Christmas Fun: Story time with the Polar Express

So not bad for a Friday night but we decided to go to the Barnes and Nobles story time of the Polar Express reading by Chris Van Allsburg for the 30th celebration!!

The reading included hot chocolate and cookies and Christmas carols. It was an amazing time.

The kids enjoyed wearing their pajamas outside the house!!! I enjoyed the fact that there’s no place I would love to be than in my favorite store of Barnes and Nobles.

We ended our night with you guessed it purchasing books!

Take some time to Google free events in your area especially around the holidays. You will be amazed of the fun you can have!!

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Breakfast with Santa: Legoland Discovery Center

Every year we do at least one Breakfast with Santa but this year we decided to do it at Legoland Discovery Center in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

One of the benefits of having a season pass to Legoland is getting invited to exclude events. This event was free to Legoland Discovery Yearly pass. We were invited for a continental breakfast with Lego Santa himself. Once there breakfast was already ready. The kids and adults were able to help themselves. The guest of honor made his way over and gave our letters so that the kids could write a letter to Santa! Not to mention full access to the play center before regular opening hours. That in itself is a major win!

Even though it was our first year at the event it definitely will not be our last. The kids had a great time making a morning of fun and the adults were able to relax knowing the children are in a secure fun atmosphere. Plus anything with coffee sign me up!! If you’re in the area and looking for a place for your children to have fun in all year would consider coming to Legoland Discovery! We bought the year pass due to wanting to have an option for the Winter months as well as rainy days like today.

There is a huge jungle gym, snack center, active places to build LEGO projects of all kinds, mini 3D movies, laser zone, and of course a live action Lego man that comes out several times to take pictures with everyone all year long. One of the best parts is the interactive ride for the family of all ages to enjoy!

So I would certainly give my stamp of approval for Legoland Discovery Center! It’s a must try if you’re in the area!!

Who doesn’t love festive events? Certainly my family loves them!! Here’s to getting into the full swing of holiday events and things to do! Also if you have a family of multiple kids gift cards to LEGOLAND make a great group gift as well!! This way instead of more toys you give the gift of an outing!! That is the gift that keep on giving!!

Operating In Offense

So today I was reminded of what it looks like to operate in offense. Operating in offense is when you are so offended by someone or something that you can’t hear what others are saying to you. You are snippy, rude, loud and angry. Not one thing is heard from that moment. You aren’t willing to see someone else because you have taken the focus off of the issue and made it about self.  This is a self-righteous stance. There is nothing that will be gained walking in offense.  The world is really walking in offense. A lot of it is real and some of it comes from a deep seeded place that needs to be healed.

Now I wasn’t the person operating in offense today but I was able to see the old me through the eyes of the other person’s offense. Like many who have attempted to speak to me in moments of rage, anger, etc. in the past,  I saw what its like talking to a wounded person. You can’t heal that situation or person until you deal with their pain. Period. I don’t care how many cute quotes, speeches, etc. you give, they aren’t going to listen. I think about some of my past hurt prior to counseling and I seen how extremely closed off I was. Not willing to hear a person because all I kept focusing on  was myself.  Today I was hit with that same reality. I was humbled and blessed to see that for one I had real growth. The old me would have dipped into offense and gave folks a run for their money. My mouth is for sure a sword. I know this about me and with that mindset I do all I can to check myself first before handing out a 2 piece!  I listened to them and saw them for their pain and gifted them grace.  Isn’t it funny how you will confront yourself in another form down the line?

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Photo by Demeter Attila on Pexels.com

I gave the person the grace that wasn’t extended to me. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Not giving of grace, because my life is a grace walk, but knowing that lack of maturity didn’t allow or wont allow people to see my past issues as simply me walking in offense. My ability to see myself works wonders for me NOW.  My biggest challenge is feeling like I have to apologize a thousand times and do emotional backflips for folks to see growth. I have now come or am coming to peace with the notion that after you take a step back some folks won’t see you for your growth because they never wanted to see you grow in the first place. They saw the offense and used it to get off their chest what they had in them the whole time.  As I watched the situation unfold this morning and while I stayed calm I just said let me gift this grace. Let me not get offended at their offense. Let me let time, maturity, and step back. It will be fixed eventually. We all have to check ourselves and walk without sometimes getting the apology that we think we need or want. I couldn’t get through to the person this morning.  I probably wont for some time. I can’t do anything past their offense. That is a hard pill to swallow but such is life.  Eventually I pray they have their moment like I had to have mine. Hurt people or offended people can’t operate with your best interest in mind until they deal with their issues.  It doesn’t matter how old or young, how smart, etc. We all have a responsibility to do our daily work and check ourselves.

My message for anyone  who is  walking in offense, you will not grow and heal until you deal with you. I could give you a virtual high-five over your offense. You could be like YASSSS SIS I was right to be offended. I did that to and justified my responses, but the truth is that the offense was there to help you grow. It wasn’t so you could prove anything. It was there to make you whole. Once you tap into that you really will have deep seeded change.

 

I know this sounds super deep on Wednesday when you were just grateful for simply surviving your week but it is a necessary nugget. Sometime you are fighting a person and its like punching air. You are attempting to get through to someone who isn’t ready to receive because they cant get past their offense or even their general disdain of you to keep it real. This is across ALL relationships. Even romantic ones. If you and your boo is always up in arms its because instead of hearing you are defending your offense. You are coming to the table of communication with your guard up so high nothing is reaching past this imaginary wall of offense. That’s what happened today. (FYI I am not talking about my husband) That wall was so high it would have taken Olympic size strides to overpower it.

Today was interesting to say the least especially since it’s not even noon but remember when you head is on right, your at peace in your life, its not just so you can be in a peace bubble.  You will see you and either be grateful for change or have to say ouch and be the change. To the person I encountered today that was and is walking in offense, I pray that you have your moment of inner clarity. I wish you the best as my peace remains!

Monday Motivation: Keep Moving

This morning was an interesting start. That first day back after a few great days off. We were tired and sluggish. My cousins came to visit us so we allowed the kids to stay up a little longer than usual. I had me a great glass of red wine before bed and before I knew it, the alarm had sounded. It was time to face the day and the week!

So this week we have to keep moving. Between the overload of  shopping that will happen, we are going to have a million and one messages being thrown at us. Some are able to move past and take in what’s for them.  Others will feel weighted down and unable to push through. I am encouraging each and everyone of us to keep moving. Do not stop. Do not break. Do not stay stagnant. Keep moving. Allow things that do not serve you to move past you or you move past it. Sometimes merely stopping to give a petty response is problematic. Do not allow that to be your story. Keep moving. Don’t let disappointments mount up instead use that fuel to keep going. We have so much to do with our energy than to allow it all to phase you into doing absolutely nothing. Remember its not the person with the better resources that wins. Sometimes those resources are there, and because someone is burnt out, they stay stuck. It’s the one that wiggles around lack of resource and continues to build that makes the journey worth it! Keep moving!

What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you

So I’m out and about today. While out a woman is behind me talking to another woman. The one woman asks where her husband was. Her answer was he just started chemotherapy and he’s home. So I’m like wow Lord bless her and give her strength. Then they keep talking and she said well he also is evil. It caught me off guard. I’m like oh wow either way help them both God! She stated that he was abusive now and before his treatment and she’s just trying to get through whatever happens to him.

My heart immediately dropped. She appears to be an older woman and even with her husband going through chemo she still is aware of how he treats her. Should she give him a pass? No. When the woman tried to tell her she should be nicer to him because of his medical condition she made it clear that she might have except he’s still abusing her now and had done it before. It made me think about how some people define their vows of in sickness and in health. Yes you’re supposed to be there for him but she chose the words abuse. Abuse is not okay. She remembers what he did and what he’s doing.

Abuse is not something you tolerate. I hear so many times of people abusing their spouses in other forms not just physical. Gaslighting a person is a form of abuse. Financial abuse where one partner withholds money and resources or makes their partner practically beg for money is a abuse. What about the men who asks for a detailed list of what their spouse bought, but he doesn’t have to? Don’t even hit me with well what if the woman doesn’t work?! I was a stay at home mom for years and if my spouse made me feel like I was his child instead of a partner when it came to abuse then I would be writing this piece from the perspective that he was abusive and a shitty partner period! This isn’t love. This is demeaning and abusive!!

What a wicked way to treat your spouse if you can to yourself yes my spouse does those things to me. How about the husband or spouse who embarrasses them out in public? What about the spouse that deliberately reveals the spouse’s intimate moments to others? This is abuse. Women are expected to ride or die for a man and not receive love, understanding, and commitment. It’s not okay to sit and hope one day their spouse will treat them well. Note for the good man, this may not be you but you can speak openly to your friends when you are alone with them and they speak of doing these things. I have had male friends who do these very horrible things to their spouses and girlfriends and guess what if I know about it I speak about it. How could someone you love be treated so badly by the hand of the one saying I love you. You don’t get to say well I don’t have male role models in my life therefore I just can’t…..

I read a story this week where a fiancé was going through cancer and he had like the married couple of today’s story treated her with abuse before and during. She left him and everyone was all up in arms about it. What was she supposed to do? Stay and wait for his treatment to be over while being abuse? He wasn’t moved by his treatment neither did he focus on his health and make a decision to be kind to the one taken care of him. She wasn’t even married so she had more to lose than the wife of today’s story. She decided that being abused and leaving was more important than the folks who would condemn her inability to ride it out during his treatment. His treatment is unfortunate but if you get that close to potential pain and death and that can’t change your behavior, you have bigger issues!

