Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's been a busy week

So the week went something like this for us:

Easter Stuff
Ball Game
Track Meet
Ball Game
Track Meet
Drake Relays
Prom is tonight...meaning photo ops are to begin in about three minutes.

I put in my two weeks notice at work.  This means I am about to become a full-time freelancer.
Exciting Stuff.

With all of this spring-time stuff going on, I'm wishing the spring weather would please just cooperate already.

Pictures to come tomorrow.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Saturday with the Grunders

One Saturday.
Two Grunder Boys.
Two Sports.
One Iowa Map.
Tons of Miles on the Vehicle.

Add up these and other variables and it equals====

One Happy Me.
So Proud of Brian's kids. 
Love watching them play and compete.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What's so "Good" about Good Friday

Have you ever had that feeling that, even though everything on the outside was looking pretty good, everything on the inside felt like it was about to crumble? 

I posted something like that on Facebook yesterday. 

'Cause I'm sorta feeling that way.

Now, please don't get me wrong.  I have TONS of really super-great things going for me right now.  Lots of writing assignments and the potential for better ones is definitely there. 

I am paying my bills.

My kids are healthy.  And happy. 

If you didn't know to look beyond all the good stuff on the outside, you would not know what kind of mountains we are facing right now.  And it isn't easy. 

But today is Good Friday. 
And I am choosing to look ahead. 
(About 3 days ahead.)
And believe that no matter how ugly things in life may appear, I believe in the power of the cross. 

And I know that God can take even the messiest parts of life and use it as a sign of victory, for those who believe. 

What was so "Good" about Good Friday? 

Wasn't this Jesus guy supposed to be the chosen King?  The Messiah? 
Wasn't he supposed to the world?

If he is this powerful and supernatural King that he claimed to be....why did he let himself get beaten to the point of not being recognized?

Why didn't he just jump down off that cross and say something majestic like:
"Na-na-na-na Boo-Boo!  Stick your head in dog-doo."

Becuase he could have!  If he was who he said he was.

Why did he let all of those who loved him cry and wail and watch him suffer?
And his Mama! 
She had to watch her son.  Be beaten.  Tortured.  Whipped.  Hung. Nailed to a tree.  And die.

I can't stand to see my own kids hurt. 
I couldn't survive having to watch them go through what Jesus went through.

What's so "Good" about Good Friday? 

When there's that Jesus. 
Who claimed to be the savior. 

That day that Jesus hung on the cross probably appeared to be a victory for Satan.

Probably Appeared

But it wasn't.
'Cause what looked like Satan's sure victory was really is sure defeat.

3 days later, the dead guy....was alive.
Jesus was alive. 

What's so "Good" about Good Friday?

I'm believing that the same power that was able to conquer death
can breathe life
into whatever ugly stuff is going on in my own life.....

.......No matter how things may appear.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Something is not quite right with this picture...

So.  I stopped by my neighborhood drug store today to visit with my favorite pharmacy people. 

(Yes, I do this on a regular basis)
(No, nothing is wrong with me)
(I can make friends with others  without having to buy stuff)
(I just choose these people as my friends)

So...back to the story...

I walk in and Miss Hannah is on the phone.  But she sees me.  And laughs.

So I check my zipper.  And everything is fine.

As she is wrapping up her conversation she goes:'s your wife.  Love you

And she hands the phone to new pharmacy friend.  (she gave me chocolate today)

Call me crazy, but something about this scene just 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Treasuring the Process

Claire Bear~

Tackling a big project.
Just because.
Trying so hard.
And doing such a great job.

Love watching her go through the process:
a smile when she gets it
more frustration 'cause it just isn't coming out quite right.
a tear

a hug from mama and a little reassurance that i treasure the project, not matter what it looks like....
and i treasure being able to witness the moment...
and I never want to forget it.

Here she is...crocheting. 

