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Oh Happy (#AMomentToBreathe Book Release) Day!

Oct

03

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 | 2 comments

If you aren’t yet a subscriber, how about today?

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Our world is reeling these days, isn’t it?

Collectively, we feel the tragic news out of Las Vegas, horrified that one man could rob so many of so much; for too many, their lives.  I can only imagine that those who are directly affected wonder how anyone can go on in a world gone mad?

There’s no reconciling the absurd.

There are times when faith comes easy. This isn’t one of them for a lot of folks.

I know all the Christian platitudes, the things we say at times like this. But I can’t bring myself to say any of those things out loud – even if they are true – because sometimes the loudest lament is silence.

 

God hears the cry of the broken ones, and he alone offers hope during obsidian days.

 

So, we mourn with those who mourn. We ask a lot of questions. Yes, we want answers, but the truth is we’ll never be able to make sense of it.

This world we find ourselves in is still spinning, sun and moon nudging us into the next day and the one after that.

 

And, here’s the important thing to remember: even in the darkness there are beacons.

 

We need light to guide us to where we are going, yes? We need light to show us the way.

Months ago (a year ago?) the date was set for A Moment to Breathe to release. No one could have anticipated the timing, that this collection of “365 devotions to meet you in your everyday mess” would launch right after the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history.  Eighty authors, inspired by scripture and for the glory of God, poured their hearts and lives into its pages, hoping it would bring light into the lives of those hopeful or desperate to find a beacon.

 

MomenttoBreathe-RobinDance-Pray_Quote

 

I’m proud of this book, thrilled and honored to have seven devotions included. There’s a part of me that feels guilty for being happy when so many of our neighbors have suffered unimaginable loss – before Las Vegas, the multiple earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and those awful west coast wildfires. Unresolved racial tensions and political discord add to our collective grief. And beyond these national tragedies and disasters are countless more personal tragedies and disasters. Every day our neighbors are facing financial ruin, infidelity, addiction, illness, difficulty with children, debilitating accident, death…. Maybe you are the neighbor.

Here’s the beautiful, liberating thing: humans are a complex and multi-dimensional creation, capable of simultaneous, opposing emotions. (Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.) In other words, the “guilt” I’m feeling is a false guilt, the kind the enemy of my heart loves because it has the potential to defeat, paralyze, or confuse me (sometimes all three). False guilt materializes in a thousand different ways, and often it’s rooted in comparison; for me, at least.

 

MomenttoBreathe-RobinDance-Devotional_Quote

 

With all tenderness for those who are suffering, I can still celebrate the happy and good things happening in my world (if you need permission, I’m extending it to you, too, because sometimes we just need someone else to tell us so). It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s essential to have compassion for those in pain, to pray for, help and support those who’ve suffered loss. It’s also important be light for those walking in darkness (Matthew 5:16).

A Moment to Breathe is a disco ball of light.

You will find it to be a lovely, hardback devotional, rooted in scripture and the stories the authors first lived before sharing, with prayers and calls to action. It can be found at any bookstore that sells Christian books, or here are a few links (including affiliate):

For fun, Sarah Mae and I talk through the question,“What does ‘a moment to breathe’ mean to you?” (Why didn’t anyone tell me to smush my shirt down in front so my stomach didn’t look so poofy??) 

 

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A Lavish Gift (& a Perfect Gift Idea for Valentine’s Day!)

Feb

14

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 | 1 comment

The Essence of Love by Robin Dance - #HeartofMarriage

 

There was no way to know 35 years ago where we’d be today. Certainly not literally, but not even in a figurative sense.

12,775 days, give or take. Plenty of ups, our share of downs, and all beautiful in their time.

I believe it–that everything is beautiful in time. Beauty from ashes might be the most lovely.

The Heart of Marriage releases today. It’s a collection of essays about marriage, curated by my long-time blogging friend, Dawn Camp. I’m thrilled to be included in this collaboration; it’s personal.

Originally Dawn and her editors were going to feature an essay I wrote on our 26th anniversary, an exploration of what love is, and isn’t, maybe best summarized in one of my favorite lines from the piece:

Love usually doesn’t happen in a moment, it happens in a life.

However, ultimately Dawn’s team choose another piece I offered to them, The Essence of Love. Or at least I think that’s the title they kept–I haven’t see the book yet, so I’m not 100% sure about the title.

I cried when I read it again. It’s a glimpse of my in-laws’ story, a love story as rare as it is extraordinary. In it, my father-in-law offered an unexpected and provocative caution–

“People want to know how we’re still so in love, how we have such a good marriage,” he began. And the next thing he said was the kind of thing pulls your attention taut, “Having a good marriage doesn’t have anything to do with trying to have a good marriage.”

