See Ya Later 2018! Here's Looking to You, 2019!

Boy, what a year! I think everyone walked away from 2017 ready to jump into a fresh start and for the most part, this was a pretty awesome year, if I do say so myself.

I feel very fortunate that I had opportunities come my way and I’m so glad that I took them, not always knowing how the balance would work out. We got another year closer to Pyro Man’s graduation and with every step, we’re even more sure of the direction that’s taking us.

I thought it would be fun to go back through pictures from this year and I quickly realized that when I’m feeling swamped, the only pictures I take are of my animals and my dinner plate. Sooo, that’s a goal for 2019, more pictures of life and less meaningless shots.

In all seriousness thought, putting together this little grid made me stop and reflect on the last year, remembering more than just the last three months. This year started off a little slow, low on energy and low on inspiration. About May, just as I got out of school, I dove into living a heck of a lot more. I saw shows, spent tons of time outside, and went on adventures with Janson. Don’t get me wrong, I still taught like crazy but I felt refreshed and enjoyed every minute of it. Dancing really pulled me out of a slump. Go figure, right?

I traveled a bit, spent time with family, set an amazing show on an incredible group of kids—truly, probably the highlight of the year. In fact, I set a bunch of great pieces this year I felt really proud of. I worked. A lot. But this year I learned how to balance some things, let stuff roll off my back (still working on that one) and started shifting my mindset to help be a little less crazy and stressed. I’d say that worked about 85% of the time and whoa baby, did that do a lot for my fall semester!

My blog had a restart and thanks to a supportive picture taking husband, we had a lot more opportunity to collaborate together on something that I found creatively fun. Spending more time with him was a huge win this year and I’m happy we made those moments happen more often and those will keep happening this year! Best of all, I saw dear, dear friends that filled my love bucket and made so feel so grateful for that time. When everyone is scattered across the US, it’s so difficult to make visits happen. I’m glad I had chance to hug the necks of women I dearly miss.

When I stop to look back at 2018, I really think about the fun I had. Yeah, I know, a lot of those pictures I look just a wee bit tired, but I’m serious. I made a solid effort to enjoy my summer even with tons of classes and prep work to be done. I spent time living outside of work and I loved it. I made time and travel plans to see people and again, I loved that. Being worn out and exhausted is frustrating, but a change in mind set, a conscious choice in making the most out of what’s happening gave me a year of incredible fun.

Lately I’ve been feeling tired and looking ahead to the jam packed spring semester, I’m worried I’ll be in a constant state of irritation for lack of rest and free time. Looking back through 2018, I think I can change that attitude now. I just have to choose to make the best of a busy time. That’s life! It’s full and thank goodness there’s work to be done and pieces to be set and a need for me in this world!

If I want to have fun, I need to set time for it! If I want to travel, I need to just do it. If I want my life to be full, I need to live it.

As we wrap up this year, close out the old to welcome in the new and usher it in with new resolutions and knowledge from this year. There’s nothing special about January 1st, but there is something special about another opportunity to take another 365 days and fill them up with good memories, new ideas, and full hearts.

Alright, y’all, enough of carrying on! Bottom line, I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2018 and I want to wish you the happiest of new year’s!

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Winding Down

I’m three days into finals week and only a few more days away from wrapping up this fall semester! We’re making it, y’all! We. are. MAKING IT!

Hope everyone has been enjoying the December month so far! I’m totally behind on Christmas presents, what I have isn’t wrapped, no baking has happened yet and only half of my decorations are up but I’m 100% fine with that. That’s life, right? Things get a little hectic and you just roll with the punches. Honestly, I’m keeping my eyes on next Monday evening when I can crash a little bit before all the Christmas traveling beings.

We’ve got dear friends coming in this weekend to visit and I can’t wait to hang out! To top that off, we’ll all be watching another sweet friend marry her man this Saturday—can’t wait for all the fun celebrations we’ll have going on this weekend! It’ll be so great to let go of work for a couple days (we’re going on day 18 at work here, straight…) and even though I’m ready for little down time at home, I know these are the moments that mean the most.

During busy times like this I always feel exhausted just around the time I should be enjoying all the fun of the season and in someways that seems so unfair. Rather than sitting in that sulking moment, I’m choosing to remember what this time of year is for and what really is important. Now I’m not saying I don’t still need a nap or 9 pm bed time for the next week to help get me there, but I am saying that I’m actively choosing not to be a Scrooge with my time this year. Or at the very least, being present with the time I can give.

In other news, Miss Penny Pup is doing so much better. Last week she got very sick and after seeing three different vets, having three different x-rays, and two ultrasounds to be sure, they found something was lodged in her small intestines as it connects to her stomach. One surgery later and a week out of recovery, she’s doing very well and almost back to her Penny self! She still can’t understand the no jumping thing or why she has to wear a cone of shame. Another week and she should be released to return to her natural routine, sans squeaker toys though!

Well, folks, it’s time to get back to grading and doing a little house cleaning! Gotta get those grades in so I can get to all the fun stuff of the season including a holiday nap!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

In the spirit of the season, my favorite holiday, five grateful thoughts for today:

  1. I’m thankful for the sweet people in my life. From husband to sister, mother and mother-in-laws, precious friends, nieces, nephews, brothers, fathers and all, I’ve got good folks in my life and I’m so very grateful to have them!

  2. I’m thankful for my job. I have the best students in the world, a team of faculty and staff to lean on when needed and encourage whenever possible and days filled with dance. Sure, some days I might feel like my hair’s on fire, we all have stressful times, but most days, most days it’s just about pouring into students the passion for dance, teaching, and choreography.

  3. I’m thankful for my fur creatures! Yes, truly! Without my shadow, Penny Pup, I’d be a little lost. She gives me so much love and I can’t imagine a day without her by my heels. Those kitties, while they may be persnickety at times, they are without a doubt the best fuzzy motors anyone could ask for, especially my Honey.

  4. I’m thankful for all the great experiences I’ve had this year. Choreographing new works, meeting new performers in new venues, teaching, teaching and more teaching—it all fuels my life. It’s easy to forget in the trenches of work that all the time and efforts comes back ten fold to me, but I remember when those magic moments happen and I’m always grateful for those moments of pure bliss.

  5. I’m thankful for you, dear reader! Whether you’re a friend, family, someone just reading, each time you click on to my site, you help to build my little passion project up and I appreciate those clicks and those comments. Small though it may be, this blog has been a small dream I keep coming back to, way too stubborn to quit even when it feels indescribably frustrating at times. You’re engagement helps and I thank you for that!

Alright y’all, go dive into that turkey, enjoy the game, watch the parade, but most importantly, take a moment to say “thank you!” for the life you have, the blessings around you, and the people you’ve got your in life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Labor Day!

It's Labor Day! 

Let's rest, relax and take minute to prop up our feet and enjoy the day! 

After I finish up some choreography, of course. 

Cheers to a three day weekend! 

Cheers to a three day weekend! 

Then I will enjoy my full glass wine and a bath bomb. Who's with me, ladies? 

Have a happy day, y'all! 

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What Christmas Means to Me, My Love!

It's one week until Christmas! The packages are not wrapped, nary a baked cookie in sight, but I'm on vacation and that's all that matters right now! 

The next few days are wrapping up to-do's for the week before heading home to Texas for Christmas with the folks. It's also the time I get to catch up on all things that make it feel more like Christmas for me! 

  1. Watch White Christmas, Grinch, It's a Wonderful Life, and Muppet Christmas Carol--you guys can keep your Hallmark channel! 
  2. Christmas light tour with Pyro Man, hot chocolate in hand
  3. Wrap pretty paper packages under the tree
  4. Listen to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" album while wrapping said gifts
  5. Bake cookies of all kinds: sugar, molasses, and gingerbread!
  6. Cup of egg nog, anyone?
  7. Burn the best balsam and cedar candles I can find!
  8. Peppermint tea before bed
  9. Christmas pajamas for a good night's sleep
  10. Lot's of time spent by the Christmas tree
Who is ready to bake?! This gal over here! 

Who is ready to bake?! This gal over here! 

 

What are some of your favorite things to do to make it feel like Christmas? 

 

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Christmas Scramble

Happy Friday, y'all!

Our Christmas show opened last night and it was just as festive and wonderful as it always is! So festive in fact I got a little inspired with my breakfast today. It's definitely Christmas themed. I'm not complaining though. 'Tis the season! 

I'm trying to get through all my grading a little at a time so next week isn't too crazy. I'm really looking forward to wrapping up this fall and getting a little break before spring starts. The break never seems long enough but thank goodness I get a break at all!  

Speaking of which, my break time is almost up--time to start grading again! 

Yeah, just ignore that burned toast. This is what happened when you don't thaw the frozen ezekiel bread first before popping it in the toaster. Live and learn, am I right? 

Christmas Scramble

  • 1 Tbs of olive oil 
  • 1 Tbs of diced onions
  • 2-4 Chopped asparagus (depending on your love for asparagus) 
  • 1 Tbs of chopped red bell pepper
  • 2-3 Sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 6-8 spinach leaves 
  • 1/4 tsp of minced garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Dash of red pepper flakes

Heat oil in small skillet on medium heat. Add onions, peppers, and asparagus to pan stirring occasionally. Add dash of salt and pepper. When veggies begin to soften, add spinach, tomatoes and garlic, stirring occasionally until spinach leaves are wilted. 

Take two eggs, gently beat in separate bowl and then add to mixture. Add your dash of red pepper if you like a little heat. Gently fold veggies into beaten eggs and watch until eggs are cooked to preference. 

Serve up your plate and add some toast, OJ, and maybe a little coffee, too! Enjoy! 

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Here's to a good start to our Friday! 

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Great & Full November

Each November that comes around, I see the Christmas decor go up, the Christmas carols start playing and feel the pressure of people's excitement as they start the countdown. I get it. It's hard to wait and put off the most wonderful time of the year, but November, it's one of my favorite months. 

The leaves are officially everywhere and the boots are out of their boxes! It's fall for certain! 

The leaves are officially everywhere and the boots are out of their boxes! It's fall for certain! 

I love Thanksgiving. I'm a turkey day lady, for sure. It's the best holiday to me--a day celebrate food, family, friends, and all the blessings we have in this life. For the past few years I've kept track of my thankful thoughts on Facebook, sharing with friends my grateful feelings for the day. Lately though, I'm spending less and less time on social media. 

Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of flicking open the app and scrolling for a brain break, but I find myself sliding out it quickly, faster than in past months. Maybe my brain is somewhere else, maybe I'm finding more to do and focus on outside social media. Heck, even my Instagram account is seriously boring these last few months. I just haven't had the drive to document and post what's going on these days.  

In any case, I thought this year was a good time to make my thankful thoughts more personal. So I took out my personal journal, unearthed one of my favorite pens and began writing down what I'm grateful for each day. One thing. That's it. And it didn't have to be earth shatteringly amazing. It's just something that made me stop and say, "Good grief, thank you for this." 

Every day there should be a moment to say "thanks" or to feel grateful for something. It's an opportunity, a friendship, a missed ticket or wreck. The job you always wanted, the contract that finally came through, a relationship beginning or new dreams coming true.  It's a pick up on the other end of the line, a good meal or a good laugh and maybe something about fitting into jeans or getting that last hug in before they left. It's big. It's small. It's whatever, but it's whatever means something to you. 

Maybe you're on Facebook tonight or Instagram and scrolling through at the end of your day. What better of a time than now to put the phone down and say "so glad I have  _______ in my life" That's it. Five seconds, no more. 

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I tried to find a grateful thought every day this last month because to tell you the truth, I really do forget how lucky I am in this life. It's easy to drift off into your own island and wish for something else not realizing someone's out there wishing for what you have.  As we're closing out November, coming up on the big turkey day feast, try taking a minute to say find what you're thankful for this season. 

"Sometimes in my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed." 

What are you grateful for these days? 

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I said "LENT," not "LINT"

The Lenten season is upon us! No, not "lint" like what's in your bellybutton. That's just grody. No, I'm talking about Lent, a religious observance of prayer and fasting in the Catholic faith (and other denominations). 

I've found though, that regardless of whether people are Catholic or not, a majority of folks actually enjoy partaking in this particular 40 day process for a number of different reason. My husband is one of them. I think he particularly likes the challenge of being able to follow through with something for six weeks steadily. 

For me, it's a time of total renewal with my faith, clear off the dust on my soul, and check back in to what's important. How does that happen? It's a time of penance and usually you give up a little something to know what it's like to walk in His shoes for a few days.  

