Thursday, September 29, 2011

facts about my family.

i thought it would be fun to have a post to write some fun facts and unique quirks about my family. i believe it's an honor to be a Craig (even though I'm a Feero now), and we've got some interesting family facts

 (mom & dad!)

our family consists of my dad (william), mom (carole), sister (chrissy), and brother (casey). my dad also has a son (bob) who lives near Seattle, Washington.

(me, chrissy, & casey) 

chrissy is now married to jason (for 6 and 1/2 years!), and they adopted my beautiful niece, Bella, last year. 

 the number 13 is a running theme in our family. my sisters birthday (1/13), parents' anniversary (6/13), and mom's birthday (8/13)... as well as any sports team number we had...i sat in row C, seat 13 of my high school graduation.. we stayed in room 1313 on our honeymoon (total coincidence!). it's my absolute favorite number :)

(isn't he handsome?!?!)

my dad joined the Navy after high school... he ended up going through training and becoming a Navy SEAL and served in the Vietnam War. 

for some reason i thought we looked alike here! haha 
my dad grew up in central arkansas... lived some of his life on a farm (truly "roughin it")... and moved to a small town where he spent the rest of his childhood/teenage years.
my mom was born and raised in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She's a true Fort Smithian :)

our family absolutely, positively LOVES the Arkansas Razorbacks. we've gone to football/basketball/baseball games since I was a little kid. I still remember when our basketball team won the national championship... I was 7! It was such a big deal!

my brother can sing like you wouldn't believe. he's got a voice that is like no other, and i love to hear him sing. he's sung at a few events ... even sang at a Razorback baseball game not long ago! 

  my mammaw is very, very important to me. she's my last living grandparent, and she turns 83 this monday! she's as sharp as a tack, and she's funnier/wittier than all of us! she is the youngest of 4 - my mom is the youngest of 3 - and im the youngest of 3!

 my sister and i also have very weird thumbs... i'm talking like - they could pass as big toes. it wasn't until later in life that we realized our cousin, greg, has the same thumbs. it's a Craig thing!

when i was growing up, we had "Chili Dog Wednesday." my dad would boil a pot of hot dogs and start a pot of chili... and we'd have the best french fries!! anybody who ever came over on a Wednesday got a chili dog :)

my dad raised us to know good music. i remember being a little kid and helping my dad change the gears on his truck and him asking me who was singing the song on the radio. I know all the classics... im blessed to have such a diverse music taste! 

during football season, it's almost always guaranteed that we are all around the tv (or at the game) watching the razorbacks play. we schedule meals/activities around the game. it's a privilege to be a hog fan :)

(this is us on a cruise in 2009)

a vacation with the Craigs is likely to end up in hysterical laughter... get any of us to tell you a story from one of our vacations, and we'll laugh before we can utter a word. it's always an adventure to say the least.

(me & case in Times Square)

my sister was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5 years old. she battled cancer for years, and i spent my first couple months of life in New York City where she had to go to receive her bone marrow transplant. even more interesting... my brother was her bone marrow donor (he was only a little over a year old - so he was "volunteered"). 

my sister is doing great now! her health is good, and she loves raising that precious baby girl, Bella. And - we all went back to NYC when I was in high school... it was a trip down memory lane for my sister and my parents - a whole new, awesome world for me and casey.

isn't she cute?!?! 

nowadays, we love getting together for any reason at all. lately, it's been more for football season, but this weekend... we'll be celebrating mammaw's birthday. we love cooking food, watching the games, talking and laughing together, and playing with that sweet baby Bella. 

i love my family!
im thankful.

carrie anne

Monday, September 26, 2011

what a good day.

today was a good day for everything it gave me and didn't give me.
im thinking this post will be short and sweet... just got a few things to say :)

first of all, today... i joined a gym
somehow over the past year, i have gained back all 15 pounds i lost last year before our wedding. what a gross feeling/realization. the scale does not lie. haha. anyway, i knew it was time to do SOMEthing... so i joined a local gym, and im hoping for good results!

not only did i join today... i actually worked out. my poor little body may feel it tomorrow, but i burned over 550 calories and went more than 4.5 miles... not bad for an hour workout. i forgot how good it feels once you finish a workout!!! i drove home with the windows down and radio up loud... it felt pretty good, and i'm feeling pretty enthusiastic about my workout journey.

