a book for all you girly girls

For all you females who want a light-hearted, hilarious read that’s perfect for your bedside table even though you’ll probably finish it all in one sitting and it won’t even make it to the bedside table…I have a book for you!

A few things first:

1) I’m very choose-y about the books I read that are written for anyone over the age of 7.

And by choose-y, I mean, as much as I love a good Nicholas Sparks beach read, I skip over any and all sex scenes. Because they are awkward.

I don’t like books with sex scenes. I’ll just say it. But that’s a whole other story.

I also don’t like books with a lot of curse words. Curse words are not pretty. That’s also a whole other story.

What I’m getting at is: if I recommend a book, it’s “clean.”

2) This is a book whose target audience is teenage girls, the same way Harry Potter was targeted at youth. I still love Harry Potter, and I’m 26. So even though this book is targeted at teenage girls, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think you might, too.

It’s called, “I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You.”

image3 (2)

The title sounds ominous. But it’s not.

The basic plot is about a 15 year-old girl who attends a secret boarding school for spies. And she’s hilarious. Her problem is that, and I quote, “Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man seven different ways with her bare hands, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl” (Ally Carter, Hyperion).

The book has also been optioned for a film by Disney. So basically, you know it’s good. (Think “Princess Diaries,” which was also picked up by Disney.)

Best part? It’s a series! So you can just keep reading about girls kicking butt using lipstick as weapons and it’s awesome!

Blessings and Happy Reading to you!

Robyn

a camera up the nose (& some other normal blessings)

I started 2016 with a camera up my nose.

But only after I reassured the doctor that I could handle it.

I think he was afraid because at the sight of some nose-vacuum thingys to my right I broke out into a sweat and started breathing funny.

But victory! I did it.

But then boo! The camera didn’t show us enough.

Because the sinus infection is probably all in my head, we think.

Which means, third round of antibiotics in a month.

We don’t know if they’ll work.

But we’ll try.

And then we’ll see what the CAT scan shows.

And then we’ll keep trying.

Erm…2016 didn’t exactly start with a bang. And I’ve cried a lot because ALL THE HEADACHES.

MyLANTA the headaches.

And then there was that time the second doctor asked me “When did the pain start?” and then I recalled “Um..um…oh gosh…December 10…yeah..” with a sniffle that wouldn’t be stifled and then embarrassingly turned into a sob.

You know, not the cute kind. The ugly kind where you CRY.

And the sweet doctor. I will forever be grateful for the fact that she hugged me close in kindness and didn’t recoil in confusion at ALL MY EMOTIONS. Because I have many. All the time. Especially when my head is throbbing. Just ask Michael.

All that to say….I want to complain way more than I should need to count all the ways God has been good to me in this season of my bowling-ball head. (Definition of a bowling-ball head = a head that feels like a bowling-ball).


 

  1. I’m writing this on the laptop Michael surprised me with — because he believes in me.
  2. Michael’s patient heart, picking up the slack around here
  3. Disney Channel
  4. Our well-loved couch
  5. Somehow I felt great on Christmas. Thanks, God!
  6. The gift of working with a family who would rather me have all the doctor appointments I need than try to make a perfect schedule
  7. Tucker 
  8. Mom & Dad checking up on me
  9. Hey. If I have to be stuck on the couch resting, I’m glad I have a bag of Christmas candy to keep me company! Hey-Ohhh!
  10. Books. Alllllllll the books.
  11. Ibuprofen. I love you. 
  12. The blue-gray walls in our living room have surrounded me with so much joy.
  13. God’s Word. I never realized before how wonderfully, perfectly, and really human Jesus was until I read through – really read through – the gospels for myself.
  14. Time.
  15. Prayer. Even when I’m frustrated with circumstances (and even with God) He’s still there.
  16. The truth that God loves us unconditionally. Even when we doubt.
  17. Hope
  18. Doctors who try their best to solve our health problems.
  19. The doctor who hugged me when I cried.
  20. The doctor who stuck a camera up my nose (someone had to do it. I for one am glad he knew how and didn’t accidentally hit my brain or something).
  21. The fact that nowadays we have CAMERAS that can see into our HEADS to help us. (Crazy!)
  22. Strength to still try my best to do the things I love: writing, playing with kids, cleaning the house (did I just say I love cleaning the house?)
  23. How all of a sudden I appreciate cleaning the house because for weeks I didn’t have that strength.
  24. How I know God is working good from this month in my life even now, because He promises.
  25. How giving thanks changes everything.

