Posted in Grief, Lifestyle, Women

My Heart Is Broken

The country is in an uproar. We were already dealing with the world’s first pandemic. Then our United States had to remind black America that CVOID-19 is the least of our worries. Because once there is a vaccine–and it’s coming–CVOID-19 will cease to be the problem that it is today. However, black men in America, thus black women, will never be safe in this country.

I have not spoken about the issue on social media but, of course, I’m having those conversations with family, friends, coworkers. I choose to protect my peace by avoiding the combative nature of social media.

Make no mistakes about it–my heart is broken that on the same day a white woman threatened a black man about calling the police to say that she was being threatened by a black man when all he did was ask her to put her dog on a leash per the park rules, that another black man was killed on the street at the hands of a police officer…all captured on social media.

My heart is broken because that white woman knew the implication of the call to the police on that innocent black man. She wanted the black man to run away in fear when he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Simply challenged her privilege.

My heart is broken that those police officers in Minneapolis didn’t even flinch at the fact that they were being recorded when they killed that black man. Why? Because our in-justice systems continues to vindicate these officers regardless of what the video shows, regardless of what hundreds of witnesses can testify to.

My heart is broken because I am a mother to a young black man (16) who will soon have to go out in the world without me at his side. I am an aunt to four more young black men (ages 17, 13, 11, 10) who will do they same. I have a black brother. I have black uncles. I have black cousins. I have a black son-in-law. I have black men friends. Good men. Not criminals. But, guess what, even if they did do something against the law, they are entitled to the same due process of their white counterparts.

My heart is broken that within our black community some our people want to talk about black on black crime. While it’s definitely a conversation to have, let’s have it when black on black when that happen. Right now, the conversation is WE are not okay with police officers, whose jobs are to PROTECT & SERVE kill black men when they are already under arrest, when their backs are turned, when they are unarmed, when they simply fit the description of suspect.

My heart is broken that I couldn’t fully enjoy the beautiful weekend because of the civil unrest, protest, black CNN reporters being arrested doing the same job of a white CNN reporter, a random shooting into a crowd of protesters, looting across the country. And let me not forget the violence inciting words spewed by the man who is the head of our country that remain on Twitter for the world to see today.

So you may not see me comment on videos and posts on Facebook, but know I am infuriated, sad, feeling hopeless. Something has to change.

My heart is broken…

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Goals, Inspiration, Quarantine

Wellness Wednesday—

I was trying to craft some words for this post to go along with this picture, but I concluded that the words say it all.

I have three of these notes taped around my cubicle at work. Whichever direction I look in, these words are in my line of vision. They remind me to use my down time, specifically at work, wisely. Instead of chatting it up with coworkers or watching a series on Netflix when work is low, I should be preparing what I’m going to write in the evening on my manuscript or planning my social media marketing plan to promote my blog and my books, working on my online graduate course, reading a book, or updating my resume.

If you’re laid off due to CVOID-19, or at home with nothing to do because everything is closed, I encourage you to take heed to this words.

When you see these words, what comes to mind that should you be doing with your time? Tell me in the comments below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Quarantine

Personal Days–No Better Time To Use Them!

Was it the driving past signs instructing me to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” when my employer declared that my department has to work in the office? Was it the taxing, 30 minute commute to work to sit at a desk for an 8 hour workday, with maybe 4 consecutive hours of work to do? Or was it the early morning Beachbody workouts that I’d been doing the previous three days wearing my body down?

Whatever the cause, the thought, “I need a break” sprang into my consciousness on Wednesday evening. I was tired of making my coffee to-go, nuking my oatmeal in the office microwave, sitting in my cubicle with no one around, and mumbling “good morning” to my co-workers through the required face coverings we have to wear whenever we leave our cubicles. It’s kind of defeats the purpose of being at work with people but not being able to interact with them like we’re used to. I missed being at home–even with a shelter in place– with my family. People I can greet openly with a smile, see their entire faces, and knowing we’re all in this together.

I called in for the first personal day of Thursday, fully anticipating going back on Friday. Until Friday came. My body said, “No, not yet.”

I listened and, today, being back at work, I’m in a good head space. Over the days that I was off, I got my workout in, albeit, not as early in the morning. I rested, watched t.v., did some writing on my novel, enjoyed my family.

Time off work is essential. And, not just for those of us reluctantly going into the office. My daughter’s company is so insistent that their employees, BTW, who are all working from home, take time off work that they have implemented mandatory “disconnect” day. Like, they have put on their calendar a totally fictitious holiday called, “Kind Day”!

Unfortunately, my billion dollar employer is not about to do that. And, yours probably isn’t either. However, like me, you probably have personal paid time, and maybe even, some non-paid time at your disposable. Use it!

I know it feels strange using vacation time to NOT go on a vacation. Or a personal day NOT for a doctor’s appt or personal pamper day at the spa. But, please know, that your peace of mind is so worth it! You’ll thank you for it later.

Happy Monday!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Inspiration, Lifestyle, People, Quarantine, writing

Weekends in Quarantine

Am I the only one who hesitates when asking friends old-fashioned questions as conversation starters?  What are plans today? Have you made it to the gym? What are you doing this weekend?

Answers used to include exciting things like, ballroom lesson on Monday, choir rehearsal on Tuesday, sorority committee meeting on Wednesday, Yoga class on Thursday, dinner and a movie on Friday, shopping on Saturday, church on Sunday.

Boy, have times changed. Now the responses to those questions are:

“Nothing.”

“Going Walmart.”

“Going to Sam’s Club/Costco.”

“Going to Kroger/Meijer.”

Not very much variety, huh.

Me…I have never been more tired of going to the store as I am in these days. That can not be the only thing that I look forward to on weekends. Therefore, I plan to do so much more in my free time:

  1. Read (and finish) the books I’ve started
  2. Spend 2-3 hours writing my 3rd novel
  3. Swap out winter wardrobe for spring/summer wardrobe
  4. Remove clothes from my closet that do not bring me joy (or I can’t fit anymore)
  5. Organize files on my computer (i.e. school work, personal essays, articles for publication, blog posts, book ideas)
  6. Bake (and share)
  7. Exercise
  8. Oh, and I should include something that involves my 16 year old son, but it’s like pulling teeth to get him out that room. He comes out for food and drink. He seems to fear I’m going to put him to work when he emerges so I try not to do that when I hear his footsteps,

I’m happy to add more things on this list. Got any ideas? Post in the comments below and enjoy your weekend.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Lifestyle, People, Women

Meltdowns Do Happen

Hey, it happens. Meltdowns, that is. They come at you like a bolt of a lightening of a clear, sunshine day. Recognize it for what it is. Give in to it. Let yourself feel the emotions of all that is within you, all that is overwhelming you. Cry, scream, ask the High Heavens, “Why Me? Why does it hurt so bad?”

Then, get over it.

You can’t allow to stay is that space for too long. You can’t focus on all that isn’t going right in your life for too long. Nothing is going to come of that. Instead, embrace this human moment and then focus on the good.  

I speak from experience. My moment came from frustration of looking for a telephone number written on a receipt that I know I had put right there. Instead, I was faced with a stack of mail, bills, and other paper work that I won’t deal with and/or don’t want to throw away! If I could have balled myself up in the corner and cried I would have. I did the next best thing…ordered a BBQ Chicken pizza and made myself a margarita. I didn’t quite cry, but tears welled up in my eyes and a feeling of complete helplessness came over me.

I had to make a couple of phone calls. Ironically, one of the people on the other end of the phone was a certified counselor and I reluctantly shared with her things I can’t say to others.

“I’m overwhelmed.”

“I’m feel so alone.”

“Everyone thinks I’m so strong, so I behave like a strong person would. It’s hard keeping up the façade.

When I got off the phone with her, I felt a weight lift. I spent the rest of the evening going through some of that mail, throwing some paperwork away. More weight lifted. Music pouring from Aliyah Radio on Pandora had positive affects on the atmosphere. I lit a scented candle. I danced. I sang with all the capacity that my lungs allowed.

The next morning, I felt better but the negativity tried to seep back in. When I got to my desk at work, I meditated and decided to write out some things that I had to be proud of:

1. Emotionally eating yesterday, I only ate 1 1/2 slices of pizza, and I burned off some of the calories with dancing. I still prepared a healthy breakfast and lunch for today, leaving the mistakes of yesterday where they were–in the past.

2. I resolved a billing discrepancy that was long overdo.

3. I spent the evening relaxing to good, soulful music.

4. I answered the call of a friend and was able to pause from own emotional hurt and empathize with hers.

5. I organized some mail and opened some envelopes that I’d been avoiding, threw some stuff in the trash. My room was cleaner this morning.

6. I did locate that phone number that ignited the meltdown in the first place. Finding it felt like a gift from God for overcoming the wrath of my buried emotions.

7. I admitted the truth to myself–I am human. I hurt. I feel alone. I’m angry. I’m sad. But I’m also surviving and thriving in the midst of it all.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Wellness Wednesday: Coronavirus Edition

Sooooo…as soon as a I get a good consistent workout routine going, Coronavirus protection goes into full effect: closing schools, bars & restaurants, libraries, movie theaters, and the GYM! Of course I understand the serious nature of what we’re dealing with as a nation. I also understand the importance of maintaining some semblance of normalcy when nothing normal is going on around us.

When I learned on Monday, March 16th that I could not go to my Zumba class as planned, I immediately jumped onto YouTube in Search of Zumba video while still at work. I settled on an African Dance inspired video by an Black fitness instructor, Kearia Leshae, I subscribed on there. She has a wide range of videos to fit whatever your fitness needs are at any given time–traditional aerobics, hip-hop dance aerobics, targeted strength training, all anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

After I queued that video in my exercise playlist, I figured I might as well get my yoga video ready for my Tuesday night class. Watching Kearia’s video, I decided stay in that space, narrowing my search for Black yoga teachers. It’s more out there than you know on YouTube and beyond. Heck, if I keep this up I might be one too. I’ve really fallen in love with how I feel doing Yoga over the past 2 months. I’m not letting Corona stop my flow–literally. Here’s the video I chose.

These videos cover my Monday and Tuesdays routines. The other days of the week I’ll be varying my workouts between hula hoop workouts, jumping ropes, and a variety of strength training workouts. God-willing we will make it through this Coronavirus pandemic with our health, our family’s and friend’s health, and our spiritual and mental state of minds stronger.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Life After, widow, Wives, Women

Catch Up With Life After Vlog…

So…Coronavirus is in full effect. The kids are out of school. You may be working from home. God-forbid, you’re in self-quarantine! Whatever the case, many of us are spending a lot of time in our homes these days. Why not take some time to catch up on my Life After Vlog series? Posted here are the last four of 2019. And if you subscribe to my channel you’ll be one of the first to see my first video of 2020. Like the videos? Then hit the “thumbs up”, then subscribe. Have a question or want to suggest a topic, put it in the comment section or comment in the blog.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.