Posted in Family

A Look Back at 2018

man beach holiday woman
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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.

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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
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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
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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 Family, Lifestyle, Morning Musings

Step-Mom

In my previous post, I talked about a shirt that my oldest daughter wore and my issues with said shirt. I also mentioned that I didn’t buy her that shirt. Why?  Because her mother brought it for her.

See my eldest daughter, Kayla, is not my biological daughter.  She is my husbands’ daughter.  I have known this little girl since she was one and I consider our bond to be a special one.  And I have only on rare occasion ever referred to her as my step-daughter to other people.

So the other day when she snuggled up to me and called me her, “step-mom” I was a bit offended. I guess by now you all are saying what’s the big deal? You guys are a blended family that’s normal.

However, I did not willingly walk into step-motherhood. My husband and I just recently celebrated our 11th anniversary. Our eldest child is 7, followed by Kayla who is 4, my youngest son who is also 4, and my youngest daughter who just turned 1. I could spell it out for you, but I’ll let you put two and two together.

When I decided that I wanted Kayla to be a part of my life. I made a decision that she and her siblings would never refer to each other as step/half siblings. They are brothers and sisters. Period. This was something that I also made her mother aware of at the time.

I knew that she would never be allowed to call me Mom. So I came up with a nickname for myself hence I became MoMo to her. Even though sometimes she does slip up an call me mom, I just gently redirect her.

And that’s what I did the day she referred to me as her step-mom. I just gently reminded her that I was her MoMo and nothing else. I know for her mom it makes it easier to describe who I am without having to explain anything to people.

I am sure it’s all well-intentioned, but I don’t want to be Kayla’s stepmom. I just want to be her MoMo. Stepmom just seems like a bad word to me on top of being something that I never wanted to be. It kind of makes me feel slighted, even though I know that’s not the intent.

I feel the same way when people infer that we’re a blended family. But that is a story for another day.

It’s just a way to designate me as the woman that is not her mom, but the woman that takes care of her when she is with us. I don’t know? Maybe some of you are step-parents and get where I’m coming from or maybe you’re just like girl get over it. (lol)

It is just a name after all. But if you can or can’t relate please leave a comment or share your own story. I’d love to hear from other step parents.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Uncategorized

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