Any of US Could be Kenneka?

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the story of Kenneka Jenkins, the young lady who was found in a freezer in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago.  This story has had twitter and social media in a frenzy.  She left with a group of friends to attend a party and never came home.  Follow any of the hashtags to follow the story.  Regardless of the distorted facts one fact remained is that she had some extremely horrible “friends” and that she was being brought there to be raped.

Now I have seen the memes floating about how her death and rape has sparked the whole be careful of your friends movement but it makes it seem as if the rapist and murdered of Kenneka deserves a pass?  My thoughts are on what planet?  Just because people are using this story to remind others about their choice of friends that doesn’t mean that the rapists and murder whomever they may be are fine.  The way the information is spilling, the rapists and murders can be her friends.  Everyone in that hotel room should be charged.  Hands down.  I will not dispute that.  It’s not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Everyone who live streamed it, turned the music to muffle Kenneka’s cries, participated, set it up, and carried it out should be charged.  AND you should STILL watch your friends.

I placed myself in the place of a mother.  I am a mother in real life.  I have two daughters. My oldest child is very lovable and already possesses the thoughts that her friends are great.  However as her mother teaching her right from wrong I am the voice until she has a voice on whom is not for her.  Yes, even at 8 I have had to call out a few of the mean girls.  My daughter goes to private school which means for the most part her classes are small and most of the kids in her class have already been together since Kindergarten.  They hang together in and out of the classroom. If you think that I as a mother am not in her ear telling her, pointing out, and calling out her fake friends you are sadly mistaken.  We ALL have had to deal with those who we thought was real and found it wasn’t remotely true.

I was asked this week have I ever had to deal with fake friends and the answer is HELL YES.  My eyes were opened AFTER something went down.  Whether that was hearing of stories being said tabout me, being left at a party, etc, it has happened.  Or the times I have had a circle of friends who were really friends because we had one mutual friend involved and heard some crap about me that I didn’t tell the group.  These are the very recipes for fake friends.  I do not think Kenneka realized that until her unfortunate death.  I said on my SnapChat and I will say it again, its not just the teenagers we need to worry about it’s the young girls that are my oldest daughters age that already show mean girl attributes.  It’s the grown women who keep stuff going well into their 40s and up. This mean girl mentality can begin at any age.  It doesn’t discriminate so while others are pointing their fingers at Kenneka, remember to re-evaluate your own circle.

Image result for kenneka jenkins

Listen cutting off friends is hard.  It hurts.  It makes your circle smaller.  Here are a few things to watch for:

  1. The “leader” that likes to control off the cards aka the information that is given to the group.  My rule of thumb is that just because we share a mutual friend don’t bring me no news about someone I don’t pick up the phone and call myself.  Do you know how many people talk that let’s pray for her crap and ain’t been in church a month of Sundays.  Stop believing the that’s my sis crap. That same sis is the same one when you get on hard times will give your information to people who don’t even know you.  Rule of thumb even in a group setting, let others tell their own business.  Stop giving in the name of friendship other’s information unless you have permission.
  2. When one or more lie about inviting another but talk about how that one don’t come.  I had that happen recently.  I found out that after all this talking about one “friend” went down the girl wasn’t even invited but the “leader” told everyone they were and then talked bad about them for not coming.  IF they will do it to one they will do it to all
  3. Be still sometimes.  We go to things without asking the right questions.  If you feel something isn’t right, trust what you say and have your own mind.

These are the lessons that even at 8 I have had to share with my daughter.  These will NOT solve fake friends problems but it will open eyes.  We believe anything.  Just because you know someone for a long time don’t always mean they have your best interest in heart. Also to my men you play a HUGE part in some of this.  For the men who use women as bait, stop.  Start having conversations with your son and other young men about respect. Too many women trying to protect each other but not having men stand and rally behind them to do the same.  Sorry your fragile egos can’t take a no but remember at some point, this could have been your daughter, mother, cousin, etc. Keneeka is all of us and I have the deepest sympathy for that mother and family.  I pray that the ones who did this, will come forward and take responsibility soon.  R.I.P Kenneka Jenkins!!

