Know When to Let Go

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” -Steve Maraboli

It is Sunday once again friends, and we are going to talk about something regarding self-care. Knowing when to let go is a form of self-care. Hanging on to something or someone that has passed its expiration date in your life is not good for your well- being. We know once we lost the underwire in our favorite bra it no longer becomes supportive – thus it is time for us to let it go. If a power tool needs coaxing and constant charging then it has become more of a liability than an asset, and it is time to be replaced. Just as bras and power tools are no longer supportive and become a liability, other things that are more precious to us reach that status as well and we must learn to let them go.

There are people in our lives who we love dearly, but we find once we reach a certain level; they no longer fit in the equation. Listen, it is not about being better than someone else because at no point in life should you feel superior to anyone else. That my friends is just human decency. As much as we hate to admit, we outgrow people. We end up not wanting the same things in life and traveling the same paths, and the commonalities we once shared no longer exist. These individuals may be people we have known our entire lives and may even be family, but if they have become a hinderance, a liability, or a non-supportive entity within your life; it is time to let go. They will not show support for your achievements, they may seem a little judgmental of what you want to accomplish or what you are accomplishing, and they may just be blunt and tell you what they really feel. The thing is being able to decipher the true nature of the individual and their intentions.

When you are looking to improve yourself and your situation, you want people around you that are uplifting and supporting – like a good bra with strong underwire. Not someone who will have you questioning yourself and dragging you down with every opportunity they get. The question you may be asking is, “how will I know when to let go?” I think if you ask yourself the following questions you will know.

  1. Do you feel drained after being around this person? If a friend/family member doesn’t challenge you in a good way, but leaves you feeling mentally and emotionally drained; it may be time to re-evaluate this relationship.
  2. Are you anxious about meeting? Does the knowledge of being in the presence of this person cause you undue stress?
  3. You find that you are the one initiating contact. You may try to get together with this person, but they are too busy or what you need or your time is unimportant. If they don’t value you your time and/or friendship, maybe it is time to move on.
  4. You don’t like who you are or the way you feel when you are around this individual. If you can’t be your natural self and have to “accommodate” to be in their presence, it’s not worth it.
  5. They don’t add value to your life. The people around you, in your circle should be like minded individuals. Pushing you to be better, challenging you to do the hard things you think you cannot, and inspiring you when you feel down. If you find that this is not the case, re-evaluate! You can’t soar with eagles, if you are hanging out with chickens, am I right?

Having a history with someone does not make them a part of your life for a lifetime. Everything has a season and seasons change. We have to know when to let go for our mental health, for our own stability, and for the ability to be a forward moving individual. As you grow older, you evolve as a person. You gain values and priorities that were not always there. Some people live in the past and remain in a state of complacency. You can love that person from afar, but you have no obligation to keep ties because of the history that you share. Some people are temporary in our lives and that is ok. Accept and appreciate that time that was and the memories you shared, but move on. There doesn’t have to be a dramatic break from the individual, allowing things to naturally resolve themselves will oftentimes do it for you if you are that far apart in your way of thinking and being. If you do have to make a break, be cordial, be precise, and simply let them know that your lives are not moving in the same directions. Your mental health is the most important part of the equation, and no one should be allowed to take your peace.

To The One’s We Lost

An angel wrote in the book of life my baby’s date of birth, then whispered as he closed the book, “Too beautiful for earth.”

Today is Thursday, October 15. Today is pregnancy and infancy loss awareness day. As a mother of two, one of the first worries that came to my mind when I found out I was pregnant was, “what if I lose this baby?” You immediately do everything within your power to make sure that your baby is healthy. You make sure you are eating correctly, you make sure you are sleeping enough, and you do everything you can to take care of the growing child inside of you. Sometimes, some things are completely out of your control, and there is nothing that you can do. That doesn’t mean that it hurts any less. I have held the hands of friends and family members who have experienced this loss. I have cried tears with them in their most darkest times. So today, I light this candle in the memory of that child that didn’t get to come home, or that child that didn’t make it past the first year of life.

As I write this, it may be another day where you are. You may be ahead of me or you may be behind me, but I want you to know that I am thinking of you. I was supposed to have two beautiful nieces that didn’t survive the journey to this side. 1 in 4 women have experienced pregnancy loss – that is a alarming number. That is why it is important that we always be kind to those around us because we never know what someone is going through. Be a wave of light tonight and every night for your friends and family, or for yourself if you have experienced loss. The loss may lessen, but it will never go away. Keep those who didn’t get to bring a child home with them in your thoughts tonight.

Take Care of Yourself

An empty tank will take you nowhere. Time to refuel! -Unknown

I’m not sure who said that self-care was selfish, but I am sure it was someone who doesn’t have to give 97% of themselves to someone else on a daily basis week after week. Just as a car and appliances need maintenance, we as humans do as well. Especially when we have to continuously give so much of ourselves, and we are expected to show up everyday without fail. I know that as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother – so much is expected and required of me. Oftentimes, I allow myself to go without the necessary time I need to recharge and refuel which has an affect on the relationships that mean the most to me because I am literally exhausted. I have exhausted every brain cell, my last nerve, my ability to reason, and sometimes my ability to care. If I don’t take the necessary time for me, it all goes to hell rather quickly.

Your self-care day doesn’t have to be Sunday. It can be a Saturday, or even a day during the week that you find isn’t as busy as others. I think Self-Care Sunday came about because it went together so well. You don’t have to take the entire day, but enough time to gather yourself to the point that you can effectively be YOURSELF. I’ll give you an example. Yesterday, I had plans to go and walk, get my exercises in early and then do housework that didn’t need to be done, but was more of the monthly things you do around the house. Clean drawers, clear out mail, the cleaning of stuff that no one really sees. Well, that didn’t happen. I dropped my daughter off for her SAT, realized that I had a little over 4 hours to burn, and decided I was still tired and went back to sleep. I picked her up, came home, drank coffee, and finished a really great book nestled comfortably under my chenille blanket in my recliner. I moved only when necessary, didn’t answer to Mama because Daddy was home, and I enjoyed that time. When I was finished, I felt renewed and refreshed by resting and reading – doing something I love to do. Once I addressed my needs, I dressed and told my husband it was time to hit the pavement. Two plus miles and 40 minutes later, I was kissed by the sun and received my dose of vitamin D; and my lungs were clear and full of fresh air. That made my day more complete on the self care front.

My self-care may not look like yours, but you have to find your version of what self-care looks like for you and incorporate into your weekly routine if possible. Waiting until your tank is bone dry is only hurting your overall system. Just as waiting for your check engine light to appear before you decide to change your oil, check your car’s operating systems, or do other maintenance your vehicle needs only hurts the overall health of your vehicle. So whether you are a woman or a man reading this, self-care is for everyone. It’s not just for someone like me juggling mom, wife, and the demands of everyday life. It is also for the person juggling the corporate job, the 9-5, the depressed and anxious person trying to climb out of their hole…it is for everyone! Take the time to:

  • Meet your basic needs.
  • Move your body.
  • Get proper reset.
  • Meditate.
  • Love Yourself…Self love is the best love!
  • Get outside.
  • Control your worrying.
  • Incorporate positive thinking.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Skip that extra cup of coffee…eek!
  • Whatever makes you happy!!!

As I said, my self-care is not yours. You have to do the things that make you happy and keep you in your comfort zone. Find something that keeps you centered and gets you out of your head. Your self-care may be reading a book, watching a show on Netflix, or mountain biking for a few hours, but by all mean; find that thing and do it. The world needs happier, less stressed, and more positive thinking individuals right now, and taking better care of yourself can help achieve that.

It’s a Hallmark Christmas

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. – Agnes M. Pahro

If you are like me, you cannot wait for the holidays. As soon as Fall is within reach you are putting out your pumpkins and decorating your home to welcome the change of season. Soon thereafter you are decorating for Halloween! I don’t know if you do like I do, but I tend to go out for every season. The last few years have been a downer because we’ve flooded twice in the past 3 years; so some holidays have failed in the decoration department. I know one thing for sure, the weekend after Thanksgiving and sometimes the very next day is dedicated to decorating for Christmas. While I love all the holiday’s, Christmas is my FAVORITE! I decorate my 8 foot tree that can barely fit my ceiling with the star on top, I place my Nutcrackers all over the house, and this year – I am ordering a couple of extra trees to place around the house and decorate because we are HOME! Oh yeah, I have already started Nutcracking hunting as well. I may have a little obsession with those little statues. Last year, we were in a shoe box apartment sharing walls with loud neighbors, and I believe Hagrid from Harry Potter lived upstairs. Prayerfully, nothing keeps me from enjoying my holiday or my Hallmark in the comfort of my own walls this year.

There is something else I look forward to during the holiday season, and that is the wonderful world of Hallmark and the beautiful Christmas movies they give us each year. I was a little scared this year that with the pandemic we would have to recycle previous years movies. Which would not be a problem at all because they always give us the best! However, Hallmark with their ever giving spirit has gifted us with a list of new movies that I believe will definitely put us in the holiday mood, get us out of our heads of the year that has been 2020, and help us to look forward to the New Year…which I personally think we should be able to get a preview of. I wonder if Hallmark could make that happen in their final Christmas movie this year? Dear Hallmark, can you make that happen?

Thanks to myEntertainment Weekly subscription, I was able to get a glimpse of the joy and wonder we would experience via Hallmark and their holiday lineup. We will see a lot of our favorite actors within the Hallmark family and some newcomers as well. What would a Hallmark movie be without Candace Cameron Bure, Barbara Nevin, Benjamin Ayers, Ashley Williams, Niall Matter, Catherine Bell, Holly Robinson Pete, and Allison Sweeney. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more regulars and newcomers that I am sure will wow us in there performances. You will be happy to know that Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries “Miracles of Christmas” campaigns will start a week before Halloween on October 23. We will get the adventures of going back in time, holiday romances, homecomings, a charming little inn, and so much more in the 40 films set to air through December. So without further delay, let me deck the halls with the list of movies and when you can expect to see them.

