Open Carried at Lobby Day 2013

I’ve been going to the General Assembly on Jan 21st since 2010 in partnership with Virginia Citizen’s Defense League to lobby against gun control bills, and for bills that would grant firearms owners/carriers more freedom. Of all those years, this year is one of the most important years to have gone. This year there were several anti gun bills that we were working to defeat. ‘

RVA General Assembly Building

 

This year, husband decided that we would stay at a hotel on Sunday night to be able to arrive on time Monday morning! We obtained a cheaper reservation at a hotel using hotwire.com and ended up staying at a Best Western. I was very entertained by this, as it meant that I actually got to watch “Once Upon a Time” when it aired!

Once Upon a Time

For dinner we stopped at a restuarant near where we were staying called “Steak and Shake” I’d never heard of it before, but apparently it is a NC classic. We ended up with several plates of chili cheese fries because they forgot they brought us the appetizer.

Steak and Shake Building Steak and Shake Burger Steak and Shake

The next morning we began the festivities with an open carry breakfast at The River City Diner. There were about 20 or so open carriers, decorated in orange “Guns Save Lives” stickers, and decorating the waitresses with them as well. I ordered pancakes and bacon, while the husband chatted up some new friends. He met a peace officer and they discussed alcohol laws regarding home brews etc.

Before making our way to the capitol, we decided to return now to the hotel for my dress shirt, so we didn’t have to get it later. I know, I know, that is why you do not hang stuff up in the closet. However, I just wanted it to be wrinkle free, then ended up wearing the other shirt.

Upon arrival to the General Assembly building it was about 9am and there was a giant line of people waiting to be wanded in. In previous years those with bags were stuck in the longest line, but me with the camera bag entered the building first.

Long Line

Media Attention

 

Security

We began with a larger group, but then ended up forming our own smaller group, as we always do. Our group represented various districts around the state, and of course we attempted to meet with the legislators in an unorganized fashion. Up and down the stairs we traveled all day, as the elevators are filled with others.

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Generally speaking it is most common to meet with the legislative aides, as the actual legislators are in session or meetings. It is most importantly a numbers game, and the aide will pass that information on.

One of the main bills that we were championing was that by Delegate Bob Marshall who has drafted HB2340. This states that Virginia would not comply with Federal gun control legislation/acts issued after 12/31/12. In Virginia it is unlikely that gun control or magazine limits would pass, unlike the way that they are being pushed through in NY. Thus, Virginia would be protected if Obama decided to issue an unconstitutional executive order banning firearms. We decided to stop by his office to thank him for writing the bill and met his wife and aide, and were rewarded with flyers about the bill. We proceeded to hand those out to all of the representatives that we met.

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As an aside husband would usually end our talks with asking them/informing them about Constitutional Carry, a measure that was recently passed in Arizona that simply states that one’s concealed carry permit is the Constitution and therefore no other permit is needed to be obtained. While the permit may make people feel safer, it is simply a cosmetic difference (between open carry and concealed carry), and would remove the extra hindrances that delay someone being able to conceal carry. Many of the legislators did not fully understand this measure, and were worried about safety, with the recent image of delegate Joe Morrissey brandishing a rifle while his finger is on the trigger. Joking about him made for great camaraderie among us.

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Usually at 11 am we would meet on the lawn next to the bell tower to have a rally, this year Philip Van Cleave (president of VCDL) decided that it would be more important to spend that time lobbying and meeting with legislators and their aides. He said though, that everyone missed it, and that they hoped to have the event again next year.

Instead, we had our usual Lobby Day lunch at Gibson’s Grill and sat around talking for hours. It was nice to spend some time chatting and resting our feet!

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Afterwards, we returned to the General Assembly for our scheduled meeting with one of our delegates. While waiting for the meeting I decided to practice my DSLR photo taking skills on the gorgeous bouquet on the delegate’s administrative assistant’s desk.

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Before returning home we decided to stop by Colonial Shooting Academy a gun store and shooting range lauded as “Gun DisneyLand” by one of our friends. It was a large store, but due to the recent panics it was largely sold out of firearms, and there was a limit to the amount of ammo that could be purchased. There were some pretty jewelry pieces crafted from empty casings.

