Let’s Think About This

Part Four

Ballroom dancing does not only have physical benefits but mental also.  If our minds are not healthy, this will affect our physical health.  Here are a few ways your mental health can benefit from a Fox Trot.

Ballroom dancing….

  • keeps our minds engaged and active in the thinking process-especially for the leader
  • relieves stress-it takes you away from the worries of everyday life
  • is a fun activity-you will laugh together as a couple
  • gives you a sense of accomplishment-as long as you do it
  • is a social dance-you are around people and your spouse-what’s there not to love about that?
  • stimulates your brain by trying something new-our phones do all of our thinking anymore

Our mental health has been surely challenged these last few years.  Isolation, fear, and the unknown have taken their toll on our society.   We are all going to have to work to reverse that trend.  When the activity is fun-it makes it easier.  

God’s Word-Psalms 15:15

A miserable heart means a miserable life;
    a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

Gratitude

Part Three

grat·i·tude

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness

Being grateful is good for our health.  It reduces stress and takes our minds off of our own problems.  

Being grateful is appreciating what we have and not what we don’t.  It seems to me the more we have in life the more we are less appreciative.  The less we have the more we are thankful.  

A recent Stuff store visit made me realize how much stuff we all have and most of us don’t want it for very long.  We think that the ‘stuff’ will bring us happiness, but it actually gives us more anxiety.  It’s more to take care of.  

I think of the necessities of life, air to breathe, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, the warmth of a home, good health, food on our tables, family and friends to share life with, and our faith in God.  We have so much to be thankful for if this is all we have.  We have everything we need. We can’t lose sight of this. 

This Thanksgiving:

  • If you have family or friends to enjoy your day with-be thankful
  • If you have a car to take you to your destination-be thankful 
  • If you have food in front of you and you are satisfied-be thankful
  • If you have a coat to keep you warm-be thankful
  • If you have a roof over your head-be thankful
  • If you have the freedom to express your religion and pray- be thankful

By reflecting each day on all our blessings, thanking those around us for their generosity, and praising the Father above, we will live a healthier and happier life-even without a lot of stuff.  To be grateful takes time in our day.  It takes being quiet.  Our business will rob us of this joy and good health. 

God’s Word-Psalms 86:12

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.

Making a Difference

Part Two

Keeping physically healthy is worth more than dollars can buy.  When you give up your good health, what do you have?  Ballroom dancing is one way to keep active and healthy.  Here are our top ways dancing can help physically.

Ballroom dancing…

  • keeps us moving in a day where it’s easier to sit 
  • Improves our strength-especially when Dan lifts me in the air for special moves-lol
  • helps with balance-we don’t want to fall
  • builds stronger bones-please don’t drop me
  • improves our posture-its all in the dance frame
  • keeps our heart healthy-how about a cha-cha?
  • helps with coordination-can you do two different things at once?
  • is a great activity as you grow older-yes that’s us
  • is a physical activity that is easier to do since fun is involved-that’s up to you

Every day we make decisions on how we can stay healthy.  It will make a difference in the long run.  Let us keep moving and dancing. 

God’s Word-1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Keep Moving

Part One

Keeping physically and mentally healthy will go a long way in keeping your marriage strong and alive.   Each of us will make decisions each day that will affect our mental and physical well-being.  

Ballroom dancing is a unique activity that can benefit both our minds and body at the same time.  This alone would want a person to get up and try a little Rumba.  

There are many activities we can do to keep our bodies in shape, but you don’t have to use your mind to do it.  Examples are bicycling, running, or walking.  

Try a little cha-cha or lindy hop and you will see just how physical ballroom dancing is.  Some dances get your heart rate up.  All dances are moving around a dance floor.  If you are spending most of your time in an easy chair, this could be challenging.  Some of the steps take coordination.  

For added mind strength,  you can do crosswords, read a book or play a memory game with your grandkids,  but unless you are on a treadmill doing it, you are only strengthening the mind. 

Because ballroom dancing is a lead-and-follow dance, thinking is required if you want your dancing to go well.  You will be learning new steps.  You then have to remember your steps and how to lead or respond with your dance partner.  Dan and I will go to a dance lesson and then go home. It can be difficult to remember what we just learned.  

Having an activity that is fun can also help our mental health. It’s a date night.   Then being around others is an added mental bonus. 

Ballroom dancing will use both physical and mental exercises in one.  How great is that?

Let’s Plan a Date

Let’s Date-Week 8

How about a challenge to plan a date this week for your spouse? Here are a few ideas for you.

A romantic dinner for two at home with your best China dishes and candles.

Make your spouse’s favorite dinner. 

A drive in the countryside, taking a back road

Watch Your spouse’s favorite movie together

Afternoon Cake and Coffee at a quaint coffee shop

Antiquing together

Exercising together-like a bike ride, hike, or ballroom dancing

Take your camp stove to a state park and have breakfast together

Learn something new together-a class at Kirkwood Continuing Education

Take turns planning or make it a surprise

Make each other breakfast in bed

Take a vacation that you can unplug for a week

Unplugged in Wyoming-2020

Battlefields and Botanical Gardens

Let’s Date-Part Seven

Many times when Dan and I go on a vacation together, a battlefield or a public garden is part of our trip.  

Dan is a history buff and loves to research his ancestors that fought in a war.  He writes books on their journey and adventures of fighting for our country.  I have spent more than one spring break with Dan on a battlefield.  I am sure another battlefield is soon to be visited. 

I love flowers.  I enjoy researching flowers and learning more about what selections to put into my yard. We go on dates to botanical gardens, garden walks, and wildflower meadows.  Because of my new sun-filled yard, I now study prairie and native flowers.  

We both like to say that we earn points if we go with the other to their desired place of interest.  We earn battlefield or garden points.  I am far behind with battlefield points. : 0

We have activities we do together, like ballroom dancing, but we also have activities that the other spouse is really not into.  It is important that we support and encourage each other’s hobbies and interests.  Yes, that means more battlefields, reenactments,  and revolutionary war sites for me.  For Dan that means visiting more botanical gardens, garden walks, or sitting in a wildflower meadow.  

Think about what your spouse enjoys doing.  A hobby or activity.  Then you can plan a date around the other spouses’ interests.  You will earn brownie points for sure! 

Port Hudson Battlefield-2013
Afton Villa Gardens-2013

Why Don’t We Just Dance

Let’s Date-Week Two

My parents met at a ballroom dance.  Back in the day, the Col-Ballroom in the Quad Cities was a great way to meet others and try out your dance moves.  Many times live bands would play for the crowd. For my dad, it was a time to get out of his farming clothes and dress up for the girls.   Technology did not keep a person at home.  Times have changed.

We are thankful that there are some area venues for Dan and I to try out the steps we have practiced.  Here are just a few of the dances we have attended:

Congenial 100-Dan and I are part of a ballroom dance club that started 90 years ago here in Cedar Rapids.  We go once a month, 8 months out of the year.  It is time to dress up!  We enjoy a catered dinner with dessert and live music. We have met many congenial friends. 

USA Dance-This is a nationwide organization that offers ballroom dancing and a one-hour group dance lesson.  Our local chapter meets once a month at the Old Brick in Iowa City.  Dan and I have learned many new dance moves by attending USA dances.  

The Barn Dance- A horse arena turned into a dance venue.  We dress up for this once-a-month dance that has a huge dance floor.  This is quite the venue.  Snacks and beverages are provided.  

Dubuque Fairgrounds-A big band would be the highlight of this New Year’s Eve event.  Everyone would dress up for this dance.   We would ring in the new year with champagne, party favors, and a midnight buffet. 

Walford Ponderosa-Rod Pierson Big Band would be the highlight of this formal Valentine’s ballroom dance. 

Many of the ballroom dance events are in danger of no longer continuing.  We attend and invite so we can continue our dancing out!

Dating keeps you closer as a couple and with others!

Let’s Date

Let’s Date-Part One

For me, one of the best benefits of ballroom dancing is that you have a scheduled date together.  When  Dan and I  began ballroom dancing, we did not realize that we had local ballroom dances that we could attend together.  Before Covid began, we had at least one dance a week that we would go to on a date.  We would often say we wanted to go on a date, but unless we had it on our schedule, it never seemed to happen.  Ballroom dancing made date nights easier.

Ballroom dance dates are a time we can dress up, get away from technology, meet others and get away from our regular routine.  It’s a great activity to do in the winter when life slows down a bit.  

Ballroom Dancing also has the added bonus of being a physical activity that keeps you moving and active.  Because of the fun and laughter while dancing, it is also great for your mental health.  The fun and laughter part is up to you.  

Let’s face it, we can all get busy and not spend quality together time.  Too busy=danger in a marriage. 

We need face-to-face time with our spouses and you get plenty of that when dancing together.   Dan and I have other activities that we do together, but it does not give us the important face-to-face time that we need.  

Who or what has your attention?  Dating will have your spouses!

God’s Word-1 Corinthians 13:13-13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Part Eight

God’s Word-Psalms 138: 1-18

1 You have searched me, Lord,

    and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

    you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

    you, Lord, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,

    and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

    too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!

    How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

    they would outnumber the grains of sand—

    when I awake, I am still with you.

These words should motivate each of us to live the unique life God has called us to. 

What better words to end this series, ‘Not Comparing Ourselves To Others.’ You are wonderfully made!!!

Your Journey

Part Seven

You are fearfully and wonderfully made!  Does anyone believe this anymore?  The bible tells us this, but I look around and find more unhappy people than ever.  They do not want to be who they were born to be.  They want to be someone else.  They are not happy with their lives.  

You have a calling that is unique to you!  No one in the whole wide world is created for your purpose and for your journey.  If you really think about this, it can bring peace to your soul.  

I am wondering if social media has a lot to do with this dissatisfaction?  YouTube?  When we see what others are doing or what they have, we can tend to lose our personal focus.   

For example, I found myself wanting my garden to look like those I was following on Instagram or YouTube.  I wanted all the plants they had.  I wanted my yard to look like their yard. I wanted what they wore for garden attire.  Good grief, how does a person keep up with this kind of living?  This kind of thinking keeps us from being personally creative. 

I knew my yard and my situation in gardening is specific to me.  No one has what I have.   If I take the time and energy and put it into the uniqueness of my situation,  think how beautiful life and my garden would be.  

In my personal observation, I feel the happiest people on earth are individuals who are content with who they are.  They walk in their gifts and talents. They are thankful to the God above for how they were fearfully and wonderfully made.  They have the peace of knowing they have a Savior.

God’s Word-Psalms 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. (NIV)