Memorial Day 2017 Highlights!

Hot off the press! Highlights of Recovery Partners Montgomery & Peer2 Peer Recovery Services, Inc. Memorial Day Celebration 2017! Thanks to everyone who came out to march with us in the Rockville Memorial Day parade as the faces and voices of recovery in our county; and to those who came to celebrate and have lots of fun at our annual picnic bash in Bohrer Park.

And, a big thank you to all of our volunteers who made the day a success!

Check it out at


Domain Focus: Advocacy

The Maryland Certification for Peer Recovery Specialists focuses on four core domains: Advocacy, Ethical Responsibility, Mentoring/Education & Recovery/Wellness.  Some of the areas of focus for Advocacy as a peer include:

  • Relating to the individual as an advocate.
  • Advocating within systems to promote person-centered recovery/wellness support services.
  • Describing the individual’s rights and responsibilities.
  • Apply the principles of individual choice and self?determination.
  • Explaining importance of self-advocacy as a component of recovery/wellness. 
  • Recognizing and use person-centered language. 
  • Practicing effective communication skills.
  • Advocating for multiple pathways to recovery/wellness.
  • Recognizing the importance of a holistic (e.g., mind, body, spirit, environment) approach to recovery/wellness.

On January 19th, Recovery Partners Montgomery had the opportunity to participate in what is called “Big A” – this is advocacy on the policy level and often involves working with representatives at the local, state and federal level.  A group of our peers traveled to Annapolis to meet with our state delegates as a part of an advocacy day focused on addiction and recovery organized by Lisa Lowe of Heroin Action Coalition & F.A.C.E. Addiction Maryland.

Here is what one of our peers and author, Rich Ameninhat Parks,  shared about his experience in Annapolis:

“That was my first time having gone to Annapolis. From young, I had always dreamed of going to US Naval Officer training school.

It lead me to RTC (Recruit Training Command) Orlando, FL Naval boot camp in June 1988. The dreams had “stewed down” into just finding my way in the world as an eighteen-year-old High School graduate.

Boot camp was a great experience! I graduated eight weeks later as the Starboard Watch Section Leader of Company 178. I had been responsible for checking over the work and military barring and “took the heat” for any wrong of the Starboard side of the Company. For C178 that mostly meant I did more punitive pushups than anybody.

I loved it though. It made me physically stronger than I had ever been and mentally more focused as well. As I “tightened up” and bettered so did C178 Starboard. Just days after graduation I shipped off to Sea School training in Meridian, Mississippi and was anxiously excited to begin my Active Duty Navy career, which would follow.

What came first was Sea School, being able to drink on a daily basis at 18 as a military courtesy and the effects that would have. For me it was seemingly not a great outcome. 

Though I graduated top of my class, got to choose where I’d be stationed as a reward and “landed” assignment on the USS Saratoga-dry docked in New York for cleaning and repair; I would never make it there.

Unknowingly at the time, the daily alcohol use sparked a bout with Major Depression. I was counseled by the Naval Parishioner and when I told him I had suicidal ideations, thoughts, was Generally Discharged from the Navy.

My first ever visit to Annapolis for obvious reasons rekindled those memories. 2017… A seeming lifetime later, at a junction where my Recovery is at times slow but gratefully steady, there I was advocating for Addiction support towards helping “End Addiction.”

Lisa Lowe, Founder and Director of Maryland Heroin Action Coalition and member of Family Advocates Coalition to End Addiction in Maryland (F.A.C.E. Addiction-MD), with whom I first met and worked the 2016 Lights of Hope event was the panel presenter and host for all of us who came to be heard and actively be a part of the Recovery Movement in Montgomery County and Maryland in general.

From first meeting her, I was impressed by her passion and drive to make a positive difference in the real war on drugs, for which a major weapon is Addiction Advocacy: legal, medical and societal reform; Peer Support (Parental, Experiential, Educational, Professional, Organizational, Familial, etc.); and the like.

Lisa lead us in backing several proposed bills of the panelist speaker Delegates and Advocates, along with doing the ground work for support of two pilot projects, Phoenix Rising Recovery School and School-based Curriculum for Substance Use Disorder Prevention, presented by two Parent Peers.

