My first book is available now at Barnes & Noble, Books A Million and Amazon!

Introducing My Very First Book, Pages of Sunbeams

Today’s blog is going to be short and sweet.

On December 13, 2022, my very first children’s book was released. It’s called, Pages of Sunbeams: Joyful, Singable Rhymes To Brighten Your Day.

I just wrote that sentence and I feel as though it couldn’t possibly be true. I was so calm when I wrote it too. Maybe that’s because I have been in the this process since August. I’ve been working with a publisher, having conversations about it with friends and family and scoping out opportunities to promote the book and the purpose behind it. I often talk about it on video, sharing on social media with friends and followers. I even talk about it to people I have just met. This dream has literally become my reality!

It’s Christmas time and I’m honestly too tired to write about this or anything else; but it’s been a while since I’ve written and I want you to know I’m still here. I want you to know, the process of writing and publishing my first book has been life-changing in many ways. I am not being flippant about the term, “life-changing” either. I am serious. I have learned a few things about myself that surprised me. I’ve learned some surprising things about others too. I don’t want to randomly throw words on a page so I won’t share those things today. I’m just giving you heads-up. A longer, revealing post is coming. Until then, enjoy this beautiful season!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah! Mechelle

Who Do You Think You Are?

Behind his horn-rimmed glasses were eyes that resembled mine. I don’t really look like my dad. I’ve never even met him. But I do have a slightly worn, wallet-sized copy of his senior picture. My mom gave it to me at some point during my impressionable years. My mom also told me my dad was a doctor.

I honestly don’t know how old I was when she gave me that picture; or how I was able to hold on to it all these years amidst several moves in three states. But like that picture, the thought of my intelligent, responsible, admirable, doctor-father stayed with me far into adulthood.

I had no plans to write about this. Most of the time, I wake up and ask the Lord, “What am I writing about today?” (That is, if He doesn’t bring it up first.) Today when I asked Him, that old picture came to mind.

I spent some time this past week reconstructing the timeline of my childhood. I’m working on a dream project right now- publishing my very first book. God has given me a vision for some things I am to do once I have that book in my hands. I’m covering those things in prayer right now, or as my friend likes to say, “praying into those things.” To pray into something means, when God gives you an idea or a specific assignment, talk to Him about it. Spend time with Him. Let Him map out those things and give you specific strategies to accomplish what He has called you to do.

“Getting saved” is literally only the beginning of the relationship God wants to have with us. There is infinitely more. Think about the closest, healthiest, most loving relationship you have with someone. I promise you, that relationship pales in comparison to the relationship God wants to have with you.

I didn’t always know that.

To reconstruct my childhood timeline, I sorted through report cards, memorabilia and photographs. I googled places I’ve lived to cross-reference my memory. All of this took time and there are many years that don’t exist tangibly. Even so, I took notes based on what I have. I am preparing to tell my story alongside the stories that are in my first book. Even now, I am not privy to everything God is gently and lovingly pulling out of me.

This is where my bio dad comes in. I came across his picture this week. I picked it up and studied it. Apparently the picture has been exchanged a few times. Not only is it old and worn, but on the back of the photo there is cursive handwriting written with pencil and on top of that is my dad’s name printed with pen. Maybe the picture was given to a family member by his mother as school portraits often are. Maybe he himself gave the photo to a classmate. Maybe his sister gave the photo to one of her friends hoping they would think he was handsome. Maybe that friend was my mother. I’m too tired to explore the intrigue today. All I know is, at some point it became my mom’s possession and she entrusted it to me.

God used that photo and the story that came with it to establish a heritage in my life. From that point on, no matter what happened and no matter what was spoken over me, I stood firmly on the image and character of my father. I didn’t have to follow in anyone else’s muddy footsteps. I didn’t have to believe hateful, belittling lies. I knew who I was.

Do you know where I’m going with this? Do you see the parallel? God has established a heritage in our lives. If you don’t know what that is, you can find it in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, our heritage and our lineage is laid out before us. Life before Jesus is like life before that picture of my dad. Before that time I felt inferior and poor, lonely and broken. I had no reason to believe I was anything more than what people said I was. I had no reason to believe I could live a life that was any different than what I saw around me. I lived in fear of tragedy and wondered what tragic event would end my life or the lives of those I loved.

If you identify with any of this, I encourage you to talk to God and read the Bible. The New Living Translation is one of the easiest to understand. It’s the version I read. I also use study books from a group called, She Reads Truth. If you want to know more about how to start a relationship with Jesus or have questions, feel free to email me.

God’s plan for you will blow your mind!


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Fifth Grade

Sometimes when I go out to a restaurant I will ask the server if there is anything I can pray with him or her about. The last young lady I asked wanted prayer for her son who was in fifth grade; he was having a tough time in school.

When she mentioned he was in fifth grade, my mind and heart were immediately transported back to my son’s fifth grade days. He struggled a lot that year; so much that I withdrew him from school and homeschooled him for the next three and a half years.

My similar experience provided instant empathy. When I finished praying she said I touched on all the points she needed prayer for.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:4 New Living Translation

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Not only do I remember what it’s like to be the mother of a fifth-grader, I remember what it’s like to be a fifth grader. I still have vivid memories of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Pierce. Do you remember your fifth grade teacher? If so, what makes them so memorable?

I remember Mrs. Pierce, not because she was beautiful or stylish or quirky. She was really none of those things. Mrs. Pierce was a portly woman. She had wavy, white hair. She wore glasses and skirts with suntan panty hose and old lady shoes.

I remember her because she was a woman who had a relationship with God and everyone knew it.

Mrs. Pierce’s desk was in the front of the class right next to the chalkboard; not in the back or to the side; right in the middle where she could keep an eye on us!

On her desk was a humongous, hardbound Bible; and she read some of it to us every day! She didn’t read Numbers or Leviticus or Revelation. She read the adventure stories like: Noah, Joshua, Daniel and Jonah. Mrs. Pierce also had a plaque of the 10 Commandments on her classroom wall. Mrs. Pierce was firm, but kind. Mrs. Pierce was only my school teacher for one year- Fifth grade. But she continued to teach and influence me throughout my days at Emmalena Elementary.

For example, one year in 7th grade, I decided to try to earn a free trip to Camp Nathanael. In order to earn the trip I had to complete seven Bible lessons. A bright, pink card was inserted into the middle of each lesson. There were 100 Bible questions on each card, and the answers could only be found by searching the Bible. (There was no such thing as Google in those days!) I remember thinking how tough those questions were! Each week toward the end of the school day, a representative from Camp Nathanael would meet me, and the other would-be-campers, one at a time in the hallway outside our classroom. They would go over the lesson and make sure we had answered all 100 questions. Mrs. Pierce was the representative. I saw her once a week for seven weeks and again she was sharing the Bible with me. I finished all the lessons and earned the free trip to summer camp and a Bible that was signed by Mrs. Pierce herself. It was my very first Bible and I still have it!

The last time I saw Mrs. Pierce was near the end of 8th grade. I was at home in my living room. There was a knock at the door and I didn’t want to answer it. It was Mrs. Pierce. I didn’t want to answer because I skipped school quite a bit that year. Reluctantly I opened the door. Mrs. Pierce came in and sat down on the couch with me. She didn’t yell or threaten me. She made no mention of even speaking to my mom. She simply promised if I came back to school and attended for the rest of the year, I would still be promoted to high school. I didn’t follow her advice. I was much too wrapped up in The Days of Our Lives and Bo and Hope’s love story. (There were no DVR’s in those days.)

We moved that summer from Kentucky to Florida. I went through the 8th grade again at Stone Middle School in Melbourne. I passed and went on to graduate from Vero Beach High School. I’ve had many wonderful school teachers over the years, but none of them have encouraged me in my faith the way Mrs. Pierce did.

The school system has changed drastically since I was in school. Teachers are not allowed to openly share their faith the way they were when I was in fifth grade.

If you are a Christian who teaches in a public school and wonders if or how it is possible to share your faith with your students, Focus on The Family has an article that will answer many of the questions you may have. Fifth Grade

The job you do is not just a job, it is a calling. Continue to draw close to God for the sake of your relationship with Him. Seek Him in the morning and allow Him to overwhelm you with His love so you won’t be overwhelmed by the challenges of the day. Live out your faith as much as it depends with you, producing the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

If you have a less than “fruitful” day:

  • Be honest to your students and peers
  • Apologize if appropriate
  • Repent if necessary
  • Begin again

And always remember this verse:

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

My Aunt Reenie

My Aunt, Irene was easily the most beautiful woman I had ever seen with my own two eyes. Teresa Smith was a close second.

My cousin used to go my Aunt Irene’s house without me. I didn’t know when she was going. I just knew when she came back.

In all my years, I only went to Aunt Reenie’s house a handful of times. Usually because someone needed to use the phone. And she had one.

Aunt Reenie had a vicious, pekingese dog appropriately named, “Rowdy.” (Rowdy is the southern word for vicious.) Whenever I went there, Rowdy was always outside in the yard on his leash, and he would bark up a storm at the sight of me!

Mouthy dogs always scared me as a kid, and Rowdy was no exception. But I so wanted to go into Aunt Reenie’s house; so I would wait nervously at the gate until she came out and calmed Rowdy down. Then I would run through the yard and up the steps to my Aunt Reenie’s porch.

Aunt Reenie’s house was always so clean and organized. She had wooden, plank floors that were always waxed and shiny. She had a couch and a coffee table that got pushed out of the way when she did her aerobics. (The coffee table, not the couch.) I don’t remember much about the kitchen, except that’s where the phone was. She also had a modern washer and dryer, not a washing machine with a washtub, like the one on Mamaw’s porch. In my mind, I always thought of Aunt Reenie’s house as a “real” house.

My Uncle Melvin drove a Mack truck full of coal. Driving a coal truck or being a coal miner were the only man-jobs I knew of as a kid. Later, I would find out about car salesmen, but that’s a different story. I always thought my Aunt Reenie was rich.

Aunt Reenie had beautiful hair. She was as beautiful as Dolly Parton. Everyone said Aunt Reenie wore wigs. I guess I never did see my Aunt Reenie’s natural hair. Aunt Reenie’s make-up was even more perfect. Long, dark lashes, rosy cheeks and full, shiny lips every time I saw her. Every. Time. Did I mention, she was the most beautiful woman I ever… Oh yeah, I did. Well she was.

I never understood why I didn’t get to go to my Aunt Irene’s house when my cousin did.

My Aunt Reenie was always nice to me. She even let me smoke her cigarette once. I asked her if I could try it, and when she was sure I really wanted to, she handed it to me. I put it in my mouth. I was smoking Aunt Reenie’s cigarette! (I thought I was something.) Then she told me to take a deep breath in. It was the nastiest thing I ever tasted! Not to mention, I almost choked to death! My Aunt Reenie took the cigarette back, and she never said a word about it. She’s the reason I never smoked.

My Aunt Reenie used to take us to beach. She had a tan that would rival Lonnie Anderson’s. I should know, my uncle Stevie had a poster of Lonnie on his wall. Or maybe it was Farah Fawcett. Either way, my Aunt Reenie’s tan met the highest standards.

My Aunt Reenie also bought me my first record. Oh, I paid for it myself. It cost me a dollar, forty five. But my Aunt Reenie got it for me. She was going across the mountain into town, and she picked it up for me. Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran. It was a single. It had a green label. I don’t remember the song on the other side.

I get emotional when I look back at my Aunt Reenie. We moved away when I was 14. The adult me never got to know her. Sure, we visited a few times after we moved, but you can’t build a relationship in a couple of hours once a decade.

I will always look at my Aunt Reenie with kid-eyes. My memories of her are preserved in time. She will always be beautiful. She will always be fashionable. She will always be admired.

And, like all my mother’s sisters, she will always be one of my favorites. I love you, Aunt Reenie.

The Year of Vision

20/20, these numbers are synonymous with the word vision. Yet the year 2020 seemed to lack vision completely. It was easily the most confusing, fear-filled, hopeless year of my life, I imagine yours too.

In 2020, I watched helplessly as my son and his classmates had senior year snatched from their hands in broad daylight. Instantly they became virtual students forced to spend their long-awaited senior year at home, cloaked in hoodies and pajama pants, chained to a laptop all day.

Instead of counting down their final days of high school with pep rallies and prom, they counted the days of lockdown, restarting the clock again and again with each announcement from the powers that be.

The year of vision was clouded by hopelessness. Uncertainty and tragedy was the daily forecast. Isolation and loneliness bred fear, anxiety, and depression- so many demons.

But God was merciful and man’s disaster did not end the human race. (There were days I wondered if it would.) We will always mourn those who were lost. Their deaths were uncalled for. Their isolation, cruel. Their final farewells, forbidden. I honor them now.

Two years later, those of us who made it through, now stand on the main street of society. We have wiped the ash from our eyes, gathered our scattered hopes and resolutely placed them in our backpacks, reluctantly adjusting to the new skyline.

At times, we comply and mask our faces but we will no longer mask our need for true connection. We won’t take anything or anyone for granted. It took some time, but I think 2020 truly was the year of vision.