Posted in Desperately Seeking Clean, Lifestyle

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.

Posted in Caregivers, Caregiving, Encouragement, Family, Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle, People, Relationships, Travel, Women

No Time Like the Present

My longtime girlfriend has been living in Dallas, TX for at least 7 years. She relocated there after accepting a promotion with the company she’d been working for in our hometown.  Once down there, she met her current husband and they’ve since started a family. Dallas is clearly her home now. As most of her family is here in Michigan, she comes to visit once or twice a year. However, her time is usually consumed with family so I never get to spend much time with her.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to go visit her. Actually…I do.

Before I started visiting my husband on weekends he was out of town for work or attending a conference for my sorority, I was not really into traveling. The only trips that I took my children on was 5 hrs away to Chicago and across the bridge to Canada to enjoy an indoor waterpark. Traveling was not something I fit into my vacation or financial planning.

This past summer a friend invited my son to go on a trip to Disney World with her family. I didn’t want him to miss out on the opportunity but I was hesitant. First, he’d never been on a plane before. Second, he expressed fear about getting on a plane. So I decided that his first flight needed to be with me. Around this same time, I was on the brink of caregiver burnout and didn’t see a way to give myself a real break.

Lo and behold, the company I work for hosts an annual conference in Dallas that I always say that I’d like to attend. Why hadn’t? There was no good reason. So this year I took the opportunity to kill three birds with one stone: attend the conference, visit my friend, and take my son on his first flight.

Everything was awesome. That Dallas September heat was no joke but it was so good to be away from home. To be a guest in my friend’s home. To wake up on Saturday morning and not have to think about what I was going to cook for breakfast for myself or anyone else! My friend and her husband took good care of us.

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My son in the co-pilot seat

 

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A round of miniature golf in the hot Dallas son with my friend’s family

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Go-Kart racing

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Partial group family pic…my friend’s husband was MIA

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Taking a break from the conf. Enjoying a book in the pool

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My son getting his swim on

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Mom & Son chilling at the pool

The question that repeated through my head was, “Why’d it take you so long to do this?”

I have another girlfriend who’s been living in Atlanta for the last 7 yrs. Besides going down for her wedding five years ago, I haven’t been there for a real visit. After I visit family in Tennessee next year, Atlanta will be my next stop.

It’s funny how, in theory, we know that tomorrow is not promised. Still, we tend to live our lives like we have all the time in the world. My husband’s diagnosis with a life-threatening illness changed my perspective. Although  supporting him through this illness doesn’t allow me to a lot of time to do as much as I’d like, I still make a point to do as much as I can.

Is there anything you’re putting off for tomorrow that you need to be doing today? Share in the comments  below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

 

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Women

Wellness Wednesday–Loving the Skin You’re In

There’s a fine line between working to change your body and loving the skin you’re currently in. I’ve often wondered if these two ideas can coexist. I want to workout the most when I feel dissatisfied with the physical shape of my body. And the days when I engage in some good self-love talk…”Girl, you look hot in these jeans!” or “Girl, your legs are as toned as when you were 25!” I don’t press myself about going to the gym. In a world that perpetuates the myth that a woman body is supposed to not only carry and birth children into this world and go through the aging process without looking like it, more often than not is has been less of the latter.

However, thanks to my 41 years of living, I’m finally learning to merge the two together into a marriage that works for me. First, I know that the body is not meant to be sedentary. We are supposed to move every day. And not for the 30-60 minutes that fitness experts say because in actuality that is nothing in a 24 hr day! You know it’s true, too. There are times in my work day that I am comfortably planted in my chair doing my work or chatting through our IM system with a coworker when I should be standing up and moving my body while I work. After all, that is why I fought tooth and nail to get this standing workstation so I could do just that. But when everything you need is at your fingertips it takes great strength and resolve to get off of my butt and walk over to talk with a coworker in person or walk around for the sake of walking.

Second, I know that the shape of my body has more to do with what I put in my mouth and genetics than it does exercise. If I had better eating habits (less pastries, no late night eating of buttery popcorn while watching Scandal, and drinking 8-10 glasses of water), I’d easily be down 20lbs. Can I get a “Amen!” You know I’m right.

This is not a spiritually speaking post, but no where in the word of God does He describe beauty by the size of a woman’s waist and the numbers displaying on a scale. Our beauty is defined the purity of our hearts, being kind to others, loving and honoring our husbands,  taking care of our children, using the gifts that He gave us. All that 36-24-36 standard of beauty is from fallen man and we keep falling for it.

Excuse me, I digressed.

I’m not that different from most women. I get green with envy when I see women in my age with slamming bodies. But I remind myself that they are likely blessed with great genetics which neither of us can do anything about. And they probably don’t exercise any more than I do. Well…some do. Some also have surgery to create those fabulous bodies and keep that to themselves. Believe that!

