Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

light painting at night

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I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!

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Monday Motivation: Take one Step

This morning I had to remind myself to get up before my family. Not just because of my work schedule but to set the tone. I got up and prepared the house and got everything aligned. That initial thought when you wake up is ugh, do I really want to get out of my warm bed?  The answer is no you never WANT to get out of a warm bed, but life says otherwise. I said my prayers and got my mind together and knew if I took one step, all of the other necessary steps would follow.

boots cardigan denim fashion

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That is how life works. Sometimes we are so afraid to take that initial step but we fail to remember that one step is all that we need to start any process. Think about the New Year and how excited everyone was to reset. You only needed to refresh your mindset to know that one step towards your future would be enough. If you are struggling from one point to the other, do all that you can on your end and know that all other steps will follow. Want a new job, update your resume, get emails out to your contacts, that’s one step that if you continue to be vigilant interviews and eventually offer (s) will come. Looking for love? Getting your spirit and mind together is one step that will lead you towards a path of self discovery that will lead you to your forever love.

Take one step. Sometimes getting out of the bed may be the hardest especially if you feel like your life has dropped. It hurts. It sucks if all of the moving parts of what you feel your life has become has fallen. I have been there many days. But you have to learn to take that first step out and soon you will you have more strength that you thought. As I whipped around my house this morning with a great burst of energy, I didn’t realize that before 7am I had most of the house dress, medicine given. coffee made, pets secured, and I was on my way! Take your first step today! You are going to surprise yourself!

Sunday Message: Stop Fighting

When I was younger I didn’t get into a lot of fights but the ones that I did get into I definitely finished them. Fighting back in the day was a means of survival. I definitely wasn’t the one to start a physical fight but like my mom always taught me don’t write a check your behind can’t cash, so I made sure I protected myself and my twin.

As I got older I’ve gotten into more verbal altercations than physical. Contrary to most I can handle myself. Words can sometimes be more cutting than fights. Up until a few years ago I would go in on folks. My personality is strong. I’m usually quiet and reserved but is pushed or provoked I’m not the one to back down. I’ve learned that some fights aren’t even worth it. Some back and forth rob you of peace. The last big verbal altercation had me pacing back and forth, heated, and ready to escalate. I knew I could easily make it physical and after 30, unless my kids are in danger, what’s the point?!

So why do we engage in these types of fights? To prove ourselves right? Then what? What do I gain? Nothing. So now I try not to engage with people who I know I might lose my cool and over the last few years I’ve spent more time working on me. Working on my triggers so that if ever confronted again I’ll pass the test. Working on why the issues began. Some of it goes to my childhood and some unresolved issues that I didn’t speak on.

I was talking to a friend and she was telling me about some folks she rarely sees. On average she sees them maybe once a year. I understood that when with a yearly visit how irritating some people can be. She was putting into plan all the things she was going to say. I stopped her and reminded her that she needs to not focus on what to say to them but how to maintain her peace. She was more worked up on making her points to folks who could probably care less. I encouraged her to switch the plan. Instead of being in defense, lower her defense and just be cordial. If anything is brought up, deal with it and have an exit plan for herself. Of course she hit me with the but you don’t get it. Mind you I had been listening but the whole time she hasn’t realized all she is doing is giving life to someone she only interacts for a year. She was giving them the power of dictating her emotions about the issues instead of dealing with it.

She’s going into the situation with her arms up to jab instead of being protectant of herself. She’s ready to fight. She has no idea what has changed in a year. I’m not saying her feelings aren’t valid. They are. However you can’t let your feelings to take complete control. She has to interact with folks or remove herself completely. The middle would be cordial until they aren’t. There’s always a middle. In her situation for her to not interact at least on a case be case measure would be a domino effect to her main relationship. I could hear that she was getting it.

After she calmed down from thinking I wasn’t listening, she started crying. FYI she’s given me permission to share this story. She had been getting sick and doctors were finding nothing wrong with her. She allowed the stress of the people she had a bad interaction with to stress her for over a year. She doesn’t know what the other party was going through but she has allowed it to get so bad she was sick, losing weight, etc. I let her know that maybe it was time to figure out her part in it and hers alone. She had to deal with her. She had to either be willing to be on a hi and bye with them or remove herself from them altogether.

It was time to stop fighting. She was fighting alone. She was losing. She was losing horribly. I asked her was worth it to make whatever point if at the end of the day you are the one bearing the pain alone. When I asked why the argument started she said she didn’t remember. I reminded her she would always remember how she felt and it’s valid. However release the pain and it may mean walking away mentally and emotionally and dropping the charges. You will remember. It will sting at points. However she didn’t need to hold onto it. She wanted an apology. I asked her in order to open the door for one was she willing to sit down and speak to the other party to get it?! She said no.

We fight so many battles. Some battles it’s time to be about that life. Just because I see things differently doesn’t mean I wouldn’t ever turn up. It just means I take into consideration which situations it’s warranted. Anything that robs me of my peace is not worth it. She asked me how did I handle myself in the aftermath, and the answer is simply prayer, counseling; and space. I removed myself from the issues and got clarity. I’ve seen some of the others involved and nothing on the inside of me is mad or upset because instead of making them a focus, I focused on what I didn’t do right, how to be in control, and where I can improve. I switched the energy and dropped the charges. I let her know I will most likely never get an apology but I didn’t have to walk around in defeat.

I’m glad to say that she has begun counseling to help her though it!!!

Pick and choose your battles! Everything ain’t worth the headache. Sometimes situations happen to reveal things in you. Always look in instead of pointing the other way. Yes others can be wrong as two left shoes, but if you still are holding onto the he sting or the situation who loses? You. Listen to your conversation. What you are still dealing with will come out in your conversations. Out of your mouth runs the issues of the heart! If you still talk about it especially consistently, you may not be completely healed. If you’re not healed, you are walking in pain and that pain has more consequences for you than them.

Ode to 20 Years of Service

My dad is retiring from the military today. What an amazing accomplishment. I am not writing this from his perspective but from mine in seeing him put his life on the line for every American.  This is for every hard deployment. For every major event that my dad missed. This is for every time we supported my mom as she navigated her life hoping that he would return as whole as he left. Today is all of our day.

Military families suffer in a lot ways. You see the stories of men and women who leave their families and miss the births of their first child. They leave and miss out on graduations. It is something that all military families feel. We all know that when that calls comes in, no matter what you feel it’s time to step up. It’s not just my dad who felt empty. I remember being younger and feeling like I couldn’t make stable friends because by the time I had, we moved. It happens.

20 years  of saying yes! 20 years of watching my dad make me so proud has been amazing. It had lows but today it seems as if he’s finally getting the recognition that he deserves. Although no one does it for the pat on their back, if you are going to make a career out of the military, retirement is the goal. My dad has reached his goal! He has held on and made a military life that my family has suffered and benefitted from. So for all of the women and men of the Armed Forces that are still waiting for this day, hold on and know that people like myself get it and understand it.

To my dad,

Thank you for every deployment but still making sure we were okay

For every broken FaceTime that the Wifi stole

For every time we missed calls because you were in some remote country

For every birthday that was missed with your grandkids and even a few near births

For every tear that was shed here on US soil while you were doing what you were called to do

Know that as you are saluted with honors, know that no bigger honor can be seen than a daughter who looks at her father and knows what an outstanding man you are on the inside out

Thank you and you deserve today and more

Live it up! Enjoy your time of not having to  clock in or having to go to  training

Thank you for securing the bag and showing me what hard work will do

Thank you for making ways out of no ways for our entire family through out the years

Thank you for being you

Now let’s crack that bottle in your honor

I love you

No more see you laters  by phone due to deployments

Thank you dad!

Cheers to 20 years!!

Love your Daughter Toi of ToiTime

Sunday Message: Speak into existence with action

I know we still in the New Year glow. We all have our plans and list going. However what we don’t get is that just simply writing things down helps you focus, it doesn’t do the work. You have to put work into your speech.

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It’s not just naming and claiming it anymore. You have to have action behind words. You can’t go to the car dealership put your hand on the car and walk out. You might want to also clean up your credit, have a job in place to support the payments, and be able to pay for the maintenance. This is how you can write down getting a new car as 2019 goal and act towards it. How about saving money up for a down payment? You can sell items you aren’t using it. You can use skills to bring in more income to get it as well. Action.

So now it’s not what are your resolutions? It’s what are you willing to work towards? What are you willing to get in alignment with to bring the very things in your life. Can you just obtain by asking? Yes. I have sent an email to ask to inquire about things and got the best news of my life.  This happened because I asked. Sometimes asking for help is action. It never had to be about you being able to have all of the answers, resources, and know how. You just have to be willing to do something to make your dreams happen!

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Will action plans into your life in this season.  Whatever you work towards if you don’t give up even at a closed-door or a no will work itself in its season of your life. Remember that no can be a protection for you! NO can shift you into where you need to be!  Just don’t sit there simply day dreaming instead of actively working towards!

Surviving R. Kelly; My Thoughts

Let’s cut to the chase on this. There is so much to unravel! These are my thoughts:

R. Kelly is a sick. He really is. There is zero doubt about that. No excuses!! No bull. It is what it is. He was molested himself as a child and that’s so super unfortunate. However he then inflicted pain on others. He doesn’t get to get a pass for his sexual misconduct that had been brewing for years. There comes a point when you even in your pain still have to take responsibility for your actions.

Aaliyah

First of all my heart goes out to her. She is a victim. There are a lot of boys let alone men with money and influence that manipulate girls and women all the time. It’s wrong. So it’s not far fetched that she too was manipulated. My anger resides with R. Kelly being an adult. He knew better. I’ve heard theories that he was sick in the mind due to his own abuse endured but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t aware of what he was doing was wrong. The mere cover up of her age means he knew better from a legal standpoint.

My second place of anger is with Aaliyah’s parents. I’ve read the statement about them stating that they were with her and that at no time had she been alone with R. Kelly! However they weren’t there when she got married. The documents were forged and I get that. What I’m saying is there had to be a financial gain for them to allow their daughter to have this “best friend” in R Kelly who was grown. My child is monitored on friends her age let alone my husband would lose his mind if he found out there was a grown man who was her best friend hanging around her. What in the actual world could you have in common with a child?

I hope every parent put yourself in the place of Aaliyah and the other parents of children who were assaulted that you take a firm against such behaviors. I pray that you don’t have to be known as someone didn’t have your children’s best interest at heart!

The ideal that Aaliyah was wise beyond her years or that she was fast or that she was pretty much the reason why she was groomed towards this is completely out of pocket. Aaliyah was a child and her parents failed her and R. Kelly was WRONG!!!!!!!! He was and is disgusting and it’s disgraceful!!

I get you don’t want to speak ill of the dead so since she’s not here it would be in their best interest to rely on a Non disclosures or that $100 they or she was given for her silence. It doesn’t change the marriage being done. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again he married her to sleep with her without others having a legal issue. Anything done that is based on a lie wouldn’t last. Yes it was annulled. I do understand that but what type of relationship could I have with a man who took my daughter to marry her and hence sleep with her even if I wanted to maintain that I was a loving and doting mother?! Even if I wanted to distance myself and make myself be a victim I would want to protect her and therefore would not cover for him. I would be attempting until his dying day to end him. I pray I never allow my daughters to be compromised and I pray that my daughters never feel the need to be tempted to succumb to anything in any realm such as this!!

Family Ain’t……

His family and friends who knew and now are speaking up about this all should be locked up. They all NOW claim how horrible they feel. They feel so bad but did the checks dry up? When benefits did you receive that would okay seeing girls that could very well be the same age of kids you should have been protecting. All of them don’t get how self incriminating it is for them to place themselves in these circles with him and want to push blame on him alone not seeing how complacent they are and were and how they too have a large responsibility to the victims of whom they thought very little of. All of the adults that knew and can recall such details failed each child they came in contact with and knew of R. Kelly’s mess as it unfolded!

Multiple Tapes

We know about the infamous tape where R. Kelly and I’ll use the legal “allegedly” filmed himself doing down right things to this child but the parts that stuck out to me are as follows:

The back up singer knew and saw him “allegedly” sleep with Aaliyah at age 15 but is crying and upset about him in the tape with Sparkle’s niece who was 14. My question is does she feel this pain now or was she feeling that at the time?! I really want to know because I catch you in the act once I wouldn’t be shocked seeing it again. I would be mad but not shocked!

Separate the man from the artist

R. Kelly had been known to tape his encounters, there are more than the infamous tape out! I’m sure there were more than just the children they were discussed on this series. This is why I don’t get why people don’t believe that he really is the man he is being painted to be. The ideal that you can separate the man from the artist….

How can we separate this musical genius from the fact that he literally has a network of enablers that literally helped him to abuse kids. Like are these people void of care? The ones that have kids scare me the most. Like watching this has reaffirmed my ability to make sure that I don’t allow my kids to be groomed like this. Despite the fact that he was so influential, others like him are in our very own communities. They say the things that young people want to hear. They scare them into silence. They abuse them into fear. It’s scary. I’ve been teaching my kids good and bad touch since before they could barely talk. The thought that I could know my children were sexually abused but sit with the abuser of my kids for any reason is overwhelming.

Am I supposed to be like well it ain’t my kids, let’s step in the name of love?! That’s basically what it sounds like. Let’s just keep the party going cause it’s unfortunate that kids that don’t belong to me went through horrible things but it ain’t my issue. If I read a story online I get moved. Kids should be off limits. Kids should be protected and I for one stopped listening to him and stopping the playing of his music around my family. My choice but to keep money flowing into R. Kelly’s pockets as he continues to “allegedly” imprison and groom women (who knows if they are underage or not) would be misguided for me as a woman! What am I doing at a concert as he parades knowing he likes young girls?! Aaliyah was not fluke. Aaliyah wasn’t this special child that he just bonded with. She on her own outside of him was phenomenal but the relationship of Aaliyah wasn’t isolated. R. Kelly doesn’t see anything wrong with having sex with children.

There are way too similar allegations for me to pull a Stevie Wonder. If there is smoke there is fire. I personally am disgusted by the whole documentary thus far.

R. Kelly is like the predator that you know but people tell you he’s not as bad as he seems. It’s like a group of people with evidence of abuse and documentation of abuse but we have to support him and for what? Music. As iconic as his music has been, he is equally flawed. He is problematic. He is an abuser. He is a manipulator. It’s disgusting!

I think the more you know you bear the responsibility of walking in life better. Having R. Kelly the musician’s craft block out years of abuse toward women as a woman myself and definitely as a mom isn’t a price I’m willing to pay. The fact that most of the forgiving fans have been women worries me. Do women lie about such things? Yes. Is everyone telling the same lie? I highly doubt it and I believe them. Not everyone is telling the same lie. Some of these women have been attempting to speak up way before Lifetime produced this series.

So there is a lot to unload. These are my raw feelings. This is how I feel. It’s hurtful as a woman to watch this. It’s almost triggering. It was difficult and is difficult to watch. It’s hard and I made triple certain that none one of my kids were up as I watched this. Although I talk to them for their age to prevent as much as I can with the help of God no way would I allow them to hear that a grown man made kids do the things that R. Kelly is being accused of. I’m grown and it was hard to hear that some of the very beloved songs actually meant more than we imagined. It’s hard! As more men are being held accountable, I pray that even if R. Kelly feels or felt like he is getting away that karma steps up and does her thing.

I hope you make your own decisions if you have an opportunity to catch the series. My opinion is not to make you believe what I believe. Personal choices on whether or not to support R. Kelly, is just that, personal.

There are countless women and men to be honest watching this and having this all hit is a lot! A lot of the stories we knew about. R Kelly has been accused since I can remember. He has been known to mess with young girls. But seeing the lengths that not only he took to cover it is jaw dropping. To see the network unfold in how he would have his own wife in the house suffering abuse while still continuing his life is crazy.

Here is a clip from the Boondocks that pretty much had it right (I do not own rights to this episode; trigger for strong offensive language):

R Kelly Boondocks Trial

To victims of abuse especially sexual abuse who have never told their story and need support, or even the ones who find themselves triggered:

2019 Let’s Get It

So we all have goals. I believe in doing daily, weekly, monthly and of course yearly goals. I told you I am the type that carries around 2 planners. One for my life and family life and the other just for the blog. It’s important for me to write down my intentions and see my goals in front of me so that I can accomplish anything. So when the New Year comes along to me regardless if you believe in resolutions, goal setting is very much important.

So with that in mind as always I will do my yearly Vision Board. I love sitting down with my husband and kids and helping each other come up with their goals, supporting their goals, and really setting the ground work for our kids to understand that having a vision in life is important even at an early age. We sit down and have the Storr Family Vision Board party. I make it into an event. We have fun, we talk about what we think we want to do, and it’s another opportunity for my husband and I as a couple to set goals for the family, and as individuals. I would highly encourage you to do the same. I also take and set my vision board in my room so I can openly view it. It’s important to have it in my eye sight so I can work through the goals often. I also take a picture of it and set it as backdrop on my cell. This way since I am on it enough, I can continue to affirm my goals daily. I believe that there is at least one thing I can do everyday towards my goals and that is my mindset.

visionboard

Personal Goals

I used to think that having personal goals should be at the bottom of the list. To me that is not the way to go. Before I can help anyone else in their goals I need to be actively fulfilling my own. So here are my personal goals:

  • Take another solo trip
  • Connect with a Spiritual Mentor
  • Take at least 2 weekends even if it’s an overnight trip to self renew
  • Complete 5 races
  • Arrange a birthday brunch with my friends
  • Take at least 2 girls trips
  • Do at least 4 facials at a salon
  • Keep my self-care balanced
  • Continue my weight management balance
  • Celebrate each month with something I love to do for myself
  • Stack my savings
  • Stack my emergency fund
  • Attend more events
  • Tweak my friendships to be better, eliminate the relationships that no longer serve

Blog Goals

Here are my blogging goals for this year

  • Get a new Camera for blogging
  • Collaborations with brands (new ones already secured; details coming)
  • Come from behind the blog to be more interactive on my social media platforms
  • Use my own pictures and editorials for my blogs
  • Continue my branding expansion
  • Attend one blog retreat in another state or city
  • Increase my social media numbers on all platforms
  • Keep the consistency in blogs per week
  • Collaborate with 2 new bloggers

Mommy Goals

This I needed to make slighty different from my family goals. As a mom I noticed that any triggers I may have had and didn’t know through counseling has come up in how I parent. Thankfully I am doing the work to make sure that my kids are well-rounded and balanced. Growing up we spent more time worrying about being settled in church that all other areas were neglected. It’s the truth that you can’t just be spiritually minded and no earthly good.

  • Balance the time I spend with my kids
  • Take them on more mommy and me time
  • Continue to work hard at my self-care as it reflects to my mothering
  • Develop each child with what they need over what I think they should have ie. love them with their love language
  • More patience-always need more of that
  • Be mindful of my words and how I relate to them
  • Give them the best parts of me
  • Cultivate each child’s dreams as a unit and separately

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Family Goals

  • Take more trips to the lake
  • Take at least one beach trip
  • Set up 2 family vacations
  • Continue to celebrate life freely
  • Continue to celebrate the little things
  • Continue our prayer sessions daily
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments
  • Continue keeping peach in our home
  • Eliminating wasteful spending as a unit

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Bae Goals

  • One getaway
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments
  • Find ways to love each other according to our love language
  • Monthly date nights
  • More check-ins and being intentional in listening to one another
  • Communicate effectively
  • Keep the focus on what’s important
  • Be a better partner not just a wife. My husband and I moved towards partnership and I found it’s been better for us. As a wife or husband you tend to work towards duties. Partnership moves past duties and making sure we give each partner what they need to be successful

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So as you can see because I am always writing my goals, it wasn’t hard for me to fine tune what I know I’m setting out to do. It’s important to me to be sure that I am always finding ways to be a better version of myself. As life happens, this list, will change. In order to live a life of purpose, I don’t have to stick to this list and bring in the guilt of changing my goals. I can use this as a guide and have fun doing them. I hope you change your perception of what goal setting is about. It’s all about fine tuning yourself and having something to work towards.

 

May your 2019 be all that you put the work into becoming!!