Weekends in Quarantine

Am I the only one who hesitates when asking friends old-fashioned questions, like: What are plans today? Have you made it to the gym? What are you doing this weekend? The answers sure have changed.

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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?”

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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.

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.

4 Things I Left Behind in 2019

It might be too late in January to say Happy New Year but it’s early enough in the year for me to share with you some things in my life that I left behind in 2019. Check them out…

My response to the question”Do you drink?” The answer to this question will always be yes. I will no longer fumble my words for an answer that says, “I drink, but not that often”, as though I need to explain that.

Trying to fit into old clothes that I’ve outgrown. I have a grown woman body that I damn proud of. I’m done with the obsessing over the number on the scale or my dress or pants size. I will continue to be fitness focused, limiting my sweet treats, and engaging in exercise that I enjoy as often as possible. Whatever clothing doesn’t fit my current size will be replaced with new clothes. That’s the whole purpose of all the inventory at retail stores!

Telling Men that I’m not interested in a relationship. It was eight months after my husband passed before the reality of being single really hit me. He was my friend, my lover, my husband for 10 years. I’ve been out of the single game for quite a while. So when started having conversations with men I was trying to be clear that, at this stage of my life, being widowed after 10 yrs, having a teenage son to raise, I wasn’t trying to jump into a relationship. What I didn’t know was those words were communicating to them that I just wanted to have sex with them. 😩 Noooooo. I’m interested in engaging in interesting conversation, taking in a movie, going to breakfast or dinner with a nice guy. IF our chemistry leads to sex, then it does. BUT, that’s not my first intentions. Interestingly, a male friend brought this distinction to my attention. Now I say, “I’m interested in dating that could lead to a long term, serious relationship.”

Spending time with men that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Ever heard of rebound sex or relationships. Well I’m my life, I’ve had both! Married the man and had two children, who are the joy of my world. However, I learned my lesson. And, now, I’m this time of singleness and being a real grown woman of 44 years old, I’m not hanging out with any man that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Enough said!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Wellness Wednesday

Believe it or not, I suffered a real stroke on 8/27/19. I’ve only mentioned it a few times between my FB page and this site but my physical state and mental state make it hard to believe. Not just for you, but me too. Ever since the doctors confirmed that what I thought was just crazy confusion that morning was stroke— not a mile stroke—it’s still hard for me to believe it too. Aside from having the fear that I would wake up any day in an incapacitated state, not being able to care for myself, or even worse—dead, I feel eerily as if the events of that day never happened.

But they did. I take daily medications hat reminds me each day. The implanted heart monitor which downloads my heart rhythm into an app on phone, that gets transmitted monthly to my cardiologist is a constant reminder as well. On yeah, I have a cardiologist, neurologist, and a hematologists. Didn’t have any of those on my medical roster before that day. So, yes, the stroke is a real part of my life whether I want to believe it or not.

The doctors released me after a week to resume my normal activities. But they didn’t even know what those were. So I was scared to do anything that I thought could bring about another stroke. And for me, that could have been anything because I still didn’t know what caused it. The test the ran on me in hospital confirmed that I don’t have a hole in my heart, no clots in my legs or neck. All I knew was that morning I washed my hair, boiled some eggs, and then, out of nowhere, couldn’t figure out why I suddenly was confused about the order in which to put my clothes on. How did I know that wasn’t going to happen again?

A trip to the stroke clinic confirmed the importance of exercise for my recovery and prevention of future strokes. That irritated me because I’ve been exercise. Maybe not as consistently as I should but definitely I’m more active than most, and if I don’t get to the gym, I’m walking. So what gives?

I found myself pretty angry. All the Zumba classes, walks over lunch at work, exercise videos at home, stints of Yoga and Pilates classes was the point of exercising and trying to eat right didn’t prevent me from having a stroke in the first place.

I was ready to throw in the towel. Stop stressing myself trying to fit exercise into my life. But then reality hit me. Maybe my history of exercising are the exact reason that I didn’t experience any physical ramifications from the stroke I had. Maybe that why when I was in the hospital I had free reign to walk the hospital halls without supervision because I wasn’t a fall risk. Maybe that’s why I could go home and didn’t have to attend occupational or physical therapy.

I consider myself blessed that I don’t look or feel like I suffered that stroke. But because I know I did, exercise will continue to be apart of my life!

Naturally Yours,

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.

Desperately Seeking Clean–The Beginning #1

How long would it take you to realize that your home had been burglarized.  Sometime in  2006 I was living with my then husband and two children in 3 bedroom bungalow  in a not-so-great neighborhood. When I arrived home from work that day, the house looked pretty much like we had left it. Dishes from the night before were still in the sink. The kitchen table was still top-heavy with mail.

I entered my bedroom next. The bed was unmade.  My pajamas were laid on top of the rumpled covers while my husband clothes and shoes were strewn in various places on the floor. The top of the dresser had it usual stuff on it–earrings, mail,  watches, receipts.

It was finally the mattress that caught me eye. Something was off with them. They had been clearly disturbed. My husband and I had a decent sex life  but we’d never knocked the mattresses of the frame. Our mattresses had been lifted up, in obvious search for money, and dropped  haphazardly onto the frame so that the top mattress hung over the box spring.

That was the only clue we had our home had been burglarized. They were obviously   petty thieves, only stealing my wedding ring, that I’d only taken off because I was mad at my husband, and all of my popular DVD’s movie.

My husband had complained about my housekeeping habits in the past,  but it was at this point that I realized I had a problem. I was so embarrassed when the police came into our home to take the report. Surely they were thinking that the house had been ransacked  when that was how it looked on any given day. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a better housekeeper, keep a more tidy house. Not for my husband, but for myself.

That incident marked the beginning of my journey for desperately seeking clean! And, oh, what a journey it is! I’ll be posting about the journey because pursuing it is a big part of who I am.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

It is Finished…Summer Class, that is #lifeafter

Thursday, August 1, 2019 marked the culmination of my first year as a graduate student of the Masters of Library Science program at Wayne State University!  Only a special kind of person–or maybe a glutton for punishment–undertakes a graduate program while displaced from their permanent residence due to a house fire, adjusting to life after the passing of their spouse, taking responsibility over a rental home that deceased husband managed, and a host of other things that you’ve probably already read about on my blog. But, I did it! And quite successfully, too, I might add. 4.0 GPA first semester, 3.5 the second, and a 3.0 this current semester.

Although I did well, I put myself through a lot stress at a time in my life when I should have been relaxing as much as possible. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do something, I advised myself.

Now, I don’t regret, at all, the decision to begin this program. I’d been contemplating it for a few years before finally applying. However, it might have been a good idea to start with one class instead of two. It took those first two semesters of talking myself out of quitting a time or two before I came to my senses and only registered for one class this last semester.

Forty-three year old LaCharmine cannot do graduate school the way twenty-five year LaCharmine did it.

Prior to the end of this semester, I told myself it was time for a break.

“Not even one class, LaCharmine,” I said to myself sternly. (I need that kind of talking to sometimes).

I need my evenings and weekends as free as they can be (given my church & sorority commitments).

I need time for writing.

I need time for reading.

I need time for getting my house how I want it.

I need time for dating. (Yes, I said it. Dating!!!)

Hmm…will I listen to myself and take a break from school? How will my first date go after 10 years out of the game? Will I accomplish the goal of completing novel #3 by end of 2019? Follow my blog for more #lifeafter posts.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

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