Blindfolded

Take Me Around the Dance Floor-Part Two

One of the illustrations we like to use in our lesson, ‘Take Me around the Dance Floor’ is to blindfold the follower.  Yes, Dan takes a blindfold and wraps it around my eyes so I cannot see a thing.  It adds a whole new level to the lead and trust factor.  He likes to spin me around a few times, so I for sure don’t know where I am going.  Will I trust him?  Will he keep me safe?  I can’t see anything but I trust him as the leader.   We begin our dance together and I rely solely on his lead.  I follow him with the steps he leads.   It is a good exercise on trusting your leader.  

We then hand out a blindfold to the couples in our ballroom dance class.  We let the couples use this exercise to practice trust and leading on the dance floor.   

When you love, you will protect. On and off the dance floor. 

 I trust Dan as he takes me around the dance floor of life.

God’s Word

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place Ephesians 6:14

Dance Conference-2013

Take Me Around the Dance Floor

Part One

When you Waltz, Fox Trot, or Tango, you must follow the line of dance.  As dancers, we move counterclockwise around the perimeter of the dance floor.  This keeps the dancers going in the same direction and moving smoothly.  `

Dan as the leader moves forward. He watches for traffic and guides me around any upcoming obstacles.  Sometimes it can be a very crowded dance floor and can be difficult to maneuver.  It can be a challenge even for experienced dancers.   This is one reason a leader and follower are offset in the dance frame.  The leader sees what lies ahead.  The leader trusts the follower to go with the patterns he leads.  

As a follower, I am mostly going backward.   I cannot see where I am going on the dance floor or what lies ahead.  I trust Dan to lead me in a way that is safe.  He leads dance patterns that fit in the space he is seeing ahead.  I don’t have to worry when I trust.   He cares about me and does not want to see me hurt by running into someone or something.

Take Me Around the Dance Floor

God’s Word

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Stop and Restart

As you ballroom dance together as a couple, you will make mistakes and get off beat of the music.  This is how we become better dancers.  It is how we learn.  Mistakes will happen no matter how long you have been dancing.   It is a given. When you get off track while dancing together, we have found that it is best to stop and restart.   It will get you both on the same beat and running smoothly again.  It gives you a moment to reevaluate the situation before you. 

We shared this principle with our ballroom dance class a few weeks ago. We have found most beginner dancers want to catch up with the beat of the music or fumble about.  Stop and restart your dance together. 

I was thinking, this is how our marriages tend to be.    As husband and wife, we get off beat together.  This is life.   No marriage is perfect, all make mistakes.  Do we take the time to stop and evaluate the situation? Do we become closer as a couple as we learn from our difficulties?  Or do we continue in a bumpy marriage? Do we just fumble about?

A New Year is a good time to step back, evaluate, and think about ways to make your marriage a smooth-looking dance. 

A time to stop and restart

God’s Word

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
—Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

Rejoice and Be Glad In It!

Today we say goodbye to the year 2021.  

Each year that we exist on this earth has its difficulties and hardships.  We all experience them.  This last year was no exception.  Death, sickness, financial loss, divorce, marriage difficulties, and prodigal children can stop us in our tracks. 

 In the face of all of our challenges, how will we respond?  Do we stay in our past or do we take steps to move forward?  This part is totally up to us. 

Do we trust in God to get us through each day?

Do we forgive those who have hurt us?

Do we learn from our mistakes?

Do we build a strong foundation in God’s Word?

Are we thankful for all that we have been given?

Do we surround ourselves(in-person) with positive friends and family?

Do we stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit?

Tomorrow we start a new day!  We begin a new year!

Will you sing?

This is the Day that the Lord Has Made

This is the day, this is the day

That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made

I will rejoice, I will rejoice

And be glad in it, glad in it

This is the day that the lord has made

I will rejoice and be glad in it

This is the day, this is the day

That the Lord has made

Happy New Years!

Closer Together

Closer together is the ‘Dance with me ministries’ slogan.  We picked this slogan because we are physically closer together when we ballroom dance.  We are in each other’s arms, face to face and definitely closer.  Closer than what?  Closer than doing our own thing. 

Another reason we picked this slogan is that our goal is keeping marriages closer through the ministry.  In today’s world, there are a million things tearing husbands and wives away from each other.  Technology, politics, business, lack of commitment,  and negative words just to name a few.  Marriages can drift apart over time if we don’t put in some togetherness time.  We have seen many marriages torn apart because of a lack of closeness.  It takes work and commitment from 2 people. Just like learning to dance.  You can’t do it alone. 

Today is Christmas Eve. God sent his Son Jesus to be closer to each one of us.  This is why we celebrate Christmas.  God wants to be closer to us. He wants a personal relationship.  It is up to us to accept this gift, His Son.  Because of our faith in Jesus, we have been given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us.  If you really think about this, it is mind-blowing.  The God that created the heavens and earth is inside of us.  Now that is close.  

Thank you God for your precious gift.

Praying that each one of you will experience His closeness this Christmas season.

God’s Word

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

Pick Me Up

It was the making of a perfect evening.  Snow lightly falling, beautiful hardwood dance floor, refreshments, punch and lovely couples to enjoy the night with.  This was our annual ‘Dance with Me Ministries’ Christmas Ball.  After our first 8 weeks of dance/marriage class we celebrated with our Christmas Ball.  Alumni and couples currently taking the class were invited.  A time to dress up.  It’s a date!  CSPS building in downtown Cedar Rapids made a perfect venue.  

The dance playlist was filled with Christmas tunes.  Fox Trot, Waltz, Polka, Rumba, Swing and Slow dance was in the mix. 

Dan and I were doing a swing song to Louis Armstrong’s Cool Yule when the unimaginable happened.  The next thing I knew, I was on the floor.  I fell in front of all our dance friends and landed on my bum.   A gasp was heard from those who witnessed this horror with their dance teacher on the floor.  I was hurt mentally and physically.   Tears began to well up in my eyes.  

Dan reached down and gently picked me up from the floor and took me in his arms and said , “I am sorry, babe.”  He, as the leader of the dance, felt responsible for me landing on the floor.  We had no idea of how it even happened.  As far as I knew, I tripped over my own two feet.  I knew he hurt right along with me.  

I remember thinking, I don’t know if I will ever dance again.  There was now fear of doing difficult steps on the dance floor.  I had a decision to make.  

When thinking of this not-so-pleasant dance memory, I thought how it was a picture of how God picks us up after we have fallen.  I know this personally, in so many ways.  In my marriage, as a parent, as a friend, and my obedience to God’s word.  I fall on a daily basis.  But very lovingly He picks me up again and again.  He loves me, encourages me, and puts me on my feet again.  His grace is sufficient for me. At that point, I have a decision to make. I can stay down in defeat or move on and dance again.   

I am so thankful for the love of my husband and my heavenly Father! 

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.”

You Did It!

It has been one year since I began my blogging journey with Dance with Me Ministries.   I told myself that I would like to give it a one-year commitment.  I can now say, “I did it!”  52 blogs later, I accomplished what I set out to do.

With Covid-19 taking a big hit on our in-person relationships with dancing, the blog was an online way to keep encouraging married couples.  Hopefully, it was- mission accomplished for someone out there! 

For 12 years Dan and I have had in-person classes to share ways to keep your marriage close while teaching basic ballroom dance steps.  The dancing helps illustrate what a godly marriage looks like. 

 I can’t say this last year has been an easy blogging journey.  What accomplishments in life are easy?  Not many.  I wanted to quit, more than once. : (

A few bumps in my last year blogging road:

  • The death of my mom
  • My ability to write
  • Deadline pressures
  • Lack of readers
  • Discouragement
  • Learning to blog
  • Relying on others

 But we learn from doing and persevering:

  • Accomplishments take work
  • Don’t give up-press on
  • Never stop learning
  • Keep positive
  • Time management-don’t waste your time

I don’t know where I will go from here.  Will I continue?  Maybe, but I finished my commitment and I can now say, “ I did it.”

Thanks go out to my husband Dan, who proofread my blogs each week and is my sweet dance partner.  My biggest supporter of all my crazy ideas.  My daughter Audrey, who gave me the idea to blog and helped me get started.  My daughter Adrienne did the graphic designs for the blog.  Thank you so much, I couldn’t have done it without you. 

I dedicate this last year to my mom, Helen, who taught me so much.  Work hard, don’t give up, and keep the faith! 

”Where Did that Come From?”

Have you ever said something then said to yourself, “Where did that come from?”  It may have not been nice, it may have been in anger.  It may have not been considerate.  I hate to say that I have asked myself that question. Especially these last few years.  

For me, I needed to step back and see what was creating the words and thoughts that were being said.  When I feed my mind and heart with negativity, it reflects on what comes out.  There is so much of this in our culture.  I remember hearing a radio talk show host (A Doctor) talk about how our minds are like a recorder.  Everything we put into our minds is permanently there.  Yes, forever.  It may be in our subconscious, but it is always there.  So day after day, we put things in our minds that we shouldn’t.  Is it Covid hopelessness, violence, immorality, or division?   The phrase garbage in- garbage out comes to mind. 

When we read the paper or watch the news, it can get us in a bad mood.  Dan and I took a recent 10-day vacation.  I unplugged for the whole time.  No watching news or reading the paper.  I guess you could say, World War 3 could have started and I wouldn’t have known about it.  (That would be a good thing) But it was so refreshing.  I felt renewed health.  It could have been we were in the mountains, but it was wonderful. 

We can offset the negative by putting in the positive.  Positive shows, music, books, and people.  Take time to unplug yourself and see what that does.  

Reading God’s Word gives us hope!  Something hard to find in our society right now.  

Each day I have to make the decision on what goes in-hopefully a positive reflection on what comes out. 

God’s Word-Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do, flows from it.

The Perfect Dancer?

I think how funny it is- how quickly we are to point out the mistakes our dance partner makes.  But we think we look pretty amazing.  

I say this because I was there.  I could see all of the mistakes Dan was making while learning Ballroom dance.  It was easy for me to point them out and sometimes I would make sure he would know about them.  

That all changed when I watched a video recording of myself dancing with Dan.  You see, when we take a dance lesson, we sometimes record ourselves doing a step that was taught to us.  I was watching and said to myself, “ I look terrible.”  I could see all the mistakes I was making.  Right there in front of my eyes.  I gasped.  I thought to myself, just because it is easier to see his mistakes, don’t be critical.  We are both learning.  We will both make mistakes.  A little grace goes a long way. 

Encouragement goes a long way in dancing.  Encouragement goes a long way in your marriage. 

Video-tape yourself.  This will keep you humble.

God’s Word-Matthew 7: 3-5 NIV “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

It is Hard to be Thankful in America…

It is hard to be thankful in America… because we have so much.  We are so fortunate with what we have, we can easily take it for granted.  Most of us Americans live without need.  Covid gave everyone a scare.  What would we do without toilet paper?  Oh my!  Or food in the grocery store?  We all panicked thinking there might be a supply shortage of something we seem to not be able to live without.  

I am thinking of that first Thanksgiving and how the pilgrims did not know where their next meal was coming from.   They did not have a warm cozy house that regulated their heat.  They did not have assurance they would make it through the winter.  They did not have medicine to help with their sickness.  They did not have a recliner to sit in and watch their favorite football team.  They didn’t even have an Insta-pot to help make that first Thanksgiving meal. 

But yet they were thankful for what they had.  They thanked and prayed to the Creator, who they knew would help them make it to the next day.  They were thankful, because they now lived in a country where they had the freedom to worship. 

It is hard to be thankful in America… because we live in a very materialistic country.  Always wanting more.  Not being happy with what you have been blessed with.  I realized how much we Americans are bombarded with commercial ads each day to help us see all those things we are in want of.   I can’t even look up a recipe online without seeing 10 ads.  I realized after watching HGTV, that I was now in need of an Airfryer Toaster Oven.  “Where have you been all my life?”  With us Americans seeing at least 100 commercial ads a day, no wonder we want so much. 

It is hard to be thankful in America… because we want what everyone else has.  We compare ourselves to others.  We saturate ourselves with social media to remind us what we don’t have and how everyone else in the world does.  

It is hard to be thankful in America… because we have lost sight of our Creator.  Who or what are we thankful to?  Amazon?  Walmart?  Our local grocery store?  

It is only because of our Creator, our God in Heaven, and His given Son, that we live the next day.  He is in charge of the Heavens and the Earth. He gives us everything we need!!!

For that…  I am very thankful.

God’s Word-Psalm 107:21

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”