About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Q1: When I listen to the voice that says, “Why are you doing this? You have nothing to offer that someone else isn’t already offering the world,” I begin to wilt in agreement. Neglecting the calling and gifts God has placed within ME for His glory in my corner of the world.

    Q2: My husband has a way of cheering me on in my endeavors, while holding me accountable to my best work. And some days, my best work is to put aside my art and focus on the immediate, which is right in front of me. He handles my art with the care of a glass blower, but isn’t afraid to tell me when he sees a fleck that just doesn’t belong. I appreciate that his words about my art never make me feel discouraged, only more courageous. Knowing he has my best interest at heart (because he knows my heart) helps me accept his wisdom and advice in love.

    Q3: The one that resonated most with me was Listen to Your Tears. For as long as I can remember, I’ve despised my tears. My mom was a crier. When anything emotional or meaningful struck, she’d cry. I found out early on that I too inherited her ways. But as an adult, I’ve figured out that I need to trace those tears back to their source. They matter, and highlight the things that make me come alive. Take today for example: I was in a store when I ended up crossing paths a couple times with a woman who has made national headlines over the last few years. We happen to live in the same town, so seeing her out in public isn’t a surprising thing in and of itself. What surprised me was my deep, deep desire to encourage her. I couldn’t stop thinking of her and what I would have said if given the chance. So when we arrived home, with tears streaming, I told my husband I needed to send an email. He said, “I agree, you need to.” I shook my head in confusion because I hadn’t yet told him to whom I was sending the email. He said it didn’t matter who it was being sent to, because he could tell it mattered to me. AHA! Tears mean something matters deeply to me. They aren’t bad, aren’t embarrassing–they’re signposts. Telling me I need to stop and take notice.

      • Amanda,

        Context told me what you meant :).

        I hope awareness of your answer to Q1 is the first step in remedying it :). Once we see things we can address them, yes?

        Your husband is a wise one; not all husbands realize the POWER of their words but it seems like yours does. Praise God for that!!

        It’s interesting how our family/environment shapes us; some things we WANT to do b/c they were modeled well; others we resist for a variety of reasons. It sounds like you’ve arrived at an important realization in your life as it relates to your tears…a good thing.

        • Oh, yes absolutely, Robin! This is an example (Q1) of a way (if I let it) negative voices can kill my art in a moment. I should have clarified, and given the solution! In that moment, if I let the voice in, it has the power to kill my art.

          But it’s rare these days… I’m learning so much and can discern the voices that are Truth from those that are lies.

          • Amanda, The way you described your husband “handling your art with the care of a glass blower” is so encouraging. It gives me a visualization of constructive critique that is given with love, sensitivity, and truth. Thank you!

  2. Wow, I got up early to listen watch the video as I have a busy day ahead. I can’t even begin to say how much I am enjoying this book and video. However, I was a surprised today as you all talked about Tuesdays. I had read the chapters for today and really thought I was focused on something else. But it hit me that my life is a “Tuesday” right now. I am retired (due to cancer) and my life has an “ordinariness” that I can’t seem to breach. My job required high energy. The cancer medications have taken a huge toll on my physically. I started this book because I miss creating. Well, this will certainly require looking into myself. Thank you again.. This is a wonderful book which I am recommending to all my friends, even more so to some that are struggling in retirement.

    • Becky,

      Are you currently undergoing treatment for cancer? Are you in remission? How can we pray for you?

      And it’s heartening to read your comment and to know how life-changing this message is; God trusted Emily with stewarding this message, and her faithfulness is blessing to so many. Thank you for letting us know how encouraging it is in this stage of life for you.

    • Praying for you dear Becky…Perhaps you could start some topics here that we could talk about more fully. If there is something they missed in the video I’m sure other ladies might enjoy talking about them too. I will check back later to see what topics pop up!

      • I don’t know about contributing topics. I must say though that I thoroughly enjoy appreciate this book and the videos and blog. Emily’s comments about “season of life” are really on target. I think one thing that can make a difference in your “art” is life altering events, not years but events. This is where I am learning. “Living small” is a gem in terms of looking at my life. Being unable to be physically active has been difficult, but this was a boost to my thoughts. Thank you again. I look forward to continuing on with you.

