Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Skye Blu

Bottom glued to the belt still locked...once again, I spend time in my car
it is that time right before I anxiously await an event or right after a long day’s work. 
My car gets me
Light blue Subaru...or Subby for short
Named for her color that represents so much more to the eye.
This car represents the transition I went through in late Fall
I spent all of late summer and early Fall whipping my parents’ gold Malibu
I spent 7 months contemplating what to do next after my sweet Graycie died at the hand of an unforeseen accident
Skye is my first big girl purchase
More than a purchase.... this car is my space to to cry, sung to the top of my lungs in worship, learn through YouTube...or just sit
It’s a conduit to new destinations and beautiful people
Bottom glued to my seat
Taking  my hiatus  before the hustle...the selah before the praise
Engine running, music playing, fingers typing these words

Monday, September 3, 2018


while I was born in Durham County, NC.
my home is Danville, VA
home to Dan River Mills, Goodyear Tire Company, and a plethora of Tobacco plants
I grew up on K&W's, Biscuitville, and Bojangles.
my place of residence was surrounded by schools on three sides and a library less than 5 street lights away...
I guess it was inevitable that I was a nerd haha

home was the place that afforded me some amazing educational opportunities
where I got saved, sang in the choir, and performed praise dances
at an early age, I loved the Lord.
home was where I would run around with ashy knees and play in the mud
where I recited a poem called "Little Soul Sister" in the 4th grade
where I choreographed a variety of dance routines for my sister and close friends to learn
where I joined the cheerleading squad thinking that it would make me sort of popular...
enjoyed those cheers, but realized it wasn't about fitting in
I felt more at home with my books and fan-fiction stories anyway.
home is where I received several heartbreaks, but victories

my life in my hometown wasn't perfect
cop yelled in my dad's face in our home...I was about 5 or 6. Confusion in my eyes as I watched from behind my mom.
my white friend stopped jumping the fence to my house...we used to eat vanilla wafers together. I never understood why, but always felt like there was something wrong with me
confederate flags donned the last capital of the Confederacy
...three blocks away from the place my great aunt was hosed down, beaten, and jailed for daring to speak up against injustice
my pain when my classmate told me all Black people stole and my teacher never protected me
is this my home?
honestly, I walked away from Danville in 2009 hoping to never turn back

now, home is many places.
home is Charlottesville where I found out that just because you have education, no one is exempt from pressure or depression
no one is perfect no matter how much they front
I found Jesus so clearly in my deepest, darkest moments as a student at UVA.
home is Martinsville, where the Lord walked with me and allowed me to pour into young people
where I worked with amazing people 

home is Lynchburg.
I am a downtown resident and school counseling mama to about 350 amazing high schoolers
this is the place I dreaded to stay in after facing the biggest heartbreak of my life
where I cried many many hours and pondered whether the Lord was near
wondered if He would protect me and take justice on behalf of my pain
in this place, I met Him in the lowest valley and I know Him so intimately
He never leaves me

home is also 
my new pair of Gap jeans, 
my iced Thai Coffee from 5th Street Grind
home is still those good Biscuitville biscuits
those burning candles with flickering lights
home is forgiveness, safety, protection, respect
home is family and sweet friends
home is singleness in the moment 
home is waiting on the Lord
home is where I am my most authentic self 
home is where I create space for others

I've learned that home is wherever I learn, love, and grow
home is what God used and continues to use to shape me...Tonyette.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Your identity is not...

your identity is not heartbreak,
worthlessness is not of the Lord
there is no fear in love
fear is steeped in punishment
your identity is not abuse
your identity is not control
your identity is God breathed
you are beautiful
you are God’s masterpiece
your identity is...
awe inspiring
uniquely designed
You are His 💛

Monday, January 22, 2018

well-loved coffee shop

currently sitting at an old wobbly table
in a well-loved coffee shop
sipping peppermint,ginger, lemongrass tea
feet planted on scratched and used hardwood floors
listening to the hustle and bustle of people discussing a variety of topics

i reflect on my first visit
when i visited this well-loved coffee shop
spent most of my time crying in the bathroom
pain gripped my chest
yelling at the phone
wanting someone to understand my perspective
i stormed out after quickly grabbing my things
tears falling from my eyes
a couple stops me and asks me for directions
i muster up enough energy to answer
"i am not from here"
did not want them to see my tears
to pity me
to ask me if I was okay
truth that moment - i was not okay.
my answer resonated with me - i was more out of place than ever

fast forward a couple of months
memories haunting me
broken spirit and confidence
still wondering why God works the way He does
wondering if i would ever feel like myself again
i revisited this well-loved coffee shop
even though i was hesitant
kept replaying my last experience
however, i stepped inside
greeted by a very nice young man and worship music
i sat at an old wobbly table much like the one i am at now

God met me in this well-loved coffee shop
i felt His spirit as worship kissed each end of the tiny space.
left that place feeling rejuvenated
that was the first time I felt like myself
God called me to Himself in those moments
called me

since then
God's power has been evident
healing is not an overnight process
it is not a place everyone can speak in to
it is not a place where anyone can be with you
sometimes healing looks like solitude
sometimes healing looks like weeping in the bathroom and screaming your lungs out
sometimes healing looks brokeness before The Lord
sometimes healing looks like worshipping with a group of strangers who eventually become family
tears streaming down your face in awe of your Father
hands raised high
incomprehensible prayers whispered
arms swaying
revisiting a well-loved coffee shop

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

don't forget your essence.

