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.) 

 

 

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!

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

You are beautiful

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Light the way,

A.Michelle!

Carved New Horizons, Opened Doors

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Nikki
Nikki Giovanni               June   7, 1943

 

Toni M
Toni   Morrison                                                                                       February 18, 1931

 

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

Black Women Authors expanded, continue to expand my  world.

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

                                        Black Women Authors, Writers….

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

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

                                                         We are royalty. 

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

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

Celebrate Herstory. We are amazing by choice!

A. Michelle

 

 

Self-orchestrating God….

IMG_20140911_034409

When it seems as if He just doesn’t hear me; that He’s not listening my “Me” skills, and my “but God” kick in for every difficult situation.

Honestly, we the faithful ones we self-orchestrate God the worst. We pray, we sing, we lead, we encourage, we teach, we love, we live life with our own meaningful meaning….for our wants. Stick with me, if this is painful for you to read imagine my writing experience. (Its 4:30 am on a Saturday!)

I want God to immediately fix things for me. I want Him to make right where I feel I have been wronged, NOW. I want sunshine everyday. I want my heart to mend quickly, sufficiently so that I can be in love again, but like 5 years ago. I want my children to never suffer a hurt or a bruise, yet this world deems it necessary; this is Life. I want more of the greatest things He offers but I hold on with all my might that which keeps me from having greater.

Self-pity, pouting, spiritual temper tantrums are not methods of faithfully letting Him lead. God is in control. Knowing how to pray is separate from believing Him to handle every discord, every detail of your being. His way although right is often more challenging.

We move in front of God with a purposeful intent to do it our way.  Spiritually, we are connected to God. He so genius-ly anticipated this moment….your birth, every life event that gave you joy, the ones that strengthen you, your heart breaks, the moments that almost broke you. He orchestrates, perfectly without aid from us. Let go of self-orchestrating Him. I promise if we let go of our “Me” tendencies whatever your “more” is will fall exactly where it needs to be.

My God-connects for this month have been so intimate, so spiritually motivated that He takes my breath away. It’s as if every worry experienced, every thought of defeat was stopped before the doubts grew, before depression surfaced. That financial need met —NOT by another (it so easily could have been) but God provided just so. He replenished. The friendships that bind, the phone call of encouragement just when you want to cater to self-defeat. He is All-seeing. He knows.  The wise elder who prays a prayer with you, for you that is on a whole nother level that it scares you….because HOW does she know?!  You know, (I’m crying now) how He puts you right where you don’t want to be to show you your future, unexpectedly….and you don’t know how its going to happen but you know its going to happen…He prepares. Ten days into October, not even a month into the Fall season, new expectations. Wow!

Ok, my tears are covering this keyboard so I’m gonna end this. He is God all by Himself. He requires faith, trust, belief, honesty, forgiveness of self (not just for others), love. He gives grace, mercy, peace, new chances, prosperity, love….what He requires He also freely gives just for you, because of you.

With Faith,

A. Michelle!

FYI: “spiritual temper tantrums” …..well that’s my phrase. If you use it give proper credit. (Sensitive about my stuff.) Please continue to be encouraged, live faithfully hoping even when it is outside your comfort zone.