So You Think You Can Dance??

Yup, it’s that wonderful time of the year again! Time for “So You Think You Can Dance” – a TV show competition in which amateur dancers are challenged, stretched, and learn to shine over the course of a couple of months. It’s the only TV show we count down the days to! If you’d like to see what happens every. single. season. (to me) when the show first airs, click HERE.

Regular readers around these parts already know of my background in, and love for, the art of dance. Fun fact: did you know my husband was a ballroom dance instructor at one point in his life? *That’s really why I married him! Ha! 😀

So you can understand why we both adore watching these artists perform and grow so much! The dance styles span the gamut, and the choreography is just spectacular. Two pieces gave me intense goosebumps last night (my leg hair grew 1/2 an inch I think), and one brought me to tears. It’s gonna be a great season!

The top 20 were just announced, and last year *ahem* I picked the winner all the way back from her initial audition! There was never a doubt in my mind that Melanie was the one. This year though, I’m not quite as confident – there are several truly unique, magical artists. But I will say, for the record, that so far my favorite girls are Eliana: for her uniqueness, sweet versatility, and free spirit – she seems unspoiled to me, like a dancer in their purest form; Amelia: for her vintage charm; and Janelle: because her smile and presence are just captivating! I wish for her to do well, but I’m not entirely convinced of her ability yet. For the guys, I’m going with George: who I simply can’t watch dance without a smile coming to my face; Nick: because I have a soft spot for a good manly ballroom dude; and Will: because he has a precious spirit! Oh yes, and we can’t forget about Cyrus. I think everybody’s rooting for Cyrus, no?!

So there ya have it folks. My official predictions/hopes for 2012. Write ’em down!

While we’re on the topic, last year we went to see the SYTYCD Tour live, and what an a.m.a.z.i.n.g. experience that was! An all-you-can-eat buffet of the best the dancing world has to offer. I just can’t recommend it highly enough. So for you dance aficionados out there, ask for Tour tickets for your birthday…it’ll be up there among the best gifts you’ve ever received. Promise :-).

You know, just hanging out with Nick (our favorite guy from last season) after the show – and me trying to look AWAKE at 2am!

And some fuzzy shots from the magical evening of dance:

Are you a SYTYCD fan too? Have any predictions for this season?

 

A Book of Guests

Ever since the day we were married, we have loved having guests in our home. Even when home was a tiny little hunting cabin that froze in winter…I remember a photo we have somewhere of our friend Nathan sitting on our couch with a scarf and mittens on during a game of cards! Maybe he was a little dramatic. 🙂

During the Great Office Purge of 2012 (Do you like how I seem to feel the need to name every occasion in our life -complete with caps- to make it sound so incredibly impressive? Ha!) anyway, back to the purge that has been happening for the past, oh, 5 days or so: buried amongst the junk, I happened upon an old guest book of ours. For many years, we’ve had our visitors sign a little notebook when they leave our house. Most just jot down their name and the date – or if it was a special occasion, like Christmas.  Some though, left kind, thoughtful words, drew pictures, or left a whole pages worth of sentiment! But regardless of what they said, they all left a tangible reminder of a moment in time.

It’s been so much fun to look back on the dates, see the names, read the well-wishes…and smile. Some of our guests have moved, some have died, some have gotten married, some have had children, some are still frequent signers of the book. Reading it can be a great reminder that it’s been a loooooong time since we’ve hosted certain friends, and it will encourage us to invite them over again!

All of the wonderful names that fill our guest books have left a mark on our life. A stamp of love. A warm remembrance. They have shared our table, filled our guestrooms, beaten us at board games, talked by the fire, enjoyed movies and popcorn…shared life.

I’m so thankful for this wonderful keepsake. In a way, it’s a timeline of a portion of our lives. May that line continue to be filled with good friends and even better memories.

Do you keep a guest book in your home?

Some Days I Sit Around, Sip Tea, and Wonder…

…How two people could possibly accumulate sooooo much junk! (I’m in the middle of an office purge right now…say a little prayer for me…)

…If dogs really CAN talk, but choose not to. Sometimes I think I see words forming in Chester’s eyes…

…Why people don’t have common decency manners on Facebook or Twitter: i.e Jane and Suzy talk about going out to lunch and how much fun they had together, when I am friends with Jane and Suzy too, and now have hurt feelings because they didn’t ask me to go out with them! Not classy girls, not classy.

…How come I get my knickers in a knot when I go over the target price at the gas station by a penny or two – when every other purchase of the day was a not-even-close-to-being-even kind of number ($28.63, $15.81, $7.18, etc.), and I have no problem with those.