cleaned, cleaned, cleaned today, too. i swear our house hasn't been this clean. EVER. i have a very hard time not staying busy with something, and i can always find something to clean or organize in our house :) 

i cooked us a healthy dinner!! i cant believe i didn't take a picture... but we had grilled chicken and stir fry veggies. it's very easy, cheap, and healthy. we're both going to start eating better, and i need an extra boost for weight loss... hence the gym membership :)

finally... the best news ive gotten in a long time: 

my oral examination is scheduled for next saturday!!!!

i didn't blog about this, but last week... the board told me that the October meeting was full, and I would have to wait until November!! my sweet hubby petitioned for me, and i was put on a waiting list. yuck.
I was devastated. I cried. I whined. I felt sorry for myself. 

since im in a little bit of a limbo between school and getting licensed, i cant exactly start a new job until after this whole licensing process. ive been at home... trying to find things to do. its quite the stark contrast from my insanely busy life pre-graduation. i feel like ive gotten a lot out of my time away from school/work, and im still learning to find some peace and rest in the quiet moments. 

those quiet moments may be far and few between in the next few weeks, though!!! if all goes well, i'll be a licensed associate counselor (LAC) and licensed associate marriage & family therapist (LAMFT)... and will finally make MONEY for what i love to do. talk about a way to get a newlywed excited :) 

so on top of my gym/workout adventures, i will now add preparing and studying for this oral exam i have next week. 

what a good day.

im thankful.
carrie anne

Sunday, September 25, 2011

it's officially fall.

so i'm practicing how long i can wait between blog posts....  sarcasm.
i have lots of things to mention in this post, but i'm thinking that i should just narrow it down to a recap of the past few days. most of the other things i'd like to mention are pretty heavy topics. so we'll start with the past few days...

thursday night i got to hang out with a long time friend, lakin. we met through a mutual friend (my bff jessica!!!) in junior high, and we've been friends ever since. on thursday, we met at sweet bay to catch up... how we thought we'd be able to catch each other up on our lives in just under 2 hours is crazy to me haha! we ended up staying up until 5:00AM!!!! it was great to be able to catch up with an old friend and to get some "girl time" in. 
an interesting fact about me is that i'm not the best with girls... i've got an older brother, and he was my best friend growing up. i always preferred hanging out with guys, watching football, and detouring all drama; therefore, the girl friends i DO have are very special to me... lakin is one of those friends! it was great to be able to pick up where we left off and encourage each other, too. there really is nothing like an old friend.

i was very excited about friday. friday was the day i FINALLY got to spend time with ryan keith. :sigh: he's been working so hard on school stuff, and we decided friday would be OUR night. we started off with dinner and planned on seeing Lion King later that night. 

now, if you know anything about either of us... we LOVE Disney. our first conversations we had when we first met were about Disney and Disney trivia... needless to say, we knew we would see Lion King in theaters, and Friday was that day. I'm thankful for the 3D glasses because i basically cried during the entire movie. it was a mix of pure emotions, childhood memories, and Disney magic :) i remember going to see this movie when i was a little kid at the phoenix village mall dollar movies for one of my birthdays. 

we have to take advantage of the time we get together... so we've been pulling some really late nights on the weekends to pack in as much time together as possible! after Lion King, we decided to go buy Bridesmaids on DVD. We saw it in theaters and thought it was hilarious. the bonus features on the DVD are funnier than the movie, and we laughed like crazy and went to sleep pretty late :)

Saturday was a big, big day. it was the day that our razorbacks took on the #2 team in the country, the alabama crimson tide.    we lost. it was saddening, but i went into it with realistic expectations... hoping for an upset, but knowing our competition was pretty impressive. it was a great day of family, food, and fun, though. my sister came down with her daughter, and i absolutely LOVE getting to spend time with my niece. my brother and his friend charley joined us... and of course, my dad, ryan, and me were there. the food (little smokies, cheese dips, hot wings, tamales, homemade chocolate chip cookies) and of course the beer made the loss to alabama manageable.  

this day, i was also introduced to a new backyard game: washers. the thing with me and these types of games is that... i'm either really great or really awful. i was really awful at this one! haha. I had lots of fun playing it, though... and it might become something i really practice at and get good! my brother, casey, is talking about making an elaborate washers game set for our parents' backyard... i'm all for it! 

that leads us to today. ryan had to do homework most of today since we had such a fun and busy weekend -- so i spent my time tidying and going shopping for our food this week... then we got to head to Home Group. we love our Home Group from church so much, and once again... I had some bittersweet moments. one of my very best friends is leaving for 4 months this Tuesday. tonight at Home Group was my last chance to tell her goodbye before she leaves, and i wont see her again until January -- all those holidays in between will stink without her around.  love you, Aletha!
 (good mawnin!)

