Sunday, November 29, 2015

The power of passion...#RCTID

Let's just start this out with the fact that I love it. Although I didn't play as a youth, I began playing as an adult and totally found a niche. Although I don't play anymore, I love to watch it.

Today, the Portland Timbers won the Western Conference and are on to the MLS Cup. This is the big one, the one for all the bragging rights. Next Sunday, they fly to Columbus, Ohio and win their first championship.

There have been many times during the season where this did not seem possible...many times when we were barely at the redline or above the redline, but then something happened. Maybe it was the third kits, the retro green and gold that I fell in love with the first time I saw them, maybe it was the Timbers Army, the fan base that is so incredible in Portland that people talk about them around the world, or maybe it was that the Timbers are just a second half of the season team, but I believe that it is more than's passion and desire.

When you want something, really want it, and create a space in your universe that it is already true, then it will happen. You talk into your future as if it is already real...we do this exercise during Challenge Day, helping students see their future as a viable thing that they just haven't arrived at yet.

That is what happened with the Timbers...thousands of fans, and the players themselves, believed...believed that at the end of the season, they would be holding the Cup over their heads, champions.

That is how life needs to be...believing what you want to have and making it true. By speaking into your future, saying what it is that you see, you can make it happen. This is what the Timbers are teaching me this reach out and take what you want, don't sit back and wait, playing the easy game isn't the one worth playing, finally, never stop believing, never lose your passion...keep the fire alive...because that is what makes it all worth it...holding your championship cup over your head and declaring, "I did it!"

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Three gates...

This last few weeks I have really been focusing on saying what I feel and what I believe. I have been working to be more open and honest with myself and my friends. My hope is that a time will come when openness and honesty will be available in all areas of my life.

Part of this is being able to regulate not only my thoughts but what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes this can be a challenge. The last few days memories of my childhood have been brought to the surface. There were some rough times, times that I believe, helped to form the person I am, good, bad, and otherwise. Growing up the idea of the three gates was rarely considered. I often wonder if my mother had thought about the three gates how different things may have been. Kindness and gentleness was never a consideration, but power and control was.

When I am under stress, my sharp tongue comes out. My ability to regulate it is sometimes compromised. I think that this happens to many of us. Stress can be the things that sets us off balance.  The thing that takes us from a rational human being to one that can lash out with razor tongue not thinking about how our words may impact another. This is a life long challenge...and in these times, the three gates are crucial to remember..."Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?" These three gates will become my mantra...maybe they should become the mantra for us all.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Unbecoming what's not you...

As I am working to write each day, I am looking at it as a process of changing and adapting the person I am with the person I want to be. I am trying to meld together two beings, which should say to others, that regardless of your age and experience in this life, there is always room to grow and change and, maybe in this case, discovering who you are and unbecoming who you are not.

The journey to become who you are is ever changing, ever evolving. It's the beauty of being a human, you can grow and change over and over. There is a not a limit to changing, nor should there be...the evolution of the human spirit should be one that molds and adapts rather than being stagnant.

So, along this journey of yours, the challenge is to whittle away at the parts that aren't you...the real you, and find the elements of your being that are the person you were always meant to be. This is when you will find joy and happiness and finally be content. It takes bravely and strength, but so worth it!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankfulness or appreciative?

So many times over this last eight months, I have struggled to find joy, be thankful and yet here we are, on Thanksgiving when I am supposed to reflect back upon what I am thankful for. Isn't that what we are supposed to do? Be reflective?

I am trying to find cheer, find gratitude. One some days, I'll be honest, it can be difficult. So today, this day of thankfulness, I am going to focus on those things that I can unequivocally say that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my family. There have been ups and downs and, even through the rough times, they have stood by me. I am thankful for my children...all in all they are good people and I am proud to have been a part of their journey and continue to be. I am thankful for Javad's spirit that, despite everything, he continues to approach life with a smile. He has all the rights to be angry, be sad, be frustrated and he still smiles. I am thankful that on that fateful day last March, his fighting spirit came through...because of that he is still here, still smiling.

I am thankful for the nurses we have that care for Javad, keeping him healthy and strong. These men and women give of themselves and have become a part of our family. We are lucky to have such love and commitment to him.

I am thankful for my job, one that I love, and for my students. They bring me much joy every day...even the days I am frustrated. I feel honored to be a part of their journey, one of knowledge and personal growth. I am reminded every day of the powerful position I have been given and I am thankful for their impact on my journey as well.

