Sunday, April 30, 2017

Weekend Overload

 As crazy as last week and this weekend were I just keep reminding myself that "these are the days" and I will miss this craziness one day.  One day there will be no one to take to a tournament or a game and I will be sad (maybe). :)  So my philosophy now with one in high school, one in middle and our sweet girl still in elementary school is to soak up every second.
  Kyle and I took  a road trip this weekend for him to play with his Xplosion team in Greensboro.  Greensboro you were great but hot!  We were in this beautiful private school gym Friday night and there was no AC.  I was so hot cheering and watching I dropped my phone due to my sweaty hands!  Ha!
 Kyle's team won 3/5 of their games in a Phenom Hoops tourney.  It was a treat to have him to myself for the weekend even if I drive him nuts!  Ha!  Kids are always so different one-on-one and we had a great time even if we are both worn out.
 These tournaments are no joke with unbelieveable talent.  It is really fun to watch such high level basketball but I may or may not have yelled at a ref or two:)
 Kyle was thrilled to take this picture post-game Friday night!  Ha!  He does not always appreciate my pictures but he does enjoy reading the blog :)
 This little dude had a great weekend.  Pops and GG hosted David for a sleepover Friday night and then Pops took Dave to his own AAU tournament in Blacksburg.  David loves his cyclone teammates and loves being on the team:)  It is so precious to watch him.
 Most of my pictures are from my iphone as I try to take pics of these fast players while I cheer! Ha! One of the Xplosion parents is a great photographer and I always enjoy his pictures!  Thanks Michael Thomas!  There was high drama at the tourney with one of our players getting choked and hit and sadly when he defended himself he too got ejected.  I learned some valuable lessons this past weekend traveling ... 1) Google maps is my new BFF.  For real.  2) Humility is important and not practiced enough with high level hoops players.  3) basketball laundry is gross.  4) Point differential is real and though it is sad to run up the score on teams, our coaches attempting to be classy did not and it resulted in us being dropped down to bronze divison.  Sad that cut throat is valued more than classy sportsmanship.  
 Saturday morning the 10th grade team played at the Coliseum.  There were 8 temporary courts set up within the coliseum and there were designated areas for college coaches to watch players.  Kyle's team only being freshman did not play at the Coliseum because they are not quite ready for this, but it was crazy to see how many colleges were there recruiting.
 While I was cheering for Kyle Mike stayed home and held down the fort which meant getting this little lady ready for her spring piano recital.  It was a duet recital with her amazing teacher and Mike not only got her piano ready he also rocked her hairdo!
 This weekend also made me say a prayer of thanksgiving for all the great coaches that God has put into Kyle's life.  God is using basketball to teach Kyle some life lessons and great coaches are gems.  Here is Kyle getting a mid-game lesson on a certain play.  Don't let the smile fool you, Coach Kevin is hard core but he shows his love by how hard he pushes them.  He helped Kyle have a late night epiphany one night and I am so thankful for his investment in kids.
 I love spending time with all of these sweaty, stinky but hilarious boys!

 For their recital Mrs. Melody presented each girl with this precious shirt for their duet recital.  It says plays well with others:)  Soo creative and cute!  Check out Pops in the background.  He and GG were actually able to come to town and attend the recital.  With GG's knee therapy and my grandmothers medical drama they have been pretty tied up lately.
We may have lost in double Overtime in the championship, but here is Coach Kevin sharing some wisdom with the guys before leaving.  It was a dramatic tourney with a fist fight, player ejections, psycho opposing coaches, referees beginning the game before our coach arrived, and hot gyms to the point that the floors were slick due to sweat.  But despite the drama I had a blast.

I am also thankful for technology because I got to enjoy my girls duet for the recital.  The weekend was overloaded but Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Being Content

This past week has been full and heavy around here.   After much thought and prayer it was decided that Hope and I would stay back this weekend to attend a funeral for her friends momma that is gone way too soon.  My thought is that when a child asks to go to a funeral you take them. We stayed here while the boys headed to Richmond for Kyle's first Big Shot tournament with his Xplosion team.

It pained me to miss the basketball action but this weekend was just what this girl needed.  Extended time at home to clean, organize and do some therapeutic cooking with my best girl.  We watched a movie snuggled in bed and we just rested our souls.  The funeral was beautiful yet heart-wrenching, but it made me thankful for Jesus.  Hard times such as this can be consoled with the idea that those little twin girls will see thir Momma again in heaven.  Only Jesus can give us hope in our darkest times.

Thankfully one of the parents on the Xplosion team is an amazing photographer and I got to see my boy in action through his lens.  (Thank you Michael Thomas for your pictures).

I love seeing him do what he loves to do through the lens of the camera.
I am thankful that he has basketball in his life.  It can teach so many great life lessons and I think this weekend was full of learning.
I have a new toy in my house and I am obsessed with it.  I have never had a food processor until recently and it has changed my life.  I have made homemade salsa, pizza dough, and this weekend we made homemade Cheez-It crackers.  They are way better for you and they taste like cheese straws.

I stole this off of one of Kyle's coaches' Instagram pages, but here is a team picture after the tournament was over.  They won three out of four games against some tough competition.  Kyle has a lot of learning and growing to do (gotta work on those chicken arms) but he is loving this and loving this team of guys.
Our two youngest have added snapchat to their lives and it is cracking me up!  They can only have "friends" that I approve of but they love these filters for different pictures.  Dave sent this one to Hope and it made me belly laugh.  This strong -willed turkey is hilarious!!  He refused to allow me to be one of his "friends" on snapchat because I was not young or cool, but he finally relented.  He just refuses to send me messages back or message me at all!  I cannot be angry because it is hilarious!

This weekend I was reminded that life can change on a dime.   When my girl (dressed in our funeral clothes) wants to take pictures with me I say yes.  Very soon she will never want to take a bunch of pictures with me and so I am embracing this baby of ours and enjoying the fact that she wants to be under my feet at. all. times.  Very soon her friends and life will be way cooler than Mom.  I pray this beautiful girl reminds pretty inside and out by making God the priority in her life and living in a way to bring Him honor.

Today Hope and I overslept for church.  It would have been so easy to stay in on this cold and crazy rainy weekend (flooding going on around these parts this weekend) but God comes first so off we rushed to church.  I got so tickled when we slumped into the pew right before the opening song began and I realized that Hope's hair was wet.  Like very wet!  I got so tickled because my mother would have croaked if she would have seen how we showed up to church today (GG is a very prim and proper church goer who is always looking like a fashion model going to church).  I did not get that gene apparently! Ha!

Anyway, we made it to church in the monsoon and the opening song was an oldie but a goodie for our church-Victor's Crown.  God knew my soul needed to be in His house today singing His praises.  I love this song so much!!

At the Cross the work was finished
You were buried in the ground
But that grave 
Could not contain you
For you wear the Victor's crown!!! 

It was such a wonderful morning of worship to be reminded the week after Easter that Jesus is still alive and He wears the Victor's Crown!  The pastor also preached a part of his sermon on Philipians 4:11-13 where Paul writes from PRISON about being content whatever the circumstances.   Life can be really hard and feel out of control sometimes but this sermon this morning blessed me.  No matter what, we serve a living God who wears the Victor's Crown.  Because of Him we can be content in our circumstances knowing he is on the Throne.  Amen. So thankful these hot mess Robinson girls made it to church wet hair and all to be reminded to be content and to rest in the one who wears the victor's crown.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Digging Deep

Tonight I am writing with a heavy heart.  It seems that in our little corner of the world life has been heavy and hard lately.  Sadly teenagers do get diagnosed with cancer, sadly a young mother of twins goes home to be with Jesus after a shocking medical crisis, and sadly mental health issues are so real and pervasive that folks feel suicide is a viable option.

Cancer taught me that even though on this side of heaven tragedy and heartache do not make sense, but through it all our God is working always.  On this side of heaven we are not allowed to see the full picture of His "puzzle" we are only allowed to see individual pieces one at a time.

