Skipah’s World

When I got an email from Double T recently asking if I wouldn’t mind spewing my special brand of B.S. on her website while she would be down for a bit, to say I leaped at the chance would be an understatement.  I mean seriously, one of the most intelligent women I have the pleasure to call a colleague in the blogosphere asked this college flunky for a post, I would have been an idiot not to say yes.  That still doesn’t excuse the fact I’m an idiot, but I mean we are talking DOUBLE EFFING T asked ME for a guest post.

Double T is one of my sisters from a different mister.  We’ve both dealt with divorce, single parenting, and the mysterious phenomena known as family law.  It’s been so long ago I’m not exactly sure what brought our paths together.  It’s the wonderful thing about being a regular blogger, you meet people (not literally, but Double T and I almost did meet last year when I was in her part of the world for a couple of days).  I just remember reading some of her earlier posts about her precious “Munch,” and it just brought a warm and fuzzy smile to my face.  I was in the middle of an ugly custody battle that I ultimately lost and reading Double T’s blog and how much she looked out for Munch always had a connection with me.

Plus Double T and I are similar bloggers.  We just speak what is on our mind for the most part.  Baby momma/daddy does something stupid, we put them on blast with our words.  Remember now I’m an idiot, it cost me a ton of money legally, but I’m still pounding out meaningless words on a keyboard and meeting interesting characters along the way.

So who am I?  I’m the Skipah, a nickname that has stuck with me since I was a young teenager.  I got into this crazy little world of blogging back when I was blindsided by a divorce in 2014 fresh off a three day stay at the hospital after an unsuccessful attempt at perfecting the Klonopin diet.  I thought eating thirty of them would help me sleep a little better or, like, forever, but thankfully it didn’t.  In a state of confusion that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, I thought what the hell let’s start a blog.  Second chance on life, no reason to go back to the status quo and thus, Skipah’s Realm was born.

What started out as a nightly series of my own personal “keyboard” therapy as I was figuring out life while going through a divorce and one of the nastiest custody battles this area has ever seen quickly morphed into a passion.  The early days of my blogging career were literally me figuring out life on the fly, looking out for my daughter every way I could, and learning very quickly that the aforementioned family law game doesn’t work on common sense and facts.  More like the best lawyer(s) and the threat of a suicide attempt held over your head at every turn.  Of course, my little digital love child definitely didn’t help, and I learned quickly that a family law judge can pretty much make up the rules as he sees fit regardless if they are considered “legal” under criminal court.

Always centered around my daughter first and everything second, my blogging days morphed into just telling my story on a semi regular basis in hopes that some soon to be divorced dad would maybe stumble upon my little sector of the internet and figure out that life doesn’t end with an unwanted divorce.  In fact it is quite the opposite. Your child(ren) become your rock and keep you distracted when yet another legal bill comes in the mail and you are torn between peanut butter crackers or a can of Campbell’s soup for dinner because frankly that is all you can afford! After my divorce and suicide attempt, I really don’t get to rattled now when things don’t go my way.  Sure I bitch and moan (I am a man after all), but at the end of the day things usually seem to work themselves out.

Blogger world got a whole lot more interesting for me though on July 28, 2015.  I had been on a few dates post divorce, some went ok, one went into the batshit crazy zone, and one inconspicuous date had me travelling 45 minutes from home to this podunk little piece of Americana better known as Madison, Indiana.  Coincidentally it would be the last date I would go on with someone I had never met.

When Miss Madison (now my wife) walked into the land of Skipahsphere, that next year was easily the most fun I’ve had in blogging.  Between her, my daughter’s former KGB spy hamster (now deceased…R.I.P. Hammy), my future step-children, and good lord all the travelling Miss Madison introduced me to, Skipah’s Realm was a fun place to visit from time to time when you were missing out on something to read while killing time at the airport or sitting in the car rider line at school.

