Monday Reset

Good Monday morning.  I know its hard to start your week off right on days when you don’t feel you are at your best.  Today is one of those super soaker rainy days when all you want to do is get in bed.  I right now want to be curled up in my bed with my laptop and a few magazines but life calls.

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I remember on days like today when I want to escape that Mondays are the beginning to the end of the week. I can’t get to Friday without starting my Monday off right.  I have a lot on my plate and that means that I need to push forward and pass how I feel.  I have to reset my thinking to crush these goals.  I still have to show up.  Above showing up on a Monday, I need to be clear.  As much technology that we have, I still thrive on to do lists.  I still thrive on writing down goals so when I complete them I can go to the next goal.  So with that being said, reset your thinking. I looked back at things that didn’t work last week and made changes according to what will set this week on fire. Is it getting up earlier and getting things done?  Is it preparing things differently?  Whatever that looks like for you, you have to do.  Your week and life depend on changed attitudes and mindsets.  So set yours on fire by shaking the Monday blues and getting clear on what you want to do and what it will take to get there!

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Women History Month: Everyday….We Stand Strong

Women aren’t to be celebrated only during the month of March.  They should be celebrated everyday.  We are the giver of life.  We hold things down.  We are strong. We are beautiful and complex. We are love in its best form here on Earth.  For that you don’t limit such celebrations to only one month.

Ladies celebrate yourselves daily.  I have been saying this and I mean no matter what degrees you have and what accolades you get, if you do not take care of yourself you are no good to anyone around you.  You will wear yourself thin operating from an empty cup.  Keep your wits about you. Say no to things when you can’t add another thing to your long to-do list.  You are not a yes woman.  It’s okay to let a few text messages go unanswered.  It’s okay to let a few calls and emails wait.  You are doing yourself a disservice if you feel you have to be ON all the time.  Take a bubble bath, take a 10 minute break, whatever you need practice some level of self-care daily. Yes there will be times when money is tight.  I haven’t always been able to sit at an expensive spa but I sure now how to turn a trip to the Dollar Store, Wal-Mart or Target and turn my entire bathroom into a spa for one while my kids slept to recharge.  I have had times when I turned into my own beautician and did what I had to do.  There are hard times.  Sometimes when your world feels like it’s crashing it gets difficult to look within.  However if you don’t everything around you will attempt to take you over. Say yes to you.

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Go after that degree that you have been putting off. It’s okay for you to be well-rounded. Will it be easy?  Absolutely not.  We get so excited when we read stories of women who are seasoned and still going after their educational goals.  Yes you could be the oldest in the room, but your degree will hang just like the young 20 something.  Go after it! Will it be hard as you strive towards that new career?  Possibly.  Imagine going to interview after interview only to be told no.  You invested, exerted time and energy only to feel like every door you touch is closing. Keep on going!

What about the woman who doesn’t want to have children?  The pressure for women to be life givers is crazy.  There are some women happy and content single or married not to have children.  What about the women who in our stories for this month lost a baby at 20 weeks.  I need you to understand that is devastating because at this point you are well showing, you have told people and on top of that you know the sex of the baby.  People are hurting all around us.  We are women have the power to really affect change in ourselves and our communities that goes past a #metoo movement.  We can make things easier for the women around us by what we accept, give our voices to, or stand up for.  Be wise.

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You are strong. You are beautiful.  You are confident and a force to be reckoned with! Celebrate yourselves and all that you have done in your life.  The good.  The bad. The ugly. The failures. The insecure moments.  The embarrassing moments.  The moments of regret. The moments you felt inadequate.  All of your messy moments. All of you for all of you and all of those crazy moments are going to push you to your best moments if you are open to it!

 

Be Coachable

The word coachabity usually is something you hear from small business owners or entrepreneurs. It’s the ability to sit and learn how to perform or get results. I’ve had a long history of sitting under coaches for various fields and here’s how you can apply the same method in life:

No one wakes up and is Denzel Washington. Even Denzel had to learn his acting craft and fine tune it. He is now one of the best actors of our time. So one way to be coachable is to listen. Drop the “I know what to do mantra” and listen not just hear. You can hear someone tell you how to do what you do but to listen means taking things in and applying.

Think about it in terms even if you’re not in business of your own, when you do go to a new job even with skills you must learn how the new job handles things. You don’t go in there declare you got this and just start working! You have to sit, listen and receive instructions. Don’t jump the gun! Learn and listening is the key to being coachable. You can have the desire to be number one all day but in order to do that you better gleam what the one who is in the number one spot did to become number one!

Another aspect of being coachable is having the ability to understand that you will fail in the beginning. I think even well talented folks need this crushing blow to the ego to be better! It’s life and you are going to have to have thick skin. So expect hardship and have the mindset to move beyond it! If you easily give up you are indeed not coachable. Failure is a setup for success. Think about the businesses that start in a person’s house, they have an idea but the prototypes usually are flawed until they persevere through them. You too will see your greatest potential and reward once you don’t give up or give in!

So get in the game of life, know you may get knocked down, let someone teach you a few things and be successful!

Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information:

Women’s Month Preview

I enjoy women’s month! It’s one of the biggest traffic months. A lot of people have asked me why do I do the posts for the full month?! Simple, why not give a regular women a month to shine? March is women’s history month and women are changing history on all fronts all the time. These are women who might not have shared their story openly before and are ready to let you know that they survived the very things that was designed to take them out!

Think about it in this light, women need to know that as much division that is created among us, we are all connected. Think about a topic that women alone goes through. Bring that topic up and women who don’t know each other can relate and will openly share. This is why we need to tell our stories more often. We need to talk about the times we succeeded and the times we failed. We need to highlight our strengths as well as our weaknesses. There is a woman somewhere struggling alone when she doesn’t have to. She is somewhere feeling defeated because she doesn’t think what she has done, gotten herself into, or is nervous about, some other woman has been in those trenches, but we have been there and made it out in one way or another.

Ladies it’s our day everyday. It’s our month every month. It’s our year every year but when we get to shine a little brighter, then shine! As a woman I am proud of those who have come before me. I am proud that we as women have failed along the way but still keep on going regardless of what has been thrown our way. I’m proud that women are learning how to embrace what they have and not make excuses or try to water it down. We are owning our place in this world, choosing the life we want, being sexually aware and unashamed and most importantly stepping away from the status quo to achieve any goal we want!

We are scooping up the younger generation and showing by example how it’s done. We are not restricting ourselves to make men feel comfortable. We are walking in lanes that were not always paved for us. We are learning to practice self-care and saying no when we need to. We don’t have to carry it all! We can take breaks! We can travel this world alone! We can work across the aisles! We can make our dreams come true!

I salute all women from every walk in life. From the women who feels as if her past has knocked her out of the running to the women who made every right decision and are benefiting from it! To the college graduate who is the first in her family to the drug addicted mother who cleaned her life up! I salute you all!!

Get ready for some amazing women with some amazing stories to share. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable. It takes a lot to put yourself out there! It takes a lot to know that when you put your story out there knowing there will be some folks who think you aren’t worthy! This blog was made from those whispers and guess what just like you I haven’t stopped! Let’s have some fun, learn some lessons and get inspired to live our best life NOW!

We’re going to hear from business women, community leaders, wives whose husband have left them and they picked up and kept on building, single moms, college graduates, those working with offenders, all kinds of women.  So be on the lookout the month-long celebration will kick off tomorrow and end March 31, 2018!

Women’s Month: Judith M.

As we continue to truck along during this series it will allow us to be able to get the behind the scenes of women in our own community. Today we talked to Judith Dumorney-McDaniel.  She is an Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Community Activist who has over 20 years of wide-ranging hands-on-experience in areas of Youth Development, Mentoring, After School, Education, Fundraising and Community Organizing.  She is the Founder and Executive Director of Teenagers in Charge, a non-profit organization establish in 1995.  Their mission is to help teens build their self-esteem, heighten their cultural and community awareness and most importantly provide them resources so they can learn how to take charge of their lives.  She is passionate about serving youth and others see her as a devoted community advocate, educator, and mentor.

She earned her B.A. in English Literature at the University of Pittsburgh and her MBA at Rosemont College.  She is a State Auditor with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of the Auditor General.  She is also a paid consultant with Episcopal Community Services and facilitates parent workshops and training through DHS’ Parenting Collaborative Workshop Series.  She continues to provide professional development training to a diverse group of adult volunteers, biological and foster parents throughout the city of Philadelphia.

She managed and led teams on many projects.  Mrs. Dumorney-McDaniel assisted individuals and groups learn how to obtain their 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization as well as hosted informative business-related workshops on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and mentoring.  She is a consummate charitable volunteer, who believes in “giving back to the community what you took out of it.”

Her civic work and passion with children, youth and families who are homeless and live in foster care extends two decades.  She has worked with the Juvenile Justice Center, Public Health Management Corporation, City of Philadelphia, and other local educational and non-profit organizations.  Other non-profits including providing assistance to Mocha Moms, Inc. Philadelphia Chapter where she served as the former President and is the Charter Founder, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to public service, an avid parent volunteer at Bodine High School for International Affairs where her daughter attends, and a long-standing volunteer computer instructor at the Haddington Multi Services for Older Adults, Inc.

She is married with one daughter, lives in Overbrook park and worships at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church where she and her family are members.

Now that is the resume who has given her life not only developing her own skills set to be able to assist but actually does what she says.  Let that be a lesson to other women that no matter how decorated you are, there is something inside of you that you can give to others. Try finding something you are passionate about and use that passion to help others around you.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to listen to my parents and align myself with positive people who are doing positive things as well as those who share the same morals and values as you. I would also suggest that I get involved in more extra curricular activities and always remember to serve!

What lessons have you learned about life, love, and career so far?

Life is too short! Live everyday as if it were your last. Love yourself unconditionally so that you will appreciate it when someone else shows you the same in return. As for your career, find a passion and turn it into a profit! There is no need to work a 9-5 job if you are unhappy so if and when that is the case-use your job to fund your dream!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope that I can officially retire in 5 years and then take time out to do whatever I want which is travel and see the world!

