Some Sparkly Things I Made

Just one of my many ‘hobbies’…

Pictures of handmade pieces of jewelry and their date of creation:

Bookshelves

The books on a person’s personal bookshelf say a lot about them (or the magazines, or lack of books likewise). One rainy afternoon recently I was inspecting the books in the shelves of the cherry wood cabinet in my bedroom at my family’s house, and well, had make a revelation out of it. This cabinet is very special to me as it was passed down from my maternal grandmother, and I have tried to only put my favorite books in its lower shelf. It doesn’t get used much, only once or twice a year when I return home and its shelves mostly display my childhood awards and nick-knacks, most of them ballerina snow globes or figurines, jewelry boxes, teddy bears dressed out in costume array, and other trinkets. I was looking for children’s books for inspiration to write my own (my most recent creative scheme), and I knew my beloved Angelina Ballerina book was there somewhere. She was my favorite story book character when I was young, and my Mom likes to tell the story of how I would cry if we went to the library and all the Angelina Ballerina books were checked out.

I think one’s books give pretty accurate insight into the type of person they are, or have been. I find it quite interesting what my books say about me. I’ll let you see for yourself. This sounds so corny, but I’m going to keep on with my licentious ruminations until I have finished compiling this list.

  • A Collection of Classical Ballet Variations
  • Dance Writing Shorthand for Classical Ballet
  • To Dance, To Live
  • The Dancer’s Survival Manual
  • Classical Ballet Technique
  • New York City Ballet Workout
  • Angelina Ballerina
  • The Dancer’s Body Book
  • The Dancer’s Foot Book
  • How Thin People Think
  • Classical Ballet Terms Dictionary: Cecchetti
  • Cecchetti Method of Ballet books level 2-5
  • The Manual, Cecchetti Method of Ballet
  • 101 Stories of Great Ballets
  • Ballet Shoes
  • Anna Pavlova: Genius of the Dance
  • Portraits: Dancing Through Fire
  • Pilates Handbook
  • Words Can Describe
  • In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan
  • Jane Austin’s The History of England by a partial, prejudiced & ignorant Historian
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Scottish Histories’ Mary Queen of Scots
  • The Roots of Desire
  • Lonely Planet’s Europe on a Shoestring
  • Cecchetti Method Examination certificates
  • 3 magazine holders full of Pointe Magazine from 1999
  • Dance Magazines
  • Journals, composition books
  • Decorative Beading
  • Train Your Brain
  • The Sugar Solution Cookbook
  • Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005
  • World’s Healthiest Foods
  • C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity
  • Jana’s Journal
  • Touch Points for Students, God’s Answers for Your Daily Needs
  • Joy & Strength devotional
  • Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris
  • I Kissed Dating Goodbye, also by J. Harris
  • Sex, Love, &Romance (don’t get any ideas. It’s by A Beka Book)
  • Every Young Woman’s Battle
  • The Confident Woman
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Key to Zion, from
    Thoene’s The Zion Chronicles
  • The Assignment, Mark Andrew Olsen
  • J.R.R.’s entire The Lord of the Rings
  • The Hobbit
  • More Love to Thee, Elizabeth Prentiss
  • Stepping Heavenward, E. Prentiss
  • The Known World
  • Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island
  • Gideon’s Gift
  • SSLC Year book 2003/2004 and 2004/2005
  • Collection of State quarters I never finished
  • Psalms

So there it is! I think you should have a rough idea of what my interests are by now. Good thing I didn’t have any of my English literature and History books for university up there!

Introspection Dance 1 Year Birthday

July 17, 2010

I started this blog a year ago on my birthday, so happy birthday, Introspection Dance! As I reread some of my blog posts, I realized what an adventure this past year has been, and I wanted to commemorate it.

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It has been a year of growth, renewal, change and adventure! I hope to grow even more in the coming years and continue to learn about myself and people around me as I become the woman God designed me to be.

I started this blog because 1) I like to write, and wanted to start making my writing style more publishable, which I did accomplish getting a few reviews published in student papers. And 2) I was at another very trying time and transitional time of life last year that I hoped by writing about it I could be of encouragement to others. While I began this as a very personal blog, I have strayed away from writing about many personal issues while I studied abroad this spring and blogged about my travels for my friends back home. Honesty and openness are my aims however, whatever the topic.

I have achieved some things in the past year that I expected, and some very good things that I did not expect. Let this be only an encouragement to my dear friends that your situation is never hopeless, that God does indeed grow us and change us for the better, but we don’t always see it. Sometimes all it takes is stopping to reflect to see God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives. I don’t intend to brag to build myself up here, but what I do brag about, I give honor and thanks to my God for allowing me to do so this far.

Praise God! This time last year I was still having my small group girls pray for me to conquer an eating disorder I had struggled with off and on since I was a young dancer. I felt I had to quit dancing for a time, and that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Spring 2009 was a long 7 months of therapy and heart-crushing openness I never thought I could do, but through it all, God freed me from something I had been trying to fix myself for years. I can recall hours spent crying and feeling alone, and crying out to God to take it away from me, but somehow I was never willing to give it up completely to Him. He had to humble me before I could give it up. I had found my identity in my dancing and my talent for too long.

Last year I felt miserable at myself for getting so out of shape and not maintaining my dance career. I felt embarrassed and wouldn’t even tell people I had been a professional ballerina. I didn’t feel pretty and I didn’t feel worth anything not being a dancer. I had wondered what is was like to be normal, and now I was normal: studying at university, trying to keep my head above water, paying my bills and working late nights at the coffee shop. Before I make it sound all grim and gray, let me say that I discovered joy that I had never felt before in the last couple years while my dance career that was so important to me slipped away before my eyes; I found health and healing through friends, prayer and professional help. Although I was stressed, the burden of living up to people’s expectations was lifted; I no longer had to compete with the girls (bodies) next to me to be worth something, I made true friends in a place where I never wanted to live in the first place (Columbia, SC), I laughed a lot and let myself go maybe a bit too much, but I felt life that I hadn’t felt in years. It still puzzles me – that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, wasn’t where I wanted to be, and certainly didn’t look the way I wanted to look, yet I felt more joyful than I had been while I was pursuing the career I wanted.

At one extremely difficult month last summer, I decided ‘I have to quit ballet for my health.’ I didn’t want to. I didn’t even believe what I said, but it was easy to stop going to class because I had already seceded my responsibility to the dance company. I changed my priorities on the outside; I told people I was just going to be an English major, and maybe write about dance and the arts to stay in touch with it, but on the inside my heart was breaking. It still is breaking to dance. Over a year later, I am just finding the freedom to dance again – just dance – because I love it, and not care what I look like or if I am good enough or if I will look slim enough onstage. Anymore, I just appreciate getting the chance to dance, because it is who I am. The desire God set in my heart is still there. I cannot keep denying it. I chose what I felt I needed to – my mental, physical, and spiritual health over my career and identity as a dancer. Although I was scared to death that it might mean giving up dancing for good, but how could a who God healed me and set me free want that for me?

I still worry that I will not ever dance professionally again, and I have come to accept it, but that flame of my dancing heart is still flickering inside me, and I am beginning to feed the fire again with new logs, and in a different way. The only dancing I do now is not in pointe shoes on marley floor in a massive mirrored studio with other dancers, a ballet master, and a pianist; no, you will find me outside in my trainers and gym shorts and shirt in a secluded area of the park or the street where no one can see me, or in a studio room by myself with bare feet and the lights off, flailing myself around to the tunes on my iPod as the music transforms to movement in my body. It makes me happy and it makes me feel alive. It makes me grateful that I still have two legs and two arms, and it makes me want to praise my God. I have a wise friend who told me over a year ago when I was in despair, ‘be patient. God will give your dancing back to you.’ I may have to accept it might not be in the way I want it to be, and it may never be onstage again, but I believe that my God is pleased when he sees me happy and praising him.

I grew a lot during my time in Leeds in terms of my worshipful attitude of the Lord. As far as the dancing goes, I learned most about myself and dancing over this past year not in a studio, or onstage, not even in the audience of a theatre or at ballroom or swing dancing class, but at church. I always despised the idea of dance in worship or ‘interpretive dancing’, deeming it not an educated and proper form of dance. People from my church growing up tried to tell me I should dance during the worship songs. Some still do. Even if I feel moved to dance in worship, I feel self-conscious. Not until I came to this church in Leeds did I feel in a comfortable enough setting to break out of my shell and start dancing during worship to the Lord on a Sunday morning. I do it in my house while no one is looking, why not on Sunday during worship? I am there to worship God, not to worry about what people think of me. I graduated over my six months in Leeds to getting up and moving into the back of the congregation or the pews where I didn’t think anyone would notice me to move to the worship. It’s not great dancing, by any means, but it’s natural to me, the most natural way to worship. I may say I don’t want to draw attention to myself in worship service, but perhaps I am still scared of what people will think of me, or that I’m not up to the caliber of performing. Those are things I need to work through and let God grow me, because, as an elder at City Church Leeds encouraged me: ‘When you’re ready, dance in front where everyone can see you.’ My immediate reaction was to grimace and shake my head. Instead I cried. He said I blessed and encouraged him from the front where he was playing guitar where he could see me in the back, waving my arms in the air to my God. I must look silly, I admit, but as long as God thinks I look beautiful, I am dancing for Him, and I will keep on dancing.

Student/Starving Artist Recipes, Round 3: Super Simple Summer Snacks

I’m taking advantage of staying at my parents’ house this summer and them paying for all the fresh produce that I like to eat! All but the last one are vegan friendly.

PBB spread, July 2010

  • 2 bananas, very ripe
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (I like the chunky natural kind)
  • Lemon juice
  • Molasses (optional)

Quash the bananas with a fork until they’re as soft as you can make them and stir in a few drops of lemon juice so they don’t brown. Stir in the pb. You can add molasses for lots of iron and a little more bitter-sweetness. Refrigerate and use to spread on toast, bagels, celery…

Garlicky Hummus, Ancient recipe read off the back of a tin can

  • 2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Paprika
  • Garlic cloves, 2 or 3 minced
  • Salt (sea salt is best)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor, retaining a little of the bean juice. Blend and slowly add evoo and lemon juice until it’s the right consistency. Add spices and salt to taste. Makes a lot, so divide it into two Tupperware and refrigerate. Great with carrots, veggie sandwich, or pita bread

Alternatives: try adding kalmata olives, roasted red bell peppers, or Chile pepper to the hummus.

Frozen fruit ‘pops’

  • Kiwis
  • bananas
  • Bing cherries
  • Apricots, peaches, nectarines
  • Pineapple
  • Grapes

Take any of the above ripe fruit, and do exactly what the title suggests: slice them up and freeze them. Lay out slices on a baking tray to freeze before removing them to a ziplock bag for when you come in from the heat and want something sweet!

Fried Mushrooms, Credited to my friend Rachel who first made mushrooms in a way that I could eat them back in spring 2009. After that, I have been converted!

  • Cremlini mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Rinse and dry mushrooms, halve them. Heat evoo in pan over medium-high heat and sauté until soft. Add salt to taste and eat for to breakfast, lunch or dinner! They’re a great accompaniment to wild rice or hash browns and eggs.

Spinach Poached Eggs with Chips, created July 5, 2010 when I was leaving my flat and had to use up the rest of the food in my fridge and freezer:

  • Yellow onion, chopped
  • Frozen spinach
  • Frozen chips (potato wedges)
  • Eggs (however many you have left to get rid of, or however many you can eat)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

In a large frying pan, sauté the onion over medium-high heat until golden. Add spinach and cook until it’s not frozen anymore and begins to simmer and bubble. Meanwhile, turn the oven to broil and bake the chips on a baking sheet (or not, if you don’t have one left like me). Make little wells in the spinach with a slotted spoon and crack an egg into each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid until eggs are fully poached. Layer chips on a plate and transfer spinach and an egg on top with the slotted spoon. MMM!

Leaving England

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 

Perhaps this is too early to begin reflecting on my past six months in England and what I will be taking back with me, but as my head is filled with nothing but England and the people that I am leaving now, it was convenient to pull out my laptop and start organizing my thoughts while I’m flying over the Atlantic. 

I truly am sad to be leaving this wonderful country, the Queen’s land (not the King’s land, as I mistakenly called it before and was corrected by my British, I mean English friends). Of course my goodbyes didn’t feel like they were really goodbyes, and I promised to return as soon as I am able; I know I will not realize I have left England for good until I am safely back in my own bed in my family’s house in hot, dry New Mexico. I could not have been more blessed or made truer friends or engaged in my community without the contacts I made through City Church in Leeds. It goes to show that God’s family is and will be wherever I go. They are my life line. I made wonderful friends at uni, and met some dear girls from all across the world who will be my long term friends. I experienced a culture not my own, got my first opportunity as traveling to foreign, non-English speaking countries in the nearby mainland, and learned a great deal about life, people, relationships, and the opposite sex – yes, that too. Perhaps I made a few mistakes that I learned from, but nothing irreparable. 

Before I came to England, I could not wait to be surrounded by British-English speaking people. I had this foppish idea, as many girls do when they study abroad, that I could meet Mr. Prince Charming and soon get married and have babies with proper London accents, which was all well and good, until I found there are many different types of English accents! I discovered that there are more dialects in Britain than there are in the much larger U.S. Although I met many different types of Brits to ask about their origin (which they love to talk about, perhaps nothing more than the weather), I found that they weren’t all as different as I wanted them to be. Once all the cultural anomalies wore off, I found that people are all pretty much the same as us, and we had a lot in common. Even the children who I served through my charity work with Kidz Klub Leeds, who have an almost undecipherable Yorkshire accent, they are the same as American children. When it come down to it, all people crave love, attention and respect. It’s not some great revelation I have had; it’s just sense. 

What God taught me in England, in a nutshell:  

I have boiled it down to two words: Worship and Waiting. These words describe the main subsets of what I asked God to reveal to me and teach me during these six months. I won’t know what the complete impact of what He was doing in me was for these six months for some time; I may never know, but I know this, that God is at work in me now as much as he was before I left, and I will not be coming back the same person, but renewed and changed. In December I had asked the Lord for perspective, and purpose for my life. Let me explain how these two words fit into those categories, because I believe they do. 

Waiting
 

…Not only for the man that the Lord intends me to marry someday, but for the Lord himself to give me the OK in a situation. I know that it is more important than anything to me that the man I marry loves God more than anything, more than even me. If we both have our priorities right, our love will be so much purer and selfless. I had to learn the hard way, perhaps, to follow my own advice. Not until I found myself in a situation of dating a non Christian did I realize what drastic turmoil and confusion it caused, more for him than for me. I knew why I must put my relationship with God before anyone else in my life, but he couldn’t understand, and I could not make him understand. In the end, I could see no way out without making him feel hurt and rejected. I will not dapple in any more relationships unless I know the guy is marriage potential, and for me, that means he is a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ. So although I didn’t come back engaged or anything that would have shocked my parents, I know that I am waiting. I might even be waiting for a return to England. I’ll let God tell me when that is going to be. 

Waiting applies to all aspects of my life right now, for career as well as relationships. It is exciting; to have so many exciting prospects to come in the future, but it is so difficult to remain patient sometimes! While I want to wait for the Lord’s timing and not stick my fingers in and mess things up before it’s time, that does not release me from responsibility to keep plowing ahead and making progress toward the direction I intend to go. The more I see God at work and moving in his people, the more I am convinced we are to be always ready for action, constantly moving forward. It is biblical, after all, to be prepared for action. Whether that means creating new ideas and putting them into action or moving in a physical sense of action serving or fighting, or communicating, speaking…there is none thing for certain: God’s people should never be complacent. There is so much action that can take place while waiting for something else. 

