I’ve written before about my incredible parents. I had another experience today that confirmed again how much these two human beings are good people who love me.
Today was a hard day and I was feeling a bit emotional. In the middle of this day, I was accidently forgotten and not given Skittles like everyone else in a Church class. I felt left out. I knew it was an accident. It wasn’t anybody’s fault and I wasn’t angry at the person who forgot me. It just happened in the craziness of the moment. My logical side knew it wasn’t on purpose. My emotional side started remembering every other time in my life that I have been left-out or not gotten what I wanted.
I try to visit my parents a few times a month. Today was one of those planned visits. I ended up telling them how I felt. Yes, I’m a 40 year-old who sat on my parent’s couch this afternoon and cried that I didn’t get candy. It’s not about the candy though. Even though it was completly an accident, my feelings of being left-out were real. We talked for a bit. I felt lighter when I drove home. It helped to talk about my feelings.
Then my Dad did something so incredibly loving and kind. He came and gave me a bag of Skittles.
Let me tell you something about my folks. They are true believers in keeping all of the 10 Commandments. They don’t lie, cheat, covet or do any of those other don’ts. Mom and Dad go to Church every Sunday and growing up my siblings and I would never even think about asking to go to the movies or the mall on a Sunday. It wasn’t keeping the Sabbath day holy. My parents also hate Skittles. They don’t keep them at the house which means that my father made a special trip to the store just to buy them.
He went to the store for me. I felt so incredibly loved. As I held the bag of candy, I remembered a scripture written by the Apostle John.
“We love Him because He first loved us”. (1 John 4: 18-19)
The scripture is speaking about my Savior Jesus Christ and his great love for all mankind. Today it was also talking about my parents and their example of true love for me–their daughter.
I love you, Mom and Dad. You will always be my favorite people. I am who I am today because of your goodness and light. I will remember your example of Christian discipleship for the rest of my life. I hope to be like you when I grow up.
With love forever,
I think my alarm clock is against me. Take a look at this picture.
The Snooze button is huge. It’s larger than the button I press to get going for my day. My alarm clock does not want me to get up. It wants me to keep sleeping. It wants me to be late for work. This realization made me giggle this morning. I added it to my joyful list.
The conspiring alarm clock is my #311 joyful moment since I started this blog. What made you joyful today?
The summer is coming to an end. The Arizona heat will continue to beat down on me until Halloween but my summer holiday is over. I get to go back to work tomorrow and prepare for the new school year. I added several joyful moments to my Joyful Journal this summer.
Joyful Moment #307
I had the chance to visit Sedona. Sedona is magestic. It’s hard not to feel incredibly joyful when you see this view.
Joyful Moment #308
The Accountant’s Great-Aunt Georgine turned 95 this year. We had the chance to attend her birthday party and spend some one-on-one time with Aunt Georgine and her little dog Sophia after the celebrations. Georgine has lived an incredible life. She is still a fiesty, loveable woman with strong opinions. I love fiesty 95 year-olds with strong opinions. I hope to be one of them some day.
I wanted to take Sophia home with me. She was so cute.
Joyful Moment #309
Summer means more time for cooking good food. I learned how to make chicken masala and crepes this summer.
They were both delicious!
Joyful Moment #310
The sink was sparkling clean and stayed really clean for one entire day. I celebrate the little joys so this one made the list. I may have just clapped my hands at the excitement of such a clean sink.
You may be wondering if I had any sad moments this summer. I did. I bet you did as well. I’ve got a talent for thinking of all the sad things in my life which is why I purposely count and record the joyful moments in my Joyful Journal. I acknowledge the sad moments, endure them and then I try to get to the point where I can give the sad a hearty thank you for being part of my life. Am I the perfect guru of living in peaceful existence with all aspects of my life? Ha ha ha. No, I’m much better at being grateful in happy times. I am working on it though. The Bible says it really well.
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise.” (Psalms 95:2)
What made you joyful today?
Some people live in this world
Like a cookie cutter.
Never being more than
What everybody else is
Never doing more than
What everyone else does
Never venturing out to discover a beautiful world
Beyond their mold.
I wrote this poem when I was in high school. I rediscovered it today when I was cleaning out some papers. At the end of the poem, I had written the following in bright red ink. “I pray that is not my fate. It would be very sad if as a really old 40-year-old I wake up with gray hair and realize that I am a cookie cutter person without a single spark of Amee left in me. Oh, how very tragic indeed.”
