Happy…A 2nd Grade Version

I am incredibly grateful and honored for the gift of being able to spend the majority of my day with the most amazing 7 & 8 yr olds (my second grade students) I know.

In addition, I am beyond thankful for all the parents who have trusted me with their most precious creations.

I put together the following video of my second graders and all the other second graders at my school to share the treasure of their jubilance and love for life…Enjoy!

I Wake In Gratitude

 

My eyes are soaked in the beauty, sorrow, resiliency, history and power of Dinétah. Take the time to get to know what my eyes see and you will see that each day I wake in gratitude,

My heart is molded with the love, attention, strength, wisdom, patience and tenderness of my ancestors. Take the time to get to know what my heart feels and you will feel that each day I wake in gratitude.

The swirls in my fingertips and in my toes bind me to my place, to Dinétah. Take the time to get to know my connection to the land and you will know that each day I wake in gratitude.

I was home this weekend. I was in the place of my ancestors, my elders, my grandparents, my parents, my brothers and sisters. I was in the one place that will always recognize me.

Each step on my run this weekend made me more grateful for forgiveness, trust, kindness, truth, peace, joy, love and strengthened my connection/respect to the land.

I wake in gratitude,
-J

Shiprock Marathon & Half Marathon – 2014 – my hometown, my place. I finished in 2:15 yéégó!

The people of the Navajo Nation Welcome You - Shiprock Marathon & Half Marathon

The people of the Navajo Nation Welcome You – Shiprock Marathon & Half Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tse'Bit'ai (Rock with wings)

Tse’Bit’ai (Rock with wings)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posing with my medal

Posing with my medal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cousins

Cousins

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-race stretch

Pre-race stretch

 

My post race binge. Trying to decide between burgers at Shiprock's Chat & Chew

My post race binge. Trying to decide between burgers at Shiprock’s Chat & Chew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Brave. Be Strong. Be Happy. Be Free. Be You. Be About Now.

I had the first of three races in seven days yesterday. That 10k was the most challenging yet of all the races I’ve run lately. As I was traversing through the lush, rolling hills on the vineyards dirt roads (some sections with loose dirt) and trails I couldn’t help but think about how priceless being yourself is. There are times in my life I failed majorly to listen to my inner voice, and allowed the opinions and perspectives of others to guide my thoughts and actions. More than ever I am grateful to have had those experiences. Each one has made me realize the past is not today, it will never be. I am not perfect (I’ve never claimed to be). I have made cowardly, shameful, hurtful, purely selfish choices. I am here, now, and I am not those mistakes. I am not my struggles.

Being yourself is worth it. I love being busy loving those people who love me and allowing that love to invade my heart and mind. I am truly grateful for the tender, patient way I am loved by the people in my life. They have loved me even when I felt I wasn’t very loveable.

I love who I am. I love the balance and peace being honest, truthful and fearless has given me. I love where I come from. I love the way I think. I love the way I trust. I love the way I love. I love the now. I know who I am. *BIG smile*

With love, gratitude, joy and deep respect,

-J

Shoe check - these babies have got to get me through another 10k & Half-Marathon back to back next weekend.

Shoe check – these babies have to get me through another 10k & Half-Marathon back to back next weekend.

 

Fueled by the power, love, joy & kindness of a peaceful heart.

Fueled by the power, love, joy & kindness of a peaceful heart.

 

Run Through the Vineyards - April 26, 2014 (preparing to run not cheer)

Run Through the Vineyards – April 26, 2014 (preparing to run not cheer)

Three Words, Eight Letters

Grief is a solitary journey. No one but you knows how great the hurt is. No one but you can know the gaping hole left in your life when someone you know has died. And no one but you can mourn the silence that was once filled with laughter and song. It is the nature of love and death to touch every person in a totally unique way  -Unknown

Nicole's hand and mine

The last time I ever held & felt the warmth of your hands.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018110441_westbrook01m.html

We talk. Marsha, mom, grandma, Camiel, Hannah and I, we all talk. We talk about you. We cry. We laugh. But most of the time it is our own private journey with grief. With grief? Yes…with grief. It, grief is its own being. It comes when you least expect it. It comes completely uninvited. At first, it dragged me everywhere. I had lost all control to it. It was completely unrelenting. With a tight grasp it began to suck away the energy, the will, the love, the trust and the ability to live in each new day. Its pain was sharp and ever-present.

Even after all that, grief, did not kill me. It always left just enough light, enough life and strength to live each day. Grief has always left enough for me to find balance and open my eyes. Then one day, something strange happened. I was okay. I felt strong. I felt clear, alive, open, and at peace. I discovered grief was not trying to kill me, it is resilience. Grief has made me realize how resilient I can be. On this two-year anniversary of your death I am astounded by my resilence. I’ve learned I can live, love, give, trust and be vulnerable again.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not honor you. You are in my thoughts. You are in my smiles. You are in my laughter. You are in the warm touch of my hands. You are in the softness of my lips on a tender cheek. You are in the deep, tight embrace of each hug. You are in every whisper that contains those profoundly tender three words, eight letters…I Love You.

– Always Your Auntie

 

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Full of smiles, love, peace, & joy – April 23, 2014

 

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Going for a run – April 14, 2014 (Three races in seven days)

Forgiveness. Hope.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Learning and loving everything about myself.

