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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Checking in on Your Loved Ones

There is something to be said when you check in on your loved ones. Whether it’s a quick check in or a full on call and listen session we need to be proactive in doing more for each other. We are connected and we need to keep that connection as strong as it possibly can be. We need to do a better job on spreading love to everyone and even the ones we know well. We tend to give better compliments to strangers at times than we do to those we are around. Be the type of person that is nurturing to one another and attempt to find the good in your circle of loved ones.

So for that I am challenging all of my followers to do a quick check in. I know that often times we use text messages and we don’t talk on the actual phone, but it may be time to do a full on call. You can use text messages as a lead way but overall it would be good to hear a voice and be sure that your friends and family are truly okay. Its getting colder out and seasonal depression is real. Even the ones who you think is totally fine and there are no issues present could be fighting a silent fight.

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Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

You would do yourself a disservice to ignore your loved ones in this season. So spend a little time and make it your business to reach out to a few folks over the next couple of weeks. Be sure that if you do that you ask open-ended questions too. Sometimes people will hit you with the yes and no and true interaction is engaging. Also keep in mind some people are private. Make sure the conversation and space is safe for them to open up and speak. Don’t judge what they have to say. Just be sure that you are truly inviting and be there. Some people don’t want a fix they just need to vent. I want to be able to look back and know that I attempted to be there for my friends and loved ones and I encourage you to do the same!!

My Birthday/Mother’s Day Wish List

So as you should know especially if you are a follower of mine is that my birthday I call it Toibration.  First of all I love my name, hence the blog name.  Two I love to celebrate things and let me tell you why.  I used to be a bona-fide Debbie Downer.  I am talking about the kind of woman where you could say something so super simple and I would find a way to make it into a bad thing.  Who wants to me around that negative energy?  NOT ME! So I had to grow.  I had to change but I had to change not because of the people around me wanted me to but because I saw value in changing for myself

So now that I have adjusted my inner being, I find the good in a lot.  Let’s not get it twisted I still don’t like some stuff and am vocal when necessary but for the most part everyday is a real blessing and I try to focus on that. I am a twin which means I have a birthday partner for life.  However another thing about sharing is learning to also make space for yourself.  So with that being said Toibration was made when I turned 30.  Everyone makes it like this huge celebration for your 30s but by then I was on baby number 2, engaged, and just overwhelmed.  HOWEVER I realized how blessed I was to be one above ground, and two surrounded by so much love.

During Toibration I indulge in the things that make me happy.  It could be as simple as a few hours at a book store which sounds boring but for me it’s not.  I can get lost in my own world and prior to having my kids I would escape there often.  Now I do it but in way smaller doses.  It could be a trip to a local coffee shop.  I may indulge in a few treats well a lot of treats but I may have to curtail that until the latter part of the celebration as I am still training and getting ready for the Broad Street Run.

Also my birthday runs into Mother’s Day.  I was actually born on Mothers day in 1981 and ever so often it falls on it.  Yay but I do like separate items for each.  I do not like it pushed together.  Thankfully my husband has been super great since the time we met in 1999 not to forget that.

Here are a few of the things I would love or would like to have or do during Toibration/Mother’s Day:

  • Day to myself to do my own thing
  • Uninterrupted time at Target-those who shop there know what I mean
  • Go to the Movies
  • Good non dairy ice cream
  • Moscato-I love my wines usually white or sparkling of any kind will do
  • New wine glasses-I said I love my wines
  • Facial
  • Shopping at Sephora, Mac, or even just at the local mall to get whatever I want
  • Balloons-I think they are super fun
  • Flowers
  • In lieu of cake, a great fruit salad or a super decadent cupcake
  • A nap
  • A good meal at a restaurant
  • Gummi Bears-Haribo are my favorite brand judge me
  • Mani/Pedi
  • New Journal-you can never have two many I carry one on me at ALL times trust me
  • Statement t-shirts
  • Cards/Affirmations
  • Scents-whether candles, bubbles bath, soaps, etc

So as you can see my list is about things that either feed back into my spirit a lot of the items are already a part of my self-care regiment or things that make me smile to no end.  So I hope you have your own way of celebrating yourself.  I know that some people dread getting another year older but I will be 37 Lord’s will and I embrace it in the most fun and laid back way!

Christmas at the Storr Household 2017

My family is blessed.  I can’t even begin to think that we aren’t.  Even on hard days when it seems a bit crazy, we are blessed.  Christmas at the Storr household is about events, spending time then it is about gifts.  Now they do get gifts, but we focus the attention off of that as much as we possibly can.  We have a limit that we set to the amount that we give them.  It’s not a cruel thing but it is due to the fact that there should be a limit and two they have two sides of the family that gives them things. We do not go broke keeping up with all of the trends.  We woke up the day after not regretting anything.  We get whatever we want and I look for as many deals as I possibly can.  Why?  I like to keep my coins accounted for.  So for all of those who spent the light bill on gifts, that’s your choice.  I for one like stability and love seeing their smiles within a budget.  However let me say this too, the debate on how much to give is a personal choice.  No one has to do it my way and I don’t have to do it your way, what we do works in our home.  You do or don’t do what makes sense in your home.

Larry the Elf

We do the Elf on the Shelf in our house.  I am not quite clear on all of the rules so I make them up on my own.  He comes out at on Thanksgiving day and he goes back Christmas Eve.  The kids absolutely love him.  He is a focal point for them.  I caught my son on Christmas Eve make up a story and read it to Larry. He was seated so cute next to him and was so upset when Larry left a note explaining he would see them again next year.  I know that the holidays aren’t about elves, presents, Santa, but for kids to be kids is always going to be what we push in our home. Larry was doing the most though let me say.  He was into a lot of things.  It kept the kids from getting into mischief.  It was super fun having the kids say oohhhhh I am telling mom you’re not supposed to be in that.

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GingerBread Houses

I love and hate gingerbread houses.  I love the fun that they bring and the creativity but I do not like the stress of making sure this house stays in place. It took me and my husband holding this house up to make sure it was fit for the kids to decorate.  Shout out to the parents whose houses look glorious.  For us it came down to making sure the roof didn’t cave in and there were no tears.  We made it though!!!!! I had a great time anxiety and all.  The kids, well whatever candy they didn’t eat, made it to the house and they were making sure there was more candy at the end so they could watch movies and eat them.  Just believe we made sure I was like a sergeant in the bathroom making sure there teeth were nice and clean afterwards.

gingerbread

Hot Chocolate

It’s a standing tradition in our home to make sure if not the entire month, that we have one dedicated movie and hot chocolate night.  The requirements are simple, have candy and toppings available, have warm pajamas on, come with smiles, and leave with memories.  As always we nailed it! The kids and I love this time. As soon as December comes, I get the whole when is it mom?  They know and I love how excited they are.

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This month we were able to attend a lot of Christmas themed events.  Check out my blogs for all of the fun. One of the things I also enjoyed was watching my oldest perform in the choir for Christmas eve service.  She always looks so beautiful when she’s super dressed up.  I loved her performances.  On Christmas we got up, opened up presents, had breakfast and traveled to my parents home to have Christmas with them and my siblings and their families.  It’s always a lot of fun. The kids love playing with one another as well as eating well and opening up more presents from everyone.

I am truly grateful for the things that God has blessed me with that don’t have price tags attached to them.  I am also for a family who honored my weight loss journey with gifts that will keep me accountable.  I wanted a kettlebell and got one, as well as my new ear phones that are wireless so I can stop pulling the cord during my weight lifting or runs.  I am grateful for friends who gave some of the best gifts this year as well.  Overall my family had a great time.  We had the most jam-packed month to be honest.  I was actually super tired Christmas morning and that was with a lot of the gifts being pre-wrapped.  I hope that if you celebrated with your family that far above what you received you were able to give.  I pray that your family and friends had peaceful holidays.

Before we open gifts we always remind our children that there are a lot of things they aren’t getting.  We let them know that there are children who woke up that morning with nothing or didn’t wake up.  We reminded that life is precious and that enjoying the small moments is just as important as the big ones.  We try to instill this all year-long, however because of the holidays and gifts I feel its important for our children to give back to their communities and they do.  We make sure we donate, and get involved.  It’s not important to simply exist in this world, we are all connected to one another.

Ask Toi: Christmas Concerns

It’s 7 days before Christmas and with that in mind, let me answer a few Ask Toi that have been sent my way these last couple of days.  Keep in mind that in order to submit a question, please email them to toitimeblog@gmail.com

Although I am preparing for Christmas, end of the year, etc I will always and forever be available via email or any of my toitimeblog social media sites

  1. What do I do if I am early in the dating stage and the new boo family gives a gift to me? ANSWER: One I would always go to a family event even as a new dater, with a hostess gift. Ask the boo if the family drinks, or bring something that can be used in the home. It doesn’t have to be expensive. This holiday season I bought these wine bottle holders from Michaels for 3 for $5 and one bottle can be around 10 so there’s a gift for under 20.  Do not feel the need to get anything that is too personal yet.  You want to be appropriate and welcoming.  Be yourself and enjoy the time.
  2. Do I have to go to all of these holiday parties? ANSWER: No.  I would get the list of parties that you are going to and go to the ones of those who you are the closest.  I know that some folks will be bummed but the reality is no matter how much money you may or may not have, holiday parties can become expensive.  You have to be smart in how you do them.  If you want to go to them all, then do.  Find a black number, and dress that same outfit a number of ways.  If you are asked to make something, find a signature dish that you know will take little to no effort like a pasta salad.  Make sure you know how long you want to attend and make an entrance as well as an exit.
  3. My family can be a handful, how do I politely tell my new boo that I do not want him to interact with the fam bam just yet? ANSWER: Go to your individual celebrations with your own family and meet up and do something that is just for you and the new boo.  Let the new boo that you don’t want to bring them around just yet.  This will only work if you are being truthful and honest.  If you have multiple boos and you trying to be slick, trust and believe things will reveal themselves.  Don’t ghost you’re new boo just because you aren’t sure of where you, spend time with them and make them feel like you are trying to put in the energy you want in return.

Keep in mind that no matter what stage of life you are in, not everyone is in a jolly spirit.  This doesn’t mean you need to water down who you are and what you want to please them.  Be yourself and enjoy or not enjoy it as you seem to fit. If drama is on your menu, kindly exit stage left.  People all around the world are practicing self-care and don’t be surprised if a few of them look at you sideways or exit left.  Don’t nobody have time for the foolery any year.

Stopping Through: December 13, 2017

So we are about 12 days to Christmas and the excitement, tiredness, and joy are all mixing over. Some moments I can’t even tell you which one I am in.  I am also finding that I also have had mixed moments of sadness too.  So for all of those who are having to push through this season, push on through.  It can be hard because everyone wants you to be super jolly.  I am more jolly because of my kids but if I am honest, the jolly times can fluctuate often.

I was reminded of how pushing through is a necessity when I had to deal with my kids. They keep me grounded because I can’t tell them to come up to where I am not.  So that within itself, keeps me on my toes. However I have increased a few things along the way that help me keep it together.

Podcasts

I am starting to get into podcasts. I listen during my first machine of working out.  Then I switch back over to music for my second machine. I listen during work as well with one headphone in and one headphone out.  I am hoping for cordless headphones for Christmas to make listening so much easier and fluid.  However yes, podcasts are doing it for me.  I love them.  I haven’t found one I can recommend yet, I feel like I have to go through many in one series before I can just put my stamp of approval.  When I do, I will recommend some for you.

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Planning

So I am a planner by nature.  Although we are knocking at the door of 2018, my first quarter calendar is already super full.  I am going to have to be at the point, to say no to a few invitations going forward.  I love doing things but doing the most is not happening in 2018.  I need to have some me time, family time, and bae time.  I can’t come to everything and I am not going to feel guilty about it.  So if you get a decline this year or even next year, know I love you, but being thinner is in my waistline, not my mental state or my pocket.  I am making sure that I plan a lot of fun things I want and fitness classes, etc My goal is to work on being whole this year.  I finally got a good balance in all areas now we going to be whole and balanced.  Also I am in the early stages of planning a me trip. I thought about opening up to others and I haven’t fully ruled it out, but I will begin by planning and then opening up instead of having a full pow wow getting opinions and then going from there.  I want to do activities that I want this year and I am going to do them.  I love people but times I am an introvert and I want what I want.  This is the year of going after it all!

Coming Late, Leaving Early

I hate being late for something. I will be the type that will once late not come because I hate all eyes on me.  However I am enjoying attending things late and leaving early.  I have not been able to fin a way to multiply myself so all of these events are doing the most.  We are at points where I have to literally stop through.  I can’t be at full events unless it’s a wedding.  I am like at best 2 hours. I had someone get mad that after they had a function they wanted everyone to get together and shop afterwards.  I was like, Sis, this is a no.  I have somewhere to be even if that place is home with my shoes off watching football. Let me live!

Some folks stay getting offended, I going to need some understanding especially those who consistently text you or make a group invite a week before your event.  If you have a December event, and you trying to make numbers, you are going to have to tell folks in a timely manner. I feel too at times, those who are going to be there will sacrifice but let’s keep this all the way real, this type of mentality is out-of-pocket.  Yes, those who will be there but that type of word choice, is stale and I hope folks realize the power of invitations and giving out the information early in 2018.  I used to think that but then again I also give folks information early as possible.

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Take a Deep Breath

Also I take time to enjoy my favorites.  I probably working out more because it’s a great stress reliever. In addition that has allowed me to enjoy a glass of wine here and there and a donut too.  I enjoy my favorites around this time.  I am not going to kill myself while I am trying to maintain my sanity and waistline.  So with that being said, if you see me with a piece of cake, charge it to the game.  It is what it is and happiness for me comes in many forms.

So I really take it up a notch for the next few days leading up to the holidays.  I still have to do my movie night with the family with my hot cocoa bar.  Today is national cocoa had I been in the full mindset, I would have had it prepared but I am not so I will do it next week!  Enjoy this time. Take it from me and don’t let anyone take you there to where you are super angry over a thing. This means in driving too, parking spot wars, get together at family and friends, nothing.  Take this time in.  However if you are struggling know you’re not alone.  Do what you need to do so that the time of the year is overwhelming you.  If you are constantly saying I can’t wait for it to be over, there may be a few self-care things you aren’t employing and you need to do so quickly.

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As far as updates on what I am the fam bam are doing, you can catch them here, ToiTime Blog

Our weekends are super full so there will be more to post as they happen.  Other than that, have a great holiday!

Yearly Breakfast with Santa

One of my favorite things to do is to do the breakfast with Santa. It is such a great time. We have been doing it for the past 5 years and I love looking back and seeing the growth of the children in the pics.

This year as we always try to do is match. Outside of Easter what is the another time to dress alike? I personally take all dressing alike to another level. I live for these moments. Also I’m grateful for a husband who just goes with the flow. I used to only dress me and the kids but of late I’ve been making it a family affair. Anyone who knows me knows I like any personalized item.

We go to the Greater Plymouth Community Center and we have breakfast to start. At some point the Chick Fil-A cow comes in dressed in Santa gear. They have a room of activities and crafts and of course Santa Claus himself.

The kids and the parents have a blast and it always includes bingo. This year all 3 kids won prizes!!

So here’s to another year of having breakfast with Santa!!