love this girl so much! 

so there's my weekend... full of friends, family, food, football, fun, and officially... FALL
this may be my favorite time of year... the weather is cooling off//football is in full swing//i get to wear sweaters, boots & scarves//holidays are fast approaching... yay.

im so glad i have such amazing people in my life... whether they are moving to texas/virginia in 2 days, or i haven't hung out with them in a year and we catch up on our lives one night in 9 hours, or knowing them my entire life and seeing them every week... 

im thankful.

carrie anne

Saturday, September 17, 2011

getting licensed in arkansas.

sometimes you hear people say, "when you have a dream, go for it. do anything you have to do to achieve that dream - no matter what it takes." i think a lot of people would reconsider the dream of becoming a counselor in the state of arkansas if they knew all the things involved in the licensing process :)

luckily, im almost near the end of this process... i got some great news today:

i passed my other national exam.

in order for you to understand where i am in this part of my journey of becoming a counselor, i think it's important to take you through it from the beginning!

first of all, you have to have a masters degree to even APPLY for licensing in the state of arkansas...
  1. so 1st, i got my bachelors degree in december of 2008.
  2. i graduated as the only summa cum laude of my class that year... i was very proud at being the "first" of my class.
  3. january of 2009, i was enrolled in grad school and ready to start a new degree.
  4. in arkansas, you can choose if you want to have an LPC or LMFT license... or in my case, you can choose to try for BOTH.
  5. each license requires specific classes ... for both of my licenses, i had to take 67 hours... or 23 classes. this took me from january 2009 to august 2011.
  6. in the midst of this degree, you have to take "practicum/internship" where you actually get to see clients for counseling (my favorite part!). over the course of 4 semesters, you have to achieve 500 hours of face-to-face client time, or about 8-10 hours a week.
  7. when you start your LAST semester of graduate school, you can apply to the arkansas state board to begin the licensing process. i tried to do this as fast as i could... knowing it would be complicated and drawn out.
  8. once the board receives your application (which must also include $200 for an "application fee"), they send you materials for you to get both state and federal background checks. i had to go to the police station and get fingerprinted and also get a notary to put the seal my documents.
  9. the board then gives you access to sign up for your national exams. these are the big time! i had to take two exams (one for each license i wanted)... and they cost a chunk of change! My NCE (for the LPC license) costs $165, and my MFT exam cost around $275. you can also add in costs for study materials, practice tests, and of course the TIME it took to study for such important tests!!
  10. i took my MFT exam in July of 2011... I just got the results today. I've literally been nervous to check the mail every day for the past 2 weeks!
  11. i took my NCE the first week of August... those results were immediate, and I found out i passed right after i took the exam.
  12. these results are sent to the state board, and they then set you up for the next part of the licensing process... once your application is complete.
  13. other things needed in the application:
  • statement of intent: basically, what theory of counseling i will use with client, what techniques i use, who i plan on seeing, what type of setting, etc
  • cleared background checks
  • letter from dean at university stating i will finish grad school this semester... THEN an official transcript showing i have completed my degree
  • wallet size photo
  • termination plan: who will take on my clients in case i die or become incapacitated

once ALL these things are turned it, cleared, and OK'ed... the board schedules you for an oral examination. this takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas in our state capitol building. the board only meets once a month -- so my best shot at getting in would be October (only a few weeks away!). at this oral exam, the board will ask me about my theory, techniques, ethics, and supervision.

oh yes, supervision.

once (hopefully) the board clears me after my oral exam (it's a pass/fail thing), i will be under "supervision." I will be an associate counselor/therapist until i have met the requirements for supervision. i have to attain a supervisor who also has both the LPC/LMFT licenses (very hard to find in my area) and pay them to be my supervisor. i will be in supervision for the first 3,000 hours i see clients after i get licensed. this usually takes 2-3 years... totaling supervision costs around $8,000 total.

supervision was not something i knew about going into this career. i actually didn't know about much of these requirements going into graduate school! haha i'm thankful i'm in this part of the process now... almost done but only beginning in many ways. there's my beautiful paradox again.

put a challenge in front of me, and i'll surely try to tackle it.

especially if i get the chance to help other people in the world.
especially if i feel like i'm serving God by doing it.
especially if it's what i think God wants me to do.

this has been one of the few experiences in life that i have no idea how ive gotten through SO much...

so many hoops
so many requirements
so many financial obligations
so many times away from people i love to do this
so many things

then i realize that it wasn't really me getting through anything. it was God placing me exactly where He wanted me to be.

with just enough hoops
just enough requirements
just enough financial obligation
just enough time away
just enough things

to bring Him glory.

im thankful.
carrie anne.

