Navigation Menu

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!

 

More Recent Posts

Her words will grab you by the throat

Feb

02

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 | 1 comment

nayyirah waved writer poem - robindance.me

 

Anyone who knows me understands the effect words have over me.

A harsh word can wound me for years. (I could show you the scars.)

A kind word has the capacity to inspire, move, challenge and encourage me, in all the ways that really matter.

Words matter.

 

There’s always a right word to use when you’re writing, a best word, and writers know it when they nail it. Imagine the image of an Olympic gymnast spinning off the uneven parallel bars and perfectly landing her dismount–I know it when I’ve scored a “10” by choosing the perfect word to communicate an idea. All writers know it.

A lot of writers (like me) like words so much we use too many of them. I hope one thing I’ve learned over the past few years is how to strike superfluous words. Wait–I know I haven’t learned it, but I’m learning. When I read some of my old work now, I see how I could cut it in half.

This is why I love poetry. Word economy.

 

Of course, not all poems lend themselves to brevity – hello The Iliad and The Odyssey – but many poetic forms do, and I suppose because I have a short attention span, those are my favorite.

Of course, poetry can be intimidating; it’s incredibly subjective. I’m not drawn to the work of all poets, but those to whom I am, I’m smitten.

I think it started with e.e. cummings in the fifth grade. I don’t recall a specific poem, but I adored his unconventional style, and he was the first author to make me think I could write poems, too.

Of course, just because you write poems doesn’t mean they’re good, but that’s not really the point, is it? If you’re satisfied, that’s enough.

I find it best not to find the value of art in the eye of the beholder.

 

It’s a pure expression of the author’s heart, undeniably  beautiful–you just have to have the right eyes to see. If the author is the only one with 20/20 vision, so be it. That’s enough.

 

My niece introduced me to a new poet the other day, Nayyirah Waheed. Oh, my…. Her work is stunning. She’s a masterful word economist with the ability to knit together a few words into something that will slay dragons. Powerful. Provocative. Penetrating.

I don’t yet have her book yet; Abby wouldn’t part with her copy of salt.  But I read enough to know I want to read more, and that I can learn a lot from Waheed; about poetry, sure, but also about life.

A few poems to whet your appetite; spacing, punctuation, and formation is all hers–

 

some people

when they hear

your story.

contract.

others

upon hearing

your story.

expand.

and this is how

you

know.

 

* * *

 

you

are

my favorite kind.

nothing

that i can

name.

 

* * *

 

if someone

does not want me

it is not the end of the world

but

if i do not want me.

the world is nothing but endings.

 

* * *

 

you broke the ocean in

half to be here.

only to meet nothing that wants you.

 

— immigrant

 

* * *

 

can we speak in flowers.

it will be easier for me to understand.

 

— other language

 

* * *

as a writer, if someone falls

in love with my work.

i know they have fallen

in love with my mind. having

no idea what my face

looks like. they chose my

mind. art may be the only

place a woman can be whole. and seen.

without being seen.

 

Buy your copy of salt. using my affiliate link;
also, follow Nayyiarah Waheed on Twitter for more of her riveting work.

More Recent Posts

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.

 

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

More Recent Posts

So Much of Who I Am is Because of Who She Was (Listen to Your Mother Show – Atlanta 2014)

Jul

09

Posted by on Jul 9, 2014 | 18 comments

I’ve been counting down the days not only to share this with you, but to see it myself!!

 

Listen to Your Mother - Atlanta 2014 - Mamas Way by Robin Dance.jpg

 A few months ago I mentioned taking part in Atlanta’s inaugural Listen to Your Mother Show and today my performance is available on LTYM’s You Tube channel.  I’m thrilled to share it with you…and it’s good.

I don’t say that from a position of arrogance, not at all! I say it because not only is it a lovely tribute to my own mother, it is testimony and evidence, sweet mama readers, that you are making an incredible difference in the lives of your children.

If you’ve lost your temper or been too screamy or over-reacted in a way that demanded apology, I hope you’ll be heartened to know your children are a forgiving lot, and not only will they not hold it against you, they’ll forgive AND forget.

If you think your children aren’t listening and watching, think again. You’ll find yourself in them soon enough (an argument to be intentional about what you say and do).

If you have young children and you or your spouse are battling a terminal illness, if death should meet you while they’re still young, I hope you’ll be encouraged to know your children will remember the important things you live before them.

If you watch, tell me your favorite part? I’d really like to know!

 

(Subscribers please click here.)
Listen to Your Mother - Atlanta 2014.jpg

 

Listen to Your Mother Show Collage - Atlanta 2014

 

Listen to Your Mother - Atlanta 2014.jpg

 

With thanks to Jana Anthoine and Miranda Wicker for their leadership and countless hours (and for casting me in Atlanta’s show) and to Ann Imig for her original inspiration and vision for this celebration of motherhood. And to my own babies and mother who are mostly responsible for the woman – and mom – I’ve become.

Lisa Leonard Mama Necklace

 

 

Photo credits:

Cast shot with title, Lyssa Sahadevan

Cast toast, Jana Anthoine

More Recent Posts

The incredible gift everyone – EVERYONE – wants (and probably needs)

Jun

26

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 | 5 comments

Your soul sparkles - Celebrating You

My sister gave me a gift last week and it made me so happy I screamed.

Literally.

We were alone in my house sitting on my youngest son’s bed, for a reason I can’t recall now. She handed me a package neatly ribboned and wrapped in the brown paper sack from the gift shop explaining, “I’ve had this forever but kept forgetting to give you.”

I clawed off the paper and grinned, already judging this book by its cover.

Celebrating You book - image by Robin Dance

My sister thought she was giving me an 8″x8″ gift book;  but as STINKIN’ DARLING as it is, the book itself wasn’t exactly the biggest part of her gift.  No…planted among its pages was a magical treasure, undetectable by eye, discernible only by the heart.

Her gift was in seeing and knowing me in the deepest ways I long to be seen and known.

 

I shrieked lunatic-crazy after every single page–think “wolf howling at the moon” and you’ll get a close approximation. Ask her if you think I’m kidding.

THIS IS THE BEST PRESENT IN THE WOOOORLD!

IT’S MY FAVORITE GIFT OF ALL TIIIIIME!

I LOOOOOVE THIS BOOK!!

Counting each double page as a single (one illustration with a companion sentence), there are just 27 pages (aka 27 screams). Thankfully, or the neighbors might’ve called the police.

Possibility - Celebrating You

We’re just 16 months apart but she’s always been the boss of me. I think she felt this was her God-given right and responsibility when we lost our mother so young. Or maybe it’s a first-born thing. Whatever it is, I’ve always accepted it and at times even appreciated it.

(It just occurred to me that she has known me longer than anyone else alive. Whoa…I’ve never thought about that before this very minute.)

One of my best childhood memories is sitting across from one another in her bathroom – her, on the toilet (lid down), me on the edge of the tub. She was my eager audience of one and I delighted in entertaining her…Edith Ann and Jimmy Carter impersonations (my Georgia roots showing), and I don’t know who else.

Her laughter was my paycheck, her approval, a bonus.

 

Quote for the best gift to give - Robin Dance

Even though sometimes she is maddening, she’s always been my biggest cheerleader.

Adventure - Celebrating YouLike when I was an upcoming high school freshman trying out for cheerleading and I suffered a major groin injury doing a split but not sufficiently warmed up (red hot knife searing pain that left me in a puddle in front of the judges). Back in the coach’s office, my sister gave me a “pep” talk:  inches from my face she screeched GETCHUR ASS BACK OUT THERE AND FINISH YOUR TRYOUT!

I thought she was cool to say “ass” in front of grown-ups. Bad to the bone.

I hobbled back to the gym, finished my tryout, and made the squad. Thanks to her.

While we’ve had our differences through the years, she’s still my cheerleader and champion. I suppose it’s not that difficult to understand how she could see me and know me so well, what with our history and sheer amount of life together.

And then she sings it back to me by way of a gift in a gift.

The pages in this little book spoke life and love and affirmation and beauty.

She told me I already am who I long to be.

Strong - Celebrating YouAnd though I know we are intimately known and loved by the God of the universe, sometimes a girl needs it in human form. On the very best of days He is gracious to find the perfect person to deliver the message.

My husband knows me and loves me in a way that she never can, but it’s she who has spent my entire lift knowing me in a way he never can–her blood runs through my veins.

It is wired in our DNA, this desire to be known and loved. And I believe each one of us has the capacity to give this gift to someone in our lives who so desperately needs to receive it.

Will you take a moment to consider the people in your life who might thrill to your notice?  Will you follow through and find a way to express it to them?

I don’t know if Celebrating You will be a conduit you can use to encourage another, but for less than ten bucks, if you know someone whose love language, like mine, is words of encouragement, it might be perfect.

I’m curious now…what makes you feel well known and most loved? I guess it centers around your love language.  If you’re willing to share, I’d really like to know what could turn you into a howling wolf…:).

 

Robin Heart Signature - Green

 

 

 

Affiliate link used for Celebrating You.

More Recent Posts

Laughing Lines, Part II

Jun

16

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 | 65 comments

Great quote on aging by Eleanor Roosevelt - Image by Robin Dance

 

Below is content originally included in my incourage post today but later deleted to meet word count guidelines. Like always, I wrote without regard to length, simply writing until I was done.  The result was almost 400 words longer than it was supposed to be. Oopsie!  Rather than deleting these two sections altogether I’m including them below (mainly because I want them for me….).

I hope you’ll read Laughing Lines, Part I over at incourage; among other things, it speaks to embracing age with joy.

 

~ Originally between sections iii & iv ~ 

 

Sometimes working in the online world is hard for me.

I write shoulder to shoulder with amazing women (and men) who have accomplished so much.  With heartfelt and sincere joy I celebrate every book deal and opportunity. It is when I begin comparing myself that I open the door for the enemy of my soul to pluck a nerve, pierce my Achilles.  The Accuser taunts me – “Everyone” has passed you by.  They’re 10 or 20 years younger than you and look at what they’ve done! – and I believe it.

It is when I am not trusting God and what He says about me that I fall into the wicked trap of believing I have nothing of value to offer.

It’s a short but slippery descent.

Here’s the thing: God doesn’t play games.  He is good, only good, and He wants what’s best for me always.

God is for me not against me. In my body resides His spirit and He’s calling out glory – His – to shine to a lost and hurting world that desperately needs to know Him!

Lovies, the same applies to all of His daughters…you, included.

*

*

*

~ Originally included after iv ~

No wonder I have thrilled to the selection for the Spring/Summer session of Bloom book club: Pursue the Intentional Life. It speaks to so many thoughts I’ve had over the past few years. It’s a book every woman should read–in many ways, you’ll be challenged to consider what woman you want to become, now and for all your life.

Which is why I can laugh at the days to come: as long as I’m living, God is at work in and through me to reveal His gospel, His goodness, His glory.

Father, God, thank you for this gift of life and for helping me to see it as such. Lord, I want to know you better and to care most about your concerns. Teach me what it means to steward my time left for your glory and as a blessing to others.  Guard my heart and mind against the assaults of our enemy and forgive me when I hear that noise over your Holy whispers. Thank you for your word and tender mercies. ~ Amen.

More Recent Posts

Are you on the mailing list?

 

Get updates delivered hot and fresh to your inbox.

PLUS receive exclusive content reserved ONLY for my subscribers!

You have Successfully Subscribed!