August’s 6 Grateful Things List

August's Grateful Things List

(Happy Wednesday, y’all! As you will see, this month’s edition of the grateful things list was shot on the beach. Also, I enlisted the assistance of my friend to be my videographer. So, if you hear hints of laughter, that’s her. Thanks to JH for holding my phone so I did not have to awkwardly do so. 🙂  Please don’t forget to let me know you are grateful for this month. I would love to hear about the good things that God has done for you! Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, 2nd Blogoversary

2nd Blogoversary


Today, my blog turns two! Two years of thinking about topics as I drove to school or work. Two years of becoming a pseudo photographer. Two years of spending absurdly long times writing one blog post. Two years of commitment to my own creative space. Two years of community.

When I first started blogging, it was a solitary activity. I had family and friends who commented on the blog. I had a few subscribers. Yet, I desired to be in a writer/blogger community. I needed to be able to converse with other writers about life and faith. Upon a friend’s recommendation, I joined Instagram. Afterwards, I decided to sign up with Twitter. Then, I tweeted something like “Where are all the Christian bloggers? I’d love to connect with you.” My online community increased. I virtually met several gifted writers. And I admired these women for being honest in a world that often lacks connection.

Unfortunately, we all move around very quickly in our daily lives. Sometimes, we forget to even eat our lunches. We toggle around from app to app on our phones. We are tired, but we still keep trudging through our activities. Yet, the writers and the storytellers create a revelatory piece. They write something that makes us ponder our own situations

In honor of my second blogoversary, I decided to approach the day differently. It would not only be a celebration of my blog, but of all faith-filled blogs. I would congratulate the storytellers for the work that they have been doing online. I would be curious and ask them to answer deep questions. I would be humbled by their thoughtful answers.

These storytellers started their own blogs when they could no longer block God’s voice. Their writing was needed in the blogosphere, and God planned to use them to uplift society. I have been encouraged by the triumphs they have shared and their resilience throughout the pain. I have been refreshed by their kindness towards me. They have urged me to keep on writing, and they’ve highlighted my positivity.

Community. It’s so unusual that I found a writing/blogger online. Yet, I am blessed by the sisterhood. Hopefully, I can meet some of these powerhouses in real life someday.

Now, I’m going to share some nuggets that I garnered from my seven interviews with Christian writers/bloggers:

Interview #1 with Nicole: “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.”

Interview #2 with Naomi: “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.”

Interview #3 with Mia: “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.”

Interview #4 with Elsie: “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.”

Interview #5 with Latoya:Make friends with other bloggers. Don’t view them as competition because we can always learn from each other.”

Interview #6 with Emelda: “I believe one of the most important things we can contribute as both believers and writers is to show up with our authenticity and heart. Imagine you’re talking to a good friend as you write. This makes your work relatable, and our readers respond to us when we are unafraid to walk in our truth.”

Interview #7 with Simone: There are a lot of blogs out there, but so many specialize in ridiculousness. We must MUST add our voices to help quiet the noise, and share hope.”

All of these gems point towards compassion. Christian writers and bloggers cannot keep their words hidden or their laptops closed. With all of the brutality in this world, we have to share our hearts. We have to yearn to comfort, pray, and write for the bruised ones. Sometimes, we are the bruised ones, and we are basically writing for ourselves.

I thank God for two years of afrotasticlady. Two years of introspective and quirky musings. Two years of writing the things that hurt me but provide solace to others. Two years of fellowship. And two years of striving to blog in His light!

And thank you so much to all of my readers and subscribers for hanging out with me. I appreciate you, beautiful ones! Your comments and your support motivate me to keep writing!

Deuces, Monica aka afrotasticlady

Beach Picture

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #7

Interview _7

(Friends, my seventh and last interview is with M. Simone Boyd. I found Simone’s blog at some point last year, and I eventually connected with her over Twitter. I admire Simone for her commitment to her calling as writer. She pursues her writing in various forms such as film scripts and newspaper articles. Since I hope to publish books someday, I was excited to hear about Simone’s efforts towards her novel. Simone has also been in the blogging game for years. With all of the blog posts that she writes, she makes sure to stop by the blogs of others. I have been encouraged by her warm comments on my blog. Hence, I am excited to feature Simone on the blog for the first time. And please stay tuned for the conclusion to the Blogging in His Light Series this Saturday! Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

1. Monica aka afrotasticlady: I find it interesting that your brother’s wedding propelled your blogging journey. With all of the transitions that have occurred in your own life, what makes you keep blogging?

