Blogiversary Year 4

Do you know what today is? It’s my blogiversary! Yesssssss! We have reached 4 years of blogging. What an accomplishment! It has been my extreme pleasure to blog and bring you so much content. From starting this blog as an outlet from my stay at home mom days to now has been nothing short of a miracle. God is good!

I have learned about myself as a person. I re-read my blogs ALL the time. I literally want to see the growth that has taken place. From how they look, how they are edited, to what I am writing about, and what I put out. It needs to reflect who I am, what I want to represent, and what I hope you all get and that is the notion that we all just trying to be our best version of ourselves. Failure isn’t final. I love that about life. You can literally fail at something, take the time to heal and deal and then get up and make life happen.  It’s a personal choice that we all have to make. There is nothing we can’t bounce back from.

So every year I feel like I am getting stronger. In the first 3 years I was blogging but not as consistent as I am now. I like to attempt to give at least 3 fresh blogs a week and if you follow me on Facebook you know that I also reblog that are appropriate for Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays. So there is rarely a day where blogs aren’t going out. What I like about my blogging tools now is that I can write them all up, edit them and set them to release on a day and time of my choosing. This is essential for me as my life on the daily is super busy. I love that I don’t have to choose between my regular life and my blog life. I plan my blogs a lot of them ahead of time. I also will still write when inspiration comes to me too. It’s really a mix between prep and go and being consistent with blogging. I use my blog planner everyday. My kids even say which planner is this one?  I have it on me at all times.

Greenide

I recently in this year collaborated with Greenide.  This relationship has been huge for me. Being able to step out of my comfort zone and write for other blogs have been amazing. If you haven’t gotten a chance than check the article on Sex and Kids and the one on losing weight

TCP

I also regularly collaborate with TCP, The Cultured Professional. It is filled with blogs from writers such as myself as well as podcasts and really a one stop shop to get all of the information that any and all cultured professionals are talking about.

Dream Deferred

What have I learned about myself this year, is that I can make any dream happen. From losing over 50 pounds, to running and competing in races, to being a better mom, taking solo trips and getting my zen back in my life, to forgiving and moving on from past issues, there’s nothing I can’t do.  From having to take some time to get used to my move to Philadelphia, to conquering motherhood (I am still learning), to being a wife the journey has been a bit crazy. I value the changes that has taken place even when I wasn’t in the place to receive it. I have been out of sync to where I needed to be because I wasn’t able to catch up due to holding onto the past.  I held myself back for quite some time because I hated change that I didn’t feel as if I was in control of!  I love control. I love being able to call the shots, but in life that’s not how it works. Often times I have had to be vulnerable to change. From getting my life back on track after discovering my weight had gotten so far out of control that it was causing me some severe health issues to letting go and allowing someone to teach me a few things about myself.

Followers

One thing that makes this all great is having amazing readers. From those who send me questions for the Ask Toi segments, to those that interact with me across all of my social media platforms you are the REAL MVP! Having people still believe in your dream from all around the world is amazing. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Friends and Family

I have to shout out my amazing family who stand behind me. From my husband who sometimes fills in reading things if I think something doesn’t sound right to being an impromptu camera man, thank you. He has been truly open to this as I blog about anything and everything and that includes him to a certain extent. My kids for loving that mommy has blog friends and for the many times that I attend events.  Thank you to the Storr kids for understanding that a balanced mom makes a better mom. To my amazing friends who read my blogs without me having to send you the links, thank you. To the friends who share my links without me asking, thank you. It takes one second to share and I appreciate you for that. To the ones that was shooting with me in the gym, thank you! To my blogging mentors, you are amazing. I have so many that if I forget I would be amiss but you know who you are. Your advice has made this blog that much better. To my graphic designer Angelo. You have been amazing, when I call and slide them fees over, you never cease to amaze me with everything that I need!

Health is Wealth

We added a new component to ToiTime and that is Health is Wealth by S.L. Efua Joe who is our health is wealth contributor. We will be back in the near future with more content. It is a page that is dedicated to challenging you on what is actual health and having you spend more time finding ways to eat better, take care of self so you can spend less of your money at a doctor’s office. It’s not an anti doctor but often times the very diseases we have can be attributed to the bad choices we take daily.

Blogging Goals

  • To get a better camera and take me from behind the scenes and more into the scenes. I will be posting more intimate pictures where I am in them instead of always getting the shot without me in it! I dislike the camera and I have no reason to so this upcoming year expect a lot more of ME.
  • Collaborations are coming. I am working with more brands and working with more bloggers.
  • Attend at least one blog conference so I can network with other bloggers.
  • Being consistent. This has been the greatest push of my life to do so and its paying off so we not going to stop we are going to keep growing

If I had to choose a dream job it would be being able to blog full-time, and travel with my family. Trust me I am working on it. My vision is for me to blog all around this beautiful world and allow my children to come along for the ride!

 

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Keep in mind in case you didn’t know you can follow me below:

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Ask Toi

You can also send all questions for Ask Toi to toitimeblog@gmail.com

Keep in mind that all questions submitted will be confidential. I will always give you a longer response than I do for the blog. I am here as an outlet. I will do my best to answer you and of course all answers are based upon my own experience. You at the end of the day should always do what’s best and safe for you and your life!

Most Requested Blogs of the Year

Drum Roll on the Most requested Blogs of the year in order; these are the most requested blogs of all time to a certain degree. So these are the issues that most of the readers come back to:

Boss issues:

Those who deflect

Going to a party without your wife as she wasn’t invited

Where are my Followers the Most Engaged

Out of the 30 countries that my blog has been read, these are the top 3:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada

 

 

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National Make A Difference Day

How can you make a difference? This is such an open-ended question. We always have a tenacity to go to what we don’t have before we answer. You start listing all of the things you aren’t before you can just simply find ways to be the difference in someone else’s lives.

Whatever gifts and talents that are inside of you is more than enough to make a difference. Here are a few ways you can give back and make a difference:

 

Home Life

One charity starts at home. I hate to see people who are super bomb to everyone around them except their own family. I hate to see it with parents who go out and win everyone else’s child but ignore the issues with their own. I hate to see husbands and wives flex on social media but behind closed doors, give silent treatments and ignore the needs of their spouse. We all have to do better.

  • Spend more time with your children. Yes you work to provide. Provision is responsibility. Taking time away from your phone, to sing a song, or play one of their games, or sit and ask them what they like and what’s bothering them makes a difference for a child. Try it some time.
  • Love on your mate. Whether it’s a boo, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, take some time and spend it on them. Yes gifts are great, but how about watch one of their shows actively with them. How about talk and make sure the air is clear? You can also make a dessert together. These are inexpensive ways to show the ones you love that you are one with them.
  • Check in on loved ones. We say we love folks but the only time we check in on them is if we have the tea about another family member. Change that. Call and ask if all is well and mean it. Than when you find out it’s not if you can help, help. Also unless someone told you to tell another person, build trust and just listen and not take their issues to another family member so you “can pray about it.”

Work Life

  • Show up and be on time ready to work. That’s a ministry all in itself.
  • Don’t be apart of the office gossip-remember the same lips bringing you the tea, is the same one taking your tea to stir at another pot on you
  • Be the change in the office you want to see
  • If the job no longer serves you, don’t stay get an exit plan. This may take time, but be proactive in leaving
  • Find ways to be more productive even if that means changing the scenery. When work starts to get to me sometimes I redecorate to fit a new mood. It helps me about 60% of the time

Social Media Life

  • Don’t go back and forth with them……. (in my Lil Duval voice) if you find yourself having to respond to more than one comment just stop. You aren’t going to win an argument on social media with trolls
  • Be who you post to be. Yeah that’s right. Align your social media to reflect who you are. On my social media I highlight me as a mom and wife. I don’t create doors to let anyone think they have space to slide in the DM. They do but at that point they just are trying to do the most.
  • Make sure you don’t do subliminal post. This is hard even for me at times. You see a post and it speaks to you but post it cause it spoke to YOU. You can’t be out here taking shots at folks you don’t even @

 

We all have things that we can give to the world. I came across a young lady on social media that is a hair dresser and she feeds the homeless. This is her life work. She literally gets out there with the folks that many would snub their noses at, and she feeds them and cleans them up and does their hair. She has a whole team of folks that assist her. Think about how her being there does for them. She treats them with dignity and respect. I know if I was down and out the last thing I would want is someone kicking me when I was done. What about those who raise money for others?  They are making a difference in the causes by which they are raising it for. How about those who set up camps at the bus stops for kids to make sure all of the kids have breakfast. You don’t know what someone may be going through at home. Everybody ain’t sitting at home collecting checks. Some middle class folks work everyday and still can’t make ends meet. How about the men who go into the community to pray over the city. There are a few groups here in Philadelphia who do it consistently. What can you do? Whatever gift is inside of you can help make a difference.

I said it before but around thanksgiving I see so many companies give back to others and it warms my heart. If you cut hair, how about offer your services to people who can’t afford to maintain their cuts on a regular basis? If you are a financial planner, offer your services to a few families for free to get them out of debt?  The sky is the limit. Whatever you do, do it well. Someone needs the very thing you have and complain about. Make a difference today and everyday!

 

My Go To’s of Social Media

So you know that social media can be a blessing and a curse. If you are on it to compare your life you will immediately fall into a state of depression and that is something you do not want to do.  You really need to find your daily passions and inspiration. Since making dramatic changes in my life I find that I attract myself to those who are like-minded.  It is also allowing me to naturally cut off those who don’t fit that lifestyle.
Inspiration is all around us. It could be with a conversation as you are passing by. It could be in nature.  I don’t know how many times I have seen something go down and got completely inspired by a bird.  It’s true. You can be inspired by social media and a post. The post I love is anything where flaws are exposed but hope abounds. People are looking for hope because all around them they might be surrounded by hopeless people or even hopeless thoughts. This world is super shiny and pretty all the time but it can shed a little light to add some light to a dark soul. In reality that is what we are supposed to be.  When people see you, they should see light. It doesn’t mean they need to see perfection.  They need to see your try. They need to know they can quit a job that wasn’t serving them and go on to bigger and better. They need to see someone leaving a raggedy marriage and not settle and even if another relationship isn’t around the corner they still know they will be fine. They need to see that parenting is super hard and trying, but with grace they can make it.

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As a blogger I of course love social media because it allows me to put my blogs out, connect with others, and really see people doing their thing as they see me doing the same. You can have people or things that you like or that inspire you.   I have a little small listing of the things that inspire me.  From home improvements, to celebrations for my kids, anything self-care, and of course people who are doing their thing, failing I said that correctly, dusting themselves off and pushing through. Everything we see on social media has a back story to it.  With that being said I will give you 4 women I find inspiring and tell you why!

Amanda Seales

One because she “be knowing.” If you follow her I don’t even have to explain it.  She is a champion for the culture and she is about as real as it gets.  She rarely sugar coats things and you know that’s how I live my life. I love her ability to be herself and she doesn’t appear to care if you or me like her or not.  She is a jewel.  I love her happiness.   I love her passions. I love that Amanda is always pushing for people to take accountability. I hope that accountability doesn’t become a lost art.  We really need it.  She makes me check myself on all levels but especially where politics and culture is concerned. Like a mirror that constantly asks that nagging why.  Although she is not nagging she will make you think and correct yourself quick.  Amanda is like my big sis or that bomb friend who serves it straight but also is someone who can relate to you without judging everything you do. And she plays Tiffany on HBO’s Insecure.  I love her character. That losing your friends with motherhood episode was real! Amanda been in the game a long time. Check her credentials.  She really is about this life and about the culture.  She is the culture! Check out her podcasts, Small Doses and then follow her on social media you won’t be disappointed. Also if you are on Instagram and you follow her, always and I mean always catch her Instastories daily, Amanda Seales

Randi Rossario

She is the owner of the internet radio show, “Oh So Radio.” She has alot of things on her plate you really should check her out! She is super dope and I found her one day at work on break with her “Good Day” inspirational moments. You might have seen her recently on the Shaderoom’s post about her helping a couple who’s wedding was semi ruined due to their child nearly drowning at a pool party.  Well above her ability to help those in need, her “Good Day” inspirations really moves me. Now let me warn a few stuffy folks, this ain’t your momma’s inspirational moment but when I say no lies are ever detected, I mean it. She is super straight. You might not even want to accept the way she speaks but you can’t deny the truth that is coming out.  She is the real deal.  I try not to hit the “Good Day” moments every morning because when I do hit she always has the exact word for what I am dealing with.  She speaks on owning your stuff and stop allowing others control over what you do.  So if you are someone who lacks the ability to move forward, hit her Instagram.  You will get the good kick in the ass that you didn’t even know you need it.  But TRUST me you needed it!

Heather Lindsey

So I had to take a little break from Heather for a few months. It wasn’t anything personal but I just take a break from social media folks quite often.  Not only do I attempt to take breaks from it altogether during moments of life, I do encourage others to do the same. Heather Lindsey is a Christian who is also the wife of Cornelius Lindsey pastor of The Gathering Oasis church in Atlanta GA and a mother of 3.  I was directed by a friend to follow her. I went scrolling along to hear what she had to say.  She seems like a genuinely down to earth person who for one will let you know she loves the Lord, she loves her family, and she loves life. I love the way she takes care of herself. That is what caught my eye.  Now I know it would be a thing to say why in the world would you be worried about what she is wearing. It was more than her outfit choices although let’s be clear they are super dope. I followed her at a time when I was struggling from looking like a whole mess calling myself a wife and mother.  Now there’s nothing wrong with struggling but apart of my struggle was saying how I wanted to get me together and yet I did nothing to achieve that goal.  She was so well put together that she challenged me to have balance.  I needed that. I still push for that.  Balance is more attractive than how much the pieces you have on cost.  So for that, she inspires me get it together. I am sure she like we all do have super stressful days.  But she travels by herself at times, travels with her husband, dates him often on date days and date nights, goes on girls trips, baecations, and runs a whole business with the Pinky Promise.  That’s the type of balance that is encouraging to women no matter your background.  Check out Heather Lindsey

I know a lot of folks that are in the church struggle with the ability of loving the Lord and still looking like the promises God said was for you.  I grew up in a church where most folks was looking wayward.  I know that can’t be the promise that God gave to the world.  How can we reach folks looking like “Le’ Struggle” everyday.  I mean everyday maybe, but not everyday.

Jenell B Stewart

She is like the all around mommy mogul.  I know we give credit to all of the other mommy moguls who seem to have like millions of followers but this queen is one to be on the look out for. First of all as an African-American woman it’s always to see chocolate loves that mirror me or my kids.  She is a lifestyle blogger, a mom, she has a podcasts, teaches lessons on things from growing social media, to balancing life.  I love and stay glued to her InstaStories.  She is just a mom who tries to have it all and do it all.  You know that is possible, right?  Yes.  I found her quite a little while ago and she had me hooked from the first video.  A few key reasons why I follow her, her page is eye-catching.  Please check out her website

It is like everything you need in one strong dose.  Her Instagram is relatable.  With me changing my lifestyle to be healthier a lot of the products that she uses or endorses I have tried and loved.  Andddddd I don’t know how much her whole family is into the healthier lifestyle but mine are taking way smaller doses than I would like.  I like that I can be encouraged that if I alone stick to this lifestyle I at least have someone who is doing it with me in my head!!

Now with these super beautiful women in their own right, I do not even have the slightest energy to be them.  For one like Heather always says, their portion is for them and mine is for me. I do not know what they did to acquire the lifestyle that they have.  However what I will say is that with my portion, I am finding that I am able to do what I need to do for me and be inspired to be the best version of myself because I am just as dope as these women.  However we all need a little nudge in a few departments.  So whether that’s in how you press on, how you take in the culture around you, to be being balanced or living healthy, choose wisely who you link your aspirations too.  They speak volumes of who you are in real life. Check out these beauties and I am sure you will snag a jewel or two from them.  My hope is since Heather has the Pinky Conference is to get to one if not this year, at least next year.  In my head, I am going to meet Amanda.  I hope to keep being inspired by Jenell and Randi and maybe one day meet them as well.

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
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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!

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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!

Wonky Feelings

Unfortunately these last few days have been a bit up and down.  For one on a personal level there is so much on my heart and mind.  I am sorting a few things out.  I noticed that as I work my life out that my shift towards gratitude has shifted.  I’ll get back to that later.  Also Fall is around the corner and although I am super happy about it, its only a reminder that there is so much to do before the year ends.

Also on Friday it was the most craziest day ever. I got out the car not put together. My bag was open. I had 20 minutes to get to work for a 2 min walk and still…..

I get to Dunkin Donuts to get a breakfast sandwich and I can’t find my wallet. I finally pay for my item and I bumped into a lady like 3 times. I’m walking into the door trying to gather my thoughts….what is going on?

As if matters couldn’t get worse, I take a walk at lunch only to discover that one side of my skirt is falling revealing a lot more than I needed to share with the world! I had to take a step back and again gather my thoughts….

Check in On your Strong Friend

I have an amazing network of friends from all walks of life.  Talking to one of them this week about how the weather didn’t help my bottom line and realizing that she too felt the same way.  Let me interject gratitude, I do not have it as bad as those in the path of Hurricane Florence, I am grateful.  In the midst of gratefulness I want to be transparent.  I miss the mark daily but I am also actively checking myself daily. Sometimes I get inspired by my ability to balance and then on days where that balance seems not to measure up, my feelings sometimes takes a nose dive.  This has been that week.  I have been pushed and finding that I am coming off as irresponsible when in actuality I am in the midst of change from the inside out.  Guilt of these changes has made me question myself.  My girlfriend reminded me that one she is here and we are here together.  I love knowing I have support and need to be more open in receiving the love in return.  So word of advice, fill your cup and be open to check on a friend to see how their cup looks too!  I am going to do better at that.

Feeling Overload

Daily I take a look at what is going on around me.  I looked at my kids and noticed they needed me to listen a little more.  I feel as if I am pretty good at anticipating other people’s needs.  However with my own, I need a little work.  Example, Thursday night I was getting agitated by a conversation with my husband.  I felt like I wasn’t being heard.  I decided to be quiet and ask myself a few questions. I asked what did I need at that moment.  I decided that my issues of frustration is because of old feelings of what my husband had done that I wasn’t over.  I simply wasn’t mad at him but mad at me for not dropping something from years ago.  I went upstairs and decided how worth it was it at that moment and dropped it.  I washed my face while praying and asked God to heal.  I decided that carrying frustration was simply only on me and that it only hinders me.  It wasn’t as if the issue was something that was life changing. I simply was mad and that madness needed checked.  I can’t grow personally and not drop the charges but expect charges of frustration or anger to be dropped on my behalf.  I have to give what I want to receive.

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Gratitude

Being thankful has been this week’s recurring theme.  All week I have challenged myself to see the good in bad situations.  All week openly saying what I am grateful for around my family.  Letting my kids openly know how awesome they are.  Recognizing their effort!  I have been in conversation replacing complaints with gratitude.  Counting my blessings this week.  Every situation that could have made me turn left, I declared gratitude and seen it turn.  Every single one.  Even with my wacky feelings this week, I have felt like I figured out what I needed and gave myself permission to seek it and receive it.

This weekend I will take a long bath, get some flowers, burn my favorite candle, get some rest, and have fun with my kids.  These are the things that I will do to set my weekend right and continue my self-care practice.  What do you need?  What are the little things that can set your spirit back into alignment?  What are the things that make you feel the most centered?  What will quiet and heal your thoughts?  Do these things and more and do it so often that it becomes a part of who you are!

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Maybe your week was great.  If so that’s super awesome.  If your week was like mine with super highs and lows, know that you can get through it.  You can replace gratitude in the places of frustration.  You can call on a friend or family and be encouraged.  It’s okay to be upset but don’t stay there.  It’s important to find out what you need and most importantly remember that the answer or relief may come from you.  You have to be honest about what you need.  Be honest about what the real issues.  Don’t place the saving grace into someone else’s hands.  Sometimes just dealing and checking yourself is all you need to make yourself whole.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for reading!

Ask Toi: How do I tell Others to Back up on the baby talk?

This question is coming from a newlywed so here is my answer:

 

Simply thank them for their concern and let them know that when the time is right you will have or not have a child.  The decision is between you and your husband. It has to be irritating for people to question another person about someone else’s uterus.  Let’s end this now. Unless you want to carry a baby for them, raise it and pay for them you have no right to ask another person that you are or aren’t close to on when or not they plan to have a child.  That goes for mommas too.  We love you momma but you don’t get a hand in the decision to bring life into the world for your child. Ask your child aka your grown child if they plan on it, but then back up and respect their answer.  The pressure alone can be devastating to a new couple or even seasoned couples.  You don’t know if that couple has been trying and miscarried, or knew going into it they couldn’t have any and didn’t feel the need to inform you.  These are personal questions that unless someone comes to you and talks about it should be off limits!

Too many times we place this pressure for newlyweds to have babies but we have to be realistic:

  1. Not everyone wants to be parents-accept it.  Kids are a lot of responsibility. Not everyone is built to handle that dynamic. Marriage is not just for baby making.  You actually might like someone’s companionship and don’t want to have children.
  2. Support systems-having children and having no system of support is a real issue. I have 3 and we are JUST getting a 5 second support systems. It takes a village to raise children.  Not everyone has what they need to raise kids.  Don’t feed me the excuse that single moms and dads are doing it.  A lot of them are and are not balanced while doing it.  They are often times lonely, cry often, suffer depression etc and this can be had even within a marriage.  Marriage is not a cure-all for any of this!
  3. Many folks aren’t financially sound to have children.  There are some people who want to get this goal crushed before they have children.

Worry about yourself.  Spend time in your own than worrying if a couple who you may think would be the best parents, become one. Let newlyweds enjoy walking around their house naked if they want.  Let them enjoy date nights, and having their new life centered before adding diaper changes and baby feedings in. Let folks live.

2017 ReCap Greats, Misses, Lessons Learned!

It is that time of the year.  We are almost to Christmas and with that signal means that the New Year is soon here as well.  Although this year like with every year has had its challenges, it also has had some very good points as well.

We will always love you Mom Mom

As we began 2017 we were dealing with the death of my mother in law and trying to get through with everything you can imagine going along with it.  We were all over the place physically and emotionally. We pulled through and continue to make strides as we keep her legacy alive.

Kids

Also each of my children’s health has been A1! Let me insert a praise break here.  Both of my older kids have asthma and if you have a child with asthma you know that any and everything can trigger things to go left. They were in school all year and they didn’t miss many activities and that in itself is a blessing. Also along with my kids, my son started his first year of grade school aka kindergarten.  I am proud of his transition to grade school. He is doing a great job.  For my youngest she has been able to transition between daycare and is doing well.  My oldest is doing well and is super active in Girl Scouts.  I can’t say enough I am proud of this year’s progress!

Marriage

We finally was able to take a long needed baecation.  We celebrated 5 years of marriage and although its had a lot of down within our marriage, we are glad to say that we are making it through and are at peace and in love with one another. We had a blast on our baecation.  We were able to do what grown folks do, lounge around, sleep in, eat well, drink well, and enjoy some sun and fun.  I pray that 2018 allows us to go to a few more places, but 2017 you did your thing.  Shout out to my sister in love and brother for keeping our little people as we enjoyed some much-needed time away.

us

Also of trips and time together we also are getting on the same page.  That in itself is a blessing. It’s hard to keep the love flowing from a place of contention.  It’s one thing to argue but to have a continual flow of dislike or disagreement and nothing being resolved, it wears you down as a person and wears at your union.  We have a few goals that I won’t talk about but just know that marriage is work and we are doing our work daily and checking in with one another more!

Family

Our family have been good.  Shout out to a new baby on the way. My brother and sister in love are having a new addition and I can’t wait for the Spring to get here so AT can love on another little.  Also shout out to my brother and mom who both graduated this year!! Yall better keep on going and getting your education.  Also to my twin who is making some awesome strides in her life and is doing an awesome job raising my niece.  Also I am making sure to do all I can to open up more to family.  I am not one usually to do that.  I like being in comfort of others but there are times when I absolutely need my space.  This is why it’s super easy for me to dismiss others quickly. My introvert ways creeps up way more than my extrovert ways will ever.

Health

I have been able to maintain and keep my work out schedule tight.  I actually have made changes to my settings on my Fitbit.  If you have one you know that you can make it really challenge you to be super active. Shout out to my Fitbit family for the step challenges-yall motivate me to keep moving and claim that top spot.  Also this year thanking God for getting that hysterectomy and FINALLY not being anemic.  To be able to be cold when you’re supposed to be instead of all day long is a blessing. To be able to not have ice in your cup because ice is life is great too.  Also just the general ability to be able to walk around knowing that you are healthy is a blessing. Please understand that so many wish this was their life and sadly it’s not.
Image result for health

For 2018 I will be making or should I say already making changes to the way I work out.  When I first got my Fitbit this year,  I only set it for 7000 steps even though I was doing more than that.  I made the change to at least 10000 steps a day since I am confident with my history that 15000 steps is more likely what I will achieve daily.  I also will be doing more challenges within the Fitbit community.  I also will be signing up for barre classes instead of Soul Cycle.  My doctor has suggested that this will alleviate some of the injuries that Soul Cycle has given me. Not to say that Soul Cycle isn’t a great work out because it is but with me working out 5 days a week, running one day a week, I need to add more core training to my regiment.  So that is the goal for 2018 if I could set a fitness goal for the upcoming year.  I still will be keeping a journal of my workouts and what I eat.  This is not for calorie counting.  This is to continue in my Weight Watchers.  Any time that I haven’t written things down, I have noticed that I will not be accountable for what I eat.  I am looking forward to some new menus for myself as well.

