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.

close up photo of a woman listening to music

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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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Monday Motivation: Small Nugget Lessons

So if you’re lucky to have odd today on this supposed holiday kudos to you. To the rest of us grabbing our life line I mean coffee cups, we out here surviving! Today I decided to give you some little nuggets to help your Monday progress!

  • Mute on your phone works-there are people you don’t feel like entertaining on your phone mute them. This way you can answer their shenanigans on your time
  • Saying no is just as powerful as a yes
  • If you are involved with someone or something that is a point of anger or issues, end it (it’s your choice to stay)
  • Happiness is a personal job! Stop making folks pay a bill that God gifted you with the sufficiency to pay
  • Step out of faith. Just cause you are scared doesn’t change it being a faith walk nonetheless
  • If you need help ask for it
  • Strength is in finding your purpose not staying in dysfunctional situations
  • Take social media breaks; even if you need to set a timer to help. Too much of it isn’t good
  • Write this week’s goals down-you can’t achieve it without being clear in what the it is
  • Limit foolishness this week
  • Reduce your reality television trust me it does something for you
  • Instead of wishing you had something someone had, find out what you really like or need and focus on that
  • Don’t like your job? Get your resume out there and actively search
  • Work week feels overwhelmed; what can you do to organize the things around you?
  • If you’re a mom and you’re ready to pull your hair, gather your edges and break down your stress to find small solutions until your bigger solution comes
  • If you’re dating someone and the red flags are mounting, don’t ignore them
  • If you’re married and it seems like you’re off base, find ways to change you and pray for your mate. Sometimes small changes in you will inspire them
  • If you’re divorced know that finding a new life isn’t easy but it’s doable!

Enjoy your week! Take control of the things that you can control! Don’t feed into negativity. Drink your water. Work out. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Dedicate to healthier eating habits. Mind your business. Grow your business. Spend time laughing. Find the joy in the bad!!

All of the mentioned above will give you an awesome day and week!!

Sunday Message: Healthy Friendships

Friendships help you as you walk this journey. It has to be healthy above all. A friendship that has you stressed, feeling pressed or any other negative friendship needs to be re-evaluated and possibly let go.

I’ve been taking a stock of friendships lately. Which ones are requiring more from me than that person is willing to give? Which ones suck the life out of me because it’s filled with women who want to show off that their better than? Which ones have it based upon length of friendship but lack mutual love? I’m looking at them all. I have nothing in my life or anyone that I don’t constantly evaluate and friendships are no different.

I’m not willing to make changes in my life but allow myself to be blind to the factors that matter. For instance as I get older turning up isn’t my thing anymore. I can gave a good time but to have a friend who only wants to turn up doesn’t serve me anymore. I’m more into brunches, dinners, going to try new things. I have one friend in particular our monthly dates is a list of things we both haven’t done and we fuse the list and attack it.

Some people think that because of length of friendship means I will tolerate being in an argumentative state, dealing with flakiness, or having someone who I literally go into anxiety with because one or more friends are take over legends, or spends more time showing off that they know everything. This I was okay with in my 20s. It seemed quite normal to be that friend or even accept that friend. Now I know for a fact I can’t be around that and I’m definitely not spending my coins to do activities with no one like this.

When I’m with friends I listen to phrases like “oh that’s how so and so are.” If you have a friend or a group of friends and someone states that, listen to it. This means that something is being done that one or more don’t like but tolerated. This is a red flag. The more you make excuses for those around you in the name of friendships you spend more time defending it instead of actually enjoying their company. Don’t be afraid to either call them out or call yourself out. You can withdraw or just put checks and balances in place!

If you’re out with friends and your friend is loud, obnoxious, or rude understand if you continue to hang out with them it’s a reflection of you. I have a few friends who fit that mode. I hang out with them less and less because my life can’t take all that foolishness. Life isn’t a reality show. So I place checks and balances in place. For instance, I never get in their car to go to places because when I’m done I leave. I also try not to go to places by which I’m going to be embarrassed. They have a right to be like they are and I have a right to roll when I’ve had enough. Eventually to be honest the relationship will fizzle. We won’t be on the same pages. I know some folks saying that me being like that is lack of loyalty. That’s fine to think that too. However anything and anyone who vexes my spirit to the point where I leave from their presence upset, hostile, or mentally drained is not showing loyalty to myself!

Also within friendships the keep it real friend is sometimes the friend that can cause the most irritation. I’ve learned to just listen and see what my friends need of me. I don’t have to analyze them or what they are going through. Sometimes when life is going to Hell you may just want to have fun. The keep it real friend feels the need to insert themselves and be the everything guru. Nobody wants that all the time. You can be real and have real go real left. Just because you are in a different place than another; everyone’s timing on what they tolerate is different. It reminds me of the show Insecure where Molly told Nathan not to show up cause she was protecting Issa. She was being a good friend by attempting to control the players around Issa. Molly couldn’t see the mess in her own life. Everyone was used to Molly being altogether. You’re stuff can look together and be off. Support your friend. You don’t have to be the one that demands that they adjust to your standards.

I saw something on social media that spoke volumes:

Also group friends be clear! I’ve seen many issues go down in group friendships. The best kind is when everyone can hang but the rules of friendships are clear. If your group is based on the fact that you all share a mutual friend, it’s not a real group friendship. Also unless the other members of the group have given permission to share the business between them, the one or usually the semi leader who shares it is wrong. Period! Don’t share folks stuff without them knowing it. Especially if it’s stuff that they themselves didn’t share. The group can be a great support system if their actually supporting each other. I’ve had to call some folks out in a group because I knew that one of the group members didn’t need or want one member sharing intimate details that they weren’t willing to share. Please be clear on that. Some of the most embarrassing things can cause some issues down the line.

Healthy friendships support each other. They are there for one another. There is mutual respect. If you’re grown let grown folks be them. No one should be criticized in the name of “not on my watch” mindset. I’ve made up a new personal rule if one of my friends calls me out I’ll listen but instead of complaining later you can best believe I’m going to speak out on it immediately. Any friend that attempts to call me out in front of others; that’s a definite stop and block. Embarrassing a friend is not a friend!

Let me give you an example, I had a friend who we were meeting. This was when I was in my depression, I looked a mess. She kindly emphasis on kind took me to the side and talked to me. She found out what was wrong and told me she was there and didn’t tell anyone else that I’m aware what was going on. I’ve always appreciated her being there and understanding me. Now I had another friend do the same thing but did it loudly and in front of others and I’ve never forgotten how it made me feel. Being real and having tact goes together. I made a promise to myself to never allow that to happen again. I should have spoken up when I felt bad but instead graced that friend something they weren’t willing to grace me and that was simple understanding.

This is why friendships mean so much. You choose the relationship. It’s not like family and where the choice was taken. Be careful of who you link up. Friendships that make you anxious, upset, or hurt may need to be evaluated. There are simple rules of engagement and those rules should start out with respect. So as you begin your week and you are feeling like taking stock of your life; start with you and then start with the choices of relationship you entertain. You have the power to allow relationships to stay or leave! Choose wisely!

2018 Light the Night

9 years ago I met this bubbly personality in my girl Jen! We met at work. We quickly clicked. We were even pregnant at the same time and a bond was made. I got a call that Jen was diagnosed with cancer! I was in such disbelief. There was no way she had cancer. She didn’t seem phased she went right into let’s fight it mode. Everyone around her took on the same mindset. It was time to fight!

The family organized to provide food for her while she went through her treatments. Everyone was full hands on deck. She pulled through while losing all of her hair, being tired, being sick but she did it while raising her boys and being a wife. Lymphomanics was made! We came together and we have been walking for at least 5 years! Friday October 5, we came together and walked to help stomp out cancer!

If you don’t know what Light the Night is take some time to read up on the blood cancer, the various types, and how you can help the cause. It is not only dear to me as it was a source of support for Jen, it is also an organization I will probably be behind for years to come!

White lanterns are for survivors.

Red lanterns are for supporters and care givers

Gold or yellow is in memory of someone who unfortunately lost their battle with cancer!

When it’s night the lit lanterns are carried to be a symbolism of the fight that so many are there to stand behind.

One day as we continue to raise money there will be a cure so that people of all ages will never have to get that call that cancer has come calling. It’s a beautiful sea of lanterns walking together!

Thank you to organizations like Light the Night for supporting families like Jen push through. Thank you to the Lymphomanics for still answering the call to continue and forever stand behind Jen and her family. Thank to all who have supported this year and the years of the past. Thank you to my family for supporting me as I travel to attend the walks every year! Thank you Jen for your continued love and support!

Counseling Days

I know I am going to say a few things that may come off of a few folks.  Whenever it rains it makes me pull out my journals.  I have been in counseling on and off for a few years. So when rainy days it takes me back to that moment. I believe in counseling by licensed counselor.  I am not all for folks running to everyone with their issues.  The reason is everyone don’t have the license and mindset to rightly divide where a person is.  So it’s not that you can’t run to a friend, or a pastor but you just got to be careful.  I do love licensed pastors because they can be a jewel to the community having the spiritual understanding with the licenses can be super helpful. So for some they get so upset the second you say don’t run to the pastors. I didn’t say don’t I said be careful. It could be from my level of hurt that I am openly saying I am still working through since my old pastor tried it.  I will say is some folks will talk to you and then have their message be your life on Sunday. Some folks like to do that prayer list conversation and reality your life becomes the tea of the week.  So be careful. People are messy individuals in real life no matter what their title!

In counseling I noticed that my days that I would go in was on rainy days.  It wasn’t that many sunny days. It really could just be that during those times I noticed the rainy days because of the down place that made me go there in the first place.  I can admit that made a lot of sense.  However today’s rain made me pull a few lessons for my current life. Not that life has totally went left, but emotionally I really want to respond to those around me in the proper way even when my petty, smart assed mouth yes I said smart assed mouth is ever-present.  I really struggle with balanced my life in those regards.  I really am sweet but if pushed or provoked or I just want to let loose, I can and will and I know deep down in my heart, that life will not bring me any good down the line.  So I dusted off a few techniques so I could find the place where I needed to be.

silver newton s balance ball

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I was asked  in my Facebook message what reasons have I gone to counseling a few weeks ago and I acted like I hadn’t seen the message, but I seen it. I have gone initially for postpartum.  So a few years ago after the birth of my son, moving from one city to another and being a stay at home mom of 2 under 2 my life was under pressure and after almost calling the police at my fiancé at the time, I called me a counselor who saw me stat.  Ever since then I have gone for various things. If I feel triggered about something in my childhood, issues within myself, or issues with motherhood or being a wife, I stroll right down.  My last session was almost 2 years ago with a counselor in person.  I also have done some pick me up sessions with a mobile counselor meaning I call them and they say hey Toi, what’s going on how can I help.  I prefer in person counseling but it is hard to do with working full-time, and being a wife and a mother that the mobile counselor is what I rely on.  Now I don’t call every time something gets on my nerves. I only call if I feel like I am overwhelmed and reaching out to strategic friends and family who are not the cause in my head of the trigger doesn’t help, I will call my mobile therapist.  They are wonderful. Always warm, and if they are judging you it’s in their head and not out their mouths. They give you real life tips and they have been helpful to and for me.

Now growing up the general message was that you don’t share your business. I now know that is wrong information. You have to be strategic in who you share. If I am not comfortable and for me I choose male or female depending on what’s going on.  So shout out to my counselors because altogether they have been super bomb. Let me encourage a few of you who have never gone but are super on edge on if you should go.  Consider asking your insurance who to go to so it’s covered.  Watch your coins. Sometimes it ain’t free and you need to know that.  You can get services through your job at times.  Even them free 6 sessions can be the difference between bail money, suicide, a fight, or a mental meltdown.  Trust me-no shame at all.  If you know of someone in your inner circle who is getting counseling unless they tell you to give that information out to others its imperative to shut your mouth and let people be great.  I had that happen the first year that I went and someone super close to me told others how I was in counseling and taking meds at a time where I wouldn’t have shared the information with anyone.  I hadn’t even told my momma and two its super personal and set me to trigger even more. But counseling is necessary for those who need it. I honestly think that everyone can benefit going at least once.  Even the super happy folks have things inside of them that need worked out.

Benefits of Therapy

  • Having a 3rd party call you out without having a personal relationship
  • Healing whether mental or emotional healing
  • Consistent sessions give you something positive to look forward

Pitfalls of Therapy

  • Opens other wounds as you process
  • Emotionally down for about an hour after session and having to recover
  • If not taken serious or stopping too soon can make things work, so commit

The pitfalls aren’t anything that is super detrimental but needed to be said.  You may go to counseling and think you will leave skipping and jumping and that may not be the case. I have left therapy mad more times before because of the assignments given after you leave make you think.  That is what the counseling is supposed to do.  So be aware that its work.  It’s not a great high time like the movies show you.

The other day I wrote about national family day and then this week I felt like just unblocking folks, and walking in full healing I just wanted to be sure that it was for the right reason. I called my counselor and letting him/her know about it.  She was so happy about it but the reality is I have been walking in but these last steps of speaking openly about my family was super good for me even if no one else felt what I was trying to say. Not to say that no one does because I love reading your comments as well as your emails about some of the issues you may have had in your own family.  That made me feel good knowing that I wasn’t the only one who had to be tried in that area.  Also today the rain allowed me to write.  It allowed me to share with my therapist about a few things that transpired and helped me to find ways to be a help to those around me and not give into things I know will trigger me.  Also I find that a lot of techniques I end up practicing on those around me even if they don’t know I am.  But the results is the only thing I am looking for. I am looking to be the right that I want or need in my life.  I really don’t want to be a hinderance to myself and especially the ones I live with. If I am walking around mad, pissed off, yelling, testy, what will that do for anyone?  No!  So although I am not perfect I am very grateful for balance and attempting to balance me in all areas.  I am really not working towards perfection.  That perfect life for me just doesn’t exist.  However if I can balance things better than that works for me.

Shout out to all of you who like me are a work in progress and rely on therapy or ever had it to make you whole!

National Family Day

Families are wonderful to be involved in. Families don’t have to be the set parents and siblings that we think they should be.  Family dynamics change all the time. What is important for any family structure is love being in the center. Being in a family and being in close proximity is the fact that there are times when you will be irritated, hurt, or angry with a family member.   How you pick up the pieces is what defines what family means to you.

No One Wins when the Family Feuds

I have been in arguments with family members.  It’s a part of life. Not all family members mesh well. If you are blood related just because you are angry won’t change that you are family.  The issue sometimes comes from when you aren’t.  Not all step families are super welcoming.  Shoot, blood members act fun too so let’s be super clear.  Families feud. I am not just talking about a fight over who is making the mac and cheese for the holiday dinner, I am talking about the types of fighting that would make Love and Hip Hop blush.  Family members can be super messy.  It would be super nice if you’re able to dust yourself off from family spats and pick up as if none of the issues ever happened. People are left bruised and battered by family members and its hard to navigate yourself back into the fold.  The reality time is the biggest thing that you lose when family members fight. You don’t get that time back.  You could be interacting and enjoying one another’s company but a rift can be super damaging. I encourage everyone to attempt to make peace with those that you can. Be aware there are times that even with the best intentions, some folks run out of chances and distance may be the best solution. Learn to wish folks well and don’t speak ill will towards them.

Family Breaks

Some folks opt to take a break or a breather. Some opt to break away altogether and wipe their hands clean.  This is a personal decision. Kids don’t get to know members of the family and the family use the kids to bring the adults back.  There are times if we are honest that some family members are super toxic. Bringing a kid into toxicity if you can avoid it, please do.  It’s one thing to simply not deal with a Family member but to know that if you left your child in a room with a person that all that venom inside of them would spew on a child, those types of things you disconnect from.  I would personally never allow my children around any side of the family if I thought that would be the case.  Why would I as a parent set up my kids who can’t defend themselves around that?  Why would I as an adult want to be around that? If you need a break, take a break.  If you break completely than at least make sure that if you talked it out, you said all that needed to be said. If you can say to yourself I mean whomever no harm and if something happened to them you would be of a clear conscience than so be it. If you can’t there’s work to be done to hopefully reconcile. Toxic situations we should all strive to remove ourselves from them. So no you don’t go around violence, abuse, etc in the name of nobody family or not.  Let’s not ever do that!

two women with man hugging by the sea

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Marriage Anyone?

