Friday, February 24, 2012


Hi friends,
I have several things to share today --

1.  Yesterday, I posted a poem about one of my 'heros,' but I forgot to remind you to send me your descriptions of the hero in your life.  Use the 'comments' box and simply give me a bit of info - I'll use that to craft a poem or essay about your loved one.  Each Thursday I plan to Celebrate someone new!  Thanks!

2.)  I'm introducing a New SHORT STORY CONTEST!!   It's for stories in any genre - the only stipulation is that you keep it clean.  Maximum word count is 2000 words.  Entry fee is $5. (Use the 'Support my Blog' button.) For that you will get a detailed critique of your story and the helpful feedback that every writer craves.  (A great value!)  Please send only one submission and only unpublished works. Simultaneous submissions are fine, and you keep all rights.  The winner will receive a trophy and a certificate and will be published here. 

Always wondered if you have talent?  This is your chance to find out!

You may begin submitting at any time.  Send your story to robyn at robo1224(at)  Put 'Short Story Submission" in the Subject Line.  Don't forget to add your name and your contact info, like email or phone number.  Contest ends May 31st and the winner will be announced by the end of the month.  If you have any questions, direct them to: robo1224(at)

I would like to ask everyone to PLEASE PASS THIS ON!  People who dabble in writing are always looking for ways to improve and there are rarely ever contests that offer honest feedback.

Thanks - and Good luck!!

3.)   Here's my humble offering for today.  It's one of my own short stories.  Word count: 750. 

Long Road Home

I turned down the last long road toward home. When I think of 'growing up' I think of this place, though I've been twenty-five years removed. My grandparents passed away more than ten years ago, so I have no idea if there'll be someone living in the little house by the creek, but I feel the need to see the place again, to fill me up, and to replenish me. I'm sure the folks there will understand.

Looking back, I remember long, barefoot summers. Tall trees called my name and I answered greedily with feet that were calloused and made tough by rocks and running. I remember stomping and wading in creeks that were alive with flying and crawling things, and throwing myself bodily down a vertical hill to roll end-over-end through sweet green clover without a care in the world, except being able to hear the dinner bell when it rang.

I remember trying to sleep in on cold mornings, when hearty handmade quilts were piled eight inches deep and the thin linoleum floor that waited was like ice. There was breakfast waiting, too. Homemade 'cathead' biscuits and red eye gravy made with coffee and meat drippings; bacon and sausage piled to the ceiling and eggs fried the way you liked them. Coffee was boiled on the back stove-eye, so my grandfather would always pour a little into his saucer and slurp from there until it cooled enough to drink from the cup. My grandmother was busy. She wore a floured apron, not a flowered one. With eleven kids, it took a lot of food; she wore a track between the stove and kitchen table, filling plates and getting orders. But she did it with a smile. I miss her to this day.

The road took a curve. Branches hung low over my car like arms waiting to hug me as I returned.

My grandfather, a preacher, taught us the precepts of the Bible by his example. He never chastised us with long sermons when we were caught doing wrong. He allowed us to make our own mistakes, knowing those lessons were the ones that lasted longest. But I remember him sitting in his recliner reading his Bible by lamplight and watching as his eyes grew worse and the Bible moved further and further from his eyes over the years until it sat on his knees. I remember playing games with cards and knowing if he came in and caught us the cards would go straight into the fire with no questions asked.

My car rumbled onto a gravel road. I slowed and rolled the windows down. The air didn't smell this fresh in the city; there you couldn't catch a breath that dipped deep into your belly, and that expanded against your belt buckle and fought for room. In the shadow of storied buildings your breathing was choked with delusions, desires and petty pants and exhales.

The little white house came into view and my heart lifted. I could see the chicken coop and barn sitting out behind, as always. There was no car in the drive, but that didn't mean there wasn't anyone at home. My car picked up speed, throwing rocks and bits of gravel. It had been too long.

I pulled into the well-used drive and cut off the ignition. I got out of the car and stood, turning, with one hand on the hood. Already, I could feel my empty places filling up. This was it. This was where I belonged. Not in a city, packed arm-to-arm with faceless people.

