Saturday, August 13, 2016

Beginning Again


Our 4-week summer dance intensive is all said and done. Thinking back to those 4 weeks warms my heart as I reflect on the faithfulness of God during that time. So many hearts and lives were touched by Him, including mine. God always seems to move in big ways during Ballet Magnificat's summer workshop, which obviously is more than just about ballet, but about using our dance to cultivate a concentrated atmosphere of passion and worship for God. It would be hard for any one student, teacher, or counselor, to leave our workshop without loving Jesus more, and THAT is a good way to finish off one season, and start into another. 

After workshop, us company members are given one week off to rest and recoup before the start of another season. One of my favorite things to do with that week is "Be still, and know that he is God" (Ps 46:10). What I mean by that literally, is that along with allowing my body to be still, rest physically, and recharge, I like to spend that week in complete devotion to seeking God; seeking Him more personally, in contrast to the prior corporate setting of workshop; seeking Him even deeper for myself, that my soul as well might be renewed and refreshed in preparation for beginning another new season of ministry with Ballet Magnificat.

Sacrificing time to intensely seek Him through his word, through prayer, and through fasting are all things I concentrated on doing this past week off, and let me tell you, I have never felt more revived, more recharged, or more enthusiastic about living life, as I do now. By seeking God in these ways I have gained a deeper knowledge and understanding of who He is, which has enriched my faith, worship, and communion with Him. In my humble opinion, I think every believer at some point needs to take some time out, to "retreat" if you will, to seek God intensely as such, for however long, at least once a year; to immerse yourself in His word, to talk to Him and quiet your mind that you might hear back, and as Matthew 5:6 says, that you might "hunger and thirst for righteousness and be blessed!" He will meet with you, and show you more of himself, and it will be revitalizing to both body and soul and It will have been be worth it!


"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." ~1 Thessalonians 5:24

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." ~James 4:8


... Don't get me wrong, normal life still went on for me this past week. It's just that the normal life stuff isn't as noteworthy, ^_^ but I can share it with you anyways:

 Reading:  


In my pursuit of God this past week, I decided to re-read "A Hunger for God" by John Piper. I have read it before but it is SO good. I think it may be one of my most favorite books of all time! I could probably read the whole 200-paged book in one day if I let myself. I highly recommend it! I am not exaggerating when I say: It changed my life.

Crazy Cool Fact I Bet You Didn't Know:
Did you know that John Piper has all of his books available online for free download! The whole books---for free!!! I love this man! He writes good stuff! Check it out:


Crafting: 

Experimenting with watercolor again, I've made some new cards available in my Gift Shop!



I found these cool animal stencils in the craft section at Walmart. I bought them for the girls in my workshop group this summer to use, to make stuff with, but I think I am having more fun with them then they had! I used an X-acto knife to cut shapes out of card stock to make my own stencils too! Stencils are great for simple, bold shapes and patterns. The stencils became a bit delicate when wet by the watercolor. I loved the results though! Once the stencils dried, they were as good as new! I had to be careful not to wet the paper too much or the color would bleed past the outline, under the stencil.

I used washi tape to keep the stencils from moving.


Uh oh! Opps, too much water.

Simple, bold shapes can easily be painted without stencils. You just want to make sure you don't outline the shape, then fill it in, unless that is the look you are going for.

Observe outline vs. no outline


Instead make the shape on the paper using clean water first, then add color to it, dipping your brush into the desired colors of paint and then to the water on your paper! Have fun mixing and blending colors!

It is best to do water coloring on the appropriate kind of paper. Even still, if your paper is cheap like mine water spots may appear. No worries, they disappear once dry!


Cooking: 

Feast your eyes upon this delicious, colorful, healthy meal I threw together this week!



A Veggie Burger Taco, with Crispy Over Baked Sweet Potato Fries, and a Mango Smoothie, all so easy to make!

Cleaning:


Being that all my housemates had gone on summer break, I was able to navigate around the house pretty freely and had lots of time and space on my hands for some good deep house cleaning. From kitchen to bathrooms, ceilings (which I repainted- talk about an arm workout!) to floor, I kept myself busy getting everything pristine and in order. Maybe I am just a cleaning geek but I find a clean house at the end of the day to be highly satisfying! ^_^

One of the projects I tackled that I would like to tell you about was bleaching the caulking along the showers and tubs in our bathrooms. I found this amazing post on Pinterest about how to remove mold stains from caulking like magic, so I decided to try it out for myself and I was thoroughly impressed! 

What you will need :

  • Bleach
  • Cotton beauty coils used for perms (I actually didn't have those but the "Finding Nemo" paper towels I did have on hand worked just as well!) 

Basically, all I did was take strips of paper towel soaked in bleach, and placed them on top of the moldy spots of caulking to sit overnight. I was so excited the next day to find the caulking almost completely restored to it's normal brilliant white state! Check out the photos! It wasn't perfect but I am confident that one more night doing this bleach treatment will do the trick!

...well with that week behind me, it is time to start another. Let's fix our eyes on Jesus!

His goodness shines with brightest rays
When we delight in all his ways.
His glory overflows its rim
When we are satisfied in him.
His radiance will fill the earth
When people revel in his worth.
The beauty of God's holy fire
Burns brightest in the heart's desire.

~As seen in "A Hunger for God" by John Piper.


Thanks for reading!
I hope you have a great week!
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