Saturday, May 6, 2017

Closing Time

Hello faithful readers! I Just woke up from taking the longest nap of my life when I realized...HEY, I FINALLY HAVE FREE TIME!?!? and thought, "I should probably not sleep it all away, but write a blog post instead!" ...So here I go!😊

Firstly, a sincere apology is in order from me to you for leaving you hanging last month with not an update to be found concerning tour life with Ballet Magnificat Alpha. April was just such a busy month and now it's over! Where did April go? Do you know where April went? In a nutshell, this past month was full of eventful weekend 'run-outs' (traveling shorter distances to perform in nearby states) and when in town I kept myself busy earning extra income teaching ballet classes and cleaning houses all the livelong day in efforts to start saving money for my international mission trip with Ballet Magnificat Alpha that is steadily approaching, but I'll share more about that a little bit later. 

I left off in March sharing with you about our tour to Longview, Texas. Since then, we have traveled to Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, Louisiana, and North Carolina. All our tours went so wonderfully well! God worked so evidently in each one. I haven't posted much about them yet, but if you would like to delve deeper with me into the details of what all went down, let's 'crack this nutshell open'! continue reading below!

Sprawled out before me on my desk are my tour schedule, mod podged covered journal, and all of the random hotel cards, maps, and tour mementos I've collected that I will be stuffing into my scrapbook. Hopefully they will help jar my memory so that I don't forget to tell you one single detail! God has done some amazing unforgettable things BUT, It has been a long month, so bare with me!

Being that Pennsylvania is where I am originally from, you can imagine my excitement for returning there. We stopped in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania which is only 45 minutes away from my hometown! I had the marvelous opportunity of reuniting with some old friends from high school while we were there. They attended one of our performances called 'Deliver Us' which portrays the story of Moses and how he delivers his people out of Egypt. The story of Moses is then paralleled with Jesus and how he is the ultimate deliverer for us and all things. Sam shared the gospel from the stage that night. It was very special to have my friends in the audience.

New York

Next, we headed further north to Dundee, New York. It was beautiful. There we held mini dance workshops at the Seneca School of Performing Arts, a wonderful dance school under the direction of Cheryl Siegfried. Having toured there before, 5 years ago, it was nice to reconnect with them. And now having more seniority and experience under my belt, I was able to be more involved with teaching classes this time around which was fun. The turnout was great (← Interpret as you will 😂) The workshop ended with the sweet people from the Seneca School of Performing Arts giving us a creative worship class! It was more like a time for us to worship freely and creatively. I was blessed. Students of all ages and professional dancers alike came together during that time to worship God and dance before his throne. It was precious.

Me teaching ballet class

Passe's in Center

Then there was that one time our tour bus caught on fire...  

It happened on April 3rd on our ways back home from Dundee. It seems now like it was all just a dream, but it wasn't. To make a long story short, It was caused by some mechanical malfunction;  propellers flying off the turbocharger (whatever that is) and severing something-or-others around it. Driving back home, in the back of the bus where I usually hang out we heard a pop. Dark smoke began seeping through the walls. That's when we knew something was very wrong. We pulled off the interstate onto the shoulder at some random place in Kentucky and all safely evacuated as fast as we could. Some of us did not even have shoes on! Shortly after evacuating the bus it began to rain. We felt like we were in a movie or something! Other trucks pulled over to see if we needed help. Eventually, fire trucks came and an ambulance came to transport all of us helpless dancers to a nearby McDonald/Pilot truck stop until our tour director could figure out how to get all of us to our hotel which was only a couple of towns away.

That can't be good.

Our ride.

ambulance selfie!

Even though the bus catching on fire was most unfortunate, I must say that I would consider that day as being one of my most favorites [!] because of what happened next! After being dropped off at the random Mcdonalds/truckstop we found ourselves a nice long table to make ourselves at home at and some of us got ice cream. Little did we know that this Mcdonalds was teeming with ministry opportunities and we weren't even looking for the...except maybe Margot; she's always looking for them! ^_^ Margot went off to talk with some people while the rest of us just wanted to chill and process the day's events when out of nowhere comes this Mcdonalds employee, high school aged, who decides he wants to spend his dinner break sitting with us. Something drew him to us I suppose.

Us at Mcdonalds (Toby not pictured)

We learned his name was Toby. He told us that his name meant "God is good", but he also told us he didn't believe in God. It only took a little while before he realized that we were Christians. He shared with us freely about his life and the death of his cat and we shared with him freely about our lives and the death of our bus. He described himself as an optimistic pessimist. He had a great personality but was a little confusing. He seemed hurt by people but too 'in control' to admit it. Once we got past small talk and tried talking to him about things of God he said it wasn't for him, but none the less we pressed him a little further. Toby knew the basics of Jesus dying on the cross, about having faith, and repentance and stuff, but somehow there was a disconnect. I attempted sharing the gospel to Toby using the meaning of his name. I shared what makes God so good to me expounding on forgiveness, love, and redemption. When Toby got seemingly uncomfortable with my passion for God he said it was time for him to go and he got up and left. I left him with a gospel track from Living Waters Ministries. My heart was broke for Toby. Following the conversation, we prayed for Toby amongst ourselves and gave it to God. I still pray for him. 

Will you pray too, for him and others lost like him?

Maybe about 20 mins. after Toby left us and returned to his work, one of his coworkers had an allergic reaction to some of her medication, and the same ambulance that dropped us off at the Mcdonalds/truck stop came back to take her away! It was a bizarre day. But even still, I can't help but perceive God's orchestration of it! The matters of life and death seemed to be an underlying theme that day; material worldly things seemed not to matter much to me after that day; a good reminder, a wake-up call.

