The Little Things Are The Big Things For Me

Two years ago I started on a journey , I made a goal of walking every day for at least one half hour. I knew if I focused on the little things I could achieve, I would reach my goal. I knew if I walked 15 mins. in the morning and 15 minutes at night that was a goal I could achieve. I walked every single day, sometimes for more than a half hour and am very proud to say that I achieved my goal despite many obstacles.

On July 1st of last year I set a new goal. My dad had passed away on June 30th, his 4th heart attack and my mom was left on her own with health and mobility concerns, so I knew I needed to be as strong and as healthy as possible so that I could enter my senior years focused on being well physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I want to leave my children a legacy that their mom did everything she could to take care of herself. I set a new goal to record what I ate every day and to eat as healthy as possible. Again I am so happy to say that I achieved my goal. This year I walked longer and more but I missed days because of unavoidable circumstances. I am happy to say it has become a part of what I do and who I have become.

For July 1st 2020 – July 1st 2021, I plan on writing in my blog daily, even if it is only a very short post. It’s an opportunity to share some of my thoughts so I can reflect in the hopes that someday my children may read if they choose to.

My July – July goals work for me. Going into the summer is a great time to focus on what I want to do in the upcoming year. I take each day as it comes and am happy to focus on the little things. For me the little things are the big things. With Covid 19 coming into all of our lives this year, focusing on my well being was more important than ever. Later today I will go on a second physically distanced walk with another friend of mine. Walking and talking , noticing the little things brings such joy. On my earlier walk I saw the beautiful rainbow above. If I never walked outside I would not get to enjoy this little thing, which is a big thing for me.

Are You Really Living?

In 1999 I thought I had breast cancer. I got the dreaded call that I had a mass in my breast and I would need to have a biopsy to find out if indeed I did. Being a very optimistic person, I thought well if I do I do. I can’t change what has happened , but I can decide how I will respond to it. From the moment I got the call to my surgery date which was over a one month period , I did think about the possibility of having cancer every day. I wasn’t under the delusion that it couldn’t happen to me. For the most part I was living as best as I could making the most out of my life. When the surgery was over and the results came in a week later, it was discovered I only had a fibroadenoma which was non cancerous and they removed it. I remember crying with relief vowing to even live life more fully than before.

I have experienced several deaths in my life including my first love, my roommate, my family doctor, my mechanic, my accountant, several friends, students, mentors and family members so I knew from a very young age to live life fully. I knew full well life could be cut short at a moment’s notice and I know many live with the truly sad reality that they could die at any time. Do I always live life fully? No, but I do my best to make the most out of each day. Living one day at a time is the best advice I have ever been given and often pass onto others. It sounds so easy , but is not always as easy as it sounds to do. I still work at this daily.

We can’t live in fear of dying. It will happen to us all someday. We can’t live in fear of coronavirus either. We can do all the things that we are supposed to as recommended by the health professionals and we should. We have a moral obligation, a responsibility to society and our family to do so. So go ahead and live life fully whatever that means for you. No, at the present time we can’t be around many of those we love and care about, but we can make the best of the situation we are in. Am I perfect at this?  NO. Have I had moments of sadness , fear and a multitude of other feelings?  YES, but just for today I am going to really LIVE. What about you?

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!

Using Art to Heal

 

 

 

Life is a process of healing and I love to create more than ever before.  Using art with students is a wonderful way to connect with them and let them express themselves. We often use art as a way to talk and share. They inspire me and I have found another way to help them. I am not an art therapist , but that does not mean I or you cannot use art in your counselling sessions to help students. Referring students as always when needed to a certified Art Therapist is ethical.

Here are some ideas to get you to start on your own creative journey. Let go of the fear and create art anyway. You may become a better teacher or counsellor.  I know I have. A new chapter … a new journey. An ever ending journey of learning for me and I hope for you.

Who Matters?

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Who matters?

“Everything you do has an impact. Who you are – that you are – actually matters. In an interconnected world (the only kind we have), our actions and the actions of others are inextricably linked- we are always and forever in a dance of mutual influence with those with whom we directly and indirectly participate. It is the unavoidable reality of being social creatures, only magnified by an ever-increasingly complex and interwoven societal structure. We matter to each other.” – Paul Greiner

This sums up my feelings about so many people and about so many things. Today I sobbed as I viewed the faces of all those lost in the Vegas tragedy. They mattered to so many people and today they mattered to me even though I did not know them.

Life is truly fragile and I am ever reminded of this. I try very hard to live every day as if it is my last. Am I always successful ? No, but I really wish to live life as fully as I can, love those I can and let the people in my life that I am closest to know they matter. I don’t want to wait til someone passes away for them to know that they really matter to me.

So if you are one of those precious people in my life reading this , know that you do really matter to me and I am so grateful to have you in my life. So today and every day let others know that they matter and hopefully you too will see as Greiner says that in this complex interwoven societal structure we matter to each other.

Reflections … Back to School

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I have been going to school almost every September for the past 53 years. When I reflect on that I can hardly believe it myself. This year as I focus on all the joy each day brings me, I am also going to reflect on my retirement year. The lasts …

The last time I will enter a building as a full-time educator . This awesome responsibility never eludes me. I know I can be the person who makes a difference in a child’s life. I will meet so many new students this year, many who will teach me great lessons. I look forward to that.

I also recognize that teaching and counselling takes great courage and energy.  Often after a full week I feel like the pic above and need to rejuvenate for the week ahead. Weekends are a time for self-care and reflection so that the week ahead is exciting not only for the students , but for me as well.

I also recognize that each day requires me to challenge myself to focus on the positive while acknowledging that challenges will always occur along the way. It is up to me to not sweat the small stuff. Although I will never feel the anxiety I felt my first days of teaching “don’t sweat the small stuff “, still applies as much today as it did then.

I need to take each day as it comes and enjoy the moments. I must say easier to do as I have grown as a person and as an educator over the past years. Do I still fall short ? You bet. This is a life skill that is easy to say , but not always easy to master.

This will be my last first week of school … How did you feel your first week back to school?

What We Say and Do Matters

People have been asking me if I am really serious about retirement and yes I am , but that doesn’t mean I don’t really love my job anymore . I absolutely do. I plan on making this year great! Why? Because each and every day I work with students and what I say and do matters.

I am far from perfect, but I really try my best to help students and create a positive environment in the school I work in.  I love collaborating with educators and others that I know truly care.

I am often reminded that what I say and do matters and that is a scary and awesome responsibility. I never want to hurt a child or anyone for that matter, but I am human and I make mistakes . When I do I need to say sorry , make amends and do my best each and every day to be the best person I can be. I also recognize that I can be that one person who changes the trajectory of a students life , making a positive difference that they remember for a lifetime.

Does what you say and do matter?  … you bet. Students are watching us daily … so as I enter my retirement year I want my students to know that I love what I do and will continue to do so until the day I retire. I love being with them and helping them as much as I possibly can. I look forward to this year and will treasure the memories I make with each and every person that crosses my path.

What I Say and Do Matters  … and so does what you say and do.

Reflections of a School Counsellor

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It’s summer time and I know I should be resting and believe me I do ! I have so much inside of me that I want to share that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin, but for today I’ll share what has been on my mind. I have been following ASCA’s twitter #ASCA16  feed over the past few days as I was unable to go this year. A couple of reflections come to mind.

  1. Gratitude … Collaborating with others has brought the passion of what I love to do to the forefront. I am so grateful that I connected to @ecmmmason and #scchat only a few short years ago . Yes, #scchat was the first School Counsellor hashtag I followed and it has changed everything . Thank you Danielle Schultz and Erin Mason.  I got and still get so much inspiration from seeing and getting help from all those who posted to the hashtag. I know that is why I am so passionate about others joining in with us as we collaborate this fall on a joint venture. See more here School Counsellors Collaborating as Leaders Worldwide. I care about the future of School Counsellors and School Counselling. I want to give back and so I continue to engage with others who are as passionate as I am.
  2. Refirement not retirement.Yes, I am retiring next year, but I want to go out making it my best year ever. I still really love what I do. I am retiring because it is time to. Time to refocus and engage my energies in other directions, but for now I will stay focused on the present and possibilities.   I am very excited about all the new ventures I will be taking on next school year.

September

  • George Couros MOOC . You may want to join us.

  • Supervise and mentor a new School Counsellor ( I have been doing this for years ). My way to give back while continuing to learn.

October

  • Start a Ted X Youth Club with my fabulous colleague Amy Webster @AmyNoraWebster . We look forward to the many wonderful things our students will create.
  • Working with Empowering Minds  EMLeadership and the most fabulous Cleopatra to create Leadership opportunities for students.
  • Continue to work and create ideas with Connex support.

Sept. to June

  • Continue to work with students to develop ideas around  anti. bullying #whosfrankyyc #carrollculture . Click here  for more information.
  • Continue to refine and work on our book Colour Your Way To A Healthy Mind : High School Students Creating Change  Would love to find a publisher . Anyone interested? 

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  • Once a month do a therapeutic Art workshop . Themes to be decided.

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  • Have our second Grad Walk . It was so much fun!

 

Really there are so many possibilities. This is an amazing time in education and these are but a few things I plan on doing in my retirement 2016-2017 school year. Over the summer you may want to consider giving to the Mario Couros Bursary . It is because of the gratitude we in #etmooc feel and it will help a future educator!

To all of you who take the time to read my blog may your summer be filled with  gratitude, ideas and opportunities as well as time to enjoy your family and friends. Rest,relax and rejuvenate! I plan to . Hitting the beach very soon!

A Year of Music

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Wow! Last night I not only got to watch amazing performances by young people, I got to be a part of the excitement. In September I jumped into another opportunity to grow, to learn and to have fun. I have had experiences that will remain with me forever thanks to Youth Singers Calgary. Never in my wildess imagination would I say I would be performing at the Jubilee in Calgary at my age. Of course i should know to never say never. One never knows the fabulous experiences you can have at any age #nevertooold . I really can say all of the new , jump out of my box experiences I have been having lead back to #ETMOOC  and all the supportive people who encouraged risk taking and that it is ok to to fail. Failure is seen as a way to learn, not like real failure to me which is giving up, never trying!

If you haven’t heard of #secondchants, now is the time. We get to work with outstanding musicians, choral directors, wardrobe  and choreorgraphers who are talented and funny.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this wonderful celebration of dedication and passion for music.

Thinking about Youth Singers great choice! If you are of a certain age like me join us on the 28th to see what it’s all about. I have always loved music , but this year of music has given me a chance to have experiences like never before.

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A Graduation Message From A BCHS Alumni

It's better to fail at what you love than to fail at what you don't . Jim Carrey
It’s better to fail at what you love than to fail at what you don’t . Jim Carrey

This is an email I recieved this week from a student who wishes to remain anonymous. The message is great so I share it with you. I am grateful that BCHS is such a great place to work. Graduates … you amaze me! I am in awe of you.

Hello graduate:
This is a message from a former Bishop Carroll High School student and it is addressed to each graduate in the class of 2015. Before anything else, congratulations! You have endured, grown, been challenged by, and are forever changed by your BCHS journey. You have earned the green slips, made the cutoffs, and can now call yourself a graduate of Bishop Carroll High School; a great Calgary institution that has developed a legacy for turning out exceptional people – people who forge incredible impacts in the world and help make it a better place.

My purpose for writing this is to imbue you with a few friendly words of wisdom, some advice, and to call you to service in your community. What is said in this message is opinion not doctrine and it is meant simply to convey some words of encouragement as you close a proverbial chapter in your life and turn to the next.

Bishop Carroll High School is not a school for a neighborhood or a quadrant – it is a school for the community of Calgary. As a result, it is a place of great diversity and great opportunity. The experiences you have had and the environment you have been in is something that is unique and one that has set you up differently than other people your age. You have been given the Carroll Advantage – the opportunity to learn in a system that hones your strengths, remedies weaknesses, and lets you discover who you are. The result: an ability to think critically, to manage yourself, to take ownership of your destiny, and the ability to make a profound impact on those around you. Self directed learning is a fantastic way to learn and appreciate personal responsibility, develop self management skills, and ultimately learn who you are and grow as a human being. The opportunities, skills, and experiences found in and taken from Bishop Carroll High School create potential for great things in every graduate. All of you have potential that knows only the boundaries you set for yourselves. There is no limit to what you can do; so believe in yourself, set your standards high, dream as big as you can, and never ever quit on something worthwhile.

My time since graduating has afforded me the ability to experience many great things and meet many great people, but every time I encounter something new – a challenge or an opportunity, I often find myself reflecting back on the experiences I had as a student at Carroll. Truthfully, everything I do now is somehow connected back to my time at Carroll. No matter what I face I always tell myself I am a Carroll grad and that gives me the confidence to do just about anything because who I have become was largely started in my three years at Carroll. If nothing else, please take some time to reflect on your BCHS journey: the highs the lows and understand how those experiences will always stick with you. In the bright times use those memories to reflect fondly and appreciate yourself, who you have become, and who you will grow into. In the challenging times use those memories to remind yourself of all you have accomplished and tell yourself you can do anything you set my mind to – you will be better for it. No matter what you face, who you face it with, or what you end up doing know this – if you understand and appreciate what your time at Carroll did for you and that it has helped make you then you really will be able to do anything. There is nothing quite like the confidence or the last minute quick thinking of a BCHS graduate.

Bishop Carroll High School is different than anywhere else, from what I have seen and experienced since graduation it truly does prepare you better and make you more ready for the world. The world you graduate into is one that seems to change exponentially each year. New challenges and new opportunities will demand more of everyone and will likely challenge us as a global community in a way we have not been challenged before. It will take people from diverse backgrounds and skill sets to confront them. Regardless of your path after high school YOU have the power to help change the world. Change does not have to come from grand actions or mega projects – the world can be changed at the grassroots level by the sum of individual actions. So find something you are passionate about – something you love, do it, do it well, and use it to help make the world around you better. Although not everything will be recognized no good action is too small. The opportunities and skills you have now give you the BCHS grad a responsibility to help make a positive impact on the world around you and doing what you love is a great way to make the world better. .

Enjoy each moment, learn from your successes and your failures, never ever give up, appreciate those around you, and live your life to the fullest. Congratulations on your achievement and welcome to the BCHS alumni community. Mane Nobisum Domaine