M. Skye Holly – Stronger with Her

Looking at M. Skye from afar you will immediately detect her peaceful demeanor. She is a woman of few words… until you get to know her. She is quite an eloquent speaker who loves to talk to people. Upon every interaction with her, you will discover the amount of benevolence and sapience stored within her, which has enlisted her as a gem in my book. The Miss Congeniality award goes to… her M. Skye Holly. One of the qualities that I admire about her is how she took on the motherhood role effortlessly. Being a single mom who has raised a respected teenager in New York City is very exemplary. Her son, Silas is well mannered, well rounded and well grounded. This is an echo of the foundations that she laid out for him, great morals and values. Yet, another good quality she has is ardency. All her undertakings are pursued with enthusiasm and passion. She doesn’t haphazardly complete a task. She gives her all, heart, mind and soul.

Here is my virtual interview with M. Skye:

1. What do you do? 
I encourage, I inspire and I love. I’m pretty sure your question refers to my career, but the three things I mentioned are so much a part of what I do inside and outside of work. Encouragement, inspiration and love are so much a part of what I “do” in life on a regular basis. Most of the time when asked what we do, many people will jump to name their career or education stats and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think, though, that for many, when asked what they do and if they are uncomfortable or feel stagnant in their professional role, answering that questioned feels limited. It’s like defining yourself only by a career and if you’re not happy within the career, then your definition of life is shaped by that answer (and the results tend to be less than stellar). I try to bring who I am into what I do in life and what I do, professionally. We are all more than a job or career or titles, we are people with wonderfully designed inward and outward traits; we have beautiful purposes that God has charged us to fulfill. By the way, I love what I do for a living, to set the record straight! I work as a Parent Coordinator for an elementary school and as a writer/community journalist. I love what I do because of my love for writing, community and families (I love young children and teens!) and I love sharing information. I use what I do (encourage, inspire, love) in what I do (professionally). I love learning, a lot! I have a Master of Fine Arts degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and I’m currently pursuing a Master of Science degree from Columbia University. That’s cool and all, but I enjoy learning from my friends or people I meet on the train or the racks of The Strand or Greenlight or Barnes and Noble bookstores just as much. Ohh, and magazines! Love!  Ummm, does that answer your question? Kind of?

2. What is one thing you would you like the audience to know about you? 
One thing, hmmm…that depends on who is in the audience. Just kidding! Hmmm…I think what people mostly know about me is my passion for writing and first and foremost, my relationship with God. Those are no brainers. Hmmm…one thing I’d like people to know is how much I love to laugh.  I tell stories but I usually fall flat in terms of rendering humor, but my family is hilarious. I love spending time with them and laughing until the tears stream. I have friends who are funny, and they are such a blessing to my world. Believe it or not, I learn a lot from stand-up comedians, as well. My favorite ones tend to share poignant observations of life. Don’t people say “God has a sense of humor?” I believe laughter is one of the gifts from God I enjoy the most through others.  So yeah, I love humor. “If you don’t know, now you know.” (Wink, wink).

3. How do you deal with failures, hardships, judgmental and pessimistic people?
In terms of judgmental people or pessimistic people, I ignore what they do and I pray for them. I challenge myself to pray for them the way I would for those I love. It becomes difficult to stay angry at people you’re actually taking the time to pray for. I mean, it’s almost as though you are spending time with them, praying to the Lord on their behalf.  This does not mean that there aren’t times I write about my disappointments with others in a poem or a journal, or when appropriate, approach them directly. I also vent. Yup. That helps, so long as it doesn’t turn into complaining. In terms of failures, I am hard on myself. Not really a good thing, but I do. The friends I have won’t let me stay hard on myself, but I’m being honest about my initial reactions. I can be hard on myself because I don’t want to afford anyone the opportunity to be hard on me. I don’t like to disappoint people. I take my friendships and family relationships seriously. Not in the “people pleaser” sense, but as a responsibility. I love hard. When it comes to hardships, it varies. I cry when I have to, I pray, I seek counsel if I need to and I pray some more. There’s nothing like praying and meditating on Scripture and having God’s presence and perspective bring a sense of peace and clarity to an issue. Did I say cry? I probably cry too much. I cry at commercials, during “This is Us,” oh man, each and every episode!!

