Sunday, August 4, 2019

Maybe, just maybe on the other side of Heaven.....

A year ago today my Dad (step-dad if we go with technicalities) took his last breath on earth and his first breath in Heaven. By all accounts it was completely unexpected. He is missed and mourned by many and yet God has graced us with strength that we didn’t know we had and a profound appreciation for life, friends and family that we previously took for granted. It changed each of us in ways that even now remain to be seen. 

As the date neared for my first grandchild to be brought into this world, I flip flopped back and forth between wanting her to be born on 8/4 and hoping she wouldn’t be. If she was born today then there would be a sort of redemption of this painful date and time of year. If she was born yesterday, then today still has a gut wrenching sadness to it that has to be endured every year on August 4th. 

Coraline was born a couple of hours short of midnight on the 3rd and the joy, wonder & happiness this has brought my Mom, our family and our friends has spilled over to the 4th and will continue into the days to come. As my Mom held her for the first time last night, hours after a c-section delivery, she cried and spoke of how much Dad would have loved her and spoiled her if he were still here. I can’t help but think he already met her before we did when he got to Heaven. 

As a believer in and follower of Christ, I take my hope of that from this scripture:

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5)

God is in Heaven, and my Dad is in Heaven, too..... So maybe, just maybe, Coraline, who is obviously a gift from Heaven, got to spend a little time with her Granddaddy before we ever even knew she was coming. It's something to think about that makes my soul smile. 

Blessings, y'all,

Robin McNew

Friday, January 19, 2018

Might Have a Million Bucks. Might Not.

Back in December I decided to check out a new salon that had opened up nearby. I had not heard any reviews or first hand accounts of the services offered and I was in the neighborhood so I decided to drop by. I no longer color my hair and am letting it grow out but I still get it trimmed periodically. Since they were new, I thought I would maybe throw my business their way and that of my friends and FB fam.

As I walked around the shop looking at their retail items, I stopped by the register to speak to the cashier; who is also one of the owners. I had noticed there was not a menu of services nor any prices anywhere so I asked. The owner told me that having never worked in the, "type of place," that had price/services menus before, they decided not have them up in their salon either. She rolled her eyes a bit as she said this, and with a little shake of her head then told me the price of a haircut. The overall tone was a bit condescending and as though she had already decided that if I had to ask I couldn't afford it. I smiled, said thank you and left.

In actuality, I can  afford to receive salon services there but will choose not to. I got the impression that this person  thought  I was wasting their time. Maybe it was my casual attire, or my age, or maybe it was simply the question about pricing. My husband and I are good stewards of our money and will pay for quality even though there might be a cheaper alternative. As most women know, a good stylist is worth their weight in gold and worth paying more for. In the end, not only was my future business lost but potentially dozens of people that I would have recommended them to. Maybe more than dozens, who knows?

I guess the moral of the story here is to treat everyone who walks in your doors like they have a million bucks to drop into your cash register because you never know; they just might.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando: Live Like It's Your Last Ten Minutes

I have waited to say much on my own behalf regarding what has happened at Pulse in Orlando. I had no words in the beginning [those who know me know this to be a huge abnormality] and what feeble words I had seemed to fall woefully short on every front. All I really felt qualified to do was share information and the posts of others on my FB page in an attempt to help from where I was. And I felt helpless.

So I waited. I waited and watched the horror unfold as the number of dead and injured rose, as the commentary, memes and chatter gobbled up my newsfeed on Facebook, read the opinions of gay haters, gay lovers, the indifferent, the horrified, the agenda pushers, the peacemakers, the Christians, the Christian haters, the left, the right, the middle grounders, the young, the old, the educated and the not so educated. And it made my head spin.

I count many in the gay community among my genuine friends, people whom I love. [If this offends you as a Christian I am ok with that. No need to let me know. I don’t care, just keeping it real.]  I am watching the gay community hurt, trying to process such violent acts of hatred against them because they are gay and too, because they are Americans. And my heart hurts.

In the end, I am left with this. An inexcusable act of violence, terrorism and hate was perpetrated against gay Americans on American soil. I do not believe it will be the last but for 50 people at Pulse this week, it is the last act of terrorism they will experience on this earth. What if their families, acquaintances and friends could have those 50 people back for ten minutes? Would they love them or debate gun control? Would they hold them tight or push them away over petty disagreements over political affiliation? Would they pray for them if they felt they were wrong in some areas of their lives or verbally beat them down? I ask this because in this age, Pulse can be any of us at any given time. How are you treating others?  How do you think those who lost someone in this tragedy feels about their last chance to interact with their lost one?

