Being a “good” Christian. . . a work in progress.

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If I had known it was as simple as following a wiki- how to I would have had this mastered this years ago!

Learn how to be a good Christian in only a few simple steps here http://www.wikihow.com/Live-a-Good-Christian-Life

Or follow my struggle below. . .

I have only been going to church for maybe two years total, there was a six month period I attended in college and then when I moved to Denver I stopped until I found Bloom.

I have been going to Bloom Denver for a little over a year consistently now, and last January Ben and I dove head first into this whole, church member thing. We started volunteering on Sundays to set up or tear down the gathering space.( Our church meets in the basement of another church so we have to set up and tear down some aspects of our gathering every week.) We joined a house church ( what would be a small group or bible study at other churches) And became full fledged members of the church as some might say. We love our house church and attend every week to gather and share with those 10 people in someones home. We have been studying the book of Luke passage by passage, not skipping not a one! It has been some of the most faithful and thoughtful conversations I have ever had.

This has really been a time when I have began to open up to spirituality.. . But I keep coming back to what does that need to look like? We sometimes fall into “stereotypical” church conversations that just rub me wrong, things like

” Well my friend starting dating a non-christian guy and I just don’t know if I can condone that, she is just setting herself up for heartbreak.”

And

” I made a new friend and I just feel like it is my duty to show her Jesus, it is our duty as Christians to convert people to ensure they are saved.”

Well I don’t believe either of these things  so what am I not a good Christian? I actually disagree with these statements and they make me physically upset when i hear them, causing me to shut down within the conversation. So how do I merge  this. ..

What does being a good Christian mean?

We had a State of the Parish meeting at Bloom the other night, they talked about how the work that we do is God’s work. Whether you are a teacher, a nurse, a truck driver, a barista etc. whatever you do the job of the church is to make you a better outward person, do put the best you out there. Now I do not believe that this means putting our Christianity in the worlds face and saying Hey I am a better(insert profession here) because I love God. But simply being a better (insert profession here) you are showing the worlds God’s love.

I also do not believe that it is our duty as Christians to convert everyone, I am probably in the minority that believes we all believe in the same God, we just give him/her different names, All of those names praise him, and glorify him. We cannot let the people who manipulate his love dictate how we view the people who both call him by the name we know and by other names. It is not our job to tell people what to believe or what name to call God.

It is our job to love them. It is our job to look outside of the church, to take the love and power we gain from our relationship with God and the Church and turn that into love for the people around us.

I believe that this means taking my sphere of influence, my classroom, my family, my friends, my school and making a difference there if I love those people and pour all of God’s love into them through me, it does not matter what name I give it. That is how I demonstrate that I am a “good” Christian.

It does not come with a hand book, and a step by step how too. it certainly does not come from a wii-how- to. . there is no manual. there is not a single way to do it there is no right or wrong. There is a feeling!

No matter what you do, love it, do it well and pour that love into other people.

And if you are in the Denver area looking for a place that will support you in this journey, come check us out, we meet at Hope Community Church at 4 and 6 pm on Sundays. You can find us here on the web http://www.bloomchurchdenver.com/  I would love to see you all there!

❤ Kelsi Rae

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Dreams and Debt

Dreams

Do you have a dream job?

I don’t mean like I want to be a famous actress or a Kardashian ( is that really a job even?) But a job in your field that you could potentially actually obtain. Maybe the job that inspired you in the first place, the job that when you think of yourself, doing what you do, that is where you are doing it? (Does that even make sense) Well I hope everyone has a dream job, even if it seems impossible right now or far off from where you are in your career, but it is attainable. I believe that everyone needs to have positive mental imagery in order to keep moving forward in your personal and professional life.

Well I have a dream job, and my dream job i dangling right in front of me, I am a finalist in the interview process and I do my teaching demo next week ( the final step in the hiring process in my district) I worked in this school as an assistant teacher before I entered my masters program, I have been removed from the school in order to fulfill the requirements for my residency year and now that that is coming to a close, I am back applying for lead teaching positions. The position that I have envisioned myself doing all year, the thing that kept me going when I was at my lowest with mild/moderate education. I was not feeling fulfilled, I didn’t think I was truly making a difference and was unsure if I would last the entire residency year in the placement I had been given. I thought of this job, I thought of what it would be like if by some miracle the teacher left and I could work with my team in my school with those students. I got through the residency and now here I am applying for jobs, when I get the call, that job the one I had been dreaming of, is opening up. . it could really be a possibility for next year.

There is just one catch. . .

