Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jesus is King


“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”

~ Luke 8:39

Presenting with excitement, I introduce to you Testimony Tuesdays!!! A testimony by definition is: a formal written or spoken statement, a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. The Bible commands us in numerous places to bring praise, glory, and honor to our God by proclaiming, declaring, and telling about His marvelous works to others. That is the purpose and heart behind this installment for my Tuesday posts. Each Tuesday (more or less), a testimony will be shared here involving the recounting of salvation, redemption, overcoming, and/or healing just to name a few; A story that brings glory to our God and in which we might be encouraged, spurred on, and challenged with at the same time.The stories that will be shared will either be of my own personal experiences, excerpts from books, testimonies I find via youtube or other media sources, as well as YOURS! I would love to know and give you the opportunity to share here with us a testimony of your own, of whatever fashion that involves the Lord doing a transforming work in your life. Just email me your testimony and I will see what I can do about posting it on a future Tuesday! You may choose to have your name be known or anonymous. I look forward to hearing from you!

Though I think we all can agree that there are some legitimate concerns and hesitations to be had about the fact that Donald Trump has been elected president for our country's upcoming term, the people have spoken and it is what it is. I remind myself that God IS in control and it is HE who ultimately chooses what men are to be placed in power.

  • "The God of heaven gives dominion and power and might and glory" Daniel 2:36b

    • "He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." Daniel 2:21

    History repeats itself. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The situation we find ourselves in somewhat reminds me of the wicked pharaoh that ruled in Egypt during the time of Moses, and how the God allowed it to be, and how the bible states that the Lord himself hardened pharaohs heart (Exodus 9:12). The apostle Paul sheds some light on God's motives for doing so

    •  "For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, 'I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth." Romans 9:17

    Gods ways are higher than ours and  I choose to trust him. 

    • "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

      • "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

        • "If God is for us, who can be against us? " Romans 8:31

        Trump may be taking his seat as president in the oval office in a couple of months, But our God enthroned on high still reigns supreme and sovereign over all. 

        As American citizens and followers of Christ, our duty is the following:

        • "...to submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." Romans 13:1

          • "... to be peacemakers, for they are blessed and will be called children of God" Matthew 5:9

          Though some may have little certainty, peace, and/or confidence concerning the start of this coming year, I do find comfort in the fact that President Elect Donald Trump has exhibited a fairly conservative platform, standing up for life, evangelicals, and religious liberty, which I deeply appreciate. I know he has also exhibited a lot of other less desirable postures, BUT  I also find hope in Trump's running mate Mike Pence, who is an outspoken Christian! This video that has been making its way around social media is just remarkable and refreshing! I am extremely grateful for Mike Pence; a man who cherishes the life, liberties, and traditions that our nation was founded on. Check it out!

          Fellow Christians, even though the election season is all said and done, please remember and continue to keep our nation and President Elect Donald Trump in your prayers! Our country needs it, NOT "now more than ever", but ALWAYS!

          1. Pray that God supply President Trump with divine strength, guidance, and wisdom.
          2. Pray that Donald Trump would be seeking wise, godly counsel from others and implement it.
          3. Pray that he would not waver from his endorsed conservative stances.
          4.  Pray that Trump would continue to defend the rights of believers.
          5. Despite the short comings Trump may have, pray that he would be used in our country in the way God desires, and that "God's power might be displayed, and His fame spread throughout the earth through Trump".
          6.  Pray that President Trump would express continued loyalty with Israel and preserve our relationship with them and support for them.
          7.  Pray for the members of our body; Christians across the nation and that we would be peacemakers, peacefully and graciously submitting to governing authorities, and not wavering, but being strengthened in our faith all the while.

          In hopes of refreshing your soul, I will now leave with you with this wonderful song by Sovereign Grace Music called "Behold our God". Be Blessed! 

            Lyrics to
          BEHOLD OUR GOD  -by Sovereign Grace Music

          Who has held the oceans in His hands?
          Who has numbered every grain of sand?
          Kings and nations tremble at His voice
          All creation rises to rejoice

          Behold our God seated on His throne
          Come, let us adore Him
          Behold our King—nothing can compare
          Come, let us adore Him

          Who has given counsel to the Lord?
          Who can question any of His words?
          Who can teach the One who knows all things?
          Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

          Who has felt the nails upon His hands?
          Bearing all the guilt of sinful man
          God eternal, humbled to the grave
          Jesus, Savior, risen now to reign

          You will reign forever
          Let Your glory fill the earth

          What do you think about all this?
          Thanks for stopping by!
          Please! comment, follow, subscribe, and don't be shy!

