Evaluate Your Life

I think doing check ins with yourself is important. It’s not just something you do when the New Year hits or on your birthday. A life check up and check in helps to reinforce your goals. T

So what do you do when you check in and discover your life is heading left and you are off task of completing your goals?

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You take a deep breath. You find out what caused you to lose focus. Was it not investing enough time into yourself. This happens more often than most people think. If you aren’t doing a monthly or even weekly check up you can find that on your lists of importance you are on the bottom. You can’t give to someone when you have nothing to give of yourself. Take the time to put you back on the top of your list and make your dreams come true.

What if you don’t have enough resources?

A lot of us don’t have enough resources. We simply are acquiring them as we go along. Join the crowd. End of day, you can still make things happen. If you work your plan and find hiccups, set some intentions. Research what you need and how others in your same position got them. If it worked for them it can work for you. The difference is when you don’t have resources you have to learn to make them. Ask a mom who has limited resources but her children have many needs. If she loves her kids, she gets up and makes it happen.

What if the list are long and overwhelming?

Take that list and put them into categories. What can you do right now? What will take time? List them in order of the time you think it will take to make it happen. Not all dreams if not most are build over night. You have to be doing the work and being consistent. Its like the stories of those who are looking for a job and interviewing. They may hear a thousand Nos until they get to that Yes. Be consistent and keep moving.

What if you lose hope?

Hope isn’t lost its just shifted. You have to be able to refocus yourself. How do you refocus yourself? Look at what you want. Is it something that no matter how many times you put it down, you keep coming back to it? Is it a passion that you feel on a daily basis. If you are at work is it always on your mind? This is where your hope is. Just because you laid your dream down, it didn’t die its crying out to you to pick it up. This is why you talk about it all the time. This is why the desire is burning so bright. It has a hold of you tighter than you have a hold on it. Tighten it up. Get back out there. Be ready for a few Nos. Be ready for times when you feel overwhelmed.

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Evaluating your life can be exhausting. It can be mentally draining. All you do is focus on what you don’t have, where you aren’t, the time wasted, etc. you will find it hard to keep going. Find the little victories along the way. Get back up, dust yourself. and get back into your life. Don’t quit on life, make your life happen. Even if that dream takes years as long as you keep moving you will get there. Everyday there is at least one more thing you can do to make your dream happen. If you aren’t doing something everyday than you aren’t working hard enough or smart enough. If you want to lose weight, everyday you should be drinking your water, increasing your exercise, substituting better food in place of bad food. This is daily. If you want to go to school, you need to prepare. Have you gone to the school of your choice and spoke to a counselor? Have you applied for grants online and in your community? Have you filled out the application? Are you working hard in the day to finance school? This is called an action plan. The part where you take your dreams from off the paper and push them into the atmosphere of action so you can see the reward!

 

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.

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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!

My Go To’s of Social Media

So you know that social media can be a blessing and a curse. If you are on it to compare your life you will immediately fall into a state of depression and that is something you do not want to do.  You really need to find your daily passions and inspiration. Since making dramatic changes in my life I find that I attract myself to those who are like-minded.  It is also allowing me to naturally cut off those who don’t fit that lifestyle.
Inspiration is all around us. It could be with a conversation as you are passing by. It could be in nature.  I don’t know how many times I have seen something go down and got completely inspired by a bird.  It’s true. You can be inspired by social media and a post. The post I love is anything where flaws are exposed but hope abounds. People are looking for hope because all around them they might be surrounded by hopeless people or even hopeless thoughts. This world is super shiny and pretty all the time but it can shed a little light to add some light to a dark soul. In reality that is what we are supposed to be.  When people see you, they should see light. It doesn’t mean they need to see perfection.  They need to see your try. They need to know they can quit a job that wasn’t serving them and go on to bigger and better. They need to see someone leaving a raggedy marriage and not settle and even if another relationship isn’t around the corner they still know they will be fine. They need to see that parenting is super hard and trying, but with grace they can make it.

