Chapter 47 #birthdayblog the beginning…

Selfie_August 2017

I am not forsaking the last 46 years, I am blessed. I am humbled and ever so confident in God. His works are undeniable. This past week I attended a beautiful wedding where African Attire was required. We are a beautiful people. I attended the funeral of a great friend…her mother was –is her world. I wear my pearls in honor of her memory and my mother’s as well. Our mothers’ are the salt of the earth…they make us you know…they make us in spite of their dreams, in spite of the things they want for themselves. How amazing is the role of mother. In addition, with some dread…I am being matched to date….it has been five years since I have been on a date. What a birthday week!!  I love new experiences and value the past ones. Year 47 will be exceptional!

My life thoughts:

  1. God works within our prayers to show His purposes for our lives.
  2. Others’ happiness can flow over to us but it is up to us to pick up the pieces they leave us.
  3. I am learning that life is grand only if you live it!
  4. Support the ones who support your dreams …without a price.
  5. Our world is relevant to what we do. What we put out returns back to us.
  6. I love being a mother it is far more rewarding than we believe, even with all the sacrifices and …I am good at it.
  7. Damien!
  8. Darius!
  9. Autumn!
  10. Bryant Wade aka Brutus!
  11. Love in spite of how we define it… it wins on its on merit.
  12. Friendships are fundamentals it indicates how we care for one another.
  13. Spirituality although renowned  is one of the most evolutionary, specific and rare experiences that will last forever.
  14. Do not always be aggressive learn to wait in hope.
  15. There is work in the wait.
  16. Connections make you vulnerable yet the real ones last a lifetime. Keep them.
  17. Love more than you hate.
  18. Although forgiveness is a process, forgive anyway. We are unable to stop the hurt. Reflect. Forgive. Move forward in love.
  19. I am okay.
  20. I am worthy of the good.
  21. Your intelligence is an asset…grow it. Share it. Use it.
  22. Hate cripples.
  23. Self-loathing destroys what God has created.
  24. Growth requires new experiences.
  25. Guarding your heart comes with responsibilities, listening and obeying. Do not guard it with barbwire.
  26. Family is the core of our existence. Love them.
  27. Racism is real. God is bigger.
  28. Our biggest fight is to love who we are.
  29. Our greatest fear is not being loved for whom we truly are…we fight to hide and hide to fight.
  30. Self-care is paramount.
  31. Sleep is wonderful, it is when God is doing so much for us and through us. Learn to rest well.
  32. God loves whom He creates. He cannot not love.
  33. Psychology and counseling is what I am great at doing. It is a gift and though heart wrenching I am committed.
  34. Giving birth is life changing; forever.
  35. When the ones we love walk out, it hurts but it is the beginning of so much more. Work through it.
  36. Encourage others; it matters. Fellowship is key to relationships.
  37. You are greater than anything that comes your way. God in all His infinite wisdom ordained it so.
  38. Comparison is the thief of joy.
  39. We indeed reap what we sow. Sow with love.
  40. Love is simple, respectful and honorable. There is not any gray matter.
  41. Do not human up what is spiritually required of you. Freewill is God given. Jesus paid the price, once. He does not have to repeat it.
  42. Adoption is unrequited love. Do not human it up.
  43. Our gifts are our freedom. Develop it. Follow through with it.
  44. Dreams come true with hard work and trust.
  45. Do the necessary #work.
  46. Safety is not a guarantee…it should be with the ones who profess their love for you.

Chapter 47 …new one. I am determined to live life loving better, living wonderfully and assisting in the greater good wherever and whenever I can! ©

P.S. I am excitedly afraid of the possibility of dating. A big sister type of friend says, “Not dating Oh not we cannot have that.” She has been on a mission since Wednesday. #mylife

Intimately worded,

Michelle

Flux to Crux…Part I

©©When it hurts to write (my number one love), when it hurts to counsel, when it hurts to breathe…within my crux. My well is dry. My give is limited. My encouraging spirit, well it is in wound. This is new. There have been times in the past I was unable to write. This is different; my life experiences are genuine, unique. I try my best to learn from them and move forward. I hold no ill will towards anyone.  This is more than hurt feelings, more than depression, more than overworked, more than transitional. All of me is in such a painful turmoil; my thoughts, my spirit, my body…yesterday I cleaned my face with fingernail polish remover. Smh/laugh, I did.  Yet, I know this is more than I need a vacation phase.

I am not sure what this is, what it means. I quit social media for a minute. I have been fasting since May. I have taken the necessary steps to welcome this transition and yet it seems I am still failing.

My flux—Monday through Wednesday schedule is when I give all of me to others. Monday: work, see clients, facilitate grief group. Tuesday: work, see clients, and attend class. Wednesday: work, see clients, facilitate divorce group. Thursday: work, work on proposals, homework, more counseling projects. Friday: looks like Thursday. Saturday & Sunday: self-care days…even with some sort of training—in ethics or sex trafficking and conducting prayer hotlines. I think my self-care is suffocating because I do not know where I am at, who I am becoming. In addition, how is it possible that there is more to life when it all hurts?

I am alone in my crux. I see, hear so much hurt. From planned suicide to displaced wives and children to grieving individuals. Their hurt pains me so much and I know to run, walk, talk, pray for them outside of my counseling sessions. I do not carry their weight although the heaviness is substantial. I could list all my credentials, my leadership roles, my accomplishments, my wants yet it still is what I did —not what I am doing. I have only the premise that I am in the middle of something huge and I cannot go backwards nor move forward in front of God. It all frightens me.

“There is nothing My Holiness cannot do.” ~Marianne Williamson

Fighting for joy…to keep it…to live with it and in it in spite of what I see, of what I hear and no matter the mistreatment keep fighting for joy. My purposes are my purposes…God-divine. When things come up hard, when reasoning makes no sense, when everything seems to fall short, when the fluxes of this life overwhelm we must remember all that God requires is never easy. Jesus, His son suffered more than anyone. He set the standard for being obedient to God’s will. He won. His victory is for us to win as well.

There will be times I cannot be all to everyone. There will be times my spirit of encouragement is nil. There will be times when how alone I am in this world flattens me. (When Daddy & Momma are gone, it is a whole other kind of growing up.)

I do not talk. I do not complain. I encourage. I smile. I cover up. While in this transition phase one person said to me: “There’s something behind that smile.”  I broke down. I cried. Not those hard cry just silent tears. There is my brokenness. There is the pain of being told my last seven years are a farce. That my struggle, my fight to be a counselor is of all things–unethical.

Normally, I have a few choice words for people who intentionally harm or disrespect me. I have my say. I am my best advocate. Yet, this time the weight of others, of it all, of this journey made me pause. I give. I give a lot. I give out. This time, for this moment I gave in. Whammy after whammy is depleting. The core of everything I am, everything I am becoming has to be fought for and I am tired.

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he[a] will answer my complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1 (NLT)

 There is peace in my wait. There is more of me in my wait. He is there for me in my wait. I awake smiling. I enter my space, my chosen time alone is outside where I can see, hear, smell, touch, breathe in His love. There is where I begin…within my crux. I am trusting God to do His possibles for me and for you.

His grace.

Intimately worded,

Michelle ©

Fyi: For those who do not know I am in the practicum/internship phase of achieving my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 
Beauty Selfie (2)
Beginning 2009 or 2010

 

Michelle_June 9 2017
In between June 2017.  (at my daughter’s graduation from Middle School.)

 

 

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

Heart Moments #NecessaryWork

I have a tendency to listen more than I advise. It makes me smile, being aware that I am capable of that particular attribute. #lifelessons

Volunteering has opened my eyes to so much more than an individual’s present circumstances. I volunteer with the Child and Adolescent population in different roles. Lately, my work has included working with teens that are recovering addicts. All male and of all races. They have my heart. It amazes me that so many are addicted, so young, so many trying to cope with life, their way.

I do not see myself as the typical counselor. As I journey towards licensure I pray that I do not lose sight of caring. The type of intimate caring with your heart that becomes easy to lose in all the rules, policies and regulations. I tend to mother first. I am quiet more than intrusive. I have learned in the most difficult way to be quiet, to listen.

It becomes laborious to think outside the box when policies and set therapeutic techniques are the norm. We cannot touch, hug, and show any kind of affection. We know not to preach, fuss, and become a parent to them. These rules are for my protection and quite different for me for I am a mother and I was raised old school in a two parent home. (Most of them just need a good switch and their mouths washed out with soap. I digress. Lol.)

One day while visiting the park, I listen to Brandon. He is 15 years old, Black, appears kind, great dimples. I ask, “When did you become aware of your family’s use of drugs?” He responds, “Four. I was four years old.” My heart breaks. He has seen a lot. He has become conducive to his environment. He has done more criminally than a grown man has. He is 15.  Me, turning away because I am about to cry, “I would hug you but we can’t do that. You know there is more out here. More to life.” Him: “I like my environment Ms. Michelle.” Me, heart completely shattered: “I know. I know you do.”

Our conversation bothered me so much. Why should I be this bothered? He is receiving necessary help. I find out that this is his second time in. For weeks, the word “environment” and his predicament weighed heavy on me. I called my older sons, Damien and Darius. I questioned them on implementing a journal technique, getting the clients to write. Both respond: “Not sure why you think writing is going to help them kids.” It kind of hurts when your children tell you your thinking is off base. The more I learn of Brandon’s life, the more I felt helpless. My thoughts, he is receiving what he needs. He has counselors. He is going to his NA meetings. He is going to be fine.

Yet, the way he talked, his topic of conversation did not change. He was still going to rob people, commit home invasions, and maybe not get high as much but he would still carry out the same behavioral actions. The more I kept telling myself I could not improve the system the more depressed I became. Helping is about change. Volunteering is about improvement.

As God worked my heart, an idea began to form, EFL, Equine Facilitated Therapy. A proven therapeutic technique. I spoke with my Director. She gave me the go ahead to pursue. Throughout all the required business details, I kept quiet. I just knew this was going to fall through. I presented my proposal as a recreational activity. The Director accepted as an additional therapeutic technique for the Adolescent clients! My family responds: “Good, Momma.” I know this is huge; pretty mega. I laugh and I am so giddy.

Oh, how I wish I could share photos. I love confidentiality; I do but man I wish I could share photos. First session: the experience is exciting and unbelievable. Brandon, leader, aka tough guy is the most fearful. Kenny is as well. Remember, all these teens have some sort of record. Yet, they are quiet, scared, and respectful of these great creatures.  Of the twelve, Brandon and Kenny hide behind me, and counselors whenever the horses move. At least eight, take to the horses. They are working as a team to guide, walk and command the horses. Kenny, the one so afraid is able to lead and command the toughest horse there.

As we are watching him, his counselor says to me: “He has been shot twice. Gangs are trying to kill him. He is a tough one. His dad abused him. His mom doesn’t want him.” As she is speaking, I am watching this child smile; laugh, talk and I cannot hold back my tears. Me: “I need to take the time to read their files.” Her: “You haven’t? You put all this together without reading their files. Look around you. I have never seen these boys this way. Good job.”  I smile more, whisper to God a thank you and take more pictures. Brandon, my ringleader has not taken to any of the lessons given. He actually has the other clients surrounding him for protection. Smh, awesome leadership skills. He states he does not want to come back. (The EFL therapy is mandatory!) However, our second session he is riding. He even coaches and reassures me as I ride.

EFL is more for the teens but as I learn and bond with the horses, I am learning so much more about myself. At times, the sessions are so intensifying…its overwhelming to come face to face with your past, your Self in front of others. What I am learning about me at 46 years of age….I am a good person. That although I have been told otherwise and been made to feel inferior over the years I know that my heart is pure. I am proud of me, of who I am, of where this journey is leading me and it is wonderful to be okay with myself. #becoming

The responsibility of communicating with an animal that weighs up to 1600 pounds and it is just as furious about surviving as we are is humbling phenomenal.  I come home completely drained from the experience, happy. The emotional, mental and spiritual content, connection is difficult to express, another reason I have not blogged for a while.

Listen to the nudges, pricks, ideas you receive. They should cause us to go deeper, reach further. The possibility of change begins within us. Do the necessary work, it will influence the future. We can.

Love the journey,

A.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!

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

 

 

Humility, a lesson by Bru

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I purchased a footstool when my older sons left home. I am exactly 5 feet tall—plenty opportunities for my children to joke me. Oh how Damien and Darius loved to purposely place the salt and pepper shakers or any cooking ingredients on the second shelf out of my reach. Of course, they would laugh and chuckle while I fussed.

My footstool has become a point of argument for Brutus and I. He believes it is his toy, the family “what-not”. I get frustrated because when I need it I can never find it. Our first argument, I told him how it would be and his sarcastic retort was, “Its for everybody.” So I hid it in my closet out of view.

Thursday morning, after everyone is at school, I decide to try a protein smoothie. I am blending blueberries, bananas, walnuts and I want to use just a little bit of honey. I think I see the honey way back in the back of the cabinet. I can’t reach it. I’ll just go get my footstool. It’s not in my closet, nor in the pantry. I search every room in the house and I can’t find it. So now I am mad. No longer do I really want the smoothie. Every time I try to be healthy, do something for me these little people move what is required or  it magically disappears. I’m a routine person. I know where I put my stuff. If I don’t move it, it should be right where I left it. I’m so mad I have already played out the conversation I am going to have with Brutus when he returns home.

He is home. We talk about school. He had a great day. Me: “Bru where is my footstool? I looked for it everywhere.” He runs happily into my bedroom. Bru: “You didn’t look on my side of your bed, did you?” He hands me the footstool. (I’m still mad but hiding it.) Me: “Its my footstool. I couldn’t reach something earlier today and I needed it.” Bru: “The footstool is for everybody. Its not just yours. I keep telling you that.” Me: “It is mine. It is not a toy. Again, it is mine. If you are going to use it just put it back where I can find it.” Bru, big sigh “Momma it is the pattern of life for me to want what you have.” He pauses: “This conversation is over because I don’t know what I am saying right now. I don’t know where it came from.” He has this strange look on his face and jumps off the footstool and begins his homework. I am dumbfounded. He’s eight years old. I remain in the kitchen.

Me: “Bru do you think you are different?”  Bru: “Yes, but only because I tell you I love you every day and all the time. I don’t think other kids do that. Why?” Me: “Just wondering.”

What do you do with that? “….it is the pattern of life for me to want what you have.”  I didn’t take his statement as an envy or jealous emotion.  I am pointing out my selfish wants for the footstool. He is  pointing out the value in having the footstool. “It’s for everybody.” I am the Psych grad; the graduate student. I’m Momma.

My children have this astonishing strength of faith, they always have. I don’t mess with it; I let it be but man they scare the heck outta me. At times I wonder why God has me as their protector, their mother, in this role. I tell Autumn what Bru says, she laughs. I ask Autumn: “How am I suppose to take care of you two, alone?” Autumn, shrugs her shoulders: “You’re doing it. You have been doing it.” She continues her homework. Brutus plays with his legos.  Well, I just send up a silent prayer for strength, wisdom and continue reading my book.

The smoothie wasn’t nasty without honey. I drank it….go me! No sugar. At this moment the footstool is in the pantry. Grateful, I am learning from two of the four greatest gifts God has ever blessed me with.

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Let go of the distractions. At times the lessons are right in front of you.

their Mom,

~A. Michelle