top: TJ Maxx, cabbage rose pin: handmade, pants: F21, shoes: Ross, watch:Meggie's Love
sweater: Banana Republic, shorts: Old Navy, shoes: Kohl's
I've decided that taking pictures with Chas is some of the most fun we've had together. Even, dare I say, more fun than Scrabble in jammies? Hmmm...tough call. But I think the meditation pose that Chas busted out pushes picture-taking over the line into a whole new level of Sam-and-Chas fun times.
This is us.
Just us. Being weird. Wearing sorta cute clothes together.
(Side note: Now that the mag is live, I can show you guys my fave shots from this picnic shoot! I think I'll sprinkle some pics in with posts every now and then. I just love sprinkles.)
Sometimes my work as can be especially challenging.
Yesterday, was my first group at a residential treatment center as an art therapist contractor.
Yesterday, I met, head-on, a whole new level of challenges.
To be honest, I'm still recovering.
Like I said in yesterday's post, it was a hard day.
There's this quote I have on our computer's desktop:
"Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, inspires."
-Elder D. Todd Christofferson
I read that quote often and I often need that quote.
I needed that quote when I got home yesterday and all I wanted to do was pull the plug on this contract job.
That quote reminded me that you often have to go to some difficult places in order to ever accomplish anything of value.
It reminded me that regardless of others' response, my work as an art therapist is good and important work.
It reminded me that I can do hard things.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the way we talk to ourselves and how our inner dialogue can shape the way we view our ability to succeed, especially when the cards are stacked against us.
My mom is a go-getter and that's how she raised her five daughters.
Whenever I was faced with a challenge, my mom would be the first person to say,
"Hey. You got this. Go for it."
Sometimes I believed her and sometimes I didn't.
Now, as an adult living my own life, I still automatically have that mindset when I feel overwhelmed and scared.
Only now, instead of hearing it from my mom, I'm hearing it from myself.
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Before Young People in Love, I had a small personal blog called Blackbird Fly.
I started that blog right after I got divorced and closed it when Chas and I got married.
Sometimes I peruse Blackbird Fly.
The accounts of my time in Oregon, adventures in grad school, and being single again feel surreal. I'm glad it happened and I'm also glad it's all in the past.
Today I was wondering what my life was like at exactly this time, mid-August, two years ago.
I looked through the old blog's archives and was reminded how two Augusts ago, I was celebrating having survived the first year post-separation from my ex-husband. I had made a list of things I wanted to be sure to do for myself that month.
The list looked something like this:
*Eat tiramisu + any other treats
*See either 500 Days of Summer or Paper Heart
*But myself some white daisies
*Play with a puppy
*Dance around my room to Kanye West's Stronger
*Go on an adventure of some sorts
*Try something new
*Paint a painting
*Go to the temple every week
And then I found this post:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Buy myself some white daisies
Except, as it ended up, I didn't have to buy them for myself.
A certain boy surprised me with them yesterday, adding how convenient it is that I live above a flower shop.
That same day, Chas told me I was the first (and only) girl he'd bought flowers for.
Two years later, that makes me just as happy.
You should also know that everything on that list happened.
Yesterday was spent in my jammies grading stacks and stacks of final exams.
Originally, the final exam was supposed to be a comprehensive multiple-choice looong test covering all the text reading, lectures, and group presentations.
As the end of the summer term neared, however, I kept feeling like I wanted to do something to give back to my class. My students this term were some of the very best. For three hours, twice a week, they were actively engaged and had excellent participation. They genuinely shared what was in their hearts through their comments and allowed themselves to be vulnerable. Because of them, this term has been hugely edifying and satisfying for me as a professor. After all they had done, I really didn't want to make them take such a grueling final exam.
And since I'm the professor, I can do whatever the heck I want.
So I changed the final.
I told my students how grateful I was for all their hard work and that I wanted to help soothe their stress during finals. In place of the test, I asked them to write about three principles they had learned in our Stress Management class and explain how those principles had helped them.
Reading through their finals yesterday was an absolute joy.
Their writing was beautiful and poignant.
They talked about having gained so much more self-awareness and personal insight as a result of the class. I could tell that they had really, truly learned something valuable.
I felt so honored to have been their teacher, to have played a small role in their learning.
And you know what else?
All this made me feel like a great teacher.
That's not something I feel very often.
I think we all deserve, every now and then, to be hit with some good, strong self-confidence in what we do.
It's a wonderful thing when we allow ourselves to feel awesome.