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          Friday, November 18, 2016

          Flat Tire - No Problem!

          Meet Boswell, my very first, one and only ever owned vehicle. We met in the summer of 2012 and since then, our relationship has only grown! We have been through a lot together. We have a special relationship. Boswell is so faithful. I NEVER take him for granted! I love my Car! I suppose a special bond; an appreciation if you will, is formed when one invests an extravagant amount of resources into obtaining a desired object of great value, as I have experienced in my case with Boswell. I'm grateful to my wise and well-balanced parents for encouraging me to work, earn, and purchase things for myself, instead of them just spoiling me by placing my every want and need into my lap, potentially robbing me of the good life experience and discipline that is produced by working for things.

          I still consider myself to be a novice when it comes to driving. I have been driving for a little under five years. I am a confident driver, but I am well aware that I still have much to experience. Corny maybe, but every time I experience something for the first time, I 'celebrate' in my head, like my first intersection, or my first road trip for example. This past Sunday I got my first flat tire! Usually, that would be a frustrating thing, but I couldn't help but find myself celebrating in my head! I guess I just enjoy gaining life experience and learning from it.
          The best part about my flat tire adventure is that it happened at church. Actually, I guess it happened at some point on my way to church. My driver's side rear tire rolled over a nail-like shard of metal, but I didn't notice that it was flat until after our church service was over, and I was getting ready to leave. I don't know what I would have done if my tire would have gone flat while I was on the highway, or if it would have caused my car to spin out of control amid driving... I am just glad those things DIDN'T happen!

          I was SO blessed by the people at my small little church who all just pulled together to help me out! The experience was so painless! Through my friends at church, God revealed himself to me that day as Jehovah Jireh (God, our Provider)! He is such a good Father; such an awesome provider! Any time I find myself in a tough situation, if I choose to trust Him enough, it's like 1.) a supernatural peace comes over me and 2.) God doesn't waste any time taking the situation over and using it to display His sovereignty, provision, and love for His children.

          Some of the members of my "emergency road-side assistance dream team" from church! I not only learned a bit about God's character that day, but I also learned quite a bit about my car and about tires from these people!

          It's like, God didn't even give me enough time to fret before reassuring me that it would all turn out okay. One person donated their tire pressure gauge, another person had a tire repair kit, and another had a portable air pump to refill my tire! It was a church functioning at it's best!
          "Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." ~Romans 12:13
          My car was back in "rolling" order in no time and without even spending a dime! I learned a lot about my car and tire care that day. Below, I have composed a list of must-have items I've learned about and need to invest in getting, just in case I ever find myself in this situation again, but without all my God-sent friends there to help me...

          #1 This Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

          #2 An Automotive Portable Air Pump 

          like this one... 12V DC Auto Portable Air Compressor Pump -$24.87

          #3 This Handy Dandy Tire Repair Kit

          AllTools Tire Repair Kit - $17.99

          The plugs that are used to patch the holes in tires look like little sticks of beef jerky! ^_^ 

          #4 Fix-a-Flat
          Fix-A-Flat S430 Aerosol Tire Inflator with Hose for Large Tires - 20 oz. -$13.61

          My friend from church assured me that this easy to use product would not let me down if I found myself stranded due to a flat tire. It was mentioned that Fix-a-flat is not exactly the healthiest option for your tires, but that it would be a reliable fix in the case of an emergency. It is more of a Bandaid than an actual repair. learn more about this product HERE.

          #5 AAA 24/7 Roadside Assistance


          Triple A is actually something I already do have, thanks to my parents, and I've discovered it to be an extremely worth while investment! They provide a myriad of different services and have saved me/this inexperienced driver a number of times for different reasons. No matter what, I can rest assured driving around, knowing AAA has my back! I can't speak more highly about them! 

