Happy Resurrection Day!

What a beautiful Easter Sunday in Maryland! I’m going to both church services this morning because the Drama and Music ministries will be doing a program for the second church service.

I’m excited.

My Munch is in Danville, Virginia with his dad’s family. It’s a tradition that I started when he was an infant and one that he will always keep. It’s important for him to have the love of his grandma and her family engulfing him. She’s an amazing woman.

Munch was telling me last week that he was super excited to go and visit his grandma. He saw her last month for her 75th birthday, but he enjoys spending time with her. I smiled. When I asked him was he going to do an Easter egg hunt at his grandma’s house he said “I’m not sure.” “Well, I’m sure that she’ll get you a big Easter basket baby” I said. He said “Mommy, the Easter bunny brings me my Easter basket, not my grandma.”

And just like that I remembered that my son still believes in the magic of the Easter Bunny. I love that. In all the drama from the last week, it warms my soul to know that he still believes in the great things about being a kid. He knows that Easter is more than baskets or colored eggs. He knows that it is about the resurrection of Christ.

He will go to sunrise service at his grandma’s church with his dad. A beautiful church in the country where everyone has watched him grow up year after year. He will go downstairs after church is over for the sunrise breakfast that is a mandatory part of their service. He will eat breakfast and smell the scents of good ole’ country cooking. He will probably just eat the bacon and potatoes. He’s pretty particular.

He will pray and he will remember what this day is all about. I pray that he will hear me whispering “with God all things are possible.” This is not a day of sadness but of happiness because we know that Christ rose. So, on this beautiful Sunday I wish you thoughts of colored eggs, Easter baskets and bunnies, but more importantly I wish you the comfort of knowing that Jesus paid it all.

happy-easter-wallpaper-2014-images-greetings

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/.

March for Babies

Hey Loves,

I’ve decided to participate in March for Babies. I, along with some members of my sorority are walking in the March for Babies at Nationals Stadium on Saturday, May 6th. This is my first time participating in March for Babies, but I’m extremely excited.

Munch was born premature and thankfully didn’t have to spend time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because I was given the shot of steroids 6 weeks earlier. The shot of steroids were to help his lungs rapidly develop (since that’s the last thing to develop) because my cervix kept shortening. He’s fine, healthy and a precocious soon to be 9 year old.

However, he was lucky. Many children are not as lucky. Including some of the children of my friends. I can’t imagine losing a child, but many parents experience this loss. The March of Dimes focuses on the prevention of birth defects, infant mortality and the prevention of premature births.

I want to help. I need your help. I set my goal at $250.00. If each of my WordPress followers were able to donate just $5.00, I could surpass that goal. It would be $7,240.00. How awesome is that?

Any amount that you can donate will be greatly appreciated. No amount is too small and all amounts are tax deductible. Can you help? If you can help – please click on my fundraising page here: March for Babies

Thank you in advance. Your help is truly appreciated. I will post a follow-up after the March with pictures and my feedback. I want you to know how invaluable you are to helping others.

 

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/.

Interviewing: 5 Things To Do

I recently concluded interviews for an available position on my team and thought…Wouldn’t it be great to give prospective candidate tips on what to do when interviewing? Yep. So, that’s what inspired this post.

I last interviewed in May of last year so I’m relatively new to the job and can speak from personal experience on what you should do when interviewing. I’m a big proponent of number 5, but trust me that I know and think about all these items. Here’s my list of 5 Things To Do When Interviewing.

  1. Don’t Wear Lipstick and Not Check Your Teeth. Okay, you may be laughing and think that this doesn’t happen, but more often than not it does. I love a good lipstick. Remember my red lip in NYC on date night with Mr. C? But, if you wear lipstick on an interview, make sure that it doesn’t rub off on your teeth. Check your teeth and blot your lips before going on an interview. I’m so distracted if you talk and all I see is your front teeth covered in lipstick. Personally, I tend to wear a light gloss on an interview, but if you don’t make sure you’re interview ready by doing a grooming check.
  2. Don’t Wear Loud Colors. Things have definitely changed from when I graduated college and interviewed. Women can wear pant suits instead of a skirt set. I love that. More flexibility. But, please stick to the basic colors of suits when interviewing. The basics are: black, brown, tan, grey and blue. Please don’t do a red, turquoise or orange suit on an interview unless you are interviewing in an environment where that would be acceptable.
  3. Check your hygiene. I’m not just referring to taking a shower that morning and washing your body, I’m speaking of any strong scents. If you’re a smoker and you smoke, please know that nothing you can do will cover that scent. If you smoke in your house or car, you will smell that smoke in your clothes and it will linger in every room you enter whether you know that or not. That scent is not pleasant. The smell of smoke can be nauseating combine it with the fact that your interviewer may have allergies and you’ve just indicated that they will be allergic to you. Be considerate.
  4. Proofread your application/resume. Most employers require you to submit your resume through an on-line portal. Please make sure that your application is free of misspellings or typos. This is a big no-no. Print it out and review it before clicking submit. If you are applying for an analyst job, how can we trust you to be analyze data and your resume has typos? Take the time to be thorough.
  5. Sell yourself. This is probably one of the hardest things for people to do, but the most important. You need to be able to sell yourself in an interview. Talk about what you do and your accomplishments. Make sure they align with the job. Know what you’re talking about, but you have to be able to sell yourself by letting us know what you bring to the table. How can we know if you can do the job if you don’t talk about your accomplishments in the interview?  We won’t.

So, those are my tips. What are some of the things you would recommend to interviewers?

 

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/.

Divorced Again

I told you in yesterday’s post Failure of the Court how we went to court for a modification of custody to find out that we are still legally married to each other. The court failed us. We thought we were divorced, but the divorce wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. It was a sham.

In Maryland you can have both your divorce and custody tied together if there are no issues. It’s simpler, more effective and cheaper. I chose this route since I filed for divorce. It saved us time and money. However, because our custody was tied to the divorce and not separate. There was no custody agreement because there was no divorce.

You see the dilemma?

We were both having mini-breakdowns and trying to navigate what happens now. The magistrate explains that he can’t discuss custody because we’re still legally married and that divorce we were given is invalid so we can’t modify the custody as part of the divorce because the divorce is invalid. Basically, no one has custody. Are you freaking kidding me? What?

We were trying to digest all the information that was provided. The magistrate informed us that he was upset over the situation as well and wanted to get out of meeting with us because he couldn’t bear to hear that one of us had remarried and what that meant because he had defended a woman that had a similar situation in another county.

In Maryland, bigamy is a felony that can result in an individual spending up to nine years in jail.  The only way out of it is if your “ex-spouse” has been gone for seven continuous years or you don’t know where your “ex-spouse” is living at the time of your new marriage. That meant that if either of us had been remarried we would have been charged criminally with a felony because the courts screwed up our divorce. They don’t care if you knew about their screw up or not because you are charged criminally and divorce is a civil case.

This is getting more frustrating.

To learn that even if you didn’t know that your divorce was invalid and the courts were at fault and you get remarried you could still catch a felony case? To put it in perspective, our magistrate then tells us a story of a client he had a few years ago that went through this. She went through a bitter custody and property divorce. Her ex was upset because it wasn’t favorable to him. They settled custody and property and then the woman’s attorney filed for divorce. The divorce was filed 11 months after their separation and they were granted a divorce.

Fast forward two years and the woman is remarried and just had a baby with her new husband. She receives in the mail a bench warrant for her arrest and a notice vacating her divorce as invalid. Her “ex-spouse” had went to the state’s attorney’s office and requested that he check their files because their divorce wasn’t legal because Maryland required a 12 month separation not 11 months. The state’s attorney found out it was true and then the woman’s life became a two year nightmare of having to fight a felony bigamy charge, getting divorced, getting remarried and getting her life back.

We sat there dumbfounded.

I said “I don’t understand how the state can charge someone for something they did. The state is at fault because you can’t marry or divorce yourself so if documents aren’t valid then the state is at fault for that. How am I to be criminally charged with their poor hiring choices? That’s not my fault.” He responded “It’s not your fault and you did nothing wrong. But, Maryland law is firm.”

Thank God neither one of us remarried.

The magistrate then asks us do we still want to be divorced. Umm, yes. However, I said that I don’t want to pay for it. I paid the first time and it was a waste of money so everything should be free.

So, he has us go to the paralegal’s office down the hall and have them print out a complaint for absolute divorce and an answer to an absolute divorce. I then requested a complaint for custody and an answer to complaint for custody.

We completed the forms and I asked for sole custody in all paperwork. Both sole physical and sole legal.  I wasn’t going to stop his visitation, but I needed written confirmation on how we’re supposed to do this. We went back into the court room and the bailiff let him see my forms so he knew how to respond in answer. The bailiff gave the forms to the magistrate.

We asked questions on how do we proceed not having a signed custody agreement in place, he said as a lawyer I would advise you to keep things as they are until you go before a judge. No matter how you want to change it, the courts care about how the child is coping with things now.

We sighed.

He included a line in the decree to untie it from the divorce and we would get a separate custody agreement. He turned on the recording and then proceeded to divorce us.

We were divorced again. We left feeling somewhat defeated. This ordeal was working our nerves.

We then met with the scheduling coordinator and turned in our custody paperwork. The coordinator then scheduled all of the things we needed to do including the temporary hearing for 3 weeks. It was overwhelming to say the least.

