Seen a Spine Specialist (Car Wreck Recovery Week #1)

It has officially been 1 week since the accident, and it is crazy to see my progress. I didn’t leave the apartment until Wednesday and that was only because I was visiting with the specialist.We got to the appointment almost an hour early, just because we weren’t sure how long it would take to move my granny self.

In hobbling into the office, husband and I were slowly walking and a woman at least twice my age, maybe older, blazed past us. We stopped walking and just burst out laughing.  Then, using the handicapped automatic door, I walked so slowly it began to close on me.

They saw us quickly, despite how early we were. I felt better being able to recount my ailments and have my scans reviewed. The nurse practitioner was my favorite. She was friendly, she complimented my heart shaped engagement ring, but I could tell she was a C personality type. After reviewing my scans she said “I did 2 years in the trauma unit at UVA, and I’m very impressed by the workup they did on you…you can’t always be sure with small hospitals”

Basically, they told us the same thing that they did in the ER just days before. It will be 4 to 6 weeks recovery time. Amazingly I just broke the wing part of the vertebrae! I should even be able to start running again in 4 weeks!

After the appointment I was ready to burst into happy tears. I couldn’t believe that there wouldn’t be any long term damage.

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I was feeling well enough that I begged husband to drive us to the carnival block party on the mission trip schedule. He conceded because the Dr said I should be walking around more.

The party was at the same location that I was supposed to be on Sunday. In getting there we drove through the intersection where the accident was. It was funny to see how small it really was. You couldn’t tell there had been a accident, just some glass in the grass.

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The block party was awesome!! There was music, grilling, popcorn, and bounce houses. I teased husband that I’d jump in it. The best part was watching the faces as I walked over. The pastor who’d visited me in the hospital was one of the first to see me. The surprised “oh my gosh you are here, alive and walking face” is seriously one of the most validating ever! We didn’t stay long so as not to get in the way.

We developed a new favorite treat in fun fetti dip with teddy grahams. Husband even documented this process :0). 

The rest of the week has been filled with emotional ups and downs. I’ve been frustrated to be in pain, annoyed with my inability, broken hearted at pain felt by others in the accident, hugely thankful to be alive, and overwhelming peace/joy.

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My husband has been saintly during this process. He literally had to help me walk to the restroom, and wait on me hand and foot for the first few days. It is important to know that I’m not the easiest person to serve sometimes. My emotions were fluctuating, plus I tend to believe that things need to be done the “right way” which is usually the method that I’ve developed. And, I’m not always able to clearly communicate this. Specifically, at one point I had a difficult time trying to explain why I needed to be in my clothes instead of his gym shorts and a baggy tshirt, as my clothes were better for my morale.

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Sunday evening, exactly one week after the accident there was a “Celebrate America” event in town, complete with fireworks in the evening. I brought my photography gear and tripod, excited to test out my skills.  My skills were not ready for such a fast subject! I quickly ditched the tripod, despite that I needed its stability to ensure non blurry pictures, as I couldn’t maneuver it quickly enough to frame my subjects. Sitting down made it difficult to use the Manual Focus on the front of the lens, and this was absolutely necessary as the lack of light and speed of subjects made the Auto Focus slow and unreliable. I ended up switched to Sport Mode and was able to get a few decent shots. Either way we enjoyed ourselves!

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It just feels like the icing on the cake that my DSLR camera survived the wreck. When everything else was flung about the car, it was perfectly in the middle of the passenger seat where I’d left it (outside of a camera bag).  I know this sounds silly, but it almost feels like God blessing my pursuit of photography. It is humbling to realize that He often fulfills these tiny desires of our hearts. IMG_4641

 

Fractured My L3 Vertebrae

Remember how excited I was about taking pictures of the youth’s local mission efforts, and being able to travel with them to D.C. at the end of the trip…well there is a reason that the Bible warns us about boasting about tomorrow and always phrasing future plans with “Lord willing”, because none of us ever knows what is ever going to happen. Sunday afternoon this was proven to me.

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It was a typical Sunday, going to our Sunday school class and meeting for lunch afterwards. The youth group was going to be hosting a VBS at a low income housing area. I decided to show up later, in order to grab lunch, knowing that there were a few more VBS days that I could vary which times I was there for different pictures.

Then, I needed to take a left hand turn from the highway I was on, to another highway, across several lanes. The problem was there were two vehicles on the shoulder blocking my view of oncoming traffic. I found out later that one vehicle was jumping the other. I did stop at the stop sign (despite the false video report), and decided to count the vehicles that disappeared, ensuring that they had driven past me. I don’t detail what I did as an example for others to do, and trust me I’ve questioned each move I’ve made since the incident, but what happened is what happened. My car was squarely t-boned on my side of the car, and was pushed about 15 feet away from our collision.

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I felt surprisingly cognizant in the moments after the crash, I never lost consciousness. I remember emitting a weird yell convulsively. My husband said this was a natural instinct to get other’s attention. After a few seconds I calmed down. One of the first things I did was turn the engine off, as the Christian radio station was still playing. I could hear the lady in the other car saying, “She just pulled out in front of me!” and that she was having trouble breathing (likely due to an air bag deployment).

Sitting in the car I assessed the situation around me. My prescription sunglasses were long gone. I was missing a flip flop. There were small cubes of glass around my legs. My other glasses were in the case that had been flung and pinched in between the door handle on the other side…too far out of reach. My cell phone was nearby and I tried to call the husband a few times. Surprisingly, my DSLR was sitting pretty on the seat, didn’t look like it had moved at all! (I hadn’t even transported it in a camera bag this time). Pain wise I felt discomfort, like I needed to move myself to find a better sitting angle. In beginning to move I realized that I did have pain in my lower spine, across from my belly button. I could move my arms and legs/toes, so I didn’t panic but understood the importance of refraining from future movement.

There was a random nurse who’d come out to see if she could help. At least I guessed she was a nurse based on her scrubs. At one point I asked her if she could get my glasses for me. She walked over to the passenger side door, and I realized it was locked. I turned to use the electronic unlock, only to discover that the panel was unattached loosely displaying its wires.

Looking at pictures later it is surprising that I didn’t feel cramped inside the car. The metal was pushed in at least a foot inward. My husband (later at the car impound) tried to sit in the seat and couldn’t. The pedals were pushed into the engine area, the seat was about a foot wide, and the bottom of the seat was level with the floor of the car.

Emergency crews showed up very quickly. The first thought on my mind was getting someone to call my husband. I hoped to be able to make that call myself so he’d know I wasn’t as bad as it all sounded.

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My second thought, as the EMT’s approached, was the importance of communicating that Jesus had specifically spared my life. I wasn’t sure how to do this and have it sound sincere…as I figured many people must make those kinds of statements afterwards. But I did get a few “Amens!” Other than that I tried to stay as positive and cheerful as possible. The situation sucked, but I was alive. I was in pain, but I was going to get checked out. I just needed to be calm and go with everything.

All of the EMT’s introduced themselves to me and kept asking me the same questions, like my name and birthday assessing my mental faculties. At one point one of them introduced themselves and asked how I was. I cheerily automatically responded, “I’m good, how are you?” They all laughed. I teased them that they were taking me to my chariot, as they were turning me to place me on the stretcher and pull me out of the passenger side door. I don’t remember many of their names or faces, as I was placed in a neck brace as a precaution. One thing I specifically remember is trying to be as pleasant as possible, telling everyone how much I appreciated what they were doing on my behalf.

Throughout the move from the car and ambulance I was filled with peace. They warned me that the stretcher would feel bumpy, but I felt completely secure.

My ride in the ambulance was quick and filled with entertaining conversation with the EMT named Jeremy. He began checking my vitals, which he warned me would involve removing my shirt. I began to protest saying “This is really silly and unimportant…but is there anyways that you could…nevermind, don’t worry about it.” He filled in, “This is a special shirt, and you’d like me to cut it along the seam?” I replied “yes please” and sighed as another one of my Xtreme Impact shirts would not be wearable. I don’t remember many specifics about our conversation, but I remember laughing…which was also painful.

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He later picked out my husband based on my description of him. He said, “You must be the infamous Mr.” Jeremy showed him a picture of the squashed car, and told him how lucky he was to have me with him still.

He covered me back up with a blanket as we were preparing to leave the ambulance. I laughed, realizing that modesty was the last thing I cared about right now. I said this, and that I normally did really care, so it was really sweet of him to care about it form me right now when I couldn’t.

He laughed with the other EMT staff as they rolled me into the building. I heard them teasing him as he wore my purse into the building. He joked that it was the new emergency gear. It really helped to be around such camaraderie. It was weird in the building staring at the ceiling as people were introduced to me.

At this point some of the order of what happened is kind of fuzzy. I remember being insistent that I call my husband. As far as I knew he didn’t know about the incident. Someone helped me use the phone attached to the bed and I left a message. I found out later I actually left a message on my own cell phone…fail. My other only weird mess up for the day was I kept telling everyone we’d be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in October instead of our 4th.

Suddenly, some of the emotional stress began to get to me. The nurse,  Kim was there still assessing me and getting me ready for all the tests they would run. I began to tear up. I said that it was really silly, but that I really missed my husband. She laughed and told me that was normal, and not silly at all. Its weird to explain, but in that moment I just needed to see him. Despite the fact that I was the one who’d be in the accident, I had this intense need to know he was okay. Kim explained this to me that, I needed to know he wasn’t freaking out due to the news.

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After all of my pestering, the Dr. finally told me that she’d left him a message (at 3pm one hour after the accident) as I was wheeled towards my first X-rays. She said he was on his way; I was elated. My first tests went pretty quickly. Being wheeled back I finally heard/saw my handsome husband. He began taking care of all of the information and contacting everyone who needed to be contacted.

