Robin Dance

essays on faith, aging, parenting, wandering and wondering

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…hymn of grateful praise…

Posted by on Dec 2, 2012 | 3 comments

For the beauty of the earth,

cross on rocky cliff, blue skies and clouds

A beautiful remembrance


for the glory of the skies,

Paragliding on blue skies

Paragliding near Erlangen, Bavaria


for the love which from our birth

Pink and fuschia geraniums

Floral beauty in Dresden

over and around us lies;


A chapel in the middle of the Alps, somewhere in Austria


Lord of all, to thee we raise 

Bamberg Cathedral

Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg, Bamberg Cathedral, Bamberg, Germany


this our hymn of grateful praise.

Organ in St. Stephan's Cathedral, Passau

The largest cathedral organ in the world, St. Stephan's Cathedral, Passau


A fond remembrance of my childhood, learning this hymn in my public elementary school.  It's a lovely inspiration for sharing some of my favorite photos during the past ten months, so my goal is to continue this "series" on Sundays during December, in lyrics and pictures.

* * * * * * 


The-Sunday-Community-4ORPrompted, in part, by Deidra Rigg's lovely Sunday Community, a quietly inspiring collection of people and posts.



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25 Years and Fanciful London Doors

Posted by on Nov 17, 2012 | 6 comments

Based on how old I feel, to be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary I must've gotten married when I was 13.  In fact, if it wasn't the case the year following my silver anniversary I'll be celebrating my golden birthiversary, I'd swear it.

In lieu of exchanging gifts (and to take advantage of the closeish proximity of living in Germany), my husband and I decided to make memories.  In London.

I had no idea how much I'd love it.

London Door Collage

I know for many people, London is at the top of their Travel Wish List; but for some reason, it wasn't on mine.  I'm not a Royal watcher, I didn't get up at dark-thirty for Kate and William's wedding (though I have to admit I watched Di's and Charles' back in the day), and I couldn't have cared less about seeing Big Ben or Westminster Abbey or the Tower Bridge.

What the heck was wrong with me?  It was frickinfrackin spectacular!

It only took a walk a few hundred yards from our hotel and I was smitten–London's Natural History Museum was ~that close~ followed by the Victoria and Albert then Hyde Park and Harrod's and Piccadilly Circus AND OHMYWORD WHYohWHY had I not been doing everything I could to get there?!

Ignorance, in this case, was not so bliss.  It was kinda stupid.

Anyways, in upcoming posts I'll share more of our sights, but for now a series of doors on a solitary street, somewhere between King's Cross Station (where Harry Potter would crash through Platform 9¾ to catch his train to Hogwarts) and the British Museum.  I was drawn to their color and whimsey, not just in the painting of wood but also in the patterned tiles leading to entry.  


Black door in London

Sometimes basic black isn't basic at all.


Coral door in London

I absolutely LOVE the tile in this one, complimenting the coral door and avocado trim. And the yellow leaves need to remain there all year!

Federal blue door in London

Gray blue door in London

Checkerboard tile makes me wanna sit and play. Simple and striking.

Red door in london

Isn't it amazing how a subtle rotation of the squares turns this from checkerboard to houndstooth? J'adore!

Sage green door in London

Understated color; overstated tile or just right?


Yellow Door in London

They've got sunshine…on a cloudy day…


Green Door in London

Silver door in london

This one conjured thoughts of Tin Man. It almost scared me as much as flying monkeys.

black double door in london

Again, basic and black and OH so beautiful!

Thanks to my friend Lisa for inspiring me to share something as simple as this.  The doors she photographed are much more diverse, likely because they weren't all located on the same street!  

If you have a favorite, shout it out in comments!

I'm curious if one is more popular than the others.

Wanna guess what mine is? 


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when it snows, i write love letters

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 | 1 comment

beautiful snow melting on red leaf

snow fall and tear drop

No matter the number of children you deliver, how can it be that each is your favorite, for reasons as many and varied as the things that shade their differences? Intense and deep affection, seemingly dulled by the dailiness of living, is fierce lion lying in wait, patient and certain.

