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I had NO idea just how exciting this could be…how excited I would be!

Jun

05

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 | 9 comments

Mother of Pearl cover ~ Luminous lessons and iridescent faithLast fall I was contacted about contributing an essay for a collaborative print book project; everything about it seemed perfect:

  • I've highly regarded the publisher almost as long as I could read (an arm of Guideposts).
  • Through this Inspiring Voices project, author Margaret McSweeney compiled over 50 WONDERFUL essays related to motherhood from a diverse group of veteran and new authors.
  • And what maybe thrilled me more than anything else, all proceeds from book sales was to help struggling women and children in true need:  
    • WINGS:  to help fund a safe house in the Chicago suburbs, where mothers and their children can flee from domestic violence; and
    •  Hands of Hope: to help build wells for school children in Uganda

Legacies, lessons and love were the over-arching themes of the collaboration, and, not only did I know I had to say yes, I knew exactly what I was going to write about–something that encompassed all three!

Mother of Pearl Table of Contents  Mother of Pearl-Author Robin Dance

Eight months later I received my copy today…and I'm downright giddy with the end result!!  Smack dab in the center of the book, pages 80-82 to be exact, you'll find my essay.  

Is it a big surprise its title is A Princess Tale

A Princess Tale by Robin Dance

As delighted as I am with a single chapter, I cannot image the joy and sense of accomplishment of writing and publishing an entire book!  Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith would make a lovely gift for the mother, daughter, grandmommy or special lady in your life, and serve as a lovely mama-encouragement for you!  And proceeds from your purchase will make a difference in the lives of sweet mamas and children you'll likely never get to meet but who are grateful for strangers who care.

A little bonus I didn't expect was to see my sweet friend and Very Accomplished Grown-up Writer, Holley Gerth, with an acknowledgement on the front page.  That made all this tripley sweet.  

This seems to be a theme, too, with projects I've joined the past several months; both collaborative and related to motherhood. Before this Mother of Pearl project there was the beautifully written collaboration with another group–you might remember it:  The Mother Letters (grab that one for a steal!), brainchild of Seth and Amber Haines.

Sincere thanks to Amy Lathrop for seeking me out and connecting me with Margaret.  I'll be forever grateful to her for this beautiful milestone.  

(In case you'd like to purchase the book, I've included my Amazon affiliate link below.)

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Blinded by the white ~ a rare, Bavarian winter spectacular

Feb

20

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 | 12 comments

It has occurred only twice in one hundred years, during the winter of 1911 and again during this winter.  The first was in a non-violent protest of sorts; the second a celebration and commemoration of the first.

SchneeKirche, translated in English, Snow Church

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Ex-pats visiting SchneeKirche, aka Snow Church, in Mitterfirmiansreut, BavariaIts singular beauty might have gone unknown to us had Deede, a fellow ex-pat from Tennessee, not invited us for a road trip to Mitterfirmiansreut, Bavaria, a small alpine town that shares Germany’s border with the Czech Republic.  About two hours away, it was more than worth the drive and price of admission. 

Snowdrifts-taller-than-meCamera strapped on and rivaling the Abominable Snowman or Pillsbury Doughboy, I was ready.  Tad paid the €5 for our tickets and we were on our way…

…if we could have only seen where we were going!

 

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Visibility was about 25 meters.

We were told not to touch the ice sculptures and I thought, “WHAT ice sculptures?!”  As our eyes adjusted to the thick fog, they seemed to appear when we were within touching distance. 

 

Snow SculptureMitterfirmiansreut, Bavaria, February 2012.  My best guess is this is a representation of God protecting SnowKirche; that seems to be the little shape on the pedestal.

Snow sculpture outside Snow Church

Snow sculpture near SchneeKirche

Snow Church’s welcoming committee, my favorite snow sculpture.

 

As our eyes carve through the fog, SchneeKirche comes into view.

 

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SchneeKirche entrance signage

In 1911 when the original SchneeKirche was constructed, villagers built it in protest because officials wouldn’t build a church in their town; they were deemed too poor and rural.  In order to worship, they had to travel a ways to a nearby town.  During December of that year, Mitterfirmiansreut had heavy snowfall, preventing townspeople from traveling.  They decided to take matters into their own hands, and constructed a church from the only materials available to them:  snow and ice. 

The winter of 2011/2012 marked SchneeKirche’s 100th anniversary, so locals decided to construct a modern snow church in commemoration of their history.  It opened in late December and they hope it remains intact through March. 

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DSC_0983Snow Church’s interior, February 2012.  My loose translation,
“Show some respect–stay off the stinkin’ alter!”

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LeAna. Robin & Molly at Snow Churchl-r, LeAna, who works with Tad, me, Molly, a translator.


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Close up of Snow Church "bricks"A close-up of Snow Church’s icy “bricks,” oddly my favorite picture of the day.

 

DSC_0996Learning a bit more, at least Molly is because she’s fluent in German.

 

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SchneeKirche was funded in part by local sponsors and cost about €70,000 to construct, so I’m not sure if this money is used for locals in need or somehow to maintain the structure. 

 

DSC_1006Evidence we were here…at least until the ink melts into paper. 
A nice little touch.


DSC_0019Hot, mulled wine, the perfect companion to our chilly tour.  Not only is this the first time I’ve tasted Glühwein, it’s the first time I ever HEARD of it!  Apparently it’s very popular during the winter in Germany (Europe?), especially during their famed Christmas markets.

 

DSC_0017I think our furry friend could have used a sip,
bless his little snow-faced heart.

 

Because it got crowded by the time I thought to video the interior, this isn’t the greatest quality, but at least you get a three-dimensional idea of SchneeKirche‘s interior–

Currently, there are no plans to construct a snow church in future years; which makes it even more special to have discovered it and had the chance to visit!

 

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Sweet mercy ~ Cyber Monday BARGAINS you do NOT want to miss, I promise!

Nov

28

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 | 2 comments

Note:  Be sure to scroll through this entire post to discover the BEST 2011 Cyber Monday deals (or at least some you might otherwise not know about)!!  Affiliate links are scattered throughout, and if you click through and buy something, you might be buying me a cup of coffee (eventually), too!!  So THANK YOU for your support!! xo


Confetti When I get a really FANTASTIC DEAL, two things happen:

a)  I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

b)  I’m compelled to tell others.

I’ve already shared some magnificent bargains that began Black Friday and continue through Monday–like half-price Old Navy and up to 70% off some of my favorite things at DaySpring–but I’ve discovered a few more deals you don’t want to miss.

1.  Therapon

If you have ever wanted to try Therapon?  Now is the time.  If you’re already a loyal user, now is the time to STOCK UP.  Click the button below for details, but note special deals will run on the hour beginning at 8:00 am CST.  *Like* Therapon on Facebook and you’ll receive an extra amazing deal.

Therapon Skin Health

Sony Bloggie Touch MP32.   Groupon

$94 for a Sony Bloggie Touch MP4 Camera (RV $179.99)!!

Click around a bit once you’re there; you’ll find other deals but this one seems too good to be true (hurry–I think they can sell out!).

3.  Living Social

Oh my word.  Christmas shopping could start and finish with these deals!

  • Bluefly: $25 for $50 to spend (50% off) plus free shipping on orders over $100
  • Snapfish: $15 for $30 to spend at Snapfish.com this holiday season (50% off)
  • Red Envelope: $20 for $40 to use at RedEnvelope.com (50% off)
  • Wine.com: $40 for $80 to use at Wine.com (50% off)
  • Fanatics Sports Shop:  $10 for $20 to spend at fanatics.com (50% off)
  • Fatheads:  $25 for $50 to spend at fathead.com (50% off)
  • and more, a total of 15!!

Type-A Parent Conference Logo3.  Blog conference discount.

I have put into practice what I’ve learned at Type-A Parent Conference probably more than any other conference I’ve attended and already have my ticket for next year’s event.  Buy yours today, use the code CYBERPARENT, & receive 25% off your registration.

 

374930_10150942813230324_57294110323_21258300_1583301523_n4.  Beautiful, artist-crafted jewelry.

My friends Lisa & Lisa are offering Cyber Monday deals.  Both of their designs are jewelry pieces I wear often…and commonly receive compliments on.

Lisa Lehmann ~ 25% off all gift certificates (good after January 1) and surprise pop up 30% off deals posted hourly on her Facebook page.

Lisa Leonard ~ $60 for a $75 gift certificate (shhhh!  This one’s a secret!!).

5.  Amazon (of course).

If you’re going to do any online shopping through Amazon, this week is the time to do it.  You’ll want to check back for daily specials.

 

 

6.  Just in case you don’t click back to my previous post, I’ve gotta mention DaySpring’s 14 Super Specials plus receive 30% off your TOTAL ORDER by using the code SUPER30 at checkout.

 

If you can buy it online, chances are today is the day to pull the trigger; top retailers are offering the best online deals of the 2011 season on Cyber Monday:

  • Ann Taylor ~ 50% off everything & free shipping
  • Staples ~ Crazy deals
  • Best Buy’s Cyber Monday Sale
  • Kohl’s Cyber Monday Sale
  • JCPenney’s Cyber Monday Sale
  • Staples’ Cyber Monday Sale
  • Walmart’s Cyber Monday Sale
  •  

     

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    Butterfly kisses on crack…

    Oct

    12

    Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 | 6 comments

    or Now, THESE are false eyelashes!

    or Latisse gone wild…

    Eyelash eXXXtensions…

    or I don't know HOW else to title this!  If ever there were a case for Wordless Wednesday, this is it–

    IMAG1252

    The one and only Martha Stewart, like you've never seen her before! Thanks to commenters Jenn & Karmyn for reminding me which magazine…and helping me to realize WHO the model was!  How'd I miss it!  (Well, Photoshop for starters….)

    Martha_Stewart_Halloween_2011_magazine_cover

    (Taken while I was standing in line at the grocery store, but I can't remember the magazine it was on…holla if you know!)

     

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    Somebody SMACK me…!

    Jul

    30

    Posted by on Jul 30, 2010 | 27 comments

    Last night some of the happiest, funnest blogging news OF ALL TIME crossed my inbox…

    Southernlivingmamabloggeroftheweek

    If you've read me for any length of time, you know I relish all things Southern.  When I learned my beloved Southern Living magazine had chosen me as their Mama Blogger of the Week?  Well…my feet haven't touched the ground since.

    Heartfelt thanks to Erin Shaw Street and her team of wonderfulness at Southern Living online.  Fabulous Southern bloggers are in no short supply, so I'm sincerely and completely touched and honored to have received this special distinction.  

    Hmmm…I wonder if my BFF Paula Deen will invite me over for dinner now; suddenly I'm craving fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried okra and a gallon of sugar-shocked tea.  Funny, that power of suggestion…. 🙂

    Your turn:  I'm looking for your favorite Southern bloggers regardless of age or size of blog.  Please chime in and tell me a reason or two why they're your favorites!

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    Ya don’t see this everyday…yet

    May

    02

    Posted by on May 2, 2010 | 9 comments

    You've got to see this–armed with iPhones and imagination, the Rend Collective Experiment pulls worship out of the traditional box.  I don't think Chris Tomlin needs to worry about getting a day job, but the Rend Collective Experiment's take on "How Great is Our God" is astonishing.  




    Does anyone besides me still use a cell phone for talking??? 

    🙂

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