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. Robin,
    We women are great multi-taskers which is a blessing and a curse. We can get many things done at once…things…but when I/we try to get multiple people “done” at once, the result isn’t so pretty. Like you so poignantly pointed out, Jesus always made time to be be present with people. He shared their joy, He listened without interrupting, He blocked out the world, He let Himself be fully present and wept with friends who were grieving. We can’t do that if we’re multi-tasking. One way I try to be fully present is over the holidays, I make lots of easy meals in the crockpot – comfort food. Dinners that invite people to get around the table, put their cell phones down, and be present in conversation. It’s our pause in the day to look each other in the eye and truly converse (conversation – the lost art – a whole additional post needed). Welcoming in friends for coffee and giving them my undivided attention is also another way. Blocking out distractions is a practiced art form…thank you for encouraging us to perfect our “being present” skills. Great post!
    Advent blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. Robin,
    This post is absolutely beautiful and a sentiment I hold dear. I often say to myself “Tyra be present for his presence” and that applies in the home as well. I too have a child that will not accept half hearted attention. He too will touch your face and say “you aren’t wissening!” As a mama of 6 with each child vying for my attention it’s a challenge to listening effectively but I’ve asked the children to help me by ensuring they have my full attention before they begin speaking. And I eliminate distractions such as work, electronics, tv, so I can be present for them. I pray you are able to spend this holiday season and beyond fully engaged with your special people.

    • Oh, Tyra….six? You have twice as many babies as me!! (of course, my babies are bigs now….!) Half the battle is understanding that listening/hearing well requires intention. If we aren’t careful, it’s so easy to miss (guilty more often than I’d like to admit). Thank you for your sweet prayer, and as I reply to you, I’m praying that over you as well. 🙂

  3. This year, the meals will be simple and help will be illicited from the whole family, so we can have fun and learn and talk together while preparing. Typically, it’s just me and maybe my husband. We also take our time and take turns opening gifts.

    Thank you for this word of encouragement. I hear you and am listening to Jesus through you…and to the reminder that truly being present is quite possibly the best present I can give my family this season.

  4. So true, but sometimes so hard to do. Relationships are a wonderful myriad of emotions and sometimes when relationships are hard it’s easy to hide in a screen rather than lean into the relationship. I’m resolving to do the hard thing rather than the easy thing this Christmas and I appreciate your reminder. Thank-you!!

    • Jessica,

      “…resolving to do the hard thing rather than the easy thing….” You are brave and wise, and pursuing Holy things in this. Praying over this offering you’re giving to the people around you, but ultimately to our Savior.

    • Jessica, I can relate to your words! Just yesterday God impressed upon my heart the need to affirm the worth of those around me, especially of the person who is hardest to love. It is so much easier, and often more rewarding on a temporal basis, to hide in one screen or another! But in God’s economy, screens definitely aren’t the answer.

      And Robin, thank you for this reminder of how important paying attention truly is. What better way to communicate worth!

  5. This is a meaningful and timely post. I am trying to take time and really listen, it really makes a difference. So thank you and Bev for the food for thought now and throughout the coming year. May God bless you.
    Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone!
    ~Kay

  6. Robin,
    Thank for the beautiful encouragement to be FULLY present. The trappings of life; all those ‘things’ that beckon and pull me/us away from really being present – not just during Christmas- can rob me/us of precious moments with friends and family if I/we allow them to. Thank you for the reminder to be fully present as Jesus was fully present. As I prepare to visit family and friends I’m encouraged to engage and really listen. Merry Christmas everyone
    Irene

    • Robin,
      Thank you for your timely word. A powerful reminder of where our focus should be. God Bless you. Merry Christmas to everyone.

      • You’re welcome, Carolyn. All glory to God if this timing is helpful to you, and may you be blessed as you narrow your focus to the One who hears our hearts best.

    • Irene,

      It is no small thing that those who are replying to this post will actively engage to hear the hearts of friends, family and/or co-workers in this season. To God be the glory!! (and thank you for your words).

  7. After divorce, my children now divide time between two homes at Christmas. This has been the catalyst that drives me to be more intentional about my time with them. Yes, it is a challenge, but our situation also means that I am focused and prepared to be fully with them during our moments together. I wouldn’t choose this, but I will use it to prioritize what we value and invest in the time we do have together. I know that my daughter would rather have the perfect memory of laughing together rather then the perfect cookie. My sons appreciate randomly scattered lights just as much as a designer tree. Nothing helped me get over the quest for perfect like experiencing it all unravel. It’s for this very reason we need our Savior and we are so grateful for the gift of His presence which we celebrate at Christmas.

    There are mothers and daddys all around us who are separated from their children today. It is painful and difficult and yet we courageously press on. Take notice and encourage someone if you can. It makes all the difference!

  8. {{Missy}}

    BIG hugs to you (and yes, those you mention who are living out hard life circumstance). Thank you for reminding us all to be attentive to everyone around us! I’m reminded of the quote (paraphrased) “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle.” We have no idea the back stories others are living, even when we think we know. Ya know? I’m so thankful how God is meeting you in the midst, praying you draw strength from Him in your seeking. xo

  9. I agree whole heartedly. I turn off the television. I’m not a phone person, I hate to see people on them constantly. If you’re not even hearing people talk to you or paying attention to them, how are you hearing God? Believe me, He’s not walking around witha phone asking. ” Can you hear me now. ? “

    • Gifts of our Lord Jesus, and the love of our God the Father are often buried within the quest for fairy lights to much food who to invite what the children want from Father Christmas. Lots of people rush around believing this is the glory of CHRISTMAS………… For me hope kindness compassion and love, love for one another,..regardless of who they are are the true gifts to celebrate not only at Christmastime but throughout each day. The celebrations of family rejoicing the coming together of communities all in praise of our Lord Jesus Christ not just one day a year but 365 days a year. May the love of our God be with you all and may you all have a heartwarming Christmas whilst thinking the people alone and vunerable. A special, prayer be said, And for all a peaceful holiday. Praise be the Lord. Amen

  10. So much truth and a challenge to my heart today. I have been working on this area but have been slipping again. Thank you for this reminder and for speaking the hard truth we need to hear.

  11. Robin,

    AMEN! We need to be fully present with others! My hubby is bad about looking at his cell phone when he’s with me talking or watching TV. It gets on my nerves. I know he isn’t fully present with me and thinks “other people/stuff” are more important. I’ve asked him that if it isn’t important to not look at his phone & “be” with me fully.

    The world screams loud with buy, go, do, watch. It doesn’t say be still and hear my voice. If we don’t stop and truly listen how will we ever hear God. He doesn’t shout, but comes as whispers in the wind. In the little things in life! We need to stop and enjoy the life He has given us.

    Have a blessed Christmas!!

  12. Oh, wow. And ow. I want to be present with my small people (four of them; the oldest turned six this month) but it is hard to walk the line between presence and sanity (both in the amount of stuff calling for my time, either now or after bed AND just the sheer volume of energy it takes to be present with the busy babies all day, every day.) I’m figuring it out. No I’m not. I was going to say something about working to find balance, but really, I’m just doing what I do, simultaneously needing to be more present with the children and to be less behind. Thank you for the reminder.