Once you get married, you leave your original family structure and become your own unit.  This doesn’t wait until kids are in the midst.  A husband and wife are their own family now.  As tight as a family can be, if you are getting married be prepared to leave your original and cleave to your spouse, this is your new family. You will always be connected to both of your original family but you shouldn’t be at the point where you can’t find health boundaries in how you interact. Marriages have been in shambles because if the original family has the presence made known in the couple’s lives and then dictates their every move, animosity sets in. You should be able to do things as your new structure like vacation, go on date nights, have fun between both sets of family members etc without your original family having to sign off.  I know of couples who were lets say for argument’s sake, the bride only deals with the brides’ side. This is not cool.  Find a way to fuse both sides.  Start your marriage where the couple make decisions together and find ways of agreeing and learn to keep family as a focus but keep them out of your union.  This means stop running your mouth every time something happens and then get mad when the family is mad at your spouse. Your husband shouldn’t feel like you still need your parents or family to agree on decisions and vice versa. You married into, you didn’t marry the individual bonus members of each other’s new family. Make sure your marriage is strong and have fun and do things with each side. No one side should dominate anything. If you aren’t mature to do that, I would advise not getting married.

Now What? Framily?

If you say, but ToiTime I took a break, I walked away from some folks, I keep folks out of my business but continued to enjoy the ones that were willing, but there is a void and I need it filled and my family is just too much.  I would say, look in your inner circle. I always believe we truly do not lose, there is fulfillment with framily. Framily are friends who become family. This doesn’t mean you don’t have family. This doesn’t mean you do more for your friends than your family. The flip to that is too, family will say you are doing too much for your framily but forget the times they weren’t there and a friend had to step in.  This is so real! I have had friends jump quicker than my family members.  This didn’t take away from my family, it meant that who was supposed to be there for me at that time. If there is a pattern of family not being involved, a conversation needs to be had. I would say, if a family member is mad at a friend for stepping in, to the family member ask yourself how often have you stepped in.  Even if the family member in question shuts you out, how often did you pick up the phone, check in, etc?  I was always taught than regardless of how another person acts that you have to be willing to try. So for me that means, I will call when no one answers. I have sent cards to family members and never got a thank you. I sent gifts and never got a thank you, but my heart is clear knowing one I didn’t do it for the recognition and two I have done all I could and if they are okay with doing nothing on their side, I am okay waiting for them to reach out and my reach may temporarily stop.

five women laughing

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Family I don’t Deal with

Even with all of this wisdom basically from being burned by folks over the years, having my family aka my parents teach me how to handle bad situations there are still family members that I haven’t seen, talked to, or associated with in years.  I will never go into the why especially on an open forum. Regardless of what may have said or done I only can own my part in it and say that anything said I meant and I take full responsibility for my actions.  I take full responsibility because I can never blame a person for what came out of my mouth or what was done.  I don’t live my life waiting to play the blame game.  Those situations were unfortunate but it revealed things about me mostly.  It revealed how easily upset I was.  It revealed parts about things that I thought I had healed and discovered I wasn’t truly healed. So it allowed me to go back into counseling to deal with them.  Its been enough years that whatever sting or grudge I carried and carried it well then is NO LONGER an issue now.  The distance and quietness and simply my own refusal to be apart of the equation was what I needed. It had nothing to do with being mad.  I never want to give anyone the opportunity to ruffle me to the point where I am not in control of my own emotions and responses. However what I am learning is that removing myself and dealing with only me allowed me peace and it made me deal with the negative things that the very family members brought up.  There was truth to the things said so I owned it.  There was lies and misjudgments too. Now that I have owned it no one can roll up and say “but you aint..”My response would be simply, you were right on a few things but now I am good should I ever see them again.  Will I ever see them?  I am sure I will! Am I looking for an apology? Nope I gave myself permission to forgive them and me without getting one.  I dropped the charges at least a year after the big blow up.  Should I have done it sooner? Maybe but I wasn’t ready!  I needed that time to live in that and it forever changed how I operate as a person.

The Incredible Storr 5

What I love about my little family now is that we apologize.  Especially my husband and I towards each other, and with and to our kids. I learned a lot from them as a whole. We get to see the good and the bad sides of each other but we also see each other daily striving to be our best version.  There are a lot of people who would love my portion and I am grateful everyday that we wake up together and get to try to get it right!

