Category Archives: Motivational

Exemplify Grace, When The Race is Done…

When the race is done or won, let us exemplify grace…

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“I will walk in love,

In dignity and grace,

Now the race is done, or won,

Share hope and mercy, peace.

Each one by one, or one on one,

Much needed now:

Let hatred cease…

                                                         Sherrie Robins

 

 

Thank you, you’re just great! ~Joe~

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We recently had a neighbor move in on the corner of the block. The house he purchased had exchanged many hands over the course of the past twenty-two years, or so. It was owned by a not-so-present landlord and was frankly, an eye-sore. Frat-boys partied it up, two kids dug a hole in the front garden, digging half-way to China, weeds encroached the yard’s border, making us cross the street for an evening walk. Paint was chipping and peeling, the lawn was unhappy and the old house was putting a frown on the neighborhood’s face.

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I spoke with the new owner, “Joe”, and thanked him profusely for the great job he was doing renovating his new home. He said a simple, “thank you, Ma’am”.

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In the ensuing conversation, I inquired about his life’s history: he’s a business owner, a former Marine, a family man. His politeness echoed back to his military background. I asked if he’d mind if he were featured on this blog and if he preferred his name be mentioned or not. True to form, he was happy to accommodate, yet humbly declined the use of name. But, he didn’t mind our sharing his pretty cool tattoo!

So, we wanted to take a minute to honor his polite and humble ways, his can-do attitude, his “fixer-upper” spunk, investment and service to our city, neighborhood, country and lives.

“So, why make a fuss” you might ask? “Someone bought an old house and is fixing it up. They are doing it with investment in mind. The neighborhood is happy because their property values will rise”. Point taken.

But I say, anytime effort, substance, beauty, or investing in something worthwhile occurs, it’s worth a kudos. In a society often fixated on the negative, where an eye-for-an-eye is condoned or even encouraged, where people carry a spy-glass in their pocket, examining flaws, downfalls and ineptitudes, isn’t it worth making an effort to highlight good things, people, those positive efforts?

Our city struggles with neighborhoods and housing, at various times and places. Someone chose to stay here and invest, fix up the old and run-down. Hooray! It doesn’t mean he’s perfect, it means he’s trying.

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So how about finding someone to encourage when they are doing something right? Look for those who are being helpful, kind, putting forth an effort. Put the spotlight on them, and take it OFF all the negative noise and brew-ha-ha.

Joe is the first in a series of spot-lights, featuring everyday heroes and plodding pedestrians, moving in the right direction. We’re just taking a moment to say “thank you, you’re just great”!

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Take Time.

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In our world today, there is not often time for peace and quiet. Schedules, priorities, demands and responsibilities make solitude and rest seem unattainable and even antiquated. Work and family pressures close in on us, making escape mandatory. So, we often turn on an easily available screen.

But, taking a few minutes out for yourself by going on a walk or a run (without the headphones), or sitting on a park bench or even your back yard, is a beneficial and even necessary adjustment for one’s well-being. It is great for “defragmenting” and coming to know one’s own mind.

Through silence comes awareness and knowledge. We often don’t know our own minds when other’s voices and opinions drown out own. Sometimes we suppress things we should be dealing with, through distraction. We may even become aware of a knee-jerk reaction towards someone else’s opinion because of our own prejudices regarding an individual or a situation. Various things may come to light.

On the other hand, peace and quiet, a moment of calming greenery, fresh air, a cozy corner with a sleeping pet is re-vitalizing. Breathing a prayer, having a thankful heart, not only on the fly, but taking a moment to ponder can be healing or course-changing.

And for my over-worked friends, those of you who truly don’t have a minute to spare, that is what eyelids are for. Close them on the train, in the passenger seat of the car, even in the ‘necessary’ and remember your beautiful place. Be transported even for a short while. Turn off the noise. Shuttle in the blessed quiet. It takes purposefulness, but it is possible.

So, let’s not neglect ourselves. We have so much to give and people who need us. Let’s give them our “best-selves” and not a half-portion of a frazzled or burned out, expectation-driven, tired or even resentful self. There is a place of beautiful restoration. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary. It only takes a moment.

