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!

Monday Inspiration: The Protection of No

Happy Monday to you.  Today I want to talk about the pain that comes along with NO.  Like children when we hear no we may experience a plethora of feelings.  From being disappointed, to hurt, to anger.  What you wanted and where you are in that journey makes your NO levels different.

If you were in what you thought was a loving relationship and you felt the next step was marriage only to find out that the person you held so dear to you is a fake, that NO that he failed you and the pain of starting all over again can be devastating. What about the pain in the NO when you are job searching?  Job searching is a numbers game at times.  You may hear several NOs in your lifetime where that is concerned.  Trust me.  When I got laid off of my job in 2010 right after having my premature daughter I was devastated.  I was thinking what in the world am I going to do?  I moved to Philadelphia and found out I was pregnant again.  Out of my element and new to a city I decided to take some time off and do the stay at home mom thing.  It was harder than I anticipated.  The time I decided to go back to work, I heard so many NOs my heart actually hurt.  I felt like I would be at home forever.  No after NO after NO began to chip at my spirit.  I am human I thought I have a college degree and experience why is this happening.  But it did.

During those difficult times of hearing NO and the mix emotions I felt, I got stronger.  I felt like I was taken a thousand steps back but I got stronger. I got a job and then began to progress to where I am now but the story wasn’t an easy one.  I have had moments where I second guessed myself. I cried.  I cursed from being so angry. I was miserable. I had to get it together.  So if you woke up and all you can do is hold onto the pain of NO, I get that.  Hear me clearly, when you let it go and walk with the sting of the pain and move forward you may not get that YES the same day, but you will if you don’t quit. At the very moment of quitting you will get a YES.  Put the work in.  Take moments along the journey of NO to renew your mind.  You may have to do this daily.  Whatever it takes, don’t faint and don’t quit.  There is protection in NO.  NO means something else is out there for you.  No means that the journey you paved for yourself wasn’t the journey YOU needed to be your best self.  Shocking how we think we know everything we need until life throws something our way to prove that we don’t.  Strive for excellence.  You can walk through the pain without the pain knocking your will to live out of you.  The protection is making sure you don’t walk further in pain.  There are people in places God never intended because instead of listening to the NO and letting it protect them, they let their personal desires walk them willingly into some mess and now they are miserable.  They shouldn’t be in that place and they know it.  Sometimes that stubborn will have you walking in circles.  When things don’t work out there is a reason.  If you are running late to a place, there is reason.  It’s protection.  Yes its frustrating but you don’t know what you are about to walk in.  Trust the process.  Have faith and walk in the sting of the pain don’t let the pain of NO overtake you.

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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Ask Toi: How do you deal with someone who Deflects all the time?

Consistency and straightforwardness.  There is no other way.  You will have to find a way not to be like the person you are dealing with.  Be clear and concise.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  People who deflect are often not the type of person who opens up to faults.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  For example, the friend that complains that the utility company is always giving them a hard time but doesn’t ever want to admit that they make a thousand payment arrangements that they may not honor, or just simply doesn’t have a good payment history to begin with.

If you are in a romantic relationship this can be hard.  You address a situation with them. They make a billion excuses and you are left frustrated.  Look at the level of relationship. Are you dating?  Maybe this is a deal breaker for you.  You try to work with it unless its continual dishonesty and then you decide that this person doesn’t meet your standard.  Is it in a marriage?  Try finding ways to approach them. If none of these thing work, get a 3rd party to help.  If you, and the 3rd party can’t get them to see the error of their ways, you may want to consider some soul-searching.  It’s 2018 and I am not for breaking up families at all.  Let me say that for the folks in the back, breaking up families is not the will.  However what else isn’t the will is doing the work for two people.  This is not how relationships are supposed to work romantic or not.  So be wiser this year, work on you.  Be clear when you deal with a deflector and attempt to make some things work.  However if you know without a shadow of a doubt that you have exhausted ALL of your means, find ways to either let nature do its thing with the relationship or hit it on the head and roll.

What do I mean about nature taking its course?

If it is a friend that is always deflecting you might find that you spend less time with them. They will begin to wonder what is going on.  Have a talk and say I brought up a few issues and you dismissed them with your actions. Be clear in how they were dismissive and let them know that this is unacceptable.  If it is someone you are romantic with, if they aren’t self indulged they may notice that things aren’t what they once was.  Bring that up and remind them how their actions continue to be dismissive.  Have a plan if its someone you are romantically with.  Sometimes we sit around knowing that things should end but because we don’t want to hurt their feelings, we wait and pray and hope they will end it. Put your big girl/boy drawls on and face the music.  If is marriage you can’t be in a one-sided marriage.  I know a lot of miserable people who are in these marriages and literally cry or sad all the time.  This can’t be at this point. It’s one thing to say someone else is doing ABC, but it’s another to stay rooted just for the sake of saying you didn’t give up.  You not giving up should be in your actions.  Working all the time to be the change you want to see. Making sure you meet your partner full way to what they need and if you can say yes I have done that but…. you haven’t done all you can.  Let’s knock this I do for them but they….. If there is a they you have to own that something you have allowed may be the cause for the set up in how they treat you.  Did you let a few things slide?  Has things always been a certain way, and now you are growing and changing? There is nothing wrong with growth and change at ALL. You will need to bring up the change to your partner and if they love you they will do their work to be a better version of themselves to you.  No need for dead weight in 2018!  Don’t be the weight to your partner but don’t take deflecting excuses this year either.

2017 ReCap Greats, Misses, Lessons Learned!

It is that time of the year.  We are almost to Christmas and with that signal means that the New Year is soon here as well.  Although this year like with every year has had its challenges, it also has had some very good points as well.

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As we began 2017 we were dealing with the death of my mother in law and trying to get through with everything you can imagine going along with it.  We were all over the place physically and emotionally. We pulled through and continue to make strides as we keep her legacy alive.

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Also each of my children’s health has been A1! Let me insert a praise break here.  Both of my older kids have asthma and if you have a child with asthma you know that any and everything can trigger things to go left. They were in school all year and they didn’t miss many activities and that in itself is a blessing. Also along with my kids, my son started his first year of grade school aka kindergarten.  I am proud of his transition to grade school. He is doing a great job.  For my youngest she has been able to transition between daycare and is doing well.  My oldest is doing well and is super active in Girl Scouts.  I can’t say enough I am proud of this year’s progress!

Marriage

We finally was able to take a long needed baecation.  We celebrated 5 years of marriage and although its had a lot of down within our marriage, we are glad to say that we are making it through and are at peace and in love with one another. We had a blast on our baecation.  We were able to do what grown folks do, lounge around, sleep in, eat well, drink well, and enjoy some sun and fun.  I pray that 2018 allows us to go to a few more places, but 2017 you did your thing.  Shout out to my sister in love and brother for keeping our little people as we enjoyed some much-needed time away.

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Also of trips and time together we also are getting on the same page.  That in itself is a blessing. It’s hard to keep the love flowing from a place of contention.  It’s one thing to argue but to have a continual flow of dislike or disagreement and nothing being resolved, it wears you down as a person and wears at your union.  We have a few goals that I won’t talk about but just know that marriage is work and we are doing our work daily and checking in with one another more!

Family

Our family have been good.  Shout out to a new baby on the way. My brother and sister in love are having a new addition and I can’t wait for the Spring to get here so AT can love on another little.  Also shout out to my brother and mom who both graduated this year!! Yall better keep on going and getting your education.  Also to my twin who is making some awesome strides in her life and is doing an awesome job raising my niece.  Also I am making sure to do all I can to open up more to family.  I am not one usually to do that.  I like being in comfort of others but there are times when I absolutely need my space.  This is why it’s super easy for me to dismiss others quickly. My introvert ways creeps up way more than my extrovert ways will ever.

Health

I have been able to maintain and keep my work out schedule tight.  I actually have made changes to my settings on my Fitbit.  If you have one you know that you can make it really challenge you to be super active. Shout out to my Fitbit family for the step challenges-yall motivate me to keep moving and claim that top spot.  Also this year thanking God for getting that hysterectomy and FINALLY not being anemic.  To be able to be cold when you’re supposed to be instead of all day long is a blessing. To be able to not have ice in your cup because ice is life is great too.  Also just the general ability to be able to walk around knowing that you are healthy is a blessing. Please understand that so many wish this was their life and sadly it’s not.
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For 2018 I will be making or should I say already making changes to the way I work out.  When I first got my Fitbit this year,  I only set it for 7000 steps even though I was doing more than that.  I made the change to at least 10000 steps a day since I am confident with my history that 15000 steps is more likely what I will achieve daily.  I also will be doing more challenges within the Fitbit community.  I also will be signing up for barre classes instead of Soul Cycle.  My doctor has suggested that this will alleviate some of the injuries that Soul Cycle has given me. Not to say that Soul Cycle isn’t a great work out because it is but with me working out 5 days a week, running one day a week, I need to add more core training to my regiment.  So that is the goal for 2018 if I could set a fitness goal for the upcoming year.  I still will be keeping a journal of my workouts and what I eat.  This is not for calorie counting.  This is to continue in my Weight Watchers.  Any time that I haven’t written things down, I have noticed that I will not be accountable for what I eat.  I am looking forward to some new menus for myself as well.

