Sunday, October 30, 2011

A mid-semester vacation in Oregon. :)

Long overdue and soon to be overshadowed by the next big event (Halloween is tomorrow, after all), I would be REMISS if I failed to post about the awesomeness that went down October 12-17th, 2011 in and around Beaverton, Oregon, USA.

And what better way to start this trip down memory lane than with this lovely picture (it's not blurry, the majority of people in it are smiling and as a special bonus, you are now privy to one of the many classic expressions of James).

Unfortunately, the time I have allotted myself to this post is quite limited (in light of some things I really must accomplish today). Don't judge too harshly, I'm consorting to homework on the Sabbath! But it's one of those "once in a blue moon" scenarios--it just so happens that my last "blue moon" was only four weeks ago...hmm, I'm getting distracted! No time for such shenanigans!

20 minutes left. Ready, set, go!

I arrived in Portland late Wednesday night (as did my parents) so we had essentially four uninterrupted days together in which we managed to do quite a lot of things!

Thursday: Spent some time in Jennie and Paul's new home! Was introduced to "green smoothies" for the first time. Ate a delicious homemade pizza for lunch that Jennie whipped together in 20 minutes (literally, start to finish!). Went to Forest Grove, visited Natalie's campus (known to locals and others not in our family as Pacific University) and acted as "patients" for Natalie to practice on. Fun fun and more fun!

Friday: Multnomah Falls. (I've digressed from fragments to grossly under-represented abbreviations)

Saturday: Trip to the coast (Cannon Beach, another beach that was a State park, I think?) and Tillamook Cheese Factory!

Sunday: Oh. Out of time. My bad, but I better be going!

BEAUTIFUL places + DELICIOUS food + time with AMAZING people/relationships called FAMILY = a tremendous blessing for which I am truly grateful. And on top of everything, it turned out to be a blissful break from the stress and demands of the PhD process I apparently volunteered to endure. :)

Whew! Now that that's been taken care of, HAPPY HALLOWEEN everybody!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New goal: Singing in the shower.

But seriously! I'll explain...

As many of you know I've had some significant fears and shall we say 'reservations' about the field I'm preparing to enter and the nature of the work I'll be doing. I think the R-rated movie analogy is probably the most succinct in capturing the dilemma: If therapy is an R-rated movie (as I have heard it described to me and can somewhat understand in my limited experience, at least as far as content goes), how/why do I want to go there? Lover of light and other uplifting things that I am, I was (and still am at times) terrified by the prospect of becoming a therapist and listening to really dark stuff day in and day out. There, context established.

So I was reading this book about pornography addiction and recovery and then decided I'd take a shower tonight rather than in the morning since I see my first client at 8:00 in the am! I was in one of those good moods where you just start singing almost without thinking and ended up going through a few songs starting with "I love to see the temple" and ending with "Come Thou Fount." But it was kind of sad because I didn't know all the words like I wanted to! So I got to thinking (as I am prone to do) and decided I would like to learn the primary songs better, for several reasons but I'll mention two. First, I want to be well-versed in them and have them in my arsenal, so to speak (that sounds so extreme!) for when I'm a mom and can use them to soothe and teach my children. I love the power and comfort of music and love love love the Spirit it invites--which leads to my second reason! I want to protect and nurture that uplifting influence of the Spirit in my life (especially in light of becoming a therapist and the necessity of hearing/seeing/reading some things I'd often rather not spend my time thinking about).

I should clarify. I've been really blessed and it hasn't been like I feared. In fact, it's actually pretty cool. All my fears about the things clients would talk about--well I got a lot of those issues in the first week. And it turns out, it's fine! I'm fine! We're all fine! And singing primary songs? Well, I think it helps and will help, for life in general!

P.S. So I didn't anticipate doing this, but I think I'm going to turn this blog private. I know, I'm sorry. But you're all invited! (or I guess I should say you will all be invited). Now that I'm seeing clients and this is google-able, which makes me just seems like it would be best for the sake of boundaries and safety. Make sense?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Reasons to smile!

Well, I don't have any particular reason to be posting this evening but I've been told I should post more often. That's right, I have a fan! (Natalie, you make me feel like a blogging rock star.) Lest any one of you feel left out, I do appreciate each and every person who views my humble virtual abode as worthy of your time and attention in this vast and varied avenue we call our blogosphere. It's truly an honor. (A little hint though, leaving comments helps me know you were here and makes me feel special and loved. Just sayin'. Not a guilt trip, merely a friendly reminder that pursuing the "Post a comment" path is a great way to show your fellow bloggers you care)...alright I'm done.

Oh but not really! We've only just LIVE! (Wow, it's surprisingly hard to try to quote one song while simultaneously listening to another in headphones. Try it sometime!) In all seriousness though, (well in whatever seriousness that can be mustered in this post about smiling), I give you the handful of things I've had to smile about today. :) :) :) Oh wow, there I go again! I just can't help it! Gotta love smiles bubbling over into laughter...

I think the biggest reason to smile of the day is merely that I'm feeling better! What a wonderful change in mind and body when one recovers from being ill. As a very wise woman commented to me today, "being sick is the pits!" It SO is! And I'm climbing out of those pits, baby! (Can I pull off "baby?" Too late, already did!)

Another reason to smile: great friends. Thanks to the friends in my life who though distance and/or circumstance may separate, love, concern and continued support endure! :D Big smile on that one!

Let's not forget the wonderful smile-inducing power of great music! Have you forgotten? It's okay. You can be reminded. But the trick is to find a song that is personal/moving to you. Those are the songs that will make you smile. The ones that did the trick for me today (interestingly but not inexplicably) included Out of my League by Stephen Speaks, Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood, You are Loved (Don't Give Up) and Remember when it Rained by Josh Groban. If I were feeling particularly ambitious, I'd try to hyperlink those for your convenience to a place that will play them for you. I guess you'll have to be proactive and ambitious on your own this time, folks. Might I suggest copy (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V)? I can recommend! Oh, see that? I must love you guys.

Alright, fourth and finally (didn't realize I was counting, did you?): taking pictures of yourself using your webcam. (Awkward, but true). Perhaps it's the very silliness of the act that prompts one to smile at the absurdity. We'll say I was modeling my semi-new, semi-rimless glasses just for you! Not convinced? Okay, I was kind of excited that I had color in my face again, is that vain? Very well. As my friends, the Beatles have proclaimed, "Let it be." (The pictures may not show the color very well, but trust me, I do get paler! I know, the mind shudders to think...)

And apparently, I was practicing lifting one eyebrow.
(I'll keep practicing.)

As Katie endearingly says, "You're silly, Jamie!" Yes, Katie. I am silly. But I am also smiling! That has to be a good sign, no? We have a lot of things in life to smile about.

Oh I thought of something(s) else! I know I already said "fourth and finally" but would you be so kind as to allow me a "fifth and formerly?" I have been smiling a lot this evening about the sounds of Fall spilling through my open window. Leaves rustling in the wind against the pavement. And...wait for it...rain! I love the sound, smell, taste and feel of rain. What sense am I missing? Oh yes, I like the look of it too.

Peace out. It's past my bedtime!

Oh and share your smiles. They're contagious.