Sugar Plums Are Tough……

Well….I’ve been pretty absent for the past week or so….hence the lame, boring posts!

Right before Thanksgiving I had to have unexpected, major surgery. EEkkkk! During my favorite time of the year, no less!

I am recovering and see a bit of improvement each day. Last week I felt like a 90 year-old, this week I think I’m feeling more 80-ish. So, I’m coming along.

The other day I had a small meltdown. Fun plans and ideas that I had wanted to follow-through on—may or may not happen for this season. Some things have had to temporarily go on a shelf.

Yesterday was mine and Handsome’s 18th Anniversary. 🙂 How did we celebrate? Well…..after I put on my flannel sock monkey PJ’s I said: “Come on over here after I take my pain meds and prop up on pillows…and hold my hand.” 🙂 Nevertheless….it was a special day. For eighteen years we’ve weathered a lot…..and we will continue to be by each other’s side through rain, sleet, pain meds, silky lingerie, or sock monkey PJ’s. We’re here. {And he’s still handsome! ;)}

There is a basket that is kept right by the art easel in our home. It has mine and Handsome’s last pair of dance shoes in it. It is a reminder of wonderful memories, goals achieved, hard teamwork, and doing what it takes. Performing was like oxygen to us…we loved it, and miss it very much. {For those of you that may not know…we were professional ballet dancers before settling down to start our family. That is how we met.}

That basket is also a reminder of all that I learned through my professional dancing years…and the many life parallels. During my meltdown the other day {dare I say pity party?} my eyes fell onto that basket of shoes. I remember how much time was spent preparing those pointe shoes…and how important that was in order for them to serve their purpose. One way you can spot the difference between a professional ballerina and an amateur is how she prepares her shoes. Or, does she even know that you have to prepare your shoes? You can’t just take them out of the box and wear them! So many young girls damage their feet, nerves, and bones by doing this.

Let me share what goes into these shoes to get them ready for use: I had a maker in NYC that made my pointe shoes just for me. {Most professional ballerinas do. No, they don’t go down to the Capezio store and buy off the shelf. I know that’s what the ads say…..but it’s not true!} He had a mold of my feet and handmade them to fit only me. I went through a pair of these shoes a week. They cost $150+ per pair. {OK…now, when a ballet company calls for donations—YOU KNOW WHY!}

Even though these shoes were made for only me….until they were prepared, they were not ready to be used.

When they arrived I would take them out of the box, hammer the box several times with a hammer. “Break” the shank…to be more pliable…so I could feel the floor as I danced. I would rip out the inner shank liner….it was unnecessary material. Sometimes they had to be slammed in door jams to hit the toe box in the right place…to make it ready for the hard work ahead and to allow my foot muscles to do their work.

Then, ribbons were sewn….a certain way, onto just the right spot on the shoes. This spot is found by folding and fitting the shoe to the ballerina’s foot at just the correct spot. Then elastics had to be sewn on either side of the heel…for support, and to hold the back of shoe to the foot.

Then, the shoes were hung by their ribbons from a doorknob and shellac was poured into the toe each night…ready to go the next day. After dancing in these shoes anywhere from 12-16 hours a day in rehearsals, classes, and performances…..they needed to be fortified each night. After 6-7 days the shoes are retired. Dead. No longer able to be used. {Many of these dead shoes hang from our ceiling here at the cottage.} The process begins again with a new pair of shoes sent in from the maker.

Yep. I’m being prepared. That includes being hammered, shellaced, slammed, sewn, fortified, and sometimes having my insides ripped out. ugh. When my eyes fell upon this basket this week….that is what I was reminded. Even in those times that we’d rather not have be a part of our lives….those times are being used for a great purpose. Preparation. I don’t want to not be used….and in order to be used, I must be prepared. Preparation….whether it is pointe shoes or a recipe….it includes a lot of smashing, grinding, stirring, and hard work. But all for a purpose.

I’m also reminded that I need to be fortified each night/day. Plugging into God’s Word….fortifying for the day ahead and what it brings. Ballet is not for sissies. Neither is life. Sugar Plums are not prissy girls…they are tough as nails; and have done what it takes to be prepared. They are ready. They take what comes and use it. They don’t give up through hard times.

So, in this season of Sugar Plums…..remember all that they had to do to be used and appear in all that splendor. 🙂 It’s the same that we all have to do each day if we desire to be used by the One that made us. Custom-made for a specific purpose. Now, if I could just get my attitude straight through this current preparation……

Your Sugar Plum~

Today I am thankful for:

~ good surgeons

~ 18 years with Handsome

~ a family that has worked so hard to decorate for me!

~ prayers of friends

~ a nice, soft, comfy bed in which to rest and recover

~ Peppermint Mochas

~ Mistletoe

~ God’s constant providence through it all

Sharing with Multitudes on Mondays over at A Holy Experience today….

and Stuff and Nonsense


6 thoughts on “Sugar Plums Are Tough……

  1. What a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading it. My daughter tells me about preparing her shoes all the time. I guess you ballarinas are in the know! Get well, take care of yourself and let everyone spoil you a little.

  2. A lovely post! And keeping those shoes out is such a neat way to constantly be reminded of your romance when it was new, and of the discipline it took to achieve those goals you shared. Get well, and enjoy those peppermint mochas! 🙂

    (Popping over from Ann’s “Multitudes on Monday.”)

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