Sunday Message: Get What You Need 

So it’s no secret that I don’t always make it to church. I would love to be there every week and do make an effort, but life happens and sometimes we miss the mark. Today I was able to get into the building. Today was the 100 year celebration of the church and school. It was a lot of people today.  Standing room only type of crowd.

What I noticed most was this woman to my left who inspite of what everyone else was doing was tapping in for what she needed. Growing up I was always taught that if you can’t hear from the preacher, then maybe the choir will move you. If the choir won’t move you then maybe a greeting or hug will. I’ve been that woman in church today where life is going on but with tears streaming down my face I needed something more.  I don’t pretend to know what that woman was praying, crying, or seeking for what I do know is I get it.

In the world of wants there will come a time where you will have a need.  We all have had those times. You are no longer worried about the things that don’t matter as your mind and heart is bogged down that you shift your thoughts to only what you need. While you are in this mindset, you could care less who’s talking and why, who don’t like you or agree with you-you just have a need. Life has a way of humbling everyone to this place.  Like that woman, you get quiet, and the issues of your heart start to overflow.

Learn to tap into what you need more often. We are taught to be not be selfish but you will have to learn to have selfish moments. This is why women and mothers struggle with the balance of giving and pulling back. The struggle of the word no is important. Doing more for others who need to do for themselves, being a support to someone when you need support, giving your last and never being able to receive in your time of need are all examples of times when we have to learn to not always give in but find what we actually need.

Today you need a nap-take it. Today you need a break-take it. You need a bill paid and no money in sight but you can shift some things around and be a better steward of your finances. You need companionship but you really need to find out who you are, what you need and that will guide what you want. 

Like that woman who tuned the service out; tune out negative vibes, negative folks, even negativity that you bring to the table and focus!! This is why self-care and self-love is super important. Practicing this daily helps for when life knocks you down. You’re better equipped to be able to tap into your needs. When you’re off balance you have to be reminded of what’s important than if you had actually only focusing on the necessary things in life. 

Sunday Message: Don’t Ignore the Message

So today I went to church. As a PK aka a preachers kid I have been in many of churches in my time.  However today’s church was an experience.

While in church there was a mother with 3 kids-2 girls and 1 toddler boy. The toddler was running around in church not listening and the mother thought it was cute. I thought I or the other nearby mothers was going to grab her let alone the child. The priest as it was a Catholic Church had already called her out for the busy child. He suggested she take the child out but she ignored the message. As she ignored the message the child kept running, kept screaming, kept being a distraction to everyone around him.

See I love the kids. I have 3 of my own and although they are not perfect anytime they are so loud and distracting to everyone around it’s been time for me to step in but she ignored the message. She didn’t want to hear that her little angel was bad. She didn’t want to adhere to maybe he needed a time out. The embarrassment wasn’t enough to get out of her seat to the point that when the child was on the altar the second time she sent her oldest who appeared to be younger than my 8 year old to get him. 

I was irritated beyond belief. Like come on now mother, get your baby. Ignoring him wouldn’t stop the whole church from looking at you. It wouldn’t stop the stares, the huffing or the eye rolls. As I wanted to snatch the mother myself I had to practice self control. If I would have reacted what would have been the point?! Yes we all could have been able to hear but the reality is this little boy is a probably an issue no matter where they go. If the priest directly called her out and she didn’t care to change surely my words wouldn’t have done much.

How many of us have had life say stop, or don’t proceed and we ignore it? So I didn’t stop my eye rolls but I did get calmer than I was when the child first started out. No doubt the mother and child was the talk on everyone’s ride home. The priest even told her good luck at the end. Ignoring the things in your life that is sticking out, or out of place sometimes isn’t enough. You can go to the doctors get a bad report with suggestions and still live life like you’re fine. You ignore the message until things are so out of pocket with limited change. You can date a man who you just caught in the very act and instead of setting him free, you make excuses and simply ignore the message. 

So what, just like that child is trying to get your attention? Whatever that area of your life is that is talking loud enough for you and others to see and hear, deal with that. I can’t snatch that child but I can snatch my life and get it in order. Snatch your life too!! 

Any of US Could be Kenneka?

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the story of Kenneka Jenkins, the young lady who was found in a freezer in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago.  This story has had twitter and social media in a frenzy.  She left with a group of friends to attend a party and never came home.  Follow any of the hashtags to follow the story.  Regardless of the distorted facts one fact remained is that she had some extremely horrible “friends” and that she was being brought there to be raped.

