Women’s History Month: Cheryl A.

Pain will have you react in very weird ways.  You find yourself isolating yourself or cutting off relationships.  It’s necessary to find the balance in who is for you and those who aren’t. Pain can distract you from fulfilling love that you need.

What is one failure you are comfortable sharing that taught you the most lessons?

I failed as a daughter. As most of you know my mother passed away in 2004 and as the saying goes, when the elders pass, the family falls apart.  Well, that’s what happened with me.  I’ll put my disclaimer in now and state that I am solely speaking for MYSELF and MY experience only.  I can not and will not speak for anyone else.  So back to my failure.  In dealing with my mother’s death, I failed at being a daughter to my father.  Yes I lost my mom, but my dad lost his wife.  As I look back, I realize I let my immature, unforgiveness and pain take over and to be honest, cut my dad out of my life.  For what reason, well, I really don’t have one.  So this is why I say I failed as a daughter.  I wasn’t who I was supposed to be to my father and let years go by without any communication.  I even got married without my father walking me down the aisle or even in the building! Now, that I have to live with.  No one is perfect and parenting doesn’t come with a guide.  So regardless of what failures my dad had, he was and will always be my father.  Now, I don’t have any horror stories and I WILL NOT cast my dad in a bad light because that would be a lie.  So like I said, I went on about my life after my mom passed as if my father didn’t exist, leaving him to grieve alone for years to come.  How sad and horrible is that? How do you call yourself a Christian when you aren’t doing right in other areas of your life? Then wondering why other things in your life aren’t lining up and there are no breakthroughs, elevation or real peace.  Yeah that was me and I can be honest and open and tell my truth.  So what is that status of my relationship with my dad now?  We are GREAT! It took a random encounter to bring me to my dad again and since then we were able to pick up like nothing ever happened.  My dad and I are both different people now and we both have forgiven and moved on.  It’s great to go back to being Daddy’s Little Girl (I”m the youngest girl)! Now only if I can get him to move to Miami with me! 

It’s refreshing to hear your vulnerability in how you describe your relationship with your dad.  You only get one set of parents and to be able to make amends now so you can make the best of an amazing relationship.

From the failure with your dad, what other lesson have you learned?

Don’t let your emotions control your decisions.  When you make decisions off your emotions, often times it is the wrong decisions and you are left dealing with the consequences that may take years to recover from.  Live in peace.  Meaning, do whatever you need to do to have complete peace in your life.  Whether it’s forgiveness, restore relationships or even end relationships, do what you need to do to have, protect and keep your peace.

What are is the 3 things you would want to tell other younger woman in regards to lessons learned?

  •  Cherish your parents (or whoever raised you), spend time with them, call them, create   memories

  •  Speak up.  Be honest about your feelings and thoughts.  Communication is key.

  •  Be Sensitive.  Parents go through things they would never discuss with their children.  Parents have feelings and emotions just like we do.

 

What are 3 goals for your future?

 Buy a house

Own my own Bakery

Own Rental Properties

If you could sit down with any woman past or present who would it be and why?

My mother of course! I always wondered what our relationship would be like now if she was still here! She was a woman full of wisdom and grace and I definitely could use some of both right now! Navigating life as an adult without your mother really sucks! There are times I want to pick up the phone and call for that good ole’ motherly advise, but then reality sets in…no more calls!

IF you have any projects  that are coming up in the future what are they?

I’m focused on building up my business, Miss.Sis.Bakery (Sis was my mother’s nickname).  I’ve been networking and trying to get my business out there through being a vendor at various events and local markets.  I’m located in North Miami, I’m a regular vendor at Gulf Stream Green Market on Sundays from 9-2 until May 26 and have various scheduled events on other dates.

What is the one thing as a woman, you feel helps or helped you make your mark in this world?

 I have always been a woman to stay true to myself.  I’m a woman of my word.  I’m not easily influenced or swayed to go along with the masses.  Too often, especially in this day and age, its hard to find people who you can truly trust and have your best interest at heart.   Therefore, I try to be what I am looking for or in need of.

Thank you so much for speaking authentically and I hope that this will help in your continued healing.

For all of those who may be experiencing the lost of a loved one, know that my heart is with you.  Know that you should remember that others surrounding the deceased processes death in different ways.  Try to be there for one another.  Don’t let pain and emotions run your life.

You can find Miss.Sis.Bakery on Facebook

You can also follow on Instagram

Advertisements

From the Heart of a Parent

I spoke about it briefly but I want it to be super clear that as a parent I can’t imagine sending my kids off to school and someone coming into the school and taking my children’s lives.  I can’t! It hurts that parents are having to deal with this.  After the Parkland shooting it has left me numb.  I felt numb after all of these rash of shootings to be honest. I am tired of being numb.  I wished that no child had to fear for their lives.  If you watched the videos that arose after the Parkland shooting, hearing the gun go off, hearing those babies cry and scream in terror, it hurts all of us.

Regardless of where you fit in all of this, the fact still remains that 17 families had to feel yet another impact of gun violence.  I could debate either way on the scale but none of that will bring back those lives that were taken.  They were taken.  Young people who had bright futures ahead of them are gone. As a parent it makes me re-evaluate what I do with my kids.  I stopped worrying less about if the house was super tidy in the morning over telling my kids I love them and making sure they are secure. I wasn’t worried if everything was perfect. In our  home we strive to love on them instead of worrying about a few meltdowns.  We stopped worrying about if everything ran according to schedule and focused on who mattered.

Today my family and I was interviewed about how we feel about all Parkland and school safety. I don’t feel like my kids are super safe regardless of the extra additives in place.  People are dangerous period.  So now I spend my time making my mornings and my time with them in general is solid.  Making sure I can always say that as a husband and wife team we make sure we treat each morning as if it was their last.  Nothing else outside of that matters.

The experience of even being interviewed has pulled on my heart-strings.  I spoke to Anna twice and I remember the first time having tears in my eyes.  This isn’t just about getting a story out.  I practice what I say everyday.  We huddle as a family in the mornings.  We do our best not to be in such a rush…….

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Here is a look at the article written by Philadelphia Inquirer, Anna Orso

Philadelphia Inquirer

Ask Toi: End of the Year Edition

I am going to end my Ask Toi with a few that I have yet to publish and answer.  I pray that as we close this last month out and this week that you will go into the New Year with clarity.

How do I tell my wife that speaking ill about my deceased mother bothers me?

One she knows better.  I don’t care what she says, she absolutely knows better.  She don’t need to be told but since she’s not using her common sense, please talk to her. I get that mother in law situations are and can be a lot.  However when your mom passed, whatever issues that happened should have died with her.  There’s no point in your wife fighting a one-sided battle.  If the two of the couldn’t get it right when she was here, then your wife needs to deal with her issues on her own or with a therapist.  She should be sensitive to your needs and your pain.  That doesn’t mean suppress her feelings, it means that she needs to actually deal with them.  It is utterly disrespectful to speak of the dead.  There’s no way around it. I would tell her how you feel and tell her that you won’t entertain such talk.  Your wife can be all the way in her feelings because you asked her not to speak of your mom regardless but common courtesy should be followed in someone’s passing.  She wouldn’t want to hear it if it was the other way around and it doesn’t matter if her mom treated you well.  This is why people need to understand that forgiveness is for you.  If you don’t learn to let things go this is how people can have power over you from the grave.  Let it go! She needs to let it go!

Side note: if you are on this Earth and have an issue with someone on Earth, then do what you need to do to forgive them even when its something that they didn’t ask for.  Some debts will probably not get paid.  You may never hear the words of sorry but it’s for you.  It releases you.  Had this young lady released this she wouldn’t be burdened with talking about her deceased mother in law and bringing pain to an already painful situation.  Let it go! Drop the charges.  As we go into the New Year, if you keep bringing in old dirt, you will not benefit from it at all.  Learn to let it go.

Side note of the side note: what you talk about and give power still has you.  Watch your conversations.  What you keep bringing up you haven’t dealt with.  Learn to deal not bandage or mask healing.  Deal!  The matters of the heart, flow out of your mouth!

How do I go into the New Year with positivity?

