Why do I love reading and writing so much?

I grew up in a not so great home environment, even my neighborhood was a bit rough. I found reading to be a great escape, from home, from my lack of friends, from the violence and turbulence in the world – everything. 

I could imagine the characters as my friends, or even what would happen if I was the main character in different books and what I might do differently. I read so many books growing up from the famous Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, to the more obscure, Tamora Pierce. I even read the classics, Aesops Fables, Grimms Fairy Tales, Dracula, and Frankenstein. 

When I write, I can pretend I am someone else for a while. It brings me a calm in a different way than reading. While I cannot keep a diary (it just doesn’t work for me) I find  blogging a little easier. I have themes and experiences to draw from. To be honest I find it difficult to write in a diary, I feel like the direct expression of what happened fails to hold the catharsis that blogging holds for me.

Calming the Hurricane Inside

With the world being so crazy right now, I find the need to take some time to find a sense of calm and peace while the storms continue to rage outside, and inside my head. 

I find my thoughts move faster than sound, and my anxieties are heightened. 

Sometimes, finding the right method is the key to keeping myself sane. I compiled a list of things that help me find calm in the hopes they may help you, too. 

  1. Spend time with my pets. Cuddle or playtime, it is always a great boost for my mental health. 
  2. Read a book that has nothing to do with reality so I can get lost. I love getting lost in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Those books got me through many internal storms. 
  3. Listen to music and really digest the words, not just listening to sing along. 
  4. Talk to a friend. Right now Skype, messenger, or a text are all I can do due to social distancing but it’s enough. 
  5. Take a nap. Sometimes I don’t sleep well at night because I am anxious so a nap is just what I need. 

What are some ways you are using to find peace or calmness? Let me know in the comments! 

A Recipe for Inner Balance

When I come home from work, one of the most relaxing things I end up doing is cooking. People love food and the aroma that comes with it. When I’m cooking, I can express myself through food. If I am sad I bake out the sadness, when happy I make complicated meals. The process allows me to compartmentalize my thoughts and just focus on creating something amazing. Counselors have found that there is a stress relief aspect to cooking: it reduces negative thinking and builds confidence (https://thriveglobal.com/stories/7-reasons-why-cooking-is-the-ultimate-stress-reliever/)

I particularly love to bake. I love having to focus on the measurements and having to be so gentle when making say a chiffon cake. I love just listening to music and letting something fill my apartment with notes of vanilla or chocolate. 

With that, I wanted to share a favorite recipe for baked butternut squash! 

Ingredients: 

1 Butternut squash cut in halves 

4 table spoons butter 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

2 tablespoons maple syrup 

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste

Serves- 4 

Prep time- 20 minutes Cook time- 45 minutes Total time- 1 Hour 5 minutes 

Step by Step:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ . 
  2. Put aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. 
  3. Take your two halves of butternut squash and clean out any seeds. Lay the squash cut side up. 
  4. Cut up the butter into small pieces and place evenly on each squash. 
  5. Drizzle on the maple syrup. 
  6. Sprinkle on spices to taste, I use about a teaspoon each. Place in the oven and cook until fork tender. Approximatelt 45 minutes but start checking after 30 minutes. 

Serve after cooling slightly or cool and cut up for salad, puree or any other recipe! 

Let me know in the comments if you try it out and how you like it!

Book Choices O.W.L.’s

For the readathon I have chosen to read for the Alchemist exams. The Alchemist is the hardest career offered requiring O.W.L.’s in every subject. However, I could not pass up the opportunity to learn, I am a Ravenclaw after all.

Below are my book choices for each subject, I may sub in shorter books if it looks like I will run out of time. Join me in June for my book reviews and to see if I pass the challenge. In August I will be sitting for my N.E.W.T.’s.

I will include a link to the the readathon below. All of my books can be found on Good Reads for anyone who is interested.

  1. Ancient Runes- Armageddon Summer- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/566406.Armageddon_Summer
  2. Arithmancy- Thieves Like Us- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/451152.Thieves_Like_Us?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=wSWnvHc8BG&rank=1
  3. Astronomy- Five Feet Apart- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39939417-five-feet-apart?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=zUkASAsMYL&rank=1
  4. Care of Magical Creatures- An Enchantment of Ravens- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30969741-an-enchantment-of-ravens?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=68b8ufDZik&rank=1
  5. Charms- Tithe- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46777.Tithe?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=wBNAjpWE5o&rank=1
  6. Defense Against the Dark Arts- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/310146.The_True_Confessions_of_Charlotte_Doyle
  7. Divination- Blood Bonds- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34203890-blood-bonds?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=1NzCcZHFQF&rank=4
  8. Herbology- Magical Girl Apocalypse Vol. 1- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20945091-magical-girl-apocalypse-vol-1?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=pbp2XqctrF&rank=1
  9. History of Magic- Sorcery of Thorns- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42201395-sorcery-of-thorns?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=MHc4qEiTtD&rank=1
  10. Muggle Studies-The Fault in our Stars- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11870085-the-fault-in-our-stars?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=nlfCZuxR8z&rank=1
  11. Potions- We have always lived in a Castle-https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/89724.We_Have_Always_Lived_in_the_Castle?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=7Z829xCcQk&rank=1
  12. Transfiguration- Wolf Moon- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/182342.Wolf_Moon

Another thank you goes out to Leila for introducing me to this wonderful event!

