Eulogy Postponed

And the miracle of today

Happy Fall/Halloween/November/New Year!

October/November 2015

Picture20It’s spooky how fast October’s gone by! And so much stuff! The dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work passed away last month. I finally got situated in an awesome internship. The weather in this part of the world is changing everything. Fall is here and it’s nearly Halloween and we all know that means hold on to your britches! I think it’s already too late. Halloween is a breath away from Thanksgiving, a heartbeat from Christmas and before you can swallow the lump in your throat, it will be 2016!

Ok, I’ve got a joke for you kids. Who won the skeleton beauty contest?

I have to admit I do miss putting together weekly motivational emails as an excuse to look up cheesy jokes hahaha! Sometimes I do feel like I need an excuse to act twelve…. Sometimes… Ok, the answer? Who won the skeleton beauty contest? No body! Ahahahah! Maybe you have to be a kid to laugh as hard as I do

Ok, so the day the dean stepped away permanently from life on Earth, I took the day and went for a roadtrip. She is an outstanding woman who did some great research and lots of challenging work in the community. The way everyone speaks about her, she was entirely humble and would have seemed like any little old lady, yet she was rebelliously stout hearted and indominable in spirit. Knowing people who knew her is amazing, I can only imagine how she must have been in person. So a day off school, I wanted to honor her memory somehow. A nice scenic jaunt into the country searching for red barns and fun things to put into a care package home seemed entirely appropriate. If felt like the first real ‘day off’ since I arrived in Waco. I think Dr Garland would have liked that. Thank you, Dr Garland.

Texas is really pretty, even though the rain situation is almost as bad as my internship situation was there for a hellacious few weeks. The short version of the story being that there was noting for me to do and I was working under a supervisor who seemed content with doing nothing changing into a new placement where there is too much to do and my supervisor is one of the most competent, thorough and intelligent people I’ve seen in social work! I am feeling so privileged to be able to work alongside him and another SW intern who has years of experience wrangling middle school students and she is also extremely talented. This is an arena unlike any other I’ve been in before and I’m not sure if my part is rodeo clown, score keeper, or poop scooper.

Here’s what I can say about my new internship: “I am working as a case manager with Communities In Schools (CIS) at Carver Middle School where we work to provide wraparound services that meet students academic, behavioral, attendance and social service needs. The goal of CIS is to prevent students from dropping out of school by surrounding them with a community of support to empower them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS provides short term, widely accessible services that any student on campus can access such as clothing and school supplies as well as targeted, long term services for students with specific needs on a regular basis to improve specific academic, performance or behavior goals. CIS brings in community resources and service providers that match the needs the school system pinpoints as needing to be addressed. The student population is primarily African American (50%) and Hispanic students (45%). There are 98% of the students that qualify for free and reduced lunch. They ranked worse than 97% of all other middle schools in Texas and has an average STAAR test result of 3.22.”

(West, Texas: boarded up Middle School and Football stadium)

Yes, that’s a piece from a homework assignment. We just finished the 9th week, so I’ve started to learn how to make things count double where I can! 9th week means only 27 more school days to go! Can that be right!?!? Only 100 more internship hours! And all I have to do is a 3 page single spaced weekly reflective journal, a biweekly 3 page Social Justice response paper, weekly video reflections, 2 more process recordings to show my professors I know how to implement the stuff we talk about in class with clients to do, 4 more written assignments, a class presentation, a treatment group lesson plan, facilitation and critique, a task group critique, a ‘creative expression of learning’ and then I’m done! Well aside from the quizzes and final exams, of course.

The weird thing is I never think of myself as a writer- never have- but two of my four professors have complimented my writing and asked if I was a creative writer even. Thing is, when it’s writing about ethics and social justice and why is this happening and what can I do and how are we letting this happen, it hurts my heart and I get fired up. And I may like to play devil’s advocate. Sometimes more so because the campus is majorly wealthy Christian kids who have never been in the minority or had their beliefs challenged. Is that what you’d call creative writing? I dunno, but I’m enjoying it which is good since I’ve got another year and a half of this to go!

One of my favorite things Dr Garland said was that there is something that will make each of our soul’s ache. When you find what pains your soul, that is what you were meant to work for. My soul aches when we talk about social injustices, particularly when humans are treated as commodities. And I love the garden. So if you know of anywhere doing hands on recovery/rehabilitation that might have a social worker on staff, I do not have to stay in Texas next year and could, in theory, move home in May. Any ideas? I’m also considering doing a summer internship. Which could be anywhere from here to Syria to Latvia to Indonesia. I have no idea! Ok, that’s not true. I will go anywhere they will let me stay for free where there’s dirt to intern in :)

Picture26

So, it’s November now. My internship is awesome, but frustrating that I only have two days per week to participate. I am looking forward to being done with school and working again. It is frustrating to only see the students two days and not having the continuity of working with them all week. Then on the other hand, I want to be a student forever!

Picture27Part of my financial aid package is a job and a perk of that job is a conference at the end of this week. Call me crazy, but I’m really excited to be able to go to the “Justice Involved Adolescent Males: Implications for Intervention Timing” and “Working with Domestic Violence Abusers: Working Towards Rehabilitation, Accountability and Safety” but didn’t get into the “SafeZone Training: Social Work Leads to Great Affirming Spaces” which sounds like a room full of social workers hugging one another. Or maybe that’s just what I was going there to do :-D!

Ready for another joke? If April flowers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? (I’ll stall so you have time to think about it…)

I hope you guys like sunrises and sunsets as much as I do because those are the only times I’m outside. Year ‘studying abroad’ in Texas is nothing like the last time I studied abroad! I definitely miss running around outside all the time, but am so thankful for the people here. I’d been told people in Texas were awesome, but it’s so true! Everyone from the professors to the other students to the people at my church to the people standing in line with me at the taco cart is awesome. People in Texas are almost as awesome as people in the PNW!

Picture28The answer: Mayflowers bring pilgrims!

Oh! Carl! There are actually two men named Carlos in the MSW program. Neither id eligible. There have not been any successful Carl meetings, so my sources tell me he has changed his name. Which changes everything! Guess I’ll have to start getting to know more about these non-Carl guys…

The suspension bridges are a Waco trademark and after dark, they like to show them off with the light show! It was game day, so they were green that night. Did you hear the Bears won this week!

Sic’em!

Thank you to everyone for the awesome birthday cards and letters and mail. I was on cloud 9! Y’all really do make me feel so special! Thank you, thank you, thank you and please understand the next few weeks I may not have time to write back, but don’t let that stop you! Especially when you’re including stickers and chocolate and tea!

I love you guys more than the amazing Fall weather that just got here (50s in the mornings, 70 in the afternoons) and have to go soak up a bit of Vitamin D before spending the week in the bank dungeon. Sending you social worker affirmations!

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