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



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



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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Join me! {Let’s All Be Brave for #inbooks}



Posted by on Sep 30, 2014 |

If you’ve never taken part in an online book club, consider this a personal invitation from me to you.

Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs

For almost two years, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of writing the content for Bloom, the book club hosted by {in}courage. If you aren’t familiar, {in}courage is DaySpring’s (the faith division of Hallmark) online community for women. Our founders liken {in}courage to a beach house, the place you can relax and be yourself, where you can encourage and be encouraged by women leaning into their faith. You won’t find all life’s answers there but hopefully you’ll feel the love.

Bloom is the brainchild of Jessica Turner and Angie Smith, lovers of all things books and sister {in}courage writers. What started on their own blogs eventually moved to the {in}site, and last year they added me to their team. Jess and Angie are video “hosts” and I write the words to go with their videos and engage with readers in comments.

A Bloom study features videos with the author of the selected book** twice weekly; together with Angie and Jessica, the author will discuss several chapters at a time.

Yesterday we announced our fall pick: Annie Downs’ Let’s All Be Brave. The message in Let’s All Be Brave is inspiring, motivating and empowering. It’s the kind of battle cry where you don’t charge forward on your own, you link arms with those around you and take the next step. And then the next.

If you enjoy reading but can’t fit a book club into your schedule, Bloom is ideal for you. Even if your faith is of another persuasion, I’d wager Let’s All Be Brave still has something for you. I hope you’ll find out.

Yesterday marked our fall kick-off, but we won’t begin the videos/posts until Monday, October 13th–you’ve got plenty of time to order the book and read. Between now and then DaySpring offers Sponsored Books for those who can’t afford one otherwise (limited supply) AND hosts some fun Giveaway Packages. Check out yesterday’s post for the full schedule and details.

Please make plans to join me and our reading community. And I’d love for you to share this post with your friends and invite them, too. My philosophy is always “the more, the merrier,” especially when it comes to Bloom :).
Oh–and if you aren’t yet subscribed to my blog, now is the perfect time!
<– Every time someone does, a fairy earns her wings. 🙂

Lets All Be Brave by Annie Downs


** (ideally, sometimes the author isn’t available so special guests are invited) 

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Around/About: The “Let’s Read & Early Christmas Gifts” Edition



Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 |

A collection of links I love, sites I like, things to do and interesting reads.

Around-About GREAT Book Recommendations and Early Christmas Gifts


Just in case you were wondering, there are 88 days until Christmas. Some of you will bless me and some of you will curse me for that little reminder.

I wanted to share a few special reads and great deal; take a minute now to get out your credit cards so you’ll be ready 🙂 —

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift - A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann VoskampHighly anticipated and a book I cannot wait to get my hands on is Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas. It’s #1 on Amazon for a reason: it’s a significant and meaningful exploration of the Advent season, providing a simple way for your family to celebrate together.

List price is $24.99. Use my link while you can get it for $14.99! Available now for pre-order, grab a copy for your family while you’re picking up this gift for everyone on your list!

Want to really reinforce this message? There are two collections of companion Greatest Gift ornament sets:

The Greatest Gift - Sculpted Resin Ornaments– If you’re willing to make a timeless investment for your family, buy The Greatest Gift Sculpted Ornament set. The price tag might deter you at first, but when you consider you’re receiving 25 high-quality resin ornaments that combine to tell a magnificent story, it’s absolutely worth it! Your children can handle them (carefully) and “touch” part of the story. There will be a limited number produced, so please don’t wait til the last minute.

The Greatest Gift Paper Ornament SetMore of us will be able to afford The Greatest Gift Paper Ornament Set, and don’t you dare consider it sloppy seconds. Yes, you’ll have to handle with care, but they convey the same message at a more accessible cost. Either way, it’s win-win and will only add to your reading of the book.



For Such a Time is This - Stories retold by Angie Smith with illustrations by Breezy BrookshireFor Such a Time as This: Stories of Women from the Bible, Retold for Girls by Angie Smith. Angie will bring stories to life for your daughter with her words, but it will be Breezy Brookshire’s illustrations that seal their memory. I can’t wait to see this one, too. List price is $14.99 but you can get it for $10.11 for at least the time being.






