Posted in Inspiration, writers, writing

Why I Write: The Page

The Page

Keeper of my secrets

Stories from the depths of my soul

Sometimes true;

Sometimes from the scenes of my imagination;

My dreams

My nightmares

My deepest fears

The crisp white on a notebook page

Or the grainy white of the computer screen,

Never turn me away

Never ignore my pleas

Not afraid of my tears

Not expecting me to be strong

Rather wanting all that I have to give,

to share, to dare

To say.

I can be who I am

I can be who I want to be

I can be who I’m afraid to be

In the open world

There is no judgement on that page;

On that screen

I…AM…FREE

Posted in Goals, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Travel

Finally…Myrtle Beach

I really couldn’t tell you when my fascination with Myrtle Beach began, but it was sometime during my marriage with my late husband. I believe we were randomly discussing vacation options, maybe even honeymoon options at the time. Anyway, when I mentioned Myrtle Beach, he said he’d been and would never go back there again. Puzzled, I asked why and he wouldn’t say. I wondered what the hell my husband did to get himself banned from an entire state! Nevertheless, the destination became a must-visit place for me.

The trip didn’t become a real possibility, though, until after my husband passed away and I decided I needed a relaxing vacation. The week after my daughter got married in August 2019, my son and I were all set to take flight and then…I had a freaking stroke!

I was like…seriously!

Finally, though, when my best friend of 40 years suggested a girls getaway, the time finally came. I needed the rest now just as much as I needed it two years ago. Between graduate school work, prepping for upcoming podcast release, promoting my novel, Reconciliation to Hell, weekly engagements with fellow co-authors of the soon to be released anthology, A Widow’s Resilience, and recently completing my third novel, the rest and relaxation was well worth the wait.

Tears stung my eyes when I came upon this in the airport.

Soaking up some sun. Beach hat compliments of my daughter.
40 years of friendship

Posted in Inspiration, writing

Why I Write? Positively Impacting Other

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Letters to Santa Claus. Love letters to boyfriends. Entries to my diaries in my adolescent and teen years. Entries in my journals throughout my adults years.

I went FB Live on Saturday after I moved myself to tears writing a story I plan to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul. I wrote about my experience of having a stroke, at 44 years old, with no preexisting risk factors. I wrote about the natural inclination to ask God, “Why me? Haven’t I been through enough?”

I ended on the note of gratefulness that the stroke was just one more thing that God has brought me through. His Word doesn’t say bad things won’t happen to bad people. In fact, it says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Following that text says, “but, Fear not, I will be with you.” How comforting is that?

By the time I finished the piece, I knew that, whenever it is published, it will be a blessing to whoever reads it.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Entertainment, Inspiration, writing

Why I Write: The Makings of a Story

Where do the ideas for your books? This is a common question asked of authors by readers and aspiring writers. The answers vary. For myself, the subjects that I’ve addressed in my novels have been retrieved for the pages of my life. The stories aren’t biographical by any means, but they’ve been sparked by things I experienced.

For example, Unfinished Business my first novel, is about a woman addicted to a past love for what she realizes are the wrong reasons. She learns the hard way that this man is no good for her while risking the possibility of a new and true love. My personal experience was I was madly in love with man from my past. I believed that we were soulmates, meant to be together. Even through other relationships (marriages, too), I thought we’d find our way back to each other and live happily ever after. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m accepting that he’s not the man God has for me. Nevertheless, the idea of being addicted to a man and the havoc that can wreak on a woman life is the story I created.

My second novel, Reconciliation to Hell, is about a married couple who are trying to rebuild their marriage after the husband had habitually cheated on the wife. She endured it because she valued the lifestyle he afforded her and didn’t want to give it up. But as soon as signs from his previous behaviors arise, she realize she doesn’t trust him and she’s done being made a fool of. For this novel, it was the title that was torn from the pages of my life. I’d divorced my first husband after 3 years of marriage, not because he’d done anything wrong, but because my heart was somewhere else (see Unfinished Business). He spent five years telling me he still loved me and that I was at fault for making our family a statistic of the black community–another fatherless home, single mom raising the children. So, after another failed relationship, I caved and reconciled with him. DISASTER! The man had clearly forgotten to tell all of his lady friends that we had remarried. They were calling and all times of the night and he was obviously still dealing with them, which led to our second and FINAL divorce. I shaped the story of Reconciliation to Hell around the married couple introduced in my first books.

I swear my life is so interesting that the ideas just keep coming. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from being open to a new idea, from an unexpected place and time. I was helping a new gentlemen friend clean out his aunt’s apartment who hasn’t lived in the apartment in nearly a year. The family is finally ending the lease and since he’s the only one laid off from work during CVOID–everyone is working from home–he’s stuck with the bulk of the work. Anyway, for the story…

We’re going through the stacks of paperwork and throughout them, there are these letters and cards from this man named Tod (not a typo, Todd spelled with one “d”). They were sent 2016-2018. Some were the holidays and others were just because. One letter included the verbiage, “This is for April”, perhaps rent money or a loan repayment. My guy friend and I laughed and kidded around every time we came across a correspondence from Tod.

“This better not be another letter from Tod,” he’d say. I probed for more of the story about his aunt and Tod. He was obviously someone special to her, and her to him. Dude, I’ll call him, tells me about his aunt having lived in New York for a time before the family moved to Detroit for factory jobs, though she’s a nurse. She met and had a relationship with Tod, during her early 20’s. When she moved to Detroit with her siblings, she and Tod maintained and on again, off again love affair that lasted throughout her adult life.

She and Tod are both in the 80’s now. And he just married sometime in 2018, the last year of any of his correspondence. Questions swirling around my head:

Was the only man who’d captured her heart in 60 years of her life?

Who did the man end up marrying?

Was their love out of convenience or love?

Is she didn’t become afflicted with Alheizmers, would she have responded to him and maybe they would have gotten married?

It’s so many ways this story can go for his aunt and Tod… Only time will tell.

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 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, 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. 🙂

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’d 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.