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A friend in need, in deed, indeed

Feb

19

Posted by on Feb 19, 2015 | 1 comment

Friendship-2

I was seven months pregnant with my third baby in four years and my sciatic nerve wasn’t happy about it. Juggling a part-time job, caring for two toddlers, and all the other demands of life siphoned every ounce of energy I could manufacture. With no family in town, there was little relief.

And then I got pneumonia.

Let’s just say a baby kicking your fluid-filled lungs into your throat isn’t something on anyone’s bucket list. It hurt to do just about anything, but it really hurt to cough.

I felt like a bigger baby than the one I was incubating.

Words weren’t necessary to express how dreadful I felt; my husband knew this wasn’t a cold or even the flu. He also knew I wouldn’t ask for help.

What is it about women that we’re eager to offer a helping hand, but we’d rather come close to dying before admitting we need help?

 

 

God love him, the man knew exactly what I needed. He couldn’t take off from work (any more than I would have wanted him to…), but he knew who to call and what to prescribe.

Isabel showed up with a Coca~Cola and bendy straws, and poured a glass for me over crushed ice. Just like Mama did when I was little, the remedy that always makes me feel better even if it doesn’t actually make me better.

When I needed someone to show up, Isabel showed up. 

Because friendship does.

* * *

I was moving and there were a thousand things to do. Probably more.

Each task was exponentially more challenging with three littles underfoot. Without a shred of ill intent, children can undo hours of work by unraveling their mama’s nerves, particularly her last one.

It’s an emotional thing, digging up roots that have been growing for 14 years, painful, too. Even if you’re transplanting to what you think is greener grass, there’s no way of knowing til you get there if the soil is sandy or rocky or nearly impenetrable Georgia clay.

So it helps to have help. But it was a season in life where everyone was busy and I wasn’t about to ask.

One day Help showed up as my neighbor Michelle. Uninvited, she knocked on my back door with a bucket of cleaning supplies in her left hand and a broad grin painted across her face. “Put me to work,” she insisted; there was no point in arguing.

So I didn’t.

When I needed someone to show up, Michelle showed up.

Because friendship does.

 

{to be continued…}

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The Breakfast Club :: on friendship and the ministry of “me, too”

Oct

12

Posted by on Oct 12, 2014 |

The ministry of me-too by Robin Dance at Deeper Story

Her tears were watery magnifiers – incredible resolve damming a river – making her impossibly blue eyes look bigger and bluer. I hadn’t known when we made our plans the conversation would go so deep, so fast. Right about then my Belgian waffle arrived, gloriously buried under an avalanche of berries and cream.  I shoveled breakfast in while her pain trickled out.

Our friendship was still in its infancy. Birthed from circumstance – both of us new to town and starting over at mid-life – we needed one another.  That will quicken a friendship like few things can, but the more time we spent together the more I was convinced our circumstances only provided us opportunity–we liked each other and would have bonded regardless of time or place.

Rolling up our sleeves and comparing scars, war stories began to tumble. I had an intimate knowledge of the hurt she described – rejection, and what felt like betrayal from people she had once called friend. Her pain was my own.

These are the things that can bolster a new friendship. They are battle’s redemption.

 

***

 

Sometimes I envision satan as this maniacal little man, rubbing his scaly hands together and wearing a wicked, fangy grin. He’s grotesque and wormy, self satisfied and dark, clothed in evil and arrogance and dread. His minions are despicable, too, slobbery and snarly and powerless to do anything but follow the dark. Their favorite taste is defeat of human heart and they know a million ways to take you down.

But mostly, I wonder if satan just wound things up in the garden and then left us to our own devices. I’m certain that’s the case at least some of the time.

How much of your misery lives inside your head?

How much of your misery lives only inside your head? Imagination’s conjuring, born of (mostly errant) assumption and past experience.

Whether it’s the devil’s machination or my own, one thing does me in like few others:

 

Please click to continue reading The Breakfast Club at Deeper Story, published there earlier this week.  I’m continuing with my plan to offer content for my 31 Days in October/A Parent’s Guide for College-bound Students during the weekdays and link-love and intros to my posts published elsewhere on weekends.

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WANTED: YOUR thoughts on nurturing and encouraging friendship ~ PLEASE read, comment & share!

Aug

21

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 | 20 comments

Faithful Friend Quote - Hearts and chocolate

It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever said, and I wish I could remember more about the context of thinking it and saying it: I don’t really need people.

I can even recall the room I was standing in – in our den in South Carolina – so it must have been significant.  You can only say something that careless and arrogant when you are in a season of plenty.  I had a lot of friends in this season – close ones, good ones and casual ones – and the demands of friendship, marriage, family and life must’ve been pushing me to some kind of ragged edge to say such a thing.

Regardless, a lot of time has passed since I felt that way, and if I’ve learned anything since then, it’s this:

I DO need people, and very much so.

I’ve started over three times in the years between then and now, moving to new places where I didn’t know a soul.  Pursuing friendship has demanded effort, initiative and intention, and given my children’s ages, it hasn’t happened as easily and naturally as it once did. Moving to a place at 40 and then again at 50, well, people aren’t always open to new friends.  Which reminds me of this SPOT ON bit from Jerry Seinfeld–

 

 

Unless you’ve started over as a 40-, 50-, 60- (even 30?)- something, you can’t imagine how challenging it can be. When I was settled, before life and circumstances uprooted us from The Comfort Zone, I sometimes took my friends for granted. And something I’ve seen in recent years is that I haven’t always done a great job at maintaining the relationships of friends who are important to me–I assume they know and that’s good enough.

It isn’t always good enough…. ( ~ crooked, fragile, begging-for-forgiveness smile ~ )

All of this is to tell you about something I’m extremely excited about:

I’m working with a team potentially to develop resources that can help support, feed, initiate, inspire, nurture and encourage you to maintain friendships!

Friendship rarely comes together by accident; it has to happen because you pursue someone or she pursues you, typically after you’ve found common ground–that moment C.S. Lewis speaks of in his wonderful, little-but-heady book, The Four Loves:  “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . . .”  What would help you become more purpose-filled in your relationships?

I fully realize a thing doesn’t make a friendship happen; but a thing can

  • communicate thoughtfulness and intention
  • express affection and interest in another
  • become a connecting bridge
  • serve as a tangible reminder that we are loved
  • act as a conduit for getting together
  • encourage, affirm and demonstrate that we are known

I’d love to hear your ideas as they relate to initiating, cultivating, maintaining and deepening friendship.

I’d also like to know about your needs and wishes as they relate to friendship, hear about difficult situations (broken fellowship), how you’ve restored or reconciled a relationship, the tools and resources you already know about that encourage and turn you toward friendship.

 

Books, articles, blog posts and/or any other resources, apps or products  that come to mind.  There are no wrong answers.

Your simple response might be the spark that creates something wonderful.

 

Whether you’re a frequent commenter to blogs or you’ve never commented before; whether we’re friends from the second grade or you’re hitting my blog from a friend of a friend’s share; regardless of your age or stage of life–

I hope to hear from YOU!

I’ll keep you posted as I’m able to share more; for now we’re in the brainstorming / crowdsourcing / ideation (ohYESthatsaword!) phase.

The gift of friendship

 

Thank you in advance for sharing this post and your feedback; I’d love to hear a broad spectrum of thoughts and ideas.  And if you’re a little gun-shy about commenting publicly to a blog, shoot me an email at robin dance(dot)me(at)gmail.

Robin Heart Signature - Green

 

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We Can Do Something EXTRAordinary

Apr

19

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 |

There’s something special about having a song written just for you, especially when it’s a love story of sorts and a genuine celebration of one of the best things in life–

Real community.

Robin and Deidra at the Beach

A week from today I’ll be co-hosting an (in)RL Meet-up in my new hometown, Macon, GA (click here for a few details and to let me know if you can come by registering).  I’m so thankful a new friend, Lisa Hellier, said “Yes!” when I asked if she’d like to co-host. If you’re in the Middle-GA area, we sure would like for you to join us! (You can also email me at RobinDance(dot)me(at)gmail if you have questions.)

We have something REALLY special this year: Christa Wells and Nicole Witt wrote and recorded a theme song for our event, especially for the (in)courage community and (in)RL 2014.  Upon hearing it the first time, my daughter asked me, “Do you like it or think it’s hokey?” And you know what? I happen to think it IS a little hokey and I STILL love it!  Once you play it through you’ll find yourself humming it – it’s ear wormy  in a good way – and I find myself thinking, it’d be a fun song for a running playlist. If I ever ran, that is.

Your Story Matters Necklace - We Can Do Something Extraordinary LyricsMore than anything, We Can Do Something EXTRAordinary captures the heart of why (in)RL was born in the first place: to connect with those who live right in our backyard, and to have permission to be our true selves.  It’s all too easy to find like minds on the internet but sometimes a challenge to live that out face to face.

As I previously shared, this year’s (in)RL theme is “Your Story Matters” and Lisa Leonard created a darling necklace for those who get that message (if you’re interested here’s my affiliate link.)

OH! And I’ve forgotten to mention this previously:  the speaker team is wonderful. Friends, sisters in the faith, and beautiful truth tellers from the inside out.  Recognize a few faces?

inRL2014-Speakers-Blog-Image

 

You’re going to enjoy Christa’s and Nicole’s song (I have 17 times, give or take a few). For your convenience, I’ve included the lyrics below the video–

We Can Do Something EXTRAordinary

Music and Lyrics by Christa Wells and Nicole Witt

 

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da

Oh Oh Oh

We could go without

We could wait it out.

We could walk alone feeling like the only one.

‘Cause we’re kinda shy

Frankly terrified

That we might be judged

If we really opened up.

And maybe it’s your story that will shine the light.

I know it takes some courage.

I want to meet you where you’re at

You can tell me where you’ve come from

Say you’ve got my back

We can do something

We can do something

Bigger than we are

When we’re dreaming big together

Brave beating hearts

We can do something

We can do something

Extra ordinary

Extraordinary

Oh, sister you and me

We are community

Laying down our stones

Open hands are free to hold

And maybe it’s your stories that will be the tie

That binds us to each other

I want to meet you where you’re at

You can tell me where you’ve come from

Say you’ve got my back

We can do something

We can do something

Bigger than we are when we’re dreaming big together

Brave beating hearts

We can do something

We can do something

Extra ordinary

Extra ordinary

Ba Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da

I want to meet you where you’re at

You can tell me where you’ve come from

Say you’ve got my back

We can do something

We can do something

I want to meet you where you’re at

You can tell me where you’ve come from

Say you’ve got my back

We can do something

We can do something

Bigger than we are when we’re dreaming big together

Brave beating hearts

We can do something

We can do something

Extra ordinary

Extra ordinary

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da

Oh Oh Oh

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da

Oh Oh Oh

 

Robin Heart Signature - Green

 

 

 

 

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If You Can’t Be With the Ones You Love, Love the Ones You’re With (Part 2)

Sep

10

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 | 2 comments

{Continued from Part One ~ subsequent chapters will only make sense if you  as a whole – Consider an email subscription?}

If You Cant Be With The Ones You Love-RobinDance-Part2

ii.

It was May 2003, not yet summer but the perfect weather for a cook-out.

We had planted but now it was time to uproot.

We had built and now it was time to tear down.

The stones were gathered, but now it was time to scatter them.

It was a time to speak and keep and hug and love.

It was time to both weep and laugh.

I love the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.  It makes sense out of life.

This was our “official” going-away party, a blur of good people, good food and good drink.

There was much consumed that day, but mostly I remember the overflow: people telling us how we had impacted their stories.

Some things we knew but many we never suspected.

We wondered out loud about leaving this place where all of our babies were born.  Would we end up regretting it?  The year or so leading up to our move had been a hard one emotionally and relationally, but overall those 14 years were full of good life.  Our friendships were characterized by breadth and depth.

I had no idea just how much we had taken them for granted.

 

To be continued….

 

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Of mice and men: a tale of two breakfasts

Apr

12

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 | 7 comments

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Right before I arrived at her house, my friend Paige sent a text–

“Front door is unlocked.  Just come on in.  I’m finishing getting ready.”

Sneaky little rascal, she is…

Photo 1-4
What a fun welcome to our morning!  Nothin’ says “hello” more cheerfully than a present puffed in pink tissue, yes?

Next, we dove into a true Southern breakfast; I’m not sure there’s anything healthy about it, but my goodness it was yummy.

 

Southern breakfast

My favorites! Scrambled eggs, biscuits, potatoes, sausage and EVERY SOUTHERNER’S LOVE LANGUAGE–Grits!

Cracker Barrel ain’t got nothin’ on my friend Paige.  I love breakfast food – every breakfast food – and I seem to love every breakfast drink, too.  My husband jokes about how my breakfast beverage bill is higher than my breakfast food bill when we go out.

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure he’s actually j o k i n g …..

A n y w a y s…

Sammy the SquirrelI thought it was going to be just me and Paige but she surprised me with a few of her friends.  First, there was Sammy.  Sammy is a baby squirrel rescued when workers chopped down a tree in their back yard–

The thing about squirrels is they’re, well…squirrely.  Sammy, in particular, likes to climb inside your shirt and crawl around, and when Paige reminded me his claws were sharp because, you know, they climb trees upside down, it was the perfect time to return him to his cage.  

Then there’s Kevin.  

 
Kevin's cage

 

Where Sammy is furry, warm and cuddly, Kevin is slick, cool and standoffish.

Then, again, Kevin is a snake.  If it’s possible for snakes to be pretty, Kevin is.  

Snakes fascinate me.  If I’m 100% IT’S NOT GOING TO SINK ITS FANGS INTO ME AND INJECT SNAKE VENOM *OR* WRAP ITSELF AROUND MY THROAT AND SUFFOCATE ME, I like to hold them.  

Corn snake

 

I’ve never seen a snake eat before IN REAL LIFE so when Paige asked if I wanted to feed him, I chomped at the chance.  Apparently Kevin hadn’t been fed in a while because when she reached in to grab him, he BIT her!  AND DREW BLOOD!  She’s had him 10 years and he’s never done that before so I think he was just showing off for me.  

I was fantastically inspired by my brush with The Wild Things, so exercising creative license I went to work on a beloved (albeit macabre) English Nursery Rhyme.   Be sure to scroll down for the pictures that inspired this literary masterpiece.

Freeze Dried Mice
(hummed to the tune of Three Blind Mice)

Freeze-dried mice.  Freeze-dried mice.

See how they’re done.  See how they’re done.

They’re bred for food , it’s the Circle of Life.

Snake’s jaw unhinges, devours in one bite!

Have you ever seen such a fright in your life?!

As freeze-dried mice.

 

orange corn snake

Look at the composition of this shot; I had NO idea the cross on the wall showed up in the picture. Heck, I didn’t even notice the cross until I saw the picture!

snake eating mouse

Freeze dried mice
snake wrapped around arm
Photo 4-7
orange corn snake


Corn snake eating mouse

corn snake

Kevin makes me glad I’m warm-blooded.  

Bonus, if you are half as fascinated as I was–I recorded a few seconds of Kevin eating.  And once again, I’m reminded why I don’t have a career in radio.

 


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