Random, Writing


If only, she thought to herself. If only she had the courage to step away. To put herself first. To be her own hero. 

If she had had these traits, she wouldn’t be in the situation she was currently in. She might have had the strength to be there for herself, first and foremost. She might have ended up in a stronger relationship. One in which she felt worthy and loved. 

As it stands, she will have to cover the therapy bill for her own children, because of the  many ways she has let them down. 

This time will be different, she told herself. This time, I won’t be so engrossed in him that I lose myself. This time, I won’t allow him to ‘take over’ my life. This time, I commit to behaving in a loving way, so he won’t run away.

This time…hasn’t been different. She is still fighting for, and wishing for, all of the things she hoped he would be for her. Perhaps that’s the biggest issue of them all…putting her hope in another human being. 

“I have grown weary,” she announces to the empty room. Thinking that if she verbalizes her hurt and her feelings, they will magically resolve themselves, or at least give her some direction on how to resolve them. Knowing this isn’t possible, she continues on, “weary of feeling like an afterthought. Weary of discussing the same issue. Weary of fighting for his time.”

Education, Random, Soul Relationships

Social Justice

November 7, 2020 

Facebook asks me this morning, “What’s on your mind, Michelle?” Well, Facebook, let me tell you. Let me really give you a piece of my mind. What’s on my mind is…race relations. Division vs. Unity. Values. Beliefs. The state of our ‘great nation.’ 

You see, I have two of the most necessary and important, albeit not RESPECTED, jobs there are in this country, no, shall I say, in the world. I am a parent, and I am an educator. These two roles define me and my choices on a daily basis. They dictate how I interact with others, what I expect of myself and those in my charge, and the words I speak, making every effort  not to offend anyone. 

And yet, society, by whom has historically placed in leadership, continues to reaffirm my accurate belief that it values neither the parents who are actively involved in their childrens’ lives, nor the individuals to which they give the most worthy responsibility of educating their own children. 

In my desire to become a better educator, in addition to becoming a better woman, mother, friend, and all other roles I occupy, I have been reading a more diverse and extensive collection of books and literature. As I do so, my vision has been expanded to see others’ diverse experiences more clearly. 

I’ll say it this way, I recently shared with my students that just because someone shares their experience with you, and it is different from yours, doesn’t mean their experience isn’t valid. I highlighted this in class by explaining to the students that another teacher has lived in two states other than Indiana, including a very large city in one of the states. I, on the other hand, have only lived within a 25 mile radius of where I was born. 

So, in this illustration, if the other teacher explains what living in a big city was like for her, I cannot negate or invalidate her experience. It was hers, and hers alone. Considering I have never lived in a big city, I have to accept her experience and her perspective for what it is: her experience and her perspective. 

I have discovered that with many individuals, mostly white, will try to rationalize away, or invalidate the experience of people of color, specifically as it applies to racism.

Let’s think of it another way. Suppose you have a black friend, and said friend comes to you and explains how, when he passes others in the grocery store, they move a little farther away from him. Or that women pull their purses and children a little closer to themselves. These are two very real experiences black men (and women) encounter all over the country. This is especially true in certain geographic areas of the country. 

Now, this black friend, let’s call him Trey, attempts to have open dialogue with you about his experience. You, being a white person, have never been forced to contend with what Trey describes. Does this mean that you are in any position or have any authority to negate or refute what Trey has experienced?

James Baldwin (1924-1987), one of the most profound and discerning writers of all time, wrote extensively on the subject of racism as well as racial and class inequalities. Just the other day, I discovered a documentary entitled “I Am Not Your Negro.” This documentary is based upon the mere 30 pages of a manuscript Baldwin began which was to be a personal account of his relationships with three of his closest friends: Medgar Evars, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The documentary highlighted many of Baldwin’s public appearances, including debates and guest appearances on talk shows. One such event was his 1968 appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show.” During this show, Baldwin has an open discussion about racism, civil rights activism, and racial prejudice with Yale philosophy professor Paul Weiss. Very late in the discussion, Baldwin proclaims the following to Paul Weiss:

“I don’t know what most white people in this country feel,” he said. “But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church that is white and a Christian church that is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday.

“That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly cannot trust the Christian church.

“I don’t know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me — that doesn’t matter — but I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to.

“Now this is the evidence,” Baldwin said, his voice rising with indignation. “You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.”

This discussion is from 1968, and yet, the concepts are still relevant today.  As I began my investigation into systemic racism I discovered that NAACP President Derrick Johnson defined systemic racism, also called structural racism or institutional racism, as “systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage African Americans.” Or looking at it another way, Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward, says, “systemic racism is naming the process of white supremacy.”

Institutional racism is what Baldwin refers to in the message above. It includes policies and procedures that prevent black families from amassing and maintaining wealth in the same way that white families could. It creates disparities in many areas, including the criminal justice system, housing, employment, health care, politics, and education. 

These policies date as far back as the early to mid 20th century. One such policy, which was outlawed in 1968, is that of redlining. This term was used and coined by sociologist John McKnight in the 1960s. It describes the discriminatory practice of ‘redlining’ or fencing off certain areas where banks would avoid investments solely based on the demographics of the community. 

A further repercussion of this practice includes the negative impact on public education, public transportation, and health care. This came as a result of the redlined areas not having the tax base to support these  community needs. While redlining is no longer in effect currently, the ramifications of these policies are still felt by many black families today. 

So, where do we go from here? This is what is on my mind. As I’ve said and heard before, the first step is admitting you have a problem. You can’t go about fixing anything unless you first admit there is a problem to fix. In this case, I believe the problem is that the institution of racism has its roots so firmly embedded in our country. Like a jellyfish’s tentacles, racism stings those in its path, injects its venom, and subsequently causes a reaction ranging from general discomfort all the way to death. 

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

On this day…

You know how Facebook alerts you to the posts you’ve made on this day in years past? Those memories typically have one of three effects on me…

First, I can read those and want to crack up – most of those memories involve my children and something wack they said that I wanted to document. For instance, not too long ago, I was reminded of a time when Emma and I were having ‘a moment,’ which was followed by her saying something to the effect of, “momma, your teeth are really brown, maybe it’s because of all the coffee you drink.” WOW.

Another feeling I can have is that of reminiscing on days in which I felt particularly stronger or weaker, depending on the circumstances of my life at the time. As I’m sure we all have, there were times in my life when I felt like She-Ra and could take on the world and nothing was going to stop me. I’ve also had times in my life in which I felt so weak that the slightest breeze could have toppled me.

The third, and most frequent feeling I have, which brings us to this post today, is that of melancholy. Just yesterday, I gave my students a list of ‘common’ words and asked them to come up with more descriptive synonyms. One of the common words was ‘sad.’ As we know, there are many shades of sadness. Many students came up with the word ‘depressed’ as a more descriptive synonym. But the synonym that resonates with me the deepest today is melancholy.

Dictionary.com defines melancholy as, “sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.” This perfectly describes my feelings today.

Today is the day we set aside to ‘officially’ say our goodbyes to my sweet Grandma. I use quotes because is there ever an official goodbye to someone you love? Even if it’s for the shortest of times, ‘goodbye’ seems so…final. I know my grandma is in heaven…waiting for me.

So, why am I in a mood of ‘sober thoughtfulness?’ Well, because I was ironing Elijah’s shirt for the funeral today and I thought to myself how much grandma would appreciate the fact that I’m ironing…I mean, who irons anything anymore?!?!

Which brings me to my next thought…I am in the middle of purchasing a home for me and my kiddos. The home was built in the 60’s. Guess what my daughter found when we looked at the home? She found an ironing board in the wall. Oh, how my grandma would be so tickled to know that I have an ironing board, in the wall, in my new home. I can already think of all of the ways she would be redecorating or redesigning my home. The ironic thing? I do the same thing.

When we were looking at all. of. the. houses. to possibly buy, in every one, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, I would love to do (x, y, z) in this room.’

My grandma also loved to tell me all of the things I should do, the activities I should join, the ways I should make more friends. Oh how I loathed those conversations. But guess what? I do the EXACT same thing with my daughter.

That is one thing my grandma was good at…making friends. She was also good at volunteering…helping out…lending a hand…offering advice (solicited or otherwise…lol)…

She was an amazing lady. She wasn’t perfect, though. None of us are. I can remember the times when I would discipline my daughter, and she would just shake her head and do the ‘tsk, tsk’ thing that would drive. me. crazy.

I’m going to miss that.

This wonderful woman, who had such a full life…she held onto some wrongs that were done to her. She had hung onto them for far too long. I suspect she carried them with her right up until Jesus met her at the pearly gates and told her she didn’t have to carry the weight of that load anymore.

I have a tendency to hold a grudge too. I would love to learn from my mother how to let some things just roll off my back. I guess I’m a work in progress.

Most of the time (especially in public), I’m a pretty stoic person. I have learned how to ‘stuff’ things until I’m ready to deal with them. Oftentimes, I never reach the place where I’m ‘ready’ to deal with them…I get so caught up in the ‘what’s next on my list to accomplish,’ ‘I have so much to do.’ This does not a healthy woman make. We have to take the time to process our grief and our disappointments. It’s how we learn and how we grow. (Plus it’s just healthy for our souls)

However, as I type this in the privacy of my own home, surrounded only by my children and my dog, I am getting emotional.

I am emotional for all of the words left unsaid. All of the times I ‘intended’ to take my grandma to Goodwill – her favorite place – this summer. All of the times I held onto anger and frustration toward her, when she really just wanted things to be ‘perfect’ for me. I should have let those things go.

And then one day, you wake, and you learn that there is no more time. See, I think that’s the lesson she was trying to get me to see then and is still trying to get me to see even now, after her death. One day, there will be no more ‘one – days,’ and all you’ll be left with are the empty promises and regrets of the things left undone.

I’m teaching 8th grade English again this year. I have to tell you, as much as these kids make me crazy sometimes, this is really the BEST age. Anyway, our principal asked us to choose one word to be our focus for this year. One word that will carry us through the daily grind. One word that we can cling to when the crazy kicks in. One word that will sustain us when we want to give up.

My word is intentional.

I don’t want to be in this same ‘place’ in two years or even two months. I want to grow. I want to build deeper connections with other. I want to stretch myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. But so many times, it’s easier to just ‘go with the flow.’ I told my students last week when they were grumbling about how HARD a writing assignment I had given them was, that, ‘If it were easy everyone would do it.’

Guess I should live by my own words. Or eat them…historically, words you have to eat don’t taste very good.

If you’re still with me and you’re still reading…thank you. I was able to write all of this, pretty much non-stop, in about 15 minutes. So, thank you for reading my words.

If you’re still reading this, please, I beg you, help me to be accountable. Ask me how my one word living is going. Being held accountable is the only way we can grow.

If you’re still reading this and you want to be held accountable as well, leave me a comment with your one word. I can’t promise it will be this week or even next, but I will check in with you to see how your one word living is going.

Until next time, peace and love to you all.



Random, Writing

In the Words of Nike…Just Do It

{sigh} Here I am again, feeling like a failure because I’ve not expressed myself here for so long. Major life changes can do that to you.

But then today…I began reading a book that has received a TON of press lately. When I read the author’s dedication, I knew it was going to be life-changing.

Oh, you want to know which book? It’s written by Rachel Hollis and is called, Girl, Wash Your Face.

From the introduction, “I believe God loves each of us unconditionally, butI don’t think that means we get to squander the gifts and talents He’s given us simply because we’re good enough already. A caterpillar is awesome, but if the caterpillar stopped there — if she just decided that good is good enough — we would all miss out on the beautiful creature she would become. You are more than what you have become.”

Say WHAT?!?!

I’m only through the first chapter, but already I can hear Rachel’s encouraging, go-after-what-you-want, words echoing in my mind.

Many years ago, the elementary school my children attended rolled out a new writing curriculum. My kids, then a 2nd grader and a kindergartner, were coming home with AMAZING words. Words that created incredible stories. I had always dreamed of being able to call myself a ‘writer.’ When I read their words, I felt encouraged and empowered. I felt I had permission to do this BIG thing called writing.

It was then, that I decided to start writing in this big expanse called the internet. My blog meant to be a place for me to express myself and be transparent with the world. It has been that and so much more. I’ve made money from my words. I’ve ‘met’ some really incredible women during my time online. I’ve stretched myself and I’ve grown in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise.

And I’ve also let it sit for too long, afraid of not doing it ‘perfectly.’ What is perfection, anyway? It’s boring…that’s what it is.

I’m teaching English again this year. School has only been in session for 9 days, and I can tell you that my students have genius running through their veins. I can’t wait to see the work they produce and hear their thoughts. I was telling them the other day that I’m a procrastinating-perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect, so I put it off and put it off, knowing that if I just prepared a little more, it WOULD be perfect. Then it comes crashing down on me, because I’m up against a deadline.

But the truth of the matter is, my words don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be MINE.

And I’m done procrastinating.

So, in the words of Nike, I’m going to Just Do It. I’m not going to wait for tomorrow, for conditions to be ‘perfect.’ I’m not going to wait until I feel I have ‘just the right’ words. I’m going to write and I’m going to give it my all again. I’m not going to get hung up on who will or won’t read my words. Because they were always meant for an audience of One, anyway.


3 Tips to Find a New or New-to-You Car

This is a sponsored post; all views and opinions are my own. 

As a mother, finding safe transportation for me and my children is of utmost importance. It can also be one of the most challenging feats anyone faces. There are so many resources out there, how do you know which ones to trust? I hope this write-up helps you.

My first tip would be to do appropriate research. To find the best vehicle for you, at the best value, it’s important to learn the details and price of the vehicle you are looking into. I know there are many websites to help you find the value of a car, but my favorite is Cars.com. This site offers an all-in-one place to buy your next vehicle, sell or trade your current one, or even search for local repair facilities. This site provides extensive reviews and essential information. Most importantly, they give it to you straight, without all of the extra ‘fluff.’

Once you’ve done your research and have landed on a model you are most interested in, my second tip would be to find a local dealership you have experience with or are knowledgeable about. Armed with the knowledge you found online, you are better equipped to negotiate for the deal you want on the make and model you are interested in. It’s important to demonstrate to the salesperson that you have educated yourself and can’t be sold just any vehicle.

My third tip involves building a relationship with a salesperson. I have one particular dealer and salesman that I seek every time I’m in the market for a new vehicle. But, I only go to his dealership once I’ve educated myself on which vehicle I know is best for me.

Even though I’ve only included these three tips, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to visit only one dealership when shopping. This is especially true if you are searching for a ‘new-to-you’ (used) car. Many used cars aren’t traded in at the specific brand dealership they were sold at. For instance, you can find a used Honda at a Chrysler dealership and vice versa. So, just because you’ve landed on one dealership to check out first, don’t make yourself stick to that one if you’re not getting a good feel from the salesperson you’ve been working with.

Remember, this is one of the most important semi-long term decisions you will make and, in the end, you want safety to be your #1 value.

#CarsCom #CarBuyingTips #Ad