Posts Tagged ‘thank you’

Growing Abundance: The Making of My Gratitude Tree

November 20, 2012

In the spirit of the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, I have been working on a Gratitude Tree.  Inspired by this post, I think I’m going to incorporate this creative symbol of appreciation as part of my gratitude practice all year long.


I started to collect small branches around my neighborhood and workplace until I had a nice bundle to use for the foundation of the tree.  These branches went into a mason jar filled with sand, stones, glitter, and other fun bits.  Using some textured scrapbooking paper, I cut out leaves and punched a hole in each of them.  With embroidery thread, the leaves (also referred to as blessing tags by some!) were threaded so they could hang from the tree’s branches.  

On the paper leaves (with a little distressed ink, of course) I wrote or rubber stamped some of the simple, good stuff in my life I am so very grateful for:  health, kindness, family, growth, friends, support, love, art & creativity, and appreciation for the abundance in my life.  Little notes of thanks associated with each of these blessings are written on the back of the leaf.

I also included this quote inside the jar as a reminder about gratitude’s power:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie

 I have so, so much to be thankful for this year. I look forward to adding to my Gratitude Tree in the upcoming year as 2013 flourishes.

What “blessing tags” would be on your Gratitude Tree?  Need some more Gratitude Tree inspiration?  Check out these Gratitude Tree Pinners on Pinterest.

Trauma Stewardship, Gratitude, and Wordle Making

June 24, 2011

One of my gratitude wordles

Earlier this month I attended a workshop with trauma worker and author of Trauma Stewardship, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky who spent the day speaking to a group of local agencies and offering important considerations related to self-care and well being when exposed to and involved with trauma work.  This all day training based on Lipsky’s book was excellent and provided a lot of nurturing, mindful, and practical reflections and tools that will be very helpful connected to the trauma work I do with children, women, and families.

I really enjoyed Lipsky’s content that focused on gratitude as a way to create and maintain a sense of balance in our personal lives and work.  She writes, “locating something to be thankful for at all times is an essential part of trauma stewardship” and that this mindfulness practice can help reframe our experience of often overwhelming, challenging, and difficult work.  “Remind yourself that while the offering may seem endless, so is what we have to be grateful for; it just might be less obvious and take a more creative approach to find it” (pp. 223, van DerNoot Lipsky, 2009).

One of the many takeaways from that day that I have started to incorporate into my daily practice included Lipsky’s suggestion to set “gratitude alarms” on our mobile phone to go off three times a day to help provide a sensory reminder and alert to take time throughout our busy daily activities to reflect on thankfulness. I have set my iPhone for morning, afternoon, and evening gratitude alarms, which has been a rewarding experience. When the alarms go off and I am often in the middle of something, I am forced to go to my phone, recognize the alarm’s intention, and in that moment take time to simply reflect on what I am grateful for.  I must say it really has helped make my gratitude awareness stronger and create additional balance in my day to day life.

To support this process, I use the “notes” app on my phone to type in whatever thankfulness comes to mind and then save these reflections as an on-going mobile Gratitude e-List.  Throughout this week I have started to take words from my list to create Gratitude Wordles as a creative and fun way to express and visually focus on my gratitude words.  I have also been experimenting with the app Word Clouder for creating mobile gratitude word clouds on the go!

References:  Trauma stewardship: An everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others.

Gratitude Rolled Up in Canvas

November 29, 2010

This week marks an important transition related to finishing my second term as President of Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA). Back in December 2009 when I was starting to create my 2010 revo’lution, I knew this moment to-be was going to be an important piece to this year’s events in my professional life.  And now the moment is here.

As my tenure as BATA’s President comes to a close, I am most proud of the hard work that has been done related to increasing BATA’s membership, Symposium attendance, creating more financial stability, enhancing BATA’s web presence and resources/tools on-line, as well as cultivating service, leadership, and advocacy in the Ohio art therapy community.

I am not only grateful to members of BATA for their support and entrusting me to lead this Association throughout these last few years, but I also have tremendous appreciation for the BATA Board of Directors I have served with for their help to make the above successes happen.  I am thankful for their commitment to BATA and assisting this organization to continue on as one of the largest and most active state art therapy associations in the country.

