Friday, July 31, 2009

Staring down the barrel of a gun... A little bit about Fear and Courage

Ever felt like you were staring down the barrel of a gun, even though there was no weapon in sight?

I think we all have “guns” in our lives. To me, they represent the things we are most afraid of. No, I don’t mean things like a fear of spiders, etc. I mean the things in life that may be intangible that initiate an innate terror-filled reaction.

One of those “guns” I stare down every day is the battle with my weight. I’ve been overweight since the 3rd grade, and PCOS doesn’t make it easy to keep it off at all. What was I so afraid of? Where that battle with obesity has taken me. I’ve been in deep depression, battling self-esteem, etc. I actually used to be afraid that the person under all that fat would be somehow different – as if taking off the weight would make me someone I really didn’t want to be.

By staring down this gun, I’ve learned that I’m still me – no matter the size.

Another of those “guns” for me used to be divorce. That was my absolute worse fear. I didn’t understand it and felt that it was something that would never touch my life. Afterall, my folks have been together forever (and still are, over 35 years later). I come from a Christian background, where divorce is frowned on in almost all circumstances. Divorce was the boogie man under the bed for me. I didn’t really believe in it. However, I learned that, it doesn’t matter if you believe in divorce. But just because you don’t believe in gravity doesn’t negate gravity’s effect on you.

But if there is one thing I learned, sometimes it’s only by staring down the barrel of that gun are we forced to grow and change.

Since then, I’ve achieved more than I ever thought possible. I’ve been in several stage shows (something I put on the back burner far too long), competed and completed a triathlon, become more outgoing (though I’m still a pretty reserved person), and realized the importance of good friends and good people in my life. When a friend of me referred to me as her hero, and another called me “impressive”, I realize that the only reason they feel this way is because they’ve seen me tighten my belt, grab my boot straps, and carry on. Whether they knew it or not, each of them helped considerably in that process. (You know who you are – and you have my undying gratitude.) Not unlike the battle with my weight – Gamer boy was the first person to remind me that I’m still very much the me he knew almost 10 years before.

Thanks to the support of those who love me, I emerged from my own personal hell much like a phoenix- better and stronger.

But a new gun emerged out of that one…

Now I am aware of the Boogie Man. I’m aware that, despite our best efforts, sometimes things just don’t work. Someone who pledged their life to you one day, may renege on that the next.

Though I desire a family of my own like crazy, and I can see myself married someday with a family of my own, it’s that step of actually getting married again that is the new "gun." Thankfully, this isn’t a gun I need to stare down this instant. With no impending engagement on the horizon, I have plenty of time. But I know, someday, I’ll be standing there, being asked the question, and will have to answer.

Thankfully, stronger than this “gun” is my sense of faith, hope, and peace that even that aspect of my life will work itself out, given time, and the right circumstances. A certain amount of fear is healthy when considering a life-time commitment. But in the end, I know enough about myself to know that I refuse to live in a world where I let these "guns" rule me.

When my heart and my mind say, “say Yes”, I’m sure I’ll find that this particular gun… is out of ammunition. ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Orphan" and the Longing Playlist

Last night, I saw the movie “Orphan”. 

 Now, I love psychological thrillers, and, in that respect, this one didn’t disappoint me. But half way through it, I actually considered leaving the theater and was kicking myself for giving this film my money.

See, I’m adopted. And there are SO many horror stories of adoption out there, this seemed to be just another one that I was supporting. I was buying the story – hook, line, and sinker. The writers had done their homework and really displayed well the struggles of adopting an older child into a new family.  I consider myself somewhat of an expert on a lot of the “anti-adoption” themes out there. 

For example, AI was a WONDERFUL movie! Not only was it a technological marvel of a film (and a modern day Pinnocchio), but it was very candid about the disposability of children in our society.  That’s a hard subject that most of us don’t want to face. Unwanted children are the unsightly blight of most countries – rather than an asset. Afterall, you never know which one of them will grow up to cure cancer, save a life, win a war, etc.  They are often blamed for their parents irresponsibility, rather than find good homes where they are nurtured, respected as individuals, and brought up to explore with curiosity and passion, rather than fear or resentment against a world that did them wrong.

