Practical Ideas for Facing Daunting Tasks

Advent Week 2, Day 4 – Practical Ideas for Facing Daunting Tasks

After Norman passed, I learned something real quick – if something in the future makes me panic, I don’t have to think about it right now.

Usually it was something that didn’t have to be dealt with right away.  So I’d pray and ask God that when I really did need to deal with it, he’d give me the strength to do so wisely and calmly.  He did.  Always. Eventually.

The biggest area of panic for me was thinking about how large my house was just for me, and what would I do with all the accumulated stuff of 25 years of marriage. I knew I’d be selling and downsizing, but it all looked very daunting.   It took 3 years to gain the strength to tackle my stuff.  I wasn’t in a hurry anyway.

I started off by asking a friend over to help me begin.  She was there only a couple of hours, but her tenacity to ask the hard question “do you really need that?” was difficult but helpful.  Sometimes I said “yes”, and other times I acquiesced to her look. Just that short amount of time got me started.

In getting rid of Norman’s clothes, I took pictures and laughed at his collection of sweater vests, dress shirts, and ties.  He loved clothes!

God was gracious.  He gave me the idea to make getting rid of things a game.  How many boxes could I collect for donation?  And how many pieces of furniture could I give away? My tally was eventually around 100 boxes and 14 pieces of furniture!  I even had a good laugh one afternoon with the Salvation Army pick up person when I explained that I had 50 boxes to be picked up.  He asked me for a date – I graciously declined.

During this time of uncertainty, what do you need to shelve for a time when God is ready to give you the ability to tackle something hard?  If that time is now, pray for one practical idea to make the task or decision easier.  Jesus is good at hearing us and answering as we trust in him.


Schedule a date with a friend to help you tackle that project that looms

Take one small step this week toward facing that giant

Make time daily to pray for wisdom, direction, and strength

If you are in the middle of tackling giants, make certain you take a break to have some fun or to rest

Find a prayer partner – someone you can call on to say “pray now”

Stay in fellowship with God’s people and with God through his Word – lone sheep are the easiest to pick off

Make a schedule of one thing you could easily accomplish each day for a week – keep it simple (no long diatribes), and check that one thing off as you do it.  Be kind to yourself

With love and prayers,

Robin <3


Incorporate A Piece of “Normal”

What were your holidays like before life changed?  Would there be one thing that you could incorporate to lift your spirits this holiday season?  Don’t look at the whole of what used to be, but look at one thing you can do now.

The Christmas after my husband passed away, Evan was newly settled into a hospital 2 hours flight time away, in order to help him deal with his cascading emotions. My sister-in-law and I planned on meeting there to enjoy Christmas with him, and so I wasn’t going to be home much.  Regardless, for me, I needed something to remind me of normalcy so I didn’t get severely depressed and overwhelmed by my great losses.  I purchased a pre-lit, table top Christmas tree that I could easily plug in when I was home.  It was a small gesture and took only about 5 minutes to accomplish, and compared to what I had done previous years it wasn’t much, but in those moments when I was sitting quietly, it brought me joy as I gazed at the twinkling lights.

Take 5 minutes within the next week to do something that will incorporate a piece of normal.  If you aren’t certain what to do, pray about it.  If you are unable to even do that right now, ask a friend to suggest something and then ask them to carry it out for you.


Play that song, have a friend make that recipe, put out a bowl of your favorite ornaments, have the kids color a paper Christmas Tree to tape on the door, string one strand of lights over a window, put a wreath on the front door, wear that favorite Christmas sweater, purchase a faux Poinsettia for your table, spend time with a friend who understands….

And remember, you aren’t alone, so run to Jesus!


With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Thank You!

I really do attempt to make the week of Thanksgiving more than just a time of indulging all those foods I don’t dare prepare the rest of the year. I try to take time to reflect on the amazing gifts I’ve received the past year.  This year, many of the gifts have come through hard fought battles of the heart.

