Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Young Women

I absolutely adore the Young Women I work with. I am so grateful for them. I love being with them and learning from them. You see, they are building the spiritual foundations for their lives. It's amazing to watch them build, without even knowing it, important pieces of the person they will be in 10, 15, 20 years. They have my respect and love. They are courageous, they are learning, and they love the gospel. They seek diligently to be close to their Heavenly Father.

It's been along time since I built my spiritual foundation. An amazingly strong foundation, forged in adversity (like steel pounded carefully in a fire). But since then, I have been quite busy... learning how to survive as a young single adult, building a happy productive spiritual young single adult life, building myself as professional, building myself as a wife, a home owner, building myself as a mother, as a Young Womens leader. Wow. My little pyramid has gotten quite tall. It think it's easy for all of these roles and responsibilities to get a little top heavy on the pyramid if you work so hard that you forget about the foundation. I am grateful for them. For their reminders to focus on the foundation and let that foundation strengthen everything else, from the ground up.


Ok. It sucks being 32. I know it's taboo to be so honest, but for me, it sucks being 32. I smile and I'm happy, but in a very real way, I find myself in mourning. Mourning the loss of my mother. In shock that she really was this young (my age) when she died. (I still think I'm 20.) Mourning all the years of my childhood- or what was supposed to have been my childhood-- alone. I just read this story about this young girl who was orphaned when her dad died her freshman year of high school. It told of her joy, her sucesses, and her determination. It was like I was reading my own story- only extend the thing all the way back to 3rd grade. Add a LOT more home turn overs, schools, living inches from the streets, poverty.

When I was a sophomore at Texas Tech, we watched a video about kids living on the streets. Everyone else in the class was shocked because of their conditions. I was shocked because their situation looked so familiar- and I had never realized that we were living "on the streets" or close to it all those years. Digging in dumpsters for cans, "camping" for months on end, nomads. My father finally got desperate enough that he drove us up to my aunt's house (I was 13- 7th grade). My father left, supposedly for the weekend, but he never came back. And when he left, We were alone! Left to be taken advantage of. Vulnerable. Without a father, our only protection was the gospel. I clung to it for dear life. My brother wasn't so lucky. I escaped Sodom and Gomorrah when I was 15. But only to experience another 3 sets of parents before I went to college. Either they couldn't provide a safe environment- or they really didn't want me- It was always one or the other.

My pain, my loss, my fears. They are real. And sometimes, I guess, the soul inside of me just needs to me to acknowledge the inflamed old wounds, change the bandaging, and try to let it alone again for a while to let it heal some more.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I keep hearing this word lately. I think it's kind of a funny concept. I get it, but certainly don't see the world that way... Full of people with more or less imperfections.

I guess I think of the world and the people in it more fluidly. I think my favorite thing about people is their quirks. Most people's greatest strengths ARE their greatest weakness. They aren't flaws- just characteristics. Texture. My friend at work is very opinionated & determined. You certainly wouldn't want her mad at you, but Man- this girl will go to bat for you when you need help. Same characteristic is both a strength and a weakness Me- I'm very flexible- also less organized. Sensitive & sensing the emotions of others- also insecure. Dave is loving & reassuring- also sensitive.

Now, there are skills that folks have/ have not developed. My occupation has trained me well at identifying these. Heck- I can list off several of these skills I am working on at any one time. I can also usually tell you what behavior plans we are working on with B at any given time. But these strengths & weaknesses are separate from personality- even if they deal with pragmatics (social skills).

Now skill development/ or the lack thereof affects what opportunities we have available to us in life. They form the staircases and roadblocks along our path...our sucess in relationships and ecomically in life. There is wisedom in tackeling them early before they snowball.

Of course, occasionally life throws a huge honkin' bolder on our path. You can be doing all the right things in life and then some huge boulder lands in your way, or on you. Usually these are caused by death, disability, natural disaster, or the stupid choices of others. I'm sure there are other reasons too. Those are just the ones that come to mind. These total life rebuilds are not a lot of fun. My childhood was marked LOTS of these. I've faced a couple of nasty roadblock re-routes as an adult (as many as 7-8 in one year... Whew... What an aweful year), but luckily not any huge honkin' boulders. I think everyone faces a couple of these in life. Might as well plan for 'em. Good news is, it's a grand opportunity to build a shiney new life. Bad news is it takes years of serious, courageous, and dilligent effort. Funny thing is- not always, but usually, it's the personality and the skills you bring into it- or develop in order to survive the experience- that affect your ability to conquer and find joy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I sometimes wonder why every good thing I do outside if my immediate family feels like I am banging my head against a brick wall. I know it makes a difference, but why does it have to be so frustrating/ painful?

My little bird

It's interesting the almost physiological response I feel to my son's voice. It's like my ears are sensitively tuned to the slightest peep from my little bird. He's not even tiny anymore, but the response is still the same. I'm sure it's nature's way of ensuring that mothers stay close.... Some kind of biochemical change that makes it practically impossible not to respond. And being near him is like sitting next to 3 year old/can't sit still to save his life ROYALTY. I find myself simply smiling. Not some big huge smile (unless I'm making goofy faces at the kid), but a simple quiet smile. Peace and joy diffusing from everywhere inside- where the soul and essential biochemistry meet. A familiar face. I remember that smile. "You're my pride and joy" she said. And inside my pixy-like 6,7,8 year old body...I knew. I was nothing less than adored.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Caught up in a mess

I hate it when you get caught up in someone else's mess. Here I am, minding my own business when our secretary's 20 year old son walks in and unabashedly calls our Department head a B----. Wow. To be honest, the comment provided no new information re: Anette's feelings, but it certainly made them clear. So- I could ignore it altogether, but no matter what She Will have a panic attack by the end of the week. (There's a history here.) The only thing I can do is make clear my ever so neutral position and encourage communication between the battling parties. In the meantime, it's hard not to laugh, Seriously, could her son possibly have said a stupider thing. ( yes... Stupider is the correct word for the circumstance. )

Sunday, April 05, 2009


So I have this client, who I think is awesome. Amazing person with lots of potential. Unfortnately, every once in a while (increasing in frequency), the client just gets beligerent, refusing to participate in activities which are specifically designed to help the client and the others in the group to develop important skills. The client is sweet, kind, & even helpful as long as you don't expect her to complete something. Then she gets defiant. The behavior itself is minutely frustrating, but somewhat manageable. What is Really frustrating is that the client's family tells the client, "I don't care if you do it or not. It's not important". Way to go! I always think it's a great idea to encourage rude and non- cooperative behavior. If it's not important, then why are you even sending the client? These days the client will approach me with the specific purpose of making rude comments. To be honest, I've started to avoid interacting with her. If I can let one of the other therapists do the interacting, I do. It's not worth it to me to put up with the abuse the client dishes out when the family is supporting it.
I genuinely care about the client, but what's the point?!?! I'm starting to wonder why I even bother. It's becoming way too painful to care. If this behavior continues, this client will miss out on an enourmous amount of important and valuable experiences in life. In the meantime, I'm getting tired of this crap!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Behavior management

There is hardly a day when I don't remember how grateful I am for my training as an SLP. The field has provided me with the skills to make a difference in the lives of disabilities, provided me with a flexible and well paid occupation, and taught me a large number of useful skills.
But probably most of all, I am grateful for the behavior modification training. I know others do it successfully, but I can't imagine being a mom without this knowledge.
For example,the past week or so our cute boy keeps pelting me with random objects. Of course this has earned him lots of trips to time out. So yesterday morning I woke up--- duh April. What is the function of the behavior? Why is he doing this? What is he getting out of it? What is he trying to communicate?...... Well, hello. The kid is Just learning to throw. He has no idea that he could hurt people or objects or animals. He's just developing a new skill. I can continue to try to punish the behavior and wind up with a kid with my fine motor skills- or worse- Dave's. OR I can teach the cute kid how, when, where, & what to throw.


So- I'm in Austin for TxSHA conference. I would Much rather be at home with my husbie and my baby. But we had a productive day, so it's good. So I'm sitting with my feet up on the window sill in my hotel room watching the cars drive back and forth across towne lake bridge. Tranquility in motion. Much like those 1960s lava lamps- an apt comparison for the place. I always loved Austin. I had more fun here in college than any human possibly could on $600 a month. Smiles all around on those simple, adventurous days.