Hard times such as these remind me to dig deep.  To dig deep and remember this Earth is not our home.  Hebrews 13:14 reminds me that For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. It is so easy to get cozy and comfy here in this Earth and this World, but we are only temporarily here and things that we collect and store up here  are nothing compared to what awaits us in heaven.

Hard times remind me to dig deep and to remember my purpose here.  My purpose according to Philippians 3:14 is to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   I choose to take hard days like today and remember who I am in Christ and that my purpose here is to run my race well.  I want to use these heartaches to remind myself of the importance of God's Kingdom work and that our ultimate goal is to reach hearts and lives for Him.

So today I am sad.  I am really really sad.  I am heartbroken but I am using this sadness to remind me that God's kingdom work of loving my neighbor, serving the least and the lost, trying with all of my might to point our youth to Christ, and modeling a solid walk with God in my home for my own kids is more important than anything else on my to do list.  That is what I feel called to do and today reminded me that life is short and can change on a dime and I need to sharpen my focus on what God has called me to do.

This gal can tend to get sidetracked on silly stuff like social media and netflix.  I am going to take these tragedies to remind me that to run my race strong I need to push aside distractions and silliness and focus on God, my neighbors, my family, and our youth.

I know I have shared this song a million times but it is my life song.  I want my youth and my own kiddos to know that God is everything to me.  He has changed my life and changed my heart and I want the peace that I have for them too.  That peace that passes understanding holds true when you stand over a puke bucket with your sick cancer kid.  That peace holds true when at his birth you were told he would have a lifelong cognitive disability.  His peace holds true when young mothers die and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer. His peace is what makes this troubled world bearable.  Enjoy this song, say a prayer for those who are hurting and remember that our most important work is followng and serving the one True God!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Basketball, Jesus, and Good Soil

It seems that it is not a Robinson family update without a basketball picture or ten!  Ha!  Kyle is loving all the opportunities God has blessed him with this spring for basketball. He is constantly playing somehow and somewhere and is loving it.  We have told him that as long as he puts God first  and then school and family above basketball we will support his dream to play.  So far he is keeping up his end of the bargain:) I preach so often (and so loudly) to our youth to put God at the tip top of their totem pole and all other priorities will fall into place.
We also had a great day as a family celebrating the resurrection of our Jesus.  It makes me come undone every year thinking of the death on this cross Jesus endured and the days following his crucifixion. How sad his followers must have been days after his horrible death prior to the resurrection.  I love the living cross that we decorate at church each Easter Sunday.  It is a great visual reminder that Jesus is not dead he is alive and with us.  The last Easter before my sweet Memaw died she asked me to put flowers on the cross for her and we have every year since.  Pink flowers for Memaw every year:)
My little blessings on Easter morning-don't let Kyle's smile fool you-he was soooo grumpy from pulling an all nighter.  More details below about that.

I love Easter morning and I love when my trees out back cooperate for a pretty background for our pictures!  Notice the golfer in the background!  Ha!!

Here is the Easter virgil fire crew at church from midnight until 7 a.m. on Easter morning.  Our pastor started a pretty cool tradition where the youth come (with tons of junk food of course) and sit around the easter fire waiting for Jesus.  The night begins with the pastor reading the scripture about Jesus going into the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper and asking his disciples to stay awake and wait for Him while he prayed.  Of course the disciples fell asleep.  I had a pretty cool time sitting around the fire with these guys talking about their faith and how we can support them in their spiritual journey.  Being a youth leader is one of the hardest but most AMAZING things I have ever done.  I will admit this 41 year old did like the disciples and fell asleep (in my warm bed) around 3:30 but this group made it all night.  They bless my heart.

