Time Out To Play

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Playing is what we should all do more often. It gives me great pleasure to see my daughter play scrabble with her grandmother who is medically fragile in so many ways. This is a precious time as one never knows what is around the corner.

For today, I get to enjoy seeing them interact in such a positive way creating memories that we can all look back on with much pleasure. She is extremely good with both her grandmothers. Showing love and patience and helping them out as much as possible. It gives me great hope for how she will be with me one day .

So play away , play with friends, family and those that may need it most. Just take time out to play in whatever way works for you.

Spending Time With Adult Children

I so love spending time with my adult children. Every moment I am with them is precious to me. I’m also fortunate that our daughter has chosen a partner who is kind, compassionate and such a perfect fit for her.

The times we get to be together brings much joy and happiness to my life. Our children have created a ritual in which they cook for us on all birthdays , mother’s day and father’s day. We love this so much. They cook for us at other times as well. They drop in and decide they’d like to create a meal for us. How lucky are we? I treasure these moments.

This summer we are so fortunate to have our daughter around more than usual . Both our children have grown up to be amazing adults who are caring, loving, good human beings. What more could we ask for? Spending time with our adult children is just simply splendid.

Live Each Day

Every now and then I can get off track and do not celebrate each day. I think most of us know how precious life is , but sometimes we take it for granted. I have experienced too many losses in my life not to be fully cognizant of the value of each day. Each day I am reminded of the people in my life that have struggles and life may be cut short for them due to medical concerns.

Today, I embraced life fully. I appreciated all the moments of this beautiful day. I did not think of the sorrows, but of the joys of living and I need to remind myself to do this as often as possible. There are some I know who look at life as if they are dying instead of truly living. I want to always truly live each day no matter what life places in front of me.

Life … Look For The Small Things

The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention

J Burroughs

As each day passes I continue to look for the little things in life because really the little things are the big things.

The way you treat a friend.

The smile that you give someone.

The kindness that you show.

How you interact in the world.

The moments you make matter.

The way you listen.

The time you take.

The way you count your blessings.

The ways you find to live, love and laugh.

Love Leadership and Lacrosse

 I love lacrosse! Thanks to my past team mates Jane Walsh and Elaine McMullin Descoteaux for inviting me to do a keynote for female  national box lacrosse championship players in 2017. It was an opportunity for me to give back and share my love of the sport. Lacrosse always has been my most favourite sport of the many that I have played.

I started playing lacrosse around 47 years ago (yes, females played lacrosse back then) in Shannon Park Wallis Heights with coaches Cliff Friesen and Donald Koharski. I have so many great memories of those days, We were lucky enough to play lacrosse in Ontario ,the CNE and in Vancouver, We went on to win the NS championships in 1973, so many fun memories.

Today I am a registered Psychologist, I was an educator for the past 40 years and I retired as a School Counsellor in a self- directed High School in Calgary three years ago this June.

None of that would have been possible without lacrosse. In 1976 I was awarded a lacrosse Scholarship from Canada Fitness and Amateur Sport . It paid for most of my University Education. I am so, so grateful for that today!

Lacrosse shaped my future. 

I stopped playing lacrosse a year ago, but would play drop in if it were still on today. I  joined again as an adult in 2008 and loved every moment. I am 61 years old and I played for the Calgary Women’s Master Lacrosse league until I was 60. I can’t run …. but boy can I shoot Tracy Klusky past captain of the Calgary Roughnecks once told me I had golden hands! I’m also really good at being a cherry picker …

Here is a video I put together a while back about the love of the game.

I hope all young lacrosse players think about these 5 things

  1. Find your purpose
  2. Play for the love of the sport , play for a lifetime
  3. Be Passionate
  4. Persevere
  5. Pay it Forward

Find your purpose and be the leader you can be. You can be a leader on and off the floor. I would like to encourage young women worldwide to play this great sport!!!! Not only young women, but moms too. Yes, and dad’s too.

If there isn’t a team where you live START ONE . If there isn’t a scholarship to be found CREATE ONE or find someone who can. We live in a world where social media CAN be used for good SO DO IT be a good digital citizen and connect with others who want the best for young women in sports.

Did you know that 44% of girls between the ages of 3-17 don’t participate in sports? 84% of adult women don’t participate in sports at all. WE CAN CHANGE that stat TODAY. For those of you playing, you are the lucky ones because you get to play the greatest game on earth. So get out there PROMOTE this great game. YOU CAN BE A LEADER. According to Anita Franklin of the IOC “When a young woman athlete triumphs, she has become a role model for her family, her community and even her country” I KNOW YOU CAN TOO!

PLAY FOR THE LOVE OF THE SPORT and do it lifelong IF I CAN … YOU CAN TOO! Play fair , play respectfully and play hard.

BE PASSIONATE and always be kind. Life will give you back tenfold what you have given out.  Passionate people according to research are happier and experience greater well being. My passions have afforded me great friendships, lifelong friendships that I treasure to this day. We have had so much fun together because of sport.

PERSEVERE when you persevere in sports and in life you get back up and keep going. Life throws us all challenges. We are all going to make mistakes and that’s OK  that is the way we learn. Lacrosse taught me to never give up!

PAY IT FORWARD you will learn many lessons through lacrosse. You can pay it forward by helping others. Maybe you will coach or volunteer in some capacity or maybe you will find small ways to give back, but make sure you just do it!

ONE PERSON CAN INDEED MAKE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE that person could be YOU.

OUR NATIONAL SUMMER SPORT IS THE BEST.

I hope you as young women who play lacrosse go out there and make a difference not just in lacrosse, but in life and remember all the things that lacrosse has given you.! Sports helped me become a better human being and i hope some of you who read this will find that sports does that for you too be it lacrosse or any other sport, many of which I have loved and played like lacrosse, ringette, hockey, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and my latest love pickleball.

I hope you just play … it’s great for your overall well being. and it’s just plain fun!

Living Each Day

It isn’t always easy living each day to the fullest especially when life throws you some unexpected troubles or sorrows.  However, when life becomes uncertain, it can be the best time to breathe deeply and take life one minute, one hour or one day at a time.

Self talk comes in handy when I am feeling uneasy. I focus, take a deep breath and say to myself, I can get through this next ten minutes if I just remain calm and remind myself that I am strong . If I focus on just getting through the day it helps. Just for Today I can … makes life more manageable for me.

Just for Today I will look for the moments to be grateful knowing that living each day with gratitude helps me to be the kind of person that I wish to be. I am grateful I got on an airplane today , even though I was nervous about doing so. I focused on my breathing and other things so that time would fly by and it did. I arrived safely at my destination knowing that I would be in my little piece of heaven Out on The Mira.

What are your best tips for living each day fully?

101 Ways To Kick Start Your Day In A Positive Way: A Guide For Educators Parents and Students

This is a collaborative blogpost by Erin Luong and I along with a few ideas from friends.  As mental health educators we believe that a focus on our mental health and well being is foundational to all education. It is impossible to focus on academics if students are not feeling secure. We believe it’s important to intentionally embed a focus on well being into every lesson with young people. All of us need to use positive self talk and coping strategies to feel better . We can all do one thing a day that will help us cope during this unprecedented time.

Hoping some of these tips help you start the day as an educator. You can post a tip for the day using Canva or just text your student the tip to start their day. As an educator I am sure you can find many creative ways to use this as you move online. 

