Pause Mode: Cooking, Music, Saturday Reflections

“Keeping the devil down in the hole:”  https://youtu.be/9k9FMGp7oGU

I love creating in the kitchen. When life events become perplexing deciding what to prepare for breakfast, lunch, and or dinner based on what is available in the kitchen is a joy. #mindbliss

When it all gets complicated, keep it simple. Wait your turn it is all coming around, know that for every unanswered reason and all the unbelievable whys will make sense. Remain confident in where God has you. If He doesn’t have you where you are go and find Him.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

See the pics of creations below:

Skillet Deliciousness
Heated Rosemary Garlic bread topped w/ fresh sauteed mushrooms, onions, jalapeno peppers topped w/cheese and fresh tomatoes. Yummy!
Skillet creations II
Eggs over easy, sauteed green peppers and onions. My new favorite. 

Happy July! Be grand in every endeavor you are lead to or have to take. It matters.

Creatively yours,

Michelle!

Love anyway

To be a Guardian ad Litem is the most adventurous, heart-wrenching, soul-healing-happy roles ever. Although, I am unable to share their story due to confidentiality please note that the victims are within the system for much more than what my little self can fix…being there, visiting them makes me happy.

These two, six-year-old girl and nine-year-old boy are the most genuine lovable pair I have yet to advocate for. They have no knowledge of the past week travesties to their race nor of the ones who protect and serve. They did not hear the woman in my Sunday School class state: “We cause things to happen to ourselves. We deserve what happens to us when we put ourselves in environments like that.” She’s Black, a mother, a wife and older.They are unaware of the state of my heart. I visit them at their daycare. They greet me with hugs and questions. I smile so.

They command me to get on the floor and race cars, play in the sand box. I think oh my achy knee, hitch up my skirt and I join in. It takes a minute for me to realize that the little girl has snuggled up against me and is inside the crook of my arm. I hug her. She is just chattering away. The little fella has named me in his imaginary carpool with himself as the driver, “Ms. Michelle you can sit in the back seat. I got this.”

We move to the drawing table and they talk some more. We are drawing and coloring, making paper airplanes and paper masks. Frustrated, the little fella destroys his mask because he cannot cut it just right. He begins to fuss at his sister. She says, “Stop getting so upset. I didn’t do anything to you.” Without any anger or accusation, I address him, “Don’t do that. Do not fuss at her. Try again. We will have to use a different type paper. Don’t get so frustrated and do not quit.”

An hour later, “Ms. Michelle can you come back tomorrow? Ms. Michelle come back next Friday it is show and tell. Come back next Friday definitely. Ms. Michelle you do not have a phone? You lose it, break it? You really need a phone so I can show you how to play games.”(I keep my phone off and out of sight. They have my full attention.) I left there with a drawing, a happy heart that is sleep (too cute) and a happy heart that is crying. She also drew me in a picture with her family.

Their story is not the easiest nor one of the worst I have had to advocate for but the innocence and love they have for this stranger bends me and molds me into a better human, a better mother.

Writing about child advocacy is a difficult task and because of the emotional totality of it, I do not write but today, today these two are an exception…a remarkable exception. Their big hugs are enough to mend me, encourage me to keep doing what I do. 🙂

As a people we cannot be outdone.God cannot be beat. There are so many reminders of His promises to us. Find a way through it all, continue to care and love for and on others. It makes our world different, better.

When I return home my Brutus: “The kids good? These are not the ones at the Center. These the ones you guardian for, the ones that have been neglected? You help them. Kids should have their parents, Momma. I like that you do this.”  I kiss and hug him even the more.

My morning affirmation: After the loss…love anyway, trust this part of the journey, trust the timing of your heart. I believe we observe the power of Holy Spirit more in this part of the journey when we trust God’s timing. We are not in this alone. There is no part of our journey God hasn’t equipped us for. I promise you each phase of our journey prepares us for His next. I am so ready for “After the loss” moments, soul-tired yet ready.  💛 Faith read: Matthew 11:28-30. The choice to be amazing does not guarantee the absence of hurt…it sets you apart to set you apart. Continue to be amazing! ~M.

