Quarter 1 Wrap Up and Quarter 2 Goals

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I would not have realized it was the end of the quarter of the year if not for my periscope community.Most of my tribe were sharing their accomplishments thus far in 2018 and there goals for the 2nd quarter. Which led me to think about what I have gotten done and want to get done.

Q1 Accomplishments:

  1. revamped look for FB Page, Mommy In Color
  2. decided to open Etsy shop(not officially opened yet) and have named it Harmani Hook’d.
  3. made Periscope heart goal of 500,000 hearts
  4. started looking for new job
  5. started a Periscope series, The First 100

Q2 Goals:

  1. 1.create at least 20 -30 different projects to sell on Harmani Hook’d.
  2. guest post on fellow single mom blog or get a guest blogger to post here
  3. sell at least $500 in product for Harmani Hook’d
  4. start a new job
  5. figure out what to do for my birthday in May
  6. make myself a blogging schedule as well as a crocheting schedule( is that an editorial calendar, I feel like I need one of those?)

I must admit that I am a little anxious about completing some of these goals but I’m going to continue in my faith walk because so far I have been pretty blessed. I would love to hear some of your business goals for Q2! Drop me a line!

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MommyinColorcooks: Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

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After the successes that were my split pea soup and honey mustard pork chops, I decided to kill two birds with one stone:an affordable meal in the crock pot I am obsessed with.

This one was super easy because you probably already have a technique you use to make meatballs. I have never made meat balls prior to this. My mom usually makes them for our subs or spaghetti dishes but I wanted to not only try it myself, but put my own spin on it. Pinterest once again was my hero and this recipe is from Le Creme De La Crumb.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef- I got 2.37 lbs for $9.46

1 cup of breadcrumbs- Key Food brand Italian style 15 oz can for $1.19

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1 egg and 1 egg yolk- I got 2 dozen Jack’s Egg Farm Grade A Large for $3

1 teaspoon minced garlic(or two teaspoons garlic powder)-

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I teaspoon onion powder

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1 tablespoon Italian seasoning-

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1 teaspoon salt-

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1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 mozzarella cheese sticks

marinara or alfredo sauce

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Directions:

1.I cut the string cheese sticks into 8 pieces each. I used 5 sticks.I had 17 meatballs in total.

2.The ground beef was hand mixed with the bread crumbs,eggs,garlic powder,onion powder,Italian seasoning,salt,and pepper. My beef was still a tad frozen so mixing it up with the heat from my hands helped thaw it some. Meanhwile the cut cheese stick were in the freezer.. I actually enticed Amani int helping me roll the beef into balls. We stuck the cubed cheese into the meat and made a ball around it to cover the hole and cheese.

3.I actually enticed Amani into helping me roll the beef into balls. We stuck the cubed cheese in the meat and made a ball around it to cover the hole.

4.Before I put the balls in Lucille, I sprayed her with nonstick spray. I gave the balls enough space in between them to breathe. I am still getting used to Lucille’s temp settings so I put her on high for 3 hours but the recipe says low for 3 hours,high for 1-2. I panicked a bit but am happy to say all was just starting too ooze out. It was so good!

As I said, I made 17 balls in total split between 4 people. The recipe does serve 4-6 people. I did make my meatball medium sized because it was the 4 of us. It;s an appetizer but one full of Italian flavor! I was perfectly content simply eating as a stand alone treat. I will definitely be making these again in my spaghetti and even perhaps sub sandwiches. Amani did top hers off with romano cheese while I added a little more Italian seasoning to mine.

I am going to give this recipe 10/10 for affordability,taste,and time. I strongly encourage you to give it a try. I would love to see how you hook yours up so do tag me at #mommincolorcooks. Happy eating yall!!!

10 Secrets To Succeeding As A Creative Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

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I recently attended a great webinar hosted by Hilary Rushford,a personal stylistbusiness coach,and founder of Dean Street Society. In this webinar, Hilary gives some tips on how to make your business dreams work for you. I have here the first three and will share the rest soon(TBA)

1) You need a map

Things to consider:

Whats my next map?

How did I learn how to run a business?

How an I learning to scale/take to the next level?

Have I slowed down to learn from an expert so I can speed up and implement?