I hope you’re curious enough to read the rest of it; do pick up a copy of the book to read it( and so many other love-tales). I’ve heard it’s on the shelves at Barnes and Noble just in time for Valentine’s Day (and maybe your favorite local bookstore), but you can get it on sale at Amazon (affiliate link provided).

OH–a bonus! In my piece for The Heart of Marriage, it begins by referencing something else I wrote; it’s best when read together. If you’re interested, please read The Essence of Love || When Love is a Pie.

It’s coming up on two years since I wrote it, and what was true then is even more true today: Things are different now, and business isn’t as usual.

But, still, beautiful in time….

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Craving Connection Book {Order before December 15th & get a second free!}

Dec

09

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 |

cravingconnectionbook-preorder

 

A year or so ago an opportunity was presented to me that sounded intriguing: submit a chapter for a collaborative work published by incourage in partnership with Lifeway.

This first book project by incourage was to be all about community, its tagline, 30 challenges for real life engagement. Other than that, I knew my chapter was to be based on John 15:12-17 and needed to be between 2,000-2,500 words. It was an easy “yes” and sounded like fun.

When I sat down to write I wasn’t sure what to share, but once I put pen to paper, 20 years of my life poured out. Amazing how you can squeeze over 7,000 days into 2,500 words.

 

A few weeks ago I received an early copy and joined a small group of people who agreed to read the daily chapters and take part in one (or all) of the challenges associated with each piece.

Well.

I don’t know exactly what I expected, but friends, I’m here to tell you, it exceeded whatever expectation I had! Day after day I was encouraged. Just about every chapter was something I could personally relate to. The material was accessible and inspiring, and I was so glad and grateful to be a part of such a solid, God-glorifying collaboration.

It was a blessing to be with two dear friends when my copy arrived. God love ’em, they let me read my chapter out loud to them. Because it had been so long since I submitted my piece, and I had never read it aloud – essentially “hearing” it for the first time – I was surprised that it moved me to tears. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t familiar with the material.

In any event, Craving Connections releases in hardback on January 10, 2017. It’s available for pre-order now, and if you order by December 15th, you get a second copy free along with a few other fun incentives. 

Craving Connections - Pre-order incentives

 

Of course, I hope you’ll support this work (because I KNOW you’ll come away encouraged!), and if you do, please DO share your thoughts with me! I reallyreallyreally want to hear!

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Books: Some I’m Reading & More I Can’t Wait To

Aug

31

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 | 8 comments

Book Recommendations

 



 
Book Collage - September 2016

Scroll down to read a brief recommendation for each book!

Long ago and far away I read fast. I tried to savor the book I was reading, but more often than not, I’d speed through the chapters the same way I eat M&M’s: swearing to let them melt slowly on my tongue until the colorful candy coating was gone, and then smushing the chocolate between tongue and roof of mouth to extract all the possible goodness from the candy.

That usually lasted for the first M&M.

Nancy Drew is to blame; she made mysteries magical to young minds.

Until I started blogging, I read more fiction than non; I don’t know if that was cause and effect or merely coincidental. Blogging came into my life at the same time I was asking a lot of questions (primarily related to faith), and reading for the pure pleasure of it slowly dwindled. I seemed to think C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John PiperRichard Foster, Jim Cymbala, A.W. TozerBrian McLaren, St. Augustine, Brennan Manning, Shane Claiborne, countless others, might have answers*. Clearly, this was before the tsunami of contemporary books written by Christian women of the bloggerly ilk (many of which I’ve read, too; thankfully, not with the same amount of angst attached)**.

It was during that time that my reading pace began to decelerate. I couldn’t read without a pen in hand, and if you didn’t know better you’d think I anticipated a quiz upon completion. I’d mark up my books with scribbled fury, and read and re-read That Thing I Needed To Remember, which I rarely actually did. I’d get lost in words, tangled in thought.

Anyway, if you’re a reader, you’re likely to always have a stack of books on the ready. If you’re a reader like me, that stack never shrinks, the titles just keep changing.

Here’s a few book recommendations I’d like to share (and why), and I DO hope you’ll chime in in comments with your own titles.

 

Word Writers: Philippians, Denise J. HughesWord Writers: Philippians, Denise J. Hughes.

