December 30, 2013

A Look Back At 2013....

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year! 2013 has certainly flown by hasn't it? I had big plans for topics to blog about in 2013 but those plans changed....but it is all good! God changed my focus to what he felt was most important....

Ministry Update

In November 2012, I enrolled in the Eagles International Training Institute (EITI). This is an intense one (1) year long program for dance ministers who desire to learn more about the ministry of dance and to become more equipped to preach God's word through movement. I had assignments to submit monthly, which were  usually a minimum of 20 pages in length. As soon as I finished one assignment, I'd take a breath and then prepare to complete the next assignment. This required much of my time; however, I learned so much  about the ministry of dance and received confirmation from God regarding some desires and goals I have related to dance. Ministry school, in addition to my full-time job as a Special Education Teacher, coaching the girl's soccer team at the school where I teach, and ministry at church...whew, I was busy!! BUT by God's grace, I graduated from EITI-Year 1 on Friday, October 11, 2013. I am a Licensed Minister of Dance! To God be ALL THE GLORY!  I am currently enrolled in EITI-Year 2, which focuses on dance choreography. This is my graduation photo from October, 2013.

I also attended a praise dance conference in Arlington, VA in August. As an outreach, we ministered in North Senate Park, in front of the Capital building! That was fun and a blessing!!

The Natural Journey....
Another journey that began for me this year was changing to more natural products to use for hair and skin care, household cleaning, laundry, etc. I've been striving to become a Proverbs 31 woman; this journey began in 2011, when I began sewing my own clothing and striving for overall self-improvement. That same year, I began making my own face astringent, laundry soap, toothpaste and mouthwash. Praise God, I made tremendous growth in this area this year!
The biggest step in this journey, after prayer and research, was making the decision to transition from relaxed to natural hair. I had my last relaxer in June 2012 and I had been struggling with whether or not to get another relaxer. So I began researching the pros and cons of natural hair and how to care for it. Through my research, I learned that natural hair is healthier overall and it is easier for your hair to grow when you are not constantly exposing it to relaxers, chemicals and heating tools. So, no more relaxers! I will be sharing more about my journey in upcoming months....I promise!!!
After making the decision about my hair, I began praying about other changes that I could make in order to take better care of God's temple. Well God sure answers prayers! This past summer, I was introduced to castile soap. I had gone swimming at a friend's home and had forgotten my body wash. So I asked to borrow some body wash....instead I was handed some liquid castile soap, which was peppermint scent.  I loved the smell of the soap and how good  and clean my skin felt afterwards. When I read the ingredients, I noticed that everything in castile soap was natural. So I started using the almond scent and peppermint scent for body wash. This sparked me to look for other natural products.  Praise God for the Internet and YouTube (YES, there are GREAT things on YouTube). Now I make the following using all natural ingredients: deodorant, face wash, body butter, shampoo, conditioner/leave in conditioner, hair gel, dish soap, and fabric softener. Not only are the ingredients used in these products natural, but they will save you money. Throughout 2014, I will be sharing the recipes for all these products (and more) and showing you how to make them.

Looking Forward to 2014...

I am excited about the direction that I feel God is leading me to take with this blog. The blog will continue to address ministry, praise/liturgical dance, and domestic violence. I will also be blogging about common natural products that can be used for hair and skin care. Other topics will include sewing, modesty, encouragement, Bible study, self-improvement and, overall, living life as a Proverbs 31 woman. We (including me!!) are all a work in progress. I pray this blog will be a blessing to everyone. And I am looking forward to hearing how God is moving in your lives. Happy 2014!

January 28, 2013

Space Shuttle Challenger....27 year later

I must admit, I am a NASA Nerd! I love watching NASA TV and to keep up with what is going on aboard the International Space Station, watching new crew members going to live aboard the space station and watching old crew members return to Earth and sharing their experiences of living in space. If I could become an Astronaut today, I'd do it!!

However, my heart still aches for the shuttle disasters that have occurred. Space Shuttle Challenger is very near and dear to my heart. This event changed my career path and deterred me from pursuing my dream of becoming an Astronaut. Nonetheless, 27 years later, I still remember the day...January 28, it was yesterday (see my January 28, 2012 blog about Space Shuttle Challenger).

From left to right: Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Commander Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka.

The Challenger 7.

The Challenger 7 taking the historic walk-way from crew quarters and the suit-up room to the Astro Van. This walk-way has been used by every shuttle crew since the Apollo missions.


January 22, 2013

The Lifestyle of a Dance Minister, Part 2

Please read  the original post "The Lifestyle of a Dance Minister" posted on 5/5/2010 along with this post.

“If your lifestyle outside of the ministry is not the same as your lifestyle within the ministry, when you dance you are not ministering but just performing.”

The Lord dropped that in my spirit in May, 2010 and I was led to blog about it. This was during a time when I was crying to the Lord because I’d seen some liturgical dancers, who’s lifestyles outside of the ministry were the complete opposite of what they were ministering. What I saw really disturbed my spirit. At one point, I questioned myself and my lifestyle. I even asked God “am I too much of a Christian.” But the song by Israel Houghton says “I know who I am”. And, it is often said “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
With that having been said, part 2 of that blog: I encourage and challenge all Christians, especially Liturgical Dancers to check out your Facebook page....yes, I said your Facebook page. Pray, look at your photos, your posts, the fan pages that you've liked, etc. Does your Facebook page reflect the Godly lifestyle of a dance minister? A Christian? A child of God?


