What are you Grateful for?

The only time we talk about gratefulness is around Thanksgiving.  You hear everyone repeat what they are grateful for.  If you come from a big family as I do, by the time Aunt Sally speaks her gratefulness you’re almost tapped out.  Do you know the power of speaking what you are grateful for out loud?  It refocuses what you have and less on what you don’t.  It will renew your mind to go after what you don’t have without negativity.  It will allow others around you to get good vibes as well.  When you see grateful people they seem to smile more. There lives may be in shambles but they know that trouble don’t last always.  They seem perkier.  They seem almost too unreal.  The reason they seem unreal is because the world is full of life suckers and negative vibes.  Choose to be the light in a dark world. Sometimes a simple smile can do it for someone. I watched my kids energy in a simple Snapchat video and it reminded me to slow down and relax.  Or when I see my daughter accomplish a goal she thought she couldn’t its gratefulness that makes me stop and reflect.  I look and see the Vegas devastation and some of the stories of heroism or the stories of how a man lost his wife but he was grateful for her smile everyday.  Can you say the same?  Will someone look back at the time you were here and say, they were genuine and loved life?  If not you can change it.  Life sucks no doubt, but if you change the lens you will be able to conquer anything thrown.

So I’ll start it out for you, what are you grateful for?

I am grateful:

  1. My life
  2. My health
  3. My husband
  4. My kids
  5. My job
  6. Good credit
  7. No debt
  8. Ability to love
  9. Ability to receive love
  10. This day
  11. My friends
  12. For my grandparents still being alive
  13. For my nieces
  14. My siblings and siblings in love
  15. My parents
  16. For working my marriage
  17. For good food in my home
  18. For the ability to have gas in my car
  19. For healing
  20. For a sound mind
  21. Loving love
  22. Being quirky
  23. For loving to celebrate daily days
  24. Being an organized person
  25. For being creative

The list can go on for pages and pages, what are you grateful for?  Speak it and sit back and enjoy the blessings that God gave you as you speak it and list it.  It changes you when you learn to live from a grateful heart.  Be grateful!

Ear Muffs

I respond to things that I am passionate about.  The things that affect my here and now or my and my kids future.  I respond to the petty things of the world sometimes and have to remind myself constantly to use ear muffs.  No my ears aren’t cold but they need to be shielded.  Sometimes we yell ear muffs to our kids and they know that means cup them ears mommy or daddy needs to express adult content.

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For adults the same technique sometimes needs to be used.  You are in control of what you entertain.  You are in control of what you allow to get into your spirit.  You’re an adult.  You have the ability to end the things that no longer serve you.  You have the ability to say no to images, sounds, and social media that do not line up with preserving you.  You have a right not to argue and debate a fool who will not listen to anything you or anyone else has to say.  You can be pulled in but as an adult you control the stops in your life.  You have to be willing to look wrong sometimes.  You have to be willing to look off when someone wants to engage you and you know it will lead no where.

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Even on social media. I told you about the time I allowed myself to be pulled into a debate.  Even though I felt I was being targeted or the person was saying things about my kids for one, I still had a right to end it early and deal with that person face to face. So you have the same power.  You have to evoke ear muffs to shield the very things that will cause you to be upset.  Anything that takes space in your mind that has you thinking of it for more than an hour that isn’t something centered around making you better, putting food on your table, getting you that much closer to your destiny-cut it off.  Disengage on social media, stop hanging around the family and friends who do not mean you well, stop arguing with your mate and getting no where, find another job so every day you aren’t crying in the parking lot or miserable at your place of employment. Control the parts of your life that you can.  Trust me I have been in that place before.  It tears your spirit down.  Activate your ear muffs so you can hear what you need to do, where you need to be, and how you are going to get there.  You don’t have time to entertain things that don’t build you.

Fall Workout/Weight Goals

So Fall is going to be here in a few days.  Yes. So I can stop hearing all of those complaining folks talking about relax.  Nope now you can go and relax.  Let people live. Let the Fall lovers have their time I don’t want to have to Kanye anyone over my favorite holiday but I will.  I digress. Anyway with the Fall fast approaching I have made some new Fall work out/weight loss goals that I believe will help others too.  Fall is the beginning of cuffing season as well as it’s the comfort food season. People will start making pies, cookies, mac and cheese, and before you know it 10 pounds have snuck up on you.  To combat the heavier weight problems I have made up my personal goals that takes the edge off of everything.

