Monday, December 12, 2011

Picture the Holidays -- Days 8-12

You can tell it's been finals week and a weekend of Christmas parties and graduation because I haven't had a chance to blog in several days.  So 5 days worth of Picture the Holidays prompts and photos!

#picturetheholidays Reflecting on the Season Day 8

Theme for Day 8 was Reflecting on the Season.

Spotted the reflection of our Christmas tree in the glass of this print on our living room wall.  It was a nice surprise.

#picturetheholidays It's a Sign Day 9: these words spoke to me on a brochure from @jenleedotnet

#picturetheholidays It's a Sign #2: didn't notice the face in the photo on book by @jenleedotnet until I took this pic

Theme for Day 9 was It's a Sign.

This prompt was hard for me until I sat down with a book written by Jen Lee that I ordered and received in the mail that day along with the brochure you see above.  I didn't really notice the face on the cover of the book until I took that picture.  I also like the words on the brochure, so I've got two photos for this prompt.

#picturetheholidays Twinkle Twinkle Day 10.

Theme for Day 10 was Twinkle Twinkle.

I must like Christmas trees because we've got 4 of them.  The big one in the living room, a 3-4 footer in Meredith's room, a one-footer in Miles's room, and then one other 3-4 footer.  The last one I haven't gotten around to decorating.  It still has on the lights from years past.  Miles thought it needed a star.  So he took a star-shaped stickie (whatever you call those things) and placed it on the tree.

Theme for Day 11 was Shaping Up.  This prompt was getting me until I noticed this lamp in the living room.  It reminds me of the curves of the red ribbon on a candy cane or swirling garland on a Christmas tree.  After uploading the picture to my computer I noticed the diamond shapes between the "ribbons."  And the base's overall shape is almost that of an upside down, fat Christmas tree.

Theme for Day 12 (today) was A Whole Lotta Happy.  Again, at first I was a bit stumped.  I knew I had many ornaments with smiles on them in a box waiting to be placed on the tree in the photo above, but tonight I am tired from staying up late grading and don't feel like rummaging through said box out in the cold garage. 

Oooo, but then I remembered my Christmas Ziggy.  I don't tend to decorate with child-like things at home.  (Though I admit I do have cheesy kid stuff like this in my office at work, but that's another story.)  Ziggy holds such fond memories for me.  He was very popular in the early '80s when my best friend and I would give each other Ziggy friendship cards on a regular basis.  (I still have all those cards, too.)  There is just something about that short, bald-headed dude.  And what did I do today?  I spoke to this best friend, who lives back in Texas and I don't get see very often at all and don't talk to often enough either.  I think it's actually been a few months!  But she's the kind of friend that when you talk to her it's like no time has passed.  And that makes me happy. :)

Here's hoping you've got friends like that!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Picture the Holidays -- Days 6 and 7

#picturetheholidays Every Little Thing Day 6 with a fitting earlybird filter

Theme for Day 6 was Every Little Thing.

On a table in my office at work are these two Hallmark ornaments.  They are miniature versions of the classic Fisher-Price toys that I remember playing with as a child.  The clock has a knob on the back that can actually turn so one can hear the familiar tune.  The school has a tiny bell at the top that one can ring.  Cute little reminders of play.

#picturetheholidays Express Yourself Day 7 book by @tarasophiamohr art by Danielle Daniel

Theme for Day 7 was Express Yourself. 

Many who are doing Picture the Holidays right along with me have chosen to do a self-portrait for this prompt, but I just wasn't feeling up to it.  So I got the idea for this photo yesterday when this sweet book of poetry arrived in the mail.  The poems were written by Tara Sophia Mohr.  (You may recall that I joined in her Girl Effect blogging campaign last October with these two posts.)

Also, in the photo above is this original painting seen here by Danielle Daniel, of Her Painted Word.  She is called Hazel--she write one poem a day.  For now she sits right by my bedside as a reminder to not forget to express myself through writing.

(All photos taken with my iPhone and uploaded to Instagram.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Picture the Holidays -- Days 4 and 5

Theme for Day 4 was You Hold the Key.  Most of us already have within ourselves "the keys" to know how to care for ourselves during the holidays and throughout the year for that matter.  I remembered that I recently bought these keys at a parent-teacher store thinking I could use them at some point in a creative way.  On each key I wrote down reminders of things I can do to unlock self-care in my life.

Theme for Day 5, today, is The View from Here.

So here was my view earlier today while sitting at my desk.
A reminder (via zena moon candles).
The label says
There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Picture the Holidays -- Days 2 and 3

#picturetheholidays Reframing the Season Day 2

Theme for Day 2 was Reframing the Season.  Looking at the holiday season in new ways.

My husband put up the tree on Friday night and I decorated it.  I was tired.  I remembered the prompt and thought it'd be cool to take this shot just straight out of my iPhone via Instagram.  I love that the shot is imperfect as well as my living room: items strewn about, tree skirt not on yet, etc.  Imperfect.  Just like life.  Just like the season.

And the ironic thing I'm willing to admit is last year we bought a new, skinnier tree because a) it fit better in this space than our other fatter one and b) it takes less time to decorate.  Every year I end up decorating the tree on my own.  And I don't like that because it feels like a chore.  But this year Miles helped out a little, and then I realized one reason why I end up doing it alone.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a stupid thing like a Christmas tree.  I want all of the ornaments of a certain kind spread out, I want my favorite ones front and center, and I want the angel, star, and heart ones near the top.  Meredith was gone at a football game while I decorated it this year.  I just asked her and she said she would have helped.  Lessons learned.

Theme for today, Day 3, is All You Need is Love.  Can't help thinking of the Beatles whenever I hear that phrase.  Again, I remembered the prompt in the evening.  Otherwise I may have gone looking for hearts outside while it was still daylight.  So instead, I searched my tree for some hearts or the word "love" when I found this glass or crystal heart.  I don't remember if it was gifted to me or if I bought it in a shop somewhere.  All I know is that I love how it glistens.

As I went to upload photos in my camera I found a series of self-portraits by my daughter.  This really filled me with love.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Picture the Holidays -- Day 1

Holding Onto Gratitude #picturetheholidays

Today's prompt: Holding Onto Gratitude

It's been one of the most difficult semesters for me since starting teaching almost 12 years ago.  So grateful it is coming to the end.  It may not be the most artistic photo, but I am at work today, my "long" day, and I forgot my good camera so my iPhone, Instagram, and Flickr will have to do.  Evenso, it IS my truth for today.

Picture the Holidays

I am participating in Picture the Holidays, a class by Tracey Clark through Paper Coterie.  Tracey is the founder of Shutter Sisters.  (Incidentally, I was part of Tracey's I am Enough collaborative through this post.)

I am loving this class creed.  I loving the chance to play and exercise my creativity.  I will try to post my pictures to the daily prompts as much as I can, but I don't want to do anything to add to my stress level especially until the semester is over on Dec. 12 when grades are due!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Woo hoo! I'm on Creative Living with Jamie

I'm so flattered that little ole me was asked to be on Jamie Ridler's Creative Living with Jamie podcast which airs today.  She actually asked me via a message on twitter (isn't that cool?!) that I received on the last day of the APT conference when I was on a play therapy high.  The actual interview occurred a few weeks ago.  I've been a bit nervous to see how it turned out as honestly I wasn't still on my high.  In fact, I was deep in the busiest time of the semester.  So apropos since my main message in the interview is, of course, the importance of play in our lives.

I've enjoyed listening to this podcast for well over a year now every Tuesday morning on my way to work.  One of my favorite parts is the very beginning when Jamie shares a bit of inspiration.  Another favorite part is when she asks the interviewee, "how do you invite your creativity out to play?"  She's had on some of my favorite creative people.  I can't believe I'm in this group. 

So I am Creative.  I am a Creative!

Please take a listen and let me know what you think!

And a special welcome to any Jamie Ridler listeners!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Recipe for a Little Saturday Fun

Recipe for a little fun:

Take small and large marshmellows and uncooked spaghetti.

Grab your friends and family or just yourself.
Set the timer for 15 minutes.
Build the tallest tower you can out of the ingredients.

The boy pretended he was roasting marshmellows.

The girl squished hers together.

After seeing a "blogging moment," the mom spent a few minutes and came up with this:

And the winner was the dad who found this activity in the first place and who had already done it
with one of his college classes at Lindsey Wilson the day before
and tried to recreate what the winning team did in his class.
Therefore, he cheated. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Out of the Box (More Musings on a Play Therapy Conference)


One of my favorite children's books about creativity is called Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.  This hard-cover book feels like a cardboard box.  It is a reminder of how easily children can take a simple box and turn it into a variety of objects through their play.  I'm sure that many of us have memories of taking old, large appliance boxes or the boxes our toys came in on Christmas morning and turning them into a house, a puppet theater, or a car.

This simple message was also clear to me at the APT play therapy conference last month.  Charlie Schaefer, Linda Homeyer, and Sueann Kenney-Noziska were the keynote speakers on "Directive or Nondirective: Is That Really the Question?"  In the field of play therapy we tend to put theories, techniques, and one another in boxes: nondirective or directive.  It's something we as human being naturally do.  Our brains are bombarded with so must information that we judge the information and categorize it as a way to get a handle on it and make sense of it given our own beliefs and experiences.  Are you Democrat or Republican?  Conservative or Liberal?  Gay or straight?  But there are many downsides to putting people and ideas in boxes.

I resist being categorized because I don't like to judged.  When I'm judged I might be judged negatively or found lacking in some way.  When you put me in a box you might make assumptions about me that aren't true based on your prior experiences of said box.  These misassumptions then prevent us from truly connecting on an authentic level where we value one another as human beings and can learn from each other's varied backgrounds.

This year's APT conference had a different vibe for me.  I'm not sure if it's because it seemed to be smaller and more intimate compared to past years.  Or was it the physical arrangement of having to walk through the bar and gathering area of the hotel in order to get to the workshops at the conference center across the street?  I found myself sitting and talking and laughing and networking with a wide variety of people.  Friends old and new.  I learned new things about other play therapists that changed how I view them.  I may not practice play therapy in the same way that they do and that is okay.  Who am I to say that I have THE one right way to believe?  And if I take the time to listen to their story and have an open-mind, how can I argue with their experiences?

When one is starting out as a play therapist or in any field, it helps to have "boxes" and categories to aid in understanding and grasping of a lot of information.  That is a good thing.  Our "boxes" provide a rationale for why we do what we do.  Yet, after awhile it can be helpful to have an open-mind, broaden our horizons and get out of the box.  For me, this is how I continue to grow as a play therapist and as a human being.  In fact, it's a big part of what creativity is all about.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm Baaaccckkk!

My goodness!  Never gone this long without blogging since I started in Sept. 2010.  Seems like the entire month of October and beginning of November has been some of the busiest weeks of my life and I don't like it one bit.  Can't seem to get caught up.  I like to stay busy but not so busy that I feel like I can't breathe.

I bought the shirt you see above when I was at the APT conference.  They are available here.  (No, kickbacks for me, but I'm always willing to promote APT.)  I have to smile or even frown a bit seeing myself in that shirt, because I haven't had much play in my life lately and I see the outcomes of this: cranky, irritable, and complaining.  I have tons of ideas for what I'd like to write, present, and just do but other work and sometimes family-related things have gotten in the way.  I hope to make some changes for the future so I can do those things that I find fulfilling as well as exercise better self-care, because I plan to be around for a long, long time.

For now I'll share some photos I have found on my iphone. 

Like this one my daughter took of herself swinging. 
I just love the feeling of freedom when you're on a swing.

I will admit that one reason for being behind is watching the Texas Rangers who eventually lost in 7 games during the World Series. 
(Perhaps I should have spent that time grading, but it was fun to watch.)
(via Instagram)

Miles wrote TCU (my alma mater) on one of his cars and took this photo of it.

What's leftover when you tie-dye t-shirts for Halloween without using gloves.
Because it's more fun without gloves!

Meredith and friend dancing in our living room. (via Instagram)

First time we've ever bid and won something at a live auction.  This is a basket of stuff from Miles's class with the theme of "Family Night."  Filled with games, puzzles, movies, snacks, and a football.
All in the name of helping out my kid's school.

The kids on Halloween.  Mer is some kind of '80s girl and Miles is a golfer. 

And finally, as rough as things are they could be worse.  Am trying my best to be thankful, especially that I am employed, am relatively healthy (battling a sinus infection), and have a loving family.  Gratitude has been on my mind so much lately it was the theme for my pumpkin at our friends' annual party.  I covered it with things I am grateful for.

Dear reader, I am grateful for you. 
Listening to my rants, sharing in my photos, and following this one, crazy, playful life I have.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mining for Play Therapy Gold (the pics version)

What have I been doing lately?

