Saturday, October 27, 2012

Elections, Money and Football

The following is absolutely the best, most true statement that I have heard about the election. And I am thankful and just flat out proud to have heard it in the middle of a sermon  from my pastor, Rev. Kyle Toomire:

“…look around us – everywhere we see people who are lost and hurting.  All around us we see anger, resentment, and moral breakdown.  And the church has to stop looking to the things of the world for answers.
I do not care what the commercials or the newspapers or the pundits tell you – WE CANNOT ELECT a Savior.  He has already come."



The presence and number of children is one of the strongest indicators of the health of a church. I have never been in a weak, dying church that was full of children. On the contrary, I think the kids keep it vibrant. They keep us vibrant. I was making this point to Rev. Toomire, telling him that I thought it was because our children are our future. He immediately corrected me, saying  “they are not just our future, there are important to us in the here and now.” He is right and this was illustrated by Jesus several times in scripture.

Indeed, that attitude is reflected in our worship service. Rather than have adults to pass the offering plates, children pass them.  In our case, they are baskets rather than plates that look like huge ash trays with a velvet lining as in the church I attended as a child.

An adult lay person prays about the offering before it is collected. Then, the baskets are handed to the children, who pass them around, collect the money and return them to the adult who lifts them up to Almighty God before placing them on the altar. I recently had the privilege and honor of praying for the offering. Two beautiful young girls walked out into the congregation, and passed the offering baskets. They returned them to me. I smiled and whispered to them what a good job they had done. One little girl looked at me and said, “Look, I got a lot of money in mine! “ She was so excited. That lifted my heart and made me chuckle.


I asked Rev. Toomire, to please pray for my Auburn Tigers. They are having what is turning out to be the worst season that I have witnessed in my lifetime. He looked back at me and replied tongue in cheek, “No amount of prayer is going to help them this year.” 

It is sadly beginning to look as if he is right. And with that I will leave you.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Encouraging Word

Reverend Dr. Thomas Lane Butts, Jr. is probably the first pastor that I can recall having as a child at the First United Methodist Church in Brewton, Alabama. I was thrilled to connect with him again recently. He regularly writes a column for a newspaper in Monroeville, Alabama where he serves as Pastor Emeritus of the First United Methodist Church. He very graciously granted me permission to publish this on my blog. I am very honored to pass along these words of wisdom.


For the Jewish world into which Jesus was born, words were very power. A word spoken in Hebrew was more than just an uttered sound. It was alive with meaning. The Hebrews spoke sparingly. The Hebrew language has fewer than 10,000 words, whereas Greek has 200,000. The English language has some 800,000 words and is growing rapidly. What is the care and intent we give as we use this vast treasure trove of words?

The Old Testament is filled with examples of the power of words. In the creation story in the Book of Genesis, each stage of creation begins with..."And God said..". God spoke the world into being. In Genesis 27 there is the story of Isaac being deceived into giving his blessing to Jacob when he had intended to give it to Esau, the elder son. But once the word of blessing had been spoken, it could not be retracted,  It is clear that the Old Testament Jew viewed the words with awe.

Our words both reflect and create our attitudes. The world of medical science is discovering the power of words and attitudes to heal or hurt. Most doctors see at least one person each day who has talked himself or herself into being sick, and will not get well until they change their words and their attitudes. The will to live is a powerful force that can keep a person alive beyond normal expectations, and the will not to live is equally powerful.

In his book, "The Healing Heart", Norman Cousins wrote, "The will to live is not just a frame of mind, but a specific biochemical force. For all we know, the will to live may be one of the connecting links between the belief system and the healing system". Your attitude can make you sick. Your words can kill you, or they can heal you.

There are people whose words wound others, not because they consciously intend them to wound, but because they are careless with words, and/or thoughtless about others. They are so self-centered (narcissistic) that they never consider what their words will do to someone else. The variations of this category of person are almost endless, but more often than not these self-centered people are persons who, for some reason, also consider it theri duty to offer unsolicited advice.

Is it really necessary for us to tell people how wrong they are and how they can improve? Most unsolicited judgments and criticisms are given out of a personal need to control and dominate rather than being offered as a humble concern for others. Unless a person asks your opinion, the critique you give will be more an anchor than a sail. And if a person does ask your opinion, be sure your words are carefully selected and offered with the intent to help another up with a tender hand and soft eyes.

When Ben Franklin was not quite 21 years of age, he was dissatisfied with his life. He resolved to change and wrote out four resolutions by which he expected to live the rest of his life. One of those resolutions was: "I will speak ill of no person whatever, not even in a matter of truth". Little wonder he made such a tremendous contribution to the life of this country!  Words have the power to help or hurt.