A few of our guy friends were with him, as he’d been at their apartment when he’d received the call. These friends had driven him, so that way my husband didn’t have to drive in a frantic state. I was suddenly aware of the lack of clothes I didn’t have with my hospital supplied gown, and I pulled my blankets higher up. I was grateful for them being here to help support us.

My next step involved a blood test to ensure that I wasn’t pregnant before they could do a CT scan. The guys of course left the room, and in the end we used a catheter :-/. I told Kim that these kinds of things were why I could never be a nurse. She said that she was able to sort of zone it out, to do what they needed to do. I really enjoyed chatting with her off an on throughout the day. She’d started off at my school, then gone to another school, I think back home? I told her about my counseling internship, and she affirmed the need for mental health services, especially from what she could see in the hospital.

Once the blood work was assessed, I was wheeled to the CT machine by a young man named Chris. I didn’t know this at the time, but they told my husband that they’d found blood in my urine sample, which could indicate internal bleeding. The CT scans were used to determine if this was the case. I was most afraid of internal bleeding due to my sore abdomen, and my previous car accident injuries of a lacerated spleen and liver.

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I cannot recall what position Chris was, as I know the name of my technician was Jenna, but I know he worked with the CT and X Ray machines. He was really friendly. He asked me about my husband, and how long we’d been married. I found out that he was getting married in a month, and was so relieved because they’d just gotten out of debt. We talked about the fears of getting married young, and how the important thing was the couple talking it over with God.

Then, the waiting began, to be informed what the scans said. I was beginning to crack again. The morphine they’d originally given me was wearing off by this point. I felt agitated, impatient, and in pain. I was sick of being confined…I needed to move around. I alternated between being grumpy and feeling guilty for my bad attitude. I felt bad that our guy friends endured the worst of this grunting and complaining.

After a few hours those friends left only to be replaced by the mission trip TL’s whom I was supposed to meet to do photography for. They are also the former leaders of Xtreme Impact, and our current Sunday School leaders. It was sweet of them to stop by with their busy schedules, especially in the middle of the local trip! I’m so grateful they did though. When they first arrived my pain level had reached a 7.5 or an 8…I was just about ready to beg for another dose of morphine, because I couldn’t think about much else besides my physical situation.

However, they arrived and we talked for what felt like hours (I really had no sense of time). We talked about the mission trip team members, the team’s ministry, other aspects about the church, our counseling jobs, photography, former jobs, and many other things. Engaging in ministry discussions helped give me a purpose to think about, like I was still on the team doing the work. They also sweetly brought us a phone charger, and bags full of snacks! We hadn’t eaten anything the entire time we’d been there, and it was probably 6 or 7pm by this point. The bags were filled with fruit gummies, teddy grahams, granola bars, water bottles, and apples!

I wasn’t particularly hungry, but her 6 month future mom self encouraged me to go ahead and eat the soft gummies (which are my favorites anyways), as this would increase my blood sugar, and make me feel better. I ate two packages and one of teddy grahams. Eating the teddy grahams made me sad. I explained that my youth group back home had a tendency to eat them with cake icing on church retreats, and I’d been looking forward to doing that with my portion of the overnight trip in D.C. with the mission trip youth.

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They informed me that they hadn’t purchased the theme park tickets yet. We discussed the pros and cons of riding a 3.5 hour van ride, plus walking in D.C., then walking around a theme park, and that likely that would be too much for me.

While they were there we were finally told the results of the scans. The CT revealed a fractured and dislocated L3 Vertebrae in my lower spine. Surprisingly, this just meant that I would need to rest and heal naturally over the next 4-6 weeks. Though a back brace may later be suggested.

I told my friends that I still wanted to finish out some of the photography, that I felt fine enough to do it. I figured that I could at least do photography sitting in a chair. I’m pretty sure they new I was crazy, and got me to agree to at least rest one solid day, though I believe they knew I wouldn’t be able to help out at all anymore.

I discovered more of my pain when I was asked to get some standing up X Rays to give to the specialist I’m going to see tomorrow. However, I didn’t really realize how bad I was, how slow these next few weeks would be until leaving for home. We left the hospital around 9pm getting a ride from another friend. He was able to drive up the lawn to our front door…but this still painfully meant walking down the stairs. Those slow moves secured in my mind that I wasn’t leaving the apartment until I absolutely needed to.

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The past two days of slow rest and recovery have been a cycle of these things: more friends discovering and offering help, realizing things that I won’t be able to do again for a long time, and realizing how easily I could have died or been permanently crippled.

I keep having moments where I cry about not being able to finish with the youth group. I was just learning their names and personalities, I really wanted to be a part of it all. The Pastor made me feel better, saying that they would be planning more of these trips in the future.

Another sad fact is that I’ll have to post pone the rest of my couch to 5k plans…instead I’m working on a couch to pillow plan…really training on being a couch potato. My mom thinks that running may have helped me survive this better, as muscle supports bone better than fat does. Also, my awesome five fingers helped give my feet more balance.