We go to court again for a hearing on May 4th. My ex-husband (I pray this is in fact legitimate) and I will go to discuss a temporary custody agreement, attend parenting classes and mediation and then have a final custody hearing in August. It’s a hot mess.

We are trying to meet and work some things out on our own prior to our May 4th court date. The more that we try to do on our own and just have the courts put it in writing the better off. There are no winners in our battle for custody. I know that. Ultimately, Munch will be the loser, so knowing that allows me to try to meet with him and work some stuff out on our own.

At this point I realized and began to accept the silver lining in all this. What silver lining you might ask? The fact that he wanted a modification which got us back in court to realize that our first divorce wasn’t real and then actually get divorced again. This allowed us to not have to catch a felony case or sue the state for negligence.

You see? God was in 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/.

Failure of the Court

I want to thank each and every one of you who responded via a comment on my blog or on my Facebook page offering words of support, prayer and encouragement. I truly needed them and I appreciated them all. I have always tried to be transparent on many things in my life so that you could know that you are not alone in whatever situation you are going through. I go through things too.

That is why I decided to let you know about my ex and I going back to court yesterday in my post I Broke. The overwhelming support and prayers motivated me to know that yesterday would not be the end. It let me know that I am not alone. You are all amazing.

So, to update you on what happened yesterday…

We went to court yesterday. I, with my two witnesses and my ex with his 12 or 14. LOL, it was a lot. I only knew two people, but whatever. We checked in and didn’t speak and sat on different sides of the waiting room. Our court appointment was at 1:00. I checked in at 12:38 and we didn’t get called back until almost 2:00 p.m. It was so nerve wracking.

My mom and best friend tried to keep my nerves at bay by cracking jokes and trying to get me to laugh. It was very thoughtful. I just kept thinking about how God’s greatness and mercy are with me all the time and that whatever happens that I know God is in it. I had to stay focused on his promise and not this problem.

When called we all follow the bailiff to the court room. My party of 3 and my ex’s party of 15. The bailiff has us wait and then comes back and says that the magistrate only wants to see the two parents.

Okay.

That was weirdly unexpected, but whatever. It’s not a show. I get that.

We get into the courtroom and we’re told to have a seat. We explained that we didn’t know where to sit because it lists me as the plaintiff, but he had asked for a modification to the custody agreement so wouldn’t he be the plaintiff? He said “No, you’re still the plaintiff because it’s a modification to the original case and you were the plaintiff in that case.” Okay. We sat down.

Now, in Maryland they use magistrates. According to Maryland Courts “A family magistrate is an officer of the Circuit Court who is selected by the judges of that court to hear certain family law and juvenile cases.” He wasn’t a judge, but an appointment by the judge who is a lawyer. Not Joe Blow off the street.

Back to the story…

He then tells us that he’s having this conversation off record. He wasn’t recording it yet. We’re both new to this process so we were both fine with it. He asks the question about me filing for divorce and the divorce being granted last year. He asks me to tell him about that proceeding.

I told him what happened from the moment I filed for divorce to when we came to court and were divorced. He said “Okay, that’s consistent with what I read from the transcript and in your submitted paperwork.” He asked “Are either of you remarried?” I replied “I’m not.” My ex answered “No.”

The magistrate then tells us that “Okay, thank God.” He then tells us “You’re both still legally married.”

What?

How is that possible?

We sat there dumbfounded. He then tells us that there is a process in Maryland which we are required to follow before a divorce can be considered legal. Here is the process:

  1. You file for divorce with the court.
  2. Court sends you the paperwork outlining how to serve the individual.
  3. Individual is served.
  4. Person has 30 days to respond.
  5. If after 30 days no response is given, the person that filed for a divorce is supposed to submit a default based off no response given.
  6. After default is submitted a court date is given to both parties for a hearing on the matter.
  7. After attending the hearing a divorce is granted.

Now in our case, this is what happened:

  1.  I filed for a divorce.
  2.  Court sent the paperwork to me and I gave it to my best friend.
  3. My best friend sent the paperwork certified to my ex’s house.
  4. My ex never responded.
  5. I received a notice from the court for our hearing date and showed up.
  6. Went to court and we were granted a divorce.

So, steps were missed on the court’s part and the divorce wasn’t considered valid. Yep, we were as shocked as you reading this right now. How the hell could a court mess this up? How could a judge sign off on this knowing it wasn’t valid? What could have happened?

I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s post as this post is getting really long.

 

 

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/.

I Broke

I’ve always been honest with you about my co-parenting struggles. The relationship with my ex-husband is sometimes unnerving, antagonistic and dysfunctional to say the best. I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting.

I received a certified notice at my house in January. It was a certified letter from my ex’s cousin. I opened it up and in it was a Writ of Summons. He was petitioning the court to modify the custody arrangements. I cried.

I couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t even send me an email or try to communicate with me about his wishes before trying to take me to court. Nine months after custody was finalized he was trying to change it. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t object in March of last year.

I called Mr. C. I was a wreck. Between tears and anguish, I poured out my heart. I screamed “You see why I don’t trust him? Why would he betray me like this?” He said “Babe, calm down.”

I couldn’t. I couldn’t be calm. I had to get a handle on my life right now. I struggled to breathe. How could he do this to me? This is ridiculous.

I have physical custody of my son. My ex-husband has a visitation schedule with joint legal. I talked about this in my post last year entitled Closed. He knew that I was filing for sole physical custody. It was in the best interest of Munch. I never hid that from him. I wanted to modify the visitation schedule we were doing with every other week due to his health issues. He agreed.

I told him that I would give him time to let me know what he would like and proposed a Thursday to Monday every other week. I told him that I was open and to please let me know what he wanted to do. He said “Okay. I’m going to trust you. I’m going to trust that you’re not trying to keep my son from me.” I’ve kept up my end of the bargain.

I’ve never kept him from his son. Never. He came back to me a few months after the divorce was final and said he didn’t want to adjust the schedule. He wanted to keep it as is. Trying to appear fair and level headed and not the controlling b*tch that he’s called me, I agreed.

Best of interest of Munch. I allowed him to keep Thanksgiving and Easter. I offered him the opportunity to spend time with his son on Christmas Day too.  Any additional times he wanted to take Munch out of town or just be present in his life. Yep. I have no problem with that either. That’s his dad.

Best interest of Munch.

That is what I kept telling myself. It is in the best interest of Munch. The many arguments, the threats, the name calling. I’ve endured it all. I never harass him about payment for expenses and I don’t ask for child support. We agreed to equally support Munch. It’s not equal. I pay for medical expenses, dental expenses, swim lessons, tutoring, guitar, soccer and any and all equipment needed.

His response was “You never tell me how much stuff costs.” I sighed and responded “You know it’s not free. When I asked you before you said you didn’t know when you could give me the money.” I let it go. I didn’t worry about it.

Munch was my responsibility. I had primary physical custody. I can’t complain about the many expenses outside of the $150 a month he pays towards Munch’s childcare. I would take care of it. I adapt. I adjust my spending. I adjust and keep it moving. Allow my son to learn and love both parents equally.

I don’t say no to the things he needs or the experiences he wants. I figure it out. Alone. I just make sure that my son has the experiences he wants. I didn’t have that when I was growing up. My son would never know what that is like.

I submitted my response to the courts last month. I had 30 days. New information was presented to me. I amended my response and submitted it to the courts. I mailed everything to him. Now, we have to do what I thought we never wanted to do…allow the courts to decide what is best for Munch.

Today is the day that the courts have to be in our business and choose for our son. Am I happy about it? Nope. Am I surprised? Honestly, nope. Did I wish for better? Yeah. But, this is the luck of the draw. I chose this situation when I ended my marriage and this is where I find myself. Accepting responsibilities for my choices and fighting for the best interest of my child.

 

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– 4/10/2017

My Motivational Monday Moment is inspired by my momma. She told me to pray for protection. She and I were discussing some drama that I’m dealing with and she said that you have to remember to say your prayers of protection. Ask God to protect you from spiritual warfare.

What are the prayers of protection? They are Psalms 27, Psalms 37, Psalms 71 and Psalms 91. Ya’ll we are about to have church this Monday morning. This was right on time for me. I started reading the Psalms and it was my prayer to the Lord. I knew that I was on the path and that what I was going through was nothing new to Him.

The book of Psalms is a book of poetry. It speaks to were we are in different times in our lives and that God is still the same unchanging God. But, I needed to reassured of that because I’m going through a storm. That’s what my momma reminded me of. God’s protection is promised in these prayers.

God knows all and hears all. I need Him. I need his protection. You ever heard that phrase “Can’t nobody do me like Jesus?” Well, I was having that moment because I knew where my help and strength come from. I was humbled and reminded as my pastor said so eloquently yesterday in church “to recognize better”. I was in better.

I loved being in better and even though it seems that people wanted to keep me in bitter, I knew better. I needed God to protect my heart and my spirit. I know that I am not alone this morning. We’ve all been there.

The thing about this faith is that it doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials or tribulations. We will. We will be put in the middle of storm and wonder “Why, o’ why has my God forsaken me?” But, you know what? He hasn’t.

He is still the same God. We just need to ask God to be our protection. He hears all and answers all. If you’re going through your own personal hell or you know someone that is, send them the Psalms. Pray over them. Let them know that God is and has always been our refuge.

Happy Monday Loves!

 

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/.