Painting with a Twist; Anxiety Buster! 

So tonight I pushed past my anxiety. Yes I deal with social anxiety at times and it’s annoying but it’s apart of my life for right now. I never went through this in college weird enough but a lot of that had to do with being a freshman and trying to do it all. You know that wild college student that would be on a table that was me.


Fast forward to after college Toi and now at times I find that meeting up with others is a chore. The kind of chore where I back out quickly and because I have kids sometimes it’s real and other times my kids are my get out of jail free card. My husband is the polar opposite. He’s always been super outgoing and still is. It’s crazy when we go to places. It seems that he’s more inclined to be in the front and I’m content with disappearing. So although I am not the wild child that I once was when I was trying to find myself in college, I’m still just as easy-going as I remember and I am finding that instead of allowing my anxiety to get the best of me, I’m pushing past it and getting out. Maybe not the type of college crazy but the essence of who I am is still there.


A bigger issue with getting out was adjusting to motherhood. My first daughter was a preemie and with asthma too. There were more hospital trips than anything. I kept to myself because no one seemed to understand how I balanced working full-time, being at the hospital all night and with literally no sleep pushing through. I learned how to keep my circle tight. Moving to Philadelphia like I’ve blogged about many times was overwhelming. I relied on my husband for everything. I didn’t even drive for the first months even though I had my own car.


Fast forward to my life now I’m pushing through. Losing weight, being a good mom, working full-time, blogging, and meeting new friends. Slowly but surely I’m getting out and enjoying life. Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up at Painting with a Twist with Mocha Moms. Mocha Moms is an organization that is a support for women of color who are mostly stay at home moms. Now you know that I work full-time and there are other moms who work as well. When I first moved to Philadelphia I wanted to join. I was a stay at home mom then but my anxiety kept me from being apart. Tonight I crushed that fear that I had almost 5 years ago.



Tonight’s meet and great while painting and sipping of course was everything. These women are like-minded, warm and I was myself from the beginning and didn’t feel the need to put on airs.  I’ve been in group situations and you find yourself in the back and connect with maybe one another person, but not this group of women.  Plus who can’t have a good time painting and sipping on wine?!

I am truly grateful for not backing out tonight. I’m super happy to have met these great women. As I drove him thinking of the night, a huge smile came on my face. I turned on my adult music, maybe I could let pre mom Toi out every now and again!! Just maybe!! Oh and who won a gift certificate for the next visit to Painting with a Twist?! Oh yeah!!

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Sunday Message: Get What You Need 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Light The Night 2017; No One Fights Alone 

Many times we are all asked to donate to a cause. Especially in these last few months where disaster has seemed to take over. About 5 years ago I was presented with a decision to walk for Light the Night and I haven’t stopped since.

My co worker and friend Jen was diagnosed with cancer. This is someone who turned from merely a co worker to close friend and although I had moved from the city I had always known, our friendship didn’t end with distance. I had never really known too many people with cancer but I knew that being there to support her family was on the top of my agenda.  Even though I was almost 2 hours away, I had to do my part. Seeing Jen change physically was a lot. It kept me humble. Her sons are around the same age as my 2 oldest kids. Thinking of what they had endured made me appreciate life more.  I thought about Eric, Jen’s husband and how hard it was to help but at times feel helpless. Any time I saw Jen she smiled. I know she had dark days but she kept moving. It is with her strength that she has survived and kicked cancer’s ass. Simply donating to Light the Night wasn’t and still isn’t enough. When she formed the Lymphomanics years ago I knew I had to be apart and we as a team have been strong ever since.



Light the Night is more than just an organization that wants to raise money to bring awareness but it’s on a mission to find a cure. Jen had at her diagnosis, family and friends supporting her but what about the many others who do not!  I have personally heard some amazing stories of survivors I wouldn’t have even known existed had I not gotten involved.

So again we organized.  We came together and with various others we lit the night. It was an amazing experience. Seeing people from all walks of life set aside their differences. All of us having either been in support or others who had cancer, were a survivor, or were there in memory of someone who had unfortunately lost their fight.


I was glad to see that a lot had changed from last year. One was that the crowd was much bigger. The second is that the amount of sponsors had increased. Lastly the stage was bigger.  The stage being bigger meant we are raising more money and that means that until we have a cure more families are being supported. Seeing the many lanterns lit was truly breath taking as we walked. 



The walk isn’t something too grueling. I believe we cover about 2 miles. However it’s the stories, the energy, and the sense of leaving for just a moment our own lives and coming together that is overwhelmingly beautiful. From the kids to the adults everyone has a great time. 


This year I want to shout out our team member Holly whose husband, Chadd who is kicking cancer’s ass this year. They welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Ellanora who to date is the youngest and newest member of the Lymphomanics.



Every year they end the walk with fireworks. It’s always a special treat to see. It reminds us that we completed the walk, we worked together and no one fights alone.


So the next time someone comes and asks you for a donation, consider helping. It’s not just about the money but it is about helping one another in this thing called life. Until next year!! Love you Jen and the Lymphomanics!!! 

Shake Shack Virgin

So for quite some time I’ve been seeing Shake Shack and never went. I would say everytime how I was going to stop but didn’t. So on a random Friday as this past Friday was, I decided why not?

Soooo. I get there and the menu is big but yet small enough so my anxiety doesn’t kick in. Oh and I went by myself. I’m on this whole push to do the things I want even if I go by myself. Soooooooo I ventured out. I grabbed my keys and went. Now I’m glad I decided to go to the one near Drexel University especially since I work on a campus already the atmosphere was more laid back. It was extremely busy.  I enjoyed watching the students playing games, talking, and enjoying the 80 degree weather.

So happiness  sunk in and I was ready.  I ordered the vegetarian burger or the Shroom burger which is a fried portobello mushroom, melted muenster cheese, with lettuce, tomato and shake sauce. I added their to die for fries and a salted caramel milkshake with pretzel and I was in heaven.  Like eating it made me feel like I was in a whole other place! 

Now let me say what I liked about the experience:

1. Fast service-they give you one of those light up wait your turn line lights 


2. Friendly staff-funny story so the cashier was super nice and trying to hit on me. No offense taken but he couldn’t get my name right so I said Toi. When I went to pay he looked at my debit card and saw my name but more importantly he saw my husband and kids picture on it and have a look of damn. It was hilarious!!


3. College atmosphere-with working on a campus it gives me constant nostalgia. Makes me miss my Penny Packer crew! 

4. Fries-I almost went back and took that 20 minute drive. They are that good. 

5. That shake-they ain’t the Shake Shack for nothing; complete bliss!! 


For my parents this is not a spot I would regularly take my little ones. In the words of my Cousin Mark this is much too premium for children unless it’s a special event. My meal alone was 17 dollars which ain’t breaking the bank but this is an indulgence that is strictly a Mom thing only! Well at least for me it will be. 


I can’t wait to go back again. I really want another shake. It was worth the drive! Thanks to the staff at the Drexel University Shake Shack who were over the top pleasant and made my first experience one to remember. 

Fall Frenzy 

So today’s weather was amazing. The sun was shinning and to put it lightly it was hella hot. So other than watching my son’s soccer game, the Storr family headed to the Fall Fest.  


Fall Fest has turned into a yearly indulgence. This year the whole family attended as I have been known to take the kids and have a great time.  My husband is not a fan of outdoor events. I used to get super upset but nope I will pack the kids and continue with my plans. He came along and from the looks of it he may have had a good time.  There are a lot of activities for the whole family. From oversized games such as Connect Four, to Chess to singing for the kids and of course Fall favorites such as Fall beer flavors and all the comfort food you can have.  I elected to make a Whole Foods stop before attending to cut down on eating too many comfort foods. Plus I wanted to see how low the prices had actually dropped there.  I know you know Whole Foods has merged with Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised.  

However there is always room for a little beer and I made sure I had at least one and I enjoyed the hell out of it. My goal was to just get out, enjoy the weather, and spend some time with my family and the goal definitely achieved. 


As Fall approaches it’s going to be important and find free events in your city to attend. This event was free besides the food and drinks. For me all it cost was less than 30 for a full day of fun. Well worth it if you ask me. 

Enjoy all of the Fall activities you can!! 

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.

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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!!

Sunday Message: Happy National Grandparents Day!

So it’s national grandparents day. A day to say thank you to all of the grandparents for the things they have done. Salute to all awesome grandparents. Being a grandparent from my perspective of watching my own can be a very great ordeal. As a parent you work hard to establish boundaries and spend so much time raising kids but grandparents have already done it so often times they can be a wealth of knowledge, love, support, and fun times.

I want to send a message to heaven to my mother in law who was an awesome grandmother to my 3 kids. She always had their best intentions in mind. She loved on them as their own. She gave them all she could.  So today in her absence we honor her. My kids adore her and her not being here is still affecting them. However with the crazy times she and I had the one thing I am super glad that although not ideal living with her gave my kids the best time with her. Love you Mom Mom.

Grandparents are such a stepping stone to life. However let’s talk about relationships that aren’t so glittery with grandparents. Sometimes it’s an extension of torn relationships with parents. I know of parental issues that trickle down to kids causing generational struggles. Not every grandparent has memories with their grand kids where cookies are being made or sweaters knitted. Sometimes there are constant fights and struggles that keep relationships stagnant. These fights can put a hamper on a relationship and make them non existent. Both kid and grandchild loses!

Listen there are grandparents that are in their 30s who still club and go out and don’t even see themselves as a grandparent. Thus the term glammom is now a thing. Grandparents don’t look like big momma anymore. It’s not my place to judge.  However coming from someone who had that big momma spirit in her life it’s important. Grandparents should teach you by example. They don’t usually have to yell and act as a parent.  You usually want to glean from their wisdom. Big momma was the foundation of a family even when grandfather was there. 

I do want to shout out my great grandparents who were the ones who gave me extra cake. They took me fishing and showed me how to plant a garden.  They let me stay up late to watch tv just as long as I was up and ready for church on Sunday.  I’ve never met more genuine people like my great grand grandparents. They prayed for me and loved me and on me as long as I could remember. I can still hear their voices calling me their sweet baby. I don’t even know how many of us there were but trust me it’s a lot of us and the number is still growing. They gave us collective and individual love. Thank you Mom and dad who allowed us the Summer to spend with them. Those memeories I cherish in their earthly absence. 

I also want to shout out my grandparents as well. Let’s start with my mom’s Mom who helped raise us. She is one of the people I can call who will not judge me. Her love is unconditional. If I called her and said I had a body she wouldn’t even blink and would know what to do. Her conversations are rough and to the point and she doesn’t sugar coat.  This is most likely why my Mom is to the point like I am. However I remember having the best spaghetti this world has ever had. I have great memories with her.  I’m glad she’s still here to continue making more. My kids call her GG!!

Also to my dad’s parents who are great too. I was in a car accident in 2001 where I dislocated my left shoulder. I had to stay with my grandparents who lived a mere few houses away from my parents so I can sleep in their reclining chair.  My grandfather woke up all through the night to get me medicine and we would eat black cherry vanilla icecream just he and I with his famous homemade cake. This was nightly. I was feeling some type of way when I knew my icecream runs would stop and I had to go back to Penn State.  Oh and my grandma makes the best rice. They both have had their times when they went out of their way to make sure something I needed was taken care of.

To my parents who I love. They are grandparents to 5 and I hold my breath on that number. However Hanmom (my oldest couldn’t say grandma when she was a baby and now the name has stuck with the rest) and dad dad as they are called do great things with all of the kids. Just the summer they turned their yard into a slip and slide and all summer long there wasn’t a cookout that wasn’t had.  Christmas is super fun with all of the kids ripping presents, eating food, and having the best cousin time. Memories are being made.  I hope when they look back at their child hood that they too will have great memories especially now that my parents are the only grandparents they have between my husband and I. I am only speaking on them as grandparents as my kids still have their set of great grandparents from my dad and mom’s side still here as well. 

My hope is that for the estranged grandparents and there are many, to make it right with your kids or attempt. As much as I hear that things should be in the past the real reality is that you have to deal with the past to move forward. You can’t simply throw it under the rug or act like it’s not a big deal just because you don’t want to deal. There are grandkids who have never met their grandparents because of that reason.  

To the surrogate grandparents aka the honary grandparents who has shown extreme love to someone that they have invited you into their heart, salut!! You have no idea what that says about your character as a person. I am not one who takes in people often but when I do they have to be so dope of a person that I feel I would be losing not to take them in as my own. I have been fortunate to meet some of those awesome people.  Their value is amazing. If someone calls you grandma or grandfather especially if not by birth walk in that beautiful calling. 

To all grandparents near and far even the ones in heaven ToiTime salutes you!!  Enjoy your day!!