ROFLMAO

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I can’t remember the last time I actually rolled on the floor, laughing my ass off. Maybe that would explain the slight but ever so definite widening of this writer’s derriere?

This week’s DP Challenge from WordPress prompts us to remember and share the last time we had a “real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh.” Perhaps the editor is in need of a good laugh. Apparently, so am I!

It’s funny you should ask, WordPress. Just yesterday, I wondered aloud (to a confidant) if I may be getting depressed, maybe need a little medication. I’ve been pushing my mind toward gratitude, happiness, enjoyment, and it keeps sliding back into the gutter where sludge hangs out. Sludge like the PLOM’s (poor little ol’ me’s), BLAHS’s (Boy Look at Her Stuff’s) and the POINTY FINGER’s (Projecting Out In Negative Thinking: Your Fault I’m Not Getting Everything Right!).  There’s been a lot of stress in life in the last year, oh, actually make that in the last fifty-six years (yes, I’ll be fifty-seven soon! Maybe that’s reason enough!). Stress, they say, can lead to depression by depleting the serotonin levels over time.

The prescription, so kindly returned, included practical things to improve my mindset, such as mentally rehearsing all I’m grateful for (check), getting enough sleep (un-check), exercising regularly (getting better, check), making time for friends (yeah, right), and, last but not least, laughing.
“Rent a comedy you’re sure will really make you laugh: belly laugh, can’t stop laughing, rolling on the floor laughter. It’s really good medicine!”
I slumped on through the day, the next morning, and then saw the WordPress challenge for the week. Maybe there’s something to this idea, twice in two days coming at me.

So, dutifully, I Googled movies that are sure to make me roll on the floor laughing.

Reading their reviews, I noticed something odd. All, without exception, had a dark side, a tragedy or relationship struggle, a cancer to battle, you know, really un-funny stuff, blended with “hilarious” antics. It made me wonder, Is it funny because we need something to be funny at that moment? Would it still be funny if you take it out of the context of contrasting misery? They say most comedians come from grossly abusive and dysfunctional families, you know. Anyway, I’m not sure that’s the sort of comedy I need right now. None the less, I selected a few that seemed lighter than most. Here’s my list:

Midnight in Paris

Greenberg

Kick-Ass

MacGruber

Seven Psychopaths

Sleepwalk with Me

This is 40

What do you think? Will any of these actually take me there? What funny movie or show do you recommend?

Hopefully at least one of these movies will get me ROFLMAO. Real. Authentic. Tearful. Hearty. Belly Laughs. Then I can tell you why it’s funny.

In the mean time, something happened to remind me that someone around me may need encouragement more than I. It only took a minute to give that person some positive feedback. Guess what? I feel better, for two days now. I think she does too.

So for now, I’ll be happy with feeling better, but I won’t turn down a hearty laugh as soon as it finds me.

Thanks, WordPress!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fjZHcs2bY

©Joan T. Warren

Wife of Stone

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Wife of Stone

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A story of contrast, our WordPress photo challenge for this week.

As we toured our cruise ship last January, it seemed one gentleman found his companion for the trip and brought her a drink! Perhaps the cruise to Cozumel would soften her a bit?

Thanks to my sweet hubby for snapping the shot, and apologies that it may be a bit grainy; he took it from the level above, and I cropped it for today’s post.

Enjoy!
Joan T. Warren

click here for WordPress Weekly Challenge

The Pause Between

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The Pause Between

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Between back yard and front, is a place where I lay
things destined for garbage, things tattered and frayed
I pause there to notice
A beauty unseen
As nature embraces what I’d thrown away.

Joan T. Warren
For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, “Between.”

Send me to my Room

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“Go to your room!”

Remember when that was a punishment?

Not anymore! Now, when I get a quiet moment free, I sneak off to my room. It’s a quiet place. Cozy and clean. Room to think.

Ahh!

 

This week’s photo challenge is about room. Room has varied meanings and contexts. You may have noticed my love for open spaces. I usually share photos of oceans, shorelines and mountain ranges. At home, though, there are many wonderful places I enjoy. I chose my room today, as it is the perfect place to get away for a quick think. No one else’s needs or thoughts crowd mine. Just me.