Approvals Aren’t Always Necessary

We live in an approval type world.  We live for likes and shares.  We live for someone to high-five our moves.  There are times when this is just not necessary.  There are times when this will not happen, what are you going to do?  Cry and die because you don’t have a team of support behind you?  Don’t get caught up in this approval world.

You are more than enough.  Your voice is strong enough.  Your more than capable of making a sound decision.  You don’t have time to call in the troops to rally around you. You have to make decisions on your own as an adult and deal with whatever fall out that comes from that decision.  So if you are in a hard place trying to figure some things out you have to find what is the best decision for YOU.  Only you know what you want to accomplish in the end.  Only you know what you need to do to get there.

Friends

Having friends are nice but not necessary in your decision-making process.  You have to be very careful who you whisper your intentions and dreams. Everyone is not a friend. Life will weed out the good and the bad.  You can’t think that all of your friends will mean you well.  Never make a decision and get advice from someone who hasn’t walked your path.  That’s like asking your unmarried friends advice for your marriage.  They have clear perspective from only one sight: the what I would do sight.  What one would do from the outside and that of someone on the inside is totally different perspective. You listening to your friend telling you to end their marriage while they have no one or are booed up with a joker makes no sense.  Learn to weed out some of the advice you get. It’s like a couple in the middle of a divorce getting advice from someone in the honeymoon stage of their marriage.  You haven’t had to fight long enough to know what its like to be ready to walk away.  Learn not to cast your hopes in a group or a person. Make decisions for yourself.

Family

Having family that love and support you is a beautiful thing.  However you have to be able to think for yourself and not make decisions based on what your favorite aunt, cousin, mom, or grandma would do.  Remember even in a family, everyone still has individual goals.  Do you know that some people are so stuck on family that they can’t even make sound decisions on their own?  Let me give you an example. A young couple gets married, the wife is so used to doing all that her family wants that when she is married she doesn’t learn to drop some of that dependence to her family.  So when it’s time for her and her new husband to cleave, she doesn’t.  She can’t go anywhere the family hasn’t approved.  If her family says it’s not time for her and her husband to have a baby, she doesn’t.  It causes issues in her own new family.  Remember a married couple is their own family with or without kids.  So now the marriage is tested because she needs the approval of her family and hasn’t managed to be her own person or to talk and listen to her new family’s needs.  Family can’t dictate what happens in your home unless you allow it.  Learn to hear God, and yourself first.  Trust the process.

Social Media

It’s so nice to have social media.  It can bring some together.  It can tear others apart.  Do NOT allow what social media says to dictate your every move.  Even for this blog I make sure I am grounded.  I can’t make every blog fit everyone.  It wasn’t made to.  I can’t worry about likes or shares all the time. This blog wasn’t made for it.  You have to be able to know whats for you and what’s not.  Do not let social media be the source or be what dictates what you do or say.  You do have to keep in mind audience but if you believe in it, speak it say it.  However believe all the way about it.  The reason is in this day and age, screen shots are too real.  So before you go off on someone or something think to yourself is it worth me losing a job over, losing relationships with loved ones?  If so do your thing but if not refrain.  Do make sure you take breaks.  Social media can be draining.

This Monday and everyday be clear on what it is YOU want.  Make decisions based upon if you are comfortable.  This goes for who you marry down to what you wear.  People mean well that is at least what I tell myself when I deal with others but you have to live for yourself.  Do not allow others to have a voice that is higher and stronger than the voice of God or what you feel inside of you.  God has given us all discernment. Sometimes we do a great job listening and others times we do not.  Trust the process.  It will feel uncomfortable sometimes having to do somethings on your own.  You were built for your life.  This is why only certain trials that would take someone out doesn’t take you out.  You were built to make it.  You will make it. However do not allow others to come into your life and make decisions for you. I would rather fail at my own than try to live a life that is not in me to live to please others.

Protect your Spirit

Happy Monday to you.  Happy I am just making it Monday.  Happy I am alive Monday. Whatever your Monday looks like to you, make it that and rise above it.  Yes the weekend has left some of us dry.  If it wasn’t the news that is constantly being pushed in our faces, to relationships, situationships, kids, jobs, etc you may be at wit’s end.