Four books by friends with strong, important messages,
all of which I’ve completed or am currently reading:


Great books by Christian authors
Lets All Be Brave by Annie DownsLet’s All Be Brave: Living Life With Everything You Have, Annie Downs. This is a battle cry, a call to courage, a mostly gentle kick in the pants to do that thing you’ve been afraid of. This is Annie’s first book written to adults following her previous two speaking to teens and the college set. Why you should buy and read it: You will suddenly see long-buried dreams coming to life and you’re going to want to do something about that. Highly motivating and easy to read. UPDATED: On sale for Kindle for just $3.79!! (Not sure for how long so grab it while the getting’s good!!)


I Want God by Lisa WhittleI Want God: Forever Changed by the Revival of Your Soul, Lisa Whittle. Where Annie’s book is a battle cry, Lisa’s is a beggar’s plea.  One of the funnest aspects of reading this book is having heard Lisa talk about it before it was ever finished. She wasn’t sure how it was going to go (what most authors discover) but I *think* she nailed it. Why you should buy and read it: Lisa is passionate about our need for revival and the way she speaks to the heart of the matter is inspiring. It’s hard not to want more of God as you consider how this fundamental desire shapes your faith.

Speak by Nish WeisethSpeak: How Your Story Can Change the World, Nish Weiseth, forward by Shauna Niequist. If you’re a follower of my posts at Deeper Story, you might recognize Nish as the site’s founder. Nish is young, strong and bold and she’s a champion of Story and Storytellers. She lives what she professes. Why you should buy and read it: Speak feels more like a conversation than a book and you’ll plow through it quickly because of it (I almost finished it in one sitting). You’ll come away realizing your story is of value, and through it, you can impact your little world and our big world.  UPDATE: Another WOW Sale! Only $3.99 for Kindle! Don’t let this get away!

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurstThe Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, Lysa Terkeurst. For years I bowed to the tyranny of the urgent and the idol of Busy. I didn’t think this book was for me because I’m on the other side of those challenges. I was wrong–Lysa’s message is so strong and clear, there was plenty more for me to learn. Why you should buy and read it: You’ll begin seeing more clearly the differences between “better” and “best” in your own life, and it will empower you to move beyond the paralysis of indecision to the power of making right decisions.


Lisa Leonard Weekend Instagram SaleLisa Leonard has just passed 30,000 followers on Instagram so she’s offering a weekend sale on a few of her favorite things. Click this link to see the qualifying items and use the code “insta30” at checkout. (There are also items in her sale shop, some of which are 50% off–wowza. The code won’t apply.) I love Lisa’s taste, style and the way she’s living her story, so I hope you’ll support her shop. (And that kite bracelet on the top left image? The PERFECT gift for any Kappa Alpha Theta on your list!!)

Please note that when you click through and purchase I’ll earn a tiny percentage through my affiliate links. This in NO WAY increases what you pay, it’s a thank you from the etailer for my referral. And…this is one of the few ways I’m compensated for writing in this space, so I’m incredibly grateful for your support and ANYTIME you use my affiliate links!

Typically my weekly round-ups are not related to e-commerce but I’m particularly excited about the books I’ve shared. I hope you’ll find something you can’t do without :).

Your turn: What have you read I might’ve missed this week?
Whether a book, a great blog post or interesting article, please share!

Robin Heart Signature - Green

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Two places at the same time…



Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 |

Stephen Hang glidingAs you begin this week, may you
remember to hold your children loosely, with open hand and outstretched
fingers, rather than white knuckles and clinched fist.

School’s out, days stretch long, and it’s an ideal time to explore…discover…seek adventure.

While I’m encouraging you, I need to encourage myself just as strongly – I’m living in the days when this is so hard…

* * * *

There are (at least) two reasons it's so hard, today in particular; please continue reading my Monday Benediction, Freedom to Fly (or Fall) at Simple Mom today to find out why….



