Fall Blogs: Teamwork and Tap Shoes

Teamwork and Tap Shoes

Hey, y’all!

This week we have a super fun video on the Her Heritage channel: Fall in Florida! Be sure to tune in!

During the fall months, my schedule is always packed with a lot of clogging! Here in Florida, we have loads of fall festivals, and even though it never quite feels like fall (80 degrees and up), and there are no fall leaves, there are plenty of pumpkins, entertainment, and fair foods to get everyone in the mood. 😉 I thought it would be fun this week on the blog to elaborate a little on my clogging experience and the life lessons it has taught me over the past ten years (wow, I feel old). 😉 

First things first, what exactly is clogging? In short, it’s sort of a combination of Irish dance and tap dance, done traditionally to country music. However, you can clog to almost any kind of music, which my group fully embraces. 🙂

Let’s head back in time to 2009, and eight-year-old Grace, who wanted to join 4-H. My mom found a 4-H club that sounded promising—the Clogging Clovers. I didn’t even know what clogging was, but I was nervously excited to give it a try. 

Turns out, I was the only kid there at the first practice, and the teacher was amazing! She gave me lots of one-on-one time, and although I liked her a lot, I came home crying that week because I was so scared of what would happen once other kids joined. How would I keep up with them? Well, my parents nudged me into going back one more time, and after that second practice, I never looked back. Now, I’m not saying I was a dance prodigy—far from it. 😉 I messed up my steps like crazy, and I still do that often—it’s whatcha call learning. 🙂

However, once we got some dances down pat and our group started performing, I realized what this group was giving me: a team. Clogging may not be a team sport in the traditional sense of the word, but in my opinion, it gives kids a lot of the same values. These values of a work ethic and a willingness to make sacrifices when necessary come in handy in so many areas of life—especially when it comes to being a parent or child!

I realized quickly that the more you put into your performance, the more you get out of it. Sure, it might make your cheeks hurt, but smiling the entire time that you’re dancing, and picking your feet up energetically directly transfers to making the audience happy. This is not something you can do alone. Out of a group of twenty dancers, if only one is smiling, it doesn’t do a lot of good. However, if even a couple more people pick up on the idea, the audience starts to notice—and that’s what you call a team effort. There’s something about dancing with a group as opposed to on your own in a solo that gives every single person more energy and stamina, and it’s something I’ve been experiencing firsthand for a decade.

There are a few clogging memories that are seared into my brain forever, and one of them is a Christmas practice we had that lasted until nearly midnight, only a couple of days before we had to perform. We were hardly forming comprehensive sentences, but we were getting the dance down, and nobody was complaining—because we were taking one for the team. In that way, clogging is pretty similar to any other team sport or activity. 

For me, the real difference that separates clogging from other team activities emerges when you perform in front of a crowd. My favorite performances we do are on the street, not a stage, and we’re only about six or seven feet from the audience. At these kinds of shows, I let myself really cut loose with smiling and winking and generally acting goofy with the audience. That’s not to say that performing isn’t hard—because it is. When you need water and a bathroom break and you’re exhausted and at the end of your rope, it seems impossible sometimes to pick up your feet and grin at a five-year-old girl watching. But it’s worth it—because it’s for the team…and truly, you never know how much you will positively affect people with your performance.

Over the years, I’ve done some solos, and sure, they were fun. Truly, however, nothing compares to the feeling of waiting for music to start while standing beside your best friends in the world who’ve sweated, bled, and cried with you—ready to make people happy with tap shoes and teamwork. 

So, to all the moms reading—if you ever get the chance to sign up your daughter for a team activity, I totally recommend it. Teamwork is one of those virtues that simply can’t be learned from a textbook, and in my humble opinion, performing in some respect is a great way to learn about it.

Thank you all for reading, and be sure to leave a comment telling us what you or your daughter’s favorite team activity is! Better yet, share with us a time that you and your mom or daughter worked as a team!

XOXO,

Grace

Fall Blogs: Three ways to celebrate a normal day

Three Ways to Celebrate a Normal Day

Hey, y’all!

Grace here! 🙂 Today I’m so excited to do my first longer article here on the Her Heritage blog, and it ties in with this month’s theme, Party Month! This week, we talked about celebrations on the channel—from birthdays to holidays—but here on the blog I want to talk about something a little different: how to celebrate a normal day. 

Sure, it’s easy to find things to celebrate on a special day, but in my humble opinion, every day is a gift. Last year, after Hurricane Irma hit Florida and my family got out of the shelter we had gone into, we were positively giddy going into Publix. We were safe, our friends were safe, nobody’s house had been destroyed, and we were praising God for protecting us (as well as praying for people who were affected, such as those in Puerto Rico). Sure, the store was stripped bare, so we could hardly buy anything, but it was all a gift!

Honestly, nothing makes you appreciate life more than almost losing everything. However, I know from experience that we tend to fall into patterns and routines—and sometimes that feels good. I know that every week, I go to band, choir, and clogging on Mondays, and that I see the same people at the same times on those days. 

On the other hand, as we’re getting ready to move in a few short weeks, I find myself appreciating everything more. There are people that I’ve always liked, but never realized quite how much I value—and now I’ll be leaving them. It’s okay, of course, and I’m confident that this move is what God is guiding us towards, but at the same, I find myself wanting to celebrate the time that I have left with them.

So, how do you celebrate a normal day of going to school, work, or otherwise? How can you turn an average day into something more special without breaking the bank on money, time or calories? What if you’re having an awful day and need to turn it around, fast?

Well…I’m glad you asked. 😉

  1. Dress Up!

I always say that every girl (moms and daughters) should have one thing to wear that makes them super happy—it could be a piece of makeup, jewelry, shoes, jacket—anything! For me, this is red lipstick. I don’t wear it all the time, but it instantly makes me feel vintage, and that makes me ridiculously happy!

We live in a society where dressing up for everyday activities isn’t super mainstream, but knowing that I’m running out of time with my activities and friends here in Florida, I’ve started embracing dressing nicer, and it’s made a big difference in my self-esteem, too. Of course, clothing and appearance aren’t everything (not at all), but they can make a normal day into a special one. You wanna wear that brightly colored top or giant hair bow or sparkly necklace? Do it! 🙂

2.  Music!

Now, I am by no means a music guru—I didn’t start playing an instrument until I was about ten or twelve, and I’m no great singer, either, but I’ve learned over the years that a simple playlist of songs can turn an average day into a celebration. 

For example, when I turn on my Irish Folk Music playlist, I start remembering when I got to meet my favorite Irish band, and I get so giddy thinking about such a different, fun culture. Another big one for me is any kind of happy, vintage jazz or swing music—especially when combined with the red lipstick mentioned above, it makes me feel like I’m in my own little time machine. 🙂

Put together your own “celebration” playlist, just for you—and jam out whenever you need a pick-me-up!

3. Reach Out!

Let me preface this by saying that I am no social expert—goodness knows I say my fair share of awkward things. 😉 However, a great way to celebrate average activities is to reach out to someone else. This could be someone you don’t know very well. Ask them about themselves, compliment them, or invite them into a conversation. As someone who has been left out of social circles in the past, I can say that nothing feels better to a left-out person than being included. 

To sum up…I’ve had my “live everyday to the fullest” meter bumped up quite a few degrees because I know that I’ll be leaving all of my FL experiences behind soon—but you don’t need a reason like that to celebrate an average day. Like I said earlier, it’s the little things. 🙂 If you want to wear high heels to the grocery store, sing your heart out in the kitchen, or tell a little boy that his Super Mario shirt is cool, do it! 

There’s this thing in the world that tries to tell you having fun for no reason isn’t cool—that you need to have a reason to be “extra.” Weeeell, this crazy redhead is here to tell you that living life to the fullest isn’t just a saying on a calendar with cat pictures. It’s real, and it’s a message that comes from God! 

In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 

In other words, God loves to see his children have joy—it’s not being “extra”. Because of the love God has shown us, we have the power to let our cups overflow with love and joy everyday, and you never know how that could positively affect those around you.

I hope you all enjoyed! Be sure to let me know in the comments how you and your family celebrate, on special occasions and normal days. 🙂 And don’t forget to check out our new video out this week!

XOXO,

Grace

Fall Vlogs: Oct 10,2018

Hey, y’all!

Grace here! This week, we have an awesome Baking with Aunt Brenda video, where the gals are making apple dumplings…a favorite in both of our families!

Here is the full recipe…enjoy! Ingredients:

—2 (8 ounce) cans crescent rolls —2 sticks butter

—1 1/2 cups brown sugar

—1 teaspoon vanilla

—1 teaspoon cinnamon

—1 1/2 cups 7 Up (or other lemon soda)

—2 apples (golden delicious or granny smith)

Instructions:

1. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

2. Preheat the oven at 350 F.

3. Peel and core apples, then cut each apple into eight (8) slices.

4. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll and place in buttered dish.

5. Melt butter, stir in sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, and when it has thickened, remove from heat and pour over dumplings.

6. Pour soda in the middle and along the edges of the pan (not over the rolls).

7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until they become golden brown. 8. Serve warm.

YUM! Be sure to let us know in the comments what your family’s favorite fall dessert is! Are you in the apple or pumpkin camp, or both? 😉

Before I sign off, I wanted to share with you a little anecdote from my week that I think relates to this lovely recipe, and I’m calling it Sharing Sweetness. 🙂

It is so easy to get established in our everyday lives and forget to reach out to people or step outside of our comfort zones—we all do it! At the time of writing this, I just returned from my clogging dance practice, where I tend to stay in my own bubble, because things are so routine.

Tonight, I was helping to lead our monthly “business” meeting, where we stop dancing long enough to talk about performances, times, and such. 😉 A very sweet but shy little girl who is new to our group raised her hand to ask a question, and was shocked and pleasantly surprised that I knew her name when I called on her.

Now, I’m definitely not saying this to glorify myself, because goodness knows I could reach out to others more often, but only to encourage you that little acts of kindness (aka Sharing Sweetness 🙂 ) go a long way. This especially applies to welcoming and including people who may be new or feel left out.

You never know…someday it might be you who needs a little bit of sweetness in your day. 😉

Anywho, that’s it for now, so we hope you enjoy this week’s videos!

XOXO, Grace 🙂