Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Perfect Protest

I'm part of a Perfect Protest this week.  (I'm so looking forward to my copy of Brene Brown's latest book arriving in the mail.)

One of the reasons why I am so attracted to young children is that they play so freely; they are so truly themselves.  Being perfect isn't part of their consciousness...yet.  Unfortunately, they soon learn that the way to measure up, to get the reward, to deserve the praise is to do it right.  To be perfect.  And in the process they lose part of themselves.  If we love them unconditionally, if we encourage their efforts, rather than focus on praising their products, they will learn they don't have to be perfect.  They will learn to love their imperfect selves.

By the way, when I googled the words: quote, play and perfect, all I seemed to get were quotes about sports. But then I found this:

"I admit it's tempting to wish for the perfect boss, the perfect parent, or the perfect outfit.  But maybe the best any of us can do is not quit, play the hand we've been dealt, and accessorize what we've got."  --Carrie in Sex and the City

Reminds me a little of Olivia.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Olivia, My Hero

At 40 years old, I am such a kid.  On Saturday we went and bought a new car.  While my husband was doing all the paperwork, M & M (our kids) and I went to the bookstore (our second home) to browse.  I'm more excited about the following item I found there than the new car.

Olivia is my hero.  I have loved her ever since 2000 when her creator, Ian Falconer, introduced her to the world in the book by the same name.  Olivia is precocious, funny, feisty, playful piglet and a lover of art.  And I am peeing in my pants thrilled that Olivia/Ian have a new book coming out this week: Olivia Goes to Venice.  Back to the bookstore for me.
by Ian Falconer Olivia       Olivia Goes to Venice

One of the neatest things about the Olivia books is that the author incorporates pictures of famous and not so famous pieces of art.  The original book included part of Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm #30.  Like Olivia does in the book, my daughter attempted to make such abstract expressionist art when she was about 6 and taking art lessons at home.  Here is her work.

I think the best thing about Olivia is that she is never afraid to be herself.  So if you were to say, "Jodi, you're just a big kid," I'd take it as a compliment.  This Olivia figurine will proudly sit on my desk at work as a reminder--it is more than okay to be creative and express other words, BE YOURSELF.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Puzzle

I spent 3 days this week in beautiful Lake Cumberland State Park with my colleagues at a work retreat.  This was definitely the best retreat we've had in the almost 11 years that I have worked there.  One of the activities was for each person to decorate a puzzle piece to reflect his or her uniqueness as part of the School of Professional Counseling.  I then put the pieces together to make the puzzle you see above.  Can I just say how much I love this?  I love, love, love it.

I learned of this activity at an Association for Play Therapy conference workshop a few years ago with Dr. Joyce Mills.  The puzzle pieces we used were much smaller and the attendees got so into it that their pieces were so covered, covered, covered with collage materials that they couldn't be connected.  Instead Joyce arranged them in a heart.

Both puzzles could be metaphors for one's relationships with colleagues or others in one's life.  Stay within your boundaries and roles.  Don't monopolize or take over.  No one is better than another.  Everyone has something to contribute.  All the pieces are necessary and must work together to create a beautiful tapestry.  And it helps to have someone (such as this guy) to put the pieces together.

I also notice how very different each and every piece is. 
We're not perfect, but therein lies the beauty.

And, in case you were wondering, here is my puzzle piece.  It is so very ME.  That little thing at the top is suppposed to be an origami crane, by the way.

Here's hoping you're part of something beautiful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How big can a little girl dream?

I absolutely love children's picture books.  I'll probably still buy them even after my youngest has passed the age of reading them. 

My latest acquisition is My Name is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream by Jennifer Fosberry and illustrated by Mike Litwin.  This book makes me smile.

My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?

This is a story of a little girl who dreams of becoming various famous women throughout history such as Sally Ride, Rosa Parks, and Marie Curie. The final pages include biographical information about the women described in the book. 

This book reminds me of my fellow Mondo Beyondoers. Mondo Beyondo is an on-line class about dreaming BIG. This class's facilitators are the lovely and inspring Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen. This past summer I participated in their Dream Lab course which focused on play and being kind to yourself. My kinda stuff.

When I was little I used to pretend I was a teacher, mom, and doctor when I played.  I remember that I wanted to be a scientist.  In early grade school my mother, who was a teacher, brought home some old science textbooks.  I had a freestanding chalkboard and a small table and chairs. I would set my dolls in those chairs with these textbooks and play teacher.  My students were the best: they listened attentively, did their homework, turned it in on time, and never once sent text-messages in class.  Of course, there were no cell phones back then.  I'll say more about the relationship between our childhood play and career choices in a future post.

For now, what did you want to be when you were little?  What was your dream?

Friday, September 17, 2010


There are signs all around us. Whether or not someone or something chooses to send them to us is another story. I think what's more important is whether or not we choose to see the signs.

So the signs I'm noticing are...

I've been battling a sinus infection. Last night I was so wiped out by it I actually only met my Play Therapy class for 30 minutes and sent them home. I RARELY do that. I just had no energy left. So here's a sign I am doing too much and need to slow down and rest.

My computer is still not fixed. I'm the one who broke it when I tried to go online and figure out why the printer wasn't scanning. I suppose this is a sign that either a) I am spending too much time on the computer or b) I need to ask for help when it comes to certain things. I am really missing having access to my pictures.

