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I'm In Here Somewhere

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This is a rare moment for me.

As of right now, the phones aren't ringing, the emails are silent. Texting is at a minimum with short reminders from my children who want me to know they love me. Work has loosened its grasp on me and I am enjoying the solitude of a quiet evening at home. "Enjoying" is perhaps not the word...possibly "tolerating" is the correct term as I am feeling foreign and out of place in these four walls as I tap out these letters on this keyboard. My writing deadlines have been met, the bills have been paid and I have cleaned my house, done the laundry, utilized the hours to accomplish all other menial tasks that my racing mind can think of...

Channel-surfing left a bad taste in my mouth after I stumbled on an episode of "Ancient Aliens" and couldn't take my eyes off of Giorgio A. Tsoukalos' hair. I also spent about fifteen minutes on and entered my home address for a free sample of Metamucil and a UFC poster for my daughter's boyfriend. I tried to get an Air Wick deodorizer for my car but they were out of it. (I knew I had to "get a life" when I shouted, "Eww! You gotta be KIDDING me!!!" out loud and scared the bejeebers out of the cat.)

No. I'm not sure if idle time is right for me.

Pffff. Maybe I'm feeling melancholy for days gone by. Perhaps I'm a little ticked off that I don't have more days like this to chill out and do my "thang." So, I'm trying to push everything into one day and watching the time ignite in a burst of bright light then fizzle with each passing minute. Didn't I just wake up, stretch and feel the excitement for the hours to come only to realize it's almost 11 p.m. and I can't remember if I took my CoQ10 and Resveratrol?

Maybe I'm pouting because my daughter is home from college for the summer but she left for the evening to spend some girl-time with her BFF back at the university. You all know my Bre is my shining star, my angel, my reason for believing that life is gorgeous, awesome and full of never-ending hope. When she is here I can weather everything from a crazy-looking spider on my back deck to the craziest of life's dilemmas. But in her absence I am a certified lost soul that misses the most beautiful accomplishment/gift in my life...

I need to change my ticker. It's off by about 20 pounds. And not the "good" 20-pound-end of the spectrum either. My schedule permits "Eat and Run." Okay, that is a load of bullcrap and you and I both know that. I've switched over to "sugar-free" products and DID get in a couple of hikes the last few days but I need to re-prioritize my needs in the nutrition department. Easier said than done but since when have I ever done anything easy?? Am I willing to let that aspect of my life fall by the wayside? Right now, I can't think. I'm too busy watching the clock tick away my last few moments of "freedom."

I don't want to spend them on the treadmill.

What I really want to do is text my daughter and tell her to be careful with her BFF, watch out for creepy guys and stay away from the hookah. And to remind her to lock her car doors, use the deadbolt on her apartment door and make sure her fire alarm has new batteries. I want to call my husband on his last break and tell him to watch out for deer along the highway as he travels home. I want to finish putting the photographs in my new photo album and run my fingers across the faces of my sisters as they smile back from the pictures and cherish the memories of last year's vacation on the beach.

I may not be able to respond to each of you personally right now, the ones who have left comments on my page, sent me beautiful, heartfelt goodies and left me Sparkmails. But I want you to know that they have all come at a very good time during the hustle and bustle of my life. I check my correspondence on my phone religiously and each word has kept me grounded, kept me connected to my "roots" on here. I deeply appreciate you. I miss you. And you still and always will have a very large place in my heart.

God bless you all.

You are loved.

(That is me on the right. My heart is on the left. May 22nd, 2013.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JADOMB 7/27/2013 4:50PM

    I'm still here with you too. Life just tends to take us in odd directions sometimes and leaves us wondering, WTH. Cheer up though, you are loved and that is what matters.

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SHARON10002 6/6/2013 11:53PM

    Michelle, so good to see you here again! I've missed you and your blogs!
Hope you are feeling okay. Love the picture of you and Bre!
By the way, everyone deserves to "idle for awhile". . . emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/6/2013 11:55:06 PM

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JERMADSON7 6/1/2013 2:13PM

    Love the pic. Gorgeous as ever. Both of you.

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GEEMAWEST 5/28/2013 12:15AM

    Love you!! and your blogs!!

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KONRAD695 5/27/2013 11:56AM

    I love your writing. Thanks for another blog.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 5/26/2013 9:30PM

    emoticon emoticon

Miss your blogs!

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BLAKBIRD 5/26/2013 12:36AM


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TRENTDREAMER 5/25/2013 2:09PM

    " (I knew I had to "get a life" when I shouted, "Eww! You gotta be KIDDING me!!!" out loud and scared the bejeebers out of the cat.) "
* Oh, gosh. I WISH my life was that exciting.

"Pffff. Maybe I'm feeling melancholy for days gone by. Perhaps I'm a little ticked off that I don't have more days like this to chill out and do my 'thang.'"
* Or maybe your just getting to that "I'm bored because the day has run it's course feeling". I get those at the end of a low key day.

"I've switched over to "sugar-free" products and DID get in a couple of hikes the last few days but I need to re-prioritize my needs in the nutrition department."
* Best of fortune to you!

" But I want you to know that they have all come at a very good time during the hustle and bustle of my life. I check my correspondence on my phone religiously and each word has kept me grounded, kept me connected to my "roots""
* Miss you as well.

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BKNOCK 5/25/2013 12:43PM

    Nice to read a blog from you again! You both look great! emoticon

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DJ4HEALTH 5/25/2013 1:15AM

    She just looks just like you!!

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CARTOONB 5/24/2013 11:36PM


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WALLAHALLA 5/24/2013 9:40PM

    You both look as beautiful as ever.

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KIMCOLLINGS 5/24/2013 12:25PM

    Have missed you. It's good to hear what you've been up to. By the and your daughter look more like sisters that mother-daughter! You look amazing!

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ARUNNINGKAT 5/24/2013 12:08PM

    So good to hear from you! I have definitely missed seeing your smiling face on my friend feed! Beautiful photo!

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JOHNTJ1 5/24/2013 10:03AM

    Like sands through the hour glass so are the days of our lives....
It was good to hear from you!

