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Retail Therapy, Divine Moments, and Imaginary French

Aug

20

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 | 3 comments

It is rare for me to write a blog post these days. Writing a book demands focus and intention and giving my best effort to the words I feel called to write in that space, as opposed to writing in my tiny square of the internet.  But something happened recently I want to remember,
and what better way than sharing this happy little story right here?

 

To say I’m not getting out much these days is no understatement. If I staple my rear to a chair in front of my laptop, I figure eventually the words will come. I’m doing my part as best I can, begging God to lead and inspire me to write the parts of my story that will encourage and extend hope to readers and bring glory and honor to Him. That’s my target; may it be so.

 

Yesterday, we found ourselves needing to complete a little home improvement project, thanks to an opportunity that left us little choice otherwise. I decided to tag along with Tad when he headed to our local big box hardware store, wanting to spend time with him but also happy for any reason to get out of the house. I may or may not have also been motivated for a chance for a little retail therapy; one of my favorite discount shops is right next door.

 

Though Tad loathes those kinds of stores, he indulged me a visit. His simple plan was to circle the parking lot until he found a nice shady spot under a tree to wait. This is the love born of 30-plus years of marriage, finding a compromise with which we’re both satisfied.

 

It was ridiculous, really. I didn’t need anything, I just wanted to look at all the pretty things. I mean, if something begged me to buy it, I would’ve been happy to oblige, but I wasn’t planning on it…I just wanted to lookie-lookie. Even imaginary retail therapy works wonders.

 

Wandering aimlessly but blissfully happy, I meandered up and down the aisles, ever-mindful of the time. Since Tad was basically a human amoeba floating in a hot asphalt parking lot sea, I moved quicker than I might have otherwise.

 

About that time, I stumbled across some darling Rae Dunn tableware. Gah–she is an evil, evil temptress, and her creations are kryptonite to me. I want everything she makes. Clever word art is one of my love languages, all the better when it’s pretty and on something useful.

 

I was lost in thought, exercising admirable restraint while silently explaining to myself why I did not need to buy any of the things, when my subconsciousness heard something not yet detectable to my conscious brain.

 

“J’adore…” 

 

If you know me at all, you know I speak imaginary French, and J’adore is one of my oft-used phrases. Somewhere in the back of my head, I heard it again and thought, That sounds like something I would say….

 

Slowly snapping out of my fog, I turned to see one of my very best friends doing her level best to get my attention. We haven’t seen each other in ages, and she had to miss an opportunity just the other day to join a small group we’re a part of, to gather and finally catch up with life after being apart most of the summer.

 

We squealed and hugged like school girls while her teenage daughter smiled (laughed?) at us. Right there in the housewares section of Marshalls, we had ourselves a Divine Moment. This is how I feel loved and deeply valued: when I’m known so well a friend speaks to me in Imaginary French.

 

It is in ordinary moments like that I sense the presence of God Himself. The “random” timing of needing to replace a kitchen faucet coupled with me taking advantage of ten minutes of retail therapy; and being okay with Tad waiting in a parking lot because he didn’t want to come inside rather than managing his happiness. Or put another way, recognizing my need for a sliver of self care, and accepting Tad’s willingness to do what he wanted while I did what I wanted.

 

Except in this case, what I wanted and what I needed were two different things. OF COURSE, if I knew my friend was fooling around in Marshalls, I would’ve said, “Let me run in and hug Leigh’s neck.” I didn’t know she was there, but God did, and in His kind and generous ways, He gave us a little visit. I’m convinced of it.

 

Precious are those moments when we know beyond all shadows that we are known and loved. Praise God for the Light by which we’re able to see both.

 

If you’re interested in joining a band of prayer warriors to carry me through the last six weeks of book writing, please click here for more information. I’d love to have a few friends who’ll faithfully walk alongside me to the end. I’ll only be sending out a few updates between now and then, but prayers are welcome anytime and often <3. 

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Inspired to Inspire #OYTO

Apr

28

Posted by on Apr 28, 2018 | 2 comments

Fat Robin

 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
~ Thomas Merton

 

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. On one hand, I’m convinced our lives were better without it overall. We had fewer friends, sure, but they were real life flesh and blood humans who would show up in person at your back door with a meal or a paintbrush or a hug depending on your need at the moment. We trudged to the library and navigated a card catalog to research anything and we had to buy magazines to catch up on the newest fashion or home design trends. Our houses had a whole lot more color before all the home décor and DIYer instagrammers showed us over and over again how beautiful stark white could be. (It is a mystery to me how they can photograph the same room a thousand ways and we like it every time.) You knew what adult America was doing at 6pm and 11pm every night, and if anything happened after that, you could read the news in next morning’s paper, delivered right to your front door.

 

Amazing.

 

On the other hand, we never have to be dumb or ignorant for very long. We hear immediately when a Royal goes into labor, gives birth, reveal’s the new little prince’s name. We know the nanosecond a celebrity dies (except for Abe Vigoda who never could make up his mind) as Facebookers or Twitterers race to the internets to offer their public condolences, a thinly veiled ruse to be first in letting you know how well they’re connected, which always strikes me as funny. And it is cool to engage with people you admire, to have an inside glimpse into their behind-the-scenes lives. And sometimes you make a real connection that translates to real life and geography doesn’t really matter.

 

Social media has it’s lovely sides, too. What we see or read can inspire us to go and do likewise.

 

Recently, a real life friend of mine I haven’t seen face to face in forever began posting images of watercolors she painted. Oh…my…her work was beautiful and I would have guessed she was an art major before becoming a full time mama. When I asked if she was taking classes, she admitted she was just trying something new.

 

Well….

 

Slap me naked and hide my clothes–girlfriend just unearthed an incredible gift.

 

And here’s the beauty: Rebekah inspired me to try something new because she tried something new.

 

Right after this, our church hosted a two-night water color class. I signed up immediately. With low expectations, high hopes, and a few butterflies fluttering around my stomach, I walked into class. The first night we were instructed what to paint (a landscape), but the second night we could choose on our own.

 

I knew exactly what I wanted to paint: fat birds, like my friend, Rebekah.

 

While my little creations were far from perfect, I absolutely love both! Watching them come to life and at least resemble what I was going for thrilled me. Starting with a blank page and swirling a paintbrush into a little color you create something from nothing.

Fat Bluebird

 

Painting is magic!

 

I begged Rebekah to send me an original, and I meant it. I would have bought one (I love having my friends’ art on the wall). When she asked for my address I crossed my fingers and yesterday I received her prize: Fat Robin’s pretty cousin! We must’ve drawn inspiration from the same image, and looking at the differences between her painting and mine, I learned a few things. Again, Rebekah is teaching and inspiring me by being herself and doing something she loves!

 

 

Rebekah also sent me a beautiful journal with a strong call to action (thought she’d never see it as anything more than a word of encouragement):

 

Keep trying new things!

 

If that isn’t a challenge for One Year 365 Opportunities, I don’t know what is.

 

Don’t miss the important takeaway: if Rebekah hadn’t tried something new herself, when would I have tried my hand at watercolor? I would’ve missed out on a delight of my heart, a creative opportunity that feeds my soul. By pursuing a new thing, a new passion, my sweet friend inspired me. Sometimes inspiration begets inspiration.

 

This is when I love social media: Rebekah and I haven’t seen each other since I moved from Chattanooga five years ago (I don’t think?) but we’re able to stay connected through Instagram. Her friendship continues to be a blessing.

 

You have no idea who you’re inspiring just by being you. And if someone has inspired you by simply being who they are? Tell them!

 

 

 

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Doing The Thing You Already Know To Do

Feb

23

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 |

 

It was the first time my small group would meet her, this dear friend of our dear friend. On more than one occasion Monica had shared wisdom and insight she had gained from Sandra, and we were eager to know her, too. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and Sandra had that ability even when her “iron” came through another person.

 

Jesus knit us together in no time, and small talk went deep. We were sisters, in it together, sharing so many things in common, understanding from the inside out the Holy wrestle. The way of Christ is simple but it’s rarely easy. He invites us to a kinship of suffering, and I find myself wondering sometimes is that so we can better know Him, or did He slip on skin and fill that earth suit with bone and blood just to feel the way we feel?

 

Sometimes I see Jesus as a circle and it tells me, “Always.”  And, that’s (beyond) enough.

 

On this morning, we made space for important things. This group will put their ugly out there and remain safe; we love each other to healing, we lift each sister’s chin toward Hope. Though Sandra wasn’t a “regular,” we knew she could handle the ugly and wouldn’t hold it against us, the way we’ve all experienced with other women at some point in our lives. We learn and relearn that some women thought to be safe, aren’t, so when we find a few who are, we hold tight.

We meandered our way onto the topic of forgiveness; it was me exposing one of my scars, how I had been wounded by someone I thought I could trust. I explained I had forgiven her but hadn’t forgotten, and then what Sandra said next I wasn’t expecting.

*

*

*

Please continue reading A Hopeful Thought About Forgiveness over at (in)courage.
(I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments – here or there – and as always, 
thank you in advance for sharing this post!

 

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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:

 20170613_inRL2017_LoveOneAnother-900x858

  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

Panelists_InRealLife_Friended_Nashville

(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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