We are teaching Kyle the importance of saying thank you to those who have blessed him along the way, One of his trainers moved away but he came back for Easter break.  Kyle met him in an unairconditioned gym in a nearby college over break for a hard core workout.  Thank you DJ for blessing Kyle with confidence and ball handling on the court.
I can barely contain my excitement over trash!!!!!  Not only are we newbie gardeners in this house but we are now newbie composters!!!  I have eaten way too many bananas this break just so I can put the peels in our new compost bin.  We are having way to much fun learning about composting and gardening.  Our garden will be tilled this week and we are so ready to grow food for our family and to bless those at the food pantry this summer.  I am trying to talk Mike into letting me have chickens but no such luck yet.  sigh.
We were in Radford over break to spend time with GG and Pops for Pops' birthday.  GG is still recovering from her broken knee cap (that happened two days after Christmas) so dave was a great nurse for her Saturday:) She just started driving again this week but she still has many PT sessions and healing ahead of her.
We certainly love our time in a gym watching basketball.  Kyle has been playing some tough competition in this spring and summer season.  He still needs to work on his "chicken arms" but he has had a blast playing with lots of different guys this season.  Each tournament the competition seems to get taller, stronger and faster.  Kyle is not the fastest or tallest out on the court so he is learning a lot!
This was the picture of our Easter vigil fire and it made me so happy to hear these godly young men talk about their faith journey.  We are planning an upcoming youth and parent worship service and some of these guys are willing to share their testimony.  It is such an honor and privilege to get a front row seat to what God is up to in the lives of these youth.  There were lots of laughs around that fire but also many serious discussions of what God has been up to in the lives of these guys.  I left that fire sleepy but so proud.

We hope your Easter was wonderful and full of the hope that we have in serving a resurrected God! May we all carry this spirit of hope and joy through the rest of the year!

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead will never die again; death has no dominion over Him!  Romans 6:9

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.       Romans 10:9

Monday, April 10, 2017

All Because of Jesus

It is Holy Week 2017 and my emotions are all over the place today.  I am looking at all these pictures from a super busy yet amazing weekend smiling but then my heart is heavy over family tragedies and major medical crisis thaat some folks in our community are dealing with.  As I met with one of our youth last week I reminded him that some things like suicide, childhood cancer, and health crisis, make no sense to us mere mortals on this side of heaven.  We cannot understand why bad things happen but we can know that God is near and loves us, and that because of Jesus we can have hope in the storm.

Holy week is the time of year where we can thank God that despite the darkness of the crucifixion and the sad days after Jesus' death the resurrection happened that gave all of us hope and life.  Because of Jesus and the hope we have in Him sad and hard times are going to happen but we can rejoice that He is always near and that we know that because of Him we have life. It is makes hard times easier to bear knowing the closeness of God and knowing that he is always close to the brokenhearted. Psalm 34:18 reminds us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  I love that verse.

Cancer taught us to live life to the fullest everyday and to be a blessing to others.  I started Challenger baseball to bless those kids that otherwise would not have a chance to play ball, but of course it was just the opposite.  Those kids bless me and everyone else

My heart is also blessed with these amazing volunteers that come out each week to help these players.  It makes me so excited for the next generation when I see the beautiful hearts that some of these youth have.  They get it and they know they are part of something bigger than themselves.  This blesses me.

The number of folks that would come out on a chilly Opening day to make sure these kids had a great first challenger game overwhelmed me.
Because of Jesus our cancer warrior was suited up in all the baseball gear we could find at our house and had a great game in between three basketball games.  I was watching David suiting up in his baseball gear and saw all the scars on his chest and belly from his cancer and I got such a lump in my throat.  Because of Jesus he is here with us, healthy and strong.  To God be the Glory!
Because of Jesus my other kiddos get it that life is better because of the amazing people God has  put in our lives with designer chromosomes.  Yesterday at the Down Syndrome Easter egg hunt, I was so blessed watching all of our kiddos with Down Syndrome have a great time playing and hunting eggs.  We know that all children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3) and that we can praise God that all of our children are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

Because of Jesus my husband has been able to throw his leadership skills and love for kids into Marion Little League this year.  With the job change he was able to step up and take over the presidency of the league which is no small task.  At the opening ceremony on opening day on Saturday I was so overwhelmed.  Mike has done an amazing job revitalizing little league and seeing ALL those boys and girls out in uniform ready to play Saturday blessed my heart.  God be the glory for blessing us with new opportunities and new jobs.

