Thursday, July 30, 2009

Paths

"Show me Your ways, O LORD,
teach me Your paths;
guide me Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my Savior,
and my hope is in You all day long."
- Psalm 25:4-5






"You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand."
-Psalm 16:11






"I
run in the path of Your commands,
for You have set my heart free."
- Psalm 119:32

The King's Courts' Blog

There is still a lot of work that I want to do on the website for The King's Courts, and I hope to do so when the musical is completed and my tech-support brother is home for a few days. Until then, the rough layout that I have set up works.

On the blog for The King's Courts, I have been sharing pictures and musings from rehearsals of "The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover" so as to not clutter up Maidens of Worth with them. If you're interested in what is taking up most of my time these days, you can visit the blog by clicking here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reputation or Character?

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what other people think you are."- John Wooden

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
- Proverbs 3:3-4

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Musical Production

Another musical production is in full swing, and there is a lot to do! But, by God's grace, it will all be accomplished. After a busy rehearsal and the beginning attempts to find costumes for each person (a feat, since we have 33 actors and some play more than one character!), I am feeling a little overwhelmed. But, God has worked wonderfully in the past in His good timing, and I know that He shall do so again.

It's always hard for me to get to sleep after directing rehearsals - my head is whirling with so many details - so I thought I would take this time to write an update. As you have probably noticed by the pitiful amount of posts recently, I have been quite busy with other things, the biggest item being the musical. This may be a slow few weeks of posting, as we get all of the parts of the production worked out.

After quite a few musicals that I had considered didn't work out and many people with schedules that were a bit full, I began to wonder if a musical would even be feasible this summer. Then, God led me again to "The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover" by a suggestion of Jubilee. I had received the choral book and CD a few years ago as part of a promo for a musical club we had joined. At first I was turned off by the somewhat silly lines, the modernized aspects, and the large amount of boys it would require! As I listened again this May, however, I began to visualize how things could be done.

"The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover" tells the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. Although it does make some things more modernized, it remains pretty true to the details found in the Bible, which was important to me. Although the suggestion is to do it in modern dress, we will be producing it using Biblical costumes, to make the story a little less trivial. I've also changed a few acting and line suggestions, to make it more true to the production style I am envisioning. The music has a beautiful Jewish/Middle Eastern flavor, and the songs help tell the story while also presenting the overall message that we must remember the Lord and trust Him in all that we do. From royalty to bad guys and "nasties" to Persian and Jewish townspeople, this musical is a fun one for children and teens, as well as a few fathers, to act in!

While presenting Biblical history, this musical also has applications that are crucial for our world today. The themes of unity, remembering the Lord, asking God for strength, working together for God's glory, and each family building and defending their portion of the wall are all things that the Body of Christ needs to hear today. The parallels between Jerusalem and the Bride of Christ are striking. Just as Jerusalem was broken down and needed to be strengthened and built up, so the Body of Christ needs to be unified and strengthened today. Just as the Jews longed to see their city shining brightly and standing strong, so the Lord Jesus longs to purify His Bride and make her strong. It is a blessing to work on this musical and be reminded of these things throughout the production process!

There are definite challenges. The production process from start to finish ended up being only a month in length because of busy schedules in my and other people's families. However, God is beginning to unite people's hearts in unity, and it is enjoyable to rehearse, though it feels like a million different things are whirling in my head at times! We practice each Tuesday and Thursday evening for 2 hours, and will also be doing two Saturday morning rehearsals and a Saturday afternoon "work call."

God has led 12 families to be in the musical, and it is fun to work with old friends and make new ones. Although it still would have been nice to have more boys (it is hard to find young men willing to act!), a sufficient number has come together.

I couldn't do this production on my own. God has blessed me with an amazing assistant director, a father who is also acting and lends invaluable help. My vocal director is wonderful and a joy to work with, being also my dear friend, Miriam Rebekah. ;) Miriam's dad has graciously agreed to be my set coordinator, and his experience in construction has allowed him to figure out how to build the bricks that we need to build the wall onstage during the musical. A mother experienced in makeup is doing a fantastic job as my makeup coordinator and designer, and many others have stepped up to fill jobs as needed. There are still a few more jobs to fill, but in God's timing, I trust that people will come together as I look for them. It is a joy to see others catch the vision!

It is still very hard. It's easy to become discouraged, especially when faced with seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Even as I've learned to delegate more of the work, people still have to ask me for clarification and approval, which can be distracting. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I could have conceived directing this and being in charge of all of these people... But God gets me through. Without His strength, I could do none of this. When I am overwhelmed and know that I can't do this on my own, He teaches me patience and trust. He shows me how small I really am and how great He is! Christ's grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness... (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The book of Nehemiah is an encouraging one to read as you are reminded of the amazing things God can do! If God could give His people strength to complete the Jerusalem wall in a mere 52 days, God can give us strength and grace to pull this musical together in 24 days. As the presentation dates approach on August 7th-9th, I continue to pray that God will be glorified in all that we do. I would appreciate your prayers as well!