Wait, wait! Before you go running from this site thinking, "she's gonna preach!" I'm not. It's not my style. But I will say that this is my most favorite time of year with the church. Every year there's a new lesson to be learned and I find it really does help me feel reconnected. 

It's a challenge to select the right focus for the season. Some people give up things for the time, hoping to gain perspective on how difficult it is to do without a favored item.  I've given up things I adore like coffee and peanut butter, both of which might seem minor but are items I count my survival by on the daily. Some people choose to focus on giving back rather than giving up. I've done this by trying to send letters to people and finding ways to offer help to those around me. Sometimes it's making a conscious effort to connect to the Holy Spirit by way of conscious prayer, holding true to no meat of Friday's and attendance at mass every Sunday. 

I don't think there's every been a Lenten season where I haven't been tempted or actually fallen off the path I set myself on. It's finding a deep self discipline that makes you stronger and keeps you from succumbing to whatever is pulling you off track. 

I also think this journey is incredibly personal. There's an outward appearance of what is sacrificed, but no one can know the journey of these six weeks better than you. In fact, I think it goes beyond just "giving up" something. I truly believe you gain more than you gave up. 

So let's say Lent isn't something you've done before or you don't follow a faith that subscribes to, consider it a period of refocusing.  I couldn't think of a better time than now to let go of some of things in order to gain new perspective and appreciation. Heck, you might even find a little inner peace and we all could use some peace these days.  Don't you agree?

Ever taken part in Lent? What about just giving something up for a time? What did you do to stay the path and how did you feel afterwards? 

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, ya'll! 

I love this happy pink, red, and white heart filled day! It's a day full of sweet treats, beautiful thoughts, and a whole lotta love! What more could I possibly need?

I hope you all have an especially sweet Valentine's day!

Much love and sugar, 

Julie Blue 

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New Year, New Word

Welcome 2017!!

It's a new year and a new opportunity for amazing things to happen!

Some do resolutions, some don't. A few others choose a word, something to be a guiding light to their year. I've tried both and to be truly honest, I don't always stick with them. I try to focus on them in those first few weeks of the new year but it falters after a while when life gets busy. 

BUT. This year I've got a short phrase that has come up time and again in my mind over this last year. 

Be Intentional...

Be Intentional...

Intentional (Adjective) - done on purpose; deliberate; meant; purposeful

I have had moments, so many of them, where I have thought, "What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" I'm not always doing work with a purpose. I'm not always spending my time with a purpose in mind. How many times have I said I'd do something to help a friend or co-worker and then not followed all the way through? Too many and it's what actually really got me thinking about being accountable. 

I realized that not everything has to have purpose. For heavens sake, I don't think I need to drink coffee with a purpose or strut to the bathroom like it's the most important moment of my day. But, I do believe that I can be better about some things in my life if I know I'm doing it for a reason. 

I want to be intentional with my time. When I'm having down time, I'm having down time. No more worrying about what's not being done while I relax. And when I relax, make an effort to do something I want to do, not surf the social media avenues. Set aside time to read and actually read a book, not Facebook. When it's time to work, it's time to work. When it's time to play, it's time to play. How much more simply can I put it, really? Time is precious. Use it well!  

I want to be intentional with my relationships. Having Pyro Man back up here means I want to devote some time to focusing on us, making memories, new traditions, and planning together for our future. When it comes to conversation and time together, be all in and present. Make sure I'm taking steps that strengthen us as couple. I want to make sure my friendships are also given time and attention they deserve. Make the call to long distance friends, don't just think about them. Make the dates with friends here, be present with them now. You never know how long you have before someone moves--this is always my case! 

I want to be intentional with my word. When I say I'm going to do something, follow through. Be accountable to the people I've promised to help. Too often I forget to do something and fortunately it hasn't cost me too much but it makes me look unreliable. In all my roles, I want to be better about that and try not to let things slip through the cracks. I also want to make sure that what I say counts, that it's meaningful, thoughtful and not flippant. Words stick around a lot longer than you think, so it's best to make sure what I'm saying it what I really think or feel.  

So that's my New Year's phrase for the year: Be Intentional. And I plan on starting off with spending time with my folks today! Happy New Year to you all! I hope this year brings you peace, love, and joy and an fresh opportunity to start a new! 

What's your New Year's resolution, phrase or word? 

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