My first published piece of professional journalism; a story that goes beyond disabilities and right to the heart

I have a daughter with severe autism and auto-immune encephalitis.  This piece is near and dear to my heart. It is also my first professional publication as a journalist.


Carlson High School hosts ‘Shooting with the Stars’ with Jo Brighton students –

Balthazar the Tattoo Man




By Michele Habel-Coffey


The images flow across his skin

I glimpse his art –without, within

Born of pain and needles thin


A deepened sort of midnight blue

Outside the edges, bleeding through

And for a fee, he’ll bleed you too


Behind the blood, a colored scar

Fairies, Christ, and Balthazar

Meandering in local bars


So paint upon a canvas sacred

Covering – leaving less so naked

Flesh and pain are what you make it

Tattoo Man


Visiting Buddha: Thoughts on Suffering and The Four Noble Truths


Suffering drives you deeper. The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego–but not until you suffer consciously…. Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego….

As long as you resist suffering, it is a slow process because the resistance creates more ego to burn up. When you accept suffering, however, there is an acceleration of that process which is brought about by the fact that you suffer consciously…. In the midst of conscious suffering there is already the transmutation. The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.

~ Eckhart Tolle

Danke: Passing the Leibster, Coffey Style

Big Danke to Dan Hoger at for this award!  Here’s to you sir, and your request for random factoids.


The rules are as follows:

  • Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers. The bloggers you award are to do the same.
  • Ask 11 questions to those you have nominated.
  • Let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.

11 random facts:

  1. I was once a white water raft guide.
  2. I’ve flown in a plane like this  <img class="" src="; alt="" width="128" height="88" / and I'm pretty sure I traumatized the pilot with my excited screams. The pilot enjoyed subjecting me to tricks including numerous loop-de-loops as well as a mid-air stall/dive over a stunning mountain range. I left invigorated and he left deaf.
  3. I would do both again.
  4. Clearly, I lack the instinct for self-preservation.
  5. I substitute teach middle school because I like those crazy, pubescent nut-cases and their enduring energy.
  6. Clearly, I lack the instinct for self-preservation. (Wait, did I say that already?)
  7. Writing is often as painful to me as childbirth but in both cases, I have marveled at and loved the results.
  8. I am currently avoiding a laundry mountain threatening to kill me via cotton-avalanche.
  9. My first daughter was born on Elvis Presley’s birthday, in Mississippi, just a stone’s throw from where he grew up.
  10. I’m not an Elvis fan.
  11. Middle Eastern food is yummylicious.
  12. I don’t follow rules well.

11 Questions from the blogger who nominated me:

  1. What is your favorite question? (Something my 3-year-old asked his uncle once.) Do you like coffee? (my last name is Coffey…) Incidentally, I am obsessed with coffee. And wine. I should drink more water.
  2. What would you most like me to post on this blog? That it is so superfly everyone must see it or risk spontaneous combustion and eternal damnation for ignoring your advice to do so.
  3. How long did it take you to complete the requirements for this so-called award? About 2 weeks. It was the Christmas holiday and I was slammed with being the pagan-tastic Santa figure in my humble abode.
  4. Was it worth it? Actually, yes. I found it to be a happy distraction.
  5. Are you somewhat annoyed? Only at the aforementioned laundry mountain.
  6. If I promise never to nominate you for another award (unless you like awards), would you like to read the first draft of my novel (when it’s ready) in exchange for honest and blunt feedback? Yes please! 
  7. Do you love me? Does a wookie love cookies?
  8. Why not? 😦 Again, cookies.
  9. Was it something I wrote? Send cookies and all will be right again.
  10. Was anything in this post slightly amusing? Quite a bit, actually. Thank you for the witty amusements.
  11. How lame are these questions? No more than my answers, good sir!

11 Nominations:

  1. Missing the Muse
  2. Randa Lane – Haiku and More
  3. Richard Ankers – The Writings
  4. Jambo Robyn
  5. Perspectives on Life, the Universe, and Everything
  6. Transience Way
  7. A Stranger to Heaven and Earth
  8. Poetry in the Dark
  9. Experimental Fiction
  10. A Voice from the Spectrum
  11. If I Could Talk I’d Tell You

11 Questions for the nominees:

  1. Do you like cookies?
  2. Do you like wookies?
  3. Name two things on your bucket list.
  4. A thought or two on naps.
  5. Video games: old school or new school?
  6. Why?
  7. Haiku or Sonnet?
  8. Why?
  9. Are you tattooed? One or many? (yeah, yeah, two questions, I know)
  10. A thought or two on Pink Floyd.
  11. Why do you write on WordPress?

The Liebster Award: Say What????

I was nominated for this award by the talented Dan Hoger who resides in cyberspace at “Missing the Muse” on WordPress. I was simultaneously humbled and confused.  If you, like me, haven’t heard of the aforementioned award, here’s the 411.

Liebster Award

The Liebster Award – General Info and Rules

Most bloggers, at some point, have heard of or received the Liebster award, unless you are a newbie! From the extensive searches I have conducted in my attempts to learn about this award, I have visited a bunch of blogs and gleaned the following information:

  • This award exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers.
  • It has German origins – the word “liebster” has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart and boyfriend (really?)
  • It follows similar principles as a chain letter, in the sense that it should be passed forward to a certain number of people.
  • It can be misconstrued, depending upon your personal views, as either something wonderful (who doesn’t like awards?) or as an annoyance (a chain letter that involves work).
  • The choice lies within each of us to ACCEPT it, and continue PAYING IT FORWARD or to refuse to accept it, thereby STOPPING or INTERRUPTING the chain. However, if you stop the chain, you are only hurting yourself (keep reading for benefits you will have)!
  • Personal views play an important part in our choice to participate. Some people have refused to accept it and have made attempts to “break the chain”. There have been many people who have been nominated, yet refused to accept it, and now their blogs have been abandoned.
  • Variations have been made over time to the “rules”.
  • Marketing plays a role in accepting this award, as other bloggers are promoted. (This is not a bad thing, however, since people should help others!)
  • Other awards are a part of the whole “meme“. These include “One Lovely Blog Award”, the “Sunshine Blog Award” and the “Versatile Writer Award”.

It is said that the Liebster award was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere. In the digital world of the internet, this seems like a nice gesture, in my opinion!