Thursday, November 8, 2012

Make Music. And Dance.


That's pretty much the only word that comes to mind, that describes what last weekend.

No. I take that back.
I can think of another one...

This has been a long time coming. Concretely, it's been almost exactly a year since Andrew told me. In fact I believe it was Barret's birthday/return home announcement to my parents... as if having their son move home from NYC after 6 years wasn't good enough news. But looking back on what really and truly culminated in this past weekend and the one to come... well I think it began long before that.

I had on my purple long sleeved floral dress. After all, it did have the best twirl-factor. Bear, a mess of wild curls that poked out his bike helmet, wielded his battery operated light-up sword, fit in his suit of armor: a matching Mikey Mouse sweatshirt & sweatpants. And together we danced in circles around the living room furniture to Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, or Manheim Steamroller, or Mozart - whatever dad had playing on our stereo system. Actually I should revise that statement... I danced. Bear would try to follow me (a near impossible task), would then charge about doing his own thing with the helmet and sword that made "Jjshhzzz" noises every time you swung it, only to give up, making his way to the piano bench. That's where he'd always end up. In front of the black and white keys.
We'd always had that piano in the living room. Purchased because my dad needed something to fill the space in his Spokane home, it came with us when we moved to Bellevue. I wonder if Dad had any idea the life-altering consequence this "space-filler" would have that fateful day he bought it? Probably not. I'm not sure if we (my brother and I) were even a thought then. But God has His ways...

I remember sitting there on that bench with him looking out at the beautiful Katsura trees that draped oh so gracefully alongside that corner of the house. I remember hearing him play. Sometimes we'd come up with tunes together. Sometimes he'd just fiddle away. Most of the songs sounded very "asian." I'm not sure if this is because of the decor in our living room or the fact that we both really like the skinny black keys. At any rate I think the first song Barret ever wrote was a simple picture drawn of the keys he played and its title had something to do with Chinese mountain ranges... He could probably tell you... But even then I was always in awe (and if I'm honest slightly jealous) of his creative ability.
I still am.

The thought of composing music baffles me utterly. To hear a symphony in your head, with all the different instruments and sounds melding together in perfect harmony - each with their own notes, own cadence, own melodies but coming together to form something so rich and multifaceted, yet unified. Nope. I could never ever do that. I can hardly wrap my mind around it. And yet that's what my not-so-little brother does.
I write with words. I speak in dance steps. But he speaks with music. His letters are musical notes and his sentences are melodies and phrases. He punctuates with rhythm and percussion, not semi-colons and ellipses. And just like himself, his music, his composition isn't simple "Mary had a little lamb" nursery rhyme stuff. It's complex. It's deep, soothing, repetitive, and arresting. It's sometimes a bit harmoniously dissonant. A bit oxymoronic I know, but aren't we all?

Well fast forward 20+ years. A ballerina and a composer. Well who'd a thunk it?! God did. He knew. He created both Barret and I. He knit us in our Momma's womb. He gave Barret this incredible gift - to hear music in his head and write it down. He gave me the gift of being able to dance to it. And He gave us parents who encouraged us, supported us and spurred us on to develop and grow these gifts, and for what end? To glorify Him. To be living proof that with Him, nothing is impossible. To do that which He created and purposed us for, being good stewards of the gifts He's given us.
To make music and dance.

So I know that it is not only a fulfillment of my parents dreams, of my dreams but also of God's plan that a year ago Andrew Bartee commissioned my brother to write a score for his ballet. A brilliant ballet (if you can call it that... Andrew calls it a dance party) that would premiere on the McCaw Hall stage during PNB's 40th Anniversary season. A ballet about breaking through barriers. About changing perceptions, expectations and situations. About "arms that work." And I get to dance it. Dance to my brother's music.

It happened last weekend. And it was surreal to say the least. Running to bring my brother on stage... Two Anspachs taking a bow. I tried so hard to relish that moment and yet how quickly it flitted away. Nevertheless it was a gift from my Abba Father. A gift I still get to receive. Not just once, but twice.

So if you don't have plans this weekend come see the Gift played out on stage. Better yet, receive the gifts that God's given both my brother and I to minister to your eyes and ears and most importantly to give Him glory! Thursday through Sunday (but I'll be dancing Thursday night and Sunday afternoon). You can buy your tickets here.

And for your viewing pleasure here's Bear and I doing a duet of our own. Sitting a the piano bench together. Just like the old days. Except now we're old. Well relatively speaking... Enjoy!

Five Easy Pieces - I. Andante from Barret Anspach on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A New Season

Well it's been a while.
A long while.

