Monday Inspiration: The Protection of No

Happy Monday to you.  Today I want to talk about the pain that comes along with NO.  Like children when we hear no we may experience a plethora of feelings.  From being disappointed, to hurt, to anger.  What you wanted and where you are in that journey makes your NO levels different.

If you were in what you thought was a loving relationship and you felt the next step was marriage only to find out that the person you held so dear to you is a fake, that NO that he failed you and the pain of starting all over again can be devastating. What about the pain in the NO when you are job searching?  Job searching is a numbers game at times.  You may hear several NOs in your lifetime where that is concerned.  Trust me.  When I got laid off of my job in 2010 right after having my premature daughter I was devastated.  I was thinking what in the world am I going to do?  I moved to Philadelphia and found out I was pregnant again.  Out of my element and new to a city I decided to take some time off and do the stay at home mom thing.  It was harder than I anticipated.  The time I decided to go back to work, I heard so many NOs my heart actually hurt.  I felt like I would be at home forever.  No after NO after NO began to chip at my spirit.  I am human I thought I have a college degree and experience why is this happening.  But it did.

During those difficult times of hearing NO and the mix emotions I felt, I got stronger.  I felt like I was taken a thousand steps back but I got stronger. I got a job and then began to progress to where I am now but the story wasn’t an easy one.  I have had moments where I second guessed myself. I cried.  I cursed from being so angry. I was miserable. I had to get it together.  So if you woke up and all you can do is hold onto the pain of NO, I get that.  Hear me clearly, when you let it go and walk with the sting of the pain and move forward you may not get that YES the same day, but you will if you don’t quit. At the very moment of quitting you will get a YES.  Put the work in.  Take moments along the journey of NO to renew your mind.  You may have to do this daily.  Whatever it takes, don’t faint and don’t quit.  There is protection in NO.  NO means something else is out there for you.  No means that the journey you paved for yourself wasn’t the journey YOU needed to be your best self.  Shocking how we think we know everything we need until life throws something our way to prove that we don’t.  Strive for excellence.  You can walk through the pain without the pain knocking your will to live out of you.  The protection is making sure you don’t walk further in pain.  There are people in places God never intended because instead of listening to the NO and letting it protect them, they let their personal desires walk them willingly into some mess and now they are miserable.  They shouldn’t be in that place and they know it.  Sometimes that stubborn will have you walking in circles.  When things don’t work out there is a reason.  If you are running late to a place, there is reason.  It’s protection.  Yes its frustrating but you don’t know what you are about to walk in.  Trust the process.  Have faith and walk in the sting of the pain don’t let the pain of NO overtake you.

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My Birthday/Mother’s Day Wish List

So as you should know especially if you are a follower of mine is that my birthday I call it Toibration.  First of all I love my name, hence the blog name.  Two I love to celebrate things and let me tell you why.  I used to be a bona-fide Debbie Downer.  I am talking about the kind of woman where you could say something so super simple and I would find a way to make it into a bad thing.  Who wants to me around that negative energy?  NOT ME! So I had to grow.  I had to change but I had to change not because of the people around me wanted me to but because I saw value in changing for myself

So now that I have adjusted my inner being, I find the good in a lot.  Let’s not get it twisted I still don’t like some stuff and am vocal when necessary but for the most part everyday is a real blessing and I try to focus on that. I am a twin which means I have a birthday partner for life.  However another thing about sharing is learning to also make space for yourself.  So with that being said Toibration was made when I turned 30.  Everyone makes it like this huge celebration for your 30s but by then I was on baby number 2, engaged, and just overwhelmed.  HOWEVER I realized how blessed I was to be one above ground, and two surrounded by so much love.

During Toibration I indulge in the things that make me happy.  It could be as simple as a few hours at a book store which sounds boring but for me it’s not.  I can get lost in my own world and prior to having my kids I would escape there often.  Now I do it but in way smaller doses.  It could be a trip to a local coffee shop.  I may indulge in a few treats well a lot of treats but I may have to curtail that until the latter part of the celebration as I am still training and getting ready for the Broad Street Run.

Also my birthday runs into Mother’s Day.  I was actually born on Mothers day in 1981 and ever so often it falls on it.  Yay but I do like separate items for each.  I do not like it pushed together.  Thankfully my husband has been super great since the time we met in 1999 not to forget that.

