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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Laugh it Up!

Do you know what gelotology is?  Don’t worry, I didn’t either until I looked it up.  It’s the study of laughter and its psychological and physiological effects on the body.  Hmmm…there must be something to this funny little thing called laughter.

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine and most of us realize that humor is contagious – far more than any nasty cough or sneeze, actually.  When we hear the sound of a giggle or the roar of laughter, we just have to see where it’s coming from, don’t we?  Misery loves company, but so does laughter.

Laughing has many surprising short and long-term health benefits - physically, mentally and socially.  This priceless dose of medicine is free, easy to use and works quickly.  Laughter strengthens our immune system, boosts our energy, diminishes pain and protects us from the damaging effects of stress.  It can lighten our burdens and inspire hope.  Humor helps to shift perspective and allows us to see situations in a less threatening light.  (I’m lovin’ the sound of all this!)

Want some more?  Laughter can lower blood pressure, improve our memory, ease anxiety and give our abs a work-out (if we’re really rolling – leg and back muscles, too).  Laughing is also attractive.  Yes, it’s true - people want to be around people who laugh and who laugh easily.

It helps if we can laugh at ourselves first.  So, I’ll start.  It seems that I was out of the loop for awhile since I don’t text (gasp) or have a smart phone (double gasp).  Much to my friends’ dismay, they actually have to pick up the phone and call me – hee hee.  It’s because I want to hear their laughter!

If they aren’t able to talk at the time, they’ll usually just e-mail.  Little did I know – they WERE laughing along via e-mail.  I just thought they loved me.  They would write LOL all the time and I thought it meant “lots of love.”  When they wrote LMAO, I thought that was just another computery term – kind of like “amore,” the Italian word for love.  (Say it – L’mao – see? Oh, never mind.)  So…I finally realized that they weren’t sending love my way at all, they were just LAUGHING (really hard, apparently).  Joke’s on me this time!

Funny story - My husband and I were recently able to take a little jaunt to San Antonio without the kiddos (thank you again, Mimi & Pops and Nanny & Popo!)  My husband needed some continuing education hours and I wanted to…relax.  We actually spent much of our time on this quick getaway laughing.

There were four times on this trip alone that made us laugh until we cried.  The first thing was my cell phone alarm.  I set two phone alarms that Tuesday morning – one for my husband to get up for his class and the second one so that I wouldn’t miss the free “made to order omelets” downstairs.  Well.  Did I mention that the room-darkening shades made it blacker than black and I couldn’t see a thing?  Not a thing.  Oh and I should also tell you that I’m close to legally blind without my glasses or contacts.  Take a moment to visualize.

Okay, so my phone alarm went off and I fumbled around trying to find where that dreadful sound was coming from.  Then, when I finally found the phone, I pushed button after button on that thing to get it to stop.  It’s a flip-phone (triple gasp) and I opened and shut those little hinges at least twenty times and the alarm only got LOUDER.  I even tried to hide the phone under the pillow to mute the noise.  Don’t forget that this was all done in complete and utter darkness by my ultra-blind self.

In desperation, I found the battery in that horrid phone and…removed it.  I gently placed the battery and the phone beside me on the pillow and I rested.  I was pooped.  I couldn’t wait to tell my husband about my encounter with the phone.  We laughed together as I recalled the details. 

The second time was when my husband sweetly left me a love note and I think the housekeeper, Maria, found it before I did that morning.  I’m assuming she smiled and probably giggled.  We laughed.

The third time was when we were driving home.  I am awful with directions and I have NO sense of where I am going when in the car – north, south, landmarks – the synapses in my brain are faulty when it comes to maps.  So, as I was driving around (and around and around) on Loop 410, my husband said, “Does any of this look familiar to you?”  I said, “You’re kidding, right?”  We laughed.  He knows how bad I am.  We would’ve looped around and ended up right back where we started if it weren’t for him.  Thank you, honey.

Finally, I hate to admit this.  But, when we were about thirty minutes from home, my husband said, “We forgot something.”  I slowed down (as if we would turn around and go get it?!).  We had forgotten all of our hanging clothes in the hotel closet.  We have NEVER done that AND we didn’t even have kids to blame this time!  So, what could we do but laugh.  We envisioned that our housekeeper might enjoy the new wardrobe since I’m presuming she felt a connection with us after the love note.  Hopefully, they’ll mail the clothes back to us.

Anyway!  I truly do love to laugh.  I also love to make people laugh.  There are several ways that we can include more joy, hope and laughter in our lives:  (1) Smilethat’s where it all begins (2) Make a list of our blessings and thank God for them (3) When we hear laughter, seek it out and find the source (4) Spend time with people who laugh (5) Add humor to daily conversations (6) Take ourselves less seriously (7) Surround ourselves with reminders to lighten up (8) Take notes from our children, who are experts on playing and laughing.

Find laughter in the everyday.  My husband grabbed my son’s yogurt drink container out of the sink and finished up the last few sips, only to find that it was full of soapy water and not yogurt.  He laughed…after he gagged and choked it down.  And, in searching for something that he misplaced, my husband stated, “I’m going crazy!” and our youngest daughter exclaimed, “I wanna come, too!”  We laughed.  Our middle daughter keeps us in stitches.  She said, “Did you know that if you get struck by lightning, you can see all your bones like in an x-ray?!”  (Note to self – too much TV!)

My Uncle Erol enjoys passing along e-mail jokes and I enjoy getting them.  Here are a few that recently made me laugh:

JOKE ONE:  There are two kinds of people in this world – those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and those who wake up and say,
 “Good Lord, it’s morning.”

JOKE TWO:  A pastor got up one Sunday morning and announced to his congregation – “I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that we have enough money to pay for our new building.  The bad news is that it’s still out there… in your pockets!”

JOKE THREE:  When our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first – the shed, the boat, my rod & reel.  Finally, she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, “When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway...” 
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

Life is all about the moments (and laughs) that take our breath away.  So, laugh it up!  For my friends who understand texting terms better…KOL – Keep on Laughing or Keep on Loving – however you want to interpret it.  I like ‘em both!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Keep on Keepin' On

A couple of weeks ago, my husband took the kids over to Nanny and Popo’s and left me at home to finish up some projects that I really didn’t need my three “helpers” for.  I also had about five loads of laundry to wash, dry and fold.

So, while folding laundry on the couch, I grabbed something that I NEVER get when the family is home.  No, silly, not a “stiff drink”…the remote.  It was powerful and slightly foreign in my grasp.

Feeling a bit awkward with a remote in my hand, I clumsily (but quickly) channel-surfed right past all of those cartoon and sports channels.  Then, as my surfing momentum picked up, I heard a lady talking about mommies and exercise.  I tuned in.  She was a mom who had developed an exercise program just for other moms.  Her program touted exercise segments of only ten or twenty minutes and focused on all the areas that, um, change, when you have a baby.

I’ve NEVER ordered anything off of TV with a “call in the next ten seconds” line of ballyhoo.  But, for some strange reason, that day seemed like a great day to fall for it.  After all, it was ONLY $9.99, right?

So, I called for the special once-in-my-ever-lovin’-lifetime-price.  On the other end of the line was a very pleasant…computer.  I wondered how this “conversation” would transpire.  Everything went pretty smoothly at first.  Then, “she” got persistent.

“The $9.99 price is for VHS videos.  If you would like DVDs, there will be an additional charge of $2.98.  Please press 1 if you would like this option.”  I pressed 1 (and calculated my new special price).  “Would you like to have these shipped today?  Press 1 for yes and 2 for no.”  I pressed 2.  I’ve been a mom for over 8 years.  Certainly, I can wait a few more days to get my mommy work-out DVDs, right?