We did this by going to the office of Delegates to inform and educate them and their Staffers why they should give active sponsorship or co-sponsorship. It was surprising to me about how much of a verbal impact can be made along with having a healthy group of people showing unified concern for our worthy cause.

It was a fruitfully rewarding day. I learned a great deal, had a good lunch and snacks and got to see first hand a major importance of going to Annapolis”.

We look forward to returning to Annapolis next year and to continuing our “Big A” and “Little A” Advocacy throughout the year as we learn and grow together and work with peers in our community.

Learn more about what’s happening in Maryland on a policy level and how you can be support advocacy for addiction and mental health recovery in Maryland by visiting or

Celebrate Memorial Day With Our Recovery Community!

We are excited to be continuing our annual tradition of representing the faces and voice of recovery in the annual Rockville Memorial Day Parade followed by our Celebration Picnic Bash as Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg. 

If you’d like to join us in marching in the parade, please register at so that we can send you information and meeting details.

See flyer for details on the Celebration Picnic Bash. We hope to see you there!

The KISS Principle


April showers = high grass

A quote often repeated and occasionally attributed to Albert Einstein is: The Definition of Insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. This flows along with my last Power of 10 post talking about waiting for things to change. On their own. I am beginning to see, feel and experience the results of efforts I have been making to simplify and reduce physical, financial and emotional clutter in my life. I am spending more time weighing options and planning (or in Contemplation and Preparation for those who speak MI). By slowing down, staying focused and trying to avoid adding things to my plate I am experiencing real results.

What really helps is when I apply the KISS Principle, that is, Keep It Simple, Stupid. When I over-think or make overly elaborate plans, either nothing happens or there are too many steps and I quit. I’ve been studying organized people and learned they make lists. WOW! I am using a notebook to write down my plans and ideas. I am going back to check these and see what is done and needs doing BEFORE adding more to my agenda.

In January I started using an Excel format to track my finances. As a visual Learner, this means I see my fixed expenses and watch progress. I’m meeting goals to pay down debt and have a family vacation. This is actually working. I am less stressed. Who knew having a plan works?!? Planning also helps me close the gap between Motivation and Effort that brings me Success.

So, for the end of April these are my 10:
1. I will KISS away my habit of putting things off until I have “time” to do it. Well, I have the same 24 hours each day that we all have. Right now this means working each day on a section of tax records – childcare, medical and business expenses – to be done by May 5th.
2. I will KISS away some money chaos by closing out one of my 2 checking accounts. One person, one bank. I have to pay off a credit line to do this. Also an act of self-care.
3. I will KISS away another lingering issue with “letting go” because I save useless stuff. My inbox was almost 900 e-mails. I used the Outlook tool to sort by sender then deleted over 300 e-mails. Some back to 2011! That’s a 30% reduction in 45 minutes. Why was I holding on?
4. I will KISS away another piece of my Insanity issues with time and clutter. I will mail the last few holiday greeting cards. I know – its April! A truth we’ve all heard is: Better late than never.
5. I will KISS away future clutter by not taking on something I don’t need. Ask: Is it a need or a want? How does it help me? Yesterday I was dumpster diving a shabby chic dresser and mirror from the curb. I stopped my car. I made space. I moved 2 drawers into the Volvo. I stopped. I took the drawer out. I closed the door. I left. Hooray!
6. I will KISS away too many plans for next week. Have you heard “Failing to plan is planning to fail?” I am going to be a solo parent while my kids’ dad recovers from surgery. So, 1) I will make sure I know my kids’ afterschool activities, 2) I will plan meals, shop groceries and prep, and 3) I will plan to go to sleep 30 minutes earlier each night. I think this is called Getting Ahead of the Game or The Best Defense is Good Offense.
7. I will KISS away some stress by adding walking to my routine. What is simpler than a walk? It is a known stress reducer & anti-depressant, especially morning light. I found out in California that I was able to do some hiking. My dogs and kids will enjoy this, too! Win-Win-Win.
8. I will KISS away some physical pain doing self-care while I binge on HGTV. Aaron told me about how he gets relief from back pain and with foam rollers and stretching. My hips, calves and legs have been hurting from sciatica. Self-care may lead to fewer doctor appointments and OTCs. Plus, time I already have on the couch could replace time I spend at the chiropractor – about 6 hours each month.
9. I will KISS away some more clutter – this time visual clutter outside my house. I will get rid of scrap metal and bring out my containers for gardening. I will make sure my grass gets cut. With the rain, parts of my lawn are over 12” high! I will get my 15 year-old behind the lawn mower.
10. I will KISS away some negative by eating fresh foods this weekend – Spring has such wonderful tastes of artichokes, berries, asparagus, lamb and green salad. I’ll make a fresh soup for my lunches next week.

