4:30 a.m. Wake Up Calls and Who You Represent


My alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. this morning. We had to report to the hospital by 5:15 a.m. for my port surgery at 7.

Since I couldn't eat or drink anything I gave myself just enough time to get up, take a shower, and get out the door.

A little about me and mornings that you should know – I'm a morning person. Like eat, read, work, exercise, take the 6:00 a.m. flight out of RDU kind of morning person. Ok, I don't actually do all of those things every morning, but I try to wake up by 5:30 a.m., and I eat within the first 30 minutes.

It's a must.

Otherwise, I get hangry. And feel off.

Today, I felt off.

Carl's Yeti full of The Andes gave off the most delightful fresh-roasted fragrance. It also instilled a jealous rage that I quietly held inside. 



When we got to Rex, I checked into the front desk, and five or so minutes later a woman named Vina called my name to join her at her desk.

I'm pretty well-aware of when I'm not "typical Jen." And I knew I wasn't this morning, but I continued to hide the hangry and tried to be conversational.

When I handed over my insurance card, Vina asked "Where do you work?"

"I work for a coffee company in Durham – Counter Culture Coffee," I calmly replied. I never know who has heard of us and who hasn't.

"OH I LOVE COUNTER CULTURE COFFEE! We used to sell them at the bakery our family owned." 

We spent the rest of the check-in process talking about her favorite coffees (Big Trouble and Haru), the pastries she makes to go with coffee, and her two daughters. 

When she showed us to the patient waiting area, she encouraged me with a verbal "Girl power!" and showed us where the nurse would meet us to go back for prep.


Me and a colleague, Scott, visiting partners at Benny's Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC earlier this year.

Me and a colleague, Scott, visiting partners at Benny's Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC earlier this year.


Here's what we all so frequently forget – the things that we say and the way we treat people are reflections of not only us, but also the things, people, and places we associate with. 

I am associated with where I work. I'm really proud of where I work and the product/services we provide.

What would this woman have thought if my early morning hangry showed on the outside and THEN she found out I worked at her beloved coffee company? Whether I want to or not, at any given point in a day, I am a reflection of Counter Culture Coffee.

I'm also a reflection of my...

  • Words on social media
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Volunteer organizations
  • Memberships and where I choose to spend my money
  • Church
  • ...you get the picture. 

Fair or not, people will make decisions and assumptions about the things you're associated with based on their interactions with you. Small, single interactions.

No pressure.

And there are some interactions with people where you won't make a mutual connection, but you always have the opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

Simple things like "thank you" and a smile go a long way.

It's simple. We just have to be intentional.




The port insertion surgery went well and without any issues.

I did finally get something to eat around 10 a.m. :)

With the port in and my blood work cleared, chemo can start as planned on Thursday!

Your emails and social media messages have meant the world. I am honored to have an amazing team of friends near and far supporting me on this journey.

Thank you!