Posted in Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Men’s Health Month


June is Men’s Health Awareness Month. It’s a time where community health groups encourage men to tend to their health and for the women in their lives to help them. Clearly, men not making their health a priority is a problem if a month has to be set aside to increase awareness.

I can personally attest to this problem. In the five years that I was dating my husband, he never went to the doctor until he began experiencing symptoms he couldn’t ignore. My dad, though he was always a fitness enthusiast, bike riding, jogging, etc., he, too didn’t go to the doctor regularly until he developed a condition which required him to. And even with that, he still avoids going until an incident forces his hand.

It really makes life hard for a woman to have to put that on her plate along with everything else. But this post is not a griping session. Our men need our help. Whether it’s making appointments I do for my husband or dropping reminders about needed follow up to my dad, or letting them know about local health fairs which may be less intimidating for them, it could be just the bit of encouragement they need.

I urge you to find out what’s going on in your community to support this initiative and let the men in your life know. Make a date of it. 

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Uncategorized

Spiritually Speaking–An Expected Gift

img_0810For the last few weeks, maybe more, I’ve been participating in this Victory Prayer Line conference call on Sunday mornings. One of my sorority sister’s is the event moderator and had been posting it on her FB page. Finally one day I told her that I wanted to join but kept forgetting when the morning came. She was kind and enterprising enough to schedule a reminder text and automatic phone call for me a few minutes before the calls. Talk about no more excuses.  The first call I joined I was in serious need of prayer. If memory serves me correctly, my husband and I had had an issue and I asked for prayer for him and our marriage. I’ve been joining since then with a missed call once or twice in between.

The calls are different than what I expected. I thought it was going to be an hour of prayer. That’s how the intercessory prayer line at my church operates. These calls, however, include 30 minutes of teaching followed by 30 minutes of intercessory prayer. The ministerial staff alternate teaching and any of them volunteer to pray for whatever was requested on the call.

Like I said, I’ve missed a call or two. I would have missed more but the Holy Spirit interceded. Each time that happened, the teaching that went forth was exactly what I needed. One time the teaching was on forgiveness and the day before I was hurt and disappointed with my sister and was struggling with wanting to hold on to anger. The next time it was about overcoming fear and walking in God’s purpose.

It happened again this morning. I was so tired from not getting enough sleep last night and tossing and turning worried about my hair which I’d just gotten done that morning. My phone was somewhere under the covers. I knew that phone call was coming in a minute and I debated if I wanted to join. At 7:58 the call came in.

I’m not feeling it this morning, I groaned in my head but reached for the phone anyway and answered.

The prophetess teaching this morning stating that the Lord put it on her heart to teach about the gift of speaking in tongues. And how the gift is for any of God’s children who want it because the Holy Spirit already belongs to His children.

I would have fell off the bed if I was close enough to the edge, my spirit was so moved. This was nothing but the Lord confirming my desire. I have been wanting the gift of tongues for quite some time but I haven’t been steadfast in pursuing that desire. Part of the reason is that I rationalize that I hadn’t received the gift because God didn’t intend for me to have it. I Cor 12: 7-11 goes through the gifts of the Spirit explaining that everyone doesn’t have the same gifts. I took that to mean that having the gift of speaking in the Spirit (tongues) wasn’t something that I needed. Nevertheless, I’ve always known that power exists in speaking in the Spirit and I want that power in my prayer life.

The teaching was awesome and just what I needed. For a minute I was scared because she said at the end of  the call she wanted everyone on the call to speak in tongues. And I was thinking, “Oh Lord. Did you hear what she said? Are you down with that?”

Nervous, tuned into the teaching, familiar with all the verses of scripture that she referenced. While she taught and as prayer went forth at the end of the teaching session, I prayed for God to remove the fear and any other inclination preventing the manifestation of this gift within my Spirit. I am guilty of wondering how others will view me, specifically my kids and my husband, even my church members. “Lord, help me”, I said throughout the call.

Before the end of the call, another prophetess solicited for anyone who wanted that gift to speak up so that prayer could be given over them and I did. Admittedly, I was scared to speak up. Scared to openly admit that I was lacking something that I wanted and they all had it. Plus, I feared them trying to force it but they didn’t. They prayed over my desire for it, declared that it would be in the name of Jesus, and shared their experiences for being where I am. I appreciated it.  My assignment for net week’s call is to positive report on my testimony of receiving the manifestation of the gift that already resides in me. So for the rest of the week, I’ll be praying, fasting, and opening my mouth for that gift to pour out.

What are you expecting from God in the immediate future? Share in the comments below.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Wellness Wednesday–Health Walks for Fitness & Fun

This past Saturday was the Detroit Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association. As the chair of a Health Awareness committee through an Employee Resource Group of the company I work for, I created a team for the event. I must say, it was a struggle getting to the event as I partied hard with my sorority sisters the night before ( no drinking involved but lots of dancing), but I was so glad I did. Fond memories of yearly participation in such walks as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Sister Strut ( breast cancer), March of Dimes (for premature babies) came flooding back. Why did I stop participating, I can’t really say. Between my job and sorority, there’s always a team I can join. Even if there isn’t a team, I can always go solo. I’m sure to  run into someone I know right when I’m ready to play some music through my earbuds.

Health walks are great way to support worthy causes and get in a lot of steps. The heart walk yielded me approximately 5k steps at 3 miles. By the end of the day I hit my daily goal of 12k steps. If I didn’t have to pick my son up from camp on Sunday, I would have gone to the Kidney Foundation walk at the Detroit Zoo. I keep missing walking opportunities there. I must take advantage while I live so close (3 miles away).

These events are a lot of fun too. Sponsors provide bouncy houses for kids, face-painting, and other activities. At this walk I was super excited to get my jump rope on with my team. 

Had I arrived at my intended time, an hour before the walk was to begin, I could have participated in Bowkwa and/or Yoga, too. Activity coordinators do a great job making the event fun-filled for the whole family.

This was my first time leading a team and I did not do as well as I could have 😞. I met my individual goal of $100 and was $15 short of my team goal of $200. Considering I didn’t really solicit donations until the final hour, I won’t beat myself up too bad. But imagine how much I could have raised if I’d been diligent from the start six months ago. I won’t make that mistake again.

I plan to soak up some summer sun with more walks for health causes but I’m saving my next fundraiser endeavor for a cause newly dear to my heart, lung disease. The Lung Association sponsors a walk called Lung Force. It’ll take place in my hometown of Detroit in October 2017. Hmm, that’s actually not that far away from a fundraising perspective. I better get busy, huh?

What health walks do you support and why? I’d love to hear.

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 Encouragement, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, People, Relationships

Do You Without Apologies


Over the past year my daughter has lost nearly 40 lbs! For a long time she was beyond okay with her curvy figure. But when she decided that she wasn’t, her battle with the bulge that all of us go through began. Her first sincere attempt to lose weight was her senior  year of high school. My dad bought her a treadmill and, much to my dismay because of our downstairs neighbor, she would use it every morning at 5am. She increased her water intake, drank green tea, and carried healthy snacks with her to school. By the time prom came, she’d lost some significant pounds. Then came college. Yes, the freshmen 15 and then some. When she crossed a number on the scale she never thought she’d get to, she got serious. Enter weekly meal planning and prepping, 4-5 days at the gym, which included burning 1000 calories per workout. She still has a ways to go to reach her ultimate goal but there’s no stopping her now. It’s no longer about a special occasion but how she wants the live the rest of her life.

My sister, who is 7 years my junior is on her own fitness journey. According to her FB posts, she’s been regularly attending a cycling class and cutting back on guilty pleasure of a 16 oz of soda a day with her favorite potato chips, Ruffles. On the last day that I saw her for my son’s birthday, her weight loss was evident too.

While I’m genuinely happy for both of them, I can’t help but remember their reluctance to get on the fitness bandwagon with me about ten years ago. Though I’d been exercising since I had my daughter in 1995, that was the first time that I was committing time to the gym. Before then my fitness regimen included laps around the building at work, doing exercise videos over lunch in our building fitness center or at home.

At that time, however, my daughter was a cute, chunky teenager who liked the attention her thickness elicited from teenage boys. And my sister was a recent college graduate focused on preparing for her career. Neither of them had fitness on their minds.

Now, my daughter more than my sister, is always trying to get me on her bandwagon. She insists that I have time to go to the gym 4-5 days a week. She insists that I can discipline myself to prep my meals for the week like she does. She insists that I can burn 1000 calories in one workout. She insists that I can walk on 15 incline on the treadmill.

She may be right. However, if I don’t want to, it’s not going to happen. Just like when I wanted exercise to be a priority for her when it wasn’t. I’d share with her easy ways that she could exercise and be less sedentary, like walking the dog everyday, twice a day on weekends. But she wasn’t having any parts of that. Even now. Although she hits the gym 4-5 days a week, she still likes to lay around the house in her downtime when I’m the one who can’t sit still, always have to be doing something.

I’ve learned through our family fitness experience that everyone has different goals and priorities at different times in their lives. You can’t force yours on somebody else, nor can they force theirs on you. What my daughter can do with her time as a 22 yr old, single young woman and I can do with my time as a 41 year old, wife of an ill husband, mother of a 13 yr old boy, full-time employee, and a writer are two totally different things.

She and I have different priorities. As a young woman, her goal is to get her body tight and right to enjoy life as a 22 yr old. Mine is to lose the extra weight I’ve gained over the last 3 yrs since my husband took ill and still have time for things that are just as important to me like my writing and getting my house organized. While she doesn’t mind going to the gym 5 days a week, my desire is to be at home. Not driving from work, to my son’s school, to home, then back to the gym and back home. Just typing that exhausted me.

I crave any kind of simplicity in my life that I can get. Since the beginning of April, I have been exercising at home. Sometimes in the morning but over the last couple of days in the evening.  Lost about 4 lbs. It’s not a lot but I’m encouraged that the 3-4 times I got on the scale in the month of April, the numbers never increased! That’s a good thing.

Now I won’t be canceling my gym membership any time soon. It being only $10 a month is part of the reason. For now, I’m going to do what’s been working for me and I encourage you to do the same. Do what works for you and let others do what works for them.