yoga

Anxiety

I have talked about this numerous times and I plan on opening up about it a lot more in the future.  When I was in college I was the epitome of the college student.  The one you could find on top of a bar, never missed a party, always ready for whatever and whenever.  I find now that part of my life is downsized, that going out especially doing anything where I attend something by myself makes me freak out.  This year, I have stepped out and attended a lot of events by myself. I have traveled a lot more alone and I have taken chances by being more visible.  I have named 2018 my personal Eat, Pray, and Love year and with that in mind, I am in the works with a lot of activities that will allow me to attack this anxiety and get passed it.

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People don’t even know that I suffer because once I am in a place and I am comfortable I am fine.  However I get sick, I feel like I can pass out, I don’t want to go, I try to back out, I go through it often.  I know that others like me are out there.  Although I have found ways of pressing through it I never want to act as if I am just this bundle of joy all the time.  Social anxiety is very real however I choose to be present and push past fear.

Social Media

Listen, when I tell you I could tell you every tea on most of your celebrities trust I could.  I could blog on that all day long since just like our lives, they are messy too.  However I have taken such a huge step. Often times it doesn’t show up or isn’t trending I won’t really know about it.  I have cut the fat on what I watch, what I entertain, who I engage in.  This has been super helpful.  I am not saying I am perfect but what I will say it has allowed me to be calmer in my own personal life. I don’t feel the need to clap back at things or people as much because I am not watching these images all the time.  This is my PERSONAL choice and not one that I would say hey you need to do at all.  This walk has always been personal but if you’re wondering the benefits of cutting back, they do exist. I also stop following a lot of pages, etc.  I used to make sure I aligned myself with a lot of drama and lately the cut back has served my personal space well.  This spillage has done well in almost every area of my life.  I let a lot of battles go and just realized that not every battle is mine.  Most of the time it’s almost like fighting air. Folks gon be folks.

Relationships

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my aunt this year.  Again this has been over 30 years in the making. Since that reunion I make it my business to be sure that I communicate more with her and do what I need to do on my side when it comes to her.  Also I have noticed that I have finally taken more steps to find that some relationships I had in the past have served their purposes.  I am not saying that discovering that has been fun.  I feel like there were a few snubs, a few disappointments, a few folks that I didn’t realize I missed and will attempt to reconnect with soon.  This is a part of adulting that people don’t talk about. Letting go is hard.  It is not always easy but it is always necessary.  So to the chapters that got closed, I don’t understand it but soon I am sure I will or maybe I won’t.  To the new chapters that have opened, I have found some awesome new contacts.  There are a few relationships that I closed that I am soul searching to discover if it was me closing it just to be petty or was the pain that was caused needing this close.  There is a large chunk that will remain closed.  I have made sure that I keep in contact with those that I needed to.  I really used to have a bad history of just being a one-sided friend.  I have stepped it up because in reality its necessary not just for what those friendships or relationships give to me, but what I give to them as well.

friends

Career

I will be starting a new position within the same company starting at the beginning of the year.  Won’t he do it! It’s a bit bitter-sweet but welcoming new challenge.  I also interested in continuing to learn more, grow, and always secure my coins. I got a lot of things to do and planned for 2018 and its going to take all of my coins to do it.

This year has been like I said filled with some ups and downs.  There are things that have happened that has caused me to figure out my life more. I really just want to drink water, mind my business, keep that credit score going up. continue to be debt free, be an awesome mother, a dynamic partner and wife to my husband, a great daughter, awesome aunt and sibling, make sure my career takes off, and be a great blogger! That alone along with keeping this body fit is more than enough to get me through 2018.  So as we soon say good-bye know that I have a lot of goals that are an extension of the work I have been putting in from 2017.  I have some travel goals, some more me time activities planned, and just looking for the yearly renew.  I have always said and its true, birthdays and New Year Day is always the best time to hit the reset button.  I also practice hitting that reset button daily as well.