Image result for wits end gif

So we all know that we need to protect our spirit.  Your spirit is your essence.  It’s your wits.  It’s you in a nut shell. I know there are many times when I have to take a time out. I give my kids one and have no shame in taking one.  You need to protect your essence. All of life’s drama can take the beauty out of you if you let it.  Today I am even more guarded to keep being informed but to filter some of the junk to avoid getting too overly emotional or let things take me out of my element.

Image result for wits end gif

Life is hard but cover yourself today and everyday.  Cover your children who don’t fully understand but are in the presence of the same junk you are touched with.  Never underestimate that they are able to pick up on negative vibes just as much as you do. Protect what they see and hear.  Protect who they are around.  Who you allow your kids to be around speaks volumes as they take on what on who is around them.  Protect what words you say around them as well.  Words have life and death in them and you have to be careful that the tearing down isn’t occurring in-house.  We are worried about the outsiders but truth be told you can cause more damage in house than you will ever know if you aren’t careful.

Image result for wits end gif

Filter what you take on when it comes to social media. I love social media but the down size is that it doesn’t always allow you to be social.  It can become battle grounds.  It can become warfare. It can zap your energy.  It can take up so much of your time.  It can allow you to not be able to disengage with those around you.  It is a choice and you must make good choices on what you entertain on social media.  Everything isn’t worth a response. Everything doesn’t need a clap back.  You have to clean your social media act up. Delete some accounts you don’t need.  Take a few folks off that you allow to get you all up in arms.  Learn to take a step back with who you call friends on your social media accounts.  Never post anything you don’t stand by 100% and be prepared to live with any backlash.  Learn that some things that inspire you may just be for you.  Learn that you can choose to spread hate or love.  Love on yourself.  Practice self-love everyday.  Mental illness is real and it can be elevated by social media because when the mind is weak it allows the defenses of everything to be low.  Be careful.  Speak life today.  Speak life into your situations and find ways to make your bottom line better.  Reach out to help others when your able.  It’s no different from when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first.  Same rule applies in life, stop handing out all of your resources to others and leave yourself depleted.  Help you than you can help someone else.  Have a great Monday and practice self love and love on others around you.

How To Deal With a Jerk

So the other day I was driving behind a jerk.  I was on my way to work and I didn’t have my kids in the car which is a rarity in the morning.  Usually when I have the kids in the car I usually do an out loud prayer to prevent me from using “adult words” in my  kids’ presence and they get a kick out of it because they think I am trying to be a comedian and I’m really not.

Image result for smirk gif

So this day I was able to get my car washed before work and make a Wawa stop which for me is under a Starbucks stop and I am in a good mood.  The man in front of me is going at least 15 mph in a 25.  So at first I turn my music up and rock out until he is going several blocks looking back at me in his mirror.  So the music is no longer loud to me because my focus was on the irritating man. I don’t want to tap into full road rage because in this day and time people are taking lives over this type of stuff. So a few deep breaths.  Than at some point I lose it and I am hollering at the car.  Why am I hollering as if this man can hear me?  I am all in my feelings.  The man sees it and drips down to 10mph.  Everyone is beeping their horn but he’s smiling in his mirror seeing the agitation and getting off on it if you ask me.  I couldn’t get around him at first.  So I am like Toi, what are you doing?  Don’t feed into his foolery.  So I realize I can make a turn and get around him so I do.  I turn on my Beyoncé and I get my smiles on because I know that its going to irk him to see me happy.  It works, he is waving at me as I get around me all besides himself as he catches the light.  I was able to get me together and not given into this brief encounter.  There was a way out.  There is always a way out when dealing with idiots.  We don’t look for ways out we like to indulge  into what jerks are doing. There’s a spot in us that likes to let others see that we are mad at them.  To be real folks don’t care.

Image result for yelling gif

Don’t subscribe to their channel.  When someone sees you are ruffled you let them know that you are irritated and what spot to keep hitting.  Guess what?  They keep hitting. Stop allowing people who do not matter to have a front row in your life. This is easier said than done but once you shut out the extra folks and their mess that they create you will notice a peace in your own life.  Some baggage comes from our own minds, things we create, and some come from deposits that we allow others to drop off and then they walk away feeling fine and we are irritated, mad, sad, heated, and hateful.  Drop folks and their stuff off with them and makes waves to secure your own peace.  Peace is sometimes better than just having a solution to an issue.  You can solve a problem and still have no peace.  So today, to hell with a jerk…..

