Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some days are yellow. Some are blue. On different days, I’m different too.

I have been asked to work with a child, who needs some improvement regarding decision making skills. Things really get rough for this child after a “tipping-point” event occurs within the day.
As I sit here creating a lesson plan around the themes in “My Many Colored Days” by Dr. Seuss, I cannot help but think that as an adult I, too, still need to make improvements, when it comes to decision making skills-more so than ever on my “Black Days”.  In the book, “Black Days” are described as “MAD. And loud. I howl. I growl at every cloud.”
My ability to reason and critical think about different issues, including ethical ones is just now beginning to blossom (…or so I think). Thank you, God, biology... and life-experiences to boot!
It is not an uncommon occurrence for me to take moments throughout my day to contemplate, reflect, and process the decisions I have made (…sometimes this reflection takes place while blogging, running, reading, praying and in conversations with close friends).  
With struggle come graces. I am a firm believer that hardship has the potential to create strong habits of consideration for the welfare of others, honesty, courage, and admiration for worthy accomplishments.
Subjecting ourselves to and overcoming challenging circumstances and decisions, which force us to step out of our comfort zone, is how we recognize our true strengths…and shortcomings. We then can choose the way we interact with the world, based on our self-understanding, to give us the best out of life.
My fourth grade student does not stand alone, we all need to be reminded that it is important to think (and pray)  carefully and honestly about what should be done, as well as to keep in mind how others will be affected by what we do.
Every one of us has the right to be happy and to feel contentment and well-being. Making the intention to find our happiness even amongst times of turmoil is what drives us to press forward.
Perhaps tomorrow will be a “Green Day” for my fourth grader. “Deep deep in the sea, cool and quiet fish. That’s me.” If not, no sweat, just another opportunity for growth.  :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes things need to be said, and said, and said, until they don’t need to be said anymore…

As a mental health professional, chewing over the topic of suicide is a common occurrence. Suicide-killing yourself by your own hand-is not a pleasant subject to think or talk about, and, as a result, most people don’t do it.  It brought me great joy to discover an article in the bulletin at my church that specifically discussed the misconceptions about suicide from a faith-based perspective.  
Below are a few excerpts that I found to be enlightening.   
“We are made up of body and soul, either can snap. We can die of cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks, aneurysms. These are physical sicknesses. But we can suffer these too in the soul, not just the body. These are malignancies and aneurysms too of the heart, mortal wounds from which the soul cannot recover. In most cases, suicide, like any other terminal illness, take a person out of the life against his or her will. The death is not freely chosen, but is an illness, far from an act of free will. But where we stand helpless, God’s compassion can still reach. God’s love can descend into hell itself (as we state in the creed) and breathe peace and reconciliation right into a wound, anger, and fear.”
“The Christian response to suicide should not be horror, fear for the person’s eternal salvation, and anxious self-examination about we did or didn’t do. Suicide is indeed a horrible way to die, but we must understand it for what it is, a sickness, and stop being anxious about both that person’s eternal salvation and our less than perfect response to his or her illness. God redeems everything and, in the end, all manner of being will be well, even beyond suicide.”
-Ronald Rohlheiser, omi   
Suicide is not a pretty subject. Talking honestly about it may upset people, but so be it. Most people who are thinking about suicide mistakenly believe that their lives are not worth living. Like Gorski says in his book, Straight Talk about Suicide, “This, too, will pass. It always does, even if in the moment we don’t believe that it will."
If you know and love someone you think may be suicidal, be direct and honest with your suspicions. If they say they are suicidal, believe them, support them, and do your best to get them to see a professional for help as soon as possible.
We all have a compelling reason to live! Take the time to love yourself.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads...

After my recent decision to deactivate Facebook, I thought I would take a stab at the blogging world.  
As I continue to open my heart and mind to my personal discovery of who I am, what I want in my life, and how I can wholesomely achieve it, I often seek the advice and knowledge of the many brilliant minds out in the world, who are ready to share with me their wisdom.  
I am humbled by their expertise and want to share with you some of their findings and perhaps you too can take pieces of their brilliance into consideration and apply it to your life...or not. It’s obviously your choice!
The name of my blog is “Visions of Sugar-plums” obviously it originates from the verse “the children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads” from the poem “Twas the Night before Christmas.” In addition, growing up my grandmother referred to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as “Sugar-plums.” Some of my fondest memories and invaluable life-lessons stemmed from this beautiful woman.  
So my first post is in tribute to my Grandmother Hilger, who offered unrelenting kindness to everyone she came in contact with and continuously strove to be her best self in order to be the best parent and grandparent.
May I continue to pass her legacy of kindness on to others and thus the ripple effect of positive growth and transformation continues.
According to Thibaut and Kelley’s (1959) 'theory of social exchange, behavior exchanges follow a norm of reciprocity over time, so that aversive or positive stimulation from one person tends to produce reciprocal behavior from the other. Kindness begets kindness, and the opposite is also true."
Smile at someone today, it may have an everlasting effect! :)