Newsflash, none of us are exempt from the bullets and bombs of madmen, not the heterosexuals, not the Christians, the atheists, the LGBQT, the religiously apathetic, the do-gooders, the do-badders, the children, the educated, the ignorant, city folks, country folks, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the women, the old, the young and the concealed weapons carriers. [Did I leave anyone out?] We are all under advisement that we are targets because we are NOT a part of radical Islam and this has been NO secret for quite some time. [9-11-01 anyone?] So I do not believe this is the last time that this will happen to us as Americans in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I cannot change nor stop a terrorist but I can change me. I can love harder, seek peace as much as I can, express myself verbally and in writing with respect to differing views and lifestyles, build a bridge when it would be easier to walk away, find common ground with others rather than focus on where we disagree, and above all, as cliché as it sounds, be the change I want to see in the world and not point fingers at everyone else for the world going to hell in a handbasket. If we all spent half as much time working on ourselves and how we treat others as we do pointing out what others need to change/fix/do away with, the world would see immediate change in record time. If you do not agree with someone in your life, treat them with love, kindness and respect anyway. Even if they do not extend that same courtesy to you. Spend your time productively changing what you have control over, which in the end only happens to be YOU. We are not promised tomorrow and how you treated someone the last time you saw them might be the only chance you ever have to treat them any way at all. 

Are you ok with the last ten minutes you spent with your kids? Your spouse? Your family? Your parents? Your friends? Neighbors? Co-workers? If not, look at Orlando and make it right. Reconcile where you can and agree to disagree on the rest, The friends and families of 50 people in Orlando do not have this precious chance. Don't waste it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Let's lose it!

Getting back on track with my weight loss blog. Great recipes, funny memes, and cool stuff. Come see me and give it a follow!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

So Much More Than A Decision To Go Gray.

Sometime in the last year I was looking at the white roots under my flaming red hair and wondered what it looked like all over with no color on it. Was it all white a la Paula Deen or was it salt and pepper, a la Jamie Lee Curtis? Maybe it was just white and silver on top and still light brown everywhere else, which would not be pretty to me.

I mentioned it to my husband and for the first time in our 20yrs together he looked at me and said he would love to see it. If you know my husband, then you know red hair is his all time favorite. Hands down. No other color mattered. If you know my husband, then you also know he says what he means and means what he says.

At first I thought he was joking. Or eying the budget, as he is very thrifty with the wallet and maintaining such a gorgeous red color without a white skunk streak of gray going straight up the middle is not cheap or time efficient. He was neither. He was serious, and not only supportive but encouraging me to look into what it would take to gracefully navigate such a big transition in my appearance while maintaining 3 jobs that put me working with the public and needing to look my best. So began our discussions about it. It was our son's senior year in high school and I really wanted to maintain the red until after graduation pictures in case I did not like the gray or was in some hideous mid-transition phase. [Vain, I know, but it's the truth.] As we would watch TV or be out and about, we would notice beautiful gray, silver and white hair more and more often and wonder if that was what was waiting for me under all this red.

I began to research it and found out that gray, or "Granny Hair" was a trend right now and that many women, old and young, were flocking to salons to get it done or taking matters into their own hands and doing it at home. If the time was ever right to do it, it was now. So I began to mention it to others. Here is a sampling of the feedback I got.

"You're going to look old."
"It won't look good."
"You're going to hate looking old."
"Why would you do that and age yourself?"
"You don't want to do that! You will look so much older!"
"Your husband won't like it because you will look so much older."
"Your husband is actually ok with it?"

"I wish I had the guts to do that."
"Aren't you afraid you will look old?"
"If I knew it would look good, I would do it too."
"I've thought about it a lot but never done it."
"I've wanted to do it for years but just can't bring myself to do it."
"Go for it!"
"OMG you are going to do it? Can't wait to see it!"

I am not hating on the guys. Honestly, I can only recall positive feedback from my husband and not another single man I spoke of it to. [Including my stylist] And I did get a couple of negative comments from women but they directed those at themselves, not me. The feedback, while some of it hurt my feelings, helped me get a better handle on my own feelings about more than just my hair.

I AM getting older. I'm not 32 anymore, or 25, or 18. I live in a world which values, at the very least, the appearance of youth and does not seem to have much regard for the appearance of gray hair, wrinkles, or age. I am in transition as my son finishes a huge chapter in his life [high school] and begins the next [college, locally] so he needs me less. My daughter is working on "moving out," strategies. I left my job of over 15yrs less than a year ago. I have recently started a new job that is unlike any other job that I have had as I am not already good at what they want me to do upon hiring me. I am having to learn the ropes in a long distance, hands-off fashion and it is scary, nerve wracking and exciting. My husband has a new schedule which has doubled his time home, something we have wanted for years. We are happier than we have ever been together and it keeps getting better all of the time.  We are beginning to down size both financially and materially to plan towards his retirement. After much God-seeking and prayer, we have finally put down roots in a new church and I am gearing up to start at least 2 new ministries. My childhood/lifelong best friend has moved literally into my neighborhood after living apart in different states for 30 years. So much change. So much transition. I have never been one to freak out over aging, so I don't think about botox, plastic surgery or lipo, although I do want to be healthy and a lot smaller. So far, no mid-life crisis, here.

