Posted in Family

A Look Back at 2018

man beach holiday woman
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As we come to the final day of 2018. I can’t help but reflect on the year that I’ve had.

If I could characterize this year…I would say that 2018 has been a year of change for myself and for my family. It has also been a year of faith as we stepped out into unfamiliar waters.

In March I officially published my first book, “ The Death of Marriage: A Lesson in Love.” , through Christian Faith Publishing. One day I hope to write a few blog post on marriage and surviving infidelity.

However, this book has opened the door for me to share my experience with other women and offer them hope for their own marriages and working through the healing process.

In June, I walked away from my job of 10 years as a high school science teacher to become a stay at home mom. We have had to adjust from living on a dual income to a single income while trying to raise 4 kids.

It has certainly been a learning process for us as a family. But I still believe that it was and still is God’s will for our family and that all the sacrifices have been worth it. We are not experts at it yet and we still have a way to go in learning how to live on a budget and make budget-friendly choices.

author blog create creative
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In August, I started this blog, The Crafty Afro, it took me forever to work up the courage to even start it. I felt like no one would care about what I had to say or even read what I wrote.

And even though I don’t have 1000’s of followers I am just grateful to have a place to express what’s on my heart and share the things that I care about. I only have 29 followers, but I am grateful to every one of you.

My Top 5 Post of the year were:

It appears that my crafting corner is quite the hit!

chocolate cupcake with white and red toppings
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

In October my daughter turned one. If you would have asked me 2 years ago if I wanted a little girl the answer would have been, No. But I can’t imagine my life without my daughter. She has changed me in some many ways.

In many ways, she has made me more aware of my feminine side and softened me up a little. I have always been a staunch tomboy. Even now I’d rather wear a pair of jeans and a comfy shirt, then put on a dress and heels.

Having boys definitely played to my strengths as a tomboy. My husband didn’t mind it as much. He would fuss that I didn’t dress up enough, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

But now because of her, I find myself being a little more mindful of my looks and the things I wear. I’ve learned to be a little softer in my responses to her and her brothers. I’ve never wanted to paint nails and have pretend tea parties.

But my daughter has definitely opened my heart to the possibility of doing those things if that’s what she wanted to do.

At the end of October, my eldest son (who was 7 at the time) was suspended from school for accidentally bringing a pocket knife to school. This was his first year of public school and he’s never been suspended for anything before. Unfortunately, this incident made him a target at his school.

The weeks that followed were stressful and tumultuous for us. We were told that none of the kids at school knew why he was suspended only to find out that his teacher had done a lesson on the incident with his classmates.

Everything he said was monitored by the teacher and other students. I was called to the office because he said a joke, from a kids joke book, about shooting a bee with a “bee bee” gun.

They sent him to the counselor because he said if he was the governor of Virginia he would have guns (They were doing a lesson about the settlers and Native Americans!). At this point, we went into fasting and prayer for my son and the issues he was facing at school.

He began to be scared of going to school and was constantly afraid of getting in trouble for anything he said. As a parent nobody wants their child to feel that way. But after a month of prayer, fasting, and visiting the school. Things have calmed down.

As you can imagine I didn’t do a lot of posting to my blog during that time.

Now, we find ourselves in December.

people doing marathon
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

In my infinite wisdom and in somewhat an attempt to re-live my glory days as a college athlete. I signed up to run the 3000m in an actual track meet! I had been ” training” since October and I felt pretty good running 2 miles.

So yea…this 35-year-old mother of 4 got her butt on the track and raced against young ladies in their prime. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I contemplated if I had lost my mind.

As I ran 15 laps around a 200m track…by the time I got to the halfway mark I seriously considered stopping and just walking off.

But all the while I could hear the voices of my kids, husband, and parents cheering me on. I couldn’t let my loved ones down even if I came in last place.

I finished (15:24). I survived. Not in glorious victory like I had hoped, but I pushed through it. I didn’t come in last lol  There is a meet in January…but I’m not making any racing promises.

After all that has happened, I am looking forward to wrapping up the last day of the new year. We’re not doing anything fancy.

My son turns 8 today and we’re going to celebrate his birthday and then bring in the New Year with our church family.