You never see it coming.

When it springs, it grabs you by the throat and has its way with you.  You're completely at its mercy.

Love is a king. 

You never see it coming but don't you always know it's right there?

* * * * * * *

It's too quiet today.  The silence screams for notice, and I do, because this silence means something.  He's home.

Home is where his heart is, home is where his friends are, home is his comforts and familiarities, home is where they speak a language he understands.  

Home is not with me.

This is my son, my always-baby by virtue of birth's order, the thing he didn't ask for but will always be.  

He's done a hard thing without complaint, believing a future purpose that didn't feel true in the present.  Well done, we tell him.  Well done, and he knows we mean it. 

He's earned a pride that swells my chest and stings my heart the good way, and I sing this lovesong to him as best I can and he hears it as best he can.

But he won't be able fully to hear it until he sits where I sit, a lifetime from now.

Photo-43This one is light and life, kinetic energy, noise maker.  He thrives on laughter, he's friend to all, his concern is for others, he can't hold a grudge.  He has no idea the rippling of his super powers, they're boundless; which is yet another of his super powers.

Six weeks ago, he came with a plan.  There were many things he couldn't control so that plan was lifeline, full of things that mattered to him.  It had a beginning, and more important an end, and it compassed his way til he was done.

There was one thing in the plan, though, that he couldn't control:  the weather.  Did he really put weather in the plan?  THAT was ridiculous.  



Rose in snow

Wow–click this to enlarge the photo and you'll see a beautiful, perfect snowflake on the rose's petal!

Snow in October?  A rarity, even here.  Last year it was minimal and didn't arrive until later, but that didn't matter to him.  He had hope.  And, I understand it, I do, because I share this fizzy delight in snow's fall–enchanting, frozen pixie dust as far as I'm concerned, likely my adoration shaped by its scant in my life.


And then, wouldn't you know it–the weather inched toward winter and at the beginning of the week snow, indeed, was forecast.

Oh, ye of little hope, all hail the one with great hope!

…in a thing that mattered to a boy…

But timing is everything and he was already flying above the snow when it finally showed up below.

And what normally thrills me to the center of who I am, that which sends my spirit dancing and happy, this morning it is only reminder that he missed his wish by inches and hours.

Love is lamb and lion, king of beasts, conquerer.

First snow…the beautiful letdown.



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Recipe for a killer hot toddy

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 | 1 comment

31-Days-of-Travel-in-Europe-PENSIEVEWhy not a recipe for 31 Days?  This one is perfect with winter on the way!  In words and pictures, a drink that'll warm you from the inside out.


Until today, I never knew a hot toddy was anything other than any ol' generic hot drink on a cold day.  And I also didn't know Germans were well acquainted with the Southern gent, Jack Daniels.

Sometimes it's good to be ignorant.

Here, in my Mayberryesque Bavarian hometown, I ride my bike to get places; most are within 10 minutes or so, but Margarete lives a little further out.  Invited over for an afternoon cake date, and because the weather has taken a fast turn towards winter, I wanted to drive.  But my son had other ideas; joining us for a bite of dessert, he and Margarete's son were meeting a group for soccer after.  He wanted to ride bikes, and because this was actually a going-away party for him, it was pointless for me to argue.  Once again, I was shamed into two wheels from the child I carried for nine months on two legs.  

I shoulda reminded him of that.

When the sun sets, the temperatures drop quickly.  It was about this time Margarete's husband arrived home from work, and he knew I'd be leaving shortly.  "It's freezing out there!" he declared, and he asked if I'd like a hot toddy to warm me up before heading home.  

Not wanting to create work for him when he had just left work, and because I wasn't yet cold, I graciously declined the offer. But he was insistent and persuasive and I can only say no so many times before it borders on rude.  Right?


I had as much fun watching him at work as I did sipping this curiously affecting libation, a mixture of sweet and spice and citrus and fire, and though my pictures aren't the best, I'd like to jot down the recipe before I forget.  Why keep a good thing to myself when it's so easy to share?