2)Choose a Business Model as Opposed to A Brand Model

Things to consider:

-Be more inspired by a business model than a brand model

-Make sure understand how the business/person you want to be like makes money

-Know IF the business/person makes money

Q’s To Consider:

What do you need to quit?

-a revenue stream that isnt profitable?

– a revenue that you don’t really love?

– setting your goals and dreams around what someone’s IG life looks like?

-Following a certain person you’re too effected by?

3) The Secret of Your DNA

Know thyself. Understand that who you are needs to be considered in your businessmodel,your schedule,and your team.

Things To Consider

What work rhythms make me happiest?

Prioritize your planning!

For those of you who are entrepreneurs of any kind, what are some of your secrets to success?

How To Build Authority, Influence, and Trust When Nobody Knows You

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I have been working on improving things here at Mommy In Color. To that end, I have been reading a lot of blogs full of tips on how to improve the look, content, and promotion of my blog. I didn’t stop to think about how I can get folks to listen to anything I say. How do I prove I know what I’m talking about? Enter The Pro Blogger Podcast to the rescue.

I enjoy much of the content on the Pro Blogger website,but today was the first time I listened to the podcast. The host, Darren Rowse shares a few tips on becoming a reliable authority when you’re not exactly well know. Here’s what I learned:

1) Being an authority is not just about what you know,but you should also share what you know. Even the Bible speaks about sharing.Beginners, you know a little something something as well. Share it!

2) Don’t just share what you know,talk a little about what you don’t know. Transparency is relatable.

3) Learn in public. Interviews are a good way to show others that you are learning all you can about the field/subject in which you want to be the authority Showing the journey,once again, is relatable.

4) Use case studies. Showing the numbers and proven facts helps you gain credibilty.

5) Show vulnerability. You don’t want to lose your humanity or intimidate the audience into thinking you know it all and never slip or struggle.

6) Share transformations and conversion. People like to hear about the beginning of your journey because it makes them comfortable to know that you were a newbie as well.

7) Have a positive and constructive outlook. It’s okay to talk about when you make mistakes but dont dwell on it. Instead,share how you intend to improve.

8) Build a platform of giving and generosity before asking or promoting. Of course your goal is to profit or gain additional followers but people respond better when there is an offer on the table for them in exchange for what you want from them.

9) Be reliable and consistent. If you put it out there, back it up when you say you will. If you’re telling folks you’re posting 3x a week,or you’re hosting a raffle or giveaway, DO IT!

10) Keep messaging clear and simple. You don’t have to use large words or complicated formulas. Being an authority means making your customer/follower/reader feel smarter,not just you being a smarty pants.K.I.S.S.= Keep It Simple, Sweetie!

11)Use your influence for the benefit of others,not just yourself. What can you do with your power to make things better for those who are loyal to your product or brand?

12) Don’t just seek to be known,liked,or trusted. Let your audience know that you know,like,and trust them as well. Research who they are,what their niche or business is. Tall to them directly. Comment,repost/retweet,respind to questions,and ask questions. Show that you trust them by sharing things about yourself as well.

13) Take your time. Becoming the authority in your field takes time. How much time? That’s up to you and whether or not you’re willing to do the work and have the patience to stick it out.

I hope these tips have helped you because they definitely helped me. Make sure you check out the podcast, Pro Blogger for more tips on blogging and social media. Be blessed and be a blessing, y’all!!!

Mommyincolorcooks:Honey Mustard Porkchops

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I havent pulled out Lucille in a while and I havent cooked a good piece of meat in awhile so after purchasing a meat plan, I decided on pork chops. Normally, I fry them but because I was bored with that and I was feeling mom guilt about notbhaving cooked in awhile, I took to Pinterest for a SIMPLE recipe. My favorite recipes are the ones that don’t have a zillion ingredients that are hard to pronounce. And I found one by Slow Cooker Gourmet that was not only simple but a little outside the box.Just the way I like it!

Since it was a trial, I used 2 center cut porkchops though the recipe call for 2 lbs of pork chops. It doesnt say to season the porkchops beforehand,but I ALWAYS season my meat before I do anything to it so, I used a little Goya Adobo seasoning and Saźon seasoning. If you do season, go lightly the first time because you dont want your seasoning to overpower the honey mustard.

I put the meat directly into Lucille, and moved on to the honey mustard mixture. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 tablespoons each of yellow mustard,Dijon mustard,and bbq sauce. You also need 1 tablespoon each of honey and lime juice( I didn’t have Dijon so I used honey mustard which defeats the purpose of the recipe but I was determined. I also subbed lemon juice for lime,didnt notice a taste of it at all really).

Once they were all mixed up, I dumped it right on top of my two porkchops(although I didn’t use the amount of meat called for, I did not use less sauce because I wanted to see how much it would produce for the correct amount of meat).

I set Lucille on high for four hours and I think in the future I may do three because the meat was drier than I like my pork chop to be. If that’s your preference,however,stick to 4 hours. Also, you can brown the pork chops before slow cooking. The result was pretty good although next time I will use lime juice and honey as per the recipe.

What are you making for your sweetie tonight? I would love to know if you tried this recipe how you enjoyed it. Leave me pics and comments below! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Ask and…

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I recently put out a call to my Peri Sisters for some help getting this blog to the next level. I was scared initially because I was embarrassed that after 6 years,I hadn’t monetized the blig or written any new pieces for other blogs/publications in years. But, I promised myself that I would stop living in fear,step out on faith and ask for the help I needed. The response to my call-to-action was great!

So far, I have someone who is going to help me update the look,someone to help me start monetizing,and even someone to help me put my plans/goals on paper. All of these ladies have been so wonderful and I thank God that I listened to His instruction that I ask for help. I’m motivated even more to walk in my purpose and “keep on truckin”(SN: Keep On Truckin’ by Eddie Kendricks is currently my ringtone. Yes, I still set my favorite songs as my ringtone. Don’t judge me.)

I have decided to appease to you,my readers,as well. If any of you could offer any sort of blog services or help to ke, I would greatly appreciate it. Unfortunately, I will be unable to compensate you monetarily,but if there is something you think I could help you with, I will be happy to do it. I thank all of you for sticking it out with me and am truly grateful for your support and readership. Three cheers for the new era of Mommy In Color!!! 🥂🍾🥂

5 Things I Love About My Cats

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In the two years that I’ve had Tootie and Sanai, I have gotten to know their individual personalities quite well. I love them both fiercely but for different reasons.

Sanai(grey and white, approx 5 years old,breed: unknown)

1. The first time I met Sanai,she hissed at me and I immediately backed off. She hated me from the get go and it’s probably because I mistook her for Tootie. She demanded my respect that first day and put me on notice that she had boundaries. I love her for that.

2. I am a proud thicky thick and so I have a soft spot for Sanai’s girth. She is pretty heavy but she is also solid and carries herself with a bit of a snooty air which has earned her the AKA of The Duchess Sanai

3. On the occasions when Sanai will allow you the honor of touching her, she directs EXACTLY where your hands go. No sudden movements which can earn you a swipe from her lethal claws. But you can rub the sides of her mouth,her neck,and ever so gently tug on her ears. If you think that you’ll get tired and stop, think again. She will use that bulldozer of a head to not-so- gently nudge you back to the task at hand. And once she’s started drooling,you’ll be there for AT LEAST half an hour. I love how she controls love and affection, can easily reject you and then turn it around and become putty in your lap.

4. Her eyes. They are so intimidating in the shadows of the night. They look like two bright soulless orbs watching your every move. During the day,they are an almost transluscent shade of green that suck you right into her world.

5. Her run. When she runs away from approaching feet,it looks almost like a gallop but instead of a dainty noise,it makes a thump. And she has to turn her entire body in the direction she wants to go in(because of her long legs)and then gallop away.

Tootie(all black, approx 3 years old,breed: American Short Hair)

1. Tootie has a very playful and mishievous spirit. Her favorite naughty things to do is pluck the side of the litter box until she gets chased out of the bathroom, throwing up food she’s binged then hiding, jumping on tables,counters,and stoves. When Amani is in school, I still don’t get a break because Tootie is basically a toddler. I love her little girl ways.

2. Tootie is completely free with her affection…as long as you have snacks.She has special affections for my brother and licks his head on his days off from work. She will come when you make kissy noises and shows her love by gently headbutting you and rubbing her face against your cheek. Adorable!

