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Robin Kramer speaks, too.

I'm just going to do it.  I'm going to come out and say it.  I'm going to put myself out there, right after I finish this unnecessarily long series of opening sentences which repeat the same thing.  Here goes:

Since you're reading this blog and have noted its fitting "Robin Kramer Writes" title, you know that I write.  But did you know that I speak, too?  By "speak," I don't simply mean that I let words come out of my mouth when I'm casually conversing with other people.  Rather, I mean that I periodically get the opportunity to let words come out of mouth when I have a microphone and there are people in an actual audience who listen to those words and sometimes even take notes.

It always amazes me.

Over the past few months there's been a slight uptick in the number of speaking opportunities I've had, in fact.  Quite recently, I've spoken at a MOPS group, back-to-back mid-week services at my church, and a weekend women's conference.

I like to speak and, most days, I'm very good at it.  I say "most days" because, as I've discussed with my husband who also speaks regularly, you can't always be perfectly "on."  And sometime circumstances play a factor, like when a sick family member discovers your speaking notes -- notes that had been written quite carefully on the back of Chick-fil-a napkins, mind you -- and then uses those speaking notes as a Kleenex the day before your talk.  (But I'm talking hypothetically, of course. That never actually would happen in my household.)

More pointedly, beyond my personal enjoyment of speaking, I believe that God is nudging me to step into this ability and do more of it.  As a teaching professor of public speaking and rhetoric, my professional life revolves around messages.  This is what I do.  I acknowledge that this ability to teach and help others learn and live successfully is not just my vocation, but also part of my calling with ministry.

So, this is the point where I subtly advertise my services and share this link to my speaking page so you can browse several topics I've covered in the past and read a few testimonials from conference attendees who say extremely nice things, yet are not at all related to me.

Nice things like:
"Robin is excellent.  She shares in such an understandable and relatable way that lets you absorb and apply exactly what she's teaching."
 And other nice things like:
 "I love Robin's humor and transparency!  Each time I hear her speak, I leave feeling encouraged and refreshed."

Robin Kramer writes and speaks.  I can't help it, people: words pour forth from me.  So if you, your church, your women's ministry, or your organization ever has an event where you're looking for a speaker, I'd love for you to contact me.

And if you'd like to listen to a sample message, I uploaded the talk from an Inspiring Women conference I spoke at several years ago.  Enjoy!

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Short and Sweet: Fill the Gaps

A lesson on community, in 100 or fewer words:

One evening last week, I received an email asking if anyone could cover classes for a colleague whose son had an accident.  Since I had no obligations during one slot, I immediately replied yes.  Others did the same.  Within no time, her classes were covered.

The next day, a neighbor called with news of her father's failing health.  She'd need to travel abroad to visit him, and we arranged what days I'd watch her daughter during her trip.

Because this is what community does. It finds one aspect of a hard situation and makes it better.  It fills the gaps.

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Parenting Survival Guide: We Will Do Better Tomorrow

If there ever was a day to be glad that my family isn't the subject of an ongoing documentary that requires cameras to capture the nuances of our day-to-day interactions, it was yesterday.  (And about a five minute segment this morning, but that's neither here nor there.)

Yesterday did not reflect our finer moments.  Not for my children, who couldn't quite get it together in the manners, common courtesy, respect, and keeping things in perspective categories.  And not for me, who failed to perform in the effective discipline, not-blowing-a-gasket, and avoiding catastrophic lines of reasoning categories.

In other words, we were quite excellent together, if you define excellence as letting every minor annoyance simmer and then explode into intense emotional outbursts.  We had tears and/or near-hyperventilation about our lunch menu, our dinner menu, the lack of a dessert menu, television limits, cell phone limits, a game of Parcheesi, and the fact that an annoying sibling had the audacity to be EXISTING AND SITTING ON THE OPPOSITE COUCH IN THE SAME ROOM as the annoyed sibling. 

Gold stars, all around.

While I wish I could tell you that before our heads hit our pillows, we each experienced an epiphany where we saw the errors in our ways, humbly apologized to one another, turned the other cheek, and deferred our preferences for the greater good of the family unit, that's not the case.  Most of us went to bed cranky and peeved.

In fact, bedtime went something like this:

Husband: "The girls are in their rooms.  They're ready for you to say goodnight."

Me (lying in bed underneath my quilt with a magazine and a piece of chocolate, pretending that the world outside doesn't exist, and exhaling a labored and dramatic sigh.)  "Do I have to?"


Me:  "Okay, okay..."  (shuffle down hallway reluctantly)  "Goodnight."

Offspring:  "Night."

Me (shuffle back to my bedroom): "There. Done."

Needless to say, familial warmth was not entirely palpable. 

When my head hit the pillow for real, after the magazine was skimmed, the chocolate was eaten, my teeth were brushed, and the lights were turned off, I admitted that this isn't how I want our home to be.  Home is not a place to lace up your gloves and fight; it's a place to let down your guard.  It's a place where we -- kids and parents alike -- should overlook offenses, and daresay, care about others enough that we try to minimize offenses before they even start.

And that wasn't the case yesterday.  Yesterday was a flop.

But one of my last conscious thoughts before drifting to sleep was that we'll do better tomorrow. 

We'll do better tomorrow.  Even with the ugliness of today, we still care enough to want to improve and move forward.  Even with the crummy attitudes and comments, we still want to get it right.  Even with the apathy of the evening, we still believe that these relationships matter profoundly.

One bad day doesn't ruin it all.  Tomorrow is coming.  We will fight for our family, and that's more powerful than those bad patches when we fight against them just because they've annoyed us by sitting on the adjacent couch.

We'll do better tomorrow.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

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