Keep your Thanksgiving Wits

So this is the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that the grocery stores will be super crowded. So take your patience with you as you travel out. Between stores and traffic it will be a testing time.

Prepare for the holidays with more than what you will eat. Think about who you will invite and if you can find it in your heart to give towards others who may not be as fortunate. Think about ways you and your family can assist others either by donating food to food banks, volunteering to serve meals to others on Thanksgiving morning, or finding a family to sponsor. Either way let’s open our hearts to one another.

Another way to get ready for the holidays when going to the grocery store is to go with a list. I would attempt to get all that you need and treat it as if it was the day. This will help you to make those trips and you may find it may take more than one.  You will always need extra milk, eggs, and butter. So stack up early. I for one know that I need to get the list going so I don’t forget the key items. Thanksgiving eve is not the time to go to the store. All of the last-minute folks will be on super edge. Avoid them if you can.

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Also think if you are doing a fancy seating chart, how you want things decorated and who will sit where. Also don’t forget about the kids. It’s best to have activities to keep the littles occupied.  This will save from the necessary meltdowns. If you are having dinner at a specific time and you know you are the late type person, have appetizers for others to enjoy while they wait. It’s super annoying to go to someone’s house, arrive on time, and they still making key dishes and they have ZERO snacks. Think about your guest and have good appetizers as well as great drinks.  Trust me you will be the hostess with the mostest if you have the necessary food in place.

If you can’t cook let me stress this isn’t the time to train. You should have been practicing all year-long but not today. Today is the day you stick to the things you do well. Maybe that means you should bring the wine.  Either way don’t be out here telling folks you got a speciality dish and your food ain’t hitting. I don’t know about you but the way my family is set up, you getting clowned. Stick to what you know and stick to the basics. If you have kids also bring them extra activities. Not all host will keep your children entertained although they should if they invited guests with kids. Even with our kids being a little older, we come prepared with extra outfits, entertainment, and we have a code word if we think things are getting out of hand. We have a code word between my husband and I for everywhere that we go. We use this word if one of us is ready to go or something is happening that is too much. This has been our saving grace.

If you go to someone’s home bring something. I always try to bring something. Like the times we go to my mom’s house. I bring a dessert, something. I have 5 folks in my home. There’s no way I am coming to someone’s home squad deep with nothing in my hand. Unless the person insists, bring a dish. Or even bring a bottle to share. That is always a gift. If the person of whom you are going doesn’t drink, make a non alcoholic drink that is festive to share. There are ways around no alcohol. Get on Pintrest, online, anything and make it special.

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Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Think about what you are going to wear. Some people wing it and that is fine, but if you want to be dressed up, make sure you have your outfit together. My uncle doesn’t require fancy attire so unless I get the kids Thanksgiving shirts, I just stick to being comfortable.  If your gathering is requiring more formal affair, be cute and comfy. Do not over do it and especially with kids. They are going to get dirty. They are going to play. They do not ever care about dressed and dress shoes. So go into the situation knowing that and always bring a back up outfit for them so when the pictures are done being taken you can move along and enjoy your day!

Above all be grateful for what you have. Think about the day and what it is all about. More than prepping food, it is about making sure that you spend it with those you love. It’s about being grateful for all advancements that we have. It’s about sitting around the table enjoying one another’s company. So enjoy as you prepare it doesn’t have to be filled with stress! Don’t forget to call your loved ones who couldn’t be with you on the day as well and tell them you love them!

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National Make A Difference Day

How can you make a difference? This is such an open-ended question. We always have a tenacity to go to what we don’t have before we answer. You start listing all of the things you aren’t before you can just simply find ways to be the difference in someone else’s lives.

Whatever gifts and talents that are inside of you is more than enough to make a difference. Here are a few ways you can give back and make a difference:

 

Home Life

One charity starts at home. I hate to see people who are super bomb to everyone around them except their own family. I hate to see it with parents who go out and win everyone else’s child but ignore the issues with their own. I hate to see husbands and wives flex on social media but behind closed doors, give silent treatments and ignore the needs of their spouse. We all have to do better.

