Friday, December 23, 2016

Making a Diamond


When I was a little girl, I was quite the introvert.  I would tremble from head to toe when I had to meet someone new and was expected and urged to speak to that person.  I have memories of hiding behind my father's leg, burying my face from view, because if I couldn't see them, they couldn't see me...at least that was how it felt and I felt more at ease when I couldn't be seen...or thought I wasn't seen.  I never liked being the center of attention.

I've always had at least one friend who didn't know the meaning of shy and knew no stranger.  They were that person who always stood out in a crowd and always seemed to have a spotlight on them.  They were loud, obnoxious, flamboyant, the life of the party.  I was always embarrassed to be around them and be seen with them when they drew attention our way.  I never understood why they would want to be seen so much.  On the other hand, I admired them, their strength and confidence and wanted desperately to be like that...to be that strong and confident.

Being seen and having to talk to people...to me...meant risking that person knowing things about me that I didn't really want them knowing.  Maybe it meant they would know me better and I would like them and with that risk came being hurt, physically and/or emotionally.

It wasn't until I was an adult, after 2 kids and 3 divorces, that I would learn that the obnoxious friend was never concerned about what others thought of them.  They weren't intentionally trying to draw attention to themselves.  They simply were themselves...free and confident in who they were.  I didn't know what that was like.  I was too busy trying to please other people and be what they wanted me to be.  I wasn't encouraged to be myself and pursue dreams.  Dreaming wasn't being realistic and you couldn't cash a dream.

I was raised somewhat sheltered.  I was never told how difficult life could be.  I was never taught how to deal with conflict and struggle.  I was raised in a "broken" home.  My mother always struggled financially and in her romantic relationships.  She is a poor manager of money.  She knows it.  She was never taught how to manage money and just accepted that as fact and the way things would always be.  She never tried to change it.  She came to accept that she isn't good at being in a relationship and accepted that and chose to be alone.  There is nothing wrong with that at all.  She is her best when she is alone because she doesn't know how to be herself while she is in a relationship.  She taught me that being in a relationship meant giving all of yourself to that person and only that person and that no one else mattered, least of all self.

My father has always been the protector.  He did his best to protect us from any harm.  He sheltered us from knowing any struggle he endured by simply not discussing it.  To this day, he won't discuss any personal struggles.  He does offer advice, though, and his advice is sound.  He was always good at managing money and he and my step-mother did teach us some values in that regard.  It helped me to a large degree.  He taught me how to keep to myself and that being an adult meant going the same job every day for the next 50 years of my life, raising kids, and being a dutiful wife.  That was all there would ever be to life.  However, he also taught me that your limitations exist only in your mind.  If you believe you are limited, then you are limited.  My father is a great mechanic.  He can fix anything.  He can build buildings and engines from the ground up and most of it by himself.  He does it all with only 3 limbs.  Can you tie your shoe with one hand?  I've seen him do it countless times in my life.  I've only ever known my father with one arm.  I wouldn't learn the valuable lesson my father's life offered until I was in my mid-30's.

Growing up, I don't remember a time when I can say I was happy...in that I had a happy childhood.  it wasn't a horrible childhood but I was never really content.  The bad times really weighed on me kept me in the darkness.  I do have a few good memories that I cling to and share with my kids today.  I never really had conscious thoughts of "is there more to life," but I did feel that way.  I've been restless and want more in life, more than punching a clock day in and day out.

You hear interviews with Hollywood movie stars or entrepreneur rockstars and how great life is for them now.  They touch on how much of a struggle life was before they reached the top of their mountain but unless you live that struggle, and achieve the subsequent success, it is really impossible to relate to them.  For most of us, we live the struggle and never experience the success because we give up.  After enduring one struggle after another, we resolve that success just isn't in the cards for us.  That is something only people like "them" get to have...after all they MUST have something the rest of us don't, right?

I've been there with the rest of the negative Nellies.  I'm living that struggle right now.  I'm drowning in debt.  I hold my breath every week, praying we can pay the bills due that week and that nothing breaks.  This has been the life I have come to know.  I've known so much adversity and struggle.  I've known more of it than I have success.  The success I've known I had to fight like hell for.

After my last divorce, I finally began to focus on finding myself and learning who I am and what I want in life, instead of being what others wanted me to be and doing what they believed I should do.  It is then that I found acting and motivating others in health.  It is then that I learned that there IS more to life than punching a clock and that life is what I make of it.  I am in control of my own destiny.  Does that mean I won't still struggle?  Of course not!  All it means is I now know exactly where I am going.  I don't really know how to get there but I will figure it out and endure whatever hardships I must along the way.

I firmly believe that I am meant for more in this life and I will pursue it with all the ambition I can muster.  I will endure the heartaches, struggles, setbacks, and doubters because I believe I am a force to be reckoned with.  I will practice the law of attraction and attract to me that which I believe I meant to be.  I will not focus on the negative balance in my bank account or the lack of auditions coming in.  I will believe that the career-making role I'm meant to have is on its way to me and my finances will work themselves out while I practice good money management.

I am 2 months from turning 40 years old.  Most people would let this stop them from ever pursuing a dream or major change in their life because they are "too old."  I refuse to limit myself like that, not anymore.

I will use this blog, point-forward, as a gratitude and law of attraction journal and update on my progress in all my goals...weight loss, acting career advancement, and health motivation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Changes



This year has been wrought full of changes.  With changes, come new struggles and challenges.  I started a new full-time job outside the home again.  While the steady income is much needed, I'm finding I struggle with not having the freedom in my day that working at home afforded me.  Two months after I began this job my boyfriend lost his.  His income was rather substantial and now he makes half what he once did.  We are struggling to manage our finances.  We both are struggling with weight gain and loss and being consistent to be our healthiest.

We lived in a travel trailer for 3 months.  The intent was to live in it until we saved enough to build our own home.  The estimated time frame was 2 years.  We needed the travel trailer anyway for the line of work he does.  It seemed like a solid idea in theory.  However, living with 4 shedding animals in less than 500 square feet takes its toll on humans and animals alike!  I found myself making excuses to not be in that trailer for as long as possible.  That meant eating out a lot.  Needless to say, we had to make a change before someone got hurt!

We are very fortunate to have some incredible friends.  My best friend is letting us live in the house they recently moved out of while they remodel it.  She is charging me next to nothing.  It has allowed us to save money over what we were spending in lot rent and storage facility rent.

The building of our own home has been put on hold indefinitely.  We need to recover from job loss and greatly reduce the debt we incurred to buy the trailer and to survive while we were living on a quarter of the income.

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."  We are definitely being tried in these times.  We will survive, though.  We firmly believe that.  This is an opportunity for me to practice the law of attraction and see our goals to fruition, in spite of temporary set backs.

I have 2 immediate goals for myself. I will be working on them simultaneously.  First, I must lose the 40 lbs I've gained in the last 2 years.  I've struggled with using "quick fix" methods because I'm desperate.  I want my lean, fit, strong body back.  I am also enduring a lot of joint pain due to the excess weight.  However, I know that those quick fixes are just that.  They don't last.  I also want to prove that consistency and good choices to work and are the best, long-term method.  It requires patience...something I know I have in short supply.  I will not deprive myself of foods I love.  I will simply log them and include them in my day, staying within in my calorie range and sticking to my macros as closely as possible.  This is what works for me at this point in time.

The next thing I will be working on is being a better actor.  I haven't been giving that skill nearly enough time and attention. In addition to working on material and practicing scene study and character development, I will be reading books recommended by casting director.  The one that is on my table right now is How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor: An editor's advice for on-camera actors. I believe one cannot grow without continual learning.  Developing myself as a woman and as an actor is non-negotiable if I am to succeed.

That said, I will also be reading personal development books to grow my own character.  I'm starting with The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by Maxwell, John C.. I've read it before, a couple of time.  Each time I read it something new stands out to me and I learn more about myself and more about other people.  Personal development has helped me become more comfortable in my own skin and to be more forgiving of myself.

I am looking forward to the coming year.  All the changes that have happened this year are leading to great things, in spite of the challenges they have also brought.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Golden Milk


I have trouble sleeping most nights. There are times when melatonin doesn't even work. However, I have had this "golden milk" for the last 3 nights and I have slept better than I can remember in a long time!! I sleep almost too good! It is definitely going to continue as a part of my bedtime routine.

Here's the recipe:

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings

2 cups non-dairy milk (I prefer unsweetened almond, coconut, or cashew milk)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric paste (recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh may be used also)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1-2 teaspoons raw honey or 5 drops pure liquid stevia

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and gently heat over low heat. Whisk well to ensure you combine the paste, oil, and spices. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Turmeric Paste
1/4 cup turmeric powder (link posted below)
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix the turmeric and water in a pan over low heat, stirring until a paste is formed. Once you have a paste, stir in the black pepper. Cool and store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Happiness

"So many of us choose our lives out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I'm telling you you can ask the universe for it. Put it out in the universe and work toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass." 
~Jim Carrey

I have been absent from the blogosphere for nearly a year, save for a recipe post.  So much has happened in the last year.  I hardly know where to begin.

I looked back at my January 1 post last year and was amazed to see that I did actually accomplish a goal or two...okay so maybe just one goal was met.  I closed on my first home on March 15th.  I was well on my way to achieving all those goals...until life took an incredible turn.

