In the last few months, Dan and I have had the privilege to travel to the Great Smoky Mountains and to the Pacific Northwest.  Both trips were a great getaway for the two of us.  

We decided not to bring the whole world’s problems on our vacation.  Yes, we unplugged from the news.  I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to get away from the bad news.  I felt it made me happier and in a better mood.  It may have been the mountains, the beach, the hiking trails, being with Dan, but I am thinking it was from being unplugged.  

If you think about it, we now have the whole world sitting in our pockets and purses with our cell phones.  We also have the whole world’s problems.  How dreadful.

Do you ask yourself, why am I in a bad mood?  Why am I not happy?  Maybe, some unplugged time might help you with a breath of fresh air.  Maybe.. we need to limit our time and be more selective with our news feeds. 

It is good to be informed but not inundated.  

Negativity affects all our relationships.  

Unplugged-try it for a happier you! 

A Valentine’s Dance

A favorite Valentine’s Dance memory was attending the Rod Pierson Big Band dance at Walford.   Dan and I would dress up for the occasion.  Many times we would have dinner with friends.  We would invite our Dance with Me Ministries class to join us for the evening.  For many of them, this was the first time out on a crowded dance floor.  What an experience to dance with the music of a live big band.  The music was amazing. ‘ In the Mood’ by the Glenn Miller Band was always a crowd favorite.  

It was a date. It was a time to get away from technology.  It was a time to enjoy the company of friends.  It was so nice to see what joy it brought to those attending. 

Here we are in 2022, with no dance to attend.  Ballroom dancing has definitely been a casualty of Covid.  Many of the dances we have attended in the past, no longer exist.  Some are hanging on by a thread.  Many dance instructors are no longer in business.  People are afraid to be with people.  Is this healthy?  We now have even another reason to be more sedentary and non-social.  All the things that are horrible for a person.  

With all the benefits of ballroom dancing, it would be a tragedy if it no longer exists.  I think of what it has done in my own marriage.  Dan and I have an activity we do together.  It’s a planned date. It brings us laughter and joy.  Dancing keeps us moving.  We have met amazing friends through our social contacts of dancing.   

In my dreams, ballroom dancing would become an activity that married couples would want to do together on a regular basis.  It would bring couples closer to each other and with friends.  We all could use a little more closeness right now. 

I don’t know if Ballroom dancing can survive this Covid epidemic.  Praying it will!

Valentines Dance 2009

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.”

”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.

100% Divorce Rate

Dan and I have had many couples for dinner over our 38 years of marriage.  It has been a big part of getting to know others better.  

One dinner sticks out to me on the power of our words.  One night, we had a couple over for dinner.  They were the parents of our daughter’s school friend.  

During our dinner together, the wife begins to speak very critical words over her husband.  He did nothing right.  She began to pick apart everything he did.  No kind words came out of her mouth.  Dan and I began to squirm in our seats.  It became very uncomfortable.  What do you say back to such venom?

It was not long after, the couple divorced.  

Then months later, we ran into the wife at our kids’ sporting event.  She could not believe why her husband would leave her.  She was crying and continued on with a very sorry story. 

We walked away thinking, we know exactly why he left. 

We have found that the divorce rate in marriage is 100% when hateful or critical words are spoken by a spouse.  Especially in front of others.   

We have yet to meet a couple that this was not the case. 

God’s Word-The Message. Proverbs 18:21

Word’s kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit- you choose. 

Waltz song for you!

Two broken hearts lonely looking houses
Where nobody lives
Two people each having so much pride inside
Neither side forgives

Angry words spoken in haste
Such a waste of two lives
Its my belief
Pride is the chief cause in the decline
In the number of husbands and wives

Be a Cheerleader

We all have good days and bad days.  When we have a bad day it affects our emotional well being. We can become stressed out.  

Dancing is a physical and mental activity.  Emotion plays a big factor in how well we dance.  When we are mentally tired it is hard to concentrate on the dance floor.  

One way to ruin the atmosphere is to criticize your dance partner either on the dance floor or in practice.  

When Dan and I began Ballroom, we had our challenges.  We stepped on each other’s toes.  We both were trying to learn new dance moves.  Frustration set in. Then add to the equation, a bad day.   I had to be careful of not being critical and to choose my words wisely.   To speak critically would destroy his desire to learn.   The dance would be over. 

We have to be patient.  We have to be positive and encouraging!  I need to be his cheerleader!  He will want to dance!!!

God’s Word-Proverbs 12:18 Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise. (The Message)

The Slight Edge

There is so much grabbing for our time.  How can we fit ballroom dance practice in our schedule?  When Dan and I first started dancing, we knew nothing.  It seemed overwhelming.  We soon realized how much practice it was going to take to become better dancers.   

What would happen if we practiced a little bit each day?  

A friend of ours introduced us to the book ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson.  He shares in his book on how our actions, each day, add up.  If we really want to achieve something and we set our mind to it, it can happen.   

If you did something for 10 minutes each day (like ballroom dancing) it would add up to 3650 minutes in a year.  You bet you would get better.  More time = successful results. 

We waste so much time doing nothing each day. 

Make a plan, do it and see your life change. 

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” Jeff Olson