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Birmingham is a wonderful place. It might be hard to tell from the outside, but this city is full of dreamers and doers. On any given day my feeds are full of people being proactive in their areas of passion, and it is contagious. No wonder we have had so many greats rise up to even bigger recognition beyond our city parameters. Here, if you can dream it… you can do it. And you will have many genuine supporters and cheerleaders along the way. That’s a proven fact.
What does it mean to realize a dream? Is it the recognition that comes along with accomplishment, or is it the satisfaction of seeing your hard work in a pretty little package? What if you did something significant, but you were only one allowed to experience it? Would it lose it’s importance? I ask myself these questions when I start to think I get some sort of self validation based on things I’ve done in the past. What if people hated something that I created… would it impact how I felt about it? I would like to think not. But it probably would. I think it’s because a lot of the things I do or create are meant to be shared and enjoyed by others. They are meant to have a specific reaction in order to be a success. I think when you are living in a creative world, it is very important to be your biggest fan… because everyone else is beyond control. Make things for yourself, do it for your own happiness, remember the purpose and keep your own fire alive. This goes back to a certain degree of self-reliance, being less dependent on others. It’s amazing to give and receive love, compassion, support and attention… it is what makes the world go ’round. Just remember though that your inner voice and spirit are given the most encouragement and comfort from what you believe about yourself.
There are so many exciting things happening right now, it’s hard to sit still… or even fall asleep at night. Through time I have figured out that I thrive on waves of activity, especially goals that fall within a few months range. As I do more and more film work, I realize it is the essence of everything I feel passion for. Process, creativity, ideas, goal setting, marketing, collaboration and end product. I love every single second of it.
As we get close to finishing up with Crush, Rebecca and I have each decided to move forward with our own independent short film projects (with features on the horizon). I am so excited to see what she does next… I got the honor of hearing some of her ideas in Oxford and they are truly up her alley. I am proceeding with my three short stories idea, then in the coming weeks letting YOU decide which one I am going to make. I’ve got an amazing team in place with the goal of shooting in mid April. After our first production meeting early next week, I will reveal more of our plans. I can say this – all the stories involve an element of magic and fantasy. Whichever one is chosen should be a really beautiful and emotional piece.
One more note before I wrap up the film speak… we had such an amazing time at the Oxford Film Festival!! Seriously one of the best festival experiences we’ve had on this circuit. So many of the filmmakers attended, the staff was on top of it all, the programming was fantastic and the parties/networking priceless. Plus, Oxford is a fun little town bursting with artists of all kinds and delicious dining options. If you love film festivals, definitely mark your calendar to attend next year.
Whether you are an artist or any other kind of adventurous soul, ongoing education is a huge part of developing your passions. We never stop learning. I’m never going to be at a place where I know everything about a specific subject or pastime. I’m also constantly learning about myself while going from project to project. I observe how I react to different situations and people, always trying to modify for the best results. Above all though, I have found that if your intentions are good and your actions sincere, good karma is always around the corner. I will take as much of that as I can get.
Inspiration can be found in so many unexpected places. For about a month now I’ve been hearing about this small team in Birmingham who have started making honey under the name We Three Beeks. They release small batches here and there for the public to buy, and luckily James and I scored two honey bears from their most recent one. When I went to pick them up yesterday from Freshfully, I discovered that they were very, very mini… two bears easily fit in the palm of my hand. That visual made me realize the treasure we had scored for ourselves. This wasn’t just any honey, it was honey made by the hands of passionate people pursuing a dream. I went home and did some more research on these creative folks, and discovered their Tumblr site full of photos and stories. You should definitely check it out. There is nothing more inspiring than everyday people making things happen, then sharing it with the world. Their joy and drive is contagious.
Everywhere you look you will find people taking action on their passions. Artisan products are so easy to come by these days. You can feel the energy from something hand-made with love. Whether it’s food, furniture, art or initiatives, you can only benefit from supporting and enjoying the product. I think that’s why I love partaking in food adventures so much as it allows me to watch another creative spirit in action. It’s ideas expressed through something you get to put into your body…. the best way of all to manifest the posi vibes.
Last night I wrapped up story #2 in my three short story series, in preparation for choosing one to make into a short film in the coming months. I’ve decided that once I am finished writing, I am going to do a short synopsis on each one and let you guys pick which story you like the best! I will probably have another Kickstarter campaign to raise what I need, but I also plan to fund it on my end as well. More details coming soon, should be a lot of fun! James is helping me brainstorm some ideas to make it a unique fundraising experience. Crowdsourcing isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I guess it’s all in how you look at it. Projects that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day get made because of support from their communities. It also gives a sense of ownership and satisfaction to those who participate… or at least that’s how I feel when I give to someone else’s project.
My ultimate goal still remains the same: to fund my own feature film in 2014 through completion of my book. I feel like a broken record saying that, but sometimes writing it is more for myself than anything else. I wish I could just tattoo it on my forehead so I could literally be reminded every time I look in the mirror. I am the only person who can make it happen. Sometimes I feel like once I get these two things under my belt, future long-range projects such as those will be easier to execute. I’ve heard that several times from friends who have written books or made feature films. I’m sure it will be the same for me as well…hopefully. Either way, I strive daily to just enjoy the process and find excitement in the mini milestones. It excites my soul to sit down in a coffee shop with a decaf hot tea, my notebook and laptop with nothing but hours ahead of me dedicated to being creative.
Today I blog as a 34-year-old for the first time! I had the best best best birthday weekend, with everything I could have hoped for – time with family, delicious food (thanks Pushstart Kitchen and Rawle Fraser!), time outdoors, adventures and an abundance of love. Throw in a little Valentine’s Day celebration and you have the perfect weekend. Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday!
Birthdays are the start of a new year in a lot of ways, so I thought I would spend a little time updating you all on my 2013 goals. My writing is going very well… I’m not writing an hour every day as I hoped I would, but I’ve made more progress than ever before since the beginning of the year. Not only that, I’ve taken on a new short story goal for the next week or two. My plan is to write three short stories (one of them already done), then possibly choose one to make a short film out of over the course of the next 3-4 months. I feel like waiting until I have a finished novel is just too long before tackling another film project. After talking with Rebecca about the success of Crush (which is showing no signs of stopping), we both feel that independently we should be keeping the momentum up. This weekend at the Oxford Film Festival we plan to do a creative brainstorming session to see which individual directions make the most sense. We will also have Vero & James with us on the trip, so that will double the creative energy.
James and I are still doing really well with our weight-loss. I am down about 13 pounds, and he’s lost 18! I know I’ve said this about 20 times already, but it is so helpful to have him on this journey with me. Mostly because we both get “hangry” at about the same times (a fierce combination of anger and hunger), and we also hold each other accountable. Usually I am a loner with it comes to physical initiatives, but without a doubt we are better as a team.
I have found a significant key to life happiness – and that is doing. Talking and dreaming have their rightful and rewarding place, but actually taking the steps to achieve is where the joy lies. In some ways it’s even better than the final product of your actions. I love being in an active state of doing at all times. There is a thrill in problem solving, a mystery in the unknown and a fulfillment in the tiniest steps along the way. As long as I’m doing, I’m happy.
It’s my birthday week!! WOOOOOT. I started the festivities off early with a mini birthday celebration (with the fabulous Sherri Ross) in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon at Avondale Park. The weather was sunny and warm…the perfect day to relax and hang with friends. Our friend Carrie even brought her pedicab which we then gave rides on around the little pond area. Thanks to everyone that came out!
I like having a birthday in the same week as Valentine’s Day, as the word love is easy to come by. I know it isn’t everyone’s favorite holiday, but even being single I found happiness as this day rolled around each year. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, as well as phases. The feelings of sharing and giving should be something expressed year-round. More than likely, you have someone or something to express your love to – whether it be a pet, a person, your home or anything else you adore. This day is only a reminder to recognize those gifts.
