The Dance…

The music starts.

Your heart starts beating nearly uncontrollably as the countdown signals your entrance.

You take a deep breath, toss shoulders back and swing aside the curtain.

You’re on stage.

Focused… you sense applause as you head toward the spotlight greet to your dance partner. You catch each other’s eyes, smile and off you go… to entertain the audience and raise money for charity. It’s “Swingshift and the Stars.”

DANCING from your hearts.

One year ago today I experienced that joy and fear. I stepped out of my comfort zone into a world of “ballroom” dancing for a charity dance-off.

Photo by Record Eagle

Photo by Record Eagle 2014

What an adventure! Through hours of rehearsal and perspiration, my partner and I developed a mutual trust. We agreed to attempt  “lifts” I swore I could never accomplish. See that girl on the man’s shoulder? It’s me! I call that the “Peter Pam,” as it was the closest I ever felt to flying. ;-)

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Yes, I have taught dancers how to safely perform lifts, and I have done too many to count as a young dancer. But 20 years and three children later… this was a big, nerve-wracking decision!

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

“The Dance.”

For me, it’s what life is all about. Dance is a gift of art and self-expression that must be shared. Because I live that philosophy, I know that dance on the highest levels requires balance, grace, coordination, and athleticism. To me the most important elements are your emotional commitment and the passion behind the movements. I believe this applies not only to DANCING but everyday life. We need more passion in our actions!

Through these performances I learned that facing fears directly can be exhilarating and intensely satisfying when you achieve what you never thought possible, or had been afraid to try. And that is what my run on the charity dance-off “Swingshift and the Stars” accomplished for me. I competed as a dance professional in the four-month-long  charity dance-off. I was paired with a local celebrity. We invested over 5 months of rehearsals. It allowed me time to learn new steps and then teach them to my celebrity partner, a self-proclaimed non-dancer. We mastered intricate routines for the four separate competitive events in which we were to compete.

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo By Windborne Photographic

Photo By Windborne Photographic

I personally learned four different dances; each with its own rhythms, footwork, arm holds, turns, emotion, character and styles. First was a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers-inspired Foxtrot, followed by a John Travolta-inspired hustle. For the country-themed event we performed a West Coast Swing. The finale was a spicy, very spicy Latin Bolero (waaaaay out of my territory) but I DID it!!

With the support of fans and sponsors, and the votes of judges, our hard work brought in over $130,000 for Leelanau Christian Neighbors!! I believe when you put your heart into something (whether its dance or something else) you will be rewarded for your effort. For this event, our community joined together, for an all-time record. Over $300,000 was raised for the 2014 season.

Swingshift award

We did it! I did! The community did it! And what we achieved for the charities fills my soul to the core.

Overflowing with gratitude a year later, my heart continues to fuel my daily life with family, friends and teaching. Returning to the event for this season as a judge has already touched my heart in ways I didn’t expect. I know how hard these couples are working (along with everyone else behind the scenes). I get a little choked up thinking about the impact they will make for their charities and the precious folks they will help.

YOU can make a difference too…in those tiny moments, in those big moments and just by offering a smile to someone.

The music is starting…

Join me as we all grab each other’s hands, listen to our hearts, find that passion to drive our action… and DANCE!!!

School Bell Blues, Woos and Shoes…



Hear the faint sounds of school bells and buzzers?!  Yep. The free-spirited beach days of summer are wrapping. Kick off the flip flops and sandals. Another school year begins for our kids, who seem to be growing far too rapidly.

Are you ready? Good. Not sure I am!

New worries; “what class am I in? Do have any friends in class. Who is my teacher?” Each demands an answer. Then there are the infamous school supply lists and clothes to prepare for the first day. (I’m all about pre-planning but seeing beach merchandise pushed back in early July and replaced by school supplies is too early for me. What happened to living in the moment?! I didn’t want a #2 pencil I just needed an extra pair of goggles!

I will miss the “quality time” spent with the little ones in the summer, mornings especially. There is nothing like a cup of coffee with a little one snuggling next to you as you read a book together, or watch the latest Disney Jr. show. Then there is sneak up behind him big “I love you” bear hug for your teen son as he heads out the door. Yes, we will still have our mornings, but not like the relaxing, summer versions. Life keeps moving. Now, if you are even 5 minutes late out the door during the school year, you miss the bus, be late for school, or mom and dad are late for work. Let’s be honest, yes will have a slightly more organized scheduled, but we may also revert to the sometimes hectic, eat and run days to just….make it out the door!

“Brush your teeth! Get dressed please! Shoes on! Grab your backpack! Please! Is anyone listening?!” are just a few of the instructions and questions that seem to be on repeat (at least in our house). I find that no matter how organized I am each morning…. Something will still happen…a broken zipper perhaps, or the “where is my favorite sweatshirt?” moment.

Yet it’s the simple, crazy stuff we will miss most when they are older, because it goes fast, turbo fast. I mean everyone says it, but you don’t “get it” until it happens in front of you.

Each grade is a milestone that you will be sharing with your kids. Each child develops his and her own styles, tastes, personalities, likes, dislikes, and ways to learn. What works for one child isn’t always best for your other children. So we adapt. We learn. As parents, we really do have the best seats to watch these little creatures evolve into young men and women.  Sure, they will make mistakes (we all do) but when you can see them actually “learn” from those mistakes, it is gratifying. I can honestly state that, although challenging at times, being a parent is one of the most soul filling careers in the world.

This year in particular is going to be tough for me with the big transitions for my “babies.” The oldest will be in his second year of high school. High school! This summer I have been driving (no riding) with my learners-permit teen at the wheel. I still can’t get over it. When I make a comment about “getting too close to the mailboxes,” I still see the four-year old sending hot wheel cars down our hilly driveway to “see what would happen” or the toddler in the little car using his feet to propel him as he pretends to drive and honk his horn. “Beep! Beep!” he would exclaim. Now that “beep beep” sound is my heart on the inside, as he maneuvers his way around town. Calm and cool mom on the outside, but on the inside….

The middle one is transitioning to “middle” school. I have him frozen in time somewhere around the 2nd grade talent show (and wondering how we got here!). These pre-teen years can be tough; they are the years they literally grow over night. They pull away even more with their independence; voices and bodies start changing and kids at that age can be downright mean. They start to challenge your words just a little more (frustrating, right?) but they also show the kindness you had a part in molding. They have ideas, lots of them and they can be SO entertaining.

My youngest, my last little miracle, is moving on up to Kindergarten. SIGH. What used to be “firsts” and things to look forward to with her older brothers, has now become….lasts for us….“the last time we will pull off the training wheels, the last time we will ever have a kindergartener….” Not to be too sappy (Okay, totally sappy and sentimental) but watching her breaks my heart while filling my soul. There are days I wish I could go back and just play with the little toddler version of her, because she too is on her way to growing up. I have to pause and remind myself that although they are “lasts” for us as parents they are still “firsts” for her so we enthusiastically cheer as she reaches her next milestone.

So, back to school they will go, back packs filled with supplies. Dedicated teachers will fill their precious minds with knowledge, creativity and independent thinking. They will meet new friends, share stories with one another and learn new things every day. They will build their confidence and learn from their mistakes. As parents, we must be there to help guide them the best that we can.

School is definitely an adventurous ride that moves at warp speed but WE are the lucky ones. We have VIP seats to watch our children grow into strong, knowledgeable, faithful, enthusiastic and caring young adults.

We will hug them through the blues, cheer them with the “wooooos!” and offer our best advice because we have already walked in those school shoes.

Let’s enjoy the journey.

The Heart of a Princess

©2015 Dancinmoma

©2015 Dancinmoma

Inside the heart of every girl…there is a princess. This princess is the holder of her own strength and faith. For within her, she can find that place where magic happens. She has inner beauty, dreams, hope and plans to make the world a better place (with or without a prince). The sparkles on her tiara are reminders to look for the good in every speck of dust. For even the finest diamond comes from a large, dark piece of coal. When she finds this shimmer, she can send this light out into the world to warm the spirits of others.

This princess works hard; she listens to her friends and celebrates both sorrow and joys with them. She helps others find their inner sparkle. That light can take her through the dark times, but her favorite thing to do to make things better is to….DANCE!! Yes. Dance!!

To dance like a princess is to express oneself and yet be unified with others in the simple JOYS of moving across the floor or just twirling in place.

Spreading happiness…

Listening without judging…

Helping others…

Letting her light shine…

For it only takes one simple gesture of pure kindness to ignite someone else’s light….


This heartwarming video captures the true essence of the bond between a mother and child. If unconditional love could be defined without using words… THIS is the answer. 

Every MOM understands this… no matter what our differences. We are all unique and have gifts to share with our children and the world. 

What is YOUR gift?  YOU are a MOM and your child/children love YOU as YOU (even if they can’t see you).  They are pieces of your soul that share unconditional, pure love with YOU.  Could they find you in a line of moms using only touch and smell? I think so. 

You are a MOM. You are BLESSED. 

Grab your tissues and watch here—>


copyright 2015 Dancinmoma

I’ve realized recently, that I seem to be on this journey to find connections; connections that are meaningful, soulful and flawed…like me. I’m not talking about romantic connections…just heart to heart moments that mean something when you walk away, so that you can actually feel better about the world and know that we are ALL imperfect but loved.

By taking a moment to talk with people with different backgrounds, different feelings, unique stories and thoughts… you can learn a lot about yourself and others, but only if you truly LISTEN. Unfortunately, human nature allows individuals to immediately judge a person, even while you are talking directly to them! It is hard not to let that inner ego/selfish voice within take over, but if we learn to turn that negative voice down or mute it even, your heart will OPEN even more… You may even change that person’s life.

Can’t we all just be imperfect and flawed together, without judgement?

To me the world is NOT and never will be… black and white. There are far too many layers of each human being to truly KNOW them. Think of the many intricate parts of each person that is wired differently, based from perception, to self-worth, to their past and what they have learned from each obstacle or challenge they have faced.

So I’m on this mission share good things when the thought pops in my head or an opportunity presents itself to friends, family and people I may not even know… In fact, I told a construction worker yesterday, that his joyful smile and wave, as I pass through the road work construction every day, literally makes my day! When I ran into him at a gas station nearby, I didn’t have to say anything, but I felt the need to within myself, so I did (as maybe, just maybe, he needed to hear that). His response was very humble. “My mama always taught me that a little smile can go a long way!”

Yes it can.

All it takes is one tiny spark to light the fire within.

So I challenge you to join me on my quest to find connections in the world, to see humans in a better light. Say something nice, that you truly mean, to someone today… or offer up a smile to a stranger…

YOU may just make a difference.


Fit to be an Irish Queen?

This is a tale of how a lucky girl was “fit to be a queen” on a weekend in March of 2014…Princess Crown

Irish flags are waving. Green shamrocks are all around. Bagpipes are tuning. Men strut around in plaid kilts carrying a pint in their hand. Wee ones run around with green beads flicking. Lucky ‘gold’ coins adorn the tables. The Irish spirit and sounds fill the air! It’s a cacophony of noise. But hey, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. The official parade kickoff ceremony is beginning, in a pub, of course.DSC07366

The sounds of voices chatting in our local pub, applause, laughter, a speech from time to time. I brush aside Danny Boy’s hair. He told me he was to be the Lord Mayor of this year’s parade. As I was prepping him for his big moment… I notice more than a few sets of eyes on me. Daniel is Skyping with his parents and sisters in Florida. I wave.  They are grinning at me like Cheshire cats.

Gradually, I tune into the words a lovely Irish woman is saying…apparently she is introducing someone…Hmmmm….

DSC07374This person graduated from MSU? And a Dance student? Communications major? Her family lineage goes back to County Roscommon in the Emerald Isle? Wow! I could totally hang out with this lass! We’re virtual clones. As I process the similarities between this girl and myself…. I pause… and look at Danny Boy. He has that same Cheshire cat grin I can still see on the ‘Skypers’. And my son has the video going, pointing at me.  Hadn’t noticed that before. Wait! They are talking about me? DSC07373

I thought Danny Boy was to be the “Lord Mayor” this year. Confused and bewildered, I hear applause. People are helping Danny push me toward the stage. They are crowning me the 2014 Irish Queen? What?! As I try to catch my breath, I am wrapped in a beautiful vest and shawl adorned with unique pins. And a real crown is placed on my head! More applause. Now they want me to talk? OMG! I babble on about being in shock, I kick up my legs a little for a pretend jig.  I pull out an Irish Toast I had prepared for my hubby, since I thought this was HIS day.

                                I one day woke to a stormy night, twas not a single star.

                                Morning brought a rainbow clear, I followed it afar.

                                There I found to my delight, a prize beyond all measure;

                                Aye, no pot of gold, but YOU my dear, the REAL TREASURE.


I am honored and embarrassed by the attention, yet I enjoy it too! I am told that I am the 36th Irish Queen. Each beautiful soul, virtually every previous Queen, women with stories and hearts full of love, come up and proudly point out the pins on their identical hunter green shawl. I’m invited to tea at high noon and a bunch of other things. It’s all a blur, quite frankly. If there is a local royalty even for a second, I can feel it. I also sense an intense desire building to learn more about the Irish Queens who went  before. I must follow-up on that. IMG_3549

Then the Irish music kicks in. The parade begins its slow but happy journey. Hey! I get to ride in a car even! And the chauffer? My own Lord of the Leprechauns… my hubby… O’ Danny Boy. Caseman (my favorite second-oldest son) will ride in the passenger seat while little Miss McKenzie sits on my lap to help wave along the parade route. The Irish Teen (Brady, my favorite oldest son) waves, then disappears into the crowd to find his best lads and lassies. ;-) The day is sunny but c-c-c-c-c-cold, really cold. Feels like it might snow! No big deal…I know there will be plenty of Irish Music, a pint or two of Guinness and an Irish jig coming up shortly. I’m warming up already!

I see friends on the route waving their Irish flags. Casey jumps out to run alongside (Yes, Dan stopped first.) Brady and his friends join in. The frosty breeze nips at my nose. What a true Irish Blessing, however frigid. After a fabulous spin around downtown Traverse City, more than a few “queenly waves” — McKenzie seemed like a natural at the task — and much dancing, we arrive at the destination where the celebration begins in earnest. Adorned in my queen’s garb passed down from queen to queen, I accept the pint handed to me — as any Irish Queen most certainly should—  and make my way to the dance floor. IMG_3534

Teaching Celtic dance is a passion of mine, so I might as well… aye? ‘Tis time for a wee little Jig or two…”Your Majesty!” ;-)

As a thank you for sharing this memory with me, I’ll leave you with a little limerick:

So the tiara may tilt sideways at times

It may not always shimmer,

But what lies within the Irish Soul is what really counts,

It’s a light that is sure to glimmer.

– Pamela Murphy McCormick

My Oscar Night Fantasy…


A large, golden Oscar stands guard stage left. And I am mesmerized with celebrities. Meryl Streep is in my view (THE one and ONLY Meryl frickin Streep). I see her profile over Reese Witherspoon’s shoulder. George Clooney is presenting. I gaze into his eyes, wondering what he and his wife talk about over dinner. He sure is dreamy…Isn’t he?

Wait! Speaking of McDreamy, there is Patrick Dempsey. Hmmmm, he exudes dignity and utter “hotness.” Kind of like Bon Jovi. Sigh.

A tap on my shoulder wakes me from my daydream. I look up… ummm Helloooo. Ben Affleck. I smile wondering what HE wants. Wait. He’s motioning to me to get on stage. Everyone is looking at me. I’m sorry. What? I won? I won? (Holy Sh&%!) I WON!!

Hugh Jackman (in all of his hot handsome-ish) stands up, shoots me a smile and escorts me to the stage, where I miss a step and fall into his arms. He twirls me around as if it was all part of the “act” and carries me on stage! I fan kick out of his arms almost ripping my dress and lean into his chest with a flick of my leg and quick smile. Clooney joins in the act and regally extends his hand out and spins me into his other hand holding the golden guy. I grab the statue with a giggle, whisper a thank you in his ear and bop a curtsy to the Hollywood men who got me on stage, as my new pal “Hughie” takes his phone out for a group “selfie.” (OMG!!! Where is Ellen?)

I take a moment to grasp Oscar…and stare at all of his GOLDEN presence.

“Well … Hellooooo hollywood. How’d ya like that …entrance? (as I giggle). Thanks Hughie and Georgie!” (I wink as audience laughs). The send-off music begins….already.

Good Lord, you are SO good. Thank you God! Thanks to ones who said I could do this and the ones who felt I couldn’t, but didn’t say anything…THIS is for you. Life is all about pushing and pulling, rising and of course falling, losing and WINNING!! Today I feel a little like a winner (as I gaze at Oscar with a big sigh). We DID it! To my support system, my lifeline, the ones that give me purpose….my husband, my groom, the guy from the airplane, an amazing man who easily makes me smile, and my heart melt, to my precious children (pieces of my soul) who hold my heart in a way no one can. In the words of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, “You complete me.”

To the rest of my family who cheer me on through good times and bad, to my girlfriends…my strength, my “soul”diers, they put the ‘La la la’ in laughter. Together we can charge through anything. To my online #smgirlfriends and #30secondmoms, a group of AMAZING and talented women who inspire me to new heights.

(Music gets louder)

Wait!  I couldn’t leave without thanking my new group of DANCE friends from the recent charity event…Here’s to you, SWINGSHIFT and the STARS! Together we danced, we cried, we twirled through adversity and we pirouetted to CELEBRATE the power of an amazing community with incredible generosity. To my charity dance partner, whom I met randomly on a stage 6 months ago….you are a kind and generous man, with a God-giving heart that enhance your work, your friends, your family. Together we changed lives performing on the dance floor at City Opera House. I am thankful to be able to call you a friend for life…. and I love that I’ll never look at a cement mixer the same again!  I hold up a photo. Look! An upside down ‘Ms. Pam!’ Swingshift cement mixer

To my “pretend” men…. Donny Osmond and Justin Timberlake. Yep. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting duet! J (I giggle). Donny, after meeting you in Vegas and watching you win the mirror ball trophy, you inspired me to “try new things,” and face my fears. Marie may be “a little bit country” but you, Donny O, are the “rock to my roll!”  And JT! My man! Hashtag (motion the symbol with my fingers)  #Yourholyhotness! Yep. I’m a happily married mom of 3 but damn you can make me smile. You had me at “bringing sexy back”  You had me at SNL. You had me each concert. You had me at ‘nsync!  Okay, you really have Jessica…yada yada… but you entertain my soul to its core and make me want to DANCE!!! Thank you.

To Jimmy Fallon… (Jimmy jumps up.) Hey, (He blows kisses my way) you are the president of late night!! You make us all laugh, sing, play games, dance… the world needs more of YOU. Seriously. You have the BEST job. I can’t get enough. Hashtag  #YoureAKeeper #CanIHaveaJobonYourShow. Thank you! And to Ellen Degeneres, for what YOU have done for daytime!  Hashtag #DanceParty! The Oscar stage will never be the same without your famous selfie (that I and a few gazillion of your other fans retweeted, of course) and the pizza guy, (pause) wow that sounds really good right now.

Hmmmm…What are the odds I could invite Ellen, Jimmy, JT and Donny O over for game night! What a blast that would be!!! Hashtag #MyFantasy Speaking of fantasy, someday I hope to be IN an opening number somewhere with the “wickedly talented” Neil Patrick Harris. Hashtag #DrDoogieCanBoogie. #AdelleGazemhasnothingonyou (giggle).

(music is really loud)

Sorry, got sidetracked… Oh! Oh! Wrap it up, she says. Gracias. Merci. Thank you EVERYONE for helping me believe in the possibilities when fear tries to take over. Keep dreaming, keep imagining, keep that inner child going…THAT is where the GOOD stuff happens in this thing called LIFE!!!  (As I dance off stage I fist pump Neil Patrick Harris as he takes the mic.)  “A cement mixer?” he says. “Go get’em Pammy, ROCK it out, sistah!”

I blow a kiss his way….



Dear 2014

Dear 2014,

As we round out another year full of triumph, defeat and a multitude of blessings (some in disguise) I bid you adieu. I thank you for yet another chance to experience life and all it has to offer. I thank you for humility. I thank you for strength and endurance. I thank you for a sense of humor.

We have danced together; we have cried together, we have covered our eyes in fear and opened our eyes to miracles. We held hands tight in a number of disappointing moments, yet we overcame and raised our hands up to celebrate!

We were heartbroken in loss, but hugged in sorrow. We opened our eyes again to love and to the little moments that mean more now than they ever will. We celebrated the life of loved ones no longer on this earth, yet we miss the sounds of their voice, their words of encouragement and laughter that could fill a room. We relearned the power of prayer, the power of spirit that lives on in each of us. We met angels on this earth and those in the heavens. We sang and yes we DANCED some more.

New hopes, new friends, new experiences also filled the woven patchwork of 2014. Together we changed our lives and others. We opened our eyes to possibilities and to the power of community. We opened our hearts again to LOVE that has been there all along and love that can be renewed.

2014: A year of change. A year of humility. A year of blessings. A year of sorrow. A year of LOVE. A year of DANCE. A year that I can never get back but will carry in my heart forever. God Bless you 2014. I will carry your lessons into 2015. I will pray again. I will hope again. I will BELIEVE in possibilities again in 2015 And YES, I will DANCE through LIFE again. Please, please new year, just catch me if I fall. Together we can RISE UP and celebrate the moments that have yet to unfold…


Happy New Year!