The Uncluttered Life

Janet Robinson

The Cricket That Moved to Birmingham


Recently, while driving from Montgomery to Birmingham (Alabama), I noticed this brave little cricket clinging to my windshield wiper. He was hanging on for dear life, traveling ninety miles at….ummm….80 mph. I hadn’t noticed him when I left my house, where I assume he jumped on board. It wasn’t until I was about thirty minutes into the trip that I noticed him tucked into a little crevice, his body protected from the 80 mph wind while his antennae flapped wildly.

The further down the road I got, the more concerned I became for this poor little insect. I mean, I’ve seen bugs hitching rides before on my windshield wipers and, sadly, at the rate of speed I drive, they never make it very far before the wind shear rips them off and sends them flying. But this little guy was strong. He stuck. He endured. He persevered. He was like the Forrest Gump of bugs. He made it to Prattville. “Well, I’ve come this far; might as well go a little farther.” He made it to Clanton. “Well, I’ve come this far; might as well go a little farther.” He made it to Jemison. “Well, I’ve come this far; might as well go a little farther.” He was in it for the long haul.

My concern grew when my tag-along and I passed the Alabaster exit and hit true-blue 5:00 Friday Birmingham traffic. That is always a lovely sight (sarcasm) but even more so now that I had little Forrest attached to my car. When traffic slowed to a snail’s pace, the little guy emerged from the crevice and decided to stretch his legs. Literally. I saw him stretch his little hind legs. Hey, he was holding on with all his might, so I’m sure they needed some relief. The problem was, I was still about ten or fifteen miles from my destination; so when traffic started moving again, the little cricket perched on top of the wiper was in grave danger of being flung off by the impending wind. I accelerated cautiously, believing any moment he would disappear. Traffic began flowing at its usual pace, yet I found myself going the speed limit or even a little under. This is highly unusual for me. Nevertheless, he hung on bravely, his antennae continuing to flap wildly in the wind; and I found myself watching him more than the traffic. That’s never a good idea. Yet we prevailed unharmed.

By the time I had reached my destination, Mr. Cricket was just barely hanging on. I was surprised, when stopped at each red light, that he did not take the opportunity to jump off. I kept expecting it. Instead, he hung on until the journey came to an end and I parked safely near a patch of grass, hoping he would hop into the bushes rather than into the parking lot. I had no doubt he needed a nap. cricket.jpg

I shall never know the fate of this little miracle insect, but I can only hope that he is enjoying his new life at The Summit in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a rather beautiful shopping area. But even more so, this little guy reminded me of a very valuable lesson: if you have a spirit of endurance–that never let go, never give up attitude–there’s nothing you can’t do. All it takes is a little courage, enough strength to weather the storms…or winds…that come, someone to watch over you and encourage you (no I did not talk to the cricket, and he wouldn’t have understood me anyway, but you know what I mean), and with enough perseverance you can reach the peak of the mountain (which is ironically called the summit).

It’s the little things in life that can teach us or remind us of life’s greatest lessons, and I smile everytime I think of that little cricket. And every now and then I laugh when I consider that he’s looking around up there thinking, “Man, I only meant to go to Publix!” Haha, such is the writer within me.

by Janet Robinson © 2013

The Truth About Obedience


One of the best lessons I ever learned about God was from my daughter when she was only two years old. I had been trying to teach her to keep her sippy cup in the kitchen instead of bringing it into the den where it could have easily spilled on the carpet. She was never a defiant child, but for some reason she decided to test the limits on this one little issue. Each time she would cross over from the tile to the carpet, I would meet her there, take her cup away, pop her hand (yes, that’s terrible, I know…but hold on), and I would lead her to her little chair in the kitchen. She was perfectly able to see the television from there, so she was not in danger of missing one single episode of Teletubbies.

For a short period of time, this became our routine: I would give her juice, direct her to her chair, walk into the den to clean or whatnot, she would eventually cross the forbidden threshold, I would see her and walk over, take the cup, pop her hand (which she tried to hide behind her back), lead her back to her chair where she would dutifully sit in compliance until the next time. It was a test of wills, I tell you. But then one day something happened. One day Haylee did something different that softened my heart in a profound way, and not just towards her but towards God as well.

One day she saw me walking towards her with a stern look on my face, and she bowed her head in defeat and poked out her lip. But what she did next was what surprised me. Instead of hiding her hands behind her back, she lifted her little hand up to me with her palm up ready for me to pop it. When I saw that, my heart melted. Rather than popping her hand, I kissed it instead. She may have defied me, but knowing her punishment, she obeyed. And in her obedience, she found mercy. 4.1.1

I honestly believe with all my heart and from that moment on that that is how God see us–as His children. He knows the path He wants us to follow, yet we tend to rebel against His guidance. Why? Because we have a mind of our own; because we have free will. So He disciplines us. And I believe He does so gently. We may perceive it as harsh, but in all reality it could be worse. Regardless, it’s not so much our circumstances that we should focus on. Rather, it’s our reaction. How so? If we focus on our circumstances, our circumstances will overwhelm us. If we focus on His direction or His correction, we will be more focused on Him. In the midst of a storm, don’t ask, “Why are you allowing this, Lord?” Instead, thank Him for the trials and tribulations He has sent your way. Thank Him for walking with you through the valley instead of keeping you on the mountaintop. There is a purpose there, and the purpose is to draw you closer to Him and to refine you as silver (Psalm 66:10). So don’t rebuke His discipline. Welcome it. Don’t hide your hands behind your back, hoping to prevent Him from popping them. Give Him your hands in obedience. That’s where you’ll find His mercy. Quit saying, “I don’t deserve this, Lord. Why are you doing this to me?” Instead say, “You know better than I.” Will this shorten your walk through the valley? Only time will tell. But what it will give you is peace along the journey. I have no doubt.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

by Janet Robinson © 2013

Set Free

spiritThere are times that slip away;

there are times that come and go.

There are times when all is lost;

there are times you’ll never know.

Lost in the forest,

can only see the trees.

Words are unspoken,

whispers are lost in the breeze.

Gather your courage;

garner your strength.

For those who sit still,

will grow weary in length.

Igniting a fire,

letting it be,

will surely result,

in a spirit set free.


by Janet Robinson © 2013


Raging River


Where there is a rock,

there is a river,

and where the water flows,

it goes around the stone.

It doesn’t cease because of obstuction,

it doesn’t meander in its wake.

Its power is not in depth or breadth,

but in strength of movement.

It is swift, that determined current.

It is strong, those restless waters.

There is no contentment in stillness,

no peace in slowing streams,

no glory in clear calmness.

It rises against the jagged path,

it traverses dangerous trails.

It has its sights set on distant seas,

beyond myopic view.

The raging river has no time to waste

on obstructions that sit still.

by Janet Robinson © 2013

Little Boy


He sits by the window, staring beyond what he sees. Outside there are trees and bushes and an open field, but what he sees are cowboys and indians and magical horses that charge at such speeds it looks as though they are flying. He dreams of a different world as he sits in his pajamas and cowboy boots, his bow and arrow in his lap and his cowboy hat beside him. How he longs to go outside and fight within the battle. But he is in trouble…again.

His bed is a spaceship; his room is the galaxy. He navigates among the stars, meeting aliens on other planets. His imagination runs wild from blast-off to re-entry. He is the commander of his vessel, communicating with mission control. “Houston, this is Andromeda. We are landing on the moon.” He explores his room which is no longer his room, but a surface of gray powdered dirt that is as soft as ash. He bounces around in zero gravity, picking up large moon rocks. He is being punished on earth, but he is a hero in the heavens.

“Can I go outside and play?” he asks his mother days later. He has doctored aliens and fought off space monsters; he has raced an indy car and won a trophy that was taller than he; he has jockeyed a horse that won the Triple Crown; he has quarterbacked a team that won a championship, throwing the ball to score the winning touchdown. But now John Wayne needs him. He needs his help fighting the indians who are threatening to scalp the men and steal their horses. He’s been anxious, wondering if he should take his bow or his BB gun. He wants to climb the big oak tree and defend from high above.

“Are you going to be a good boy from now on?” she asks.

“Yes, ma’am,” he promises.

But she knows it’s hard for a little boy to keep such a promise. Little boys are curious and bright. They don’t look for trouble, but trouble always finds them. Mothers should know and forgive; but good mothers have to punish, even through tears.

She smiles as she takes his empty cereal bowl. “You may go play, but don’t go down near the river again. Not without your father. Tell ol’ Mr. John Wayne your mother said so.”

He nods timidly, smiling shyly, his blue eyes shining. “Yes, ma’am.”

When armed with his BB gun, he races to the edge of the trees. He’s told the indians are quiet at the moment, but they could awaken at any time. He scales the tree with ease and waits on a low, sturdy branch. He is the look-out and will whistle the call when the enemy moves.

His mother smiles as she watches him, admiring his creative spirit and his tender heart. How she loves that little boy.

by Janet Robinson © 2013

Simpler Times


I miss those days of playing in the rain and rolling in the grass. Those days of collecting roly-polies in jars underneath the cool of the house in summertime. I miss jumping on trampolines and racing down water slides. I miss night swimming and my mother’s cooking. Funny how those days of childhood slip away so quietly. We had hoped for the days to past quickly, for the school years to fly by, for Christmases and birthdays to hurry up and get here. And little by little, our childhood disappeared.

What have we left behind now that we’ve grown up? Childhood friends who have moved away, visiting our grandparents who have long since passed, and time with our parents that we took for granted.  Days are numbered the older we get. Time still slips by as quickly as it ever did, and now that we’re older and we see its passage, we are helpless to stop it. We long to turn back and return to simpler times when we heard our mother humming in the kitchen or our dad whistling in the yard. How we long to hear their laughter. How we miss their voices.

Now that we are older, we follow in our parents’ footsteps. We are the ones who have grown older than we ever thought we would. Not too long ago, such an age seemed a million years away. Now we look behind us to see our children becoming adults, and we look ahead of us and see our parents turning into our grandparents. We wish to freeze time. We wish to stay in this moment so that Christmas doesn’t come too fast, so that birthdays don’t rush by, so that voices of those we love don’t quietly disappear.

How we long for simpler times.

by Janet Robinson © 2012

The Song of Prayer


Here is my heart,

it sings a song from the depths of my soul.

It cries for mercy, it begs for strength.

It wonders and wishes for understanding when

nothing makes sense.

There are no words, there are no whispers.

I can’t comprehend what language it speaks.

On the song of a prayer it weeps with tears,

hoping beyond hope,

believing beyond belief.

The song of the heart is a mysterious thing,

a gift from the Creator who created us.

A language only He understands.

The song of the heart sings praises through tears,

it calms our fears.

It comforts us when we don’t understand,

and calms the wounded soul,

when we let go and trust in His plan.

by Janet Robinson © 2012

Those Who Shine…

lanterns_4a5c4b5c7aec1Shine through the hurt,

shine through the pain.

Shine through the things

that bring on the rain.

Shine through the madness,

shine through the past.

Shine through the ghosts

of things that don’t last.

Shine through the dark,

shine through the depths.

Shine through the moments

we can’t catch our breaths.


There is a light within,

where darkness can’t hide.

A path we seek,

where we refuse to abide.

So we let our light shine

to show us the way,

as we travel the path

we choose to blaze.

by Janet Robinson © 2012

Wow, great analogy. Very insightful thoughts…

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