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.

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 Entertainment, Relationships, Uncategorized

The Photograph

I finally made my way to see the movie The Photograph, weIl after its 2/14 opening. There’s a story that I need to insert here to add some credence to how I feel about this movie. I had every intention of seeing this movie on Valentine’s Day weekend. Not with a boo or anything. I don’t have one of those. However, I had been kind of “seeing” someone for a few months. And he chose the Thursday before this movie was released to tell me we needed to see less of each other. Ain’t that some shit? SMH

I was devastated and in my feelings for entire weekend. Obviously, that was not the movie to see. I was not about to sitting up in the theater crying about what I no longer had. But I was not lost on all of the negative reviews I came across opening weekend and weeks later.

“Love Jones fail.”

“Issa Rae doesn’t do sexy well.”

“The chemistry was missing .”

“I fell asleep.”

Etc, etc, etc…

Nevertheless , I was determined to see this movie for myself. Make my own decision . Today was the day.

First of all, I only saw two similarities to Love Jones. The first being Christina being a photographer. The second being these scene with Mike’s (I think that’s Mae’s love interest name) brother and his wife that was kind of love jonsie. That’s about all the Loves Jones I got out of the movie. Oh yeah, and Mike was had a job opportunity out of town. But that was it!

More than a love story, I saw the story being more about the complexities of being a woman. Specifically, the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship. Christine wants love. She’s a woman of immense passion. But, she wants also wants a meaningful career. She wants her life to be more than bringing pleasure to her man. Can she have both becomes the question? She takes the risks that most women don’t take. Leaving the love of the man in pursuit of her greater passion—her work. Then she has this daughter to take care of. She shows her daughter love in the only way she knows how—providing for her while giving the best of herself to her work. The daughter grows up questioning the love of the mother.

As a mother of a daughter, we see so clearly the things that our daughters will encounter in their lives. They will love. They will be be loved. They will experience pain. We long to spare them of the pain. But we can’t. So we raise them to be strong, to be able to overcome all things. Somewhere in this process, the love of the mother is questioned by the daughter. The daughter will never understand until she, herself, walks in her mother’s shoes.

I didn’t really see anything special between Christina & Issac. I saw that she loved her work more than she loved Issac.

In Christina’s letter to Mae, she says she wishes she was as good at love as she was at her work. Those words penetrated my soulful because my experience is the opposite. My strength is in loving people. My family, my kids, the man in my life. So much so that I put my work—my writing—second, sometimes third or fourth. Christina’s story made me want to do something something different.

I want to know how much better my work will be if I push my work up on my list of priorities. I wonder…

The Photograph was a love story. A story of a woman loving herself. Loving her work. Loving a man. Loving her daughter. But not knowing how to love them equally, at the same time.

It wasn’t Love Jones. It wasn’t The Notebook. It was the Photograph.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Lifestyle

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.

Posted in Grief, Life After, Marriage

Life After: How to Honor Your Angel on their Angelversary

Naturally Yours,

In the widow group I belong to on FB, I learned a new term of endearment for to refer the anniversary of my husband’s death.  In my previous three posts, I’ve share the story of the days that preceded the day Kevin was called home. Today, in my Life After vlog series, I share how I plan to spend this actual angelversary and how some others have spent theirs.

 

Posted in Death&Dying, Grief, Marriage, Relationships, widow, Women

Remembering #myKevin Day 3 Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Day of the Fire…

When I awoke Sunday morning, December 17, 2017, Kevin didn’t speak to me when I said “Good Morning” to him. I knew he wouldn’t but I always tried to show him my willingness to move on. I was determined have a good day.

This was the 3rd Sunday of the month. I wasn’t scheduled to work in the trustee office but I was going to church anyway. My son and I. After church, I wasn’t ready to go back home to deal with the tension-filled, silent environment, so Nate and I went to the movies.

We returned home about 4 o’clock. Kevin was in the bathroom, a place he treated like his private office. He had his MacBook, his keyboard, and a beat machine that he creating original beats with. About a month before he’s started uploading his creations to his page on a site called Soundboard.

