The first year that you do an event or activity, even if it something that you want to do every year, you can describe that as a ritual or an annual event. It’s not until you have done it for at least two years or more that you can start to define something as a habitual observance. My personality style does not always engage with the conventional. As a young boy, I remember the value I used to place in doing something different. I would frequently make choices because I wanted to be different than everybody else.
Even now, I like to change things up in my life and “salir de la rutina.” New projects, activities, people that we know can be invigorating and feel very engaging. While that is true in my life, I (and I would argue that people in general) need to have consistencies as well. In my professional life, in talking to teachers and parents, I frequently discuss the importance of ritual and consistency. I see it in my family as well. Not only is it essential in managing the conflict that comes up (five kids, there is bound to be a lot of strife from time to time), but we have also made some of our traditions. We might change the location or activities, but there are some routines we have fallen into every year. I’m just getting back from one of my favorites (although I wrote most of this post while watching the fire die in Pacific City, I’m not finishing it up until we have been back home in the Tri-Cities). Growing together as a family is a great place that we can make traditions and rituals—the last couple of years, we have made it to the ocean at least once each year.
We stayed in a pretty decent VRBO, although they lack in amenities (who doesn’t even have salt/pepper or other basics.. as well there was some general disrepair in the home). We are just outside of Pacific City. I’m not sure if I am getting older, but I have some significant longing for the warmer oceans in Mexico and other more tropical habitats. I know as a youth loved being in any sea. I could spend all day, and I don’t think I ever thought it was cold. This year, I waded in to be close to the kids that I could go after them if needed, but the idea of swimming around in the cold water was more than I could bear. Maybe just need a wet suit.
We made the reservation for the trip back in February. It was before we had any idea what has happened with COVID-19. We tried to stay as safe as possible, using masks when around other people. We did end up at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area and hung out at the Pacific City Beach, but spent most of our beach-going time in the almost private beach in front of our home. We also went to a restaurant for the first time since the quarantine started. We worked up an appetite climbing the giant dune and looking at the breathtaking views of the ocean against rock. We ate pizza at Doryland Pizza.
Two years ago, my wife came home from work (she was working in the fields at the time, doing agricultural work). She had found a turtle crawling in a canal and brought it home in a lunch pale. We bought an aquarium, supplies, named him/her Sheldon and they become a member of the family. We decided that Sheldon would be happier free, and this video a remember and letting go of Sheldon.
I created this video, Cooperative Transformation as a part of my class at CIIS TSD’s Creativity and Personal Transformation course. The class has been a wonderful experience to have taken this semester. Not only have I been able to learn more about creativity, myself, and transformation, but it has been personally useful to me as we are going through all of the stuff regarding this pandemic.
To create the video, it was a fairly involved process. The drone footage was filmed with my DJI Spark at the Juniper Dunes Wilderness. I filmed it a couple of days ago, and was surprised that there were so many people out there riding their ATVs. I guess it just opened. I had been just driving looking for somewhere I could film at, and ended up seeing a sign and deciding I should go out there. A couple of months ago, I purchased Micro Greens and set up my laptop to connect to my GoPro and take photos two times per hour. I also bought some mushrooms and tried setting up an old iPad to do the same timelapse video for it as well, but my set up kept turning off every couple of hours, and I couldn’t get it to work. Unfortunately, I think my lighting and set up was better for the mushrooms as I was planning on that being the primary project.
The music track behind my voice is something I created. You can listen to just the song.
If you are interested, you can download the GarageBand file in a zip archive and edit yourself. I’m not super satisfied with it, but its fun to make music, and even somebody with no real talent/experience can create something that sounds decent.
The transcription of the video is here:
“There’s a loneliness that only exists in one’s mind. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The worldwide crisis that has been caused by COVID-19 has been extremely turbulent and will continue to be disruptive. It has been a time filled with crisis and turmoil for many. It has been a challenging time for everybody, but some more than others. It is a time that we can feel very alone. As we are practicing social distancing and dealing with grief and loss, it can be isolating.