There was a faded, weathered, white sign by the door. I approached. "Condemned," the paper stated in cold, unfeeling letters. I could see why. The house hadn't served tenants in years. The roof had partially caved in, and strangers had knocked out most of the windows. A tattered, dishcloth curtain fluttered from one of the shattered kitchen windows.

The scene was devastating, but appropriate, a perfect analogy for how I felt: broken in, battered, abused, discarded, empty, forgotten. But I was coming home. And it was easier this way, not having to deal with strangers in the house. I went back to the car, removed some things and retraced my steps. Using hammer and nails, I pounded in a sign of my own, with more force than was probably necessary: "SOLD."

The house would have to be rebuilt, but then, so would I. We both had good foundations; I was looking forward to it.


Hope your Friday is all it can be.  I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!  robyn

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Watched Her

Before I get to today's post, I want to tell you about a really cool thing I found yesterday.  There's a website that's creating a Million-Line Poem!  And people like you and me can help make it happen...and don't worry, you don't have to be an amazing words-smith to participate.  You simply submit a couplet, or two lines.  That's it.  You need to at least go check it out.  You'll find the poem at:

if you decide to submit, tell them robyn corum sent you!  *smile*

  - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> - <> -
Now, if you'll remember, today is "Celebration Thursday!"  The day I've set aside to honor the 'common folk' among use who live their lives in uncommon, inspiring ways.  Since I haven't had anyone offer suggestions (shame on you!), I have my own hero to honor today.  Her name is Bea Woodard.  The poem below was written about 20 years ago...but I remember it like it was yesterday.  She is still a strong example as far as I'm concerned.  She lost her son since this poem was written, but she manages to find joy in life.  I find joy in her.  Thanks, Bea.

I Watched Her

I saw a lady who knew
she only had her child for a short while.
Her boy has a crippling,
Each day is filled with heartache
as he slowly loses
the fight for his life.
But she, through the pain, manages to find joy.

I watched her.

She made a pallet on the floor for him.
She had brought
pillows and blankets and
all the equipment she would need...

Though he is a young teen,
he is more like a helpless baby,
than most babies are.

She carefully and lovingly
lifted him from his wheelchair to
the simple bed. She climbed onto the floor and
propped him against
her lap and chest.

I watched her.

We were in the nursery at church services.
She doesn't allow this 'problem' to
keep her
from the assembly.

God bless her energy and
her example.

We listened to the message
as it squawked through the speaker provided.

I couldn't help but think
I was witnessing a greater sermon
than the one being taught in the auditorium.

I watched her.

As I rocked my newborn baby.

She stroked his back and neck.
He moaned. A continual sound. She hummed.
He was as comfortable as she could make him.

There was a washrag handy, so she could gently wipe
the drool that escaped from his lips.

She held one of his hands tenderly in her own.
She caressed it lightly, thoughtfully,
and somehow
I knew exactly what she was doing...

memorizing every detail.

She traced each finger; his hand; the small frail arm;
burning the memory into her mind.
For one day.

I watched her.

And I wanted to cry out at the horrible
of it.

Then I saw my

Am I different?
I'm promised no more than this.

The reality is that
she KNOWS.

I love my children; care for them; expecting
that I'll always have them.
How many things today did I take for granted?

How many moments did I miss?
How many times today was I so wrapped up in my little one
that my older child went hungry for my attention?

How many times today could I have loved my children more?
Touched them?
Thanked my Wonderful God for them?

I watched her.

And then, finally, I turned to the tiny infant lying at my breast,
and I cried.


Thanks for reading!  See you tomorrow! 
PS - Go hug your child.  *smile*

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In a perfect world:

Here are a few things I think of when I consider the concept of a "Perfect World."  You can add your own ideas, too.  (Keep it clean.)  *smile*  Have a great day!  robyn

There would always be an extra roll of toilet paper under the sink.

Adults could still have "Show and Tell" day.

The grass would never need mowing - but would stay a verdant green all year long.

You'd never pick up the phone to an unwanted sales call.

Christmases would always be white.

Children couldn't be hurt.

You'd never lose one sock.

Candy and sweets would not be fattening. Liver and onions might be!

The printer would never run out of ink.

Birds wouldn't poop unexpectedly and in unfortunate places.