Besides the Definition of Insanity, I included a few phrases we’ve all heard like “The Best Defense is a Good Offense” and “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.” These phrases are simple reminders that I can substitute for negative self-talk. Shaming myself never helps. These phrases are repeated because they are true for many people. While I am unique, this gives me a sense of community.

Peace be with you,
Dr. Catherine

The Power of 10: The road less travelled

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~ From “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Restored wooden window circa 1896.

The 1st book I read after completing my MSW (a long time ago) was the classic by M. Scott Peck, M.D. The Road Less Travelled (1978). I am not sure why this book has stuck with me so long but I found it to have many useful lessons. It also opened me to a new way of viewing myself and, later, to recovery through the 12 Step program of Adult Children of Alcoholics. What particularly imprinted with me was the practical application of themes and personal stories shared by Dr. Peck.

One lesson titled “Problem Solving and Time” discusses learning to fix things when he had .“…considered myself to be a mechanical idiot. I was convinced I was deficient in some gene, or by curse of nature lacking some mystical quality…” until a casual conversation led him to a lesson. A neighbor fixing a lawn mower presented an alternative view that it was more due to not taking the time than a lack of ability. This leads to a discovery that for most people “…there is a defect in the approach to problem-solving more primitive and more destructive than impatiently inadequate attempts to find instant solutions …. It is the hope that problems will go away of their own accord” (pg 30).

In a year where I am seeking to focus more on kindness, these quotes may seem harsh. Perhaps so but I have never found myself trying to fix a problem when I could find a way to be comfortable with it, to convince myself it was “okay” and I was “fine” or to work around. I have mostly made the effort to change because I was frustrated, unhappy or in pain. But, secondly, because I could see myself being successful.

Linking time with problem-solving has been a pathway to small and huge success for me. It has also been a way to give myself kindness by permission to learn how, to be imperfect, and to persist. The alternative has been to fail, feeding that inner voice of incompetence, mostly because I did not try. And try again. Forgiving my own imperfection opens a door to trying.

• I will “take time to problem-solve” by slowing down. Too often I rush and truly learn that “haste makes waste”.
• I will “take time to problem-solve” by taking time to de-brief with colleagues after a project or event so we can learn and leave no “ouch” unspoken.
• I will “take time to problem solve” by continuing to support myself in my quest to de-clutter my space and file my over-due Maryland tax returns. Don’t quite because I am frustrated but notice how far I have come. I need to remember my purpose; ask myself: What support or resources do I need to continue? What is my FEAR that is holding me back?
• I will “take time to problem solve” by living the next step in my journey to find a way to add a 2nd car to my family & finances. For the 1st time ever, In January I drew a spending plan! Now is using my time to solve my problem is to keep it up. How can I know my resources if I don’t know how and where my money goes?
• I will “take time to problem solve” by considering why I spend so much time on trivia tasks that are not really important and do not move me to my goals. I know the 80/20 rule, so what is this about?
• I will “take time to problem solve” by going to see the elderly relative I committed to calling last month. I did call. We had a wonderful, loving chat. She asked me to visit. Being “too busy” is not an answer.
• I will “take time to problem solve” by using My Fitness Pal to chart my exercise and food intake. I need to have knee surgery but can’t quite get myself across the line on the scale that will get me under the knife and in recovery. I joke about Day #2 of social work school “If it’s not documented it didn’t happen.” Am I avoiding MFP o those calories, especially cookies, don’t count? I do want to be able to walk when I go to Europe this summer with my dad. He is 85 and we’ve never spent more than 7 days alone together and those times were because he was recovering from major health problems and I was his care-giver.
• I will “take time to problem solve” by avoiding a chance to complain. It is so easy to be negative but so much nicer to say “Hey, no problem” when things go wrong. People mean well even when mistakes are made. Stay calm, move on.
• I will “take time to problem solve” by committing to asking those 3 people how we can make a difference with opiate overdose survivors. When I was in high school opiates were a “never” but the last 3 times I have been to my local McDonald’s there have been people there obviously over the edge. I am grateful it is not me but my kids are 15, 11 and 9 so soon it could be my family. I can’t solve this problem but I can give time.
• I will “take time to problem solve” by reminding myself that I can learn to fix stuff. That no one will solve things for me.

