When Fear Creeps In

Since April 30, 2018, my only job has been as a delivery driver for the apps UberEats and Doordash. This has been great, because I’ve been able to work whenever I want and get paid whenever I want. Three weeks ago, I started a new job. That new job will be paying me nearly five dollars more an hour than I average as a delivery driver, but it will only be paying me once every two weeks. For the first pay period, I have to wait four weeks to get paid. That’s not good for someone who has been behind on bills and now doesn’t have time to work all day for a job that pays immediately if need be. Needless to say, on top of the endless stress I’ve been feeling essentially nonstop for the past two years (some from my own doing and some not), I’ve been feeling even more stress. I’m already behind on bills and now it seems like I won’t ever be able to catch up because of this waiting period until I get paid. In between the moments of unbearable stress I’ve been feeling the past two years, God has really been showing, or at least trying to show me (I don’t always listen very well), how to handle stress in a healthy way. But more than that, He’s been asking me to trust Him. That’s hard. I’m a person who likes to know things. I like to know the when, where, and how of everything in my life. I haven’t done much knowing in the past two years. Everything’s kind of just been a constant progression of “I know something you don’t know” in terms of the when, where, and how of things happening. Today, God quickly reminded me of the ways in which I can combat against stress.

  1. Be Real with God– In the past couple of days, a few relatively minor issues have arisen and I’ve been really annoyed with God about them. They’ve been things completely out of my or anyone else’s control. I’ve been trying so hard to stay positive and believe that the Lord will provide for my every need. But, as I said, my stress plate has been overloaded lately, so every small issue threatens to topple it over. In those moments, I can feel myself reaching my breaking point, so I cry out to God in frustration. He’s okay with that. I think He even wants it. Most of the time, I’m usually crying something like, “God, why are you allowing this to happen? I’m trying so hard to be positive and get back on track, but every time I’m almost there, there’s a setback and I can’t handle it.” I think it’s healthy to cry out in frustration to the Lord. I think He even wants us to. If we can’t cry out to Him, then who can we cry out to? We just have to remember where the line of respect is and remember to, with His help, reign it in after a little while.
  2. Be Grateful. Normally, about halfway through my frustrated crying, God reminds me of His blessings in my life. At first, I push back in frustration and He gives me time to get over my frustration. Then, He’s kind of like, “Okay, Brittany. You’ve had your time to express your frustration. I’m okay with that, but now it’s time to focus on the positive.” So, I reluctantly release my frustrations to Him and let Him remind me of all the things and people I have to be grateful for. In that moment, after surrendering my frustration and claiming my blessings, I feel so much better than I did in the fear-driven frustrations of before. Today, for example, He let me complain to Him and then He reminded me of something I hadn’t quite realized yet. I get paid this Friday. Then, I’ll have a week off from my new job for Thanksgiving break and will be able to make deliveries all day, every day for a week. This will be convenient because that’s the week all my bills will be due and I’ll be a little short with my coming paycheck. He also reminded me that Black Friday will probably be an exceptionally busy day as people will be shopping all day and won’t want to leave their shopping to eat, so I’ll be able to go to them. And, of course, He reminded me of my Ebenezer Stones. Those are the ways He’s provided me every time I’ve needed Him to in the past. He has always been faithful and He always will be.
  3. Be humble. Fear, at least for me, almost always accompanies a need. Most often, I’m afraid when I think a need won’t be met. In those moments, I have to be humble. I not only have to be willing to humble myself before the Lord in prayer by asking for His provision. I also may have to humble myself and ask others for help. Sometimes, that may be as simple as asking them to pray for me. Other times, that may be asking them for tangible help. Will you take care of me when I have my wisdom teeth removed or when I sprain my ankle? Will you help me fix the A/C in my car? Will you help me move all my things from my old living place to my new living place? Or even, will you lend me some money for gas? Right now, that’s the hardest thing for me to ask because I’m the main reason I’m in a financial bind.
  4. Be in community. I like to be alone more than I like to be with people, but there are people I will more readily sacrifice my alone time for than others. Those are the people who fill me when I’m in dire need of a spiritual recharge. More times than not, that spiritual recharge is needed when I’ve been living in or fighting off fear for one reason or another. In the past several months, fear has been telling me that I need to spend every waking moment working so I can pay my bills. God has been telling me to rest, not only by myself, but most importantly with His people. The past two months, I’ve been in the tightest of financial binds I’ve ever been in. It seems logical that I should spend every waking moment working until I get out of this bind. It’s not practical though. When I found myself in a dark abyss of depression in high school, it was because I was burning myself out trying to climb out of what felt like binds at the time. When I finally came out of that abyss, it was because of fellowship. Now, I have to continue to remember that. I may not be able to say yes to every social event, but when it’s a spiritual social gathering or a one on one spiritual gathering, those are the times when I know I have to say yes. These past three weeks as I’ve been waiting for a paycheck, I’ve been more stressed than I think I’ve been in a long time. Logic says I should be making deliveries whenever I’m not at my nine to five job. Practicality and health say that’s foolish. So, last weekend I spent 36 hours with my best friend at a women’s event. Then, after church the next day, I went to lunch with another friend and had dinner with my family. Today, a week later, I spent about an hour and a half after church with another friend and then had dinner with my family again. These were prime money-making hours, but that doesn’t matter if I’m spiritually burnt out. So, even though it pained me, in the beginning, to do so, I took time off and I fellowshipped. By the end of each social event, I felt recharged and ready to take on the world. If I hadn’t spent time with these darling friends of mine, then I can guarantee you I’d be writing a different post right now.

These are only four simple steps to take when overcoming fear and they pretty much encompass any other step you may need to take, but they’re not easy. Fear is a liar and a thief. Fear doesn’t want to hear our honesty. Fear is a thief of gratitude. And fear, at it’s core, is selfish. Fear is also often accompanied by misery and misery only loves company when the company is also miserable. When the company saps up your fear and gives you peace, misery wants nothing to do with it. So, next time you’re feeling afraid, try these steps. Be real with God. Be grateful. Be humble. And be in fellowship.

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Safe. Sunshine. Seen.

I’m not enough. I’m all alone. I’m too much. No one cares. These are just a few of the thoughts that have run through my head at any given time. As a teenager, they were constantly on repeat. Now, I don’t hear these thoughts quite as often, but they’re still there at the back of mind. They’re waiting to attack when I’m at my most vulnerable and insecure. As a teenager, I was always the one trying to be a safe place for people. I always felt like I had to be the sunshine girl. I was the one who always cared and saw others. I never felt like I was on the receiving end. I didn’t feel like I had a safe place. I didn’t feel like anyone was my sunshine girl. I never felt cared for or seen. Then, I started going to Compass Church. It’s been over six years now and I’m still constantly being reminded by Compass Church members that I am enough. I’m not alone. I’m not too much. And I am cared for. I have a safe place. I have a sunshine girl. And I have someone who cares for and sees me.

I have a safe place. Without God I have nothing. I have no safety. No peace. No joy. No identity. No anything. With God, I can have tangible reminders that I am safe. I can have peace. Joy is attainable. And my identity is only found in Him and who He created me to be. My best friend, Shelby, is almost always that tangible reminder for me. She is almost always available when I’m feeling lost, when I’m feeling afraid, when I’m feeling depressed, and really at any time. Six years ago, I met her and she very quickly, but slowly became a place of safety for me. First she was someone I could share my song lyrics with, aka my journal entries. Next, she became a close friend who put in as much effort in our friendship as I did, if not more. Then, she became my best friend. And now she’s the safest place I know in this world other than God. When I need eminded that everything is going to be okay, she’s there with God’s promises. When I just need to vent so I don’t go crazy, she listens. When a topic comes up at church or elsewhere that gets me feeling some kind of way because of personal issues, she’s there and she knows. She doesn’t poke or prod. She just knows. She may ask something like, “How are you feeling,” but then she’ll leave it at that unless I turn it into a conversation. That’s all I needed as a teenager. Someone to ask, “How are you?” and mean it. Someone who knew how I was doing even if I didn’t say anything. I always speak so highly of Shelby and it’s literally just because she’s there and she cares. She’s the kind of safe place I needed as a teenager and it’s the type of safe place I’m so grateful to have now.

“I could be your sunshine girl.” That is a line from the song, Sunshine Girl, by Christian singer, Britt Nicole. This song was one of my anthems in high school, partially because I wanted to be this girl, but also because I needed this girl. The idea of the song is that this girl is whoever you need her to be. She’s there for you no matter what. I wanted to be and have that, but when I listened to it, I mostly just wanted that sunshine girl. I wanted to have someone in my life who could make me smile no matter what because she’s just a bright, shining light in this world. In recent months, I have met one particular sunshine girl named Ana. I don’t know much about Ana, but I do know she is a ray of hope and sunshine wherever she goes. Maybe that comes from a heartbreaking backstory. Maybe she’s always been that way. I don’t know, but whatever she has or hasn’t been through seems to have brought her to a place of ultimate joy and gratitude that shines through whenever I see her.

This past weekend, she was setting up for and promoting a Christmas event our church does for women every year called, Sparkle. By the end of the setup, the table was so silvery and shiny you could practically see your reflection in the decorations. And yet, Ana was still more sparkly. I sat and chatted with her until church started. For that whole fifteen to thirty minutes she continued to shine brighter than the sparkly decorations. And anyone who spoke with her, whether signing up for the event or not, left with a bright smile on their faces too, because Ana is a genuine sunshine girl. Even a second of speaking with her leaves me feeling happy and bright too! For that reason alone, I am so grateful to know this lovely sunshine girl. Even without knowing much about her, she has made my life infinitely more blessed just by being in it.