So this Holy Week I am sad and praying hard for many that are hurting, but I am also trying to remind myself that Jesus is bigger than all of our hurts.  Yes life is hard and we may hurt a lot, but because of Jesus we can have immeasurable hope in the storm!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tall Boys and Big Gardens

This past weekend we took a little road trip to Maryville College to watch Kyle's basketball team play against some amazing competition.  It was a great experience for him to play against such talent-the game is definitely more physical and fast-paced than anything he has or ever will experience in school ball.  Basketball is his passion and his love.
Notice how tall this opposing player is?!  The teammate of Kyle's beside him is a tall 6'4 ish.... yeah.... number 13 is a tall drink of water.
Kyle has now seen first hand the competition that is out there and that he must work even harder to improve his game.  I preach to Kyle all the time (and to all my kiddos and to our youth kids as well) that God must be at the top of our totem pole.  Yes basketball is great, but it should have its proper place on the totem pole of importance.  Never should we worship basketball (or anything really) over our Creator.  I hope as he pursues his dreams he always remembers that lesson. We are thankful  that we got to head out of town for a change of scenry as a family and watch some incredible basketball.  

The downside too all of this basketball is sweaty dirty clothes with no hotel laundry.  This momma had to get creative and had to use some Woolite in the bathroom sink!
I pray that God uses basketball to teach Kyle life lessons such as hard work, determination, persistance, gratefulness, and being a good teammate.  I am thankful for the all of the coaches that Kyle has been blessed with as well as all these new teammates that love this game as much as he does.
Hope and David love a good hotel overnight and they not only enjoyed the hotel pool, but we all enjoyed a little Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.  I love when we can get out of town together and just enjoy the together time.  Between Little League, challenger baseball, our jobs, youth ministry, and our kids' schedules life has been busy.  Time away together was nice.
We made it back for worship Sunday morning and I love that Dave is front and center on the front pew until a pretty girl comes to church and then he makes his move!  Ha!  I am thankful my boys understand that Jesus girls always are the prettiest girls:)
Sunday afternoon was gorgeous and while Kyle played even more basketball Hope and Dave enjoyed time in a park.  I watched these two running together and my heart almost exploded.  Our family is far from perfect but having David has blessed us all.  Kyle appreciates his time on the court more because he knows his brother will likely never get to play at that level.  Hope knows her brother needs a translator and milk pourer and she often does more for him than she really should.  Dave has taught us so many valuable lessons and Sunday watching these two together reminded me how blessed we are.  
Speaking of blessings, I am a tired and worn out teacher and Momma ready for spring break.  We still have another week of school to get there, but we are getting close.  This morning as I was making our bed I realized the view and I had to stop and say thank you to God.  When we are weary he is always there. When we are feeling the stress of life, he is always there. When we feel out of control (especially when it comes to our kiddos) we know He is always there.  This morning I felt God's presence remindng me he is always present with us.  How can you not see a beautiful sky like this and not stop in awe at who created it!

Another exciting opportunity coming to our family very soon is a 400 square foot garden in our yard!!!!!!  Mike and I are pretty clueless gardeners, but we have been blessed with the opportunity to take part in a Homegrown garden through our local communtity garden called Sprouting Hope.  We are part of the Homegrown program which teaches clueless gardeners like ourselves how to grow food for our family!  Our family goal is to share our crops with the food pantry shelves at First United Methodist Church.  Our other goal is learn how to garden successfully so that our children will learn how to be gardeners and to share our harvest with those less fortunate than ourselves.  We are SO excited to be in this program which is funded through Grow Applachia grant.

Our clan is staying busy but we hope that our "busyness" will never distract us from keeping God front and center of our lives.  We are so thankful for the blessings he has sent our way and we will update the blog as our garden grows!