Sunday, December 31, 2006

Funny "Professor Review" Comments Left By Students

This is kinda funny. We had teachers in my graduate program that sounded like this guy...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What to Buy for the Person that Has EVERYTHING...

Okay, so I stole this off Mike Cope's blog because I REALLY liked it!

Tis the season to be giving...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My, How Times Change...

There's nothing quite like doing some reflecting on how times, people, and life changes with time...

One of my best buddies just wrote a blog about this today.

With time, things are bound to change...

Sometimes the change is good (just ask Tony Romo, the Cowboy's new starting Quarterback--I mean he's got Jessica Simpson now).

Sometimes the change is bad (just ask George W. Bush when comparing his "approval rating" today with a year ago).

But whatever the case, change occurs.

For "Dub-ya" it was a gradual process, but for Romo it was stardom discovered over night.

With Romo the change was immediate and positive, but change can also occur immediately and negative at the same time. Just ask the Dixie Chicks following a concert in London back in 2003...

I'll never forget my first introduction to the Dixie Chicks...

It was my senior year in high school, and I was over at my best friend's house doing what many high school girls around that time did--having a lot of fun going through each other's cd collections.

My friend had just recently gotten the Dixie Chicks newest cd at that time--"Fly." I remember saying, "What cd is this?" When she told me it was the Dixie Chicks, I asked, "Who are they and what the heck kind of a name is 'the Dixie Chicks?!'" All it took to come out of her mouth was the word "country" and I was already disgusted!

Country music?!?! SICK!

NO BODY listened to country music from where I was from. Let me explain...

In Texas there are 4 country music radio channels for every "ghetto" radio channel. In St. Louis there is 1 country music channel on the entire radio air frequency! I'm not kidding!

Country music was a "no-no" in my opinion.

It wasn't until months later that I saw the Dixie Chicks performing their song "Goodbye Earl" on one of those music awards shows on television that I was like, "Wow, now that is one funny song...and I LOVE the music video for it (which they had playing in the background behind them as they performed the song)." So probably a month or so later I found myself the proud owner of that very cd--"Fly."

So what happened to my views of the Dixie Chicks when the fateful news of Natalie Maines' comments made in London reached the United States? Not much.

Without getting into my opinion on free speech and her making those comments, I can say that even today I am unable to discuss the topic with one of my best friends because we stand on such opposite ends of the argument that we both agree not to discuss it with one another (plus we are both pretty hard-headed)...HA!

Today, I still claim the Dixie Chicks as one of my two favorite bands of all time. And believe it or not, the other band is also a country group (Rascal Flatts).

I look at the Dixie Chicks "controversy" the same way I do the Michael Jackson "controversy." Michael Jackson has always been, and still remains as, one of my top favorite musical artists of all time. Whether he molested children, had 6,000 plastic surgeries, or turned "white"--none of that affects the fact that the man can make AMAZING music! He is naturally musically gifted, not to mention naturally gifted with the ability to dance better than just about everyone else!

Yes, Natalie Maines made a comment that shifted our country--it divided the group's fan base, but at the same time, it did not paralyze the group's singing voices. It did not erase the group's musical abilities pre- or post-comment. The Dixie Chicks are naturally gifted with voices and instrumental abilities. How can a musically-entertained individual NOT appreciate a group that uses instruments other than the guitar and drums?! I think every country song could use a little banjo, fiddle, chello, etc.

So times change...

The Dixie Chicks concluded their "Taking the Long Way" tour this evening in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, I did not get to attend, but I can admit to sitting on the computer a matter of two-hours before it started SERIOUSLY considering driving to the arena and looking for ticket scalpers and attending...HA!

So yes, this tour represented the least profittable tour for the STILL lead-selling female group in music history.

Maybe the group will never regain the following they had prior to the Dub-ya comments made in London. But still they can rely on the fact that if they continue to put out albums some will still be waiting anxiously for the release day to pick it up, as I did with the "Taking the Long Way" cd. What can I say? "Not Ready to Make Nice" is STILL the most played track on my iPod, currently standing with 357 times played.

So times DO change. You can see the "change" for the Chicks in their recently released documentary film called "Shut Up & Sing." I went and saw it this past weekend with a friend and I found it interesting. It supplied me with everything I expect from a good documentary--one detailed side of the story. That's what you get in a documentary, SOME side to a story. This was the Chicks side and I appreciated it. It was good to see more to what happened than just what the media was giving us as the "comments" played out over that dreadful time for the Chicks.

What else did I learn from the documentary? Well, Natalie says the F-word a lot more than any friend I would care to hang around with. None of the Chicks come off as the most intelligent ladies in the world (to me), but Natalie definately takes the top prize for leading blonde. And their manager--well, I just love his accent! ;)

But does a lack of intellectual character change my opinion on them as a musical group--ABSOLUTELY NOT! These women are naturally gifted with music, and that is respectable in my opinion. They still write their own songs and THAT is what I will ALWAYS give respect for with musicians (Michael Jackson included).

So maybe a few years ago I was disgusted by the thought of country music, especially the thought of listening to anything by someone with a name like the Dixie Chicks. But like it has been said...

Times change.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Secret for Psychotherapy

A little over a month ago I was compiling my "final paper" for my masters degree. This is a paper that is written as a substitute for writing a thesis. In the process of researching in order to write it I came across many reminders of what my years of education in the counseling realm was all about. I was reading quote after quote from textbook or journal article that would sum-up many areas of my learning.

When considering the direct practice counseling area I couldn't help but be engulfed in a feeling of "THAT'S IT" when I was reading a section in a textbook from one of my undergraduate courses. The more I thought about these few sentences, the more I thought to myself that if we as the human race could understand what is being said here, and truly live our life in a way that is guided by our understanding and acceptance of what is being said, life would be entirely different.

I truly believe this is one of the major underlying goals in counseling MOST clients--to get clients to see and understand this. If more people were aware of this and able to embrace it in their lives, I truly believe 80-85 % of clients coming to counseling would no longer need counseling, especially when considering the counseling given to the "worried-well."

Let me preface the MOST important quotation with this quotation:

"Almost every minute of your conscious life you are engaging in self-talk, your internal thought language. These are the sentences you describe and interpret the world with. If the self-talk is accurate and in touch with reality, you function well. If it is irrational and untrue, you experience stress and emotional disturbance" (p.107)

Understanding that leads me to the "MOST important quotation." What I like to think of as the secret to counseling. The quotation that I believe holds so much power and control for our lives in it's meaning and understanding:

"At the root of all irrational thinking is the assumption that things are done to you: “That really got me down… She makes me nervous…. Places like that scare me…. Being lied to makes me see red.” Nothing is done to you. Events happen in the world. You experience those events (A), engage in self-talk (B), and then experience an emotion (C) resulting from the self-talk. A does not cause C—B causes C. If your self-talk is irrational and unrealistic, you create unpleasant emotions" (p. 115)

Does it make sense to you? Can you see how using this understanding to guide our daily "being" could change our life?

The above quotations were taken from:
[Davis, M., Eshelman, E., & McKay, M. (2000). The relaxation & stress reduction workbook (5th ed). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.]