She continued her barrage of questioning.  “Most costumers purchase a fat-burning pill with this program to boost their results.  Press 1 to order and press 2 to decline.”  I pressed 2.  “Are you sure?  Customers are highly satisfied with this product.  Press 1 to accept and 2 to decline.”  I pressed 2.  (Grumble, grumble – I hope this is the last question…)

“We also have a top-rated wrinkle cream, a DVD upgrade program and a shopping rewards card.  Press 1 to accept and 2 to decline.”  I pressed 2 and practiced my deep breathing exercises.  “Are you sure?”  (Grrrr…..)  “I will now be transferring you to another operator who has nothing to do with our program because…YOU HAVE WON A TRIP TO THE BAHAMAS!”  You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself.  I hung up.

Okay, so I never actually got my “total” and I’m not even certain that I actually ordered the DVDs.  BUT, what I DID learn was a lesson in perseverance (and patience).  I know “she” was a computer, but she never gave up.  NEVER.  GAVE.  UP.  This case of persistence was kinda negative, but there are cases in which persistence is a positive trait.

For starters, there is a cute little story that our priest, Fr. Gabriel, shared about perseverance and determination:

A momma duck waddled into a feed store
looking for food for her hungry ducklings.
 “Have any duck feed?” she asked.
 “No, we don’t carry duck feed here,” replied the clerk. 
The momma waddled off and returned the next day.
 “Have any duck feed?”  she inquired.
 “No, we don’t have a great demand for that, so we don’t carry it.” 
She left and returned the next day.  “Have any duck feed?” she asked again.
 “Look, little duckie, if you come back asking for duck feed,
I’ll tape your beak together!”
The momma duck returned again the next day.
 “Have any tape?”
“No,” replied the clerk, confused.
“Then, do you have any duck feed?” asked the momma duck, with a smile.

Persistence.  Perseverance.  Determination.  Sometimes it’s so hard to keep on keepin’ on, isn’t it?  Kids don’t seem to have as much of a problem with it, though.  My middle daughter will spend countless hours filling in every last hole on her Lite Brite.  My son will not stop casting his line until he reels in something – anything.  My youngest insists that she can put on her clothes all by herself and will not stop trying until she’s dressed.

Perseverance in prayer is probably one of the best qualities we could possess.  A priest once told me about a scientific study that looked at two groups of hospitalized patients.  Both groups had similar ailments.  The difference was that one group was being prayed for and the other was not.  The patients didn’t know they were being prayed for.  And, guess what?  Not surprisingly, the group being prayed for got better much quicker than the group without the prayers.  Prayer works and now it’s scientifically proven – woo-hoo!

A little more about determination - the other day I ran across an e-mail that said B.I.B.L.E stood for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”  I thought that was clever and shared it with my middle daughter.  She said, “So, I have to read this whole book before I leave this earth?  Oooh – I better get going.  There’s a lot of words in here.”

Personally, I think that willingness to pray can even be a prayer itself.  We may not have the perfect words or meditations, but I don’t think God minds.  And what about all those “unanswered prayers?”  What if He doesn’t answer our prayer because He wants to give us something greater than what we asked for?  We’ve got to keep on keepin’ on with prayer.

Prayer can be tough when there are distractions and there are so many as a mom, aren’t there?  Sometimes, it’s hard to pray when we feel like the girl in Laura Numeroff’s books (If you give a pig a pancake…If you give a mouse a cookie…).  That poor gal gets so wiped out with all of the shenanigans of that mouse, pig, moose and cat – whew!  Moms are pulled in all directions and have to jump from one thing to the next with ease (well, we try). 

The other day I noticed my daughter’s nails were longer than mine, so I headed to the bathroom to cut them for her.  Then, on the way, I grabbed a few more towels to add to the washing machine.  While I was in the laundry room, I realized I needed a couple more hangers to hang some shirts to dry.  When I went to my closet for the hangers, I saw that I was missing two pairs of shoes.  My daughter told me she hid them in my bathroom drawers.  When I went to hunt for the shoes, I remembered that I was supposed to be cutting my daughter’s fingernails.  Sound familiar?