My proudest blogging accomplishment would be back when I did a little freelance work for Credit.Com and had an article featured in the financial section of Time.Com and the Yahoo finance page, as well as a few of the bigger newspapers in the country.  When I received a grant to go to the Dad 2.0 Blogger Conference in San Diego last year was pretty exciting also.  Throw in some big ticket product reviews and overall my career as a blogger has been eye opening to say the least.  What started out as my personal therapy really grew into something I would have never thought back when I hit publish for the first time.

So anytime you are bored and need to something to read to fall asleep, come on over to Skipah’s Realm.  These days it’s a series of bad jokes, me bitching about millennials, enjoying life with my new family, and currently trying to get this damn pool cleared up in our new house we just moved into a few months ago!  It’s never dull and boring around here, so come on by, hell you never know what we are up to around here!

Now before I go, my mom would rip my ass if I didn’t thank my buddy Double T for the opportunity to say a little piece on her site.  When I get back to the D.C. area I’ve already promised Double T dinner on me and we are eating some of the finest seafood the Chesapeake Bay can offer!  Give “Munch” a high five from me, and keep doing what you are doing as a single mom!

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This post was submitted by my friend Gary over at Skipah’s Realm. Check him out.

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God

July 2013

God! God help me! I can’t breathe God! The pain is insurmountable. I feel like I’m struggling. The devil is on my heels and I can’t seem to shake him.

God I know that I haven’t been faithful in following your lead. I know that I have chosen to live a life that you didn’t want. I know God. I know.

But, God! This pain is smothering me like a wet blanket on a hot fire. Take it away God! Please! I’m walking around like a zombie. My son is holding me as I cry myself to sleep.

God, I never knew life after wanting peace could hurt so much. Help me God! Help me move past my pain so that I can be strong. Munch needs me. I need him. You have never forsaken me God.

I must keep pressing on. You saved me God! Do it again!

Have mercy on me God! Have mercy.

G

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “G” is for God. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Effort

July 2013

It requires a lot of effort to fake indifference at my lot in life. To get up each morning and put on a smile and try for the sake of my son to be present in the moment. To not stress over the bulls*it games. To disengage from the noise and focus on being there regardless of those weapons formed against me.

But, I will not give up. Effort is exerting. I am tired. I’m trying to focus on the positive of my situation and accepting that Munch will be okay. I have to smile, show up and love. Love without limits and give freely of myself.

How can I do that though?

As he sat there packing his clothes to move out, he told me today that he could sue me for full custody and take half of my retirement. I couldn’t breathe. Life stopped. What were mere seconds felt like an eternity. How could you?

I don’t care about money. I care about Munch. I squared my shoulders and said “I don’t know who is filling your head with this BS but I will leave this house, put everything in storage and move in with my mother and get the best attorney and fight you with every thing I have. I will spend my yearly salary on an attorney, but you will not take him from me and when I’m done wasting your time and money in court, you will have 83 days a year instead of the 182 I offered.”

Silence. The thickness of my words filled the room. He stared at me.

The truth in my words lay like at his feet. Only death would keep me from my son. I wasn’t going to die.

Rage. I was filled with rage.

It takes effort to fix your mind when the person you loved the most tries to take the one thing you live for. The one person you breathe for. The person that needs you now more than ever. I have to stay strong. Munch needs me. I need to keep my sanity. Keeping my sanity requires effort.

I pray that God will continue to have mercy on me and give me the strength to keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. I must keep walking for Munch. For me.

No matter what.

 

E

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “E” is for Effort. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Divorce

March 2013

It’s over. I told him in January that I wanted a divorce. He wanted to take time to think about it. Think about what? We’re not happy. We deserve to be happy. It’s not getting better. I just have to cope with this change. Wake up and repeat.

Some days are better than ever. I’m an emotional wreck. I don’t want Munch living in two separate homes. But, this is what I signed up for when I asked for a divorce. I just have to get used to it.

What about schools?  What kind of school will Munch attend? I don’t really like the public schools in my area. I picked out a great Catholic school. We both went. Munch is allowed to spend a day with them to get used to it. That’s good news despite the stress.

I’m trying not to think about the fact that Munch is now another statistic. A child of divorce. Will he be okay? What have I done? I don’t think I thought about Munch. Am I being selfish?

I pray not.

I have to focus on one thing at a time. This is stressing me out. I need to get my mind right. Focus on the logistics; the parenting plan, finding a school and getting through his day care graduation. I feel like everyone is looking at Munch and I when we go anywhere. Am I wearing a big “D” on my forehead. I’m consumed with thoughts of how Munch will survive and whether or not he will survive this. Truthfully, I wonder if I will survive.

It is as it shall be. Another black boy from a broken home. This was my worst fear realized. I never wanted to raise a child alone.

D

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “D” is for Divorce. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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/.

Is He My Type?

Dating is hard. Heck, not much has changed since I’ve been in a relationship with my love. I get it. We all want that “perfect love”. That person that brings out the best in us. That person that we can just click with. The person that knows how to love us and love us right because we’ve all been hurt from prior relationships. Does this person exist?

Yes!

That person does exist. But, do you know the type of person that you should be dating? Have you spent time reflecting on your love language, your dating style, your compatability? Have you focused on finding the type of person that fits your personality?

I didn’t at first. See, when you’re in your 20’s and enjoying the great times of being young and career focused you don’t get the benefit of knowing who you are and what you truly want if you are randomly dating guys. You just enjoy the company, but you are more focused on your career. You have an objective to focus on love later.

I was in my late 30’s when I divorced and a lot had changed. I still didn’t know anything about me. I tried learning and dating was rough. The possibilities and the wrong selections felt overwhelming. I was drowning in a sea of the wrong ones.

At least that was my story.

That story changed when I found myself happy and in love after my divorce. Something that I never imagined possible. Not that love was impossible. I wanted to love again, but the happy piece – seemed impossible. The genuine happiness of feeling that I have an incredible partner that shares my journey with me. A man that helps me rewrite my thoughts about love and life each day because of his continued support of me.

I am a work in progress, but I have to tell you that I have learned a lot about myself after my divorce. I have been called “controlling” by men. Controlling is part of my nature. I think because of my abuse, I’ve learned to survive by controlling the aspects of my life that I can. My life. Not others. I live by the planner and calendar. It’s all I know.

But, that is only one piece of who I am. I discovered that I’m an alpha female. I talked about women who are alpha females and discovering that I was one in my post a few years ago and how that explained some of my behaviors. I wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think I was as bad as some may have described. Learning more about myself helped me to realize that there was nothing wrong with being who I am.

I’m strong and that’s okay. I’m an alpha female and that makes me self-assured and enterprising. I work for what I want. At all costs. That makes great determination when looking for a partner that will have your back.

In learning my personality type, I also learned my love language. My love language is quality time. If you don’t know about the 5 Love Languages, I suggest you take the quiz and learn your love language. This is part of learning who you are and what you want out of a relationship.

Arming myself with the knowledge of who I am and what I need helped me to be able to stand tall and speak what I wanted in life. I was able to determine who I am and what I need out of a relationship. The next step was figuring out were we compatible or not. That’s where my journey led me to Mr. C.

 

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/

Cursing and Conflict

One of the things that I’m trying in my relationship with Mr. C is to make sure that we have constructive conflict. Conflict happens as part of any relationship. It’s normal. It’s natural. But, many people (myself included) either avoid conflict or we aren’t taught how conflict is supposed to work.

My marriage was an example of this. We didn’t have healthy conflict. We saw many therapists and one relationship therapist turned us on to Gottman’s method for couples :

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The goals of the Gottman method are “to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.”

It sounds awesome in theory, but it was hard to do.  We didn’t get too far. It wasn’t our therapist fault. I got put on bed rest and couldn’t continue in the therapy sessions. My pregnancy was high risk so I didn’t want to discuss stressful things that could endanger my baby. So, I chose to stop it. The baby’s life was more important to me than working on my marriage.

