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 - 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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