Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information:
Advertisements

Power in the Clouds…..

So I am feeling a lot better. I was under the weather taking care of my sick husband and I ended up getting what he had.  I do not think it was the flu as I was able to recover a lot sooner than he did.  I am grateful for being able to have a little down time but now as I get better its time to work.

There has been a lot going on in the world. So let’s dive in. I  was able to catch the 60th Grammy Show this past Sunday. There were a lot of great performances and of course the Me Too movement continues on as it should.  I haven’t made a public statement on it but it’s about time that these men who are using their power against women be stopped.  So many women endure so many things ranging from sexual harassment to rape to get ahead or simply exist. I wish above all that young ladies and women weren’t subject to this type of behavior.  It sickens me to think of my own daughters having to endure such abuse in any form.  However the down side to it too is that there will be a few women use this movement for the wrong reason. My prayer is that all women would be safe no matter where they are.  Shout out to all the ladies in the world taking a stand in public and in private! May the fight continue!

Image result for janelle monae me too

So I wasn’t able to do a Sunday message or a Monday motivation message due to me not feeling well.  Let me say that discouragement is always around us no matter what.  It’s hard to do but we must all constantly check the messages we surround ourselves around.  What we listen to and entertain is super important.  No matter what type of journey in life you are on, discouragement is always in our faces.  Look at how the world is shaped, you log onto your computer and negativity is always present.  I try my best to be sure that I change what I take in and especially what my kids take in. I shield my spirit first.  This way I can assist them in what they need.  Be careful to clean up your social media actions.  Stop debating with everyone. Everything ain’t a fight. Sometimes letting someone have that last word is necessary for your own growth. Do you know how many people get off on saying they told you off? A LOT. Let them eat cake! You got enough time on your hands to build you.  You don’t always have time to build others.  I am not saying don’t be inspirational, I am saying your cup has to be full.  Drink from your cup.

I find that the mind is the playground of excuses too.  Sometimes you are having a bad day not because of the outside elements but because your mind is telling you something is going to be a certain way.  Doubt and fear are festering in an unchecked mindset.  You and you alone have the power to check that.  So check it! This may be a Tuesday but to someone they struggled hard during their Monday not because it was a Monday but because they are overwhelmed emotionally and spiritually and feel lost. Feeling lost is real.  It’s a feeling of despair.  It robs you of joy and happiness and it makes you scared.  Fear is debilitating. I have felt that pain many times.  That pain that makes you want to stay in bed and cry.  Getting up is easy but hard at the same time but you have to get up.  This isn’t just in the physical sense but the mental and emotional sense of the word too.  Whatever you lack can be fixed.  It can be achieved.  It is there inside of you.  Just do what you feel you must and try. If you woke up your answers are going to come to you as you make moves.  You were given a unique opportunity to make today better than yesterday.

I have had times when trying was all I had and then something happened, I got stronger. I had one situation line up and then slowly sometimes like a crock pot slow, things lined up.  It wasn’t a fast fix.  It wasn’t a microwave, convenient fix, it was a slow fix. The light didn’t shine when I woke up, sometimes only a few clouds move. If you are there you know what I am talking about.  The same power that comes in the sun is the same power in the clouds. never forget that!  Be encouraged today and everyday!

 

Check On Others

So it’s that time of the year where people are hurting bad.  They are sad, depressed, angry, struggling and all kind of negative.  Check in on others without having to wait until you get the tea of someone’s life.  You know the type that wait until you post that your world is not right then all of a sudden they want to be captain save em…

Now with that in mind keep in mind a few things to watch out for as well when you are the one who is going through and wondering where others are:

  1. Others are going through at the same time.  You may not be strong to recognize that however don’t do passive aggressive and say if you support you would…. This can only be said if you have told others what you need and if they are in the same position to assist.  Sometimes we put pressure on others that we don’t even put on ourselves.  Everyone doesn’t have enough to give no matter how fabulous their life seems.  Another issues they may not be lead to give.  Just cause you have money or resources doesn’t mean you should be made to feel bad into giving.  Some things are meant to go the way they need to be.  I recently had a friend ask for money.  I may or may not have had it but I didn’t feel lead.  I got called all kinds of shade for it. Listen, everything ain’t for everybody. Understand that when you ask, it’s not a definite and not all have to give for your cause.  If you believe in it, it will work out.
  2. Sometimes seek help for what you need in someone qualified to assist. If you need a therapist stop getting mad at your cousin, friend or family because they didn’t take on that role.  They can only do but so much.  We need to learn that life is hard and this pressure is making things worst.  Call a professional.
  3. Stop the blame game.  There are factors that are making you the way you are no doubt, but realize that the salvation of what you need is up to you. Not you and your spouse, not you and your mom, not you and your friend simply you.  This isn’t being insensitive. Yes it would be nice if your man held your hand but it’s not up to you to make the determination that if it don’t look like you want it to that they aren’t.  You may really need to focus on some underlying issues that are making recent situations seem worst.  Dealing with your own stuff makes you better equipped. Not dealing with it can make you expect more than what is even possible.  An example of that is being super sick and only dealing with the symptoms but not the initial issue, you sir or ma’am will have temporary relief but not be healed. You need healing.
  4. I know everyone says talk about it, but there are professionals available to you even if it’s a hotline that are equipped to be better than your already drowning love one as they aren’t able to pull you both up.  Even on plane rides they instruct you to secure your own oxygen before you can assist a fellow passenger.  There are many folks operating on empty cups, empty wallets, and full of pain and brokeness.  They can’t help you.

Now even with all of that above we still need to check in on others.  Do so without needing a hook up.  People get tired of having to always give from depleted places.  Now with this statement comes responsibility.  IF you are allowing others to always take for the sake of relationship no matter what relationship may be then you are to blame for how the cycle of negativity is going on.

Yes you may have someone in your life that don’t want to assist you cause they simply don’t like you or don’t believe in you.  Trust me that one situation will not be the tale tell of that. They would have been getting consistent behavior that tells you so.  If so, is it their fault that you consistently knew it, felt it, received it but stayed in this going no where situationship?  No, its time to practice self-care and self-love as well as its time to know what help you need and who is equipped to give it.  Its time to check in on even the stronger ones too, they have issues going on in the inside that show up differently than the outside than most. Be your brother and sister keeper but sis and bro know that everyone can’t alway save you.  You bear a huge responsibility to make an initial step and focus on the right folks instead of all of the folks coming in your corner.

 

Now I know that are some that are broken who are reading this and thinking how insensitive this might come off but in reality is that we all have to be about our mental health.  It is real.  There are some at different levels of understanding and openness. If you’re at the place where you can help yourself but just feel entitled, please stop.  Read all of the above again.  IF you are so hurt with pain this is going to come off as not caring and its the furthest thing. this is simply reminding you that YOU have to make a step in getting the right folks.

Let me help you, have you ever been going through and been so disgusted at everyone that any sound, look, etc will set you off.  This is the wake up call because I too have been here before.  Getting mad at others and driving others away and then blaming them for walking away cause your place in life has pushed them away when you really needed help.  This is the time to be strategic and get the right help.  Sometimes the ones you pushed away will be there and will understand, but in reality the ones you taxed with saving you won’t.  YOU are the only ones who hears your thoughts, that feels what your pain, if nothing else open yourself to getting help in the right arena. No sense in you being in a cardiovascular doctor office for a broken bone and then raising hell in the cardiovascular office because they can’t mend that bone.  Tax yourself like you are hoping someone will see you mentally drowning and say what can I do right now.  Let me take my eyes off of people and see what the meat and potato is of my issue.  OR if I can’t then let me call a professional to help me sort. Let me call the suicide prevention line, to talk.  Let me call the depression hotline at my job and get someone on the line to assist. Let me take a break mentally and stop going a thousand on worrying about gifts and focus on my mental health.  Not let me keep buying, doing and hope along the way someone will catch me.  Sis, Bro you are your best help.  When that doesn’t work lets out source to the right place!  Here are a few resources that need to be in your phone on speed dial.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.  Don’t let a soul tell you that!

National Suicide Prevention

Abuse Hotline

Mental Health Hotline

I Will Now….

I have unfortunately been around a lot of people who have had life changing occurrences in their lives. It could be that they are sick, they were at the brink of death, or sadly have lost their life.  The one thing that resonates with all of them that NOW is the time to live.  They want to live their best life because their life is in a balance.  The time to live is everyday you wake up.

Image result for motivate yourself

No life isn’t perfect.  It’s not supposed to be but if you have a bucket list, don’t wait until your moments away from kicking the bucket to live. Live on purpose now.  What are you waiting for?  If there is a trip you want to take, start actively saving. How much will it cost?  Research all aspects of the trip.  What can you cut to get you there?  Is it a few Starbucks trips, or maybe it’s spending less on others.  Whatever it is, be active towards those goals.  Wake up every day with purpose.  Wake up with direction and desire to be better than the day before. Today is the best motivation you can get, start now to do what you need for you.

Image result for motivate yourself

You have life.  You are here for a purpose.  Don’t sit idle waiting for greatness to drop out of a sky, take control and crush your goal list!

 

 

Ask Toi: Do I Apologize to My Co-Worker?

The issue from the follower was where the co-worker had been irritating them to the point where the coworker wasn’t communicating well if they had been offended by the reader’s actions and stormed off…… Should the co-worker apologize or let it go?

Yes and no. If at any time there was an act done that you are aware of then apologize to the co-worker on the act that was committed.  I know some of my readers are saying but how do you know, you know.  You know you spoke out of turn, was disrespectful, etc-apologize for your actions.  If the co-worker is just in a mood and being reactive, I would say leave it alone especially if it’s not stopping productivity.  Some people are just pissy people.  Pissy people tend to be upset if the sky is not the right shade of blue.  There could be other factors going on that is making a co-worker be reactive.  It could not even be work related.  I think that as adults if its something is going on it needs to be discussed if its work related at the work place and then moved on.  This could be that the upset co-worker may not be able to communicate what he or she needs however in 2017 we have to be able to speak openly even in professional settings and move along so the end result of work can be accomplished.  You are at work to work, not to be friends.  Never kriss cross the two unless you have a real relationship that is outside of work, and even then learn to separate the two.  Only mature adults will have that ability to do so.

I went to Penn State and at no time before or after my time was there a mind reading class.  So if you haven’t done something you as the possible offending co-worker can think of, than you need to leave it be until the co-worker communicates.  If its something that is stopping productivity, give it a day and see if the work will pick up.  ONLY after the offended co-worker has calmed down and productivity has stopped would I approach a co-worker to take any steps.

The Cold Weather Depression

Did you know that as it gets colder outside that people’s mood shifts?  This is super true and super real.  People start to go down and depression is at an all time high. It could be the weather, it could be the changes in the leaves and things slowly doing their dying/vegetation stage or the fact that as it gets colder the closer we get to the holidays.

I am generally a holiday person but I notice too that I have to be mindful of my moods more often during the colder months.  My kids are what balances me.  They don’t allow for me to have too much of a down time and that’s super great.  Although I know my husband and I are great parents and we push through, let’s get it real I get in the dumps often.  So what do I do during the months leading up to the holidays? I get aware like never before of my triggers.

My personal triggers:

  1. My mother in law being gone has been one.  The year is slowly approaching like in a few days, and that alone has me shifting as I watch my husband and kids shift.  I can see pain and I am dealing with my own.  For that reason, we have made sure to be careful of any extra drama into our home.  This means in conversations, deeds, petty arguments etc.  We are aware.
  2. Holiday commercials.  I think they are great. But the onset of them being super early even for me who is a planner gets to me.  I was in the store and I am still grabbing things for Halloween and I saw Christmas stuff and I am like are you serious?  The reason is it sets my anxiety and now I am trying to focus on meal planning for Thanksgiving and these stores and shoving Christmas at me and I can’t take it.
  3. Drama-Any onset of drama gets me.  To elevate that, I don’t allow it. This is major.  Had this been a few years especially before my kids were born, I would have popped popcorn, and starred in it.
  4. Cold gloomy days-rain is a mood downer on its own, but… cold rainy days or snowy days that don’t produce enough snow to get me or the kids a day off is a downer.  I do not like snow.  I do not like cold.  So I really make sure that I am upbeat, play different music, whatever it takes to get through.  Perception is always key to get through.
  5. Black or dark grey-it works great in the Winter to layer but I will intentionally add color even if it’s in scarf to avoid my mood shifting.
  6. Complaining-I could be a professional one however even I get sick of it.  So now instead of complaining or being around complainers, I just figure out what the core issue is and handle that.
  7. Lack of physical activity-take that how you like. I try to keep my workout strong because with all of the comfort foods you kind of have to.  I tell myself that working out allows me my wine moments.  When activities get low as snow piles up I get my wine in.  This is why babies are born conceived the most during the Winter months.  So be careful.
  8. Social events-I love the idea of dressing and getting ready to go somewhere until its time to go.  Days before my stomach starts to hurt.  The day of I start to get sick or my head starts to hurt. To push past that is simple as going, but pushing past my thoughts are harder to do than slipping on a pair of heels.

Whatever your personal triggers are, be aware.  Have a plan in site.  Speak to someone you trust.  The list of mine may seem trivial but if I let myself go, the outcome of that can be devastating to myself and my family. I know for a fact I am not the only one.  This is why you need to be connected to the right people who can recognize that you are spiraling or you are withdrawing too.

Image result for depressed

Make sure that you find what makes you happy.  Get healthy.  The second I get sick, it doesn’t help my mood.  Not only am I focused on getting better but it takes me 3 times harder to get out if I am having a depression trigger right before I get sick.  Sometimes I can get sick, if I allow myself to get too boggled down.

Even after you notice your triggers and work really hard not to allow them to get to you, it still may.  Knowing what you like that can get you out before you get in is key. Not everyone is the same.  Sometimes music does it.  Sometimes being outside helps.  You may need to get counseling during the Winter months.  Whatever it is, get it and make sure you are clear on what that looks like and get it.

Image result for depressed

Things you can do to get ahead of it:

  1. Write and keep a gratitude journal
  2. Buy flowers for yourself
  3. Meet up with a special friend once a month
  4. Purchase a special drink
  5. Have a certain go to song
  6. Do something for others
  7. Wear a color that reminds you to stay focused
  8. Bright Nail colors or color art
  9. Keep healthy
  10. Eat right
  11. Do not-self medicate
  12. Talk to someone
  13. Reach out to one person
  14. Check in on others

IF you experience at any time not just when the Winter months come a slight or even worse case of suicidal thoughts please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline

 

Monday Push Through

So this has been an interesting weekend to say the least. Today I wanted to talk about anxiety and how it works to hinder you but can be overcame.  I went to a funeral over the weekend by myself and before you even think NO I am not about to blog the funeral.  This is more about me getting through it.  No one likes funerals.  They aren’t designed to be liked.  However for me they are a place of extra anxiety.  I remember as a kid going to maybe 2 or 3 funerals.  I can tell you who they were and the relationships of the people.  My very first one I was an usher and I fell into some vomit and let’s just say I was super embarrassed.

The second one I got sick physically and I still do when I go.  To view a person’s body makes me sick thinking of it.  Even when my mother in law passed almost a year ago, the fear of the whole situation made me frozen.  I got through it because just like on Saturday, I had to.  My stomach was hurting. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom a thousand and one times.  My hands were sweating.  I was having several panic attacks.  I want to shout out my support system who talked me through it because had it not to be there for a good friend, I wouldn’t have gone or I would have gone, felt sick and left. I am super glad that I pushed past it.  See anxiety is an awful feeling. If you let it ride your life you will find that you miss out on so much. I know this to be true because I have missed so many social activities behind it.  I would agree to go to something, get anxious and then back out. I would never tell people why it was just too much of an overcoming feeling for me to deal with so I wouldn’t.

Then others would get tired of asking me to attend so they wouldn’t. I knew why so I never asked or even pushed the conversation.  Also some people would invite me to something never tell the dress code and here I am showing up to something under dressed and knowing all eyes were on me and making me feel like running or not going to the next event.  All of these can be debilitating.  They cause you to lose out on life.  I have been pushing myself in the last few months to push past it but I can’t say it has been easy.  It’s hard to go to things alone but its something that is necessary so I have been doing it.  I feel great and I feel like every time I do it, it makes me stronger for the next event.

So if you are dealing with anxiety, go in your time but push through. You will feel super sick, maybe feel like you are going to throw up, but its the best to accomplish the goal of attending whatever would have normally held you back.  So for your Monday motivation, acknowledge wherever you are feeling in adequate and take one step to beat it and you will amaze yourself at what you can do if you push through!