Another interestingly timed thing, is that fact that my internship is sooo slow right now. This means that I’ll have less sessions to report to and more time for healing. God’s timing was really perfect.

Through all of these I’ve just felt such love and support from everyone. I process things verbally, so I keep repeating a lot of it to everyone, I apologize if that is annoying. For me I need to verbally say the scary things…like how my car’s tough steel bent so easily in the picture. Its incredible to stare at the picture and know the car was struck perfectly on the side beam to minimize damage to myself. It blows my mind, and I know it is because God graciously chose to not only save my life, but protect me from serious injury. And so far, it seems as long as I take this first week easy, I shouldn’t have any permanent damage.

Right now, I walk around moving my limbs in slow motion, as I tenderly transfer the weight from one segment of my foot to another, much like that of a timid grandmother. But, (Lord willing ;0)) I should be able to run again some day…I hope I never take that gift for granted again, but I know its a miracle that He ordained.

The thing that I am most grateful is for the wonderful godly husband God’s given me. I teased about how I didn’t like him the first time I met him. But, seriously, he’s so much better than I ever could have imagined. He’s been patiently walking me around to the restroom (even at 3 in the morning), carrying everything to me, being my secretary and telling everyone about the accident for me (so I didn’t have to worry about what to say), dealing with insurance and other details, let alone he’s the only one allowed to do chores because I can’t bend over.

He feels silly when I post my thanks about him publicly on my facebook, because he doesn’t want people to think he does those things for my boasting to them. Instead, he’s just a godly man who takes seriously his role as a husband to care for me in sickness and in health. :0)

Never Have I Ever felt so blessed in all of my life.

 

 

Photographed “Reach Our City”

The mini Derecho caused a delay in many of my church’s mission conference activities, due to loss of electricity. (It is sooo cool that I can say “my church” now that we are official members) However, the Reach Our City outreach event to the community was kept on schedule!

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The main reason that I started attending this church was due to this missions focus. The fellowship area outside of the sanctuary is decorated with flags hanging from the ceiling, there are artifacts all over the walls of the church from previous mission trips, and each of the classrooms is named for a different country!

I loved knowing that I was growing my photography skills during our missions conference week! Some conferences may feature great speakers, and have special sessions where you can talk to a missionary. My church wanted to also follow through in actions, so Saturday involved working with our local ministries and the event was named “Reach Our City.”

I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous about this photographing opportunity. I’ve always taken pictures, especially since 2006 and owning my own digital camera, but this was the first time that I was the sole person responsible for pictures. The night before the event I just made sure all of my gear was ready to go. Part of this involved using a side bag instead of my typical purse. I can’t believe how much easier that made my day, as I was easily able to carry my purse without it inhibiting my picture taking movements.

Everyone met at church early in the morning for breakfast and announcements. There were about 190 people there ready to serve in various ways. Each separate site joined at the tables, and after breakfast quickly departed to their sites. Each of these sites are a different ministry that my church partners with. The goal was to get people hooked into serving long term at these sites.

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During breakfast and announcements was a discouraging way to start taking pictures for the day. Indoor photography had always been the bane of my existence, and despite knowing how to raise ISO I had not been able to successfully do this and have the pictures not be blurry. Thus, I had to suffice with the use of my camera’s flash. I tried just to push through, knowing that the ministry pictures were the most important and would be mostly outdoors.

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Most of these sites were ministry oriented: another church, a community area, a pregnancy center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and sports outreach ministry, a Boys and Girls club, and a cemetery. However, most of the tasks involved on this Saturday involved cleaning these facilities rather that participating in ministry with people.

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Soon everyone was off! This was the other part I was nervous about…driving around to all of the other sites without getting lost. I printed off as many of the specific directions that I had…and I actually brought my computer to leave in my trunk in case I needed to charge my cell phone (also functioning as my GPS unit). My car’s cigarette outlet doesn’t work, the actual physical parts tend to fall apart, thus the necessity for a back up charging plan. 

At the first site I realized that I’ve been doing mission trip photography since 2006, and I do know how to do this! It is just about learning how to do it better now that I have a better tool. Probably one of the most enjoyable parts of the day was simply talking with the different people at each site location. I was happy to be able to be apart of the big picture and saving these moments for them.

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I kept chugging along until lunch time. There I was photographing many sites/crews within the same community area. There were various projects including readying a new library facility, painting, weeding/lawn care, as well as doing more ministry related activities like puppet shows, and craft projects. A cookout was also planned for this community!

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While eating my lunch I was listening to the conversations around me. Some people were reflecting on the changes between last year’s event and this years. Apparently, last year when the cook out was prepared no one would step outside of their apartments to meet us. Some of the church volunteers even prepared meals to take to their doors, but no one would come outside. This year, people were freely mingling and eating with us. Its neat to see the difference consistent relationships can have on opening people’s hearts!

