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!

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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!

Sunday Message: Give Up Cycle

There are many things in life that we all have to push through is not giving up.  It comes in cycles.  You get really motivated and if you’re not careful, you go into justifying why its okay and you will get back into a flow after a while. As time keeps going you fall off completely telling yourself the goal was necessary.  Such a harsh pattern to be in.

There are ways to get past.  One take your bigger goal and break it down into smaller goals.  This is a good way to get the motivation moving towards the goal of completion. With technology there’s no reason you can’t keep your goals in your mind, on your phone, and in your vision.  What are you doing daily to keep the goals fresh on your to do list?  I usually look at my vision board that I took a picture of and attack one thing in each category that will get me to the finish line. How can I be productive?  How can I use that idle scrolling on social media time to push me to better limits?  This is the mindset to have daily.

repeat

Failure is a apart of life.  We win and lose at variations. Failure hurts. Failure burns.  Failure is embarrassing.  Some of my most humbling failures still make me emotional but I know it is necessary for my story down the line. Consistency is necessary and staying the course comes from not getting stuck in the giving up cycle, where we let the human part of justifying why we fell off and staying in that part of cycle stalls our progress. Think about it in simple ways.  If you ask a kid why they did something they most likely squirm making up excuses that don’t make sense. That is how we look in the mirror of life using excuses like “not having enough money,” “too tired,” “not strong enough,” etc. Meanwhile those who have less than us take the same excuses we sell ourselves in their watered down versions and make magic.

Giving up cycle comes to all of us.  Just because you see someone have a different level of success than her, stop focusing on that.  Focus on how you can take charge of your areas, stay out of the giving up cycle and  find ways to rise above it.  Life is already going to deal its own cards, why add onto it by sabotaging yourself. Start this week writing down what you want to do to be successful on your own terms.  How will you make it happen? Focus on that this week not the small failures you may have experienced this past week.  It will only keep you on the hamster wheel and not much will happen there.

Wake up.

Make that list.

Make a plan for that list.

Find joy in the midst of pain.

Make this week better than last week!

You got this!

got this

Words Do Matter; You Matter More

So while at an event in my hometown I had someone say something to me about my weight. Now you all know I had documented my journey and that when I was over 200 pounds very little had comments about my weight and at that time I was way over where I needed to be. It was devastating. Now I am at weight goal and tightening up and I am still getting comments about my weight.  I was taken back if I am honest. I talked to my husband and he was like “keep it in perspective some folks aint seen you since you were a kid. You’re a grown ass woman with an amazing body and 3 kids, stay the course!”  Can we just clone him?  He made me feel like the beautiful woman who I am.

This is the conclusion I have come to. A lot of folks will only see you at what they last remember. I went to college a size 0 and came back a size 4 that was an issue. Had a baby and was a size 6 and now I am holding at a size 8 and sometimes 10 depending on how the pants are cut. Issue.

I am not here to worry about what other people’s eyes see me as. I am perfect at the size that I am. I am not in competition to be at high school weight. I was unhealthy to be honest. I ate what I wanted, rarely went to the doctors and the only saving grace was a high metabolism and sports. Skinny isn’t always healthy.  I know folks smaller than me with high blood pressure and a whole gambit of health complications.

What I know is from head to toe I am finally in the best shape of my life and I can run and do 6 or more races a year. I can keep and outrun my kids and run up and down a flight of steps without losing my breath. I eat as well as I can and work out 2-3 usually more a week. I am fine!  I am enough!

There is a woman who is struggling right now with a lot of whispers and you may not be as confident as I feel or feel like you’re not. You are just enough. You are enough even in the state that you are. Its one of the things I felt I needed to say. I need to release it. I had a family member say oh you sure are hippy meaning curvy. I am supposed to be. Newsflash, I have regular amazing sex and I have 3 kids. They didn’t know when I had the athletic build in high school I used to want to have a curve. Now I have them and they are here to stay. I looked like a boy body shape and folks would either like it or have an issue.  So to the curves and the butt that I now have, please stay. We are going to tone up these next couple of months but we ain’t dropping you!

Do not let anything stop you from being your best version of you.  Trust me you can change your body, but be the best version of yourself inner and outer and trust me you will always shine in darkness.

What if you aren’t at the place you need to be and someone does make a negative but true comment?  Remember when the lady asked me how far along I was and if I was having a boy? Devastating. I cried. I was hurt. I made up in my mind that I wouldn’t allow myself to get to that point.  To prevent that I only keep my size clothes in my drawers. I don’t wear baggy clothes. They actually let you look bigger FYI.  Wearing form figuring clothes helps hold you accountable. I didn’t say tight, I said form-fitting or figure flattering clothes. The other day I found a size 14 pant in my closet, tried it on and it was drowning on me. I gave them away.  I keep myself accountable by weighing myself weekly just like I did when I was going to Weight Watchers meeting. It’s important for me to stay the course. So when that comment was made through the help of my husband and getting on the scale to see what was going on, I was fine. I knew it was a comparison of what they remember me from my past. I am still at goal weight. I am in training season for these runs. I can’t let words distract me. If I do I might not be able to get through my vigorous races ahead.  I got to keep running forward.

One of my favorite songs by Kirk Franklin, Imagine Me:

Imagine Me