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

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

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.

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!

Color Blind or Color Brave?

I grew up in a small town, and by small I mean white, and by white I mean, known for its white supremacy church and ideology.

I grew up knowing all of the minority members of my community on one hand, and by that I mean 2. Me and a boy in my grade and we were both the only black children of white single mothers, didn’t exactly scream cultural pride. I grew up trying to mute my association with the Black community, a community I admittedly knew very little about. This was not the fault of my mother, who helped me with all my self driven research projects, into the old negro baseball teams and deciding at age 13 that I was going to go to a historically black college which died as I got into high school and realized all of the historically Black colleges were states away.  She did all of my research with me and appreciated all of my curiosity, but she just did not have any personal knowledge, so I fell farther and farther from my black roots. I was one of 9 out of 1900 black students in my high school, and in college the only black students I knew either played football or basketball, And at this point I was already not comfortable enough around people that “looked like me” to approach any of them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I dated black guys, the majority of guys I dated in college were black, but my real long term relationships have always been with white guys, as is my future husband. I can remember multiple occasions when the different guys I would date told me that they liked, or in some cases disliked the fact that I acted like a white girl. So thats what I became, the white black girl. If anyone even knows what that means? Well I do, I knew exactly what people would mean when they say it, and I internalized it. I became more nervous to enter a room of black people and disappoint them, than to be the only black person in the room.

So now I have entered a grad program that repeatedly tells us about being culturally responsive and we look and look at data and discrimination, and the disporpotionality of minorities in drop out rates, and the school to prison pipeline and suspensions. And now I am here, wanting to be color brace.

So what does this mean to me? I need to embrace the color of my skin I need to be the person that will stand up for what I believe in. I don’t want to hide behind the “i don’t know” response.  I don’t want to live in the “white black girl” stereotype. I have made changes in my life to do these with the people around me, when I am offended by an off hand comment I now call people out on it, I hope to educate people about how things are perceived and not accuse or castrate people.

I need to think about how I am going to represent myself in order to create value in the diversity for my students, and for the people in my community at large. I don’t think being color brave means saying everyone is the same, I think it means, everyone is different, and that is wonderful.

When I think being color brave I can remember being in high school reading Huckleberry Finn, as of course, the only member of the black community in English class, being asked in front of the entire class why does the word Nigger still offend black people? The class continued to tell me that, we needed to just get over it because it doesn’t mean anything and it hasn’t in like 100 years. At the time being a 16 year old girl I curled into myself, I muted the feelings that were coming up until I ran into the hallway, found a corner, and just cried. At the time I could not pinpoint the feeling I did not know what was happening but those assumptions, those kind of conversations should never happen in a classroom.

One person is not the representation of a race, one person is a representation of themselves. So to be Color Brace I will stand up for my students, I will ensure that they don’t have to feel that, at least in my class and that they are prepared to have those conversations when people, I will teach my students to see color, to embrace color and to embrace people. And if that is my contribution to the evolution of society if I can bring students into the world that understand the differences people bring and why we should embrace color and change then I will be happy.

I will create a small piece of society that is not afraid to talk about race, that is not afraid to embrace their identity, If I can make sure that one person does not ever mute their identity like I did, then I will have succeeded, I will be brave!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”-Socrates.  “The examined life is painful.”

❤ Kelsi Rae

The Evolution of the Breakdown

I had a breakdown, a huge crying, incomprehensible speech, blubbering breakdown, and the best part was I had no idea it was coming.

I am not a huge cryer, I have noticed that recently it has become more apparent in my life, when I am mad or upset a few tears will slip from one eye or another but never a huge issue. Even when Ben and I fight it is never a huge deal, I will let a few tears fall quietly and we both continue fighting and no one really has to address these tiny tears.

Well the breakdown started Saturday night, I had class all day on Saturday and then Ben and I went out to a great dinner where we tasted three different bourbons, we had a drink with egg whites in it, and tasted oysters (for the first time for me). It was a wonderful celebration of just being alive and being in love. We got home and began stuffing our save the dates, The first big act to let other people know, Hey we are getting married and we would love to have you there. It should have been a great night, but we both started snapping at each other, and it ended with me hiding behind the still up and lit christmas tree letting a few tears fall as I finished writing the return addresses on the last of the save the dates.

As we headed to bed you could feel the tension between us, but I don’t think either one of us really had any idea why we were fighting. We fought about nothing for like 20 minutes when I got up to leave, he tried one last time to prod at my hard shell, “Kelsi what is wrong.”

And I lost it, sobs erupted and I sat on the edge of my future bed crying harder than I can ever remember crying. I simply kept repeating, “I don’t know and I am sorry” over and over. Ben got out of bed, came and sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed with me and wrapped us both in a blanket. As I sobbed and mumbled speech even I couldn’t understand, he repeated ” It’s going to be ok.” As many times as I could say “I’m sorry.” He sat through my blubber and held me tighter the harder I sobbed. All the while reminding me that we would work through it together, that I was never alone in this. And after what seemed like an eternity of tears, when I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to cry again, we climbed back into bed and he told me that he would choose me everyday no matter what.

I still couldn’t tell you what the root cause of this breakdown was, or really how it cleansed my soul. But I can tell you that just letting someone know that I need help, that maybe Grad school, and planning and wedding, and working full time isn’t as easy as I continue to tell myself that it is was such a freeing experience. And I can tell you that I made the best decision of my life, by marrying this man.

I hate to blame my fatherless past for many things in my life, I don’t want to fall into that stereotype of women. But sometimes I have to own up and admit that it did have an impact on my way of viewing the world and this is one of those times. I don’t think I have ever cried in front of a man in that way. I don’t think I have ever felt that they would hold me in that way and still view me as the women they loved and wanted in their lives. I have always held the assumption that if the man that was supposed to love me unconditionally couldn’t live up to that, no one ever would. Now that is not to say that my mom wasn’t the best mother and father she could be, I never wanted for anything that I needed and she made sure I had a life where I could honestly say that my father wasn’t missed too much. But she was only one person and it is unrealistic to expect her to be two. However I think I can officially say that not everything you grow up believing about men, women or the world will hold true. I am so happy that this particular thing wasn’t true.

Even though I still have all of those things to balance, and I still strive to be perfect, to manage all of these things, stress- free. Maybe that is not realistic and being able to hold onto the fact that when I can’t do it anymore, when my perfection falters and my insecurities show,I won’t be alone is the more reassuring thing I have in my life.

In 7 months I will marry this man and hopefully some day he will ensure that our daughter never has these same insecurities because she will grow up knowing that no matter what two people will love her unconditionally.

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What Say Yes to the Dress doesn’t tell you. . .

Dress Say

For years I have been obsessed with Say yes to the dress, I mean who doesn’t love a 20 minute episode where you get to watch women try on 10,000 dollar dresses, where Mom and Dad just fork over whatever dollar amount it will take to make their little girl happy. I am pretty sure that I never saw a dress budget less than 2,000 dollars on that show, and whenever a girl said her budget was 2,500 dollars you could see the consultants internal eye roll and sigh as she tries to think of what dresses they have that will fit within that teeny tiny budget.

But even so I dreamed of a Randy, of someone that would magically find the dress that was just built for my body, a dress I never would have picked out for myself but sucked in all the right places and pushed out the other one. I dreamed that when my budget conscious, thrift store loving Mom saw me in this one of a kind gown she would fall in love and throw the budget out the window so that I could have this perfect thing,( Now that might have been a little ambitious).

I dreamed of the tears and screams of joy that would come from me, my mom, my bridesmaids and probably the stylist, because the dress was just that perfect. That one moment where you look in the mirror and never want to get out of that dress again in your life. . . (Damn that would have been a lot of tears.)

But I also dreamed that I would probably not fit into any of the dresses on the rack, because well I am a size 12 ( the US average by the way) but wedding dresses just run so small that I would probably be a size 16, and no one would carry that on the rack, only you know those size 6 dresses, that I haven’t fit into since 8th grade. Because again my beloved Say Yes to the Dress taught me well. . what to expect for size.

