Just Breathe

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"...Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

When there is something {or in many cases, multiple things} weighing on my mind, I tend to try and get as busy as I possibly can.
Don't get me wrong, I actually like being busy! It's not as though I'm filling my time with things I don't really want to do. I love everything I do. And if it's earning me extra money, well, added bonus!

But sometimes, no matter how many things I try to do, or how much I try to fill my time, it's never enough. There's no way for me to cover up the hurt, stress, or worry that I'm feeling.

More recently it's been like that.
And I've been forgetting to just be still and experience the Lord...to just be in His presence, and give Him my fears and anxieties. 
I've never, ever been good at that. And I haven't ever allowed myself to just stop...because what if I'm neglecting something I should be doing? I'll let someone {or many people} down if I don't get everything done and just stay on top of everything. Or what if I stop, and end up just breaking down? What if I can't get back up after that? What if...what if...what if...?

Charlie Brown understands :))
But really that's pretty much what it's like sometimes.

The other day, I asked a friend to pray for me, saying, "I haven't. I can't. I'm afraid of the answer."

She said, "You may not be ready to pray, but I will. And I won't pray for answers, just guidance and discernment."

And I'm pretty sure that, right upon leaving, she must have prayed right away. Because I turned on the radio, and within minutes, this song came on...I had never heard it before {and now it's all I can listen to}. But I couldn't help thinking, that maybe this was God talking. Reminding me to stop first, refocus, and "JUST BREATHE"...all I need is Him.

Now of course, I don't always buy into that sort of mentality. I don't necessarily believe that I was "destined" to hear this song in the car at that moment. It easily could've just been that THAT was the song the DJ just happened to pick for that music set.
But even if it wasn't actually "meant for me", it still really helped. It was what I needed to hear.

And now I'm sharing it here, in hopes that it will encourage someone else today.
I know I am not the greatest example of this because sometimes it really doesn't help me.
But I just wanted to urge you, no matter what you are struggling with in this moment, don't be afraid to stop...

"...and breathe, just breathe.
Come and rest at my feet,
and be, just be.
Chaos calls, but all you really need
is to just breathe."

The 10 Most UNDERrated Disney Movies

Friday, March 18, 2016

One of the first things I ask students in my preschool ballet classes is, "Who is your favorite princess?"

Most of the time I get responses like Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel...and in more recent years, Elsa {but of course!}

I was just like these little ones!
I wanted to sing just like Cinderella.
I wanted to BE Belle, and I used to make people call me Belle.
And of course I loved my other classic princesses, Aurora and Ariel...and Lion King is definitely one of the greatest Disney {or animated really!} movies of all time! 
I could recite most, if not all, of the dialogue and lyrics from all of those movies {perks of having an auditory memory}. And in fact, I am still such a huge fan of them, and they definitely deserve all of the fanfare they get. 

Okay, so I'll admit to loving Frozen the first time I saw it, too.  The characters, the songs, the fact that it was about a bond between two sisters and not all about "true love's kiss"...yeah...I did love it. But I'm not sure it was worth the three year hype that it's had.

But this post isn't going to be about all of those movies with songs that every single Disney-loving human can sing on cue. We're going to talk about those less-than-appreciated films that should for sure get a little {okay, maybe a lot} more love.

So, without further ado, here is my personal ranking of...

The 10 Most UNDERrated Disney Movies...

{ten} Fantasia 2000

The classical music fanatic in me loves this! How neat is it to see inside the minds of people who created these visuals, all from what they heard in a classical piece. Talk about brilliant! I tend to picture choreography of course, but these people asked question, if music could be SEEN, what would it LOOK like? Look what they've done with Beethoven's 5th Symphony, one of the most recognizable pieces in classical music history! 

{nine} The Fox & the Hound

I saw this movie once when I was much younger. It completely broke my little heart in half, and I never watched it again. But I don't say this to turn you off from allowing your children to watch it, because maybe it would be too traumatic ;)) Having watched it again more recently, I realized that it definitely is a very sweet movie...even though I was the one who sat on the couch bawling my eyes out, while cuddling the adorable 3-year-old I was babysitting that day {who, by the way, was not affected by the sadness factor AT ALL!}. As sad as it may be, it definitely belongs on this list! 

{P/S...watch the above scene at your own risk. You've been warned.}

{eight} Little Mermaid II

Usually I don't love sequels. And in fact, much of the time I don't even like them. But this one, about classic Disney princess Ariel's daughter, Melody, was great! 