It has also been a time that is developing connection and togetherness. In this time, we must be in alliance with one another. The process of transformation is destructive. The old must leave, and a new must come. This process is challenging and requires sacrifice. I hope to impart a desire and encouragement for connection and interdependence. We must not forget about those around us who might be in need. That we must develop cooperation that can change the world, let us leave this pandemic with a greater appreciation and higher level of compassion for each other. We must become better than we were before this started.
Together we can!
You can see my set up for filming the microgreens growing.
Along with a photo of the script I wrote in the Camera Suite app on my Mac, I used to connect to my GoPro. Speaking of this, its pretty awesome software, and even though my GoPro isn’t supported and isn’t supposed to help this type of implementation, it still worked.
In needing a bit of break from more strenuous academic writing, I wanted to do a bit of creative writing activity. I have taken the 27 most recent words of the day from the Look Up. Look Up is an app on iOS and Mac. At least each new sentence has one of the words from the last almost month. Also, note that I took these words in order and have kept them that way. I hope that some of this makes you guffaw.
In these perilous times, during this pandemic, I want to repudiate Donald Trump for how he and some others are managing the crisis. COVID-19 has hit us like a tempest and it is effecting everyone around the world. Trump tends to bloviate frequently, and I can’t watch the daily briefings anymore. Even when he has outright lied, he pretends to be unerring.
If you aren’t already practicing social distancing, you need to make a cessation of going out and being around people as much as possible. I know the days are beautiful, perhaps with a zephyr. To flatten the curve and make it through this, we all need to be percipient. These actions do require an exaction, but it is worth it. The price is the only way that we can rescind all of the potential future pain. By making large and small sacrifices together, we will overcome by accretition positive decision by positive decision. I encourage you recognize the hard road ahead, and in the face of the dangers be phlegmatic but with our loved ones don’t be afraid to share your feelings.
This post might find you, eating your repast alone, but know that we are in this together. It is time for a generation of stentors to rise up and speak to power and support each other. Our world is in a precarious place. I don’t think I can wax panegyric enough to all of the health care heroes. If I could daub all of you a thick coat of my care and appreciation, I would. You go and save lives and watch as people die as you put yourself in quotidian dangers. Many of you work until you are ruddy in the face. You will keep working until we get this crisis to a place of stasis.
When we are through with this crisis, we will come back to a place of concinnity. People will go back to putting ovoid shapes in dogs’ mouths on Tic Tok. I will continue working to become erudite as I study for my Ph.D. I’m sure there will still be fractious political difficulties. But my evocative wish is that we can come together. We don’t have to frolic together in the spume like a corny love story. But… we should be able to agree that we are all in this world together, and just like we all need potable water, we need to be support each other.
When that happens, just like the pangram says, I will ‘pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs,’ so I can continue my jaunt to find a better world.
I’m currently enrolled in the California Institutes Integral Studies Ph.D. Program for Transformative Studies. It has been an incredible program so far, but it is a ton of reading and writing and requires that I stay organized with all of my sources. I’ve gone through a bit of quest looking at various reference software, including Mendeley, EndNote, ReadCube Papers, and ended sticking with Zotero. While as the software, it is not near perfect, it allows me to do most of my work from my iPad and integrate Siri Shortcuts and my writing process.
Montuori (2013) talking about the complexity of a transdisciplinary literature review describes four dimensions that a scholar should consider.
inquiry-based rather than discipline-based;
integrating rather than eliminating the inquirer from the inquiry;
meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic;
applying systems and complex thought rather than reductive/disjunctive thinking
I wanted to share some of how I am using Zotero to keep track of all of the research sources I am coming across.
