Attention: What Sustains?

I am currently on vacation. I purposely took a week off from work and planned a 5 day stay at the Beach. My two teens are with me and as teenish as they are, I am often left alone. The Ocean wore them out and I find myself drawn to check my phone and emails—wanting someone to want me, need me. I have never had a problem being alone. I prefer it…I prefer quiet. My levels of growth and healed segments of my life are increased and reveled in when I am alone. Yet, last night as all was quiet except the therapeutic roaring of the ocean, I was unable to write, unable to read. I surmised that it has only been 24 hours in which the phone did not have my attention. In all honesty, I worked yesterday, remotely. So, in not writing, nor reading I am focusing on the best way to help all patients… I am strategically casing while on vacation. Seriously.

        An Undeniable Bond
#myBrutus and #PrincessMonster
An Undeniable Bond
#myTeens

Okay, let’s talk: Attention, what does it mean to you and why has it become a phenome to accept deeper connections through social media and not human contact? We text more than we call. We scroll more than we touch. We deviate more than we plan and grow. I sit here and I people watch…rarely does anyone make direct eye contact. One female is walking for exercise while on her phone. A model is having her pics taken by a photographer…I digress. My plan for vacationing was to write, to read and to relax. I was only able to do that for a full 24 hours before my attention was diverted to everything but my personal goals.

I think with each phase of life our desire for attention levels out and begins differently. I ask not to be self-critical nor to minimize the affect how Life and why God has impacted my journey just so. I analyze, I overthink, I reflect…I ponder, as I become this great individual that I’ve pursued for the longest time.

  • What type of attention are you seeking?
  • What parts of you need that type of validation and why?
  • Why aren’t you able to write, Writer?
  • What are those fears that keep you searching?

I think my own diversion to attention seeking is due to my having to work all the time for any and everything I’ve wanted. I’ve been placed in Life-Roles when I had no clue, no voice in how things should be, yet I continue to do right by those that are in my life. I know that the way my life is set up I am required to go, do and be. Rarely, am I given the opportunity to focus on myself…to breathe –to understand where I am. At times, restoration is scary, fearful and quite intimidating. I love how my phase is unfolding as I am writing this…. God does exactly what He wants for His love is greater for us than any plans we’ve wished and prayed for. He never stops listening. Cosmically, this is the calmest the Ocean has been since we arrived.

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” ~Doe Zantamata

Therapeutic Reflections
#NoObstacles

I encourage you to re-evaluate your actions and analyze your why…soon the reveal or revelation you seek will hit you in the most deserving way possible…your needs not theirs. Keep with what sustains you…even if it seems to have blurred. I am a therapist’s therapist and an awesome mother. I believe the remainder will fall into place; its impossible to thrive in lack.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

©

Graced For More

Committing to writing has always been an adventurous discipline for me. Forgive me for not posting as quickly as my experiences occur. I am ever so grateful for the way Life is treating me and faithfully attuned to how God stands in the gaps of my unknowing.

August, my birthday month has been revolutionary! My 49th year began with decisions, doubts and quiet fear. Those things I kept to myself, internalizing the eternal. My last post I detailed my journey in participating in #31DaysOfPrayer; which generated a great deal of evolving. The Spiritual growth process is unusual and unique, rather intimate. My spiritual life has been enlightening, very different than assumed. We’re all given foundations, taught standards and one or several events will set us on a meta trajectory with our own beliefs changing and/or becoming more.

I gifted myself a spa treatment. I’ve never had one before and expected service like that of a standard massage treatment. My time there was/is unequivocally a required life-essential. The care I received increased my strength in becoming better in my love of self—acknowledging the existence of how I’ve allowed abuse, sadness and humanness cause a permanence of take-aways.

The outside doesn’t appear as much to look at yet the facility is tranquil once you enter. How do you treat yourself? Is the first question prompted within the waiting area. I was greeted with warmth, kindness and served Watermelon Basil Water. #fancy I chose the Summer Scrub Treatment followed by a facial treatment. Yes, I still have acne!! Which blows my mind for I never had acne issues as a teen or during pregnancy.

I’m directed to this beautiful room where water is running slowly in a copper tin tub. The room is soft, full of earthy colors: browns, creamy white and greenery. I’ve yet to relax. There’s a great deal of anxiety even with expecting this type of care.

The process was gentle. The care exceptional. I’ve never been cared for in such a manner. #Sisters, we serve everyone. We are nurturers. It’s what we do, how we are. As I explained to my eldest: “My first 7 years I cannot remember but no one has ever washed me. Ever. I’ve taken care of others, washed and massaged them. No one has ever cared for me in such a way. It solidified that I want to be wealthy with life. I want to be able to do those type things for myself.”

