Posted in Encouragement, Inspiration, Lifestyle

It IS National Reading Month

Let me tell you ..I am getting my “read” ON! And I’m loving it!

Books, books, and more books!

In recent years, I’d begun to feel like a fraud. Whenever I’d fill out some profile about myself, the first things I’d list about what I like to do are reading and writing.

Sure you do…when was the last time you read a book??? My inner critic would whisper in my ear.

As much I hated to admit it, I haven’t been the avid reader over recent years that I’ve continued to claim to be. But who would put that in a profile: former avid reader. So I decided to change that. Stop making excuses–working out, sorority meetings, graduate program, men, social events, etc– for not doing something that I vividly remember adding joy to my life. We make time for the things that are important to us. While I haven’t behaved like it, reading is very important to me, both as a form of entertainment and as a study of the craft of writing.

I began with the grandiose decision to fast television for the lent season. I’ve known for quite some time that this activity wastes a lot of precious, valuable time that could be spent much more productively. And then March 1st rolled around, kicking off National Reading Month.

With a little help from Audible.com and the endless time I spend alone in my bedroom during evening and weekends, I’ve been making great strides with reading for pleasure.

I picked this book up at Sam’s Club during the holiday season. I read a couple of chapters and then placed in on my book case. It was the first book I reached for to kick off this season of reading. I love how the themes in this books I select mature and grow as I do. This one is a books about two friends navigating dating as they adjust to empty-nesting.

Jasmine Guillory has become a new favorite author of mine after my girlfriend suggested one of her books, The Wedding Date, to me back in the summer. This month I listened to the other two books in the series.

A few days ago, I ordered another book that arrived yesterday. This book is multi-purposed to give me a similarly aged black woman’s experience with learning to live again after the death of her spouse and a learning tool for writing a memoir (yes, I’ve got my own story to tell).

I’m really enjoying getting back to my old self. It’s so important to make time for what you like. Spending so much time engaging meaningless activities is just so…meaningless. I’m so done with that!

With a little over two weeks left in the month and March, there’s still time to get some reading in. With so much going on with this Coronavirus, a good book might be just the thing to take your mind off of it for a few hours out of the day.

Excuse me as shamelessly plug my two books, Unfinished Business & Reconciliation to Hell as recommendations just in case you need somewhere to start. ūüôā

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Husbands, Inspiration, Life After, Lifestyle, Wives

Life After Vlog Series-When a Widow Meets a Man with Her Late Husband’s Name

This is definitely one for the books. I know that there a lot of men in the world named Kevin. I went to school the. I work with them. They’re at my church. Interestingly, I‚Äôd always wanted to date one. And in 2007, I met #myKevin. He captured my heart and wifed (is that even a word) me up. LOL!

In the video I talk about a recent experience meeting another Kevin for the first time since losing mine. I also talk about the happy couple I was out with when this happened.

Go ahead and check it out and let me know could you just imagine that? Be sure to subscribe to the my blog and YouTube channel for regular updates.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Family, Inspiration, Relationships

Honoring My Veteran

Though my dad and I are currently estranged, his choice, I might add, I still take the time to honor him for his service to our country. My dad served in the United States Army and fought in the Vietnam War. I hadn’t been born yet, but it would be many years after my birth that I would begin to touch the surface of what he truly sacrificed for this country.

My dad never talked much of his time in the war. I can count on one hand how many times he mentioned something about it in my 44 years of life. But from what he shared about what he endured during the war coupled with his abandonment issues from his youth, I know my dad returned from the war physically whole but with emotional issues that only issues that God deliver him from.

My understanding of this is the only thing that allows me to focus less on my own pain from his deliberate absence from my life and to pray for his pain. I know my dad is only one of thousands of Veterans who return from war forever damaged. I’m sorry for the other children suffering in relationships with their mothers or fathers who suffered emotional damage from war. Our Veterans deserve so much more than the freebies they get on this day.

Today I texted my dad “Happy Veteran’s Day”, pushing away any expectation of a reply. It could go either way. Instead I reflected on fond memories of these pictures of better times with my dad. It was November 2015. My late husband, son, and I had gone to meet my dad at one his favorite steak joints. He way happy. I was happy. My husband and son were happy. It was a good day.

I was sharing these photos with a coworker when I received a text.

“Thank you”. My heart kinda leaped.

Happy Veteran’s Day,

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Faith, Grief, Inspiration, Life After, Lifestyle

Life After–Vlog Series

This vlog series was conceived in early 2018 when I realized that I had a lot to say about what was happening in my life following the passing of my husband after his terminal illness and a devastating house fire in 2017 that ultimately claimed his life. I started recording videos when topics revealed themselves to me. What I didn’t record on video, I wrote about in my journal or in the notes section of my phone. I wasn’t sure if I was gathering material for a book, a vlog, a blog, or all three.

I decided to go ahead to get started posting. After the stroke I suffered a month ago, I realized just how much I can’t afford to hold on to ideas that I conceive until the perfect time to reveal them. The perfect time doesn’t exist. I don’t know what’s going to come of it, but I’m sure if will be a blessing to someone. I can’t promise that every video is be as inspiring as this one because that wouldn’t be real. And I want to provide a very real experience for viewers. The day I recorded this video I was feeling good, glad to be back in my house, and encouraged by a good word at church. I wanted to be encouraging to others. However, there are other recordings when I’ve been sad, angry, depressed, frustrated.

My journey is not over. As long as I’m living, I’ll always be living a life after that fateful night that changed everything.

If you like the video, please subscribe to my channel.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Inspiration, Lifestyle, Uncategorized, writing

L.A. The Future Librarian

As¬†you read¬†in my previous post (I hope you’re¬†a subscriber!), part of the reason for my hiatus from blogging is that I started a graduate program in library science in the fall of last year. Since I published my first book in 2007, I have considered many career opportunities/fields. Accounting, education, communication, and librarianship. Over this time, I would get so frustrated with the internal debate of what course I should take. My biggest fear was that in considering these other career options that I was somehow doubting my ability to gain success with my writing.

The truth is that doubt is a creative persons silent partner.

However, the reality¬†of being a writer, even an eventual successful one, is that the bills have to be paid in the meantime. And there’s life to live and enjoy until I write the book or meet the person who catapults me to the success I long for. Timing is everything.

I have no doubt that I will enjoy working in a library. I love libraries, specifically public libraries. I don’t frequent them nearly enough–well, I didn’t until I started school. But, for me, walking through the doors of my local library is like a kid walking into a candy store.¬† Pure delightful.

librarypic

I imagine drawing inspiration for my own writing being surrounded by the writing of our literary greats. I am anxiously anticipating planning readings and book signing events for local and national authors. I look forward to planning activities that the community will benefit from. I look forward to servicing patrons who recognize the continued relevance of library services.

To date, I have completed one full semester of classes toward my degree with one or two more to go. I made the mistake of taking two classes the first two semesters, under estimating how demanding these courses were going to be. Like most people probably think, It’s library school. How hard can it be?

Let me tell you. It’s not so much hard but time consuming and demanding like any other graduate program. Also, although the program states that a prospective student does not have to prior library experience to enroll in the program, it’s kind of taught as though you do. Or you’re going to spend a considerable amount of time in one during the program.

After having to talk myself off the ledge of quitting a few times when things got tough, I finally got smart and told myself, “Uhh, who told you that you have to take two classes at a time? This program is not a race.” And I must say this spring/summer semester has been much more manageable with one class.¬†It’s a keeper going forward. I actually have a little wiggle room to fit in some committed time to work on my current novel, which ranks above the. I still have my December 2019 goal to have that work completed.

Needless to say I’m excited about what the future holds. My future as a librarian and my life as a national bestselling author!

What are you excited about for your future? I’d love to hear.librarypic

Posted in Death&Dying, Grief, Inspiration

Anytime, Any Place: Journeying Through Grief

I drove a familiar route to my eyebrow touch up appointment this afternoon, passing two special places. IHOP and Bucharest Grill.

