Monday, October 19, 2009

NLC 2009 in Chicago


No description needed... the picture says it all...

We ran into some fellow UofAZ alumni!

The Aphasia Laboratory in Chicago

at the pier

The Water Park

The Fridriksson's

Friday, September 25, 2009

sure is good to be runnin' again

I have a little "flair" on my car - a Hilton Head Island magnet, a UGA magnet, and a 13.1 magnet of which I'm pretty proud. That is the distance of a half-marathon, and I ran one in Atlanta nearly 2 years ago with my friend Colby. I am proud b/c .... well, that half-mara nearly killed me.... and I did it as a plus-size gal.... scoring one for the big girls.

So, I'm driving along today, on the way back from Charleston, and I see a sticker on this woman's car. 52.4 it boasted. 52.4! Seriously!?! You ran a double marathon? You couldn't even stop at 1 full marathon? Or 1 and a half? You went for a double??? Crazy. My 13.1 lost a little of its luster as she passed me on the interstate.

But, it got me to thinking. I'm ready to train for another event. The dissertation experience was incredibly hard on my body. I mostly paid for it in pounds. And I'm ready to lose them. So, I'm putting it out there....
I am going to train for the Nashville Country Music Half-Marathon. It will be April 24th, 2010. No, I don't particularly like Nash-vegas. No, I'm not a country music fan. But, it has gotten good ratings and it gives me about 7 months to train.
Anyone want to join me???

http://nashville.competitor.com/register/

Sunday, September 13, 2009

forgiveness

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
~ Lewis Smedes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Graduation Pics




http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=21205&id=1583256152&l=df4f4f478f

Monday, August 03, 2009

Hilton Head Island, soon to be my home away from home













The week before graduation, Hilton Head was calling my name!!!! My wonderful husband rented out a condo for (part of) my graduation gift, and I spent an entire week there, with a collection of friends and family coming and going as they pleased. It was wonderful.

To see more lovely pictures, go to
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=20988&id=1583256152&l=0e60b897bb

Monday, July 27, 2009

After the dissertation defense

My wonderful prof threw a party for me after the oral defense of my dissertation. The defense was... well, it was rough. My work was laid out in front of all of us, and we picked it apart and discussed all of the mistakes and shortcomings for a couple of hours. I was so glad my best friend was there, b/c he helped me to see it through his perspective.
Mine - I sucked. This was horrible. They hated it.
His - They asked you questions, and you just kept answering girl. You knew studies, authors, etc. You rocked it.

The end result was a "Congratulations Dr. Richardson" from my wonderful committee. And then it was time for the gathering. Dr. Bothe's daughters picked out the decorations - fun red and black balloons, a UGA-themed cake, etc. So cute. Friends and family gathered to happily chat and eat. The evening ended with almost everyone gathered around the piano singing tunes from The Sound of Music. Perfect.




More pictures to come!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Afterglow

"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”

~Theodore Isaac Rubin

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Problems

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” ~Theodore Isaac Rubin

So true - seemingly smooth waters make me nervous...I always expect problems, know they are just under the surface, and am never surprised by new events, turmoil, etc. That doesn't make it any less tiring, but it certainly is no longer surprising. And in those times, I go to this verse:

"Consider it pure joy my brothers [and sisters] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverence. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." ~James 1:2-4

I recently learned something new about this verse. I used to think you were supposed to consider it pure joy because of the problems, and WOW that's hard - how do you even do that?. But I missed a word - it never says "because" - the verse says "whenever" or "when" - When I face trials of many kinds, I'm to consider it pure joy, to count my blessings, during the trial. That I can do, believing that there is a purpose, believing in his promise in Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope a future"

Saturday, July 04, 2009

He can't say no

I'm sitting here working at a friend's house. It is nice and quiet. Everyone is outside playing on this beautiful Independence Day. It sounds like their little boy (Drew) is the activity director, and everyone, including my husband, is following directions.

Brent walks in to check on me and to get our dog (Cash) some water. As the door opens, I hear the little boy say something about him coming back out and playing. Brent answers something to the effect of "I'll be right back out. Just don't throw that ball for a few minutes - Cash needs to rest but he can't say no to a ball. He'll chase it no matter how tired he is."

I don't know why, but that one phrase stuck to me. He can't say no if you are throwing a ball or a frisbee. He doesn't know how to say no.

Oh, how I wish I didn't know how to say "no" to God when he keeps throwing things my way - opportunities for witnessing, opportunities for growth, wisdom, etc. But unfortunately, I'm much too good at negating or resisting his will.
"No, I don't want to share your word with that person right now."
"No, I don't want to let someone else into my life - you may have sent them my way, but it is to hard to trust people and let them in"
"No, I don't want..."
"No, I..."

Praying for less no's. Praying that I'll do his will no matter how tired, how weary, how cynical. Praying, however odd it may seem, to be more like Cash in this regard.

Happy 4th of July!



May we remember today that freedom is not free
May we remember today that the liberties we take for granted were bought with hard work, sweat, and blood
May we remember today the vision of our founding fathers

In remembering, we will look around with new eyes
Appreciating those freedoms
Honoring those who fought for them
Thanking God for His blessings

Friday, July 03, 2009

The fool in me...

“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries”

~Theodore Isaac Rubin

Feeling very much like the fool in this description lately, trying to reconcile with these many aspects. And certainly feels like there is just not enough of me to go around, to please everyone...and in the end, I please no one. I don't know if this is part of transitioning...there is so much of it going on right now. The end of a HUGE chapter in my life, the beginning of another, moving, new job for husband, preparing to expand our family, etc. I am having a hard time living up to my own expectations, and have no doubts that I'm not living up to expectations of others.

So, going back to the basics. God, marriage, career, and let the other pieces fall where they may, all the while learning to not berate myself when I feel too much, talk too much, cry, etc. Embracing my fool.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Transition

So much going on in life right now. As a coworker said aptly, I never do anything halfway.
That includes life changes.

I remember, it seems like just months ago now, but it was actually 2 years, when I was trying to survive comprehensive exams and move at the same time. Torture, it was horrible, crazy, etc. Think I would have learned...

But I did not. Or, more specifically, the situation prevented me from applying my new knowledge.

In December, I landed this amazing job at the University of South Carolina, to begin in August. Ever since then, I've been in high gear, finishing up my dissertation. Meanwhile, Brent looked for and successfully landed an amazing job in Columbia, to begin...well, this Monday.

So, once again, we had to move while I am trying to survive dissertation. Brent took the bulk of the responsibility. But, last night, it came down to the wire - the movers were coming in the morning, there was MUCH left to pack, I had a migraine and didn't get home until ~ 9 anyway....not a good situation.

I called my family, just trying to force a little labor out of the little brother...and before I know it, all of my brothers, and an extra soul, show up at my house, and begin a packing frenzy. It was amazing....family is amazing...sometimes (well, maybe most of the time) we drive each other crazy...but when it comes down to it, we are here for each other. Thank you Greg, Josh, Jonathan, and Ashley for helping Brent and I survive the madness.

I packed up my belongings for the next month or so into my car. Brent heads to Columbia to unpack tomorrow. His new job and new life begins on Monday. My dissertation wheels keep on turning...please keep me in your prayers...I'm so sleep deprived, sunlight deprived...I have a permanent eye twitch - stress or strain, I'm not sure...I'm isolated, out of necessity...and am in desperate need of the strength to keep going ... there is no time for slowing down, no room for error.

I am looking ahead, am believing that I will finish, that I will successfully defend, that I will, in fact, graduate...and then transition again... a new city, a new career, a new body of research to learn, new people to meet (that is the hardest part for me)....

