A Beautiful Hot Mess

Goodbye 2017

It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you if you allow it.

Therefore the only person who can rob anyone of joy is not from the external but rather a decision within ourselves to change our mindset.

Put down the rest, open the Bible.

Even but if a few minutes in the day.

It is the best, most reliable builder of joy.

And often times the hard answers are what bring the horizons. Because it takes faith to choose them but it’s the very place when Jesus is there.

Without a doubt. Happy New Year!

Loved By Grace,



Red Hair Don’t Care

A few weeks ago I colored the hair red. Well, I should say my friend colored my hair red because I asked her to change it. Mainly because I was just super excited for Katy Perry in concert so I thought why not? But I’m also in the business of rejecting societal norms these days. The shock value is just an added bonus!

BUT…the funniest part has been my ten year olds reaction to his mother’s antics. He HATES the hair and I do mean HATES it. To the tune of many lectures about my decision making. So much so that I put hair extensions in the next evening because he wanted to refuse family night out together which could have been because he has seen one too many sugar plums dancing or the red hair…I’m not really sure. But it was epic taunting material at my finger tips.

Lucky for him it was only temporary color. He does not like change. Who does right? But I suppose that is why I colored it. Life has taught me that we become better people when we don’t resist change. Because just maybe, what we think is the only way isn’t really the only way. But learning that the hard way is not failure, it is just a step. Most importantly, it’s the time to time to ask God to forgive us for the limited perspective until life taught us otherwise.

My mothers on the other hand love the hair! How about that for this beautiful hot mess of a flip flopped sandwich generation? YES!

But for real, what I do with my hair is nobody’s business but my own. Much like like blogging is for many, the freedom of self-expression. What we choose to see of it is our choice. Which is exactly what I used to teach my son. From the red hair don’t care mom squad. 🙂

Ps – We like funny videos…and peoples…I would have done purple but it is Christmas so red was in order. Plus I’ve had some good laughs tormenting my son. HA! It has now faded though which I’m sad about this week. DARN! I should have done permanent. However, there is always 2018!

Merry Christmas! Hooray it’s Christmas vacation! 🎄❤️🙏🏻

Loved By Grace,


Simply Not True

My heart completely broke this morning for one of my students. What do you say to a child wounded by the mean words of another? It is not an easy task. It makes me want to help the world see we must do a better job. His little tears depend on it and the only way I know how to do that is to write about it.

I thought yesterday was a mess which is a story for another blog post but then here came Thursday. Let's just call him T for the purposes of this blog. There he was looking up at me with tears welling up in his eyes as I asked him what was wrong. As he is crying he says J told him Mexicans are bad and people from Mexico don't belong in Michigan. More tears with a pause. Then T says "my Momma and Grandma are from Mexico" and then just huge tears looking up at me. I'm Mexican too.

OH-EM-GEE! Even a young child can understand the fact that there is nothing he can change about who he is or his family. Yet have another person leave him feeling completely unwanted, wrong, shamed, bad. How do you explain to a child what they are feeling is oppression?

T gets it. He's not wanted, shouldn't exist…SIMPLY NOT TRUE. 💔

My heart broke for both these kids today. One because I love J and I know he does not have an easy life. I've written about J in the past. He has suffered in his young life far too much but he has nevertheless learned privilege from this world and his heart is hardening. He decided to use it to deliver incredible harm to T.

J isn't the only child saying harmful words. I've heard a black student called a brownie…I've heard another student told they show everyone what it looks like to be gay. And I've seen and wiped tears from these children's eyes every time.

I missed seeing J today but he was sent home. Educators have to teach them these actions are wrong. But seriously, the odds feel incredibly high when our country has leaders who take pride in this kind of hate. It's sickening because a teacher can see it come straight back out of the mouths of children.

We aren't born of hate. We learn it or we experience it and it just becomes a horrible cycle.

I'm sitting here tonight teary eyed with prayers for T. Praying he never has to hear something so wounding about his identity ever again.

All I could do was hug him and insist what was said to him is simply not true.

Loved By Grace,

Paid in Full

I read a blog entry today about a man not believing in Christ and how the individual sought to share that belief by means of instilling fear and chaos.  It sounded like the person was unhappy and wanted to make sure everyone else was too. You know what they say, misery loves company.

It’s sad really because we can all suffer from our human perspective and the thing is our thoughts will dictate our reality. Thoughts of Christ delivers peace and hope and love. But if we choose to reject it, life will deliver a perspective without His spirit.

