To all of my blog followers:
I don't usually write in letter format, but felt it necessary in this case. I hope you find some inspiration in my words to Valerie!
Let me start off by saying that I've been a fan since I was a little girl, loving Rhoda and you as much as my mom did. We both anticipated Rhoda's big wedding episode, laughing and crying all the way through. Over the years you've always been a class act, and that definitely hasn't changed at all.
When I first heard you had cancer, I cried not only for you but for my mom as well. She battled breast cancer for 12 years...and in a few days it will be 19 years since God called her home. I still miss her all the time, and only wish she could have been around to watch Dancing With The Stars.
As you've fought and continue to fight this battle, your positive attitude and determination are an inspiration to me and countless others. And when you decided to compete on this season of DWTS, I was thrilled for you. There are some people who didn't understand why you would do the show (or thought you were being exploited) who said idiotic things. But I get it - and so do a lot of people; there are many more that understand than don't. For that I am grateful.
We all need to live our lives to the fullest, because we all will be called home someday. Only God knows when that is for each of us. He doesn't want us to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves about any challenges we face. He wants us to LIVE while we are here!
My mom LOVED to dance. She went dancing six nights a week when she was young, up until the time she married my dad. They both still danced occasionally, but over time working and raising a family gave them less time for it, and often they only time they got the chance was at a family wedding. Waltzes, polkas, jitterbug...my mom loved them all. I also love dance, but never really had much time for it either. So many things wind up taking time away from doing the things we truly want to do.
Every week on DWTS, I get to see you perform - not just learning and trying to remember all of the steps, but dancing for the PURE JOY of DANCING. Not letting obstacles keep you from experiencing the joys of life. Showing the world the wonderful woman you are, and teaching others how to live and enjoy each and every day.
I'm also glad you got the perfect partner for you. Tristan is also a class act...a caring, compassionate person who can teach you the dances while helping you find the right balance so you can be your best while not injuring your knees further. I'm as much in awe of you as he is, and watching the two of you interact brings every emotion to the surface. It's truly a pleasure to witness your partnership - God put you together for a reason.
Even though I am by nature normally a positive person, there are times I get a little down on myself...thinking that I should have things a lot more together than I do. That I should be further ahead in my writing career and journey back to fitness, even though I am making progress with both. Being impatient with my financial situation - even though that is also improving.
But then I think about you. I'm sure you have your moments because you are human, but overall you stay positive. You pick yourself up after a setback (like your knee) and press on. You remember to find the joy in each day, no matter what. You never stay down - you get up and get stronger.
Ever since I wrote for the former Ballroom Dance Channel website, my urge has only grown stronger to learn ballroom dancing...as much as I can. My budget does not currently allow for lessons, but I'm staying positive that this will change soon. In the meantime, I use videos, YouTube, etc., to learn what I can. I NEED to dance. Not just to learn the steps, but to experience the pure joy like you do. To live out my passions.
So as you continue on your DWTS journey, know that I am extremely proud of you and honored to witness your experience. I also know that my mom is smiling down on you, happy that you've found your way back to dancing again. I pray that you have many more weeks, months, and years of dancing ahead of you - and thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us!
Love and Best Wishes,