Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sister Matches

My grandmother, Mamaw had lived a full, long life and was in her late 80’s. My whole family converged on her house in East Alabama to celebrate her last Christmas on this earth.

My sister, Maresa, had her husband and two kids there. I was there with my husband and two kids.

Celebrating Christmas at someone else’s house is always hectic. In addition to the normal packing, there is last minute shopping to insure that everyone has a gift. I was horrified to realize after we had arrived at Mamaw’s house that I had failed to get her a Christmas gift. What do you buy for someone that has accumulated a lifetime of possessions and memories? Someone that, if she needs something, she can just go out and buy whatever she needs? It was a hard task for the well organized person, much less for me.

So, I did what I had always done when we were growing up. I told Maresa about my error.

Her smile immediately calmed me as she said, “Don’t worry about it. I bought some extra presents. I have something that I can give you to give her. And it is already wrapped.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief. My wonderful sister had come through for me once again.

Mamaw had a gas fireplace. It was great: the beauty and warmth without the mess of a traditional fireplace. It had to be manually lighted. The best thing to use was long matches, which gave the most protection from being burned. They were twelve to 18 inches long. Maresa had bought a box of those for Mamaw’s Christmas present and this is what she was letting me give her instead. Maresa always had the best ideas!!

On Christmas day, we all gathered around the Christmas tree after breakfast and someone distributed the gifts. My grandmother opened her matches and she was so excited! She told me that it was the best gift that she had received. I just chuckled and shot a glance over at my sister who was chuckling too. Then Mamaw started talking about how good I was at picking out gifts, and buying presents at Christmas. Well, she just flat out started bragging on me to everyone. I just smiled and kept looking back and forth from Maresa to Mamaw.

I was wondering if Maresa would tell her the truth: that it was her idea and her gift, not mine. She never said a word. As the day progressed, and my Aunt and cousins all called Mamaw to wish her a Merry Christmas, Mamaw bragged on me and my gift to her to every one of them. Every time she did this, I would look at Maresa with eyes widened and a smile and Maresa would just smile back. She never divulged our secret.

That selfless act of Maresa’s was truly a gift to me.


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Having Fun With Burned Biscuits.......

“You will be late to your own funeral!“ I have been told that more times than I can count. Here is how I respond. “I sure don’t want to be early!“ Ha!

Have you ever cooked biscuits? Ever burned them? I have. But not regularly. Usually, my biscuits come out O.K. I can’t say that about everything that I do.

A morning
Christian radio show recently featured a cute segment called “burned biscuits.” This wasn’t just about burned biscuits. It was about making mistakes. Some people routinely burn biscuits. Others repeatedly make other kinds of mistakes. Hopefully, we can overlook our own mistakes. Our loved ones can hopefully overlook our mistakes as well.

People from all walks of life called in that morning to tell their own burned biscuit stories. Many were funny. The best thing about it, was that it gave us a chance to laugh at our shortcomings.

So, here is my burned biscuit story. I have a tendency to be late everywhere. My mom says that it started when I was due to be born, but was a month late and went from there. I heard someone talking about a friend of mine and she said, “Jane thinks that a clock is just a suggestion!” And I remember thinking, “so… what is wrong with that?”

I admit it. I am late almost everywhere. But in my defense I will say that once I arrive, I usually engage passionately in any endeavor.

Tardiness isn’t my only burned biscuit. But it is the easiest to share.

What is your burned biscuit? Please leave a comment, or if you write a blog, write your own burned biscuit story and link back to this article. Let’s have fun with burned biscuits!

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Call to Mercy


I received this information from a friend by email. According to the email, "Asia Bibi received the Death Penalty for insulting Islam…Blasphemy." This occurred in Pakistan.

On June 19th, 2009 she was arrested and taken from her family, which included 5 children. According to the email, on
January 4th, 2011 she was given a trial under Sharia Law and convicted of blasphemy and then sentenced to DEATH by hanging. According to Wikipedia, she was sentenced in November of 2010.

