There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

How I Really Feel about Being a Single Mother on Mother’s Day and Every Other Day of the Year

This post about my Mother’s Day in 2017 is clearly long overdue. But you know how the saying goes … Better late than never. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother’s Day.

*Sidenote: This post features the opinions of a woman who, at this point in life, only has five years of experience with raising one girl. Just in case you feel that makes a difference in what I’m going to write.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

This past Mother’s Day was my first one as an official single mother. I didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed or a bouquet of flowers. That’s because my daughter isn’t old enough to cook by herself and I no longer have a husband to make those things happen. Yet it was fabulous, none the less. I had a wonderful opportunity to simply relax and enjoy quality one on one time with my daughter. It was awesome! We did absolutely nothing except lounge around the house all day.

But what about your Mother’s Day brunch!? Well since you asked… “Brunch” consisted of a delicious mix of “Let’s see what we can come up with from the fridge”. The truth is this was my favorite Mother’s Day so far. There were no expectations, no agenda for the day, no pressure. I loved it!

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Society has placed a grossly false stereotype on single motherhood. (More specifically, single black motherhood). We aren’t all surviving on welfare with six kids in the projects while our baby daddy is locked up. That is just a plain wrong viewpoint to put on all single black mothers. I know that is true for a small percentage but it’s not my story.

God has truly blessed me to have a mindset of gratitude. Although it isn’t easy to maintain especially when I see so much of what could be considered greener grass. When I first became single I was envious of the friends whose marriages and families were still holding together. At times I felt that there was something wrong with me for not sticking it out. And of course I worried about the effects of Lily growing up with divorced parents. I mean, come on, Christians don’t get divorced!!!

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Fast forward to now when I’m in a place where I have come to terms with my marriage ending. Yes, there was something wrong with me; with Terry; with our friends; with the world. That something is sin. I could have stayed but I didn’t. We were two sinful people who wouldn’t step out of the comfort of our selfishness to allow God to orchestrate the structure of our marriage.

So here I am, a single mother.

Let’s go back to God blessing me with a mindset of gratitude. I love my life! I love that God moves through and all around me everyday to constantly show me all that I have to be grateful for. The most important being my daughter. I know it sounds unbelievable but being a mother (and a single mother) is fun. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I love my child.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Not that raising Lily is a slice of cherry pie a la mode. Motherhood requires much of me on a daily basis. Loving my child means I actively stay present in her life. It means that I allow her the space to grow as an individual with a strong personality, feelings, and opinions. It means that I guide and discipline her with compassion and understanding.

Discipline usually isn’t associated with compassion but that’s what it is. To let a child live in an environment where they don’t receive proper structure and direction is reckless. Children need to be taught how to function as upstanding citizens in the world. At times these lessons are not easy to teach. Occasionally I find myself irritated or upset because Lily behaved in such a way that warranted correction when I really just wanted her to “be good” so she wouldn’t get in trouble. In reality what I’m saying is Lily’s undesirable behavior is an inconvenience to my wishes for her to always be pleasant and obedient.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Unrealistic standards for anyone! Much more so for a five year old. She’s an imperfect person. Inevitably she will not follow my directions. She will break something when I told her not to touch it. She will throw a fit because I said she couldn’t watch tv. She will have to be told repeatedly to pick up her toys. And I will have to deal with each situation accordingly. That is my job as a parent. I would be doing Lily a grave disservice to overlook or ignore times when she needed correction because I just didn’t want to deal with doling out consequences. Being a good parent isn’t about  I want it’s about what Lily needs.

Also, speaking of “discipline” that leads me to another stereotype for Black America.

Black people do love their children. We hug and kiss them, play with them, read to them, help them with their homework, take care of them. We don’t spend all day giving them spankings, whoopings, beatings or whatever you call it.

There is a very good chance that being a single mother is not at all what you think. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother's Day and every other day of the year.

Ok… Back on topic… For me being a single mother means accepting, with joy, the responsibility of stewardship over my daughter’s life as she, God willing, grows into adulthood. How dare I not cherish every moment that God blesses me to have with her! Now pause to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re single or married, black or white, male or female, to make that lifestyle choice.