In reality, Granny hair being a trend is not why now is the best time to do it. It is because I am in a serious transition stage and embracing the aging process feels like the right thing to do. I've decided to EMBRACE IT ALL. I am fast approaching 50 and I am excited, embracing what I look like and loving what I feel like. The hair color was the tip of the iceberg, the first indicator of what is going on internally. I will most likely look older, because guess what? I AM older. I'm ok with that. I have aches, pains and stiffness that I didn't have 10 years ago. I am not happy about that but I am happy I have the life experience, wisdom, compassion, and grace for others that comes from living life into the late 40s. I am not allowing the negatives of aging to be my focal point in life, primary topic of conversation and my banner flying over my head everywhere I go. Instead, starting with my hair, I am embracing life, including aging and valuing others, in a way that I did not before. As for my hair? The nuts and bolts are below.

It took me several months and lots of inquiries to find a stylist who specialized in going gray. Her name is Joyce and she owns the Colorbar in Panama City Beach. After a consultation she feels my hair is gray along the lines of what Jamie Lee Curtis has. We will go gray in several stages.

The first stage was to go from this:

To this:

All in one day.

Joyce began the process at 10:30am and we finished at 5:00pm. She did two 90 minute bleachings and one toner session using two different toner colors. This is stage one.

After 6 weeks I will go back and she will look at my gray growth and begin highlighting. I will go back every so often and she will decrease the number of highlights each time until my gray has completely grown out. In between I am using a blue/purple toned shampoo.

My husband really likes stage one, which is funny as he has always been very anti-blonde hair. As for me? I love it and can't wait to be done to see the final result! My new growth is already showing and it is fairly white. I am wondering if it will end up being more like Emmy Lou Harris? We'll see. In the meantime, I will be posting progress here!

Blessings, y'all!


The Colorbar Facebook Page

Colorbar website 

Monday, March 23, 2015

God's Bait and Switch.

Tonight after all the kids I was chaperoning were safely tucked into their rooms I decided to go back to the lobby and get a diet coke. The store was closed and the concierge told me there is not one drink machine in the entire building. I would have to leave the building, which I did not want to do. So I went to the bar to get a diet coke, hoping no one would see me and attach more nefarious assumptions to why I was sitting at the bar alone late on a Monday night in a hotel far from home. As I waited, and waited and waited, I began to realize that the ten or so folks at the bar around me all had empty glasses and had not drank a drop since I sat down. About this time an older gentleman approached me and asked for me to take a picture of him and an incredibly elderly lady with an old style Kodak disposable camera. He apologized for the camera and offered to show me how to use it if I would be so kind as to take the picture.
I laughed because out of all the people in this bar, I was the one he picked, as I spent my first 2-3 years of band photography using disposables. So I said sure and he motioned to the lady. At this point she turns to him and begins adjusting his tie, his scarf,  his lapels, his everything. He looks at me sort of sheepishly and shrugged at which point I started laughing and said, "you know, there are times when it just can't be anything less than perfection." She is nodding and saying yes, yes over and over again, and he starts laughing too. So as I stood there, watching this lovely little lady with a glorious head of silver hair and lines beyond count on her face lovingly fussing over this gentleman, it began to dawn on me that maybe I was not down here in the lobby of this hotel in the middle of the night for what I thought. Maybe God has me here for something else.
 So I watched and smiled and counted them down for the picture. They were both very grateful and gracious although she never said anything other  than yes, yes. I do not think she spoke English much. 
It then occurred to me that maybe I could do more. I offered to take a picture with my phone and message it to him. His face lit up and he turned and explained it to the little lady. There were some more yes, yeses, and some nodding on her part. The part that I loved so much was when he told her, "now it won't take two weeks for me to send the pictures to you." In that moment I realized I could give them this tiny little gift that I take for granted every day, a simple picture that brings instant gratification unlike back when I used disposables for the band. Who were they? Were they in this hotel meeting and soon to part for who knows how long? The picture was very important to both of them. In the grander, bigger scheme of things I take thousands of photos for parents, families and friends of school kids who rarely have to wait very long for them and yet these two lovely people were going to have to wait two weeks or so for these to be developed and mailed. 
I thought I went downstairs for a coke, but really, God sent me downstairs to give a gift to two people who will soon be parted, so they could hold on to this one moment in time until the other moments are developed and mailed. 
I didn't go back upstairs with a diet coke but I did go back upstairs blessed. Thanks, God. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

So I just decided to go with what I know....

In August of 2014 I left my job of over 15yrs at the local affiliate of the BBC, GC 90.7FM. That blog post can be found here:

Yesterday's Ending is Today's Beginning

I loved the people I worked with, still do. I was told that the door is always open for me to come back and maybe someday I will, if that door remains open. But for now, at my husband's urging and encouragement, I have decided to go with what I know .