Here are a few of the things I would love or would like to have or do during Toibration/Mother’s Day:

  • Day to myself to do my own thing
  • Uninterrupted time at Target-those who shop there know what I mean
  • Go to the Movies
  • Good non dairy ice cream
  • Moscato-I love my wines usually white or sparkling of any kind will do
  • New wine glasses-I said I love my wines
  • Facial
  • Shopping at Sephora, Mac, or even just at the local mall to get whatever I want
  • Balloons-I think they are super fun
  • Flowers
  • In lieu of cake, a great fruit salad or a super decadent cupcake
  • A nap
  • A good meal at a restaurant
  • Gummi Bears-Haribo are my favorite brand judge me
  • Mani/Pedi
  • New Journal-you can never have two many I carry one on me at ALL times trust me
  • Statement t-shirts
  • Cards/Affirmations
  • Scents-whether candles, bubbles bath, soaps, etc

So as you can see my list is about things that either feed back into my spirit a lot of the items are already a part of my self-care regiment or things that make me smile to no end.  So I hope you have your own way of celebrating yourself.  I know that some people dread getting another year older but I will be 37 Lord’s will and I embrace it in the most fun and laid back way!

Women History Month: Everyday….We Stand Strong

Women aren’t to be celebrated only during the month of March.  They should be celebrated everyday.  We are the giver of life.  We hold things down.  We are strong. We are beautiful and complex. We are love in its best form here on Earth.  For that you don’t limit such celebrations to only one month.

Ladies celebrate yourselves daily.  I have been saying this and I mean no matter what degrees you have and what accolades you get, if you do not take care of yourself you are no good to anyone around you.  You will wear yourself thin operating from an empty cup.  Keep your wits about you. Say no to things when you can’t add another thing to your long to-do list.  You are not a yes woman.  It’s okay to let a few text messages go unanswered.  It’s okay to let a few calls and emails wait.  You are doing yourself a disservice if you feel you have to be ON all the time.  Take a bubble bath, take a 10 minute break, whatever you need practice some level of self-care daily. Yes there will be times when money is tight.  I haven’t always been able to sit at an expensive spa but I sure now how to turn a trip to the Dollar Store, Wal-Mart or Target and turn my entire bathroom into a spa for one while my kids slept to recharge.  I have had times when I turned into my own beautician and did what I had to do.  There are hard times.  Sometimes when your world feels like it’s crashing it gets difficult to look within.  However if you don’t everything around you will attempt to take you over. Say yes to you.

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Go after that degree that you have been putting off. It’s okay for you to be well-rounded. Will it be easy?  Absolutely not.  We get so excited when we read stories of women who are seasoned and still going after their educational goals.  Yes you could be the oldest in the room, but your degree will hang just like the young 20 something.  Go after it! Will it be hard as you strive towards that new career?  Possibly.  Imagine going to interview after interview only to be told no.  You invested, exerted time and energy only to feel like every door you touch is closing. Keep on going!

What about the woman who doesn’t want to have children?  The pressure for women to be life givers is crazy.  There are some women happy and content single or married not to have children.  What about the women who in our stories for this month lost a baby at 20 weeks.  I need you to understand that is devastating because at this point you are well showing, you have told people and on top of that you know the sex of the baby.  People are hurting all around us.  We are women have the power to really affect change in ourselves and our communities that goes past a #metoo movement.  We can make things easier for the women around us by what we accept, give our voices to, or stand up for.  Be wise.

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You are strong. You are beautiful.  You are confident and a force to be reckoned with! Celebrate yourselves and all that you have done in your life.  The good.  The bad. The ugly. The failures. The insecure moments.  The embarrassing moments.  The moments of regret. The moments you felt inadequate.  All of your messy moments. All of you for all of you and all of those crazy moments are going to push you to your best moments if you are open to it!

 

Daily Women Crushers

As we continue to celebrate women’s history month, I want to shout out all women who are crushing their dreams.  Wednesdays are designated as #WCW or women crush Wednesday.  However daily women are failing, dusting themselves off and getting back out there and making it all happen.

Single women who are lonely and longing for relationship and finding ways to enjoy their single days and taking trips, starting businesses, becoming sound individuals without someone in their company. Those are daily women crushers.  They want to be with someone but aren’t allowing the lack thereof to stop them.  Until love finds them, they are out here making life happen for them under their own guidance, salute.

To the married woman who gives daily to her husband and attempting to be united, you are a daily woman crusher.  People think that marriage is a cure-all but it’s not.  It’s hard work to put someone else above your own.  It’s a union that actually makes you confront a lot of who you are or who you think you are.  Marriage is being there for someone and trying to keep the spark going regardless if that woman is tired or not, salute.  FYI the same should be done from her husband towards her.  If you find you are in a one way marriage, there are a few talks you and your husband need to have.

To the mother who is tired and feeling overwhelmed and still continues to get up before her house, getting things in order, and making it look effortless, you are a daily woman crusher.  To the days when those around you takes you for granted, and forget to say sorry or appreciate what you done, salute to you.  Salute to you when you lose yourself and literally have to pick yourself up before you can give again, salute to you.  Salute to you as you endure your body going through hell and back to deliver, salute to you.  Salute to you as you almost sometimes die on those tables waiting to hear that first cry, salute to you.  Salute to the women who have lost life many times and feel like their worth is tied to being a mother and can’t.  We salute you.  Just know that is a real pain. A real fear.  A real cry.  A real emptiness and I stand behind you and with you.

To the business woman who has to have her work checked twice just because she doesn’t have the same “member” as those on her team, salute to you.  Salute to the woman who is making moves after she was denied financing, salute to you.  Salute to the woman whose ideas failed many times before it took off, salute.  Salute to the woman who while accomplishing her goals, had the very folks who now want to stand with her after the fact and those same ones laughed, talked about, and ridiculed for that venture to pop, salute!

To the woman who has or is facing many demons and finding herself alone as she pushes towards getting her life together.  The ones that seem and feel like constant failures while others around her is flourishing.  The ones who say why not me too but they seem to be saying this only to themselves and there is no one around who understands you.  We salute you.  We get it.  We understand because as a woman regardless of what we have all accomplished we have all been public goals and secret failures.  Trust the process, understand that it will work out. Even in the dark, there will be light.  At the second you go to fail, you find a solution. At the moment you decide today is the day you will give up, light shines.  You are purpose and you were created for purpose.  The world has something that you have inside of you.  We salute the process of growing in the dark with limited water and resources.  The best flowers sometimes have thorns but are the prettiest in the end.  Don’t give up!

Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Erica M!

This Year the theme is the Year of the Woman.  This is not a theme that I made up but is the theme of Woman’s Month all around the world.  We have celebrity women who are speaking up and this is so awesome to have.  Now I feel like I need to give the voice of the everyday woman.  The single mother trying to make ends meet, the married woman trying to balance it all, the career woman trying to make it up the ladder without having to drop her panties along the way, and all of the women in between. Women are beautiful and strong beings.  Like Beyoncé says, we have the kids and get back to business.  Women can do it all, have it all, and this year and beyond are looking out for the next generation so our daughters and granddaughters don’t have to say #METOO!
In addition to that we have to showcase regular women because we have a voice and power too.  We are women who have been married, some divorce, some single, some moms who are all making their marks in this world.  They are giving back to their communities, keeping families together, raising families with and sometimes on their own, completing college, making their and other people around them better.
Erica M.is the oldest of 3 siblings, a single mom of two daughters ages 16 and 13, raising their 19-year-old sister which she considers her my own (oh yes the headaches :).  She currently works for a financial institution going on 23 years and attends college a few months shy of earning her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in hospitality. Erica is a social bean and loves to spend time with family, friends and herself. Yes she enjoys time with herself including scheduling days off to do some of the things she enjoys.
Some times as we get wiser we often think back on the times of our younger days.  We wonder what lessons could we go back and tell our younger selves.  I asked Erica what her lesson would be to a young Erica back in her day:
I would tell my younger self not to rush through life, marriage and family. All these things will come in perfect timing. Enjoy your childhood go play in the park instead of worrying why your parents are fighting. Enjoy being a teenager and do teenager things like hang out with your friends, focus in school and don’t worry about adult things and in your young adult years explore and venture out don’t worry about putting your life on hold for others. 
Being a mom myself I often ask myself during times when I am with them what lessons I want them to get.  My daughters are young so of course I try to keep it in perspective but I asked Erica what she wanted her daughters to know in life, love and career.
Life – It flies by very quickly and has many stages so take hold of the present and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.
Love – Don’t rush, force or look for it because it can lead to failure. Love is natural and will happen when you least expect it. 
Career – Let your heart and passion lead you to career of choice not money. Go hard to be the best in that field regardless of what it is.  
So what has Erica accomplished so far:
  • Purchased her home at the age of 19
  • When back to school during a separation with my then husband
  • Bouncing back from having to file for bankruptcy
  • Having the means to support my daughters alone
  • Working for the same company for 23 years and I am only 40 years old
  • Instilling in my daughters the meaning of faith
  • Working my way up to a Co-lead for a team at church
  • Stayed focused on my weight loss. About a little over a year ago I was a size 24 (extremely tight) and now I am wearing a 18 -20.
First of all congrats on all of your accomplishments Erica! Let me just add from this list, there was failure. You have had to made bad credit decisions to have to file for bankruptcy but…..she now owns a home.  She now can financially support her girls on her own. Did you catch that?  Sometimes we fail but if we KEEP on going, we will come out of top.  So if you are a woman who is struggling with any failed relationship, bad credit or anything that you DEEM negative, the only way it stays that way is if you allow it.  Kudos to you Erica!!
 Even with all of the great accomplishments that Erica has already done, I wanted to know where she sees herself in 5 years:
This is always a difficult question to answer because our vision changes over time but as of right now. I want to see myself in 5 years living for me and not others, in a position of choice with work and not must, and enjoying life with my girls, family, friends and maybe with a new-found love.
Now the #METOO movement is something that didn’t start on the internet.  It started from women getting tired of being sexually abused, harassed or assaulted.  The Internet made it easier for women to band together.  Women have been seen as accessories in times past.  This is why often times they are not believed or if they are to be believed they are seen as the one who agitated their aggressor.  I do NOT want myself or other women and God help me, my daughters to have to say METOO!
I asked Erica what the #METOO movement meant to her:
 The Me Too movement is a great organization that helps those that were or are being sexually assault or harassed. They provide support, ways to speak up and remind you that you are not alone. Finally and hopefully people can start feeling more comfortable in speaking up because they are not alone. I plan on using this movement to reassure my daughters that if they are ever made to feel uncomfortable to please speak up. It is not their fault of someone else’s actions.  
Finally I wanted to know about what the future holds for Erica:
Things that are on my heart that I look forward to crushing is
  • Continue losing weight and getting fit for myself. There are things that I want to do but have weight restrictions. I don’t want to be restricted of nothing I want to do.
  • Work on my bucket list which would lead to enjoying my life
  • Be in a position in my career were there is still passion and have it not be just work
  • Utilizing my event planning skills to plan family trips as family time is so important to me
 Anyone who has been reading my blogs knows I am a huge pusher of self-care.  I want everyone especially my ladies to work from a full cup instead of this notion that they must work until there’s no working in them left.  To keep giving from empty cups and stop caring of what others think about them taking time for themselves.  So Erica, what do you do for self-care:
  • I read a lot of inspirational books such as a Woman’s daily prayer, Too blessed to be stressed, and a moment for your soul. There are many days that I feel down and out, wondering why me, or when will my prince charming come. These books remind me of my purpose now and to remain focus on today.
  • I have a journal that I am writing to my future self. In the book I write things that I want to do but afraid to do, mistakes I did today that may affect tomorrow or areas that I want to change that will benefit the future me, Honestly it helps me stay focus on doing things for me today because I don’t want to let down the future me.
  • I try to exercise daily and make conscious decisions when eating because the more weight I lose the more I feel good about myself.

Thank you to Erica for pushing through when life knocked you down many times, raising your daughters with respect and love, and making sure that while you are there for others that you keep yourself your priority.  Good luck on your continued blessed journey!

 

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Women’s Month Preview

I enjoy women’s month! It’s one of the biggest traffic months. A lot of people have asked me why do I do the posts for the full month?! Simple, why not give a regular women a month to shine? March is women’s history month and women are changing history on all fronts all the time. These are women who might not have shared their story openly before and are ready to let you know that they survived the very things that was designed to take them out!

Think about it in this light, women need to know that as much division that is created among us, we are all connected. Think about a topic that women alone goes through. Bring that topic up and women who don’t know each other can relate and will openly share. This is why we need to tell our stories more often. We need to talk about the times we succeeded and the times we failed. We need to highlight our strengths as well as our weaknesses. There is a woman somewhere struggling alone when she doesn’t have to. She is somewhere feeling defeated because she doesn’t think what she has done, gotten herself into, or is nervous about, some other woman has been in those trenches, but we have been there and made it out in one way or another.

Ladies it’s our day everyday. It’s our month every month. It’s our year every year but when we get to shine a little brighter, then shine! As a woman I am proud of those who have come before me. I am proud that we as women have failed along the way but still keep on going regardless of what has been thrown our way. I’m proud that women are learning how to embrace what they have and not make excuses or try to water it down. We are owning our place in this world, choosing the life we want, being sexually aware and unashamed and most importantly stepping away from the status quo to achieve any goal we want!

We are scooping up the younger generation and showing by example how it’s done. We are not restricting ourselves to make men feel comfortable. We are walking in lanes that were not always paved for us. We are learning to practice self-care and saying no when we need to. We don’t have to carry it all! We can take breaks! We can travel this world alone! We can work across the aisles! We can make our dreams come true!

I salute all women from every walk in life. From the women who feels as if her past has knocked her out of the running to the women who made every right decision and are benefiting from it! To the college graduate who is the first in her family to the drug addicted mother who cleaned her life up! I salute you all!!

Get ready for some amazing women with some amazing stories to share. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable. It takes a lot to put yourself out there! It takes a lot to know that when you put your story out there knowing there will be some folks who think you aren’t worthy! This blog was made from those whispers and guess what just like you I haven’t stopped! Let’s have some fun, learn some lessons and get inspired to live our best life NOW!

We’re going to hear from business women, community leaders, wives whose husband have left them and they picked up and kept on building, single moms, college graduates, those working with offenders, all kinds of women.  So be on the lookout the month-long celebration will kick off tomorrow and end March 31, 2018!

A Sister Roundup-Don’t Fall Off

Good morning all!

We should at this point have gotten our Valentine’s Day our of our systems and continue on showing love to the ones in our lives daily.  If you didn’t have the Valentine’s Day you wanted I get it, at this point, refocus from this one day and find ways to use self-care to get through.  You still have other days ahead that are going to need your attention.and dwelling on that one day past the 24 hours that followed means that you are allowing this to overtake you.

I wanted to do something different today to have a check in of sorts but instead of highlighting my highs and lows, let’s just talk about various aspects of our mental health.  One this has NOTHING to do with the allegations of mental abuse with the recent school shooting.  As much as I know mental disease played a part in it, I am one for calling a spade a spade and say that premeditated homicide is a different type of beast.  That is a blog for a different day.  However I send prayer and love to the community of Parkland and pray that with prayers, we have an action plan in place and sooner than later.  I am one for prayer but faith without works is dead, we need action.

Love Life

All of us regardless of where we are need to heal and have some closures in a few places.  Let me be clear that this has NOTHING to do with your tax status. A hurting heart will not heal from a wedding ring.  I know we have been conditioned to believe that marriage is the answer to love woes but it’s actually not. Marriage is like having a constant mirror walking around.  A lot of wounds that you haven’t dealt with will come up during marriage.  So if you are looking for marriage to complete you, this is misguided thinking.   It will not.  It will make you face yourself.  The issue with having someone to face yourself is that not all marriages are strong enough for the depth of junk that people bring into them. So I would suggest that you work on the things that you need before.

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Also there are some folks that would rather be single.  There is nothing wrong with that.  That’s not different then the folks that don’t want to be parents.  Your life, your choice.  Just be sure that wherever you want love not to go down the wrong path.  If you constantly see a pattern in whom you are choosing, don’t blame the people you dated, take accountability.  Remember self-care and self-love go hand in hand in your love journey it’s not something to attempt to do after you have entangled someone with you.  Also have a plan or list that you have in the back of your mind but make the non negotiable things that deal with character above physical in your mind especially if you are dating and looking.  I know women who have these laundry lists of their wants and needs and they are superficial to say the least.  Often times they don’t take character into play.  If you have a good-looking liar, you aren’t winning.  However you should be attracted to the person you are with.  So balance it!

