All posts by Robin S. McDonald

January Birthdays – A Poem

Some time ago in a possible April storm,
A spring night of fun, and then you were born!
Happy New Year! Your exhausted parents cried,
As they dragged the dead Christmas tree finally outside.

Whether your sign is Capricorn or Aquarius,
You started the year off with quite a fuss!
“Im first! Here I am!
My arrival has made this new year grand!”

No pool parties for you, a winter child,
Indoor games and firewood piled.
Hay rides and hot drinks,
Snow forts and skating rinks.
Frosty nights and chilly days
Have become your way to celebrate.

So happy birthday to you the January start
We wish you well from the bottoms of our hearts!
It’s great we get to celebrate you,
It helps to chase away the winter blues!



June Birthdays – A Poem

Long ago in a cool September,
Your parents had a hot night to remember!
Nine months down and now it’s June,
And “Free at Last!” was your mother’s tune!

As a June baby to be free is cool.
Yes! Freedom from class and freedom from school!
You’re free to vacation or just head to the pool.

Do you share a birthday with Old Glory?
Flag Day remembers Betsy Ross’ story.
And wars were fought but freedom won,
So Juneteenth declares slavery undone!

Now the summer days are here again,
With cookouts and reunions with your distant kin.
Oh, the excitement it brings to every tot,
To spend their birthday with this questionable lot!
Why your father’s uncle’s cousin, Pete
Might steal your present and sell it on the street!

On a happier note than Great Aunt Mae,
Your dad scored big for Father’s Day!
Because of you, a new tie he’ll get,
Or start a new project with a shiny new tool set!

You might love diamonds like Marilyn Monroe,
Or balance your budget like Ross Perot.
Be tough like Eastwood through and through,
They’re all June babies just like you!

Summer fun and weddings every week,
Freedom rose with a voice to speak.
But another sound rose loud and strong,
The happy chorus of your birthday song!

So happy birthday to you born in the month of June!
May the freedoms of this month give you lots to do.
We love this month of summer come,
But in our book, your birthday is number one!
Happy Birthday!

April Birthdays – A Poem

April rains bring birth pangs,
At least to your mother long ago.
As the thunder clapped,
The doctor gave you a slap,
Then poked and prodded you from head to toe!

A Spring baby, out you sprung!
Full of life and ready to run.
With flowers to pick and gardens to seed,
You might spend your birthday pulling weeds!

April Fools! That’s just a joke!
But cleaning and planting might get you stoked.
You might love art as many do,
Since Da Vinci and Shakespeare share birthdays with you!

As an April child sports might be your thing,
The Boston Marathon or the “Hey batta Saaa-Wing!”
Track and Field will get you across the the line,
Just take your Benadryl, the pollen count is sure to climb!

Easter is here so dress your best,
Patton leather shoes and Sunday vests.
A birthday on Easter is not hard to take,
A chocolate bunny looks good on birthday cake!

A mid April baby might be singin’ the blues,
As mommy and daddy work on taxes due.

Aries the Ram and Torres the Bull,
Gallup across this month to the full.
We love this beautiful month of surprises,
As fields shake off their winter disguises.

Happy birthday to you born in month number four!
This is the month that Spring opens its door.
Best wishes to you for another year,
May there be spring in your step and much birthday cheer!

August Birthdays – A Poem

August Birthdays
By R.S. McDonald
Your mother was a “Hot Mama” in more ways than one,
Giving birth to you in the hottest month of sun.
Who’d ‘ve thought that cold November night,
Would lead to swollen ankles and sleeping with ice!
But out you came, delivery complete!
Your mama laughed, cuz she could again touch her feet!
As an August baby, you live in the heat.
You love ice cream, popsicles and any frozen treat!
For your birthday, it’s full of summer fun!
Like rope swings and water slides to combat the sun.
Of course the hat and shades in them you must trust,
So you don’t fry your skin in this month of August.
August is full of big news to tell,
Nixon resigned and Columbus set sail
In this month women began to cast their votes
But the Berlin Wall was raised – on a sadder note.
You share your birthday with an adventurous cast.
Like Annie Oakley who could shoot super-fast!
Or Davey Crocket, who could track and scout,
But “Remember the Alamo” also took him out!
But best of all is Orville Wright,
As he and his brother put man in flight!
This is the month of summer late,
Cicadas buzz loud –they gotta find a mate!!
Vacations come with family to meet,
To the beach or the Rockies to escape the heat!
Our gardens are full of summer bounty,
With harvesters preparing their prizes for the County.
But Summer must end as we know it must,
‘Cuz now they start school in the middle of August!
So happy birthday to you born in month number eight!
We lift a cold glass and light up your cake!
Thirty-one days we have, its true.
To celebrate the life and the blessing of you!
Happy Birthday!

