Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Truth Sall Set You Free

I wrote this story when I was about 12 years old, and I think it is one of my better ones. I was inspired to write it during Mass one morning when I read: "My brethren, if any one of you err from the truth and one convert him, he must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his ways shall save his soul from death." That would make a wonderful story! I thought. So I wrote this story. I think it has a certain beautiful simplicity that reminds me a bit of the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. I've been wanting to write some more short stories that were inspired by lines from Holy Scripture...none have jumped out at me lately, but I hope they will sometime again!

Once, long ago, in a great city there lived a man. He was neither young nor old. He lived a most holy and exemplary life. Everything he did glowed with his holy love for his neighbor and his God.

In this same city there lived a boy. He was in that time of life between childhood and manhood. He was an outcast, living in the streets, and leading a life of great ignorance and sin.

By chance, the boy and the man met. They befriended each other. In time, the boy’s life changed. Inspired by his friend’s holy life, he gave up his life of a street urchin to better his position in life. He enrolled in a good school with the help of his friend, and was soon at the top of his class and loved by all for his virtues. However, he lost track of his good friend who had helped bring about this change.

Now it is 20 years later. We are in the same great city, and entering a house in the slums. A house – nay, a tumbledown shack that seems to be falling at every wind.

On a hard, narrow bed, covered with a thin, dirty blanket, lies an old man. He is dying. On his face you see the marks of a hard life, filled with sin and distrust. But there is a heartbreaking sorrow in it as well.

Seated beside the bed, on a rickety old chair, is a priest. He is young, and on his face you read a life that has known pain and suffering, but knows the love of God and trusts in Him, bringing Him all his afflictions.

Let us listen to the words spoken between the two.

“Ah, Father, once I believed in a loving and merciful God. But how can it be true? All the pain in life, how could there be a God if He permits it? Yes – (here the man gave a bitter laugh) I have despaired. What if there is a Hell? I shall go there, and what of it?”The priest listened, a pain gnawing at his heart. As he gazed upon the man’s face, he remembered a time when it had been neither young nor old, but glowed with a holy love for his neighbor and his God.

Yes, the priest was the former street urchin, and the man was his old friend!

The priest grasped one of the thin, cold hands. He looked into the man’s eyes.“Do you remember me, my friend?”

The man looked into the priest’s face. After a while he said, “Why, weren’t you that little street urchin I knew 20 years ago?”

“I was,” said the priest, “and you have given me the greatest gift that one could give, that if carefully treasured, will never fade or break. You have given me the gift of faith.”

The man looked into the priest’s face, and the priest now read in the eyes of the man a pained, longing remembrance. A remembrance of when he had possessed that beautiful gift, that when treasured, will last for eternity – a strong faith in God.

“I would like to read you something,” said the priest, opening his Bible. “Listen. ‘My brethren, if any one of you err from the truth and one convert him, he must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his ways shall save his soul from death.’

“My friend, I was once a sinner and you converted me. But God, in His great mercy, will not let your soul be lost. He loves you with a special love, for you brought back to Him one of His lost sheep.”

“How can He love one so wretched as I?” the old man muttered.

“It is the truth,” said the priest softly. “’Know ye the truth, and the truth shall set ye free.’”

Many moments passed – long, hard moments for the priest. He knew that a precious soul hung in the balance between Heaven and Hell. He had done all he could – now he would leave it to the grace of God.

“’…will set ye free,” repeated the man. “I am locked in the fetters of sin. Time is short. Death! I used not to fear it. It was only death of the body, but now it is the soul as well!”

Tears ran down the old man’s cheeks. He grasped the priest’s hand.

“I believe in God," he exclaimed fervently. "He was only joy in my life, and life was hideous without Him. Thank God for you, you little urchin! Father, please hear my confession.”

The priest heard the man’s confession and then gave him Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction.

The old man clutched the crucifix the priest had given him. He was silent for several moments and his breathing became even more laboured. The priest knew his friend was in his last moments. Then the old man grasped the priest’s hand.

“Thank you, Father,” he whispered. “I…gave you…faith…you…gave it…back. To… love… God… to…love…Him…”

The old man’s voice faded to a whisper and he breathed his last, one hand holding the hand of the man he had brought to the Church, and who, in return, had brought him back. In the other hand was the only hope in this land of exile – a crucifix.

And the priest sat with bowed head, holding the lifeless hand of his friend. He pondered on those words.

‘Know ye the truth and the truth shall set ye free!’

Truly, when you know the truth, live the truth, share the truth, believe the truth, the truth that is faith, hope and charity, the gathering of all the good of the world, the truth that is God Himself, the Truth shall set you free from the fetters of sin and the darkness of death.

Quo Vadis

A lament for all our friends...I'm sure we all have some...who have left the Truth to pursue the World.

Where are you going? she said to him softly.
Where are you going? I cannot find you.

I'm seeing the world - I'm tasting its pleasures.
And I'm going alone - you're not coming too.

Quo vadis, quo vadis,
Our world seems to cry;
Where have you gone, our brave young souls?

We're off to see the world - we'll be back, maybe never
We're going off, and you're staying here.

But don't you remember,
Remember the summer,
The sunlight, the laughter, the sky, and the trees.
Remember our voices,
Our hearts knit together.
Come back, oh come back.
Oh, please remember me.

Quo vadis, quo vadis,
Our world seems to cry;
Where have you gone, our brave young souls?

We're off to see the world - we'll be back, maybe never
We're going off, and you're staying here.

Brave selfish young souls!
There are no laurels on your brows.
What are you doing, seeing the world?
The world is good...but home is better.
You have deep roots here, though you may not know.

Ah, so you miss us? You miss your people?
You miss your life before the world came?
You can come back, but you'll always be different.
But our love is unchanging, as thick as our blood.

Quo vadis, quo vadis,
Our world seems to cry;
Where have you gone, our brave young souls?

We're off to see the world - we'll be back, maybe never
We're going off, and you're staying here.

Defendebo (I Will Defend)

Love...and it could apply to many different sorts of love. I think we all have that desire to defend and protect those we love, and to receive the same in return.

Where the sea meets the sky
Where the stars collide
There I will find you
There will I search

The old order passes
The world around us changes
But my love remains
In the falling rain

I will not leave you
In the darkest night
I won't leave you alone
Where the sun dare not go

You're in my arms
Though the whole world is changing
I am protecting you
And holding you closer

The Vase

A song I wrote recently, trying to express the longing to know what your true calling is. I've also tried to write music for it...I'll have to keep working on that.

Broken pieces,
Pieces of a vase.
A vase from your grandmother
Long ago.
The pieces are lying
So lovely and still.
Waiting and wondering,
Crushed and beautiful.

The bits of a soul,
All the ragged edges,
Are waiting and wondering,
Waiting for their cue.
For the night to end,
The dawn to break.
Breaking is painful,
But then it's beautiful.

Singing where
Where do I go now.
Something hold me together,
Bring the pieces back together.
Hold me tight
Don't let me go.

A prison can be beautiful,
A story is told
On the cold bleak walls.
A thousand voices,
A thousand more echoes.
They sing
And why can't I.

Singing where
Where do I go now.
Something hold me together,
Bring the pieces back together.
Hold me tight
Don't let me go.

And the broken pieces,
The memories are there,
The sweetest foundation,
Sweet roots of a tree.
The vase has been mended.
The pieces are singing.
They are echoing.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Modesty - An Issue of Respect

Written July 2007 and published in my newsletter "Servants of the Queen"

Here in the midst of the summer months seems to be an appropriate time to address the touchy but nonetheless very important issue of modesty. I hope to show you some interesting points on this topic that you may not have considered before.

Modesty, as we all know, has a lot to do with what we wear, especially among ladies. It is important to realize that why we dress modestly has a lot to do with respect. We want to respect our own bodies, and not leave them on display for anyone and everyone to see. We also want to respect men, who see and think differently from women when it comes to certain things. They respond more then women do to visuals, and it is important to realize and respect that, and not make it any harder for them to safeguard their purity. Any sin against purity is very grave, and we certainly do not want to be the cause of someone’s mortal sin and possible loss of Heaven!

This may seem harsh, but it is true! That is one of the reasons it is so important to dress modestly and appropriately. But dressing modestly certainly does not mean wearing a sack or looking like a slob! To do this would, in fact, not be dressing modestly at all. The Vatican’s guidelines for decent dressing are that the neckline should not extend more than two fingers’ breadth beneath the pit of the neck (the little dip in the center of your collarbone in the front) or on either side of the neck, the sleeves should cover the upper part of the arm, and the skirt should reach at least two inches below the knee. These are really quite sensible and doable guidelines. Of course, we must also be careful to not wear clothes (skirts or shirts) that are too tight and revealing. These are not only inappropriate looking, but also uncomfortable!

A word on pants – I personally find nothing wrong with wearing pants on some occasions (i.e. when you’re going to be playing some sort of game that requires running, when doing outdoor work, etc) when a skirt would be down right impractical and possibly immodest. However, they should be modest, nothing like the skin-tight jeans common today. One kind of pants I’ve found to be both modest and to look nice is cargo pants, which are quite easy to find at pretty much any store. But for the most part, skirts are preferable. Not only are pants inappropriate for the reasons mentioned earlier in this
article, they also de-feminize women when they wear them. It is very interesting – you really do feel different, more feminine, when wearing a skirt! In our culture, which is attacking and demeaning women on all sides, all under the cover of “women’s rights”, “women’s liberation”, “feminism”, it is very important to maintain who we truly are – women, what and who God made us to be!

Upholding the dignity of humans and showing respect for all life is a big part of modesty. The point of being modest is not only avoiding making ourselves into near occasions of sin (although this is a big part!), but also to show respect to the fact that we are women, human beings with dignity, and not objects. When we dress in an appropriate manner, we are showing that we respect our body, we respect others around us, and we respect God Who made us.

So, please consider these thoughts. How you choose to respond to them is up to you, but I do think that if we bring back more wholesome styles, one person at a time, we will begin to see a difference in our world. People will recall the sacredness of their bodies and we won’t see so much blatant irreverence for God’s gifts to us. Women will recover their lost femininity – in essence, who they are, and perhaps, someday, the world will regain some of the order it lost towards the middle of the last century.

One last point. It is well put in something that champion boxer Muhammad Ali once told his daughter: “Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them… Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered, too.” (I found this quote in “Dressing With Dignity” by Colleen Hammond) By not showing very much of our bodies, we are showing how much we value them. I repeat, this does not mean wearing sack-like clothing. That would not look nice, and wearing beautiful clothing also shows great respect to our bodies – another important thing to remember. But rather, our bodies should be hidden like the great treasures that they are. Look in our churches; the greatest of all Treasures is hidden – within the tabernacle. Our bodies are one of the most precious treasures that this great Treasure has given us, and we should respect them.

The Four Temperaments

Knowing your temperament is very helpful to the spiritual life. It also assists you in understanding yourself and understanding and getting along with others.

But what is a temperament?

There are four temperaments – choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic. The idea of four temperaments may have begun with Hippocrates. He believed that people behaved in certain ways because there was an imbalance of bodily fluids. This is where the names of the temperaments come from. Hippocrates believed that if a person had too much yellow bile from the liver he was a choleric. Too much blood from the heart indicated a sanguine, and a melancholic had too much black bile from the kidneys. A phlegmatic had too much phlegm from the lungs. This theory, however, is rather unlikely.

Throughout the ages, though, people made variations on Hippocrates’ idea of all people being divided into four main personalities (even though personality is a different thing from temperament). The four temperaments are indeed a predominately Catholic idea.

Now let’s take a look at each of the four temperaments.

Choleric- Cholerics react very quickly to situations, and the reaction is of a very long duration. They tend to have a very strong will. They usually have a problem with controlling their anger. They are the “my way or the highway” type, and are sure their ideas are the best and woe to anyone who disagrees! They make good leaders because they’re strong-willed and logical, and like to take charge. This wish to always be in charge can lead to dire consequences, however! They are headstrong and impatient, and are not always careful of other peoples’ feelings. They can be overly critical of others, and tend to blame others rather than themselves. They enjoy arguing and are inclined to retaliation. They have a very strong pride, and feel that they would prefer to die rather then humble themselves.

On their good side, however, cholerics are very dedicated and determined. They will dauntlessly go through all sorts of difficulties to attain their goal. They tend to be optimistic. They are good workers and thrive on activity. They are very enthusiastic and independent. They are very frank and direct, which is not always good, as they frequently display a lack of prudence! They set high goals and standards for themselves. They are very decisive. They have a very keen mind and are often very intelligent. The virtues the choleric needs to increase in particular are compassion and humility. They are extroverted (I will explain this later).
Saint with this temperament: St. Paul

Melancholic- Melancholics are very slow to react to a situation, but their reaction grows and becomes very strong and long lasting over time. They tend to be perfectionists, and spend a lot of time carefully considering every little detail of plans. They have a very pessimistic outlook on life and are very sensitive and easily hurt, but tend to keep their feelings to themselves (unlike a choleric). They can be very moody, and like to be alone. They are more of thinkers than doers. They can be very indecisive, and are prone to being self-pitying and are easily discouraged. They make friends slowly and don’t always really want any. They have a tendency to hold grudges, as do cholerics.

Some strengths of the melancholic temperament are that they are attracted to beauty, nobility, and all ideals even more than any other temperament. They long for perfection. They have a natural love of prayer and meditation. They have a very strong will, but they can be so cautious that it seems as if they have no courage. Some things that would be useful for the melancholic person to increase are their self-confidence, optimisim, and nfeeling of self-worth. Melancholics are introverted (this will be explained later).
Saint with this temperament: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Sanguine- The sanguine is a fun-loving, cheerful person with a very eager, unembarrassed, and carefree manner. They have quick reactions to situations, but the reactions are of short duration. They make friends easily, but seem to prefer to have lots of friends over a few close ones. Friends and relationships are important, and sanguines want to please everyone. They lack follow-through and are very impulsive. They are very attuned to their senses and notice and enjoy clothes and details. However, if they are not careful, they are prone to becoming very materialistic. They may be rash or imprudent, but this is most often not entirely willfully. They can be superficial, and tend to talk without thinking and hurt people, somewhat like cholerics. However, it’s easier for the sanguine to apologize, because they just want to be loved.

Some of the good traits of the sanguine temperament are their generous and forgiving nature. Sanguines are very co-operative and accepting and work well in groups. They are very friendly and outgoing. They enjoy change, new things, and people. They love having friends and being with people, and are often the “life of the party” because they enjoy being the center of attention.They have a strong sense of humor and enjoy teasing people. They are very optimistic and look at everything from the bright side. They are very energetic and self-sacrificing, and will do anything for someone they love. Sanguines should try to be less superficial and acquire more follow-through, and to develop the energetic, caring part of their nature. The sanguine is an extroverted temperament.
Saint with this temperament: St. Peter

Phlegmatic- Phlegmatics are quiet people who react slowly and with a low intensity. They don’t get angry easily, but their feelings are easily hurt. However, they usually don't say anything to retaliate because they would rather do what others want than their own desires. They have a tendency towards being lazy and indifferent to everything. They are very accepting of rules and tradition, even if it doesn’t make sense or is unjust. Even though they often try to avoid things like people and mental or manual exertion, they think relationships are important.

Good things about phlegmatics is that they tend to be very peaceful and hate strife and arguing. They are very patient and can control their feelings very well, and tend to be well liked. They are very calm, low-key, and easy-going. They have a large store of common sense. They have a special gift of being good mediators, as they want to preserve peace almost at any cost. Phlegmatics should try to become less dispassionate and uninterested. They are introverted.
Saint with this temperament: St. Thomas Aquinas

Introverted: This means the person is less sociable, is more comfortable with his thoughts and emotions than material things, reserved, and more distant.

Extraverted: This means the person is very comfortable in a sociable environment, is comfortable with people and events, is livelier, and more enthusiastic.

But how can you discover your temperament? The two books I mention at the end of the article both have very thorough tests you can give yourself. I personally prefer the test in the latter book. Even though you may be pretty sure you can tell what your temperament is from this article, it is a good idea to take the test. You may be surprised!

When taking the test, you need to remember to put down the traits you naturally posses, not the ones you want! This is difficult but doable. Pray to the Holy Ghost to help you.

Every person has a temperament. However, as we are all completely different, we usually have traits from more than just one temperament. One temperament usually predominates, and this is called the primary temperament. Another temperament we may have many traits from, but not as many as the primary. This is the secondary temperament. For example, I am a melancholic-sanguine. This means my primary temperament is melancholic, but I also have many sanguine traits. We usually have a few other traits from different temperaments as well. However, the primary and secondary are the most important to focus on.

But why should you “know thyself”? This is an important thing because you need to know what sins you are most inclined to. I’ll use myself as an example. As I am a melancholic-sanguine one of my worst faults is saying too much too frankly and out of turn. Before I knew my temperament, I was not nearly as aware of this fact. But now that I know my temperament, I also have a better understanding of my weaknesses. I know that I must be on my guard for talking too much, being too proud and argumentative, being materialistic and self-centered, and all the other faults that come with my temperaments.

You also should know your temperament because of the positive things. It will help you know your capabilities. If you think you’re “no good” because you aren’t as good of a leader as one of your friends, you are good in a different way. Perhaps you can restore peace between people, or simply listen to them. The temperaments help us understand that God created us all in a very different and special way for His use. If you know your temperament you have a valuable key that will help you know what is wanted of you on earth. You will understand yourself, and see that God made you in this way for His Own purposes. You will understand why you have inclinations to do certain things. If they are bad, you can weed them out. If they are good, you can cultivate them. But you will see all your faults and good points so much more clearly if you know yourself.

If you understand the temperaments, you can also understand other people much better. We will know what not to say to a sensitive melancholic, that we can’t step all over the peaceful phlegmatic, that the choleric is prone to anger, that the sanguine often says all those hurtful things in jest. If we have an understanding of the way others view the world, we will not be so inclined to do some things that would be hurtful to them. We can also understand more when they hurt us. If they need help in any way we will know better how to give it. We can help each other to Heaven so much better if we truly understand each other.

I think the temperaments are an important and often neglected part of the spiritual life. If you found this article interesting, you may want to read more on the four temperaments. There are many books on it, but I have read two that I can recommend. One is a booklet entitled The Four Temperaments, by Father Conrad Hock. It can be obtained from the Pallotine Fathers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The other is a book called The Temperament God Gave You, by Art and Larraine Bennet. It is also written by Catholics from an entirely Catholic point of view. It can be obtained from the Leaflet Missal Company. Both are very good, informative books.

I hope this article gave you some help in “knowing thyself”. St. Teresa of Avila once said, “Self-knowledge is so important that, even if you were raised right up to the heavens, I should like you never to relax your cultivation of it.” In the preparation for the St. Louis de Montfort consecration to Our Lady, one of the weeks is devoted to knowledge of self. In his book, The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis reminds us of the importance of this. All through the ages the saints have repeated this – to know God you must know yourself!

True knowledge of self will never lead to pride. Instead, it will lead to humility. We will know our infirmities and, seeing our weakness and imperfections, know that we must fly to God and that only He can give us the necessary strength. If we do not know ourselves we will have a difficult time seeing that we truly need the help of God in our lives. Without Him we are nothing and can do nothing.

The Smallest Child

This essay won 1st in Wausau, 2nd at the diocese, and 2nd at state for the 10th grade level in the Knights of Columbus "Respect Life" essay contest.

Haven’t you experienced, at some point in your life, the feeling of joy and gratitude that you’re alive? Perhaps this sensation was awakened by a beautiful song, a wonderful bit of nature, a moment of joy shared with a friend. Wouldn’t it make you sad to consider that some people will never experience life? That, even though it would be completely possible for them to be born, those already born are just too selfish to allow another human to enjoy the wonders of our world if it means any inconvenience to themselves.

The myths surrounding abortion cloud it, making it difficult for so many to realize the truth about it. One of the arguments often used by abortion advocates is that most of the aborted babies are the children of rape, and it would be too difficult for the mother to carry them to term. This is simply not true – only 1% is aborted for this reason. Others would have us believe that most babies are aborted for “necessary” reasons, such as to protect the life of the mother or because they have severe defects. Only 4% of babies are aborted for these reasons, and the arguments are without weight, as it is never the place of a doctor, or anyone else, to prevent a life from being lived. The other 95% of children lost to abortion are killed because the mother does not want any more children, they think they cannot afford a baby, they don’t want a child yet, or their boyfriend, family, or friends pressure them into it.

What gives anyone the right to end the life of another human in such a hideously cruel manner before it has even been born? Most scientists are now recognizing the fact that a fetus (this word comes from the Latin for “little child”) is in truth human. After all, how could it be anything else? Nothing else in our world changes its nature as it grows older. A dog is always a dog; a flower is always a flower. They start out as puppies and seeds and become dogs and flowers, just as all people start out as a fetus, are born and become a baby, and then mature to child, teenager, and adult. Each of the stages of life has a different name, but no one would suggest that a child is any less a human than an adult – we all know that would not make any sense! So it is only logical that a fetus is a human in the very first stage of development; there is nothing about it that suggests otherwise.

