Sunday, September 6, 2015

An Anniversary Party!

Hey Everyone,

I'm delighted to show you all some pictures that were taken at my studio's fifth anniversary party! The ten days leading up to the event were filled with ballet and contemporary classes for 3 hrs. each day. Quite a lot of fun was had during that week and a half! For the party I performed in three pieces. The first dance I was in was a trio that I had performed once before. I really loved dancing it the first time, so it was so wonderful to be able to do it again!! Also, my amazing friend choreographed it which made it ten times more fun to be a part of! I was so honored to be asked to perform it with her and one other close friend of ours! We performed to the song Elastic Heart by Sia. Very dramatic dance, to be sure. The second piece I danced was my own self choreographed solo to I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. I also performed this piece once before in June! My final piece was actually more of an entire show on its own! It was a thirty minute long ballet class presentation choreographed by the wonderful Mr. Sobir! Great fun!! Please enjoy the following pictures, though they are unfortunately quite blurry.

 trio to Elastic Heart





part of the classical ballet demonstration




part of the classical ballet demonstration

Everybody that attended really enjoyed all of the dances and skits that were performed! It was a very entertaining evening! I'm always so thrilled to perform at small events like this one!

'Till next time!
Emma Grace

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fitness Goals/ Plans

Hello All!

On this lovely August afternoon I'd like to share with you some of my fitness goals for the next couple months. As of late, I've been very inspired and determined to reach my fitness goals. I don't really have a specific weight I want to get to. I only want to see a noticeable change in my body. In the past couple years hormones have caused my body to gain weight :/ Before I was quite thin and built very well for ballet. Unfortunately, my weight gain could not be helped for a while. I suppose it just had to happen. Though I was exercising more excessively, taking many hours of ballet, modern, and pilates classes, and eating very healthfully, my body wouldn't cooperate. At the beginning of July (last month) , though, I realized I would have to try something entirely new.

I decided to try a different kind of workout than I had ever done before. Right away I jumped into Kayla Itsines' BBG workouts!! She currently has two different 12-week programs out. I am nearly finished with BBG 1. Although it is technically supposed to be done in 12 weeks, I wanted to challenge my already strong (though not as thin as I'd like) body to finish earlier. My original plan was to get done in 6 weeks. That means I would have to do six of the workouts in the guide each week. I ended up not doing that much because of a couple family vacations. By the time I finish it will have taken me 8 weeks instead of my planned 6 weeks. Thankfully, I have already seen pretty big improvements in my shape!! I haven't weighed myself at all these past 8 weeks because I'm not as focused on the number on the scale as I am on a visible change.

All of that being said, on to my goals for the next couple months!! So, to start off with, on the 31st of August (next Monday) I will start BBG 1 again. I really want to redo the Kayla Itsines' first guide so that I can really focus on my form, use heavier weights, and get the most out of the pretty expensive guide as I can! This time I believe I will be able to finish it in 6 weeks (hopefully mid October!). In addition to doing those workouts 6 days a week, I will also add in running 3 days a week, stationary bike 3 days a week, a bit of weight lifting at the gym 6 days a week, yoga 1-2 times every day, and all of my dance classes that I take and teach each week! I know it may seem like a bit much, but I know from experience that if I don't challenge myself enough, nothing will change.

Now for my meal plan! Beginning August 31st I am going to do the U.S. Ski Team Diet. If you have never heard of it, I suggest you look it up!! Basically, it is a two week diet that is very high in protein, has almost no grains involved, and no dairy included. Don't worry! It is 100% safe and healthy, and from what I've read and heard, quite filling. After the two week diet, I plan on continuing to eat very strictly, but with a bit more flexibility in my meal plan than the diet allows. This just means adding in some dairy, maybe something sweet once a week, more variety, etc.

I am considering taking before and after pictures for either the two week diet, or the 6 weeks of the BBG workout guide. Maybe I'll do so for both! If I do, I will definitely post them on here :) I hope you all have some great health and fitness goals for this fall!!! Good luck!

~ Emma Grace

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pray Without Ceasing

Hello Friends,

Today I want to write to you all as well as to myself. I need this reminder as much or more than the next person. I forget too often. Life appears to start spinning out of control, and instead of calling out to God, I let depression get the best of me. I fall into a deep dark pit of despair, and I stay there until I find a good enough reason to crawl back out. Unfortunately, with this kind of behavior one day I won't find the strength to get out. There is only one way to ensure my safe return to the light of a new day. Of course, if I asked God's help, I probably wouldn't find myself in the dark in the first place. I mean, no matter what, we'll all feel helpless at some point. It's inevitable. But that doesn't mean we don't have hope!! We can lighten our loads. Sometimes we're just too stubborn. So today, tomorrow, and every day after that, let's work on this!

For about a year and a half I've carried an enormous weight. From time to time, God gives me moments of such happiness that my burden seems to have disappeared! But it's always come back. I believe there needs to be some huge change in my life before this pain leaves entirely. And so, I carry on. Through all of the nightmares, waking up crying, terrible thoughts that fill my head, and day to day tasks that remind me of my sorrow, I somehow carry on. Let it be known that my pain is not comparable to many others' pain. It's entirely different. I don't claim to have the worst life or the greatest reason for occasional depression. I only mean to explain why prayer is so necessary for me right now. But when this sadness leaves, there will be a million other reasons for prayer. There will always be another reason for me to pray. And there will always be another reason for you to pray. It makes no difference if you're not certain how to present your requests to the Lord. We have an intercessor to help!!

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
~ Romans 8:26

Don't be afraid to start a thought and let the Spirit help you finish! God is more than aware of our imperfection and our inability to express everything we feel. I often forget this and end up skipping a prayer because I don't know how to explain how I feel to God. It can be intimidating going before the Almighty King not knowing what words to use. But that's not what God wants. He loves it when we need His help!

I sometimes go for long periods of time without having a one on one with God. I won't pretend to be some saint that never fails to pour out their heart to the Lord. I fail all the time. I pass up opportunities to grow closer to my Lord on a daily basis. That doesn't mean I should stop trying, though! It only means I should try harder!! We can even pray for help remembering to spend time with our King. God will never leave us without help. He'll never say no to that request.

"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
~ Luke 11:9

If there's a specific practice that helps you with prayer, by all means, use it!! Whether it's playing quiet hymns while praying (I enjoy listening to Nearer: A New Collection of Favorite Hymns), writing your prayer requests down on paper, using a study guide (I really love, etc., use what you know helps! Maybe you should even try a new way if you need to get re-inspired. I encourage you to do whatever you can to "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17)!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please help me to run to You not only when I feel like I need You, but also when in my human ignorance, I foolishly think I don't need Your guidance. I always do and I always will. Thank You for never giving up on me!Thank You for Your love and mercy! It's far more than I deserve! Please help me to remember to show my love for You by setting aside time every day to spend time with You and grow closer to You.

In Jesus' Name I Pray,

Friday, August 7, 2015

Last Class with a Fantastic Teacher

Hi Everyone,

In the pictures I'm sharing with you today, you will get a glimpse into what some of my ballet classes look like. A year ago my classes looked quite different because they were at a large ballet academy with beautiful studios, great teachers, and a live pianist. Though I learned a lot in that atmosphere, this past spring semester at a smaller studio afforded me unexpectedly awesome classes. The man you see in some of these photos is one of the best instructors I've ever had! He just so happened to be my stretching teacher at my old school before I came back to the smaller studio. When I came back to this studio I had no idea that Mr. Sobir would be teaching here this past semester! I am beyond grateful for him and his teaching. He's been a huge inspiration to me, and I cannot thank him enough for all of his critiques and encouragements!! My pictures show my last class with him around the end of June. Thankfully he will be teaching a 10 day summer course at my studio at the end of this month, so I'll get to attend more classes from him!!

Hope you all enjoyed the little peek into one of my ballet classes! Until next time!
Emma Grace

Saturday, July 25, 2015

An Austrian Adventure (part 1)

Hello There!

So sorry I've been gone for a while! The reason for my absence was a family vacation to Austria! We rented a huge house in an adorable village with our cousins, aunt and uncle, and grandparents. For about 6 six days we toured cathedrals, hiked beautiful mountain trails, got caught in a hail storm, visited many charming villages, and ate delicious eis (ice cream auf deutsch)!! Today I'll share a few of the pictures I have from our exciting trip. Hope you all enjoy them!

My brothers, cousin, and me in a cable car on the way down from a mountain.

At the tippy top of a gorgeous Austrian mountain!

Ballet at the top of a mountain.

Trying on goofy hats in Tirol, Austria

With my cousin on the first full day of our trip.

The incredible house we were privileged enough to stay in.

The view that we got to see every single day!
Hopefully I'll be able to share some more pictures from our trip very soon!!

Bye for now!
Emma Grace

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Independence Day!

Hi All,

As I'm sure you've guessed by the title, this post will be about my July 4th. My family had a swell day, and I certainly hope yours did as well! We don't have too many July 4th traditions in my household, but we do have a couple! Generally we have a typical American barbecue and go to see fireworks. Pretty much what almost all Americans do. Because we live in Germany we have to go on one of the military bases to see fireworks. This year they were spectacular!! The fireworks were so well coordinated with the music they played! It was quite impressive!

Andrew and I decided to give our little doggie a bath in our backyard since she looked overheated. She looks terrified in the pictures, but I swear she appreciated her cold bath!! haha

 My outfit for the 4th. Yes, I used my West Side Story costume. No, the petticoat is not at all comfortable.

 Most of the family. My dad was taking the picture and my eldest sister is in Romania taking care of little babies. She'll be back next month!!

Dessert: homemade chocolate milkshakes!!!!

Unfortunately I did not get any pictures later that evening when we went to watch the fireworks. I thought it might be best if I enjoyed the moment rather than take photos the whole time. I hope you all were able to enjoy time with family on this special occasion!

~ Emma Grace

Friday, July 3, 2015

Solo Pictures


Just wanted to share some more pictures from my performance on June 6th. All of the photos are of my solo: I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. Hope you like them!!

That's all for now!
~ Emma Grace