Mining for play therapy gold in Sacramento
theme for 2011 APT conference
(iphone photo by me)

at the 2011 APT conference
photo by ?

I presented on Creativity for Play Therapists.
that's me standing
(iphone photo by Tammi Van Hollander)

I went to several meetings.
Conference Program Committee with Tami Langen & Kathy Lebby
(surprise photo by Mistie Barnes)

I went to play therapy trainings including those by Terry Kottman, Jeff Ashby, David Crenshaw, Athena Drewes, Eric Green, LeAnne Steen, and Hilda Glazer.
Eric Green & David Crenshaw
(photo by ?)

Most of all, I networked, ate, and drank with play therapy friends, new and old.
me with Angela Cavett & Liana Lowenstein
(photo by ?)
me, Cherie Spehar, Lori Myers, Anne Stewart, David,
Angela, Ana Tillman, Tammi Van Hollander
with the APT dude
(taken by ?)

David Crenshaw started a private play therapy group on Facebook.
We met for a big toast (thank you Liana).  I love that he is laughing in this pic.

Stay tuned.  I plan to share my reflections on the conference in an upcoming post.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Autumn Kentucky "Poem Note"

I was introduced to the concept of a "poem note" by Liz Lamoreux during the Midwest Inner Excavation Retreat this past May.  Over the weekend I taught my Creative Play Therapy Interventions course in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, again.  (Four hours from home.  A beautiful drive to eastern Kentucky and listening to podcasts on my phone = not so bad.)  This was the first time I ever did this activity with a class, and I couldn't help but participate.  Using a shadow self-portrait I took while we went on a walking meditation and photo walk, I present you my little poem note.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Must See Video about Gratitude

I believe the video speaks for itself.
I just love stuff like this.

Special thanks to Emelisa Mudle who posted it on her facebook page, Healing with Art.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Special Story of the Girl Effect

Lombeh (l) at the June 2011 Appalachian Play Therapy Center conference
Lombeh Brown will be graduating in December from Lindsey Wilson College with her master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development.  I have known Lombeh since her sophomore year at Lindsey when I became her academic advisor and taught one of her classes.  In December of 2009, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Counseling.  Lombeh is from Liberia.  This is her story.

In the Liberian culture, more specifically the Via ethnic group, women are not given the opportunity to be educated as men.  It is the cultural expectation of this ethnic group that once a girl reaches puberty she is to be initiated into the Sande society. The Sande society is an association found for the sole purpose of teaching girls how to become effective housewives.  During the initiation process, female circumcision takes place in order to preserve the girls for their future husbands.  Luckily for Lombeh, her parents did not believe in those views although her mother had been initiated into the society.  They taught her and her two younger brothers the importance of achieving an education.  Even though she and her siblings grew up in a civil war torn country, it “did not give us the excuse not to pursue our dreams,” she says.

Lombeh was raised by Christian parents.  Her father has some college education and her mother, now deceased, had a high school education.  Her mother was taught by freed American slaves who returned to their homeland of Liberia.  Her father was taught by a woman named Margery Henderson who was on a church mission at the time.

During the civil war, Lombeh and her family left their home and traveled from village to village on foot.  They had very little food and no safe drinking water.  Because they were on the run they only carried salt and rice with them.  They slept in the woods, sometimes in simple huts.  Lombeh’s mother died while Lombeh was in her teens from illness that was compounded by the stress of the civil war and malnutrition.

Lombeh explained that schools run by the government were poor.  The teachers were not paid and it was not uncommon to have 200 students in a classroom.  If you did not arrive early enough, you had to stand because there were not enough places to sit.  Schools run by missionaries were better.

In 2004, Lombeh’s father contacted Margery Henderson, the woman who had taught him thirty years earlier, to see if she could help find a way for his daughter to go to college in the United States.  Mrs. Henderson is friends with Ms. Sue Stivers, a Trustee board member of Lindsey Wilson College.  Together they found a way to make it happen.  Years later Lombeh’s brother Burgess was also able to join her in college.  This current fall semester he is interning in Washington, DC in the office of Congressman Whitfield from Kentucky.  He hopes to attend law school someday.

Lombeh has served as a graduate assistant since January 2010.  She has helped me plan and execute two play therapy conferences for the Appalachian Play Therapy Center.  I have served as her clinical supervisor.  It has been such an honor to witness her growth and development over the years.  She used to be a shy, quiet young woman.  Now she is so much stronger and self-confident.  She has very good counseling skills.  She has a big heart.

Lombeh before her undergraduate commencement.
She does not have immediate plans to return to Liberia but she mostly likely will someday.  She would like to stay in the United States and complete her clinical hours for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.  I can see her working for the Peace Corps or UNICEF.  Whatever she decides to do she will be successful.  Education has changed her life and she will go on to change others’ lives.  She is quite an inspiration!

Lombeh’s story is exactly what The Girl Effect endeavors to do in developing countries.

To read more about their story click here.
To order a book about Margery and Lombeh’s story click here.

You Must See This!

If you've been reading my blog regularly you noticed that I didn't post a special story as I had intended.  I still plan to do that, perhaps even later today.  This week we've had our reaccreditation site visit for our graduate program in Counseling at Lindsey Wilson College, of which my husband is the director.  It has been quite a week!  (Actually quite a last couple of years but that's another story.)  Yesterday morning the site visit team gave us their feedback.  We had no recommendations and no requirements.  We have met/are meeting all the standards.  This is very rare, especially for a program the size of ours with about 400 graduate students in 25+ sites (I've lost count)!  (And no, we're not an on-line program.  We bring each and every one of our courses to these sites.)  Of course they had some suggestions.  They always have suggestions because any program can always get better.  We will find out the results of whether or not we are reaccredited and for long sometime in January when the accrediting board meets.

While I was out celebrating, personally having my husband back, along with my kids I just happened to look at my twitter feed.  It was full of tweets about the death of Steve Jobs.  Someone posted a link to the video belong.  If you think you are the last person to see this, you're not.  I hadn't.  Even if you have seen it, watch it again.  It's that good.  And while the death of Steve Jobs is quite sad, its timing as it reminds me what he stood for, couldn't have been better in my life right now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Girl Effect--Part One

Today I am participating in the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.  As an educator, a female, a mother of a daughter, and as a human being the issue of girls in the developing world impacts me.

In this first post I present some background and stats directly from the Girl Effect website.  Later today I will share the personal story of one of my students.  If you don't have the time to read through this post PLEASE at least go to the website and view the opening video.  It's very powerful.  (I tried posting it here but for having difficulty getting the html code to work.)
·         Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
·         Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
·         When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
·         An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
·         Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
·         When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

There are 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. That’s a quarter of a billion girls aged 10-19 living on less than $2 USD a day – and a massive amount of potential to change the world.

When girls’ lives are limited, everyone loses. Families, communities and entire economies are all stunted when half their human potential is squandered. The world is missing out on a tremendous opportunity for change.

This is where the Girl Effect comes in – the power, promise, and potential of adolescent girls as the change agents to end global poverty.

Girls are the mother of every child born into poverty, but as a HIV-free and educated mother, an active citizen and an ambitious entrepreneur or prepared employee, she can break the cycle of poverty. It’s a ripple effect. With the right resources in place, she’ll marry and have children at a later age. She’ll be better educated, healthier and safer. She’ll invest 90% of what she earns back into her family. And every single benefit that comes to her will be passed on to the next generation.

The Girl Effect is a concept; a movement. It is not about raising the profile of an organization or even raising money for a particular program. It’s about raising girls’ voices – it’s that simple.

Check back later today where I'll post a powerful, personal story.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Precious Moments for Monday Morning

Good Monday morning to you!

My colleagues at Lindsey Wilson and I suffered a very unexpected loss of one of our own over the weekend.  Unfortunately, it often takes something such as this to remind us how very precious every moment is.

Toward that end, I thought I'd share a few photos I found on my iPhone to start your week.  They are the very precious moments of my life.

I'll start with the Instagram shots:

Miles and I stand our ground
writing morning pages
evening relaxation
my fortune on Sept. 11, 2011
my little astronaut
berries on the holly tree--an early sign of fall
waiting in the car lane after a little shower
Miles has his own sense of style

a game of pool--a first one in a very long time

A few more...
a novel
what I wear when I teach about choosing toys for play therapy
Mer's self-portrait with the neighbors' dog
Miles can read to us at bedtime now
a fun little game
Here's to all the precious moments of your life!
May you not take them for granted!