3. She is tough. Tootie recently became sick with carbon monoxide poison and she got so sick that she actually suffered a seizure. She lost a lot of weight,was pretty lethargic and I thought she was going to die. But she fought for her life day by day and even showed her regaining strength by hissing at one of my outdoor cats when he tried to come into the house. In fact, she is very protective of her home and will hiss at all outsiders though she never actually attacks them. She is a feisty girl,just like the other women in our family.

4. She loves to eat. Tootie loves meat but after her illness, I discovered she has a wide range of foods she loves. Some include, ice cream, blue cheese dressing, cream cheese and jelly on a kaiser roll, and grits and cheese.

5. Being an introvert, I can appreciate Tootie’s love of solitude. Amani can sometimes overwhelm her with affection,so to escape she will blend into the nearest shadow she finds. Without a flashlight, she is impossible to find and I love her ability to become invisible.

Two peas in a pod…

We All Fall Down…

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Write about a time you fell down.

When I was 5 years old,I was living in Brooklyn with my foster brother and great aunt. We were well taken care of and life was good. On rare occassions in the Summer, my great aunt would close down her daycare ( she was a Black business owner for 30 years) and take my brother and I to the park. This day we went to Prospect Park. On our way there, we ran into our sometimea baby sitter, Trina. She wasn’t doing anything that day and tagged along.

When we got to the park,my brother took off for the jungle gym and I made a bee line for th slide. Trina followed us to keep an eye on us while my aunt sat down and chatted with a long time girl friend(I forgot to mention she was there as well)

I climb the somewhat intimidating rungs leading to the to top of the slide. As I’m preparing to sit and slide down,a little girl around my age sqyeezes herself next to me. Before I could utter a word of protedt,she knocks me from my seat and I kand with a thud to the pavement. I scream even though I feel no pain at first. Trina, rubs over and helps me up. She looks concerned but not panicked. She knows how clumsy I was prone to be. I relieve ger concern by insisting I’m okay. I feel a small pang in my collarbone but ignore it. I want to go on the see saw immediately to avoid further embarrassment. After looking up to sneer at the jerk who pushed me, I walk to the see saw.

As soon as i put my hands on the handle bars if the see saw, a sharp pain shoots up my right arm and it literally takes my breathe away. I pull my hand off the handle as if it had burned me. That gesture is met witha pain worse than the one before. I cry out and jump off the see saw. Trina is there in a flash asking me what’s wrong while looking around for the culprit she thought was responsible for my outburst. Tears well up in my eyes and I start sobbing uncontrollably. Trina has given up trting to understand my nonsense and leads me to my aunt and her friend.

My aunt jumps up and holds her hand out to me while asking what happened. Between breaths, I tell her that something is very wrong. I motion towards my shoulder with my head,she furrows her brow, looks and puts her hand on her hip. “It’s broken”, she says matter of factly. Before owning a daycare,she was a pediatric nurse for many years. She was known throughout the maternity ward for her distinct…sashay. I cry even harder as we head for the hospital.

I remember the smell of some strong cleaner with a tinge of medicinal something in the air of the hospital.I also recall finding out I had broken my shoulder. But that’s all I remember. The next memories are of the awful hard cast and sling I had to wear for 3 months. After it came off, I had to do rehabilitative exercises that my aunt made sure I did. The worst thing about it was I was a hard core thumb sucker and could not enjoy my precious “lovie” for 3.MONTHS.

That was 23 years ago and the only lasting result of that incident is my permanent crookedness. My right arm droops just a little and that causes my glasses to also appear crooked on my face. Sigh.

Vibrant Eighty Eights

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I felt the most vibrant the first time I played the piano…okay,it was a keyboard,but tomato, tomahto I say.

The first time I played the piano(yes, I mean piano) I was 5 years old. My great aunt Gladys had signed me and my brother up for instrument lessons. I chose the piano because I remember the first time I saw one I thought it was the most elegant thing I ever saw. My brother chose guitar and I think he chose it because our school music teacher was a funny Jewish man named Mr.Wilde. The coplest thing about him, aside from his humorous nature was his guitar. He was a genius with that thing.