I imagined that I would have to try on many many dresses, that I would fill up my 2 hour appointment and probably walk away empty handed, that I would need to go to multiple shops and see every option before I would know for sure, before I would get that feeling.

Well it didn’t exactly go like that. . .

Let’s start with the things that did go like my dream, when I walked in to the store my mom did throw out the budget. Meaning that when asked for a budget she looked at me, and said “Well what do you want to see?” And even after that when I gave the stylist a budget she followed up with, “Well if it is perfect and it is a little more than that, I still want to see it.” This from my mom that has never worn a dress a day in her life, and is going to wear a pant suit at my wedding.  From my mom who loves thrift stores where pay 1.50 per pound and whose entire wardrobe was  Thrift Store chic before Macklemore made it cool. She wanted to see the 500-600 dollar dresses.

I also was put into some dresses that I would have never picked out for myself, Some of them pushed in all the right places and pushed out the others. While others just let everything hang in ALL the wrong ways. You know that saying a 2 lb sausage in a 1 lb casing, . . well that was me in some of this professional stylists choices.

I also did have a Randy, and by that I mean I was able to work with a male stylist, he wasn’t over the top excited about what he was doing. He wasn’t in my face about anything and he didn’t try to hard to push his agenda of what he thought I would look good in. I preferred all of this!

Now what didn’t go like my dream . . .

One a budget of 500- 600 dollars was more than enough for the dress of my dreams. I did not try on a dress that was more than 100 dollars over my 500 dollar budget and they were all beautiful. (I picked out a 549.00 dollar dress)

I did not need to be fit into a magical dress that I would have never picked out for myself. I did not need to “think outside of my comfort zone” and I wasn’t too one track minded. I know my body and it looked amazing in exactly what I wanted. I patiently tried on the dresses that were nothing like what I came in wanting. I tried on the tule, the mermaid style, the beads and the ballgowns. . and even liked some of them more than I imagined I would. But none of them were for me. When my bridesmaids walked up with my dress in hand it was exactly what I had told them I wanted on the ride over. They listened to me and picked out my dream dress, fit to all my specific qualifications. ( And contrary to Mr. Randy, bridesmaids, moms, sisters make great shoppers off the rack, they know you way better than a stylist anyway).

I also fit comfortably into almost every dress we tried on. They have rack sizes that range from 0 ( which was the size of the girl standing next to me) to my lovely 12 and I tried on a 14 for good measure. I also was a size 12 in my wedding dress, just like the pants I wore into the salon. There was no up-sizing in any of the gowns I tried on. So don’t be scared of the sizing you will look gorgeous.

And most of all. . There were ZERO tears. I walked out in the dress and took a deep breath in. It was gorgeous, but not tear evoking. My mom, and my bridesmaids loved it, It complimented my body well, it was wonderful. And then it hit me this was only like the 7th dress I tried on. . this couldn’t be it. It was too easy.

So I walked around, made sure I could go up and down stairs and sit comfortably. I made sure that the train would look good with my shoes an d that I wasn’t going to be worried about my boobs all day. I had the alterations lady come to the bustle for me. And I added a sash for a burst of my colors. And still when everyone else told me it was the one, I was nervous that it was too easy.

So like that I entered the dressing room, removed the dress and the terrible corset of an undergarments that you have to wear with them and stood with my wonderful maid of honor and asked her if it was too easy. She has known me for 10 years and told me that ” You are the most sure of yourself person I know, it wasn’t too easy, this is just you.”

And in that moment, I knew. . this was my dress. So I said yes to the dress just like that, no frills, no tears, no screams. It was my dress and I can’t wait to get married to my best friend in it. It didn’t need to look like a neatly packed 20 minute episode of Say Yes to the Dress to be perfect. It was perfect just for me. .

❤ Kelsi Rae

What 2014 taught me . . .

Are you ready for one of those life lessons you can learn in a year posts? Well I hope so, because it is coming for ya!

1) I can make a difference where I am right now. . . watching the struggle the minority communities are going through right now makes me want to change the world. I need to go out and save the world from itself, all alone right? Well that was my first thought, but then as I thought about it some more. I maybe can’t change the entire world from my facebook account but I can change the lives of my students. They are the future of our country and if I can impact the way that they view themselves and the world then my reach will be much bigger than it could be from behind my computer screen. I have learned that the behind the computer screen ” activism” ( which is what I am doing right now, right?) just seems to make people more angry, but if I can influence my students, and make them believe that they are smart, strong, beautiful and worthy. If I can educate both my white and my minority students about what type of place I hope the world will be one day they can make a much bigger difference than I can. And if that is the impact I make on the world, I will be forever proud of that.

2) I have learned that no matter what you prioritize in your life, that becomes obvious in your actions. When I entered grad school this year I was told over and over again that this would destroy my relationships with friends, family, but most importantly with my then boyfriend Ben. I was determined to never let this happen, I was going to do what they said was impossible, balance them both. And I did it! Throughout the first half of grad school, I missed the Friday happy hours, and the halloween parties in order to have a weekly date night and we made it work. The time we could take together we did it whether that was just making dinner and watching TV or hitting a coffee shop on Saturday so that we could both get our work done., and in that time we have gotten engaged, and began planning our wedding so it must be working.

3) I have learned that you must find the people that will match your effort, and hold onto them tight! I have only about 6 true friends at this point and that is all I need. Whether they are 1000 miles away or 2 minutes away you have to know who is worth it, and more importantly who is not worth it.

4) I have learned that planning a wedding does not have to be as stressful as everyone says that it is. I started planning my wedding during my 4th month of grad school. Another feet people kept telling me couldn’t be done. I learned quickly that tuning out other peoples opinions when they are not needed is the key. I figured out what I wanted and made it happen. Everyone tells me about the most stressful months of their lives, and I will tell you if I get there. But the key is too enjoy it. This is ONE day of your life,you have to focus on what is more important, the life you are going to build with your husband.

5) Love is a choice, everyday! This year my fiancé watched one of the couples he looked up to growing up, get a divorce. They made their strife and frustrations very public on facebook and this made it hard for him as we enter into our marriage.Growing up in a single parent household I never thought that love was enough, you can love someone with your whole heart, and yet that could not work out. That is something my mom deals with to this day, watching the man you love disappear from your life. It was tough watching my fiance learn this lesson, but  I think that it will be something that helps us during the hard years of our marriage. Knowing that everyday we have to choose this love, we have to choose “Us” everyday.

6) A new years resolution is just an everyday resolution with an easy date to remember. You have the choice to change everyday. You can make yourself a better person any day of the year. Don’t be boxed in by the January 1st fresh start. If in 2 months you need a fresh start you take one then. You are always making choices about your life, make sure you are making choices you would be proud of.

I hope that 2014 has taught you things you will carry into 2015. Welcome to the year from Back to the Future. Make the most of it.

❤ Kelsi Rae

An open letter to my last name. . .

Magisano, I have always been a Magisano, I have always been unique, a name people have to stop and say “Wait how do you spell that?” Or will look at me a black girl and say, wait are you Italian?  So confused by the conflicting look of the girl standing in front of the them and the last name they are being forced to pronounce. Why yes I am, and proud of it. But soon I will no longer be unique, I will know longer be the only one in my family in my generation, I have to get ready to share my last name with many. . And I have never been super great at sharing . . . So what happens to my last name?

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This topic came up when my future mother- in-law made us those adorable ornaments for our tree, some of them have our initials, well my future initials, B +K, H. She mentioned to me that she wasn’t sure if I was taking his last name. Which I am, because it is very important to my fiancé, and I will be proud to be the Mrs. that idea makes me so excited to be a Mrs. and to share in his last name.I want nothing more than to be connected to him in that way. We will be a part of our own little family and I want everyone to know that I was lucky enough to find the love of my life, and that he loves me in return.  But I am still grieving about my name, that is normal right?