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As a blogger I of course love social media because it allows me to put my blogs out, connect with others, and really see people doing their thing as they see me doing the same. You can have people or things that you like or that inspire you.   I have a little small listing of the things that inspire me.  From home improvements, to celebrations for my kids, anything self-care, and of course people who are doing their thing, failing I said that correctly, dusting themselves off and pushing through. Everything we see on social media has a back story to it.  With that being said I will give you 4 women I find inspiring and tell you why!

Amanda Seales

One because she “be knowing.” If you follow her I don’t even have to explain it.  She is a champion for the culture and she is about as real as it gets.  She rarely sugar coats things and you know that’s how I live my life. I love her ability to be herself and she doesn’t appear to care if you or me like her or not.  She is a jewel.  I love her happiness.   I love her passions. I love that Amanda is always pushing for people to take accountability. I hope that accountability doesn’t become a lost art.  We really need it.  She makes me check myself on all levels but especially where politics and culture is concerned. Like a mirror that constantly asks that nagging why.  Although she is not nagging she will make you think and correct yourself quick.  Amanda is like my big sis or that bomb friend who serves it straight but also is someone who can relate to you without judging everything you do. And she plays Tiffany on HBO’s Insecure.  I love her character. That losing your friends with motherhood episode was real! Amanda been in the game a long time. Check her credentials.  She really is about this life and about the culture.  She is the culture! Check out her podcasts, Small Doses and then follow her on social media you won’t be disappointed. Also if you are on Instagram and you follow her, always and I mean always catch her Instastories daily, Amanda Seales

Randi Rossario

She is the owner of the internet radio show, “Oh So Radio.” She has alot of things on her plate you really should check her out! She is super dope and I found her one day at work on break with her “Good Day” inspirational moments. You might have seen her recently on the Shaderoom’s post about her helping a couple who’s wedding was semi ruined due to their child nearly drowning at a pool party.  Well above her ability to help those in need, her “Good Day” inspirations really moves me. Now let me warn a few stuffy folks, this ain’t your momma’s inspirational moment but when I say no lies are ever detected, I mean it. She is super straight. You might not even want to accept the way she speaks but you can’t deny the truth that is coming out.  She is the real deal.  I try not to hit the “Good Day” moments every morning because when I do hit she always has the exact word for what I am dealing with.  She speaks on owning your stuff and stop allowing others control over what you do.  So if you are someone who lacks the ability to move forward, hit her Instagram.  You will get the good kick in the ass that you didn’t even know you need it.  But TRUST me you needed it!

Heather Lindsey

So I had to take a little break from Heather for a few months. It wasn’t anything personal but I just take a break from social media folks quite often.  Not only do I attempt to take breaks from it altogether during moments of life, I do encourage others to do the same. Heather Lindsey is a Christian who is also the wife of Cornelius Lindsey pastor of The Gathering Oasis church in Atlanta GA and a mother of 3.  I was directed by a friend to follow her. I went scrolling along to hear what she had to say.  She seems like a genuinely down to earth person who for one will let you know she loves the Lord, she loves her family, and she loves life. I love the way she takes care of herself. That is what caught my eye.  Now I know it would be a thing to say why in the world would you be worried about what she is wearing. It was more than her outfit choices although let’s be clear they are super dope. I followed her at a time when I was struggling from looking like a whole mess calling myself a wife and mother.  Now there’s nothing wrong with struggling but apart of my struggle was saying how I wanted to get me together and yet I did nothing to achieve that goal.  She was so well put together that she challenged me to have balance.  I needed that. I still push for that.  Balance is more attractive than how much the pieces you have on cost.  So for that, she inspires me get it together. I am sure she like we all do have super stressful days.  But she travels by herself at times, travels with her husband, dates him often on date days and date nights, goes on girls trips, baecations, and runs a whole business with the Pinky Promise.  That’s the type of balance that is encouraging to women no matter your background.  Check out Heather Lindsey

I know a lot of folks that are in the church struggle with the ability of loving the Lord and still looking like the promises God said was for you.  I grew up in a church where most folks was looking wayward.  I know that can’t be the promise that God gave to the world.  How can we reach folks looking like “Le’ Struggle” everyday.  I mean everyday maybe, but not everyday.