After lunch I was able to visit the Boys and Girls club where our team had re-tarred the front parking lot area. I was sad they were already finished by the time I was able to finish their site! Though I was able to watch others painting murals inside the building.

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My final site for the day was a cemetery that was hidden away down town. This was the time that I learned that my phone’s GPS will try to have me go down one way roads the wrong way…but I survived. There was a crew of several men, blaring away lawn mowers and weed eaters. By the time I arrived most of the large expanse had already been mowed!

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Upon returning home to download the pictures to my computer I was too nervous to even look at them! They had looked great viewing them on the small LCD screen of my camera, but I know one can be easily deceived by that small screen. Luckily for me my husband was finally due home from Boston, and I was able to bombard him to look at my photos. Easily, these were some of the best pictures I’d ever taken, so it was weird trying to sort them into folders named “Keep” “Promo” and “Trash” when all of them could have been promotional.

It was a rewarding experience to try something new and discover that I could succeed in it! I can’t wait to take more pictures at my church! Good thing my next opportunity was during church service the next day, and the local youth mission trip this Thursday till next Saturday! They’ll keep me busy and learning :0).

 

 

Introduced Baby Auri to the Pool

This was intended on being posted yesterday as several belated #throwbackthursday posts. However, when the Derecho decides to disrupt power signal causing a fight between your modem and router you end up losing internet.

We took the affectionately called (among many other nicknames) Smurgleburgle to the pool pretty early in the afternoon to avoid her delicate skin burning. I was excited to be apart of this moment as I’m currently a proud Aunt, with none of my own children (besides my furbaby) to enjoy firsts with.

She was pretty chill about it. For the most part her favorite activity in life is giving everyone her dead pan expression, observing everything around her. She tends to kick her legs regularly, so I wondered how she’d take to the pool.

She tolerated it pretty well, only making a fuss (being bored with it) after about 30 minutes or so.

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Survived A Derecho

derechoThis past weekend weather-wise I experienced a deja-vu moment. It’s neat to see those types of patterns relived, and to see what has changed since those experiences. Just last night my area was struck with another derecho, even if it was a lower version, which was nice given the fact that my husby was in another state far far away. However, this second experience with a derecho has shown me how marriage helps you to gain the positives of your partner. :0)

Last year this storm came out of nowhere. I’m from the coast, so I understand the threat of hurricanes, but when we were told about this random storm I do not think many prepared. Everyone was surprised to be out of power, some people for as long as a week!

This was an in-opportune time at work, as we were within weeks of our mega camp and several international trips. There were a few alarmed students panicked, letting them know about the storm and how likely their passports were stuck at the post office due to lack of electricity to sort.

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We were lucky last year and this year. The power only flickered a few times, then returned for us. However, our close friends who were pregnant last year, and now have a beautiful 6 month old were out of electricity. Last year the storm was so devastating due to the heat wave surrounding it. Friends, and my husband included posted sharing that we had electricity and to come over. I remember thinking, wordly, that “oh my goodness, we don’t have that much room, our apartment is sooo small.” Meanwhile, my husband’s heart was in the right place, realizing the things that were really important.

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It ended up last year that only one set of friends stayed with us, but they stayed for a few days until their power was restored. I enjoyed the extended sleepover their stay provided :0). Going stir crazy a few days into the storm experience, I decided I needed to get out and view the wreckage. There were downed trees everywhere, and all of the streets were coated in leaves. Many of the traffic lights were still out, and many people struggled to understand the concept that then the rules revert to those of a 4 way stop intersection, with everyone taking turns. There were crazy long lines for gas. I was grateful that we’d filled up previous to the storm. The most incredible part was seeing the community really come together and take care of each other.

This year the storm was on the smaller side, so the sleep over only lasted one night. I’m pretty sure my friends appreciated being able to get back into their apartment sooner though ;0). This year I tried to be more proactive about seeking out friends in need, volunteering the space in my fridge/freezer for those without power to not lose all of their food. This really consisted of a comment on facebook to a friend, but I felt a little bit like I was being more like my husband. This year it was easier to be prepared to volunteer to host people to fill my tiny apartment.

Poor little Auri had a difficult time adjusting to driving to our apartment after her bedtime. At 5am I got a taste of her lung capacity and what this beautiful little girl likes to do when she gets bored, lol. Daisy the beagle also was able to meet Auri for the first time. Unfortunately, there are no pictures documenting this, as my hands were busy making sure the dog didn’t lick the baby’s face.

Hopefully you all didn’t lose electricity during the storm. Part of our missions conference at church was delayed due to time involved to prepare these events. I’m excited to see how this will affect our outreach day tomorrow, if there are any different opportunities to serve due to the storm’s wake.

Stay safe!