I choose soft colors and fabrics, comfy bedding and treasured family heirlooms and pictures to create this personal haven of rest. Home and Garden magazine hasn’t knocked on my door–there’s been no designer to make it magazine-perfect–but the evening light visits through the woods out back. My comforter from Tuesday Morning cost a lot less than Pottery Barn’s, but it is soft and white just the same. The antique marble and mother-of-pearl inlay table has a crack in the marble and is missing plenty of mother-of-pearl, but my dad had it stripped of black lacquer when I was a little girl and I loved it so much that I’d polish in between the little bird carvings around the edges. He caught me taking care of it and promised it to me. The chair may not be the most modern touch, but it is a family heirloom from a relative who was more like a mother to me than my own mother could be. Each photo brings good memories with warm-fuzzies attached. The platter is an anniversary gift from the “copper” year. All in all, it is my room, and you can send me here anytime!

Where do you go when you just have a few minutes to recharge? How have you made it a special place to suit your needs?

 

I Could Have Built a. . .

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I could have built a …
Rainbow
Of the neatly folded laundry,
Or a tower made of
Dishes stacked in gleaming
Rows and columns.

I could have built a
Mansion,
Straightened cupboards,
Cleaned out closets–
Put toilet paper in the bathrooms,
Straighten towels and changed the lightbulbs.

I could have built a
Grand museum–
Carved a sculpture, worked the clay,
Or a masterpiece on canvas
Wielded paintbrush,
Seized the day!

I could have built a
Mighty enterprise,
Just by tackling my desk-work!
Or created global networks
On my twitter, blog or Facebook.

I could have built a
Perfect woman~
Washed my hair
And put on makeup. . .
Or at least a fitness model,
Walked the block and practiced yoga.

I could have built a
Three-course dinner,
Made the kitchen counters glow;
Or at least brewed gourmet coffee–
Drizzled caramel on the top,
Put my feet up, watched my show.

But you came in through the door, dear;
With your face so sweetly shining,
And your love so pure and true–
All I did was spend this hour
Hanging out, enjoying you.

 

Joan T. Warren

Many thanks to Girl in the Hat for a very creative weekly writing challenge: to write a list, then let it flow and change as it desired. This poem began as a list of things I put off to respond to blog writing challenges! It morphed nicely into something rather fun, uplifting, and, hopefully, something we can all relate to. To see other writers’ responses to her challenge, visit WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

This is Where

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This is where blue meets blue, with open arms,
where rainbows signal safe from harm.

This is where dinosaurs meld into angel wings,
where sand crabs wiggle and sea gulls sing.

This is where sea turtles race to the moon at night,
where sailboats glide and swallows take flight.

This is where footprints hint the path behind,
where shoreline paints an easy line.

This is a place of reverence:

where things, once muddled, now make sense,

where troubles pale in light of Thee,

where souls connect in reverie–

a place of merging land and sea,

a place perspective calls to me.

 

photo courtesy Denesia Christine

photo courtesy of Denesia Christine

©Joan T. Warren

Life is Better with a Twist: Weekly Photo Challenge

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Happy WordPress Anniversary (to me)!

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Something from WordPress arrived in my notifications box today!

Borrowed from a website that borrowed from . . .

Borrowed from a website that borrowed from . . .

Excited (in the style of Ralphie, opening his package from the Lil’ Orphan Annie Radio Show), my heart raced. Could it be? Freshly pressed?

The highly coveted Freshly Pressed Award, in my box?

 

imageBut, alas, it was just a little congrats for one year blogging.

 

 

Ditto. . .

Ditto. . .

 

It’s okay, though, WordPress, I do appreciate you remembering our special day. Now that I’m over the initial let-down, I think it was really nice of you. It has been a good year together.

A year ago today, you helped me publish my first blog post. Wading through the countless themes, layouts and options, we put together a pretty good start.

During the year, I learned a few things. I found that there are some excellent people all over the world who participate in WordPress blogging. A few became fast friends, as we enjoyed reading one another’s posts and commenting in supportive dialogue. I have new friends in Scotland, Canada, and across America. I’ve had visitors from nearly every country! All this without annoyance from over 14,000 spammers that Akismet blocked for me.

This is a snapshot of my all-time visits. The list of countries is three times longer than would fit!

This is a snapshot of my all-time visits. The list of countries is three times longer than would fit!

I’ve seen reader interest wane in the face of serious and lengthy posts. I’ve caught a few waves of new likes and follows from brief and light-weight posts. I’ve played with some blog-building strategies suggested by overnight-success bloggers. Oh, and I almost forgot, published 60 posts. Not bad for a full-time professional with a second full-time job (family).