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Our Oreo, taking a cat-nap.

 

 

 

 

Owner of a Humble Heart

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Sometimes I can see it as clear as crystal. There are days I wake up and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt with straight as an arrow accuracy, like it’s shot forth from the sun, aimed true, arriving whole, point on.

… as a mirror,sheer, sharp, angled in a reflective and repeating pattern that goes on into infinity.

Other times it’s shadowed and billowy, like smoke, hiding in the twilight, blurred and hazy.

What is this that I think I know? What is it that rings clear with truth, a pure tone, one note alone?

It is the truth of a humble heart.

For the world clamors with the noise of power and control. It pays its respects to the prosperous and those with clout and prestige, bowing to the mighty. But how have they arrived? By walking upon the the backs of the broken, wounded or needy?

…while quiet servers, builders of beauty, contributors of strength, often go unnoticed.

…the people of substance.

I’m not speaking of the pitifully pious; the stone-hurlers.  Far from it. There are those who follow the true spirit of a sandal clad Christ, feeding multitudes, healing the hurting and crying with the wounded.

Nations rage, hands grasp, turmoil surges. Divisions of color, race and creed multiply like the fish of the sea.

But the humble heart is open. The humble heart is love. It is giving and kind, serving and empathetic. It clothes the naked, houses the orphan, helps the single mother with no food on her table. It doesn’t search out the bottom line or interest accrued. It reserves judgement and overlooks faults. It cares for those on the perimeters, regardless of creed, color or identity.

They will be the first to say they are far from perfect, but isn’t that the essence of humility?

There are those who are on my list of heroes, and their names aren’t etched on walls. My heart pushes past the boisterous arrogance of pulpit pounding and self-promotion, leaning in to watch as these men and women wash the dirty feet of neglected children and wipe the tear-stained faces of long-forgotten wards and hollow halls.

Not only are they the nurturers, but they are also the creators. They are those who create light, hope and purpose along the darkened pathway of a world too-often seduced by the covert, or the clamor, or sometimes shallow meanderings.

…And those humble-hearted souls are quietly plying their trade of words, images or ideas – uplifting the world as an air current does a dirigible; steering, guiding, directing the rigid or otherwise rudderless.

So, yeah. The sun is shining brightly today, shooing the clouds away, lighting up the crevices and crannies. It knows what it’s doing.

And I can see all the better for it.

When is a Weed a Weed? ~ An Allegorical Poem regarding weed-like folk ~

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Poem & Photography by Sherrie Robins

When is a weed, a weed?

When did it fall from grace?

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It’s beauty diminished in our eyes,

Unwanted and out of place.

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What are the naysayers saying?

Who has given them right?

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To judge wildflowers unjustly,

To call them ne’er but a blight.


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Surely, there’s bad weeds in the garden,

But it’s not always so easy to say,

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Directing one’s judgments correctly,

Knowing which way’s the right way.

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For beauty can be found in odd places,

Overlooked by the mere human eye,

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Joy waiting just there to surprise you,

Unexpected, but revealed, by and by.

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For some have come up from hard places,

Dark corners, reaching out for the sun.

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They’ve reached as far as they could grow,

Without help from anyone.

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Still, others have grown up together,

Just trying to do their fair best,

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There are those tattered and torn in their beauty,

Needing our help, and a rest.

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Not all flowers are nurtured,

Clipped, snipped, watered and fed,

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But sometimes a weed is a flower,

To be treasured and noticed, when led…

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(Photos taken along a walk to the Niagara Gorge, with the exception of the daisies, which are in the Berkshire Mountains, and the orchids, taken at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens.)

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Lessons I’m learning from my Cat Misha

Story, Artwork and Photo-editing by Sherrie Robins,  Various photos by the Robins Family

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Darling little Misha was an alley kitten, camped out behind my daughter’s house. One night, just before Christmas, Jennifer spied a sweet little white and orange face peeking up over a snowbank.

Now, the back story is that we had lost our long-time pal, Oreo, a few months previous, and I had been mourning his empty seat, next to mine. But I had a hubby who had had enough of Oreo’s last days and the sickness and mess associated with it. He was happy to be the proud owner of a cat-free zone and intended on keeping it that way.

