Monday, January 30, 2012

Stress Relief Idea #25

Get enough sleep. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed.


Thankfulness Challenge- Today I am thankful for:

32. Beautiful, dark, blowing clouds at dawn.
33. God's grace.
34. Waking up.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Minute Fridays-Tender

I love having a garden. I first started a garden when my boys were babies. We planted various vegetables: cucumbers tomato plants, squash, bell peppers and hibenero peppers. We watched with excitement and hope as they began sprouting from the dark ground with the tender sprouts at first. We checked each day to see the progress. We pulled weeds as they grew to protect the plants from being overcome by them; to assure that all of the moisture and all of the nutrients would feed the plants that we wanted fed.

All of life is like our garden. Some seeds grow and some not. We have to protect ourselves from the weeds that sprout and attempt to steal the nourishment from us. Weeds can be anything that serves to steal our time, our nutrients, our water. They are the things in our lives that we don't want when we actually take time to think about things. Things that rob our time are weeds. And, we are like the tender sprout growing that over time might become strong. In the meantime, may we guard our time and talents and resources from the extraneous things that will usurp the nutrition that we need in the Lord. Amen.


Thankfulness Challenge and Joy Dare: Today I am thankful for:

29. Phone calls from good friends that are an oasis in a dry day.
30. Faithful members of our Chrysalis Board.
31. A good night's rest.

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Challenge

As my previous posts, “Hacked”  and “I Know You Didn't Just Unfriend Me!” probably inadvertently revealed, I am a Facebook junkie. There: I admitted it. I just love Facebook. No matter what time of the day or night, there is always something to do there. Although it might be said that I have spent an excessive amount of time, I have reduced the amount of time that I spend there, and am therefore doing better. After I reached Level 600, I quit playing Mafia Wars. I got bored with Poker and Bejeweled. Then I found Words With Friends: Oops! 

One application that I found via Facebook is Goodreads. I love this website! Goodreads is a social networking book site. A member can join for free and then log in the books that he or she has read and is reading. If someone wants to write a book review of a book, then there is a place for doing this. If you are considering getting a book, you can go here to read reviews and ratings for that book.

Goodreads encourages members to connect with one another and compare reading lists. I love to follow the reading of some of my friends, who have quite a repertoire. Sometimes, I select books on their lists for me to read. 

I was relating this to a friend, who was asking me why I was reading a “high-brow” book. I explained to her that I had found it on the reading list of a friend and decided to read it. She asked me, “Are you going to do the book report too?” Well, now, I can say yes. Because most of the books that I read are reviewed on this blog.

There is also a place for setting a reading goal for the year. Last year, I set my goal at thirty books. I met this goal the week of December 31. This year for my fourth challenge, I am setting my reading goal at forty books. I hope to surpass this, but I will stick to forty. I never tracked them for an entire year before until I joined Goodreads.

Something that I found on the site recently is book giveaways. So far, I have won three books from the book giveaways. They have all been great books, so far. I look at the long list of books, and put in an entry for the ones that interest me. As many books as I plan to read, winning books definitely helps my budget.

Join me in my quest to read in 2012. Better yet, click here to connect to my profile. 

Thankfulness Challenge: Today, I am thankful for:

26. My son's 14th birthday today.
27. A wonderful thunderstorm with a lot of rain last night.
28. Friends who laugh with me at my mistakes.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stress Relief Idea #24

Wear earplugs. If you need to find some quiet at home, wear earplugs.

Thankfulness Challenge:

11. Macaroni and Cheese
12. Nephews and one Niece
13. Dinner around the table with family.
14. Holy Communion.
15. Fruitful meetings.
16. A car that runs.
17. Good friends.
18. Followers on my blog.
19. Beautiful flowers.
20. Safe travels
21. Well-mannered sons.
22. A refrigerator that runs.
23. Daily phone calls from my son three states away.
24. Police Officers.
25. Mountain Dew.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vivid-Five Minute Fridays

I have had vivid dreams all of my life. I mean these are as good as action-packed adventure movies--in color and constantly changing. They usually aren't scary. Sometimes they have a meaning that I can discern, but most of the time, I only remember bits and pieces. And of what I can remember, it doesn't seem to have any intelligent meaning beyond the obvious.

Sometimes, I dream about my father. I was the first in the family to dream about him after he died. They say that whenever you dream about someone who has died, that means that they actually visited you . How sweet these dreams about my father are. One year, it was the anniversary of his death and I had forgotten. I was busy and didn't realize that the date was upon us. That night, I had a vivid dream about him. It was great to see him. After I woke up, I realized the date. Coincidence? What do you think?


My Thankfulness Challenge-The Joy Dare from Ann Voskamp--On the road to 1,000---

Today I am thankful for--
5. Beautiful days
6. Healthy body
7. Prayers
8. Mid-Winter Camp for my son.
9. Pastors
10. A book won in a contest.

Linking up with the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thankfulness Challenge

For the past two weeks, I have written a blogs about my first two challenges for 2012. The first is to read the bible all the way through. The second is to walk 719 miles for the year. I am happy to report that I am still on track on both challenges.

My third challenge is to make a list of 1000 things for which I thank God. This is based on a challenge made by Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts: Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

The most profound life changing things are sometimes the most simple. That is the case with giving thanks to God. According to Voskamp, after she began this practice, she began to see a change in herself; other people did too. This simple discipline, of giving thanks for the most simple things in our lives that are blessings throughout our day can be life changing. Who knew?

Actually, according to Paul, we are to pray without ceasing, giving thanks for all things. All things includes both the good and bad, because regardless of our circumstances, God is still alive and good. Let it be so.

I will put my unending list at the bottom of my posts. I invite you to join me in making this list. To reach 1000 things, it will require that I do three to four things a day.

Today, I am thankful for 

1. Food
2. Clothes
3. Shelter
4. My beautiful three boys.

What are you thankful for today. Would you please put it in the comments section?

Linking up today with Ann Voskamp and Laura Boggess

holy experience

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rebuilding After the Destruction

This is a story about resilience after tragedy. A story that began with perfect conditions for such a tragedy. High temperatures, high winds and a drought. No one knew it at the time, but it would be the driest, hottest summer on record in Central Texas. The wind blew, trees fell on power lines, sparks were generated and a flame began. Then it took off. One acre, then two. Before it could be contained, thousands of acres, thousands of houses, numerous animals, one State Park and two lives would be lost. 

It began on September 4, 2011. There is even a Wikipedia entry for this infamous blaze under Bastrop County Complex Fire. According to Wikipedia, “on September 6, the Texas Forest Service released a statement describing the fires behavior as ‘unprecedented’ and stating that ‘no one on the face of this earth has ever fought fires in these extreme conditions.’”

It was not completely extinguished until October 10, 2011. 

A tropical storm had landed on the Texas coast and moved northeast. We didn’t get the rain from it, but we did get the wind, which propelled the flames. 

I remember telling a friend that I had never lived in close proximity to fires before; I had lived where we had hurricanes come in South Alabama, but never fires. She had lived in this area all of her life and she said, “Uh, this is new for all of us too. We have never had anything this bad before here either.”

Of course, I don’t live in the affected area. I live in Hays County, about thirty miles away. But close enough, that I could look to the southeast sky and see the smoke from the unprecedented blaze.

One of the most severely affected areas was the Bastrop State Park. All but 95 acres of the 5,926 acre park were affected. I visited the park to take photos of the progress four months after the tragedy.It reminded me of the woods in Alabama after they had been logged. Many of the trees were cut down; that is, the ones that had not already fallen after being burned. Much of the park was closed for repairs. The attendant at the park told me that they had crews cutting down trees, electrical crews, and bulldozers moving the logs and debris. I saw some of this in progress. Many of the park roads are still closed for safety concerns. The attendant told me that they would not allow entry into any road that was not cleared for at least 100 feet on each side of the road. Sawdust now covers the ground where trees,leaves and pine needles once stood. Trees that were fully adorned with leaves and pine needles now stand bare. They look naked without the greenery. Trees that are still standing are now black from being burned and from soot from the smoke. The park has been transformed from the pristine beautiful area that it once was. 

But a lot of work has already been done, and continues to occur.  I am convinced that this park will be restored to its beautiful setting.

What follows are the pictures that I took from the devastation and rebuilding.
Logs and trees cut down to prevent them from falling on someone or something.

This was a building built in the 1930's. The wood was burnt off of it.

Notice all of the stumps left after trees being cut.This was all dense forest.

Blackened bark on leafless trees.

Remains of a pine tree.

This once forest area now cleared.

More skeletal remains of forest.

So sad to see this so bare now.

Back in the day, the travel trailers would have been obscured by the growth.

Surviving trees.

Workers use fire-damaged tree remains to build fence.

These Forest Service employees are working hard to recycle trees and restore beauty.

This electrical supply, damaged by fire is still cordoned off.

Blackened pine tree.

More damaged trees.

Linking up with Jen:

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Stress Relief Idea #23

If  your job requires that you sit for extended periods, get up and stretch periodically.

Sunday, January 15, 2012



Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name:
 bring an offering, 
and come before him: 
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

                                                                                               I Chronicles 16: 29 KJV

Linking up with Deidre....

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Friday, January 13, 2012

1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are By: Ann Voskamp

I first found Ann Voskamp on her blog, A Holy Experience. That is where I found out about One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. 

The story begins with Ann's birth and then immediately moves to a tragic scene in her childhood, which becomes the foundation for questioning God. She bookends the tragic scene in her life with a tragedy in her brother-in-law’s life to ask questions about God, grace and meaning. Then she goes on to point to scripture that tells the purpose of our life. The last days of Jesus’ life provide her with an example of what we should be doing in ours. What she finds is eucharisteo: thanksgiving. She begins to make a list of things for which to be thankful. Obviously, this is not a one-day project. As she begins her simple, but profound list over time, she and others begin to notice a change in herself. This book is about that process.

Ann Voskamp is a wife and mother of six children who home schools her children on a farm in Canada. She says that she steals time at night, after the children are in bed to write. She has written an award-winning book series for children, A Child’s Geography. She is a woman of great faith.

Voskamp writes about this journey of Eucharisteo within the framework of her daily life, amid whatever she is doing that day. She writes about reading and studying scripture and the writings of theologians and pastors, present and past. All of these things are stepping stones on her journey.

 “All those years thinking I was saved and had said my yes to God, but was really living the no. Was it because I had never fully experienced the whole of my salvation? Had never lived out the fullest expression of my salvation in Christ? Because I wasn’t taking everything in my life and returning to Jesus, falling at His feet and thanking Him. I sit still, blinded. This is why I sat all those years in church but my soul holes had never fully healed.” P. 40

“I have just one word. A word to seize and haul up out of a terminal nightmare, a word for fearless dying, for saved, fully healed living, a word that works the miracle that heals the soul and raises the very dead to life. …Eucharisteo.” P. 41

The two previous quotes are foundational to the problem and solution of  the lives of most people. Voskamp’s wonderful, poetic, descriptive writing skills mixed with meat-and-potatoes theology provide a banquet of exquisite Christian nutrition leading to wholeness. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Put it on the bookshelf with C.S. Lewis, and Dallas Willard. You will want to re-read it from time to time.


Book Edition           Kindle Edition

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We have all seen it. Someone gets hacked on Facebook and anything from offensive pictures to scams to deleting one’s account can happen.

The time that I got hacked was a little bit of my own fault. Someone was using my computer at the house, so I went to the office center at the apartments to use the common computer. Since I normally was on Facebook on my own computer, I never logged out. I just turned off the computer when I was finished. I did the same thing on the apartment computer. Note to self: that is fine on your personal computer, but never do it on one shared by strangers.

A teenage girl got on the computer after me, pulled up my Facebook, and wrote obscenities on my wall. She added, “I want to kill myself.” Then, she wrote, “I hate my fat-*** son” and several other terrible things.  I had no idea this was happening. I was at home watching Desperate Housewives on the TV.

I received a  phone call from my Pastor, Teresa Welborn, informing me of the activity on my account. Apparently, fellow church members who are Facebook friends were horrified at what they read, and called her, concerned about me. As soon as we got off of the phone, her kind husband wrote a note telling people that I had been hacked. 

When I got to my account and read the things that were written, I was embarrassed, horrified and angry. I printed out what was written, and then deleted it and put a note on my page that I had been hacked.

I had two new emails. One was from a high school teacher that I had telling me to please go talk to my pastor immediately. I had to laugh. I didn’t have to call my pastor. She called me. Another email was from a former boyfriend asking what was wrong. Now, I was really mad. Nobody wants a former boyfriend to think that anything is wrong….ever. We just want our former loves to think that our world is simply perfect; well, that is, since they have been gone. 

I did some investigation and found out who the teenager was who perpetrated this crime. For every story like mine, there are probably thousands more.

I learned the hard way to log out of Facebook anytime I am on a computer other than my own; even if I turn off the computer. I report suspicious activity to friends if I see it on their accounts, and I notify Facebook immediately about problems.

I am so thankful that Pastor Teresa called me when she did and that she felt comfortable with telling me. And I am thankful that no permanent damage was done. But I did miss the ending of Desperate Housewives.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Join Me In My Walk From Texas To Alabama

I wrote last week about my challenges for 2012. My first challenge is to read the bible all the way through in a year. My second challenge is to walk from my home in Texas to my home in Alabama. Well, not really. I am going to walk the same distance for the year: 719 miles. I have already logged 2.4 miles toward this effort. If I can go farther, that is great. But my goal is 719 miles.

