Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 Post SDI Update | What's Next!

Returning home after a month of living on the Belhaven University campus for Ballet Magnificat's Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) is always an adjustment, a happily made one. After SDI, Ballet Magnificat company members are given a much needed one week off to recuperate. All the running around, dancing around, teaching classes, chaperoning, ministering, and what not, ceases to be. I return home to quietness. All the kids are gone. No more cafeteria food. I can eat what I want. And the best part of returning home is sleeping in my own bed again AND leaving the overly air conditioned fridged dorm rooms behind me.




Though glad to be back home, I do miss the students [a lot]. With them gone, I ponder that perhaps the sensation I am feeling right now can be compared to that of someone having 'Phantom Limb Syndrome'; me screaming inside "Where are my girls?", "What time is it! I can't be late for meeting with my small group!", "Ephesians 6:10?!?(inside joke)". My heart fell at the sight of their empty dorm rooms as I was packing up mine, and now that I'm off campus and doing normal life again I can't help but think about them constantly; recalling to mind the memories we've made and their prayer requests pertaining to returning back home themselves! I pray in my heart that they stay encouraged and that even when that "camp high" wears off that what they've learned here this summer will stick, that the progress they've made in the Lord will not be compromised, and that He himself will guide and protect them. If any of you students are reading this, know that I am praying Philippians 2:13-16 over you:

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."





Aside from the 'Phantom Limb Syndrome' that wears off with time, this one week of off time following the SDI is always something I look forward to; definitely a highlight of the year for me. For me, it is a week to process all that happened the month before relishing in the Lord's goodness and faithfulness. As if on a retreat, I spend most of my time during this week taking life slowly, journaling, reading, and indulging in my introverted-ness. It is not often in life that I get to be so still for such an extended amount of time. I set aside chunks of time for intentionally talking with the Lord and listening for him to respond. I prioritize intensely seeking him in his word, and altogether make it my goal to press hard into him in a way that results in leaving me spiritually undone, refreshed, and renewed in preparation for the upcoming new season.





There is much to look forward to and pray about concerning this upcoming season, but before I get into that I can not pass up sharing with you in a little more detail about what went down this past month. It was phenomenal! The Ballet Magnificat Summer Dance Intensive is so much more than just an intensive for the students to perfect their ballet technique, but it is also a time for intensely growing spiritually as well, for students and counselors alike! The SDI experience feels as if one is on a missions trip, only it takes place right here in town! I couldn't have gotten through this summer dance intensive without guidance from God. Counseling, overseeing, and mentoring the 11 girls I was assigned to was at times challenging, but overall a blast! I was given the opportunity to teach on the book of Ephesians to the students, and to minister to them in any way they needed. In all situations, I sought to follow through in obedience to the Holy Spirit's promptings and then just took steps back and watched the Lord do the rest.

It was an absolute privilege and honor any time the students chose to be transparent with me or ask for prayer. This summer the Lord allowed me the blessing of witnessing more girls in my small group than I can count on one hand, fully surrender their lives to the Lord for the first time. I was blown away witnessing the power of God's word soften hearts and seeing lives changed. The Lord worked in people's hearts all over the place during SDI, including mine! I am truly floored by the fact that God chooses us, weak and broken vessels; He chooses to use us and work through us and endows us with kingdom authority and power for doing his work. What even?!? Every year at SDI as I watch my friends and fellow laborers in Christ pouring themselves out, operating by the Holy Spirit, and relying on the love of the Lord and his power and might, I am reminded that it doesn't take much to serve the Lord in this way, but just a willing, humble heart and a full *surrenderance to him.


"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

~1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Yes, SDI was amazing, but now it's over and I return back to the daily humdrum of things... BUT I am reminded that the amazing work of ministry does not have to stop. This summer the Lord has given me a renewed heart and vigor for ministry and evangelism and I am excited to see where it takes me. It was only a couple of weeks ago during SDI that I got to publicly share my about my faith and share my personal testimony over the microphone. This experience served to remind me of the blessings that can be reaped in doing so. I've learned that when we share our faith, firstly, God is blessed by it! Secondly, the sharer is blessed and then usually the hearers are blessed by it too, and that just amazes me. I want to get better at looking for and praying for more opportunities to share my faith with people, not just only with students during SDI, but with people I come across with in the daily humdrum of life. Let's be challenged together in this, that we together might receive the earthly and heavenly blessings that are available to soul winners.


Image Source
 


The newly promoted apprentices for the 2017-2018 season. 
Let me go on now to share with you what all I've got on my plate for this upcoming season. As I have expressed in a previous blog entry, "Closing Time", the season that Ballet Magnificat is about to be entering into is going to look very different from the previous ones. The Alpha company alone has recently said goodbye to five of our dancers which means we will be having five new apprentices join us. Newness can also be found in Ballet Magnificat's leadership, our repertoire, and our mode of transportation for our tour season this year. All the change around here is strange and like the apprentices coming in this year, it makes me feel like I'm brand new to the company myself!

But regardless of all the changes, we know God has great plans for us.

Granting I raise enough money for my airfare in time, it looks like I will be traveling quite a bit internationally this year with Ballet Magnificat! For starters, we have our first booking for South Africa in just 45 days! It is going to be an exciting 3-week missions trip. Unlike our typical international tours filled with performance bookings, on this trip we are going to be emulating our summer dance intensive that just took place here in Jackson Mississippi, but for students over in South Africa. To be honest, personally, at first I was a little disappointed that we wouldn't be performing as much, but after God renewing my heart for ministry and evangelism, I don't care what shape or form it takes. I am excited to get hands on with the students in South Africa and do SDI all over again! We do have some performance bookings scheduled during our time there as well and will be presenting our ballet "Deliver Us", which will be the last time it will be performed in a while.


The rough draft of our South Africa tour schedule that our tour director is working on

It's hard to believe I find myself preparing to enter into my sixth year of touring with Ballet Magnificat and preparing to go on my fifth international tour with them. If you are reading this it is most likely that you are familiar with Ballet Magnificat and our mission to share the gospel to the widest audience possible through the very expressive and communicative art form of dance. Maybe you have even experienced the effectiveness of what we do by having attended one of our productions. Then you will know that our productions are powerful displays of God's goodness and love in an avant-garde way, but without deviating from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our productions have the power to cross language barriers. If you haven't yet experienced what we do, we tour all around the country and world so I encourage you to check out our booking calendar to see when we are at a venue near you!

What I am trying to lead up to is asking that you would prayerfully consider supporting me, with a monetary donation to my personal airfare and expense fund. I want to offer you the opportunity to partner with me and Ballet Magnificat, and share in our efforts to obey Jesus' command in Mark 16:15, so that His Kingdom and gospel can be presented to people of all walks of life AROUND THE GLOBE.

Some of you have already shown me such constant support and encouragement in my endeavors over the past years and I am so thankful for that. It has been such a privilege over the years to serve the Lord using dance. The ministry opportunities and missions trips that I've gotten to experience would not have been made possible without you, so thank you!


If you are interested in blessing me with a monetary blessing click the big yellow button below!





Support via prayer is always appreciated as well and can go a long way! Thank you! If you are interested in receiving exclusive details on Ballet Magnificat's tour season, would like to hear more on our trip to South Africa, and are interested in receiving our prayer requests straight to your inbox please sign up for my newsletter below!







If you've made it to the end of this blog post, thank you SO much for reading!
I appreciate each and every one of my faithful readers!
And special thanks to Jesus for blessing my life with interesting things to write about.
Now I will leave you with lyrics to a newly-discovered favorite hymn of mine.


 
Rescue the Perishing

Rescue the perishing,
  Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
  Weep o’er the erring one,
  Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

  Rescue the perishing,
  Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
    Jesus will save.

Though they are slighting Him,
  Still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
  Plead with them earnestly,
  Plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
Down in the human heart,
  Crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
  Touched by a loving heart,
  Wakened by kindness,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing,
  Duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
  Back to the narrow way,
  Patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.
*I just discovered in the making of this blog post that the word "surrenderance" IS NOT A REAL WORD! The noun form of surrender is simply, surrender. I chose to use "surrenderance" anyways as I typically would use this made up word in my daily conversing anyway...but Hey! Ya learn something new every day! Your welcome. ^_^
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What's In My Dance Bag

I've always wanted to do a post on what is in my dance bag, and many of you have been asking me, so finally... Here it is ! Enjoy !


Check  out  what 's  inside  my  dance  bag :







My dance bag is an AWESOME Swissgear backpack. though it is not the cutest or most fashionable bag in the world, my mother convinced me to leave my trendy tote and messenger bag ways behind me and switch to the classic backpack which she would tell you is a better more healthy alternative with equally distributing weight between both your shoulders and back. Momma knows best! I've used this backpack as a dance bag and for international travel for going on three years now. It is very durable, has lots of pockets, and I love it!









  • In the front most pocket is where I store my bible, my journal for recording class or rehearsal corrections, notepads for merchandise inventory and scratching down random information, and sometimes other miscellaneous papers.
  • In the smaller zip up compartment up top, I usually store some mints, pencils and pens, and my favorite travel-sized Bath and Body Works spray.





  • The next largest pocket is where I keep my dance shoes. I store them inside a mesh laundry bag so they can "breath" and be properly aired out.
  • I always carry a number of different colored flat shoes and pointe shoes depending on what rep we are doing for the season. a 'Super-dead', tan pair of Capezio pointe shoes, three moderately broken-in pairs of pointe shoes; Capezio pink, and two pairs of tan Griskho 2007's are pictured along with three pairs of Sansha flat shoes in various colors.
  • Since my feet sweat so much, I prefer to alternate between wearing two pairs of shoes to give the one pair a chance to dry and air out.  




  • In the same pocket, at the bottom of my bag, you'd most likely find the following items: a Thera-band, a 28-inch bicycle inner tube that I use (...or should use...) to stretch my splits, a towel for drying off sweat, a back warmer, and my Mukluk booties that I wear to warm up my feet.





  • A couple years ago I had a group of summer workshop students who purchased this rubber pig purse for me after finding out about my obsession for pigs. I still use it! I store random shoe supplies inside it.






  • a mini sewing kit, elastic and ribbon, make-up for coloring shoes, corn pads and toe tape, nail clippers, Orajel for numbing pain, Neosporin, carpet tacks, and super glue can all be found inside my pig pouch. What an assortment of items, wouldn't ya say!






  • In another pocket, you'd find the rest of my warm-up clothing and dance apparel: My Ballet Magnificat company jacket (If I'm not wearing it because I seem to live in it!), a pair of Soffe shorts or trash bag shorts, a ballet skirt and a pair of rolled up leggings.






  • My AWESOME Swissgear back pack does also have a compartment for storing a laptop which my laptop will sometimes occupy if I plan on going to the library and blogging after a day of dance. And of course, my swell bottle is with me wherever I go. It fits perfectly in the side pocket of my backpack so dehydration is never an issue while I'm at dance. 






Bags, bags everywhere! Ya know it's Summer Dance Camp time when the hallways become lined with double the amount of dance bags and shoes than what's normal! Makes me wonder, What's in YOUR dance bag!? Comment down below!


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The Daze Phase



“ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness ”  

- 2 Corinthians 12:9




The verse above seems to be the scripture I keep falling back on these days as we enter into week four of Ballet Magnificat's Summer Dance Intensive 2017. At this point, students and teachers alike are all relying on the grace of God to carry them through. We always should be doing so of course, but it seems like now more than ever we are in need of his strength physically. Spiritually there have been some battles, but over all, our souls are soaring. God has done so much. It is hard to describe in words everything that He has been doing in me, but I will try, as well as inform you on what has been happening around me! Keep reading! 


  • The first 2-week session of our summer dance intensive finished up with the student gala performance Friday and a shop trip on Saturday to break-up the weekend for the 4-weeker students.

I taught the level-six students "Gypsies" from Ballet Magnificat's Snow Queen. Here I am with "my gypsies" in a group photo!


Pictured here are all the students involved in the first session of Ballet Magnificat's 2017 SDI; over 300 students! They all did such a marvelous job in the student gala!


My small group at Renaissance Mall posing for a group picture in front of this beautiful fountain on shopping day. Boy, was it a hot day!


A post shared by Lillian Marie Ortiz (@oqpiedoptimist) on


  • The second 2-week session begins ushering in new students, and teachers for our teachers workshop coming from all over!

Pictured here are the teachers enrolled in our teacher's workshop this year out on an outing with the founders of Ballet Magnificat Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux. Aren't they a beautiful bunch!


  • The Brazilians arrive! Our friends and partners from Ballet Magnificat Brazil arrive on the scene visiting our home base in Jackson, Mississippi for the first time! So exciting for them AND us! We love our Brazilian friends!

Vanessa Zuliani the operations manager for Ballet Magnificat Brazil, Kathy and Keith Thibodeaux, and Vanessa's Husband are fun people! 


Some dear friends and trainees of Ballet Magnificat Brazil watch the companies perform and enjoy taking it all in.

  • Last Tuesday I was given the wonderful privilege of sharing my testimony during morning chapel.



In the words of Paul: 

"When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5
















    • The choreographer Tara Thibodeaux Drew came back to town to finish what she started from last month.

    Stealing a peak from the upstairs window, I snapped this photo during Tara's rehearsal with soloists Margot Truelson and Deborah Meis.



    • Choreography is not the only thing brewing around the Ballet Magnificat studios. The following pictures feature the costume team working on their latest project.













    • The first week of the second session finished with a company performance of "Light Has Come."





    The days are loooong but the summer program is flying by fast!
    Stay tuned for more updates coming soon! SO much to write, SO little time!
    Feel free to follow me on my other social media platforms for more live real time updates, for when I don't have time to update here at The Occupied Optimist! Links are found on my about me page. I'd love feedback on any specifics you are interested in me writing about! 
    Please share any thoughts you may have in a comment down below.
    Gotta Run, but until next time, Blessings in Christ Jesus!
    🌞
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    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Birthday Popcorn




    I love preparing this easy-to-make birthday cake flavored popcorn for my friends! This popcorn recipe reminds me of rice crispy treats and is similar in taste and texture/stickiness. It requires only seven commonly used ingredients! Popcorn is cheap to buy, easy to make, and even though this recipe isn't the healthiest way to eat popcorn, there should be no reason to feel guilty for eating it. Everyone deserves to indulge in a happy little treat now and again, and especially if it's their birthday! At least you know what ingredients are in this one! Check out the recipe below!





    Ingredients


    • 2 tbsp. of butter
    • 6 cups of popped popcorn
    • 3 cups of marshmallows
    • 2 tsp. of vanilla
    • 1 tbsp. of milk
    • 1 cup of white cake mix
    • sprinkles (my favorite part!)

    Directions

      1. In a medium pot, melt marshmallows and butter on medium heat, stirring constantly to ensure mixture is heated evenly. 




      2. Once the marshmallows are completely melted, remove from heat and add vanilla, milk and cake mix stirring in well. 


      3.  Add mixture to popcorn and coat well. Top with sprinkles, let set, then ENJOY! 

      It tastes as sweet as it looks!


      Buen Porvecho!



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      Check out some of my other favorite popcorn flavored recipes HERE!
       

      Source: https://lilluna.com/birthday-cake-popcorn/
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      Saturday, July 8, 2017

      SDI Selah*

      Praise the Lord, Oh my soul! It is the weekend. The Ballet Magnificat Alpha and Omega companies perform 'Light Has Come' for the SDI students this evening. People keep asking me if I am excited to dance for the students. I tell them, "I'm not as excited about the performance as much as I am excited for the ministry that will follow and for seeing lives changed." 'Light Has Come' is such a powerful display of the gospel and I know without a doubt that the Lord is going to use it mightily to draw people to himself. Would you keep all these young souls in your prayers as they are being bombarded with the gospel here at our summer camp? Pray for those that do not know Jesus personally that they would come to taste and see that He is good and that He is completely worthy of our trust and full surrender. Pray for those that do know him, including me, as well as the other Ballet Magnificat staff and faculty that we would be encouraged and refreshed in Christ.

      With a couple more hours before I have to start preparing myself for the show, I currently sit here just sipping on my tea reflecting on how this past week went. I am enjoying the quietness of the dorms right now as all the girls in my group are out attending their weekend conditioning class. Taking advantage of this free time I've decided to write you an update. It has been a good, sorta crazy, rollercoaster kind-of-a-week. Check out the bullet points below:


      This Week's Happenings:

      • A student gave their life to the Lord on the first day/move-in day!

      •  Several other students surrender their lives to the Lord later in the week, including two from my small group! What a blessing and honor for the Lord to give me the opportunity to witness these hearts changed.

      •  Though fireworks are not permitted on the Belhaven University campus that we are staying on, my group and I did not fail to celebrate the 4th of July.  On the night of the fourth after Bible study we streamed the '10 hours of fireworks' video on Youtube (who knew that something like that existed!?), ate junk food and sang patriotic songs from the top ouf our lungs. It was very fun.

      •  I made delicious birthday popcorn in the dorms to celebrate fellow company member Abbey's birthday. It was very delicious and made our whole hall smell good.

      •  Our very own Claire from the Ballet Magnificat Trainee Program unexpectedly got promoted to the Alpha touring company this past monday!

      An Excited Claire, Kathy, Claire's happy sister Emma, and Sol pose for a picture.



      •  We had two powerful Creative Worship evening events this past week. I got to help lead the first one of the summer. We based it on Ephesians 2:1-10.  The Lord taught me quite a bit about myself vs. Him during the process. The video below is a clip from the second Creative Worship event.  



      Lessons I've Learned This Week:

      • Each morning at our summer dance intensive we start our day by coming together to sing worship songs to our God and then different company members share their testimonies. I was super encouraged by my friend Elisa's testimony that shared with us this past Tuesday. She read to us one of her favorite childhood story books called 'You Are Special' by Max Lucado and I was surprisingly super blessed by it! Though the narrator's voice is not as sweet as Elisa's voice was reading it to us, I've included the youtube video below of Max Lucado's story so you can be blessed by it too! It is amazing how something so simple and innocent can contain such deep and impactful truths.  



      • I always find it a challenge to stay humble and not boast in myself during SDI season with so many eyes looking up to me. Just when I found myself getting prideful about the Creative Worship presentation my group threw together, I started to feel insecure about it thinking it wasn't 'good enough'. Unfortunately, this led me to an embarrassing emotional breakdown. I failed to see how in the end, people giving their lives to the Lord never has anything to do with my works or efforts, but simply by the power of Jesus himself doing the work. The Lord brought to my mind the story of Peter walking on water and how when he took his eyes off Jesus and started to doubt he began to sink. I felt like I was sinking because I took my eyes of Jesus, put them on myself, and lacked the faith to believe that Jesus was more powerful than my own efforts forgetting that He's the one who does the work and that it is a privilege when He chooses to do it through me. I don't know if I am making sense...but basically, I lost perspective for a time, learned a lot that night, and was put back into my place. Once I repented refreshing came, and regardless of my emotionally unstable state that night, I'll have you know that the Lord still worked mightily!

      1 Peter 5:6  "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

      Acts 3:19  "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" 



      Prayer Requests:

      •  Please pray for fruitful ministy times that are held after each company performance.

      • As we head into our second week of the SDI please pray for the students and counselors alike that we would be guarded against injury and illness.
        
      •  Pray for unity amongst the girls in my small group

      •  Pray for the students who are preparing for their first gala performance this weekend. That as performers they would dance well, have peace, and be deeply effected by the truths they are portraying through dance to songs with worshipful God glorifying lyrics.

      • Pray that the audience members at the student gala performance comprised mostly of family and friends, would be deeply impacted, encouraged, and refreshed by the pieces their children are dancing to.

      •  Pray for continued deliverances, healings, and salvations.


      Well I guess I better get ready to put on my tiara and ballet shoes. 
      It's going to be a great night! Thank you for your prayers and support! 
      Stay tuned for more updates!

      *Selah defined here.
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      Monday, July 3, 2017

      Ballet Magnificat's SDI Workshop from the Perspective of a Counselor

      If you've been following my posts on 'The Occupied Optimist' for some time now, you'd know that July means Ballet Magnificat Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) time! Though I often talk about what our SDI is and have posted several times in the past about all the planning and preparation that goes into making these summer camps happen, I have realized that I seldom share blog posts during the actual month of the camp. Generally, during SDI I don't have time for blogging being that I keep busy juggling the responsibilities of being a dorm counselor, ballet teacher, and Bible study leader. Of course pouring into the students is my number one priority this month, but I am excited to share with you that this year I've decided that I'm going to strive to supply you with consistent, current, weekly updates about what's going on here on campus mid-workshop! This is exciting stuff. I feel that you followers of 'The Occupied Optimist' will really enjoy these posts, not to mention that I've selfishly desired to take on this challenge for a couple years now, for the personal benefit of preserving my SDI memories as blogging is a great way to do that.

      It may be overly ambitious of me to think I can pull off this updating-my-blog-during-workshop thing, but we'll see how it goes. Being that there are only 24 hours in a day and that as counselors we spend most of those hours with the students you can expect these posts to be brief, comprised mostly of pictures, bullet points, and less writing, but even still I think you will find these posts enjoyable. Feel free to follow me on my other social media platforms too for more! Links are found on my about me page. I'd love some feedback on any specifics you are interested in me writing about! Please share any thoughts you may have in a comment down below.

      I am super excited about the summer workshop this year! Our theme for SDI this year is 'Heaven Come Down' and our Bible study is based off the book of Ephesians which is rocking my world. As of late, the Lord has been reminding me of his awesome sovereignty, supernatural power, and promises of peace. I am going into this workshop resting in Christ with a determination to let God be my sustainer and not be tempted to put my trust for sustenance in anything else. I'm typing this on day two. The students are in their ballet placement class and nerves are hopefully about to be released. I am excited for them and anticipating God to move in big ways this summer! To God be the glory!

      Day One. 

      The 'Before Shot' of my room in the Gillespie Dorms at Belhaven University

      The 'After Unpacking Shot' 

      The first couple hours of the move-in day in my opinion as a counselor are the hardest. We are given two hours to move in and get settled into the dorms before all the students start coming and though that may sound like an adequate amount of time, for me it never seems to be enough. When moving into the dorms for the summer I start with decorating the hall to make the students feel welcomed and then hang up the name tags I made for their doors.  Next, I unload all my personal belongings from out of the car and into my dorm room and by the time I'm done with that it is already about time for the kids to start arriving.

      This summer I've been put in charge of 11 girls. They arrive at all different times between 10am and 4pm. I am thankful for the 7-hour counselor orientation we had the past two days that equipped me with the right answers to all the questions that the eager students and inquisitive parents ask. I unpack in between arrivals and it is by about dinner time when I finally feel that I am settled and finished. When all the students have arrived and are eating dinner in the dining hall, I find time to myself to plan our first evening group time and of course, get a little bite to eat for myself from the stash of food I brought with me.







      Our evening group time went really well. We reviewed some basic rules and guidelines, did some fun ice-breaker activities and got to know one another. We ended our time together crafting. I had the students decorate journals I gave them using pretty scrapbook paper, magazine clippings and, Modge Podge. I think they really enjoyed it!

      It's only the beginning but I already really love these girls! I can't wait for all of us to get to know one another even better and I look forward in anticipation to Monday when we start diving into the things of God during our first Bible study. I just love the process of watching them open up like flowers ready to receive the 'Son'. It's beautiful!



      A few of the girls' creations!




      Check out these 5 DIY Projects For Personalizing Your Stuff Using Modge Podge

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