We're kicking off a new book study at Bloom (in)courage today (and check out (in)courage's new design!).  Author Shauna Niequist joins Bloom hosts Jessica Turner and Angie Smith in front of the camera, and I'm the one behind the scenes, writing posts to go with their videos. 

It's a fantastic book–part memoir, part recipes–and it will render you both hungry and satisfied.  I hope you'll join us (and you can pick up a book cheap and fast at DaySpring!).

Bread & Wine Quote, Video 1

Image by me, quote by Shauna Niequist


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Meeting, Greeting & Eating…and laughing til I cried



Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 | 3 comments

Abby-Robin-LeighOne of the funnest things for a blogger is to meet in real life the friends she's made online.  Over the weekend, I had opportunity to do this very thing.

Leigh Kramer and I met a few years ago at a blogging conference, but I've gotten to know her much better through our connection as storytellers for Deeper Family.  When we hugged face-to-face Friday afternoon, it felt nicely familiar.  And bonus–Abby Barnhart. another friend I've met by way of conference, joined us for dinner–lucky for me, she was in town to visit her sister.

The reason I was in Nashville in the first place, however, was not just hanging out with bloggers; it was to work behind the scenes with Jessica, Angie and Shauna as they filmed the videos for our next Bloom (in)courage book club, slated to begin next Monday, June 24th.

Bloom Bread & Wine blogging team

(l-r, Robin Dance, Angie Smith, Shauna Niequist & Jessica Turner)

Oh, my…!  The girls managed to get through eight videos, engaging one another in conversation relevant to Bread and Wine, but also about the importance and beauty of community.  Through story-telling and example, they brought the book to life in a way that will be a treat for Bloom readers (I hope you're planning to join us!  If you've never taken part in an online book club, this is the PERFECT book to start with!  You can pick up a copy for almost half price at DaySpring!).

Photo 4(1)And then they let me join them in the kitchen for our four cooking videos!! 

Those were fun to say the least, and we were mostly professional…except for the 11 takes required for Breakfast Cookies.  I blame Angie mostly for that, but now until the end of time, I will always smile when I make Breakfast Cookies, think on That Day and thank Angie in my heart.

Shauna is as lovely a person as I imagined her to be–full of life and wisdom, passionate about a call to community.  I've had seasons of abundance and seasons of void, and I know intimately the truth of her message.

The sub-title to Bread & Wine is "a love letter to life around the table"  ~

I've often said the dining room table is a sacred space…

the place where family and friends connect over a shared meal, face to face, both for the regular and routine or special celebrations. 

Shauna's is a book written on my heart and practiced when I can, and more than anything, I hope you're making time for the people you love and like around a platter of something special.  Boxed brownies or a fancy beef tenderloin, it's never about the food anyway, is it?



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My life, in real life :: a job & a party {part 1}



Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 | 6 comments

Two wonderfully fun things are going on in my life, and it's my pleasure and honor and delight to invite you to be a part of one or both:

The job

Bloom-bookclubI've recently been offered and accepted a newly created part-time position with (in)courage, their Bloom Book Club Coordinator.  

Jessica Turner and Angie Smith birthed the online book club three years ago.  Its humble beginnings found them locked in the bathroom of Angie's house hiding from their children to film each segment with a laptop on their knees.  That's mostly true ~ wink ~.

Bloom has blossomed and evolved into a Very Good Thing under their leadership.  For the upcoming study, Prayer: Finding Heart's True Home by Richard Foster, DaySpring brought in a professional videographer to film each session; my role is to write the companion content for each video.  Also, I'll be behind the scenes uploading the videos, and the best part, engaging with readers in comments.  

The new study begins next Monday, February 11th–plenty of time for YOU to join us!!  Schedule details are HERE.  And TODAY you can enter to win one of TEN FREE copies of Foster's Prayer along with a fun giftpack.  

{And if you and I have never had the opportunity to meet in real life, click to hear my oh-so-Southern drawl and see my desperately-in-need-of-lipstick face on my intro video…!  For the record, this was shot at 5:00 p.m. after a long day of shooting videos and a too-short night's sleep.}

Next up, Party News!  You won't wanna miss that!

{to be continued shortly…}


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