#MondayMotivation for Writers.

For some of us, life throws obstacles in our way. These barriers prevent us from achieving personal goals or following our passions in life. Persevere…. make time to invest in yourself. This is a mantra I started telling myself. I found myself slowly being consumed by work and losing out on the moments that I NEED to be creative. Writing is not just a past- time for me!!! It is for my well-being and a passion. I will no longer ask permission to achieve greatness.

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Picture of The Day: Dream

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

 

Last night I was prompted to start posting my “Picture of The Day” again on my blog. At 1 AM in the morning, I was still wide awake. This is definitely not good when you are up at 5:30 AM to start your day! In an attempt to do something to calm my brain that was running a mile a minute I decided to look at some art online. As I clicked through artwork, I noticed my thoughts began to quiet, and I was growing increasingly relaxed. Before I knew it, I was down for the count.

It is interesting how art affects your brain! University College London did a study that proved; viewing art for an hour will change your emotions. The simple act of seeing art will enhance your critical thinking skills, give you a higher sense of empathy, and spark creativity. Art releases dopamine into the part of the brain that registers love. Love is a calm feeling!

As writers, the switch in our brain is more often in the on position than in the off. I have discovered that we need to disconnect and reboot. This is something that I don’t do very often. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning, I am off to the races. I have so much to do and determined to get it done. I am going to try to disconnect more, and I urge all of my followers to do the same. Hell, if we don’t stop to smell the roses, at least we can press pause and view some art! I hope you enjoy the picture of the day!

 

By Geralt   https://pixabay.com/id/kupu-kupu-bokeh-magic-mimpi-407746/

“A Prelude to Love.”

The beautiful woman swiftly whipped in between a car and a truck parked in front of the corner store. She could hear the loud laughter and conversation of the guys gathered outside over Ciara’s Body Party playing on her Bose system.  Yvonne freshened her lipstick and checked her hair in the rearview mirror. All in one motion she opened the door to her jeep swung her legs around and hopped out. Her blue leather 4-inch heels hit the ground with a click. She adjusted the white cotton mid thigh skirt that revealed the secret of her full hips and bum. She flipped up the collar on the jean jacket she wore over the v- neck white fitted shirt showing her flat tummy and breast that begged to be let free.

Her presence changed the mood of the once boisterous group. Calm and hungry glares came over the small crowd as she stepped onto the sidewalk. Yvonne smirked and winked at the crowd as she passed and made her way into the store. As she crossed the threshold, she could hear the men attempt to determine who had dibs. Yvonne stood in the snack aisle trying to decide what appealed to her taste buds the most. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she watched his calculated approach. Leisurely, he walked towards Yvonne; his hands tucked in the front pocket of his white hoodie, his baggy Levi jeans fell just right over his Timberland boots. He continued his approached as he snatched a bag of chips off the rack not missing a step. Casually stalking his prey.

“Excuse me?” He said at a whisper standing close enough to brush arms with Yvonne.

“Yes,” Yvonne responded brushing the blonde and brown hair from her eyes. Yvonne stared intensely into his slightly slanted brown eyes. His fitted blue beanie met his thick red eyebrows and complimented his pale skin. The ivory perfection caused butterflies to metamorphize deep inside her belly and commence a game of tag.

“You have beautiful eyes lady!” Scott said extending his hand. He was mesmerized by her big brown doe eyes, her chocolate complexion and full lips. Scott stared at Yvonne as if an angel of perfection descended from heaven for him alone.

“My name is Scott. What’s your name?” He asked still holding her hand in his.

“Yvonne,” she responded blushingly. She looked down at her hand in his.

“I’m sorry” he blushed, allowing her fingers to slide from his grip.

“How can I get to know you?” Scott barely managed to get out.

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Interrupted by the sound of R.E.M playing in her purse, she searched frantically before pulling out her cell phone.

“Can you excuse me for a second?” She asked putting the phone to her ear.

