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Honest Thoughts About #GivingTuesday

Nov

28

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 | 2 comments

GivingTuesday2017

I love Holly Hunter. An Academy Award- and Emmy-winning actress, she seems to take any role and make it memorable; she dies to self while her characters come to life. I appreciate her talent, sure, but maybe tipping the scale for my fangirldom is the fact she’s Southern, born just up the road from me in Conyers, Georgia. Her accent makes me happy. Instead of sounding like some illiterate, backwoods miscreant – the way Southerners are too often played in film and television – her voice is comfort food to the ear. As Tammy Hemphill in 1993’s The Firm, she delivers one of my favorite movie lines of all time when convict Ray McDeere tells her he “loves her crooked little mouth.” She quips…

It’s not my best feature.

Gah–J’adore! (Shout out to my friend Lisa M. who jinxed me with this line!)

Anyway, that scene always comes to mind when one of my, say, “lesser qualities” rises to the surface. Like today. Today is known far and wide as Giving Tuesday. My first instinct is cynical.

GivingTuesday2017

My cynicism is birthed out of priority:

  1. Black Friday.
  2. Small Business Saturday.
  3. Sunday usually equals more of #1 and #2–retailers and e-tailers are smart that way even if Sunday doesn’t have an official name.
  4. Cyber Monday.

And with whatever you have leftover after all that manic spending, tip your favorite charity on Giving Tuesday.

See? Not my best feature.

Here’s the thing, though. While my first instinct is cynicism, it’s not where I land. I am a bargain shopper. I understand that this season sometimes offers the most savings of items you plan to buy anyway.

More than anything, I believe that giving is good.

 

And when there’s a global movement encouraging citizens of the world to give to organizations and causes who represent undeniable need, we should respond with great generosity.

 

#GivingTuesday reminds us giving isn’t only about dollars and cents–

…whether it’s some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community….

but a financial gift is always an easy and immediate way to respond.

 

There is no dearth of non-profits to support, but three I’d very personally love for you to consider are:

  • CrossPurpose. 2½ years ago, freshly graduated and with a degree in community development, my daughter accepted an urban leadership development fellowship in Denver, CO. On the ground, working to eradicate poverty in their city, CrossPurpose in an incredible organization that teaches people how to fish for a lifetime instead of feeding them for a day. When her fellowship ended, Rachel accepted a full-time position with CrossPurpose. We’ve met those who serve and are served by this visionary organization. Your dollars here change lives, now and forever.
    CrossPurposeDenverLogo
  • Compassion. Eight years ago I traveled to Kolkata (Calcutta) with Compassion International, and it’s still changing my life. Compassion is a world-wide organization that works by investing in local people and projects to do the work of caring for the least of these. I was privileged to observe first-hand what this looks like, and I’m convinced it’s the best, most reputable sponsor program out there.
    CompassionBlogger_RobinDance_India

 

  • Salvation Army. Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive has become an annual tradition for me; it was fascinating to learn so much my first year (10 Things Salvation Army Bell Ringers Want You To Know is one of my most popular posts of all time). The Red Kettle Drive is a great example of every gift matters–whether pocket change or folding money, every donation thrills the bell ringer AND makes a difference in your community. Which goes the same for my online campaign: gifts of any size are welcome! (Please help me reach my humble goal?)
    Ringing Salvation Army Bell

Your support doesn’t have to end with the organizations I’ve mentioned here; I’m sure there are many near and dear to your heart. But I sincerely hope you join me AND THE ENTIRE WORLD in giving something today.

Because something is always better than nothing, yes?

xo

 

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A father’s plea

May

05

Posted by on May 5, 2016 | 2 comments

A Fathers Plea - Dont text and drive
 An email shared with me today, from someone our family loves. I asked permission to post it here, hoping to share its heart-breaking message beyond his original recipients. Please read it as if your husband or father or brother or best friend wrote it; it’s that personal. It’s that important. If you’ve never shared a post of mine before, now is the time. Use the easy share buttons at the bottom of the post, cut and paste it, email it…I really don’t care. I believe it is so affecting, you could possibly be saving lives. Thank you. Love, Robin 

 

* * * * * * * * ** *

 

My beloved children,

 

This morning on my way to work I came up on a head on car collision that had just happened seconds earlier.  A young boy was thrown into the front seat in one car, air bags deployed on both cars. At first glance it appeared that one driver and the child may be dead. We could not open the doors and had to call 911 and wait. Fortunately the drivers and child started moving. When emergency rescuers arrived they were able to get the child out and it appears he will be okay. The drivers are alive but who knows if they have head trauma.

 

You guys know about the UGA girls and the tragic accident there.

 

While we don’t know, my suspicion is the drivers were distracted, and my guess is they were distracted by a cell phone.

 

I am guilty. I let my phone distract me at times. I check a text or email. I look up a number to call someone, maybe calling you.

 

These events remind me it’s not worth it. It happens in an instant.

  

Please, please, please. Leave the phone in your pocket when you are driving. Look at the directions before you leave to go somewhere. Program the GPS before you leave. Do something radical and turn your phone off. Don’t tolerate your friends using their phone when driving.

 

I love you all so much and don’t want a distraction to hurt your or someone else, to cause something like this.

 

Please hear your Dad’s plea when that text message goes off while you are driving.

 

It ain’t worth it.
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Because 50 is Relative

Mar

30

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 | 6 comments


 

Never Apologize For Your Age - Robin Dance

If you were backed into a corner and forced to give an answer, what age would you say is “old”? What milestone birthday is The One that tips a person beyond the top of the hill into a mess of wrinkles and infirmity? How old do you have to be to be considered a senior citizen, an elderly person, an old geezer?

How old is “old?”

I suspect that line is a shifting one for all of us, that the number grows higher with each passing year.

Old age is relative to our current age.

Ageism is rampant in our country and culture, subtle and sinister in that people who practice it probably don’t even realize they are. I’ve been on the receiving end of it a few times, and it’s shocking. In my mind, I’m not old! (Showing up to film a Tim McGraw music video comes to mind….) But if I’m older than you, relatively speaking, I might be. Or not.

Depends on how big a jerk you are.

But wait–that’s part of the problem. If I think you’re a jerk (which I don’t, really) because you treat me differently because I’m older than you, that’s giving mental ascent to your prejudice. It is buying into the thought that at some point Old Age < Youth. It’s agreeing that at some point you become less valuable because of your age.

You do not become less valuable as you age, but your currency (what you have to offer) may change. In many important ways, your value increases.

Never apologize for your age as if it’s something to be sorry for!

 

My God, growing old is the price you pay for long life, and it’s a privilege not everyone shares. What you gain over time in wisdom and experience is invaluable! By the time you reach midlife, you’ve endured heartache, you’ve survived tragedy, you’ve learned so many lessons your life is a textbook. You have amassed a wealth of experience from the wise and poor choices you’ve made. You’ve born consequence, you’ve collected milestones, you’ve celebrated new life, and you’ve mourned the passing of those you love.

You have grown rich over time but you have to understand and value the currency.

 

Anyway…today is my birthday. I’m 53 and I woke up with a pain in my middle knuckle, of all places, and my first thought was, “Did I jam my finger in my sleep??” But then my second thought was, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! HOW CLICHÉ IS IT TO WAKE UP WITH A NEW AILMENT ON YOUR 50-SOMETHING BIRTHDAY?!”

So I ignored it, took a birthday selfie in bed, and posted it as a proverbial finger to aging.

Clearly, I’m winning the internet.

It’s fun to watch old episodes of Friends on Netflix, and when this episode (with Brad Pitt, about Ross making out with their librarian when he was in high school) showed up not to long ago, it inspired this post.

I’m pretty sure if any of the Friends cast watched it now, they’d think Mrs. Altman was pretty darn cool.

 

 

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Why I refuse to be discouraged (when your scale is a jerk)

Feb

12

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 | 21 comments


The best reason to exercise and eat well

I wonder how many times I read about it before taking action. A least a dozen, probably twice that.

A Boot Camp offered at my church–I mean, really, how hard could that be?

Initially, I wasn’t as intimidated by “Boot Camp” as I was by the early start: 5:30am, three days a week.

I could never do that.

 

While I am a morning person, I am not an early morning person. Trust me, the difference is apples and orangutans.

But everything changed when my motive changed. 

When you’re teetering toward an empty nest, you’ll have thoughts you’ve never thunk before. Deeeeep thoughts, wrapped alternately in angst or jubilation. I could write volumes on the subject, but we’ll save that for another time. Today I’m talking fitness.

Me, talking fitness. I never saw that coming….

Anyways…yes, my motive changed. I spent the month of January avoiding all sugar, added sugar, sugar alternatives (chewing gum, people…even sugar-frackin-free gum!), grains, dairy, processed foods–approximately 75% of my diet before I heard of Whole 30. You simply do not realize how much crap you eat until it’s off limits–and that’s despite me cooking five nights a week and typically having vegetables.

As a mother I think I’ve always parented with careful intention, but particularly after reading Jean Fleming’s Pursue the Intentional Life I’ve sought intentionality in all areas of my life–marriage, friendship, faith, family…and lifestyle.

I’ve got one body and the choices I make will either help it or harm it. 

You’ve got one body and the choices you make will either help it or harm it.

 

I did not choose to attend Boot Camp or eat a restricted diet to lose weight. While I don’t have a huge weight problem, I look like I’m better shape than I am. The way I was sucking wind on the first day of boot camp – and every day since – proves it. But I made a decision to steward my body well and to do what I could to improve my health and quality of life for the duration of my days. I wish I could say honestly my motive was esteeming my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, but that’s secondary to my reasons.

Tomorrow marks the end of my first six-week session, so yesterday we checked our progress based on weight, body fat % and BMI (calculated a month ago two weeks after the start of Boot Camp).
Every stinkin’ one of my numbers went UP.

 

Up as in the wrong direction. Up as in I’ve gained weight instead of losing weight. Up as in higher BMI and Body Fat percentage. Right there in my church gym I asked my (fantastic) instructor if I could cuss. She laughed nervously, so I just thought ugly thoughts instead of burning her ears.

She asked if I was hormonal – Hello…I’m menopausal! – and reminded me I’ve been building muscle. She told me how her numbers haven’t changed in a year (her body is perfect) and how hormones affect your calculations. Everyone is quick to say “muscle weighs more than fat” but a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. Remarkable, no? But I know what they mean.

This is where the rubber meets the road, though, where I believe what I profess, where I buy what I’m selling. This is where I answer the question “Am I really eating well and exercising for my long-term health and benefit or am I doing it for numbers on a scale?”

 

I have gotten up at 4:50am three times a week for six weeks, even after driving eight hours in two days and falling into bed at midnight in order to attend an important event for a special friend. My attendance is perfect, my form, not so much.

My clothes fit differently. I do have more energy. I have done what I’ve sworn I could never do.

Let me say that again:

I have always said I could never do an early morning Boot Camp (or any fitness thing) and I have always said I could never give up all sugar for a month and drink coffee black.

 

Sometimes “always” and “never” are liars.

 

This has been a Hard Thing for me. Not on the scale of say, fighting cancer or climbing Everest, but it has demanded commitment and discipline and doing things I don’t want to do. My spirit has felt like a child who clamps his mouth shut and refuses to take his medicine even though it will make him better.

This has made me better.

On February 17th, my friend Jessica Turner will release her first book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You (available now for pre-order), and I can’t think of anything fringier I’ve ever done. After brushing my teeth, washing my face, eating an egg for protein’s sake, and thanking God that my body hasn’t mutinied on me yet – before I’m barely awake – I stumble out the door Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to do a thing for ME.

My husband scribbled a note on the back of a grocery list for me to find on that first day, six weeks ago–

Word of encouragement

Lawsy–looks like someone needs to clean her bathroom mirror…. #IDHTBPTBB

 

and when I’ve felt like throwing in the towel, it’s a little thing that has kept me going. My neighbor, Marie, brave enough to say “Yes” when I asked her to join me, has kept me going, too. Accountability is an important contributor to my success, as well as the ability to process verbally every aspect of each day’s session. Our instructor is incredible, and she has yet to structure any two days the same. (Seriously, if you’re in the middle Georgia area looking for a good cross-fit program, contact me and I’ll give you the details.)

Boot Camp and Whole 30 are natural topics of conversation–anyone who follows me on Instagram, Facebook, my blog, or you know, asks me what I’m up to in real life, knows about both. Without exception…without exception…everyone has responded the same way: “I could never do that.”

Which I absolutely understand. Been there, said that.

Believed that.

And then, lo and behold, I discovered “always” and “never” are little demons that make you believe things that Just Aren’t True.

Once you discover a motive that means something to you, you’ll accomplish the very thing you were sure you never could. Once you think you can…you can!

 

So, yeah…my minimal weight gain…. The slight increase in BMI and Body Fat %age….

Sure, I’m disappointed. But I refuse to be discouraged and I’m certainly not defeated…

*

*

*

Because my motive is in great shape.

 

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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We interrupt this blog to bring you a PSA for those who (n)ever text and drive (which pretty much you & me)

May

24

Posted by on May 24, 2013 | 14 comments

I'm probably a teen's worst nightmare when it comes to driving:  my mantra to my own children when they were of legal age to get their permit (and, later, their license):

A car in the hands of a driver is a loaded weapon.

They understand the depth and breadth of this truth from losing a 17-year-old friend in a tragic accident a few years ago; another beautiful young friend lost her arm just last year.  I can think of half a dozen friends between the three of them who've been in wrecks as recent as two weeks ago…and my own babygirl called  one night with words that froze my blood:  "I'm okay mom but…."

Shudders.

As a mom, one of the hardest seasons to endure is the "learning how to drive" season.  Perhaps The Hardest Thing Of Them All, though, is the first time they make a solo drive.  The minutes between home and "there" feel like tortuous hours.  The gracious advent of cell phones afford us a peace of mind our parents didn't have–they can easlily let us know when they've arrived.

It Can Wait Pledge Logo - Dont Text and DriveThe inherent danger associated with driving–especially inexperienced teen drivers who cannot understand ALL OF THE THINGS THAT CAN GO WRONG–is why I tell my own "I will snap you like a twig if I find out you're texting and driving."  They'll lose their phone, they'll lose driving privileges…and they'll lose my trust in their judgment.

Here's the worst part:  I've been guilty of doing this very thing I rail against.

Someone should snap ME like a twig! 

Just this week I was driving 65 mph on the interstate when a four-car collision happened in front of me; I didn't see the beginning but I saw a red car spinning and smoking across four lanes of traffic, another silver car with airbags deployed and a shatterd windshield, and two drivers already to the shoulder, both screaming into their cell phones.  THE CAR SPUN DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME, and I, together with each of the cars in their respective lanes, stopped cold (fishtailing) on the interstate! 


It scares the ever-living daylights to think about what if I had been texting and driving.  

At a minimum it would have been a five-car collison.

When Verizon told their team of bloggers about how they were teaming up with other carriers for the It Can Wait campaign to discourage texting and driving, I knew I had to share the details with my readers.

And beg you to take the pledge.  I did, and I agree with its sentiment: "NO text is worth the risk." 

Pledge to not text and drive.

Teens aren't the only ones guilty of texting and driving; EVERY time I'm on the road I see it.  And then I find myself channeling my inner Barney Fife and I want to roll down my window and scream "CITIZEN'S ARREST!  CITIZEN'S ARREST!!"

Wait.  That wasn't Barney….it was Goober.  No…GOMER!  It was Gomer Pyle! 

But I digress.  Forgive me.

I don't text and drive anymore; I've tried voice commands but I'm still distracted when I see what my cell phone interprets for my words.  Sometimes what it comes up with is beyond laughable and possibly prosecutable under the law!  Mercy!

Ninety-five percent of my readers don't comment to my blog (and if you're one who does, you know you're my favorite, right?  You emailers, too 😉 ) but I'm asking you PLEASE comment to let me know if you signed the It Can Wait Pledge.

Comment by telling me what prompted you to do so; let me know how you're sharing the campaign with others.  I know a lot of you don't blog, so are you emailing it to your friends?  Sharing on Facebook?  Pinning to a board that shares important information (or parenting tips or teenager info)?  Printing out the flyers available on the campaign site to share with your kids' high school when it starts back up? 

If you're on Twitter, feel free to cut/paste the following. 

  • Take the pledge to stop texting and driving—I did! http://bit.ly/14ZPaLD #vzwvoices #VZWA #itcanwait
  • It CAN wait: No text is worth dying for—take the pledge http://bit.ly/14ZPaLD #vzwvoices #VZWA #itcanwait
  • #Verizon is taking a stand against texting while driving. Join in. http://bit.ly/14ZPaLD #vzwvoices #VZWA #itcanwait

And if you're willing to BLOG about this, even if it's in a round-up or link list, please use the graphic on this post and link below; if there are at least 10 who join in by Friday, May 31, I'll give away a FANtastic prize (once I figure out what it is, at least $25 out of my own pocket.  It's a small way to say thank YOU for helping to save lives…I don't think that's an understatement.)

What say you…are you in?  Will you sign the pledge and let me know you did?  I sure hope so!  Memorial Day and weekend is when we remember and honor those who gave their lives for our country.  Isn't it the perfect time for Everyday People Like Us to do a small thing that might have a powerful influence…and maybe protect someone you love?


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Fragile…

Feb

10

Posted by on Feb 10, 2012 |

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile,
a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment,
or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential
to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia

Recently I admitted having thin skin. On one hand I am Steel Magnolia, resilient and strong and confident. But the tiniest of daggers can pierce skin’s shield and impale my heart. Pieces shatter, blood flows, wounds seep. In that moment I take my eyes off Christ and I forget who I am.

No…I forget Whose I am.

Our hearts are fragile, aren’t they? God gave us new hearts, hearts of flesh to replace the stony hearts we had before we met Him; a place His spirit could reside, so Christ could live in and through us. I searched the word “heart” on Biblegateway and it returned 805 verses (NASB). This leaves little doubt to the heart’s importance based on Scripture’s pure repetition alone. Many were familiar references to the hardening of the heart and to its evil inclination, but also your heart:

(and this is just a sampling of the more exhaustive list I’m pondering…!) But how can we know if we don’t read His word? And how can we hear ~ truly hear ~ if we’re reading out of compulsion or obligation? With the turn of a new year, many of us claimed a word (or received them as a God-gift) as a banner for these 366 days in 2012. As much as I’m anticipating adventure, though…a question dogged me leading up to the new year–

What if on 12/31/12, I had spent the 365 days leading up to it reading Scripture daily, devotionally…passionately…relationally…?

Less than two months into daily reading, I’m better at the “daily” part of that question than the descriptors that come after; regardless, here’s the remarkable discovery:

*

*

*


Funfun–a cliffhanger!  Please finish reading Fragile’s conclusion at (in)courage today.}

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