Him: “It must be hard for you. To know that you were never loved in that manner. I mean I can’t remember but I know that I was cared for in that way because you tell me. Grandma told me. I know I was loved, am loved. But to know that you were not. Man, Momma. You should be able to do that at least 2x a year.”


My attendant requested permission to wash my stomach…4 babies, 6 surgeries, numerous stretch marks, c-sect scar, weight gain…I cried, silently. Every negative thing, thought, image was lifted away from me. How shameful I’ve treated myself. It’s all connected—our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Soul-neglecting has to be our greatest betrayal of self. How unknowingly cruel we are, can be.

As I returned back into my work week, I experienced some soreness, tenderness when I moved. Not painful but just enough to remember the experience as it transpired. We’re not here to just touch others’ lives, to serve others. Be mindful of how you’re representing your soul. We’re not created to take in everything and hold on to it. How are you treating yourself?

Don’t confuse self-care with maintenance, those things we do to maintain a “finished” look. I am uncomfortable yet grounded…forging and purged…leveling up. I’m unsettled in settling. That makes my soul smile. {Ecclesiastes 3}

#BeAWholeMovement

“Trust me when I say, You’re capable of anything imaginable.” ~Anonymous

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

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.)

 

 

The Cost of no, maybe & no response

He doesn’t want me…

and I’m good with that. I am better when I acknowledge that information.  I am still great. I am still going to lose the weight and not eat this big bowl of butter pecan ice cream… and lays potato chips. (Awesome combination and a great emotional cure all.)  I am still loved. I am still an awesome mother. I am still kind. I am appreciative and appreciated. Rejection is painful and it also should make you fully aware of your greatest asset: Self, your You.

We too often fall victim to our own missteps. We turn our hopes into a great mistake. Learning to love who you are should never be categorized with rejection. Love heals. Love corrects. Love gives. Love loves. Do not tear yourself down due to inattention, love is action.

I know the negativity that runs rapid through our minds. I know how it replays itself over and over again. The strength of our hearts is based on the strength of our hearts… it’s unbeatable.  Never allow a person to out-purpose God’s intent and intended for you.

Earlier this week, a great friend asked me why I never spoke of my ex-husband.  I responded: “That’s not a part of me. Why would I? It is so long ago. I have been divorced over 10 years.” She responds: “You filed it away. ” Me: “No. It isn’t a part of me. He was mean and cruel. I refuse to give Satan any credit. To “file away” implies I carry it and at times look back at it. I don’t. I’m healed. There’s no discussion about him because there’s no new information to discuss.” One little tidbit: If a person does not bring up their ex in a conversation, respect it and you in turn do the same.

I’m learning that no one’s journey is the same. Heartache happens to us all but no one has the right nor the self-history to label my healing. Life is heavy don’t carry the unnecessary; carry hope.

He doesn’t want me and I’m okay with that. Dating has become so generalized, an unflattering epidemic of social media terms and rules. Love is so much more, so intimate. Don’t get caught up in the pics, the messages,  the memes, sex clips, and infamous propaganda. I watched,  observed my parents a lot. What I didn’t comprehend they explained and taught me better. 33 years of marriage. God’s grace.

I remember my first date. I was 16, so excited. I finally was allowed to date. My date blew the horn.  I jumped from the sofa,  ready. My mom,  my Pearl: “If you open that door I’ll break your neck.” I stopped in my tracks,  my smile fading. My Dad,  all 6 feet of him: “If he doesn’t come in here and speak to us there is no date. You not going anywhere.” I tried my best to hold back the tears while holding my breath and simultaneously working my unknown telepathic skills to will my date in. He finally crossed the threshold and I remembered that breathing was again wonderful.  Of course there was a list of rules and a set curfew.

That lesson and many others from my parents keep me “okay” with a great deal of things. Rejection is a minimal concurrent stacked against unlimited possibilities. Know your worth and always expect God’s greater for every area of your life. No matter where you are in the phase of your journey—interested, like, deep like, in love,  can’t live without him feelings, heartbreak, know that you deserve all or nothing. Be proud of wanting what you want!  If the wanted doesn’t want to be wanted free’em with love. Stop bashing self and others. There are other open doors, different and in want of you!

He doesn’t want me and I’m okay with that. Smile, anyway. His competition, that One will. Keep pressing. Remain focused. Subtract the cost, add in the benefits. For any person struggling for a place to be or how to be… Be you! It is better than okay.

Heart full,  heart
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