I have much to be thankful for, and for today, I will focus on those. I will brush aside my sadness and feelings of despair and remember that I truly have so much...for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Yesterday's blog, "Teach Peace" spoke of how we should be approaching the world with peace and love rather than hate and fear. It seems that our world just can't listen and needs to be pushing against the good.

At a #BlackLivesMatter rally in Minneapolis, a small group of White Supremacists came and shot five people protesting. This, my friends, is equivalent to domestic terrorism, if we want to throw the word around, the kind of hatred and fear that is causing lives to be lost. We must stop and reconsider what we are doing. It is time to rise up, humans together, shoulder to shoulder and say that we have had enough. We want the human race to move forward, in peace and harmony. If you are white, as I am, stand with those around us that are being persecuted. We live in the "Land of the Free" and shouldn't we ALL feel free?

This continues to be a concern. In the 1940's, we had a war that cause massive loss of lives. The Holocaust, driven by hate, killing millions. Japanese citizens, yes citizens, were placed in camps "as a way to protect them" out of fear, Jews were asked to "wear the star to identify them" out of fear. In our world, our free world, we have black mothers teaching their beautiful black children how to behave when police are around, something that I have never had to be concerned about. My friends, whose children have to be taught about a world I don't have to experience because of my whiteness, continue to move forward in hopes of a brighter future.

When is enough enough? When does the land of the free also become the land of tolerance and love and, let's be real here, the land of the free? When does having equal rights mean that you also have equal opportunity and aren't judged by the color of your skin, your gender, ethnicity, or religion. When, I ask...when do we finally say that #livesmatter? I believe it to be so and if you can't see me right now...know that I am standing!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Teach Peace

This is from my @houseofmashinchi Instagram account with an update for my blog...

I know that there are many who do not agree with my stance in welcoming refugees from Syria and other nations into the US and Oregon but I will continue to stand in the place where fear of the unknown does not rule my life.

The reality is that since 9/11 we have become a country ruled by fear...fear that is reinforced and encouraged by the media. We are teaching our children to fear. 

At some point we must rise above and NOT assume the worst about every single person we meet that is different because that's what it boils down to...difference. We must become a nation of learners...a nation that is curious about the sameness of those around us rather than the difference. Tolerance and peace should be prevalent not hatred and fear.

Consider where your feelings come from and examine them. It's ok to have fear...not ok to be ruled by fear. Consider the message you are sending to our children. I want my students, all of them, to know that I view them as young adults, not just Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, male, female, trans, gay, fluid, or the like. Each of them are precious and amazing beings that have something to offer the world. Love and tolerance is how we change the world.

Today I saw some of my Muslim students creating a photo collage that says "I'm a Muslim, not a terrorist." This broke my heart. In a world where two weeks ago these students were, at best, treated with indifference, they now feel the need to tell their school world that they are not someone to fear. In these times I begin to wonder what are the messages we are sending...messages where those who have already come to our land are questioning their safety. Some of these are children who already fled their country...others are students who were born in the US and are Muslim by faith. They are hearing the rumblings of wearing "identifying markings" and wondering what this means for them.

The students from varying countries at my school are close knit...many of them building their own little United Nations. They are learning to work through their own issues of culture and conflict within the school setting. What am I supposed to do when all they see outside the walls is a world where disagreement is grounds for exclusion and war. Today I had a student, who I have worked with for over a year, tell me that a student in his class (who happened of another nationality...this is only for the readers information and was not mentioned by the student) called him a bad name...should I have turned and said, "Clearly he is a terrorist?" NO! We talked about how to mediate these types of situations, how to use your words, how to ask for help.

We could all learn this lesson. We all could check ourselves a bit. There is crushing prejudice within our everyday situations and now we are compounding this by a racism that is beyond fathom. If you really want to worry about terror taking hold, consider the divisiveness that is currently being preached by many. This isn't about "keeping those I love safe" but rather it's about "excluding those I don't understand." Education is up on religions you don't might find that peace is being talked about in more places than you expect and within that place, maybe you will find peace too!

#reynoldsraiders#houseofmashinchiwriting #challengeday

Sunday, November 22, 2015

7 rules in life...

As I am making movements in my life toward change (whatever that means)...I am always surprised when things pop up on my social media that I am pretty sure are there for me. I realize I am not the only one on the planet who is struggling, but it is nice to feel that there are secret messages being given out by the universe
just for me.

