Thursday, May 28, 2009

The hunt is on

Ok, so I now have this glistening brand new Masters Degree and here I go into the job world. It's weird because although I have worked for over 13 years, it seems like this is the first time I have entered the "real" world of work. I guess that is since I have worked jobs I was never interested in making my career (food service, retail, nanny-ing, desk work, etc...) I am here to tell you that it isn't just hard to find a job these days if you have a high school degree or even a college degree. It's still hard even with a Masters Degree. The job search is going well although there are few and far between places that want to pay a therapist intern.

For those of you who are not privy to the information on how to become an is the run down. First you get a Bachelor's Degree, hopefully in Psychology but it does not have to be. Then you get a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage/Family Therapy where you will clock as many hours in the field as you can that are supervised and you are called a "Trainee." You graduate and then you file to the Board of Behavioral Sciences for an Intern # and you are then an "Intern" and you try to get as many hours in the field as you can each year until you reach the total of 3,000 hours. These are not only your client hours but also your case notes, supervision, etc... Well, then you take the state exams and become licensed where you are officially a Marriage/Family Therapist.

In all of this crap, I am in the step of applying for my intern number. I have to wait for my degree to post at Vanguard and then I send in all of this paperwork and start the process of getting my intern #. That should be fun. Well, then I get paid to do therapy, if I am lucky at a reputable non-profit, group home, psych hospital, or private practice. All of that to say, I feel like my hands are tied.

I am fairly certain that my degree will post soon and I can start the process but there are so few positions out there for paid internships in my area and it is so discouraging. I got a job just recently to make money elsewhere while I wait on all of the psych stuff to pan out. I am working with a therapist I know doing her paperwork, filing, etc... while I wait for the Intern #.

I would appreciate if everyone could say a prayer for my job search and that God opens doors for me. I am willing to work anywhere where I can learn, earn hours, and be in my field. I am not too picky! Also, please pray that the intern # thing will go swiftly and God will help that along as well.

Overall, I am grateful for the current work I am doing and making enough money to help out at home but I need a full time income for us to take the next steps in our lives as well! Thanks for your prayers ahead of time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Learning is painful...yet again

Lately life has been difficult to say the very least. I have seen a lot of accomplishment and happiness like achieving my master's degree and my nephew Shawn was born as well but with those things have come some serious problems. The first thing that has been very difficult has been money! When I got done with school I also got done with an assistantship that provided our monthly groceries and most of our gasoline. Anthony's hours have been cut significantly like the rest of the nation's due to the economic situation our country is in. On top of that, I am ferociously looking for a job as a therapist and realizing that it's just as hard to get a job with a Masters Degree as it was with a Bachelors and with a high school diploma. Pretty sad when you work so hard to get educated and still can't find a position.

There are some things that I have learned over the last couple of weeks of a very "THIN" financial time. Here are a few of my learning experiences so that one day when everything is better..I don't forget.

1. Dates that happen at home can be just as romantic as those that happen outside of the house, if you are only creative.

2. Take advantage of the things that you like to do that don't cost any money.

3. Look around you and notice that you are still of the wealthiest people in the world.

4. It's amazing how great good nutrition sounds when you can't really afford it and when we can, we waste our money on fast food.

5. God wasn't kidding when he said be a good steward because if you aren't, it will come back to hurt you.

There are so many things that I am learning through this hard time and mostly I am learning finding a job IS a full time job. I did applications, resume sending, and cover letters all day today and got ONE call back which was someone who did not have any availability! ARGGG..

Help me Jesus!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My new precious nephew

Today God blessed me with a new little one in my family. My oldest sister, Hilliary gave birth to her first child, a son!

Name: Shawn Christopher Lee

Weight: 6 lbs, 15 oz

Height: 20 and 1/2 inches long

Born: May 12, 2009 @ 6:49 AM (Central Time)

He's goreous!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Commencement Speech

Ok friends, the speech is finally over and it went really great so I thought a good place to post the speech would be right here on my precious blog. Here it is, although you don't get the emotion with it. Let me know what you think! :) Anthony took video of it so maybe if I can figure out how to edit it and put the speech on youtube I will do that and put a video of it on the blog. Hopefully I will be able to figure that out! ;)

Here it is....