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All in all I would say that our efforts were effective. Even those who did not outright agree with us, took the time to listen to our positions. Those thoughts will continue brewing until we can pass Constitutional Carry in VA. These are the moments that I actually enjoy politics, because it doesn’t seem like the abstract “everyone talking nothing gets done” form of politics. It is actively meeting, telling them what we the citizens wants, and letting them know they’ll get voted out if they don’t comply.

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Grounded Myself in God’s Victories

Internship Outfit Week # 6 and here is my hours count: 12 Face to Face, 2.25 Individual Supervision, 2 Group Supervision, and 37.75 Related Activities, for a grand total of 54 hours. It is progressing slower than I realized. I currently only have 4 clients and several are taking off this week, I keep trying to remind myself that slow is normal and okay, but it doesn’t always work.

The slowness of the week, the coldness of the weather, frustrations with communication struggles in my martial relationship, all combined to not make me want to get up and go in for my individual supervision today. It is silly that I feel so insecure about those meetings, however that rationalization does not stop those fears. I just feel like I trip over my own words. I hate the idea of doing something new; I hate the idea that I’m not perfectly experienced at this yet. I feel like I never have the right words to explain what I’m doing in session etc. Husband tells me that I need to be patient with myself as this is a learning experience. Instead, I do what I always do when I get insecure/afraid I toy with the idea of running away. I think, “it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to get the Human Services degree instead, would it?” (For the record, my supervisor is awesome and I’m just being irrational).

I miss having the classes, I miss the text books, I miss the research papers. I was immensely good at ALL of that stuff, I’ve always been good at school. One year in school they tested our learning styles. It was determined that I have a “Mastery Skill Level.” This explained why, in math class I enjoyed being taught how to do the problem and then having 100 examples to do in the homework that were exactly the same way. I enjoy Mastering things.

I enjoy the subjectivity of counseling, in theory. I like that I am unique and that as counselors our personalities and approaches are all different, and that is a good thing. However, it is easy to become insecure knowing that I have to practice with people (which sometimes already give me anxiety) in order to learn. Smeh.

While journaling and reading my Bible, and it became very apparent that my feelings were based on my own emotional funk and likely spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want me to be a counselor, serving God and setting the captives free from their bondage of sin and dysfunction problems. He would rather keep them tied down so that they never reach their potential and they never glorify God.

Hebrews 2:1 “We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away”

Instead of running away from my fears I need to face them. God will help train me and bring me through this process that HE has CALLED me too. My life is about glorifying Him, and that means that this internship is about Him too.

I want to ground myself in this passage Isaiah 61:1-4

“The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him; they will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the former devastation  they will renew the ruined cities, the devastation of many generations.

If that doesn’t get you pumped, then maybe you need to listen to Desert Song by Hillsong. I encourage you to dedicate yourself that no matter how you feel, that you won’t waiver in whatever calling that He has placed on your life. There will be times of discouragement, those are the times that you need to show verses of His faithfulness and your calling to yourself and push onward.

In other news my former supervisor (from the missions agency I worked with) is now working at my site as an MA counselor!! I’m beyond excited!! Soon, we are planning on running some groups together. If you have any ideas for good group books, post and let me know!

Created a Photo Gallery Wall

During my months at home I’ve been scouring Pinterest trying to find ideas to improve our shoe box of an apartment that lacks storage space. The reality is that we’ll likely be living her for at least a few more years, so I need to figure out how to make our stuff fit better in it for my own mental health.

So I googled for these shelves many of them being only a foot wide and $30.00 a piece from target! After intense googling I found the original instructions.. They seemed pretty easy to make, and would only cost $10 for an 8 foot piece of lumber. However, due to the lack of experience of husband and I with making our own shelves I realized that method would unlikely get accomplished within the 2013 year.

Another pinner described using rain gutters.

And yet another recommended using molding to create your own shelves.

So, we ventured off to Lowe’s today to explore their rain gutters and molding. None of the molding seemed to have a big enough ledge for my purposes. Then, with the rain gutters, husband discussed the impossibilities while staring at the towering strips: how would we cut it, how would we mount it, and likely it would scrap up our apartment wall.

