Philadelphia Theatre Company Presents Bridges of Madison County

I had a wonderful time at the opening night of Bridges of Madison County.  This musical was not only engaging, it also hit on some questions in life.  The story involves an Italian woman named Francesca Johnson who married an American solider to flee the war in Italy. The story also surrounds Francesca family as they head off to the state fair without her. Who she encounters while they were gone, sets the many questions of what would you do.

What would you do if you found yourself in the company of a handsome stranger who woos you? In crossing the line you are left with the questions in your heart and mind of staying with the man you have built a family but not necessarily having the fire in your soul for or the man who with whom you just met who makes you feel alive?  How deep is your loyalty?  I attended this musical with my husband and it made for one great date night and an interesting conversation for the journey home. We talk in our society of men cheating but this woman clearly cheated on her husband and fell hard in love. Could she in the 1960’s just leave?  Could you in an unhappy relationship leave your mate now?  I think about all of the social and economic structure of that time and think about how staying definitely was more of a stable decision. To leave stability and your children is not only now but then unheard of. So of course my husband and I are talking about how life is different for women in a lot of ways with advancement in careers, etc but there are still women who are housewives who feel stuck in their current state. Now I am not condoning cheating in any way. Matter of fact, although stuck Francesca was actually quite wrong to cross the line with the photographer even if I understand it!

Did I mention that it’s a musical? I love musicals. Bridges of Madison County kept my attention and the front seats were probably the best part. I would highly suggest you getting to this show, opting for VIP seats if you can and by the way you can because there are many options to make it affordable.  This musical has romance, its funny, the music is A1, and it has drama and will have you talking well after you have left. If that isn’t the making of a good time?  I am enclosing the link for deals, like reduced tickets 3 hours before show time, ticket discounts if you are a SNAP recipient, group tickets, etc.  Tickets for all budgets and the ability to have one star-studded night.  So affordability for all is important and trust me when I say you are going to want to get out and not miss this masterpiece.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre for a magical night. Thank you to the amazing cast you were above and beyond talented. Each of you have such a great gift. Thank you to Aversa PR for the invite.  Thank you to everyone who were involved in the reception afterwards for the reception. The brisket was divine! I felt like a celebrity with all of the star treatment.

Everyone get out and support Bridges of Madison County.  The show is located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 215 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-985-1400.  The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2019!

 

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Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!

Monday Motivation: Running On E

There are many times when we push through with enormous amounts of energy.  However there are many times when you are running on E.  One of the things if you have a newer car is that once you are on E, often times there is a reserve tank that can take a few miles until you can get to a gas station. This in life is when you and others think you are out for the count but you make it enough until you can fill your mental and emotional tank for your journey.

Running on E seems so alone. Everyone around you seems to be moving faster. You seem to be going slower and slower to “conserve” the little bit of energy. Running on E is often dressed in your friends getting engaged while you can’t seem to secure a date. You are going to work and you feel like you’re one bail away from spazzing out on a co-worker. Running on E can be job hunting and being or feeling rejected.  How about running on E when it seems your kids are our of pocket while others kids seem to be well-behaved. Running on E can be wanting children, suffering in silence while the very ones around you are popping up pregnant and claim they not only weren’t trying but also didn’t want to be a parent.  Running on E is scary. You are not focused on goals. You are only hoping you aren’t left as stranded as you feel. I have been there.  Its hurtful. It’s lonely.  It’s exhausting.

One thing about running on E that you learn real quick is that one, help will come if you need it.  We tend to push away help because it’s not wrapped up in the packages that we want them in.  Also once you refuel, if you’re smart you find better routes to take in life that will either maximize you or find ways to be self-aware of your personal tank.

How you refuel is to sometimes stop comparing your journey to those around you.  Self sabotage will have you gassing yourself with another person’s goals instead of what you need.  Sometimes resting your mind which is the hardest to do but sometimes the most necessary. Sometimes reading blogs or material that wake up the goals inside of you. Refueling  could be taking a nap.  You might be up late nights trying to make something happening when the one that needs the physical rest is you. Another way to refuel is to disconnect from social media. There are a million and one ways to refuel.

The biggest lesson is to not give up.  Help is either coming or you will be awakened to what’s inside of you that will help you.  Either way, once you awake, refuel your own tank. You may be burned out from taking on everyone around you while neglecting yourself. Push through Monday, refuel and recharge and crush your goals while receiving help and awakening the gifts inside of you.

Let People Figure it Out

We are all flowing into the New Year on a high note. You are working out, eating right and attempting to surround yourself with the right people or at least you should. What happens if by now you are around a few folks that have already ended their resolutions, are negative, and aren’t flowing in an upward mobility? You let them figure it out while being the change you want to see.

The power you have stops at the end of your nose. You have no power to enforce change on those around you outside of influence. So this means that you will be around a few folks who will not catch the self-improvement train as fast as you do. It’s okay.  As long as the folks that haven’t hopped on board, aren’t stopping you carry on. You can’t save everyone.  Everyone doesn’t have the same vision as you do.  Everyone wasn’t meant to ride the same ride and board and exit at the same time.

