From Loathed to Loved…

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I listened in amazement as the seasoned educator recalled her traumatic, classroom experience. Despite the years that had transpired since she’d been in first grade, her memory was as vivid as if it had occurred the day before. Her shared sentiments were in response to the inquiry, “What were your best and worst experiences with math as staff or student?” Her recollection was heart-wrenching.

“I didn’t understand subtraction at all, although I tried my best. My teacher gave me a worksheet with a hundred subtraction problems. I guessed on everyone, but I was never sure. My tears led to holes in my paper as I peered out of the window and saw my friends enjoying recess. My dad was a math teacher, and my mom taught special ed(ucation); but, at six years old, I was already done. “

On so many occasions, the most traumatic encounters are those that occur in childhood. Replete with intense emotion, upsetting moments can affect us for the rest of our lives. As I facilitated this mathematics training for teachers, it was clear that many of the unfavorable experiences had charred their confidence in math during their formative years. Nevertheless, their pain fueled their commitment to change outcomes for their own students now.

I’m pleased to say that the former saddened six-year old met a lovely interventionist the following year named Mrs. Freeman. She took her from where she was and guided her to mastering math so well that she was the highest performing student in her class. Today, she uses that same fervor to keep other children from experiencing the anguish she did. Her expertise serves to teach them to love what she once loathed.

Here, we shared a common bond! My heart is what catalyzes my excitement in empowering our future generations. I’m convinced that school should not be a place where you are stressed, worn and weary. Whether educated in a formal building or a house hold living room, learning should elicit excitement, intrigue, discovery and an appreciation for the divine.

When you couple your passion with your profession, you can remove the stigma that others may feel who simply don’t understand the essence of your efforts. Cultivate your craft with excellence in mind, and you can exchange what is loathed for what is loved. Class is in session (smile)! Teach them well…

#pursueyourpassion #eachoneteachone #fromloathedtoloved #dreamcatchers #carlamichelle #speakerlife

A Love Like This…

Yata’s Love for Community Resonates from Aspiration to Action

I am elated, excited, enthused and enamored when I see this scene early in the morning. They are two of my favorite people! Now, as I’m 5’2″ and 118 lbs., Yata looks like an Olympian to me. The football fanatic, fitness guru and trainer I’ll now be seeing every weekend (for FREE, message me!) could easily be a hard core coach that leaves you breathless; but, his careful steps and kind demeanor in this picture convey a message that is very different.

The decorative accoutrements are not his own. He’s holding her handbags while gently guiding Georgia to her seat. It’s an admirable, weekly routine that includes bringing her in from the door in the back because it’s much easier than the steps out front. They have a special bond. Not only is it grounded in honesty and integrity, but it transcends generational boundaries. Their relationship is powered by something unrivaled by any other expression: faith-based love.

I can’t help but notice a pattern I see in corporations, campuses, churches and communities everywhere. Many of our matriarchs are maturing. Often, our gifted gentlemen are graying, and though they possess endless treasure troves of knowledge, wisdom, experiences and expertise, we don’t seize meaningful moments often enough to live and laugh with and learn from them- especially in our younger generations.

Among the relationships I prized the most was growing up with my grandmother. From her Southern sass to her incomparable compassion, sitting at her feet (and in front of her late night TV shows) was among my favorite past times. She was my coach and my confidant. My in-house comedian and my constructive critic. And as I consider the world in which I live today without her, I’m reminded of what we need more than anything else – a love like this.

Yata is one of many whose love is grounded in a faith that I find most comforting at Crosspoint Community Church. There, I see potential opportunities turn into practical realities! Next generations can become future leaders, shaped by the seasoned and the savvy to share love with communities near and far. This gives me hope! In a nation that’s hurting and in need of healing, I pray pictures like this will be everywhere. Because I love a love like this.

#priceless #myloveforChrist #crosspointcommunity #faithbasedlove #loveforcountry #loveforcommunity #oneofmyfavoritepairs #thankyouyata #happymlkday #drkingwouldbeproud #whattheworldneedsnowislove #alovelikethis

Hone What You Heart

What Happens When Heart Work Meets Honing

When I met Heather nearly a decade ago, I couldn’t resist the decadent chocolate chunk cookies still warm from the oven that beckoned me to her 2nd grade classroom. She was an amazing baker who was in the kitchen at her leisure. However, her tasty treats were in high demand – even though she was an educator by profession.

Fast-forward to present, she decided to pursue her passion and transition from casual cooking to premier pastry chef – and the results have been oh-so-sweet! Her heart work has earned her prime real estate in Nordstrom’s, coffee shops, universities, and a host of clients from small business and single patrons to corporate giants. She’s easily a culinary contender!

Collaborating with her regularly for presentations in my speaking career, I’ve enjoyed many powerful lessons from her journey. Chief among them is “Hone What You Heart.” Heather has not only poured her passion into each product, but she educates herself about her craft, the industry, contemporary trends and classical culinary insights that give her a one of a kind competitive edge.

So often, we find ourselves interested in and/or intrigued by things in which we could easily lose ourselves; but, if you find it to be more meaningful than menial, what are you doing to master it? If others consider you to be the “go-to” or “resident expert” for what you do well, find out how you can enhance your acumen to be the best.  If you’re an entrepreneur, maximize your potential by staying abreast of what’s happening in the industry. Add a healthy dose of your ingenuity to show what sets you apart from everyone else.

Does this require you to own your own business? Not at all. This applies to foundations, community entities, worthy causes, professionals, and even personal preferences. I met a lovely lady recently whose cookie couture parallels the industry’s finest – but, she donates all of her proceeds to worthy causes. Her passion isn’t profit, but partnering with those who can positively impact the lives of others.

Whatever you determine to commit yourself to, reward yourself – and others – by honing your craft to match the intensity of your passion. Learn more. Work smarter. Push farther – even when difficult – and savor the scent of sweet success! You may be surprised at the difference it makes. Hone what you heart! #heatherdavis #mychicsweetscom #allheartwork #simplydelicious

Cut the Rope

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The bones in his leg were crushed, but not more than the resolve in his spirit. Prior to the seemingly insurmountable obstacles they’d so recently discussed, they both understood the gravity of the event. He’d be too heavy to lift and impossible to carry in sub-zero temperatures. Death would be inevitable; but, if the pair continued to stay linked, neither of the friends would survive. Despite the anguish and the guilt, with mutual consent – he cut the rope.

Many times in life, when we’re endeavoring to scale our greatest challenges we are carrying weight that we perceive to be an integral part of our journey. We’ve planned it this way. We’re compelled. Sometimes, we feel obligated, but along the way, things can take a turn for the worst. The greatest danger is not what happens, but how we respond at the zenith of strain.

Do we hold on to the weight because we can’t fathom our fears of the outcome? Would we bear a lethal burden because we don’t want to see another way? At what expense? While some burdens are noble, there are others that induce demise: toxic relationships, malignant musings, torrid rhetoric, destructive dialogue. Truthfully, we often carry many problems – and at times – people…whose added weight to our lives can place us on the brink of destruction. Should we continue to do so?

No.

My advice, for myself and others – is to learn when to cut the rope. While the photograph is borrowed, the aforementioned story is true. Two climbers enthused about conquering a mountain were indeed faced with this scenario, and one painfully cut the rope to preserve one life in lieu of none. Miraculously, both lived, and the friend whose leg was broken was thankful to have been cut because it was the separation that saved their lives. It gave them the ability to seek shelter in extremity, the flexibility to move without overwhelming strain, and ultimately, a chance to survive.

If we are ever to grow, to learn and to thrive, it is imperative that we disallow ourselves the detriment of carrying burdens that fuel duress. Whether choices that chide or people that poison, it is unlikely to ascend to goal realization, when linked to negativity that can pull us down – and ultimately cost us everything.

Consider your journey and its most critical parts. Don’t carry more than you can handle. If burdens are injurious and weighing you down, placating others is not a requirement for your ascent. Be fearless. Be focused. Be fervent. Be faithful. If you find yourself in danger, cut the rope. Your salvation will be the ultimate reward.

#cuttherope #releasethenegativity #befreetomove #letitgo #befearless #befocused #befervent #befaithful
#catchyourdreams #carlamichelle #speakerlife

From Miniscule to Magnificent…You’re Invited

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So you’ve arrived. In one piece. With countless blessings, more than you could ever imagine, in fact. Welcome to 2019. Please note, however, that this is no ordinary year. It’s one which you’ve never seen. It is filled with possibilities and presents, potentially precarious situations, adventures and anxieties, but most of all, it features you. You are a central character in a global and intricate landscape. Life may have led you to believe that your role is so small, that it doesn’t matter very much. Conversely, I disagree.

Years ago, researchers studying the subtlest variations discovered that the gentle fluttering of a butterfly’s wing could be a precursor to a powerful tornado. It seemed, insignificant. A tiny appendage. A soundless movement. A molecular shift of air. The brevity of the butterfly’s life is unbelievable, rivaled only by the extent of its beauty. Yet, its lifespan does not stifle its impact. Its power is in the push – of its wings.

You may be one of millions, compelled to compose a list of robust resolutions. I vow to eat healthier. I promise to try new things. I insist on seeing the world. I’ll be a better friend. I implore you to consider not the size of your yearly suppositions, but the significance of your subtle changes as time progresses. Contemplate dedication to forming purposeful habits, instead of fueling hollow hopes in futility. No one knows better than you which commitments you’ll find most meaningful. Select them carefully. Discerningly. As if your choice was connected to a most significant affair.

Your sphere of influence is far greater than the tiniest butterfly! Therefore, even your miniscule decisions have exponential impact. Whose lives do you touch with your tenderness? Who hearkens to your voice when you speak? Who follows both your path and your passion. Who falters when you fumble and you fail? You are needed. You are knowledgeable, and you are known for your effect on others. You will determine what that effect will be. Treasure your trials and your triumphs. Both of them make you stronger. Each of your decisions in 2019 can transcend from miniscule to magnificent. Power your flight with prayer and precision. Make this year, one to remember.

Stay tuned for more. #2019 #carlamichelle #educator #speaker #writer #coach

Fuel Your Fire…

Fuel Your Fire

Sun-drenched Sundays that summon my sentiments lead me to many of my fondest findings.  It is often in my quiet times that I have the loudest, lovely wonderment – and as of last Sunday, I began a new chapter.  Today, I’m in a new home.  For me, Centennial is a new city. Colorado is my current state – and with my arrival, I have a renewed desire to fuel my fire.  Are you fueling yours?

One of the nicest things about saying goodbye, particularly when parting is such sweet sorrow, is the bittersweet joy that comes with recognizing how much you care about those you no longer have the luxury of seeing with a simple car ride.  You understand your next rendezvous would require a plane ticket or road trip or perhaps a very long journey.

You become acutely aware of meaningful moments, missed opportunities and treasuring what may have seemed trivial; but new chapters also thrust you into one of my favorite realms – reflection.  This evening, I considered my own flame.  What excites me.  What moves me.  What compels me to learn, listen, leverage and love.  Irrespective of my new surroundings, those things remain the same!

My mind is mesmerized by education.  My thoughts are submerged with the art of speaking.  My heart is enamored with wonderful writing.  So much so, that I was privileged to share my work with thousands this past month, as a featured author on Teach Write Chat, a blog that celebrates educators who write. 

I responded to their call for submissions because I deeply believe in fueling your fire.  So often, we have unbridled passions that are reduced to embers because we drown them, albeit unintentionally, with the many reasons, doubts and apprehensions as to why they will never be.  But do we have to? 

I’m incessantly inspired by the flames of my friends and colleagues.  Nichole turned her advocacy for her autistic daughter into a movement – Autism Moms Are Beautiful – that has garnered the recognition of thousands, complete with an original and innovative music video.  Aisha’s fervor for dance has positivity permeating into novices and newbies, undaunted by inhibition.  Meeko’s media musings is making magic for millions, from unsuspecting recipients of cash donations to inexplicable experiences captured in Israel.  

Nevertheless, they all started first – with a dream.  These are just a few among the many that I know.  Their uniqueness doesn’t lie in self-employment, as many have other occupations.  What impresses and ignites my excitement about them, is their commitment to fueling their fire.  In many previous posts, I encourage readers to consider what they enjoy doing more than anything else – particularly if it entails that which benefits others by way of their gifts and talents.

I strive not only to ensure that I pursue such a road myself, but I encourage others to attain the same level of fulfillment. 

There are so many things at which we are good, but too often we bury our talents!  Don’t hide them, hone them.  Share what you have with others and get ready to catch your dreams, not chase them.

Caption:  An exhilarating screenshot of fuel for my fire found at  Teach Write Chat.  Please click on the link and leave comments and let me know your thoughts!  

I See Death…I See Life…

Celebrating the Little Things in Life

Have you ever stopped to think about how many funerals you’ve been to – or how many you’ve heard about?  The ones of people you don’t know or never heard of can be in and out of your mind within minutes.  The ones that are tragic, especially if they make news in mass media – may give you pause.

The ones you know and love – even more so if you’ve known them for any length of time – those are gripping.  I won’t even discuss how your core is rattled when they’re the ones you love the most.  It’s enough to make you shudder.

I’m a thinker…and when I see death…I consider things.  I learned of a friend, who had a close friend that he recently discovered was terminally ill.  He’d known him for decades.  They spent considerable time together, but he’d never disclosed how bad his health was.  After one last trip to the hospital, he seemed to decline – quickly – within two to three weeks.  As I often heard one end of their conversations, I began to ponder.

To his family and friends, life was still worth living!  They wanted to do everything they could to keep him here.  Talk to new doctors.  Try new drugs.  Move to another hospital.  But the friend, didn’t feel the same.  He felt pain.  Fatigue.  Despair.  He was tired, and it occurred to me that while that two or three weeks felt so short for his loved ones, each minute for him…felt agonizing.

I was there when my friend got the phone call.  He told me before he answered, “He’s gone.”  When the call ended, I watched his mind transport through all of the good times they had together, and I knew that his departure struck him in a way for which he could never have prepared…

His loss reminded me of my own, as I still lament the deaths of my favorite uncle, grandmother and father, in that order.  Their absence from my life is still very pronounced to me.  As I make great effort to immerse myself in wonderful memories with them, I remember the family I have left…especially those who are closest to me.

Death is never easy.  It is hurtful.  Painful.   Even when you’re convinced they’re in a better place, there is an indisputable void – because we are inherently selfish – and when we love someone, we want them to be here forever, for us.  I know I did.

I am elated to recognize that we operate still, in cycles.  As we lose some loved ones, we gain others.  Do you know anyone pregnant?  Has there been a recent birth in your family?  Do you know someone who’s had one?  Perhaps there’s a new in-law.  A wedding.  An engagement.  I’ve seen it… because life is all around us.

While my oldest is finally burgeoning into teenhood (turning 13 this week), my youngest is still one, and will be two on the 21st.  My four year old proudly turned five last week, and he believes he has now obtained Superman status.  My ten year old has become a self made mini-mogul (long, funny story) and is eagerly anticipating being 11 next month.  My point is, while I’m saddened by the losses in my life…I’m also celebrating the lives and new friendships even, that are unfolding before me.

The older I get, the more differently I look at life.  I think about what I want to accomplish and achieve.  I strive to make a myriad of milestones.  Some I know may never happen. Others, I pray will.  I’ve made some goals just for the heck of it, but aside from the desire for personal fulfillment, I want to make sure that I also prize the ones I love the most.

People can make millions and never be able to spend it all.  Individuals can surround themselves with crowds of “friends,” and feel completely lonely every day of their life.  You cannot buy good health.  You cannot pay for blessings.  You cannot choose your family…but what you can do – is love.

I am eternally grateful for the family that I have who have shaped my life.  In particular my incomparable parents, grandmother and uncle, whose profiles are indelibly printed in my heart.  My siblings are a part of the fabric of my life that is most precious, and my own “little” family makes me feel that the people who raised me did a good job.

My husband and I are continually learning new things about the boys.  Some makes us laugh.  Some makes us cry, but above all else – I’m confident that death makes us reflect…what are we doing with our lives?  And is it best?  Is it worth it?  Is it right?

Life…is so…short.  Death is inevitable.  I implore you…Live your life to the fullest.  Make it meaningful everyday.  Be confident that you are where you need to be – spiritually, physically and emotionally because your days are not nearly as long as you think.  They fly by!

Don’t get stuck in unforgiveness.  Don’t belabor the benign.  Spend your days with the ones you love the most, and take time to do what makes you happiest.  You will always see death.  Remember to really live your life.

Selah (which means, pause and calmly think of that).

#livelifetothefullest, #catchyourdreams, #lovetheoneswholoveyoumost

Caption:  Me and him, celebrating the little things in life.  He wanted to do homework like his big brothers :o) #priceless