She has seen me pick up an ongoing (as in: three years in the making) crochet project.
My grandma taught me years ago. 
I picked the hobby back up about 15 or 20 years was a distraction tactic I used when I was trying to quit smoking.  (I know.  Bad Robin. Peer pressure and college bars.  Don't judge)

Anyway...back to this girl.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Something to be Proud of....

So so SOOO proud to be her mama:

She knows how to keep her cool....under pressure.
And I think she deserves a medal for that!

And did I mention how proud of her I am?

Can you see my heart out there looking back at me?  There it is. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Let Me Be a vague manner of speaking

You know I'm good at that, right? 

Saying a lot, without really saying anything at all.
But at the same time, saying everything.

It's a gift. 
Don't be jealous.

I am currently in the midst of a serious situation.
And without saying exactly what that is, I am going to say that it is so frustrating.
Because I need help.
So I talk to people who have the proper title and credentials to help me.
And the situation.
People who are way smarter than I am.
And I am told, by those more qualified than I, that the "situation" needs to be remedied. 
Justice needs to to prevail.
That "the right thing" to do is what I'm doing.

HOWEVER, those with the title and qualifications can advise me, but they can't help me.
Becuause funding does not allow for them to follow up on these things more than just "advice."
But if things get worse, they will no doubt be there for me.

That advice led me to another with different creds.
And this "system" can most definitely help me.

After I pay them gazillions of dollars that I don't have. 

So I have come to several conclusions about this--not answers, but definitely conclusions. 
Here's my TOP 10:
1.  Honest people recognize what the good thing, the right thing is.
2.  Honest people care about helping and making a change.
3.  I love honest people. I have met alot of them on my journey thus far.
4.  Honest people usually have their hands tied up "in the system."
5.  The message behind "the system" is valid.
6.  "The system" is governed by money from "bigger systems."
7.  There is no money to support "the message" or "intent" of the system.
8.  I can see how people get lost or slip throught the cracks when a "system" is involved.
9. The bottom line for "the right thing" and "the system" is money.  Unfortunate.
10.  I want to help.

This may not make any sense to you. 
Or maybe it makes complete sense for the current "situation" you are facing.

Wanna pray for each other? 

Thanks for allowing me to process here with you, my sweet and unsuspecting audience!

Just so you know, you serve as great therapy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a Waste

So here's the deal.

I'm in the middle of working out my anger on a certain situation, when I read a post on finding joy (one of my new "favorites") about "silly busyness."

The issue I face is not going to go away.
My anger probably  won't go away either.  (but miracles do happen)
But I'm just not going to waste any more time on it.
Trying to make it go away.
Or spend energy worrying about it.

Because going round-and-round-and-round about it...even if in my own just a waste. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work To Do

So I have ALOT of writing work to do.

I've done ALOT of talking about writing. 

So it's time to sit down and get to it. 


Wanna help?
I need to come up with some of THE BEST money saving tips and ideas. 
Some of the lesser known ideas.

We have all heard:  pack a lunch, carpool, coupons, etc.
But what unique things do you do to save some money?

I'll start:  I have been known to stop by my friends on the other side of town, let myself in to their house, have a drink and a snack, sit on their back deck and relax.  When they are out working for a living.  This serves several purposes.  I can eat and drink for free and it feels like I am getting away for a breather.

okay.....this isn't exactly what I'm looking for. 
but it got you thinking, didn't it?

Leave a comment.
Help me out.

Monday, April 11, 2011

THE interview

THIS was the interview I have been hoping for. 

To have the audience of an executive editor.
THE executive editor. 

How does someone like me get to interview with THE executive editor?
In person?

I got lucky.
I know it. 
I'm fine with it.
Today it was my turn.


Here's me.

Imagining what it would be like to TELL the executive editor what I wanted to write.
And then get the okay to do it.

Obviously it doesn't work like that.
Except in my own little imagination.

BUT today
went something like this:

Executive Editor:  I've seen your resume, Robin, and it is impressive.  But I'd like to hear about it from you.  Tell me about your education.

