Category Archives: Real Life

X-Ray Wednesdays: The Musings of A Stepmommy

Great day pilgrims!

It’s the middle of the week again 🙂

Thank you for lingering a moment with me.

Today I wanted to share my thoughts on one of my newest hats –


Aside from his love, the greatest gift, and responsibility, that Danny has given me is being a stepmother.


The idea frightened me at first because it was a concept foreign to me except from what I saw in movies and books.

In my mind stepmoms always got a bad wrap –

The kid(s) never liked them.

The mother of the child(ren) hated them.

wickedScenes from the movie Stepmom with Julia Roberts and images of the wicked, evil stepmom from the fairytales were my reference points.

I did not want to be that. 

The reality of becoming a stepmom sank in when we got engaged.

I will confess that throughout our engagement I was an emotional wreck in that area. One moment I was at peace with the idea the next moment I was in tears because I could not articulate the anxiety I was feeling. Becoming a stepmom was a BIG deal and I did not want to fail.

So in that way – I experienced the worry of all new moms – a fear of failing.


After spending quality time with Azariah, I can no longer imagine embarking on the journey of motherhood any other way. 

And while I did not experience the miracle of childbirth with Azariah, I have certainly experienced the miracle of unconditional love.

But let me take a moment to honor the moms out there.

Mamas are superheroes in my book. supamom

After all they are the ones who carry these blessed gifts of love for all those weeks growing inside of them.

The ones who stand witness as their children let out their first cries, take their first steps, and say their first words.

They are the ones who lose sleep.

They are the masters of diaper changing.

The mighty wipers of runny noses.

Super snugglers.

The cleaner-uppers of mayhem and messes.

Highly exalted teachers of all that is wrong and right.

They are preparers of food, personal stylists, and stand up comedians. 

magicsparklerMamas are magic.


And I vow to remind Azariah of that truth about her own mama every chance I get.

Stepmoms…well, we are creatures of a different kind.
More often than not stepmoms do not have the privilege of hearing a child’s first cries or seeing their first step or listening to their first words.

Stepmoms experience “firsts” too

A stepmom’s “firsts” are very different – especially when she has had no other children.
And as a stepmom, as Azariah’s stepmom, I am humbled to have these firsts with her…
CMD-edit-1175The first time I heard her voice.
The first time I saw her.
The first time we spent time together.
The first time we cooked together.
The first time we danced together.
And I am looking forward to the many other firsts we will share together.
CMD-1590Now that Danny and I are married, Azariah is my daughter. When people ask if we have children I say yes, we have a daughter.
I may be a stepmom but I could never consider Azariah my stepdaughter because I love her as my own flesh and blood. Giving birth to her could not have made me love her any more.
Stepmoms were not created to compete with mamas. How can they? There’s no competition!

All a stepmommy like myself can do is love outrageously and live generously.

I will never attempt to take the place of Azariah’s mama, that is a sacred, God-ordained position. But I will continue to do everything in my power to make her feel that she is my own.
My hope for Azariah is that she will grow up with more love than her mom could have ever wished for her.
Good mamas want the best for their children and Azariah’s mother is as good as they come – Azariah is a direct result of that.
Sweet Azariah,
Even at 4 years old we can all see how brilliant you are. Your smile lights up the darkest rooms. Your laughter is music to our ears. 

​The three of us – me, your mom, and your dad are blessed to have a hand in guiding you during these formative years. And we look with expectation toward the woman you will become. A generous, wise, confident woman who loves God. A woman whose love for her neighbors will inspire her to change the world. 

How blessed we are. 

I am thankful for the faith Danny had in me and grateful for the calm reassurance of my own mother. Ultimately it God’s love and Azariah that gave me the courage to embark on this journey.


Now Azariah and I swap stories about the evil stepmothers in fairytales without any distress on my end.


We both know that when it comes to evil stepmothers, I’m not one of them.

May the remainder of your week be filled with gratitude, kindness, and productivity.

Blessings always,












X-Ray Wednesdays: Marriage And The Freeze. Fight. &. Flight. Responses.

This post has moved to:

Here’s an excerpt!

Happy Wednesday Pilgrims!! 

