Monday, August 6, 2018

Lessons Learned: Some Things Will Not Go as Planned

 My son is 5 months today August 6th. I cannot believe how fast time is flying. This new mom journey has been filled with so many twist and turns and I am trying to find my new normal.

Yes after 5 months I am still trying to get a handle on it. You see life comes at you so fast and all of your plans go out if the window. I've at times gone into survival mode where the only things that matters are my son and I are fed, he's clean and safe. The house has been a mess and I look a mess. I have been sensitive about not having a clean home, but then I feel if someone has somehing to say, they can just come clean it themselves, pay for my cleaning service or just stay home hahaha.

I stepped away from regularly blogging and managing my women's group AMPed Life Women to focus motherhood. I started getting the hang of learning my little human while at home for almost 3 months, but then I had to transition back to work. That has been another adjustment for me. Being a working mom is tough but being a stay at home mom felt just as tough for me. I always have a plan and then adjust as things come my way.

What I've learned is things many times don't go as planned and that is alright. Just go with the flow and do the best you can. I am thankful my mom keeps reminding me of that and she's a super supportive mom allowing me to find my way. Just last week Deuce had a fever and I got call only 30 minutes after I had gotten to work. My mom told me to sleep while he is asleep and to not worry about catching up on house work. I was exhausted and I am so glad I took that advice. I put him down to nap and I would go do things like eat or use the bathroom and then I got back into bed and slept.  That was so helpful for me and I needed that rest. 

Sunday my son would not let me do much either. He's been attached to me and would not let me leave so. I was productive while I could be and My husband helped me when I could not be free. Again I now understand things will not always go as planned. No stressing for me. Everything will get done in due time. So to my new Mommas, enjoy that sweet bundle of joy, accept help when it is offered, rest when you can and go with the flow when things do not go as planned.
Today. Whenever I move,
he pulls me close 😂

Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Bundle of Joy, A Blessing

I've dreamed of moments like these. Being able to cuddle, kiss, and love on my child. I love children, but I wasn't ready to become a mother until I was ready. Does that make sense? When I was ready to be a mother, we had this emotional 2 year journey of losses and the highs and lows of what pregnancy can bring. I longed for my little one to be in my arms. I am now thankful to have moments like these all the time and do not take them for granted.
Me with my two month old son Nygel

I say that to say this. Be mindful of the questions you ask a man or woman about their timeline to have children. You truly have no idea what that person has endured.  I have had people say things to me who had no idea of my journey. I did not hold it against them because I know they were not trying to cause me harm, but their words still stay with me years later.  Also keep in mind that when somone does have a child, their bundle of joy does not replace the child that was lost. The feelings can be a range of emotions from pure joy, to guilt. Just enjoy that beautiful new bundle of joy and rejoice with them about their new blessing.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Remembering My Baby Boy Michael

Charm honoring Michael.

11-2-2017. Today was my due date for our son Michael. I had no idea how I would feel today, but I am feeling good. I have learned so much through this time and I am grateful for the mark my baby boy has left on my heart. This whole experience put things into perspective for me though and here are some things I want to share with you.

  • For those who know me, do not pity me. I am strong. I am resilient. Treat me like the person you know and love and allow me to be me. No one wants to be treating like there is something wrong with them or like you have to walk on eggshells when you are in their prescence Continue to love on me. That's what make happy.

  • I may have lost a child, but I am still a mother and I still have the opportunity have more children. I don't take that fact for granted at all. I know there are women who have lost that opportunity or never had the opportunity at all to have children of their own. Each day I thank God for my blessings.

  • Be thankful for your children. Your kids may make you mad and get on your nerves, but be thankful they are alive and healthy. They can be here one minute and gone the next. Imagine how you were feeling if the last time you saw your child was the last time ever. How would you feel? Speak life into your babies and encourage them to be the best they can be.

I share my thoughts and feelings in hopes that this will let someone know they aren't alone. I pray they are inspired to keep pushing. I would not be where I am without my faith in God. God is forever faithful and I am thankful to serve such an awesome God.

The blanket Michael was wrapped in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

AMPed Life Women: Michelle Harris Jefferson. A Teacher Turned Author. Finding Purpose In Her Pain

Michelle Harris Jefferson
Photo courtesy of Michelle Harris Jefferson
Michelle, tell us about yourself.
I am Michelle Harris Jefferson. I am a 30 year old mother, wife and educator. I graduated Suma Cum Laude and #1 in my department from NC State University in 2010. I wake up everyday of my life hoping to inspire someone to be a better them than they were the day before by living my own journey of self-improvement. I love to read, travel and experience new things. I love meeting new people and intellectually stimulating conversation. I'm a giver and a nurturer, but I'm also obsessed with organization and a stickler for discipline and respect.

What is your book about and why did you decided to write your book?
What Doesn't Kill You is the raw, transparent, unapologetic story of my life's struggles. From my parents' divorce, to years of mental abuse and neglect, I lay it all out in the open. In writing this book, I believe that I am giving women and girls all over the world permission to say, yes I am flawed and yes I have made mistakes, but these mistakes are the reason that I can say with authority my greatness was bought with a price! I no longer have to hide behind our shame and the taboos of our community. We can feel free to bear our battles scars as badges of honor on the road to our success!