When I’m finished with that I remind myself of how beautiful I am. I look down at my belly,  and instead of frowning, I smile. This is the same belly that housed two beautiful children for 9 months, both born by C-section  surgeries. And guess what, I survived those, surgeries. We take for granted that some women don’t so how dare I be mad about a scar or some loose skin??? Sure,my breast aren’t as firm or perky as they once were but they’re cancer free (hallelujah!) and look awesome in the right bra.

I don’t waste time browsing through clothes that won’t compliment my current figure. Talk about depressing. Instead I look for clothes that are flattering to my extra pounds, accentuating my toned legs and small frame. You can’t help but feel good in clothes that are cute and fit you right.

In the meantime, I will still exercise. Always will. Regular exercise is good for overall health.  It doesn’t have to happen in the gym either. Some of my favorite places to exercise include the staircase in my office building, in a Zumba or with a hula hoop in my living room. For you it might be in a pool, a ballroom or hustle class, or in a park. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness  Wednesday(Thursday)–Setting Goals & Managing Expectations

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Haha…thought I wasn’t going to give you my week 3 weight watchers update??? I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for it.

Down 2.6 lbs!!! Pretty awesome, right? I’d say so, especially considering I didn’t starve myself or ramp up my exercise regimen. Not only that…but I ate pizza all weekend before the weigh-in, although I didn’t overdo it. So what do I think attributed to this weight loss? Honestly, increased water consumption. The day before and the day of the weigh-in, I consumed every bit of the recommended 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water. Prior to that, I was dinking water everyday but not keeping track of how much. Plus, once I got home, I was usually done for the day. This water bottle solved that problem.

water bottle

And I know for sure that before I wasn’t getting the proper amount because with this bottle I have to start drinking pretty much when I get home and usually need the 16 oz when I get home. Today marks day 5 since I’ve been getting the amount that I need–okay, I missed one day of the entire amount but still…you get the point.

The best thing about my weight loss for this week is that it helped me achieve my January goal! I don’t want to get too personal with y’all–not yet anyway :)–but my goal was to lose 3 lbs this month. “Why not five? Why not ten?” You may want to know.

I wanted to be reasonable with myself. I’m not brand new to this program so I knew that it was a likely possibility that I was going to gain in between the first and the last weigh-in for January. Some might say I set myself up for failure but I say the opposite. The overall goal is to lose weight. How much I lose is up to me and what I’m willing to do to make it happen.

Life is really hectic right now. My husband has a chronic illness and I’m needed at home for physical and emotional support. So I’m not in a place where I can schedule 3-4 days in the gym. Honestly, I don’t even want to. The last thing I want to do is start a workout program that I’m not going to commit to long-term because that leads to weight gain once that activity stops.

It’s important to set goals and manage expectations according to your own lifestyle and preferences. What someone else is willing or able to do may not work for you or be what you want to do. For example, a friend of mine participates in a very intense workout program. The kind that makes you say, “Arrgh!”

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Nope, not for me! LOL! I’m more interested in…

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My focus is on the 80% of that 80/20 makeup we hear so much about regarding weight loss (80% food, 20% exercise). Time for exercise fluctuates over time, depending on what’s going on in life, but eating is continuous. If I can get that under control, I’ll hit my ultimate goal in due time, which may not be during this 12 wk weight watchers program.

And I’m okay with that. I increased my desired weigh loss for this month by a couple of pounds and I can’t wait to achieve it on February 29th. Stay tuned for updates.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Hair, Hair Styles, Natural Hair

Natural Salon Visit –Part 1

Finally made it! I’ve been passive aggressively trying to find a natural hair salon to visit.

“Whoa?” You’re saying. “I thought you naturals only did your own hair, L.A. What’s up with that?”

Honestly, many naturals are DIY’ers (do it yourselfers). However, many also frequent a salon for their hair care–whether for deep conditioning, protein treatments, or maybe styles they can’t do themselves, like weaves and other extensions.

As for myself I definitely have my times when I don’t feel like bothering with my hair. I don’t want the responsibility. Then I call around and get quoted prices like $65, $75, and $85 to do what I consider to be simple hairstyles–two strand twists and twist outs. So my money conscience self overtakes me and I push past the frustration and go at it.

But the frustration eventually returns. Usually with a vengeance.

It’s not all about the frustration. The bottom line is that today’s busy working woman needs some time when she can sit and be pampered, whether it be a massage, pedi/mani, facial, or a good hair wash and style!

So today is the beginning of my monthly pamper time. Stay tuned for the results in my next post!

Posted in Hair Styles

3 Ways I Styled My Straightened Natural Hair

If you don’t know by now, you’ll know soon enough that I can’t stand wearing my hair any particular way for too long. Doesn’t matter whether curly or straightened. Over a week ago, I straightened my hair and below are the different ways I styled it:

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After watching a YouTube video by African Exports, I’m looking forward to trying Bantu knots on straightened hair. Maybe before the weeks out bad I have to wash my hair.

Do you like to change up your hair like me? Why or why not?