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A Beautiful Hot Mess

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday wisdom roll call from third grade reading and writing gallery:

“You really don’t care what people think.”

“About what?”

“About sitting with me. About anything.”

“Why should I?” asked Dyamonde. “I know what I think, and that’s enough.”

Free just shook his head.

“You can’t do things or not do things just ’cause somebody else thinks you should. I mean, what if they’re dumb as a rock and you’re paying attention to them? That’s silly. Anyways, can I get a couple of fries or not?”

Free pushed the plate of fries toward Dyamonde and was quiet for a long while. She sure gave Free a lot to think about.

From the book:

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes

Have to admit, this teacher right here paused still as a rock…pause, pause, paused…nope can’t bite my cheeks, laugh, laugh, laughed out FREAKING loud! By the way, I happened to be the narrator reading this to the class…out loud. What can I say? I try to practice the pause but this was just the BOMB of a chapter! Make way for Dyamonde Daniel!

This my friends is like a modern day clip of a Jesus parable. Now having said that, Jesus did not say dumb as a rock in scripture but the point he made was the same. OH YES it sure was so I just stop in my tracks now when I hear it spoken in modern day terms. Note to self, those Pharisees did think they were pretty smart but we know how that went…sucked rocks.

Jesus loves rocks, he loves sucky rocks and dumb rocks which is important to remember. But he sure didn’t listen to them. Just saying.

THIS! From the third grade reading library.

Did I mention how much I love this class? T, my man, OH-EM-GEE look at your epic blue hair! Well duh, of course because this kid is the BOMB of a third grader right here! T. Martinez, he drew me the portrait above in case any of us wondered. Whether you love or hate our President you have to admit, my man T nailed it!

These guys have grown a foot since before Christmas.

And J, you stayed in class today! Although my heart is just a bit sad to hear you are leaving to a new school but I know it is going to be the help you need. Prayers for that J, praise God. Today however, is my opportunity to influence the small voice in your brain above all the other garbage that says doing the work of school isn’t for you. It is J, you just have to find the right way your brain goes about accomplishing it and the rest, well…it’s just BS.

Here is the proof…YOU DID YOUR MATH with me today. Sure, it was only after I asked you to work on it in a different way, okay maybe I tricked you but you did it! You started in on one of your adventures which I welcomed and encouraged. A kick a*% story about Scott, Cindy, Josh and you at the park taking care of the facilities and tending to the tasks of the rocks which it sounds like you actually get to do in real life. Dumb rocks. No irony there, no sarcasm. Then you cleaned some desks with Clorox wipes to keep your hands busy which is not a surprise, your hands are always creating or busy doing something! As we talked about your adventures before you knew we were throwing math in to the adventure and BOOM, math work is done. HAPPY DANCE!

Don’t tell me your brain doesn’t work J because I know it does. Don’t listen to rocks when you are a diamond. Show us how diamonds work. Small voice J, it is there, don’t ever lose it.

Hebrews 9-10 Highlights:

Christ’s tabernacle, the presence of God (Christ’s spirit) is not part of human creation. It is not built by human hands. It is different!

Jesus sets aside the first to establish the second.

Jesus puts his laws in our hearts and minds.

Small voice J, it is spirit there in our hearts and minds. In spite of rocks.

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

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Mindful Monday into Tuesday

Well, hello Monday! I don’t about you but life has been saying over here go ahead, make plans, double dare you. Insert laugh…there goes that thought. Humor is therapeutic to me.

This is my brain waves sitting at urgent care with my son Sunday night after a fever from h*%#, numb, passed out and weak. So there we were, oxygen mask and all on him which not going to lie, just a little tough to witness. Sadly I’m pretty sure he gets the anxiety piece from his mother among other not so pleasant traits which he is happy to remind me about on occasion. Needless to say we are fighting an aggressive infection and still are in to Tuesday.

But back to the urgent care visit. I couldn’t recall a time he had this intrusive horrible gem of a gagging medical procedure about to be done so I was very honest with him about what to expect before the doctor started in on him. An explanation without those dramatic words of course but this is what was going on in my head. Why? Because he is just like me and while I don’t like it, it is best to come out with the raw honest truth about it doctor. Don’t candy coat it, don’t try to tell us something it is not because we will see the BS in negative zero point seven seconds. Anyhoo, doc looks at him and says, well your throat is very swollen so you won’t feel a thing. I know my son, he feels EVERYTHING. Good luck with that strategy doc! No sarcasm or anything…

This is me Monday with a lot of time to read and write…last I checked no amount of sweet talking is going to change the fact that this is life. So, let’s go with the unconventional and let it stink for the moment.

I used to compound anxiety in these kinds of situations with the thinking that this must be happening because God is angry with me or I’m bad so this is why I’m sick or why I feel everything horrible about this thing I’m experiencing. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Society much like the doctor says no, don’t feel this way or that way or you won’t feel it or you shouldn’t feel it. I now hear blah, blah, blah. Don’t be this, don’t be that, blah, blah, blah. No wonder we think God is angry or something! Nope. We are all crappy people, my son and I included and crappy things happen in life and they happen to all of us. It just stinks for the moment, not forever.

I would also be lying though if I said I’m handling these hard few couple of days like a champ. Whoever said we should not acknowledge the mess? That is crap. It can stink for the moment but that does not mean it will always stay dark or always stay bright. I finished a course recently where research shows the exact opposite is needed. Learn to cultivate self-compassion with mindfulness in the good and the bad.

I’m headed in to an intensive training soon where I will be counseling children who are grieving a death, in most cases the loss of a parent or close friend. The insurmountable emotions of a tragedy like this need to be acknowledged, not stuffed away. In doing so the darkest of dark can and will become oh so bright because of Jesus.

Mindfulness is not rearranging reality, the good or bad of life. It is allowing ourselves to feel, hold and honor our reality for what is in that time and space.

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

Above all Else

I hear you whispering your plans for me.

I ask why, it can’t be me.

Above all else and that is why.

Play It Right Now

One of my most favorite quotes is about living in the moment which is something I try to refocus myself on every day as much as possible. It is not an easy thing do at all times for an anxious person like myself but it just might be the single most strength Jesus has brought to life in me. Because the truth is all we really have is here and now. It is in that very moment the blessing exists, as simple as it might be for us. Don’t miss it.

If we are always looking back or running too fast ahead we can not always see it.

On hard days it always comes back to this, the very moment. Because in every moment there is something good to hold on to and Jesus helps us find it. Nothing is by chance, God is in all of it.

Not necessarily my New Year resolution but one to reaffirm every day.

Be still and know that He is God.

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live. ~ Dalai Lama

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

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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,

Aimee

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,

Aimee

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,
Aimee

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,

Aimee

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,

Aimee

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