To end this essay, here is a quote from the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese: "There is a day coming when we will hear the voice from within the womb, when its own authentic pain will be undeniable, when we will know with certainty that it is saying "I want to live. I have a right to live. I do not need your permission to live." Let us all work and pray that this day may come soon.


This is a poem I wrote about 3 years ago.

Life is a journey,
Life is a quest.
Life is striving for
Whatever is best.

Life is a journey,
A journey through night.
A journey to find
That which is bright.

A journey that wearies us,
Wearies the mind,
Wearies the soul
In its relentless grind.

But there are candles
Along the way.
Places that remind us
There is a day.

The day is our dream.
The day is our quest.
The day is where we journey to,
Seeking the best.

The journey is hard.
The journey is long.
But sometimes we hear
Strains of a song.

We think it’s straight from heaven,
And then we realize
It’s right beside us,
Or before our eyes.

From Heaven it comes,
But on earth it dwells.
Within each heart,
A bit of it swells.

The desire to journey,
The desire for a quest.
The desire to strive for
Whatever is best.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Favorite YouTube Videos - Humor

And some funny ones...

Charlie the Unicorn Goes to Candy Mountain
Yup...you gotta love Charlie the Unicorn!

Charlie the Unicorn Meets the Banana King
Put a banana in your ear!

Charlie the Unicorn Underwater
This might be the best yet! lol... I love the songs in all of them!

Favorite YouTube Videos - Music

Some of my favorite music and videos...more to come!

Pie Jesu - Our Lady Immaculate Choir
The choir at my church that I'm in, with a slideshow that I made.

Romeo and Juliet - The Killers
I love this song!

Sunshine - Keane
Beautiful. And my cockatiel likes to dance to it!

Love Story (Taylor Swift) meets Viva la Vida (Coldplay)
Two of my favorite songs, wonderfully blended by a very talented artist!

Love Story - Taylor Swift
One of my favorite music videos...I love the song, the guy is really cute, I love her dress, and it looks like Pride and Prejudice!

Lloyd I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura
I adore this song and this band, I love the look of the video, and I love the retro-style clothes and dancing!

We're Dancing - P.Y.T
I love the video they made for this with clips from Center Stage!

Favorite YouTube Videos - Ballet

Some of my favorite ballet YouTube videos (I'll probably add more later):

Romeo and Juliet Balcony scene - Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev
They are simply incredible!

Romeo and Juliet Balcony scene from Center Stage - Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel
I love the background in this one. :) And I love Julie Kent, I actually got to see her live!

ABT's Pas de Quatre from Swan Lake
One of my absolute favorite dances EVER!

Esmaralda variation - Natalia Osipova at the age of 17
I love this variation, and Natalia is simply AMAZING!

SFB's Snow Scene from the Nutcracker - Yuan Yuan Tan as the Snow Queen
I absolutely LOVE the Nutcracker, and "Snow" is my absolute favorite dance! I especially love SFB's version of it...the dancing is incredible, the choreography perfect, and the scenery and snow magical!

Swan Lake in 10 Minutes - Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev
A really nice compilation of clips.

Well, that's all for now...I'll add more as I find them.

Ballet Hair Buns

This is a common problem for people with really thick hair - when they put it in a bun it sticks WAY out and keeps falling out! I know it drives them crazy, so I'm posting directions for making a nice, flat bun that will stay in, no matter how long or thick your hair is. :)

1. Put your hair in a ponytail. I've found that it works well to do this when your hair is a bit wet. If your hair is dry, spraying some hairspray in it just before you make the ponytail really helps keep it under control.

2. Divide your hair into two parts, and twist one of the parts until all the ends are tucked in and it looks like a rope.

3. Wrap it around the hair tie at the base of the ponytail and secure with bobby pins.

3. Take the other section of hair, twist it tightly, and wrap it around the bun that is already there. Secure with bobby pins as well. If it's for a performance, audition, or anything else that you want to be sure your hair is going to STAY PUT, you might want to spray it with hairspray all over at this point. Otherwise, you should be good.

4. Add a hairnet if needed.

An added bonus to doing this with wet hair is that when you take it out, you have a lot of really cute waves!