At first, I laughed. I am now that really old 40 year-old with a few gray hairs starting to appear out of nowhere. 40 just doesn’t seem as old as it used to be. Then, I got reflective. Have I turned into that cookie cutter person that I feared so much? Am I a person who just lives her life, checks off her to-do list but has forgotten she was going to change the world? Am I still me? ”
It was a hard question to ask and an even harder answer to accept.
Sometimes, I am that cookie cutter person. Life. Work. Family. There are molds you accept in order to get a job done. You can call it growing up or you can call it the great tragedy. It really depends on your perspective. Other times, I am still the sparkling soul who loves greatly, grieves greatly and wants to leave her mark on this spinning planet in some heroic way. There is one thing for certain. I must never stop being Amee.
My Aunt and I went to the royal wedding this morning. You might have heard about this wedding. It’s been on the news for months. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle forgot to send us an invite, we did our best to enjoy the festivities on a teacher’s and an artist’s salary. (In case you didn’t know, I’m the teacher and the Aunt is the artist.)
We watched the ceremony on the TV while sitting on my hand-me-down couch. We wore plastic tiaras that I bought from the dollar store. We ate pastries on my thrift store china and toasted the new couple with sparkling apple juice that was purchased with a coupon.
We both oohed over the wedding dress. It was simple and beautiful. The news said the dress is estimated to cost 100,000 pounds which is around $135,000 US dollars. Given that the average American worker has an income in the $40,000’s, you would have to be pretty rich to afford a dress like that. The social justice side of me started calculating how many school lunches you could buy for disadvantaged children with that kind of money. The “Happily Ever After” side of me started imagining that it was my wedding day with a beautiful dress, adoring groom and enough money to never have to worry about paying the bills ever again. The last part about having enough money to never have to worry about bills sounds very nice.
It was a lovely wedding. The couple seems to really like and love each other. I enjoyed watching the little glances between them. There’s something sweet about watching a couple in love. You feel hopeful for the world. The real star of the show was the Episcopalian minister. He was delightful. Reverend Michael Curry gave an amazing sermon. I said Amen a couple of times when he was talking. I completely agree with him. God is love and we can make the world a better place by treating each other like brothers and sisters. He was also just plain fun to watch. He was so animated and passionate about the word of God. It was like I was sitting in a revival meeting and not a wedding.
This is what the Esteemed Duchess of the Dollar Store looks like at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I’ve got frizzled hair, bags under my eyes but I’m still smiling.
Her Royal Highness Princess Aunt Marla declined to have her 3:00 a.m. photo taken for this blog. There are some benefits to being an average American at times. Privacy is one of them.
It was a memorable royal wedding even though it was dollar-store style. I’m a little tired. I think I will go back to bed now for a much deserved nap.
I don’t like confrontation. I’m usually the one at the social event who finds a way to change the subject once a controversial topic comes up. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on whatever issue you are discussing. I do. I’ve just lived long enough to see good people stop being friends with other good people just because they voted differently than them. I don’t want lose my friends so I bite my tongue.
The last few months my state has been in a huge debate about public education. I felt strongly about the topic of educational funding and I wanted to participate.
So, I marched. I participated in some of the events at the AZ State Capitol and the Stand Out to Stand Up event on Baseline Road.
I felt a change when I went to the Capitol. Yes, the rally was fun. The crowds had energy but the change inside of me was more than the change in the state budget. As I stood there with my sign and red shirt, I decided it was okay to talk about the hard topics.
Changing the subject may not always be the best idea. Especially if it is something you believe in.
You may have a different opinion than me on the Red For Ed movement. That’s okay. We can have an open and honest dialogue with each other and still be friends. That’s what I learned the day I marched.
This is the girl who was peacefully sleeping
Unaware that disaster was silently brewing.
This is the pipe that leaked in a wall
Where water was collecting for who knows how long.
This is moment the girl walked in the room
And felt a river of water and saw a gushing typhoon.
This is the valve in the front of the yard
That the girl pulled and then sat by to cry really hard.
This is the husband who was out of state at the time
Who got the phone call that the house was now slime.
These are the fans and the bills and demolition holes
This whole experience is vexing to one’s soul.
(A Note for my family and friends: Nate and I were able to file an insurance claim. We will be able to fix the damage. I am always happy to accept homemade dinners though. Just kidding about dinner. You are not obligated to cook me dinner. I know how to order pizza. Life is never boring around here. I hope I never see water again. It’s a mess to clean up.)