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OLDERDANDRT 5/24/2013 9:29AM

    Michelle, You are as beautiful as ever!! Inside and out! Love that pic of you with Bre! It is kind of sad to have "free time" slip away so fast. The busier we are, it seems the faster the "down" time goes!
Just glad to know y'all are ok.
Nice blog and it came at a great time to let me know that you ARE ok!!
I know, that by now, your regularly scheduled mayhem has started again, but I wish you a super great day! Here's hoping all goes smoothly and expeditiously so maybe you can unwind better this evening and enjoy some time with Bre.

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DOVESEYES 5/24/2013 4:36AM

    Glad all is ok then :)

Thinking of you too... emoticon

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KING_SLAYER 5/24/2013 2:37AM

    I just had a weird thought about a mother / daughter/ strange guy from the internet hot tub party... pictures of pretty girls do that to me sometimes.

Ahhh, Giorgio... "ALIENS!". That hair just keeps getting crazier each year.

Take care of yourself sweetie, however you need to do it. Whether it's better food, or more running / walking, make sure that you're doing it for you.

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BRADMILL2922 5/24/2013 12:40AM

    You are loved! But I know you have heard that about a million times from me but it is as true today as it ever has been...even if you don't venture around these parts as much.

Still going to need some birth certificate evidence one of these days that the two of you aren't sisters! I'm still not completely buying the whole mother/daughter thing! :) But that is a really great picture of you and your baby!

That is good to hear that you have gotten back into some hiking here recently because I know how much you love to do that. I hope that you have much more time and many more days this summer where you are able to get out and stomp around your grounds!

You are the best and you are loved Michelle, always!


Comment edited on: 5/24/2013 12:40:56 AM

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AJDOVER1 5/23/2013 11:58PM

    So good to see you! Love that picture.

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CHERIRIDDELL 5/23/2013 11:42PM

    WHat a lovely photo! So glad to hear from you!

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Awkward Family Photos

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

I was going through my camera and ran across some pictures today. Who says pics have to be "picture perfect" to be great ones??? I decided that since yesterday's blog was kind of "deep" I would lighten up today with some "Awkward Family Photos" of my own. Welcome to the first installment...just don't tell Bre that some of these made it out to the public!

"Wake up Bre!! The Easter Bunny was here!"

Mad Scientist?? Or just too much Red Bull??

"I don't know, ReaAnne, the No. 4 Combo looks too fattening..."

"Aunt Michelle? Seriously, I gotta get to the bathroom and I find your infatuation with the camera quite irritating..."

Part of my job description for Customer Service at Walmart...

He's okay. A must for the mouthy kids at the yearly family reunion.

"But he might pee on me!!"

Note Bre's enthusiasm when this particular Christmas was devoted to buying her things for her new car. Also note, to the right, she had already opened up new seat covers...

Note Bre's enthusiasm when she opened up her next gift!

An otherwise nice photo if it wasn't for the kid in the background getting ready to hurl.

This is NOT a cigarette for the thousandth time...

"Yes, guys, I have the flash turned on!!"

Yes, Jesus saves even those riding a green plastic dinosaur...

"Red Bull, Red Bull, Red Bull, Red Bull..."

"Red Bull, Red Bull, Red Bull, Red Bull..."

"You want me to stand HERE for a pic of my last day with you before I leave for a better paying job?? Okay, CHEESE!"

Okay, a little too much rum in the rum balls...oopsie.

"I might be a cat but I seriously hate you."

"No. Seriously, I hate you."

"Too cold to hike, too cold to hike, too cold to hike..."

"Okay, Mom, I don't think this is appropriate for my scholarship awards banquet."

"No, it was a beetle. I'd know that taste anywhere."

Have a great day, guys...God bless.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STR458 6/14/2013 11:30AM

    I like take on #4 combo snark

Comment edited on: 6/14/2013 11:32:01 AM

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CHERIRIDDELL 4/29/2013 1:02AM

    I thought I'd revisit these just cause I needed a smile !

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SPUNKYDUCKY 4/19/2013 3:39PM

    lol, just the laugh I needed today! Great pics - what a collection!

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JUNIAATROME 4/18/2013 1:49AM


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DJ4HEALTH 4/5/2013 10:13PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOVINGAFRICA 4/4/2013 2:39PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUSIEMT 4/3/2013 4:21PM

    I seriously loved the photos and captions! Woo Hoo to you!

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BRADMILL2922 4/3/2013 2:08PM

    Oops, posted it twice so I am changing this one to explain what just happened.

I sent the comment and it said I had to remove any HTML or PROFANITY! Huh?

I didn't use either...I don't think. Oh well.

Comment edited on: 4/3/2013 2:10:49 PM

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BRADMILL2922 4/3/2013 2:08PM

    So remind me who is the supposed "ornery" one in our friendship?

emoticon that is me looking at you!

I will have to admit to kind of liking the duct tape thing for mouthy kids. Especially when they get to be teenagers, this could be a really helpful tool to keep my sanity...if that is even possible!

Awkward family photos are funny and a great blog idea! I am glad that you shared with all of us and we were able to get an inside look at the goofiness and apparent Red Bull addiction? LOL!

So here is to fattening #4 combo meals, plastic dinosaurs, and beetles...really? Beetles? I'm more of a CCR kinda guy, but you know that already :) You said that this is the first installment so I will look forward to future installments! Love this blog, love you!


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BKNOCK 4/3/2013 1:36PM

    Oh wow, too funny! I like the bug one the best!

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AMAS92568 4/3/2013 11:42AM

    Love the look on the little girls' faces!

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OLDERDANDRT 4/3/2013 11:39AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/3/2013 10:30AM


THanks for the giggles!

Have a great day and keep ...

΄¨¨)) -:¦:-
Έ.•΄ .•΄¨¨))
((ΈΈ.•΄ ..•΄ Spreading the Spark!-:¦:-
-:¦:- ((ΈΈ.•΄*

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SAMMIESMOM13 4/3/2013 9:34AM

    Thanks for the smile.

