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, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Spiritually Speaking– Give Us ThIS Day

Very early in my relationship with the man I eventually married, he disclosed a medical condition that he was diagnosed with some five years earlier. Dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease, in which symptoms include muscle pain, muscle tenderness, fatigue, and possible lung problems. After being treated for the symptoms he was experiencing at the time, he became symptom free and disproved the claim by the doctor that he’d be in a wheelchair within five years. Fast forward another five years, symptoms returned, likely ignited from the constant travel he was doing with his job. Fast forward another few years and now he’s been diagnosed with a life threatening lung disease for which there is known cure. The week of Christmas his lung doctor informed us that she doesn’t foresee him qualifying for the lung transplant that he needs to save his life in time before the disease ends his life. She advised us to call Hospice for Palliative Care.

Merry Christmas, right?

By God’s grace we still had a wonderful holiday. We hugged more, gazed into each other’s more. Reminisced on our time together. No matter what had transpired between us throughout the years, we always enjoyed holiday time with our families. Since it could be his last Christmas with us, my husband dazzled us in the kitchen: corned beef and cabbage, pot roast and carrots, crablegs. Everything was delicious!

“You could’ve been doing this all the time, SIR.” I said with a wide grin on my face but very serious.

My husband is standing toe to toe with his mortality. In turn, that means I am too. Over these last several months that we’ve been dealing with my husband’s health challenges, he has said too many times than I care to count, “I’m dying, Char.” “I might not be here tomorrow.” Specifically during this holiday season, “This might be my last (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve).

The stinging in my heart is always the same and so is my response. “Honey, tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We have to enjoy and be blessed in this day that we’ve been given.”

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24 KJV)

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11 KJV)

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought of the things of itself.” (Matt 7:34 KJV)

God gives us our lives in daily increments. Not weeks, months, and years. In our human nature, giving little thought to the many possibilities of death that we face in the world every day, we make plans for the future. Our short term and long term goals. Where we our next home to be or our next car. Where we’re going to vacation to next summer. In just this first few days of 2016, some people already have the entire year planned out.

It’s nothing wrong with being hopeful for the future, but God’s message to us is clear. We only have today, right now. Not five minutes, not an hour, not five hours from now. Right now. Anything else that follows is God’s grace.

So although my husband is dealing with this life threatening disease, I encourage him (and myself and friends and family) to live each day as though it were our last. Because it could be. I thank God each day that I wake up. I thank Him the same for my loved ones and friends and I encourage you all to do the same.

On this first Sunday of 2016, I say “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Religion

Spiritually Speaking–Train Up A Child

On the drive home from my son’s school about a week ago, I asked him how his day had gone? I asked the same question everyday but this day, as he’d left his backpack at home, I was particularly interested in how he’d gotten along since I couldn’t and wouldn’t go home to get it. A middle school student needed to learn from their mistakes.

Anyway, the story of his day unfolded quickly. I was listening, excited at his excitement. Then he got to what would be my favorite part of the story.

“And, Ma. I was so lucky in Ms. Boykin’s class. She usually reviews our notes from the day before and I was so scared because I didn’t have mine. I didn’t want her yell at me. But guess what?” He gushed.

“What?” I said on time.

“She started a whole new lesson so I didn’t even need my old notes!”

I was happy for him.  Glad that his day of unpreparedness hadn’t been as bad as he thought it was going to be, but I was happier for what the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear. “Teach him.”

“No baby.” I transitioned smoothly. “That wasn’t luck. That was God working things out for your good.”

A quizzical expression crossed his face so I expounded. “God is always working things out for the good of those who believe in Him, even children. You leaving your backpack at home could have made for a bad day at school but God saw fit to turn it around for your good. What happened today is also a testimony for you as to how God works in your life.”

He nodded understanding and the conversation for the ride home came to an end. My heart was warm from the opportunity to teach my son about God’s goodness and how it was evident even at his young age.

