Part of my year of Dance was the idea of being spontaneous, in the moment, fully present. It seems like a fleeting thing, as a mom, to fully live in. this. exact. moment. There are so many thoughts always running through my head. What’s for supper? Who needs to do homework? Where is that missing birth certificate? Why did I say that to so-and-so yesterday? What did the teacher think when I forgot the T-shirt form?

It’s so much easier to rehash the past or worry about the future.

I had a moment of just being here today. My four-year-old asked me to pick her up and dance with her around the kitchen. I was making a grocery list and we needed to keep moving so we could get to the store and to pick up her siblings from school on time. I could have said no.

But, I didn’t. I took the time to be here, and it was well worth my time.




5 minute fridayThis post is part of Five Minute Friday, a writing exercise from Lisa-Jo Baker. She posts a writing prompt each Friday and we write for five minutes, and five minutes only. 


My Year of Dance

There was significantly less dancing in 2012 than I anticipated.

DanceThe word Dance pretty much climbed onto my lap and demanded I pick it as my word, but then it seemed to retreat and disappear without a trace. It was everywhere I looked at the end of 2011: the impromptu classroom dance party, a wedding reception dance, a trip to see the Nutcracker with my girls, mom and sister. I even looked at my previous words and how they created a glaring equation … Discipline + Balance + Grace = Dance.

My initial thought about the word dance was to feel more free to act and live in the moment. To spend less time thinking about what’s next or what is behind, but to simply enjoy each moment as it comes.

It was the Nutcracker performance that got me thinking of another element of dance. There were darling little girls dancing their hearts out, clearly

enjoying every moment of being on the stage. And there were the “main” ballerinas, who had obviously spent most of their lives training for their roles. Every movement was precise and perfect, as near as I could tell. They had less enthusiasm than the little girls, but a more refined gracefulness and beauty.

The little girls and the professional ballerinas all spent many hours preparing and practicing for the performance. Dance is not solely the spontaneous, “in the moment” movement I initially imagined. That is only one part of it. There is another part that requires discipline and practice and time to learn new skills.

Maybe I need more time to prepare for dancing. As with most years I have chosen a word, insights into the word have come in spurts. I’m still thinking about all the words I’ve used in the past. It seems most of them are onions with many layers.

So, dance is not over. Maybe I need to chase it around or invite it to come play. There is a new word for 2013. Hopefully it gets along with my old words, because they all seem to be hanging around.


One Word 2012

I was standing in our dining room, sorting papers on the table and thinking about my year of grace. I wonder what my word for 2012 should be?

And, BAM! It was there. A word popped into my head, seemingly out of nowhere.

Pffft. I can’t pick that word, I thought, almost laughing out loud. What?! Where did this come from? It’s just not fitting for me and my I’ll-stay-behind-the-scenes-please personality. 

My previous words of discipline, balance and grace were good, responsible, safe words. This one seemed risky.

Maybe my fear of the word is the very reason I should pick it. I argued with myself. (Or was I arguing with the word, or was it God? Did this word come from Him?) It’s only October, so I can still change my mind if the word doesn’t fit come January.

So, I made an agreement with the word, or the giver of the word (whoever that was), that maybe, just maybe, I would find time to entertain her in 2012. I whispered, barely letting myself hear, that my word might be … (is anyone looking?) … DANCE.

Just days after my dining room agreement, I helped at a party in my son’s second grade classroom. I was to help the head room mom at the candy walk station. Similar to the cake walk game, kids walked on numbers until the music stopped, and we played until everyone got one candy bar. The first group of kids had all received their candy and there was time before they moved to the next station, so the head room mom had an idea. “I’ll just keep playing the music and everybody can dance,” she happily proclaimed.

And dance they did. All of the kids, in all three groups that rotated through our station, freely moved, jumped and danced around the front of the classroom. The head room mom jumped right in, too, showing off crazy moves like the sprinkler and lawnmower. I clutched my bucket filled with numbers for the game and shuffled my feet back and forth, like a seventh grade boy at a junior high dance. How come I didn’t get assigned to the cookie making station? Or the Bingo game? I wondered. Is this some sort of joke?

My body wasn’t moving much, but loud thoughts were pounding in my head. Thoughts of fear and freedom and this strange longing to be more like the kids spinning around in front of me. Ok, ok! I thought. Maybe I do need this word. 

I haven’t signed up for a dance class or participated in a flash mob in a mall. Last year, I learned to run, and in doing so, learned much more about living life than the actual act of running. I suspect learning to dance will be similar. Yesterday, Emily Freeman wrote about being an artist. “Art isn’t so much the things we do but the way in which we do them,” she said.

It isn’t so much the way I dance, but the way in which I live. A life with a little less fear and a little more freedom to move with the music. Or at least that’s what I think at the beginning of the year. Maybe when December rolls around I’ll have to throw a dance party. 😉 (And I can’t believe I just wrote that in public. It will certainly be an interesting year!)

So, here we go, 2012! Let’s DANCE!


I have not been very good at writing about my “word” for the year for the past three years, because I haven’t been very consistent at writing. But, I highly recommend the exercise of choosing a word for the year, even if you never write about it.

If you are interested in picking a word, or you already have and wonder what to do next, I suggest checking out these places:

Mandy at Messy Canvas had a great post called What Do I do With My Word?

One Word 365 is a community of One Worders (is that a word?) and a place to share your word. (I’ll be linking this post over there, too.)

My Flip Flap

My brother and sister-in-law recently visited from their current home in China, and they came bearing gifts. Meet my new Flip Flap:

This little solar-powered flower dances back-and-forth in my kitchen window. I tried putting it on my car dash, as is the Chinese custom, but it just rolled around as I turned corners. After hearing stories of Chinese drivers, I’m curious how they keep theirs in place?

Anyway, sometimes it scares me for a second, as I see it moving out of the corner of my eye and wonder what’s in my kitchen. But, mostly I’ve been surprised at the inspiration this little plastic flower has provided.

It’s always dancing.

Even on overcast days, it captures enough light to have the energy to dance.

I don’t think I live that way. I tend to have a bad day and use it as an excuse to be grouchy or lazy or just anti-social.

The truth is I am alive!

I have a God who loves me no matter what! (Romans 8:28-29)

I have an amazing husband, awesome kids and a fabulous family!

I am blessed!

I could go on, but you get the idea. When I focus on the blessings, I am thankful and can rejoice. It just takes a little bit of light to make my flower dance, why don’t I focus on The Light and take some time to dance before Him? (Psalm 27:1; 2 Corinthians 4)

Now, my dancing flower does not dance in complete darkness, and I’m not here to suggest we can always just be happy. There are times in life when it’s very dark. I don’t believe God wants a mechanical response that isn’t heartfelt. He is OK when we are not — just read some of Psalms — we are supposed to grieve. If you are dealing with a tragic situation, this dancing flower analogy is not for you.

But, if you are like me, and sometimes focus on little frustrations instead of huge blessings, remember my Flip Flap.

Who knew I could learn so much from a piece of plastic?