  1. Jingle Bell Bride (Starring Julie Gonzalo and Ronnie Rowe Jr.) Premiers: October 24 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “A wedding planner (Gonzalo) travels to Alaska in search of a rare flower for a celebrity client and is charmed by the small town at Christmas, as well as the local (Rowe) helping her.”
  2. Christmas Tree Lane (Starring Alicia Witt, Andrew Walker, Drake Hogestyn, Briana Price). Premiers: October 24 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Music store owner (Witt) leads the community effort to save the Christmas Tree Lane shopping district from demolition. She finds herself falling for (Walker), a recent acquaintance; only to find he’s tied to the developer.”
  3. Chateau Christmas (Starring Merritt Patterson and Luke Macfarlane) Premieres: October 25 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Margot (Patterson), a world-renowned pianist, returns to Chateau Newhaus to spend the holiday with her family and finds her ex, (Macfarlane) and he helps her rediscover her musical passion.”
  4. Deliver by Christmas (Starring Alvina August and Eion Bailey) Premieres: October 25 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Bakery owner Molly (August) meets Josh (Bailey), a widower who recently moved to town with his young son, but she is also charmed by a mysterious client with whom she’s never met and doesn’t realize they are one in the same.”
  5. Christmas with the Darlings (Starring Katrina Law and Carlo Marks) Premieres: October 31 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Just before the holidays Jessica Lew (Law) is ending her tenure as the assistant to her wealthy boss to use her recently earned law degree within his company, but offers to help his charming, younger brother (Marks) as he looks after his orphaned nieces and nephews over Christmas.”
  6. Cranberry Christmas (Starring Nikki DeLoach and Benjamin Ayers) Premieres: October 31 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A separated couple feign marital bliss on national television to help their town’s Christmas festival – and their business. What happens when love is rekindled, but new opportunities are presented?”
  7. One Royal Holiday (Starring Laura Osnes, Aaron Tveit, Krystal Joy Brown, Victoria Clark, Tom McGowan) Premieres: November 1 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “When Anna (Osnes) offers a stranded mother (Clark) and son (Tveit) shelter in a blizzard, she learns that they are the Royal Family of Galwick. Anna shows the Prince how they do Christmas in her hometown, encouraging him to open his heart and be true to himself.”
  8. Holly & Ivy (Starring Janel Parrish, Jeremy Jordan & Marisol Nichols) Premieres: November 1 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When Melody’s (Parrish) neighbor, Nina (Nichols), learns that her illness had returned, Melody promises to keep Nina’s kids, Holly and Ivy, together. To adopt the children, she must renovate her new fixer-upper, which she does with the help of contractor Adam (Jordan).”
  9. Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater (Starring Ashley Williams and Niall Matter) Premieres: November 7 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Single mom Maggie (Williams) is facing Christmas alone until Lucas (Matter) crashes into her life and becomes an unexpected houseguest. Together they overcome Christmas while finding comfort in their growing bond.”
  10. The Christmas Ring (Starring Nazneen Contractor and David Alpay) Premieres: November 7 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A reporter (Contractor) searches for the love story behind an antique engagement ring. With the help of the ring’s owner’s grandson (Alpay), they learn the legacy his grandparents left behind.”
  11. On the 12th Date of Christmas (Starring Mallory Jansen and Tyler Hynes) Premieres: November 8 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Two seemingly incompatible game designers team up to create a romantic, city-wide scavenger hunt themed for The 12 Days of Christmas.
  12. The Christmas Bow (Starring Lucia Micarelli and Michael Rady) Premieres: November 8 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When an accident puts her music dreams on hold, gifted violinist (Micraelli) reconnects with an old family friend (Rady), who helps her heal and find love during the holidays.”
  13. Christmas in Vienna (Starring Sarah Drew and Brennan Elliot) Premieres: November 14 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Jess (Drew), a concert violinist whose heart just isn’t in it anymore, goes to Vienna for a performance. While in Vienna, she finds her inspiration and love.”
  14. Meet Me at Christmas (current working title) (Starring Catherine Bell and Mark Deklin) Premieres: November 14 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When Joan’s (Bell) son’s wedding planners unexpectedly quits, she must coordinate his Christmas Eve nuptials with the help of Beau (Deklin), the bride’s uncle. Working alongside each other, they discover their fates and pasts are intertwined.”
  15. A Timeless Christmas (Starring Ryan Paevey and Erin Cahill) Premieres: November 15 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Charles Whitley (Paevey) travels from 1903 to 2020 where he meets Megan Turner (Cahill), a tour guide at his historic mansion, and experiences a 21st century Christmas.”
  16. The Christmas Doctor (Starring Holly Robinson Peete and Adrian Holmes) Premieres: November 15 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A week before Christmas, Dr. Alicia Wright (Peete) is offered an assignment away from home. A mysterious man (Holmes) from her past journeys to find her before Christmas and brings with him a revelation that change her life forever.”
  17. A Nashville Christmas Carol (Starring Jessy Schram, Wes Brown, Wynonna Judd, Sarah Evans, RaeLynn, Kix Brooks, Kimberly Williams – Paisley) Premieres: November 21 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Vivienne Wake (Schram), a workaholic television producer in charge of a country music Christmas special showcasing newcomer Alexis (RaeLynn), never lets personal feelings get in the way of business. On the verge of accepting a job in L.A., and with the return of Gavin Chase (Brown) – her childhood sweetheart and manager to the special’s headliner, Belinda (Evans) – she receives a visit from the ghost of her recently deceased mentor, Marilyn (Judd). Her mentor warns her current path leads to a dark future and has recruited both the Spirit of Christmas Past (Brooks) and the Spirit of Christmas Present (Williams-Paisley) to help get her back on track. The Spirits’ time-jumping adventures force Vivienne to take hold of her life.”
  18. A Little Christmas Charm (Current working title) (Starring Ashley Greene and Brendan Penny) Premieres: November 21 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: ” Holly (Greene), a jewelry designer, finds a lost charm bracelet and teams up with an investigative reporter Greg (Penny) in hopes of finding the owner and returning it by Christmas Eve.”
  19. Christmas House (Starring Robert Buckley, Jonathan Bennett, Ana Ayora, Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence & Brad Harder) Premieres: November 22 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Working through some difficult decisions, Wade family matriarch (Lawrence) and patriarch (Williams), have summoned their two TV star Mike Wade and Brandon Wade (Buckley and Bennett) – home for the holidays. It is their hope that bringing the family together to recreate the Christmas house will help them find resolution and make a memorable holiday for the family and community. As Brandon and his husband Jake (Harder) make the trip home, they are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child. Meanwhile, Mike reconnects with Andi (Ayora), his high school sweetheart.”