It turned out that former Alpha Company Member, our good friend Christina lived within miles from where we were staking out. She and her husband came and rescued us and drove us the rest of the way to our hotel for the night.

Our bus being towed away

A few of us outside our hotel with Christina and Joseph (...horrible lighting I know)

The next day after collecting the rest of our belongings on the bus and gathering some important costumes and props from out of our trailer, we stuffed it all inside 3 rental vehicles and in good spirits drove the rest of the way home... except for John who faithfully stayed with the bus in order to sort things out.

Save the costumes!

all loaded up...

How John feels about the situation

💗 Car 1 - Sweetness overload!

💗 Car 2- Grab a pair of sunglasses, these people will blind you with their beauty and light!

💗 Car 3- We are the jack of all trades; please take note of Josh and I crocheting up a storm in the back! 

 The next weekend we traveled to Clarksville, Tennessee where we also performed 'Deliver Us'. My older sister residing in Nashville these days was able to come out and watch me dance! It meant so much to me being that she hasn't seen me dance in more than a decade, not to mention seeing me dance professionally. It was so good to see and catch up with her! She is the best!

...Also, I can't go without sharing this hilarious photo Rachel snapped on the right, of the scrolling marquee on the sound system as I danced the role of the "burning BUSH"; So uncanny and what impeccable timing! 

In celebration of Easter weekend, we partnered with First Baptist Lafayette to present a production known as 'Saviour', described as the story of God's passion for his people featuring a visually compelling story of creation, the fall of man, the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, and man's continuing need for a Saviour depicted through dance and performed with a live choir and orchestra, which is always my favorite! We had so much fun working on this project with the talented people of First Baptist Lafayette. Though the music of 'Saviour' is rather dated, the story it tells of the gospel of Jesus Christ never is! We had some truly powerful evenings of praise, song, and dance. In our free time, we enjoyed resting in our hotel, exploring the town, and eating southern food; and I thought you couldn't get more deep-south or deep-fried than Jackson, Mississippi...boy was I wrong!

A group shot after our last performance of Saviour

A handful of us were able to get out of the hotel and visit with a few students from our summer workshop that lived in the Lafayette area. It was so wonderful to catch up and hear about all that the Lord is doing in the heart of my dear friend, sweet Kat!

Check out her earrings! Hey hey hey! ^_^

Back on the home front for a little bit...  

  • Back home in Jackson, Easter happened...I picniced!


  • We had an in-studio performance of 'Stratagem' in which my parents got to watch it for the first time!
Kathy and  I

Sam and Elisa rockn it!

North Carolina
We had great fun in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts did a great job sponsoring us. We felt so well taken care of during our time in Wilmington with special thanks to Cory and Cindy for that! 😉 The video below does a good job describing what we did while in Wilmington.

Kathy teaching at Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts

In this picture Ballet Magnificat Alpha and the students of Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts' Turning Point performing group are having a time of devotions together on stage prior to the performance. We performed in the Cape Fear Wilson Center. It was an absolutely beautiful theater! 

Performing the role of the angels with Kathy, one last time

It was there in Wilmington that we performed our final Stratagem for the season before it gets put back on the shelf and replaced with new rep. Not to be performed again for quite some time, I am going to undoubtedly miss this ballet! Sign Up for the Occupied Optimist Newsletter if you're interested in getting insiders and being the first one to hear what our 2017-2018 rep is going to be!

Pictured here, my sweet host from Wilmington Cathy Poulos and I pose with a picture she painted!

Closing Time
Our performing season has come to a close. We had our last performance in town last Thursday with We Will Go Ministries and now have only one week left until we get to take our two-week summer break. I will be traveling back to Pennsylvania to be with my family for break. It has been so nice having a weekend back in town! I've finally had the opportunity to put down the suitcase and dance bag and catch up on emails, blogging, and crafting, but come Monday and into our last week, most of Alpha's time will be spent helping prepare for and run the Ballet Magnificat School of the Arts and Trainee end-of-the-year recitals. I may get to rest some during the two weeks of vacation that are to follow...but I'm not counting on it. With new rep on it's way, I have lots of "ballet/choreography learning homework" to do. Pray for me; that I will stay healthy and find time for rest in the midst of everything that has to get done in these next couple of weeks!

Upon returning from our two-week vacation things are going to look very different. Alpha has recently already said goodbye to two of our dancers Natalie and John, and three more are on their way out. The new apprentices will begin joining us and the next couple of summer months will transition us into a season of newness for the fall; new dancers, new leaders, new rep, new transportation... with all this newness I feel like an apprentice again!? So much is unforeseen... but now I am getting ahead of myself.

#Changeishard. Is there anything more true than that? But it is also SO BITTERSWEET, just like this blog entry; while horribly written and bitter in style and grammar (this is what happens when I sit down to write a blog entry after having had a nap lasting nearly an eternity... I end up writing like how I think: groggy and fragmented), but the memories contained in this post are SO SWEET, at least to me. Before I get all worked up about what is coming, I have to remember to thank God for what he has done! He is so so good and I am holding onto his promises. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

" Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end "  

- Semisonic

  Scripture for today:
Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.

I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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  1. What an adventure! I am in total awe of your life touring with a professional ballet company and how God has used you to share His light and the Gospel. Praise the Lord that you were all kept safe in the bus fire! Wow. Thanks for sharing your touring experiences!

    1. And Thank you for stopping by and for reading! ^_^