15 things that make me INSANELY happy!

Friday, July 31, 2015

It's been a crazy week! Because it's RECITAL TIME!! I'm super excited and nervous about it...and the preparation process has kept me very, very busy this month. Which explains why I've had to leave this little blog on the back burner for a bit. I haven't even had time to think about something to write. I have a list of posts and topics to write about, but no time to actually figure out what they are going to say...HA!


Trying to CHANGE MY PERSPECTIVE and break through my mental blocks has proven to be very difficult over the last few days.

So, today I thought maybe I should tune into what puts a smile on my face. I'm not sure if it's actually going to help. But at least it will be written out where I can see it regularly...

{1} When someone gives me an unexpected gift.  
My love language is GIFTS. Which doesn't make me a materialistic person...it just shows that someone was thinking of me...that they put time and effort into picking something out for me. It shows that they obviously know me well, and that something can remind them of me :))

{2} Little girls in Tutus...

Because...well...yeah, obviously :))
{to read about how dancing and teaching dance saved my life, CLICK HERE!!}

I get so goofy happy when there are antiques in the room! They are so fascinating and exciting to look at! I always feel like I was born in the wrong time period. And one of the reasons is because I get completely GIDDY around old, pretty things :))

{4} Babies...
Like...this little sweet boy...right here...

Although he's getting so big now :))

{5} Puppies!!......no explanation needed :))

{6} Traveling and seeing mountains
I think I love mountains so much because they are so majestic. When I am in the mountains, I feel so much closer to God and I'm reminded of how majestic HE is! I think they are the most beautiful, incredible things in His creation. 

{7} Warm hugs :))
"Hi! I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs!" Haha...I think that's the main reason I like Olaf from "Frozen" so much! I love hugs from EVERYONE! Especially my students!

{8} Discount Bookstores
There is a gigantic bargain bookstore in my area and every time I go in there, I get all the warm fuzzies :)) Weird girl? Haha, maybe...but I just love it so much! I'll spend hours in that place, combing through each individual book making sure I don't miss anything. Especially on the two and a half {long!} aisles full of books that are only a dollar a piece!!! GAAAHHH!!

{9} Deep conversations with close friends.
Even if they are conversations about struggles and hard times...I never feel more refreshed than when I walk away from a several hour long conversation with someone who was as invested in it as I was.

{10}  Old movies

Okay, so I guess between the antiques, the books, and now the old movies, you're probably all thinking, this girl is such a nerd! Haha, well I probably am, and I'm proud :)) LOL. But seriously...Audrey, Judy, Vivian...Gene Kelly, Clark Gable...ALL OF THEM! EVERYONE! ALL the movies with ALL the actors!!!

{11} Hearing a song I love come on the radio...
...And then turning it up really loud in the car and singing to it!

{12} Watching my choreography come to life
...And I can't wait to see it all go smoothly and beautifully next week for the recital! My upper level students and soloists have been working so very hard and they look GREAT!

{13} Seeing pretty things in the store ON SALE!
 I am attracted, like a moth to a flame, to everything floral and lace! It's like hearing someone say, "Ooh! Shiny!" LOL. And if it's at a discounted price...well...then it pretty much becomes irresistible to me.

{14} Hearing my ballet teacher say, "YES!"
...Or even just seeing a teacher nod at me! To me that's huge...because it means I'm doing it right!

{15} Attending a live performance
...Whether it be a ballet, a symphony or chamber music concert, an opera, or a musical...there's something about seeing a live performance that completely energizes me. And I always walk away feeling completely inspired and happy.

So...what makes all of YOU the happiest? 

Inspiration turns into a PLAN!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In another recent entry {RIGHT HERE!} I talked about the desire I've had to combine my two biggest passions of dance and mental/emotional health advocacy into some sort of ministry opportunity. But I had no clue where I was going to start or how it was going to work. 

Wellllllll...I think I have figured it out!
Or at least the "big picture" of what I want...

Here's how it all came about...

I was first inspired {or I guess I should say inspired AGAIN} by Ballet Magnificat! They are an absolutely wonderful professional ballet company, but they are also a ministry. I've known them for quite awhile, and I've seen them perform several times...but over the past few days, they've been on my mind.

Then, over the weekend, John-David and I watched "Ballet 422" on Netflix. It's a documentary movie about a 25 year old male dancer with the New York City Ballet, who was selected to choreograph a new ballet for the company. It's all about his creative process so there is no narration and very little dialogue...except for all of the collaboration and discussions. I found the whole thing completely and totally fascinating!

Also over the weekend, I came back across the song "Brother" by the band NeedToBreathe. 
Now, I've been wanting to choreograph this song for awhile. But while listening to it this time, the overall message of the song really stuck out to me even more than usual. And I decided that whatever I decided to do with my ministry, I wanted it to be centered around THIS song and THIS message. The message of how important it is to hold each other up during the darkest of dark times.

Take a listen to the song if you haven't heard it...or listen to it again even if you have...because it's just that good!
And it's so good, in fact, that the group was asked to perform it in the Macy's Parade last Thanksgiving!

So...with the combination of remembering Ballet Magnificat! and all of the inspiration they constantly bring me, watching an awesome choreo documentary, and re-listening to THAT SONG {again, and again, and again}...I came up with a premise for a NEW BALLET! 

It's going to be a contemporary ballet, fairly short...using this song and a few others by NeedToBreathe...because their music is just so good and choreograph-able {I think I just made that word up...lol}! And also adding a couple of songs by another artist {which I have yet to decide on}. But all of them will be songs of hope in the midst darkness, hope in the midst of suffering. My main focus, of course, will be on mental/emotional health awareness, and giving hope to those who are in the deep pits of depression {as I have been}...but I think this could have an impact on so many different kinds of people!

There are a lot of logistics to work out. Like...

** A title for the ballet
** Who will collaborate and be a part of this ministry with me
** Where to find dancers {plus I'll be using some of my current students of course}
** A venue to perform in
** How long the process will take, or should take

...and many more things I'm sure I'll come up with, ha!
But most importantly...I'm going to need to keep in mind that "Satan is the father of lies" {John 8:44}. He likes to destroy anything that is God-inspired. Which, in my case, usually means taking full advantage my mood disorder {which he knows is my biggest vulnerability} and using it to tear me down with insecurities, and remind me that nothing good in my life ever lasts. I pray that I can FIGHT that off!

Getting started is the hardest part...but I can't wait to get this going!

A Way to Respond...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

As Christians, we often hear that if we are struggling with severe depression, something must be wrong spiritually. We must not have enough faith.

You know what I have to say to that?...

That could not be further from the truth! And it completely minimizes a person's struggle.

Let's take a look at the book of Job in the Old Testament for a moment here. Job went through extreme physical and emotional pain, and it all fell on him at once. He questioned his whole existence. His suffering changed him into an unrecognizable person. Naturally, he took comfort in having close friends who were willing to be there for him, as they should have been. At first, his three friends, Eliphaz, Belidad, and Zophar simply sat and grieved with Job (Job 2:11-13)...and that would have been enough. But, like all well-intended friends and people in our lives, they HAD to say something.

It's not like they were TRYING to make Job feel worse, but their words were incredibly insensitive. Rather than encouraging and building him up, they sent a message of criticism and shame. Basically...

"You should have confidence in God! You're faith just isn't strong enough!"
"God must be punishing you for something!"

Really, though? What a way to kick your best friend when he's already down!
{And that was pretty much Job's response.}

All to often, people who struggle with depression are told to "snap out of it", and that is SUCH spiritual and emotional abuse! It is not a sin to be depressed. It is not an insult to God to experience doubts and questions. He wants us to bring those things to Him with a sincere heart, and He will not be offended, or turn from us, if we do that out of nothing but pure sadness and frustration.

The invalidation of struggles HAS to stop! We are called to encourage one another (1 Thes. 5:11), and if you have never experienced severe emotional health problems, the judgement of those who do is absolutely not yours! You may feel that you are "just trying to be helpful"...and yes, that is probably the case, as most people mean very well. But the next time you see a friend in an emotional crisis, I would challenge you to think through your words very carefully before speaking them, because you just never know how deep your friend's hurt truly is. And when in doubt, simply being there with them in silence, or offering a compassionate hug is always more than enough! 

Stepping out, IN SPITE of Doubt

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I have heard time and time again that certain things are a calling...a passion...and if you don't pursue it, then it will pursue YOU.

A lot of things have come and go in my life. My desires change. My motivation to do things come and go, to the point where I am never sure if something that I become passionate about is going to be real and lasting {and having mood disorder definitely does NOT help that!}.

There have been two things in my life that have been totally consistent...real passions...true callings...

{1} Teaching dance & choreographing.
Even when I was a little girl, I would put on my favorite music in the living room and dance. But it wasn't just dancing around. No, I had specific moves in my head that just came to me when I heard the song. As I got older and started studying dance, I could never fight the urge to create dances. The need to choreograph and set pieces on other dancers just flowed out of me constantly. Even if there was no place or occasion to perform, teaching a new piece to my dancer friends or students was the greatest outlet I had! I love being in ballet class, and I absolutely adore teaching the little ones ballet basics and teaching them how to be "princesses"...but choreography is where my heart is!

{2} Mental & Emotional Health
I won't say much about this because if you click on the tabs along the top of this blog, you can read more about this passion of mine.

Consistency is very, very important to me. 
I'm used to things not lasting very long in my world.

Has anyone ever seen THIS?? Because this is pretty much the story of my life...ha!

And most of the time I hate that...but that's the way it is. I'm used to it now.

So anything that lasts...anything that I never doubt or question...it must be something very special and very important. 

The other thing that I never question or doubt is GOD, and who He is. 
And I know that I know, that God placed these two passions in my heart and kept them there and fueled them for a purpose.

I'm really not quite sure of how this is going to work, because I've been wanting to do this for such a long time now...but I want to start a ministry. One that combines both of my passions, using them to further the kingdom.

I have always thought that in order to minister to others, I have to be completely fixed myself. I have always thought that since I am not yet totally "healthy", or not yet past my struggles that have plagued me for years, I can't help someone else. And part of me still thinks so, and I question myself...even at this moment as I'm writing and re-reading what I'm writing. My gut suddenly becomes sad, and I say to myself, "This isn't going to work. It's gonna be like everything else in my life...and it's just gonna phase itself out." But God is stronger than that...and He has undoubtedly stirred a passion in my heart. 

I really have no idea where to even start. I just know it's been percolating in my head for quite a long time now. I've had so many concepts and ideas in my head for this, and I think they have a lot of potential, but I keep putting stuff off, because the thought of "you're not good enough to do this" has always come creeping back in. 
But enough is enough already...I'm ready to get this thing started! But how?...

And I'm having a very difficult time putting my thoughts into words right now. I know this post is kind of all over the place. I'm gonna be writing more specifically about all of this, once I've had time to quiet and clear my "busy brain", and pray over EVERY. LITTLE. THING. I want to step outside of my doubts and fears. I want to push through even what seems like an insurmountable mood disorder preventing me from moving forward. {Faith the size of a mustard seed?...Yes! And that mountain will move!}

Changing Perspective {Or...at least trying}

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Okay...I fully admit that I am an over-thinker.
{And I've been called out on this so many times...which I don't mind because, believe me...I know!}

I am constantly asking the "what if" questions and allowing my brain to work up crazy scenarios that probably don't even, or would never even exist.
But even more than that...I am constantly asking the "why" questions. Even if they don't have answers that I can come up with on my own.

If you're new to my blog, I've said from day one writing in this blog {and on my "ABOUT ME" page, CLICK HERE!} that I believe in being real and genuine. I believe in transparency.

So, I'm going to be transparent for a little bit here...

I'm a girl with a lot of damage and a lot of past hurts.

I have a massively long list of self-esteem and self-image issues.

I don't ever let people know about these things...because I'm so sure they'll leave me if they know.

I've told myself that my insecurities had lessened over the past couple of years, and that I had overcome so many of them...when actually they had gotten a lot worse. Whether I want to admit it or not, I am still convinced that I'm not worthy of being loved. 

But that's not how God sees me...
And that's supposed to be the most important thing. And if I ever want to see myself as valuable, beautiful, and worthy of love, I need to truly believe and accept how God views me, first.

It is very clear, all throughout the Bible, how loved we are by the Lord.
One of my favorite verses talks about how "He rejoices over us with singing." {Zeph. 3:17} He has made me "fearfully and wonderfully." {Psalm 139:14} He calls us "beloved" and means it! 

And there's so much more!

So why has that never been enough for me? Why can't I accept that and view myself that way?
Ah, there's the lovely "why" question...

And this is only two out of many questions that I've been asking myself over the last few days..........actually for weeks and months..........but mostly just the last few days. 

I've been dealing with some huge mental blocks for a very long time.
I've written about them before...and it's easy for me to say I'm going to make changes and set goals for myself and just learn how to fix them.
I've written plenty of posts about overcoming obstacles and reaffirming my negative thoughts with positive, Godly ones. But they never last.
And I've even said that only God can truly fix my struggles and heal what has hurt me in my past. And I've said that I want to let Him do that.
But I haven't. And I can't. I just can't.

So, I'm asking for loads and loads of prayers from all of you! I want to be able to accept God's perfect love for me and see myself the way He sees me. I don't know why I can't...but I can't. My head has been SO FULL of lies for so long, I guess I just can't imagine what it would be like to think ANY other way.

Thank you for your prayers, my friends.