Taking Life For Granted

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Even though I sometimes say I don’t, I know I do take life for granted. Living through a pandemic makes you examine and reflect on your life. I know there are too many things that I have taken for granted. What about you?

Taking living life without a pandemic in it for granted. Now, listening to the sickness and deaths and tragedies of so many around the world and feeling powerless to stop it, but doing your part as best you can.

Not being able to see your best friend F2F.

The joys of inviting whoever you want for dinner.

Spending time with family and friends and not worrying how close you are to them or of they will get sick.

Walking around freely, not carrying the worries of the world on your shoulders.

Going to work, loving what you do without thinking that what you do could lead to someone being sick or worse.

Thinking your children have finally made it in the world, only now you worry about their security and what their future and the future of your potential grandchildren will look like.

Living life the best you know how, realizing you have reached retirement, but never imagining how the world would turn out in your lifetime.

The joys of having a girls weekend or a shopping trip or other small pleasure that you like doing..

The simple pleasures of going to a farmers market.

The small mundane things that are no longer mundane.

Life as you used to know it and so many other things that you still take for granted.

While these and many more things can be difficult , I choose to embrace every day and remember I can live life in the best way possible given some of the things I took or take for granted. I will seek out ways to enjoy what is, as it is for today.

You Make The World A Better Place

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In this world we encounter a few people who change how we feel about life. Around 30 years ago you entered my life. I was not looking for a new friend, but oh how the loss would have been mine if I did not open my heart to new friendships. A lesson that has sustained me to this day.

Today is your birthday and I want to celebrate you and all that you are.

Fun and spontaneous Remember the time we were Thelma and Louise (without the driving off the cliff part) ? We bought new hats, scarves and dresses took off in your moms convertible and laughed and created memories to our hearts delight.

Intelligent Remember the times we have chatted about life’s problems and concerns and while often we agree, sometimes we don’t and those can be great conversations with you.

Generous I have watched you be generous to others in so many ways you never get acknowledged for. You have given me so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts over the years. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Accomplished I have loved celebrating and watching you do what you do best.

Courageous You have encountered many challenges in your life and have overcome them with grace and determination.

Champion You are a champion for so many and especially care about those with severe challenges.

Dependable I can count on you to be there anytime I need a friend.

Sensational The many times we spent together with our children laughing and doing silly things. Oh what fun. You are an outstanding auntie to my kids. They love you.

Effervescent I love spending time with you. It is never dull. Our trips together together to Vegas, Palm Springs and Mexico or wherever we are in the world are always full of joy. Even when we just vegetate together it is fun.

Beautiful heart and mind. You are beautiful inside and out.

You are optimistic, unwavering, determined, vibrant, accepting, kind and so much more. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. We have created so many memories that make me smile every time I think of them. We have laughed (too many times to count) and cried together. We have weathered many storms, trials and tribulations and come out on the other side knowing that we are and will always be here for each other.

I appreciate all that you are and all that you do. I value YOU. You enrich my life and make it better because you are in it. I love you my friend and look forward to all that life brings us as we journey through it.

You make the world a better place.

In Love

31 years ago when I was 30, I gave birth to our first child. She was six weeks premature. I was so scared , but immediately and profoundly in love. There is no experience like it that’s for sure. No one prepares you for the overwhelming love you are about to feel. That love never goes away, but the intensity of it ebbs and flows.

Today I am so grateful for the woman she has become. The two weeks in intensive care are still vivid in my mind. The moments in between can be a blur sometimes. How does time go by so fast?

The teen years were quite the ride, but today as I look at her, I am filled with the intense love I felt for her that moment she was born. Today, she is an amazing, caring, loving, kind, intelligent young woman whom I love spending time with.

Treasure all those moments , even the teen years they go by so fast. In loving our daughter, I became a better human being one who loves her child more than mere words could ever describe. Thank you for being born and thanks to the nurses and doctors who helped her live, especially my dear friend Darlene, one of the neonatal intensive care nurses. I love you my precious daughter. With you in it I know there is hope for a better world.

Everyone Has A Story

@sspellmancann

Especially during this time everyone will have a story of how they got through Covid19 or what happened to them , a family member or friend.

Our role as helpers will be to listen and support, no matter the story. It won’t necessarily be easy as sometimes we may be triggered when listening to others. We are not perfect, I know I am not that’s for sure. I want to give myself an extra dose of compassion at this time as I too have had a range of emotions. Maybe you should too.

We are humans and our humanity makes us people who are often complex. Being the best person we can be is a lifetime venture, filled with many bumps along the way. Through this pandemic many will have gigantic bumps to deal with, my heart goes out to those that do.

As you and I both navigate this chapter in our lives may we do it with courage , grace , compassion and help others along the way that are struggling to the best of our ability, because everyone has a story that they may or may not be willing to share behind the smile..

Virtual Locker Introduction Icebreaker

I love finding icebreakers to use with students . This one is a lot of fun and can easily be used virtually. If you want to get to know me better I am adding a little video that I did a couple of years back from our year end production with Second Chants. I put the video in the virtual locker, but if you are like me it is so small (which might not be a bad thing) . I laugh at myself every time I watch it. If it brings a smile to your face that is good too.

This is a great video explaining how to do bitmoji lockers.

Here is the bitmoji locker template

Here is the bitmoji chrome extension

Here is my example of a virtual locker introduction .

Here is another example using this google doc.

You can check out this tutorial below.

Lesson 2 for a New School Counsellor : Keep Learning and Base it on Theory.

pic from Nicole Lisafeld

We need to base what we do on theoretical perspectives that are useful and helpful. Humanists like Carl Rogers ,Viktor E Frankl have impacted me, but so to have others in the field of psychology like Albert Ellis, Irvin Yalom, Fritz Perls, Ed JacobsDavid Burns, Virginia Satir, Donald Meichenbaum, Claudia Black, and Mary Pipher to name a few. There is no one right approach. You need to discover what you believe and make sure it works for you and your students. Developing a sound relationship online and off is essential. Using all the skills you learned in grad school can make a difference. Demonstrate empathy, be genuine and respectful, but more importantly be yourself. Therapeutic alliance will always matter.

If you are going to read anything to start your career I would suggest the following:

If you haven’t already read it , I highly recommend Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Ed Jacobs Impact Therapy Actually anything by Ed and Christine Schimmel Counseling Children and Adolescents is also fantastic.

Dr. Allen Francis Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life is a must for your bookshelf.

Dr. Bruce Perry The Boy Who Was Raised by A Dog. A must read to understand the impact of trauma.

Dr. Erin Mason 101 Solutions for School Counsellors and Leaders in Challenging Times. So many great tips, resources and helpful strategies.

One of my all time favourite people who has influenced me and the way I interact is Leo Buscagalia. His lessons on life have truly had a positive impact on my life and as a result I have passed this on to others.

“To live in love is to live in life, and to live in life is to live in love.” “It’s not enough to have lived. We should determine to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of person kind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” Only you will be able to discover, realize, develop and actualize your uniqueness. And when you do, it’s your duty to then to “give it away.” Leo Buscagalia

Each theorist, counsellor and counsellor educator has impacted the way I interact and help students. Along the way I have also worked with some amazing school counsellors , educators and supervisors who have also influenced me in a positive way. Thanks especially to Diane Williams, Deana Helton and Helen MacKinnon. Also to the many School Counsellors in CSSD and #scchat I have much gratitude . Two very special Counsellor Educators and friends Ed Jacobs and Erin Mason thanks for all you do and who you are.

Lesson 2 : Keep learning and base it on theory. Which ones have impacted you?

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.