How You See It

first 2015 picHappy 2015!

I am blessed to celebrate a new year.   2014 was definitely a year of transition and change. As I thought about all that I experienced in the last 365 days, I also thought about perspective.

We all have our share of ups and downs.  All of us. However, the difference is how we interpret and react to our experiences.  Whether you focus on the positives or the negatives will determine how your story is told.

Below I will share two different versions of my 2014.  Both are true.

VERSION A: If it wasn’t one thing it was another. 2014 started out with being told our son couldn’t hear.  We knew he couldn’t talk, but adding the absence of sound was a double whammy.  Maximus ended up getting tubes and we are still working on improving his speech.  I was pregnant and once again got put on bed rest for the third trimester.  I missed my 20 year high school reunion and a major 2 day concert.  It sucked having restrictions. Being in the Army, we knew this would be the year we move. We found out we’d be stationed at Fort Bragg, NC (also-notoriously-known as Fayette-nam for its high crime rates).  When we moved, I was 30 weeks pregnant and high risk.  Can you say worst move ever?  Countless, thousand-dollar, mistakes by the packing, moving, and coordinating companies snowballed into a mountain of apologies and shattered confidence in the Army’s ability to do the easy stuff.  And, I had to leave behind my childhood home.  My husband, Augustus, enjoys his new assignment, but he works very late hours: On average he comes home around 8:30pm (and that’s after he leaves in the morning at 5:40am.)  Our daughter Liliana was born in September.  She had really bad jaundice and then my blood pressure skyrocketed.  So, what should have been two days in the hospital turned into five.  Yes, that’s 15 hospital meals. When we moved here, I moved away from all of my friends. The ability to meet new friends, while pregnant, then with a newborn and a toddler, are slim to none.  I’m definitely hoping next year is a better one.

VERSION B: Wow! Talk about a year of transition.  We spent New Year’s Eve celebrating that “we” were pregnant again.  After two miscarriages last year, we prayed that this baby would ‘stick’.  We were overjoyed, and Augustus was scared, to find out that we were having a girl. I was blessed to have some amazing doctors this pregnancy. They were able to catch my cervical issue and do surgery so that I’d be able to move with my family to North Carolina.  Maximus had surgery for ear tubes and we are prayerful that they will help improve his speech.  Our move to Fayetteville, NC was very rocky, but we were fortunate to have supportive family make the move easier.  While I moved away from all of my friends, we were fortunate to move to a city where both my husband and I have family. Cousins, aunts/uncles and even my mother-in-law’s twin sister all live here.  It was love at first sight meeting our baby, Liliana, in September.  She has the most amazing smile and bright eyes.  Moving to a new state helped me realize I didn’t need to hold onto my childhood home – so we sold it.  I’m so glad a new family will be able to create new memories.  I’m also glad to be in a position to support both my husband and children.  I’ve met some great people thus far and looking forward to forming new friendships.

Same scenario told from two different perspectives.  Which type of person are you?  Do you focus and sulk on the negative or try to find growth and opportunity in them?  Do you spend so much time looking at the bad that you passing by all the good that surrounds you?  It’s easy to complain, but will you make the effort to reflect, move past the negative, and be optimistic and resilient?

I wish each of you many blessings in the year 2015.  Know that once again we will have our share of ups and downs.  Just don’t let those “downs” hold you down.  Find beauty in the joy that surrounds you and try to help others experience the same.

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Change Your Perspective

Change Your Perspective

     Raise your hand if you’re glad it’s a new year! Personally, last year was a pretty good year for me as we welcomed our precious son Maximus. My husband Milton often sit and says how blessed he is. In his words, he has a great job, a supportive wife and a mini-me son. The more that I think about, the more I realize his life is far from perfect. He (we) have many of the same problems as others around us. The only difference is his perspective.

      *My husband went a private college and law school. What does that equal – high student loans! We’ll probably be paying on them forever. But, instead of moping on what we can’t control, we enjoy the possessions we’ve been able to purchase and cherish those all the more. (I thought I was doing something big when I paid $2.99 to upgrade on Ruzzle!) He sees his blessing in having a job that he enjoys that will help decrease the debt.