Image result for beyonce gif

How to Have the Best New Year’s Eve…

First of all this is one busy night.  There are a lot of preparations to make it perfect, but let’s keep it real there’s no such thing as perfect.  You have to set aside what goals are most important to you.  They say how you bring in the New Year is super important and it is.

Here are some of the ways you can bring in the New Year:

For Couples:

It’s important to attempt to spend it together.  Yes some people have to work and that is totally understandable.  However if you are a couple there are a million ways to spend it. You can go to a hot party and get all dolled up.  This would require that you and your partner book ahead of time.  Going out on New Years means having a party plan.  Will you use a taxi, Uber, Lyft?  What are the prices?  Everything is super expensive on that night. Do you even want to go out and deal with other party goers?  Decide early because after Christmas if most clubs and establishments haven’t already posted prices they definitely will.  Remember anything where you can pre-pay ahead of time is better.  At the door the price will usually go up from $20 to 100 per person.  Ouch.  So plan ahead.

If you and your boo do NOT want to go out, opt hosting a party get together.  You can do this by having other couples come and share in the purchase of food and drinks.  This will cut cost down dramatically.  You can have a great night in.  You can do things like play games, watch movies, whatever you want to do.  It’s all your choice.  This is a great option for a laid back night with others.

If you say Toi, I really just want a quiet evening, than do that.  I know couples who dress up and cook a meal together.  This can turn into something if you want it to trust me. Nothing is sexier than your partner in the kitchen.  Make a meal that you both can try that you wouldn’t have normally tried before.  This way its something out of the ordinary than your normal pasta dish at home watching tv.  You can do a vision board together as a couple as well as an individual.  You can play games and make it fun.  Spice it up.  You can just spend some quality time with the one you love as you bring in another year.

For Singles:

You can do the same thing as above as far as going out but make it a great group effort. You aren’t the only single one in the whole world no matter how much your mind tells you. Get together and reconnect with friends that you may not have been able to catch up with during Christmas.  This is a great time to travel.  Some of my friends are out of the state so if I was single you could travel to their state or pick a new destination altogether. The same rules apply, have fun and be safe.  If you want you can have the ultimate girls night.  There are a million and one ways to have a group of women come together and have a great time. You can pick a theme.  It doesn’t have to be just the New Year.  You can have a makeover night.  Everyone brings make up, wear cute pajamas, etc. The sky is the limit. Be open-minded.

Image result for new years gif

Travel

Like I said I remember hitting Miami up one year.  I had the BEST time with my girlfriends. We went to a great club that had open bar for a price and food.  We danced so much I can’t tell you how bad my feet hurt.  However when I look back at the pictures I smile.  We really had a great time and even walked a little on the beach.   You’re single not dead.  Enjoy life. There is so much to experience that is beyond your backyard.  Now that I am married a few of my single friends have even gone out of the country.  Imagine that.  If you have a passport, isn’t it time for some new stamps?

For Parents:

My husband and I have been parents for 7 years and the ONLY time we have had a night out for New Years has been this past year.  We ended up going to Chickie and Pete’s.  We had no immediate plans.  We made none.  We decided to just get dressed up and head out. As we went to a few places, we noticed how super crowded and how limited space was open to be out.  So I did what any woman would do, I goggled.  I found that Chickie and Pete’s had a special for a flat rate you could eat and drink top shelf liquor all night. I said let’s give it a try.  Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.  Not only was the crowd hype, there was dancing, our own table, and did I mention all you can eat and drink on food we knew would be good?  Yes we had hit the jackpot.  It’s hard to get a sitter and last year we lucked up.  So what do you do when you have no sitter and you have little people?  You make your own party. I have always done a party at home.  I had adult drinks and kiddie mock drinks, New Year’s gear, and we had a full party.  Dancing, music, the countdown all of that. Guess what it was low-key, loads of fun, and I didn’t stress bed time either.  I let them stay up until they fell out.  It was a great time.  Oh and my kids can hang.  They loved every bit of it.