Over the past few years, I've seen some Facebook pages of many liturgical/praise dancers: some that I know personally, some that I know casually from conferences or ministry events, and some that I have never met. I've seen dancers have one photo of them in a 2 piece swimsuit, with parts of their breasts exposed, then the next photo is the same person, covered from head to toe in a dance garment. Or the dancer who has on skinny jeans and a revealing top, who is on the way to a concert of nothing but worldly music from singers who are clearly not walking with the Lord (and have been known to do everything but have real sex on stage), but then in the next breath they say they can't get too wild or yell too much at the concert because they must conserve strength to praise dance or to sing in the choir the next morning at church. Or the praise dancer whose profile photo is them with their middle finger extended. Or the dance leader, who is a married woman with children, whose Facebook profile photo is her standing against a wall, appearing to be expecting to be frisked, while she is wearing a  tight mini skirt which barely covers her bottom, 5 inch heels and fishnet stockings. Please forgive me if I sound harsh or step on someone's toes but that kind of photo is for your husband's eyes only. Or the dance leader who has photos of her doing shots at a party or a club. Or under "where you attended school" they claim to have studied at "slap a bit--- university". Or  the one who lists their occupation as " the head bit--". Or the dancer who's posts are nothing but profanity". Yes, I've seen all of this and then some; I've deleted a lot of people because of this. In fact, I was Facebook friends with a gentleman (who I did not know personally) who was a Youth Pastor. However, when I looked at his Facebook page, he had a female Facebook friend whose name reflected that of, shall we say, an entertainer. Well me being nosey, I looked up her website. I nearly fell over, her website was a pornography site for men who like full-figured women. I was floored; I deleted and blocked him.

Ask yourself: "What kind of witness for the Lord is my Facebook projecting?" When I've ministered at events or attended conferences; typically people that you make contact with want to exchange email addresses and Facebook information to keep in touch. What kind of witness is your Facebook page when you've ministered and blessed the house of God (or wherever God used you), then someone looks at your Facebook page to find photos of you partially nude, posts where you are cursing, or worse yet, talking about preparations that you are making to go dance at the club later? Would that person want to invite you to minister again? Or would they question if what you ministered was just a performance or worse yet, a lie?.......James 1:8..."a double minded man is unstable in all his ways".

Dance leaders, if you see this from your dancers on their Facebook page, I encourage you to talk to them and explain what James 1:8 means. It is difficult to serve the Lord in ministry and serve the world on Facebook. It will diminish there witness. It could also affect your ministry. Perhaps you have tagged one of your dancers in a photo, someone looks at his or her page...and they gaze upon profane posts and ungodly photos. People may question what type of people are in your ministry.

Matthew 6: 24 says “no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other…”. We can't serve God in our churches and in the community then serve the world on Facebook.
Furthermore, as Christians, we need to strive to build people up and give them a sense of hope. We don't want our Facebook pages to be a stumbling block to others.

But most importantly, and above all, God sees our Facebook pages. What does God think of your Facebook page? Everything that we say and do should bring glory to our heavenly Father. Does that mean being perfect? Of course not!  With that being said, Romans 8:1 says "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Christians, it's time to clean up our Facebook pages! Let's reflect who we are....children of God!! Remember before we are Pastors, Apostles, Praise Dancers, we are children of God. As the song goes "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine....(even on Facebook!).

This song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Do Everything" says is all.....God bless!

January 13, 2013

Words of Inspiration for 2013

My Principal shared these with the teachers and staff to begin the 2nd semester of the 2012-2013 school year. I was blessed tremendously by these and asked her for a copy. I pray that you will find some nuggets of wisdom in these.
In addition to these word, always remember:
Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths."
God bless!

20 Tips for a Positive New Year:
1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.
2. Take a morning walk of gratitude. I call it a "Thank You Walk." It will create a fertile mind ready for success.
3. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
4. Zoom Focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: "What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?" Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.
5. Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think optimistically about where you are going.
6. Remember that adversity is not a dead-end but a detour to a better    outcome. 
7. Don't chase success. Instead decide to make a difference and success will find you. 
8. Get more sleep. You can't replace sleep with a double latte.
9. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
10. Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.
11. Live with the 3 E's. Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy. 
12. Remember there's no substitute for hard work. 
13. Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.
14. Implement the No Complaining Rule. Remember that complaining is like vomiting.   Afterwards you feel better but everyone around you feels sick. 
15. Read more books than you did in 2012.
16. Don't seek happiness. Instead decide to live with passion and purpose and happiness will find you. 
17. Focus on "Get to" vs "Have to." Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation. 
18. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:  I am thankful for __________.   Today I accomplished____________.
19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants. 
20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

January 3, 2013

To Resolution or Not.....

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013. Thank you God for another year!

I just wanted to begin the new year by saying hello and God bless you!

This year I've decided NOT to make any new year's resolutions per se. I looked at all the areas of my life that I am not happy with and yes, that does include my weight, attitude, bad habits, etc. This year, I am going to work overall on self improvement. In the past, I've done the whole "new year's resolution list" of everything that I want to accomplish and most of the time, it never gets done.

Another thing I encourage you to do, along with self improvement, is to do things that you've always wanted to do but did not or have not. For example, I have ALWAYS wanted to take a formal ballet class. When I started praise dancing in 2002, I felt I really needed ballet training. However, many discouraged me and I never went forth with taking classes. Well, on August 29, 2012, I took my first formal ballet class!! I've been going faithfully, once a week, since then.  Then the ladies in my ballet class decided they wanted to learn tap. I was so excited, I felt like a young child!!! I could not wait to get to the dance store to purchase some tap shoes!!! I purchased my first pair of tap shoes ever on November 24, 2012 and now take tap classes as well. These things were not on my "new year's resolution list for 2012" but they were desires that I've always had.  I thank God for fulfilling those desires! Think you are too old.....did I mention that I am WELL over 35? :-)

So, with that being said,  I will be sharing here frequently about "self improvement steps" I am working on. I hope they bless you! Stay tuned.................