Thursday, June 24, 2010



Have a family member or friend that is struggling with addiction? I highly recommend this book.

In The Lost Years, a mother and daughter tell the story of the daughter's battle with addiction. (The daughter is the creator of the show Addicted on TLC!) What I loved about this book is that it didn't tell me how addiction works, what the addict feels, how it affects the family, and in turn how the family influences the addict. It showed me. The story is more powerful than any lecture you'll ever hear on the subject. And the mother's tough love is admirable. 

As a counseling student and the sister of an addict, I was captivated by this story. It took me inside the mind of an addict and showed me what my brother was going through in his final months. Though their stories look very different, their mindset was very much the same. The other thing that compelled me to this book was the glimpse into the family system. Yes, I am a firm believer in family systems theory. What does that mean? 

Picture the family as a mobile. (Yes, the baby mobile that is hung from a crib will do.) When one object on the mobile is bumped or begins to spin, the whole mobile is affected and displaced. A family member's problem always affects the entire family system. And likewise, a problem you see in one family member often reflects a bigger problem within the family system. So say, a child is acting up at school. As a school counselor, you can pull that child aside and try to solve the problem by talking to him, but the issue won't be resolved until you work with the family and get to the root of the problem. Often the root of it is within the home - say, an unstable marriage, for example. (That's the short explanation.)

So back to what I was saying... I loved seeing the family system. I was able to see and label the areas of dysfunction within the family. And it has helped me to reflect upon my own family and see our dysfunction. ...Real quick: EVERY family has dysfunction in it! Do not think I am dissing my own family for a moment. I love them with all my heart. And while all have dysfunction, some have more than others, especially those with addiction in them. These families often have more unspoken rules (Events, guidelines, or norms that aren't mentioned or discussed) and family secrets than others.

Like I said, the book has really helped me to see what addiction looks like in the family system and to process all of this within the family system. If you're a counselor or related in some way to an addict, this book is a must read.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Randi's Baby Shower

On Saturday, I co-hosted a baby shower for one of my best friends, Randi. The shower was in the morning, so we had a brunch. And in lieu of games, we made fabric applique onesies

And here's a picture of all of the hostesses with the guest of honor.

It was so much fun getting to celebrate our sweet friend and her new baby! I can hardly wait until August when her baby is born!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Peach French Toast Bake

I just made this delicious dish for a baby shower that I helped host this weekend! We had a brunch, so one of the dishes served was Ellie Krieger's Peach French Toast Bake. You can find it here.

This dish was SUPER easy to make! I was actually really impressed, and I will make it again!

Here are a few things I did differently.
  1. First off, I didn't use lemon juice, so this is optional.
  2. Also I used real peaches, since it's summer and peaches are in season. I did take off the skin. This is easy to do if you make a small x on the bottom of the peach and then boil them a couple minutes. This loosens the skin. Take them out of the pot and let them cool! (COOL!) Then try to take off the skin. It slides right off.
  3. Also instead of whole wheat baguettes, I used challah bread (pronounced holla!) from Whole Foods.
  4. I also think I put a lot more cinnamon and brown sugar on it than she had in this pic. Makes it extra yummy!
  5. And I arranged the peach slices so they spooned each other, neatly in lines. I think this made the recipe MUCH prettier than the picture, but shh don't tell Ellie that!
This recipe was a big hit! I hope you enjoy it too!

And yes, I will post baby shower pics soon too!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Okay so I just have to brag a minute on my hubby. Look at these beautiful flowers he brought me the other night! Not only are the bright pink, which I love, but they're also peonies! I love how fluffy peonies are. You only need about three to make a full-looking bouquet! (But lucky me, I got six!)

Thanks, hubs! I am loving looking at my beautiful flowers as I blog.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Name Sammy

If you've read this blog long enough (or at all), you know that my sweet Australian Shepherd is named Sammy. And yes, SHE is female. People often assume Sammy is a male because of her name. I must say that I find this odd because while I have known Samuels, I have never known one that goes by Sammy... I've only known Samanthas to go by that. I can think of two female Sammys off the top of my head and no males. So needless to say, we did not intend to give her a male name... and even now, I still believe it's a name fit for a female!

Okay that said, how did we come up with her name? For those of you who are sentimental, you'll love this story. For those of you who aren't, it's cheesy. But go with it! :)

When I was young I had a stuffed dog with a Santa hat that I carried with me EVERYWHERE. That dog was so loved. The fur was rubbed and matted. But I just loved it. The dog's name was Sammy.

When I was six, I took to dog Christmas shopping with us. And somehow, at the end of the day, the dog did not make it home with us. I couldn't sleep. I cried and cried. My parents called every store we had been to, searching for Sammy, but no luck. Then my parents came up with an idea.

The Velveteen Rabbit, the movie, had just come out, and of course, we had seen it. My brother and I loved it. He even had a stuffed Velveteen rabbit that he slept with. Like Sammy, his rabbit was very worn. I digress... from the movie, my parents came up with an idea. They decided to tell me that because I loved Sammy so much, he had taken Sammy to his workshop to make him into a real dog. Being six, I totally bought it.

But then years went by, and I never got my real life Sammy dog. How sad is that! I mean, we did get other dogs. But none looked like Sammy, and none had the name Sammy. (You really have to be concrete about it with small children. Same look. Same name. Clearly define that this is the dog.) So I decided that when I "grew up," I'd get my own dog and name it Sammy. Pitiful, huh? Yes, you should feel sorry for me... such a terrible upbringing. Ha. If that's my worst complaint, I think I had a good life.

Needless to say, I actually did get a dog and name her Sammy. Luckily my hubby liked the name! When we adopted Sammy (Read her story here.), her name was actually Sandy. It was so close, that the change didn't really matter. How perfect is that?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Watermelon Lemonade

Picture courtesy of Real Simple

This is my favorite summer drink, so I thought I'd share it with you. I have not made it yet this summer, but I am hoping to soon! It's delicious. Basically it's pureed watermelon mixed with lemonade. I do half of each. Then you top it with mint. Simply delightful! It's really become one of my favorite things to make. It tastes like summer!

I don't go exactly by the recipe, but if you would like to, their recipe is here. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Seeing God in the Small Stuff

I'm not sure where to go with this post except to say that I've been thinking about my brother a lot this week. There haven't been tears... and that's interesting in itself. I guess it's not so fresh anymore. God is teaching me a lot. I'll go into that more later... too theological for now!

All this to say, I have seen some good things that God has been doing lately. And I'm thankful them.

I have been so stressed for client hours for my internship. For some reason, every client I get bails. And all for seemingly legit reasons! I think that's the nature of counseling... it's hard to go through your stuff. Nonetheless, it still puts me in a predicament because I need 50 face-to-face client hours this summer (plus 100 admin, but those are easy), yet I only have one semi-consistent client and a once a week 2-hour group. I prayed about it this week. I had stressed about it, but I hadn't really turned it over to the Lord. Then I received two phone calls this week about new clients! Woohoo! God is good.

That's just one example of how I've seen God this week. There's more. But I'll leave it at this: As a friend once said, I'm thankful for the small things... even the pomegranate seed.

What are you thankful for?