  20. The Angel Tree (Starring Jill Wagner and Lucas Bryant) Premieres: November 22 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “A writer (Wagner) seeks the identity of the person who helps grant wishes that are placed upon the angel tree, and in the process, reconnects with her childhood friend (Bryant).”
  21. New Movie to be announced…(Stars and Synopsis TBD) Premieres: November 23 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel
  22. A Christmas Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Starring Rochelle Aytes and Mark Taylor) Premieres: November 24 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Erin (Aytes) is planning the town’s Christmas celebration and must win over firefighter Kevin (Taylor) in order to obtain the beautiful spruce tree from his property for the celebration.
  23. A Bright and Merry Christmas (Starring Alison Sweeney and Marc Blucas) Premieres: November 25 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Two competing TV hosts (Sweeney and Blucas) are sent to a festive small town over Christmas. While pretending to get along for the sake of appearances, they discover that there is more to each other than they thought.”
  24. Five Star Christmas (current working title) (Starring Bethany Joy Lenz and Victor Webster) Premieres: November 26 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “After moving back to her hometown, Lisa (Lenz) plot with her siblings and grandparents to help her father’s new bed and breakfast get a five-star review from an incognito travel critic (Webster), but ends up falling for him, not knowing he is the real critic.
  25. Christmas by Starlight (current working title) (Starring Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell) Premieres: November 27 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Annie (Sustad), a lawyer, must help her loved ones this holiday season. Her family’s restaurant, the Starlight Café, is slated for demolition. The heir to the development firm responsible, William (Campbell), makes her an unlikely proposition: He’ll spare the café if Annie spends the week ‘appearing’ as the legal counsel his father is demanding he hire in the wake of some costly mistakes.”
  26. Christmas Waltz (Starring Lacy Chabert, Will Kemp and JT Church) Premieres: November 28 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “After Avery’s (Chabert)) storybook Christmas wedding is canceled unexpectedly, dance instructor Roman (Kemp) helps her rebuild her dreams.”
  27. USS Christmas (Starring Jen Lilley, Trevor Donovan and Barbara Niven) Premieres: November 28 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Maddie (Lilley), a reporter for a Norfolk newspaper, embarks on a Tiger Cruise during Christmastime where she meets a handsome naval officer (Donovan) and stumbles upon a mystery in the ship’s archive room.”
  28. If I Only Had Christmas (Starring Candace Cameron Bure and Warren Christie) Premieres: November 29 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “At Christmas, a cheerful publicist (Bure) teams up with a cynical business owner
  29. Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing (Starring Holly Robinson Peete, Colin Lawrence, Rukiya Bernard, Antonio Cayonne, and Barbara Niven Premieres: December 5 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “As Michelle’s (Peete) wedding approaches, Hannah (Bernard) steps up to help finish the launch of the new Evergreen museum while questioning her relationship and future with Elliot (Cayonne).”
  30. Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas (Starring Lacey Chabert and Stephen Huszar) Premieres: December 5 @ pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Five guests are mysteriously invited to an inn to celebrate Christmas. With the help of the owner Ben (Huszar), Sarah (Chabert) discovers that an event from the past may connect them and change their lives forever.”
  31. Christmas She Wrote (Starring Danica McKellar and Dylan Neal) Premieres: December 6 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “When Kayleigh (McKellar), a romance writer, has her column canceled right before Christmas, she heads home to reconnect with her family. Kayleigh gets an unexpected visit from the man (Neal) who canceled her column. His visit is a fight to not only bring her bcak to the publisher, but also to win her heart.
  32. A Godwink Christmas: First Loves, Second Chances (Starring Brooke D’Orsay and Sam Page) Premieres: December 6 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “After 15 years, Pat (Page) moves home from Hawaii with his two sons and through a series of coincidences, or Godwinks, ends up stuck in traffic next to his high school sweetheart, Margie (D’Orsay), at Christmas.”
  33. Cross Country Christmas (Starring Rachel Leigh Cook and Greyston Holt) Premieres: December 12 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “Former classmates Lina (Cook) and Max (Holt) are traveling home for the holidays, until a storm hits and they have to work together to make it home in time, no matter the mode of transportation.
  34. A Glenbrooke Christmas (Starring Autumn Reeser and Antonio Cupo) Premieres: December 12 @ 9 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “As Christmas nears, heiress Jessica Morgan (Reeser) seizes what seems like her last chance to experience a relaxed Christmas and heads off to the small town of Glenbrooke, where she meets a handsome fireman (Cupo).”
  35. Christmas Carnival (Starring Tamera Mowry – Housley) Premieres: December 13 @ 8pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “Emily (Mowry-Housley) is a top newscaster who has achieved her career dreams but still has regrets about the guy (Xavier) who got away five years earlier. When the Christmas carnival comes to town, a ride around the carousel takes her magically back to the carnival 5 years before…giving her a second chance at love before she has to return to present-day Christmas.”
  36. Christmas Homecoming (current working title) (Starring Taylor Cole and Steve Lund) Premieres: December 13 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “When a mysterious key and a holiday riddle arrive on their doorsteps, Kate (Cole) and Kevin (Lund) embark on a Christmas romance adventure they will never forget.”
  37. A Christmas Carousel (Starring Rachel Boston and Neal Bledsoe) Premieres: December 19 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “When Lila (Boston) is hired by the Royal Family of Marcadia to repair a carousel, she must work with the Prince (Bledsoe) to complete it by Christmas.”
  38. Swept Up by Christmas (current working title) (Starring TBD) Premieres: December 19 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “An antique seller and cleaner clash over how to downsize a magnificent estate right before Christmas. As the two uncover the house’s treasures, they find a way to reconnect the reclusive owner with his own Christmases past.”
  39. Love, Lights, Hanukkah! (Starring Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage and Marilu Henner Premieres: December 20 @ 8 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Channel Official Synopsis: “As Christina (Kirshner) prepares her restaurant for its busiest time of year, she gets back a DNA test revealing that she’s Jewish. The discovery leads her to a new family and an unlikely romance over eight nights.”
  40. Project Christmas Wish (current working title) (Starring TBD) Premieres: December 20 @ 9pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Official Synopsis: “For years, Lucy has played Santa to her small town’s community by making their holiday wishes come true. But when Lucy grants a little girl’s wish for a Christmas like she used to have with her mom, she unexpectedly finds her own wishes coming true in life and love.

There you have it. The list of the newest lineup of holiday movies coming to you from our favorites at Hallmark. So, set yourself a reminder, watch the schedule in case something changes, and get real comfortable to enjoy the holiday season. Some of the movies have yet to assign starring roles and I am sure may still be in production with our ongoing pandemic. Lets hope that each of these films are able to air, and we are able to see some of our favorites from years past. If you are feeling nostalgic and having withdrawals, get yourself the Hallmark or Friendly app. You can get all of the Hallmark channels and watch your favorite Christmas movies and your favorite shows on demand. Happy watching and happiest of holidays to come! 💋💋

The Art of Intimacy & Keeping The Fire Burning

“Physical intimacy isn’t and can never be an effective substitute for emotional intimacy.” -John Green

I have been married for 14 1/2 years. I have been with the same man for the past 20 years. Intimacy is something we strive to keep going, but how do you do that after all the years and all the responsibilities? Someone is working, someone is busy, the kids need this, you want to get away but it is damn near impossible. There are a laundry list of things that can inhibit intimacy in a relationship. When I say intimacy, I don’t just mean – the act of sex, sex is merely a medium of intimacy. Sex is just sex if there is no love, no intimacy, no feeling of “oneness” when it actually happens. It is just a water hose bringing forth water to a garden – something needed at the moment.

Yes, we all know the the art of lovemaking can be completely sublime, but there is more to it than that. Sex is an intimate way of expressing oneself, but it is not intimacy…let’s talk. It can be the most intimate and glorious expression of love that you share with someone, but it has become a tool for some to demand proof of love, and for others to give in hopes that love will be returned. Yes, there will be those feelings of euphoria, delight, elation, joy, all the good feelings from the feel good hormones our bodies are producing, but if those feelings fade and love never comes into play…what then?

That last paragraph was an ode to the single people reading this, the engaged people, and those who may be in a purely “physical thing” type of situation. It is my belief that every time you are in a physical relationship with someone, you share a piece of yourself, your soul, something not everyone gets to get a glimpse of. You also take in something from the person with whom you are sharing that with. A transference of energy of sorts. You have to be very careful with whom you share and receive energy with because not all energy is good energy…you feel me?

Now, let me address my married readers. The one’s who have experienced the ebbs and flows of the “married with kids and responsibilities” stage. You know what I’m talking about – don’t play like you don’t. Especially if you have as much time in as I do. That honeymoon phase is over, but it shows up every once and a while and gets you all excited. Then, you’ve planned a “special night,” but one of the kids get sick. They decide to stay up late because they know “you have plans.” You are now forced to plan getaways – which I love to do, you have to work around schedules, responsibilities, and whatever else life throws at you.

How do you keep things EXCITING?? First of all, no one wants the monotonous routine right? We want to keep it fun and exciting like it was in the beginning! That is going to take effort from both partners to make that work. Can you still surprise your spouse? Can you walk up and whisper something that will make them blush? Will it make you blush just saying it? I’m telling you; you have to make the ordinary – extraordinary! Routine is fine, it gets the job done, but sometimes we all want more than routine. If you are not dating your spouse, it is time to start. Remember how things were exciting and unpredictable when you were dating? Holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes. You would sneak kisses and chase each other around like little kids. Get it back by going to where it started. You can do that literally and/or figuratively. Don’t allow your marriage to become a place where boredom resides, but where all the fun happens.

What else can you do to keep it spicy? Surprise your partner. Tell them that you have plans, don’t give any specifics, and make it the most unforgettable night they will ever experience. I’m thinking candles, roses, couples massages, champagne, and some delectable treats. Surprises are a perfect spice in the marriage pot, if done correctly. Leave notes and send text messages reminding them about the upcoming surprise without giving it away, but to keep building the anticipation. You can hint at all kind of things of what it possibly could be, but keep that anticipation high so when they do get their “surprise” things are hot and smoking!

Finally, always let your partner know what you like. Using your voice is critical in a relationship, and it is equally important when it comes to being physical with your partner. Let them know what turns you on, what feels incredible, what you like and don’t like. Being vocal lets your partner know that you are enjoying yourself, it increases their enjoyment, and takes your pleasure to an elevated position. Enjoy one another, learn each other’s body, and things can only get better from there. Communicating with your spouse, yes – even during the most intimate time is necessary because it reassures them that what is happening is very fulfilling. When something is not fulfilling to you, do you find yourself wanting to do it or doing it at all? Hmmm….??

While intimacy isn’t solely about sex, it is a component of it. Knowing your partner, having the ability to keep things fresh, and having the willingness to work to keep it fresh it very important. Compassion in guiding your partner to where you want to be in your intimacy, what you want to adjust, and how to gently guide them in the right direction – literally if you must. Do not get annoyed with your partner, communicate, communicate, COMMUNICATE! Actually talking with your partner is the most important component of intimacy that you will encounter. Conversations resolves things and moves them forward if they are done correctly. So again, be compassionate, accept constructive criticism if you are giving it, and most importantly, KEEP ENJOYING EACH OTHER!

Stop Living in the Past, Happiness Awaits

“Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment.” -Henry David Thoreau

The past is a tricky place.  You can visit there, but it is not some place you want to live.  Holding onto the past, especially situations that were hurtful can cause feelings of remorse and resentment that may be difficult to navigate.  These scenes should only be played out in therapy for you to overcome.  Not on a daily basis for you to dwell.  I know several people who live in the past, and that hinders their present, and jeopardizes their future.  Our past good or bad should always encourage us to be better.  For some of us it does, while others take their past and use it as an excuse, as a crutch of sorts to excuse their actions.  “I only act that way because this happened when I was younger.”  She acts that way because that’s just the way she is.  Your past does not give you a pass to be a toxic individual.

I have experienced trauma, familial issues, relationship issues, and a host of other things that could make me a completely ruined individual, but I don’t live there anymore. I took the necessary time to work on those pieces of myself.  I encourage any and everyone, if you have issues in your past that are preventing you from living purposefully and intentionally in your present – work that out.  Therapy and mental health resources are available through just about all insurances.  If you are uninsured or underinsured, you can go to www.samhsa.gov or visit their national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for treatment and referral services.  

Yes, you have a right to your feelings, and you have to own those feelings, but don’t own them to the point that you are paralyzed within them.  It is important to process whatever you are feeling, and work to pull yourself out of that hole.  Those feelings can place you in a pit where you are unable to maintain meaningful relationships with friends, family, and most importantly intimate relationships.  I’ve witnessed some of the most dysfunctional relationships because the people involved were unable to overcome and workout their individual issues.  It is not a judgment, but an observation.  I wouldn’t judge someone in that position because I was once one of those people.  Ready to jump at a moment’s notice because I possessed an inability to accept constructive criticism for what it was.

I encourage you to set your intentions on happiness. For you to experience happiness you first have to understand what happiness is. What exactly is happiness? Well, I am sorry to say that there is not a straightforward answer to the question, “What is happiness?” Happiness is a series of complex levels that only the individual trying to achieve it can say, THIS IS MY HAPPINESS. What does your wheel of well-being say about you? Think about your life. Which of your day to day activities give you pleasure or joy? Which ones are engaging (put you into flow)? Which ones are centered on building supportive relationships (friends, family, colleagues, others)? Which activities are meaningful? Which ones give you a sense of accomplishment, and make you feel that you made a difference? These questions may help you find your meaning of happiness.

The ability to stop living in the past lies in your capability to find your happiness. Prioritize yourself on a daily basis to find the positive aspect of the day, finding humor, doing good – reaching out to help someone. These things can drastically change your outlook and demand more “now” living. Take time to look at the stars, dance in the rain, people – watch, watch the sunrise, dance like nobody’s watching, dress up for yourself and not because someone wants you to. Make life happy by being present in the present.

How is Your Character?

“Who are you, when heavy weather is blowing? Where is your character, the one who keeps your going?” -Van Hunt

I walked into the week with the confidence of LeBron James as he steps onto the basketball court, but it’s Wednesday and I’m feeling a little deflated.  I say deflated because I have lost a little air, but I am by no means DEFEATED.  Our intentions can be pure and our plans well laid out, but boy do those speed bumps come out of nowhere!  I just wanted to say that if you started your week as I started mine, confident and ready to take on the world…don’t lose hope.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day and we have to make the best of that time no matter how challenging it may be.  I encouraged my followers on Instagram yesterday that we do not have bad days, but days where we experience character building exercises.  I say that because how we handle situations when we are stressed and in challenging situations is a direct reflection of our character.  The definition of character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.  What does your mental and moral qualities say about you when you face a challenging day?  Do you rise above the situation and show the best part of yourself, or do you become a complete ass?

Are you aware that your character is formed or most revealed during the difficult times. The difficult times are the best test of character. I learned that over the years. I could be an ass when faced with a difficult situation when I was younger, and I can be an ass now, but I know the importance of my character and how my response reflects on me. Thus, I go for the best version of me 97% of the time now. There are people that will test you, sometimes I think just to see how far they can push you. Aiming to see how you will react. If you have children, they are the agents of pushing your character to the limit, but these are the most important people with whom you want to show the best aspect of your character to. Don’t give in to their ‘little dictatorship,’ but let them know that their behavior or whatever they are doing wrong is unacceptable in the most “Mary Poppins” voice possible. Remember, you imprint on them at every age, and they feel your pain and displeasure which results in their further acting out. I can personally attest to it. One day I was upset with my son for something he’d done, but I didn’t say anything; I just furrowed my brow. He asked me, “Mommy are you mad?” I told him that I was displeased. He replied, “Well you don’t have to attack me!” I assure you, there was no attacking taking place, only a furrowed brow and the makings of some premature wrinkles. However, to hear him say that made me sad that he felt attacked because I showed displeasure with his actions. Children can really pile it on right?

How can we keep our character intact and not have our children accusing us of attacking them. Release those toxic emotions; don’t let them build up to begin with. We are prone to easily give into negative emotions like anger, frustration, and anxiety. These emotions become a part of our bodies, manifesting in pain, tension, and the inability to concentrate. They also manifest through us lashing out at our co-workers, our friends, our families, and anyone who dares to come within close proximity. Discover an outlet to rid your body of these toxins to be a better you and to keep from putting your character at risk.

Your character is a part of you always and forever. It will follow you wherever you go, it is a part of your reputation, a part of who you are. How you handle difficult days and difficult situations can define your character. Don’t let a difficult day be the determining factor of your character. We are better than that, and in this year – 2020, we MUST be better than that.

This week will be Amazing!

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they have come along with patience and equanimity.” -Carl Jung

This week, I’m looking for the happiness in all things. Is that a bit much? At this point, I don’t believe that it is. This year, we have gone through hell and back, and we are still witnessing nationwide suffering with wildfires all up and down the west coast, whether you believe in it or not, Covid is still very real, and it seems like everyone is at odds with their neighbors about their views of what is happening in the world. I thought I’d had a tough week last week because homeschool and life didn’t go as planned everyday, but I realized I’ve had a tough year. We’ve all had a tough year.

Guess what? Adults are not the only ones having a tough time, but our children are navigating uncharted waters, unsure of what to feel. So, if they lash out, refuse to do work, and are not themselves – think about the times you as an adult have felt the very same way! To accommodate the high anxiety, I’ve started changing the way we start our mornings. I mean it’s homeschool right so we can do what we want. We turn on a little smooth jazz, spray some calming essential oils, and discuss things before we get to work. This is an attempt to make our days better, and I cross my fingers, say a prayer and hope for the best. Some days we fly through work like an old school Concorde, but other days, it’s pulling teeth; good days and bad days.

I had a discussion with my daughter and one of her friends this weekend, and they were saying how things have changed dramatically at their school amongst the students, and who they feel best represents them as their President. I don’t tell people who they should or shouldn’t vote for, but when the rhetoric follows, the sublimed racial messages, that is when I see the problem. I was told about some uncomfortable messages these small group of young adults were putting out into the atmosphere. I sat them down and explained racism is not an inherited trait. You are not born with a racist gene. That is something taught, indoctrinated, drilled into you by individuals closest to you: friends and family. I also explained to them, (my two) they have always been taught right from wrong and to not stoop to the level of someone who spews vileness. It is their job to rise above. They are to respect and care about others, but walk away when ignorance rears it’s ugly head

So I ask…What are you looking to accomplish this week? What kind of meaning do you want for your life this week? Are you willing to take the bad and make it good should it come? Can you say, I won’t complain in the midst of your storm. This week, we are going to go forth and be amazing, rising above all that is: 1- Not good for our mental health. 2- Does not serve the greater good. 3- Does not improve our overall well-being. 4- Does not make us happy and puts a smile on our face. 5- Is negative in ANY way. My motto this week is “inhale the good shit, exhale the bullshit!” I have given you a very simple blueprint to make this week amazing. GO FORTH AND MAKE IT GREAT!

Don’t Disregard Your Mental Health

“One of the bad things about depression is that it drains us emotionally and makes us unable to handle things that normally would not get us down.” -Billy Graham

Mental Health is and should be treated as a part of your overall health.  You can be physically perfect, sound body, heart healthy, every organ doing what it is supposed to do, all of your numbers exactly where they should be, but mentally you can be on life support.  Of all mental health issues you could experience, depression and anxiety are right at the top of the top 5.  As a Black woman I have heard far too often in my lifetime that people my color do not become depressed, we do not have issues with anxiety.  I am here to dispel that “rumor” and to further normalize the conversations of mental health, and talk about what we really feel.  I can remember an Aunt of mine as a child who had what they considered a “nervous breakdown.”  She was almost catatonic.  She would sit and stare into a void that none of us could see and some responses were merely grunts.  I never knew what the cause of her affliction was, but I can still vividly see her sitting there on our sofa, basically a shell of herself.  I was a child at the time, without any type of knowledge or understanding of how your brain can make your entire body turn against you.

A few years later I would be in conversation with my Grandmother; and I asked her why she waited so long to have my mom – who would be her only child. Still a child, I had no idea what kind of doors I was opening at the time, but I did have a better understanding. When she had my mom, she was 43 years old. She explained that she was pregnant before my mom, almost 13 years before she gave birth to her. At that time, she lost her uncle, the man that raised her when her mom could no longer take care of her because she herself experienced a crisis. This stress affected her to the point that she miscarried what would have been my uncle. The culmination of both losses were too great for her and she found herself in a deep depression. My Grandfather was helpless and unaware of what to do. Fresh home from WWII and still trying to find his way as a “colored” man in a white man’s world, he too was a little lost. My Grandmother was the daughter of a twin. Her cousin, the daughter of her mom’s twin, came and took care of her. She told me it took her almost that long to get herself together, to get her mind right, to know that she could take care of herself before she even thought of taking care of someone else. Just in the first 400 words of this post I have shown that 2 generations of Black women experienced mental health issues at a time when it was even more “hush, hush.”

That is the thing about depression, it doesn’t care who you are or what you look like. It doesn’t care how successful you are, how much money you make, or what kind of car you drive – depression does not care who it attacks. This week, there was a discussion with Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott speaking on his bout with depression. It made its rounds on a lot of the sports talk shows because Skip Bayless said he had no sympathy for Prescott because as quarterback of “America’s Team” he’s supposed to be a leader of men. This was in response to Prescott admitting that he had began experiencing depression and anxiety during quarantine, and those feelings intensified when his older brother died by suicide in mid-April. Well Skip Bayless, you have sunk to a low of lows. What’s sad is he knew where he was going before he even got there because he prefaced it by saying, “viewers could condemn him as cold-blooded and insensitive for what he was about to say.” Depression and anxiety doesn’t care WHO YOU ARE and what team you throw the ball for. I applaud Dak for having the balls, literally and figuratively for coming out and sharing his feelings. Once Skip said what he said, we had more men in powerful positions express their times of depression and feelings of hopelessness after losses and other traumatic events. I even saw someone say, he’s rich and famous; what does he have to be depressed about? Money and fame is not a depression deterrent, nor does it make you exempt. These people are still human, no matter what type of money they make. Shame on you Skip Bayless!

This reaction is one of the reasons a lot of people hide their depression. The world around you may not receive it in a kindly manner. I think I read somewhere that depression is when we live in the past and anxiety is what happens when we can’t control the future. Regardless of what causes each of these disorders, there is a common thread between the two – an attempt to control the uncontrollable. I had to realize that myself when I became depressed and anxious. For a while, and I mean a while; there was a time before I sought help for the feelings that I was feeling. I actually went into the doctor for a regular check up and bloodwork, and my doctor goes – you don’t look like yourself, what’s going on? I burst into tears immediately, because as hard as I thought I was hiding everything she saw it. I then started to think, who else had noticed, but didn’t say anything. Maybe my friends and family thought I was just being bitchy and withdrawn, but that is not what my doctor saw. Many people do not seek help or advice, some talk to their friends, I didn’t do either, but my healthcare provider literally saw me.

Depression and anxiety can be debilitating and paralyzing. You feel a sense of constant impending doom, while feeling like you are about to jump out of your skin. There were times when I would look in the mirror, but question who the person was inside of me. I was the strong one. The one people would come to. The one who could always give advice and help. So how was it, I found myself paralyzed in my own body. I was able to go on with life as normal, but let me tell you…I did not care about anything. I faked my way through life for well over a year. I went through countless medications and side effects that were extreme. I lost my ability to taste, I lost other senses, temporarily thank God, but just the trial and error of finding what can make you feel normal again is almost as exhausting as the illness itself. Like Dak, I experienced those feelings again at the mid-point of quarantine. I realized though where I was headed and realized again that I have too much to live for and refused to allow that darkness to engulf me again. I began to take proactive measures – after a month of sulking. Maybe I needed that month, but once it was over, it needed to be over! I had to get back to life in the most intentional way. The depression and anxiety didn’t just magically go away, I just learned over the years how to function effectively.

The stigma of mental health has to be erased. We need to normalize talking about our feelings, going to therapy, acknowledging our issues, and treating others with respect and kindness because we don’t know what they are going through. Mental health illnesses are a global issue, not just a me or a you issue. We’ve all been touched by it whether we realize it or not. Some situations are unique and require more attention and “finesse” than others. I implore you, don’t do like I did and wait for someone to “see” you and know that you are not fine. If you are feeling unlike yourself, talk to someone, get the help you need, IT IS NOT WRONG. An accurate diagnosis means an accurate course of treatment. You can overcome anxiety and depression, the question is: are you willing to seek the help you need? Don’t wait too long.

How has mental health issues affected you? Let’s begin a discussion. Leave a response in the comments.

National Suicide Prevention Month

There’s always hope!!

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  This week, September 6-12 is Suicide Prevention Week.  Suicide is a subject most people shy away from, it’s one of those subjects that is – taboo.  Well, we can’t shy away from it, and we have to talk about it because it happens and it happens often.  Suicide is in the top 10 causes of death in the United States, with about 50,000 people dying each year, and an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts.  With those numbers, we all know someone who has either attempted suicide, has been affected by suicide, or has even considered it.  

We need to get the word out about this preventable epidemic, because it is preventable.  Just as we call attention to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses, suicide and suicide attempts need our attention as well.  If we know and understand the risk factors, the available treatments, and what it takes to keep our friends and family safe – I have extreme hope that we can get these numbers lower.  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people 10-34 and the 4th leading cause of death for people 35-54.  The overall suicide rate in the United States has increased by 31% since 2001.  Someone you know may be hinting to you they need help, they may be actively crying out for help, and they may just be trying to disappear, but as I said, we must know the risk factors and how we can help.

Some of the most common risk factors pertaining to a suicidal individual include:

  • Current or past depression. Depression can become overwhelming and too much to bear for some, and they feel suicide is the only cure. Other mental health issues further exacerbate those intense feelings; so a combination of mental health issues can lead to suicide.
  • Substance abuse is another factor. Extensive and long-term drug use can lead to changes in the chemical makeup of the brain which can make an individual suicidal. One may also feel they will never get over their addiction, thus the only option is to end it all.
  • Exposure to a traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD, survivors guilt, and maybe even a woman post-miscarriage are some examples of a ‘traumatic event.’ A traumatic event can be a wide variety of scenarios that overwhelmingly overcomes someone to the point of no return.
  • Social Isolation. What is that? Well, now we’ve been in quarantine for months, unable to gather with friends and family on a regular basis which has left a lot of individuals “socially isolated.” Teens find a problem with this too. They fall out with a friend or friends and becoming the outcast; this has lead to an increase in teen suicide.
  • Loss of a relationship.
  • Legal and financial issues.
  • Traumatic brain injury. For example, football players who’ve had several concussions over the years, diagnosed and undiagnosed that lead to CTE.
  • Easy access to firearms.
  • Unstable home life.
  • Life threatening illness.

Suicide has proven to be no respecter of age. Children younger than 13 years of age are turning to suicide because of an increase in bullying, abuse, and feeling unwanted and unseen. It is up to each of us to help, you never know what an adult or a child in your life is going through. So how can you help? Each of us can be more supportive and a little less judgmental. Inquire about things going on with the people in your life. If you are around them enough, you may notice the change in mood, even the subtle ones. Offer support, even if they tell you nothing’s wrong. You don’t want to be pushy, but you do want to assure them that you are there should they need you. If they do bring you in, stay involved. The situation is delicate, and for all intent and purposes, deadly. It is not the time to be a flake. Abandoning them now would only bring up more issues. Finally, know the signs; which I will lay out for you next, and if there is a need – by all means contact a mental health professional.

What are the “Red Flags” you should be looking for?  These signs can be very subtle, as to not draw attention to what they are planning, or as bold as a neon sign.  Some who plan suicide may do one or more of the following:

  • Seek out medication, controlled substances, or firearms.
  • They may seek out friends and family to say their final goodbyes.
  • Putting their affairs in order.
  • Showing and expressing feelings of hopelessness.
  • The may become easily agitated.
  • Showing signs of shame in everything.
  • Insomnia
  • Along with a host of many other signs that may be unique to that individual.

As I have said, most people don’t like to speak on the topic of suicide and it is a taboo type of subject.  If you ask, a lot of people will say that it is selfish, it is the ultimate betrayal, and it is unforgivable.  People think that way because they don’t understand the complete breakdown of the mental health issues behind the reason for an individual choosing to take their life.  Suicide and suicidal thoughts can a affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.  I encourage you, not just in September, but each month of the year to check in with your loved ones.  Ask the questions about how they are feeling, if there is something that is heavily weighing on them – especially if they are prone to depression and mental health issues.  Use this month to share the stories of loss, reach out to someone you know who suicide has affected, take time to heal if you have been affected, raise awareness.  Like mental health, we have to end the stigma attached to suicide and focus on preventing it from happening in the first place.

  • If you know someone who is in immediate danger, call 911 immediately and thoroughly explain the situation to ensure that it is handled properly. If possible, contact the individual’s doctor if they are under care to let them know their patient is in crisis.
  • If you are in crisis and need to speak with someone, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).
  • If you don’t think you can talk, text NAMI to 741-741 to actively text with a trained crisis counselor.