2018 has been a good year for us. Full of challenges and new endeavors. I’m looking forward to 2019 and all that God has in store for us.

How has your 2018 turned out? I hope that you will take the time and reflect on your own progress this year and see how far you’ve come in 365 days.

See You Next Year,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith

Are You A Man/Woman After God’s Heart?

Israel had many kings, but no King was a famous as it’s second King, David. Before he was a king, David was a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep. He was the youngest of his father’s sons.

In 1 Samuel 16, we find the story of Samuel’s journey to anoint the next King of Israel. He passes over Jesse’s first two sons believing that God would choose them as king. But it is here that God reminds him that God does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart of a man (1 Sam 16:7).

I can imagine that he was probably picked on quite a bit with 7 older brothers in the house. But it was this little brother that was anointed by the great prophet Samuel to become the next King of Israel.

In Acts 13:22, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do. (NIV)”

David -A Man After God’s Heart

Many of you may already know the story of David, if you don’t I encourage you to read it. David was a great hero and ruler of Israel. He was also an adulterer, murderer, and he failed to discipline his children.

Yet, he was still considered a man after God’s heart. Why? This has always been a question the puzzled me. After all, how could someone who had committed such terrible sins still be considered a man after God’s heart?

In my mind I couldn’t reconcile the sins that David committed with the heart of God. If you take after someone your just like them, you copy them, you walk like them, you talk like them. Isn’t that what it means to take after someone?

It wasn’t until a yesterday while I was listening to a preacher talk about David that I understood what this scripture was saying.

It wasn’t that David’s heart was like God’s, but that David was chasing after the heart of God. In spite of Davids shortcomings David always wanted to please God.

Is that our main goal as Christians to please God or to please men?

Even when David sinned and was confronted by the prophet he confessed and repented (2 Sam 12:1-14). He didn’t harden his heart, like some of us would have done.

When David challenged Goliath it wasn’t for fame, glory, or the hand of Saul’s daughter. He was indignant that such a man would challenge God’s people and make a mockery of His God (1 Sam:17).

When is the last time you’ve been indignant when the world makes a mockery of the things of God? Did you stand up for it or just keep silent?

When the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel King David danced with all of his might before the Lord. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him because he was dancing for God (2 Sam 6).

When God blesses us, do we give him the glory and tell others about what he’s done for us?

Unlike his predecessor Saul, David was obedient to God. The last part of Acts 13:22 says,” … he will do everything I want him to.”

Are we obedient to the holy spirit when he tells us to buy the person in front of us groceries or to give more in the offering this week?

How Do We Become Men/Women After God’s Own Heart

Being a man or woman after God’s own heart does not mean that we are perfect and it does not mean that we will be without sin. It does mean that:

  1. We need to have a relationship with God.
  2. We need to focus on pleasing God.
  3. We should be quick to repent and turn from our wicked ways.
  4. We need to stand up for the things of God, even if it means we have to stand alone.
  5. We need to to be obedient and committed to the teachings of Christ.

All of these things can be accomplished by reading Gods word and developing a personal relationship with Christ our Redeemer. David had a personal relationship with God. He trusted God in spite of the difficulties and the challenges he faced before and after he became King.

Because of Jesus, we are able to develop a relationship with God, without the sacrifice of animals, like David did. So, let us strive to be men and woman after God’s heart.

Remember that God looks at the heart of a person. Ask yourself today am I a man/woman after God’s heart?

If you have any other tips or insights please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner

Crochet Blankets and Scarves for Christmas

It’s Christmas eve and I’ve finally finished all of those crocheted Christmas presents that I foolishly promised people I would make. A superman themed baby blanket, 2 blankets (lap blankets), and a hat and scarf set.

The first blanket I made using:

Isaac Mizrahi Yarn (Sutton, 7 balls)

Q/16 mm Hook

Darning needle

I really love the color of this yarn. It’s a super bulky yarn so the project worked up pretty quickly.

I’m not big on fashion, but apparently, Isaac Mizrahi is an important designer. I was lucky and found this yarn on sale at A.C. Moore. Seven balls of yarn for $5.

The pattern for this yarn consisted of double crochets and single crochets. Unfortunately, I forgot to bookmark the pattern. If I find the link I will make sure to add it to the site.

The second blanket I made using:

Isaac Mizrahi Yarn (Sutton, 7 balls)

P/11.5 mm Hook

Darning Needle

I used the same yarn for this blanket I just used a different pattern. Instead of trying to do something fancy I just made a blanket using granny squares. Since the yarn acrylic and wool, both blankets turned out to be pretty warm.

My last Christmas gift was a hat and yarn set. Honestly, I really like the scarf, but I’m not thrilled about the hat. She wanted a slouchy had, but somehow it didn’t turn on like I imagined.

For this project I used:

Grey Crochet Hat & Yarn Set

Studio Classic Yarn (Grey, 1 Jumbo roll)

K/6.50 mm Hook

L/8.00 mm Hook

Darning needle

I followed the pattern here to make the slouchy hat. However, I didn’t have bulky yarn so I just used two strands of the grey yarn.

Grey crochet hat

The scarf was made using a half double crochet stitch with the stitches crocheted in the back loops only.

Chain 142 stitches

Round 1: Insert hook into the second chain, half double crochet into that stitch and all the remaining stitches.

Round 2: Chain 1. Half double crochet into the back loops only. Repeat until you achieve the desired width.

Then I added the tassels at the end.

The hat is not my best work. I am still trying to figure out what kind of embellishments to put on it to make it look better. However, the scarf turned out great.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner, crochet

Crocheted Toddler Hooded Cardigan

Fall is almost over and I’m finally getting back to that crocheted toddler hooded cardigan I discovered on Pinterest.

You know that one I started a few months ago, but abandoned it because I finished the body of the cardigan only to realize it was too small for my daughter.

I’m not really sure why it took me so long to get back to it. I think I was just really disappointed that it turned out wrong.

On the positive side, I did learn a lesson from my mishap and why it’s important to use the correct gauge when crocheting garments. I’m actually looking forward to crocheting an oversized sweater for myself that I saw on youtube.

After, getting over my disappointment I decided to give it another try. And this time it turned out just right! (Following instructions can be a good thing).

For this project I used the following:

  • Purple Yarn ( Caron Kindness Yarn) – 1 Ball
  • Robins Egg Blue Yarn( Caron Kindness Yarn )- I Ball
  • M13/9.00 mm Hook
  • Darning Needle
  • Scissors
  • Instructions for 2T/3T pattern

The instructions for this pattern suggests that you use a size J/6mm hook. However, I tend to crochet very tightly so I had to use a bigger hook( M13/9.00 mm) to get the correct gauge. I also used the 2t/3t pattern, which the author suggested because my daughter is a little on the chunky side.

In my opinion, I think this hoodie is the perfect starter garment for a beginner. Most of the garment is made using half double crochets. The hardest part, for me, was creating the stitches for the edging.

However, instead of doing the edging described in the pattern I decided to just crochet in the back loops only instead of trying to do the alternating front post and back post stitches.

Besides changing the edging the only other change I made was adding the design to the back of the hoodie. In my post on the corner to corner Superman Blanket, I mentioned graphagens.

A graphagen is a pictorial representation of a design you want to crochet. I’m not sure if you’re only supposed to use them for the corner to corner patterns, but I figured I would give it a try.

I used some graph paper and tried to draw out the diagram for the butterfly (Yes, that’s supposed to be a butterfly lol) and to keep track of how many rows I’d done.

As you can see from the picture it didn’t really turn out exactly as planned. I’m not sure if it was because of the half double crochet stitches or if it was just me.

I did pretty well on the first part of the graphic, but then as I went on I kept getting everything mixed up. According to my diagram, the other blue spot is supposed to be on the opposite side of the top wing. Not on the same side.

Sometimes I think my ideas are a little bit bigger than my skill set. If I could add anything else to this hoodie it would probably be a few buttons to help keep it closed. But my daughter doesn’t seem to mind that it doesn’t have any.

Even though it took me two tries, I eventually got it done. Personally, I think it turned out great!

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro