Michelle Gressel Website marriott.com michellegressel.com Position Director of Sales Residence Inn by Marriott Owner/Artist The Torn Edge  Contact BIO Loving mother and wife, expert connector and community activist, Michelle believes in the power of spirit and the blessings of laughter. Approaching life with equal doses of optimism and realism, Michelle inspires through action and shines most when helping others.     MICHELLE’S COURAGE STATEMENT “The word beautiful is rife with expectations, isn't it? I'd venture to guess that the majority of us equate beautiful with appearance; why else would our mentoring generations frequently use the phrase 'beauty is only skin deep'? My own personal journey through beautiful has been marked by thyroid disease, which caused fluctuations in my weight. During my heaviest times, I FELT how people would rely on their superficial perceptions of me based solely on my size. Even without knowing me, they determined my beauty through a filter of dimensions that had absolutely nothing to do with who I am as a person. But anyone who knows me knows that over the years I've cultivated the courage to be beautiful in layers. I consciously take my ordinary, average canvas and create extraordinary things. Contentment is another word that is deceptive on the surface. Some might think it's synonymous with complacent; they are wrong. Contentment means that I am at peace with myself, that I have the courage to be pleased with the gifts and the package that God has given me rather than worrying about what "the Jones'" might have. 1Timothy 6:6 says "But godliness with contentment is great gain"; knowing there is truth in the word gives us assurance that we shall all be set from the bondage of seeking perfection. Much lip service is paid today to the concepts of 'balance' and 'having it all.' I, respectfully, disagree. I believe more in the concept of pieces, because my daily life is a symphony of them. There are pieces I give to others, pieces I grip for myself, pieces I share and pieces I squander. There are pieces of work, play, love, sadness, hurt, rapture and pleasure. What we see, if we are mindful enough to pay attention, is that the pieces all blend together without any true delineation of who or what they represent; they simply form the story of ME. I declare this OUR time, time to recreate our canvases by rearranging those pieces of our lives. It is time to claim the beauty that has been lost in the pieces and rediscover our worth.”