That is to say if we look for evidence of no Christ, we will damn near find it people.

But what happens when we fix our thoughts on Jesus with enough stubborn persistence in the midst of fear and chaos? I will tell you what happens to me. I start to see evidence of Christ’s spirit at every turn.

Which leads me to something that happened yesterday. I’ve been a part of a women’s group (mothers of preschoolers) for two years. The circumstances around my joining this group at church was a rocky road, mostly because of poor decisions on my part. One that God without question reconciled almost immediately. But before that I had missed the boat. Actually I was on the boat but I stepped off of it. Then the boat pulled back to the dock at Christmas so I could get back on it. It was up to me though to take the step of faith.

Lately I’ve been feeling like I should step down from my spot on this boat. Mostly because I’m working more and my preschooler is not so much of a preschooler any longer. This spring will be my last semester anyway because moms “graduate” once the kindergartener does, meaning we are no longer eligible for MOPS. I’ve just been feeling like it might be time to give another Mom the spot since there is a waiting list to join. Our last meeting of the semester was yesterday and I was expecting to be reminded about dues for the Spring. I was prepared to step down that day. Not because the money is an issue or that I have a concern with dues because the funds support an extremely important ministry. Supporting young motherhood which is a season of life that at times takes much but gives little. Or at least it can feel that way.

But is it really giving little? Jesus reminded me this is our limited human perspective.

I was reminded of this quote of yesterday..

Then at our seats was a piece of red paper that said…Merry Christmas, you are already paid in full next semester, with Love. ❤️

Sweet Jesus! Clearly I’m not supposed to step aside just yet. He was not letting me off the boat!

So when we are feeling discouraged, having doubts, believing we are unloveable, feeling incapable or any other negative emotion, remember it is coming from our limited human perspective.

But when we fix our eyes on the real Jesus we see more clearly and our thoughts become more spirit filled. That’s not to say life is without challenges but our perspective is changed. We might miss the boat a time or two or three but Jesus can bring us back to it again even if we don’t think it’s possible. And sometimes when we are in the boat and try to step off he simply won’t let us.

A life with Jesus is a life paid in full.❤️

Loved By Grace,


Khali’s Story

Khali's is a story of healing and a story of faith which I could not be happier to see written out in her words. Love you babes.

It was one of the biggest days of the year for Khali. It was the day of Dance Masters Great Lakes Regional dance competition. This is Khali’s favorite dance competition ever.

“It’s my favorite dance competition ever because only certain dance studios can go to it,” Khali says to her Grandma while sitting on the warm couch cuddling with her blanket. Later Khali says to her mom as they are walking out the door, “Let’s go let’s go let’s go I can’t wait any longer to get there,” Khali says to her mom as they are walking out the door.

“Ok I'm coming,” Khali’s mom says trying to catch up to Khali. “On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most eager and one being the least, how excited are you for today?”, Khali’s mom asks but knows the answer.

“TEN of course I've been waiting for this for five months and I have been excited since the beginning,” Khali informs her mom as she is in the car drinking her Starbucks. Soon Khali and her mom arrived at the High School.

“Yesterday it was fun but I'm more excited for today,” Khali says to her mom as they are walking in the long hallway to reach the dressing room. “What is my order of dances?,” Khali asks her mom while sitting on the dirty choir room floor waiting to know what costume to put on first.

“Ballet team first next is Jazz team third is your solo and last is your duo,” mom says while in the middle of writing a checklist for me. Khali goes over to her bag and finds her fairy dream ballet costume. “I hope we do good,” Khali says to her mom as she puts her purple and dark green ballet costume on.

“I hope you do well too sweetie,” mom says before she kisses Khali on the forehead. “Love you, I have to go to the audience now so I won’t miss your dances,” mom says as she leaves the choir room to enter the stinky hallway. Next Khali touches up her hair and makeup and gets her wings to her fairy costume on. While Khali is backstage ready to go on she stretches and goes over the dance. A few minutes laterKhali is off stage now and her mom is still watching. Next Khali gets her sparkly and shine gold jazz costume on. Khali loves this costume because it’s like a gold sparkly flapper girl costume. Next Khali dances her jazz dance. After her jazz dance she has to go back to the stinky dressing room and gets her Lyrical solo costume on. “I like your solo costume because of the very flowy skirt and the sparkles,” Hannah, Khali’s best friend says to her.