P.S. I love when the beginning of the day transforms the remainder of the day.

As for the lady who spoke such ignorance. No one addressed it. I think God has a way of indicating to fools too.

Be amazing!

Falling Up

Me, not so put together….

Oh, I make myself so mad! I can complete a four-panel interview with a smile and have the whole team laughing. I can exit the building smiling at everyone. I can bravely acknowledge the elderly man staring with, “Hi! How are you?” Him: “Better. I’m getting there.” Me: “You look good.” Him: “You too!” I flash my huge smile, strut in my heels glad to make someone’s day and in the next 15 seconds fall ….actually, I surmise that the ground came up to meet me. Knees scratched, palms tingling, phone cracked, portfolio wide open and my heels off my feet, I look up to find people helping me to my feet.

Me: “Just give me a minute. How did I fall?” One stranger, female: “These cracks in the pavement. You probably stepped in one.” Me, shaking my head: “Only me. Thank you, I am fine. All my cuteness gone, ego bruised.” Her: “We all do it.” Me to self: “Not me. Who falls just outta nowhere?” All three women hugged me, strangers pitying the Black woman with the deep blonde inner roots.

For all the grass that is green!  I feel as though my guardian angel is indulging in her comedic efforts to grab my attention. For what reason, I am unsure. Pride shattered, I gathered all of me together and sat in my car until my world righted to strong, independent, confident Michelle. I wanted to blast Mary J. Blige and Chrisette Michele on the drive back but I had to listen to my GPS to get back home. Change and newness does not welcome into my spirit so readily. Clumsily confident, that is me.

Confident
~M.

 

Stay Strong in your Strength

Whatever your strength may be, remain strong in it. Strength isn’t how much you can hold on to without bending. Strength is the core pull that keeps you.  I know life is difficult, rocky, tumultuous, unwavering, different, exciting, unexpected and yet, wonderful. Life is full of change and it molds us into great individuals. Many times life hits us with a gargantuan why! However, we have to be cautious, observant, for remaining in a hurt does so much injustice to you, to others. Losing pieces of your soul constitutes nothing; it betters nothing.

There are so many reasons to go forward. Holding in an act of violence is a violation to all that is you. Soul wounds are God’s jurisdiction yet if you do not have strength enough to voice it, see it for what it is how He is able to heal completely? God loves intimately, without reserve. We have to take part in our own healing.

Your strength is not a mute response. Silence is not a healing mechanism for hurt. Your strength protects you, heals you, and directs you. God is the source of my strength and yes there are times I can forget that He is. But we have to be more than a statistic, be more than what was done to us.

Refuse to drown yourself in self-doubts, negative feedback, and devastating insults. Stop living within your hurts…caused by others. It is hard to maneuver and to be motivated in broken places. We can mend, hold on and continue to try a self-fix but a broken vase still appears cracked, chipped despite the different methods used to put it back together. The damage is there. Self-fixes include silence of a soul hurt, self-hate, low self-esteem, self-abuse, victimization, and ignoring a cycle of debilitating behavior.

Stay strong in your strength. You know what your strengths are, don’t let anyone’s action strip them away. My strong strength: Faith. It is a strength no one can see nor are they capable of creating it nor do they have the ability to diminish it or take it from me.

Any thing you do, whatever keeps you from falling into an emotional abyss of less than is your fallback, your anchor. When the world does not make sense what is your strong strength? I remind myself that I am an awesome Mom, my strong strength. No matter the challenges in life, I have to be better than a hurt, greater than a disappointment. It is my responsibility, my right, a privilege to overcome.

A fragile heart is a strong strength. Keep it. Being hopeful, having expectations keeps you from settling for less than what you deserve. Do not let your thoughts descend into what ifs and why nots for they only produce negativity and intrude upon your imagination. It requires so much to outdo others and even more to be better than the best. You have all you need to be who you are…its right there inside of you. Take the time to enhance all that you have to offer the world.

