Sunday, November 13, 2016

Psalm 126:5

I was pregnant, and I had a miscarriage. A few actually. It almost feels taboo to say. It’s something so many women suffer through, but we hardly hear about

If I’m being honest and to the point, they suck. And I don't like to use that word. That pain of wondering what you did wrong or if you could have done anything different. Feeling like I let Scott down. Not knowing what to say or how to tell awaiting friends and family. Listening to my mom try to heal me with her words and knowing she’s dying not knowing how to fix it/make it better or hearing my dad cry as I told him. Not knowing if an early miscarriage counts as enough of a baby to feel sad about it. To be scared to try again. It all sucks.

I don't always think about it, though. But it sneaks up in the smallest of moments. Like when you see baby announcement after baby announcement because every female in town is pregnant…okay, this is an exaggeration, but sometimes, it feels like it. Or when you attend a baby shower for a close friend on the day that was your anticipated “due date”. It even hit me one day as I caught myself watching a mom with her little girl in Kohls. It’s in the sneakiest of moments, I tell you. 


I am very secure in the fact that God has a plan for me and my family. I know that His plan is greater than mine. He’s moving mountains I don’t see and fighting battles for me I don’t know exist. He loves me and wants to give me everything He’s planned for me. But for whatever reason, he needed me to experience these moments. Maybe it was to help a friend through a similar situation. Maybe it was about patience, perseverance.  Maybe He needed my faith to be a little bit stronger. I don’t know. But I know, HE knows.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “ Jeremiah 29:11 (my favorite verse). This doesn’t mean that God’s plan for me is exactly what I have planned for me. It doesn't say...."I know what you want, so hang on just a moment while I snap my fingers for you." He isn’t a genie. Hillary Scott said it well in her song, Thy Will, "Sometimes I gotta stop, remember that you're God, and I am not." His hope and a future for me might be different than what I envision. But as long as I let Him lead the way, I know I am in good hands. 

I have written and deleted and rewritten these paragraphs 20 times. I wasn't going to post it. It's personal. It's my heart, my hurt. But I believe that by sharing how I felt, someone else may feel a little comfort in their situation. I choose to believe in God and in what the Bible says.... "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy" Psalms 126:5

And I really love songs of joy <3

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Life is good, but life isn’t always good. I know you’re thinking….Huh? Jenny, have you lost your mind? In one sentence you said two things that completely contradicted each other. Let me explain.

Life is good. Life is good because we make the choice to believe that life is good. As Annie F Downs puts it in her book, Looking for Lovely, we look for the lovely things in our lives. To her that meant the God things. When she looked for lovely in her daily life, God showed it to her…often.

Now, the second part of my statement…life isn’t always good. Bad things happen. Will happen. Have happened. There will be pain. There will be heartache. There will be betrayal. There will be rain. The Bible talks about pain. But one characteristic I see over and over is that it’s followed by JOY. Isaiah 66:9 says, “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. Says the Lord”. Or Psalm 30:5, “There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Romans 8:18, “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Do you see a theme here? I do. God is telling us to expect pain. Expect sorrow. But we will come out of it. Bad things happen. But that doesn’t mean life is bad. Sad things happen. But that doesn’t mean life is sad.

Don’t allow temporary pain and sadness ruin a good life. Don’t allow sorrow take away your lovely. 

So, tomorrow…wake up with a smile. Walk into work thinking, “I am going to be positive and optimistic today.” Tell everyone you encounter “hello” with that great smile of yours. If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that a smile can go a long way. You never know how your smile may be affecting someone who needed it at that very moment. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Find your thing

I have always loved running. In terms of hobbies, it’s right up there next to singing and my work as a speech-language pathologist. As a child, I was faster than all the boys. And as a competitive tomboy, this made me smile. As we grew older, I might not have been as fast as them, but I could still hold my own. Running always seemed to give me what I gave it. If I worked hard, running would reward me. Maybe not always in PRs, wins, or medals, but in ways that built life lessons and lifelong friendships.