“I like it because of that too Hannah,” Khali says to Hannah as she looks down at her dress and waves it around. Next Khali goes out in the stinky hallway and practices one of her tricks. “Lets go backstage now,” Khali says to Hannah after she does the trick.

“You are going to do great,” Hannah says to Khali as she gives her a hug. Khali goes onstage and everything is going well until Khali fixes her costume because it was in her face.

“I did so horrible I fixed my costume on stage,” Khali says to Hannah and starts crying. Next Hannah helps Khali find her mom and her mom and Hannah comfort her and tell her everything will be ok.

“You got to go get ready for your duo with Hannah now babes,” Khali’s mom says to her and helps her with getting her costume on.

“I already know I am going to make a mistake in my duo and let Hannah down,” Khali says to her mom shaking her head and looking down.

“Hey look at me you are going to do just fine babes,” Mom says to khali as she lifts her chin up. “The only time you’ll do horrible is when you tell yourself you are going to do horrible,” Mom says to khali and gives her a big hug.

“Thanks mommy I feel more confident in myself now,” Khali says to her mom as she wipes her nose.

“Now how about you go backstage with Hannah now,” Khali’s mom says to her as she gives her one last big hug. Now Khali is backstage with Hannah. “Thanks for helping me and always being there for me,” Khali says to Hannah as she gives her a hug right before they go onstage. Next Khali is thinking that she is going to have a good time when this happens. As Khali ran to the back for the ending she fixed her hair. When they get off stage Khali says “I fixed my hair as I ran back and the judges totally saw it,” Khali starts crying again and Hannah gives her a hug and says I'm sure the judges still thought we were amazing. Next Hannah helps Khali find her mom. “Why are you crying what happened?,” Khali’s mom says confused when she sees Khali crying. “I fixed my hair when I was running back and it’s my fault that me and Hannah will get the lowest score for duos. Next Khali’s teammates are walking down the hallway and they ask why Khali is crying and Khali tells them of her mistake. Next they start comforting her and telling her she did amazing. “I am sure we aren’t going to get something special,” Khali says to her mom in confidence.

“Well we don’t know for sure until you go to awards,” Khali’s mom says to her. “We’ll see,” Khali says. Khali is so nervous when she is at awards. It is almost Khali’s solo number. Then they announce that Khali got platinum and Khali is in shock. “I can’t believe I got platinum!” Khali says to Hannah as she goes back to sit down with excitement. Then Khali’s duos got platinum and high gold and Khali knows why. Now it was time for the placements and it was 15 places for each category. Khali didn’t get any of the 15-10 for her solo. “I know i’m not getting placed,” Khali says to Hannah. Then they announce that Khali’s solo got 5th place out of 15 dances. Khali was once again shocked. Khali was so happy with her solo now. Next was the duo placements. It was down to the top 4 and Khali new that Hannah and her weren’t going to get placed. Then she heard their duo name for 1ST PLACE! Khali was in even more shock and her teammates push her up there on the front of the stage and Khali’s face was still is shock. “Is this even real?,” Khali asks Hannah. “Yes this isn’t a dream,” Hannah says to Khali. Then awards ends and Khali and her teammates find Khali’s mom. When they finally find her Khali goes running down the hallway and gives her mom a huge hug. “Thanks for everything mommy and I am so thankful for you,” Khali says to her mommy and starts shedding tears of happiness on her mom's shoulder. “Now these are tears of happiness,” Khali says to everyone.

“I always knew they were,” Khali’s mom says to her as she squeezes her tighter. Last Khali goes to all of her friends and thanks them for not giving up on her when she was feeling blue and then Khali goes around to everyone and gives them each a hug. Later as Khali and her mom are walking to the car Khali’s mom asks Khali if she had the best day of her life or not. Khali responds like this. “Believe it or not this was the best day of my life even though there were a lot of tears,” Khali says to her mom.

I learned that things don’t always end bad.

 Theme: Just because you believe something is wrong doesn’t always mean that it is wrong.

Khali, 12 years old

Loved By Grace,


Pick Me Up Jar

This is one of my favorite of favorites of FAVS photos of all time. Now on year four of this journey is mind blowing. It is your journey sweet girl but my job is to clear away the voices of the world that diminish anything other than the truth of who you are in Christ.

You are currently sleeping soundly this morning from overload which is understandable given the week at hand. I know you want to homeschool and this might very well happen at some point in time but for now you are handling the balance of life with grace. It's good for you because it is teaching you how to be true to yourself in a world that doesn't understand belonging is not about being just like everyone else. And in turn it just might be encouraging others to do the same.

