Sunday Message: Keeping your Spirit Elevated

Now let me be clear being in high spirits is important. It’s the ability to move past how you feel even when you have low moments. It also means at moments when you fail, moments when you lose or experience loss, elevating your spirit is a necessary life skill. It takes a lot of energy to keep your spirit in tact. But the benefit of having your emotions pull on you which if unchecked can allow you to make bad decisions is necessary.

Elevating shouldn’t only be in happy times

If you’re peace and happiness can be altered only during great times you may need to reconsider that you have more work to do. Let’s not act like life doesn’t happen and any one of us can feel defeated, be defeated, or plain old need to retreat, but for the most part how we respond to the situations actually helps or hinders us! One of the things that separates the successful is that they don’t give up. That didn’t meant they didn’t have failure! They failed and kept their spirit in tact and kept pressing.

Check your thoughts

Even when you make mistakes your mind will keep replaying it over and over again like a broken record player. For millennials, it’s the equivalent of having a website buffer over and over again. You can’t get past or even elevate your thoughts if you allow negative thoughts to over take you. It’s counter productive if you’re trying to do better or be better in your life. You can acknowledge you could have done better or even find places where different choices is key but to beat yourself up mentally will not help you to the next phase. Check your thoughts. If someone played your thoughts on a large screen would you be proud of what they saw? Would you be okay with someone talking to in the same way? If not don’t talk to you like that and especially in your mind!

Plans change but it doesn’t have to break you

The perception of what you think you will do or want to do is great. It can set you up to move towards a goal. Keep in mind that it when things change or plans are altered even in the midst of your own foolishness it was necessary. We dwell on what should or could have happened.

I was supposed to be married by age…..

I was supposed to be working at abc company……

I was supposed to have a child by now….

These things can on the surface be a statement of acknowledging where we thought we would be but there is a small slope when we allow it to overtake us and then we go into pity party mode. Elevate. What are your new thoughts? What can you do to make new goals? What brings pure joy into your life on the daily? What can you do to help someone?

Acknowledge pain but don’t let pain reign in your body, mind, and definitely not in your spirit. Find ways to bring your thoughts higher! This may mean you getting to your higher power! Elevate from negativity by constantly cleansing from the inside out. You can’t elevate with hate in your heart! You can’t elevate while being mean to others. Work from the inside out, change your thoughts, pray or meditate daily, write in your journal, change those who you call friends, practice self care, and be vigilant about where you spend time whether with those who you are around, social media, etc.!

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Love is…Unbalanced

Nuri and Yasir are getting hot and heavy. If ever there was the best part of a new relationship is when two people become sexually one. It’s invigorating and very intense. Love is a great thing but you don’t have to have an awesome love life, and suffer in your profession or vice versa. Also new love is good but don’t let it get you caught off guard:

However let’s dive into a few things that set off a few alarms outside of the bedroom:

  • Porcelain Doll: it reminds me of Chrisette Michele’s Porcelain Doll song where she talks about how she is tired of doing the most for the man such as dressing for him the way he wants just because… My own husband has his preferences and I would be lying if I would say I don’t indulge them here and there but a doll I am not! That wear this and that especially where Nuri isn’t comfortable in pulling it off is a red flag for me! If the person you are with makes suggestions and you are comfortable than by all means but don’t play these games with no man and compromise yourself
  • Friendship- this principle where friends do whatever without a thought of how actions matter has to stop. Although Angela isn’t wrong in getting the script how she handled the situation was off base. You know when you have said or done something wrong to your friend. Don’t throw salt in the fire by playing it cool as if you’re not aware of the pain that you have caused.
  • Early 90s the notion that gay men or down low men are riddled with HIV or AIDS was a real thing in the way people thought. There are a few that still think that today. Please educate yourself in knowing that it’s up to you to protect yourself. If you know a man who is on the down low confront that man without giving him an opportunity to out himself. We all need to know our status no matter our sexual orientation and married or single get tested. Be vigilant about your sexual health. Oh and men gay or not and women too who are sexually active run the risk of having a STD!
  • So we all know Yasir doesn’t have a job but….. the availability of being at Nuri side every other second, is a bit much for me. I remember being in college when I dated my boyfriend who is my now husband and missing classes, ditching work, skipping out on events just to be with one another. It was cute. However the best part of our relationship has been when we both had had our own identities and then came together. Although this works for Nuri and Yasir for now if you have a new love make yourself get some balance.
  • Yasir has seen Nuri in a funk. He calls a spade a spade and she is relentless to hear him. She was able to hold her position for quite some time and that’s called holding a grudge. Some can do it better than others but Yasir hit it on the head by giving her the advice she needed instead of what she wanted to hear. Vulnerability isn’t always easy to take in.
  • This is the week of unbalance and hopefully the balance is coming but by the looks of next week’s episode, I’m not too sure!
  • Sunday Message: Living your Best Life

    I’ve been waiting to right this one for quite some time! The phrase is everywhere. To be honest it’s a good thing to live your best life! Who wants to live the opposite?! However beyond quotes and knowing your angles on Instagram if you’re gonna live it then do the work that it requires.

    Living your best life is best when you start from the inside out. It requires you to leave a few negative folks behind, own your stuff, and be authentic to you. Sound easy but not exactly?! You will find resistance along the way. This is when it’s easier to fake it than to really live in authentic truth! The second you go to live your best life it may cause a ripple effect with those around you! Be prepared!

    More than Instagram Angles

    Who doesn’t love a good picture on social media?! I know I do and you do too! However don’t forget that every picture has a story. I sometimes go back to my pics and think back on what was really going on?! Was I just really good?! What happened before and after the pic! For instance here’s a pic from my solo trip:

    I looked great, felt great and had a good amount of adult drinks. I was in my zone and it was an amazing time. What wasn’t shown was that there was so much work going on. I was in the midst of leaving my job and taking a leap of faith. I actually had secured the bag while there. However dancing between do I leave and start from scratch and how that would affect my family was on my mind. I’m happy to say that leap was super scary and it paid off! However fear and letting go was on the other side of living my best life. Being used to certain behaviors and being completely unsure of myself was on one side and complete freedom, better pay and a better opportunity was on the other side. I could have stayed and made a few waves at my past job but when you don’t move and sometimes take initial fear you could hinder your own blessing. Scared I still leaped! Shout out to those who know that where I am now is a complete reflection of grace! It is not of anything of myself!

    What does living my best life do for you as a person?!

    It makes you grateful! Plain and simple! You know how many times a door shut. How many times you were alone?! How many times you had to shut down the naysayer in your own head but you still had to push?! It makes you stronger as you get to the next fight! It gives you a confidence to gas yourself!! It reminds you that you can do anything! It doesn’t erase the pain but it almost suggests that the pain was worth it! So it’s okay to acknowledge it!

    Fear sometimes drops off

    As I kept going on even in fear it eventually dropped off. I never get to a point in my life as if things are just so Gucci. Nope! I walk-in humbleness. I walk like I know where I am going even when it feels like I’m working with a broken GPS! Fear has many of time walked with me until it fell off like a child learning to ride with no brakes! During many moments of my life it’s been like that! However my biggest motivator is myself and next is the little folks that call me mom! I let them know when I make a mistake I use it when I parent. When they can’t get along I openly let them know of the same moments I’ve had. I also want them to know they can keep going!

    So while you say you want to live your best life be prepared for the work that comes along with it. Accept your flaws but don’t simply just say this is me oh well, take what is said and done to you and make the necessary changes! This requires a gut punch here and there! I used to say oh well to what folks said but everyone ain’t telling the same lie! Own it and change it! Also stop living your life with the brakes! The more I get out, the more I attack the list of wants without excuses the more doors open! Step through them!! It’s okay to be okay and enjoy this life! You don’t have to be downtrodden all the time. Life will give enough of those moments so that you don’t have to create them! Learn to enjoy moments. Smile a little! Enjoy a treat and have a little balance! Get out and explore! Live your best life!

    Photo Pop Philly: Instant Happy Place

    As I get older and dig deep into self-care one of the pushes that I have been is for things that make me feel excited, and happy about life.  Long ago are the days where I sit at home waiting on others to attend things with me or waiting on others to be the source of my happiness.  I also find that I am attracted to the things that make me happy as well.  So bright colors, pretty things, quiet spaces at times, special lists, anything that makes me glitter with excitement I go after.   I have been working on my Summer to do list, and well…..

    A few weeks ago I logged on to Instagram and noticed one of my absolute favorite blogger, realist, IT girl, etc. Demetria L. Lucas and she was in Philly.  All I saw was that she was in the same city and immediately got excited.  Now I didn’t see her but I did see that she was at Philly Photo Pop.  I looked through their Instagram site and fell in love with the colorful exhibits I knew I had to get there.

    What is this Photo Pop Philly?

    It is a pop up interactive photo experience.  It is an experience trust me.  you walk in and all of the displays from various artist are there for you to jump in, touch, and of course if you love bomb photos it’s an Instagram’s dream.  Kudos to the artist for all of their hard work.  I can’t draw or have an eye for such wonder but they really outdid themselves.  I enjoyed the brightly colored exhibits and I have photos for days to release at my disposal.  I literally think you should pop in.  They also have events throughout the Summer and you find it all on their website: Photo Pop Philly They will be around until the end of Summer so if I was you, I would gather your friends and head in. You will NOT be disappointed.  You may see me back, matter of fact I am sure of it!

    I bought my tickets on July 3rd the same day there was a water main break.  Philly Photo Pop did not sustain any damage but they had to wait until the power was turned back on to continue allowing others inside.  They came back up and running but I had to wait for some space and time to open due to my schedule and today was the day.  I was greeted and had zero issues getting in.  I had my own poparazzi take my pics throughout the displays.  It was so magical and exciting.  I literally at every stand got happier and happier.  I got the full treatment.  My best place was the what inspires you board?  I wrote about setting an example and I can’t wait to share some new and super exciting things and additions to my family that is on the way.  Pump your breaks it ain’t kids!!! But it will be amazing!

    Let me step back and tell you about how I went to the 4th of July celebration in Philadelphia and they had a miniature set up that my family and I was able to try.  The staff was outstanding. They were hands on and we were featured on their Instagram and Facebook page as well.

    Back to School: Parent Edition

    Are you excitedly awaiting for back to school? Your kids have eaten you out of house and home? A couple of them you’re not sure what to do? I get it! Rejoice! It’s back to school time! So I’ve written a blog for how you can your kids ready for back to school. It was filled with all great and helpful suggestions. I am quite proud of that piece, but now it’s time to shift gears for the parents. Yes the parents.

    I told you how you can get the kids successful but it’s the parents turn! You are the one in charge of you and helping you get ready for back to school first helps the kids get aligned!

    Plan Early

    Listen I’ve had some years where I’ve gotten supplies last-minute. It happens for various reasons but plan and do as much as you can early enough to cut down on anxiety. I for one will bargain hunt for supplies. So for me aligning sales is important to me. It’s important to know that I’m saving money. Let’s keep it real, having 3 kids means that back to school expenses expensive. I’ve never understood my parent’s life until recent years. I as a child just thought parents just went to the store, paid and rolled. I had no clue until I had my own that there is work to be able to do it all!! Shout out to parents who are trying to do their best.

    Make a list and come up with a plan to attack school uniforms, supplies, tuition and back packs. It’s imperative to figure out as early as possible your game plan of attack!

    Look over previous report cards

    Although it would seem that this is exclusively for your child to do, learning to see trends will assist you as the parent to outsource help. It’s not ashamed to not know something it’s a shame to not do all you can to identify ways to make your child as successful as they can be. This may mean helping to fine tune their skill sets. We noticed a few lacks in concentration and so we started taking it back with practice work to help our children get better in that area. There are several sites that offer free printouts. Also you should have been tuning in often times the previous teacher is a great place to start. We had the kids start their Summer assignments early. We also increased reading and I looked online for other books to add to the reading list.

    Get the Kids on their early back to school 3 weeks or more

    We used to wait until the week before school and then send them to bed early and wake them up like a test run. This year outside of a few movie nights we have kept them on the same schedule. We didn’t even implement our normal Summer schedules. They are in camp all day and it’s easier for them and in reality for us. So far with us doing that and making them keep after camp studying at least 2 days a week it’s been helpful. My son is zooming through his sight words and our daughter is arising to the occasion in her work. It sounds harsh but some kids can’t really break too much and for the parents the house can have that well deserved rest time!!

    Reorganize

    It’s important for you to either place a station or two aside for the kids ahead of time for paperwork. One of the worst things is getting a slew of papers and have no clear direction of where it is. Our kids school don’t play and will give you an eye roll if you request another copy. I used to get so mad if they gave me an attitude. I soon stepped back and realized the lesson is helping the kids understand that you don’t always get the chance to fix things. I also started making copies or scanning forms. This way I didn’t have to bother with things. We never let on to our kids that we had the back up. We would depending on what it was give a consequence like delayed electronic use for having us assist in obtaining or using the back up.

    Attitude Check

    We all know back to school is coming. There is zero no reason to be upset, frustrated and upset that money is going to have to be spent. Even if your child is public school there will be money to be spent. You can attend a free back to school event in your town if you need it. However adjusting your attitude will help your child to adjust as well. They are relying on you to show them the ropes. Having a good attitude in general is helpful! Trust me going from this:

    Versus this:

    You decide!! So may your wallet be blessed, your nerves settled as we all push onward and upward towards our children education. Also may your wine glasses be bountiful as the time draws near!!

    Love is…Intense

    Tonight was on one. As I always like for you to go back and rewatch, these are my thoughts and reactions:

    • Nuri knew damn well she shouldn’t have gone on that ski trip. Keith wanted to hit. Men ain’t inviting you to read scripture. It’s definitely understood. And before you hit me with the whole women don’t have to give it up we know that already. It’s just not the first thing that comes to mind
    • When Keith gave Nuri that Keith’s girl sweater, I literally died on the inside. Nuri wearing that sweater was a sign of when women settle.
    • Spoiler alert: Keith confesses to being gay. There is nothing wrong with choosing a life that you want, but back in this time it was even more taboo to “come out.” But let me say I wasn’t ready but I wasn’t surprised
    • Angela told Nuri right, never put another woman in a position to be fighting etc over a man. Nuri feels so desperate that she’s willing to “call” Yasir but let’s not forget he has a “roommate.”
    • Keith who by the way was high and drinking now wants to back peddle his gay confession. Let me help a few folks out, two people who don’t lie and that’s children and a drunk! Keith meant that and wants Nuri as his beard!
    • Angela is that friend you need. I’m more than willing to do what I can but I accept gift cards too
    • Yasir reminds Nuri that he made space for her and it’s true! Nuri I’m true fashion hit him in the one area he has a deficit in and that’s his lack of employment
    • Nuri goes to the place where Yasir and Rubi share but handles herself in a classy way
    • The end, all I’m saying is Janet Jackson got some definite sexy hits. I’m about to hit up Amazon prime for bulk candles, and a soft rug!
  • Well until next time, just know that the ups and downs of love is worth it for the one that is for you. Love isn’t always as clean as we want it to be! It’s definitely worth it!!
  • Ask Toi: How do I adjust my feelings over my sibling sharing his/her HIV status publicly?

    The biggest way to adjust your feelings is to understand who’s issue it is. The sibling is the one carrying the biggest weight of her health status so it’s up to him/her if they want it to be shared. Often times people see HIV as a death sentence. Her ability to share that whether on social media, on YouTube, a blog, etc could be a place of peace and healing. Adjust ownership of where the pain of your sibling’s health issue is. People always say when others share things such as health issues that they are over sharing but people don’t realize the peace that comes from being authentic and open. To not give something that is deemed so negative space. To help another person make better decisions while listening to or watching you make mistakes and owning it and not allowing it to own you.

    I’m not being insensitive that you will have people who do not understand your sibling or may even shy away from him/her and maybe you feel like you want to protect him/her. It isn’t your job to do so. Your job is to support and love.

    Another way is to speak to your sibling about how you feel about the openness they are willing to share. Maybe releasing it will help you adjust. Be understanding when your sibling acknowledges your feelings and still decide to walk in their truth boldly. It is their right to do so!

    I would also research ways you can assist. HIV just like with any other health scare has ups and downs. Find ways to support your sibling when the times get rough. Find ways you can be their peace instead of thinking of only how you may feel. Although technology is ever changing and cures are being found daily, this is a battle that needs to be fought daily! He or she will need to know that you have their back no matter what! Focus on that instead of the sting or stigma you think will follow.

    I wish you well and I wish your sibling well!!