Valentine’s Day

I am a great fan of her words, her writing. I hope you enjoy the read and are encouraged! Happy Valentine’s Day! #CarryHope

The Chicken Grandma

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It has come to my attention that today is the 13th of February. For some reason Valentine’s Day is sneaking up on me this year. I have a feeling there are many reasons that this year, this holiday is kind of going to get lost in the shuffle.

Years ago, when my husband and I were dating (waaaay back) we used to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I am never sure if we celebrated it just because it was the thing to do? Perhaps we didn’t want to be left out?  (As I type those words, it brings to mind my folk’s age-old question, “If everyone else jumped off the cliff would you jump too?”)

If I think back; I don’t remember my husband, even when he was my boyfriend, ever purchasing cut flowers. His mind set was that purchasing “dead” flowers (his opinion of cut flowers)  made no sense….you only enjoyed them…

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February Love, dealing with Me.

me_2016     Where to begin? I believe in love. I believe in the type of love that covers, protects. The love that heals, forgives. The love that encourages, advises. The love that is silent yet quietly completes. I do not anticipate the fairy-tale, the dreamy –sexy-Knight-in-shining-armor type. I do not expect the saintly, mega millionaire to make all my dreams come true. Love is hard work. The type of work that is not for the faint of heart. My heart has been bruised enough. I am not dictating that it will not happen again, hurt has every opportunity as with everything in life. Yet, I will not force pain to remain.

As of late, I have a mental checklist with my heart and my brain. Another year of no valentine…I contemplate the suggestions family and friends throw my way: join a dating site, do online dating, go to a bar, find someone in the Church, join this, join that. What I realize I never had to join anything to meet either of my ex’s.  Well at 46, I refuse to play any of those games now. I am not putting anyone’s efforts in finding love down. I know what works for me because I know what I want. I am an old soul. I am old-fashion in believing in connections, in happenstance, in chance, in coincidences, “coinkadinks” (as my Momma would say.) The Next One will come.

So in-between that time and now I work on self.  I process to progress. I heal. I grow. I achieve. I teach.  I help. I am kind. I am there for others as well as myself. I give. I understand. I work. I smile. I encourage. I love. We easily lose sight of others, our friends and family when we lose sight of ourselves. Soul reveal: I do not receive invitations to many things because I am not part of a couple. It does not bother me as much anymore. Time is a precious commodity and if any friendship requires exclusion, that is a terrible loss for all involved.

There is no self-degradation during this time! Read a book. Watch a movie. Other times I review my week. I think of how many people I helped during the week. I think of how many reached out to me for answers, for a listening ear and I smile. I encourage myself. Surely, what we put out there we will receive back. God’s word says it multiplies. {Ephesians 5:15-17}

I love that my heart is not as fragile as my first heartbreak. Geez, aren’t they worst? I truly thought I could no longer live. I laugh remembering the woes of a teen. I love the fact that my heart is not bitter and broken from a failed marriage. I love that I understand love with all its simplicity and all its complexity, for all its worth that I would not change. My experiences lead me to who I am becoming. Love does not have to find me. I am not hiding. It is here, it has always been here, waiting for me to discover, uncover, and recover and then love some more. Ever changing. February is Love month, as well as Black History month. February is also the shortest month of the year—dealing with me, well that is 365, 24/7. I am trusting God for my more while protecting the best of me until He delivers. {Jeremiah 29:11}

“For now remember this. Even though you don’t have what you want right now, keep your heart open anyway. Later, you’ll see more. You’ll see how it worked out. How it needed to be just so.” ~Melody Beattie. 

Love Self; the rest will come. It all circles back and you will know when you see it. I am learning that we cannot timeline our seasons…spring always follows winter.

Keep sowing,

A.Michelle!

Culinary Skills & Dilemmas

When I have no solace, a lot to think over and no one to share my thoughts with I cook. I love the art and the science in preparing a meal. I love the creativity it takes to create a new recipe…the imagination of different flavors and spices. Trying to measure and enhance one product  to mesh with another. I enjoy the soothing methods slicing vegetables brings. I love the colors of bell peppers, the promise of just enough heat of habanero peppers and I love the earthiness of mushrooms. Today I am preparing a new dish, a signature recipe in every aspect: Salmon Braise, perhaps. I like that. As I am cutting, and preparing all ingredients to go into the crock pot I think, I pray. I listen for confirmation, affirmation of my thinking process. Oh how I miss the days of having someone listening to me, hearing my heart without cutting me off, nor interrupting me nor misconstruing my words. I continue cutting. This meal is supposed to be for me, the Little Ones do not care too much for mushrooms and okra. I think I have prepared enough for the neighborhood.