Going back to hardships, I wanted to stay away from this, but…let me just put it out there. I don’t like to talk about hardships much but they are a reality, they happen.  I don’t like talking about my hardships because I sometimes want to pretend they didn’t happen but I can’t do that. I’d be cheating someone out from learning about the grace and favor and healing I’ve experienced. For one, I am a single parent. I rarely discuss this openly and I try to hide under the banner of “mom” in order to avoid the stigma and preconceived notions people may have about single parents.  For most of my life, I was determined to avoid being “a statistic.” I’ll even say I looked down at other single mothers before I came one, and yes, even after the fact. Being pregnant, unmarried, and calling yourself a Christian stirs up a lot of sideways glances and behind the doors conversations. If I never cared what people thought about me before, I did then. I wanted to explain myself to everyone, I wanted to separate myself from “them.” The whispers and stares and confrontations were nothing compared to the weight of challenges in raising a child as a single parent.  I was hopelessly devoted to my child but felt utterly hopeless at the same time. Long story short, the stress increased to the point of manifesting itself in an incredibly rare-brutal-ugly-straight-from-the-pits-of-Hell-ruining-many-years-of my-life-trying-to-take-me-out illness I had never heard of.  It ravaged my body from the inside out, left me in deep emotional and physical pain, and interrupted my ability to live abundantly. It interrupted my ability to have quality of life, period. Abundance wasn’t even on the table…although I found myself on operating tables many a time, and hospitalized on several occasions. It was a dark period. I felt too ashamed of myself to ask or question God, but I would ask myself constantly “Don’t I have enough faith?,” “Why do I pray for others’ healing and they recover but I’m getting worse?,” “Is healing meant for everyone but me?,” “If I was so healthy, how could this happen?”  At this point, I couldn’t properly care for my son, and that ached. It ached so much. As a result of the illness, there were some extras that came along for the ride: congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and other evil things.  Now, remember I love to laugh, right? Well, so does my God. I will spare you some of the gruesome details, but one night I was rushed to the hospital.  In turned out that I developed pneumonia then, too.  All I knew is that my body hurt terribly and that it felt like I was dying. I felt my body shutting down, but I didn’t know what was happening. My cardiologist told me the next morning that he was amazed and dumbfounded; his team could not figure out what had happened. I didn’t understand what he meant, and he explained that I was dying and they were sure of it. He said the doctors gave me 3 hours to live.  He smiled at me and said it was a miracle. I am a living miracle!! I get goosebumps thinking about it. God and I, we’ve had the last laugh:)  What can I say about hardships? God is there, even when it appears too cloudy to recognize Him. Having people in your life who know how to pray, really pray God’s promises over you, it makes a difference. No nilly willy punk prayers!  It makes a difference when you cry, when you cry too much or when you’ve prayed every last prayer you know.  Those you love will carry you to the Lord.

4. What is the one thing that you would say contributed most to your success?
The one thing that has contributed the most to my success…I’m going to push for three! Please forgive me. One, I would say love. Love keeps me going. It inspires me, it blesses me. Two, I would say people. I have some awesome people in my life and I’ve learned from their lives and stories. I also love creativity, and that is expressed by both God and people, and I can’t say where my life would be without it.  Three, I would say, learning to discern the voice of God to be led by Him. “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Those words just speak to my core. Aren’t they poetic? However, it is more than just something that sounds good, it is the reality of getting to know God closely, and in return, having the freedom to live fully, honestly, creatively…the way we are meant to.

5.What advice would you offer women wanting to be like you and make a difference?
Hmmmm…Wanting to be like me, I have to laugh at that. I like me, though! Do I say “Good choice” or “Find someone else!” I’m continually becoming more and more like myself, if that makes sense. I learn more of who I am by the day. Sometimes I like what I learn, other times I don’t. What I don’t like (sigh)I’ve got to change, though, right? I’ll say this to those who want to make a difference, just go ahead and do it. Don’t wait for permission. Start with love. When you love your neighbor as yourself, that implies first that you’ve got to love yourself and if you love yourself, I hope that means you know that you are LOVED. Get to know God personally by learning about His love, demonstrated in the life and work of Jesus. That revelation can set off a series of events in your life that will lead you to make a difference loving others. Whether you are a neuroscientist or a teenager who babysits or a millennial trying to figure out life and yourself, go in the direction of love. Smile at someone, give a hug, take someone out to eat, start a business, take care of the environment. Love (true, pure, agape) never fails, so anything empowered with love is set up to succeed.

I’m stronger with her as I’m learning to love without boundaries. She also teaches me to let love be the driving force of what I do. A little love here, and a little geniality there will make a lot of difference in the life of others.

Here is to a healthy long lasting life filled with love Skye,
Cheers!

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