On April 1st, 2015, within the first hour of arriving at work, I was laid off and escorted out of the building.  I was one of more than 250,000 energy services employees who lost their job last year due to the downturn in oil prices.  My boyfriend and I (who reunited after being apart for 14 years) had just started living together two months earlier.  I am incredibly fortunate he was in a position to take care of us.  Had it not been for him and his generosity, I would have lost everything.  

I proceeded to look for another job outside the home for the next 7 months.  In that time and after more than 100 applications, including jobs for which I knew I was overqualified, I was afforded one interview...for a job I knew would not hire me because I was grossly overqualified.  I received only a handful of rejection emails and heard nothing from the rest.

I was secretly slipping into a depression I would not allow myself to voice out loud to myself, let alone anyone else.  I fought it at every turn.  I had been running two home businesses the whole time I worked outside the home.  I tried to turn my focus and energy to those, but there was another demon to face.

I had gained back 30lbs of what I had lost.  It showed.  I didn't feel like I had the right to coach others to healthier lives when I was sabotaging my own health.  I was embarrassed and ashamed to put myself out in my acting career.  I was noticeably heavier than I was in all my finished work and headshots.  I went into hiding for about 3 months.

I slowly started to reach out for help.  Deep down, I knew hiding would only compound the problem.  I needed help.  I needed to learn how to help myself again.  I had a few friends who came out to help me and never judged me.  It's funny how that is the one thing we fear, especially when we lead a public life. 

I started forcing myself to work my businesses again, and I slowly began to care about my own health again.  I started gaining confidence in who I am again, as I am right now, in the moment.  I knew I needed to love myself as I am, no matter how much I weigh or what size clothes I wear.  I was a decent actress before I gained the weight.  The number on the scale never determined my talent, nor did it determine whether or not people would allow me to coach them.

I started reaching out to people, strangers, again, being completely honest and transparent about my journey.  They still want the help even though I slipped up.  I am human.  I am not a machine without struggles as so many people had come to believe.  I did catch my regain before I gained back all the weight but it has been a struggle to get any of it back off.  

I had to take it one step at a time.  I started with exercise because, while I was back to some terrible eating habits, I still made more good choices than bad.  Being lazy, however, is inherent.  I have a horrible habit of being lazy or busying myself with things to the point I make excuses to not get my exercise done, in spite of the fact that there isn't one negative thing about it.

Once I was able to consistently workout at least 4 days a week, I began to put more focus on following my nutrition plan.  That has been only recently.  I am still struggling but I finally feel more like the me 2 years ago who didn't struggle nearly as often and felt strong mentally and it showed physically.

This is a very late night post for me.  I couldn't sleep because I had so much weighing on my heart and mind.  I needed to put out in the universe this one thing...in the hopes that I will inspire at least one person to make a leap of faith...

...I am happy...for the first time in my life, truly, contently, peacefully, happy.

My business is only just now starting to grow after really putting concerted, consistent effort into it for about a month.  I currently make less than $100 a month.

I am completely and utterly broke!  I am about $900 in the red, more than $12,000 in credit card and loan debt, a car note and mortgage to pay, and 2 months behind on several bills.

I failed to mention...my boyfriend works in the oil industry, too, and was laid off twice in 4 months....while I had about $1000 in total income from acting.  We had used up what little we had managed to save in the first layoff.

I say it again...I am happy!!

Why?

I am in an amazing and healthy relationship with a man I have loved for 15 years and could not be with for 14 years.

I have the most amazing, loving, generous, kind-hearted, intelligent kids who love me.

My boyfriend's kids don't hate me and I get along really well with their mother.

I do still own my home and my car.  We do still have food to eat and heat to keep us warm.

I have parents who love me, no matter how much they disagree with my path in life.

I have few but incredibly amazing and loyal friends.

And the best part...

...I now have work that I love!  I have put my heart and soul into my acting career and online health coaching business for the last month.  I stopped hiding and started caring.  I care about myself and my family.  I care about the health and well-being of others.  I care about the success of my fellow actors.  I get up excited to start my day and sometimes, I am so excited and passionate that I can't possibly allow it to end.  

I am happy...in all areas of my life.  While I was working outside the home, and acting and coaching, the latter 2 are all I wanted to do.  I had said so many times that I wished I could do them full-time.  The universe knew I would never have enough faith in myself to do what I am doing full-time, so it made the opportunity for me.  Getting laid off was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I was not happy in any job I have had for at least 10 years.  I always had the feeling that there was something more to life than punching a clock, building someone else's dream, and missing my own family, and that I was meant to do more with mine.

I am now living my life on my own terms and I get to help others do the same.  We do it simply by caring about others.  Who would not want to have a career that pays them both financially and spiritually?  I never knew it was possible until now.

I am...happy! :)