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Saturday, July 13, 2019

The First Thing I See

Just over a year ago, a friend of mine posted a picture on one of her social media accounts that caught my attention.  But it wasn't the purpose of her picture that caught my eye.  It was a painting on her wall that I could only see part of.  So I asked her about it, and she told me all about the artist (Felicia Hunt), the painting (From Me) and what it meant to her personally.  She said every time she sees it, she is reminded of her life in Christ - she was once in slavery and bondage, but God, in His mercy, set her free.  This painting hangs on her bathroom wall.  At first, I thought that picture should be hanging on her living room wall for everyone to see who walked into her house.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the bathroom was the perfect spot for it.  That's one of the first things she sees every single morning when she wakes up.  At that moment, I began a quest to find a painting for my bathroom wall - something that would be the first thing I would see every single morning and would remind me of my life in Christ, my faith walk with Him.  I had no idea where I would find this picture or how to find it or even what it would look like.  I just knew that once I found it, I would know.

In January I found it.  I don't even remember how.  It was on one of my social media accounts, but I'd never even heard of the artist until then so I'm not sure how I initially came across it or if someone else posted it or what.  At that moment, I knew that painting would one day hang on my bathroom wall right behind my vanity so I would see it in my mirror every. single. morning. first. thing.  My parents made that a reality for my birthday.  And here it is:
The artist is Tricia Robinson, and the painting is The Four.  The Four are some of the grandmothers in Jesus' family tree:  Tamar, Ruth, Rahab and Bathsheeba.  Matthew's Gospel account lists each of these four women in its recording of Jesus' genealogy.  Oh, there were many other grandmothers, of course, but these ladies' NAMES are WRITTEN DOWN in Matthew 1.  Of all the grandmothers in Jesus' family tree, God ordained that we would see these particular names on the pages of His Word.  Surely these women were the "cream of the crop" . . . godly women deserving to be named there.  Hardly.

Tamar, after being left childless by two deceased husbands and having been sent back to her own family, disguised herself as a prostitute because she desperately wanted what had been withheld from her.

Ruth, too, was left childless after her husband and his brothers died.  She was a Moabite woman, a foreigner with no one to provide for her or protect her.

Rahab was a prostitute, a harlot.  And she was a liar.

Bathsheeba conceived a child as the result of an adulterous relationship.  Her husband was murdered in an attempt to cover up the affair, and the baby died shortly after birth.

Prostitutes, foreigners, liars, adulterers.

Broken, grieving, lost.

But God.  He SAW these women, He LOVED these women, He lavished them with His GRACE.  He brought beauty from the ashes.  He called these women and gave them a place in HIS family and in the earthy lineage of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Ann Voskamp says it best:  The family tree of Christ startingly notes not one woman but four. Four broken women—women who felt like outsiders, like has-beens, like never-beens. Women who were weary of being taken advantage of, of being unnoticed, and uncherished and unappreciated; women who didn’t fit in, who didn’t know how to keep going, what to believe, where to go—women who had thought about giving up. And Jesus claims exactly these who are wandering and wondering and wounded and worn out as His. He grafts you into His line and His story and His heart, and He gives you His Name, his lineage, his righteousness.

So why this picture?

Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) has been a huge part of my life for many years now.  I just finished my seventh study.  The daily, in-depth, verse-by-verse study of God's Word has completely transformed my life, encouraged me, sustained me, fed me, held me.  It's not about BSF.  It's about God's Word.  And every single year, God does something.  With every study I've done, I can tell you the "big thing" God did that year.

There was the year (Genesis) back in the early days of elementary school with Mason when he was diagnosed with dyslexia.  As God ordained it, my group leader had a daughter who had walked a similar path in her early years of schooling.  She was in high school by that time.  That was probably, hands down, one of the hardest years of my life, and yet I had a group leader who knew exactly what I was going through, exactly how I felt, exactly how to pray for us.  She spoke prayers over us, wrote down prayers for me.  She also shared her story with me, and even though it didn't seem possible for us at the time, I knew we could one day come out on the other side, too.

There was the year (Genesis and Matthew) God called me into leadership at BSF to serve as a Children's Leader.

There was the year (Moses) God called us to homeschool, which meant he called me out of BSF leadership.  I grieved that.

And then there was the year (Revelation) God called me completely out of BSF to homeschool.  I grieved that loss even more, certain it would be years before I could go back.

There was the year God surprisingly and miraculously called me back to BSF and then immediately back into leadership as a Children's Leader.