This isn't a sign but it could become one. My hubby and I have a very crazy work schedule where each of us go 31 hours without seeing the other one or the kids. This is something we have chosen so we don't have to put the kids in day care or pay for childcare. What this also means is during the school week (M-Th) we only have 2 evenings where we are all together for dinner. If other activities get in the way it takes its toll with someone inevitably getting irritable or whiny. This is a sign that it's time to slow down and reconnect. One of the best ways to do this is through some form of play.

Are there signs you need to pay attention to?

By the way, did you notice the symbolism of the fire truck behind the signs in the picture?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's Sentiment

I'm really missing my computer that has all my recent pics.  So here's one of Miles from almost exactly 2 years ago where he took all the stuffing out of the couch pillows.  Reminds me of the spaghetti scene in the movie Patch Adams.

Have a playful week! (Hope to post more throughout the week!)

What would you like to play in?  A big vat of...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy and Sad

Heather with Miles, April 2007

 Today is Sept. 11.  If I stop to think of what that date means for Americans then Sept. 11 = sad.

Today is my friend Heather's birthday.  Now Sept. 11 = happy. 

Heather and I have sort of known of each other since we went to the same junior high in Utah.  But we didn't actually meet until we were in graduate school in San Antonio, Texas, starting 18 years ago.  Three years later she was one of my bridesmaids.  Even more years later Heather accepted a position to teach in the same college department where my husband and I also teach.  She is also my son Miles's godmother, well one of them.  (He needs a lot of praying after. Ha)  Heather is such a special person in the lives of my children that they call her Aunt Heather.  We have been through A LOT together, both happy and sad.

Sept. 11 would have also been the 80th birthday of another special person.  Now I'm back to Sept. 11 = sad. 

"Aunt" Doris died this past March.  She lived across the street from us and we attended the same church.  She was one of the most welcoming people I have ever known.  When she asked about you, you knew she really was interested.  She never had children, but this retired school teacher supported so many children throughout her life.  She always remembered mine on their birthdays and holidays with cards and little treats.

So what do these three Sept. 11 events have in common?  Do I even need to tell ya?

Never take your loved ones for granted.  But you will.  And then something will happen to remind you not to.

As for the play, Heather and I have an afternoon of girl stuff planned--pedicures and shopping.  And of course, chocolate birthday cake!  So I end with HAPPY!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Play therapy with traumatized children

Pretend there is a picture of an American flag right here.

Our computer is at the shop otherwise I would have posted a pic of our house flag from last July 4.  And our house flag holder has fallen off the house, otherwise I'd take a new pic.  (Guess I have a job this weekend for my darling husband.)

On this weekend that we recall the tragedy of Sept. 11, here is a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal about play therapy with traumatized children.  At the very least, check out the slideshow in the article.

Thanks to the individual who posted in the community forums of the Association for Play Therapy who brought this to my attention.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Important Thought

Sunflower grown from seeds Miles received for Easter. Photo by Jeff Crane

If it's important we should take time for it.--Garry Landreth

I have watched this video enough times that I can clearly hear Dr. Landreth saying those words.  (Incidentally, Garry was one of my mentors at the University of North Texas where I did my doctoral training.)

What will you take time for today?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Are ya ready for some football?

Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play and author of the aptly titled book, Play, says that one common type of play is spectator play.  We observe an event (often sports-related) and get quite caught up in the sights, sounds, smells--the experience of it.  It's usually not the same to watch the event on TV as being there in person.  This weekend I enaged in this type of play as I watched Lindsey Wilson College (where I teach) have its first football game in 75 years. 

One of the best parts of the game was watching this parachuter deliver the game ball.  Pretty cool, huh?
Here are the fans.  My high school stadium was bigger than this, but then again, it had more students than my little college does...and it's in Texas.  (You know, Texas=football.)

Check out the hair on this fan.

And we have kickoff!

Of course, what's college football without a band?

My little fan amused himself with an empty box that once held T-shirts that lucky people such as myself received.  I never tire of watching him play.

In the end, Lindsey Wilson lost.  They fought hard, so they say.  There will be more games.  But for a moment, I felt a sense of connection with all the other fans on that day as we rooted on our team.  And it felt good. 

Edited to say:  for more pics of the game

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

Hope you've enjoyed a weekend of rest and play.
The Crane kids and neighbors spent some time playing with water on this last unofficial weekend of summer.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Mrs. Beasley

A message from my mother today said that when she opened a suitcase at her house out fell my old Mrs. Beasley doll.  And she was wearing my 5-year-old son's underwear.  He must have been playing with her the last time we visited because I sure didn't do that to her.

I found this very brief video on youtube.  It immediately took me back to my childhood.  Long ago my Mrs. Beasley lost her glasses and she stopped talking from too many pulls of her string.  I was amazed that while watching the video, as soon as the doll said something, I could finish the saying.  And I haven't heard her talk in decades!

I wish my Mrs. Beasley wasn't 700 miles away. 

How about you?  Do you still have a favorite doll, stuffed animal, or action figure from your childhood?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blog Comments

Trying to get the comment form to work.

In comparing my blog to others, I think I have it set up the way it's supposed to be.

For those of you who are new to this commenting on blogs thing: click on where it says #comments and then you can make a comment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Very First Blogpost EVAH!

Why am I doing this…

Mainly for myself for so many reasons:

To practice the importance of play. It’s what I preach (teach).
To practice writing. I’d love to write a book someday.
To practice photography. I have always loved photos.
To practice creativity. Being creative is what makes us human.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!? Nah, I know this blog will be far from perfect and I am SO okay with that.

More reasons…

To express myself. I’ve got many years of being a shy, quiet kid to make up for.
To connect with others.
To inspire others. ‘Cuz it sure feels good!