  1. Just for today I will start and end my day in a positive way.
  2. Just for today I will remember that I am ok and all will be well with the world.
  3. Just for today I will be proud that I stayed home and did my part to help.
  4. Just for today I will be grateful for all the front line workers that are helping us.
  5. Just for today I will celebrate our shared humanity.
  6. Just for today I will head outside and let the sun hit my face. I will take some fresh air breaths and listen, it may sound quieter and more peaceful than usual. I will think about what I hear, how the sun feels on my face and how those deep breaths make my body feel. Susan Fueller
  7. Just for today I will send some positive intentions out into the universe. 
  8. Just for today I will think of ways to make the world a better place.
  9. Just for today I will learn to say I love you in as many languages as I can think of. 
  10.  Just for today I will post a positive message in my window and or use sidewalk chalk to write a message for others in my neighbourhood to see.
  11.  Just for today I will connect with two people that lift my spirits.
  12.  Just for today I will write or talk about one thing I am grateful for no matter how small. Helen MacKinnon
  13.  Just for today I will remain hopeful.
  14.  Just for today I will look back at old photo albums and tell stories from the past which made me who I am today. 
  15.  Just for today I will look in the mirror and recognize that I have a purpose for being here.
  16.  Just for today I will make sure I am moving my body for at least 30 minutes.
  17.  Just for today I will be kind to my mind.
  18.  Just for today I will have an eye staring contest. Juliana Miller – MacPherson
  19.  Just for today I will tell the people that I care about that they matter to me.
  20.  Just for today I will not worry about what is in it for me, I will think only about what I can do to help out in every situation. Gail White
  21.  Just for today I will dress in my favourite colour and eat my favourite food. Laurel Hunt
  22.  Just for today I will listen to one of my favourite songs and sing along. Leena Booth
  23.  Just for today I will say I am courageous, strong and can make a difference.
  24.  Just for today every time I wash my hands I will tell two silly jokes and laugh. Karen Hudson
  25.  Just for today I will talk about helpful and unhelpful worries with an adult.
  26.  Just for today I know that I am safe and I can control my thoughts.
  27.  Just for today I will wish upon a star.
  28.  Just for today I will remember that challenges can be opportunities.
  29.  Just for today I will go for a walk and notice all the beauty around me.
  30.  Just for today I will remember that all my feelings are ok. It’s ok to be scared etc.
  31.  Just for today I will remind myself that just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean I am one.
  32.  Just for today I will stay strong and well.
  33.  Just for today I will share my favorite song/poem and we can sing or say them together or to each other.  Sheri Edwards
  34.  Just for today I will not give up.
  35.  Just for today I will ask God to get me through today.
  36.  Just for today I will look at one way I can see the opportunities because of the challenges of today. 
  37.  Just for today I will reevaluate my priorities and tell someone what I think.
  38.  Just for today I will let go of any thoughts that don’t help my peace of mind.
  39.  Just for today I will remember not everyone reacts to events in the same way. I will be positive today.
  40.  Just for today I will remember that I am loveable and capable.
  41.  Just for today I will take a break from watching or listening to any alarming news.
  42.  Just for today wear my clothes inside out and walk backwards. ( Laura Cormier) 
  43.  Just for today I will take care of my mind by listening to some soothing music.
  44.  Just for today I will do one activity that I love and enjoy.
  45.   Just for today I will check in with my parents and/ or grandparents to bring a smile to their day.
  46.  Just for today I will find a calm space just for me. 
  47.  Just for today I will write about my feelings in a journal.
  48.  Just for today I know that I can deal with life’s difficulties.
  49.  Just for today I will smile often.
  50.  Just for today I will say to myself I can cope with this uncertainty.
  51.  Just for today I will draw out my worries.
  52.  Just for today I will talk to an adult about what is concerning me.
  53.  Just for today I will visualize my safe place ( a beach, being with my favourite friend , playing and singing in the rain).
  54.  Just for today I will do more of what makes me happy.
  55.  Just for today I will find two ways to distract myself if I start to catastrophize.
  56.  Just for today I will let go of anything that upsets me.
  57.  Just for today I will reassure myself that all will be well with the world.
  58.  Just for today I will calm my wandering mind by doing something that is fun.
  59.  Just for today I will unwind by taking time out of my day to draw, paint, sing, dance or play a game I love.
  60.  Just for today I will read a book for 15 minutes for pleasure.
  61.  Just for today I will be easy on myself.
  62.  Just for today I will look for solutions.
  63.  Just for today I will talk kindly and gently to myself just like I would my best friend.
  64.  Just for today I will watch a funny movie or talk to a funny friend. I know laughter will help.
  65.  Just for today I will remind myself that I matter.
  66.  Just for today I can  journal for 10 minutes.
  67.  Just for today I will open my heart to new ways of thinking and doing.
  68.  Just for today I will spend some extra time with people I love.
  69.  Just for today I will use my imagination to imagine the best that can happen.
  70.  Just for today I will remind myself of one good thing I can do for the world.
  71.  Just for today I will  love with all my heart.
  72.  Just for today I will tell myself that life can be tough sometimes , but so am I. 
  73.  Just for today I will say I am strong, I am kind and I can do anything I make up my mind to do.
  74.  Just for today I will recognize that I cannot change the circumstances, but I can change my reaction to it. 
  75.  Just for today I will practice breathing deeply.
  76.  Just for today I will write 3 things I am grateful for.
  77.  Just for today I will look at some old pictures and think of the positive memories of that time.
  78.  Just for today I will make something new.
  79.  Just for today I will create a song, a piece of art , a new recipe, or something I have always wanted to create.
  80.  Just for today I will take a picture of something that brings me joy.
  81.  Just for today I will lift someone else’s spirits.
  82.  Just for today I will spread some kindness and love in the world.
  83.  Just for today I will make hot chocolate and eat my favourite cookie.
  84.  Just for today I will write a love letter.
  85.  Just for today whenever I find myself thinking negative I will challenge those thoughts.
  86.  Just for today I will reach out to someone who needs it.
  87.  Just for today I will jump for joy.
  88.  Just for today I will start a blog, a vlog or share something that makes the world a better place.
  89.  Just for today I will share at least 2 jokes with others.
  90.  Just for today I will connect with someone from a different generation than I am, to learn more about how they see the world.
  91.  Just for today I will try a new recipe from a different culture.
  92.  Just for today I will learn to make a friendship bracelet.
  93.  Just for today I will collaborate with a friend on a project to make the world a better place.
  94.  Just for today I will make a playlist of songs which inspire me.
  95.  Just for today I will play a board game with my family.
  96.  Just for today I will make a short video. 
  97.  Just for today I will try a zoom chat with friends.
  98.  Just for today I will focus on what I need.
  99.  Just for today I will share something I am passionate about.
  100.  Just for today I will tell my colleagues and friends how much I appreciate all they do. 
  101. Just for today I will reach out to see if I can help someone else in the world.

What is your Just for Today ? Please share with us so we can share with educators from around the world.

Ways To Get To Know Me Better

At this time of year I know some of you are already preparing for next year, so I thought I’d add a little way to get to know your students and their stories better. If you’d like to do this yourself and share with me, that would be great too. Have a fabulous summer. You deserve it!

The Effect You Have As A School Counsellor Is Not Always Measurable

Cq4QzbFUkAEiZCS.jpg-largeYou have them , I have had them. You know that student that you had no idea you had such an impact on, but they let you know years later. Sometimes 36 years later as I did two years ago. A young man came into the office at the High School I was working in at the time. He wanted to see me to tell me how I had influenced his life. He had googled me and tracked me down because he wanted to tell me his story . I am grateful he did as I would have never known that I had affected his life in the way he let me know I had.

I have been blessed with letters and notes from students who have told me they believed I had saved their life. It is an honour and privilege that they believe something I said or did had impacted them in such a positive way. More often than not we don’t get these notes, calls or letters and we may not know the impact we have had on students. Not because we did not , but because the person may not have put their thoughts to words for whatever reason.

A couple of days ago one of my best friends who is also a retired School Counsellor , got one of those notes from a student whom she had known 18 years ago. The note was from a young woman reporting she was now happily married with two children , She told my friend that she was the reason she was alive, happy and successful today. She let her know it was World Suicide Prevention Day and that maybe my friend would like to know the impact she had on her life when she was in High School.

The woman had tracked my friend down on Facebook and felt compelled to write her the beautiful moving, heartfelt note (I’m purposefully leaving out the details, but trust me we both cried a lot reading it) . Of course she had no idea that particular student felt that way. So what a gift it was to receive a note like this. It is truly why we do what we do choosing to be in education.

If one young person is impacted in this way by what we have said or done, then our years of dedication to a career we have loved is all worth while. We both agreed that we were so fortunate to work in schools with amazing young people and feel truly blessed to have had a career we both were passionate about.

So many still do not fully understand what a School Counsellor does behind closed doors, but know and trust that you need to keep doing what you are doing as a School Counselor wherever you are in the world. You can never know the impact you can have. Small gestures and words can matter.

The effect you have as a School Counsellor is not always measurable , but that does not matter. What you say and do everyday does.