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Anxiety

I have talked about this numerous times and I plan on opening up about it a lot more in the future.  When I was in college I was the epitome of the college student.  The one you could find on top of a bar, never missed a party, always ready for whatever and whenever.  I find now that part of my life is downsized, that going out especially doing anything where I attend something by myself makes me freak out.  This year, I have stepped out and attended a lot of events by myself. I have traveled a lot more alone and I have taken chances by being more visible.  I have named 2018 my personal Eat, Pray, and Love year and with that in mind, I am in the works with a lot of activities that will allow me to attack this anxiety and get passed it.

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People don’t even know that I suffer because once I am in a place and I am comfortable I am fine.  However I get sick, I feel like I can pass out, I don’t want to go, I try to back out, I go through it often.  I know that others like me are out there.  Although I have found ways of pressing through it I never want to act as if I am just this bundle of joy all the time.  Social anxiety is very real however I choose to be present and push past fear.

Social Media

Listen, when I tell you I could tell you every tea on most of your celebrities trust I could.  I could blog on that all day long since just like our lives, they are messy too.  However I have taken such a huge step. Often times it doesn’t show up or isn’t trending I won’t really know about it.  I have cut the fat on what I watch, what I entertain, who I engage in.  This has been super helpful.  I am not saying I am perfect but what I will say it has allowed me to be calmer in my own personal life. I don’t feel the need to clap back at things or people as much because I am not watching these images all the time.  This is my PERSONAL choice and not one that I would say hey you need to do at all.  This walk has always been personal but if you’re wondering the benefits of cutting back, they do exist. I also stop following a lot of pages, etc.  I used to make sure I aligned myself with a lot of drama and lately the cut back has served my personal space well.  This spillage has done well in almost every area of my life.  I let a lot of battles go and just realized that not every battle is mine.  Most of the time it’s almost like fighting air. Folks gon be folks.

Relationships

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my aunt this year.  Again this has been over 30 years in the making. Since that reunion I make it my business to be sure that I communicate more with her and do what I need to do on my side when it comes to her.  Also I have noticed that I have finally taken more steps to find that some relationships I had in the past have served their purposes.  I am not saying that discovering that has been fun.  I feel like there were a few snubs, a few disappointments, a few folks that I didn’t realize I missed and will attempt to reconnect with soon.  This is a part of adulting that people don’t talk about. Letting go is hard.  It is not always easy but it is always necessary.  So to the chapters that got closed, I don’t understand it but soon I am sure I will or maybe I won’t.  To the new chapters that have opened, I have found some awesome new contacts.  There are a few relationships that I closed that I am soul searching to discover if it was me closing it just to be petty or was the pain that was caused needing this close.  There is a large chunk that will remain closed.  I have made sure that I keep in contact with those that I needed to.  I really used to have a bad history of just being a one-sided friend.  I have stepped it up because in reality its necessary not just for what those friendships or relationships give to me, but what I give to them as well.

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Career

I will be starting a new position within the same company starting at the beginning of the year.  Won’t he do it! It’s a bit bitter-sweet but welcoming new challenge.  I also interested in continuing to learn more, grow, and always secure my coins. I got a lot of things to do and planned for 2018 and its going to take all of my coins to do it.

This year has been like I said filled with some ups and downs.  There are things that have happened that has caused me to figure out my life more. I really just want to drink water, mind my business, keep that credit score going up. continue to be debt free, be an awesome mother, a dynamic partner and wife to my husband, a great daughter, awesome aunt and sibling, make sure my career takes off, and be a great blogger! That alone along with keeping this body fit is more than enough to get me through 2018.  So as we soon say good-bye know that I have a lot of goals that are an extension of the work I have been putting in from 2017.  I have some travel goals, some more me time activities planned, and just looking for the yearly renew.  I have always said and its true, birthdays and New Year Day is always the best time to hit the reset button.  I also practice hitting that reset button daily as well.