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I am breaking all of the Fall holidays into smaller goals.  My overall goal is to maintain the weight I am in and by New Years not have to make a lose weight goal. Yes that means being at my goal weight and keeping it off.  That in itself is a full-time goal.  However if I look at the whole goal it may be too intimidating so here is how I am breaking up my goals.

September Goal

I have a walk and a 5K at the end of the month.  So all month-long, I have been working out.  I started out 3 days a week but as the month quickly ends I have been hitting the gym EVERYDAY.  This means when I am sick, when the weather is gloomy, nothing is stopping me from the workout.  This has helped as I have noticed how much stronger I have gotten.  This will help me on the run as I do not want to be the last one running.  I want to be able to come out of that race with pride.  I also have a girls trip the first weekend in October.  Because of the closeness of the dates I will be good to go as I know I will indulge in some food that weekend too.  My hope is we do a lot of walking.  If not I will have to do like I do at home on the weekends and work out with the things that are around us.  No I could care less if it’s just one weekend. I worked out just fine when I went to Chicago for my birthday so this girls trip will be no different.  I woke up when others was sleep and did what I had to do.

The only issue I am facing is that with my hysterectomy surgery I find the swelly belly thing to be irritating.  It happens that when you do too much your belly swells.  I can wake up with a flat belly and by end of day or if I work out too much which I do everyday now I look 2 months pregnant. It’s annoying but I will work right through it until I heal fully and that stops.

October Goal

This goal is to look good in my Halloween costume.  Now please note yes I have already ordered it, have it and it fits. That isn’t the issue. It is making sure I look great in it.  Last year I was a girl Mario Brother.  It was cute but wearing it in the plus size section had me feeling super upset.  I looked like I was squeezed into it at that.  OMG.  Not this year.  I am going to be looking sleek and refined in my costume.  I ordered and have a medium and that in itself coming from a size 14 to a 8 is a blessing.  I will share my photos when Halloween comes.  I am not knocking plus size women, however I know for a fact that is not the size I was supposed to be.  Last year I was being lazy, and eating just to eat.  I wasn’t working out like I should have and the result was easily seen.  So this year I will be stepping out and looking like I should.

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November Goal

Thanksgiving is on the rise. I have already put in my holiday orders with my baker. Seriously I have.  I will be baking things on my own but there is something nice when you can take the edge off and pay someone else and get good stuff to share at the holiday luncheons and dinners.  That isn’t even adding all of the great holiday and winter drinks that I have recipes for, others make, and are going to be advertised….So now that my bakery orders are all in order I want to be able to not look like the turkey this year.  Have you ever looked at holiday pictures and been like Lawd, why didn’t someone tell me I looked like that?  I have and that will not be me this year.  I will look cute and ready to eat and not like I ate already and need to be pushing the vegetable truck this year.  I seriously love the way clothes fit on me now.  I have been able to remove the big clothes out of my closet and I have gotten a few cute pieces.  Once you get a dose of confidence after seeing your hard work, its hard to think about going backwards.

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These 3 goals will keep me until Christmas.  This Christmas I want to wear a cute Christmas pajama.  Christmas pajamas is always a serious thing.  Actually all of the holiday pajamas is a serious thing. I already ordered the kids Halloween pajamas and have them hanging in their closet.  I am not one for last-minute anything.  With that in mind the whole family always wears cute pajamas I just always snap the kids only.  Not this year I will be in the pictures with my cookies in tow.  I do not plan to stop eating my favorites. I plan on eating them in moderation.  A little, not the whole thing of anything. I have been really good with portion control and during the Fall when it gets colder I plan on keeping it hot in what I do and how I look this Fall.