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Our pal Oreo, sitting on our deck enjoying the sun. (With one of Mom’s paintings, Orange Cat, keeping him company.

Our daughter Jennifer (the make-it-happen child) brought me endless opportunities of golden-faced little ones, needing love. Poor helpless, homeless babies all calling out for me to be their Mom, tugging at my heart strings; oh my. But though she has a special way with her Father and could certainly sway him in her favor, I chose not to press the issue and opted to wait for just the right moment and just the right member of our family to present themselves to us. (And, not less importantly, for Daddy to be ready for her.)

Well, as I was saying, Jennifer saw this furry feline and snatched her up right quick, before either of them knew what was happening, and brought her in from the cold. “Dad…you know how Mom REALLY wants a cat. Well…” and the rest is history. Needless to say, we had a joyous Christmas with this darling little bundle of joy!

So, what lessons am I learning from our Misha?

1) Sometimes its good to wait for the ‘just-right-moment’. It isn’t always necessary to make things happen. Sometimes they just do.

2) I don’t always have to have my own way. I wanted that new cat, right now! But waiting for the right way, over my way only made things that much better.

3) Making other people follow our plans doesn’t necessarily work. Sometimes we just have to wait for them to be ready.

4) When the moment IS right, seize the day! Grab it and run. It may not last forever.

5) Following other people’s advice may not always work. Their good intentions are just that; good intentions. They want to see you happy. But they just may just need to wait too.

6) Praying about the little things can be just as important as praying about the big things. Being patient for the small things, works out the same muscles as being patient for the weighty moments of life.

7) Happiness, when waited for, can be that much sweeter because you remember what it was like before.

8) There’s always room at the table for one more.

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Now, a few lessons from the little girl, herself:

A) Be zesty. Don’t be an old fuddy-duddy just sitting around all the time. Play!

B) No one likes to be alone. When you can be a part of the group and they’re doing good stuff, do it!

C) Sometimes flies come along to spoil the ointment. Leap into the air and gobble them up!

D) Everybody needs their beauty rest.

E) Take time to make yourself pretty.

F) Keep your eyes and ears on alert because you never know what’s out there.

G) It’s good to nibble all day long and not to make a pig of yourself.

H) Practice makes perfect. (Did you see that flip I just did, catching that toy mouse?)

I don't like going to the Vetz!
I don’t like going to the Vetz!

I) I may not like the Vet, but the treatz are pretty good…

J) Learning can be fun.

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Misha ‘helping’ Sean with his computer work.

K) Know when it’s time to cuddle.

L) Love your peeps. They’ve got your back.

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Jennifer falling in love with her ‘prize’. 🙂

M) Be patent with people. They just might become your best-est friend.

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Our growing young lady, on Daddy’s lap…her biggest fan!

Poisoned Pens ~ Poised against the Paradigm ~ A Poem

At the National Aquarium

Poetry and Photography by Sherrie Robins (Please allow for three *words.)

Poisoned Pen.

Noxious Fingers.

Harbingers of *Hackamores, you Sour-faced Children of the *Habitudes.

Why all the angst and self-perceived *percipience, you of the fine-toothed comb?

The stony-hearted throwing stones. Smacking the rock, making bitter the waters.

It’s amazing anyone reads your diatribes. That there are those who enjoy inhaling the fumes, breathing deeply to become one with toxicity, assuming superior airs.

When all the while their own closets overflow…

Excuse my simplicity, my naivety, my flabbergasted, gobsmacked insolence. But haven’t we been around that mountain before? Will we never learn?

I say pass the bread. The wine. Wash the gnarly feet.

Stand in awe of the glory and reach out to bind the broken. 

Bend over backwards to see the good.

Wear the glasses dyed and blinded to all but love and hope and grace.

We are a thirsty folk.

Find the voices of the waters-sweet, in a dry and barren land, and run to them, run to them my friends! 

*Hackamore: rope or canvas headgear for a horse, with a rope for leading.

*Habitudes: habitual mode of behavior.

*Percipience: Having the power of perceiving, especially perceiving keenly and readily.

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