A hurting stuck requires no growth; it doesn’t move the world.  Remain strong and strengthen yourself for far greater than you imagined.

Always expecting more for you,

A.Michelle!

Letting go….

It is okay. To let go of what you wanted to happen. There is so much more when you do.

I ask that you not lose focus in wanting to want….all will happen in ways greater than you wished.

When the most difficult is happening deal with your now, do not push away; it all is preparing you for your future.

My wish is that we remain hopeful in disappointment, heartbreak and in our sacrifices,…you are so worthy and deserving and if “they”, if none see that, if none recognize your You

Well my dear you push forward ever so expectantly. Your strength has guided you this far and frankly you cannot be stopped. I believe in you. I believe in us….we who despite it all Hope.

Let go so that more comes. Be ever so proud of how far you have come.

 There’s more.

A.Michelle!

You are beautiful

 

I have this intrinsic viewpoint of myself. I believe it to be more humble than critical, an innocent naiveté. I speak and communicate with strangers yet it still blows my mind when others want to be a part of my world. All right, I rip myself apart. You do too. I am friendly enough, very independent and make my own way but not at the expense of others.

I have been teaching for the last three months. I have prepared myself so that I will not fall in love with these teenagers. My expectation when transitioning to teaching was and is to gain their respect not to be their friend nor to gain love. My big picture is to finish graduate school, pass the exam and achieve licensure as a counselor. I am a year and half away from the complete process.

I enter the teaching field based on a suggestion, good advice, a solid “to do” until graduate school is completed. My wall is up, my heart guarded and my emotions are in check. I want you to know these children, these teens that are deemed “at-risk”, who are less than respectful, that are mean, they are hurtful and hurting….they come find me now. They seek me out. The ones I have had removed from the classroom. The same ones who call me names, the ones who walk out of the classroom, and the ones who have fought one another in front of me…..they purposely come find me in this huge school. It is a new semester and I have a free fourth block every other day. It is my planning period. I expect them to ask me for something or to do something and I hear, “We don’t want anything. We miss you. You mind if we sit in here with you?” I breathe, we sit, and they talk. My heart melts….I have no clue why they want to be here with me. The children that are expelled….referred over to alternative school they search for little ole me. They come in between classes to speak, to give a hug, to smile and just to let me know they made it to school. It truly amazes me.

I have teen females telling me their troubles. How being girls in their household leads to violent acts, how they are touched inappropriately and how, “Mom has had three different boyfriends. She is pregnant now.” They tell me how being gay and sexually active at 14 years old is, “what I know. I know how men are. I see what my mom goes through. How she takes his side. How she did not come out her room when he was beating me. She threw me out. I mean I’m back now and he is gone.” Her head down and my response: “Our children should come first.” Her: “We should.” I just hug her because I do not know what else to do. I want to bring her home with me. Not just her, all of them. Oh how my heart aches for they go right back into the same environment.

As a counselor, as a mother I know how to do this. As a teacher, I am amazed, blindsided, lost, and heartbroken. I have so many questions. This hurt, their hurt is on a grand scale and it is a lot of them. Her story is not new to me and her story has happened to so many of them in this school. I completed an essay and had an open discussion with my professor. I ask, “Why do they share with me? I do not know them. They are students not necessarily mine. I just got there.” Her response: “You are trusting. That is what they see. You’ll figure out what to do.”

While I am trying to figure out the best way to aid, help, assist who I am does not stop becoming, does not stop progressing. My soul stretches. The gray hair multiplies before my next salon appointment. I tend to wear my glasses more than my contacts. (I think they hide my crying, red eyes better.) I do not see any increased worry lines. I still manage to smile. I have to. I love on my children even the more. I am ever so grateful for my parents, my family and my extended family.

Wednesday of this week, I am waiting in the line at the grocery store talking with my Brutus, my youngest son. An older woman walks up to me: “I love your hair. I absolutely love it. You know we spend so much money on our hair. I know you not spending $300.00 on this and it is beautiful. Do not change. God has blessed us as a people with so much and we try our best to make it into something else. I have dreads and people do not even do that naturally anymore. We so quick to hop away from us. This is what I love to see. I am not going to stop at your hair. I looked at your skirt, beautiful. Your shoes, beautiful. You are doing it and doing it divinely. I had to come and speak to you. I watched you talk to your son. You, your you is just beautiful. Keep it up. Don’t change!” I thank her tremendously. Yet, I still wonder why she and others open up to me. I tell my daughter the conversation and I ask her, “Women will compliment me quicker than men. This woman compliments me and I turn heads but not one man spoke to me. Why is that?” My Autumn, (she is 12) hunches her shoulders: “She is right. You are attractive Momma. Maybe men see more and are intimidated.” My resolve, she is watching me too.

We reflect what we want to portray yet it is what others see that is /will be our greatest impact. Continue to believe more of who you are rather than in what you are trying to do. God has this God-way of making it all work for our good. Your efforts will impact, direct lives to overcome, have others stand strong, motivate change and encourage others not to quit.Be beautiful in every way. Let them see you, your beautiful you.

Light the way,

A.Michelle!

Carved New Horizons, Opened Doors

 

 

angelou
Dr. Maya Angelou                                   April 18, 1928-May 28, 2014

 

 

Cooper
J. California  Cooper         November 10, 1931- September 20, 2014

 

Nikki
Nikki Giovanni               June   7, 1943

 

Toni M
Toni   Morrison                                                                                       February 18, 1931

 

images
Gwendolyn  Brooks                           June 7, 1917-                 December 3,2000
octavia-butler-photo
Octavia Butler                                             June 22,1947 -February 24, 2006

Black Women Authors expanded, continue to expand my  world.

The authors shown above are my favorite. Hopefully, if you haven’t read their work you will make time to do so. Wondrous works.

                                        Black Women Authors, Writers….

They mend our souls over so many obstacles, over so many other things, for so many years. Soul-reachers. Soul-Soothers. Confidence makers. Our next-phase- encouragers. Hope-pushers for the discouraged. Dream creators.

                                 Girl. Teen. Lady. Woman. Queen. Wisdom.

                                                         We are royalty. 

Our “I am” Warrioresses….we know how to hold on, we know how to let go, how to breathe…with their words. Words grouped into stories, poetry, truth fabricated to educate, enhance, imagine, explore, to start, to stop and to begin again, to finish.

Soul-reveal reads! They are our forever writers. Ase Ase.

Celebrate Herstory. We are amazing by choice!

A. Michelle

 

 

Something New, Teaching.

Last week I began teaching teenagers in our public school system. I was so scared, still am. At times, I still believe this something new is all going too fast. This something new has affected all facets of my life. My life is changing. Things are different. I am different…softer in my approach or retaliation to others. There is so much training on what not to do that it is easy to lose focus on how we are to be….with children. They are children, little people trying to figure It out too—so many of them without any help.

Teaching is not a role new to me. It was never a desire of mine to teach. My parents told me I was good at it. As teens, we believe parents tell us what we can do because they love us. However, teaching requires a great sense of responsibility and that I did not want. When the thought of teaching Sunday School became more than just a thought I fought against it with so many belittling reasons. I am not good enough. Who am I? Why me? I am not smart enough. The greatest one, if I teach I truly have to live what I am teaching. Lol! Every night of training, I had to push myself to go into class and each night as I was leaving I cried the whole way home. Three years later, the butterflies are still there but the love I have for learning and being able to influence others toward God’s love quietens the fluttering.

When I started this job, every morning as I traveled toward school, I prayed for strength and protection. Every afternoon, while leaving I thanked God for strength and protection. Whew, I made it! While driving home I reflected on each day and I smiled. I wanted more. I am still smiling now. They grabbed my heart. Those children, other people’s kids grabbed my heart. They have given me the greatest hope and that is of finding ways to influence their lives. Yes, they are at times loud, sneaky, disrespectful, and cautious and closed off. Yet, for those few, there are more who just want you to listen, encourage, show concern, and hear them.

Oh these little minions are easy peasy versus warring with God about my personal preferences. Finding my way and living out my life well that is the hard part. Becoming a better person while in a difficult transition requires brutal self-honesty. Learning to love where God has you requires dependency, trust, faith, forgiveness, hope, determination…..and so much more.

My something new reminds me how God loves on purpose. A former colleague and a great female leader emailed me when she knew I was teaching: “Doing something you have passion for is the true key to success!!!” She is right. Be encouraged.

Always be ever expecting in God’s better.

Writer-Mom-Child Advocate-Blogger-Teacher,

~A.Michelle

Secret Admirers

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A memory…flowers didn’t arrive at my home but one day while away from the office for lunch my desk held a delivery. A  gift basket containing body crèmes, spray mist and soaps. The card read: “You deserve the best. I am willing to be that for you.” No name. I became frightened. I think, trying to figure out who it could be. I smiled slightly. My stomach danced with butterflies. I went back to work. I worried. I called my fiancée, knowing he didn’t send it. I didn’t tell him about the gift basket.

Later,  I opened the gift and the smell of the body crème was divine, rare, expensive. A scent I never smelled before. I definitely knew my fiancée didn’t send it. Very nervous, I didn’t take it home. I kept it at the office. My co-workers questioned me, wanting to know who sent it. They loved the smell of it. So did I. It wasn’t loud like perfumes tend to be. The scent was comforting, cozy, light, delicious…lingering. I didn’t go around asking questions I honestly didn’t know who sent it. Who could this person be? To know what to buy me, to cater to such a specific scent, a person I knew nothing about.

He approached me the following day. A co-worker. A nice guy. He was quiet. I thanked him. I told him I didn’t cheat. He responded: “I wasn’t asking you to. I want more than that.” He walks away. I have no words. I am so confused because I never gave any reason for him to like me. I was engaged. He watched. I smiled. We never spoke again. At this time, this writing prompt #Secret Admirers, I think of him. I smile. I can’t remember his name nor his face. Older, wiser, love abused and misused I appreciate him. What an authentic, original way to initiate, create and pursue a possible love interest.  A scent so rare so indescribable…eighteen years later and I have not forgotten about it. No butterflies, no longer frightened but the risk to have more, to have what he wanted in me remains. I have never experienced the smell of that fragrance again. I cannot find it. Secret admirers: they give us more than maybes or possibilities; they have the ability to ignite an undeveloped want into a future standard.

Wondering,

A. Michelle!

 

 

That Publish button…my bloggy blog statement

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When I write….It all passes through me. I see more in black and white than what’s in my heart. I can fix this…when I write.

​ My feelings, emotions are more coherent. They are tangible, loud. Emotions feel, taste, they bite. My tiny voice is loud, substantial, coherent no longer misunderstood…when I write. I’m strong, powerful, vulnerable and so transparent. It scares me, still…when I write. 
When I write, there aren’t any rules. There are no, “You can’t.”  No incorrect grammar rules (ok, I have to make sense) but I can make up words within my own writing context, “uncourageous”— (what a wonderful word) and you as the reader know exactly what it means!  As a female raised in the South, no rules is a new phenomenon and the release is pure ecstasy.
(Don’t get too deep with the latest intonation. lol)

My heart seems to have no rhyme or reason but my words bleed truth, bleed, reveal my  soul. ​ My matters of the heart are not without healing, when I write. The invincible is plausible, the impossible is reasonable. ​​ I can do more, achieve more when I write. I am more than super; I am a wonder, when I write.  I feel normal yet I know this writing is unique, a gift, my very own gift. It is mine….and it frees me….it connects me…it heals me. It is me, all of me.​

My tears spill over into smiles or a  “Wow. Now I see” ​ confirmation begins to develop new ideas. ​ My joy, the kind no one can take away centers me. God meets me write there…..and quite simply, “There” is an intimacy experienced–no longer an imagination…when I write.

Vulnerably yours,

~A. Michelle!