My husband and I come from good families.  They aren’t perfect either but we have made up in our house that we will always be a family that keeps the drama to a bare minimal, we keep space in our home and keep peace, we allow our kids to be around same like-minded families, we have fun, we serve and love God, and we try our best even when it looks like we are failing to get it right!  We will always protect the 5 in that home at all cost and that’s from a mental, emotional, and physical standpoint. I have seen my husband take stands with others concerning me and I do the same for him.  And you can pretty much forget it if you think the 3 littles in our home will be in the middle of some mess.  Like Jay’Z said:

“And I don´t have to worry, only worry is him
She do anything necessary for him
And I do anything necessary for her
So don´t let the necessary occur, yep!”

jayz

Daughters Day

Daughters are simply wonderful.  My 2 girls make me feel like a super hero mom because they look up me like I look up to my mom.  The one thing I want for them is to be able to look past me and do what makes them happy and whole. They both have different personalities and they both have unique talents and gifts that I can’t wait to see how they give back to the world.

My open letter to my daughters:

Dear Naila,

From the first moment I thought you were in danger at birth I cried and asked God to protect you.  As my health went left bringing you into this world I asked God that if we both couldn’t be here that He would allow you to shine your light on the world.  I was 28 and although young enough to need guidance but old enough to take care of your needs, I can admit I felt lost.  Every thought of what I was supposed to do entered my mind.  No one told me about how to take care of me while taking care of you past going to sleep when the baby sleeps. There was so much more that I needed to know.  I definitely put you first. I watched your Hanmom put herself first with me so I had the blue print.  However the many times we went to the doctors those nights watching you while you slept I asked God to guide me as we got through it.  I didn’t realize until now that your smiles through it all was a lesson.  A lesson as an adult I forgot time to time as stressed mounted.  The smiles I forgot many times as I worried about my own abilities instead of seeing that you were fine and we would eventually be fine.  You are getting older.  You see things differently from being an infant.  You are questioning yourself and who you are. The girls around you aren’t always a help. I hope that you take the time to see how much of a jewel you are.  How much I admire you and how much you teach those who are willing to take in the lesson.

My prayer is that as your grow, you will become assertive in your needs. I pray that you will continue to be a leader.  That you will know its okay to be quirky. It’s okay to love fun days. It’s okay to love and watch and discern others.  I pray that you never lose your positivity. Your dad and I would talk about how bright you are and we hope no one will dim your light not even us. I love you “best friend.” Show the world who you are and whose you are!

Dear Noelle,

They say the 3rd time is the charm. They were correct. By the time I had you, I learned how to manage myself. I learned how to eat better with you. I was better prepared for you.  I knew what triggers in my pregnancy to look for.  I had gotten to the point to manage the stress and those who were stressors. I remember when my life was again on the chopping block. I was about 4 months pregnant and I got the news that I had a blood clot on my brain. I cried so bad.  I said what is it about these girls that they take me through so much.  I still don’t have that answer but I knew if I would be taken that I had started to show your big sister the love and she had enough love to give it to you.  Thankfully God spared us both.  You are such a mother’s dream.  You are spunky, cheerful, and really you read people like nothing I have ever seen.  You really channel your great grandmother by who your middle name comes from.  You channel your dad’s mom too.  So know I’ll be watchful of you.  I see how shy you are in mixed crowds but once your comfort levels are up you take over. I love that you don’t allow folks to talk slick to you.  You do the slick talking. I love that about you and regardless of what people may say, as long as you remain respectful I hope you never change that.

My prayer for you is that you take life and run with it. That you continue to command respect from those around you. I pray that you become this singer and entertainer you want to be. I pray that you life your life on your own terms and never stop just because a few won’t agree with you. I pray that you are always surrounded by love and folks that are grounded.  I love you, Noodle!

My prayer for both of you is that you stay connected. That as much as you get on each other’s nerves that you always look out for one another and lean on each other when times gets hard. I pray that if I should not be there to watch your milestones (and I pray that I am) that you would take each other under and become strong and best friends to each other. That you lean into one another and that you would continue to love each other.  Remember you are Storr girls, and Storr girls always make good choices, are strong and confident, and defy naysayers.