Ha Bracha | A Blessing Over 2021

It’s a gross understatement to say 2020 was a rough year so I won’t say it. Instead I’ll look forward to the new year with cautious optimism & lots of prayer. Speaking of prayer, I recently heard Joshua Aaron’s Hebrew cover of the song The Blessing, & it is a spiritual experience. It’s the perfect prayer to lead us into the coming year so I recommend you find a quiet spot, close your eyes, & let the song wash over you. Wishing you & yours a healthy 2021! 💙 

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” ’ “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”  – Numbers 6:22-27

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzqrWae5lK4

• 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 

Yevarechecha Adonai, VeYishmerecha • The LORD bless you and keep you • יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ⁠

Ya’er Adonai Panav Eleycha ViChuneka • Make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you • יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ⁠

Yisa Adonai Panav Eleycha, VeYasem Lecha Shalom • The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace • יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

Yehi chasdo aleicha le’alfei dorot • May His favor be upon you to a thousand generations • יהי חסדו עליך לאלפי דורות

Mishpachtecha viladecha • Your family and your children • משפחתך וילדיך

Dorotecha achareicha • Your generations after you • דורותיך אחריך

Rucho telech lefaneicha • May His presence go before you • רוחו תלך לפניך

Letsidecha achareicha • Beside you and behind you • לצידך, אחריך

Misvivecha belibecha • All around you and within you • מסביבך, בליבך

Hu itcha • He is with you • הוא איתך

Baboker uvaerev • In the morning in the evening • בבוקר ובערב

Betzetecha uvoecha • In your going and your coming • בצאתך ובואך

B’sivlotecha beoshrecha • In your weeping and rejoicing • בסבלותיך ואושרך

Hu itcha • He is for you • הוא איתך

Hu itanu im kulanu • He is for us, He is with us • הוא איתנו עם כולנו

Hu itcha • He is for you • הוא איתך

Shalom • Peace • שָׁלוֹם

• 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 • 🎵 • 🎶 •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | March 2020

Last weekend I participated in The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender, 48 hours of reading to take everyone’s mind off the Coronavirus pandemic currently affecting most of the world. It was also a contest to find out which team gets a 2-day lead during The Bookie Trials in July. I’m on Team Mage; the other 3 teams are the Bards, Outlaws, & Scribes. Start scrolling to see how I did. 🧙🏻‍♀️

🗓   Wednesday, March 25, 2020   🗓

1:50pm – I declared my TBR on Twitter & earned my Oath Maker badge.

Source: https://twitter.com/LaurenMichele93/status/1242916815132483584

🗓   Friday, March 27, 2020   🗓

4pm – I earned my Power Surge badge by watching the Starting Ceremony Live Show & participating in the reading sprints. I started “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacquie Winspear & “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE5oyp45vfk&t=5s

6pm – I posted my TBR & played This or That on my Instagram story.

6:30pm – I earned my Tournament Ready badge by participating in the Scavenger Hunt.

Source: https://twitter.com/TheBookieTrials/status/1243705603060641797

🎭   –   M A S K   –   🎭

🥇   –   G O L D   –   🥇

*Note: My photo came out a little blurry so I’m using one from the internet.

💦   –   W A T E R   –    🌊 

🔑    –   K E Y   –   🔑 

📖   –   B O O K   –   📚 

➡️   –   A R R O W   –   ⬅️

⛵️   –   B O A T   –   ⛵️ 

🐉   –   M Y T H I C A L   A N I M A L   –   🐉 

🕊   –   F E A T H E R   –   🕊

🍋   –   F R U I T   –   🍋

👠    –   S H O E   –   👠 

👑   –   C R O W N   –   👑 

🚪   –   D O O R   –   🚪 

🪑   –   T H R O N E   –   🪑 

🗡   –   S W O R D   –   🗡 

🌟 Wrap-Up: I finished the day with 24 pages read in “Maisie Dobbs” & 38 pages in “The ABC Murders,  a total of 62 pages.

🗓   Saturday, March 28, 2020   🗓

Noon: Things did not go as planned. Despite trying to get my mind off current events, I received news that the store I work at is closed until further notice & was encouraged to apply for Unemployment Insurance. My reading time turned into a long afternoon & evening spent crunching numbers for an application. I didn’t open a book until 11pm. 😴 💤

🌟 Wrap-Up: I stayed up until 3am & read 116 pages in “The ABC Murders.

🗓   Sunday, March 29, 2020   🗓

9am – Running on 6 hours of sleep, I was determined to finish 1 book. A few hours later, I reached my goal & earned 3 badges: Clairvoyance, Magi Might, & Tome Champion.

Noon – 4pm: I wanted to attempt to finish a 2nd book, but the application process I started on Saturday got in the way. I turned into the Hulk & had a meltdown so it was for the best that I stepped away from reading. I did, however, earn my Master Your Craft badge by watching one of my favorite YouTubers: BooksAndLala.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFdJ0tSlDdA

4pm48 hours later, the readathon was over. 🎉

🌟 Wrap-Up: I read 24 pages in “Maisie Dobbs” & finished “The ABC Murders. I read 247 pages total & finished 1 book, earning 7 out of 8 badges.

✔️ Oathmaker – Share Your TBR – I declared my TBR on Twitter.

✔️ Tournament Ready – Join a Competition – Scavenger Hunt

✔️ Power Surge – Complete a 2-Hour Sprint – Starting Ceremony

✔️ Tome Champion – Finish One Book – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

❌ Expansive Lore – Discover a New World – “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear

✔️ Master Your Craft – Watch a Favorite YouTuber – BooksAndLala

✔️ Clairvoyance – Read a 5-Star Prediction – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

✔️ Magi Might – Read a Book With Purple on the Cover – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Results:

4th PlaceTeam ScribeAverage score of 6.99 & an average page count of 537

3rd Place: Team Bard | Average score of 7.14 & an average page count of 537

2nd Place: Team Mage | Average score of 7.16 & an average page count of 543

1st Place: Team Outlaw | Average score of 7.20 & an average page count of 632

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

This weekend didn’t go as planned, & my team didn’t win, but after a horrible reading slump dating back to 2019, I was happy to finish at least one book. I can’t wait for the big event this summer.  I vlogged last year so I think I’m going to blog this year. See you in July! ☀️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Game of Thrones Rewatch

❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ❄️

Leading up to the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere, I was determined to rewatch seasons one through seven. I meant to start on April 1st but actually started on the 2nd. For your blog post viewing pleasure, I copied all of my Facebook updates down below. Enjoy!

❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ❄️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️  S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️  S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

April 1 

8:48am – To all my fellow GOT fans spending the next 2 weeks binging seasons 1-7: May the odds be ever in your favor! 👸🏻

April 2 | S1 E1-6 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

10:48am – Even though I love Daenerys, I think I’ve known all along that my heart belongs to House Stark. ❄️ 🐺 ❄️

11:16am – The W O R S T part of a GOT rewatch is Joffrey. 🤢🤮

2:19pm – This time around I’m trying really hard to keep track of GOT families & historical events. 3 episodes in, I’ve already been on google a billion times! 🤣

4:34pm – Let’s take a moment to appreciate that Sansa started out annoying & ended up being pretty darn BA. I am HERE for 2 strong Stark Girls! 🔥

4:41pm – Popular Opinion: Tyrion is literally the O N L Y bright spot in House Lannister. 🦁

April 3 | S1 E7-10, S2 E1 ( 5 episodes, finished after midnight ) 

1:40pm – GOT lured us into a false sense of security by killing Viserys first. No one liked him! Now, 7 seasons later, we’ve all mourned at least one beloved character. 💔

3:48pm – The 2nd time around actually hurts worse because now I recognize all the foreshadowing. I’m doing a lot of emotional preparation for the end of season 1. 😭💔

5:43pm – WHOA!! Now I understand the signifance of Aemon Targaryen’s interactions with Jon Snow. 😳

6:07pm – I’ve had an up & down relationship with Jamie Lannister. At this moment, I’m feeling no mercy & wondering if the Starks should have just killed him when they had the chance. 🤷🏻‍♀️

6:11pm – I knew episode 9 was coming, but now it’s actually happening . . . SOMEONE HOLD MY HAND!! 😭💔

April 4 | S2 E2-4 ( 3 episodes, finished after midnight ) 

11:53pm – Season 2, Episode 4 a.k.a. the birth of Arya’s kill list! 🐺

April 5 | S2 E5 ( 1 episode, finished after midnight )

N / A

April 6 | S2 E6-7 ( 2 episodes, finished after midnight )

N / A

April 7 | S2 E8-10, S3 E1-5 ( 8 episodes, finished after midnight )

1:11pm – I will probably reach the Red Wedding tonight or tomorrow morning. The 1st time gutted me. This time around I know what’s coming, & I’m still upset. 😭

1:23pm – (S2 E10) The scene when Daenerys walks into the “Iron Throne room” full of snow with a torch . . . that is how you do symbolism! 🔥 Fire & Ice ❄️Also, when she walks “outside,” I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be The Wall. More symbolism, more genius, such foreshadowing! 😱

1:34pm – Remember when season 2 ended with WHITE WALKERS EVERYWHERE?!? That was fun. 😭

April 8 | S3 E6-10, S4 E1-2 ( 7 episodes, finished after midnight )

2:42pm – Very few shows can take my emotions on a rollercoaster ride like GOT. One episode I’m indifferent to Theon Greyjoy, the next I absolutely despise him. Next thing I know, I want Ramsay Bolton dead & Theon safe and sound. It’s a lot to handle, and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. 🤷🏻‍♀️

3:12pm – For a period of time, it seems like Margaery’s influence might be softening Joffrey. And then in S3 E6 he shoots Ros with his crossbow & nonchalantly walks away. Does he die soon?? I need that to happen NOW. 😭

4:35pm – Davos learning to read is too pure for HBO television. 😭❤️

5:40pm – I made it to S3 E9. *DEEP BREATHS* I knew this was inevitable. The time has come to experience the Red Wedding all over again. H E L P 😭

6:02pm – Jon Snow being in the same place as his brothers/cousins & not even knowing breaks my heart. 💔

6:32pm – Knew what was going to happen. Still cried my eyes out. One of the MOST gut-wrenching episodes in television history! 💔 #RedWedding

12:46am – Joffrey is FINALLY dead. Now I can go to sleep. 😴 BTW, I’ve made it to S4 E3 in 7 days. 👍🏻

April 9 | S4 E3-10, S5 E1 ( 9 episodes, finished after midnight )

2:52pm – Olenna Tyrell did what needed to be done, & I appreciate her for that. MVP! MVP! MVP! 🎉

4:03pm – Here’s the deal: I’ve realized my allegiance lies with House Stark. I wouldn’t mind any of the remaining family sitting on the Iron Throne. That being said, their purpose has always been ruling The North, never the entirety of Westeros. I would be THRILLED if Danaerys ended up on the Iron Throne & established a strong relationship with the Starks ruling The North. There’s my take! ❄️🐺🔥

4:51pm – When Bran & Jon don’t reunite ➡️NNNNNOOOOO!!!!! 😭

5:20pm – S4 E6 – The dragons are getting bigger! 🐉

8:19pm – Oberyn would still be alive as would those who died in his wake if he hadn’t been so emotional during the fight. He. Had. The. Mountain. Defeated. What a shame! 😔

10:28pm – I REALLY don’t want to like Jaime, but his relationship with Tyrion in season 4 puts me in a gray area. He saves his life! 🤷🏻‍♀️

April 10 | S5 E2-7 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

10:06pm – I hate to brag about my gift, but I immediately knew Dorne is inspired by Spain. I felt it in my Mediterranean soul! 🌴 🇪🇸 🌊

12:26am – The thing is, Joffrey is a horrible person but in an annoying way that makes me want to meet him in a dark alley. Ramsay Bolton is on another level. He makes me scared to go outside alone! Joffrey is awful, but during this rewatch I’m realizing that Ramsay is definitely worse. Every time he abuses Sansa, my skin crawls, & I see red. Spoiler Alert: Both of them are now burning in hell. 😈🔥

April 11 | S5 E8-10, S6 E1-4 ( 7 episodes, finished after midnight )

4:26pm – That first white walker battle at Hardhome is just . . . 😱 There is a zombie waterfall! 🧟‍♂️

4:45pm – S5 E8 Hardhome – What a masterpiece! Props to Kit Harrington & Kristofer Hivju for their acting. The emotions are palpable as they float away from the battle & deal with the magnitude of what has begun: a war with the dead! Also, the creepy ending is both brilliant & bone chilling, the newly dead rising to join the Night King’s army. 💀

5:15pm – Shireen’s death is one of the saddest in seasons 1-7. I always despised Melisandre, but this is the moment I wanted Stannis dead as well. What a disgusting excuse for a human being & father! 😡

7:39pm – Brienne & Pod coming to the rescue of Sansa & Theon is a freaking M O O D. 🔥😈🔥

April 12 – 6 Episodes | S6 E5-10, S7 E1

3:56pm – If we’re discussing the saddest GOT deaths, Hodor is near the top of the list. 💔

4:44pm – 🐉 FULL. GROWN. DRAGON. 🔥

7:43pm – Watching both Hodor & Rickon die in one day is too much to handle. Pray for me! 😭🙏🏻

8:02pm – Ramsay’s dead. I feel better now. 😈🔥

9:35pm – Seeing Cersei on the Iron Throne makes my blood boil. If a dragon eats her, it will be too kind a death. Remove her crown, whatever it takes! ❄️🐺🔥🐉

April 13 | S7 E2-7 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

5:11pm

Missandei: “You stand in the presence of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains.”

Davos: “This is Jon Snow. He’s King in the North.”

Still one of my favorite GOT moments. 🤣

5:12pm – I FREAKING love Tyrion! 💘 His humor is a bright spot on a very intense show. 🦁

5:40pm – We should all agree on this: the moody, holier than thou three-eyed raven is not our favorite version of Bran. 🙄

11:36pm – Please take a moment to appreciate that Uncle Benjen was half dead & exhausted but stayed alive long enough to save the lives of two nephews. What. A. Hero. 😭👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

11:49pm – Remember when the biggest threat was dead people? Additionally they have bears & giants & horses, oh my! Those were the days. S7 E6 changed all that for the worse. Now they have a ZOMBIE DRAGON!! 😱

12:10am – A zombie running at Cersei? Replay! 😂

12:56am

Bran: I became the three-eyed raven.

Sam: Oooh! . . . I don’t know what that means.

None of us do!! 🤣

1:17am – 🎉 I did it! I finished Game of Thrones seasons 1-7 in 12 days. 🏅 IIIIIIIIIII AM THE CHAAAMPION MY FRIIIEEENDS!!! 🏆 

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Reflecting on 25 Years of Life

This isn’t going to be easy for me to write so while I take a few deep breaths, please listen to this song (or at least part of it):

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFeJkfB4xKo

“This is a story that I have never told. I gotta get this off my chest to let it go. I need to take back the light inside you stole.”

A few years ago I choreographed a dance routine to “Warrior” for a talent show. I hadn’t danced in awhile so it wasn’t my best performance ever, but something inside me needed an outlet. After I finished, I had to run to the bathroom because I was shaking so bad & sobbing. I’m not open about things in my past because I don’t think it’s something the public needs to know. However, if you are someone who is still healing, you are not alone. Middle school and high school were hell for me, but college was even worse. I suffered for so long and then turned around and made my precious family suffer because of my anger. I was angry at myself for being weak & at God for abandoning me. I hope my mom doesn’t mind me sharing this, but she has told me that she thought she would lose me in college because I was so close to the edge without caring. There is no sugar coating this: I wanted to die.

Tomorrow I turn 25 years old. The broken little girl in middle school didn’t think she would make it this far. The angry college student didn’t want to make it this far. God brought me this far, and He isn’t done yet.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”  – Psalm 40:1-3

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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What’s Happened to the Theatre?

Art & Design Studios. The Historic Lansdowne Theater Restoration. John Milner Architects. Web. 8 June 2016. http://artanddesignstudio.com/Architectural-illustration-5.html.

Art & Design Studios. The Historic Lansdowne Theater Restoration. John Milner Architects. Web. 8 June 2016. http://artanddesignstudio.com/Architectural-illustration-5.html.

Back in March, my dad was kind enough to buy tickets to Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games featuring a special performance by Michael Flatley.  We did what we always do: dress up and eat at a nice restaurant before the show.  After arriving at the theater and finding our seats, I had time to people-watch.  Unfortunately, what I saw horrified me.  Attending the theater doesn’t mean you have to wear expensive clothing, but, out of respect for the cast and crew, you should look presentable.  It breaks my heart to say I saw more than one hoodie that night.  I rarely get to see theater performances therefore each and every time I go, it is a special occasion.  Theater is different from the cinema.  Movie theaters are set up for comfort, and the actors aren’t feeding off of spectators in person.  Theater performers prepare months in advance for live performances; when the time comes, they can see the audience and feed off of what they see.  Show them that you care!!

Other Lord of the Dance-Related Blog Posts:

• Dream Come True – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/dream-come-true/

• Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games Review – https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/lord-of-the-dance-dangerous-games-review/

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Springtime Daze

Sarnoff, Arthur. (n.d.). [Painting]. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://www.artsfon.com/download/27930/2560x1600/

Sarnoff, Arthur. (n.d.). [Painting]. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://www.artsfon.com/download/27930/2560×1600/

Good evening readers!  I felt like it was time for a chatty blog post with lots of information about what I’ve been up to.  I’m making significant progress on the 2016 Reading Challenge.  I am currently making my way through the A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket and The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien.  After the first of the year, I had to take a break from reading, but I am back in tip top shape and determined to keep moving forward.  Books make me extremely happy, and life is never enjoyable when I don’t feel like reading. 📚

In an odd turn of events, I started having nightmares about death a few weeks ago.  I thought perhaps it was because I was reading before bedtime.  The Series of Unfortunate Events series is very grim and depressing, but the content isn’t presented in a manner that is terrifying.  I suppose I could test out that theory, but I am doubtful that those books are the cause of the problem.  I already struggle with insomnia so nightmares are something I don’t need to deal with.  It takes me hours to fall asleep, and once I do nightmares wake me up.  Needless to say I am exhausted.  The other night I got so freaked out by a nightmare that I got up and asked my mom to pray for me; I only had one other nightmare and fell asleep within an hour or two.  I slept soundly last night so I am hoping that the nightmares are finally making their way out of my mind. 💀

Moving on to a happier subject.  I got a job!  If you followed me over the holidays, you know that I had a seasonal retail job.  Unfortunately I was not able to stay on permanently so the search for a new job began.  I did not have to search long because I immediately found an open position through networking.  I was blessed to secure the job after just one interview, and I should be starting within the next two weeks. 👠

I’ve just seen that my Youtube channel has reached over 10,000 views.  That is amazing!!  I feel so encouraged and motivated to keep doing what I’m doing.  To those of you who are subscribed, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  To those of you who aren’t subscribed, what are you waiting for?!  Speaking of which, you should check out my most recent video.  I went hiking in Malibu this past weekend and filmed most of the hike plus the last minute trip to the beach.  What an adventure!  I’ve been hiking in recent months, but this hike unexpectedly required some rock climbing.  I still have cuts and bruises, but it was so much fun.  Because I’m at home most of the time, I forget how much I love being outdoors and exploring.  It was good for me to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. 🌳

I hope all of you are having a lovely evening.  I am currently sitting in a recliner blogging with a book (The Hostile Hospital) on my right side and Call the Midwife on the television.  I’m not in the best of moods, but that’s nothing some frozen fruit couldn’t cure.  Does anybody else eat frozen fruit as a snack or am I just weird??  Think of it like a deconstructed popsicle. 😜 I shall stop rambling now.  Good night!  Sweet dreams! 😴

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Dream Come True

Words cannot describe the experience I had last night.  I waited 17 long years to see my favorite dancer and dance inspiration Michael Flatley perform in person.  FINALLY, my dream came true.  If you don’t know much about Michael, his decades-long career has produced a long list of injuries, some that are irreversible.  Despite living with pain, Michael is giving his fans one last chance to see him dance.  Even though he appeared in “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games” for a short period of time, those few minutes were leaps and bounds above the rest of the show.  How can I not be content knowing that he is suffering to say thank you to his fans in person?  No one else but Michael could dance a few steps and get away with it.  When he stepped onstage, I had the biggest, cheesiest grin on my face.  I don’t even care what I looked like because I felt five years old and free as a bird in that moment.

Mr. Flatley has earned quite the reputation.  He had a bumpy start due to a creative dispute with “Riverdance” colleagues.  Even though the eventual split led to the creation of “Lord of the Dance”, success brought with it rockstar behavior.  I don’t care about all of that now because Michael has overcome problems of the past and grown into the role model I always believed him to be.  When I was 5 years old, I received a gift: a VHS tape of “Riverdance” with Michael Flatley & Jean Butler.  The number of times I watched that tape and mimicked the dancers is incalculable.  I didn’t know how or where; all I knew was I had to dance.  I didn’t go on to dance professionally, but some of my most treasured memories come from dancing for eleven 1/2 years.  Michael Flatley revived Irish dancing and made it a worldwide phenomenon.  On a personal level, he sparked a desire within me to dance and see how far I could go.  For that, I will forever be grateful.

* * * Special thank you to my dad for buying the tickets and taking me to the show.  Rain, Italian food, Starbucks, & Michael Flatley.  That is one heck of a daddy-daughter date! :D

• The Birth of Riverdance

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0v_pu6miJ8

• “Feet of Flames”, my favorite incarnation of “Lord of the Dance”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0WfSm6-vQU

• Michael Flatley: A Night to Remember

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h1bn4C4Wo0

“Whenever I hear, ‘It can’t be done,’ I know I’m close to success.”  – Michael Flatley

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Lord of the Dance | Blogmas 2015

Okay readers.  Time to cheer up and put some life back into Blogmas 2015.  Prepare for a freak out in 3…2…1…

YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!  THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!!!!!!!!!!  Michael Flatley, my dance hero and the reason I started dancing.  He is FINALLY coming to California.  I am crying tears of joy!!!!!!!!!!  This is the best thing that has happened in my life in a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong time.

I have NEVER seen Michael Flatley live, only on “Riverdance” and “Feet of Flames” VHS tapes over and over and over and over and over again.  My Christmas has suddenly taken  a turn for the better.  Click the links & witness the majesty:

• Michael Flatley Youtube Channel

• Michael Flatley Website

For those of you wanting to purchase tickets to the “Lord of the Dance United States Tour 2016,” click this link – USA

I am beyond excited and already have a countdown on my phone.  God help the person, place, or thing that tries to get in the way of me seeing Michael Flatley live.  There will be hellfire and brimstone if that happens!!!!!  On a lighter, sweeter note, I am watching Christmas movies and waiting to go to work.  I hope you are having a lovely, relaxing Saturday. :)

Vlogmas – Lauren Michele

10 days until Artmas – Lauren Michele Photography – WordPress.com

20 days until Christmas…

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United

On a day that is dedicated to giving thanks, I want to draw attention to a video I just watched.  For those who don’t know, the band “Eagles of Death Metal” recently spoke about what happened at their concert in Paris.