 

All right, y’all. Here goes nothing. Maybe third antibiotic’s a charm. 

And yet, no matter what, all the while, God is good. 

“I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” Deut 32:3-4.

Blessings and health and God’s abounding love to you,

Robyn

Dear Michael

Dear Michael,

Last night I saw God in you.

You didn’t know it – you were too busy teasing me, trying to make me guess what that gift is under the tree.

The one you wrapped up all nice with a bow while I was out, just because.

Because you know how much presents under the tree stir something in my heart like a little girl and the joy and smiles come so naturally with gifts…especially when they’re gifts from you.

And so you wrapped my Christmas present the day it came in the mail.

Because you couldn’t wait.

Christmas Present

And so when I came home late, tired from a full day, you held our cat and he bit your hand and you pointed to under the tree and there was the first gift of Christmas, wrapped carefully, just for me.

It looked so perfect under those Christmas tree lights.

You even agreed to take my picture with it…because you know that for me, it’s the First Gift of Christmas and worth celebrating with my tired, goofy grin from a long day.

But it’s not just about gifts, and you know that.

Because your love language is acts of service and so when I dropped your shirts off at the dry cleaning yesterday, I gave you a love letter.

And my love language is gifts and so when you wrapped that present up for me two and half weeks early and smiled that grin because you saw my own grin, you gave me a love letter, too.

But you reminded me of something.

We spent close to an hour laughing while we took turns wrangling Tuck and guessing about that gift.

I threw out every idea I could think it would be, and you just kept laughing because you knew I wouldn’t find out until Christmas, but it sure was funny watching me try.

And really, you didn’t know, but watching you watch me was the best part of it all.

You absolutely delighted in delighting me.

Your big smile and your kind eyes shining…watching your bride guess what gift she has coming…well, you radiated Jesus’s love.

I couldn’t help but think this morning how…if that’s how a mere man can feel, giving a gift, wrapping it up, waiting for the right moment to let his bride enjoy it…that must be a taste of what it looks like up in Heaven.

Our Perfect Father, lavishing good and perfect gifts on His people, the church…

…lavishing mercy and hope in the midst of our messes

…lavishing peace and joy in the midst of our chaos

…lavishing sunsets and bright grass and bare winter trees and warm water and colors and books and laughter and space heaters and picture frames and time to look upward & worship in the midst of our daily tasks

and all the while, I like to think, of our Perfect Father radiating perfect love, basking in the joy of watching us all enjoy His gifts…and even more, warming in delight as we recognize our gifts are from Him because He is good and perfect and because He loves us.

So Michael, last night, you showed me a glimpse of our Father’s love.

A small taste of Heaven’s smile.

An encouragement to delight in the Giver of good and perfect gifts.

A thought that perhaps…the gleam in your eye is a reflection, made in His image…of an even greater gleam in His eyes toward us.

Love,

your wife

p.s. – I’m about to wrap your present, too…so start guessing!

May I offer some encouragement? (And some cookie butter?)

Can I just say one thing before I say anything else?

Go to your nearest Trader Joe’s and buy some COOKIE BUTTER! (Could ever there be two words so perfectly made for each other that we should have put them together centuries ago?!) The cookie butter mixed with cocoa (YES. You heard me right. MIXED WITH COCOA.) looks like this and I can guarantee you will be dancing a happy jig with spoonfuls in your mouth!!:

Still not sure if it's a condiment or a food but it's AMAZING.

Still not sure if it’s a condiment or a food but it’s AMAZING.

Can you tell I haven’t been working for two days? 

Yeah, just me and the cookie butter.

……..

……..

…….. Just kidding. (Sort of).

So, anyway, this week I got sick.

On Monday, actually.

(And yes…I know today is only Tuesday so this post will be short because I. Will. Rest.)

But remember how I’m a fellow planner with all you fine type-A folks? Well, I had my week laid out quite nicely already.

And then I got sick.

And not the kind of sick where I could battle through and still get things done, apparently.

Because I tried.

