Navigation Menu

First Ask Why || Interview With Author Shelly Wildman & Book Giveaway!

Apr

24

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 |

 

The internet has introduced me to a lot of writing friends, and when they go on to publish a book, I can’t help but stand on the sidelines and cheer. Today, I’m celebrating Shelly Wildman, an internet-turned-real-life friend who has just released a wonderful parenting book: Just Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship.

Shelly and I have a lot in common, starting with our age and including each of us having three children. We’ve learned over the years we share a similar parenting philosophy, and when she told me she was writing a book about parenting, I knew it would be one I’d recommend to others. I was right. It’s good, y’all.

This isn’t a how-to book, but it lays out a framework for (as I phrase it) parenting “hard and on purpose;” in her case, in particular, with the goal of discipling your children in their faith.

Parents of children still living at home will want this book, and it will make a fantastic Mother’s Day gift for anyone in the childrearing trenches. I’m also giving away a copy (comment on Instagram or Facebook). I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the following interview with Shelly; you’ll understand quickly why I regard her counsel and why I’m bossing you to pick up your own copy.

 

Writing about parenting can be a powder keg—people have pretty strong opinions about raising kids. Why did you choose to write a parenting book?

 

I kind of feel like I didn’t choose to write a parenting book, but that the book chose me. (Sounds like a scene from Harry Potter, doesn’t it?) I fought writing it for a long time because I knew I wasn’t a perfect parent—I had messed up so many times that I didn’t feel qualified to write this book. I still don’t. But the idea kept nagging at me for so long that I finally felt like God might have been pushing me to do it.

 

I believe with all my heart that stronger families will make for a stronger society, which is so important today. And I believe that the strongest families are those that have Christ at their center. But so many parents today have lost their focus or their sense of purpose. They spend their time on meaningless, temporal things, when, really, the most important mission field is right in front of them. I’m hoping to encourage parents to look at the bigger picture, to ask why they are doing what they’re doing, and to think critically about God’s purpose for their kids and for their families.

 

I have three adult daughters now, and my hope is, now that my husband and I have raised them, that they will go out into the world and make a difference. And should they have children someday, that they would also make disciples of their kids. Instilling a Christ-following legacy is important work—I believe it’s THE most important work parents can do—and we’ve got to be intentional about it.

 

What makes your book different from other parenting books?

 

So many parenting books are “how-to” books. They seem to say, “Just follow these ten steps and here’s what you’ll get in the end.” But I don’t believe we can parent by formula. I think we have to look at our unique family and ask why.

 

Why are we doing what we’re doing as a family?

 

Why are we emphasizing these spiritual values? And are there others we should consider?

 

Why are we even here as a family? What’s our purpose for being put together in this unique combination of individuals?

 

Asking why gets to the heart of the matter; it exposes our motivations and desires for our family. Asking why leads to intentionality. And asking why helps give our children a sense of purpose as we lead them.

 

Why do you think some kids, even though they had Christian parents, don’t grow up to follow God? Is there anything Christian parents can do to ensure that their kids will choose to follow Jesus?

 

This is such a difficult question for me to answer because I honestly don’t know why. I know that parents can do all the right things—have time in God’s word together every day, take their kids to church regularly, pray diligently for their kids—and still have kids who struggle. I don’t believe there are any guarantees in Scripture that our kids will choose to follow Jesus into adulthood.

 

But I do believe that Scripture commands us to parent with the end goal in mind: having children who know and love the Lord. We are to be diligent in our calling to present our children to God, and we have to trust Him with the outcome. We have to persevere every day to show our kids that following Jesus is the path to true life, even though some days can be downright hard.

 

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 has been such a guide and encouragement to me as a parent, especially where it says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that you and your offspring may live.” We have a choice every day, and it’s our job to show our kids that choosing Christ is the only way to a fulfilling life.

 

What books influenced your husband and you as you raised your three daughters?

 

Honestly? Not very many. So many parenting books seemed to offer a formula—do this; don’t do that—and we weren’t looking for a formula. We knew that every kid is different and that every family has different needs, and most parenting books didn’t take that into account.

 

That said, there were a few that made an impact. Our pastor, Kent Hughes and his wife Barbara, wrote a book called Common Sense Parenting back in the ‘90s that, well, made sense to us. Some of the information is a little outdated today, but overall, it really helped us make good decisions about our parenting. And then there was James Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child, for the obvious reasons. I think the book that made the most impact, though, was probably Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. That book made me realize that my goal as a parent isn’t good behavior, but a changed heart. That, to me, was really impactful. If I were still parenting younger kids today, I’d also recommend Paul David Tripp’s Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Will Radically Change Your Family.

 

What was your lowest parenting moment?

You mean besides that time I locked my one month old in the car? (True story!)

 

I think my lowest moments were the times I let my daughters down. When I betrayed their trust by sharing too much with others. Or when I didn’t fulfill a promise I had made. Parents can feel their kids’ disappointment, which hurts so much. But more than that, too many disappointments lead to mistrust or a lack of respect, and I never wanted that to happen.

 

That said, parents are human. We do mess up. We do let our kids down. And those are the times we have to humble ourselves with our kids and apologize, sincerely. We need to let our kids know that we don’t always do things perfectly or say the right things or even parent correctly. But that we need grace and the help of God as much as they do.

 

Who do you hope will read this book and what do you hope they will gain?

I hope parents with kids of all ages will read this book, but especially parents of younger children. I hope grandparents will read this book. And I hope it sparks lots of discussion between husbands and wives, moms groups, or even small groups in churches.

 

My hope is that parents will come away from reading this book with a stronger sense of their purpose as parents and that they might gain a couple of new ideas that they can implement in their own family. I also hope people will read the last chapter very carefully and prayerfully. The last chapter of the book is on letting go, and it’s a concept that I think is becoming lost a little bit today. It’s so hard, but it’s so important, even when your children are young, to start thinking about letting go. We’ve got to be parents who demonstrate faith in God’s sovereign work in the lives of our children.

 

Affiliate links used.

More Recent Posts

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?

DSC02870

 

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??) 

 

More Recent Posts

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….

More Recent Posts

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!

More Recent Posts

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. )

Amazon affiliate links used.

More Recent Posts

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

More Recent Posts

Are you on the mailing list?

 

Get updates delivered hot and fresh to your inbox.

PLUS receive exclusive content reserved ONLY for my subscribers!

You have Successfully Subscribed!