Happy Thanksgiving 11-24-16

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No 48 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I had great parents. Troy D. Woodbury and J. Clair Ford Woodbury were so good to me and gave me so much of themselves.  I was the runt of the 4 kids, spoiled and a rotten kid, but they sure loved me and gave me their all.

Daddy was fierce and momma felt every part of life.  Daddy was strong and devout in all his Southern and Baptist ways. He was the head and ruler of our house.  Now momma was a feeler. We laughed together, cried together, fought together, prayed together, and in the later years were friends together.  She was amazing. Momma always knew that I was different and she always made me feel good and special.

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My brother, Troy, was the ‘miracle baby’. He came out upside down and had the cord wrapped around his neck. The doctor saved him and momma and I lived the rest of my life knowing that he was her special boy. And yes, he is special!  But I, I was unique with mom. She confided in me and she was always there to support me.

As for daddy, when he died, he had a marble stand next to his bed with a bronze plaque on it that said “You are my life’s hero”. I gave that to him years before. He passed with that message next to him. Daddy loved me. He helped me through the death of my life partner, Jim Byrd. He loved Jim like a son.

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I have spoken for Arthur Murray for over 40 years.  Just before speaking engagements, I would call daddy and we would pray over the phone. I would tell everyone of this prayer at the start of my speeches and it set a great tone for every talk. After speaking, I would call daddy and tell him how great it went.

As time moved on, I started to become just like daddy. His will stated that he lived his life to tell others of his faith and trust in God. Reading his will moved me so much that I put the same words into my will to be read at my death. I’d better not mess up my life, for that will be read at the end of my life.

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Now that I’m older, I’m a member of the Chamber, Church, and many groups, just like daddy. I know everyone and love being with everyone everywhere.  Daddy’s blood runs through my veins.

For momma, she gave me the secret to my life.  J. Clair said to me one time, when you first meet someone, find what you love about them and ‘Build An Empire’ on that quality.  I have been lecturing on ‘Build An Empire’ for decades now and always credit my dear mom for this training. I still practice this every day.

For the other side, I’m my mom. Emotional, prone to sadness, a worrier, and sometimes trying. This is what made my mom so unique, and what gave her character. She could cry, but she could also laugh a lot as well. Also, I always saw that daddy loved her, even during the rough times. And I loved her too. Hopefully Joel will see through my dark times and love me as well when I’m not at my best in my life.

Well, I’m proud to be the son of Troy and J. Clair. I am my parent’s son and would not have it any other way.  I do live every day to tell others of my faith, and of my great parents who gave me the love of my faith and the love of life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

Thorns Have Roses 11-18-16

 

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No 47 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thorns Have Roses

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr (1808 – 1890) French critic, journalist, and novelist

“The Price of Admission” is what we pay in life to have the things we want. Have you ever fallen for someone and then gone to dinner with them, and were horrified? The table manners, how they treated the staff, and general dining etiquette? You at that time decide if you are willing to pay the “price” to continue going out with them.

Or, have you ever fallen in love with someone and then seen something about them that was a deal breaker, but it was too late, your heart was already given to them? Yes, this has happened to us all. And get this…the things in others that irritate us about them are the things in our own lives that irritate others. Many will argue with me on this, but every time I can’t stand someone else, it is over a quality that is in my own life, hidden or active.

Yes, thorns have roses and that’s how they come to us. Now if you are a florist, you will take a beautiful rose, trim off the thorns, wrap the stem in wire, wrap that wire in dark green tape and position the rose perfectly in an arrangement. Yes, even a perfect rose may be tamed and molded for an arrangement or a vase. And yes, we are able to control our own price of admission for others in our lives.

“The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart – this you will build your life by, and this you will become.” – James Lane Allen (1849 – 1925) American Author

What we think, we become. The ideal that we constantly glorify does eventually take us over and we become our thoughts and ideals.  For me, I show up, try my best, stay consistent and keep on trying and I know that those actions will always win out for me.

“Tough times never last. Tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller (1926 – 2015) American Minister, Evangelist

Roses are hearty flowers, yet they take a great deal of work and care to cultivate. I remember a story of a grandson visiting his grandparents, and they were awaiting the next morning when all the roses would open and be in their full bloom. The next morning, the grandmother looked out to see that her grandson had pulled the flowers open on his own and they the petals had fallen to the ground. The grandmother exclaimed, why did you do this, and his reply was, I was just trying to help them bloom.

You can’t force a rose to bloom and you must wait until it is ready, and it will be perfect when it opens in its own good time. We cannot rush life and we must be patient (not my best attribute!)

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) American poet

Sometimes perseverance (I love that word) is not taking action, but WAITING for the right time. Waiting for the results of hard word. Waiting to speak. Waiting to take action. Waiting for the other person to speak. Waiting for the rose to open. Waiting for the sun to rise. Waiting for the right moment to then take action. Perseverance is fueled by patience and a waiting heart.

“To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue… gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”– Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher 

Well, what good is it if we get to our goals, and we are then not nice people. I’m trying to get to my finish line with some of my etiquette still in place and still the great son that my mom and dad raised. If I “win the lottery” of life and do not have a centered life and am not a kind person, it was not worth it. Be careful what you wish for in life, for you just might get it! I am wishing for a good heart!

For all the thorns on me, there is still a rose at the top. I want to give back. I want to have a kind heart. I want to live my life to help and inspire others. It’s time to go to the florist and pick up, although carefully, some roses and see that above the thorns will be a glory of color and beauty.  Be a beautiful rose in life!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

The Sun Rises Again! 11-11-16

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No 46 Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Sun Rises Again!

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams (1929 – 2003) English moral philosopher

In dancing, we sometimes win and sometimes we lose, but always we gain from the dancing itself and the effort to become better. To be a Quarter Finalist, Semi Finalist, or Finalist all indicate hard work and great effort. To be in the top three is an honor and is a combination of many skills and many hours of effort and training.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” – Colin Powell (1937) American Military Leader and Diplomat

After a major dance competition, all the dancers are treated with such honor and dignity. They are all praised, not just for their placement, but for the dancing itself. The top dancers always honor and respect the new couples who compete, for they remember that not too long ago, they were in the same shoes and trying to become champions in their own right. There is not always a first place, but there is always learning to get to the top.

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”– Julie Andrews (1935) English film and stage actress

What an honor to meet a champion. To chat with them. To see a star at the top of their game, or a star from many years in the past. They all have magic. They all have a story, they all had vision and determination.

The following is one of my favorite quotes:

 

Persistence, by Calvin Coolidge

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is filled with educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination are alone omnipotent.

“Press On!” has been and always will be the answer to every human problem.

Pressing on is always the answer. Yes, the sun will rise tomorrow no matter what happened today. But to make a difference, we must not rely on our talent, genius, and education. We must rely on the stick to it attitude that makes us try, and try and try again to become the champions we know we can be.

Let the sun rise again on your life and let determination lead you to your goals.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

Make Your Own Circumstances 11-4-16

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No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 4, 2016

Make Your Own Circumstances

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright

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We think, “Oh, they have it so easy in their life. Money, family, opportunity. It was all given to them.” Yes, it may seem that others have it easy and we have it hard, but get this. We have the best in our own lives if we just look up and see all the great things around us.

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I’m a blamer and I get jealous of other’s success. I think, “That should have been me”, “I can do that, what didn’t that success come to me?”. The reality is that we are all truly living in our own great success. We have control over our circumstances and we have the ability to make opportunities come our way. We never truly know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  The funny thing is this, often the ones we are envying are looking at us and saying, “Wow, they have all the luck” for they see the good in our lives that we are unable visualize.

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” – James Buckham (1844 – 1930) Canadian lumberman and Liberal politician

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Why do our diet and exercise programs fail? Once it gets a bit hard, or requires extra energy, or tests our character, we give in. The temptations are overwhelming and we just do not have the strength to overcome the trials. We just give into our present circumstances and cannot pull up.

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Do you know how a world class ballroom dance couple makes it to the top? Is it talent, luck, or is it just given to them? The answer is simple, the best couples have worked the hardest, practices the longest and have earned their ranking through many trials and failures. Their successes are precious and sweet, and they have hearts of gratitude for the glory given to them. They made their own circumstance and created their own opportunity and stayed with it to the top.

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“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach

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It’s easy to stay down after being knocked down over and over. Yet, as Vince Lombardi says, coming back is the real glory. I’d like to just get up and stay up, but as Waltz has rise and fall, and Tango is staccato with starts and stops, and Swing has its turns and spins, and Samba has a bounce, blessedly there is the Foxtrot that is smooth and glides across the floor. I wish you, the reader a few Foxtrot days, but also enjoy your Tango days, and keep on coming back!

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Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

Decide on what you think is right, and stick to it! 10-28-16

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No 44 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 28, 2016

“Decide on what you think is right, and stick to it.”– George Eliot (1819 – 1880) English Novelist

Have you ever had an acquaintance who could not make up their mind and who could not commit to something? Someone who thought they knew what they wanted to do, committed to doing it, and then decided it was not for them. I know a person like that. Very frustrating and very devastating in some respects in life. Making a commitment today is the hardest thing to do. My friend is so bad off that they cannot even make the decision to change paths without help. It is sad. It is a mystery. It is a tragedy.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley (1864-1963) English Novelist

My friend is someone of the “Universe”. Yet they cannot find the “white hot burning desire” to make a decision and stick to it. They give up when the job gets “too tiring” or “too hard”.

This has been a learning experience for me. My circle of mentors are all “take action” leaders who push me to success every moment in my life. I have no patience for those who cannot stick to a commitment. This whole experience has shaken me and has purged my own faults and has put my own work ethic to the test of fire. I have had to realize that I need to work harder and not give in to hard times and the tests that come my way.

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, — but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894) American Writer

I have set my sails and am trying to sail with the wind, even when it is against me. I try to not drift and keep my anchor up until I come to the ports in my life where I briefly touch dry land. When I am around someone who does not set sail, who does not strive for the highest goals, who does not dream, and then live the dream, it hurts my soul.

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” —Maya Angelou

Sorry for the above language, but I agree with Maya Angelou, you just have to go for it in life and look forward and do whatever it takes to achieve your goals and see your dreams come true. If you know someone in your life, as I know in mine, who cannot “set sail”, be aware. They will try to bring you to their level and destroy your dreams, kill your soul, and darken your life’s mission. They will crush the life out of your heart and lead you down a road of sorrow.  You will want to help them desperately, but you cannot help someone whose heart has forgotten how to dream the dream of life.

My encounter with my friend has caused me great heartache, grief, sadness, and has created a sense of loss. It is just the way it is. This will probably not change for them. My answer is that time is the best doctor for all things.

What to do now? For me, it is to move on and hold on to my own hopes and dreams, and continue until I see the light at the end of the “dark night of the soul”.  My friend’s own emotional turmoil has actually taken me into the dark night, but yet, I do see light coming my way.

The old saying is this, “Surround yourself with people you want to become like”. But what do you do when someone close in your live is dragging you down, and you love them, and you want to help them and yet all attempts to help are in vain? What do you do when you have made a commitment to a dream killer and you realize that it was a mistake? What is the answer? What happens now?

“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” – Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English Poet

The answer is this. There are two types of people in the world, victims and then those that are accountable.  I am accountable for my actions, decisions, and commitments. I am not a victim, I am accountable. Now, I’m using this experience to become stronger, purge the darkness that is in my own life, and move forward and still love the person who has decided not to take the journey forward. I am learning forgiveness (it’s hard) and learning how to still love them (even harder). I’m moving on. Moving on to new dreams and finding that my joy of live is still there and that there is still a song in my heart.

Do you have someone like this in your life?  Or, are you that dark person in someone else’s life? Do you see this happening with a good friend in their life? What do you do? How can you help? Continue being the great person that you and don’t lose hope. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t lose hope in others and don’t lose faith in others and in helping others.

One of my circle of leaders and mentors just had a stroke. He’s in bed two months now and is just about to get up to walk. He is a leader. He is a man of vision and he has served hundreds and hundreds of people in his many years of leadership. His only goal right now is just getting up and start walking again. I pray power prayers for him daily. His illness has awakened me to what’s truly important in life, and what truly matters in life.  I am now counting my blessings and not crying over those who threw an away opportunity in their life. We do not know what tomorrow may hold. I know that I will be able to say, I fought for my dreams and strived to achieve my goals. Go for it, live your life and something good will happen to you today!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

“A goal is a dream that has an ending.” 10-7-16

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No 41 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 7, 2016

“A goal is a dream that has an ending.”– Duke (Edward Kennedy) Ellington (1899 – 1974) American Composer Bandleader and Pianist

Well, I’m a dreamer. I consciously dream and dream in my sleep. I day dream. I have nap dreams. I have deep sleep dreams. I awake dream when I’m walking and driving. My whole life seems to be a dream. I can nap for 5 minutes and go into a deep sleep and have a very long, remembered dream, much longer than the 5 minutes that I was out. I have reoccurring dreams, some over my lifetime. And always, I have new dreams that are fresh and exciting, sometimes scary. Many of my dreams have had their ending, yet there are some that I am sure will continue for a lifetime for me.

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) American Author and Humorist

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This is a great quote for Mark Train shows us how to accomplish our goals. I think they are linked to our dreams and that we just have to take that first step, and the action of beginning will take us to our goals.

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

Imagine Helen Keller’s mind as she contemplates doing great and noble things. How she must have felt when she learned language and communication. Think of the light that went off in her mind when she realized that the world was a bright light and she was truly a brilliant person. What must have happened to her when she realized that she could help others in life through her example.

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“To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue… gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” – Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

“The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty and truth.”– Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American Physicist

This blog seems to be about goals, dreams, and being virtuous…all good things. I’m all for goals as long as I realized that everyone loves to follow someone with light and hope. We all have different dreams and aspirations, and we all have our own special gifts and talents in life. We’re not all the same, and that is what makes us GREAT in our own ways.

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“No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle and good, without the world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.” – Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American Bishop

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“A Kind Word is Never Thrown Away. Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.” – Arthur Helps (1813 – 1875) English Historian and Novelist

“The world is good-natured to people who are good natured.”– William Makepeace Thackeray

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So many great quotes! Have a cup of tea and enjoy them once again!

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Thank you for reading! See you in three weeks! Aloha!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

 

 

What a man can be, he must be 9-30-16

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No 40 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

 

Friday, September 30, 2016

 

“What a man can be, he must be.” – Abraham Maslow

 

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”

– Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) American Psychologist

 

As a ballroom dancer for 41 years and with Arthur Murray for 41 years, I have loved being the best I can be every day. Arthur Murray has given me to opportunity in every area to excel, grow, and achieve great things in my life. What I can be I have and continue to achieve with Arthur Murray.

 

“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

 

When I first started with Arthur Murray I was a student enrolled on my Bronze Program. Then, I my love of dancing overtook me and I went on to teach full time.  In the beginning I thought I would stay a year or so. After that first year, I then said, OK, 5 years max. Well, at the end of the 5 years I took my judges exam and began traveling as a dance judge and I was competing as a professional dancer.

 

Now after so many years, I realize that my love of dancing, my love of meeting people, and my love of giving service to others kept me dancing. Arthur Murray has a training program called All Stars. It is the most amazing training program in the world and its focus in giving excellent service. Every day I feel that I learn something new when I step into the school. Thank you All Stars!

 

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”- Charlotte Bronte

 

Have the years all been easy? We all know that life has challenges, and that we will always have adversities. Yet, the sweet victory of overcoming hard times makes the springtime of our lives so much more exciting!

 

“Originality and the feeling of one’s own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881) Russian Novelist

 

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above the little things.'” – John Burroughs (1837 – 1921) American Naturalist and Writer

 

Every time I seem to approach a difficult time in my life, I now think, “Time will pass and as the sun rises, there will be a new day dawning”. The dread of having a rough patch ahead of me is not so powerful as I know that I will make it to see another day and that “it will get better.”  It’s funny, the day after what seemed to be a terrible struggle, I realized that it was not as bad as I feared, and that I was stronger and wiser.

 

“There is great power in a resolution that has no reservations in it — a strong, persistent, tenacious purpose — which burns all bridges behind it and which clears all obstacles from its path and arrives at its goal, no matter how long it may take, no matter what the sacrifice or the cost.” – Orison Sweet Marden (1850 – 1924) American Editor and Speaker

 

This is an amazing quote. “No reservations” “A strong, persistent, tenacious purpose” “No matter what the sacrifice or cost”. I’m there. I’m going all the way. I’ve decided to move forward and make my dreams come true.

 

“The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.” – Felix Adler

 

I wanted to be that hero, setting up the light for others. Now, I want to be the light that takes other through the dark night of the soul. Someday you my friend will find yourself in the dark night, or you have gone through it, or you are there now with no end in sight. There will be a light soon for you and that will be delivered by a messenger of light who will see you to the end and see you though.

 

I love the above quote from Helen Keller. What I love most about Helen Keller, is that she is remembered as an American Writer. I am always humbled, always humbled by who she was and what she accomplished with her life. “Lord, help me to become all that I can become and use all my gifts to lead others to light”.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

 

Keep on Dancing!