…If I’m the only one who saves all those extra buttons that come with new articles of clothing – and can never remember using a single one!?

…Why in the world we fell off the remodeling bandwagon months ago and left so many loose ends undone. (We’ve jumped back on now, btw. never fear!)

…Exactly what possessed me to cut bangs for the summertime? Summer = humidity = frizzy haystack tacked onto the front of my head = not attractive.

…How come some people won’t give Harry Potter a chance when they adore Lord of the Rings and Narnia. All three contain alternate worlds, magic, good and evil, witches, wizards, and fantastical adventures.

…Why God created ticks?

Got any answers for me?!! What do you sit around and wonder?

 

Soul Sisters

This past year, I’ve been given a very special gift. One that I’ve been waiting for, for most of my life. A gift that has made my days richer, fuller, deeper… One that has stretched me, is teaching me to face my fears, and is making me a better person. Her name is Jenni.

We all dream of having a best friend. A person that shares your heart. That truly understands you –gets you- doesn’t accept apologies for who you are. Who loves you just as faithfully through the dark times, as they do through the seasons of joy. Who reassures you when you are needy, and cares for you well.

A person that you can trust. One that holds a sacred place in your heart – who dares to go where none but the truest friendships survive. A person who will protect the bond that you share. Who won’t let it be challenged, threatened, or usurped by others.

We dream of a friend with whom we share a ridiculous amount of similarities, but also the requisite healthy dose of differences that help us gain a view of the world that is broader and wiser than ours is on our own.

Don’t misunderstand: my husband is my soul mate. The other half of who I am. I would die without him by my side. But many, if not all of us, were also created to taste the sweet joy of a deep female friendship-a kindred spirit to walk beside us.

This kind of friendship doesn’t just happen by chance. Although I firmly believe that God is the One who brings people into your life, it takes initiative, courage, commitment, vulnerability, and hard work from both parties in order for any relationship to touch the deep recesses of your soul (but I’ve already shared more about all of that in my Friendship Series). What I want to communicate to you today though, is that this, the true blue, whether the storms, soul-connection kind of friendship is something worth pursuing, worth committing to, worth fighting for! Your life will never be the same. If you’ve never taken this risk, I hope one day you will…

A BFF? For some reason I feel 12 years old using that title. Nothing wrong with it of course! 😉 It just falls so short of describing the magnitude of what a “best friend” means when you are an adult. When your life-altering tragedies become so much deeper than crushes and braces…when what you promise to stand by each other through, is more on par with surviving the deaths of those you love, and navigating the dangerous rocky ground that can pepper our marriages from time to time (heaven preserve us from both). So instead of a “BFF”, this year I met my soul sister. I think there is so much potential for a connection like this to grow…only time will tell of course…but I’m excited for the future!

When it comes to an ending for this post, words fail. But if you have found a soul sister of your own, I think you get that…

Postscript:
Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and depths. My life has been rich indeed, filled with many! But this one particular level of friendship has been vacant for far too long. And I actually think it was partially my fault. To encourage those of you who are still waiting, still praying, to find that special friend: I believe it’s no accident that I found mine this year. The year I became intentional about life. The year I realized that I needed to pare back the many friendships I was desperately trying to juggle, to just those few that I felt led to invest in, to go deeper with. So look around, see who God has already brought into your life, and then take courage, test the deep waters…even dive in and take some time to swim around. Who knows what beautiful things might emerge from the pool?

Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon…


You know how, when you’re singing in a group or choir and you forget the words, you are supposed to just mouth the words “watermelon, watermelon” over and over, and supposedly people won’t be able to tell the difference?

You didn’t know that? Well, now you do.

Full of exceptionally useful information this blog is! 😉

But seriously, it’s watermelon season people! If you’re like us, and have a household of two, even a small watermelon goes a loooooong way. So I thought I’d share a few little tidbits to add to your repertoire of watermelon knowledge.

First of all, my very favorite watermelon recipe is Watermelon Gazpacho Soup. Ever tried it? Sooooo divine! CLICK HERE for the recipe.

Also, did you know that watermelon is on the Clean 15 list? That means it’s safe to buy in non-organic form if you are concerned about pesticides and such. Always remember to wash your melon before cutting though! You can read more about the Clean 15 list (and the Dirty Dozen) HERE.

And lastly, what do you do with your leftover watermelon juice (you know, what’s left after you’ve balled up all the flesh)? HERE are a few ideas for “upcycling” your watermelon juice.

Of course perhaps the best way to enjoy this quintessential icon of summer days, is slice by thick ruby-red slice. Complete with juice running down your chin, and a seed spitting contest after dinner.