My big success this weekend was installing a restored double hung window in my 120 year old house. Telling the truth, I have been “working” on 5 sets of windows for 3 years. Yes, 3 years! Sunday, I made myself take materials I had on-hand and a book from the library and just do it. The 1st frame took me over 3 hours to get in. I struggled to thread the rope over a pulley and have it drop down to the opening in the frame. I tried weights, coat hangers and giving up. I considered going to Home Depot not knowing what I intended to find there. Finally, on my 8th trip to the garage, I found a cleat that weighed enough and could maneuver through the pulley …so I could hang on a string that I could tape to the rope …that would then drop down inside the frame …so I could tie the rope to the weight that lifts the frame. The next frame took me 1 hour. The one after 20 minutes. Now, it is not done because I found I am missing some finishing wood but the hardest part is behind me – “the hope that problems will go away of their own accord.”

The real bonus is that last night when the winds howled from the West, that window was secure and my house was not subject to the freezing draft of the past 3 Winters. Ding-ding-ding: I win!!!! A surge of endorphins and a moment of gratitude to Dr. Peck.

Speaking of take time to solve a problem, one service at the “Front Porch” in Gaithersburg will be a series on Money Smart (financial wellness) staring tomorrow at 3:00-4:00. Give yourself some Valentine’s love and come join us.

Peace be with you,
Dr. Catherine

“Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery” ~ Airing on Maryland Public Television

Tune in tonight at 7 PM for…

“Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery”

Maryland Public Television (MPT) and over two dozen other local TV and radio stations will air a new program called BREAKING HEROIN’S GRIP: ROAD TO RECOVERY on Saturday, February 11 at 7 p.m.  The program was produced in association with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Behavioral Health Administration (BHA).

The program focuses on the struggles and recovery efforts of three Maryland residents, in rural and urban settings, dealing with opioid addictions. The documentary portion will last 40 minutes and will be followed by a 20 minute live phone bank staffed by crisis hotline staff who will provide callers with information on treatment.

The number to call for support is 800-422-0009.

The program was arranged with broadcast and print media as part of an effort to bring localized coverage of the opioid epidemic. Maryland is among many states with surging numbers of fatal overdoses largely from opioids, which include prescription painkillers and heroin.

Learn more at To find you local MPT channel, visit

If you have any questions or need any further information, please contact Margie Donohue at or 410-402-8667

Public Service Announcements

The Behavioral Health Administration has also released a series of PSAs that address stigma, the Good Samaritan Law and naloxone. Please feel free to share these on websites, through social media or via email.

PSA: Naloxone :15

PSA: Naloxone :30

PSA: Stigma “Sick Girl” :15

PSA: Stigma “Sick Girl” :30

PSA: Stigma “Lost in Crowd” :15

PSA: Stigma “Lost in Crowd” :30

PSA: Good Samaritan :30


The Power of 10: Make My Day

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Spoken by Poet, Writer and Activist, Maya Angelou. (April 1928-May 2014)

Make My Day is a phrase spoken by Clint Eastwood as he plays the vigilante character Dirty Harry. Guns blazing, car chases and plenty of violence. That’s not the meaning here.