Sighing in frustrating I wandered around the Lowe’s a little while longer, heading towards the storage section thinking maybe there would be shelves that would be inexpensive and meet my purposes. Suddenly I turned an aisle and saw little mini shelves in the perfect shape (36 inches wide, 1 5/8 inch tall, and 1 3/4inch long) for only $9.77 each. They also were packaged with the necessary screws, and had holes set up to mount it. Apparently, they were “Door Bottoms” with the primary purpose of sealing and sweeping the bottom of external doors. I was worried because they seemed a little too flexible, but they were the perfect shape, and I justified that picture frames really aren’t that heavy, so we though we’d try them.

Door Bottom

 

We decided to space them in the middle of the wall and a little over a foot apart.

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Husband was only going to screw in the ends instead of all 5 slots. However, I could tell an improved support when all 5 were screwed through to the wall.

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The finished product!

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The shelves took about 10 minutes to hang, and they seem much sturdier than originally assessed. The shelves have only been hanging on the wall for maybe an hour, but I wouldn’t see any reason why they wouldn’t last.

In order to better secure the picture frames against the wall (to protect about the air distributions that occurs when opening/shutting doors etc) I would recommend using a little bit of mounting putting or sticky tack to stick the picture frames to the wall.

I’m so excited by this photo gallery that I’ve been idealizing over the past few months! Husband is happy with not drilling excess holes into our rented walls, and I love the flexibility this provides to switch the picture frames/decorations around. Also, this provides a non museum like way to display my excessive pictures/knickknacks on the wall without it feeling/looking so excessive.

If you try this please post a picture and let me know how it goes!

Update as of Dec. 30th, 2013: The shelves have held! Honestly, I could sand down/cut the frayed edges, I just haven’t yet. There has only been one casualty from these shelves. A large photo frame fell over due to the crazy large dogs running around upstairs. I would recommend some type of tack affixed to the back of larger frames to help hold them in place against the wall.

Designed a Concealed Carry Wardrobe

I promised that I would elaborate on HOW to wear a concealed carry holster, specifically the Super Stealth Inside the waistband hip holster by Old Faithful Holsters which I reviewed in this article. Throughout my years of open carrying there were times where life necessitated that I conceal carry, and I always felt so frustrated feeling like I could not conceal carry on my person. It is easy to become frustrated during this process as concealed carrying a midsize or full size (in my case Glock 19) around feminine curves is very challenging. Our clothes are shorter and more form fitting than most guys, and abnormal bulges are more often noticed on our hourglass bodies. But, never fear there are some tricks that I’ve learned over the past few weeks.

Specific concealed carry holsters are your best friend! Whether a thigh holster, bra holster, or an inside the waistband holster, it will help immensely wearing a holster that was designed to be covert.  Finding the right holster for how you want to carry will depend upon your wardrobe, and personal preferences. I decided to start with an inside the waistband holster, as this holster would conceal in a similar location to where I already open carried. However, I would definitely advise having as many ways to carry as possible as there will always be different days, different outfits with different needs. It is always nice to have a purse you use for concealed carry as a back up, though it is not my preference to carry that way.

Also, think carefully about what firearm you do want to conceal. You do not necessarily have to choose the smallest gun, but that would definitely make it easier. That does not mean it is impossible to concealed carry a bigger gun like a Glock 19, it may include more discomfort than wearing a smaller firearm.

As I was beginning a new career in my life, I had already prepared money in the budget to buy more clothes to outfit myself in a more professional style. Beforehand I might have worn a cute shirt and jeans, but especially many tshirts. It was thus easier to purchase new items to my wardrobe that would be professional, multifunctional, as well as able to conceal carry. Thus I could wear my professional outfits to church, etc.

First step was searching for more slacks/khakis. I decided to take the holster with me while I went to Old Navy to get an idea on what I needed. Take your holster with you when you shop for new pants! Generally speaking most will work, as many jeans are made of stretchy materials, however, with slacks you may need to get a slight size bigger to ensure room for your gun. Pay attention to the rise of your pants. For me it worked best to have pants with a classic or “higher” rise as compared to low rise pants. This will determine the placement of your holster.

