Five Question Friday: or not . . . November, 9, 2012

Fridays are coming around sooner and sooner! The weeks are flying by with ever-increasing speed  . . . or so it seems to me. This was a busy, action packed week for sure. The VOTE dominated the thoughts of many of us living in the USA, and maybe many of you living abroad, too. We/I worried that this election would be a long, drawn out process, possibly keeping us in suspense for days and weeks to come. Instead the election was decided before midnight, and thankfully both candidates were gracious in acceptance and defeat. Whether your candidate won or lost, hopefully we can move forward, working together to address the problems facing this nation. Onward and upward!

I have chosen not to answer the 5QF questions this week. They are all about childbirth and a woman’s experiences giving birth. Actually, having a daughter and a daughter-in-law who have had C-sections, and a daughter who had a vaginal birth, each experiencing giving birth in her own unique way, not to mention my experiences giving birth three times, I can see where the questions would lead to some very interesting, dare I say “poignant,” discussions. The men however, would be totally left out of the mix. And many men read this blog. If you are interested in the questions for this week, I encourage you to click on the badge at the top of this post where you will then be whisked away to the site where the questions are listed. Enjoy. You may want to post them to your blog.

So, now what do I do? Since I have a paper waiting to be written (and due on Sunday), I will beg off this week but plan to return next Friday to answer five provocative questions! (hopefully) 😉

Have a great week. Find ways to relish life. See you next Friday.

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Autumn Thoughts

When the studies become oppressive and I feel smothered by deadlines and all things academic, the best mental health therapy I know is to grab a camera and head for the woods. I’ve spent a lot of time in the woods lately. In fact, I recently discovered  what is officially known as “nature therapy,” based on the premise that human angst, depression, disconnectedness and stress can in part be attributed to the fact that in our technological world, we have become too alienated from nature. The cure (or at least some relief) is found by spending more time outdoors reconnecting with the natural world. That is certainly true for me. So much so that once I am a licensed clinical counselor (a few years hence) I plan to seek certification as an art therapist, and now, a nature therapist, too. I can think of no better approach to becoming centered and finding one’s authentic being. But one does not have to travel afar to benefit from immersing in the natural world. When not out in the woods, you will often find me on our back deck or in the yard piddling around. This is soul-refreshing work for me. I have great plans for our yard, plans that will make our yard a small wildlife habitat. It will take time, but with patience and perseverance we will have a nature retreat outside our back door. But it is Autumn and for now everything is put to rest for the season. No more digging and planting until the spring. As you can see, a few days ago the trees that line the back of our property were in full color which made the following bird shots more beautiful than ever. Even that old pie plate bird feeder doesn’t look quite as tacky as usual. 😉

 

Now however, the trees in the background have lost most of their leaves. Gray barrenness dominates the countryside. It’s hard to believe that these photos were taken just a day or two ago. Dreary rains have set in and the time has come to settle in to our cozy home knowing that winter is not too far off. School work continues. I will begin my fieldwork (counseling) in the spring, and if all goes according to plan (does it ever?) I will graduate in December, 2013. The work is tiring and I’ve reached the stage where I sometimes consider quitting this process. I am tired of school. But I am old enough to know that this, too, shall pass. And there are always the woods, or the yard, and the foliage and various animals to lift my spirits.

Well, school work is once again calling my name so I’m off. Have a wonderful week; try to get out into nature if you can, and I’ll see you all next time.

 

 

Where Have I Been? Where Am I Going?

The title of this post could suggest some really deep, ponderous thoughts and provocative responses. But, it is not so complicated as all of that. Since folks have begun to ask where I’ve been (I haven’t been up to my usual blog-hopping activities), I thought it might be nice to give you a quick run down of what is going on in my neck of the blog-o-sphere!

Where have I been?

1.  My head has been buried in the books for the past eight weeks. I continue to plug away at this degree in mental health counseling, and the deeper I get into the program, the more demanding the coursework becomes. This quarter I’ve been immersed in abnormal psychology (fascinating subject but it makes me wonder about my sanity that I enjoy the subject so much!) and group psychotherapy (another interesting subject.) Keeping up with course requirements in these two classes has been a challenge, but I’ve learned a lot. The good news is that I am down to the last two weeks of the quarter! After that, I will have three weeks vacation before the next quarter begins. You will see me much more during that break as I will be stopping by your places to see what you have been up to, too. I’ve missed you all. Thank you to those who have continued to stop by even though I haven’t returned the favor. In a couple of weeks I plan to remedy that situation. 🙂

2. We are buying a house! Not just any house, but a sweet bungalow that is just the right size for the two of us, small enough to be easy to care for, large enough to have family and friends stay over from time to time. Once we have possession of our new home, I’ll post a photo or two. I like bungalows. 🙂

3. We have a new addition to the family! His name is Elijah, and he is the first child of my youngest daughter. Elijah was born on Friday, March 2. I will be heading over there tomorrow and will be staying for a bit. My daughter had a C-section because little Eli was breach. But Momma, Pappa and baby are fine, healthy and happy. 🙂

Elijah ~ born 3/2/12 ~ 7lbs.2ozs.

Where am I going?

1. I am leaving for Chicago tomorrow for a bit. I’ll be spending my time caring for this sweet family, and finishing up my school quarter. If I disappear altogether for the next two weeks you will know why! BUT, when I return, I am sure to have plenty to blog about. 🙂

2. Registering for my next quarter, ordering textbooks, doing some research, etc. I may have a break from my courses, but I’m still a student! Oy. . .

3. Packing . . . again . . . to move into our new house (hopefully sometime in April).

So much for where I’ve been and where I’m going. I am not ignoring you, and I fully plan to be back in a routine at some point in the future, hopefully sooner than later. Thanks again for stopping in to see how things are going. Have a great week.

Here’s a Bit of Sunshine!

My goal here is to spread a little sunshine with my blogs. I try to share the things that inspire me with anyone who is interested or in need of a bit of an uplift. So it was quite humbling to receive this latest nod from Mama’s Empty Nest. I encourage you to check out her blog if you haven’t already. I enjoy her take on life, especially since I’m an “empty nester” myself.
As for the award, here are the rules:
  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.  Check.  See the logo, it even looks happy, doesn’t it?
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself. Check. Q & A  below!
  • Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers.  Because the myriad of fabulous bloggers  out there, I refer you instead to my blogroll at the bottom of his page.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated. (I simply can’t comply here. Please forgive me for falling down on this part of the ‘rules.” But, sometimes rules are made to be broken.)
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.  Check.  ‘Mama,” thank you so much for this thoughtful gesture.

Ten Sunshine Award Questions along with my answers:

Favorite color:  This is difficult because I like color so much! Probably warm reds and yellows.

Favorite animal:  Definitely cats.

Favorite number:  I’m not sure how one has a favorite number. Just pulling one out of the hat, I say seven. Tomorrow that may be different.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Coffee, closely followed by green tea.

Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Not really into Twitter so I’ll have to go with Facebook

My passion:   Oy….so many! All things family, nature, healing and health (spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.)

Prefer getting or giving presents: Both! I know it sounds ‘non-committal’ but the cycle of giving and receiving makes for healthy living.

Favorite pattern:  This one I can’t even guess. Not even a wild guess. Although I do like patterns.

Favorite day of the week:  From sundown on Friday till Sundown on Saturday — the sabbath!

Favorite flower:  Definitely roses — all colors, makes no difference, but I am definitely a rose person!

 

So there you have it. If you want to give this a shot, please feel free to take that badge and post to your own site (pass a little sunshine) and answer the questions. I wish you all a wonderful, bright sunshiny day!

A River of Stones: Day 12

Paid a visit to my new doctor today. The body is aging and telling me so. My knees are giving me fits. Maybe I need surgery. My ears feel stopped up. Maybe I need a hearing aid. My eyes aren’t so good. Maybe I’m going blind. My weight is inching upward. Maybe my thyroid is out of whack. My height is inching down. Maybe I have osteoporosis. My brain is working slowly. Maybe I’m getting dementia.

Nice to meet you Doc. Let me tell you about my problems.

Doc: Um hmm. May be you need some exercise and a healthier diet.

An Update

 

Dad continues to improve. I talked with Mom and my brother last night and there is a realistic hope that he will move out of ICU and into a regular room today. I’ll keep you posted. I shot this picture of Dad in July this year, while Richard and I vacationed in Kentucky. In August he and Mom went camping in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. He is 80 years old and Mom is 82. They don’t act it, so this scare has been a real wake-up call for us. I thank you all for the comments and emails offering support through your prayers and positive energy sent our way. It is a humbling experience to realize that people I have never met face-to-face would offer such care and concern. Again I offer you my gratitude. I will continue to update as need be. I “heart” you all. (The blogging vocabulary sometimes says it best. 🙂 )

Five Question Friday: July 29, 2011

It’s that time again! 😀  Are you ready???  Well then, here goes~

1. Vow renewal ceremonies-yay or nay?

I think that ceremonies marking special occasions and anniversaries are nice.  Mom and Dad had a renewal ceremony on their 50th anniversary (and the 60th is two and a half months away!) and our tenth is about two months away.  I wouldn’t replicate the wedding ceremony itself, but it might be nice to create some sort of ceremony of reflection over the past ten years and renewing our committment for the coming years.  I guess that means my answer is Yes!  BTW, this is our wedding picture.  My daughter-in-law shot some photos in black and white and I LOVE them!

2. What sound/s annoy you the most?

Shrieking temper tantrums by anyone over 10 years old!  (and I am being generous~two and three-year olds have tantrums, and then you grow out of it hopefully) By now they “oughta” know better; they should have developed better coping mechanisms; they should have discovered more pleasant ways to get what they want! 😉

*****of course there are biological/emotional/psychological reasons for ignoring the above paragraph…I’m just referring to healthy, spoiled, bratty people who get on our nerves for acting like young children who are just beginning to learn how to negotiate life’s hurdles.

After older-than-acceptable temper tantrums comes never-ending pessimistic “gloom and despair” talk.  Remember the t.v. show “HeeHaw“?  Never an episode aired that didn’t have Grandpaw sitting in his rocker on the front porch singing “Gloom, despair and agony on me.  Deep dark depression, excessive misery.  If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.  Gloom, despair and agony on me.”  I used to sing it to the kids when they were young and whining endlessly about how life was treating them so unfairly.  Who knows, maybe they are singing it to their children, too! 🙂

3. If you had to pick, would you have only all boys, or only all girls for kids?

My three! This was taken on a camping trip a few years ago.

NOT FAIR QUESTION! I have a mix~a boy and two girls.  To tell you the truth, the girls are the ones who gave me my gray hair (mostly). But I’d still have them in a heartbeat!  I love them soooooo much.  NO QUESTIONS ASKED!  My son is my first born and he and I share a wonderful love.  I absolutely cannot pick one gender over the other. I love them all.  Like I said, NOT FAIR! . . .ummm. . . I mean, this question has little relevance for my situation, so i will make a mature choice and opt not to answer said question. 😉

4. Do you believe in alternative medicine?

Sure do!  In fact, I’m all in favor of “complimentary medicine.” A team works together with the patient heading up the team, to provide the best health care possible for the patient. The team may include an accupuncturist, herbalist, yoga and/or tai chi professionals, religious or meditative leader, medical doctor and nurse, chiropractor, mental health counselor, etc.  The team works together to offer options but the patient has the final say-so regarding the approach to self-care. I lived in one place where this was done and I wholeheartedly support that concept.  Since leaving that community however, I have not seen the concept being replicated (insurance won’t cover it. . .that is why medical doctor is necessary, to sign off on whatever protocol is chosen.)  I don’t have any statistical evidence as to the efficacy of such a program, but common sense says this is a far better, more holistic approach to treat a person’s health issues. So, let’s get with it!

5. Would you take a family members children and raise them if they needed it?

Yup!  No hesitation, no questions asked, with open heart and outstretched arms.  Yes. Yes. Yes.

This completes another five question Friday.  I am looking forward to reading your responses!  Have a great weekend and we’ll do this again next Friday “if the creek don’t rise and the sky don’t fall!” (a little southern colloquialism…just thought it would be a nice touch for this blog… 😀 )

THE Flu: Influenza

We’ve been hit.  I’ve been in bed for the last four days with “THE flu influenza” to quote my doctor.  I’m behind in my coursework which is not so good seeing as we are now down to the last two weeks of the quarter, everything is coming due, and finals are looming.  To top it off, Richard is now coughing, too, and with fever!  The rain outside is coming down in torrents.  We are snuggled in our apartment curled up in bed with books, meds, flu-symptom-relieving-potions, and feeling rather miserable.  Well mostly.  Richard is a fantastic nurturer, and for four days I’ve benefitted from his ministrations.  I’m still not out of the woods, but it now appears that the time has come for us to begin switching roles. Oy vey. . . Well, we will survive, and I will complete all my course work and get it submitted, and spring will come and the cherry blossoms will be in bloom shortly.  But for now, this will have to suffice for this week’s blog.  If I get a chance later I will try to say more, but first priority is health and Richard, followed by course work.  Stay warm.  Stay well.  See you next time.

The Assignment

 

One of the expectations in my ethics course is that each student will examine the values that guide his or her life and will thus ultimately guide them as they counsel others.  One reason this is so important is that as counselors we will each eventually counsel someone who happens to have values that conflict with our own.  As counselors it is not our role to impose our personal values on the client, nor to place undue pressure on the client to make choices of our—the counselors’—choosing.  Rather, the goal is to facilitate learning, to encourage the client to evaluate their own values and how faulty thinking may lead them to violate their own values.  The hope of both client and counselor is for the client to learn to make healthy choices, maintain healthy boundaries, and to become fully alive and fully functional contributors to the community in which they live.

 

This is all very tricky to accomplish (which is why I’m in school for three years learning the hows, whys, what fors, etc. to becoming a licensed professional mental health counselor.)  Today I decided to post my course discussion for this past week.  I have elaborated a wee bit on three guiding values in my life (but by no means the only values).

 

Identifying and Assessing Values—Cecelia Futch (as posted in Professional and Scientific Ethics for Counselors/Therapists at Capella University)

Service, humility, repentance; these three are the values that I would consider to be among the most important values in my life at this point.

Service is about what we give to others.  Service recognizes that we as individuals are part of a larger whole, and that none of us is here solely of our own volition.  We go through stages and periods of our lives, and at each juncture we rely on others to varying degrees for support.  It could be reliance on the farmer who grows our food, the collector who carts away our garbage, the nurse who watches our vital signs, the parents who gave us life, and so on.  Whatever and wherever we are, we are part of a larger community.  At times we have to rely on the community to help support us (I know it sounds socialist—oh well, it is what it is) whether for material goods, or for spiritual or mental sustenance.  At other times, when in a position to do so, it is important that each of us “give back” or support the health of the community.  That may be through volunteer work, or possibly through our livelihood, or maybe in our religious community.  However we do it, service is the activity we participate in that acknowledges we are part of something bigger than our individual self.

Humility is the recognition that we are not all powerful, all knowing beings.  Humility reminds me that I am but one person in a sea of humanity, and that there are worlds of information and systems of which I know nothing.  Humility also allows me to recognize my strengths, talents, knowledge and ability without overstating or understating (false humility) who I am and that which I bring to this world.  Humility also helps me guard (as does service) against a sense of entitlement, which is a form of abuse.

Repentance is what this work, counseling, entails.  I do not speak of it in Christian terms, but as Jewish woman, repentance is about turning around and going in another direction.  It involves recognizing the errors we have made, resolving to correct those errors, and to change our life for the better, or more holy, way of living.  This is essentially what psychotherapy involves.  A person recognizes that there is something wrong in their life, that as a result they are experiencing pain, discontent, depression, the list goes on.  They seek counseling to clarify what is causing the pain, to consider options that will set them on a new path toward healthier living, or to acquire the tools necessary to walk a new path.

To my understanding, these values tend to be universal but may be expressed in different terms by differing groups .  Realizing that these are my personal values, and that others have different values, I tend to think that I would counsel someone according to their values as long as it did not entail harming someone else.  Remaining neutral allows the client to form and hold to their personal tenets which guides them in their daily lives which takes place outside the counselor’s office.  At the same time, it would be impossible for me to completely hide my values from the client for the simple reason that it is these values that guide my life.

 

 

Obviously there is much more to examine and expound upon when it comes to values.  As previously stated, these three are not the only values of importance to me, but they are certainly three “biggies.”  I encourage you to think about your values and if you feel comfortable in doing so, please share.  Feel free to comment on my posting, too.  I welcome your feedback.