I arrived home after a long day at work and threw my purse on the kitchen counter. I sat down to eat some almonds and decompress a bit. I couldn’t help but notice my purse was sitting there all by itself. It got me thinking. What would my purse say to me if it could talk?
Purse: Hello, Amee. How are you doing today? Look, I know you’re a little busy but we need to talk.
Me: (eating some almonds) I’ve been giving standardized tests all day. I’m too tired to chat.
Purse: That’s okay. Just listen. You’ve probably noticed that I’m a little bloated with old receipts, pens, makeup, extra earings, paper, a half-eaten granola bar and a bunch of other things. I’d like to be cleaned out least once a week. All the other purses in the neighborhood are neat and tidy.
Me: (still eating almonds) If you don’t stop complaining, I will give you to a thrift store.
Purse: You bought me at the thrift store so it would be like going home for me.
Me: Yeah, you’re right. Okay, you win. I will tidy you up.
After giggling about a talking purse, I really did clean it. I threw out the old receipts, put the makeup back in the makeup bag and got rid of the half-eaten granola bar. My purse looks much happier now. It’s so neat and tidy.
As most of you know, I have been tracking my joyful moments the last few years. I write them down in my little journal. The really funny ones I put on this blog. I just had joyful moment #306 with my talking purse.
What made you smile today?
“Only you can decide if you are able to do this”, said the zipline worker. “We have a van. We can take you back to the waiting area if you aren’t able to do this today.”
I’m afraid of heights. Very afraid of heights. My whole body was shaking as we hiked the nature path and then climbed the stairs up to the first platform. I imagined myself falling to my death. I also imagined myself not being able to step off and having to walk back down to the van.
I was the last person to start the canopy zipline course. I was the first in line to start the zipline course when we reached the platform but I kindly let others go ahead of me. I watched all 7 of my fellow adventurers be hooked up to the safety gear and step off the platform. They glided to the second platform alive. I was still hesitant. I’m scared of heights and it is a long way down.
“Once you start the course, you have to finish it”, said the worker. “Do you want to do this today?”
“Not really”, I said. “I’m scared of heights. But it’s something I need to do even if I have to do it scared. I may never have this chance to go on a zipline in Costa Rica again.”
The zipline worker hooked me up to the cords and I stepped off the platform screaming with my eyes closed tight. The last thing I heard was the worker saying, “Pura Vida, Amee. Pura Vida.”
I finished the zipline course. I did all 11 ziplines. I was scared every time I stepped off each and every one of those 11 platforms. I kept going. I even opened my eyes a few times and saw the trees during the ride.
The Accountant and I have heard the saying “Pura Vida”a lot on our trip to Costa Rica. It means “simple life” or “pure life” in Spanish. Today it means I ziplined scared but I did it anyway.
I was so proud of myself at the end of the course that I gave a loud victory shout.
About a month ago, I went into the guest room to grab a book from the book shelf. I saw this hanging on the wall.
Somehow it never got taken down and has been on the wall for over 4 years. The symbolism of that calendar reading October 2013 was not lost to me. In October 2013 my life changed. I received a wound. A deep wound. Since then, I’ve grieved mightly, prayed much and spent a lot of money to sit on a counselor’s couch. The wound is smaller now in 2018 than it was in 2013 but it’s still there and at times rears its ugly head to laugh at me.
I didn’t know what to do about the calendar. So, I did nothing about it for the last month. I would occasionally think about taking down the calendar but the task seemed too hard. How do you throw away a month that has impacted you forever? I grieved again, prayed much and spent some more money to sit on a counselor’s couch. Trauma is really an expensive experience. I would rather have gone on an all-expenses-paid cruise around the world.
I was brave today. I threw the calendar away and bought a new one.
As I tossed the old calendar in the trash, I closed my eyes and imagined that Jesus and four or five cheerleader angels were standing by me rooting for me to have a happy life. “Go, Amee. You’re incredible, intelligent and beautiful. You can do this. We love you”. I always feel good inside when I think of Jesus. I love Him.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”—Matthew 5:4
(By the way, I’m turning 40 in 2 weeks so you expect to see some birthday posts soon. I’m going to do 20 days of Amee. You will have to read tomoorow’s post to find out what that means. It will be an epic adventure.)