I have someone who cares for and sees me. I’m an introvert. Contrary to how I often come across, I prefer to keep to myself and observe rather than participate. Every once in a while, an extrovert comes along and tries to change that. This time around, that extrovert is Tamra. Tamra is a ball of energy so wonderfully intense that if I got to speak with her every morning, then I’d never need caffeine again. We met one weekend at a youth day by the river. Her son is in the youth group at church where I volunteer, so she and her husband came to help chaperone. While there, we chatted and got to know each other. Since then, I’ve learned that her spirit animal is probably a golden retriever or something. Every time she sees me, she gets excited, comes up to me, and starts talking to me. If there’s something going on, then she urges me to join in until I do. And I absolutely love it. Just like the golden retriever friend, she immediately sees me, comes to me, and makes sure I’m taken care of. We haven’t known each other very long, and yet I know that if I need anything, then she’s there for me. There’s just something so wonderfully genuine about her that I can’t help but know that she sees me and she cares about me.

In hindsight, I can see that pretty much everyone I knew as a teenager cared about me and loved me. I can see that if I had tried to open up to them, then most of them would have been receptive. I can see that if I had given them a chance, then at least some of them could have been my sunshine girl when I couldn’t be. I can also see that if I hadn’t tried so hard to hide, then more people might have seen me. I didn’t have clear vision then though, so I can’t say that for sure. Now, I can see clearly and I know that if nothing and no one else, then I have at least three very important people in my life. I have Shelby who is my human safe place when I need someone to just be there. I have Ana who is the truest sunshine girl I’ve ever met. Someone to remind to be joyful no matter what. And I have Tamra, someone who sees me and cares for me, even when I don’t want to be seen or cared for. Most of the people at our church would be more than willing and ready to be a safe place, a source of sunshine, or someone to see and care for me. I’d just have to ask them. Shelby, Ana, and Tamra are different though. I don’t have to ask them. They just are and I am so incredibly grateful for that.

Let us all strive to be a safe place for others. Let us all live like Britt Nicole’s sunshine girl, there and ready to be whoever others need us to be in times of joy or sorrow. And let us be open and ready to see and care for those around us.

DWTS Juniors – Halloween Night

Ugh! As if I didn’t love Dancing with the Stars enough, the threw in the twist of juniors and added Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz as the hosts! I’m in love with this show!

Team WitneyAkash and KamriArgentine Tango – Akash is playing a mad scientist and Cameron is his monster. I think this is a great theme for Akash and the whole dance is fun and exciting! I love it!

Comments – Mandy tells Akash it was a great way to start the show. She feels like there’s a little party in Akash’ body when he dances and he needs to control it. Adam doesn’t know if anyone loves coming out and dancing more than Akash. Val thinks he did a great job.

Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Cheryl – Mandla and Brightyn – Charleston – Their dance is super weird, but I like it. It’s fun. Mandla does a great job of lifting Brightyn. I’m impressed.

Comments – Adam thinks Mandla is really, really working hard and it’s showing. Val commends him on giving his content. Mandy says he’s got the electricity back from week one and she loved it.

Scores – 23 out of 30

Team Gleb – Mackenzie & Sage – Jive – Back to a high school theme with a junior high school dance. I’m feeling impressed by this jive. It’s got Derek Hough meets Mark Ballas vibes. I’m diggin’ it.

Comments – Val says it was great. Mandy says she loved it all in all, but there’s something missing. She feels like she checked out a little as performer in moments when she was concerned about the move. Adam says they look terrible and he loves it.

 

Scores – 25 out of 30

Team Emma – Jason & Elliana – Argentine Tango – Jason is playing a vampire while Elliana is an innocent young girl. Jason is such a great performer. He’s a pretty good dancer too. Probably better than I am at least. I just love the reactions of the mentors every dance.

Comments – Mandy was a little stressed for Jason when she heard he had to do an argentine tango, but he came out and it was incredible. Adam knows Jason is in it to win it. Val says it was a leading role type of performance.

Frankie says it was his favorite dance so far. His favorite dances were the strong, serious dances.

Scores – 25 out of 30 (their highest score so far)

Team Brandon – Ariana and Artyon – Paso DobleWays to Be Wicked from Descendants. I’m pumped about this dance. I love Descendants. I love this song. I love Ariana and Artyon. I love the Paso Doble. Ariana and Artyon are both fierce in this dance, which you have to be for successful Paso Doble. I’m proud of them.

Comments – Jordan comments about Kenny Ortega being in the audience and Ariana goes to hug him. Adam says the dancing is very good, but he needs to see a little more. Val agrees. He doesn’t think this was her best dance. Mandy appreciates her hard hitting movements, but doesn’t disagree with the guys.

Scores – 22 out of 30

Team Artem – Alana “Honey Boo Boo” and Tristan – Jazz – I really love Alana. She is so sassy and funny! I’m pumped about this dance. They’re dancing as the ghostbusters. Once again, she’s got the perfect performance for this dance. She may not be the best dancer in the world, but she’s got such spirit and growth that I just love her.

Comments – Val thought the dance was awesome and entertaining. Mandy comments on the direction change and everything jazz is about and that Alana did everything she needed to do. Adam liked it.

Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Alan – Sky and JT – Jive – Sky says the jive feels like skateboarding. She just keeps trying until she gets it right. She starts crying in practice because it’s so much hard work. Alan says she cried in a good way because she didn’t give up and she finally got it. Sky says she cried in frustration. I love her and JT. I love the jive so much. Oh, wow! And they are doing a great job! They like do this walking upside down on their hands and feet thing that was awesome. I’m impressed!

