Our Greatest Adventure…

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Aria Eliana Loyola

So… baby Aria is here! Born in August like mom and dad. We are blessed beyond words. People are not kidding when they say children bring the highest highs and the lowest lows emotionally. I am beyond in love and there is so much I am learning. So much, in fact, that my blog will take a new form.

  • Half will be my experiences as a mom (tips/ DIYs/ etc)
  • Half will be the same as it always has, a blog about my life, thoughts, and opinions.
  • I will begin combining my writings with YouTube channel
    • Vlogging (aka Video Blogging for all the people like me who aren’t into all the modern lingo the cool kids are using)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

This is my first video. #nomakeup #ihatemyvoice I think I shot this when the baby was maybe one month old. Since I am new at this game, please try not to hate my lack of editing for now. As things change, maybe I will find time to do this. Oh, and, of course I had to shoot my first video in vertical because I’m a newbie. Sorry!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs/ watch my vlogs. I have gotten really kind feedback and it means a lot to me to hear people are not only reading my blog and posts, but that my writing actually gave voice to some of their thoughts or at the very least intrigued them.

God bless!

White privilege: being a white Latina in the US

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white mask1.jpg
Some masks blind us.

White privilege: being a white Latina in the US

“Are you white?” she asked me as we got ready to go into the next youth leadership conference session filled with high schoolers that were visiting Texas A&M. “Uh, yeah, uh…” I said, not truly understanding her question. Why would she ask me if I’m white? a stupid, young me thought. I clearly have white skin… I had never really been asked that since I tend to think I wear my Latina pride like un nopal en la frente.

After sitting quietly, listening to the interesting story of the ex-CIA spy from our session, I quickly realized she meant my ethnicity. I never knew how to check those boxes. I’m not White (although my skin is), and I’m not really Mexican (if that means ONLY people born on “Mexican” ground. So… what am I? I just fill in “Other…” like some strange alien that is revealing its true nature despite the fact that people wouldn’t recognize the difference at first glance.

Not quite white: a choice

I am… Latina. I am a white-skinned Latina. I am a woman who speaks passionately in both languages and says “te amo” and “I love you” in the same breath because I can and it means and feels the same. I told myself I had to choose. I always thought of myself as an American citizen because, well, I was born in the US, but I also felt I had a beautiful connection to my Mexican ancestry. We used to travel to Mexico to see my family every other week. I remember dreaming in Spanish and praying in Spanish and feeling so connected. Then, I grew up. I was told I wasn’t doing it right. I messed up here. “Eso no es una palabra” (That’s not a word), I was told when I would make a word up thinking it sounded alright. I was laughed at for sounding too gringa, like an American trying to learn Spanish and messing up. So, I chose. I loved reading and writing and I thought I had to choose so that I could attempt to master one language. I chose English. I fell in love with it and the literature as I studied it more and more for my degree.

As I grew up, I realized that I did not have to choose. No one truly masters language; no one knows all the words in the dictionary; and no one is perfect at writing and speaking any language. So every day, I talk to my daughter in English and in Spanish and delight in her speaking back to me in both languages.

Labels and blends: give and take

Just as I didn’t have to choose a language, I didn’t have to try and choose to blend in to my labels. American. Mexican. No! It’s Latina! No! It’s Hispanic. Who cares? Some do. Some choose to blend in when they can. I could.

I could be a good-ole’ Texan white girl that knows nothing of her heritage as some choose to do. I refuse to do that. Some have chosen to because they have been made fun of for not being Mexican enough or speaking Spanish well. I know white privilege exists because I have lived the ability to blend in to this privilege. I, unlike my sister, father, brother-in-law, and father-in-law who are all darker than me, have not had to deal with racism served up straight and on the rocks with its bitterness. I have not been told that I clean well and should consider being a cleaning lady for some white woman. I haven’t had someone call the cops on me for walking into a gas station.