Around 6 years ago I began giving advice to teenagers needing jobs tips to  successfully land those jobs. I was in the perfect position to do so as I volunteered with a local high school marching band program and in my church's youth group. They seemed to want to hear what I had to say and as time passed I saw success after success with those kids. I  was very passionate about the success of young people and I was so excited to see them progress from no interviews to several interviews and from no job to picking the job they wanted from more than one offer.

Band parents and church members began asking me to help their children and I began coaching kids who would not have normally approached me. Kids began to bring other kids to me that they knew were struggling to find employment and word of mouth spread. Then a strange thing happened. Adults began to approach me to help them, too. I initially felt a little weird about that, especially when it was folks who were in professional career positions. I guess it was because it meant broadening my horizons a bit and getting into more complex and challenging resume preparation as well as coaching people who had a lot more experience with job hunting and employment than the average teenager. I wasn't sure they would trust my instincts and I am certainly not in possession of a degree that says I have been certified to job coach. To my surprise those coaching sessions went as well as the teen/first time job seeker sessions did. And so it began.

Fast forward to the second half of 2014. I felt like things were coming to a close at the radio station, and I was really not sure what to do with myself. I also work as a substitute teacher and during the summer of 2014, the school district placed limitations on the number of hours subs could work each week. This meant that subbing would only play a part time role in my life, which I am ok with as I do not believe I am cut out to be a full time sub. Trust me when I say that high school students can be a very tough crowd. What to do?

My husband and I met at our favorite coffee haunt, Chez Amavida, and hashed ideas. We both felt that there is something out there for me but were not sure what it was. Suddenly my husband looked at me and said, "Baby , just go with what you know! You are already helping all of these people and you offer a valuable service. Let's explore the job coaching thing." I was a little dumbfounded but the more we talked about it, the more I realized he had put forth a great idea and it was well worth exploring.

I started with Teen Workforce Prep Services and my brain trust [read: circle of trusted friends and smart people I admire] felt it was too narrowing in scope and advised me to drop the teen part. so I did. Next was make a Facebook page and see if there was any interest. I also updated my LinkedIn profile to reflect the new business and crossed my fingers. I contacted the kids that I had worked with as far back as I could remember and asked for letters of recommendation, which many wrote with excitement and gusto. Many kids I coached I did not know as they were referrals from other kids so I am missing quite a few letters but I just figure if it is meant to be it will work out without those letters.

So here I am, on the eve of a launch campaign to get the word out, blogging about what led me here. I don't know if I will ever be able to make a living at it but I am sure going to put myself out there and see what happens.

If you or someone you know is in need of my services, from resume to interview to beyond, contact me at my Facebook page and we can sit down and see what it will take to get you where you want to be.

Blessings, y'all!


Like my page on Facebook!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ryan? We didn't understand but we cared......

Understanding and caring are not the same thing. While I know that many students and adults are hurting over Ryan's suicide, I cannot say that I understand all the different ways this is affecting them and even myself. I cannot say that I understand what Ryan went through mentally and emotionally to arrive at suicide and I cannot say that I understand how to even begin to help our band family pick up the pieces. 

What I can say is that I CARE.

I CARE if a band student or an adult is struggling. 

I CARE if our band family is experiencing depression, tears, confusion, guilt, anger, anxiousness, pain, isolation, rage, trauma, or feeling withdrawn, fragile or burdened.

I CARE about how this has affected you, whether you were close to Ryan or were not because everyone at Bay High has been impacted by his decision.

How can I say with certainty that someone who didn’t know Ryan shouldn’t be affected by his decision? Just like with Ryan’s own internal struggle, I really do not know what others struggle with privately in their own mind and heart. AND NEITHER DO YOU. I caution all who read this to be careful about looking at anyone reacting to this tragedy with judgment or criticism because for all you know that person you are judging could have been considering suicide also and this has struck a nerve deep within. It may be utterly shocking for them to be here, alive to see the fallout from such a huge and tragically permanent decision. Don’t judge those you feel do not have the right to be affected by this. You do not walk in their shoes and do not know their battles. I saw Ryan oftentimes every day of the week, took trips with him, snapped many pictures of him, subbed his classes and hung out in the same geographical locations with him for 4 years and never saw this coming. While I was geographically close to Ryan often, [i.e. band room, Bay High campus, Tommy Oliver Stadium, bus trips etc] I was not in his inner circle nor was I close to him emotionally. I didn’t know the depths of his situation and yet had Ryan told me, he would have known very quickly that I and others around him CARED, adults and students alike. We might not have understood the whys or even understood how to help him, but it would have mattered to us.  And Ryan’s death matters, even to people who did not know him. Parents who didn’t know Ryan will grieve for the loss his mother and step dad feel. Students who didn’t know Ryan but have siblings will grieve for the loss his sisters must feel. People who have suffered loss through suicide in their own families and communities will grieve along with us from a place in the heart that holds all the hurt from those other losses, even if they never even met Ryan. Reserve judgment and lavish compassion and kindness anywhere you can. We all need it, even those who remained strangers to Ryan at his death. I CARE enough to choose compassion and kindness even if I do not understand how we have come to the place we are in. 

