Monday, February 27, 2012

Wasting Time / Learning Hairstyles

I have seriously spent three hours in front of my computer since I came home doing absolutely mindless things.  Typically I'd be mad at myself for wasting precious time, but tonight I just needed to not think about all that I have been worrying about.

Side Note: Please pray for my Pawpaw.  He's been admitted back to the ICU tonight.  It was a bit unexpected and they are anticipating transferring him to another hospital to do dialysis.  Hospitals stress him out & he sure doesn't need another thing to raise his blood pressure. 

Reverting back to my normal blogging topics:::
The Small Things Blog has really kept my mind off things this evening. She has hands down the best hairstyle tutorials for girls with medium-length hair, and I mean real medium-length hair. Here's a link to all her tutorials for your browsing convenience. I don't know what some people are smoking when I Google "medium-length hair" and girls with hair to the middle of their backs appear!! Uh, wrong! I don't know if it's my conditioner or what, but my hair is SO soft but it seems SO thin now, and I swear I lose 100+ hairs a day. {Is this normal?}

My rut somewhat explained

So, I'm not going to lie. I talk about being in a rut. I talk about being down & out. I talk about yada yada yada. The cold hard truth is that I am depressed.  {Hence the previous post.} I don't think I'm alone and I don't think I'll be this way forever. So, that's why I'm being honest.  Usually my blogs are about YouTube videos I like, what's going on in my life, or probably something pertaining to makeup.  I didn't mean to go all clinical on y'all on the last post, but I know some people are interested and some people are ignorant. 

It's been super hard for me lately. I don't know why. For whatever reason, the devil is trying to attack me from left and right and for another unknown reason, God's letting it happen.  {I like to think of myself as a modern day Job, haha.} But in all seriousness, I know this season in my life is God allowing the devil to kick me while I'm down, just so I will have no choice but to turn to God for relief from it all.   I know that true joy comes from the Lord and some days I feel like it's been 100% God & God only getting me out of the bed, getting me out the door, and putting on a happy face.  I want to be the best for my clients and I'm really trying.  I'm actually seeing some great results from some of my clients, which makes me feel like I am making a difference, which really does help.  

It also helps that I have some pretty wise clients.  Like I said in my last post, one of my clients told me, "85% of your circumstances come from your attitude and your actions."  And I reiterated saying It isn't always about what you're going through in life, but how you view your circumstances and what you do with them. 

I don't always take my own advice, but I'm working on it. I think, "If my client told me that, what would I say to them?" or "What homework would I give them?"  The thing is- I've never been good at doing homework, so, that's something I'm working on.  I know I must get through this patch and I am seriously working on it.  It takes time AND EFFORT, but most importantly, God.  Without Him, I don't know where I'd be.  I really don't.  I am thankful each and every day that I am where I am, because so many people have it so so so much worse.  We don't even know.  We can't even fathom.  And no, I'm not talking about the pot-bellied children in Africa that we see on the commercials.  I am talking about people in your very small hometown.  I am talking about people you went to high school with that you didn't even recognize.  Or people who you pass in the grocery store, or people you talk to each and every day.  We have no idea what people are going through, what they've been through, or what they will go through.  This isn't a big "love everybody" PSA, even though I think we should love everybody, haha, but I am just saying....BE. MORE. AWARE. and be more compassionate.  Help others, on purpose, and without seeking assistance in return.  

That has absolutely nothing to do with where I was going, but honestly, I promised a part two and I wanted to deliver a promised post {for once}. So, my mind is in a million places, but I hope you understand a tad bit of why.   Please keep me in your prayers.  I know there's things I need to do, but it's really really hard sometimes.  I want to do and I want to give and I need to learn to take care of myself before I can take care of others. But, I know I can do this! Alex has been super helpful, being extra sweet and encouraging lately, which is what I needed.  And I know that at the end of the day, it's all God's doing.  I just need the devil to LAY THE FREAK OFF so I can do my thang. ;)

and I need to remember these things:

Thanks Pinterest for your awesome motivational quotes tonight. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My PSA on Depression

I'm going to preface my next post with this PSA on depression.
Doing evaluation after evaluation, I can recognize depression much quicker than I could in the past.  What's it mean to be clinically depressed? (Not 100% sure? Well, I'll educate you.)

