Viewing category: Lessons I’m Learning

Two Choices

On more than one occasion lately, Kenley has heard me say:

“If you think down, you will go down. If you think up, you will go up.   You will always travel in the direction of your thinking.” -Bishop T.D. Jakes

And so it goes with one of her first ‘big’ life moments. Going after something she really wants, but struggling because she doesn’t think she’s good enough.  For many people this can be a life-long struggle- never feeling good enough. As Kenley continued to doubt herself, telling me all the reasons why she wouldn’t or couldn’t be good enough I had to remind her that life is about choices.

And the night before tryouts, she had two choices.

Dwell on all the reasons why not, have a pity party, don’t try, or better yet just quit while you’re ahead. Quitting would surely protect your heart.


Make up your mind that you want this. You really want this. Why do you want it? What’s the worse that could happen if it doesn’t happen? Then go after it and make it happen. Doesn’t matter the outcome, you give it your best and you win regardless.

In true Kenley fashion, it took some much (much) convincing but I saw it click.  That moment where she allowed herself to think maybe, just maybe, I can do this. I saw it register first in her brain, then in her heart, and she decided, by golly, I am going for it.  And so she did.  One of those first defining moments for this 11 year old– where you want something so badly it scares you. Welcome to the big league of life, kid.

And for the record, you are always a winner in my book.

direction of your thinking via grateful simplicity

Two Choices




Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

If I were super organized and sent a Christmas letter to family and friends it would read a little something like this:


Twenty sixteen came in quick and is quickly turning into a year ending with a seven. We have settled into our no-longer-so-new house with two three kids, two dogs, Meme, and her over-weight Persian cat named Lilli.

Britton is in 8th grade and spends her time playing soccer, studying (straight A’s! this year) and listening to music. She also tried volleyball for the first time this year and is getting ready for the opening of tennis season.  She went on a mission trip with our church youth group this summer and, despite my faults, has turned out to be a wonderful teenager. My prayer is that she continues to make good decisions, put others first, and remember Whose she is.

Kenley stays busy with her running club and cheer leading. She is on the Lower School Student Council and recently gave a speech titled, ‘Why Tallahassee is the best place to live.’ Bet you didn’t know that we have one of the nation’s first Christmas service?! At any given time she is readying 2-3 books but, I am sad to say, loves her iPad equally. She has grown so tall over the past year that she has all but caught up to both her sister and me. She has scored some new clothes in the process, is quite the writer, and she constantly reminds (and often times shows) us that the middle children are so sweet.

Five year-old Raynes wakes up happy, asking questions (no less than 194 a day)– and stays chatty and upbeat all day every day. He is quite the artist and likes dart guns, riding his bicycle, Poochie and hunting with his daddy. He doesn’t like it when we tell him he looks like the Elf on the Shelf and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a professional greeter at a big store like Wal-Mart one day. What can I say? The boy loves people.

Mike is managing to balance work and home successfully – which is no easy task! His business continues to grow and this summer he earned a rewards trips to California and we had a sunny CA grand time.

I am enjoying my job at my alma mater, and the children’s school, where I work year-round in administration. It affords me the ability to be at every school function, and get to see my babies during the day and Mike is so supportive.  There’s not much time for hobbies but I do try to pick up my camera and keep up my ol’ blog from time to time.  Exercise doesn’t exactly count as a “hobby” but more of a necessity like breathing, eating, and coloring hair. 2017 be a big year with my 40th birthday and 16 year wedding anniversary coming in the next couple months. Sometimes, if I stop and look at the blessings that surround us I am afraid they will suddenly disappear. Perhaps that is why the camera doesn’t leave my hands, I tend to ‘over-share’ on social media, and why my right eye twitches. But for now, I’ll take it all in, appreciate the heck out of it, and celebrate a wonderful year full of His graciousness.


Ho Ho Ho via grateful simplicity


Merry Christmas from the Robinsons via grateful simplicity

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons


Britton (age 13)

Britton (age 13)

Kenley (age 10)

Kenley (age 10)

Raynes (age 5)

Raynes (age 5)


The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages

Everyone has a love language, just ask author Gary Chapman. Mine is ‘Acts of Service’ hands down. Just ask Mr. Robinson. And this, my friends, is true love. Twice the love to be exact.  Acts of Service: Don’t tell me you love me– take out the trash. It comes as no surprise then, that children also have their love language. This is how we receive love. I think every parent should read this book (which is a quick read!) as it was enlightening for me, Each of our children have a different language- I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. And it makes sense actually.

Britton is ‘Gifts.’  As a child she would make teacher gifts, friends gifts and still today, as a 13 year old, a lot of forethought is given to Christmas gifts for friends and siblings. Mr. R- she already has your Christmas gift picked out! And yes, you will love it!

Kenley’s is ‘Quality Time’ and I can almost see her love tank filling up when she and I get some one-on-one time together. Even if it is to a doctor’s appointment, or kissing her goodnight at bedtime. It’s what she needs.