According to the email that I received, all she did was to make the following statement: "Our Christ sacrificed his life on the cross for our sins. Our Christ is alive." This is additionally reported on a number of websites, including Call for Mercy and

However, additional research reveals that she was purported to make inflammatory statements against the Prophet Muhammad. The following is a direct quote from the Huffington Post: "According to CNN, the women alleged that Bibi said, 'the Quran is fake and your prophet remained in bed for one month before his death because he had worms in his ears and mouth. He married Khadija just for money and after looting her kicked her out of the house.'"

All the facts are not clear. What is clear is that this is a Christian woman who does not deserve to die because of what she said. Whether she was convicted for making an affirmative statement about Christ or making a derogatory statement about the Prophet Muhammad, she should not be put to death. Either way, as a Christian community, we are called to support mercy for this woman.

According to Wikipedia, the Pope has even asked for clemency in this case.

Won't you please take a little time out of your day and go to Call for Mercy to sign the Petition for Asia Bibi?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Stress Relief Idea #7

Practice preventive maintenance. Your car, appliances, home and relationships will be less likely to break down/fall apart "at the worst possible moment."

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pets: Important Members of the Family

To donate $5.00 and receive
a copy of this picture drawn
by Rusty Haag, please click
on the shopping cart button
at the top right hand of this

In celebration of my son's birthday week, and our joint project of raising money for the ASPCA, I will post articles about animals and different ministries that are helpful to them.

Today I want to introduce Rev. Cheryl Broome who is an ordained pastor serving as an Animal Chaplain in Austin, Texas. She serves in many other areas as well. I am honored that Cheryl has agreed to write this guest post for us today concerning the important place that animals hold in our families. Happy reading!

Animal friends are God's love in expression. From the tiniest atom of life to the largest known animal on earth, every living creature has a place in the world. Some animals help keep nature in balance, some provide sustenance for others, some help us learn more about ourselves, and others become treasured companions. When we take care of animals, we bless God and we bless the earth. I am a pet lover! When I was a little girl, I had a small white mouse. I shared this little mouse with a friend and we took turns caring for the daily needs of our little friend. It was awesome that we were able to shared the love, custody and care for our little mouse. Today I am very blessed to take care of some pets that live with my family. We have a dog-named Goldie who is sixteen years old. Goldie found us during a great storm in San Antonio, Texas and she was lost and wandering in the church parking lot. She is a golden retriever. Our newest dog is Skipper and he is a two-year-old dachshund. Skipper was adopted from the animal shelter in San Angelo, Texas. We also take care of other little animals in our yard like the squirrels and the birds, by making sure that there is plenty of water and food available.

What animal do you take care of and love? There are people who care and love birds, horses, snakes, lizards, dogs, cats, squirrels, the list can go on and on. Many people who love animals recognize the deep spiritual connection between God and all of God’s creation. The Bible teaches that our Creator gave us dominion over the earth and all its resources including every living thing. This is a serious undertaking and takes deep commitment and courage.

A long, long time ago there was a very interesting person who loved animals. He was called St. Francis of Assisi. You can find many stories about the life and ministry of St. Francis and how he loved and care for all animals. Some people think he had the ability to talk with animals; that he preached to the birds and once even tamed a wild wolf. He also wrote this wonderful Prayer of St. Francis: 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand ;to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life

Wouldn’t it be great if we would all take care of the earth and every living creature? We can by doing simple things every day. It all starts with love. When we love God’s creation, we show our love and care for every creature on earth.

 Austin Animal Chaplain began because of a great need for and desire to care for the spiritual needs of animals and their people through encouragement, education and support; especially during very trying and difficult times. If you have any further questions, please contact Reverend Cheryl A. Broome or call 512.569.5701.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Supporting Rusty and the ASPCA

Rusty Haag is my youngest son. He turned eleven years old yesterday.

