Broadway · Gratitude · Inclusion · The Human Connection · Wise Words

What Comes Next?

Hi reader!
Isn’t that the million dollar question? What comes next for schools? For our health? For what we consider “normal?”
I surely don’t have those answers myself, as much as I wish I did. It’s been an interesting year for sure. A year in which I think I’ve seen some of the best performances of my life. A year in which I learned how to do speech therapy virtually, became closer with my colleagues and students. A year that has certainly been all over the place in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Here is what I do know: it has been a pleasure and labor of love writing this blog. As bittersweet as it is, this will be my last post.

I have had so many unforgettable experiences with this blog. I’ve met with and spoken to my heroes, connected families to resources, connected my students to the arts, and fulfilled my every theatre-lover’s wish. I have made lifelong friends and connection I know I will keep forever, discovered new work, and become inspired by the works of other professionals. This has truly been a magical experience.

With that said, you may be wondering why I’m choosing to stop now. At the moment, my students and my job require my full attention. Aside from that, this passion project of mine has started to feel more like work and less like a connection to the arts or between communities of people, and that was not my intention. The little blog that could accomplished a lot during its three year season. Maybe I’ll be able to bring it back sometime in the future, but I’m not looking that far ahead yet. I’m focusing on what’s next for me, my students, and my family and friends. I will continue to support the arts, the artists who have been generous with their time and words with this blog, and continue to teach speech therapy and connectivity through the arts and theatre

For the artists and makers and dreamers who have let me interview them and helped support Speech To Stage, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For my readers, I wish you happiness and connection always. Should you ever need anything from me or from one another, feel free to reach out by email at slplayswithwords@gmail.com. I miss you all already.

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP

Gratitude · Inclusion · The Human Connection

Home, Love, Family: A Gratitude Post

Hi there readers!

This has been quite the year that none of us expected. Virtual school, virtual speech, parents teaching kids, kids having to be more flexible than ever before in their schooling…the list goes on. Personally, I have found it easier and easier to complain about my situation, neglecting to take stock of what I have, what brings me joy and sanity, and what makes me happy. I keep a gratitude journal, but I’d like to share what I’m grateful for in this post.

  • Coffee.

    I can’t function without coffee. It makes me happy every morning, and is my favorite morning ritual. It has recently been improved by my new milk frother. 

  • Books.

    Since we’ve all been spending more time at home, I have never been more grateful for books. I’ve read books on personal development and anti-racism, works of fiction to escape some chaos, and memoirs to learn the perspectives and lessons of others.

  • The ability to work from home.

    While virtual school has been quite the challenge, I am grateful for having been able to work from home and keep myself safe while doing my best to provide services to my students online.

  • My amazing team at work.

    With all the craziness and chaos surrounding when/how to return to in-person instruction, changes made to virtual instruction every other day, learning new rules, new platforms, and keeping all of it organized, I can say I haven’t felt this overwhelmed since graduate school. My amazing special ed colleagues and fellow speech pathologists have kept me sane, laughing, and entertained. I truly don’t know that I could get through this without them. 

  • My students.

    My students have become so resilient during all this. They keep me on my toes for sure, but also have amazingly creative ideas for how to keep speech and school interesting. They’re technology experts and are doing their best this year without birthday parties, holidays with family, social events with friends, and virtual learning. They are rockstars.

  • My sanity team.

    My friends have come to the rescue on many subjects this year. From new recipes to try, new books to read, shows to watch, to ways to stay in touch. They’ve kept me laughing, smiling, curious, and connected. I can’t ask for more than that.

  • Everyone I’ve had the great fortune to interview.

    My last interview was with Derek McLane, and I learned so much from him about set design. I had never talked about set design with anyone before for this blog. I’ve gotten to talk with heroes of mine, performers from my hometown who’ve been on many different stages, and many more I never thought would agree to speak with me. Writing this blog has been a truly transformative experience.

  • Coloring Broadway.

    I’ve learned about coloring, that I like it, and that it makes for a great way to pass time, ease anxiety, and get creative. Andrea Koehler has forever changed my life for the better. She has just come out with new Christmas, holiday, and Broadway themed designs. Make sure to check them out. Also check out Broadway Makers Alliance for all your Broadway gifting needs. 

  • Technology.

    As much of a headache technology can be, I’m grateful to have it. Without it, connection with others would be less frequent, and I certainly would be without a job.

  • Streaming services.

    Sometimes, you need to escape into your favorite movies and shows. And I am happy to pay for streaming services allowing all those involved in movies and TV to continue to work

  • Virtual events.

    By the same token, virtual events with my favorite stage creators have been a true gift. I’ve gotten to take dance classes, watch performances, and feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I’m happy to donate to the causes these events support. They’ve given me a Seder, a Halloween celebration, and more.

  • My favorite scents.

    Creature comforts have been very much appreciated in my home. Candles and soaps in calming scents, specifically. There has been a lot of rose and lavender products in the past 8 months, and they bring me joy.

  • Exercise.

    I am not usually one who is fond of exercise, but I have found that the best way to get my anxiety out is through movement. Dance, walking, barre, YouTube videos, stretching–all of it relieves at least a little tension. Even the movement required in cooking is soothing to me. Adrenaline needs to go somewhere, right?

  • Cozy clothes.

    While I do get dressed professionally to teach, I’ve found there’s nothing better on a tough day or night than comfy clothes. These can be my favorite sweatshirts I’ve had since college or newer ones. 

  • Weighted blankets.

    These have been a life-saver for me and my evening anxiety. Highly recommend doing your research and finding the one that’s right for you.

I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for this season, and I hope you’ll share in comments. Naturally, I’m very grateful to you, reader. Thank you for giving me an audience for whom to write. 

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP