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!

 

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Real Love: Friendship Edition

So I have been documenting my journey during various stints of my life.  I have talked extensively about moving to Philadelphia from Lancaster and how hard it was for me to adjust to life in general. I STRUGGLED. There were a lot of reasons why.  I had great friends at home in Lancaster.  I was newly pregnant with baby number 2 and a toddler as I moved into my fiance at the time’s home.  It was too much at one time and I was trying to act like it wouldn’t be a problem.  In my mind I am like I got this.  However I didn’t have it and I was too self-centered to reach out to others to tell them the REAL of how much I had been suffering but feeling like someone should just know what is wrong and rescue me.  Guess what?  I had to rescue myself.  Many didn’t know. I didn’t open up and I didn’t talk about it either.

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One of the areas that suffered the most was friendships.  All of them took a hit.  Not one was okay in my eyes.  It wasn’t that friends left me because they didn’t.  I lost the access that I once had or at least I felt that I had.  Do you know how hard it is to maintain friendships even an hour and a half away?  When you can’t drive as often as you want due to the hassle of having a toddler and a growing belly?  Listen, I didn’t invite any friends over because anybody who knows me and knows my ambitions would think (in my head) that I had accepted the very bottom by moving in with my fiance and his mom.  Now let me be clear that is how I FELT.  There was nothing bottom about taking on a plan to make sure you are secure and making sure that things aligned well as long as YOU have a self-care plan and I had ZERO!  I never let folks know not even my parents what my plan was and how having that plan is what has caused me to have a better life even now.  I just moved and acted like I was crazy in love and I was but it was a purpose for it all.

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So after I had my son and even after the birth of my youngest and last child I struggled to get out and make friends.  I am not one of those people who believes in having a thousand friends instead I believe in smaller solid circles.  To build a circle I compared them to friendships I had for over 20 years and they can’t be on that same level.  However after some self-care, some get over yourself, after some mental relief I have been able to establish some new friendships and they are proving to be something so powerful.  My new friendships have NOT replaced old ones but they are showing me that you can open your heart and life to another person and be whole.  I have learned that I can be the friend I want others to be towards me.  In that I have learned that the love will not look the same either.  We have to be willing to put it out and weed the wrong ones out.  That is a process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

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One of my friends I will call her K is amazing.  I didn’t realize I needed her in my life until she came in and I allowed her the space.  I find that she is super refreshing and super encouraging.  If anybody would follow our daily videos or texts they would call us weirdos. I find that the love that she gives adds to me and makes me want to be a better woman and mother.  She checks me when I need it but her approach isn’t to cut.  I have had friends who kept it too real but didn’t have the finesse to be able to know where I was at moments and it would hurt my feelings.  I also didn’t speak up about the hurt either. I didn’t want the backlash. That is not a real friendship if you can’t say hey you are doing something that isn’t sitting well with me and I need you to stop.  I am glad that I am open to the kind of love where someone gives me the love I need and not the love they think I need and isn’t willing to change. I have had several budding relationships in the last 5 years and they are ALL super amazing.  They all have taught me so much about myself.  They all are a blessing.  I don’t have to pick and choose love I can have it all and having girlfriends in my life is necessary and beautiful at the same time!  This notion that having girls who are friends to avoid cattiness is ridiculous.  That only happens when you choose the wrong ones.  I have had to cut a few of those off too in the last 5 years or even just let nature take control and not see them as much too.  My friends old and new are making me better in this thing called life.  I am honored to have each of in my life.

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Check Your Own Body

I have so many tips for doing different work outs but I am not a professional so I really have what works for me.  I don’t even act like my fail proof plan is a Godsend for all, however there comes a time when you have to be on top of things because let’s face it, who else will?  I remember a reader asking an Ask Toi about gynecological exams and if they should continue to have them done after they were married. My answer then and now is an absolute YES!

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Marriage doesn’t mean you sexual health is perfect. You as a woman need to be aware that now that you got the ring and are one, you can still be one at risk woman.  I always wish happiness and great sex for married couples but if anything you should know right now, everyone ain’t on the up and up.  Not only that outside of getting an unwanted and unexpected non gift from a mate, is the risk of ovarian cancer. It is your job to do all you can to live a happy and healthy life.  Part of living a healthy life is to be about your health and sexual health is important.  No ring or marriage certificate will keep you safe.  So my advice is simple, get checked.  I’ve told the story before how when I was pregnant with my youngest, my OBGYN asked me if I wanted to get the STD panel done.  My answer was hell yes. Her response is well you’re married and you have kids.  I asked her who licensed her again because if you are giving me of sound mind this advice what in the holy hell was she telling other women.  Ladies get checked regardless of your status even my born again virgins that ain’t had none since Jesus was a baby, you need to get things checked too.

