National Family Day

Families are wonderful to be involved in. Families don’t have to be the set parents and siblings that we think they should be.  Family dynamics change all the time. What is important for any family structure is love being in the center. Being in a family and being in close proximity is the fact that there are times when you will be irritated, hurt, or angry with a family member.   How you pick up the pieces is what defines what family means to you.

No One Wins when the Family Feuds

I have been in arguments with family members.  It’s a part of life. Not all family members mesh well. If you are blood related just because you are angry won’t change that you are family.  The issue sometimes comes from when you aren’t.  Not all step families are super welcoming.  Shoot, blood members act fun too so let’s be super clear.  Families feud. I am not just talking about a fight over who is making the mac and cheese for the holiday dinner, I am talking about the types of fighting that would make Love and Hip Hop blush.  Family members can be super messy.  It would be super nice if you’re able to dust yourself off from family spats and pick up as if none of the issues ever happened. People are left bruised and battered by family members and its hard to navigate yourself back into the fold.  The reality time is the biggest thing that you lose when family members fight. You don’t get that time back.  You could be interacting and enjoying one another’s company but a rift can be super damaging. I encourage everyone to attempt to make peace with those that you can. Be aware there are times that even with the best intentions, some folks run out of chances and distance may be the best solution. Learn to wish folks well and don’t speak ill will towards them.

Family Breaks

Some folks opt to take a break or a breather. Some opt to break away altogether and wipe their hands clean.  This is a personal decision. Kids don’t get to know members of the family and the family use the kids to bring the adults back.  There are times if we are honest that some family members are super toxic. Bringing a kid into toxicity if you can avoid it, please do.  It’s one thing to simply not deal with a Family member but to know that if you left your child in a room with a person that all that venom inside of them would spew on a child, those types of things you disconnect from.  I would personally never allow my children around any side of the family if I thought that would be the case.  Why would I as a parent set up my kids who can’t defend themselves around that?  Why would I as an adult want to be around that? If you need a break, take a break.  If you break completely than at least make sure that if you talked it out, you said all that needed to be said. If you can say to yourself I mean whomever no harm and if something happened to them you would be of a clear conscience than so be it. If you can’t there’s work to be done to hopefully reconcile. Toxic situations we should all strive to remove ourselves from them. So no you don’t go around violence, abuse, etc in the name of nobody family or not.  Let’s not ever do that!

two women with man hugging by the sea

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Marriage Anyone?

Once you get married, you leave your original family structure and become your own unit.  This doesn’t wait until kids are in the midst.  A husband and wife are their own family now.  As tight as a family can be, if you are getting married be prepared to leave your original and cleave to your spouse, this is your new family. You will always be connected to both of your original family but you shouldn’t be at the point where you can’t find health boundaries in how you interact. Marriages have been in shambles because if the original family has the presence made known in the couple’s lives and then dictates their every move, animosity sets in. You should be able to do things as your new structure like vacation, go on date nights, have fun between both sets of family members etc without your original family having to sign off.  I know of couples who were lets say for argument’s sake, the bride only deals with the brides’ side. This is not cool.  Find a way to fuse both sides.  Start your marriage where the couple make decisions together and find ways of agreeing and learn to keep family as a focus but keep them out of your union.  This means stop running your mouth every time something happens and then get mad when the family is mad at your spouse. Your husband shouldn’t feel like you still need your parents or family to agree on decisions and vice versa. You married into, you didn’t marry the individual bonus members of each other’s new family. Make sure your marriage is strong and have fun and do things with each side. No one side should dominate anything. If you aren’t mature to do that, I would advise not getting married.

Now What? Framily?

If you say, but ToiTime I took a break, I walked away from some folks, I keep folks out of my business but continued to enjoy the ones that were willing, but there is a void and I need it filled and my family is just too much.  I would say, look in your inner circle. I always believe we truly do not lose, there is fulfillment with framily. Framily are friends who become family. This doesn’t mean you don’t have family. This doesn’t mean you do more for your friends than your family. The flip to that is too, family will say you are doing too much for your framily but forget the times they weren’t there and a friend had to step in.  This is so real! I have had friends jump quicker than my family members.  This didn’t take away from my family, it meant that who was supposed to be there for me at that time. If there is a pattern of family not being involved, a conversation needs to be had. I would say, if a family member is mad at a friend for stepping in, to the family member ask yourself how often have you stepped in.  Even if the family member in question shuts you out, how often did you pick up the phone, check in, etc?  I was always taught than regardless of how another person acts that you have to be willing to try. So for me that means, I will call when no one answers. I have sent cards to family members and never got a thank you. I sent gifts and never got a thank you, but my heart is clear knowing one I didn’t do it for the recognition and two I have done all I could and if they are okay with doing nothing on their side, I am okay waiting for them to reach out and my reach may temporarily stop.

five women laughing

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Family I don’t Deal with

Even with all of this wisdom basically from being burned by folks over the years, having my family aka my parents teach me how to handle bad situations there are still family members that I haven’t seen, talked to, or associated with in years.  I will never go into the why especially on an open forum. Regardless of what may have said or done I only can own my part in it and say that anything said I meant and I take full responsibility for my actions.  I take full responsibility because I can never blame a person for what came out of my mouth or what was done.  I don’t live my life waiting to play the blame game.  Those situations were unfortunate but it revealed things about me mostly.  It revealed how easily upset I was.  It revealed parts about things that I thought I had healed and discovered I wasn’t truly healed. So it allowed me to go back into counseling to deal with them.  Its been enough years that whatever sting or grudge I carried and carried it well then is NO LONGER an issue now.  The distance and quietness and simply my own refusal to be apart of the equation was what I needed. It had nothing to do with being mad.  I never want to give anyone the opportunity to ruffle me to the point where I am not in control of my own emotions and responses. However what I am learning is that removing myself and dealing with only me allowed me peace and it made me deal with the negative things that the very family members brought up.  There was truth to the things said so I owned it.  There was lies and misjudgments too. Now that I have owned it no one can roll up and say “but you aint..”My response would be simply, you were right on a few things but now I am good should I ever see them again.  Will I ever see them?  I am sure I will! Am I looking for an apology? Nope I gave myself permission to forgive them and me without getting one.  I dropped the charges at least a year after the big blow up.  Should I have done it sooner? Maybe but I wasn’t ready!  I needed that time to live in that and it forever changed how I operate as a person.

The Incredible Storr 5

What I love about my little family now is that we apologize.  Especially my husband and I towards each other, and with and to our kids. I learned a lot from them as a whole. We get to see the good and the bad sides of each other but we also see each other daily striving to be our best version.  There are a lot of people who would love my portion and I am grateful everyday that we wake up together and get to try to get it right!

My husband and I come from good families.  They aren’t perfect either but we have made up in our house that we will always be a family that keeps the drama to a bare minimal, we keep space in our home and keep peace, we allow our kids to be around same like-minded families, we have fun, we serve and love God, and we try our best even when it looks like we are failing to get it right!  We will always protect the 5 in that home at all cost and that’s from a mental, emotional, and physical standpoint. I have seen my husband take stands with others concerning me and I do the same for him.  And you can pretty much forget it if you think the 3 littles in our home will be in the middle of some mess.  Like Jay’Z said:

“And I don´t have to worry, only worry is him
She do anything necessary for him
And I do anything necessary for her
So don´t let the necessary occur, yep!”

jayz

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Daughters Day

Daughters are simply wonderful.  My 2 girls make me feel like a super hero mom because they look up me like I look up to my mom.  The one thing I want for them is to be able to look past me and do what makes them happy and whole. They both have different personalities and they both have unique talents and gifts that I can’t wait to see how they give back to the world.

My open letter to my daughters:

Dear Naila,

From the first moment I thought you were in danger at birth I cried and asked God to protect you.  As my health went left bringing you into this world I asked God that if we both couldn’t be here that He would allow you to shine your light on the world.  I was 28 and although young enough to need guidance but old enough to take care of your needs, I can admit I felt lost.  Every thought of what I was supposed to do entered my mind.  No one told me about how to take care of me while taking care of you past going to sleep when the baby sleeps. There was so much more that I needed to know.  I definitely put you first. I watched your Hanmom put herself first with me so I had the blue print.  However the many times we went to the doctors those nights watching you while you slept I asked God to guide me as we got through it.  I didn’t realize until now that your smiles through it all was a lesson.  A lesson as an adult I forgot time to time as stressed mounted.  The smiles I forgot many times as I worried about my own abilities instead of seeing that you were fine and we would eventually be fine.  You are getting older.  You see things differently from being an infant.  You are questioning yourself and who you are. The girls around you aren’t always a help. I hope that you take the time to see how much of a jewel you are.  How much I admire you and how much you teach those who are willing to take in the lesson.

My prayer is that as your grow, you will become assertive in your needs. I pray that you will continue to be a leader.  That you will know its okay to be quirky. It’s okay to love fun days. It’s okay to love and watch and discern others.  I pray that you never lose your positivity. Your dad and I would talk about how bright you are and we hope no one will dim your light not even us. I love you “best friend.” Show the world who you are and whose you are!

Dear Noelle,

They say the 3rd time is the charm. They were correct. By the time I had you, I learned how to manage myself. I learned how to eat better with you. I was better prepared for you.  I knew what triggers in my pregnancy to look for.  I had gotten to the point to manage the stress and those who were stressors. I remember when my life was again on the chopping block. I was about 4 months pregnant and I got the news that I had a blood clot on my brain. I cried so bad.  I said what is it about these girls that they take me through so much.  I still don’t have that answer but I knew if I would be taken that I had started to show your big sister the love and she had enough love to give it to you.  Thankfully God spared us both.  You are such a mother’s dream.  You are spunky, cheerful, and really you read people like nothing I have ever seen.  You really channel your great grandmother by who your middle name comes from.  You channel your dad’s mom too.  So know I’ll be watchful of you.  I see how shy you are in mixed crowds but once your comfort levels are up you take over. I love that you don’t allow folks to talk slick to you.  You do the slick talking. I love that about you and regardless of what people may say, as long as you remain respectful I hope you never change that.

My prayer for you is that you take life and run with it. That you continue to command respect from those around you. I pray that you become this singer and entertainer you want to be. I pray that you life your life on your own terms and never stop just because a few won’t agree with you. I pray that you are always surrounded by love and folks that are grounded.  I love you, Noodle!

My prayer for both of you is that you stay connected. That as much as you get on each other’s nerves that you always look out for one another and lean on each other when times gets hard. I pray that if I should not be there to watch your milestones (and I pray that I am) that you would take each other under and become strong and best friends to each other. That you lean into one another and that you would continue to love each other.  Remember you are Storr girls, and Storr girls always make good choices, are strong and confident, and defy naysayers.

World Gratitude Day

Everyday is a day to be grateful! Not some days when the chips are up but everyday single day! It takes so much to forget gratefulness but it’s important!

Let me tell you what I am grateful for:

  • Life: a few years ago I should have been gone a few times but I’m here so I’m looking forward to living
  • My kids: nothing is more important than them. They are my world and I treat them as such!
  • My husband: he irks me to no end but he’s mine and I’m grateful for the portion of being married
  • Employment: so many folks want to be working and can’t and to have the ability to gain money is a blessing
  • Blogging: the ability to enjoy what I do and consistently in it
  • Family: I have so many awesome family members who are super supportive and caring
  • Fall coming: I can’t wait for sweaters, sweats
  • Fitness: I have a race per month the ability to run and work out I do not take for granted
  • Friendships: my circle of girlfriends have gotten so much tighter and I love them and grateful for the sister-ship

So what are you grateful for? I could list a thousand things because everyday that you wake up is a blessing. I choose to wake up and find joy into anything. Sometimes it’s hard. There are trials and tests that I don’t pass daily. I can admit that. But I am grateful for the ability that if I do mess up, I can always try again.

Why Podcasts Are Necessary for Mental Management

I love music. I have blogged about how music is really one of those things that aids in controlling your mind-set.   One of my newest mindful tactics is podcasts.  My interests are pretty eclectic and ranges from my favorite blog series, to politics, to music, fashion, parenting and even a few celebrity-inspired ones as well. I listen to podcasts at least once or twice a day.  I find that I exchange it in its place for music sometimes especially when I get a few minutes of peace.

The benefits to me is mindfulness. I am able to explore different topics that I enjoy or learn new things daily.   It allows me to switch it up and feel like I am listening to more purpose filled blogs on the go.  I enjoy writing my own blogs, writing for TCP network or even guest appear on other blogs, but all of that is behind the scenes.  Hearing other people’s voices speak on a subject matter is super soothing.  Now be aware of why you listen to podcasts and be sure to find the ones you are interested in.  I know for me the podcasts I stick close to are the ones that allow me to listen straight through.  Any of them that I find myself fast forwarding I don’t follow or continue to listen to the artist.  No disrespect but my time is valuable so I need to utilize it wisely. I need something that speaks to me as a woman, mother, wife, or just one that provides a good listen to the things that I find the most interesting.  I have also been featured in one and let me say that the podcasts was super nerve-racking.  One I talk super fast and I am not interested in hearing my voice on a daily.  Shout out to podcasts artist who take their artistry serious.  I will leave it up to you great voices and may only do an appearance here or there.

Benefits:

  • Helps to calm your nerves
  • Helps you to maintain information
  • Guards your mindset
greyscale photography of condenser microphone

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With that being said here’s a list of my favorite podcasts in no particular order and why I like them:

BGIO-Black Girl In OM

This blog I found about a year ago.  I was at work and having a bad day and I literally looked them up and stumbled upon a jewel.  This podcasts talks about mindfulness and addresses what its like to be a creative black women who is making her mark.  I absolutely love it and although they haven’t had a new episode sine July, it’s still worth going back and listening to.

GirlBoss

This podcasts along with the website talks about mindfulness as well as every aspect of what makes a woman a woman.  They give great tips and they are an easy listening podcasts that I listen to when I am on my way home.  I have planned a few outfits to work just from hearing the information given.  Plus who doesn’t want to be a boss?  We aren’t bossy we are bosses! Right?  Right! This podcasts makes me own it!

Mastering Marriage: This podcasts are from a married couple, Amanda and David Taylor.  I found them a few years ago when I got married.  They are a couple that talk about how they were headed down the road of divorce.  I love this real and vulnerable talk about how marriage taking work and that things are never as cookie cutter as we especially women want them to be.  I applaud them for being able to share their real life story of how bad things can get if you aren’t connected and doing the work to maintain.

Women Evolve

So this one is by Sarah Jakes Roberts, the daughter of esteemed pastor T.D. Jakes.  I was a bit leery of this one because I love the lord but I am also the one that will throw hands and I didn’t need an overly church podcasts.  So I just started this podcasts but…. I have listened to all of them.  Let me tell you why I like this podcasts and have respect for Sarah, she is real.  I like her calm approach to the topics that she knows we know about.  She can take a topic from the Shaderoom and spin it to where it’s not a place to hear a dump of information.

TCP; The cultured Professional is the other network that I am on.  I would advise this is your one stop shop to be aware, awoke and therefore enlightened.  This network is diverse, young, and ready to tackle on the  world both professionally and personally.  They give it to you straight just like my personality.

Within TCP is there are 5 podcasts that have shows weekly on TCP Facebook. I would suggest you connect to the page as well as link to all of the other pages on Facebook page as well if you have time to link and hear the podcasts in real-time.  If not you can do like I do and catch them on the flip side!

black recordering microphone

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Hip Hop and Politics: this blog challenges what you think about the politics around you in addition to how hip hop plays an important part of that.  Also a lot of these podcasts actually live shows but the way my life is set up I barely can listen to them live.  But fear not that’s what podcasts are for?  I can go back and watch them.  Although in my link its for Apple iTunes, they are on all major streams for podcasts, check it out!

Sayless: This podcast is one of the most happily ignorant podcasts.  This is the one I listen to on the train ride into work. It gets me going.  They cover it all from having sex on the first date, spoken word, or catching your significant other with a sex doll.  Yep they take it there.  This is not your momma’s podcasts. So I would caution if you were looking for politically correctness, this isn’t the place.  For the real adults, get your ear phones and turn up!

Raw Royalty: shout out to women empowering one another.  This is a queens only podcasts. I listen to them on Sunday night as I go through my house getting my life right for the week.  They don’t hold anything back.  From raising kids, dealing with co parenting, to dating dos and don’ts, it all hits the fan.  They make me adjust my crown every time I turn them on.  Raw Royalty is also in conjunction with Regal Finesse:

Regal Finesse is your one stop shop for everything a young king and queen need from work out gear to your shirts.  Check out their designs.  They even have a few more things up their sleeve, literally.  Be on the look out!

Opinionated Facts: This is the Sports and man-cave talk for the men! I do still listen to them.  They talk about things from your favorite shows to current events and sports but I love hearing men talk that talk.  Why as a woman its hard for me to understand the makings of a man.  I love listening to these kings talking and hearing their perspective.  Letting men be men and I love it!

The newest newbie but definitely doing its thing in the podcasts arena is Shots of E and J.  Lady E and Jessica are the most woke white girls I know.  They do not sugar coat anything and they tell it like it is.  They are definitely becoming one of my favorites.  I love how real and raw but they come with the facts.  They hit you hard and steady with the facts then cut you quick before you even know you were cut.  Their interviews are great and they make sure that they talk about the issues that are in the media such as Serena Williams cheating (we know she ain’t cheat) to being a stan for Drake.  They hit it all so make sure you don’t miss it!

Like I said, make sure that you continue to catch these and add some more to your arsenal.  I literally listen to podcasts while doing a number of duties in my life.  As I am going to work, rotating the kids from bath, etc.  I literally try to keep my mind clear and sometimes podcasts are another notch of mindfulness to add to your daily self-care!

Fall Clothing Reboot

I have been guilty of dressing less than my best.  Either from pure laziness or not being inspired it has happened. As fall comes along layering will be key and for me going into my Pintrest and transitioning my outfits will be my number one go to. You can take a few of your Summer pieces and layer them up to make some cute finds for any occasions.  You can go from hayride to a Fall brunch with just a little effort. I laugh every time I go out with my one girlfriend, I am always on Pintrest finding an outfit for the occasion and because she’s my boo I want to be too cute for our Instagram pics!

I would love to be drippin in finesse when it comes to money but sadly the way my bank account is set up, I’ll have to settle for reshifting my outfits.  What that means is shopping my own closet.  I have so many pieces every season that I simply forget I even have.  For that reason I plan to reshift my closets and break out my boots.  Yes boot season is upon us and I have some that I bought and was excited for that the second I bring them out nobody will say they can remember seeing me in.  Pretty sad but blessed thing to be able to say.

So armed with my Pintrest, I will be reinventing a few pieces.  A few things are a must have such as scarves to dress up or dress down any outfit.  Scarves worn around the neck especially a cute bulky oversized infinity scarf is a Fall staple.  You can really make an outfit pop with a scarf.  I would say if you have a scarf you can take an outfit from blah to wow.  Warm boot socks is a great thing to have because you can pop a color and have that boot sock appear above your low-cut boot or even just have to help with layering.  Remember Fall is all cute and games until the temperature dips and its cold.  So grab a few.  You can go to places such as Five Below, a department store, or even my favorite spot, Target for some awesome finds.  Remember your wardrobe doesn’t have to be expensive to look expensive.

photo of woman gray sweater

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Invest in a few statement pieces and cute sweaters.  This will be a game changer.  Fall is all about sweaters or cute hoodies.  A few weeks ago it rained so hard that I had to go and get my Penn State hoodie that I bought in the Summer.  I wasn’t mad.  I paired that up with a cute rain boot and some well fitted jeans and cute headband and left the house warm and cute without a lot of effort.  I also would suggest 2nd hand stores.  These are your Thrift stores.  When I was a kid I used to hate it.  My parents were so into Thrift stores they had frequent shopper cards.  I never understood how the clothes were cheap but we needed a frequent shopper card.  I would always find cute pieces but I was so embarrassed.  Now I get it.  Shout out to them for showing me the way.  I know for a fact that a lot of fashions that are out now have been recycled and what better place to look cute and save money than a Thrift shop?  I’ll wait……

Take the time to put a little extra push in your wardrobe.  You do not want to be out this Fall looking less than your best.  I always would get frustrated askign myself in old pictures how I could have come out of the house and although I am no fashion expert I know a few tricks of the trade by looking up the look I am going for and if you too want to look your best, I would suggest you do the same!

Monday Motivation: Healing with no Cheerleaders

Remember that we are all going through something. While you’re healing others around you don’t always recover as fast as you. While it would be great that as you continue to crush the very things that used to hold you captive, others around you may not fully be on board but don’t let it stop you!

We love strength in numbers! However when dealing with personal struggles those numbers may not always be the way you want them. You might find that you’re cheering squad may decrease. You got to keep going. Don’t wait until a boyfriend, husband, girlfriend or friend believes in your change the same way you are attempting to live! Remember they have seen you at your worse. You’re one day, of change can be a catalyst for permanent change. The folks around you only see you as what they are used to you being. It will suck! You will get mad and then play the blame game about the level of support you believe you should have. However your change was for you and will benefit you the most. No one is going to be as happy for you like you. This doesn’t mean those around you can’t be happy for you! It’s only means that if you’re the type that has to have your squad to propel you, this will be an issue for you and could hinder your progress if you let it.

Press when you have no one like you would when you have an army behind you. Choose yourself instead of being held down by the lack of people in your corner. Sometimes when the dust clears, the folks that were an hinderance won’t be there. The pain of your squad changing will hurt like no other. But you can get through it. Your squad can be replaced, but staying the same as you were shouldn’t be on hold until that takes place. Keep pushing! Keep striving! Keep the same energy even with tears in your eyes. Choose you!!

Wife Appreciation Day

It’s wife appreciation day! So shout out to all the wives!  If you are married and love being a wife today is your day.  Now before the husbands get up in arms, your day will come.  But today is about the wives!

white love free standing letters

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Don’t need a Special Day

If more people would be consistent in the love they gave each other than maybe that can be said.  If you are a husband and you are mad at days like today, ask yourself a few questions.  When was the last time you gave your wife flowers just because?  When was the last time you took her out?  Did you offer to cook a meal this week? How about rub her feet? Did you allow her some me time just to refuel?  If you haven’t done one of more of those things this week, Houston we have a problem.  Showering your loved one with attention when things are great is easy.  Showing love in the little things when an argument occurs, when the bills are stressing, when life throws a curb ball, isn’t as easy!  It takes looking at the friendship you and your wife made to push through.

Little Ways to Show Appreciation Today:

  • Look your wife in her eyes and tell her you love her
  • Give her a break today-no cooking, no cleaning
  • Give her a gift card to her favorite place
  • Flowers
  • Complete a few items on the honey do list
  • Run her a bath
  • Let her watch her favorite shows
  • Take her to get her favorite treat
  • Write her a hand written note
  • Hold her hand
  • Take her on a date
  • Offer a massage
  • Play your “song” and dance in the living room
  • Play a game
  • Mani/Pedi at the salon
classic couple cup flatware

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There are a million ways that you can show the number wife that you love the ways she has turned your house into a home, how she supports you when the chips are down, loves on your children, keeps herself cute, gives you time to be you, and supports your endeavors.  Matter of fact, don’t do one thing, do a few! Smile hard, and let the love and energy flow.  Like they say, “keep that same energy!”  Keep it from the time you stood and made vows.  The same energy you had when you honeymooned.  The same energy as she was sick and you prayed for God to spare her life.  The same energy as she supported you through hard times and showed how awesome of a friend and wife she was.  The same energy when she dressed nice for you.  Keep the same energy and let the love flow from one another.  Take this day to show that love and then use the same energy to show the same love daily.  Happy Wife Appreciation Day!