Sunday, June 17, 2012

Acting, Voice Over, and a Whole Lotta Trust

I'm starting this story at the end, with a picture of my Bible--open to Psalm 116--laying on the floor in my Voice Over studio.
I'm sure that sentence makes no sense, so let me start at the beginning.
It's been a crazy past few months with lots of highs and several lows.
Since I most often write about my back stuff here (so honored you bear with me! I write for myself but am grateful for each of you who read along), I've never written about the Voice Over work I've been getting into over the past 8 months or so.  I thought about it, but didn't know where to start.   Then (as usual) my back stuff got intertwined and *poof!* a blog post was born. :)
So here we are.
But it's kind of a long story. 
And to understand it completely, I must to rewind to the very beginning, that laid it's roots years ago.
Once upon a time, I loved theater and acting (and I was rather good at it too.) I don't say that to boast, just to help better explain how deep-seated some of my recent struggles are. Acting is the one talent I have that, from the time I was a kid, has always come naturally. I adore it, and for the most part, have had some fantastic opportunities with it too, usually receiving consistent, positive feedback from directors and others I've worked with.
But, over the last decade or so a pattern started to develop.  Time and time again, when different roles or open doors came my way, I'd only to be able to go so far with them before it was thwarted by my back problems.
Two examples include:
1) Landing my dream job at Disney, working there for a while, making plans to move up with the company, only have to quit due to physical stamina and an immanent back surgery.
2) Getting my second professional acting job, only to throw my back out so badly that I later had to decline their offer.
I could literally go on and on with examples like this, but these are two of the most devastating.
Not very long after both of those happened, I figured it was time to just move on to the next big "plan" on my (emphasis on the my :) life's agenda: having children and being a stay-at-home mom.   I knew acting would always be there.
So we had SaraRose (which for the record, is the best thing we've ever done, and why I want another! :)  But no one could have predicted how bad my back problems would get after that.  Three major surgeries later, and I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to act again (so much of acting is physical), or have any more children.
Whew. Those are some tough pills to swallow, let me tell you.
Most of this blog over the years has chronicled me working thru some of that.  I remember writing this post which summed up the one major question I had now that life looked so....different.
I have always been the kind of person who loves, almost needs, to have something new on the horizon--it's part of who I am, what gives me joy.  So it was really disorienting to look at the future with a bleak "what now?"
So, I decided to really pray.  I don't want to sound super spiritual or something, but around September, I even pulled a Jerry Fallwell and started fasting....I was just so desolate and desperate for God to speak and lead me.
And WOW. Did He ever! (there is something to fasting, ya'll--God can move).
In a very miraculous way that I won't go into now, God led me to pursue Voice Over work....
and I absolutely love it.
It seems to be the perfect fit, melding my love for acting (without having to use my body), and the ability to work and rest as needed.
God has opened wide every door, hooking me up with classes and critiques from professionals,  providing the finances to set up a small recording studio in our home, and even connecting me with a Voice Over artist in the area, Sean Caldwell, who does amazing work, and has offered mentor me. Wow.  And all of this is just since early this year.  Overwhelming and so, so awesome (there aren't really enough adjectives appropriate here!)
**On an different note, but a just-as-miraculous one, around this same time, God gave my husband a new job that is layered with blessings for our family.   We've been praying for 9 years for a new job like this for him, and are still pinching ourselves it's come true!**
God had been so good to us. He had answered monumental prayers.
It seemed like things were starting to make a little sense. I was believing God is alive and active more than I ever have. I was feeling more confident and in control than I had in years.  I was finally looking toward the future with hope!
I even took down my faith poster!!
But then. 
Don't you just know Satan was crouching, waiting to pounce on that one? YEA.
Well, pounce he did.
Out of no where and with a vengeance, I started having a terrible new back and leg pain. There were days I could hardly walk.  Before I knew it, old wounds reopened, and I found myself questioning, "Why do I even bother? I know the way this all turns out. Why do I ever get my hopes up? Haven't I learned my lesson? This is just going to be another pitiful, painful end" and on and on it spiraled. 
Even with all God had done, I shut down.
I stopped pursuing meetings with Sean, and I didn't even open the door to my studio.  It all just hurt too much. Stopping completely was my only coping mechanism.
Days and weeks went by. 
I lay in bed, defeated, and told the Lord I was over it.  
But I did continue to pray.  There's not much else to do when you're stuck in bed :)......but mostly because I fully believe in it's power--how could I not after all I've seen this year?
Then one night, my dad (what would I do without my dad?), came over and I mentioned to him my struggles.  As always, he helped me with my perspective, and I felt the load lessen a bit.  Then I reached out to some friends who came over and prayed with me.  A few days after that, my dear confidante, Terrie Scott, popped in to say good-bye, and I mentioned it to her as well.  She gave me some good things to think about and is the one who suggested I straight-up put a Bible in my studio as a reminder of Who's in control of all this to begin with.   I thought that was a great idea.
Then God (who I'm learning never moves as quickly as I want Him to :), dropped two new Voice Over scripts--with a deadline--smack-dab in my lap. It was very unexpected-- I had put forth no effort to find work.  But it was just what I needed to, pain or no pain, open up the studio door, and start recording again.  I even called Sean and we worked together twice this week.
I have had a blast.
The pain is still there. It's not as oppressive as it was, but it's still enough to make me nervous.  I don't know what it means...and I don't know if I want to. 
But I do know that when it comes to Voice Over, I'm going to try my best to keep on going, regardless of the pain or all my wounds and worries.  
God's gave this to me as an answer and a gift, that much I know.
And I have so much fun doing it!  I also have some cool opportunities coming up, so really, that is far as I need to focus. 
I don't know if it will all crumble, I don't know if I will have to give it up.
Heck, I don't know if things won't keep moving in a positive direction!
But I do know that God is keeping me reliant on Him.  Much like Jacob with his limp, and Paul with his proverbial thorn in the flesh, I'm never too far from humility and being desperate for the Lord. I've always wanted to live from a place like that,  I just never dreamed it would come like this. Or be this hard!  So hard I would have to keep a literal Bible close by for support!  But hey, whatever it takes. I need all the reminders I can get that God is bigger than my fears.
PS. I tried to attach some audio so you could hear some of my work, (seems mean to talk about Voice Over without something to listen to), but I couldn't figure it out. There is so much to the technical side I'm learning. I will as soon as I do!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Have You Ever Seen a Cat's Eyes in the Dark?

This is so opposite from the things I usually post here, but this is awesome and I seriously cannot stop laughing watching it. I am compelled to spread the love. My favorite is the snapping and whistle playing in the middle. :)
Also, I adore Mr. Rogers.