So then last week I came up with the idea, I will just move my last name to be a second middle name, that way I will be a complete version of myself, I will have my new me combined with the girl I have been for the last 23 years, the person I grew up to be, independently before I was a half to our wonderful whole. And also be the grown up woman that I am becoming with marriage. As I start a family, I get to bring in this new part of me, a woman that is both connected to my tiny family made of 2 ( At least within 1000 miles). and connected to the large 25+ person family that all live within a 10 mile radius of each other, that is my fiancè’s family. I get to grow up, and yet not loose the self conscious, adolescent, fatherless, mixed race girl in an all white family Kelsi that I have always been. As that girl becomes a wife, and eventually a mother, all of those aspects should still be a part of me, and to me that means holding onto my last name in someway.

I shared this news with my mom over Christmas, thinking it would make her happy, she has been very upset about my last name disappearing. I am the only member of my generation of our family, I have no cousins. So when I become a Mrs. H, there will be no more M. on our side. However my excitement was not shared by my mom, the reaction was simply, you can do that if you want, but don’t hyphenate your last name that will just be way to long. Well, not the reaction I was wanting, but I think somewhere underneath she was excited, I mean it did take her a month to come around to the idea of me getting married, so I guess we will check back in a month and see if the excitement level has changed.

So then I started looking into the process of changing my name, and discovered that in 2008 Colorado passed a law that you cannot change your middle name, which would completely derail this plan that I have created. . luckily enough newly married women were upset that they changed the law back within 3 weeks. . . Crisis averted.

I have found myself wondering if this grieving process is normal? Do I have an strange attachment to my last name? Am I the only one that feels like my mom created a beautiful combination of sounds with my name, and now I am unsure if it will sound as sweet with an attachment at the end?

I guess I will have to see how the long name I will have in 8 months will sound rolling off the tongue. . luckily my new last name will be much easier for my students to remember. . .

Hope everyone has a wonderful last few days of 2014, it is a freezing end to the year here I welcome 2015 with open arms, on to the next exciting year, I graduate grad school, and get to become a wife. . how wonderful is that.

Remember all the good times and bad of 2014 and then get ready for the new year. .

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Photo Friday 2. . . I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

You know you are going natural when you get excited that your hair is getting bigger as opposed to longer.

This week I tried my second curl former set on dry hair, and I think that is the way to go for me. It lets me retain some of my length and over night I was able to achieve the definition of curl that I wanted.

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As you all know this week was Christmas, we headed to my future in-laws for the week. I had hoped to maintain this set over the week, but unfortunately even with my newly bought just for this occasion satin bonnet ( I forgot my trusted satin pillowcase at home) The curls fell by the third day and I was left putting my hair into its usual bun. I tried a flat twist out overnight on christmas and the results were fabulous. So maybe that is the key to maintaining my curl former sets. . a flat twist after over night.

I also was overly excited that my hair is now long enough to do one continuous twist all the way around my head. IMG_0341

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Results of the flat twist.

Now for some photos of my week. As a teacher I got off of work last Friday and will stay off until the 5th of January. YAY! So all of the outings must happen in these two weeks. They started with a roommate lunch date and a trip to zoo lights to wish my friends who are moving to Zambia fare-well.
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Now for my favorite present from christmas.. . given we have not had Christmas with my mom yet. . marriage is all about compromise right? But so far my favorite present are these ornaments from my future mother-in-law. She made us ornaments with pictures of us throughout our relationship and some with our initials K B H. H for my soon to be last name. They are so thoughtful and sweet, I love it.
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I hope your Christmas was blessed with happiness, family and friends and good hair. As a girl going natural I know my wish is always for good hair, I bet some of you can relate.
This is my favorite season of the year, because even if you do not celebrate Christmas there seems to be a cheer in the air.

Now onto thinking about what to do with my hair for new years eve. . . . any suggestions. . .

Love your do and grow that fro. .
❤ Kelsi Rae