Self Care/Self Improvement

September is a lot of things.  I don’t know what it is about September but its a jammed pack month.  However this month is self-care and self-improvement month.  So if you follow this blog, and on any social media feed I am always pushing self care.  I think it’s becoming a thing or a term that is thrown out a lot but not a lot of people understand what that means.  Although it can mean different things to the person who is using it, the bottom line is you have to care and love yourself enough to engage in what YOU need or disengage in the things YOU don’t want to be involved in.

The opportune word is YOU.  That is essentially what self-care is all about.  Only you can determine what you need or what you don’t need.  For instance I can go to an event and if I am ready to go I position myself to know what type of environment I am going to be in to know if I should drive myself or not even for family events.  I try to in the instance of family events to stay as long as possible especially since my husband attends my side of events without issue and I do the same for his side of his family events.  However depending on what the event is he and I have it set that if one of us is not wanting to stay longer to communicate and make an exit.  If the individual wants to stay than its fine too but we make sure that no one person can put pressure to stay longer than mentally capable.  Sometimes walking away, leaving, or excusing yourself is self care.  I literally refuse to stay in a place I do not want to be in.  I used to feel guilty however I have learned to do whats best for me.  Self care may be not attending an event.  I can’t tell you how many times I have not gone to something because I may have needed to relax or do my own thing.  I may have needed not to be in an environment that is toxic.  I happily will decline an invitation at this point.  If asked I will say sorry but not sorry I can’t attend.  A part of self care especially for me is realizing I am an adult I don’t owe individuals an explanation.  If someone sends an invite its my decision to politely decline.

Another part of self-care is knowing when enough is enough.  I had someone contact me. I didn’t even respond.  I knew I may have responded wrong or come off as if whatever was done in the past was an issue when reality is the person didn’t add or take away from my life.  However silence is always golden and I didn’t even need to engage so I didn’t.  It doesn’t have to make sense but it was to continue in my peace.  Anything that will have you mentally up in arms I don’t engage in.  Anything where I would give more than 15 minutes to hash out is probably not for me.  That’s why I am clear and don’t go back and forth with adults.  There is no need to.  That is a right that I have earned from stepping into adulthood.  I can’t think of a reason for back and forth at this point in my life.  I can agree to disagree and still go home and love on the ones I interact with daily.  I can even disagree with the ones in my home without messing up the atmosphere of my home.

Self care may look like disconnecting.  I am a lover of social media but I take small breaks away from it.  Yes its great for pushing my blog, interacting with family, but sometimes it can be doing the most so I disconnect.  I had a situation where I was arguing with a family member that I would have argued with offline but the point was, online for what?  That one was on me.  I was offended, but so what offenses will come. The world didn’t need to know that I was mad.  I could have handled that better so I take ownership of it and will not allow it to happen again.  I simply state what I feel and if someone comments, oh well.  There are probably screenshots of that very conversation floating around and for what?  So sometimes I don’t delete my social media that’s just crazy.   I am in control.  I never understood why adults can’t simply just not get on an app but that could be a part of their self-care so it is what it is. It’s no different from deleting or blocking.  I could just not engage but for me blocking works.  For me its simple my rule is simple I don’t socially block who I wouldn’t block in real life.  I check my block lists every now and again and if I sit and engage with you than no need to block you.  If I don’t and don’t plan on breaking bread with you, and I block your access to my real life, you can stay blocked on social media.  I don’t need a door opened where I wouldn’t give you access to me otherwise.  So no you don’t need to know about what me and my kids do when I don’t even reach out to you, talk to you, text you, email you, etc and don’t want to.  Its simple.  My life is simple these days because of the steps I take to keep it that way. Do you know the quietness but fullness of life I still have?  Trust.

Self care and self-improvement by far is the biggest goal in life outside of raising healthy children and having a good marriage between my husband and I.  It’s self-care daily practices that I use ALL the time.  I buy myself weekly flowers, I love them and they make me happy.  I journal daily because it keeps me grounded.  I work out 2-3 days a week because I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it keeps stress down.  I will go to bed and be okay with my husband putting the kids to sleep because I don’t have to do it all.  I can take a mental time out because that is what is necessary for me.  I can make sure that I am engaging in the little things that make me strong and healthy.  Please find that out for yourself and instead of engaging in bad behavior. Find and engage in what is going to make you a better person.  Also remember it may not make sense to a single soul, but if it makes sense to you, is keeping you grounded, positive, and hurts no one else than do it.

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For self-improvement we all can improve on ourselves, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Everyday you should be striving to be better than your last.  With that in mind I don’t really ever feel like I have fully accomplished my goals.  I may complete some of them but there’s always another goal right in its place.  Even in relationships I know there will come a time where the relationships that need mended will mend.  The ones that don’t won’t. Everything is up to be changed and I am more than willing to walk in that change.  You have to do the same for what your life needs.

