Sunday Message: Don’t duplicate someone else’s shine

Happy Sunday. Where I am it’s a beautiful sunny day. I am still enjoying family time and relaxing. Yesterday I posted the most adorable pictures of my kids. They were dressed in their Halloween costumes. My oldest was Uma from Descendants 2, my son a red Power Ranger and my youngest Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Immediately I had parents while I was out ask me where I had gotten their costumes. That is a natural question especially since my oldest Uma costume was the hardest to get as it’s been one of the go to costumes of the season.

A mom said to me how do you find the time to do all you do?! My answer is I do it as I’m moving. She began to look very sad so I asked her what was wrong and why did she feel inadequate.  She stated she felt like she was missing the mark and all of the other parents around her has it all together. I explained how I used to measure myself like she is doing. I would see the moms with a face full of makeup, heels, and bomb outfit meanwhile I’m out in my yoga aka my yogurt pants as my dad calls them with a messy bun or my hair not even curled and maybe some chapstick. I too would measure myself up against other women.

I said what you see is my personal determination to be better. I stopped comparing my awesomeness to other women and measured what I wanted for myself. When I stopped the negative self talk, I found I was able to get up when I wanted to be fierce and look the part. When I wanted to be casual I stopped doing it just to get out of the house but dressed my casual look up a bit more because I wanted to look the part. She said she never thought of that. 

See the problem with comparison is you lose the essence of who you are and what you can offer the world. I do things on my own time and when I want to. This stops me from stressing myself out over what someone else is doing. Do not dim your light or turn it off to match another. Another woman can’t outshine me because I am my own unique person with a unique offering to give to the world. You need to know the same. Be you! 

You are the one that can be the best you. If you try to be like who you see, the world will miss the true essence of you and we all need it. 

Weekly Recap: October 20, 2017

Is anyone else having a weird Friday or is it just me?  Well as much as this day has been at least it’s Friday right?  I am working on treating everyday like a Friday, but I am so not there just yet.  I hope you have a fantastic Friday and a relaxing weekend.  You know my motto by now, make sure you find some time to feed your soul.

So let’s recap this week:

Personal Goals

This has been a great week.  I went to the premiere for You Die First a short scary movie of a friend and if you haven’t you can check out that blog along with the others from this week.  I also was able to see my oldest child perform in the church/school choir.  Seeing her is really like looking at me as a child.  She really is my mini me and sometimes its hard watching her grow because I know that she will have so much to face and I pray I equip her to be ready for it all.  My family was also able to go to Linvilla Orchards for our yearly trip.  It was as always a lot of fun.  I unfortunately found out that I have a hairline fracture in my foot so no working out at least not the traditional way. I was expected to be out originally for 2 but now I am out for 6 weeks.  So this means being on my Weight Watcher points like crazy for the next few weeks and altering the workouts to fit my situation.  I also got out and enjoyed the Painting with a Twist with the Mocha Moms group.

One other goal was my blood work.  I had two different doctors do blood work for different panel of things. I got the results of the one and it really came out great.  The hysterectomy has allowed my body to calm and I am healthy.  I can’t wait to get next week’s results for my blood levels etc.  Those are the super important ones.  I will keep you updated.

Blog Goals

It’s been a busy blog week as usual.  I have been amping up and making sure I stay on top. Don’t forget that the blogiversary is coming on November 1st.  You are going to want to stay in tune so you don’t miss a beat.

