Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Didn't Know My Own Strength

Love's Gonna Get You

So finally coming down from the whirlwind that was Valentine's Day weekend...and I must say it was awesome. "Love's Gonna Get You" by James and Michele Woodson went very smoothly I must say. It was great to see people that I care about and that care about me come out and show support. Thank you guys for being there...I'll never forget it.

The cast was phenomenal, some really talented folks that I LOVED working with. Some for the 2nd and 3rd time...Steven you know how I feel about being onstage with you. Special thanks to my lovely roommate that made me breakfast before the first show...first of all it tasted delicious. And second...I needed all the energy I could muster. I mean, we only ended up doing 5 shows...but that's still a lot!! But we pulled it together and I think people were entertained. At least that's what they told me :)
My yummy pre-theater meal.

Playbill...hey is that my face?

Nate and Jasmine doing the "Wobble" at our reception :) Sorry Daniel...I had to do it to ya.

And I have to just say this: so, I guess God is working on me or trying to get me out of my comfort zone somehow because I've been finding myself singing (alone. in public) more and more lately and I don't really know what's up with that. I'm trying to live a life that pleasing to him and in the center of His plan for my life but OMG...that is one of my LEAST favorite things to do. I am not a singer. And yet opportunities for me to sing keep popping up out of nowhere. I'll keep you informed about that one.

If you missed this show, my daddy says this all the time, "It wasn't your first and it won't be your last" so I'll let you know when the next one is and I'll see ya then.

Final Bows

Here's a peek Behind the Scenes

Giants Win
While prepping for my 6 shows in 2 days...the New York Giants won the Superbowl. Now, I'm not a hater, but I'm ALSO not a Giants fan...but Daniel and I did go to the Superbowl parade in the city just to see what it's all about. Daniel, my fantastic co-star in Love's Gonna Get You is a bigger non-Giants fan than I am so we didn't stay long. :) Plus I don't really do big crowds so that wasn't going to work. But at least I can say, I didn't allow my fear to keep me at home and that I've been to the parade of a Superbowl champ...now when the Falcons or the Eagles win one...that'll be a different story.

Quick preview of the chaos...notice how far back I like to stand from the crowd. #toomuch

If you follow me on TWITTER or on my FACEBOOK page then you'll know that I've been reading Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" for the past 36 days...I can't honestly believe it's almost over! It is a 40-day challenge to find your purpose in life. And I must say, it is an incredible read. You MUST, and I can't stress it enough, you must get someone, or a group to partner with you in reading it so that you have someone to hold you accountable to complete it. It's is definitely changing my life, for the better, and I hope it will do the same for you. The book talks about God using what you go thru and the struggles you have to help someone else. So that's kind of also why I do my blog...hopefully you can see my failures, my pain, and hurts and maybe find comfort, inspiration, or whatever you need to help you with what you're going thru. God can do it for a country girl from Carrollton, GA...surely he can do the same for you!

What I've learned about myself from reading is that most of my prayers and my life has been extremely selfish and self-centered. I've been focused on Lenore, and what I want and need that I haven't had a chance to do good in my neighborhood or complete my purpose here on Earth. I've started to shift that focus onto whatever it is that God wants me to have and to do...and that is making a huge difference in my life. I'm now looking for ways to serve others and do for others already knowing and believing that God is working on my behalf...and He also knows the dreams and desires I have for myself....I don't have to keep asking him everyday when I'm going to get my tv show...if it's his will for me, it's already done. If not, he has something totally more awesome in store.

And that, at times is a hard pill to swallow. But I'm giving him complete control. Even when it's scary and I don't want to give up on my dreams, cuz I've had them so long...but I feel like I'm becoming more of the person he wants me to be, more of the person that I used to be and know, and more of the person I want to become. I'll keep ya posted on how this goes.

If interested in learning more and getting the book for FREE...click HERE: The Journey Church is an awesome ministry here in the city and will send you the book for free if you live Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx or Metro New York (including northern NJ, southern CT, Long Island or southeastern NY). Enjoy...let me know if you need a partner to commit with you! Perhaps we could do a group read. I can definitely read it again...some parts I still need work on. Take that back..most parts.

