Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Student Gratitude

Student Responses to the Question: 
What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for my dad who has been there for me when times get tough. When he plays around with me and we go out to get ice cream shell and laugh about silly jokes. I’m grateful for my mom because she has not given up on me and has faith that our future is bright. For all the times that she has given me a second chance. I’m grateful that I have a full, complete family that love me unconditionally. For my sister who can joke and play around with me and then also be the big sis that everybody wants. For all the times I have needed help and she drops what she is doing and comes. Christmas is the best holiday of the year for me: the laughs, family dinners, snow ball fights, warm fire, hot chocolate and cookies with milk and love. I’m grateful for my strong faith that my dad has helped me stay focused on. And lastly for bubble baths, Netflix, music, chick-fil-a, sweet tea, the south, beaches, and most importantly my best friends.  

I’m grateful for sunrises and sunsets. I’m grateful for family and friends supporting me through the roughest times. I’m grateful for photography to capture each precious memory in the moment. I’m grateful for big warm sweaters while sitting by a fire holding a hot cup of tea, and someone to share it all with. 

I am grateful for the nooks and crannies of our world, waiting to be explored. I am grateful for the expanse of our universe, waiting to be understood. I am grateful for all the unknowns of our world and the opportunity to explore them. Also, dogs. 

 I am grateful for the java bean, those rare sunny days in Portland, scrambling up rock walls, the whale sound a frozen lake makes, and great novels.

I am grateful for the way music and stories take me places far away or close to home and myself. 

My dad. 

I am forever grateful for God’s love, healing, my family, and my Chrysalis sisters and family. 

I am grateful for my brother, dad, and mom. For my dogs. I am grateful for having food every day. I am grateful for life. 

I am grateful for pixels. I am grateful for screens and soundtracks and buttons and characters. I am grateful for the friends I have. Also chocolate.

For warm sweaters and hot chocolate by the fire. For mechanical pencils and down jackets. For glistening fresh snow and steaming coffee. For family and friends. For fresh starts and old memories. For the smell of new books and the smell of old books, too. For lullabies and crickets. And for times when it’s ok to cry. 

I am grateful for my family who loves and supports me endlessly. I am grateful for the ability to walk, talk, and breath. I am grateful for good food. I am grateful for laughter that makes your stomach cramp and for smiles that ache. I am grateful for dogs, fires, and life. 

I am grateful for my family, for all the amazing things they have done for me, for the opportunities they have been able to give to me, all the wonderful memories we have had together. I am grateful for amazing friends who have always been there for me. For my teachers who have gone out of their way to get me the extra help I have needed in school. I’m grateful for Bob, Paula, and their cooking of course! I am also grateful for the mistakes I have made that have helped me become who I am today. I am grateful for True North Wilderness Program in Vermont, and Mod for helping me throughout my time at True North. 

I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my dogs, my friends, snowboarding, and music. I’m also grateful for warm fires, brownies, and blankets. 

I am thankful for the incredible support system I have at home and here. I am grateful for all the people who have been a part of my journey or impacted my life one way or another over the past year. My life has changed dramatically and I am a whole new me, and I am so grateful for that. 

I’m grateful for nail polish, staff that care, passing junior year, and whiteboards.  And I’m so grateful for my mom, dad, and little brother.  

I’m grateful for my super annoying, severe ADHD because it’s what makes me me, and I’m happy with who I am. I’m also grateful for the ability to make people smile. 

I am grateful for my sister and brother. I am thankful for warm weather. I am thankful for the beach. I am grateful for Florida. I am thankful for home. I am thankful for my dad. I am thankful for the ability to exercise. I am thankful for hot drinks. I am grateful for spas. 

I am grateful for my younger brother, for my wonderful parents, for good vanilla lattes, Disneyland, and for spending holidays by the fire with the most important people in my life. I’m also very grateful for Franny! 

For all the unseen and unheard things that come to me willingly. For all the strengths I have. 

I am so grateful for being alive today – I wouldn’t be without this place. I’m also grateful for green bean casserole. 