The January 1, 2017 issue of Parade Magazine banner is “Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti” which seems a wonderful theme for a New Year. Like a hug, a pat on the back or $20 found in the pocket of your old coat, everyone would appreciate extra kindness. Can we really be spoiled by people being too nice? Kindness is a choice as is generosity. Kindness is an antidote to negativity.

Last month I wrote about SUCCESS. One expression of success in recovery is feeling a connection to our inner selves and to those who are around us – that is, a sense of community and belonging. I am reminded of a fellow who shared how part of his recovery and gaining a sense of worth was to make eye contact then say “good morning” to people who crossed his path as he walked from Metro to his morning appointment. Simply, a smile and a greeting gave him meaning and fed his soul. People responded. Most important, he felt uplifted What a nice ritual.


So, for this month there are many small things I will do to pay it forward and Make My Day.

• I will “Make My Day” by adding a few cents or dollars to the person digging for change at the check-out. Just today my 11 cents helped move the line along and brought a smile to a lovely woman.
• I will “Make My Day” by simply saying thank you, instead of “I know” when a kindly person offers me advice I did not ask for. I will work on zipping my lip and giving a word of appreciation.
• I will “Make My Day” by completing one of those customer satisfaction surveys that are on store receipts. This feedback from customers makes a difference to the cashiers and other retail workers. Some even get a small bonus!
• I will “Make My Day” by being part of a service project on Monday, January 16th. Being involved makes me feel better. Lighter.
• I will “Make My Day” by using my turn signal and then waving to the person who lets me change lanes rather than speeding up.
• I will “Make My Day” by bringing snacks and water to my son’s wrestling team. I don’t know these kids or their families. I do know they work hard at practice and some 40 matches in the season. I love being a supporter for my kid! Today it is 40 PBJ. Wednesday it was 20 sliced oranges.
• I will “Make My Day” by calling an elderly relative. I enjoy our chats but they can go on for over an hour! Instead of avoiding the phone I will pick it up. It will release some of my guilt because when I was in need she gave me so much.
• I will “Make My Day” by being a role model for my kids in expressing thanks to them. Instead of hovering and re-doing their work loading the dishwasher I will thank them each for remembering their chore.
• I will “Make My Day” by avoiding a chance to complain. It is so easy to be negative but so much nicer to say “Hey, no problem” when things go wrong. People mean well even when mistakes are made. Stay calm, move on.
• I will “Make My Day” by giving a sincere compliment. No “but” attached.
• I will “Make My Day” by removing clutter. I will continue picking up small trash when I walk my dogs. I will move my office to make room for changes at work. I will keep sorting and giving away “stuff” in my house. Getting rid of piles of paper is a benefit for my colleagues and my family. Being able to find things is a gift to myself. Clutter is like noise or the “snow” that was on old tvs. It serves no purpose and is annoying. Removing clutter makes room for more calm and happiness.

Speaking of clutter, we are forming a partnership of organizations to serve as a “Front Porch” in Gaithersburg. Among the offerings will be a twice monthly series of overcoming financial clutter. In the Sunday column of The Color of Money Michelle Singletary suggests a weekly step-by-step approach to improving your financial health while removing one or two areas of clutter in your personal space. Have a look at her ideas ( Washington Post 01/08/17) .

Peace be with you,
Dr. Catherine
January 9, 2017

The Power of 10: wrap it up

An impulse buy – wrap it up!

Finishing a meeting – wrap it up!

Last minute of a timed test – wrap it up!

A gift for under the tree – wrap it up!

Wrap it up is a phrase that may have many meanings depending on who and where you are. Under pressure it can seem like a 10-ton weight or a door closing. As a treat, it may feel like an experience of generosity and joy. Sometimes and ending and other times a launch.

In November 2015 Recovery Partners Montgomery held a symposium at the Bolger Center which, to me, was an awesome and inspiring few days.  Among the many excellent guests and speakers was Judith Clark, Director of Women Who Care Ministries in Gaithersburg.  Judith is a woman I had never met before but I was familiar with her work to close a gap on childhood hunger.  Her ministry facilitates the “Backpack” program by delivering hundreds of backpacks of food to schools so that students will have nutritious meals on weekends.  

