Another Month, Another Deadline

I know I’m wasn’t alone in my sadness when it was time to flip the calendar from July to August. After all, August is the official last month of summer. And, particularly, in the Midwest, where I live, it means that hot days, the kind where I can where shorts, tank-tops, and flip-flops are short-lived. As a writer with, yet another self-imposed deadline to finish developmental edits for a novel I’m writing, flipping the calendar was beyond sad, closer to depressing. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I started working on these edits a year ago when I left my job of 23 years. For the first time in my adult life, I was off for the summer. Suddenly having that much free time while adjusting to this major life change, it goes without saying that I wasn’t in the headspace to give my writing the necessary attention. So when the following July came, a complete year since I left the job and I still hadn’t finished the edits, I declared, “Enough is enough! Time to stop playing with this novel!” Then, I declared I would finish this work by July 31st!

I set out with this goal WITHOUT a strategy for how I would make this happen. I didn’t sit down and look at my schedule to determine what days and hours I would have time to write. For instance, there was a Friday that I was not scheduled to work, and would have written on that day, but I had to drive my son up to Michigan State University for a week he was spending there. And then, that following Friday, when I was off of work, I had to pick him up. It’s only an hour drive from our house, but dealing with kids and colleges is unpredictable. It can be a lot, physically and mentally.

My first MSU alum with my future 2nd MSU alum

Then, the last three days of the month, I travelled to New York to help my friend celebrate her 40th birthday.

Arriving in New York after 7 hr delay in airport. We still managed to smile!

Furthermore, I didn’t even look through the manuscript to determine how many chapters were left to edit, how many I would need to work through per writing session to finish by the deadline. I didn’t think about doing that until the middle of the month. That was also right about the time when I made a major change to the protagonist, which then, sent me back to beginning of the novel to infuse those changes into the story. I knew then that my deadline was out the window, but it was doomed from the start without proper planning.

I don’t like to say this about myself, but the proof is in the pudding. I have never done well with self-accountability. Not with diets, exercise schedules, or writing. I’m too quick to give myself passes when something gets hard. I rationalize the hell of stuff.

“Life is too short to not indulge these bagels and donuts that management was so kind to bring into work,” I’ve been known to say when I’m supposed to avoiding carbs.

“Is this flabby stomach really preventing you from living a fulfilling life?” I have asked myself when I was on day 4 of a 30 day ab challenge.

“You’re not a full-time writer. You can’t expect yourself to write like you are. Your daughter needs to talk to you. You’re a new grandmother. You’re nurturing a new relationship.” I comfort myself when I find myself breaking a scheduled writing session when any of the important people in my life call. I feel such guilt when I put them on DND (do not disturb).

Sometimes I curse the day I decided to write a book. Even more so the day when I declared I actually wanted success as an author–the kind of success in which I could actually make money and support myself. Even knowing that it’s only a small percentage of writers who are privileged to live that life, I’m not ready to give up on the dream of me being one of them. In the meantime, I will continue to do better. Create some accountability partners, no matter how terrifying that is to me.

Now back to these edits…

Feel Good Friday

Pong Detroit

I am not the bragging type. Not at all. Instead, I prefer for you to experience the fullness of me at any given time. And that’s with anything I do. Writing, education, parenting, work, partying…whatever!

So one thing that I’m pretty good at is playing ping pong–a game I grew up playing. We had one in our basement. I played with my dad, my brother, and an high school boyfriend.

For years, every Christmas holiday, I would contemplate buying one but I didn’t. Not really sure why. However, when I moved back into my house after the fire in 2019, I bought one. Put it smack dab in my dining room. I didn’t have a dining room table at the time and it just made sense. After a few months, though, that seemed silly so I did the grown up thing and bought a darn dining room table.

But the desire to play that game was always there.

Then came Pong Detroit in 2020 (this after Drive Table Tennis Social Club closed it’s doors in 2019). I was going to get there. Didn’t know when? Didn’t know with who?

This past Wednesday was the day. My new boo was the who.

Now my new boo and I haven’t talked about my love for ping pong or my history with it. But when I first mentioned that I wanted us to go, the first thing he declared was that he was going to destroy me.

“Oh yeah?” I replied. “OkaY.”

Let me tell you…new boo left that spot with his tail between his legs! In all fairness, it was a great game. I finally had a formidable opponent. We might make this a weekly thing…unless I scared him away.

Lesson here: Don’t tell ’em what you’re gonna do, Show ’em. LOL

I’m riding that victory out all weekend!

