Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Truth Will Set You Free

I remember it like it was yesterday. So many questions would begin to whirl around in my head. How good at it would I be? Could I even do it? I had never even baby-sat or changed a diaper. But I was soon to learn about all of those things – because I was going to be a first-time mother.

That nine months would fly by as fast as a speeding bullet, just as some of those days would seem like they took forever to turn into the next. I don’t think I completely understood at the time the miracle that was growing inside of me, but I knew enough to know, that this would be one of the most special and precious times of my life.

When my baby was no bigger than the size of a pea, I could already feel an unexplainable connection. I would sing, I would read, and my hands were constantly making contact with the vessel in which I was carrying my first born.

And then my baby was born. And for years and years, I made all the decisions. What clothes looked best, the ways in which to fix the hair, and the shoes that went on each foot. Never really thinking about the day that would come, that none of those things would be my decision any longer. And certainly never knowing that the way I looked at my child’s life, my child’s being, may not be the way that my children would see their own reflection.

It’s a hard thing the day you acknowledge and I mean truly admit to yourself – that as a woman, as a mother, you were simply the means to a beginning. You were nothing more than the vessel, but hopefully the one to be a guide for their educational, emotional and physical needs. It’s a startling realization to know that you never really were in charge of their destiny.  

Both of my children are very independent, intelligent, and open-minded. By the time they were both 18 years old, they had very significant and strong ideas about who they were and how their lives were about to proceed.

This may be the truest/hardest story I have ever written – for when I say – that my children’s favorite saying to each other was always “you’re not the boss of me” – it is now being silently said to me.

My oldest child’s story is not mine to tell. I already have my own story and it is in progress, and ever-moving. My children are but chapters in my story, just as hopefully I will always be contributing and continuous chapter’s in theirs.

Changes of major proportions are being made and it has been an emotional struggle for everyone involved. But this beautiful person will always be my child, and will always be loved. And I am the Mama that cannot be anything other than the same Mama I have always been.

Happy 31st Birthday to my oldest child, J.  May you progressively plow through this sometimes treacherous and scary world, and hopefully find comfort and peace within. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Angel Wings

Any of my neighbors could testify that I spend hours upon hours sitting on my front porch, on the right-hand side of our glider, because that’s “my” side; more times than not with a camera strapped around my neck. 

My name is Michelle, and I am addicted to bird watching. Sometimes I don’t even realize how much time has passed; until suddenly the sun has moved/gone down considerably from the time I originally planted myself and all my camera apparatus in my seat.

A few weeks ago now, I asked my husband to move our shepherd hooks (again) that our bird feeders hang on. I couldn’t seem to find the optimal location for them so that I could take my bird pictures in full view. We (he) had just moved them two weeks prior, putting them right where I asked him to, all the while telling me they would be too close to the front porch and the birds would be afraid to feed there. After another two weeks of no-show birds, I admitted he was right.

So when I asked him once again to move them, he never complained, he just went right outside and did it all over again for me. Now during this move, I’m perched up on my glider, giving directions (which you probably already knew) and he manages to get one of them in the ground, in the spot I picked, successfully. The other one, which I asked to be placed on the opposite of my jasmine-covered swing, is being stubborn about going into the ground. No matter which way he seems to move it, two inches either direction, it’s not going down.

I looked down at his feet (because he said his feet were starting to hurt) and he had on his rubber clog thingies.  So I said/suggested “Well, why don’t you go inside and put on your hard-soled boots to try and do that?” He walked slowly away from the hook, which is still half in the ground and half out, his head is down and he’s shaking it from side to side, and then probably counting to ten, he stopped. He looked back at me and said, like I’m the biggest ignoramus in the world, “Michelle, 200 pounds is 200 pounds, no matter what pair of shoes I have on – that hook ain’t going in the ground right there.”

Those hooks are now in a much better place, and my nightly/morning/feeding-time bird shots have resumed.

