Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thanks 2017

The year 2017 has been good to us.  I always love to spend the afternoon of New Years Eve looking back over the year thanking God for how good He has been to us and remembering all the fun times we have had as a family.

Dave was blessed with the opportunity to be apart of the NCAA ring ceremony at Virginia Tech back in October. We were so touched that Coach Buzz asked Dave to be apart of the ceremony and that Dave was the one to give Coach Buzz his ring!!  What a special night.
Another special night this fall was attending the ceremony where Pops received the VHSL merit award for 50 years of clock keeping for RHS football.
In 2017 this dude was labeled a cancer survivor when his five year scan came back clean!!!!!!!!!!!!!  To God be the glory for all that He has done in Dave's life.  We love our UVA team and count them as one of our biggest blessings.
Our summer mission trip to Charleston with our youth group was a huge blessing to all of us!!  All five Robinsons went on this adventure that strengthened our faith, ,made us appreciate the lower humidity of living in the mountains, and blessed us all.  We made some great memories.
Basketball has been a huge part of our life in 2017.  Between Kyle's school ball, Kyle's travel team, Hope's AAU team, Dave's AAU team, and Dave being manager for his school team, our family has spent many many many hours in a gym.  We love every moment of it! This picture was taken of Kyle with his Xplosion team after they won the Myrtle Beach tournament in July.
We loaded up our youth on the buses from Charleston and sent them back to Virginia as we headed to Myrtle Beach for basketball and for vacation. Pops and GG met us there and lots of sweet memories were made at the beach this past summer.  We realized Pops is a whiz at the grocery store self-checkout!  Ha!
One of the biggest blessings this past summer was our first ever garden.  If you follow me on any social media you may have seen a picture or two of our garden-we were SO excited and proud of our first ever organic garden.  We were in the homegrown program through Sprouting Hope our local community garden.  We were given tools, materials, knowledge and support to get us through our first garden.  We also went a little crazy and learned how to can and we have enough salsa, pizza sauce, and spaghetti sauce to feed a third world country.  It is so satisfying to feed your family organic veggies that you grew (and photographed incessantly!!) Ha!
Do you see the ongoing basketball theme of 2017?  Kyle went to Virginia Tech basketball camp because he adores Coach Buzz and he also went to Point Guard College to learn leadership and basketball IQ.  We missed him but we knew he was doing what he loves!
Many hikes were accomplished in 2017!!  This picture is a sunset hike to Molly's Knob we did with our youth.  In 2017 Mike and I both worked hard to get in shape and I even lost about 24 pounds this past fall.  I have some great workout buddies who even encouraged me to do a 5K back at Thanksgiving and Mike plays tennis and racquetball often to stay in shape.
More basketball..... Kyle's school coach kept the players very busy over the summer with multiple team camps and a summer league.  It was a great experience for Kyle to play varsity this past summer to get ready for this season.  Good thing all five of us love being in a gym because we are there a lot!
With Kyle's travel team, we traveled a lot to tournaments.  Here are Kyle and Hope downtown Charlotte.  We also went to Richmond, Greensboro, Knoxville, Boone, Myrtle Beach, and Chicago with this team. This team was a God thing for Kyle as it literally fell in his lap.  We had a blast traveling and seeing the sights as a family.
Kyle had a great freshmen season playing #2 for the school tennis team.  We had fun cheering him on quietly:)
Have we mentioned how much we loved our garden?? We joked that Kyle doesn't like manual labor or veggies so the garden was a stretch for him but he did help!
More basketball.....Kyle has been blessed with many good quality coaches and men in his life to teach him about life and basketball.  We are so fortunate for all of them.  Speaking of coaches, Mike is the coach of Hope's AAU team and that is hilarious to watch!  Mike is loving coaching AAU again but he has had to learn in 2017 that sometimes fixing hair  and wiping tears is part of the coach's job on the sideline with his cute little girl team.
It is only fitting that a picture of me doing basketball laundry in some random hotel sink would sum up our 2017.

2017 was a wonderful year for us because of our good health and blessings.  We got to attend Resurrection, Spring youth retreat weekend and a mission trip as a family to strengthen our faith.  We look ahead to 2018 knowing that God will be there and has a plan for all of us!  May we stay faithful to him in 2018 and enjoy the blessings of every day!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

christian heritage

First off, let me apologize for being a blog slacker.  Sweet friend at the gym at 5:30 please keep encouraging me to write.  I appreciate your encouragement as you blow past me on the track:)  Maybe in 2026 I can keep up with you.

I feel the need to blog after something I heard on Christmas Eve in Radford.  My cousin was reading the Christmas story from the bible as we always do and he led us in a family prayer.  My extended family has been doing this long before my 42 years on this planet.  I might not agree with who they vote for, but Jesus is the backbone of this family.  (No family gathering is complete with a little political trash talking which makes family gatherings even more fun:)

So in this prayer my cousin thanked God for our collective Christian heritage and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  As a Mom and a youth leader this golden nugget smacked me in the head.  He was right, I may not always agree with how my Dad votes or his driving, and my mother may have even referenced my large bones on Christmas Eve but through both sides of my extended family I was blessed with a christian heritage. 

As a Mom and youth leader who has spent the last year of my life praying, teaching, leading, and trying everything I know to point my own kids to Christ as I try to do the same with our youth, this phrase of christian heritage really challenged and blessed me.  I have lamednted, whined, cried, and been extremely dramatic with one of my dear friends in 2017 as we have tried to parent our teenage boys.  (Sam and Kyle we know we have good boys and we are thankful but the devil is slick and sneaky and yall can be a wee bit surly).

So all the whining and praying I have done over parenting this precious, know-it-all, and surly teenager in my life has been for nothing.  Just like me, my kids are being blessed with a christian heritage and I have given them the BEST tool I can for their happiness and peace-Jesus.  He is simply enough.  I shared with Kyle last night on our movie date how God has shown up in the darkest times of us because he needs to know the power and mercy of God. 

As parents we make sure our kids have the right school supplies, the right shoes, the right athletic training, the proper piano lessons, and the list goes on and on and on and hits our wallets so very hard.  My goal in 2018 is going to be to focus more intensely on the christian heritage I am providing for my own kids under my roof and for the youth kids that walk into FUMC doors each week.  We need to let these kids know that Jesus is the backbone of our church family and our families.  He is all we need. 

So weary parents who are worried we aren't doing enough or doing it right...... take a deep breath.  If you are woried you are a good parent you probably are a great one.  The best thing we can do for our kids is to provide a heritage for them that involes lots and lots and lots of Jesus.  That also includes firmly embracing our church families and making the events of the church priority.  That also includes loving our neighbor, serving the least and lost, and making sure our kids see us putting Christ on the top of our totem poles.

Thank you cousin Abie for your golden nugget on Christmas Eve.  I am thankful for our Christian heritage and feel challenged to continue this for the blesssings under my roof. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

His Glory!

It has been a fun and busy week here for our family.  I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it is almost November!

Tonight was our annual trunk or treat event at church.  We LOVE this event so much because we truly invite the whole town to come and worship, eat hot dogs, and get lots of candy!

Yes that it snow on our coats and in our hair!  It snowed tonight for our trunk or treat.  CRAZY!!!! I love these girls and I love seeing youth show up to church to serve others.  It blesses my heart.  I never ever envisioned myself as a youth leader but here I am loving it.

This is my grandmother who got moved to a nursing home on Friday after some foot surgery.  She will be there for several weeks.  She is something.  Most of the time she is sharp as a tack and knows everything and everybody.  Then there are times she has hallucinations and bless her heart they are very real to her.  My parents are doing an exceptional job of caretaking for her even if she is not always the sweetest patient!  HA!  They continue to show me the example of honoring your parents even when it is not always easy.  Today Hope and I had a great visit with her.  She loves her Jesus and thankfully is very happy at her new facility as her foot heals.  I told her as a left today to show the nurses her princess side and not her big bad wolf side because she certainly has both:)

Here is our sweet Dorothy with her piano teacher who was dressed as Audrey Hepburn!  Last night was Hope's fall piano recital and she played Somewhere over the Rainbow dressed as Dorothy.  I held my breath her entire song and despite a few wrong notes she kept her poise and did great!

