Welcome February

It’s the second month in 2018. Where are you with your goals? What have you accomplished? What have you tried and just realized that you need to revamp? It’s never to late to start making goals.

Here are my goals for the month of February:

  • Volunteer at a fair
  • Submit pitch to Huffington Post
  • Plan out 2-3 blog posts a week
  • Plan out 2-3 meals a week
  • Get moderate exercise at least 3 days a week

Short and sweet I only have 5 goals this month. Here’s to hoping that I can accomplish what I have planned to do and even if I don’t here’s to trying to get organized. There’s no shame in trying.

I did something that I kept saying I was going to do for some time now. I bought a Kuerig for my desk. I love coffee and had bought K-pods because someone had brought in their Kuerig for the office to use. They took it home and it never returned. I still had k-pods and was spending money on coffee every day at Dunkin Donuts. I am now making my own coffee at work. It’s a mini so it will sit on my desk. I’m happy.

Don’t take yesterday’s problems into February and focus on having a great month. I’m wishing you nothing but love, peace and an awesome February. I know it is also Valentine’s Day, but don’t get depressed if you don’t have someone. Love you first. Self-love is critical. Do what works for you eat candy, buy your own flowers and just love on you. It’s not about having someone. It’s about having and loving on the person looking back in the mirror.

You.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Marriage Advice From A Divorcee

Late last year I read on Facebook a post from a “friend” that stated that he didn’t want to hear marriage advice from a divorced person. I was stunned. Wow! Since when did being divorce mean that you couldn’t give advice and probably better advice since you’re away from the responsibility of marriage?

But, I realized he wasn’t alone. Many people feel that way. They see divorced people as pariahs with no real value or definitely not advice that could be imparted on those that are married. What could you possibly have to say to me seeing as though your own marriage failed?

Honestly? We can say a lot.

See, I recognized the failure of my marriage. The marriage between two people that should have never gotten married, but believe that love would make everything alright. Love would sustain us. We were delusional. Love is never enough.

I had this awakening of spirit last weekend as I watched my brother marry. It was a beautiful wedding surrounded by beautiful people who loved the couple. The preacher encouraged them to keep God first because love wasn’t enough.

That’s where I find myself today offering these words to encourage/inspire you to take my advice and use it as you please. Moving from a wonderful moment to an epiphany of hope for people who want to marry. Words of wisdom and advice are all I have to offer and I pray that you are encouraged by these five pieces of advice:

5 Pieces of Advice for Your Marriage:

  1. Keep God First! This is the biggest and most important advice that I can give. I literally sat there in tears when my ex-husband and I talked to the pastor at the end of our marriage. He asked “Where was God in your marriage?” I sat there crying. We left God out. We had literally turned our backs on our faith and chose to do it alone. That is the worst thing you can do. Sometimes all you can do is just pray for your spouse. Get on your knees and cry out “God we need you. Something is going on and we need you to protect our house and our family.” Keep God first.
  2. Don’t leave. You can’t leave your house and stay out overnight if you are mad. No way. No how. Your marital home is a place of safety. If you leave the home and stay out all night you are literally inviting trouble into your marriage. You have to trust that whatever is happening, that you two will get through it. If you are a man leaving and staying out all night? How are you leading the family if you are leaving them unprotected? Nothing is solved by staying out all night. Stay and fight for your family.
  3. Keep the established routine. Some couples have a “No going to bed angry” and others have a “We don’t spend more than 3 days away from each other” policy. If your spouse travels a lot how do you keep it fresh? Your marriage? How do you make time for each other? How do you find the time to pour into your marriage what he/she needs. If you have a weekly “anything goes in the bedroom routine” you need to keep it. Everyone likes the established and agreed upon patterns. Keep your routines.
  4. Don’t say all you can say. This was the best piece of advice that a girlfriend of mine had given to me after I told her that I was divorcing. She said “I’m sorry to hear that. Don’t say all you can say.” I was confused and asked her to clarify. She said “Don’t say all you can say because you can’t take it back no matter what.” She was right. So, fight fair and focus on the issues. No name calling and remember don’t say all you can say. No amount of apologies can repair that damage.
  5. Do marriage check-ins. You need to do this. Preferably outside of when you’re discussing bill money or tough issues. I suggest quarterly. I suggest that you go into couples therapy quarterly to make sure that all is well with both of you. Make sure you are sharpening your skills to listen and advocate for a deeper and stronger connection with your spouse. If your spouse says that you are not meeting their needs be okay with it. Listen to what their concerns are. Hear what they are telling you and ask follow-up questions. Be willing to take the good with the bad to improve the overall health of your marriage.

There are obviously many more things that I could suggest, but trust me your marriage is a business. You get paid (whether literally, emotionally or spiritually), there may be acquisitions (children or parents moving in) or restructuring (death of a family member) and furloughs (someone could lose their job).  How you deal with these issues by building a strong foundation will let you know whether or not your marriage will turn a profit that year or not. Love is only the beginning.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

 

Motivational Moment – 01.29.18

As we are getting ready to usher in February I wanted to think about a theme to motivate you in the next few weeks. We’re getting ready to celebrate Black History Month in a few days and I thought about what words that I could put together to encourage you each Monday throughout the month of February and then celebrate my history. It came to me that I wanted to encourage you and motivate you each music through gospel music.

“Gospel music is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of the African-American church. During the late 1800s, African-American churches in the southern United States started fusing various styles of music into their worship services, including African-American spirituals, hymns, and sacred songs. Such music was primarily sung at church and accompanied by hand-clapping and foot-stomping.” – LaSaundra Booth 

I grew up in the church. I grew up Southern Baptist and I love gospel music. It’s part of who I am and I want to share it with you. Gospel music has helped encourage me in both the best and worst of times. I’ve often felt like God was speaking to me through song.

So, I’m getting an early start today and my Motivational Monday moment is about love. God’s love specifically. God’s love is all encompassing regardless of how much you think you’re failing. Life is hard. We’re always mentally worse off than we are physically. But, God loves us – flaws and all.

First up is this son from the movie The Fighting Temptations. It’s called “He Still Loves Me” and was sung by Walter Williams (from the O’Jays) and Beyonce’ in the movie. This song reminds me that no matter what I do – God still loves me. Don’t believe me? Here is a sample of the lyrics:

Seems like I always fall short
Of bein’ worthy
Cause I ain’t good enough
But he still loves me

I ain’t no superstar
The spotlight ain’t shinin’ on me
(No, no, no, no, no)
Cause I ain’t good enough
But he still loves me
Loves me

Don’t we always feel like falling short of being worthy? We feel like we’re not good enough and sometimes life gets so hard that we can’t catch a break. Everything seems to be falling apart in our lives and we just feel like giving up. But, we need to remember that no matter what…God still loves me and He still loves you.

Watch the video and be blessed and motivated this morning. No matter how big the load is that you are carrying, trust me when I say God can handle it. God’s love is an always present love.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

The Sins of My Father

I have a confession. I’ve struggled with forgiveness for so long. I told ya’ll about what my therapist said about how I gave my dad grace and not forgiveness. So, here I am feeling somewhat guilty because it has been 3 weeks since my dad called me. He called me on my birthday.

The first time in 34 years. Do you know how disappointed I used to be each and every year? But, God. Each year got easier. I realized that it just didn’t matter to him.

Until 2018. I guess it did matter. He called and left a message saying Happy Birthday. 

I haven’t returned his call. I made up excuses. I had some real stuff going on and real health issues that took priority. But, I haven’t called him back. Why?

I honestly don’t know. I think I am just struggling with my feelings for him. So, I’ve been trying to catch up on some blog posts. Forgive me for my delays. Muddling through emails, throwing myself back in work and then I read two posts about forgiveness.  I stopped.

One was by Maya Moore entitled Football & Forgiveness  and the other by Chris Weatherly entitled What I Wish Everyone Understood About Forgiveness. Two posts in less than 30 minutes about forgiveness? What was going on?

It was as though God was speaking to me. Talking to me. Telling me to push forward and understand where I’m at and decide where I want to be. To talk to him and to let him know. The truth.

I declined to do so. Me and God don’t always see eye to eye, but I know that in the end His word is forevermore, no matter how stubborn I am. So, I pushed his voice to the side and kept it moving. Until Chris Weatherly posted this:

via What I Wish Everyone Understood about Forgiveness

I couldn’t hide anymore. I couldn’t ignore. God was trying to tell me something.

Please read these posts about forgiveness. It will truly encourage you. Are you struggling like me?

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting Lesson: I Will Not Chase You

Munch is the best thing that ever happened to me. But, sometimes I really feel like I’m sucking at this parenting thing. Not that I’m mean, but sometimes I have to teach him a lesson and I wonder if my teaching those lessons are having an adverse effect on him.

Last month we were working on homework and then we were going to review his oral presentation. He had to memorize a poem. He chose “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. It was awesome, but he wasn’t in the mood. When he’s not in the mood to do anything, he pretty much shuts down. He acts like he’s bored and it’s really like time consuming and emotionally draining.

That being said I decided to push forward and chastise and ignore his negative attitude. I wanted to record him saying his poem. He was nonchalant and had no emotion. He was literally just acting like I’m forcing him to plow the field. It was draining. I had enough. I said “I love you Munch, but I’m done. I’m reclaiming my peace and you’re going to bed. Go upstairs and get your shower so you can get in the bed.” He was upset. “What about TV time?” I said “It’s not going to happen. You’ve tried my patience this evening with your behavior so TV is a reward that you don’t deserve this evening.” He cried.

Cried in the shower. Cried when he went to bed and then cried himself to sleep. Even when I tried to tuck him in bed and give him his kiss good night he cried louder and turned away from me. No problem. “I love you and goodnight” was all that I said.

I spoke to Mr. C and he listened and then commented how our parenting styles are different. I know. He’s told me before. I’m used to getting spanked as a child if I cried for no reason, but I left him to cry it out.

The next morning I did what I always do…cook his breakfast, pack his lunch, lay out his clothes and make up his bed. He then comes upstairs and criticizes me for all that I’ve done. “You’re not letting me do anything by myself. My daddy says that I need to do things on my own” he stated in frustration. I smiled sweetly and said “Love, you know what?” I don’t have to fix your breakfast each morning. I can sleep later and you can get up and fix yourself a bowl of cereal. It has always been important for me to send you to school with a hot breakfast each morning, but you want more responsibility so tomorrow, you got it. You can make your own bed and pick out your own clothes and fix your own lunch. I’m fine with it all. Now get dressed please.”

I was peeved. I couldn’t believe this child being defiant and first thing in the morning. I asked God for strength and we exited out the house headed for school. Munch didn’t speak to me at all. Ignored me on the whole car ride. I blasted gospel music to shift my mind and hopefully his too.

We exit and go into the school and as I’m signing him in for Before Care he doesn’t speak to the teachers when they say good morning. He walks away from me and is still ignoring me. I sigh. I said “Good morning” to the teachers, signed him and left. Five minutes later my phone rings and it is the Director of the Before and After Care program. She says how Munch had a breakdown and started crying because I just left.

She said that Munch said “She didn’t kiss me goodbye and she didn’t tell me that she loves me and to have a good day.” She said that they couldn’t console him. She asked could I speak to him. “Yes” I responded. He gets on the phone crying “Mommy, you didn’t tell me you love me. You didn’t kiss me goodbye.” I said “Munch, I realized that you were frustrated when you complained first thing this morning, I realized that you were still angry when you didn’t speak to me in the car ride over. I knew you weren’t over it when you walked away from me and ignored the teachers this morning. I accepted that. I love you so much but I will never chase anyone including you. My love is always given freely but I won’t chase someone to force it on them and this includes you. I love you more than life itself and will always love you. I love you more than you’ll ever know so have a great day.” He said “Okay, I love you too mommy.”  We got off the phone.

This parenting thing is hard. I struggle some days and find peace with my choices on most. But, in the end I’m still a work in progress learning and loving this beautiful boy that I’ve been blessed with.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Old Flames

Over the Christmas holiday I got a call from my ex boyfriend. He was in town and wanted to know can he stop by. I hadn’t laid eyes on this man in 20 plus years. We had stayed friends over the years. Just occasionally emailing each other and happy new year and happy birthday text messages. He lived his happy life married with kids in another state and I lived here.

I agreed and sent him my address. He said he’d be there in 30 minutes. I got excited. Not the “I want to impress you with my sexy self” excited. Just excited to see my friend. I just threw on some jeans and a shirt and awaited his arrival.

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It was such a wonderful experience to see someone that I loved and wanted to marry after so many years. We sat and talked for hours. I showed him pictures of Munch and my family and we just caught up. He said that he follows and reads my blog. He said he’s sorry that I’ve gone through so much with my ex-husband and wishes me the best.

