Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heart of a Home

I am headed West in the morning. Home as you call it. But, it isn't the "home" I plan to dedicate this blog to at the time... There are different definitions according to the song in my slideshow. Anyway... before I get to that... My stepmommy is turning 50 so her daughter has come in from North Dakota with her three kids and my stepbrother and his wife are coming in with their two girls from Oklahoma. We are going to have an amazing family weekend! Before I get there I am making a detour through Snyder to go through Grandmommy's house. Being the only grandchild when your mother has passed does not have perks. Yes, I get half of everything... but, I do not like the business side of things. I do not like going through one's things. I just want to honor her memory forever so I want to have things of hers that will remain timeless and be given to my own grandchildren. It doesn't help that being in her home where "she" always was and always greeted me at the door is quite strange.

The word "home" is once again used.

I began piecing together a slideshow of "The House That Built Me." When I say I am going "home" I am now going to Midland, Texas. My Dad and Brenda live there now, but it is not my hometown. I consider it home now as they are my heart and my blood and they are there in their existence. In my heart the home that built me is in Big Spring, Texas. After Mom passed we all moved on with our lives because we must... that home then became more of just a house. The essence of our small three person family was forever changed. Once Dad and Brenda united we all knew they had to build their own home together. Of course, they could have stayed in the Cecilia Street home forever and built it in their hearts, but there would always be a tiny piece of their own missing. We all have to move on and build our own heart of a home. A home is place where you make your life with your family. I told a friend the other day how much I respected her now looking back. Her house was tiny and in it lived five people. She and her brother shared a room while her mother and other brother slept in the other room while the father was usually away on business. They never thought twice about it. They are the closest family I have ever known. I had friends living in mansions with many rooms. I wonder if it was a true home in their heart?

I get upset when people from West Texas forget our roots. We are raised to be "downhome good folk." Some move to the Metroplex and get sucked into the Northpark life of millionaires and mansions. Drive this car. Look this way. Have this house in that neighborhood. Sometimes I will lose myself telling Nick what all he needs do to do his house. I start talking about flooring and columns being ripped out and painting certain colors. I forget that growing up I never once thought about it. I grew up in an amazing house with large rooms and wonderful color. It wasn't a mansion and I never thought about it. Dad and Mom had a new living area built, a huge dream bathroom... always building and changing it as the times flew by... It was perfect to us. The times I remember in that house were filled with happiness. Crazy memories. Funny memories. Lovely memories. Did you know I cut a huge gash in my leg while making my parents' bed because I was standing on the bed and rammed into the light? Did you know I was so excited to put a handprint in the basketball court cement in the backyard, but I scratched the inside of my eye and by the time I got home from the doctor could only scratch my name with a nail in the cement and that is why there is no handprint? Did you know my parents said in order for me to be in a sorority I had to paint the exterior of the house before college so I spent the summer in my bikini getting a tan and painting that house? Oh boy... Did you know...

Cecilia Street is a memory embedded in my mind. The house that built me was built with help by our amazing neighbors whom I still enjoy visiting... and my next door neighbor, Cody is my best guy friend and lives right here in Dallas with me. I pray one day to have a neighborhood such as this where my children can run and play and enjoy the day. I pray I can give them the same childhood my parents gave me. No, it wouldn't have mattered if we lived in a box or a huge house on a hill... anywhere I was with them would have been the same home. Mom pulling up in the driveway honking numerous times as I ran out to help her with the groceries. Dad climbing in the tree looking down at me in amazement at her heroic tree climbing pops. Mom yelling at the end of the hall as I was in a totally different room for me to get back and turn out that light. Yes... all in a home.

There are many different types of homes. Since I moved away from Cecilia Street I made a few my own. Living in the dorms in a tiny room among amazing friends at Texas Tech. Moving to the apartments and then a little house with sorority sisters enjoying our days together. Moving off on my own to Abilene, Tyler and then Dallas. All making homes my own. And one day... building a heart of a home with my loved ones.

Blair's Surprise 30th Birthday

Pictures weren't posted from this shindig until tonight so I had to wait a bit... Lauren threw a 30th surprise party for Blair last weekend... All of her family and all of our friends came... Many of us grew up together. It was so fun to just hang out and enjoy the night!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Media Diva Productions


I launched a blog for my slideshow productions. Yes, launched. I feel so professional. You see, for the past few months my friends have been bugging me to do slideshows for others because I did it for fun. I would spend hours and hours on slideshows with video and photos for my loved ones just to put online. Anna, my friend who is a wedding planner told me she has clients paying like $400 for this type of thing... What??!! I feel horrible charging that much when it is so easy for me. So I decided I'd charge about $50 - $200 depending on the work. I did one for a friend of his kid's sports highlights with all video. It took me a few days, but it was a test so I did it for $10! Then it was too large to email the file so I cannot show it off!!! He says Jaxon shows it to everyone and he watched it over and over. That is why I do it.

Why did I call it Media Diva Productions? Well, forever the name J. Gray Productions rang. NO, I am not married, but I liked it! Nick laughed and I told him I could tell people he was my business partner. It rhymed! Then J.A. Productions... boring... so I have named my normal blog after "diva" and it is just a joke with me all of the time so I decided to keep the theme going. And it's catchy!

I started this a looong time ago... When my mom turned 43 I was in eighth grade and I placed all of these photos up and filmed them with our little camcorder. I had music going in the background. She cried and cried. I was excited! So after that I figured out how to piece together video and music for my basketball highlights. I even got to where I would make slideshows for friends for graduation and birthdays. Then when I was a news reporter we edited our own stories. I got to use high level technology to piece together my news stories. If you want to know how old I am when I first went into news we did tape to tape editing... it was difficult! Then we went into non linear editing with all of the computer software.

So for my birthday Nick got me an editing software equivalent to what I used in Tyler and Abilene and Dad and Brenda got to me equipment to change old VCR tapes into DVDs. I have had the best time working on home videos and slideshows for others. So it's just for fun for me. I made one yesterday that for a woman's husband and she said she cried and cried. Victory!!! My best friend wants me to do one of her baby's first year of life... I shall tackle that next, but that will take a while! Choosing music... finding photos... all that jazz! I love it!!! It's so worth it in the end.

Anyway... so I'm becoming a shameless plug of my passion. If anyone you know needs some crying in their life... of happiness... here I am... I would love to charge $400... ha... I'm wondering if they do all of the actual photos and videos and give you lots and lots of extras because that might be insane to me. If it's straight photos I charge $50. If it's a lot of videos and photos and music and mixtures I charge $100 to $150. I hate talking money. I'll put my newest one on here. I pieced it together to show a sample for Father's Day. Not sure Dad has watched it yet! He has seen me make him a thousand things with photos and he deserves it. Maybe soon I'll have business cards. Anna wants to pass them out to clients. I guess they are used to paying $500 for this so boo ya!!! Haha... I'm learning to follow my passions in life. God gives us gifts for a reason. I guess one of my gifts is making people cry. And that's a pretty good gift!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Graham Harrell Roadshow

Do you know who this is?

Don't worry if you don't because I don't know too many football players either. I got the chance to interview some Texas Tech coaches and this very special man who is a former Texas Tech quarterback and now plays for the Green Bay Packers, Mr. Graham Harrell. More about that day later.

Last weekend was a whirlwind of summer activity. Friday night I met Jana and Jordan at Sambuca for a night of girl talk. We had such a great time chatting it up. We walked around the Shops at Legacy and enjoyed live music, too. Those girls always crack me up. Then Saturday a group of us went over to Anna's house to go out in Uptown. It's pretty hard to get me to go out to Uptown because it just isn't me. It's too loud and crowded... and... boy, I sound old! I love the atmosphere of everyone hanging out, but I'd much rather just chill out visiting on a patio! Nick played Twister with Ashton... quite entertaining to watch... and we enjoyed just hanging out at her house before we hit J Blacks and Barcadia. I could have stayed at her house all night!

We finally got to take the boat out Sunday! We took Nick's parents out for a bit. He wanted to try his new gear and his new wakeboard. Being on the lake reminds me of being a young teenager just lost in the world. It is as if all of the cares drift away into the water. Sunshine is my drug. That should be my motto in life because I love sunshine!!!

So yesterday I went to Tyler to host the "Red Raider Roadshow." I haven't been back to my stomping grounds in Tyler for two years! I missed parts of it as I rolled into town, but I also know when I was there I was so far from home that it just never satisfied me. I miss the news station and my church there... but, it was never my true home. So I joined the photographer, Andrews and the director, Mitchell at the Country Club for the fun filled day. I first met Coach Tuberville at the beverage stand. He was mixing lemonade and iced tea together which perplexed Mitchell. Mitchell introduced us and he asked where I was from and when I told him Big Spring I asked if he knew where that was. He laughed and said it was big because it is called "Big" Spring! He was really neat. Then we listened to a few of the coaches speak. It was neat to hear our Christian country roots as they spoke of God and dust... all rolled into one in a sort of way. I love being from West Texas. We all hit the golf course in the sweltering heat! We found Graham on the course and made him take photos with us and got an interview. I liked to make him laugh! He was a bit shy so it was funny. Mitchell somehow made my photo blurry so I tracked Graham down later and we took another photo! He was very humble and told us he is getting a ring for the Superbowl win! I hope the interview looks good as we had a lot of fun with him!

After shooting a few intros with Mitchell and flubbing our lines and melting in the heat I was ready to go! I met Rachel at Chilis and caught up a bit. So good to see old friends!

Summer is an awakening to our senses. It is as if the world comes out of hibernation into the sunlight. I'm just trying to enjoy each day and breathe in that sunlight. It's what it takes for us to survive each day. Awaken out of the darkness and open the shades.