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. Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He continually kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. I appreciate you for
    sharing!

  2. Robin,

    My 18 Thanksgivings have come and gone as well and now I hold tightly to the times when we can all be together. It is probably a blessing that my camera broke and I don’t yet have a “smart phone” (can you say technological dinosaur?), because it forces me to engage the person I’m with using all my senses. I listen better and longer. I look into their eyes and read what is really going on. I reach out and touch them so that they know that no matter how old they get, they are never too old to feel love’s touch. In short, I truly try to capture the “picture” in my mind’s eye. I try to be fully present in the moment. I try to, as you say, “love well the people right in front of me.” Thank you, Robin, for the reminder and encouragement as I approach this coming Thanksgiving!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev,

      What you’re doing there? Is becoming a dying art.

      I am NOT condemning the squillions of us who DO take family photographs to commemorate special occasions; but I am asking us to become more aware of excesses in our lives :).

  3. Love fully. Love well. Sigh…….just wonderful! Off to plan goofy crafts with my kids since they are almost too big!!!!! Thank you!!!

  4. I needed this reminder, Robin. We’re right in the thick of our 18 Thanksgivings, and I only have a few more with my oldest. I want her to remember me fully engaged, fully present, fully loving. Thanks for this:)

    • Kimberly,

      I read portions of this post out loud to my husband and he looked at me like I had grown another head. His expression said everything: “Pot, meet kettle.”

      It would have served me well for someone gently and tenderly (or maybe smacking me upside the head) to suggest I cut back some of my food/family pics….

  5. Good reminder for my week and my morning. There’s a five year old here, the youngest of three. I think I’ll chuck the to-must list for the morning and put lights on the tree with him. He’ll be thrilled.

    Thanks for the encouragement Robin!!

    • Marcy,

      Ahhh! To a five-year-old, that’s magic! Setting a tree “on fire”–wonderful memory. He’ll feel like a Big Boy and rightfully so :).

  6. Great reminder for me this morning! Thank your son for making me choke on my first cup of Joe this morning(lol)….loved his way if handling “an emotional Momma moment”(what my son calls it). Really good one!

  7. Children do know. They know. They ask at the wrong time. All the time. We, here, just carry them, kiss them, hug them, look into their eyes, what’s wrong.

    My grandson was hurt yesterday but would not come over for a seat on my lap. He’s small enough yet for a cuddle and a seat on my lap at aged 10. He was only 2 lbs when he was born. So, he’s still small for his age so he can still get a lap and cuddle in with his head into me. But he would not come over. He was hurting.

    I’m celebrating Thanksgiving this year. A first. We are doing turkey in the club. Buffet. Looking forward to being thankful for all that the LORD has given me so graciously this year.

    I just want to thank YOU LORD for all YOU’VE done.

    Amen.

  8. I think as moms we have to be willing to find the reset button as our children go…leave and cleave…so I have decided that we would start afresh….new family traditions…ones that have soft edges and not ridged ones that aren’t willing to change with the seasons of life. As you add to the family through marriage …it’s no longer just about your family….but now you have added the new family your children have formed…and the family your SIL or DIL come from…That’s a lot to blend at holiday time…so each year I am learning to fully embrace what is…and not bemoan what was…and seeing there is so much to celebrate no matter the number…for the first time in years…I will have all 5 of my kids…spouses…grandloves and my parents…with a few extras…so very thankful ….but Christmas Day…will be very quite here…I am going to find a way to celebrate there too…thanks for the reminder…what ever is done by Thursday will be enough…

  9. You got it! This mama to 2 adult children who are married, with children finds that IS huge! Be present. Be in the moment. Be aware. LOVE. It is so easy to let the distractions of what HAS to be done consume and overwhelm, especially at this time of the year. But, in recent years I’ve worked hard to find purpose in the moments. When I’m with people, THEY are what is important. Not the floor, the food or the laundry. Not the decorations, the timing, the TV. But the PEOPLE are important. Family. Friend. Woman at the check-out. Waiter. Attendant. Counter worker. Sales person. THEY deserve to be loved, to have our attention. I say YES! Let’s love well those people who are right in front of us!

  10. THANKS Robin! Even though one daughter has moved away and one has a family (but still lives with us) I had to gasp when you mentioned only 18 holidays together. I really never calculated it that way before!
    I am really noticing that the holidays were always about family but also about pleasing my Daddy and providing the place for us all to celebrate. Thursday will be our second Thanksgiving without Dad and I am still a bit lost…
    Thanks for the great reminder of what counts and how fleeting that is. I do like the comment by your son and will keep it in mind whenever I get crazy over providing the perfect meal the perfect way.
    May you be surrounded by all those you love most…

  11. “But I’m more convinced than ever that the most important To-Do is simply to love well the people right in front of me.”

    Thanks for sending this, I like it. Love well the person you are with. Look them in the eye and listen not only with ears, but with your heart. Be quiet and listen to the heart, then embrace them exactly where they are at that very moment. Just like Jesus would.

  12. A few days ago I sprained my ankle and I was getting a frustarted about the inconvenience it was causing my lifestyle and getting ready for the holiday season. I felt a nudge and a whisper that this was about slowing down and stopping and being more present and in the moment with those who mattered most in my life. I’ve just returned back to work 6 months ago after being a stay at home mama and I guess I’d just lost my way a little in my rush to get everything done. As a result of my injury, we spent a whole weekend at home making handmade gifts and craft with the kids. We all thoroughly enjoyed our weekend.

    Thank you Robin for the reminder about what is most important in life and especially at this time of year.

  13. Robin,

    I am soo like you. I take a ton of pictures all the time. For me time just passes on to quickly and then your loved ones are gone. I want the memories of the past to be alive and well preserved.

    I do my best to fully engage people when I’m talking with them. I want them to feel as though they are the most important person–Kinda how I want to be treated.

  14. I have heard of the idea of having a large bowl placed by the front door where everyone drops their smartphones as they enter. Mind you, I have never tried this myself. But I wonder if we could make a fun game of dropping them off, and then declaring 5 minutes at the top if each hour to grab, snap pics, check messages, then drop them again into the bowl. Seems like it would make it fun, but at the same time acknowledge both our need for face to face time, yet our kooky communal dependence on these little machines. And, just another thought. Pictures become ever more precious through time. Especially as we lose loved ones and our tables are sadly dotted with those empty chairs from year to year. Wisdom seems to be found in balance (eek! I am showing my age with statements like that!) Enjoying the moments, and memorializing them too, don’t necessarily have to cancel each other out. I love your always gentle reminder, though. Thank you, Robin.

  15. It was such a TRUE DELIGHT to meet you in person last month, Robin. Truly, I love your words and I felt your fully-alive presence each time we were in the same space. Thanks for living what you are saying here.

  16. I had dinner at a friend’s home and no turkey but a exquisite meat roasted.
    Later in the evening, two new friends came to my turkey dinner. There was no need of all feast preparation but a sharing time about life and grace.
    Nothing else! All was left behind on the last years pictures and sweet memories. I better praise Him!
    Thank you for your thoughts on the To- Do List that I didn’t do.