Anyway - Thankfully, Orphan  got better and shifted gears a bit, away from a horror story of an adopted kid gone bad.

If you’re a psychological thriller lover, this won’t go down in the history books, but is at least worth a peek. It’s great at keeping you on the edge of your seat. Just, please…. Don’t be like the guy in the theater that brought his 2-3 year old… I mean, come on people. Kids pick up on vibes… do you really NEED to expose them to sex and violence because you couldn’t get a sitter?

Anyway – I’m off my soap box now.

So I started a new playlist today in my Itunes. I don’t do this very often. It’s a time consuming process going through my library and picking out songs to condense under one simple theme. So I came up with this playlist to give a positive, hopeful, vibe to my work day (which feels even LONGER since I’m looking forward to picking Sistah’ Girl up at the airport this afternoon, and seeing Wicked tomorrow).
Anyway – so here are some shameless plugs from my “<3 list” playlist:
Forever – By Chris Brown
Could you love – Nick Lachey
So Close – Jon Mclaughlin
This I swear – Nick Lackey
If that’s what it takes – Celine Dion
We can go Anywhere – Jesse McCartney
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross
Can’t stop loving you – Nick Lachey
Private Emotion – Ricky Martin & Meja
Run to Me – Nick Lachey
Helpless when she smiles – Backstreet Boys
Open your eyes – Nick Lachey
I wanna love you forever – Jessica Simpson
Unmistakable – Backstreet Boys
Easier to be – Lifehouse
You can let Go –Backstreet Boys
Edge of Eternity – Nick Lachey
I will Carry You – Clay Aiken
Feels like Home – Melissa Etheridge
Taking Chances – Celine Dion
I Drove all Night – Celine Dion
I will Be – Leona Lewis
I’m your angel – R. Kelly and Celine Dion
If I didn’t have you – From Monster’s Inc
Whatever it takes – Lifehouse
Welcome to this Day – Melissa Etheridge

Shameless plug over. See you guys on the flip side!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Maya Angelou vs. Me

We all get these e-mail forwards from time to time, but every once in a while, you get a fairly profound one that's worth sharing. The following poem has been credited to Maya Angelou -

enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

*My take: This doesn't just apply to women.

something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

*My Take: While I have two great little black dresses, I really don't have great interview outfit. Hm....

a youth she's content to leave behind....

*My Take: While I am at peace with the way my youth panned out, I don't think any woman should leave her childhood behind completely. I believe that part of a woman's charm is in those moments when she can catch a glimmer of girlhood.

a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

*My Take: Every woman should also have those private moments that are for her and her alone... and maybe that one lifetime gal pal.

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

*My Take: And every man should have socks without holes in them.

one friend who always makes her laugh..
and one who lets her cry...

*My Take: I got lucky. I got a couple people that allow me to do both. THANK GOD.

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

*My Take: And it should be the bed, because there is nothing like a well worn dining room table to say, "Love knows this house".

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored...

*My Take: Too many wine glasses cause clutter...and are useless without wine and friends, so the guest list is more important than the recipie and the tableware.

a feeling of control over her destiny...

*My Take: Every woman should be able to make a plan, and understand that controlling the uncontrolable is a useless waste of effort.

how to fall in love without losing herself..

*My Take: AMEN! Love doesn't mean changing who you are to be who somebody wants you to be. It means being you, and being love and accepted for being you.

how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...

*My Take: I am aweful at all of these.

when to try harder...

*My Take: And when being stubborn is being in your own way.

that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

*My Take: Accepting yourself for who you are allows you to accept others for who they are.

that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

*My Take: Love lets you live a second childhood, and a third - through the eyes of children.

