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 Encouragement, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Women

My First Day of School

back to schoolAm I really doing this? I thought on the 5 minute drive from my job to the campus of Wayne State University. While I know students of all ages attend the multi- cultural institution located in the heart of Detroit, all I could see were the people who looked young enough to be my children.

Here I am, weeks away from my 42nd birthday, attending my first upper level undergraduate English course. But it’s been a long time in the making. Approximately 10 years.

For the last several years I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Wayne State University and Oakland University’s graduate English programs. And, if I’m honest, their Journalism and Communication programs, too. Indecisiveness played a big part as to why it’s taken me so long to make this move. But fear was the biggest obstacle.

Why do I want to do this? What benefit will I gain? Will my life improve? What am I going to do with it? Do I have time for this?

These questions and more had me like a mouse stuck on the spinning wheel. Like that piece of cheese the mouse is chasing, this desire has remained dangling in front of my eyes, within arms reach. It was just a matter of reaching for it and grabbing it.

At this stage of the game I’m not sure if I’m going to pursue another graduate degree. I already have one of those…an MBA. According to my aunt, Dr. Wilson, “In education, you keep moving forward.” I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a simmering desire to earn such a distinguished level of education.

Before I can seriously entertain a doctorate in English, I need to get some upper level English courses on my record and recommendations from recent academic sources, hence, my Intro to Rhetoric & Writing class this fall semester.

I can’t tell you how excited I am. An item crossed off my 2017 goals. We’re only on the second week of class and I’ve already plotted out classes for 2018.

When I was introduced to the character of Jalessa, the oldest student–a recently divorced, mother ( I think)–on campus from A Different World, it never crossed my mind that that could be me. In retrospect, that was clearly a major  purpose of her character, to show that although life circumstances can knock us of course, we can always make our way back.

Not a do over, I like to say, but a do now. There’s no time like today to pursue a dream.

What dream are you chasing? Share in the comments below. If you can read this post, there’s no time like now to take that first step.

Til Next Time,

L.A.

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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 Encouragement, Health, Inspiration

Wellness Wednesday’s-It’s the Same Gallon

My husband was recently diagnosed with a lung disease. In order to increase his life expectancy, his doctor recommends a lung transplant BUT in order to get on the list he has to lose a considerable amount of weight. Losing any amount of weight–beyond the vanity weight of 5 to 10 lbs–is quite the challenge when your medical condition prevents you from doing vigorous excercise.

So what does his ever so helpful wife suggest???

“Honey, you should work on drinking a gallon of water a day?”

He looked at me ever so lovinginly and replied quite animatedly, “I ain’t drinking no damn gallon of water! That’s crazy!”

We both cracked up laughing. Even through this challenge of his illness, this man can still make me bust a gut laughing.

After we recovered from our laughing fit, I replied, “Well, honey, you you can interchange that gallon of juice you drink in a day with a gallon of water. It is the same gallon.” 😉

   
 
Reluctantly, he conceded the point. And we agreed that he can start with 1/2.

Sometimes small changes can seem big until you look at them comparatively to something else you do.

Naturally Yours..in Health,

L.A.

Posted in Beauty, Encouragement, Hair, Hair Styles, Lifestyle, Natural Hair, Uncategorized, Women

April Natural Hair Styling Challenge Day 22

  

This one garnered a lot of attention at work. Surely because it was super cute! Achieved by simply two strand twisting my hair with a little bit of Shea Moisture Styling Milk.

It also garnered as many compliments as it did too because the day before it was, admittedly, on the blah side. And that was because when I twisted it the day before that I was slack on product and oil so the ends were frizz galore.

As the month is coming to an end I’d really like to do something different but with the time I have available in the mornings before work that’s highly  unlikely. What I’ve learned in the challenge is that if my hair is not set in a protective style for the week, the only thing that I’m able to do without a lot of fuss is wear twist outs. On a good day I might have time to spruce it up with a couple of hair pins!  

Nevertheless it’s been a  good run. Every natural girl should take some time to climb out of their comfort zone, get a taste of the unchartered path of their natural hair journey. You just might like it.

Have you tried something different with your hair lately? Please share!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.