In Sync

Part Four

How do you make your marriage flow like the music in a dance?  The Holy Spirit can take your marriage from walking to dancing.  The Holy Spirit should play the role in our lives much like the role music plays for the ballroom dance couple.  It dictates what we do, day-to-day. 

When we surrender our lives to our creator God, and His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit resides within us.  This will guide us through the ups and downs of life.  We don’t ever have to do life alone.  

If Dan and I are listening to different “music”, we will not be in sync together as a couple.  We will not flow together. It will be much more difficult to keep our marriage close. 

Each of us has to choose what “music” to listen to. Will it be earthly or heavenly?  

If you let God guide you in your marriage, you will no longer be walking, but dancing!

Swing

Count:  slow-slow-quick-quick 

Keep Knees relaxed.

Think:  1950’s rock and roll 

  • In the Mood by Glen Miller – a traditional song from the swing era
  • Rock & Roll Music by Chuck Berry – 50s rock & roll
  • (Let me Be Your) Teddy Bear & All Shook Up By Elvis – 50s rock & roll
  • Little Deuce Coupe or Runaround Sue by the Beach Boys –  50s rock & roll
  • Take Me as I Am-Faith Hill
  • Hello Dolly-Louis Armstrong
  • L-O-V-E –Nat King Cole
  • Stuck Like Glue-Sugarland
  • Come Dance With Me-Frank Sinatra
  • The Twist-Chubby Checker
  • It’s Only a Paper Moon-Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
  • Hallelujah, I Love Her So-Ray Charles
  • Happy (from Despicable Me 2”) Pharrell Williams
  • Rockin’ Robin-Bobby Day
  • Powder Your Face with Sunshine-Dino

God’s Word-Ephesians 4:30  Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

It’s A Dance, Not A Walk

Part Three

It’s a dance, not a walk.  This is a phrase Dan and I heard from our instructors as we began ballroom dancing together.  When you begin taking ballroom dance lessons you will look a bit stiff at first.  Your steps will look very mechanical.   You will be concentrating on what step to do next.  You are trying so hard not to step on your partner’s toes.  There is so much to think about.  The music takes you to a new level with your dance.    

The music will make your dance flow.  The music has to “get into your soul.” The music will take you from walking to dancing. 

Feel the music, let it get inside you.  The music will take you down the dance floor and put a flow to your step.  

It’s a dance, not a walk. 

Rumba

Count:  slow (hold step for 2 counts)-quick-quick (side together),  slow-quick, quick (Latin hip movement.  Hint – it’s all about the knees…)

A spot dance with small steps

Think:  Latin, sassy, romantic

  • The Way You Look Tonight by Michael Buble
  • Quando, Quando, Quando by Michael Buble
  • Wonderful Tonight by (you guessed it, Michael Buble)
  • The Way I Am-Ingrid Michaelson (More complex beat)
  • Smooth Operator-Sade
  • Jardin D ‘himer-Duo Gadjo and their Hot Friends
  • Lovesong-Adele
  • You’ll Be In My Heart- Vio Friedmann
  • Endless Love(rumba)Ballroom Orchestra-Hits for Ballroom Dancing
  • Song from a Secret Garden-Ballroom Orchestra and Singers

God’s Word-Psalms 108:1   My heart, O God, is steadfast;  I will sing and make music with all my soul.

Flowers for Mom

It had been just over a year since my mom, Helen, passed away on April 27.  I have to say that I feel I have cried more tears this last year, than any other time in my life.  I sometimes wonder if I will run out of tears.  I miss her so much.  

Around 10 years ago, I met someone through my garden hobby.   She has since then become a close girlfriend and actually my neighbor.  I will call her MM.  

MM’s mom was also a widow at the time and was similar in age to my mom.  MM showed me through her actions ways of spoiling her mother.  Every week, MM would go visit her mom, a 30-minute drive and give her a large bouquet of flowers.  This was not your simple small Aldi bouquet, this was a large gorgeous multi-stemmed arrangement.   MM would take her mom anything she needed, plus more.  I thought to myself,  I could do that.  I want to spoil my mom.  She deserved all the love I could give her.

So it became a tradition for me to take my mom a bouquet of flowers, or a plant, and a yummy treat or anything else that would make her feel special.  I did this every time I went to visit.   She loved it.  This tradition became even more important as she was in an assisted living during Covid.   She needed spoiling.  She needed sunshine in her day.  Flowers have a way of doing just that.

When I was able to take her out of her facility during the Covid lockdown, I took a picnic to share with her in my car.  I would pack pretty picnic plates, cloth napkins, yummy lunch, and a thermos of coffee to have with our cookies. (She loved her coffee)   I would drive her somewhere scenic and we would enjoy our lunch together, even in January.   On our last outing, a few months before she died, I drove her up the Mississippi River to Bellevue Iowa.  I parked by the dam on the river and we enjoyed our picnic together. We watched 30-plus bald eagles diving for their lunch amongst the ice blocks. She felt special.  I didn’t know this would be our last outing together. 

So I have to say, I made the best of our time together-every time.  I have no regrets.   Thanks goes out to my friend  MM, for showing me how to go above and beyond to spoil my mom.  

Someone said at my mom’s funeral-isn’t it better to give plants and flowers before a person dies, instead of a flower spray or plant at their funeral?  Absolutely!

If you are fortunate to still have your mom, how about spoiling her with flowers this Mother’s Day or any day. It will bring sunshine to her day!

September 2020-Bickelhaupt Arboretum with Mom

Do You Hear The Beat?

Part Two

Can you hear the beat of the music?  The beat of the song is what determines the speed and type of ballroom dance you will be doing.   It will keep you moving together as a couple on the dance floor.

If you can’t hear the beat, you will not be together as dancers.  You will be off rhythm from your partner.  Because you are off sync, you most likely will step on each other’s toes. 

Dan and I, through our 12 years of teaching Ballroom dance, have seen individuals struggle with hearing the beat.  We feel we can teach someone the dance steps, but to teach someone to hear the beat we have yet to accomplish. 

If the leader of the ballroom dance can not hear the beat, he is unable to lead his dance partner.  We find they do not continue dancing together as a couple.  

You have to hear the beat to dance together. 

Fox Trot 

Count:  slow-slow-quick-quick

Smooth Dance

Men-Heel- toe, Women toe- heel.

Tips: Travels!  NO BOUNCING

  • Come Fly with Me
  • A Foggy Day (In London Town)
  • For Once in My Life
  • I’ve Got the World on a String
  • Night and Day-Frank Sinatra
  • Nice and Easy-Frank Sinatra
  • Beyond the Sea-Bobby Darin
  • I only Have eyes for you-Sinatra-Basie
  • The Way you Look Tonight-faster tempo-Sinatra
  • Cheek to Cheek-Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong

God’s Word-Psalms 98: 4-6 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;

    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,

    with the lyre and the sound of melody!

6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn

    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Feel The Music

Part One

In Ballroom dancing, music has a major impact on your dancing experience.  Without the music, there would be no dance. 

The Music determines…

  • what type of dance you will be doing according to the beat pattern: (Waltz, Swing, Fox Trot, Rumba, etc.)
  • when to begin the dance
  • tempo (rate of speed) of dance
  • length of the dance
  • danceability

When Dan and I begin to teach our class a specific dance, we like to play the music and count out the beat together.   For example, when we teach a waltz we play a waltz-type beat song.  (See below for Waltz music)   Then we count out the beat as a class.  The Waltz has a constant measure of: 1-2-3, and 4-5-6.  The tempo is slow.   This helps the students with the beat.  Each specific dance has its specific beat and rhythm.  

Part of learning to dance is to hear a song and know what type of dance you will be doing.  This comes with time and practice.  

Music will take you from walking to dancing! 

Waltz

Count: 1-2-3, 4-5-6… constant measure (slight rise on the “2” count)

The woman leans her upper body back slightly into the man’s hand

Relaxed knees

Think:  Smooth, flowing, romantic, graceful

Waltz Music to Download:

  • Fascination by Nat King Cole – nice and slow for beginners
  • Their Hearts are Dancing by The Forester Sisters-Great Beat
  • Could I Have This Dance by Anne Murray
  • Husbands and Wives by Neal Diamond –  this has a great 1-2-3 beat,  easy to hear the counts
  • Tennessee Waltz by various artists – traditional waltz
  • Moon River by various artists – traditional waltz
  • A Daisy in December-Serenade-Mike McAuley & Winifred Horan
  • Rainbow Connection-Beverly Mahood(faster)
  • You light up my life-LeAnn Rimes
  • Play Me-Neil Diamond(faster)

God’s Word-Psalms 104:33  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;  I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

What If?

What if God never sent His Son Jesus to this earth?  What if Jesus did not walk this earth to share the good news?  

What would our world look like without this miraculous event?  

With Easter being this Sunday, it made me ponder this question.  

I look around at the world.  It seems so hopeless at times.  The world is so full of our sinful nature.  Hatred, murder, stealing, lying, and cheating are all around us.   I believe the earth would not exist today without His love and mercy that saved us from sinful selves.  We need Jesus.  

I was thinking of the days of Noah when there was such evil on earth.  Mankind could not exist with it.  God saved humanity from self-destructing. 

God loved us enough to send us Jesus.  Jesus showed us what it is to truly love our neighbor.  Jesus walked this life to show us truth and righteousness. Jesus gave us examples to show us it can be done.  He gave us His written Word so that we could see God’s heart.  Jesus came as a humble servant, then died for us the most brutal death, crucifixion.  He gave us His life so we could live with Him.  He then gave us the Holy Spirit so we don’t have to walk alone. 

Through my faith in Jesus Christ, I am forgiven.   I am glad God loved me enough to come into this fallen world.  I am thankful, I don’t have to say, What if?….

 He loves you too, right where you are at.  You don’t have to walk alone when you accept Jesus.

God’s Word-John 3:16- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (ESV)

A Vibrant Life

God’s Word shares with us many verses on forgiveness.  He knows the importance of forgiveness for a vibrant healthy marriage.  He knows if we are to live a healthy life, we need to forgive.  

God forgives us over and over again.  He tells us to do the same.  Colossians 3:13 -Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (NLT)

If there is unforgiveness, our hearts and soul are affected.  Actually, everything we do is affected.  We can not love as God intended if there is unforgiveness.  We can become ill with our unforgiveness. 

John Hopkins Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. 

God shares this knowledge in His Word.  He knows the importance of forgiving others.  

Forgiveness will give us healthy relationships and vibrant life.  Our marriages will benefit from the act of forgiveness. 

If you want to stay healthy, forgive quickly.

It’s Not About Me

A few blogs ago, I shared how when Dan and I teach our students a new dance step, we separate the men and the women.  We begin to teach them separately their specific dance steps.  Then after repeating the steps many times, we put the husbands and wives together as ballroom dancers.  It is much easier to do your individual steps than when you try a ballroom dance move together.  You soon realize, it is just not about me.  I have Dan to think about.  I will need to work with him as a leader.  I will have to grant forgiveness when he makes a mistake.  I will need to be his biggest cheerleader.  I will need to practice patience when my toes are stepped on.   I will need to practice grace.  I have to – if I want to continue the dance.  It is not about me, but about us.  

It’s a perfect illustration of how marriage begins.  Two individuals coming together as one.    Each of us has our own separate and different backgrounds.  Different personalities, families, habits, traditions, and struggles. 

Over 40 years ago, a quiet, reserved city boy named Dan came to have his first date with a crazy farm girl named Lori.  I can only imagine his thoughts during that first farm visit.   Oh my! 

Lori Manning & Dan Bailey 1982

On our wedding day, Dan and I became one.   We were in the honeymoon stage and really didn’t know what lay ahead.  

I believe God put two totally different individuals in a marriage to practice grace and forgiveness.  I know Dan closer than anyone else.  I can’t expect perfection.  To truly love Dan is to set aside my own selfish nature.  Selfish and marriage don’t mix.  The good Lord has to work with me daily.  

Marriage=Us

 

God’s Word-Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Don’t Go To Bed Angry

So we know that stepping on each other’s toes and making mistakes are part of ballroom dancing.  We also know this is a part of a marriage relationship. None of us are perfect, and sooner or later you will hurt your spouse.  Most likely on a daily basis.  

Mistakes=Learning=Progress

How do you react when your spouse makes a mistake?  Are you quick to forgive?  Or do you hold onto it, to try to hurt the other?  Do you let bitterness set in?  Do you go to bed angry?

 The longer we stew the longer it takes to heal.   God tells us not to let the sun go down with anger.  That means within 24 hours to make things right.  Praying with your spouse before you go to sleep will help with forgiving.  Have you ever tried to pray in anger? Ephesians 4:26-27

It has never been easy for me to say, I am sorry.” This has been a learning process for me, and practice has made it easier. I want to blame it on my stubborn German heritage. : )

Because we have a deeper emotional tie with our spouse, we can find it harder to forgive.  We are closer and most likely spend more time with our spouse.  Now that Dan works from home, we spend a lot more time together.  More time together=more time we offend each other.  Working with each other on imperfections will go a long way in a marriage. 

Questions to ask yourself?  How can I change, not how can my spouse change?  Are you perfect?

Couples that are still married have learned to forgive and move forward.   Unforgiveness keeps us in the past. 

God’s Word-Ephesians 4:26-27(NIV)

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful

Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful.  It sounds like someone we would all like to meet.  They are perfect and say the perfect things that every husband and wife would want to hear from their spouse.  

Mr. Wonderful Sayings

  • Here you take the remote as long as I’m with you I don’t care what we watch.
  • You know, I think it’s really important that we talk about our relationship.
  • Let’s just cuddle tonight.
  • OOH, You look so beautiful in the morning
  • Hello darling, Have I told you I loved you lately?
  • Did you have a hard day honey? Why don’t you sit down and let me rub your feet. 
  • You’re going shopping by yourself? How about if I tag along and carry your bags.
  • Actually, I’m not sure which way to go…..I’ll turn in here and ask directions.
  • Yes Dear
  • You know honey, Why don’t you just relax and let me make dinner tonight. 
  • Why don’t we go to the mall? Didn’t you want some new shoes?
  • You’ve been in my mind all day, That’s why I bought you these flowers. 
  • The ball game really isn’t that important, I’d rather spend time with you.

Mrs. Wonderful Sayings

  • Don’t feel bad honey, I forgot it was our anniversary too! 
  • You don’t need a glass, just go ahead and drink right out of the carton. 
  •  Oh… you’re watching a ballgame. Just stay right there on the couch and I’ll whip up some snacks. –
  •  I’ll finish cleaning out the garage honey, your friends are waiting for you to play golf. 
  •  You’re going out with the boys tonight? You’ve worked hard… Enjoy yourself. 
  •  A new reversible drill, oh honey it’s just what I needed! 
  • Don’t worry about taking the trash out. I can use the exercise. 
  •  It really doesn’t matter if you leave the toilet seat up, it makes it easier to clean. 
  •  You’re right, we don’t need directions, maybe you’ll find a short cut.

Well, the truth about Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful is that they are not real.  They are plastic with a cheesy grin.  They need batteries to say the right things. : )

They know the perfect thing to say, but that is not the reality in marriage.  Because we are human, we all will say and do things we will need forgiveness for.  

The true Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful are those husbands and wives who accept and love each other regardless of their faults.  Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful extend grace and forgiveness because they know all people make mistakes.  

Are you Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful?

 Smile and Say, “ I forgive you. I love you.”

God’s Word-Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.