Choices. Isn’t that what it breaks down to? You as a person have the choice to live however you want. Just keep in mind there are rewards or consequences for everything. I choose to love my life. My single mother life.

Thank you so much for reading! If you liked this, there’s a whole lot more where it came from! Subscribe to the blog and stay connected to My City Adventures.

What God taught me in 2016 is that faith in Him brings light to the darkest of days. Here's how God's extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

How God Carried Me Through 2016 with Extraordinary Love and Grace

Cheers to 2017! Also, as of January 1st, I’ve been a blogger for three years! Everyday I am so amazed and excited at all the richness that blogging brings to my life. What amazes me even more is how blessed I am, by God, to do what I love. Last year was full of growth, challenges, love, and lots of beautiful moments. It seems like a cliché to say that 2016 had its ups and downs, but it did. However, with the roller coaster that it was, I learned that faith in God can bring light on the darkest of days. Here’s how God’s extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016.

Out with the Old

The year started off with me seeking a new church to call home. After moving across town in 2014, it became a struggle to keep up regular attendance at my former church. I choose to use public transportation so the commute was increasingly hard to keep up. Sadly I realized it was time to move on. Leaving the church I loved and all the meaningful relationships I had formed with fellow brothers and sisters in God was heartbreaking. The time I spent there was a groundbreaking part of my life as a bible based follower of Jesus Christ. I miss them.

Without the security blanket of constant love and fellowship from my old church, feelings of loneliness, resentment, and anger began to form. Loneliness because I needed people in my life who I felt truly loved and cared about me but had lost that. Anger because I thought that it should have been easier to keep up those connections when it wasn’t. Resentment because of the season of life I was in at the time which caused to have to move. In 2014, I separated from my husband of four years.

Terry and I got married in 2010. The foundation for our marriage wasn’t as good and strong as it should have been but we managed to make it work. I gave birth to Lilyanna in 2012, which, as it should have, completely changed my life. And my way of thinking. Terry and I both had fierce tempers. Our arguments were mentally and physically abusive. Eventually we sought counseling and things got better. But not for long. After Lily was born I began to think about how I conducted myself as a woman, wife, and mother would affect her.

Then, with the fighting already too much to handle, Terry told me he had cheated on me. This revelation left me devastated. We ended up separating that spring. It just so happened that the lease for the house we were living in was also set to end that summer. At the time I was a stay at home wife and mother. I had no income of my own. I no longer had a husband to support me. And soon I and my daughter would have no place to live.

Finding Comfort in the Word of God

Matthew 6:31-33. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Those words had never rang truer for me. My church family really came through during that extremely difficult time. They rallied behind me, helped me get a job, provided counseling, and were just plain and simple a wonderful support system. Not to say that I didn’t worry because I did. But God certainly used all that to show me that everything in my life works according to His will and in His time. I started my new job just in time to afford a deposit and first month’s rent. In August of 2014, I became a full-time working mom with a job outside of the home for the first time in a little over two years. 

Fast forward to 2015. After several months of still being married yet living life as a single parent I learned a few things. I learned that the fear of being stigmatized as a “divorced Christian” was not worth the trauma I had subjected myself to. I learned that in order for me to really be committed to having a successful marriage I would have to let go of demanding that things go my way. (This may seem like a forgone conclusion but you’d be surprised at the things that being married will show about your natural inclinations.)

I learned that through God, I can do amazing things. I went into marriage with the belief that I would fight and stick it out, no matter what. Marriage is for life. Period. However, as I grew a woman, I realized that the circumstances rendered me unable to thrive as the wife and mother. I know I could have stayed. God had certainly given me enough strength to endure. But what existence would it have been to merely survive being married? Instead, I had to let go of my ideals of what marriage should look like and trust God in leaving a broken and abusive relationship. I had to trust God that I would be okay even though I had no idea how.

Starting a New Chapter

I Thessalonians 5: 16-18. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I got plenty of experience at learning the art of contentment with where I was in life. Not just content, as in satisfied, but happy. Back then, I felt as though I shouldn’t feel happiness considering what I was going through. Being Happy is still a situational juxtaposition I grapple with at times. But I didn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead I sought the good out of my circumstances. I found joy and peace in living in a home where I was safe. My daughter now had a mother who was able to live out the best her possible everyday. I continued to take pride and excitement in my hometown.

