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Lifelessons

Wednesday Wisdom, Thursday Thoughts

We can all have days when the expectations of life or the world around us weigh us down. Those are the days when I find Jesus speaks most clearly.

Sitting half awake with my eyes closed, it’s early morning, I need you. Can you say something to me today so I know you are here? Remember mindfulness Aimee, let the thoughts flow freely without judgement. There I sit and quietly think, Proverbs. Then a second thought, the number 10.

Naturally I turn to Proverbs 10 and read the scripture but it just doesn’t seem to make any sense to me in this moment. The scripture, although good and nourishing in its own right, only left me confused. I just didn’t really get what He was trying to say to me.

Not even an hour later sat my favorite devotion, what’s new in updates.

Within it…Proverbs 18:10. Whoa! Now it makes perfect sense. I just didn’t sit still long enough, just a little bit creeped out in a good, blown away, this is our Jesus sense of the word!

Because Jesus is the best of course!

Our Bible.

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

Tuesday Truth

Today on this national teacher appreciation day, Tuesday thoughts.

How can one possibly know all there is about the mysteries of life if they’ve never written with its color? It is those who have been brave enough to write with different colors who have always moved us beyond the black and white.

The greatest teacher of this was and is Jesus Christ on this earth. Here is to the many others who live in that truth. ❤️

#keepteachingtruth

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

Little Rosa

You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. ~ Rosa Parks

A few weeks ago I had an encounter with a third grader that has stayed on my heart ever since we sat together. It’s a story of little Rosa.

As a teacher we spend time reading with the kids and having them read to us which is important in the growth of developing readers. It is usually these moments that stop me in my tracks because children will tell you their fears, hopes, dreams, you name it they tell you. On this particular day A, initialed for privacy, asked if I would sit down with her to read and because she had some questions. She was reading an non-fiction book about Martin Luther King Jr. and was already a few chapters in to the book. At the end of the chapter, the paragraph she began to read out loud to me about the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus. We all know from history this woman is Rosa Parks.

What A and I read about Rosa was no less inspiring than any history book might cover but it was the question A asked me which hit deepest. The paragraph described a time when black people would have to stand in line at the front entrance of the bus, enter on the bus, give the bus driver their ticket, then exit off and walk to the back of the bus where they were allowed to re-enter to a seat in the back.

We all know Rosa Parks changed the trajectory of this practice, a misguided belief system which was unjust but A just read it. A paused, looked up at me and asked if this could or would ever happen to her on a bus. If I keep in mind she is a black female student in a predominately white community I can immediately begin to sense her concern. It sounded as though she wasn’t quite sure this could or would never happen again.

It was hard to fight back tears. What do I say? I can’t promise her without a doubt that injustice will never happen to her and that means every one of us holding accountability in continuing to speak up at injustice. I can reassure her that Rosa Parks is a hero because she stood for truth and empower her to hold tight to what this incredible woman did in history. To remind her that she has the same freedom regardless of any fear that surrounds us.

A is a little Rosa legacy. At the end of the day I reflect and remember the book of Esther when fear feels too great of thing to change. Rarely has choosing it over love changed the world.

Love demands that we start to push back on shame, and start showing up in our own lives. For many of us, this will be a risk. A huge leap of faith into the hopefully present but sometimes seemingly invisible arms of love. ~ Hillary McBride

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

Tearing Down Forts

I haven’t felt like writing much over the past several months for a variety of reasons but mainly because of one key point. My morning devotion shined a razor focused light on that point right toward my brain so thank you Jesus for the jolt awake today. No amount of the self induced caffeine fort is going to cut it today. HA!

So, I’m simply going to write from my heart regardless of the whopper sized day ahead. You see, one of the biggest forts that I build for myself is protection from fear. One of those has always been death or the lack of control thereof from the reality of death. But it is something we all face no matter how far away we run from it. I suppose I’ve done what many people probably do which is the use of self made protection or we could also say the use of our own forts. We all have them to some extent because we are special little hellions that Jesus loves regardless. The point is when we follow Jesus there will be fear surrounding us and it will be hard and not all of it will be pretty. The cross was pretty. Not everyone likes that kind of hard but Jesus loves that kind of hard. In fact the Bible references do not fear at least 365 times which is our daily affirmation to dismantle it.

Back to my forts. Running from it, putting it out of the mind, thinking about it as little as possible, trying to forget, sometimes even numbing it. But you can’t forget because it exists. All of these self induced forts are futile because hard things exist under God’s sovereign plan of life. Question is when to stop running and when to start facing.

There are a lot of self made things I’m still dismantling so this girl right here is far from perfect. However, I’m working hard at dismantling them because of Jesus. One of is a commitment I made in working with grieving children. Let’s just say there would have been no way on earth my previous self would knowingly walk in to a room full of death and grief and pain. Who am I kidding, my current self wouldn’t be able to do it without Jesus either. But I’m doing it with Him by my side. It is some is heavy stuff and with the hard, heavy stuff there is so much love.

He was the one who found her and had to cut Mom down from the rope.

When I’m here I know I am not alone.

Suddenly, any of my own first world problems melt away.

To be continued…today hopefully. Tearing down more forts over here peeps!

Loved By Grace,

Aimee

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

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

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

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

Miss You More

When I was in graduate school I remember sitting in our group therapy course bewildered by my expectation of the class versus the reality of what was being asked of us. You see, humanistic psychology knows we must get in to the depths of ourselves before we could ever lead another in doing the same. It seemed so backwards at the time in my young life. After all, we were all in this room going to school to help people get shit together. Naturally in my young mind it was easy to think we should probably already have ours shits together if you know what I mean?

Nope, doesn't work that way. So there I was expecting to learn about how to manage a group therapy but in fact WE, the students, were IN group therapy.

I sat in the same spot every week, a comfy chair in the corner. Yes! There but only as close as I needed to be. We had about twenty or so of us in the room with the professor. The thought of sharing any piece of myself made me completely nauseous. When it was my turn, each week I would carve out a small piece of my box and share it with the group. The smallest amount possible in order to get through this class. I remember feeling what seemed a million eyes on me wanting me so badly to give more. They inherently knew there was more to me than what the world will see.

The truth is I did not make the most of the experience but I took away with it a deep appreciation for authenticity. And in the midst of it was a group of incredibly diverse people, gathered in a safe forum, able to share nothing less than their truest, most purest selves. It would take me many more years to finally figure it out in myself.

I find myself missing that group enormously these days. There were no words such as tolerate or love anyway.
We created a space where acceptance, diversity, respect and love wasn't simply tolerated. It was embraced, celebrated, honored just exactly as the messes we are.

Sometimes it is the only therapy one needs…a place to just be. This is us, I miss you more than I loved you. ❤️

A sweet angel stopped me in my tracks this week. "Mrs. J, I need you to give me your hand." Before I knew it her little hand was holding mine. She was to be writing a story about real life. A teachers hand with hers. I like to think that space carries on with me and every now and again little blessings like this show me that it does.

I love this, I love this, I love this! I love everything about this and I just wish the rest of the world did too.

Loved By Grace,
Aimee

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