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

*My Take: Too bad we all have to learn this the hard way.

how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

*My Take: Every PERSON should live alone for 1 year in their lives. It teaches you independence, and how to value assistance when offered.

whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

*My Take: This is another one EVERY PERSON should learn.

where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table..
or a charming Inn in the woods....
when her soul needs soothing...

*My Take: Whoever you are, whatever your gender, FIND THIS PLACE. No one person will ever be able to meet all of your needs. YOU are ultimately responsible for seeing your emotional needs met. Knowing when to seek others and when to seek peace is a good one.

what she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

*My Take: Knowing which limitations to fight, which to accept, and which to get help with is something only age can teach, but only wisdom can recognize.

*Now... Your Take?

Friday, July 24, 2009

"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow..." A week in review and weekend run down

I'll admit, I've been a bit of a worry wart lately. I've got lots of irons on the fire lately, so I'm seeing where this journey takes me next. I'm excited to see how some things unfold, and scared to see how others will, but I've always believed there is a greater purpose behind everything and that, in the end "everything will work out".

This week, I have barely spent a single night at home. Yes, that's something that needs to change next week, but the highlights of my week were spending some time eating dinner at Milton's with my bio-dad on Tuesday. We don't often get to spend time together, so that was great!

Other great things I found out this week:

My airfare to the Disneyworld vacation in December with Sista' Girl is taken care of due to my dad's frequent flier miles. YEAH! I was really sweating being able to afford the trip, but now, since all I'll be shouldering is hotel, souveniers, and the 1 sit down meal a day, I'm getting more and more excited to go and celebrate all the changes in our lives, and all the new things to come next year. So that means by next week, I'll most likely be scheduling my airfare and we'll be going w/ a hotel package. It's getting closer....

It also looks like I will definately have enough PTO to pull off this vacation - my first full week away from work since 2005! (Being sick and having shingles don't count as "vacation time".)

The Wild Animal Park and the Zoo have nighttime hours this summer! I hoped they would stay open late, but with economy being what it is, one never knows. Since I have a pass that allows me to get into both, I'll be able to check out the animals after dark. Always fun!

The DisUnplugged podcast read my e-mail during one of their shows (which is always a thrill) and answered my tough question! It was definately good news too, but I'll post that on my Disney blog someday before the trip in December. They also made fun of my hometown's name (Escondido). It is pretty fun to say, so I can't blame 'em!

Sistah' Girl is coming over next weekend to see Wicked with me and some co-workers! I may also have been able to sell all of my tickets to the show, and made enough dough to cover a picnic in the park before. Score!

So what does this weekend have in store? Hang on to your hats!

The Friends of the Magic meet is starting up in Disneyland today! While I don't think I'll be able to make it up there tonight like I want to, I really want to make it up there to have lunch with the woman who modeled for Tinkerbell tomorrow! This meet sounds great and I can't wait to be a part of it. Sunday, I'll be going up with Gerber Family - which is pretty darn cool too. It's been over a month since we've been together, and I just adore Sunday mornings in the parks.

Tonight I'm hoping to meet up with my parents for dinner and to discuss their most recent adventure. They just got back from a trip to Africa! I'm finally over my jealousy and just excited to see all the photos (my mom is really into photography lately), and hear all about the trip. I'm kinda hoping I can talk them into watching Rattatoullie with me on their HD screen, but we'll see. Since they were gone for about 2 weeks, they'll need

Saturday night I will also be checking out a new church with Gerber Family, and somewhere in the middle of all this I need to take care of business (get my car in to get a tired repaired, get new front brakes put on it, and it could really use another wash, complete housework, etc).

So that's the gist of it! Now back to work for me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

There is hot and tired and then there is HOT and TIRED!

Today I can't believe I made it into work. I got into 2am and was in bed around 3am. But man, it was a fun weekend!