July Birthdays – A Poem

Long ago in the second month of summer
Your mother’s birth pains came upon her!
Out you came, “Snap, Crackle, Pop!”
The doctor lunged and you were caught!

Fireworks boomed and the Stars and Stripes waved, a nation  and you were born – Hooray!

This is the birth month of Uncle Sam! So all you Yankee Doodles can party and jam!
We celebrate our country and we celebrate you,                                          Light up the candles and a sparkler or two!

You might be a dare-devil like Tom Cruise,  doing “Missions Impossible” that make the news.  Or break traditions like Princess Di, Who mothered her sons to build family ties. The Nazis expected Carl Lewis to beat, But he took home the Gold, the fastest on his feet! All these July babies stood their ground, proving that freedom should still be around.

With a July birthday, you try to stay cool, play games inside or Marco Polo in the pool. If you canoe down the river with all your friends, Sunscreen and bug spray you must re-apply again. The sun will burn you and the skeeters drain you dry, But life if good in the month of July.

But drink lots of water or its a bummer, because July is in the “dog days of summer”. The fight is on to conserve our water, the grass turns to hay as the sun gets hotter. With poolside parties and home made lemonade, We’ll toast our buns or lounge in the shade.

Summer nights and lightning bugs, starry skies and family hugs. Crickets sing and bull frogs sound, A porch swing squeaks as we share another round.

The lazy days of summer are here, We love the long days and the easy warm cheer. So Happy birthday to you this month of summer haze, May you feel loved and special all your days.

By R.S. McDonald

“May Birthdays” – A Poem

May Day! May Day!
Your Mother ran,
“This Baby’s dropping,
Catch it if you can!”

You’re a May child born in the month of bloom!
The roses, the lilies, the bluebonnets too.
Lambs in the field, foals in the stall,
Everywhere you look new life for all.
Surrounded by mothers of every sort,
A Mother’s Day queen with you in their court!

But don’t forget that Mexico beat France!
So on Cinco de Mayo we can party and dance.
The May Pole is old so Cinco Mayo will do,
To drink an extra beer or a margarita or two.

Maybe your birthday is at the races,
With horses or cars keeping their paces.
A Derby hat and roses won, the Indy 500, or a marathon.

A May Fest is also a popular place.
With art galore and food to taste.
But watch the weather and head for home,
When the sky starts throwing giant hailstones!

Races and festivals sure have their fun,
but you share your birthday with three BIG GUNS!
John Wayne, the Duke, he was True Grit
And Calamity Jane could shoot and not miss,
Just these two could make you talk,
But number three is Wild Bill Hickok!

Taurus the Bull runs the month half in,
With the month ending in Gemini twins.
But before its done we must remember well,
The Veterans who died and their stories to tell.

So happy birthday to you born in month number five,
We love to celebrate this month of life!
Races and festivals are fun its true,
But the best party of all is to celebrate you!
Happy Birthday

By R.S. McDonald

“A True Windfall”

A windfall is an unexpected blessing for those not familiar with the term. I’ve had some in my life, but last summer’s windfall takes the prize! I was reminded of this story tonight as I watched our barn swallows zooming around catching their dinner, because surprisingly they play a minor but significant role in this true tale.

It was Wednesday after the July 4th weekend of 2016, and I was leaving to pick up my daughter from work at the local beach. Casually I noticed some black ominous clouds to the north and that the wind was picking up. “Well, I can’t leave Isabelle stranded, storm or no storm.” I thought to myself. When I hit the beach, people were running for cover and boaters were frantic to get to shore. Just as I parked, it hit! Straight line winds of 60 to 70mph pummeled my little Prius while I hunkered down saying a prayer for safety. In 10 minutes it was over. Isabelle and I drove home and as we approached our property, she gasped, “Look! Our boathouse is flattened!”

And it was! It was very old and half sunk on one side and we were in fact in the process of ordering a new one built, but the process had been delayed. Now there it was with all four poles pulled out of its holdings, its roof flattened and pushed up to the shoreline! Frantically I called my husband. “David! We had a storm and our boathouse is flat!”

“Yes! Praise God!” he yelled and laughed with glee. “Its insured for $35,000!” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We truly needed a new boathouse and God just took $35,000 off the tab!

But wait, what about our jetskis and small boat? Well, normally they are in the boat house, but not this time because we didn’t have time to put them all up before the work week started after our huge July 4th party.  All but one were sitting on the shoreline with no damage.

Upon further inspection, we realized the house was fine, and our trees were fine. Just our boathouse had been completely totaled! Well David went into the wreck to see about the last jetski. He found it at the tallest place in the wreckage with the roof two inches above its handlebars with no damage!

