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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No More Dirty Diapers for Mom


By Pamela J. Schultz    
           

I silently groan as I stare at the laundry pile that has now escaped the boundaries of the baskets and is spilling over onto the laundry room floor.  “It’s actually able to creep under the door all by itself,” I mutter.  Yes, this is what my life has become.  Now, I actually talk to laundry!  I marvel at the abrupt changes my life has undergone since becoming a full time “stay at home mom” six years ago.



For one thing, I wouldn't have been caught dead in the sweat shirt and torn jeans I was wearing today.  Although I’d only been dressed about two hours, my sweatshirt already had juice stains, toast crumbs, and a nice blob of dried oatmeal on it from my 15 month old's breakfast, and, as for the jeans, well, they were comfortable. As recently as baby number two, I would have changed the stained sweat shirt, but, hey, after three kids I know it’s a wasted effort—the clean shirt will be dirty within the next hour, and besides, the sweat shirt thrown into the dirty basket would tip the delicate balance on the mountain of clothes already there, and they really would begin to move into my kitchen.  I give myself a little pep talk by remembering that I still put on makeup AND exercise.  Oh, and I wear earrings every day.  For some reason, this small bit of “accessorizing” makes me feel in tune with my former, super organized self.      

I have to admit that sometimes I wistfully think about all the designer suits and dresses that used to hang in my closet.  I used to be a working professional.  As a broker for one of the largest brokerage and mutual fund companies in the nation, I was knowledgeable about stocks, bonds, options, and mutual funds.  My conversation used to be littered with phrases such as, “The P.E. ratio on that particular stock is…”, “We’ll set your net credit and debit on your option spread order at…”  I now spend my day saying such things as, (to my son who just turned five while he’s in the bathroom) “Please aim it in the water!”, and to my 15 month old daughter, “Hello, pretty princess, mommy loves you so much.  Tell mommy what the dogie says,” as I proceed to loudly make every animal sound imaginable for her.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Healing at Zion National Park

By Stephen C. Schultz


Angie came running into the cafeteria at Discovery Ranch for Girls with a big smile on her face. “I just rode for the first time!” she exclaimed. The reddened and raw scars on her arms, the result of compulsive rubbing from a pencil eraser, were finally starting to heal.

I said, “That’s great! It must feel good to finally ride after so much work with the horse on the ground!”

She tipped her head to the side and with a twinkle in her eye responded, “Yeah…it does.”


I then changed the subject and asked, “You plan on going hiking tomorrow? I heard Jared has planned a fun trip hiking in Zion National Park.”

“Yeah, I plan to go. Most of the girls are going. Are you going with us?” she asked.

“I am.” I responded

I then mentioned, “People come from around the world to visit Zion National Park. It should be a fun time!”


The next day rolled around and all the girls were hanging out by the vans to load up and head off for the hike. I was impressed with the organization, safety and logistics it took to get 25 teenage girls organized for a day long trip. We were headed off  to the red rock mountains of Southern Utah.



I was amazed at the healing power of Mother Nature. There were no problems, teenage girl drama or bad attitudes. It was a thoroughly enjoyable time.

For those readers who have never been to Zion National Park, I have some pictures posted here I hope you enjoy. If you ever have a chance to visit, I highly recommend you make the trip. I have posted the itinerary on the next page to help with any online research you want to do.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Conversation about Teen Sexuality

By Stephen C. Schultz


(Editors note: This is a very sensitive subject and may be uncomfortable to read. Viewer discretion is advised. The application and information in this post is essentially focused on schools and therapeutic programs that have a residential component.)


The chairs were all in a half circle. There must have been over fifty, all filled with students. Banners from various colleges and universities hung from the rafters. The dull roar of multiple conversations all going on at the same time was cutting through the air and echoing off the walls. I stood in front of the crowd and waited. The conversations and dull roar slowly faded like a train disappearing into the distance.

All eyes were now on me. I asked one question;

“Who can tell me what grooming is?”



I have spent my career working with families and teens through some very difficult times. I am a partner in a specialty care facility called Oxbow Academy. Oxbow specializes in treating teenage boys from across the globe who are burdened with the socially sensitive concerns of sexual trauma, sexual abuse and sexual addiction.

Please allow me to share an experience with you that opened my eyes to a dynamic that is occurring in residential treatment settings as well as traditional boarding schools across this country and around the world. Technology plays such an integrated and important role in our lives every day, it’s difficult to realize there is a downside to technology use.

Children in today’s world are being exposed to “sexuality” in varying forms at an earlier and earlier age. Many of the boys enrolled at Oxbow Academy report being exposed to pornography as early as four years old. Some are able to manage this exposure in an age appropriate way. Others find themselves caught in a net of increasingly unhealthy compulsive behavior.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

“Out of the Mouth of Babes…”

By Stephen C. Schultz

In my line of work, I am made aware everyday of the struggles that teens endure and the pain families suffer. Often it seems we are fighting a losing battle.


There is no doubt, everyone has their own personal struggles and burdens to bare, my family included. However, some people seem to manage the struggles with grace, decorum and a sense of perspective that is inspiring to others.
Four out of the five posts below are written by my daughter. Over the last few years, from time to time, she has written a piece and then asks me if she can post it on my blog. I am happy and proud to do so! Please enjoy some of her written work.

My House Has Stars

Perfectly Wicked - A Fractured Fairy Tale

I can make a difference by helping others!

