Monday, May 4, 2015

Mastering YOU Monday...the power of encouragement!

I guess there’s no better way to jump back into blogging than to jump back in it, right? And of course to share with everyone about my very first “Prowess and Pearls” women’s retreat I hosted last weekend! Yep yep, you heard correct…a “Prowess and Pearls” retreat! Not just any retreat though…you know the ones where speakers, workshops and the such. Been there, done that.  Not that there’s anything wrong with those retreats(because they're needed as well), but come on – we have to admit that sometimes after those kind of retreats, we can come out feeling like we’re in need of a vacation! You know how you go on a vacation that has an itinerary so jammed packed you get stressed out trying to make sure you check every single item off the list? Nope, this was a retreat where it was all about refreshing ourselves! We laughed, played like we were 12 year old girls at a sleepover and ate like teenage football players after 3 hours of intense practice! Yessiree…we had THAT kind of fun! But most of all, we encouraged one another and for some of us, got out of our comfort zones! Did I mention there were 19 of us in a farmhouse on an 80 acre farm for two days? Can you imagine the excitement we had when we realized we could make as much noise as we wanted to! HA! You know...sometimes you've got to just let your hair down and have some fun! Some of us need to take time to "loosen up and unwind".

Okay, enough on that…now on to the power of encouragement. Last weekend I had a chance to bring together a group of awesome women, who left feeling more empowered and refreshed – but most of all we learned how to become “pride sisters”. We learned the ministry of “support”. We encouraged one another to walk in our “prowess”. You know, that skill set and talent we do so well. Yes, you got it it…exactly what this blog is all about! As I've mentioned many times before, we’re ultimately responsible to hone our own prowess, however, I’m a firm believer that one of the propelling forces behind us developing and honing our prowess is “community”- our ability to fellowship with, share with, bring out each others’ strength, build up one another and do this life together! It’s not just about hoping the best for, or wanting the best for, but actually seeing the best in and pulling the best out of each other! We must make sure we’re sharing our secrets to life with one another and not being stingy with our wisdom, our time and our talents. We must pay it forward and share with others how we overcame. We can’t be selfish when it comes to being our sisters’ keeper. Doing for others is where fulfillment in this life really comes from.

I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely no good when I live unto “myself”.

It’s no lie and even you’ll have to admit, when we've been encouraged…we feel stronger and more confident, we make things happen, we believe God even more and we reach out and bless others! That's when the investment God has put in us, starts to finally pay off for Him!  For years, David has been one of my favorite biblical characters. Why? Because he was excellent at encouraging himself, therefore, he was a boss at encouraging everyone attached to his life! It’s a proven fact that those who have mastered encouraging themselves are usually masters at encouraging others. How else could 400 discontented, distressed and indebted men go into the Cave of Adullam with David and come out as mighty men of valor? Through the power of encouragement that’s how!  It’s a win/win situation! Encouragement is reciprocal! Those who give encouragement – get encouragement, more than likely from God Himself! Proverbs 11:25b says – “Those who refresh others will himself be refreshed”. Besides, encouraging someone else gets our focus off of us. For some of us, that’s our number one problem! We all know that when we think about ourselves and meditate on our situation for too long, it gives our brains just enough time to turn on us. Our minds will start spinning about everything that’s NOT going right or what could go wrong! I believe that while we’re preoccupied with blessing someone else, God is behind the scenes working on our stuff…not getting any hindrances from us because we’re not in the way with all of our stinkin’ thinkin’, messing stuff up with our doubt, unbelief and bad confessions. Before you know it, that thing you were concerned about, fretting over and thought could never be fixed…God’s taken care of! He made this thing so simple y’all. He tells us to love Him with all of our being, love our neighbor as ourselves, do good unto others and walk by faith. It’s when we get away from those things, we start complicating stuff! So go ahead and make someone’s day. It doesn’t hurt to offer someone an encouraging word or even your beautiful smile. It will be a seed sown towards someone having an awesome day!

