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Somehow I thought I would be more worried, being only two days out from our shoot. Not that my mind isn’t racing every second of every day, because that is definitely a reality. This is an enormous challenge of epic proportions (especially Sunday), one that I would normally be scared to death of. But I somehow have peace in knowing that everything is going to work out. In fact, I am excited to be working on something that takes every ounce of creativity and organization that I have developed over my 34 years. Not only that, but it’s also utilizing the same energy from some über talented folks into one big ball of awesomeness. It’s a force to be reckoned with. All we can do now is buckle down and stay focused on the task at hand!
This week was also full of other kind of news – one beyond my wildest dreams (more on that in the coming weeks) and another that kind of broke my heart. Regarding the latter one, I think it was a big big big blessing in disguise. Instead of letting it discourage and bring me down, instead, it forced me to think outside of the box… and actually in the direction of my dreams. I think someone or something was looking out for me on that one, even though it appeared to be a set back on the outside. Maybe in this case I was lucky that I didn’t get what I asked for. Either way, I have full faith in my future and the path that I’m on. I am very, very lucky….and thus very, very grateful.
Now, time to have some fun!! Be sure to send us positive energy and thoughts this weekend.
What an amazing weekend in Atlanta! James and I kicked off our first Twelve Supper, which was a huge success and so much fun. Thanks to everyone who attended! We are going to host our next one in Birmingham on January 27th, so if you are interested please sign up on our mailing list. There has already been a big response, so if you happen to miss out this time around we will do another one very soon in Birmingham. The next supper in Atlanta will be a vegetarian meal with a date TBA in February. We posted a fun blog entry on our inaugural dinner experience here, and you can also view the finished dishes and recipes on Pinterest. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for our fun little food project.
For my dish, I made an egg drop soup with chopped bok choy and spring onion topped with a sesame wonton candy that you could either eat separately or let dissolve in the hot liquid. I was originally going to do a savory cotton candy, but the texture came out a little differently than I expected. I got my soup recipe here, and my candy recipe on this site. The soup was super easy to make, and I seasoned it with soy sauce and sesame oil (which I am totally obsessed with). Bok choy is very much like cabbage, and I can’t wait to cook more with it in the future.
This weekend I am rolling up to Nashville with James to see a handful of really good friends before Christmas. James will head on home to Cincinnati from there and I will come back to Birmingham for the holidays with a quick trip to see my sister and her family in Columbus. Lots of activity to come! Also, after Christmas, my official Half Ironman training will begin. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve decided to hold off on the marathon until later in 2013, even though my running is still going strong. I want to build back up a little slower just as an extra precaution for my knee. Every now and then it gets a tad sore, but it’s usually from something that I could have anticipated – like running downhill.
I will be having a quiet New Years on the beach this year with my family and James. I’m happy about that because usually I put so many expectations on that night…so this year I will be able to relax a little and succumb to my environment. There is something awesome too about being in front of the wide ocean as you welcome in a new year. What new shores will you reach? How will you get there? Which direction will you go in first? I’m ready for my new adventures.
Do you have reoccurring dreams? I do quite often, but there is one that is not quite a nightmare but is still a stressful experience. Usually the circumstances and environment are unique, but I’m struggling to get a large piece of gum out of my mouth that won’t seem to go away… in fact it grows in size. I pull it out by a long string, eventually ending up a large ball. My teeth always end up loose or falling out in the dream as well. So lately I’ve had an obsession with seaweed salad, and in my dream last night I was pulling out large quantities of seaweed that eventually turned into metal ball chains. I remember distinctly feeling that this wasn’t a dream this time, that it was very real. Dreams are so bizarre, aren’t they? I’ve found several interpretations and they all say that it’s a common one to have. Another that I have sometimes puts me back in high school at my current age because I failed to pass a math course. My hidden fear is that everyone will find out, and that all of my college and work experience won’t count anymore. The worst! Some of my dreams are amazing though, especially the ones where I can float or fly. It’s as if I’ve always known how to do it. The most exhilarating ones are where I am flying at high speeds over tree tops in completely made-up landscapes. I can literally feel the air hitting me and the shortness of breath it causes when I stop high above the ground. I can go as fast as I want to. A very powerful feeling. How amazing would it be to be able to capture our dreams? I think we would learn so much about ourselves.
So something significant happened yesterday…. I got a working smart phone again!!! That means I am about to blow up your Instagram worlds… hahaha. It was so strange not having access to social media via a phone for over two weeks. I also did a big swap to a new carrier, so my number has been changed. Please email or message me on FB if you need my new #. There is hope that I might be able to salvage my contacts from my toilet drowned phone, but I won’t know until tomorrow for sure. Keep your fingers crossed…
Someone left a really good comment on my blog post from yesterday about my book: “I think writing about the thoughts you obsess over is best. Build on the topics you’re passionate about and don’t look for what might work to satisfy your immediate gratification. Be passionate.” I think this perfectly sums up my frustrations over trying to write something that I wasn’t really feeling. But it’s quite the opposite with writing about women at the turn of the 20th century. Thanks again for the feedback and encouragement, it goes a long way.
I have an idea!!! Thought of it yesterday as I was completing my blog entry. I’d like to start telling stories about people who’ve accomplished a personal dream. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I haven’t figured out an exact schedule yet, but I went through a list of inspirational people off the top of my head and there are plenty to get started with. In fact, I’ve already nailed my first one down and I plan to share her story with you guys next week. My hope is to share relatable stories of everyday people making their dreams a reality by describing their process. By seeing others do, it will in turn generate a positive momentum for the rest of us. I will let you know soon when you can expect the first story and overall schedule. It’s exciting to have a new assignment for my blog!
Speaking of announcements, I have one more for today. I’m officially putting my hat in for the Georgia Marathon (in Atlanta) next March! Eeeeeeeks. I’m really excited, and also a tad bit nervous. Will my knee be ok? I think so. It will be almost two years to date from when I injured it in my first attempt at the marathon (small inner meniscus tear). Looking back, I know now it was from overtraining and not listening to my body. I’ve been told by more than one doctor/therapist that as long as I do my stability exercises, stop when there is pain and ice after workouts, I should be more than able to complete the distance. Pretty exciting to think about. As of right now, I can do 6-7 miles with no problems. Going downhill is really rough on my knee, so I take it extra easy while descending. What will probably be most difficult for me is trying not to have an unrealistic time goal. Someone please remind me that I said that a few months from now!
I have several other dreams waiting patiently for their turn in the sidelines. I’d like to do a full Ironman one day (not necessarily any time soon), finish my book, make a feature film (then make many more!) and continue to let happiness be a way of life. I guess goals do take more than one form – hard deadline, recurring, ongoing, etc. Some are physical, some are spiritual, some are cause oriented. All equally as important. As long as we are either thinking about or are actually in the process of accomplishing something important to ourselves, then our lives will always be worth living.
I love the first day of school on Facebook, it is so much fun to see all the little kiddos in their outfits and the looks of anticipation. The parents always seem equally as excited as their babies, until after they see them off. Then you start to see posts about tears of realization that the years have somehow gone by way too fast. The first day of school is in fact a big life moment for both parent and child. There seems to be landmark events that bookmark our lives at different points: birth, walking, talking, first day of school, driving, graduation, college, first love, marriage, child-birth, career…then there is this big lull from like age 30-55 or 60 where there’s a definite lack of what’s perceived as noteworthy. This is the time where most people’s focus shifts to their children’s lives, then the whole cycle is repeated again. There is certainly joy in watching another human experience important events, especially when they are your own baby. But what about your own life during this time? As a woman with no children at 33, I’ve found that I have to make my own “big events” to look forward to…which is actually kind of awesome. I’ve said many times before that growing up I couldn’t really see myself past the age of 34… not that I thought I would be dead, I just didn’t know what kind of visual to assign to it. What am I doing in the future with my life? What are my long-term dreams and goals? I think having children is a wonderful, wonderful thing, and maybe one day it will happen to me. But if it doesn’t then I still want to have a bad ass life worthy of looking forward to everyday and remembering when I’m old and gray. Here are some things that I would love to do and uphold:
1. Travel as much as possible, see as many places as I can.
2. Write a book, or twenty.
3. Make a feature film, become a respected female director.
4. Treat my body well: keep it in shape, feed it good food, and love it every day.
5. Make things with my hands.
6. Love with no insecurities or agenda.
7. Laugh as often as possible.
8. Do good work.
9. Help other living beings.
10. Embrace optimism.
11. Continue making experiences a priority.
12. Appreciate everything that I have.
13. Learn from others wiser than myself.
14. Be passionate about everything.
15. Be open to change and other viewpoints.
16. Define my own life.
17. Be remembered as someone who lived as best as they could.
Here ye, here ye, I now pronounce the first of each month as Astrology Zone day! Susan Miller has rocked my world for the last 8 years. I know she writes a book instead of a paragraph, but dang if that lady isn’t spot-on 80% of the time. If you have 10 minutes (or an hour, ha!) today to read your own forecast, do it! – http://astrologyzone.com/forecasts/
I love to be busy. I love to have lots of things to do. I love a schedule. I love a program. With that being said I also love not overcommitting myself, which has been an obstacle that’s taken a lot of practice to semi-accomplish. I find a lot of my posts have to do with finding a balance – a zen Jen zone. I guess that’s part of the territory of having a lot of energy and excitement in general – while you have the capability to do a lot of things well, the danger is either exhaustion or spreading yourself too thin. When I get excited about something, I want to do it all the time. I think that’s why I enjoy endurance sports and long-term goals so much, as it takes the need to sprint out of my system. Practicing patience has done nothing but benefit me in the bigger picture. All you can do it set your sights on something, then try your best to even out your efforts in order to reach your goal. Take failures as part of the process, not the end result. If you could do everything perfectly then there wouldn’t be much point to life and growing spiritually.
The obstacles and challenges that are put in our way make living interesting. I’m pretty sure no one has the perfect existence free of cares and worries. We worry because we love, we care because we want. Wanting is a great thing. I want a lot – to live up to my potential, to realize my dreams, to make a difference or an impact on the world in some small way, to leave a mark or a memory with others that I care about. I want to discover and realize peace. I want for my loved ones to find the same. And I think if that’s what you truly desire, then you will have bright moments of clarity from time to time where you actually get to experience those things. Otherwise, will you be aware enough to notice?
OMG – sooooo, I’ve been waiting all morning to post in case Christy had baby “L”, but looks like it will still be a few hours yet until my new niece comes into the world. My mom and dad are in Columbus with her and her husband, giving her plenty of back massages in the meantime. I get to meet baby L tomorrow night, and I plan to stay through the 4th so I can get some good lovin’ time in. I know she will be precious. My prediction: brown hair, blue eyes, 7 pound 6 ounces!
It was another great weekend in Atlanta. Friday night James surprised me with a “reverse date”, where you basically go on a date backwards. So we had drinks first, dessert second, and dinner last at three different spots in town. We were so full by dinner though that we didn’t quite make it to the appetizer round (and we kinda cheated by having a few snacks at the first place). It was a fun way to explore new restaurants in the city that I haven’t been to yet. I think my favorite out of all three was Sauced, as it had a 70′s retro feel to it.
I had terrible dreams last night… not sure if it was the storms passing through or just a funky trigger of some sort. I dreamed that there were multiple tornadoes all around Birmingham, and that the city was on fire. It was dark and gloomy, and there were lost injured animals everywhere. What the crap does that mean??? Maybe I ate something bad before sleep.
It’s July!!! Of course I checked out my monthly horoscope on Susan Miller’s website the second they were up. You should too if you have about 20 minutes to spare, b/c that is how long it will take you to read it…hahaha. She is my favorite and the only forecast I will take the time to read. This month is going to be nuts – Chattanooga this weekend with friends, Louisville next weekend to see Lee Ann, then Indianapolis the last weekend for the Indy Film Festival. We got more good news over the weekend for Crush, which we will announce as soon as we can! It’s going to be a fun July.
Perception, attitude and belief… these things can make or break how you feel at any given moment. There are so many ways to look at any one thing, or any situation. You can be positive, or you can be negative. Also, if you believe that something will happen…. it probably will. People sometimes tell me that I am too optimistic and that sets me up for bigger disappointments. I don’t think that is true at all. I think visualizing and hoping for good things is the only way they will ever happen to you. And just because I’m optimistic doesn’t mean that I can’t be realistic as well. When things don’t go my way, that’s OK. I just keep trying until it does happen or unfolds the way I’d like it to. I can’t imagine living in a world or existence with no hope for the future. Or not having any dreams and aspirations. Even if that dream is just to sit on your front porch with a glass of sweet tea in a rocking chair in peace, then I say dream it and do it. But what to do when your dream keeps being delayed by circumstances beyond your control? This has happened to me before and I’m sure it will happen again. I think that is when you have to modify and reevaluate. There is something I’ve wanted for quite some time now, and I’ve had to be very flexible in order for it to progress. I’m glad that I did too, because it is shaping up to be better than I originally imagined.
I think the most important thing to remember is to chase the things that make you happiest. That make you feel alive inside. That challenge you to be better than you are. That let you be expressive and creative. That let you share care, concern and love. That let you be yourself in the highest form.
I wonder if most people search out and experience inspiration on a regular basis? And I wonder what inspiration feels like from person to person… does it feel different from the way it affects me? I was thinking last night while going to sleep about all the ways I feel and become inspired to take action. In that sense, inspiration becomes a whole lot like motivation.
I feel inspiration from seeing results. Nothing energizes me more than starting something that could impact my life and seeing the resulting directions it takes me in.
I feel inspiration by giving inspiration. When I help another person see their own potential that they may not have recognized before, it makes me realize that there are things about my own self that are just as amazing that maybe I can’t see sometimes. Life is an ongoing journey of self-discovery.
I feel inspiration from visualization. There are few things more powerful for me than visualizing a goal or dream. And I’m damn good at it. I can see things clearly that I want in the future. I think that is one of my best talents.
I feel inspiration from success. It just makes me want more.
I feel inspiration from unique people. When I am around someone who is authentic and 100% themselves, whatever that looks like, it inspires me to strive to be the same. I think it is much harder to own who you really are than most people realize.
I feel inspiration from making beautiful things. Just as simple as taking pretty pictures on Instagram…beauty is everywhere around us every day. When you stop for a moment to capture an emotion or an experience, it makes you value it even more.
I feel inspiration from remembering that there is a big world outside of my front door, no matter where I am. I am small with so much room to grow.
I find myself in a very interesting life transition right now. I feel unsettled and a little unhappy at times. That may have already been apparent from some of my blog posts of late, or maybe not. While I absolutely hate to write anything that I feel is negative, ultimately the purpose of this blog is to be truthful through and through. I think most of you who’ve been with me from the beginning or who know me in real life are aware that I’m a fairly happy and optimistic person 95% of the time. But for the past few days I just feel like I can’t rise above this funk. Maybe it’s because my 33rd birthday is coming up next week, or maybe it’s the delayed January blues. Last night I seemed to reach a low point of hopelessness…but then something happened. I picked myself up. I turned on some music, cleaned my whole mini house and wrote out my feelings in a journal. When I feel like I am alone, that’s when I realize that I have the best person in the whole entire world on my side – me. It’s true, from time to time I am going to let myself indulge in a “it’s not fair” attitude, but it will always be short-lived. Life isn’t very fair for anyone on this planet most of the time. It’s what we do with what we’ve got in the time we are allowed. I may never realize some of my bigger dreams, but at least I try…every single day. And honestly I think that’s what brings the funk around every now and then, because I aim so high. My expectations are high. It would be unrealistic for me to not apply some sort of timetable shell on what I would like to happen in my life, but things have a way of unfolding all on their own despite our best plans.
Here are some of the words that I wrote last night in my journal, which honestly surprised me:
I also left some advice for myself in the short-term: Focus on my book, save money, keeping searching for opportunities, but always be present. While I don’t expect to make money on my book, I do hope that people will read it. I hope it is meaningful. Saving money will give me the freedom to act on life changing experiences like travel or eventually a move to another city. Always being open to opportunity keeps me alive, while being present in the moment makes me appreciate what I already have…no matter what happens in the future.