Getting Personal #79: Reflections, On My Birthday

Birthday Quote 2017

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

I wrote a Getting Personal post on my birthday last year, and I received a lot of positive feedback. I thought I would continue this tradition every year. For me, it brings the past year into focus, and it makes me feel good.


Since this time last year, I’ve lived in my own house with Al for over a year. I’m so happy that we’ve reached this point. We have independence. We’re navigating our way through “adulting” the best that we can. I’m happy that we both have stable jobs that give us good benefits, as well as modest incomes. We’re paying our bills and saving money, but we’re also able to have a little bit of spending money, too. Our house is certainly big enough for the two of us, but we also have room to entertain and (eventually) grow our family. We’ve already had adventures in dog-sitting, and we’re thinking about getting a cat, or two.

It’s amazing to look around, in almost any room, and realize that it looked completely different when we bought the house. We still have several projects on our list – Matching blinds for the rest of the windows, finishing renovating two dressers for two bedrooms, blackout curtains for our bedroom, painting an accent wall in the living room, and finishing my office – but we’re enjoying working on them together. And that’s the whole point, right?

It’s also hard to believe that I will likely, finally, earn my Associates of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies as 2017 comes to a close. Wow. It’s been a long five years, with a few semester breaks here and there – Like not taking any classes for the two semesters before my wedding, for instance. (Best. Decision. Ever.)

I’m officially registered for Legal Writing this fall. I’m headed to campus again on Thursday nights from late August through mid-December. I’m excited to take this class – This is one of the main classes that I have looked forward to since starting the program. Better late than never, but here we are. Keep your fingers crossed that this is truly my last class before graduation!

I’m also glad that I had the opportunity this spring to prepare for the boards (exam) to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC). Many thanks to Shana for keeping me in the loop. It’s funny how things work out – I was hoping to take Legal Writing in the spring, but an English prerequisite was in my way, and I couldn’t register. During the Super Bowl in February, Shana told me TCC Workforce Solutions was offering the CPC exam prep class again (She took it in the fall of 2016). I was able to sign up in the nick of time, with the class starting two weeks after she told me.

I was incredibly nervous, but also excited. This was new territory for me. I’d had some exposure to ICD-10, CPT codes, and HCPCS codes through the nature of my job and my work, but not a lot. Casey, my former manager, encouraged me for years to get certified, and I finally took the plunge.

Medical coding is HARD. There’s three different sets of codes, and each code is for something different. It also depends on your interpretation of the doctor’s notes, which isn’t always easy.

Test day was Saturday, April 8th. It was almost six hours long! Luckily, I was able to answer all 150 questions before time expired, plus check my answers. I didn’t feel like I completely failed, but I wasn’t super confident that I passed.

About a week later, I discovered that I had passed the exam by accident. AAPC sends emails about meetings, and one of those emails started with, “Dear Laura Beth, CPC-A.” I almost fell out of my chair at work. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, so I logged on to AAPC to see my score. I ended up passing with a 76 percent score (I needed at least a 70). I tore out of my cube and ran down the hall to tell Casey. I was jumping up and down!

I found out later that I was the ONLY ONE in my class to pass the boards. I was floored. There were 15 people in my class. It was amazing!

So, now I’m certified. I have to earn a set number of continuing education units (CEUs) by a certain time next year, but going to AAPC chapter meetings every month, plus doing webinars, add up. I was pinned by the Peninsula Professional Coders last month during a special ceremony, and there were several others who are newly certified. It feels nice to have such a supportive community. Being certified also opens the door to new job opportunities. I’m very happy at Riverside, but it’s nice to have different options when thinking about the future.

There have been some challenges this year, but nothing insurmountable. Casey left Riverside for another opportunity in mid-April, which was devastating to me.

We suffered with a broken AC unit at our house for about two weeks, at the peak of the hot weather. We know now that we need to replace our HVAC before next summer. We decided to forgo a wedding anniversary vacation this fall, but we’re planning to go to New York City in the summer of 2018!