Students outside of our band family at Bay High School have been affected, too. Ryan’s choice has made a ripple in the fabric of our school and community that may defy understanding for weeks, months, even years to come. Some students have voiced fear and concern over being left out of the grieving process because they are not in band. I CARE, although I cannot control nor predict how the grieving process will unfold corporately at Bay High. If this is you, please talk to a teacher, or go to the office and tell them you are hurting, you are grieving and help the administration to understand how impactful Ryan’s decision has been to Bay High, not just to our band family. Bay High CARES, teachers, volunteers, lunchroom ladies, administrators, coaches and custodial staff ALL CARE. Please seek them out even if you don’t understand why you are feeling the way you do or are afraid of your feelings. Give them a chance to care for you hands on and in a real and tangible way. They will even if they don’t understand it, because they care. Chances are, they are hurting too.

A young girl stopped at my table at dinner the day Ryan was found. I did not know her nor did I see her until I heard this tiny voice say, “Are you finding comfort in food too?” I looked up, then at my son thinking she was a friend of his. He looked at me and I realized he didn’t know her either.  I looked at her red shirt, then asked if she went to Bay High and was she referring to the events of that day. She said yes and the tears welled up. I stood up and hugged her tight, tried to make some jokes and introduced her to my son. She was not a band student, nor did she really know Ryan but she was hurting too. I was glad she reached out and tried to connect. I may never see her again but in that moment she knew I cared, I knew she cared, and sometimes that is going to be the best we can do for each other. Hug it out and grieve together. And that’s ok. 

We were all robbed of the chance to show Ryan how much we cared until it was too late and the only ones who will know are the survivors he left behind. Hopefully, seeing the outpouring of care, love and concern over Ryan's death will speak to the hurting hearts of those who are quietly and secretly contemplating suicide themselves. Please don’t rob me or the people around you of the chance to show you how much we care by choosing suicide. It always is and always will be the wrong solution to the difficulties you are facing. Give hope and caring a chance.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Yesterday's ending is today's beginning.

Two weeks ago, after much discussion with my husband and a couple of close friends, I made the decision to leave my job of 15yrs at GC 90.7FM at Gulf Coast State College.

I originally started out as a student in the Communications/radio/television program  and was approached fairly early on by then station manager Frank Sundram to come on board as a part time employee after a brief stint as a volunteer. Together we started the Community Calendars and in better economic times the calendar actually split into 2 calendars, Cultural and Community due to the abundance of underwriters wanting to fund it. I also had the pleasure of serving as producer for some of the Emerald Coast Almanac shows for Professor Armstrong in the 90's.

Eventually I added website contributor to my resume as we moved the calendars to an online format, served at meet and greets with our listeners, and embraced the social media movement as a valuable tool in public awareness of who we were, what we did and what our vision was for the community. I asked for and got permission to take on our social media presence as a personal responsibility and  increased our page numbers, created graphics, wrote content, and eventually served as admin on 6 separate pages. My love for photography came into play as I photographed the staff working, playing and just being themselves. Those photographs always garnered the most attention on our FB pages. It has always been a lot of fun.

As the years passed, our staff size decreased and our local show line up increased. Meetings were held to keep the staff abreast of all changes as they became known and I felt like maybe there was something more than calendars, photography, fund drives and social media for me. Maybe I should throw my name in the hat to step up and find a place hosting if I was needed.

I met with Harley, our Operations Manager, to see if it was something worth pursuing. All he asked is that it be a genre of music that I was passionate about. That happened to be funk music, which was already in the local, Saturday night line up on Funk 180. It was also Harley's concept, creation and one of a few shows already being hosted by him. To my surprise he gave it to me almost without hesitation. I was in shock. I went from never hosting anything to 3 hours of content that was all up to me and me alone.

 I was jazzed!

I was stoked!


The first show took me 9 hours to put together. It was only 3 hours of music but my love of the genre did not mean I had a huge working knowledge of funk music, just the songs that I really liked already. And we had almost a thousand songs to choose from. Time passed and under Harley's patient tutelage I eventually got a better handle on how to use the technology and how to put together a good show, both content-wise and flow-wise. Hosting Funk 180 has probably been the best part of all these years at GC 90.7 FM and I am very grateful for the opportunity to do it. If you're reading this, THANKS HARLEY!

I want to say that I feel very lucky to have been a part of the family at GC 90.7 for so long. I could not ask for a finer group of people to work with anywhere.

