would be enough to pucker you up good and tight!!

Need more sweetness? Maybe a bit of spice? Perhaps need to be ‘in the fire’ a bit longer?

I hate it when my pie filling boils over onto my clean oven. It stinks, to be quite frank . . . and leaves a residue that, unless dealt with, continues to smell each time the oven is put to the test.

If what is inside your heart spills over . . . when things are hot . . . do you smell?

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evils things out of the evil stored up in him ” Matthew 12: 35

SO WHAT IS UNDER YOUR CRUST?

 

Boundaries

I struggle with boundaries. Not so much to stay IN them, but to know where they are in the first place.

As a child, I had boundaries, knew where they were and what would happen if I decided to test them. And those boundaries enlarged as I grew older.

But now I AM old, and I’m no longer sure where or what those borders are. Yet, I manage to overstep them and the first thing you know, I’m in trouble.

I’m not lamenting. I’m an adult and I’m not whining. Well, maybe I am—a little. But I am also hit with the grim reality that I am a control freak. No longer do I get to set the perimeters, and I don’t like it. Not even one little bit.

Now, it’s the grands who call the shots. Not in a mean or bossy way. I don’t think they even know they are holding the strings that make up all the little rooms, each with their own walls and doors and windows that make up the total boundary lines.

Today I’m told all their secrets. Tomorrow I’m not to ask questions. Yesterday I was the one they came to for a bandaid. Today I’m not supposed to know they are hurting, and never to ask questions.

But because I AM a control freak, I step over those puny little strings, get my feet tangled and fall on my face every time!  My nose is skinned from sticking it in the wrong places. My lips are swollen from speaking out of turn. And my knees–well, kiddos, you might not realize it, but my knees are bruised from kneeling on them pleading for wisdom. Asking the Lord to show me the boundaries that are set today, and keep me attuned to the changes as they come.

And while I’m there I also petition for godly mates, for wisdom in each and every decision, for friends who will share a love of God, for mentors and peers who will hold you accountable. I pray for a solid hedge of protection to be placed around you. I pray for purity in thoughts and deeds. And I also pray that you’ll be caught if you wander into cheating, lies or mischief. I ask God to motivate you to right living and to be the best and do the best you are capable to be and do. And I pray He will use your lives as a testimony and witness for His glory.

I’ll cross the line again, I’m sure. And perhaps one day I’ll learn to stay on my knees. In the meantime, be patient!! God isn’t done with me!!

 

Coming to a Bookstore Near You!

A day I thought  might never happen is actually happening. This Saturday, December 12, my debut book signing at Faith and Life bookstore in Newton, Kansas.

I have no idea what to expect. But I want to take this venue to express my heart. No matter how many come to this event…no matter how many do or don’t actually purchase a book…my most sincere desire is that what I say during my ‘author’ talk, or what words I’ve written, will somehow reflect God’s goodness to me and to our  family. And I pray that Robin’s story will be an encouragement and a testimony of the Lord’s sustaining presence, strength and grace regardless of circumstances.

Whether or not you, my dear readers, are able to attend, could I ask you to please pray that He will receive all honor and praise.

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Numbers…Get Thee Behind Me!

We are a people controlled by numbers.

I’m not saying it’s all bad. It isn’t. But I am saying that we often determine our worth by numbers, and by comparing those numbers.

Step on the scale the first thing every morning, and the numbers recorded either say “Yay”, or  you move the scale to a different position on the floor and try again until IT gets it right!

The phone rings, and the number that flashes across the small screen determines whether you’ll answer.

You get a friend invite on face book, and you check the number of mutual friends you have.

You post something on face book, Instagram, or Twitter and your ‘likes’ are tallied, and of course that’s a sure-fire way to assess how well you’re loved. And it’s important to keep the number who follow you well above the number you’ve chosen to follow. Again, a real test of popularity.

 

There are apps for your phone that count the number of calories you’ve eaten, the number of steps you’ve taken, and my phone just ‘dinged’ to remind me to read my Names of God: Through Thanksgiving and Christmas reading plan and…yes, the days I’ve missed are also recorded.