We talked about our lives, dreams, family and futures. We talked about friendship and love. We talked about the past. It wasn’t a bad break-up. There were no tears or anger. I was a senior in college and I couldn’t be distracted by a relationship. So I ended it. I had to focus on graduating. I needed to align my spirit and focus. He understood. There was no hate.

It was innocent reminiscing. Love was still there. Not in a “let’s get back together or let’s sneak and ruin our relationships” kinda way.  In a love between two people that had crossed the threshold from lovers to true friends. Friends that respected each other. He was happy that I met someone who still makes me blush after two years of dating. He wished me nothing but happiness after all that I had went through. He was happy that I found peace after so much chaos.

Genuine happiness. I was genuinely happy for him and he was genuinely happy for me. Our roads took different paths but our love and respect for each other is still there. For that I’m truly thankful.

And yes I told Mr. C as soon as he left. He had called my house and the phone was upstairs and I missed his call. I called him right back when he left. He’s not jealous. He’s aware that he is loved.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Motivational Monday Moment – 01.22.18

Hey Everyone!

I’ve missed you all so much. Sorry for the unexpected hiatus. I had an accident and was out of commission and I’m just getting back in the swing of things. All is well and I missed you. I’ve learned a lot in my unplanned break and I realized that I hadn’t motivated you in the new year. Can you believe it? It’s the fourth Monday in 2018 and I haven’t given you a word of encouragement.

I am sorry. So, my motivational Monday moment is about the good. Finding the good. Seeing the good. Loving the good. Experiencing the good. Not just in today, but in everything. In you.

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I get it. Life gets hard. You feel overwhelmed by the surrounding bills, lack of job opportunities or emotional stresses of your marriage and/or family. But, you woke up. I know it’s rough, but you have to take it day by day and hour by hour sometimes. You have to see that you can get through this situation and not let it break you because joy comes in the morning.

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You have to be strong. You have to love the person looking back at you in the mirror. You have to see that you are worth it and know that you will survive. You have to feel that strength from the bottom of your feet and let it radiate through and around you. You can overcome this obstacle. You can overcome any obstacle. Thank God you don’t look like what you’ve been through.

Do you think I got married thinking that I would be divorced? Nope. My biggest fear was being a single mother. Why? Because I grew up in a single parent home when my dad walked out. I held out on having a child because this fear was real and present and I didn’t want to end up like my parents.

But I did.

I felt like a failure as a wife and a mother. I was repeating the cycle of having my son grow up in a broken home, but the love I had for Munch outweighed all my fears. Even when I couldn’t control the tears of my pain thinking that I was destroying my child, I knew that we would be okay. I needed to straighten my back and love this beautiful boy looking back at me because I knew that God never fails. I knew that I was finally free.

Free to be me. The real me. The me that doesn’t want to be bothered sometimes. The me that realizes it is okay to be perfectly imperfect. That’s when I started to grow stronger. To see that I could do it. Realizing that although my marriage failed, I wasn’t a failure. I was a survivor. I did it.

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I started to realign my thoughts, vision and faith to know that it will be okay. Fear is normal and I wanted and needed to be strong for Munch. It didn’t matter that I was met with anger, hurt, judgement, nitpicking and resentment. I had to keep pushing forward. But, you get that in anything right?

Whether you survived a bitter divorce, job loss, death or a dysfunctional relationship. You’ve survived something. Think about how it would have been so easy to give up and give in – but you didn’t. You are stronger than you think and give yourself credit for.

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No one’s life is easy. Everyone has survived something. You have to remember that there is strength in the survival and your past is just that. Your past. It serves only to remind you of how badass you are for surviving.

Now what? You’ve survived. Your self-esteem may have taken a blow. You may have lacked the courage to get up and keep moving for a while. But, you have too. You have to love you. You have to focus on you. You have to be the motivating force in your life that allows nothing and no one to stop you from loving you.

When I learned to love myself…to truly love myself, it allowed me the opportunity to receive and know love from Mr. C. I knew me. I loved me and as much as I love and adore that man, nothing was going to stop me from loving me more. Me needs to be okay to be able to love and support him. Me needs to be a priority. Self-care and self-esteem need to be at the top of my lists in order for me to be able to be a good mom, a good manager and a good girlfriend.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been there. I’ve survived and you will too. Trust that your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have. What kind of relationship do you have with you?

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.