I am looking forward to continuing to develop my writing skills for journalism and publishing, my communication skills getting to know people from all walks of life, and hopefully traveling more and experiencing new cultures in my coming two years left to finish my degree. I am looking forward to returning to Columbia and getting involved in serving the community and writing for my university’s and local papers, as I did in Leeds. It was such a break to not have to work full time and study while I was there. I had so much more time on my hands. But if I can manage to organize my time when I get back to South Carolina, I can manage to do those things along with my job. Looking for a part time job I hope proves easier in my own country than it did in England. There is something else that I must entrust to the Lord now, finding a new job. Ideally, I would like to work in fitness or the arts rather than food service again, for a job during college. I have more than enough experience in dance and as an instructor, it shouldn’t be a problem. Finding a location within biking distance in Columbia will be the trick. Oh, how I am going to miss public transportation! 

Worship
 

…Was what I was made for. I have been in a state of denial for too long since I stopped dancing professionally. I know I was made to dance. It is my passion, and I know that is my purpose, but I have been denying it because I was hurt emotionally. I only wanted it if it could be my way, if I could be onstage performing in a world-class ballet company. I said I would give God the glory if He made me successful as an artist, but was that what I was really after? I struggled hard with not having the wrong motives to dance, and with finding my identity in Christ rather than in my dancing. What if He didn’t make me a successful? Would I continue to follow and trust and honor Him then? I tried not to think about any alternative to my plan. I didn’t have to; it came anyway. I felt like I had been turned upside down and my contents shaken out of me, or rattled around, and then stuffed back in, to lie dormant and dead. But who was it who decided to quiet them? It was me. I couldn’t bear to dance if it wasn’t in the way I knew it was supposed to be. But maybe God had something else in mind, or maybe He didn’t. There are other forces at work in this world other than God, the devil and his angels. and they probably want to thwart my success. Through injuries and personal trials I stopped dancing, at my own decision. God didn’t force me to quit. He certainly didn’t allow me to become so immobilized that I couldn’t dance anymore. If He wanted that then He would have let that happen during my bicycle accident. Yet through prayer God healed me, both feet when I broke them, and from my eating disorder, although the latter took me a long time. So does God still want me to dance? I believe He does. Will I ever dance professionally? It would take a miracle, and a lot of hard work and dedication. Do I believe that God can do it? Absolutely! What I don’t know is if I want that lifestyle anymore. 

Over six months I have moved from not being willing to let myself dance anywhere unless it was in a studio or a ballroom (or at least not letting anyone see me) to dancing in the park with my earphones on, moved by the music, or for no reason at all. I know myself well enough to say that what I can’t express in words I can express through moving, through dancing. I went from standing rocking on my feet during worship and occasionally raising my hand to dancing in the aisles in the heat of worship. I am still not at the place I would like to be, to be free enough to worship God in my own way, in the way He made me to communicate my gratitude to Him, without worrying what other people think of me or what I look like. It is a safe place, in church, while the worship band is playing, and while everyone (is supposed to be) giving their attention to God. When I go back I may break out and life my hands to worship while we sing in my uber traditional Presbyterian church, and people may look at me funny, or they may not, but it is what I feel in my gut that I am called to, that I must do. It’s the time that I feel closest to Him when I worship and when I dance. It is mine and His precious time together, like praying but saying everything that I can’t say with words. Now, whether God wants me to dance up and down the aisles in First Pres may not be wise. I may appear foolish and get told off by the deacons, or at least asked why. I don’t think we should be restricted from worshiping the Lord in church though, if it isn’t distracting people from their own worship. I don’t feel like I need to find another church for this reason, maybe seek out more opportunities to worship my God. If dancing around outside is one of them, then I’m all for it! I would say my living room, but it’s too small and confined. Besides, I think the whole thing about God gradually taking me to a place where I can worship Him in front of others may be for their edification and encouragement as well. 

Writing 

…lots of it. Next time I will try to practice consolidating… cheers x Becca