Thursday, March 26, 2015
Multivariate Statistics has taken a toll on writing in my blog. Back in high school I did well in math but I have never been a lover of numbers and especially statistics. The course almost made me want to give up on my Ph.D. in Psychology with Capella University. Thanks to a fantastic professor that made statistics interesting with his Dr. Trunk's wisdom, knowledgeable tutoring help with Susan the rock and roll tutor, and IBM SPSS software that made the output of tables and graphs sensible I was able to pass the class. Then knowing I just have two more research classes before dissertation, helps in keeping a mindset to finish the goal of the Ph.D. So I am now back to my blog.
Before the last week of class, the college I teach at had their Spring Break so my wife, daughter and I went back to Immanuel Prayer House in Belton, Texas. A couple of days of rest and quiet were mindful reminders of the need to pull aside and enjoy communion with God and nature. One of the mornings, we took a hike over at nearby Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. The morning air was still chilly as one of the hopefully last cold fronts from the North was wearing off in Texas.
The hike gave us a much needed workout along the trail. Being a workday there were only a few other people on the trail. One young lady from the area out for walk helped point us in the right direction as we had become lost due to the trails not being clearly marked. The paths are clear but there was very little signage to let new people know the direction back to the parking.
As we started on the trail we were moving along fast then I spotted a flower growing out of the trunk of a tree. That is when we slowed down and began to notice all the new growth beginning with the coming of Spring. The young lady who helped us with directions had told us that the park is much nicer after Spring has fully come and the trees are filled out with leaves. So we decided we will need to take another trip there in April or May to see the park again.
As we came home we notice Spring was beginning new growth on our fruit trees with blossoms on our peach and plum trees in our backyard. This viewing of the start of Springtime reminded me of what we can learn from the Seasons in our self-growth. Just as Spring is when there is new growth to be seen in trees and flowers we can see the importance of new growth in our own lives. In Living More Than OK we need to appreciate continual growth so that our lives are not stagnant and dying. I saw a video recently from a psychologist mentioning a way to keep a healthy brain. Her idea was to take 15 minutes a day to learn something new. Take just a short time each day to read up on some new information to keep the mind growing. I prefer reading but you could also listen to an educational video on the internet as another way to learn new information.
As you enjoy the newness of Spring around you this time of year think of ways you can bring New Growth into your lives.
Reflection: Take some time to plant some flowers or vegetables in your yard. Their growth can be a reminder to grow yourself. Enjoy a weekend stroll at a local park or nearby State park to enjoy nature in Spring. What new ways do you want to grow this Spring?
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
At the beginning of February my family went with me to the 2015 South Padre Islands Counselors Institute. It was organized by the Tip of Texas Counseling Association of Brownsville, Texas. When we lived in Brownsville I regularly attended most of the years. It was a privilege to be able to present again there as well as to learn from other presenters.
On the last day I left the conference early as my wife and daughter wanted to visit a couple of nature activities on the Island before traveling back to New Braunfels, Texas. The first place we visited was Sea Turtle Inc. The purpose of this group is stated on their website as “to aid in the protection and recovery of the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle.” The workers and volunteers are very knowledgeable about sea turtles. They had a number of turtles in tanks that they had rescued and that were being medically cared for until releasing them back into the waters. They had educational information for all ages. Turtles as you watch them come across as very Zen like. As they float through the water they have a peaceful look about them as if they are meditating about life. On their website they mention they offer internships to biology majors so they can learn and study about sea turtles. In talking with the workers there it was easy to see their passion for turtles. Sea Turtle Inc. would make a nice family learning activity or a learning experience for all ages.
We then moved next to the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center that was nearby. The SPI Birding Center is also educational, as well as a peaceful way to enjoy the natural beauty of South Padre Island. From their website here are some aspects of their facility: Over 3300 linear feet of boardwalk, 5 Bird Blinds, A five story tower with spectacular views of Laguna Madre, Beaches & dunes of South Padre Island, the Gulf of Mexico, & the South Padre Island Skyline , Auditorium showing a short Richard Moore documentary movie about the wildlife of South Padre Island , Nature Gift Shop.
We took our time strolling the boardwalk to view the various birds and even a few alligators. There were a number of photographers who by the look of their equipment were very passionate about their hobby of photography as well as their interest in birding. This visit we were up against the clock as we needed to make a long drive home. They enjoyment of the birds, the sun reflecting off the water, and the views from the tower made us realize the next visit to the Rio Grande Valley would include another stop here.
South Padre is a beautiful relaxing get away spot. Nature centers are one way to enjoy the magnificence of creation. If you are ever visiting SPI make sure you take in the Sea Turtle Inc. and the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center. Look into Nature Centers and parks in your state and local vicinity for enjoyable relaxing days with family and or friends. Nature Centers can be a break from the same old going to see a movie or simply staying stuck at home and playing with electronic gadgets. Taking time to visit those two spots brought added value to our visit to South Padre Island.
Reflection: Do a search on Nature Centers and Parks in your local vicinity. Plan a day picnic trip to a park of your choosing.