Sunday Message: Check Yourself in Your Friends 

Happy Sunday to you. I’m hoping that this blog finds you at peace but in case it doesn’t let’s have our Sunday talk. Today is national friends or national friendship day. It’s a day where you celebrate friendships but let’s keep it real not all friendships are one in the same.  Your friends should be a reflection of you. It shouldn’t be forced. It should be a welcoming part of your social life. 

Friends are human and they are capable of change. This can sometimes hurt if you are holding on to what once was. You may find yourself in a friend drought where you have friends but they may be scattered leaving an emptiness in your heart. You may be rebuilding friendships so the closeness may not be there yet. Whatever the reason days where friendships should be celebrated may leave you in your feelings. It’s okay. 

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned about friendships along the way:

1. Long time friends aren’t always real friends

Just because you have known someone forever doesn’t mean they are your friend. A friend is someone you can count on, encourages you and is there. Sometimes length of friendships may not allow you to fully see if that person is genuine. Friends don’t hurt you, leave you high and dry, or are cruel. Get clear on who you call or have been calling friend.

2. Keeping it real needs turned off 

We all have different things going on in our hearts. Sometimes the keep it real friend can cross a real boundary. Anything that is being said should always be said in love.  I’ve had friends who had to tell everyone what they “need” to do but the delivery is always bad. If an encounter with your keep it real friend has caused more harm than good you need to evaluate the friendships. You also need to speak up.  People do what you allow. Sometimes you have to tell the keep it real to keep it quiet. Sometimes your spirit don’t need another I told you so moment but hey I’m here for you moment. A friend pushing their agenda over the hurt of a friend is not cool.

3. Gossiping to non real mutual friends is never okay 

Mutual friends means that all parties equally hang out or talk.  If all the parties don’t call each other on the phone and the only denominator is you than gossiping and giving other friend’s tea is off limits.  You are not operating a prayer circle.  You are not keeping others informed.  You are running a gossip train. Sorry not sorry. If you’re the mutual friend and the others don’t talk there could be a reason. The friendship is based on you the mutual friend and the others aren’t automatic friends because of it. Separate the friendships.  Unless abuse is happening there is no reason why one person should be handing out the tea in the name of friendship.  How do you think when everyone comes together your friend will feel knowing that all of the other girls know their personal business before they had a chance to tell it?! Stop this practice.  The reality is if it all good than have the friend whose business it is on the line and let them tell their own business. If you can’t do that than 9 times out of 10 you are just gossiping.

4. Friendships do end 

As hard as it ends not everyone is meant to ride out to the end. This is a hard lesson when dealing with friends. We are conditioned to believe that if the friendship doesn’t continue until the grave it’s not a good relationship. What makes it a wrong relationship is how mutual respect is shown and given during whatever period of time it’s granted. You will always have good times but the times have ended and you can still look back at it and learn from it.  

5. Everyone should be able to win

You ever have that one friend that makes it like they are the only one to have good happen? News flash good happens to all when you’re open to it. One friend attempting to deflect from others to stand out is a clear sign that you aren’t a friend you need an entourage.  

So as you celebrate friendships today take stock of who you chose to be friends with.  Remember it speaks volumes about who you are. If your friend is always whatever negative attribute and you feel the need to down then than maybe do a reality check on what about you allows the same type of stuff into your own spirit. 

Celebrate friendships near and far today. But don’t carry a friendship longer than the expiration date. It may hurt to lose a few along the way but it will hurt you more carrying someone to a new level where they don’t belong 

5 Lessons: Happy 5th Anniversary 

So today is the day. Do you know what today is? It’s our anniversary. Yes finally we have made it to year 5 and whew God is merciful because we almost didn’t get here. Marriage is hard work. People make it like a fairy tale where you are just so super in love and everything works out. Well I can’t speak for everyone else’s marriage but that isn’t how it works.

Let me break down the years. Our first year we already had our oldest daughter and son. I personally went through the worst post-partum of my life. Between the arguments and threatening to take the kids every other second the first year wasn’t a good year. I thought that since we had known each other forever and a day and was friends first that we wouldn’t be hit with the normal first year drama. I was hella wrong. It was so bad we even went to counseling after 3 months and it was then when I was ready to roll. The dreaded “divorce” came up and we were both ready to end it. Looking at the one that I loved and feeling defeated was humiliating even if a large people had no idea we were at a brink.

I could blame it on the new baby, living with his mom, being a stay at home Mom, and moving to a new city with no support system in place.  The reality is I put forth no effort even though if I could go back to my journal entries I was just angry, tired, and unfulfilled. The reality is that although I loved my husband I wasn’t ready to be a wife in the fullest extent. We had too much going on at one time but I knew when I took my vows that I wanted to be the best wife. What is a good wife? I had no clue no more than he did on what made a good husband.

Years 2-5 were up and down. I remember that the drama from year one spilled into year 2 for sure. I wasn’t sure if going to counseling where I felt like it was on me to suck it up and deal with it all had taken its toll. Our counselor was great. I’m not painting it all bad let me be clear that the Lord knows the many days we went without talking, not on the same page, or was plain sick of each other.

What turned it all around for me personally was at year 3, we had been on the down side of our marriage and Marques looked at me, grabbed my face and asked me was I in or out? He said we can’t threaten to divorce or even attempt it because had we gone down that road again we would be done and not turning back. He said he wanted us to get it together. No more hitting below the belt. No more talking disrespectfully. No more yelling and definitely no arguing in front of the kids. No more planning on leaving or taking the kids. No more craziness from either one of us.

Here are the 5 lessons I learned so far:

1. Happy Wife, happy life isn’t true: I think we as women use that phrase to our advantage sometimes to get what we want. However the key is having a wife who is happy in her own skin. You can’t make a miserable, hurting or unfulfilled person happy. I choose now after the smoke has cleared to get and keep my life grounded and not make it about my relationship alone.
2. I’m not always right.
3. Quietness is good at times.
4. Having my own activities, friends etc is key. Being one doesn’t mean that we have to be joined at the hips. Balancing being a whole woman is key before I can give to my husband or my kids.
5. To laugh-I was too serious trying to be perfect that I became the wife that I never wanted to be.

Marques’ Lessons learned:

1. Communication is important

2. Give respect to get respect

3. Better to listen than to speak

4. Don’t jump to conclusions

5. Don’t harp on things that don’t matter

Marriage life isn’t perfect. However we both are better at balancing. He does the things that make him solid and I do the same. We both don’t put pressure on each other to be who we aren’t. We are learning to accept each other’s flaws.  We have gotten super solid as a team. Since year 3 we made it clear to those around us that we are a real team. No nonsense will be accepted and we don’t give others front row seats to play us against one another. We shut the door. If you see us we work more behind the scenes without having to be open to listen to all advice from everyone without listening to each other for what we need. I respect all marriage but we no longer mirror our marriage in compassion to what works for another couple.  We are different and what works for another couple doesn’t work for us and vice versa.

Relationships goals are what we set between us during pillow talk and not just cute pictures to display a falsehood of love and admiration. We are our own relationship goals!!

So happy anniversary to us, Mr. and Mrs. Storr!!

5 years of Marriage: Day #1 Dating woes 1999 Style

I want to introduce this week’s guest for the blog and that is none other than my husband Marques. We are going to take you back to the first times, the good times, the bad times and the intense times as we celebrate one whole hand of marriage.

Dating is a beautiful thing. It lets you know if you have what it takes to make it. We definitely know what that’s like. Dating in 1999 and then separating and coming back together with a child in tow, getting engaged, second baby on the way, moving in together with his mom, getting married, having a 3rd baby, moving out and the big D (divorce) all in the middle, no wonder we made it. It’s no secret to love. It’s hard work and for us, unconventional. We have bruises and scars but we pressing.

How did we meet?

In August 1999 Marques was coming out of the Shields Building, at Pennsylvania State University and I was going into the building.  We were introduced by our mentor at the time and I was with my roommate who happened to have the same name. Marques made a joke about our names and made me laugh.  Laughter was probably one of my first memories of him. Marques was witty and definitely caught my eye physically.

Marques: She was cute. Well a little more than cute and we were introduced by our mentor. I went home and called my best friend and told him that I would look her name up on campus.  I knew I would see her on campus since we were in the same scholarship program.  I told her at some point that she was going to be my main chick.

Latoi: I was clear that there would be no main anything. I was either one and only or nothing.

Image result for lies you tell gif

First Date

We went out parents weekend. It’s a big time on campus where parents came and see the progress that their kids were making.

Latoi: Now let me back up to how the date was being prepared.  My parents and I had an interesting day. My cousin was in a fraternity so we stopped by their apartment and my dad about had an entire dad attack. I had the shortest mini dress on so I can understand why my dad wasn’t feeling the attention he saw me getting. Being a PK aka a preacher’s kid doesn’t allow for you to have your own identity. I asked my mom to do my hair. She did. She thought she was doing my hair so I could be “right” on campus but I was trying to get right for Marques.

Now here’s where it gets tricky and especially since we met in 1999 dates seem to fuse themselves together. I say our first date was the movies he says it was Red Lobster.  The one thing we agree on is he was late. Wasn’t no Bey biscuit situation going on at that time either.

Marques: I was late since I had been with my mom earlier and time went over. I borrowed my moms car and came to get her but I admit I was late. Another thing we agree on is that we were both nervous. We were good friends and did the whole talking on the phone for hours at a time. There was definitely a comfortable feeling but since we met within the scholarship program only our closest few friends knew we were going on a date.

Official 

We became official in January but not without our share of drama or I should say mine (Toi). I felt at the time I was under pressure from myself to maintain this picture of a perfect child that often times when asked by my parents I would lie about dating Marques. I lied so much about the relationship that it spiraled out of control and I was caught between lying on the intensity of our relationship or being transparent and I choose to hide.

Image result for love our love gif

I didn’t think the relationship was able to survive it but it did and in January we were officially a couple. It wasn’t peaches and cream but we made it through. It was the first of many trials that would touch our relationship.

First Year of Dating

Marques: In the first year of dating it was the perfect honeymoon. It was the most fun that I had. We did everything together. Latoi was the perfect blend to my life until she chose her family over me.  I was hurt, disappointed and upset.

Latoi: Our first year of dating was intense. It was the first adult relationship I had. He was my first in all aspects and that dynamic alone and trying to figure out my first years away became problematic. I learned early on that if Marques and I was going to work I had to let my guard down of who I was and fuse that to who I had become and be okay with the fall out either way.

Image result for lies you tell gif

Redemption 

Marques: Latoi called me and apologized. I was willing to talk and work it out.  Latoi invited me to come down and spend time with her family and we attended several churches. Although it wasn’t about the services, it was more of going public and setting the tone that we wanted to go the distance.

Latoi: I really didn’t want him to attend church with me on the basis of it making things better.  I was changing and knew how my church family was and knew that he could have preached in those churches and it still would have been a thing. Everything at the time was about appearances and not being real. I learned not to let other’s opinions change who I had chosen to love. From then on I enjoyed my relationship and let us have our own issues without everyone’s hand in it.

Image result for love our love gif

Even thinking about the first years of dating, it would be a piece of cake compared to our first year of marriage….

Jayz 4:44

So you know you heard about it. The new anticipated album of Jayz has hit and so have all of the reviews. So I’m not about to analyze every song and their meaning. However let’s get to the grit of what all the hoopla is about. 

Did Jayz cheat on Beyoncé?

He said he did. He was clear in his lyrics. I know some has speculated that both of them used a made up situation to make money and exploit but let’s just be real, what man is going to out himself and bring his kids in the middle of it? He mentions his daughter Blue and all of that to sell records? I didn’t get the whole let’s make money vibe from the album at all. 

I felt like it was a man who couldn’t deny that he had been cheating on Beyoncé and especially after the infamous Lemonade that Bey spilled. Now let’s be clear Beyoncé isn’t the first woman to be cheated on nor will she be the last. The premise is that with Beyoncé how could anyone do this?! Simple, no matter who you are, life happens.  Money and power doesn’t excuse life from coming at you. If anything it makes life that much more complicated.

So is Jayz the best man in the world or the worst? I say no. Just because he came clean in his music I’m quite sure he had a lot of redemption behind the scenes. Now I am not judging Bey but let’s be clear her reasons to stay were of her own. She can’t change what Jayz did. His cheating regardless of his reasons are all his own. A woman staying past many miscarriages and cheating is a lot. Her being Queen Bey will never as a woman put what happened under a light eye. No woman wants to be cheated on. We don’t ask for it. We don’t. However when a woman stays that says more about her. I know I’m a Beyoncé fan, but truth is truth. 

So yes it promoted me after hearing 4:44 to re-listen to Lemonade once again. I heard the pain in her voice. I heard it the first time and said without knowing that this album wasn’t simply about her mother’s divorce. So let’s talk about marriage. I’m not about to drag Beyoncé on what she should have done in HER marriage. It’s hers. Marriage is never perfect.  I don’t have one and we are coming up to 5 years next month. My parents have been married over 20 years and don’t have one either. What someone puts up with in their marriage is up to them. It can be talked about and judged but until you walk in a person’s shoes than you will never get it. What I pray is that Beyoncé and Jayz are doing what works for them and their now 3 kids. 

The least that we can do is listen to two people tell their truth in song. If they sell records and they have and will that’s what artist do. I don’t think it makes what they are saying any less truth because of it. Artist of all types pour their souls into their artistry. So just sip, gather the tea, resip some more and than the biggest part, work on your own life. Jayz brought up investing, keeping wealth in your family and taking care of home. Apply all of that. It’s not as if the universe, your mom, blogs, and just about everywhere hasn’t been pushing that message. It’s the reason we got more go fund me accounts for funerals than life insurance. We got more fake ballers than millionaires. The reason we take more stances in what Bey and Jayz are doing than our own lives. Learn to watch while still doing. Did you kiss your own mate? Or did you walk out the house with bitterness and neglected to kiss your own love but you knew the exact moment the Carter’s kissed and paparazzi got the shot? They are married and married folks kiss-no big thing right?! See I love to watch others too but I try with the best intentions to build in my own house more.  

So yes he cheated. She stayed. She lost a few babies along the way. It’s their journey together. Work on yours. If you are or have been cheated on what did you do? What are you doing in your relationships to be more open? Do you have your financial house in order single or married? How’s your credit? What debt will you leave behind? Did you drink water today? Did you work out? Did you? Sip and do. 

Ask Toi: What should I do if someone from my past or new love interest knocks and I’m already connected?!

If you’re already connected and the interested person doesn’t know you need to tell them. If they know but still pushing up than know they just like the chase and want to see if you will take the bait.

As an adult it’s your choice who you are with period. This means even if you just want a one night or one time physical relationship as an adult it’s up to you. Not everyone wants a commitment but be true to yourself. Don’t say you don’t want a commitment in hopes that you can later change a person’s mind. 

If you are already connected either by dating or marriage than you know that the answer is a no for now. With that being said it’s best to thank the person for the interest and move along. In a dating situation boundaries need to be made. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend and you don’t have anything to entertain another person.  If you’re married the boundary was made on your wedding day and you end it. 

The past is the past. It can be a beautiful reminder of what was but it takes a lot to dig the past up, revive it and make it work. Ask anyone including me how much work it takes to date someone from your past.  It’s not super easy.  It’s never a good idea to open the door to a past or new interest because if you do it says more about you than the person knocking. People don’t realize that a person who will cheat or entertain someone else but expect loyalty from the person they were originally connected to shows they have NO loyalty at all. You want what you can’t or won’t give. This goes for men and women. So if you’re connected say thanks, nice talking to you, and seal the door of communication. 

