Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

But, unfortunately, not funny (I do love me some Monty Python, though).
I was just looking through my past blog posts and I have noticed that they are about my adventures in crafting and my etsy shop, which is awesome, but today I want to share a little about what I have learned this past year as a student, a little to tell you something about me, and in hopes that you could glean some information that might help you out a little.
I am in the process of learning all about Marriage and Family Therapy in the end hope of becoming a counselor someday. I wasn't all that sure when I started the program whether or not I would be a good counselor someday. I mean, I have really bad days, I don't have all my stuff together, and I'm still a little mad at various people from my formative years and maybe my ex-boyfriends.
Well, I have learned through this process two things.
1. God has given me the right personality, temperament, and past to be a counselor.
2. There isn't a single counselor in the world who has all their stuff together. After all, they are human too.
Disabling sadness or depression is something that many people deal with on a semi-regular basis, including myself. It can destroy a person's daily life, interrupting their ability to problem solve and even complete normal tasks. It is really the most common problem brought to counselors because it is so invasive and it really affects the person with depression and the people that they regularly interact with.
A few days ago, I was at the start of a slightly stressful day, I had a paper to research, write, and proofread in a tight but manageable time frame when I received a phone call from my university. They were returning my call from the week before about changing campuses when my husband and I are scheduled to move. The news wasn't good. I thought that I had planned out my choice of school well, a nationwide school with campuses everywhere so if and when my husband received orders to another base, my education could move with us with little interruption. I was wrong. The campus near the new base doesn't offer my program and it isn't available online either. There seemed to be very few options open to me, start a new program (no), or look for schools in the area that do offer my program and apply for a transfer.
The phone exchange acted like a domino push. I was already stressed about my tight schedule for the day and blaming myself for poor time management skills when the phone exchange fired off other negative thoughts like "is this worth it, I've wasted a ton of money now, why even try when this path is blocked off to me anyway". I recognized the thoughts and the domino effect spiral into depression, but even knowing everything I do about depression, myself, and thought patterns, I couldn't pull myself out of the funk I went into. I didn't write the paper, I skipped class, and I stayed up way too late fighting every negative thought in my head with a reasonable and true argument. The next day I woke up exhausted and defeated and determined to not fight with myself that day. I still had a crappy day. That night, I picked up a textbook that I needed to finish reading.
I started reading out of habit and duty, but was soon impressed by a passage in the book. The author, a therapist, is relating a story that happened after a year of counseling a family. Most of the family has stopped coming to counseling, but the wife is still coming in. She is doing mostly well, but struggling with depression from time to time. The therapist tells her to stop fighting the depression and let it happen. He recognizes that her intense anger and sadness that she had long repressed was gone, but she was still grieving the wounds of her past and she needed to allow herself to feel that pain.
It struck me then. We all need to allow ourselves to feel pain and grief, even if we don't know the source. Holding the door shut to negative feelings because we don't understand them only causes more negative feeling to pile up behind the door and then one day, we lose our ability to hold the door shut and we are flooded with grief and pain and depression sets in. After reading that, I gave up. I blasted out a short incoherent prayer containing my struggle and I went to sleep. I slept the sleep of a terribly exhausted person, and when I woke up, I was ready. I was ready to live, to pick up the pieces I had dropped and to move on out of the dark and into the day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Sore Fingers!!

Ever since the fall of mankind, humans have been wearing clothes. And clothing requires someone to make it, and the generally accepted way to make clothes is to sew them. Therefor, sewing has been around for a very long time.
Now there are a lot of gadgets to make the task of sewing a lot easier. The sewing machine and serger come to mind. One of the simplest little sewing accoutrement's is the pincushion, the device to hold the sewist's pins and needles in one neat and organized place. The pincushion is so universal that when I started sewing at the age of 8, my very first sewing project was making a small pincushion with an elastic strap so I could wear a pincushion on my wrist and have easy access to my pins at all times. The pincushion is a great invention, and I still have that first little pincushion I made over twenty years ago.
My problem with pincushions is a very simple one though. I don't use them. When I sew, I will take the pins out of the pincushion, pin my fabric together and sit down at the machine. Then I will start to sew, removing the pins as I go along. I never ever return those pins into the pincushion as I sew, though. I prefer to drop the pins directly in front of the sewing machine as I go along. The sewing machine that I learned to sew on even had a small well-like impression in the front of the machine, neatly collecting my pins and reinforcing my tendency to not return the pins to the cushion, and when I finish sewing, returning those pins to the pincushion just annoys me.
My current machine doesn't have that little well-like impression in it though, currently causing my discarded pins to roll all over my sewing table and quite frequently my pins fall onto the floor, creating a little danger zone in my sewing area.
I decided to remedy this problem and get a little bowl to set by my machine in order to collect my discarded sewing pins. I looked on etsy for small bowls and found a great variety, some just completely adorable, but I haven't made an etsy sale in about a month now, so my paypal account is drained, and I really couldn't justify the expense. So I did what any crafty gal in their right brain would do, I made a bowl. I gathered up some little scrap pieces of fabric that were destined for the trash can, twisted them up and started hand-stitching them together.
The result is a wobbly, wonky bowl that tortured my fingers and took three hours to make (in my defense of time wasting, for the three hours I was hand sewing this silly thing, DH was playing a video game). I ended with a little rolled up bit of knit at the end that I decided to embellish with a few stray beads and two blue "leaves" to give the impression of a little flower.
Yep, it's all frayed looking, lopsided, and the stitches are less than pristine, but I think it's kinda cute. And it works as a pin bowl and a pincushion! Also, it collects other stray stuff from my sewing table. A win/win/win situation if you ask me.
P.S. Yes, I will probably jab my fingers with pins using this method, but that's really nothing new for me. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Christmas 2008 Recap

I realize that I might be a day late and a dollar short with this entry, but I look at it more like extending some Christmas cheer a little longer into this winter.
I got so caught up in preparing for Christmas that I didn't take all the pictures that I intended or promised to. I made 4 very different little plushies for Christmas and only managed to get a picture of one, my very first attempt. Yep, this lion's arms and legs are lopsided and he's just a little wierd looking, but my nephew is just kooky enough to appreciate him. The superhero dog plushie that I gave to his older brother was pronounced a "doll" and thrown back into the box with a "no thank you". Well, at least the kid is honest. :)

My niece was pleased with the little tutu I made for her, she put it on immmediately and wore it for the rest of the present opening. The tutu is not quite as cute as she is, I have to say.

I wanted to capture the, um, warmth and intimacy of having 20+ people in one room. We've gotten quite good at lining the walls of my parents living room. We've also gotten rather good at clearing out as soon as all the presents are opened. Even on a cold Wisconsin winter day, that many people in one room quickly makes for a more than comfortable temperature.
The one other great highlight of this Christmas adventure was the flu, which was great fun had by all. Trips were postponed, events were canceled, and we all eventually survived, some of us a little thinner than we started.
When DH and I returned to Las Vegas we were given yet another gift, this one more welcome than the flu. We learned that we are going to be moving to a different Air Force base at the end of March, this time we will be back in the Midwest and much closer to my family (and marginally closer to his. I am looking forward to missing the upcoming Las Vegas summer!