I dont remember how long I took lessons but I stopped after my great aunt died. That sucked so I gave up piano all together. But whenever I heard if there was a stirring and I would immeidately become distracted. And it affected my writing. The sounds of the keys made me write the truth.

In high school, I took band as a sophmore. My best friend, Krissy, and I played the clarinet. I oassed the classed…barely. I was excited to be involved with music because my love of old school r and b was budding. In my senior year,I got to choose keyboard as my music elective. I knew the teacher from my days in the band so I was comfortable telking him that I hadnt played since my aunt’s death. He was pleasantly surprised and assured me I would do fine. He was right.

Months into instruction,most of my classmates still were unsure of how to place their hands,ehich notes were which,and were veru choppy when practicing a song. Not me. I loved to play all my practice songs well(though now I cant think of the names of any of the songs). My teacher even let me assist struggling students. That I didn’t care for because the music made me feel so alive. So…renewed and without worry. Every crisp up and rich doen of the keys became akin to my own heart beat. It spoke to my teen agnst and the rare monents of joy I felt then.But only when I was alone with the music did I feel that way. A bored and failing student wouldn’t understand.

I had a thought to try to learn the piano version of a song I really loved then, Being With You by Smokey Robinson. There was a Spring music festival at school but when I came up with my idea, it was Winter. I wanted to learn the song myself(relying only on what I had learned in 4 months),impress Mr.Thompson with it so much tghat he would beg me to perform at the festival. I never came close,y’all. YouTube wasn’t a thing so that was out. The written music looked like gibberish and I struggled. So, I gave up.

I haven’t given up wanting to learn to play Being With You via piano its just at that time,I got distracted with other things (read:boys). On my bucket list is this abandoned hobby but I hope to pursue it again real soon.

My PurposeFULL Life

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I have heard about God my whole life.  My first experiences with the Omnipotent were from my great aunt(Gladys) who played Shirley Caesar incessantly on the weekends. According to family lore, she never went to church because she had a thing about the crosses with Jesus nailed to them that most churches have in the sanctuary. My brother and I owned large King James version bibles. Gladys put our names in them but for the most part they went unused. There was a Bible in the back of the apartment my great aunt used as a daycare facility.  The kids took naps in there. I spent the majority of my time getting locked in there until dinner for some juvenile indiscretion I had committed.

One day, I looked at the Bible on the table and picked it up. I was an avid reader by then so of course I was curious about the most serious of books. It was the heaviest book I ever held,which made it intimidating. I started from the beginning getting confused right after Cain killed Abel. Satan,  to me then, was powerful. He talked someone who had the literal definition of “heaven on Earth” into doing something that damned her forever. Wow.

Miss Gladys was having none of that when I presented my thoughts on Satan. She explained (read:damned me to Hell) that Satan was bad,not powerful.  She also said she wasnt surprised  I had a rebellious streak “seeing how your mother is” she said. I didnt understand:According to the Bible(Ezekiel 28:12-19) Satan was the most cherished of God’s angels. Surely God has given him great power. But, as a child, I let it go. After, I moved in with my mother’s sister at six years old,God took on a different meaning.My aunt(now my adoptive mother) grew up in a family where her grandmother and a grandfather owned a church. They attended church all the time but as adults she( as well as her 4 other siblings) stopped attending church and went to gospel shows.

Gospel shows are concerts with different gospel artists and groups performing their hits and new music(which is sold outside the venue). The first one I went to was so much fun. The music was loud, everyone looked Sunday morning sharp, and there was a beautiful  feeling of camaraderie.  People shouted or cried, depending on how the Spirit or music moved them to do so. I was hooked on gospel shows as was my mom. She had a book filled with professional shots of her favorite groups or artists. After the shows, while the artists mingled with the audience, my mom went around collecting autographs and taking pictures.  I would follow her around excited to meet people I viewed as celebrities. I even saw the gospel artist standard of past generations, Shirley Caesar,in person. I was awestruck to see my dearly departed great aunt’s idol a few feet in front of me. I was dumbfounded when she sat IN my mom’s lap. My mom was sitting next to me,Ms. Caesar serenades my mom,puts her arm around my mom’s shoulder  and sits in her lap never once missing a note. Great memories. Did I mention we never went to church unless there was a gospel show there. Oh, and the 2 Easters…3,once I was baptized at 17.