All the included links are for the goodreads pages for my chosen books.

Recipe of Social Work

A lot of people often ask me how I would describe social work. For me it is like a recipe.

  1. A pinch of biology
  2. A dash of sociology
  3. A cup of Psychology
  4. A handful of hope
  5. Two handfuls of determination
  6. A pound of creativity
  7. A cup of hard work

I have always felt that social work is a mix of many majors and information from other disciplines since social workers can work in so many fields and roles. We need to be knowledgeable, flexible, and always looking to learn more.

Meet my pets

I am the proud fur-mama of 2 cats, 12 guinea pigs, and 1 hamster. Don’t worry I share them with my partner! 

My cats are two Maine Coon mixes, gentle giants weighing in at 22 and 18 pounds a piece. They are great for a cuddle, climb in my lap and take my stress away, and are good at reminding me they exist. Meet Gremlin and Severus:

Meet Severus!

My twelve guinea pigs are a pile of cuddly love! 

Iris has a neurological condition and currently lives with the youngest Lumi. I get to brush Lumi once a week which is relaxing.

Trinity, Whiskey, Athena, Ember and Lily are definitely my little loves and are the most cuddly of cuddle pigs. Lily came into my life with my partner. Trinity was an adoptee with a stubborn eye infection. Whiskey was a pig who came into our lives and decided to say “hi” by harassing all the others. Athena is an antisocial guinea pig who needs lots of love as is Ember.

The last five guinea pigs really belong to my partner, Blaze, Ginny (Yes I named her), Nymphadora (and this one), Stormy, and Rosie. They all have independent personalities. The sounds they make make my heart happy.

Last and the newest addition, is Gumball the Russian Hamster. He likes to climb all over my arms, it feels kind of like a caterpillar walking on you.

Helping my animals and taking care of them gives me structure and love. Something I cannot live without! 

Meet Gremlin

Stay tuned for more pictures of my furry babies!

Working on the front lines- a quarantine story

Working on the front lines has been equal parts gut wrenching and sometimes heartwarming. I will start with the latter.

There have been so many families who recognized the difficulty in my work and have thanked me for my assistance and dedication. This is so heart warming because often in our society social workers are vilified. We are stereotyped as people who take children away from their parents. But, we do so much more.

On the other side of the coin I am worried about getting COVID-19, I am worried about bringing it home to my partner. I worry how I will take care of my precious animals if I am sick. I have anxiety about going to work everyday. I have to run all of my clothes through the laundry when I get home from a shift.

This situation is also heart breaking. People are dying, just looking at the statistics is fear inducing. I know I sometimes have to cry everything out.

That is okay. It is okay to not be okay in these times.

However if you or someone you love start feeling a crisis coming on there is hope.

Reach out to the crisis text line: 741-741 text HOME

Magical Readathon O.W.L.’s

I will be reading for the Magical Readathon O.W.L.’s this year in June. I am starting late because I just found out about this Magical event. I will then hopefully sit for my N.E.W.T.’s in August.

I intend to sit for the hardest career choice, the Alchemist, this will require 12 books to be read throughout the month. I hope I can make it!

Stay tuned for my book choices!

The Case for More Trauma informed care- COVID-19

I think the current epidemic brings to light something our profession needs to make a requirement instead of an option- Trauma Informed care. We collectively as a society are living through a challenging period of time, a traumatic period of time. Our world has been turned upside down and sideways. Some people have lost their jobs, for others like me my work feels like I am walking into the twilight zone every morning. I would say that we are all living through a collective period of trauma. 

In my state we walk around wearing masks all day, some people have lost their jobs, others have to work from home, some places are laying people off or furloughing. A lot of people are wondering where their next check will come from. Some of us wonder if we will have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies at night. That to me screams trauma. 

I wonder how the world may be different if we as a profession challenged all our workers to be trauma informed. Maybe require CEU’s in this topic like we do for ethics would work, or the CSWE requiring trauma informed care for graduation from a program. 

Imagine how the world would be different if every social worker or therapist was trauma informed and those with trauma did not have to look specifically for a trauma specialist. It is my belief after all I have seen that we all hold trauma, I think this small action could change the world. What do you think? 

Who am I as a Professional?

I have my bachelors in social work and my masters. I sat my masters level exam in 2017 and since passing I have been working on my clinical licensure.

I have experience in several areas of social work, I had three internships, a non-profit, an inner city public school, and a law school. I have also held several jobs both part-time and full time. The first part time job I had was at the law school I interned at and the second was at a private practice where I was a contract worker. My three full time jobs were varied to say the least. My first “adult” job was as a social worker on a study at a major medical center in the mid-Atlantic region. My second job was more macro in nature, I worked as a research assistant. My current employment is as a discharge planner at a small non profit hospital.

I am the first to admit I am not the most experienced social worker but I am on the path of personal development and I’d like to share my journey with my readers.