So again as this month is supposed to encourage you to be about self care and self improvement.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Protect your Babies-Step it up!

I was watching a video of a judge that was reprimanding a couple.  The mother of the child that was brutally beat and killed was held responsible too for the heinous death as she should be.  However the part that stuck out to me is the fact that while the mother was working the man was home not working.  Now do not confuse this with men being stay at home dads because the wife has a higher paying job. I understand that.  I was a full-time stay at home mom for many years.  The cost of daycare can be a person’s whole salary or very close to it.  Sometimes it’s not cost-effective to have two people working if the income coming in will not put a dent to anything.  If the man is the one making the less money it makes sense to have him stay at home and keep his kids no different from it is for a woman.  I do not think it makes him any less than a man to do so.  I would rather somebody be financially responsible than struggle any day when you don’t have to.

My issues aren’t with the stay at home dads but the fake stay at home dads we have in the society is who I am coming for.  You are not a stay at home dad because you don’t want to work and are comfortable with your woman taking care of you.  I don’t know where we strayed with the next generation but if there was ever an epic fail like it is today, men are missing it.  This is not a hate men blog.  No this is hey get it together blog. There is no need for any man sitting at home waiting on his woman to bring home a check while he does nothing.  You not even selling lemons on the highway?  Not flipping a burger?  My husband has worked 2 jobs to make things work.  Not because he wanted to but because he had to. You won’t be able to convince a real woman to a man not working is a good thing.  I have a wonderful father who barely took 5 days off of work since I was a preteen.  That speaks volumes.  My grandfather is in his 80s and he is “retired” but still works and does odd jobs like busting concrete and ground work.  For lazy men let me school you that means the government says you have earned your keep you can relax and he says naw son let me get out here so my wife can relax and make sure she good. His kids are grown.  He is still out here doing what needs to do to make sure there is steady money coming into his home.  I spoke to him last week and told him he really could give a few young cats a lesson on what hard work looks like. So from where I sit I am not here for no non working, sitting on his ass, don’t want to work but would rather play video game man.

The toddler was mostly in this do nothing man’s care as she endured over 50 injuries and most of the injuries were brutal even for an adult.  So this man didn’t work was a monster and decided to beat the hell out of a child.  Too much idle time on his hand.  A job would have not given him that much access to that child.  Would he still be a monster?  Most likely but damn he literally day in and day out over a short period of time beat a child.  I can’t even fathom that baby’s last moments.  I look at my kid and they frustrate me like no one can. To think I would lose control and inflict pain is unimaginable.  I barely beat their behinds let alone abuse them.  We have to step it up. Both the mom and dad was wrong if that was her dad.  The amount of men who are beating and killing our kids don’t even be the dads.  It’s usually a no account boyfriend that we freely turn over our kids to so they can rape and hurt them.  Let me school you like my momma would school you, there ain’t that good of the D to allow me to put my kids in harm’s way.  I will not turn a blind eye to my child over a man.  These babies are defenseless and we are the ones leading them to the foolishness.  We already have to wonder if a stranger is going to manipulate and mess with our children however its the monster you know.  Let me say I can’t tell you as a woman how long you should date a man before you allow them around your child.  I do say you need to spend some seasons with him before you leave them unattended.  Watch how he looks at your child.  Watch and see what he does when he gets angry.  Listen to your child.  Check your children.  Be prayerful.  Stop getting a new man and being so head over heels that you leave caution to the wind.

What can you say if you aren’t mindful of your child when something happens.  Yes its the monster who did wrong but if you didn’t pay attention you bare the responsibility. The mom knew that the child had at least one serious head injury.  This man with blunt force hit this baby so hard that she had at least 10 dents in her skull.  Think about that for a moment.  She was hit that hard and no one noticed negative signs from that?  Or it was noticed but the care level wasn’t there.  I shutter sometimes when I read these headlines about abuse and death of children.  Everytime one of these precious babies die it only shows the potential the world loses for these beautiful lights to have given something back to it.  We need our babies but the only way to guarantee that is to do better and screen who we allow them to be around.  Let me also tell you that you got to watch friends or family.  There is not one member of my family or set of friends that I would put anything past.  That doesn’t mean I have them pegged as anything that simply means that I will never allow my relationship with them cloud my judgement. If my child said something happens I got their back first and foremost.  I will never take anyone else other them as they were given to me to protect.  I won’t even allow them around folks who I have tested myself and see they don’t add up.  I do not make one apology for that.  I could care less about your spoiled adult feelings on that.  They are mine and my husband and there are no do overs.

