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The Next Best Thing to Live and In-Person

Sep

29

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 | 3 comments

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In case you missed the Facebook Live about friendship complexities and the (in) Real Life: FRIENDED event I mentioned yesterday (because I am AWESOME at giving advance notice!), the magical wizards at Facebook make it possible to watch on replay. You probably need to watch just TO LEARN FROM MY EXPERIENCE that lumberjacks in your back yard (thanks to Irma) are distracting, and you can’t help but be who you are. I remember saying I hoped (in)courage/DaySpring/Lifeway wouldn’t fire me, but for the life of me now I can’t remember why….

I’m a little horrified to think about how many bunny trails I streaked.

Anyways…. Thanks to texts from Saynor, Paige, and Frank during the event (I saw ’em and tried to ignore ’em), and for prayer minions who made a difference. It is not your fault I SQUIRREL! at All The Things.

Last, remember two copies of A Moment to Breathe are up for grabs
(for commenters from the FB comment thread & my original post about the broadcast).

(Also? What’s up my expression on the freeze-frame? I AM NOT FORLORN!)


 

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Sometimes I’m Shy (Like When I Do Things Like This) + A Giveaway!

Sep

28

Posted by on Sep 28, 2017 | 16 comments

First, set your calendar for tomorrow at 10am EST.
I’ll be giving away two copies of A Moment To Breathe
BEFORE IT’S AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!!
(Details at end of post)

Facebook Live for inRL FRIENDED event

 

Most people who know me would consider me an extrovert. I can work a room like nobody’s business when I need to and it looks like it comes easy for me. Natural.

Well, pass me an Oscar. I’ve earned it, if that’s what you think. While I do love people and I’m naturally friendly, introducing myself to strangers or beginning a conversation with those I don’t know well (or even folks I’ve “known” on the internets FOREVER) makes me shake in my shoes. I’ve just learned ways to be the boss of those silly fears. 

The secret is twofold:

I’ve learned how to channel nervous energy into a positive force; and,

I’m convinced it’s important to be the one to BE the one.

My (in)courage sisters would say that second thing is “going first,” being willing to share your story, initiating a conversation or gathering, or plain and simple, getting the old ball rolling on friendship.

As mentioned in my previous post, (in)courage and Lifeway have partnered together for a special event in Nashville next month:

(in) Real Life: FRIENDED

To tell you more about it, I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live tomorrow morning at 10am EST (Friday, September 29th). Why? BECAUSE I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT – thrilled to participate as a panelist, sure, but more so because of the inspiring, motivating, and encouraging content from all the amazing featured guests. It’s a wonderful opportunity for a Girls Weekend Away, or, if traveling to Nashville isn’t a possibility for you, Lifeway has made a way for anyone to join us via the comfort of home or church via a very affordable simulcast.

I’m a little mortified to host a Facebook Live; WHAT IF NO ONE WATCHES IT? And I really, really want you all to tune in to learn more about inRL: FRIENDED because it’s going to be such a special gathering.

Even if you can’t make it at 10am EST, you can watch the video anytime. (After it’s over, I’ll be sure to pop a link directly into this post).

As promised, I’m giving away two copies of A Moment to Breathe, the new, 365-day devotional from the (in)courage community, and here’s how you can win one:

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  1. Comment to this post (questions about the event, topics you’d like me to address during the Facebook Live, whether or not you’ll be attending, or why you’d like to win a copy. ANY COMMENT WILL BE AN ENTRY!).
  2. Comment during the Facebook Live OR on the replay if you’re viewing later.

Easy breezy.

I sincerely hope you can watch tomorrow’s Facebook Live thingie;
would you mind sharing this post on your timeline
and invite others to join us, too?
Tag me so I’ll see it, and THANK YOU in advance.

inRL_FRIENDED_Panelists_JenSchmidt_KristenStrong_RobinDance

In addition to the lovely friends pictured above, Aliza Latta, Holley Gerth, Alia Joy and Jennifer Lee will be joining me as panelists. Lisa-Jo Baker, Chrystal Hurst and Annie Downs are featured speakers and Meredith Andrews will lead worship.

 

Congratulations to Susan G! The copy of AMTB is headed your way
as soon as you get me your address.
Thanks to all for commenting!

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Please Join Me October 14th in Nashville for (in)real life: FRIENDED #inrl

Sep

13

Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 | 3 comments

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(l-r, top to bottom) Robin Dance, Holley Gerth, Kristen Strong, Alia Joy, Jen Schmidt, Aliza Latta, Jennifer Lee

I suppose you could say it’s been years in the making: a gathering of friends old and new within hugging distance.

 

(in)courage and Lifeway have teamed up to bring (in) real life: FRIENDED, “an event for women that unpacks what makes healthy friendships tick.” OF COURSE, our greatest hope is that you can come in person, but because we care so deeply about community, relationship, and the ways women need one another, event planners are offering a simulcast option. The upside? You can bring #inRL to your church, or, if you’re game for the coziest option of them all, from the comfort of your home! The downside? I won’t get to meet you face to face. Boo. Hiss.

Featured speakers include Lisa-Jo Baker, Chrystal Hurst, and Annie Downs; Meredith Andrews will lead worship; and Jamie Ivey, host of The Happy Hour podcast, will emcee. I’m thrilled to join a panel of real-life friends and fellow incourage writers (Holley Gerth, Jennifer Lee, Aliza Latta, Jen Schmidt, Kristen Strong, and Alia Joy Haganbach); we’ll all be sharing a message of hope and encouragement as it relates to friendship, practical calls to action, and personal testimonies about the beauty and brokenness we’ve all experienced with friends.

This is an event like no other, one that will have you looking inside and out, and most important of all, looking up to the One who designed us to be in community with one another.

 

It’s going to be special, y’all, and it’s very affordable as far as conferences go (in Nashville AND the simulcast). Please decide right now that you want to take part, whether in Nashville, at your church, or even from home with a few friends. Click the (in) real life: FRIENDED website to find out everything you need to know for each option (plus a bonus add-on for Friday night if you’re able to get to Nashville!).


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Leigh’s (Almost) Famous Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Jun

18

Posted by on Jun 18, 2017 | 1 comment

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One of my favorite things is tasting a dish that is so delicious, I must ask for the recipe; and, then every time I make it, I think of the person who now mingles her kitchen with mine. When I had my friend Leigh’s Shrimp and Grits Casserole, I knew it was one of those. It’s easy, a little bit fancy, and diverse enough to serve for brunch or dinner. It’s a turn on traditional shrimp and grits, and if you don’t care for either, well, a) try this and you might change your mind, or b) if you’re a hard-core hater, I feel for ya. (Unless you’re like my friend Holley, who has a worse-than-Will-Smith-in-Hitch reaction to shellfish. She can’t even look at ’em.)

Leigh’s Scrumptious, Easy
Southern Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Pre-heat oven to 350°F
Lightly grease a 9×12″ baking dish

  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup regular grits (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack pepper cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ pound fresh (or frozen) shrimp, peeled and cooked
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained (Rotel)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Bring 4 cups chicken broth and ½ teaspoon salt to boil in a saucepan; stir in grits.
  2. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir together grits, ¾ cup cheddar cheese, and Monterey jack cheese.
  4. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add green onions, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté until tender.
  5. Stir together green onion mixture, grits mixture, shrimp, and next 3 ingredients.
  6. Pour into a lightly-greased 2-quart baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle top with remaining ¼ cup cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes.

Personal notes:

  • Leigh actually got the recipe from her friend Lisa; clearly good recipes keep goin’ and goin’, Energizer Bunnies of the culinary world.
  • Using half each of a red and green bell pepper make this dish especially festive at Christmas.
  • Depending on how much heat you like in a dish, you might want to use more cheddar and less jack cheese; or, if you want to add more heat, use Rotel’s spicier version of tomatoes. You can mix up the dish with your favorite cheeses, too.
  • This divides well into two smaller casseroles; keep one and give the other to someone who could use a meal!

 

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Storied Dishes || ~ a Grace Table feature ~

May

03

Posted by on May 3, 2017 |

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After we got engaged I couldn’t wait to finally get to choose an everyday china pattern and register for our dishes and gifts. (How in the world was that almost 30 years ago?) I didn’t need to choose fine china; I had inherited my mother’s Malden by Oxford, simple, rimmed in gold, and stunning.

I’m one of those who believes kitchen art begins with pretty dishes.

A spectacularly set table doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy and expensive, but with a little thought and intention – flowers and greenery plucked from your yard, handwritten place cards, a centerpiece created with found objects from your home – you can design a masterpiece. I couldn’t wait to begin our life together, to open our home, and experiment with new-to-me recipes. We didn’t have Pinterest or the internet to mine ideas, but we had magazines and the traditions of our own families, plenty to get us started.

I’ve always been drawn to color, and my first choice for everyday dishes was Villeroy & Boch’s Fruit Basket; predominately green and yellow, it was just so doggone happy. But it was also pricey for an everyday, and sensitive to gift-givers’ budgets, I ended up choosing Poppies on Blue, a popular-in-the-80s Lenox pattern.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 10.41.42 AM

 

We received all the place settings we registered for in addition to serving bowls and platters, the cream and sugar, and I think even the salt and pepper shakers. These were the dishes of our newlywed years, a part of countless meals shared with friends and family, and eventually with our own children.

Right around the time the poppies began fading, my tastes began changing. With a move from South Carolina to Tennessee, I decided timing was perfect for buying new dishes; this time around, I went with a neutral. When I wanted a splash of color, I’d pick up festive placemats. My once-beloved Poppies on Blue was relegated to a box in the attic, waiting for my children to grow up and move into their own home, or the bigger dream, a heart-secret I’ve held close for all these years.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Recently, I enjoyed a girls weekend out of town, and we decided an Airbnb rental would accommodate the space and flexibility we wanted. With many options to choose from, we decided a small, three-bedroom near downtown was best.

Our first night there we planned a simple dinner–wine, cheese, fruit and the like, and we began rummaging through cabinets for the dishes we’d need.

And then God winked. Twice.

 

Do pop over to Grace Table to see why I can’t help but think God is especially fond of me :).
Sometimes He’s kind enough to assure you you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be….

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Presents or Presence (The Difference in Listening Well)

Dec

24

Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 |

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”
(John 3:16)

 

You can’t fool her, you know.

Two pudgy hands cup your cheeks to turn your face, demanding your eyes look deep into her own.

“Mama, you’re not listening!” You can almost feel her heart stomping its tiny imaginary foot to accentuate the point.

Of course, you’re right when you insist, “Yes I am, honey, I can just do two things at once.” You did hear her, after all.

But she’s right (more right?) because you weren’t listening.

Hearing requires only ears. Listening demands ears, eyes, mind, and maybe most important, heart.

The difference matters. A lot. Here’s why:

Your children don’t just notice the difference between hearing and listening, they understand the difference:

Something else is more important than them in that moment.

O u c h!

This isn’t confined to children; don’t we all hate it when we know someone is only half engaged in conversation? Present in body but absent in thought?


I grow weary from all the admonitions to focus on Christ during the Christmas season, to resist holiday busyness. Please don’t get me wrong — I agree — but then I see a believing people tangled and lifeless in sticky-webs of shopping, baking, parties, and school or church programs.

We are distracted.

Everyone is working extra hard to pay for All The Things.

And though our homes have never looked more lovely or smelled more delicious . . .

Our actions are speaking loudly, and they don’t always match up to our words.

Can I get an “Amen!”?

 

Please click to continue reading Presents/Presence for incourage. Promise:
if you’ll follow this friendly advice this Christmas season,
you’ll be  giving and receiving something precious.

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