I never finished my degree in Communications but I hope to do so in the next couple of years. I will also continue to work as a substitute teacher at Bay High School here in Panama City. I will continue to blog but will be deactivating my professional FB page. My last Funk 180 show is August 16th and it is non-stop my favorite funk tunes for 3 solid hours so make sure you tune in!

Blessings, y'all!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

New blog

I have added another blog to my stable of blogs that  I do not write upon nearly enough.

It is entitled, " Does This Mountain Make My Butt Look Big?" and oddly enough it came from a conversation about just that one afternoon in Pigeon Forge TN. with some lovely friends of mine.

It went on to become a blog on a message board that had quite a bit of positive interaction so I am bringing it out of the message board and online publicly. Lord help me!

Here is the address:

If you are interested in being added to the email list that will be sent out when I post please email me here:

Thanks and come over and check it out!

Blessings, y'all!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Stay in your lane.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and then one of my friends voiced it just last night.

"I'm glad I'm a leader and not a follower." ~Garrett

Now, Garrett is a young, twenty something, highly anointed man of God. By most standards I would say he is successful. He owns his own home, has a great marriage, is an ordained and degree-holding pastor and  finds favor in every area of his life on a regular basis.

In work, in ministry, and in their personal lives, Garrett and his wife Erica both do their own thing rather than the thing everyone else is doing. They pray and look to their own creativity, the Lord's inspiration and each other for new and innovative ways to do the things that are important to them. Garrett and Erica really are leaders, not followers.

Two of my other friends seem to have this same trait. Nick and Kelly , whom I met through the band program at our local high school. Both lead rather than follow. They, along with Garrett seem to be focused on new and innovative ways to do what they are called to do rather than looking around for what someone else is doing and copy it. Nick is doing some highly innovative stuff in the area of fundraising and it is working. Kelly has taken the leap to free lancing her vast skills and  is building upon success after success. They both lead, they do not follow. They, along with Garrett and his wife Erica, are constantly brainstorming and praying about what God wants for them and their callings. They do not scramble around looking at what everyone else is doing. They don't have time. They are busy working on their own stuff.

Sometimes, from my own perspective, it seems like if folks focused as hard on what THEY need to do for their OWN success, as what they are on what someone else is doing, they would have a higher level of growth and excellence in their own program/ministry/organization. And maybe they wouldn't have any idea what the Garrett/Erica, or the Nick/Kelly, or the [fill in the blank] are doing because they are just too busy, successful, and focused to care.

Just some random thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a while.

Blessings, y'all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The 3 R’s of Seasonal Living.

The 3 R’s of Seasonal Living.

In recent months God has been dealing with me about the seasons of my life, and how best to recognize, respect and respond to the season He has me in. Sometimes I do not see or understand what exactly I am supposed to be doing and when it should begin and end. Fortunately I serve a very patient God and He is gracious in giving me time, wisdom and discernment with which to figure the seasons out.

He has been schooling me in the 3 R’s of seasonal living. [Sounds like a furniture store advertisement, doesn’t it?] Recognize [a skill], respect [a mindset] and respond [an action] to the seasons as God changes them throughout our lives.

First, I need to recognize the season I am in. Just as I would not wear winter clothes in July, nor a bathing suit in February, I need to pay attention to the signs of my seasons. [Although this IS Florida and our seasons are so messed up we could swim in Feb. and freeze in July sometimes, but--for the purposes of this blog we will pretend Florida has normal weather. AS IF, lol.] Recognition comes from being informed, being informed comes from paying attention to myself, the people around me, and most importantly, the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The seasons of life and living are not always as obvious as leaves falling off of the trees or flowers blooming. Am I in a season of rest or a season of heavy work? What am I doing that bears fruit and what seems to be chaff on the altar? Am I effective in this season or ineffective? However this applies to you, take it, pray about it, and listen for God’s answer.

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;” --Daniel 2:21 ESV

Second, respect the season I am in. Live in the moment as it happens, because we are not promised tomorrow. Look for the “Jesus,” in the harder seasons because He is always there. Respect what God is doing in this season in the here and now. If I get too focused on the seasons past or the seasons yet to come, I can miss entirely what God is trying to do in my season here and now. I can slow down my own growing up process both spiritually and in the natural. Embrace the now, right here, today. Respect that God is trying to rework us into something way more beautiful and valuable than we were in the season prior, even if it doesn’t feel good, look good or sound good. Respect what God’s plan is for us and we cannot go wrong.

“8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah” --Psalm 62:8

Last but not least is respond to the season I am in. This is the most active part of seasonal living under God’s hand. Respond promptly and trust God! If He is telling us to lay something down, lay it down. If He is saying start something new, do it. Pray, and pray a lot! Then trust God wholeheartedly. Dance if it’s the season, mourn if it’s the season, sow seeds into the lives of others in due season and harvest when the season comes as well. God is faithful. He will honor your response to the season He has you in.