Be careful what you say, to yourself or others.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:

329. A cold front on the way to the area. 
330. Connecting with people from long ago.
331. Old remedies.
332. Waking up--always waking up.
333. Remembering someone's name and face.
334. Finding treasure in someone's letters.
335. Receiving thank you notes by surprise.
336. Elections-We are blessed to be able to vote.
337. Passing down information to my sons.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday Wrapup

As the sun set on Monday, I wondered if you had a good day or a bad one. The beginning of the week is a return to reality for many after an enjoyable weekend. Regardless of how your day went yesterday, read the following story, compare your yesterday to the yesterday of the worker's in this story. If your day was better, feel blessed.

I was a manufacturing supervisor for sixteen years give or take a year or two. As a supervisor on graveyard shift, I learned that there were two different classes of sleepers. One is the person who is at his station, trying to keep his job done and inadvertently nods off from exhaustion. As a supervisor, I would gently wake someone up in this scenario, and move along. The other class of sleeper was totally different. This class was formed by people who purposely sleep.

When I worked in a foundry in South Alabama, where the days were long and the work was very hard, I heard a story through the grapevine about a worker who we will call Fred,  caught sleeping by his supervisor, who we will call Joe.
Fred wandered away from his work station, pulled off his overcoat, wadded it up and used it for a pillow on the floor, took off his steel toed work boots, and put them in front of a fire barrel that was one of many that had been stationed throughout the plant. He put his noggin on the pillow, stretched out and began cutting z’s. From the look of the scene, it was obvious that Fred meant to lay down and take a nap on the company dime. Joe searched for him all over the plant. Finally, Joe found Fred snuggled up to the fire barrel dreaming of warmer days in happier places. Joe went and found a safety pin, wrote a note in his very bad, crooked handwriting, returned and pinned the note onto the shirt of the worker. Then he walked away. This is what the note said:

As long as you are asleep, you still have a job. But when you wake up, YOU ARE FIRED!!!

Not even the Union President could help Fred out of that predicament.

 Was your yesterday better than this? Thought so. Have another good day.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:

319. The fact that I didn't choke and die when I was laughing so hard earlier.
320. Rain the day before yesterday.
321. Achieving a goal.
322. Recovery of a friend.
323. God's perfect will is better than anything that we can imagine.
324. A family getting a new car to get them around.
325. Sleeping in on Sunday's.
326.Waking up.
327. Hugs.
328. Cool breezes in the evenings.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dancing Priest By: Glynn Young

This was a great Christian fictional love story about a young man who was adopted,Michael Kent, and then grew up to become a priest and Olympic Champion bicyclist. The story follows the challenges he faced throughout his romantic relationships. He develops a special relationship with a parishioner who has lived a difficult life; this relationship causes him to be attacked. I don't want to tell more and spoil the story for anyone who might read later.

Young does a remarkable job of character creation, plot formation and story telling. I found myself getting attached to Michael Kent, and the story, wanting to go back to the book every chance I got to find out what happened next. Young’s writing style is such that he brings the reader inside of the story to the point that I felt that I was almost friends with the characters.

He also succeeds in painting a portrait of the human side of a priest and transforming the stereotypical view of a priest that I had in my mind. This portrayal helped me to imagine a younger, cooler, priest who can be a role model and hero to young people in his role.

I loved this book and highly recommend it to any Christian reader.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare

Today, I am thankful for:

315. Meds for my friend who is suffering.
316. Two good surprises from friends.
317. Two positive feedback comments on my writing.
318. Discernment.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fair to Middlin'

Whenever someone asks “How are you” I say “Fair to middlin’” . I had heard it all my life, but I never took the time to think about what it meant. I always figured that it just meant that I am so-so. That is as good as I ever admit to being, because if I start saying great, before the day is over, I am sure something will happen to change that categorization. And anyway, nobody really wants to know how you are doing if they ask you. They really are just saying hello.

Since I have lived in Texas a lot of people thought I was saying “Fair to Midland”, as in Midland, Texas. So, I guess by this definition, I am fair all the way to Midland, Texas, like the weather. So, that is plausible to me. But again, I never put much brain power into the analysis. Certainly not enough to argue with anyone about whether I was saying middlin’ or Midland. It didn’t really matter to me.

One day, while working at Walgreen’s, a customer approached me and said he overheard me telling someone that I was fair to middlin’. He chuckled and said that he hadn’t heard that in a long time. (Probably since Bully was a calf—Bully is the hamburger meat in the freezer; it’s been a long time since he was a calf.)

He asked if I knew what it meant exactly. I chuckled and said “No.”

He laughed and said that most people didn’t know. He said that he wanted to share the story with me. He said back in the days of the covered wagons, and cotton picking by hand, people would fill up their wagons with the cotton and take it to South Texas to the ports to market. There was a man on duty who would grade the quality of the cotton, and the farmer would be paid based on the grade. There were two grades: fair and middlin’. Fair got the better price. Cotton that was middlin’ would also be bought, but would be cheaper than the cotton that was fair.