“I’ll be back,” he mimed in Yvonne’s direction after frantically checking his pockets.

Yvonne watched Scotts’ suave sway as he walked away throwing his medium sized bag of Lays potato chips on the counter and head out the door.

Uninterested in her current conversation. “Lemme call you back,” she said to the caller on the other end.

Quickly, Yvonne chose the almond joy she had been pondering over. She quickly made her way to the counter and paid for her items instructing the old man to add the Lays to her tab. She could hear the guys teasing Scott about her being “out of his league” and “too much woman for him.”

Yvonne grabbed her lipstick from her purse and scribbled her number across the front of the potato chip bag. Proud of her creativity she sashayed out to her jeep. Yvonne unlocked the door to her vehicle threw her items on the driver’s seat and made her way to Scott climbing down out of his own truck.

With a sly smile, she handed him the bag of Lays.

“You shouldn’t have done that! I seem to have misplaced my wallet.”

“It’s ok, you might want to pay close attention to that bag,” she said as she started to back away.

Scott glanced down at the bag then flipped it over. He noticed on the opposite side ten red numbers in the form of a phone number. Immediately he entered the number into his phone then held up the red trophy with the yellow background for his friends to admire. Yvonne sped away with a beep and a wave.

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Hello, my blogging friends!

Oh, how I did miss thee…🥀🥀🥀

Hello, my lovely friends. It is so funny how I build up quite a significant blogging momentum and then out of nowhere “BOOM.” Back down the dark empty hole of nothingness!!! The “hole of nothingness” is an inability to write. Work, Work, and more work is the culprit. Lately, I have been working so much that I feel like a zombie. I don’t like that feeling, and I try my best not to be bitten. I have had few close calls! This is my way of shooting it in the head then burning it! LOL!!! To a certain degree, I need money to live, so I have to work.  I have done just a little writing other than articles and content for websites. I have written another short story and posts for Two Drops of Ink. Work- life balance is the key, but it is easier written and talked about than actually living.

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Well,  I can’t say that I have been all work and no play. Life has been treating me quite well. I have been full of smiles, and laughter. Living in my happy field of lavender lilies and butterflies. I have had beautiful days with no real complaints. Happiness and positivity fill my heart. I’m in love with people, life and all it has to offer.

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So, this post is not to say that I’m back full time 3- 4 days per week. I don’t really foresee that happening right now. I’m just too busy for that!!!  I will post as often as I can to build back up my momentum and attempt to keep it at a steady pace.

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How has life been treating all of you? Any big news or life changing occurrences?

All images courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

 

 

 

🎉🎶🎵Birthday Jam🎶🎵🎉

This song has been on my mind all week. I have been thinking about turning 40 and how I feel about it. Actually, I don’t feel anything but happiness and blessed to live another healthy, happy year. There has been ups and some downs but overall life is great. I look forward to aging like fine wine!!! I wish I could laugh and talk with all of you over a glass of wine. Instead I will have one with all of you in mind. I hope you enjoy my birthday song.

 

An Eventful New Year

Hello, fellow bloggers! Hope the new year is treating you exceptionally well. For me, it is quite eventful. As some of you may have noticed, I’m in the process of re-branding my virtual assistant business. This process has been time-consuming but fun I must say. Most entrepreneurs would see it as stressful and a little painstaking. I look at it as an opportunity to build upon the foundation I have started and further my growth.

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My decision to make modifications was influenced by client comments. When you work in close collaboration with people, they can give you insight into your business. If you’re open to it! In my case, their subtle suggestions made sense, so now I’m running with it. So as this month moves along, you will see my new business name The Militant Virtual Assistant. I’m excited about the change.

A Total Do Over!!!