Weekly Wrap Up: April 7, 2017

So I am having a pretty good week.  My weekend focuses will be a wedding I am attending today, the Phillies game, and some much-needed TLC for me.  I love when I have my pamper time.  It gets me super focused on me for a little bit and always me to slip back into mom and wife mode a little happier and easier.  So this has been a little bit of a week with the news and such so let’s recap it all.

 

News

  1. Syrians were attacked by the chemical Sarin which is a nerve agent.  It killed countless innocent victims both young and old.  My prayers to those affected and their families in this senseless tragedy.
  2. U.S. launched a missile strike against the Syria chemical attack.  We will have to give time to see the ramifications of what this could potentially lead to.
  3. Bill O-Reilly has had several endorsers pull away from his brand due to allegations of sexual harassment.

Personal Highs

I lost another 3.4 pounds this week bringing my total weight loss to 32 pounds.  My clothes are still getting bigger and I am not ready to buy anything new just yet.  I am close to my goal and when I get there as promised I will update with a full body picture. I also had a good week closing the relationship I had been struggling to find a common ground with.  It was a bit of a tough situation that had too much gray area than most things I deal with.  I also was able to get some things organized.  I have had a lot of over time this week so I had to really get things in order to make sure nothing went slacking at home.

Blogs

  1. What your friends won’t tell you about marriage-this was released today and it deals with 10 things married people struggle with or know that they don’t always talk about.  People have this souped up idea about what marriage is and sadly it doesn’t always pan out the way the mind thinks.
  2. This has got to go-talking about my continued weight loss journey.  Are you interested in making some changes?  Are you trying to be Summer time or lifetime fun but find it challenging?  I talk about the piles of clothes on the bed and floor because the clothes you want to wear and what you actually can fit or don’t want to fit in are too much.
  3. Losing your mind-its stress awareness month and this week we talked about the mind and what to do if you are having a setback.  We talked specifically what to do if once you are attempting to change your way of thinking but are feeling overwhelmed and need help.
  4. Mental setback-dealing with the little ways we can reset the mind so the thought process doesn’t take over our minds to the point where we struggle to function.

Personal Lows

I am dealing with an issue with my daughter.  I obviously won’t go into yet but working on responses to your children that are appropriate and mirror what you are used to do vs what should be done for the betterment of your child. I am not a perfect parent actually no one is.  The balance of making sure everything is done to uplift a little person is a great task.  Often times it’s not as clean-cut as we hope in our minds it would be.  So if you are a parent just know there will be some lows but the key is to pick yourself up and try to continue to love.

 

So enjoy your weekend. I am hearing in Philadelphia there may be a little warm up next week and after this week of rain and cold I sure could use a little sun on my skin.  Be safe and continue to check in-blogs drop without warning sometimes.

Yay for Spring!

It’s finally here in all of its cold and still snow on the ground love.  Spring has arrived. Who wouldn’t be happy?  What I love about Spring is that it brings me that much closer to my favorite season and that is Summer.  Spring allows us all one last season to get Summer time fine.  For all of the people who use Winter as an excuse not to work out because of the cold will have nothing to hide under.  Yes Spring brings showers, but if you really were about that work out life you will work around it.  So as we celebrate Spring’s arrival here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. It’s time to change out hygiene products.  I don’t know if this post is inspired by the Strawberry Letter I heard on the Steve Harvey show about the woman who didn’t wash, but we ALL need to make some changes.  Our bodies change over when warmer weather comes in.  Change your makeup, deodorant, hair products, etc to what YOU need to be at your freshest.
  2. For the Spring and Summer over shavers, please get to it.  I can’t say what someone should do as far as shaving or waxing but I will say that the benefits of either one is cleanliness.  Some people do it for appearance reason but always know less hair means less trapped in smells.  I will tell you what my own momma taught me, you can smell you.  No one should have to tell you to that you stink.  So let’s all tighten up.
  3. Color.  Enjoy some color.  I know black and gray is the go to but…Spring is here add a few shades of color.  It doesn’t have to be super bright color just yet but a pop of color definitely helps in aiding in happier modes.  So don’t be shy.  Scarfs are great ways to add color if you aren’t confident enough to go all the way in with a color top or bottom.  So get your color on!
  4. Change-please note this is the time where salons are their super busiest.  Everyone wants cuts and colors so if this is you, book early.  Also be sure that you go for a consult.  Do not just go and plop in a chair unless it’s a stylist you are super comfortable with.
  5. Pedicures and manicures-start getting them if you haven’t all winter.  If you can’t afford them there are way too many at home gel or regular nail polish systems that cost less than a salon stop. Visit your local beauty supply and get creative.  There is no real reason to walk around raggedy.  In the words of my best friend, you can grab an at home foot scrubber.  So scrub off the winter blues and look to be more polished literally.
  6. Keep up your gym or outside work out commitments.  The warm weather can have you all in your feelings but the feeling of not being able to wear shorts or a cute skirt is even worst.  Do not slack up instead be creative.  Don’t have gym money there are YouTube videos with free work out routines.  Don’t want to do that, get you an old-fashioned jump rope or hula hoop.  Trust me a few times of this a week can take off inches off of your waist.  Get active.
  7. Reconnect .  Start planning that Summer trip.  I advise all to find a trip in your budget for yourself, your family, and friends too.  Nothing says relaxed you like a trip.  Make yourself a priority.  There are no excuses.  There is apps like Groupon that can get you where you want to go.  Last Summer I did a beach day solo and I WILL be doing it again.  It feels good to let your hair down and you don’t need to break the bank to do it.  However whatever you do make the sacrifice and enjoy life more.  Your family, friends, job, etc will thank you.  The more relaxed you are, the better you are to those around you.  Plus you have a few neglected friends who miss you so meet ups are important.
  8. Love you.  Yes as it gets warmer you will find that some people get more irritated. It should be the opposite since the Winter may have had you in cabin fever, but for some its the polar opposite.  Love on yourself.  If YOU need something to make your life better, get it.  Meaning for example, you need more time outside because being inside is wearing on you, than do that.  Sit outside on your front porch, take a walk, have an outside picnic do what works for you.

