July’s 6 Grateful Things List

July's Grateful Things List

Happy Friday, y’all! Thank you to those readers who have kept up with the “Blogging in His Light” series. I have loved showing you the beautiful and gifted faith writers/bloggers that exist on the web. More interviews are coming in August! But let’s get to the grateful things list! As usual, please let me know what you are grateful for this month! Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady

 

 

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #4

Interview _4

(Friends, I feel that Mia’s interview was awesomesauce. I’m still reflecting on her words about the power that writers have. We, writers, have the power to impact other folks by sharing our unique stories. Yet, if we leave our stories buried in our tummies, we do not impact anyone. Word! Now, I would like to introduce y’all to Elsie, a writer/blogger/fashionista, who is aware of the power of the personal story. I actually found Elsie through Naomi, and I was intrigued by her challenges with an eating disorder. The social worker in me just lit up at her strength and reliance on God through her journey of healing. Check out how Elsie brings inspiration and fashion together in her blog. Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

Monica aka afrotasticlady: On your blog, you tackle faith, fashion, and social issues. What made you start blogging?

Elsie: Hi Monica! I originally started blogging back in 2013 because I was interested in what the Bible had to say about the realm of psychology and emotions. A blog seemed like a natural place to begin working out answers to my questions, because blogs invite discussion, and I craved other people’s input. I have a natural interest in psychology, but as the discipline currently stands, it is often stripped of the power of God’s Word. So I wanted to do the work and study to figure out what God has to say about the everyday world of our emotions.

I have always adored fashion and putting together a cute outfit, but the idea of actually being a fashion blogger is still a bit intimidating! Some of my favorite big fashion bloggers like Sincerely Jules (www.sincerelyjules.com) andThe Sweetest Thing Blog (www.thesweetestthingblog.com), and smaller blogs by women of faith like Downtown Demure (www.downtowndemure.com) and Naomi Treviño (www.finite1.com) have inspired me so much, and given me hope that I can showcase my own feminine style to inspire others.

M: I admire your honesty about your challenges with an eating disorder and how Jesus delivered you from it. What led you to share your journey?

E: Aw, thank you Monica! After being through a nightmare like that, all you can do is talk everyone’s ear off, telling and retelling the story of your Savior and how He rescued you.

I deeply believe that being vulnerable within a loving Christian community leads to healing and wholeness. I don’t believe in keeping shameful secrets – they only fester and poison our spirits. So telling my “disordered eating” story on the blog is just one more way to be vulnerable and real with Christian women.

I know a lot of women struggle with varying degrees of disordered eating. My hope is that sharing my story of how God shined light in my dark places can bring hope and clarity to some other struggling women, and maybe it will even inspire them to share their own story in the context of a safe Christian community.

M: Labels are tricky and sometimes people would rather stay from them. Would you describe yourself as a blogger, a Christian blogger, or both?

E: I would indeed describe myself as a Christian blogger, and my intended audience is fashion-conscious Christian women. I suppose avoiding labeling oneself opens up the possibility for a broader audience. But for me personally, I’m not very interested in attracting readers who have no sense of spiritual hunger. I’m writing for people who do.

M: What do you love most about blogging?

E: I cherish the interaction with other women as I share my story. It’s incredible to meet women across the country who can relate in some way with what God is doing in my life.

Women are powerful; I doubt that we recognize the full weight of our power and influence. If all Christian women started thinking and loving like Jesus, I think it would absolutely change the world. So that’s the journey I’m on, learning how to be more like Jesus and inspire others in the process.

M: There are so many diverse blogs on the internet. Why do you think it is important for Christians to add their voice to the blogosphere?

E: With the explosion of the internet in the last couple of decades, blogs have become a primary way that people find information that feels relevant and practical to them.

I hope that Christians with all kinds of interests and expertise will make their voice heard through blogs. We need them; the world needs them. I believe we possess a message of love and truth that needs to be communicated in a way that feels relevant and practical in the electronically interconnected world we live in.

M: What advice or encouragement do you have for Christians who are new to blogging?

E: Ha! I think I myself am a Christian who is new to blogging! I wish I could pour raw courage into every weary heart, and whisper to not give up when it’s hard and takes a while to develop your unique voice and find your niche and develop a readership. I have read that many people start blogs but few keep at them more than a few months. Rough starts seem to be normal, but what separates the failed blogs from the successful blogs is perseverance and commitment to offering consistent value to your readers.

M: Elsie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! They are appreciated!

E: These were such great, thoughtful questions, Monica! So glad you and I have connected.

Elsie Photo

Elsie was once a homeschooled nerd kid with a backpack on wheels. Now she is an adult nerd who savors dark chocolate, soul-connection during one-on-one conversations, and watching God at work in the people around her. Elsie tracks her encounters with Jesus and fashion on her blog, ToLiveIsChristBlog.com.

Social Media Handles

Twitter: @ElsieLondon1 https://twitter.com/ElsieLondon1

Instagram: @elsie_london https://www.instagram.com/elsie_london/twi

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/elsiealondon/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elsie.a.london1/

URL: ToLiveIsChristBlog.com

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #3

Interview _3

(Friends, did you catch my interview with fashionista, Naomi? I appreciated her advice on bloggers focusing on quality content versus number of followers. It’s not easy advice, but it’s crucial to keep it in mind when building a blog. I am excited to share my interview with Jamia. I discovered Jamia on Twitter, and I have been following her daily Periscopes on gratitude since the beginning of the year. Whether I am watching a live broadcast or a replay, I am uplifted by the community that has been formed. We are all intentionally working on being more grateful. Jamia even refers to us as #MyGratitudeTribe. Please read why she talks about gratitude so much. Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

Monica aka afrotasticlady: I love that your blog is about gratitude. What made you choose to blog about this topic?

Jamia: Thank you so much for this opportunity! I would say this topic chose me. I spent years of my life unhappy and discontent with my circumstances. Over time God began to shape a new perspective in my heart regarding the ups and downs of life and that started with a challenge to be grateful. I saw someone doing a “100 days of Gratitude Challenge” on Twitter in 2011. It looked like a good idea, so I tried it too. First on Twitter, then again in 2012 on Facebook… the second time I participated in the challenge my disposition really started to change for the better. Challenging myself to find one thing I was thankful for each day forced me to train my heart and eyes to recognize the many things, people, places, opportunities and experiences I had to be grateful for. I realized that the call to rejoice in Scripture (Philippians 4) was also the call to be grateful…it was a call to recognize God as the giver of every good and perfect thing (James 1:17) and to acknowledge the abundant grace He provides. Some time after the challenge ended, I dropped the discipline and sunk into a season of despair again due to a variety of events. As I tried to understand the reasons for this attitude shift, I realized that gratitude had to become a daily habit in order to keep my heart from being gripped by envy and discontentment. So for me the pursuit of contentment has gradually taken shape over the years. Contentment must be learned, it’s not something we can just “be” automatically and though there is no formula, I do believe it begins with the discipline of thanksgiving. I hope to be able to encourage my readers to trust God and continue on the path of contentment even in the midst of life’s disappointments.

M: Labels are tricky and sometimes people would rather stay from them. Would you describe yourself as a blogger, a Christian blogger, or both?

J: I would say both! I am a writer through and through. I can remember writing my first poem when I was 7 years old. Writing has always come natural to me and it is typically the primary way I express myself. Truly, writing is one of things that makes my heart happy. Without a doubt, the one designation that supersedes every other marker someone could choose to identify me with is that of a believer in Jesus Christ. My faith can’t help but permeate everything that I do, so given the opportunity to write about the things on my heart, naturally topics relating to the practical application of my faith are typically the central message I attempt to communicate.

M: You blog posts are very encouraging. What do you love most about blogging?

J: Oh, wow! Thank you so much for the compliment. Maya Angelou once said: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” I love to be able to express what God has given me to share. Blogging is one avenue that provides the opportunity to tell whatever the current story is on my heart. It also has allowed me to connect with some great people, there’s some awesome content out there!

M: There are so many diverse blogs on the internet. Why do you think it is important for Christians to add their voice to the blogosphere?

J: Bad news assaults us daily from multiple outlets. We typically don’t have to go too far to find it. It is clear that our world is in desperate need of hope. That hope can only be found in Christ. The blogosphere needs believers that are willing to share and speak of the redemptive, life altering and liberating work of Christ in, through and for our lives. As those that know Him, we can personally testify to His goodness. As we share, I believe that our testimonies have the power to point others to Christ and effect great change in the lives of those who read our work.

M: You have a public platform on Periscope and Twitter. How do you think bloggers should use social media to their advantage?

J: Social media is a great asset, if we learn to use it well. As we steward the messages God has given us to share, it is important to be strategic with our use of the platforms available to us. There are many to choose from and all have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s important for bloggers to know their audience and also to know themselves and let that knowledge guide them towards the best outlets for their personalities. Every social media site is not for me! Social media can also be very overwhelming if we take on too much. I was advised by seasoned writers to choose one or two to focus on before trying to become proficient in more than I could manage well.

M: What advice or encouragement do you have for Christians who are new to blogging?

J: Three things:

1.) Don’t give up!

2.) Don’t try to do this alone!

3.) Be willing to share your writing.

This is my 3rd attempt at blogging, but also the most productive thus far. Where I’ve found success this time is in seeking out community. I’ve begun to connect with other writers and they have encouraged me to press on, in spite of the difficulty. Earlier this year I enrolled in Compel Training (a monthly membership community for writers) and their support gave me the tools and the push I needed to renew my blogging efforts. Writing is a gift and not everyone has the ability to string together words in a way that touches the hearts of others. This gift of ours is meant to be shared! We never know who will be blessed by our story, let’s be faithful to tell it.

Jamia pic

Jamia is an actress, writer, teacher and speaker, but most of all a woman that loves God. Her aim is to point the way to Christ using whatever platform she can. Join Jamia & #MyGratitudeTribe daily on Periscope as they honestly discuss the ups, downs and in-betweens of life on the pathway towards contentment.

Periscope: www.periscope.tv/MsMiaWrites

Twitter: @MsMiaWrites

Blog: www.onegratefulme.com

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #2

Interview _2

(Friends, I hope you enjoyed the wisdom that Nicole shared in the first interview. My second interview is with Naomi, who wrote a wonderful guest blog post for me in January. I first found Naomi through Instagram. Her page was filled with beautiful nature and fashion pictures. Eventually, Naomi started her own blog, Finite1. If you are need of some practical or even fashion advice, Naomi is your go to person!  Please read about her experiences with blogging in this next interview. Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

Monica aka afrotasticlady: Your blog is a refreshing combination of fashion and encouragement posts. What made you choose this combination for your blog?

Naomi: When I first thought about starting a website, I originally just wanted it to be my writings. I decided to also add the style element to it because not only it is fun but it is an expression of who I am as well. I worked in fashion and I would style outfits for regular customers all the time. I love putting together different outfits and passing on those tips. I thought why not combine both elements that can speak to a wider audience.

M: Labels are tricky and sometimes people would rather stay from them. Would you describe yourself as a blogger, a Christian blogger, or both?

N: I call myself an advice writer and style blogger. That is what I do. A Christian is who I am. There is no separating my faith in anything I do and as it says in Acts 17:28, “In Him we live and move and have our being”. I would say that both labels are great.

M: As mentioned before, your blog is filled with lovely fashion and wise words. What do you love most about blogging?

N: I love connecting with others. I truly have met some amazing people I call friends from blogging. We share this common bond of blogging but we become friends though our love of our faith, fashion, traveling, or whatever it may be. Another great thing about blogging is when someone comments that my post was encouraging or spoke to them. I hope to always make a positive impact and speak life into others.

M: There are so many diverse blogs on the internet. Why do you think it is important for Christians to add their voice to the blogosphere?

N: Jesus left us with a commend,”go ye into all the world not stay ye.” I believe we can all be missionaries and minister to others without physically traveling to a foreign country. But the cool thing about the internet is that it is global. We truly can reach people around the world through blogging because of the internet. It is so important to remember the bigger picture.

M: Your blog is relatively new, but do you have any advice or encouragement for other Christians who are new to blogging?

N: Put God first in all that you do even with blogging. Being genuine goes a long way. Do not get caught up with quantity or the numbers but the quality of what you do. Having a spirit of excellence in the content you create and the way you interact with others will leave a lasting impression. 

Naomi Picture

Naomi Noel Trevino is a published writer who loves to encourage people. Her blog is http://www.finite1.com. She can also be found on the following social media platforms:

Instagram:@naomi.noel

Twitter: @naomi_noel_ 

Facebook: Finite1

Pinterest: Finite1

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #1

Interview _1

(I am very excited about my first interview with Nicole of www.betterthanwine.net and www.overcomingheartbreak.net. When I first started blogging, I was eager to find other Christian bloggers to read. Nicole was one of the bloggers that I found. I loved how much she talked about her walk with Christ. I also discovered that she was passionate about helping other Christians heal from heartbreak. After you read our interview, I urge you to check out her blog and her author site. Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady.)

Monica aka afrotasticlady: You have been blogging for several years. What made you start blogging?

Nicole: In a word: Jesus. Jesus made me blog LOL. And I mean made. I had no intention of blogging. Ever. Initially I was reading blogs during downtime at work. I have always loved reading and I realized I really loved reading other people’s stories. Then all of a sudden I could hear the Holy Spirit prompting me to start my own blog. I was so adamant that I did not want to do something that was not from God so I refused. But His prompting became stronger and stronger to where I could no longer deny what He was saying. So I finally obeyed and I’m so glad I did!

M: Labels are tricky and sometimes people would rather stay from them. Would you describe yourself as a blogger, a Christian blogger, or both?

N: I would say a Christian blogger simply because my blog blatantly talks about my spiritual journey. The name itself (His Love is Better Than Wine) is based on a scripture (Song of Solomon 1:2). I have actually desired to have a less openly spiritual blog site but I cannot get away from what He has called me to. He has called me to be openly spiritual in my writing.

M: You blog consistently about your personal journey with God. What do you love most about blogging?

N: I love that blogging is healing and therapeutic. It is an outlet for my deepest longings and feelings. I have went through some hard times and blogging has helped to heal me from deep pain while going through them. I also love the spiritual insight God gives through my writing. Often I don’t know the answer until I write it. He speaks through my writing and I love the revelation that comes when He does that.

M: There are so many diverse blogs on the internet. Why do you think it is important for Christians to add their voice to the blogosphere?

N: Our words have power and if we are walking with God than we are speaking words of life and truth. We can change the atmosphere with our words and with our writing. He is the Word. We are releasing Him when we share our words.

M: Do you have any advice or encouragement for Christians who are new to blogging?

N: Just speak from your heart and let it flow. God will reward your faithfulness and obedience. You never know how He will use you to help others by you telling your story! Also, if you want to develop in writing, read and write a lot! You can of course take workshops and classes but just reading and practicing writing has helped me so much! I never would have guessed that blogging would be the beginning of my writing career but just taking one step of faith can lead to a series of open doors!

author pic

Nicole is the author of “How to Overcome Heartbreak: Recovering From Misguided Love”. She loves God, her family and writing and expresses those interests frequently on her blog www.betterthanwine.net. She desires to see her generation walk in healing, wholeness and restoration as she herself walks in the same. You can follow her on Twitter: @OvrcmeHrtbrk & @strgtower7, on Instagram: @htohb and Facebook: How To Overome Hearbreak: Recovering From Misguided Love. More information can be learned by visiting www.overcomingheartbreak.net.

An Introduction to the Blog Series: Blogging in His Light

An Introduction to the Blog Series-Blogging in His Light

I have learned to describe myself as a writer and personal/faith blogger. Even though I do not have published books in Barnes and Noble, I am still a writer. And even though I do not have thousands and thousands of followers, I am still a blogger. Despite my modest following, I choose to write and blog. I love writing, and I have discovered that I can use my blog to encourage others. When I write about challenging subjects such as grief, I am sharing my experiences about a subject that others may not want to talk about. When I write about racism and how the Church should respond to it, I am being real about a topic that others just want to whisper about.

As you know, God has given all of us gifts so that we can use them purposely. So, I write and blog about the tough stuff. I read the blogs of other folks who write about the tough stuff and how God helped them to endure their circumstances. I am encouraged by this online community, and I want you, the readers, to know about these fantastic voices.

Since my blog, afrotaticlady.com will be turning two (woot woot!) on August 27th, I have decided to do another blog series! The blog series, Blogging in His Light, is a showcase of admirable Christians who write and blog. Starting tomorrow and ending in late August, I will be posting interviews that I conducted with them.

If there was an awards show for Christian bloggers, these are the bloggers that should be recognized. Please join me in this celebration of my comrades in blogging.

Also, if you are a reader of blogs, please tell me who your favorite bloggers are?

Be blessed,

Monica aka afrotasticlady