Trying on Old Navy Pants

 

Trouser Classic Rise Stretch

Next I’ll break down the fundamentals or easiest clothing staples to be able to ensure the ability to conceal carry. Many of these things I learned from reading many of Cornered Cat’s articles, particularly “Straight Talk About Curves” which discusses what to do with our curvy issues to carrying a hidden firearm. Read her stuff as she has tons of great articles addressing all sorts of concerns about carrying firearms from a woman’s perspective! On YouTube there are several women’s channels that you do not want to miss. Lima Life records videos about holster reviews, and how to combat someone while you are also carrying your child. FaliaPhotography offers some great reviews and more advice about how to conceal carry. A facebook page and website The Well Armed Woman is definitely worth adding to stay abreast of news, some of the best products, and holster review videos. Keep searching and let me know if there are any other great sites that you find.

Okay, so spend some time with your holster, if there are different cants or angles to wear it in, try it in various positions to see what looks best. With my hip holster I was actually wearing it in the small of my back for a while because that was the only place I thought there was room for it. However, husband ensured me that it would mold to my body if I placed it correctly along the hem of my pant leg. Allow yourself time with your holster and patience to figure it out.

Here are the surefire steps and keys that I found worked with my inside the waistband holster, these may not be as helpful depending on what type of holster you are wanting to conceal carry.

#1 Begin with a long tanktop/camisole, especially if it has a few inches of lace. The lace helps to hide any peekage of the nose of your gun (in case it isn’t hidden by your pants pockets), as well as to ensure that your outfit remains a concealed carry outfit.

Concealed Carry in Dress Pants

Old Faithful Holster

 

Camisole Layer #1 in Conceal Carry

#2 If at all possible wear a shirt that is looser/longer around the bottom, empire waist shirts work perfectly for this! Depending on the shirt you may not even need a cover garment. If your shirts are tighter do not worry there are ways to still conceal your firearm.

Two great shirts that do not need a cover garment:

Great Shirt for Concealed Carry 1

 

Great Shirt for Concealed Carry 2

A tighter shirt that will need a cover garment:

Layer #2 - Shirt

#3 The magic word or phrase really is “cover garment” this is likely the part that you’re thinking, “Man, I really do not want to completely change my wardrobe and how I wear clothes!” However, using a cover garment is literally your best friend and will make or break your concealed carry. The keys to a great cover garment are: loose, and long over the hips. Items that work great are sweater vests (can be worn open instead of buttoned in front), cardigans, dressy shrugs, etc. I found 5 great garments at the thrift store 2 of which were brand new with the Kohl’s tags still on them, for $25! Also, pinterest has some great articles about how to make your own: crochet shrug, and upcycle tshirts into shrugs.

Concealed Old Faithful Holster

 

You can see a slight bulge in the picture, but only if you are looking for it. Generally speaking you’d be moving around so no one will notice.

I know that I didn’t share many outfits, but I wanted to break down the concepts to the few simple steps! For other outfit ideas, or to see videos of this in action visit the YouTube channels that I mentioned. Please comment with any questions or suggestions. I hope to be reviewing more holsters soon. A thigh holster should soon be ordered, because this girl needs to be able to conceal carry on her person while she is wearing skirts and dresses! :0)

Ciao!

Owned an IWB Old Faithful Holster

Since I’ve been carrying fairly regularly over the past few years something I’ve struggled with is finding holsters that work well with the feminine body type, especially for conceal carry. I’d done some research, but most of the holsters are too expensive to easily try out to determine if it will meet your needs.

Luckily for me I live in a state in which open carry is allowed. Typically husband and I tend to openly carry our firearms around our local city in demonstration. We want to help normalize the presence of guns, as well as educate people about the defensive opportunities they can take advantage of. Also, in our state you need to apply for a permit to be “allowed” to conceal carry, meanwhile no permit is required to openly carry.

Recently I’ve been focusing on developing a more professional wardrobe, so it made sense to invest in a new inside the waistband holster and then get new slacks. Generally speaking one of the most commonly recommended inside the waistband holsters are crossbreeds. However, it had recently come to my attention that there was another brand that was just as concealable that were more economical!