Denise sent me an early copy of her Philippians study, and what she couldn’t have possibly known was that it is EXACTLY what I needed right now. It’s dynamite in a small package, the type study that gives you time TO THINK without telling you All of The Things, without trying to impress you; it doesn’t feel the least bit self-indulgent. It sticks to the Word, and what I most appreciate is how she’s woven four ways into its format to experience God’s Word–reading, writing, speaking, and praying over the Scriptures for that day.

I can start and finish this study in one sitting, and there’s margin to consider application beyond its pages. If any of this sounds appealing, it releases September first, and I whole-heartedly recommend purchasing a copy for yourself.

 

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance.

I haven’t been able to grasp how in the world Donald Trump is where he is today, and then I caught an interview in The American Conservative that helped to explain his political success (at least in part). Rod Dreher spoke with J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, and in it Vance shares a perspective I’ve never considered. Says Dreher, “You cannot understand what’s happening now without first reading J.D. Vance. His book does for poor white people what Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book did for poor black people: give them voice and presence in the public square.”

Which brings me to my next wanna-read.

 

Between The World And Me
Between the World and Me
, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

I think I heard about this book first on NPR’s All Things Considered last fall, and I knew I wanted to read it. It’s been almost a year – and a lot of troubling events in our country later – and I still haven’t gotten to it. But, I’ve heard enough to know this is an important book that will help me glimpse a perspective I can’t possibly fully understand. I just received an alert from my local library to come pick it up, and I have a sneaky suspicion I’ll want to buy it, too.

 

 

 

The Broken Way - Ann Voskamp
The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp

Oh, Annie…you’re going to do it again, aren’t you? She begins with the simple question, “What if brokenness is the path into the abundant life?” and tells us “this one is for lovers and sufferers.”

I qualify for both.

Ann is a friend and co-writer from incourage, and I know she walks obediently albeit reluctantly in her role as “one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today.” She earnestly deflects all praise and glory to God, preferring the refuge of family and home to the glare of center stage.

Due out October 25, I’ve already got a copy on pre-order. (Check out her book page and if you’re willing to share your email address, she’ll send you the first chapter.)

The Whistler - John Grisham
The Whistler
, John Grisham

Used to be, every summer my beach read was whatever John Grisham had most recently published. The first book I read of his was the second one he wrote, The Firm. I can still remember hearing radio commercials for it every day while I was getting ready for work, “…from the author of A Time to Kill…” I don’t recall the rest of the ad copy – it was 25 years ago for heaven’s sake! – but it must’ve one whale of a call to action for me to buy it.

Anyway, the beach home we rented a few weeks ago had an extensive paperback library and I picked up Grisham’s The Litigators for old time’s sake. For a few days, I read fast and without a pen in hand–it was marvelous! I remembered why I loved John Grisham in the first place: he’s an excellent writer who fleshes out engaging characters and, boyhowdy, he can tell good stories. So I’m eager to pick up his next one, due out in November.

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection
The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost In a World of Constant Connection, Michael Harris

Another one that caught my eye after reading an intriguing article, this one REALLY gripped me (it inspired a blog post for The Art of Simple). It seems to speak to some of the feelings I have relative to the age in which we live, and if you were born before 1985, you’re going to want this one.

 

 

One: Unity in a Divided World - Deidra RiggsAnd one I cannot wait for that’s not due out until April of next year, Deidra Riggs’ One: Unity in a Divided World. Deidra is another incourage collaborator and friend, and it has been a treat to watch her mature as a writer. One is her follow-up to Every Little Thing, and I have a sneaky suspicion this book is going to be big.

“Jesus didn’t say that the world would know we are his followers by our biting rhetoric, our political leanings, our charity work, or even by our knowledge of Scripture. He said the world would know us by our love for one another.” Yep…good stuff.

It’s available for pre-order; order now and be happily surprised when it arrives in your mailbox next spring.

Your turn: What are your recent favorite books? Are there any due out in the next few months you can’t wait to get your hands on? Please share your recommendations in comments!

 

*Writing out that list of authors WHOM I READ makes me feel a little cuckoopants right now….

**Of course, I was a faithful, dutiful Beth Moore study gal, and I dabbled with a few of Kay Arthur’s early on in my Chattanooga years.  (I was even asked to join two others to be featured on the companion video tapes to Kay’s Covenant study. To this day I haven’t been able to watch myself – filming was more awkward than you can imagine, positioned at a kitchen table “just so,” which happened to be completely unnatural but somehow looked right for the camera. And we weren’t allowed to speak but Kay kept asking us questions. Fun times. )

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A FUN Invitation ~ Please Say You’ll Join Us?