Speaking of gifts, I’ve already gotten a few great ones! James gave me 23andme…which is something that I’ve wanted to do for some time now. You basically spit in a vile and ship it off, then in 4-6 weeks they tell you a bunch of genetic information about your health and ancestry. James also did one for himself, so we should get ours back at about the same time. I will be sure to share once I get the report back. Sarah Miller also gave me one of her original art pieces of Sloss Furnance which I am SUPER excited about, since it is my favorite Birmingham landmark. Thank you so much Sarah!
I will be spending my actual birthday in Atlanta and Columbus this weekend with my family. It’s Anna Banana’s birthday as well, so I will be happy to share the party with that sweet little one. My only priorities are to: 1. jump on a trampoline, 2. eat a bite of birthday cake, 3. relax, and 4. be happy. And… take lots of Instagram photos!
Today I want to leave you with these thoughts, which were forwarded to me by my friend Sarah Hodo this morning:
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: Know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. “
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
This year more than ever I am thinking about my birthday, and what turning a year older really means in the grand scheme of things. It isn’t necessarily that I’m afraid or sad, quite the opposite. Turning 34 has always been a weird thought for me… as growing up I never really planned past that age. It’s as if all major life events would have happened to me by now. hahaha I am more than happy to realize though that most of my biggest experiences and moments are yet to come… a pleasant turn of events. It may have been a mini early/mid-thirties life crisis, but in the end it helped me to realize that age is in fact just a number. At any age you can do a lineup of folks and see a broad range of perspectives, which then reflects on how old the person really feels. If you feel over and done, then others will perceive you that way as well. If you feel alive and young with an optimistic future, then you will always have that glow in your spirit no matter the number of your physical body. I need to remember too that while growing up, I always looked forward to being in my 30′s. I imagined it to be a time in my life where everything fell into place for me. And in a lot of ways, it has. I still think that we aren’t taught to look forward to other decades though. You don’t hear many people saying, “Dang… I can’t wait to be 60!”, when they are still 30-something. I don’t know how to change that way of thinking, either. My grandmother is always reading books that talk about the reasons why life gets better as we get older. It’s probably all in making peace with how your body ages… because you are always the same person on the inside. In fact, I do believe you probably get better and better with time.
There is also another way to look at it: maybe 30 somethings (and beyond) don’t look forward to other decades because they’ve learned the value of living in the here and now. Does it really matter what I will be doing 10 years from now, if I’m not acting on my happiness at this very moment? Probably not. I think the answer boils down to this: making peace with who you are on the inside and outside at every point in the game. Do you feel good about where you are? Do you like the people who are around you? Do you feel excited, happy and joyful more often that not? Then you are probably doing something right. When I look at it that way, I am more than grateful to be the person I am today at almost 34… and in the years to come.
Just as we thought our little short film Crush would be ending its festival circuit soon, we’ve gotten a few emails in the past week that might lead to another screening or two before it’s all said and done! Keep your fingers crossed, as that would really be fantastic news. It’s already surpassed my expectations, so anything else at this point is icing on the cake. We are so excited about the upcoming Oxford Film Festival as well… should be a great weekend! I will be looking at it as an extended birthday celebration.
I can’t decide if I am happy or sad about it already being February. It’s hard to be down when it’s your birthday month, but it’s also crazy that January of 2013 is now a thing of the past. Was it the month you hoped it would be? Did you get off on the right foot for the year? January isn’t the only time where you can make new beginnings happen. If you didn’t start acting on your dreams or ideas, or if you felt like you didn’t give it your best effort, then now is the time to move forward! I feel pretty good about my initiations in the new year.
Speaking of acting on your dreams, I was thinking last night about age. Why is it that we don’t hear much about “first time” achievements by people over a certain age? Why do the best of the best have to be under 30 or 40? I love to hear stories about older folks making things happen… still having passion, energy and drive. People who are first time authors later in life, or who decide to go out and finish their first Ironman at 70. I sometimes feel that too much attention is put on being young and beautiful with a “bright future.” What about those making the future happen now? I’m interested in you, the average person, looking to be extraordinary. I am interested in always finding new ways to live, new ways to look forward, and new ways to be now. I don’t want to follow a cookie cutter life. Pretty sure none of us do… but what are we doing to break out of that mold? What are we doing to help others do the same? All I know is that when I am 70, 80, and hopefully 90, I have big plans to still look forward to. Things that are unexpected and thrill me to the core. Isn’t that exciting to think about? I need to know that there will always be ways for me to express myself, ways for me to contribute to my community. Things that aren’t based on appearance, but based on the richness of my inner being. Does aging scare you, or do you feel like your contributions decline as you get older? I’m just curious what the general thoughts are out there.
Happy Friday, and February! This week has been a full one, with much success accomplishing a pretty big to-do list. Also – happy to report that I lost 10 pounds in the month of January… despite the one evening off for Twelve. James has lost 12. So proud of us both! February is the last full month we will have to dedicate to getting back to our healthy weight ranges. More than likely our goals will be reached the first or second week of March.
I can’t believe it’s February… which means it’s officially birthday month! I love my birthday, but still haven’t decided exactly what I will be doing. I will be in Birmingham the weekend before, and looks like a bunch of friends will be gathering at Avondale Park for a duel birthday party for me and Sherri Ross. I will be doing a post later today on Twitter and Facebook about it if any friends would like to join. Just bring yourself and fun! Little ones welcome. On my birthday weekend I will be going to Columbus to see my niece, Anna, whose birthday is also that week! Then on my actual birthday, February 17th, I will spend the day with my bb in Atlanta. Maybe we will explore the city on our bikes in order to burn enough calories to eat a nice dinner somewhere. That would be my perfect day!
Times change fast. Last night I got to say goodbye to a dear friend of mine, Misty, who is moving away to start a new life with her husband in South Carolina. It made me think about all of the memories we’ve shared together, and how just a few years can be so impactful on your life. In many ways Misty has been a mentor, having a distinct intuition and insight on career and personal matters which she has always been kind enough to share with me. More than anything else though, she has always been a great friend when I’ve needed one most. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter in her life brings, and I also can’t wait to visit her to build new memories.
Today I feel so very grateful for the many things I have to look forward to. Especially the surprises. I feel alive, empowered, healthy and loved. Maybe it’s because the sun is shining or maybe because it’s Friday… no matter the reason I am so very happy in this life.
I love the wind, especially when it’s 70 degrees outside. Yesterday was a gorgeous day for just that reason. Wind is mysterious and exciting as it usually blows in change. As far as the weather is concerned, storm clouds almost always follow a day of high winds…which is exactly what happened last night. While going to sleep it sounded like ghosts surrounded my mini house. The wind screamed and howled against my windows, and the wind chimes sounded like someone was bashing them against a wall. I liked it, it was something different to listen to while to while dozing off. However around midnight I woke up as if from a nightmare with my heart racing. I jumped out of bed and felt extremely alarmed. So, of course I called my mom. :) (Sorry mom.) Turns out that the same thing had happened to her….her heart was racing and she couldn’t seem to fall back to sleep. Maybe it was just the weather, but that was an odd coincidence to me.
I am so thankful that it is Friday. This weekend I am heading to the mountains with some friends, so that should be a nice relaxing trip. I actually love being surrounded by nature and wish that I would do it more. I guess it is a reminder that the world is much bigger than my little office space. I can see myself camping and spending more time outdoors one day, as it brings a peace of mind that nothing else can. As much as I’d like to think that I can control what is going on around me, it’s actually the world that is taking care of us each and every day. The sun always manages to come up, there is food available to eat, and water flows freely. It’s almost as if I live in a bubble when I’m stressed or worried, but luckily bubbles are easily popped.