In all this greatness, I still felt a twinge of sadness for our faithful barn swallows that nest every year in our boathouse and raise 2 broods every summer. Where were they? Where were their fledglings? Where was their nest? It didn’t look promising because their nest was attached to the roof beams. But David gamely went in to find out. He emerged from the wreckage, “Its still there! The nest is sitting unharmed about two feet above the water!” In a few days I could see them flying in and out of the wreckage. They stayed until it was time to leave for winter. God is a good Father and if nothing else, he knew I cared about our swallows.

So its almost a year later and our shiny new boathouse is complete. I would casually wonder if our traumatized birds would return or move on, but about 4 weeks ago, they returned and then just sat around in the new boathouse as if reassessing the possibilities. “Where to build?” Finally a decision was made – in the exact same spot as the old nest only its three feet higher because our roof is taller! Funny birds!

This was our prize winning “windfall” at the speed of 70mph. I hope this true tale encourages you and raises your faith in our Good Good Father.

The “Birth” of Raneous

I get asked many times how did I come up with the concept of Raneous, the Winged Horse of Heaven. He has been a long work in progress and as many artists and writers know,  creative things sometimes take time.

In my mid twenties I was newly married, newly graduated, and ready to live. I was feeling restless and I said, “God, you know I want to write but I can’t write if I don’t know what to write about!” Immediately, an image of a white winged horse rearing up and standing on a cloud came to my mind! Wow! I was so excited so I started thinking about this horse. “What’s his name?” I asked probably a day or two later. “Ray-nee-us” dropped into my mind. I played around with the spelling and came up with “Raneous”.

So on a legal pad and with pencil I began formulating the story of this horse from heaven and who he was. Raneous was a project I worked on in my spare time and that wasn’t much but I kept writing. Over time technology got easier and so eventually his story got transferred to computer, but I still wrote on paper. More time goes by and at this point I had my own retail business and I kept the story on my computer with back up floppy disks (yes floppy). My business was robbed one morning and my computer stolen! To my relief most of my important information was backed up on the disks, so Raneous was safe.

Then in 2002 we moved and in the shuffle and confusion, my disks were lost and I knew I would have to start over with Raneous. So he got shoved to the very back burner of my priorities until one day in 2011,  my husband came into our bedroom holding a manila file folder. “Look, I found your story!”

To my amazement, he was holding a file containing the two legal pads of Raneous’ story. I had nearly forgotten about him at this point. Again to my amazement, I realized all of it was there including some notes I had been working on.

You see, not only was the story lost, but I had hit a wall with the ending because I know the ending.  But I couldn’t get the ending to work with the story I had. About a month later, I was asking God, about priorities in my life and he heavily impressed on me, “Finish your story! I gave you this story and you need to finish it!”  So more out of obedience than anything, I went back to it and my frustration with the end. “I can’t get the end, God!” I said in frustration.  Then he showed me that this one book is not the end. This is one book and every book is a level, an adventure and an underlying theme.  “Raneous” really means “Reign-in-us” and he represents us as we learn to partner with God in our lives.

“Ooooh! Well that makes it a whole lot easier!” So I literally finished the ending of Fallen in rough draft in thirty minutes.

I tell you this story because I think  many Christians think that their dreams are all for “right now” or maybe its their only purpose.  But timing is everything. In the meantime, don’t give up. Keep moving forward as God opens the doors. Pay attention to what you are passionate about.  Patience is becoming a lost art, but stick with your dream and keep talking to God about it. He knows where you’re going and where and when you’re supposed to get there.

Winged Horse of Heaven: Taken -- The Raneous Chronicles Book 3 by R.S. McDonald
Taken Book 3
or ebook

Meanwhile, I have finished Taken, book three, of Raneous’ story, and so I continue this journey of adventure with God, Raneous and all his friends!


Against All Odds

Yesterday morning I was watering my butterfly garden and feeling a little glum because I had just realized a very large praying mantis had eaten a large Monarch caterpillar in my garden. (sigh) Such is nature, right? A cold, cruel world where things die so that other things can live.

In contrast to this mood, I glanced up at a large tree I was standing under and was surprised and delighted to see a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly newly emerged from its chrysalis and drying its wings. It was beautiful, perfect and alive. I knew the caterpillar had come from my garden which made it extra special.

As I stood admiring the new butterfly several things presented themselves to me and reminded me of our journey with God.

