A new year can be a great way to reflect and refresh. I stopped making resolutions about two years ago. It was a rough year and a 'resolution' wasn't going to get me through what I had to face. A friend told me I need to find a 'word of the year.' After much soul searching I found my word, Strong! The next year I took it a step further and infused my year with courage. I was starting my new business and needed a lot of internal chanting to get me through marketing and networking. So much so, toward the end of the year I changed it to fierce! This year I took a bit longer to find my word, but when I saw it on my verse of the day it was like a breath of fresh air. Ask. It fits so well into every aspect of my life. I really want to stop and engage more with others. What better way to do that then to ask questions! To truly get to know someone they must also know you. So I am going to share with you 10 things that you may not know about me.
1. I was born and raised in New Orleans. My grandparents had a small house on Robert E Lee and Elysian Fields, an upstairs/downstairs duplex. My mother was a teenager at that house and would eventually move her family into the top duplex. There I spent my childhood. I rode the public bus home from school starting in 6th grade. I am a city girl! My aunt and uncle, and all of my cousins still live there. My brother and his family, and my mother live just outside the city. Yes, I am the only one that has not moved back. Geaux Saints!
2. I went to high school at a boarding academy. Not because I was bad, and definitely not rich! There was a lack of good christian schools in New Orleans that were not catholic. The public school system was not a good option at the time either. My cousins went to the same school when they were in high school, so it was the best option. It was an hour away in Mississippi. In a little town with a campus full of pecan trees, I spent 3 years living the dorm life. Luckily, I learned to love it and have best friends to this day that I found there.
3. I worked in the Boy's Dorm in College. There was a lack of good front desk attendants in the dorm, so they opened the position to females. It was a coveted position and it was who you knew that got you there. My cousin made the call for me, she had the job a few years earlier. It was a pretty good gig. And of course, that's how I met my husband! ;)
4. I love football. Not just to watch it, but to play it! In elementary school, I always had to talk the boys into letting me play with them at recess. I always made sure I wore shorts under my uniform skirt so the teacher would let me play. (wow, am I aging myself!) As long as I could find another girl to be on the opposite team I was in. I made a few good catches, and a few touchdowns. I even played flag-football in high school, luckily we had a few good ladies to have a full intramural sport. I also get really excited when my Saints play, my kids laugh at me.
5. I taught high school for 2 years. It was actually 7th grade - 12th grade, PE and Health. My degree is in athletic training/sports medicine. It is similar to Physical Therapy but better (my opinion). An athletic trainer treats athletes of any age in any setting, from emergency care to rehabilitation. For 10 years I practiced as an athletic trainer for a local Jr/High school. Two of those years I spent time teaching in the classroom. It was a great experience, and I still keep in touch with some of my students. It takes a special person to teach that age group on a daily basis, that's not me.
6. I participated and finished 2 Sprint Triathlons. Swim. Bike. Run. The training was harder then the actually race. I enjoyed swimming and biking, just not running as much. The swim was usually in a murky lake, not a pool, with a lot of other people swimming next to you. An extra special challenge for a shy girl! Sometimes I can't believe I actually did a triathlon, other times I really want to do another one. Crossing the finish line is a great feeling.
7. My first pet is the one I have now. Yep, my first pet is the puppy we got a year ago. McEnroe (Mac) is a black and white Shih tzu, we got in March of last year. He just had his first birthday, and is still eating all our shoes! I've never even had a gold fish growing up. We were rarely home when I was a kid.
8. I was raised by a single-mother. Its a great club to be a part of, mother's that are both parents on a daily basis, are strong and courageous. My father and mother divorced when I was 3 years old. He moved to another state and we saw each other about 3 times a year. My mother worked 8-5 everyday and we all helped cook dinner at night. My grandparents lived close by, so we were always surrounded by love.
9. I have never been out of the country. I traveled to Hawaii for work as an athletic trainer in my twenties. That is still apart of USA so-- no, never got a passport or a stamp obviously. We are going on a cruise to the Caribbean in March, we will get a passport but I will have to wait for a stamp. One day.
10. I am the Children's and Youth Ministry Coordinator at my church. I started teaching in the toddler class before my kids were born. Over 15 years later I am still teaching at the same church. Actually, teaching the toddler division is where my love for decorating started. Every quarter we would change the theme of the room, and we would 'over-the-top decorate' the room. I actually had my first redesign job in the church nursery. The room was living in the 70's! I presented a budget and a design plan to the board for a remodel. For $1000, I completely transformed the nursery. I may have to find the before and after pictures. I forgot all about that project until now. Eight years later I have my own design business.
I hope you were able to get to know me a little more in this post. Now to ask you. What is one thing you want me to know about you?
gina t graham
Home Staging and Redesign for Jacksonville, FL.
"Sometimes excellent is not a good enough word. I recommend Gina to everyone who is selling their home and for setting up the next home they buy." -Kit, staging client.