Monday, April 30, 2012

Inspirations...Pet Peeves...And Prayers....

Hi friends!

Happy Monday.

Yes, I understand. 

It's Monday

Yuck.

Anywho, I would like to start out this post by congratulating my dear sweet amazing friend Ellen.

She finished her first half-marathon on Saturday here in Memphis at the Dash for Dads race.

I am so proud of her!

Dear Ellen, yes I stole this pic off your facebook. If it creeps you out that I stole it and it is now on my blog  just let me know. ;) Doesn't she look awesome?!

If you don't remember, Ellen was my partner in crime a little under a year ago as we trained for our first 5k together. 



I am so proud of her for pushing through, I know, what was a busy semester for her (we are in the same Master's program) as she was in her internship and graduating in a few days. 

And she trained for a half-marathon. 

What what!

She is my inspiration to get back out there. 

I am hoping to run the St. Jude half-marathon this coming December. However, that would also require that I train train train during my internship. But hey, she did it. And I will use that as inspiration to motivate me!

Way to go Ellen!

Also, a big high five goes to Christin over at A Classy, Southern Wife

Home girl ran a half-marathon with what could be a broken big toe.

Talk about powering through adversity!

She doesn't advocate running when hurt, but check out her blog for a re-cap.

She is adorable.

Man o' man....all these runners are inspiring me to get back out there!

The hubs and I were at Sweet Grass Next Door  a few days ago, and I was people watching out the window. And then I remembered the Cooper Young 4-miler I ran in that neighborhood.

And how much fun I had. 

And how hard it was.

And how proud I was of myself after running it.

And then I realized how much I miss running. 

So, I think in order to get back out there in a healthy, slow way, as soon as my classes are ALL over (um, that would be tomorrow!!) I am going to make it a goal to incorporate C25K training in with my workouts I have been doing. 

I don't want to just jump right back in and then hurt myself. 

So, I am going to go back to square one. And start again. 

We'll see how it goes friends!

Okay, switching gears....

Can I just take a moment to rant about a pet peeve of mine??

Well, I am going to anyway.
;)

On Saturday, I went to Muddy's Bakery to grab some cupcakes for my sister-in-law's birthday.

Loveee Muddy's. 

(By the way, they are hiring as per the flyer on their door!)

Anywho, so as I am walking out the door with a box and bag in my hand, I see that someone is about to come in the door at the exact same time as I am leaving. 

So what do I do?

Well, of course, I hold the door open for her.

"Her" is what appeared to be a 15 or 16 year old young lady. With short short shorts on. And Ray-Ban aviators. 

Okay, I love Ray-Bans, but why the heck does a teenager need a pair of $150 sunglasses???

Whatever, they made her look "cool."

Apparently, what also added to her coolness factor was not thanking me for opening and holding the door for her. 

Nothing. 

Nada.

No "preciate it."

Not a dang thing.

Um, okay, whatever Abercrombie teen model girl. 

I don't need your thanks.

Whose thanks I really would have appreciated was her mother's.

Who I also held the door open for as she ran in the door about 20 seconds after her daughter.

She was on the phone the whole time talking in an excessively loud tone.

Did she take time out from her extremely important conversation to correct her daughter's mistake?

Heck no!

So, I, being annoyed at this point by getting a thank you rejection twice in a span of 60 seconds, said out loud "You're welcome!"

Of course, I immediately regretted the decision.

Well, maybe only a little.

I just can't stand it when people don't acknowledge simple acts of kindness. 

C'mon people!

My mother would have tanned my hide if I didn't say "thank you."

The excessive reminders I received as a child to be polite have pretty much trained me for saying "thank you" at any opportune moment. 

I am almost annoying at restaurants in the way that I say "thank you" to the server. 

Drop off waters?

Thank you.

Took our order?

Thank you.

Refill?

Thank you.

Offered dessert?

Thank you.

Dropped the check?

Thank you.