Yesterday, Gary and I joined Evan (my son with autism) at his home for lunch of roast beef, dressing, cranberry sauce, and croutons (he loves croutons, but being gf, they are hard to come by); followed by cut-out sugar cookies and frosting piled high cupcakes.  We really did enjoy one another’s company; and when Gary told Evan, “I love you”, Evan gave him prolonged eye contact. After dinner he sat in his chair quietly playing with his ropes, seeming very content.  A little over a year ago, Evan was still so angry at this intruder into his life that things weren’t always pretty.

Two years ago Evan returned to church of his own choice after a 4 years absence due to his anger at God. Two weeks ago amidst cheers from his church family and friends, Evan was baptized of his own choice.  It was beautiful watching him profess his faith in Jesus, and hearing his family respond with such boisterous love.  Since that day, every time I ask if God did something special, Evan looks at me, smiles and says “yes”.


After his baptism, there was a peace about his features, and a sparkle in his eyes that wasn’t there prior.  He was even able to look into the camera for the pictures – something that I don’t remember him ever being able to do.  So his more than momentary gaze at Gary yesterday only confirmed God is doing something special.  (Eye contact for those with autism can be difficult at best and painful at the worst, and over the years Evan has given little direct eye contact.)


Another hard fought battle has been for me to begin building a relationship with my two step-sons of 4 years.  Both sons moved out this summer on their own, and the oldest and his girlfriend have been coming by regularly to do laundry and visit.  Yesterday, they chose to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner.  While David and Gary sat in the living room watching “Forrest Gump”, Holly and I enjoyed conversation in the kitchen while preparing the dinner of turkey, ham, southern style green beans with bacon, northern style dressing (I’m from Michigan while they are all from Kentucky), cranberry sauce, and creamed corn; topped off with pecan pie and candy (a family tradition in Gary’s family of corn flakes dipped in melted Hershey bars and piled into clumps of “candy” and hardened.)

Dinner was so pleasant, with general conversation about jobs and such throughout.  When they left about 2 hours later, after rounds of hugs and “I love you’s”, I commented to Gary, “My bucket has been filled today!”  And I thought, “Thank you, dear Jesus, for allowing me the courage, and endurance to wade through the pain, so I could see this time.”


Thank you also for indulging me in my revelry today!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

A Change of Mind

20160822_081848-01-02A few weeks ago, a friend said to me, “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is not”; adding (my paraphrase), “Suffering happens when we refuse to embrace the changes, and instead fight the pain.”

This summer has been a journey of embracing changes.  The biggest change I’m finding is that

I need to Let God change my mind.

Romans 12:2 states: (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (emphasis mine)

God’s Word (the Bible) is unlike any other book written by men.  Many see it as a rule book to follow.  Yet, as I come to know the author more fully, I am learning it is a love story from a powerful King who has the ability to keep his promises as he radically transforms any who venture to follow him.  Transforming them from the inside out – by changing the way they think.  Anxiety to peace. Hate to love. Anger to forgiveness. Purposeless to purposeful.  Hopeless to hope.  By the power of his words through the work of his precious Spirit.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Do we just sit back, read God’s words and let them do their “magic”?  No, his words say that those who choose to follow him also have a responsibility.

II Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (emphasis mine)

How am I letting the words of God change me?  By choosing to focus on and follow God’s words in the Bible regarding forgiveness, peace, acceptance, and hope rather than focusing on all the other thoughts that swirl around my head  – anger, worry, anxiety, rejection, hopelessness. Trusting God’s Spirit (the power behind the words) to do the changing.

To assist, I have set up a series of “Memo’s” on my phone.  The first memo is headed “Transform My Mind – Through Discipline“.  I have listed several verses that remind me of the importance in taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, as well as verses on how I can do so.

Galatians 6:8-10, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:16-18, Romans 5:5-8, Hebrews 12:1-3, Proverbs 15:32, Galatians 5:22-25, John 14:23-24

I am finding subtle changes beginning to take place – I still struggle, but less often. I am more easily able to reel in my thoughts. I am finding peace and calm more quickly taking over. God’s Spirit through his words are working.

Take Every Thought Captive – Rather Than Letting Every Thought Captivate

If this resonates with you, let me know.  Thanks!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read: Attentively Waiting  Caution, Emotions at Play!  I Do Matter!