Growing Edges


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As of tomorrow, I get my do-over. Officially.

My name change do-over.

The name I have always wanted but persuaded myself not to take two years ago when I changed it.

I have blogged previously about my new name, and how changing my name from the one given to me at birth was my taking a stand, raging against a paternal heritage of hatred and ignorance.

Now, the reason I opted not to take the name I truly wanted was simple: being that my married name is “Lopez,” and that in the Spanish language, “j” is pronounced with the “h” sound, the name “Aja” (pronounced *Asia*) would be misunderstood as “Aha!” It would be funny, but it would get old after awhile.

Despite all its significance to me, I conceded that “Aja” would remain a dream unfulfilled.

Nevertheless, my heart was never fully content with the name “Alexa.” It felt good, but it didn’t feel right. So, after two years as “Alexa Lopez,” my name becomes — get this: Aja~lexa Lopez. I keep my Riál’s middle name as part of my name, and I anchor it to Aja — which has a plethora of significance behind it.

Once I stand before the judge tomorrow to declare that I am not changing my name to avoid prosecution or to run from the law, and the judge signs off, my name changes.

To Aja~lexa.

I’m not afraid of a do-over if it means I’ve learned a thing or two about myself.

©Alexa (for the very last time) Lopez , 2010

Grace for 6 Billion Problems

There’s nothing I can do that could make God love me less.


And there’s nothing I can do that could make God love me more.


But there’s plenty we do in this human race that causes others to love us less.

Or more.

Or both.

Plenty of what I do makes others love me less. Or more. It depends on the day, and with whom you are speaking.

Human capacity to love is greatly flawed.

Our capacity for showing grace, even moreso.

We as humans find pathological satisfaction in the blame game. It helps us to deny our respective contributions to the problems around us when we choose to believe that everything that sucks is the fault of someone else.

This world has billions of problems. Approximately 6 billion.

They’re called “people.”

I am one of those people; therefore, I am one of the world’s problems…whether I try to be or not.

And there’s grace for that.

With that understanding, I seek each day — each moment — to be part of the solution. Doing that helps me avert my heart’s tendency to point the finger of blame and act upon the grace that is afforded me every day.

God’s love for me — for you — is unchanging. No matter how ugly things seem.

That is grace. True “No-Matter-What” grace.

© Alexa Lopez, 2010

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Not Suffering (Somebody Slap Me…Please!)

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are without power. And food. And clean water to drink. And medical care…

…and parents. And children. And loved ones.

And today, I am ashamed to say that I complained about being without electricity.

For a whole 12 hours.

Thanks to a storm that rolled through last night and knocked out power lines, I was hungry and wanted to cook something because I was tired of feeding my kids snack food from the pantry.

My mind was also preoccupied with calculating our loss if the electricity stayed off long enough for the food to spoil in the fridge.

So I belly-ached about the power company taking so long to fix the power lines.

I was inconvenienced, but not suffering.

Not suffering.

Not at all.

© Alexa Lopez, 2010

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Business is Business

My friend just found out that today is her last day at work. She has been laid off.


Working in the mortgage industry these days is a shaky prospect, to be sure. In the last two years, she has been a top performer and reliable loan processor at two mortgage companies, only to become a casualty of a failing housing market.

And today, the employer who hired her as a 3-month temp nine months ago and told her they would make her permanent in January has decided that she was dispensable.

She is a single mother, working hard to care for her children.

She is wise with her finances and a woman of integrity, who just happens to have years and years of experience in an industry that is failing her now.

I wish such things were taken into consideration when the layoffs must happen. Then I remember that the “bottom line” is no respecter of persons. And that sucks.

© Alexa Lopez, 2010

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Desperate Measures

My fingertips are more prone than the average person’s to crack open and bleed during wintertime or any other time of year.

I have yet to find the magical topical solution for this.

Even as a child, the soles of my feet cracked open and bled, which brought about a semi-regular nightly ritual my mom had for me: slathering A&D ointment on my feet and putting socks over them before sending me to bed.

By the time I left work for the day a few weeks back, six of my ten digits were bandaged (don’t want to bleed on the customers’ groceries as I’m ringing them through at TJ’s). My fingers throbbed that evening as I lay down to sleep, and they still throbbed the next morning despite my trying a Bag Balm/cotton glove combination while I slept.

Oh, so painful!

“When have I ever not had this problem?” I asked myself.

I remembered that when I have nails, my fingertips take less of a beating and they are less dry.

Only I can’t grow nails because my nail beds are flat and thin. It’s a genetic thing.

And I stopped wearing fake nails nearly two decades ago because it seemed more about vanity than anything else. Not to mention that I’m not a dainty, delicate woman and I work a lot with my hands…not a promising combination for keeping pretty nails.

Desperate, I went to a nail salon and got a full set of acrylic nails for my very sore hands.

It has been a month. My fingertips are not cracked; my cuticles are not bloody, and I am not in pain.

It has been worth it.

Now, let’s see how “worth it” I deem this whole thing when my computer class starts later today.

© Alexa Lopez, 2010

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Marshmallow Santas

Among the few things I really anticipate around Christmas time, Fred Meyer got me all excited when I saw my favorite self-indulgent holiday “grab-n-go” treat: Russell Stover marshmallow filled, chocolate covered Santas.

Not the knock-off Hershey’s marshmallow Santas, and not the unpalatable Palmer brand marshmallow Santas.

The ones that only Russell Stover does right…with creamy marshmallow filling and the right kind of chocolate.

It really is the filling, though. Nothing compares to it.

In that obscenely premature Christmas decoration period of time between Halloween and mid-November, my eyes spied a display at the store that had only two Russell Stover marshmallow Santas.

I bought them. And ate them by dinnertime.

They were delicious, and everything I had hoped they would be.

I was certain they would stock more…it was still obnoxiously early in the year for them NOT to get more, much less to have them on display in the first place.

So each time I do any grocery shopping, I do a walk-through of all the areas where one would find Christmas candy, just to find my tastebuds’ desire. No success.

They have not stocked more. And no stores around here carry them, just the caramel ones…but I don’t want those.

Christmas is in 9 days. If they haven’t displayed more yet, I suppose they won’t at all.

I don’t get it that the local stores aren’t stocking the Christmas candy staple. I know they are still available — the Russell Stover website says they are.

Of course I’ll get over it — I kind of already have — but I won’t stop looking for them until the last of the Christmas clearance items are gone.

And there’s always next year.

***update: found the milk chocolate ones at a different store today….Yum!

© Alexa Lopez, 2009

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