The media uses the euphemism “food insecurity” to describe this condition of not knowing where your next meal is coming from. The fact is, even in Montgomery County, almost 78,000 residents are “food insecure.” In 2014 almost 52,000 or 34% of students received free or reduced price breakfast and lunch at school.  Judith’s passion is to make sure that no matter what, children and families eat when schools are not in session. Learn more about Judith and Women Who Care Ministries…

During her presentation on SUCCCESS, she spoke about being quick to take on projects or people but less quick to let go of what isn’t working. This might be an employee, a job, a roommate, or something material like a broken-down car. The point of her challenge was to focus on what she (or you or me) need to let go of before the end of the year. What do you or I want to leave behind in 2016? What decision, baggage or leftovers should we say “Wrap it Up” before we move into 2017?

Last month I wrote about EXPECTATIONS and have been working on winnowing down what I carry around each day. Often my expectations are impossible. They are a weight on me, an obstacle to success. Other times carrying around expectations is a way of procrastinating. I can disappoint myself instead of doing or completing something. Another phrase Judith used was “Ants are busy, I’m productive.” This saying hit home with me. So, looking around my life and thinking of Judith’s comment here is my list for the Power of Ten as I move through December.

• I will “wrap it up” by donating clothes my children have outgrown or just don’t need. Their dresser drawers are overflowing. Plus 3 coats and household items (apple canister set) that I just don’t need or use. Goodbye clutter!
• I will “wrap it up” by closing a small debt to my accountant for 2015. I need to do this before I can start the next round of filing taxes.
• I will “wrap it up” by finishing a house job. I choose finally installing rain barrels around my house. I have been doing this off/on for almost 3 years. Enough!
• I will “wrap it up” reading from page 387 to the end of Gone with the Wind. This is my 15th time with GWTW but I’m only ½ way through. I started last summer (2014) so it is time to follow Scarlett to Atlanta after the Civil War ends. It is a book that connects me to my mother – a story for another day.
• I will “wrap it up” my small kitchen renovation that has lingered for almost 3 months. That should take about 4 hours so I will commit the time on my calendar.
• I will “wrap it up” planning an exercise for a workshop on the 13th. I have the privilege of co-facilitating this day with my sister. The theme focuses on her book and how leadership comes with fair allocation of resources.
• I will “wrap it up” by releasing any need to splurge for gifts this Christmas. I will focus instead on an experience my children will remember – a day of skiing if the weather is right.
• I will “wrap it up” by letting go of the myth that my car will last forever. I will become open to having to buy a car. This means a financial WRAP as well as how emotionally invested I am in the Volvo I’ve had for 13 years.
• I will “wrap it up” by making real the idea of supporting a group for people who have survived overdose – themselves or as friends and family. I will make 4-10 contacts that I know will bring this together. We will set a start date.
• I will “wrap it up” for creating an act of joy and peace in my home. I will close 2016 with a tidy house. This brings me a sense of both relief and gratitude by knowing that commitment and action have linked to changes by taking care of what needs to be done next in my life. Freshly made beds, folded towels and clean floors give me a sense of accomplishment. These acts also remind me of my mother who always cleaned before a trip so she wouldn’t come home to a messy house. She also reminded me that if I just made my bed, everything would look better. She was right. Thank you, Judith Andrews, McAlpine (1940-1977).

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.” Spoken by former First Lady and Activist, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Peace be with you,
Dr. Catherine

The Power of 10: EXPECTATION


ex·pec·ta·tion ?ekspek?t?SH(?)n/ noun 1. a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. “reality had not lived up to expectations” synonyms: supposition, assumption, presumption, conjecture, surmise, calculation, prediction, hopeMore • a belief that someone will or should achieve something. “students had high expectations for their future” synonyms: supposition, assumption, presumption, conjecture, surmise, calculation, prediction,hope “her expectations were unrealistic” • archaic one’s prospects of inheritance.

