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

It’s All About the Frame

Part Two

One of the very first lessons in ballroom dancing is learning the 4 connection points of the dance frame.  I remember when we first began taking lessons our teacher would always say, “It’s all about the frame;” I really didn’t get it at the time but now I can say, “ It is all about the dance frame.”  This is how 2 ballroom dancers become one.  This is your communication. 

Dance Frame Basics

 Four connection points

o   Man’s left hand holding woman’s right

o   Man’s right hand on woman’s left shoulder blade (men:  keep elbow up, parallel with the floor and fingers together!)

o   Woman’s left elbow on man’s right elbow

o   Woman’s left hand on inside edge (near top) of man’s right shoulder(I put my thumb in front of Dan’s deltoid muscle)

As dancers, you will also be offset from each other.  We always use the illustration, if a man was wearing a tie, it would rest on the ladies right shoulder. This allows the man to see what lies ahead in line of dance. If I was straight in front of Dan, he would not see over my head and hair.  We for sure would run into problems.

When you begin the dance, the leader does not say, “Hey, do an underarm turn.” Or, “Watch out, we are about to run into upcoming dancers.”  There is no verbal communication, It’s all about the frame. The leader will use connection point one, to lead the underarm turn.  He will use connection point two, to hold onto the follower and slow her down to avoid a collision with upcoming dancers.  

It is fun when it works.  But it takes practice and time. 

What we have learned about the dance frame: 

Droopy Elbow Syndrome: We have to hold our own weight- It is very easy, after time to let your connection point three, which is your elbows, droop.  If I put all my arm weight on Dan, he will not be able to carry the weight for very long. He will get tired and down the elbows go.  It will be difficult for Dan to lead.  

Noodle Arm-We call it the dreaded noodle arm.  Basically there is no tone in my arm. When Dan moves forward, and there is no tone, he ends up stepping on my toes or a collusion occurs.   When this happens, It becomes difficult for the man to lead.  

Dan’s connection point two needs to stay up on my shoulder blade. There is a phrase, “The hand needs to stay in North America, and not in Brazil.”  Fingers are kept together.  If Dan’s fingers are spread apart it will be hard for him to lead.  If he heads to Brazil, it will be hard for him to lead.  I also have to put a bit of weight into his connection point, two.  I do mean a bit.  

Great connection- a beautiful dance

Great communication-a beautiful dance

Great Lead and Follow-a beautiful dance

Two dancers become one. The Dance frame is how you stay connected. 

Forgiven

Moving together as one, is what you do when you begin to ballroom dance.  Through the dance frame you become one.  In your marriage, you become one on your wedding day.  Intimacy, brings you closer together.   This takes time with each other.  Yet, the more time we spend together, the more we see each other’s flaws, say things that are not nice and step on each other’s toes.  The only way to avoid this, is not being together.  However, this is not what God intended for our marriage. 

We all make mistakes and are far from perfect.  Forgiveness has to be a part of our dance experience. Forgiveness has to be a part of our marriage. 

On this Good Friday, I am reminded of the ultimate act of forgiveness.  God sent His Son, Jesus,  to die on the cross for each one of us.  He did not deserve it.  But He did it for us.  No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, we will fall short.  I continue to stumble, step on toes, and say things that are not nice.  I am thankful that when I call out to Him, He forgives me.  His grace is sufficient for me.  

I sometimes hear people say, “Well, they are a Christian, they shouldn’t act this way.”  This is a true statement, but until we breathe our last, we will continually fall short.  We can learn from our mistakes, and hopefully grow from them.  

God wants to have intimacy with each one of us.  He wants a closeness with us. Through Jesus, this is made possible. 

Happy Easter!

David Crowder ‘Forgiven’

God’s Word- John 3:16-17     For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Spring Dating

Happy Spring! Ideas for Spring dating!

  • Fishing (I have to take Dan along for this one so he can put my worm on my hook) : 0-Pleasant Creek State Recreational Area, Lake McBride State Park
My catch at Pleasant Creek
  • Hiking-Indian Creek, Kent Park, Lake McBride and Wapsipinicon
Spring hiking at Kent Park

God’s Word-Psalm 89:11
The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.

10 Reasons to Ballroom Dance

  1. Ballroom dancing gets us away from technology.  Married couples are spending more of their time in front of their computers, televisions and using social media.
  2. Trying something new (Ballroom dancing) will increase our connection and will create a special bond in our marriage!
  3. Dancing keeps us moving! We are becoming more sedentary and not keeping as active as we should be.
  4. While ballroom dancing, you look at each other, touch and spend time together. This increases intimacy and romance. 
  5. Dancing adds laughter and fun to our lives.  Life is stressful at times, which can negatively impact our emotional health and as a result, harm our marriage. We will benefit if we get  more enjoyment out of life.
  6. Ballroom dancing is a built in date.  We need to keep dating even after we become married.
  7. Ballroom dancing and marriage takes lots of practice.  Practice helps to identify areas you need to work on.  You can grow together with your mistakes.
  8. Ballroom dancing is a unique activity that uses physical and mental exercise at the same time.  We need to keep ourselves healthy, which in turn keeps our marriage healthy.
  9. Being considerate and polite go a long way in Ballroom Dancing. (if not, the dance  is over). Being considerate and polite goes a long way towards maintaining  a healthy marriage.  
  10. Ballroom dancing is an activity you can do at any season of your marriage

Why not give ballroom dancing a try? The more you do as a married couple together, the closer you become.  

God’s Word- Hebrews 13:4 (The Message) Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. 

Looking Our Best

Part 4

In the past, our weekly dancing dates included getting dressed up and looking our best for each other!  It was a date!  This was before the dreaded Coronavirus struck and everything was shut down. 

Now, we find ourselves in lockdown mode, isolated from others as we work from home and stay away from the gym.  It is very easy not to put much effort in looking our best.  Let’s face it, we can wear our sweat pants and a t-shirt all the time and no one ever knows except our spouse.  We don’t even have to comb our hair, wear deodorant or take a bath.  : (  We live in a very casual world. 

I went months without wearing make-up.  I felt like I needed a full review on how to apply it to my face. : (

Looking our best does not mean wearing a formal or a suit and tie each day, but it does mean putting some effort into taking care of yourself.  Looking the best that we can. This is good for you and for your relationship with your spouse. It is easy to feel dumpy, when you look dumpy! : ) 

I remember our early dating years. We took time to look our very best for each other.  We would not have thought of doing anything but.  It was a time to impress each other.  I feel keeping this mindset helps keep our relationship stronger.  However, over the many years of being together, we feel it becomes less important to look good for each other.  Not sure why?  I always joke with Dan, this is why the good Lord takes away our good vision, so that as we age, we always look beautiful to each other!  

Recently, we celebrated a date night by cooking a meal together at home.  We both dressed up, fixed our  hair, applied some smelly stuff, shaved our stubble and we pretended we were going out on the town!  Why?  It’s important for each other and our marriage! 

2009-Our first year of Ballroom Dance Dates

God’s Word– Song of Songs 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;

    there is no flaw in you.