          #Christmasiscoming #GodisGood #Itsthelittlethings 

          It's always good to be prepared!
          With the holidays approaching, more people will be traveling. Please be safe!
           Thank you for taking the time to read my posts!
          What other kinds of essentials do you keep nearby on road trips?
          leave me a comment below!

          NOTE: Featured Amazon products in this post are sponsored BUT are presented in an honest light based on my genuine personal experience, choice, preference, and opinions.
          PS: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking links may lead me to receive a small commission. All products mentioned above are also available HERE.
          Thanks for your Support!
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          Monday, November 14, 2016

          Christmas Tour Time

          Tour season is not quite over yet. The Ballet Magnificat Alpha Company returned only two weeks ago, from our month long tour, just to be turning right back around. In Jackson, MS we've spent most of our days rehearsing and preparing for our upcoming Christmas tour and tomorrow we will once again head out, starting off our Christmas tour with a stop in Alabama for the Premier of our latest and greatest Christmas production called "Light Has Come". We partner together with the Omega Company every year to put on our Christmas productions which always makes for a great time and a spectacular show. Watch the videos below to take a sneak peak of what we've been working on these past couple weeks, and make sure you get tickets to see the real thing if you live in proximity to any of the cities we will be touring to!

          A video posted by Lillian Marie Ortiz (@oqpiedoptimist) on

          Follow me on Instagram at oqpiedoptimist for more video updates like these!

          Going on tour again means "Drive Days", long hours on the bus, and the challenge of figuring out what to do to pass the time. Although one might think long hours of travel would be very uncomfortable, drive days are one of my favorite things. First off, you actually probably can't get a more comfortable experience traveling than we do, with our luxurious Prevost bus. It has couches, a gallery kitchen, a bathroom and is usually wonderfully spacious, though we will see just how spacious it is now that the usual number of passengers will be nearly doubled with the Omega company is joining us. I am not worried about it though. The more, the merrier, I always say! I also love drive days because they are so restful in comparison to performance days, or even our days in town at the studio in which the physical workload is quite heavy. On drive days I like to read, spend time with the Lord, or do something crafty like crochet. Lately, with my collection of Le Pen's and colored pencils, I have been really into designing these wreaths.
          DIY Floral Wreath Designing Tutorial HERE!

          I find it therapeutic. I get to practice my calligraphy, and drawing all the little details of the flowers and leaves really does help time pass! In the near future, I am looking forward to sharing with you a step by step tutorial about designing wreaths. Whether it be made by using watercolor, or simply drawing the wreaths like I've done here, there are some fundamental tips and tricks I would like to offer, to get you inspired and creating beautiful, winsome, wreaths too! If this interests you, stay tuned! If you like the wreaths, but are not inclined to create them yourself, check out my shop where I will have some of my creations up for sale! Thank you always for your support!

          Please keep the Ballet Magnificat touring companies in your prayers 
          as we round out the season!
          Thank you for taking the time to read my posts!
          What kind of things do you recommend doing for passing the time during travel?
          leave me a comment below!
          comment, follow, subscribe, and don't be shy!

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          Sunday, November 6, 2016

          My Month Long Touring Adventure in Snap Shots

          This Saturday morning I'm feeling happy to be back in Jackson, MS, after a long month of touring across the country. I'm currently sitting in one of my most favorite places, the library, feeling at home. It is a place where I can find peace and quietness, clarity, and reflections. 

          As I think back on this past October, my heart is warmed, and filled with such thankfulness to the Lord for having filled my month with such sweet memories and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, shared with such wonderful people. I will try my best to report to you all that happened during The Alpha Company's trip to Texas, Oregon, California, and Colorado, and as you read about my adventures, I hope the pictures will aid in making you will feel as though you joined me on this trip.

          Week One -  On our way to  Lubbock, Texas

           The first night of tour was spent in an Exxon parking lot, sleeping in our bunks on our bus. After driving 400 some miles, not quite able to reach our hotel destination for the night, we discovered a problem with the hitch pulling our trailer. The metal hitch had a number of cracks and hairline fractures, that if breaking all the way through could have detached us entirely from our trailer. A risk we did not want to take, we stopped at the nearest exit and called it a night.

