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A Child Slept on my Office Couch Today

…because as if her childhood hadn’t been unstable enough, she had another traumatizing abandonment late last night. At 15 she has more life experience than I probably will in a lifetime- even basic needs are often absent.  Are we lucky or cursed that sleep is a gift we can give?

Inspiration of Late

Because it is late, but since I was inspired by my Girl Group today I thought I’d share a poem-ish I posted on social media a couple of weeks ago. ūüôā

Sisters of stone were warned, given the explanation that women didn’t belong in colleges, voting lines, offices, and mortgage statements. So glad they persisted.
My mom was warned, given the explanation that she loved too much. So glad she persisted.

My grandmothers were warned, given the explanation that they couldn’t take care of their families on their own. So glad they persisted. 

My mother-in-law was warned, given the explanation that she’d never make it in a new country. So glad she persisted.

My aunt was warned, given the explanation that she wouldn’t drive, go to college, and be independent with a disability. So glad she persisted. 

My cousins have been warned, given the explanations that they wouldn’t be successful establishing in new places by themselves. So glad they persisted.

My sister was warned, given the explanation that academia is not a career. So glad she persisted.

My friends have been warned, given explanations that following your heart won’t make you successful. So glad they persisted.

My fellow teachers had been warned, given explanations that the education field won’t make you rich, some kids just don’t want to learn from compassion. So glad they persisted. 

So many women in my life that stood for what they believe in and fiercely persisted, even when they were warned and given a million explanations that they were supposed to obediently follow…

because of them…

When I was warned, given the explanation that growing up fast would ruin my life, I persisted.  

Now my daughter is warned, it’s explained that she shouldn’t be loud, powerful, and strong. So glad she persists.

And now? Quite frankly, we all kick ass. 

#shepersisted

Moving On

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I’ve been hearing lots of chatter lately about people wondering whether they are where they should be. In relationships, an activity, a possible addiction, with kids (mine’s 15…oy vey), at our school or post, in our industry.

‘I’m done. I’m over it. I can’t do this anymore. Why am I here?’

It doesn’t mater what profession you are in, there are always signs of weary souls wandering around. ¬†But in the education profession, we walk a particular line with questions of moving on. We joke at work that it’s like an abusive relationship. ¬†We start the year fresh, excited, we get worn down, we are asked of more that we can give, we go unseen, we say we’re done. ¬†Then, right before we turn in our papers- TA DA! -we get a break (Spring, Summer, Winter? No difference at all). ¬†And in that sweet, sweet freedom, we say…’it’s not so bad.’ Ha! And the cycle continues year after year until we turn around and can’t believe we are getting another five-year paper weight.

It’s like when you go to Target and fill your basket impulsively with a million ridiculous kitchen gadgets, DVDs you’ll never watch, 70 ridiculous lay tiny towels,¬†and adorable stationary sets. ¬†You feel so good…until you get to the line and realize you work for the public school system and can’t afford any of that Target magicalness and empty it all but the peanut butter and Cheerios. ¬†But the feeling of pretending for a little bit is enough to hold you over. ¬†For 2 hours (albeit wasted), you were all 5 (I think) of the Kardashian sisters.

So I started thinking about what factors could be considered when trying to decide if it’s time to move on. ¬†I found three, mainly based on my BFF and main man, Viktor Frankl and his Existentialism. If you haven’t read Man’s Search for Meaning, throw your worthless electronic down and run -don’t walk- to a book store near you and get it. ¬†Well, unless you are into digital reading, then don’t throw your electronic down, dummy. I’m sorry, that was mean.

Anywho, I think these three things are the most important to consider when trying to decide if it’s time to move on. OK, here goes:

1. Letting go of the past- Have you tried, to the best of your ability, to let go of the past? ¬†This includes letting go of things you wish were true (even the age-old). ¬†Hanging on to what should or could be only gets us stuck, and keeps us from being able to view our prospects with clarity. ¬†You’ve got to let go of this and catalogue what is so that you know what the reality of the situation is.