A Time for Everything
 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
“2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
--Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, English Standard Version (ESV)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Today I got to thank the doctor who recently saved my husband’s life.

Face to face–Because melanoma is no joke and not to be trifled with.

And Bill was diagnosed with melanoma 3 weeks ago.

Our family doctor, Dr. Heather Shaffer, is one of the most thorough and attentive doctors I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She has been our regular family practice physician for close to 3 years now. During routine visits she always asks if we have had this exam, or that test done due to our age/jobs/medical history etc. She does a skin exam once a year, and during her October 30th exam of Bill she found a suspicious looking mole on his shoulder. She removed it and sent it off for testing.

On November 8th I received a phone call on my cell from a number I did not recognize. I was at work and normally do not answer calls from numbers I don’t know but something said to take it. Dr. Shaffer’s voice sounded a bit shaky as she told me Bill had to come in right away for surgery as his results came back melanoma, a fast moving, aggressive form of skin cancer. She calmly told me he could not wait 28 days to get back from work; he had to have surgery NOW.  As it happened, everything lined up perfectly because Bill was transitioning to a new boat so it wasn’t hard to get a relief.  He was home within 24hrs.

On Veterans Day we went in for a consultation with the surgeon, Dr. Mockler. He gave us a thorough education on melanoma. If caught in time it can be cut out of the body. If not, there is nothing to do but get your affairs in order. Dr. Mockler explained to us that there are several layers of skin and below that is fat. Within the fat is blood vessels, veins etc. Once melanoma has developed on the skin it moves molecularly deeper into the skin layers. There is good treatment for that. He advised us that there was very little to no effective treatment for it once it reaches the fat layer. When it hits that layer of fat, it immediately spreads via the bloodstream to organs, the brain, it goes everywhere, creating tumors and death.  It is impossible to tell by the naked eye how far it has gone. It requires incisions and flesh samples. The labs test the outer edges of biopsy and if it tests positive for melanoma the dr. does a larger sample, hoping the next sample will contain all of the cancer. If the edges test positive then another is done.  He said the results of his biopsy would mean one of 3 options for Bill, either another surgery, a clean bill of health, or a directive to get our affairs in order. We were stunned and pretty shaken up.

On Nov. 12th the procedure was done and the sample sent off. Nothing to do but pray and wait. Bill is an extraordinarily private person and decided that the situation would be kept between us and very few prayer partners/our pastor until we knew for sure what the outcome was. He was adamant that our families would not be in a state of worry and upset until we had a “for sure” answer. During that week’s wait we did a lot of examining of our affairs, and our lives up to that point. We’ve always prayed together about various things but we prayed more often and with more urgency. I laid my hands on my husband several times every day and off and on throughout each night and just prayed for his health and peace of mind. It was hard not to worry but we felt the presence and peace of Jesus throughout this entire time. We decided that regardless of the outcome we were going to begin taking vacations, and doing the stuff we had put off for so long. A lot of things changed last week. All for the better.

On November 18th, Dr. Mockler gave us the good news that Bill was cancer free. He also told us that once a patient tests positive for it, there is a great increased risk of it coming back so we have to stay vigilant about moles and our skin. He also said to go back to Dr. Shaffer and thank her for saving Bill’s life. We immediately took her a card and flower arrangement, too. We were so grateful for her insistence on managing our total health, from skin to within. And today I got to tell her that.

Life is short.

Live it to the fullest, now, today, for we are not promised tomorrow.

My blog has moved BACK! a.k.a., OK, I changed my mind. ;]

I'm going to maintain blogs at this location and

I've missed having this site and have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of a larger group of writers at Kingdom Forming, too.

I feel like the Lord is bringing me into a new season of writing and blogging and I am preparing myself for that.

Let's catch up!

Blessings, y'all,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Blog has moved!

In the year 2000 I was radically saved and forever changed at a "not your usual" Easter program at Springfield Methodist Church in Panama City, FL.

In the ensuing years I was blessed beyond measure to serve under Pastor Perry Dalton. Under his reflection of Jesus onto my life I learned, grew, ministered and experienced the best years of my life. He was then and forever will be, the Pastor of my Heart. His wife, Anne, became a very dear friend as well.

Following Perry's retirement several years ago, another pastor came in and I learned a lot from him, too. Pastor Alan Ferguson was a blessing to me in the few years I served under him and I loved him and his wife very much. .I now serve under Pastor Bobby and Sherry Thompson at the non-denominational Elevation Life Church. I am called to youth ministry in particular under Pastor Garrett McKenzie and his lovely wife Erica.

I never completely lost touch with Perry and Anne even though they retired to the peach tree dotted countryside some two hundred miles away in Alabama. Our bond has always stayed strong in my heart and mind. Recently, the opportunity to once again serve under Perry's leadership has presented itself. Perry asked me to start a blog at his new web minsitry,

I happily accepted! A direct link to my new blog is below.

