My eyes see red & white

Nutcracker just the thing to bring in the right Christmas spirit... What an amazing opportunity I have to be a part of such a fantastic tradition of colors, of magic, of lights, and friendships.
Those candy canes were absolutely amazing, despite the 3 gals who ended up plagued by the stomach flu! Unfortunately I ended up with it too... and try as I might I couldn't perform the party scene for 3 of the 4 performances! Cute Shane, who does all of this just for me, still held his head up high and performed those 3 performances with my part-saver, instead of myself. He was AMAZING... I would dare say that Shane has more character because of that.
My goodness I love him!
Here are my silly candy cane gals...it was because of their individual strengths that made them absolutely perfect!

Susie, Abbey, Kenzie
Alyssa, Bryni, Emily, Kenady, Claire,
Skye, Ali, Courtney

Our 'Candy Cane' huddle

Hundreds of little bodies in costume, with smiles on each one of their faces... feeling the heat of the lights, hearing the applause of the audience, and sensing the complete joy and magic that Christmas brings.
Already looking forward to next year...


Life and the balance beam

Tonight I was able to go watch my little 6 year old niece at gymnastics. I watched intently as she practiced a series of steps on the balance beam. Slides, jumps, dips, balances on one leg... her cute little body with arms stretched out like an airplane did its very best to keep her on the balance beam. Occasionally she would lose that hard earned balance and fall. Each time she would quickly pick herself up and pull with all her strength to get her body back up on the beam. It looked hard. My muscles ached by just watching her struggle to get back up.

I thought a lot about her practice and how that's just how life goes. We all try our very best to walk that thin line of safety, of happiness, of success... but much of the time we lose our sight, (sometimes at no fault of our own) let go of our strength, and fall off the beam. While sitting on the ground looking at all those who are still walking a perfectly balanced line we tend to think that it isn't worth the difficulty of trying to get back up. It's too hard. But someway, somehow, we find ourselves pulling to get back on that thin line.

Savanna and I hopped into the car and I looked back at her while her quiet, and worn out eyes looked out into the night from the tinted window.

"My muscles feel so tired." She quietly stated.
"I think I need a treat."

Gymnastics is hard...just like life. But most of the time we do our best to muster up the strength to pick ourselves back up, even if it seems impossible.

I think you are right Savanna...let's go get some ice cream.


xoxo Savanna baby. I love you.


Perfect Imperfection

At Nutcracker practices my dancers work hard memorizing their choreography so that once they are on the stage to perform, they can dance it with PERFECTION.

I delight in knowing that my dancers work so SO hard to achieve this goal... it is so fulfilling to watch from backstage as every toe is pointed, every hoop is moving in the right direction, and every sweet smile is in its place.

Today during practice we ran the dance... over, and over, and over again. When a mistake was made, back to the beginning every girl would march, hoping that in the next go around no mistakes would be made. They worked as hard as they always do, and I was impressed with their dedication.

After individual practice we combined with all of the other dancers for finale rehearsal. I knew my dancers would be perfect, because that's what we had worked so hard to achieve. When their turn came to dance, I was astonished at not only the small, but the very large and obvious mistakes that were being made... what was happening? I felt frustrated, and sad. They know this dance! They know their parts! Why is this not perfect like it was 10 minutes ago?!

As I stood around the other teachers feeling fumed, I glanced over at my dancers huddled back in a corner. Each of them looked so content, watching silently as the other dancers leaped and turned all about the floor. I quickly became overcome with feelings of guilt. "They ARE perfect" I thought. "They did exactly what I had asked of them - to dance their very best". To be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way.

After I gave each of the girls a high five and a wink, I drove home contemplating my internal behavior. My thoughts quickly turned to the Savior... the ultimate teacher. He doesn't teach expecting us to come out perfect. He wouldn't make us turn around and start over so we wouldn't make any mistakes. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ give us the opportunity to make mistakes so that we may learn, we may grow, and so that next time, we can be better. We are only expected to do our best; to TRY to be perfect, not to BE perfect; and I think that's exactly why we all can feel of their love for us. How proud they must feel every time we serve someone in need, or kneel to pray in seeking for direction....

How proud I feel every time I see a smile, or witness the beautiful countenance on each dancers face. How proud I feel to be their teacher; to watch them stumble, to watch them grow, and see each of them finding their own perfection.

Perfection doesn't come in pointed toes or turned out legs. It comes in lifting our chins, stepping out onto the stage with confidence, and dancing our very, very best.