In the beginning, I heard that publishers want new writers who can boast a platform of 10-15,000 followers. “You can build that in a year while you write your book,” one author told me.

It’s been a year. I’ve missed a lot of sleep! I’ve built a platform of a whopping 200-something followers. Few ever comment (come on, people, it’s lonely without conversation!).  I’ve written only about a tenth (if that) of my book. I don’t feel too successful on this one-year anniversary, dear WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming you. I’m just saying, it isn’t what I thought. Just like in marriage; there is the honeymoon stage, then comes disillusionment. To make a life-long success, couples must get through these phases to real love.

I still hope to finish my book, to live to see it published, and then maybe another after that. Not just for fun, but to make some (albeit small) difference in the world, one that will outlive me.

Whether I’ll need to build a sizable platform or not, I don’t know. What I do know is, I’m not wasting my time here (well, maybe a little!). I’m learning to write better. I’m learning about others, what they see and have to say. I’m learning plenty about what doesn’t work. And, it’s pretty fun.

So, if you want to hang out another year or so, WordPress, I’m game. Do you have an iron, though? I could really use some fresh-pressing; I’m starting to get wrinkled.

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Happy Anniversary!

Joan T. Warren

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art or Clean-Up Time?

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You know how some pieces of abstract art are the result of throwing paint on a canvas? Well, in response to this week’s photo challenge, to represent art in unexpected forms, I started thinking about some of the similarly-formed abstracts that typically annoy me every day at home. Hmmm. Maybe there is beauty and form and meaning in this mess! Maybe someday, when all the kids are gone, maybe — just maybe — I’ll miss these works of art.

Or, maybe not.

 

Clean-up time.

Joan T. Warren

 

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On the Move: Church for Introverts

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Fading fast, treasured steps and memories.
Church for introverts.

imageFor WordPress Weekly Photo challenge,On the Move

Joan T. Warren
Randy’s iphone

Lessons Without Walls

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Blue succumbs to brilliant washes of orange, raspberry and violet–each tipped with glowing

golden aura. Not just above now, but reflected in the sea. Completeness. The sun melds into

the horizon with a final burst of resplendence, as a lover gives an extra squeeze to bid

adieu, “Remember me. I will return.”

Deni Image of Sun reflecting in water

Courtesy of Denesia Christine on Flicker

I believe. I will see you on the other side.

Night begins.

White. The presence of all colors, gentle light bears witness to the sun. Lifting dark veil,

illuminating field and glistening dew-tipped petals, smiling moon lights the way home. A

beacon, as a parent’s consolation to frightened child, “I’m here, baby, it’s okay.”

Courtesy of Denesia Christine

Courtesy of DenesiaChristine on Instagram

I believe. Safe, secure, through dark of night.

And the sun rises.

Sun and moon, seasons, cycles. Seed to tree, decay, fertile soil bears life again. Teachers,

all. Eager student, I, in wondrous reception, hoping to relay these glorious lessons, teacher,

student, teacher. Breathe in, breathe out. . .

Selah.

©Joan T. Warren

In response to this week’s WordPress writing challenge, to share our experience as

teachers, as students. Appropriately, for teacher appreciation week, too.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

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Joan's iphone cam, Martha and James' woods.

Joan’s iphone cam, Martha and James’ woods.

Stretch. Breathe deep. Unfurl

fronds, heart, mind; a new phase. Say

yes. Begin again.

 

©Joan T. Warren

Gladly prepared for WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge, to represent what spring means to me, in pictorial form. My deepest apologies for the quality of this photo; if I were a true photographer, it would be sharper, the background in B&W, the fern fronds in green. To make it up to you, world, I offer a little something extra for you, haiku to accompany.

More Than Words

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Pen in hand, released to the floor; chicken scratch.

“I. . . I. . . I. . ,” sputtered Vera, summoning strength from the tips of her toes and fingers, as they squeezed the foot and armrest of her wheelchair. A polite and apologetic smile took backstage. Vera forced her thoughts and intentions out of her eyes to the kind woman sitting across from her, giving her all.

“It’s okay, I know you’re in there. I know you’re having a hard time getting your words out. I’ll try to ask questions so you can nod yes or no.”

Vera settled and wiped a tear. She nodded yes.

Tessa breathed in, out, and laid her clipboard aside. This occupational therapy evaluation won’t be as easy as checking the boxes. None are. She quickly regrouped. “Is it okay with you if I ask your husband about things that are important to you so I can make our therapy sessions as meaningful as possible?”

Vera shook her head no. Then her eyes opened widely, she reached for Tessa’s hand and nodded yes. “Yah. . . no. . . . yes.” Eyebrows burrowed in at the sides and raised in the center, she looked pleadingly at Tessa, as if to say, “I can’t even control my yes and no answers!”

It was a left cerebral infarction with expressive aphasia. Tessa understood Vera’s condition from the textbook. Vera’s stroke spared her ability to understand language, but blocked her ability to speak–and to write. Now it was time to understand it from the eyes of a dear woman looking pleadingly to her for help.

Vera understood her condition from the textbook as well. Forty-five years a speech-language pathologist, now it was her time to understand it from the inside, reaching out.

Borrowed from gradydoctor.com

Photo borrowed from gradydoctor.com

 

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In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month and in response to WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge (Flash Fiction: 300 words or less)

Joan T Warren

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

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image For the back story, check out this poem about OT:

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

 

Oh, and thanks, WordPress, for this week’s challenge. Check out other responses here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/letters/

Joan T. Warren

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Easter Sunrise from a spot aptly named ‘Pretty Place,’ at YMCA Camp Greenville, SC.
This, after a night spent on the top bunk in a rustic cabin, just certain the rain would never stop.

April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

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April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

  • OT is not helping a person find a job and get back to work (though it could include that)
  • OT is not physical therapy (though it includes physical rehabilitation and exercise)
  • OT is not weaving baskets (though we started that way, helping injured Civil War soldiers find their usefulness again)
  • OT is not playing with children (though, if we are doing our job well, it feels like play to the child!)
  • OT is not making crafts in the psych ward (there is a method to their madness!)
  • OT is not a therapist prescribing activities you must do to get better (if it feels that way, we missed the mark)

Misconceptions aside, let’s focus on celebrating the awesomeness!

Occupational therapy IS a health profession that skillfully employs meaningful activities to create and support functional participation for people with challenging conditions. We work in hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, homes, schools, daycare and mental health centers. We facilitate all facets of health with persons, families, companies, communities. . . even societies. As an occupational therapist, I freely, openly and unabashedly admit that I love occupational therapy!

To celebrate National Poetry and Occupational Therapy Month, I offer this, my poem about occupational therapy! As you will soon see, I am more OT than poet.

 

Occupational Therapy

 

An artful blend

of science

and simplicity,

therapeutic

authenticity.

 

Buoyed by heritage,

research, and college:

Intense preparation,

foundational knowledge~

 

There’s anatomy,

physiology,

neurology, too.

Psychology,

kinesiology,

technology, woo!

development and human ecology,

and a little pharmacology, who knew?

 

A touch of gerontology,

anthropology, yes.

Micro- to macro- sociology,

a bit of theology,  God bless.

 

There’s structure

and function,

identity, process,

abilities, unction.

 

There are roles and habits

to assess,

routines and interests

to address.

 

There’s history, framework

and principled theories,

Models and practice,

and, lest you grow weary:

 

Consider relationships,

values, beliefs,

cognition, attention,

caregiver relief.

 

Assessing environment,

ergonomics and means,

selecting equipment,

for elders or teens.

 

We modify, formulate

and make adaptations.

We codify, delegate

and give adulations.

 

All of this knowledge concealed from your view,

we come alongside and spend time with you.

We share in your struggle,

engage your connection;

we want to do more than facilitate function.

For joy, and purpose,

and efficacy too,

are the pillars supporting what humans can do.

 

We’re primed for the NICU,

the preemie-pound baby;

to nestle him, swaddle her,

give hope for what may be.

Teach parents and nurses

to grade stimulation:

his stress signs, her turning. . .

reduce light, sound and touch,

like a womb, for the learning.

Chin tuck, cheek support,

respect gaze aversion;

promoting connection,

’til infant can burgeon.

 

Then, later on,

tummy time,

feeding and play,

motor skills,

reaching,

into something all day.

 

Sensory processing,

modulation and then,

integration for ease

of all systems to blend.

Bringing the just-right challenge,

we grow–

producing responses

in beautiful flow.

 

Developing handwriting,

visual perception,

peer interactions

and social connection.

 

Teens needing special consideration,

peer groups and identity,

with little oration.

Any splint that we form,

or device that we craft

better suit the teen norm

so they won’t feel outcast.

 

On to adulthood,

where the great inclination–

to establish and master,

with keen inspiration,

independence and skill

in the face of impairment.