To add to the fun, I am logging my progress on the +3Network to raise a little money for charity. The +3Network is a cool website that puts money for charity together with exercising. Companies have committed to donating money to a particular cause. A participant teams up with the cause and then logs their exercise for the cause for the day. For every unit of exercise logged the company donates money to the particular cause.

Members can win prizes after completing challenges for which they sign up. Organized bike rides and hikes are some of the group activities organized by non-profits and individual groups. Members can participate in these as they desire.  However, most of these occur in California, where the web designers live. I would love to see some started for the Austin, Texas area on that website. Garmin GPS units can be used to track and upload activity automatically.

I chose breast cancer as my charity to honor my Mamaw, Marguerite Ratcliff and my grandfather, Aubrey Robbins. Mamaw survived breast cancer, only to have it recur as bone cancer later. My Papa Robbins died from lung cancer when I was only seven years old.  Anhu footwear provides the funding for this cause. Other causes include Second Harvest Food Bank, Rebuild Hope, Project Open Hand, Cal Poly SLO Cross Country, Nevada Cancer Institute and The American Heart Association. But there are more.

On the website, members can link to other members and keep stats on the money raised within a group. Almost any kind of exercise qualifies. Running, biking, swimming, skateboarding, spinning, weight room sessions, yoga, walking the dog. Almost anything that you can imagine is included for credit. Please feel free to join me on this site and send me a friend linkup. 

Neighborhood walking is a little boring for me, so I get a little help here from my MP3 player, to listen to music and scripture if I want while I walk. After I finish, I upload my progress onto the +3 Network, and then click on the Facebook link to post my progress and the monetary contribution. Other people I know take a camera with them on their walks and runs and take a picture of the sunrise or something else that captures their interest. I frequently enjoy these posts on Facebook. 

With help from my MP3 player and inspiration from the +3Network to track my progress, I look forward to finishing my 719 mile trek this year. Won’t you join me with an exercise goal of your own? Please visit +3Network and send me a friend request so that we can participate together.

Linking up with Laura and Jen

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stress Relief Idea #22

Make friends with nonworriers. Nothing can get you into the habit or worrying faster than associating with chronic worryworts.

I want to give a shout-out to Beverly Nelms, who was my very first Google follower and to Grace Arreza who is a Google follower from Indonesia. Thank you both for following robbinswrites!


Good luck to the University of Alabama tonight in their quest for the National Championship in their football game against LSU! Congratulations to the T.R. Miller High School Marching Band from  my hometown of Brewton, Alabama for being selected to perform the halftime show at the game. 

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goats and Fences

The grass always appears to be greener on the other side of the fence.....

Linking up with Deidre Riggs.. and L.L. Barkat

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

The Body Language of Dating By: Tonya Reiman

The Body Language of Dating: Read His Signals, Send Your Own, and Get the Guy

The Body Language of Dating just hit the market this month. It is a comprehensive analysis of the role of the anatomy in dating behaviors.

Written primarily for women, Reiman devotes the first half of the book to the various body parts of the two genders and how they have developed over time to fill a specific function.

Using a light writing style for a very in-depth subject, Reiman captivates the reader by peppering information with photos, blocks of separate information and sections called "body watch", which are specific tidbits of body language information.

She discusses communication differences between men and women providing scenarios to explain the roles of body language in meeting a man.

Her information is supported by scientific studies and personal experience.

Chemistry, conversation, and dressing to impress are just a few of the in-depth topics that she thoroughly explores.

The final chapter is a brilliant wrap-up of the entire book, providing a type of cheat sheet for using body language to get an acceptable date in 10 easy steps.

I recommend this for all of the single ladies....

(This book was provided to me free of charge by the publisher for pre-release review. No guarantee of a favorable review was made in any way.)

Book Edition           Kindle Edition

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fear is Not Always Bad

“I am scared,” Rusty said to his scoutmaster as he started to use a scroll saw. This is a difficult thing for a boy to admit to a man.

“Being scared is a good thing” was the scoutmaster’s surprising reply. I expected him to tease Rusty or to tell Rusty that there was not reason to be afraid. He stood behind the eleven year old, instructing him and guiding him as he cut. “See, when we get scared, it helps us to be more alert and more cautious. And when you are using a saw that could cut you, being alert is a good thing. So fear can be good” he explained.