Simone: Without a doubt, the sense of community has kept me going.

Knowing that I was not alone in my worries about my younger brother getting hitched before me, made me feel like ‘oh, I can share and my sisters will share with me and we’re all together in our sense of wondering about the future.’

Now, that I’m married and on this creative path…I’ve found that there is still a strong sense of community. And I can help connect women to each other. Nothing gives me more fuel to keep going, than getting an email from a sister saying “I’ve had the same struggle and it gives me hope to see how the Lord answered you.” That’s what encourages me to be honest and share the highs and very lows (rejection, facing uncertainty, etc.)

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

S: I had to put my thinking cap on for this one, Monica! You know, I really don’t consider myself a blogger. I’m a writer.

Blogging is my most consistent medium. Last year, I wrote a short film on fatherhood and wrote for a newspaper. I have a novel coming out in a few weeks. And I’m currently working on another short film and a play. Also, I’m just not consistent enough with my social media to be a real blogger. I don’t even have a smartphone!

Regarding my faith, I really like what Jamia said earlier “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.” I agree 100 percent.

3. M: You seem to blog a lot about family-related topics.  What do you love most about blogging?

S: Again, I think it boils down to the sense of community. I love reading comments, commenting on the blogs of others, and just getting to share/learn what God is teaching us on this path.

I see the breakdown of the family unit as the root cause of all our societal ills. And I’m grateful that the Lord has allowed me to use my keyboard to share hope and solutions.

4. 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?

S: Hope.

There are a lot of blogs out there, but so many specialize in ridiculousness. We must MUST add our voices to help quiet the noise, and share hope.

5. M: I have noticed that writers can sometimes have difficulties promoting themselves. How do you think writers can overcome this challenge?

S: Ugh. I am totally the wrong person to ask this, because I am the worst.

But I like what another blogger you interviewed shared: seek to solve a problem. When we focus on that, we’re sharing solutions and pointing people to what God has done/is doing.

6. M: You have been blogging for several years. What advice or encouragement do you have for Christians who are new to blogging?

S: Keep. On. Writing.

I’ve been on this path for six years, and I go through ebbs and flows. But one of my mentors told me “the best way to become a better writer is to keep writing.”

It wasn’t the exactly the magic potions I was looking for…but it’s worked for me. When I look back on posts from 2010 to now, I can’t help but be grateful for the growth.

M: Simone, thank you so much! I appreciated everything you just shared.

S: Monica, you are one of my very favorite online friends. You are so generous and I consider it a gift to be included in your series. So. Thank you, Sis!

M Simone Boyd - Head Shot

What makes relationships, marriages and families thrive or die? That’s what M. Simone Boyd explores. Whether it’s academic research shared as creative non-fiction, a novel, or a workshop…Simone tells stories. In the past two years, she’s written 46 freelance articles and a boatload of blogposts. Because she is dedicated to finding solutions for the chaos we see erupting on the nightly news. She aspires to blog regularly at and aspires to tweet regularly @msimoneboyd.  

Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #6

Interview _6

(In the last interview, I hope you caught Latoya’s advice to make friends with other bloggers instead of competing with them. I enjoy meeting other bloggers and collaborating with them. Our next interview is with Emelda, a multitalented woman. I was blessed to meet Emelda on Instagram, and I have been encouraged by her support of my writing. In general, you will find Emelda leaving fabulous comments on the IG pages of other creatives. In our large blogosphere, it’s refreshing to find encouragers like her. I have also been blessed to work with Emelda on #WomenCreativesChat, a chat that began on Twitter and transitioned to Instagram. Both of us value creativity in our own lives, and we desire for other women to make time for their creative areas. Our chat serves as a community forum for women creatives to uplift each other. I’m glad to be involved in this partnership and looking forward to see how #WomenCreativesChat will grow. Please check out how Emelda combines her passion for God, social justice and creativity into her endeavors. Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

1. Monica aka afrotasticlady:  I find that it’s very important to pick a name for your blog that represents you and your content. Why did you name your blog, “Live in Color?”

Emelda: The great writer Oscar Wilde said “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” For me, life is about celebrating beauty and light, yes there is sorrow and pain, but I believe even in the most dire circumstances, one can find joy.

Maybe it is the poet in me, the dreamer, the little girl writing songs and falling madly in love with rainbows and enticing melodies who refuses to simply exist. Who wants to grow old? When I say old, I am not referring to a chronological age, but expansiveness of the mind.

Our lives are miraculous, and I never want to loose sight of it. Within my small corner of the blogosphere I am determined to cultivate a space which uplifts and empowers us all to rise to new levels of consciousness and faith.

2. 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: Above all, I am, first and foremost, a child of God, one who is walking in relationship with Christ. Since this gift of writing comes from God, my faith and blogging are inextricably linked.

Each one of us has a ministry and some folks have several; over the past year, our family has faced numerous challenges, and I continue to grow along this path of faith.

I am coming to understand it is my calling, sharing words of hope and inspiration, while also encouraging readers to take action and question the injustices around them. So, yes, without apology or hesitation, I am a Christian blogger. 🙂

3. M: I love that you have a little bit of everything on your blog: inspiration, social justice, food recipes, etc. What do you love most about blogging?

 E: Thank you! I believe a vibrant life, full of color, overflows with diverse interests.

Years ago, you needed a publisher to cement your status as a writer. Today, with blogs, e-books and various social media platforms, we have a voice, a way to not only connect with folks, but engage in the fulfilling work of building community. One of my favorite writers, Maya Angelou, urged us not to die with our story still inside of us. Live In Color blog is a large part of my voice in the world.

I write because I cannot NOT write. Creativity is oxygen for my soul.  At 7 or 8 years old, I fell in love with creating poems and songs. My inner world overflows with words and thoughts; I feel bound to share them whether thousands read, or a small audience of family and friends.

The other part of blogging which I adore is the sense of community, both with bloggers and readers. It’s so lovely to connect with other writers, especially since writing can be a solitary creative act. Finding folks who share your passion is both uplifting and affirming. And there is nothing quite like the rush of seeing someone’s comment on a blog post. You feel as if your words and way of seeing the world resonate, and for me this is exhilerating!

 4. 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: Our world is in crisis, perhaps now more than ever before. We are grappling with economic inequality, institutionalized racism and systemic oppression, the prison industrial complex (particularly in the U.S.) and many other massive problems. What I feel many folks do not understand is how God fits into all of this dysfunction. How can getting to know Him free us from being overtaken by these concerns, but also empower us to create change during our lifetime? What is our purpose? What does a life of devotion look like?

These questions, and many others, are ones which we, who have committed our lives to Christ, can walk out in our writing. Many people may not open a bible, but they will read blogs on their tablet, phone or Kindle; perhaps our words are their first introduction to Christ.

Christians absolutely should blog and raise their voices. We must begin to influence the discourse around our faith from one of constant judgment and shaming to an all encompassing love which is wide enough for the entire world. Jesus is revolutionary. He challenges the religious establishment in the New Testament, and washes his disciples feet. The world needs to meet Him through our posts.

 5. M: When I look on your social media pages such as Instagram, I feel a sense of community. What are some of your social media strategies?

 E: Oh, you’re sweet! Thank you. 🙂

While social media is a new communication platform, the concept of connecting with others to cultivate community is ancient. When I joined Instagram, I came with the intent of being in conversation with people from a real place of commonality, whether around my core blog topics of inspiration, motherhood, faith or social justice, or just what is happening in the world.

I am also quite interested in their lives and passions as well. I don’t know if I would consider this a concrete strategy, I suppose it is more connected to my personality. I’m a people person who thrives on building genuine relationships, and I would say this contributes greatly to the sense of community you see on my page.

In terms of strategy, I choose specific times during the day when my audience is most engaged (mid-morning & evening) and post during those periods. When it comes to hashtags, I am deliberate, primarily focusing on ones with the highest reach. And this might sound overly simple, but it works, when people like my posts, I check out their page, like and comment on their posts. I have met many fellow creatives this way. Also, when I have new followers, instead of just following back, I visit their pages, scroll their feeds, and like / comment on posts.

The other two strategies involve constantly educating myself about effectively using social media (love the podcast Sidehustle Pro and the site Coschedule), and working with apps to maximize content creation. I recently discovered Later, an app for Instagram which allows you to draft posts, set the timer for when you would like them to appear, and you receive a notification on your phone telling you to share. It’s a huge time saver!

However, in the end, I feel it all comes back to relationships. If you cultivate genuine connections consistently, your tribe will grow.

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

E: I believe one of the most important things we can contribute as both believers and writers is to show up with our authenticity and heart. Imagine you’re talking to a good friend  as you write. This makes your work relatable, and our readers respond to us when we are unafraid to walk in our truth.

The work we’re doing is our ministry, and so  its important to also pray before you create these pieces. Do not loose sight of putting God at the center of your creativity.