I pray this post finds you well.  It has been six weeks since my last post. I stepped away from the blog for a time in order to focus on all the adjustments that needed to be made from transitions at work to just focusing on being married. It’s be a LONG while but I believe it was indeed a very needed and necessary break.

In other news –

Danny and I have been married for 4 months!

It’s been more of a blessing than we could have ever imagined, and also more of a challenge than we could have ever prepared for. But we’re doing it.

Marriage is certainly not for the faint in heart.

Marriage and the Freeze. Fight. or. Flight. Responses


The acute stress response in physiology is described as a physiological reaction to a stressor that is perceived as a harmful attack or threat to survival.

People normally respond in one of three ways – Freeze. Fight. or. Flight.

Freeze – To freeze is to do nothing. Essentially you believe the situation is hopeless and there’s Nothing you Can do.

Fight – To fight is to oppose or come against the threat

Flight – To flee the environment in which the threat exists.

But what happens when the “perceived threat” is in your marriage?


Are Freeze. Fight. And/Or Flight? The correct responses then?

X-Ray Wednesdays: Do You Believe in Majick?

A most Happy Wednesday to you dear pilgrims!!

And an even HAPPIER
and healthy
New Year!!


This is the first X-Ray Wednesdays post of the New Year AND I have a MAJOR announcement.

First, let me tell you about last week.

Last week was a challenge! I didn’t have a chance to post last week because Danny and I were busying running errands and taking care of overdue business. I took it on the chin as much as I could; but Thursday when I looked at the curve balls we had been thrown, the mounting costs, and our limited funds I really got discouraged. Still, I leaned on Danny’s cool composure, trusted in his God given strength and didn’t give up hope.

Earlier that week a friend wrote an encouragement on Facebook reminding me that GOD is a GOD of infinite possibilities. I meditated on that throughout the week as Danny and I went from appointment to appointment. I reflected on it at my lowest point, choosing to believe GOD and worship Him anyway. Sure enough as we took care of one thing at a time JESUS provided and made a way.

Even though last week had its difficult moments, God continued to shower us with grace and favor. I’m thankful that we were able to recognize that. JESUS provided me with an opportunity to prove myself so I could land a position I had been searching for and finally found. With His help, I passed, which only led to another opened door for Danny and I.

However, the culmination of these blessed events happened yesterday –

hence my MAJOR announcement.

I received an email from a teacher and this is a little of what it said,

“We have an MLK Remembrance and Celebration quickly approaching, this coming Sunday in fact.

Our school hosts the Youth Celebration. Students from all over the Archdiocese have written essays and created posters honoring Dr. King and incorporating the theme “come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden”

There is a program of events including a number of Musical selections and honors on Sunday at our school, but we are in need of an opening. Doing a bit of digging, I came across your blog and found the excerpt from  your play “Do you believe in Majick” I was moved and impressed and really thought it was just the workings of the Holy Spirit that lead me to your blog! I would love 2 of our students to open the Celebration with a Dramatic Reading of this Monologue, if that would be okay with you.

If you will permit I think this would be a very poignant way to open our Program on Sunday. I have 2 – 8thgrade students who would orate this selection beautifully!”

I was speechless! I got it together and of course I agreed!

But that’s not even the BEST part…

A little back story –

I wrote the play “Do you believe in Majick?” almost four years ago during one of the most difficult times in my life. It was the apotheosis of an independent study course I took in my last semester for my B.A. in English.

About the play:

Callender's_Colored_Minstrels_plantation_sceneFrom the original blog post that the teacher referenced:

“The play is an exploration of black stereotypes down through the centuries – with a focus on the idea of ‘magical niggers’ [entertainers that existed for the consumption of White people] and ‘militant negroes’ [fighters that threatened White society].”


My professor gave me and A and told me to seriously consider publishing the play and taking up songwriting.






Almost two years ago I posted this on Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.36.36 PM

After that post I spent a few weeks working towards the goal I had set but I allowed life to get in the way and soon forgot about it.

For the most part I forgot about the play, except for when I occasionally checked my blog stats and saw that people were still reading that old post. But never, ever could I have imagined anything like this. What an honor to have my work included in a school program celebrating a man as profound as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that JESUS has allowed children to be exposed to my writing as if it were a textbook is deeply, deeply humbling.

The Best Part

The school is here in Georgia!!

That means Danny and I get to be present at this Youth Day MLK Celebration.

This is the first time I get to witness my work being read by someone else. Ever.

If you’re in the Atlanta area and would like to come out to the Youth Day program you’re invited!

The Program begins at 3pm this Sunday, January 18th

St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School

2460 Tilson Road

Decatur, Georgia.

I have done “work” in other areas but I didn’t work for this. I had absolutely nothing to do with this. I’m so glad this teacher recognized it as the work of the Holy Spirit because only JESUS could do this. This is for His glory and out of His sheer pleasure to be unreasonably kind.

I am eternally grateful. Most of all because of Christ’s assurance that I am walking in  my purpose. It doesn’t matter how many other people write, it doesn’t even matter how many people will read my writing, writing is what JESUS has called me to do and I will never stop.

This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

The dramatic reading that will open the MLK Youth Day Program will be of the following slave monologue. The character, Aaron, is based on one of the slave narratives I read during my independent study course.

auctionblockAaron: (standing up) I was born a slave!

(soft singing in the background  “No more auction block for me…No more auction block for me…etc” until Aaron finishes his monologue)

But glory to God no more auction block for me! The auction block was a sight to see. A range of Blacks aged gray and white haired to infancy. Souls being sold at the sound of a hammer. Families that God had joined together were separated forever. Blacks bartered for cash, counted as property, whipped and lashed. Broken. Their black bodies broken. Their spirits broken. The only way to survive was to live with a hope in – God. Even when I became free I found life to be hard. They thought they was using me when they came to me and asked me to tell my story but really I was using them in hopes to see the brotherhood of all humanity. It was a lesson to be learned. That people should never be converted into property. Men should never be made merchandise. As all men bare God’s image they should never be turned into instruments. Thank God for the day freedom came. I traveled the white world preaching in Jesus’ name. Yeap, (sitting back down) no more auction block for me.

I truly believe the greatest honor any writer can receive, is not some prestigious award from a bunch of snobby critics, but to hear someone from a younger generation read and engage with their work. JESUS has bestowed that honor upon me at the age of 25 and it’s just another reason, on a long list of reasons, why I owe Him my life.

So do Danny and I believe in Majick? No, not in any form. Neither one of us subscribe to the negative stereotypes of Black people seen in the media – from music to film. We don’t believe in magic or luck either. But we DO Believe in Miracles and the miracle worker – JESUS.

Pilgrims I cannot say enough about Pursuing GOD and pursuing His purpose for your life. In Christ, there will be difficulties and there are challenges but there is also unfathomable fulfillment.

Sending you so much love & light,







X-Ray Wednesdays: Episode 1 of Findlays’ First Year

Happy Wednesday Pilgrims!!

If you’re reading this it means that you too have been blessed to see this last day of 2014.

2014 holds many dear memories for Danny and I…

and the memories will come with us, but we’re also welcoming 2015 with open arms.

In our first “official” episode of Findlays’ First Year we share our thoughts on (and some footage from) our first two months of marriage.

We even included a few wedding pictures 🙂 (They’re finally in!!)

We hope you’re enjoying this New Year’s Eve!

Best wishes from us for a New Year filled with Love, Peace, Health, and Blessings!


Chat with Cara and Danny here: Ask Us Anything

For more ways to BE light and get involved with X-Ray Wednesdays click here. 

X-Ray Wednesdays: Living the Dream

Happy Wednesday!!

It’s a new dawn. It’s new day. It’s a new world for me.

…and I’m feeling Nina Simone good. :winks at you:

I’m going to be honest, I used to get annoyed when I asked people how they were and they replied with,

“Living the dream.”

My first thought would be,

‘Are you REALLY living the dream? Are you really living at the pinnacle of your life? If so, congratulations. But I’m so confused, you were just blanking and complaining to me yesterday.’

Whenever the question, ‘How are you?’ was posed to me, I never responded with, “Living the dream.” Because in my mind there was too much that I still wanted to achieve and to accomplish before that could be a true statement.

BUT I’ve changed my mind.

I AM Living the Dream.

