Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Music cures all

I honestly cannot remember a time in my life that I have not had musical influence. Even as a small child I have memories of dancing and singing around the house. I used to love to put my Whitney Houston cassette in and try to sing every line with her. Of course...she probably was a little more in tune than me, but I held my own. Ha.

My parents were huge advocates for all of my siblings and I to learn to play the piano. We each took lessons for 10 years. At the time I used to hate to practice every day...but I always enjoyed the peace I felt when I touched the keys. Over the years I have not had the opportunity to play as much...but when I do, I usually get lost in the melodies.

I have found that many times in my life I have looked to music to "cure" what ails me at that time. Many songs have spoken to me during bad breakups, deaths, job stresses and just plain old bad mood days. There is something to be said about the power of a song and words that can bring you back from a dark place. Not to mention the good mood the music usually puts you in. Josh always teases me because I am constantly singing. I sing in the kitchen, shower and my best performances are always in the car. I pity the poor soul who pulls up next to me when I am in my car and I am in full throttle belting with Lady Antebellum. What a site to see.

Perhaps when I grow up.... I might give this singing career a shot. In the meantime I will continue to sing to anyone willing to listen (poor Winston....he takes the brunt of my performances) and dream of being the next American Idol.


PS. I have had a lot of stress at work lately and the song that seems to resonate the most with me now is 'Strip Me' by Natasha Bedingfield. Here are the lyrics:

Everyday I fight for All my future somethings A thousand little awards I have to choose between I could spend a lifetime Earning things I don’t need That’s like chasing rainbows And coming home empty And if you strip me, Strip it all away If you strip me, What would you find If you strip me, Strip it all away Ill be alright Take what you want Steal my pride Build me up Or cut me down to size Shut me out But I’ll just scream I'm only one voice in a million But you ain't taking that from me Oh oh no you ain't taking that from me. I don't need a microphone To say what I been thinking My heart is like a loudspeaker That's always on eleven And if you strip me, Strip it all away

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hello Again...its been awhile

"Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat."
- Joanne Woodward

Yep...it has been awhile since we last talked...but I promise it has been for a good reason.....I am now married!

Life has been very good, no wait...GREAT for me since August 28th...I could never have imagined that being married would be so wonderful. I sometimes wonder why the heck it took me so long to come around to the whole marriage idea! I absolutely love waking up every morning next to Josh and the favorite part of my day is coming home after work and spending time with my boys (Winston and Josh of course). Knowing that I have my best friend with me at my side is the most amazing experience. I am truly blessed.

Marriage is a funny thing. I have definitely learned quickly the art of compromise. As a stubborn person this was not the easiest of tasks to learn (or accept), however I am an observer and I noticed quickly that this was essential to the survival of a marriage. Oh don't get me wrong..there have been plenty of times that I want to stomp my feet and scream "I am right...I am right"....but I know that won't win any battles. One of our dear family friends, Suzan Monk gave Josh and I this key piece of advice before we got married: "Being happy is far better than being right". Great advice. Every time I think I want to argue (like how the right way to fold laundry should be or cooking pasta a certain way)..I always go back to that statement. I have a strong suspicion that this mentality will be VERY helpful in the future with kids!

I am excited about the coming year for Josh and I. 2011 will be big for us in many ways. We hope to make decisions on where we both want to be with our jobs...hopefully we will also be in the market for a new home. And who knows what else will be on our agendas (smile). Whatever our futures may hold...I am ready and up for the adventure.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday and I hope that you will be able to share this time with your closest family and friends. I look forward to writing in the new year!

Love always
Jenny (aka: JRH)

Friday, September 17, 2010

...And then she got married...

"Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays."

Henry Youngman

Little did I know that when I started this "Single Southern" blog that I would eventually not be single one day. How time and life flies when you aren't exactly making plans. So on August 28th I officially dropped the Ms. and became a Mrs.....a Mrs. Hammond that is. What an amazing feeling to be married.

Thanks to great family and friends we had the wedding weekend that some only dream about. As everyone told us it would ....the time certainly did fly by. It is hard to think that after 8 months of planning, stressing (at times) and strategies..that it could all be over in less than 48 hours! No kidding...it flew by. In the midst of it all we enjoyed our time catching up with family and friends and celebrating every minute the we could squeeze in. Truly when you stop to think about it...it is one of the few times in your life that you get to have all the people you love surround you with hope and happy wishes. Just amazing. More pictures and comments to follow in a future post.

So now we have been married for three weeks and we are starting to get into the routine of life. After an amazing honeymoon in Punta Cana (with our dear friend Hurricane Earl) we returned to our home in Raleigh to our spoiled son Winston and a stack of dirty laundry. Reality started to set in quickly. I think the first few days we simply tried to recover and bring our heads out of the clouds. We started to unpack, unwrap wedding gifts and try to make sense out of the chaos that was forming in our home. After a few good naps and one crying breakdown (by me of course) we got our act together. We ventured out on our first "joint" shopping trip to Walmart (Josh hates Walmart) and survived the dubious tasks of grocery shopping and cleaning. We got through it....but quickly decided that maybe I should do the shopping and Josh do the cooking! Ha!

It is so funny and amazing to me all in one thought that we are 1.) married and 2.) living in very tight quarters. For the last 7 years Josh and I have lived on our own and basically lived like a bachelor and a bachelorette. So not only are we getting used to being "married" we are just getting used to having a roommate again. I laugh at this because it is the little things that we are finding adjustments to (where to put the groceries, how one might do their laundry and why we both need more sleeping space). We have already concluded that we will have to purchase a king size bed for the new house that we intend to buy. We are just two very independent sleepers and neither one of us wants to give an inch in that bed! To be continued....

So other than adjusting to a 1-hour commute (each way) to work every day.....the new Hammonds are making it. We are learning the very fine art of compromise and the importance of taking time for ourselves. Now don't get me wrong...we are only three weeks into this marriage thing and we still have plenty to learn. But I think so far....we are doing a spectacular job. I look forward to the coming months as we adjust to one another and to joyful art of marriage.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One Month

"A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendships, all the enjoyment of sense and reason - and indeed all the sweets of life." - Joseph Addison

How in the world have 7 months flown by since Josh got down on one knee and proposed to me? I truly believe that time does fly....and fast. I have really not been nervous or anxious about the upcoming nuptials....but as I woke this morning and realized that in one month I will no longer be a Ms. but a Mrs.....I started to ponder. I pondered how after 33 years did I really go without being with this wonderful man? It is so true that when you know "you know". As I drove into work this morning I kept thinking of all of the wonderful events in my life and how blessed I have been. I also thought how lucky that I am to be in this moment now. I joke around a lot with people about this next statement, but I "truly was and will not be ready to marry until August 28th". I think God has just an amazing way of planning our lives. The song lyric that says "if you want to make God laugh..tell him your plans". So true. I think back to all of the years that I wondered if I would ever get married or would I be right to be married to someone....but all along he knew. God was molding me, allowing me to have experiences and embrace challenges that would only make me a better wife and hopefully someday mother. I am a religious person...but you don't even have to be religious to "get that". There is a power out there that is much stronger than us that guides us...

So one month to go. Yes....all of the little details (wedding programs, seating charts, flowers, honeymoon plans) they all start to come into full circle. However I keep reminding myself that although all of that is wonderful....at the end of the day, I just want to be married to Josh. I am looking forward to being a "Not so Single Southern" and embracing this marriage thing that everyone has been ranting and raving about all of these years! I look forward to being the next generation of Mrs. Hammond and I can't wait to be a family (with Winston of course!).

So I suppose the moral of my story is from a little country tune by Garth Brooks....

"Some of God's greatest gifts are all too often unanswered"
"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers"

However the greatest prayer that he did answer was that of happiness. I know life is not easy and I am sure Josh and I will have our bumps along the road like everyone else. But in the end.....I love him and he brings me the most happiness.

