What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

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Ask Toi: My Husband Says I Mother Him, How do I stop this behavior?

You will only stop what you accept is  bad behavior. Your husband can tell you that you are mothering him but if you make excuses, it won’t change. You are not his mother but is wife. You can’t expect this man to be a partner to you and “man” up if you are the one calling the shots.  What if he at the end of the day isn’t the man for you. Maybe you thought you could force him into what you wanted him to be. You know this happens the second you leave him, they find the one who has mastered their influence without calling the shots. Your man needs influence, not a parent.

Now from your email let’s dive into a few of your reasons for “mothering” your husband:

  • He doesn’t know how to do things
  • He’s always forgetful
  • He acts like a child
  • He needs me to tell him what to do

How did you knowing all of the above things marry this man and then expect him to all of a sudden be this man you needed him to be. Let’s break down each excuse for you.

  • He doesn’t know how to do things

This could be from running a home, to paying bills. This is called skill sets. The best way to empower your man is to encourage him to get the skill sets that he lacks. This doesn’t need to be in the form of like you said yelling at him, berating him, or telling him how he can’t do something. He is his mother’s child, not yours. You do not need to do any of that and expect him to respect you for not respecting him. All men don’t come with the same lessons learned in life. If you were honest with yourself this is more about you than him. It’s not your job to raise him. He is not a project. You should have encouraged him prior to marriage to get certain skills necessary for the home you wanted. If he wasn’t able to run a household, does he have uncles, or other male friends that can mentor him? Did you go to counseling where you could have respectfully spoken about these things you saw?  If so did you give him space to correct it? If space was given and you saw he wasn’t progressing why did you marry him?  The fact that he’s bringing up you mothering him is that he is tired of it.  No man wants to feel like his wife is raising him. He may know he lacks certain skills but he doesn’t want to be yelled at them for them. Either encourage him to obtain the skills or y’all need to have a conversation. Imma have to be real, there is a woman who can speak to these places that he lacks and will have him get it together that won’t include berating him, calling him stupid (as you have said you constantly do), or yelling. Ask a child who gets yelled at all the time, it doesn’t bring out the best in them. I know you thought love would make him change, but sis it ain’t and it won’t!

  • He’s always forgetful

Okay, so are a million other folks in the world. What he is going through isn’t uncommon. I am forgetful at times. It irritates my husband to no end.  He has never tried to be my father or disrespect me over this. I think to be honest that you have lost respect for him since its taking him to long to get it together and you need to be honest with yourself about it. I talked to several men before giving you this advice and none of them have thought that your behavior will trigger him to be more mindful.  They all along with me agreed it would make him do the opposite. I don’t care how long you have been together you both have to change or accept its no longer working for you both. He may not need to be in a marriage not just because you keep yelling or treating him like a child but because he may not need to be in a marriage until he figures out what he wants from life.

  • He acts like a child

I don’t know what will make him be more of a man but I am sure he was like this prior to marriage. I am quite sure you thought you could fix it and it’s not being fixed. The main things is does he take care of his home.? Does he work and contribute to the bills? Does he take care of you? If his childish ways which could be about him just being more relaxed than you in your high-strung (your words not mine) behavior is that you may not be equally yoked. You may be too serious to match his ways of enjoying life. Or maybe he’s more childish than you wanted and end of the day if he’s not changing, mothering him won’t change him into what you wanted him to be. How can you think negative reinforcements will make him more positive?

  • He needs me to tell him what to do

Does he really? Or has he gotten used to you telling him what to do?  This matters. I can’t tell you how your relationship should progress but I can tell you that what you are doing he’s not liking it. If he was writing me I would tell him to talk to you about it and if you don’t change and counseling won’t work so he can tell you to stop in a forum where you won’t get offended, then he needs to decide if he can stay with you AND like this for the rest of your marriage. I am telling you the same. You have the power to change your approach. You have to ask yourself if he never changes his ways, and you don’t, do you think that both of you can walk in marriage and be joyful with it the way you coexist now? Can he if he’s already said he doesn’t like how you treat him walk in the love and honor of you for the rest of the marriage? We are talking to death do you both part? Can he be with someone who constantly puts him down forever? To keep it real, he shouldn’t. I know you didn’t want that answer but its true. Can you be with someone you have to mother forever? Nope and you shouldn’t have to.  Somebody has to put it on the table. You change and he changes and you can meet. Or find out neither one of you can change and won’t change and go your separate ways.

