GNO: Paula Robinson’s Favorite Things


I am a working mom of 3 kids, and have been married to Shawn for 17 years. I am a native St. Louisan but my heart lives in Montreal – or Arizona – or Bora Bora. Let’s just say I love to travel.

First, I’d like to say that it’s an honor to read everyone’s favorite things. You can tell a lot about a person that you may have never know before with these posts. Thank you, Karen, for creating an avenue for so many phenomenal women to share their insight, encourage one another, make us think, make us laugh – have a girls’ night out!


My Favorite Movie: There’s way too many movies to choose from!! Beaches, The Color Purple, Gladiator, Star Wars (all of them), Meet the Robinsons…I could go on, but I’ll focus on one that reflected the epitome of high school, past and present: The Breakfast Club.

This movie speaks to Any High School USA – public, private, large, small. Humans migrate to what’s comfortable – we find a group that we find commonalities with, and that becomes our clique. And for some humans, when we may not be part of that clique, we have to find something negative to say about that clique, to justify why we aren’t part of it. One day, there’s a clash of the cliques, and each “representative” of their clique all had one thing in common: navigating the waters of life – schoolwork, peer pressure, parenting, friendships, activities – is difficult.

It proved we don’t know just how much we have in common with someone else until we get to know him or her, in an 80’s comedic kind of way. Albeit the crude humor, I think it’s a movie worthy of viewing by high schoolers today to realize they are not alone.

Mom and Dad

My favorite Quote: I have two favorite quotes, and I credit my parents for both. My dad used to always say “JKL” – his acronym for “just keep living.” My dad saw a lot in his 60 years on Earth. He grew up in Kinloch, MO as one of 12 children. His dad, my grandfather, passed away before he graduated high school. He was the first in his family to attend college.

An avid hunter, he would reminisce about his keen eyesight and skill when he got his first deer – and recall several years later how cloudy that same vision was on a different hunting excursion as he began to lose his eyesight. Through it all, he still found the positive, and would always recite “just keep living.” It was a reminder that the next day isn’t promised, so enjoy today.

“Just keep living…”

His quote was also a story of redemption, remembering his childhood and knowing from whence he came, and a reminder that we should all remember where we came from and to know where we are going.

My mom always says “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” She would remind me that you can’t make everything happen as you want in a blink of an eye. I have a hard time with this – if you ask my hubby, he will quickly tell you I want results and I want them now. I’m a huge fan of checklists and timelines, and if I don’t hit a deadline or see global results, I raise the roof. I would confide in her about the kids not listening to me, or my job not accepting my input, or (and I quote another individual), why can’t we all just get along? Her simple phrase passed down over centuries reminds me that with all things, patience is at the forefront.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Someone who grew up in rural Mississippi understands that the fast-pace doesn’t win the race; it’s the slow and steady pace that provides results. She’s passed down that mindset to help me – and I keep reminding myself – that things happen when the time is right, and it’s not overnight. God’s time is always perfect.

My Favorite Sermon/Speaker: Although we attend Grace Church now, I recall a sermon that always sticks to me when we attended Peoples Community Christian Church. The sermon talked about forgiveness and how we get caught up in our everyday activities with little to no room for forgiving others.

Our pastor described a time when his wife was cooking dinner, and removed the skin from the turkey legs she was preparing. He apparently felt this was a staple and necessity to the dinner, while she was looking at the health benefit of removing the skin. A “discussion” ensued (because I just can’t imagine the pastor and his wife arguing!), ending with the pastor almost throwing the turkey leg back on his plate. All they could do at that point was laugh at the silliness of the words exchanged just minutes before, and the pastor said “not over a turkey leg!”

The sermon/story taught me to let go of the little things – enjoy life’s moments and find the silver lining in everything, rather than be upset because something didn’t quite go your way. I try hard to approach everyday with this mindset; I sleep so much better at night because of it.


My Favorite TV Show/Series: For anyone that knows me, it is abundantly clear that my favorite decade of all time is the 80’s. Which is why my favorite TV show is The Cosby Show. That’s a hard admittance in light of Mr. Cosby’s controversial personal life that has unfolded in front of our eyes. Nevertheless, I loved it, and can quote probably every episode.

The Cosby Show reminded me of my family – a nuclear family of seven. Most TV shows prior to this depicted African American families as downtrodden, somewhat hopeless. The Cosby Show proved this doesn’t have to be the reality; there’s something different, and it’s attainable. And, it was downright entertaining. Nothing was funnier than Rudy singing “The Night Time is the Right Time” by Ray Charles for the grandparents’ wedding anniversary. Admit it, you remember that episode!


My Favorite Holiday Tradition: A few years ago, we started to take a trip around the Christmas holiday rather than exchange gifts. Let’s face it – kids today have WAY too much. From the variety of sauces to slather in stir fry at any Asian restaurant chain, to the multitude of digital devices that seem to never be charged, today’s kids have access to much more than we could get our fingertips on. Some of this is self-inflicted – the extreme opposite attitude of giving our kids “what our parents didn’t” (or really, couldn’t).

We finally said that Christmas isn’t going to be about bulky lists and endless wrapping paper – which it shouldn’t be, but I fall hard for good advertisement. So we hit the beach – no electronics, several books in hand, and trips to the local grocery store to fill the pantry. We spend the time cooking together, walking on the beach together, TALKING together.

The kids see Christmas no other way now. No more long lists and lofty ideas of getting the “next best thing.” They look forward to the drive down, the snack selection, selecting a pet’s name, the singing (maybe not, that’s just me) – it’s a beautiful thing.

Your friend,

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