Me:  Well.  Uhm.  My post-secondary training happens to be in massage therapy. That, and I have personal experience in the 'at-home-mom' department.  So as far as writing goes, my education does not match my experience you see on that resume.

Executive:  Tell me about your writing.  What do you like to write.

Me:  I  love human interest stories.  I'm pretty good at photography as well.  And as long as you are asking, I'd like to someday write a column. 

Executive:  We do have freelance opportunities available.  However, our freelancers do not write columns.

Me:  I figured that.  But you asked.

So the rest of the interview went on with more back and forth.  She had looked at my portfolio and decided that I could fill out the paperwork necessary for tax purposes and then she would start assigning work to me.

And I asked her:  Is all of the work done on assignment?

Executive:  Yes.  What did you think it would be?

Me:  I didn't know if freelancers ever came to you with an idea for an article.

Executive:  No.  But if you were to have an idea, what would you propose?

Me:  Well, I don't know.  But you mentioned that freelances occassionally cover weekend events.  RAGBRI is coming through my town and I'm going to be there so.....

Executive:  You have that job.

Me:  (dancing on the inside)

After handing me the paperwork and explaining why the Times needs this info from me, I explained that I understood as, years ago, I had worked on a few freelance jobs for a different division of the Times.  And I hand that info to her.

Executive:  Oh my.  I thought I recognized your name.  I was the editor on this particular project.  (speaking of the project I had done.

And from then on, it only got better.
The tone went from crossed arms to "welcome aboard." 

And the column that freelancers just "don't do,"
I have an opportunity to submit my vision for a column that used to run.....
If she likes it?

I get to have the column.

As a freelancer!

I'm still wondering, as I write this.... I dreaming?  Cuz this is way better than I had imagined. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A small recap of this weekend


You know I was at the Quad Cities Christian Writers' Conference this weekend....

I went with the intention of "stalking" (not in that creepy sort of way, although could be misinterpreted as such) as many authors and editors as I could.

On that front, I have to say I was successful. 

Met with some, had dinner with some, got autographs from some, learned ALOT from some, ....
got business cards from one,
got a possible lead for writing book reviews from one,
I heard from God through one of the speakers.

Crazy?  Maybe. 
Inspiring?  Definitely.

And you know what else I learned? 

Writers are, well, a different sort of people.

"Different" could be coined "crazy," "funny," "weird..."

And all I have to say about that is


how have i missed this for all of these years?

I Made You a Promise

....that I wouldn't mention the you-know-what price conspiracy there appears to be against me.

And I'll stick to that.

it's hard to just let the subject go.

Clearly I have issues.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


From my sweet Claire:

To:  Mom
From:  Claire
"Our Team"

It was a rough day in the upper elementary.
Since it was just the two of us after school, we decided that some french fry therapy was in order.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quad Cities Christian Writers' Conference: MY PLAN OF ATTACK!


I've put aside my writing time this week to just get my act together for this years Quad Cities Christian Writers' Conference. 

It's this Friday and Saturday.

Last year I won an award there.  Awesome pat on my back, thank you very much. 

So this year, I want to go and make sure that I look like I was actually worthy of that award. 


Oh, the pressure of trying to look worthy. 

I don't know why I worry.  I've actually accomplished more in the last year...writing and publishing-wise...than I have in the last 10. 

So here is what I am trying to get ready.....
  • A children's book.  I wrote it years ago.  Never took the steps to submit it to publishers.  I've got the manuscript. 
  • Some IDEAs that I have for speaking topics.  It has been several years since I have been asked to be a speaker at a MOPS group.  But when I did it, I knew that it was something that I wanted to pursue more....I guess I need to just get out there and do it?  As in, market myself?  I have 2 really good, but really different ideas....and anywhere from 3 to 33 ideas if you count the ones that exist in my head.  But 2 of them are written out.
And here is the biggie...are you ready for it?
  • It's my blog.  Yep.  This one.  This year, there are a few sessions offered on blogging.  Anything from beginner to advanced.  And I want to have my blog critiqued by a professional and get some tips on how I can maybe use this space in a more "professional" manner.  Or, if nothing else, write it off as a medical expense.....In case you haven't noticed, this blog does serve as my therapy, you know. 
So here is my plan of attack for this weekend:

shhhhhhh.....don't tell, but I'm going to stalk all of the authors on the faculty this year. 
Oh, yes.  I really am.
For 2 entire days.
I know where they are all staying.
And I've booked a room in the same hotel.
When they eat a meal, I'll be there.
Walking to the pool...I'm there.
Breakfast at the too.
Need a ride to the conference?....hey, I'm headed the same way!
Oh, are you an editor?  Really?  Well, it just so happens.....

What do you think?
Leave me a comment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Turning 38 in Bullet Points

I'd like to make a big deal about turning 38. 

First of all....38 is technically "late" thirties.  This is a milestone. 

Secondly....I have decided to stop lying about my age. 
I've lied about my age for years.  20 years ago, I wanted to be older.  10 years ago, I wanted to be younger. 
I've lied to my kids about my age....and when they caught on, they started playing right along with me.  For example, when I would say something like "I'm 34," my youngest would come back and say "oh no, you're not're 29."

God bless those sweet kids.'s how I spent the first day of my "late" thirties.

  • I started off the day by falling out of bed.  Just misjudged, is all.  Probably just comes with old age.
  • I plugged a toilet and had to ask for a plunger.  Which was embarassing....BECAUSE I KNOW I DIDNT REALLY PLUG IT UP!  I am certain that the bowl was running slow before I ever even sat down.  I just know it.  (i shouldn't even share this story with you, but the fact that i didn't edit it out is proof that i am getting old...cuz don't older people talk about bathroom habits?)
  • Later in the day I told my cat all about the toilet story and falling out of bed.  Making me old AND an official crazy cat lady.  But at least I have a cat.  You know there are people out there who fit the profile of being a crazy cat lady....but they don't actually have cats.  Rest assured that I'm not one of those. 
  • My kids threw me a suprise party.  And I was suprised.  Shocked might be a better word.  I almost wet myself when I walked into my house.  A sure sign of aging. 
  • I had beer and burgers for lunch, then went to church with my kiddos that night.  My parents, Debbie and Sam, my sister and her family were all there.  I held my baby niece. 
  • I blew out all of the candles on my cake.  But I forgot to make a wish.  (old age)  But maybe I didn't need a was a good day.
  • When the day was done, I fell into bed.  I have decided that this is much better than falling out of bed. 
It was a great day. 
And I love these people.

p.s.  the last day of my "mid-thirties" was one of THE LONGEST days on the planet.  Can't even share.  But if you are of the praying-sort of people, I'd appreciate some.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The moral to the story.... that there is none. 
There is no point in this story.
I feel I should tell you this upfront.

You know how you can ask someone of a mature age a question that has somewhat of a yes or no or simple answer.....
....and they give you the day, time, what the weather was like, the price of a gallon of milk and what they were wearing.....
...before they answer the actual question.

You know what I mean, right?


I am that person.

Brian asked me a question this morning.  About the weather forcast.  And I spent 5 minutes telling him about stopping by to visit a friend who we met at a football game and her step-mom is a friend of the family and how I bought some scrapbooking pens from her.....not her, exactly, but from a book party that she was having....

....and I had to tell him this because I think she told me on the way out the door that the weekend weather looks like it's gonna be good. 

....except that by the time I got to that part of the story, I sort of forgot why I was telling him the story.

And I think it all started today.  My 38th birthday. 
38 is officially "late thirties." 

And I have trouble, much like others who are in some later years, of getting to the point of my story.

Or remembering if there was a point to my story. 

And I'm starting to wonder.....
is the day that i start talking about health issues, procedures and bathroom habits just around the corner?

More of my riveting weekend update coming soon.
Probably in bullet points.
Hopefully this will keep me on track.