Introduced My DSLR to Spring

IMG_3136I’ve been very remiss, as of Dec. 30th I’ve been the proud owner of a Canon T3i DSLR! As you can tell from the plethora of pictures I tend to upload here, or the fact that I have my small canon in my purse every day, I love to take pictures. For me I’m afraid of forgetting details, so taking the digital images (even if I never upload them anywhere, or print them) helps to solidify those memories. I’ve always wanted a really nice camera because I’m often very frustrated  by my inability to take great pictures at night, etc. One of the main types of pictures that I wanted to take (again leaning towards the DSLR instead of my pocket camera) because I love those pictures with the blurry depths of field which is difficult for the pocket cameras to capture without perfect light.

Finally, in suddenly and unexpectedly filling in as the office manager/admin assistant at my counseling site I had a large paycheck that we were not expecting to have. In discussing it, it made sense to use it towards a large purchase that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise afford. Contenders included: a baby Glock 9mm, a tv/media center, or the DSLR. I’m happy to say that the DSLR (obviously) won!

After research, and because I’m a Canon fan, I decided on the Canon T3i due to reviews, dependability, price and because the little screen flips around like my first Canon Powershot S2 IS. I ordered it from Amazon, and received coupons for a free bag, free sd card, $5 mega zoom lens (instead of $150), and the rest of the kit. I couldn’t wait for it to be delivered to my door!

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This camera bag was so much more amazing than I was expecting! It has a zillion pockets (perfectly designed for the camera body and lenses), good padding in the straps, and all types of side pockets for SD cards, batteries, tripods, etc. It really is wonderful. It doesn’t look like amazon is still offering the promotional price of free when bundling with a DSLR, but it would definitely be worth purchasing.

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Between getting into my internship, bad weather, and really not knowing where to begin I haven’t experimented with it too much. I mean I’ve shot pictures at home, just toying with the settings. However, I had hoped to produced updates when I was specifically training to do certain types of photos so you could learn with me, but this has yet to happen.

One of the fun things I did enjoy shooting was the few times that it snowed, especially the time that it snowed in April -_-. Here are some things I’ve tried:

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For more samples of pictures taken with our DSLR you can view these blog posts: Kidnapped to the Mountain, Lobby Day 2013, Surprise Picnic, My Graduation, and our Dorm 1 Photoshoot.

Currently, I am reading Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography series, I love it. It is very simply practical steps to achieve certain types of photos.

I’m eager to apply these tips as I have three “official” photography gigs upcoming. I get to serve my local church by taking pictures at our “Reach Our City” work day as part of our Missions Conference, then taking service pictures on Sunday, then I get to take pictures as my schedule allows for the youth’s week long local mission trip! The latter even culminates in a trip to D.C. to tour various religious temples including a mosque, and a trip to Six Flags. The perks for being a volunteer photographer. Plus, this means I can “officially” say that I am participating in a mission trip this summer :0)

Please be praying that I do well in these opportunities, I am a bit nervous, especially for the indoor photography as that is so challenging! Let me know if you have any great websites to visit, gear to recommend, or easy tips to apply.

Pictures galore to follow ;0)

 

Planned a Networking Lunch

Week #26 of internship and the hour ratio have not changed very much since my last post: 99 hours of face to face, 13.75 hours of individual supervision, 12 hours of group supervision, and 285 hours of related activities for a grand total of 409.75 hours.

This week is pretty slow for me. But, I did get to attend a luncheon that has been my main office project the past 3 weeks. Basically, one of our constant projects is meeting with and networking with the local churches, to share about our services. This culminated in an open house meet and greet event. Due to short planning and the busyness of Pastors, we were excited over the turnout!

We introduced our counselors, shared about our specialty areas of counseling, a few counselors presented counseling models, and they were printed information about benefits of our counseling. I really feel like by the end they were very interested in what we had to offer!

Plus, it was an opportunity to wear the jacket my dad bought for me for graduation. I still need to get the pants hemmed, but I think the pencil skirt with my classic Payless heels fit the bill. My goal was to not look like an intern for the day. “What intern?”

Experienced Runner’s High (C25k week 7)

I’ve just begun workout 1 in week 7 (though still on workout plan day 1/week 1) and I may have actually experienced my first runner’s high!

Runner's High

This past week I was feeling pretty discouraged and bitter, in case you couldn’t tell in my last 5k training update. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t making the progress that others made. I talked to my best friends, and I scoured running forums. What I realized is that running is a hugely different experience for each person. On the forums some people really struggled with the 5k training plan, only a few really had it easy, and many hit a wall at some point at a certain minute mile, etc.

Among my best friends I was surprised at our varied experiences, given that we tend to be very similar. For one friend the biggest fight is making time for running, to choose to run, despite that once she’s doing it its easier for her to push herself, and often too hard, during her runs. My other friend (the one I did my color run walk with) said that for her running was her “me” time (her personal time while her young baby is sleeping) and that she felt accomplished after the run, though she did have to break through a mental wall.

For me, the easy part (surprisingly) has been to put on my running gear and discipline myself into running every other day. I honestly think it has more to do with wanting to use my “special” gear than a desire to work out. However, I struggle terribly during the middle of the run, and do not follow through till the end of the eight sets.