After biking about 14 miles on Saturday (and ya'll know how out of shape I am, so that's quite a feat), and then spending 14 hours in Disneyland on Sunday (12 of which I'm pretty sure where on my feet), I'm surprised I made it in to work today. My housework isn't done completely yet, but it will be this week...sometime...after my work and work out hours are put in. }

And somewhere in there, I'll be back on the apartment shopping hunt and time to do something creative (like get back to singing).

As my schedule is already filling up, and the temperature here is rising, I find myself being reminded that REST is a good thing. Tonight, it's sort of forced. My DVD player has decided it's too hot to read discs, and my poor dog is going crazy with the heat, so the only thing to do now is to head to the one air conditioned room in the house - the bedroom - and call it an early (before midnight) night!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Movie Review - Transformers 2

I recently saw Transformers 2 (I know, I know, FINALLY) and I thought it was pretty great. I loved the action, but the adult humor got a little over the top. I didn't really hear many adults giving off more than a passing giggle at most of the jokes. Many of them received the cold shoulder all together from the exact audience they were aimed for. THAT should tell you SOMETHING.

Other than that, special effects were great and the story was more indepth than the last.

But being the intellectual that I am, I started wondering... What is it about Optimus Prime that has people of both genders enthralled with this character? In a scene where Mr. Prime is single-robot-handedly protecting Sam from robots, I realized what it was. He's the perfect man.

No, really, he is!

He's a bit of a father figure to the male community. He's a leader, intelligent, commanding physical prowess (aren't many cars bigger than a semi!) and warrior-like skills.

For the female community, he is sensative, but far from a push over. He's articulate, but able to put his oil where his mouth is. There's a tenderness about this creature that reaches out to women. As one of my theater pals put it, "I want to have his baby."

Overall though - his nobility transends gender.

For women, nobility (at least for this woman) is one of sexiest traits there is. It just breeds a sense of security.
For men, nobility makes you either want to follow or fight along side this guy. Obviously, he knows what's up!

There ya go - definately worth a see. And I hope to go back and see it in IMax with my brother and dad someday soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Getting loud about being quiet

“Son: Father, will the MacGregor’s ever be kings again?
ROB ROY: All men with honor are kings - but not all kings have honor.
SON: What is honor?
ROB ROY: Honor is.. what no man can give ye, and no one can take away. Honor is a man’s gift to himself.
SON: Do women have it?
ROB ROY: Women are the heart of honor - and we cherish and protect it in them. You must never mistreat a woman, or malign a man. Or stand by and see another do so.
SON: How do you know if you have it?
ROB ROY: Never worry in the getting of it. It grows in ye and speaks to ye. All you need to do is listen.” -
From the film Rob Roy.

I am a reserved person by nature. I know what you're thinking. It's probably along the lines of, "A blogger?! An actress?! A singer?! How is anyone who lives by those descriptions "reserved"?" Well, get to know me well enough and you’ll know that I guard my secret heart very closely. That said, I will advertise this much – honor is a quality I prize in those around me. I look up to honorable men (and women) – and am so glad to have had a few great examples of that in my life, starting with my parents.

All that said, I’ve learned that, because of these examples, I expect A LOT from people. However, I don't think I also don’t think it’s a bad or unreasonable expectation. I expect someone to live up to his/her word (even the small ones) whenever humanly possible. And I expect them to expect the same from me. I'm not off the hook either in this equation. It helps keep me accountable and honest, and forces us to think about what we say before we say it.

As I think about the future and things like marriage, while it's still a long way off, I am reminded of what a position of honor it is to be called "wife" or "husband".

By the same token, I consider being called "friend" a place of honor as well.

Afterall- all of these positions in life are a privledge, not a right. I can't think of a goal more noble than choosing to live up to all of those different positions and titles we gain in life to the best of our abilities. It's by living in our convictions that we bring honor to ourselves and those around us. It gives words like, "I love you,", "I do", and "I'm proud of you," gravity. It instills confidence in others and security that our word is our bond. That what we say is what we mean to say and live up to.