My dilemmas: Church & Internship and other stuff

My length of unemployment boggles my mind. It still hurts. I feel so unbalanced and insecure. I have worked since I was 15 years old. Its wonderful being available to the children, driving them to school and helping with homework. It is completely alien to me not being able to provide from my own work. I do not know how to be…but I am learning. I am learning that this phase of my life is so much bigger than not having a 9 to 5 or an office job.

Church vs my prayer life! Someone told me that the length of my unemployment might have a lot to do with my prayer life. (I have to bite my tongue a lot!) This statement pissed me off until I realized my relationship with God is intimate and no one gets to decide if I am close to Him or not based upon my employment status. (The preparation of cooking gives me time to evaluate and rid myself of others’ toxic conversation.) My spiritual growth is becoming greater but my spiritual connect with fellow believers has become stagnant. This concerns me. I believe in going to Church although I do not believe in the strictness and mandatory that religiosity pushes.

Teaching this Identity Workshop series will be a huge undertaking for me. I am in awe of how I got to this point in my life. This concept is not mine alone. If it were up to me, I would be behind the scenes somewhere. I consider myself more of a support person not a leader. I think I help leaders be better. I am a bossy supporter! 🙂

Internship! Internship! Both placements are awesome and could take my counseling career to great horizons. What is amazing to me is that internships are coming left and right but no job offers. Confuses me so; boggles my mind. You would think God’s priority would be opening doors of job opportunities first.

This Soul reveal has been on my heart for awhile: I attended several training classes this past week. My counseling journey can be quite heavy. Confidentiality is a huge piece of counseling, the heart of it. This journey is going to be more difficult than I thought and what I presumed. One class educated us on the effects of child sexual abuse, the tragedy of what happens to the victim from onset to the cycles of their adulthood. Heart wrenching. The documentary included a 60-year-old beautiful woman; she had the bluest eyes and the whitest hair. (I still see her face.)  One particular night she described how terrified she was at a young age. Her father was in her room and they both heard her mother’s footsteps approaching. Her father stopped. She held her breathe knowing that it would all stop now…then the return of exact devastation as they heard her mother’s footsteps retreat upstairs. She knew her mother would not save her. He knew that they all knew, He would not stop. She stated he abused her from the age of 2 to 17. Oh how I felt her terror. I wanted to protect her then and at present. She is 60 years old and the fear that came over her as she told her story saddens me deeply.  It is a heavy but necessary training course. The permission of hurt that mother allowed, it stops my heart. We can prevent child abuse. Although my heart ached for all their stories and my soul is tattered, I will continue to volunteer as a Guardian ad Litem. I do not see myself removing this type of servitude from my journey.

Do your best to stop taking ownership of the hurt people cause you. It is not your fault. I believe we all have good hearts and the Life stuff happens. However, taking ownership of what others intentionally do to us manifests into cancerous emotional scars. It multiplies. Yes, get to the root, do the necessary work to heal but stop blaming yourself. Getting hurt is not a responsibility, stop owning it.

What I gained this past week, the good things, the revelations are: the beauty in pushing forward, the hope in seeing tomorrow and the requirement necessary to focus on the love received. You will make it. Our humanness, that spiritual part of us promises that we will overcome. Sometimes the unintentional hurt pulls our heartstrings the worse. Allow God to work His way… you have to release it, all of it.  It is not your fault.  Tomorrows are worth the fight. {Psalms 91:1}

Me intimately worded,

A.Michelle

The Cost of no, maybe & no response

He doesn’t want me…

and I’m good with that. I am better when I acknowledge that information.  I am still great. I am still going to lose the weight and not eat this big bowl of butter pecan ice cream… and lays potato chips. (Awesome combination and a great emotional cure all.)  I am still loved. I am still an awesome mother. I am still kind. I am appreciative and appreciated. Rejection is painful and it also should make you fully aware of your greatest asset: Self, your You.

We too often fall victim to our own missteps. We turn our hopes into a great mistake. Learning to love who you are should never be categorized with rejection. Love heals. Love corrects. Love gives. Love loves. Do not tear yourself down due to inattention, love is action.

I know the negativity that runs rapid through our minds. I know how it replays itself over and over again. The strength of our hearts is based on the strength of our hearts… it’s unbeatable.  Never allow a person to out-purpose God’s intent and intended for you.

Earlier this week, a great friend asked me why I never spoke of my ex-husband.  I responded: “That’s not a part of me. Why would I? It is so long ago. I have been divorced over 10 years.” She responds: “You filed it away. ” Me: “No. It isn’t a part of me. He was mean and cruel. I refuse to give Satan any credit. To “file away” implies I carry it and at times look back at it. I don’t. I’m healed. There’s no discussion about him because there’s no new information to discuss.” One little tidbit: If a person does not bring up their ex in a conversation, respect it and you in turn do the same.

I’m learning that no one’s journey is the same. Heartache happens to us all but no one has the right nor the self-history to label my healing. Life is heavy don’t carry the unnecessary; carry hope.

He doesn’t want me and I’m okay with that. Dating has become so generalized, an unflattering epidemic of social media terms and rules. Love is so much more, so intimate. Don’t get caught up in the pics, the messages,  the memes, sex clips, and infamous propaganda. I watched,  observed my parents a lot. What I didn’t comprehend they explained and taught me better. 33 years of marriage. God’s grace.

I remember my first date. I was 16, so excited. I finally was allowed to date. My date blew the horn.  I jumped from the sofa,  ready. My mom,  my Pearl: “If you open that door I’ll break your neck.” I stopped in my tracks,  my smile fading. My Dad,  all 6 feet of him: “If he doesn’t come in here and speak to us there is no date. You not going anywhere.” I tried my best to hold back the tears while holding my breath and simultaneously working my unknown telepathic skills to will my date in. He finally crossed the threshold and I remembered that breathing was again wonderful.  Of course there was a list of rules and a set curfew.

That lesson and many others from my parents keep me “okay” with a great deal of things. Rejection is a minimal concurrent stacked against unlimited possibilities. Know your worth and always expect God’s greater for every area of your life. No matter where you are in the phase of your journey—interested, like, deep like, in love,  can’t live without him feelings, heartbreak, know that you deserve all or nothing. Be proud of wanting what you want!  If the wanted doesn’t want to be wanted free’em with love. Stop bashing self and others. There are other open doors, different and in want of you!

He doesn’t want me and I’m okay with that. Smile, anyway. His competition, that One will. Keep pressing. Remain focused. Subtract the cost, add in the benefits. For any person struggling for a place to be or how to be… Be you! It is better than okay.

Heart full,  heart
A.Michelle

Pick your battles…Parenting Autumn

IMG_217943346666549    You have the ability to choose. I think often times we lose focus on the power of simplicity because if our lives are not forced focus, in crisis mode, hectic hellish or nonstop un-normal we fight to right our ways our way. Discern what matters God has placed within your life to deal with. Remember anything He gives us He also equips us. There are difficulties we must face, know that we do not face them alone. So often, we place burdens on ourselves that are His and we blame Him for the most. We carry that ice chip on our shoulders, in our words and we embed it in our hearts. God loves and He disciplines those He loves. He is not going to allow us to outdo Him. Honestly, there is no way we can.

My Autumn is 13 years old, an awesome daughter. She is my only daughter. #motherhood As her mother, I think I mess up a lot. I think I have to watch her more so because I fear for her. I think she could have had a mother that has more expertise in all things. I think she could have had a better mother—a mother who knows how to raise daughters. (I have three sons.) I do not allow her any social media time, her friends are few and she starts high school next year. Oh, and her figure, her shape is coming in already (just like mine at her age) and she is a beauty and so smart. Therefore, I am frightened in so many different areas of her life because I am her mother. Am I too stifling? Do I suffocate her? Am I making her feel she is loved and loving? How is her self-esteem? What are boys saying to her in that school? What are men saying to her? Then again, what are girls saying to her? Do we talk enough? Am I doing right by her? Has my singleness all these years braced her or harmed her for her future relationships? Big sigh.

When I get this way, which is not often but often enough. I immediately go into a tailspin of fear after hearing about the 12-year-old girl who committed suicide on FB. This cuts my heart up in so many ways. My soul is silenced when my friend tells me. My heart aches. She sends me the link of the little girls’ suicide. I refuse to open it up.