Distractions – there are so many, aren’t there?  We have to keep pulling ourselves back to prayer.  The simple act of pulling ourselves back (again and again) might just be a prayer too, because we realize the need for it.  Prayer isn’t a “spare wheel” to only be pulled out in times of trouble – it’s really more of a “steering wheel.” 

So, let’s keep on keepin’ on…just like my computer “friend” and Momma Duck.  We can do it – we really can!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sand Dollar on my Windowsill

Did anyone else’s daughter receive a “Baby Alive” from Santa this past Christmas?  Boy, was my five year old excited when she opened that gift!  It was such a joy to see her eyes lit up in wonder and delight.  She had been talking about wanting “the baby that you can feed and change her diapers” for weeks prior to the big day. 

If you haven’t hung out with Baby Alive lately, you’re missing some fun (and…lots of extra work, actually).  Some of the things the baby says are:  “Mommy, let’s play,” “I’m so hungry,”  “Mommy, where are you?” and “I’m really thirsty, Mommy.”  This is strangely similar to what I already hear on any given day (times three).  Hmmm…

She comes with baby peas and baby pears for food, which purposely are green and yellow and look oddly familiar in her diaper to the many pooey diapers I’ve changed over the years.  I guess blueberries wouldn’t have worked out so well, since the food literally goes right through that doll.  Blue poo?  (Why can a mom talk about diaper poo so casually?  Sorry about that…)

And, those diapers that she wets more often than a newborn – those things cost a buck a piece!  I just encourage my daughter to keep them on her baby until we know for sure that she needs changing.  “Mom, there is a huge puddle under my baby.  Can I change her now?” she asks.  “Um…let me squeeze it out one more time – surely there are some dry spots left in that diaper?” I reply.  (Kidding…kinda)  I’ll be buying regular diapers for the baby next time because at least those diapers claim to hold several pounds each (says so on the box!  hee hee) 

This special little baby also says, “I love you, Mommy” and “Mommy, I missed you.”  My daughter just glows when she hears her baby say these things to her…just like I do when my children express the same sentiments to me.

One morning, my daughter explains, “Momma, when I first wake up, I’m allergic to the light.”  I gently remind her that it is sometimes tough being a mommy and daylight isn’t always a welcomed sight if you’ve been up all night with your baby.  She closes her eyes for another long blink and gives me a little morning smile.  (Oh, how I can empathize with that allergy!  Apples don’t fall very far from the tree, do they?)

My daughter also claims that she knows how to make messes, but doesn’t know how to get out of them.  (Touché, little one, touché)  So, nine times out of ten, I’m wiping baby’s face and hiney and changing her diaper before the next feeding.  (I’m talking to Santa about a lower maintenance baby for next year!)

But, then there are those moments – those moments when time stands still and I watch my daughter care for her baby.  She’s so gentle and loving and I see a glimpse of her as a mother one day.  (I try not to ponder too long on that idea or there WILL be tears…MINE!)

Caring for my children (…and Baby Alive), I think of the countless messes that we, as moms, clean up…over and over and over again.  There is a similarity here between our mothering and how our Father cares for us.  He cleans up our messes, too (over and over and over again).  I guess the one big difference is that we can get sooooo tired and fed up with all of our duties on the rough days and…He doesn’t.  What does He do?  To explain just what He does, I’d like to share my all-time favorite inspirational piece:

One night I dreamed that I was walking along the beach with my Lord. 
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. 
In each scene, I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes, there were two sets of footprints and sometimes only one set.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So, I said, “Lord, you promised me that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.  But, I have noticed
that during the most trying periods of my life, there have been only one set of footprints.
Why, when I needed you most, were you not there for me?”

The Lord replied, “My precious child - the times
when you have seen only one set of footprints…
is when I carried you.”

