Dance love

Ballet shoes of a dance instructor, through her childhood.

I recently attended an open house at a dance academy and saw these shoes hanging on the wall. They are shoes of the studio owner and instructor as a reminder to the young dancers to learn, practice and persevere. The shoes reflect years of hard work and labor to be the best one can be – and enjoy the dance. So, below is a simple little poem I attempted to honor instructors and students for their dedication.

The dance is within, from child to aged

Each awaits the moment, to learn and dance. 

When one gets the dream and feels the move.

The mind triggers the thought, but still –

Feet flow without rhythm, striving to become smooth.

Years of dedication and work,

To train the feet the way they should go.

The placement, each muscle learns to conform.

Legs form into the emboîté,

Alternate legs as they are bent,

Or escape with an echappé.

Frappé is quick and precise,

Plié from two into one fondu.

Terms, movements rhythm, grace

Require countless time to improve.

Commitment of years, learn to lead,

Guiding youth steps along the way.

Flowing with grace, beauty,

Standing on tips, learn not to sway.

From pointe on toes – encounter relevé.

Grace, beauty and form now belong,

Countless work becomes perfect, never ending for most.

Love shows through as you dance along.

Grasp every move, on your feet become steady,

Shoes tell the tale, of struggle and growth,

It’s not easy, but dance when you’re ready.

Never give up – achieve the most.

Dance with Love!

Blessings along the Way!


Eyes of youth

Become – Drawing from Shelby

From baby to child,

From child to teen;

Oh how they grow;

They never stop wondering

Through their eyes so keen.

What is in the eyes of youth?

It’s Okay – Drawing from Shelby

It’s beauty, it’s hope, it’s love.

How we shape them, depends on us;

Or, cause them to withdraw and remove,

We may not know.

Dance – Drawing by Shelby

Shelby the youthful one – long, flowing hair,

With love, energy and blessing from above;

She draws, creates, learning to become,

Young woman of beauty, aspirations, love.

Free to be Me – Drawing by Shelby

We dream for them, encourage them, guide them,

Not just let them wonder of life,

They form and glow, like a shining gem.

We do what we can, to slow the strife.

Vision Beyond – Drawing by Shelby

We behold little things they do,

Praising, lifting spirits high,

You can do it, we know you can,

What a lovely drawing, through mind’s eye.


Blessings along the Way!


Dance with Joy!

Kylie, Kinley, Shelby (3)
My granddaughters are a blessing and provide so much joy!

Ballet main characters dance
Main characters of the ballet theme.

I think most end-of-year spring dance recitals in the U.S. are finishing up so I wanted to take the liberty to highlight a couple that I’ve had the privilege of attending – particularly since family was involved.

Kylie dance 15 black and white

A couple of definitions of dance on Google are “move  rythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps” and “move in a quick and live way”.  One other is “perform (a particular dance or a role in a ballet).”

Kylie dance 13
Oldest granddaughter

To me, ballet is a beautiful form of dance that provides inspiration with a feeling of appreciation and peace to the beholder, and is an outward expression of inward joy.

I didn’t realize this significance until our daughter began dance many moons ago at the age of five through her teens. Below are her photos taken years ago and the rest of the photos highlight wonderful, loving granddaughters.

Melissa dance 6Melissa dance 7

Melissa dance 4Melissa dance 3

Melissa danceMelissa dance 5

Melissa dance 2

I wish we had a good camera years ago to capture our daughter’s various dances.

Regardless, we have the memories and joy in our hearts.










Kinley dance 5
Youngest granddaughter

Now we have the joy of being involved with our grandchildren.  I just sit back and absorb their progress, expression and beauty.

Shelby dance 3
Middle granddaughter (Son’s daughter)

This too brings me joy.

Do you have similar experiences where you can see the grace and beauty being displayed?

How are dance presentations conducted in other countries.  Maybe they are called something other than recitals.

kylie with studentsKinley dance 1Shelby dance 7Shelby dance 1



Kylie dance 13

Kylie dance 9Kylie dance 14Kinley dance 5



Kinley dance 3

Kylie Dance 2

Kylie Dance 3


Shelby dance 6Shelby dance 5Shelby dance 4Kylie dance 6Kinley dance 7Kylie and Kinley Tap 1Shelby dance 2

Kinley dance 2

Kylie and Kinley Tap 2

Kylie dance 16
Relax and prepare during rehearsal – results in an exhaustive day for these dedicated dancers.