"They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.' But I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands.'” - Nehemiah 6:9

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ballet Magnificat! Teacher's Workshop 2009

Although I've been home for almost a week, I haven't had much time until now to sit down and write about my experiences at the Ballet Magnificat! Teacher's Workshop in Jackson, MS. It was a wonderful time, full of so much learned, not only about ballet, but also about my Awesome Savior, Jesus Christ. So much was crammed into two weeks that one post won't do it justice, but I hope to at least give you a glimpse into what I experienced.

My parents had been out of town for two weeks prior to when I left for the workshop, so when I left the house at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 27th, the first stop was to drop Jubilee off at her friend's house, where she would be staying until mom returned the following week. Once that was completed, I hit the road and enjoyed the quiet drive to Jackson, MS. After 5 hours, I arrived, registered, and soon began organizing my things into my dorm room. I had quite a feeling of deja vu to be back in the same Gillespie dorm I had stayed in 2 summers previously for Ballet Magnficat! Summer Intensives and all last year while attending Belhaven College. So much has happened while staying in that dorm!

The first day was quiet. My roommate arrived before supper, and I enjoyed getting to know her. Krystalan turned out to be such a blessing as a roommate and a really good friend! We enjoyed spending two weeks doing so much together!


I also enjoyed getting to know the other teachers during the two weeks. Thais was like a second roommate, as she would spend time in our room nearly every morning and evening and sometimes in between! =)


There were 25 teachers that came from many different states, and it was so fun and interesting to hear their experiences as a teacher and learn from their recommendations. As I'm just starting out teaching, it was wonderful to hear the practical things that have worked for them and other things that haven't (to avoid!).

The first Sunday was another quiet day, as we had orientation and teacher meet-and-greet time, and then had a lot of free time. I was able to spend an hour with my friend Grace, who is working in Jackson this summer, and other time was spent getting to know the other teachers. We went on our first "Bop's Run" to get frozen custard - a delicious treat!

Each weekday we had a schedule of all of the teacher and student classes that were being offered, and were able to pick which ones we wanted to attend. I went to all of the teacher's classes that were offered, in order to learn as much as I could about teaching while I was there! I also took or observed a few technique, conditioning, and variations classes with the students. Each day typically had chapel at 8:30 AM, the morning class at 10-11:45 AM, lunch, and afternoon classes from 1:45-3 PM and 3:15-5 PM. After supper, we had something from 7 until 9 or 10 PM, going to a Ballet Magnificat! company performance ("Before His Throne - Boldy" and "The Scarlet Cord" were both really good!), large and small group Bible studies, Creative Worship, dinner with Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux (the founders of Ballet Magnificat!), and, finally, the ending student gala performance.

The days were long and tiring, but we also had enough short breaks in between classes, that it was actually very relaxing. Without all of the things calling for attention at home and having a break from the distractions of the computer, it was quite a nice vaction. I only danced an average of 1 class per day, because I wanted to learn all that I could from the lectures for teachers, but it was nice to at least be able to dance some. Not having to wear tights all day in the hot July humidity was definitely a relief!

The teacher's classes taught me so much - I still haven't begun to process it all! However, the staff at Ballet Magnficat! was so generous to share so many of their ideas and give us many helpful handouts and curriculum. I heard various dancers, teachers and staff teach on lighting, dance school administration, dance curriculum for older and younger students, functional anatomy, injury prevention, conditioning for dance, how to apply textbook directions to real student's bodies and their limintations, encouragement to maintain a high Christian and moral standard in our teaching, choreography, imrovisation, nutrition, pilates, and creative ideas for teaching little ones to worship with dance. We also had four ballet technique classes just for teachers, learning from four of the master teachers at Ballet Magnificat!

All of it was such a blessing, and it has given me encouragement and tools to begin teaching again this fall. I can't wait to put the things that I learned into practice and continue on using ideas I gleaned at the workshop. If you are a dance teacher, I definitely recommned attending a Ballet Magnificat! Teacher's Workshop at least once - you will learn so much and be inspired! There were a few teachers that come every summer, to get the refreshment and new ideas that they need for another busy year.

It was also wonderful to see how all of the teachers bonded and encouraged one another. Each teacher came from a slightly different background and their teaching was geared toward different students. Some were in Christian studios, others taught in a secular environment. There were many special outings arranged for us to get to know each other, including a Saturday, July 4th breakfast at The Corner Bakery Cafe, shopping, a prayer retreat, and dinners at three different delicious restaurants.


On Sunday, July 5th I turned 19 years old and celebrated yet another birthday while at Ballet Magnificat! Everyone was so sweet, and my roommate and packages from home helped make things special. Grace picked some friends and myself up for lunch out at Backyard Burger, and after chapel she again picked us up to go out for more ice cream at Bop's and a quick browse through Barnes and Noble. It was a blessing to talk on the phone to Elijah and my Mom that day, as well as two dear friends and a surprise call from family friends vacationing in Arizona! It was a relaxing day as I watched part of the musical "Newsies," caught up in my journal and remembered years gone by, and finished re-reading Sense and Sensibility.

Our counselor, Colleen, is a dancer in the Ballet Magnificat! Omega company, and she was a wonderful encouragement to me. Her love for the Lord and enthusiasm for His Word and prayer was inspiring. Our small group was also one in which we could encourage each other and "spur one another on" in the Christian walk. The last time we met, we took turns praying specifically for each person, and it was a sweet time of fellowship.

The Lord also taught me a lot about Himself and His direction for my life. While I feel inadequate in many things, God showed me how sufficient He is for everything that I need. While I was worrying about what I didn't yet know, God comforted me by giving me the assurance that He is the best Teacher I could have. The theme of this year's intensive was "Holy Invitation," and we were challenged and encouraged to approach God's throne with boldness because of the work Jesus did on the cross, covering us with His blood. We were challenged to renounce things we'd made into idols in our life and throw off all of the hindrances to run the race with perseverance. Having all of the time specifically set aside to worship and seek after God was so refreshing.

It was also a blessing to get to know the members, teachers, and staff of Ballet Magnificat! They are such an inspiration in how they hold to a high standard and glofify the Lord with excellence in dance. I was first inspired to dance by watching one of the very first Ballet Magnificat! videos, "A Symphony of Movement" and dancing around the house to the music as a little girl. Now, years later, it was such a blessing to be able to go as a teacher and learn from them.

The second week quickly passed by. Unfortunately, I came down with a sore throat on Wednesday that developed into a pretty irritating cold by Friday, but even in the midst of uncomfortable stuffiness, I was able to keep learning. We finished off with a last teacher's outing to Bop's for more ice cream and a great time of sharing.


I left around 6:30 AM on Saturday morning, eager to get home. The radio didn't work most of the way and my voice was barely there due to the cold (which cut out a lot of talking on the phone), so the ride back was a quiet one, allowing me good time to think, process things that had happened, and pray.

Things were off to a full start soon after coming home. It took a while to catch up on things that had happened during the last two weeks, and I soon jumped full-swing into preparations for this summer's musical, holding auditions on Tuesday and directing the first walk-through rehearsal last night. I'm looking forward to all that God has in store for the rest of this summer!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gentleness and Strength

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength."

-- Ralph Sockman

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Your Treasure




"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destry, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
- Matthew 6:19-21

What do you treasure? What do you hold most dear to your heart? Is it a person, possession, or wealth? What has the most pull in your life? Is in an activity, friend, or secret desire?

We are called by God to store our treasures in heaven. What does that mean? How do you store things up in heaven - a place you can't visit and haven't yet seen?

Treasure in heaven is not what the world normally thinks of as a treasure. Treasure in heaven can be deeds done for the glory of God, small acts of kindness and service done to the least of God's children (Matthew 25:40), and people you have led to Christ or influenced for the Lord.

Our treasure is something that will last for eternity, that is imperishable in God's sight. It may not have been noticed or brought acclaim on earth, but if it is of worth in God's sight, than it is infinitely better than worldly praise.

It is so true that whatever we treasure is what will secure our heart. The things that we value take our focus, time, and resources. What are you pouring yours into?

Above all, our heart's treasure should be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Though the above passage talks about treasure we store up, Jesus is worth immeasurably more than anything we could ourselves save up. When we make Jesus our ultimate treasure, our hearts will lie secure in Him. We will devote our time and resources to Him, and He will be the focus of our lives. As a result of this fixation, we will do things that result in treasure stored up for us in heaven.

Ultimately, Jesus is all the treasure we could want or need.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy Birthday Anna!!!

Though I can never seem to find the right words that I want to say, today I want to thank God for allowing me to be the friend of the most amazing young woman I know.

Anna, thank you...

For being someone I can laugh with.

For being someone I can be serious with and discuss life's problems with.

For being beside me when I have a tough decision to make and standing by me.

For always being there even when I couldn't share everything on my mind.


For waiting patiently until I was ready to talk.

For being you!

Happy Birthday Anna!!!