Raynes may be too early to tell, but if I were a betting woman I would say ‘Quality Time’ is his– I think this gift stuff is a typical Preschool phase “Can I have that? Will you buy me that?”

Mr. Robinson is pretty easy– ‘Words of Affirmation.’  I love you. I’m proud of you. We appreciate what you do. Simple, easy and yet I feel I often manage to fall short in this area with the hustle and bustle of every day life.   Instead opting to go to the dry cleaner for him, taking some of his to-do items off his list, making the bed in the morning. This is me showing him I love him- through Acts of Service which I equate with love. In actuality, he could care less about taking the garbage out (well, let’s hope he cares somewhat about it) and more about knowing that I think he is measuring up, so to speak. Speaking different languages can be an easy and conscious daily tweak. Mr. R– if you are reading this… I love you. I am proud of you. And we appreciate you more than you may ever know.

So there you have it: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical  Touch, Gifts, and Quality Time.



at the car wash

Hermine Havoc

Hermine Havoc

Hermione came, he saw, and he went. Leaving us a with a tumbled mess of trees, live wires, utility poles and an all around big ol’ mess.

Thursday evening, after the preparations were made we were ready for the storm.  Glued to The Weather Channel, who had news crews reporting live at our nearby Coast, we were bracing for the storm. As soon as we got the first gust of wind, there a  few flickers, then everything went black. Literally. The television quit feeding us information, the lights went off, and it a sudden eerie silence fell over the home. We had flashlights and candles with us in the family room, where we had already determined we would all sleep together. There was one thing, however, that I had not prepared for. A cell phone that didn’t work. How was I suppose to get weather updates?

Thank goodness for Meme who still listens to her AM/FM radio every night (and has for 90 years). She had no less than 15 radios stored in a cabinet. While I assumed we would lose power, I didn’t think we would go without for days on end. So much for my 2 bags I thought made me ‘super prepared.’  Mom and Dale had the foresight to have a built-in generator as they were building their house- which meant they became a youth hostile to many! With the only home with AC (it is summer in Florida), light and a place to charge our phone, it was like checking into the Ritz. We were lucky in that our power was restored on day 4, when channel 24 The Weather Channel reappeared on the screen where they were still talking about Hermine.


Many are still without power today- including my sister and co-workers – going on 105+ hours. Our city leaders are discussing and may, or may not be, working together to get power restored as quickly as possible which is a good thing since the temperatures the next few days will reach 92 degrees. Never again we will take a Cat 1 hurricane nonchalantly.



Raynes isn’t quite sure what to think when he woke up on a windy and wet post-hurricane morning.


The hmm of generators could be heard all over the neighborhood, and seen all over town locked to traffic signal poles. And yes, those limbs in the background were the extent of our ‘damage’– we were very fortunate.



How am I spending my time?

Little Beethoven had a violin concert last weekend.



The End.


This was going to be all I was going to write for these few photos. Why? Because there was no time to write anything else. And therein lies the problem. I never seem to have time for anything. Ever. But why is that? How am I spending my time? Is it on what really matters? Time is our most precious commodity.

I was thinking about this very thing, and carrying  typical mom and wife guilt, when I stumbled upon a sermon on YouTube (of all places) that said  (and of course I am paraphrasing because no time to cross reference) essentially… we spend 80% of our time doing meaningless, grind-type, going through the motions type work. The remaining 20% is spent on doing things that bring us energy, allow us to be creative, and drive our passion.

What would life be like if we could flip flop this and spend 80% of our time doing things that bring us joy, tap into our creative side, and the other 20% going through the motions with the meaningless motions.  Makes you wonder, right. Oh, how life would be so different. I am not quite sure how to achieve this because,.. you guessed it… it was late and no time left to finish watching (that and it then prompted me to subscribe to the YouTube channel to continue watching).

One of the things I can do to, at the very least, put me on the right path, is learn to say no. On occasion. Let’s start there. Learning to say no– on occasion.

I’d love to help but I am over-committed already.

As much as she would like to be there, our family already has plans that day.

It sounds like it’s going to be so much fun, I am sorry we will have to miss it.

Sorry, but I won’t be able to make it.


That wasn’t nearly as hard as I had imagined. If only I could stop saying it in front of the mirror and try saying it in real life.


We raced to sweet Kenley’s first Winter Orchestra concert- after a tennis match but before an evening work event.


As I often have to remind myself, this too shall pass. This running around, never having quite enough time, always feel like a ball is dropping-business. It will, it will, if I think it enough it will.
For now? For now I’ll keep on trying to squeeze a little blog post here and there. Even if the thoughts aren’t cohesive and my spelling sucks.


I’ll keep setting reminders on my iPhone to fill prescriptions, load money in kid’s lunch accounts, and buy my cousin a baby gift.

I’ll keep pushing the envelop to see how late I can stay up, and how early I can rise, and still get everything done without getting so tired I can’t function.


This one had no trouble slowing down to sit quietly, still and listen intently to the music.




For now? I’ll slow my pace down, re-evaluate how I spend my time, and make sure I’m focusing on the people that mean the most to me. All of whom are under my roof with me at this very moment.