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. 

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.

Random, Writing

Someday…or Today?

I read a devotion by Shauna Niequist today. In it, she referred to how the word ‘someday’ can be seductive…

We can tell ourselves that someday we will get in shape, someday we will spend quality time with the kids, someday we will seek out our dream job, someday we will do ‘XYZ’.

Unfortunately, all too often, our ‘someday’ turns into never.

I didn’t want to write this post today. I wrote one yesterday and thought to myself, ‘eh, that’s good enough for now.’ When I read Shauna’s words, I knew I needed to put pen to paper (or words on a screen).

See, I’ve been wanting to do this writer thing for a while. And yes, I can technically call myself a writer because, well, I write…but I want to step up my game.

Here are all of the things I have ‘in the works’ right now that should be helping me up my game:

  • I am enrolled in an online writing class, with an author/teacher who is an incredible writer.
  • I am involved in several Facebook groups for writers.
  • I have multiple writing books on my bookshelves.
  • I have the encouragement of my kiddos and those closest to me.

While this is not an exhaustive list — it holds the most important list items.

And yet, I still struggle to make this appointment with my laptop to write and bleed words…

What about you? What are you putting off for ‘someday’? How can I encourage you to keep your appointment with whatever your goal is? Let’s do this today…and let’s do it together.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Random



I once read that things are different in the hands of different people.

For example, a paintbrush is much different when in the hands of Monet versus a child.

A basketball is much different in the hands of Michael Jordan than those of Babe Ruth.

A piano sounds much different when played by the hands of Mozart than when played by the hands of a first year piano student.

Clay turns out to be something much more inspired when molded by Leonardo da Vinci than when turned and shaped by a college student in an elective course.

One of the best examples I can think of to illustrate this is with the two fish and the five loaves of bread.

In Luke 9, there was a crowd of people surrounding Jesus and His disciples waiting and yearning to be taught. But, as Jesus repeatedly taught us, we need to meet people where they are before attempting to minister the Word of God to them.

This crowd was hungry, so Jesus told His disciples, “You give them something to eat.”

They replied, “We only have five loaves of bread and two fish-unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.”

If you are familiar with the story, you know that Jesus takes the bread and the fish, and, “looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them.”

The story further goes on to tell us that everyone ate to their satisfaction and there was still plenty that was left over.

Two fish and five loaves of bread go much further when in the hands of Jesus than when in the hands of His disciples.

When I apply this to my life, I realize that my circumstances, my children, my blessings, my challenges are all different in my hands than in the hands of others. While I may long for an easier road, or different blessings, I realize that God can’t accomplish what He wants to in me and through me without giving me what is in my hands.

Only I can prepare my children for the life God has for them; no other mother could do that. Only I can share with others my struggles as a single parent and give them hope that they, too, will come out on the other side – and stronger for it.

Only my words will breathe life into an experience I’ve lived; one that will deeply move and touch the heart of another.

So, friends, on this day, instead of looking at your situation and wondering why this is the hand that God has dealt you, thank Him that He chose you for this great work. Work that only you and your hands can accomplish for His greater purpose.