2. Honest perspective- Have you really truly taken in other perspectives? Like, reeeallllllyyyyy tried. ¬†This means understanding the bigger picture, our role in the larger system, and getting clarity on your situation in context of what other people are going through. I know, I know, this seems in contradiction to the first consideration, but I don’t mean stopping on what could be, but understanding our situation in a larger manner to ensure we have not simply lost focus of a world in which¬†we are the center staple.

3. Effort toward contentment- Have you truly tried to find meaning in your situation? This one is a big nod to my Vik (we’re cool like that). A la #2, Frankl points out that Holocaust survivors, POWs, terminally ill, etc. report being able to find meaning in the moment. ¬†They can still appreciate something, and feel a meaningful existence by something. ¬†This is not to shame goal-seeky people though guys. I mean, a little fire goes a long way… and under the tush pushes us to do some amazing stuff. ¬†But this is more like a gut check. Have you truly put effort into finding contentment and holding tight to it? The trick is that you should feel contentment and meaning that is not based on how you feel, but rather your contentment in being a bystander to great things and other people as well.

So here’s the deal. ¬†I feel like these are really important to try, BUT they are not the end of the road. ¬†Sometimes we do everything we can (these three things included) and still cannot find happiness. ¬†It’s not that we’re not trying hard enough, maybe it’s that whatever situation you’re in has run its course. And it’s time to move on. ¬†Like, these make up the timeless 90’s movie’s holy grail. If they don’t work, maybe you’ve really exhausted your time and effort, and/or you are STUCK (and probably bitter) and you’ll get your full mojo back after moving on. Of course, if someone keeps moving around and still feels pooty, there might be some other things to contend with- patterns are super revealing.

 

House Pretty Weekend Therapy

House Pretty Weekend Therapy

Due to my recent obsession with Fixer Upper (damn you Jo and Chip! Just kidding, love you BBFFFFFFFF4evassssss!!!), I have been revamping a few things at home.  Lovely, lovely weekend therapy.

First, I took a look at my fireplace and knew it needed some work. ¬†It was bad. ¬†Of course, I love the rustic Jo and Chippyness (give me shiplap everywhere!!!) and I thought that might be perfect for the middle of fireplace. ¬†I also wanted to update the brick without doing the whitewash that’s popular right now because I love the red look. Here is the before (eek)-

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It’s rough. BBBUUUTTTT look at the magic of the concrete stain!

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And when it fully dries it really looks nice and natural.

Now, for the added wooden amazingness. ¬†I got standard (and cheap) 2x4s and a bunch of stains. It was super fun and really easy. ¬†I just layered and sanded. ¬†I LOVED the blue tinted and white stain, but I had to go easy because my husband lacks vision (and taste, not that I’m bitter, but I am).

 

And voila! I added some HomeGoods goods and am super happy with the results! ¬†For my bookish friends, I am smitten with myself over my theme- I pulled from my hoarded collection of books and decorated with banned books…in the fireplace..get it?!

OK, for time and space’s sake, I’ll add my refinished side table all together. ¬†I did a little work on the glass to make it look like mercury glass (with a vinegar and mirror glass spray paint party). ¬†It doesn’t, but I felt like it wasn’t a total Pinterest Fail because I am on a roll and choosing to be loyal. Leave it alone. Then, I used some good ‘ol chalk paint and did some distressing. ¬†Basically, I’m in love and we are getting married next week.

(PS- excuse the bad pictures and whatever that little piece of paper is next to the side table in the finished picture. I’m too lazy to take it again, so focus on the Buddha if it annoys our OCD tendencies as much as it does mine.)

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Confessions of a Social Anti-social

My husband has been known to drag me out of the house telling me to go to one social event or another and to stop being anti-social.  Anti-social?! How could he possibly call me that? I’m a counselor for goodness sakes.  I mean, I went through my whole Master’s Degree and have a whole profession surrounded by the fact that my gift, my talent, my -dare I say- genius status is based on my ability to be social (ok, genius might be a stretch, but it sounded cool).  And it finally hit me, I am an outgoing and social person who suffers from communication fatigue.

We learn a lot about compassion fatigue in school.  I know I am not there at this moment.  In fact, I am still at the point in my perfect job illusionment where a good emotional barrier (ok, and maybe a good story too) engages and intrigues me. But, it’s the other stuff, the in between, that drains my social brain.  It’s the “got a sec?” And the “can I talk to you?” And the “a parent is here to see you” ‘s that make me tired.

As counselors, we spend all day listening, calculating responses, and making sure that each and every sentence uttered out of every student, teacher, and parent is the most important and fascinating thing we have heard all day.  And when I get off? I’m not suddenly anti-social in nature, I’ve got communication fatigue!

I did it! …The Story of Etsy and I Begins!


I did it!  Two days into Snowcation 2016 I finally got it…THE SHOP IS OPEN! I’m not expecting huge results, but I am super excited that I finished a goal. Whoop whoop! This is especially true since snow days make you feel a little drugged, like I need to get my life to.ge.ther. I’m squealing, for real.

ÔĽŅSnow-Weekend Inspiration¬†

Ahhh…fresh off of Winter Break and my lucky tail gets an extended weekend for Snooooooowwwmagedddddooooonnnnn 2017!  I know, I know, we’ll have to make it up, but I am a big fan of enjoying it while it lasts and paying the piper later.  And enjoy I have.  Lucky ducky me, I got some books from Free Spirit Publishing, my favoritest place to get books for work and inspiration, right at the end of last week!  As part of the Advisory Board, Free Publishing periodically thanks us with book choices and I cannot get enough (their blog is also awesome with so much info and insight they will win you over with just that)!  Anywho, I received the books below and have not been able to put them down!


I recommend each and every book I get from Free Spirit, so I suppose this is overkill, but I recommend all three of these as necessities of a Middle School counselor’s box of tricks.  The Respect: A Girl’s Guide to Getting Respect and Dealing When Your Line is Crossed book is ridiculously amazing, and I would marry it if it were legal and I was not already married. For real.  It really speaks to young woman and is incredibly empowering in a super low-key classy way. 

I started to think about how I wanted all of my babies to be able to read this book.  In particular, how great it would be to have a girl’s group (girls’ group?) using the book as a guide to each session.  I have seen some really great girl’s groups that are centered around confidence and character building, but I find that they are often created for the girl who needs a confidence boost and place to exercise socialization and meeting friends.  Though there’s definately a place for that, sometimes it starts to feel marginalizing, as if all girls are broken and need to recognize how pretty, smart, and valuable they are.  But what about girls who are confident (quiet does not equal a lack of confidence), but don’t know how to use that confidence?  What about teaching strong young women how to use their stories and their amazing characters to walk around and own the place, and become power-house communicators and mountain-movers? This book seriously does just that.  Though there is some reflection on experiences past, it avoids revictimizing them, but instead uses those barriers to further empower themselves.  It tackles media, social perceptions, body image, relationships (WITHOUT the whole “mean girls” stereotype that my girls know they ARE NOT allowed to say in my office), and so much more in such a real way.  There is a short chapter on sex (I think it’s super tastefully done) which I think is a valuable message for girls, but borders on taking over where parents have the right to keep at their own pace.  But paper is made to be paper-clipped, so I don’t think it’s a problem with sharing the book. 

My initial thought was to buy 15 copies of the book to have at the school to run groups with.  Then I remembered I work for a middle school and this would blow our entire budget for the year that was already half-way spent.  Impossibility. And then I remembered the awesome websites one of my besties has had great success with: Donor’s Choose!  I decided to make a page and put it out there to see if I could get some books this way.  I was WWWAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY easier than I thought it would be, and I am bummed I haven’t used it sooner (as she points out all the time). So here it is, check it out after you’ve spent hours dreaming on the Free Spirit catalog!