We come alongside,

being tough, with endearment.

Empowering patience,

setting goals for today,

equipping the wounded

with a will and a way.

 

You’ll find us with elders

wherever the need;

healing with basics

from bathing and dressing, to pulling a weed.

It may seem we’re playing when we bring you your putter,

but we’re really ensuring your balance is better.

“I can cook this at home,”

you may say with assurance.

“Teach me how,” we implore,

(for your safety, endurance).

Whether cooking or eating,

standing or seating,

playing piano, or maybe just listening,

balancing checkbooks

or just reminiscing;

we’re facilitating

what matters to you,

showing your value

whether just be, or do.

 

And then, in the workplace,

the healthcare machine–

equipped here to manage,

so much to convene:

Keeping ethics, best practice

and excellence as key,

we do billing and coding,

document properly.

For without reimbursement,

we could not continue

to make such a difference

For someone–like you.

 

So, in all walks of life

there is some occupation;

we therapists share

this one aspiration:

To be about

the work of imbuing

The beauty of

human beings, doing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did I mention that I love occupational therapy? ;-)

Everyone knows someone who needs to hear about OT. Link up, pingback, spread the word! Please, all of you OT’s out there, add a stanza or two and tell us what you do.

 

©Joan T. Warren

AprilPoetryMonth

Action Request for Venezuela

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Please, readers who are U. S. Citizens, take a moment to visit this page and sign the petition. It is real. I have family who are living it. There is a petition on the White House agenda to sanction Venezuelan violators of human rights and reduce importation of Venezuelan oil. It has until April 11, 2014, to gain enough votes.

Read H. R. 4226 and the petition.

Sign it.

Pass it on. Thank you.

http://wh.gov/lVwEK

 

SOS Venezuela

SOS Venezuela

 

http://www.lapatilla.com/site/2014/04/06/caurimare-amanece-bajo-fuerte-represion-de-la-pnb-fotos/

 

Joan T. Warren

We’re All Sick of “Don’t,” So. . .

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Don’t tell me another “Don’t,” -please?

 

We’ve all heard “Don’t” enough. We’re numb.

We’re even numb to the “Don’t” messages that matter.

Don’t–I Feel Numb by U2

 

For example, almost every day we hear a commercial reminding us:

Don’t text and drive.

“It can wait,” they say.

Today I counted the number of oncoming cars whose drivers were looking down as they passed me. What would you guess? One? Two? No, in one mile, seven of ten drivers were texting instead of heeding oncoming traffic! Seven. Of ten. The mile included a school zone, a bridge and a playground entrance.

So, yes, I’d say we need those public service reminders. Let’s not be numb-skulls:

Don’t text and drive. It can wait.

Wait,

Don’t leave yet!

There is something else we technology-driven (pun intended) folk do these days with equally disastrous potential. It’s something we readily take for granted because we do it so much. It’s something we do so much because nothing bad happened the other times we did it.

Or, did it?

Little Johnny is excited to show Mommy his art project from school. He made it for her. “Just a sec, hon,” Mommy says,” as Johnny pushes his paper between her face and her phone. “Wait, I said,” as she takes it and lays it on the counter, quickly returning to her phone. Mommy doesn’t notice as John-John slumps off, shoulders curled forward, feet shuffling, lower lip pouting. “Stupid art project,” he sulks.

Betsy is thrilled to see Daddy come to her swim meet today. She’s been doing well; coach says she’s most-improved this season. Perched on the starting platform, she glances at Daddy to see his proud, encouraging look. He is looking down–his fingers steadily tapping away. Betsy misses her start. She fights down the lane, checks her time, checks her Dad. He missed it. He is still texting.

Baby Leila crawls across the floor and pulls up to stand at the coffee table. With brave anticipation, she lets go for the first time and takes a step toward Mommy.  Mommy doesn’t see. She is texting Gramma, sending pictures from this morning’s breakfast, yogurt all over Leila’s head.

We need yet one more public service ad:

Don’t text and parent.

Babies don’t wait. They grow up quickly, with or without us.

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Photos.com

©Joan T Warren

Many thanks to Jordan of Bushel and a Peck, for her post, which spurred this thought.

 

P. S. The author is also preaching to herself.

 

Related Links:

http://time.com/14953/parents-who-use-smartphones-in-front-of-their-kids-are-crankier/

 

On second thought, I think it IS alright to text while parenting IF you text your kid! Check out this hilarious link:

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/reasons-why-parents-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-text