And now my biggest hangup  (as a debut author) is…my numbers on Amazon, the number of books sold, the number of pages read, the number of reviews,where I rank from 1-1 million. In one week I’ve gone from ‘pretty good’ to ‘uh-oh’, and I’ve allowed those numbers to elate and deflate me. I’ve compared and been disappointed.

And then, my Gracious Heavenly Father reminds me: HE has ordered  (counted) my days, and my counting them isn’t going to change His number; HE orders (counts) my steps; He follows me; He’s my friend, and we have many, many mutual ones.

And as far as my ‘ranking’ goes, well He loved me enough to die for me.

‘Nuff said!

 

 

 

I Can’t Sing…But I Shall!

Years ago, several ladies in the church we were attending took turns sitting for a few hours each week with a lovely, godly, older woman who had Alzheimer’s, so her husband might have a few hours to run errands, or just get away for awhile.

This sweet woman loved music, and I soon realized that she would sit and listen while I played the piano—and when I played songs about the Cross, she would clap and try ever so hard to sing the words. They had a little terrier dog, almost like their child, and this dog would lay at my feet while I was at the piano. And while this pet was tolerant of my presence, it did NOT like for me to sing. I couldn’t blame him. I can’t sing. In my head I have a beautiful contralto voice, but when it escaped the confines of my very exaggerated imagination, it caused the poor doggie’s lip to curl, his teeth to grind and a menacing growl would shut me up real fast. The one positive–the sweet lady thought it quite comical.

For several years I have read through the Psalms (five Psalms a day and you read it through each month). I’m not trying to imply any sort of super spirituality here.  While I would love to be able to say I never miss a day, it would be a bold-faced lie. I do miss. Some weeks I am too lazy. Some days I deem myself too busy. However, in the Bible I normally use, I have underlined and double underlined and triple underlined passages that have spoken to me as I’ve read and re-read them.

Recently I purchased a journaling Bible, and  I’m trying something new. This time, as I work my way through the Psalms, I’m looking particularly for the songs, especially those scriptures that I’ve sung over the years. And in the journaling margin I’m drawing notes, and writing the words of the particular song. My prayer is that one day my children will see those entries and know that even though I can’t sing–and yes, they are very aware of that deficiency–they will know I treasured those scriptures.

But what I hope they understand even more, is the correlation the Psalmist records between “crying out” to the Lord, and the “new song’ the  Lord gave as a result.

We are living in a very troubled world, in very troubled times. On any given subject we’re a divided people—sadly, even among those of us who are followers of Christ. Oh, we cry out loud enough, but so does a child who wants their own way. When was the last time you heard your child cry “Father, tell me what to do!  Father, show me the way! Father, I’m wrong for being too lazy, too busy, too selfish!”, all the while pulling with all their might to take the object  (win the argument) away from the other child? It doesn’t work that way, does it?

II Chronicles 7:14 states clearly what we are to do—whether it’s Isis, Syrian refugees, illegal immigrants, corrupt politicians. You name it. It’s covered in His word.

The New Song will be given when I (we) cry for something other than my (our) own agendas. Taking a stand on face book isn’t going to solve anything unless and until I (we) first fall on my (our) knee(s) before a powerful, sovereign, Almighty God in obedience. Then and only then will come the song of deliverance–that New Song. And then I (we) shall all sing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Bob is a lot of things: a man of his word; wonderful husband; incredible dad and grandpa; neighbor; friend; handyman, and the list goes on. However, he is NOT a reader of fiction.

All these years of writing and writing he’d say “If you ever get it published, then I’ll read it.” Yet, he’s been my biggest and most faithful cheerleader: shelling out money so I can attend conferences; gas money, etc., so I can travel 3.5-4 hours each month–even if it meant my being gone several days–so I can be active in my writing group and on the conference committee. Plus, he’s eaten more sandwiches than any man should have to endure so I can keep writing.

But did I mention he’s a man of his word? Look who’s reading my book. I can’t even begin to explain what this does to my heart when we sit of an evening–me with my laptop on my…well, lap…and My Bob with his nose in my book.  AND he asks questions, and scolds me when I answer them because “now you’ve told me what’s going to happen and it won’t be a surprise!

Oh, how I love this man.

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