June’s 6 Grateful Things List

 

June 2017's 6 Grateful Things List

 

Hey, y’all! It’s July, and my hope was to post this vlog in June, but life got cray cray busy again. Anywho, I’m posting the vlog now, and that’s all that matters. Last month was my birthday month; my DIVA month! If you know me, you know that birthdays are very important to me. I have to reflect on the blessings that God has given me, but I also have to enjoy time with family and friends. My 31st bday was definitely the highlight of the month. Along with turning older, I also went to a lot of church events. I got hype for Jesus. LOL! Check out the vlog to hear more about my church blessings!

Per usual, let me know what blessings you received in June! Before I go, I’m gonna drop this verse that I have been hearing and thinking about a lot lately. Please meditate on it and let it comfort you in your state of weariness, brokenness, heartache, etc.

“But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will SOAR on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will WALK and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Blessings,

Monica aka afrotasticlady

 

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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 myfamilyfantastic.com 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.