Philadelphia Theatre Company Presents Bridges of Madison County

I had a wonderful time at the opening night of Bridges of Madison County.  This musical was not only engaging, it also hit on some questions in life.  The story involves an Italian woman named Francesca Johnson who married an American solider to flee the war in Italy. The story also surrounds Francesca family as they head off to the state fair without her. Who she encounters while they were gone, sets the many questions of what would you do.

What would you do if you found yourself in the company of a handsome stranger who woos you? In crossing the line you are left with the questions in your heart and mind of staying with the man you have built a family but not necessarily having the fire in your soul for or the man who with whom you just met who makes you feel alive?  How deep is your loyalty?  I attended this musical with my husband and it made for one great date night and an interesting conversation for the journey home. We talk in our society of men cheating but this woman clearly cheated on her husband and fell hard in love. Could she in the 1960’s just leave?  Could you in an unhappy relationship leave your mate now?  I think about all of the social and economic structure of that time and think about how staying definitely was more of a stable decision. To leave stability and your children is not only now but then unheard of. So of course my husband and I are talking about how life is different for women in a lot of ways with advancement in careers, etc but there are still women who are housewives who feel stuck in their current state. Now I am not condoning cheating in any way. Matter of fact, although stuck Francesca was actually quite wrong to cross the line with the photographer even if I understand it!

Did I mention that it’s a musical? I love musicals. Bridges of Madison County kept my attention and the front seats were probably the best part. I would highly suggest you getting to this show, opting for VIP seats if you can and by the way you can because there are many options to make it affordable.  This musical has romance, its funny, the music is A1, and it has drama and will have you talking well after you have left. If that isn’t the making of a good time?  I am enclosing the link for deals, like reduced tickets 3 hours before show time, ticket discounts if you are a SNAP recipient, group tickets, etc.  Tickets for all budgets and the ability to have one star-studded night.  So affordability for all is important and trust me when I say you are going to want to get out and not miss this masterpiece.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre for a magical night. Thank you to the amazing cast you were above and beyond talented. Each of you have such a great gift. Thank you to Aversa PR for the invite.  Thank you to everyone who were involved in the reception afterwards for the reception. The brisket was divine! I felt like a celebrity with all of the star treatment.

Everyone get out and support Bridges of Madison County.  The show is located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 215 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-985-1400.  The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2019!

 

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Ask Toi: Valentine’s Day Edition: My wife states she doesn’t want a Valentine’s Day gift should I not get one?

Getting a gift for Valentine’s Day just because you are married is not mundane. I dislike people making the excuse that if your husband loves you he doesn’t have to show you love on Valentine’s Day. If your spouse loves you and wants to shower you with a gift on that day he can.  If you as a couple have come to the conclusion that you don’t exchange gifts that is fine too. Just be sure that when you state you don’t want a gift you are mature to make that decision and not give your spouse Hell come that day because you made a decision to be something you aren’t.  It’s okay to be married and exchange or not to. I encouraged that man to honor his wife’s words, by getting something and not giving to her that day but finding another day to give her a gift. This way if she by chance is one of these women who say things but don’t mean it he will still be covered and if she is standing by not wanting to exchange, he has a gift to give her as a thinking of you gift.

man and woman surrounded by grass

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Ladies, I want to encourage you if you can’t stand by your decision to not give gifts, do NOT ever tell a man something you can’t stand by 100%.  This is the same thing when you get into an argument and you tell that man to leave the house and you don’t want him to leave. Or you get mad and use the big “D” word out of anger. This is a larger principle of not saying things to either look like the “cool” wife or to say things out of anger that you can’t back up.  Out of all of the times that I have argued with my husband I have learned not to say what I don’t mean. If you want a gift, it’s perfectly ok to say you want to exchange on Valentine’s Day.  What’s not okay to do is to play games or say things you think they want to hear. This will disappoint you in the long run.  This you should have known mess that people pull in relationships shows lack of maturity. Relationships are about communication and saying or acting in one manner that isn’t who you are makes it hard for either one of you to walk in love because you spend more time recovering from idle messages!

 

Sunday Message: Controlling Your Triggers

We all have triggers.  Triggers are the things that we see, experience, or are around us that pushes an emotional response.  We all have to find a way to control them, handle them and most importantly address them.

Some people deal with them in healthy ways such as counseling, talking to a trusted associate or friend or acknowledge them.  The unhealthy way of dealing with triggers is hoping they will simply go away, drugs, sex, relationships, etc. I am aware of my triggers because I have had more times of not handling them right that I had no choice but address them.  I was tired of arguing, yelling, ready to fight, and being about drama to deflect what I hadn’t acknowledged.  It was too much to keep things going!  My tipping point came when I got into it with family and it spilled over into social media. I knew at that moment that I had to disengage, take a break, and handle the root of the issue. So instead of worrying who was wrong, I just dug deep into getting my life aligned. Now the issues that came up didn’t  disappear but with the help of my counselor I worked through!  Funny part I was in counseling and she told me that the situation was going to happen.  It was almost verbatim how she described it.  It’s funny now but then I was one split second from bail.

I have since seen a few family members since the whole breakdown and nothing on he inside of me moves. I hold no malice.  However there are other triggers that I still work through quite often.  For me they come out when I handle my children. My kids are good overall but they will every now and again make me tap into something and I find I have to work through some things. Parenthood in my opinion is sharpening me to be a better version of myself.  I owe it to my children to be the parent that they need and not the parent that is in constant fight or flight so that is why I have been in and out of therapy since I had my oldest and she will be 10 this year. I  have no embarrassment at all with saying that in order to control how I walk in this world is to have help. I want to spend my days being whole and not a whole mess.

How do you know that you are being triggered? Listen to yourself.  The things you speak about portray where you are.  If all you speak about is certain people or things that aren’t about building you to be your best, that issue you speak on still has life and you need to really deal with.  When I as having marital issues and not speaking and listening to my husband all I spoke about was negativity of our marriage.  I also would speak negatively about the imagery of other positive marriages. This is where the term hating does apply. I wanted my marriage to be a safe space.  I wanted it to be strong from the inside out and would take issue with others who appeared that way.  I wasn’t strong enough to be real about my part in my marriage. I never acknowledged how my triggers were not my husband’s to deal with.  I wanted him to be understanding and fix me while I acted a fool and hide behind “for better or for worse.”

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We are responsible for our own happiness. We want others to care about our triggers more than we are wiling to deal and handle them.  It’s not enough to be understanding as you watch a partner do nothing.  How about just regular folks watching you wallow in your triggers.  Are your friends supposed to carry your triggers and the bad behavior they often demonstrate?  They can love and be supportive but they are limited in making things okay. I blogged the other day about who my friends were present for my most colorful times with Marques in college. Looking back they should have raised the standard for our behavior in that if we wanted to hang the drama couldn’t come.  Triggers place distance between people.  Triggers is the cause of why hurt people hurt people.  It’s simply still not okay to contain hurting people and having expectations that your relationship, title, or age will grace you.

You need to speak for, handle, and show up for that inner pain and deal with it. You need to trust me it’s in your best interest.  Everyday I wake up even when the day before  might have allowed  a trigger to get the best of me and show up for myself.  It’s important for me to mirror wholeness to myself as well as my children. Also social media and triggers is real. I do not argue  with folks on social media. Debate is a thin line to fighting too.  I will debate you with maybe 2 exchanges and that’s it.  It also depends on the topic. The trolls will never engage me.  Also if its family or friends that I have personal numbers to, it’s a no automatically. First I don’t post too many subjective things and on top of that I think about whether or not its someone who has a front row or at least a few rows into my life for me to get hype and it has zero outcome.  Also don’t let what you think you see on Facebook. I knew of several males who made who dedications to their wives and was cheating the whole time using hashtags like couple goals.  Life is complicated and comparison will leave you  in self defeat! Don’t do it!

One last thing, in life we can’t always retreat but one of the things that can assist in healing is separation.  I was told when I stated I needed to separate from individuals that I was wrong.  I knew what I needed.  I knew I wasn’t going to be okay from years of mess by staying in the midst.  My counselor allowed me to see that the person needed me to stay and work things out because staying gave the other party to believe that things weren’t as bad as it was. I didn’t care if I was looked as wrong.  I no longer wanted to be right. I wanted to be free to live and love.  I needed healing from my triggers.  I needed to separate to walk in real wholeness and know right or wrong I was entitled to how I felt but not entitled to react negatively to it!  Working through triggers is a daily tussle.  However if you are overwhelmed or feel overtaken in your triggers, its time to acknowledge it and get help!

National Spouse Day

Today is national spouse day! A day to acknowledge your spouse. Everyone needs and wants to be acknowledged for their wonderful accomplishments and that includes being a great spouse.

I love shouting out my spouse even when he irks my last nerve. The reality that some people say that the only time people shout out their spouse is usually in response to something that they have done wrong is craziness. You shouldn’t be married to someone who you are not proud to do the work in the background and show the world how amazing they are. The concept of treating them like crap in the background and then shouting them out openly when you want to save your marriage is not good. My husband and I are working towards private love that keeps us both grounded and secured so that when we have public displays of affection, there aren’t people like “I know the truth” moments.