Feel Good Friday

This is a strange but awesome feeling to have, especially on a Friday. I haven’t been to work in a week and I was totally okay, happy, in fact, to go to work today. I’m not even mad that I have to work tomorrow…on a Saturday and it’s not even overtime! Man, that’s love. I’m new to librarianship and I’m sure with time, the excitement may lull a bit. But until then…I’m enjoying every moment.

Even more than feeling good about my job, I’m feeling even better about my daughter giving birth to my second granddaughter! I’m beyond excited to be these girls’ grandmother and am truly thankful that God allowed me to live in this moment of my child becoming a mother. He didn’t have to do it BUT He did!

Happy Friday y’all!

If you’re feeling good on this Friday, please share in the comments. That’s how we spread joy in the world.

Naturally Yours

LA

Happy New Year

If you reading this email, you’re one of the lucky ones. Millions didn’t make it to this space of time, on the brink of ushering in a new year. But you and I did! What a blessing!

I don’t know about you, but 2021 hasn’t disappointed me. Like everyone else, I endured some rough patches. But overall, because of my, “God will never leave nor forsake me” attitude, I choose to focus on all the good things.

Some of those good things include:

1. Leaving a company that I no longer wanted to be at after 23 years.

2. Acquiring a new job in an industry I lm excited to be apart of— librarianship!

3. Completing second master’s degree (which aided in #2)

4. Being apart of growing podcast, Conversations Between Widows.

5. Being published in two successful books: Chicken Soup For the Soul: I’m Speaking Now and A Widow’s Resilience

I really want to add, too, that I have opened myself up to a new love since losing my husband four years ago, but I wasn’t sure if y’all wanted to hear about that piece 🤔

I’m expecting even greater things to come in 2022. Not just for myself, but for you too!

Happy New Year! Be safe!

Class of 2021

I can’t remember exactly how I felt when I registered for my Oral History course in August 2021. I knew it was my last class of the program but the feeling of graduation or completion didn’t hit me until I received the email to participate in commencement. It was then that excitement revved up within me like Indy 500 race car driver approaching the finish line.

And then this…

Walking across the stage, earning a second masters degree. This time from Wayne State University in Information Science.

I’m glad my BIG day came at the close of 2021 because next year, 2022, is all about my high school senior!

You know teen boys are hard to photograph with a smile 😂 but he’s happy for his mom

Birthday Behavior

On Friday, October 15th, I celebrated my 46th birthday. I do NOT mind sharing my age because, quite frankly, I’m looking and feeling damn good! Thank you very much! LOL!

Chapter 46

I couldn’t have a had better birthday. The on and off rain throughout the day did not sampler my spirit. I just stepped into my my rain boots that matched the shirt I decided to where for the day.

What’s funny is that just days before my big day, I was feeling kind of blah. After all, 46 isn’t a milestone year or any thing. And interestingly, I was feeling kind of restricted in how I spent the day.

You see…I’ve been dating someone for quite a few months now and, of course, he had to a part of the day. The question was how much of the day. He hasn’t met any of my close friends, though, I’ve spoken about him. But I don’t think I’m ready to intermingle everybody just yet. The other thing is that he’s one of those that doesn’t think birthdays are a big deal. So he was definitely in store for how I do for my birthday.. At this stage of our relationship, I think it was important to not play the day down because how you start something sets the precedence for the remainder of the relationship. Let me know if you agree.

Anyway, we had a great day together. Breakfast, movies, shopping, and concluding with dinner. On Saturday, I dined with two of my sorority sisters. Finally, on Sunday, I enjoyed a fabulous brunch with my sister, my co-host of Conversations Between Widows, and my daughter and granddaughter.

Friends and Family

I love that most of my friends know that my love language is receiving gifts. I received some nice things and I’m also a believer in loving on myself as well.

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts

Finally, because I also enjoy giving, I created a coupon code to give my social media followers a free download of my first novel! How nice of me, right? If you’d like to take advantage of this limited time freebie, click here and use this code WM82B.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Question of the Summer: What are you doing?

Writing and enjoying the summer sun

My least favorite question to be asked since I left my job on July 9, 2021 is: What are you doing?

Working a 9-5 job for the last 23 years, that question was easy to answer because eight hours of my day was spent in one place. Now that I’m home and not working for a particular company, the answer is more complicated. Or maybe that’s just my perspective.

I’ve been so used to writing and building my social media platform being things I did on the side of my day job, it’s a challenge to retrain my brain to think of consider this being my full-time work right now. But that’s exactly what it is.

My days consist of a litany of activities:

Writing: I’m working on the developmental edit of my upcoming novel, the final spinoff from Unfinished Business, and working on my memoir and a holiday romance novella.