I'll spare you the apologies and excuses... that is assuming someone (anyone?) out there still reads this blog. It would appear the last time I wrote was in August. Oddly enough until about two weeks ago the weather here in Seattle was fairly familiar to the sweet summer we had this year. One day the thermometer read around 70˚F with the sunshine gleaming through the yellow tinged leaves... the next the sky was grey, the breeze was brisk, and suddenly my breath was visible as I walked to my car in the morning.
Summer dresses make way for scarves and sweaters (okay that's not entirely true... summer dresses just require a little more accessorizing - a.k.a. cardigans and cowboy boots). Salad-filled plates are replaced by big bowls of slow-simmered stew.
I love summer. But boy am I ever excited for fall!

Funny thing is I used to hate this time of year. For good reasons...

Orange, yellow and brown. The colors of fall. The colors of 1970's kitchens. Yuck.
Fall also signified the end of freedom and the beginning of a long arduous school-year. Gone were the days of sleeping in. Gone were the days of daylight. Darkness creeped over and soon enough I'd wake before the sun (Yeah, this doesn't happen anymore, praise Jesus! Although I really do need to work on being more of an early bird if you know what I mean). The only redeeming qualities of fall in my mind were that we got to "fall behind," gaining an extra hour of sleep, and I always got to celebrate quite a few family-filled holidays. Oh how I love sleep. Haha!

Well now I see things differently. I look forward to the crisp air, and the falling leaves. I'm excited to bundle up in big wooly sweaters and tromp through the rain and mud-puddles in my Hunters. My stomach seems to crave anything and everything that contain the words "pumpkin" or "braised." Now a days, fall brings brighter things to mind. Fall conjures cozy and comfy Sunday afternoons spent with my family and the people I love.

Sure the hot summer sun is gone and with it the long days of laying out in my swimsuit on the sailboat.  The neon green is being replaced by mellow yellows and rusty hues, and very soon all will wither away into a cold dormant existence. We are witnessing the sunset of creation. In a way we're seeing a slow and beautiful death play out right before our eyes... every day a little more is stripped away.
Sounds a bit depressing, eh?

But it's not. It's glorious! It's full of promise. Full of hope. Because with every sunset darkness follows but so does the dawn. With every fall comes a winter and then a spring. Death to life. The old makes way for the new. Seasons change, and change can be hard. It can hurt. But it's only because the surrendering renders room for something far greater than could ever be imagined or anticipated.

Fall is for fresh starts. It's a new season... in so many ways. And I'm so excited to see what the Lord has in store. He has great things. I believe it!

And it's good to be back.

Much, much more to follow...


"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19

Sunday, August 26, 2012


So yeah. It’s August. The end of August.
And what have I written?

Well okay. That’s not entirely true.
I’ve been writing lots of emails. Long emails. Emails to a very special someone. And that someone’s sailing the ocean blue far, far away.
Here it’s summer – been a balmy and beautiful one at that – but there it’s a stormy & snowy winter on the open, icy seas. And it’s been 30 days since we’ve seen each other.

I promised myself when I began this blog that I wouldn’t write about romance.
Ugh. Even the thought makes me cringe a little.
In my opinion there are too many blogs out there that just air their dirty laundry or chronicle their romantic escapades. Sometimes they can be entertaining. Sometimes. Then again I could also just pick up one of those grocery store Fabio novels if I wanted to read that kind of “entertainment.” Yeah, you know which ones I’m talking about…
To be quite candid, I’ve never really been in a position or situation to discuss anything having to do with that overused four-letter word, unless of course it was the unrequited kind.
Don’t worry. I’m still holding to that promise I made to myself. I have no intention of turning this blog into a “Dear Diary” read.
But there are a couple observations (and pseudo-excuses) that I’ve made over the past 30 days that I’d like to share with you all:

Firstly, it’s quite astonishing how the absence of someone (especially someone who’s tugged quite forcefully at your heart-strings) can make them more acutely present than when they’re physically near.  I mean distractingly present. Ha! Does that even make sense?

It’s also quite astonishing how the absence of someone can conjure such an incredible array of emotions. A veritable feast. Maybe this isn’t astonishing to normal people. And by “normal” I mean people who are in touch with their feelings and emotions. Yeah… I’m a little emotionally inept. Okay inept might be a little strong. Retarded. As in slow. Yep. Now that’s a little astonishing… an emotionally retarded girl. Haha! Yes, I’m probably in the minority, but I know I’m not alone…

When you think about it, it really is kind of crazy. How many different emotions we, as humans created in the image of the invisible God, are privileged to experience. And all at the same time too! It's not like we have just three to choose from - happy, sad or mad. Nope. Anticipation, anxiety, joy, frustration, peacefulness, sullenness... the list could go on and on... 
But sometimes it doesn't feel like a privilege, does it? Sometimes it feels like curse. Like complete chaos. Like my heart & soul are being tossed to and fro on the roughest seas imaginable. 
Well thank the Lord I have an anchor. I have Him! 
He keeps me from drifting into an endless abyss. He knows my heart better than anyone - better than myself. And He calms my storms, gives me clarity, and draws me to Himself. 

Yes, I've been a little preoccupied the past 30 days. Preoccupied in my heart and my thoughts with someone who isn't here. Who's absent. But there's one conclusion that I can't hide from... How often am I utterly preoccupied with the One whom I can't see but who is always with me? How often am I thinking about and looking to the Home that I'm absent from? 
I'm ashamed to say that far too often it takes a storm to get the eyes of my heart gazing on the Anchor of my soul. 

But God is good. He's allowing me to feel remorse. To feel sadness, grief, joy and hope. 
Wait, what? Joy and hope? 
All those emotions. All at once. Because I know "God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness" that I might "produce a harvest of righteousness and peace." 
He's calming my seas. 
He's drawing me back to Him. 
My Anchor. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

But if you're on a beach...

So I kinda got a little carried away last week with all that self-conscious talk... I guess it was kind of my honest confession/personal pep-talk. You see, for as much of a non-beach person that I am, I do thoroughly enjoy the sun (and getting a nice healthy glow if you know what I mean). I guess I just don't like it too hot. 
That sounds terrible. 
Beggars can't be choosers. 
And especially after our non-summer last year here in Seattle, any heat, sunlight, sunshine or general warmth is not only welcomed, it's relished. 
I mean after a really long hard week (month? year?) sometimes there's nothing better than plopping down in a beach chair, with a great big straw hat, and a good book - provided there's a nice breeze and an ice-cold beverage at hand - and listening to the waves rock back and forth on the beach as you curl your toes up under the warm sand.
Wow. I'm starting to sound like a beach person aren't I? 
Well that's exactly what I'll be doing in exactly one week (hence the "pep-talk")... what looks like a very long, very hard work week. I think my body's gonna need the rest. Now if only it weren't for the sweating and the swimsuit dilemma... 
Yes, I've said goodbye to self-consciousness, but that doesn't negate the fact that I still feel naked on the beach. And it's odd because the older I get the more naked I feel... and I'm not that old. Do I really want to "bare all" for the entire world (or beach) to see? Why? 
Our culture tells us the less you wear the "hotter" you are, but is that really true? Personally I'd think you'd get a little chilly... haha. Wow. Okay... Bad joke
But in all seriousness, when did showing so much skin become so appealing? If mystery is the trick to keeping intrigue alive then I'd think leaving something to be discovered would be a better tactic than showing all the goods. Maybe this makes me super old-school, but I think it's possible to be attractive, alluring (even sexy?) and still maintain some sort of modesty. I mean look at Grace Kelly... the perfect icon of beauty, grace, poise and allure. Sure she wore a bikini from time to time, but it wasn't itty-bitty. It was functional and fashionable. Shoot, she even made the one-piece a knockout look! And thanks to many stores out there I believe the one-piece  is making a comeback... and I'm not talking about the "mom-jeans" equivalent in swimwear. I'm talking about beautiful, flattering swimsuits that are fashionable, functional and... wait for it... modest.

A week away. Sun. Lake. Beach. Book. Hat. Shades. Swimsuit. 
Posted below are some things that inspire/prepare me for a beach vacation... 
For one Arcade Fire's Haiti... Listen to it and see if it doesn't transport you to a beautiful place where there's a drink with an umbrella in your hand... And then there's Grace. Wow. Talk about breathtakingly beautiful. Wish I could work a turban... 
So as summer marches on and the mercury rises I hope you find some time to relax in that beach chair with a book- feet in the sand wearing a great swimsuit too. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sailboat Saturday

Well that's exactly what today was supposed to be... a Saturday spent sunbathing, swimming and writing on my family's sailboat moored in Portage Bay.
On hot sunny Seattle days like we've been having recently, everyone and their mother emerges squinty-eyed from their dens and caves, flocking to all available public waterfront real estate. It's on these beaches that they lay their beach-towel stakes and bear their blinding-white bodies in the hopes of soaking up some rays and much needed Vitamin D.

Myself, being a little claustrophobic, well I couldn't be less attracted to these scenes. On an 85 ˚F day the last place you'll find me is at Houghton or Madison Beach parks. Slurping lukewarm oysters sounds more appealing.
In fact, if I'm going to be completely honest, I'm really not much of a "beach person." Sitting there broiling like a pig on a spit, beads of sweat forming under my knees, thighs sticking together... Ughhhh!!! It's like nails on a chalkboard.

"Well that's why you go jump in the water..." is what all beach people would say to me, to which I'd reply:
"Yeah... but then you have to re-apply the sunscreen that doesn't absorb because you're all wet. And if you try and dry off with your towel you get copious amounts of sand everywhere that you're still finding weeks after the beach ever happened."

Yeah. I'm not a beach person. In part because of the "sweating" bit. In part because of the "sand" bit. But also because of the "self-conscious" bit.
Yes, you heard me right.

It is entirely possible that a professional ballerina could be self-conscious about her body. At any rate this ballerina is.
I always thought I'd grow out of it. That one day I'd be okay with donning the itsy-bitsy, tini-weenie, yellow polka dot bikini. I mean I wear a leotard and tights every day for goodness sake (and believe me that's much less flattering than a bathing suit)! But the older I get the more naked I feel and critical my eyes become. They whisper disappointment and scream dissatisfaction when confronted with the reflection in the mirror.
"You can run... You do run. A lot. But you can't hide those thighs..." or "Um... yeah... no one wants to see that. Maybe you should cover up a little." 
And yet it doesn't matter how much I run, how much I cover up; I can't escape the fact that I don't measure up to the world's "Sport's Illustrated" standard- shoot, to my own perfectionistic standard. My waist could be smaller, my legs a little leaner, and oh if only that cellulite would just disappear (yes, ballerinas aren't exempt from this natural phenomena either...)!

So I guess it's kind of a blessing in disguise that these strange thunderstorms have hit... I'm confused. Are we in the Midwest? Haha!
Instead of feeling slightly self-conscious in my swimsuit at the sailboat (which also would've been asking for electrocution), I sat comfortably in Uptown Espresso perusing the pages of Hinds Feet on High Places. And as I read about little Much Afraid I came across a snippet that spoke to me profoundly:

"Thy joints and thighs are like a supple band
On which are met
Fair jewels which a cunning master hand
Hath fitly set. In all the palace, search where'er you please,
In every place
There's none that walks with such a queenly ease,
Nor with such grace."

I was reminded of a couple particularly important facts. You could say they're paramount.
Firstly, I am created in the image of God. Secondly "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." My body was formed and fashioned perfectly for the special purpose that God has for me. He knew what He was doing when He made me. The cunning Master Hand doesn't make junk. He knew exactly what I'd look like - with all my moles, my green eyes, my shorter right leg... even (dare I say it?) my "cottage cheese." And He delights in it. All of it. But more than that ...
He thinks I'm beautiful.
"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!" ~ Song of Songs 4:1
My Mom's always said "He broke the mold when He made you Jessika." But the thing is He breaks the mold when he makes each of us. Not one of us is alike. Not one. We're each different. We're each unique. We're each so special. And each and every one of us is beautiful just the way we are.

Goodbye Self-Consciousness. Goodbye Disappointment. Goodbye Dissatisfaction.
Hello Confidence. Hello Beautiful me.
Hello Beautiful you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Burning Lobster Red

Well this is absolutely appalling. I mean I think it actually goes beyond that.
I wish you could see my face. It's a burning lobster red. Not from this gorgeous sun we're having here in Seattle. Nope. In fact, at this very moment I'm working on a nice glowing, golden-hued tan as I type this out on my parents sailboat. Don't worry... I'm not actually sailing anything right now.
Yeah, that statement couldn't be more true... particularly of this blog.

My face is burning lobster red with sheer embarrassment. How long has it been? 2 weeks? 3 months? Where'd the time go? Shoot! I even made a promise to myself... I guess you could call it a kind of New Years resolution of sorts that I wouldn't let this blog slide. That I'd stay on top of it. Well just goes to prove my point that New Years resolutions are generally never accomplished, and further my resolve to never make them. Ever.
I hate failing.

And yet that is exactly what's happened here. I've failed. Failed to write. Failed to keep my promise. Failed to be a good steward of this gift God's given me. And honestly, I think that latter failing is what moves me from superficial embarrassment to deep contrition. From pride to humility. Because the embarrassment is about me and no one else. It's self-centered. It's prideful. I'm burning lobster red because my dropping the ball reflect poorly on me. 

But the thing is, this blog, it isn't about me. 
Yeah, I know it's titled justJessika. And sure... I'm the one who types out the words. But it's the honest-to-goodness desire of my heart that the situations I share, the words I write be more than just my trivial little trials and triumphs in this strange environment I call my life (you have to admit it is quite strange...). That somehow these words transcend the online personal play-by-play or voyeuristic journal and speak candidly to your heart. Instead of a self-glorifying relic, I hope this blog proves to be a sort of invisible cord, connecting peoples together, at the very least letting you know you're not alone in your struggles.
And above all it is my prayer that this blog honors and glorifies the One who gave me words. That in fact they are His words typed through my fingers.

The burning lobster red has cooled to my new summer skin tone - one that's colored with contrition, humility and thanksgiving.
Yep. That wasn't a typo. Thanksgiving for grace. God's grace. For His forgiveness. For His gifts of second-chances and new starts. And for His strength to persevere, His promptings to write and His words to type.

So no promises. But hopefully lots of words. That speak to you. That is if you're still out there...

Happy summer!


Monday, March 26, 2012


Well I should blog.
I need to blog.

But why? What do I have to say that really matters anyhow?
Well this is how I'm feeling today. A little blah. A little uninspired. It is a Monday afterall... Not that that's actually a valid excuse. Sick. I'm kind of tired of "Mondays". Why is it that Monday always equates bad, boring or blah? It's a cop-out. It's pathetic. Mondays are just day two of the week... Yes. Not the first day. That's Sunday.
Oy... I'm totally going off on a rant/tangent. Sorry. Maybe I'll write a post about Mondays on Tuesday...

And yet even though I'm slightly in this funk, slightly drawing a blank, I know I need to write. You see my school's out!
HOORAY! Hooray. hooray?
Yeah. No. Not really...
If I were taking some mundane general-ed course now that would be a cause for celebration. But I wasn't. As was stated in my previous post, the class that just ended was anything but mundane. It was delightful. It was insightful. It was motivational. It was inspirational. It got me writing. Writing a lot. 

So I'm determined to not let all the momentum I gained through that class just fade away. I'm determined to not let this talent, this gift God's given me with words go to waste.
I will use my words. And I hope that they're used to build people up, not tear them down. I hope they encourage. I hope they inspire. I hope they sometimes convict. I hope they a lot of times make you laugh.
And I hope that by sharing some of my struggles, frustrations or just random musings, you, whoever you may be, don't feel so alone. Because lets just be honest... it's easy to feel all alone. And alone is a terrible feeling.

Wow. Well I guess I wrote something.
Words. They're funny things. Letters strung together. Noises combined to form a strange meaningful chorus. And they are. Meaningful. At least they should be. Sticks and stones break bones. But words. Yep. They can hurt. They do hurt. They have power. How do I use them? How do I abuse them?
Well like a lot of gifts God's given me, I think I can waste my words too. I'm not the kind of person who packs a punch. I'm not economical. I'm superfluous. A lot of words to say a little. I've often thought I should strive for brevity. But, well, then that just wouldn't be me. That's just not Jessika. And I am just Jessika.
Lots of words. Hopefully ones that speak love and life into your life.
How do you use your words? Just something to think about this week... It's day two. You've got 5 more to speak with power. To speak with truth. To speak with love. To speak with words.

Friday, March 16, 2012

#100 (for lack of a better title)

Yep. Post 100. Hard to believe. Hard to believe it didn't happen sooner.
I think the saddest part about this post is that I've almost written as much in the past two and a half months for this blog as I did the entire year of 2011. Yeah... That's kind of disgusting. That absolutely cannot happen this year. Cannot. 

This is going to be a bittersweet post. Sorry to anyone who was looking for something sunny and cheery. The weather provided that. It was an absolutely incredible day here in Seattle! Blue sky, sunshine and a gorgeous sunset. And it started out grey and rainy! Thanks Lord for turning the tables around... It was a much welcomed surprise.

So bittersweet. Bittersweet for a number of reasons, but the first being that this is the last thing I have to do (other than click a button submitting my final portfolio) for my Bellevue College English 255 Creative Non-Fiction Writing Class I've been taking this Winter Quarter.
That should be a great thing, right? I'm almost done with the quarter! I'm almost done with my A.A.!!! Who'd ever thought that would happen? Just an AP credit transfer and a Symbolic Reasoning course away from saying goodbye to Bellevue College. Pretty exciting stuff.
But like I said, it's bittersweet because this is the last time I can take this class... this creative non-fiction writing class. To even try and describe what a blessing it's been in my life would be, well, to be honest, quite impossible. There aren't words to express the profound impact it's had on me.
Someday I want to be a writer. The future is not longer this unknown unforeseeable passionless void. The Lord has given me a voice and I'm so excited to see how He's going to use it. And this new passion and desire to write He cultivated through this class. Yep. Wow. No words. Thank you just seems too small.
Lindsi Dec and Lesley Rausch ©Angela Sterling Photography

And yet I don't live in the Future, I live in Today. And today the first passion God gave me, burned brightly within my heart and soul: Ballet. Today I saw my co-workers perform PNB's premier of David Dawson's A Million Kisses to My Skin. And as I watched them literally I felt like my skin was the only thing holding back the deep longing I had to run out on that stage and dance that ballet. In my eight seasons of dancing professionally there have only been two ballets that have had such a profound connection not just with my mind, body and heart, but with my soul. This is one of them.
I found myself saying to the Lord, as tears welled up in my eyes (even now they're returning), "Lord I know that one day I will dance this ballet. Be it here on earth or in Heaven above I will dance this ballet. And I'll dance it for You! Because this ballet is what Heaven feels like."

It reminds me of that famous quote from Chariots of Fire:
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. 
God made me for a purpose. To bring Him glory and enjoy Him forever. He's made me His own. He's making me a writer, and many other things besides that... But He's also made me a ballerina. And when I dance I feel His pleasure. It's like a million kisses to my skin. His kisses. He's pretty great!

So what has He made you for? What passions has He given you? Do you feel His pleasure? Oh that everyone in the whole world could feel it! It is unlike anything you could dream of or imagine!

And if you want to see what that pleasure looks like danced out on stage, see what Heaven feels like, come and see PNB perform this tremendous piece. But hurry and buy your tickets here. It's only this weekend and next!

Here's a taste of the first movement performed by the Dutch National Ballet. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Searching for Something Unfound

So my dear friend Dawn is getting married in April!
And I have to tell you I'm SO excited because this means two things:

1. Dance. Party.

Dawn is one of the funnest (is that a word?) people I know. She is a riot. She is a party. She is sweet and bubbly, one of my very dear friends, and has been known to burn a whole in many a dance floor. Therefore it's to be expected that her wedding is going to be the party of a century. This it will be... not to mention a very beautiful and elegant event as well.

2. New dress.

I have mentioned it many times before on this blog, but I will say it once again. Each of my friends gets a new wedding dress. Wait. That sounds wrong. What I mean to say is I get a new dress for each of my friends's weddings. There we go. Dawn is no exception. And my closet is getting quite full! Thank goodness there aren't many more of my friends to still venture off into the land of wedded bliss. Then again I do really love having an excuse to buy a new dress, so this might not be as big of a blessing as I'm making it out to be...

At any rate I have the extreme misfortune of knowing exactly what kind of dress I want. I mean I can perfectly picture it in my head. The color. The silhouette. The material. The shoes I'll pair with it. Even my makeup and lipstick color. The trouble is I can't find it. Anywhere. I'm searching for something that's unfound. Quite possibly something that doesn't exist. I'm hoping it does. At the very least something similar.
And in this pursuit of the unfound imagined dress, I've come across many warm-weather springtime inspirations. So since I have yet to find the dress I'll share with you these things I have found.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Post Valentines

So this post has been brewing in me for a while. I meant to write it during February. I meant to write it around that most dreaded of greeting-card holidays, yes, Valentines Day. Well, I've meant to do a lot of things. As usual my timing is always a little late... Ha! How typical of me. How appropriate for me. I feel like that sums my life up pretty well... "a little late." Well what can I say? I guess I'm just a late bloomer. But better late than never, right?

But "blooming" is exactly what this post is about. Nice one Jessika! (This is me patting myself on the back... haha!)

Well recently I just revisited a book that's spoken profound truth into my life. It's called Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. Basically it's about unveiling the mystery of the female heart. They speak of who God created women to be, how we reveal His beauty in a broken world, but how that beauty is under fierce attack (and boy don't I know it!). They flesh out so many of the lies that so many of us have believed, and most importantly they show us how to find healing and restoration in the Lord. How we can find the love that so many of us desperately long for from Him - the Lover of our soul.

In this little excerpt they write about how He romances you. How He romances me.
"Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart. God's version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens and fierce devotion."
"This romancing is immensely personal. It will be as if it has been scripted for your heart. He knows what takes your breath away, knows what makes your heart beat faster." 
Well for me it's a lot of things. The way the light comes in sideways in the fall, winter and spring and for a very brief period illuminates the bare tree branches against a stormy grey sky. Or when the wind tickles the leaves on the Katsura trees that stand outside the Phelps Center Studio C windows. Sunsets. Sunsets. I don't think I need to say anything more about that.

But flowers.
I really love flowers. I do. They're truly a gift from the Lord. They make my eyes light up and my heart smile. They're so cheery and are always glad to see you.

Well I don't need a Valentines Day, or a valentine to get me flowers. I can buy them for myself. And I do. Most of the time when I'm having a bad day. And they never fail to brighten my day. The Lord's loving on me. With a beautiful bouquet. Wow. Thank you Lord!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mug Half Full

Well I'm still reeling from this past weekend.
Did that happen?
The Lord just keeps surprising me. In a good way.
Ha! I'm generally not one for surprises, and by that I mean I'm usually not that surprise-able (yes, I did just make up that word, but you get my drift), and I don't particularly care for them. But I will say I've definitely been caught off guard by quite a few things this year. Surprised. And I will say that this Planner (that would be ME) is, dare I say it, starting to like them.

But I feel like I'm getting a little off topic. This post isn't about surprises. It's about mugs.
At the amazing Westminster Chapel women's retreat we had up in Leavenworth this weekend, we did a mug exchange our first night. So in typical Sika-fashion I ran over to Good Will Friday morning before meeting my ride to the retreat. I mean, 49¢ for a mug? How can you beat that?!

And this is one of the amazing mugs I found. This one I kept for myself.

Well my day today was not like this sunny Florida mug, but a lot like our Seattle weather. Grey, cold, cloudy and rainy... There were situations that could have hung over me like a big cloud of disappointment and down-poured despair on my spirits. This could have been my lot today. But I decided to choose a sunnier outlook. I decided to see the glass, or mug as half-full. How optimistic of me?!

The truth is we all could easily come up with long lists of things we wish were different. Things we don't have. Things we wish we had. Grumble lists. The grass is always greener... yada yada yada. Ughhh... I feel depressed even writing about it.

Or we could come up with long lists of the things we're thankful for. All the many gifts and blessings that God's showered down on us. And we can be glad. We can rejoice. We can smile in the rain because there's sunlight in our hearts. The Son's light. Wow... super cheese. Velveeta cheese. But true all the same.
We can see the mug as half-full. That's what the Lord's taught me today. And I'm thankful for that!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Breath and Boredom

"I eat these when I'm bored..."

I used to down these like they were candy as a little kid. Except they weren't the green Spearmint ones pictured above. This was back in the day when Altoids only came in the traditional (and in my opinion strongest) Peppermint flavor. You know... the tin with the red border and the white, tear-inducing chalky dots. Yeah. I used to gobble those suckers up like 3 at a time. Talk about pain tolerance. It was probably good conditioning for life as a ballet dancer.

Now I just eat these guys when I'm bored. Especially backstage at the ballet. And theater week is coming up so I guess my diet will be getting a healthy dose (overdose?) of Altoids. Preferably in either the Cinnamon or Spearmint flavor. (Sandy, our stage manager keeps us perpetually stocked with four different varieties. If only one of those were Liquorice...) 

Well fresh breath never hurt anyone. Guess boredom has it's virtues...

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Well this is gonna be a short one... in fifteen minutes I need to be out the door and on my way to a lovely Sunday dinner, but I absolutely must post something before I head out that door. My grade depends on it. Literally.

It's a gloomy grey March day. Typical.

Yesterday was absolutely glorious! My car at one point said it hit 60˚F! Granted my car often tells me lies, but this one I wanted to believe. I had the windows rolled down as I drove over the 520 bridge listening to Arcade Fire's Haiti. Man that's a great song. Makes me want to head somewhere sunny and park it on the beach with a book and an enormous floppy straw hat. Yeah. That sounds nice.

But I digress...

The point is today is not yesterday. Yesterday I wore my light airy sundress with leggings and ballet flats. Today I had to change out of my Sunday attire into jeans, a big sweater and my rubber Hunter rain boots. You see I'm hoping to go for a walk... yes. In the grey. In the muck. But fresh air and vitamin D (however low in dose) are vitally important. As are the proper shoes. Hunter rain boots. Check.

Well there are some other shoes that have been on my mind lately. They too are vitally important to my success. The first pair I'm thinking of seem to be a kind of cruel torture device inflicted on young girls who dream of floating... Yes, they are pointe shoes. No, they're not made of wood.

I'm notorious at PNB for wearing my shoes the longest - in part because I can just wear dead shoes (I think my feet are crazy strong), and in part because I just don't sew them (I think I'm just crazy lazy) . In fact I have a confession to make. Since Nutcracker I have sewn... wait for it.... ONE pair of pointe shoes. Yes. You heard me. One. Uno. That's it.
Well it's time to sew a new pair... okay maybe two or three pairs of "the boots" as I like to call them.
Friday I hit an all-time low. Literally scrounging for a left shoe and a right shoe that would keep me somewhat supported on pointe I managed to come up with this combo.

Pretty funny. Pretty sad. Well they worked. And man those Peacock shoes last forever. They're magic shoes. I think it's something about the dye. But again, I digress.

But the other pair of shoes I've been thinking about are another kind altogether...
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." ~ Ephesians 6:14-15
Well I wonder what those shoes look like. Maybe they look like Hunter rain boots. Maybe they look those mismatched ones above... Hmm. The Lord knows.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An extra day

I'm so behind! By Monday of next week I need to have 12 blog posts written for 2012. So far I have 9... This is the tenth. 
And it's already Wednesday.

And it's the end of February. February 29th. An extra day. The Lord knows I need it. 
I just had a conversation with a friend about time. How there's never enough... at least it feels like that. Too many things on the check list. Too many things that don't get checked off. It can feel frustrating. Really frustrating. I hate feeling like I'm always catching up with time. Why can't time catch up to me for once, huh? Ha! Now that would be amazing!

Well in the end I guess it comes down to priorities and grace. Putting first those things that are most important, having grace for myself when some of the others melt into tomorrow, and trusting God's grace is sufficient for me. He will make a way for me to accomplish all that He has on my to do list for Today. I just need to seek Him first. 
And lately that's been first thing in the morning, with my cup of coffee and my BSF lesson. But there's something you should know about me... I'm not a morning person. I repeat: I am not a morning person. 
Saying this has been a struggle is a severe understatement. But it's something the Lord's been working on me for a long time. Finally I just gave up. I gave in. And I got going. And believe me there are some days when I think there's no way I'm going to finish my Bible study questions for the day and still make it to my 10:15am company class on time. Like no way. 
But I put the Lord first. After all He is my Lord. He deserves my first, my best. And He is the Author of time... of all things. And I trust Him. I trust that He will honor this decision. Of course I have to use the common sense He gave me too. I can't wake up at 10 and think, "Well the Lord's just gonna push the "pause" button on time so that I can do my BSF, eat breakfast, shower, brush my teeth and drive to work, still getting there in time." Yeah, no. 
But I will say I have seen His miraculous hand at work, stretching time if you will. I mean there's really no other way to explain it. I'll look at the clock in my car and think there's no way I'm making it, and then low and behold I pull up to the Phelps Center with minutes to spare. Like a couple minutes, but still... it doesn't make it any less miraculous. 

I know I need to be better about getting up earlier. Getting to work earlier. But baby steps people! 
I'm just thankful that the Lord allows me to see His tangible miraculous hand of grace at work in my life, even in my most mundane needs. And that He truly does honor those who honor Him. 
He can stretch time. He gives us extra minutes. He gives us an extra day.

Thanks Lord for Leap Day!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wacky weather

Well it's been quite a week. It's been quite a weekend.

Right now I'm sitting in Starbucks and the sun is streaming in through the window warming my face and blinding my eyes. I mean typing is a bit of a challenge.
But oddly enough earlier this morning I had to call my dad to come and rescue me. Literally I was "hailed" in. Within a matter of minutes we had a solid inch of ice-pellets covering our driveway and lane. I mean seriously?! I pulled my car out of the garage went 2 yards and then backed in back in because I wasn't going anywhere.
"Well looks like I'm walking to church today, or just calling it quits."
Calling my dad instead to see how the rest of the greater Eastside fared, he sounded really confused...
"What hail? What are you talking about Jessika? I'm on my way home. I've gotta pick up the truck... I'll be there in a couple minutes."
I asked him if he could pick me up and drive me to church and he said that would be fine.
Well sure enough he figured it out.

It was the craziest thing. Hopping in the truck he turned the windshield wipers on which created a giant pile of that white stuff as a buffer between the blades and the wiper-well. Wheels spinning we just barely make it up the bunny slope that is our lane.
Dad's laughing.
I still don't get it.

Turning on to the main street we literally go one block. One. Block.
Not a single ice pellet or white fleck to be found. It was as if the heavens opened up and released all it's fury right over my home. Just like a comic - You know... the raincloud (hail storm in our case) following a single person. I kid you not. It was weird.

But I made it to church. A little late, but I made it nonetheless. And it was great. The message was one that the Lord has been hitting home these days

So what was this crazy-amazing message that someone didn't want me to hear?

Without love I am nothing. It doesn't matter what I do, or what I say, if love isn't before, behind, above, below, inside and all around it then it's meaningless. Utterly.
But more importantly, if I'm not receiving love, true love, Jesus's love, then I'm absolutely incapable of doing any of this.

So in this Lenten season, I'm giving up. Thats it. Giving up and letting the Lord in. Letting Him really love me. Sounds crazy I know. Why wouldn't I? Why haven't I?
The truth is I have. But there's always room to grow.
Room to bloom.
After all, Spring is on it's way... Hail can't change that.