The last set that I did at the end of my 6th week of training (after my last 5k training post) I went ahead and told myself that even if I wasn’t jogging all the sets, that I was at least going to spend that time walking it.

I’ve done one running workout so far this week and it surprised me! I waited until the cool of the evening, as it had been humid all day, and figured I needed to get my bum in gear before the storm clouds broke the skies. The entire time I focused on my breathing and really did a lot of positive self talk. I soothed myself saying, “you can do this, I know you feel like you can’t, but you can. I know this first and second set hurt the lungs more, but that is because you are still warming up. I know your calves hurt right now, but that is because you are racing up an incline. It is okay to take it slower, as long as you keep on jogging, you’ve got this.” I completed 4.5 sets of jogging and had run 1.15 miles in 18 minutes when the rain was beginning to pick up speed. I didn’t want to quit, my body felt like it could keep on going, but I didn’t want to see my phone be ruined by a downpour, so I began my cool down walk towards the porch. I’d also heard thunder, and thought lightning may be coming as well.

Completing my cool down stretches on the front porch (actually on the sidewalk eagerly letting the sprinkles cool down my red face), I felt guilty for not completing what my body was eager to do. I felt regret wondering how much further I could have completed, especially seeing that the thunder was lightning less. Suddenly, it dawned on me. Yes, I was pouring in sweat, and my face felt like it was sun burned, but my lungs didn’t burn anymore like they first did when I started. My lungs felt surprisingly refreshed, like I was breathing deeper from them, stretching them in a way I’d never done before. I contemplated completing the last 15 minutes of the plan, feeling like it would be easier now that my body was fully warmed up. Then, the thought struck me that instead of feeling like I was dying, that little bit and felt like a warm up. I felt accomplished, like I was “ready” for the day!

I’d been arguing with my mind, telling it what it could do, and found that my body believed me!!! :0)

I am progressing, it just so happened that I could feel it Sunday night. I’ve got a couple more workouts this week, so we’ll see how those go. On one hand I’m excited, but I’m also nervous about expectations, knowing that there are a million and one things that may affect how well I can jog in a specific instance. But either way it is pretty awesome.

And, if that wasn’t enough…I learned that princess running tutu’s are definitely a thing! (I think many of these costumes are mostly worn at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but they seem popular at general races as well). This crap just his critical mass! I feel a DIY post coming soon….

 

I found this fun picture of Belle running, and look, she is even wearing Five Fingers!

Finally, I was able to try out a new pair of running shorts from Old Navy for $5. I didn’t desperately need more, but for $5 it was worth checking out. They are a bit shorter than I like, but I like the plastic material as compared to the thicker cloth material. Also, these shorts are more form fitting around the upper part of your leg, and flair out to allow the running motion. Also, it was a good excuse to get vibrant yellow “please don’t run me over” shorts for running in the dark.

Neon Shorts

 

 

Begun My 2nd Semester of Internship

IMG_3546I’ve just finished the first quarter review in my second semester of counseling internship. Here are the stats: Week #25 Face to Face: 97.25 hours, Individual Supervision: 12.75 hours, Group Supervision: 11 hours, and Related Activity: 283 for a grand total of 404 hours.

The past few weeks I’ve felt less like a counseling intern and more like a general office aide. I’ve covered for our office manager/admin assistant over the Memorial Day holiday, and have spent many related activity hours on a networking open house event for churches in the area. Also, the summer weather seems to have increased the amount of no shows and late cancellations that we have. Its been discouraging because I want to keep growing in my therapy skills.

It doesn’t help that the group I was co leading has now ended, as that was a great source of hours on a weekly basis. Through teaching group using Boundaries materials by Cloud and Townsend, and doing premarital using Prepare/Enrich I realize how comfortable I am in more of the structured teaching role. It is enjoyable having the outline structure, and then being able to tweak it as we desired. The Boundaries DVD and work text is set up as a 9 week course, but likely it would be better to be further stretched out as they teach so much material each session, and focus less on application until the last few sessions.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to make up for the lack of my own regular clients by doing co therapy with some of the other counselors again. In those times I have to work through my insecurity of bugging them, and hope that I’m actually helping some of those who have such a heavy case load themselves.

One thing that I started towards the end of my first semester was my own personal counseling. My supervisor suggested it, stating that her school’s program actually required it. When she first suggested it, I wanted to avoid it. I thought “eh, I don’t really need it. I mean I could just talk with a good Christian friend.” In watching that inner dialogue I realized that I was being a giant hypocrite in wanting to avoid it.

I was so nervous even in completing the intake over the phone. When asked what the presenting problem was I said “past issues.” Realizing how generic that was I said, “umm like family of origin” She laughed and said, “You sound like a counselor!” I replied, “well….I may or may not be a counseling student.” She was very encouraging, saying how valuable it was to be able to have time to work on my own issues as well as being able to experience what my own clients experience. So far I’ve had 6 sessions and I really look forward to it each week. I see this as another educational experience, her modeling techniques while we’re working through any of my personal life struggles.