Friendships/Sister Friends

I am in the process of weeding out a few bad apples. I find myself doing this often.  As I take accountability for my own actions one of the actions is my actions for friendships. It doesn’t matter how long I have been friends with them either.  Zero passes need to be given.  Since I have gotten older, my desires have changed.  With that some friendships were great for the phase of life I WAS in but not for where I am now nor for where I am headed.  With that in mind let’s cut away the leech friends.  The ones who have zero problems taking but do not ever give.  It’s not cool and as everyone is working on themselves the excuses has to stop.  You can have a million and one excuses but if you are out here being a bad friend, own it  and decide do you really want to change?  If yes then do so if not then be honest and let the friendship fizzle out.  Also friends shouldn’t get so comfortable that you take friendship for granted.  This means thank you, and please go a long way.  I think above all we have to remember that when we deal with others in general.  You’re not so much of my sis that you can forget that.

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We want to be connected but having bad connections is bad for your life in general.  Oh and be extremely leery of these friendship circles.  I was invited to one that I accepted because I know they are about building up.  But I declined one because it was really about selling stuff.  Listen, sis I love to shop but I am also on team savings too.  I want to help you build your brand but you can’t fill my inbox with let’s make money quick schemes and have me stay.  Not one time was it about praying, lifting another one up, or even about making sure everyone felt loved and secure.  I pass on these types all the time. This was one of the major pushes for cleaning up my social media.  I had way too many groups talking about helping that turned into everyone thinking they knew everything, let’s talk crap about another sister, or finding out the tea in someone’s life.  I got a healthy life, so I don’t have much time for the foolishness. I spend more time with solid relationships, my family, going to church, self-care and the gym that’s plenty for me.

Self-Care

What have you done this week for you?  Literally I found that I was super agitated more this week wondering if and why someone else hadn’t poured into me.  Totally selfish of me but it happened. One thing to note is never do anything for anyone and look for something in return.  The second thing that it showed me is that I lacked something that is within myself and I sought after that instead of wasting time being upset at someone else.  I have what I need inside of me. Do not tax others to do for you what you wont do for you.  It’s that simple.  Self care comes from various sources from free to lavish. You find where you can and what you can and you do it.  You really should be finding something you can do for you daily not just weekly.  If you have gotten to this Friday and can’t name one thing you did for yourself that made you better, than you have some catching up to do.  Ladies and gentlemen, self-care is not an option its a must.

Health

I can not stress enough getting ALL of your tests done.  Have you made an eye appt?  What about a gynecological exam?  No physical?  No follow-ups done either?  What in the real world are you waiting for?  You do realize that putting it off will not make anything go away?  Be vigilant about your health and what you want.  Be vigilant in making sure that you will be here in the future.  Go and be seen.  There is no reason to have something sneak up on you when we have the technology to do something about it.We need to make sure that our health is fully taken care of. How active are you?  How many hours a week are you putting into an active lifestyle?  Have you substituted the stairs for the elevators, maybe do a work out tape or a free YouTube exercise instead of constantly sitting in front of the television?  Maybe substituted a bad snack for a better healthier option?  Whatever you are not doing, let’s change that.  Let’s get up and move a bit.  Sitting is the new smoking so let’s end these bad habits and do it now.

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This has been an interesting week to say the least and remember it’s February so all the hoopla from the New Year’s wears off this month.  Don’t let the momentum stop you.  Renew your mindset and refocus on your goals.  Don’t let this super short month get you.  I know even with the flu it was hard to recommit but I did it and so can you.  Bad habits only last as long as you want them.  Good habits can do the same.  Make yourself a priority.

So I am hoping that with everything that is going on personally and professionally that you find a way to recommit to having the best life you can. No things aren’t perfect but you can have a better life if you make the right choices.  Sometimes those choices mean that you may need to say no, turn a few things off, say no to a few invitations and maybe even cut off a few along the way, but whatever it is that you need to do, do it and do it well!