There was the year God called (Romans) me to serve on staff for our class as the Children's Supervisor.  That calling came in March 2018.  I was incredibly humbled and grateful for the opportunity, but I also knew I would miss being in the classroom teaching the children.  I knew there would be challenges, and I would be pushed outside my comfort zone.  I knew there would be some hard things.  And there were.  

I'll be completely honest.  By the time last fall rolled around and I began serving as the Children's Supervisor, I was almost SCARED to begin a new study and a new year of BSF.  I was scared because I had no idea what God was going to do this time around.  I only knew for certain that He was going to do SOMETHING because He always does, and that's what happens when you immerse yourself in His Word.  Again, it's not BSF.  BSF is simply the catalyst for studying God's Word.  By the time October rolled around, I began to wonder how long it would be, how far into our study of People of the Promised Land (Joshua, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11 and selected Psalms and Proverbs) I would get before God did IT . . before I knew what THE BIG ONE for this particular study would be.  But, surely, nothing could be bigger than what He'd already called me to . . . right?!  I was curious (but did I really want to know?).

Last fall was a tough one.  There were some decisions that Seth and I needed to make for our family, but those decisions hinged on some things that we had absolutely no control over.  We kept waiting for a resolution, praying for God's will.  We had to make some decisions we didn't really want to make.  It was draining.  I can remember so badly just wanting it all to be over, all to come to a conclusion, all to work out.  I wanted all the answers to all the questions.  Some of those answers finally came at the beginning of November, closing some doors that we'd been trying to walk through for over two years.  As much as I wanted a firm resolution, I did not want or like the answers that came.  But I had no choice.  After a bit of grieving, it was time to move forward.  I was thankful for the opportunity to, in fact, move forward.  The decisions had been made, the burdens had been lifted and it actually felt rather freeing to not have a decision looming over me.  It had also been a hard semester regarding the kids' schooling so Thanksgiving break couldn't come soon enough.  We were heading to Georgia, and I could not wait.  I wanted to go and just leave everything behind for awhile, especially knowing "everything" was "settled."  I wouldn't have to think about anything, decide anything, wonder about anything.  I could just . . . be present.  And enjoy.  And breathe.  And rest.

The night before we left, I received a phone call from my Teaching Leader (TL) at BSF.  While that in and of itself wasn't odd or necessarily out of the ordinary, I knew this time was different.  And then Patty told me to sit down.  At that point, I got SCARED (see above).  She shared with me that, after nine years, she was retiring as the TL for our class.  I was sad, but I wasn't really surprised.  I felt like the Lord had already laid that on my heart a bit.  But what He had NOT laid on my heart yet was what she said next.  She asked me to consider and pray about being the TL for our class.  As a matter of fact, her exact words were, "The Lord told me that you are to be the next TL for our class."  And then she asked me to consider and pray.  My very first thought was, "Well, the Lord didn't tell ME that!"  But, of course, I didn't tell her that!  I don't remember much of what I said.  I don't even think it was much anyway.  Yes, believe it or not, I can be short on words sometimes (but not today).

SCARED.

Well, so much for that "not thinking about or deciding anything" restful trip to Georgia!  I didn't sleep very much that night at all.  I promised Patty that I would consider, and I would pray.  So that's what I did.  My prayer was very short and very simple.  I asked the Lord to make it abundantly clear to me without a shadow of a doubt (kind of like Gideon) what His will was.  And do you know what He did?  Exactly that.

I'd begun September studying the book of Joshua which details the life of Joshua as he faithfully, obediently led God's people into the Promised Land after 40 years of wilderness wanderings.  If you want to study and learn from a godly leader, look at Joshua's life!  It was not a coincidence that I'd just spent all that time studying Joshua.

I teach the 1st-3rd grade Sunday school class at my church.  Our recent Bible studies included Nehemiah and Esther.  You know . . . for such a time as this . . .

The Sunday before Thanksgiving we went to my parents' church.  I was very excited to hear Bro. Al preach again.  He'd been my pastor since I was twelve years old, and he married Seth and me.  I settled in to the pew with my Bible in anticipation of his sermon.  He asks us to turn to Psalm 139.  What?  Psalm 139?

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.  You have hedged my behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me . . . for You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Let's just say that wasn't at all what I was expecting.  I mean, it wasn't Sanctity of Human Life Sunday or anything.  I know many of the verses in that chapter by heart, and, well, they're very good and all.  Very good.  But . . . it was Thanksgiving.  So shouldn't there be a sermon on . . . thankfulness . . . or, perhaps, blessings, or something?  I'll just be real honest.  I was disappointed.  Disappointed.

So Bro. Al proceeds to tell us that he's going to talk to us about our purpose.  God has a purpose for each one of us (yes, He does), and what purpose has God given you?  What has God called you to?  Are you fulfilling God's purpose for your life?  At this point, I'm confused.  I mean, did He give us the wrong Scripture?  Psalm 139?  Purpose?  Where in the world was he going with this?

And then, do you know what he said next?!  And I quote (because, yes, I can still so vividly remember this):  Now, for all of you who are mothers to young children, I AM NOT talking about raising your children or motherhood as your purpose.

Now.  For me, those are fighting words.  Because I believe motherhood is a high calling, and I also believe that is God's purpose in my life right now.  (But another discussion for another day).  So I was kind of getting "bowed up" on the inside (as Bro. Al likes to say).  You know, kind of defensive.

He began taking us through Psalm 139 verse by verse.  And I wrote all up and down the margins in my Bible and filled up the blank spaces in that Sunday's bulletin.  By the time he was finished, I was nearly shaking.  I'd never, ever heard Psalm 139 preached or taught from the standpoint of God's will, purpose and calling before.  Just a few of my notes:

  • God doesn't want me to miss His will - He wants me to get it!
  • Whatever God has called me to do is made for someone just my size.  God had a purpose in mind for me before I was even born (verses 13-16).
  • God has good thoughts towards me.  God has a good plan for me.  I am on God's mind all the time (verses 17-18).
  • What in me needs changing?  What needs changing so I can be about God's purpose in my life?  If I want to be happy, I need to find God's purpose in my life.  He wants me to find it, and He will help me to find it (verses 23-24).
Well.  Okay, then.  I stand corrected not once but twice.  Who needs a sermon on thanksgiving when you can learn about God's purpose for your life from Psalm 139?!  I was also thankful for his little disclaimer at the beginning about raising children and motherhood because I could've easily hung my hat on that as my purpose and called it a day without listening to the rest of the sermon.  It was nice to get that out of the way so I could really hear what God was trying to say to me.

I knew then God was working so I just kept praying the same thing.  Show me.  Open the door.  Or close it.

That was Sunday.  When I woke up Monday morning, I grabbed my Bible and my new BSF lesson for the week.  Guess what passage of Scripture we were on that day.  Psalm 139.  (We'd begun to study the life of David in 1 Samuel, and that particular week we looked at several Psalms he wrote).  Yep.  Psalm 139.  I kid you not.  Coincidence?  Nope.  I just laughed as I opened my Bible.

And then on Wednesday evening we had a Thanksgiving meal with my extended family.  I always love talking to my Aunt Gail.  I could tell you a million things about her, but I won't.  We always have a lot to talk about, especially regarding the family, the seminary classes she's been taking (she's 78 years old in case you're wondering, and, yes, she's been taking seminary classes for a few years now), church.  I picked her up that evening because she doesn't drive at night.  And then Mama sat us beside each other at the table so we could talk some more.  The meal was nearly finished and most everyone else had left the table, but she and I were still sitting there talking.  She asked me what I was currently teaching.  I told her about my little Sunday school class.  I explained that since I was the Children's Supervisor at BSF, I wasn't teaching a class anymore, but I was shepherding and training the Children's Leaders.  Then she stopped and said, "Do NOT stop teaching."  Something about the way she said it gave me pause.  Here's the thing.  When Aunt Gail says something in "that" voice, you best be listening, and you best do it.  And then she said it again in THAT voice.  I'm serious.  Do NOT stop teaching.  I mean, I heard her.  But in that moment, I thought it was an odd statement.  It was almost . . . out of place.  I dismissed it for awhile.  And then she went on to tell me that she'd been teaching her Sunday school class for almost 60 years (which, of course, I already knew).

We headed back on Friday, and I found myself sitting down with my Bible that night.  I told the Lord I really needed a firm answer so I could let Patty know if I was willing to proceed with the "next step" or not in the process of becoming a TL.  I went back to Nehemiah and Esther and even Psalm 139.  And then the Lord asked (I'm telling you, it was so clear to me), "Did you not hear what Aunt Gail said?!"  I'd almost forgotten.  I hadn't even thought about it since Wednesday night (because I'm slow to catch on sometimes).  DO NOT STOP TEACHING.  Yes, Lord.  I heard her.  And I heard You.

Needless to say, I let Patty know on Saturday that I was willing to move forward in the next step of becoming a TL.  There were lots of steps in the process over the next few months and every single time I moved to the next phase, my prayer was the same.  I asked the Lord to make it abundantly clear, to open the door or close it.  I could tell you even more stories how, time after time, God continued to affirm that this is what He's called me to do.  In April I had the honor and privilege of attending TL training and orientation at BSF headquarters in San Antonio.  On Saturday, April 27, I was officially confirmed as the Teaching Leader for the Baton Rouge day women's BSF class.

I can't even.

And there's one more thing I have to share (because I want to be sure I remember it even though I'm certain I'll never forget).  My very first year as a BSF Children's Leader I taught the two-year old class.  There was a little boy in that class whose grandma, Janet, brought him every single week.  It took him awhile to adjust so he became my little buddy.  I had no idea until the very end of that year that his grandma was a former TL for our class.  She reached out to me that summer (2014) and asked me to go to lunch with her so we could get to know one another better.  As I've gotten to know her over the last few years, she is one of the godliest, Spirit-filled women I have ever known, and the Lord has used her in a mighty way to encourage me and speak wisdom into my life.  When this whole thing began last November, I wanted so desperately to call her and talk to her about it.  But I couldn't because of the confidential nature of the situation.  I saw her the week before I went to headquarters for training and orientation, and I could hardly stand not telling her.  It was almost awkward because I had to be so very careful with what I said.  I was afraid I was going to give it away.  I knew she would be the first person I called after the announcement was made to my class.  On that particular day of the announcement, I had to hurry and pick up the children because I had planned a luncheon for the Children's Leaders.  I stopped at Chic-fil-A to grab some food for them.  The drive through lines were so long that day.  Even though I knew they would move quickly, I decided to park and go inside (which I NEVER do) since I was in such a hurry.  And guess who was inside eating, saw me through the window and met me at the door?!  Janet!  I nearly cried, speechless, and she just gave me a big hug and said, "It's you, isn't it?"  That was, yet again, another little God-nod, another little affirmation that this is, indeed, God's calling for me.      

So that painting hanging in my bathroom?  It was during the study of People of the Promised Land that God called me to serve Him as a TL in BSF.  It was in People of the Promised Land that I studied Rahab and Ruth and Bathsheeba . . . broken and battered and scarred women that deserved nothing but because of God's GRACE were made whole and given a place in His divine story.

Women just like me.  Because I've been broken and battered and scarred, too.  But because of God's GRACE, I have been made whole and new and given a place to serve Him.  That painting reminds me every single morning that God's mercies and compassion are made new, are for me.  That painting reminds me every single morning of God's faithfulness and grace.  It also reminds me of His calling and purpose on my life (not just at BSF!).

Why in the world did I write this book?  When the Lord called me as the Children's Supervisor last year, my Area Advisor asked me one day to tell her again about my calling. She told me she would ask me that question often because the day was coming when Satan would try to discourage and cast fear and doubt and that in those days, I needed to always remember my calling.  I wanted to "remember my calling" because September is quickly approaching, a new BSF year is about to begin.  The enemy is real.  He wants me to discourage and doubt and fear and fall and just give up.  There will be "those days," there will be hard days, there will be exhausting days.  And I will need to "remember my calling."  I will need to look back at the Lord's faithful leading every single step of the way.  This is for my children, too.  He has a calling on their lives as well.  I want my story to encourage them, to help them, to remind them to also remember their calling.

This isn't about me.  It's not about me at all.  It's about a great, big God who is so full of love and grace that I can't even begin to put words to it.  Here's the thing.  What about you?  What is God calling you to do?  What is that big thing you're absolutely scared to death of?  Let me tell you something.  You know what's even scarier?  Saying no.  I don't care how big and scary it is.  God is BIGGER.  I already know right now - and I've known all along - that I can't do this TL thing.  But I know WHO can.  God can.  And He will!  He did it for Tamar and Ruth and Rahab and Bathsheeba.  He's done it for me, and He'll continue to do it for me.  He'll do it for you, too.

One last (I promise) thing.  So this whole time, all these months, I've talked about and reminded myself to just do the next thing, take the next step.  That's it.  Y'all know Ann Voskamp is one of my favorites.  She posted this earlier today, and I have to admit I erupted in delightful laughter (because here goes that leap!!!):
             

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Farmer Buzz part 4

Yesterday we did this.  It was alright . . . definitely better than the third one.  Of course, nothing will ever come close to the original.
It was a nice little ride down memory lane with Woody, Jessie, Buzz and the gang.  Because there used to be a cute little blonde-headed boy who was absolutely smitten with Woody and Buzz . . . I can't even tell you how many times we've watched the movie together!  I have to admit that it's one of my favorites, too.  I asked Mason yesterday if his favorite movie as a tot was Toy Story or Cars.  Because Cars is another one that was on constant repeat.  He couldn't remember.  But I do.  He used to call it "Farmer Buzz" (even though he was a cowboy, not a farmer).  All I know is that Woody is the reason we finally experience potty training success in our house!  I have a small box of very favorite toys I've saved from Mason's childhood, and Woody, Jessie and Buzz are all in that box.  Such good memories!  Woody went everywhere with us.  (And it took me a minute to figure out what was going on in the background of this picture, but I finally realized I had covered our fireplace with a cardboard box.  Obviously someone was crawling and climbing.  And those are figures from Hannah Kate's first nativity scene lined up in front of it.)  
Mason loved Woody so much that he dressed up as a cowboy, too.  And had his own Bullseye to boot!
And Woody is on his shirt (too bad Woody didn't lend him a comb . . . some things haven't changed in over a decade!).
As we were talking about Toy Story being Mason's favorite movie as a little, Ellie asked what Hannah Kate's favorite movie was.  Mason was quick to respond, "Dora!"  Hannah Kate wasn't big on movies per se, but she absolutely loved to watch Dora.  She's quick to turn her nose up at that now.  So we were waiting for the movie to start yesterday, and Hannah Kate wondered aloud, "I wonder what previews we'll see today."  It's been a very long time since we've been to the movie theater to see a movie, but they always look forward to the previews.  And then . . . all of a sudden . . . the second preview in . . . BACKPACK BACKPACK!!!  Y'all.  They are coming out with a real-live-girl Dora movie this fall!  As soon as we figured out what it was, Mason and Hannah Kate looked at me, and we all burst out laughing.  I'm sure everyone else in the theater thought we were nuts, but it was hilarious given our earlier conversation in the truck.  
And then there was THIS one!  And they were all, "What in the world IS THIS?!"  I mean, I was giddy.  And Mason said, "You'll have to go see that one with Dad."  I told him I'd be seeing that one with Mrs. Tracy.  I have to say the previews didn't disappoint yesterday.
I have to say yesterday was a sweet little trip down memory lane.  Those were the days I thought were so hard.  If only I'd known then what I know now.  Those days were so simple.  I could use some more of that right now.  

And this popped up on my social media feed yesterday.  So very true and well played!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Summer Time

Because I love lists and schedules and planners and color coded folders, I decided the kids and I would sit down together and create a summer schedule and a list of fun things to do.  So that's what we did the first week school was out.  The kids were on board with it (really, they were).  Ellie exclaimed, "I can't wait until snack time.  And we have TWO snack times!  But I will not like personal time.  I do not like being by myself."    
Between VBS, babysitting, baseball, camp and all of the other things, we've only had a few days thus far at home with our schedule.  

I should've known from the very first day that this was not a good idea.  The children shall remain nameless.  There was the child who took this very literally (perhaps said child gets it honest) and was checking the schedule every thirty minutes to let everyone else know what we were supposed to be doing at that moment.  I tried to explain to child that the schedule was just a guide.  It was just supposed to help us use our time wisely.

(Who am I kidding?!  The main reason for the schedule in the first place was to hold me accountable to at least having a few productive hours during the day and the children to limited screen time without me having to be the electronics police.)

Anyway, this child just did not understand the concept of an unscheduled schedule.  I'm sure I probably just made that up anyway.  The second day was even worse.  I established the rule from the start that no one was allowed to wake anyone else up no matter what time it was.  But this child just could not deal and made everyone miserable with the monitoring of the schedule and subsequent directions.

The other thing that happened on day two was that another child "finished" some parts of the schedule in less than the allotted time and proceeded to sit in a chair and stare at me until the time of the next activity.  I finally told said child that I was not to be stared down.  I should've just chunked the schedule in the garbage at that moment.  It was creating way too much frustration.  For everyone.

And then there was the child who made it a goal to sleep until 10:00, thus missing out on summer reading.  That's okay.  You can make that up during your screen time, of which there isn't much anyway so you can also read during your personal time.  That child is no longer sleeping until 10:00.

The schedule police has since calmed down and doesn't even mention it anymore.  As a matter of fact, no one mentions the schedule anymore or even looks at it.  I asked yesterday where it was and no one even knew.  You know what?  I'm just going to go ahead and own up to it.  You know what is NOT fun?  A summer schedule.  Because summers are for NO schedules.  With ten months out of the year dictating every facet of our lives down to the days and times and all while having to accommodate how awful interstate traffic is, we need a couple of months without all of that.  Summer reading is still getting done.  Screen time is probably more than it should be but definitely less that it could be.  Sometimes the chores get done, and other times they don't.  There are lazy days, and there are more active days.  And that is just fine.  They are just fine.  Now that most of our commitments are finished for a couple of months, and baseball is coming to an end this weekend, I anticipate the summer days to get even a little longer, lazier and just happier.  And that's perfectly fine with me.  We'll resume with the schedule in August.





Friday, May 31, 2019

Iconic | Dance Recital 2019

After months of dance classes two days a week, recital day finally came.  Sometimes the nights are long waiting on her, but I'm always reminded at the recital how quickly it went.  This was Hannah Kate's eighth year of dancing.  She again took two ballet classes, jazz and lyrical.  The theme for this year's recital was Iconic.  So every dance represented something or someone "iconic."  Let's just say it was iconic in more ways than one . . .
Abbie has only two years of dancing before she graduates.  I'm not sure how that happened either.
I usually don't take pictures during the dances because they just don't turn out.  But this year's recital was in a different venue because they are renovating the theater.  There were so many things I liked much better this year, and I even got a decent picture or two. Hannah Kate's first dance was ballet.  She is on the far left.
Their ballet dance was a polka.  Mrs. Katherine really challenged Hannah Kate this year.  She has grown so much as a dancer . . . poise, grace . . . and I know that's a direct result of Mrs. Katherine's ballet classes.  Her classes are always beautifully choreographed and technically excellent.  This one was no exception.  We love Mrs. Katherine!

Hannah Kate enters from stage left.  She is the first dance in the second group of girls and ends up in the center group.  I actually filmed this at the dress rehearsal.
I loved Hannah Kate's lyrical costume this year.  I was hoping she would have her dance picture taken in it, but she chose a different costume.  As hard as it is sometimes, I generally let her make all of her clothing choices, even when I would rather something different.  
Her lyrical dance represented World Wars.  It was a beautiful dance, and she always loves lyrical.  This was a really big class this year so you'll have to look hard to catch her.  She is the first one on the front row to enter stage left after the four girls dance.  She pushes to the back for the first sequence and then her group moves off stage.  When her group comes back on stage, she ends up on the front row second from the right.  This, too, was filmed at the dress rehearsal.
And then there was the moment we've all been waiting for since October . . . the Daddy Daughter Dance!  I still can't believe her class was chosen for this, as usually the youngest classes are chosen.  She danced with her Daddy her very first year.  So this was his second time on the big stage.  We had so much fun - and a lot of giggles - with this one.  But here they are recital ready (except now that I'm looking at this, her jazz shoes are missing, and her tights are rolled up).  
This dance represented American Bandstand.  It was a sock hop Danny and Sandy style.  Much to my dismay, Seth had never seen Grease before and didn't even know who Danny and Sandy are.  So we had to watch a few YouTube videos.  They did the hand jive.  The dads did Greased Lightenin (yes, they had their own solo part).  And they brought down the house!  Seriously, it was the most entertaining dance of the entire recital, and the audience loved it.  Miss Jordan did a great job with the choreography.  It was just so much fun!  

I did take a video of the rehearsal (Hannah Kate's facial expressions are priceless!), but the dads weren't in costume.  And we had to come home and work on Greased Lightenin a bit more.  So I'm not going to post it here.  But here are some still shots from the recital.  Hannah Kate is on the front row in the center.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this dance was watching Hannah Kate interact with her Daddy.  I didn't capture that at all with these pics, but the video is priceless.  Once the recital video is finished, I'll post it here.

And then, just like that, after all those months of dance classes and rehearsals and hair and makeup and costumes . . . it was over and we were headed home.
I've said it before.  My mama really wanted me to take dance, but I begged and begged to take piano lessons instead.  I didn't like dancing.  But Mama took piano lessons briefly when she was a child, and she didn't like it.  She finally agreed to let me take piano lessons instead so my ballet slippers were retired after only two years.  I'm so glad though that Hannah Kate loves to dance!  Recital day is always one of my favorite days of the year!