 His favorite TV channel is Animal Planet where ads are routinely run for the  ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). These sad ads have touched his heart and motivated him to help these animals depicted in the commercials.

He joined the ASPCA and frequently asks me for money to send to them. He wants to to be an animal rescuer.

To honor Rusty on his birthday, I had him to draw an animal picture. We are selling  prints of this picture for $5.00 each. To order one, please check the button at the top right-hand side of this screen. This will take you to the order information screen. All profits from the sale of this picture will be donated to the ASPCA. When I suggested this prospect to Rusty, he got really excited.

Of course, this is not his only birthday present. But this will hopefully be one for the memory books. I am raising this money to honor Rusty and to nurture his sense of social justice and altruism. I think that we don’t do enough to honor one another in life.

Click on the  "Buy Now" button to purchase a print of Rusty's drawing.You can frame it and have it displayed prominently in your home to let your guests know that you have supported Rusty and the ASPCA.This sale will continue for one month from today. The last day to buy a print is  October 20, 2011.

I want to add a quick shout-out and thank you to Ms. Moody, Art Teacher at Tom Green Elementary in Buda, Texas for her wonderul advice.

 Thank you for your support.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Monday, September 19, 2011

Childhood Friends: Laughing Our Way Through Life

I read a blog post written by Deidra over at The High Calling. She wrote about laughter. She suggested that the rest of us write our own stories about the same topic. Here is mine. Happy Reading!

Cindy and I are the products of an Alabama small town. We met as babies in a playpen. Our mothers plopped us down together to play as they visited. We really didn’t have much choice in the matter. We were just there together, kind of like siblings.
Kathy being silly at work
Nourishment provided by our families and each other, mixed with sunshine, clean air and a little rain helped our friendship to blossom over the years. I don’t know what we did as babies; don’t remember. But as we grew, we traipsed through mud puddles, explored our neighborhood, traded crushes on boys and just generally had a marvelous time.
And we laughed. And laughed, and laughed. Through good times and bad, and sometimes through tears, we laugh. Whatever the occasion, we can find something funny. Whatever the pain, we go through it together and make a point to laugh anyway. The laughter is our song to the universe singing a melody of  perseverance to the stars.

We used to meet up for a glass of tea (this usually turned into a several hour affair) and we would laugh, at the simplest, silliest things. Sometimes, I would fuss at her for her timing. Well, it was her own fault! She would say something really funny right before I took a sip of tea and it took all of the control that I could muster not to spew the tea all over her face, because it was so hard to swallow and laugh at the same time. I chuckle now just thinking about it.

Kathy and Cindy
Our time spent together these days is over the phone. During those occasions, one of my boys will enter the room and say, “Well, I know that you are talking to Aunt Cindy”. (I make them call her Aunt because she is too close for them to call her Miss.) I ask them how they know. The answer is usually, “Well Mom, whenever I can hear you laughing loudly all over the house, it means that you are talking to her!”

That is one of the best signs of friendship that I can imagine.


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Stress Relief Idea #6

Make duplicates of all keys. Bury a house key in a secret spot in the garden and carry a duplicate car key in your wallet, apart from your key ring.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Friday, September 16, 2011

9/11 Everyday is a Day to Remember

Sunday was the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I have a friend from New York who lost several friends. Her Mom lived in New York on the day of this tragedy. We attended a 9/11 memorial together last year and I held her while she cried. I asked her to open her heart to share her experience with me and with this blogging audience. She very graciously agreed, but her name will not be given here, for the sake of privacy. I will tell you that there is a reference in this story to someone named Eddie. He is her husband. The following is her story:

I was getting ready for my Tuesday morning class at SWT and had the TV the reports started in....I tried to sit on the bed but slid off and collapsed on the floor. I watched in horror as the second plane hit...I tried and tried to get a hold of my mom, my brothers, my friends, anyone ( I grew up just north of the city and most of my friends had at least one parent that worked there, many friends had moved into the city for school or work, and although my mom did not work in the city, she was supposed to be there that Tuesday delivering legal documents for the lawyer she worked for) I called and cried and called and cried all morning. I obviously blew off my classes because if I did get a hold of my mom soon, I was going to get in the car and just drive north. An hour or so later I was able to get a hold of my sister in Florida, she couldn't get a hold of mom either. I sat in front of my TV all day in shock and terror. Sarah, my sister, called again and mom was okay, she had not gone into the city as planned, but all the cell lines were jammed up so it was hard to get calls in or out. She also told me of a friend of ours that called her while running across the bridge, he was coughing and said he was covered in dirt, ash, and just the crap in the air....he couldn't get any other number to work in the city so he called her not knowing what else to do. Chris, this friend, has not been the same since. A few numb days went by....I put up as many American flags as I could....I didn't know what else to do....I couldn't go home, there were no flights to be had. Then I got a call from my friend Brooke, her dad is a fire fighter in the Bronx. They had not heard from him in a day or two....they did right after, but he was working right there on the rescue. (since then he started drinking, a nearly killed him. The family and his house helped him, he no longer drinks, but he also had to take a desk job. He is a different person now too) she Lao told me about our friend Shelley. Shelley worked with Canter Fitzgerald, and she never made it out. Shelley was gone. All she ever wanted was to get married and have a family, and she did not get to do either. That Sunday I went to church, alone, and cried all the way through the service. Near the end of the service, a large man I did not know came over to me and said "you look like you could use a hug" I melted in his arms and sobbed. (that man years later sponsored me on my walk to Emmaus) a few more days passed, I still couldn't bring myself to go to class...I just sat ALL day in front of the TV. Eddie thought I was going over board, but did not know what to say to me either. Then about a week later I got another call. Another friend, who was supposed to be on the other side of the city has been missing. He was a carpenter and that morning when he went in to work, he was sent to the roof of one of the twin towers because someone else called in sick. He wasn't even supposed to be there and no one realized he was missing, everyone thought he just got caught up in the aftermath that was the city with no phone service and difficulty getting around. For months his girlfriend left his shoes right by their front door, just expecting one day he would walk in and change out of his work boots. This is what I lived with for the following weeks, never knowing if I was going to get another call about another friend, or another fire fighter father (I have several more friends like that) I went back to class, but was such a mess I nearly failed my classes, and I was a 4.0 student.
Then Eddie started to get it a little bit as his dear friends from West Point were getting deployed. So now we were both waiting by the phone, dying a little every time it rang. We lost a few more friends, and even more were changed so much they could nearly be counted as lost....that is how they were living anyway.
Over the years, our country has become complacent. Some people don't even think about it, except for someone else reminding them. Me, I still cry every 9/11 I still pray silently in the morning. I still wonder what Shelley's children would have looked like. Also know that much good has come from the tragedy. Brooke's dad is home more nights than he ever was before. There are more charities for fallen fire fighters than ever before. Shelley's parents have made an annual golf charity event to donate all proceeds to the fire fighters. The carpenter, Chris, has a new park named for him in our old neighborhood.
So there is my story for more time passes, I hope the hurt to not be so deep, but I also pray that I never forget, never become complacent, so that I can be thankful everyday for my family and friends. I am not afraid to tell my friends that I love them.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Love You More-A Memoir of Adoption

Love You More-The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter
By: Jennifer Grant

Love You More is a new book out about one family’s journey into adopting a child from another country. A story about life in a new marriage begins the narrative. The true story continues with the introduction of children being born. Finally, this family reaches a decision point about adopting their last child.

Mia, a Guatemalan baby, was adopted by Jennifer and her husband David in a long and painstaking process.  But they didn’t blindly dive in to this journey. They began with a lot of research, and did not move forward until they knew a lot about what to expect.

