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Destiny Is A Choice!

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We live, We Love, We Win, We Loose

Our destiny given, yet our fate to choose.

Who are we that can choose, you may say

Our path is given, we dare not stray!

Yet it is there within our heart, we know the truth

Our life is ours that only WE can prove.

Do not doubt, our destiny is clear

Only also know this, no matter what may seem

So much MORE is ours to redeem.

So rise, I say and claim your bounty.  

Choose your fate, over your seeming destiny.

The power you see, is up to you.

Do know that destiny can deceive.

And choose your life with the simplicity

That it truly is up to me.

We live, we love, we win, we lose

Our destiny given, our fate to choose.

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cc: dhee July 2014

 

 

 

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Face You Fears – Unlimited Power!

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“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing.

I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress on a film called, ‘Soldiers;’ and we are on set.  I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode.

I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I’m ready. I give a nod and thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!”

From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!”

Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up. My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I have been perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’ve been a little happier when there has been no pain or headache involved, but I was definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Of course, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?”

Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure. That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind.

I come from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives. I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul.

I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film ‘Under Cover Blues’ down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do. Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had almost been paralyzed with fear – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….’Batman Forever,’ ‘Batman & Robin,’ ‘Demolition Man,’ ‘Lethal Weapon 4,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Swordfish,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Independence Day,’ plus an ongoing list of television shows like ‘Star Trek Voyager,’ ‘The Pretender,’ ‘VIP,’ and the ‘X-Files.’

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground – into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (‘Bella Mafia’)!

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure.

I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And then there was the highlight of, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on ‘Gangs of New York,’ I landed one of the best contracts in the business with the TV series, ‘Alias.’

Although the glamour of this business has been fun, it was at times overwhelming. To keep my sanity, I have always worked to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

 After a lifetime of dealing with issues from an extremely difficult childhood, I welcomed the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after over 20 years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the eight hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work when I get one of those calls.  I just try to pass up the car hits, and stick to ‘prat falls’ and fighting!

Sure there were times when I would long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I was sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I knew that, once again, I was conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up.

You see I now know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do. Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

cc:   danahee  02/2014

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The Winds Of Change

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As I walk along the mountain path a wind begins to blow

 Past me, over me, around me, through me

 I say ‘hello.’  For I know this wind.  He is my friend.  He is the ‘Wind of Change.’

 I feel blessed with His friendship, and His gift of embracing me during this time

 And I know that He is helping me

 To blow the darkness away from my spirit…this sadness, this pain

 He brings instead joy, love and happiness to a broken soul

 He restores my health and passion

 With promises of the future

 And hope in the present

 I love my friend, the ‘Wind of Change.’

 Without Him nothing lives

 With Him everything blossoms

 I am grateful

cc:  danahee  February 2014

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A Bridge To Cross – A Future To Build

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There comes a point in everyone’s life that we need to cross a bridge.  For me, that time is now.

The past is over and done.  The future is yet to be seen.  All I have is right now…and I, for one want to make the most of each and every moment.

Therefore, I will close this heavy book I have been holding in my hand, and I will begin writing a new one with every step I take.  I will put one foot in front of the other leaving the old and familiar, as I cross that bridge into the future.

I do not know what is on the other side of this bridge.  Yet whatever it is, I will embrace it with all of my heart and soul.

Yes.  I do not know where I am going.  Yet I do know I will get there.  With God’s grace, it will be a wonderful place.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

cc:  danahee  February 19 2014

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As The Snow Falls

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Standing outside just now, I watch my beautiful turkeys as they eat the corn and ‘coo’ among themselves

The silence of the falling snow drowns out the cries of my soul.  It’s sleek white blanket slowly covers the tears in my heart

Crystal cold air quiets my mind…if only for a moment or two

What peace it must be, to never feel the beauty of the snow.  Yet so sad this emptiness within

‘Good-by’ echoes in the frozen stillness of this winter wonderland

As I turn away,  I pray I pray that peace will prevail

Truly?  Is it better to go to sleep on an empty stomach?

Perhaps so.  Perhaps not.

cc:  dhee 02/2014

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A Message Of Love From The Other Side Of Life!

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Last week, I was suddenly hit with a very deep, despairing, emotional thought that I had made a horrendous mistake with my dying mother last year.  She was in Hospice care with only a short time left to live.  Her main lifelong dog had just died, and because of certain circumstances, I had had to vacate her house and belongings, getting rid of many things….many of which I know she had loved dearly (trinkets, chotskies, that held personal meaning to her).

When I was with her a short time after all this had taken place, she asked about her dog.  I told her the truth.  She asked about her house and belongings.  I told the truth.  I could not bear the thought of lying to her.

She died a short time later.  And I believe she finally ‘let go’ of life because these things she loved were no longer there waiting for her to return to them.

The moment, revelation I was hit with last week, was, “WHY did I just not lie!?”  “Why did I have to tell her the truth?”  “Surely it would’ve been better for her to leave this life, holding on to her dreams of returning to her dog and life and things she loved so dearly?”

And then I realized, that if it had been me?  And My dogs, or other such loved things?  I KNOW I would rather die believing in my love and longing for this!

Well I kicked myself severely for hours over my BS decision regarding this.  Yet, check this out?  The next day, first thing in the morning (still feeling sad and morose), I was looking through some posts on a social network.  Within 20 seconds of perusing, I came across not one, but TWO very distinct notes or messages that spoke very clearly to me that they were messages from my mother!

The one, perhaps…could be debated as maybe not truly from her?  I mean, would my mom really say something like that, about loving me…when she had spent a lifetime convincing me otherwise?  

At least this is what I was thinking until I immediately came across the second one that had a picture of a heart necklace exactly like one that I had given her at some point and she had kept this in her Bible.  Unbelievable. Comforting.  And truly Wonderful!

What I take away from this experience is this. 

If I am in a similar circumstance again?  I will not hesitate to ‘lie,’ or at very least and preferable for me…to just not tell the truth. 

And wow!  I did not know that one could really receive a message from a deceased loved one!

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FINDING COURAGE WITHIN!

Dana...second from left...in the Orphanage

STARLIGHT STORY

(Age 5)

 Abandoned by our mother when I was three, my two brothers and myself were placed in an orphanage where we were raised for the next 11 years.  It was touch growing up…feeling lost, alone and unloved.

Yet eventually, my mother did finally get back in touch with us, and would occasionally write or call, with promises that she would come visit or come and take us out of there to live with her.  I remember the rare times when I would receive a letter during mail call, and I would gallop all around the dormitory, waving that letter high in the air.  And then there was the time that I actually got to talk with her on the telephone, and she said she’d be coming to get us the next day to go spend the summer with her. I was so excited, I couldn’t’ sleep all night long.

So the next morning I convinced my housemother to let me wait for her on the front steps.  Shortly after breakfast I sat down on the cold stone steps, waiting, watching, hoping.  As each car entered the long circular driveway, my heart would beat a little faster, and I would shield my eyes from the glare of the sun and try and make out who it was.  As each car left with their excited, laughing children…my heart would sink a little lower.  Finally the bell rang for lunch, and I pulled myself to my feet, and went off to the cafeteria.

“Perhaps later” I said to myself!  After lunch, my Housemother, told me that, “No one will be coming to pick you up,” and that I would remain at the home, once again during the long summer vacation.

It was late that afternoon, that I sat in the deep grass and clover on the playground, beneath a huge sweet smelling Magnolia tree.  I watched the few kids that were left, playing a game of Jump Rope.  And as I thought about that morning, the familiar pain of abandonment wrapped it’s tight hold around my heart, and a feeling of hopelessness spread through my soul.

The bell sounded for us to gather in our groups and head inside the building, so I quickly wiped my face and walked across the lawn towards the huge stone steps.   I walked up the steps with the other children, then paused for a moment before entering the doorway.  I turned around to take one last breath of the fresh sweet air before heading inside to the dark, musty smelling dormitories.

It was then that I noticed…there on the horizon in the twilight, just above the tree-line…a single star glittering brightly.  Quickly, I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and whispered to myself…“Starlight, star-bright, first star I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might…have the wish I wish tonight.

And I made that wish…just before the hall monitor, smacked me on the backside with a ruler, and ushered me inside.  Later, in the quiet of the night, I held close to that star in my mind as the tears fell like rain down my cheeks.  Muffling my sobs in my pillow, I paused for a moment as a thought suddenly appeared in my mind.  It was three little words that I had heard in a Sunday school church sermon… “Be not afraid!”

Taking a deep breath…I thought about those three words and the light they held within, began to lend me their courage.  Quieting down…I dried my tears with the edge of the sheet, and finally fell asleep, dreaming of my wish on that star.

It was a wish that I repeated, year after year.  And it was a wish that always gave me a glimmer of hope…even in my darkest hour…for as a child, I believed in the power of wishes and stars and the three little words, “Be not afraid.”  And my wish was for love, a place to call home, and a happier tomorrow.

Hello!  “You can also visit my services as a Motivational Keynote Speaker listed on Thumbtack and get to know more about what I can do for YOU!”   

Cheers!

Dana

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