Another option for parents is to invite other parents that are in the same boat.  You can have a kid and parent party.  This is a good idea for parents who want to interact with others but can’t find a sitter.  Everyone can come together and split food and drinks. Everyone can have a great time in a safe location.  Parents can interact with other adults and the kids can get some time out as well.  Trust me the ride home will be quiet, your little ones will be knocked out no matter how late or early you go out.  Also during the day on New Years places like aquariums etc will have specials for the little people and a special count down too. This way if you are venturing out you can tire them out before you go and have some fun too.  Check prices and get tickets early as well.

Image result for new years gif

New Year’s night can be as much fun as you want it to be.  You have to be willing to step it up no matter what your status in life is.  Yes I didn’t mention church, but you didn’t think this fellow PK (preacher’s kid) would forget.  Yes watch tower or midnight services are fun too.  It does depend on where you go.  I am sorry church folks but you can make New Years fun.  Yes have a good message, preach, have choirs but have some fun too.  Nothing is worst is dragging your family out in the cold to church and having them wanting to gnaw their arms off because the service is no different from any other day.  It’s a fun night of celebration.  Just because you in the church you don’t have to cut the fun out. Incorporate something into the service. Have food.  Do something out of the box and bring folks into the church.

I do not have my plans set yet.  Whatever I do it will be fun.  Whether that’s out and about, a night at home, with friends I will have the same joy of beginning the New Year as I have always have even if I have to create it.  That should be a part of your new goals.  Creating happiness in your circle. Trust me the situations I was in I should have been sad but I turned them around and made the best of it and so can you.  Enjoy the New Year celebration as well as make your own mark going into 2017.

Image result for new years gif

Safety First Halloween Edition

Well in this day and age this list I am about to bring to you really should and could be enforced all year-long.  There are way too many stories of people doing the most and you say to yourself and yourself says, Huh?!  Why?  Really its due to people losing it.  So for this Halloween season, let me help you stay safe.

  1. Stay off your phone as you are going to your car, or out trick or treating.  I am bad at this and have been trying to do better.  The reality is often times being on your cell makes you a target because we aren’t aware of our surroundings.  Think about when the Pokemon game came out.  People were crashing cars, falling off bridges, and running into parked cars because they were distracted.  If you are taking young kids out stay off your phone.Image result for get off your phone gif
  2. Turn your location off on your phone.  Do NOT live chat while you are out.  Why does others need to know your location and what you are doing.  You’re sending a message to anyone who wants to find you that you aren’t home.  I live the live feature for others I just don’t know how much I will use of it myself.
  3. Do NOT let your kids eat the candy until you checked it.  We know that unfortunately bad people exist.  It’s one of the reasons that I didn’t take my kids out in past years. Check for things like drugs, razors, pins, etc.  Especially with heroin on the rise there are some ugly people willing to let kids get sick to make them feel good.  Kids don’t know any better they love candy but be vigilant about protecting the little people who are in your care.
  4. If you choose to dress like a clown, may the force be with you.  Let me tell you now if you come in my neck of the woods I am not taking any chances. There is a greater chance that if you even make the slightest of advances to even scare my kids I am whoopin your ass.  Let’s just be clear on that right now.  I know my response was supposed to be that I should pray but sorry not sorry not today.  I will take a clown down so its best for you to pick another costume and stay in your lane.Image result for homey the clown gif
  5. Follow up to that is stay in your lane.  Leave families alone.  Let little kids enjoy this holiday.  Go to adult parties and act a fool but leave folks and their kids alone.  And let your older teens know the same.  I don’t care what age you are if you knock and I got candy I will give you some, but let’s be real knock and act a fool well we know how that will go.
  6. Makeup doesn’t have to be perfect.  It’s Halloween so some folks regular makeup with finally blend in for the occasion.  However try to get as close as to what you are trying to be.  No need to look like Elsa and you were really going for a pumpkin.
  7. Uber and Lyft are great means of transportation especially if you are going to be drinking and partying. Make sure that you pay attention to the car you are getting in.  I always tell others and send them the information as well so in case I don’t get to my destination they will know.  I know that with all of this technology it would appear that I wouldn’t have to do that, but I always am more safety conscience than anything.
  8. Know your limit.  This again is something that you should know all the time.  You shouldn’t have to drink to have a good time.  It should be you like your drinks.  So be very choosy on what you intake.  Do NOT drink to the point where you don’t know who you are or where you are.  Too many people sit and wait for you to be in this state to take advantage of you.Image result for know your limit gif
  9. If you feel uneasy about anything trust your gut.  Do NOT advance.  Sometimes things within you have more sense than you allow.  If if don’t feel right stop and retreat.
  10. Have fun, be safe, but be aware!!!