{seven} Lion King II

Yep, another sequel! This time about Simba's daughter, Kiara. Of course, no Disney movie at all could ever come close to topping the original Lion King. But the music {especially the opening number I've posted here}, character development, and plot in this sequel make for a very good film.

{six} Lilo & Stitch

Another one that made me cry! Clearly it doesn't take much! The comedic elements in this movie are great too, but my favorite thing is that it shows that not all families are perfect. Some of them are broken and messy, but, "Still good. Yeah. Still good." Oh yeah, and it teaches us that Elvis is timeless. Added bonus :))

{five} Mulan

Want a movie about a strong, beautiful warrior girl who steps up, fights in battles, and brings honor to her family? Look no further than Mulan! AND! It has THIS..Donny Osmond singing "I'll Make a Man out of you"...I mean, COME ON NOW! Just saying.

{four} Pocahontas

No it's not historically accurate. But forget about that, and focus on the characters {I personally am I huge fan of Grandmother Willow}, and the MUSIC!

{three} Tarzan

Phil Collins does the music for this movie. Enough said.

{two} Mary Poppins

When I ask my students if they've seen Mary Poppins, and a majority of them say, "No," I am SHOCKED! I mean............WHAT?! No really though! WHAT?!

{one} The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I have way too many good things to say about this movie, which is why it's my number one here! It's a little bit darker, but I think that's what makes it great. The music is very different from any other Disney movie...and the plot line and characters are way less typical or "cliche". I recently listened to the soundtrack from the movie, which is what gave me the idea for this post to begin with! I knew right away that THIS movie would be my top choice!

So which ones am I missing?
Is there an underrated Disney movie you love that YOU think should be a part of this list?

And Here's who I've Nominated!

Monday, March 14, 2016

After a CRAZY week of concert rehearsals, and an exciting weekend of performances, I have finally been able to sit down, and work on this post! I was so excited to receive the Liebster Award for my blog, and now it is my privilege to nominate these lovely ladies and their blogs for the award as well!

Ashley from Ashley Ann Plan

Haley from Cotton and Dot

Ashlee from Sparkles by Ashlee

Kelly from Blossom in Faith

Go check out their blogs! You'll be glad you did!

Okay, girlies, here are the rules...and then your questions are below that...

Here are the official rules:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 5 – 11 (but this may need to be flexible at the moment here on the Peony Project!!) blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

1. What is your dream career?
2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration in life?
3. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
4. Do you have a favorite blog? Or maybe a few! Share them with us!
5. What is the best advice you have ever received?
6. What television shows are you completely addicted to (current, or on Netflix/Amazon/etc)?
7. What is your favorite quote?
8. If you could bring back something from another generation that we no longer do or use today, what would that be? 
9. If you could be friends with any fictional character, who would it be?
10. Which book have you read that has had the biggest impact on you?
11. If you could change one thing about the world what would that be?

Okay ladies...now 11 random facts about you!! Ready, set, go!
Have fun! I'm really looking forward to reading your responses!!

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Monday, March 7, 2016

YEY!!! Finally the blog is on Bloglovin!! Go follow me there!! XOXO

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I'm a Liebster Nominee!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I'm so very, very excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award! I'm super grateful to Diane from the blog Happy Wife and Mother for the nomination!

So here's how this goes...

Diane has given me 11 questions to answer, and then I've listed 11 random facts about myself. After all of that, my part is to nominate other blogs to receive this award...which I'm really looking forward to doing! It's a great way to get to know other bloggers!

 And these questions were a lot of fun to answer.  Here we go!

1. What makes you really happy?
Oh my goodness, I actually wrote an entire post dedicated to this! {it's right here...15 things that make me INSANELY Happy!} But probably the best things would be when someone gives me a gift unexpectedly (my love language is gifts), and my dance students...and more lately, singing again has been making me so unbelievably happy! I found a new voice teacher this past summer, and she's been coaching me on music for an opera competition next month! I cannot wait! 

2. What's your favourite time of year and why?
We are actually coming up on my favorite time of year...and that's SPRINGTIME! Where I live, winter is so ridiculously long and I struggle my way through it.  I love the spring because the sun finally starts coming out, the temperature gets warmer, and everything looks beautiful! It's like the world comes back to life (or at least the northern hemisphere, ha!)...and I'm reminded of what an artist our God is!

