Servant

From M. Night Shyamalan comes the new series on AppleTV+ Servant. Servant is about a Philadelphia couple who let’s an evil presence into their home following a tragedy with their son Jericho! This series will be full of suspense and it comes out on Thursday November 28th right on time for your Thanksgiving get together. So after you clear your plate, clear your mind to take in all of the action as you put together the clues of the mystery that awaits.

I was honored to be invited to do a special preview of the series. I usually don’t do scary anything but I felt like expanding my horizons. I was hooked. I’ll be rewatching with my husband so we can make this a regular weekly watch! During the special preview we had an amazing mixed filled with great food, wine and drinks, photo booth, and we met baby Jericho!

I loved that they made sure as we mingled we had great options. This isn’t even all of the food available. Allied Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Film Center definitely know how to make a spread! The lines to see the preview were long. I’m glad to have been on the VIP list to get first dibs on a great experience.

Thanks to The Bosco for having a great photo booth available. You can see the gif on my Instagram and in the More Philly highlights!

During our time of mingling I got a chance to meet baby Jericho. Baby Jericho already let me know what I was walking into. I love the babies but Baby Jericho is definitely different. Even just seeing baby Jericho I felt uneasy.

Look how life like? This will be the question immediately to be answered? This is the only clue I’m giving!!! Pay attention. If you ever watched any movie from M. Night Shyamalan you know the clues mean everything to the mystery as it unfolds.

They locked our phones down. I couldn’t even get a pic of the lock down pads used but yes when they say you will not be recording today they meant it!

I had a blast. I was able to connect with other fellow bloggers as well from Philly Black Bloggers:

For me to say I’m hooked and can’t wait to watch this series speaks volumes! So what are you doing this Thanksgiving? Yes that’s right, you’re watching Servant on AppleTV +!

So cozy up with the fam bam and let me know how it goes tomorrow!!!

Thank you Allied Philadelphia for the invite! Thanks to AppleTV +, The Bosco, Philadelphia Film Center and of course M. Night Shyamalan for making a masterpiece!

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Help in Our Own Community

What do you have a mix of community service, 31 consultant, and hygiene kits? You have Crystal Capetillo. Taking on a mission of her own she’s making hygiene kits for those who are displaced.

I personally remember when I was younger and we went into a shelter. It’s one of those moments that keep me grounded. Not knowing what each day would bring was a bit unnerving. However I have to shout out my mom who made sure to keep us clean and put together. Apart of doing that had to come from having hygiene products. Being displaced you have to have a short list of items and not much in bulk to prevent others from taking from you.

Crystal is helping in those regards. What started as a project with World Vision through being a 31 Consultant has turned into a mission to help those in her own community right here in Philadelphia. Crystal along with Erica of whom I’ve interviewed and a team from Bethel Church will lead this charge!

Now here’s how we can help. These kits take time and money. The World Vision kite cost $16. After acquiring the kits they need to be put together. Crystal is in need of both. You can donate for the kits as well as help put together your kit. But there’s one last portion, each kit comes with a hand written letter or note. That made me smile because of someone being displaced that doesn’t mean that they are below humanity.

I watched my mom cry when she thought I was sleep. I know as a mom I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling as she watched over us at night! Having a hand written note letting her know she’s loved and never give up could mean the world of difference!

I personally stand behind this mission of Crystal and will be helping to assemble these kits. I’m asking if you’re able to consider donating by gifting towards her PayPal crystal.capetillo331@gmail.com!!

I can’t wait to see the kits go to fruition and be given to those who need it!!

Sunday Message and Day 7 of Self Care September Challenge

I’m hoping you are taking the Self Care September journey with me. That doesn’t mean you need to start a blog and write about it if you don’t want to but maybe you can create a journal. I use my notes function on my phone during the day to write down how I’m feeling. It helps me to sort out of any issues that arises. It also helps me to remember what happened when I revisit an issue later.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had a headache but that didn’t come until after my run. I did the PHL5K that was sponsored by American Airlines and Philadelphia International Airport. It helped raise money for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and the Eastwick Friends and Family Coalition. I was honored to have run knowing the run was helping in amazing causes.

Habitat for Humanity helps families who might not have the opportunity to become home owners and provides them with an affordable home option. Having the home owner assist in its build helps them appreciate all that went into the home as they take on the responsibilities. It takes financial backing to provide such a mess to the communities it services and I’m glad this run provided it!

Me with the Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia team

I got up at 530 so I could gather everything needed. Thanks to my husband aka my run husband for being there with me. He doesn’t do any of the running but he acts as a coach, motivator, post snack getter, driver and photographer. I appreciate him getting up in the morning as early as we did to be there.

We did a Zumba work out and before we knew it the run began! I finished in 36 minutes and 3 seconds. While running I couldn’t keep my time. It’s the new Fitbit but I was good with the time I ran it. This is my first of this run season and I will do about 1-2 each month until Christmas!

Sunday Message

I’ve been in many times with people who wanted a private relationship but wanted to publicly distance themselves from me. I mean this from all forms of relationships not just romantic. It taught me that one anyone who has done it we’re definitely talking about me to certain groups. They didn’t want the group to know that they were good with me because in revealing that the group would be aware of not only the things the person hanging out with me said but they would be liable for what they said as well.

I think in my journey of friendships and relationships it’s been the one thing that has hurt me. I already struggle with being close to people and to know that I’m friends or in relationship with someone who doesn’t honor that relationship in all arenas is hurtful! It’s mean and it’s isn’t right. Some have asked why I no longer entertain people who are like that? My question is what is the value? None. It’s one thing to go along and not know. Once it’s revealed I have no value in being in connection with others who don’t value me. I’m not here to help wrong people feel better in their wrong. It’s not my job.

How do you get past?

You remember the value of your friendship. If there is something that the one who devalues you have brought up that you can do better with then do it. That doesn’t mean I have to sit under their table to do so. I don’t allow those types of folks into our home. My husband and I are super clear on that. Our home should be full of peace and love and anything or anyone who disturbs it won’t be in our home.

It’s a beautiful thing to be in company with those who have the same core values. This is why you don’t link in business with folks that speak unity in public but do everything but. In the blogging world I’ve seen some cut throat things. You will have folks ask you how did you get what you get not because they want to know and learn but I’ve had some bold one say “I don’t deserve…” I stop them real quick and remind them they aren’t my checker and they don’t get to determine my value. I’ve seen folks post unity and then turn around and dis-include those who don’t look like them. One thing I know even being as old as I am karma knows your true intentions and she doesn’t miss in how she handles me and anyone else for that matter.

So your mission is to be yourself. Your mission is to treat others with respect. Your mission isn’t to get everyone to like you, support you, or be there in the bad times. Your mission is to be who you say you are at all times and be the best version of yourself. If you find the private friends, disengage with them. That energy is draining you so they can leave you empty while they attempt to knock you off your game. Never let them see you sweat but sometimes work twice as hard so when they come with the “how you get here” question you can just smile and say hard work!

Happy Sunday but weed off them private sleuths you don’t need them. If they can’t celebrate you publicly let them go. Watch for the ones who don’t clap at your success trust me that’s all you need to know in how you move forward!

Monday Motivation: Petty Bettys

You may experience a Petty Betty in all kinds of areas like work and home. They come out of the woodwork to try your patience. Do not let them take you off your course. They tend to be super draining and always taking. They take your time, money, energy, and sometimes focus if you give it to them.

I would love to say press pass them like it’s always easy and any hardship with a Petty Betty is all in your mind and something you are putting too much of an emphasis on and it isn’t serious. However the truth is they are too much. They are taxing and they do weigh on you. For example you get up to go to work and every time you clock in if not sooner Petty Betty is waiting in the wings of the door with a gambit of negativity. You feel like you’re playing Mortal Combat mentally with her or a Petty Bob daily. The smile you once had in the parking lot is gone. The prayer that willed you into the building feels in vain.

However trust me Petty Betty and Petty Bob are all around. They actually help to make you better in dealing with difficult situations. I know some as soon as a Petty Betty encounter is longer than they imagined they want to leave a job, a relationship, a new business, etc.

If you run from a Petty Betty every time something happens you might as well sleep in running shoes. Be direct with a Petty Betty. Sometimes that’s enough for them to get the message. You can’t be passive aggressive with a Petty Betty and expect results. They thrive off your low balling behavior. If you keep pretending it’s all good, what would be their incentive to leave you alone?

Take this Monday to get clarity on what you are willing to tolerate and what you aren’t. Put checks and balances where you need them. Be definitive when you speak and clear in your actions. Don’t find yourself wanting what Petty Betty or Bob has but not wanting to deal with them. Make the lines clear. If they are just coworkers stop inviting them around your home and giving false sense of acceptance when you don’t want to deal with them. Don’t use them as a work buddy when you plan on talking about them to the other coworker later down the line. Stop playing the fence with Petty Betty and Bob in real life and they will stop playing Jenga with your emotions and life in return!

Have a great Monday and nip foolishness in the bud! Be clear when you speak and deal with those in your life. It makes a world of difference!

Mother’s Day: Miscarriage, Loss of a child, and Infertility

Again I say that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring these cookie cutter images that television and marketing companies want you to believe. It’s a place of grief for so many women and men all around the world.

When a woman conceives or attempts to conceive, there’s very little ways to do it without your heart becoming attached. With that in mind there are large amounts of women who mourn the day because it’s a reminder of what they desire (d) and can’t have. It’s a place of pain that can’t be measured. With all of the cards, flowers, and joy that should be given to women I want to recognize the women who aren’t in the celebratory spirit.

Are you pregnant?

It’s down right rude to ask a woman of whom you do not share an intimate space if or when she is ready to conceive. That conversation needs to be when and if she is ready to ever have it. Our culture has no boundaries on other women and their uteruses. It needs to be reminded that some women endure a heartache that they haven’t or may never be able to share. Asking her when and if, may inflict a level of pain that she may want to keep private.

Infertility

She may also have suffered a miscarriage and those wounds no matter how long ago it may have been are always fresh and sometimes gets reopen on days like Mother’s Day. You mourn all over again what your child would be and it’s hard. It’s debilitating to have to keep reliving the pain. We need to do a better job of acknowledging this and being sensitive. Your comments matter. Saying things like “just try again” or “it will happen in its time” may not always be received well. There are women that no matter what just can’t hold life and it’s the one thing that we all feel is reserved for women to “naturally” do yet it doesn’t always come so easily!

Miscarriage

Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is the most scared part of pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you’re high risk or not; anytime you’re able to hear it, you hold that sound dear to your heart. There are many women who may or may not initially wanted to be a mother but once life has entered inside of you, a real mom will want to protect that life. Not hearing your child’s heartbeat is one of the most devastating events a woman can experience. It signals that even through no fault of your own, life has stopped. The process following that silence is grueling. We don’t speak about what a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically but it’s life changing. It’s real and it can cut a woman to her core.

Loss of a Child

There are women who unfortunately either through miscarriage, still birth, death of a child or late pregnancy miscarriage experience the greatest loss known. Not knowing how to deal with those feelings have sent many women into a tailspin. It takes love, patience, sometimes medication, therapy and some of the most amazing support systems to get through. Outsiders are the first to put a time stamp on this level of grief when it’s no one’s time frame to control. You will forever remember and never forget.

Regardless of where you as a woman or the woman in your life fits, please understand that these are delicate topics that deserve reference during this time. Please be patient with yourself if you fit the above categories. Know that even if you feel you should be passed a point in your healing that healing is up and down and constant. Some days are better than others. If you need help it’s okay to receive it. If you’re struggling it’s okay as well. You don’t have to have it altogether. Just know that I for one understand! I sent you love! I send you peace!

Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!

Closing a chapter….

This has been a great weekend for me. I was really able to get a lot done that was on my plate. In the midst of all of that I got word that my childhood pastor had passed away. I really hadn’t formulated any emotions as of yet. Either it will come or it won’t. What I can say is regardless of how things happened it can’t stop the fact that the chapter has to close.

I’ve fought mentally and emotionally as I crossed into adulthood about what my childhood church family has meant. I remember being super angry at times about it. At the time while I was a kid, in my mind was the best place ever. Always super involved. In the choir, on the usher board, on other ministries. It served the purpose for my life at the time. I would never be able to go on record and say that it wasn’t the best place for what I needed even at points in it I wanted things to be different. It was the challenge for me that pushed me into adulthood.

I wouldn’t have met some of the best people in my life had I not been in the church. I wouldn’t have had some of the greatest memories of some of the best times like going on church trips or retreats. All of my time wasn’t bad. Not all of my memories come from a place of disagreement! I had fun. I was sheltered.

So I’ve closed the door to being a member at the church. That season is done. However now is the time to really close the chapter of all that comes with the passing of my childhood pastor! I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of who I am even as an adult! It shapes who I allow to pastor me now, what I will allow from church members and who I want to be as an example to my kids.

I’ve been extremely vocal in the past however none of that matters. I hope that my childhood pastor’s family is comforted. I pray them peace to all the members who remain and the ones that were there during my time and before who at the height of his tenure have the same type of memories that I have.

Closing chapters may be hard to do. However we all have to be able to do what’s best for us. Seasonal relationships matter and you can take the focus off of negativity to propel you into a great future!

I’m super grateful that I don’t feel with his passing that there were things left unsaid. I’m glad that at his passing I don’t feel a void or bitterness. I am happy for the beautiful times. I have no bitterness in my spirit and I try to live my life like that daily. I can close the chapter in peace and with the same peace release that back into my life.

~Pastor Albert Andrew Belton~

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it a thousand times even in difficult times we have to look at the good and focus on that alone!