Comments – Mandy says it fabulous and liked that Sky is so good people sometimes don’t realize how hard it can be. Adam says it was awesome. Val comments on the routine, content, performance, and everything. It was fantastic. Sky thanks Alan and JT for believing in her and Jordan gets all sappy.

Scores – 26 out of 30

Team Lindsay – Miles and Rylee – Samba – “I Want Candy” – Miles is a werewolf and Rylee is little red riding hood, or goldie locks, I can’t tell. They do a trick or treat thing and then go into their dance. I like it. It’s fun.

Comments – Jordan comments on how hard the Samba is. Miles just breathes hard and Rylee agrees it’s very hard. Adam says Miles danced like a pro. Val agrees with Adam and says he’s doing it better than everyone else. Mandy felt like their was magic in their performance. Frankie comments that the last person to dress as a werewolf with Lindsay had some success on the show (winning) and that he’s doing a great job of following in Jordan’s footsteps.

I just love the shared energy between Lindsay and Rylee. They are definitely sisters.

Scores – 27 out of 30 (highest score of the night)

Elimination – Alana “Honey Boo” and Tristan – Team Artem Poor Alana is crying and my heart is breaking. Several of the young dancers and stars have shocked faces.

DWTS Season 27 – Disney Night

Ariana and Jason are adorable in their role of the opening dance, running around looking for Mickey. Jordan is just… ugh! He sings and dances in the opening dance and I have a major crush on him! His girlfriend is a lucky lady! Ha, ha.

Alexis and AlanPocahontas – Just Around the Riverbend  – Wow. Alexis is definitely feeling something for Alan and I wouldn’t surprised if he is too. The video journal personal straight up asks and she giggles and says, “No comment.” Regardless, their dance is beautiful.

Judges’ Comments – Len calls their dance beautifully crafted. Len comments on their chemistry. Alexis’ face gets embarrassingly red and Alan looks around awkwardly. They definitely have something, whatever it may be. Bruno calls their dance gorgeous like two hearts beating together as one. Carrie Ann says the way they danced made her believe in fairytales. They all pretty much agree it’s their best dance of the season.

Erin asks how Alexis felt dancing. She says it felt like a fairytale. Erin asks what Alexis has to say to her prince. “Did he just put you in the old fantasy land.” Alexis says he really did and Erin does the “ooh” thing.

Judges’ Scores – 29 out of 30

Juan Pablo and Cheryl – Beauty and the Beast – Vietnamese Waltz – Juan Pablo admits he felt relieved getting eights, because he felt like getting tens in the third week was almost too much too soon. He and Cheryl are dancing to Gaston. He’s always wanted to be Gaston. He’s pumped. Even more because he wanted to be a Disney animator before discovering the stage. I do like this dance. I’m not particularly impressed, but it is good. I like it.

Judges’ Comments – Tom says it’s one of his favorite dances of the whole show. Bruno says it was spot on, on every level. Carrie Ann says it was so good, so good and spectacular. Len likes that the dance mirrored the music and that Juan Pablo is without a doubt a fantastic dance. He does have a small critique for the choreography, but nothing big.

Judges’ Scores – 29 out of 30

DeMarcus and Lindsay – Charleston – Hercules – A Star is Born – Lindsay wears a red wig like Meg. DeMarcus’ finger is still hurt from his dislocation, but he nails the lifts and really gets into the whole dance. Lindsay laughs saying her shoe broke in her very first move of the dance. She tosses her shoe. Tom picks it up and DeMarcus puts it back on her.

Judges’ Comments – All judges are beyond impressed feeling great and happy after the dance.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out 30

Evanna and KeoJazz – Tangled – Evanna gets vulnerable about being in the bottom two the week before. They’ll be dancing to When Will My Life Begin. Keo says he’s scared of heights and doesn’t like rollercoasters, but he goes on them with Evanna at Disney Land. Evanna wants to give everything to this dance. She’s perfect for the role of Rapunzel. I love it.

Judges’ Comments – Len liked it. It had a lovely feel to it. He can’t say it was a spectacular number, but it was well done and well danced. Bruno feels that she has found her stride and confidence. Sometimes, she tends to be a bit chasey with the timing and finish, but is well. Carrie Ann thinks she did the Disney name proud. They all agree she has the talent.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Jason is adorable. They have him come in asking for the Wi-Fi password.

Joe and Jenna – Ralph Breaks the Internet – Jive – Joe is happy he has a chance to get better even though his scores aren’t showing he’s getting better. Jenna feels he deserves to be here. I don’t agree. Yes, he’s trying so hard, but he’s not getting much better. His confidence is growing, which great, but he’s only still here because of Bachelor Nation fans. This dance does seem better than before, especially last week, but his moves are still awkward. I mean, come on. Not even Kendall gives him a standing ovation. He’s just so awkward.

Judges’ Comments – Bruno can sense a very faint glimmer of hope. He says not to get too excited, but he did a baby step in the right direction. Carrie Ann shouts, “Go Joe!” She says it was a vast improvement. He did not miss a step. He seemed more confident. He needs to stop closing his shoulders. Everyone obviously loves him. He should own it. Len likes and admires that even though he gets knocked every week, he comes back and gives it his all. He advises him to get in there and learn the dance if he comes back. He also tells Jenna to put more content in the dance.