However, sometimes we fall…doesn't do any good to pretend otherwise. Not the poster child for the rise and fall message but the amazing thing is Jesus tends to recruit from the pit, not the pedestal. Which means this girl right here is pretty good at the fall, working on the rise. Which also makes me a messy grace advocate. There is a teacher however who shows us messy grace perfectly and his name is Jesus.

Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor, sick people do. I have come to call sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think they are already good enough." ~ Luke 5:31-32.

You'll be very unhappy about this photo but will forgive me a later time when you are once again needing a rest day with a cup of hot chocolate at Christmas. It will remind you of these memories and you will smile.

Because this is the stuff memories are made of right here. I asked you the other day if you think you will remember moments when you got something, you know, brought something home with you.
Or if you will remember the moments you connected with simply the memory of being part of something. You responded with the second statement.

It can be a hard lesson but so very true.

Rest and remember who you are in Christ matters exponentially more than any voices, internal or external to the contrary.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13 ❤️

The pick me up jar.

  1. Be still, my soul, the Lord is by thy side” KatherinevonShlegel
  2. Fear not, I Am With Thee, be not dismayed, for I Am Thy God. I will strengthen thee, I will help thee, I will uphold with the right
    hand of my righteousness. ~ Isaiah 41:10
  3. Wait on the Lord, be of courage and He will strengthen thy heart. ~ Psalm 27:14
  4. Keep trying, keep trusting, keep believing, keep growing. Heaven is cheering for you! Today, tomorrow and forever. ~ Elder Holland
  5. See the good in yourself! ~ Elder Holland
  6. We are infinitely more than our limitations and our afflictions. ~ Jeffery R. Holland
  7. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. ~ Jeffrey R. Holland
  8. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.
  9. Never give up on anyone, and that includes giving up on yourself! ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  10. God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy! ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  11. When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.
  12. Rejection is Gods way of saying “wrong choice dear”.
  13. Come what may and love it!
  14. Don’t let the silly little things steal your happiness.
  15. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
  16. God sometimes takes us into troubled waters, not to drown us, but to cleanse us.
  17. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
  18. Think positive, be positive.
  19. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
  20. Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Dr. Seuss.
  21. Pray More, worry less.
  22. Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than when we realize how well we know our Father in Heaven and how familiar his face is to us. ~ Ezra Taft Benson
  23. There are far, far better things ahead, than any we have left behind. ~ C.S. Lewis
  24. You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.
  25. It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop. ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  26. Courage, dear heart. ~ C.S. Lewis
  27. The question is not how to survive, but how to thrive with passion, compassion, humor and style. ~ Maya Angelou
  28. Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. ~ Maya Angelou
  29. All flesh is in my hands; be still and know that I am God.” D&C 101:16 30.
  30. We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. ~ Frederick Keonig
  31. When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. ~ Helen Keller
  32. Happiness is a state of activity. ~ Aristotle
  33. It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
  34. Look to me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not.” D&C 6:36 39.
  35. Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.
  36. If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
  37. It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.
  38. for I Nephi will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” 1 Nephi 1:20
  39. Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
  40. Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is. ~ Mandy Hale
  41. Comparison is the thief of joy.”
  42. Bloom where you are planted.”
  43. I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.” 1 Nephi 1:15
  44. But the Lord stood with me, and gave me strength.” 2 Timothy 4:17
  45. 5 Simple Rules to be HAPPY 1) Free your mind from hate 2) Free your mind from worry 3) Live simply 4) Give more 5) Expect less
  46. Happy are those who take life day by day, complain very little and are thankful for the little things in life.
  47. He hath made everything beautiful in his time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
  48. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ~ Psalm 22:6
  49. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
  50. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Hips or Lips

The words of the Apostle Paul were quite revolutionary in his ancient time. To say something like it at a level of unified humanity embedded in a culture deeply rooted in hierarchy was undoubtedly met with opposition. Hatred to be exact, from religious people, imagine that. Paul was sent to prison because of his teaching. This right here though is the essence of shared common humanity. It has always been met with resistance toward the ones who embrace it. But as Paul states, this is the truth in Christ Jesus.

Shared common humanity. Is it any wonder an acute awareness of this truth is a key element of compassion for self and others? It produces good fruit.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:16-19)

I participated in a course this week on mindfulness and compassion. My faith in Christ resonated as one of my key insights toward self compassion and shared common humanity. If something is damaging those fruits it is not Christ like.

