Social Dancing

Ballroom dancing has been a great way of meeting new friends for Dan and I.  We have been in the ballroom dance world for over 15 years now.  We have met the most amazing people in those 15 years.  Thank you out there if you are one of them.  : )  We have also grown closer to friends that we already knew but joined us with ‘Dance with Me Ministries’.  Dan and I feel so blessed by those friendships.  

When Dan and I began the empty nest stage, so much was happening in our world.  Not only have our children left the nest, but so have the friendships we had built around our children’s activities.  Our girls were in sports and we became friends with many of their friends’ parents.  It was a wonderful experience.  But after those busy times were over, we either had to make an effort to continue to keep those relationships, or we would become more isolated and alone.  Dan and I had built friendships through our church, so we still had those friendships to keep us connected.  But I can imagine if you don’t have your faith connections, it can be challenging to be an empty-nester socially.  

With the upcoming wedding of our oldest daughter, we thought dance lessons would be helpful to learn.  This is where our ballroom dance journey begins.  This is where new friends were about to immerge.  At the time, I thought it was about the ballroom dance steps, but it has been so much more. 

We have built close friendships through ballroom dance by:

  • Attending weekly dances-even when tired
  • Introducing friends to others-a great network
  • Taking dance lessons
  • Carpooling
  • Overnight dances
  • Dinner together before dances

In the many weeks to come, I will share our different social dance, marriage stories, and experiences through my writings.   My heart in writing is to encourage you and share ways you can grow in your life and marriage. 

Friendships are a huge part. 

The Trio

I Just Want You

As I finish my blog series on healthy living, I felt there was no better way to end this time than by sharing the most essential beneficial aspect, our soul.  Our soul is our heart and mind that makes us who we are.  It is the part of us that needs a relationship with our Creator.  We cannot be completely healthy without it.  Without it, we will continue to hunger for something to make us find rest within ourselves.   

We need Him!

To find the peace within, it all comes down to us accepting the gift given to us, our Savior Jesus. We can have a one-on-one relationship with Him.  He loves us and wants this with us.  To worship and praise Him for all He has done.   We have the gift of His Word to draw near.  This is the ultimate health. This is our hope. 

As we go through life we will search.  Many times the answer is what the world has to offer.  Many times it is not good for us.   It is not healthy for our minds, body, and soul.  It will affect every part of our being. It will bring death.

Search instead for soul health. It will give life.  All we have to do is accept it.   

Just tell Him, “I want You.” 

God’s Word-Psalms 42:11 

Why, my soul, are you downcast?

    Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

    for I will yet praise him,

    my Savior and my God.

We Are One

Part Eleven

When you get married, you become one.  So if I am not healthy in my body, mind, or spirit, then either is Dan.  If Dan is not healthy body, mind, or spirit, then I am not healthy either.  Keeping yourself healthy will keep your marriage healthy.  

Keeping healthy as an individual will take effort.  It will take work.  It’s not easy, especially as we grow older.  Added pounds and stresses of life can take their toll.  We have to do all we can to be healthy to keep our relationship strong.  

You might be saying, “Well sometimes being healthy is out of our control.”   This is true, but putting effort into what we can do will go a long way.  They say stress alone can contribute to up to 80-90% of all illnesses.   Our mental health is much harder to keep healthy.

We live in such a technology-driven world that can do almost everything for us.  We don’t have to move or think.  This doesn’t sound good, does it?   

A healthy marriage:

  • allows you to do more activities together
  • relieve stress and tension
  • keeps your sex life healthy
  • brings more laughter and joy
  • keeps us looking good for each other

We all have areas we can work on to stay healthy.  It won’t be easy but will be worth it in the long run.   

In what ways can we take steps on being healthier for ourselves?  For our marriage? 

We are one.

God’s Word-3 John 1:2

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Oak Alley-2007

Take A Hike

Part Ten

Walking or hiking each day is an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to keep moving.  We know that moving and being active are important ways of keeping healthy.  After Dan’s heart attack this summer, his Doctor told him to walk at least 30 minutes a day, and he does.  Dan makes sure it is in his daily schedule.  

Walking can be done right outside your door and in almost any weather conditions if you are brave.  I have done some winter walking in the neighborhood and it is amazing how peaceful it is during those winter months.   You can hear the birds sing, and that can lift your spirit.  

We are fortunate because we have hills in our neighborhood.  What do you expect when living on Kilimanjaro Drive?  Then we walk to Shasta, Blue Ridge, Alleghany, and Adirondack.   It is a great workout.  

Many times Dan and I walk together if our schedule allows it.  Then we talk and share about life; a bonus to our exercise.

We are blessed to have so many wonderful state parks in Iowa.  When we can, Dan and I  get out and hike to discover Iowa’s beauty.  We would love to go to all of the Iowa State Parks someday. 

The autumn weather pulls you into hiking with colorful leaves falling around you. The air is crisp and cool.  As I write this, Dan and I just finished a little getaway in Minnesota where we did some hiking.  A fall hike is always in our October schedule.  A few of our favorite state parks for fall hiking are Backbone State Park, Pikes Peak near McGregor, and Wild Cat Den near Muscatine.  

When Dan and I plan a vacation it is all about hiking.  Hiking takes you to places that a car just can’t go.  You hike to vistas that are only seen this way.  Maybe it’s a waterfall, or a quaint Alm in the mountains to get a bite to eat. Being in nature, I feel God’s handiwork all around me.   This is my happy place.

Like all forms of exercise, it will take planning and dedication.  But with that comes better health. Being in nature, on a date with your spouse, and being surprised by God’s beauty will enhance your well-being.

How about planning a hike today?

God’s Word-Psalms 19:1-3

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.

Hiking Wildcat Den State Park-2010

Helen’s Dream

Part Nine

Helen had a dream.  Her dream was to someday go on a mission trip to Cambodia.  Helen’s local church did this trip two times a year.  A dentist (Mike) from her church led the trip. After each of his trips, he shared with the congregation his experiences and adventures.  Mike was called to go into Cambodia’s orphanages and to give the orphans excellent dental health care.  To encourage and bless them. Each trip needed a team. Helen dreamed of going.

Someday needed to happen soon for Helen.  You see, Helen was in her eighties. She did not let her age stop her from doing what was on her heart.  She had the heart to serve children that were less fortunate.  She made a decision, and the decision was to go.

Helen was my mother.  My mom shared with me that she was planning to go.  She was going to fulfill the dream that was on her heart for many years.  I was excited for her.  After thinking about it, I thought she might need an escort.  : )   She was happy for me to experience this once-in-a-lifetime trip with her.  

As you can imagine, this was not an easy journey for her.   Multiple vaccinations, twenty-plus hours of air flight-each way,  a squatty potty, working from sun up to sun down,  and the jet lag was what lay ahead.  She never let any of these obstacles stop her from pursuing her dream

She did experience a few difficulties.  She had leg swelling, tiredness, and motion sickness on the flight. (yes, she vomited in my shoe) But after almost 2 weeks of travel, I never heard her complain.  Not once. She only praised everything and everyone around her.  She wanted to hug everyone she met.  She was in her glory. 

My mom took good care of herself throughout the years.  She was active, ate healthily, was socially involved, and had a strong faith community.  She knew that this was part of healthy Godly living.  To take care of herself every day.  This paid off for her.  She could fulfill her dream at 86 years old.  

Being old in life doesn’t mean we don’t have a mission.  It doesn’t mean we don’t have a purpose. God can use us at any age.  Age does not define us.  But…if we don’t take care of ourselves throughout the years, and are unhealthy, fulfilling our dreams will become more difficult.  Most likely impossible.  God did not intend for us to retire in an easy chair.

Helen’s dream became a reality in 2013.   I am thankful she got to live out her dream before her death in 2021.  

You are my inspiration mom.  Miss you more than words can say.

God’s Word-Psalms 105:1-2

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!

Healthy New Year

Part Eight

This is the time of year that many of us make our New Years’ resolutions.  Most resolutions seem to be made around the subject of good health.  Most are forgotten three weeks later.   

If you are looking at becoming healthier, mind, body, and soul in the year 2023 here are a few ideas for healthy resolutions. 

  • Keep Moving-Your workout gym can be right outside your door.  Take a walk daily, snowshoe, grow a garden, or ballroom dance. 
  • Purpose-Each of us have been given Godly gifts and talents to bless others.  Knowing your purpose and living it out will help you get up daily.  
  • Manage Stress-Think of what is adding stress to your life.  How can you manage that stress?  Stress is associated with every major age-related disease
  • Eating whole foods-eating as little processed foods as possible. Think of the outside isles of your grocery store.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are the largest portions on your plate. 
  • Go to church regularly. Attending a faith-based service regularly will help you to live longer
  • Put family first-find ways of connecting more with your family 
  • Social circle-Surround yourself with healthy, positive friendships-it’s contagious
  • Clean out your stuff-living simply will give you time to do what matters most 
  • Limit your technology-replace technology with any point made above

Just selecting one point above will have you on the path of healthier living.  This is good for us.  Journaling and an accountability partner will be helpful.  

Many are easy to do-it’s just making a plan to do it. The New Year is a great place to start.

God’s Word-Psalm 65:11

 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.

Have a happy healthy New Year!

New Years Eve-2014

Closer With You

Our Christmas Message

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 our hope and prayer is to keep marriages closer through this 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 two people. Just like learning to dance.  You can’t do marriage alone. 

On Christmas Day, God sent his Son Jesus to be closer to each one of us.  This is why we celebrate Christmas.  God wants a personal relationship with each one of us.  It is up to us to accept His gift, Jesus.  Because of our faith in Jesus, we have been given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us.  The Holy Spirit helps each one of us to daily live a Godly life. 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 of Jesus.

Praying that each one of you will experience His closeness this Christmas season and throughout the year.

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.”

Live Longer-Go to Church

Part Seven

Would you like to live 4-14 years longer?  If yes, there is an easy answer.  Go to church!  Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.  With numbers like that, I had to dig a bit deeper.  

Here are my thoughts:

  • Being part of a faith community keeps you socially involved and active.   We have others to walk alongside us when we need support.  God never intended for us to do life alone. 
  • Each week you are encouraged in your faith.  This would be healthy for your mind, body, and soul.  A closeness to God will bring you peace, joy, and hope.  
  • Being part of a faith community, many times involves giving.  Giving to those less fortunate.  Giving to missionaries.  Serving others within the church and your community.  Giving is not about us but how we can bless others. 
  • Singing in worship is our thankfulness to God for all He is and has done. 
  • Biblically-based teaching will encourage us to live a life that is honoring to God.  He made us and knows exactly what we need.  By studying God’s Word, we will be encouraged and will learn how to live a Godly life.  I know I need this daily. 

During Covid, churches were shut down.  Zoom became normal.  No wonder we had such a mental health crisis.  Many previous church attendees have not returned to attending church in person.  We as a society have found it easier not to go.  This is not healthy.   If you are one of the many -I would encourage you to take time and find a Bible-teaching church to attend.  

Remember there is no such thing as a perfect church.  There are no perfect people or a perfect program.  We are all sinners trying to grow closer to God.  Just as I am not perfect- I can’t expect a perfect church.   I am glad God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. A church is a place to learn and grow.  Being in a church where they worship God and preach His Word should be our focus.  

I am thankful that Dan wants to go to church with me.  He also knows the importance of gathering in a church and worshiping God.  

Going to church keeps us closer in our marriage, friendships, family, and with God.  : )

Live Longer-Go to Church!

( the original blue zones, all but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Research shows that attending faith-based services just four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy

God’s Word-Hebrews 10:25

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

“Do It More”

Part Five

As we grow older, our mind-thinking capacity can diminish.  It is frightening just thinking about it.  When I can’t think of a word or lose my keys, I wonder if I am already there.   The sound of dementia and Alzheimer’s are words that can change your life dramatically.  

Dan and I met a couple in our ballroom dance club where the wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  It was known to the dance group that the diagnosis came with special instructions from their Doctor.  “Ballroom Dance!”  The husband said, “We already do ballroom dancing together.”  The Doctors reply, “Do it more!”  And that’s just what they did.  A dance floor was installed in their basement and they danced together daily.   The Doctor knew (see link below) that the mind and body connection of Ballroom dancing can help reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly.  It also can enhance the quality of life.   The husband wanted to do all he could to help his wife with this disease. For us to see their story unfold on the dance floor was very moving.  

His wife has since passed away.  She did succumb to the disease.  But, I can only believe how dancing with her husband in the last years of her life was something that brought her healing and comfort.  It kept her in her husband’s arms.  : )