One month.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

God Bless the USA

"There are those, I know, who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American dream." ~Archibald MacLeish

As we approach this Fourth of July weekend, I could not help but think about all of the things that I am most thankful for. Being an American is truly a privilege and often times it takes a trip to another part of the world to appreciate it. Fortunately I have had the chance to go abroad a couple of times....and there is no feeling like the feeling you get when the wheels of the airplane touch the sweet American soil. With all of the events in the world currently, I think living in the ole' US of A is still a pretty lucrative deal.

While I was watching the news the other night, I started to think about all of the things I love and appreciate most about being an American and living in the land of the free. Here are a few that came to mind:

  • Freedom of Speech
  • Right to practice my choice of faith
  • the ability to obtain an education.....at all levels
  • the right to vote
  • having laws that protect our animals, homes, choice of sexual orientation, faith and ways of life
  • being a woman and being allowed to do anything that a man can do
  • choosing my own health care (not for long)
  • having as many children as I wish
  • living in a safe and clean environment (fresh water, trash-free streets, rules and regulations on food, war zone free)
Of course there many, many more that each day I think about...and I am grateful for. I know that for each of these freedoms that I have, I have the men and women who served this great nation to thank. We are a great land with great opportunity and I never take that for granted.

On a final note, this month (July 14th) will serve as the 6th anniversary of my Nanny Kirk's passing. I think that it was fitting that she left us during our most patriotic month of the year. She herself was the most patriotic person I've ever known. She would go all out with decorations for the fourth and she loved to sing God Bless America by Lee Greenwood (she played it over and over on her little tape player). She supported our troops and loved being an American. So every time I see a little flag or anything that is adorned with the stars and stripes I smile and think of her.

So on this fourth of July, I will pause in remembrance of those who have protected this great nation and pray in thanksgiving for the freedoms I am granted everyday as an American.

God Bless the USA!


p.s. If you have never seen the original "God Bless the USA" video....here you go!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Race.....

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Tomorrow I will be running in my eighth Susan G. Komen Race in Raleigh, NC. Last year I brought Josh along for the race and he nearly killed me when it was all said and done. However this year, he has been training with a running club twice a week....so he is ready to race tomorrow. Not real thrilled about the humidity and heat we may face, but I figured that pales in comparison to what cancer patients fight daily, for whom we are racing for.

If you have never had the opportunity to participate in such an event...I encourage you to do so. Not only is the experience a physical challenge....but it is an emotional circus! You see survivors, patients, friends and families of patients and survivors and neighbors lined along the streets cheering you on. It is really an amazing feeling to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself.

When you stop and look around, it dawns on you that this idea (pink ribbons, breast cancer awareness, races, fundraising) started with a promise between two sisters over 31 years ago. Nancy Brinker assured her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would find a cure. She would not allow other women young (Susan was 36 when she died) and old to suffer as she did. And so became the Susan G. Komen Foundation. If you would like to learn more about this story, check out the book written by Nancy Brinker about the organization and her special relationship with her sister, that will debut in September.

I look forward to the day that there is a cure for breast cancer and cancer as a whole. I am confident it will happen in my lifetime. Until then...we must continue to fight one day at a time. So the next time you see a product with the Susan G. Komen logo on it or you have someone who wishes to be sponsored...but it and give them anything you can. In the end....every single penny makes a difference.


Love to all my friends and family who have succumbed to cancer, to those who are fighting and those yet to fight! I am so proud of each of you and rest assure....I will keep walking and spreading the word for a cure!

In memory of:

Josephine Ruggieri
Dorothy Kirk
Jerry Sides
Mary Llloyd Kirk

In honor of:

Linnea Weddington
Mrs. Trexler
Matthew Ruggieri
Larry Gildea
Jeffrey Weddington

Monday, May 17, 2010

What is Interactive Media?

Many of you have asked exactly what is Interactive Media? Well...here is a quick overview of what my first class of Master's Students in the IM program are all about. This is a promo video for their upcoming portfolio showcase this week. I guess you can say I am a proud mama! Way to go grads!