  • To have what's called a Major Depressive Episode, you need to have 5 or more of the following symptoms during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning, while one of those symptoms are either 1) depressed mood, or 2) loss of interest or pleasure:
  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, either indicated by a subjective report (for example, feeling sad or empty) or observation made by others (for example, appears tearful). In children and adolescents, this can be manifested by an irritable mood.
  2. Markedly diminished interested or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others).
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting, or weight gain (for example, a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.  Note: In children, a failure to make expected weight gains could fall in this category.
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day. {Or, what we like to call "difficulty sleeping" or "difficulty staying awake"}
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day, observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down.
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day, either by a subjective account or as observed by others.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent thoughts of suicide without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide. 
  • These symptoms can't meet criteria for a Mixed Episode {Google it if you want}, and these symptoms have to cause "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning."  These symptoms also can't be due to effects of a substance (a drug, alcohol, or medication) or due to a general medical condition (hyperthyroidism, for example).  These symptoms also can't be better accounted for by Bereavement. 
  • Also, having a Major Depressive Episode can mean used in Mood Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, or a Bipolar Disorder. So don't assume one over the other! Get a professional diagnosis.
  • Lastly, just because you don't meet the criteria (typically meaning you are experiencing 5 out of the 9, or one of the top two) doesn't mean you don't have a problem.  You can be diagnosed with what's called Depressive Disorder NOS ("Not Otherwise Specified"), or Mood Disorder NOS.
  • And let me throw in here that medication can help, as well as therapy, but the most beneficial treatment course includes both medication(s) and outpatient therapy (what I do!).
Think you're depressed? Get an evaluation! Whether you have private insurance, Medicaid (or whatever state-funded insurance you have), or no insurance, you can get mental health evaluations- sometimes for super cheap, sometimes for free... it just depends.   Whatever county you live in should be a part of a what's called an LME. Google your county's LME (for example, if you Google "Lincoln County LME," you'll find our LME, "Pathways" and their website) to contact them for an appointment with someone who takes your insurance, or takes clients without insurance. 

I've seen counselors in the past, and it's really helped. I am ABSOLUTELY horrible at taking medications, so I won't say I've been successful at that. And I will be the first, and not the last to say, that just because you are depressed DOES NOT mean something is wrong with you!! It's not healthy to stay depressed for long, and that's why there's professionals out there willing and ready to help you help yourself

I had a client tell me this week, "85% of your circumstances come from your attitude and your actions."  That might be a tough pill to swallow, but it's pretty deep, and not necessarily statistically accurate, but you get his point.  It's isn't always about what you're going through in life, but how you view your circumstances and what you do with them. 

Stay tuned for a personal part two...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My current financial to-dos.... {Yuck}

This is a bit personal, but a more realistic, and it's what's on my mind, and I just feel like sharing. :)
There's definitely some things I need to cross off of my to-do list in order for me to NOT feel like I have things looming above me, things holding me back, or whatever else negative I am feeling because of these things.

I really need to :::

Get my 2011 tax information together. This basically involves my Mary Kay business.  The lady who does my taxes wants things categorized a specific way, etc. and she was nice enough to show me last year how to best organize my information so that coming this year to get my taxes done would be easy peasy. So much for that. I got my taxes done last February for 2010. So I thought- I'm only 1 or 2 months behind with the whole "get my tax information organized" thing... I'll get that done & spend the rest of 2011 organized & stress-free. CHYEAH!! So much for that!! I SERIOUSLY spent a YEAR telling myself the SAME thing OVER and OVER. Seriously, something is wrong with me. With everything going on, as it often happens in life, I just chose things that were to be pushed to the back burner and dealt with later. And now look, I'm avoiding going to find out if I'm gonna have to pay or get paid, all because I procrastinated!!
Yeah, so, I seriously need to get on that.

I also need to get my student loan repayment information ready to go.  I owe about a billion dollars in student loans {joking but it's not funny} and I can not afford to spend $234,324,988.59 every month on MINIMUM PAYMENTS. Thanks but no thanks, government! BUT thanks to the handy Income-Based Repayment Plan, I can make sure that the sum of ALL my loans' minimum payments do not exceed 15% of my gross income!! That is a definitely silver lining!! It'll take me longer, but hey, at least I can buy food & gas. {Still joking but not funny.} The thing is- they make it SO hard and COMPLICATING for someone to get all the right paperwork done for them to be able to get on this IBR Plan. They know what they're doing and they are very very mean people.  I can NOT wait until the day I am DEBT FREE!! That WILL happen one day!! I am claiming victory over these student loans!! I may be 99 years old, but I will day!! Until then, I'm going to work to make sure my children won't have to deal with the same financial CRAP I've had to deal with.