I gallantly stubbornly went through Monday morning trying to check things off my list, mail my queries, clean the house, prep for my nanny babies, and of course play with Tuck so he wouldn’t tear up the new carpet with his colossal amounts of jungle-cat energy. (Note to self: check up on whether or not Tuck has the DNA of a wild bobcat or a panther or something).

Needless to say, Monday morning ended with me in bed and all the lights off and I couldn’t even open my eyes for Downton Abbey. Yes, I know!!!! Nuts, right?!! Lady Mary couldn’t even get me to stay awake. That’s when you know it’s serious, folks.

I was spent.

And yet, running a fever and attempting to hear noise above the ringing in my ears, I was still frustrated. I was frustrated because I didn’t want to rest.

And this morning when I woke up with my head full of bowling balls or balloons or something of that nature, I was still frustrated. I still didn’t want to rest.

Because then, this week wouldn’t be productive enough by my own standards.

Like, as if I didn’t perform and check-off all these things on my to-do list, then my week would be for naught.

But maybe the Lord has more for our weeks than checking off to-do lists. 

And He whispered something into my heart and so, by God’s grace (and above the ever-present ringing sound caused by the rather painful state of my eardrums at the moment), I turned my ear to listen.

“Will you rest in Me?”

Wait….But…

But, I can’t, see, I actually have this list of things on my agenda and they’re very important to me and…

But then…..I’m tired.

Physically, tired.

My head is throbbing.

And I have no choice.

So I rest.

And it was then, in the blessed quiet submission that I realized, no matter what I have on my schedule, I am free to always rest in Him.

It’s what we’re promised as His children: to be led beside quiet waters, to be soul-refreshed, to be led down the right paths (psalm 23:1-3) when we give Him our hearts and our trust.

No matter what else is on our agendas, there is one constant that is already filled in for us on each page: Be held.

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands” (John 3:35, emphasis mine).

“My sheep [followers of Christ] listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 11:27-30).

So my prayer is this: When I am sick, may I rest in Him. When I am well again, may I rest in Him. When I’m working, may I rest in Him. May I be led from worry to the quiet waters of His love.

Perhaps it took a physical slow-down for the Lord to remind me to trust Him. To rest in Him.

Now, I think I’ll go eat a spoonful of cookie butter and watch Lady Mary marry Matthew Crawley for the third time.

Blessings and rest to you,

Robyn

My Instagram Account isn’t Fake…but it isn’t Everything

There have been a lot of blog posts circulating about the effects of looking at Facebook and Instagram daily.

And goodness and Ben and Jerry’s both know I could write a whole post itself on how frustrating it was being on Facebook after college graduation, inundated with pictures of fellow graduates’ new desks while I had yet to land one. You know, a job. Not a desk.

And I love Instagram.

I love showing pictures of my fur baby and family and Bible verses and flowers from Michael and cookie dough freshly plopped on the pan, I love letting my friends and family know when I’ve achieved something, when I’m thinking of them, when I see a funny picture of a cat sitting on a couch like a human with a soda can and a slice of pizza.

It warms my heart to capture and share these things.

But these warm and beautiful and light-bearing things don’t happen alone.

No, these things – the Bible verses, the sunset on the beach, the selfie with Michael – they happen amid the messiness of every day life.

And I love that. God graces in ordinary life.

What I’m saying is, my social media accounts are real. Very real. But they’re not the whole picture.

You know, I read somewhere that friendship forms when someone says simply, “me too.”

I agree.

So here is my is my “me too” for you:

You’ll see my wedding pictures. I like to post them, because I love Michael with my whole entire heart and truly our wedding was one of the best days of my life so far. What you won’t see is the months of pre-marital counseling, prayer, and normal, hard work we went through go through to get there.

You’ll see a Bible verse about God’s peace. The verse wasn’t posted because I know all about God’s peace and have mastered that bit of truth. No, it was posted because I was feeling anxious and needed God’s peace.

You’ll see two beach chairs sitting perfectly in the sunlight. It was an awesome moment captured. What you won’t see is how I miss my Papaw being there. A lot. Every time I see those chairs. Because probably like you, I know how much it hurts to miss a grandpa, too.

You’ll see Tucker being all cute and fuzzy, like a giant peppered cotton ball. What you won’t see is how three seconds later he gives me a “love bite” and I yelp and fall off the couch and knock my drink over. But let’s face it. He’s still cute and fuzzy.

An accurate depiction of my crazy cat.

An accurate depiction of my crazy cat. I didn’t post this one. But you can see very nicely the spots where he’s added some torn-up flair to our couch, no? 

You’ll see a selfie with me and Michael. What you won’t see is the argument we just talked through for about 45 minutes before the selfie.

You’ll see a picture of me on Easter. What you won’t see is the really bad hair day I woke up to the day before. Know why you won’t see it? I didn’t take a picture on my bad hair day.

You’ll see a picture of freshly baked pumpkin bread. What you won’t see is how on that same day, I was stressed about the details of my changing career.

Friends, I love Instagram because it’s a way to document God’s graces in the ordinary moments of ordinary people.

Instagram shows real things (at least, on my account) – but it doesn’t show everything.

Be encouraged!

Social media has changed our culture.

But, I pray all the time to see social media as a way to enjoy and celebrate sweet and real graces amid each person’s sweet and real messiness.

Goodness, we’re all human, folks!

And Praise God! He loves us just the same.

So next time you see me post a picture, know it’s grace. And there’s a real, maybe even messy story behind it, and you know something else? That messiness is grace, too. In Jesus, all is grace.

Blessings and sweet realness to you,

Robyn

So Good.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Michael, Tucker, and I like to watch the world go by on our screened-in porch.

Tucker in particular likes to watch people walk to and fro on our street – bonus points if those people are walking a dog and making a lot of noise. In Tucker’s world, those are the best kinds of people.

Today, kitten’s ears pricked and his paws cupped his chin as he lowered his head to stalk the nearest movement. I looked up to see what grabbed kitten’s attention this time.

It was a toddler wearing plaid and his dad following him with careful hands always at the ready to catch a tumble.

The toddler chose his points of interest and without hesitation followed his tiny little heart’s desire to each new moment: the grass, the sidewalk, a small, flat boulder.

The toddler and his dad stopped at the boulder. The toddler slapped it and looked at his dad. The dad slapped it too and smiled and showed how to climb on. Toddler stared in determination and climbed, but cautiously stayed crouched down on all fours. The dad held out his hands and encouraged Toddler to stand on his own on top of the boulder he’d just conquered.

Boldly, the toddler stood on shaky legs, thrilled to pieces. But the cute thing was, he wasn’t really standing on his own. His dad was holding him with careful arms but Toddler didn’t notice. Toddler was too excited and pleased with life at the moment to notice. He smiled at his dad, and his dad smiled back. The toddler delighted in his boulder victory, and the dad delighted in his son.

It stirred in my heart: they are made in the image of God – the baby and the dad.

Just look at the wide-eyed curiosity and enthusiasm the toddler enjoys. I like to think that the God who made fluffy clouds and macaroni and cheese and slinkies and giraffes with long necks and ticklish spots is a creative and curious and enthusiastic God, just like the hopeful toddler.

 When Jesus’s disciples asked Him who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven, Jesus responded this way:

“And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-4).

But my favorite part to watch might have been the toddler’s dad. While the toddler delighted in the world around him, in the flat boulder and the green grass, the dad delighted in his son. I like to think that’s how our Heavenly Father feels about us. The toddler’s dad was protective. He encouraged. He played. He smiled and he laughed along with Toddler’s squeals with kind eyes and when his son tried to run at top speed down a hill, the dad was there to run with him and slow him down because the short toddler legs were tying up in knots.

It reminded me of how sometimes all of us get tied up in knots. And Jesus tells us we have a Father “Our Father in heaven, Holy is your name…” (Matthew 6:9), who, David reminds us, is there with us in both the tangled knots and the victorious heights:

“Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar…If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:1-14).

So the dad delighting in his son is an image of our Heavenly Father. And the son smiling with delight is the image of our powerful, good, exciting God.

How God can reveal Himself through both the unashamed joy of a toddler and the unconditional love and security of a dad all at the same time is a mystery and a comfort. I like to think God has loving eyes and careful hands for His children like this dad on our street. And at the same time, I like to think God has excitement, adventure, and joy like the toddler exploring the land.

So if we are made in His image as sinful (but forgiven, my friends!) humans, how much greater, then, is this perfect God we serve? Mm. So good.