Erin tells Joe he thinks he gave it his best, which means it doesn’t matter what the judges’ scores are.

Judges’ Scores – 17 out of 30

Mary Lou and Sasha – Contemporary – Mulan – Reflection – I think this is a beautiful dance for Mary Lou. She’s said many times that she’s lost herself and that she’s using this show to find herself. Now, this dance and song are reflective of that. No pun intended.

Judges’ Comments – Carrie Ann says she lives for these moments, the moments when the stars transform through dance. Len likes that it was gentle and understated, but fluid. Bruno loved it and her determination.

Judges’ Scores – 25 out of 30

Jordan Fisher and Junior Pros – He performs A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes and dances with the juniors as they dance. Oh, ho. I love him more and more every time I see him. From his dorky role in Teen Beach Movie to heartthrob Holden in Liv and Maddie to being a star and winner in his own season of DWTS and just being an around talented guy. Ugh, I just love him. He’s especially lovable with these kids! My goodness!

John and EmmaJungle Book – Wanna Be Like YouQuickstep – I’m pumped that this dance is with Wanna Be Like You! He’s not so pumped, but I am! It’s a great song to be played with the quickstep! I’m liking this dance almost as much as I love the song. It’s not a dance I’ll remember, but it’s a good dance. He’s doing a pretty good job.

Judges’ Comments – Len likes the energy and content and thinks he did a fantastic job. It’s his best job to date. Bruno says it was a proper, recognizable quickstep. Carrie Ann says it was his best dance as a whole. She says there were a few minor issues, but it was his best dance yet.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Bobby Bones and SharnaThe Little Mermaid – WaltzPart of Your World – This dance has to be more elegant and slower than the MC Hammer dance of last week. He looks great as a prince. He’s doing a pretty great job of containing his energy, but keeping his excitement. His dance may not be perfect, but it’s really good for someone without any dance background. I’m impressed. I really like this dance. I may be biased because this is my favorite Disney song of all time, but I do like his dance.

Judges’ Comments – Bruno says he went of on the wrong beat, but that he continued on valiantly. Carrie Ann comments on Bobby’s stance. Carrie Ann comments on how his joy moves in his body. Len admires that he played it straight and went for it in a proper way.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Milo and Witney – Incredibles 2 – Quickstep – Milo is pumped about Disney night because he owes everything to Disney. Witney feels like this dance really fits him because he’s got so much energy. I agree. I’m pretty pumped about this dance. It’s fun and energetic and perfect for Milo. I love that they finish with two of the littles in it.

Judges’ Scores – Carrie Ann truly loved it. Len really loved it, but felt that there was too much gap between their body contact. Bruno calls it a blockbuster.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30

Elimination – DeMarcus & Lindsay and Alexis & Alan in jeopardy, but no elimination. Thank God! They made it seem like DeMarcus and Lindsay would go home, which would have been way bogus, but no one’s going home! So, yay!

DWTS: Juniors – Disney Night

Team Witney – Hercules – Akash & Cameron – Jive ­– Zero to Hero – I always love the Jive and Akash is just so adorable doing this Jive, as is Cameron.

Judges’ Comments – Val tells Akash not to skip leg day. Mandy comments that when he did use his legs, he did really well. Adam thinks the dance was exciting and that Akash wears his heart on his sleeves.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Brandon – Lilo & Stitch – Ariana and Artyon – SambaHawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – The kids purposely drive Brandon crazy, but they love him. Ariana and Artyon make adorable Lilo and Stitch. Brandon did a great job of incorporating the hula to their Samba. They dance with a limbo stick and it is impressive.

Judges’ Comments – Val comments that the bounce action of the Samba is the hardest part and they did it. Mandy comments that it was awesome including the production and choreography. Adam says Ariana has been consistent, beautiful, and powerful.

Judges’ Scores – 25 out of 30

Aww, Ariana and Artyon are adorable. They interrupt Jordan’s speaking and challenge him to a limbo. He concurs and succeeds. He’s so sweet.

Team Artem – Beauty and the Best – Honey Boo Boo & Tristan – Foxtrot – Something There – Alana seems much more elegant than I’ve seen her before. She’s got the personality and showmanship. The footwork may be a tad off, but she’s good. I like her.

Judges’ Comments – Val is moved by her performance because it’s inspiring. Mandy comments on her beauty, confidence, and progression. Adam is impressed.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Emma – Toy Story – Jason & Elliana – Foxtrot – Jason is so adorable. As a Disney star, he’s pumped about being on Disney night. He feels like the dream can never end. They dance to Jordan Fisher and Olivia Holt’s version of You’ve Got a Friend in Me. I think they dance really well. Jason is just so adorable. He and Elliana make adorable Woody and Jessie’s. Jason’s favorite movie is Toy Story but it scares Elliana.

Judges’ Comments – Adam is proud of them. Val thinks it was adorable awesome. Mandy says they had some good quick, quick, slow moments.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30 – I’m about to have to start watching Raven’s Home, because Jason is just so adorable.