When I was asked to speak to you today, one thing immediately came to my mind. “ I can’t believe after three years of these people knowing me that they still trust me to speak in front of a large group!” Honestly, it was absolutely the most wonderful thing for me to hear because I realized it was an affirmation of how much work I had done in this program. In Zechariah 13:9, it says that fire refines us and tests us in our lives and work. In my case, the fire of Grad Psych has done both. I came into this program with a lot of battle wounds. I had lost a lot in my short 26 years and had overcome a lot of obstacles including a diabetic diagnosis that almost took me out of this world, witnessing suicide first-hand, abuse, broken dreams, and like everyone, a lot of heartache before I darkened the doors of my beloved home, Graduate Psychology.

These challenges did not suddenly stop just because I came to the program either. In the 2nd year of my program, my 13 day old nephew and step-mom were killed in the same day in a tragic car accident. You would think that this would have stopped me in my tracks and made me quit. It sure didn’t! This program gave me some amazing tools to not only do therapy with but also to use in my own life. I learned to stop and grieve my losses even when it hurts terribly. I learned to lean on others through pain and allow their support to help me when I had no more to give. I learned to listen to these brilliant professors when they said their famous words, “No Erica, I am pretty sure that is your stuff!” Most of all, it taught me that although we are all alone in our suffering as humans, there is a God that loves me and is always holding us through it. I can honestly say that there were days that I felt Grad Psych saved my life.

There are a few things that got me through Grad School that I have to give credit to; my awesome professors, my classmates who are going to be amazing therapists, marrying the love of my life and relying on him through thick and thin, my amazing friends who are my family, and the love of my grandpa who although could not make it here today in body, is here with me and proud beyond measure. He would probably have some car analogy to let me know that by saying I was “built Ford tough.” Those things right now would be amazing to hear. Luckily this program taught me how to give myself what I need and today I need to be proud and I am. I am proud of me and all of you (turn to look at other graduates) It’s been a long, hard journey and we finished the process that God started.

The biggest question I get these days is “Man, Erica I bet you are so tired of school and ready to be done. You must be burned out.” To that I respond, “Nope, not burn out or burnt up, just more refined gold.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Laying it all down

Last night I had some serious time with Jesus. I have never had quite the time with Him that I did last night. I could not sleep, probably due to the enormous amounts of anxiety that I was experiencing about speaking today. I decided to come out in the living room and read my Bible and pray about all of the emotions that had been welling up with this occasion. Just to name a few, I have been having a hard time missing my grandpa these last couple of days, having a hard time not feeling supported by my family as no one will be at graduation, and a disappointment of not being a mother yet when I am finishing my Masters Degree. I know that I should be so excited about these events so I just wanted to lay all of this down.

I spent hours just laying my fears, hurts, pains, and cares down at Jesus' feet. It helped so much. I slept like a baby in my Father's arms. Today, I am ready to represent my class, ready to go the next step of my life, ready to allow Jesus to have every single care of my heart and every desire of my life. Jesus really is my guide, heart, and breath. My heart would be broken without him and today I get to tell a lot of people about my healing. Jesus will be with me and guide my every word and no matter what, HE IS PROUD OF ME!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Speaking award and Graduation party

Last night my whole class got together to celebrate our graduation with our professors and spouses at our Claim Jumper Graduation party. It was absolutely beautiful. We had a great dinner, dessert, and a program put on by our professors. Our spouses were given "awards" at this program for being available as support to us through the program. I thought Anthony deserved that so much.

Also, we got to see our video again that announced our class name, THE COURAGEOUS 21.
Each professor was given a list of students and asked to announce on those students on what they saw in them in the program and how they grew. Jerre did mine and it was beautiful. We got a lovely gift of a really nice coffee mug that says "Grad Psych Alumni." Those might be my favorite words to date.

I was also given a scholarship for the Outstanding Student award and that was really nice to receive. It will be funding a little getaway for Anthony and I after graduation. A marriage retreat of sorts. It was a pleasant surprise to be sure.

Overall the night went very well and it was such a honor to be there and share with my friends and professors and mostly Anthony what we have accomplished. Today I am spending the day cleaning with Anthony to get ready for a house guest and get my life back together. Tomorrow, I speak at hooding! I am excited and yet very nervous. Prayers would be appreciated.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Graduation Party night

Tonight I am very excited as our class is all meeting at Claim Jumper for dinner for our graduation party. We get to bring our spouses so it's even more fun. It will be really nice to share a meal with our professors and look back at our time in the program. I am not looking forward to a time of extreme emotions or goodbyes but honestly a time of letting go and having fun. I love the girls in our program so much and it will be nice to break bread with everyone and really just kick back. We only have one guy in our program which is why I said girls. We all love Kev too though!