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 4/3/2013 7:57AM

    Cute. Family times are special even when the pics aren't glamorous :)

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MARINEMAMA 4/3/2013 7:43AM

    Love the pics!! Thanks for sharing!!

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BEANIES_MOM 4/3/2013 4:20AM

    Great pictures!

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CHERIRIDDELL 4/3/2013 3:20AM

    Love them!

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GETTINGFIT4HIM 4/3/2013 1:52AM


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FLEMIDG 4/3/2013 12:47AM

    Thanks for sharing your pics. They were great.

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KING_SLAYER 4/2/2013 11:11PM

    You have some very good pics there! Your whole family should be proud of how you capture their charm, wit and intellect!

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MESEATURTLE 4/2/2013 10:47PM

    loved them!!! emoticon

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WALLAHALLA 4/2/2013 10:00PM

    love every pixel of it

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JADOMB 4/2/2013 9:48PM

    Great pics. LOL

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JERMADSON7 4/2/2013 9:22PM

    It is after I read your deep and thoughtful previous blog that I run across this and am reminded of just how quirky you are. Tsk, tsk. Just when i think you've grown up...

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USFBULL 4/2/2013 9:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHRIS3874 4/2/2013 9:08PM

    Love the kitten.

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JOHNTJ1 4/2/2013 8:50PM

    Are we voting?

You in the pig hat!!!

And........... you are the only Wal-Mart employee I know that ever smiles.

Thank you for that

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WORKNPROGRESS49 4/2/2013 8:04PM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing

Comment edited on: 4/2/2013 8:04:54 PM

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CHRISTINE1623 4/2/2013 7:53PM

    Hilarious! Your captions are great!

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PJ2222 4/2/2013 7:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOVESEYES 4/2/2013 7:47PM

    Love the photos,thanks.

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Get Real

Monday, April 01, 2013

Dear Self:

Who are you?

If you were able to peel back the layers of your life, disrobing the learned behaviors and shaped beliefs that you have carried with you throughout your life, would you do it? Who are you behind closed doors, when no one is speaking, when no one is listening, when no one is watching? What is your innermost dialogue that seems to be speaking with every heart beat, your true definition, your real purpose, of your life here on this earth?

Is it to be considered a success in your career? Is it to be labeled as a strong and dutiful person whom everyone looks up to? Are you tough? Are you soft-hearted? Are you intelligent? Proud? Remorseful? Do you put yourself under a daily microscope and vow to do better or do you just "float" thoughout your every day hoping the next is a better one? JUST WHO ARE YOU? When the lights go out and the house is quiet, when you are alone and no one is around, what is the true you?

If you could cast off the garbage that your heart has carried over the last few years, would it be liberating, freeing? Most of the time, you do not like what you see when you look in your soul's mirror. Flawed. Imperfect. Handicapped. Broken. But it is in the mess of you that you will find your truth. You know this to be true. So why do you hesitate? You know it is within this kaleidoscope of pain, triumphs, successes and failures that your true definition lies.

One of your biggest endeavors is better health but you seriously have to begin within. You have to find a way to get to your true nature, forgive your imperfect thinking, develop a different dialogue and find acceptance of YOU. If you cannot love yourself at 210, 180, or 150 pounds, what makes you think you are going love yourself at your goal weight? And what makes you think that you are going to be capable of loving others, truly and deeply, if you cannot love YOURself AS IS? Are you capable of doing that when you are wallowing in self-pity or giving yourself grief because you have deemed yourself unlovable and imperfect??

Newsflash. You ARE imperfect. You always will be. You must accept your physical flaws and make an agreement that you do not have to have a perfect body. You do not deserve to beat yourself up over your past mistakes or sins. You are perfectly imperfect and your life is a beautiful chaos of mistakes and learned lessons that have taught you so many things. It is then and only then you will be able to clear the smoke of your thoughts and look at the person across from you with no filters, with no judgments, with no prejudice and see the heart deep within THEM, THEIR fears, THEIR social awkwardness, THEIR joys, THEIR longing for acceptance and love THEM despite THEIR imperfections, too.

So who are you?? Do you abuse your emotional well-being? Do you belittle yourself, make fun of yourself, make fun of others? Do you tell yourself that if/when you get to your desired weight, get that promotion, etc, etc, you will finally be happy? Or do have the courage, right now, right here, to accept yourself for who you are, at this point in time? Are you willing to admit that we are all connected in this life, in this fragile existence, by the same cord that makes us all human? Are you willing to forgive yourself for past mistakes, casting them off like an ill-fitting coat? Are you willing to step out from behind your excuses, behind the lies you are proclaiming and just get real? Are you willing to finally accept your flaws and imperfections because they are unique, beautiful and exquisite...?

It's time. It's time to throw off your blinders, expose the true you and embrace yourself with the same encouragement and compassion you claim to have for others. You're not getting anywhere by sitting in the dust of your self-criticisms. You're not getting anywhere by spinning your heels in the same direction that didn't get you anywhere before. Be bold. Be strong. Take action.

Have the courage to love yourself, the real self, the one that lies in the depths of your heart. You are worth it.

The Self You Were Meant To Be

God bless.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISHKALA 5/3/2013 1:03PM

    You're amazing. Thank you. emoticon emoticon

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BEAR8MM 4/6/2013 7:32PM

    I looked deep inside, and I think I'm a pervert.

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GABIBEAR 4/6/2013 12:41AM

    Great Blog Michelle! Thanks for posing the question and having us ask ourselves!!!

emoticon emoticon

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LOVINGAFRICA 4/4/2013 2:33PM

    I was asked that same question by someone else recently.
'Would you want to know your TOUCHSTONE MEMORY that has caused you to be resilient and cloaked? The thing that defines so much of who you are, but that you can't remember?'
And all I could answer is 'I will have to check with Jesus'
It is the best gift in the world to have a Friend who knows all the answers and always decides with wisdom and total love for us. That is why we can thank Him for EVERYTHING, the imperfections and flaws too. Even the things that we have forgotten.
May you daily grow closer and closer to Him, and be completely Blessed.