Today this popped up...the Seven Cardinal Rules for Life. So much wisdom much that I need to take to heart. I think that number 5 and 6 are so prevalent in my life right now...I need to quit thinking so brain is on overtime all.the.time. I need to breathe and give myself some space. I don't need to know the outcome of everything...I just need to give myself the space to think.

I also need to remember that no one is in charge of my happiness except for me. This is a rough one believe it or not...If I am in charge of my happiness that means I need to make conscious choices and decisions toward that happiness. That is both empowering and frightening...choice involves some type of change...change is the theme I am writing about all month. So many things in the cardinal rules...I need to put them where I can see them. It's how I move forward...

Friday, November 20, 2015

One day at a time...

This has been a busy week...Friday snuck up on me. I participated in Challenge Day on Wednesday and mostly just reeled from all the hatred that has been spewed this week. I think that I need to focus on the good that is happening around rather than focusing on the negative. On Thursday, I had a student come into my room and hug me...random student who happened to be in the same Challenge Day. My heart soared a bit when  she was walking out of my room. I want my room to be a place where students feel safe...this small gesture made me feel that I was making inroads in a school that at times needs havens.

I am going to try to look at the positive...look at the good that is happening...that is the only way to keep my head on straight.


  1. a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

  2. Our country is having a bit of a crisis. People are up in arms as to whether or not to accept refugees from war torn Syria into the US. Last Friday, after the bombing in Paris, many in the US moved into panic mode, worried that those who are participating in terrorist activities will move into the US using the refugee line as a method in. 

The general response has been so sad, in my opinion. Countries far smaller than the US are welcoming Syrians into their country with offers of food and shelter. These are men, women, and children who have been uprooted from their homes and their land and have had to flee to safety. Flee...let's think about that for a moment. How would you feel if you literally had to run for your life? So many of us have never experienced this kind of horror and yet, many are talking of turning away those who need refuge. Worse...people are doing it in the name of Christianity and saying that they are just "protecting our own."

I challenge you to examine where these feelings are coming from...fear, worry, anger. I think the first step is to really see and identify where the feeling is and own it. Yesterday we had politicians actually saying that Muslims should be required register and wear some symbol to identify themselves. WHAT??? This is so frighteningly similar to World War II, I am actually at a loss for words. What are we coming to? 

I continue to stand in a place where love and acceptance prevail. I teach in a school where many of my own students fled for their lives to come to this country and now they too may be subject to persecution. I love these students fiercely and would stand against anyone in their favor. The word "terrorist" carries a lot of emotional baggage and, frankly, unless you are of Native American descent, we are all immigrants of some sort. Be careful with your words, check your own privilege and examine how you might feel if you were one of the refugees trying to find a safe haven. 

I thought we, as Americans, were better than this...I am concerned our prejudice and hatred may be far deeper than I thought...not sure what to do with that information except be very, very sad...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Change from fear to hope...

"You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but you can change yourself." ~Jim Rohn

Today I participated in Challenge Day at my school. I have written about this's an amazing experience where students and adults alike get to see themselves are part of a greater community rather than separate from others. I teach at a school that has become a minority majority. I have been told that about 65% of our students are minorities. In this time...since Friday, it is even a more pressing statistic. Many of my students are Muslim, many of my students are immigrants, may of my students are refugees.

Our school has almost three thousand students and is a mix of cultures and ethnicities. The world is a place filled with fear and hate. So many decisions and comments are being made from a place of fear and hate...I have students that are being called "Terrorists" but students who walked next to them, without comment, less than a week ago.

The love and inspiration felt today from Challenge Day needs to continue to move forward. Change comes from within.  Ghandi was but one man and he changed the course of a nation. We must empower ourselves and those around us to stand for the Change we want to see...We do this by changing ourselves. We must open our eyes, give people a second look, notice what it is about them that makes them unique and special, act accordingly.

I am inspired by change. I am at a time in my own life where change is ever present and on the horizon. I am starting with is clear that I cannot change anyone else, but if I work on my self than my example can begin a movement for others. I am seen by students, by coworkers, by friends. I am ready for amazing things to be happening in my life, in my student's lives. I am ready to change our vocabulary around our school, our city, our state. I am ready to be a part of the movement where we change from fear to hope. <3