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Enjoy the Spring. I know at least in my area it’s still cold and the snow hasn’t even melted all the way, but trust me warmer weather is on its way.  As it gets here, people will be out more.  For some who deal with anxiety as socialization increases, be aware and do what you need to do to be prepared.  Don’t let it stop you.  Get out, and do what you need for you but enjoy it!!

Ask Toi: My husband has told me he doesn’t want to go out on dates unless I can reassure him it will lead to sex…What do I do?

First of all you have to ask him why he feels that way. There is a reason.  If he doesn’t feel as if he is getting enough than maybe asking when you have special evenings is the reason.  You will need to find out why.  If the answer is lack of sex than what can you both work on to get to an acceptable level of sex for both of you.  This theory that sex is only for men is played out.  There’s no way you got married to have sex with one person forever and have it be with someone who isn’t willing to participate.  That isn’t fair or reasonable. It sounds like to me that he didn’t know how to ask you for sex and had a bad case of delivery.  This is common.  He wants something but is attempting to find the words to say and figured he would say anything and he has failed miserably.  Totally not right.  Let him know how that made you feel.  You are his wife, not someone he just met.  We know how it was in the dating world when a woman ordered from one side of the menu that meant that man was “entitled” to sex. However on planet reality, that’s not how it works.  If there is a man reading this sorry not sorry this is not how you get your lady, wife, girlfriend, etc to have sex with you

What you both need is romance and some intimacy that starts long before the bedroom and dates.  What your husband said is not setting right with me.  It’s too cold and to say that he won’t go out unless sex is on the menu too sound too pimpish to me.  For instance what if you had a night planned and then during dinner your head hurts. Does he end the date?  Does he not go out with you the next time?  I have so many questions.  Normally I would say be careful when you ask and not just because he came at you wrong but at this point its time for a reality check.  So no tip toeing around this topic.  You don’t have to be nasty but you do and will have to be assertive.  He needs to know you aren’t playing games and the comment was the last time it is going to be tolerated.  This give and take has to step up in a real way and it starts today.  So yes you will have to address him head on.  This will require you to speak up and be firm.

Marriage goes through many seasons.  The one season we see the most is when both couples still get goosebumps on their arms when they see each other.  Although that is super sweet and cute, the reality is that marriage is work. Marriage isn’t this lovey dovey feeling.  Sometimes you want to knock the other person out but your general love and a night in jail stops you.  Marriage can still be full of fire even when both or one of you are having a hard time but disrespect is never okay.

After you do, and you get to the bottom of it, this will tell you how to proceed.  Do you both just like to be around each other?  We all get sick of one another if we are real about marriage from time to time.  This sounds like you have been elevated to a blow up doll and that is something I am sure you’re not.  Do not let him treat you as such.  You are his wife, an equal partner.  Both of you need to step it up in the bedroom and establish what it means to be intimate with one another without it always having to involve sex.  That is the biggest way to increase sex as well as love between a couple. Also something tells me that your biggest issues aren’t even in the bedroom but in the general notion of respect. Respect once lost is hard to get back but it can be brought back if both of you are willing to work at it.  No respectable husband would even think to say this, think it yes, but say it hell naw.