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

Singleness Relationships His plans

Confident

Human Nature is God created and is the simplest most complex form of co-existing. It seems that relationships are now this big hoo-haw of rules…you have to be, what you should do, do not do that, and then they add in the biblical characters of Boaz, Ruth, then the terms submissiveness, wait and pursue. It kills me, completely. I am not writing to give advice and suggest anything. Just read this with an open-mind and open-heart.

I want to remind you that finding what you want, being single, while-in-wait is not complicated. It truly will take that one day, the one moment (and you may not ever describe it as perfect but it will be for that moment) that one conversation, that one hello, that one smell of his cologne, his swag,  that one act of chivalry and it happens. There really is no rhyme or reason to it. Even the unexpected friendship that blossoms is a part of it all.

Stop allowing what “experts” give, sell to you about your life because this is your life, your choice. Honestly, he/she cannot tell you how to be now in order to be dating if they have no clue of the trials you went through or the fiery acts of faith you believed in your past. People change. Mindsets become new. Our environments change. How I am, is due to the things God has allowed in my life and they are blessings. As a single parent of three African American males (two are adult men) and one daughter I have no room in my life to be passive, submissive nor non-intimidating. It just will not work. Yet, I know enough from my Mom, my Daddy, my brothers, my family, those aunts on how to be loving towards a man who holds my interest.

I have become, am becoming this person, this woman, this loving female not because of my past but in spite of; in spite of all I endured, endure —-because of my relationship with God. There is no doubt in my mind that my intimacy with God has grown me into a woman who is too forward, too passive, too gullible and above all ignorant. He just would not allow it. I am imperfect, perfectly so.  I smile from my soul for who I am. Our walk with Him is personal, it is about growth, it is about healing, and it is about GROWTH! Growth and stagnation does not mesh. God is so much greater. We have to realize that people choose to love or runaway, they choose it. Let them. Their choice does not make you or I less than. The only person that can impede God’s will for your life is you. {Jeremiah 29:11}

The heavy part of love requires all of you, each of you. Know and believe in your definition of love and you will find the partner that will enhance your definition or have you rewrite your definition with his or her edits. Just proofread first! Be in ready mode. Your heart is bigger than what if. God’s will is grander please believe that.

I pray God’s grace in whomever you choose to love….and I am so proud of you for where you are today. You have come through so much. Keep your You! It works specifically for all you are connected to.

Intimately written,

Michelle

Carry Hope, this Counselor’s heart

 

journey-pic  It is never easy being vulnerable nor is it ever so easy being the strongest. What I am learning is that life gets better when we share. When we open up, expose our hearts, share our pitfalls, and express our hopes and dreams, our lives become bigger. No longer are we alone, separate, on our own.

I am learning with confidentiality comes responsibility. At the beginning of my education in counseling, I thought confidentiality was a burden…a required stressor for client relationships. As Counselors we cannot share any client cases not even with our spouse. I would find this most difficult whenever my he finds me. Yet, as I grow, as I try to understand the complexities of the heart, our minds and the human spirit I am not alone in carrying or solving another’s problems. It is their story, I am blessed to hear it, to listen in…what a grand opportunity to be present for another.

Our heart’s ache with so much. Love for family, for our spouse, our friends, partners, for all we are connected to and things will get heavy, very heavy. Carry Hope. Hope is essential. Faith is a required necessity. The two enable us to pick up shattered pieces, to gain a God perspective in all matters of the heart. In addition, it is free…listening with care is priceless. Seeing a person’s heart is one of the greatest values, a treasure. God will do the rest. Carry Hope and be gracious in giving it away.

Yesterday, I listened as this woman described how her 19-year-old son has schizophrenia. How over the years he has tried to cope with the voices in his head…how loud music does not drown them out, how the medicine does not drown them out. Yet, he knows the difference in what the voices tell him…he knows which are spiritual and which ones are not. I listened as she says she has never been dismissive when he speaks to her, warns her about things. I listen, as she has become his champion, his advocate. How she works to make sure the members of the police department know him, their family for his safety. How the Church members know him, he sits in the foyer (his choice) away from everyone and he listens to the sermon, the music. How she says he looks normal and he is her son. There is no tiredness in her voice, no weariness. She smiles. She speaks of love, her son, her husband, their community. I see her heart. I am proud of her, her son, her family, her community. She “fights” for everyone. #VillageLove

My Autumn  told me she saw me as a forgiving person, very forgiving. I asked does that make me a wuss, a pushover. She responded: “It means you forgive, Mother. That is it. Stop adding stuff.” I laughed. What a great characteristic to see in a person. She is right; I tend to add more than the necessary to any situation. Forgiving frees you up. It requires a lot to forgive but even if the process is slow, we are gaining more of ourselves each time we forgive. Do not let what others perceive of you dictate the kind of heart you have. Let your heart show. Let it beat, break, heal and love some more. Continue to guard it, though guard it with love not barbwire.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4: 23 (NIV)

Inevitably, the God-stuff happens. My heart is most happy when I can witness the miracles God works daily through our lives, nature, in our friendships, with family relations, in business ventures and once in a lifetime encounters. It was not until I went to bed last night that I realized that I was among a group of women that counsel, that are Believers, wonderful individuals and we all want the same thing. This path is so different from what I imagined. I am so grateful for my experiences; even the difficult ones for each equip me to journey on.

Again, carry hope…your definition of success is soon to follow.

Intimately worded,

A. Michelle!

© 2017 Michelle Tillman All rights reserved

 

 

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

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!

 

 

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

Stuff, the inbetween stuff…28 years later

 

Dawn Michelle

What I have learned in the past week, change is inevitable. I know this is not new and exploding information but the older I get the more I realize how set in my ways and within certain thought processes I have the tenancity to remain. I am in wonder when the little things bring me more enjoyment than frustration; that my little tweaks and Michelle-isms bring more joy than all the other stuff.

  • Yesterday, I am asleep before my granddaughter. Her parents went out last night. She and I had a wonderful time together until about 9:00 pm, by 9:04 I was asleep. I really did try to stay awake. She remained wide awake. She is getting so plump and so mean. When she is hungry, she lets the world know. Auntie Autumn, my daughter kept her the rest of the night. Darius, my son, her father does the pick up. He was not surprised about my bedtime: “Momma can’t never stay up.” I would like to add I am up very early, when everyone else is asleep.
  • My “Me time” makes me a better person for the life I lead and the life I want to achieve. I enjoy the strength not to push it aside, deviate from it. My routine: prayer time, devotional call, children off to school and then exercise. My “Me time” prepares me for my day, for whatever the good, the bad, the surprises, the “what will be” and for everyone else. I do not have the answers to all that happens but I am learning the wisdom to not control is a required balance in being exactly where God wants me to be.
  • I am learning that I am happy and it is not because of all the things I have completed or the past mistakes. I truly believe I am happy because I choose to be. I am, because my faith has made this moment greater than yesterday. I am, because if I made it pass all of that other stuff, the bad stuff, the immature stuff, the pain, and the hurt I am going to make it to the next good stuff, the God stuff, which has no limit.
  • I am learning also that I have a tendency to make others laugh, and at my expense. I never identify myself as a short person. Yet, my children and others find it very funny that I cannot see out the peephole or is it funny that I am in denial? Either way, I slightly laugh with them. (Hee hee ha ha.)  My children are marginally taller, except Brutus who has a way of calling me, “Michelle” and that has him rolling in the floor. I have no clue why. I laugh with him too.

I think we should be inclined to prepare ourselves to enjoy the little things. I had lunch with a friend Friday. I will confess, the younger Waxhaw-home grown-rooted-Baptist me would have never went. In that lunch meeting I describe my life ending with, “My life is pretty boring. I don’t do drama.” Him: “I beg to differ. I think it’s rather exciting. You are a great mother. A good woman. There are not too many good women out here. You are quiet just like you were in High School.” I smiled. I will take it.

I don’t think there are limits to soul stretching. I think we brake…break because the plan isn’t working the way we thought nor how we planned. Our greatest assets develop from our not knowing. Love your life, continue to do the necessary to make it better. You just have too. Kisses!

 

 

Humility, a lesson by Bru

2014-11-09 19.13.18

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.

Image result for humility quotes

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

their Mom,

~A. Michelle

Sunday Brunch…..the Sabbath

Sunday BrunchI am sitting here thinking about my Church life, my pastor and my parents. My pastor is due to retire next year….I am sadden, happy, proud and grateful for him and his wife. His leadership is more than phenomenal. He is 76 years old and still preaches two services every Sunday. I have never had to call him for anything personal, never had to reach out to him outside of the Church. Yet, he and his wife know my name. No one knew me personally at the Church, yet when I joined six years ago it was him and his wife that were standing up for me (as my family)…..it felt like home. So many Waxhaw, Momma & Daddy feelings, flashbacks at that time.
Today, after Church I am standing and talking with a friend. She is telling me of her troubles with her daughter who is in college. We talk how it is a growth experience for the parent and the child. College is difficult. Parenting a child away from home is difficult. Our pastor is making his way towards us, shaking hands and speaking. He says to her, “Tell her we sent her to college to get a degree not a dude.” Oh how we laughed. She told him to call her, talk to her. He said he would and writes down her number… “I will call her and give her some communion. You know when you take communion it is sacred. Imma speak  some sacredness in her life.” We laughed, she thanked him. Immediately, the mother relaxed, confident he would carry out what he said. She is a single mother; a weight within itself and he lifted that weight with a promise to call. His leadership does so much more than the eye can see.
 I have never felt the need to ask my pastor for anything outside of church—-I gained what I needed, the prayers, the advice, the structure, the teaching, weekly in his sermons, any church activity–even when he attended the basketball games. But I don’t think I would have been able to appreciate any of it; Sunday, the Sabbath, friendships, opportunities of serving, loving thy neighbor, worshipping, Church without my parents, my family. The circle of life…..I don’t know why I am thinking about my daddy so much today but it is good. We are where we are, intentionally, spiritually.
Be found loving,
A. Michelle!
P.S. Nap times are crucial on Sundays. Smile, take one. It is a national requirement.

Autumn and Brutus: Summer Vacation 2015

My Two
More than I expected. Summer 2015
This is our first Summer vacation alone, no big brothers or friends to join us. Of course we head to the Beach. They love the water and they swim like fish. While planning, I am little apprehensive…. can I be the “fun” Mom on vacation and still protect them with only me watching. My older ones are off in the world, living and they are happy. How much relaxing will I be able to do and will the retreat I need from “the world” be enough for Self? I have a few things coming up in the next few weeks I need to prepare for mentally.
 
So I make the reservations and the Little Ones’ excitement doesn’t hit until the day we leave. Now there are all these rules….Brutus: “No electrics Momma. No homework. You can’t be busy, it is our time.” Autumn:  “I just want to have fun. I can take my stuff to create, right? What is our itinerary? Do I need to make a list?”
 
Our last few days without “electrics,” just being with them is what life is all about….getting back to the basics, remembering why you do what you do, counting my blessings as I see them jumping the waves….Brutus laughing, screaming and running from Autumn in glee because he tagged her….they are simply beautiful. Their happiness is genuine, unique, theirs. How amazing they are. As a mother, a single mother there are so many times and things you believe you do wrong. Yet,  as I sit here listening to the Ocean with tears running down my face….I love their love. Their resiliency, their capability to forgive and move forward, their ability to stand. So we are good, we are better than ok…..I’ll remain in the journey not just on it. 
 My phone rung a few times, each time Brutus, very protective: “Who is that? Don’t answer it. Our time.” Of course, their Auntie Keyna called. She is my little sister and still treats me like I am the youngest. I gave up Facebook and Instagram. I actually tuned away from the world, the white noise. I am not the type of person that becomes engrossed in Social Media that it becomes my emotional dumpster. I don’t use it as a vehicle to hurt anyone nor as a pedestal to attack or voice my opinion on matters of the heart.…we have to encourage one another. It wasn’t just their laughs I enjoyed. I observed others; other families, children, extended families, couples that were happy, enjoying the present. 
 
Of all the stresses we endure to protect, raise and educate our children…its worth it. I will continue trusting in God . I have to continue being the best in their world because I value who I am and what I am to my Autumn and my Brutus.
 
As a parent, a father, a mother, be coupled or single…if we continue to do what is required of us God will do the rest. God works diligently behind the scenes. Remain in the fight, it is so worth it. 
You are amazing by choice.
~A. Michelle