Team Gleb – Pocahontas – Mackenzie & Sage – Contemporary – Dancing to Colors of the Wind. The have trouble in practice with the lifts. As contemporary always is, their dance is beautiful. They seem to succeed in their lifts with moves that are graceful and elegant.

Judges’ Comments – Adam has chills. Val sees it as extraordinary. Mandy comments that contemporary should be easy and light and they nailed it.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30 – Highest Score of the Season

Team Cheryl – Coco – Mandla & Bryton – Jazz – I don’t know what song they’re dancing too. I’ve never seen this movie, but I’m liking their dance. As it should, it has Latin vibes and Mandla seems confident.

Judges’ Comments – Mandy commends him for successfully listening to her comments from the previous week. Adam comments that he is working on his technique, but his performance is good. Val says this dance left him underwhelmed after his last couple successful weeks.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Lindsay – Aladdin – Miles and Rylee – Charleston – Miles is playing Aladdin. Lindsay asks him to get in character and he kind of takes it a bit far. She plays mom. It’s a nice dance. In my opinion, not particularly memorable, but really, really good.

Judges’ Comments – Adam loved it. Val was impressed. Mandy calls him and Rylee stars, stating he might have even passed her at times.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30

Team Alan – Moana – Sky & JT – Contemporary – Alan takes them to the beach. Sky comments that Moana lives on an island and has big heart and is kind of like her—living on Japan and having a big heart. How Far I’ll Go – Sticking the moves like always, Sky seems to be nailing it. I haven’t seen Moana, but Sky seems perfect for the role based on the dance and the song. I’m impressed.

Judges’ Comments – Mandy was impressed but has one little thing to tell her. She needs to point her feet more. Adam is impressed and says her performance was mature. Val loved it and tells her that she does a great job of nailing the moves.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30.

Sky asks Jordan if she can say something. He gives her the mic and she tells all the girls not to let anyone stop them. They can do whatever they want.

Team SashaThe Little Mermaid – Sophia & Jake – Samba – Kim comes to visit her goddaughter Sophia and instills confident in her. She and Jake dance to Poor Unfortunate Souls. She plays Ursula and he plays Eric. She starts off more confident, but she seems to lose it a bit in the middle. In her final move though, she really gets it back.

Judges’ Comments – Mandy says she could have been a bit stronger at points, but was really really good. Adam says she upped her performance like he asked her to. Val tells her be a bit stronger.

Judges’ Scores – 19 out of 30

Elimination – Sophia and Jake – Team Sasha

Aww, Sophia cries. She’s such a shy girl; you know she’s sad if she’s crying.

DWTS: Juniors – Songs from The Year I Was Born Night

Team Gleb – McKenzie and Sage – 2004 – Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” Quickstep. Holding frame. Quick energy. High school jock and cheerleader theme. I’m liking it. It’s especially funny that she called Gleb “like a dad.” Mandy was super impressed. Adam says she 100% delivered. Val gives and a standing ovation and says she killed it.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Team Alan – Sky and JT – 2008 – Cha Cha to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” – She’s grateful for their patience.

Gymnastic moves. They’re doing pretty well. Full of performance. Adam says it’s so clean. Val says she can do anything and is impressed with her maturity. Mandy asks if she practices her facials as much as her steps, because her face is on point.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Team Sasha – Sophia and Jake – 2008 – Foxtrot to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift – Cute and elegant. Perfect for the song. Val says it was incredible and that she looks like a Disney Princess. Mandy has one correction for her to use her back muscles with her arm movements. Adam wants her to turn up her personality in her dance.

Judges’ Scores – 20 out of 30

Team Emma – Jason and Elliana – 2007 – Jive to “Shake It” by Metro Station. He says he’s never heard this song in his life. That’s kind of nice to hear, because it’s not really an appropriate kid song, but I love it! Dressed like aliens they’ve got all the energy needed for a jive and he’s got the performance needed for it. He’s adorable. Mandy loves his poise. Adam loves his confidence. Val is impressed too.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Cheryl – Mandla and Bryton – 2005 – Salsa to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. He’s got some moves in his arsenal. I’m impressed, especially because he’s so shy. Adam says the dance was more of a freestyle, but the performance was off the charts. Val says the same. Mandy tells him to think more about feeling the dance out.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30.

Team Hayley – Hudson and Kameron – Paso Doble – Super Hero themed to “Four Minutes” by Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Timbalan – Val says he killed it. Mandy saw his muscles working through the dance. Adam is so impressed with their partnership. He tells him to loosen up and enjoy the dance.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Team Lindsay – Miles and Rylee – 2004 – “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw. A very strong and intense argentine tango. They have to keep their frame the whole time, says Rylee and that’s hard. They seem to be doing a good job. Mandy loves that he took command of the performance. Adam is proud of the content and partnership. Val says all the things the others did.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30

Team Artem – Alana and Tristan – Cha Cha to Pussycat Dolls “Don’t Cha” – She’s got the performance fact and shake for the cha cha. I hope she does well. I liked this dance. Adam says she owned it and that there was a moment when she was walking around like she was at the mall. Val is proud of the transformation she’s showing. Mandy agrees with both, but comments on her timing.