I have a lot to look forward to as I start the last year of my 20s:

  • Former work colleagues becoming true friends.
  • Enjoying my slight obsession with LuLaRoe.
  • Being part of the Pray for Me Campaign at New Creation UMC.
  • Celebrating seven years together with Al on September 4th.
  • Heading to the mountains for a weekend in early September, celebrating Savy’s bachelorette and making new friends.
  • Helping Nick and Savy celebrate their kick-ass wedding at the Vardaro Farm in October!
  • Celebrating two years of marriage with Al on November 14th!
  • Being with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Helping Tony and Rachael celebrate their wedding in December.
  • Finishing my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt by reaching at least 50,000 words, and then editing begins!
  • Reading many more books.
  • Continuing blogging, and meeting many more amazing bloggers!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #27: Reflections, On My Birthday

Birthday - quotesgram

Image Credit: quotesgram.com

There’s no significant holiday in August, so my birthday has always felt like one.

My parents have a beautiful frame that holds two of my footprints and my birth announcement. Around the age of 10, I remember reading it, trying to understand it, and then carefully taking the frame it to my mom, asking her what it meant.


There’s a reason why there are two footprints in that frame.

The first one, very tiny, has the following caption:

  • 1 lb., 15 oz.

The second one, a little bigger, has the following caption:

  • 5 lbs., 10 oz.

I came into this world 15 weeks too soon.

I was given a 50/50 chance of survival.

I am a survivor.

My birth announcement indicates that I came home from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City on my actual due date – November 18th.

Through pictures and stories, I learned I was on oxygen for the first full year of my life. I was hospitalized twice within that first year for the common cold.

My favorite baby picture is the one where my dad’s wedding ring fit through my whole hand, hanging off my tiny wrist like a bracelet.

I first flew on an airplane when I was six months old, oxygen and all.

My parents put me in every kind of therapy program imaginable – Speech, occupational, physical. You name it, I was probably in it.


As I grew older, I simply marveled at, and was humbled by, my beginnings.

I was placed in a class called “Developmental First” at my elementary school, in between kindergarten and first grade. It technically held me back for a year, but it was a wonderful class that helped me immensely. There were about 10 other kids in the class with me, who all needed an extra boost, so to speak. My mom and my teacher, Mrs. Mansell, are still close friends to this day.

I was in occupational therapy until third grade, working on my motor skills.

I was in speech therapy until fourth grade. I still remember the day that I was pulled out of Mrs. Hartis’s class and told that I had “graduated” from speech.

Towards the end of elementary school, I discovered my passion for writing. The “Young Authors” program / contest was held every year, and each student created their own story, writing and illustrating it. Once finished, it was bound with spiral-looking plastic and sent off to be reviewed. My little book, titled “Electro Girl,” was chosen for recognition, and my parents and I were invited to an awards ceremony. That ceremony is also where I also met my best friend, Melissa.

Since then, I haven’t been illustrating any more books, but I’ve been trying to write them. I’ve kept a blue binder, covered in stickers, that’s full of stories that I wrote from age 10, all the way through the end of high school. I want to dig it out at some point and look through it again.


Reflecting on my time so far on this Earth, I feel immensely humbled and blessed. There were so many people who bent over backwards for me – My parents, my family, our friends, the doctors and nurses, teachers, and so many others. There were thousands of prayers, kind words, and constant encouragement – Then, and now.

Before I leave you on this gorgeous Sunday morning, I want to share my favorite Bible verse with you.

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29-11 - lilyandval

Image Credit: lilyandval.com

Jeremiah 29-11 - embeddedfaith

Image Credit: embeddedfaith.org

I think I was in sixth grade when I was first introduced to this passage. I clearly remember the first time I read this passage in my own Bible – I immediately grabbed a pen and underlined it.

For those who know me, I almost NEVER make marks / highlights / notes in any books, at all, unless it’s super important or significant.

It’s stuck with me ever since.

On tough days, I know that I can look at this verse, and I feel peace.

God has a plan.

He always does.

Thanks for reading.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