The new stuff is exciting, scary, nerve-wracking. Transitioning away from the "old" is hard, sad, burdensome...especially when I can't spend my last few weeks hanging with my favorite people...

oh, change....I've never been a huge fan. But like most things in life, you come along, whether we are ready or not.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Aphasia Awareness Month

June is Aphasia Awareness Month. Just hearing that, seeing that, brings about different thoughts.
Wonderful that someone, somewhere is trying to educate the world about aphasia, trying to raise awareness.
But, I haven't seen an ad, commercial, anything about aphasia. Is there value in assigning a "purpose" to a month if no one, no organization, is going to try and fulfill that purpose?

My heart is heavy about this because I know so many individuals with aphasia who I care for deeply - both the individuals with aphasia and their families - and I so wish that the world would be more aware of their struggle. Fighting tooth and nail with insurance companies for speech-language services, searching for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions when the doctor says "oh, this is as good as he is gonna get", traveling across the country just to try and find an intensive aphasia therapy program that is worth the thousands of thousands of dollars they require... it goes on and on.

If I could capture the spirit of these individuals, the drive, and bottle it up...wow, the world would be a different place, a better place.

Learn about aphasia today. Learn about the definition, the causes, the types, etc. Develop awareness. Seek out individuals with aphasia, if you know of any in your sphere, communicate with them. I doubt you will walk away from that experience the same person you were before. Check out www.speakingofaphasia.blogspot.com for some insight into this communication impairment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

2 of my favorite things

2 of my favorite things, conveniently together in one package:
Darius Goes West
Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Monday, May 04, 2009

Me and the class of 2009!

This is a pic of me and a bunch of former students who will be graduating this weekend. These guys invited me to a banquet, and honored me with a wonderful award. Despite my pop quizzes and difficult class and high expectations, they voted me Most Influential Professor. Wow. I was blown away.

It may seem silly to some to be so touched by it, but oh well. I've been teaching for 5 years - mostly undergrads, some grads - and have received little extrinsic reward. Granted, there is the intrinsic stuff - the thrill of seeing the lights come on, helping someone make sense of the physics of speech and voice science, seeing others begin to share my love of the brain, etc. And I was nominated 2 years ago by my major professor to receive a university-wide Teaching award, which I received. But most of this journey has included tons of work and preparation to produce material and content that is often not well received by students. I've been called many names, suffered many insults, received incredibly rude e-mails. This, of course, is offset by the ~10% of the class that show their appreciation, that love to learn, that express that they appreciate the effort.

Well, that proverbial 10% spoke up, and loudly, and now I have a moment forever in my mind, and a certificate forever in my hands, that makes all of that hard stuff completely and 100% worth it.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Make A Way

I know I'm on a Natalie Grant kick right now, but I just can't help it. This is what I do when I buy a new album - I dive in, immerse myself, soak it up, apply it.

I wasn't very impressed with this song at first. Compared to my faves on the album (Our Hope Endures, I Will Not Be Moved, etc.), it just didn't jump out at me. Until I listened long enough to let her get to the last verse.

I think the verses also made me a bit uncomfortable. It speaks of a woman who is determined to make her own way, no matter what. And things just didn't work out the way she had planned, dreamed. She becomes increasingly discouraged, disillusioned.

I operated according to that mindset for many years. It is still my default if I am not careful. I can do this. I will do this. I will make it happen. I can. I will. I. I.

Where is God's voice in that mindset? Nowhere. No room for him.

Just a taste of the verse for you. I hope you take the time to listen.

"And so she bowed her head to pray
She cried Jesus please make a way
And she heard Him say

I'll make a way
I'll do whatever it takes even though it won't be easy
I have a plan and though you may not understand
Today I'll make a way
Hear Him say today He'll make a way"


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

some "flair"



some "flair" from my FB page. this one cracks me up :) I have others along these lines, all in support of the "real women have curves" idea....
Goddesses have hips
I'm built for comfort, not for speed
etc.

Fun stuff

Thursday, April 23, 2009

funny comic strip



Even after careful perusal of this very informative chart, I still don't know what to call my profs. I do the "Dr. B", "Dr. P", "Coach", etc. The funny thing is that I am about to graduate, and I am still no closer to calling them by their names, even when they request it. It just doesn't even want to come out of my mouth, gets stuck at my lips.... Oh well. I wonder if any of my students feel this way when trying to figure out what to call me....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An anthem for me these days

I have been a wayward child,
I have acted out,
I have questioned sovereignty,
and had my share of doubts,

And though sometimes,
my prayers feel like they're bouncing off the sky,
the hand that holds won't let me go,
and is the reason why

I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

Bitterness has plagued my heart,
many times before,
My life has been like broken glass,
and I have kept the score
of all my shattered dreams,
and though it seemed,
that I was far too gone,
my brokenness helped me to see,
it's grace I'm standing on.

I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

Oh the chaos in my life,
has been a badge I've worn,
and though I have been torn,
I will not be moved

I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Become a better writer!

Here are some valuable tips to teach the kids on how to become better writers:

Avoid clich├ęs like the plague – their old hat.
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
Do NOT use a foreign word when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.
Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
Don’t repeat yourself, or say again for the fiftieth time what you have said before.
Be more or less specific (depending on what you mean too say)
Proffread to see if ewe have mispelled words or left any words out that you meant include.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Love this song

"I Choose" by India Arie

Because you never know where life is gonna take you
and you can't change where you've been.
But today, I have the opportunity to choose.

[Verse 1:]
Here am I now looking at 30 and I got so much to say.
I gotta get this off of my chest, I gotta let it go today.
I was always too concerned about what everybody would think.
But I can't live for everybody, I gotta live my life for me.
I pitched a fork in the road of my life and ain't nothing gonna happen unless I decide.

[Chorus:]
(And I choose) to be the best that I can be.
(I choose) to be authentic in everything I do.
My past don't dictate who I am. I choose.

[Verse 2:]
I done been through some painful things I thought that I would never make it through.
Filled up with shame from the top of my head to the soles of my shoes.
I put myself in so many chaotic circumstances, but by the grace of God I've been given so many second chances.
But today I decided to let it all go. I'm dropping these bags, I'm making room for my joy.

[Chorus:]
(And I choose) to be the best that I can be.
(I choose) to be authentic in everything I do.
My past don't dictate who I am. I choose.

[Bridge:]
Because you never know where life is gonna take you and you can't change where you've been.
But today, I have the opportunity to choose.
release the guilt about why things happen they way they did cuz life is gone do what it do.
And everyday, I have the opportunity to choose.

[Verse 3:]
From this day forward I'm going to be exactly who I am.
I don't need to change the way that I live just to get a man. (NO!)
I even had a talk with my mama and I told her the day I'm grown,
"from this day forward, every decision I make will be my own." And hey!

[Chorus:]
(And I choose) to be the best that I can be.
(I choose) to be courageous in everything I do.
My past don't dictate who I am. I choose.

(And I choose) to be the best that I can be.
(I choose) to be authentic in everything I do.
My past don't dictate who I am. I choose.

[Bridge:]
Because you never know where life is gonna take you and you can't change where you've been.
But today, I have the opportunity to choose.
release the guilt about why things happen they way they did cuz life is gone do what it do.
And everyday, I have the opportunity to choose.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If a dog was the teacher...

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

my evening



looking at formant transitions, measuring vowels and voiceless stops, and measuring frequency...I'm ready for this part of my life to be over, but am grateful for the opportunity this work has given me in terms of learning and publications

A "WICKED" weekend


FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD


PRACTICING MY POPULARITY SKILLS, TRYING TO LEARN FROM GLINDA


ME AND TWO OF MY BROS


CROSSED EYES


THE LADIES


THE LADIES AGAIN


MOM AND JONATHAN - SO CUTE

Friday, April 10, 2009

Experiment Week 2 update

funniest quote this week (besides those uttered by our wonderful amazing inspiring participants):

S. (a research assistant) knocked on the door to relieve C. (another research assistant) who was participating in the CIAT (constraint-induced aphasia therapy) language games