I have come to crave the way running makes me feel. It’s amazing how the “hurt” a person can feel during a hard speed workout can be the best you feel all day. I push myself out of bed each morning when that 4:45 a.m. alarm clock goes off to make myself better. To push that little girl that still lives inside of me past the places she never thought she could go.

I am often presented with the question of why I run. I run for exercise, sure. I run to be more fit. To look good in my clothing. I guess all of those are true. But, one of the main reasons I run is because I’m competitive. Always have been. I want to beat me. Beat my last time. I NEED to push myself and be better than the day before. Push myself past that feeling of “you’re too tired” or “I hurt”. 

Running has also blessed me immensely. One of the most special things that running has given me are friendships. Lifelong friendships made on high school track teams and with girls from other towns. Lifelong friendships from my division 1 college track team that expanded my understanding of diversity and helped me to learn to live as a little fish in a big pond. Lifelong friendships, now, as an adult formed through grueling marathon training and coaching. Some of my best friendships have been formed and are still formed through this crazy thing we do called running. 

Another question I hear a lot...What motivates me, inspires and keeps me running? My friends. My family. My health. My inner passion to be better. It all plays a part. It all gets me out of bed on those dark, cold mornings to lace up the shoes and get my run in. What motivates me is easy. It’s what inspires me that pulls at my heart. It’s all the people the world told them they couldn’t, but still do. Those running/exercising during or after chemo treatments. My cousin who could no longer run after a life-threatening car accident, so she took up cycling. Single moms who work multiple jobs and still find time to remain healthy and active. Soldiers who train in the middle of the desert. And, many, many more. We ALL face obstacles in life, and I believe running can help us through even some of the darkest moments we face. The people that inspire me are the ones who use running to help make bad or inconvenient situations, a little more manageable. And therefore, life, a little bit more sunny.

When talking to a life-long friend about how running feels like home to me, she said, “Jenny, you have always loved running. Even when we were little. You looked happy running. It fit you.” 

Running may not be your thing. And that's okay. I hope you find your thing. The thing that makes you happy and fits you. It's there for you. Go find it.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

You are good enough

I recently completed continuing education for my speech-language pathology license on caring for the tracheostomy and ventilator dependent patient. I loved it. I love learning and expanding my knowledge base to be able to better serve the people I treat in therapy.

However, tracheostomy care intimidates me. It’s very technical and is a more specialized topic in the healthcare field. I don’t like feeling inadequate, intimidated or unprepared. So, I kept my eyes open for training opportunities, and when one came along, I jumped on it. 

At the beginning of the seminar, I was overwhelmed and felt stupid. Unfortunately, I had allowed myself to feel this way. 

Why am I sharing this with you? 

I think many of us often feel that way.

Overwhelmed. Intimidated. Unqualified. Not smart enough. Not good enough.

Well, stop it. 

You are good enough, smart enough, qualified.  

Always be confident in yourself and your abilities. Don’t ever allow yourself to think you’re anything less than amazing. Yeah…I’m talking to you. If you don’t believe in you, who will? You really do know more than you think. And if you don’t know about something, take the time to learn. 

By the end of the seminar, I felt confident in my prior knowledge base, as well as, my absorption of the new information. I made myself stop thinking I was in over my head, and allowed myself to learn. I allowed myself to grow. I allowed myself to be better.

Allow yourself to be better. Use positive words to describe yourself EVERY DAY. Then turn those words into positive actions. The world is there for you to grab.  

Find your passion and run.

SIDE NOTE: For any SLPs wondering about the course…I would HIGHLY recommend it!  Jay presented an enormous amount of information in a great way! He was great to listen to all day long!

Course Information: Cross Country Education: Caring for Patients with Tracheostomy  & Ventilator Dependency by Jerome Quellier.

Friday, July 29, 2016

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Dr. Valerie Boyer (SIUC), myself, and Katherine Martin (SIUC) at the Illinois Speech-Hearing-Language Convention

“Speech therapy? But I talk just fine.”

 If I had a quarter for every time I have heard this, I would be rich. Most people think of a speech therapist as someone who works in a school with children with speech sound disturbances. And, that is correct. However, our field is much more than that! A professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale told me, “If you get bored as a speech therapist, you’re doing something wrong.” 