Judges’ Scores – 19 out of 30

Team Witney – Akash and Kamri – Cha Cha to “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. He’s got the tude for the dance. He doesn’t seem to have the hip movements for the cha cha, but he looks like he’s having fun. He’s adorable with Jordan teasing him about swag. Val asks if spelling or dancing is more fun. He says they’re both his favorite. Mandy is impressed. Adam loves it too. Witney is loving him.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30

Team Brandon – Ariana and Artyon – 2007 – Jive to “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne. This is definitely my favorite dance! I love the song, yes, but the dance is great! Ariana and Artyon are just so cute and talented! Mandy says she is really good and therefore held to higher standard than the others and she’s meeting that standard. Adam gives them a standing ovation. Val says they are one of if not the couple to beat.

Judges’ Scores – 24 out of 30.

Elimination

Team Hayley – Hudson and Kameron – Oh my word. He looks so sad and now he’s crying.

DWTS Season 27 – Most Memorable Year

This is always my FAVORITE episode of the season! I LOVE getting to know people through their stories and it’s so much better when it’s through art! I can’t wait to watch this episode!

Mary Lou & Sasha – The Vietnamese Waltz. 1984 – the year she won the gold medal in the USA. It was most memorable because she had knee surgery only six weeks before winning the metal. Wow! Chills! I don’t get chills, but that’s a chills moment! The doctors told her she would need at least six weeks just to walk again, let alone to compete on it! And yet, she won a gold medal! Oh my word!

We are the champions. A song that got her through the six weeks leading up to her gold medal competition. Oh, but it’s slowed down and acoustic. I love it! This is such a beautiful dance and makes the song even more amazing! Wow! She is beautiful and strong. That’s another reason why I always love this night! Bringing the star’s story into the performance gives them so much power and emotion in their dance to really push through and give their best performances. Len loved her performance and has comments on her hands. Bruno commends her for working on her shoulders as he advised before. Carrie Ann is fighting back tears. She’s so deeply moved by Mary Lou’s number, but noticed some missed steps in the beginning even with her improvement.

Judge’s Scores – 24 out of 30.

Milo and Witney – A jive for 2018. Zombie’s came out. He’s on DWTS. He’s graduating high school. He’s starting his own life this year. He feels like the luckiest seventeen year old in the world.

Aww! The dance is set to the theme of a high school graduation. I love him. He’s got such a fun personality! He kind of reminds me of a cross between my sister Lydia and my brother, Jacob, in some ways. Ooh! Solo dance on the judge’s table and a flip! Bruno calls him ready for the big league hitting ace after ace after ace. Carrie Ann is so impressed, but comments on his one zombie arm. Len thought it was fun and sharp. He has a small critique for his posture, but otherwise liked it.

Uh oh, Milo hurt his hamstring in practice, but you couldn’t tell.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30

Nancy and Val – Ramba to “Love Someone” by Lukas Graham for 2006. She moved to a ranch in Texas from LA with her husband and two daughters. This dance is a tribute to her family.

A slow-burning love story set to a dance. It’s as beautiful and touching as you would expect. I’d give her dance a decent score. She seemed to do pretty well with her lines and frame and everything. Carrie Ann loved her dance. Len thought it was charming, but thought there should be more hip movement. He also compliments Val on his judging on DWTS: Juniors. Bruno agrees with Len. Val says it was a conservative Romba.

Judges’ Scores – 22 out of 30

Alexis and Alan – Contemporary for 2014 on Mother’s Day when her dad told her there was something wrong with her mom. She had stage 4 cancer. On January 8, she learned her mom was gone. Oh, gosh. The tears are coming. DWTS was her mother’s favorite show. She even took ballroom classes. She wears her mother’s wedding ring every day.

A pure and beautiful, but heartbreaking struggle of a dance to “How to Save a Life.” She’s crying through the dance and yet doing so well. I’m impressed. Alan comforts her and it’s just so heartbreaking. Len is never disappointed by Alexis’ dancing. He did, however, notice a little too much sharpness. Bruno says she danced like an angel tonight. Carrie Ann calls her a dance a beautiful dance. This may be a ten or at least nines.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out of 30. Bummer, maybe not. But it is her highest score so far, so that’s nice.

Evanna and Keo – Vietnamese Waltz for 2006 when she booked the role as Luna Lovegood–a dream come true. When she was 11 or 12, she was battling an eating disorder. The only thing that distracted her from that was reading Harry Potter. She wrote to J.K. Rowling who wrote her back and they became pen pals. “I love the feeling acting more than I love the feeling of being skinning or being perfect.” Being in Harry Potter proved to her that she had something to offer.

Aww! They’re dancing to the theme of Harry Potter! The aesthetic is a starry night. I already knew Evanna’s story, but it’s still so inspiring to hear it from her mouth and to see her dance to it. This dance seems very empowering for her. It’s beautiful. It’s like she’s Luna all over again, though she always has been.