C. says "Aw man..."

I loved it - she wanted to hang out more....loved it...we are having so much fun

I had a rough couple of days this week - A camera died on me, ~30 minutes of treatment went unrecorded, a tape was corrupted, etc. Roughness. Those things impact my research of course. But in the end, they are just a footnote in a document. The big picture is that therapy went great despite it all, participants made improvment, and we are having an impact. Who cares about the rest? It is important to remember I am doing this - not for a publication, not even for graduation requirements, but to help people, to change lives. Blips on the radar screen don't compare to #2 grabbing my hand and putting it to his face to say thank you, #0 bringing treats and buying us drinks everyday to express his gratitude, #1 making great strides and working hard on every sentence, and seeing #4 even make improvements despite how high functioning she is, and cheer us on, and cheat at games ;)

There is always drama in my life, in my family. Dramatic events have occurred recently that have definitely thrown a curveball - some handle it well, others don't. I keep asking myself - self, why aren't you more worried about this? self, why aren't you more upset about this? self, why aren't you stressed about this? Have you become unfeeling, emotionless?

Searching for the answer has led to this conclusion - I care, and deeply so. But I am honored, blessed to work with people every day who, in return for my therapeutic services, give me perspective and joy. For the most part, none of them can return to work, they are restricted to communicating with 1-2 people who will take the time to try and talk to them, they no longer talk on the phone or get on the computer, most avoid going out to eat or other recreation and leisure activities b/c they aren't designed for people who have difficulty communicating, many can't read or write anymore, some can't walk, spouses have left, friends and family avoid, etc....Those are real problems. And they are hopeful and motivated and generous despite it all, and a joy to have in my life. Perspective.

Love it. Love what I do. Love them. Love life.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

"Animal Crackers" from our winter concert

1 week down, more to go

Last week, I worked 87 hours in 5 days. Besides being so thankful for a wonderful week of experimentation, all I can say is "Oh my neck. Oh my back. Oh my neck and my back."

I'm exhilarated, amazed, exhausted, fulfilled, stressed, .... all at the same time. Its an interesting time for me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

frailty

The sentence that keeps running through my head right now is "All that is not faith is sin." So, I must be sinning up a storm, because I'm worried. And worry is not faith. Therefore, worry is sin, right?

I'm worried that I won't find that 1 more participant. I'm worried that my experiment isn't going to start or finish in time. I then worry that I won't graduate in August. And then I worry that I'll lose my job at UofSC. And that we'll be homeless and jobless.

Doom. Despair. Worry. Sin.

Yet, even as that sentence of unknown origin plays like a broken record in my head, I realize what a sentence of condemnation it is. Basically it says - you suck for being human, for having moments of frailty. But that is not what God is about - there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). And as a believer, I believe that he understands my concerns, that he is big enough for me to have a little doubt and worry here and there...he is just waiting for me to reach out and take his hand, the one he has been holding out for me the whole time, so he can guide me once again on this particular journey.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What is my personality color?

According to a facebook quiz:
Personality Color = Blue


If you are blue, you are outgoing with your friends, but not so much around new people. You like to chill and go with the flow of things. Sometimes you can become a little bossy. You are an awesome friend and care about their feelings.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow in Athens





Those were just a few pictures of the damage. Our house is surrounded by 800 million trees, give or take a few, and the arrival of the winter storm brought on the falling of some very large limbs and branches.
At about 9pm last night, our power finally went out. Brent saw what he thought was lightning in the distance, but we found out this morning that it was actually a transformer blowing up. We were curled up by the fire on the futon, half in and out of sleep. I think we were both in that very close to the surface sleep state, when we both heard the very distinct sound of a creaking and breaking tree. We both immediately rolled off the futon and onto the floor - no discussion, no words necessary, no hesitation. It did not land on the house, just very close. Afterwards, and even now, I laugh about that stop-drop-and-roll moment.


Where did the road go?


A view down our street


A view up our street




Mr. Johnny Cash really enjoyed the snow


The sun is out! What a beautiful day!


Me and B