This coming Saturday will be our final board meeting together and a time to pass the leadership torch onto the 2011-2012 BATA Board of Directors.  To express my appreciation of their service, support, and help, I created gratitude scrolls for each board member to receive at our last meeting. This idea was inspired by Leilani Pierson’s pocket scrolls featured in the July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and a gratitude project that Cathy Malchiodi introduced in her Courageous Creativity course taught at this year’s Prescott College Expressive Art Therapy Summer Institute.

These scrolls were created from pieces of canvas that were sewn, gessoed, painted, stamped, embellished with trinket pins and wire, as well as included layered messages of thankfulness and gratitude that will be rolled up inside.

During my six years involved with the BATA Board of Directors, I definitely have a new appreciation for leadership’s bigger picture and the teamwork success requires,  I have also learned important lessons about service that have contributed to strengthening my future purpose and intention about how I can continue to serve the art therapy community.

Looking forward, I am excited to focus more of my time to Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc. and the communities of The Art Therapy Alliance and International Art Therapy Organization to help promote, develop, and support art therapy initiatives and the work of art therapists worldwide.

Best wishes to BATA’s new leadership and continuing the important mission of advancing art therapy in Ohio.

8 Internet Related Things I’m Thankful For

November 25, 2009

This list was inspired by Josh S. Peters’ blog post, 10 Internet Related Things I’m Thankful For.  I thought it was a great idea for a geek like me and wanted to spread the e-gratitude love on this Thanksgiving Eve.  Here’s my top 8 for what I’m thankful for related to my Internet life this year:

1. Facebook– Despite my reluctance to join the world of Facebook, I am really thankful for all the connection it has brought me throughout this year. Through Facebook I have been able to stay in touch with many people I haven’t seen in years and its been a great opportunity to meet new individuals as well.  A lot of my Facebook activity is devoted to sharing art therapy and resources  for the Art Therapy Alliance Fan Page

2. LinkedIn- I am thankful for the professional contacts and connections I’ve made through this professional networking site.  It is also the main hub for the Art Therapy Alliance, where art therapists, art therapy students, and interested professionals can discuss and exchange ideas related to art therapy.  This year the Art Therapy Alliance on LinkedIn grew to several subgroups of different art therapy topics.

3. Twitter- This year I started tweeting and following many interesting and inspiring people and sources related to art therapy, social media, art, and technology. I have much appreciation for the news links, twit pics, quotes, and spontaneous commentary that educate and inspire the geek, artist, and art therapist me.  Thanks to all who have RT’d my content and help spread my tweeting!  Like Josh Peters, I am also thankful for TweetDeck for helping to make my Twitter life a little easier!

4.  WordPress-  I also started using WordPress for blogging this year and love this platform!  Thank you WordPress!  And to everyone who has visited Creativity in Motion, read a post, made a comment or recommended it to others throughout the year…. I am thankful for everyone’s input, encouragement and support!

5. Polyvore- I LOVE POLYVORE!  This site has been an addicting digital art making obsession since I stumbled upon it a few months ago. Something that’s more fun than creating your own sets is seeing what sets have been made by others!  Inspired by this platform was the Art. Peace. Sustainability Interactive Event and where images connected to these concepts have been created and shared within the Art Therapy Alliance community. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to this collection!

6. Homestead–  My web management and design life would probably not be as easy without Homestead.  I’ve used this hosting site for over a decade and use it for several websites I have created and update weekly, sometimes daily.  Homestead has always had everything I need, makes web design a no-brainer, and super dependable.

7. Animoto- Another great find I discovered this year through a LinkedIn connection was the video making site Animoto.  It’s been a favorite place for me to go to make quick, cool videos and share via Facebook or export to YouTube.  I think in 2010 I’ll finally be upgrading to the $30 unlimited pass for making all the full feature films I want!

8. Artsonia– I’m really thankful for this cool gallery that features children’s art from all around the world. Artsonia allows me to check out my niece’s art  she’s made in school, which is always a delight and makes me smile!

There are other internet things that I could also include such as SlideShare, Skype, Flickr, and Youtube as honorable mentions.  It’s been a good year for my social media life on the grid- personally and professionally.  I appreciate all the wonderful, creative, and meaningful connection and collaboration that I have experienced and look forward to more!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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