What does it mean to love yourself? To truly love who you are? Not just self acceptance, but truly loving the person you are. Meaning loving the way you think, loving the way you respond in stressful situations, loving the thoughts you have daily, loving the actions you take through your day, through out your life. I can now say I honestly, without a doubt, with no fear, love myself. I love who I am! With all the challenges, heartache, death, betrayal, rejection, struggle, pain – I am growing, I have grown. I’ve grown and I’ve learned to cherish life, each minute, each hour, each new day. I wouldn’t change a thing. I take that back…I would give anything to have my Nicole back. That is the truth. Her death and every challenge I’ve faced has made me realize how precious love, respect, trust, commitment, responsibility and knowledge are.

For years I blamed the doctor.

For years I blamed the man I was married to.

I made myself believe that if only, if only I had a doctor who cared. If only he hadn’t insisted. If only he had offered an alternative.  If only I wasn’t ashamed of who I was and where I came from.

I made myself believe that if only I had a marriage that was void of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse.

If only. If only. If only…

When I stopped blaming the doctor and an abusive partner, I started to blame myself. Afterall, I was the only person who could have stopped it all. I was the only person who could have, should have said no. But I didn’t and for years I carried a secret. I carried guilt. I carried shame. I carried pain. I carried a tremendous sense of unworthiness. I carried everything but the one thing I should have and I hated myself for it.

I was pregnant. I found myself in crisis 13 years ago. I was in an abusive, traumatic relationship with the man in my life at the time and I was pregnant for the fifth time. At the time, I was trying to survive. I was trying to hold things together for my 2yr old, my 3yr old, my 7yr old and my 11yr old. How was I pregnant, again? Why? How could we escape now? How can we escape now? All questions I kept asking over and over in my head. I had no family where we lived. I had no friends who I could confide in. I was alone and I had no hope. I made two decisions.

I made it through that time with my four children I thought, in a healthy, strong way. It is only until recently that I’ve realized I’ve never forgiven myself for doing what I did all those years ago. I had failed to truly acknowledge that time in my life. I had buried that time, my actions, and my pain away and never spoke about it. I’ve told one person. One person out of all the people I know. One person knows the entire story beside myself. Even after finally telling someone I still felt unworthy. I still felt that I truly did not deserve goodness, kindness, peace, joy and love.

These last several months I have in a completely genuine, vulnerable way opened up and allowed pain to run its course. I carry no more secrets. I have faced my fears. I have recognized and acknowledged the guilt, shame and hate I’ve had toward myself. I have accepted. I have accepted what I did. With that acceptance hope has begun to flood the void I’ve felt for so long. And there is more…Hope is not alone. There is acceptance. There is desire. There is committment. There is determination. There is motivation. There is action. There is transformation. There is forgiveness. There is chance.

It has taken me more than 13 years to truly learn to love myself. I have and I continue to learn to love myself. I’ve forgiven myself. There is a sense of peace. A sense of balance. There is hope. There is love. Love. Love. Love.

If you are in the midst of a violent marriage, violent relationship and you find yourself pregnant. Know there is hope. Whatever your decision – if you decide to end the pregnancy. If you agree to have yourself sterilized. If you decide to carry your baby full term and keep her/him. If you opt to have your baby adopted. Whatever you decide, KNOW, please KNOW there is always hope and you are valuable, you are good and you deserve love. You are not alone. GAWD, it feels like it. Trust me, I know the feeling but you are not alone. You can ask for help. You do not have to be ashamed.

I am extremely grateful for the following doctors. They have helped me to see endless possibilities. Knowing that the wife of a friend possibly works for one of these doctors was the kindling that reignited my hope and has led to an understanding that whatever the future may hold I am at peace. I have four beautiful, amazingly kind, good-hearted children now ages 15, 16, 20 and 24 and if the future holds a fifth or a sixth I am honored & blessed, and if not, well I am grateful for the chance, for the hope and for forgiveness…balance and peace, always.

Wishing you all a beautiful NEW YEAR filled with new beginnings, endless possibilities, love, joy, peace, forgiveness and hope…

A forever grateful mom,

-J

Hope not for changing the past, but for the future.

Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center – Dr. Charles W. Monteith & Dr. Gary S. Berger  – North Carolina

Center 4 Tubal Reversal – Dr. Eliran Mor – Southern California

Solidarity In Gratitude Elsipogtog First Nation

This video is meant to be a source of support for the Mi’kmaq people of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada as they resist the illegal occupation of their land and contamination/theft of their natural resources. The drawings and expressions of gratitude by my second grade students evolved from weeks of discussions and lessons that revolved around the natural environment, land, water, Indigenous struggles, issues in our communities and around the world that demonstrate a need for justice. My hope is that the ability to act and recognize the dignity of every human being and the land/water is with my 7yr old second graders for their entire lives. May they forever have compassion and be passionate for this beautiful land (which just does not represent land alone but a way of life, a language, a way of being, a people) and those who are willing to sacrifice their freedom and life defending it.

Solidarity in gratitude,

-J

Joyce 12/2013

Joyce 12/2013

This video features the song ‘They Say’ (featuring Wab Kinew) by Leonard Sumner who graciously gave me permission to use it for this purpose.

We Stand With Elsipogtog via Indigenous Nationhood Movement 

The often ignored facts about Elsipogtog by Chelsea Vowel via Toronto Star

After court loss, Elsipogtog braces for SWN’s return by Jorge Barrera via APTN National News

Crisis In Elsipogtog via Submedia tv 

Elsipogtog anti-fracking struggle: Where to go from here? via Warrior Publications