 

I have shouted out my spouse even in the midst of turmoil and the reason is simple, better or worse! The worse moments are real. They are not the best of times but the commitment and friendship that I share with him overshadows the bad. Working through the bad and using the tools that he and I got from when we went to couple’s counseling helps. We are not ashamed that we did the work those first years that have saved us from calling it quits. Taking a few minutes to listen to each other matter. Sometimes we talk over our spouse and that is never good. No one wins when the family feuds. Also not embarrassing each other by talking down to, treating each other like kids, or just plain old respect helps too.

What I will say about my spouse, Marques, is that he is moving from husband to partner. I know that sounds weird but the moment he did I saw a change in how we interact. It’s cute to say your husband or husbae as I call him sometimes does what needs to be done. As a partner I notice that instead of the mundane tasks, we actually are at a point where we are flipping hats and giving each other what we need and not what we think each other needs. This comes from a LOT of communication. We talk to and try to not talk at. This doesn’t mean we don’t have fights because we have arguments but they aren’t as bad and we aren’t somewhere sulking and taking forever to recover.

We have known each other for 20 years this year. We split up and obviously kept in contact but we will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this year. Whew! That is grace. Being friends first there are times when we have our “truth moments.” It doesn’t mean we lie to each other outside of those moments. It’s a moment of vulnerability that neither one of us are allowed to judge each other. It may mean we listen and take a break from coming up with an answer or solution.  Marques you are an amazing father and we would say openly how he was working on being a great husband. I would like to say you moved right on up to awesome husband and partner. So today I shout you out and say I wouldn’t want to navigate the hard time with anyone else. You get me in all of my quirky ways and you allow me to be me. Now if we could get you to enjoy eating outside with me this would tip the scale! In the meantime, you just let me enjoy that outside eating with my girls and I love you for compromising in the places that needed it and being firm when it was necessary. Our son has an amazing example and our daughters can’t bring home nothing but excellence when the time comes for them to look for a great man in their lives in the future! I love you!

Let People Figure it Out

We are all flowing into the New Year on a high note. You are working out, eating right and attempting to surround yourself with the right people or at least you should. What happens if by now you are around a few folks that have already ended their resolutions, are negative, and aren’t flowing in an upward mobility? You let them figure it out while being the change you want to see.

The power you have stops at the end of your nose. You have no power to enforce change on those around you outside of influence. So this means that you will be around a few folks who will not catch the self-improvement train as fast as you do. It’s okay.  As long as the folks that haven’t hopped on board, aren’t stopping you carry on. You can’t save everyone.  Everyone doesn’t have the same vision as you do.  Everyone wasn’t meant to ride the same ride and board and exit at the same time.

note notebook notes page

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Does that mean while you are advancing that you have to take on negative traits of those on different paths? Nope not at all. I am a firm believer that while you evolve natural your paths will separate you. It doesn’t mean that you love less but your tolerance for foolishness has changed. Be the change you want to see.  Be that change while not supporting the negativity to others but separate when yourself when you need to.  Also let people be them.  I dislike when people make change in their life they then look down on others.  Let your change speak for themselves.  Also be aware that sometimes not all times with change comes jealousy. We all have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone but not all of us walk in the same gifting. This is why the conception of “he/she is haters” has to stop. To hate on someone who means when you walk in your gifting, or speaking about your gifting, a person or group of folks immediately come in for the “he/she ain’t” talk.  It happens but happens a lot less than some want to project the story to be. If someone isn’t impressed or desires what you have its unlikely they are hating on you.  It could be they just don’t like you. Example: if you just had a baby and announce it, a person who hates would say something about you being a mom but they may not want to be a mom they just simply do not like you.

This is why not everyone is a hater. Some speak from a place of dislike or even hatred of you.  Either way none of that can stop your agenda because if you were surrounded by the right crowd by the time the message got to you, you would be on another goal making moves. You don’t crush one goal and then stand in place waiting for your props. You are too busy accomplishing goals to sit stagnant after climbing one tier. If you were mountain climbing and your goal was to get to the top would you climb one tier waiting for someone to pat you on the back or waiting for someone who doesn’t like you or hate on you to finish? No you would block them and maintain form to get to the top and not fall. Apply the same process to your everyday life.

Win at life by staying focus, slaying your goals, separating from negativity, and being the change around your inner circle and beyond that the world definitely could benefit from!

Ask Toi: Hump Day Edition

The question is how does our reader communicate to her boyfriend that he needs to stop promising the world to her during sex…

Well this is a good problem to have. In one sense know that during sex a man would just about empty out there account to you if it meant getting more. However it can be off-putting to hear it every time you have sex. I would just mention it obviously when you’re not in the moment. You have to bring it up so that it doesn’t mess up your head and then no one is having a good time.