       *I was in the hospital on bed rest for over a month and on bed rest total for 10 weeks. That just sucks, plain and simple. But, instead of being a scrooge for the rest of the year and hating everything around me, I instead find a blessing in the healthy birth of our son. He was able to go from 2.6 pounds to 6.7 during that time. Was it ideal? No. Would I do it again if it helped me have a healthy baby? For sure.

       * My son has decided that sleep is overrated and bottles are for the birds. Maximus will kick, scream and holler at the thought of shutting his eyes for an extended period of time. It took almost six months before I was able to get more than three hours of sleep at any one time. And, now he is on a bottle strike. He wants nothing to do with it. Breast milk straight from the source is great, but anything else (to him) is unacceptable. But do you see me trying to sell my son to the highest bidder? Never. He’s our miracle baby and I love, love, love him.

       So this year, try to change your perspective on life. Nobody wants to be around Negative Nelly. Everyone, has some type of struggle. Even those around you that are happy have hard times. But, you have to look past that. Life doesn’t stop just because you have an attitude. Happiness comes from appreciating your blessings. Find joy in the simple fact that you made it to 2013.

A Taste of Freedom

All of my symptoms have been improving.  All of my IVs are gone.  I just get monitored twice a day and I can eat whatever I want.  Today I was even told that I could take a wheelchair ride twice a day for 20 minutes. HOORAY!

After watching a Palm Sunday church service on television, Milton and I decided to go on a walking date.  Well, make that strolling date.  He wheeled me downstairs and we went around the entire block of the hospital.  It felt good to see the sunlight and move around.  We saw a great patch of tulips. It wasn’t necessarily the smoothest ride and Baby Turner did kick some while in route, but I definitely appreciated the opportunity.

I thought about the people that live their entire life in a wheelchair with someone pushing them around and how difficult it must be on both individuals.  I still have full use of all of my limbs and am just temporarily inconvenienced.  Baby Turner is good, I am good, Milton is good – everything is going to be alright!

Good Men in the Making


YTurnerSommore

   

Good Men in the Making

 

It started out as just a friendly conversation based off a simple question asked often in Louisville “Where’d you go to high school?”  My response was Waggener.  The other people around then stated their answer, but one person started with, “Well, um, well first I went to Valley and then was at Doss…”  You could tell that the story had more behind it.  The guy then went on to say that he stopped going to high school his sophomore year and never finished.

 

However, 17 years later he is now back trying to complete his GED.  He wants to better not only his life, but his kids’ lives too.  This entire conversation happened in the St. Stephen Family Life Center right by the cable cross over machine.  The three men in the conversation all had tattoos, some had gold teeth.  They talked about their stints in jail and how they now have a better perspective on life.

 

They went on to discuss how they used to be a “n!gg@” but now are men and the difference.  They used to run around and do things thinking only about themselves but now they put their family first.  But the conversation continued to improve.  They started quoting Bible verses that kept them motivated.  One mentioned be able to freely now show his sensitive side.

 

And I just sat there in awe.  Here were three men that on the outside could be intimidating to some people.  Three men that have done others wrong.  Three men that have served their time.  But, also three men trying to make it RIGHT!  I felt so blessed and fortunate to be able to stand and listen while they continued their conversation.  They are trying to make a difference in others lives, but they already made a difference in mine.  Remember, your story still has more chapters in it and you don’t have to be defined by your current character.  If you want a better life, do something to guide you in that direction!

July 2011

Facebook Reunion

Facebook Reunion

Apr 11-4I survived my speech last week at Jefferson Technical Community College and everything went well.  I briefly mentioned a Facebook conversation that I had randomly received and here’s what it said (please note: I have never met, seen or heard of the person in this exchange)

Chris Wright March 21 at 2:20pm
“Hi Michelle, You don’t know me but I have to ask you a question. Your name and face kind of flew out at me when I saw it on my FB page and a rush of memories from the early 80′s came rushing back, so I looked at your pics and saw that your mother’s name was Lillian, but saw no pics or mention of your father; was your father by any chance Dr. Gary Yeager who worked at JCC in the early 80′s? If so, I worked with him at JCC during the time that you were born and remember sooooooo many wonderful stories about you as you were growing and what a proud father he was. If not, I so apologize for this intrusion. Please let me know. He was such a wonderful man. ~Chris Wright”

Michelle Yeager March 21 at 2:26pm
“Hello Chris, my father worked at JCC but his name was Thomas (Steve) Yeager. He was there from 1976 until he died in 1993.”

Chris Wright March 21 at 2:34pm
“Steve!! That’s it; Steve!!! I am so, so sorry. He worked with Gary Steedly in the continuing education dept, I was Gary’s admin at time; I mixed up their names. I am so sorry. But Michelle, I have goose bumps. I actually remember when you were born and as you were growing he would come in with some of the most awesome proud father stories. Two in particular that stay in my mind… one, the morning he came to work just laughing so hard because he said that every time he left to go to work, you would start singing “My Baby’s leaving on the train… until he comes back home….” ?? (i can’t remember that exact song, but he was just hilarious and so proud) And then… during the royal wedding of Princess Diana he said you watched every detail and were absolutely a princess and would marry the same way. Oh Michelle, it’s so awesome to have known those stories of your very early years and to have known such a wonderful man; I absolutely looked up to Dr. Yeager as a great inspiration. It’s wonderful to see you now and have those memories. May I friend you on here? My name is Chris Wright and I’m a web producer at WHAS11; that’s how I saw your exchange with Renee Murphy. I’m goose bumpy right now. hah. ;-)

Michelle Yeager March 21 at 3:11pm
“We definitely can keep in touch. He passed away my senior year of high school and my mother passed away from ovarian cancer five years ago so I cherish all stories I hear!
It’s interesting that you mentioned the royal wedding. I am actually getting married the day after Prince William’s wedding and Renee Murphy is my maid of honor”

…..And the conversation continued.  Who would have ever thought that a simple post on a friends page would connect me with someone that shared some amazing childhood memories of my father especially right before I get married.  To the tune of Walt Disney – “It’s a small world after all!”

April 2011

Neva Gonna Get It

NaturalHeart  

 Neva Gonna Get It?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the process of going natural.  An OnyxLouisville reader emailed the following:  “I have been told numerous times by my guy friends that the average Black man does not want a woman with natural hair…and that as long as I am natural, I will be single.”  I wondered if this was true so I did some investigative work.

I talked with some natural females.  One person said that a guy told her “if I wanted to see all that natural ish, I’d go to Africa”.  Another woman was in a longterm relationship with a man and as soon as she cut her hair, he completely left the situation.  Another person enjoyed her natural hair but ended up getting a relaxer because of the pressure from her boyfriend (and they are no longer together).

Some said they the haven’t had any trouble dating since they went natural.  I remember last year we did a “Singled Out” event.  I tabulated all of the matches.  One female had a lot of men interested in her.  I actually looked her up on Facebook to see who she was and she is someone that wears her hair natural in locks.  That was a true indicator that the words love + natural can go together.

The men that commented had one general view.  Many men said they like natural hairstyles that are nicely kept.  One guy said “Men are very visible and I’ve seen some natural hair on woman that looks a hot mess.”  So, it’s more about whether or not it’s natural – it’s more about how you keep it styled.

I also found that men seem to generally prefer long hair (either natural or relaxed).  Many women with natural hair found that as their hair grew longer they started receiving more compliments from men.  The great thing about the people in the discussion is that the majority of the women in the discussion are currently dating, engaged or married!! So love is definitely possible.  Kevin Wigginton summed it up best – “Brothers and Sisters please keep in mind Natural hair is just that Natural. Some of our Sisters have hair that’s Straight, Curly, Kinky, and Wavy. We have to remember not only do we have different shades of beauty but different grades of hair. All of which are Beautiful Naturally. Be proud my Sisters no matter what your hair texture is or the amount melanin that’s in your skin because all of you are beautiful.”

CLICK HERE to read the discussion and give your view