As a part of my residency program we are offered full tuition reimbursement if we meet certain qualifications after we finish. . one of which is to work in Title One school in this specific district. . my dream job is not at a title 1 school., not even close. . But the program I would be teaching is still one of the hardest to staff positions in the district, working with the students with the highest academic and social needs, but I will still not qualify for reimbursement. . So here I am stuck in a pickle.

If I was single I would say, done I will take the job, I was lucky enough to only take out a few thousand in loans and the district still offers loan reimbursement so those would still get paid for, I would have to pay my Mom back for the help she gave me. . and my mom is way less scary and interest ridden than the federal government.

But I am not single. . or at least I won’t be officially by the time my next job starts in August, I will be a married a married woman with a family of two to think about. So the pickle gets worse. . .

I know that my fiancé will do whatever he can to get me my dreams, just like he knows that I would do for him. So it is not about permission it is about commitment and compromise. We have to look at our finances and make sure that this is something we can reasonably afford to do. That on top of the new higher rent we will be paying and his existing student loan debt we can take on another large amount of debt. I have done the math for my single income and I believe I could do it.

But is that what is best for my family? Will that be the way that we are the most fulfilled in life and able to begin saving for our long future together?  Is it completely selfish of me to put this on my new husband to burden him with this debt so that I can what, be in a school I know? What if there is another school that I will do just as well at? Is it ok for me to ask for something this big? As much as I want this job, I want a happy marriage more, I want a life that we can say we are both fulfilled and please with the decisions that we have made as a couple. I want us to be able to tackle whatever comes our way together, and I don’t want to start our relationship off with resentment.

I don’t know if that would happen, he loves me more than money I know, And he wants me to be happy but I am just so torn on what is best. We are supposed to sit down and talk about it soon.

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But is this what American higher education has come down too. .Dreams and Debt?

Do they have to go together, even with this debt I will have less school loan debt than most of my friends that only have undergraduate degrees? How is that just in a world where a higher degrees is becoming more and more necessary that this is what it comes down too

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Neutral is not Neutral.

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Neutral, that is a good place to be right? When I am neutral I cannot be held accountable, I am not saying anything one way or another. I firmly believe in nothing.

I can claim neutral for anything right? I am neutral about that girls jeans, I mean they don’t affect my life one way or another, I am neutral about the weather today, I can put on a lite jacket, I am neutral about the presidential debate, I mean my little voice isn’t going to make a difference anyway. I am neutral about the racial gaps in education, I mean I am making the difference in my scope of influence but I cannot change the entire world. . .I am neutral. .  no one can fault me for that right?

WRONG! 

Someone told me recently . . .

Neutral is not Neutral; prior to this explicit statement I had been proud of my many neutral stances.

I had often shied away from an uncomfortable conversation or political stance in order to remain in the neutral group. This group could not be held accountable for the actions of the extremes right? This statement and discussion following truly made me see that a neutral stance does not separate me from the issue. Many times since this began I have found myself leaning into the uncomfortable conversations

I have found myself being the one to bring up the,” That could have sounded racist conversations,’ with friends. I have found myself, blogging about the challenges that are faced in urban schools; digging into how uncomfortable it is, becoming strongly not neutral.

The farther I find myself from neutral the more I find myself wanting to engage people in these discussions, find a way to make other educators other people see that none of us our neutral and that we cannot remain neutral if we want all of our students and children to succeed.

Part of this pull has made me realize that if you are neutral you are truly promoting the majority. Your neutrality does not affect the majority but the minority will see if as a strike of offense. If you do not stand up for something then you automatically say that you agree with the status quo.

This hit me with the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. If you sit back and say nothing, the majority does not care that you essentially don’t care about Black lives, because hell. . neither do they.

But those people standing up, fighting for equality for people of all races, they see your neutrality as equally offensive as the active participants against them, If you stand by and watch these people be abused and oppressed you are oppressing them, by not taking a stance. Nothing is neutral, you are not Switzerland, you cannot stay out of the uncomfortable places without making a statement.

If you simply stand by, you are not showing people that you are neutral, you are showing them that you are either not strong enough to take a stand or that you agree with the majority.

So find something that you believe in. . anything really and take a stand!

Push into the discomfort, it will make the world a better place!

❤ Kelsi Rae

A week in the life of my hair. . .

So its officially been one year and one month since my last relaxer.  I have to say the one year mark was a little underwhelming, I had been looking forward to it for months and then it came and went and nothing special happened. I did decide that I will undergo a no heat challenge until My birthday, which is March 10th so that will be a little over a month. So this week I saw the evolution of the wash-n go.

And now I will share it with you.

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Day one, wash n go. I washed my hair the night before, did a successful Pineapple and wore it down the next day. I sometimes forget how different I look without my glasses and no eye make up.

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I wore my curls for two days an then did a curlformer set! I love my curlformers, this set came out less defined since it was on dry hair but I loved it and I got the most compliments on this style throughout the week.

IMG_0757 IMG_0761 On Valentines Day Ben and I headed up to the Mountains

IMG_0766-1 That night I did two large flat twists to sleep in and took my hair down to this wonderful curly style that unfortunately it only lasted down for a few hours before I put it up into a bun.

IMG_0772However I think I am officially at arm pit length!! That was my first hair goal. . now on to bra strap length by my wedding August here we come!

Next week I am going to try a roller set, I haven’t done one in a few months so we will see how it goes!

Thats all for now! Hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day and have a great Presidents day weekend!

❤ Kelsi Rae

What can you teach Ms. Magisano?

This quarter I have been taking a culturally responsive pedagogy class, we talk a lot about the racial and economic achievement gap that is widespread throughout this country. We discuss growth mindset, and things like the school to prison pipeline. Over all this class talks about a lot of things that I would hope new educators coming into the field especially in urban settings would see as common sense, things like . . believing all my students can succeed, and identifying the value in having a multicultural classroom, engaging families of students from different backgrounds. And a big one is ensuring that you are nurturing the whole child it is true that sometimes my students come to school hungry, or unclean, they come to school off of four busses to get here, after waking up at 4 am to get their little sister ready for school. Sometimes it is true that one of my fourth grade boys is in charge of his household when his mom is at work until 10pm, he walks his 3 little siblings to and from school makes sure they get fed and to bed before taking care of any homework, , and we wonder why the homework doesn’t get done.IMG_0735

But most importantly, more important than all of these things combined, more important than all of the obstacles that face these children everyday are the things that these students can teach me.

They have so much knowledge that I just try to soak up, everyday I can learn something new from them and that is what gives me the fire to teach them as much academic knowledge as I can, so that they can go out into the world fully prepared to teach everyone what they know.

So this week I had my students do a project to tell me exactly this, what do they think they can teach me?

I know all of the wonderful things that they teach me everyday, I know that when they wanted to do their project in Spanish I learned just as much that day as they did. I know that when they are light up to tell me about the different ways they are so caring towards each other, the ways they show compassion and empathy, I learn a little bit more about the human race each time.

But what do they think they can teach me? Is it about their joy, their culture or family, do they realize I cannot speak Spanish as well as they do and I would love to learn? Do they know that I am an only child so understanding how to interact with siblings is something I have never had to learn?

So I gave them an open forum to tell me, they were able to write “What can I teach Ms.Magisano?” Color and decorate it and we are going to make a collage of all of the things that my children know. I believe that so many times teachers come into school believing this is a one way street, they do the teaching and the students do the learning, and so students get that feeling too. . . I want them to know that this is a two way street, we are working together in this journey.

Here are just a few oIMG_0737f their answers. ..

IMG_0735 IMG_0736 They did not think of any of these wonderful things that I cherish so much. But seeing how they think, they things that they value is equally as telling. I am a literacy teacher, so many of the responses were that they could help me with math. Lets be real, they probably could. And then there were some banks of knowledge I never would have guessed, I learned about the Freedom Tower in New  York, I learned how to change to oil on a motorcycle, from a 5th grader, Nice! And I learned some fun things too, like that Jupiter has it’s own rings and that I could use help with my hair braiding! It was one of my favorite experiences so far and I can not wait to see what else I learn this year and every year to come.

Take the time to listen to children, so often they are absorbing all of our knowledge sometimes we should simply sit back and let them teach us something, the world will one day be in their hands and it is amazing how much they already know about it.

My life with the Editor Ben

So my wonderful fiancè is going to share his take on the world with us!  Check him out at

https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/83004854/

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He is a video editor, ok that is not the correct term, but I can rarely understand what he does. And he gets to spend his days working at coffee shops and having mid day meetings at the Denver Cat Cafe. Cats and Coffee, I don’t know how I feel about it, but check it out!  ( http://www.denvercatco.com/) He also gets to travel the country and more recently the world in order to film different promotions and videos for clients. . .

I am making this job sound very glamorous, and I guess from the teacher perspective it is he gets to do all of this AND make way more money than I do. . NOT FAIR!