I often get caught up then tangled and held back by EXPECTATION. Every day I carry around a bag in addition to my purse of what I EXPECT myself to do that day. I have unspoken EXPECTATION of other people. I am sure my children each have an EXPECTATION of me as a mom – sometimes I may meet these and other times fail them. I spent a few days in Connecticut as a guest of CCAR in a former monastery called Wisdom House. I did not plan; I did not preview and I did not set goals. I went because I was invited and because I knew I needed to be there. I left my “shoulds” behind. I do not know what will come of this symposium but it was a gift to be present among people who are inspired. People who are putting themselves out on a limb not knowing what will happen. People who believe in themselves, the future and the passion to make a difference. So, a list of 10

  • I expect that tomorrow I will put forth a good effort to improve a corner of my world.
  • I expect that tonight I will find a peaceful, restful sleep so that I may wake-up refreshed.
  • I expect that as I exhibit calm, my children will be more able to manage their challenges.
  • I expect that the coupon for a new hair salon will be put to good use – it is a hint I have been too long between cuts and am looking shaggy.
  • I expect to feel a sense of patriotism and importance of participating as I have the privilege of being an Election Judge this week
  •  I expect to be better informed this week when I participate in Red Cross training to be activated for emergency shelter service.
  • I expect that I will be thrilled when I have a moment to watch the stars, admire the changing leaves and feel a brisk Fall breeze.
  • I expect that everyday seems brighter with a smile on my face.
  • I expect to celebrate this month as my oldest turns 15, my dad turns 85 and my family gathers for Pie Day.
  • I expect that expressing gratitude, a word of thanks and appreciation will “pay it forward” to more acts of kindness.

A woman at the symposium shared a poem from Edwin Markham that I will share on another day. But, for now here is a quote from this poet who lived a century ago:

“There is a destiny that makes us brother.  

None goes his way alone.

All that we wend into the lives of others, comes back into our own.” ? Edwin Markham

Peace be with you,

Dr. Catherine


Company Policy. with love
Instructions. Help is recommended.
All done!










In many ways I am in a process of starting over. A new beginning.  For weddings the bride is to have “something borrowed, something blue and a penny in her shoe.” On the Recovery Road is there a tradition?  The need to start fresh along with a new school year has me focused on getting rid of stuff, removing clutter and keeping only what works.  This sent me to IKEA in College Park.

Is “IKEA” Swedish for “fresh start” in life?  Here are a few lessons I learned, or re-learned.

  1. You don’t need words to communicate. Pictures and good intentions can speak clearly.
  2. Forcing a round peg in a square hole doesn’t work. Find a square peg.
  3. Everything you need you already have. Just check. A look inside yourself often brings answers and solutions you may have overlooked.
  4. Two sets of hands are recommended. Especially when handling a large object or problem.  Sometimes we need help.  Sometimes just a companion.  People like to be useful so don’t insist on being a loner.  Just ask.
  5. If it isn’t working, working harder is not the answer. Take a step back.  Breath. Review the situation and check the directions. Try a new approach.  Call the help line.
  6. Einstein was right in defining insanity. Doing the same thing over gets the same results. Get out of your own way. Doing it “my way” is often the source of my stress.
  7. Making do with something or someone “just for now” is not self-care. Wait for the right thing or right person.  A poor fit will always fit poorly.
  8. Remember who you are doing this for. Giving someone something they don’t want (a gift or advice) won’t bring appreciation.
  9. You can’t put it back in the box. There are no do-overs with IKEA.  No magic will un-do it if it is the wrong.  Keep the receipt and make sure it is right before committing. (see #5, 6 & 7)
  10. Don’t blame. Keep the focus on me. What was my motivation? How was the mistake about me? #1 is to have a strong plan (preparation) before jumping in (action) and make sure it will actually solve the problem (contemplation) going forward (maintenance).

Yes, Stages of Change and MI even apply to shopping at IKEA.  For me, spending more time in Contemplation will give me better prospects for reaching Maintenance.


Dr. Catherine