(Wait, shouldn't the server be thanking me for coming in and being a paying customer??)

I can't stop myself. 

It just rolls so easily off the tongue.

But I believe it better to thank more often as opposed to not thank enough.

Of course, maybe it's also a Southern thing. 

But I don't care!

Parents please teach your children "please" "thank you" and "you're welcome."

It is so refreshing to hear throughout the day!

Stepping off...soapbox....for today...

Thanks friends for bearing with me during that rant.

I feel better now. 

;)

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday.

You guys have been such prayer warriors lately. So, I ask that you continue those prayers.

A classmate of mine (who I graduated high school with) was involved in a terrible truck accident yesterday morning. He has a long long road to recovery. I ask for prayers for his doctors and nurses to help heal him. I also ask prayers for his family and friends to feel God's peace during this difficult time.

Thanks friends.

You guys are awesome!

Much love, ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amazon Gift Giftcard Blog Giveaway Winner!

Hi friends!

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday.

Thank you to everyone who wrote in their blessings to enter the blog giveaway!

I am so glad to hear about all the great things going on in your lives friends!

I usually use the Random Number Generator thing if I am doing a giveaway, but I find that to be boring.

So, I put them all into a hat this morning,


And here's the winner I drew!


Congrats to Valerie!

Here's her comment:

Oh, what a fun giveaway! 


Having lunch today with my mother, sister, & grandmother was definitely a little blessing that made my day today! My great-grandmother passed away recently, so I realize how important it is to enjoy quality time with the ones you love :)


Yea!

Valerie email me your address to hippyjenny@hotmail.com so I can mail you your gift card!

By the way friends, visit her adorable blog at Along the Way with V & J

Thank you again friends for entering!

Hopefully, I will be able to have more blog giveaways in the future.

Much love, ;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

RIP....

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8.

There is a time for everything, 
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
  a time to be born and a time to die, 
   a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
  a time to kill and a time to heal, 
   a time to tear down and a time to build, 
  a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
   a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 
  a time to search and a time to give up, 
   a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
  a time to tear and a time to mend, 
   a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
  a time to love and a time to hate, 
   a time for war and a time for peace.

A young Uncle Robert.

My Uncle Robert passed away on Sunday morning.

I will be attending his funeral on Wednesday.

And my family has a heavy heart.

He fought many demons during his life.

And while I respect not airing dirty laundry, I do want to say this.

If you know someone who is struggling with Alcohol/Drug Addiction, please encourage them to seek help.

I know that it is hard.

And more often than not, that person will fight you tooth and nail.

I saw it almost everyday at my practicum site.

But, all you can do is try.

And when you try, and they resist, just pray.

Pray for that person. 

Hard.

Pray for his/her admittance.

Pray for his/her recovery.

Pray that one day that person will find peace.

May you rest in peace Uncle Robert.

If you know someone who is dealing with Alcohol/Drug Addiction, or you are struggling with addiction, please call 1-800-662-HELP.

It's never to late to take that first step.

Psalm 30:5 "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

Please keep my family in your prayers.

Family is a blessing.

Remember to fill me on your blessings, too, friends.

Much love, ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

10,000 Maniacs....some good news...and a blog giveaway!!!

Hello friends!

It's Friday!

Holy moly. Where did the week go?

Mine has been quite the whirlwind.

First, of all, this was my last week at my practicum site for this semester.

What a learning experience it has been.

Honestly, I had been looking very forward to this day because as I have mentioned before, I was starting to feel a little depleted...mentally and physically.

So, yesterday, as I was making my 30 minute drive to my site, I just asked God to take and use me in the best way he saw how. Whatever he wanted me to say, I was just going to let him come through me and (hopefully) share the right things that individuals needed to hear.

When I got to my site, it so happened that a supervisor from another site was going to shadow the groups because her site is trying to start them up.

In my mind, I was like, "Oh lawd. It's my last day. And I have someone looking in on me. It's like it's day 1 all over again!!" 