Relationships are great when two parties want to make things work. They can also be Hell on Earth if one or more partner thinks that it’s okay to be disrespectful or when one party things you should stick it all at your expense. Be careful who you align yourself with. Always find ways to speak up for yourself. If you find yourself in an abusive do everything you can to get away. What you’re thinking isn’t wrong. What you feel is your inner voice telling you that the late nights alone while they run the streets isn’t okay. What you feel when they set you up for failure or tell you no one will love you like them isn’t just an alarm to leave it’s an alarm to run.

Abuse is not okay. He can love you all day with his words but if his or her actions says different, pay attention to action. Actions matter! It’s not okay to stick it out just so others will think you left a person when the chips were down. The chips are already down if you’re being abused. You being abused is wrong. There is no good time to leave abuse. You don’t have to wait until you think it’s socially acceptable to leave. Your mental and emotional well being matters!!

Please make the best decision in love. Not all love is made up abuse. I love love. I love hearing two people come together and just mesh so well. I love to hear when two people come together and beat all odds. Love isn’t about being beat, emotional drained or mentally beat down but smile and bear

Ask Toi: Do you think people should go to counseling before having Children?

Yes and no. I think that if you have had things happen in your childhood that affects your ability to raise your children then yes. If once you have children you notice things that come up, by all means run don’t walk and go to counseling. If you feel like your childhood wasn’t an issue than no. Not everyone has bad childhoods. If you feel like you did or as an adult even before having children, you yourself know or can feel triggers. Also regardless of being a parent or not, you can see a counselor to help you get better at self-care. Everyone I believe can benefit if that is a choice they take from speaking to a licensed professional.  Having children will test you in ways that no one can prepare for. It takes a lot more than knowing how to keep a child alive, feeding, or housing them to be a parent. Each child is here on this Earth for a purpose but some people don’t realize that the child rearing years can push them further away from their purpose if you don’t keep a clear mind and watch how you treat them. What we say, how we talk, what consequences we give matters. They aren’t just dolls for us to take care of and show off. They are humans who need guidance and we as parents are responsible in how we do it.

What I know is that regardless of children or not, I for one felt triggered having my kids. Part of that was going through postpartum depression. I have said openly that I went to counseling and took medication to work through my own issues.  During that time of counseling things that I hadn’t talked about or dealt with came out. I worked through them and continue to work through them. It doesn’t necessarily mean that my childhood was awful.  It meant that I found as an adult things that I would rather deal with to be a better parent.  For me my ultimate goal is to be the best parent for my kids. All three of them have different needs. I didn’t have to feel after going to counseling that I had to treat them the same as far as giving them the same exact method in how they receive correction.   It’s my job to find out what works best for them to be their best. It’s not about me, my ego, what my parents said goes, what my husband’s mom said goes, it’s about them and being to them what they need, period.

I for one don’t like yelling. However as a parent I find that if I am not mindful I will do it. I don’t want my kids raised in a home with yelling so when I was in counseling its something that I worked on to eliminate it. I don’t even take my kids around folks that do a lot of arguing or fighting. Should I find that we are in that type of environment I will immediately remove my kids from it. I think yelling is unnecessary. As a parent I can speak to my kids and give them respect and expect it from them without yelling to get my point across. It doesn’t mean that my patience tank as I call it is always full. When I find that it’s not I apologize and work with my kids to be understanding. This I found out how to do in counseling. I had to let a friend of mine know who was keeping my kids why one of my kids responded the way they do to yelling. It’s not that I want to keep my kids in a bubble but I do feel an in control parent can watch how they speak and that’s just as important to the message.

I have talked to other parents who stated that things in their childhood didn’t come out until they had children. I would say be proactive in dealing with it. I know I am not perfect but if I am constantly checking myself and willing to tweak what I do where my kids are concerned, I know and pray they have a good outcome from that. Sometimes I also think, if my voice is their voice would I want my kids to yell unnecessarily to my grandkids in the future?  If I am putting them down, who is going to pull them up?  There are parents who belittle their kids and then when their kids do “great” things they take the credit? I don’t want that. I want them to shine because their support system behind them helps them shine! All adults need to have an outlet whether they are parents or not. If anything is on our heart and mind and talking to a licensed professional is a good thing for self-care.

