Sunday Message: Being Aware

One of the biggest things that we don’t always do is make ourselves aware of ourselves. This week I was super agitated. It wasn’t anything that anyone had done. I had to find a balance between the news and all of the events surrounding myself.  It was hard to balance. I found myself semi-triggered at times. Thinking to myself how hard it was to not be upset because whatever was going on around me was triggered.

I had to remove myself from conversations with certain people this week. I had to walk away and say I can’t do anymore than I am doing. As someone who is an ultimate care giver, I find myself in that mode all the time.  My kids can be at school all day and I am still over thinking about what has to be done as soon as I get home. It’s a part of my personality honestly to be on top of it all.  With wanting to stay up to date with current events especially with the elections around the corner, researching candidates so I can make an informed decision, self-care, eating right, working out, and training for this half marathon has been mentally draining. I swear my wrist got tired just typing all of that. Nonetheless taking a moment when I took a step back to see when I was breathing heavier trying to prevent myself from reacting, or watching my kids laugh instead of just walking around like a stress bomb made me take more account of myself.

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What do I need? It’s always okay to step out and grab what you need in the moments but we pretend that we have to have it altogether and we don’t. Being aware of my husband and the things he is processing is a learned skill. To know when he needs me to just let him talk so he can vent and I just listen has been a task this week.  It is hard because we all have stuff pulling on us.  Being aware when my kids just want more hugs instead of me so excited for their bedtime so I can decompress.  It was a challenge this week. It wasn’t this natural happy flow. I had to work at it. I had to step back and make myself be in the moments.

What are you needing to be aware?  What can being aware help you accomplish?  You will be surprised of the inspiration that comes from it. You will be more zen to handle your life instead of your life handling you. Take a moment and be in the moments of life. Don’t let time slip by and you don’t even know how you got there!

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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!

My Go To’s of Social Media

So you know that social media can be a blessing and a curse. If you are on it to compare your life you will immediately fall into a state of depression and that is something you do not want to do.  You really need to find your daily passions and inspiration. Since making dramatic changes in my life I find that I attract myself to those who are like-minded.  It is also allowing me to naturally cut off those who don’t fit that lifestyle.
Inspiration is all around us. It could be with a conversation as you are passing by. It could be in nature.  I don’t know how many times I have seen something go down and got completely inspired by a bird.  It’s true. You can be inspired by social media and a post. The post I love is anything where flaws are exposed but hope abounds. People are looking for hope because all around them they might be surrounded by hopeless people or even hopeless thoughts. This world is super shiny and pretty all the time but it can shed a little light to add some light to a dark soul. In reality that is what we are supposed to be.  When people see you, they should see light. It doesn’t mean they need to see perfection.  They need to see your try. They need to know they can quit a job that wasn’t serving them and go on to bigger and better. They need to see someone leaving a raggedy marriage and not settle and even if another relationship isn’t around the corner they still know they will be fine. They need to see that parenting is super hard and trying, but with grace they can make it.

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As a blogger I of course love social media because it allows me to put my blogs out, connect with others, and really see people doing their thing as they see me doing the same. You can have people or things that you like or that inspire you.   I have a little small listing of the things that inspire me.  From home improvements, to celebrations for my kids, anything self-care, and of course people who are doing their thing, failing I said that correctly, dusting themselves off and pushing through. Everything we see on social media has a back story to it.  With that being said I will give you 4 women I find inspiring and tell you why!

Amanda Seales

One because she “be knowing.” If you follow her I don’t even have to explain it.  She is a champion for the culture and she is about as real as it gets.  She rarely sugar coats things and you know that’s how I live my life. I love her ability to be herself and she doesn’t appear to care if you or me like her or not.  She is a jewel.  I love her happiness.   I love her passions. I love that Amanda is always pushing for people to take accountability. I hope that accountability doesn’t become a lost art.  We really need it.  She makes me check myself on all levels but especially where politics and culture is concerned. Like a mirror that constantly asks that nagging why.  Although she is not nagging she will make you think and correct yourself quick.  Amanda is like my big sis or that bomb friend who serves it straight but also is someone who can relate to you without judging everything you do. And she plays Tiffany on HBO’s Insecure.  I love her character. That losing your friends with motherhood episode was real! Amanda been in the game a long time. Check her credentials.  She really is about this life and about the culture.  She is the culture! Check out her podcasts, Small Doses and then follow her on social media you won’t be disappointed. Also if you are on Instagram and you follow her, always and I mean always catch her Instastories daily, Amanda Seales

Randi Rossario

She is the owner of the internet radio show, “Oh So Radio.” She has alot of things on her plate you really should check her out! She is super dope and I found her one day at work on break with her “Good Day” inspirational moments. You might have seen her recently on the Shaderoom’s post about her helping a couple who’s wedding was semi ruined due to their child nearly drowning at a pool party.  Well above her ability to help those in need, her “Good Day” inspirations really moves me. Now let me warn a few stuffy folks, this ain’t your momma’s inspirational moment but when I say no lies are ever detected, I mean it. She is super straight. You might not even want to accept the way she speaks but you can’t deny the truth that is coming out.  She is the real deal.  I try not to hit the “Good Day” moments every morning because when I do hit she always has the exact word for what I am dealing with.  She speaks on owning your stuff and stop allowing others control over what you do.  So if you are someone who lacks the ability to move forward, hit her Instagram.  You will get the good kick in the ass that you didn’t even know you need it.  But TRUST me you needed it!

Heather Lindsey

So I had to take a little break from Heather for a few months. It wasn’t anything personal but I just take a break from social media folks quite often.  Not only do I attempt to take breaks from it altogether during moments of life, I do encourage others to do the same. Heather Lindsey is a Christian who is also the wife of Cornelius Lindsey pastor of The Gathering Oasis church in Atlanta GA and a mother of 3.  I was directed by a friend to follow her. I went scrolling along to hear what she had to say.  She seems like a genuinely down to earth person who for one will let you know she loves the Lord, she loves her family, and she loves life. I love the way she takes care of herself. That is what caught my eye.  Now I know it would be a thing to say why in the world would you be worried about what she is wearing. It was more than her outfit choices although let’s be clear they are super dope. I followed her at a time when I was struggling from looking like a whole mess calling myself a wife and mother.  Now there’s nothing wrong with struggling but apart of my struggle was saying how I wanted to get me together and yet I did nothing to achieve that goal.  She was so well put together that she challenged me to have balance.  I needed that. I still push for that.  Balance is more attractive than how much the pieces you have on cost.  So for that, she inspires me get it together. I am sure she like we all do have super stressful days.  But she travels by herself at times, travels with her husband, dates him often on date days and date nights, goes on girls trips, baecations, and runs a whole business with the Pinky Promise.  That’s the type of balance that is encouraging to women no matter your background.  Check out Heather Lindsey

I know a lot of folks that are in the church struggle with the ability of loving the Lord and still looking like the promises God said was for you.  I grew up in a church where most folks was looking wayward.  I know that can’t be the promise that God gave to the world.  How can we reach folks looking like “Le’ Struggle” everyday.  I mean everyday maybe, but not everyday.

Jenell B Stewart

She is like the all around mommy mogul.  I know we give credit to all of the other mommy moguls who seem to have like millions of followers but this queen is one to be on the look out for. First of all as an African-American woman it’s always to see chocolate loves that mirror me or my kids.  She is a lifestyle blogger, a mom, she has a podcasts, teaches lessons on things from growing social media, to balancing life.  I love and stay glued to her InstaStories.  She is just a mom who tries to have it all and do it all.  You know that is possible, right?  Yes.  I found her quite a little while ago and she had me hooked from the first video.  A few key reasons why I follow her, her page is eye-catching.  Please check out her website

It is like everything you need in one strong dose.  Her Instagram is relatable.  With me changing my lifestyle to be healthier a lot of the products that she uses or endorses I have tried and loved.  Andddddd I don’t know how much her whole family is into the healthier lifestyle but mine are taking way smaller doses than I would like.  I like that I can be encouraged that if I alone stick to this lifestyle I at least have someone who is doing it with me in my head!!

Now with these super beautiful women in their own right, I do not even have the slightest energy to be them.  For one like Heather always says, their portion is for them and mine is for me. I do not know what they did to acquire the lifestyle that they have.  However what I will say is that with my portion, I am finding that I am able to do what I need to do for me and be inspired to be the best version of myself because I am just as dope as these women.  However we all need a little nudge in a few departments.  So whether that’s in how you press on, how you take in the culture around you, to be being balanced or living healthy, choose wisely who you link your aspirations too.  They speak volumes of who you are in real life. Check out these beauties and I am sure you will snag a jewel or two from them.  My hope is since Heather has the Pinky Conference is to get to one if not this year, at least next year.  In my head, I am going to meet Amanda.  I hope to keep being inspired by Jenell and Randi and maybe one day meet them as well.

Fight Procrastination Day

I’m really glad that there are days like this. They help us to get our minds together and what a day than fight procrastination day. We all at some point have procrastinated about something. From weight loss to grocery shopping to laundry, procrastination takes many forms.

Fighting procrastination means making an attempt to do the things that we all need to do but have been putting off. What do you need to stop putting off? Have you completed your 2018 resolutions if you made it? This is something you need to get back on track. All of the promises made to yourself need you to bring life into them. It’s easy to let a few goals slide. However depending on the level of procrastination, the guilt that comes from it can be unbearable.

Waiting and putting off grocery shopping until you have literally no food may not stop the world but depriving yourself for example your education, and making excuses year after year could affect your quality of life. Not washing your hair a few extra days may not end world hunger, but putting off going to the doctors could put your life as risk. Counting up the cost of what you choose to ignore is a part of prioritizing. Some of the little things we ignore can add up.

Take some time to make new list and instead of ignoring, avoiding, or crossing off altogether prioritize what matters to you in the long run. Sometimes procrastination comes from putting yourself last. You are important and nothing you do for others will matter if you can’t find a way of pouring into yourself first! Your goals and dreams need you and you need to fight procrastination and make it happen!

Here is a small helpful listing of what you can do to help fight procrastination:

  • Make smaller goals from large goals
  • Reward yourself
  • Make realistic goals
  • Eliminate people or things around you that are triggers of distraction
  • Set time restraints around your goals
  • Write your goals down

I hope that today and everyday you take the time to make one step towards each goal you set. We all can get caught up in life . What we do once we get caught off guard, matters. Fight procrastination and hit it hard!!

Monday Motivation: What are your Intentions?

It’s amazing that in this technology driven world we forget some simple basics. I too had to go to the old landmark of writing down my goals and the steps I was using to achieve them. It’s okay to have technology but don’t forget to be clear with intentions.

Intentions are goals that you set for yourself. It’s not a list of stats that a lot of folks use for instance when they are dating. It’s super clear goals and an action plan. For instance if you’re losing weight you write where you are, where you are headed, and your action plan. As much as speaking your intentions matter so does writing them down and being pro ACTIVE!

This notion of simply having a good idea but not wanting to do the work is so backwards. Rarely do businesses, desires, or dreams just happen without hard work, failure, and sometimes rejection but we daydream it could just happen so easily!! Take the time to write your vision and then begin looking into how to make it happen for you! You will then get linked to the right people and places, etc.

Intentions and actions plans is what separates the talkers from the doers. So where do you stand? Are you a slick talker whose been saying for years you are gonna, but have no action plan in place?! Are you a doer whose been just trying things but don’t have things written? You can be a runaway train doing the most and frustrated cause you’re doing things out of sync. Writing things down will help you focus your steps!

This Monday, be clear in what you want and where you want to be and not just at New Years Eve. Go back and review your written goals. Instead of being mad and down about what you haven’t completed, find ways to renew your goal or sit and think if this goal was outside of what was to happen foe you. If you find it’s still a dream you want to accomplish then roll up your sleeves and make it happen. Be clear in your goals and put some ACTION behind it!

Meatless and Surviving

So I decided to go meatless this week. Like for real no meat this whole week. I did so great that now the debate is will I add meat back in?! I decided to do this once a month in preparation for my fall runs and races. However between a few friends and a few blogs I follow and I have been fulfilled and eating too good.

I think when you tell yourself you aren’t going to have something the more you want it. All the food I’ve made this week has had me in my bag. Everyone who knows me knows I meal prep all year long. Even my family meals, because it ensures that we can eat dinner and meals within reason. I would encourage everyone to meal prep. Although it’s a lot of work to cut and prep and cook food ahead of time the wins during the week surpass anything I could think. I’ve been meal prepping since I returned to work from being a stay at home mom a few years ago! It started with wanting my kids to have the same level of home cooked meals they had when I was home with them all day!

So how strong has the meat demon been on my back?! Hella strong. I was making my family’s plates like Lawd let me touch just one piece but nope I would just say no and fix my plate with my selections and I was fine. My kids asked me if I was going to be a vegetarian all my life?! I let them know I’m not sure but I’m not dieting at all just replacing things to live a healthy lifestyle and of course I offered them a few bites but nope they wouldn’t bite. I’m going to tell my other food is super healthy and see if they leave me selections alone. It’s worth a try!!

So the reason I decided I was going meatless is it was a suggestion from a friend of mine who is training for her Fall runs. We run together and I was talking to her about my goals. I have so many on my calendar that I want to make sure I’m super ready. When I’m preparing for runs I find my body weight won’t change but how lean I appear looks more refined in the Fall then the Summer!!

So instead of allowing the meat demon roll up on me, I listened to a few of my friends and my meals have been great. I’ll keep you updated should I continue this journey more than one week in a month but for now I reign victor!!

Shout out to Quorn I swear there food was awesome all week I had such variety and I know meatless shouldn’t taste good or at least I thought, but this brand hands down can take all my money it’s so good!!

Ask Toi: How do I deal with my Parents thinking I’m not following old school parenting with my own kids?!

This is multilayered. This could have come up if you’re making comments about new school parenting is better. It can come up if you do something that an old school parent thinks is too new school. It could come up if you ask for advice from old school parent but then do the opposite.

Depending on when it comes up is how you proceed. There’s no doubt that old school parents believe and hold to their old school values. That can be from diapering to discipline. So if you are stating how better the new school way is better often times old school parents hear “you think you’re a better parent,” or they hear, “you think my ways are wrong.”

If the argument of who is better comes up during a time when the new school parent does something in front of an old school parent that could mess with the new school parent and you think you’re not good enough. You may feel pressure for approval and it can mess you up if you aren’t feeling it. If you ever ask an old school parent advice and then don’t take it, it could come off as a “why you ask?!” This is probably the most irritating interactions.

So here’s the thing:

1. Parenting is subjective: you won’t ever get to the point where you feel 100% feel that you are quite finding your rhythm and old school parents are super high fiving you! It would be nice but not everyone has that happy mesh.

2. Old school and new old school ways are within you. You will fuse them but only how much depends on you.

3. Try not to take everything said to heart. Between your own parents and finding your way and the world with their long laundry list of to dos and not to do it will be hard to find your actual way. It’s okay!

4. Trust your instinct-this is hard but necessary

When I had my first child she was born 6 weeks early and had to stay a few days in the NICU. I was fortunate that it wasn’t a longer stay. I relied on my own mother to guide me. She gave me basic parenting skills. However my child had a lot of health issues therefore I had to rely on the doctors for a lot that first couple of years. Probably more than I would have all things considered. A lot of folks was knocking me for it. I trusted my instinct, and did some give and take with those around me. I pushed through! You’re not choosing one side over the over. You’re choosing what you need to feel successful in parenting. Also it’s okay that old school won’t agree. Parenting comes with thick skin. Take things with a grain of salt. No the things that our parents did when we were younger will work now, times have changed but what’s the same is wanting better for your child, keeping them safe and healthy, and working hard to provide. Be gentle with yourself but stand strong in your decisions.