Love is funny!!! As a young girl, I wanted to own a business, be married to my best friend minus the children. During my time in the military, I was going to be a lifer and married to a lifer as well. Children never fit into life’s equation for me. One of the reasons for the end of my first marriage was because he wanted a child. That was the minor issue, but the rest is a story to be told later. In the past, when I dated which was not often I stayed away from men with young children. Well, when Jim and I met I decided to try something different. In the beginning, it was okay, but things changed. His son started to have behavioral issues that were leading him down the wrong road. So, to make a long story short, we decided to end our engagement and continue as friends. Single again!!! I thought I would be sad and depressed but what’s weird is I feel like a load has been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t figure out why!!! What is also funny is that everywhere I go online I encounter singles ads and blog websites for 40 and overs. I almost feel like I’m being spied on. LOL!!! I visited a blog, and the blogger wrote as if single at forty is the end of the world. I got a good laugh that day. Life is what you make it! Saturday, I will be forty years young, and I feel as if I’m in my prime. Life has granted me a do over!

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This year so far has kept me smiling and laughing. Definitely, good writing material as well. I hope life has been full of laughs and smiles for you as well.

 

⏳ 5 Years Ago…⏳

Yesterday I decided to enter the 30-day blogging challenge introduced by LadyCee author of “Purpose- driven achiever” blog. The decided, to begin with, the topic for the third day: “5 Years Ago.” I hope you enjoy my short memoir piece about myself five years ago. To join the 30-day blog challenge visit https://lifewithgraceandbeauty.com/2016/11/17/blogging-goals-whos-up-for-the-challenge/.

 

Five years ago I lived in Orlando, Florida, the Waterford Lakes area to be exact. That was my second time living in Florida, the first time I was there for five years before moving to Williamsburg, Virginia. This time I vowed to never leave again.

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I loved my life there. A quaint condo in an subdivision conveniently located near almost everything I needed and worked from home doing technical support. My car was useful when I sought out the nightlife with friends or wanted to do something on the other side of town.

At that time I was more of an introvert than normal. Finally, I had mustered the strength to break free of the mental, verbal and physically abusive tyrant I was held captive by for three years. No longer a P.O.W, although the PTSD and depression were incarcerating.woman-641528_640

Sam was there for me! Sam was a dear friend of mine of three years. I spent much of my time confiding in him during and after the relationship. Sam lived in Russia at the time doing technical support for a company in the Adyghe Republic of Russia and as needed worked as a translator at the Embassy. Sam was a brilliant man, speaking five different languages, technically inclined and sensitive. We spent much of our free time on the phone or Skype chatting. He became my best friend but the subject of a major crush I developed. Shell-shocked from my past relationship we mutually decided to take things very slow and continue to allow me to heal mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

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Five years ago, I was a caged bird with a broken wing. Today, I fly high on life, willing able and ready to take on the world.

 

Images courtesy of:

Birdcage: ArtsyBee via Pixabay

Eagle: Vasile_Pralea via Pixabay

Florida: tpsdave via Pixabay

Woman: Mysticsartdesign via Pixabay

 

🦃Happy Thanksgiving🦃

As we gather today with family and friends, may we all remember the true meaning of this day. A day to give thanks to God (whatever you believe in), family and friends. We also want to be thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Today is not the only day we should be thankful, we should do so every day. turkey-145381_640

I wish you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. I’m truly Thankful for all who take the time to read my blog. XXXXX 💞💞

🇺🇸Happy Veterans Day🇺🇸

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I honor those of us who took the oath to give our lives for not only family and friends but for men, women and children we would never meet. These men and women are true warriors!!! To those who are currently serving our country… Thank You!!! God Bless you and your families!!!

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The best four years of my life were spent aboard USS Ross DDG-71(Not in the picture) a Haliburton Class Destroyer. My shipmates will always be in my heart.

Images Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Veteran by bykst

Ships by tpsdave

Adopting A Healthy Lifestyle 40 and Over

In 2 months and 15 days, I will be 40 years young. Even though I feel like I am in my twenties and in the prime of my life, ready, willing and able to take on the world, my health is at the forefront. Not just for cosmetic reasons but for longevity and quality of life. Many of us in the 40 and over club share this concern. So as an ex- personal fitness trainer of 8 years, allow me to shed some light on the subject for all of us.