P.S. One thing I did pick up from my daughter is tracking my progress on a visual board in my bedroom. I write down the days I exercise including what I did (i.e. circuit training, walking). The visual helps me to realize how much or how little I’ve done.  You can try or not…if you want to 🙂

Til next time,

Naturally Yours,

LA

Posted in Fitness, Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle

Wellness Wednesday–To Dust I Shall Return

I know it’s been awhile since I posted for Wellness Wednesday. A great part of that is because pretty much lost my mojo for, not only my fit at work program, but fitness altogether. You see, for the last twenty years I’ve been trying to lose weight. Since the birth of my first child, to be exact. Trying to attain this magic number on the scale or some perfect number inside of a pair of pants, a dress, or a shirt.

Ten years ago I came closer than I’d ever been. Size 6. 135 lbs. Guess what?  Wasn’t good enough. Why? Because my stomach wasn’t flat yet. And I was constantly in the presence of women who had great figures.

The best part of that time was that I felt great! My mood was elevated. I smiled a lot more. 

Today, not only is my stomach not flat, it’s bigger. Boobs are bigger. Face is bigger. The only thing that’s decreased is my self-confidence.

That’s what happens when your confidence is placed in superficial things like the shape of your physical body.

On Ash Wednesday, my awesome bishop reminded me that, “From dust you came, and to dust you’ll return.”

This physical body is not meant to last forever. No matter how much we diet, run on the treadmill, lift weights, at the end of day–of our lives, actually-we’re returning to the dust from whence we came. 

I hadn’t been to an Ash Wednesday service is a few years but for some reason I was determined to make this one. God knew I needed to hear that message. I left that service with a new attitude!

Does that mean I miraculously don’t care about my physical appearance! Of course not! Heck, I went to Zumba last Friday and going again this Friday. 

I’m not suggesting that you don’t care about yours either. Just don’t let your confidence rest in that. It’s a challenge in this society where flat stomachs and small frames are glorified. Therefore, my daily prayers will include a request for my mind to ignore that garbage and focus on caring for and loving my body because it is a temple.

Size 6, 10, or 16, I’m beautiful because I was created in His image. So were you.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Lifestyle, Religion

Spiritually Speaking: Round and Round We Go

This morning started like many Sunday mornings. My husband, Kevin and son, Nate lay sleeping while I walk around our home assessing all that didn’t get done on Saturday. Folded clothes that need to be put away. Clutter from the week spread across the dining room table. And finally my favorite place–the kitchen, which seems to never be free from something I need to do.

You should stay home and get all of this together, is usually the first thought. Honestly, if I wasn’t on duty in my church’s trustee office, I’d be very likely to follow that suggestion.

Now last night our family had a trip to the emergency room. Kevin, who suffers with a lung disease has a cold and feared it was becoming the pneumonia, which could turn deadly for him. We left our home at 8 p.m. and didn’t get home until nearly 11 p.m.

Late night, right? Another excuse to skip out on church.

You need to look after your husband. Never mind that he’s sleep and will probably be sleep until I get home. Then my mind travels to Nate, who hung out with us in the emergency room. He was resting so peacefully.

Maybe you should let him stay home.  That way Kevin won’t be alone and he can start on this cleaning up and finish him homework.

On the surface that seemed like a good idea. After all, I wouldn’t be sitting in the sanctuary with Nate. I would be in the trustee office, working. And, it would be very helpful if he got started on the ample housework that needed to be done.

Interestingly, though, I didn’t consider these option on Saturday when he had a bowling match to get to. Not one time did the thought cross my mind to skip the bowling match so that he could finish homework  or clean up the house. I promise you…not one time. So what makes Sundays so darn tempting to want to relax, sleep in, or catch up on housework instead of going to church?

Actually, whether it’s Saturday, Wednesday, or any other day that you are choosing to be pleasing to God, the enemy will swiftly begin whispering all of the other things that you could be doing. And they’ll be spot on. But scripture indicates that the flesh and spirit are in constant conflict.

“The spirt indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NKJV)

None of us are immune. Throughout the week, my car radio is tuned to Christian programming. I listen to preachments and Christian centered talk shows throughout the day. I read Christian books, and of course, my bible. All of this to feed my spirit, my longing to know more about God, and grow deeper in my relationship with Him.

Some may think that on Sunday mornings, I’m one of the first ones at the church doors. I have my times when my flesh is working overtime against my spirit.

But the more I seek God, the more the enemy and my flesh try to interfere. It’s  a cycle that won’t end until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. Reminds me of an old school gospel song, “I’m on the battle field for my Lord.”

That’s exactly what it is…a battle. One in which we already have the victory! Now, that’s comforting. Nevertheless, choosing to follow Jesus Christ is a daily requirement.

I’m glad to report that I followed the willingness of my spirit and went to church. And I dragged my son out of the bed to go, too. “Train up a child in the way that he should go.” Right? When I came home, my husband was sleeping peaceably. Within a few short hours, we enjoyed brunch,  Nate finished his homework, and some of that housework got done.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday. Hope you enjoyed yours too.

Spiritually Speaking,

L.A.