Apr

29

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 | 1 comment

Beauty of Grace Meet and Greet at Bodega Interiors

 

As you might recall, one of my (true) stories is included in my friend Dawn Camp’s book, The Beauty of Grace. It’s a lovely collaborate work of many talented writers, and Dawn’s beautiful photographs (and words) are sprinkled throughout. My life intersected with Dawn’s years ago – something about George Clooney – and we’ve been friends ever since. We were both lucky enough to have been asked to join incourage when it launched over five years ago, giving us even more opportunity to spend time together.

This is when the blogosphere is at its best.

Meanwhile, I met Joyce Park, owner of Bodega Interiors last fall, while shopping there with a friend. Have you been there? It’s wonderful!

In a serendipitous turn of events, Joyce would find my blog, follow a link to Grace Table, and eventually invite me to be a guest during a Bodega open house. It didn’t work out for the fall, but when I realized Dawn’s book was to release in February, I asked Joyce if she’d like me to arrange an author meet & greet or something similar.

Joyce thought it was a smashing idea, but the decision was made to have a special event just prior to Mother’s Day–Dawn’s book makes an excellent gift for any mom (or daughter or sister or aunt…)!

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 30th is our big day!!

 

Please stop by Bodega Interiors between 11:30am and 2:00pm and you’ll be able to spend time with Dawn and me, have us sign copies of The Beauty of Grace if you’d like, nosh on Joyce’s famous pimento cheese sandwiches and sip on a glass of sweet tea. You’ll be able to enter to win a summer wreath, compliments of Bodega Interiors, and a copy of The Beauty of Grace! Bonus: All lamps and paintings will be 25% off during the event, and at 1:00pm Dawn and I will read our selections from the book. 

Doesn’t it sound fun?

(Copies of The Beauty of Grace will be available for sale.)

I can’t say enough about how much this would mean to Dawn–The Beauty of Grace is the first of three books, and if you stop by we *might* just tell you about the next one to be published!

Holla if you can make it or have additional questions. Won’t you come and bring a friend?!

(I must be excited…overuse of exclamation points is usually an indicator…!)

Robin Heart Signature - Green

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Around/About: The “Beauty of Grace” Edition #beautyofgrace

Feb

01

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 | 1 comment

Around-About - The Beauty of Grace Edition

Years ago, I crossed paths with a blogger when we both took one of those online quizzes that determined your Celebrity Soul Mates. We both ended up with George Clooney. Later we would go on to meet in real life at a writer’s conference, and when incourage first began, we both joined as writers for the site.

Fast forward almost seven years and I am thrilled to celebrate a huge accomplishment for my sweet friend Dawn Camp, the launch of her first book, The Beauty of Grace. In it you’ll find pieces from 43 authors, companioned by Dawn’s wonderful photography. I’m thrilled to be a part of this stunning collaboration.

The black and white print version of the book will be in stores on this Tuesday, February 3rd, but you can already order it online; as part of the Kindle matchbook program, when you purchase the print version, you can also pick up the color electronic version for only $2.99!

If you live in the Atlanta area, I hope you’ll join us for Dawn’s book launch party on this Thursday!! I’ll be one of a handful or authors reading my contribution to The Beauty of Grace.

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee at The Warehouse

5095 Post Road, Cumming, GA

6:30~8:30pm

 

The book will be a wonderful addition to your home library, full of encouraging words from wonderful writers; it will also make a fantastic gift for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or even an “I’m thinking of you” friendship gift. I hope you’ll pick up a copy (or three) today, and I double-hope to see you on Thursday!

Isn’t this collection of contributors wonderful?

Kayla Aimee Emily Freeman Rachel Anne Ridge
Tina Anderson Holley Gerth Deidra Riggs
Lisa-Jo Baker Bonnie Gray Jen Schmidt
Laura Boggess Amber Haines Arianne Segerman
Stephanie Bryant Seth Haines Melanie Shankle
Dawn Camp Kelley J. Leigh Kristen Strong
Mary Carver Lisa Leonard Leeana Tankersley
Robin Dance Shannon Lowe Jessica Turner
Mary DeMuth Sarah Markley Ann Voskamp
Christin Ditchfield Elizabeth Marshall Edie Wadsworth
Annie Downs Shelly Miller Kristen Welch
Jennifer Dukes Lee Angela Nazworth Maggie Whitley
Margaret Feinberg Tsh Oxenreider Lisa Whittle
Joy Forney Laura Parker Amanda Williams
Sara Frankl Katie Kenny Phillips

 

 

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