  3. The question about listening to you “questions, tears, Tuesdays…” is the one that spoke to me the most.

    I remember being a mid-teen and going to the performing arts center in our city with my mom, to watch a dance performance that highlighted dances around the world. My mom and I both love the performing arts. The memory is so clear I can see where we were sitting, and who was on stage, when my mom started to break down and cry. It was a heaving cry, so I looked over at her and she was watching this beautiful salsa dancer in red move her body like it was a drop of water. She was incredible. In that moment, I felt like I could understand my mom as a person, not just a mom–I didn’t even have to ask her why she was crying. I could feel that watching that dancer, she had so many regrets, that she didn’t think she was beautiful, that her life was mediocre and “without art”. Her life did not turn out how she had planned, and seeing that woman envelop fierce femininity was too much for her.

    I am the same way, now, ten years later. I didn’t cry watching the salsa dancer, but I often cry at movies (let’s be real, commercials, too), and perfectly plucked words or phrases in literature. The way an author can capture aesthetics with words just baffles me, and the way music can play on our emotions (or is the other way around?) is also something that makes me well up with no notice.

    Emily’s Listen(ing) chapter on tears was affirmation that those times don’t just mean I’m overly sensitive, but there’s something under there. I always believed that deep down, but mostly no one wants to hear it. It just makes others uncomfortable. I’m going to pay attention now.
    Sarah M

    • Thank you for your beautiful post, Sarah. Your telling of watching the lovely salsa dancer struck a chord with me. My mother and I have a deep love and appreciation for dance, especially ballet. I never imagined as a 30-year-old woman, I would have the chance to dance again by taking adult ballet classes. Your post reminded me that it’s never too late to dream or try something new! The Lord knows the desires and longing of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). I am realizing that on a deeper level these days, even in the midst of the pain of change and transition. It’s a “good” pain 🙂 if that makes sense. Thank you for sharing your words with us!

  4. I am so glad Emily didn’t leave out the chapter on handling critics. I’ve had to learn to drop the pride but also to learn to hear the critics differently. Especially when the critic is someone who matters deeply to me. I’ve had to assess the comment and see if it will make the art better as Emily says.

    I would say the listening section that made me think the most was the crazy ideas. I was raised by a very stable family. We didn’t take risks because if we failed ‘what would people say…’ I married a very spontaneous man, of coarse, and have been trying to find middle ground ever since…we do manage to balance each other out quite well.

    But, the point that resonated most with me was that to those who are adventurous, a crazy idea is just

    an idea…. wow! that hit home with me.

    Finally, on that same topic, I have been carrying a few ideas ‘in my pocket’ for years. And, as Emily pointed out, if they were trash I would have thrown them away by now. The fact that they are still in my pocket proves they have life.

    It’s up to me to give them wings.

    I am so enjoying this study, the words, the comments, and the videos.

    Thanks ladies:)

    • I loved that part about the ideas too, Tori, it’s striking to me as an ideas girl. There are some that just keep jumping back into my pocket. Time to pay attention. 🙂

  5. I happy to say, that, at last I have my book! I will begin on chapter 6 _7, to be up to date. And when I have time I will go back to read Chapters 1-5.

  6. I particularly liked the comment about looking under our tears. I don’t cry often, my eyes well up a lot but I don’t all out cry. Lately I saw a story about a baby elephant on the internet whose mother had totally rejected it at birth, even refusing to feed it and stomping on it and I started to cry uncontrollably. I knew there was something that God was trying to tell me and what I received was that my mother had rejected me at birth. I was an emergency cesarean baby as the placenta gave away early. This was very deeply buried in me and I immediately asked God to go in and heal that deep hurt which must have colored my life in many ways. I believe that I received a healing and I thank God for it.