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Does that mean while you are advancing that you have to take on negative traits of those on different paths? Nope not at all. I am a firm believer that while you evolve natural your paths will separate you. It doesn’t mean that you love less but your tolerance for foolishness has changed. Be the change you want to see.  Be that change while not supporting the negativity to others but separate when yourself when you need to.  Also let people be them.  I dislike when people make change in their life they then look down on others.  Let your change speak for themselves.  Also be aware that sometimes not all times with change comes jealousy. We all have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone but not all of us walk in the same gifting. This is why the conception of “he/she is haters” has to stop. To hate on someone who means when you walk in your gifting, or speaking about your gifting, a person or group of folks immediately come in for the “he/she ain’t” talk.  It happens but happens a lot less than some want to project the story to be. If someone isn’t impressed or desires what you have its unlikely they are hating on you.  It could be they just don’t like you. Example: if you just had a baby and announce it, a person who hates would say something about you being a mom but they may not want to be a mom they just simply do not like you.

This is why not everyone is a hater. Some speak from a place of dislike or even hatred of you.  Either way none of that can stop your agenda because if you were surrounded by the right crowd by the time the message got to you, you would be on another goal making moves. You don’t crush one goal and then stand in place waiting for your props. You are too busy accomplishing goals to sit stagnant after climbing one tier. If you were mountain climbing and your goal was to get to the top would you climb one tier waiting for someone to pat you on the back or waiting for someone who doesn’t like you or hate on you to finish? No you would block them and maintain form to get to the top and not fall. Apply the same process to your everyday life.

Win at life by staying focus, slaying your goals, separating from negativity, and being the change around your inner circle and beyond that the world definitely could benefit from!

Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

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I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!

Ode to 20 Years of Service

My dad is retiring from the military today. What an amazing accomplishment. I am not writing this from his perspective but from mine in seeing him put his life on the line for every American.  This is for every hard deployment. For every major event that my dad missed. This is for every time we supported my mom as she navigated her life hoping that he would return as whole as he left. Today is all of our day.

Military families suffer in a lot ways. You see the stories of men and women who leave their families and miss the births of their first child. They leave and miss out on graduations. It is something that all military families feel. We all know that when that calls comes in, no matter what you feel it’s time to step up. It’s not just my dad who felt empty. I remember being younger and feeling like I couldn’t make stable friends because by the time I had, we moved. It happens.

20 years  of saying yes! 20 years of watching my dad make me so proud has been amazing. It had lows but today it seems as if he’s finally getting the recognition that he deserves. Although no one does it for the pat on their back, if you are going to make a career out of the military, retirement is the goal. My dad has reached his goal! He has held on and made a military life that my family has suffered and benefitted from. So for all of the women and men of the Armed Forces that are still waiting for this day, hold on and know that people like myself get it and understand it.

To my dad,

Thank you for every deployment but still making sure we were okay

For every broken FaceTime that the Wifi stole

For every time we missed calls because you were in some remote country

For every birthday that was missed with your grandkids and even a few near births

For every tear that was shed here on US soil while you were doing what you were called to do

Know that as you are saluted with honors, know that no bigger honor can be seen than a daughter who looks at her father and knows what an outstanding man you are on the inside out

Thank you and you deserve today and more

Live it up! Enjoy your time of not having to  clock in or having to go to  training

Thank you for securing the bag and showing me what hard work will do

Thank you for making ways out of no ways for our entire family through out the years

Thank you for being you

Now let’s crack that bottle in your honor

I love you

No more see you laters  by phone due to deployments

Thank you dad!

Cheers to 20 years!!

Love your Daughter Toi of ToiTime

Sunday Message: Speak into existence with action

I know we still in the New Year glow. We all have our plans and list going. However what we don’t get is that just simply writing things down helps you focus, it doesn’t do the work. You have to put work into your speech.

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It’s not just naming and claiming it anymore. You have to have action behind words. You can’t go to the car dealership put your hand on the car and walk out. You might want to also clean up your credit, have a job in place to support the payments, and be able to pay for the maintenance. This is how you can write down getting a new car as 2019 goal and act towards it. How about saving money up for a down payment? You can sell items you aren’t using it. You can use skills to bring in more income to get it as well. Action.

So now it’s not what are your resolutions? It’s what are you willing to work towards? What are you willing to get in alignment with to bring the very things in your life. Can you just obtain by asking? Yes. I have sent an email to ask to inquire about things and got the best news of my life.  This happened because I asked. Sometimes asking for help is action. It never had to be about you being able to have all of the answers, resources, and know how. You just have to be willing to do something to make your dreams happen!

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Will action plans into your life in this season.  Whatever you work towards if you don’t give up even at a closed-door or a no will work itself in its season of your life. Remember that no can be a protection for you! NO can shift you into where you need to be!  Just don’t sit there simply day dreaming instead of actively working towards!