Having kids will bring out things in your childhood if its left unchecked. That is a good and bad thing. To fuse two different upbringing from my husband and I and knowing that we can take from both and find what works for us with our own takes a lot of finesse. I would say if you are talking about having kids that you have some real conversations on how those kids will be raised. It’s not the time to wait until they arrive.  Counseling is another way of helping to deal with those difficult decisions for any part of your life not just parenting. Also be prepared for those around you specifically parents to say things like you weren’t raised that way. It is true.  A lot of the things that we do for our children don’t mirror my parents or his mom. However end of day you have to take into consideration resources available, times, and your kids personalities and they way they learn. I would rather support their way of learning and have them find ways to be that much better than to only do what I was taught to please any one of the sets of parents. Parenting for where my husband and I are right now is a lot of meshing. We mesh both sides and what we see and what we deal with when dealing with our kids.

If you are concerned with if counseling will work, I would say go to a few sessions and find out for yourself. I find that I feel better equipped for the time I went to counseling. I was given tools to work through me which in the end of the day will help in how I deal and heal with my kids. They are the best parts of me. I see myself in all 3 and I would hope the things that I didn’t master they master. I would hope that the things I wanted in my childhood I make sure they have and its beyond material things. I want them to feel secure in being them. I want them to be able to not hide who they are. I know they will not fit what I think they should be. I hope as they figure out who they are that they can count on me and my husband to love them through it. I pray constantly that I would choose my words carefully when interacting with them.

People give counseling a bad name. Going to counseling doesn’t mean you have issues with everyone, you’re weak, you are unstable and any other negative word choices people give it. The notion of keeping your business to yourself is the reason why people respond to life the way you do. You should be open to speak honestly about things without fear that if you do something is going to happen. Getting help is not a problem. You should be getting help and in that shows strength. If you are someone who needs a counselor regardless if you are a parent or not or if you are being triggered or not, go and get that help. I would rather someone be in counseling than to treat a child wrongfully indirectly because they were taught not to speak up.

Friends List-Anxiety Buster

So we all friends and how they interact with you determine how you should proceed with them. I have been guilty of having a large list of friends on social media but in real life barely interact with then. I have since changed how I look at my friends and let me share with you why.

Anxiety and New Friends

Since graduating from Penn State in 2003 I have noticed that at times my anxiety is lot more pronounced than I gave notice to it. I am a creature of habit. I like when things are comfortable. Being in college knowing that I had a small list of core friends allowed me to attempt to make new friends because my thought of rejection always tended to the point that at the end of the day, I had some solid friends. Now in my real adult life trying to manage all things, I don’t have the time that I once had to goof off, party and be irresponsible and my friends reflect that. There are a few friends that are about to be cut. It’s nothing personal as I change so will my list of who I call friends change. This post isn’t to air that out. My anxiety has caused me to be super selective in who my real friends are.

Friends of a Friend

Since I am attempting to make new strides in friendships I am realizing that a lot of my friends are friends of a friend. They are not really my friend but are super bomb and cool people. Meaning they are friendly, we speak when we are in circles but they are not the ones I go to when things go left. For a couple of months I had been trying to fuse relationships with a few friends of a friend and getting upset when it didn’t pop like I wanted to. Rejection made me one get upset because I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working out. Now I come to mind that I had to stop making something fit that wasn’t going to fit.  I realize that I can be friends to them, and not try to take it personal because the flow of friendship isn’t the same as it was for other friendships to blossom. I think as much as we holler “no new friends” the objective isn’t necessarily in not having new relationships as much as knowing how much energy it’s going to take and knowing if you want to invest in that new relationship.

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Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

If you are the type that people don’t want to become friends with, that’s an entirely different story. Vibes matter and if you are constantly setting off get away from me vibes you won’t match the potential that friendships have to offer. As the holidays get closer, it’s going to be important to be connected with the right people. I know for myself seeing how much friendships can really be supportive not having that here in Philadelphia through my own fault in the beginning and now has made the difference in how rich my life is. I am blossoming that much more because of great people who I can call that if nothing else can call me out on my stuff but also be supportive of my wins. You have to be able to step out of your comfort zone with others.

How I managed my anxiety and meeting new people:

  • Be yourself-you don’t know others enough to start switching off in the beginning. Them seeing you for who you are will matter if you want to attempt to know if people like you for you. Let them see the real you!
  • Take your time. Quality is more important than quantity
  • Nerves are fine. If you feel like you are becoming overwhelmed, take a few moments to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Take a few seconds to gather yourself in a social setting.
  • Hang with whomever makes you comfortable at first and then slowly introduce yourself to others. If you feel rejected, than still remain in control of yourself but be gracious to everyone.
  • Smile- a smile goes a long way, he or she who presents themselves friendly will invite more friends. I have been known to have rest you know what face, but I have changed my approach. When I go to events, I let my home life, at home. I leave work at home. I do not bring these things with me when I am out and about because it hinders me from showing myself in the best life. If I am spending my coin I refuse to waste my time these days and especially not my me time. My me time is scarce and sacred.