First I do almost all of my writing in Drafts. I have a couple of academic tools. I have a CIIS writing actions tab in Drafts. Most of them are pretty basic, but can be useful. I have three different ones to copy HTML depending on what I am writing. When I am writing a paper I start all of them with metadata such as
I create all of this with a Siri Shortcut - CIIS New Writing which you can add if want to see how I set it up. It fills in the information for me so I don’t have to. The first two lines are how I save my text file to my OneDrive account later. The first line becomes the title of the document and second line is the name of the folder it is saved in for my OneDrive. When I do this more formal writing and want to copy it to Canvas to post it, Drafts converts it to HTML skips the first two lines and the metadata is converted to HTML metadata which isn’t shown in my post because I write it in YAML format.
My Drafts Action - View APA Paper HTML Preview. Basically it is print action that skips the first two lines of the draft. The CSS is set up to help show how many pages have been written in an academic paper written in Drafts. It is set up as double spaced text, with APA style headings.
Another Siri Shortcut that I just finished making Add Reference List Entry. It lets you search for articles within your Zotero account. You will have to set up an API key and get your Zotero user code.
Montuori, Alfonso. (2013c). The Complexity of Transdisciplinary Literature Reviews. An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 10(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.29173/cmplct20399
With the quarantine and everything going on, it seemed like a good idea to do a fun activity and get our mind off of everything for a while.
We made a stop motion video by taking photos with my GoPro and processing them through Stop Motion Pro App. It was pretty easy to do and fun to go through and plan, set up, and implement. The final product turned out great as well.
The music is included in the app and called Mister Exposition.
We also built a fort in the back yard. It was fun to put together. You can see a time lapse video and some photos.
In working with individuals and families, following a strengths-based approach is a best practice, and it is contrasted with a traditional problem-solving strategy. Following some of Kirst-Ashman and Hull’s (2015) strategies, we can both understand the conventional problem-solving approach and a strength-based approach to solving problems.
To implement a strengths-based approach, there are some strategies that can be helpful. These include building on family strengths, working collaboratively, helping the family formulate a vision, boosting participation and involvement, utilizing environmental modification, and modeling high expectations.
Kruzich et al. (2003) reported families identified the following barriers as impeding involvement in their child’s care:
Distance from service providers
Caregiver’s work schedule
Cost of transportation
Lack of access to transportation
Child care arrangements
Cost of child care
Lack of communication between staff from different programs or agencies
Lack of open communication
Lack of opportunity or encouragement to participate in the child’s treatment
Inflexible visiting and meeting schedules
Lack of clarity about whom to contact with questions and concerns
Negative staff attitudes about the family
Lack of consideration for cultural values
They on to describe some strategies for supporting engagement with families:
Provision of a contact person
Notification of caregiver when something was wrong or if there were health or other concerns about the child
Flexible scheduling of meetings
Information about rights and grievance procedures
Comfortable and private space for meetings
Prompt return of phone calls
Inclusion of caregiver’s comments in the child’s records
Support for transitions into or out of services or programs
Communication with all relevant family members
Help with transportation costs
Help with telephone costs
Assistance with child care costs
Caregiver treated with dignity and respect
Caregiver made to feel that his or her participation was important
Caregiver made to feel welcome
All family members encouraged to participate
Responsiveness to the family’s cultural values
Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, Jr., G. H. (2015). Understanding Generalist Practice (Seventh Ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Kruzich, J. M., Jivanjee, P., Robinson, A., & Friesen, B. J. (2003). Family Caregivers’ Perceptions of Barriers to and Supports of Participation in Their Children’s Out-of-Home Treatment. Psychiatric Services, 54(11), 1513-1518. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.54.11.1513
My history and connection with God have gone through different phases over the years. This article is ostensibly a book review for Matthew Fox’s Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet published in 2002, but I find that I have to start with where I am at in my life currently, which requires the context of where I’ve been. Growing up with my mom, I went to mass with my mom at Christ the King in Richland. As I got into High School, I got pretty lost in using drugs and alcohol. I lost interest in being involved in church. My mom even started paying cash (which unknown to her at the time I used to buy drugs) me to attend mass with her. After staying on in high school for the fifth year and being homeless, couch surfing, I ended up going to Jubilee Youth Ranch. At Jubilee, I had a pretty transformative experience based on accepting God into my life. You can read some of my story about going to Jubilee and some of the pain and difficulty I had a youth. Jubilee is no longer around in the form that it was when I graduated from High School there in 2001, but they still have a Facebook Page. Hagar (2008) writes about some of the effects of Jubilee shutting down. It appears that it has been taken over by West Master’s Ranch where you can still see the same facilities and what seems to be a reasonably similar program.
