Help in Our Own Community

What do you have a mix of community service, 31 consultant, and hygiene kits? You have Crystal Capetillo. Taking on a mission of her own she’s making hygiene kits for those who are displaced.

I personally remember when I was younger and we went into a shelter. It’s one of those moments that keep me grounded. Not knowing what each day would bring was a bit unnerving. However I have to shout out my mom who made sure to keep us clean and put together. Apart of doing that had to come from having hygiene products. Being displaced you have to have a short list of items and not much in bulk to prevent others from taking from you.

Crystal is helping in those regards. What started as a project with World Vision through being a 31 Consultant has turned into a mission to help those in her own community right here in Philadelphia. Crystal along with Erica of whom I’ve interviewed and a team from Bethel Church will lead this charge!

Now here’s how we can help. These kits take time and money. The World Vision kite cost $16. After acquiring the kits they need to be put together. Crystal is in need of both. You can donate for the kits as well as help put together your kit. But there’s one last portion, each kit comes with a hand written letter or note. That made me smile because of someone being displaced that doesn’t mean that they are below humanity.

I watched my mom cry when she thought I was sleep. I know as a mom I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling as she watched over us at night! Having a hand written note letting her know she’s loved and never give up could mean the world of difference!

I personally stand behind this mission of Crystal and will be helping to assemble these kits. I’m asking if you’re able to consider donating by gifting towards her PayPal crystal.capetillo331@gmail.com!!

I can’t wait to see the kits go to fruition and be given to those who need it!!

Week 5: Storr Summer Adventures

Well this week was a bit slow. I got what I thought was a sinus infection and my oldest had a Summer cold! So laid a bit not this week! We still had fun! So heres is how we ended up with a messy situation but ate well and spent time recovering for our Hershey Park trip! A total of 56.28 was spent!

Monday

Mondays are always uneasy! It was also national gummi bear day so we decided to do an ice-cream gummi bear dessert to celebrate. I love gummi bears and being Vegan didn’t have to miss out! With non dairy ice-cream and vegan gummies I was still winning! I had the Chunky Monkey ice-cream in house! I bought the kids Sour Patch ice-cream and gummi bear materials for $10.78!

Tuesday

We definitely kept it indoors as the heat was picking up and went to GPCC indoor swimming! Who didn’t need to cool off last week in Philadelphia?! We had a great time as usual! We grabbed snacks on the way for $12.00!

Wednesday

I find that these are low days and I secretly love them! I had an event so the kids hung out with family! I was able to get work done and attend the Philly Influencer Mixer which has brands come and meet Influencers and bloggers to work with! It’s an amazing way to network! Thank you to Davida for being our fearless leader! Follow especially Philadelphia bloggers or influencers as a Fall Mixer is up next and you want to be in the building!

Thursday

We got our and about! I had my physical with my doctor! I’m happy to announce that I’m in great health! My doctor is over the moon with my numbers. I encourage everyone to see about their health physically and emotionally!! I feel my best when I take for me! It’s not just about working out or just food it’s about the total mental health too. Doing what I love makes me complete! While there I was able to visit my old co-workers! We went to lunch and the kids got McDonald’s! Total was $12.71! I had the new plant based bowl at Qdobo for $10.79! We were going to go bowling but traffic was at an all time high so we made slime! To all of my parents you already know my plight!! But…..they had a blast! Materials were $10!!

Friday

It was entirely toooo hot but we also needed to get ready for the weekend Hershey Park trip since we were doing an overnight trip! So that meant cleaning, packing, and laundry! We also elected to do shaving cream art and keep things a bit messy! Armed with shaving cream and food coloring we had an amazing time!

I know if we hadn’t had a few sicknesses this week we would have been out and about more but with the way the heat was set up and the way our air conditioning bill has been we should never leave so we can feel like we are getting your money worth!

This week is already adventurous! We added a new activity for the week! I’ll highlight it next week!

Monday Motivation: Petty Bettys

You may experience a Petty Betty in all kinds of areas like work and home. They come out of the woodwork to try your patience. Do not let them take you off your course. They tend to be super draining and always taking. They take your time, money, energy, and sometimes focus if you give it to them.

I would love to say press pass them like it’s always easy and any hardship with a Petty Betty is all in your mind and something you are putting too much of an emphasis on and it isn’t serious. However the truth is they are too much. They are taxing and they do weigh on you. For example you get up to go to work and every time you clock in if not sooner Petty Betty is waiting in the wings of the door with a gambit of negativity. You feel like you’re playing Mortal Combat mentally with her or a Petty Bob daily. The smile you once had in the parking lot is gone. The prayer that willed you into the building feels in vain.

However trust me Petty Betty and Petty Bob are all around. They actually help to make you better in dealing with difficult situations. I know some as soon as a Petty Betty encounter is longer than they imagined they want to leave a job, a relationship, a new business, etc.

If you run from a Petty Betty every time something happens you might as well sleep in running shoes. Be direct with a Petty Betty. Sometimes that’s enough for them to get the message. You can’t be passive aggressive with a Petty Betty and expect results. They thrive off your low balling behavior. If you keep pretending it’s all good, what would be their incentive to leave you alone?

Take this Monday to get clarity on what you are willing to tolerate and what you aren’t. Put checks and balances where you need them. Be definitive when you speak and clear in your actions. Don’t find yourself wanting what Petty Betty or Bob has but not wanting to deal with them. Make the lines clear. If they are just coworkers stop inviting them around your home and giving false sense of acceptance when you don’t want to deal with them. Don’t use them as a work buddy when you plan on talking about them to the other coworker later down the line. Stop playing the fence with Petty Betty and Bob in real life and they will stop playing Jenga with your emotions and life in return!

Have a great Monday and nip foolishness in the bud! Be clear when you speak and deal with those in your life. It makes a world of difference!

Mother’s Day: Miscarriage, Loss of a child, and Infertility

Again I say that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring these cookie cutter images that television and marketing companies want you to believe. It’s a place of grief for so many women and men all around the world.

When a woman conceives or attempts to conceive, there’s very little ways to do it without your heart becoming attached. With that in mind there are large amounts of women who mourn the day because it’s a reminder of what they desire (d) and can’t have. It’s a place of pain that can’t be measured. With all of the cards, flowers, and joy that should be given to women I want to recognize the women who aren’t in the celebratory spirit.

Are you pregnant?

It’s down right rude to ask a woman of whom you do not share an intimate space if or when she is ready to conceive. That conversation needs to be when and if she is ready to ever have it. Our culture has no boundaries on other women and their uteruses. It needs to be reminded that some women endure a heartache that they haven’t or may never be able to share. Asking her when and if, may inflict a level of pain that she may want to keep private.

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She may also have suffered a miscarriage and those wounds no matter how long ago it may have been are always fresh and sometimes gets reopen on days like Mother’s Day. You mourn all over again what your child would be and it’s hard. It’s debilitating to have to keep reliving the pain. We need to do a better job of acknowledging this and being sensitive. Your comments matter. Saying things like “just try again” or “it will happen in its time” may not always be received well. There are women that no matter what just can’t hold life and it’s the one thing that we all feel is reserved for women to “naturally” do yet it doesn’t always come so easily!

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Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is the most scared part of pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you’re high risk or not; anytime you’re able to hear it, you hold that sound dear to your heart. There are many women who may or may not initially wanted to be a mother but once life has entered inside of you, a real mom will want to protect that life. Not hearing your child’s heartbeat is one of the most devastating events a woman can experience. It signals that even through no fault of your own, life has stopped. The process following that silence is grueling. We don’t speak about what a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically but it’s life changing. It’s real and it can cut a woman to her core.

Loss of a Child

There are women who unfortunately either through miscarriage, still birth, death of a child or late pregnancy miscarriage experience the greatest loss known. Not knowing how to deal with those feelings have sent many women into a tailspin. It takes love, patience, sometimes medication, therapy and some of the most amazing support systems to get through. Outsiders are the first to put a time stamp on this level of grief when it’s no one’s time frame to control. You will forever remember and never forget.

Regardless of where you as a woman or the woman in your life fits, please understand that these are delicate topics that deserve reference during this time. Please be patient with yourself if you fit the above categories. Know that even if you feel you should be passed a point in your healing that healing is up and down and constant. Some days are better than others. If you need help it’s okay to receive it. If you’re struggling it’s okay as well. You don’t have to have it altogether. Just know that I for one understand! I sent you love! I send you peace!

Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!

How to Catch Creation

I had the honor of being invited to attend the opening show of How to Catch Creation. I actually withheld reading any reviews, or any the media write-up before hand because I love coming in without any thoughts of what to expect before hand. I was pleasantly surprised of this production. First of all the set was magnificent. I grew up in theatre so sets matter to me. Secondly the cast looked like me. I loved seeing all of the representation of pretty brown faces.  Third, the play captured my attention and gave me a whirlwind of surprises some subtle and some knocking me over.

Let me give honor to whom honor is due by saying that How to Catch Creation is coming off the acclaimed Kilroy’s list.  It’s a play about discovering legacy as well as what it means to create and how creation shifts during periods of life. Creation takes many forms from art, life, relationships, and how all of the loops come together. As a creator myself it definitely spoke to the hills and lows of life and watching my own work take dips according to what may or may not have taken off.

Christina Anderson, playwright, did an amazing job on capturing the experience of black queer feminist writer and how through her life, life has taken on turns that end up bringing the most unexpected people to unite. When you see the connection I found myself holding back in the audience try not to mess it up for someone who might not have. I laughed so hard during this play.  I loved at moments when the audience interacted right on cue without a notion. I also loved seeing Christina Anderson herself in the audience as well as the director, Nataki Garrett. Seeing them watch their work had to be amazing.

This play is for everyone. I do love how it highlights love and heartache for same-sex relationships.  To be honest sometimes society in my opinion forgets that they have an experience like everyone else. It’s not as easy even with society beginning to open up to what it means to be apart of the LGBTQ community and also be Black.  I enjoyed hearing prior to the show from Amber Hikes who is the Executive Director of LGBT Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t even know there was a division first of all.  I also didn’t know that are only 3 other positions in the cities of the United States like it. There is definitely a need for all of us to be aware of what our city is offering. It was great knowing that the city of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s office is representing all walks of life.

So what were some of the themes presented:

Despair, from seeing Lindsay Smiling who played Griffin, try to work his way to normality after being wrongfully accused of a crime and incarcerated for 25 years. His struggle to want to have a child of his own as he learns about his mother and her past was incredible.

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Love, from Tiffani Barbour who play GK Marche a writer who falls in love with Natalie played by Shauna Miles and seeing who their love goes from incredible highs to the lows of breaking up and infidelity. Their love was priceless and unmatched until loneliness lead Natalie into the arms of another.

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Betrayal, Shayna Small plays Riley a young woman who has motivated her boyfriend, Stokes, played by Jonathan Bangs, who is losing his focus and rhythm.  Their beat is thrown off when Riley falls in love with Tami, played by Stephanie Weeks who is opening herself up to this forbidden love.  The beat is so off that now in order to get the rhythm back do they let go?  Do they go back to life before the betrayal? Can they co-exist?

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Explosive, fun, witty, and most importantly colorful are some of the best words to describe my experience. You are not going to want to miss out on this adventure. How to Catch Creation will be playing until April 14th. You can purchase tickets which range from $10-69 by clicking here

I would strongly encourage you to see the play and take some friends or family along as well. Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre Company for as always inviting me and treating me above well. Thank you to Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for these opportunities as well. Thank you to the amazing cast of How to Catch Creation for such a wonderful time.  You all were professional and most gracious as well after the show.  Thanks to my personal team for always helping me get to these shows and for being the best caretakers for my littles!

 

 

 

 

Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!