Bruno says her magic is stronger than ever. He loved her self-confidence in her dance. Carrie Ann comments on how much her performance has improved since the first dance. Len says it was a magic performance. Evanna confirms that JK Rowling didn’t know she auditioned for Luna until after she got the role.

Judge’s Scores – 27 out of 30.

Joe and Jenna –  Vietnamese Waltz for 2018. He had commitment issues a year ago and now he knows Kendall. He always wanted a family, but he was afraid. On the Bachelor, he was afraid of love. Then, he nailed it with Kendall. Now, he has to nail dancing, which he’s also afraid of.

Oh, a smoky love song. What the heck. Why is the camera showing the performers instead of the dancers? Joe is doing better for this dance, but he’s still not the best. With all the nerves, I am glad he’s pushing himself to dance. His frame is weak. His lines aren’t very sharp, but he does seem a little more confident. Kendall looks so proud in the crowd.

Carrie Ann says it’s so hard to judge him. He was so much more confident and open tonight. However, he is still growing. He didn’t miss any beats tonight, but he’s still growing. Len says the same thing. He’s not there yet, but he’s getting more confident and strong. Bruno agrees with the others. He’s adorkably nervous. Poor guy.

Judges’ Scores – 18 out of 30

Jenna and Val (Non-competitive) They’re so beautiful together. I’m glad they’ve found love with each other. I still loved Val and Janel together when they competed together, but she’s married now and it’s beautiful. He’s engaged and they’re beautiful.

Juan Pablo and Cheryl – Samba for 1999. That’s the year he moved away from Buenos Aires, Argentina to become a performer. He was heavily bullied in Argentina. When he was cast as Danny in Grease at seventeen, that’s when he knew he wanted to act. His big break came many years later when he was offered a roll in Mama Mia.

They dance the samba of celebration for where he is today. It’s a Latin dance set to Latin music and I don’t hate it. I don’t love it, but I do like it. It’s very exciting. He’s got great hip movements and he’s really into the dance. I don’t know how good it is, but it is good. The audience goes wild.

Len gives them a standing ovation saying sometimes you don’t need words. Bruno believes it is one of the best Sambas he has ever seen. Carrie Ann loved it too. Even Cheryl was impressed. This is for sure going to be all tens!

Judges’ Scores – And it is! The first perfect score of season 27! 30 out of 30!

John and Emma – 2016. The year he lost everything. A river in Lousiana flooded everything he and his mother’s house. The only thing that got him through was his dating relationship with Alisha. That same year, his mom died. He believes she died because she knew he had someone who loved him. Ugh, more tears!

A beautiful heartfelt waltz to a song called smile. Aww, a show of yellow rose petals–his mother’s favorite flower.

Bruno warns him to be careful with his unsteady hold. Carrie Ann comments on his posture. Len tells him to polish it up a bit. Otherwise, they all felt the depth of emotion in the dance.

Judges’ Scores – 21 out of 30.

Bobby and Sharna – Contemporary Dance for 1998 when he graduated high school. No one in his family had ever done that. His mom didn’t graduate high school. She had him at fifteen while struggling with addiction. He never had his own room. He slept on the couch and used the underneath it as his closet. His mom died in her forties from addiction, but got her GED because of him.

“A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman. It starts with him at the foot of a bed. Wow. There’s so much emotion. He’s still not perfect, but it’s a great dance. I also like that whoever is singing in the back is dressed to look like a little Bobby–Malachi Barton. Aww, Bobbie sits on the floor and starts to cry. Trying to fight the tears, he just keeps looking at the ground and squinting his eyes to avoid the tears. He wants everyone to know that no matter where you come from, you can do this–whatever this is.

Carrie Ann can’t put into words what was so spectacular about that dance, but it was authentic magic. Len tells him it’s his best dance. Bruno tells him to keep the inner child alive and well. He’s so somber right now. It’s so weird. He’s always so chipper and happy.

Judges’ Scores – 23 out of 30. His highest score.

Tinashe and Brandon – The Rumba to 2014. The year she released her first official album. She wrote her first song at six years old and sang it at a recital. They will be dancing to a remixed, acoustic version of her debut single.

I think this will be her best dance yet. Well, she looks beautiful in her costume. The dance is just as beautiful. It is, in my opinion, her best dance. I really like it. Len says it was her best dance. Bruno calls it beautiful. Carrie Ann feels like they’re only beginning to get the best of her.

Judges’ Scores – 27 out of 30. Her highest score.

DeMarcus and Lindsay – Argentine Tango for 2016 when he won the Super Bowl with the Broncos. He and his wife had three pregnancy complications and thought they couldn’t have kids, so they adopted a little girl before having a son two years later.

He carries Lindsay’s limp body onto the floor and tosses her into the air. It’s an intense dance, one you can’t take your eyes off of. Aww, and at the end, his kids come running up to him.

Bruno calls him a panther. Carrie Ann loved it, but saw it almost as more of a Paso Doble. Len was impressed with the lifts.

Judges’ Scores – 26 out of 30

Elimination

Nancy and Val – In Jeopardy Eliminated

Tinashe and Brandon – In Jeopardy (Wow! I was not expecting that one!)