He carries us.  He carries us like a loving father carries his child.  He carries our burdens, our fears and our worries.  He carries us…and I get so much comfort from that thought alone.  I also think He left something besides footprints in the sand while carrying us along that beach.  I think he might have dropped a sand dollar, too.  Have you ever looked closely at one?  I’d like to share a poem someone wrote about these wise little shells:

There's a pretty little legend,
That I would like to tell,
Of the birth and death of Jesus,
Found in this lowly shell.
If you examine closely,
You'll see you find right here,
Four holes from a nail, a fifth one,
From a Spear.
The Easter Lily on one side,
Its center is the star,
That appeared unto the shepherds,
And led them from afar.
The Christmas poinsettia,
Etched on the other side,
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our Happy Christmastide.
Now break the center open,
And here you will release,
The five white doves awaiting,
To spread Good Will and Peace.
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me,
To help us spread his Gospel,
Throughout eternity.

Our Father can be found in the world around us…if we look.  A flower’s beauty can become a part of us and we can give it back to the world in the form of a smile or a loving word.   The song of a bird can become a part of us and we can give it back to the world by laughing more and laughing out loud.

So, when we reach down to pick up a sand dollar that washed ashore, let’s grab a shell as well and toss it into the ocean.  The ripples from that one shell can stir the surface of the water far beyond initial impact.  It might remind us that we, too, can spread His love in ever-widening circles, even beyond our knowledge or anticipation.

On days that I forget what it’s really all about, I look at the sand dollar on my windowsill for a gentle reminder.  Well, I should go – Baby Alive is calling for her Mommy’s Mommy and that’s…well, that’s ME!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Servant's Heart

I just love my dad.  He can always be found crackin’ a joke or helping a neighbor in need.  While I was growing up, a common sight would be my dad working under the hood of a random car or for that matter, working under the entire car with just his feet hangin’ out.  

Sixty-five vehicles have found a home in his garage over the years.  He bought some of the cars to help out friends; some to repair and sell for extra income; and I would assume some just because they were sharp lookin’ hot rods with amazing engines.  I never knew what car Mom would be driving to pick me up from school.  It made for exciting afternoons, no doubt.

Dad’s passion for working on things with wheels has shifted recently – still four wheels, just smaller ones.  The man usually has in his possession at least five lawn mowers at any given time.  The mowers have either been given to him by a frustrated owner or they were headed for their demise on a curb somewhere along his daily walking route.  But, all of them were simply in need of his magic touch. 

Growing up, I was blessed to have a dad that could fix everything - literally.  He had a hard time sleeping at night if something wasn’t in proper working order.  He bought me a used car when I was sixteen and always made sure the oil was changed, the tires were rotated, the windshield wiper fluid was topped off, and the inspections were done on time.

After I got married, it took me awhile to figure out what MY actual car responsibilities were.  Dad had always taken care of my car (well, I did fill up the gas tank – does that count?).  I forgot to fill my honey in on the fact that my dad had done ALL of my car maintenance up until that point.  So, I drove around for eight months with an expired inspection sticker, oil that was certainly not changed every three months and windshield wiper fluid that ran dry on several occasions (Shhh…don’t tell my dad).

My dad is also a very practical guy who likes to label things – lots of things.  Well, almost everything actually.  My parents have a cute little beach house on the coast and they enjoy taking the grandkids down to fish, build sand castles and just relax.  And, my dad has thoroughly enjoyed using his black Sharpie marker at that house in particular.  

“Light” and “fan” are neatly written above the pull strings used to turn on either one on the kitchen light/fan combo.  “Push hard” is written on the back door.  “Salt” and “pepper” are carefully written on the shakers and all of the food items in the fridge and freezer are properly labeled with the date that they were opened.

I thought the whole labeling thing was a tad bit tacky at first.  But, then when my husband and I moved into our first home, I pulled the light and fan strings randomly, turned the wall switch off and on back and forth – only to have the fan blowing full speed ahead and still no light on.  Ugh.  If you want to know the truth, the black Sharpie idea is really growing on me.  It just makes life easier – no guesswork needed.

