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!

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.) 

 

 

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

February Love, dealing with Me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep sowing,

A.Michelle!

Culinary Skills & Dilemmas

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

My dilemmas: Church & Internship and other stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me intimately worded,

A.Michelle

Living in Brokenness

We all do this. We do not allow ourselves to heal…not all the way. We believe we have had enough, done enough so we wait in hurt. We dream for better in the same routine, the same rut. We fight so hard to get what we want that we fight even harder to keep what damages us so.

This post is heavy. I have pondered not to write it but alas here’s my heart: Living in brokenness determines so many different avenues that our lives will take. Faith and courage are more than stepping-stones. Faith and courage open doors. So many doors. The last few weeks, relationship woes have found their way to my listening ear. I refuse to give relationship advice. One, I am not in one. Two, No one knows a person’s true ordeal. People tell you what they want you to know and if the advice given does not match up to their true wants and what they want to do…the advice given is deemed wrong. Three, my experiences and my level of want may not match up to another’s level of love. Therefore, I listen.

Her experience Woman I: “I am in a committed loving relationship. Twenty years, a sinful committed relationship. He still married.”  She laughs, “Now you know I know better.” Beautiful woman, late 50’s, a therapist.  (He is not legally divorced.)

Her experience Woman II: “Thank you for wishing me happy birthday. My husband has not said one word about my birthday. I have been dealing with this for 20 years and I am not going to remind him.” Its 11:30 pm when I receive her text. This saddens me so. I want to respond, “Tell him.” Yet, I do not. I text, “Hugs. We’ll celebrate when we go out.” I know that did not ease her hurting. Beautiful woman, late 50’s, wonderful heart. She will give her last to a friend not expecting a payback. Beautiful spirit.

My experience: I hide. I dare not show the deep levels of my heart. As wide and forgiving as it is, my heart hurts quickly and the consequences of that hurt makes me very decisive. It is difficult for any man to penetrate my heart. If I am hurt, I retreat. I do not argue and I do no fix people. My intent is never to hurt anyone. I live my life with those intentions. Yet, I know that I am capable of loving with the best of them. God’s timing is with purpose.

Living in brokenness becomes factual, routine and monotonous without us being aware. It is a cycle of self-protection and longing. It is very understandable and livable. We all do it. Our coping mechanism, our coping techniques are a greater companion than anticipating change. I truly believe if my first marriage had not ended the way it did I would still be there praying, hoping, hanging on and suffocating simultaneously.

I believe the ones who have the ability to break our hearts should not have nor be given the credibility to keep us in that place of brokenness. Living in brokenness is a place of growth, not a permanent place of stubbornness and “if-wishing.” God will do so much more with our heart matters when we faithfully move within our trust of Him.

Peace your heart and love in hope,

Michelle

Rejection…#BeginAgain

heart   Life is anything but simple. It would seem only the elders have the answers. When I inquire of their wisdom: “Pray about it.”  “God is there.” Moreover, “You’ve lived through worse.” Great words. True affirmations. Life is still a working complication. No one has the answers to “but why?”

I am walking, working, faith-ing in crisis mode. I have been for the last few years. Truthfully, each day is a battle. We fight in so many battles. Frankly, I am pretty worn out. My heart hurts. My faith has a little thread showing that keeps being pulled…you know the one piece that if you keep pulling, it will pull the entire garment apart. That is where I am– a place where I am continuously pushed into, the fighting with faith corner.

I do not think I have any difficulty in learning life’s lessons. I find it difficult to believe my journey is more special than anyone else. Yet for God’s sake, what more do I need to learn? (Rhetorical.)

Incidently, I do not think love is very tricky. I think the responsibility of it; how we carry it, is the intended lesson. My youngest is nine years old. He is the bravest person I know. What weakens me is his tears, his worries. How he will crawl into bed with me and squeeze me tight, crying because he does not want to lose me. He does not want me to die. I realize I am his world. I am all he has. The one he believes in. #singlemother

Yet, I cannot promise him that I will be here to see his children. I promise him that I will do better about taking care of myself. My whole self. I shoulder the responsibility of his heart. His and all my children. It is just us and has been just us for the longest.

I am happy that I am not a bitter, cold person. I think life is too short to become that type of person. I am not anyone’s doormat either. All I have experienced in life either by choice or by God’s design, I will admit I am the better for it. I have to actualize and acknowledge that I am the better for it.

#Gogettr is my tagged license plate. It took awhile for me to decide on that term. It was after the divorce, after the custody battles, before Darius’ diagnosis, after Momma died, after the partial hysterectomy before unemployment and now, now, it complements the blank canvas to begin a new life at 45 years old.

Last week three situations happened that circle my faith: Tuesday, an educated man, doctorate degree greets me on the elevator: “So you are #Gogettr?” I look at him confused. Him: “Your license plate. It fits you. That is you.” I smile. He does not know my heart is broken and that my idea of love has become disillusioned. Later, I look up Cambridge’s definition of go-getter:  someone who is very energetic, determined to be successful, and able to deal with new or difficult situations easily. I nod my head in agreement and think, hmmm, a spiritual prognosis. Only me.