Kylie dance 10

Kylie dance 4

May we carry the joy within us and let it flow outward!

Love and Joy,


Empowered Women

Photo of Mom Gray's painting
Wondering Woman by Bernice Gray

I must admit I wasn’t very familiar with the 2018 International Women’s Day for March 8 so I had to check it out a little further.  I initially heard about it on the news the very day it was beginning but didn’t think much of it.

According to the intent for the emphasis is to have collective action and shared ownership to move forward gender parity so there would not be such divides among us around the world.  “Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

In my opinion, progress has to be an ongoing initiative and effort by all – both women and men to achieve gender parity.  Do you agree?

As I pondered the morning news about the day’s emphasis, it must have struck a nerve to trigger my brain – or maybe it was a brain wave (however you want to describe it).

Occasionally during the day the thought entered my mind about how important women are in our world and I thought about the women who influenced my life.

Women, you are appreciated more than you may realize! I know there are so many in today’s society, around the globe, who abuse and mistreat even the lovely name of “woman.”  I’m sorry for that as you are more than deserving of kindness and love as well as respect.  I get it.  In fact, where would I be without a loving and caring mother who taught me the right principles of life and God’s Love, showing my why I need to honor God’s special creation.

While my dad was away trying to find a steady job my mother would take a job to help us survive.  The job I briefly recall is when she worked at a garment factory.  She would catch a ride with others before daylight and would arrive home late in the afternoon.

Mom would come home tired but ALWAYS took the time to ask us about how things went during the day and spend quality time with us.  She walked us a considerable distance to be involved in local sports.  She never complained.  By the way I’m sure thankful for grandparents too as they helped shape our lives during the day when Mom was away.

I remember at times when we would be hungry and there was limited food to eat.  All of a sudden my mother was not hungry.  I understand it now – that she was indeed hungry but she happened to lose her appetite so we would eat.  Wow! What unselfishness and reflection of love.

You see, my mother sacrificed more than I’ll never know.  I can only reflect on just a short piece about how significant she was in my life and that of my siblings. Mom maybe wouldn’t be considered a professional in today’s society but believe me – she was professional in every sense of the word.  Where would I be without her?  She is now passed into eternal peace and rest but her influence remains.

I’m sure Mom could have benefited from some of the work protections and equal pay we have today, even though we still need change.  Our whole family would have benefited.  I’m thankful we have seen many positive changes over the years.

In my eyes women and men ARE equal as God created us.  The laws and workplace policies and procedures need to continue changing to ensure these equalities in every nation around the world.  Why wouldn’t they?

In fact, God Himself is not a respecter of persons and loves us all equally.  He empowers us equally and wants the best from us equally.  Unfortunately, history doesn’t reflect these equalities.  Even societal norms didn’t favor women to the extent they should have.  We need to continue improving  to ensure the gifts and talents of women are used effectively and responsibly.

Did history record successful women at all? Sure but I wonder how many accomplishments were never recorded.

If you would indulge me just a couple more minutes, there is an historical account of a woman who proved herself among a community and gained the respect as a professional – against many obstacles.

Have you heard of Lydia  – the seller of purple? (By the way, the 2018 International Women’s Day color was purple as mentioned on Fortune.Com – )

According to Mary Fairchild at ( Lydia in the Bible was one of thousands of minor characters mentioned in scripture, but after 2,000 years, she is still remembered for her contribution to early Christianity. “Her story is told in the book of Acts. Although the information on her is sketchy, Bible scholars have concluded she was an exceptional person in the ancient world.”

“Luke, the author of Acts, called Lydia a seller of purple goods. She was originally from the city of Thyatira, in the Roman province of Asia, across the Aegean Sea from Philippi. One of the trade guilds in Thyatira made expensive purple dye, probably from the roots of the madder plant.”

Lydia was influential with her business in a town that was heavily involved in international trade.  She recognized the importance of being a professional in business as well as community involvement.  She no doubt earned the respect of the community.

It is believed Lydia was wealthy because she insisted the Apostle Paul and his companions stay at her home.  You don’t see this very much in the historical records.  It appears she contributed money or supplies for Paul’s further missionary work along the Roman highway.  It is likely she influenced thousands of travelers as well during the time she was at this location.

According to Fairchild, “Lydia ran a successful business selling a luxury product: purple cloth. This was a unique achievement for a woman during the male-dominated Roman empire. More importantly, though, she believed in Jesus Christ as Savior, was baptized and had her entire household baptized too. When she took Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke into her house, she created one of the first home churches in Europe.”

Lydia no doubt was a strong and successful businesswoman who was well respected by her community and succeeded in a society mostly dominated by males.

Are there Lydias in our society today?  You bet!  I’m confident they exist in every facet of life and place of business and employment. We need to recognize them.

Pathway Ahead by Bernice Gray

Do we need to protect and further the cause of the Lydias?  Absolutely.  I have seen positive changes over the years and while people may not agree with every motive and method to further women’s advancement today, they are nonetheless equal and need the equal parity in all walks of life.

Recognizing this need and keeping the vision and focus before us will make significant improvements toward true equality being a reality.  The path may seem narrow and uphill ahead but the journey must continue.


Amy’s Story – involvement with her children for sports activities

Amy’s Story – involvement with her children for sports activities

The following are questions asked about a mother’s influence for children’s sports along with Amy’s thoughts:



1. How influential do you feel you have been in teaching and encouraging your son (child) to play sports?

I feel blessed first and foremost that God in His mighty power would entrust to me a son, so whatever I get to teach him, whether it be sports, planting a garden or writing his name, I am right then at that very moment blessed and know that I am an important influence to him!

2. What did you do to encourage him to play sports?

Always talked positive about sports and make them out to be very fun and exciting

3.  What were some of your son’s fears about trying sports?

He did not know really how to do it at first, bigger kids!

4. What were some of your fears of your son trying to play sports?

Rejection by others, his feelings being hurt!

5. How did you encourage your son?

That it doesn’t really matter how good you play – it is you heart motive and attitude behind sports and anything you do in life!

6. Did you teach him to pitch and bat a baseball, throw a football, dribble a basketball, roll a bowling ball, run track or aspects of numerous other sports?

Well!!! After my husband teaches him those things I would just continue encouraging them and working with him and playing with him!

7. What were some key pointers that he learned from you?

Keep trying!!! When you feel you are getting a bad attitude from anger caused by not being able to perform as you want to, PRAY and ask God to help you!!

8. How far did your son progress playing sports? Little League or Pop Warner?  High School?  College?  Professional?

9. If your son would thank you for your efforts to help and encourage him to play sports, what do you think he would say?

Thank you because I had fun and you did not put to much pressure to perform like everyone else; but you let me be myself and play like myself and more than anything you always found a way to honor God in every sport I played!

10. What do you consider was the most important thing you taught your son to help him play sports?

Just remember who gave you the ability to play this sport and praise Him for it!

11. What do you consider as the most important life lesson your son learned from you?

To Glorify God in ALL that we do! Be Honest!

12. What would you tell your grandson about how your son played the game?

To glorify the One who gave him the ability to play, very good and he had fun doing it!

13. If you had the opportunity to do something over, what would you do?

Lots of things!!!

14. How rewarding was your effort to teach your son about sports?

It has been so far a tremendous privilege given by my Lord to watch my son play basketball!


Mother’s Influence in Her Children’s Sports

Mother’s Influence in Her Children’s Sports

Mothers make a significant sacrifice and contribution to teach their children how to play sports, or at least encourage them. 

This is an effort to recognize some of these contributions.   

I recall the special efforts, interest and encouragement by Audrey Tittle, my mother, Mom's Picture-oval as she struggled to work and still took an active interest in my brother and me, encouraging us to go to practice and “anything worth doing is worth doing it right.”  She would take the time to listen to us talk about our experiences.  



Pg 162

Bernice Gray, my mother-in-law, took an active part to teach our son about baseball: catch, pitch and bat.  

1983 (2)

Linda,  my wife, was always an encouragement to our son and also our grandchildren to encourage them in sports and trying new activities. We wanted to expose our son to at least try out with T-ball when he was five-years-old.  He would come home and tell his mother he didn’t want to play.  She would encourage him to at least keep trying and if he didn’t like it after the first season then he wouldn’t have to continue.

1998 (1)Our son played on some great teams through his school years and also at Englewood High School in Jacksonville where they had a winning team.  He and his wife now teach their children and encourage them – not just in baseball but other sports as well.  

These influences, as subtle as they may seem, created special moments and influences for which I am very grateful. 

In an effort to tell about a mother’s influence, I would like to know of your special experiences.  

Think about what you would like to say as a tribute to mothers.  I’ll ask some questions in a couple of days to help trigger your thoughts so others can benefit from your experience.