Father’s Day

Dance With Me Ministries is all about keeping your marriage close and strong.  This reflects in being a good Mother, Father, Grandmother and Grandfather. With Father’s Day approaching I would like to share a link on the importance of a father in a child’s life.  

God’s Word-Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Dan with the Girls-1991

‘Big Max’

Part 4

Praying with your spouse, filling ourselves with the Good News, and memorizing scripture are great foundation builders.  It will not only keep ourselves on solid ground but also our marriage.  The last three blogs share how to navigate life’s valleys and hardships.  By building a strong foundation, we will be able to stay strong when trials come our way.  On earth there will always be foundation shakers!  God does not leave us without a road map or His help.

Let’s take a look at ‘Big Max’.  ‘Big max’ is a pumpkin seedling that I started this spring.  One of the many seedlings for my new sun garden.  The seedlings begin their new life with very comfortable growing conditions. The seedlings are in a protected environment.  A warm bedroom, LED light, shelving, water and a heat mat can get them started.  But are they ready for the real world?  I soon found out that you have to beat them up a bit before they can go outside.  Running a fan on them or brushing them with your hand strengthens their stem.  Their foundation or roots go farther in the soil with roughing them up.  

Then you begin what they call the hardening-off process.  You slowly expose the seedlings to their new outdoor home.  This new home is the beating sun, uneven temperatures, pounding rain and strong Iowa winds.  I put my seedlings in a sheltered spot outside for at least a week.  They will become stronger with gradual exposure. This prepares the young plants, including ‘Big Max’ for life outdoors. 

If they remain in a perfect undisturbed world, they will not be able to survive. 

I was thinking of how ‘Big Max’ is similar to our own life journey.  We can look at the times that we are being roughed up a bit, as a way of becoming stronger.  We all experience trials, but how will we respond?  Will we stand tall or fall over?  Will we turn to the Creator?  Will we be able to survive this world?  

God’s Word-Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

‘Big Max’

The Good News

Part 3-Dancing Shoes

Back early in the pandemic, I remember a day that was full of bad news.  It looked like doomsday for the whole world.  We did not want to touch our groceries, mail or newspaper.  We were not able to even see anyone outside our home.  It looked very hopeless.  I quickly went to my desk computer and engrossed myself in all the bad news of the county and world.  After at least an hour of drinking in hopelessness, I went to get out of my chair and down I went on the floor.  My foundation was gone, and I could not feel my legs.  What I didn’t realize as I was sitting there, I had wrapped my legs back around my desk chair.  Both my legs had totally fallen asleep. (Not one of my brighter moments) : (

Dan was in the basement as I laid there. It seemed like eternity, as I waited for my legs to wake up again.  

This was a real turning point for me.  I realized that soaking in bad news, hours on end, is not good for me!  It is not good for anyone.  I sometimes feel that the news channels want us to feed on the bad news of the world, 24-7.  Of course they want us to be sucked in.  Whatever we feed into our hearts and minds will eventually come out! (Proverbs 4:23 NIV-Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ) If we feed ourselves hopelessness, despair and negativity, that is how we will feel.  Fear will set in.  This will affect our closest relationships.  We will not be any help to anyone needing it. It will shake your foundation for sure!  Personally, it puts me in a very bad mood. 

I also knew I needed to take steps on feeding myself with good news!  The Good News that comes with our faith!  Hope that comes from reading God’s Word.  Faith is the opposite of fear! In the last few years Dan and I have begun memorizing God’s Word.  I have His promises hidden in my heart, ready at any time I need His assurance.  No one can take that away from me!  This is our hope and another foundation builder. 

Only You

Part Two-Dancing Shoes

I remember many years ago hearing someone say, “No one will pray for your spouse like you will.”  That has always been something that has challenged me.   With our foundations being shaken, prayer is a wonderful weapon.   It is a tool we can use to bring our marriage closer.  Why?  Prayer is a very intimate action, especially between husband and wife.  A question we have begun asking each other , “How can I pray for you today?”  By doing this, you find out what is happening in your spouse’s life. They can share immediate needs and concerns for the day.  This allows us as a couple to pray more specifically for each other than simply praying a general prayer, which often becomes our default.  Sometimes there are so many things to pray about, we tend to overlook the prayer needs of those closest to us. 

Praying together will help build a wonderful foundation for your marriage.  Only you will pray for your spouse like you can. 

Do you pray for your spouse?

God’s Word-Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Dancing Shoes

Part One

The right dancing shoes make a big difference in the look of ballroom dance.  Shoes that are too small, uncomfortable, too high or with no support makes for a long night of dancing.  We have experienced many of these.  Your feet are your foundation for dancing.  It takes a while to find the right shoe for a smooth looking dance! 

We had a couple taking our dance class mention that because of health issues, they could not feel their feet.  Another dancer had a time with his shoes never fitting well. Yes, this is a problem.  

In our marriage we need a solid foundation to make it through the ups and downs of this world.  Maybe in this last year you have experienced some.  We sure have!  It can be difficult to keep our marriage strong with so many trials.  

How do we build this foundation?  The world surely does not have the answer.  It looks hopeless. The only trustworthy foundation is God’s Word.  Reading it, meditating on it, praying it and then letting it lead us through life’s difficulties.  If there is no foundation, we will sink in the sand.  And as a married couple, it takes the two of us.  Sometimes, one of us may not be strong.  The other can encourage, be strong and lovingly get us both through a difficult time.  

Building a strong foundation takes time and work.  It will not come by watching the nightly news or checking social media. We don’t want to wait until a big trail comes before we start building a firm foundation.  

The bad news of a recent day made both of us stressed, not pleasant and in a bad mood.  Dan came to me, kissed me and said, “ We need each other to get through this.”  

Pray and read God’s Word together.  It will do wonders in your marriage.  

God’s Word- Matthew 7:24-27  “24 Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”(NLT)

A Special Day

This Mothers Day message was shared with me last year by someone dear to my heart!

A lot has changed for all of us during the pandemic. With all of these drastic changes, perhaps a re-boot on how we look at things and approach life is in order?  After all, isn’t that one of the benefits of going through adversity in life? Re-evaluate your own life and make the necessary changes to make it better. 

One of the milestones for me during the pandemic was Mother’s Day. My husband worked really hard to make the day special for me, from taking me to my favorite plant store to cooking a delicious lobster dinner. He even commented that the whole weekend was devoted to Mother’s Day and not just Sunday. When Sunday night came, I remember feeling a little sad that my special day was over. Now I have to wait an entire year to feel this special again! Then I thought to myself, wouldn’t marriages be better if we could treat our spouse like each day was Mother or Father’s Day? I’m not suggesting we have lobster dinners each night or carte blanche at our favorite store, but maybe just one or two acts of kindness each day? Can you imagine the difference it would make? How would households and relationships be better? For my own, I can imagine more peace in the home, and a sort of pay if forward to others.  A kind act begets more kind acts, right? It would be such an important lesson for my children on how to treat each other, too.

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

My Mom

For Mother’s Day, I am dedicating this post to my mother, Helen.  As I write this, (April 23)it was just a few days ago she was put on Hospice.  I know my days are short with my mom.  I do not know if I will be sharing Mother’s Day with her. 

My 93 year old mother is in an assisted living facility.  For most of this last year, she could not leave her room, hug her family, or have in person visits. We were not able to spend the holidays together.  At times we could only visit through her window or a plexiglass booth.  With short term memory loss, this was very hard for her to understand.  She is very social and her lifeline was taken away.   I am sure she felt like she was a prisoner.  

I am not saying, I have the answer on how the Covid lock down should have been handled, but I do know that if you take the social out of living, it is not living anymore.  It has taken a huge toll on our elderly, including my mother.   

A  few days back I sat with her in her room for seven hours. As the time seemed to slow down, I held her hand. I was thinking of what it would have been like during Covid (almost a year)with no family or friends. No hugs or kisses.  Just 4 walls to look at.  Day in and day out, isolated.  It made me cry.  

On her last day she could talk, she kept saying how thankful she was for her family and her faith.  She said how much she loved her family, over and over.  I was never tired of hearing those words from her.  

When it all comes down to it, this is what matters.  Our family, friends and faith.   If your mom is still with you, take time this Mother’s Day, and tell her how special she is and that she is loved.  

I am so blessed to have so many wonderful memories with my mom, Helen! I love you Mom!

B. Helen Manning: August 7, 1927-April 27-2021

Will You Be Missed?

Part One

Having fellowships outside our weekly dance class has always been a highlight for us.  I love planning  ways to get together.  Just to have fun.  Just to get to know couples better.  Just to laugh!  It is important for our well being!

A few of our dance/ fellowships:

  • Fall Barn Dance
  • Lakeside Dance
  • Coffee shop game night 
  • Christmas Ball
  • Tango in the Timber
  • Garden Dance
  • Game and Fellowships in couples homes 

One of the couples who had joined us for a year of ‘Dance with Me Ministries’, owned a small coffee shop.  We planned for an evening of coffee, food, fellowship and game night.  It was a wonderful atmosphere.  The game we were playing that night had this question; What do you think would be the worst way to die?  I thought that was an interesting question, but I was thinking of burning, or drowning or dying in a plane crash were my top three.  One gentleman playing the game replied , Loneliness.  Hmm, I did not say it at the time, but I thought that was a really strange answer.  But now after the Covid 19- lock down this last year, I totally get it.  We were separated from our family and friends.  We are social beings. We need each other. I heard yesterday a story about someone who had died in their home and no one knew for weeks.  They had no one that cared about them.  They will not be missed.  Yes, loneliness, a tragic way to die.  

God’s Word- Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Our Vows

Moving Together as One-Part Four

Our Wedding Vows:

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my love.”

I remember the day we were married and how our wedding vows seemed so easy.  We were young, healthy, happy and in love.  Nothing on that day seemed like it would ever take us apart.  

Then life happens. Children, deaths, health, finances, stress, busyness and occupations all become reality.  Slowly, separation can occur.  It happens without you even realizing it. 

2020 was a year that we all experienced many hardships that most likely challenged our marriages. Our marriage vows were put to test, for sure.  

Along with the stresses of Covid, I threw in a bought with Kidney Stones.  Three surgery’s, a hospital stay and Dan catching my vomit was definitely a ‘for worse’ moment.  

We also experienced separation from our loved ones.

 In August a natural disaster, Derecho (land hurricane)destroyed our property, city and much of our beloved state.  After the Derecho,  I found myself not being able to move forward.  Dan helped me . 

We need each other. 

Being One-we can help each other get through the difficulties of life.  Our vows become real. Our vows are put into practice.  It is not easy, but with God’s help we can keep our vows to each other. We can remain One. 

God’s Word-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Remaining One

Part Three

As we become one in our marriage there has to be a connection that gets you through the dance of life.  You realize soon after becoming one, that connection with communication is key.  

Connection points in Marriage:

  • Connecting- Daily interaction and doing activities together will help you stay connected.  Just having fun together. We each have to put effort in staying connected. If you don’t stay connected, your eyes will wonder.  What is keeping you from daily connecting? Technology? Too busy? A Hobby? 
  • Good communication-This does not happen if you don’t take time alone to talk.  What is happening in your spouse’s life?  Share your dreams!  This will draw you closer to each other.  This is part of intimacy in a marriage.  For us, meals together without distractions is a great place to communicate. 
  • Practice a healthy lead and follow.  This will keep the marriage flowing smoothly. (More to come)

It is fun when it works.  Remaining as One, will take time and practice.  It will keep us together until death do us part. 

Great connection- a beautiful marriage

Great communication-a beautiful marriage

Great Lead and Follow-a beautiful marriage

Two become one. How do you stay connected? 

God’s Word- Mark 11 5-9    “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

2009-Remanining One