Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brag Session

People don't always have the chance to brag on their parents, but this year mine have made me very proud! But don't take that the wrong way...I've always been proud of my parents! They're spectacular people and I love them very much!

Most of you know that this past September, they were awarded ACU Parents of the Year. What a great ceremony and such an honor! Well, their picture from the Homecoming parade has been one of the few selected for the new ACU Alumni website. There are several pictures that run, so just be patient. They're after the Sing Song picture. My parents are the ones waving from the car in the parade ;)

You can also look for them in the next issue of ACUToday magazine. Little cuties!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This Should Make for an Interesting Story

Most of you now know, as mentioned a few entries ago, I have been diagnosed with a tumor on my spine. First, let me say thank you to all of you who have showed your love and support through comments, email, and phone calls. Most of you know I like to keep my blog lite...don't weigh it down too much with personal details, sad stuff, etc. But, I felt like this was a pretty important thing happening in my life. I also thought on the off chance I seem preoccupied in the next few months, this might explain a little bit.

I went to the neurosurgeon Tuesday. I'm going to have a pretty invasive surgery on June 1st. I'll be in the hospital for 3-4 days and out of work for 6-8 weeks and won't return to my full working capacity for approx. 2 and a half to 3 months after the surgery. It's pretty insane. The tumor is attached to a pretty important nerve (my left leg sensory nerve) and is really close to another important nerve (motor skills of left leg), so there's some risk involved. The tumor is growing on the outside of my spine and on the inside of my spinal column. It's grown inside my spinal sack, so they'll have to slice that open, operate, then sew it back. He's compared the consistency of the spinal sack to a piece of wet tissue paper. Can you imagine having to sew that up?! With this kind of surgery there's also a risk that I could end up leaking spinal fluid...in that case they'd have to go back in and repair the spinal sack. They have to take out a section of bone from one of my vertebra to get to the whole tumor. Having to remove this piece of bone will leave my lower back very weak for some time.

For my first two days in the hospital I'll be laying on my stomach at all times. Once I'm able to go home, the doctor said he expects me to do very little...basically nothing but laying down. I'm not allowed to lift anything over a gallon of milk during those first 2 weeks. After that, I can slowly start building up my back strength again. After about 3-4 weeks I'll be able to go back to work...but only for a few hours a day and only to do paperwork or computer work. No lifting, setting up events, etc. So, I'll basically be at home all of June. Then slowly go back to work in July and hope to be up and going full speed by middle of August...in time for Opening Assembly, Welcome Week, etc!

So, that's pretty much the readers digest version. I'm finally coming to grips with the whole process. I honestly didn't expect this to be a big deal at all. I think I was pretty naive in thinking this was going to be a simple, nearly pain-free process that would hardly interfere with my life! Obviously I was wrong. This week I was pretty much just letting the news sink in.

Anyway...it's set for June 1st! It will be convenient to have the whole summer! 2009 will be the summer I laid around! I figure the smart thing will be to lay outside as much as possible. If I'm laying around, might as well catch some sun while doing it!

Again, thanks to all of you for your kind words, love and support. I continue to covet your prayers...and expect you to come to me this summer. Not sure I'll be traveling to see very many of you! Love to you all!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The 3's

My cousin sent me the following in an email, so I figured in an attempt to keep my blog updated for all three of my fans, I'd post my answers in my blog.

Before I get to my 3's...
Most of you know my office is inside Moody Coliseum. Chapel has just started as I'm posting this (yes, I'm posting during work) and they're singing "Shout Hallelujah!" This song reminds me of my little cousins, Jadyn and Camden. They love that song...and I love hearing them sing...little precious angels! They also love the song "How Great is Our God." They also enjoy Veggie Tales...which has a character named Pa Grape. So, when my little cousin Jadyn sings "How Great is Our God," she actually sings "Pa Grape is Our God." It cracks my stuff up! They are so stinkin' cute!

As I'm writing, they're still singing in chapel. This will be one of the things I miss most once I move into my new office. I've talked to several friends who have left ACU and miss the singing in chapel. I've been lucky enough the past year and a half to hear the beautiful singing and praise everyday at 11am coming from right across the hall. This I will miss.