For the past few days,  I swear I have really been challenged to see my selfishness, my tendency to look through life through the eyes of flesh, and I have also been challenged as I balance many different roles.  Y'all - life is really real. Some days I just can't even lol. I am being serious y'all. 

The other day was very hard for me and my best friend (heeey Alana) reminded me to ask God to slow me down in certain areas of my life where I feel rushed. I swear I prayed that prayer yesterday in my tired state and He has slowed me down in the past day by reminding me of my essence. 

Last night my mom randomly sent me a photo of Bow Wow and I. I won a contest in 2005 to meet him and I swear it was the happiest time of my life. I also rediscovered my old Duke house key from high school, my old usb drive from high school, and an old Movie Starz pass. I remember the many assignments I completed to make it to college and my love for a movie rental store that is no longer in existence. 

From these small reminders, God was telling me to slow down and remember big and small moments like having my life-long teenage dream fulfilled or usb drive that I utilized during my senior year of high school. 

God told me today that I cannot forget the essence that is Tonyette Rochelle. He reminded me of my tenacity, boldness, and spunkiness. I am so grateful for His beautiful reminders and I take grasp of that today with every fiber in me.  I will slow it down to reflect <3 

- Tonyette

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

open hands, open heart

Open hands and open heart.  I saw this on one of my student's lunch bags the other day and I thought back to the many times I heard this message before the new year and the first of March. Yes... this is soo easy to say, however, it isn't not always easy to practice.

You see - I have been taken through a great deal of changes in a very tiny amount of time. In a few weeks, I have gotten engaged to the love of my life, planning a wedding, applying for jobs, and now I am on the cusp of studying for my program's comprehensive exams. I have felt very overwhelmed and I can't really say I've had open hands or an open heart through it all. I have been paralyzed with the thought of "what if's" "hows" and "whens". Literally, I had a mini sob session today with my classmate listening. I was rushing (which has been a norm for me these days) to my car  and I am so glad I ran into her. I have been overwhelmed because everything is happening at once and honestly, they are HUGE THINGS. I am going to be a wife to someone in literally less than 4  months and I will be responsible for a group of students. Geeessh. I can't even fathom all of these things at the moment.  

My classmate's words woke me up. She asked "how are you?" and you know what I said? " I am literally overwhelmed and not good". Wow. I could have said "I am doing fine", but you know what? I would have been lying to myself and not being true to my emotions and concerns. I felt good as we shared the same sentiments about the program and life. 

Whew. Part of having open hands and open heart is to recognize your emotions and feelings. I don't want myself to not be aware of them. However, I am learning that no matter the circumstances, the mood, the challenges in new transitions - I have joy... I vow to take it day by day. I breath in peace and love, I exhale doubt, fear, and frustration. 

Open hands and open heart.... it may not be the easiest thing in crazy busy seasons or seasons of stillness or even lack. However, I am learning regardless of the life's frustrations, through my joy in Christ - I have truly can embrace each season with open hands and an open heart...

I truly feel like I can do this. No matter the ebbs and flows. 

Open hands and open heart 💛

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Sometimes God speaks to us through a sticker during recess duty. haha.. let me explain a little later ;)

I have to be honest, I really struggle last Fall. I spent a lot of time in self-doubt and really truly feeling like I missed the mark. I honestly did not feel beautiful, I felt stretched thin, tired, and drained. I actually spoke with my dad the other day and he spit some philosophical quote about handling the jabs of life haha. You see, my dad was referring the the use of a jab in boxing when one boxer would use a jab to stun or surprise his or her opponent. The only way that boxer could miss the jab is by bobbing and weaving. My dad was reminding me that I have to not let life's challenges stun me or knock me on my feet.  We discussed how the mind and our thoughts can all too often be a gateway for distress and pain. When left to wander, honestly, our thoughts can bring us all the way down. They too can become the jabs of life if we don't have the proper tools for good mental health. 

Now... back to the sticker... As I spoke with my coworker as we were on recess duty in 30 degree weather, I spotted a sticker that stated "You Are Beautiful". I remembered that the sticker represented You Are Beautiful, which is a movement created to provide people with reminders of their worth by brightening their day.  As I smiled, she pulled out several stickers to provide me too of that reminder. 

Seeing that sticker and my conversation with my father reminded me of a verse that truly helped me when I felt mentally broken during the summer of 2012. 1 Corinthians 2:16 states “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. Yall, this verse blew my mind. While I struggled with anxiety or other's view of me or dealing with the uncertainty of life and plans.  I felt so much peace reading this verse because I realize I too have the mental strength of my Savior. Because I have the mind of Christ, it is beautiful <3 

YOU are beautiful friend. I know life's challenges can weigh us down and I know the world can make us feel like we should have it all together mentally, physically, or spiritually. Your mind is simply beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL <3
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