Friday, August 7, 2009


Honestly, today rivaled that Friday that was the last day of school. It was just a really great day. Maybe not as great as the last day of school, but close. It was the last day of my group therapy class, so there's always a certain amount of relief and light-heartedness that comes with being done with a class you're taking. Plus since it was the last day there was little instruction going on. Groups were just presenting their projects we've been working on all week. If you haven't picked up, this is a 5-day class. So Monday we began and today was the end.

On Monday we were randomly placed in groups and given the task of designing a counseling group that we would be the "facilitators" of. I use quotes because we weren't actually going to run the group, it was just a proposal. My group (5 girls, including me) chose to focus our project on the "Sandwich Generation." For anyone that's never heard of this, the sandwich generation is people who are of the age where they are caring for both their own children and their aging parents. So we worked really hard this week and each person took on a part of the paper that they would be responsible for. I volunteered to be the editor and put everything together nicely at the end. Today everyone was presenting. As it turned out, our group presented last (there were only three groups). So we all did a great job sitting there in front of the class talking about our program and all the sessions and activities we had planned for these sandwich people and why it was important to have a group to support them, etc, etc... At the end, our professor (one of those guys who obviously commands a lot of respect within the profession) says to the class that he wants to make a suggestion to my group. He hadn't made any suggestions to the other groups so we all started exchanging glances like - "oh no, what did we do wrong or forget?!" He even told the other groups to pay attention to his suggestion and why he was making it. It actually felt kind of embarrassing. But then he tells us he thinks we should submit our work for publication. I couldn't believe it! It was such an unexpected compliment. I'm sure my mouth hung open at some point. He said the reason was that there is already a lot of research on the other two groups' topics (adolescents with social issues, and grief/loss), but that there is very little out there on this "Sandwich Generation." He also recommended that we submit it to the Maryland Counseling Association to present it at their annual conference in the spring. Ahhhhhh! I can't take much of the credit because I was only the editor, everyone else did the research and wrote the body of the paper, but I couldn't help but be totally flattered. We were of course all very excited and all agreed that we wanted to do it. So some people are going to spruce up their work a little bit and then we're going to submit it! How can you not be in a great mood after that?!

To get a little more specific for a minute, I also want to share something that came up while we were collaborating on this paper that I thought was particularly inspiring. One of the girls had taken a course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and as it's title suggests this type of stress reduction is based on being present and aware. One of the tools that is used in MBSR is something called a positive events log. I tried doing something similar to this with my blog a long time ago when I was still teaching at Banneker and was basically miserable. But what it is is simply a place to keep a record of positive events in your life so that they don't just kind of blur and disappear into the shadows of all the negativity. It's so easy to focus on what stinks or is unfair or annoying and completely overlook everything that is amazing around you on a daily basis. So I felt inspired to start and keep a positive events log, and I decided that my blog would (once again) be the perfect place. I think from here out I'd like to begin each blog posting with at least three positive events from that day or week - and maybe (hopefully) more! I just feel like it's so important in life to take time to acknowledge the positive. Some call this counting blessings, which I am a big believer in. But having a forum for it, like a blog, I think will almost force me to really examine life critically and pluck out some of the tiniest positives (knowing that some days there will seem like there are none). Anyway, that inspired me and I think in a way that moment with my group was a little bit of a turning point for me in that I want to start this positive events log and hope that it will help change my perspective on every day life. Of course, I encourage you to start one as well. Like I said, blogs are a good place. Or you could just keep a little notebook or journal handy and note things down as they happen in your day. Maybe that little tid-bit will help you to change your perspective or focus for the better as well :]

Ok, so as if all this wasn't super fun and warm and fuzzy enough... today is 8.7.9. It's a special day in our house. The original special day was 8.7.6 - the day Josh proposed! It was such a fun day, and I won't run you through the whole story again, but it holds so many happy memories and emotions for me that I can't help but reflect on it and get sucked into all those feelings again. I relived that day multiple times today and know that I must have been staring into space grinning like an idiot a time or two during class today. What can I say, I'm in love! So to celebrate we're going out to a nice dinner at PF Chang's in Towson. As we speak Josh is readying himself to walk out the door, so I should probably do the same.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! And let me know if you start a positive events log! I'd love to hear your thoughts and how it works out for you :]


  1. Em, CONGRATS! What a treat, and I have to admit, even as little as I know you, I'm not surprised! You seem like a very dedicated and thorough student and I'm glad you got matched with women who also put in a great effort, let me know (well all of us blog followers) when you submit it and how it goes! I think editing it is just as important as doing the research and writing it as well! As for your engagement anniversary, that IS a very special day indeed, it in turn led to many more special days, yes? :0) I would love, to someday, read about it :0D Hope you two love birds have a great evening out celebrating your love :0)

  2. Em... what a great idea! Why didn't you share this BEFORE my hubby left ;) If I can get my act together and get back to blogging I will try to do a 'positive events log' too! Hope your dinner was fab, too!


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