Now I have seen the memes floating about how her death and rape has sparked the whole be careful of your friends movement but it makes it seem as if the rapist and murdered of Kenneka deserves a pass?  My thoughts are on what planet?  Just because people are using this story to remind others about their choice of friends that doesn’t mean that the rapists and murder whomever they may be are fine.  The way the information is spilling, the rapists and murders can be her friends.  Everyone in that hotel room should be charged.  Hands down.  I will not dispute that.  It’s not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Everyone who live streamed it, turned the music to muffle Kenneka’s cries, participated, set it up, and carried it out should be charged.  AND you should STILL watch your friends.

I placed myself in the place of a mother.  I am a mother in real life.  I have two daughters. My oldest child is very lovable and already possesses the thoughts that her friends are great.  However as her mother teaching her right from wrong I am the voice until she has a voice on whom is not for her.  Yes, even at 8 I have had to call out a few of the mean girls.  My daughter goes to private school which means for the most part her classes are small and most of the kids in her class have already been together since Kindergarten.  They hang together in and out of the classroom. If you think that I as a mother am not in her ear telling her, pointing out, and calling out her fake friends you are sadly mistaken.  We ALL have had to deal with those who we thought was real and found it wasn’t remotely true.

I was asked this week have I ever had to deal with fake friends and the answer is HELL YES.  My eyes were opened AFTER something went down.  Whether that was hearing of stories being said tabout me, being left at a party, etc, it has happened.  Or the times I have had a circle of friends who were really friends because we had one mutual friend involved and heard some crap about me that I didn’t tell the group.  These are the very recipes for fake friends.  I do not think Kenneka realized that until her unfortunate death.  I said on my SnapChat and I will say it again, its not just the teenagers we need to worry about it’s the young girls that are my oldest daughters age that already show mean girl attributes.  It’s the grown women who keep stuff going well into their 40s and up. This mean girl mentality can begin at any age.  It doesn’t discriminate so while others are pointing their fingers at Kenneka, remember to re-evaluate your own circle.

Image result for kenneka jenkins

Listen cutting off friends is hard.  It hurts.  It makes your circle smaller.  Here are a few things to watch for:

  1. The “leader” that likes to control off the cards aka the information that is given to the group.  My rule of thumb is that just because we share a mutual friend don’t bring me no news about someone I don’t pick up the phone and call myself.  Do you know how many people talk that let’s pray for her crap and ain’t been in church a month of Sundays.  Stop believing the that’s my sis crap. That same sis is the same one when you get on hard times will give your information to people who don’t even know you.  Rule of thumb even in a group setting, let others tell their own business.  Stop giving in the name of friendship other’s information unless you have permission.
  2. When one or more lie about inviting another but talk about how that one don’t come.  I had that happen recently.  I found out that after all this talking about one “friend” went down the girl wasn’t even invited but the “leader” told everyone they were and then talked bad about them for not coming.  IF they will do it to one they will do it to all
  3. Be still sometimes.  We go to things without asking the right questions.  If you feel something isn’t right, trust what you say and have your own mind.

These are the lessons that even at 8 I have had to share with my daughter.  These will NOT solve fake friends problems but it will open eyes.  We believe anything.  Just because you know someone for a long time don’t always mean they have your best interest in heart. Also to my men you play a HUGE part in some of this.  For the men who use women as bait, stop.  Start having conversations with your son and other young men about respect. Too many women trying to protect each other but not having men stand and rally behind them to do the same.  Sorry your fragile egos can’t take a no but remember at some point, this could have been your daughter, mother, cousin, etc. Keneeka is all of us and I have the deepest sympathy for that mother and family.  I pray that the ones who did this, will come forward and take responsibility soon.  R.I.P Kenneka Jenkins!!

Ask Toi: I got questions….

So because I haven’t been doing a good job in answering questions that come in publicly so today is an Ask Toi drop.  I am answering a series of questions publicly that I have already answered readers privately.  Looks like some of you had some personal ones for me too, that’s fine.  If you have a question remember you can ask it at toitimeblog@gmail.com

