Friday, September 4, 2020

September Is Here!

- A Reflection of Summer In Snap Shots -


WOW! I cannot believe I have just completed my first whole year being back in PA. What an absolutely crazy unconventional year it has been for all of us. I rest assured, knowing it played out exactly how the Lord intended for things to be. Though many tragic historical things have and are still taking place this year, I'm not crazy about all the silly memes that mock 2020, wishing for a do-over, to move on, or wishing it had never happened. Why "throw out the baby with the bathwater?" Don't get me wrong, I am not blind to what has been taking place around the world and on the news, and I've had my share of hardships such as not knowing if I'd be able to make my rent, being quarantined for over 2 weeks not able to visit family, missing out on birthday and holiday celebrations with them during my first year back in PA- finally close enough to have the option to, not to mention experiencing the passing of some dear loved ones this year, BUT my clouds have silver linings. 


"  What  the  enemy  meant  for  evil ,  God  works  it  out  for  our  good . "    

~  Genesis  50:20



There are always blessings to be counted, and during this past season of transitioning back to PA after more than a decade of being away, God has graciously given me so many, even in the midst of a pandemic plagued summer! I haven't had very much time to update my blog this year, well, until quarantine, BUT then things took right off again. I've been so on the go trying to find my rhythm and assimilate into Lancaster PA culture, but now, as I go on year #2 of doing life here as a retired dancer- now teacher, and with the little rest period I am now enjoying between school years, I've found some time to update you about my summer so here we go! 


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Well, I finished my first year of teaching with Silver Springs Dance Conservatory and Cavod Academy of the Arts as strong as one possibly could teaching dance online virtually during our COVID-19 Corona Virus outbreak. You will have to check out the video I uploaded of my Cavod IG takeover where I shared what a day in the life of a quarantined teacher is like. There is also an upload of one of the classes I taught from home during quarantine, which you can check out HERE if you are interested in the experience of taking an online virtual dance class from me! Let me know in the comments below if you'd like to see me post more classes like these!

Cavod was actually able to pull off having an in-person recital this year! Though it was rather unconventional, it made for a very special memory and a great way to end the school year! I only wish I took more pictures of it.


When Corona Virus first broke loose in March I took quarantine very seriously. BUT I remember the very first place I left my house to visit after being couped up for so long, my best friend's place for her birthday in May! Something which would normally be very ordinary, visiting my friend, became something extremely special and memorable, not to be taken for granted.






During the month of June and throughout the whole summer it was meeting with these sweet ladies from my church caregroup over zoom that kept me sane. I love my church.






I am also so thankful for all the new friends I am making
from my church's young adults group, SOLA


 For being an introvert, I sure did do a lot of socializing this summer, perhaps the effect of being quarantined for so long. July was SUCH a busy month for me! I am most proud of the Progressing Ballet Technique certification I got the Month of July. I had dreamt of doing it for so long. I can now check that one off my bucket list! ✅






One of my favorite memories from this summer was probably getting to see 4th of July fireworks on City Island, Harrisburg. It had been more than a decade since I had seen fireworks (which are my absolute favorite) due to the fact that I was always so involved in Ballet Magnificat Summer camps during the month of July, which took place on Belhaven University college campus where fireworks never took place. I wasn't going to let, not even a pandemic, stop me from seeing fireworks this year. It was an amazing experience, and because it was like everyone was still afraid to "come out" at that point still, it felt like my friends and I had the whole island to ourselves! 






I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with several former students, coworkers, and tour acquaintances from my Mississippi/ Ballet Magnificat days, which was so reminiscent. 

-  Good times!  -




At Reston Town Center, VA visiting Maggie, my old house mate


One of the harder times this summer was the passing of my Grandfather Carlos Manuel Oquendo on August 12th. A beautiful service was held for him August 21st that I had the honor of dancing in.






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Ironically, I failed to achieve a slower-paced lifestyle this past year, which was just one of the many reasons I was led to retire from professional dance and move back to PA. Perhaps that is just who I am, someone that likes to work a lot, but things are different this upcoming year. I am happy to be teaching more full time with Cavod Academy of the Arts this year. Some new news is that I have sadly decided to let go of my teaching position with Silver Springs Dance Conservatory in an effort to simplify things, though I will sorely miss working there. I have also decided to postpone returning to work at Kitchen Kettle Village until next semester...BUT just when you think I've pulled back earning supplemental income entirely, not so fast! 

I am excited to announce that for this first semester of the school year I've joined Lancaster Bible College's Worship and Performing Arts Department working as an Adjunct Professor of Dance, teaching ballet! I was thrilled to have been presented with this opportunity! We are just one week into the semester and I have absolutely loved getting to work with LBC's theater students so far! I have loved my new schedule working at Cavod this year as well! Things feel like they are really starting to fall into place and settle.

It is amazing how quickly new opportunities can spring up out of nowhere, doors can shut, and how quickly seasons can change. At times it is exciting, other times jolting, but I have so much peace and joy unspeakable, knowing and trusting the Mighty One who is in control of it all and is oh so worthy. I have such a great feeling about this year though. It is going to be a great year, I just know it!





It's not the end, but just the beginning! 😉

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Friday, August 7, 2020

Support A Missionary Campaign!

LCDancewear is excited to announce that for the month of August, 50% of all dancewear proceeds will be going to Cordell & Savannah Huyard and their YWAM (Youth With a Mission) mission endeavors.

Called to giving their all connecting people to Jesus both locally and throughout the world, this amazing couple is currently attending a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Tyler, Texas with the intention of joining the soon-to-be established YWAM Lancaster as full-time volunteer staff.

For more information on what all they are about, please check out their informative page https://cordellsavannahh.wixsite.com/website and watch the video down below:





Support LCDancewear and the Huyards today! The following ready-to-ship ballet skirts are ten dollars off! It's a win-win for everyone! Shop below, and www.shoplillyscreations.com for a greater selection. Click below to get shopping! 😉



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...And there's more!

Custom orders welcome at Shoplillyscreations.com


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you find something you like!



Interested in advertising, collaboration, and/or sponsorship?
contact me at:

 Lillian@theoccupiedoptimist.com




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Monday, May 25, 2020

2020 Self-Improvement Challenge: UPDATE


 -  Challenge  Day  24  .  Falling  off  the  bandwagon  .  Gratitude  List   -



Hi everyone! It has been some time since I've posted an update on how I've been doing with the 30-Day May Self Improvement Challenge, so that is going to be my objective for today's post!


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To get right to the point, this month-long challenge has been A LOT harder than I expected it to be! The daily challenges I came up with were pretty simple and manageable individually, but as the days passed and I tried to be consistent with continuing to implement each one while adding on another, at times I would begin to feel overwhelmed. I've had some lazy emotional days where I'd throw in the towel entirely and just give up. Perhaps emotions are heightened with all the corona drama going on, but I also think it is worth acknowledging that everyone, that is human, has 'off' days. I have to remind myself that no one is one hundred percent perfect one hundred percent of the time. I am doing pretty well with not being too hard on myself about it so that's good.

At the start of the challenge, I was really looking forward to posting updates daily to report to you on my progress as a form of incentive and accountability for me, but I quickly learned how unrealistic that idea was. I know not all blog posts need to be artistic masterpieces or crammed with tons of content, and while through this I have learned how to abbreviate posts in certain situations, it still takes me a really long time to formulate blog posts and ironically enough, the very goal I had to be posting updates every day was directly conflicting with some of my daily challenges regarding less technology or challenges about how to be spending my time. I decided the challenges were more important so I let go of the daily blogging.


BUT let's talk about some positives!  I'm learning a lot, which is always a good thing! This month-long challenge has been productive in helping me to manage my time better and take my health and happiness more seriously. I was encouraged by the fact that I was starting to implement a lot of the challenges naturally before even getting to them on the list. I was surprised to discover the challenges that are hardest for me to complete are all the ones categorized under self-love! The majority of the challenges I have left are all under the category of self-love! With only one week left of the 30-Day Challenge, I guess I'm going to finish it off with a lot of pampering! Overall I would say doing this challenge was a good experience and well worth my time during quarantine! I think I would do it again with a couple adjustments! If you have been wondering what 30-Day challenge I've been referring to there is a link to the original page at the end of this post!


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30- Day Challenge


  • My Daily Challenge: Gratitude List

  • My Daily Prayer:  "With life so uneventful and lonely right now it is easy to look past all the things I am so blessed to have. Lord open my eyes to see just how greatly you have blessed me in the small things but also the big!

    AMEN."

  • The Approach:  


  • My Progress: 
    • Meal Plan (continuing)
    • Regulate Sleeping Patterns (continuing)
    • Eat Three Meals a day (discontinuing)
    • Going to sleep before Midnight (continuing)
    • Drinking Water (trying to continue)
    • Eat snack and put the rest away (continuing)
    • Establish and stick to a Morning and Night Routine (continuing)
    • Wash dishes right after meal (discontinuing)
    • Pray and Journal (continuing)
    • Memorize a Bible verse (discontinuing)
    • Read Bible (continuing)
    • Fill 1/2 of plate with veggies (failed... Ha I just don't like veggies that much)
    • Make Bed (continuing)
    • Get outside (discontinuing intentionally)
    • Say no (trying to continue)
    • Less tv (continuing)
    • Declutter something (maintaining)
    • Eat sitting in silence (being more mindful of not multitasking when eatting)
    • Slow down and enjoy a hot drink (trying to continue once a day)
    • Set Realistic Goals (trying to continue)
    • Look the part (always ☺ )
    • Random Act of Kindness (prioritize)
    • Have Dinner with family (continuing)



Check out the Full 30-Day Self Improvement Challenge here!
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