And what is “the dream?”

Maybe there is no “the dream” because dreams differ from person to person. But then again maybe there is.

You might think it would be better to say ‘I’m living MY dream’ rather than ‘I’m living THE dream,’ but in my case that’s simply not true. The dream I’m living isn’t exactly mine. It’s not one my feeble mind could create. The dream I’m living is greater than what my own heart and mind can comprehend.  

Unfortunately, in American society “The Dream” is often associated with a fabulous lifestyle. “The Dream” is associated with ease and an absence of struggle. “The Dream” is supposedly the ability to buy whatever you want or go wherever you want freely; without having to worry about the confines of a budget or a price tag.

paperchaserIn American society “The Dream” is finally capturing the “riches” at the end of the paper chase. It’s amassing more cars, more stuff, more people to wait on you hand and foot, than you could ever ask for.

But is that truly “The Dream?”

And what about the” American dream?” americandream

Assuming “the American Dream” applies to all cultures and creeds, regardless of gender or racial identity. Is going to school, having a higher socio-economic status than my parents, working until I die (I mean “retire”), and “amassing” a spouse (or two), a few kids, a large house, luxury car, and a pet (or two) in the mean time, all there is to life? Really???

I’ve always had a problem with that. 

So then why do I say that I’m living the dream?

I’m living the dream because I’ve found joy and contentment.

Living the dream requires striking a certain balance. It requires the exact amount of ambition and contentment. While that may seem tricky, it can be done.

I am working daily to both strike and maintain that balance. I understand that –

My path is my own. I can. I will enjoy my journey.

live5  Ways You Too Can “Live the Dream”

Be at home in your skin. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Accept and love yourself. I have learned to embrace every stretch mark, every scar, every kink and curl in my hair, and every other skin-deep “flaw” my insecurities found and at one time obsessed over. Our bodies are exactly that ours.   Your body, your temple, your home, your tent while here on earth so it is your responsibility to love it and take care of it.

Love. Have love. God is Love. John 3:16. Receive GOD’s love for you. Accept the love others freely give you and love everyone you come in contact with. I have embraced GOD’s love for me and I’m constantly learning how to empty myself so that I might be filled with His Love. I am able to love. The ability to love is a gift. By allowing GOD’s  love to fill me I can (and will) love those who are easy to love and those society deems unlovely. I’m married! I have found the greatest love adventure this side of heaven with Danny and daily working to make the most of it. Whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, you can still make the most of the love found in your other relationships.

Have HOPE. The world is ugly and gloomy sometimes. But its also filled with indescribable beauty. To simply ignore the fact that world is falling apart is to be numb and desensitized to the evils around us. The key is remaining sensitive enough to be concerned and deeply affected.  Hope ignites the desire to be light; its believing that we can make a positive difference. To be so sensitive without hope would mean insanity and literally losing our mind.

Know your purpose and walk in it. Everyone asks themselves at some point or other what they should do with their life.  Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time out or puts in the effort to truly discover their purpose and so they end up settling. When it felt like I would never find my purpose I simply created one, “MY dream.” I had an elaborate life plan that blew up in my face. Finally, I turned to the manufacturer of All life, GOD, and I simply believed what He said. As a result I know that writing, and sharing, is something I was born to do, and so I do it. This blog and my commitment to it is a large part of that. But I have also found other ways to use my gift in writing and it’s even producing income. Is it full time yet? No. But the progress in that area proves that GOD has endorsed and authored it.

Use “The Struggle.” Learn to be thankful for every obstacle, every challenge, every disappointment, and every setback. When faced with difficult circumstances we have two options – give up or continue to push through and persevere. I have learned, and consequently chosen, to persevere. Perseverance exercises our inner strength and builds our character. There Is an END to every difficulty. I’m thankful that I’ve learned to embrace the tough times and thankful for the lessons and strength that result from “struggling.”

I write this not having achieved all there is to achieve or having accomplished all I will IMG_0012accomplish. I do not have a luxury car or even extravagant designer clothes and shoes. I do not have a house. BUT I am content. I have a place to lay my head and I’m continuing to make it a home with my husband.  I have clothes and shoes. I share a car with my husband. I love myself! :Kendrick Lamar voice: and I’m progressing in my purpose.

