Welcome May

It’s the first day of May! Happy May Day! We survived another month. Yay! Have you set your monthly goals yet?

I am writing my down. I am just trying to get it all together. There is a lot going on. Having survived “Sprinter” (spring and winter) I think spring is finally here. Definitely more outdoor fun.

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Now, that I’m done with the A to Z Challenge I’m going to spend more time blogging. I’ve missed you guys. I’ve missed sharing my life with you. I’ll be having surgery at the end of the month so I won’t be posting as much. I am looking for volunteers to post while I’m recovering, so please let me know if you are interested.

Here are my goals for May:

  • Submit at least one article for publication
  • Post at least 3 times a week
  • Schedule posts on the 2 Facebook groups I moderate and my own blog
  • Surgery preparation
  • Schedule a couple of blog posts
  • Attend sorority events and meeting
  • Brunch with my girls
  • Pay off Brennan’s summer camp
  • Write at least 25 pages in my book this month (this will be the hardest)

 

That’s it for me. What are your goals? Are you interested in guest posting while I’m out on medical?

 

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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It’s the A to Z Challenge

I’ve decided to participate in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. This is the first time that I’ve done the challenge and I’m excited. I will try to limit my posts to once a day to coincide with the challenge so that you are not bombarded. But, please bear with me.

The challenge will run through the month of April. Check out how you can sign-up to participate and be on the lookout for my theme reveal next week.

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The A to Z challenge is scheduled to run through the month of April. You can sign-up now through April 1st here:  AtoZ Challenge

Wish me luck!

 

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/

6 Blogging Lessons

We are community of bloggers who write and hope that people will read our stuff right? That people will engage and want to share our material, right? Good. So, I wanted to share my 6 blogging lessons.

  1. Do Unto Others What You Would Want Done to You – The golden rule. You want to make sure that you are writing quality material on your own. Don’t plagiarize or steal someone’s stuff. Don’t have a blog set-up with no original content and then just share everyone’s stuff. I understand you are probably sharing things you enjoy, but take the time to write a couple of quality pieces on your own. Post memes or whatever, but let other bloggers know who you are so an interaction can begin. If bloggers share your work, thank them. Whether it be a tweet or a reblog, please acknowledge that.
  2. Open Link in a New Window – This is the most basic blogging lesson that I have to share it. When you are linking to a prior post, someone else’s site, etc. Please click that little box that says “Open Link in a New Window”. That allows me to see what you’re sharing but be able to like and comment on your post. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve clicked on a post to be directed to something new and forgot to go back and click on your page to like or comment. You lose me with that one and I assume that I’m not the only one you’re losing.
  3. Schedule Posts – Many people ask me how I do it all. How do you comment, read and write while working a full-time job? It’s tough. I try to plan out as many posts as I can for the next 7 days. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. However, the lesson learned is that you have to plan out your topics. Think about things you want to share and schedule them around peak times. Check your peak times (when most bloggers view your blog) and try to schedule around that time. It may drive more viewers to your blog. Don’t be afraid to write things out. I journal a lot of thoughts and try to develop them as I’m writing and working. It helps.
  4. Don’t get frustrated – We all hit a writer’s block. Too many thoughts and nothing in particular that we want to write about. It happens. Maybe you’re in a funk and you figure no one cares. We do. Write about what matters to you. We are a village and sometimes your post will inspire and encourage someone. Blogging isn’t an overnight success business. Your numbers will fluctuate. You will feel like you’re not growing at the pace you should. What pace is that? Everyone’s journey is different. Write what matters and adjust as you need. There is no overnight success.
  5. Don’t do a follow for follow – I get it…you’re new. You want to grow your base. However, don’t harass bloggers into following you. Let the relationship grow naturally. If they read your posts, engage with you many times people will follow you. They see you’re genuine and want to like and interact with you. If they don’t do it…no worries. Nothing is promised. Choose to follow them or not, but don’t guilt or harass them into following you.
  6. Read Other Bloggers – When you are blogging, working full-time, going to school, have children, etc or a life,  it gets frustrating because you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done. I get it. But, you have to be committed to those that are committed to you. You have to read the work of others and comment. I like a lot of posts. I will share posts on my Facebook page and many of you may not know it. I tweet great reads. I stay connected. Me liking your page means that I’ve read what you said. Trust me…I will not like everything and that is okay too. You don’t have to like everything someone writes.

Well, those are my 6 lessons learned in blogging. Anything else you want to share? Anything I’ve missed?

 

 

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 Need You To Stop

Stop what you may ask? Please stop sending me messages in comments asking me to follow your blog. I don’t know about you, but I hate when I get comments on a post with bloggers indicating that they’ve followed me and I would like me to follow them. I need you to stop it.

Why?

I follow over 1,000 bloggers. If you follow me, please note that I may look at your blog immediately and see if something resonates within me and follow you as well. However, I’ve learned that many people follow to follow. That’s not what I do. If I follow you, I will have your posts sent to my email which means that I read about 100 or more posts a day. I don’t just follow everyone.

I currently follow many people that don’t follow me. Does it bother me? No. I follow those who I enjoy. What bothers me is if I comment on a blogger’s post and they never respond. However, that’s not the case with those that I follow.

They are responsive and that is why I keep coming back to read their posts. Follow those bloggers that you like to read. Not the ones that you are trying to get to follow you just because. Cultivate an authentic blogging relationship.

If you want to gain new followers, please find a new way other than posting a comment asking me to follow you because you followed me. Spend time getting to know me. Comment on some of the things that I write. Show me you’re actually reading what I post and I promise you that kind of engagement will always make me follow you so that I can return the favor.

What are your thoughts on this?

2016 – A Year in Review

Hey Everybody!

As 2016 is coming to a close I wanted to share my year in review or my stats. I’ve been blogging off and on for 8 years and I moved from Blogger to WordPress in 2014. It was in 2015 that I got serious and wanted to post more frequently. I made a decision to write and post frequently. Whether it was short and sweet or long and informative, I wanted to keep writing. I also made it a point to engage and share other bloggers material.

I read A LOT. I have to tell you that even when I take a break, I will catch-up on your posts (they are sent via email) and respond. Many times it may be a like, but I will tweet and share your posts to my Facebook page. I love following and reading your words. It inspires me to see that you can be busy and go through things and still have time to write. It also let’s me know that there is no excuse. I can do it.

I can do it.

So, here’s the growth of my stats from 2014.

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What’s good about the stats is that it shows substantial growth for the last 3 years that I’ve been blogging on WordPress. This growth is mainly due to reading any and everything from well established bloggers, up and coming or just starting out bloggers. I spend time commenting and building a relationship with my followers and other bloggers. Heck, many of you know me personally like I know you. We would probably hang out if we lived closer.

That’s the key to this blogging thing. Developing and nurturing relationships with other bloggers. Why? Because if they spend time reading and commenting on your work, try and get to know them. Read and comment on their posts. Engagement.

Which brings me to that weird chart posted. I was happily surprised by what I saw and appreciated the story it was telling me so I wanted to share it with you. My chart shows progress.

Here are some important facts:

  • In 2014  – I had 2,918 views;  1,990 visitors; 79 likes; 31 comments; 120 posts published.
  • In 2015 – I exceeded this goal tremendously. I had 12,756 views; 6,498 visitors; 1801 likes; 936 comments and 294 posts were published.
  • In 2016 – I grew yet again. I have almost 1100 WordPress followers alone. To date I’ve had 33,389 views; 14,934 visitors; 11,812 likes; 5,487 comments and I’ve published 342 posts.

Here are some of my blogging goals for 2017:

  • Keep up the publishing schedule. Currently I try to post Monday through Friday, but occasionally I will have weekend posts. Even if I don’t post, I would like to spend more time sharing/reblogging your posts.
  • Reblog more. I follow some amazing writers/bloggers and in 2017, I want to share your moving pieces with my network. Many of you may already follow these bloggers, but if not, you will find great people to follow.
  • Redesign the blog. I’m looking into some things for 2017 so please be on the lookout.
  • Featured bloggers/interviews. Sometimes life gets in the way, but I would like to do a monthly interview of bloggers. If you’re interested, please send me an email at mskeeinmd@gmail.com.
  • Get my YouTube/V-Log Up. I set this for a goal in 2016 and didn’t get to it. I need to make this happen.

Message to following to follow bloggers…

I have to warn you against pressing bloggers to follow you. When I follow bloggers, it is genuinely because I enjoy their work. If they don’t follow me, I don’t worry about it. I don’t harass them to follow me either. I want followers that want to be engaged, not just people that are looking to follow for a follow. I like authentic relationships. Does that mean that we agree on everything? Not at all. I’ve had some of the best disagreements in thought with fellow bloggers. I enjoy it. It is never disrespectful and I learn a lot. Just enjoy growing your blog in your own time.

1,000 Followers!

Woohoo! I am at 1,000 WordPress followers. I can’t believe it. Ya’ll remember that it was in late September that I was excited to have made 800 WordPress followers. I’m now at 1,001 and received this notice…

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What an amazing blessing! I never thought being on this blogging journey would yield this amazing result. I thank you so much for following me, liking my posts and interacting with me. This has been a journey and you are all valued and appreciated.

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Never would I have imagined that I would meet such wonderful bloggers while just writing. Pouring out my heart and hoping that you can relate to me. I’m not the same person that I was last year. One year ago. I’ve changed so much.

Growth.

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It’s been scary, but you’ve been part of this journey. 2016 has been sweet and I can’t wait to keep pushing forward. I thank you a 1,000 times over.

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I’m a Crybaby

Or maybe I’m just sensitive as hell. Why? Because folks get to me. I try to be hard. To not show my softer side. But, I just can’t help it. Damn allergies!

This has been an incredible week for me. I’m leaving my job today after almost 3 years. I have been blessed with an incredible opportunity to lead my own team and I’m ecstatic. I will totally miss the folks that I called my work family. I’ve learned a lot and now it’s time to show what I can do.

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I’ve always believed that you should always do for others not looking for praise but genuinely because you want them to do well. In any capacity. I love blogging. I’ve met some wonderful people along this journey. Some good. Some that I’m not sure about yet, but I’m thankful for the interactions. Those interactions have allowed me to learn and grow in ways that I can’t imagine.

I follow two wonderful bloggers Stephanie at Making Time for Me and Jessica at Not The Average Mama. Both women are wonderful bloggers and I really want you to check out their pages and subscribe. But, what I wanted to share is that Jess wrote this great post about co-parenting and I was so moved by it that I recommended that she submit it to the Huffington Post in their Blended Family series. I gave her the email address and she submitted the story and they’ve accepted it and will feature her. Here’s what she said to me:

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Because of that they also reached out to Stephanie to ask her to tell her story too. Isn’t that awesome? It’s a blessing that these wonderful women and mothers can come together and share some common sense with us. They experienced trials and bumps along the way, but they are an inspiration to everyone on effective co-parenting. See what Stephanie had to say about the situation while commenting on my blog.

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You know I cried right? I’m a softy. But, it didn’t stop there. This wonderful blogger Stephanie at Stephellaneous said this to me yesterday:

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I literally sat at my desk with tears streaming down my face. Why? Because I’m a marshmallow. I know. I love blogging. I love writing. I love men. I love children. I love so many things about this world. I also don’t like some things. I try to bring you into my thoughts and life each day with a post. Never to change you but to share my story. My truth. My lessons learned. I was married. I am divorced. I am a mother. I was barren. I was poor. I date. I have lots of girlfriends. I am happy. But, to hear that someone who has been through so much writing that I’m a wonderful mother just had me thanking God for allowing me to turn my tragedy into triumph and not ruin the best gift I’ve ever received.

Stephanie’s story is one that you should definitely check out. Including this post that broke my heart: Goodbye Mother

But, God! God is in everything that we do and everything that I try to initiate when I read, write, follow, comment or share in this blogging world. I have no malice in my heart and I have suffered so many failures, but too many successes to mention. I call those blessings.

