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!

 

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Moments of Frustration Day

Today is Moments of Frustration Day. We all have gotten frustrated or upset over something. The key is to not allow this temporary moment allow you to make permanent decisions. This means in your frustration where you are more inclined to speak out of turn, practice the art of dealing with your issues before you spew things onto others. The fallout could be more than you wanted to take on.

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Let me give you an example, a husband and wife have situation where life throws a curveball.  They are upset and frustrated. Instead of being mad and finding a solution or taking a temporary step back, they say things to one another that damage each other. They do this so often that one or both may think it was no big deal. Little do they know that one of them has reached their breaking point. So now they aren’t interesting in reconciling as if nothing happened. They aren’t willing to move past the words this time and now their marriage is in a long-term mess. Our words have life and death attached to them.

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Moment of frustration can happen over anything. It doesn’t have to be a person. It could a circumstance as well. Do not allow yourself to take that leap into negativity where you find yourself unable to get out. I know life is hard. I have had too many times when things have happened where some of the issues were out of my control and some  were a direct correlation of what I had put out into the universe. End of day, how you respond to it matters. You can’t always make an excuse and hope for forgiveness when you speak out of context or out of character. You may not always get that back in return. You can attempt to take a mental time out. This may mean walking away and addressing something later on when you have had time to cool down. This is necessary at times. Remember when you were a kid for those who had time outs?  Those were times to teach you to cool off and think about the situation at hand. Adults need them too. You need to keep your cool and not do something that can cause mental, emotional, or physical harm to themselves or others around you. Think in the moments of frustration if you would be okay after you have calmed down with the outcome of your decision.  If no, then stop! Don’t keep talking. Don’t keep pushing. Don’t keep the same response that will dig you further and further into potential trouble.

If you find that in moments of frustration you have crossed the line, ask for forgiveness. Find ways to eliminate the crossing of the line to begin with. For instance if something is being said or done that is triggering me, I am more prone to ask for a few minutes. I am an arguer by nature. However some arguments and hitting below the belt I find is not worth the pain and the apologies later. So I work on what I need in those active moments.  I hope you can do the same.

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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

Ask Toi: Is it normal for parents to call during a couple’s honeymoon?

No. I think its customary that unless the parents are keeping young children of the couple to not call.  Let’s face it you won’t be focused on friends and family too much while you are relaxing and loving on each other.  I’m sorry to hear that your husband’s mom kept calling you during the honeymoon.  I think in large, expectations should have been discussed with your husband between you two and then he with his mom.  Unless there’s an emergency no one whether it is parents or not should be disturbing you.  Honeymoons are designed to allow you to decompress from wedding planning, relax with your mate, and allow you to explore each other.  Yes explore is a another word for sex, what is a honeymoon without sex and romance?

Now when I went to my honeymoon in Hawaii, I had two kids by then we called my parents to say we were there and any other calls that were made outside of notifying us of Hurricane Sandy we made the calls to them.  My parents never would have called just to see what we are doing.  They knew what we were doing, enjoying our honeymoon. Unfortunately in your situation you can’t get the honeymoon time back.  Now that you see how things are when you travel you need to have a conversation with your new husband about how you felt about the interruptions.  I do believe that when you are on your honeymoon or any other romantic trip that unless a person is on the trip, they can wait until you arrive home outside of an emergency.

I encourage all couples that are going to be on their honeymoon to have that talk about what honeymooning means. To me it seems pretty straight forward that people would respect your time away but apparently that doesn’t happen.  Which brings me to the next topic of issue.  Texting.  I think texting is a beautiful thing.  However on honeymoons, romantic trips or just about any one on one time whether an intimate dinner, texting should be a huge NO.  Yes parents, cousins, friends are all off limits.  The issue with most couples is that cell phones, social media is getting in the way of connecting.  It’s not the gadgets that are the issue its the people controlling them.  You can’t give your mate a few hours of your time.  You can’t laugh and stare into their eyes without hitting your phone? Stop.  Even when you are at home and your mate wants to talk, give them the respect to do that.

Lastly I know we love to post away while on our honeymoon and as long as your mate is okay with that do what you will.  However I think a honeymoon will be something you will always remember.  Focus less on posting and more on enjoying one another.  When I returned from our Hawaii trip I posted the pictures we could post and the others well they are between my husband and I.  We allowed others to see some of the sites but we have so many memories that we alone share.  Remember often times after honeymoons its back to the grind so don’t waste not even a second on people who I get are excited for you but can wait.  You are building the stepping stones for your new marriage.