On Wednesday, Anthony and I get to share a day at home together which unfortunately will be spent cleaning up our apartment as we are going to have a house guest on Friday. Thursday is the big day and I get to speak! I have really been looking forward to this and really am feeling so excited about the next few steps. We are looking forward to our little getaway next weekend as well.

I had clients all morning today and it was nice as next week will be my last week at the site. I have loved working there but at the same time, it's a new season and I have to find my new place. I really enjoyed all my clients and learned so much there. I feel like this new season is going to be very exciting.

Well, I should head off to get ready for the party. Hope all is well in your world.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Changing my way of "dress"

So as of Saturday night Anthony and I started going back to the gym. This was one of my huge goals as Grad School ended. Before I started grad school and met Anthony, I went to the gym daily and was up to running 2 miles per day and had lost a total of 140 lbs. Over the course of Grad School I have went to the gym maybe a dozen times and have gained about 80 lbs back. That is horrible and I absolutely hate it. However, it is not in my goals to berate myself or punish myself for this but to do something about it. On Saturday night I started working on getting in shape. For me, this has never meant a certain number on the scale or a certain waist size. For me, it's all about being in good health, being an athelete, and being happy in my own skin. I haven't been happy lately just due to my clothes getting tighter, being more lethargic and tired, and just feeling like crap.

Yesterday I went out and purchased two dresses for my graduation activities. Usually I hate dresses and literally have worn two of them for the past 10-15 years. One of them was for my friend Hannah's wedding and the other was for my own wedding. As you can tell, it has to be pretty serious for me to wear a dress. Well, that has really changed with the acceptance of my femininity. I think Anthony and our marriage really helps me embrace being feminine so I was really excited to put on my dresses yesterday and show him how I looked. He was of course very happy and complimented me all over the place so it felt good. I realize I do not look like a super model and surely don't have all the weight in the right places but I do like nice in my new dresses and that I can accept.

It takes daily work to accept yourself and understand what you are capable of. I am not accepting myself in the knowledge of being over 100 lbs overweight and happy about it. I am accepting myself in that I am the only one who can do anything about it and my husband loves me very much. Also, if I did not lose another pound God made me and that gives me worth. My goals are never to be a skeleton or extremely skinny because I honestly think it's not attractive to be extra skinny. I have never longed for that super lean stick figure thing. I love that I have curves and look like a woman. I am hoping to lose 150 lbs and be a vibrant, atheletic, health, curvacious woman.

In that being said, say some prayers for continued motivation for myself and Anthony and pray that I find dresses along that way that make me feel pretty and that I can keep embracing my female-ness! :)

Friday, May 01, 2009


Commencement -- Beginning; the act of starting something.

So since I haven't blogged on my personal blog for a few days, I decided maybe it was time to talk about how everything is going with school. Last night was my last class in Grad Psych. We had a lovely dinner together and sang Karoke to our heart's content. We were also able to open up with each other and say our goodbyes. It was so great to be able to just tell people what they mean to me instead of ignoring that part and acting like we are all going to be best friends after this program. Next week is all of the activities that go into graduation. On Tuesday we are all getting together as a class and having a dinner at Claim Jumper. Spouses are welcome so Anthony will be there too. On Thursday, we have our hooding ceremony which is where I will be speaking. I went yesterday and got my speech approved and it was exactly what the program was looking for, which was nice. Then on Saturday it all comes to a close with Commencement.

As you see above, the word commencement means to begin or to start so it's so interesting that they name your graduation ceremony this. It is a start for me! It is the start of a normal marriage. It is the start of hopefully Anthony and I having a family. It is the start of my career as a therapist. It is so many things starting that I can barely think about all of the starts without getting overwhelmed.

I haven't written since, but I really did well on Exit. Exit scared me so badly but I am really pleased with the outcome. Just as everyone, there were areas that I needed help to navigate but overall, I was really pleased with how everything worked out. I felt very good afterward and really light. I described this to Anthony as if someone had asked you to lift weights for the duration of 3 years and through that time you held on the weights and most of the time you were lifting them but sometimes you would just hold them, but never put them down. At the point where I passed exit, it was like someone told me to put the weights down. Just as if you were really lifting weights, I was shaky, lighter, and stronger. It was a fantastic experience.

As Commencement draws near there are so many things I am passionate about and excited about with my new life without school. Mainly, starting a family, learning guitar, learning spanish, reading books for pleasure, going back to the beach a lot more, enjoying my husband a lot more, and various other things I am so excited to be doing.

Thanks for your prayers over exit and if you are in the area, I hope to see you at hooding, commencement, or both! :)