Insults light: taste bad but maybe better

I, like many women, have had enough sexist remarks to not call myself completely “privileged.” I can also say that because of my skin-tone, I have been called gringa (white girl). I have had to speak up in Spanish just in case that lady who was staring me down thought she could gossip about me in Spanish. I have been insulted by extended family members who have made me feel less-than for not speaking Spanish as well as them. Yet, this is probably the first time I mention it. Why? Because I know that I can blend. Because I know that my little complaints have nothing on my friends and family who have experienced much worse because their skin tells people a different story. Because, even when people aren’t racist, but simply have a hard time seeing outside their own perceptions, I am somewhat safe. I can try to blend if I really want to. That’s why I choose not to. Racism and color bias are difficult to eradicated because it goes into our instincts. I know it is hard for people to see outside of themselves and their immediate experiences. I can feel the white privilege because I try to look around and my family and friends. I can feel it when I go into a room that sometimes people may not see me as a threat because of my skin tone just like I felt the opposite when I would go to Mexico. “No hables Ingles! Nos van a cobrar mas.” (Don’t speak English! They will charge us more.), my mom would say when we visited the markets in Mexico. I could feel people thinking, that girl, she has privilege. And I did. Because I could blend in. Unlike my sister, unlike my father, I had the choice to move up because I didn’t appear to be threatening or an immigrant in a place that more and more doesn’t seem to welcome immigrants.

I refuse to blend: true identity

 

Some videos that inspired these thoughts:
Samantha Bee’s segment that mentions a white boy feeling offended that he was called “white boy.”
Bill O’Reilley talking about white privilege to viewers and with Megan Kelly.

PS In case it wasn’t clear: not being feared allows for faster upward mobility and upward movement because people are drawn and not judging you in annoyance. I also saw this as a student and teacher. Self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think I need to talk more about this issue than I already have, let me know.

I’m sorry I’m not perfect! (aka driving myself into postpartum depression)

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Written a month or two ago (Aria was 3 or 4 months old):

“I have no idea what I’m doing,” I told David yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.

I have never in my life wanted to be more perfect than now as a mom. I don’t want to make any errors. I want her to be perfectly loved and cared for without spoiling her. I want to give Aria and God willing my other children the best of me. The best of us. I can’t, and it is so incredibly frustrating.

David and I like to quote this line from the movie Just Friends: “I’m sorry I’m not… I’m sorry I’m not perfect!” Sometimes we want ourselves and others around us to be perfect. It’s unrealistic and most of the time selfish, but we can’t help it. We want the best.

I feel like I’m experimenting with her and I hate it. I also, for the first time in a while, I felt like work was really getting in the way. I felt like I just needed to sit down with a little brain power and iron this out and think it through. I needed to observe and study her in order to figure out her needs and wants.

Even though I’m not perfect and will never be on this earth, I am called to work hard anyway. To try and fail at being perfect at being better. It is incredibly frustrating.

Written this month (Aria is 5 months old):

I am still far from perfect, but I am no longer driving myself crazy because of it. I am working as hard as I can, trying my best, but without all the mental breakdowns. I am no longer literally blaming myself every time she has a short nap. I am not searching for answers with David, friends, and google as to why things aren’t running more smoothly. I have accepted that being a mom and trying to be perfect is a recipe for a full mental breakdown. I felt like I was having one. If I didn’t shower because she woke up and I did a chore before I got showered, I would cry hysterically and be angry and frustrated that I did something wrong. I don’t know if I was going through what many call “postpartum depression”, all I know is that I am working hard to not stay there. Depression does run in my family and the temptation to give up and cry every day is very present sometimes,b but I won’t let it win.

I am choosing to work hard and pray pray pray without ceasing. I have been struggling to be connected spiritually with others, with my church, with my husband, with myself. I have not had a good devotional time in forever and I am easily angered and frustrated.

We are in the middle of so many possible changes and we have big decisions to make as a family and all of that coupled with taking care of a baby has had its toll on me.

All I can do is give up. Ask God for help. try to organize myself more (I bought a planner to stop trying to do random tasks and overworking myself as usual). I am using her first nap time to get ready sometimes exercise so that I will not go crazy because it is 12:00 pm and I am still in pajamas.

Anywhoo. That is what I have been up to. Hopefully I will get back to blogging soon.

