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Trying Story Maps

Exploration of Self: Boundary Development Tools

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In 2013 I was given an amazing gift.  I found a friend who introduced me to new ideas and perspectives, who had been through her own problems and understood how to get better.  I started seeing a therapist.  The first day of therapy I was given 2 simple tasks that sent me into anxiety attacks.  I have used them on a yearly basis ever since!  Here's what they are and what I do with them.

1. The VIA survey of character strengths test that I have taken every year to assess who I think I am, how it has changed, and if I'm seeing myself honestly.  I have also given it to my kids so that I can know how they see themselves and how to better support them.  The site is free and they store all your past tests for you.  There are tons of other questionnaires on the site that are helpful as well.  All from the emerging field of positive psychology.

If I feel like I'm fine with my top 5 and bottom 5 I know I am doing well.  If I feel ashamed, embarrassed, defeated etc. about something i…

The Martyr and the Poet

When I put this pen to paper I become brave
I acknowledge that creativity in me and let it speak
And it's loud.  And it's free.
It's stared at in public
It's the typethat's condemned
for tattoos and rebellion

She's unapologetic and naked in a field
Screaming and dancing with the monarchs
Running from both the Church and the Nazis
Towards honest love

She's wild and hated and loved more than any other

She's assassinated on stage for
Speaking up, speaking out
Loving freely, having a dream
Seeing more clearly, making love not war
Chased down and caged for believing in Who's

Not giving up or giving in
She never wins
But the point is the fight
And she fights to the end

What kid of existence is it?
To be on a platform
Where you're taunted by most, and lauded by others
The Martyr and the Poet are lovers

Birthday Idea

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I was reminiscing about our time in Spain, looking at old photos.  I realized I haven't tried to do a photo a day challenge in quite some time!  Back when I did them I believed they were all boring, but now I love them all.  So, time for another 365 challenge.







Now that I have a great phone camera I think I will make it to 365, as it will be far more convenient than the old SLR to RAW to editing to converting to uploading route I used to have to take.  In 2013 I was able to get 308, so let's see if I can top that.  The start date doesn't matter much to me, so why not begin on my birthday ;)

Southwest Vacation - Wrap Up

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We're back into our usual routines, looking for the next adventure.  The kids were a little apprehensive about "staying in some stranger's house" beforehand, but are now completely on-board with Airbnb stays.  Everything went so well.  We saved money by cooking and it was much less stressful than our other trips.  I have finally learned what works!  A few of these I just learned.

1. No car rides longer than 6hrs in one day.
2. Plan at least ONE day of absolutely nothing per week for mental and physical recovery.
3. Always bring: snacks from grocery stores (larger portions, smaller prices), collapsible coolers, and empty water bottles.  Freezing water and keeping it in a cooler for road trips saves a ton of money by eliminating gas station stops.  You also get healthier options.
4.Book and pay for every large important thing far in advance so there are no preventable surprises (flights, rental cars, hotels/places to stay) and you actually take the trip.
5. Always have…

Southwest Vacation - Las Vegas, Nevada

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Josh had the presence of mind to book us some tickets at an IMAX to see "Solo" in Vegas on opening weekend.  Other than that we didn't do much of anything at all.

The boys were super excited to see the strip from inside the car, and we felt that was sufficient.  Not our kind of scene... that and we were all vacationed out.  I did laundry and we went to bed relatively early.  We were exhausted.

McCarran International airport is the least international airport I've ever been in.  No help for people who speak other languages on site.  There weren't even signs in Spanish.  The international tourists were treated like complete garbage for not knowing English.  It was nice to be leaving.  The flight out was really cool!!  We flew over the Grand Canyon & The Colorado Rockies, and for the first time ever our connection in Chicago O'Hare was on time!

We made it home to celebrate Memorial Day on our own turf, in our own way.  It was an amazing trip!!  Planning a lo…

Southwest Vacation - Utah to Nevada

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First stop we made was the grocery store, which is always our first stop before a road trip. We hit Zion National Park almost immediately after that, snacks and drinks in hand.  The entrance we were nearest to was closed for re-construction so we hit the south entrance.  It took us a little further away from our normal route, but we wanted to see Zion after looking at pictures online.  The drive there was gorgeous of course.



The park itself has very little to no parking and was full.  They have free shuttles that run throughout the park, but you have to walk to the stops first.  We found an overflow lot by the camping area (lucky us!), and started walking towards the visitor center/museum.  It was a loooong trail and it was already hot outside... especially for people who just came from a snowy mountain.  Great views though!!  It's definitely a gorgeous park.



We saw a lot of lizards and interesting plants along the way.  Everyone was pretty happy and eager to get going.  Then the …

Southwest Vacation - Utah Part 3, exploring Cedar Breaks

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Our condo was part of a ski town, and there was a path and hiking trails that would take us to the tippy top of Brian Head Peak.  Yes, please!  We drove as far as we could, but the road was snowed in.  We kept walking further and further up, but the air was getting thinner and the clouds were looking pretty ominous so we had to turn back.






Do not be fooled by these smiling faces.  Everyone was fighting at this point.  We tried to joke ourselves out of it, but we were just done with all the togetherness I think.  The views were amazing though!  We wanted the exercise and the experience of the park so we picked a trail to take further down the road.



Right around the corner from our condo was Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It was the look of Bryce, but with 0 people, a higher elevation, and lots of snow.  The overlook we stopped at boasted an elevation of 10,435ft.  Brennan stopped about halfway and refused to go anywhere near the edge: "I can see it fine from over here where it…

Southwest Vacation - Utah Part 2, hiking at Bryce Canyon

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After our luxurious day of nothing, we were ready to get out and get active again.  We took the drive out to Bryce Canyon National Park.  When we arrived, we realized we weren't the only ones who had the idea to hike the park on a Tuesday morning.  It was already crowded.  However, the crowds were mostly elderly people, people with small children, or physically unfit people.  We knew if we picked a strenuous enough path we'd have plenty of space all to ourselves AND we'd be able to hike it just fine.  We're thankful for our able bodies, and we should use them while we have them!



We were right.  The longer, winding, moderate path was barely populated and gave us amazing scenery.  We actually sweat during a hike for the first time (on this trip).  We took our time on the way down to the "Tower Bridge".



We hiked past the "Chinese Wall" and many other interesting hoodoo formations.  It looked like another planet there.  The trees were so different than …