Praise Offerings Dance camp final Day reflections and highlights: Today we shared with the parents and families our dance and what we’ve been learning. First, we led the parents in a devotional dance (it is so powerful to watch the parents join us in movement. The unity of movement helps bring a unity of heart and usher in a spirit of worship for the presentation), the girls danced beautifully (I’ll post the video soon), and we celebrated what God allowed us to do this week.
One new thing He led me to do was to use journals with the girls, to share a scripture and have them listen to Him and put in words or pictures what came to their mind as they listened. Watching the girls sit quietly, reflecting and then writing/drawing was among the most beautiful/powerful times of the camp. The Lord has so much to say and longs for us to listen. Praying they learn to listen to his voice daily.
Enjoy the recap video below and see what God did among us:
If you would like to be equipped to teach praise dance to children, my online course Teaching Worship Dance to Children is on sale this week. Check it out here.
Praise Offerings Dance Camp Day 4 highlights/reflections: Today we focused on our theme verse, Romans 12:1, and unpacked what it might look/feel like to be a living sacrifice. In journals, students wrote/drew what they thought it meant, we danced it, and then they for a chance to really apply it by pushing through the hard physical work that it takes to learn and polish a dance. For me, it’s an art/learning process to know when to push them to keep working and when to give them breaks. Allowing one student at a time the chance to sit out and watch the dance, offering critique, is one thing I have found helpful.
Praise Offering Dance Camp day 3 reflections: There are so many benefits to giving kids the chance to lead: it gives a devoted and mature student the chance to take on a new challenge and be affirmed. For the child who has trouble focusing or who is being silly, asking them to lead can sober them up, confer on them a dignity they want to live up to, and give you the chance to express appreciation for them when they do well. For the teacher, it enables you to take a breath, to remember you aren’t the one running the show, that the Spirit is active in each of the students.
Praise Offerings Dance camp day 2 highlights/takeaways: Part of leading camp is shepherding kids towards character. Today it meant pairing less skilled students with more skilled, so the latter can help the former, even though the kids ask to be paired with their good friends. It meant not scrimping on technique when kids want to jump to the choreographed dance (You cannot offer your best if you don’t take time to develop your skill.) These lovelies come to me with much godly character already instilled. Everyone of them stays afterwards and asks, “Is there anything I can do to help you clean up?” Within ten minutes, they have put away all the props neatly and carried my bins to my car. I did not have to teach or ask them to do that.
Pictured above is an artistic ministry activation where we learned about the sacrifices required before Jesus came, sacrifices that needed to be offered year after year and still did not transform. Then, we learned about the perfect sacrifice Jesus gave for us, so that we can offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, which is, through Christ, good, pleasing and perfect. Below you see them dancing with the silk billows by Bobbi Munci. The kids cannot get enough of the silk billows. You can purchase them here.
Today was the first day of praise dance camp. I forgot to bring a camera besides my phone (which I needed for music), so no pictures. It was actually lovely to just be present and not be trying to take pics (although I will take them tomorrow, because I love to have them later to document the time and learn from). For today, here are my reflections:
1) I love getting to lead this time. I’m sure I enjoy it as much or more than the students. It is such a gift to have time set aside to dance and worship. It gives me a chance to move/praise away any stress I am carrying, to be free, to smile, and to focus on the kids and Jesus.
2) Free worship is one of the favorite parts of camp most valuable for everyone. It was beautiful to watch the girls just pour themselves into dance.
3) Kids love dancing with props. A strategy I’ve learned over time is to start small. We began with streamers today and they loved them. Once they discover the larger streamers, flags, the billow cloths, they love them even more and only want to use them. But there is something different to learn and to say with the different props. I have to remember to be the teacher, be prayerful and firm about what we will use each day.
4) God’s Spirit is in me. He is in each of us who call Jesus our Lord. I prepare, but I can also rest knowing that His creative Spirit is in me and will lead me in our time. I don’t have to know every detail of what I’m going to do when I walk in the room. As a friend once said, “Leave room for God.”
I’ll be sharing updates each day, so watch for them.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day can be full of fun and joy, or it can feel lonely, if you don’t have a “Valentine.” I hope you know that you are loved beyond measure by the Father who treasures you.
One thing I did feel led to take time for, while stepping away from my blog, was life coaching. Over the past year, I’ve felt frustrated that I don’t work with more clarity and direction, that when I don’t have external commitments driving my schedule, I feel aimless.
The Lord opened a door for me to have several sessions with a life coach this fall, and so I took the opportunity. My goal was simple: to develop a doable rhythm for my days and weeks that would enable me to be adequately planned for the classes I teach and have time for my family. In other words, a way of ordering my days so I do the the basics well.
Two weeks ago, I met with my coach and evaluated the changes I had made and we both agreed that I actually had accomplished just that. I had developed a doable rhythm for my days and weeks that is enabling me to be adequately planned for teaching and have time for my family.
Have you heard the term “ghosted?” It’s when a friend just disappears, no explanation, no obvious reason. You just don’t hear from them. It can leave you wondering if you did something, if the friendship meant more to them than it did to you, and it can just be confusing.
I owe you an apology because I ghosted beginning in August of 2018. While I’m not making excuses, I’d like to share the story.
I love dancing at Christmas. It’s a tangible way to give a gift to the Lord and to cause me to really focus on the heart of Christmas, that God came near to us, that He gave His Son to save us.
I’ve been on a dancing hiatus over the past five months, except alone at home (I’ll explain that in a post soon), but during Advent, I had the privilege of dancing at my home church, Missio Community Church to a song written by my dear friend, Nicole Wells. She is one of my favorite singer-songwriters because her lyrics are rich with scripture and vivid images. I actually led a group dance to this same song years ago with a group of teens and children. You can see it here.
I turned fifty this month and one of the highlights of my birthday was beginning praise dance camp. I can’t think of a more joyful way to celebrate through dance.
Our theme this year was Celebrate God. While this was the smallest praise dance camp I’ve ever had, it was, perhaps the richest. I was so moved by the beauty of the children’s worship and creativity and watched the Lord touch their lives deeply.