As my brother and I became teenagers my mom worked a lot more and we were left to our own devices.  The gospel shows stopped mostly because the NY promoters went down south and took the talent with them . We were left in the care of a pretty capable special needs aunt that lived with us while Mom worked overnight shifts as a home health aide. My brothers and I were never too much trouble and made our own fun. We had no social activities,though I tried desperately to be more involved in some only to be curbed by my mom’s overprotective nature. So, I settled for books and being an invisible nerd. When I was  17,my mom finds God again. She impulsively takes my brother and I down to a church that she’s been obsessed with for years and decides we are to be baptized. Everything in me screamed that I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to do it but to say that would incur my mothers wrath until I left for college. So I was baptized on July 6,2006.

My life changed quite a bit after that. My mother became super religious and immersed in the culture of church. She would pray for hours,constantly speaking in tongues.  I admired her fervor for God. I became closer to her in a way when I received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I felt peaceful and happy.  My friends were supportive and everything was  good. But I noticed that my mom started thinking that every opposition against her was to be ignored and blamed on the Devil.It got so I couldn’t talk to her mother to daughter. All her wrong doings against us were somehow forgiven under a twisted interpretation of the Word. We spent every evening for months in church coming home late,grades failing for homework not getting done. And when I would approach mom about it,it was dismissed with a “nothing else matters but church” and “Stop letting the Devil use you”. I was starting to resent church…and God.

I noticed how there seemed to be a hierarchy among parishioners. There were two sisters in particular who judged the hem length of every woman who walked into the sanctuary.  Talking about side eye! Can’t nobody side eye like a church sister. The bishop openly condemned men in the church with long hair. That message seemed so opposite of “Come as you are”, but ok Bishop.

Between the gossipy judgemental church folk and my mother abandoning everything else for church, I was turned off. I started hanging around my daughter’s father while still attending church here and there. Soon I became pregnant. I stopped going to church all together  and barely graduated high school. I knew God was punishing me for going astray because I was getting verbally abused, almost daily, by an aunt I moved in with. (My mom and I had had a particularly  nasty fight and it was decided we should be apart for awhile). The abuse happened during and after the birth of my child. But I deserved it for lying, getting pregnant, fornicating,etc…

But God is MERCIFUL and 3 months after Amani was born, my mom and I were reunited,we settled some things, and I even went back to church with both her and my newborn.

I received the chilliest reception when I walked in the church when I walked in the church with a baby in my arms.  The sister who had helped me seek the Holy Ghost pretended not to notice me when my mother pointed me out to her. Instead she greeted my brother whom she affectionately call her “pot of gold”. The teenagers from my youth group never spoke to me and when I cornered one og them outside he looked like he would drop dead if anyone caught us talking. I felt like a complete disappointment. I couldn’t wait to get out of there but my mom was so happy to show everyone that we had reconciled. But I just thought the shunning was more punishment.  I faked the funk and when service was over, I never went back. I vowed I never would.

That was ten years ago. Today, I am seeking a change in my life. This is the year of change and for me it starts with a change in perception and spirit. The last 40 days have forced me to dig up the ugliness of the past sins and hurts and take from them the lessons that were intended to be learned.  The truth of the matter is this,I have an issue with intimacy. Not sex, intimacy.  My family was never affectionate or talked about feelings and I was starved of it then so I crave it now. The enemy knows this and has, for many years amd in many ways given me illusions of it. But now I have intimacy and closeness in God.

He blessed me with a small community of people to lean on and gain support from solving my intimacy issue. He gave me two beautiful cats to cuddle and kiss and hold,solving my affection issue. He gave me Amani, a child that  he has entrusted to me to guide to Him. A child who He’s already given a thirst for Him to.

All of the worry that I weigh myself down with has disappeared. Yes, I still panic a little when things fall apart. There is still a momentary lapse in my breathing when my plans go wrong,but then I breathe easier when I remember that God has something better for me, I must be mature enough to receive it and for that I must be tested. I think my story of adoption and teen parenthood is going to serve many others. As a matter of fact, I think the very church that rejected me will be asking me to serve the young women of the church. Or maybe writing the newsletter. Whatever He has for me,big or small,forefront or behind the scenes, I am ready to walk and serve in my purpose.