Proverbs 22:6 tell us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old, he will not depart from it.” I used to think this responsibility ended with taking my children to church on a regular basis, sometimes Sunday School, and teaching them right from wrong. As I’ve been growing spiritually over the last few years, the Holy Spirit has made it clear to me that it’s so much more than that. My children, and yours need to see  you living a Christian life, must hear you speaking as a Christian should. And not in a holier than thou kind of way, either, because none of us are perfect. In fact, we’re far from it. Like the experience with my son, it’s even better when you can make God’s word relatable to their level of understanding when opportunities present itself.

I can’t wait for the next time! How are you training up your child? Share in the comments below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

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, Hair, Hair Styles, Inspiration, Natural Hair, Women

Holiday Hair–In a Hurry

I knew better. Completely went against my own advice to NEVER wash ones hair when one has a packed schedule. And boy did I have one that day! Picking up the tickets for my sorority’s annual holiday party, a stop by the toy store to pick up an one of my son’s Christmas presents, a dentist appointment, and grocery shopping. Still, I ran the water for the shower, fully intending to wash, deep condition, hot oil treatment AND style my hair as though I had the whole day ahead of me when I actually only had a few short hours prior to party.

Could I pull it off?

Well, I gave it the ‘ole heave hoe. And all things considered, I think it went well.

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With exception to the hot oil treatment and not having adequate time for my hair to fully dry (in the back) I was totally ready for a night out with my sorority sisters and friends! But, for sure, it was perfectly dry for church on Sunday so there was no love lost.

After this ordeal, one thing I’m most sure of is that I MUST get more beanie hats! The only one I have–red– just happened to match the theme and my outfit (not pictured, sorry) for the party.

Between now and the New Year there’s sure to be a ton of parties to attend. Help me prepare for the next time I have to pull a rush job and still look fabulous! What are some of your favorite hurried hair style that works for those special occasions.

Post pics if you’ve got ’em!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Big Chop, Hair Styles, Inspiration, Natural Hair

Big Chop Update

I did it! Unfortunately I can’t post the video of the process because, honestly, I kinda suck at video making and editing. But I’m no quitter so I’ll keep at it. The good news, however, is that I take pictures just fine :))

Here’s the hair I chopped off:

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It was quite liberating. I felt good minus this stringy ends UNTIL it was time to style my hair for work the following Monday. I wore two strand twists pinned up and I hated it–hence no picture :(( I spent the day mourning those stringy ends because they were at least something to work with.

For a short time I was discouraged. Then I logged onto YouTube, as I often do, for a dose of natural hair inspiration. It wasn’t long before I found it.

When I got home I untwisted my hair, laid my head to rest for the night at peace with the possibilities that indeed existed for my shorter hair.

This is what I came up with:

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I’m very pleased with this style. I was glad that the front of my hair was still long enough to do that little pompadour thing. During my cutting I got a little scissor happy and cut more than I’d intended in the front. But the hair still needed to go so it’s all good. And if it wasn’t quickly becoming hat-wearing weather I’d wear this style longer. After this week I’ll be going with a protective style of flat twist styles. But overall the cut was a good step in the right direction. I can’t wait to see what happens with my hair after this! Stay tuned!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Hair, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Natural Hair

Encouragement for the New Natural

Yes, sometimes you can feel like this or worse when you’re trying a new hairstyle.

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Rest assured, though, natural hair gets better with time, patience, and practice. When I combed my locs out–going on 2 years now–those first several months I promise I was going to cut my hair or re-loc my hair because I was struggling. Washing, detangling, and trying to find cute, easy styles to wear my hair for any occasion. Everything was a challenge.

Hopefully the tips I’ve compiled based on my experiences will help you along your journey. Check the out:

1. Until you become master over your hair, don’t wash your hair on a day you’ve got ten other things to do! You won’t be a happy natural.

2. Watch YouTube with caution. See a style you want to try. Practice. Practice. Practice. You’re NOT going to get it right on the first try ( usually). So you might not want to try to throw that style when you’re about to go out.

3. Wear new styles in the comfort of your home a couple times before you debut it to the world (okay, just your family, friends, coworkers). You need to get used to the new you before you’ll feel totally comfortable with it. Believe me, you’ll need that self-confidence to combat some of the rude, insulting, and UNSOLICITED comments.

Share your own tips in the comment section below. We naturals have to help each other out!

Naturally Yours,

LA