March 14, 2018

Missing Moments?

Have you ever had something to say but didn’t say it? I am not talking about those major things in life. I’m not referring to controversial confrontations; the childhood issues many of us to seek counseling for. I mean the small stuff

There is a woman who works in your office who is answering the telephones all day, has it ever crossed your mind that she has a big job and is vital to your success?

Your officemate always remembers that you take two creams and no sugar in your coffee?

Your spouse remembers to fill your gas tank each week or take the trash to the curb every Wednesday night?

Your child who remembers to text you to brighten your day once in a while?

If you know me - in person or through my writing - you likely know I think a lot. You may also remember that when I am doing chores is one of my “prime thinking” time. I am often thinking of others in my life each day.

It is the small things that I think of. The small things, that when added up, are a huge part of the goodness in my life.

I’ve made a conscious effort recently to tell people when they are on my heart are in my mind. I cannot tell you if that action has made much of a difference to them, but it has made a difference to me.

Perhaps, it is in the aging process, but I know for me the thought of how much life I have left has been much more pronounced for me in the last few years.

Our time on earth will be through who will not be aware that I appreciated them? Who will not know that we noticed?


I notice.

February 14, 2018

ID TV

After watching ID TV for months on end I’ve realized something. I need to get out more! Being home watching television is never a good alibi.

Humor intended!

May 21, 2017

History belonging to a stranger....

We just purchased a home built in the 70s. It was left as part of an inheritance to a person who lives out of state. From the moment I walked into that home, it felt perfect for my family. Sadly, belongings of the previous owner were left behind. Today, in a vintage trunk, left in a weathered storage shed, I found baby booties, letters and cards from as far back as 1947, and many other memories families often cherish. I'd like ideas for displaying (and honoring) a collection of these.



I found 8 and 10 ¢ stamps on many letters. 



Does anyone know how to find the family of people who may have already passed? I've been going through the belongings left in this home we purchased and there are so many sentimental memories left behind. It breaks my heart to know there may be a child or grandchild without them. Any ideas are welcome!


Someone else's history. 

 #FirstHomeReno  #FrenchCountryFuture #UncoveringSouthRidge

March 19, 2017

Snow and family


Spring break in one digit temperatures and continuous snowfall may not sound exactly like the springtime thing to do, but my family has never been traditional. We love what we love and we enjoy traveling, even when it isn't typical. Actually, we may like that part even more. 

We enjoyed every bit of the freezing snowball fights, layered clothing, wearing parkas while friends were dawning swimwear across the country, and even tromping the lonely island of Mackinac because most people schedule their visits after May. 

The final night, as we all snuggled up, as comfortable as possible and recounted our eight day journey, my heart felt full. 

We were warm.


January 30, 2017

Driving

My mom's car accident is not my son's burden, yet I cannot breathe
Sitting in the backseat, pushing down the tears and I cannot catch my breath

My anxiety rises and I have no desire to allow myself to be overtaken
This cannot consume me
Yet, here I am struggling for a breath

one....two....three....breathe....

The burden of my anxiety is not my child's
My mother's accident is my history, not his


November 30, 2016

Hall of Fame Award


(Written in August 2016 but unpublished)

Growing up I was taught not to brag and always be humble. Receiving this honor last Friday was overwhelming on many levels. Had I been able to get words organized and out of my mouth, I might have said things more eloquent.
I was so moved being invited into such a prestigious circle of individuals I look up to, admire, and aspire to be more like. 
I've felt called to be in the helping profession all of my life and spent the last 23 years doing what I love. The clients I've seen, the colleagues I've had, and the places I've worked - positive and negative - helped me grow more passionate about the profession. 
Spending the last 5 years at UNT, sharing my experiences with future counselors, has been such a rewarding result of my life's work. Investing in the future of our profession is a payoff that's hard to top.
TAAP is the vessel that guided me to expand my network and group of support. This profession is unique and I value people who "get me". I have met some of my dearest friends and most brilliant colleagues through the association. 
My mom was the first person to introduce me to the concept of counseling. When I was 15 she took me to counseling the first time. She was a saint to have the heart to love me through my turbulent adolescence. She bought me the first self-improvement books I ever read. Her heart and unrelenting belief in me molded my understanding of support. I know she is in my heart everyday but I dearly wish she could have been with me in human form on Friday. 
I am away from home for hours and days for work, conferences, advocacy events, and rallies. My family - even when they don't understand the reason I keep going when I'm exhausted - understand my desire and support me. Having them with me at the banquet was such an honor. I am so grateful for my brother and sister for taking time from their lives to be there. I am grateful they love and support me and my purpose. I was so blessed to also have Caleb's dad with me. He has been one of my most loyal allies for close to 20 years. 
Apart from being made for the helping profession, the only other purpose in my life of which I'm 100% clear is being a mother to my son. I was thrilled he was by my side and that I have made him proud.

May 06, 2016

A Little Morning Glory


Morning Glory Sprouting out of ground

It has been a long and valuable week. I have been evaluating my life a lot lately. I swear, I have been in a midlife crisis for ten years. I suspect is it less of a crisis than a transition. I realize what is most important in life. That little Morning Glory sprout tells my story.

I spent a lot of time in life seeking happiness. I sacrificed a social life in my twenties to climb the career ladder. I certainly don't regret it, nor was it without satisfaction, but I do realize that happiness was fleeting and required me to constantly seek more. 

Today I drove my sonshine to school. The drive takes nearly and hour so we had a great conversation. I returned home. Later this morning I was excited as Max ran behind me when I went into the backyard to see how the cilantro I planted last week was doing. I was ecstatic to see a tiny little sprout coming through the soil. So excited that I came back in the house to retrieve his leash so we could go to the mailbox to look for the results of the Morning Glory I also planted last week. When I saw the sprouts standing proudly I immediately watered them and captured a few photos. 

Morning Glory sprouts


Walking back into the house it occurred to me how much my life has changed and how satisfied I am with my life. The simple things. I don't travel as much as I used to. I don't go out much. I often opt to stay in and watch a movie or do a little yard work instead of going out. Boring? Not at all. I am satisfied. Remarkably satisfied. Lo, do I only wish I had known what real satisfaction could be twenty years ago. 

Live and learn, no doubt. 
#100happy #happy100ntx #happy100forthesecondtimetodayactually 

April 22, 2016

Dearly Beloved



I get it. I didn't personally know him. But I cried this morning listening to a radio tribute to Prince. Why? His music is woven through the fabric of my adolescence. Many of his songs are on the soundtrack of my life. I did not know him personally but I began to know myself while listening to much of his music. 

His age. In the grand scheme of things I am not much younger. Time is fleeting. 

Rumors. I do not know what caused his death but the rumors are enough to cause me contemplation. If it was the flu? Unfair. If it was opiates? I am ready to advocate.  Either way, he is definitely a music icon. 

I measure ICON status by this litmus test....my son knows his music, too. 


In the immortal words of Prince:


...Electric word life, it means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you, there's something else
The afterworld
A world of never ending happiness, you can always see the sun, 
Day or night...



RIP Purple One 

April 18, 2016

#happy100

Day 12 of my 100 Happy Days is my love of baskets. Really. Baskets. I have more surrounding me than I care to count. I love them. Small, large, round, square, painted, natural. More than I love the basket I love to fill them with things. Anything. I use baskets to give gifts. I use baskets for utility. I use baskets for beauty. I even have some that just sit longingly to be filled.




Because this challenge asks for photos of the things that bring happiness I walked around my home this morning and snapped a few. So pictured here (and there are more, I promise) I have: a basket filled with items I use daily that sits atop my bathroom vanity. Next is the three tier basket contraption holding dishcloths, dish towels, and pot holders that stands in my kitchen. I have one tucked up into the cabinet in the laundry room that contains cleaning rags. Yes, it is behind closed doors, but organization and beauty isn't just for guests. I like the way it looks, too. I have a picnic basket draped in grapevine as decor in my dining area. I bought that in Germany and it makes me smile. I have several filled to their tops with "stuff" that stays in my linen closet. There are more under the sink but I didn't snap any shots. I even have a few in the garage that contain stuff. You know, "stuff". We all have garage "stuff". 

(Honestly, I had to develop a new paragraph simply because to the length, even though this is still the same subject) I love the baskets I use to store hats and gloves. I also love hats and gloves, but this happy day is about baskets. There is that sometimes empty basket sitting upon my jewelry box. I use it for sorting. During the week I am often in a hurry so I throw items there to sort back to their spots when I have time. I have an empty one on top of a cabinet in the laundry room...because...you never know.

The trifecta of basket love sits on my dryer. There I have a huge square basket. Guess what is inside? Three more baskets. One contains my shopping bags. Another contains random items - again a sorting thing for days I have more time. I guess the third is a bit like a sorting area. That is where mateless socks are held until they meet up with their partners again. Some stay there a very long time. 


