When we are brought into this world we don't get to choose who raises us, where we will live, or even the school we might go to.  Those circumstances can affect our entire lives if we allow them too.  Often we come to a crossroads in life where we have to decide how we handle what is coming at us.

In my best Sophia Petrillo voice "Picture it 1984 a cold winter day and a mother and daughter sitting inside the Henderson A & W Rootbeer Restaurant.  The mother is recently separated from her husband with $1.40 to her name.  The little girl is hungry and has no idea the situation they are in.  Her momma steps to the counter orders one sausage biscuit and a drink.  They sit down and the little girl begins to take a bite of the sandwich when she notices her mommy didn't get anything for herself.  She asks "Mommy why aren't you eating?" to which her momma replies "I'm not hungry darling" and the little girl pushes her sandwich to the middle of the table and says "then I'm not either."

That little girl was me and that amazing woman was my mother.  This was just the beginning of many adventures for her and me.  Shortly after we left the restaurant my momma drove around looking for work.  She drove past the Henderson Animal Clinic and in the window a sign that read "Groom Wanted" she walked right in and asked to apply.  They asked her if she had ever groomed before to which she said "All the time!"  Momma had never even picked up a pair of clippers but she was determined to change our lives.

I was 4-years-old and I still remember that day and how it changed the course of my life.  I watched her work hard and do what she had to do for me.  She always did.  Twenty-Four Years later when she passed in 2008 she died still doing what she loved, grooming dogs.  Let me tell you there is not a groomer around that could match her talents.  She was self-taught with the help of many different people giving her pointers along the way.  She set her mind to it and did what she had to do all for me.

I learned a lot from my momma.  She told me to never let life handle me.  She built me up and encouraged me to do whatever it was that I wanted.

I moved 12 times before middle school.  I was that kid.  Never getting my feet completely planted before we were gone again.  It wasn't because my life was unstable but momma went where there was work and where she could protect me from what she knew wasn't good for me at the time.

We were dirt dog poor.  We were on food stamps, homeless at one point, but no one ever knew.

She pressed me to excel at everything I did.  I didn't have a choice.  I knew I was the one in charge of my future.  She told me "Angel the most important thing for you in life is to get your education no one can take that from you."  She said I wouldn't ever have to depend on someone else.  She was right.

My dreams were never too big for her.  She told me to set my mind and do it.  To this day everything in life I have set my mind to I have accomplished.  Please don't take this as me bragging.  I'm not.

You better believe that I am proud of who I am.  It took a lot of hell and holy water to get me to 40.

I say all this to say no matter how many lemons life hands you, throw those suckers back.  I am the minority in this scenario but I tell my story to make stories like mine more on the side of the majority.

Create opportunities for yourself.  Be confident in your purpose.  Never let anyone tell you, you can't do anything.  And if they do use that as fuel to do it twice and take pictures.

Raised by a single parent, poor, school hopper, divorced, female, and the list goes on.  The odds have always been stacked against me or at least it may have seemed.

I am here to tell you right now you can be and do anything.  I have added a few to my list and plan on checking those off as God plans.

It's ok to fail too.  I have had plenty of failures and mistakes.  A boss once told me doesn't matter what the mistake it matters what you do next.

Decide what you want out of life and DO IT.  I will be here rooting for you.

A friend of mine told me the word Grit best describes me.  I think that maybe one of the nicest things I have ever heard because that is how I would describe my momma.

She is unshakable not because she doesn't know pain or failure, but because she always pushes through.  Because she always shows up and never gives up.  Because she believes anything is possible no matter the odds.  And perhaps what makes her beautiful has less to do with what lies upon the surface and more to do with what lies within.  She isn't just beautiful because of her appearance.  No, she is beautiful because of the way she chooses to live and love.  In the way, she embraces all of life's experiences-Good or bad.  In her willingness to bend but never break and in her courage to believe that the darkness can't hold her as long as she continues to create her own light.  She is just like a pearl-made from grit but full of grace.  She is unstoppable-she knows it's not what happens, but how she chooses to respond, with perseverance in her mind and passion in her heart.

Traveling the road of life one of the bible verses I held close to my heart when the days seemed relentless and the nights to go on forever was this:

Philippians 4;11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

My prayer whoever is reading this you realize God made only one you.  You were set apart for greatness.  Now chin up, shoulders back and go tell life how you're gonna live it!

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