My Experience with Autism

Why should "Bullies" get all of the attention?





Friday, August 15, 2014

Hope, Passion & Perseverance - Healthy Communities

By Stephen C. Schultz

I went home today for lunch. There wasn't anything there that a discerning palate would embrace, so I threw the chicken and rice cheddar medley in the microwave and patiently waited for a minute-thirty to pass.

I sat down to eat.  My energetic...always on the move…love’s the water...thirteen year old daughter proudly walked in the kitchen and pulled some fresh baked cinnamon rolls out of the oven. She turned, smiled at me and said,

“I just made some cinnamon rolls! You want one?”

I responded with, “Sure, I would love one,  hon!”


She then started telling me that she was “sooooooo excited” for school to start. She must have mentioned three times that it starts in 3 days. She went down the hallway and retrieved a little folding shelf and brought it out to the kitchen counter. She said,

“I had this last year. But, since we have a new school, I don’t know if it will fit in my locker. You see, even though my locker is deeper this year, I don’t think it is as wide. Do you think it will fit? Isn't this cool, you can put books on top and stuff below. You know, school starts in 3 days.”

Then my mind wandered to the many scenarios around the world that are in stark contrast to my daughter’s excitement. She isn't even aware of most of them, and I see no reason to throw a wet blanket on her excitement.

There is the tragic conflict happening in the Middle East as well as in Russia and the Ukraine. There are injustices taking place in Iran and China with serious political concerns and consequences for each. There is fighting going on in California over water; there is lawlessness and murder taking place in Chicago and riots in the streets of Ferguson, Mo.

I was reminded of the Mission Statement at Discovery Ranch for Girls:

“We believe in the potential of young women and the ability to restore choice in our lives. Through nurturing relationships and challenging experiences, young women and their families discover hope, passion and perseverance in the face of adversity.”

DRG is a residential clinical & school environment that works with girls who struggle with emotional concerns. This mission statement and the principles associated with it provide a healing environment for these teens. I wonder what the effect would be if this Mission Statement was adopted into families, communities and nations.

Where is hope fostered? Where is passion developed?  How is perseverance mastered? What if the members of families, communities and nations had hope for the future…passion in their activities of daily living and perseverance to continue to strive for excellence? Would it make a difference?


Just a thought…

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Discovery Academy Fosters Healthy Recovery

By Stephen C. Schultz


The clouds were white and fluffy, billowing up higher and higher. I could feel humidity in the air and there was the faint sound of thunder rumbling in the distance.

I was walking with Dr. Triston Morgan. He is the Director of Admissions at Discovery Academy. The conversation was about the students at DA who desire to live a life of sobriety. There was the usual talk of use and abuse and individualized treatment plans. But, the one thing that stood out to me was the garden.



The garden is a great metaphor for life. The students have to work together to prepare the soil. It takes persistence and determination to stay on task and work with the end in mind. They then sow the seeds taking care they are planted at the right depth with appropriate spacing between plants. The plants need nourishment and water on a regular basis. There must be patience, because plants don’t grow overnight.

All of these same principles apply when working through the issues of recovery.

Discovery Academy offers robust substance abuse support to students who have struggled with using in the past. Students at Discovery Academy who desire a life of sobriety have many opportunities for integrated continued care.




Students can participate in the following groups:

AA - Students at Discovery Academy have the opportunity to attend local AA meetings.  Students become part of a local group and gain experience in a 12 step process.

Relapse Prevention - Students create and work through a comprehensive relapse prevention plan. This plan includes about 80 assignments designed specifically to assist the student and their parents to fully understand the extent of the student’s substance abuse problem. These assignments also address the underlying emotional aspects of addiction and assist the student and family in fostering coping strategies to live a substance free life after treatment. 

Addiction Recovery - This group is for students who still need some help in understanding their own addiction. They may be in the “Contemplation Stage” of change. These students spend time learning about the cycle of addiction and are provided a gentle opportunity to face some of the painful aspects of their young lives that have been associated with substance use and abuse.

If you enjoyed this particular aspect of Discovery Academy, you may also appreciate the way staff assist the students in developing healthy, appropriate relationships with peers and family. You can learn more here and here.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The tangled birds nest...a fisherman's tale

By Stephen C. Schultz


The clouds were wispy and white…threadlike with the texture of a painter’s stroke. There was an almost imperceptible dull roar in the background of birds chirping and rustling leaves. When walking through the underbrush of the Western Oregon temperate rain forest, you become dependent upon your sense of hearing and pay close attention to every sound.

The gold spotted Thomas Lure at the end of my pole six feet in front of me was bouncing up and down, spinning around and generally getting as tangled as physically possible. The barbed hooks on the lure managed to pierce every fern along the ground and grab every swooping cedar limb above my head. For a nine year old, taking ten minutes to go ten steps seemed like an eternity. Having to focus on each step directly in front of me as well as the end of the pole six feet out was a skill only those champions of “Wack-A-Mole” could appreciate…and I was not a champion!


The goal of this adventure was a river about thirty yards down the hill. This was a ritual that my father and I participated in on a regular basis. Fishing is something you simply did when you live in Oregon. Well, it is something that our family simply did.

I stood at the edge of the river. The current swirled and curled and rolled back on itself causing miniature waves to rhythmically lap at the round, slimy river rocks along the bank. I cast the lure upstream a bit and reeled it in. Nothing. I cast it again and while reeling it in felt a bump against the lure. Nothing, it probably just touched the bottom.