#Nothingbutbasketlove #happy100 #happy100ntx 

Stay happy. Stay organized. 

March 20, 2016

Leadership

This is a great article on the characteristics of good leadership. Far too many people with one or two of these traits can cause damage and destruction in organizations and communities.

The best leaders I know can lead and follow. Most importantly they know when to transition between the two. Otherwise it becomes about control and selfishness. 


Cleaning up after a self-centered leader comes through a program is heart wrenching. As they move on with their drive to conquer the world, the damaged lives are left questioning the goal of an entire program or community. 





I picked this image intentionally. I see a leader moving in the same direction of those they serve not in battle against. 

What do you think?

February 09, 2016

(Great!) Questions asked by students studying to become helping professionals



What do you do when you don’t know how to answer things?

  •      Don’t answer. I believe it might be much more easy than we think. First, just because you are a counselor doesn’t mean you do have all the answers. Also, it doesn’t mean you should have all the answers. No one has all of the answers. Second, it is a myth (propagated by someplace) that counselors are supposed to be fixing a person’s problems. We aren’t advice or answer givers. We aren’t. We are counselors. We direct, guide, reflect, ask great questions, probe some, and engage our client’s into their own insights, discoveries, plans and direction. We aren’t akin to the local information counter in the shopping mall.  
  • Also, we need strong supervisors, peers and mentors around us. We need others to help us weave through areas we have yet to travel. If I don’t know what to do or if I can’t answer a fact-based question, it is important that I ask someone who might. This better equips me for the next time someone asks me that question. The first time a client asked me what a barbiturate was I panicked. Surely I learned that in school. I knew. I know I knew. But I couldn’t remember for the life of me. I was scared. I had fifty other client’s staring at me waiting for me to give the right answer. Any answer. – I could be exaggerating that part – but I couldn’t remember. So I said that. Whew. No one died. I asked another counselor who had more experience. She gave me a great resource by pointing me in the direction of a list of all substances that even included street names for substances. Next time I knew the answer. To this day I can rattle off every medication on the barbiturate list. Wanna hear me do it?
  • Here is a third little trick. Repeat after me, “I actually don’t know an answer to that. Let me ask someone and get back to you.” Again, it is okay to let your human out once in a while. Who would want a “know it all” as a counselor, anyway?
  • Finally, use those counseling skills you paid all that money to learn. I will refresh your memory…do you recall what Socratic or maieutic mean? The more education we receive the bigger the words we can use. That simply means answering a question with a question. It is therapeutic. When someone pleads, “What am I supposed to doooooooooooo?” Instead of launching into quick fixes for them it might be much more simple - and useful to them if I respond, “What are you going to do?”




Questions about becoming a helping professional? Ask. I may not know the answer but I will do my best to find some that might be useful. 


February 06, 2016

For the love of dog...



I want to be more like my dog. Loving unconditionally, warm, and when he wants to love or give love he simply does. #maxlamore

November 12, 2015

Writing




I want to begin writing again. I haven't written in far too long. I am stuck and not sure how to begin again. Suggestions?

Unstick me.

October 22, 2015

6 years

Six years ago I left Holland after visiting my mom. We spent a great two days together and planned our next visit. Two days after I left she had the car accident that took her life. When I reflect on her passing and our relationship I no longer become overwhelmed with sadness. I now reflect with gratitude for the wonderful closeness we shared and the things she passed down to me.

Because of my mom:

I am giving
I am faithful
I love music
I love to clean
I love gardening
I know how to sacrifice
I have a positive work ethic
I am an enthusiastic traveler
I have a thirst for knowledge
I have a lifetime of memories
I know how to do the chicken dance
I have traditions to carry on with my son

The loss of my mom was the biggest and most difficult struggle I have experienced to this point in my life. There were dark days I was not sure I would get through. But I did. I miss her every single day.

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
~ Abraham Lincoln 

October 19, 2015

A few good articles about communication and counseling


By asking better questions, you will get better answers. The following articles can help you ask better questions:

Because sometimes you might be unsure what to ask when you are first meeting with a client, this article discusses "10 Introductory Questions Therapist Commonly Ask"

This article focuses on asking open versus closed questions. "Asking Questions"

Even "Life Hacks" are good resources once in a while. This one addresses how to ask good questions.

Wrong versus right ways to ask questions in this article about asking the "Perfect" questions.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.     
`Voltaire