Heartfriends and Three Dancing Tips

I’m in love with my word for 2016, DANCE.Β I’ve been thinking about what it means to dance in life. With this idea twirling through my thoughts, I received an email from someone who reads my blog. Her name is Mary. She wanted to meet me.

The Old Julie would’ve politely declined.

What if we don’t click?Β What if it’s awkward?Β 

But saying yes felt right. Mary’s a writer and a storyteller. Sometimes it’s good to spend time with people who understand.

And my word is DANCE.

So I said yes. πŸ˜‰

NOTE: I’m not suggesting we meet strangers on the side of the road!Β 

Mary planned to drive from Arkansas to Georgia, visit friends, and then head my way. She said she was up for an adventure.

I was too.

As soon as I walked into Starbucks, we spotted each other.

Right away, I noticed her beautiful silver necklace, and how her coat matched her shirt.

I glanced at my feet.

Brown boots and a black purse. “Oops. I meant to change purses.”

“Look at mine,” she said. “Twinsies!”

“Sisters of the heart,” I said. “I love your necklace.”

She touched the silver pendant and laughed. “I made it myself. The snowflake was a dollar.”

Just like that, we bonded.

We talked about writing and life. Then she surprised me with something I’ll never forget.

“Last night, I wished I had a present for you,” she said. “And I knew it was too early in our friendship to give gifts. Then I remembered something I had in my car.” She placed a wrapped present on the table.

Uh-oh. Gulp, gulp.

I don’t have anything to give her.Β 

I remembered my word.Β 

You can’t worry while you’re dancing. It’s impossible. Click to Tweet.Β 

“When you open it, you’ll understand.” Mary’s green eyes sparkled with anticipation. “I bought it several years ago at Goodwill, and forgot I had it with me. I wrapped it at 11:30 last night.”

I ripped off the corner of the present.

No words came.

Just a burst of unspeakable JOY.

“I love this song,” she said. “I’ve listened to it over and over. The CD’s in the back of the book.”

I cleared my throat.

Still couldn’t talk.

She opened the book.”Look at the inscription.”

Because I hope you ‘dance’ every chance you can in 2016.

“Oh, Mary. Thank you.”

“Consider it a gift from God.”

Dancing means we–

1. Trust our partner.Β 

2.Β Don’t try to control the rhythm–or anything else.Β 

3. Relax–evenΒ when we’re learning a new step.

If you can’t see the video below, click here.Β I hope you dance.

How do you plan to dance in 2016?

Have you ever risked forming new friendship and found a heartfriend? Click to Tweet.Β 




  1. Anna Haney says:

    Crying. I loved this. Like Mary, I love to find the perfect gift for someone. I am loving how you are embracing this year’s word. Change, my 2016 word, also means trusting, relaxing, letting go of control, and relaxing for change to have an impact. Thanks dear friend

    • Anna…..you were crying? Bless that sweet heart of yours. And that was the thing…she’d had the book/CD in her car for 3 or 4 years and totally forgot.

      Such a God-moment.

      Change is a wonderful word. I can feel something shifting inside you, Anna. I really can. It’s a go-with-the-flow kind of relaxing attitude. I promise–I really can.


  2. So, sweet, Julie. Bringing tears to my eyes. I don’t know … that just makes me excited for this year, for each new day … so inspiring. xoxo

    • Isn’t it amazing, Shelli?!!!!

      How I could’ve said, “No thanks. Sorry. Not this time” and missed this moment in time!!!

      Just blows me away

      Thank you, my friend from Texas. One day, you and I will do the same thing. I’m just speaking it into being~~~~~

  3. Yvette Adams says:

    Julie, Dance is such a wonderful word for you! Dance helps our marriage stay young, we often will twirl around the world without a song in the background. We need to get back together soon and play in a little paint! Painting, Music and a little dancing! That will be good!

    • Never thought of it that way, Yvette, but you’re absolutely right. This word is spilling over into my marriage.

      Beautiful!! Thank you.

      And I can just see us now, dancing while we paint! What fun!!! Now that I’m free to do arts and crafts. And dance~~~~


  4. Holly Lewis says:

    Beautiful and inspiring! I’m ‘learning’ to dance. I remember this beautiful video releasing by Lee Ann Womack not long after both my parents had died within a year of each other. There was no dancing for me. Never had been. Who would have thought ‘the dance’ for me would not begin until my late 40’s. I’m ready to dance in 2016! 48 and ready! Thanks for writing this Julie!

    • Ohhhhh, Holly.

      How can I respond to such a post?

      Oh. Wow. No words. Wish we were sitting down talking. And I’m so very sorry about your parents.

      And now you’re dancing….for the first time.

      Beautiful. Just beautiful. I FEEL the exquisite depth of where you’ve been–and where God has brought you.

      Dance on!

  5. Jen Mortenson says:

    That is such a neat story. I love when I have the perfect gift for someone and it’s not even planned. I feel a little silly with my world for 2016- it is twinkle. I even thought about changing it but then when shopping I saw a beautiful painting with twinkle on it and I was like- just go with it. So for 2016 I will sparkle with the things I do and try to bring a little brightness to those around me in small ways. I look forward to learning more about your dance this year.

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I love TWINKLE, Jen!! It’s a lot like DANCE. Don’t you think? I immediately see an image in my mind of beauty–of twinkling lights and hope and peace and joy.

      This makes me soooo happy…You’re going to add sparkle to everything you do. The world needs people like you!

      xoxoxoxoxo Twinkle on!

  6. Julie Gilleand says:

    Talk about a zillion confirmations! Wow, Julie. I’m so glad you said “yes”. Just think, if you hadn’t, you would have missed out on a new friendship and her gift to you, that really came from God. You are off to a great start, dancing through 2016! Remember — one day — you, Marci’a and me — line dancing! Loved your DGP yesterday. There, too, you had to relax, trust and relinquish control, didn’t you? Thanks for inspiring us all to dance more πŸ™‚

    • marci says:

      Leafy Julie, Just daydreaming about us line dancing gives me joy– I am enjoying it even now, and smiling. Yes, I too also was glad for Julie’s DGP writing and the lesson–Trust. Relax.. And Julie and her mom being back to back in DGP was nice too. Dancing– yes, since Julie’s share, I so agree! So many confirmations! I seem to see or hear something that relates to Dancing everyday!

      • I know, Marci’a! I know!

        I’m smiling too!

        Thanks for your sweet words about the DGP.

        NO matter what. We’re going to find a way to dance every day. And dancing is a way of life. Not just moving your feet across the floor! πŸ™‚

    • I KNOW, Other Julie! What if I’d said, “No thanks. I think I’ll just sit here at home where it’s safe.”

      Can you imagine! What a mistake. Whew.

      It WILL happen. We will go line dancing. Even though I’ve never been, I’ll go and I’ll love every minute of it.

      Lord, in all your Grace and Glory, could you help bring this to pass? We love you.

  7. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Oh, Julie…I’ve mostly held the tears at bay through the past weeks and months of physical pain, heartache, wishing, praying. Yesterday, your devotion in Daily Guideposts 2016 gave me a new Scripture to burn into my memory and pull out when I need it – “Surely the Lord is in this place.” When fear, loneliness, depression, Satan’s lies…any of those negative feelings and “places” come, how can they stay, when “surely the Lord is in this place.” Afraid of what’s dwelling outside in the dark? “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Bullies beating you down verbally? “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Grief grabs at your chest? “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Satan says you’re a failure? “Surely the Lord is in this place.” It’s my new “Scripture for the year,” along with my word.

    How does that apply here? Well, those tears I mentioned? Some slipped out, but as a form of refreshing, not sorrow, as I watched the video and envisioned our daughters dancing, past and present. Our youngest, Faith, has struggled much the past few years and come out stronger, and much of that came through dancing for the Lord. As you said, “You can’t worry while you’re dancing.” It’s impossible! Or singing! Or serving others! Or reading His Word!

    Or simply saying…”Surely the Lord is in this place…surely the Lord is in this place.” And oh, my Jesus, thank You that You are!

    Shout it out and dance for joy! “SURELY the Lord is in this place!”

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      PS: I shared the video to Faith’s wall. I know it will bless her today. BTW, things are good for her right now, w/ some amazing God-incidences happening to get her back in college and going for her bachelor of science in psychology/Christian counseling to help w/her dance therapy studio dream. But she deals with anxiety attacks herself, which come in waves, hence her desire to help other young people w/dance therapy. I plan to share with her my newly found Scripture-of-the-year!

      • That’s wonderful, Cathy! I’m dancin’ in my heart over Faith’s news!

        Your Scripture-of-the-Year (great idea!) holds so much Power!

    • marci says:

      Oh Cathy! That verse has been so important to me. I have prayed that when our church was built back – we would walk in and that would be the first thing we would think– no, the 1st thing we would know. The building back, did not go well, .. We are in the building now, with still things to do. But I know- that the Lord being in that place has nothing to do with the walls, but the caring of God’s children. Julie’s share and your share here– Wow. God is in this place! As you pointed out, no matter what is going wrong– Surely the Lord is in this place, can be said and known. Every word touched me. Just wanted you to know and thank you for that. I know– its a God thing. Bless you.

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Marci, how nice to hear from you again. I didn’t even think of this blog in reference to the Scripture, but you hit it right on! Julie, do you have the same goosebumps? “Surely, the Lord is in THIS place!” Blessings, Marci!

      • Amen, Marci’a! Love our little community and I can just see you moving around in God’s House!! His rebuilt house.

    • Oh, I know. That Scripture. Isn’t it amazing?

      Cathy, keep going. Don’t stop. You’re moving closer, my friend.

      Don’t let fear hold you back. It’s not worth it.

      All my love and prayers~~~~DANCE!

  8. Marjorie Hill says:

    Thank you, Julie. That. Was. Amazing. Loved it. Surely this will be used in one of your books! Take care, my friend and keep on dancing!

    • I hope so, Margie~ Oh, I hope so!

      Your faith builds mine. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Will never forget what you did for me.

      Saying a prayer for your writing!

  9. Patricia Martin says:

    I have not thought, yet, on how to dance through 2016. This deserves some brainstorming!(((: I read your devotional yesterday in Daily Guideposts 2016. I had no idea that you had anemia! I have anemia too as both sides of my family carry anemia. I was feeling apprehensive about my college semester starting next week, but after reading your mom’s devotional today, I felt much better about getting back in the school groove.((:) My commenting on your blog has led to our being good friends of the heart. Love your gift from Mary– maybe you should do a blog post video showing us your dance moves?

    • Patricia……

      My friend….

      You have challenged me……

      Ohhhh me. Oh my……. Could I? Would I? Should I? Dance? on video?

      Yes, the anemia came from celiac. Sorry the ending to what happened wasn’t in the devo! I started eating oats. Thought I was fine with it. Nope. Some people with celiac can’t eat oats, so my small intestine stopped absorbing nutrients. I give myself a shot of B12 every month. Dr. said once your B12 drops as low as mine was, it won’t rebuild and I’ll have to stay on B12. No biggie though.

      How are your classes?

      Hugging you from cold GA!

  10. And Mary didn’t know your word ~ how beautifully awesome!! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    • Hey Kathleen,

      Yes, Mary new my word from reading the blog. She just had forgotten she had that book in her car until late the night before she met me.

      Ohhhh, what a surprise when I opened that package! And thanks for your retweeting, my friend.

      So much love~~

  11. marci says:

    Julie, how wonderful. Your meeting Mary was a God thing! A gift, that you had to accept the invitation too! And a lesson for me too. How many gifts might I have missed by being reluctant to accept walking out of my comfort zone? Something for me to think about!.. , A few years ago– I might have not even been on here, and oh my what I would have missed. How many things have I dreaded, but if I stepped out– into the unknown, how blessed I was! Thanks for the reminder of that! And someone else also living in AR. That makes me smile too! Your word Dance has certainly touched me, and pops out at me in some way it seems daily. Chas commented yesterday he had noticed me swaying to the music on the radio sometimes. …

    What a wonderful gift Mary gave you, and one you knew was from God. I have a little book that I had to go get out, after seeing yours. The one I have is Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying.. that I also have found meaningful. It also has the CD in the back. My focus this year (word?) is in being in the now, giving it my full attention. So would that make my word “BE” or “NOW”, also when reading the devotional about someone saying about a person who had just passed away, “He Always Showed Up”, made me think, Yes! I should try to Showing Up. We can’t always be at everyplace, we are invited to, But we can Show Up, in someway. Your writings always inspire. Thanking God for the messages, and each one here. Thank you for Showing Up! and showing us how to Dance! God Bless!

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Marci, just a quickie. We share the same word for the year, and a friend from the writers’ conference I attend, when hearing of my word and knowing some of the struggles I have, suggested making it “intentional” instead of “NOW.” Just a thought, since you’re trying to pinpoint the right one!

      • marci says:

        Cathy, Yes! and thank you! Intentional. You penpointed it, and I do think that would be the perfect word! As it will take some intent, to be completely in the current moment, and give it our all. So guess we will have the same word this year! It will be fun to see where it leads us while we are ‘Dancing’ with Julie!
        Bless you for sharing!

        • Maybe I need to get music hooked to my blog, y’all!

        • Cathy Mayfield says:

          Marci, a quick question…did you “intentionally” use the word “penpointed”? Whether or not you did, I LOVE that! It’s my new favorite word to use in my writing and correspondence! Thanks!

      • πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Cathy πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Marci’a, I’m smiling big time–imagining you dancing (okay, swaying) to the radio! Love it, love it, love it!

      We’re changing, aren’t we? We’re taking chances and trusting Him more. We’re not living fearfully and carefully. We’re letting go.

      I also love that Tim McGraw song. Isn’t he cute!

      Be. Now. Be. Now. Be. Now.

  12. Becky Boyd says:

    Julie, Love your word “Dance” for 2016 and loved the video as all others said it brought tears to my eyes. I think “freedom” will be my 2016 word. Freedom to dance, to pray, to honor God in my own way. Freedom to walk away from bad news and search for good news. Freedom to know that 2016 will be an awesome year. I love your word because I do love to dance. My husband and myself used to dance together all of the time when we went out dating years ago. We still dance together if the opportunity presents itself. Thank goodness God paired me with a man after my own heart, because we love so many of the same things. And dancing is right there on the top of things we love to do together. I love that song! Julie, I pray that you and your family have a blessed 2016.

    • Becky, you and your husband just look so happy together! I can see you dancing in my mind.

      So, if some of us in the blog ever get together like we’re talking about to line dance, we can count on y’all showing up, right?!

      FREEDOM. Oh, the Power in that word. It’s so deep and wide. It’s everything, isn’t it…being Free.


  13. Becky Boyd says:

    Julie right after my comment to you about my word for 2016 is “freedom”…I saw a post of a friend on fb. She dropped her car off w/mechanic and when she picked it up the mechanic told her that HE was supposed to do the work on her car because her key chain spoke directly to him. He felt God spoke directly to him. It’s what her key chain said that gave me goose bumps not 1-2 hrs after my post to you! It read “there is freedom in Jesus”….thank you Lord for always being right on time!

  14. Jane Ensminger says:

    I have followed you lead and selected words to pray into for a year, and though TRUST was my word for, 2014, I did not feel ready to let it go, so it went with me in 2015. When I first opened my 2016 edition of Daily Guideposts, the word ABIDE, came and became my word for 2016. Your meeting and connecting with Mary, are to me “God moments” and not to be taken lightly.

    • Jane, isn’t ABIDE a wonderful word? Even just the way it sounds and feels. It’s so comforting.

      And then all that it means? I love it.

      Thank you so much for letting us know you’re reading and part of our little community here. Welcome! Keep coming back.

      It feels so nice when God slips one word into our hearts. And we know it’s a gift from Him.

      Hugs this morning~~

  15. Have I ever risked forming a new friendship? Yes. Has it worked out? Overwhelmingly so. Look at us. Friends since 2004. Through so much together. You know me like no one else does and you love me anyway. I can risk telling you anything and know that you will listen and not judge me. That’s certainly a God-gift, just like your new friend found a special book in her car just for you. I love when things like that happen, don’t you?

    So who woulda known that a Georgia peach would be such a special part of the life of a beach girl. Gotta love it! Hugs!

    • Right back to you, B.J. times 1,000,000! I feel the same way about you.

      I love that–a GA peach and a beach girl. I’m not sure how much fun I’d be (at least for very long) hanging out with you on the beach. I’m the pasty-white lady covered in sunscreen huddled up under an umbrella. :/

      I love you dearly, always and forever. Maybe I won’t need sunscreen in heaven and we can dance on the beach!

      • Ha ha ha….that’s a true statement: you won’t need sunscreen in heaven! We can dance on the beach! What I like the most about the beach is spreading out a blanket, sitting on the soft sand, and watching the water. It comes in and it goes out. It takes away as it goes out and gives to us as it comes in. Ebb and flow. Life. That’s the ocean to me. That’s the beach.

        Of course, there is the bright yellow sunshine, the crystal blue sky, the most whitest of white seagulls, the tawny-colored sand. All of it adds up to me: the beach girl, with my friend: the Georgia peach.

        God loves us. This I know!

        • B.J.,

          Your friend the Georgia Peach says, “One day, we’ll spend lots of time laughing and talking by the seashore.”

          I can’t wait.

          One day….


  16. Carm Russell says:

    It seems like such a long time since I’ve met a new hearfelt friend. I’m expecting 2016 to be a year with many hearfelt blessings. And being in a new home in a new town that new friends will be part of those blessings. I am blessed with some amazing friends and look forward to the new ones God has planned for me.

    • Carm, right now, I’m saying a prayer….

      Lord, if it’s in Your plan for Carm this you, could You arrange it so that she can meet a new heartfriend? You call us Your friends, so surely friendship is important to You. Carm’s in a new town. Would You in all Your Power and Grace, bring a new deep, abiding friendship into her life?

      In Jesus’ Name, Amen. We love You.

  17. I love how God works through people, through relationship. So beautiful!

    • I know! Would love it if He’d arrange it for us to be sitting at Starbucks one day, Elizabeth!

      <3 <3 <3

  18. Mary says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to see the miracles that appear when we open our hearts to get to know each other? I remember when I first thought of emailing you, Julie…. I thought, “She’s probably too busy. She might file this in the Weirdo file!” But you sent me a warm, genuine response. So nice!

    There is more that unites us, than divides us. All it takes is an open heart!

    • Beautiful thoughts, beautiful Mary!!

      Love what you said.

      There is more that unites us than divides us. All it takes is an open heart!” Mary Lester

  19. Oh goodness! I was just listening to her song this morning! How wonderful to have met a new friend in this way- and its completely divine that she had such a perfect gift for you. Your friend Robin and I met in a similar fashion and we couldn’t believe it either! She flew to a few hours from me, and Rick drove me to spend the day with her- loved my time with her so!

    • Vicky–no way!! You were listening to the song?!

      And last night, I flipped to the back of Sarah’s book and found your beautiful endorsement. This book. This book. Rick and I talked about it and we’re going to use it in our Small Group–starting in Feb. I’m writing all over it. So. Much. Love. Here.

      I know! I still have goose bumps thinking about Robin coming to see you. Divine. Simply Divine.

      So much love from another one of your Georgia friends! xoxoxoxo

  20. Keep on dancing! And may 2016 be full of beautiful dances for all of us. πŸ™‚

  21. Dear Julie,
    I have appreciated your writing in Daily Guideposts for years, thank you for being courageous and loving and open. This was the first of your blog posts I read and like the other readers who commented, I was very moved and inspired. I don’t spend much time on social media and rarely comment but today’s blizzard (I am in NJ, where we have 9 inches of snow and lots more to come) is an opportunity to slow down and appreciate things from a different perspective.
    Thank you again for sharing your gifts so generously! I think that will be my word for the year (having never chosen a word for the year before) – generousity. I’m going to write it in big letters and post it around my home right now!
    Lots of love to you and your readers,

    • Ohhhhh, Anne,

      What a wonderful word. GENEROSITY. I love it!! Thanks so much for letting me (letting us!) know you read this. We have a tiny bit of snow in North GA. Can’t even imagine what 9 inches must be like….sounds pretty fun. πŸ™‚

      If you’d like to have my blog automatically delivered to your inbox, just put your email address in the little box at the top on the right side of the blog. πŸ™‚ No pressure though. I don’t even know how to see who receives my posts.


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