Swing your hips and trust His lead

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The room was dimly lit and Latino music beckoned us to line-up in the middle of the room. Colorful spotlights played peek-a-boo from somewhere above, lighting up the hardwood floor. It was a salsa club in Victoria and my friend I went with that night told me that the hour of lessons prior to freestyle dance was a good idea. I had done some Irish dancing and dance lessons as a child, but nothing prepared me for the way I was told to move my hips. Honey, mine don’t do that!

The dance instructor was a lean gentleman, probably in his late 40’s, and nationally known for his years of choreography expertise. All ten of us stood in a nervous straight line as the clock struck 9pm. We faced the instructor with a “deer in the headlights look”; hoping for some gold nuggets that would make us Latino dancing gurus.

As the hour went by my confidence grew. And so did my hip-swing width; a simple four-step count was all it really was. We practiced solo and shared partners, and before I knew it, the hour was over.

Ok, now what? Memories of junior high dances flashed through my mind. You know the ones; where the girls sat on one side giggling and waiting, while the guys stood on the other, scoping the floor. Before I could even find my seat on the sidelines the famed instructor grabbed my hand and asked if I would dance with him. I tried to find my friend in the crowd, looking for assurance. The next few minutes were pure magic. He knew how to lead and knew what he was doing. He kept telling me to stop looking at my feet and let him lead. The more I listened and trusted, the better our dance was.

We danced a couple dances that night and my friend oooo-ed and awed that I was asked by the instructor to dance. “He obviously thought you were good!”

My confidence soared.

But it was all because I had a good leader. HE made me look good, and only then when I let him lead the dance.

As I walked my dog tonight I was reminded of that night in Victoria. When the dance felt so scary and exciting. And how free it felt when I trusted the instructor who knew what he was doing to get us through the dance.

It reminds me of my relationship with the Lord today. How often I can try to look at my feet and figure it out on my own. Assess my path and then proceed to lean on my own strength, abilities, skill and knowledge. It’s like He tells me, “Hey, follow my lead and I’ll make the dance magical.”

Can anyone relate? God is the only one who makes us look good, and only when we follow His lead and allow Him to show us the steps to our own dance that God has choreographed for each of us.

Yes, I’m relating my relationship with God to salsa dancing. Tonight, it seems appropriate.

Confidence grows when we trust and let the One who knows what He’s doing take the lead!

P.S… Please don’t laugh at the photos. Circa 2007 and I obviously needed to loosen up still! But hey, I had fun!! Ok, laugh if you will 😉

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Excuse me, I’m in my way

It was a dark night in Rome as we meandered in and out of leather and souvenir shops, snapping photos as we went along. My style of holidaying in Europe was to take in as much as our feet would allow us – because who knew when I’d be back in Rome!? At this point in the evening, my friend and I needed to warm up.

The tiny clothing store we entered was narrow, with furs and sweaters lining the walls, and a table of goodies in the middle. Harsh fluorescent lighting greeted us, along with an Italian woman smiling, ‘Ciao’.  I likely fumbled something in response, often confusing my Italian, French and Spanish.

As I walked to the back of the store, I excused myself around someone. They seemed insistent on moving the same direction as me. After two seconds of frustration, I looked up only to realize I was excusing myself. The back of the store had a mirror and I had stumbled upon it in a very touristy fashion.  I looked around to make sure no one saw my embarrassing dance steps, and carried on shopping.

How many times do we get in our own way? How many times do we blame our roadblock or lack of progress, in any area, on someone or something else?

You know, we can only blame our weaknesses, failures, shortcomings and mistakes on someone else for so long – and then we have to ‘man-up’ or ‘woman-up’ and realize that the path our lives takes is in our own hands. We have choices.

I have a lot of goals in the next little while, and my ‘creative list’ seems to keep growing. I can’t show it to you …yet.

But the only ‘dancing’ I want to do is dancing out of my own way and see some greater things happen in the life I’ve been given. I need to keep looking up and make sure I’m not in my own way 😉

For today, be blessed. Look up. Give up excuses. And dance your way to greater things.

~Lani

 

Love as a tradition

I ponder love. I’m a hope-full romantic and those who know me, know that well 🙂


My Grandparents are, or were, two people whom I watched a lot growing up. From family potlucks to overnight stays in their guest room with my cousin or summer services with church, they have set in my mind a great memory.

Even at my Grandpa’s bedside in the hospital he still longed for Grandma and called her his darling wife. I remember breathing a happy sigh and praying “Lord, that is what I want.”  They enjoyed 60 years of marriage together on a prairie farm. 7 kids and several grandkids and greats later, my Grandma is still a gorgeous woman at 82.

They would stop by Tuesday nights after they had kicked it up on the dance floor. Tuesday’s Tradition. I went to these “Tuesday dances” once. Square dancing and waltzes, trading partners and laughing. Love. It abounded.

Grandma taught me and my 6’5 grad escort to dance before the daunting “grad night dance”. I remember doing the fox trot in our kitchen. Which is probably why now, every Christmas, my Mom and I polka in the kitchen. This love, it’s tradition.

Or I remember the way Grandma would let my cousin and I play store, dress up or make us burnt cheese for a bedtime snack. Simple. Yet great memories.

Simple love can make the best memories.  Yet can become so complicated.

For Valentines, my boyfriend and I, after our lovely dinner, wandered downtown with white roses and coffee cards to hand out to anyone we ran into that we though needed a smile. We thought ‘why not share love on the day that is internationally set apart to do so?’ So we’d walk up to people and say “Happy Valentines, would you like a rose/coffee card?” Not only were we smiling from ear to ear, but I’m guessing some woman smiled when she went to bed that night as she stared at the single white rose. Perhaps she never gets flowers. Love. Simple. Why not make that a tradition?

Below is a video of a couple I admire for their photography. They travel the world and do presentations and workshops and make memories of simple love.

Probably the best tradition we can make is to share what God really is, and that is, love.