Part of the decision process is examined in Chapter 7, entitled “Adoption: A Crime, a Necessary Evil, or a Miracle?” This chapter explores the pros and cons of adoption, and addresses contemporary attitudes of society toward blended families.

Jennifer travels from the decision point to the actual adoption event. She invites everyone to share each step with her. She tells what happened upon Mia’s arrival home, describing this as a honeymoon period, complete with the natural exploration that occurs during such a period. Then, she honestly portrays the resulting difficulties that all parents experience with any child.

Peppered throughout the story are anecdotes of the reaction of others to seeing a blended family.

She completes the package by providing the following resources at the end of the book: adoption resources, humanitarian resources, books about adoption, children's books about adoption, and a complete bibliography for the material that she has referenced throughout the book. She even includes discussion questions at the end to both facilitate the exploration of the subject in a book club setting, and to assist potential adoptive parents with questions to consider.

Love You More is a must-read for anyone who has adopted a child, or is considering adopting a child. It is a must-read for the rest of us to increase our understanding of these families.

Jennifer Grant brilliantly weaves a memoir that tells a tale of love, doubt, anxiety, patience, impatience and many other emotions as her family inches closer to the finalization of the adoption process. Then she seals the tapestry with details about life after the adoption.

Her wonderful writing, along with her very honest biographical approach will keep this book around for a very long time. I predict it will become the new handbook for adoptive parents.

198 pages

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Walk to Emmaus-A Fertilizer for Churches

“A fertilizer for churches” is the way that one pastor describes a spiritual retreat called a “Walk to Emmaus”. A fertilizer for churches? Actually, the purpose of fertilizer is to provide nutrition that will help plants to grow. Fertilizer for a church would be something that would provide nutrition that will help Christians to grow and become stronger in the Lord. The stronger Christians are capable of providing lay leadership to the churches. So, the “Walk to Emmaus” is designed to prepare leaders for our churches.

The Walk to Emmaus is a 72-hour spiritual retreat open to adult Christians from all denominations. The name of the event comes from scripture in Luke 24:13-35. This is a story of 2 men who were walking to Emmaus, discussing the arrest and crucifixion and death of Jesus, when Jesus joined them. As the three of them walked together, Jesus explained to them what the prophets said about him. I think this reference is somewhat analogous to the activity that occurs during the retreat. All participants get to hear a total of fifteen talks from both laity and clergy concerning the work of Christ and what it means in our everyday lives.

In addition to hearing these talks, the participants participate in the following activities: participate in worship services under the direction of clergy, view multimedia presentations, sing songs, pray, eat great food, and have an opportunity to experience some light-hearted activities. People have the opportunity to meet other like-minded Christians and forge friendships that many will maintain for the rest of their lives.

Some participants have reported this weekend to be life changing. Some have said that it simply helped to strengthen their faith. Because everyone is at different points in their faith journey when they participate, they all receive something different. But God meets people right where they are, so each receives what he or she needs.

The process for attending a walk is simple. Fill out an application and send it in to the appropriate conference. Anyone who has attended can help to guide you. Depending on where you live, there may be several walks scheduled for your gender in your area. Anyone who has attended a walk before can sponsor you.

Your sponsor is responsible for taking care of anything that you would have had to do on the weekend , such as cutting grass, watering plants for you, etc. Anything that could interfere with your ability to attend the walk should be tended to by your sponsor. Additionally, your sponsor will pray for you and drive you to the retreat center where you will attend. Once the walk is over, they will drive you home and continue to pray for you and help you to get settled in to the group meetings to which you will be invited once you have attended the walk.

Cell phones and cameras are not permitted during the weekend. You will also be asked to remove your watch. This is because for a full 72 hours, you will be asked to participate in the experience with no distractions from the outside world. You will be in a cloistered environment that does not allow outsiders to come in and distract you or to do anything to detract from a unique experience.