I AM Living the Dream. That doesn’t mean I won’t aspire to higher heights it simply means I can be grateful right where I am. 

Finally, I’ll share the first message Daniel and I got on our

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.40.31 AM

That matters so much!

What other ways do you think we can “live the dream” right where we are? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

There’s a song they sang in the church I grew up in that says,

“If I can help someone along the way, then my living will not be in vain.”

Let’s not live in vain and let’s not live vainly.

Sending you light,


Chat with Cara and Danny here: Ask Us Anything

For more ways to BE light and get involved with X-Ray Wednesdays click here. 

X-Ray Wednesdays: 5 Books Every Woman Should Read

Another Wednesday is upon us!

I hope yours is indeed a Happy one.

By reading the title of today’s post you’ll note that

This one goes out to all my – LADIES!! lol

But guys, you don’t have to tune out, you can benefit too. After all, “‘Tis the season of giving,” so consider gifting one of these books to that special lady in your life or maybe to the group of women you hold most dear.

Ladies, there’s a special grace to be acquired as it concerns investing in one’s self. As women, we often think of “treating ourselves,” as hair and nail appointments, retail therapy (no matter how major or minor the shopping spree), or indulging in our favorite meal and sometimes just ice cream! But there’s something special about a woman who values herself enough to invest in the parts of her that go unseen and yet wield the most strength and power: one’s spirit, one’s heart, one’s mind, and one’s skills & abilities.

There is a caveat to my saying these are books every woman should read, I recommend these 5 books to every woman who is married, engaged to be married or planning to be married one day.

1. The Bible 

It’s critical that this book top the list because even if you don’t believe that the Bible is “inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right,” (2 Timothy 3:16) there’s still something to be said about the fact that it is still around and very relevant, even in today’s world. At the very least it’s worth investigating.

The worse thing that could happen? Your life changing for the better. If you approach the Bible with an open heart and mind, your life Will change.

There are feminism sects that have tried to discredit the relevance of the Bible to women by saying it was written by men for men and to keep women under the control of men, but that’s simply not true. The Bible details the stories of devoted wives and other heroines including Ruth, Esther, Deborah, and Mary.

Most women can appreciate a good love story, and there is no greater love story than the one found in the pages of the Bible. It’s the story of a Sovereign GOD so in love with His creation that He is willing to do anything to win them back to Himself.

Also, there is no better articulation of love than the definition given in 1 Corinthians 13.

The Bible is where we can find GOD’s original intent for His creation, both men and women, as well as marriage.

My suggestion? Find a version you can understand, like the New Century Version (NCV) or New Living Translation (NLT). For more on marriage, read Genesis 2, The book of Proverbs, Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5 and Hebrews 13.

If you are a believer, I recommend this because the insight found here is God-breathed and invaluable, as Charles Spurgeon said, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”

Captivating2. Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

Captivating was written by husband and wife team John and Stasi Eldredge. This book changed my life because it changed my perspective about myself. My mentor in Kansas recommended it to me at a time when I called her in tears, on the brink of giving up on myself.

Why you should read this book – This book is beautifully written. Aside from a few pop culture references that you may not get, John and Stasi Eldredge do a wonderful job speaking to the heart of women. The book takes you on an unexpected journey. First it shines a bright light on a woman’s deepest desires, then it digs into your past bringing to the surface old hurts and disappointments that may not have fully healed. Finally, it frees you to forgive and gives you hope. This book says healing is possible, forgiveness is possible. If up until this point you have silenced your deepest desires and disqualified yourself because of your past, get ready to come face to face with your true self. This book reminds women that with all our struggles and imperfections, as an individual, we still have an irreplaceable role.

My suggestion? Pace yourself. Read only a chapter a day. At your core, you are a most delicate being. Even if you don’t believe that you will be challenged in the first few chapters and it can be rough. I found this book at a time when I was struggling in my emotions. I made myself numb to a lot of things and had deadened those emotional sensors that allowed me to feel both joy and pain. I was a wreck reading through this book. Chapter 4 is entitled “Wounded” and it explores the many negative messages women receive in childhood from wounds that they embrace and take with them into maturity. Chapter six is entitled “Healing the Wound.” This book is a soul searching journey worth taking.

