Sunday, November 18

121 Days Until Spring...

What does a summer girl do in the winter? I'm the weirdo you see wearing a sweater when it goes below 70 degrees. It doesn't matter how much I workout, or move around...I don't tolerate cold (or even chilly) weather well. You might be thinking, "Michele, you live in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! It's not really COLD there!" And to some you might sound right...but considering the average high temps for this time of year are 66 but it's been closer to 56, I'm throwing a hissy fit - and even THAT'S not heating me up! BooHoo! So, my friends (and my sister) -- teach me. Teach me how to appreciate the hideousness of a bleak gray sky, the sharp bite of cold on my tender flesh, the bone-chilling drizzle of a cold day driving rain. I'm a sponge (a sponge that prefers to be in warm water) but nonetheless, a sponge, ready to soak up your wisdom. Love & Hugs to all! ♥ Michele

Friday, November 16

There's A Lobster In My Lunchbox!

Hi there! Yes, it's been forever and two days since I've posted, but I'm still alive! You know how life day you're a young mom up to your elbows in diapers, and you turn around and that same little pampered one is in college! All's well here. Husband and I are coming up on 15 years together and contemplating having a little ceremony this coming April to celebrate.

I'm actually posting to help a very good friend of mine who's written a delightfully FUN book called "There's A Lobster In My Lunchbox!" An award-winning collection of poems for children that see the world from a different angle, this book is loaded with hours of smiles & giggles!
She's published several books in the past, but this time she's using - a very cool site that helps people network and promote their creativity!
Please take a moment to visit this link and share it as well if you can!! - Sherry Baldwin
Hope everyone out there in BlogLand is doing wonderfully!

Love & hugs, Michele

Monday, February 6

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. February 7, 1941...she would have been 71. I can't picture my mom being 71.

Her name was (or should I say is?) Christine...but everyone called her "Chris" -- I really miss her more and more every year. She's been gone since 2003, and of course, life goes on and time waits for no one. Shortly after she died I had a dream where she came to me, and I immediately recognized her, although she was a younger version of who she was when she passed. We embraced and then sat down on a park bench to talk when I noticed her skin looked so loose, like it was just something she'd put on. I asked her why her skin was so loose and she replied, "I just put this on so you'd know we could say goodbye." She went on about the skin, "I don't need this anymore...I'm free from the weight of it all. I'm ok."

Of course I don't know how much of that dream came from my own head or an actual post-life visit from my mom, but it was beautiful, and I hold onto it...I cherish it.
She seemed finally, for the first time in her life, to not be lost.

My mom was what I refer to as a delicate person. She had delicate hands, delicate features with soft grey/blue eyes and light brown/blond hair. I always used to look at her and wish I'd inherited her soft beauty and fair coloring. She was pretty, and when she smiled, she was beautiful. My mom had a soft, ladylike way about her...the down side of being delicate (like the daffodils and yellow roses she loved so much) is that they're easily crushed and wilted...people see their beauty and want they pick the flower but the flower can only live so long without being in the ground. I don't think my mom ever felt grounded. She was lost. She never seemed to know where it was she was supposed to be...where she fit in...where she could finally be safe and loved...cherished.

I won't go into the tragic way my mom left this world...suffice to say it was too soon, with too much left unsaid and undone. Regardless, I truly believe now she is at peace, and has found her place in this universe. Every now and then she'll peek into my dreams and smile at me. I want to hold onto her, but she always slips away in the blink of an eye.
I hope the angels sing you a beautiful "Happy Birthday" song today. I will be thinking of you, and sending my love to you. Happy Birthday, Mom!! ♥ I love you!

My Mom on left of photo and my Grandma wearing a balloon hat!

***About a year and a half ago I wrote this blog post about my mom: Christine Frances -- check it out if you feel to and have the time.

Saturday, September 10

Beauty Hiding in the Mundane...

Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D"

By the time we're 25 years old, we've heard it at so many weddings it's tempting to think we never want to hear that particular piece of music again, but maybe you'll see (and hear) it from a new perspective after reading my little ramble.

I grew up in a blue collar neighborhood, hearing my Dad listening to mostly country music. I remember being in the Elks lodge around the summer of my 10th year, the parents would all be in the bar partying it up and those who weren't fortunate enough to find babysitters corralled us into a spare party room that had a jukebox. They'd stuff our pockets full of coins and tell us to behave, so we'd play dare games, sneak to smoke cigarettes we'd swiped from our folks, and dance around to the jukebox music. In a years time, I probably spent $50 of my Dad's whiskey sour money on 1 song -- Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"

Listening to that song and others like it was so refreshing from the country music I heard at home all the time. Especially once my mom had run off, my Dad seemed to wallow more and more in some of those depressing country music lyrics -- which, ironically, just like a country song, my Mom really did run off with my Dad's best friend, and eventually the man who had, at one time, been named my Godfather, became my Stepfather...and to make it worse, then became the "maybe he's actually the biological father" which to this day, we don't know. My Dad and I joke about doing a DNA test one day, but it's better keeping it this way. My Stepfather has long since passed away, as has my Mom. It would break my heart to find out I belong to no one.

Back to became an escape for me from my 10 year old summer on. Mostly rock, funk, old school hip hop and R&B. I was the DJ for our 6th grade school radio station and my favorite record to spin was the Sugar Hill Gang "Rapper's Delight." I can still recite that song from front to back, verbatim. I went to my first real concert at the age of 12, with my sister who's 8 years older, to see Styx at what used to be the Capital Centre Arena in the Washington, DC area. It was AWESOME! I couldn't count how many concerts I've been to since...even got to go backstage at a Rod Stewart concert, a ZZ Top concert, and an Aerosmith concert. Oh my...the things I saw... but that's a whole different story!

Then when I was 19 I bought my first really nice component stereo, and sat for hours listening to all the intricacies I could hear in different songs with better equipment, and one day my sister came over and had a cassette from her new boyfriend. It was full of classical music, since he was trying to get her interested in the finer things in life. We put it on, and the first song was Pachebel's Canon in D. I turned it up loud, then laid back on my couch, and almost instantly was completely lost in the beauty of the music. I'd always been touched by music, moved by music, but never completely carried away, feeling the music deep inside of me, caressing my very soul, all while somehow feeling connected to and wondering what the person was thinking when he was creating it...
Did you know that when "Canon in D" was a new piece, introduced by Johann Pachelbel, it was not popular at all? As a matter of fact, though it's now his most famous piece, like most other works by Pachelbel and other pre-1700 composers, the Canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. Then several decades after it was first re-published in 1919, the piece became extremely popular, and today it is frequently played at weddings and included on classical music compilations, along with other famous Baroque pieces such as Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The circumstances of the piece's composition are wholly unknown. One writer hypothesized that the Canon may have been composed for Johann Christoph Bach's wedding, on October 23, 1694, which Pachelbel attended.
Whatever the case, maybe Pachelbel was just really ahead of his time.

The song that you hear at 90% of weddings still, to this day, moves me, because it was my first love in the world of classical music, and as we all know, we never forget our first love.

When I was 23 and pregnant with my son, I put headphones with classical music on my tummy every day -- and now he's 20, and still a fan. It used to surprise people when he was barely 4 and would tell them how much he loved Vivaldi! Hahaha! He would ask me to put on Vivaldi's "Four Seasons", and then he'd tell me his favorite piece was "Spring" in his little voice as he danced around the living room.
He went on to play the violin and become an artist...I think beautiful music inspires us to want to create even more beauty.

So I challenge you to listen to Pachelbel's Canon in D with fresh ears and an open heart...I mean *really* listen, from the first note to the last, and let if flow through you. I bet you'll appreciate it in a whole new way rather than just filing it away as "The Wedding Song."