Ok...onto my 3's!

3 Names I go by:

1. Jennifer
2. Jen
3. Jenni

3 Jobs I have had in my life:

1. Office Assistant
2. Catering Director
3. Director of Events

3 Places I have lived:

1. Van, TX
2. Abilene, TX
3. I've lived 3 different places in Abilene...dorms on campus, house on Squires and now my duplex.

3 TV shows I watch:

1. Law & Order SVU
2. Nip/Tuck
3. Top Chef

3 Places I have been:

1. Bahamas
2. Canada
3. California

3 People that email me regularly:

1. Caddie
2. Lindsey
3. Teena

3 of my favorite foods:
1. Mexican
2. BBQ
3. My mom's home cooking

3 Things I'm looking forward to:
1. The summer
2. Getting married (whenever that may be!)
3. Owning my own business

Monday, January 12, 2009

"That SOB Pistol Whipped Me!"

My friend Betsey sent me some pictures today that I hadn't seen in months. Actually, I completely forgot about them! Be advised...they're a little graphic!

Caddie and I volunteered with the Abilene Fire Department, Paramedics, Police Department, Texas State Troopers, Bomb Squad and ACU Police this past May in what they called "demonstrations." I actually can't remember the official name, but they basically set-up random scenarios with gunmen, hostages, police, etc. So, allow me to explain what Caddie and I were doing. Side bar: all of this was taking place in McDonald dorm on ACU's campus which was under construction.

Ok...So, I was on the 2nd floor with a gunman and two other hostages. I was supposed to have been shot in the arm while running down the hall. The other hostages weren't so lucky...they didn't get away. So, as the police came up the stairs, I was supposed to yell "help, help! He's down here! The shooter is down here! Help! I've been shot!" I was there to assist in the mass chaos and hysteria. The cops would run by me, pull me to safety, and confront the gunman. It was kind of intense. I had to wear special helmets so I wouldn't get shot in the head by a bullet...aka paint cartridge that hurt like a mother when you got shot!

Caddie was a another victim, but was on the first floor. She was in the group of people who were attacked when the shooter first came in. Their job was to scream at the cops and beg them for help...then run out of the building screaming...running for their lives! They were then rescued by firemen and paramedics and were treated for their injuries. There were several times when we all got a little to "into" our roles. We were wannabe actresses basically! At one point, one fireman whisked Caddie from the front of the building onto the front lawn and asked her what happened. She quickly remarked "That SOB pistol whipped me!" There was hardly a straight face in the crowd!

It was a great day. We felt totally good having done our volunteer civic duty! And also very safe seeing how all of the first responders handled the many scenarios thrown at them. Here's a shout out to our public safety personnel! And here are a few pictures for your enjoyment!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Under Pressure

After the most recent comments on my previous post, I'm under a little pressure to update my blog. So, in an attempt to satisfy all of my fans, here is an update on my life. I figured it would be easiest to construct a timeline. Basically, here's what I've done since I last posted. I'd also like to take a moment to apologize for the holiday background that is still up. I didn't have time to find a new background and update my blog, so I did what I felt was most important. You're welcome Julie and Jody!

November 24th-29th
This was the week of Thanksgiving, so pretty much what happened on Monday and Tuesday isn't too important except for my cousin Jody's birthday (had to give a shout-out). So, I headed to Van Wednesday morning for Thanksgiving. This wasn't our normal Thanksgiving because we were celebrating my grandmothers 80th birthday. So, all of my family from all over Texas, Michigan, Alabama and Arizona came to visit. About 30 people. It was fun, but those of you who have experienced large family Thanksgivings know what kind of a whirlwind they can be! I had to leave early Saturday morning to get back to Abilene for the ACU football playoff game. All I can say about that game is, we sucked. We blew it. Our chance to go to Alabama for the playoffs and we choked. I'm still pretty bitter about it, but I'm choosing not to vent on my blog. Staying positive!

