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(Written in August 2016 but unpublished)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 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


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 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


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