3. Share with us who Jesus Christ is to you!
Jesus is the One I strive to reflect in my every day life.  He is the friend of sinners, hope to the hopeless, and father to the fatherless.  He loved every lost cause and every outcast, and THEY were the whole reason he came to this earth! He is absolutely everything that is good, and everything that is truth...especially in this broken world, as well as in my own life! Everything I have, everything I am, is what he has made of me.  He's led me through everything in this life, even though I couldn't see it at the time, and I questioned it. Looking back on it, I see how he led me...that he HAD to bring me through, so I would grow in HIM.  

4. What is your favourite meal?
Mmm...there is absolutely nothing I love more than meatloaf (my grandmother's recipe) and creamy macaroni and cheese! I know it sounds kind of funny, but that it seriously my comfort food! Also, my aunt makes this delicious sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and brown sugar for Thanksgiving! I anticipate it every year! :))

5. Do you like muffins?  If so, what's your favourite?  (Mine is chocolate chip)
Oh I do like muffins! And I love chocolate chip too. But my favorite is white chocolate raspberry. Especially when they are warm, and the white chocolate is all melty and gooey inside...yummmmm.

6. Your favourite movie of all time?
You know, I think for most people answering this question might be hard. But I don't even have to think about it! My favorite movies of all time would be the Anne of Green Gables trilogy. And YES they count as one, because they all go together :)) I could watch those movies every single day, and never get tired of them!

7. Which authors if any, do you read?
I can't say that I stick to one particular author.  At least, I haven't found one yet that has made me highly anticipate their next book time and time again. I guess the one exception was Donna VanLiere who wrote the Christmas Shoes series. I always get so excited whenever she comes out with a new one! I love the way she incorporates all of her characters from the previous novels into the newest ones, interweaving them with the new characters. And every single book in the series has a twist that you never see coming! 

8. Where do you live?
I live in the state of Indiana, in a town called Mishawaka. I'm content enough here for now, but most of the time I wish I lived somewhere that was warm year round.

9. Do you have pets?  If so, what are they?
Yes! My sweet yellow labrador, Libby...and she still lives with my parents, but I love that I get to see her whenever I go over there.  She's getting pretty old now, but she's just the sweetest, and I'm pretty sure she still thinks she's a puppy sometimes.  She took really good care of me when I had surgery several years ago.  She was like my nurse dog, never leaving my side.  But I also must say, I am pretty head over heals for the boyfriend's dog, Hershel. He's a beautiful, chocolate colored Chesapeake Bay retriever.  He's my buddy :))

10. Why do you blog?
Good question! I've actually been thinking about that recently. I found a quote recently that perfectly sums up the "WHY"...
"You will have significant experiences. I hope you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experiences.” -- Gordon B. Hinkley
I love to look back and see how I've grown since writing past entires. I love to encourage other people when I'm writing, and I hope it DOES build others up.  But also, aside from all of that, I am grateful for the opportunity to use my blog as a platform to spread awareness, and end the stigma of mental illness. And THAT'S my biggest passion in life!

11. Your dream day would look like ...?
Anything that involves traveling...and anywhere I would be in the mountains.  All I would wanna do is sit somewhere with a beautiful view and warm sunshine, and soak up the beauty of God's creation. This is the kind of place where I can really experience and hear from the Lord. Those are the kind of days I love the most.

And now...11 random facts about me...

I would rather listen to music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, & 80s before I would listen to pretty ANY current music.

I love period movies and tv shows, like Pride & Prejudice, Downton Abbey, and of course Anne of Green Gables!

If I see anything in the store that is floral or lace, I can't stay away from it. And I usually end up buying it!

I kinda hate being a part of my generation sometimes. I often wish that we could keep all the mannerisms, music, books, movies, and lifestyles from generations before this one...while also still having all of the advanced technology we do have today. Now that would be an ideal world in my mind :))

I still take ballet classes to get back into shape. Right now I'm not even close, but I have goals for ballet this year, and I'm actually working on them this time!

I attend a mega-church...and I LOVE IT!!!

Outside of listening to "oldies" music, I also have an endless supply of Irish Celtic music! Oh, and "old school" contemporary Christian...which I guess kinda counts as oldies too...but I'm talking 90s and early '00s :))

My personality type is ENFP...and I highly encourage anyone else to find their type too! And learn about other peoples' types while you're at it! The human mind is a fascinating thing!

 I'm adopted.

My brain is like an on/off switch. I'll get really excited, or really into something for awhile, and then all of a sudden I won't care anymore. It's such an all or nothing mentality. And I'm trying to change that. It's hard.

My top 5 musicals are Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Hairspray, and Lion King.

In another post, I'll be nominating a few other bloggers for the Liebster Award! I'm really looking forward to getting to know some other lovely ladies!