3. Covenant Marriagecovenantmarriage

Covenant Marriage is written by relationship counselor, Gary Chapman.

Why you should read this book – Covenant Marriage does a great job of detailing the difference between a covenant and a contract. Most people get married with the hope that the marriage is for life and will last forever. Yet, in Western culture, there’s a 50% divorce rate. Covenants DO last forever. Contracts, however, can be broken. Too many people are entering marriage with a contract mindset, expecting a covenant outcome. Everyone who truly desires a lifelong, happy marriage deserves the security of a covenant marriage.

Highlights – Gary Chapman discusses the critical role communication plays in marriage. Chapter 6 helps you with identifying unhealthy patterns of communication. Chapter 7 talks about the different levels of communication and Chapter 10 talks about the art of self-revelation. All very practical and insightful.

the5lovelanguages4. The 5 Love Languages 

The 5 Love Languages is another book written by Gary Chapman.

Why you should read this book – People express and receive love in different ways. Gary Chapman wrote this book on the premise that in general people interpret love through one of 5 ways: Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. If a person’s love language is quality time but they are only showered with gifts, they may be unhappy and even feel unloved because their primary language isn’t being spoken. It’s important that you be able to identify your significant other’s love language so that you can express your love for them in a way they can receive it. It’s also equally important for you to know your primary love language(s) so that you can articulate it to your mate, giving them an opportunity to express love in a way you can receive it.

Highlights – Chapter 10, Love is a choice. Love has been described as many things using a plethora of flowery adjectives seeking to capture its true essence, but the bottom line is love is a choice, (whether calculated or not). To get married is to say love is a choice you will make every day for the rest of your life. One clear memory I have of my wedding day is making this declaration to choose love every day, “in the presence or absence of romantic feelings,” (a line from our wedding vows). In chapter 10 Gary Chapman addresses the rebuttals of people who may say things like “My spouse’s love language is physical touch but I’ve never been the holding hands, hugging type of person.” Chapman’s response, “Love is a choice. Get over it. Love is about the other person. Not about you. Choose to be that person for your spouse.”

Find your love language now by taking the quiz here.

5. Created to be His Help Meetcreated-to-be-his-help-meet-book

Created to be His Help Meet is written by Debi Pearl. I received this book as a gift at my bridal shower from another young bride. I’m actually still in the process of reading it.

Why you should read this book – Debi Pearl has been married to her husband Michael for 43 years. That is quite an accomplishment, considering these days its not unheard of for people to separate 6 months after marriage or even murder their spouse 8 days in to the marriage. In this book, Debi issues a seemingly simple challenge to all wives, and would-be wives, “Trust God, no matter what. Or do it your way and see how that works for you.” In the event that as a married woman you wake up and discover you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray…and who you thought was your husband is really a no-good, insensitive, jerk – Debi makes the case that you still have an obligation to that man as your husband because of your obligation to God and your role as help meet. God hasn’t changed his mind.

Highlights – In Chapter 1 Debi breaks down the term Help Meet, which originates from the book of Genesis (Genesis 2:18). Debi states again, and again, that women do have a choice in how good their marriage will be. Debi also publishes letters written by other women seeking her advice and publishes her response to them as well.  Mrs. Pearl is extremely frank and at times I wondered, “Is she allowed to say that?” Chapter 3 is entitled, “A Thankful Spirit.” I found that chapter particular challenging because essentially it says “You never have to have a bad day,” and that made me uncomfortable in the moment. However, I know that’s not far-fetched. Yes, difficult days will come and challenges will arise but I can choose to focus on them or focus on all the good in life.  Debi’s bottom-line “You can excuse yourself from responsibility by mentally assigning various excuses to your situation, or you can choose to believe GOD and become a 100% help meet regardless of anything that would stand in your way. Which will it be?” The entire book highlights practical ways to be a help meet, as originally intended, in a changing world.

These are my 5 recommendations.

What other book suggestions do you have for wives and would-be wives? Share your suggestions in the comments section.

Grace.&.Peace Pilgrims


For more ways to BE light and get involved with X-Ray Wednesdays click here.