This is one of my favorite versions:
Canon in D

Tuesday, August 2

It's ALL About Perspective!

Life is so weird.

I was talking to my husband the other night, trying to explain to him why there were so many searches for "Lifestyle Lift" and other "facial rejuvenation" procedures on my computer. It went a little something like this:

Him: "Why the heck are you looking at that crap?"
Me: "Duh! Look at me! I'm getting O-L-D!"
Him: "Why do you say such things? You look great to me!"
Me: "It's weird, I remember back when I was in my early 20's and my mom had these thingies, like really skinny elastic strips with squares of surgical tape at each end. She would tape one end behind her ear, stretch the elastic around behind her head, hiding it under her hair, and then tape the other end behind her other ear, creating an instant "face lift" -- and I thought she was absolutely insane, and I told her so! Now I just wish I could remember where she got the darn things!"

See? It's all about perspective.

I'm not really that shallow, vapid, or stupid of a person, I realize that being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect -- it just means you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.
And I remind myself often of the words from the great Norman Vincent Peale, "The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have."

Still...I'll be bee-boppin' through a day, feeling pretty good about myself and suddenly catch a glimpse in a big window or a mirror and think to myself, "Aw...that lady would be almost cute if she didn't have such a poochy tummy and she were young like me!" Then it hits me... Oh_ My_ Goodness! That's ME!
This is usually followed by a small anxiety attack and then taking half an hour or so assuring myself that the mirror or window is surely defective or probably being recycled from a funhouse.

*sigh* My 90 year old grandmother thinks I'm beautiful and young, though...see? Perspective...

Last night I was at the gym with my husband and my son. My son is one of the sweetest kids ever...really. I mean, of course a mom is going to say that about her son, but I have people from his work that approach me quite often to tell me how sweet he is, and his managers have told him it's rare they get phone calls about employees that aren't negative, but a little old lady recently called in with praise about him and how helpful he is.
Well, as I watched my son lifting weights last night, I had sadness in my heart because just the other day his facebook status was about his loneliness. He was recently dumped by his first love, and he's incredibly shy so it's difficult for him to make new friends.
Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the regular weight room guys, but this time he was guiding a young teenage boy over to a chair at the smoothie bar. As he walked him to the seat, the boy never looked anywhere but the floor. He sat him down, and went to work out...and then I saw that the young man appeared to be locked in his own world, probably autistic... it gave me a whole new perspective on my worries of my own son.

I'm thankful for all of these daily little reminders to put things in perspective. It's so easy to get sucked into our own little world of insecurities, problems, and frustrations...but often simply taking a step back to reevaluate things can give us a fresh new sense of hope.

For now, I've promised my hubby I won't get anything on my body or face lifted, plumped, siphoned, injected, or touched up...not that we have that sort of disposable income anyway - haha! Besides, as the incredible Kahlil Gibran said, "Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."

I plan to keep that light turned on until the day the Lord turns it off.

Sunday, May 22

Prolific No More...?

I feel like such a bad someone should call Blog Protective Services on me and report me as a neglectful blog mom!
Before you shake a finger at me for leaving my blog in the proverbial hot car with the windows rolled up, give me a chance to explain!
It's a busy time of year here in North Myrtle Beach, SC, and our family is supported by the tourism industry, which is in full swing right now, so we're being good little squirrels and ferrying away our nuts while we can.

Anyway, I figured I could keep my blog relatively current without really having to work my already weary brain by telling you a little story:

Back in early 1991, I'd been married about a year and had no plans of having children anytime soon. I was about to turn 23 and thought I had plenty of time; besides, I was still so new to being a person with a disability, I didn't think it would be wise to try to take on one more challenge so soon into it. But then I woke up in the morning and tossed my cookies, 5 days in a row. Uh oh...looks like wheelchairs aren't effective birth control after all!
I took one of those EPT tests, which back in 1991 were still similar to performing some sort of miraculous science experiment involving a beaker and a petri dish. The results said, "You're preggo, girly!" I was petrified and calmed myself with the thought that I'd never been good in science, so surely I'd screwed up the test. I made an appointment with my family doctor, a sober man named, Dr. Syed Sadiq. He also seemed surprised at the possibility that the wheelchair hadn't been effective birth control, but gave me a blood test anyway and said he'd call me with the results. He called the next day and sounded like Harold Camping probably sounds right about now, (like it's the end of the world, but not really.) He said, "Mee-shell, you are pleg-nant." Seriously, he sounded so upset over the results that before I knew it, I heard myself consoling him on the phone; "It's ok, Dr. Sadiq. I'll figure this all out and make it work." Inside though, I was in full panic mode! I called my husband at work and told him what he'd done to me.
I realize what a blessing it is to conceive, but back then to google something meant to haul your cookies to the library and start flipping through the card catalog in order to find an outdated book with, if you were lucky, a sentence or two on the subject you were researching. I found absolutely nothing on pregnant paraplegics, but I realized it was time to put on my big girl panties and just deal with this.
I put my fears aside and decided that I'd, with Gods help, just take it one day at a time and pray He kept this growing baby and me safe in the palm of His hand.
I was sure it was a girl, so my husband and I began referring to the baby as "Kayla" -- yes, son...if you're reading this blog post, your dad and I really did call you "Kayla" in utero for 5 months until an ultrasound turned you into "Nathan."
Aaaannnnyway, that ultrasound not only told us we were having a boy, but also that I had something called "placenta previa" (about now you're probably thinking to yourself, 'hmmm, maybe Michele is a hypochondriac') Yeah, I'd think it too...but I can assure you I'm not a hypochondriac, I just have really crappy luck sometimes.
Long story a little less long, I ended up having my son at 31 weeks because of the placenta previa. He was this grumpy looking little 3 pound baby with eyes/expressions that from the word go were shouting "Hey, I've got a lot going on in this mind!" For such a little guy, I was so thankful to the Lord that his first APGAR score was 8, which is pretty good even for a full-term baby. They let me see him for a minute, and he looked at me with his little brow so furrowed...a German nurse in the delivery room said in her thick accent, "Look at zat brow! All ze worries of ze world!" He's still like that a lot!
In 1st grade, his PE teachers mom passed away and he explained to his class that he'd be away for a week or so because of it. My son made a card for him with the rest of the class but instead of the typical 1st grader remarks, he wrote (yes, he could read and write in 1st grade and even earlier) "Sorry about your mom, did she's have a hard attack or did she's brain get weird?" Then he kept asking me when his teacher would write back to let him know what had happened to her.
Back to the birth, etc... he was whisked away to the NICU, but pronounced healthy and basically it was a matter of wait until he's 4.5 pounds, see if he latches onto the breast, then he can go home...and that's pretty much how it went to the letter.
Here he is on that day, August 3, 1991 (no comments about my mega-eyebrows, please...but feel free to make fun of me for looking absolutely out of it on whatever pain medication they'd pumped me full of! Hahaha!)

Here he is a little more smiley and a lot more hairy!

This summer my little preemie turns 20. He's an awesome kid (man) and I love him beyond measure!
Thank God for my "uh oh" blessing. I was also an unplanned child, and I once asked my mom if I was a mistake. Her reply never left me. She said, "No peanut, you were a surprise, and everyone loves surprises!"

Monday, May 9

Storytime, Y'all

So I was outside shooting the breeze with my favorite neighbor today, and she proceeded to tell me this story that I'm about to share with you:

"Tim called, and you know he just purchased his first house and he's just clueless...well, he was having a sewer problem, so I told him I'd be right over. I got there and told him to follow me down into the crawlspace, which is about "this much space" (she shows me with her hands that the space they're crawling through is about a foot and a half high) but I'm making him follow me so he'll see how to troubleshoot these sorts of problems in the future. I get down there and see the line running straight and flat until a small area where the ground underneath has sunken down, so the pipe was curving down as well, letting things accumulate and slow down the works. I had Tim go and grab some boards so I could level up the ground and get that pipe to where it was laying straight again. That fixed the problem. When I came back home, Curtis (her husband) said, "What if you'd run into a snake down there?!" I laughed, because I didn't even stop to think about snakes! I just knew my boy needed my help."

Not a very exciting story, huh? Hahaha! :) BUT...what makes it awesome to me is that "Tim" is the 40 year old youngest son of my 78 year old neighbor who was telling me this story. Her name is Mildred and she can usually be found gardening, or up on a ladder cleaning her gutters...she's such an inspiration to me. She proves that age is just a number.

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were? ~Satchel Paige

Friday, May 6

It never fails...

Wednesday I had a laser procedure done on my right eye to correct a problem called "narrow angle" -- nothing visible, it's all on the inside and has something to do with the way the fluid in our eyes circulates, etc... anyway, so Thursday, I cleared my schedule and decided to take it easy while my eye healed up.
I rarely skip a day of bathing...I'm kind of a clean freak and I feel yucky and sluggish if I don't take a daily morning shower, but "just this once" I said to myself, " day without a shower won't kill ya!" This meant I also did not do anything to my hair except a messy bun, and did not put on any makeup --not that I wear a lot anyway, but I do always do a little to enhance what God gave me. ;)
Not Thursday, though...and on top of it all, the closest I came to "getting dressed" was throwing on a pair of yoga pants and one of my hubby's big, roomy tee-shirts, and a pair of Sanuks. Not a pretty picture. LOL No biggie...I was staying home, relaxing, healing.
But Louie, my littlest dog, has to be taken out for potty on his own because he barks too much when we let him out to run with the big dogs in the back yard. So I leashed him up, and went out the side door into the carport, and as I was heading over to the grass to let him tinkle, here comes my neighbor WITH THE NEW NEIGHBORS to introduce them to me...while here I was looking like a homeless, bedraggled bag lady! Hahahahaha!
Sure enough, I could find no hole to crawl into and I smiled and did my best to pretend I looked like a million bucks, and welcomed them to the neighborhood.
Murphy's Law I guess? Hahaha!

Tuesday, April 26

Me...Through the years!

Junior High, as a cheerleader:

Me, right after I left rehab after becoming a paraplegic, 19 years old:

In my backyard in Maryland when my son was a toddler...he took this pic! LOL

About age 25, laying in a tanning bed like a dork! LOL

Growing the short hair out, but still bleaching it to within an inch of its life!

Hair growing out AND color growing out! Almost back to natural! Also, this is when Nate was about 13, and I look more like his sister here, than his mom! LOL

Me on a side by side comparison...worrying about getting old! LOL

A pic I sent my sister in DC when it was a really cold day in South Carolina...I cannot believe I'm sharing this zombie faced pic! Hahaha!

Me in 2008, when I decided I was tired of being fat, so I started hitting the gym! One of the best decisions I've ever made.

One of my favorite pics because it reminds me of how happy I am after a hard workout...all sweaty & gross but loaded with endorphins!

Me with a great friend, Julie at an MMA fight:

Me & My sister, Diane:

Me last Halloween, as a bunny rabbit (NO, NOT that kind of "bunny" - fully clothed in a pink tee and jeans!)

Most recent...Taking one of those dorky, "hold the camera at arms length" pics! Haha!

Wednesday, April 20

Just a thought...

We all have crosses to carry in this lifetime...some are more visible than others...most of them are heavier than we let on...
While I was feeling myself bending under the weight of things recently, I realized that the Lord has already done this whole 'cross carrying' thing, so who better to ask for help with lightening my load, than the One who's already experienced, and overcome it?

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

~Matthew 11: 28-30 KJV