  • Spend more time with your children. Yes you work to provide. Provision is responsibility. Taking time away from your phone, to sing a song, or play one of their games, or sit and ask them what they like and what’s bothering them makes a difference for a child. Try it some time.
  • Love on your mate. Whether it’s a boo, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, take some time and spend it on them. Yes gifts are great, but how about watch one of their shows actively with them. How about talk and make sure the air is clear? You can also make a dessert together. These are inexpensive ways to show the ones you love that you are one with them.
  • Check in on loved ones. We say we love folks but the only time we check in on them is if we have the tea about another family member. Change that. Call and ask if all is well and mean it. Than when you find out it’s not if you can help, help. Also unless someone told you to tell another person, build trust and just listen and not take their issues to another family member so you “can pray about it.”

Work Life

  • Show up and be on time ready to work. That’s a ministry all in itself.
  • Don’t be apart of the office gossip-remember the same lips bringing you the tea, is the same one taking your tea to stir at another pot on you
  • Be the change in the office you want to see
  • If the job no longer serves you, don’t stay get an exit plan. This may take time, but be proactive in leaving
  • Find ways to be more productive even if that means changing the scenery. When work starts to get to me sometimes I redecorate to fit a new mood. It helps me about 60% of the time

Social Media Life

  • Don’t go back and forth with them……. (in my Lil Duval voice) if you find yourself having to respond to more than one comment just stop. You aren’t going to win an argument on social media with trolls
  • Be who you post to be. Yeah that’s right. Align your social media to reflect who you are. On my social media I highlight me as a mom and wife. I don’t create doors to let anyone think they have space to slide in the DM. They do but at that point they just are trying to do the most.
  • Make sure you don’t do subliminal post. This is hard even for me at times. You see a post and it speaks to you but post it cause it spoke to YOU. You can’t be out here taking shots at folks you don’t even @

 

We all have things that we can give to the world. I came across a young lady on social media that is a hair dresser and she feeds the homeless. This is her life work. She literally gets out there with the folks that many would snub their noses at, and she feeds them and cleans them up and does their hair. She has a whole team of folks that assist her. Think about how her being there does for them. She treats them with dignity and respect. I know if I was down and out the last thing I would want is someone kicking me when I was done. What about those who raise money for others?  They are making a difference in the causes by which they are raising it for. How about those who set up camps at the bus stops for kids to make sure all of the kids have breakfast. You don’t know what someone may be going through at home. Everybody ain’t sitting at home collecting checks. Some middle class folks work everyday and still can’t make ends meet. How about the men who go into the community to pray over the city. There are a few groups here in Philadelphia who do it consistently. What can you do? Whatever gift is inside of you can help make a difference.

I said it before but around thanksgiving I see so many companies give back to others and it warms my heart. If you cut hair, how about offer your services to people who can’t afford to maintain their cuts on a regular basis? If you are a financial planner, offer your services to a few families for free to get them out of debt?  The sky is the limit. Whatever you do, do it well. Someone needs the very thing you have and complain about. Make a difference today and everyday!

 

Less Than Perfect Day

We all fit this build. I know not one perfect person. I mean it I can’t tell you of a person real or imagined that is perfect. I know some who appear to be better than me, but none that is perfect. Why do we have all of this pressure to be perfect? We make all of these demands on others that we often don’t even put on ourselves.  Let me give an example, if you grew up where your parents dictated all of your goals in like education and you know how that felt, why do you then tell your kids they can’t be whatever it is that they want to be?  Perfection and waste of money just to find out they going to rebel and do their thing and may not want to be around you.  Stop this mess.

