Do you know what I really love (besides Chas, Archie pup, Zac Efron, and Justin Bieber)? Well, I'll tell you. I really love being in the middle of leading a group when I'm hit with this thought: "Woah, when did I suddenly turn into a legit therapist?" It's starting to cross my mind more and more and I'm really liking it. I'm feeling pretty competent and confident in what I do and how I do it. I love having asked a patient a question in group and, based off their response, being 100% sure that the question/comment was right on. It's evidence I'm learning and my capabilities are growing. I can feel the time in grad school and my post-grad work experience finally starting to mesh together to form a strong, able therapist. Feelings of confusion, uncertainty, and generally grasping for straws are beginning to fade. I'm learning less by error and more by trial and...dare I say, success? Yup. I do. Because success in groups is what I've experienced a whole lot of lately.
Also, today I just may have spent a few minutes of my time watching a Seventeen magazine cover shoot interview with America Ferrera (don't judge me). I'm actually really glad I did because she said this pretty awesome thing at the end:
"The moments where I feel most confident, and happy, and fulfilled are moments that I've brought to myself and not moments that other people have brought to me."
I totally agree with America on that one. There's a sense of pride and self-worth that comes from doing worthy things and doing them well.
And let me just qualify this post a little bit lest you start thinking I'm an overindulgent Gaston (think Beauty and the Beast).
Far too many of us out there focus on our negative traits 99.9% of the time. Every day we give so, so much. We impact the world in priceless ways. Not only do we not recognize the good we do enough but we actively take emotional whacks at our self. We compare ourselves to others (never a good idea), we discount the little, but important, positives, and we make ourselves feel inadequate. News flash: neither you nor I am inadequate! So stop focusing on everything you're not and start focusing on everything that you ARE!
If you haven't already checked out the new and improved Mormon.org site, you really should. And, thanks to Chas, they have tons of awesome little videos that profile different members of the church. Chas worked on editting a bunch of these so I got to see sneak peaks of them before the site went live. I'm the luckiest duck.
I personally know about 15 people who are either currently pregnant or have given birth in the last two months. Weird. Babies are everywhere and, for a few weeks, I have admittedly felt very baby hungry. I've also recently had a chance to be around a few of these newborns and I can now honestly say...thanks, but no thanks. I'm good. Which is to say, I am perfectly satisfied with the Sam-and-Chas-only life and don't really want that to change any time soon which is good because neither does Chas. Someday we and our financial circumstances will all feel differently but that day isn't today. It's not tomorrow, either. And do you know what's great? Right now, we can do whatever the heck we want whenever the heck we want and, I'll tell ya, it's pretty grand. Like this week for Family Night we read a short Ensign article, sang "Because I Have Been Given Much," and watched a few episodes of Arrested Development while eating a Family Night treat of vanilla sundaes. Last night we decided to go for a walk at about 10:30pm and then sit outside and watch the lightning storm.
I also am enjoying some time off of work lately. Not that I'm not working at all, just that my hours are much less than they have been. This means I get to sleep in a bit, putz around the house, do some much-need bathtub scrubbing, read, take an occasional nap, work on the syllabus and Powerpoints for my class, and muster the strength to write my book. All good, worthwhile things that I wouldn't have time to do as much of if I was taking care of a baby. So, for now, our life is perfect for us. It's exactly what we should be doing.
I've always wanted to enjoy reading more than I actually do. Lately, I've been surprisingly into it and have found books to be some of my most effective tools in the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual building process. So I'm reading books both on my own and together with Chas. You see, while we were dating, we started a book club. (Don't feel bad if you weren't on the invite list. It's pretty exclusive.) It's a great way to build and strengthen our relationship together and ensure good snug (cuddle) time as well. Bonus!
Our first book was The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Chas loves this series but I wasn't a huge fan. If I'm reading a book about a detective, I want to read about complex, tricky mysteries to solve, not so much little scenarios that I could just as easily have figured out. The best part about this book was getting to hear Chas do all the African voices as he read. Slowly, the African accents almost always morphed into Indian.
Our next book club book was The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura, or DL as my family affectionately calls her. No complaints here. As always, DL is right on. I recommend this to every wife.
Currently, we're just about to finish Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. This is one of the best books ever written. Every person should read it at least once before they die. In fact, I'm making it a requirement for all my students this coming fall semester to do just that. My usual comprehensive text book multiple choice final exam has been replaced by reading this book and then synthesizing their thoughts and impressions of the book together with their experience managing stress over the course of the semester and what they have learned about themselves and stress along the way. Brilliant? I think so.
Frankl's personal therapeutic theory, logotherapy, also holds a special place in my heart as it is the main theoretical basis upon which I support my own clinical practice. I also feels that it's the counseling theory that falls most closely in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Boo ya.
Right now I'm kinda in a place where I'm on a quest of both personal and professional development. I feel a strong drive to build something, something meaningful. Ultimately, what I want most is to switch from taking care of others (in my clinical work) to taking care of my very own (kids and family). Chas reminded me the other night that I'm taking care of him right now. This is true. I also think he gets a bit nervous when I talk about wanting to start a family without either of us having the luxury of a full-time job with benefits. "All in good time, my baby," is what he tells me. So, right now, I'm being patient. I'm also being grateful for the ample amount of "me time" I have on hand as it affords me the opportunity to focus on building other things, things like my clinical art therapy skillzz and teaching skillzz. I also have decided to try to revisit some hard places, hard times in my life in an effort to create meaning from suffering. I keep feeling like I need to write a book. I'll write a separate post more about it soon but, for now, the most important thing to know is that I think this daunting and exciting undertaking will be worth it. That's what I'm telling myself.
Lots has been going on. Lots of fun things that I definitely would have blogged about only if I felt like it. But the thing is, I kinda haven't cared about my blog lately. It's been rather nice just to sit back and experience the fun of the Dawson fam coming to town, for example, without having to record all the cute little details here. When writing on this blog ever starts to feel like a chore, that's when I don't do it. I only record my thoughts if I want to. Besides, I'm pretty sure I can count all the people who look at this blog all on one hand so no pressure, right? It's just my little bit of space on the www and sometimes I write on it and sometimes I don't.
some things on my mind lately include stuff like this:
Seems like babies are everywhere. I just want to see what a mix of me and Chas would look like, ok?
I can't pull myself away from The Bachelorette.
Speaking of which, can we pah-leeze just fast forward to the part where Frank and Ali are in shambles? How could you, Frank? How could you? (I hate myself.)
Sometimes I forget how fun scootie is to ride in the summer.
I think I need to write a book and I may have gotten the first two pages down.
I also think I'm going to teach at UVU for the Fall semester. I know, I know, I swore in my wrath never again but...I guess I lied.
I'm really good at making smoothies. Last night we sipped our homemade fresh mango orange juliuses while watching Arrested Development.
Pretty sure Arrested Development makes us scream laugh.
I have my fingers crossed for something too good to be true. If it works out, you'll be hearing about it. If not, you probably won't be.
We've been trying to be better at really studying the scriptures. The blessings that have already come are awesome and totally real.
Pudge left for the MTC last week. I already miss her.
We had a "lay in" the last two Saturdays. It's our new favorite thing. All you have to do is spend the entire day in bed (eat breakfast, lunch, play games, take naps, watch movies, read books...in bed).