The neat thing about Old Faithful Holsters is that you can purchase a holster in various stages of completion. For example I decided to order the “Stealth Tuck inside the waistband Hip Holster.” As a woman there is no way reliably that I would ever be able to conceal an outside the waistband holster, hence that order. Purchasing options include purchasing the holster in an “assembled stage” for $75, in a “Quick Assemble Kit” for $39.97. and finally to purchase as a “U Mold It” for $27.97. I was assured by a friend and a previous customer of these holsters that the “Quick Assemble Kit” was true to its name. So, I order a holster in that “stage” for my Glock 19. The best part? You can order the kydex in different colors! Naturally, I ordered it in pink!

Pink Kydex Old Faithful Holster

The holster arrived and husband went ahead and put it together for me. It didn’t take him very long at all. There are various “settings” and tilts you can angle the holster at to fit your preferences, husband went ahead and assembled the clips in the middle of the three locations. However, eventually we did move it to sink the holster deeper into the pants.

The company challenges you to wear the holster for 30 days and if you are not satisfied that you can get your money back. I wore my holster daily for a few weeks but was still feeling frustrated an impatient with the situation. At this point I’d been deciding to wear it in the small of my back as I thought that was the only place to hide the firearm bulge on my body. Wearing it in the small of the back is not only incredibly uncomfortable, but also not recommended due to potential spinal injuries that could result from falling on your hidden holster.

Husband recommended that I re-situate the holster behind my right hip, lining the first clip with the seam of my pants. I protested, I didn’t think I’d be able to hide it there. At this point we also positioned the clips in the highest of the three holes to sink the holster further into the pants. I wore the holster daily and in about 2-3 weeks the leather was conformed to my body.

Old Faithful Holster molded

 

Pink Glock Pink Old Faithful Holster

When I show people this holster one of their first questions is, “is it comfortable?” There are some posts I’ve seen in the gun community to the idea that “it doesn’t matter if it is comfortable, this is about your life and that is of utmost importance.” I agree that the focus should be on concealability and functionality, however that does not mean that comfort needs to be completely forsaken. For me, my main goal was actually being able to hide my midsize Glock on my person, and this was definitely a success (with some wardrobe necessities that I’ll describe in a later post)! This means that I can feel more secure knowing that my handgun is in quicker reach and safe from others being on my body instead of in my purse.

Concealed Old Faithful Holster 2

Concealed Old Faithful Holster

However, I can also say that this holster is comfortable! Is it comfortable like your body lying on satin, no, of course not that is an unrealistic option. There is a foreign object being pressed between your body and your pants, of course there is going to be some discomfort! This especially is dependent upon which type of outfit you are currently wearing, and the type of chair you are sitting it. Your holster can be perfectly situated, and then you randomly encounter a chair whose construction seems to purposely rub your holster and push it into your back during the Sunday school lesson >.<. Generally speaking though the holster itself is very comfortable, it is the handgun (and the grip of the handgun) that makes it uncomfortable. Thus a smaller Glock would likely feel more comfortable. Also, if I’m laying down on the couch and the metal clips have decided to shift throughout the day I’ve gotten my skin pinched in them before.

In summation, I love this comfortable holster so much! I love the fact that I’m not constantly bumping my arm on my plastic paddle holster. I love that I can hide a firearm on my person instead of only being able to have it in my purse and then feeling like I need to awkwardly drag the purse everywhere with me at a party. I love the price of this holster, $40.00 is much better than $75-80 for which the closest competitor offers this product. I love that I could girlyfy this holster and get it in pink! I love this inside the waistband holster so much I’m dreading going to open carry events where I’ll need to wear a different holster–I’ve gotten quite attached. Easily, I would recommend this holster for anyone looking for a good way to conceal their firearm on their person.

Pro-tip If you find that the holster is causing you that much discomfort especially through the break in period wear a muscle tank between your skin and the holster. Also, getting a belt specifically designed for wearing a firearm would likely help situate and balance the weight of the handgun better. Currently, I am using a walmart reversible belt. I would like to try these gorgeous dress belts from Flashbang Holsters http://flashbangholster.com/womens_holster_belts, but am unable to “try it out” for $65.00 for one in each black and brown at this time.

Pssst! Old Faithful Holsters usually run various promotions. I purchased by holster after the election during an “election sale.” The do offer discounts.

Tell a friend discount.