I would like to leave you all with some lyrics from a beautiful song by Lauren Daigle, “Salt & Light”:

“Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around

Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name

Let my life be a song, revealing who You are

For You are salt and light

 Oh the love that set me free

You bring hope to those in need

You have written and redeemed my story…

You are salt and light

You are love’s great height

You are deep and wide

A consuming fire”

Emelda Picture

Emelda is a loving wife and mama, creative, and believer seeking God anew in each moment.  She is the founder of Live In Color blog; she writes about faith, inspiration, social justice and motherhood. Emelda is a columnist for Beautifully Said Magazine, and contributing writer at Our Words Collaborative, a Christian devotional website where each writer shares their personal faith journey daily. She also blogs regularly at Positivity Warriors and Adalmar Life. Resisting all forms of oppression and actively creating affirming spaces for womyn of color is important to her, and she is a founding member of Black Womyn Rising, a radical intergenerational black womyn’s organizing collective rooted in transformative love and global sistahood. You can connect with her on her blog or on Instagram and Twitter.


Blog Series: Blogging in His Light, Interview #5

Interview _5

(I have to admit that I cannot believe it is August already. I remember vlogging about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in “January’s 6 Grateful Things List.”  As they say, time flies. Anywho, I am glad that I was able to interview Elsie from In the interview, she encouraged Christians to share their voice in the blogosphere, because the world is impacted by their thoughts. My next interview is with Latoya, who previously wrote a guest blog post for me. Latoya and I did not discover each other through social media, but we actually found each other through As I read her blog, I was uplifted by her bold relationship with Christ. She is a woman of God who motivates others to grow in their journeys with Christ. Please read her remarks on blogging, purpose, and Christian literature.  Blessings y’all, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

1. Monica aka afrotasticlady: I love that your blog is inspirational and offers godly wisdom. What made you start blogging?

Latoya: I went through a period in my life where I was desperately searching for meaning in my life. I felt like God had a purpose for me but wasn’t sure what it was. After seeking God and finally understanding what living a life of purpose meant, I knew I wanted to share with others who might find themselves on this same journey. I had started a few blogs previously but never took them very far, but this time I am on a mission to help others embrace a life of purpose.

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

L: I couldn’t say I am just a blogger because I would be overlooking the real reason why I blog, but at the same time I think Christian blogging comes under the larger umbrella of blogging. This is just my niche per se, like a food blogger or a tech blogger. We all fall under the umbrella of bloggers. Sometimes just being known as a blogger can attract non-Christians and I like that since I hope to reach not just those who already have a relationship with God but some of those seekers.

3. M: You are such a consistent blogger. What do you love most about blogging?

L: I love the creative process of seeing how a simple idea or experience that I have had can come to life and make a difference in the life of my readers. I also really love to read my readers comments, because it helps me to understand who they are and how they deal with the ups and downs of life.

4. 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?

L: Because we have a very unique and important message that the world needs to hear. I know sometimes the world has no interest in hearing from us, but I do believe that a lot of what the world is searching for can be found in a relationship with God and so if I can at least get them to be curious enough to take a look then that is a good start.

5. M: You seem to be a big reader! What are some books you think every Christian writer/blogger should read?

L: I personally try to read as widely as possible. This season in my life, I find that I am more interested in mostly classical and philosophical Christian literature. For Christian writers/bloggers, I would suggest the following:

C.S Lewis’ Mere Christianity, because it makes the case for the existence of God.

Dr. Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavour, which makes the case that all work is doing God’s work, even those done by secular persons.

Dr. Myles Munroe’s In Pursuit of Purpose which explores how we can understand and live a life of purpose.

6. M: You have a few blog posts in which you share blogging tips. What advice or encouragement do you have for Christians who are new to blogging?

L: Always seek to maintain and grow your relationship with Christ, because it is out of that relationship that ideas will flow about how you can impact others in a godly way.

-Have an ideal reader in mind. This helps me when I get stuck on what to write about. I always write as if I am talking to my ideal reader.

-Write your blog posts as far in advance as you can, so that when anything unexpected occurs it doesn’t affect your flow.

-Write to help your readers solve a problem. Remember it is not about you but your reader.

-Make friends with other bloggers. Don’t view them as competition because we can always learn from each other.

Latoya #2

Latoya blogs about living a life of purpose @PowerfulUblog. She is passionate about inspiring others to explore their God given potential and use their gifts and talents to honor God. You can also find her on Twitter @powerfulublog and @latoyasaddler on Instagram.