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So your goals may not mimic mine but as you can see you can make monthly goals.  We all need something we can attain to.  For me its making sure I continue to look great as the holidays start to roll in.  Having a monthly goal and something I can work towards works for me.  It takes the edge off of the whole I want to have a great end goal of going into the New Year right and keeps me accountable.  Plus you know all of the get togethers, fall parties, potlucks, are all destined to try to take me out but I am aware of it all and ready to knock them out with some healthy dishes to share.

Any of US Could be Kenneka?

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the story of Kenneka Jenkins, the young lady who was found in a freezer in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago.  This story has had twitter and social media in a frenzy.  She left with a group of friends to attend a party and never came home.  Follow any of the hashtags to follow the story.  Regardless of the distorted facts one fact remained is that she had some extremely horrible “friends” and that she was being brought there to be raped.

Now I have seen the memes floating about how her death and rape has sparked the whole be careful of your friends movement but it makes it seem as if the rapist and murdered of Kenneka deserves a pass?  My thoughts are on what planet?  Just because people are using this story to remind others about their choice of friends that doesn’t mean that the rapists and murder whomever they may be are fine.  The way the information is spilling, the rapists and murders can be her friends.  Everyone in that hotel room should be charged.  Hands down.  I will not dispute that.  It’s not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Everyone who live streamed it, turned the music to muffle Kenneka’s cries, participated, set it up, and carried it out should be charged.  AND you should STILL watch your friends.

I placed myself in the place of a mother.  I am a mother in real life.  I have two daughters. My oldest child is very lovable and already possesses the thoughts that her friends are great.  However as her mother teaching her right from wrong I am the voice until she has a voice on whom is not for her.  Yes, even at 8 I have had to call out a few of the mean girls.  My daughter goes to private school which means for the most part her classes are small and most of the kids in her class have already been together since Kindergarten.  They hang together in and out of the classroom. If you think that I as a mother am not in her ear telling her, pointing out, and calling out her fake friends you are sadly mistaken.  We ALL have had to deal with those who we thought was real and found it wasn’t remotely true.

I was asked this week have I ever had to deal with fake friends and the answer is HELL YES.  My eyes were opened AFTER something went down.  Whether that was hearing of stories being said tabout me, being left at a party, etc, it has happened.  Or the times I have had a circle of friends who were really friends because we had one mutual friend involved and heard some crap about me that I didn’t tell the group.  These are the very recipes for fake friends.  I do not think Kenneka realized that until her unfortunate death.  I said on my SnapChat and I will say it again, its not just the teenagers we need to worry about it’s the young girls that are my oldest daughters age that already show mean girl attributes.  It’s the grown women who keep stuff going well into their 40s and up. This mean girl mentality can begin at any age.  It doesn’t discriminate so while others are pointing their fingers at Kenneka, remember to re-evaluate your own circle.

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Listen cutting off friends is hard.  It hurts.  It makes your circle smaller.  Here are a few things to watch for:

  1. The “leader” that likes to control off the cards aka the information that is given to the group.  My rule of thumb is that just because we share a mutual friend don’t bring me no news about someone I don’t pick up the phone and call myself.  Do you know how many people talk that let’s pray for her crap and ain’t been in church a month of Sundays.  Stop believing the that’s my sis crap. That same sis is the same one when you get on hard times will give your information to people who don’t even know you.  Rule of thumb even in a group setting, let others tell their own business.  Stop giving in the name of friendship other’s information unless you have permission.
  2. When one or more lie about inviting another but talk about how that one don’t come.  I had that happen recently.  I found out that after all this talking about one “friend” went down the girl wasn’t even invited but the “leader” told everyone they were and then talked bad about them for not coming.  IF they will do it to one they will do it to all
  3. Be still sometimes.  We go to things without asking the right questions.  If you feel something isn’t right, trust what you say and have your own mind.

These are the lessons that even at 8 I have had to share with my daughter.  These will NOT solve fake friends problems but it will open eyes.  We believe anything.  Just because you know someone for a long time don’t always mean they have your best interest in heart. Also to my men you play a HUGE part in some of this.  For the men who use women as bait, stop.  Start having conversations with your son and other young men about respect. Too many women trying to protect each other but not having men stand and rally behind them to do the same.  Sorry your fragile egos can’t take a no but remember at some point, this could have been your daughter, mother, cousin, etc. Keneeka is all of us and I have the deepest sympathy for that mother and family.  I pray that the ones who did this, will come forward and take responsibility soon.  R.I.P Kenneka Jenkins!!

