Once, during my early balletic days, a director appointed me to a challenging role, instructing me to dance, said, “With attitude, Darling.” What he meant – what I learned – was to dance with complete heart, sense, and purpose; to abandon myself in that role. Since flamenco is such an individualistic art form, yet this particular discipline is still fairly new to me, I often hear those words of early advice trickle up from the deep recesses of my memory. I’m finding my voice, so to speak, my stylistic language within the flamenco context: to mean what I say. What I’ve added to my Bucket List, however, and what I yearn to do, is express flamenco in a worshipful/liturgical/Christian piece and venue. I believe in possibilities and have a vision for that day. In the meantime, here are a few pictures of my continuing, enriching education toward a flamenco dream.
Whatever happened to the value of solitude, simplicity, of being still? Seems I’ve examined the lives of others around me for years and, shaking my head, quietly whispered words of gratitude that I hadn’t run around as frantically as they do. You know…work, more work, even more work, appointments, obligations, juggling family needs, kid diversions, school, cleaning, renovations, getting ahead, jumping from place to place, event to event, constant stimuli everywhere one turns; the rat race. I’d once vouched never to subject my child to an ever-streaming deluge of entertainment-based activities. Once in a while is all right, maybe even special. Boredom once did a child good, served a purpose, propelled creativity and stretched independent thinking. I don’t know what happened, but I’m suddenly THAT person, the one I’d once, in a small way, pitied, who has tipped away the beautiful scales of balance. I’m overwhelmed with busyness. Life has grown too chaotic. Downtime is complicated. First, it’s hard to achieve. Second, when you actually make it happen, a rare pencil mark on the calendar, that moment arrives and doesn’t seem to be enough. You’re thirsty for more. At the same time, guilt has a way of wiggling in there telling you that it’s not okay to relax – as long as there are other things to do, and there are ALWAYS other things to be done. How did this all happen? I don’t like being this busy, when I can’t stop for a second to watch a bird teeter on a twig. Because I enjoy that…watching birds teeter on twigs. Indeed, daily life has grown chaotic. Like the structure of those around me in what has become the normal standard of life. Can I still breathe? Maybe I should freeze for a second to find out. I’m not sure this kind of frenzied lifestyle is great or healthy, but this seems to be the way it has become. As if there is a subliminal message in our culture that busyness equates to importance. Can we be too busy for our own good? For me, that’s a definite yes. I begin my rebellion today. Just after I take care of this one thing first.
Women threw beads and necklaces around Sarah’s neck and arms. One woman draped a red shuka, like a toga, around her and the olakaria, red ochre, came next. They painstakingly drew designs over Sarah’s face and laughed. It must have looked comical! Sarah could only imagine. Francine held up a compact mirror. True enough; the red face paint glowed bright on her much paler complexion - in spite of the thick layers of dust she had accumulated from the day’s adventure.
Loosely based on real life events and a deep love and appreciation for the Maasai, I’d like to introduce Warm My Heart, the first novel of my Hearts in Africa series.
Sarah heads into the bush of East Africa to become a missionary to the Maasai. Mitch, having made his home there, is driven to serve God out of a guilt-ridden past. In a harsh and dangerous environment where faith is challenged, circumstances draw them together. Yet the pain and secrets of the past rise up to stand in the way of what they both want but can’t seem to have, each other. How can they retain the power of love between them when they have so much to overcome?
Not only has the Internet augmented technological advancement, the Avenue of Progress well paved, it has completely transformed our social culture. In the latter, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad. On the one hand, a private person such as I can feel her space invaded at any given moment with a mere “click” from another. In order to manage and survive in this culture, especially as a writer, it’s difficult to turn off the Internet. I’ve come to depend on it in many ways for many things, and I feel disabled if I can’t gain access. On the other hand, it gives a taciturn introvert a voice. When I might stand silently and blink, weighing things out, holding my tongue, instead of conversing in the hardcopy version of life, online I can be quite outspoken. Gregarious, even. Sometimes I think this is good. Other times, I’m not so sure. I suppose, with everything, finding balance is the key.
One Church, Many Tribes: Following Jesus the Way God Made You is a refreshing perspective written by Richard Twiss of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux tribe, who is the cofounder and president of Wiconi International, and a member of the International Reconciliation Coalition. Historical facts, Biblical truths, interesting accounts, and heartfelt passion, this book is a life-changer for many -should be read by all. A necessary message ripe for the time, it calls on Christians to work together as one to bridge age-old disparities—spiritually, mentally, denominationally, and culturally.
First Nations people strengthening drums, flutes, rattles, and dances in making a glorifying sound and anointed movement for the “Waymaker” is inspiring. And it’s so like God to commission Native Americans to graciously speak new life and vision to the church that largely suppressed and/or ignored them, doing so with deeply forgiving hearts, turning injustice into something beautiful. What a testimony!
God is a multiculturalist. Heritage is a gift, and differentiations of culture, music, skin color, etc., are a thing of beauty. One Church, Many Tribes is a prized and endless piece of literature introducing the launch of a vital