Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I am Not Superwoman

Scanned photo from June 2003 (I think)
of Meredith and my sister Cori in their Supergirl shirts

I am not Superwoman or Wonder Woman no matter how hard I may try to be.

This morning I'd rather be going to yoga, but instead I'm nursing an injury.  Yesterday evening I was working late, answering email, and meeting with an advisee. (It's registration time at the college.  Can be a challenge fitting in advising appointments but I do so enjoy meeting with my advisees, seeing how they're doing, and helping them make plans for their futures.)  As I was leaving I was hungry, tired, and ready to go home.  I grabbed the following items: a camcorder with its accessories in a bag, a laptop with its accessories in a bag, another bag with stuff for my internship class, my school bag heavy with my intentions for working at home, and my purse (a mother's handbag with everything but the kitchen sink).  Don't know why I do it but I often load myself down like a pack mule.  Why oh why, don't I make two trips?

Can you guess what's coming next?  I was probably in a daze and in a hurry.  I got about 4 or 5 steps from the bottom, right about the place where I always have to duck my head as I am tall and could get knocked out by some kind of overhang, and I lost my footing.  So surreal.  My life may have even flashed before my eyes.  I landed face down at the bottom of the stairs on top of and surrounded by all those bags. 

My thoughts in about chronological order: OMG!  What just happened?  Oh no, did I break anything?  I can't believe I did this again.  Owww, I hurt.  Kinda glad no one's here to see this.  @#%*!  Look what I did.

I look to my right and see that I have broken a stool given to the faculty as a class gift from a master's class several years ago.  Oh @#%*!  I think that stool is made out of concrete or some such material and I have literally broken it in half.  The somewhat ironic thing is that all those bags and that stool must have broken my fall so I am happy to report I don't think I broke any bones, but I am very sore.

I will not call myself a klutz.  Doing so could be a self-fulling prophecy.  I have in the past, though, twisted both ankles and I think one of them at least twice, and broke one of my feet.  And almost every time it was due to stairs.  Some combination of being in a hurry, not watching what I'm doing (but who really does when they're going down stairs?), having big size 10 feet, going down narrow stairs, and having extra long legs compared to the rest of my body which may result in some strange center of gravity thing.

An hour earlier I was teaching my undergraduate Therapeutic Play class.  Organically, we were discussing the topic of how our own issues or whatever is on our mind can get in the way of not being able to focus on the child and give the child our full attention during our play sessions.  Perhaps I should have been paying more attention to my own words.

Each time I injure myself or get sick I realize I am not Superwoman.  No matter how hard I might try to be.  I will never live up to all the expectations I put on myself, that our culture puts on women.  I won't get everything done.  Something's inevitably gonna fall by the wayside (no pun intended).  Either that or I must learn to say No to more things.  I must slow down.  Exercise more patience.  Be kind to myself.

Incidentally, I remember loving to play Wonder Woman as a child.  I'd wrap my head in a big towel and stand on top of a round ottoman.  I'd jump down and twirl my head releasing my pretend long, curly hair and feel so invincible!  Hmmm.... I wonder if I ever fell off that ottoman?

I may not be Superwoman or Wonder Woman, but I sure think I can still be a Supergirl!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Space Alien Birthday

Seems like it's been an entire week of celebrating Miles's 6th birthday.  Started on a Saturday afternoon with a party at an indoor playspace complete with videogames and a bounce house.  Only a few guests came (not good to hold a party when UK is playing, I guess), but Miles had fun and that's what counts.  We had a space alien theme.  Wanted to do something with space since he is obsessed with space so this was the cutest thing I could find.  I love that I can take the invitation to our local bakery and they can make a cake based on the theme.  They always seem to turn out so cute and creative.   I really enjoy planning my children's birthday parties.  It becomes a quest for me to find things to put in the goodie bags that match the theme.  This year I put a planet notebook, a space pencil, a little space alien figurine, and a moon pie.  (I was surprised to find they still make them.) 

Nothin' better than watching a young child laugh, play, and enjoy.    For his actual birthday on Friday, I brought cupcakes to school.  He only wore the crown while his classmates sang to him.  I don't blame you for not liking to wear the crown but it does look cute.   He so loved his star shaped balloon.  Later we went to a child's favorite spot, Chuck E. Cheese, complete with extra tokens.  And what did he spend most of his time doing?  Playing in the indoor playspace.  You know, the one that doesn't cost any tokens.  So I had to "help" Meredith use up the tokens by playing skeeball.

Here's to watching you play, laugh, learn and grow during this next year!

Friday, March 25, 2011

March Madness--and I'm not talking basketball

March is flying by.  I feel so behind I think I'm ahead.

Play therapy conferencing, class preparing, teaching, grading, supervising, and meeting(s).
Doing laundry, dishes, yardwork, grocery shopping, bill paying, cleaning out the garage, picking up the house (so the house keepers can clean!).
Attending church, doing two children's moments (sermons).
Some TV watching, blog reading, very little blog writing, twittering, facebooking.
Planning and hosting my son's birthday party.
Full moon staring, picture taking, some journaling, ecourseing, yogaing, and a bit of leisure reading.
Eating, sleeping, personal hygiening and all the driving back and forth.
Hugging, laughing and connecting.

I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about it all.  Even good things can wear you out.

A vision card I made as part of the wishBIG ecamp in a workshop by Jamie Ridler

The work will have to wait.  I'll get it all done.  I always do.
Besides, I've got celebrating to do:

Miles opens a couple of cards.  We can't seem to get glasses that will stay on his face.
Happy birthday to my big little boy
who keeps me on my toes.
I love you so very much.
Born on a Good Friday 6 years ago today. 
A good Friday indeed!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Beauty of Different


This blog post is inspired by Karen Walrond, photographer, blogger, and author of The Beauty of Different.  I am a big, big fan of hers and frequently read her tweets and beautiful Chookooloonks blog. A resident of Houston, Texas, she is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, married to an Englishman, and together they have a lovely young adopted daughter named Alex.  On her Beauty of Different blog she recently posted this:

I have come to believe that discrimination and bigotry will ONLY go away
when we realize there is beauty in difference.

                       Say it with me:
There is beauty in difference.
There is beauty in difference.
There is beauty in difference.

I couldn't agree with her more.  We are all the same and we are all different.  We must learn to accept and respect each other's differences.  How boring the world would be if everyone liked the same things, believed the same things, and even valued the same things!

Here is the beautiful video she made to promote her book.  Even if you never read her book, and you should see this; it is well worth watching.

The play therapist and children's book lover in me was reminded of the following books that share these views.  Oh, the wisdom of children's books!

It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
   Miles's favorite line: "It's okay to have a pet worm"

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko.

If we all respected one another's differences we just might find PEACE.  Which is the theme of these books:

The Peace Book by Todd Parr (anything by him is good)

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub

Happy St. Patrick's Day especially to any of you who have Irish blood or wish you did!

P.S.  Yes, my dream is for Karen to photograph me some day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

About The Appalachian Play Therapy Center

Please stand by for a promotional message:

The mission of the Appalachian Play Therapy Center (APTC) at Lindsey Wilson College is to foster the mental health and development of children and families, especially those in the Appalachian region of the United States, through the processes of play and play therapy. To satisfy this goal, APTC provides play therapy services, offers play therapy training and supervision to students in School of Professional Counseling and mental health professionals, advances play therapy research, and promotes play and play therapy in the community.

LWC President William T. Luckey Jr., left, and
School of Professional Counseling Dean John Rigney join
Associate Professor of Counseling and Director of the Appalachian Play Therapy Center
Jodi Crane in March 2010
We are only one of 13 Approved Centers of Play Therapy Education through the Association for Play Therapy.  This has been a dream of mine for quite awhile to have this center based on that of my mentor, Dr. Garry Landreth, and founder of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Today I worked on our third annual play therapy conference.  (You can download a brochure at our webpage.)  I also developed a fan page on facebook and an account on twitter.

Here's an article about our second conference and another one about our first conference.  For photos from the second conference click here.

That's enough links for one post.

I am amazed at myself as I am starting to get this whole social networking/promoting thing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Children Crossing and Jellyfish

Children crossing...

Watch for us.  Do not overlook us.  We need your attention.
Adults can be seem too busy for us, all rushing on your way.

We're off to learn and grow and play.
We don't like being rushed around from place to place.
And given no choice.
We'd rather stay where we are.  We like to live in the moment.
Won't you join us?
You just might learn something if you'd stop and stay awhile.

The little poem above was inspired by the yellow flag I purchased from Toys of the Trade as well as these sandtray items to the left.  A few were in goodie bags that each attendee received at the Kentucky Association for Play Therapy annual conference.  Even adults can like goodie bags!  The fire colored "stones" have been calling to me.  Miles saw them right away and wanted to keep them.  Of course, I let him play with them, but they'll soon join the rest of my sandtray toys in my office.

The toy on the far left is a jelly fish.  Such beautiful creatures but beware of their sting, the way they protect themselves.  I went searching for pics of jellyfish and found these two.  The one on the left was taken on the Texas coast at Rockport Beach in June 2009 and the blue one is of Meredith from Oct. 2009 when we visited the Georgia Aquarium when I took them with me to Atlanta for the international Association for Play Therapy conference.  It's as if the jellyfish are floating along without a care in the world.  Kinda like young children can be when they become enveloped in their play.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Fun Little Game

Just returned from the Kentucky Association for Play Therapy annual conference.  This year's speaker was the fabulous Eliana Gil.  There's so much I could share about her that I may just have to do a separate post about this amazing woman.

What I love most about attending these conferences is how inspired I feel after them.  I thought I would share one of the ideas Eliana told us about; it's this sweet little game called Think-Ets.  I purchased mine right there at the conference from my favorite play therapy store, the Self Esteem Shop.

Think-Ets is simply 15 little trinkets, as you see above, that come in a small pouch with instructions for some ideas you can do with the trinkets.  No two pouches of trinkets are exactly the same.  They are part memory, thinking, creativity, and story-telling.  The things you could do with these trinkets are endless.

Meredith and I played around with them this morning.  One of the funnest things we decided to do was to have one of us choose any 6 trinkets and then the other had to quickly create and tell a story using the chosen trinkets.  Meredith chose the girl, saw, star, cup/chalice, book, and alligator/crocodile for me.  Here's my silly little story:

Once upon a time there was a girl who was sitting outside reading a book.
Along came an alligator who growled at the girl, "I'm gonna get you!"
She took a saw, pointed it at the alligator and responded, "No, don't get me."
The alligator moved closer and again growled at the girl, "I'm gonna get you!"
For a second time she pointed the saw at the alligator and responded, "No, don't get me."
A third time the alligator moved even closer and growled, "I'm gonna get you!"
This time the girl pointed the saw and said, "Please, don't get me!"
The alligator stepped back and said, "Okay," and then wandered off.
The girl was extremely shook up, yet relieved.
By then it had become dark outside.  The girl looked up and noticed the first star of the night.
She was still shaken so she drank a glass of wine and felt better.
The End

And what did Meredith say in response?  Mom, girls don't drink wine!  Oops, yep.  You're right.
You play therapists reading this post can interpret this story as a projective if you want.  But I'm telling you, that little wooden cup looks just like a wine chalice.  And I know, alligators don't growl.  But the wonderful thing about storytelling and fantasy is they CAN.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Memories of Miss Bev's

The other day I was doing a little shopping for Miles's upcoming birthday and I came upon these Toy Story 3 figurines.  Of course, the child in me just had to purchase them so now they sit on my desk at work and smile at me.  A quick google search finds the chatter telephone and Woody on the movie's webpage where I discover I can download a pic of them to make into wallpaper for my iphone.  I am such a play nerd I just may do that!
As soon as I saw the chatter telephone figurine I was immediately taken back to the playroom at Miss Bev's house.  Miss Bev was the "babysitter."  She was a good friend of my parents who watched my sister and I while they were at work along with a handful of other kids.  I have such fond memories of my time there; I believe I was somewhere between 4 and 7 as this was my age when we lived in this small town of 500 people in Iowa. 

Miss Bev had a time for play, a time for lunch, and a time for nap.  And a time for the "thinking chair" if necessary.  I can only remember one time I had to sit there.  I was the type of kid who was so guilt prone I rarely needed much punishment.

Lunch was things like mac-n-cheese, pb&j, and chicken noodle soup with milk in a small, pastel Tupperware cup and a wafer cookie for dessert.  Miss Bev made the best chicken noodle soup from the can because she knew just how many saltines to add.  To this day I can't make it like she did.

I don't remember the toys themselves, but I do remember playing and playing with Sesame Street in the background on a small black and white TV.  When I outgrew naptime I was so proud to sit with Miss Bev as she ate her salad for lunch and watched Days of Our Lives on TV.

Miss Bev and her husband had 3 sons, the youngest of which was about 4 years older than me.  One time they had a refrigerator box that their two youngest sons turned into some sort of puppet theater.  Incidentally, the youngest son now is a thespian (35 years later I know this partly due to the wonders of Facebook) and my sister also studied drama in college.  Another time Bev was expecting to start watching a new baby.  I can remember helping to clean their old navy blue baby carriage.  The baby's name was Lori.  Bev's middle son made up a song about her.  I have the strangest memory as I still know the words and the tune. 

There was an old Lori who lived in a shoe.
She had so many brothers she didn't know what to do.
She made them some broth and sent them to bed
And then she sat down on her Papa's head.

God bless you Miss Bev!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inspiration's Returning

I'm starting to get my groove back and I'm not gonna question it.

Here's some things that are inspiring me lately:
  • It's March.  Which means it's getting closer to spring and my favorite time of year.  The tulips and daffodils I planted last fall are starting to escape their winter slumber.  The kids are spending more time outside.  As soon as Miles gets off the bus he goes and look for worms.  And then brings them inside.  The other day in his room I found an old covered margarine tub that had some dirt inside.  There was something fuzzy growing in there.  I-don't-want-to-know-what.
  • These two posts by Alisa Burke (I may have mentioned her before).  They show her playful, colorful, cheery art along with TOYS, like sand play therapy miniatures.  I really must get out the watercolors and start experimenting.  I'm grateful for her quick-to-view blogposts that I know are not quick to create.
  • Artist Lori Portka is making 100 paintings for 100 different people and giving them all away.  I don't think I could give my art away--no one would accept it; well, okay, maybe family--but what inspires me most is her generosity.  Haven't I read somewhere that the happiest people are those that live lives of gratitude?
  • My graduate students who are nearing the end, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  They are tired and stressed but they are hanging in there.  I am honored to share with them in their journey.
  • Lately, on my 40-minute drive to work I've been listening to the Creative Living with Jamie podcasts.  Lots of inspiration there.  The only problem is when I get to the place I'm going, either home or work, there's usually something or someone waiting for me.  Stuff to do when I'd rather take a moment and journal about what I just listened to.  Oh well.  I'll figure it out.

Here's to March, worms, art, gratitude, podcasts, and the journey.
May you continue to inspire me!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In a Funk

I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  Have felt a little blah and unmotivated and haven't felt like blogging--at all.  I'm sure there are several possible reasons for this, one of which is that it has been raining a lot off and on and we've even been under a few tornado warnings.  (In fact, one morning I was awoken at 6 a.m. to the sirens going off after I had been up late the night before finishing a novel.) 

Last Saturday, it was actually sunny so I bribed Miles to go for a walk with me despite the chilly temperature and wind outside.  I thought that being out in the sunshine might help with my funk.  Yes, I admit I bribed him with, "we can even go walk up to the gas station and get some candy," because he was enveloped with his computer and cars play at the time.  As we were walking along, holding hands, talking and enjoying our time together, out of the blue Miles said, "Mommy, I love you!"  Oh, my heart swooned.  Note to self: Must do this more often.

Here's what I know about being in a funk:

Sometimes you will be in a funk.
Even if you are a professor or a counselor or even a play therapist.
Even if you are a creative type.
It just means you gotta be extra kind to yourself.
It means you gotta make sure you get enough sleep.
It means you gotta do some of the little things that make you happy.
It means you gotta be patient with yourself.
It means you gotta work extra hard to do the stuff that must be done and forget the rest for awhile.
It means you are imperfect.

It doesn't mean you're crazy.
It doesn't mean you still can't be helpful to others.
It doesn't mean it's gonna last a very long time.

It just means you are normal.