  7. Chapter six on criticism was so good! I struggle so much with fearing people’s criticism and have so often in my life held back from pursuing things I love because of fear of criticism. Yes, not actual criticism, but FEAR of it. Insane! I know I can be a critical person, and I came from a family of critics. (I resonated with Angie & Emily talking about their home life. And debate team.. laughing, but I definitely always felt that way about debate team, too. Who wants to sign up for an extra argument?!)

    The thing that hit hard in the chapter on handling criticism was Emily’s words to receive it, to “see the gift only a critic can bring” (p.93). That the critic is teaching me my humanity and in essence, helping me “get small” again and remember my own desperate, daily need for the Gospel, for grace! No matter what, any criticism can become a gift to me. If it causes me to draw nearer to the Lord and more dependent on Him, its a gift.

    I had a bit of a conflict with a friend recently, a newer friend but one whom I would say I have grown close with quickly and whom I trust. She is passionate about God & His word. We had one of those awkward parenting clashes that can happen when each other’s kids aren’t getting along. Yes.. awkward. But necessary. And she gave me some criticism that was so loving and gentle but HARD truth to hear. And I couldn’t wait for her to leave so I could bawl my eyes out and lick my wounds, so to speak. And I vowed we would probably not be friends anymore. (I hate to admit how horribly I handle criticism!) But after a few days, praying over it and talking it over with my husband, I was able to swallow it a bit better. I continue to learn about criticism and how to handle it. If I can’t hear it at all from anyone, then I have a serious pride problem. I also have to resist the urge to be crushed by it. The best for me is to take it before the Lord and to say, what of this is true, what of this do I need to acknowledge, and what do I need to let go? A friend who takes the risk in confronting me is a friend to treasure, as hard as those times of confrontation may be.

    • Martha,

      I don’t know you, but the way you’re really THINKING about all this shows me you’re growing in your faith! For you to recognize your tendencies and desire change is HUGE! I’m so glad you’re joining us for Bloom!

      • Thank you, Robin! I really LOVE that being able to participate! This is a sweet little corner of the internet. 🙂 Thanks for all you & the bloom team do!

  8. The question: “Is comparison is the thief of ART?” resonated so strongly with me today. When I’m sinking into God and secure in Him, it’s easy to be inspired by the art of others. But often it drains me, and I fall into the trap of scarcity. God is revealing again and again that this is a lie. The section on p102-103 where Emily picked up a leaf and saw the tree was still full of them reinforced this. She writes, “See the world as one of abundance rather than scarcity.” This is so helpful! It makes me think of a waterfall with room for endless streams of water (art) vs. a small glass with only enough room for the gifted few. There is room for all of us “awake and alive.” I think this study is proving the abundance of art all around us if we look for it and have courage to put it out there.

  9. I love that Emily included the chapter on critics…and how she points out that there are different types. I know in my life, my pride will sometimes bristle at criticism from those close to me. The Holy Spirit gently reminds me to stop and think about the heart my “critic” has for me and that maybe my attitude needs a little work. Honestly, this criticism is usually easier to take and brings about positive things. It is hard to be criticized by strangers who do not know me. I think processing criticism has to be intentional for us to receive the most positive out of it, always filtered through what our God says about us. And I definitely try not to take myself too seriously. Sometimes it’s just “Yep, I have 5 kids and the twins went to school with 4 different socks and last year’s hoodies with too short sleeves. But, hey, they had shoes on and were on time.” 🙂

    I really love the section about “mediocre art.” That section got all up in my business. I’m so glad she pointed out that we may say the same thing but we all frame it differently. Brings me courage!

    The listening chapter!! While reading and considering this chapter, God continued to reveal some things he has been stirring in my heart for awhile. Situations where I have had heartbreak and tears and have lived in the Tuesdays are taking shape into crazy ideas I’ve been carrying around in my pocket. Ideas that I have already spoken with our pastors briefly about that will be a huge step of faith. Praying for God’s timing and blessing.

    Thank you, Emily for so beautifully conveying the message God gave you to share!

