If you want to view paradise....simply look around and view it....

With more downtime coming up, I've been thinking more and more about what my plans are for this summer. While I want to hone in on my creative ventures, this year has also been about learning to appreciate my life. Because let's face it, most of us wish we had more things going for us. In fact, I admit to being one of those individuals who always tries to push beyond the boundaries and find better things out there. In some respects, this has helped greatly in me finding out who I am. But at the same time I've come to the realization that sometimes, what you're looking for is right in front of your face.

Last night, after a long day of work and such, I came across free music downloads from my favorite show, Glee. Luckily, the songs are from next week's episode aptly titled Funeral. So, being the big fan that I am and a HUGE lover of new music, I just had to have the downloads. Among them was the song Pure Imagination, which was originally (and eloquently) performed by Gene Wilder in the classic film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. This song has always been inspirational and uplifting to its very core, the words simply implying that there are moments we need to dig deep and believe in the things we dream.

While listening to Chris Colfer's character Kurt (and cast) singing the classic tune, one line in the song struck me like it never had before: "if you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it." For a moment, it almost felt as if time stopped and this great epiphany came to light. I had listened to this particular song hundreds of times before, yet the meaning hadn't caught on.

It's weird how I never got it before, but in that little moment, I finally understood what Gene Wilder's character was trying to tell the winners (and us) in the movie. Life isn't always about the grandeur and reaching for perfection....no. Instead, try to view your life as perfect in those little imperfections and nuances. Paradise is not something to be found outside, but rather inside. We spend so much time thinking that "having it all" entails a big prize, lots of money, that cushy 6-figure job, etc. Yet if we really think about what makes something perfect, the answer to achievement is a lot simpler....in my case, he was sitting right on the couch next to me.

I glanced over at Matt watching tv while the rest of the song played out....and I smiled. He's always told me that he doesn't believe Heaven is up above us, but rather we're living in it. Sure, there are times that things can get rough and take a while to get back to being ok, yet I got it. Life in itself is Paradise....and oh, it is truly beautiful! Our paradise is here....I couldn't be more grateful for that.

On a different note, as stated in my previous entry, I've been spending a lot of time focusing on finding new music for my collection. And while part of me wishes I could share all the new stuff that I've added, I know that to mention it all would take me forever and a day! Yet, in discovering this new music, I have found a certain calm and balance to life.

In an effort to share what's been playing non-stop on my iPod, I would like to share my Top Ten songs on my playlist at least once or twice a week, depending on my mood. As of late, it's been mainly new music and some classics with a modern twist.

Jenn's Most Played This Week:
1) Pure Imagination (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast (if nothing else, listen to this song!)
2) Someone Like You - Adele
3) Threw It On The Ground - The Lonely Island
4) Pretending - Glee Cast
5) Oh Lovely - Lakes
6) Drunk Girls - LCD Soundsystem
7) Eclipse (feat. Henry Rollins) - The Flaming Lips & Stardeath and The White Dwarfs
8) I Need A Doctor - Dr. Dre (feat. Eminem & Skylar Grey)
9) Harvest Moon - Neil Young
10) Vienna - Billy Joel

I encourage everyone to realize their own version of 'paradise' in life....even if it takes you a while, I hope you find it. Have a great weekend!

~Jenny Rockstar


Making a comeback....Jenn style!

Life. What a funny way it has of taking your time and speeding it up in the blink of an eye. While I've always tried to make time to share what's on my mind, lately I've been finding less and less time to figure out how to put my thoughts into words. But for now, with mere minutes before I have to head out in the midst of another crazy weekend, I felt it was necessary to sit and process everything in my life.

I had decided 2011 was going to be the year of accomplishing some of my biggest goals. Of course, every year is a year to tackle something I have never attempted to do before, but I had had enough of feeling like I wasn't getting into some of those more meaningful goals....that needed to change. Instead of focusing on purely writing and focusing solely on those huge goals, I wanted to tackle the simpler tasks. 

In January, Matt and I celebrated our anniversary by actually going somewhere out-of-state for an overnight, complete with a day of shopping/sight-seeing, a delicious dinner, and a night in a cozy B&B in New Hope, PA. Taking the time to appreciate those moments that we sometimes take for granted was really nice. Both of our schedules never really allow for going out and doing the normal couples stuff, yet we manage to take the time for those simple moments. This year has brought with it a need to continue down this particular path, taking more pictures and having more adventures that push beyond our normal routine. And getting to do this all with my best friend....priceless.

After receiving a new program for photography for my 27th Birthday, I've also been itching to take more pictures. It feels like so many people are finally starting to get more into their picture-taking, so upping the ante on my computer and trying some new techniques with my photos seemed appropriate. While I may just be starting out with Lightroom and finding ways to make my flash work in low light settings with uneven ceilings/surfaces, finally accomplishing those shots that I've wanted to capture will happen now. I can't wait for this summer when I can try out a few of those tricks at more shows, especially the Bonnie Dune concert I want to attend at Hershey Park in July. (And for those of you looking for an awesome concert this summer, Bonnie Dune at Hershey Park on July 31st is the place to be!)

Then, just when I thought it would never happen, I actually had the chance to go into the city and watch my favorite show Glee being filmed. Completely random trip to the city, but well worth the experience! I took some pretty sweet pictures of the actors and filming, including some close-ups of some of my favorites. The experience alone validates the importance of being able to do what you love in life....and doing a damn good job of it! Those actors work so hard, starting super early in the morning and going until late at night, they are just as much of an inspiration in their work as anyone else who works hard at what they love. It reminds me that it doesn't matter what your calling may be, just as long as that calling means something to you. I'm surrounded by people who pursue their dreams just by doing them and not caring about the outcome. As long as you continue to do what you love, everything will fall into place. 

And of course, I can't forget to mention that I've also taken my music project to newer levels and really branched out of my shell with some of my iTunes finds! Granted, the writing it hasn't been very forthcoming, but the experiences of adding different types of music to my playlist has proven fruitful and worthwhile. When one continues to strive learning more about things they love, the outcome can be quite exhilarating and exciting, which brings me back to now. 

Here we are, at the beginning of May....and I feel like while there's still so much more for me to accomplish, I know that the rest of this year will give me the opportunity to make more of those goals a reality. And so, as an added treat to show the progress of my music project, I want to share with all of you my current most-listened to songs on my iPod. I'll be able to give a more proper update when time permits, but it's about time I started writing more and focusing on reaching for more of those simple goals that I hope to cross off my ever-growing list.

Jenn's May Playlist:

1) Sailboat - Bonnie Dune (If you haven't heard their music....do check them out!)
2) Never Going Back Again - Fleetwood Mac
3) Bloom - Radiohead
4) Things We Do For Love - 10cc
5) Icky Thump - The White Stripes
6) Tris In Haze - Jupiter Sunrise
7) Rolling In The Deep - Adele
8) Half Life I - Arcade Fire
9) Season of The Witch - Donovan
10) Barbra Streisand - Duck Sauce

~Jenny Rockstar