“NO”

There’s truth in the idea that the hardest word to learn to say is “No.” Really, it shouldn’t be that hard, right? Two little letters, but they can literally carry life-altering decisions in their combined voice.

I had to say, “No,” this week. And it wasn’t easy.

If you know me in person, you probably know that I’m a little horse crazy. I grew up riding my sassy three-quarter Arabian mare and I learned to drive draft horses in college. Now that I’m a married “city” girl, opportunities to get my “horse fix” are fairly rare so I’ll jump on just about any chance that comes along.

The other Sunday, one of my writer friends approached me about just such an opportunity. She and her family had recently taken a ride on a replica Conestoga wagon pulled by a team of drafts. In talking to the owner/driver, she learned that he was looking for more drivers because he had some big groups coming soon and he needed more help to man his wagons.  She could give me the driver’s information, if I was interested.

Horses?! Driving?! The Oregon Trail?! Of course I was interested!

The following Wednesday I met the owner for coffee and that evening we went on an overnight training/trial trip. The horses were beautiful and well-mannered. The wagons were authentic. The scenery was gorgeous. The guests were amazing. The owner was a patient teacher and was sure that with, with one more training run, I’d be fully capable of taking a team on my own.

But I wasn’t so sure. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the trip as much as I thought I would. Small issues repeatedly cropped up, making me uncomfortable. Concerns crawled around in the back of my mind. My own lack of ability and experience daunted me in light of having to be responsible for the lives of a wagon-load of people.

When I finished the trip and came home, I spent probably two or three hours trying to process all of the thoughts and emotions in my mind and heart. I talked with my harness horsemanship instructor from college and I poured out my heart (and tears) to my husband.

Part of me kept saying, “Get it together. You’ll be fine. This is one of your dreams and passions – it’s working with horses – are you really going to turn that down for pity’s sake? Are you just being a wimp? You can learn sooo much from him. Anybody from your draft horse class would have jumped at this opportunity. And he needs help; are you really going to let him down? Really, doesn’t it seem like God just dumped this in your lap? If you back out now, you’re a failure. You’ll disappoint a lot of people – the friends who hooked you up with this job, the horse owner, your draft horse buddies from college, yourself…do you really want that?”

But another part of me kept whispering, “I’m not comfortable with this. Some things didn’t seem safe. I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would (should?) and I’m afraid it’s just going to add more stress to my life. The time commitment is way more than I planned on…I think it’s more than I can afford considering how many other commitments I have. And the ability and strength required…to be honest I don’t feel confident in my ability to safely do everything that is required of me, especially if I have several people in the wagon with me! I don’t want to be responsible for their lives when I perceive my skill level as being potentially insufficient.”

Perfectionist, Give-110%, Wanting-to-please-everybody Lauren VS. Cautious, Already-stressed-out, Trying-to-actually-do-what’s-best-for-me-as-well-as-for-those-around-me Lauren

Do you know which side won? The latter. The side that was actually willing to disappoint people, to not be perfect, to back out if doing so was truly the wiser, safer option. I didn’t reach that decision on my own (huge thanks to my husband and my college instructor) or without any tears, but I finally said, “No.”

A part of me still feels hugely guilty, as though I let everybody down, as though I turned down an incredible opportunity because I was too cowardly, as though I’m a failure.

But another part of me is quietly realizing with every passing hour that I made the right decision. That maybe God was simply giving me this opportunity to make me more thankful for the life I do have as a homemaker with my husband, dog, and a quiet house. That maybe this is the safer option not only for the wagon guests but also for myself. That maybe it’s okay to turn down something I love because I love other things just as much if not more.

That maybe it’s a good thing to say, “No.”

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Food for Thought

Runner Thoughts

Some days, let’s be honest, I just don’t want to run. No good reasons and no reasonable excuses. I think that more often than not, I’m just so focused on all of the other things I need to get done – craft projects, writing projects, general house tasks, etc. – that running seems like too much of an luxury, albeit a time-consuming and exhausting one at that, to be a valid use of my time. For example, yesterday I didn’t want to run, but once I laced up my shoes and hit the roads/trails, I was soaking in every moment of my freedom. Five miles of pure bliss makes my day ten times better, and that’s something I need to remember whenever I want to skip a run.

The half marathon is a little less than three weeks away. What?! So crazy…and so amazing. At the beginning of this spring I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to run 13 miles, considering all the knee and shin issues I’ve had in the past. The way God has brought me through the past several months of training and the way He has taught me how to fix many of the injury-causing issues is absolutely astounding. I am so blessed to be able to run for Christ, through Christ, and by Christ every time I put on my running shoes.

Wife Thoughts

It’s been a year … one crazy beautiful year of married life. Alexander says it feels like a year has passed; I say it feels like a much shorter time period than that! But, yes, we are still very much in love and still oh-so-happy together. Plus, not having to say “good-byes” each night or drive 6-8 hours just to visit one another has been a gift for which we keep remembering to praise God.

I really didn’t know what to ask for in a husband. Sure, he needed to be a Christian, a leader, a hard worker, a man of good character…but I never would have known how to ask God for the man He gave me. Alexander is everything I had hoped for in a husband, and so much more. I am truly blessed and humbled by God’s gift. And for all of you unmarried ladies out there…pray for God’s best for you. You might not know what that looks like, but God does. Pray for your future husband to be a man after God’s own heart. And never become so desperate for a man that you continue in a mediocre relationship; instead, be patient, accept the opportunity of being single, serve God where you are now, and prayerfully wait for His best for you (which, just for the record, might NOT be marriage…).

Writer Thoughts

I need to write more. Period. Writing has, unfortunately taken a back-seat in my priority list recently, simply because so many other tasks have been more pressing. At least blogging is a step in the right direction!

Also, I do have some article/story ideas. All having to do with horses, of course. For one I need to make the time to go interview a couple and see their team of drafts. I’m sooo excited for that (I miss working with drafts!), but finding the time to squeeze in that trip, let alone write up an article, is a little challenging.

Future Thoughts

I am so excited for the Jackson Hole Half Marathon – my body feels ready, the view is going to be gorgeous, I get to hang out with two of my best friends, this will be my first race ever…. Plus, hubby and I are looking forward to a weekend of camping out in the Tetons; it’s one of our favorite ways to explore and relax. If you’ve never been to the Tetons, do it. God’s grandeur in that place is extraordinary.

Alexander and I believe that God has laid it on our hearts for Alexander to pursue an electrician apprenticeship. The initial aptitude test for joining the program requires some highschool algebra skills, so we’re refreshing our memories on that topic. However, math has never been my strong point and Alexander has been out of high school for about 15 years, so this new endeavor is definitely a challenge and we are going to have to fully rely on God to get us through it. That being said, we truly believe that if God wants us to go down this route, then He will give us all we need to understand and apply what we’re studying. Our current goal is to be ready for Alexander to submit an application and take the aptitude test by early fall.

Our big project for the summer is tackling the basement family room/workout room area. We went to Menards the other night and found flooring and paint samples which will work well down there; our plans are to gut out the ancient shag carpet, carpet one half of the room for a movie/couch/office/game area, put laminate flooring on the other half for our workout area, paint the upper portion of the panel walls with a lighter color, and add much better lighting. We’ll probably have to do all of the flooring in one day or weekend because the padding under the old carpet is just crumbly and will easily track all over the rest of the house if left exposed….

Your Thoughts?

What thoughts have been running around in your mind lately?

Any special plans on the horizon?

Who’s celebrating an anniversary this month?!
*raises hand*

And So Summer Break Begins

Long time no write!

I apologize to all of my faithful readers, because I have most definitely not been a faithful writer. I won’t offer any promises for the future, but at least I’m blogging today!

A large part of my being able to blog is that summer break has started for the Robinson household! Our last week of craziness was the last full week of April – we wrapped up Amazing Collection on Monday, I helped with the last homeschool group on Tuesday, and Good News Club finished up on Thursday. To start off our summer break with a bang, Alexander and I decided to head up to Montana to see my folks for the weekend, being as all of the hectic activities were over. We had originally planned to spend Thursday evening after Good News Club eating mac ‘n’ cheese and watching a movie together, followed by a laid-back Friday morning during which Alexander could sleep in and I could go for a run. God, however, had a different plan because “man’s heart plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). And, fortunately for us, God’s ways are always better!

Starting off on our summer break road trip

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New Year, New Update

Dusting off the ol’ blog again! So here’s a quick life update to catch you up on what all has been going on in the Robinson household.

Sun and view of mountains on a run

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Life Lately

Hello, friends!!!

Life has been a little nuts here lately…. I shouldn’t be complaining because I’m honestly very thankful for how God is using Alexander and I in the church, yet I am definitely ready for a little Christmas break. Craft time, here I come! (Meaning, I still have to finish making Christmas presents….oops!)

So here’s a “quick” update on all of the craziness in the Robinson household.

Yes we're crazy

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A Christmas Tree Story

It’s starting to snow outside — a very fine, light, dusty snow. We haven’t had much snow here yet this year, so every little bit we get is a treasure. Fall here in Casper was long and gorgeous, but now the colder temperatures have hit and the weather is getting a little more “Christmassy.”

Zip and I enjoying the first snow

We decorated for Christmas just this last weekend, after Thanksgiving. Friends and family have blessed us with an abundance of Christmas decorations, so our home is quite festive. And God blessed us with a Christmas tree, which is a story worth sharing….

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Daily Writes on To Touch the Stars

I need to start writing more regularly, so at least some of my daily writing journals will be posted on my other blog, “To Touch the Stars.” If you’re interested in the rambling brain of a writer, please feel free to go take a look! For now, those entries will stay on my “writing” blog; I don’t know if I may at some point combine the two.

https://totouchthestars.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/daily-write-1/