What was the hardest thing about the process to create this book?

The toughest part about the creation of this book was the inward battle between my past demons and the future I have always dreamed of for myself: me as a successful author, motivational speaker and business woman. It can be difficult to stand on a platform, before the business world "naked," all your past wounds and scars exposed! When you write a book that places the spotlight on your past, it forces you to relive the pain and misery these memories evoke. 

What Doesn't Kill You: A Memoir. 
Photo courtesy of Michelle Harris Jefferson
Was it difficult revisiting your past? Why or why not?

Very. Writing this book was a bit of an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I tussled with the possibility of publishing this memoir for years. I knew deep down on the inside of me that this book and my experiences were not intended for me. They were designed to free millions of others who believe that our past struggles are strategically designed to imprison or limit us, a line of reasoning that also subscribed to once. I found in writing this that in fact the opposite is true. Our experiences are not boundaries, they are fuel!

What did you get out of writing this book?
This book freed me! A reader asked me a questions a short time ago. She asked me what it feels like to be free? Freedom is overwhelmingly beautiful and heavy. It's overwhelming in the sense that for the first time in my 30 years of life, my past struggles don't control me entirely. I don't consult my past before venturing out into the world and deciding to live, love and laugh. I do these things on purpose now. On the other hand, it's heavy in the sense that I now have a responsibility to help others find their freedom. 

What elements do you believe are important for someone who needs to heal?

Honesty and transparency. If you can not look in the mirror and own, acknowledge and accept what you experienced, healing is impossible. When you own your experiences, you stop taking a backseat to them. They are no longer the driving force. When the past is in control, it dictates what you do, what you say, who you love and how you live ,but when YOU accept all of what makes you who you are, you take the control back. Your past still informs your future, but you determine the when and where, not the other way around.

How has your life experience impacted you as a teacher, mother, and a wife?

Jefferson with her husband Gary and daughter Danai
Photo courtesy of Michelle Harris Jefferson
Despite what people think, as an educator, your teaching extends far beyond the classroom. Everyday I encounter people who have had troubling pasts. Often times I can "see it" on them. Damaged people carry themselves differently. When you haven't healed properly, your wounds are sometimes visible to those who have shared your condition. As the healed, we have a responsibility to share our healing journey with others, to help them heal. Weather its a kind word, a listening ear, a hug or a whispered prayer we have a responsibility to help those in need of what we have. Now, I must say that my experiences do cause me to be cautious with my own daughter and I am very intentional in the selection of people I allow to influence her world. This lends to my previous statement concerning a shift in seating. Before my healing, I was determined not to have children for fear of what someone may do to them because of my own experiences. As a mother to an amazing two-year-old, that fear no longer drives me, it simple informs my decision concerning who I allow in her world. As a wife, I believe the damage done to my femininity, the very essences of my womanhood, was my biggest challenge in this healing process. Being vulnerable with my husband concerning past molestation and sexual encounters was not easy but it was necessary. Having someone love you when you are damaged, even when you don't love yourself is a tough spot to be in, but it is also motivating. Pushing yourself to see the person others see even after they know the truth is powerful. This goes back to surrounding yourself with the right people.

What advice do you have for someone who maybe going through dark times and feel like giving up?
Take a step back, analyze and put things in perspective. Ask yourself, "What do you want?" "What is hindering you?" and "What you can do to change it?" Set goals for yourself and a plan to accomplish your dream. Give yourself deadlines. Write down your vision. Get an accountability partner to keep you motivated and accountable. Most importantly, make yourself a priority. We tend to get loss in all our roles as wives, mothers and career women, and we forget to make time for us. Allow yourself time to love you enough to give your dreams the time they deserve. Go out in this big world and be great!

What words of encouragement do you have for women who maybe second guessing going after their dreams?
Photo courtesy of Michelle Harris Jefferson

My company, LEAP has a mission statement:

Through truth and transparency, we learn to overcome our struggles, persevering to seek out greatness, in spite of adversity, inspiring other to strive for greatness, while building their own legacy!

Love yourself enough to see that you deserve the best! If you don't love and respect you enough to invest in your greatness, you can't expect anyone else to either. Use your struggles as fuel for your greatness.

How can people reach you for speaking engagements? 
I welcome the opportunity to speak and encourage people from all walks of life. You can reach us via email at, by phone at 336-907-2430, or on our business page: LEAP 

Where can we purchase your book?

You may purchase my memoir What Doesn't Kill You: A Memoir at the links below:

What upcoming events do you have planned?
Our company, LEAP, is excited to announce the official launch of What Doesn't Kill You: A Memoir, Sunday, August 20th, 2017 from 2-4pm at 1220-E Battleground Ave Greensboro, NC. Click the following link to RSVP link: Event RSVP

Follow our page to get motivation and inspiration as well as information on upcoming events and engagements.

Monday, July 10, 2017

10 Things My 31 Years Have Taught Me

1. Life is what you make it.
We all have one life to live and we at times get dealt tough hands.  Play that hand to the best of your ability.  Being born into poverty does not mean you have to be poor all your life.  I remember not taking no for answer when a particular class I need was closed.  My persistence allowed me to be put into the class and it stopped me from being held back a semester. Your actions and mindset can tremendously impact the outcome of your situation.

2. People change and that is okay.
Time and experience have an impact on people and you aren't immune to this happening.  A person changing due to their life experiences is not in your control.  What you can do as a person and as a friend is accept them for who they are and understand there is a root cause to why they do or say the things they do.

3. Saying "No" is good.
We always want to make people happy and don't want to seem mean by saying no when asked to do something. People often take you for granted when knowing they can always come to you.  Doing everything for everyone else wears you down.  Telling others no at times healthy for you and your sanity.

4. Sometimes you have to let people go or give them some distance.
Not everyone is meant to travel your journey with you.  Some people cause more harm than good.  Some people hinder growth.  It is important to understand the people closest to you and your relationship.  Don't hold on to meaningless relationships out of feeling obligated based on something such as being friends since elementary school.  If this person is full of empty promises, makes choices that can impact you negatively or doesn't truly support your endeavors, consider why are you friends?

5. Everyone has an opinion, but it doesn't have to impact your life.
People will have opinions about you and your life.  Their thoughts are not law.  People will try to get you to make your life decisions off of what they think is best for you.  Remember it is your life and while taking others opinions into consideration is an option, it is your option to make.

6. Everything happens for everyone in their own time.
It's like you look around and everything is happening in everyone's life, promotions, engagements, birth announcements, new houses, etc. You feel stagnant and not where you believe you are supposed to  be.  Don't compare how successful you are by looking at someone else's life.  Watching someone else's life will cause me to miss out on my own victories and blessings.  I made it a point to be so busy achieving my goals, I don't have time to worry about what someone else was doing.

7. We all have demons we are fighting
I would look at a person and say, "Man, how does she do it?"  She seems to have it all together, but many times when I get to know her, she has a lot on her plate, and she is doing her best to keep it together just like the rest of us.  We all put our best face forward in public, but there is no telling what is eating at someone on the inside.  Be gentle with people and be patient.

8. Sometimes the best response is no response at all
I have had situations where I really wanted to say what was on my mind, but I decided it wasn't worth it and kept quiet.  I've learned to pick my battles and not to feed the flames of the fire.  When a conversation is needed, I will talk it out.  I evaluate those lessons to see what I can learn from them and move on. Depending on the severity, I may cut ties with the person or place and interact on a need be basis.  I choose a peace of mind over continuous drama.

9. Being comfortable in my own skin brings true happiness
I truly love me.  There are times I have to correct myself when my husband says something nice that he likes about me. I Would twist it into something less flattering. I will accept my imperfections as those things that make me who I am. We all have flaws and should not be ashamed.  I'm learning to accept my compliments and appreciate myself and see the beauty in what I perceive as my imperfections.

10. I am stronger than I think
The loss of my son Michael is teaching me so much about myself. I experienced a pain/grief unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I really did not know how I was going to make it to the next day carrying so much pain.  I am thankful for my support system because even though I had to go through the pain, I was not alone.  I didn't even know my own strength because I know I survived because of the strength God gave me.  I am learning I have the strength to take on the toughest trials life can dish out.  I will hurt, but I will survive.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

One Step at a Time

"When you can't wait any longer
But there's no end in sight (When you need to find the strength)
It's your faith that makes you stronger
The only we get there is one step at a time

Take one step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen and it's
Supposed to happen that we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time"
~Jordin Sparks,  One Step at a Time.

These are lyrics from one of my favorite songs. For me at this point in my life, I'm going one step at a time. I need this for my healing.  I have my good days and my bad days, but eventually my good days will outweigh my bad days. This part of grieving hurts for me because I want to bypass the pain and feel my best again, but I can't.  This frustrates me, because who wants to continue to feel that pain? I know that in time that it will happen naturally. That's where my relationship with God and staying connected to my support system strengthens me.  There will be times I want my space to be alone, but I don't ever want to completely disconnect with my support. Through this time God is showing me his faithfulness.  He isn't going to leave me.

To anyone who is going through or will go through a difficult time, it is ok to go through the many emotions you will feel. Do not fight the feeling. You need to allow yourself to properly heal.  Lean on God and he will see you through. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Be Gentle with Yourself

I am truly taking life one day at a time. Losing our son so early in my pregnancy has been the most difficult trial of my life.  I have to be gentle with myself.  I have set some fitness goals for myself since I have put on weight. My husband had to remind me that I have been pregnant back to back. During my pregnancies, I had complications that landed me in the ER as well. My energy has been non-existent for many months now so for me, training has been difficult.  I am now motivated and my exercise is a part of my therapy. Through this difficult time, I am learning so much about myself and I know I am scratching the surface. 

My advice to anyone reading this is to take time to evaluate your life and where you are at the current moment.  If you are not satisfied with your situation,  create a plan and do what's needed to make the proper changes.  You have to be patient and be gentle with yourself because everything will not happen on your time. Trust in God and allow him to direct your path.

"Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4 NIV