Sunday, December 30, 2012

let's talk more about mental health

This is an article written by mother of 13 year old boy who missed school the day of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut.  She shares her opinion and story about why we should focus more on people's mental health and less on gun control.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Long walk. Part of gift.

I want to share a story I recently heard.

The story was about a child who gave a sea shell to his or her teacher as a gift.  The child's teacher accepted the shell and commented how beautiful the shell is and how it looked like something the child could have only gotten from a place far away from where they were.  The child said this was correct and told the teacher where it came from and named a beach far away.  The teacher said the child should not have gone all that way to get the shell as a gift.  The child said, "Long walk.  Part of gift".  The moral of the story was that during holiday seasons or when giving gifts, we often give physical gifts such as books, toys, clothes, etc. but to remember to look beyond those gifts at who gave them to us and remember that there are always family and friends who take long walks with us.  Those people who give us gifts when the gifts are gone, when the clothes are outgrown, or the books are read, or the toys are broken or passed on to others because they are also outgrown, those people are still there, they have made a commitment to take a "long walk" with us through life, stand by our side when we have loss, when we have gain, during happy and sad times, those people who given the gifts are really what giving is about, not just the gifts.   Hope you enjoyed this story like I did.

And always remember, "Long walk.  Part of gift".

Apple Fest Bag 1

A couple of years ago, some of our friends got a present for another friend and gave it to him in a gift bag that had a pretty neat concept.  The bag was intended to be used over and over again for gift giving, and when you received a gift in this bag, before you passed it along to someone else, you would go to the website, which was attached or provided somehow with the gift, and sign your name, when you received the gift, and location (possibly where you received the gift and where you live, if it's different).  This information gives everyone a sense of where the bag travels! :)

Over the course of my masters degree I have interned a lot at Hetlinger Developmental Services, Inc. in Emporia, KS.  I have worked with many clients developing art therapy for their individual needs and this coming semester will be doing my masters project with several people there.  We will be working on a large group mural.  I love Hetlinger.  Every Fall they have an Apple Fest where they sell apples.   The consumers (the adults with developmental disabilities who use their day services) pick and prepare the apples and sell other apple related goods.  This past September 2012, I went to the Apple Fest and purchased two small canvas bags decorated with apples.  I would like for the first one to be treated just as the bag that was given to my friend.

If you have received this apple bag with leaves on one side, and a big red apple on the other, please comment on this blog.  You can put your name or whatever username you identify with online as there are a few options when you leave a comment.  The option that you can just use your name, it will ask for a URL, but it will allow you to leave your comment with just your name.

When you comment, please include the location you received the gift bag and/or where you live, or if you were traveling while you received the gift.  It is up to you how detailed on location to be.  Also, please include the date (month) you get the bag if you do not comment around that time.  The blog will post a date if you comment at the time you receive it.

Please do not forget when passing on the bag with a gift, to pass on the url info of this blog! Thanks everyone :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

thankful for you

If you are reading this, I am thankful for you.  Whether you stumbled upon my blog, or I sent you to this page intentionally, I am thankful, so please keep reading.  I have been contributing to this blog much more over the past year and I have really enjoyed it. I thank those of you who read it. And I am forever thankful for each person who has been part of my life to help me grow into the individual I am today. I could not have gotten to this point without the village who has helped raise me (and yes, I know that is part of an African proverb).  But it's so very true.  I am blessed with amazing genetics of two parents that bring me great health daily.  And though over the years I have faced challenges with my health, it really seems small when I look out into the world and see all that could possibly be. My health is great. I am thankful for the ongoing support and love of my family. I have an amazing significant other who stands beside me. I have made it this far being ME with support of family, extended family, friends, my partner, mentors, teachers, professors, educators, colleagues, classmates, supervisors, bosses, pets, and more.  I just finished my next to last semester of my master of science degree and I graduate this coming May 2013.  This is a new and exciting time for me as I begin to look for jobs this coming Spring and probably move somewhere new again.  I could not have done any of this without your care and support.  Thank you for being in my life! :)  Here's to my final semester of grad school and finding a job!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

one day at a time

Someone I know lost her battle with cancer yesterday. I am honored to have met such a wonderful person who in so many ways wanted to fight, not just for herself but for others, too.

I found this today. Completely on accident, I found Stupid Cancer's facebook page, which has a bunch of videos. I picked the one that I wanted to share. 

PLEASE take a few minutes to watch this.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

google hangouts

Use google hangouts to talk to one person

or multiple people! It's so much fun.

Check it out. hangout

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Learn, Teach, Explore

Livemocha is a wonderful website I was recently recommended and just recently started using.  It has a variety of languages to explore and learn.  Take a leap! Immerse yourself in another culture virtually :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Soul Vegetarian Mac and Cheese

Made a batch of this awesome Vegan Mac and Cheese a bit over a month ago and packaged it for the freezer.  Just finished it at the end of last week.  It lasted so long and it was yummy!

Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is beautiful?

Found a post on a blog today.....turns out it was worth reading.

What is beautiful?

You are beautiful.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What do you see?

Austin sent me a link to this art. This one is my favorite. Click the photo to link and see what it really is, but first think about what you see :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Heart Melted

This melts my heart.  I know I want to adopt a child one day. Interning this summer at a center for people with developmental disabilities, it's hard not to fall in love with some of the kiddos you interact with daily. And then coming across adoption stories like Tracie's, makes me really wonder who I will adopt and what my life will be like in 10 years.  This is absolutely beautiful.  I found out about her story from the International Down Syndrome Coalition (click photo below to link).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Life long friendship

Tonight I was looking at my blog when I realized I had some old drafted blog posts I never published!  This was one I thought worth editing.  Spring semester 2006 I met one of my first friends in Tallahassee.  Today he is one of my best friends and will be life long. Our last couple of years living in Tallahassee, our thing was going to coffee.  I started this blog post the last day we went to coffee before he was leaving for South Africa for the summer, and when our coffee date was over I wished him a wonderful summer.  By the time he returned from summer, I had moved to Kansas to start grad school, and as soon as he got back, he moved to California with his girlfriend to start grad school, also. He said to me that day, "See you soon."  And I knew it would be true.  I would never let such a good friend go.  Later that school year, Austin and I visited San Francisco for Spring Break and we had a lovely time with Nike and Stephanie.  This past summer, he traveled to Jordan to work on his Master's thesis research.  I am so lucky to have such a motivated, compassionate, intelligent, thoughtful, and beautiful friend in my life, Nike Start.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How I celebrated International Dot Day

Earlier this week I blogged about making your dot and that blog entry linked to a great idea about International Dot Day, which actually is today! I celebrated all week by sharing the book, "the dot" by Peter H. Reynolds with my fellow grad students, and suggesting a dot mandala directive.  I also shared this story with pre-schoolers I work with on Mondays.  I did the same dot directive with them.  I pre-cut blank circles, and provided them with crayons.  After I read the story aloud to them, I suggested they draw circles, or dots.  After a couple minutes, I also gave them bingo markers, and let them paint dots.  They really enjoyed this.

the "dot mandala" I made

animated version of Peter H. Reynold's "the dot"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poster Girl

Yesterday in my Supervision class for Internship we watched a documentary called "Poster Girl".  I think it is a very powerful documentary and pertains perfectly to today(9/11/2012).  A young lady named Robynn Murray enlisted in the army at the end of September in 2001.  She was only 19 years old, and said she had no idea what she was getting into.  The documentary is semi-graphic with depicting what she saw in other countries such as blood, people dying, etc.  It talks about her struggle with the VA (Veterans Affairs) to get a disability check after coming back to America and suffering from many physical illnesses as well as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  She gets involved with an organization called "Combat Paper" and creates some art to help her through her healing process.  She claims that art kept her alive.  I think it is a wonderful film and portrays Robynn's message well.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

SMB: Satisfied

Not the best video or audio because it was recorded with a phone, but wanted to share this song!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Make your dot

Want to make your dot?  You can.  Do it next week for international dot day.  I am going to a dot art directive next week with pre-school age children while interning to inspire creativity.  What will you do for dot day?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Putting perspective into words: I am thankful.

Tuesday my "Bahamas Family" met as a group for the first time since we returned from our trip.  We shared our various assignments that we all created on our ipads while we were there.  If I have not previously mentioned, my professor had a grant which funded ipads for the art therapy program.  We were the first group to use them, and we had photo assignments and a project to make with the ipads on this trip.  I made an etsy site for the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled, which I previously blogged about.  A couple others made movies, which were lovely.  Two girls made a scrapbook together, and a few girls blogged.  Everyone did a wonderful job.  It was so nice to have everyone together again and share what we created.  While I was presenting my photo assignment, I got to one, and paused for a moment because I was not sure why I had included it in the presentation.  I had remembered taking the photo because I thought the neon on two of my new friends shoes were neat because they matched.  But underneath the photo, I had written "I am thankful" and the assignment for this photo was to find "something learned".  As I was speaking to my "Bahamas Family", I laughed and said, I don't know why I chose this photo, but I can tell you what I learned on this trip.  I learned how thankful I am to be able to walk.  The very last day we were all volunteering, one of our professors walked in from the heat, and said "I am thankful for air conditioning", and after taking the entire trip in and processing everything, I realized, and said to her, "I am thankful to walk".  It was a very emotional moment for me when I realized this. The culture is so different from ours.  If I had been born and lived my early childhood years in the Bahamas, or maybe another culture, instead of America, and not had been blessed with all of the surgery and physical therapy I have had, I may not be able to walk as well as I do.  I am so thankful to walk.  And I am so thankful for this experience.  About midway through telling my story to my "Bahamas Family" in class this past Tuesday, I realized why I selected shoes as the photo for "something learned".

You all can take a look at my photo, too.  Enjoy.
"something learned"

Sunday, September 2, 2012

art therapist blog and an artistic savant

Art therapist, Liz Beck blogs about a very talented artist. Take a look at her blog and this wonderful video for some ouuus and ahhhss!

See Stephen Wiltshire below, you'll be impressed :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Montessori's 142nd Birthday

I taught at a Montessori school as a teacher's assistant for 3 years during undergrad.  I remember the progression of my thinking, wondering if I could possibly ever send my own children there and when I left I was absolutely in love.  I learned so much from this alternative atmosphere!  I can only hope there is a school as amazing as Seminole Montessori around when I have little ones.  Check out Google's feature today on Maria Montessori and her 142nd birthday!  Happy Birthday, Maria.  You are one unique, gal.

Montessori's Birthday & 10 famous people who graduated from her schools

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Etsy for the BAPD

We all had to make an ipad project and I chose to make an etsy site for the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled (BAPD).  I am selling notecards featuring art made by the children from our trip, and all the profits will be mailed directly to the BAPD.  Please take a look at what is available.  There will be more coming soon and more photos coming soon, too! Enjoy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

llama, llama!

I got an email the other day from my professor about llama therapy and I could not help but think of one of my favorite children's book series. "llama, llama...."

Enjoy this awesome video about llama therapy!

coming soon

I have been soaking up my experience from the Bahamas for a month now.  Now and then I sit down to write the words that so often either come to my head or I express to others so well, but for whatever reason they will not flow freely on the page like they do from my mouth when I share my experience or when I quietly reflect.  Coming soon, I promise, I will share more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saving Starfish One at a Time

Each day I feel like the children are a little more comfortable. Today we worked on the power of smile and laughter, and the kids had a ton of fun decorating sunglasses and making kites. Day by day these children leave a print on my heart and I can only hope we're doing the same.  My professor told us a story at the beginning of our trip about a boy who walked along the sea shore picking up star fish, tossing them back into the ocean, one by one. Another person stopped the boy to ask why he was doing it because he wouldn't make a difference, and he said sure he would. He would help this one, and he picked up a star fish and tossed it in the ocean, saving its life, and he'd help this one, and he picked up another. He went along, one by one, helping as many star fish as he could. I realize now, why my professor shared this story with us. She told us in all the international work she does, sometimes it feels this way, but what she didn't mention, was the bittersweet feeling within it. It is a wonderful feeling to help that one starfish, and the next one or two that you are able, and it fills you with happiness, but it's hard not to want to help so much more, whether it be more time or more people, the feeling of wanting to give more resides within me, and I know when this trip is over, I will have to seek a different way of helping. I will not be able to have the hands on interaction in which such wonderful relationships have been created these past couple weeks. Being present while with the children is easy, but staying in the present after the volunteer work is done is harder. It's easier to think about next week when I will be gone, and this is where the bittersweet feelings come back.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Relating to someone with a disability

Today I got some time to myself to speak to an aid at the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled. She has a mild case of cerebral palsy. Her arms are very strong and she is in a wheelchair but she is able to do everything for herself. She is cognitively very intelligent and very educated. She is absolutely wonderful and I sincerely enjoyed the one on one conversation. She expressed how pleased she is with everything we are doing and she shared with me some of her experiences of having a disability and being treated less. She asked if it was the same in the United States. I told her a little bit about my own disability, lipomyelomeningocele (associated with spina bifida) and how even though I can walk, I cannot run, jump, and I am not nearly as fast and coordinated as lots ofpeople and I am often treated differently, and it is something I have had to learn to deal with. I told her even though our culture is different I thought the average person still treated someone with a disability differently because they did not know any better and we do have to prove to them we are able. We talked about how proving ourselves is hard sometimes but we can do it. I think she liked finding out that I had been through so much and was there still helping the children, just as she was, even though her life has been completely different than mine, we could relate a little. I have always feared that I might have children with disabilities because of my own. I have read a lot online from other mothers who have heathy  children with no neurological problems or complications, but when you have grown up in and out of hospitals I suppose it is a valid fear. Seeing and working with her is a wonderful inspiration and I know if she can raise two children, than I certainly can.  In the United States we hear about athletes who have a prothsetic leg and have run marathons but I have never been very athletic. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have new feet, but then I also remember how lucky I am to walk. So what if I cannot run or jump like everyone else can. I am blessed with so many wonderful friends, family, and experiences, new feet are small in the large picture ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fast Eddie Danes and Junkanoo

Yesterday we met Fast Eddie Danes. Later that evening we already had plans to go to a Junkanoo parade. Turns out he's quite the dancer around here! He even knows one of our professors, Dr. Cherry. When we first met him, we had no idea. Junkanoo is normally at the end of December but they have parades now and then for others to enjoy when they visit the Bahamas.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Week One in the Bahamas

I expected some difference in culture when going to work with children who have developmental disabilities in the Bahamas but there is not even a professor who could have prepared me for what I experienced my first day at the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled. They do not take children with disabilities anywhere over here. It costs too much money to raise a child with a disability. And then think about the cost of education needed for Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, Physical therapy etc. The children here have a ST who is not from here who comes a couple times a week. The lack of PT is very sad. But they do not have the money or insurance we have in the US. It really gives you a perspective on the poverty level in America. Just wanted to share a little. I'll share more soon.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

writing for therapists or clients?

I was talking with a Andrew, a music therapist at my internship recently, and he made a valid point about music therapists' blogs.  He mentioned that when music therapists blog, they blog for other music therapists and what would really make a good blog, is a blog for the clients.  And I thought, wow! Art therapists blog for each other, too. In fact, I am not sure I have seen a lot of blogging for clients, unless I am reading in the wrong places.

Gathering clients this summer at my internship site, my supervisor suggested that I make a flier to hang around the building and pass out to some parents.  After I did, she said it was a little wordy for someone who did not know what art therapy was, but it would still be okay to use.  Looking at it again, I realize how easy it is to write to another therapist and how much harder it is to write to the general public about art therapy.  In fact, this blog entry is probably still geared to other therapists.  However I think it is a wonderful thought and a great goal to incorporate blog entries to intrigue everyone, including potential clients.

My flier I handed out at my internship and example of writing for a therapist when I could have been writing for parents.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Have you ever gotten a text and misinterpreted completely?  I know written language can often read like many things if you are not careful.  I just stumbled upon a funny example.

This past week I was working on a display at my internship for the children to stand in front of so the parents could take their photos on the last day of school.  Some people wanted the theme of the celebration to be hollywood or superhero.  A class I am in this summer for school is traveling to work with children in another country similar to the children at my internship, and the art therapy we will be doing with them is theme based on superpowers you can find within yourself and your community such as smiles, laughter, friends family, etc.

I talked to an art teacher at my internship about the idea and we discussed how being a superhero is just being yourself and she loved it.  An idea for the display was buildings with several powerful words like in comics, but as if the kids were creating them in the sky.  "Kapow, Kazaam, etc"

Tonight I saw this "Kapow" come on my artist a day and when I clicked on it and then saw a gun beneath it, it was the last thing I expected.  But, a gun is powerful, I guess.  Just not in the way I was thinking.
Perspectives are important :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guess Who? by Noma Bar

Austin showed me an article he found about a very interesting way of making portraits.  Noma Bar captures each person in such a unique with over 50 portraits! Take a look for yourself.

Harry Potter

Monday, May 14, 2012

first day

Today was my first day interning at Progressive Pediatric Developmental Center.  I loved it, and have already learned so much!  I can tell it's going to be a wonderful experience and a busy summer.  The therapists and staff who work there are great.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

finished first year of graduate school

I have finished my first year of graduate school in art therapy counseling at Emporia State University and it has been lovely.  It has had many ups and downs, and I have faced several challenges.  It was a long and hard year, but I made it through and now reflecting on it, I can truly say, I loved it.  I love everything I can take away from the experience and I am excited to start my new internship next week!  I have said a couple times now that I want to blog more or that I am going to try to blog more often, but I realize how often time gets away and I do not come on here.  However, I also realize how often I read fabulous articles or find great tools for school, and could simply archive them in a form of a blog online, and share them with others in the field, so this summer (third time is the charm, right?) I really am going to try to start a new habit!  I am going to blog. I am going to reflect on this past year more and share good finds related to art therapy, and maybe just throw in some fun that relates to my life, because after all, this is my blog....I can do what I want :)