So, I thought to myself, what can I do? I am tired. I have run out of group ideas right now, because most of these members have been with me for a while now. And they've done most of the activities or discussed most of the topics that either I or the other therapist have talked about. 

Stuck.


(Wait, did Lionel Richie just pop in your mind???!)




Stuck...wait a minute. So, then I thought, "Why not have them write down on a big sticky note one word that describes how they perceive themselves and then we'll have the other group members give them feedback on whether this is truly accurate?"

And that's what we did.

For 3 hours. 

And when it was all over, and I was done running my last group of the semester, I thought, "Hey, that didn't go so bad. Thanks God for coming through for me. (As you always do.)."

And the nice lady who observed the whole time came over to me and said, "Wow, you did a great job in there today. That was a wonderful activity. It REALLY got them to open up."

And I thanked her. And it meant a lot. Because for me, all semester I have been focusing on all the mistakes I make or how I can improve as a counselor in training. I have a hard time focusing on the positives. 

Which is bizarre because that is exactly what I preach to clients everyday. 

I guess I have a hard time swallowing my own medicine, huh?

I don't believe any lives were changed yesterday during that group (well, maybe they were). But my life has been altered in a major way from my whole practicum experience. I have learned so much about myself...and other people. There is a lot of hurt in the world. A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT. But there are also small victories every day...mixed in with all that hurt. And that's what I think keeps those of us in this Counseling field (and any helping field) going. For someone to tell you that yesterday he/she was in the depths of hell, and then to come to you the next day and say, "You know what. I got out of bed today. And one of my kids called me. And it made me smile.And I am glad to be here." That's what I think keeps us going in this profession.

So, I met with my supervisor, turned in my keys, and got in my car, and cried.

I cried for many reasons. I was relieved. I was sad to be leaving my more than helpful co-workers. And I was overwhelmed that it's all over. 

Well, until the fall. When internship starts. 

But, for now, I will take my summer break (as soon as classes end) and revel.

As if yesterday wasn't emotional enough for me....

I left my site and headed to the gym to work on "Operation Jennifer must shed some inches and poundage before Wedding on the beach 2012." 

(Catchy mission title, huh?)

Anywho, I am in the groooove on the elliptical...reading "Mockingjay"....when "BEEP!"

My phone lets me know I have an email.

So, I open up my Hotmail...when there it was.

My results from my comps exam. 

I had 15 minutes left, but I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn't even stretch back out. And I almost forgot to clean off the machine because I was too busy shaking.

Like a kid in her first spelling bee.

I could have read it there on the spot. Or in my car. But I didn't want to be left to cry in the U of M parking lot for 30 minutes. 

So, as I am walking out to my car, I literally have to remind myself to breath deep...because I feel a legitimate panic attack coming on (yes, I suffer from those nasty things every now and again). I can 98% of the time talk myself down from one of them on my own...so I just sat in my car and utilized deep breathing. 

Thank GOD we only live a mile from campus. 

So, I drove home, pulled into the driveway and sat. 

"Well, if I go inside I'm going to have to let Baxter out and then he'll just walk around for 15 minutes...and that will just prolong the pain..."

So, I opted to open the attachment on my phone containing this letter:

(Yes this letter contains my last name. Please don't crazy stalk me and my husband. We are NOT interesting people. Or  rich for that matter. Thanks friends.)

I passed

So, I sat there and cried and cried and cried.

And shook a whole lot. 

Probably more than on my wedding day to be honest friends.

This was a black cloud that had been looming over me all semester. Even more so this past week. And it was immediately lifted.

Yes, there is a typo in this most important letter (can you catch it?). Ridiculousness. C'MON! 

But, before I did anything stupid and email my professor, about said typo, I just let it go. His secretary typed it. And we are all human. And I, myself, just want to graduate. 

So, yea, I let the typo pass. 

I might frame the letter. Next to my acceptance letter from the program. And then frame my diploma next to those. 

Can't you tell I am just a tad excited? 

And I don't mean to brag or sound condescending. It's just when you have devoted 2 and 1/2 years (3 when I graduate) to something with blood, sweat, and a whole lot of tears, it's nice to do something right. And know that you really do have some knowledge about this stuff. Haha.

WHEW! 

Thank you friends for all the kind thoughts and words you sent my way. This was a rough semester. And I couldn't have made it with out all my friends near and far. And my amazing husband, who has been my cheerleader...and counselor (seriously!) throughout this process. 

I am so blessed. 

Speaking of blessed....

I just noticed that I have had over 10,000 views of this little blog.

WOWZER!

You are all maniacs. 

Like the band, remember them? (Love Natalie Merchant!..and this song...listen to it for a little pick me up!)





So, in honor of reaching 10,000 hits on this humble little Memphis's lady's blog...

I AM HAVING A GIVEAWAY!!

Yes, a giveaway.

Did you just pee your pants??!!

I am sorry about that.

Okay, cutting to the chase, I am giving away a $15 Amazon gift card I will mail to you:

To Enter, all you have to do is leave me a comment about a blessing that you have had in your life recently at the end of this blog entry in the comments section. 

Big. Small. Doesn't matter. Any blessing at all. 

If you have one blessing one day...and have another one two days from then, add another entry. 

All comments must be in by Wednesday (4/25/12) at 11:59 p.m. 

Winner will be chosen at random, and I will announce the winner on the blog this coming Thursday (4/26/12). 

Gift card will be mailed to winner's home.

Let me hear your blessings friends!

Much love, :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Catching up...Birthday Party...Fun Tops...and Workouts

Hi there!

Remember in a land far away I was heading to my niece's 6th birthday party?

Well here are a few highlights of the big day...

Check out Hannah's own drawing of Spongebob above the cake!


Lil sis is in on the cake action


My sis in law and brother...with the two prettiest girls in the world!

Love this girl so much!

Checking out her new Taylor Swift book :)

Hannah's favorite :)

What a fun day it was!

I can't believe that sweet red head is already 6 years old...time sure does fly.

My sister in law had everything decorated so cute...she is such a good mom!

I hope one day I can be HALF the mom she is to her girls. :)

(In a land far far away...haha.)

Well, in the past few weeks, I have tried to update my spring wardrobe a little at a time. 

Remember this shirt I blogged about ordering from Old Navy?

Well, it came in last week...and here is how I styled it...

Blouse: Old Navy
Skinny jeans: Michael Kors
Sandals: Payless

I had originally paired the top with white pants that were a little more flared. But it just made the whole outfit look...umm...bulky?

So, I ventured out to TjMaxx yesterday and scored these originally priced at $99.00 Michael Kors jeans for $32.99!

I thought that was a pretty good score.

You know, I used to HATE TjMaxx. I hated digging through stuff. But ya know, I really like it now. I think of it as treasure hunting! :)

And don't get me wrong. Wearing white skinny jeans is a little nerve wracking for me. 

Black is my favorite color. 

White def isn't the most forgiving...but these jeans are very comfortable. 

So, I figure as long as I keep up my 5 day a week elliptical workouts that I've started, then I can keep wearing them. 

Yes this is for real. No this is not a paparazzi pic of me.

If I don't, me and ol' home girl above might be headed down the same course.

Honestly, I am about to ramp up my elliptical exercises as beach/wedding trip is creeping ever so close.

I have been doing an hour workout, but I really want to amp it up to 2 hour workouts.

Whew!

I know some people get really bored on the elliptical, but I really like it.

I just read my Kindle and an hour passes by quickly!

And I really think it's helped with losing a few inches...so I am just going to keep at it.

Speaking of losing...I have lost 15 pounds so far with WW.

