Day 6: Other Women – My Sisters

Ya’ll know that I love women right? I’m such a strong advocate for women and sisterhood and this year has been nothing but amazing. From me being published in my first book: Letters to Girls Who Dream of Flying to being selected to be published in another book that is coming out in June 2018, I’m so thankful. I’ve met so many wonderful women along the way that have reached out to me for collaboration, encouragement and support. So, Day 6 of my #23DaysofThankfulness is for these women.

All across the country, God is putting strong women in my life to encourage my spirit, further HIS work and just collaborate on projects. I love it. I love being able to promote and share the works of others. It takes a village and I am so thankful for all these other women. You are loved. You are appreciated. You are valued.

Thank 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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Christmas Wish List

Can you believe that the holidays are around the corner? I remember this time last year praying that 2016 be better than 2015 and now we’re almost in 2017. Could it be better? Nope. I am truly blessed. I have so many blessings to be thankful for and I’m just looking forward to the holidays. I love Christmas.

Not for the gifts, but for the reason…Jesus is the reason for the season. I make sure to donate to multiple charities, give unwrapped gifts and participate in holiday sharing. Giving back is essential when you’ve been blessed. I’m setting up the tree, scheduling photos with Santa and planning photos in front of the National Christmas Tree with me, my man and my son. I’m really in the holiday spirit.

Since I am a difficult person to shop for and I don’t like surprises. I know, I know. Blame it on the Capricorn in me, I thought it would be great to give him a list of Christmas wishes. He could choose one, all or nothing and I would be just as happy. However, he’s a man and he may need a hint.

So, here’s my Christmas Wish List:

Amazon Echo Dot – $49.99

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Harry Potter 8 Disc Set on Blu-ray – $54.96

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Ugg Rain Boots – $64.95

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Ashley Stewart Sweater – $49.50

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Fitbit Alta (X-Large) – $84.96

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Pajamas from Lane Bryant – $59.95

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Motivational Monday Moment – 12/5/16

Today is the first Monday in the last month of the year. Today’s Motivational Monday Moment is about realizing your dreams. Saturday was an amazing day for me. It was the day that I was inducted into one of the Divine 9 black sorority organizations. It was a lifelong dream for me to be a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. One of those precious dreams that I never really shared because I didn’t want someone to step on it.

So I held that dream close. I didn’t let many people know. It didn’t happen in college because the sorority didn’t have a line when I was ready to go through the membership process. It hurt. Disappointed wasn’t even the word that could describe that pain. However, they were wonderful and invited me to join the graduate chapter that they were linked too. I didn’t.

Life got in the way. Grad school, a second job, dating, moving, marriage, career moves and then a baby. But, my dream was still there. Silently. In my heart. Hoping that one day if God saw fit it would work in my favor. I never gave up on my dream. I just pushed it to the back of my heart and mind.

I prayed and let life happen. I moved forward in determination knowing that it was only a dream deferred, but that one day it would be realized. That dream slowly began to manifest into reality when I reached out to my girlfriend who is the cousin of my best friend. She is a Zeta. I wanted to know was there an interest meeting.

There was an interest meeting. That Sunday in fact. Two days from our conversation. She invited me to attend. I was ecstatic. I said “Okay, God let’s do this.” So, began my journey. From interest to interviewee to aspirant to soror. It was a journey in which I didn’t think I could complete. I was a working mother and the nights were long and I couldn’t take off work. I just started my job in June.

I told you the issues with Munch’s school right? So, I’m emailing the teachers, principals and administrators, going to conferences and managing a team of four people. Burning the candle at both ends would have been an understatement. But, when you are determined, you push forward despite the adversity and the naysayers trying to steal your joy.

Many days I felt like I was failing Munch. He would literally not see me most of the time. I was at meetings while my mother picked him up from school, fed him, helped him with homework, bathed and put him to bed. Munch would wake up in the middle of the night and climb into bed with me. I would snuggle close to get the body warmth of the little boy I birthed. Feeling at peace.

He asked one day “Mommy, what are all these meetings you are going too?” I just smiled and said, “Mommy has dreams Munch. I can’t share it yet, but one day I will and I promise you that you will know that my time away from you was not in vain.” I would kiss his forehead and hug him close and pack my bags and materials for the day’s meeting.

But, things were happening in spite of feeling like I was neglecting my son and being a failure in the best role I’ve ever had. God was giving me signs that this is the path that I’m supposed to be on. He was confirming to me that my dream that I had deferred would be realized. I would get nervous. I would get anxious. I would think the impossible because what I wanted more than anything seemed unattainable. But, I prayed.

I met the most wonderful five women that I could ever have the pleasure of knowing to go through this process with me. We studied. We learned. We laughed. We recited. We leaned. We consoled. They were the best part of the journey. They understood and supported each other that I knew that one day, we would become sorors.

And we did. On Saturday. It was a total surprise and a weight lifted off our shoulders. We had all made it! Together. We understood the importance and value in sisterhood. We all cried.

So, my Monday Motivational Moment is this…you are never too old to realize your dreams. They may be deferred. Misplaced or forgotten, but search deep within your souls and bring them forth in your mind, spirit and heart. Nothing can be accomplished if you don’t believe in your dreams first.

The Aftermath

I thought it would be easy. You get married and live happily ever after…RIGHT?

WRONG! 

We were together for 4 years before we got married. I no longer wanted to “shack up”. Like the saying goes, “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” I wanted to do it the right way. We were living together, working, raising our son, and I wanted to be his wife, not just his girlfriend. So we went to the courthouse and did it! We were married now. WOW!!

I am a married woman now, it was astounding to me. I had only been in one other relationship and that was with my oldest child’s father and it ended because I was unfaithful to him. I WAS A CHEATER!

I didn’t know what it was like to be committed and faithful to someone. I slept around so that I didn’t have to deal with people emotionally and mentally. My past kept me from the idea of love and being loved. 

I told myself that I would cheat before they cheated on me. I didn’t want to be hurt first, I was going to do the hurting. Absurd, right? 

A fellow blogger, Tikeetha from A Thomas Point of View, asked one of the hardest relationship questions: “Would you want to know if you were being cheated on?” 

I knew! He changed and I wasn’t being the wife that I should have been. I was distant, focusing on work, taking care of my motherly duties while neglecting the wifely duties. It was easy for him to cheat, I gave him permission. I allowed this other woman to come into our lives. He should have been stronger, he had needs too. 

I blame myself because my lack of attention and affection gave way for this woman to enter into our marriage. It was physical for him. When women cheat, it is from an emotional standpoint. She knew about me, but I had no clue who she was. He told her what I wasn’t doing and that’s all she needed to hear and she didn’t care.

We no longer respected our marriage. We no longer honored our marriage. Those vows that we took were just words now

I am a child of divorced parents and its the best thing that my mom could have done. I considered divorce, I had sent the papers to him in an email and asked him to review them and make any necessary changes. I never got a response. I assumed he thought I was just kidding, but I was for real. How could we live together in a home where there was no peace, no respect, NO TRUST,and NO LOVE? 

We separated for several months, he was seeing other people and so was I, but somehow we gravitated back to one another. I loved him and he loved me. We had to have a heart to heart with one another. I needed to be HEARD and not just talked to. During the separation, I FOUND MYSELF! I had become LOST IN LOVE! I had no clue who I had become. I was just EXISTING, not LIVING! 

Today, we are in a better place. We talk and listen to each other. We encourage one another and most of all WE ARE BACK TO LOVING ONE ANOTHER. It may not be for everyone, but staying married is HARD. It is so easy to pack up and sign divorce papers and not know the reason that you are no longer together. We didn’t go to therapy, WE PRAYED! 

 

This post was written by one of my fellow bloggers A. Hawkins. She blogs at A Perfectly Flawed Ruby and you should definitely check her out.

The Musings of A Diabetic – Part 2

I called Mr. C. in frustration and shame. How the hell could I get diabetes? I’m 41. There is no family history of it. He calmly stated “It’s going to be fine. You can beat this. You should take the medication and keep working out. We’ll find out what you can and can’t eat.” I sighed. I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Life never is.

But, he was optimistic. He was supportive. He was encouraging me. He wasn’t going to let me suffer a defeatist attitude and proclaim the end of my demise. He was going to be there pushing me to the limits to not give up.

I accepted it. I needed it. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in my desire to LIVE. To live for my Munch. I had too much work to do.

I started increasing my steps. Stretching. Watching what I’m eating. Everything was scrutinized. Reduced my alcohol intake by 95%. I was going to fight this.

I tested my blood, took the pill and continued my workouts. Chicken. I eat a lot of chicken and lean protein. I have water all the time. With every meal. No thank you to wine. No thank you to dessert.

The doctor said that my numbers have to be less than 100. It was at the 121 range. More water. More research.

Then last week I needed a caffeine boost. I wanted a soda. I went to the vending machine. The choices were few. I wanted a soda. I hadn’t had one in months. I needed some caffeine. Ugh! They only had Pepsi products. I’m a die-hard Coca-Cola drinker. So, I settled on a Dr. Pepper. They didn’t have diet but I needed a Dr. Pepper.

I took it back to my office and drank a little less than a third. The need was satisfied. I was feeling satiated by the caffeine. I put the top back on the bottle and continued about my day.

The rest of the day was normal. I went to work out, ate a healthy chicken salad and drank water. Took my shower and went to bed.

The next morning I awoke and took my blood sugar before I left the house. It said 161.

I was devastated. This was the highest it had ever been. I couldn’t understand what did it.

I packed my lunch of chicken breasts and beans, water, strawberries, watermelon and water. I grabbed a couple of Greek yogurts and headed to work. Stressed as heck. Not sure what the hell was going on in my body I started to freak out.

I called Mr. C and he instantly knew something was wrong. I told him my levels and how I didn’t do anything differently so I didn’t know what the issue was. He told me to relax and that we would get this under control.

He reminded me that I didn’t become diabetic overnight so it would take time for me to figure out what I can and can’t eat. He said, “It’s only been a month. We’ll figure it out.” Hmm, I like that. We’ll figure it out.

He calmed me down. I started to feel a little better until I got to work. When I went to put my lunch in the kitchen I saw this sign:

I had an Aha moment! I know knew what sparked my elevated sugar. That damn soda. I had no idea how many grams of sugar were in that Dr. Pepper. It has 64 grams of sugar. Women are supposed to have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar daily. That damn soda was triple the amount of my supposed daily sugar intake.

Worst part? I didn’t even drink it all. That little taste of soda elevated my blood sugar. After feeling better about what I learned I began to research ways to lower my blood sugar and monitor sugar in every little thing.
Mr. C sent me some great articles including this one about 12 Powerfoods to Beat Diabetes and I went to the grocery store that evening. I purchased some apples, citrus fruits, cinnamon (to sprinkle on everything), steaks, spinach, and apple cider vinegar. I’m trying everything.

I grilled some steaks that evening and packed a lunch of a grilled steak, spinach greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, sprinkled with cinnamon and a little bit of a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I packed my fruits and bottled water. I was going to live.

I took my blood sugar the next day and it was 142. Higher than normal but it was coming down. I don’t know if it was the 2 tablespoons of vinegar that I digested an hour before I ate or not, but I’m going to keep digesting the vinegar, sprinkling ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on my meals daily and eating leaner and healthier food.

Now, if I could just find a quinoa recipe that I can cook (easy) and doesn’t taste like crap, I’ll be in business.

What Does Love Look Like to You?

I asked that question to Mr. C the other night after I read this great post on FaceBook the other night:

I asked him what does love look like to him. He told me his response and then he asked me the question. What does love look like to you? I explained that love to me was about self-love first. I told him how when I was married I didn’t really love myself the way that I should. I wasn’t “whole”. I was looking for my ex-husband to love me. I was trying to get him to fill the missing pieces. But, in reality I was setting him up for failure. Why?

No one can love you more than you love yourself. If you lack self-love, no matter how wonderful a person is you will never feel complete. You will always feel as though you are missing something. You won’t feel like the whole person you should be before you venture into love.

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Me? I was missing the ability to recognize, own and deal with my own issues. I was pushing those issues in my overfilled closet of my mind and trying to keep them stuffed in there. It wasn’t fair to him. It definitely wasn’t fair to me.

If we’re being honest though, I did tell him that I had three eighteen wheeleer’s worth of baggage and asked him was he sure that he wanted to get involved and marry someone like me. He said yes. I guess we were both gullible.

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Which led us to the path of divorce. But, I want to stress the importance of loving ourselves. Loving ourselves past the pain of our past. I didn’t. I didn’t forgive myself for past pains. I held onto it like a blanket of comfort when all it was doing was smothering me. I let my poor choices snowfall into making poorer choices which resulted into me feeling unfulfilled in my marriage.

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Not truly loving yourself allows you to allow foolish men to enter your life. Not every man that I encountered was foolish. Many just made poor choices that I just went along with because I was being that “ride or die” woman. What the what?

We are meant to be partners. We are not meant to be disposable pieces for a man. The loyalty, respect, trust and promises should be automatic. We should never take each other for granted and we should ride or die for each other.

If you are the only one riding or dying for your relationship then it is one sided. You feel as though you are always missing something. You feel like you’re not whole. Your mind, body and spirit are not in alignment. You are struggling. I know. I’ve been there.

I was literally struggling to find my identity. Who was I? What was the problem with me? Why did I allow people in my life who were not worthy or deserving? Why can’t I resolve my issues.

Relationships are fluid. They go where they are supposed to when you realize that the amount of love you have for yourself will never allow you to settle. Love you first. 

I learned that. I love me now more than I ever thought possible. I got over the pain (with Jesus, wine and therapy) and truly understand what it means to be happy and healthy. I don’t look for other people to validate my existence. I don’t waste my time (which is valuable) on men that won’t share their time freely with me. I exist in this space where my first goal is to love myself first. That allows me to receive love and in turn be open to loving again. That’s what love looks like to me.