Friday, September 16, 2011

decisions, decisions, decisions.

to say this week has been an emotional one would be the biggest understatement of the year. i found out i lost one of the sweetest parts of my life, uncle bedell. i got the honor to be at his funeral and graveside service. im thankful for his life, and im even more grateful that his heroic battle with parkinson's disease is finally over. ive never attended a military graveside service: servicemen playing taps, folding the flag, and giving it to my aunt iris was enough to put me over and drown in my own tears. i'll never forget the look the soldier had in his eyes as he handed the flag over to my now-widowed aunt... he said the words, "on behalf of a grateful nation..." i'm tearing up just thinking about it again. it is definitely a memory worth holding onto.

i also took some roses from my uncle bedell's arrangement and placed them on my papaw's grave in the same national cemetery. what a special moment. we all said afterwards that bedell and my papaw were having a party up in heaven together. what a beautiful image.


on top of all that, ryan & i have been contemplating/arguing/discussing a HUGE decision for our lives. we are finally sharing our decision... even though no one really knew we were even in the process of making it!

ryan got a job offer in chicago.
chicago is a solid 11.5 hours away from where we live now.
ive never really considered leaving arkansas.
we had some major decisions to make.
this job offered double ryan's salary now.
the job was also very appealing and fitting for ryan.
we did our best to consider every option:
(cost of living, distance from family, jobs for me, my licenses, future plans, etc)

our road block came on wednesday of this week.

i knew going into my counseling/therapy profession that state licensure would be very tricky. i never really thought much of it since arkansas seems to have the most stringent requirements for licensure in the country... the problem is that transitioning to another state RIGHT after i get licensed is a nightmare in and of itself. different states require different things, and since i won't be "fully" licensed (i will be an "associate" counselor/therapist for at least 2 years)... a lot of states won't reciprocate that associate license, including illinois.

im thankful for the husband i have. so much of this decision, i was focused on myself... what will happen to ME?! ryan seemed to be able to think more about me than him. i have a great man. he was making calls, emailing, and finding all the information we needed to make an informed decision. and the position offered to him was basically a dream job for him at this point in his life. he has told me over and over now... that there is no "my job" or "your job"... reiterating that we are ONE. his actions stood by his words... when he had to make the extremely painful decision to turn down his dream job because it would mean a step backward for me in my career. we believe that this was the best decision for us right now.

so the decision has been made. you'd think i'd be happy or something... no more hard discussions or difficult facts to face -- but it kind of feels like my favorite football team just tied in the national championship, and there's no overtime. it's like the "kissing your sister" kind of feeling. the decision's over, but there's still not much relief quite yet.

things i learned about us as a couple while making our 1st "big decision" as a married couple:
  • we make a great team.
  • i get very realistic, and ryan gets very visionary. we balance fairly well.
  • it's still weird that WE are the ones choosing what we will do with our lives. isn't someone supposed to be telling us this stuff still?!
  • i have a very humble, gracious, and forgiving husband.
  • i have a hard time dealing with change. ryan lives for the seasons & transitions in life.
  • i know this is the first of many decisions we will have to make.
  • we learned a lot about each other and were able to make a decision--together.
  • ((arkansas gained a new beauty and meaning to me)).
  • i have a good-willed, amazing hubby who loves me more than himself.
  • im really excited about being a therapist. i found a greater love of what i do when it looked like i wasn't going to be able to it. im sad it took that for me to realize it.
  • im excited about the rest of my life with ryan keith. life gets more exciting and adventurous when youve got an awesome teammate... especially one who takes care of you. love you, boo.

all that to say... decisions seem to be the "easy" part... the getting-to-the-decision proves to be the most difficult. you might not feel instant relief after you gain an answer, but as in most things i believe in life, it's the process that teaches you the most, shapes you the best, and ultimately shows you God is in control.

im thankful.
carrie anne

Saturday, September 10, 2011

in memory.

today is such a bittersweet day for me.

a very pure, sweet, and tender part of my life left the earth early this morning to be with God.

he is my sweet, sweet uncle bedell. great uncles are usually seen as distant relatives... rarely are they so special as mine is to me. my heart is heavy and free at the same time today - there is such beauty in that paradox.