But he also has to work any hours of the day that the client needs, he is pretty much always on call, even our on vacations and date nights. Setting aside time for us means letting emails pile up and the annoying ding ding sound on his phone as we eat.

Being in a relationship with him means, spending my Friday night, Saturday morning and occasionally Sunday afternoons at the coffee shop with him so that he can meet the deadline. It is being happy to go to sleep alone while he finishes the last 30 seconds of animation on the project that has to be done by 6 am.

And I love all of this. . It is something that has become a part of our relationship, it is like his work is the third wheel on all of our dates and I am happy to have it their, given i probably talk about my students just as much as he talks about his work, so maybe there are really four wheels at every date. Well Hey with four wheels we have a car and we are cruising

He accepts my constant concern for my students even when it is a Saturday night and we are at a bar, and I accept his never ending work day and ever-changing schedule. Over the next 40 years or so we will perfect this system and it will be like we each have two careers and three loves, each other and our respective careers!

I think that this is what makes us work, our eyes both light up when we talk about the things that we are passionate about and we both love that fire in each other.

So to wrap this up with my real purpose. . .Ben made a blog!!! We should all read it and hear the wonderful things he has to say. . yes I may be biased so you better check it out yourself!

Ben’s blog: https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/83004854/

Let’s talk about labeling people thick girls. . .

Urban dictionary

1. thick
nice ass, nice legs, not skinny, with meat on your bones. thickness is the shit.
Damn that girl is thick yo!
by Bryant May 11, 2002

2. Thick
A woman with a perfect body, filled-in in places that are, by nature, designed to attract the opposite sex, such as the thighs, the hips, the breasts, and the most lovely part of all, the booty.

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I have never considered myself fat,  I have always had a booty and ever since I stopped playing competitive volleyball by boobs just seem to be growing exponentially. But despite the doctor telling me that according to my BMI I am obese, I have never felt fat or considered myself hugely overweight, I would never have said that body image or self consciousness has been an issue for me. . Until this year.

I started grad school in June, and by October I had gained 15 pounds, I only gained 20 pounds all of the four years I was in undergrad so apparently the Freshman 15 is really the graduate student 15. . and it killed me. I would look in the mirror and feel like I didn’t look as good in my clothes, they all of a sudden hung it different places and clung to all the wrong places. And getting on the scale. . FORGET IT! I avoided that bad boy like it was the plague.

No matter how many times Ben would tell me I was beautiful or that I looked good in an outfit, there was always a feeling in the back of my mind that it wasn’t true, That he wold have preferred me 15 pounds lighter like I was when we started dating. And then we got engaged and I thought I am gonna have BACK fat. and you know. . .

You can’t suck in back fat. so

So there I was searching for any way that I could loose this weight while maintaining my grad school/teaching/wedding planning life style. . I have started cooking clean eating meals during the week and eating 5 small meals a day. And I have lost 7 pounds since the new year. It feels good but I still don’t feel great

Then enters this Thick girl  thing. . . I have been boxing for a little over a year now and have become pretty comfortable with my two male boxing coaches, but in the last maybe month they have both referred to me as a Thick or big girl at different times.

One time they were telling another girl that if she was fighting me, I was a thick girl and she would have to ensure that I didn’t get a hit on her because I could lay her out.

The second time was last night and Ryan my coach, First started out with “You look really good, you can tell you have been loosing weight, keep doing what you are doing and by the wedding you will look great.” Then continued it with ” It’s hard because you are a big girl.” . . . EXCUSE ME!

What does that mean?

Now I don’t think that either one of them was meaning this in a negative way? They both genuinely meant it in a nice way. But as a woman that has been struggling with self esteem lately, I am unsure how I feel about these statements.

So I headed over to google to figure out what they exactly mean by calling me thick? All of the definitions are nice and one even is quoting as saying, ” The perfect body.” But something about this word just rubs me wrong. Now its not like I am going to hold this against them or take it too hard, but why should by body type be dictated by thick or thin standards.

Why can’t we just say, ” you look nice today.” or ” you are looking really good, keep it up.” Without associating these with a size difference. It doesn’t matter if you are a size 0 or a size 16, you are not your size. So why does making, “Thick” a good thing make it ok. A girl that is a size 0 may be struggling with her body image just like the rest of us and associating her value with the term thin would just make it worse.

Now some girls may take this as the utmost compliment, I don’t know. But I am not one of them. And if we are trying to live in this body positive culture I think that It is time to stop labeling women, positive or negative by the size of their body.

i am not a thick girl.

I am Kelsi, size 12. And I will look fabulous on my wedding day!