At times when I worry and Autumn is home, I run in her room and jump in her bed with her. I snuggle up with her while she reads her book. I make her take out her ear buds and we talk. Earlier this week, she complains but is laughing, “Momma, why?! It is hot. Stop.” She says. I smile and kiss her cheek and say, “Well, I’m not. My feet are cold. Warm me up” Her: “Your feet are always cold.” Me: “Let me search your phone to see what I can see. What’s your code?” She tells me and goes back to reading her book. While perusing through her phone, I find this text: Her and her friend are discussing their hair issues:

India (is a great friend to her and has long straight hair): “Use the ECO gel on your hair.” Autumn: “I did and my hair came out so short. I did not like it. My Mom used it and her hair looked great! But she used oil on hers and I did not. I am going to use oil and the ECO gel tonight.” My eyes water, I turn to her and smile, “You don’t ever tell me my hair looks great. You just say good or act like I am getting on your nerves. You love me!” Autumn, laughs so.

She has an awesome laugh too. Her natural hairstyle, her choice since she was 9 years old. Our hair textures are different but she has embraced her hair with such creativity and uniqueness it baffles me. Her self-strength is so powerful. What an amazing mirror I have. {An excerpt from one of my original poems: “I see Autumn leaves in the coldest of winter.”~M.} She is rooted well. I am so humbled by God’s love for me.

Therefore, I am going to push aside the “what if” and “if I just had” and also the “but God” and pick my battles, the winnable ones— the God has equipped me battles. I love being her mother more than the fear. Parenting costs so much yet the rewards are priceless and non-refundable. It is impossible to do everything right, I know that but the easiest part is when we do our best for them. We do not argue about social media. It is just an “is” in my home. We have discussed the possibility of Snap chat when she turns 14. So, I am on a journey to learn all I can about that before her next birthday in order to give the right answer to her, yes or no with an explanation of my choice.

I grieve for our children. I love our children; it truly takes a village. Suicide is preventable. Autumn and I discuss the neglected and abused children, teens, her peer group. I smile because her anger, her fight is just as strong as mine. Children, Adolescents have my heart they always will. We all are accountable to all we are connected. Please see the hope in that statement, there is no condemnation nor judgment. None, zilch. We must find ways that show our children they are loved without sacrificing our moral upbringing, without them suffering the residuals of this mean, mean world.

I think if we take a firm and mindful stance to focus on the winnable– our aspirations, hopes and dreams we have no recourse but to line up with what God has purposed for our lives. #TrustHim In all we do there has to be a peace that remains. I am learning this scripture holds so much direction and guiding, Philippians 4:6-8:”Do not be anxious about anything but in everything…”

Discern and pick your battles in every aspect of your life. God has planned for you to win the war. Growing up I did not like kids, did not want to be a mother. If I married, I wanted one child that was it. I remember telling my father I was never going to marry. He laughed along with giving awesome advice. (I will share that conversation later.)  God laughed too! I have four children, married once and divorced. I have been single longer than I was married. I am a grandmother! I am a child advocate, graduate student of Counseling and I teach Sunday School. Oh, God laughed big!! Remain focused on where He has you. Be God-confident!

My heart is all over the place… I hope this read makes sense. It all circles back.

My heart–Intimately worded,

A. Michelle!

 

 

Geeked!!

What God wants…

Happy 2017! I have committed to living a better life…no resolutions. Great things happening this morning, Wednesday, January 4 has led to a shift in perspective. Although I am able to encourage others (not just shoot off cliches) I find myself in the “dumps” quite often.

Early morning I receive a text requesting that I speak at a Book Club event. I smiled and agreed. My friend, requested and suggested the topic to speak on: the “work” needed in the “Sisterhood” era. Earlier this week I tweeted my thoughts on Self-care:

Click on link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BOvSoQCjiE0/?taken-by=nit_one

I smile at her suggestion, our communication and reflect. During my graduate interview in 2014, I was asked by the panel, “What population do you think you will have trouble serving?” Me, “To be honest, its not a matter of trouble. Its a fear. I fear working with Black Women and that makes me feel guilty. They are a population I feel I cannot reach. There is so much hurt there. I can’t understand it and it bothers me so.” Dr. S, “Than there is where you are most needed. Your greatest fear is entry point to your greatest triumph.”  I side-eyed her, she is African-American. I thought to myself, pssh if I am accepted I am not dealing with anyone I do not have to. My plan was to maintain a B average and avoid the difficult. God has other plans. Accepted in, A average and I did not avoid any difficulties…I worked. I studied. I cried. I counseled.