 I won’t be able to share with you ALL we did…cause you know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right! Hahahaa...just kidding! But I can tell you that we presented our "Prowess Campaigns" and passed around our "Envelopes of Pearls". Get it...Prowess and Pearls. I'm so clever, lol!  But seriously, if you want to hear more, you’ll just have to join us next time!! No, seriously…join us next time. My vision and faith is to have Prowess and Pearls retreats all over the world! That's right...ALL OVER THE WORLD!  And in the meantime, I'll leave you with some pics! Until next time…I love you, appreciate your support and call you blessed!! Hebrews 10:19-25, Philippians 2:1-11, Proverbs 11:25(b)

*When and where was your last retreat?*
All Rights Reserved copyright© 2012-2015 Michell Pulliam “Prowess and Pearls” by Michell Pulliam


Preparing and presenting our "Prowess" campaigns

Rest and relaxation!

Food and fellowship!

And we can't forget the FUN!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Mastering YOU and recovery

       They say 46 is the new 26…so they say! But I’m smart enough to know that I’d better not treat my 46 year old body like anything other than what it is. Yes, I speak the Word over my body, but even God expects us to put works with our faith! Besides, if I’ve learned anything from the untimely deaths of my mother and mother-in-law, its that the enemy desires for us to be lacking in our lives where our health is concerned. I mentioned in my last post that I would tell you about my ever-so-lovely surgery. But don’t worry, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Here I am almost 7 weeks post-op from having major surgery for something that should have been done over 7 years ago! And what has kept me from taking control of my health until now you ask? Fear of course! Fear has crippled us in ways we don’t even realize. It has kept us from living the abundant life God has called us to! Until we conquer it, we’ll always stay at a level that is sub par to what our God has planned for our lives! God desires that we experience heaven here on earth BEFORE we get there; and included in the “heaven on earth experience”... is our health! I’m so glad I had my surgery, because life on the “other” side is so much sweeter! But the practical lessons I learned from my surgery(pre-op and post-op) are invaluable…here are a few…

Make sure you know everything there is about the kind of surgery you’re having. Research, research, research! You know the saying, what you don’t know "won't" hurt you? Ummm, yes it can! You wouldn't believe how many people go into surgery NOT prepared and not knowing what’s going to take place. Never be afraid to ask questions! Remember, it's your body, and're paying the bill!  And by all means, if you're having surgery by a surgeon you’re unfamiliar with…get references, find out their background! Know your surgery AND your surgeon! I mean seriously, it’s your body…if no one else does, you should at least care enough about your well being to know everything that is going to take place.  Google can be your best friend!!

Whatever you do, DON’T over pack for your hospital stay. I should have really listened to my inner voice when it told me that I probably wouldn’t be in any condition to get on my laptop, let alone get it out of my overnight bag. I mean really, who do you know who actually feels up to doing anything after four hours of surgery, grogginess from all the anesthesia that's been pumped into their body AND having a catheter attached to them! I practically slept the entire time I was there. A make-up kit, a novel, a suduko book AND a laptop. Where did I think I was going…on a cruise to the Bahamas? I promise, the only items you'll probably need are a robe, some slippers or socks, a change of clothes, toothpaste, toothbrush and deoderant. When it was time to leave and go home, I was one step away from telling them to just throw a sheet over my head, roll me to the car and keep it movin’! 

 When knowing you’ve got upcoming surgery, plus a long recovery; you’d better clean your house from top to bottom *or at best give the impression that you’ve cleaned your house from top to bottom*. You know - the junk drawer, the junk closet! But seriously, CLEAN YOUR HOUSE or you’ll pay for it later. So glad I heeded my own advice. I’m a clean freak, so the idea of having an unkempt house while I’m unable to do anything would have driven me crazy. And y’all know that dust comes back within 24 hours, so you can imagine if you don’t tackle it beforehand, you’ll come out of your recovery to a house full of dust, knee-high deep. Besides, do you really think you’ll be up to cleaning anything, let alone your house while you’re laid up somewhere recouping? Not even you believe that one!

When you’re recovering, vulnerability is inevitable. It’s one thing to depend on people, but when you’re recovering from major surgery, it goes to another level. Yeah, you may be use to doing everything for yourself, but believe me…you’ll learn to drop that “one-man show” gig real quick! When you must rely and wait on others to drive for you, help you get in and out of the car/up and down the stairs, get your food, carry things for you, etc., etc., it leaves you in a place of humility. There you are, out of sorts; not even yourself. You’re not able to do what you want, when you want to. More than anyone else, you’ll become more dependent on God than ever before!

