Brain trauma, Tests, Chocolate & Superheros!

It’s 9:00 AM. I have my first Chocolate tasting Level 1 exam on Monday, and I’m terrified! But I believe when we share, we heal, and maybe someone reading this will feel seen and heard.

I’ve been putting off talking about this on the blog, but lately, I seem to be telling total strangers, so what the hell!

For as early as I can remember, my teachers would start their sentences with:
“She can’t comprehend,” “She’s off in her own world,” “She doesn’t apply herself,” “She can’t pass this class,” “She won’t pass this grade,” “She’s not trying.” And the one teacher that I adored said: “It’s a good thing you’re pretty because this world will be hard for you.”

This type of wording beats a child down! It leads people like me down a rabbit hole of quitting because we begin to feel useless, thinking we’re not going to succeed anyway, so why try?

It wasn’t until my best friend, who was an educator at the time, explained to me what she believed was happening. Her words soothed me and brought so much clarity, hope, and freedom. Because of her, I realized it wasn’t how I learned; it was how they taught. I accepted my different abilities, loved myself through the challenges, stopped blaming myself for things I could not do and cherished the gifts I was given.

We need to listen to our children! They need to be heard, seen, and loved for who they are and not criticized for what they cannot do, or the abilities they don’t have, but instead loved for what they offer this world and the beautiful, intuitive, creative, emotional beings they are!

Years later, as an adult, I had dizzy spells, and after a brain MRI, it was confirmed that I had brain trauma. The neurologist asked me to write down every time I had an accident or trauma to the head. And I made a list of the bicycle accidents, the concussions when I was knocked unconscious for long periods at a time, the car accidents, the “accidents” from a “boyfriend” beating the shit out of me, beatings from a traumatic childhood, the emotional and physical trauma that your body, mind, and soul holds onto and it all became clear. Still, I felt broken, damaged, and stupid.

Until I realized that I’m a fucking superhero! My little brain survived all of this and is still intact!

And now there’s Chocolate, something I have loved for a long time and has loved me back. But this time, I’m not eating the chocolate; I’m tasting it. It’s healing, meditative, calming, and almost like therapy. There’s a beautiful sensory aspect to tasting chocolate. It’s almost otherworldly and euphoric. I am loving it. I am invested. I’m excited, and I want this so badly!

This exam is not open book. It’s multiple-choice, but I’m relying 100% on my memory, and for me, that is the ultimate of tasks!

But I am doing this to prove something to myself.
Every person who said that I couldn’t…was wrong!

Because those with brain injury, learning disabilities, and different abilities are capable, able, talented, creative, worthy, wanted, and loved!

I may not be the most educated person, but I’ve got compassion, empathy, and love for others boiling out of me, and I want to share it! I know I feel things deeper than most, at an almost painful level, but I accept it’s my gift. I love hard. I work hard, and I never quit!

But anxiety got the best of me; the old voices came into my head, and I kept saying what if I fail? What if I don’t pass? What if I’m not good enough?

And then, don’t laugh, I tasted a piece of chocolate. Because that’s what you do when you’re filled with anxiety!

And it calmed me down.
And I realized just how much I love this medium.
I love learning.
I love learning about chocolate.
I love teaching people.
I love the people I’m meeting, and I love the journey I’m on.

So what if I fail?
I tried!

What if I don’t pass?
I’ll take it again and again until I do.

What if I’m not good enough?
By who’s standards?
No one gets to tell us if we are good enough or not!

I can do this!
Will I do it on Monday? Not sure, but I’m going to try!
It may take me a little while to get there, but I will get there!

I don’t need hits or views on a blog post. I know who is meant to see these posts will see them. I just want to be a little light in a dark world. I hope this gives you the strength to fight for yourself. I hope it gives you the courage to step out of your comfort zone and be who you’re meant to be. I hope you can silence the voices of those who hurt you and realize the only voice and the only opinion that matters is yours!

If you’re a parent, please love your little Superhero today! They may be struggling, you may not understand why, but love them, support them, and guide them through it, and you will be their Superhero!


Amberley Charlotte

Photo Cred: yulia-matvienko-ArA3S3k0wTU-unsplash.jpg

Welcome Home Amberley!

In the meditative world, I’ve seen the terms: “Welcome Home” or “Come home to yourself.” and even though I never knew what it meant, I didn’t want to be the odd one out, so I would nod, smile and hope no one quizzed me on it.

But I’m beginning to realize what that phrase means. At least what it means to me, and this is what I’ve got.

Welcome home: you’re safe here.
Welcome home: you don’t have to pretend anymore.
Welcome home: you don’t have to hide anymore.
Welcome home, honor the unique qualities that make you magical, cherish the quirkiness that makes people laugh, the empathy that makes people comfortable with you, and the kindness that brings people close to you.
Welcome home: even when the introvert needs her space, wants to be alone, and screams for peace and silence, you’re still loved. 

I may be wrong, but I see it as a transformative process, a type of redemption, a healing process. Coming home to your true self, loving and acknowledging that person as loveable, worthy, valuable, and meant to be, and that’s been hard for me. 

This crazy experience with Chocolate is opening me up, helping me accept all of me, not just the parts I want the world to see.

The education through The International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting is invaluable. The courses are fun, engaging, well thought out, and strategically planned so anyone can feel welcome here and do well.  

But for me, the transformative process started with the chocolate tastings, the magic of the flavors, the textures, the aromas, the lessons, stories, and the calming sense of peace I feel when I am tasting these amazing creations that are made with love from some of the most talented chocolate makers. My eyes have been opened, my taste buds blown away, and my life changed.

I came in here with a plan, but now my heart is open as I wait to see where this journey will take me.

With everything I’m learning and the life-changing experiences I am being given, for some reason, the chocolate is speaking to me and welcoming me home.

Welcome, Home Amberley!

I’ve missed you!

Photo Cred: jullliia-vLhJglizAeU-unsplash.jpg

Chocolate: Magical, Mystical, Intriguing Chocolate

I close my eyes
bring a piece of chocolate to my nose 
deep breathe in
ahh heaven

I place a piece of chocolate on my tongue
it begins to melt
colors floating in my mind


The past, the present, and what could be
Feeling words
Seeing moments
Fragrant flowers
Vibrant fruits

Notes I’ve never smelled before
I’m peaceful

I’ve got to get it out
I’ve got to write it down
I don’t want to forget a moment

What am I seeing?
Where are these beautiful visions coming from?
What are the flavors, aromas, and feelings that overwhelm me?


A gift to the senses
Peace to the brokenhearted
Healing wounds
Opening hearts
Changing lives

If life could be as beautiful as what I see
If life could be as peaceful as what I feel
If life could be as fragrant as what I smell

We would be changed forever
and the world would be a safer place
for all of us


(Photo by

STOP! Violence is never okay!

I am shaking this morning. My heart is racing. I had insomnia all night and found myself curled up in a fetal position. I have seen too many women beaten up by their husbands. I have watched too many children beaten up by their parents. I have watched children terrified as their fathers took out their anger and rage on their mothers. I was a child. I was helpless. No one listened to me. I could do nothing to help. It killed me inside.

Then I became a victim of domestic violence and rape, and I have PTSD.

I wanted very badly for this blog to be upbeat and inspirational. But there is nothing upbeat or inspirational about having someone lay their hands on you and the helplessness you feel when you can’t escape.

Last night, I saw a video on an award show that I typically watch every year. A man whose name I will not repeat here because I don’t want the Google hits from his name. A man I respected because he did a lot of work on himself, a lot of self-reflection, and he brought those lessons into his marriage and had the honor of raising children.

But last night this man got up and hit another man because he was angry. I thought it was part of a skit, so I watched it again, and again trying to prove it was a sick joke. 

It kept me up all night. Because in my world, if you’re willing to hit somebody and let your anger rage, then what’s to stop you from hitting a woman and a child?

All these years later, I still feel vulnerable. I still have nightmares. I still feel unsafe at times, and it is only by getting help and building a support system of trustworthy people that I am able to heal and move forward with the life that I am meant to live.

A trigger is a trigger, and although it might be somebody else’s story, every time a woman is hit, it’s our story. Every time a woman is made to feel ashamed, it’s our story. Every time a woman is devalued and stripped of her dignity, strength, and self-worth, it is our story!

For a very long time, I remained silent. I didn’t want my name synonymous with “domestic violence survivor.” I didn’t want to hear “survivor of rape.” I had enough. I wanted to build a new life, get healthy, leave the demons in the past, and I wanted to stop caring.

Yes, it is possible to heal. We can create happier and safer lives with people we trust, but the demons linger because you get it, you’ve lived it, and as much as you want to try, you never stop caring. What happens to one, happens to all of us!