School work: I’m in my last course for my library science master’s degree program. So I’ve got school work for the class and the work to do for the graduate assessment project required for graduation.

Editing–I’ve started editing the works of other writers, including stories for my daughter’s anthology project Dear Sarah, on sale now.

Social media content- Blogging, building content on for IG and FB, trying to do reels

Podcasting: I’m co-host of the podcast Conversations Between Widows and I’m managing the blog for that as well. The podcast has created so many unexpected opportunities. We’ve been getting all kind of invitations to be the guest on other podcasters’ shows. I see branching off into my own podcast soon, but not yet. I’ve got to manage what’s already on my plate.

I’m doing so much more in a day than what I did on my day job. The only thing that’s missing is the money! LOL. Seriously, there’s a lot that goes into building your non-traditional career before the money starts coming in but I know that payoff is on the way.

Now all I have to do is structure my days for maximum production!

Got tip to make the most of my time without a day job? Share them in the comments below. When January 2022 rolls around, I want to be boasting about the books I finished writing!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

I Quit My Job of 23 Years—The Vlog

So I haven’t posted since the brief series about leaving my job of 23 years to pursue a new beginning. That’s not because I haven’t had anything to blog about. I decided to do something a little different, more real time, to chronicle this journey—Vlog. I like this raw, authentic process of recording this journey. Check it out. Subscribe if you like it or not. Lol.

Journey to My Adventure: The Benefit debacle

Tuesday, July 5, 2021

On the way to sleep I was thinking about the week ahead. My official last week at the job. OMG! The anxiety is real.

Like, off the payroll effective 7/9.

Like, no more insurance ( I do have the option to extend it for 6 mos).

Like, no more discounts for my AT&T services (cell bill, security system, TV, internet)

Like, no more going to work and sitting there doing virtually nothing for a pretty good paycheck.

Hmmm…Why did I do this again?” I find myself asking.

Oh yeah…because I’m sick of the ish! And have been for about five years.

Truthfully, the insurance thing is kind of getting to me. One of the friend’s at work who I shared the news with about my decision to leave advised me to get all of my medical, vision, and dental appointments in by last day of payroll. Sounds like good advice, right?

But not really. It’s not likely to be able to secure appointments for two people–me and my son–in a matter of two weeks!

I tried, though. I managed to get an appointment with my primary care doctor and I used my eyeglass frame prescriptions from November 2020 to get a sunglasses frame. I called our dentist to try to schedule cleanings, left a message, and they haven’t called back. Unfortunately, but maybe not, my son cracked his tooth over the weekend and now he has to have oral surgery to get the tooth extracted. Luckily, they were able to schedule that before my last day of payroll, though a large portion of the cost is not covered by insurance.

Nevertheless, my son still needs physical and Lord knows what else could come up. Although I have to pay out of pocket, without the luxury of regular paychecks coming in, I’m glad that AT&T has an option for me to extend my coverage for six months. I’d rather have insurance than face astronomical medical bills if anything should come up for me or my son before I secure another position with benefits.

This makes me very appreciative of Obama Care. It’s good to know that if the self-employment or PT work become my way of life that I can still have insurance.

Journey to my new adventure–Who to Tell first

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

By default, my daughter was the first to know what I was doing. Now, she may not have believed that I actually going to go though with it because she knows how big of a decision leaving my job is, especially not having one to go directly to. After all, I have always preached to her and, now my 17 year old son, that you don’t leave a job without another one waiting. Well, I’ll explain, it’s a little different when you’re 45 and you’ve spent the last 23 years in a place for the sake of providing stability for your family and now you’re ready to live more for yourself. And, the decision was not made with the expectation for someone else to take care of me.

Anyway, I knew the word would get out at work after I turned my paperwork in to my manager. But I wanted to ensure that my actual friends at work heard the news from me before they heard it from the grapevine. Rather than communicating with them individually, I decided to send a group text. They all responded with congratulations. All of them know of my literary efforts and probably think that I’m leaving to pursue my literary dreams.

Sharing the news with my family wasn’t going to be as easy as a group text. My core family–mom, sister, brother, and son–would definitely receive the news differently than my friends. Though they know I wouldn’t make the decision lightly, they’ll still wonder why in the world I’m leaving my “good” job. Either that, or they’ll think I’m sitting on a pile of money that I haven’t told them about! LOL

I had planned to tell them on the 4th of July when they were over celebrating on my new deck. But when the day got going, my focus was grilling and accommodating everyone’s needs. It was a few more people there than usual so I got lost in the chaos of all of it all. So, family group text it is! (With the exception my mom–she doesn’t like important news via text.)

When you have news to share with family or friends, how have you shared it? Let me know in the comments.