I stifled the pain and frustrations of my marriage and focused on my baby. I was determined to carry my pregnancy to term so we in essence avoided the conflict. It wasn’t healthy. It was unsettling. We didn’t fight fair. Our foundation wasn’t built on solid ground and it began to crack after Munch was born.

We couldn’t communicate to save our lives. Neither of us had learned how to effectively communicate in relationships and that has moved into a major reason why we don’t communicate well now. Good communication is essential to anything you want to do in a relationship and let’s be real…co-parenting is a relationship.

I realized that I couldn’t do it alone with co-parenting, but I had to shift how I let things affect me. However, in my relationship with Mr. C this shift in poor communication was not something that I was willing to sacrifice. I was okay being alone. Learning how to communicate mainly through texts and emails was something I’ve gotten used to in co-parenting, but I needed a man that would talk to me, lead me and love me through our issues. Especially those that involved communication.

I am learning to be more open with Mr. C. To express my discontent on issues or frustrations in a way that he will hear me, but not make me feel as though I’m blowing things out of a proportion. I needed to make sure that we are practicing healthy communication behaviors. So, I did what I do best and began to research effective ways to communicate and how to have healthy conflict resolution.

I focused on my communication skills and wanted to research “fair fighting” and healthy conflict. I needed to know how to communicate my dissatisfaction in a relationship without it escalating into World War III. I wanted to be able to increase intimacy, respect and affection like in the Gottman method without either of us cussing each other out and I wanted to make sure that we understood our end goal was always to be heard and respected.

-To Be Continued-

 

 

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/.0

I Don’t Want That

Last week, in my post Marriage Isn’t For Everyone I told you that I’m freaking out because I’m not sure that I want to get married again. EVER. Not that I’m unsure about Mr. C.

He’s actually the only thing that I’m positive about when it comes to imagining my future. He’s the known. It’s the unknown that scares me.

In that, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety around our future. Last week we had a conversation and I shared with him how I was unsure of whether or not I wanted marriage again and asked could he be okay with that. I explained that I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but I didn’t know if I was the marrying type.

I told him that we’d essentially been there and done that and I asked would he be willing to be with me and live with me at some point with no prospect of marriage. He paused. He always pauses when asked deep and introspective questions, but this pause seemed to drag on for eternity.

He asked “What will we tell Munch?” I responded “The truth. That families come in all different forms and that we are a family and the love we have for each other supersedes. I’ll tell him that we love each other and maybe we’ll get married some day, but at this point, I don’t want too. I want to live and build a home and a family with you.” He asked could he get 24 hours to think about it. I agreed.

We resumed our conversation and he said that he could accept that I may never want to marry one day. He wanted to know would it be one-sided. Basically, if I woke up one day and said “Hey, let’s get married now and he didn’t want too would I be okay with that.” I paused. I hadn’t thought about that. I assumed that he would be okay with a “Hey, let’s get married now announcement.” But was it really fair? No. So, I told him “Yeah, I have no choice. It’s both of us. It’s about our family and our legacy.” He said he was fine with it.

I didn’t know if I believed him or not. I gave him a lot of information to process. I prayed that he understood that I loved him, wanted to be with him, raise my son with him and grow old. However, the male ego is precious and I didn’t know if my declaration about not wanting marriage would roar it’s ugly head in another way. Was I really being fair to him if we wanted two different things?

– To Be Continued –

 

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/.

 

Marriage Isn’t For Everyone

I have a confession.

Ugh!

I don’t know how to really say it.

Saying it out loud scares me.

But, we’re friends right?

I can trust you with this confession.

Okay, here goes…

I don’t know if I want to get married again.

Whew!

I said it.

I’m scared though.

What does that mean for my relationship with Mr. C? We’re planning our lives together. To be united as man and wife. To love without limits and live together legally. In God’s eyes. In man’s eyes. But, I don’t know if I want that anymore.

Not that I don’t want him. I love him. I want him. I literally thank God every day for the love this man has given me and continues to give me, but I have such negative thoughts about marriage. My last marriage left a horrific metallic taste in my mouth.

It felt like a sham. The fact that we still have to communicate for the sake of Munch reminds me of how horrible someone can change when love just doesn’t reside there anymore. I don’t want that with Mr. C. That’s what scares me.

I know he’s not my ex. He’s different. Completely different. But, marriage. Marriage changes people. Divorce changes people. Children change people.

Sometimes for the good. Sometimes for the bad.

Mr. C told me the other day that he wanted us to adopt. A little girl. A six year old girl after we got married. I laughed.

I later had a panic attack. I can’t do this. I can’t raise a child and go through a horrible custody battle if we don’t work out. I don’t want to divide up assets or create a shared custody schedule. I can’t put another child through the pain that I’ve already put Munch through.

I thought we had agreed to no more children. Hell, I almost cried when the doctor told me that my ovaries are acting 15 years younger than I am. What the hell? I don’t want anymore children.

Sigh.

It’s true.

Not now.

Not ever.

In a perfect world – I wish that my man and I can live and raise our children together. That we will laugh and love until we tire of each other. If we don’t ever tire, I pray that we shall grow old and gray and thankful that God gave us each other.

Not legally bound.

But spiritually.

Is there something wrong with that wish?

 

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/.

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/.

 

 

Holding Crazy Accountable

I’m in a lot of Facebook groups and one thing that I come across a lot is that “women are crazy” comment. Whether it be in a dating situation that’s gone bad or in co-parenting situations – women are the root cause of the problem. LOL. Are we always the problem or do people not hold themselves accountable for their choices?

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I’ve always believed that there are three sides to every story. His, hers and the truth. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. But, many people don’t accept accountability for their actions and like to blame everyone else for their shortcomings instead of looking back at the man or woman in the mirror. Are you that type of person?

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I hate when men say that women are crazy. Heck, men are crazy. People are crazy and in reality anyone can have a crazy moment and just lose their minds on you. These are called traumatic events, love.

No, for real, we all have the ability and power to lose our minds occasionally. Haven’t you done or said something you’re not proud of out of anger? Does that make you crazy or just annoyed and out of bounds? I think there is a difference.

When dating men that say that their ex is crazy, I ask a lot of questions. You should too. I ask some of the following questions:

  • What types of things did she do that were “crazy”?
  • What did you do preceding these “crazy outbursts”?
  • Did you break-up after she showed you her “crazy” side? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that you are an enabler?
  • Did you seek therapy after the break-up?
  • Did she experience trauma that changed her mental health? Was there a death of a parent, child or close friend/relative?

You can learn a lot about a person just by asking questions. You can learn whether or not they take responsibility or accountability for their actions? How many of us do that in dating and/or in our relationships? Go deeper when getting to know someone. Men can be vague, but you have to know who you are dealing with so you can get beyond the surface.

You know how I feel about accountability. I know that many people will tell you to not ask about prior relationships, but I want to know. How a man talks and treats women in his life: his mother, his ex wife, ex girlfriend or child’s mother gives me an indication of how he views women. Does he talk about her always in a negative light? Why? Is he taking accountability for his part?

I’ve always said that it takes two people to get married and two people to get divorced. Two people make a conscious choice to have a relationship and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but rarely is one person truly blameless. If you are is it that you ignored the cracks in your relationship hoping and praying that ignorance is truly bliss? Then when the relationship disintegrated around you did you lose it?

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Playing the blame game doesn’t get you far. Accountability is important not just in life but in our relationships as well. How can you strengthen your relationship if you are not holding yourself and each other accountable for the success and/or failure of it? You can’t and maybe just maybe you are the crazy one.

 

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/.