Also know too if you leave it alone and don’t mention it at all it really could just be how things happen. Meaning men say dumb things at the point of climax. Most men barely follow through. Men make a lot of promises during sex. If he is saying weird things he wants to give you that you really wanted or needed and then falling by the way side with the come up, there’s a problem. If he is making promises on dumb and unattainable things then understand the other “head” is doing the talking. So if he promises you marriage or brings it up during sex but outside of the bedroom hes mute and you want to be married, let him know it’s not ok and that it has to stop.  If he does tell him how disheartening it is to have these conversations with him when he is doing it for the wrong reasons.  Climax produces a lot of amazing feelings but playing with your emotions isn’t one.

If it makes you uncomfortable or makes you want to stop having sex with him its worth a conversation.  However this is why women hold an amazing power.  We have the ability to really take a man down with that power. Speak up and find other ways to have some sexy talk during your sex sessions.

Side note for men: don’t tell a woman you gonna give her anything you can’t really give her once you wash up and leave. Talk that talk that can be backed up and not when we backing it up…..

 

National Make A Difference Day

How can you make a difference? This is such an open-ended question. We always have a tenacity to go to what we don’t have before we answer. You start listing all of the things you aren’t before you can just simply find ways to be the difference in someone else’s lives.

Whatever gifts and talents that are inside of you is more than enough to make a difference. Here are a few ways you can give back and make a difference:

 

Home Life

One charity starts at home. I hate to see people who are super bomb to everyone around them except their own family. I hate to see it with parents who go out and win everyone else’s child but ignore the issues with their own. I hate to see husbands and wives flex on social media but behind closed doors, give silent treatments and ignore the needs of their spouse. We all have to do better.

  • Spend more time with your children. Yes you work to provide. Provision is responsibility. Taking time away from your phone, to sing a song, or play one of their games, or sit and ask them what they like and what’s bothering them makes a difference for a child. Try it some time.
  • Love on your mate. Whether it’s a boo, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, take some time and spend it on them. Yes gifts are great, but how about watch one of their shows actively with them. How about talk and make sure the air is clear? You can also make a dessert together. These are inexpensive ways to show the ones you love that you are one with them.
  • Check in on loved ones. We say we love folks but the only time we check in on them is if we have the tea about another family member. Change that. Call and ask if all is well and mean it. Than when you find out it’s not if you can help, help. Also unless someone told you to tell another person, build trust and just listen and not take their issues to another family member so you “can pray about it.”

Work Life

  • Show up and be on time ready to work. That’s a ministry all in itself.
  • Don’t be apart of the office gossip-remember the same lips bringing you the tea, is the same one taking your tea to stir at another pot on you
  • Be the change in the office you want to see
  • If the job no longer serves you, don’t stay get an exit plan. This may take time, but be proactive in leaving
  • Find ways to be more productive even if that means changing the scenery. When work starts to get to me sometimes I redecorate to fit a new mood. It helps me about 60% of the time

Social Media Life

  • Don’t go back and forth with them……. (in my Lil Duval voice) if you find yourself having to respond to more than one comment just stop. You aren’t going to win an argument on social media with trolls
  • Be who you post to be. Yeah that’s right. Align your social media to reflect who you are. On my social media I highlight me as a mom and wife. I don’t create doors to let anyone think they have space to slide in the DM. They do but at that point they just are trying to do the most.
  • Make sure you don’t do subliminal post. This is hard even for me at times. You see a post and it speaks to you but post it cause it spoke to YOU. You can’t be out here taking shots at folks you don’t even @

 

We all have things that we can give to the world. I came across a young lady on social media that is a hair dresser and she feeds the homeless. This is her life work. She literally gets out there with the folks that many would snub their noses at, and she feeds them and cleans them up and does their hair. She has a whole team of folks that assist her. Think about how her being there does for them. She treats them with dignity and respect. I know if I was down and out the last thing I would want is someone kicking me when I was done. What about those who raise money for others?  They are making a difference in the causes by which they are raising it for. How about those who set up camps at the bus stops for kids to make sure all of the kids have breakfast. You don’t know what someone may be going through at home. Everybody ain’t sitting at home collecting checks. Some middle class folks work everyday and still can’t make ends meet. How about the men who go into the community to pray over the city. There are a few groups here in Philadelphia who do it consistently. What can you do? Whatever gift is inside of you can help make a difference.

I said it before but around thanksgiving I see so many companies give back to others and it warms my heart. If you cut hair, how about offer your services to people who can’t afford to maintain their cuts on a regular basis? If you are a financial planner, offer your services to a few families for free to get them out of debt?  The sky is the limit. Whatever you do, do it well. Someone needs the very thing you have and complain about. Make a difference today and everyday!