Family March 2017

Family March 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017


Image result for emdr

One of the therapies that I have always been interested in learning to do is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  My favorite clients to work with are my Trauma clients, but they do come with major challenges.  Not all trauma causes dysfunction, and the more resilient we are, the better we bounce back from trauma.  Sometimes, though, trauma is so overwhelming that we don't automatically bounce back and it can impact our emotions, our thoughts and even our physical health. 

There are several interesting books that talk about the specific physical effects of trauma including The Body Keeps the Score.  Sometimes trauma is not properly processed in the brain which leads to some debilitating effects.  Some basic impacts are that the Amygdala, or fear center of the brain is enlarged. The speech center of the brain is suppressed as well as the entire left hemisphere which is largely responsible for thinking, problem solving and making sense of the world around us.  In addition, the Broadman's area of the brain is triggered every time we remember our trauma which is an area that is normally only triggered when we process new experiences.  As a result, people with unprocessed trauma feel as if they are re-experiencing it over and over again.  They are unable to find a voice about it, and they feel a heightened sense of fear at triggers and have a harder time coming down from the fear.

EMDR is the best known therapy for helping clients to reprocess their trauma completely and permanently.  I have worked with many clients and done it myself and it is astonishing how well it works and those old triggers no longer bother us.  I have had clients who have suffered for years and in a short amount of time those old memories no longer have any impact on them.  It really is miraculous.  I feel that working with these people is a sacred honor.  I love seeing the transformation they make and the burden lifted.  Sometimes the preparation stage is slow, particularly if they have experienced complicated trauma, but if they keeping coming I have fully confidence in the process. In addition people who have had small-t trauma can find a higher quality of life.

It's taken years of hard work and study to get to this stage, and I am grateful for the ability and time that I have had.  The reason I am in this field is to help others who are unable to help themselves.  I believe that it is akin to the gift of healing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Seasons

We have finished another successful school year and I marvel that I have been homeschooling for 14 years now.  This year I have really struggled with having enough energy and scaled back my involvement in extracurricular activities.  Even though it felt plenty busy life seemed more balanced and carved out time each week to do a toning workout.  I have been feeling a little better, and was contemplating increasing my workouts this summer as well as yard projects when I got a surprising call to teach seminary next school year. 

I seem to receive every calling I have in the church about 4 years before I am ready for it.  I should not have been surprised when just a few weeks earlier I had the thought that my life was really settling down and getting easier.  This will be a huge challenge for several reasons including the biggest one that it will change my entire routine.  I will be starting at 6 every morning, bumping my jogging with Nathan, sleeping in occasionally and a lot of free time that will be devoted to preparation.  I'm thankful that I was able to find out at the beginning of the summer, so I have time to prepare. I love learning and I am excited at the prospect of feasting on the words of Christ.

I spent last week helping the girls paint and redo their room.  They were tired of the dark purple and green and ready for a softer color.  We chose a pale blue and spray painted their desks white. I think it turned out well.  Our only other project this summer is to rip out the carpet in the boy's bathroom and tile it.  Slowly but surely we are whittling off the vast list of house projects.  Nathan is also staining the deck this summer.  I'm staying out of that project as I did it alone last time and I don't have the energy to help. We intend to downsize in our next home so we have time and money that don't go solely into our house. 

Life is good.  My kids are growing up and I'm starting to glimpse a life that doesn't center only around their activities.  I'm really glad that I went back to school when I did.  Work is a nice balance with my part-time schedule and gives me plenty to learn and think about.  For now, I am savoring this season.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Brandon's First Area

Super crazy week.  I left the MTC last Monday and headed out to Queretaro.  After interviews we got our assignments. I was assigned to the Celaya, Alamos area with Elder Molina as my trainer. He's a super good missionary, and we've been working extremely hard.  He's from Arizona, and we get along super great!  It's been tough work here though because everyone is so Catholic, but the people are very kind.  Everything about Mexico is wild. Especially the bus rides haha.  I've seen some stuff here that I wouldn't have ever thought of in the US. There's so much poverty, it's pretty insane. I really didn't understand a whole lot of Spanish this week, but hopefully over the next couple months I can understand more. Well, I don't have much time, so I'll talk to you more next week! Love you guys!

Life Changes

I haven't posted on my blog for quite a while.  Lots of things got in the way. 

I found myself drowning in my life at the peak of busyness and something had to give.

As I read back through my old posts I see the life of someone I used to be, but I am different and my life has been changing in many ways.

My oldest son has gone to college for a semester and is now on a mission in Mexico.  My other children are working on chasing him out of the home which comes with the mixture of emotions.  My youngest is growing up.

I am starting to follow some of my interests.  I am getting more training in my counseling world.  I started taking piano lessons.  I am in a writing group.  I am still reading.  I am improving my knitting skills.  I am growing a little garden.  I am learning how to quilt.  I am doing some home projects as time and money allow. 

Mostly, I am starting to reinvent what life looks like as my kids grow up.  I often find myself struggling in knowing what exactly I want to do with my life.  The funny thing about turning 40 is that now time is more finite and I no longer feel that I can do anything I want, so I have to be more choosy about what I decide to do.  I spend more time analyzing what I really enjoy.  I am starting to discard what feels superfluous and invest in what really matters to me. 

This is my new season.  I have always been responsible, but I would like to have some fun too.  Have some adventures.  Be intentional about my life.  Find daily joy in how I spend my time.  I like writing in my blog, and I want to get back to it, but write about what matters to me and not do it for anyone else.  Post on what is important.  So here's to changes for better or worse.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rest in Peace, Togo Rio Grande

Once upon a time there was a young family who moved from California to Colorado.  Their children were very sad because they had to move so far from their friends and family.  They begged and begged for a puppy of their very own.

 One night, while their parents attended a charity auction at the Inn of the Rio Grande, they impulsively bid on a purebred beagle puppy. To their delight, they won the bid and couldn't wait to bring this puppy home to their children.  They named him Togo Rio Grande....a noble name for a noble dog.  Togo was a family name as well and came with an array of stories describing brave and loyal acts.

 These naive parents sometimes regretted this decision in the beginning.  Their new puppy wasn't potty trained as they had been led to believe, and they spent more than one occasion cleaning up accidents in the house.  In addition, Togo chewed through many rescue heroes and barbies before he grew out of the puppy stage.  For some time, he believed his name was Togo Leave-it.

But despite these challenges, Togo provided so much joy and laughter to this little family and was always on the perimeter of the action....that is when he didn't follow his nose into trouble.

Togo, and their cat, Alli were never friends, but they were able to achieve an uneasy truce in the sunshine during the winter months. 

This little family continued to grow and their little girl Danielle fell in love with Togo before she could even crawl.  They became good pals and were generally nearby each other.

Somehow, time has a way of speeding up and this family started to grow.  They moved from their childhood home to a new state and adjusted to Oregon.  Life went faster and faster and often they took Togo for granted.  He mellowed out and spent lots of time sleeping and lying in the sun.

During Christmas break of 2015, Togo stopped eating as much of his food and slept more than usual.  But this busy family didn't seem to notice the changes because they were so subtle.

They finally realized the week of Valentine's Day 2016 that one of their great loves was dying of kidney failure.  They suffered and grieved as they watched him weaken but never lose his dignity.  He was loyal to the end and a regal beagle!

This family was changed by owning such a good dog, and they appreciated him all the more when he was no longer with him....but he will always be part of their family and in their hearts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Breadth vs. Depth

I often struggle with balancing my desire to learn new things with my desire to become more proficient at the things I have already started learning.  I want to improve my skills on the piano, yet I would love to learn to play the guitar.  I would like to become more skilled at knitting, but I would still love to learn a foreign language.  I feel a desire to practice writing and yet want to read more books than there is time for.  I want additional training as a counselor but need to be there for my kids during their formative years.  Inside there is always a struggle for competing desires in finite time.

Sadly, we are limited in our time and must balance our competing wishes.  All the way through my 30's I felt that with enough practice I could do anything I want.  Now that I am older I am realizing that I have finite time and energy and must be more choosy about what is really important to me.  The hard thing for me is deciding what I really want to do.  I want to do everything!  But alas, I can't.  So I sometimes become paralyzed by indecision and do nothing.

It reminds me of the parable of the talents.  I suppose it should be good enough for me to use my talents the best I can, double them and improve myself so that the Lord will tell me that I have done well and am a good and faithful servant. 

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be great at any one thing.  I won't be the best counselor, author, mother, leader, friend, wife, knitter.  But I will try my best to continue to improve myself, and I will hopefully always be progressing in one way or another.  My hope is that when I am too old to see or move around on my own that I will be able to sit back and feel joy over the well-spent years that I enjoyed (that is as long as I'm not afflicted with Alzheimers).  And who knows, maybe this dog can still learn new tricks!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Final Highlights of 2015

We have had a very full year indeed.  I feel so grateful as I look over the pictures from this past year and marvel at how much we have managed to fit into 2015.  Nicole enjoyed being part of a homeschool choir.  She loves singing, art and music.

Brandon had a great time going to prom and especially enjoyed wearing a Tux!  He felt a little like Gatsby.  

We worked literally from sun-up till the last traces of available light painting our house on the hottest weekend of the summer.  All of the kids chipped in tremendously and we could not have finished the huge job without their help!  They helped us save $5000 with their combined labor, so we bought a new big-screen television to thank them for all their work.

Our home went from a faded rust to much more modern colors.

We have loved having family come visit this summer and enjoyed Crater Lake with the Cluffs.  I finally made the hike down to the shore and was impressed with how fit Tyler and Susan are!

That hike was nothing compared to hiking Mt. McLoughlin a steep-sided lava cone that had a breathtaking view.  Nathan and I were in charge of the 4th year hike and were happy to make it up to the top with all the girls...though it was close!

I enjoyed a quick mother/sisters weekend to attend Cami's choir with the Utah Chamber Artists.  Happily, Nicole managed to make it to the lobby before she puked with the stomach flu!  Poor girl had to lie on a bench for the rest of the concert.

Nathan and I enjoyed the annual ICMA trip to Seattle this year.  We made the ride up to the top of the iconic Space Needle and enjoyed four bright, clear days.  We especially liked the sights, sounds and smells of Pike's Market.

We sampled lots of delicious food and managed to have seafood every day of the trip.

We loved have Jeff and Jen Cherpeski and their family over for Thanksgiving Break.  They joined us in some of our traditions and the kids had a great time playing together.

We found a gorgeous tree for our last Christmas with all of our kids at home.

I was especially nostalgic in being able to attend Connor's first Band Concert.  It brought back a flood of memories from all my performances.  I'm glad that he enjoys music!

After having almost no moisture, we finally have been blessed with huge amounts of  beautiful, wet snow.  Danielle and I got to build her first snow family and we made an awesome snow fort.

Danielle was fortunate to be a mouse in the Nutcracker, which was thrilling for her.  We enjoyed the performance, knowing several of the dancers.

This has been a rich year full of  wonderful memories and experiences.  2016 will bring many changes for our family.  I liked a quote that one of my friends shared..."Change is inevitable and happy is the person who embraces it."