If you promise to demonstrate your holster to a friend and point them to our website, YOU AND YOUR FRIEND may use discount code 1friend for a 3% discount each.

If you promise to demonstrate your holster to 2 friends and point them to our website, YOU AND YOUR 2 FRIENDS may use discount code 2friends for a 6% discount.

Stay posted! I plan to share more with you about designing a concealed carry wardrobe (how to functionally wear an inside the waistband holster), as well as other holsters that I try out. I’m hoping to be able to find a good thigh holster (recommendations welcome) for skirt/dress carry.

 

Shamed My Beagle

Daisy, our beagle, has been especially challenging the past few days. Yesterday, she jumped on the table and snagged a yummy slice of pizza before dragging it to the floor. I posted this fact on twitter/facebook to which others posted shaming pictures of such actions.

I’ve seen these “shaming” pictures before and longed to snap one of the beagle. Well, today I had this opportunity!

For the past few days it has been cold, rainy, and wet outside. I don’t want to be out there, so I can understand how the dog would not want to go out there either. This morning husband took the dog outside, she peed, and then we brought her back inside. A short while later she started to squat so we shuffled her quickly outside. When husband returned he told me that the dog had left her business on the porch. *shakes head* Then, when I returned from work today, I let her out, she peed, and I brought her back inside. Again, I turned around and she started to squat again on the carpet. >.< Seriously! I left the dog outside as long as she wanted! So I took this photo of our girly spoiled beagle.

Shamed Beagle -1 Shamed Beagle -2 Shamed Beagle - 3

Many of you have probably already seen those photos on twitter, facebook, and instagram, so I thought I would formally introduce my beagle to the blogosphere. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of her throughout, but I don’t think I’ve shared about her.

Daisy was an accident. Before we got married husband and I talked about possibly getting a dog in the future. One of the breeds that was mentioned was a beagle, due to the favorite childhood mix he had growing up. Within days of returning from our honeymoon we were driving by the pet store and I saw a sign that advertised “beagles.” I convinced husband to stop because “We weren’t going to buy a dog.” Little did I know that he’d been there the day before and fallen in love with one specific beagle!

We stopped inside to look at the furry little things, and very shortly husband became eye locked with the sleepy runt in the corner. His gaze wasn’t wavering, so I quickly realized that I either needed to bring the puppy home with us, or leave my new husband at the pet store.

So, after being married for one week we bought a puppy. I thought it’d be a breeze, I’d forgotten that my mother raised our puppies growing up. This little beagle caused a ridiculous amount of stress in a situation where we were already struggling through the adjustment of graduation, marriage, living together, and husband working night shift. That first Christmas together all she did was knock the ornaments off the tree. I was personally offended thinking that this little dog was trying to ruin our first Christmas together.

Something neat about our special beagle is that the date she was born: August 15th, 2009. This was the date of the wedding of the couple for which husband and I met. She was one of my first roommates, and he was the husband’s roommate that freshman year. They asked me to go to the movies with them, and not wanting to be the third wheel, I asked the guy if “he had any friends he wanted to bring along.” Then, low and behold my furry now husband appeared outside my window!

So, I love our beagle, and we will get through this rainy week!

Taken a Photo-Shoot Near Dorm 1

Okay this “Never Have I Ever” is extremely laughable. Seriously, the moment husband begins to read this post there will be laughter erupting at the idea that I am not the crazy photograph everything woman that he  has come to know and love.

One particular photo shoot (my freshman year so May 2007) was after an event my friends called the “flip flop formal” in which all of our friends donned dresses (the guys in nice shirts, maybe a tie, and slacks). Then, we all put on flip flops and went to the local mini golf. That day was a blast, but easily the girls had the most fun posing for pictures in our dresses after the fact.

Me and Hubs - Flip Flop Formal Me at the Flip Flop Formal

Flip Flop Formal

Princess Down - Flip Flop Formal

Then in February 2008 as part of my special surprise “snow less snow day” husband took pictures around campus that were significant to us/our relationship, before the culmination of proposing at the bright neon star. This day was called the “snow less snow day” because in the first day of my school’s history they cancelled school the night before due to the threat of snow, and then the next day was the sunniest it had been all week!