I observed this conversation at Rusty’s scout meeting when they were working on a project that required that they used real tools. This was one of the requirements for Rusty to complete to earn his Craftsman badge and ultimately the Weblo Badge.

I thought about the conversation when I read The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life. There was one section about the benefits of stress. According to the authors, stress can be a good thing. Things that are more stressful can help us to be more alert, to try harder and to not make as many mistakes. Stress is brought about by change, a necessary part of life. Without stress, there would be no growth. As long as these things are kept to a manageable level, stress can be a tool for success.

I had never looked at it that way. I had always perceived fear and stress as negative emotions. But in her article "The Good Side of Stress", Melinda Moyer states that too little stress can lead to a bored and unmotivated person.

Preventing the unnecessary stress was the idea behind posting a Stress Relief Suggestion every Monday. I know that some stress can be avoided. Through planning and organization, we can prevent unnecessary stress in our lives and prevent mishaps. This will leave a person free for the healthy stress that is experienced. I will continue to post the Stress Relief Suggestions, but it will be with a different outlook.

Rusty did an excellent job using the scroll saw, under the direction and guidance of his scoutmaster. He faced his fear, and was alert. He completed his wind-chime project successfully and got closer to receiving his badge.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reading Through the Bible in One Year

Happy New Year!

I have a friend who says that she always chooses ten different challenges to take on each year. She said that she had been doing this since she was a child. So I think I will be a copycat. I am going to choose ten different challenges for this year. 

The first challenge that I have selected is in tandem with friends, reading through the bible in one year using the same plan, but different versions of the bible. We will embark on this journey in tandem with one another, exhorting and praying for one another as this journey unfolds. We are a diverse international group, connected by Facebook, open to any and everyone who cares to join. The reading began on New Year’s Day, but there is still plenty of time for anyone to join. The name of the group is Read Through the Bible in 2012.

There is another app that I have joined along the same lines on Facebook: it is Once A Day: Read Once a Day. On this app, you type in your reading for that day, and it posts on your Facebook wall.

This will be the first time that I have followed someone else’s plan in my bible reading. The last time that I read the bible all the way through, I did it one book at a time. The plan that our group is using has a morning and an evening reading. The morning readings are in Genesis and the evening reading is in Matthew for now.

There are many different ways to study and read our bibles. The main thing is that we all find the way that works for us. What works for one may not be successful for another. Here are some suggestions of different ways to read.

1. Read 3 chapters a day. I don’t know whether or not this will get you through in one year, but it will be enough to keep you engaged, and not so much that it is daunting. If you feel compelled to read more on a particular day, do it. If you don’t feel like reading one day, do it anyway. That may be the day that your blessing awaits. For a story about this read, A Gift From the Lord.

2. My Pastor, Jim Sweet told me about a discipline that he uses: he reads one chapter a day in the gospels. He starts with Matthew. He reads one chapter a day in addition to his other reading. He finishes before the end of the month, then he waits until the first of the month and starts the next book. That way, he reads each gospel three times a year. Great idea! I will be following this plan in addition to my daily reading with the Facebook group.

3. Pastor Jim also shared with me that he listens to tapes of the bible while doing mundane chores like shaving in the morning and cleaning house. Another great idea. The bible can be put on an MP3 player or Ipod and listened to during exercising. This is good for helping to increase faith, following the scripture in Romans 10:17 that says, “…faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

4. A former pastor, Tim Morgan of Andalusia Bible Church once told our congregation that if we got  bogged down by the “begats”, to turn the page. Don’t get bogged down and quit.

5. Of course, feel free to join our Facebook group and follow the plan that we are following. We would love to have you! One of the ladies in the group, Carmen Elena Lopez, who said that she had heard a pastor on Moody Radio preach that whenever we read our bible, there are three questions that we need to ask while reading. These are:

     1. What is this passage teaching me?
     2. Is there a promise in this passage I must believe?
     3. Is there a command I must obey?

These are great guiding questions!

Do you have a specific discipline for your bible reading and study? I would love to hear from you about your plan.

Linking up with Laura at The Wellspring  and with Jen

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Stress Relief Idea #21

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify........


Hello to my readers from the United States, Scotland, England, South Africa, China, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India, Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands who have stopped by this blog during the past week. Thank you for the visit and please return soon. 
Also a special hello to email subscribers Sharon Watts and Mike Manning from Texas. Thank you for your support in 2011! Blessings to all of you and your families!

HAPPY 2012!!!!

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins