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A father’s plea



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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The Things You Learn at Boot Camp…!



Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 | 3 comments

Bless Her Heart


I think it’s fair to blame it on the fact I’ve never before attended a fitness Boot Camp.


Well, that, and my brain and body are offended by the 4:50am wake-up call to get to said Boot Camp on time. They just aren’t fully awake by 5:30.

And lest anyone think Boot Camp is about finding All the Cute Shoes, it is my duty to inform you that nothing is cute at 5:30 in the morning and they only call it that to lure you. Bait and switch at its finest.

For the past year I’ve noticed six-week sessions for Boot Camp at my church, and for some ungodly reason I decided to sign up this go ’round. Even though I am a resolutions girl, I’d like to think it has nothing to do with the new year – fitness goals are so cliché. But the truth is my body is betraying me and I’m trying to fight back.

It’s true what you’ve heard: things start shifting north of 50 and I’m trying to remind them where they belong.


So, I kidnapped my neighbor and off we went to the Great Unknown. Marie is the Zumba Queen but she’s never done Boot Camp, either. We figured we’d laugh our way through on the back row, and maybe drink gin and smoke cigarettes.

I promise that’s a joke. Well, the last part, anyway.

Thanking the Lord for all things pure and holy, we discovered our instructor was no drill sergeant; instead, she sweetly but firmly delivers our marching orders in a way that makes us want to do them…or try to do them. Marie says Karen has the nicest way of being so mean. I’m convinced all trainers are sadists whether they bark, bite or whisper.

We get through that first hour on that first day of the first week of Boot Camp, thrilled to have lived to tell. After I’ve returned home, it is when my son gets up that the fun begins.

Me: Boot Camp kicked my butt today. Literally.

Stephen (noticing the work out clothes and remembering that I’m going):  So what do y’all do?

Me: Everything. Running, weights, lunges, thigh and ab work, furbies…

Stephen (blink blink): What’s a furby?

Me: [Sorta demonstrate the motion] [too worn out to really do it]

Stephen (laughing): Mom…that’s a burpee…!

Me: Huh?

Stephen: A B U R P E E…like [fake burps]…BURPee!

Me: blink blink Oooooo…..

Apparently sometimes, ignorance isn’t bliss…it’s bless her heart.


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Your Best Friend When Applying to College



Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 | 1 comment

A secret for college-bound students


I was surprised to learn something I hadn’t realized with our first two children, and now that I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it multiple times. And if we didn’t know this when we went through the college search with our oldest two, there’s a good chance some of you didn’t realize this either:

Admission Counselors want to build a relationship with your student.


Make no mistake, in a competitive environment where schools have more applicants than spaces, you want them to know who you are. You may need them to know who you are. I’ve had AC’s tell me it matters if they remember you. 

When you’ve decided where you’re going to apply to college, there are at least two compelling reasons to pursue a relationship with the institution’s Admissions Counselor:

1. They are your human link to the school.


During the application process and after acceptance, you’re going to have questions. If you’re AC doesn’t know the answer, he’ll be able to connect you with the person who does. Some schools are more complicated that others, and it’s the AC’s role to help you navigate their system. They’re there to recruit and serve potential students, so do not discount their motive and ability to help YOU.


2. They’re watching you.


Seriously…Admissions Counselors are tracking your contact with them. And know this: it’s the student they’re interested in hearing from, not the parents. They’ll track contact by email, phone, text, campus visit, conversation at a College Fair–virtually every way a touch can be made.


Set yourself apart by demonstrating sincere interest.


As I’ve already said, it matters if your preferred colleges’ admissions counselors remember you. It’s in your best interest to make a good and lasting impression and there are simple ways to assure their notice. Most students aren’t going to bother with the little things; you’ll stand out when you do.

1.  Return phone calls. Yep, if they call you, call them back. This is not the time to exercise your phone aversion.

2.  Return emails. Yep, if they email you, email them back. It doesn’t have to be long but pay attention to good grammar, punctuation, and typos.

3.  When you take a campus tour, be sure to meet your area’s AC. Campus tours are often led by student ambassadors, which is great because you’ll hear the perspective of people just like you. But while you’re there, don’t miss a chance to meet the people in the admissions office. It might feel awkward to continually put yourself out there, but it can only help you and it’s worth the extra effort.


An admissions counselor cannot help you gain entry if you don’t meet the college’s requirements, but their job is to find and recruit the best and brightest for their school. They’re there to serve and support you and it would be a crying shame if you don’t take full advantage of their help.

Next time we’re going to talk about one of the most frustrating things when it comes to the college search. Stay tuned as we discuss an issue of “world hunger” proportion :).

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How to Choose The Best College (Part 1) #31Days



Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 | 2 comments

How to choose the best college - Part 1 - by Robin Dance for 31Days

With 2,870 four-year colleges in the US and an additional 1, 700+ two-year institutions, is there such thing as the “best” college for a student? When you’re in the throes of making a decision, it sure feels that way. Choosing well is important because the college years determine or at least gives shape to our future; vocation, world view, whom you’ll marry–decisions that follow you throughout life.

Before panic or a fear of making the wrong choice sets in, let me offer you a word of truth and encouragement:

When you identify priorities for college choice and then make a thoughtful, considered decision in light of what’s important to you and your child, your choice will be the best one.


Typically, where to attend college is based on some combination of several factors:

  • location
  • cost
  • family legacy (parent alma mater or sibling already there)
  • academic rigor
  • course offering
  • reputation
  • sports affiliation
  • size
  • familiarity and friends’ choice
  • housing (on campus and off)
  • dining
  • activities

and many more….

Thinking back to my own reasoning for choosing a college horrifies me:

  • It was 75 minutes from home.
  • It was not the college my sister attended (I lived in her shadow my first 18 years of life and was not going to repeat that in college).
  • I liked the campus. Mind you, it was the only campus I visited, although I grew up in a huge college town and figured I’d end up back there after a year.
  • The Tiger paws on the roads were friendly.

Oy. Seriously…at the time, it didn’t even have a good option for what I wanted to major in, so I found something close. But I fell in love with the college and eventually the man I’d marry and have three (pretty amazing) kids with, so it turned out okay. Still…I shake my head over my father paying out of state tuition for four years.

I was resolute about making better, more informed choices with our own children.

One of the most helpful resources that helped us accomplish that goal (and mentioned earlier in this series) is the dynamite-in-a-small-package book, An Educated Choice: Advice for Parents of College-Bound Students by Frank Brock. I can’t say I agree with everything Brock suggests but there is no doubt it influenced how we approached college choice and helped us to consider a much broader view of education and what we were hoping for our children to accomplish. (It’s cheap and basically you’re only paying to have it shipped; a used copy is just fine….)

One of the finer points Brock makes is “getting a degree is not the same as getting a good education.” (p. 13) Wow…that idea alone was revolutionary. Another profound conviction of his: “…nothing is more expensive than a failed college experience and nothing is more valuable than a good education.” (p. 20) Brock challenged us to consider the  learning environment of each college and helped us realize “breadth of programs [do] not necessarily translate into quality programs…” (p. 31, emphasis added). By visiting several schools, we’ve noticed the wide disparity among different institutions in these areas and the factors listed above.

We’re going to break “How to Choose The Best College for Your Child” into several smaller discussions; next time we’ll discuss How To Make the Most of a College Fair.

Thank you for sharing this series with your friends and family; whether by sending them an email link or using the social media icons below, I’m grateful. What I’m sharing with you is the information we’ve accumulated over three children and five years of going through these motions! Keep with the series and you’re bound to gain new insights! 

Click here for a listing of all posts and be sure to
subscribe free to receive an email when the series is updated.

Helpful Hints and Tips for College Bound Students by Robin Dance


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Christmas Gift Guide For Teens And College Students



Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 | 2 comments

Gift Guide for High School and College Students

One of my most popular posts of all time is my graduation gift ideas post; it’s a carefully curated list enthusiastically approved and eagerly endorsed by my children and their friends.  My niece said, “It’s a great list, Aunt Robin–I can’t think of anything to add.” She’s a Georgia Tech graduate so she’s one smart cookie and you can believe what she says.

Since that post was published during graduation season, I thought it might be helpful to offer a Christmas version.

Portable charger1. Power. With the myriad of electronic devices students have these days, a portable power pack is close to a necessity. You can pay a little (maybe a stocking stuffer?) or a little more, and I’d wager you do get what you pay for. I bought one for $10 but it only worked for a few charges; I’ll double the price for next time.

soft cozy throw2. A “hug“. For when it’s cold and dreary outside, give ’em something warm and cozy inside. Whether a fleece throw for their favorite team or a sweater-blanket, they’re going to love this during cold winter months.

3.  Collectible ornaments.  Maybe you’ve already begun this for your children, choosing special ornaments each year so when they’re out on their own, their tree will be full of memories. (I don’t know if you’ve seen the incredible, 25-ornament collection created to coordinate with the daily readings in Ann Voskamp’s book, The Greatest Gift, but make a note to check it out.

3.  Dorm art.  This is a fun, inexpensive sticking-out-of-their-stocking stuffer, and at, there are zillions to choose from.

4.  Jewelry.  Rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets and even sports watches are dynamite in small packages.  I love the faith-inspired collection  at DaySpring–it’s not “too” Jesusy but it carries with it a lovely message.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.17.13 PM5.  Gift cards.  Amazon’s Holiday Gift Cards offer a Free Gift Box and Free One-Day Shipping and they have EVERYthing.  Restaurants, movies, lots of entertainment and shopping options for picky teens.

6.  Electronics.  Big ticket items, if these are in your price range, this is what your kids are hoping for:

    • kindle-242594_640Kindle or some type of e-reader
    • iPad
    • Wireless, bluetooth speaker (like a Jawbone). You can pay a little…or a lot.
    • Headphones (splurge for the noise canceling ones)
    • Xbox One Console, Play Station, etc. Expensive but most-wanted…
    • Good earbuds (you pay more for the good ones!  At a minimum, something like these Sony’s.)

7.  A versatile rain jacket for the guys and maybe a something a little more fun for girls (leopard or cheetah? Yep, fun!)

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.42.35 PM8.  Rain or all-weather boots. There are dozens are darling styles here for girls; the guys will likely appreciate something more basic. Walking around on campus, especially during cold months can be brutal.

9.  And my daughter mentioned coffee.  For those in college and living away from home, they learn quickly to acquire a taste :).  If not a maker for their dorm room, load ’em up with Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or their local coffee shop gift cards.



Vera Bradley wristlet10. A wristlet for girls a wallet for the guys. Vera Bradley has a pretty and fun take on wristlets; guys’ are pretty basic.


Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.24.37 PM11. Phone case. Smart phones are expensive; “good” cases go a long way toward protecting that investment (and let’s face it, students are hard on technology!). I STRONGLY recommend a LifeProof case–I’ve dropped mine a hundred times and it’s still magically intact.  These cases from JKASE makes me want to have a Samsung–in addition to protecting a phone, there are slots for IDs or credit cards.  Love that versatility.

12. Watches. For a while, watches lost their popularity because people could tell time with their cell phone. Not anymore. They’re a popular accessory again and you can find fantastic pricing on great brands.


Hope this helps with gift-giving ideas!

Tell me what’s on your list for teens and older children.

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Parenting, Pop Stars and Prodigals



Posted by on Sep 1, 2013 |


And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.
Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
~ Luke 15:20b NLT


For as long as I can remember, I’ve butchered song lyrics.

In Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s Blinded by the Light, I thought it was “wrapped up like a douche another runner in the night” instead of  “revved up like a Deuce…” (which still didn’t make much sense to me); in 10cc’s I’m Not In Love, I heard “requesting quiet” for “big boys don’t cry.”

My worst offense involved an old camp song called Violent Love,   a story best told in context.

Sweet and innocent, these days of my youth.  Blissful ignorance.

In every generation, there are performers who press buttons and drop
jaws; those who make both young fans and their parents roar (but for
opposing reasons).  What one loves, the other hates.

For my parents, it was Elvis, who, when he finally appeared on the Ed
Sullivan Show, was filmed mostly above the waist; apparently, his hips
couldn’t lie.

For me, it was Madonna.  Like a Virgin and Papa Don’t Preach–she pushed the edge as far as you could go.

Until I realized the edge is boundless.

A new Queen of Shock was recently crowned; whether or not you saw her
performance on the VMAs, you’ve likely heard about it.  Wagging her
tongue and her tail, Miley Cyrus has everyone talking.

Just five years ago the former Hannah Montana star declaredThere’s only three guys that I love right now, and that’s Jesus, my brothers, and my dad.”  The young woman I wrote about then is tucked inside a train wreck.

First instinct is to judge her.  I’ve seen accusing
fingers pointing at her parents, too.  But the loveliest written
response I’ve seen is courtesy of Annie Downs in her post How do we help Miley? 

Speak love.

Speaking love is powerful; it’s how Antoinette Tuff, an elementary school bookkeeper, talked a man who entered her school with 500 rounds of ammunition into peacefully giving up.

An ordinary mama diffusing a human time bomb with patience and kind words.

* * *

Thanks to wise counsel from others I respected, I avoided a “One Size
Fits All” approach in parenting, learning that each of my children
would require something different of me.  Of course we  set
standards in our home, but to approach very different personalities
without consideration of our children’s differences would be an exercise
in frustration, a set-up for failure.

One of motherhood’s secrets, something I hadn’t anticipated in advance, was…


Over the long weekend my piece over at (in)courage had a different reaction than I anticipated.   Then again, my first draft was VERY different – and 500 words longer! – than how it began.  I hope you'll continue reading Parenting, Pop Stars and Prodigals to at least see how I finished the sentence above!!


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