Thankfully I had moved to a wonderful neighborhood in which I slowly began to grow new roots. For the first time in my life, I became friends with my neighbors! And I found a new church body of believers. Most important of all, I received continuous lessons in trusting God for everything that I needed.

The change of atmosphere in my home was immediate. The air of tension and anxiety was gone. My focus shifted from being ready for whatever battle might arise to enjoying my home life. Lilyanna may not have known exactly what was going on between Terry and me but I could tell she noticed the change too. She adjusted well to life without a two parent household. Our relationship as mother and daughter was also refined as I became the sole provider of the household. Being responsible for the first and most important example Lilyanna has of womanhood is something I take quite seriously.

Terry and I managed to get on good terms with each other for Lilyanna’s sake. Which was and is a huge blessing. I was also in counseling for guidance on this transitional phase. On one hand, divorce was a serious consideration. On the other hand, reconciliation with my husband wasn’t out of the question. My former beliefs on an ideal marriage still had a strong place in my heart. After time in prayer and meditation, bible studies, and counsel; I reconnected with my husband.

Change Is Good

Unfortunately neither of us could have foreseen how much we would change and grow in opposite directions during our time apart. I wasn’t the same person as a year earlier. I had come to a place in which I knew that my life could still be meaningful, valid, and fruitful without the coveted titles that society made me believe I should work to keep. Wife. Stay at Home Mother. I knew that God wouldn’t cast me away if I wasn’t married to Terry. Our life as husband and wife went downhill once again. The old yet familiar destructive patterns resurfaced and I discovered he had been unfaithful again. The difference this time was that there would be no period of reconciling our marriage. I am no longer the kind of woman who will accept being abused, cheated on, and undervalued.

Throughout my days of being a blogger I have always loved sharing my stories of adventures in Kansas City. Hence, the name Kiara Loves KC. However I began to long for exploration outside of the norm. Halfway through 2016, I started thinking of ways I could join writing about other cities and places with a blog dedicated to Kansas City. The answer was I could but it wouldn’t make much sense. In November of 2016, I re-branded as My City Adventures.

Blogging is a great passion of mine but it isn’t always easy. I sometimes struggle with comparing my blogging to someone else’s who I admire. But again, as with many areas of my life, I have learned that I am enough. There are and will always be bloggers who could be deemed better than me. I can’t blog with them in mind. Comparing myself to others won’t do anything except cause me to downgrade my ability as a writer and photographer. All I can do is produce the best work I possibly can.

One fact remained constant in 2016. My life would not be what it is without God. In all the good, bad, and ugly that transpired God showed me that my life is in His control. I am so appreciative of who I am and how God is transforming me. I love the new friendships that are forming at my new church. I’m grateful for the relationship Lilyanna has with her father and I cherish every single special moment I have with her. The opportunities that blogging and photography will bring in 2017 are thrilling. Through God’s amazing love and grace I can and will thrive!

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My Reason for Blogging

If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while you may have noticed my recent going back and forth on my bio. “Capturing the amazing life Kansas City has to offer” and “You don’t have to be rich to live an amazing life” My blog and photo style have changed several times over the past 2 years, just like I have, but my reason for blogging has not.

As I continue to grow in blogging I want to make sure that reason is clear.
I started blogging as a way to show gratitude for the life God has blessed me to live. A life where I have always had everything I needed, most of what I wanted, and so much more than I deserved. All without being “rich”.

My blogging and photography styles have changed many times over the years. As have I. Yet, my reason for blogging has always remained the same.
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So while I am capturing life in Kansas City, the fact that my life is filled with things anyone could have, do, or see is a more important message. When I say you don’t have to be rich to live an amazing life it’s because I am not rich yet my life is an amazing gift from God.

Through faith I have learned how to survive and thrive with what I have. Every post and photo I share is my story of God’s amazing blessings in my life.

As always, thank you for reading! Please sign up for our Kansas City adventures and special subscriber-only giveaways.  You can also stay connected with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Gospel According to Batman v Superman

“By this gospel you are saved…that Superman died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Lois Lane, and then to the Justice League. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the citizens of Metropolis at the same time…” I Batman v Superman 1:1

The purpose of this review of Batman v Superman as written is to express my thoughts on how the word of God is dangerously warped through seemingly harmless entertainment films and television.

Disclosure: I was able to view and give a review for Batman v Superman thanks to Union Station’s Extreme Screen Theatre.

Warning: If you have not seen Batman v Superman yet, stop reading now! Buy your tickets, watch the movie, then come back.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (I John 1:1-5)

Let’s Start at Superman’s Beginning with Man of Steel

The planet Krypton faced imminent destruction as a result of an unstable core caused by depleted natural resources which were mishandled by its inhabitants. Krypton’s military commander, General Zod, and his followers initiated a coup d’état and deposed the ruling council. The rebellion was stopped, and the council convicted Zod and his followers of treason, exiling them to captivity in the Phantom Zone. They were indirectly freed from captivity when Krypton exploded.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. (Revelation 12:7-13)

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Meanwhile, Scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara celebrated the birth of their son, Kal-El – the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries. In response to the impending doom, Jor-El infused Kal-El’s cells with a genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race and put Kal-El on a spacecraft to Earth. General Zod fought and killed Jor-El but failed to retrieve the codex. Kal-El’s ship landed in the Kansas town of Smallville. He was adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark. Clark’s Kryptonian physiology and the Earth’s sun gave him superhuman abilities.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) (Matthew 1:22-23)

Growing Up As Superman

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When Clark became a teenager he learned the extraterrestrial nature of his super capabilities. Fearing his social rejection, Jonathan advised Clark not to use his powers in public. After Jonathan’s death, Clark worked odd jobs while traveling frequently. He performed good deeds which gained him the reputation of a hero.

Clark infiltrated a U.S. military investigation of the Kryptonian scout spaceship that brought him to Earth. He boarded the ship carrying a Kryptonian “control-key”. The key gave him a glimpse of the spirit of Jor-El, who explained Clark’s origins and the extinction of his race. He also told Clark he was sent to Earth to save mankind and give them hope.

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General Zod and his crew sought out other worlds colonized by the Kryptonian race. They eventually detected a signal coming from the scout ship Clark discovered on Earth. Believing Kal-El had the codex, Zod arrived and threatened to destroy Earth unless Kal-El surrendered. Clark accepted, and the military handed him over.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

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Zod deployed and initiated a world engine to transform Earth into a new Krypton. Given the title “Superman” by U.S. military forces, Clark destroyed the world engine. The military then crashed Kal-El’s spacecraft into Zod’s ship, sending it back into the Phantom Zone along with Zod’s crew. To conceal his identity, Superman started work for the Daily Planet under his adopted name Clark Kent.

The Passion Story of the Superman

Batman v Superman begins in the aftermath of the destructive battle between General Zod and Superman. Superman has become a controversial figure, as the world which once considered him a savior now holds him accountable for the casualties that resulted from the fight.

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The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13)

Unfortunately, the praise the people lavished on Jesus was not because they recognized Him as their Savior from sin. They welcomed Him out of their desire for someone who would lead them in a revolt against Rome. But when He failed in their expectations the crowds quickly turned on Him. Within just a few days, those who hailed Him as a hero would soon reject and abandon Him. (Commentary from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem)

LexCorp’s mogul Lex Luthor also saw Superman as a threat and attempted to convince Senator June Finch to help him recover kryptonite from Zod’s failed terraforming venture. Finch later blocked Luthor’s efforts to use Zod’s DNA and the Kryptonian scout ship recovered from the battle to create a biological weapon. On the flip side, Superman, in his public identity as Daily Planet journalist Clark Kent, saw Bruce Wayne, who had covertly operated in Gotham City as vigilante Batman for nearly two decades, as dangerous and sought to expose him.

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Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)

Later, Finch summoned Superman to a Congressional hearing at the U.S. Capitol to debate the validity of his actions. There, Luthor planted a bomb that killed dozens more people, including Finch. The public blamed the bombing on Superman, who went into self-imposed exile.

And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. (Mark 14:53-55)

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Superman confronted Luthor, who unleashed Doomsday, a genetically-engineered creature made with Kryptonian technology. Superman and Batman joined forces to fight the monster with the aid of Prince, but were outmatched due to the creature’s ability to absorb and redirect energy. Realizing that their shared Kryptonian DNA resulted in shared vulnerabilities, Superman used a kryptonite spear, made by Batman, to impale the creature. Simultaneously, the creature stabbed Superman with his bone protrusions, killing him.

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But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

After Luthor’s imprisonment a memorial was held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark was also declared dead and his family and friends attended a private funeral for him in Smallville. Later, a faint heartbeat begins echoing from Clark’s grave and the dirt around it began to levitate, revealing that Superman is alive.

The Gospel According to Batman v Superman

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:45-47)

What do you think? What are you thoughts on stories from the Bible being used in Hollywood entertainment? Express yourself in the comments below.

Thirty for 30th Birthday

Years ago I walked past a Jimmy John’s (of all places) and noticed a poster on the wall. “50 Things I Learned By the Time I Was 50”. I stood there long enough to read through the list twice. It was such a novel idea that it has stuck with me ever since. So, now, as I get ready for my 30th birthday I want to share 30 things I’ve learned.

Who knows? This may inspire you to reflect on what lessons life has taught you.

Thirty for 30th Birthday

1. I can no longer place the blame for what’s wrong with me solely on my parents. Okay, they didn’t hug me enough. Boo hoo.

2. Friends come and go…true. But some stay. Cherish those lifelong friendships.

3. It’s alright to acknowledge I’m not quite sure what I want to do with my life.

4. Amazing things WILL happen when I actually do put my faith in God.

5. Connecting with yourself as an individual is important. Enjoy some ‘by yourself’ time. Go to a movie by yourself. Eat at a restaurant by yourself. Go on a vacation by yourself.

6. Women, don’t underestimate the rewards of being ladylike; quiet; polite; well mannered.

7. Leaders should know how to follow and followers should know how to lead.

8. I’ve never liked the expression ‘I would die for you’. I think it’s much better to live for someone.

9. After a certain age, let’s say 20, unless you’re getting paid professionally, you should not be fighting.

10. I am learning to change my expectations. Because life isn’t all about what I want.

11. Show your children just how special they are to you.

12. I am not rich. I have to budget my money.

13. The events of my life actually did occur even if they weren’t posted on Facebook.

14. When I don’t know what to do the best thing I can do is stop and pray.

15. Pride kills. Forgiveness is crucial to the survival of a relationship.

16. Do you ever notice those people who live next door to you? They’re called neighbors. Try getting to know them.

17. Always have a firm handshake. 

18. You can have one great passion or several. Either way find something that excites you; something you can do to make a positive difference.

19. The saying you are what you eat is true. So you should know what you’re made of.

20. Say I love you, A LOT!!! And mean it.

21. If you miss someone, call them.

22. Everything in your home should have its place. If it doesn’t, you don’t need it. Give it away.

23. If you have the opportunity, stay at home with your children. That time I had with my daughter was one of the greatest, most priceless gifts God has given me.

24. What I know and how much I know is far less important than what I do with the knowledge I’ve acquired.

25. Let go of what you think others will think of you. You most likely will be wrong.

26. Words are powerful. Choose them wisely. Use them carefully. Or suffer the consequences.

27. Everyone desires to travel more and they should. Venturing to different places and seeing new sights is an awesome way to gain a greater appreciation for God’s glory throughout the world.

28. Don’t be so proud that you refuse to ask for help. The day may come when yoy are forced to accept it.

29. Whether I say yes or no, I do my best to keep my word. It’s scary and at times burdensome but it’s good to have people know they can depend on me.

30. With all that I know, I know that I really don’t know anything at all.

If you were born in 1985 you’re in good company! Check out this list of things that turned 30 in 2015! The Kansas City Royals are on the list!

What good advice have you gained throughout the years? Leave a comment below!