* * * I don’t want to take away from the emotion of the interview, but if you are around small children, there is some language in the video.

Eagles of Death Metal Discuss Paris Terror Attacks

My heart breaks for the band and crew members that survived because what they saw and who they lost will forever affect them.  I want Dave, Eden, Jesse, Josh, Julian, Matt, and anyone else involved to know that they are in my prayers.  I am only one person, but it is important to show that no matter what people around the world are going through, there are others who are aware of and care about what is taking place.

If you would like to send messages of encouragement to Eagles of Death Metal, here are their social media links:

Eagles Of Death Metal – Facebook

EaglesOfDeathMetal (@EODMofficial) | Twitter

I want to share an expression that is used by Jewish people when someone passes away.  In honor of the lives that have been lost in 2015, may their memory be a blessing!

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.”  Psalm 95:1-3

Happy Thanksgiving readers!  I hope you have a safe, blessed day.

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Dear Younger Self

(Image Source: https://worthyofagape.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/dear-younger-self.jpg)

Two nights ago, I had an eye-opening experience.  I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read through my old diary, and what I found shocked me.  I used vague language and failed to mention most of the significant events from my childhood.  There was no substance!  I am a writer; when the need arises, I express myself through words to vent and heal.  In my poetry journals, I was completely open about what was going on around me and how I was feeling.  However, those poems were written within the last five years.  My diary was started four years prior to my discovery of poetry.  Perhaps I’ve been watching too much “Criminal Minds” because I have an analysis.  I wont give explicit details, but I went through a lot mentally and emotionally.  My memories are crystal clear, but, based on my diary, I was not aware of how I was being affected.  I brushed aside contributing factors as minor annoyances.  I believe that repression is why, years later, I react so explosively; I am overcompensating for my silence in the past.  I don’t want to drag on so I will end with these words, a note to my younger self and girls who have gone through/are going through similar struggles:

“You feel ugly, fat, alone, and hopeless.  You have given up on yourself because no matter how desperate you are to speak up, you are afraid.  Let go of your emotions; allow yourself to scream and cry.  When you feel better, pick yourself up and start anew with your head held high.  It may feel impossible now, but you make it farther than your young mind can imagine.  Do not lose the fire inside of you.  Never stop fighting!”

(Image Source: https://img0.etsystatic.com/024/0/6604282/il_570xN.509481350_gcnr.jpg)

(Image Source: https://fightingchronicpain.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/never-stop-fighting.jpg)

(Image Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/qwj1znuklIGc0/giphy.gif)

“And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain.  I will scream them loud tonight.  Can you hear my voice this time?  This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song.  My power’s turned on.  Starting right now I’ll be strong.  I’ll play my fight song.  And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

                                   (Image Source: http://frenchpressmornings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Hebrews13.5.png)

(Image Source: http://megansmidt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/jeremiah-29-11.jpg)

“In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through.  The dark of night will not overtake me.  I am pressing into You.  Lord, You fight my every battle.  And I will not fear.  I am not alone.  I am not alone.  You will go before me.  You will never leave me.”

“I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA

(Image Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IFBiMPMV-jQ/VTb70apiEZI/AAAAAAAAS_M/wk8D5yENqM0/s1600/just-keep-swimming.gif)

(Image Source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/c3a6fcfcb0fc5843efd73dd3e2a394ee/tumblr_mz4anao6Pn1rd0hedo1_500.gif)

(Image Source: http://s1064.photobucket.com/user/kaitlinleighs/media/tumblr_m7utqjHJzL1r9fcwro1_500.gif.html)

(Image Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/13uNYQRS1U6mTC/giphy.gif)

I hope you feel better!  Feel free to talk and/or vent in the comment section.  This is a safe environment.  “See” you soon readers.  :)

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