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!

(www.bluezones.com)-In 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.  : )

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.


Part Three


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.