I am grateful for my family, my friends, my teachers, my coaches, and my role models. These people that I have listed have taught me so much. I’m also grateful for the knowledge that I posses. I am grateful for star lit skies with no light pollution where you can see the milky way. I am grateful for drinking warm hot chocolate with marshmallows on a winter night. I am grateful for genuine smiles and laughs. I am grateful for hugs when you are having a bad day. I am grateful for songs that give you chills. I am grateful for love and support. I am grateful for meaningful quotes. I am grateful for my life, even with its downs. Those downs are what got me to where I am right now. 

I am grateful for my family, my friends, and all the other people who have been in my life and taught me without knowing it. I am grateful for crepes, Nutella, eggnog, and my mom’s stuffing. I am grateful for snowboarding, longboarding, snow, and Bear Lake. I am grateful for the craziness in my house and the people who have come and gone here. I am grateful for kindness, and change. I am grateful for Chrysalis and how it has changed me and my family J 

I am grateful for life, the universe, everything – people who come in and out of our lives. I am grateful for the ability to write this, the good food we eat, the clean water we drink, and the sweet Montana air we breathe.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chrysalis Staff Gratitude

Some thoughts of gratitude from our wonderful staff:

I'm grateful to have the privilege and opportunity to work with amazing girls and their families in reconnecting.  It is truly an honor to be part of each girl's journey.  I also feel incredibly blessed to work with such dedicated, kind, and caring people.   
~Natasha, Therapist

First and foremost I am am grateful for my faith and the joy that fills my life because of it.  I am grateful for my parents for guiding my faith, for the love they have showered over me and for the strength the have placed in my heart.  As I aged, met the man of my dreams and started a family, I could not feel more blessed.  The deep love and simple joy that radiates through our home brings a smile to my face with each passing day.  I do my best to share my joy, especially with the girls I work with.  I am grateful for my parents teaching me to be compassionate, for that too is passed on to the beautiful girls I am trying to help. I just wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't mention how grateful I am for the mountains and for ski season being just around the corner.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Julie, Adventure Supervisor

I am grateful for snowfall, for fashionable AND functional scarves, and hot baths. I am grateful for Cake Batter flavored ChapStick and dark chocolate with sea salt in it. I am grateful for living in a place that is so remote I can look up at the sky on a clear night and see innumerable stars right from my front porch. I am grateful for having food in my pantry that doubles as a gathering place for friends and family. I am grateful that my grandparents, Gert and Ernie, will likely be around for one more holiday season. I am grateful for the Chrysalis environment, both my fellow staff and students, which comprise much more than a workplace. It is an extended family I can learn from, lean on, and laugh with; who make sure everyone has a place not just for the holidays, but every day; who share the primo huckleberry patches and fishing holes; who laugh and smile (and tease relentlessly) like family; who care just as much for our girls as I do; who are only here because their families entrust us with their daughters -- without them, Chrysalis couldn't be such a loving place.
~Krysten, English Teacher

I am thankful for family and friends, both near and far. I am frequently reminded that people are what matter most, and I feel grateful for the wonderful people in my life. I am particularly thankful for my husband who has had so much patience, grace, and has offered support as I frequently travel for work. I am thankful for our home and land in which we have created a small backyard farm. I am grateful for the simplicity of fresh eggs and veggies, and the many meals shared this year. I love living in northwest Montana and I feel blessed to call it home. While I enjoy traveling for work and collaborating with many fantastic professionals, the more I travel the more I enjoy living in Montana. I am thankful for a job I believe in, and many co-workers who are my dear friends. 
~Carrie, Admissions Director

I am grateful for being able to join a team of people who are willing to work in collaboration for the greater good of young women and their families. I am grateful for the beauty of NW Montana that speaks to my heart and soul everyday without words. 
~ Becca, Therapist

Gratitude is essential for the soul. Without it, I wither and shrink from the joys of life. I'm immensely grateful for the blessing of harvesting a deer for my freezer. I'm thankful for my children, their spouses, and for my grandson's bright eyed smiles. My 14 year old daughter's journey from little girl to young lady delights my heart. I'm grateful for being witness to maturing young women and their process of moving forward in a positive manner. I'm thankful for a husband that is always there to encourage and fill up the empty spaces of my being. I'm thankful for a God filled with love and grace for me.
~Darla, Academic Director

This Thanksgiving season has provided us with very crisp temperatures accompanied by azure blue skies and sparkling, dramatic snow covered peaks.  How fortunate I feel to be nestled in our beautiful valley, inspired by our glorious scenery.  After thirty five short years, Montana and her grandeur still takes my breathe away.  I feel blessed to be able to work with an amazing team of professionals who are dedicated to our students and their families.  I celebrate the courage that it takes to fully engage in the healing process, and I am surrounded by girls who are finding their voice, mending their hearts, exercising their talents, honoring their values, embracing their families and building sturdy character.  I delight in the addition of our new border/bearded collie Charlie, his antics, the smiles he prompts, and the silliness he adds to our lives.  I treasure my family, and my husband and our co-founder.  I value our supportive, brilliant partners at InnerChange.  Life is good! 
~Mary, Clinical Director and Co-Founder


Gratitude is never more difficult to find and express than when it comes on the heels of a difficult period in one's life. That is, however, undoubtedly when the expression of gratitude is the single most important response we can have, and the most important thing we can practice, day in and day out. That's when counting one's blessings and giving thanks for all that is good about our lives is most healing. It separates us from our burdens and allows us to look forward to the promise of a new day. And that glimpse of something brighter in the distance can make all the difference. 

This has been a tough year for many of us, professionally, personally, socially, financially, and perhaps in other dimensions as well. It's been difficult at times to arrive at laughter and lightness of being. And yet, when challenged to search our souls for encouragement, or reasons to be hopeful, we inevitably find them if we but try. I've often heard this described as a treasure chest sitting right in front of us, full of all manner of delights, just waiting for us to use the key in our hand to unlock the chest, open the lid, and discover the bounty of blessings within. This veritable "horn of plenty" may have been sitting there for years, waiting patiently for us to claim it.. At times this process requires some perseverance, some faith, and some action on our part. Fortunately, these are all characteristics that are available to us. We can possess them and utilize them when the going gets tough. And, thankfully, It turns out there are guides and mentors all around us, ready and willing to take our hand and lead the way when it feels necessary. Then, when we do our part, fulfilling our role in this equation, we begin to remember all that is good about the world around us, and all that is beautiful about our life within that world. 

In that spirit, I am grateful this year for countless blessings that are known to me, but can go unnamed in this more public expression. I'm also grateful for those blessings that I haven't stumbled across yet, but which are inevitably in my path. I'm grateful for those spiritual qualities of which I wrote that sometimes define us, such as perseverance, faith, and the capacity for positive action. I'm grateful for the guides and mentors in my life, both past and present, who have steered me carefully and collectively toward this lovely moment in time. I'm grateful that I can occasionally be a blessing to someone else along the way. I'm grateful for this beautiful place that we get to call home, and for the beauty of the people with whom we live and work. I'm especially grateful for hope, which we should never take for granted. And mostly, I'm grateful for God's good grace, always much needed, and for HIs willingness to weave all of this together for us, perfectly, 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you at Chrysalis.

~Kenny, Executive Director and Co-Founder

Monday, November 10, 2014

Students Talk with Author Daniel Quinn

Last week, some of our students had the wonderful opportunity to have a phone call with Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael, My Ishmael, The Story of B, Providence, and various other novels. Our sophomores have just finished reading Ishmael and are working on their final papers for the unit, and all of our students have just begun writing novels for our participation in National Novel Writing Month (we'll have updates on that later this month!). The opportunity to speak with Mr. Quinn was phenomenal; Ishmael has been in print continuously since its publication in 1991 and has been translated into over 20 languages. It's been used in courses ranging from History to Anthropology to Philosophy to English (and everything in between) and he's been invited to speak at various universities across the country. 

Our girls asked him questions on everything they could think of regarding Ishmael and what it takes to be a writer, and we learned that he doesn't believe in writers block. If you have something to say, the words will come. Of course, they may need to be heavily revised and edited, but when a writer has something to say, writing is the natural outlet. We also learned that if he could redo Ishmael, he would clarify the gender of the narrator as it's been a point of uncertainty for some readers. Many of his novels took twelve years to be ready for publication, and he's working on another right now. 

I'm most proud to say that he was very impressed with our students. During the process of setting up the interview, he mentioned that Ishmael was not intended for readers as young as our students. When our interview concluded, he stated that this was one of his most difficult interviews ever as our students asked very challenging questions and made him think. I walked out of the room on clouds, and am so very excited to share how well our girls performed with this prestigious writer!