The slow driver would be in front of someone else for a change!

Legs would never need shaving.

The left-overs in the fridge would be eaten, or would miraculously disappear before they turned into science projects.

There'd be no such thing as dust in a home.

Children would put away toys and cups.

Your favorite t-shirt or jeans wouldn't shrink.

Fingernail polish would stay on until YOU took it off.

Cashiers would always be friendly and polite.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Feature: "Celebration Thursdays!!"

I want to introduce a new weekly feature of Robyn’s Rules called, “Celebration Thursdays!”

Have you ever noticed that today’s news and entertainment programs spotlight some individuals whose activities are less  than stellar?  And who themselves can be somewhat less - shall we say - than inspirational?  Our athletes, musicians and entertainers sometimes let us down in the ‘hero’ department.

The fact is, we don't have to look to Hollywood or New York for heroes.  Most of us are blessed to know – or to have known -- amazing, inspiring, note-worthy people in our own day-to-day lives!  I think it’s time we stand up and give these simple folks the shout out they truly deserve.   I hope you’ll join me. 

Please participate by commenting on any post in the Robyn’s Rules blog.  In the comment, BE SURE to use the words, “Celebration Thursdays Nominee.”  Then give at least two reasons why your friend or family member, or even famous historical figure, should be honored.

Be fun!  Be witty!  Be creative!  But be sincere.  Make us laugh.  Make us weep. Remember, everyone else can see your posts, too.  AND keep ‘em clean!

 I may need further info, so if you follow my blog by email, make sure that I can put your name and email together. (Sometimes the two never seem to fit)   

Each Thursday I’ll post a poem, story or essay to honor those TRULY SPECIAL PEOPLE in our lives.   

I can’t wait to get started!  Get those submissions rolling in!   God bless!   robyn

Don't Focus On The Flies

I detest flies and their kin.   How about you?

I can't stand to have them in my home. Spotting a single fly will drive me from any comfortable chair, away from any guest I have, into the kitchen for my fly-swatter, and off onto an extended and single-minded foray.

I have a good life. My God has blessed me with much more than I deserve. I have a good home, a wonderful husband, three beautiful children and an outstanding son-in-law. I have good health, good friends, food to eat, clothes to wear and a car to drive. I am warm when it is cold and comfortable when it is hot.

But if a fly enters my domain - I become miserable! I am angry and on a mission: I must destroy! Why?

Is it Fear? No. Odds are against the fly doing me physical damage by putting his dirty little appendages on anything I'm going to ingest. I couldn't tell you the number of flies I've had the displeasure of meeting in my fifty years. Of those, several didn't make it - though not NEARLY enough -- but I'm still here. It's not fear that sends me after a fly-swatter.

Is it Curiosity? No. We dissected flies in High School. I got up close and personal then and I'm over that.

So what motivates me?

It's simple - the fly BUGS me! He takes my eyes off my blessings. A fourth-of-an-inch-long bug enters my house and does a better trick than David Copperfield...He makes my house DISAPPEAR! My party guests VANISH! And for just a little while he is the center of my focus. I forget every good and perfect thing because all I can see is FLY !

A corollary to this happens in my life:

1.) I get up in the morning feeling a little achy:

a. I can take a couple of pain relievers, and do a few stretches to try to get rid of the ache right away, or

b. I can stretch the pain out all day, knowing that nothing will look right and nothing will go right when all I can see is this particular 'fly'.

2.) While waiting to check out in the 20 items or less line, I realize that someone in front of me has 24 items!

a. I can say with a shrug, "Oh well... C'est la vie"! or

b. I can make a scene and call a manager.

3.) I attend a Professional baseball game. A long, hard , driving ball comes right down the third base line and into the stands where I'm sitting. Homerun! Everyone starts to scrabble, but the ball Plops neatly into MY glove. Wow. Before I can even turn and show my friends, the man to my left elbows me, jostling the ball out of my glove, on purpose. Now it's HIS ball. Do I:

a. Scream for back up, 'cause it's ON! or

b. Shrug and think, 'what a poor, sad fellow' (and hope someone pours beer down his back when we all sit back down.)

I'm not saying how I did on this exam, but the question is: Do I focus on the flies or on my Life?

Let me give you one more example.

This morning I took my youngest child to school. On my return route, I was following a brand new 2012 Lincoln, when suddenly, a moth appeared between me and the steering wheel. (Not a snake, not a thief, not a murderer: a moth.)

Though I am not afraid of moths - in my mental filing cabinet, they are classified with flies. And I instantly began trying to shoo it out the window. It was only by luck that I noticed the cars up ahead had come to an abrupt stop, because I was focused on the 'fly'. An accident was avoided, but it could have easily been otherwise. (Don't tell my hubby.)

There are so many beautiful things in this world, so many wonderful conversations, and so many tasks we can undertake and complete, if we won't allow ourselves to focus on the blemishes of this world.

I know I'll always want to get rid of the flies, but my goal is to keep them in perspective. I have a wonderful life. Hopefully the flies won't make me forget that.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hi there, Hero.

You know, it occurred to me today that I haven't heard much lately about our men and women in the armed services - beyond the verbal skirmishes about the pros and cons of their returning home from certain occupied countries.  

Sometimes, in the rush and bother of our day-to-day lives, it's easy to forget what they're doing, isn't it?  At least for a small space of time.  I, personally, believe that is truly tragic.   

Below you'll find an open letter I've written to these very important people.  I hope you'll take the time to read it.  But more than that, if you know someone in the service, I hope you'll pass it on. 


Hi there, Hero:
My name is Robyn. I'm a housewife, (proud) mom, professional school volunteer, part-time speaker and budding author. I don't have any degrees, or fancy diplomas. I'm not a doctor, a lawyer or an Indian chief.  *smile*   I'm just a simple country gal stringing a bunch of letters and words together for some really important folks. Bear with me. You just grab hold and we'll see where we end up.

I've been having a hard time trying to figure out exactly where to start this conversation. It's funny. I'm a really loud, kind of obnoxious, out-spoken person in real life. I have one of those laughs that you can hear from across the room (which I hate.) But it would probably surprise some people to learn I also have a bashful side, and it's hard to know quite where to begin a new friendship...especially one as important as this one. Your friendship and respect mean a lot to me, 'cause YOU mean a lot to me.

I think about you a great deal. Wherever you are, doing that thing you do; for me and my family. Now, I realize you may not be thinking of ME and my particular family while you're doing your job, but it works out just the same.

I respect you a lot. And I know my day-to-day world is able to keep spinning on its axis because you DO keep doing that thing you do.

For example, my kids get up and go to school each and every morning.

Here in our quaint little town in North Alabama, there are three elementary schools. When my children were smaller - we CHOSE the one our children attended. (BTW, my son used to shower and get ready for school the night before - clothes and all, and then jump into bed. Did any of you ever do anything so silly?)

Tomorrow morning, on Sunday, I'll get up and listen to my 15-year-old daughter excitedly preparing for the church services we CHOOSE to attend. My 19-year-old son will stay home, because he has made a CHOICE to leave our faith for the present time (and break our hearts.)

On the way, we'll pass some construction projects - yep, things have slowed down some. But they're still there, and thank goodness, too. My family happens to be in the Building Supply business.

But I know who to thank when I see a contractor leaning a ladder against a new house frame. And if he's a smart contractor, he'll whisper a prayer of thanks with every board he secures and every nail he hammers down, because a United States Serviceman helped put him on that ladder.

After church services, my family will decide whether to come home for lunch or to eat out. That's a privilege we enjoy that many others don't, and we know it. Later in the evening, we'll playfully argue about which channel and show to watch on TV, or if we should turn it off all together. (HA!)

Sometime next week, I'll end up at the grocery store - and I may accidently find myself fussing because I have too many boxes of cereal to choose from.

In about ten months, I will get to choose whether I will stay home or head out to vote. (For the record, I will be at the polls.)

And because of you, I can complain about all of the above.

I wanted to let you know that I realize it's the job you do that allows me and my family to make these day-to-day decisions. We are able to walk freely, worship freely, and work freely.  We LIVE freely each moment of our lives - thanks to you..

Not only that, but you are willing to do for me what I am not willing to do for myself.  I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the courage it takes to do what you do. To say I admire you is almost an insult. You ARE my Hero.

I'm just a little teary now - but before I go, let me say it as plainly as I can. Thank You. From the bottom of my heart. You are part of a long line of brave men and women willing to put others before themselves, and America above all.

God bless you, and God bless The United States of America. Now and forever.

Robyn Corum


A Step-Mother's Regrets

I hope some of you will be able to relate to this one.  I wrote it many years ago, but it's still one of my favorites.  There are many wonderful Step parents out there and this is an official salute to you and all you do.  You are appreciated! 
A Step-Mother's Regrets
I wasn't there when you were born,
you weren't held in these arms;
and though I'm just your father's wife,
I've come to know your charms.
'Twas other hands, it was not mine,
that felt your childlike touch.
It wasn't me who held you near...
but I love you just as much.
It wasn't me who brushed your tears,
and wiped your pain away.
It wasn't me that watched you grow,
though I'm proud of you today.
I wasn't there for Sunday walks,
or to watch your childhood games.
I wasn't there to see those things...,
but I miss them just the same.
I wasn't there for late-night talks,
I never held your hand.
But the light you've brought into my day
has made my life more grand.
I may be just your Father's wife,
and Mother never be...
but I know I couldn't love you more,
if you were part of me.

                                                                     -  robyn corum 2/2012

New Beginnings


Peace and new beginnings

Sunbeams on my face

God's whispers in my inner ear

Reflections of His grace

Sparkle down from heaven

Touch me through the trees

They warm me with their amber glow

And bring me to my knees

All is right in my world

Stretch my arms out wide

I let the love light fill me up

To melt the cold inside.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Aging (Somewhat) Gracefully

Getting old isn't so bad, actually.

When I was young, of course, I swore it would never happen to me; just as I knew that driving fast or cheating on tests meant punishment for everyone else but me. Somehow I've gotten a tiny bit wiser as time has passed, but I'm smart enough to know that's not altogether MY doing. There have been some extraordinary people dropped into my life.

I remember my grandfather, a country preacher. He wasn't a big man, only five foot, nine inches tall and barely ninety pounds soaking wet, but that man could throw a bale of hay over a truck and work the equivalent of a day before most people got out of bed. At Christmas, he rejoiced in bringing in a box of oranges to share, a throwback to the days when oranges were all his own family had as a Christmas treat. He'd dress as the sweetest, skinniest Santa you've ever thought to see and buck dance for all the kids.

His wife, my grandmother, was a precious treasure in the community. She had eleven kids and thirty-three grandkids. I don't guess she ever had a 'sick-day' in her life. One of my favorite stories occurred when the family had to rebuild their home because the highway was coming through. The boys took that old house apart piece by piece and put it back together forty feet or so from its original place. It took about a month, and my grandmother cooked three meals a day on a pot-belly stove under a tree until that new house was finished. Later on, in her seventies and eighties, she always made time to go visit the 'old folks' in the nursing home, most of whom were younger than she!

There's my mother who has aged so gracefully. I wasn't scared of turning forty and I'm not scared of fifty, because I watched her do it first, and she's shown me that Life truly does get better with time.

All the parts don't work the same; but I can't deny that there are some parts that work better. I know now not to speed - well, most of the time.

Breathing in and out means a great deal more to me than it once did. Simple things bring pleasure: looking at my kids, the sky, my husband. Small moments can bring a sigh.

Getting old doesn't seem to be so bad, after all.

What are your thoughts on it?
rc/ 2012

brave, brave daffodil

brave, brave daffodil
standing strong in winter's chill

bright surprise against the snow
bringing forth a happy glow

but pray my dear, where are your friends?
waiting for the cold to end?


brave, brave daffodil
blooming forth where'er thy will

regardless of the wind and rain
thy cheerful show is not in vain

whispering of the coming spring
sparkles to the eye thou bring


brave, brave daffodil
ah, my heart, thou doest fill!

the trees in barren winterscape
stare at you with mouths agape

the red bird's song in quiet trill,
"brave, brave daffodil!"

rc 2/2012

I hope you aren't suffering from winter's grip.  I long for the brightness of spring!  (Hurry spring!)
Have a fabulous day!  robyn