The concentration.... :) I love that Hope loves piano and that our home is full of music.  the boys do not always appreciate her practicing but we love it!  I pray she uses this love of music for the glory of the Lord one day.

While Mike and I were enjoying a night of music at the recital, my brother, my Dad, my nephews, and my boys were out in the rain watching the Hokies.  They are die hards and stayed most of the game!!  Tech won and my boys made memories with their Pops.  They were drown rats despite the rain gear because it was basically a monsoon!

Mike was on the road a ton last week doing what he loves doing-teaching, meeting with other educators and visiting kids in his program.  Here is Mike last week with the Governor of Virginia at an award ceremony for an award United Way received for their work on workforce development in our schools through the Ignite program.

He called me when the ceremony was over and said for a moment sitting in the Governor's mansion receiving this award with this organization, he felt grateful for how far God has brought him.  He never dreamed as a kid from a small town in Arkansas he would have a PhD and be where he is today.  Just a reminder that God can always dream bigger for us than we can and that HARD WORK pays off.  Mike Robinson is not perfect but that guy has always worked hard at whatever he does.  He is a good role model for our kids.

This past week was Kyle's first scrimmage for basketball.  It is almost that time of year which makes all five of us soooo happy!  We joke all the time that when I dated Mike I refused to watch basketball with him because the guys shoes squeaking on the court drove me bonkers and now here I am a referee-yelling, basketball-loving Momma and coaches wife!  I still have a lot to learn but that does not keep me from yelling and cheering!  :)

This past week at our after school program at church we carved pumpkins with almost 100 kids and youth.  It was loud, crazy and wonderful all rolled into one.  We have the most amazing Wednesday afterschool program going on at church.  God has called some great folks to teach and lead and we love that our church is rocking every Wednesday after school.  My youth taught the elementary kids the pumpkin carving prayer and then helped them carve a pumpkin.  Here is Hope with two of her favorite youth ladies!!

It has been a busy but pretty great week in our household.  The days are full and parenting is NEVER easy but we are thankful for seeing God working in our church and in our family.  May everything we do be for His glory!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Our Night at VT

What an amazing Hokie weekend we have had!  It is hard to come back to reality after such a wonderful and touching weekend.  A little over a week ago we received an email asking if David could participate in a special ceremony for the VT men's basketball team.  We love Coach Buzz and all the players so of course we agreed!

Friday after school the boys ran off of the bus to get into their shirts and bowties for the big Tip Off Banquet.  That was the first event of the evening.  The boys and I went to this fancy and wonderful affair.  We even got picked up from the parking lot in a golf cart:)
David of course wanted a picture with every player-here he is with Justin Robinson.
He talked Devin Wilson into sneaking him into the locker room for a quick tour and he also talked him into face-timing Seth Allen in Hungary!  These guys are all so kind and wonderful with David.
David thinks he can shoot just like Justin Bibbs.  :) The players all looked so professional!
David loves Ahmed Hill but when he asked David if he liked his hat David said "oh no!"

My pictures are once again out of order but not only did we have a magical night with the Men's basketball team but we stayed and went to the football game with Pops, Clayton and Uncle chad.  We love Cousin Clayton and these two are so sweet together.
My boys ready for the kickoff!!
Friday night after the tip-off banquet at 6:00 we headed to the 9:00 Hokie Hoops Madness Event!  Mike, Pops, GG and Hope met us there for that event and here are our three babes out past their bedtime.
David was chosen to be one of ring bearers for the special presentation of the basketball teams NCAA rings.  We had no idea who he would present his ring to but lining up Coach Frank Beamer was a few spots ahead of him also as a ring bearer. Coach Beamer is a class act and we all have so much respect for him.
This is the moment my heart was so happy!!  David got to present Coach Buzz his NCAA ring for making it to the Big Dance last year.  Each player and coach had a ring bearer and it was an amazing ceremony.  Dave was the Buzz's Bunch representative!  This picture is so precious!
We all love Coach Buzz and so admire the way he coaches on and off the court.  We have been faithful Buzz's Bunch participants since he came to VT and we respect what he has done while at VT.  We were in awe that David was chosen to present him his ring and to be apart of something so awesome Friday night.  It is a special Hokie memory none of us will forget anytime soon.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sweet September

September has certainly treated us well.  It has been freakishly hot here in Virginia which has meant my garden has kept producing summer crops.

