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My camera and I tend to hibernate in the winter, when the temperature is low and the scenery bland. But spring’s arrival brings mild temperatures and fresh sights sure to lure us outdoors.

Here are four compelling reasons to dust off your camera and get out there and shoot!

Capture Spring’s Blooms While They Last
Beautiful blossoms usher in the spring, but many disappear too soon. Here in the southeast I watch for the daffodils first, followed by the cherry blossom and the dogwood trees, just in time for Easter. You can find beauty and interest even in the weeds, like the white puffball of a dandelion.

Lose the Extra Pounds
The combination of richer foods and a less active lifestyle adds extra pounds to my waistline during the winter months. I start with the best of plans — sweatsuits and an I think I can, I think I can attitude towards cold-weather workouts — but my reality never matches my expectations. Taking your camera outdoors for a spring nature walk provides some extra incentive to get out and move!

Visit me today at (in)courage for the rest of the reasons!

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Picks & Pans: Movies, Music & More

My Media Picks: Music, Movies & More

I stay pretty busy and I’ll bet you do too! Life can be crazy hectic and sometimes we just need a break. I take my entertainment seriously and I thought it would be fun to share more often about movies, music, Netflix and Amazon Prime offerings, and podcasts, both picks and pans.

Maybe you’ll discover something fresh and new and by all means, feel free to share your own recommendations!

Movies

Cinderella

Cinderella (PG) – I have fond memories of the original animated version of Cinderella. It released on VHS when our oldest son was little and we watched it a lot. My 15-year-old daughter and I saw a screening of this new live-action Cinderella last week and I was charmed.

This fresh retelling remains faithful to the original and shows that Disney doesn’t need over-the-top bad guys or Maleficent-style antiheroes to tell a story. It offers us a simple message—have courage and be kind—and then shows what that looks like when you live it.

McFarland USA

McFarland USA (PG) – Disney has another winner here! I’ve been a Kevin Costner fan for a long time and I love him in this great role. McFarland USA is the true story of a high school coach who moves his family to a poor Hispanic community in California after his temper cost him a cushy job coaching football in Idaho.

Watching him transform a group of hard-working teen boys—they wake up early to work in the fields, go to school, and then return to help their families in the field at the end of the day—into an award-winning cross country team should inspire you and your kids that with hard work anything is possible.

Music

Drew Holcomb Medicine

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors: Medicine – I’ve listened to this album almost continuously since its January 1 release. It was the soundtrack for the days and nights I spent finishing The Gift of Friendship, my second book, which will come out February 2016. Love it!

Netflix

The Blacklist

The Blacklist Season 1 – Most-wanted criminal Raymond Redington turns himself in to the FBI on the condition that he will only talk to rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen. Red hands over information which helps catch criminals both known and unknown, his own personal Blacklist.

My #1 criteria for movies and television is in the characters: it’s crucial that I like at least one enough to care what happens to them. Otherwise, what’s the point? I’m heavily invested in this show. It feels like the old days watching Alias where the stories playing out in the characters’ lives are as important as the cases they solve.

We finished season one in a Blacklist marathon Friday night. This NBC series is currently in its second season on TV, but the first is available to stream on Netflix, who apparently paid $2 million per episode to show it exclusively. Hopefully that helps bankroll The Blacklist for seasons to come!

(Violent content. Not intended for children.)

What about you? What are you currently watching and listening to?

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March 2015 Desktop Calendar

March 2015 Desktop Calendar

My first instinct was to use a photo from a couple of weeks ago for this month’s desktop calendar, when the world was covered in ice, until my girls came in from walking the dog this morning and said it feels like spring. Spring! And we’ve still got the soggy remains of last week’s snowman’s clothes lying in our front yard.

Your calendar is a day late because I’ve been busy busy busy finishing The Gift of Friendship, which will be next year’s follow up to The Beauty of Grace. I may be just a teeny bit biased, but I believe you will love this book.

Lately I’ve heard people say that the word grace keeps popping up in front of them. There is beauty and grace all around us when we open our minds and hearts to see it (and even when we don’t).

May this desktop calendar bring a little loveliness to your March days and remind you of God’s beauty and grace all around you.

Download March’s Desktop Calendar!

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Enjoy!

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The-God-of-the-universe-woos-me-with-His-1-652x547

My daughter and I slip into the welcome center just minutes before closing time. We’ve driven my son back to school in Mississippi, and this is the final state line to cross on our journey home.

As we race back to the car, I giggle like a child, focused more on getting out of the biting wind than looking like an adult. We drive past the last parking spaces and picnic tables and spot a little brown dog, red collar around his neck, watching us go.

I stop, back up, and pull into the last space as my daughter gets out and goes to help him, but the little guy races away from her and across the lawn. We drive toward the exit and see that his path crossed the truck exit ramp. I pull over and my daughter follows him again, but this time he runs deep into the woods, afraid, though we mean him no harm.

Surely the owners are near. Maybe the dog slipped out when they opened the car door and they don’t realize he’s gone? No cars wait behind us, so I put mine in reverse and drive back to the welcome center.

I tell two DOT employees about the dog, but they direct me to the the lady emerging from the gift shop, keys in hand, locking the doors at the end of the day. Yes, she knows about the dog. She placed blankets outside for him tonight.

Because he’s been there for two days. Two days.

Please visit me today at (in)courage for the rest of the story!

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Make a Difference: #MakeItZero

MakeItZero

Yesterday I attended an event sponsored by Wellspring Living, an organization who helps victims of DMST (domestic minor sex trafficking) by giving them the courage to move forward with their lives and the confidence to succeed.

They help restore lives.

You might think sexual trafficking exists only in third world countries, in places far from your own backyard, but you’d be wrong. This modern form of slavery robs young girls of their lives and freedom and Atlanta ranks as one of the major hubs in this country.

Girls as young as eight years old, with an average age of 14, are being sexually exploited here. As the mother of four daughters, my heart breaks for the lives and innocence lost and families destroyed.

One hundred thousand children are sexually exploited. 100,000. Let’s Make It Zero.

Please consider joining the #MakeItZero movement by visiting this page and learning how to spread awareness. Although we can be thankful if this problem doesn’t touch our lives directly, we can’t pretend it isn’t happening. There’s also a donation form at the bottom of the page.

Could you give $14 today, February 14, to help end sexual trafficking?

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1releasedevo Thank you to everyone who Facebooked, tweeted, commented, encouraged, and prayed about the release of my book, The Beauty of Grace, last Tuesday. The first week exceeded expectations: by Thursday, we were the #1 New Release in Christian Meditation Worship & Devotion on Amazon and now we’re also the #1 New Release in Devotionals. {These numbers bounce around day to day, but we’ve remained in the top five.}

Check your local Barnes and Noble. Large markets currently feature The Beauty of Grace on their hardcover display tables.

I can never adequately thank the amazing contributors who trusted me with their words in this compilation of stories. Visit my book page for the full list.

Listen to these sweet reviews:

“What Dawn has done is create a book that is not just a lone voice to beckon the reader, but more like a room full of old friends that welcome the reader in with encouragement and love.” – Matt Appling

“You will feel the emotions on every page. I just curled up with my favorite quilt and read and took time to reflect and I loved my time with this book.”

“The dust cover of this hardback book is gorgeous! As a lover of daisies (especially a bundle of them placed in a mason jar) I consider this cover art a masterpiece. My southern heart can’t appreciate more simplicity and beauty than this.”

“What I love most about The Beauty Of Grace is that the stories and biblical wisdom the authors share feels both timely and timeless. Every author in this book shares something precious that I need to hear.” – Joy

“These authors tell real-life stories of brokenness, imperfection, and finding Jesus that offer hope and encouragement.”

“The contributors list reads like a who’s who of current Christian authors and bloggers, but the content is timeless because the themes of purpose and surrender, trust and worship, hope and encouragement have been plucked directly from the Word of God . . . The Beauty of Grace is a perfect gift for a bride, a new mum, or any sister who needs a blessing, and my under-lined and dog-eared copy has earned a place on my crowded night stand.” – Michele

“Beautifully compiled, artfully arranged, lovingly written and gracefully received. . .”

“Some of these stories would be good for prose interpretation contests, or if you needed to read something at a luncheon or banquet “. . . Ultimately, The Beauty of Grace points readers towards Jesus Christ, reminding us of the power of God’s unfailing love.”

“If I had a friend who was going through something difficult, I would find this book perfect for a little gift.”

“If you need to take a break from life, reading these is an encouragement, reminding you that you are loved and that God is with you.” – Joan

“Story after precious story shoot right through to the heart.” – Jalynn

“The book is also filled with the beautiful and moving photography of Dawn Camp which will stir you to open your eyes to the beauty our Creator has placed all around us.”

“I give it 5 stars and think it would be helpful to those who deal with depression, anxiety and pain.” – Halite

“God spoke to me with encouragement and grace through you and these other precious sisters in Christ.”

“These stories of real people in everyday life encourage me. I am not alone – everyone faces challenges. He is with me and knows how my story ends.”

“What a beautiful book! My heart has already been blessed and I am only a few stories in.”

Do you have a copy? The Beauty of Grace would make a wonderful Valentine’s gift!

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