This starts with your thoughts in your mind. If you don’t change that you will be the same you that you encountered in 2017.  You have to be willing to see things the way you want them to be.  If you want to be a better person, break down the areas of your life. Write down where you are now and where you want to be.  What can YOU do to get there?  Focus on those things even when you have doubtful moments or days enter in.  Focus and be about action.  There is always one thing a day we can do to get you to your goals.  What are those daily things?  Maybe its working out to get you to weight loss.  Maybe its taking one class a semester and studying daily to get a degree.  Maybe its about negative thoughts, so saying daily affirmations is your go to.  Whatever it is it’s never happening without an action plan.  Be about your daily business to your ultimate goal. You got this, know that, believe that, and then work it!

 

My Review of Disney Pixar CoCo

So because I am for sure certain that others haven’t seen the movie yet, I will not give out any spoilers.  I will instead tell you how the movie affected me and my family.  We went to see it on Saturday night (December 16).  We had a full day that day.  My son had a play date over that day, and just with some running around, we were looking forward to some family time.

Well one of the first things you will notice is that the movie is super colorful.  Its eye-catching and that alone kept my 3-year-old engaged.  The movie is about a young man named Miguel who wants to become a singer. His family has banned music and all of its influences.  He wants to sing so bad that he ends up in the Land of the Dead to get a blessing from his family.  So the beat marches on to see how this will end for Miguel. The adventure is all over the place. I loved it.  The kids loved it.  Now to the part you need to know:

  1. There is a lot of reference to the dead.  If you are not comfortable and wanting to have this conversation with the little people you may take with you, this isn’t the movie for you.  It can still be enjoyed beyond death but since the whole movie is around it, just be on alert!
  2. If you or your child has recently lost someone this can be a movie that helps or aids in healing. It really helped my kids in expressing the pain of losing their grandmother. I didn’t expect that response but crying is good for the soul, right?!
  3. It was good to see Mexican culture in a positive light.  I loved everything about it
  4. It was long enough to catch my attention and hold it but not too overwhelming long.
  5. It got standing ovation and the movie came out Thanksgiving day, and it’s still has a great impact on the crowds that are viewing it.

Now I am not a big crier but I will tell you this, seeing my 8-year-old with so much emotion got me. I mean she was crying and she doesn’t cry that often either.  I could not help but to be moved.  It helped us as parents as we were overcome with emotion to openly discuss her feelings.  This is why I have to say if you have kids that are of age but don’t want to open this emotional well, then be cautious, view it yourself first.

All in all this movie was solid, it had romance, drama, adventure, and culture.  This is a must see with the right audience.  My younger daughter didn’t tap into the emotional parts of the movie.  However my older two, ages 6 and 8 definitely understood.  We all needed to keep Mom-Mom continually in our hearts.  I have a feeling that her memory will be here in our hearts forever!

Holiday Reminder-Watch your Children

This blog is meant to educate not to scare you.  As parents we are doing the best that you can to raise great kids but as long as evil exits we can always do better, and be warned of the dangers that our kids face:

Now I am a mom and I think a pretty good one. Having kids in this world these days has created the most anxiety as our entire purpose is to raise children that are healthy, supported, and safe.  Now what I am about to talk about is super serious.  As we progress into holidays and gatherings its important for all parents to be vigilant about your children.  Know where they are, who they are with, and stop having familiar relationships that you put a wall up because you think your friend, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc would never. I do not prescribe to that notion. Everyone is a suspect as far as I am concerned.  Not that I have ever had to wonder about anyone around my kids thus far, but just know I am not a blind parent to put more stock on relationships with folks over my kids.

First of all raise your children with the proper names of their body parts.  If you ask my kids they not only know all of the cute names parents give their kids but they know the names of their body and especially their sexual organs. Man-mans can only take you so far when you are teaching your son to know where his penis is and to know what a good touch and a bad touch is. Same for my girls they know they have a vagina and have been able to say it properly since they could talk.  I read a story a few years ago about a man who raped a girl who was around 3 and he got less time because the girl couldn’t properly say if she was penetrated vaginally or anally.  How sick that someone’s lawyer was able to get a child molester less time with that notion?!  It forever changed how I raised my kids and this was before I even had them.  I might have been pregnant with my oldest. I know some parents don’t agree but for me its important to empower them to know from the gate that anybody who touches them in a bad touch way is going to get the business from me and their father and I mean on site.

I check my kids when they come from other people’s house, have open and honest age appropriate conversations, as well as make sure they know that anything they tell me I believe. I also don’t force them to hug and kiss people to spare adults feelings. No they don’t and won’t sit on your lap cause you bought them a gift.  The appropriate response is thank you, not a lap sit. They don’t and won’t be made to be feel as if they owe you a kiss regardless of your relationship just so you can feel like an outstanding adult. Work on your own emotions. I have had family members say they need to give (insert relationship) a hug and as their parent I step up to the plate and kindly and politely let folks no, they don’t have to. I teach my kids to acknowledge them so in our house a hi, a hand wave is good and appropriate until they are comfortable.  Some kids need time to warm up.  Whatever the reason there is apprehension from my child, I just watch.  Kids have more sense than some adults and the vibes they feel is often not wrong.

The number one reason why I don’t force my kids is that I want them to know they have power over their bodies at all times in hopes they keep that power and if God forbid someone tries to take their power from them, it won’t be because they were being groomed by me to allow certain behaviors to continue that they were uncomfortable with from the gate.  I do not devalue their feelings on vibes they receive from adults.  my kids have said, why did (insert family) act like that, say that, etc.  They know.  We tell them there is no secrets policy as well. So we have told them that if someone says don’t tell, they need to be open to us and tell us anyway and realize that as children they aren’t wrong for speaking up.  Now with all of that background there could be an adult male or female that may try to take their precious innocence. I pray that it NEVER happens but will publicly state that my husband is licensed to carry so let’s keep it at just that.

Sometimes as you venture to homes to celebrate the holidays, you start to let the kids roam off. Be careful of that.  Not to scare you but you’re number one job at ALL times is to protect your kids.  So be vigilant in where they are, who they are with and around, and not to be so intoxicated, miscalculating, etc that you let your guard down.  I know of children and we all read of children who daily are being sexually abused, mistreated, preyed upon, missing, etc and I just want to be sure that my kids won’t have that story to tell.  I know I can’t protect them every second of the day, but I along with my husband are doing the best we can to ensure that they know they matter, they should be respected, and just because they are kids no one will just do anything.  I am more than willing to end relationships with anyone who challenges me about their safety. Our kids are precious, all kids are, and you can bet we will try not to allow foolery to happen.  So enjoy the holidays, but be careful that someone doesn’t prey on their innocence and use this jolly time as an occasion to take what didn’t belong to them.

Never Forgotten; Year One….

Well as many of my readers and followers know a year ago today, my mother in law transitioned from Earth.  It was such an experience.  This blog is dedicated to the memory of Deborah Ann Wilson-Storr.  We have lost a piece of her and we are trying our best to hold it together. This year has had so many ups and downs.  These are the things that I have personally noticed:

  1. Time right now hasn’t healed our hearts. My kids are still visibly moved by my mother in law’s passing.  My oldest will go to the gravesite but will not get close.  My son is still missing her and asking for her, but then will remember that she’s not here. My youngest was only 2 when she passed away but will say things like momma said….. Trust me it’s really spooky and the things that she says really sounded of things she would have said.  We were super worried that she was the one who didn’t have a close relationship because she was so young.
  2. Holidays and birthdays aren’t the same.  I try to still keep in line with what we would have done if she was here, but you can feel it.  I can’t think of a holiday where we as a family haven’t talked about her and what her presence not being here has meant.  She died right around Halloween and before Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It’s been hard.
  3. I notice that I didn’t cry as much as I did when she first passed but now I do more and its overwhelming.  I never thought what life would be like without her here. I always thought she would be a part of whatever we were doing and not having her here has been unbearable at moments.
  4. I include her memory in everything. I do not want my kids to loss her memory.
  5. My youngest still inter changes my mom and my mother in law’s name.  They call my mom Hanmom and her Mom-Mom and she will ask to go to mom-mom’s house but she really means my mom.  It’s not just a little slip up, we correct her and she is convinced. She has been asking to go to my mom’s house more lately.  It’s hard to know what a 3rd year old means all the time.
  6. Her passing has made me think of my own parents, and the relationship with my kids.  They are now the main grandparent here on Earth. I want them to be closer. However on grandparents day because of distance we had were honored to ask my mother in law’s best friend to stand in but I remember my son being upset and stating how unfair it was his grandparents weren’t there.
  7. As a mother I want to be sure that my words towards my kids are better.  I do not want any words between me and them to be in left field that when I am no longer here, they don’t have to heal from anything negative.  Her death makes me want to be as honest, right, and more loving to my own children.
  8. Lastly anger.  It has been weird and I try not to bother my husband about it, but I have felt angry at times. Like why there wasn’t more that could be done to keep her here with us a little longer.
  9. Not to take life for granted. I remember my mother in law had this list of these great things she wanted to do like take a trip to the Bahamas, buy a new car, or take her grandkids to Disney and sadly those things never happened. I remember when she was in the hospital and telling me what she was going to do, I told her that I would hold her to it.  Now she can’t and I will forever use that energy to do all of the things I possibly can. I don’t want to wait until later, etc.  I want to be sure that I live my best life daily.  So now I move differently in how I honor myself.  In this, will honor her and be a great testament to my kids at the same time.

Like I have said our interactions between my mother in law had intense moments like any other daughter in law and mother in law could have.  However it was always my desire to be closer to her.  What I enjoyed about her was her ability to handle her money and save.  She has taught me that. I know for a fact that I am a better shopper, a better woman of my finances as well as better at ruling my home because of her.

She taught me how to love my husband. My husband is an only child.  You can imagine above all else of what I have learned, how I may be mending, or how our children are doing is his emptiness.  She showed me how to love unconditionally. I always thought that was something that was so natural but it’s not.  She showed me how to handle people mistreating you, talking about you and still being yourself.  EVERYONE knows how it is to be in “Debbie’s world.”  She never wavered in who she was, how she felt, who she like, or who she didn’t like.  She was her, and she didn’t try to change.  She showed me how to love through people.

Whenever I hear my youngest talk, I say okay little Debbie.  She looks like her too.  My 3-year-old is the most sassy but not disrespectful child I have ever encountered.  She reminds me of my mother in law and I just look at her with a side eye at times just like I would my mother in law if she was here.

family

One thing I would say with anyone who has a in law, to speak up for yourself and not be disrespectful.  I know that at times I came off as disrespectful and I have always admitted that there were things that I could have done like leave etc.  However I can say with 100% certainty is that I was in her full corner when it came to making sure she had the BEST care possible.  It was after I moved from her home that our relationship got back on track.  Also at the end of the day there isn’t anything that was done that I felt like I feel guilty about now that she is gone.  That comes from working things out and learning how to work it out.  I am not saying things were perfect at all, but we left things on the track it should have been on way before she passed.  Also keep in mind that regardless of what is done you can be cordial to an in law.  This is a respectful hello and good-bye especially if children are involved.    Do you know how hard it is to explain to a child while you were “being mean” to that grandparent?  Kids watch what you do regardless of what you say. However even in kidless marriages, it will still matter in how you interact.  You can put distance where it’s needed, I am for that. I did the same for a while too, but when you come back, try.  Always find a try within you.  How you handle those around you matters.  Also keep in mind, that just because you don’t like your in-law, they are the root of your significant other.  The love relationship they have regardless of how many times they complain to you is always going to be there. When that in-law transitions they will resent you if you have treated them any less.  They will not care what was done on the opposite end because the in law won’t be there to speak for themselves.  So be truly careful in how you talk, act, and handle this very delicate relationship. I am telling you it WILL matter.

Deborah, I know you are watching over us, making sure we give your grandbabies anything they ask.  I know you know we will not but you would want us to.  You would want us to give them as many kisses for you. I try daily to do just that and more.  The way you loved those 3 grandkids of yours was nothing more than I could have given and I am their mother. I pray that as we continue in this life, that your memory will burn bright everyday. I pray you are honored in how we move and live daily.  Until you can give me another side eye, I love you!!

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!!