Pushing through the slower/lack of direct client hours lately, I try to focus on the positives. I try to focus on the fact that in actively having to participate in the process to gain new clients I’m gaining important marketing skills. In spreading out counseling experience over time, I try to focus on the fact that I will have a full years worth of experience come December (and the end of my 3rd semester). Little by little. At least now all I really need to obtain are my face to face and supervision hours :0).

Worn a Running Skirt (C25k Week 6)

I’ve been walking/running 2-3 times a week since April 30th! I’m not going to lie that is pretty impressive for me!

Trying to strength this running habit I’ve been working on reducing the distractions while running, which means new gear! (Buying new toys/outfits is an “official” way to motivate yourself into running ;0) ).

Firstly, instead of trying to pay attention to the clock on my phone following the walk 5 mins, jog 2 min, and then walk 5 minutes again plan, I found a new app. A friend had mentioned downloading a Couch to 5k podcast to listen to, so the music and the instructions of when to run would be integrated. There are several of these free on the web. However, I wasn’t a fan because these were all with music styles I don’t like. Instead, I downloaded the free Simple Couch 2 5k app. It is a bare bones app, but I didn’t need a second GPS recording app since I already use the MapMyRun app. Simple C25K will allow you to run it in the background while also listening to your music and will vibrate and beep when you need to switch to running/walking.

simplec25k

 

The program is based on Josh Clark’s plan located here. That plan has you alternate between jogging/running every minute and a half for 8 sets. I’d avoided that plan originally, thinking it would be complicated to follow, but it is easy when the app alerts me. I’m still on “week 1” where I’m alternating jogging for 1 min/walking for 1.5 min, and the worst part is that I’ve only be able to do 5 sets so far… But, to be fair I was sick again this past week.

What is the use of your phone while running without an armband? I wait a while to make this purchase, making sure I’d stick with this running thing.  I actually really like the accessibility of holding the phone in my hand while running or placing it in short or jacket pockets. I liked being able to look down at the screen to see how much longer I had.

In researching armbands I realized that I’d need one that would fit with my otter box case, because no way was I going to take it out of the case each and every time I went running. Surprisingly, I found one in which the phone is meant to slip into! The neoprene armband is offered on Amazon and made by Tune Belt. The sleeve is washable, has a clip to store the extra length of your headphones, allows your phone to slide easily in and out, AND you can use your phone through the screen! I’ve only run with it once, but it was pretty fantastic. The fact that the phone was away and less easy to look at meant I had to push myself to keep running till I heard the beep.

Tunebeltarmband

 

One of the most annoying things about running was having my loose shorts ride up my thighs. It didn’t feel painful, but it was just a distraction that took away my focus from running and correcting my running form.  With Kohls gift card in hand I’d thought I would try out a run skirt (aka a tennis skirt). Basically it is a mid thigh length skirt covering spandex like shorts. The shorts of this particular skirt are loose so they still ride up, but no one can see that under the skirt so I don’t feel compelled to pull it back down.

IMG_3618

After a few weeks, I can definitely say that I love my Vibram KMD LS Sport Five Fingers!! I can already tell that my legs are much stronger than they had been. When standing I feel much more balanced, like I feel more like a rooted tree. The awesome aspect of the five fingers is that they teach your body to run better, so I’m sure I’ve been building up better muscle and balance in my feet as well.

I purchased the special Injinji five finger socks, as I’ve heard and experienced that Five Fingers tend to develop a strong funk. I have only completed one run with the socks, but so far I was not a big fan. My five fingers are a size or so too big, so I thought the socks would even be good to help them fit better, but I just felt like my feet felt chafed and very uncomfortable.

A neat fact as well, is that the silver pattern on the back of the Five Fingers is actually reflective in nature. When husband returned home from a grocery trip the other night, he drove up our road, noticed a person jogging, and didn’t realize it was me! For those of you who haven’t seen me jog and then fallen to the floor doubled over in laughter, it is very goofy in nature. While on a quick hike the weekend before last Husband recorded a sample for your viewing pleasure.

I’m still not where I’d like to be on the Couch to 5k plan, I definitely feel like I should at least be fully able to do week 1 at this point, but I am encouraged that I am already seeing progress. My running form is MUCH better, my legs feel stronger, I don’t feel as much like I’m dying each time I run, plus I’ve already lost 5 pounds (and I’m sure gained more pounds of muscle as well).

My main struggle is feeling like it should be easier at this point. I’m very much at war with myself, mainly my mental self saying that I can’t do it. All to often I give in instead of jogging that next set.

Question for those of you who run on a regular basis, do you take water with you when you run these short bits? Or should I just drink water as I finish my cool down process? Also, what do you guys do to get past that wall? What do you do to keep yourselves motivated while jogging?