Goofy Dorm 1 Dorm 1 us Dorm 2 Me Next to Dorm 2

Dorm 1 was the first dorm that I lived in during my stint on campus. Basically, it was an over glorified trailer park. It was “temporary housing” that has out lasted its purpose. Finally, the school has decided that they are going to demolish it to build taller dorms that will house more people in a nicer fashion. *Cue wanting to take some cute pictures before this landmark is destroyed*

When I lived in Dorm 1 I lived in the special room with the door and walkway outside of it. The door was remnant of when it was used as the ROTC building, and when I was living it in was sautered shut. (Couldn’t have us sneaking out after curfew you know!) Sitting in this dorm room on the 3rd day of non school I peered outside the window and was introduced to my roommate’s then boyfriend – now husband’s roommate, an exceedingly tall, obnoxious, and hairy fellow. Who knew that I’d fall in love with him and be married 3 years later.

With the new DSLR Canon t3i, I got a friend to take a few pictures of us in these special locations before they no longer exist!

Kissing Next to Dorm 1

Dorm 1

 

Beagle Family

 

Feet Dorm 1

 

Dorm 2

Had a Surprise Picnic Lunch

This past weekend was one of those wonderful weekends in this great state when it forgets what season that it is in! This means we had weather in January that instead of being rainy cold in the 30 and 40’s was in the upper 70’s and bright and shiny! These are those rare days given to us to help us get through the rest of the winter.

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After observing a few cases on Saturday I called the husband on the way home. He began asking me questions like if I liked pickles and mayo. I quickly deduced that he was making me a sandwich and exclaimed, “Are you making us a picnic to go to the park?!!” To which he replied, “You know, when someone is trying to surprise you, you probably shouldn’t try to guess the surprise.” Whoops.

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We took the yummy lunch of turkey sandwiches, chips and salsa, Capri suns, Arizona green tea, and cheezits to our small local park. This is the park we tend to frequent most often as it is so close to our house, AND because we got them to remove their unconstitutional gun ban sign. The beagle and new camera accompanied us for the trip as the bright sunlight would be awesome to test it out in.

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The weather was absolutely perfect. If you were to imagine the perfect textbook day this would be it. The bright blue sky was lightly strewn with fluffy white clouds that were not hiding the sun, the minimal wind did not deter the sun’s rays from warming our backs as we sat enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. It was one of those moments where I wished I could just fall into the sky. Husband and I laid against the blanket and just started at the sky, I can’t remember the last time I’ve paused enough to do that!

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Hopefully we will get a few more warm days, but if not it means I cannot wait for Spring!

Been a Counseling Colleague

Internship OutfitThis is week #4 of my counseling internship semester 1, and here are my hours: 7.5 face to face (F2F), 1.25 individual supervision (IS), 1 group supervision (GP), and 24 related activities (RA) for a total of 33.75 hours! Only 566.25 to go! Slowly but steady wins the race! I haven’t been able to do as many hours as my time frame/schedule would have allowed because I only have a handful of clients.

Today was exciting because I participated in two different activities that allowed me to feel like a counseling colleague: my first “official” individual supervision time, and observation of another counselor’s session.

My supervisor and I have had small discussions but her schedule did now allow us to meet officially to discuss my cases until today. I was very excited. During this time frame I discovered that she prefers that I explain my cases as “So and So, white, female, single, age …, presenting with…..” and then diving into the case. This approach makes loads of sense to me, so I’m glad I’ll be better able to be this organized for her in the future. While discussing the cases I shared what I had gleaned and my direction. It was easier to understand my direction with certain clients, but a few others I was feeling more “stuck.” It felt incredible to be able to discuss these in depth with her and have her wisdom and experience at my side. Once she made her suggestions  it became obvious to me that that was the perfect way to proceed, and I am excited to try these methods with my clients later in week #5 stay tuned!