Friday morning, in training class on Person Centered Therapy, my table partner says: “You are amazing. You are beautiful. Your faith moves me. I can see it.”  His words make my life seem real, my faith tangible. Yet he amazes me because this stranger, this white man, married, a father, former military and in law enforcement makes me feel safe. I have not felt safe in a long time.

Then there is my client, a businessman who initially approached me about working with him. Friday afternoon, I questioned him on me becoming self-employed, taking more classes. I told him I never saw myself that way, outside of being a licensed counselor and published writer. He responds: “You are smart. I can tell how you carry yourself in conversations. I am from the street. I have no clue about the field you want to go into but I will support you. Job loss after 15 years of service!! This is fate. Believe in yourself. Get out there. Learn all you can. Knowledge is power. God has a purpose for all of this.” He is my one and only client. He has no idea how he has affected my life but every meeting he tells me how he is grateful for me.

It would be a lie if I tell you that I am walking on sunshine and I see rainbows after every storm. I will not tell you that because I do not. I am more reactive where I should be proactive in faith. The more I wail and cry silently the more God sends solidifying proof that He is working and all of this is for my good.

Rejection: I think rejection is by far one of the greatest emotional hurdles of life. It happens to the best, the innocent and in every aspect of life. Knowing this does not make the acceptance of rejection easier, nor the pain tolerable. Everything we know of ourselves comes under self-scrutiny; from the size of our waist to how many inches our eyes are spaced apart. Our waistline we can control with great discipline but the latter we have no say.

Demoralizing our self-worth, trying to understand the reasons we experience rejection is a tedious meaningless task and we give it so much work and so much energy. It is self-defeating. Advice from others, those little cliches vex me so. For example, “Hurt people hurt people.” So asinine. “Don’t have any expectations.” Now that is just plain stupid. “Let it go.” Whatever, you try it.

I want a time where I can rest. Resting in God. I got it. Love Him, I do. Yet for once just once in this lifetime I want to rest in a pair of manly arms that refuse to let me go, to let me hurt. Arms that will let me rest, finally.

I think I grieve effectively…smh, I even grieve with hope. As a writer, I write it out. As a mother, I pray it out. As a grad student, a counselor I still pray it out. Of all the heels, I have to wear I still pray it out to the One who was rejected by all. How ironic faith is, a conundrum paradox. God’s mending extends our strength. I encourage you not to settle. I promise not to either. Chin up. Keep it moving. There is great power in next. 🙂

Let us begin again,

Gogettr aka Michelle.

Kisses!

 

Heart of Forgiveness

Forgiveness: the tendency to forgive offenses readily and easily; the action or feeling of forgiving someone.

I woke up this morning soul smiling. I have not been able to do that for some time. (So much going on in the world.)  I woke up grateful. I woke up with a heart of forgiveness. It is easy to define oneself as a forgiving person when there is no evidence of any physical or emotional attack.

A heart of forgiveness is transitional. Letting go from your past to what is now is your gain.  I cannot give you the recipe or the steps to get here. What I am learning…I am most happy when all my cares, every concern and the ability to allow God to do more with the details of my life supersede any thing anyone has done to me or against me.

There will be times in our lives when it just sucks. People are mean. They appear uncaring. Actions speak louder than words but we have to acknowledge that there are bigger things going on behind the scenes. (Growth opportunity)

Reaching points of despair even depression is very normal and common— we are human. Yet, continuing to believe in yourself and each other with hope is much grander if you are dismissing people from your life—with anger. Trust me they will find their way out…without you avenging and without you deriving and molding them into a bad person. I think tearing a person down or developing them to be less than we imagined destroys a little bit of self.

My experience: Anyone who hurts me becomes this horrible being. I make them that because I want to move forward, get over it quickly. People are whom they are without me adding to or subtracting from their character. Their meanness, their neglect or inattention is not a reflection of me. Really, it is not.

If you follow me, you are aware that I have this amazing pastor. Rev. Cook, Jr.  Oh, how he steps on my spirit just so especially when I believe I am this okay person. This past Sunday, his topic is marriage. I listen, guarded. I am not over the edge thrilled with the topic. I know marriage. I believe it to be sacred. What I grasped during his dialogue: I do not forgive. I forget. I move on happily. I tell ya he messes with my spirit just enough.

I am not saying I am now one of those “turn the other cheek” sistahs. (laugh) Just know another’s mess will no longer mess me. Miss me wit’ it.

We should solider through life with integrity and honesty. We will be the better for it. Be original; our light draws the moths and the butterflies. The toxic people will do their best to destroy us. Do not let them. The great ones, those lighthouse friendships well they never leave us in the dark.

Forgive because you want to not because you have to. It works wonders for your soul.

Unashamed in this growth thing,

Michelle

quotes-lifeclass-forgiveness-lewis-smedes-600x411

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!

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!