One of the absolute highlights of the month was traveling to Radford on a Friday night to watch my Dad, Pops, receive the Virginia High School League merit award for keeping the clock at football games for FIFTY years.  Fifty years.  We all attended the game to watch him get his award and be recognized during halftime.  Pops certainly has provided the lesson to our kids to serve in your community and he has certainly served well.  We were all so proud of him for this award!
Another sweet September moment was watching these two cuties head to Marion's homecoming.  Sweet Emme attends Abingdon and she came and went to the dance with Kyle.  She is a sweet girl who loves Jesus and the Hokies!  They looked awesome going to their dance together coordinated in royal blue. 
My pictures are out of order but here are 4/5 of the grandkids with Pops at the game where he received his award.  He had no idea he was getting the award and that we were all coming to surprise him.  We are so proud of ourselves that we kept it secret for a few weeks leading up to the ceremony.
Another picture of the homecoming duo taken by Hope.  She took some great pictures of them!  They went to eat before the dance, then attended a youth group after party we held at the ballroom. 
Because of Emme we have attended some volleyball games this season.  To be so little this girl can serve the ball!  Kyle and I are still a little clueless on volleyball rules! Ha!
Kyle has finished golf season and is now training and getting ready for basketball.  He has worked hard in the off season to get ready for the season.  He has been blessed with some great coaches and mentors in his life to help him. 
This past weekend was the Robinson boys annual fall football trip.  This year they traveled to Birmingham to watch Louisiana Tech play UAB.  This is now two years in a row where the bulldogs have lost on a last second play when the boys have traveled to watch them play.  Bless their hearts.  Despite the outcome of the game they did make memories and had fun together. 
The last four weeks I have led a bible study for our youth girls at church based on 1 Thessalonians.  It has blessed my heart to watch these girls dig into the word and complete their weekly homework assignments.  We have laughed, learned, and had fun studying Paul's letter to the church in Thessalonia.  This past week we had to memorize this verse about our the need for our love to increase and overflow for others.  I know teenagers these days have a bad rep for always being on their phone and being self-absorbed but these girls who faithfully show up each week to study and to discuss their homework bless me and encourage me. Youth ministry is not glamorous or easy but I love sitting around a room with open bibles and open hearts to pursue God with some awesome Jesus girls.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Homegrown Program

This past summer was our first ever attempt at a garden.  I have wanted to garden for so many years but lacked the knowledge to even know where to begin.  I was then blessed with an opportunity to participate in the Homegrown program through Sprouting Hope, our local community garden.  Gardening has changed my life and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn how to grow healthy and organic food for my family and neighbors.  

 I knew I would love to harvest the gorgeous produce and see the fruits of our hard work, but I had no idea the journey would be such a blessing.  Gardening has not only helped me fill our basement with canned spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and salsa for the upcoming winter, but it has helped me connect with my neighbors.  Many of our neighbors were interested in our garden and came over to encourage us, share some wisdom with us, and check the progress of our vegetables.  I never dreamed how a garden could connect people.  I have spent more time with my neighbors during gardening season this summer than I have in the last decade.

Our children loved sharing our bounty and we would often load up a basket of goodies and deliver to our neighbors.   I love that gardens provide the opportunity to teach our children the value of hard work and that there is joy in loving our neighbor through sharing our harvest.
 Gardening gave our family a way to connect and work together towards a common goal.
 Gardening has also taught us patience as we have waited all summer long for our delicious tomatoes to ripen which is opposite of what our "fast food" society teaches us.
 We have created some magical memories as we have all marveled over every new vegetable we have harvested from our garden.  What a lesson to teach our children that with God all this produce comes from a little tiny seed we planted in faith in late Spring!!

 As a Mom, gardening has made me appreciate the satisfaction of providing healthy and organic food for our growing family.  We have always wanted to eat healthier but shopping organically in our local grocery store is expensive and would blow our grocery budget for a family of five.  Now due to sprouting Hope I have learned how to grow the same vegetables here in our own yard.  It is very rewarding to know that you are providing the best food possible for your family.  We are already discussing how to expand our garden next year!!
Dinner time is now a place to show off our hard work as we attempt to incorporate our vegetables into our meals.  We rarely eat out now, choosing instead to enjoy the fruits of our labor at our own dinner table. Using church friends and canning books, I have learned how to can using the water bath method and now have a basement full of salsa, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce for healthy dinners this winter.

Sprouting Hope you have blessed our family with a new way of life.  We have learned how to grow, harvest, cook, and preserve our bounty!  We have spent the summer marveling at how God used a little garden to make us healthier, help us connect with our neighbors, serve others through sharing our bounty, and teaching us how to garden.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Big Milestone!!

This weekend has been full.  It started Friday with David's six month checkup at UVA.  

Here is David with our beloved Dr. Belyea.  We were one of his first patients when David was in treatment and we adore him. After a day of tests, labs, and oncology visit with Dr. B we got the news that David is now five years cancer-free!!  I actually heard the word cured come out of Dr. B's mouth when he called me.  This was the moment we have worked so hard for all these years.  The five year milestone is huge and we feel it.  We give God the glory for healing David and for changing us as a family.  We are all different people than we were on November 17, 2011 when this nightmare began.  You cannot witness God's glory, protection, provision, and mercy and not be changed.
We will now transition from traditional oncology appointments to the survivor clinic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The great news is that we are in the survivor clinic, the bad news is we transition from Dr. B to a different oncologist.  I am sure he or she is lovely, but we are pretty attached to Dr. B.

His kidney numbers were a little high but Dr. B. said he is not worried so therefore I am not worrying.  He is going to run them by nephrology and get their opinion on them but if you have seen David in real life lately, you know that he is in the midst of puberty.  He is now 5'1 and weighs 115 pounds.  He is muscular and is actually growing a little mustache.  So the kidney numbers could be a little high to compensate for his puberty growth.
Friday afternoon while we waited on the good results and for Dave and Mike to get home Hope had a cute set of twins over to play.  These girls are hilarious and when together they sound like the chipmunks!  When Mike and Dave got home we ate pizza and loaded up to the high school football game.  Our team was playing an in-county rival and the weather was beautiful!
Saturday we worked around the house and then Kyle headed to a friend's house to watch the big fight.  Another Mom who hosted the fight watch party (God bless her.... )  sent me this picture.  Kyle was rooting for Mayweather and this was at the end of the fight.  I love Kyle's big eyes!
After church today we loaded up for a family fun day.  These sleepy heads (all but Sam) took a power nap before hiking four miles!

Another big milestone we celebrated this weekend was Mike's birthday!!!  We spent his day going to church and hiking with friends.  We are so thankful for all that he does for us and that he makes us all "do the right thing" every single day.  He is a good guy and it has been such a joy to see him get to enjoy life again now that he is in a new job.  He is obsessed with playing tennis, he is now coaching Hope's basketball team, and he never misses anything his kids do.

We visited the Cascades today and despite the chilly water, we all enjoyed the hike to see this beautiful waterfall!
Kyle and Sam modeling under the falls.  Have I mentioned how chilly the water was???  Brrrr....
These brave kiddos had to get below the falls even if it was chilly and the rocks were slick.
Hiking with Dave is a challenge.  He wears out easily and has difficulty pacing himself.
But with the help of Chris Austin David loved every single minute of the falls.  He was so proud of himself that he made it across the slippery rocks and he did it!  He got over there and then begged Chris to carry himself (remember he is 115 pounds) back to shore.  Chris and David will sleep well tonight.