If I can get those 2 things done, I will have a serious weight off of my shoulders. Then I can focus on paying off my credit card!! Living without income from May to the end of  September was ROUGH, and I had to take desperate measures to fill up my gas tank, buy myself food, pay bills, EVERYTHING. I stooped to putting items on credit  & am STILL paying for it.  I hate hate hate credit cards, know how they should & shouldn't be used, but zero income equals zero income. What else was I supposed to do?? I was driving back and forth 30 minutes a day to an unpaid internship for eight weeks, plus moving. Plus living life. Plus had bills to pay.  I KNOW, nothing but EXCUSES. But what's done is done and I will rejoice when I get this thing paid off!!! I just had to spend $700 on tires. That's a chunk of change and I had to save up to be able to do that. I'm proud I am able to do things like that, and thankful for friends who are able to save me about $300 {Yes, my tires were going to cost $1,000} but, I wish that money could have gone to pay off that STUPID credit card with a 20-something percent interest rate. UGH, I hate credit cards!

Did you notice that these 3 things that are super stressing me out are all financial? And I want to be a stay-at-home-wife/mom. HA! I need to be thanking the good Lord above that I have a j-o-b and PROBABLY looking for a second job!  (Yes, I know Mary Kay is a second job. We can discuss this later if you wish.)

PS: Is it silly of me to wish that I had a job as a cashier somewhere?
Anyone know anyone hiring? :)

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Blue Ivy & others: The SNL spoof

This made me laugh today, as I lay in the bed on this rainy Sunday afternoon with a headache, TRYING to fill out paperwork on lowering my student loan payments.

The Beyonce impersonation is a bit off but the Jay-Z impersonation is spot on!! The Taylor Swift impersonation is funny too...and y'all know that's my girl!! This seriously made me "LOL" so I hope you all can enjoy it too. :)

Happy Sunday!!
Cross your fingers extra hard for {enough} snow tonight!! ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My 2 Cents on Valentine's Day

Well, my Valentine is I-don't-even-know-how-many hours away. He's training for his new job in Jackson, Mississippi and therefore away from me on Valentine's Day. Hopefully when he gets home we can go to Outback {our favorite} and go see The Vow. {Gosh I CAN NOT WAIT to go see that movie!} Being apart this Valentine's Day, the first thing I did this morning was send Alex a text that said something like "happy valentine's day lover " & he sent me a reply text that said: "Happy valentines day to you too. There's a little something for you in the extra bed room in the top drawer of the white plastic drawers." I just want to say that I think it's precious that he took the time to think about me before he left town and thought of a way for me to be surprised in some way shape or form on Valentine's Day, even from a couple states away. He gets major points for this. ;) 

Seriously guys, all a girl wants for Valentine's Day is a little pre-meditated surprise.
That's it.
It doesn't have to be complicated, fancy, or expensive.
She can tell when you picked up a rose from the gas station on the way home, and she'll know that you did not plan ahead.
{This happened to me in the past. True story.} 

I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's day no matter what your relationship status is! I hope it wasn't spent in anger, resentment, or jealousy because you spent this one single day of the year not attached. It's just not worth it. Also, think about all the ladies that aren't getting to spend V-Day with their man who's deployed. Or the widow who is spending her first V-Day alone. Seriously, your I-hate-all-things-Valentine's-Day twitter updates & Facebook statuses aren't bringing anything positive to this world OR helping you out. So rejoice you have a God that LOVES you and will ALWAYS be your Valentine!!! 

"This is how we know what love is: 
Jesus Chris laid down his life for us."
-1 John 3:16

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Reflecting on 2011... in February

Yes, I know it's February. Yes, I know one would typically reflect on the previous year around New Years. While I did, I must not have submitted my post, and look what I found! Low & behold! A reflection on the year 2011. :) It went a little something like this ::: 

I just love looking back, reflecting on the past year, and thinking of what memories and lessons it brought. This new year is no different.  Some things didn't change at all this year {if you ask me if I have a ring on my finger yet, I might drop kick you. Trust me, YOU WILL KNOW if I ever get engaged!} and some things changed dramatically!!

I think I'll take a stroll down memory lane if you don't mind. Join me if you wish, and if not, well, you might want to stop reading. ;) This also is a great time to reflect on my hair colors & styles in 2011. I went from red to orange to dark brown to blonde to brown to almost black. Just a typical year.

Thankfully, I rang in 2011 with my boy.

I spent January through April traveling back and forth between Hickory and Maiden for my school counseling internship.  Waking up super early after being up super late was not ideal, but I loved Maiden and everyone there and especially loved driving while watching the sun rising every morning!

This picture of my Mawmaw's Valentine's Day flag makes me happy. "All you need is love."

I do not miss these late nights doing work for the last school papers and projects but I do miss Baby hanging out with me while I worked. :)

And March & April was an exciting time! Alex bought his first house & we all spent a month fixing it up, getting it read for him to move in! It sure was an experience, and a trying time for this couple with two different tastes {me: good, him: whatever is cheapest} but we made it! :) We had SO much help from his family & his friends and he/we are so grateful for that! We definitely could not have done it all without them!

Alex and I celebrated {another} two years together on April 4th!