Here is what we blogged this week:

  1. You Die First movie premiere
  2. Sunday message-get what you need
  3. My family’s trip to Linvilla Orchard
  4. Menopause Woes
  5. How to Jump Start your work outs
  6. Painting with a twist and anxiety

So as always if you missed it, catch up here at ToiTimeBlog

Upcoming Events:

Next week I will be at the Together Live Tour featuring none other than Luvvie Ajayi I can’t wait to attend this phenomenal day of sharing and learning.  I of course will bring you the information after I get it in a blog

I am still training, hurt foot and all for my 5K even if I have to walk this thing because unless they tell me my foot is going to fall off, I will finish the commitment that I started.  This one is for Brain tumors for kids.  As always ToiTime never asks for money but if you want to donate to the cause you can here, Starry Night 5K

I also like most families are starting to gear up for the holidays.  Halloween for those who celebrate, it is next week. We are into finding other alternatives like places kids can be in a safe environment to have fun without maybe necessarily trick or treating.  I am still working around that.  I  may take them but that is still in the cards at this point.  Last year was the first time we took them out.  They were super young to me in previous years and really I just always had a great night at home with movies, candy, treats, and dress up.  I may do that this year but I will see as we get closer.  A lot of evil people are doing the most with candy with having candy look like drugs, lacing them with razors and needles.  I actually found a needle in one of my kids bag, I threw the whole bag out and let them have the candy that I bought.  Be careful no matter what you do not just on Halloween but everyday.

In another month the Thanksgiving holiday will be upon us.  As I stated I have blogs that cover the fun parts of what to do, how to socialize during these holidays but this year I will focus on the stress, anxiety, and loneliness of the holidays.  For some the holidays is the most depressing time of their lives.  We have to address it with practical ways of working around and surviving it.

So get caught up, have a great weekend and as always blogs are sure to follow!!

 

 

Painting with a Twist; Anxiety Buster! 

So tonight I pushed past my anxiety. Yes I deal with social anxiety at times and it’s annoying but it’s apart of my life for right now. I never went through this in college weird enough but a lot of that had to do with being a freshman and trying to do it all. You know that wild college student that would be on a table that was me.


Fast forward to after college Toi and now at times I find that meeting up with others is a chore. The kind of chore where I back out quickly and because I have kids sometimes it’s real and other times my kids are my get out of jail free card. My husband is the polar opposite. He’s always been super outgoing and still is. It’s crazy when we go to places. It seems that he’s more inclined to be in the front and I’m content with disappearing. So although I am not the wild child that I once was when I was trying to find myself in college, I’m still just as easy-going as I remember and I am finding that instead of allowing my anxiety to get the best of me, I’m pushing past it and getting out. Maybe not the type of college crazy but the essence of who I am is still there.


A bigger issue with getting out was adjusting to motherhood. My first daughter was a preemie and with asthma too. There were more hospital trips than anything. I kept to myself because no one seemed to understand how I balanced working full-time, being at the hospital all night and with literally no sleep pushing through. I learned how to keep my circle tight. Moving to Philadelphia like I’ve blogged about many times was overwhelming. I relied on my husband for everything. I didn’t even drive for the first months even though I had my own car.


Fast forward to my life now I’m pushing through. Losing weight, being a good mom, working full-time, blogging, and meeting new friends. Slowly but surely I’m getting out and enjoying life. Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up at Painting with a Twist with Mocha Moms. Mocha Moms is an organization that is a support for women of color who are mostly stay at home moms. Now you know that I work full-time and there are other moms who work as well. When I first moved to Philadelphia I wanted to join. I was a stay at home mom then but my anxiety kept me from being apart. Tonight I crushed that fear that I had almost 5 years ago.



Tonight’s meet and great while painting and sipping of course was everything. These women are like-minded, warm and I was myself from the beginning and didn’t feel the need to put on airs.  I’ve been in group situations and you find yourself in the back and connect with maybe one another person, but not this group of women.  Plus who can’t have a good time painting and sipping on wine?!

I am truly grateful for not backing out tonight. I’m super happy to have met these great women. As I drove him thinking of the night, a huge smile came on my face. I turned on my adult music, maybe I could let pre mom Toi out every now and again!! Just maybe!! Oh and who won a gift certificate for the next visit to Painting with a Twist?! Oh yeah!!

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How To Jump Start Your Workouts

The best way to jump-start is to start.  Yes seems simple but can be super hard.  The biggest reason it’s so hard to do is your mind guilt trips you. So you play the start tomorrow game.  Tomorrow comes and you start the next day.  A week has passed and then before you know it a month, and then a year….You are still at the same weight or worse you are at the same weight.  So don’t start later, start now.

So if you are contemplating if you should start today, that answer is wrong its called start now.  You can really do a number on your psyche by literally listing everything wrong you ate.  Even if its 7pm you still have time to make better decisions.  Own your guilt.  Know you made a bad choice in what you consumed and literally make the very next decision better.  So instead of harping on the Snickers you ate, the next thing you consume could be a piece of fruit and some water.  It’s really that simple.  Don’t go and eat that donut after the Snickers and then say oh well what’s done is done.  You are in control of what you eat.  Trust me you want to master this now, before the holidays come in and by New Years you will be defeated making another New Years Resolution that you can be attacking now before 2018 even hits.

Here are a few tips in getting started right away:

  1. Own your food-write it down.  You can use a notebook or an app but write it down.  The more you own it and can see what damages you are doing the better at fixing it.
  2. Change what you are consuming right away.  Replace, replace, replace.  If you really love something so bad you feel that you must have it, than replace it with a much healthier version.  For some it may be taking a king size to a bite size and truly sticking to the smaller size.  Or it could be finding healthier ingredients to achieve the same purpose.  I have a sweet tooth so to combat that especially with things like ice-cream I choose Halo Top and add fresh fruit instead of chocolate candies and syrups, and only scoop out enough for a cup.  The replacement is to calm the sweet tooth but not having to eat all of the small pint in one sitting. Also not eating out of the Halo Top container helps me control the portion.
  3. Switch up your workouts.  I used to only rely on cardio, and cardio is good but adding weights and resistance is good too.  Variety also is necessary to achieve any goal.  Your body will get used to the same ole thing and if you switch it up, it tricks the body into performing at its best.  This is why you see people talk about leg day vs arms.  It’s all in the switch up.
  4. Get good music.  Yes music is life.  After while even with the shuffle feature you have to be able to make multiple changes to your workout music to get in done.
  5. Wear tighter clothes when you work out even if you can’t wear tighter clothes in real life.  When I first started Weight Watchers they instructed or at least my coach told us to wear form-fitting or tighter clothes.  The reason, you see every lump and bump.  If that don’t motivate you, nothing will.  Wearing bigger clothes only makes you look that much more bigger.  You can’t hide under baggy clothes.  So for the first few weeks I looked horrible but I was out of the plus size clothes that were drowning me anyway.  After time of wearing the clothes got so big I almost lost my pants at work and had to make a make shift belt.  That gave me a boost that was unbelievable and I kept on going.
  6. Get an accountability partner.  Mine is my girl Kyla.  She is a beast when it comes to working out.  I hope to be like her when I grow up.  In all seriousness, she literally pushes me because as she posts her videos and we video chat each other it reinforces the idea that for me to push past an excuse.
  7. Get Consistent-make the choice to love yourself enough to do it.  It may seem small but do it.  You are important for you not to fit in clothes, not just to look better, but because the world needs less of you in a better way.  Every time I left my Weight Watchers meetings, my coach would say, see less of you next week.  It wasn’t encouraging us to not come, it was encouraging us to bring less of ourselves the next week.  The classes have ended but I still have another fitness coach that comes and weighs me weekly.  This accountability is crucial for me to maintain.
  8. Know you can build in cheat days.  This is good so you don’t diet.  I am not for full dieting.  I am for healthier lifestyle changes.  At this point I know how many points I am eating for most of my items but I also know that every now and again I got to eat a little something I enjoy but just in smaller portions.  I realized that some people will throw caution to the wind when they have cheat days.  You can have in moderation what you want.
  9. Start now-I will keep saying this but the time to start is now.  For me now it’s almost the end of my day, I have been eating the things I needed to but lets say I hadn’t.  At dinner I can control what I ate, start with that since that would be my next meal.  Not stop at McDonald’s on my way home, get fries and start tomorrow.  Just make a change now!
  10. Change what you have around you.  Eating healthy is expensive. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t.  I could get me a 4 for $4 and be in hamburger heaven at Wendy’s but to go to Fresh Grocer and spend 20 on fresh veggies, fruit, etc.  I am always having to buy more to get more out of what I eat.  However the benefits out weights my debit card swipes.  If I add up my Starbucks trips over the years I could have been in model shape by now.
  11. Cut the excuse.  I can say its easier for me to work out during my lunch time because my gym is attached to my job.  However when that wasn’t an option I could use YouTube or my kids as weights.  Yes, you have to be creative but if you want to look different from its time to get moving and make it count. So if that means waiting for your family to go down to get down and get that work out in, do it.  If that means getting up at the crack of dawn, get it done.  Especially for those making excuses before the Winter comes.  All this fresh Fall air and not one workout will be done and then Winter comes and it’s too cold.  You will always have an excuse if that’s all you accept from yourself.  It’s too cold, too hot, your too tired, you don’t have time, you need a partner, you can’t do some of the workouts, you are too big, can’t do big gyms, can’t do little gyms, how about accepting that the only word that is lost in translation is YOU.  You can be your biggest cheerleader or your biggest hinderance.  Choose wisely

 

SO today, right now, make a decision. It only takes one step towards bigger steps.  It takes some moving things around but you can do it.  The sad part is if you learned how to eat better even if you didn’t work out, you would lose the weight you wanted to.  I mean not just changing a few things in your diet, but literally controlling how much or what you put in your mouth would change your life. I mean that in all ways….. Change RIGHT NOW!!

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Menopause Woes

As many of you know, I had a full hysterectomy.  With that surgery it sent my body into menopause.   For the most part it has been bearable.  It has been 4 months since the surgery and I feel like I am just getting my body back.

So let me take some time to answer some questions that some readers have asked me regarding menopause:

  1. How long did the pain take to manage-I would say surgery wise that took about 3 weeks to heal.  This is the initial pain that anyone who has had any uterus surgery goes through.  It took about an additional 5 weeks to be able to move about without the pain being agitated during the healing process.
  2. Hot Flashes, are they controlled-I have to say I think not.  I even with the hormone therapy replacement the flashes occur several times a week.  It is annoying since before surgery I was a really cold person.  The flashes can be overwhelming.  I find myself stripping clothes off as soon as I get home.  When I am at work, I immediately need my fan or I am in the bathroom with cold water compresses.  However I will take it over bleeding every month.
  3. Sex after the fact was extremely hard in the beginning.  I waited a little longer than I was cleared.  It was painful and different.  I think now I am doing a lot better and feel like my drive hasn’t changed from before surgery, but to say it was just so freely a great experience after surgery would be lie.  Some women experience pan, dryness, and lose their desire to even have sex altogether.  Every woman is different.  Do not compare yourself to how you are reacting to another woman.
  4. Swelly belly-this is when no matter what you do, your body has told you how much you are doing is too much.  You still at times look like a woman who has had a fresh baby.  It’s annoying to say the least.  I have come to terms that this is apart of the process.  On days where my belly is normal, I celebrate with a great outfit.
  5. Mood Swings-they do exist but in my case I feel like its less than when I had a bunch of unruly hormones guiding me.  I think the combination of self-care and the even dose of hormones through the hormone replacement therapy patch which gives me a low dose over time has helped.  I have been better off emotionally.

Do I regret the surgery?

Absolutely not.  I am 100% on board with my decision.  For one physically I feel so much better.  I do not have to be on guard about if a period is going to come or not. I do not have to carry unnecessary clothes in case of an accident.  The lack of bleeding every month has decreased my previous diagnosis of anemia.  I will get my final results by end of the month, but the test I had a few months ago was already looking great.  I had already had my tubes tied before surgery so having more kids wasn’t in the cards.  My husband supported that decision and to be honest it was the most selfish giving decision I could give myself.  Shout out to the women who have had or will have the surgery or go through menopause naturally and unfortunately can’t or won’t experience motherhood.  I do not take that gift of motherhood lightly.  I do however love the fact that my sister in love is about to give me my baby fix this upcoming Spring.

I did what was best for my body.  I do not regret it for a second even with the worst flash, or tiredness or even the feeling of being overwhelmed comes over me and sometimes at the same time, I find myself taking a deep breath and thanking God that I am on the path of healing.

To other menopausal women both young and old who may be reading this thinking how much of a negative experience you may be going through, or think I may be going through, remember that every woman experiences this change in different ways. I could have healed faster than another, doesn’t make me normal and you weird.  What works for me may not work for you.  I would say that if you are going through menopause I would applaud you to find out what self-care looks like for you both before, during and especially afterwards.  Self care will refocus your thoughts as your body changes.  It’s like going through the awkward teenage phase all over again.  For some the changes in body odor, lost of hair or increase of hair, change in libido, lack of a period, or feeling like your body is experiencing a death from lack of having children even if children was never on your radar are all real experiences. How you navigate through will depend on you.  Do not allow anyone to push what you should do.  Always trust yourself and talk to your doctors.

One last thing is that going through menopause has made me realize that I can’t take my body for granted.  This is why I try to be mindful of if I am doing the things that I need to keep my body at the best shape of my life.

Menopause is a phase of life that women go through regardless if it’s naturally or surgically induced know my fellow women I am with you and I understand.

Fall is for Linvilla Orchards

So I love Fall.  I love going to Linvilla Orchards.  We do this yearly.  I have a blast and so does the kids.  So this year was no different.  If you aren’t familiar with Linvilla check it out here.

We had a blast from the food to the apple slinging, it gets better yearly.  What I am most excited about was watching me and the kids’ growth over the years.  For instance when we first went my oldest was about 2 and my son wasn’t even walking.  Now they can participate in all of the events.  My youngest who is the pro at apple slinging was in my belly a few years ago and loves to run around playing. Linvilla has something for everyone.  If you love country fall foods, they have it.  If you like hay rides, they have it.  It is an all year round treat for the entire family.

So of courses let me give you our highlights.  I love corn. But nothing is better than corn than corn on the cob hot with piping hot butter drizzled on it.  They have corn down to a science and literally is the first stop on the trip.  Oh and the seasoning station, has everything you can think of for a messy good time.

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The kids didn’t want any parts of corn.  So they opted for funnel cake instead and cotton candy, duh!

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Nothing to do but to sit for a bit than let them run all of that energy out.  We let them play on everything.  You pay a dollar a ticket but the adults are free.  PSA, if you have more than one parent or a friend, designate one person to take a few pictures at the beginning and then focus back on the kids.  I see too many parents either taking pictures or just on their phone.  Your kids can still be injured or lost because you’re taking a parent time out. Linvilla has the kids within a fence but its super easy for kids to wander out if you’re not looking.  So keep an eye out and be vigilant.  The kids took advantage of us not saying no.  Kids need room to run so for me I enjoyed letting them be free.  Super grateful for having my husband come because the age ranges allowed the kids to play with their age of kids without worry that a bigger kid will over power my 3-year-old.  It allowed us to conquer and divide.  I definitely think having a group of parents and kids will allow a better time.  Not to mention not everyone wants to do the same things at the same time.  You can have some do face painting, while others are playing, etc.

They also have pony and train rides for a fee too as well as a petting zoo station.

The kids enjoy asking for things and getting them.  Always try to have cash to spend.  They do have ATMs but they are usually a bank no one has and I am on team save money.  You don’t have to pay to get in or for parking but the amount of money you will spend inside quickly covers it.  So be prepared.  We always get a pumpkin so we can either carve or paint them later at the pumpkin patch.  Linvilla has pumpkins of all sizes and even some black and white pumpkins too.

The highlight of the kids day outside of the hay ride, is apple slinging.  They also have corn and straw mazes, and a pumpkin toss.  The kids being able for $5.00 a barrel sling apples onto targets is always a great time.  The recommended age is over 5 but with our 3-year-old we just had to assist her.  If you don’t want to assist your little ones, avoid this area as they aren’t going to be content watching others sling them.

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I love being in Linvilla.  It is very crowded.  Everyone pushing up against one another but not in a bad way.  I have never seen an incident take place there because of the crowds and I have been going there since 2012.  It is a true family oriented spot with everyone just enjoying themselves. I love the apple cider.  They make it themselves so if you are an apple cider connoisseur you will love it.  Also never leave without trying an apple cider donut.  These things are super addictive.  I made sure I ONLY bought one to eat because if you buy any more than that, it’s not going to make it home and that’s a promise.  And of course a candy or a caramel covered apple too.  My kids snuck theirs and almos them done before we got home.  You can imagine our home being an immediate candy fest.  I was never so happy for bedtime.

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So if you like fun, family, and a little outdoors mixed in with Fall activities then Linvilla is your spot.  I hope you enjoyed my little glimpse into our yearly indulgence.  If you can make it out, make it a priority. They even have a friendly hayride to the witches house for apple cider and a marshmallow roast.

Extra Hints to get through with kids

  1. Wear pants-the hay can be itchy so if you’re allergic to hay obviously avoid it.  We also bring blankets to lay down
  2. For asthma adults/kids, bring your inhaler, the air is different because it’s not city air.  We always have to use the inhaler before and after,
  3. Bring a first aid kit that can fit in a bag. Kids seem to graviate to scrapes and to avoid having to find a station, bring your own.
  4. Have enough money and space your time out-kids will ask for everything to do at the same time.
  5. Plan to be there for at least 2 hours and even then you may not get through it all
  6. Be patient as some lines are longer than others
  7. They have a market to purchase frest fruit, etc
  8. You can pick your own apples at this time too
  9. If your little one can walk but may get tired, bring a fold up stroller.  Also keep in mind you can’t take a stroller on the hay ride, but you can park it in a designated area but never leave valuables in it, it’s family oriented but like my momma would say, everybody ain’t saved.
  10. Have fun!

Sunday Message: Get What You Need 

So it’s no secret that I don’t always make it to church. I would love to be there every week and do make an effort, but life happens and sometimes we miss the mark. Today I was able to get into the building. Today was the 100 year celebration of the church and school. It was a lot of people today.  Standing room only type of crowd.

What I noticed most was this woman to my left who inspite of what everyone else was doing was tapping in for what she needed. Growing up I was always taught that if you can’t hear from the preacher, then maybe the choir will move you. If the choir won’t move you then maybe a greeting or hug will. I’ve been that woman in church today where life is going on but with tears streaming down my face I needed something more.  I don’t pretend to know what that woman was praying, crying, or seeking for what I do know is I get it.

In the world of wants there will come a time where you will have a need.  We all have had those times. You are no longer worried about the things that don’t matter as your mind and heart is bogged down that you shift your thoughts to only what you need. While you are in this mindset, you could care less who’s talking and why, who don’t like you or agree with you-you just have a need. Life has a way of humbling everyone to this place.  Like that woman, you get quiet, and the issues of your heart start to overflow.

Learn to tap into what you need more often. We are taught to be not be selfish but you will have to learn to have selfish moments. This is why women and mothers struggle with the balance of giving and pulling back. The struggle of the word no is important. Doing more for others who need to do for themselves, being a support to someone when you need support, giving your last and never being able to receive in your time of need are all examples of times when we have to learn to not always give in but find what we actually need.

Today you need a nap-take it. Today you need a break-take it. You need a bill paid and no money in sight but you can shift some things around and be a better steward of your finances. You need companionship but you really need to find out who you are, what you need and that will guide what you want. 

Like that woman who tuned the service out; tune out negative vibes, negative folks, even negativity that you bring to the table and focus!! This is why self-care and self-love is super important. Practicing this daily helps for when life knocks you down. You’re better equipped to be able to tap into your needs. When you’re off balance you have to be reminded of what’s important than if you had actually only focusing on the necessary things in life.