Since we are all less than perfect we have to got to stop this list that we keep of ways to attack others. Just because you don’t agree with someone else’s level of sin, you judge them, talk about them, tear them down but won’t scoop out that sin in your own life, we got to stop this.  We put sin or whatever you want to call it in categories. If you overeat and walking around with a thousand pounds you know you ain’t supposed to have but point out your fellow-man who lies, why its all wrong, right?. Yes lies are bad and neither one of them are okay.  Work on both issues not just the one you want to highlight.

Work on being balanced. Like for me I love the Lord but unlike some others who just seem to have peace and tranquility on their lives all the time, I throw hands. I will if pushed back, swing.  I love to argue and I love to fight.  Not that I am out here getting into beefs daily because that’s not the case, but if I was somewhere and wasn’t thinking of the goodness of the Lord I could throw hands before I talked you to death. I ain’t out here saving folks if provoked. I am the one for ducking and bobbing and swinging if I had to. I am going to let the spirit of deliverance into my life full-time but I am not there yet. I think what saves others is my kids. I have them with me ALL the time. Its rare I don’t have them. In order to be a good example I have had to walk away so they don’t see Trap momma come out but I am also of the tuck the children ministry and will go for blows if I had to. This is one of the non perfect examples that I am actively working on it.  I can admit that.

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Like for instance I am the cookie baking mom who loves to celebrate my kids, but I also have to pray my strength in the Lord once again on patience if I tell my kids a thousand and one times to do something so I don’t speak out of context. That is real. I can be around other moms and hear them with them flowery voices and be like, man that’s the Lord working and say welp I got some ways to go. I am not perfect but I am perfectly working through all things.  I welcome my flaws for one reason. I used to cry and get upset because I was a straight A student since 2nd grade, no lie, no cap. I was the one who appeared to be an angel but I was the one that if I messed up it was like a huge mistake more than an a small issue.  My other siblings were the opposite so they came off as more problematic at times, but I was the one to watch. So as I got older, I felt like everyone liked to get that magnify glass into my issues and it would get to me. But now, I am like I will tell it before you tell it. I will work it out.  There can’t be shame in non perfection when you own who you are. Also when you take them flaws and work on them and when you do the work to be better, no one can hold you.

If you feel under pressure by others, change the magnifying glass. People will ride you if you let them. Don’t put them off, throw them off of you and back them off of you by simply owning who you are while you work out what they see. Trust me if they had the light turn from you to them there are a few chapters they don’t want others to see too. They simply forget it. AND don’t think you have to remind them to change the light’s view either. You become the scapegoat to others trust me. So learn not to take it on the chin all the time. By the time a person, goes to work, take care of their kids if they have them, drink a gallon of water a day, clean, cook, and work out that alone will keep them occupied with getting their life.  When I do all of that and try to sneak in some husbae time and get my 7-8 hours of sleep I don’t have time to find out what someone else is doing. Apply that same word to your life. You don’t have time to bring out other folks imperfection trying to keep yourself polished and balanced.

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So celebrate that you are less perfect. Own it. Do the work to be balanced.  Balance is more important than perfection. Folks that work on perfection are often the ones who fail the most in the long run. I would rather you think I am failing in the forefront while I work on me in the background!

The Complainer

Let me just say and acknowledge that I used to be the one that got on everyone’s nerves with complaining.  I mean as much as I blamed everyone else for the inability to deal with it, the truth of the matter I was the Debbie Downer that no one wanted to be around.  I used to sit around and say well if “they” can’t deal with me that’s on them, this is who I am.  Sound familiar?  You can’t blame folks for no longer wanting to be in your space when your space is dampened by negative vibes and foolery. It’s like hey, you don’t ever have a good day? What does it take for you to smile? Is your life hanging in the balance, no?  Are you ever going to be okay? I can only imagine the things my own husband thought even if he never said it. I get it when I hear others do it because I hear my old responses.

So fast forward to these last few years, I have one, gut bunched myself.  I checked me.  My mom always taught me everyone ain’t telling the same lie.  They may variations but when you hear the same exact thing, there’s truth in that story.  So instead of dragging those around me with misery I checked myself and quick. I one went to counseling to deal with those underlying issues we think is dormant until they aren’t.  Secondly I looked at life from a different perspective.  There are a thousand and one things that can go wrong in your life, but my responses was the only thing that mattered.  So the blame game stopped. I took stock even in the worst of an argument, I took stock.  What did I do?  How could I change me instead of having a laundry list of the things the other person could have done?  For the record this is years of change, not last week.

I got happy or should I say I found real joy in life.  How can I be the best mother and wife if I am consistently draining those in my own home first?  A good gut check will align you in the way you should go.  So now it’s humbling and annoying at the same time when I hear people complain.  I get real quiet and begin to make space.  I can’t entertain those negative people.  In the last few months I have had one friend that I have hung around that has even challenged my interactions with friends.  I can’t do the friends that have a negative response to the most mundane thing.  For instance I sent a friend a card, they were like why did you send it to me.  I had already made it personal with lovely encouraging words, etc but instead of just reading it, they got it, didn’t open it and was like why this and why that.  I immediately took a mental note.  Listen, my friend I’ll call her K has shown me that friendships should be light.  You should be able to send messages back and forth and enjoy the company.  You should be generally happy instead of the “I wonder what issue this person will bring,” type of relationship.

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So I want to first thank my husband who brought up my negative talk to me.  Our mates know us.  When your mate says your annoying, a complainer, a nagger, you can be mad all you want the truth is in the message, learn to receive it.  I took the message and instead of getting mad, and complained some more I got it together.  There is more laughter in our home than disagreements.  Even disagreements don’t last that long. Trust me even I am have taken notice to it.  Also there is a lightness that makes things flow better even in the most difficult situations we have faced.  People think that trouble doesn’t come to us but that’s the furthest from the truth, we are just handling it better. Secondly I want to think K who has been so refreshing and not just K but a lot of my friends I wasn’t able to receive real love back and forth the way I needed to because of my own hindrances.  I feel like my relationships have gotten better for those who are on the same wave length and the others need work.  Some of that work may be from me and some from the other side as well.  We shall see.

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The time you spend complaining and living in a complaining state takes too much time off of your life.  I think to be honest is where I started doing the daily days that I post on my personal Facebook page.  There is something to be grateful for, something to celebrate, something to be better for.  Learn to tap into that.  I now have to be sure my kids don’t take on any of negative behaviors. I make sure to call it out and show them rather than tell them what gratefulness looks like.  I think our home has been in a better place.  As a wife and mom it’s up to me to set a tone as a covering over negativity in it. I hope that my own blunders will help a person to be the best version of themselves.  I know that negativity is a learned behavior and you are ultimately responsible for what comes out of your mouth.  People do NOT want to be in your presence when you are a cess pool of complaining.  Life and death are in the tongue and even the death of the closeness a relationship can be is in your tongue.  FYI just because someone has been around you for so long, is not a good enough reason to continue in your ways.

Let me leave you with 5 examples and if you meet these 5; do some inside work:

Example #1:

You get a text, do you just go with the flow or question why a message was sent without checking the message first? (reading is fundamental, question what needs questioned but you don’t have to question the sender on every thing it could be just informational)

Example #2:

You get invited to a dinner, instead of going with the flow you make comments on restaurant selection, talk about yourself the whole time, etc (PS you could have stayed home and not come)

Example #3

You are in a group text, you make the church announcement that you don’t do group text and that you are tired of being in them but you get mad when you are no longer invited to the next group text or no longer privy to the information in it (you could have muted the conversation to check back later)

Example 4

You get a gift with no card, your first response is “no card” instead of saying thank you and then the next response is “why would you come with no card” (the card could have gotten lost in transit, or the gift may have not needed one)

Example 5

You are getting a group gift and instead of stating how much you wanted from others, you offer to them for them to give what they can.  Your friend gives 10 your response is “I seen how you been spending lately, this is all you have? (you can’t clock other folks money and what they should or shouldn’t be doing with it)

 

These types of responses over time will not get you invited to the next function.  You can’t get mad when you are constantly left out after the continual rude, insensitive, negative vibes are being given.  FYI outside of the gift one I have used these responses in the past in one shape or form.  This way no one will get in their feelings of you used what I did or said.  However if the shoe fits, please wear them and adjust.  No one and I repeat NO ONE has time for any of the above mess.  No one wants to be drained of negative space when around you.

Be better not to save a relationship but because deep down even you get sick of you.   Continue reading The Complainer

Everything Ain’t About You

Listen I know that there are times when you can have sensitive spirits.  It could be that you are going through a rough patch but please know that everything ain’t about you. There are times when you have to attempt to get your emotions together and place them in the right category.

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For instance this morning I am talking to a friend. She is going through. I am trying to listen to her, give her hugs, reassure her that things will fall into place when an associate comes and is like what are you talking about, me? Now I am looking puzzled and trying to find the right way to respond because my friend is normally outgoing and had she been in the right frame of mind she would have been the one to tell her to go and keep it moving.  I also didn’t want the friend who is going through to be so upset in her own emotions to lash. So I give the girl the “look.”  The look is girl you see she is upset, this ain’t your fight, relax.  So she gets it but it reminded me so many times we have whatever going on that we push those emotions through to others and there is no need. We were not having a conversation about the associate whatsoever.  She was thinking that because of whatever is on her mind and heart. No one wants to hear someone prejudge them when they haven’t even given thought to that person.  That comes from the person having something on their mind and heart and pushing that on to others.  As adults if you have an issue with someone speak up.  There isn’t a class on mind reading.  Discernment goes a long way.  Had the associate had some or just looked at body language she would have kept on moving.  My friend could care less at that moment what she thought.  Neither could I if I am honest and I am sure my face let her know that.  There is no need to take others who haven’t given you the green light to an issue through an emotional roller coaster.

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So today, if you have something tugging on you that makes you think something is happening that isn’t-ask.  Everything about you. People generally don’t wake up attempting to find out how to mess your day up.  How they are going to talk about you today.  The folks that do that have no life or for sure have a lot in their life that is out-of-order. Ignore the emotional pull of these people. Giving into them only fuels them.

 

The Gift of Friendship

When I was deep in my postpartum depression I would cut off my friends.  Right after the birth of my son after moving from Lancaster to Philadelphia I felt isolated.  I was isolated because in my mind I had told myself that this move was only less than 2 hours away and that it wouldnt’ change anything. I was wrong.  I was blinded by having my family under one roof that I didn’t consider a few things.

One of the biggest things was the lack of support. I had my immediate family and one of my best cousins and my friend that I didn’t think that would change. I thought I have a car I and I could get in it and see them anytime I wanted.  My oldest was super easy in how I traveled with her that I never took into account how much more harder it would be to travel with 2 kids would be.  For a day trip it took me the day before prep and an hour just to get them into the car with everything that was needed that often times I elected not to travel.  That in itself also made it hard on me because then I would be upset that I couldn’t travel as often.  So after getting past that blow I would get the kids together and go. Trust me the come back was harder.  I felt comfortable being in Lancaster and I would take a day or two to adjust to the pressures that I was under and having these little people who needed me.

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The other issue is that I didn’t have a network of my own friends in Philadelphia.  I love my husband’s friends but they were his not mine. I didn’t want to have them as my friends on the strength of them being nice to me because of him. He and his friends had history that I didn’t have.  I didn’t want to be the wife of his and they extend some type of olive branch because we were together. I am the type of person who has friends on mutual respect, great closeness and I no longer felt that way since my access to my network had changed. I pushed the long distance ones away too because it didn’t feel the same.  I learned through this season that this was the wrong way to approach things.  Not only that so was sitting in the house day in and day out wasn’t the best way to meet anyone. So I was stuck and miserable for years like this.

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Thank goodness my friends were forgiving and understanding as only one ever knew what was happening.  Only one of them had the sense to address me on it and call me out. I appreciate that.  That isn’t a dig to anyone so don’t take it as such.  Not many of them saw me when I would have outbursts. I did well in open environments and to this day this is one of the reason why I do NOT like pop ups.  I need to prepare for visits.  It’s not personal it’s that I know what I need and I make others respect it even if they don’t like it. I am not ashamed of that.

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I learned how to love myself, how to show love and most importantly how to let others in.  I learned that I didn’t have to carry everything alone and that support looks different when you don’t hold on to the ideologies of what its supposed to be.  Change is hard but in change you find that the ones who have your back won’t change.

Cherish your friendship.  As you progress through various stages of life, some friend will drop off.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  Show love and support no matter how far and near your friends are who have been in your corner through it all.  Know that disagreements and bumps in the road are to be expected.  Remain respectful at all times. If a friendship does end make sure you try to work it out.  Don’t throw a whole friendship over an emotional off the bat without calming down, talking it out, and attempting to make peace.

To all of my girlfriends who have nurtured me and have stood the test of time, I salute you!!!!! Thank you for being amazing women to me during these years.  I pray I can continue to sprinkle the same love your way for the years to come!

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The Catch Up: November 14, 2017

I haven’t given a weekly update since October 30th.  Life has been happening and I am enjoying every minute of it. If you have been following me on Facebook than you know that I work hard to bring you the national days as many as I can.  With the holidays fast approaching like next week is Thanksgiving I have arranged that all posts have been set so I can enjoy some much-needed family time. I have taken a few days off from work as well so me and my little family can zone out with each other, wear Thanksgiving gear, and just eat and be merry.  I will still be posting blogs.  I will not be taking a total break.  We are going to finish the year strong. In the meantime, what has been going on?

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I have been hitting the social scene pretty hard. I have been balancing that with my family, work, and my work out schedule. I think my planners are burning at this point. As the end of the year approaches there has already been an increase of more social events to attend. If there is anyone who like me deals with social anxiety this time of the year can be a huge issue for you. I understand. I try to get there on time because for me getting there late makes me feel like the spotlight is on me. Take deep breaths and play some calming or feel good music on the way.  I also try to make sure that I connect with at least one person and make that my go to person as I travel the room and greet others. I also make sure that I have an exit plan in place in case I get too overwhelmed. For the most part unless it’s a show or something I have to be at for the whole event.

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So far since the last update I have attended a yoga class, went to see Bad moms, attended my son’s soccer, went out for Halloween, and attended the Janet Jackson concert.  Holy get out of the house.  This doesn’t include my meet-ups for working out with friends so this girl is finally breaking out of her shell.

I can’t wait to enjoy some much-needed family time and I hope that you do the same with your families.

My job is doing a maintain challenge. The goal is to keep maintain where you are but if you go over 2 pounds you are disqualified.  This has helped me since I have changed my schedule to include 5 days at the gym, with 3 of those days being in the am.  So whatever you need to do so you can still eat them pies, cookies, and cakes I suggest you do. I am going to keep going but I will still enjoy some of the great holiday food!

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We have been on the move. I have answered a slew of Ask Toi. I will continue to push those out as I am a bit behind.  If you have been asking why there are so many the holidays always brings stress.  As soon as that stress hits people need to vent. I am here. Ask your questions by sending an email to toitimeblog@gmail.com

If you have missed any blogs check them out ToiTimeblog

We have done over 10 or more blogs as I am averaging out to at least 4 or more blogs a week. A girl is feeling pretty good these blogging days! Thank you to all who have wished me a happy anniversary.  It’s still November. My social media pages will all be getting revamped.

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I have made changes to the blog itself. By Thanksgiving I will have changes to Instagram 

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Follow me on Snapchat as Toitimeblog

Have a great one and remember to be kind!