Sunday Message: Being Aware

One of the biggest things that we don’t always do is make ourselves aware of ourselves. This week I was super agitated. It wasn’t anything that anyone had done. I had to find a balance between the news and all of the events surrounding myself.  It was hard to balance. I found myself semi-triggered at times. Thinking to myself how hard it was to not be upset because whatever was going on around me was triggered.

I had to remove myself from conversations with certain people this week. I had to walk away and say I can’t do anymore than I am doing. As someone who is an ultimate care giver, I find myself in that mode all the time.  My kids can be at school all day and I am still over thinking about what has to be done as soon as I get home. It’s a part of my personality honestly to be on top of it all.  With wanting to stay up to date with current events especially with the elections around the corner, researching candidates so I can make an informed decision, self-care, eating right, working out, and training for this half marathon has been mentally draining. I swear my wrist got tired just typing all of that. Nonetheless taking a moment when I took a step back to see when I was breathing heavier trying to prevent myself from reacting, or watching my kids laugh instead of just walking around like a stress bomb made me take more account of myself.

close up photo of a woman listening to music

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What do I need? It’s always okay to step out and grab what you need in the moments but we pretend that we have to have it altogether and we don’t. Being aware of my husband and the things he is processing is a learned skill. To know when he needs me to just let him talk so he can vent and I just listen has been a task this week.  It is hard because we all have stuff pulling on us.  Being aware when my kids just want more hugs instead of me so excited for their bedtime so I can decompress.  It was a challenge this week. It wasn’t this natural happy flow. I had to work at it. I had to step back and make myself be in the moments.

What are you needing to be aware?  What can being aware help you accomplish?  You will be surprised of the inspiration that comes from it. You will be more zen to handle your life instead of your life handling you. Take a moment and be in the moments of life. Don’t let time slip by and you don’t even know how you got there!

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Ask Toi: How do you tell someone about your will and whom your kids will go if you should die and it’s not them?

Well this was an interesting question this morning.

The back story for my readers is the husband and Wife made their wills to include who their young children should go to in their death…..the grandparents are upset they weren’t chosen….

First of all I pray that you are here for your children and this will never have to go into an active plan. However the reality of your children not going to either parents is a harsh reality. Parents being a caregiver after they have raised their own kids isn’t always an ideal situation. Age of your parents, their health, how active they are with their own grandkids and suitability doesn’t always match title. You need to take into consideration how you were raised and how the grandparents interact with the kids to play a major role in them being chosen.

There should be many factors in making that hard decision. It shouldn’t be based upon friendships or family relationships to be honest with you. It should be about whom aligns the best with you and your husband’s parenting style and who will give your children the same type of lifestyle that you would if you were still here. You can’t choose people to raise your children in your place just based on relationships.

Also how often does the children interact with whomever your choosing? How active are they involved with the kids? These things matter. Think about you not being here, your kids being devastated and then having to live with people they know only in title. If whomever you’re choosing hasn’t made efforts to be in the kids’ lives they shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Also one of the biggest things to think about is how whomever you choose deals with discipline. Discipline is a major compartment in who you choose. If someone doesn’t align with you and your husband than they shouldn’t be on the list. Also factors with age and appropriateness needs to be within your decision making process as well.

So although either parents don’t make the list you can approach it in the sense of being honest with them. Let them know that you love them and you want this decision to be in the best interest of the children involved. Parenting is hard and sometimes hard decisions have to be made. You can talk as little as you want about the choice.

Know that they will be upset. There is no way around it. They will be offended that you come off feeling that their parenting is not enough. This is what they feel. Even if it’s true you have a right to feel the way you do. They will think that you don’t value what they taught you and it’s not good enough for your kids. Some parents may come off rash and demonstrate further why they weren’t chosen by being even more disconnected to their kids. Either way you have to find a way to take all of these things into consideration but still make the decisions for the kids at hand that matter!!

Ultimately whatever chooses you make is dependent on you and your husband and as long as you can live with the decisions, everyone else around you will have no choice but to accept it. Also even though you have not chosen the grandparents, still apply the same logic in whom you do select.

Moments of Frustration Day

Today is Moments of Frustration Day. We all have gotten frustrated or upset over something. The key is to not allow this temporary moment allow you to make permanent decisions. This means in your frustration where you are more inclined to speak out of turn, practice the art of dealing with your issues before you spew things onto others. The fallout could be more than you wanted to take on.

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Let me give you an example, a husband and wife have situation where life throws a curveball.  They are upset and frustrated. Instead of being mad and finding a solution or taking a temporary step back, they say things to one another that damage each other. They do this so often that one or both may think it was no big deal. Little do they know that one of them has reached their breaking point. So now they aren’t interesting in reconciling as if nothing happened. They aren’t willing to move past the words this time and now their marriage is in a long-term mess. Our words have life and death attached to them.

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Moment of frustration can happen over anything. It doesn’t have to be a person. It could a circumstance as well. Do not allow yourself to take that leap into negativity where you find yourself unable to get out. I know life is hard. I have had too many times when things have happened where some of the issues were out of my control and some  were a direct correlation of what I had put out into the universe. End of day, how you respond to it matters. You can’t always make an excuse and hope for forgiveness when you speak out of context or out of character. You may not always get that back in return. You can attempt to take a mental time out. This may mean walking away and addressing something later on when you have had time to cool down. This is necessary at times. Remember when you were a kid for those who had time outs?  Those were times to teach you to cool off and think about the situation at hand. Adults need them too. You need to keep your cool and not do something that can cause mental, emotional, or physical harm to themselves or others around you. Think in the moments of frustration if you would be okay after you have calmed down with the outcome of your decision.  If no, then stop! Don’t keep talking. Don’t keep pushing. Don’t keep the same response that will dig you further and further into potential trouble.

If you find that in moments of frustration you have crossed the line, ask for forgiveness. Find ways to eliminate the crossing of the line to begin with. For instance if something is being said or done that is triggering me, I am more prone to ask for a few minutes. I am an arguer by nature. However some arguments and hitting below the belt I find is not worth the pain and the apologies later. So I work on what I need in those active moments.  I hope you can do the same.

 

Monday Motivation: Small Nugget Lessons

So if you’re lucky to have odd today on this supposed holiday kudos to you. To the rest of us grabbing our life line I mean coffee cups, we out here surviving! Today I decided to give you some little nuggets to help your Monday progress!

  • Mute on your phone works-there are people you don’t feel like entertaining on your phone mute them. This way you can answer their shenanigans on your time
  • Saying no is just as powerful as a yes
  • If you are involved with someone or something that is a point of anger or issues, end it (it’s your choice to stay)
  • Happiness is a personal job! Stop making folks pay a bill that God gifted you with the sufficiency to pay
  • Step out of faith. Just cause you are scared doesn’t change it being a faith walk nonetheless
  • If you need help ask for it
  • Strength is in finding your purpose not staying in dysfunctional situations
  • Take social media breaks; even if you need to set a timer to help. Too much of it isn’t good
  • Write this week’s goals down-you can’t achieve it without being clear in what the it is
  • Limit foolishness this week
  • Reduce your reality television trust me it does something for you
  • Instead of wishing you had something someone had, find out what you really like or need and focus on that
  • Don’t like your job? Get your resume out there and actively search
  • Work week feels overwhelmed; what can you do to organize the things around you?
  • If you’re a mom and you’re ready to pull your hair, gather your edges and break down your stress to find small solutions until your bigger solution comes
  • If you’re dating someone and the red flags are mounting, don’t ignore them
  • If you’re married and it seems like you’re off base, find ways to change you and pray for your mate. Sometimes small changes in you will inspire them
  • If you’re divorced know that finding a new life isn’t easy but it’s doable!

Enjoy your week! Take control of the things that you can control! Don’t feed into negativity. Drink your water. Work out. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Dedicate to healthier eating habits. Mind your business. Grow your business. Spend time laughing. Find the joy in the bad!!

All of the mentioned above will give you an awesome day and week!!

Sunday Message: Healthy Friendships

Friendships help you as you walk this journey. It has to be healthy above all. A friendship that has you stressed, feeling pressed or any other negative friendship needs to be re-evaluated and possibly let go.

I’ve been taking a stock of friendships lately. Which ones are requiring more from me than that person is willing to give? Which ones suck the life out of me because it’s filled with women who want to show off that their better than? Which ones have it based upon length of friendship but lack mutual love? I’m looking at them all. I have nothing in my life or anyone that I don’t constantly evaluate and friendships are no different.

I’m not willing to make changes in my life but allow myself to be blind to the factors that matter. For instance as I get older turning up isn’t my thing anymore. I can gave a good time but to have a friend who only wants to turn up doesn’t serve me anymore. I’m more into brunches, dinners, going to try new things. I have one friend in particular our monthly dates is a list of things we both haven’t done and we fuse the list and attack it.

Some people think that because of length of friendship means I will tolerate being in an argumentative state, dealing with flakiness, or having someone who I literally go into anxiety with because one or more friends are take over legends, or spends more time showing off that they know everything. This I was okay with in my 20s. It seemed quite normal to be that friend or even accept that friend. Now I know for a fact I can’t be around that and I’m definitely not spending my coins to do activities with no one like this.

When I’m with friends I listen to phrases like “oh that’s how so and so are.” If you have a friend or a group of friends and someone states that, listen to it. This means that something is being done that one or more don’t like but tolerated. This is a red flag. The more you make excuses for those around you in the name of friendships you spend more time defending it instead of actually enjoying their company. Don’t be afraid to either call them out or call yourself out. You can withdraw or just put checks and balances in place!

If you’re out with friends and your friend is loud, obnoxious, or rude understand if you continue to hang out with them it’s a reflection of you. I have a few friends who fit that mode. I hang out with them less and less because my life can’t take all that foolishness. Life isn’t a reality show. So I place checks and balances in place. For instance, I never get in their car to go to places because when I’m done I leave. I also try not to go to places by which I’m going to be embarrassed. They have a right to be like they are and I have a right to roll when I’ve had enough. Eventually to be honest the relationship will fizzle. We won’t be on the same pages. I know some folks saying that me being like that is lack of loyalty. That’s fine to think that too. However anything and anyone who vexes my spirit to the point where I leave from their presence upset, hostile, or mentally drained is not showing loyalty to myself!

Also within friendships the keep it real friend is sometimes the friend that can cause the most irritation. I’ve learned to just listen and see what my friends need of me. I don’t have to analyze them or what they are going through. Sometimes when life is going to Hell you may just want to have fun. The keep it real friend feels the need to insert themselves and be the everything guru. Nobody wants that all the time. You can be real and have real go real left. Just because you are in a different place than another; everyone’s timing on what they tolerate is different. It reminds me of the show Insecure where Molly told Nathan not to show up cause she was protecting Issa. She was being a good friend by attempting to control the players around Issa. Molly couldn’t see the mess in her own life. Everyone was used to Molly being altogether. You’re stuff can look together and be off. Support your friend. You don’t have to be the one that demands that they adjust to your standards.

I saw something on social media that spoke volumes:

Also group friends be clear! I’ve seen many issues go down in group friendships. The best kind is when everyone can hang but the rules of friendships are clear. If your group is based on the fact that you all share a mutual friend, it’s not a real group friendship. Also unless the other members of the group have given permission to share the business between them, the one or usually the semi leader who shares it is wrong. Period! Don’t share folks stuff without them knowing it. Especially if it’s stuff that they themselves didn’t share. The group can be a great support system if their actually supporting each other. I’ve had to call some folks out in a group because I knew that one of the group members didn’t need or want one member sharing intimate details that they weren’t willing to share. Please be clear on that. Some of the most embarrassing things can cause some issues down the line.

Healthy friendships support each other. They are there for one another. There is mutual respect. If you’re grown let grown folks be them. No one should be criticized in the name of “not on my watch” mindset. I’ve made up a new personal rule if one of my friends calls me out I’ll listen but instead of complaining later you can best believe I’m going to speak out on it immediately. Any friend that attempts to call me out in front of others; that’s a definite stop and block. Embarrassing a friend is not a friend!

Let me give you an example, I had a friend who we were meeting. This was when I was in my depression, I looked a mess. She kindly emphasis on kind took me to the side and talked to me. She found out what was wrong and told me she was there and didn’t tell anyone else that I’m aware what was going on. I’ve always appreciated her being there and understanding me. Now I had another friend do the same thing but did it loudly and in front of others and I’ve never forgotten how it made me feel. Being real and having tact goes together. I made a promise to myself to never allow that to happen again. I should have spoken up when I felt bad but instead graced that friend something they weren’t willing to grace me and that was simple understanding.

This is why friendships mean so much. You choose the relationship. It’s not like family and where the choice was taken. Be careful of who you link up. Friendships that make you anxious, upset, or hurt may need to be evaluated. There are simple rules of engagement and those rules should start out with respect. So as you begin your week and you are feeling like taking stock of your life; start with you and then start with the choices of relationship you entertain. You have the power to allow relationships to stay or leave! Choose wisely!

2018 Light the Night

9 years ago I met this bubbly personality in my girl Jen! We met at work. We quickly clicked. We were even pregnant at the same time and a bond was made. I got a call that Jen was diagnosed with cancer! I was in such disbelief. There was no way she had cancer. She didn’t seem phased she went right into let’s fight it mode. Everyone around her took on the same mindset. It was time to fight!

The family organized to provide food for her while she went through her treatments. Everyone was full hands on deck. She pulled through while losing all of her hair, being tired, being sick but she did it while raising her boys and being a wife. Lymphomanics was made! We came together and we have been walking for at least 5 years! Friday October 5, we came together and walked to help stomp out cancer!

If you don’t know what Light the Night is take some time to read up on the blood cancer, the various types, and how you can help the cause. It is not only dear to me as it was a source of support for Jen, it is also an organization I will probably be behind for years to come!

White lanterns are for survivors.

Red lanterns are for supporters and care givers

Gold or yellow is in memory of someone who unfortunately lost their battle with cancer!

When it’s night the lit lanterns are carried to be a symbolism of the fight that so many are there to stand behind.

One day as we continue to raise money there will be a cure so that people of all ages will never have to get that call that cancer has come calling. It’s a beautiful sea of lanterns walking together!

Thank you to organizations like Light the Night for supporting families like Jen push through. Thank you to the Lymphomanics for still answering the call to continue and forever stand behind Jen and her family. Thank to all who have supported this year and the years of the past. Thank you to my family for supporting me as I travel to attend the walks every year! Thank you Jen for your continued love and support!

Children’s Hospital Parkway 5k

This is the 16th year for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Parkway 5k that benefits children cancer. This was my 1st year running it!

What I loved about it outside of raising money so no child has to deal and endure cancer and its side effect is the people who participate in it. These are families of current and unfortunately some who walk or run in memory of a child who has had cancer. That is heartbreaking to say the least.

To find that kids and their families having to deal with cancer is unimaginable. I didn’t run with a team but as an individual because as a parent I would be devastated if I received cancer’s news. I pray that no one continues to hear those words. Until then I plan on raising money towards these funds to assist families during their time of need.

I want to thank the amazing fellow runners who were beyond super welcoming, energetic and supportive. I also want to thank those who donated! Such an amazing thing to know that there are others in this world who feel the need to support children! All of the sponsors at the run were amazing! I also want to thank my family and friends for being super supportive! Lastly let’s thank the Lord and these knees! I am finding that my knees are at a place where they need them extra stretches but everything I cross that finish line (finished today at 33:11) I’m grateful to be able to do the one thing I love and it’s to run!

Special recognition to Icy Hot for being in the clutch as I begin to wind down!!

Until the next run which is in 6 weeks and my walk next week! Let’s see what these knees can do!! I conquered yet another one!! I’ll be recovering my noodle legs and attempting to set my week straight!!