I didn’t have to worry about cooking dinner. On my caregiving journey, I’d finally learned how to ask for help. I’d enlisted the help of my in-laws to help me out with meal preparations. One of Kevin’s was cousins was a caterer. He’d hooked us up with a pan of baked chicken, green beans, and roasted potatoes. I ate some food and propped myself up on the couch to watch a few Hallmark holiday movies, something I was entertaining for the first time ever.

Kevin remained in the bathroom for the remainder of the evening. I was on the couch. Nate and Tya, my kids, and our two dogs were upstairs. Around 10pm, Kevin emerged, appearing in better spirits. He was going to go out for a drive and asked me to make him a couple of tanks. I did, knowing he’d be in even better mood when he returned. He always was after getting some fresh air.

I returned to the couch for my Hallmark holiday and eventually drifted off to sleep. When I heard Kevin come in, I got up to assist him with connecting back to the home oxygen tanks. Before he walked back to the bathroom, he kissed me softly on my cheek and said, “Thank you.”

The small gesture of kindness was monumental. My heart smiled.

Less than an hour later I was awakened by the smoke alarm blaring through the house. Though I’d heard it before, for some reason, that night, I knew something was wrong. I jumped off the couch and ran into the entryway of the kitchen and saw Kevin holding himself up against the wall, looking down. I looked down to see what he was seeing. One single flame coming from the oxygen cord that would change the everything.

I wanted to ask, “What the hell happened?” But that wasn’t the time for questions. It was a time for action.

After our efforts failed to put the the flame out, I found the courage to pick the cord up and carry it through the living room, and then out the front porch, dropping it on the bank of snow of the porch.

The flame was extinguished. I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought the worst was over.

It wasn’t.

Everyone made it out of the house, including Kevin. But he wouldn’t come off the porch. When I urged him to get in the truck with the kids, he said, “I can’t.”

Those were the last words I heard from my husband.

When he sat down on the porch I thought he was waiting for help to arrive. That’s what I was waiting for. We literally lived less than a block away from the fire station.

The fire trucks and ambulance finally arrived. I immediately directed them to Kevin.

“He needs his oxygen,” I instructed them like I was the professional. As the tended to Kevin, I watched flames tearing through the little cute house we had just moved into.

In hindsight I wish I had run to Kevin’s side, grabbed his hand while it was still warm.

By the time the fire inspector finished questioning me and I was able to get to hospital where they’d taken Kevin, the doctor told me Kevin had gone into cardiac arrest and was on life support.

By this time it’s nearing midnight. The hospital transferred us to another one. They gave me hope that Kevin could come out of this state. I wanted to hope but I felt like he was already gone.

Posted in Death&Dying, Grief, widow

Remembering #myKevin: Day 2 Saturday, December 16, 2017

I can’t properly remember my husband without remembering the bad times. As a married couple, we had just as many of those as we had good days. And even more as his health worsened.

Having a great night like the one we’d had the night before didn’t prevent me and Kevin from have a typical Kevin and LaCharmine argument. The kind where the real small things blows up into something much bigger.

After Kevin and I got home the Friday night, he went back out. Apparently his car wouldn’t start so he asked if he could take mine. I’m like, “Sure honey.” He goes about his business. I go to sleep.

The next morning, per usual, I’m up early, preparing to go out for my morning errands and such. I go outside and immediately notice my truck kinda hanging off the driveway . My first thought was like, “Hmm.” I get into the truck, crank up the engine, put in the reverse to back out the driveway. The wheels were spinning on the snow covered driveway but the truck wasn’t moving. Then my thought changed to , “Kevin, what the F$ck?”

I go in the house, fuming. Just not understanding why he couldn’t turn into the driveway like a normal person.

I say, “Kevin, my truck is stuck. I can’t get out the driveway.”

He says, “Oh yeah. I meant to tell you that. We’re going to half to call AAA.”

I think to myself, You forgot to tell me this important detail as I walking out the door.

But what I said was, “Well we don’t have AAA anymore. The membership expired. Are you going to pay it today?”

He says, coolly, “Nope. I paid for it last time.”

This ticked me off but I kept my mouth closed. I called AAA, paid the membership and put in the service call. The tow truck arrives in 20 mins.