Have you ever been asked to gaze at another person for a certain length of time and just notice the humaneness you share? They say the eyes are the window to the soul, this is not a natural thing to do most of the time. Especially when you aren't tapping in to this kind of oneness of humanity. There is so much about our culture that teaches us not to do this but this right here is Christ like. Instead we make eye contact but don't gaze further, move along. But when it is natural, that is good fruit.

Okay, so back to the exercise, we had to hold this gaze with another classmate. This was completely awkward for the first part of the experience. I felt rude for staring at them and my reaction was to look away and then look back, away and so forth. The first thirty seconds I didn't think I could do it. As for my eyes being gazed at, equally awkward. However, I reminded myself that my complete self was showing up for this class so I didn't back down. About half way in to this exercise I felt something settle in me and I no longer felt the need to look away. I felt grounded and it felt natural. We all have the need to feel connected at this level, to feel safe, to feel loved. Likewise, we have all hurt and struggled with life. We all have hopes and dreams, pasts and futures.

When this is natural, it is shared common humanity. Which is also one of three important elements of compassion. The other is mindfulness. Resistance, doubt, fear and cultural hierarchy are the biggest interferences to compassion.

Only after our exercise did we introduce ourselves which was crazy! Another classmate mentioned it reminded her of some of her favorite authors, Brene Brown and Anne Lamott. What! Me too! Well duh, this was/is my school after all. Yes! Dang, these are my peoples peeps.

Super helpful assessment tool on this:

Research points to stronger links to well being, motivation, healthier physical behaviors, higher coping levels or resilience and elevated concern for others. If that isn't believable, a research study conducted shows women who received self-compassion influences ate 28 grams of candy over 70 grams from the women who went without.

Ladies, I'm not suggesting we are ever going to stop eating candy…they were Skittles after all. Mindfulness isn't always easy, perhaps even feels a little indulgent. But as the study shows, hips or lips, our choice.

The professor of the course was a school psychologist for thirty years. Thank you Jesus…not timely at all or anything.

Blessed to be back home. ❤️

Loved By Grace,

Note To Self

Quote of the day popped up twice this morning.

You are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem, and stronger than you think.

Take a deep breath.
Do not feel guilty for self compassion.
The kids will survive while you are gone.
Complete self doesn't need protecting from.
Drive safe.
Pretend it's summer when there is no sunshine.
Forgive yourself for what you did not know before you knew it.
Discomfort is a good thing, it means you are on the right track.
Go find that bad a*# book you wrote in the library and add the chapters.
God has your back.

Cultivating mindfulness and self compassion.

To be continued…

Loved By Grace,

Tough Darling

Waiting in my email this morning I read the question, have you ever cried as a teacher?
Well, absolutely I have cried as a teacher…which is at least a weekly occurrence. How could it not be with encounters like this?

I felt her little hand tug at my sweater. "Mrs. J., I have to tell you a secret." "I'm crying because they are all saying I can read which they think is true. But when I read the words in front of them I'm just pretending because I don't want them to see I'm not like everyone else."

Oh my ever loving goodness if this doesn't bring tears to the eyes of a teacher I might be asleep from daylight savings time. My darling, you and I are going to have a little chat and it goes something this…in the best third grade vocabulary I can find to help you understand.

It is unbelievably hard to live an existence different than everyone else. People don't understand and sometimes it can be hurtful when a person says something they think is funny when it is anything but funny to you. It makes you want to crawl out of your skin just for being you. But you see honey, things are said sometimes without people ever realizing just how hard it truly is for you. And that means you have to work harder than most who might not ever understand. But I would make the suggestion that perhaps all of this makes you super special because being like everyone else doesn't always teach us about strength and faith. This business of being different darling takes a certain kind of special and that is you.

I'm not going to lie to you baby girl, it is not easy to overcome the hard parts of different so I can see why it feels better to give up. But here is the deal…all of this will only stop you from living your very best if you let it. Instead show the world the gift of different because when you do, all of the hard stuff pales in comparison to light you shine out.

Life is tough my darling but tough darlings are some of the most inspirational people the world will ever know. It's true.

I promise we need to see your exact brand of different sweet girl and it will move us to more light. We need that light now more than ever.

I'm by your side and we'll figure this out together. Right after I get my Kleenex box.

Undeniable light. ❤️

Loved By Grace,

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