This evening I also had the opportunity to observe another professional at my site. I’m very blessed as there are several licensed counselors at the private practice where I intern, so I’m surrounded by a wealth of knowledge. The counselor, before we went into the session, shared a little about the structural family therapy that he does and how counseling in that framework appears. Basically, it is not just observing and dealing with the child behavior problem, it is watching to see how the system affects the problem. This was a great type of session to observe, because the counselor is already watching the dynamics and unspoken “rules” and “roles” about the family. This therapy model is much more practical having fewer sessions just dealing with resolving the family’s “problem” so it is very different from the individual adult therapy sessions which revolve around the question, “How does that make you feel?” The counselor treated me like an equal during our conversations, encouraging me about the counseling learning process. He even told me that I was welcomed to ask the family any questions! I decided just to watch him, but felt blessed by his openness. Plus, I’m welcomed back to observe future sessions of his as long as my supervisor approves :0).

I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to learn from the various professionals at my site. Let alone I could learn to better understand how the counselor uses their personality and are varying tools, each of them have different specializations that I could observe. My goal this semester is to see if I can observe at least one session with as many counselors as possible.

 

Reproduced Myself

If the post title causes you to till your head and raise one eyebrow while staring at the computer screen, it is supposed to. During my years on campus I sat under the tutelage of several campus pastors. One of these was in the form of weekly prayer leader meetings. As Christians one of the most popular verses shared (especially within missions circles) is:

Matthew 28:18-20  18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This is our purpose, it is not only to go preach the good news and help people understand salvation, but to create and train disciples. This means sharing life with another person. The awesome part of this model is how quickly the replication can spread. If each person reaches X amount of people in their life time, and really trains them, then those people will not only likely remain in the faith their entire lives, but will also reach out to many more people in their lifetime.

So, sitting in Prayer Leader class, they would talk to us about how to disciple others and the importance of doing this using the phrase/commandment “You should be reproducing yourself!” It may or may not have caused some of us to snicker.

Elephant Riding Buddies!

I was reminded of the importance of discipleship by one of my previous students. She was on the first international trip that I ever helped to lead. That trip to Thailand in 2009 with Xtreme Impact was a learning experience for us all, trying to keep up with and mentor 20 something students with only 1 Team Leader and 2 other college leaders!

This was the trip where one of our students had food sickness while at the airport, and they wouldn’t let him board. Our Team Leader waited with him, and told the rest of us to take the students down to the gate. We finally decided that we should board when they were announcing the final call. Waiting in line to board the gate people found out our group name. One of the students ran back to us (because we had all of the leaders at the end of the line conferring) to tell us something about our TL meeting us in America. I raced to the front of the line with her. When I arrived there I was informed that our other teammates would be meeting us in America. Adrenaline and shock kicked in as I ran to the back of the line to inform the other two college leaders (who had just completed their freshman years!). We stared at each other for a moment before granting high fives.

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That journey home was very memorable, given the fact that 1/4 of the students were also sick during our several hour layover in Korea. Our TL had the team money (luckily we had the passports!) so we used individual’s debit/credit cards and told them to keep the receipts in order for everyone to get lunches while we waited. It was crazy and unexpected, just like most of that trip.

Despite the craziness of this trip, or maybe because of it, I’ve seen it inspire my students incredibly! They had the opportunity to really see God “show up.” Those students have mostly all graduated, gotten married, and gone on to begin their careers. I enjoy stalking them on facebook. One such student, Natalie (my elephant riding buddy) is currently on the World Race. This means that she will be doing a giant mission trip where she’ll be visiting 11 countries in 11 months! I cannot even begin to imagine, but lucky for me she blogs about her updates!

She’s currently in Thailand, where her journey started in 2009 with me! On her blog article “The Trip That Fanned the Flame” she shares about that first trip and how God used it in her life.

Not only that, but I have another student, Savannah who is also doing the World Race right now! She was on my Jamaica team in 2010 that had its own special challenges as well. She’s currently in Cambodia and blogs at: http://savannahdavis.theworldrace.org/.

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I’m so proud of each of them, and all of the students (through home mission trips, foreign mission trips, bible studies, and being a prayer leader) that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. It is humbling to know that God uses the little that we do and makes it much! I want to use this nostalgic memory as a reminder to push ahead this year. I’ve helped to make disciples in the past, but I need to continue to find new ways to do this. If we all push ahead, each one reaching even just one, then we can really create a world filled with not just “believers” but people who’s lives are truly changed and daily reflecting His glory!

Books to read:

Disciplesaremadenotborn

 

spiritual