If you are interested in attending a walk, please feel free to contact me at: or go to the following website:

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Spiritual Conversation With a Ten Year Old

Whenever we think that we have this God thing all figured out, we need to sit down with a ten year old for a spiritual discussion. That will put a pin into our puffiness and cause us to crash down to earth without a parachute.

Such was the case last night when I was trying to comfort my son Rusty by explaining to him that our only hope in this life is God. Then came the questions. I have to admit, the answers seem to make sense when I am talking to someone with a well-developed spiritual foundation..

But when discussing these things with a ten year old, I am working with a almost completely clean slate. Easy, right? No way! He started asking the difficult, obvious questions like, “Why can’t I see God?” “Why doesn’t he just come down and talk to us like I am talking to you?”

I steer the conversation to prayer. And he says, “God doesn’t answer my prayers, Mom.” And I look at him with a concerned look. After all, wasn’t this the exact thing that I said to a friend just two weeks ago--that I didn’t feel like God was answering my prayers? Don’t we all feel this way at some point in our lives? Even Mother Teresa had said something along those lines in a letter to a friend.

I become a little uncomfortable. I talk for a minute about the will of God; how he knows what is best and we don’t always know. We don’t always know for what we should pray. I ask him if he wants to share his prayers and concerns with me. He told me that he had prayed for God to keep  his brother Levi safe. But later he spoke with Levi and found out that he had tripped that morning. I pointed out that although he tripped, he is still OK. He said, “Yeah, but he hit his head when he fell.” And I pointed out that still, he is OK. Boy, this can get a little tough. I realize how little I know.

Rusty went to pre-teen camp this summer. He shared with me that at pre-teen camp, they would sit in a circle in a small group and pass a candle around and pray out loud. He said that he never prayed out loud because he was embarrassed about his prayers. He said that he didn’t feel comfortable; he was afraid that someone would laugh at his prayer. How many adults feel this way? He said that he decided to just wait until he was alone in his bed to pray so that he could do it silently so that no one would laugh at him. I told him that was OK, because the prayers were for God anyway.

Sometimes, at this preteen camp, they would have the kids to write out their prayers. This isn’t a bad discipline.

At the end of our conversation, Rusty spontaneously wrote out the following prayer: Dear God, I hope that someday I can see that you’re really answering my prayers.

I think that Rusty is better at praying than he knows. I am less of a theologian than I thought. I am thankful for this conversation.


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A High Calling

Wow. What a difference an exception makes!

On Monday of this week, I posted a blog explaining why I needed to be at a Writer’s Retreat at the end of the month. See This retreat is at Laity Lodge in Leakey, Texas. This retreat center has been described to me as holy ground. From all I have heard, I am sure it is.

This isn’t just any writer’s retreat. The editorial board of The High Calling will be there in addition to editors from Christianity Today. Other writers who are members of this site will also be in attendance. For more information, see


The previous blog post was a requirement to enter a contest for sponsorship to this conference, including travel expenses. In addition to writing the blog, I had to post it in several places, and then put a link back to my blog in the comments section of the announcement on The High Calling website.

As my blog states, I don’t usually do this. And I don’t usually enter contests. But, I did make an exception in this case. For this contest was for something very worthwhile to me. I have never attended a writer’s retreat before and I need the opportunity to network and learn from other writers. Hopefully, I will grow and improve in my writing skills.

Yesterday, I got an email with the subject line saying, “You won”. I thought, “Yeah right, what did I win this time?” After all, I receive spam everyday telling me all that I have won. And I always wind up empty handed. But I knew that they were going to announce the winner for the contest any day, so at the risk of feeling like a sucker, I decided to click on the link. And to my amazement, I was the winner.

I was stunned. There was a phone number in the email to call, which I did in record time and I am now registered.