To be clear, I have no love for the insensitive comedian who verbally attacked this man’s wife. Words hurt. Words degrade. Words devalue. This so-called human being was making fun of a woman’s health issues to make a joke and he showed the world who he really is. He chose his words carefully. He chose to bully and insult her on national television. A man, bullying a woman on national television. Let that sink in. That too is a form of abuse my friends. If he will do that for a “laugh” what else will he do to strip a woman of her dignity? 

I believe violence of any kind whether it be physical, mental, or emotional against anyone, including man, woman, non-binary, LGBTQIAS+, Trans, etc., needs to be prosecuted!

I heard the person’s speech. He said he was being “called to protect.” I understand his feeling of wanting to protect his wife. I know a few men in my life who would do all they could to protect me as well. But there are ways to protect somebody without laying your hands on another person! He did this out of honor for his wife, and some people find that commendable; I believe there are other ways to honor her and protect her. 

Last night, he showed all the little boys and girls who look up to him that it’s okay to hurt another person if you’re protecting someone else and this so-called comedian showed his young followers that cruelty is acceptable as long as you are on television. 

I have plenty of anger and rage in me, trust me, but it takes one moment to make the wrong decision. We are in control of our emotions and actions. We are in control of the words that come out of our mouths and how we respond to somebody. Nobody should ever get off for inflicting violence on somebody because “they were angry,” or because “they lost it,” or they “were in a trance.”

Take responsibility for your actions!

Keep your hands to yourself and quit making excuses!

At the top of this blog, I have a page titled Helping Hands. There are helpful links on that page.

But I am listing two very important numbers here for those who need support. 

These are numbers and link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and RAINN, the nation’s largest sexual assault hotline.

Please call the numbers below if you are scared, if someone is hurting you, and if you have no one to turn to.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: confidential support 24/7/365.

800-799-7233 or  SMS: Text START to 88788 

RAINN: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network


It took me a long time to get away from my abuser. For me, the only possible way of leaving without being killed or him keeping his promise to kill my family was attempted suicide. 

Don’t let that happen to you. You are loved. You have love to give. You are worthy.

With love, hope, and blessings,

Amberley Charlotte

Quitting, Trying & My Passion For Chocolate!

Are you happy, or do you feel like something is missing?

Have you found what sets your soul on fire?

Do you dare to try?

I live with PTSD, chronic pain, and brain trauma. Some days feel like a constant battle to wake up, be positive, and attempt to live life fully, not fearfully. But I honestly believe we’re put on earth to find our passion, figure out what sets our soul on fire, and chase after it with our hearts wide open and a childlike wonder. 

We need to acknowledge that a fire is burning within us. While wondering what could be, we seek to understand our fears and what’s holding us back. 

When they told me I had cancer, a list of regrets flashed in front of my eyes. Not one of them was a material item. I took stock of how I was treating others, the many ways I failed myself, and everything I wanted to do but was too afraid to try.

Why was I scared? Why did I believe I wasn’t worthy of self-love? 

My favorite quote is: “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.”
But, sometimes, we have to quit to find what lights a fire in us. 

I see life as a large basket filled with opportunities. I put things in, pull things out and try them on. Sometimes it’s a great fit, sometimes not at all. But every time, I learn something new.

Who says we have to play it safe?
We learn by trying!
We learn by living!
We grow by trying!

When we don’t try, we miss out on so many possibilities. When we find the courage to put ourselves out there, we heal, fall in love, and experience joy, excitement, and contentment. 

I’ve earned many certifications from online schools and educational establishments and never started a business, but the education was amazing! 

I’ve worked with developmentally disabled children and adults and was paid nothing, but those moments were life-changing!

Does any of this make me a quitter?
No, it means I figured out what I wanted and what I didn’t.

Life is a lesson in exploration. When we explore, we learn, but we stifle our creativity and growth when we hold ourselves back. 

In a few weeks, I am going on a new adventure!

I will be taking an 8-week chocolate tasting course with The International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting.

This is in addition to the chocolatier course I took many years ago with Ecole Chocolat My education with Ecole Chocolat was thrilling, but I learned with brain trauma, becoming a chocolatier and having my own business was not in the cards for me. I had to recognize my different abilities and accept them, but in that course was a module on chocolate tasting and it would bring blessings I never expected. 

If I give my family a piece of chocolate, tell them to place it on their tongue, let it melt, and explain what they taste, they will say: “Chocolate!”

But to me, one tiny square of chocolate slowly melting on my tongue is a life-changing experience. I never know what flavors will grace my palate with their presence. Keeping my mind and heart open, I could feel a gush of smooth, velvety, fudgy chocolate or flavors of sweet berries, tangy citrus, honey, cinnamon, or hot peppers. 

With my eyes closed, I might taste sweet cherries or tangy mango, or the flavors could be bitter, flat, and hard to swallow. From wine flavors to earthy tones, my adrenaline is rushing at the possibilities of what this chocolate bar can bring. 

When the chocolate melts, it hits the front of my mouth behind my teeth. It might feel cool, crisp, and sweet. As it travels to the middle of my tongue, I might taste herbal flavors, it might warm the back of my tongue, and when I swallow, the flavors and feel could change altogether or stay the same.

The experience of chocolate tasting can change your life and your perspective of what chocolate is, how it’s made, where the bean originated, where the bar is made, and how many people are involved in the journey from cacao bean to chocolate bar.

I admire the farmers who work to remove the cacao beans from the trees and process them. I support the small bean-to-bar companies working tirelessly through the pandemic, trying to keep their small business afloat, all for the love of chocolate. 

I stand in solidarity with the community of chocolate-tasting educators who educate and share their passion for learning how a little cacao bean can transform into a tiny piece of heaven when in the hands of passionate business owners.

I’m intrigued by the healing properties of chocolate. The growing research on mental health, using it in meditation, reducing inflammation, improving cognition excites me because of my health issues. With brain trauma, memory issues, and carrying the Alzheimers gene, getting this evil disease is a frightening possibility for me and so many others. Chocolate could be life-saving!

This chocolate tasting course is eight weeks, and I need to pass two tests to receive certification. I’m used to having help with testing. The school administrators tried to find a suitable solution, but due to circumstances beyond our control, I had to choose to take the courses without testing and not receive certification, or take the tests and possibly fail.

Do I quit?
I believe if I take the course without tests, I am giving up on myself, and I won’t do that. Even with medical documentation, we truly do not know what we are capable of until we challenge ourselves, and I want to know what I am capable of. If I fail the tests, I retake them.

In closing, I want to challenge you to be like a child.
Children dream! They believe they can do anything. They won’t take no for an answer, and they wouldn’t listen if you told them they were incapable of doing something they wanted to do. We encourage kids to take chances, experiment, and explore. We get excited to color or paint with them, but we won’t make time to do it ourselves.

So let go of what weighs you down and be like a child!
Let’s fill our hearts with wonderment and plan what we will do next!

Are you truly happy? Or is something missing?
You can find what sets your soul on fire!
But you have to dare to try!


Amberley Charlotte

Photo Cred: Tijana Drndarski

20 Years Cancer Free!

I’ve always been fiercely independent.
I needed no man and believed I could do everything myself. When I met my husband, I made it clear I didn’t need him; I wanted him.
I didn’t need him to take care of me. I wanted him because I loved him.

Then we got married, and things changed. I had someone else to think about and someone to help carry the load. But cancer and multiple surgeries changed me. I had to rely on others, sometimes to do even the simplest of tasks. I hated it, and now with 37 surgeries under my belt, I’m not the girl I was all those years ago. I’ve had to learn to accept help and be grateful for it.

But with that change came a shift. I started realizing how valuable we are to one another. Whether it’s your best friend comforting you, a neighbor watching your dog, Instacart or Door Dashers shopping for food. We need one another, and we need community. 

This year I am 20 years cancer-free from Triple Negative Breast Cancer. A high-grade, hard to treat, aggressive form of breast cancer that left me a bit differently-abled. You would think I would be pouring champagne and running the chocolate fountain. But I’m really struggling. My mind is all over the place, and I have written this post about twelve times.

A few weeks ago, a precious child passed away after fighting cancer for six years. He was just thirteen years old. I didn’t know him, but I love someone who loved him, and because of her, I grew to love him too. I followed his story, and I cried for his parents, I worried about his little sister, and when he died, my heart sunk. This little one suffered hugely, and yet in the middle of what must have felt like hell, he spread love and joy to everyone around him. 

So I’ve decided I’m not celebrating being cancer-free this year because this wasn’t just my cancer. I’m not going to a restaurant to celebrate because I didn’t do it alone. My family fought this battle with me. My husband cringed when I screamed as he siphoned my drains. He cleaned my wounds, made me laugh, and cried with me. My children sat with me, loved on me, fed me, and helped run the family. My doctors fought to save my life. My nurses comforted me. My community and friends sat with me, brought food, and encouraged me. 

Yes, I busted my ass to keep my moods up and take care of my body, mind, and soul in the process of what felt like hell, and with four back-to-back surgeries in four weeks, eight rounds of chemo, and losing my breasts to cancer, I was exhausted, but I needed each and every one of those helpers.

This is not just about me. It’s about the team of people that supported me when I had cancer. It’s about the tears they shed, the time they took off work to help, and the sleepless nights they spent watching over me. It’s about a husband running a household with young children and still working a full-time job. It’s about kids scared their mother might die and crying into their pillows at night thinking she didn’t hear them, trying to be brave, so Mommy wouldn’t worry.

We need these people. We need our families. We need our communities. We are all in this together. 

I want to celebrate every cancer survivor.
I want to celebrate every family member, every friend, and every member of the community.
I want to celebrate the lives of those we lost.
I want to celebrate everyone in the medical community.

Life is fragile. Not just because of cancer. We’ve lost a lot of people to Covid. The situation in Ukraine is devastating. We are not promised tomorrow. Life is not a dress rehearsal. You do not get to do this again.

I celebrate all of you.
I love you, I thank you, I am honored to know you.
You’re all are in my heart and forever in my prayers.

Cheers to 20 years. Thank you for getting me here.
Rest in Peace, Colby. You’ve earned it. We may not have met in person, but my heart knew you. Say hello to baby Faith for me. 

Amberley Charlotte 

Losing Faith

One of the greatest pains a woman can feel is losing a child.
Those around her can try, but they’ll never understand the depths of her pain. 

It’s been 32 years today since we lost our baby.
It was my second high-risk pregnancy, and at six weeks, I had a miscarriage that almost ended my life.

While reading a story to my two-year-old son, I started to hemorrhage. I called 911, told them I felt faint, then passed out.

Later they told me that my son stayed on the phone then opened the door for the firefighters. 

I was rushed to the hospital, taken into surgery, and I remember muffled voices saying: “She’s bleeding out; she’s bleeding out!” 

When I woke up, they said I had lost our baby, I was hemorrhaging badly, and they had to do an emergency DNC. I felt like they ripped out my heart. The pain in my stomach was excruciating. Agony washed over me, my child was gone, and as I cradled my stomach, I wondered what I had done wrong. 

There was an emptiness that even a dark howling cry couldn’t heal. I failed my husband. I failed my son. I blamed myself.

My husband is my rock, my compass, my great love. He calms my anxiety and reminds me that everything will be okay. But when he wept in my arms, I saw his pain, I felt responsible, and I wondered if our little family would survive this devastating loss.

Then we had to tell our son his baby went to heaven. He had plans for his baby. Why did the baby go? His tears broke me, and all I wanted to do was heal his precious little heart. But even Mommy’s kisses couldn’t make this hurt go away. 

We named our daughter Faith. I knew she was a girl, and I knew we were going to need every ounce of strength and faith to move forward.

How did I know she was a girl? Did I have testing done? 

No, but as I lay in the recovery room, trying to get my head around this, gutted, seeking answers, I felt her. I knew she was there. Maybe it was an out-of-body experience, a connection between mother and child, or a mother in mourning, but I knew she was my little girl, and I believe she has been watching over my family ever since.

Three months later, the doctors told me I was pregnant again. We were elated but scared when continual complications forced me back on bed rest and marred this pregnancy as it had the first one.  

Eight months later, at four weeks early, our daughter was taken emergency c-section.
She was born four days after the anniversary of Faith’s passing. 

I worried about her birthday being so close to such a painful day. I didn’t want her to feel overshadowed. I never wanted my tears on Faith’s day to make her question if she was loved or wanted. It was important to me that she knew her value and worth. This beautiful child has brought so much joy to our lives, she has helped heal my wounded heart, and I can’t imagine my life without her. 

It’s been 32 years, and the tears still flow. It was my honor to carry Faith, even for a short while. The sad memories have been replaced with gratitude as we believe Faith sent our daughter to us. 

But after all these years, I’m still in awe at the gift my son gave me that day. Had he hung up the phone, I would be dead. If he didn’t open the door for the firefighters, I would be dead. If he panicked, cried, and tried to wake me up, I would be dead. At two years old, my precious little boy saved my life. 

I don’t know why bad things happen. I believe miracles happen every day. I know there is light in every darkness, fear can be overcome, and in every doubt, hope is not far behind. In the end, love will always win.

One of the greatest pains a woman can feel is losing a child.
But one of her greatest joys is loving them.