At Jubilee, I ended up having a decidedly radical conversion experience and desire to start following after God. I remember getting close to graduation and not being sure what I was supposed to do with my life. I was committed to wanting to find what God wanted for my life, and I remember the experience of fasting and going up to the top of this hill that overlooks the boy’s ranch to spend time praying and meditating over what I should do next. That summer, soon after graduation, I went with a group on a mission trip to Africa. I ended up enrolling in a program called the Master’s Commission. Before I started, I ended up going to Africa on a Mission Trip. It was a leadership training/discipleship school (kind of like a bible college but focused on service). My program was at Victory Faith Church, and while they don’t have a page talking about the Masters Commission anymore, they do still have a VF School of Leadership. I wrote about my experience some in an essay, The Path to the Ph.D.: Intertwining My Experiences and Research Topic.
During the time that I was in the Master’s Commission, I had a strong faith that was following. During my time there, being engaged with a group of other students working towards changing the world was a meaningful experience. It was a powerful experience. After spending two years in the Master’s Commission, I felt I knew a bit about what I wanted to do. I wanted to earn my Masters Degree in social work and work with kids who have been through painful and traumatic experiences. I wanted to work with the problematic kids that were making poor choices in their lives. I moved back in with my mom in the Tri-Cities and started attending community college at Columbia Basin College to earn my AA as a transfer degree. While I was working on my AA, I started working at Jubilee as a staff member. I was also highly involved in the Baptist Student Ministries student club at school. There was a time I was the president of the group and spent a lot of time doing outreach events, connecting with my fellow students of faith, and going on some mission trips to Vancouver Brittish Columbia. During the same timeframe is when I first started blogging and doing more activities online. My old posts are at a different website; they are still there.
I was still very connected to my faith community at this point. My blog during those days was called “My Life Crucified,” and I mostly wrote about some of my experiences, working, being in school, and other things that I found interesting. Many of the posts were about faith. As I moved away from the Tri-Cities and living on campus at Eastern Washington University in their Social Work program, I became less involved in a specific religious community. After earning my BASW and my MSW, I ended up traveling through South America. I moved back to the Tri-Cities, but for years I’ve not been involved in church or related activities much for many years. Sometimes I go to mass with my family or with my mom, but that is about it.
As a part of my coursework for Creativity and Personal Transformation at California Institute of Integral Studies, I recently finished reading Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet. It was a pretty compelling book. When I am around people talking about spirituality, I tend not to get very involved in the conversation. I’m kind of in a place where I’m not sure exactly where my faith is at currently. I’m not going to say this book has changed my perspectives or been life-changing or anything like that. I did find it engaging.
It seems that Fox’s primary argument is that there is a creativity that we can all tap into, and that creativity is connected to the divine. He says:
Creativity is not a noun or even a verb—it is a place, a space, a gathering, a union, a where—wherein the Divine powers of creativity and the human power of imagination join forces. Where the two come together is where beauty and grace happen and, indeed, explode. Creativity constitutes the ultimate in intimacy, for it is the place where the divine and the human are most destined to interact (p. 4).
I’ve not been exposed frequently to literature that sees the various religious beliefs as connected and sharing similar messages. Fox describes not just how creativity fits within a Christian tradition and in relationship to Jesus, but he also talks about buddha and other spiritual leaders. This creativity is seen at a cosmic level and individually. There are some examples of how we can connect creativity to education, our daily lives, relationships, and even politics. If you are interested in the intersection of spirituality and creativity, this is a pretty interesting book to check out.