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No married woman should be told, you good and that’s it. Again the amount of women who die from ovarian cancer is enough for me to check.  Also like I said I do not subscribe that my husband is so perfect that there is a chance that I am going to be okay. I do trust my husband but how many women rely on trust alone and find out after it’s too late that there husband was on the “down low” and they have contracted something that a pill or a shot can’t cure.  I have told my husband plenty of times that I love me and my kids enough and I get that sometimes men take chances on getting some new %ussy but I refuse to live my life where I just throw caution to the wind. One of us has to love themselves enough to get things checked out.  So far after 5 years there hasn’t need to put the “man” between us.  I do not live my life on the edge.  If something is wrong I want to know, get a plan and keep it moving. This is why I encourage my ladies and my men to know what is going on with your health.  Avoidance is a sure fail way to not live your best life.  In order to have a good life you need to be here.

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So find what works for you in general.  I would also encourage all to see your doctor as well as a nutritionist.  These two are key to getting your health on track.  What you eat is literally a large component to how healthy your life is.  Eating the wrong things can contribute to high cholesterol, weight issues, etc.  Overall health seems so overwhelming. I think when I am trying to drink enough water, exercise, take care of my kids, go to work, have a good sex life, be good to my husband, and anything else life throws how much it takes to be on point in each other.  This is why I believe in balance.  However when it comes to my health, I believe in going in, getting things checked and then attacking each area.

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Emotional Wellness Month

There are so many things going on.  Look on the “What’s Coming Up” section on this site for all of the month observances.  With the shocking Las Vegas shooting that took place October 2, 2017 it is more important for us to develop some sense of emotional health.

Emotional health doesn’t always mean that your life is in order.  Most times it may be the exact opposite.  However in order to have your wits about you, you have to take time to get your emotions in check in order to proceed with your goals.  So how does one get their emotional wellness in order?  Here are a few ideas on how to maintain good emotional health:

  1. Know what your triggers are.  Triggers are things that automatically send you into a tail spin.  These triggers can come from loved ones, yourself, or strangers.  They are words that are said, vibes that are given, and actions that take place that make gets you all kinds of upset or off your game.  Know them and try your hardest to avoid them.
  2. Watch your company.  Sometimes its in our company that we end up finding ourselves in the worst situations.  Not everyone means you well.  Once you realize this it will not always be easy but it will be necessary to make sure that you weed out those who no longer serve the bigger picture in making sure you are healthy from the inside out.
  3. Watch how you talk?  Did you know that you can speak things into your life without even knowing it?  It’s true there is power in your tongue so be careful how you speak to yourself, you are listening. This morning I had the cutest outfit but because swelly belly came out today I was thinking oh no I look ugly, fat, etc I had to change how I felt and speak the correct words.  I do not need all of that negativity to follow me throughout the day.
  4. Say no-this is powerful.  The two letters in NO can make people back off and up.  If you are asked to do something that you will complain about later, than don’t do it.  It’s like someone asked you for a ride but you don’t want to.  You give them the ride in the thought of being nice, but others around you has to hear about how you didn’t want to, how they didn’t give gas, etc.  Saying no will not harm you or them. They will find another way.  You do not need to be the one who does everything for everyone.
  5. Take a time out-I say this with every self-care, self-love piece that I write but its true.  You need a time out to regroup and gather your thoughts.  There is something that will enlighten you when you learn to take some time to yourself.  This doesn’t mean it will be an entire day but if you can take it.  Sometimes it may be a few moments.  It reminds me of the times I have to lock my bathroom door to prevent my kids from just walking in.  Sometimes I am in there having a snack I don’t want to share, saying a do not kill prayer, or just reading a magazine without interruption.  Take a break.
  6. Turn off electronics.  I love my phone and laptop, but there are times I have to say no and not even engage.  The way social media works, it can bombard you at a moment’s notice.  A social media tune out is necessary to connect with others or those around you.

Your emotional health is just as important as your mental and physical health.  Having hurt and pain follow you and yet you are doing nothing about it makes no sense.  Tap out so you can tap in.  Go see a psychiatrist if you need it.  Go speak to an unbiased 3rd party if you need it.  Deal with past hurt and pain so you and the people in your present and future won’t have to deal with what you won’t heal.  Confront some things.  Sometimes we think things are no big deal but I know for experience, bottled pain is the worst pain.

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I had a friend recently share about her failing marriage and the concept of loving safely.  People think that because your life from the outside looks perfect and you have things that you are in a lovingly safe environment. That could be furthest from the truth. Many hide from emotional abuse and do not speak up for themselves.  God forbid if you are being financially abused on top of that and this is why so many stay in situations because they see no way out.  Please make sure that you are loving safely.  Loving safely no matter who you are with, or what your life looks like.  Deal to heal.