November 30th - December 6th
Nothing too interesting happened at the beginning of this week. I had a lot of meetings and my sister turned 21 on the 2nd. On the 3rd I went to see my back doctor. Some of you know I've been having a little trouble with my back this past year, so I went in for my follow-up appointment. We've thought for awhile that it was a herniated disk. Actually, my first doctor told me that's what it was. But, after an MRI, my new doctor told me I have a tumor on my spine. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked. He thinks the tumor is benign, but doesn't know for sure. He's referred me to a neurosurgeon to see what the tumor is attached to and what steps need to be taken so we can operate. I go to the neurosurgeon next week. So, as much as I hate to be overly personal on my blog, I still covet your prayers. The rest of the week is kind of a blur. We celebrated my sisters birthday that week and I was able to spend time with one of my best friends that weekend, but honestly, I was still trying to comprehend having a tumor. That's just not something you expect to hear from your doctor, especially at 27.

December 7th - December 13th
This was a pretty busy week, filled with Christmas parties and two graduations. Shout out to Kim Smith who celebrated her 27th birthday on the 10th! The 12th was ACU's graduation and on the 13th I had Texas State Technical Colleges graduation. Both held in Moody Coliseum which I had to plan. But, they went off without any problems, so I was pretty happy!

December 14th - December 20th
A week full of even more Christmas parties! I think I went to more Christmas parties this year than I ever have! I also got more Christmas cards than I ever have. Is this what it means to be a grown-up?! The 16th I got my hair cut...I don't love it, but I needed some length off! On the 20th I headed home to spend Christmas with my family. I was really looking forward to spending some quiet time at home. Why did I think it was going to be quiet?!

December 21 - December 27th
It was absolutely wonderful to be home with my family. My sister was already there, so it was great hanging out with her, my mom and my dad. We were able to go shopping, do some holiday baking, and even catch a movie. My parents closed the restaurant for 3 whole days...Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. It was very nice for them to have a break. My brother and sister-in-law got to Van on Christmas Eve. We all played games, ate great food, watched Christmas movies and laughed a ton! We were all very blessed to be together! I got some great gifts too...a lot of gift cards, clothes, cash, and a flat screen tv! I pick that up next week! I'm totally pumped!

December 28th - January 3rd
My parents had to go back to work at the restaurant and my brother and sister-in-law had to spend time with her family, so things started to pick-up by the 27th. On the 29th I drove to Dallas to pick-up my friend Caddie from the airport. Some of her luggage was lost so we ended up staying in Dallas that night so we could pick-up her bag the next day. We headed to the airport Tuesday morning only to wait several hours for her bag to arrive. We had plans to attend a dinner party that night in Abilene, so we were hard pressed for time when we finally got her bag and headed west. We were just a little late to the party, but it was fun spending time with old friends and catching up. Caddie spent the rest of the week with me in Abilene. We hung out with friends and family, ate great food, watched movies, and caught up on what's been going on. Side note: If you haven't seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, you need to! EXCELLENT movie! I loved it! I took Caddie back to the airport on the 2nd and headed back to Van for the weekend.

January 5th - January 7th
Well, this pretty much brings us up to this week. If you're in Texas, you'll know that a cold snap passed through most of our state on Monday. I had planned to return to Abilene Monday morning, but with freezing temperatures and sleet, I didn't really want to drive all the way to Abilene. So, bright and very early Tuesday I got up and headed to work...in Abilene. 4 hours later, I had arrived. I arrived to an office full of boxes. What you may not know is, I'm about to move offices. ACU has built a new building on campus, The Hunter Welcome Center, which offices over 100 people and has around 10 new event facilities. I've been named the Building Supervisor...along with my other responsibilities I have with being the Director of Events. So, we were supposed to move in on January 5th. But, you know how construction goes! They're behind. We found out today we can't move in until January 26th. Don't even get me started. It's a nice building. Next time you're on campus, you really should stop by and see it. I know someone who could give you a great tour! ;)

So, that's pretty much a summary of my life over the past month and a half. I apologize for not writing much and I will try to be better. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I hope January is a great month for you and that 2009 is a spectacular year! I think great things are coming in 2009! Here's hoping!