Hurt People Hurt People But You Can Do Better

It would be nice if we lived in a world where we all could uplift one another.  This is simply and unfortunately not the case.  We live in the world where with the change in political climate we spend hours of a date arguing and tearing one another down. Even politics aside the nature of the human spirit is tested to do the right thing and help one another.  Listen outside of religion and race we are do really share a lot of common experiences.  Think about a new mom who is struggling with life for those first weeks. I don’t know a mom who either experienced or not doesn’t understand what that feels like. What about a new marriage?  A couple unites and struggles with the fusing of this new life.  This is a common experience.

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We need to do a better job in uplifting one another not just when things go wrong like for instance the example of Hurricane Harvey.  Although it’s a beautiful thing to see and is needed, we need to learn to not allow a disaster to come along and THEN we step up.  We have a human right to extend the very best to our fellow sisters and brothers all around the world.  Let me also put things into perspective.  I have some folks that I have a general disdain.  I do not like them, they do not like me, but I give them and anyonelse respect.  I do not have to break bread with some folks to show respect. This costs me nothing. However at the end of the day if I was in a fire, or sick, or drowning would it matter at that moment who saved me?  Most likely not.  My disdain would only come into play when I can control the playing field. With that in mind, I try to make sure that although I may close the door of fellowship based upon personal experience with others that I do not do that with people who have done nothing to me.  Meaning for some when they are hurt they take out on the rest of the world their pain.  Pain is very overwhelming.  However pain I am having with family doesn’t need to spill into my social life.  It’s hard too when that pain resembles and is reminded.  It’s like having a band-aid on and having it peeled off temporarily and the wound hasn’t healed.

I win when I show in spirit, thought, and deed in others’ winning with me or around me. I can’t tell you the countless times as a blogger that I have been asked questions about what to do in a situation.  I am about to celebrate 3 years I don’t even consider myself to be the best, YET, but helping someone get to where I am in hopes that they take off with their site, makes me happy and fulfilled.  Uplifting and wanting what’s best even for those that I may not know is important.  To the ones I don’t vibe well with, I never practice ill will towards them.  It’s a hard balance at times when you have been hurt but me holding onto hurt does nothing but brings me down.  I am not perfect in that category but I am definitely working towards being a better version of myself.  With this in mind, there may come a time when I get to a place where I can sit in their presence and enjoy it.  I can sit in anyone’s presence when I have to and not let it get to me but to be willing to do so when I don’t have to is called personal choice.  I feel that it shouldn’t be forced.  It should be natural.  I can be in a room and say hello, and keep it moving. However to be in the room and chat it up unnecessarily is a personal choice.  I can uplift them and want what’s best for them without interacting outside of the need.

As I see stories of families, friends and strangers coming together during Harvey I am hoping that this continues to spread after the effects of Harvey dies.  I hope this continues in how we interact with one another even on social media.  I am a professional debater but I refuse to tear someone down just because we don’t agree.  Now I may decide to keep it real and not interact with someone who I don’t have to, wish them well and move on but I am at a point that I am not going out of my way to be malicious.  I am going to show support of who you are and your right to be who you are.  No different from knowing a person who is nasty in their spirit.  From a far I can not interact with you, show you respect, but make a personal choice that the vibes you send isn’t right for my spirit and not interact on a personal level.  However I have no right to dislike you and treat you badly, and then say I am a positive person.  Closing a door to a person who means you ill will doesn’t mean you are wishing them ill will either.  You have a right to protect your spirit.  You don’t have a right to be indirectly or directly mean and bash a person for being who they want to.  So I pray for all of those who is reading this blog, that they would be in a place to deal with hurt but don’t continue to hurt others or tear them down.  You have a responsibility to do the right thing towards even your enemies even when you choose to not interact with what they bring to your life.

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I am practicing these things and I am constantly checking myself so that I don’t respond when it’s not pure in heart.  I trust that even if I get it wrong that I can make it right by just doing what works for me and allowing others to do the same.

Oooo Oooo Organized Life

So Fall is coming.  I am super excited.  Fall and Summer play step sisters with me on who is the favorites.  With that in mind, its time to end the last quarter of the year.  Literally 2018 will be here before you know it. I know we don’t want to think about it but its true. So while some will focus on making new goals the goal in that is to complete the ones you have started.  Yes how can you make 2018 and just throw caution to the wind on 2017. Let’s end 2017 off right.

What I like about the fact that 2017 still has a few months left is that you have time to make some great strides.  Think about September is around the corner so that leaves 3 months to literally get your life.  Didn’t work out?  You have 3 months to still lose some pounds.  Time to get it right and tight can still happen.  How?  Dedicate yourself.  That is half the battle.  In the Fall there is a thousand activities to aid in that.  Remember you got to get something down pack before the Winter blues enter in.  Do it before the snow and cold will convince you that you can’t go outdoors.  Where to get your motivation? Instagram? Facebook?  YES and no.  Your biggest motivation is in the mirror?  When you get up and hate the way your clothes fit no matter what your size, that is motivation saying hey fix this. Motivation is always around you its a matter of not drowning motivation’s cries as you reach for that second donut.  Trust me I get it, my husband brought donuts home last night.  I had one today and walked away before motivation could kick me in the behind.

One of the other ways of getting organized is preparing.  For all of the parents who are about to send their children off, get organized now.  Start labeling your school supplies and clothes.  Every year thousands of dollars are wasted because some other kid had your child’s stuff because it wasn’t adequately labeled.  I cut this mess in half by ordering labels from Dinkleboo and getting the offer through Groupon for 5.00.  I will not be sitting around labelling things with a sharpie this year.  It’s time-consuming.  Now I can have the kids slap their own labels on their stuff and bag it up.  Yes for a mommy win. You can do the same in your adult life.  Can you prepare before hand?  Sure can.  Many people complain about not having time to cook, I call BS on it.  Yes I said BS.  We know what that means.  It’s called not enough preparation.  I am super busy with 3 kids all under the age of 10, I blog, I work full-time, I work out, I have a husband, and I have a social life.  Go figure.  So how do I manage? A plan, a crock pot, a planner and a changed mindset.

So armed with a little motivation I plan ahead and work my plan.  I make it into a game. Right now 9pm is the end game.  Which means on Sundays I do laundry, meal prep by making 3 meals with 3 different selections at one time, and get all of the running around of life done by 9pm.  Why?  I personally treat myself every Sunday to a glass of wine and I “wine down” with my Sunday shows.  This is how I get through it.  I have the music on, I dance around but I get it done.  I look like a Tornado has hit my house but by 9pm, all bags are set on the couch to grab including gym bag, lunches are ready, breakfast plans are done, and dinners are already set.  This ensures that if I have a hectic Monday, I will at least have my life together on some spectrum.  I will at least cut down on a thousand items being forgotten and left. Oh and I start out with writing out what needs to be done by looking at my calendar ahead of time.  Too much work?  No, but having stress over the things I could have prevented is worth it.

Speaking of list, a planner will aid in this. I already ordered and designed my 2018 planner.  You can order one from  personal planner and they are on sale now.  Why? Back to school.  You can catch a sale now. This is the time to get your entire life together. College and back to schools make getting your home, and personal life right.  The sales I have gotten for new running sneakers, athletic gear, home, apparel, etc is crazy right now. I believe that life doesn’t have to cost that much and I rarely pay full price for anything.  Get to these sales.  Get to the makeover of your personal life.  I truly believe in order to be a better wife and mother I have to be a better me.  As I get things in order for my own heart’s desires the happier and more settled on the inside I have become.

Get involved.  My biggest compliant if there is one is not having local friends to do things with.  I have literally gotten out of my shell by attending events on my own.  I have signed up for all kinds of events for the Fall already.  I have (4) 5Ks set, a blog conference, and just some socializing that my Fall and Winter are about to be too lit.  Yes lit.  I am excited as I look at the colors flowing on my planner of fun non mommy, non wife activities that are building me up.  So what are you waiting for?  Are you planning on beating yourself up for the rest of the year?  Are you planning to be super sad come 2018 over the lack of planning that you did in 2017?  Get it right.  Get it tight.  Get your life and organize the hell out of it.

Make a list of things YOU need.  Make one for your home.  Make one for your job and any organizations you are involved in. Have you gotten your physical and all of your health appointments set or did you start?  If you say no to either question, you can start by getting your personal health together.  You should have seen your doctor, your eye doctor, dentist, and any other physician for any other underlying health issues you have? Have you been to the gym or met with a nutritionist?  Make it happen.  Have you set all of your kids appointments for the same?  Then you have some work to do.  If you are in a relationship do you need to outsource for help?  This could mean counseling.  This could mean scheduling some US time.  US time is actually great medicine.  My husband and I was finally able to get a little baecation and it did wonders.  We were able to refresh our love, get away and not have to share food with little people, and relax.  We set relationship goals for the rest of they year.  We spoke TO and not AT each other. This is going to be helpful before the school year kicks in.

What about your finances?  Do you have life insurance, health insurance, and an emergency savings?  These are goals that should be in place or things you are actively working towards.  Also no more go fund me accounts for funerals.  Get life insurance. It’s a shame we put more emphasis on what we have on our bodies and what we eat than for the future.  Also what about wills, powers of attorneys?  None of that? Then it’s time to get in touch of a great attorney.  If you live in PA and want one that can work remotely in helping you along, than email me toitimeblog@gmail.com for a great contact.  Trust me life is too temporal to be out here not handling your business.

You have options on where to start.  Start with your health, finances, personal growth, new job searching, anything but start now and finish the year strong.

Protect your Spirit

Happy Monday to you.  Happy I am just making it Monday.  Happy I am alive Monday. Whatever your Monday looks like to you, make it that and rise above it.  Yes the weekend has left some of us dry.  If it wasn’t the news that is constantly being pushed in our faces, to relationships, situationships, kids, jobs, etc you may be at wit’s end.

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So we all know that we need to protect our spirit.  Your spirit is your essence.  It’s your wits.  It’s you in a nut shell. I know there are many times when I have to take a time out. I give my kids one and have no shame in taking one.  You need to protect your essence. All of life’s drama can take the beauty out of you if you let it.  Today I am even more guarded to keep being informed but to filter some of the junk to avoid getting too overly emotional or let things take me out of my element.

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Life is hard but cover yourself today and everyday.  Cover your children who don’t fully understand but are in the presence of the same junk you are touched with.  Never underestimate that they are able to pick up on negative vibes just as much as you do. Protect what they see and hear.  Protect who they are around.  Who you allow your kids to be around speaks volumes as they take on what on who is around them.  Protect what words you say around them as well.  Words have life and death in them and you have to be careful that the tearing down isn’t occurring in-house.  We are worried about the outsiders but truth be told you can cause more damage in house than you will ever know if you aren’t careful.

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Filter what you take on when it comes to social media. I love social media but the down size is that it doesn’t always allow you to be social.  It can become battle grounds.  It can become warfare. It can zap your energy.  It can take up so much of your time.  It can allow you to not be able to disengage with those around you.  It is a choice and you must make good choices on what you entertain on social media.  Everything isn’t worth a response. Everything doesn’t need a clap back.  You have to clean your social media act up. Delete some accounts you don’t need.  Take a few folks off that you allow to get you all up in arms.  Learn to take a step back with who you call friends on your social media accounts.  Never post anything you don’t stand by 100% and be prepared to live with any backlash.  Learn that some things that inspire you may just be for you.  Learn that you can choose to spread hate or love.  Love on yourself.  Practice self-love everyday.  Mental illness is real and it can be elevated by social media because when the mind is weak it allows the defenses of everything to be low.  Be careful.  Speak life today.  Speak life into your situations and find ways to make your bottom line better.  Reach out to help others when your able.  It’s no different from when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first.  Same rule applies in life, stop handing out all of your resources to others and leave yourself depleted.  Help you than you can help someone else.  Have a great Monday and practice self love and love on others around you.