Honor is one of those amazing things. You don't have to tell people you have it. It shows every day. It will often earn you honors as well, but it doesn't seek that. It just seeks to be true to it's word and convictions. I'm so grateful to have won the parent lottery. They modeled this lifestyle for me and I hope to be the model as well for my own further generations, when those come someday down the line.

What traits do you think you'd leave behind for your future generations?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Summer Has In Store

So here's a short version of July 4th spent in San Diego. Clydas handled the fireworks very well. The only one that spooked him were the really big ones that seemed to come from overhead. We watched them from the Embarcadero.

I've been really restless and a battling unhappiness lately. Maybe it's a summer thing? I can just say that sometimes I realize I'm not quite where I want to be, but instead of beating myself up over it, I'm reaching out and remind myself that I am a work in progress - afterall, this isn't "J's Destination Book". It's "J's Journey Book". I'm just finding my way through some wilderness on this journey - that's all.

So- that said, in the immortal words of Lou Mongello, "Keep moving forward!" Here are some of the things I'm looking forward to this summer.

Harry Potter and the 1/2 Blooded Prince
I haven't been to a midnight movie opening in years, but that's where I'll be at 12:06 tomorrow morning!

On the 31st of this month, I'll be taking my seat to enjoy one of my all-time favorite musicals! What better excuse to dress up and go out than Orchestra seats to an amazing show?

No, this is not Andrew Lloyd Weber's famous Phantom of the Opera, but it is a retelling of the same story - and yet another one of my favorite musicals of all-time. This musical involves more of the characters. It's for anyone who's ever wondered about the involvement and lives of the characters in the show- not just the romance between the Phantom and Christine. It's a beautiful story with so much more depth than it's more famous counter part. Written by two Tony award winning fellows, it's not to be missed. And it's also playing at one of my favorite venues - Moonlight Ampitheater, where you get to picnic under the stars and see a professional musical theater production for about $20/person! Can't beat that with a stick.

I'm registered for the Pacific Northwest Mousemeet in Washington state in August (assuming travel arrangments work out), and The Friends of the Magic Mousemeet in Disneyland later this month. I may even have some Celebrations Press swag to give out! We'll see.

Confirmation of dates of the Danskin Women's Triathlon
Hopefully this will be coming out in late August! Rumor has it, the tri in Disneyland will be in October. Perfect weather for it! I wonder where we'll be swimming this year....

And I'm sure there are other things headed by way that aren't even a blip on my map yet.

Hope you're all having a great summer! Next blog? Movie reviews!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Video Game Geeks are good people.

This weekend, I had the occasion to go into two different GameStop stores and the guys behind the counter were really cool. They had that "we have the best job in the world," vibe. So - I think I finally figured out why I like geeks.

They are passionate about something, and often so passionate about it that they don't care what anyone else thinks. That's definately my cup of tea! Being an overgrown Disney fan, musical theater/theater fan, and (yes, still) role-player - it's a quality I completely understand and sympathize with.

You could say we speak the same language, even if our topics are different.

I've been really blessed these past few years to become friends with some people who are very passionate about the adventures in their lives. Many of them work towards making those dreams a reality just to see where the path takes them. It's exciting to count myself as a part of their lives.

And I find that watching them persue their dreams and live in their passions feeds that trait in me that doggedly persues my dreams as well. Afterall, I would NEVER have done a Triathlon if Bon Bon hadn't gotten me caught up in her enthusiasm. I would never have entered a 1/2 marathon if Fly Boy hadn't reminded me that I constantly underestimate myself.

While some may see video game geeks as a drain on society, just sitting on their rumps and staring at a screen all day, I believe there's more to them than that. Yes, life is full of adventures that you may miss if your ONLY hobby is enjoying all that technology has to offer, but, generally speaking - anyone who follows their God given passions can't be too off the mark as far as I'm concerned. ;)

So to all you gamers out there -
Game on.