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SUSIEMT 4/3/2013 4:15PM

    What a great blog! Great food for thought! Keep up the good work!

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KIMCOLLINGS 4/3/2013 3:17PM

    Beautiful. Just beautiful!!

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BRADMILL2922 4/3/2013 1:52PM

    As you said to me last night, we are our greatest critics. It is really easy to sit around and say that if we change this or if we do that, we WILL be much happier. Do it now. Don't say WILL, say AM! There are things that happen in everyone's past that we would like to change but it really does no good to dwell on those things. You can not change them. They happened and have shaped you into the person you are today. They are still shaping you into the person you are going to be in the future.

"Who are you behind closed doors, when no one is speaking, when no one is listening, when no one is watching?" Such a good question that everyone should take the time to really think about. It can be easy to put on a "public face" of strength and confidence, but deep down in your soul and spirit, who are you? What are you doing to make your life and the lives of the ones you love better today? Better tomorrow? Self reflection like that can be eye opening. Self reflection like that can be painful. But, self reflection like that can be liberating! Find that person you have always wanted to be. Find that person that you want the rest of the world to see.

This journey that we are all on isn't always about a number. It isn't always about the number. It isn't always about the physical reflection in the mirror. Sure, those things are nice markers along the way but the real journey is for your inner peace. For your inner happiness. Nobody is perfect, so don't try to be. But try to be a person that shines bright upon the world with the little time that we have here.

Michelle, I am forever grateful to call you my friend because I know how you as a person have been shinning bright in my life through good times, and some bad. You have helped me more than I can possible say. I know because of the presence of your spirit in my life, that I am a better person for it. I hope that when you peel back your layers to yourself that you see the beauty within that I have come to know over the past months. It is exceptional. I am glad to "know who YOU are". I love you.


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MANDELOVICH 4/3/2013 1:28PM

    Very moving blog. Thank you. I think this is at the crux of the efforts we are all making here, and yet, I find it so hard to do!

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AJDOVER1 4/3/2013 12:54PM

    Well said. You're an incredible inspiration.

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SAMI199 4/3/2013 10:48AM

Sharon suggested I come over to read your blog & I am glad I did. Awesome

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOANNA2 4/3/2013 8:04AM

    Powerful blog. Thank you. emoticon

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CHERIRIDDELL 4/3/2013 3:18AM

    Awesome blog!

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JERMADSON7 4/2/2013 9:19PM

    It's funny how much easier it is to hide behind our excuses, eh? Or to blame our imperfections for why we can't get to where we want to be. I see myself in these words. I think we all can. If we could cast aside these "limitations" of our self, could you imagine how far we could go? What we could accomplish? It's time for all of us to be honest with ourselves. But why is that so difficult? What do we have to lose but the very thing that is keeping us stuck in the past?

Very true that we are a complete package, not just portions of here and there. Our bodies, minds and hearts are connected and not separate from one another. Finding the sync is crucial for our overall well-being. Wise words. Once again, you force us to look into our nature, our hearts, and ask ourselves some difficult questions. The answers won't be easy either but once we break through, the freedom to be, the acceptance of self, is well worth the journey.

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_BABE_ 4/2/2013 9:00PM

    There comes a time when it gets more and more difficult to say I will be this or that in the future because you likely have more years behind you than in front. I finally realized that THIS (whatever this is) is what I am rocking in my life and reading your blog has reminded me, ”Make the rest of your life …the best of your life.” emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 4/2/2013 8:54PM


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L*I*T*A* 4/2/2013 8:12PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KING_SLAYER 4/2/2013 4:38PM

    That was deep. I have a lot of work to do it seems. Although I can say one thing with honesty, I try to live my life with integrity. You ask some very serious questions in this blog post, questions that can't be answered quickly. I'm going to copy and paste this into a word document to save so I can come back to it and maybe even share it with family and friends.

Thank you my sweet friend :)

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VICKI-B- 4/2/2013 4:30PM

  Wonderful blog. Thank you. emoticon emoticon

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JACKIE542 4/2/2013 4:18PM


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WORKNPROGRESS49 4/2/2013 3:53PM

    emoticon blog post!!! emoticon

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PURRRPY 4/2/2013 3:26PM

    Thank-you for keeping the Spark Alive - You are truly awesome and an inspiration.


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WALLAHALLA 4/2/2013 2:48PM

    You made me feel like an onion....peeled for the very 1st time emoticon emoticon You are just too emoticon for words!

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PHOENIX1949 4/2/2013 2:41PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHARON10002 4/2/2013 8:46AM

    Amen, sister! *hugs* I may be wrong, but it seems as though we both are walking along the same path in search of our true selves, and struggling to find that core truth of the pure love that resides deeply buried in our very being. I do feel that we are making progress and turning corners in our journey. Thank you for sharing yourself in this very POWERFUL blog, and all of your precious experiences with us along the way. You're my North star, the one who helps me to right my bearings along the way, and points me in the right direction - always toward my true self ... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 4/2/2013 7:21AM

    Wow! What a great blog! How painful was this to write? Stripping back the layers of yourself is one of the most painful things anyone would ever have to do. And yet it's so necessary. I've found that the way to avoid the worst of the pain is to do this consistently and always try to be self-aware. I hate surprises and one of the worst surprises is to realize that I've been hiding something from myself. For me, pulling off the band-aid and watching the wound heal is a lot less painful than letting it heal and then reopening it later. Sounds cruel maybe, but it really isn't.

Thanks for sharing... emoticon

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BEANIES_MOM 4/2/2013 4:11AM

    Great blog! emoticon

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JUNIAATROME 4/2/2013 2:56AM

    Note to self: Get a grip on yourself! On second thought: never mind! emoticon emoticon

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JADOMB 4/2/2013 1:29AM

    In God's eyes we are all perfect. Who are we to argue with God?

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DOVESEYES 4/2/2013 12:39AM

    Great blog!!!
I've found in the process of losing weight I have had to do just this and work through my 'self awareness' I am the same person inside now as I was at 110 kgs as I will be at 56 kgs if I don't analyse and work through the reasons and motives I have at each stage.

But also if I thought I was perfect, would I have started this journey at all? Would 'being perfect' have been my excuse to stay the same and not go after my dream of being healthy?

Deep stuff that I will process in the 'process' of changing the outside of me.

Thanks emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOHNTJ1 4/1/2013 10:57PM

    I am not my past nor my future. I am my present. This moment, the right here, the right now is all I have.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today a gift."

When my dad lay dying about a year ago he looked up at me and his last words to me were. "I've lived a good long life but gosh its went by so fast." He was 87. I cherish today.

My real self is the one who sits here present to this moment of creation that will not come again. I will savor it

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Sticks and Stones

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We are defined by our words. How we say them, when we say them, if we even say them at all. Our tongues are our most powerful attribute...they say that actions speak louder than words, which is very true in most cases, but words have the power to build up or tear down just as well. The old childhood taunt of "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" has lost its strength as we are faced with the reality that bullying in our schools has reached an epidemic level. The tongue truly is a two-edged sword...we can act like we don't care what people don't say about us but if we were to be completely honest with ourselves, angry words, untrue statements or totally being ignored DOES hurt, just as a compliment boosts our ego and makes our day flow a little bit better.

We make assumptions about people who speak certain ways. Or about people who don't speak at all. We consider them "snobbish" perhaps if they stand off in a crowd without speaking or don't return a "good morning" or just simply don't JOIN in a conversation. Maybe we wave them off and quietly think, "Well, just be that way, then" and go about our way.

Such is the case with Janet. I've worked with her for about five months now and she barely speaks a word to anybody. She is an attractive lady, smiles on occasion, but I've noticed that she doesn't really care to join in on meetings and prefers to sit off to herself during luncheons. My coworkers speak to her and she nods but that's about the extent of it, much to their frustration. I have sat next to her, trying to draw her in during conversations but to no success. It has bothered me. I was very tempted to label her as "unfriendly" and move on.

She and I were the last ones to leave last night. As we both stood in the locker room gathering our belongings in silence, I put my arm through one of my coat sleeves and a bundle of ear plugs and hair nets came out the other end. I started laughing because it was yet another prank we play on one another to cut through the monotony of the day. I looked at Janet and she was smiling quietly not wanting to meet my eyes. I said, "Those whippersnappers. Just wait. This means war." We both walked out of the room, made our way to the exit, her steps always a step or two ahead of me. Once outside we had a long walk to our vehicles and I noticed it had rained. I made the comment that at least it wasn't snow. I heard her say something. I said, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you..." and she turned to me with what looked like pain on her face.

"Yes. I don't like snow."

But her words were a little jumbled. It was evident that this beautiful woman, whom we all thought was a snob, whom we all thought didn't want to associate with us, had a speech impediment. My heart jerked. I didn't know what to say. Should I perhaps nod and wish her a great evening or should I try to continue to talk to her the remaining minutes to our cars?

I smiled and caught up with her as she quickly marched on and matched her steps.

"I hate snow. I hate cold. I can't wait 'til it warms up to plant my flowers. I just hope that I can keep the deer out of them this year. I have always wanted a garden full of vegetables but the deer and ground moles get those too. And I get so cold on our line that my toes go numb."
"Really? Mine too. I wear two pairs of socks."
Laughing, I said, "I wear long johns too! And two shirts!"

A few more seconds of silence ensued and I was ready to wish her a wonderful weekend when she stopped and put her arm in front of my body. I was about to walk in front of a car that was pulling out...I would have been smooshed. I thanked her quietly and she smiled.

"I'm sorry. I don't like to talk much."
"It's okay. I DO. So if I'm around, I'll be content to do all the talking and you can just listen if that's alright with you. Seriously, God gave me the gift of gab."
Smiling broadly, she nodded and said, "Oh, I KNOW! And yes. That would be fine." I could not stop looking at her face...her smile was so beautiful.

We got to our cars and bid each other careful going home. I noticed the smile did not leave her face. Quite frankly, neither did mine. Then on the way home I was overcome with sadness.

I made assumptions about this woman.

We all did.

How incredibly unfair is that? How often do we do that in our lives, without truly knowing the situation, their individual stories? I feel Janet has developed her quietness out of self-image and the things that people have said over the years. She would rather be thought of "snobbish" than reveal her impediment. It's very disheartening in so many ways.

But I like her. I'm going to keep talking to her. And I'm going to keep Colossians 4:6 in mind. "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Maybe I need to remind myself of that with everyone, not just Janet, as well.

Words define us. Just as much, if not more than, our actions. They have the power to break our spirits or to lift our souls. Most of us were given the gift of perfect speech, unlike Janet. But just because we have it doesn't mean we should use it carelessly. My mother used to say, "You really need to learn to think before you open your mouth." That is still a work in progress, by the way. But as I get older I am learning the importance of it.

"Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be accepted in YOUR sight, O Lord..." -Psalm 19:14

Have a beautiful weekend, my friends. God bless. You are loved.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNIAATROME 4/1/2013 2:47AM

    emoticon emoticon

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CHALLENGER15 3/30/2013 8:19AM

    Thank you for sharing this!

With a life-long hearing problem, I often didn't hear someone and was and probably still am considered standoffish by those that don't know me. You can perhaps imagine what torture it was for me in a group - and as an educator, lunch duty was horrible but necessary. And even now there is very little medical hope, since cochlear implants are not always successful, very expensive, and definitely not covered by my insurance now that I have essentially finished my working life.

You wrote this very beautifully with much food for thought for those who read it.

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JERMADSON7 3/29/2013 10:58PM

    You are the way you are. That is a beautiful thing, especially to all of the Janets of the world. It is tempting, even easier, to label people and move on. It takes effort and a special person to see beyond the exterior and look in depth of the other person, then reach beyond our comfort zones to try to understand them and ultimately accept them for who they are and why they are the way they are.

Most people would consider me to be obnoxious. I tend to speak my mind, to say what I think. I try not to be distasteful, rude or to inject my opinions in a harsh manner but I know at times they can come across that way. Yet after people get to know me, they know that I will be honest in my feelings. Eventually they see that I have their best interests at heart. (Wink, wink.)

You are right. Words are hurtful. At the same time they can be a comfort. It is crucially important that we all remember we are all different and communicate in different ways. In the end, we all want to be accepted and ultimately feel free to be who we are. Although Janet has been shunned at times, I am sure, she eventually felt comfortable to let you in on her "secret." That is a great compliment to you and a burden lifted for her.

But then again, who wouldn't feel free to be themselves with you?


Comment edited on: 3/29/2013 11:00:43 PM

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LALMEIDA 3/28/2013 11:21AM


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KAILYNSTAR 3/22/2013 7:52PM

    So nice of you to figure out what was going on with Janet.

My Mother and my DD3 are both shy. They are quiet in company and nod and say very little. I find that people think that they're are being snobs.

If I'm with DD3, I just pipe up and say "Don't think she's a snob. She's a shy one. Once she gets to know out!" :)

There are so many expectations of people, thinking that everyone should conform to the social norm. Or just act like they do.

I am not one of them. I myself am better with writing and talking over the phone. Put me in a room of people that know each other...I shut down. I have very little to say. Or, put me in a room of people that are new and uncomfortable with each other, I break the ice. I cause smiles and laughter and lessen the tension in the room. Once everyone is talking, I sit off to the side or corner and just listen.

Michelle, you are a fantastic person, who can put the right words down and get you humour and your heart on the page.

Thanks for the blog.

Thanks for being Janet's friend. I'm sure she is thankful for you as well.

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KIMCOLLINGS 3/22/2013 4:33PM

    Terrific story and I'm glad you ran towards her, rather than away. I bet she's had a lot of people in her life either be nervous or not want to take the time to get to know her and it sounds like she has a sweet soul. Good for you for taking a genuine interest in her and breaking that barrier. I bet it means more to her than you know. You are AWESOME!

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MISHKALA 3/21/2013 4:30PM

    Michelle, you are a beautiful soul, and your words of wisdom are something we should all keep in mind. God bless you and your gift of writing from the heart.

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GETTINGFIT4HIM 3/21/2013 3:10AM

  You are so right! We must always remember to reach out and try and encourage one another. What a blessing you are to her, just as you are to all of us! emoticon

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STAYCXL-NOMORE 3/19/2013 3:31PM

    Great blog as always Michelle , you have such a writers way about you that makes it amazing as always !! I am glad you wrote this blog cause honestly I need it this week , I now am going threw so many emotions with my separation , I have a hard time not expressing my feelings and not be so nice about it :( my son told me the other day that it makes him sad cause I don't think before I speak these days , I think alot of it is anger that has built up but this blog reminds me that I really need to do what God would and season it with salt , cause words are painful and now more then ever do I realize someone words hurt and hurt deep , but instead of watching mine, I cut back !!! Thanks SF one more lesson learned :) from u !!!!

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WHOVIANGIRL23 3/19/2013 9:21AM

    What a lovely thing of you to do, your story made me a bit teary eyed.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/19/2013 9:02AM

    Beautifully written!


:¦:-* ♥ ~ Hugs,
(¨`•.•΄¨) ```
`•.Έ (¨ `•.•΄¨) ♥♥†♥♥
(¨`•.•΄¨) Έ.•΄
``•.Έ.•΄ ~~

ΈΈ.•΄Έ.•*¨) ♥Έ.•*¨)
(Έ.•΄ .♥ (Έ.•΄ .♥ (Έ.•*΄¨`* ♥☆Έ.•*΄¨`*♥☆
`*♥☆ Keep Spreading the Spark!!!

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BRADMILL2922 3/19/2013 3:57AM

    I think your mother was right when she said, "You really need to learn to think before you open your mouth." Everyone always says to think before you speak but really, they should learn to think before they speak! Just because they think first, doesn't mean they think correctly. I think that is always a work in progress for us. It is something that we learn the importance of but do have to be reminded of from time to time.

Someday, you will have to actually explain your "gift of gab" to me. No, I mean really explain it like i'm sure only you can :) Janet is a lucky lady to have found a friend in you. I also have to say that you are lucky to have found a friend in Janet as well, if for just the fact that she saved you from getting smooshed. Remind me to send her a thank you note or something!

As always Michelle, a beautifully written blog! I love you and your perspective on the ways of the world. We should all be so lucky as Janet to find such a caring and understanding spirit such as yourself to work with everyday!


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SPUNKYDUCKY 3/18/2013 11:06PM

    I love this story
I love you
You are kind and always willing to challenge your own assumptions

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BKNOCK 3/18/2013 2:20PM

    Great blog! You the gift of gab? No Way!!! emoticon

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 3/18/2013 7:59AM

    Oh how I am guilty of this?!?
Oh how many times on the flip-side have I been accused of being a snob when in actuality I am an introvert.
Thanks for reminder, our words truly do have power.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I pray my heart is full of God's grace, compassion & mercy so that my words convey those attributes.

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WALLAHALLA 3/17/2013 8:51PM

    Great blog. Also shows we can learn so much more by listening than by just talking. Janet is lucky to have found you for a friend.

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JADOMB 3/17/2013 6:21PM

    You are so right and she was lucky to have met the right person to help her feel more comfortable. As a sub, I have to work very hard NOT to judge my students since there are just so many reasons they act as they do. I just try to continue putting a good foot forward and showing them they can trust me. It works for the most of them.

Funny thing you brought up speech impediment though. The other day one of my Th graders that before now has been very quiet, started speaking to me. He's always been a good kid and I have recognized him for that. But until then he was very short with answers or questions when he spoke. Then the last time I was fortunate to sub for that class he began to talk very freely and frequently. He has a speech impediment, but it is the cutest one I've ever heard. It's almost like an accent.

I don't think I brought him out of his shell as much as he just finally felt comfortable enough with me to talk more. But as he spoke in front of all the others, he did it with great confidence and no shame. I only wish more folks could face their differences more as a blessing than a curse and ignore anyone that doesn't accept them instead of allow them to define who they are.

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MOONANDSTARS77 3/17/2013 1:58PM

  THis was a sad blog. I am guilty of making assumptions as well.

I remember one job I worked there was this woman who never dated and was very clingy and close to her family. Everyone made fun of her as being someone with "no life"

Well one day me and her got to talking and she told me that she made the mistake once of being drunk and taking a guy home with her from the bar.

She went to use her restroom and when she came out he raped her at knifepoint .

I felt terrible for making fun of her.

Thank you for this blog so I can keep it in mind not to judge people.

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JOHNTJ1 3/17/2013 9:23AM

    There was a very real blessing in what you did, not only for her but for you. I think we spend much of our lives in search of the grandiose only ofr god to remind us that his sheep, those a bit lost and lonely are right there with us at work or in the neighborhood or at the gym.

In many ways you embodied the Good Shepard. Thank you for sharing this Michelle, you have enlightened my day.

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PJBONARRIGO 3/16/2013 11:01PM

    Great blog- thanks for posting. Food for thought and I learn something every time. I have the gift of gab too aka I talk too much. I am trying to remember "God gave me two ears and only one mouth.... so I will listen twice as much as I talk". Yeh, good luck with that ;-)

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CARTOONB 3/16/2013 10:28PM

    You definitely have a way with words.

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DOVESEYES 3/16/2013 8:44PM

    What a wonderful blog thanks for sharing this. emoticon

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AJDOVER1 3/16/2013 8:20PM


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SHARON10002 3/16/2013 5:14PM

    Michelle, you are my mentor. Your heart is so open that it's always stretching and reaching out to expand your love, and it touches not only those to whom you can give it easily, but as this story shows, also those who need it so very much. You are a true angel in disguise . . . Love . . .

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KING_SLAYER 3/16/2013 5:13PM

    I absolutely understand your story. I am an introvert and when around people I don't know very well I am quiet and try not to draw attention to myself. I'm sure that there's lots of people that think I'm a snob or that I'm aloof, when the truth is that I don't like attention and feel very unworthy of attention. The people that know me however know that I am in no way a snob, I'm just quiet.

Bless you for seeing further into Janet's persona and realizing that her aloofness was about her, not about her coworkers. I'm sure she probably feels better herself.

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SCOTMAMA 3/16/2013 4:18PM

    I always knew you were a beautiful person, both inside and out. The story about Janet proves it -- not everyone would pursue her friendship like you did.

Like you, I'm a talker, and I can't imagine what I would be like if my Gift were suddenly taken from me. I love getting in front of a crowd and talking -- even speaking with a microphone doesn't bother me -- and at times I wish I had more of a message to pass on.

When the time comes, and you're at the Pearly Gates, I'll bet they will welcome you with open arms!

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DIETSAFARI 3/16/2013 3:24PM

    Michelle, I could just grab you and hug you for sticking with it until you touched Janet's heart. I know Jesus feels like that too. I know you won't let her be lonely.
Lots of love!
Proud of you, Daughter of God!

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LMB-ESQ 3/16/2013 3:18PM

    Kind of a kick in the pants to find out your assumptions about people can be wrong, isn't it? Glad you made a new friend :-)

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Trampled By Elephants

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My old man and I both work the same shift so everyday before we leave we try to spend as much time together as possible. Whether we go out for lunch or just cook together we talk about our kids, grandkids, the bills, our health or what's going on in the news. But there are some days we get bored and that's when stupid stuff happens. (Like seeing who can make the most points tossing cashews into the other's mouth. You get double points if you don't choke them doing it.) Or watching reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

See, that show is a trouble-maker. We are always amazed how it relates so much to our lives, minus the kids being small and at home. (And unlike Deborah, I am a pretty good cook if I say so myself.) But the other day, as we sat on the couch unwinding a little before our departures, we tuned in and they were discussing who they would marry if something "unfortunate" happened to them. Brian looked at me with one eyebrow raised and I thought, "Oh crap. Here we go."

"Well, missy, who would you marry? Gerard Butler?"
"First off, how do I go?"
"What happens to me?"
"Who cares!! Who would you pick to get shacked up with?"
"Let's say I get trampled by elephants. There ain't no elephants in southern Ohio. So that happening is very very unlikely..."
"I'm going to pick someone for you. I think that's how Ray and Deborah are doing it. I choose Jake."
"Jake?! Our NEIGHBOR?! He looks like Willie off of Duck Dynasty!! I want Don from the tire place. Can I have Don?!"
"Don!? You don't like Don. You just want his Mustang."
"Who would you pick for me?"
"Hmmm. Nea."
"Nea. She's 73! And her hair is blue."
"You want Pamela Anderson."
"Who DOESN'T want Pamela Anderson."
"Well, I want Dr. Oz."
"But Dr. Oz doesn't want you."
"And Pam wants YOU??"
"Everybody wants me."
By this time I'm getting miffed. "We should discuss how you go out."
"You're getting close. To being strangled. By me."

I got up and started packing my lunch for work. He followed me into the kitchen with a grin and stood there watching me. I skillfully ignored him. I didn't have anything to say to that, that...PAM-lover. I fingered my old-lady bun that would later be covered with a hardhat and smoothed the creases in my unflattering work pants. So unPam-like...I was just a glob of everydayness. A person who paid the cable and internet bill and bought him sugar-free pudding on rare occasions.

"Funny thing is," he said, "Pam would was always second choice because I picked the most beautiful woman in the WORLD to marry..."

Holding my hand up in the "talk to the hand" fashion, I continued stuffing my fruit into my bag and crammed in my ice pack. I hastily zipped up my items and caught half the banana...I didn't even care that half of it's guts was hanging out as I slammed it onto the counter.

"You're gorgeous."
"Especially when you're ticked."
"C'mere you sexy thing..." and then he scooped me up in his arms and squeezed me tightly.
I laughed a little and said, "Even if I've gained back a few pounds?? Like, seriously, my badonkadonk is junking it a little these days..."
"I like your badonkadonk. And I will save you from the elephants. That's how I will go out. Saving you."