You will learn that patience is more than a virtue…it’ll become a way of life! Not only waiting on others, but waiting on your body to get in line with what it was created to do...heal itself. When you progress with your recovery one week and encounter a setback the next week, it can really put a damper on your spirit. If your faith isn’t built up, you best believe, the enemy WILL take shots at you! Let me tell you…you’ll even need patience where television is concerned. I mean, I love my 80’s and 90’s sitcoms, but if I see another episode of “The Golden Girls”......

You are your best advocate! Know your body. Sometimes we must follow our own instinct. Just because it’s written in stone, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily our cup of tea. Everyone’s body is different. Because I have a very low tolerance for pain, I assumed that I would need to be drugged up the entire time. But after reading what narcotics does to your body, I decided to quit my pain meds cold turkey two days into my recovery. And you know what? I didn’t have pain that I couldn’t manage. As a matter of fact, surprisingly, I was pretty much pain-free! I’m glad I decided to follow my faith!

Sleep will become your best friend! Where else can a grown adult sleep all day like a four week old baby and NOT get called a lazy bum? Lounging around in your pajamas and robe AND not having to make your bed "cause you’re gonna get right back in it anyway"! Having a food tray that stays attached to your bed for six weeks, considering you’re eating all day…because of course, you need ALL the calories you can get for energy, so that your body will heal properly. Having an excuse to go out and buy a brand new ensemble for your bed because the old one just doesn’t “set the atmosphere” for you to relax. I mean yeah, cabin fever eventually sets in, BUT those first two weeks tho...makes you feel like a 5th grader two weeks into summer break.

If you’ve never eaten correctly before, you’ll learn quickly to do it. We don’t realize that our bodies go through trauma when we have an operation. Depending on what type of surgery and anesthesia you receive, pretty much all of your organs go into a sluggish state and will need time to  “wake up”. Your body will need every bit of nutrition in order for it to recover properly to get it back to its optimal state. I can’t tell you how important it is to have a natural, organic, plant-based diet before and after surgery. Drinking plenty of water and staying away from artificial sweeteners - y'all should really research what that stuff does to your body! Let’s use common sense here. If junk food, carbonated drinks and tons of sugar runs your body down and add no nutritional value when your body isn’t traumatized…then what do you think it does for your body when it is? You got it! Absolutely nothing! As a matter of fact, eating wrong does more harm than anything. Trust me when I tell you…when you put the right things in your body, your digestive system will thank you! As the saying goes…”if you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it”. 

Make sure you surround yourself with a good support system! If there’s a support/recovery group for the type of surgery you’re having, by all means join it! The information you learn is invaluable!! It’s therapeutic having a group of people who know and “get it” concerning what you’re going through. It goes without saying that my family went above and beyond to see that I had everything I needed to make my recovery a pleasant one! I don’t know how they did it! I mean how many times can a woman send someone to the store, because she forgot to put something on the first list. I tell you…they are priceless! I’m also thankful for my siblings and my church family…who text, called, visited and made food! HA…I’m sure glad I didn’t burn my bridges or threw any of them to the curb…just kidding! But seriously, without the love and support of each of them, I wouldn’t have had the stress-free recovery that I had! So a big ole “THANK YOU” to mi familia!!

Last, but certainly not least! As hard as it may be, keep a good attitude! Yeah, I know it’s hard to put a smile on your face when your body feels like it’s been ran over by a mack truck, but studies prove that a stressed out body is the perfect breeding ground for sickness and disease. But it’s something you must will yourself to do. Remember our words are powerful! They set our atmosphere. The Bible tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it. So make sure you're speaking the right things...words of faith! And it doesn't hurt while you're recovering to keep the "Debbie Downers" out of your life either. The last thing you need are people who are chomping at the bit to tell you their "horror" surgery story.  Ummm, excuse me ma'am or sir...but no thanks! 

If God gives you another chance to get your health in order, like He did for me...take advantage of it. You only get one chance to heal properly from surgery, so do it right! Take your time and listen to your body. He expects us to take every opportunity to make sure we’re doing all we can to allow that to come to past. Not everyone is afforded that chance, so I’m so grateful He’s allowing me to live my second half of life to the fullest! And I promise…I won’t let Him down! Proverbs 17:22, Psalm 41:3, John 10:10b(Amp)  

*Any tips you've learned that you'd like to share?*

All Rights Reserved copyright© 2012-2014 Michell Pulliam “Prowess and Pearls” by Michell Pulliam

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Mastering YOU, life and change oh my!

Betcha thought I'd never come back to and me both! Wow! I’ve never taken a five month hiatus from my blog before; needless to say, I’ve missed writing, but most importantly…I’ve missed y’all!!! I must admit though, I stayed away from anything dealing with blogging while I was away. Pretty much off of social media as well.  Life just kinda gets like that sometimes…ya know.

 Sooo much has happened since I’ve been away. Let’s see…I turned 46, I had two being major(I’ll talk more about that in my next blog post), had my 2nd bloggaversary sometime in June…IKR, we closed on our church building, God opened phenomenal doors for us –ministry and personal,  our youngest graduated from high school and went off to college AND my mother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly passed away! So, I guess you can say I’ve gone through a range of emotions over the past few months!  I’ve said all that as a segue to my blog post dealing with a constant we all will encounter in our lives…change.

In this life change is inevitable. I should know – we just dropped our youngest off at college. Yes, the last little birdie to fly the coup! Might I add… we’ve done this same routine twice before with our oldest and middle children - 7 and 5 years ago.  But, it’s something about letting go of the “baby”  that makes this whole change thing, but nonetheless…a change is gonna come!

Seeing as if change comes in our lives, albeit at our welcoming or disdain, I surmise the best thing to do is to just go with the flow…it always makes things easier….it really does!

As I, along with the other seven dorm/suite mothers, happily went about making our sons’ beds…while explaining to them how not to let anything touch the floor because you just don’t know what the previous tenant had(knowing that it all fell on deaf ears as they were all too eager getting to know one another). Now, where was I…oh yeah, hanging their clothes in the closet, neatly folding their clothes in the drawer(don’t even ask), disinfecting their bathrooms and spraying everything in sight with an inch layer of Lysol! I know, pathetic right! My husband said he watched in amazement - not only at the fact that he realized ALL mothers in the universe were exactly alike, but he realized how much I was in my element and how I was anointed and graced to mother.  Wow, what an awesome compliment! Here I was, some 25 years deep into doing this “mothering” thing and it suddenly hit me…that was where my element was all along. Teaching, disciplining, but most of all nurturing my babies! Just to get them to this place…becoming self sufficient, compassionate adults who love Jesus. SN...*rest assured moms moms and dads.  All those times you THOUGHT your job wasn’t important or what you said to them and did for them were all in vain; do know that all of the time spent is a seed sown towards a BIG harvest on one of your greatest investments…your children*! And as we drove off, leaving our baby boy behind to make grown-up decisions without our input and to go about his everyday tasks with people he didn’t know…I realized at that very moment my role as mother was about to take a dramatic shift.

Walking away from his dorm suite. Driving away from his dorm. In other words..."letting go". :-)

 But you know what? Surprising everyone –including myself (because I sure had envisioned the whole scene in my mind of how I would be crying unconsolably (there and back) and the family would have to put me to bed because I would be too outdone)...pretty dramatic right? But nope, instead I smiled, knowing that it was all going to be okay. And you know what? Here it is a month or so later and we have totally adjusted…with no qualms whatsoever!! And it didn't hurt that God blessed him with a roommate with his personality. God is absolutely AMAZING that way! I realized in that very moment two things...for the past 25 years, all the time I had invested in nurturing my children was about to pay off…one way or another AND my number one task on this earth was mothering and everything else God allowed me to do was considered a blessing and icing on the cake!

I now see that as a 46 year old, my burning desire to write wasn’t me being all over the place with my emotions, a fluke or some mid-life crisis! Nope, not at all. It was God unleashing the vision and passion He had growing and hiding and refining deep within my belly - waiting for that right moment (which is now) when my lifelong assignment would - not so much change - but merely take a different more scenic route, as a mother’s job is never completed…right? BUT, most importantly, it was Him preparing me for the upcoming season of change, so I wouldn’t (as many of us find ourselves during a transition) have feelings of unimportance or worse…uselessness. With that being said, I encourage you to not quench or dispel those feelings of adventuresome and passion. It just may be God depositing something in you to prepare you for the next assignment in life. Besides, when one assignment has been completed...if you're not in the grave...there's another one waiting around the corner for you! So embrace that change and new venture (that will inevitably happen) with a merry heart, knowing that it’s all a part of the circle of life and God’s unfailing plan! Btw…it sure feels good to be back!!  Ecclesiastes 3:1, Jeremiah 29:11

All Rights Reserved copyright© 2012-2014 Michell Pulliam “Prowess and Pearls” by Michell Pulliam


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Mastering YOU EUREKA moment(I'm baaack)

Ahhh...this feels good - writing on my blog again! You know it's been 41 days since I put finger to keyboard(concerning this space). 

While I was out, it dawned on me the last time I punched someone’s time card was when I was 4 months pregnant(18 years ago) with our youngest child. There's a reason for that - deep down inside I

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Farewell...well, at least for now

Hey my sweet blogging friends! Some of you have probably wondered where I’ve been…I assure you I’m still alive! :-)

I want to first start off by saying how much I appreciate each and every one of you! Back in January I mentioned the thought of hanging up my blogging hat for good, but decided not to do that...and I'm glad I did! But, I’ve found myself overwhelmed with life yet again…nothing bad at all. As a matter of fact, it's great awesome, as a result...I've got a full plate(not that I'm complaining)!! The months of March, April and May have always been busy months for our family, but this year…we've got many irons in the fire.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mastering YOU Monday...parenting 101

I was saying to myself just last week how I should post some more about parenting. Would you know, I was watching "Morning Joe" this morning - well actually I was sleeping in and my husband came into the bedroom to tell me to turn the t.v. to "MJ". Anywho, I was intrigued by their guest Jennifer Senior, author of "All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood". Obviously, I've had my head in the sand when it came to this book as I

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mastering YOU much is too much?

I know I'm a week late, but how many of you watched the final episode of "The Biggest Loser" last week? If you didn't, I don't know how you missed it... it was plastered all over the news last week. Anywho, the finale is what prompted this week's "Mastering YOU Monday" post. BTW...Am I the ONLY person out there who watches the "BL" so I don't feel guilty about eating a big plate of food? Justifying my overindulgence by saying in the back of my mind..."oh, I'll never get THAT big"!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Doing YOU WELL Wednesday #48 and happy birthday mommy

an encouragement link up
Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope your week has been wonderful! Today's "DYWW" is dedicated to my lovely mother Mary Lee Brown Flemming, who would have celebrated her 71st birthday today! I sure do miss that lady!! Here's a post I wrote last year commemorating what would have been her 70th birthday. You can read "A Legacy of Grace" HERE. For those of you who know me, y'all know that I write letters to my mommy all the time, lol! 

I'm "doing well" because I can finally celebrate my mother's life without getting sad. I've been blessed with

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mastering YOU Monday...mind over matter

comparing natural birth to an epidural birth
Okay, so my post today was inspired by a conversation I had with my daughter the other day...out of all things...childbirth, IKR! Quite ironic, considering she's not planning on giving us grand kids anytime soon. But I'll save that for another post.

Not quite sure how the conversation started, but I'm glad it did, because I wanted to throw my two cents into the bucket

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Doing YOU WELL Wednesday #47 and a snow day

encouragement link up and a snow day
Now you know I couldn't pass up on the "2014 Southern Winter Snow storm/Blizzard/Ice storm" bandwagon right!? Lol! Seriously, hope none of you got stuck, stranded or grounded like so many I know in the Atlanta area...horror stories!

We South Carolinians had it pretty good though. Our snow didn't arrive until around 8 or 9pm Tuesday evening. But we had to wait until morning to get a good look at it and boy was it beautiful! What I love about the snow here in the south as opposed to snow in the north(where I lived for about 8 years AND I don't miss