Second Ingredient

Posted on January 27, 2011 by Jeff

This is part 2 of my last blog.  You should read part one first.  I broke it up into two blogs because when you blog infrequently, why use up all your material in one blog when you can stretch in to two blogs?  Why have one hour of American idol, when you can stretch it into four?  I guess with that comparison, I’ve now labeled my own blog as annoying and overrated.  I’ve become the Justin Bieber of blogs.

Anyway.  I’m talking about the two ingredients that made last week a good week.  The first was my trip to Lake Geneva Bible camp to help a friend with some music (last blog).

The second ingredient for a good week was this:  My wife and I signed up for a swing dance class that began last Thursday night.  This falls into the category of “things we’ve said we should do but haven’t yet”.  We’ve been talking about it for a couple years and we decided to do it.  At some point, you have to take a good long look at your “things we’ve said we should do but haven’t yet” list.  If it’s getting to be a long list, you should either start a new list, or get to it.  We’re getting to it.  Backpacking through Europe and finishing the basement seem like bigger projects, so we started with Swing Dance Classes.  And judging from the comments we’ve gotten from people, dance lessons are an a few people’s “Things we’ve said we should do” lists.

Tropical Ballroom in Woodbury is where we go.  We’ve hired them for a couple church functions.  If you go my church and you remember LAST year’s volunteer appreciation night with the country music, mechanical bull and line dancing lessons… the nice-old-folks that taught the line dancing are the parents of the couple who run Tropical Ballroom (  We’re taking a four-week class on Swing Dance Basics.

So we made a night of it, dropped the kids at Grandma’s place, stopped at the MOA Apple Store to buy Kristie a new laptop (actually, that’s the third ingredient to a great week, new Apple products) got to Woodbury early enough to have dinner together at Keys Café and Bakery and then it was dancing time.

Now, I’ve heard a few comments from people saying things like: “Wow, Jeff, time to check your manhood” (I’m not sure what that means, or how you check it, but count me out)  or “Wow, Kristie, how did you get your husband to agree to that??”.  And it must be said that I was more motivated for the dance class than Kristie at times.  And I checked my manhood and it’s still there.

Here now are the reasons why the swing dancing class was great:

First.  I’ll never pass on an opportunity to put my hands on my wife’s body and move around a bit.

Second.  I’ve single handedly been the cause of some really bad wedding reception dance moves in the past.  Some receptions of which the bride and groom are now divorced.  I don’t like living with the lingering thought that perhaps it was my moves….. I don’t even like to talk about it.  Simply put, it never hurts to learn to dance.  On a larger note… it never hurts to learn anything.  Unless you’re learning to swallow swords.

Third.  It’s a fun way to get some exercise.  And with the quality time spent together, that opens doors to other fun ways to exercise.

Finally.  And here’s the big reason.  This was Kristie and I saying to the world… “Hey world, this is our life and we’re going to live it.”  We can tend to put all our time into kid stuff, or church stuff, or house stuff and have very little stuff left for us.  And stuff with Kristie should be at the top of the priority list.  So the reason I was adamant about doing this class was because I was determined to have something Krisite and I could go out and do together that had nothing to do with church and nothing to do with our kids.  Sorry church and kids… get in line.

Throughout the night we had great conversation, much of it around the topic for Kristie’s next writing/speaking project.  And her main topic summed up what I’m trying to convey in this blog…

…It’s your life.  It’s not happening to you, you are living it.  Let me explain.  Many of us live life in ‘reaction mode’.  We feel that our lives are happening to us and we are out of control and we just try to make it through, hoping for a miraculous change of circumstance. The truth is that it’s up to us to live.  If, for whatever reason, your life is not what you expected or wished for… it’s up to you to change it.

Now, in connection to part 1 of this blog… there are circumstances that are beyond out control.  Disabilites, tragedies, sickenss, loss, death.  There are people that face an entirely different level of obstacle to ‘living their life’ than I.  I’m not naïve to that fact.  But here’s the bigger point:  If there are circumstances that are beyond our control, than we must do our best to get on with it.  Give it to God and then let it go.  Our job on earth is to live to serve God and serve others regardless of our life circumstance.  I’ve found that the things that are beyond our control are the things we spend the most time trying to control.

This was portrayed to me so brilliantly by my friend Scott Abbott and the other wonderful people at Special Touch Ministry Camp.  Their life circumstances are beyond their control.  They’ve given them to God and now they’re getting on with it.  They are living their life, it’s not happening to them.

So if you feel like your life is happening to you rather than you living it.  Change it.  If there are circumstances that are beyond your control that you can’t change, realize that it’s beyond your ability to control and stop trying to control it.  Get on with living.  If you have a long list of “things we’ve said we should do”, get off your butt and get on with it.

Your life is “happening to you.”  You are living it.  So live it.

Yes this may be too deep of a thought to have as a result of a swing dance class.

Mostly I wanted another reason to put my hands on my wife’s body and move around a bit.