As my day progresses, I review assignments for my next class: Substance Abuse Counseling. I am excited that we have the previous professor we had in our Crisis Counseling course. She is awesome! My final course, Gender Counseling is taught by another professor I adore so my nervousness in achieving all A’s is swept away. I am able to do the work. I have learned as a grad student that apprehension about a course has a lot to do with learning the professor and the way they teach. Once the final two courses are completed, I begin my practicum and internship in May. Finding and researching the correct placement for my counseling career is exciting, slightly overwhelming. I emailed two more resumes and requested contact information for spots in Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking of minors. I will be a practicing student counselor. Oh my!

One of the assignments in the Substance Abuse course is to abstain from one certain thing and journal our progress for the next 8 weeks. I have chosen to abstain from sugar. I have practiced the Daniel’s fast several times and although it takes great discipline, I enjoy it. The healthy results gained were fast, effective and practical. I am intrigued with how I will progress in abstaining from sugar as a project assignment. Especially, after I was a dessert pig over the Holidays.

I am looking forward to traveling and attending counseling workshops with my cohort. We get to meet one classmate’s mother when she visits. We have been pressing through together for three years; meeting mothers are a treasure. (I love the Elders)

The Little Ones return to their regular schedule of school and homework. They were not excited this morning yet this made me smile too. Their ways, their reactions I am learning to devour every chance I get. Time is so swift. Brutus’, “two more minutes” are the most endearing because he mumbles it and pulls me in for a hug. Autumn’s, morning “mm-hmm” and conversations on the drive to school remind me so much of myself. She said, “I already know they are going to be asking me for my pencils. I am going to say no. These pencils are my fav, the eraser just does not stick straight up you know. They twist up. You know I bought three packs. (Big sigh, smiling). It makes me feel better knowing I have them and I will not run out. Its 9:05, not late and not too early. Bye, Mother.”  My teen, she is a stickler for wanting things a certain way. (We cannot just write with any kind of pencil. She buys pencils!!! Lol) #motherhoodbliss

The career hunt is still a career hunt. I am maintaining a consistent belief that God is my provider. After this stint of unemployment, something wonderful will come. #bigHope #BigGod

Just a quick blog message, I am going to enjoy 2017 moment by moment. You do the same! Nothing is greater than walking the path God leads us on, for there; there He has equipped us for it all. Dig deep. Go further. Faithfully pray and do good works. #necessary work

God’s grace,

Michelle, Counseling Graduate

When Faith does not Fit: My 2016 in Review

My family circle grew–first grand baby girl; oldest son engaged–new daughter. Blessings!  Two more courses in my Master’s program to complete. Blessed!

Graduation and exams loom. Smh, I am already looking at doctorate programs. Yet, I think I will sit down for a minute. My professors, mentors consistently support my educational goals. They, PhD holders refer and inform my ideas and wants to others who have the greatest minds in counseling. I am president-elect of Chi Sigma Iota Mu Chi Chapter. I am chair of the Chapter’s quarterly newsletter. I am to form a scholarship fund aimed with supporting single women who are head of households and are dedicated to pursuing their education in the Master’s program of Counseling. I have registered with another scholarly program that will put me in front of professionals, professors in the teaching realm, because my mentor told me I should. My thought: I’m just some little country girl who loves and there is no way my mind can compete.

My friendship circle has shrunk and that is okay. Either people want to be there for you or they do not know how. Sometimes their behavior is more self-preservation than unfriendliness. Don’t stop. Do not quit. You really matter to a lot to people, more than you think.

“I met someone.” That commercial is so sweet. No, I haven’t met someone. I originally planned to give serious effort into re-entering the dating world. As of this date, no date this year and that is okay too. I have male friends–that are business associates and their actions are indicative of waiting for my equal, for that someone who is willing to meet me where I am and still be equipped to grow together come what may. For example, the Little Ones’ Christmas wish was answered by a gentleman, just out of the blue. Remember, there are more good people with good hearts in this world. Do not lose sight of their goodness.

I do not think what I am wanting is any different from anyone else seeking a relationship. In faith we learn how to wait, we try to do what is right. It becomes hard to believe when Someone is not the one. I blamed myself for so much. I gave so much time trying to figure out why Someone doesn’t want me. I ate and thought about it. I stopped eating and thought about it. I walked and thought about it. I prayed and thought about it. One scripture remained with me for weeks, “…in all your getting get an understanding.” Proverbs 4:7, KJV.