First: The chrysalis was attached to the side of this large gray tree trunk and so perfectly camouflaged that I kept losing sight of it. (He who lives in the secret place of the Most High shall live in the shadow of the Almighty Psm 91: 1)

Second: There was at least 30 feet of open grass that the used-to-be-caterpillar had crawled to get to the tree. Against all odds it had not been eaten by the many ravenous crows and birds we have. (Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil Ps 23:4)

Third: The trunk of the tree was gray and these caterpillars are bright green. Again, it had not been sighted by predators in spite of the fact that it stuck out like a sore thumb. (He will command His angels concerning you and guard you in all your ways. Ps 91)

Fourth:  No more than an inch away from the now empty chrysalis was a virtual freeway of fire ants running up and down the tree. How they missed the caterpillar or chrysalis is beyond me. They will happily chew through and devour the pupa on the inside. (You will not fear the terror of night, nor the deadly pestilence that stalks in the darkness. Ps 91:5-6)

Now, against all odds, the butterfly had run the gauntlet, so to speak, its destiny and purpose completed. It was now ready and equipped to fly on the wings of the wind! Many don’t make it, but the Lord preserves the destiny of those who make Him their dwelling place. Don’t concentrate on the fearful things around you: focus on Him and He will lead you through!

The Month of Love

The month of February is almost over but I do like this month of Love. For me, its a birthday month so of course it makes me remember how old I am getting or how young I still am whichever way I want to look at it. For most though, its the month that we celebrate those whom we love in our lives.

I have to be honest and say that Valentines was more of a day of fun and parties in grade school, and a day of stress in middle and high school. This was especially true if I didn’t have a certified boyfriend, and most of the time I didn’t. I think every girl can identify with watching their friend get the cute stuffed animal from their boyfriend and you don’t get anything because you happen to not be in a relationship right then. This brings a whole new level to the teen feelings of loneliness and feeling passed by. But of course, I had crushes. Back then we usually bought a box of small valentines to give to classmates and passed them out. In sixth grade, I remember agonizing over which valentine to give to my semi-secret crush. You know, I didn’t want to come on too strong because then he might figure out how I REALLY felt about him! Like those pre-packaged valentines with Mickey and Minnie could actually convey my deepest feelings, and that would be awkward in the true sixth grade sense of the word!

On the other hand, if you did have a boyfriend, you were stressing out on what to get him on a babysitter’s budget! I remember in high school spending over 45 minutes reading every card in Hallmark trying to find the “perfect” card for the said boyfriend. I probably should have gone back to the boxed Valentines! I think I finally ended up making the guy one. I also ended up getting grounded because I was so late getting home (I used the family car to go to the card shop) that my parents were late for an appointment. All this for a guy and his card!

In the last several years, I have stalked the aisles of Walmart and malls with my girls looking for the elusive “perfect”, age appropriate, in-the-budget gift for a boyfriend. I feel their pain, so of course I try to help. Call it female bonding time. Maybe teen boys experience this but I’m guessing not to the level as the girls.

Luckily, my family has always made me feel loved on Valentine’s Day with cards and small gifts. And now I love to give and get cards from family members in the mail and from my immediate family. There is that warm feeling of reassurance that I matter to a few people in the world; that they hold me in a special place in their hearts whether as a sister, a mom, a wife or a daughter. Feeling loved ranks very high in the human experience and we all look for it in different ways.

What’s great is that much of the time showing love is very cost effective. Homemade cards with a little art work or even a handwritten note left on the table in the morning go a long way. Texts or Facebook posts work too. We all feel so “busy” these days so when a person gives you time it means a lot. This does NOT mean I don’t appreciate the big spend! There is that huge message that goes with it that says, “You are worth it!”

To take that to the next level though, is figuring out how a person best receives love. It would be very easy to spend a lot of money on something a person doesn’t want. There are whole books and seminars on finding your love language. A person who goes to the trouble to find out what a person truly sees as important and then gives it to them is a special kind of person!
It could be quality time, or it could be doing a project for them, or it could be small gifts or words of affirmation. It could even be toilet papering their house (this would probably be limited to the tweens and teens)! I noticed that a chocolate rose scored big with a certain teen I know as well.

One final thought: It is my private opinion that God likes Valentines Day because it is a celebration of love and of course God IS Love! The pastor of my church likes to say, “God SOOOOOOO loved the world that He gave his only begotten son!” I have also heard it said that we are living out the greatest love story ever told as God continues to demonstrate to us His love in ways that are meaningful to us individually as well as to the rest of the world. The lengths that God has gone to in order to prove His love for us is staggering. Song of Solomon says we have ravished his heart! Those are strong words even for a romance; yet he is referring to us, the Bride of Christ, the Apple of His eye! If that doesn’t make you feel all glowey and loved inside then you probably haven’t had time to process that concept.

So with that thought percolating in your mind and spirit, enjoy the rest of this month of love and those whom you love knowing that the Source of all Love is at the center of it all.