I am shocked, and excited, and amazed all at once. But more than anything, I am humbled and very grateful for the opportunity to mix, mingle and learn from experienced Christian writers. For truly the opportunity to serve God as a writer is definitely A High Calling.

Here is the link for the announcement:


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GET OUT NOW!!!--What to pack in case of evacuation

About 30 miles away from me, a wildfire began to burn in Bastrop, Texas on Sunday afternoon. It started out small, and got huge quickly because of high winds blowing off of the outer edge of a Tropical system. Within 10 hours, 6,000 acres and numerous homes had burned. This rural area is full of pine trees and ranch land.

This area of Texas has had the most numbers of days with 3-digit temperatures in the history of record keeping. The previous record was 70 days. This year, this record was shattered. Accompanied by little to no rain, the conditions were perfect for the perfect fire-storm. The beautiful pine trees became dry, standing firewood.

As I write this, 600 of homes have burned and approximately 45 square miles have gone up in flames. This information comes from At any rate, devastation is a mild description.

I have friends who were evacuated in advance of the fire‘s imminent arrival. I am grateful that they were evacuated and not injured..

When notified to evacuate, they all had to make immediate decisions about what to pack. They didn’t have long. They were told to grab what they had to, and go. Several took time to put out an email to message groups of which I am a member to ask others, “ What do you recommend that I pack? What should I take? “

What a question! How do we make a decision that will reduce our lives to 5 minutes of packing, taking only necessities and a few keepsakes? What would I take What would you take?

For me, I know that my main priority would be to get my children and get out. I would probably try to get my medicines and a Bible. As for anything else, I have no clue what to pack. This is an overwhelming decision that has to be made at one of the most stressful
times in a person’s life.

Here are a few lists of what people shared that they chose: 1. The cat 2. Cat supplies 3. Wedding rings that had become too small to wear. 4. Framed wedding photo 5. A bowl that belonged to a grandmother. So, that was a combination that included the practical with the sentimental. Another lady said that she got a few changes of clothes, 6 pair of underwear, and a lot of her electronics. She is a writer, so a lot of her electronics are her livelihood. One lady told her friend, “Grab the credit card and GET OUT!!!”

Another lady said that she had not had to evacuate yet, but she was preparing in advance. This is what she selected:1. Small bag with a change of clothes 2. Netbook 3. Purse 4. Grandmother’s ring 5. Passport 6. Digicam 7. Car titles 8. Home and car insurance policies 9. Flash drives with backups of vital computer files.

Everyone has different priorities. We would all pack differently. We all hope not to ever be in this situation. A recommended list can be found on the following website:

What would you take if you have 10 minutes to pack knowing that everything that you leave may be destroyed?

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stress Relief Idea #4

Don't rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when libreary books are due, etc. ("The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory."-Old Chinese Proverb)

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Monday, September 5, 2011

Re:Treat; Re Treat; ReTweet; and Retreat

OK, so I don’t usually do this, but just this once I will make an exception. It is a contest for a weekend at Laity Lodge retreat center for a writer’s retreat. To be entered into the contest for a drawing, I have to write a blog post about why I need to be included in this writer’s retreat. The winner of the drawing gets free accommodations at the retreat center plus travel expenses.

Laity Lodge is a highly desirable location located in Leakey, Texas. It is an outstanding retreat center for Christians. For more information, visit

As a Christian writer, I have a burning desire to attend one of these writer’s retreats to network with other writers and editors. This would be a rare opportunity to learn new techniques and concepts for keeping fresh ideas that I can convert into unique, inspiring copy.

I would be challenged in new ways to stretch my mind and heart; to grow; to improve myself; to learn; to commune with God in an unique setting away from the normal cares of this world.

I believe that we are here to commune with God. I believe that we are here to grow. I believe that we have a spiritual mandate to accomplish these tasks during this short time on earth. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ to help to facilitate this growth for others; to help to bring to fruition that which God has ordained. This retreat would help me to improve toward those ends.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins