The Master Gardner

The Master Gardner

God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalms 51:10

The flower beds around our home were bad. And when I say bad, I mean absolutely terrible. My husband and I have been neglectful in the care of these beds all through the summer. We both made excuses not to keep them up like- it’s too hot, or I just don’t have the time. Then it got to the point where we would go outside to look at them and shake our heads at what appeared to be such a huge undertaking. We didn’t even know where to begin anymore. Briars and vines had run rampant and covered our once beautiful azaleas and bushes. The metal edging surrounding the beds was now invisible behind a sea of green, scraggly mess.

Well today, we made a decision. After church, we exchanged our Sunday best for work clothes, pulled on our heavy duty gloves, and headed out to tame the jungle that was claiming our flowerbeds.

As we bent down and began to pull weeds, we realized something. All those vines and briars had shallow roots and pulled easily away from the ground. We were then able to roll them off the bushes like a carpet. Fifteen minutes later, we stepped back and there were our beautiful azaleas and bushes, good as new.

This reminded me of my relationship with Christ. There are times when I’m neglectful in my reading of His word and my prayer time becomes less about Him and more about me. I’m too busy to pick up my Bible. I tell myself I’ll do it later, but then life and distractions get in the way. There always seems to be just one more task I need to accomplish, and before I know it, the hours of the day are gone and I’ve missed the chance to spend time with the Lord. As this becomes the norm, the inevitable happens. Life and sin began to weigh me down. My once happy spirit becomes entangled and ensnared in worldly desires and my relationship with Christ grows more and more distant until one day, I look at myself and realize that His light has been choked out. And let me tell you, that’s a heartbreaking realization.

But there is hope. Amidst all that muck, Christ is still there. He never leaves me. All I have to do is call out to Him, repent, and He’ll roll that sin away like an old carpet. He’ll break those snares that bind me, and I’m once again made brand new.

A true relationship with Christ takes work and it’s not always easy. But He is with me every step of the way and His word tells me so.

For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

Today I pray that if the briars of life are choking out His light within you, that you open your heart and your Bible and let the Master do His weeding.

Many blessing to you,
Robin

He Is Listening

He Is Listening

When I woke up this morning, I knew that today was the day for me to put all of life’s distractions away and finally return my focus to being a writer for Him. I’ve enjoyed my time off, but God has been sending me little nudges here and there to let me know that my vacation from writing needed to come to a close.

So this morning, I heeded those little nudges, canceled my lunch date with friends, and immersed myself in prayer and His word. And wouldn’t you know it, I’d made it a whopping ten minutes before a distraction hit.

It came in the form of a text message from my husband. He was having a bad day and decided that instead of waiting until he got home to discuss it with me, he would attempt to lay it out via text. Immediately, I recognized the situation for what it truly was- satan’s attempt to divert my focus away from God and what He wanted me to accomplish.

But I was ready for it. I was determined that satan would not kill, steal, or destroy what God had planned for me today.

Instead of ignoring my husband and his complaints, I sent him a quick response letting him know that he was interrupting a very important time for me. Then I asked him to pray about the situation and turn to God’s word to find peace about it.

And that was the end of that, or so I thought.

I finished up my quiet time by praying that God would give me the words to write, then I opened up my notepad app and stared at the blank screen, and stared….and stared some more. Just as I was beginning to get discouraged, the words rod and staff came to mind. I knew these words were from a verse in the Bible, but couldn’t remember where. I looked it up and found them in Psalms 23:4- Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.

I thanked God for the verse and began to write a blog post centered around fear. I was just getting to what I thought were some good points when my phone rang. It was my husband, again. He wanted to share with me the verses that God had led him to during his prayer time.

And now, I’ll share them with you.

He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalms 23: 3-5

It was several minutes before the goose bumps disappeared from my arms and the tears stopped sliding down my cheeks. When I was finally able to tell my husband about my own experience with that same verse, I was met by a short moment of silence, followed by a strangled sounding, “You’re kidding.”

Nope, I wasn’t kidding.

Needless to say, I shelved my blog post on fear for a later date.

I had asked God to give me the words to write today, and boy, did He ever. My husband had asked for peace, and boy, did God ever grant it.

Today, I pray that you never, ever doubt the power of prayer when it comes from a faithful heart. Not only is He listening, He is answering too.

Many blessings to you,
Robin

More Than a Glimpse

More Than a Glimpse

Loving her new life, Katie Phillips knows she is blessed beyond measure. She has an amazing husband, a son she adores, and a new life growing in her womb. She thought the pain and struggles from her past were over but with one accidental bump of a stroller, it all comes rushing back. The blue-eyed monster from her past is back, and he’s determined to take what he thinks is his.

As her life changes from idyllic to chaotic, will Katie stand strong in her renewed faith, or will she crumble when her dreams of a happy future are replaced by old nightmares?

More Than a Glimpse is the riveting and unpredictable sequel to Katie’s Glimpse.

Regular Mom or Hoarder

Regular Mom or Hoarder

Are you like me and have these piles of random things in your house that you have no idea what to do with? Like old paperwork you’re too afraid to throw away because as soon as you do someone will start yelling that they needed that receipt, statement, school note, etc. Just a few weeks ago, I had to dig some of my child’s homework from the trash and write an apology to his teacher around the food stains.

I also have a rather large pile of single socks taking up space on my dryer. This mystifies me completely because I’m pretty sure I bought them in pairs. And don’t get me started on my kids’ toys. In just about every room of my house lays a pile of forgotten Lego’s. Whoever came up with those should be shot. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of Lego’s, just come to my house and walk barefoot through my living room at night. One wrong step will have you limping the next day.

Oh, occasionally I get tired of looking at these piles and move them to another place just so the previous spot is clean, but in the end that solves nothing.

I’m sure many of you are saying ‘just get a file cabinet’ but the thing is, I already have one and it’s busting at the seams with an endless supply of my children’s misshapen art projects and tax forms. Heaven forbid you throw away a tax form. It’s like IRS embeds them with some kind of tracking device and as soon as they hit the trash can, the phone call comes that you are being audited.

As for those lone socks, well after a few unsuccessful months of waiting to find their mates, they join the pairs of old whitey tighties in my already overflowing drawer of dust rags. I wish you could see the looks my kids give me when I hand them a pair of old underwear to dust with, it’s priceless. And my son’s Lego’s, well let’s just say they make a lot of racket when you suck them up with the vacuum. 😉

So what’s a mom to do? Really, I’m asking, what should I do? I feel like I’m losing the battle against junk. We are having company tonight so my plan was to move all those piles into my bedroom. Only, I didn’t take into account that my husband might want to actually go in there. Sorry, honey, I’ve got to at least pretend that our house normally looks clean.

Any who, I just needed to vent today. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Maybe we should get together and compare socks, I may have one you need.

Many blessings to you,
Robin

Remarkably and Wonderfully Made

Remarkably and Wonderfully Made

Did you know that in 2012 there were 29.4 births for every 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19. That means there were 305,420 babies born to teenage girls and nearly 89% percent of these births occurred outside of marriage.* While the numbers have been declining over the last twenty years, the fact remains that there is still a large number of teenage girls facing this life changing event. Many of whom are scared and alone.

In my research, I also found that not all teen births are first births. In 2012, almost one in five births to 15 to 19-year-olds were to girls who already had one or more babies.* Wow, that’s a troubling figure.

Texarkana and the surrounding areas aren’t immune to the issue of teen pregnancy. Right now, there are girls at our local junior high and high schools that are pregnant. Maybe even in our middle schools. This past year alone, a local pregnancy center saw 830 girls, of which 502 had positive pregnancy tests. 2014 will likely be no different. According to the Center’s Executive Director, in January alone, they have already seen a significant jump in the number of clients that are abortion minded.

So why am I giving you these statistics? Well, first let me say these aren’t just statistics. These are girls that could be your daughter, your sister, your best friend, or in the past- maybe even you. Seventeen years ago, I was considered a statistic too. In my senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant. Terrified, I spent many nights in tearful prayer, not knowing what to do. After a few weeks of struggling with my secret, I finally broke the news to my parents. They were upset, as expected, but lovingly accepted the fact that they were becoming grandparents at too early of an age. My mother spent the next nine months in prayer for me, and was by my side when my precious son came into the world. Today, he is a senior in high school. The Lord has blessed him with the ability to kick a football and that ability is helping to send him to college. I can’t imagine my life without him. I am truly blessed to call him my son.

Unfortunately, not all teen pregnancies turn out like mine did. Some girls choose to abort their babies instead. Maybe it’s because they were scared, or maybe they felt they didn’t want to become a mother so soon, but whatever the reason the fact remains, those unborn children will never get to live out the life God had planned for them.

This point brings me back to the why. Why I’m telling you all of this. Here in Texarkana there is a place where pregnant teen girls can go to receive Christian counseling and support. First Choice Pregnancy Center has been offering pregnant teen girls a helping hand and a listening ear since 1974. The girls are never judged for their choices, but are lovingly offered the knowledge that there are other options for their unborn child besides abortion.

The staff and volunteers at First Choice are committed to providing their clients with accurate and complete information about prenatal development, abortion, adoption, sexual health and abstinence. They offer a wide array of services such a parenting classes for both the expectant mother and the father. They have a “Mommy Store” where baby clothes and other essentials can be purchased with points the client earns from attending classes. The Center offers early ultrasounds to expectant mothers so they can see the unborn child that’s being knitted in their womb. First Choice is also in the process of opening a maternity home for pregnant girls who have nowhere else to turn.

But First Choice Pregnancy Center can’t do all of this on their own. They need help. Their ministry is possible only because of the support they receive from dedicated volunteers, local churches, businesses, and individuals. This means you. You can help by volunteering your time or by giving a financial donation to First Choice. If that’s not possible, then you can do something just as important. Pray for them. Prayer is powerful, and God hears our every plea.

I’m doing my part to help too. Beginning February 1st, for every copy of Katie’s Glimpse that’s sold, a portion of the profits will be donated to First Choice Pregnancy Center. God has laid it on my heart that I’m to do this indefinitely, and I’m trusting in Him to make the impossible possible. I know only He can take this simple offering and turn it into something huge.

Today, I pray that if God has laid it on your heart to help this amazing ministry, that you don’t wait or make excuses. Contact First Choice Pregnancy Center at 903-792-5735 or visit their website at firstchoiceprc.com to see how you can be a part of their mission to save lives. I ask that you also pray for the girls that visit this center. Pray that they will open their hearts to God’s truth about the precious life growing inside of them.

I’m going to leave you with Psalms 139, verses 13-16.
For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

Many blessings to you,
Robin

* 2012 teen birth statistics provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services website.

Excerpts from More Than A Glimpse-Book 2 of The Glimpse Series

Excerpts from More Than A Glimpse-Book 2 of The Glimpse Series

Okay, so I promised you a couple of excerpts from the sequel to Katie’s Glimpse, but to protect my writing, I have to give you the boring legal stuff first:

More Than A Glimpse-Copyright 2014 by Robin Keahey. All rights reserved. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from the author. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

Now with that out of the way, here is another glimpse into the lives of Levi and Katie Phillips. Enjoy!

Excerpt 1–I gripped the stroller handle and tried to keep myself upright as my vision tunneled. I could not pass out. I got a hold of myself and backed the stroller up as JT leaned down to look at Asher. I heard the squeal of tires and looked over to see Levi jump from his truck and run towards us. A look of rage contorted his face. He rushed to us and stepped in front of the stroller, blocking JT’s view of Asher.

With his hands clenched into fists at his sides, he growled out, “Stay away from my family.”

I picked Asher up from the stroller and backed up a few steps, certain it was about to get ugly. JT smirked at Levi and stepped closer to him. He was about three inches shorter and had to look up slightly to get in his face. He wasn’t nearly as muscular either, but didn’t seem to be afraid of Levi like Seth had been.

“Your family? No, I don’t think so. That’s my son and Katie, she has always been mine. I just let you borrow what was left of her,” he fumed and poked his finger into Levi’s chest.

Oh, bad move, JT. My husband was a smart man. I’d learn from his fight with Seth that he never hit first. He just waited and let the other guy make that mistake, and it looked like JT was really close.

“You are insane! If you come near either one of them again, I will have you arrested. Do you understand me?”

I held my breath as I waited to see what JT did next. I didn’t have to wait long. He pulled back a fist and before I could move, landed a punch to Levi’s jaw. The sound of his flesh and bone making contact with my husband’s face was disturbing but to my relief, I realized Levi’s head had hardly even moved from the impact.

He looked down at JT and smiled. It was a smile I’d never seen before and if I ever did, I would be running for cover. I knew what was coming, so I turned Asher’s face away. I didn’t want him to see his daddy fighting, but I watched in awe as my gentle husband landed two brutal punches to JT’s face. I saw blood fly from his mouth after the first one, and the second one knocked him to the ground.

Levi took a step forward, bent at the waist, and leaned over the crumpled, bloody mess of JT. He spoke to him in a voice so low I couldn’t hear it. JT looked up at him, gave a wicked, bloody grin and spit right in his face. I gasped, shocked that he had the nerve to do that knowing that Levi could and would hurt him again. I expected Levi to unleash his inner beast, but instead he stood up and stepped back. With a look of disgust, he wiped the bloody spit from his face with his hand. He looked back at me and jerked his head towards the truck. I didn’t need any more encouragement. I grabbed the stroller and took off in a rush to the truck. I threw the stroller in the back before climbing in to strap Asher into his car seat. I didn’t want to get back out, so I climbed over the console to my own seat as Levi got in. I could feel the anger coming off of him in waves. I frantically dug some liquid sanitizer out of my purse. As he held out his hand, I grimaced at the red stain across his palm and poured until sanitizer spilled from his hand. Levi didn’t waste any time rubbing it into his hands and face.

***

 

Excerpt 2–Hallie placed the last dirty supper plate into the dishwasher as I wiped down the counter. The alarm beeped its usual warning as Levi opened the front door. He led Blake into the house. Levi had called him with our latest JT news and being the concerned friend that he was, he rushed right over. I heard their greeting from the kitchen and grabbed Hallie’s arm. “Come on. I’ll introduce you to Blake Thomas. He’s one of Levi’s friends and a police officer here in Jackson. He’s been helping us with the JT situation.”

Blake wasn’t in uniform, but had on jeans and a long sleeve button down shirt instead. His police cap had been replaced by a tan cowboy hat. I noticed his eyes flash to Hallie and watched as a huge grin crossed his face. He didn’t wait for introductions, just stuck his hand out to her. “You must be Katie’s friend.”

Hallie blushed bright red and took his hand. “Yes, I’m Hallie. It’s nice to meet you, Officer Thomas.”

Blake scoffed at the formal name she used and replied, “Now there is no need for all that ‘officer’ stuff. A pretty lady like you can always call me Blake.”

Levi groaned loudly while Hallie and I both giggled. Blake seemed reluctant to let go of her hand so Levi cleared his throat. “Oh, excuse me, ma’am,” Blake crooned in a strong southern drawl and released her hand.

We giggled again as Levi shot daggers from his eyes at Blake. “Do I need to leave the room so you ladies can be alone with him?” he asked dryly.

“Levi,” I hissed while Hallie stared at him wide-eyed.

Blake laughed loudly and smacked Levi on the chest. “Now don’t be getting all jealous. I can’t help it if the ladies know a good man when they meet him.”

Levi laughed. “Good grief, can’t you turn it off for just a minute?” He turned to Hallie. “Don’t pay any attention to him. He thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”

“And you think you’re top dog. Don’t forget who put you on your butt the last time we tussled, muscle man,” Blake fired back.

Levi rolled his eyes. “We both know it was a cheap shot. I wasn’t prepared, and you just got lucky.”

I looked over at Hallie in disbelief. Were these grown men or twelve-year-old boys fighting over a pretty girl. “Guys, can you two deal with who’s the better man at a later time? We have important things to discuss right now,” I said, throwing my hands up in frustration.

Both men hung their heads and muttered a snickered apology.

***

I want to take a minute to thank all the readers of Katie’s Glimpse. I appreciate all the great feedback and reviews I have received. My best publicity comes from you, and you are getting the word out on Katie’s Glimpse. Thanks for that guys. You are the best!

P.S.- I’m working hard and promise to be finished with Book 2 as soon as possible.

Many blessings to you,

Robin

 

Signed, Sealed, and DELIVERED

Signed, Sealed, and DELIVERED

If someone were to ask me to define myself in two words, my answer would be- Forgiven and Redeemed.  For me, these two principles of Christianity say it all.

The blood that Christ shed for us takes all the bad things we’ve done and washes them away. And while we are now forgiven, the consequences of our sins still linger. If only those could be washed away too, huh? Well, that’s not how it works and as much as we’d like not too, we still have to face those consequences head on.

As I worked on the ending to the sequel to Katie’s Glimpse a few days ago, (don’t get too excited, I skip around a lot) I tried to relate these principles of Christianity to my characters and thought how easy it would be to end the story with the bad guy getting his due in the end. That’s what everyone wants right? For the “good people” to ride off into the sunset, while the “bad people” are left eating their dust. Praise God that’s not how He sees it for us. We are all loved equally in His eyes. We are all His children. While the consequences may be different, every sin is all the same to God.

So where does that leave me in the story? Do I let the “bad guy” have redemption, or do I let him suffer for his past actions?

I’m not going to tell you which one I chose. I’m sure you think you already know, but if you remember the last few sentences in Katie’s Glimpse, then you should know by now that I love a surprise ending. My characters aren’t the only ones with a sly grin.

For me personally, I’m in awe that despite all the rotten things I’ve done in my lifetime (and believe me there have been plenty) that God doesn’t see me as a bad person. He still loves me and forgives me. Even as I continue to stumble in my daily walk, He’s right there holding my hand, pulling me back up to my feet.

Now, let me ask you some questions. What about you? Do you look at the person next to you and acknowledge that they are just as important to God as you are and deserve His forgiveness too? What about the “bad person” that has done something to hurt you? That one’s not so easy, is it? Our human nature tells us to not forgive. Lots of times we want that person to hurt as much as we do, and God gave us free will to choose how we respond to those feelings. So which one will you offer? Forgiveness or condemnation.

Today I pray that if you are facing pain inflicted by another, that you open your heart and remember which choice God made for you.

“We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7

Many blessing to you,
Robin.