Please, if you read this, pray for us. We are genuinely blessed with a healthy, chunky, smiley baby, but it can still be difficult when she is teething or screaming in my ear while yanking my hair. People just want you to put on a happy face because you are blessed to have children. We are, but it is hard, and its okay to admit that too.

Thanks for reading my update/ rant. Hope to post soon about my sleep training and cloth diapering experience.

 

Our Passion + Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture on Passion

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David looking at his pieces that were at our booth at the second annual Artrageous fine art's show
David looking at his pieces that were at our booth at the second annual Artrageous fine art’s show

This is what David and I are trying to do. Please pray for us as we figure it out and make decisions based on loving what you do and living a life that glorifies God through using our abilities.

David is continuing to pursue his Master’s in Worship in order to continue his work in leading music at whatever church God desires us to be in (for now this is Centro Biblico Sharyland). He is continuing to work as an Davidgloyolart and Davidgloyolart – graphic design. We are both continuing to be involved in worship at church where he leads the worship and continues working on creating new versions of the old hymns (please pray for our summer project to record a few songs). He continues to work as a church administrator. I am currently working at the RGBI Language School as a Dean’s Assistant. Currently, I am prepping for the next semester and we are doing one of my favorite things, working on new material! I love doing these things and thinking of how to create material that teaches and makes the class come alive. Did I mention that David also has a part-time job through a non-profit called Childfund- US. Through all of this, we have asked for financial support from friends and family. (Now you know why my blogging days have come almost to a standstill). If anyone is interested in receiving a newsletter, please comment below or email us at davidandbrycee@outlook.com  to let me know.

Point is.. we are busy. Why do we do all of these things? Are we lost? Do we not know what we are doing?
Despite what sometimes feels like a never-ending process of seeking God’s Will for our lives, the truth is, I feel that we have found our purpose. We have narrowed our vision for the future. The hard part is getting there. It doesn’t look like going to school for a degree that will use all of our talents. It doesn’t look like a career or job in something we detest so that we can provide for our family. Many don’t understand or agree with what we are doing. We can’t do anything about that. We can just continue to pray and seek God’s guidance as we work in the areas we are called to be in.

I forgot to add something really important. One thing we don’t want to say is “this is what God wants for our lives; end of story.” The main reason we don’t want to say this is that we are actively praying and seeking God’s will and we know nothing is off the table in the ministry. Nevertheless, we believe that all of these things we are working on now are to get us to a place in which we are working in the music ministry at a church (possibly modernizing hymns and/or creating music) while receiving most of our finances from our other projects (art and design). Some people call this tent-making definition. As I said, this may or may not change; but, for now, this is where we strive to be.

Please support us through prayer, and if you are inclined to support us financially so we can continuing pursuing these passions/callings/etc, let me know. Thanks for reading.

This idea is exemplified well by Sir Ken Robinson. I Love, love, love, love this talk on passion.
I need to add his books to my reading list. I LOVE his videos on education. Funny, insightful, wise, etc. just great.

Watch it at the 23 minute mark.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 (NIV)
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.”

Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 (NIV)
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Why teachers leave the broken system: A fellow teacher’s story.

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Hoping to post soon about what I wish I knew going into marriage. For now, please read this wonderful blog from loveteachblog.com written by a teacher who is leaving their school. I could definintely relate. It is amazing to hear that this teacher did not seem to have problems (as many do and I definintely did) with the administration and they still chose to leave. He says he is just “one of the 40-50% of teachers who leave during their first five years.”

As I told the principal the day she asked if she was the reason I was quitting (a tactic she would surely try to use against me if anyone called asking about my time teaching there). There were many reasons I left, but this teacher definitely summed up a lot of it. The rampant cheating even surpassed the behavioral issues for me. The worst part was that I was asked to not simply look the other way, but even delete and alter grades. In the end, they did that for me. By did that, I mean literally, they asked for my password and username to log in and changed the grades. I probably should not have allowed this, but I had no fight left in me and I was planning on quitting that semester (you heard right, semester. I couldn’t even finish the year). It is a long story.. maybe one day I will tell it. For now, I will focus on my children and hopefully homeschool.

Anyway, here are three great quotes the article wrote that I could really relate to. The teacher was saying how they wish they could tell these things to people who can change education policy so they could understand.