          God provided us with an excellent sunrise the next morning! ^_^

          On our stop  in a random church parking lot to meet the welder who was to work on our trailer hitch, Margot, Micky, and I got to meet this sweet Lady and her grand-daughter who lived nearby. I practiced a little of my Spanish with them, we told them about Ballet Magnificat, and gave them a free DVD of 'Snow Queen'.

          Eventually, by late evening we made it to Lubbock, Texas. It was so wonderful to be reunited with the old friends I had made in Lubbock, Texas earlier this year. The organization there that our friends are with is called Christ In The Arts (CITA). I love CITA; their talent, professionalism, and passion for seeing Jesus Christ lifted high!  They are very like minded with Ballet Magnificat. Our ministry has been in relation with them for quite some time. We were honored when they invited us to take part in their 10th-anniversary celebration performance. Ironically October 1st, the day of their 10th-anniversary performance marked Ballet Magnificat's 30th-year anniversary, to that exact date! Wow! for their 10th-anniversary performance they opened the night with an abbreviated version of their piece called 'Reborn'. Then we followed that with our presentation of 'Deliver Us', but our presentation of 'Deliver Us' that night was VERY special. For the first time ever I believe in all of Ballet Magnificat History, Ballet Mag dancers and other dancers from CITA came together to dance in 'Deliver Us', the roles of the slaves. The stage was very full, and it was EPIC! ^_^ Everyone did a great job dancing and working together, and it was so much fun!

          Natalie and I posing at the entrance of Christ In The Arts (a photo tradition :P )

          CITA and BMag dancers taking warm up class together

          Some of my CITA friends and I ... and some Ballet Mag Photo Bombers. ^_^ Can you figure out who they are?

           The CITA and BMag cast of Deliver Us slaves, looking fabulous

          Me as the Burning Bush with Sam as Moses in the background

          Week Two - ...to Klamath Falls, and  Salem, Oregon

          Traveling West...a part of the country I've NEVER seen before! But you always find
          interesting things at truck stops, no matter where you are.

          The scenery is changing. Enjoying the beautiful day, Catherine, Margot and I get off the bus to snap this photo at a look-out point, passing through Susanville, California. 

           We make it to Klamath Falls, Oregon and have a successful night of praise and worship performing 'The Arrival' and 'Deliver Us' at the Ross Ragland Theater. I loved that I got to see my old friend, a former trainee who I trained with was our sponsor.

          And I loved that my host in Klamath Falls, Oregon had a pet pig! ^_^

          In Salem, Oregon I was super blessed to be reunited with a dear friend and old roommate of mine Samantha Harikian, who is now the Artistic Director of the Christian Ballet Company 'Paradosi' and came all the way from Tacoma Washington to see us! I'm so proud of that girl and love her dearly! It was so good to see her!

          Alpha's very own former Salem resident, Sarah and her family took us to Pacific City to check out the Oregon Coast! This panorama shot was taken from atop a humongo sand dune!

          Atop the humongo sand dune this selfie was also taken; Maggie, Emma and I

          'Haystack Rock' can be seen in the distance.

          A day off in Portland, Oregon :

          We got to take an open ballet class at the Portland Ballet. What a great experience!

          We got to explore the city of Portland and eat at food trucks! They were everywhere!

          My dream of visiting Powell's Book store in Portland, Oregon has been fulfilled!

          Interesting. "Custom Poems- Your subject, Your Price" ...Only in Portland?!

          My day was absolutely MADE when I laid eyes on this over priced, 'homemade', Cinnamon Chai flavored Poptart at a local coffee shop Sarah recommended called Stumptown. You bet I had to buy it!

          Selfie Opp with Catherine and Micky!

          A list of places in Portland that our sponsor recommended we should check out

          Week Three - Bakersfield and Hanford, California

          Somehow I don't have very much documented from our time spent in Bakersfield. I can tell you that we kept busy teaching dance classes to local dance students, and had two performances there. I can also tell you without exaggeration that my most favorite performance that we did on this tour was in Bakersfield at Olive Knolls Christian School.  It was an elementary school assembly performance. We don't do performances for elementary schools very often, but man do I enjoy them! Children make great audience members, not to mention that we only did a few excerpts from 'The Arrival' and 'Deliver Us' so it was less physically demanding. In another sense, the performance was early in the morning and we had no warm up class for our bodies, which can be hard and pose a challenge. I was still absolutely blessed and felt like I had a 'break-through' moment there. 