  10. Love this, look forward to listening and reading the comments. I too like the lady with cancer am retired and in a different season of my life for different reasons. Never thought about the issue of crititizism, just know that I never used to handle it well. Doing much better in that in learning to listen more. Yes there will be people who really don’t have your best interests at heart, but there as so many out there who do and perhaps just didn’t know how to put it in the right words for us. So I have learned to pray and to take time to try and listen. Thank you ladies so much for this book club.
    jean

  11. In regards to critics, I think I am my own worst critic. I have criticized myself our of being and doing art. And I really don’t know how to deal with that. I have been pondering some of the things Emily said in Ch 6. Like: “The critic points out my weaknesses, but he also forces me to draw a circle around what I believe.” That is good. It is how I can combat my criticism with the balanced truth. “But the critical voice is teaching me my humanity, and that is not a bad thing.” In realizing that I have a pride issue (even when I just down on myself or beating myself up), this helps point me to the ONE that I need to go to deal with it. On my knees before God. “The critic’s words point out my insecurities–but in seeing those, he shows me myself. When I finally see myself, I can be laid open before God. In the opening, I see the root of this desire for approval is less about the critic and more about me.” Wow. That really hit a tender spot. Working through this has been a bit uncomfortable for me. In a good way. But still uncomfortable. I can grasp that there is good in the hurt caused by a criticism (your own or from someone else) but there is still that place of hurt to work through.
    When it was pointed out that it might be easier to take criticism from someone that is FOR you, my first thought was to a time when I received criticism from someone that I thought was for me but then began to question if that was really true. Out of that circumstance I realized that a lot goes into how you receive a message (as much as how the message is given). Like when Jessica was describing the email that her husband took one way and she could read a totally different way.
    One last thing in this chapter that stood out to me was the list of ways that Emily said were certain to make mediocre art. That list is really something to evaluate.
    Okay, well I will stop with this chapter as my comment has gotten really long. 🙂 Thank you for this forum to read and listen and discuss.

    • Rebecca,
      I have the quote you used in your post underlined and highlighted and a big “ouch” written next to it! It hit my tender spot, as well. So thankful God loves us enough to help us work through our uncomfortable places!

    • Rebecca,

      The chapter on critics is revolutionary to me; because it articulates well and fleshes out a new way of thinking and receiving hard words. Maybe what we intuitively know but don’t want to hear? Either way, I’m heartened to hear how YOU are processing the message in this book, looking in so you can move forward in your faith and your art.

  12. So much of my chapter 6 is underlined and comments in the margins. Criticism for me can be stifling and stop me in my tracks. It makes me throw my hands in the air and say “I give up!”. This chapter showed me a truth that I did not realize. On page 96 Emily writes about “the twisted desire to be enough on my own and by myself”. This was an aha moment. This is why the criticism hurts so deeply to my heart. I want to be enough on my own. But Emily doesn’t stop there. She give hope and healing on page 97 with “the more I confess my frail humanity, the louder I hear the sound of another voice rising up in me, one that has some weight behind it. It is the voice of Hope, and Hope speaks with courage and a bit of a laugh.” That is the key. To admit I am not enough on my own. And that is perfectly OK because none of us are. When I try to be everything to everyone and please people I am a glory hog. Finally a way to combat the critic. With humility.

    This truth was as profound to me as when I read “One Thousand Gifts” and understood the concept of thankfulness as a way to grace and joy. Life changing stuff.

  13. Since today happens to be Tuesday – I think it is fitting to try and listen to it 🙂 It has also been a tearful day, and I would say that needs to be tended too as well. We were blessed with a rainy day here, which I have to admit did not help my already melancholy mood. But I am learning there is beauty to be found in a day like this too. Honestly, I don’t always enjoy the tears, yet I know they are necessary. I started the day off journaling a prayer to the Lord, and it brought forth tears. It seemed to stick with me throughout the day, so maybe I’ve been processing some things in my soul. It’s a time of transition and waiting for me – it hasn’t been easy, but the Lord’s Presence has been so sweet. I am taking bold steps to lay my desires before His Feet and let Him handle the weight of it all. What a gift Emily’s book continues to be as I journey with Him – one step at a time – to uncover the art He has given me. I know He will not disappoint!!

  14. Listening to my tears has resonated most deeply this week. Before I really started digging deeper and finding healing in the Lord, I had such an emotional disconnect. My tears came at the most unwanted moments and wouldn’t come when they were appropriately welcome. Allowing the Lord to heal that part of me and giving Him my heart as an act of true trust is when my tears really started to flow and cleanse and reveal who I am in Christ and what passions He has created into my being. I had to respond this week in a blog post of my own. The link is above and it is called Do you listen to your tears? Emily’s book really does move me toward feeling more alive and accepting of myself as one who has something to offer and not being afraid to walk that out. There is also a picture of the book for the community collage. I can send it to you directly if that would be easier than downloading it from my sight. Maybe I will even recreate it and instagram it. Thank you for all you are doing for this Bloom session! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart

    • Rachael,

      It is so exciting to see the way you’re thinking through Emily’s message; so much self discovery going on, which tells me God is at work something fierce! 🙂

  15. I will admit that I do compare myself with others. I wish I could do X or Y better and I “want to be just like her when I grow up.” I have to make a choice to remember that God created me to be a unique individual. While others may influence me (I pray in a Godly way), I need to be ME and let the truth of God’s word be my influence. God’s word is to be my measuring stick. I am so grateful for grace because I know that I can never measure up to God’s holiness, but I can use my love for Him to be my motivation to try to be more like Him in a world that so desperately needs to see His people in action.

  16. I really like this chapter too. My biggest critic is myself and boy have I sabotaged things in the past because of it. I have a story to tell. I know God wants me to share this story of how I learned about God’s love and grace. I could point people to others who have told this story of redemption so well, but He is creating a unique story through me that needs to be told. There is someone out there that needs to hear my words to know and understand this redemption story.

    Chapter 7 was great too and the first suggestion of listen to my tears made me sit up. I am not a crier. I’m not that person that tears well up hearing a touching story or a song, but lately there have been moments and images where something grabs my heart and squeezes it so hard the tears come. And I have no idea what it means! So I’m listening….

    Whether it is criticism or listening to those things Emily wrote about, God still needs to be the center of our art. Without Him as the center, we are just doing stuff, or worse, giving others around us power over us to squash out God’s plan for us. Thanks so much for the conversations! Love all the posts.

  17. I grew up in a world where i was forever being told i can’t, it’s not my place and who do you think you are? However i know now i need to get past those critics. I read somewhere and this is a very bad paraphrase (sorry Emily) but just because someone else has done it, it doesn’t mean that i can’t do it too as i will do it differently. However ignoring that critics is so hard when the art you are making has got to be shared for it to have life.

  18. Emily,
    Would you please post the pic of the houses being lifted out of the rubble?
    Thanks.

    And thanks for your wonderful book!

  19. I’m super late to commenting, but since I haven’t seen anyone say this yet…. I thought chapter 6 had a lot of truth in it. I’ve been writing for almost 20 years, and I’ve walked that pathway with accepting and using criticism of my writing (I’ve had to learn to give it, too!). It’s much, much harder to do in my life as a whole. I don’t believe that my attitude is the only thing that causes criticism to hurt me… especially when it is from people who love me. Some of them (like my husband) are deeply encouraging, even when they point out flaws. But sometimes, even though I know the person loves me and is pointing out something they see as truth, what they say to me is a lie, it’s poison. All it shows me is the terrible moment of realizing that this person doesn’t know who I am. They don’t see the real me.

    For a long time I thought I had to take on those criticisms, let them fill my heart and inform my art, because they came from someone who loves me. I like Emily’s phrasing–someone who *believes* in me–because that’s different. That’s someone willing to look at who you are and speak to that, not to who they think you ought to be; to God’s mirror image in you, not their own mirror image.

    I was glad for the opportunity to process what God is teaching me now: how to bring my understanding of the critics from my writing art to my life art, and how to trust Him to bring the Spirit’s discernment to my life critics, the way I learned long ago to trust Him in my stories. I can say “no” to something, no matter who says it, and that may be God speaking. 🙂