I am beyond excited to minister once again with him and several other bloggers who were a very large part of some of the best years of my life.

I hope you follow me from here to there and I will be putting a lot of prayer, time and thought into whatever it is God wants us to do at this new location. 

Drop me a line in the comments section so I know that you found me, if you feel like it.

Blessings, y'all!


Friday, February 10, 2012

How Bad Do You Really Want A Job? Part One

How Bad Do You Really Want A Job? Part One

Part One of Three—Who Are You?

In the last couple of years I have been very fortunate to coach a few kids on job hunting, follow up and the interview process. In that time I have posted many, many job listings on my Facebook wall to help them out as well as other kids and adults who are seeking employment. I also have spoken with or personally know many people in management/hiring positions who give me feedback on applicants that they see at their jobs. Honestly, a lot of people THINK they are looking hard for a job but really, it is more of a “browsing,” for a job type scenario. How can you really tell which one you are doing? Let me help you with that because it is very important to figure out who you are in the employment seeking scheme of things. Please keep in mind this has been my personal experience as well as the stories told to me by people in hiring positions all over.

The Job Hunter [SERIOUS about getting a job] Vs. The CASUAL Job Browser [Casually committed to finding a job]

*The Job Hunter gets up early in the morning and is dressed and out the door by 8:00a.m. at the very latest. No excuses.
*The CASUAL Job Browser wakes up whenever, gets on Facebook for a couple hours, skypes for a bit, plays a little bit of a video game, chitchats on the phone a while, answers a few emails, might make it out of the house by noon, more likely 1:00p.m.

*The Job Hunter treats LOOKING for a job like it is a FULL TIME JOB, actively seeking and filling out job applications from 8:00a.m. til 4:00-5:00p.m. EVERY. DAY. Stops for an hour lunch somewhere.
*The CASUAL  Job Browser rides around for a while looking for hiring signs,  meets friends at Starbucks for coffee, goes back out looking for signs, goes to the mall to hang with friends a bit and put in a couple of applications.

*The SERIOUS Job Hunter will put in no less than 20 applications per day. Some online, most in person.
*The CASUAL Job Browser will put in 2-6 job apps in one day and take about 2-4hrs to do it. This person will also feel like they have put forth serious effort in looking for a job but in reality this is pretty minimal effort. Most CJB’s don’t realize this because they don’t know any better or have never had anyone coach them or teach them otherwise.

*The Job Hunter will dress to impress, even if it is just McDonalds or a gas station application. Ladies in  a skirt, dress or dress pants, dress shoes…. Gentlemen? Collared shirt and tie, dress pants, dress shoes.
*The Job Browser will wear jeans, t shirts, flip flops, cut off shorts, [yes someone I know wore cut offs to job hunt] mini skirts, low cut, super tight spaghetti strapped tops, etc…

I think you are probably starting to get the picture. The above is not written to criticize or belittle, it is written to educate. Educate who? The Casual Job Browser who thinks he or she is a Serious Job Hunter. I’m not going to point out the problems without offering solutions. I’m also not thinking of anyone in particular when I write this [so if you are getting offended it REALLY isn’t all about you, this is a compilation of self-defeating behavior that I am aware of firsthand myself or through conversations with management/hiring type people. ] Reading this series of blogs can only help you if you take them to heart, don’t take them personal, and put this information to work in your job search.
Let me give you some quotes:
“I walked in to ask for an application and the manager looked at me and said, “You are the most professionally dressed person I have seen coming in here for a job. If you pass an interview you have a job.” ~Job Hunter, in their 6th hour of putting in job apps that day. Currently employed.
“Mrs. Robin, the manager was so impressed I wore a dress shirt and tie. I felt really confident.” ~Job Hunter, currently employed.

“There are no jobs out there Mrs. Robin. I stopped by ___ and _____ and _____ to put in applications after my ball game yesterday but no one is hiring.” Job Browser, who was sweaty and wearing a tank top and shorts and sneakers when she stopped in to those businesses. She stopped to apply as an afterthought, not as someone with the goal of getting a job. I had spoken to one of their managers a few days earlier and they were hiring at that time. Makes me wonder if her appearance had anything to do with it? You be the judge. [currently unemployed by the way.]

“Mrs. Robin? I keep asking around and nobody knows if anyone is hiring. I’m just going to keep an eye on your Facebook page.” ~Job Browser, currently unemployed and has been “looking,” for a job for 2 years now. Depends on others to figure out who is hiring rather than go out and actively apply for jobs with any real consistency. [currently unemployed]

The people that I job coach are NOT people you want to compete with for a job because they are going for excellence and success.  So if you are a Job Hunter and want to see what the employment competition looks like click on the blog link below. If you read this and realized maybe there is a reason why your efforts are not being met with success, you probably need to click the link below as well. There is never any shame in striving to bring more excellence to your situation.

Blessings, y’all!