  1. Have you ever gotten into a fight with a woman over your husband? No and yes. When I was in undergraduate school I have gotten into some verbal tussles even though I knew basically my husband aka boyfriend at the time was the one who had gotten me into the situation in the first place.  There was a girl on campus who he tried to talk to in the very early stages of our situationship at the time.  We were not an item but my thing is I didn’t take too kindly to him pushing up on the girl and the girl and I lived in the same dorm.  I didn’t verbally attack her, she was pretty and I definitely saw what he saw.  However I let the both know at the same time in front of others that I wouldn’t be the one playing a back and forth game.  He must have agreed because as far as I knew it stopped that day.  Another time on campus he took a number from a woman and the woman knew we were dating.  I blamed him for that and let him have it.  However my friends and I still call her a little nick name and I let her know that I wasn’t the one for the undercutting.  Since then its been little petty things prior to marriage.  At this point in my life, we have known each other too long, I ain’t fighting.  I’ll go Lemonade and he will “lose his wife.”
  2. Have you ever lost a job and if so how did you handle it?  I was only laid off on one job when I had my daughter.  They laid off about 40 others at the same time.  It was hard.  My oldest daughter had asthma and I had to be off a lot to take care of her.  I believe in my entire heart that is why they allowed me to be in the number to be let go.  However it was the best thing in the way to happen to me.  I got engaged a week before, I was able to take care of my daughter full-time, and it pushed the move to Philly that helped to shape me into a better version of myself today.  Now back to how I handled it, at first I was pissed.  Technically I could have gotten an attorney.  I just completed my paperwork to protect me from the very thing they were doing but at the time I had too much on my plate and didn’t feel like going back and forth.
  3. What should I do if I feel like I am burned out from my job? First you need to do some soul-searching.  Are you burned out due to the fact that you shouldn’t be there any longer? Sometimes we stay in places we shouldn’t and then wonder why we are burned out.  You may have stayed longer than you need to be.  It may be time to find a new career path or a new job.  Anytime you are in a parking lot crying or willing yourself to a place you are in the wrong place.  You may just need to take a few days off.  Even if you can’t go anywhere, a staycation is what you need to get your spirits together.  Over working yourself is never a good thing.  So make sure you place breaks and stops in your work and home balance.
  4. If your man hasn’t proposed should you stay?  This is something that ONLY you can determine.  You have to balance what makes sense.  If you have only been together for a few months, marriage shouldn’t be in your horizon so soon.  I truly believe staying with a person through at least all of the seasonal changes is ideal.  You need to get a sense of how that person deals when they are angry, upset, hurt, or feel betrayed as a few examples.  These things still look like Power Puff Girl cartoons in the early stages when men are still in the impress you stage.  So get to know a person.  I am not one for giving an ultimatum.  I think as a woman you need to give yourself one.  If you say that you have been with this man long enough and you have stayed through the tears and fears and he just won’t put a ring on it, make a date in your mind and stick to it.  Do NOT share this date with anyone but yourself. You don’t need your friends in your ear telling you a bunch of stuff they WON’T do if they were in your shoes. You don’t need a please don’t leave me ring either. It should be genuine.  I had a date in my mind and my now husband never got to it. We have been married for 5 years.  If you can’t keep a promise to yourself on a date and stick to it, telling him won’t change that either.  That is why the ultimatum to yourself is more important.  If you tell him the date you will leave if he don’t do, you will regret it because you will always wonder if he did it for you to stay or not.
  5. If sex is a deal breaker how can you tell a man this without hurting his ego?  You can’t.  Sorry but not sorry a man and his sex is a package deal.  For some men its there one go to.  So to tell a man who the sex isn’t good and he’s not pleasing you will not go over well.  I am not saying that many people haven’t had this talk and it worked out, I am saying is that they will be bruised.  IF they love you they will try to step it up.  However when you say that sex is a deal breaker this means to me that you have had the talk and no matter what is being said it’s not working in the bedroom and now you are ready to leave and find the one where sex is amazing with.  Be careful and make sure that is what you want.  Sex is important.  I don’t buy into the whole sex is secondary bit especially in a committed relationship or marriage.  When you speak of staying with one person and not cheating than sex should be satisfying and it should be for both partners.  I have dated a man in the PAST where sex wasn’t even close to be satisfying.  I left.  It was a personal decision for me and I was fine with making it.  I was honest and I tried to make it work after I had “the talk” but it didn’t work.  I was crystal clear in letting that man know that if I stayed knowing the sex wasn’t working I would cheat and I felt it more honorable to leave than to stay.  He may not have liked it or agreed with me but again it should be satisifying for both.

Sunday Message: Bouncing Back

Good Sunday morning to you. I hope that you are doing well and have had a chance to have a great weekend thus far. Today I want to talk about bouncing back. In order to bounce back from something you have to go through something. This would include all of the things you feel you have failed, the things you feel you haven’t or won’t accomplish, and the times you have felt the most defeated. There is hope in what you are going through. The message of what you will learn may not reveal itself in the beginning but if you continue to walk and push it will reveal itself. 

Looking back at what you have done or should have done can cripple you.  Over thinking what your life should look like can be empowering only if you keep actively pushing towards your goals. Often times if you’re looking back even for a second you can allow your mind to get stuck and then it takes time to bounce back. 

The trick of bouncing back is to move ahead and knowing that if you move ahead over time you will see the goodness or the positivity in what once had you in your feelings or being in the “dumps.” Life happens to all of us. I have been in low places a lot of times. I didn’t always have an answer. There were times I cried. I actually am not a huge crier but when life smacks you crying may be a form of release that is necessary. There has been times when I felt like I was walking blindly. I have felt like I would die or just end up in my most miserable state. 

What can you do until you bounce back? 

1. Work on what you can fix. 

We spend too much time worrying about what we can’t change that we stay stagnate on what we can. Life is going to happen around you and will not stop because you need a minute. Take a deep breath and make things happen. 

2. Stay Centered 

This may mean working out physically, not stopping plans you have made, not calling off work because you don’t feel emotionally well, staying around positive filled people, or keeping your health a priority. 

3. Don’t quit 

It’s like the days of undergraduate when I told you I got my first F on an exam. I called my mom dying in my mind, ugly crying and feeling ready to pack my stuff and leave. I would have missed out on the great education and great relationships over one defeated moment. Grant it yes I was a straight A student, but my little perfectionist self needed that blow. That blow taught me I was in the big leagues. It taught me little girl this isn’t easy straight, let’s work and balance your social life. I had to fail to succeed. 

Bouncing back will happen naturally when you stop letting the feel of failing gripe you. You can be human and fall apart for 24 hours but after that is over it’s time to wash your face physically, mentally, and emotionally and see what you can do to prevent this and then get up.  If you don’t get up and let it overtake you, what you failed in is no longer the issue it’s the giving in that is the problem. 

So whatever it is whether it’s the feeling of never finding love, not being in a job that serves you or your passion, a marriage or relationship on the brink of no return, or stepping on the scale and seeing it go up and not down, you can and will bounce back. 
Happy Sunday today even if your Sunday looks emotionally cloudy!!  Make the best of your day! 

It’s a Vibe

So welcome back to getting our lives together. We have gotten past the solar eclipse and for those of us who haven’t burned our eyes, its time as it always is to set things right. Vibes matter. I am a firm believer that people send vibes whether they are positive or negative all the time. The thing is not in receiving or giving out of the vibes but what to do once the signal is presented.
For instance I definitely do NOT make my kids go beyond their comfort level in how they interpret vibes. Growing up parents made their kids hug a cousin, aunt, grandparent, etc. I think it’s a sign of respect or at least that is what I was made to believe. However I do not force my kids to hug or be around others simply based on their title. The reason is there is a lot of people who don’t always deserve to have their bad vibes given a stamp of approval. I feel like my kids know how someone made them feel and if they don’t want to show love or attention to someone based on that they shouldn’t have to be made to. Now can my kids disrespect an elder? Nope not one bit. However if an elder is feeling disrespected due to my kids not wanting to engage than I would speak up for them. It’s my job to let the elder know to either give them a chance to warm up, or when they feel up to it they will or they won’t. I have been challenged on this thought process but its fine. My kids, my rules. How do I teach my kids to trust their instincts than make EVERY decision on what that looks like? That makes no sense.

I have gone to someone’s home and had the receiving friend or family member start hollering and not in a demeaning way towards my kids and wonder why my kids are just looking at them. My kids are naturally loud but they do not always gravitate to loud people. My youngest for instance is not the one for that. She will play mute and you can be in her direct face. The reason for her feelings I believe is her ability to feel you out. If she is feeling you and 9 times out of 10 she’s not, she won’t force it and I generally just watch over her in those regards. I have had people who don’t realize that if my kids don’t interact with you regardless of title you are a stranger or they may treat you like one. So with any stranger they are looking for my input to see if the person is a person they can let their guard down. My oldest is the one who I watch the absolute most. She is one who likes everyone no matter what. She has no fear of talking to anyone. I watch her because she hasn’t learned discernment. In her world, everyone means her well and that’s not the case. My middle child, he is pretty mellow if I don’t alert him or if he doesn’t feel unsafe he generally will be fine. All of three of them have to learn what vibes mean to them and how to interact beyond what I desire them to be in a situation and beyond what elders who want them to perform do.

What happens to my kids as they matriculate to adulthood and find someone they don’t vibe with? I would hope they would continue to show respect to others even if the person is someone they don’t agree with. That’s life. Respect on the surface should always be the first thing extended to all UNLESS they have shown themselves to be a problem and in that case, a good hi and bye works wonders. However as an adult I don’t stay in the presence of bad vibes. The second people are acting out-of-pocket, I find ways to make sure I don’t let those vibes transfer to me. I don’t need to give someone a bad attitude just because someone else is doing the same. I will cut off a bad conversation in a minute. I will pull back until either the offender has changed or if the season of friendship has ended let it fade naturally. The issue is that with vibes which can be transferred if you’re not careful is knowing who you are and what your standards are.

Another issue that parents have to wonder about, is those who harm children and do things to them that isn’t right. Newsflash, they are generally in your circle and not strangers. For that alone I allow my kids to determine who they vibe well with. How do I know that the one I am pushing them to hug is the one who made them uncomfortable? I have to speak to them and allow them to know it’s okay to not want to be in someone’s face and if someone is making them uncomfortable as children, they have every right to retreat. They have a right to say no. But wait, its aunt so and so right? No aunt so and so may not realize the last interaction they had didn’t set well with them. They may need time to adjust or find out if they want to be in aunt so and so’s presence. They can say hello to them and then figure it out. I give hi and byes to strangers, it cost me nothing. However vibes cost me my time if I keep allowing them in my circle.

How much more for adults? These are lessons that many adults don’t conquer. You stay connected to people based on their title. So the person who is sending you bad vibes you know you need to distance yourself but you are afraid of what they will think. You tell others about how you need to distance yourself but when the courage comes to do so, you revert back to a child like mentality and stay. You leave their presence feeling more wounded, hurt, discouraged, etc and wonder why you can’t do better for yourself and for the relationship that has every sign that it needs to end. It’s called knowing when YOU feel a bad vibe and then following through to make sure you do what’s right for YOU. You can control for the most part what vibes you allow. When I am at work and bad vibes are popping off that is when I have to know my environment and adjust myself and NOT allow the foolishness to get to me. It’s called being in control of yourself. When you are in a place where you can get up and go a little more freely, than do so. We especially in these times have to learn to be in the presence of those who celebrate you and not to depend emotionally on bad vibes. Bad vibes can become something that you are used to so you settle. You ever see an abused person stay with their abuser not because they don’t know its wrong but because they are used to it? The same came happen in our everyday lives. Vibes matter. They matter more now than ever. People are doing the most whether it’s for love, political reasons, etc I have been around those who only ask for money every other second. SO when I see them I just say hey how are you and move along. Why? I don’t need to entertain why you are being a part of broke phi broke EVERY time I see you. You ALWAYS need something you can’t give. You want to take from my resources but can’t nobody ever depend on you to be on time. Retreat. Stop giving. Just fall back on the relationship. Allow that person to become their own source or let them find someone else do to it for them. Those types of vibes are draining.

Vibes need to be consistently checked. You decide what vibes and who they are associated with to either continue or not. Trust your instincts. Trust yourself. It’s okay to not know and take a break to figure things out. Respect all from the jump. Respect means also I can love you from a far and not allow you access to me. I need to keep my vibes clear and so do you. Check the vibe.

Ask Toi: Is it Right that my Boyfriend of 3 years Family Didn’t Invite me to His Birthday Dinner?

Yes this is wrong.  You are not a random girl that he has been dating.  3 years is more than enough time for them to have included you in a birthday dinner.  I would talk with your boyfriend as he knows his family more than you would as to the snub.  Was it assumed you would be there therefore no formal invite took place?  When I was dating my husband they just told me where it was going to be since I was a fixture in his life it wasn’t a discussion of if but when.

How is the relationship with the family?  What underlying issues are happening that you are aware of?  Sometimes we not there is salt in a wound and if given an oppportunity would snub them just the same.  If that is the case and you want to be included than you have to sit down and have a talk with whomever is the matriarch or patriarch of the family and iron out some differences.  However if your boyfriend has any sense than he has already spoken on your behalf. My personal rule is to always allow the person whose family it is to talk it out at first.  I am hoping it was just an assumption.  How did you hear about the party?  This is key too.  If his mom told you but sent no formal invite by mail then its safe to say you just need to go and celebrate your man.  Is it a surprise? Then speak again to whomever is throwing the party and go from there.  Sometimes taking the first step in communication will be beneficial.