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I can’t explain this wonderful mood I’m in this morning… maybe because I’ve gotten to spend the last few days with my sister Christy and her little girls (with the announcement of the third on the way!!), maybe it’s the perfect temps outside, or the impending holiday weekend. What ever the reasons may be, I’ll take them.
I’ve been doing a lot of planning this week for how Bubble will unfold in the next few months. I met with our composer, Ted Speaker, on Tuesday and we talked about the many ideas he has planned. He never ceases to surprise me with his insight and direction. I’m excited to hear what he does for us. Like most people on this project, he is an active filmmaker himself, so looks like he will finish up his work in July along with Jim, our special effects guru and art director. Hopefully Bubble will have an active festival year once it is out in the world! This time around I want to try to attend as many festivals as we can. The most rewarding part of the whole process is always watching your film with other people, especially for the first time.
I am also doing really well with my writing. By this Sunday my goal is to hit page 20 of my feature-length script! Once I am finished with edits and revisions, I want to start submitting it to some select script competitions to see how it does. All I know is I am much, much better screenplay writer than I am an author. :D I’m really glad I changed my direction. It’s all about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses can be overcome with time, but it has to be something you are passionate enough about.
I have been getting back into running with great joy. I was reminded of a quote yesterday that I really love: A body in motion stays in motion. It’s so true. I was really slacking there for a while, and the less I ran, the less I wanted to run. But once I got back out there and broke the seal again, it easily became something I wanted to do as often as possible. I love feeling good, and running only boosts my overall optimism and energy.
I came across an amazing article this morning shared by my friend Darrell Hazelrig, about “finding what you love and letting it kill you.” I think you will enjoy it, so I decided to share it in my blog today. In one short read in encapsulates the struggle and overwhelming joy that is chasing a creative dream… or anything you love for that matter. It might be painful at times, but there is nothing more rewarding in the end. Beautiful words.
This past weekend was jam-packed with activity, with the biggest news being that I finally got to see one of my all-time favorite bands play – Band of Horses! It wasn’t under the best circumstances though since it was pouring rain and pretty cold outside. At least it was memorable… I will never forget the sea of ponchos and sinking in the quicksand-like mud as he sang perfectly in front of us. I knew every song, every word. Their music makes me so happy.
The sun came out for a little while the next day, so James and I utilized our Six Flags season passes and had a free-for-all all over the park! All the lines for the rides were super short so we literally went crazy jumping on everything in our path. Rides I hate: Batman & The Ninja ( get a headache every time). Rides I LOVE: Goliath, Mind Bender & Superman. Rides that are still to scary for me to attempt: Acrophobia. I just can’t do it. But I promised James that the next we went I would make myself! There is also a new ride opening up this summer called the SkyScreamer, which looks like a nightmare come to life. It’s basically the traditional swings that you see at every theme park… but 24 STORIES ABOVE THE GROUND. I will keep you posted on if I am brave enough to try it out. Probably not.
This week one of my goals is to start getting into a regular routine with running again. While I’ve been maintaining a three miler a few times a week, I’ve noticed that I’m just not as regular as I used to be. Which is fine… going through phases is totally normal for me. You can’t stay super jazzed about something 100% of the time. I know running makes me feel good and gives me more energy, so I look forward to being more fit again.
Also on this week’s docket is to write write write. I want to do some character development exercises and freehand a bunch of notes on paper. I need to revisit my script schedule for an August deadline, and work backwards until I have weekly and daily milestones. There are few things I enjoy more than an assignment, so I think this is really good for me!
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.
A very grateful thanks to my fellow bloggers Sherri Ross and Jennifer Dome who both gave me an Inspiring Blog Award this week! These ladies are not only friends of mine, but a huge inspiration to the community on so many levels. They are both funny, smart, strong, independent, passionate women. Add their blogs to your daily reading, you won’t regret it.
This morning was my first official weigh-in in my mini quest to lose some weight, and I am happy to report that I’ve lost 3 pounds! The first week of any healthy eating program is usually the most successful weight-loss wise, but I hope to maintain a 2 pound weekly loss until I reach my goal. James was also successful in week 1, so we are on the right track! We have been tracking our calories in MyPlate on Livestrong.com, based on our height, weight, gender and age (on the light activity setting, b/c you can add exercise as you do it). Of all the “diets” and lifestyle changes I’ve tried in the past (and I’ve tried them ALL), calorie counting is the easiest and most reliable thing to do. And… it’s free!! As for the foods we try to eat, I always try to include at least 15 grams of fiber per day (to keep you full) and opt for a well-balanced diet. I try to eat things that I look forward to having, and build in a treat every now and then like a glass of wine. If I exercise, I allow myself half of those additional burned calories. It’s such an easy formula, and will work for almost anyone. An important thing to remember too is that you don’t want to lose more than 2 pounds a week (with the exception of your first and possibly second week) as statistically you are more likely to gain it back.
I know what is termed as yo-yo dieting, gaining and losing weight repeatedly within a certain amount of time, is hard on your body. In my lifetime I have certainly fluctuated within ranges that would fall in this category. I know ideally I would stay a certain weight for the rest of my life. But somehow I can’t seem to shake the feeling of gratitude in my confidence to return to a certain size. I know how to lose weight, I know how to be healthy. I may go on sabbatical from time to time, but I know I can get back to my happy place. Sometimes I even wonder if I get a thrill from the challenge…almost setting myself up to do it all again. I don’t think that is the truth though… I just think that I find happiness in being able to let go sometimes, and I also find happiness in snapping back into a routine with proven results. Whatever the case, I am very grateful to not have to lose too much. My goal should be reached by the end of February/early March. I think the real weight-loss heroes are the ones with a significant amount to lose – because their focus has to be on target for a longer amount of time. I find people with passionate determination, for any personal initiative, the most inspiring of them all.
Speaking of passionate initiatives, I feel like I have so many things that light a fire in me right now. There is nothing more rewarding that working on things that make you feel excited inside. Between working on Twelve with James (which has some exciting future prospects), writing my book, and other creative ideas in the works – I feel fulfilled. Funny how none of these things are monetary, isn’t it? I find great joy in a plan… figuring out how to make things work. A lot of my free time is spent dreaming or developing a course of action for goals large and small. If the key to happiness is as simple as working on things that make you feel alive, then by George… what are we waiting for?
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.
Last night while watching the Olympics (which I am totally hooked on despite all the spoilers), I did some research on the idea of opportunity. What is the ratio of opportunity sought out compared to opportunity that just presents itself? And if one is looking for opportunity, what is the average amount of time before giving up if it can’t be found? I found all sorts of answers to these questions, and as you probably suspect it has everything to do with outlook, drive and determination. The likelihood of success is highly in your favor if you are actively searching it out, even if it doesn’t unfold exactly the way you had planned. I think if you put positive energy into something, eventually it is going to come back. Maybe not when or how you expected, but it does nonetheless. I was thinking about this as I was watching Gabby win her gold medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around. Just a year before she had considered quitting, and was at a low point in her athletic career. What a difference 365 days can make, as she is now #1 in the entire world. I know this is an extreme point/case, but I see it happen more often than not. When someone really, really wants something – and they give it their all – it can’t help but happen. That’s also why they say, “be careful what you wish for.” If your outlook is doom and gloom, your world probably is too. But if you have hope, good intentions, and dreams (with a little sparkle of energy) then that positive energy will turn into something beautiful.
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?
Last night I had my monthly Drinks with Debbie, and it never fails to be so rewarding for my soul. I love hearing her stories… they cross a wide gamut of feelings and topics. She makes me laugh, think and smile. There is always so much to catch up on, even if it’s only been a month since our last date. After we wrapped up, she invited me over to her house to meet her two new kittens – Rojo and J Clyde (after two popular restaurants/bars in B’ham). They are about 7 weeks old and completely adorable. We talked for a little bit longer on her porch as the sun set over Birmingham, as she’s got one of the best views in the city. The perfect ending to a great evening with a dear friend. If you haven’t already, you should check out her blog here. I hope that she considers writing a book or play one day…as she has such an interesting and humorous perspective on life in general.
I was talking with someone recently about the pressure to “do”, and how what we’ve done or plan to do somehow defines who we are. While I think that accomplishments can certainly provide a snapshot of a life, there is just so much more to us than that. I know I have a lot of self-applied pressure to do what I consider to be big things – like write a book, make films and complete crazy physical challenges. I wonder sometimes though why I feel like I have to accomplish these things, and would my life be any less enjoyable if I didn’t? Actually… I think so, and it’s because I really want to do them. The real issue here is that maybe we don’t put enough emphasis on doing nothing at all. Why isn’t relaxing a priority? When you write a goal list, or see someone else’s, why isn’t exploring or having adventures usually included? Recently I did write a list that included things that were fun, and as I read it to myself in the mornings my heart gets the most excited when it comes to those items. I think that goals shouldn’t always be a challenge or super hard to attain. Maybe, instead, they should allow you to just be yourself.
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.
Soooo last night while literally running out of the office, I hit my eye on a metal robe hanger and sliced my skin open. It didn’t bleed too much, but it was a pretty deep cut. I actually had to pause for a minute after I hit it because I thought I was going to pass out. Today I am sporting an attractive bandage over my left eye socket. Fortunately we had a pre-med student on hand at work who patched me up pretty nicely. I may even get some skin glue today if I am lucky.
Our work photo shoot went really great yesterday, even though it rained for most of it. The extra water on the ground ended up working in our favor though since we were shooting to promote an event called “Every Drop” benefiting the Cahaba River Society. We shot two months worth of editorial images with eleven different looks. The photos are going to be just gorgeous, so it was well worth the effort.
Do you know what I love? People who ask you to push your limits. I am being pushed in all sorts of ways these days… both at and outside of work. I am currently working on a pretty significant personal goal (separate of my book), and last night I submitted some of the things I had put together to make it happened. This morning I got an email back from someone saying that I could do better, and that I was basically selling myself short. My first thought was frustration, but I quickly realized that it was a blessing to be challenged in such a way by someone who actually cares. This person believes in me, and knows what I am capable of. That was the sole purpose of their message, and I absorbed it to the core. Honesty is everything… honesty from others, as well as honesty with yourself. That is the only way you can ever have the information you need to move forward.
There is a phrase that has been stuck in my head for the past few weeks – you get what you put into it. It takes a lot of work to see big results. It’s like riding a bike up a steep hill…it hurts like hell and you feel like you will never get to the top. Sometimes there are curves in the road that prohibit you from even seeing the peak, which can make your effort seem hopeless at times. But if you try, you will always reach the top. And do you know what happens after you reach the summit? You get to fly.