And spent lots of time with these two... :) Tashah & Phil are our permadoubledates!

And enjoyed the presence of this guy (on the left!)... Casey was such a help to Alex as he worked on his new house & we loved getting to know him as he spent time in NC! The boys loved him too :)

Easter 2011
AND let add that I was SO extremely happy to celebrate my graduation (a couple months early) with these folk!! My #1 fans... I love love love them! 

Johnathan, me, and Tori - all RDs at Lenoir-Rhyne GRADUATED!! It was a fun two years but we have to move on to paychecks & big people jobs!!

And I can NOT forget Maria! The one that makes us four! I shared so many good times with these ladies. I miss them like crazy!

I saw my little bestie graduate from UNCW! :) Such a big year for her!

Happy 25th birthday to my boy!!

I loved reuniting with my family for my cousin's wedding. It's usually Christmas when we're all together & that doesn't happen every Christmas. So it made my heart happy to have us all together!
Granny :)

My cousin, Courtney, the bride :)


Brother Bear

I love this pic of me & Alex!! Jumping off the high dive at the lake, enjoying the last days of summer with friends before we have to be adults & work full-time jobs.

But not before our beach trip with the Mullen family!!

And I got to hold a shark!!!!!

And look at this pretty pretty thing :)

I got to hang out with my Godson, Corbin, a couple times & watch him grow into such a handsome little one-year-old man!!

I chopped all my hair off & attempted to start over on this whole perfect hair journey I'm on.

And I celebrated my 24th birthday with some pretty awesome friends who I love so much!!

And, you know I started my new job, and my co-workers made me feel SO special on my birthday. Seriously.

And I told you it was a big year for my little bestie! She is a married woman now!!

And I got to meet my SECOND Godson, Carson!! He is a DOLL! Lindsey (and Rhine) make beautiful baby boys for sure.
Hahaha. Halloween at work was a hoot. I was E.T. for our costume contest. Yes, we are a mental health agency and YES we have Halloween costume contests. Which my fab new friend Ashley obviously did not participate in. (Boo!) I won runner-up to our executive director! Haha!

Amy!! (Also did not participate)

Alex and I spent many-o-Friday nights supporting our little cousins in their high school football games. They were both seniors & played first strings for their schools so we had to go show them some love!! And Mawmaw flew her Lincolnton flag for one more football season. *tear*

In October, Alex and I went with his parents to Boone to watch some Appalachian football and hang out in the pretty mountains before it got so cold I thanked God I didn't live in Boone anymore.  We had a great time! :)

And, the Lincolnton Wolves just kept winning.  So we spent all of November watching them win playoff games. It got cold and I had to constantly remind myself I loved my cousin. :)

We even went to NC State to watch the Wolves in the state championship!! They didn't win & it's a pretty sore subject all over town, but, I'm proud of my little cousin & was glad that he got to experience something so memorable!!

AND Christmas time came around. :) We celebrated with friends by eating, exchanging silly gifts, and waring our ugliest Christmas attire.
Addi didn't join us in the ugly Christmas sweater attire. She said ugly wasn't in her wardrobe. HAHA. Just kidding.
And, more importantly, I thanked God above that I got to spend Christmas with my Pawpaw!! He gave us another super serious scare, and even was escorted to the E.R. via ambulance while the family was at their house on Christmas Eve night, BUT God works wonders & we were able to celebrate Christmas with him the next day!!!!
This is him, showing me how much he loved his much-needed Snuggie.

You'll have to forgive me for posting this in FEBRUARY. My blogger brain must have been pre-occupied. But, as you can see, 2011 brought me lots of happiness and experiences and memories and milestones and life lessons. It was a rough year and it was a great year. I'm glad it happened & I'm glad it's over.

Bring it on, 2012!! I am excited to see what you have in store for me!! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

3 months later, pics from Ale's wedding!

My friend Ale got married in October, and since I wasn't on Facebook, I didn't see her wedding pics she finally posted! I ended up signing on my mom's Facebook to look at Ale's wedding pics. I promise that was it. She doesn't have that many Facebook friends anyways. I wanted to especially make sure Ale hadn't posted any absolutely horrible pictures of me on her wedding album(s) because her wedding day was like one of my worst feeling days. I was running on very little sleep. I was pale. I was fat. and I was having a bad hair day. And I was wearing new shoes and my feet were killing me! It was just not a good-feeling day. {All happy-for-Ale feelings aside! Love you Ale! haha} BUT- here's some pics from her special day in October!
Bride & Groom in a PERFECT Autumn setting <3

Ale, her bridesmaids, & her chocos wedding shoes!

Lincolnton girls <3

Bridesmaids in our monogrammed sweatshirts - MUCH comfier!

Alex joined me at the reception :)
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