Cool, I think. I can get out of here.

Now this is where the day went downhill…

Kevin says, “I need you to take me to  get this part for my truck.”

Blank face…What, sir? I think to myself. Then I say something like, “You didn’t want to pay for the  AAA to get the truck pulled out the ditch BUT you want me to put you above my plans for the day and do what you need me to do. I don’t think so!”

The yelling and cursing began.

I eventually caved and took him where he needed to go. But I was not happy about it. In the car, we continued to argue. At one point he threatened to get out of the car! LOL. I think I literally laughed at him on that one.

I dropped him off at home to tend to his car and finally got about my day. I knew I would pay for mouthiness with him later. Kevin was a silent treatment kind of guy.

That particular day, I was like, whatever. It was my 5th Deltaversary. I was going to enjoy my day with my line sisters.

My line sisters and I met at a local Applebees to have our annual toast for our Deltaversary. I was having a great time but Kevin was not far from my mind. I really hated arguing with him. Particularly because he held on to anger like a dog holding on to a bone.

Back at home, like I suspected, Kevin wasn’t speaking to me. I remember going to bed thinking, Damn. There’s goes our Merry Christmas…

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

 

Posted in Family, Grief, Husbands, Uncategorized, widow, Wives

Remembering #myKevin: Day 1 Friday, December 15, 2017

The anniversary of my husband Kevin’s death, 12/18/17, feels more like a weekend event rather than one day. Because we had such an eventful weekend leading up to his death, my memory of his passing begins on the Friday before that fateful day…

In December 2017 the 15th fell on a Friday. Kevin and I are had plans to celebrate his sister’s surprise 50th birthday which was the day. I remember being at work that day and talking to my friend about possibly not going to the party. The terminal illnesses Kevin was dealing with, interstitial lung disease, caused him to be increasingly angry, resentful, and quite frankly, not pleasant to be around. For me, as his caregiver, at least. I was beginning to tire of the Kevin that Kevin became in the presence of his family. Positive, glass half-full, God is good all the time Kevin. Because with me, in the privacy of our home, I witnessed the total opposite. Full disclosure, he was often a jerk. But the expectation was for me to be with him. Not because he enjoying my company but because I was his wife, his support.

However, this day I was considering letting him go on his own and use the time with him away to enjoy some peace at home. I had a conversation with my coworker about it and she understood but she encourage me to go. And by the end of my workday I decided to do just that. Putting Kevin’s needs before my own.

I didn’t tell Kevin that I had thought about not going to the party. That would have just soured whatever mood he was in when I got home. Plus I had decided that we were going to have a good night. I was not going to press him about us being on time to the party to be apart of the surprise. He hated when I rushed him for anything. I told myself, “This is his sister’s party, and we will get there when he wants us to.” Once I relieved myself of that pressure, I was able to relax to tend to his his needs.

While Kevin prepared himself for the party, I prepared Kevin for the party. I put 8 full sized metal oxygen tanks & all five of the liquid oxygen tanks in the back seat of Kevin’s truck. We would need enough oxygen for the 35 minute ride to and from party and for the time we were at the party and anything that came up along the way. The time we had been dealing with life with supplemental oxygen we tried our best to prepared for anything.

Thankfully we made big to the party in time to yell “surprise” along with everyone else. Though kevin was physically struggling breath, I could tell he was happy. Kevin loved being around his family and his family loved to be around him. There was a lot of love between them.

If there was a prayer to be a given during a family gathering, Kevin was always the one to do it. But at this event, after taking family pictures, Kevin’s mom or sister requested prayer for Kevin. We formed a circle around him as the minister present prayed for him. When the prayer was finished Kevin had his own words to share.

“I don’t want y’all to worry about me. My God’s got me and I’m gonna be alright!”

He’d moved everyone in the room, in kid me, to tears. In that moment I couldn’t have been happy that I decided to attend the party with him. To witness the heart of a dying man who thought so much of his family to have comforting for them when he was one in greater need of comforting.

When we got home, I was in such a good mood. Kevin was too. The night had been a good one.

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.