I post a lot of the pictures I take on Facebook and the other night a friend of mine who has recently

lost her husband, the love of her life, posted a comment that maybe he was one of the cardinals visiting my yard that particular evening.  And as broad and proud as the shoulders were on that one particular cardinal, I’d say my friend was exactly right.

I’ve heard all of my life that cardinals are angels visiting from heaven. Flying-high angel’s right here at Easter are both a beautiful thought and comfort, to myself included. Wishing Easter blessings to all.




Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Purge

I pulled the doors open wide, switched on the overhead light, and just stood there, pondering my next move. I don’t really know what I thought I needed to decide, I already knew what needed to be done. But it was taking that first step, making that initial move, forcing myself to either keep the things before me or give them up.

It’s hard sometimes to know just exactly what you’ve had long enough, what has served its purpose, and what you can now do without. And as I stood there with plenty of built-up energy and all-day-long for time, I knew I was ready to take the plunge.

I’m just like every other female I know, I cannot seem to bring myself to give up any article of clothing – no matter that it hasn’t been seen or worn since two sizes ago, no matter that my body may never see the likes of those peg-legged pants again, and no matter that I cannot even remember when
I would have ever thought that style of blouse and the color of it, would have looked good on me.

But today I woke-up in a positive frame-of-mind. I had laid there still in my bed, in the earlier morning hours, making plans for how my day was to go. And this, this closet full of far too many non-worn clothes was to be my main project of the day. I made-up the rules in my head as I went along, knowing that I would have to be the worker-bee AND the boss today. I would have to be firm with myself, and MAKE myself part with things that had been hanging in that closet so long, they practically had “she knows full well I don’t fit anymore” signs attached to each hanger.

So out it all came, whatever I knew I hadn’t worn, or heck knew I hadn’t even SEEN in over a year, and it was put in a stack to go. Little by little I whittled the closet down as the stack on the top of my bed grew. I had bags set to the side so that when I was done, I would place all the to-go-clothes in those bags and I would immediately place them in my vehicle and take them to a drop point. Mainly, because I knew if I didn’t carry this act all the way out, it would never happen. There have been times I have ridden around with bags of clothes in the back of my vehicle for weeks, just because I was in denial that I really need to part with them.

My husband’s closets are next – and believe it or not – he has three to my one! But I wasn’t about to try and bag up any of his stuff – his relics – like some shirt he’s had since 1977 that he wore to a Nascar race one time when Dale Earnhardt Sr won. Oh no sir. I’d be digging those bags back out of the Goodwill box come daybreak! But his closets are next! I guarantee it!



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Christmas in Spring

For everybody that knows me, they also know that for me, Lowes is the home of devil. The everywhere-you-look-you-find-something-you-love –devil; especially this time of the year. It’s as if they find every single solitary color of flower, plant and bush they can and pile it all up at the entrance to the garden department. As a matter of fact, it is spilling out of all most every entrance orifice of the entire building

Bags and bags of dirt, every kind of dirt you could imagine to be bought is there and just waiting to jump on your cart. Plain dirt, dirt with all the stuff already in it to set your new flowers into pots without the fuss and mess of mixing it up yourself. Fertilizer’s set-up right beside all these stacks of dirt for anything you might want to boost for the highest expectancy of bloom.

And right next to all of that, the gardening utensils. Hoes, shovels, hand shovels, gloves, and gardening hats. Big floppy hats, stiff safari hats – the choices and colors are endless. They give you every opportunity upon arrival, to leave with everything you need to at least appear as a professional gardener, even if you really have no idea what to do with it all when you get home.

And the carts – they come in all sizes as well. The big heavy duty carts with rails are for the serious gardener who absolutely means business. The medium sized cart is probably best suited for the customer whose needs are more for a low maintenance lawn/garden. And the regular buggy carts – well in my humble opinion, those are meant for people who really didn’t come to get much of anything. They’re just lurkers who have wandered into that area, and really have no idea why they even ended up in lawn and garden.

We of course, had the king daddy dog cart – because I knew exactly what my mission was to be. We walked out of there with 8 green hanging-ferns, 2 planters with various flowers to fill-up my pots, and a huge bag of compost dirt with all the special stuff already mixed.

Now here is the best part – I got to the check-out counter and started flipping through my wallet looking for my debit card. I watched from a side-ways glance at my husband who had been quiet mostly, as I had previously piled all this stuff on my cart, but now appeared to be sweating profusely and frowning as he waited for the final price announcement.

When low and behold, I found a card in there that was a Lowes in-store-credit card! We had both totally forgotten about a wall heater we had purchased last fall that didn’t work as we thought it should, and my husband had returned it. Well, they don’t give cash-back, they give you one of those cards.

Santa Claus suddenly appeared right there in the sunshine of the lawn and garden center – my balance owed after swiping that card was $1.55! What a wonderful forgotten surprise and happy spring to us!






Friday, March 24, 2017

Depends On How You Look At Things

It’s been quite a week. No quicker than Daylight Savings Time snatched an hour away from us for the Spring rotation - another cold snap came through Florida making the likes of our prior “winter” seem like a joke. We had more days of what would seem like winter in that one week than we had in any one month before.

The day-time temperatures barely reared their head above the 60’s and the morning temperatures dipped low enough to put harm to most everything that was already in blooming formation. After two nights, back to back, of freezing/frost temperatures, I had damage foliage all over my yard.

The jasmine that covers my front yard swing is burnt across the top just like a fire had been lit to it. My lantana beds look pretty much the same way and my Amarillo’s stems and canna lily stalks are lying flat on the ground from the brunt of the cold attacking it in the early morning hours.

It’s too soon to tell what all will recover from the damage and what may have to be replaced. Granted my yard situation isn’t nearly as dire as some of the farmer’s and their worries of freezing crops – but just the same, it hurt my heart to see all that brown in the days after, where there once had been the promises of soon-to-be blooms.

But then Friday came, and a trip to my hometown that had been planned for weeks, was about to happen. The Albany Pink Walk for breast cancer awareness was scheduled for that next Saturday morning, and many of my girlfriends and I would be walking once again for our friend Darla, as she is once more in the fight of her life.

I arrived at my folks’ home late that Friday afternoon, and would spend the rest of the day and evening with them which is always an enjoyable time for me. That next morning, they would rise early with me, make me a nice breakfast and some much needed coffee, then off I would go to the walking site to meet my friends.

The event was as packed as usual – women and men dressed in pink as far as the eyes could see. Friends running up on other friends that they hadn’t seen in a while and many times, making new friends as well. We were all there for a common goal – supporting our loved ones, supporting the survivors, and respecting the ones who had sadly lost their own fight.

For this old gal, it was quite the moment when my friends and I finished at the 3 mile marker; having to deal with 2 bum knees in the span of 12 months has been zero fun for me.


But as we all gathered for lunch afterward and discussed our aches and aliments – I thought to myself – wow – we’re really NOT 25 anymore. But the loud laughter coming from around our table was in denial that mother-time had found any of us. Getting up out of our chairs an hour later, would be a different story.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Talk Is Cheap - Become the Change

Harriet Tubman was an African-American civil rights activist. She not only fought to save herself and her family from slavery, but risked her literal life almost every single day rescuing others as well. She took beatings no one could ever imagine, she suffered injuries from those severe beatings that were lifelong and would eventually contribute to her death. Yet while alive, she raged on in the fight for freedom of her black brothers and sisters with pride, grace, dignity, and strength. 

Anne Braden was a Caucasian anti-racist activist. In the period of time in which she lived, there was rarely even such a person heard of – much less as fundamentally active as she continued to be until her death. The lengths in which she was willing to put herself out there to obtain justice for all was incredible. She and her activist husband raised four intelligent children, all of whom in some form or fashion would follow their parents’ footsteps for equality for all – this including developing the PUSH Rainbow Coalition and staunch advocates for LGBTQ rights in their later years.