The Battle of “Fort Bulge.”

Okay, so most of my life I always had a flat tummy. Once I began weight training and studying for my ACE fitness trainer certification, I earned rock hard abs that many women would kill to have. It takes hard work and dedication to get them toned and defined. Your diet must be ‘clean’ as we say in the fitness world and you must put in the time and effort. I will go in depth about that shortly.img_00075

Currently, I am at war with my body and have been fighting against its pursuit to build “Fort Bulge” right around my waistline. This new unwanted construction has been in effect for a year now but mostly due to my sedentary lifestyle. I do not know if any of you remember from prior posts, but I spent a year on the road with Jimmy( my love), who drives an 18 wheeler. I embarked on the adventure looking good and feeling great; it ended with me 20 pounds heavier and feeling achy and fatigued. Now that I have been home for three months it is time to answer the war cry. Whoever would like to join me in battle, I humbly invite you. We can take up arms together!!!

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Where do I start?

If I had a dime for every time a new client asked me that question; I would not be rich, but I would have a nice nest egg for retirement. Detox!!! If you are putting junk in your body, it’s imperative to flush it out. Most people are not aware that we should clean our bodies periodically, it does not matter if you are a carnivore, herbivore, or vegan. Think of your body like your car; you tune it up regularly to keep your engine in good condition. Well, we must do the same for our body. There are many ways to flush your body, colonics, herbs and fasting. What’s most important is you choose what is best for you and consult your physician. Personally, I prefer natural herbs due to my fear of synthetic medicine.

You have had a tune up now it’s time to put the good stuff. Vegetables, protein, carbs, water, water and more water. When you are changing your eating habits, there is a method to the madness. Fifty percent of your meals should be vegetables, 20% protein, 10% carbohydrates and the remaining 20% water. The secret that completes the formula is meal configuration. What to eat and when! Always and I do mean always plan for your heaviest meal around your most active time of the day. Consume your carbs at that time as well; they contain sugar and convert to fat. The body will use the sugar in carbohydrates for energy.

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For those who love a thick juicy steak or burger, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s time to cut back or stay away from fried foods. Remember we are at war not only against ‘Fort Bulge’ but also high cholesterol is lobbying for a seat. My plans are to go back to a vegetarian lifestyle. After over ten years of vegetarianism two years ago I started with chicken and graduated to occasionally eating red meat. Needless to say at first, I was very ill, but I was a glutton for punishment. Jimmy loves his pork chops and ribs; he will not be giving them up! Over time I developed acne, fatigue, headaches and gradual weight gain. Well, my friends, I am tired of being sick and tired. Pun intended!!!

What is this thing called exercise?

LOL!!! Let’s not make getting in shape more than what it has to be. No, you don’t have to give your right arm, leg, blood and your first born child to the exercise gods. That statement used to be an excellent icebreaker with new clients. I required newbies to do 45 minutes of cardiovascular training four days a week. Week two we incorporated exercises using their body weight. The third week, I put on my drill sergeant hat, handed them some weights and start teaching form. Suddenly in week four, drill Sargent Lydia is wielding a double barrel shotgun and barking orders. No Pain No Gain was the flag I erected in their minds, and they marched to my beat, happy about the what they hoped to accomplish. Not to pat myself on the back or anything but all my clients received results. Well, maybe a slight pat.military-662872_640

Choose an exercise regimen that will be comfortable for you. A trainer and the gym is not for everyone. At this point, my workout consists of Zumba and Yoga classes with an occasional workout with light weights at an all women’s gym. Just get active. Physical activity will guarantee great results but also increase your energy.

It is Now or Never.

I’m afraid if I don’t start now while it is bugging the hell out of me, I will get complacent. Putting off until tomorrow what I should start today. So as I embark on my journey, I invite others to join me. I am here for advice or encouragement, just comment on this post or email me personally at lydiaoyetunji77@gmail.com.