i loved my uncle bedell so much. he was my grandfather's brother. my grandfather (papaw) died suddenly and unexpectedly before i was even born, and my uncle bedell has been my connection to my papaw since i was a little girl... people get the same look in their face when they talk about either of them. they described them as respected men, honorable, and always level-headed and calm. i searched so hard all my life to see my papaw in uncle bedell, and what i found was an amazing man who leaves an incredible legacy. he makes me so proud to be his family.

uncle bedell lived a wonderful life... he married a sweet lady (my aunt iris - who loved and cared for him always), had kids, and was a truly respected man.

everything changed when he was diagnosed with parkinson's disease... my worst nightmare. i watched my sweet uncle change physically... he was still the amazing man inside, but his body made it so difficult for him. one of his doctors actually said that he was sharp as a tack in his brain, but the disease was taking over him physically... it's still very difficult for me to comprehend why this happened to him... and jokes about the disease prick my heart and make me cringe.

he and his wife lived in a retirement home together for years. his disease then progressively worsened to where they had to have separate rooms so he could have more care. the disease eventually got so severe that he had to be moved to a facility across town with increased care and supervision and be bound to a wheelchair. he lived away from his wife... but she visited him regularly.

there is so much sadness in my heart today... but there is also great, great joy. my uncle bedell is no longer suffering from parkinson's. he passed away in his sleep, and he is in a new body... no pain, no suffering. he can finally have rest and freedom...

and i know i will get to see him again.

he was SUCH a handsome young man.

this was after my senior year of high school. he and aunt iris came over to give me my graduation present. im so glad i was so addicted to taking pictures back then. he looks great here.

this is uncle bedell and aunt iris.

love him.

this is my sister, chrissy, and uncle bedell

this is casey, uncle bedell, and aunt iris

one of my greatest dreams came true this night. uncle bedell got to attend my wedding last december. you can see that im trying to push back tears as my emotions start to get to me.

i was so incredibly thankful for this moment with my sweet uncle. the best gifts are the ones with no price tag... nothing could touch this sweet moment of my life with him.

i miss you so much. ill keep your memory alive, and im thrilled to be able to tell my children about the amazing man you were. im so sorry you had to suffer for so long, but there are no words to describe how thankful i am that you are finally free. in this bittersweet moment for me, i remind myself that your story has the best ending.

Friday, September 9, 2011

back from vacation.

i had been blogging pretty regularly... then vacation happened. what a welcomed and enjoyable time ive had over the past week. my laptop was in the hands of my husband most of the week so he could keep up with his online classes... and the last thing i wanted was to be staring at a screen when he was done with his work. i wanted to enjoy time with him and look at all the beautiful things the west coast had to offer -- it was my first time to travel to that side of the US.

it was really awesome to get to see such awesome places, visit family, and enjoy time with the hubs. a week was a fair amount of time... i was ready to be home at the end of the trip.

bad things about vacation: not sleeping in my bed, airplanes (not particularly my favorite thing in the world), not being in complete control of our schedules, totally BLOWING my diet and gaining back every pound i had lost over the past couple weeks, and being away from home/family.

all that to say... we had a GREAT time. lets have the pictures do the talking.

this is ryan and i on the plane headed to vegas. we were so pumped!

and here's the Grand Canyon! It was my 1st time to see it, and i was in awe. pictures cannot do it any justice at all.

it was so pretty. so glad i picked sunset to go and explore!

the lighting at sunset was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! I was in photography heaven.


one of my favorite pictures ive ever taken.

me and my sweetie at sunset in front of the canyon.

this is us at mather's point with our "Keely's Fund" t-shirts on. I will make a separate post about this organization very soon - it's in memory of my best friend who passed away almost 2 years ago. visit the website!

this is us with ryan's parents. they were so sweet for taking us out there!

me snapping a picture every second we were there... i loved the scenery :)

my hubby in front of the canyon. isn't he adorable? :)
us in front at yavapai point :)

us at sunset.

the next morning we were brave enough to try for a helicopter ride over the grand canyon. the weather was absolutely PERFECT... we were a little nervous but mostly very excited.

us in the chopper!!

the chopper ride allowed me to snag some AMAZING photos like these.

i was so amazed. look what God can do.


we got to spend time with ryan's grandparents as well... we loved getting to see them in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. they were willing to take a crazy picture with us like this :)

this is the London Bridge... in Lake Havasu City, AZ. It used to be in England, but it was bought and moved here because ya know... London Bridge was "falling down." Interesting history.

went back to Vegas the night before we flew back to Arkansas. enjoyed my time on the strip and made a little bit of money!!!

was so glad and excited to be back home and in razorback country :)

glad to be back in the blogging world, too
carrie anne