Rosa Parks, another African- American civil rights activist. A strong female who was determined enough to one day risk being arrested in order to have her rightful seat on the city bus – the public city bus that should have been open for anyone to sit anywhere. But nowhere in all of that did she kick, scream, or shout obscenities; again, she moved the world forward with dignity and grace.

All the women above, and many more, took action that created change: foundations, safety homes, the Underground Railroad, and programs that would in turn unify and bring attention to, change. They risked their LIVES doing these things – and they didn’t use abusive language and ugly poster illustrations. Do you think that by using the same terms that your abusers/attackers/racists use against you is a solution of positive progression for you?

Immigrants have been coming to America for years and so many of them worked so hard to be a part of our American fabric. Their stores, deli’s and bodega’s ran the streets of New York City in a proud fashion that represented nothing but hard work and their pride to be here, to be a part of our freedom; they insisted on WORKING for it.


If you’re outraged about immigrants being deported – do something about it. Create programs to educate them so that they can pass the citizenship test to stay. Start a movement to create programs in schools that will help them all the way through and let that be a stipulation of graduation. Create a foundation to help the older people who are here and can’t read or write – set-up centers/tutors to help them learn. 


Do positive WORK with your intelligent minds/education – become community leaders, state/county
representatives, governors/senators. Use your voices for true progress and positive movement. Put down the signs with degrading words/illustrations. BE the change you want to see and use your strength in ways you’d like to be remembered for – or in the pictures your seven year old child will see one day.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

As The Generation's Turn

Evolution is absolutely amazing isn’t it? The changes that come with each generation of people, the levels of what is acceptable and what it not, and more importantly, the degrees of what is expected of us and what is not – are all constantly changing.

When my grandparents were growing-up, to finish high school was rare, and college, well that was even more of an unknown unless you were fortunate enough to have “come from money”; most men went directly into the service as the draft was in effect and there was a war going on.  Men and women got married as young as 16 and 17 years old,  were having children almost immediately after, and most women did not work.  

Then my parent’s generation came along, they didn’t get married quite as young, most all finished high school, a few who already knew what they wanted to do went to college; but still a huge amount of  men were signing up for one branch of service or another. They had children, both mother and father worked, they took summer vacations, and life moved on.

My generation got married between 20 -25, children shortly after, and we mostly became dental hygienists, nurses, admin secretaries, office workers, hands-on-men work, and of course, some went to college to become doctors, lawyers, and businessmen.

My youngest son’s generation – well they are 22 years old. They are almost all college graduates/or graduating. They are most all professionals of some sort, and they are all on the biggest adventures of their lives – a few married, but for many, it’s a distant thought.  They are traveling to Argentina to bird hunt’s, Arkansas to duck hunt’s, golfing on the weekends, fishing/frog gigging on Friday nights, and going everywhere and doing anything else in between that you can imagine.

They are living life large, working hard, playing harder. They’re a smarter, more politically involved generation, they are liberal and they are conservative, and they are loud and proud of whichever affiliation-slot they may fall into.

They’re already buying homes, making financial investments, and making their way into this big wide world, head-strong and feet-first, breaking all boundaries and crossing all borders. There is nothing that they can’t do, and not much they wouldn’t consider trying.

As I am one day away from my youngest son turning 22 years old, I can’t help but wonder who I would have been in this generation. Would I have been an activist? A world traveler? Would I have been straddling the fence between liberal and conservative as I do now, or would I have been strongly and staunchly, one or the other?


Would I have married so young? Would I have had children as soon as I did? Or would I have been just me, spend my time finding me and all that could possibly mean?

I don’t guess it really matters does it? It’s not going to change anything. And besides – I’m kind of doing all those things anyway. Second-hand living you might call it – I’m living through the eyes of my children – and that’s some exciting sight-seeing most days!