I genuinely love each and every one of you. I’m thankful for you. Your stories are personal, tragic and triumphant. They make me laugh and they make me cry and I will always try to share. Whether I comment, tweet or post to my Facebook page please know that you are an invaluable piece of this blogging world and you truly inspire me. So stop making me cry!

Hugs and Kisses!

-T

 

It Takes A Village, People

Let me start off by saying that I do a dang great job of minding my own business. I had to learn that everything is not for me to worry about, handle, persuade, involve myself or fix. It’s not an easy task all the time. Sometimes I want to interfere and then I have to remind myself that each person is different. If someone wants my help then I will help. Other than that all I can do is listen, love and support whatever decision the person makes.

That goes with parenting too. I’ve gotten some of the best advice from parents and you fellow bloggers about parenting fails, mistakes and fears. You open up your hearts and share your truths and offer suggestions that empower me to know that this is not easy, but it will be okay.

Here’s an example:

My post last week about Is it Time for Music? got some wonderful parenting advice and some skepticism (LOL, my sister friend KE) and I truly appreciated it. I don’t know everything and I can’t begin to fathom it, but hearing people suggest the following was fine for me. Why? Because these bloggers have no malice. They are not being judgmental parents. They are giving me a different perspective and lens to look at. I value that. I honestly do.

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Wonderful right?

What happens when it is not as wonderful as you fellow bloggers. When other parents criticize your ability to parent. Is it right? Is it wrong? Before getting your panties in a bunch let’s remove those that are abusing their children from the bunch. You want to judge those parents, go right ahead.

If you’re a good parent who takes care of your child/children and do the best you can, when did it become acceptable to be criticized by your peers? Most people will insist that parenting is a trial and error job. You just “go with it” and hope you don’t mess your children up too bad. You will make mistakes. You will feel like the worst parent in the world. You’re not. You just have to keep trying.

Trying. Isn’t that what we’re all doing? Hoping to not mess our kids up and leave them stronger, wiser and better than we were? If that’s true then why are we having to defend our parenting choices or styles? I don’t agree with helicopter parenting, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to bash you if you choose to do so. You know what’s best for your child. Not me.

What is prompting my outrage and rant? Last week I was catching up on some posts and read some disturbing comments on a fellow bloggers post. Emily at Stress Free Mommies  posted about 7 things to do in the hospital after giving birth and received some very judgmental comments. Take a look:

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Disturbing right? Thank God for this wonderful expectant mom to say this:

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Finally, the voice of reason! We have to do better people! We have to stop trying to judge other parents. What about the situation that happened last week at the Cincinnati Zoo with the child falling into the gorilla habitat? The zoo decided to shoot the gorilla. Whether or not you agree with the decision is your choice, but the parents are being criticized.

Are you kidding me? A child was with a gorilla who may or may not have been in danger (depending on your perspective), but he needed to be rescued. The zoo made the decision to shoot the animal. Not the parents. The mother sounded scared that her child was in the gorilla’s space. On a video that is circulating, you can hear her telling her child it will be okay.

But, it doesn’t matter to some. She was a bad mother right? She couldn’t watch her kid. Poor Harambe. The parents are irresponsible (not the zoo for not having gates high enough). What kind of parents don’t know where their children are at every moment?

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A real one. There I said it. A real parent. You take your eyes off your child for a second and your child runs. Darts in front of a moving car. Hides under the clothing racks. Runs in the store. The same people that scorn and say they are perfect are judging you.

So, you put your kids on a leash. Oh, you’re inhumane. You’re treating your children like their animals. You need to teach your children to be responsible and not run away. Umm, how many parents have never had a 2 or 3 year old drop their hand and take off running? Please raise your hand.

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Everyone has. Let’s stop being a judgmental bunch of babbling idiots and let’s support each other as parents. It’s hard. It’s rewarding and we’re doing the best we can. We will make mistakes and you know what? It’s okay. We are a village. Let’s practice that village mindset.

 

I’m Back

Hey folks!

I was swamped last week attending a conference for work and it’s been a blur. Between packing and getting ready for this move I feel like I’m dying. Ugh! I hate moving. I hate packing up my life in boxes where I can’t find something because I totally labeled it wrong. My fault, I know. Thankfully some of my friends have offered to help. I am truly blessed.