All cotton was graded from fair to middlin’. That is where the saying comes from. So, it is actually not Midland, but middlin’.

I smiled and thanked him for sharing the story, and told him that I had never heard it before. He smiled and said that most people hadn’t, so he wanted to share it with me.

So, there you have it folks. It is all about cotton. I still use the phrase anyway because I still am afraid to jinx the day by saying that I am any better than fair to middlin’.

Here is hoping that your day is better than fair or middlin’.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:

311. Missionaries
312. Holy Communion two times over.
313. Cotton
314. Blue Jeans

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No Snoring in Church Please

Edgar Ratcliff had a difficult time staying awake in the First Baptist Church of Opelika, Alabama, week after week. He was faithful to attend and carry out his duties as Deacon with honor. Every Sunday, he sat by his friend Bob, who also was a deacon. At some point in the sermon, Edgar always fell asleep.

One Sunday, as the congregation filed through the front door, shaking the preacher’s hand, (can’t remember the pastor’s name—probably a good thing) the pastor stopped Edgar and Bob.

He said, “Bob, I need for you to start doing me a favor, please.”

“What is it Pastor?”

“Well, every week, Edgar falls asleep during the sermon. I want you to start keeping an eye on him and whenever you see him start to nod off, reach over and nudge him or elbow him to wake him up so that he will quit falling asleep and be able to hear the whole sermon.” Edgar dropped his head and began to snicker.

“Well, Pastor, the way I see it, you are the one who puts him to sleep. You need to be the one to wake him up.” They all began to laugh.

And with that story about my Grandfather Edgar Ratcliff, I will leave you.

Happy humpday everybody.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare

Today, I am Thankful for:

301. Sincere apologies
302. Grace and mercy.
303. Children
304. Mending fences.
305. Humpday
306. My friend Joyce's beginning recovery.
307. Blessed pumpkins
308. Spiders in trees.
309. Crafty people.
310. My friend Mike.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blogging one year

Usually, a blogger writes about what a wonderful year they have had in their first year of blogging on their blog anniversary. I missed mine on April 30, 2012, so let’s count this post as that one year anniversary blogging post.

Many writers drop out in their first year, because they become busy with other things in life. Seriously, most of the other bloggers that I started following over one year ago are no longer blogging. I don’t know the specific reasons. I would imagine that they run the gamut. Some do a farewell post, while others seem to just fade away, with a post less and less often until finally, there is no new post.

I have enjoyed my first year and the positive feedback that I have received. I was always curious when that feedback would get negative, if ever. Most of the people that I know that have written for any long period of time have received some negativity; especially book authors. But I haven’t ---not until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday, I received an angry email from an individual who heard that I had smeared his name. If I would have been him, I would have been angry too. The story that was related to me that he heard was not the actual story. At best, it was like the telephone game in which the final statement is not the one that was originally spoken. At the worst, my blog was reduced to gossip.  SHRIEK!!!!!!! The NERVE of SOME PEOPLE!!! I say that, somewhat frustrated, and yet somewhat amused.

The good news is that someone was talking about my blog. This means two things: Number one, that while the individual was bad-mouthing me, he or she was letting someone else rest. Number two, someone is reading  what I write. I am not writing in vain. Happiness abounds!
The better news is that the person to whom the blog was related came to me and let me know what he had heard. That gave me a chance to respond. In the end, I challenged him to actually read for himself, which he ultimately did. He then responded more calmly and constructively.

The best news is that I am seeing visible reactions. People are being provoked into action. I was comforted when I received a message on my facebook page asking about the family that was the subject of my recent post, One Family’s Story. The message was from the head of a local food bank at a church here in town. She wanted to know if she could bring food to the family, since they did not have a car. I was able to contact the family, and ask. They were delighted at the offer and I was able to connect the two. The delivery was made. The family was blessed in a powerful way. I am so humbled and honored to have been part of this process. I am honored that someone read, someone cared, and someone acted. To see tangible action as a result of one’s writings, is the best honor that can be received. To see people blessing one another is to see the face of God himself.

This whole blogging enterprise has been a blessing. Thank you for reading.



Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:

Today, I am Thankful for:

287. Connections that bless.
288. Being part of the body of Christ all over the world, joined in unison with those who have come before and those who will follow.
289. A new month.
290. Anti. biotics.
291. Paying it forward.
292. New blogs.
293. Old blogs.
294. In-between aged blogs.
295. People who repeat a story and get it right.
296. Grace-filled friends like Sharon and Michelle.
297. Worn out tennis shoes.
298. Punctuation.
299. Punctuality.
300. The fervent prayers of a righteous man.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins