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Originally from Texas, I am a reader, writer, pseudo-gardener, baker, record collecting student working on my Ph.D. in the Midwest.

Thursday, February 24

Performance and Anxiety and My Reaction

So, as you may or may not know, I am doing a Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab. I was drawn to this Dream Lab because Brene Brown is leading it, and we all know that I have a researcher crush on her. 

Anyway, she does audios twice a week and most of them are amazing. And sometimes, they just knock me off my feet. Especially, one she did last week which I have been mulling around in my head since. It's about how we react to anxiety. 

She describes two kinds of people: Over-performers and Under-performers. 

The Over-Performers are the ones who take control. They make lists, are 15 minutes early to everything, and become super focused. 

You know where I'm going with this. 

The Under-Performers, they're the ones who freeze. They start losing the lists, they numb, they don't quite make it. 

Now, society values over-performers much more than under-performers, but both are not good place to be. Both afford us serious problems.

And, I have come to the realization that I am an under-performer. When I find myself in a high-stress, high-anxiety situation, I totally freeze up. Like, you know, with Comps. I find anything that I can do to not do what I need to do. I lose the lists I make and I clam up.I think about twitter posts, even though I don't have a twitter. And facebook. Hello procrastination.

It's a problem, but it's me. Maybe this comps studying will put me in a better place.

Probably not.

But cupcakes help.

Wednesday, February 23

Oreo Love


Husband: I love mini Oreos! 
Me: Why?
Husband: because a serving size is nine Oreos rather than four!

Tuesday, February 22

Surprise! Comps.

Yesterday I got a surprise. 

And not really one that I wanted. I figured out (found out) that I have to take comps on March 4th if I want my Masters to be able to be considered to teach next year.

Yikes. I mean, big yikes. The hyperventilating-panic inducing-chest pain-yikes.

See,  I knew comps were around the corner. But, I planned on taking them in June. However, when I went to check on dates, I saw that the June comps are during the time we will be in Texas for my brother-in-law's graduation. Exciting? Yes. A pain in my plans? Yes, too. 

For those who aren't sure, comps (at the Masters level) is a test which will determine if I can graduate or not. If I have enough knowledge to be eligible. I've decided to take three: The Counseling, The Cognition, and The Basic Statistics. 

But, I'm still hyperventilating, panicking, and all around freaked out. 

And while I'm doing this, I have people from my program and others who reached out and helped me calm down, told me I could do this, and offered their knowledge, kind words, and hugs. 

And that's when I'm reminded how amazing this program is, how wonderful the people who are here are, and how lucky I am. 

Being in a graduate program can be isolating. Not a lot of people really get what it takes to be here or how much work there is or how much a person can sacrifice to make it happen. 

And, there's not a lot of balance afforded. If I want to do things outside of this program, then I have to let go of some things in the program. If I want to do something inside of the program, I have to let go of some thing outside of it. Not to mention the faults which programs have. 

And this program isn't different. Balance feels unattainable, I put pressure on myself to be perfect, I don't have a lot of friends outside of the program, and it has its faults. 

But the support here? That's incredible. The fact that people step forward and say, "Breathe. I have this book, and this book, and this book. I'll help you find what you need." That's beautiful. 

And everyday, I try to count my blessings to be here.

Besides, now all of this:

will pay off. 

Monday, February 21

My Heart's in the DRC

I have about 800 things which I want to blog about. They just keep running through my head. So that means that tonight, while I make taco soup and wait for 10:30 to come around to pick up the husband, I will be blogging and saving and getting my thoughts down. 

But, for now, I want to talk about my heart. Not my literal heart in that the thing which keeps me alive (although I'm quite grateful for it). I mean my heart in the sense of what I followed onto this career path, what I listen to if I'm making good decisions, that heart. 

In August of 2007, I read an article that has literally changed my life. It's by Eve Ensler and it's about rape in the DRC. It was published in Glamour, and I tore it out and kept it folded in my wish box for a long time.

From Amy's Picasa Album. Link at bottom
The second I read that article I believed without a shadow of a doubt that one day I would go to the DRC and work in that hospital or with another group and work with these women whose lives have been shattered by rape. By rape in a way which we can't fathom and don't want to. These women are amazing, and I want to know their stories.

I told my husband (who was my boyfriend, at the time) about this. He was not pleased. And still isn't. My husband wants me to have nothing to do with the DRC. He says this out of a his concern for my safety, not because he doesn't want me to follow my heart (we moved to Nebraska for goodness sake's. He's all about me following my dreams.) And I believe him. But I just can't turn it off. 

Recently, I started reading a blog called The King Effect. And, it's amazing. It's a woman who decided to move to the DRC to do something about what was going on. 

And I want to be her.

I'm looking into Fulbrights. As a graduate students certain parts of the world are more open to me than undergrads. I'm going to the DRC one day to work with these amazing people. I promise. 

Photos of her time in the DRC can be seen here:

Friday, February 18

TGIF {4}

Note: TGIF stands for Trust, Gratitude, and Inspiration Friday. It's the brain child of Brené Brown. She writes that it comes from the idea that joy is more like twinkle lights because it comes only in moments, those ordinary, everyday moments. But, we miss those because we're so busy wanting more, or looking for something more extraordinary. "I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration."

After this week of ups and downs and tears and smiles and chocolate and cupcake wine, I decided I wanted to do TGIF. I need it.

Trust: I'm trusting my soul next week. Well, beginning tomorrow. And I'm trusting the fact that I am not an impostor and that I am doing what I should be doing with my life. I love what I do. I'm good at what I do, dammit. I'm also going to trust more in my relationships, because honestly, I have some beautiful people in my life who would gladly listen to me and let me work through my anxiety. 

Gratitude: I'm grateful for this blog and I'm grateful facebook. I'm grateful for a place to lay out my soul, even the icky parts of it. I'm learning to be more vulnerable and open, which is what I wanted. It's pretty painful at times, but it's good for me. I'm also grateful for facebook and the family which I have there. I was inundated with love messages and comments, and that reminds me how loved I am. Finally, I'm grateful for my husband. I'm unbelievably blessed to have a person in my life who can read me like the books he loves and knows what I need. When I feel topsy turvy, he jumps on and helps me out. Even if that just means laying in bed for 30 minutes one night to shut out the gremlins. And tea, I'm always grateful for tea.

Inspiration: I'm inspired by a lot. I'm inspired by the women whose blogs I read and how honest they are. I'm inspired by the beautiful weather that's teasing us. I'm inspired by my work and the amazing-ness of the students I talk to and hang out with. 

And, today, I'm looking forward to:
Painting at Silly's with my "cousin"
Going to the ballet with an amazing group of people
Eating and drinking with that same group
Finishing the cookies that a friend brought me 
And putting orajel on my wisdom tooth which is currently cutting. 

How about you, my friends. What's your TGIF?

Wednesday, February 16

The Anxiety Shit Storm Spiral

Part of the job as a TA is to do exam reviews with students. These things are impossible. Each student gets about 30 minutes to go over their exam. Some reviews take 3 minutes, some take the whole 30, leaving me breathless, sad, and irritated.

Yesterday, I had to sit down with my calendar and plan when I would give these reviews. I have two classes, totaling about 70 students. About 50 will want to do reviews. In case you're not counting, that's about 25 hours of reviews -- remember, I only get paid for 13 hours of work a week. By the time I finish reviews on the first exam, they're taking the second and it's never ending. In there, I also have to continue my classes, seeing clients, research, and sanity.

Yesterday, I started down the Anxiety Shit Storm Spiral. It sounds like this:
what the hell do you think you're doing here? really, you don't have time or talent for this. you really aren't a counselor, and you're definitely not a teacher. you can't even keep up with emails. and scheduling? you suck at it. seriously. you can't even remember to pay all your bills on time. don't forget you still owe money to the school. and speaking of money, where does it go? why can't you budget and make money work. you got a massive tax refund and now a good chunk of that is gone. why aren't you more responsible? why aren't you more compassionate? why aren't you a better person? why do you think your husband wants to be with you? you have way to many issues to be normal; who would love you? why do you even bother? 

and on and on and on. 

This is my head. This is where I live. I am so critical of myself it makes me sick. And that brings out its own anxiety. 

necklace by sherie on etsy made just for me.
I'm not necessarily in a better place today. I'm little bit more centered and little bit more trusting. Of myself. Of my relationships. Of my ability to do this. I'm reminding myself of kindness and peace and gratitude. 

I'm playing this in my head: 
I am real. I am true. I am ALIVE. and right now, I am taking a minute to remember that and to breathe.

If I could just get these damn gremlins out of my head...

Love on the Run

Love On The Run | 2011 from The Leekers Photography on Vimeo.

Love On The Run is a valentine making extravaganza, that is free to the public. There are vintage type writers, polaroids, and sweet treats waiting for you.
-perfectly said by The Leekers

And, on Valentine's Day, they deliver the photo, a message in a bottle and lots of love. What a way to make a person feel special.

Porridge Papers
The Leekers

Monday, February 14

LoveFest 2011

I'm one of those people who loves Valentine's Day, but only on the day of. The rest is just too much pressure.

But today, I love it. Even though I have a flat tire, my cell phone died, and my printer decided to hate on me. I love it.

I decorated Friday night and that was fun. See photos above.

The husband and I aren't doing anything together until much later tonight. We might get beer and cake is we're feeling crazy this afternoon before my class. But, he's working until 10:30 and I'm headed to a love-fest party with some good old and new friends. Excitement will ensue, I promise.

But, because I love cards*, I found this in my computer this morning:

How freaking adorable is that? And, I'm told there is more to come. 10:30 can't get here soon enough!

Anyhow, we are having gorgeous weather here right now which is fantastic. It still sucks my motivation dry, but I can deal with that. And yesterday, at my Sunday Study Brain Trust Group, I wore this:

And I felt super cute. Don't judge.

*At some point last year, I told the husband that I feel loved when I received cards. I didn't need gifts, just thoughtful cards. And though could be, "oh, Colie would appreciate this." And, now he does it. I'm a lucky, luck girl.

Friday, February 11

Valentine's Day, Friday Night Love

It's the Friday night before Valentine's Day... or Lover's Day as some wonderful people call it. 

Tonight, I've been making Valentine's Day decorations. The awesome homemade kind. With construction paper and string, a single hole punch and a ladder to hang stuff. 

It's a lot of fun. 

The cat's even been helping.

Also, I would like to dedicate this song to the husband. You can listen to it too.

Happy Weekend my friends!
Leaky faucet, creaky floor
We don't even own a bathroom door
The sofa set is nothing to be jealous of
We don't have a lot but there's no shortage here for love
All the pennies in the wishing wells
All the diamonds Tiffany's could sell
All the riches put together
All the sunny California weather
Could not make me love you any better

You could give me all that I request
If you fancy, darling be my guest
But I'll take less if more means having less of you
Who needs sequin shoes or private jets to Katmandu
All the pennies in the wishing wells
All the diamonds Tiffany's could sell
All the riches put together
All the sunny California weather
Could not make me love you any better

I don't need your money
Just your kisses and your funny faces
Which I miss when you're away
I cry into my pillow
Stay up late until you bring me takeout
We make conversation all about
All the pennies in the wishing wells
All the diamonds Tiffany's could sell
All the riches put together
All the sunny California weather
All the pennies in the wishing wells
All the diamonds Tiffany's could sell
All the riches put together
All the sunny California weather
Could not make me love you any better

Thursday, February 10

Aspiration & Self-Forgiveness

I really wanted to embed this video because, frankly, it's amazing. If you have an extra 21 minutes, do watch it. 

There are so many gems in there. So many amazing things, that I kind of want everybody to watch it.

One of my favorite take-aways: Mitigate all that aspiration with a healthy dose of self forgiveness.

Wednesday, February 9

Teenage Spirituality

I volunteer at my church. Specifically, I work with the youth group. 

Even more specifically, I am co-leading the confirmation group this go around. We have 7 guys, which has been fantastic. And very different. I don't know if you've ever hung around with teenage guys, but they are totally different than teenage girls.

Now, I am also a therapist-in-training, for those of you who didn't know. This means that I deal with emotion on a fairly regular basis both from my clients and from myself. 

But sometimes, sometimes it catches me off guard. Like tonight. One of the guys from the confirmation class had a hard, hard weekend. He lost a good friend of his suddenly, and, as with anyone he is in a state of shock, and sadness, and he's questioning everything. Just like any of us would. 

And tonight, while we're talking about what happened in class he begins to get emotional. 

If you've never seen a teenage boy begin to be upset, it's heartbreaking because the pain is palpable. And as myself and the other leaders try to get our bearings, one of the other boys stands up and walks over and places a hand on the first. 

It was so beautiful. So amazing. And so powerful. 

And made me unbelievably grateful to be a part of this process.

Tuesday, February 8

Light Painting

I'm getting into photography. Part of that comes from the better camera I got back in November. Part of it comes from the Diana that I got for Christmas. The other third is my desire to not only learn about Counseling techniques and to have a life. 

I enrolled in a continuing ed photography class, and so far it was been the most incredible thing that I've done in a while. I've learned so so so much about photography and cameras... it's been incredible. And, my photos are getting better to boot. 

Anyway, some of the things which I've learned is that for a camera, you just need a light tight box, a shutter, an aperture, and something to collect the light. That's it. That's all that's needed for a camera. Now, lenses and shutter speeds... all of that is important depending upon the kind of photo you want, but the basics? That's all you need. 

And that's all that pinhole cameras are. A light tight box, something to catch the light (film), a shutter (what let's light in) and the aperture (the pin hole). And you can get some amazing photos using a pin hole. 

For example, the one above. That's a pin hole camera made from an empty soda can with a 0.25mm aperture and a single sheet of photographic paper. The shutter was left open for 6 months... 6 months! From the winter solstice to the summer. See the streaks? That's the sun going across the sky. 

Photography doesn't have to be scary or hard and you don't need a $1,000+ camera... you just need to be able to paint with light. 
Found at: HouseHold Name

Monday, February 7

What made you smile today?

I have a friend, named Hannah. She's pretty rad. And, on like the second day I met her, she said, "What made you smile today?"

That little statement just blew me away. And I think of it all the time.

On Friday, I asked my facebook family what had made them smile. Some of the responses:
Snow days
Snuggling in my dad's snuggie -- he passed away in April
Children hugging and laughing
Balloons in the air
A friend's dog running through the snow
A fantastic night
Wearing sweats to the bar
A UT football recruit, when asked why he chose Texas, replying with, "Because it's Texas!"
Partners making fun of you when sick
Fluffy cream filled long john donuts
and an amazing story about a Parkinson's Patient

The stories just melted my heart (you know, because it's so frozen) and me happy. 

So, tonight. I would like for you to think about what made you smile today.

For me? It was my husband bringing me an amazing lunch.

How about you?

Thursday, February 3

Damn you, DVR

I have a bone to pick with my DVR. I know there are probably hundreds of blog posts out there about DVR's and the fact that they kind of have a mind of their own. But, it's now my turn.

Our DVR has a mind of it's own. Seriously. And, it's beginning to piss me off.

We came home tonight from a lovely impromptu date night. We went to dinner spending our Groupon and then went and saw Black Swan*. And then, we came home and cozied up to eachother on the couch preparing to watch some good ol' DVR amazingness.

I pulled up the list and noticed something was missing.

Can you see what's missing? Probably not. But, it's 9:30 and Private Practice isn't recording. It should say, "Private Practice" and have a little recording icon next to it. But, that's missing.

Are you kidding me?! Ugh.

Now, I know I'm being ridiculous. I'm really worked up about this which tells me that I need to let go of the television again for a while. But until then, damn you DVR for being wonderful enough that I get hooked to you and then not recording my shows.

*Black Swan: I'm still precessing this movie. It was intense. I mean, wow.

Wednesday, February 2


Badges are something in the blog world which are really cool.

I like looking at the badges which people put up and seeing where they go and what people believe and think. I've refrained, though, from placing badges on my blog because I didn't want to overwhelm you guys with things that I love or believe in. But, I've decided to put a couple up. And here's why. (Click on the badge here on the side to learn more about each movement! It's worth your time, I promise!)

Read the Printed Word!First, I have Read the Printed Word. When I blogged about our wedding, I put this on my sidebar because I truly believe in it. There's something refreshing about opening a book or newspaper or magazine and reading. Something which can never be accomplished with a nook or kindle or iPad.

The Small Is Beautiful ManifestoNext up, we have The Small is Beautiful badge. I struggle with blogging because I love it and I want other people to love it too, and I especially want other people to love what I write. Or, have some reaction to what I write. It can be difficult to blog when you don't know if people are reading it, or care about it, or... anything. While struggling with this, I was looking through others' blogs, one day and ran across this, and fell in love.

And then there's Brené Brown. If you've been paying even halfway attention to my blog, you know that Brené Brown is kind of like my celebrity researcher. Or is, whatever. She has beautiful ideas and seems to be an incredible woman.

One idea that I am truly in love with is free-range social media. This is defined by no cages, no copying, and no cruelty in social media, and it's something that I can get behind.

And finally, there's living wholeheartedly and authentically, which I am working on with my whole heart. Because of situations beyond my control, I hide my true self from people. I worry about what they will think rather than trusting that I am enough because I am me. And this year, I am making steps to believe that.

Tuesday, February 1

Care Packages

I love getting mail. I really, truly do. I mean the mail that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, not the type that says you need pay up or coupons that just make you spend more money to "save" money.

Yesterday I made it back to school and I even saw a client. It was a yucky day -- ice everywhere and cold with the wind, but I made it. Mondays are long too. I get to campus at 9am and don't leave until about 9pm. I also didn't realize how "on" I am during the day with people. Needless to say, I was exhausted last night, mentally and physically. Emotionally too.

Then, I checked the mail. And, I had a package in it from Lindsey, a dear friend from home.

And in this package was a quadruple chick-flick feature dvd, kleenex, goldfish, soup, cough drops, chapstick and lovely card.

It was amazing and brightened my day.

So thank you, Lindsey for the incredible gift.

P.S. If anyone wants a love note, just let me know. I'm really loving writing them.