So what exactly does a speech-language pathologist (SLP) actually do? The short answer…A lot. SLPs work with adults, geriatrics, and pediatrics. They work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, homes, private practices, and schools. 

An SLP works with deficits in the areas of
  • articulation (aka speech sound difficulties)
  • dysphagia (difficulty with swallowing food and liquids)
  • language development
  • cognition
  • voice
  • accent modification
  • stuttering
An SLP may work with people who have had a stroke, dementia, cancer, traumatic brain injury (TBI), pulmonary problems, down syndrome, autism, parkinsons, cleft lip/palate, and more.

An SLP may…
  • Work to increase cognitive functions such as improving someone’s ability to focus attention, solve complex or simple problems, plan or remember.
  • Help someone who has a tracheotomy placement to speak again or improve their swallowing safety.
  • Help someone who was placed on a feeding tube after a stroke to regain safety with swallowing whole food and drinks.
  • Help someone after a stroke to regain their ability to use words correctly. 
  • Help someone who regularly feels like they have food stuck in their throat or cough consistently while eating. 
  • Work to improve the quality of life in people diagnosed with dementia by helping them remain as active as possible, highlighting their strengths instead of focusing on their deficits.
  • Help someone who wanted to change dialect or accent.
  • Help people who may be affected by deficits with the vocal cords decreasing their ability to use their voice effectively or correctly.
  • Get to work with famous actors/actresses or singers to help them with learning a new accent or decreasing vocal abuse.
  • Work with a school aged child who has difficulty making specific speech sounds or developing language.
  • Work with a child who is birth-three years of age and not developing with understanding and verbalizing effectively.
  • And so much more…If I listed all the people or situations in which an SLP could help, this blog would be 12 pages long.
Although these lists are not exclusive to all that an SLP could do, it gives you a better idea. My hope is that this helps to improve awareness of difficulties people may have and let them know there is help out there for them! 

I always knew I wanted to be in a profession where I was helping people. Maybe it was how I was raised. Maybe it was my upbringing in church. Maybe it was my lifelong 4-H career where volunteer work and helping others was a given. Whatever it was that led me to this profession, I’m thankful for it. I am happy to go to work each day and help people get better. 

If you would like to know more about what a speech therapist does or what it takes to be a speech-language pathologist, please let me know! I would be happy to fill you in!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Slobber and Forgiveness

I spent 30 minutes this morning wiping English mastiff slobber off my walls. What? You mean that’s not something you usually find yourself doing on your days off? Huh.

Raider, my English mastiff, drools excessively.  Excessively. And then, he shakes his head. This causes the drool to fly in various directions around my house. Ceilings. Walls. Picture frames. Couch. You name, it’s had drool on it. So, once a week, I find myself using my handy little microfiber rag to erase all of Raider’s slobber marks. And wahlah, my walls are brand new again.

It’s nice to know I have my own microfiber rag in my life, too.


I’m sure at the end of some weeks, He looks at me and says “Wow. Get a little dirty this week, Jenny?” But thank goodness, he’s there to wipe my “slobber marks” away and make me brand new in his eyes.

Being a Christian doesn’t make me perfect. Jesus was perfect. I am not. This doesn’t mean I don’t and won’t mess up. I will make mistakes. I will hurt people. I will sin. Some weeks I’m really good about reading my Bible, but most I’m not. Some weeks I’m a wife or woman after God’s own heart, but most weeks, I’m not. I try to be honest, but sometimes, I’m not. I am not, nor will I ever be perfect. 

How lucky am I that I have a Savior who forgives me? He sees my dirt and loves me anyway. He’s cleansed me in the water so I can be made brand new.

When I mess up, I pray to do better the next day. I pray to be better. I pray to be more honest, more faithful, and more loving. I pray to be more Christ-like. He forgives me daily. And through Him, I know the true meaning of love.

You made some mistakes? Join the club. He loves you anyway. He has always loved you. He will always love you…mistakes and all.