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Those Along the Walk

It has been a while since I have written a blog post. The past two weeks seem like they have been impossibly long and full of every kind of excuse and distraction to prevent me from writing.

First, the kids were off for a week because of Hurricane Florence, which we didn’t get hit by. So the house we full of little people. Then the week after that I had to focus on getting my sermon prepared for Sunday, which is always a stressful process for me.

I am grateful that the kids are finally back in school and we are able to get back on a normal schedule.

At some point during all of this chaos, I started going to the track in the morning with my daughter to walk/jog. I try to complete a mile every day. However, I’m not going to lie. I despise walking. I ran track in high school and college.

So I tend to do a lot more jogging. I know we are all so busy going about our day and we don’t have time to stop and really look at anything. But have you ever stopped to look at the people around you when you are out? Or the people that are around you where you work?

It’s not often that most of us really observe our surroundings, but one day I began to really look at the people on the track around me.

There were young men, old men, young ladies, and older ladies. Sometimes there were mothers with their babies and kids in tow like me. Most of the time people either had on their headphones and walked alone, but there were a few that walked together and chatted with each other.

As I began to take notice of the people around me. I noticed something, their attire. Every morning when I go for our walk I put on a pair of tights, a t-shirt, and a pair of running shoes. Standard work out attire for me.

However, I’ve seen people walking dressed like me. I’ve seen a woman walk her laps in a dress. Men walking in nice polos. Young men dressed in sweatshirts. Older women wearing large hats. Some people had on sweatpants, jogging pants or jeans.

At first, this puzzled and irritated me, but then I began to think about life. And how we are all on the same path, but on individual journeys. Even though we were all walking in the same place at the same time our journey’s were not the same. Maybe for my journey, I need tights, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Maybe for someone else, their journey requires them to be in a dress and sneakers.

During our journey, we may walk along with friends and for other parts, we will walk alone. Sometimes we will walk and sometimes we will run. And sometimes were like the baby in the stroller or carrier being pushed/carried along by God until we can run on our own.

What observations have you made about the people around you? Have they ever lead to some deeper insight into life? I’d love to hear them.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

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4 Things I’ve Learned From My First Month Blogging

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Happy 1 Month Anniversary to my blog,” The Crafty Afro“! I can’t believe that I have been blogging for a month already. So far I have 7 posts (this makes 8) and 15 followers! Thank you to those 15 people who hit the follow button for whatever reason.

In the month that I have spent blogging I have learned the following 4 things:

1. Blogging Ain’t Easy

There are a butt load of articles out there talking about how simple blogging is and how much money you can make blogging. When the reality is that setting up a blog might be easy…

Personally, I found it a bit confusing and daunting. I spent hours researching the difference between a self-hosted site and a hosted site.  The difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.

Which self-hosted sites were the best and how much they cost. In the end, I settled for this lovely free wordpress.com site you’re reading right now.

Then there were the themes and how to customize them. Inserting widgets (what the heck is a widget and oh by the way you can’t use that one because it’s not free). And what do you mean I just can’t copy pictures from Google images?!

…but the actual act of blogging is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I am a procrastinator pure and simple. Blogging requires a lot of time and effort if you really want to make all that money that those other blogs talk about.

There is a lot of research involved if you want to write content that will get people to follow you.  Or if you don’t want to get slammed for plagiarism. It’s not easy to put an original spin on something a bazillion people have already written about.

I could go on with the list of things that make this whole venture quite stressful on those that live in procrastination land or technologically challenged land. Don’t get me started on SEO and marketing. But I’ll move on to my next topic.

2. The “Why” Matters

I know by now your probably saying, “Well if it’s so hard, then why are you still doing it?” Well, the answer is simple, it’s because I enjoy a challenge and because it gives me an outlet. The reason Why you blog can make the difference between quitting after a month or continuing on the journey.

A lot of bloggers talk about finding your “niche”. Well, what is a niche? A niche is a role or a place an organism occupies in its environment at least that’s what it is in biology (Yea, I went science teacher on y’all). But in the blogosphere(do people still say that?), your niche is that area you are going to focus on like finances, cooking, crocheting, etc.

And if I was blogging to make money I wager that having a niche would be excellent advice. It would give my blog focus and purpose! I think for newbies like me finding that special area can be a challenge in those first few months. But I encourage you not to give up. I’m sure if you keep at it you’ll find your “why”.

Who knows maybe in a few months The Crafty Afro will morph into something else, but for the time being. I’ll just stick to whatever strikes my fancy.

3. What You Write Doesn’t Matter

I know this point might seem like it doesn’t make sense, but really blogging isn’t about what you write, but how what you write effects others. Blogging is more about connecting with your followers and connecting with other bloggers.

It’s about creating a small community within the world wide web that you might not have been able to reach anywhere else.

As I look at my stats page I see that I’ve had people read my posts from the US, Japan, India, and Russia. And I think that’s pretty darn cool. Where else could the things I’ve written be seen by people all over the world.

Seriously, you can write about anything. Your disdain for cats. Your love of all things French. Conspiracy theories. Aliens. It doesn’t matter what you write about as long as what you write resonates with you and your readers.

4. Comments Are Important But…

Comments are an important part of blogging. They allow you to connect and interact with your readers, but at the same time if you’re just starting to blog they’re not that important.

Just because no one has commented on your stuff doesn’t mean you suck. Just keep swimming, you’ll find your blogging family.

So far I haven’t received any comments on the things that I’ve written, but I believe that the things I’ve written have value, at least to me. (See this goes back to that whole Why thing in #2)

Or maybe my readers are like me and are just too shy to leave a comment or have no idea what to say in a comment. Either way, I know one day somebody will leave me one!

So there you have it, folks. The four things I’ve learned so far about blogging. I’m pretty sure that as I continue to try not to procrastinate that I’ll learn even more about blogging and that I’ll have more to share in my next update in 3-6 months.

Who knows maybe I’ll become a professional blogger one day.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

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The Journey Begins

There are times in life where you come to a crossroads and you have to decide which path you’re going to take. A few months ago after the birth of my daughter, I found myself at this point in my life where I had to make a life-altering choice. Do I stay at home with my baby girl or do I continue working? I had wanted to stay at home when I had my other children, but I just couldn’t bring myself to walk away from my job.

While I didn’t always enjoy being a high school teacher it did have its perks. Summers off, paid holidays, a free computer…you get the idea. Granted it wasn’t the teaching part that I didn’t enjoy, but the bureaucracy and paperwork that accompanied it. I had a decent group of students that adored me and they were pretty well-behaved. The pay could have always been better, but it was enough to put our kids in private school and help pay the major bills.

For any woman who has always been financially independent, deciding to walk away from your job can be horrifying. Could I really stay at home all day and take care of the kids? Would I be able to leave the finances in the care of my husband? Could we still manage on one income? I had no desire to be homeless while trying to raise 4 kids.

After much praying and seeking direction from the Lord I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my job.  As soon as I turned in my resignation form I felt a sense of relief and peace. I knew I was on the right path. And so the journey begins for my family and I as we try to navigate this new life. Please stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll discuss a few helpful tips on transitioning to one income.

The Crafty Afro