          That day God freed me up from worrying about the effectiveness of my performance by showing me that I had to rely on his grace and strength to get me through the performance, even though I was not necessarily warmed up, feeling flexible, or strong. And to my surprise, my/our weak offering of praise was well received by our audience. Perhaps because our audience was full of ignorant 9 year olds, but regardless, I was reminded that our offering is ALWAYS well received by our Father in heaven when it is offered up with a pure heart. I was also reminded of how it is so much easier to be free in worship, and dance, and enjoyment on stage when I rely on the Lord and not myself. The pressure is off. I was able to apply this lesson to many other areas in my life for the remainder of the tour and it really gave me a boost of hope and strength. Maybe you can experience the same thing relying on God?

          In Hanford, California we caught up with our good friend, and faithful, long-time, loyal sponsor of Ballet Magnificat, Amy who is the Artistic Director of Bethel Ballet. In Hanford we also had a great time seeing old friends, teaching, and performing.

          Bethel Ballet welcomed Ballet Magnificat with a wonderful evening outdoors; hanging out, eating food, and fellowshiping

          In our free time our host took us out antiquing... 

           and out to ice cream... (SUPERIOR DAIRY is a MUST-SEE if you are ever in Hanford!) Yum!

          and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this amazing tea emporium with Maggie! I got some Imperial Coconut Chai Tea to bring back with me as a souvenir! Check out the L.T. Sue Co. website HERE

          Week Four - Montrose and  Grand Junction, Colorado

          Micky and I stopping for a pic at this beautiful lookout point passing through Colorado

          I was surprised by the various kinds of color and terrain in Colorado.

          And sometimes in Colorado you might see this!

          I am excited to claim that I've riden on the 'Million Dollar Highway'!

          On this long month tour we had a short period of rest and renewal up in the mountains of Cimarron at a YWAM base there. It was a MAJOR blessing. It was fascinating to learn about the Ministry of YWAM and meet like minded Jesus lovers. They were all so friendly and hospitable to us. We enjoyed good food, fellowship, rest, and made new friends! I even met a student there from my hometown in PA!

          In Montrose, Colorado I got to help teach a conditioning class and creative worship class at 'A Time To Dance'.

          Colorado was fun because I had SEVERAL reunions with old friends there. At 'A Time To Dance' I was so excited to find one of my past summer workshop students dancing there!

          At our performance in Grand Junction, I was reunited with a friend I knew from Jackson, MS who just recently moved from there back to Colorado where she is from.

          ... And before one of our performances a good friend of mine & alumni of Ballet Magnificat, Jackie and her family helped me with my set up job of setting up products to sell in the lobby, along with some of my new friends from YWAM. It was so much fun!

          Well as this synopsis of my adventures comes to an end I can not go without giving special recognition and thanks to all the special families that have hosted me over the course of this past month; for taking my friends and I in, for caring for us, and in many ways for treating us like family! The people I meet and the relationships I make are what I really enjoy most about my job and traveling. The memories I've shared with them are not to be forgotten. I have stayed with so many interesting people on this tour; from a virtual reality game designer, to a dairy farmer, to a ship captain, to some really amazing stay-at-home moms! I am truly honored to be a recipient of the life stories, wisdom, and lessons they've shared with me. They've blessed me more than they'll probably ever know. Such beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ I get to meet. The human heart and the possibilities of our achievements, never cease to amaze me. May the glory always, always be unto God.

          The End.

          That's all I got. I feel as though I have re-lived the whole trip all over again formulating this blog post. I hope you have similarly experienced a sense of sharing in my adventures while viewing this. I am glad to be back in Mississippi for a while. The Christmas season has officially unfolded at the Ballet Magnificat studios. We are deep into learning new choreography for our Christmas show. Stay tuned for updates about our upcoming Christmas tour and all the preparations it entails! I just love the Holiday Season. My mind is exploding with cheerful blog topics I could write about during the next couple months! 
          Do you have a topic idea or suggestion of something I should write about? 
          Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
          Leave a comment below!

          Thanks so much for reading!
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