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Watercolor Purge

This Summer required extra Weekend Therapy to unpack everything we went through the last two years. When it started, I was still feeling floored that we had shut down the year prior, let alone the ups and downs of the most recent school year.

My summer friend on 35 mm

So I took pictures, traveled a bit, walked around aimlessly, rode my bike, binged TV, obsessed over listened to true crime podcasts, hung out with the kids, talked to my counselor, and watercolored. I think it accomplished the goal of coming to terms with all of the transitions, and I felt ready to finally start to hope and plan for the year ahead…however unpredictable it might prove to be.

My own counselor is helping me realize that we often think of self-care like we can put rest in some reserve for later when our lives explode again. But alas, it’s not so easy! Self- care is an ongoing process, and in the down-time of summer I’m learning to use my energy to process the past, and develop sustainable self-care habits for the busy future.

Anywho, at the end of the day (or summer) I have a cautiously optimistic readiness for the school year and a big ol’ pile of photographic and art prints! I went the summer taking pictures of my watercolors and then gifting them to people who will find them meaningful. And after ordering some magical giclee prints, I’ve decided to motivate my self- care practice by starting to sell them!

It all started with this first illustration of a book store near my cousin’s house in Columbus. She started out our summer with her beautiful neighborhood!

More to come on this if I can ever for the life of me figure out the interwebs, but if the site looks a little different it will be a sign I’ve figured it out!

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Slow Start


Yep. Four more days. What a Summer it has been. We have had some serious changes this Summer in my family, some super sad and some exciting. It always seems to happen that way that the Summer is so seldom a slow burn. I can’t decide which way I like more. But I am ready to head back.

The crazyiness will begin soon, as I step into a new school. After my babies left for High School I’ve decided to take the leap and start a new adventure. As sad as I am to say goodbye to my old school, I am really excited to get my hands into a new place, new population, and forge new friendships. I get so much inspiration from the people around me, sometimes I think they get fatigued from my harassment! So now it’s time to give someone else a turn.

To prep for returning, I started reading The Balanced Teacher Path which has really helped me get into the mood to set my mind right, and remember to support the teachers on my hallway. It’s such an easy read, contains personal stories, and suggestions for the classroom and home. I seriously recommend it, and think it would be an amazing all-school read.

I also got to spend today in training with all of the secondary counseling peeps in VB. It was tough to wake up early, but it was so perfect to get me reignited and ready for the year. I am itching to get in, take care of scheduling conflicts, and get the year rolling. It feels so good to be in a profession that excites me enough to get my tail out of yoga pants and into business.

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Mechanisms and Distortions

Soooo…still more snow time, and I have done some counsely web surfing and some weekend therapy crafting (snow addition). Here is a mini, mini quilt I made for my magazine fairy friend who is a total enabler in giving me her good reads, which only further deepens my magazine addiction (including ridiculously priced Euro craft mags).

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I first must say that I pinned this amazing post on printing post-its.  How insanely cute are these?? I’d like to alter the template a bit and have it say cutesy little things like, “Remember you promised Mrs. Counselor you would do this- Get it done!” or “Read this so you can pass your test.” or “Write stuff out so you don’t get all angry-teen!” (these are my versions of pep-talks).  But really, I’m thinking there are a lot of things that could be done with these.  I might start with making a few that just say “Get this done before:___” to attach to assignments.  I am so excited


Lastly, but not leastly, I perused my “School Counseling Hoohas and Doodads” Pinterest board and came upon a list of cognitive distortions.  I have always loved distortions, because I find them fascinating, in that it happens all of the time, and I am amazed at how us rational beings can’t see them! Really, I think we all do them, and they are ultimately at the root of my job security!  Coupling this with some crazy defense mechanisms, and you’ve got yourself a life pie.

I mean really, how much of our students’ behaviors are actually manifestations of other things going in their lives or other stressors?  I mean really, I don’t know about your school, but some of the kids over my way have some real stuff happening at their houses- stuff that essentially makes them more grown than I am. One of the things that fuel my love for counseling is that light bulb moment when a student becomes a frequent flier because they have been angry, upset, getting in to trouble, etc. – and then they talk.  They talk and they talk, and through side notes and behind a bunch of conversation about who they are fighting with or who they are angry with, or what teacher is mean, they mention a parent deploying or moving, a mom having a baby or getting a new job, a sibling leaving for the military or passing in recent years.  And it all just starts to make sense, and you can start to respond to their quasi-issues in a way that addresses the real heart of their behavior.

But all of those side actions are weighed down by defense mechanisms and cognitive distortions. I mean, I do all of the time.  Take my snowcation, for example.  Because I am obsessive about my planner (same one every year: Moleskine extra large monthly like this one), if I don’t write something down, the plan does not exist.  Because I did not get to write down all of our holidays yet, when our snow make-up days are called, I will not be disappointed because I am choosing to experience some sort of false reality. 🙂  But really, adults do this just as much as kids (if not more, which is why I work with kids).  For this reason, I really liked this list of distortions.  I think that it could even be a cool tool to point out to kids when you recognize one of these occurring.  I think when I get back I will make a laminated copy, and maybe middle-schoolize the verbiage so that I can have a quick reference.  Here is a cool PDF version that also identifies relational comebacks for each distortion.

I got these awesome thought changing cards for Christmas last year (I think the anxiety deck), and they are so cool and relatable to this.  You can use them with students, but given my early professional greenery, I usually just refer to them for tips, examples, and reference.  However you use them, they are great.  I have thought about making my own list/deck but real-life middle school style (because ya’ll know things that claim to be tailored to adolescents very rarely really capture the charm and, um, determination of real middle and high school kids).  Here are all of the sets below. Hope you find time for some weekend therapy this weekend!