If you both can’t take the time to work on yourselves together and apart than you can’t stay like this. Think about if this was your friend who said her husband was feeling this way, would you encourage her to stop? I would hope you would. If she said but….you know right well it can’t continue like this. NO ONE wants to be in the situation you both have made. You both had made excuses as to why it needs to be this way but you both forget one important part:

Marriage should be a contract that both parties are getting their needs met. No marriage should feel like they aren’t being supported or feel loved. No one can feel loved where on party is controlling. I know you were saying that you feel like you do control. This whole happy wife, happy life doesn’t mean the wife can say or do and make commands and if that husband wants to be happy he should go along with whatever you say or do. Happy wife, happy life should start with a wife that comes in the situation already happy. She should be happy in her own skin. You have said you aren’t. Maybe you are taking on your husband as a project because you need to find something fulfilling for yourself. If you aren’t getting from him the things that should be making you better, you both are already losing. Relationships and power couples isn’t about money. It’s about having a partner that makes you find the joy in life. He makes you want to achieve more in life and vice versa. If he’s being beat at home mentally and emotionally and vice versa since in essence you are beating yourself trying to whip him in line too, this is a sure way to lose. You both need to count up the cost. Do you want to be in a marriage together? Marriage is about partnership not dictatorship. If his momma couldn’t raise him, neither will you.

I am never stating a couple should break up. I am saying you both need a reality check. There is no way love can grow in a hostile environment. Being yelled at and treated like a child is not good to foster this manhood you want from him. I actually am glad you don’t have kids. If this is how you would treat a child, you will need parenting classes too. No child would want to feel loved just for the sake of you yelling. You wouldn’t speak to kids this way but yet you do it your husband and expect a change? Speak to him better or realize you can’t due to his lack and do something about you. You are only responsible for your actions. If you spent more time on what you needed to do instead of his lack you might find your answers. If he is left alone and things fall, let it be because he allowed them to fall. It’s not your job to catch him in all things. Some of this manhood walk you want him to walk in will happen when things slip. Even as a parent some things I allow my kids to fall in with my guidance so they can learn.  It’s not my job to make them perfect. It’s not your job to make your husband perfect.

You can stop by:

  • When you feel yourself about to yell, walk away. Be quiet. This is going to be hard but you can do it
  • Only interject if he comes to you-again hard but you have to do it
  • Talk to him and not at him-you can better results from a sweet answer than a bitter one
  • Let him fall a few times. Protect the things that are yours alone but let him slip up a few times and he will get it
  • Encourage him when he does great things. Turn this negative talk into positive ones
  • Find ways to be a couple again. I would do a few things he likes to do in return he will want to do some of the things you want
  • Find your internal happiness
  • Find your passion. Passions in life brings out the best in all of us. When I was a stay at home mom, complaining about every little thing, I eventually found my passions. I didn’t have time to worry about another adult
  • Keep in mind he’s your husband and not your child. With another adult you speak twice. Tell him how you feel, if he disregards it twice, do what you need for you. Don’t tell him what to do. If he can’t be led by you speaking to him in love, that’s more of the issue than him simply not doing whatever it is you want him to do
  • Personal counseling for you. You need someone to speak to you about healthy boundaries. You have none right now. Even if you think it’s for his good. Your power stops at the end of your nose. You have to be willing to understand that and stop trying to fix him. Healthy boundaries and healthy conversations.

Just because you both have created this environment doesn’t make it right. I know plenty of counselors that could tell you the next level of steps. When that man gets sick and tired of you he will show you. However you been sick and tired of his ways too. Either find a way to respectfully bring out of him what you need and vice versa or what is the point? Why lay down to the person you low-key don’t even like or respect?  Respect isn’t about doing what’s right for the other person alone. It’s about looking at my partner even on the days they get on your last nerves and saying I want what’s best. What’s best for my partner isn’t even what I want for them but what they need from you. We can’t keep loving others our way. They need what they need and how they need it. You may need to find that out. Can you both love and give love the way you both need it and lay down this pretense of what you are going to give. Love is about give and take without compromising yourselves. You both have a lot of areas to grow. Its going to take active work. Oh and I know some folks once their partner tells them they don’t like something go into the “oh he don’t want me to talk to him like this, I’m not going to say anything at all to him.” This is wrong. This is passive aggressive.

LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.

Fusing Friendships

One of the biggest challenges when I moved to Philly years ago was leaving what I was comfortable being around. I was used to my set of friends. I was used to my town. I knew how to get everywhere. Lancaster was small enough for me to navigate my life and it was fine. Fast forward to getting engaged to my husband and I knew that I would have to move. In the beginning I was excited to start this new life but I didn’t think about the challenges.  The biggest challenge was friends and wanting to have my own sense of community like I had in Lancaster. As much as people want to leave Lancaster, one of the biggest things about leaving that you can’t deny is community.

Friend Factor

Being that I was comfortable with my friends, I never thought about what would happen when I moved. I didn’t invite anyone to visit me in Philadelphia. I always just went back to Lancaster. Lancaster is home. It feels right. I can go back today and fit right in with zero issues. Friendships matter to me. Having a core set of friends even if they aren’t from Lancaster has always been my saving grace. When I was single and not attached I could take a trip and have girl time with any of them. My biggest hurdle was being pregnant with a toddler in a city I had NO friends in.  At first I focused on making sure my toddler was secure. I made that my number one priority. Then making sure the new baby I was carrying was safe and healthy.  Then I would go back and forth traveling either pregnant, or with a toddler and newborn baby.  When I think about it now there needed to be balance in that. No way should I have made that into one sided trips. Anyone who follows my blogs know the reason I kept going to Lancaster was my refusal to be in Philadelphia and attempt to make things happen.

Fusing Friends

The issue I have less now of but definitely more when I first moved was when my husband wanted me to fuse relationships with his friends. He never asked me to but he would tell me to be open to relationships. My response was so super negative and I wasn’t able to take his advice at face value. Even now some of his friends wives who I think are completely awesome I don’t see myself getting as close to. I never wanted to have my friends to only be an extension of him. Meaning I didn’t want to get in a situation where his friends or their significant others felt obligated to be nice to me out of respect for him. I don’t keep friends like that. I only and always ask for respect and I give it.  I do not expect people to extend themselves to me to save face.  So even know I have met a great level of friends through him but I refuse to force myself on any of them. It’s hard for me at times to push past anxiety.

When I do often times I find folks aren’t as receptive.  Let me give an example. I reached out to one via text. I still have yet to hear back. Like not for nothing I’m in a better place. Petty Toi would be super stank when I see her in the future but why?! Now when I see the same person (s), it’s always hey let’s get together. To my husband he thinks they are being nice. To what actually happens is after a few text messages, the real of let’s get together to be nice in public and the real of let’s get together in real life don’t match. I am the person that will take you at what your action says over what you say to save face.  This isn’t to say they are fake or they don’t like me. It’s the fact that this is the real of what happens when you come into someone else’s circle. It takes time to build a relationship or if you are honest, as a wife no one is obligated to be friends with me just because they are friends with him.  Having my husband be the only thing in common isn’t enough to fuse a relationship. This thought process takes growth.

So anyone who has ever dealt with social anxiety knows it takes a large level of bravery to put yourself out to others. The Toi that I was when I first moved here was a lot more cut throat than I am now. I have completely softened but not to the point of stupidity. Back in the day when I needed to feel apart I was more hurt and out of that hurt I would cut a person off. Now I don’t worry about vibes that don’t return to me. I get that I am coming into already long lasting relationships and for that I don’t get moved as much.  I don’t over extend myself to people. There is a fine line between hey girl, and feeling like after 4-5 attempts and not getting the message. We all have lives. I am married. I have 3 kids. I blog. I work a full and a part time job. I am not looking for someone to be an instant bestie.

Here are my tips when you struggle to make new friends in an established group:

  • Be yourself
  • Always be cordial
  • Attempt to make yourself a friend
  • Don’t get caught up when the friendly relationship is only when you see certain folks
  • Look to find your own friends by getting out in social events
  • Do not feel obligated to overextend yourself to others if they show you who they are-believe them
  • Don’t take things personal
  • Work on you this will bring others that are supposed to be around you
  • Remember you are awesome

Be gentle with yourself as you fuse into a new life, new city, etc

It’s hard to figure out the life balance. You don’t have to have all of the answers.

Know that you will get better as you practice self care, take risks, put yourself out to be a friend, etc

It’s not the number of friends you have but the ones who are super solid! They outweigh having large entourages any day.

Shout out to my friends new and old who are all around awesome!! You have made this transition in your own way, better.

Ask Toi: Do you think people should go to counseling before having Children?

Yes and no. I think that if you have had things happen in your childhood that affects your ability to raise your children then yes. If once you have children you notice things that come up, by all means run don’t walk and go to counseling. If you feel like your childhood wasn’t an issue than no. Not everyone has bad childhoods. If you feel like you did or as an adult even before having children, you yourself know or can feel triggers. Also regardless of being a parent or not, you can see a counselor to help you get better at self-care. Everyone I believe can benefit if that is a choice they take from speaking to a licensed professional.  Having children will test you in ways that no one can prepare for. It takes a lot more than knowing how to keep a child alive, feeding, or housing them to be a parent. Each child is here on this Earth for a purpose but some people don’t realize that the child rearing years can push them further away from their purpose if you don’t keep a clear mind and watch how you treat them. What we say, how we talk, what consequences we give matters. They aren’t just dolls for us to take care of and show off. They are humans who need guidance and we as parents are responsible in how we do it.

What I know is that regardless of children or not, I for one felt triggered having my kids. Part of that was going through postpartum depression. I have said openly that I went to counseling and took medication to work through my own issues.  During that time of counseling things that I hadn’t talked about or dealt with came out. I worked through them and continue to work through them. It doesn’t necessarily mean that my childhood was awful.  It meant that I found as an adult things that I would rather deal with to be a better parent.  For me my ultimate goal is to be the best parent for my kids. All three of them have different needs. I didn’t have to feel after going to counseling that I had to treat them the same as far as giving them the same exact method in how they receive correction.   It’s my job to find out what works best for them to be their best. It’s not about me, my ego, what my parents said goes, what my husband’s mom said goes, it’s about them and being to them what they need, period.

I for one don’t like yelling. However as a parent I find that if I am not mindful I will do it. I don’t want my kids raised in a home with yelling so when I was in counseling its something that I worked on to eliminate it. I don’t even take my kids around folks that do a lot of arguing or fighting. Should I find that we are in that type of environment I will immediately remove my kids from it. I think yelling is unnecessary. As a parent I can speak to my kids and give them respect and expect it from them without yelling to get my point across. It doesn’t mean that my patience tank as I call it is always full. When I find that it’s not I apologize and work with my kids to be understanding. This I found out how to do in counseling. I had to let a friend of mine know who was keeping my kids why one of my kids responded the way they do to yelling. It’s not that I want to keep my kids in a bubble but I do feel an in control parent can watch how they speak and that’s just as important to the message.

I have talked to other parents who stated that things in their childhood didn’t come out until they had children. I would say be proactive in dealing with it. I know I am not perfect but if I am constantly checking myself and willing to tweak what I do where my kids are concerned, I know and pray they have a good outcome from that. Sometimes I also think, if my voice is their voice would I want my kids to yell unnecessarily to my grandkids in the future?  If I am putting them down, who is going to pull them up?  There are parents who belittle their kids and then when their kids do “great” things they take the credit? I don’t want that. I want them to shine because their support system behind them helps them shine! All adults need to have an outlet whether they are parents or not. If anything is on our heart and mind and talking to a licensed professional is a good thing for self-care.

Having kids will bring out things in your childhood if its left unchecked. That is a good and bad thing. To fuse two different upbringing from my husband and I and knowing that we can take from both and find what works for us with our own takes a lot of finesse. I would say if you are talking about having kids that you have some real conversations on how those kids will be raised. It’s not the time to wait until they arrive.  Counseling is another way of helping to deal with those difficult decisions for any part of your life not just parenting. Also be prepared for those around you specifically parents to say things like you weren’t raised that way. It is true.  A lot of the things that we do for our children don’t mirror my parents or his mom. However end of day you have to take into consideration resources available, times, and your kids personalities and they way they learn. I would rather support their way of learning and have them find ways to be that much better than to only do what I was taught to please any one of the sets of parents. Parenting for where my husband and I are right now is a lot of meshing. We mesh both sides and what we see and what we deal with when dealing with our kids.

If you are concerned with if counseling will work, I would say go to a few sessions and find out for yourself. I find that I feel better equipped for the time I went to counseling. I was given tools to work through me which in the end of the day will help in how I deal and heal with my kids. They are the best parts of me. I see myself in all 3 and I would hope the things that I didn’t master they master. I would hope that the things I wanted in my childhood I make sure they have and its beyond material things. I want them to feel secure in being them. I want them to be able to not hide who they are. I know they will not fit what I think they should be. I hope as they figure out who they are that they can count on me and my husband to love them through it. I pray constantly that I would choose my words carefully when interacting with them.

People give counseling a bad name. Going to counseling doesn’t mean you have issues with everyone, you’re weak, you are unstable and any other negative word choices people give it. The notion of keeping your business to yourself is the reason why people respond to life the way you do. You should be open to speak honestly about things without fear that if you do something is going to happen. Getting help is not a problem. You should be getting help and in that shows strength. If you are someone who needs a counselor regardless if you are a parent or not or if you are being triggered or not, go and get that help. I would rather someone be in counseling than to treat a child wrongfully indirectly because they were taught not to speak up.

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!

 

Love Energy

If you ever worked out you know how it can feel. Sometimes you feel super motivated. Other times you have a love/hate relationship.  However if you are consistent in it you will notice how better you feel and eventually you will see results. When you are consistent and you see results it keeps you feeling amazing and keeps you going even when you have days when you slack off.

The energy behind that feeling of working out, eating better, or doing better is the same type of energy that needs to be put into your love relationship. You should feel loved on everyday. The days where arguments seem to be on a thousand, and you’re not getting along, should be way less than the days you and your partner spend loving on each other. One thing that I am realizing is the more energy into the relationship, the better the results. The times in your relationships where BOTH partners are attempting to meet in the middle is key to making it work.

Energy never lies. I don’t care what a person says, if the energy that a person is giving or lack thereof, is the key to how things hold up. You can never go on record with your spouse naming the things that you do in response to responsibilities alone if the energy in how you love isn’t being shown. I learned that in counseling on my own. I went to counseling about my life in general and if I am honest my marriage came up. My counselor was a man and he said to me that I know the energy in which my marriage is giving and if that energy is slacking, it won’t hold up. I either had to do my part, wait to see if my husband’s part would match, and if it don’t match, I knew what I had to do. This doesn’t mean my counselor was encouraging to divorce, etc, but he was making me aware of things that love blinds you to.

man wearing suit jacket sitting on chair in front of woman wearing eyeglasses

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Love is amazing. If you are being loved right, it shows. A woman glows better when she’s loving herself and her partner is loving her correctly. There is no denying that. Energy is all about what you give to your partner. If all you do is harp on what your partner does that is negative than don’t get mad when that person goes looking for someone to encourage them. Let me say it for the folks in the back, this is not a oh well if they cheat clause. I am saying if you’re honest and you know you aren’t speaking good into your relationship and over the person you claim to love and all you do is tearing that individual them, gaslighting them, and downing their every move, eventually that ugly side of you becomes less and less attractive. No ONE wants to be put down. You can’t come with a smile, ever? You don’t have not one nice thing to say, ever? There is something wrong, always? Don’t nobody got time for that. If you have an issue with something, speak up but it don’t have to be drawn into a picture with a neon sign everyday! Speak love. Speak encouragement. Put into the relationship what you want out of it.

One last nugget my counselor told me that we tend to say, if I was with “this” person whatever the “this” represents, we would….. If you don’t work out in yourself whatever negative issues you feel from what you get out of your mate, you can leave them and run right back into that same type of person later. Check your loves of the past, do they all share common traits? If so than maybe there’s something in you that needs to be worked out. Energy never lies. If you feel miserable and you’re working on yourself and find that the person you are with is not and its dragging you down, speak up. After awhile things will naturally take its course. Don’t ignore the warning signs cause you love this person!

Checking in on Your Loved Ones

There is something to be said when you check in on your loved ones. Whether it’s a quick check in or a full on call and listen session we need to be proactive in doing more for each other. We are connected and we need to keep that connection as strong as it possibly can be. We need to do a better job on spreading love to everyone and even the ones we know well. We tend to give better compliments to strangers at times than we do to those we are around. Be the type of person that is nurturing to one another and attempt to find the good in your circle of loved ones.

So for that I am challenging all of my followers to do a quick check in. I know that often times we use text messages and we don’t talk on the actual phone, but it may be time to do a full on call. You can use text messages as a lead way but overall it would be good to hear a voice and be sure that your friends and family are truly okay. Its getting colder out and seasonal depression is real. Even the ones who you think is totally fine and there are no issues present could be fighting a silent fight.

three women sitting on grass

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You would do yourself a disservice to ignore your loved ones in this season. So spend a little time and make it your business to reach out to a few folks over the next couple of weeks. Be sure that if you do that you ask open-ended questions too. Sometimes people will hit you with the yes and no and true interaction is engaging. Also keep in mind some people are private. Make sure the conversation and space is safe for them to open up and speak. Don’t judge what they have to say. Just be sure that you are truly inviting and be there. Some people don’t want a fix they just need to vent. I want to be able to look back and know that I attempted to be there for my friends and loved ones and I encourage you to do the same!!