Friday, November 18, 2016

Thankful for meaningful work

This thanksgiving I'm most thankful for meaningful work.  I'm a Master of Counseling Intern for an Outpatient Mental Health Agency.  I am honored to work with my clients.  They share so much of their lives and who they are at their very core.  I love helping them work through their issues and through their decisions to make important changes in their lives.  I'm just an advocate or caring observer to their struggles who helps them examine their lives and choices from different angles.  They do all the hard work and are to be applauded for their successes.  I'm a sounding board, someone to reflect back their feelings, and bring focus to things they might be forgetting to consider.

Some great things I've discovered lately 
Brene Brown's TedTalk on Youtube on Vulnerability

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman .  

Dr. John Gottman’s

I'll be posting other great things I come across that might be helpful to my friends and clients.
Have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Letting my Body catch up with my Mind

I'm taking a break from school right now to let my body catch up with my mind.  My body is complaining about the sleepless nights studying and writing research papers, about team meetings on weekends, about the nights I have yogurt for dinner because I had four hours of class before I get home after all day at work, and the bone dead tired that makes me feel too tired to breathe.  At least it's a fatigue that comes from doing something I believe in.  I've been working with people who are mentally ill.  It is fascinating to talk to people who see the world much differently than me.  Sometimes they hear voices, see things, or just have bizarre thoughts running through their heads at random intervals.  So while I take a break from reading research and textbooks about it, I'm talking to people and learning about the world through their eyes, in their words, and in their voices.  While my mind learns through all my senses, hopefully, my body will have a chance to heal.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chronic illness and Everyday problems

Taking a Research Methods class has been difficult and taking all my time. If you've missed me I'm sorry.  I have learned a lot about research studies on medical and psychology topics.  Effect size was a statistic - my previous class had neglected to mention.  Effect size is important because it allows you to compare the strength of correlation between variables in a way that allows you to compare it to other studies and other findings.
One study on Celiac Disease found "Greater psychological distress and a greater tendency to catastrophize (i.e., to view illness in a pessimistic and negativistic manner) were associated with impaired daily functioning" (Dorn, S.D. & et. al. , 2010).   All I can say is "duh." Maybe, the pessimistic view of the illness should be a hint to doctors and friends that someone has impaired daily functioning.   That finding could probably be generalized to other diseases.
What does this mean for my writing?  It means I will understand research and be able to endow my characters with research based psychological distress and the tendency to catastrophize in appropriate ways.  That's an educated way of saying my characters will have real issues with real-world reactions.  There are times I read books and wonder if people really have the worries that the character has.  Then I wonder if the writer doesn't have enough to worry about in real life.  But that's the problem with chronic illness, it makes everyday stuff and everyday problems look small.  Research has found one of the blessings of chronic illness is that those who experience it actually cope better with the everyday stuff -- It cuts it down to size.  Life and death issues seem to trump life's little irritations.
Nobody's problems are insignificant, but when your problems get bigger it gives you a different outlook on life.  It makes me appreciate my granddaughter's two-year-old problems.  I feel for her and try to teach her to solve them, but mainly know I just need to love her and treat her kindly until she figures it out.  I enjoy watching it and try to remember a time my problems were that small and so very devastating.  I hope God is loving me and thinking my problems are small in the same way.

FYI - The grandbaby is here and doing well.
I'm reading Sarah Eden's new books so I will have new reviews soon. 


Dorn, S.D. & et. al. (2010). Psychosocial Factors Are More Important Than Disease Activity in Determining Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Health Status in Adults at a Celiac Disease Referral Center, Dig Dis Sci, 55, 3154–3163. DOI 10.1007/s10620-010-1342-y

Friday, January 11, 2013

Problems and blessings

I have a midterm next week and a new grandbaby due soon.  What are the odds they'll happen the same day?  That would be a problem, I need points from class attendance and I really want to see the new baby as soon as I can.

I work with people everyday who tell me about a string of bad luck, or redefine Murphy's Law.  One thing I know is that everybody has nothing but problems.  Do they really or does it just seem that way?  We like to focus on the unusual to make our lives seem less mundane.  So does a bunch of bad or stressful stuff really happen all at once? Or is it just that we are focused on what's different?

I brush my teeth or take a drink of water more often than bad stuff happens to me but I don't remember brushing or drinking.  We don't remember the mundane. The good things in life and small blessings sometimes become so common that they cease to be unusual.  Don't be tricked into just focusing on the problems or the bad. 

Start looking for blessings and I bet you'll see more of them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Idea Creations Press: Writing in the New Year

This is my friend Kathryn Jones take on how to organize your writing in the New Year:
Idea Creations Press: Writing in the New Year: What do you want for your writing in the new year? I've previously written about organizing your writing life, but when it comes to actual...

Connections: Cherish Each Moment

This is a great link to what my friend Christy Monson had to say about the Sandy Hook Tragedy:
Connections: Cherish Each Moment: After the shock, horror, and grief all of us felt over the events of this past week, I began to look for the blessings they brought ...

Writers On Vacation

I kind of took a vacation from writing from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  I say "kind of"  because I wrote several academic papers for school in that time period.  Now, I feel refreshed and ready to go again for the New Year.

Some of the funny things that happened during that time:
My grand-daughter has been potty trained but has discovered a fear of automatic flush toilets.  I think many adults are afraid of them too.  I hate it when they go off unexpectedly when you're putting on the toilet seat cover or just adjusting your seat.  It is a first world problem as they say.

Everybody I know got two copies of Disney's Cinderella for Christmas.  I took my extra one back to Walmart and traded it for Disney Pixar's Brave.  Even my son who hates animation loved it.

Utah finally got a good dose of snow and my car door froze shut.  When I was trying to yank open the door, my feet slipped out from under me and I did an unexpected snow angel on the way to work.

My mother-in-law bought my very hard to shop for husband, Doritos and Dr. Pepper for Christmas; exactly, what he asked for :) .

I was going to finish editing a book during "Christmas Vacation" from school and I haven't even touched it yet.  I spite of it all, I'm happy to have spent time with my family over the holidays.  The book will wait patiently until I get it done, but my family has grown up too fast.  My favorite Christmas gift this year was a picture book done by my parents.  It has pictures  of them and then a couple pages for each of my siblings families with things that have happened this year.  It includes my son's wedding and pictures of my brother's wife who died this year.  Joy and sadness make up life, and it was good to take a moment and see the year in review.

May you all have a Happy New Year!