What are some of your accomplishments?

I am a wife and mother; I started a nonprofit organization in 1995 that still exists called Teenagers In Charge; I have won numerous awards and citations from the City, State and Congressional level; and I am an author.

How do you feel about the Me Too movement?  How do you plan on using this movement in your family or community?

I honestly have always addressed issues head on with my daughter and as a family so the “Me Too” movement does not apply to me. I try not to really get bogged down with platforms, marches and speeches that have no plan of action beyond the rhetoric! It is frustrating to me when there is NO action beyond the platforms. I personally feel that if we take the time to teach others about how to be proactive rather than reactive after the march takes place; we would see more results. We need more people doing the work and teaching our youth/adults how to take charge of their lives from day one and more importantly, show them the impact of what will happen if they don’t do what needs to be done beyond their cause. This will have more of an impact and that is just my personal opinion.

What are the things on your heart that you look forward to crushing (accomplishing) in the future?

I want to address more issues related to homeless youth as this is my passion. Homeless youth in our country needs to be addressed and I am taking small steps on raising awareness about the issue and using creative platforms to make it happen! I am also looking forward to my book being a best seller!

What are ways that you practice self-love?

I date myself and spend quality time with myself, shop, travel, invest in my personal growth and development. I read daily affirmations out loud.

So with everything you read there are a few take aways:

  1. What are you actively doing in your own life?  She teaches girls how to take control of their life but there are a few adults that need to do the same.  Don’t talk about, be about it.
  2. When you do get your life together, give what you took out.  Don’t forget along your journey there are folks pouring into you.  Do not get big and forget that and give that back in return to someone else.
  3. Your Resume can be whatever you want but make sure while you are doing for others that you find a way to get a passion and find a way even if it’s using your regular job to fund that.  We live in an unhappy world but personal happiness is your job and your job alone.

You can find her on social media:

Twitter

Instagram

Teenagers in Charge Facebook

Judith also has a new book out!

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About the Author, Judith Dumorney-McDaniel and a little about the book: On January 15th, she celebrated her 50th Birthday! As a gift to herself, she wanted to make sure that she gave away her greatest gift to others because she wanted to leave a legacy and create generational wealth! It is with God’s permission that she presented to some and introduce to others, her first book entitled: Teenagers in Charge-a Blueprint to Unmasking the Greatness in You. The stories shared in this book will serve as a resource and is a rebirth for all teenagers who have had some challenges along the way. Although, it was difficult, these teens conquered it all through their hard work, determination, commitment and dedication. They felt empowered to make a positive change and beat all odds! They chose to redirect the negative energy and made a conscious effort to excel on all aspects of their lives. Some had a mentor and others have not but at the end of the day, they were able to identify their greatest gifts. A special segment in the book highlights young adults who served in a mentor capacity. They had an opportunity to share their own stories on how life was for them as teenagers, how mentoring impacted their lives and how rewarding it was for them to unmask the greatness in others. This book is a blueprint for all teens around the world, who are faced with adversity and have the audacity to be different because they are seeking to secure the greatness in them! 

To pre-order the book for 19.95 you can do so with Paypal

Ask Toi: Is it okay for a live in boyfriend not to come home?

Absolutely not okay.  When you’re living with your boyfriend or girlfriend there are no days that are schedule for either one of you to have sleepover at other people’s home. This makes zero sense to me.  The one way to have this be done is to live in separate homes.  No one forced you to live together so if you are going to “play house” like the old folks would say you must abide by the rules.  If you are feeling smothered by your mate then you need to speak up but no ma’am or sir are you allowed to just not come home.  Who raised y’all?  You have to understand that this is why you have to take living together seriously.  Just because you love each other and already together all the time anyway, is not a reason to live together.  That’s called infatuation. It fades trust me.  It’s a magical feeling that overtakes you and makes you think you have unicorn powers over the abundance of love that you feel.  It’s misleading.

The reality is that once you get in the house with the other person the real comes out.  It’s a light bulb that is brighter than wattage you can purchase.  I would say be clear about everything.  How you live, the responsibilities of the upkeep of the home, how bills will be split and how you both plan to have a separate life together.  Yes separate life.  You even if you’re married don’t need to be joined at the hip.  There should be mutual respect that is given at all times to one another in how you move and it sounds like this isn’t happening.

Have you both decided how things will work out if you two don’t work out?  I know that love is powerful but love won’t stop the bills from having to be paid and we don’t need credit messed up cause love went left.

You need to have a talk to your boyfriend and go over the above and find out if he and you are ready to take on the whole cost of living together.  This is why the old folks said don’t do it.  They wasn’t trying to kill your vibe, they were trying to protect you from the ups and downs that you may not be emotionally ready for.  Also what changes have taken place that both of you weren’t ready for?  Is there more nagging and less communication? Both of you need to sit down and put things into perspective. Good luck but be clear-love is amazing but living together is costly in more ways than just your wallet.