Jenell B Stewart

She is like the all around mommy mogul.  I know we give credit to all of the other mommy moguls who seem to have like millions of followers but this queen is one to be on the look out for. First of all as an African-American woman it’s always to see chocolate loves that mirror me or my kids.  She is a lifestyle blogger, a mom, she has a podcasts, teaches lessons on things from growing social media, to balancing life.  I love and stay glued to her InstaStories.  She is just a mom who tries to have it all and do it all.  You know that is possible, right?  Yes.  I found her quite a little while ago and she had me hooked from the first video.  A few key reasons why I follow her, her page is eye-catching.  Please check out her website

It is like everything you need in one strong dose.  Her Instagram is relatable.  With me changing my lifestyle to be healthier a lot of the products that she uses or endorses I have tried and loved.  Andddddd I don’t know how much her whole family is into the healthier lifestyle but mine are taking way smaller doses than I would like.  I like that I can be encouraged that if I alone stick to this lifestyle I at least have someone who is doing it with me in my head!!

Now with these super beautiful women in their own right, I do not even have the slightest energy to be them.  For one like Heather always says, their portion is for them and mine is for me. I do not know what they did to acquire the lifestyle that they have.  However what I will say is that with my portion, I am finding that I am able to do what I need to do for me and be inspired to be the best version of myself because I am just as dope as these women.  However we all need a little nudge in a few departments.  So whether that’s in how you press on, how you take in the culture around you, to be being balanced or living healthy, choose wisely who you link your aspirations too.  They speak volumes of who you are in real life. Check out these beauties and I am sure you will snag a jewel or two from them.  My hope is since Heather has the Pinky Conference is to get to one if not this year, at least next year.  In my head, I am going to meet Amanda.  I hope to keep being inspired by Jenell and Randi and maybe one day meet them as well.

National Compliment Day

Today is national compliment day.  I am sure you knew that right?  Well let’s talk about them.  I know we all love to get them.  They make you feel warm, beautiful and confident.  However there are a few things to consider:

  1. Be okay with receiving them. If someone says nice shoes, don’t say oh, these old things. This is taking away from the compliment.  You are worthy of it. Do not deflect and bring in any negativity to overshadow the gesture. This is harder than you think. Notice how often you do this.  Your special someone in your life, you can’t just say thank you.  You have to say thank you and deflect.  Things like you have to say that, or you’re playing games, stop this behavior.  This 2018 and everyday accept compliments.
  2. Be okay with giving them. Ladies especially it doesn’t take away from you to give another woman a compliment.  It doesn’t matter if you are alone or in a crowd, show another woman just how brilliant and beautiful she is. If you’re going to rally about women’s rights and I truly support that movement then be okay with being a little more sisterly in how you treat others around you at ALL times. We as women especially are connected in some way whether you want to receive the message or not. What you are going through someone else has so we don’t have time to look down on others.
  3. Give them often.  This doesn’t mean you have to be extra with it, but a compliment does something to the receiver AND the giver.  This world is already filled with so much hate, you don’t need to add to it.  Show love
  4. Be courteous to your fellow-man/woman. This should be common place.  Slow it down.  Do not think that it takes anything away from you. Did you walk past someone and not say hello?  Stop that, it don’t add or take away from your credit score to say hello.  Did you not allow a person to cut in front of you while driving?  Stop that.  Be courteous.  If you’re that much in a hurry you should have left the day before.  Slow down. Did you hold the elevator for your co-worker? No, stop that.  You aren’t that much in a hurry that you couldn’t wait.  Be courteous, give compliments to whom they are due and spread love!

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Everything isn’t What it Seems

I want to highlight a few things.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, things on social media can look grande and be filled with so much smoke screen.  Yes that is how life rolls.  However keep in mind that everyone tries to put their best foot forward.  This is why the age of filters is so amazing. You get to hide behind real life scars and traumas.

The pic used in this blog if I uncovered it was great.  We were having the best ice-cream at one of my favorite spots.  Everyone is all smiling and seemingly happy.  We look like the model family. If I told you that I could still feel the pain of that day, would you believe me?  That was a hard day.  It was a few years ago and we were set to go to the African-American museum.  We were ready to go and our plans got diverted.  Why they got diverted I won’t speak on but I will speak to the nuggets that can be learned from that picture.

In it you see my husband all smiles.  He was under extreme amounts of stress trying to do the best he can.  I was depressed and I believe if I had gone back to work it was short-lived due to the fact that my youngest was nursing and wouldn’t take to a bottle and I had to take her to work with me.  That worked for a while until it was time to put her in daycare and then I had to stop working again because again she wouldn’t take to anyone but me and still no bottle, no cup, just me.

Here is what I know now AFTER that storm of life and what I wish someone had told me:

Dear Toi,

You are stressed out but a lot of your stress is coming from within.  You haven’t quite found your space, your voice, or what you want.  Maybe its the feelings of not quite making your mark in this world. Maybe its the time that you had to take off due to taking care of your kids and the guilt that you feel losing the independence of a working woman. You are fighting those around you but reality is the fight is in you. Use that negative energy not to worry about what others will think, but to know what you want.  Should you leave your husband because it was so rocky?  No! Leaving isn’t the answer. The answer isn’t in your husband. He will never make you happy.  Happy wife, happy life is a bunch of bologna.  You have to be a happy person, and work from that happiness.  You will have many more moments when you are ready to throw the towel in. Don’t stay for the sake of the kids.  They can’t heal you.  How about you deal with some of the let downs you face.  Get out and get a hobby.  Get out and get some fresh air.  Know that as a mom you are at your best when you take some time to practice self-care.  The kids will thrive better with you even if you had to walk alone.  Take a mental time out. Take a deep breath.  Do your hair, get dressed, put on a little make up because its going to be okay.  You don’t have to look a mess while you figure out your messed up life.  Your life is blessed you just have to use this time to rebuild.  Don’t worry down the line you figure it out. Down the line you don’t have to wait for your husband to go with you all the time.  If you like it go do it on your own. It doesn’t make you less married to do a few things on your own.  He isn’t and never was your source for everything stop giving him that power.  He didn’t ask for it. He was attracted to your hustle and your ability to keep it moving.  He saw that hunger in you, you got this!

Sincerely a stronger Toi

Lesson one: Happiness is YOUR job.  Not of your spouse or anything that you own.  Happy people don’t have it all they just know how to keep moving and make the best of their situations.

Lesson two: self-care is a daily thing. It is not okay to have meltdowns if you’re not going to use the meltdowns to get better. What have you done today that made you feel amazing? You should be doing all you can to make it feel like its your birthday everyday.  No one will celebrate you like you.

Lesson three: Marriage is beautiful when you put in work and your spouse does the same.  When that stops the marriage will have a pit stop.  You aren’t responsible for him/her you can only do what you want him/her to do.  Don’t say that because you have done one thing, this is in ALL areas.  No one can receive as much love and listening as you claim you give and treat that person badly.  Remember they need from you what THEY need not what you THINK THEY NEED!

Lesson four: dress up everyday. I don’t mean you have to be in heels, but if you want to knock the sloppy look, you have to get up and get dress and be present. Every time you zone out and don’t care you look it.  Don’t be mad at another woman who shows up and shows out. You both were supposed to.  Don’t say you don’t have the time or money. Admit you didn’t take the time! You can look fierce on any budget.  You can look fierce in pajamas if you want to.

Lesson five: get the hell out.  You can not live your best life cooped up in the house.  Get you a few dollars and go to a bookstore and have a ball, find some Groupons and live! Do more action than talking.  No one cares that you talk about a dream, the doers are finding ways to make the dreams a reality.