My understanding, 1. I will keep my hope, without settling. I refuse to let my heart become bitter, rocky and non-conforming. 2. My love life: Recently, I realized that I think I fell in love with a potential…because I gained back 20 lbs of the 40 I lost. Rejection does so many things to our psyche. The more I think of love, the growth and the capability of receiving it seems inconceivable. Someone should care enough to not place me in that position. Right?Right. Enough of that, I am back on my Michelle grind, learning that neglect is a force of continuation not a place of stagnate. Self-worth requires discipline and redefining. Growing into what God wants us to be–requires a different perspective that aligns with His will for our lives.

I have been unemployed all year yet financially the important bills are paid. My family roots are God gifted. I do a lot of volunteer work and part-time work. God is completely in control. The not having a job, the potential heartbreak, family issues, our world difficulties, and life has broken me in different ways that I am unable to understand. For the last 6 months, I have been hurting, pretty bad in every aspect of my being. All I know, what I know is so changed, so different. I want my life back…well the life God has purposed to begin. Now. This transition phase hurts and seems to be taking forever. I am so lost. I feel so inadequate. So much is coming and I no longer feel capable for any of it.

My blog readership has grown, thank you! 2016 Stats include 709 total views, 20 countries. These numbers excite me so! A few of the top viewed posts this year are:

“Broken Relationships,” https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/01/18/broken-relationships/

“Heart Moments,#NecessaryWork,” https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/09/26/heart-moments-necessarywork/

“Rejection…#BeginAgain,” https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/07/27/rejection-beginagain/

“Lion’s Den and the Vulnerability of Belief.”  https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/04/17/lions-den-and-the-vulnerability-of-belief/

As a writer, I love that I am able to read over my work and be encouraged by what I have written no matter what phase of life I seem to be in. Especially, when my faith does not fit.

The final “faith-all” of the year: I will be submitting the first draft of my first book to a woman who has never backed down in her covering of me. A wow for me: I completed my first book! Yet, the process that comes with completing a book, editing, publishing, and marketing leaves me woozy and completely frighten. We meet Friday! 🙂

In 2017, I pray our faith walk will continue to lead us towards God’s evident promises because Faith will fit the fixes.

Note: Know that God’s love is greater in levels than we could imagine. Find Him where you think you are lost. He is there. One favorite scripture when I am broken: “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved…” Song of Solomon 8:5 KJV

We will come out of the desert. Happy New Year! Resolute to keep faithing, even when it doesn’t fit.

Me intimately worded,

Michelle

A Christmas Eve Note

 “Love yourself. Accept yourself. Be honest about what heals and helps you. Then you will bring your healing gifts to others. Your life will be a gift to the world.” ~Melody Beattie

One of my favorite events of Christmas is trimming the tree. I completed the trimming this morning. I was very ill earlier this week. Yes, there is a point in putting it up this late, it is my joy! Also, I remember. I reflect on each ornament. There is so much love,  so many memories… Damien is now 27, and now has a fiancée!! Darius gingerbread man hangs crooked–he was created in 1997 and has survived many breaks. I have glued him back together several times during Darius’ gravity defying superboy years. Smh/lol.  He is now 24. Autumn & Brutus'”new” ornaments with their initials. As they hang their individual ones, (I love their banter.): Brutus:”You know “B” is always at the top.” Autumn: “A” always come first.” As she hangs hers higher. I am a grandmother and my first grand baby brings me the greatest joy–her love is the reason for my illness. I could not put her down no matter how she coughed and sneezed. Oh she is getting so big, my Plump Plump.

 I have beautiful old ornaments passed to me by my deceased Mother-in-Law. The way I decorate all my Mom, deceased now 4 years. I remember so much of how I grew up with family …I remember my oldest brother Wayne teaching me the tricks of cooking grits. “Michelle because the instructions say 5 minutes. You do not stop there. You cook them longer than 5 minutes.” This morning we had grits for breakfast. (Not something I eat daily.) I remember walking over our land and picking out our Christmas tree for Daddy to cut down. I remember all my Waxhaw Christmases. #Tillman

My children do not realize the joy of trimming the tree yet. The toils of youth!  The thought of trimming the tree is cumbersome and they want to do something else. I cherish this time, it is very dear to me. I give pause and think of so much that has brought me to this day, my now. So much has happened in my life this year but that will be another blog post. I promise to share. 2016 has been amazing and amazingly difficult yet I have not lost sight of how God does what He does.
Reflect. Remember. Receive. Giving back to self requires many non-worry moments. Light your candles, play the Christmas music, fill the kitchen with the smells of baked cookies and favorite cakes. Listen to the laughter of children, of family. Love more because you are capable. We are equipped with the gifts to love, to love others and to be loving. Gift the world with your presence. We were created in His image for so much more.
Live love. Love self, it is imperative that we do. Be great at expecting God’s best for you. What we gift out, boomerangs purposely. Continue in God’s grace for your life. Do not doubt His love for you even though it feels and seems like He hasn’t heard a word of your prayers. As He justifies, He prepares. Merry Christmas!

Season’s Best,

Michelle & the Tribe

2016-christmas-tree
Christmas Tree 2016…my Angel Woman’s head. My tree is 7ft tall…I wouldn’t have it any other way. #tiredoftakingpics #thisisthe bestshot

Propaganda’s plight vs Hope

Lately, my focus has been on the circumstance of my life, my status, and the way I am living and how I continue to have to put one foot in front of the other… I am looking at my fight, on the way I have to fight. I am tired yet pushing ahead on purpose.

Early this morning, I kiss the Little Ones good-bye.  Sometimes they are aware of my good-bye kisses most Saturday mornings they are not.  As I exit our home, leaving for the part-time job at the Center, I am creating a mental task list of my day, how to be, praying that the teens did well throughout the week. I think of my week…the tornado, how Brutus’ anxiety of losing me causes him to come in my bedroom and hold me throughout the night…how I have to sleep-whisper, “I love you,” “I got you” and “I am right here, baby.” I wonder if I am doing enough for him, for all my children. I think of how my family depends on me.  I think of how I have no one to fall on, another Christmas, another year alone. That it is all on me.

I hear him before I see him,  I scream, freeze and cover my mouth when I realize he was only speaking. He hugs me and just holds me…”Its okay.  The media got us so scared of ourselves.” He says. I try to break the embrace because I do not want to cry and I feel as if I have insulted him,  offended him. He holds me even tighter and says, “It’s alright. This world got us scared of ourselves. We don’t know how to be.” I return his hug, grateful, understanding, tears welling up.  Me: “I am so sorry. I was in my own world your voice startled me not your presence.” He kisses my cheek, “I know.  I know.” He hugs me some more. I hug him back. I thank him and we part ways, better, hopeful.  I am more upset with myself, how I am becoming (even for a moment) because I am unsure of what to do anymore, how to be…and this Stranger reads me, encourages me.

In my car, I focus on my breathing, cover my face with my hands  and do my best not to cry. I send up prayers for this man, this Black Man, a wonderful Black Man, this caring stranger who reminded me that I am not alone. That no matter the continuous multiple injustices of this world that God is not idly waiting or standing by. #KeithLamontScott #JoeMcKnight

     looking-out-a-window

I do not have all the answers and a big part of me would not dare to handle such a heavy responsibility. What I know, is right from wrong. What I know, creating policy and law does not make the taking of a life correct. What I know, I am letting my heart become fretful, frightful and that worries me. What I know, normally my mornings consist of peace that someone speaking to me would have never caused me so much alarm. I am actually walking in fear and worry for my life, my sons, my daughter, my nephews, my uncles, my cousins, my family, my friends, for us, this world. So much wrong, protected wrongs that leave us feeling vulnerably unprotected. I can encourage others. I encourage myself. Yet, the law of this land, the community consciousness of a few people can perpetuate so much destruction, legally. Healing is never complete before another tragedy erupts. #BlackLivesMatter

His hug reminded me that even though I handled so much for so long, it is not time to stop. I leaned into him, this Man for a moment…his heart gave me the synergy to keep going without losing hope, to continue to fight the right way, to be the change agent, to focus on what I know best: give love and to be loving. I pray you meet your “Angel” and that he/she rights your way with the needed hug, encouraging whispers and a kiss on the cheek…the kind of hug that saves your heart, hems it up and reminds you there is more. Knowing God as I do, you will. God is not idly waiting or standing by.

Know that your life is the center of God’s focus, every aspect of it. No one gets the easy way out nor will the best of us always have the easiest path of living. Just do not give up on being who God wants you to be, stop watching the self-made timeline and do the necessary work, believe and continue. #CarryHope

Choose to be amazing,

Michelle

Broken Wings

When I see myself, I see a little person who is still in a constant state of trying. Trying to achieve, be, get, will and do.

Last night I was encouraged, “Michelle, thank you for representing us so well.” I was stunned so I asked her, “What do you mean?” Again, she said, “Thank you for representing us so well.” I respond: “Thank you. Thank you so much.” Tears pricked my eyes because I still see myself as this little person who is just trying. It amazes me that this is how she views me…I am this little country girl no one wants. Being unwanted has set a precedence through major phases of my life. It is not a behavior issue; it is fact and an ugly scar…since birth. I know God orders our steps.

I have never been an attention seeker. I am really quite shy—bold and generous with my spirit (because we never know what another is battling) but my inner me is full of mush. I will fight for my family, my friends, my clients, for all who surround me. I fight the good fight, yet I am dumbfounded when told I am great at being me.

Last night’s event: I was inducted into the International Honor Society for Counselors as Chapter President-Elect. Amazing, right? After being sworn in, my responsibility is to swear in the other members. Criteria is 3.5 GPA or higher with a commitment to be excellent in integrity and to practice ethics of the highest standards in the counseling profession.

Amazing, it is such a grand experience to be among so many. We each have the same calling to work in so many different genres of the psychology field. One realization, I did not feel weird at all. I tried to sneak away from most of the photo taking but the photographer would eventually find me and whisper, “None of that.”  We laughed.

Growing up I was usually the only Black female in class, the only Black female on the job…there are so many different types of pressures when you are the only Black in any environment.Flashback at 19, just gave birth to my oldest son: “You Black, you female and you uneducated.” Exboyfriend. Flashback from 26-38: “You are fat. Stupid. No one will ever want you.” I was told I was unable to focus when I forgot something minor. (I was a tired, very tired insecure wife.) Oh, here come the tears…my point there are so many different types of fight I had to fight. Moving forward, I refuse to give any credit to the enemy.

As I am sitting listening to the speaker of the night, I am humbled. She is 61 years old. She has worked in the counseling field since she was 21. I value the softness of her voice, the gray in her hair, the simplicity of how she speaks and how she carries herself. She gives us 12 major points of advice to govern ourselves with through this journey. My favorite: “Focus on what you love, what is important, and ignore the rest. Be kind whenever possible and hold on to your humanness.”

I know I have one of the greatest life stories to share yet I am reluctant because it truly is not my platform. We learn from our past.. to grow, to evolve, to educate either by design or by example. I am amazed at how counseling found me, dragged me and continues to lead me. I love this stuff. I love how the educational achievements are celebrated at the Montreat Chapel or the Montreat Fellowship Hall, where God’s spirit is honored. Whatever our individual religion or spiritual preference is, our human hearts united yesterday to honor our dedication as well as our intent to impact and improve the lives of others through counseling.

We are adults some of us working fulltime, taking care of family and family members and maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or above in the professional field of human behavior. It is hard. It isolates you. It makes you unique. The thing is the more we do for others the better we become in whatever aspect we choose in life. Kindness is so underrated. No one should be made to feel unwanted, unworthy of affection, wasted time spent, nor of being uncared for. We cannot fix people but we certainly do not have to mistreat them.

So the compliment, “You represent us so well” has quieted and quickened my spirit.  I smile through my tears of gratitude; I am doing something right, somehow.

Broken wings

I have to fly higher than this.

 I have to reach further than most.

Words, people can no longer defeat me. I heal.

 Life situations will bend, break, and move me in resounding shifts. I heal.

How unordinary I am because I have broken wings.

 Soar with broken wings, all of it will pull shadow and carry you.

Soar anyway. ~Michelle (11.05.16)

I miss Momma and Daddy, they would be proud. Little Michelle, President-Elect of Mu Chi Chapter, Honor Society for Counselors. I have battled with going on further to receive my doctorate. I was informed that as an officer it is an expectation. I laughed. Really? Well, let me just go on and see what the end will be.

Represent well,

Michelle

(At the end of the ceremony, through all the prestige and decorum I still let out a big whoop whoop as I congratulated and welcomed the new Mu Chi members of 2016-2017. We rock!)

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Keep pushing until it all matters; because it will