Of course, labeling can have a negative connotation if we “label” others or judge a book by its cover.  If we “label,” then we neglect to see what’s underneath someone’s exterior.  What would we discover if we look beyond that protective armor?  How lucky we are that God doesn’t make us walk around with black marker across our forehead.  On certain days, it sure would be tough to wear the words that describe who we truly are - the mistakes we’ve made, along with our weaknesses and shortcomings.  He is merciful and I am thankful for that.

But, labeling can have a positive slant if it’s a label that we WANT to work toward HAVING or BECOMING.  What if we labeled our heart as a “servant’s heart?”  (Did she say SERVANT?!  What?!)  That’s a harsh word to swallow in this what’s-in-it-for-me-world that we sometimes live in.  We could automatically assume a “servant” would simply be the victim of a negative “do this-do that-rub my feet-rub my back” mentality.  However, we would miss the point entirely if that was our only thought of the word, servant.  (Hey, I like a foot massage just as much as the next gal, don’t get me wrong!  Let me explain...)

What if we take Roy Lessin’s inspirational words to heart (pun intended) in this piece about God’s Kingdom and the heart of a servant?

The highest place is found as we take the lowly place.
Strength is found as we discover our weakness.
Fullness comes as we empty ourselves.
Life is gained as we lay it down for love’s sake.
Riches are gained as we give them away.
Greatness comes as we carry a towel and washbasin
 into every circumstance and relationship in life.

When I called my dad a few days ago to wish him a happy third anniversary, he knew what for.  That day marked three years since he had stents placed in his heart, enabling him to continue to serve.  Thank you, Lord.

Being a veteran himself, my dad has a passion for helping other veterans – those who have served for our great country.  Each month, he drives veterans who need medical attention to a hospital almost three hours away.  A servant’s heart.  My mom helps women in crisis pregnancies and prays relentlessly for the unborn.  A servant’s heart.  My aunt cares for her special needs son and grandson.  A servant’s heart.  A good friend is going on a mission trip to Mexico this summer to help in any way she can.  A servant’s heart.  My mother-in-law always has a hot meal waiting on the table for her husband.  A servant’s heart.  My father-in-law cares for his cattle with the same approach as the Good Shepherd.  A servant’s heart.

A servant’s heart can also be found in my husband for many reasons.  But, this is just one example.  We are forever running out of groceries in our home.  Oftentimes, my husband will call on his way home from work and offer to pick up a few grocery items for our family.  An important detail in this scenario is that my husband wears the same red shirt and khaki pants that the HEB employees wear.  Sooo…when the shoppers ask him for the bazillionth time where an item is located, he directs them with a smile (even the ladies asking for the feminine hygiene stuff…)  A servant’s heart.

Of course, our mindset truly makes a difference in how we serve.  “Oh, they owe me BIG time for this!” or “I hope they realize all I’ve done for them!” are two phrases that might indicate we’ll need a bit more work on our servant’s heart.  Service that is rooted in love helps to build a servant’s heart.

 “A Servant’s Heart?”  Hmmm – I like that label.  Just like the bleeding heart flower, which opens up to give a drop of “blood,” maybe we can open up and give too?  Let’s grab a Sharpie, towel and washbasin and make a difference in someone’s life today.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dance Like...Someone's Watchin'

About two weeks ago, I tried to think of an easy way to “work in a work-out,” as they say.  I was getting bored on the elliptical and the treadmill just got me nowhere in a hurry – you know, you walk a few miles and are still in the same stinkin’ spot you started!  (hee hee)  A thought popped into my head, “Why don’t you just…dance?”

Dance!  Yes, now that sounds fun.  While I’d love to grab the hubby and head to a dance hall five nights a week, I didn’t think it would be ever so practical with our three kiddos.  So, my second best idea was to try “Just Dance 2,” the new Wii game that my son and daughter recently bought with some of Nanny’s report card money.

After all, I had been intrigued by all of the living room laughter while they boogied along for the last few weeks.  So, when the older two were at school and the little one still slumbered, I slid that disc in and stretched out the ole limbs.  “Hmmm…now, what song shall I pick first?” I eagerly mumbled, as I rubbed my palms together (like I was picking out a decadent chocolate dessert or something!  Pu-leez!) 