Neither are my favorite places to dine–well, IHOP used to be–but after November 2017 they will forever be in my heart. That was the weekend Kevin and I attended our first Weekend to Remember hosted by Family Life Today Ministry. I can hardly put into words how excited I was to be there, how perfectly God aligned everything so that we could attend. That’s a story for another post.

Nevertheless, the event was in the Renaissance Center, downtown Detroit, which is full of dining options. There was no reason for us to have to leave the venue to get something to eat. But that was #myKevin. He always did things “his” way.

Having a limited supply of portable oxygen with us for the weekend was of no concern to him. He wanted to get out of the hotel, into his truck, and into the streets so that’s what he did. Here’s what was involved: filling up 4-5 portable tanks, me pushing him in a wheelchair through the hotel down to the valet to retrieve the car, then driving to wherever, getting back into the car, back to valet, wheelchair ride for him (drive for me) back to our room. The words on the page don’t do it justice how tiring this was. It was totally against what I had in mind for our weekend. I expected the most walking we would do would be from our hotel room to the workshop sessions, just a floor below. I figured whatever food we wanted we could grab in between sessions or have delivered to our room via room service. I was willing to pay that cost for us to have relaxing weekend.

Relaxing? Hmph. Kevin wasn’t having it! But I was always the one accused of not being able to sit still. Anyway, we left the hotel 3-4 times over that weekend. It was ridiculous! I was furious in the pit of my belly but I said nothing. We were going to have a good weekend. I was determined.

Back to the restaurants.

IHOP was our first stop on day one. Bucharest Grill is where we went for lunch on the second day after the morning sessions. Regardless of how irritated I was–and boy was I–there was peaceable joy in my heart being in any time and space with him. As life does, I had no idea that would be the last time I’d go to those particular places with him. Now that time is forever etched in my mind. Not the irritation of it but the memory of sitting across from him enjoying a meal. The memory of him connecting with our IHOP waiter over a mutual interest they shared. The memory of watching him walk out of Bucharest Grill with our food in hand as I waited outside in the truck, probably praying that we weren’t late getting back for the afternoon session. Lol.

I know there are memories all over this city awaiting their time to fall upon me. Anytime, any place. I’m ready for them, my box of tissue just a reach away.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Death&Dying, Faith, Grief, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Comfort in the Midst of Grief

It’s Saturday night. Ten o’clock but my clock is set for eleven in preparation for daylight savings time. I’m laying on the right side of the bed–my side of the bed–with a cup of warm lemon ginger tea on the nightstand in the special cup given to me by a dear friend in my first days of settling into my family’s temporary home.

If Kevin were still with me, I’d probably still be in bed or laying on the couch, in for the night. Even before sickness invaded our lives, we weren’t a couple that engaged in too much night life. Though he was the life of any party he went to, he was really a homebody, where he could be himself. So sitting up in my bed, binge watching the Murder She Wrote marathon on the Hallmark Channel is not out of the ordinary for me on a Saturday night. However, tonight ¬†the volume on the T.V. is turned down low as I sing along with some of my favorite R&B jams playing on the Whitney Houston station on Pandora radio.

Kevin loved to listen to me sing.

“Girl, I love to hear you sing,” he’d said since the first time I sang with him in my car. I was singing Tamia’s song, Last First Kiss. He said that was the day he knew I was a keeper.

It was no accident that I was listening to that song when Kevin got in the car. We’d been seeing each other for a couple of months by that time and I had fallen so hard for him. It’d been quite some time since I’d felt so strongly about a man.

No lyrics ever rang so true as those did for how I felt about him then and throughout our relationship:

“When it comes to you I wouldn’t change a thing…I wouldn’t¬†even change the things I could change. ‘Cause¬†babe you’re perfect, perfect to me, simply means that you’re perfect for me…”

I never mistook Kevin’s feelings about my singing. He said he loved to hear me sing, not¬† necessarily that I could sing particularly well. The love he had for me made my singing ¬†music to his ears. He was the one with the real singing talent.

Now, alone in my bedroom, turning pages of photo album filled with pictures of us, I’m singing my heart out, comforted that Kevin is resting well. Comforted by the love that we shared, the love that will always be in my heart.