Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dreams Really Do Come True

I crack open the door, stick my head into the small space, and my eyes roam the room. They rest lightly on the desk to the left, strewn with paper and post-it notes, below it, the trash can over-flowing with the same. Across the room, his nightstand resembles his desk, and the bed next to it has more yellow post-it notes framing the headboard. A stranger would wonder what kind of person inhabited this space – but I know exactly who lives here – a writer.

In high school he was every teenager that has ever lived – and he was a teenager like no other. He was always about the words, whether it was the lyrics in a song, or the descriptions in a leather-backed book. He was dark, moody, and silent – and he was full of light, raucous laughter and compassion. He listened to his music obnoxiously loud, and he read his endless amount of literature in stone-cold silence.

He’s always known where his talents were supposed to lead him. Even in high school when his brilliant mind could not understand the demanding purpose behind the school rule of having to tuck his tee-shirt into his blue jeans – he could be convinced to understand that it was such a small part of his huge life’s journey, and do it anyway.

Greensboro High School of Quincy Florida, now Gadsden West, had a future published author walking their hallways, sitting in their classrooms, learning his lessons, and biding his time for bigger days, bigger ways to prove himself and his value to everyone. With the help of teachers like Steven Scott, Janet Kever and Melvin Poole, he would achieve all of those things, including graduating as Valedictorian of the class of 2004.

Fast forward to age twenty-three, and he has arrived at The University of Alabama to spend the next four years cultivating his writing skills in the Masters of Fine Arts program. He is now among the elite of his peers, just as driven as he.

I stayed with him a few times during that period as he had a two bedroom apartment. When I arrived I carried my baggage to the spare bedroom and it was like stepping into a time warp. There was a bed, but no nightstand this time, and a desk. The desk was cluttered with papers, the walls to the side of it and in front of it were splattered with post it notes – full of ideas, random thoughts, and future story-lines for future books in print.

At 29 years of age, he has already achieved one his biggest goals/dreams in life. Machines Like Us – by Joshua R Helms will be out for purchase in book stores March 15, 2016. His book can be purchased in advance by pre-ordering at

We are all anxious and excited to watch as the next chapter of his life unfolds. But speaking from a Mama’s heart – I will always know, that I am one of the most blessed women in this world to have been chosen to give birth to such an extraordinarily gifted human being.

copyright Michelle Mount Mims
Previously published @ Havana Herald

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Simple, Thank You, Will Do

Last Friday morning, two days before Valentine’s Day, I was watching a segment on the Today Show about six couples, all married 50+ years, and all were telling their stories of how they had met and made it through all those years together. The Today Show had created a video of these couples, dressed up to the nines, dancing and smiling and all apparently, still very much in love. 

My mind wandered as it often does, wondering as they danced and smiled, how they managed to make it through the much talked about thick and thin, and all the temptation’s that life throws into our pathways. All of them said they were brought up to believe that if it was broken you didn’t throw it away, you fixed it. And while I understand that concept and belief, there are marriages and circumstances that I believe, demonstrate the desecration of those very same beliefs.

Yesterday my husband and I were getting gas at the Flying J in Midway. Well, my husband was pumping the gas, I was sitting in the truck, flipping through my phone. I had the window down on my side as it was a pleasant enough day to do so, when all of a sudden in the lane next to us, a man began to shout and verbally beat on his wife in such a fashion, that I was stunned and staring.

The man, her husband I presumed, was pumping the gas and I am guessing she was about to go in and pay for it. She was asking him did he want a drink of some sort when he absolutely just unleashed on her a barrage of ugliness and hate so strong, I could feel the worded-blows as they slammed into her stomach, just as if they were being directed right at me.

There were other people all around, and the man right in front of our vehicle at the pump ahead was washing his windshield with the rubber wiper things they have there in buckets – never turning his head or acknowledging what was happening right beside him. But you know, I was doing no better, no different, because I just sat there in silence and continued to watch the sideshow myself.

The couple had to be anywhere from 75-80 years old – and all I could think after the woman walked off and into the store – was how long had he been treating her that way – and why was she still there? 

I don’t think I have ever witnessed anything like that in public before, certainly nothing that intense or full of hate. And while I was, and am still, a little ashamed for doing nothing, I don’t know what in the world I could have / would have done.

I have thought about that woman and that marriage/relationship all weekend; worried about her and what her life must be like in these last days of her life. Surely that’s not the same man she fell in love with – and it breaks my heart to know there must be a reason she has to stay. 

copyright Michelle Mount Mims
Previously published @ The Havana Herald

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Disguises of Love

Sometimes I think I know what the true definition of love is – what real love truly is – forever and always love.  But then sometimes I realize with the truest of clarity, that love can’t really be put into words; but is best described with feelings, emotions and actions.

I think we as people spend a good part of our lives looking for that special “high” that comes with the first days, weeks and months of love and when that high is gone, we’re not quite sure what to do with ourselves and we struggle with what went wrong.

Real love in not found in romance novels, bars, or dating sites. Real love, that rush of gushiness in your stomach and sudden lightheadedness - that love can be found in so many different ways and places, if you just slow down and stop trying to make it magically appear.

Love is:

That feeling that comes over you when you’re in a crowd, standing on your feet, hand over your heart, and singing the National Anthem. I always cry a little when that happens – even in my own home.

When you’ve been gone for Spring Break all week with your best buddies in the world. You hate to come back to rules and reality, but are so glad to see your own bed as you sink into the clean, cool sheets, thinking about the pantry that was stocked with all your favorites by your mom while you were gone, and you admit to yourself you’re so secretly glad to be home.

When they place your newborn into your arms for the first time, and you smell his head and rub his squishy-soft baby arms, you know that you will never love that much again, as you do in that moment; until you do it all over again, nine years later.

When your father can no longer take care of himself, but he refuses to leave his home. So you travel two hours both ways, several days a week to make sure he has food, he is bathed, and his basic needs are met. To me, that’s another kind of love that is deeper that most any other, and it is one that we will all experience if we’re here on this earth long enough.

As I’ve grown older, my needs are simpler: I feel loved when my husband secretly puts gas in my vehicle or when I walk by his chair and he reaches out for my hand, takes it and squeezes it.

Every love relationship doesn’t always work out. But when you can recognize who you are as a person, and try your best to find the human being that can best support your needs, and you’re also willing to support theirs – when you find that one person who makes you want to be the best person you can be – then you have the greatest chance of experiencing what true love really can be.

Valentine’s Day is over-rated. But love is the real deal, no matter what age you are when you’re trying to find it.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Funny How......

It’s horrible that you have to become a full-fledged adult before you learn how to be truly mindful and considerate of your parents.  And I don’t mean being respectful, or saying please and thank you, I mean just what I said: mindful. Remembering to ask them how they’re feeling today? Heck, remembering to ask them how their day was period!

When you’re a teenager/young adult - I think you’re just brain-dead. Or maybe you’re just the most selfish you will ever be in your life. But either way, you’re oblivious to anything that has anything to do with something/someone other than yourself.

I can distinctly remember my mother having neck surgery when I was still living at home. And you know, back then, surgeries were not as sophisticated as they are now, and the recovery times were much longer. It shames me to say, that I can remember coming home from school, seeing her lying on the couch, day after day, and as I came in the door I would speak, and walk right on by. Never asking did she need me to get her anything, never asking how she felt, nothing – I asked her nothing.

And I’ll tell you why I even think of these things – it’s because I now have children of my own that are so wrapped up in their lives, I am treated the same way and so is my husband. And it’s not that we expect to be waited-on or doted-on, but gracious alive, being noticed would be nice.

It makes me cringe with shame when I realize, they are me. And that the only thing that gets noticed is that supper is not cooked and the clothes basket has piled-up.

Even worse, I don’t know that I was much better in my twenties and thirties – that I was any more caring or thoughtful.  I guess I could blame it on the fact that I was raising my own children by then, had my own struggles, my own worries. But is that really accurate? I mean, somehow, my parents always still managed to call me and check on me and my kids. And I’d like to say I asked about them, and inquired about what was new with them, but I really can’t remember if I was that gracious or not.

I guess what I’m trying to say to whoever is reading this today is this: don’t only call your parents when you need something. Call them to ask about them, how they’re feeling, what have they been doing – take the time to ask about THEM – after all, they’ve been listening to your self-involved conversations for years.

I don’t necessarily want my children to feel guilty one day – but everything has a way of coming back around when you least expect it.  I cannot tell you the conversations I’ve had with my mother, mullygrubbing and feeling sorry for myself, as I simultaneously tell her how sorry I feel for having treated her the same way.

A little self-reflection goes a long way.