Before I could choose my debut song, it directed me to first pick a name for my new dancin’ self – Sunny, Baby, Funky, Jumpy, Happy, Jazzy, Crazy or Noisy.  I thought, “What?!  Am I picking my Smurf name or voting for Snow White’s eighth little dwarf?!”  Anyway, I grabbed Sunny for my new alias and then I picked my program.  I thought “Tough” sounded, well…tough, so I picked that one.

Now it was time to finally choose a song and start earning some sweat points!  I selected “Walk like an Egyptian” because that is the tune my 2 year old had been humming and strutting around to for the last month.  I was a little reserved in my dancing at first, you know, figuring out the dance moves and such.  BUT, by the third song, I was a Dancin’ Queen and was soooo glad that no one was watching.

Then, as my sweat points were climbing, I had a creepy thought of, “Oh, gosh, WHAT IF there WAS someone watching on the other side of this Wii?  WHAT IF there is some little camera thing built into this crazy game that allows folks in an office somewhere to watch me groove and laugh their tails off?”  So, I briefly modified my rock star dance moves just a tad as I pondered that thought.  “Nah,” and I just kept boogin’ along with my wild performance.

After my “show,” I started to think about how we dance through life.  There are so many different types of dances, each one unique – like each of us.  Salsa, Mambo, Tango, Jazz, Folk, Polka, Waltz, Hip-Hop, Two-Step, Ballet and…Belly Dancing come to mind.  (And, after having three big ole babies, I have NO idea why belly dancing even came to my mind.  No.  Idea.  Moving on…)

Some people have been blessed to find true inner peace as they waltz through life, knowing where to turn through all the ups and downs.  Some beautifully tango through as they synchronize their lives with His plan.  Some remember to slow it down SOME of the time as they “quick, quick, slow” through a two-step kind of life.  Many embrace the salsa, enjoying the “break” step that allows a change in direction, if needed.  And, some just do a version of the mambo and forget to take any “breaks” at all.

However we choose to dance is up to us.  But, the time to live is now; the time to be happy is now; the time to “dance” is now.  We can say that we’ll dance when we finish school…or go back to school; when we have kids…or when they leave home; when we starting working…or when we retire; when we buy a new car or home…or when we pay them off; when we gain ten pounds…or when we lose them; when it’s Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall.  The list of “I’ll be happy when…” goes on and on.  There is no better time than now…to dance.

And, it might be wise to dance like someone’s watchin’, because unlike my Wii game fear, people really are.  Important people…like our children.  Our children watch how we react to the lunch order that took forever and the slowest check-out line in the west and the hasty driver that almost hit us…and so on.

There is also a story I’d like to share about watching others:

A young couple bought their first home in a new neighborhood.  The next morning, while eating breakfast, the young wife saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside and said to her husband, “That laundry isn’t very clean.  She doesn’t know how to wash correctly.  Perhaps she needs better laundry soap?”

Her husband looked out the window with her, but remained silent.

Each time the neighbor would hang her wash to dry,
 the young woman would make the same comments.

About a month later, the woman was very surprised to see nice, clean clothes on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she has finally learned to wash correctly.
 I wonder who taught her?”

The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And, so it is as we dance through life.  When we watch others, it all depends on the purity of the window through which we look.  Wow.  What a great reminder.

My family loves those commercials where one person does something nice and then passes it on by doing something kind for someone else, etc.  What a wonderful way to dance.  If consideration can be so contagious, we can assume that nastiness can be as well. 

As for me, I will continue to Wii dance like no one’s watchin’ (um..please just call before you come to my door).  But, as I sway through my day and tap to the rhythm of this life, I will try to remember to dance like someone’s watchin’.  I’ll ask the Master Choreographer for help with my daily “routine.”  Less IS more – less of me and more of Him.  Dancing solo is fun for just so long.  A dance that includes the Lord can be so much more than we ever imagined.  Happy Dancing!