National Family Day

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

No One Wins when the Family Feuds

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

Family Breaks

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

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Marriage Anyone?

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

Now What? Framily?

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

five women laughing

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Family I don’t Deal with

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

The Incredible Storr 5

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

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

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

jayz

Why I am not being nice to Side Chicks

Today is side chick appreciation day.  This is the day when the memes come out hard.  I heard someone say that we should be nice to a side chick and this is my response to that, hell naw I won’t.  I know that came a bit left but that is my real life rated G version of my response.  Why should anyone feel sorry for a side chick.  Often times side chicks can be side blinded.  The men who side line a side chick really are a piece of work. This means that not only do you not respect your wife or girl but you don’t respect the one you messing with to come correct and at best tell them they are a side chick.

Now the issue with the side chick first let me deal with the man first than I will bring this thing back to full circle.  You have NO game.  Its sad but the reality is that some side chicks will play their “part.”  Yes you can find a raggedy woman who is patiently waiting on the sidelines for any love before she turns up with no love.  This I will address when I swing almost literally to the side chick herself.  If you as a man really had it like that you could tell that side chick that she’s a side chick and she may go for the okie doke.  But often times that side chick is lied to just as much as the lie the man is keeping with his committed girlfriend and wife.  Um let me just say you don’t have enough dick or money to entertain one woman let alone more than one.  Straight like that, no chasers today.  I am not coming from a bitter been burnt by side chick games either but the truth is the truth. So while you may get away with the game of hurting the one you are with you will find out sometimes when it’s too late that it’s not worth it.

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The chances of your woman taking you back is slim or at least it should be.  Ladies I know some men go to counseling and attempt to do better but you better be 1000% sure you can handle that.  The amount of distrust that is done after someone cheats is unimaginable.  If you are the type that brings that back up a million times, you would be better off leaving that cheating man and sending him a clear message that this type of behavior is not acceptable with you than to stay and drag yourself and him through it.  If one of you should go through the ringer shouldn’t it be the one who committed the offense?

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Now to the actual side chick or side dude especially the ones who know.  Why?  Like legitimately why? There isn’t another man who isn’t already connected?  This one that appears like a good catch is the one?  What makes him or her a good catch?  Cheating is a turn on?  He or she won’t do that to you right?  Like for real, what is your motivation.  You are dipping yourself sometimes literally in the same pot.  That doesn’t seem sexy to me. So the nights like Valentine’s Day when a man or woman can’t make a viable excuse for not being home, what do you do?  Hold your pillow tight?  Look at your gifts he had to send to you because he’s not there loving you.  Let me guess, you think he’s not with his wife or her husband?  I know that’s what they told you.  How come he or she hasn’t left their wife or husband?  Your stuff not bomb enough to make him roll?  Oh yeah the kids, yeah that’s called an excuse.  No one should ever stay for the kids.

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Listen if being second to the main is good for you, than you will never have much.  No one cares about your place.  You have none.  Once that wife and husband finds out trust me they are going to make your side boo’s life hell.  Once that happens the spark you once saw won’t be as strong as you think.  They the wife and husband and your boo will blame you. This isn’t anything new that you haven’t heard its just time out for being the sloppy second to another woman or man’s main.  Let people figure their relationships out without being the one sliding in between them.

So not I don’t sorry for a side piece today.  You get what you deserve.

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How to Have the Best New Year’s Eve…

First of all this is one busy night.  There are a lot of preparations to make it perfect, but let’s keep it real there’s no such thing as perfect.  You have to set aside what goals are most important to you.  They say how you bring in the New Year is super important and it is.

Here are some of the ways you can bring in the New Year:

For Couples:

It’s important to attempt to spend it together.  Yes some people have to work and that is totally understandable.  However if you are a couple there are a million ways to spend it. You can go to a hot party and get all dolled up.  This would require that you and your partner book ahead of time.  Going out on New Years means having a party plan.  Will you use a taxi, Uber, Lyft?  What are the prices?  Everything is super expensive on that night. Do you even want to go out and deal with other party goers?  Decide early because after Christmas if most clubs and establishments haven’t already posted prices they definitely will.  Remember anything where you can pre-pay ahead of time is better.  At the door the price will usually go up from $20 to 100 per person.  Ouch.  So plan ahead.

If you and your boo do NOT want to go out, opt hosting a party get together.  You can do this by having other couples come and share in the purchase of food and drinks.  This will cut cost down dramatically.  You can have a great night in.  You can do things like play games, watch movies, whatever you want to do.  It’s all your choice.  This is a great option for a laid back night with others.

If you say Toi, I really just want a quiet evening, than do that.  I know couples who dress up and cook a meal together.  This can turn into something if you want it to trust me. Nothing is sexier than your partner in the kitchen.  Make a meal that you both can try that you wouldn’t have normally tried before.  This way its something out of the ordinary than your normal pasta dish at home watching tv.  You can do a vision board together as a couple as well as an individual.  You can play games and make it fun.  Spice it up.  You can just spend some quality time with the one you love as you bring in another year.

For Singles:

You can do the same thing as above as far as going out but make it a great group effort. You aren’t the only single one in the whole world no matter how much your mind tells you. Get together and reconnect with friends that you may not have been able to catch up with during Christmas.  This is a great time to travel.  Some of my friends are out of the state so if I was single you could travel to their state or pick a new destination altogether. The same rules apply, have fun and be safe.  If you want you can have the ultimate girls night.  There are a million and one ways to have a group of women come together and have a great time. You can pick a theme.  It doesn’t have to be just the New Year.  You can have a makeover night.  Everyone brings make up, wear cute pajamas, etc. The sky is the limit. Be open-minded.

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Travel

Like I said I remember hitting Miami up one year.  I had the BEST time with my girlfriends. We went to a great club that had open bar for a price and food.  We danced so much I can’t tell you how bad my feet hurt.  However when I look back at the pictures I smile.  We really had a great time and even walked a little on the beach.   You’re single not dead.  Enjoy life. There is so much to experience that is beyond your backyard.  Now that I am married a few of my single friends have even gone out of the country.  Imagine that.  If you have a passport, isn’t it time for some new stamps?

For Parents:

My husband and I have been parents for 7 years and the ONLY time we have had a night out for New Years has been this past year.  We ended up going to Chickie and Pete’s.  We had no immediate plans.  We made none.  We decided to just get dressed up and head out. As we went to a few places, we noticed how super crowded and how limited space was open to be out.  So I did what any woman would do, I goggled.  I found that Chickie and Pete’s had a special for a flat rate you could eat and drink top shelf liquor all night. I said let’s give it a try.  Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.  Not only was the crowd hype, there was dancing, our own table, and did I mention all you can eat and drink on food we knew would be good?  Yes we had hit the jackpot.  It’s hard to get a sitter and last year we lucked up.  So what do you do when you have no sitter and you have little people?  You make your own party. I have always done a party at home.  I had adult drinks and kiddie mock drinks, New Year’s gear, and we had a full party.  Dancing, music, the countdown all of that. Guess what it was low-key, loads of fun, and I didn’t stress bed time either.  I let them stay up until they fell out.  It was a great time.  Oh and my kids can hang.  They loved every bit of it.

Another option for parents is to invite other parents that are in the same boat.  You can have a kid and parent party.  This is a good idea for parents who want to interact with others but can’t find a sitter.  Everyone can come together and split food and drinks. Everyone can have a great time in a safe location.  Parents can interact with other adults and the kids can get some time out as well.  Trust me the ride home will be quiet, your little ones will be knocked out no matter how late or early you go out.  Also during the day on New Years places like aquariums etc will have specials for the little people and a special count down too. This way if you are venturing out you can tire them out before you go and have some fun too.  Check prices and get tickets early as well.

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New Year’s night can be as much fun as you want it to be.  You have to be willing to step it up no matter what your status in life is.  Yes I didn’t mention church, but you didn’t think this fellow PK (preacher’s kid) would forget.  Yes watch tower or midnight services are fun too.  It does depend on where you go.  I am sorry church folks but you can make New Years fun.  Yes have a good message, preach, have choirs but have some fun too.  Nothing is worst is dragging your family out in the cold to church and having them wanting to gnaw their arms off because the service is no different from any other day.  It’s a fun night of celebration.  Just because you in the church you don’t have to cut the fun out. Incorporate something into the service. Have food.  Do something out of the box and bring folks into the church.

I do not have my plans set yet.  Whatever I do it will be fun.  Whether that’s out and about, a night at home, with friends I will have the same joy of beginning the New Year as I have always have even if I have to create it.  That should be a part of your new goals.  Creating happiness in your circle. Trust me the situations I was in I should have been sad but I turned them around and made the best of it and so can you.  Enjoy the New Year celebration as well as make your own mark going into 2017.

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How to Shake that Blah Feeling

I know I’m not the only one who has ever had one of those days where you feel completely overwhelmed.  You have a to do list that is so long you wonder to yourself how you will ever get anything done.  You have responsibilities that seem to increase and no one to come in and save you.  Well if and when you experience these types of days here are my go to save me moment pick me ups:

  1. Music is a saving grace.  Don’t put on a tune that will make you mad or one that will make you sleepy.  Put on some really upbeat music and even if you are at your desk you can dance a little.  There’s nothing wrong with a little chair dancing.
  2. Drink water.  It can replenish you and hydrate you and thus allowing you to stop overeating which is another reason to feel overly tired and drained.
  3. Happy snacking.  Put away regular chips and elect to get some kale chips or sweet potato chips.  There are so many healthy alternatives.  Preparation is key.  Pack your snacks for work, school and take them with you.  You will feel better by end of day.
  4. Good conversation.  A little positive conversation will make you feel better.  Talking about doom and gloom all the time makes for a very dull person.  Live a little and smile.
  5. Exercise.  You don’t have time right?  Walk around the floors of your job every time you take a bathroom break.  That will get your blood circulating and moving. Take a walk for a few minutes a day or work out for a solid 15 minutes and that will be better than nothing.
  6. Sex.  Now unless you can privately sneak away and have sex in the middle of the day, start your day off with sex.  Yes that will have you glowing, smiling and productive trust me.  Plus its a great work out if you are doing it right. Sex should never be boring so spice it up a bit.
  7. Affirmations.  Sometimes the negative thoughts you keep high fiving are the issue. Speak highly of yourself.
  8. Send someone an encouraging note.  We have every social media outlet at our finger tips it only take a few seconds to make someone else’s day.  It will make your day as well.
  9. For my ladies, if you wear lipstick pick a bold color.  You will smile more, you will feel in your essence more.  You will feel empowered.  A red lip or a bright pink lip does wonders.  I sometimes put on a red lip on purpose.
  10. Reconnect with others.  Call a friend.  I have had a conversation with a friend for 15 minutes and felt more inspired.

There are a thousand ways of shaking the blah feeling you may be going through. Pick one, anything and be more productive.  Remember that goal that you WERE working on but set it done, reconfirm with yourself to make it happen.  If you have a vision board and I encourage you to make one, you should be doing one thing off of your vision board to make that a reality.  You should be affirming yourself at least one time a day.  That in itself will do wonders for your spirit.  Have a great day today and remember you are in charge in making it great!!

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday or “day of ashes” is the start of the 40 days to Easter where one decides to fast, give up of one self, give up bad habits or sins.

Where the ash comes in is that ash represents repentance.  So it’s really a time for reflection.  Although observed by most Catholics, the thought of giving up sins can be extended across the board.  Most people give up things like chocolate, alcohol, and junk food to name a few.  I admonish or encourage you to give up things that will make you a better person in addition to something physical.  Let’s try taking gossip, lying, etc that will help your overall person.

So what will it be?  What are you willing to give up?  What about them secret sins that only you and God knows about?  Reflect on your inside and make the dedication today.

Here are a few things you can do to celebrate or participate in Lent:

1.Alcohol seems to be one of the most popular things that people give up.  That means NO alcohol or alcoholic beverages.

2.Sex-Sometimes married couples participate in this.  There are a few things to consider. One if your partner is not on board than that’s not fair at least to me.  One if you ain’t giving up anyway on a regular basis this can be used as a cop-out. So walk a straight line with this one. If you’re unmarried and not in a committed relationship this would be a great thing to clear your mind and body too.

3. Negativity.  This is going to be hard for some.  This may have been on the top.  This means you have to be mindful of you to be honest.  It takes more work to crack down on negative words, complaints, and destructive behavior than people like to give it credit.

4. Tearing down your mate.  This is something that could go with number 4 but the reality is the one you sleep with and are trying to make a life with ALWAYS has a way to get under your skin so therefore sometimes focusing on building your marriage will be beneficial in the long run.

5. Shopping.  Yes only getting what you NEED.  This is hard.  That means no Target runs, etc and only getting groceries and those essential needs.  After the season of Lent not only will you have discipline but you will also have saved yourself a few dollars.

The response is endless.  This is a time to self reflect and get your life right.  To me it doesn’t even matter if you are super religious or not.  Getting focused and stop a bad habit is something we all can use.  Also replacing some good things in the place of the bad things is essential.  For instance if you aren’t shopping during Lent, than maybe you can go through your home and give in the place of buying.  If you are not tearing down your mate, than put a special note somewhere different everyday to build their love jar.  If you’re not drinking alcohol than replace that with drinking water and watch your body thank you.  If you’re not having sex maybe you can put intimacy in its place.  Intimacy is not about sex and can teach you how to be loving in different ways. Taking negativity out can be replaced with self-love and finding ways to be more loving towards others.  So what will you do?  If you say you have nothing that you can do, I would call your bluff.  The best way to know is go home and ask the ones that live with you to give you an idea.  They can come up with plenty, pick one and do that.