Image result for halloween gif

Halloween and the Church

So I know without a doubt that my fellow PKs will get a kick out of today’s blog but you know it’s that time again for Halloween.  If you are a PK you already know what that means but for non PK friends its means preacher’s kid.  I grew up in one of the most strict environments known to church folks. No pants, no makeup and even vaseline on my lips would have been deemed too sexy.  I was not allowed to do a bunch of anything.

Image result for the only ghost is the holy ghost gif

Now that I have children I noticed that over the years I was paranoid to do anything Halloween.  Now let me break it on down the way the church mothers would be proud of me. Halloween represents the devil’s holiday.  Let me say now that the use and word of the devil will be magnified because that is the way we were brought up.  Dressing up in costumes that represents demons aka the devil’s friends was a huge NO NO.  So what does a child do around Halloween?  Growing up we went to church.  Yes depending on when Halloween fell if it was a choir rehearsal day or bible study day that that’s where you would find us.  I know of some kids who had Holy Ghost night where basically you had a bible study along with some treats. Again at my church it was mostly a church night of activities. So when others were talking about what they were dressing up to be my siblings and I’s response was we was saved.  Saved is when you give your life to Christ and live for HIM and HIM alone.

Image result for church kids halloween gif

We thought it was funny.  The backdrop is that my family and I came to the “church” when we were almost 13 years old.  So we had plenty of memories of trick or treating as well as Halloween parties.  To give that up at 13 was like taking a knife and twisting it. However it was what it was.  As I got older and had my first child her daycare had a little party. I dressed her as Minnie Mouse.  You couldn’t tell me that she wasn’t the cutest ever. However I told myself don’t let her dress in anything scary, no witches, and no ghosts.  I didn’t take her trick or treating either. That party was her only thing.  The second year I had moved to Philly so we dressed her up and I made them treats and watched the Great Pumpkin with Charlie Brown.  That was the end of that.  As the years went on I really just took them to organized parties and really we stayed home.

Image result for church kids halloween gif

Until last year, I took them trick or treating for the first time. I felt so conflicted.  I love the Lord but I was stepping into the Devil’s territory and all I could hear was one of them church mothers saying “the devil is a liar.”  By the way he was a liar about everything if you ask a church kid.  If your lights were cut off it was the devil’s fault. It was never the fact that someone ain’t pay the bill.  Anyway, so yes I took them.  I was scared the whole time. I triple checked their candy and was paranoid.  Halloween is a big deal to kids.  It is a time for dressing up and getting candy.  However although I thought my church was a bit extra I still believe that spirits are real.

Image result for church kids halloween gif

I don’t have an answer for what others should do.  I just know and understand the PK plight.  I will have the kids dress up this year and they may go out.  I am more on the fence of doing a treat, pizza and just eating candy.  Again because outside of the spiritual side of it all I don’t want to be paranoid about the evil people who use this holiday to evoke fear. People putting bad things in candy to harm them is enough to scare me.  However I have decided and again this is a personal decision to be more open to options and taking the sting. I remember the first year I decorated a pumpkin with my kids. I was looking around to see who saw me.  I didn’t even live in the same city as I grew up in.  I am a lot more smarter now and enjoy the festivities that I want to be involved in.  I don’t judge other parents for their choice.  My kids seem to enjoy the home activities and don’t see a big deal if we go out or not.  I know there are some church folks reading this and shaking their heads and I know.  I get it.  Pray for me.  So we shall see and I’ll post back to let you know what we decided to do.  I know there are others who share in my same sentiments so to you I say I feel your pain.  The struggle is real…….