A great success, for sure. But I definitely have a ways to go. If I were to be quite honest with you friends, I have about 40 pounds to go. 

So, yes, two hour elliptical workouts are def in the works!!

I am in the middle of The Hunger Games Trilogy (on the second book right now...I LOVE THEM!!) while I work out.

(The hubs and I saw the movie. LOOVED IT. He can't wait to start reading them as soon as his classes are done.)

Any recommendations for more reads after I finish them?

Much love, ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I'mmmmm Baccckkkk....

Hi friends!

Wellllll I am back.

I took my Comps exam yesterday.

Whew.

Ugh.

It was roughage.

And like most of my predecessors and colleagues who have taken it....

I walked out feeling like it could have gone either way. Pass or fail.

But it's over now.

And there is nothing I can do about it.

(Well, I suppose I could pray real hard.) 

Now begins the waiting process.

2 whole weeks of waiting on the verdict.

But as I said before...at least the test is over.

I have one more week at my practicum site.

And a few more weeks of class.

And then it's sweet summertime!

I am most definitely looking forward to a break.

I have really felt...I dunno...burned out...these past few weeks.

This has probably been the most emotionally exhausting semester I've ever had.

It even beats this time last year when I was planning our wedding that was to take place 2 weeks after classes ended.

Whew.

I welcome the break before my full time internship in the fall.

Barf.

And then it will be graduation time this December! YEAAAA!

I am kind of bummed because most of friends are graduating this semester or in the summer.

I fell behind when I took last summer off after the wedding. They all took summer classes and are now graduating.

I just wish we could have all walked together! But I am SOOO happy and proud for them. 

My best friend is also graduating from her Master's program on the same day. Annnddd the hubs' little sister is graduating from her undergraduate program on that exact day, too.

The University of Memphis is cranking out some pretty amazing graduates this time around!

Congrats friends on all your achievements :)

So after "breathe-into-a-paper-bag-kind-of-anxiety-ridden test experience" (a.k.a. Master's Counseling Comps Exam 2012), the hubs and I used a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse gift cert we had....and celebrated.

With many a few adult beverages. 

We had a great time. It was nice to decompress!

Evening outfit...

Cardigan: Old Navy
Blouse: Gap
Jeans: JcPenney
Wedges: Payless
Bag: Kate Spade

(Please ignore the oh so nice looking floor decor.)

Switching gears... 

I went to Payless the other day to just browse...and of course they were have their BOGO half off sale.

Of course, I succumb to the BOGO gods and walked out with two pairs of wedges...same shoe...one in black...one in brown.

I am wearing the brown ones in the above pic. And I must say, they are THE MOST comfortable pair of sandals...ever.

I wore the black ones today with a dress for an honor society induction ceremony (I am on the board for the honor society)...and had to run, yes RUN, to another building on campus. 

And they were comfortable...annnnndddd I somehow managed not to break an ankle. 

I am sure now I will walk out of my front door and fall flat on my face...but at least it wasn't in front of the 190183873734 high school seniors that were visiting the U of M today. 

(P.S.- Kids. Pick the University of Memphis. You won't regret it. I've had a total of 6 1/2 years of nothing but the best times of my life.)

So friends, shall we start the catch up process?

Yes...let's.

Much love ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'll Be Back....

Hi friends!

Studying this book right here is currently consuming my life:


Why?

Well friends, in 8 days I will be taking my Comprehensive Exam for my Master's.

And why is that important?

Well, in order to graduate, you HAVE to pass this test.

Barf.

100 questions....that determine whether or not 2 1/2 years (3 by the time I graduate) go down the drain.

Okay okay, if I fail I can take it again. But I only have one other chance to take it before I graduate.

So obviously, I don't even want to think about that.

In my mind, any time not spent studying this book and old notes is not time well spent.

So, I have to say goodbye for a little while.

But, I'll be back soon.

Promise.

PLEASE say a prayer for me.

I'd appreciate it...much.

Much love, ;)