But, I wanted to let you know that I’m back and I’m slowly weeding through the 1,300 blog emails that I received from all of your posts. I will read them and I may not comment on each and every one but know that I read them. I’m sharing your posts and trying to write for my own blog while mentally saying I think I can, I think I can….

Yep, it’s a busy time. I have Munch this week and we had the first of his psychological evaluations done and we need to schedule the next one. With soccer starting back and practices during the week and the first game on Saturday I’m wondering where the heck will the extra hours come in.

Bear with me dear bloggers and know that I am slowly working through my break last week. I can tell you that the fact that most of you are participating in the A-Z challenge has my inbox on overload. You rock and I’m excited to see the rest of what you’ve done. I want you to do what I’m doing and just remember this…

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Who Runs The World? Girls

I was nominated by the beautiful, Egypt, over at Egypt English for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Ya’ll know that I love awards, but I don’t have the time to respond to as many as I get nominated for. This was my 3rd nomination and I wanted to take on this one because she asked some awesome questions and I wanted to share my answers with you.

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EGYPT’S QUESTIONS FOR HER QUEEN SISTERS: 

  1. You have all the resources needed to change ONE thing in the world with a snap of your fingers —what are you changing for the better? I’m ending poverty. There are too many people that go hungry each day and food security issues are one of the things that I am a champion of. I remember going to bed hungry as a child and I can’t imagine the countless children that go to bed each night without a meal. 
  2. What is the most attractive feature or trait a woman can possess [physical, mental, spiritual]? I would say her faith. It’s more spiritual than physical or mental and since your inner faith is the voice that guides the choices you make you are more attractive when you know who and whose you are.
  3. What is your next big self/life/career-improvement project? There are two right now that I want to share. The first is that I want to enroll in grad school and go and get my MBA. The second…well, I’m moving home to save and buy a house for me and my son. That’s a major shift in my life and one that I was upset at thinking of making but the support from people around me about how they wish they could go home, save and buy a house has been wonderful. I am reducing debt and saving for a home.
  4. What dream location is at the top of your Next 5-year Bucket List and why? Gran Canaria in Spain is a place I want to visit. It’s absolutely beautiful and I love the beach.
  5. To be . . . or not to be . . .? [Pick one, and complete the phrase] To be true to yourself is the greatest gift you can give. Never deny the real you to make someone else feel better. You’re absolutely wonderful just the way you are.
  6. Who are 3 woman/sisters in your life you could not made it to this point in life without? Umm, great question…There have been many women in my life that have come in and out and have taught me great things. I am honored to have met them, interacted and grown with them. Some relationships lasted and others ended but it was as it should be.  I would say at this point, my best friend Nikki, my grandmother and my mom. 
  7. What is your favorite movie? Purple Rain
  8. You are an explorer of the sublime: what is your fancy?—outer space, the bottom of the sea, Mt. Everest? Outer space. I’m a sci-fi geek and I would love to travel to other planets because I believe there is life outside of Earth.
  9. Three things you love about you and/or your life? Three things…being a mother, being a sister and being a friend. All these roles inspire me to be better than I am and challenge me to keep reaching for my dreams.
  10. Reflect on your life’s experiences and lessons . . . Then think of a young woman, or girl who is roughly 10 years younger than you. . . What is the most important lesson you have learned to date you would like to share with Her? Know yourself truly before getting married. Don’t rush it. Stop wishing for a husband when you don’t know who you are and what you want. Don’t dream of the wedding, dream of the marriage. Speak life into your man and watch his dreams manifest in front of you. We can be wicked with our tongue and you should remember that you can’t take back things once said. I know. I did. I had to learn that marriage wouldn’t make me happy, I needed to be happy. I needed to know who I was. Your life is not written in stone and no matter how many times you may fall, get back up little sister and keep going on. I’ve survived it all and I am happier than I’ve ever been. The end is sometimes your beginning.

Now, I nominate all my fellow women bloggers to take Egypt’s questions and respond because I’m nominating you. These are great questions and since it is Women’s History Month, let’s encourage each other. Who runs the world? Girls!