a one-of-a-kind, magnificent, messy, marvelous masterpiece

little girl

There are some things that are just easier. Easier to talk about, easier to write about, and much, much easier to live through. On the same hand, some things are easier to learn.

Learning to love yourself and daily choosing to be confident isn’t one of those.

I found myself in a dark place as I was deciding how to approach this topic. A list of steps, “ten easy ways to have a positive self-image.” Or maybe even a list of things to tell yourself every day, and to write on lovely lavender sticky notes and post all over your mirror. I can promise that won’t do it justice, and I read enough of that in Seventeen magazine.

Let me be real with ya, baby girl.

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A (Precious) Prayer in School

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I am Miss Grace. A first year teacher with a lot to teach and even more to learn. Today, on the first day of school, I learned a lot from a five year old in five minutes.

After they finally got settled into their “big girl” and “big boy” desks in the Kindergarten classroom that smelled of crayons and anxiety (on my part), we welcomed the easiest part of the day: lunch. Thankfully, I let a student return to the classroom to get his lunch money while I managed to take the rest of the crew to the cafeteria. I was shocked to walk back in to the quiet, dark classroom and see the student on his knees praying.

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Once Upon A Time Someone Gave a Little Girl with Cowboy Boots and a Blue Tutu a Chance: Girls’ Education & a Chance to “Be the First.”

This touches my heart on so many levels. Just yes.

She stood before the class today and formally introduced herself.

They’d all seen her before but this was the first time they would call her by name. Sitting tall with her back straight, she seemed poised and ready. A younger but practically identical version of her sat to her right.

This is the letter ‘J’,” I tell the class, using a pencil to accentuate her long and slender trunk. “Can everyone make the sound of the letterJ’? Juh… Juh… Juh…

A chorus of juh’s circulate the classroom.

The letter J continues to reveal to us all of her closest friends:  Jungle. Joke. Jump. Jenny. Josue. Jelly. Friends that would be Nowhere without Her.

After we count nearly 36 comrades of the ever so popular Letter J, the Little Ones scurry back to their seats and practice drawing portraits of our New Friend. Happy are…

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I love You to India and back.

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I write always. Maybe not on paper, but my thoughts immediately begin to form phrases and sentences in my mind. I think in words, not images. I cannot paint you a picture or sing you a song about my recent trip to South Asia. Even by writing, I can’t truly describe to you the way the little eyes their touch your soul, or the way you want to put band-aids on their little knees and tell them that this world is tough, but it’s not home. No, precious, we are not home.

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We cannot stay here any longer.

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I hold a dream job that I’ve never told a soul about.

It’s a completely, separate full-time job that (in a pretty & perfect world) would involve just me, a bucket, and Maya Angelou.

I harbor an adoration that is heavy and thick for this woman. She is, quite simply, a soul sister who hasn’t met me yet. But I love her. And I value her. And I would take every turn and twist possible if it meant I could follow her around with an upside down umbrella and a bucket to catch all her words of wisdom in one swift, scoop and keep them for myself.

It could work, really it could. I’d follow her to interviews and press conferences and poetry readings and she’d say to the people at the door, “Oh, her? She’s the one who recycles all my wisdom. Don’t mind her… or her bucket… or…

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