Killer Hot Toddy

Photo 1
1.  Slice lemons 1/4" thin and pierce through with five cloves.

Photo 3

2.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of your favorite mug and drop the cloved lemon on top.


Photo 3
3.  Pour a shot of Jack Daniels over the lemon and sugar.  This is where my friend says, "Experiement!  Try different whiskeys!  Use more alcohol. Use less alcohol.  Play with it to see what you like best."  I'm thinkin' it's all good.


Photo 5
4.  Slowly pour boiling water over the mixture.  Add a splash of cold to cool it down for immediate consumption.  That last tip is important if you're eager to try it NOW.

That's it–simple and quick. The hot water quickly melds all those flavors together into a memorable, spicy, sweet concoction.  And it warms you from the back of your throat to the tips of your toes.

Let's just say during my bike ride home I barely noticed the sub-Arctic tundra my wicked son forced me to endure.

Hot toddy for the win!


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Perfect timing: re-discovering a word of encouragement if you’re facing a mountain

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 | 5 comments

For the past ten months, Time in the specific has been of little consequence to me.

There is the other side to that mountain - quote by Robin Dance There are weekdays and weekends, morning, mid-day and evening.  Over in this part of the world, I've learned summer days can last a beautiful-forever.  The sun rises earlier than worms and she stays up until the moon finally pushes her along. She's like the child making bedtimes excuses–anything to stay up a minute longer.  Fall is swift harbinger of winter solstice; days are slimming much too fast and I'm fairly certain I saw the man in the moon thumbing his nose at the sun–now it's his turn to shine.  

The calendar and the clock come into play mostly on Airport Days, when someone is coming or going.  Then, it's important to know the date and time.  Otherwise, unless I'm Meeting People for a Specific Reason, I'm good with generalities. 

There's a certain measure of liberation from time's constraint; and because I'm aware this is only for a season, I'm enjoying the freedom.  Or maybe that's just the extended time in comfy pajamas talking.

One of my happiest collaborations of this year, however, counters my aversion to knowing what day it is–

DaySpring ~ incourage perpetual calendar

Feet at the beach! Can you guess which ones are mine?

(in)courage Perpetual Calendar


I love perpetual calendars; I've used the same one for over ten years and its inspirational words are often – amazingly and divinely – exactly what I need to hear that day.  

Because I'm one of the authors contributing a dozen quotes for this new calendar, I'm retiring my old one.  DaySpring surprised the contributors with a copy when they were finished a few weeks ago, and I was a little bit giddy to see my words sprinkled throughout the year, among a sea of inspiring words penned by women I've come to know and love.

But given this whole time malaise I've adopted, sometimes I don't flip the calendar every day.  

I didn't realize it until today, but yesterday (October 24th) featured one of my quotes, one of the shortest in the calendar ~

(excerpted from Just…Breathe…, a post I wrote last year about when marriage gets really hard…but I think the thought applies to life in general)

Quote by Robin Dance, PENSIEVE, "There is the other side to that mountain in your life.

The unbelievable timing made me smile:  a few people close to me are facing Very Large Mountains right now, and it was a precious reminder and encouragement back to me…for them…that there is the other side to that Life Mountain.  

Some would see the timing of reading a poignant, relevant, encouraging word as coincidence.  I'm inclined to believe it's a sweet God-gift, divinely given just when it's needed most.  


: : : : : : : : :


And wow–I didn't realize this until I went to the site to link the calendar for you:  until the end of the month, DaySpring has a special on their
(in)courage Perpetual Calendars
:  if you purchase two, you receive a third FREE!  These would make WONDERFUL, affordable Christmas gifts.  As always, shipping is free on orders over $50, so if you purchase nine you'll pay only for six of them and not have to pay shipping!  Score!  Great teacher gifts, White elephant gifts, or any present you need under a $10 budget.  But hurry…that deal ends on 10/31/12.  

(in)courage - Home for the Hearts of Women - Perpetual Calendar


affiliate links used

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