Tears stinging my eyes, I looked at him and said, "I love you."
"More than Dr. Oz?"
"Yes. More than Dr. Oz."
"Pfff. What's he got that I don't have anyways..."
"Bite me. Oh, and I love you too."

After 20+ years, it really is still good to know that I can beat Pamela Anderson hands down. Well, with MY old man anyways. And watching him stand at the window that day as I pulled out of our driveway for work, waving and blowing kisses...I felt like the luckiest girl alive. Big badonkadonk and all.

I wish you all a blessed Sunday. Hug your husband/wife closely today. Always remember what brought you together. Don't let the little things blur the big picture and work everyday to keep that bond alive and intact. It IS important to remind the other of your love for them. It IS important to tell them that they are still your one and only...

You are loved. By them AND me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLDERDANDRT 4/2/2013 1:04PM

    You have such a sweet guy! And I love reading your blogs! Be well and be happy my friend......always!! ((HUGS))

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BYEFATNANNY 3/17/2013 7:38PM

    So sweet and timely. We just found out my hubby has heart troubles and I've been hugging him a little harder lately....and we both need to loose our badonkadonk's emoticon

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JERMADSON7 3/13/2013 4:20PM

    HA! You have more beauty than you realize. Inside and out. Your husband knows he is one lucky man.

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KAILYNSTAR 2/26/2013 3:22PM

    You are some person. Just, thinking of watching Raymond? I can't stand that show. Never could. All that yelling and such...

I have to say, stay away from the zoo, if there are elephants there! emoticon

In all seriousness, I do tell my DH almost everyday. 20+ years here too.

So glad things are going well there.


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SHARON10002 2/25/2013 9:25PM

    Oh, Michelle, your love stories get me every time! I'm in a puddle in my chair. I think Dr. Oz should have you on the show to share the secrets of keeping the love alive for over 20+ years. You got it goin' girl, and any woman would chuck it all to be in your shoes - including Pam Andersen! emoticon

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BRADMILL2922 2/21/2013 11:24PM

    What can I say that hasn't been said before? You are funny, insightful, caring, ornery, loving, and on and on an on...

There is that love story again! How great is your relationship that you guys can have that after 20+ years? Pamela Anderson and Dr. Oz have nothing on you two! Everyone should be as lucky as you two to have found that partner to share these kinds of moments with.

No matter if elephants are roaming Southern Ohio or badonkadonks are junking, you guys have each other through the thick and thin! Good luck winning the cashew tossing title ;)


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SPUNKYDUCKY 2/20/2013 12:01AM

    Excellent blog - badonkadonk and all!

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TRENTDREAMER 2/19/2013 6:06PM

    "'I'm going to pick someone for you. I think that's how Ray and Deborah are doing it. I choose Jake.'
'Jake?! Our NEIGHBOR?! He looks like Willie off of Duck Dynasty!! I want Don from the tire place. Can I have Don?!'
'Don!? You don't like Don. You just want his Mustang.'
'Who would you pick for me?'
'Hmmm. Nea.'
'Nea. She's 73! And her hair is blue.'"
* I am so thankful that I am single. And what the h*ck is Duck Dynasty!?

"'Funny thing is," he said, "Pam would was always second choice because I picked the most beautiful woman in the WORLD to marry...'"
* He just totally pwned P.A. :D

'Tears stinging my eyes, I looked at him and said, 'I love you.'
'More than Dr. Oz?'
'Yes. More than Dr.Oz.'
'Pfff. What's he got that I don't have anyways...' "
* Make sure poor D-Ozzie can't read this. It might hurt his feelings....
Did I mention that I'm really glad that I'm single.

"I wish you all a blessed Sunday. Hug your husband/wife closely today. Always remember what brought you together. "
* (Trent inserts usual smart alec comment about how he would if he was married.) See it's "phone-it-in" Tuesday in comment land.

"I wish you all a blessed Sunday. "
* You as well!

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JADOMB 2/18/2013 12:56PM

    emoticon Sometimes the scale just doesn't tell the story. ;-)

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NEEDBU66 2/18/2013 11:01AM

    Whatever job you got quit it today. Call the publisher and get published. You are an author. You should be writing books.

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AJDOVER1 2/18/2013 10:03AM

    You guys are wonderful! I love reading your blogs.

I hope the elephants stay far away from you both!

Comment edited on: 2/18/2013 10:04:17 AM

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BKNOCK 2/18/2013 9:39AM

    You should write a book! Thanks for the laugh!

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KAYOTIC 2/18/2013 8:54AM

    Love it! You have a flair for writing a story that resonates..

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 2/18/2013 7:25AM


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DOVESEYES 2/17/2013 10:09PM

    This is lovely thanks I bet you had a smile on your face all day in between hard work. It must have been a hurry to get home as well.

it's nice when you both get that.... emoticon

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WALLAHALLA 2/17/2013 9:46PM

    so sweet

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KING_SLAYER 2/17/2013 7:12PM

    Very nice blog :) It's heartwarming to read things like you have written here. You are blessed and so is your hubby, maybe more than he realizes!

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CARTOONB 2/17/2013 6:21PM

    I knew you could beat Pam, hands down. And, it would be fun to watch you take her out if she came after your old man!!!

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    Ha-ha You are way hotter than Pam..who? Great to hear from you. I do believe that the old man really loves you!

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HWNHMMBRD 2/17/2013 2:49PM

    Thank you for sharing the aggravation and joy of have the right person in your life. emoticon emoticon

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KONRAD695 2/17/2013 2:48PM

    What happens when you bend over loading the dishwasher? emoticon

We have a no "other person conversation" rule in my house, the 10 year old twins would interrupt just about the time we get to the hug part. Glad you two can stir up the emotions still. Doesn't matter how they start, as long as they are still there.


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PJBONARRIGO 2/17/2013 2:40PM

    Woo Hoo! You had me from the elephants; but I got a tear in my eye when I read about "going out trying to save you from being trampled". Yeah- give the DH a huge hug :-) emoticon

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