So...the series that I've written, hopefully you remember that. Nothing extremely new to report. Lots of people keep saying similar things tho....it's too big, it costs too much, no one's gonna pick it up, you should put it on the web, you have no training in screenwriting..etc, etc. And although all these things may be true.

I. Still. Believe.

It's pretty simple. I know the goal I have for myself and my team and I'm gonna do everything possible to make it happen.

Of course things have to change in the script, and I value the honest feedback. I think I've also been convinced that it makes more sense to have a 1/2 show than a full hour one. You wouldn't BELIEVE how painful it was to let that go. But I think it's for the best and I'm still excited to see the outcome.

I've teamed up with an enthusiastic and ambitious filmmaker (#5in8) that truly believes in my project and we're going to shoot a teaser trailer by May. I'll keep you guys in the loop about that...as you can see at times I'm a bit wordy and he's only allowing me 2 minutes to get my point across!!

But it'll be great and I'll make ya proud!


Everyone remembers the reality challenge show that I'm apart of? Well...they have a new website with pictures of the cast and our challenges...check it out HERE:

Also, our last challenge, I was Team Lead and we had to create, write, and shoot a 7 minute mini-drama featuring our teammates...well, aside from the horrible experience (which I'm sure you'll see when the show airs) we pulled it together and you can watch what my team, TEAM A came up with. Special shout out to Sydnee, Kenya, Leafi and Aisha for coming thru in the clutch.

ACE OF SPADES (Get it...cuz we're Team A...the Ace lol)

Heading Home this week
Baby T is making her grand appearance within the next month or so and her aunties and grandmother are throwing her the affair of the year! I'm so excited for my beautiful sis and her hubby and can't wait for our new bundle of Joy get arrive. She's already so loved and completely spoiled :)

Our French Country-side Themed affair will be this Saturday! Can't wait to show you guys the pictures.
Side Note. She'd kill me if I posted pictures from her maternity shoot so you'll just have to imagine those :)

It is with sadness that I have to write these words.

We lost another icon recently. Whitney Houston has finished this portion of her journey and left us all to grieve. If you've ever met me or asked me who my favorite singer is...it has been without a doubt the talented Mrs. Houston (yes..I love her more than Beyonce and Aaliyah combined). I've loved her as long as I can remember and loved every song she's ever sung. It seems ironic, or maybe not that she passed while I was onstage doing what I loved and found out during intermission. It's still unbelievable. I think perhaps I'm still in denial. I remember going out the very first day and buying her last album "I Look To You" ...the song "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" helped me thru a pretty awful year. Forever grateful to have had the song.

Her contribution to music and to the world is undeniable. She was and still is, one of the greatest of all time.

I love you Whitney and I always will.

In her memory, I'd like to introduce to you Sasha Allen. I never thought anyone would be able to capture or even stand close to the gift that was Whitney Houston, but this young lady is talented beyond measure. I wish her the best of success in the industry and lots of love.

Last but not least, a friend of mine Corey Grant has put out a really incredible film with tons of stars that you know...do me a favor, GO SEE IT!! It's called Dysfunctional Friends and it's hilarious.

Well...all for now. I'll leave you with some edits from a recent shoot with these talented ladies

Photographer/Editor: Kantrell Ashley
Make-up: Nessa Hurtado
Stylist: Jamee Jones

I love you all,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

...but JOY comes in the morning.

So I promised that I wouldn't use my blog to bash people or to make it negative in any way. But my feelings are hurt, and it's my blog, and I just wanna get it off my chest so I can move on. Bear with me.

Steven Russell Jr. is a coward. And a big one. I haven't spoken out about him or even mentioned his name in over 2 years, but finally after the past week I had, I finally want to say it out loud. I'm angry...I'm still hurt, and no, I'm not over it. I'm not saying that it's right or that I even want to still have these feelings but they're there and they're real.

Here's the link for the news article and story from the trial.

Jury convicts former Iraq veteran

Steven Russell Jr. was convicted of Capital Murder which carries a life sentence without parole, plus an additional 15 years for use of a firearm.

2 years ago it felt like someone cut off my arm and I had to get used to living without it. That pain, hopefully, I'll never feel again. But this past week in Arkansas, sitting through trial, having to control my emotions and not being able to say anything at all, just felt like someone was taking a knife and stabbing it into the wound in my arm. Yes it had healed a little in the two years, but it's still excruciatingly painful.

I've never had an experience such as this and don't wish it on my worst enemy. I think Steven is a coward for taking Joy's life two years ago. I think he's a coward for using a weapon, multiple times to end her life. Also a coward, for not admitting to what he's done and trying to use a mental insanity plea to cover up what he did. And to add insult to injury, he pleads not guilty, and makes all of Joy's family and friends go through a trial that will never bring her back, and also have to hear and see pictures of such a gruesome crime. That's just mean and such a cowardly thing to do.

Joy's life meant so much to so many people. And Steven didn't care. I'm relieved that they jury of 12 decided that Steven no longer can discount that there are laws in this country he must abide by to be a member of society. And for violating that, he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. I am not celebrating that fact, but it does bring a sense of peace to know that some other young, intelligent, important female will never again suffer at his hands. No one else will be victim to Steven Russell's continued ignorance of justice and what's right and wrong. Thank you jurors for changing your minds at the last minute and convicting him of Capital Murder instead of the lesser charges. It is because of you, Joy's family and friends have a small sense of closure in this matter.

His conviction cannot bring her back, and I wasn't looking for it to do that. But it renews my faith in what's right and what's wrong. What he did was wrong and for that there are consequences. Sometimes major ones. My beliefs in the justice system have been renewed. And I do feel like we attained Justice for Joy. I can't explain the feelings that went through my body after hearing the judge announce a guilty verdict. I had already convinced myself that the jury had decided on a lesser sentence as all of the reports convinced us of a hung jury (meaning the entire process would have to start over if they couldn't reach a verdict) and I sincerely didn't want to go through that again. It literally took a miracle for all of them to be convinced within a matter of 10 minutes. I'll never forget it.

Joy would've been so proud of all her friends and family coming together. Not only to encourage each other through this immeasurably hard time and the pain Steven's family put us through but also to share some laughs (Isaac) and enjoy being around one another. Nonetheless, Joy was full of just that...pure Joy and we experienced that while in Arkansas.

I can still honestly say, I do not like the state of Arkansas, and don't have any intentions of revisiting. However, after debating whether or not I was strong enough to attend the trial, and worrying if this experience was going to send me back over the edge, I am happy to say I made the right decision. I'm glad I was there, to support Joy, her family, and the fight for justice. Yes, it was hard, yes, the pain was too much at times, but I wouldn't trade the feeling of knowing more about what happened that night than just playing it over and over in my head trying to hypothesize about it for anything. I know she's in heaven and is in no more pain. I take comfort in that and that I'll see her again someday.

Joy, I love you and I'll never forget our last conversations. I'll cherish them always. We wanted what was best for each other and Steven wasn't it. I hate what he did to you and I'm sorry there wasn't something I could've said or done to ensure that you were still here today. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about you. I'm sorry you ever met him. I promise that I won't hold this grudge forever, but I'm just not ready to forgive. I've already had to let go of you once. The trial ending felt like I had to let go of you all over again. I think by moving on and forgiving him will signify letting you go for the third and final time. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that.

So I'll just pray. And ask for God's help with this one. Cuz it's a doozy. But a new friend gently reminded me yesterday that we don't go through what we do for ourselves but for others. For that, I'm compelled to share my story...not only the good times when everything is going great, but the hard times, when it feels like I can't go on.

Ladies, you know when it's time to leave a relationship, don't wait. He's not the one for you. And friends, don't be afraid to tell your girlfriend what you think about her relationship/guy if you think he's unhealthy for her (I'm not saying be messy) but tell your friend in love.

If I've helped anyone, or you need someone to talk to, please know that I'm here. I don't know your story, but I know pain, and I can listen. Please pray for me and I'll do the same for you.

I'd like to share some of the good memories we made while we were together in Little Rock.

Headed to Little Rock.

On the road again

Joy Alexandria Owens
April 9, 1985-November 3, 2010

"This JOY that I have, the world can't take it away.