Let me guess you can handle it right? Wrong. You start catching up. Then you exchange emails at first, then phone numbers, than social media and now you can’t get this person off your mind.  You absolutely not giving the person you were connected to any of your valuable time because your sharing space with someone else. Now if your just dating and no commitment with anyone than that’s your right. However don’t mess over another individual while taking space with another while connected or committed to a person. You might lose on both relationships. 

Ask Toi: I recently overheard a song that I used to share with an ex, my current boyfriend thinks I should stop singing it, what should I do?

Nothing.  It’s a song.  There is nothing that your current boyfriend can do with the fact that you have a memory with an ex.  It’s life.  We all have them.  I have them.  The point is to see it as a memory only and keep moving.  As long as you aren’t throwing the song or any memory in his face, he will be okay.  He may just be upset because he feels that another man has shared something he hasn’t.  My thing is that is the way dating works. You will never really share everything with one person.  There is space although small that we all bring in from someone else.  It’s no different from a cologne or perfume smell.  It’s all a memory.  It reminds me of the song by Jill Scott, “Cross my mind.”  In the song she talks about a memory in the form of her ex’s cologne and she attempted to have the next one smell like the last but it stunk.  Everything isn’t for everybody.  It really isn’t. Your boyfriend has memories of other women he just happened to know about one of yours and it stung him a bit.  He will be fine.  Let him know that there is nothing to be worried about and let that be that.

To the part where you should stop singing unless you have a mic or a made up mic and are literally in his face with it, he will deal.  Songs come on.  I know of one of my husbands songs for his ex and I just mention it and move on.  I have songs for my exs and it is what it is.  I don’t sing it like I am attempting to make American Idol but its a memory good or bad and it fades.

Weekly Wrap Up: May 12, 2017

So another week down and another weekend on the horizon.  It’s been a very good week thus far.  I am hoping that you have had a chance to catch up on any of the blogs missed.  If you are a mother I pray that you have a blessed day and weekend.

News

  1. James Comey, former FBI director has been fired.  This comes as the continued probe into the Russian voting scandal that is still continuing to unfold.  Be on the look out for more of this story and how it will affect the Trump administration.
  2. 1300 people have been arrested in the largest anti-gang operation according to ICE officials.
  3. Venezuela’s President fires health minister after it was revealed that 66% rise in pregnancy related deaths.
  4. Just breaking-gunman shoots new police chief dead before killing 2 nursing home staff in Kirkersville.

Personal Highs

This was a great week.  I celebrated my 36th birthday. In doing so I took the best trip with 3 other girlfriends including my girl Toi whose birthday was a week from mine. We had a great time in Chicago. Toibration as I called the 10 day celebration is a way to celebrate me.  Everyone should celebrate themselves.  If you can’t who will?  I had the best time, ate great food, talked smack and hung out husband and kid free-see my blog on my trip! I want to thank my friends and family who celebrated with me in some way.  Every call, text, social media shout out, gift, and card was appreciated!

Blogs

  1. My annual birthday message-36 is young but there is always something I have learned and share during my birthday.  I am still on self love-that message will never change.
  2. Single mom survival kit-there are a lot of things that single moms struggle with but there are a few things that we need to make sure we keep in the forefront with single moms and all moms in general.
  3. The wind has been taken out of our sail-this is a special tribute to my mother in law who recently passed.  This will be my husband’s first mothers day without her.
  4. Do everything mom-this is a #tbt that we talk about learning to lay the cape down and take the pressure off.
  5. Mother day do nots-there are a few things that we all need to keep in mind so don’t get caught on the list making errors for your mom’s special day.
  6. Mother’s Day gift giving guide-make sure you make mom feel special!

Personal Lows

This has been a good week.  I did eat a lot in Chicago that could have been a low but I worked out at the gym and did a LOT of walking.

Well until next week when all of the celebrations will come to an end.  Please mom or not, do something good for yourself.  To all of my followers who are moms enjoy your day.  If you are experiencing Mothers Day without your mom or mother figure in your life my heart and prayers are extended to you all.  If you have lost a child and the holiday affects you, I do understand and my prayers to you as well.