Lesson six: for my moms, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  You don’t have to mirror everything you were taught.  You are in control of what you want motherhood to be.  Even if you grew up in the worst conditions, the dreams you wanted your childhood to be can be made with your own kids.  Be solid for yourself and them not perfect. Dance around the kitchen while making dinner. Make folding into a game.  Be there for your kids and most importantly be there for yourself! They are watching you!

Lesson seven: be okay to lose.  Take a chance on life and yourself. If you fail it won’t be in not making the mark, it will be in not taking the chance to make the mark.

I Will Now….

I have unfortunately been around a lot of people who have had life changing occurrences in their lives. It could be that they are sick, they were at the brink of death, or sadly have lost their life.  The one thing that resonates with all of them that NOW is the time to live.  They want to live their best life because their life is in a balance.  The time to live is everyday you wake up.

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No life isn’t perfect.  It’s not supposed to be but if you have a bucket list, don’t wait until your moments away from kicking the bucket to live. Live on purpose now.  What are you waiting for?  If there is a trip you want to take, start actively saving. How much will it cost?  Research all aspects of the trip.  What can you cut to get you there?  Is it a few Starbucks trips, or maybe it’s spending less on others.  Whatever it is, be active towards those goals.  Wake up every day with purpose.  Wake up with direction and desire to be better than the day before. Today is the best motivation you can get, start now to do what you need for you.

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You have life.  You are here for a purpose.  Don’t sit idle waiting for greatness to drop out of a sky, take control and crush your goal list!

 

 

How to Ace Your Job Review

So you got the job, now what?  It’s time to for your yearly review.  Cue in the celebratory music and toss some confetti.  You made it through and its now time to ace the review.

There are a few things you need to do before the review to ace it:

  1. One never get too comfortable.  You know how you dressed when you first got the job verses after you been in your position let’s say 6 months after, cut it out.  Always dress to impress.  I do not care if you have been at your job for years.  Dress accordingly.  How you present yourself matters.
  2. Be on time. Have a track record of being on time. Life happens to all of us but trust and believe if you have a track record of being the “late one” it will come up.  Get to work on time.  Remember what you prayed for when you were in the faith line, get there, be on time, and work.
  3. Know your job and do it well.  You can’t ace your review when you haven’t been doing your actual job.  If you find in the midst of your job that there are areas where you aren’t doing your best, ask for help immediately and before your review.  The amount of people who fluff off inconsistencies makes no sense.  You do realize that your boss knows it and sees it. If training isn’t available then get yourself some.  There should be a wealth of friends that you can call on that can assist you in getting a few areas on point.  If not, get new friends. Either way your employer will appreciate the effort.
  4. Come to your review with areas that can be improved whether it be for yourself or for the company.  Make sure it’s not a list of complaints only. This is called taking an initiative.  Take it.  Coming with suggestions even if it is secretly complaints will look better than just having complaints.
  5. Be on time for your review if not early especially if you are meeting in an area of your office or your boss’s office.  Do not be late.
  6. Watch your tone and your language.  You should be authentic but keep it mind it’s a job.  I am a direct person but in certain arenas knowing the climate of your company matters.

During your review please bring a pen and a pad to write down notes.  One of the most irritating things you can do is come to your review unprepared.  This will come off badly.  Smile, and look your boss in their eyes.  Communication starts as soon as the meeting starts. If you find there is an area of improvement, take the criticism graciously.  Do not try to over explain.  Just note it and improve.  If you disagree, wait until its your turn to speak without cutting off your boss. If they have you write your comments down on your review sheet then do so.  Make sure especially if you are asked to write anything to check your emotions before you write.  You do not want to come off in a negative tone.

If you know that going into your review there are some areas that you KNOW you didn’t do well, think of ways to spin it.  Reviews are like mini interviews and you should always treat it as such.

Lastly ask questions, ask if there is anything that you can do to improve even if you are a model employee.  Never get comfortable in your position that you aren’t looking for ways to do better.

Congrats you have made it through another year!!