“I would tell them about how policies that have been designed to not leave children behind are also teaching them that hard work doesn’t matter”

“I would tell them how hard it is to not feel hopeless when you realize that systems are teaching students that not only does it not matter if you do work at school, but it also doesn’t matter how you behave.”

“I would tell them that it feels like I have three choices: 1) stay where I am, continue working hard and destroy myself, 2) stay and protect myself by putting in less effort, or 3) leave and abandon a profession and kids I care about.”

Really something to think about. I hope you read the full blog.
I pray that change comes to this tragically broken system.

Education podcasts: Life Outcomes & Discipline

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Photo from This American Life - Is This Working podcast Photo: Adrianne Mathiowetz
Photo from This American Life – Is This Working? podcast
Photo: Adrianne Mathiowetz

Ok, so this morning I know I talked my husband’s ear off about the issues I had been hearing about this week on two separate podcasts on Education. Both podcasts are from This American Life which I am loving more and more all the time. One, called “Three Miles“, was mainly discussing the idea of how it effects students to go see how “the grass is or isn’t greener on the other side of the lawn” as they visited a school completely unlike their own. Two schools in Bronx (one public, one private) and the vast difference in their students and how seeing this difference had an effect on the public school students. It’s really about the power of personal insecurities, personal and social expectations, and how students are limited in their choices and life success when placed in certain schools.

The other podcast was a little older and I strongly recommend this one, it’s called “Is This Working“. This podcast was about discipline/ classroom management in schools. I have WAY to much to say about this being that I was not just a student in public high school, but a former substitute and former teacher. It is incredibly interesting and discusses how race has played into discipline in the US as well as two different methods that two different schools have used. One had an interesting outcome being that real life situation (an unpleasant altercation with a plain clothed policeman) led them to question their methods of dealing with discipline as a school.

All I will say is that I don’t believe in having middle schoolers and high schoolers have too little autonomy. As nice as it may be for teachers to see a line of perfectly quiet children, I believe this rigidity is neither necessary nor constructive. Children do need to learn that there is a time and place for being quiet, but limiting them this much is excessive.

I hope schools begin to teach teachers more about classroom management techniques based on real life cases, schools, teachers, and students. It is sooo difficult to teach with this annoyance of discipline on your back, but it is necessary to learn the correct techniques that are not disrespectful to the student or the class, cumbersome to the teacher, and are easy to carry out. Easier said than done of course. Just like parenting, there is no magic formula, but there are tried and true techniques and research that can transform this area.

Blah blah… I told you I’d talk too much. My point is, listen to them when you get the chance.

Also, I LOVED LOVED their podcast on the police / citizen dynamic in episodes called “Cops See it Differently, Part One” and “Cops See it Differently, Part Two.” It definitely sheds new light on Ferguson, hands up don’t shoot, and the police departments in the US.

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How to Deal With Wounding In the Church

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Long time no see!

Sooooo essentially I wanted to give a quick update. I have been MIA for a while and I have a good reason I promise.

This Christmas we found out I’m pregnant, and just yesterday we broke the news to everyone on Facebook. Man is it a refreshing yet vulnerable place to be. I am currently 11 weeks and really wanting to hurry up and go to my next appointment to see how baby is. (EDD: Sept. 1, 2015)

Anyway, I hope to continue writing. A part of me continues to prey on my insecurities and tells me that no one cares, no one is reading, and even if they were, I won’t have time. The other part, well mainly comes from a few different people and my awesome, supportive husband telling me to keep on.

Writing is cathartic; writing is informative; writing is connecting. I have to try to keep this up. Even if a few people find it interesting and have had their curiosity peeked on a certain subject I post about, that is winning to me.

This is a recent blog I read (I will admit I don’t really read blogs- oh irony). I thought I would share it since it is an issue that effects a lot of people when talking about the church.

For more interesting topics that may be upcoming blog post (since they peak my interests and spur great conversations with my husband) see The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, listen to the podcast Invisibilia  (AMAZING), or simply, watch the latest TED talk.

PS If you don’t decide to read the full article, I think it can be summed up in the two verses she uses:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Ephesians 4:1
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience,bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:2,3