choice

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!

I was 17, walking from the girls bathroom to my Geology class during passing period.  I had an extra spring in my step that day – I looked so cute!  I’ll never forget the grey shirt with black velvety stripes, the black pleated skirt ala Britney Spears coupled with my new patterned opaque tights and Mary Jane shoes.  I spotted a couple of girls at their lockers looking as cute as me; but my boobs were bigger and my waist smaller and I thought to myself, “I look way better!” No sooner was I seated at my lab table then the Swedish exchange student walked over to me and said, “Kala…” he didn't have to finish his sentence.  I knew immediately that I had walked down the hallway with my skirt tucked into the back of my tights and I was completely mortified!  As a teenager I cringed at the event, as an adult I realize the lesson I was being taught.  I wasn't better.

“Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:26 (New Living Translation)

More and more employers have put an emphasis on teamwork in the workplace, leaving little room for those who do not play nice with others.  I recently transferred into and new job and replaced someone who was great.  While it’s easier to find the things that he did poorly and showcase MY strengths, the real challenge is focusing on his wins and reminding myself that I am building upon that.

My way, his way… neither is better or worse.  We lead differently plain and simple, we have a different approach to business, training and communication.  I'm certain that I will be able to take my job to another level, I am also certain that a great leader can step away to let another shine; and for that I'm grateful for this chance.

“Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (New Living Translation)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for the talents you have given me.  Help me to recognize when I am being selfish and when I’m frustrated, show me the bigger picture so that I can move on.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

  My family tells me I was born a 30 year old woman; that I've always been wise beyond my years.  When I was in grade school, my best friend wanted to sleep over for a third night in a row.  Most kids would jump at the idea!  I, on the other hand, told her that it would be best if didn't so that we wouldn't get sick of each other.  At the ripe age of 10 I told her that it had already happened to me before and I didn't want it to happen again.  That was the beginning of me trying to make well informed and wise decisions.

As adults we make hundreds of choices a week.  What kind of coffee am I having today?  Will I donate gifts or money this year?  Should I tell her that her eyeliner is smudged?  Choices are part of our daily routines.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13-18 (New International Version)

As the holiday season comes to a close, I encourage you speak in love and be humble about the choices you make. Even those of us with outgoing personalities do not need to broadcast every decision we make using every media forum available.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for blessing me this holiday season.  Give me the opportunity to share your love and show your light through my words and daily choices.

Embrace Each Season of Your Life

Fall is in the air, and a new season has begun.  Here in Southeast Texas where I live, we are elated that we have survived the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and love bugs that accompany the long days of summer.  I passed a perfect stranger going into the grocery store the other day who paused to say:  “Isn’t this weather great!  I’m so glad summer is over!” The stranger’s statement made me think of our journey through life.  Just as Mother Nature takes us through different seasons with each one having its own distinct features,  so does life.

Take a stroll with me as I share the road I have traveled through different seasons of my life.  Perhaps you can relate.

  1. Sweet 16:  My first memory of anxiously waiting for a specific season to arrive - -a time for drivers license, and the awesome privilege of driving around town on Friday night.
  2. Twenty One:  College graduation, marriage, along with laundry, cooking, working 9-5, and attempts to hold onto the dating life we once enjoyed.
  3. Twenty seven:  The beginning of babies and diapers, which led into school, homework, carpools, ballgames, spend-the night-parties, fun times, crying times, proms, dating, college, weddings.  Whew!
  4. Grandchildren:  A time to relax and play, and not have to pay the bills.
  5. Aging Parent:  Sandwiched in between children, grandchildren, and aging parents, I now have the choice of pushing a baby stroller or a walker at any given time of the day.

Yes, I have reached the age where I have passed through many seasons along my  journey of life.  Many of those seasons were filled with much joy.  However, there have been many seasons throughout my journey that were filled with heartaches, which tested my faith.  Those are the ones I wanted over and done with just as quickly as I wanted the long summer days of heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and love bugs to end.

But, as I reflect back on my journey, if there is one thing that I have learned, it is this:

Embrace each season that life finds you in and know that God works all things for good.  It is within each season that we learn and grow or remain stuck, complaining about the pests that have invaded our life.

It is our choice which road we take

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  [Ecclesiastes 3:1]

Mood Lighting

Recently we were going to have a rather large get together in our home and I was a bit worried about how some of the guests would get along. Since the event was at our home I felt a little bold and resolved that since it was at my home it was up to me to set the mood. I was determined that as much as it was up to me I would include everyone. I wanted a spirit of unity among all of these beautiful people that I love so much. Thankfully that is how the night went. Something shifted in my thinking after that. The lighting of a room can set the mood, but the light in the room can shift the atmosphere. Two scriptures come to mind for me

Romans 8

12Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

Eph 6

12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

None of us has the ability to control another person but we do have the choice of what we will agree with. I want what I bring into every situation to be in agreement with what God is wanting me to do. Without a doubt His heart for me is to show His love, His compassion, His grace and mercy. When I bring that atmosphere with me into any situation it can only brighten things up.

This new way of thinking has allowed me to really take notice of whats going on around me. If the mood is yuck I want to shine the opposite in the room. Bringing hope to the hopeless, comfort to the hurting, peace to the weary. The last thing I want to do is go into a room full of worry and agree with it. No I acknowledge it's there and consciously choose not to agree with it but ask God what He wants shining in the middle of it.  I only want to partner with what He is wanting to do not add to any negative mood that's there.

 

Do you find yourself taking on negative attitudes easily?

Consider asking God about those ideas before adopting them as your own.

 

God,

Thank you for your wisdom in this area.

Amen

 

 

Love is a Choice, not a Feeling

Take a stroll with me into the life of a busy woman.

  • It's 6 A.M. The alarm clock goes off. Do you feel like getting out of bed?
  • It's 7:30 A.M. Do you feel like going to work in all that rush hour traffic?
  • It's 5 P.M. You've had a hard day at work. Do you feel like coming home and preparing a meal for your family?
  • It's 9 o'clock P.M. Your child says: "Mommy, I need you to bake 2 dozen cookies for the bake sale at school tomorrow." Do you feel like baking at 9 o'clock at night?

If you're like me, you answered "no" to each of those questions. I think we all agree that we have to do a lot of things we really don't feel like doing. There's one more "feeling" question that I'd like to ask you. It's plagued my mind lately.

Do you feel like loving that person that is so unlovable?

I confess that I find it easier to work from 9-5 and bake cookies late at night than to love someone that just rubs me the wrong way. You know the kind of person I'm talking about. They're loud, they talk too much, and they're sort of rude and down right obnoxious.

Recently, as I was pondering my feelings about how to love those kinds of people, I was brought back to an old hymn of the church that describes that fateful but victorious day in the life of Jesus. As you read these short verses, try to picture the scene in your mind as it's happening.

They bound the hands of Jesus in the Garden where He prayed.

They led Him through the streets in shame.

They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin.

They said, "Crucify Him, He's to blame."

Upon his precious head they placed a crown of thorns.

They laughed and said, "Behold the King!"

They struck Him and they cursed Him and mocked His holy name. All alone, He suffered everything.

Whey they nailed Him to the cross, His mother stood nearby as He said, "Woman, behold they son!"

He cried, "I thirst for water," but they gave Him none to drink. Then the sinful work of man was done.

To the howling mob He yielded; He did not for mercy cry. The cross of shame He took alone.

And when He cried, "It's finished," He gave Himself to die. Salvation's wondrous plan was done. He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set Him free. He could have called ten thousand angels, But He died alone, for you and me.

Aren't you glad that He said "NO" to his feelings that day and

didn't call angels to save Him. But He chose to love us just the way we are.

Empanadas: A Mexican Tradition

An empanada is basically a turnover. They are a classic item in the Hispanic culture and can be sweet or savory. Fillings range from fruit to meat and are a part of the holidays as well as a regular menu item in many Hispanic kitchens. Our granddaughter Ava is fortunate to have both German and Mexican heritage and we spent an afternoon keeping her connected with her 'latina side' by preparing empanadas to leave for Santa. The original recipe came from my Aunt Mercy's kitchen and I adapted it to decrease the fat content. I'm giving you both recipes so you can choose the one that best suites your taste.

Ingredients:

All Purpose flour

cream cheese

butter

cinnamon, sugar mix

your choice of fruit filling

Mercy's Marvelous Empanadas

(makes about 6 dz. mini-empanadas)

4c flour

8 oz. cream cheese

4 sticks butter or margarine

 

Yvonne's Less Fatty Empanadas

(makes about 3 dz mini-empanadas)

2c flour

1/2 c reduced fat cream cheese

1 stick butter

In a bowl, blend room-temperature cream cheese and butter together until well mixed. Next, add flour, about 1/2c  at a time until you've used all the flour. Refrigerate for 2 hours. ( This is imperative with the original recipe. It will be sticky and hard to work with if you don't refrigerate.)

Flour the rolling pin and roll the dough out like a pie crust. The stem of a wine glass made it easy for little hands

to help with the work.

 Spoon the filling ( about 1 t for a 4-5in. circle) in the center then fold over and use a fork to seal edges.( We used pineapple filling.) I recommend  you brush the bottom edge with a little water to help the dough stick and prevent bursting open when heated.

 Place in the oven @  350 ˚for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle

with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a perfect place to get to know each other better or iron out differences. We can share family history, build memories and if we allow ourselves, in the midst of mouth-watering aromas, make ourselves vulnerable to one another, leaving a Fingerprint in each others lives.

Coats, Boots & Sparkle! A Coat-aholics Favorite Addictions

Last year, I painfully admitted I was a coat-aholic.  This year, I must admit that therapy didn’t work and my addiction is worse than ever!  As my closet expands with coats, cardigan, long knits, crop, and you name it, outerwear seems to take up most of the real estate.   As I plan my outfit every day, I begin with which coat I'll wear and then build my outfit from there.  Often times, after the coat of choice is chosen along with the normal jean, my go-to boots always fall into place.  If you know me at all, you know that fall is my favorite time of year. So without further ado, here are my favorite fall pieces – coats, boots and sparkle!  

Being the classic girl that I am, my #1 favorite coat is the trench coat.  Although I have several novelty trenches in several different colors, my ultimate dream trench coat is the classic Burberry Trench that's been a staple for over 100 years!  So, if any of you are wondering what Christmas gift to buy me...

 

These coats have been paired with two of the hottest trends this season; the Mad Men's 50's cut with the tangerine color.  This hot, summer-esqu color is not going away anytime soon and itt's just been named the 2012 color of the year by Pantone, Tangerine Tango.

 

The poncho trend also popped up this summer and is still going strong.  Fun & elegant all in one!

The maxi coat is another one of my favorites. If I lived in a land that had a real winter, I would live in this coat!  This floor length style transitioned from summer skirts to winter coats seamlessly.

Ankle boots continue to be fashion staples, but I must admit they took a while to grow on me.  Now, however, I'm searching feverishly for the perfect ankle boot to add to my closet!  This red suede is perfect for the holidays and adds the perfect pop of color to our fall wardrobe.

Lace-ups, lace-ups, lace-ups!  This style was all over the runway and can be worn in knee high, calf, or ankle boots.  It's a touch of edgy that every girl needs.

Suede made the top fashion trend for fall 2011 in everything from boots to purses. For 2012, this fabric is still going strong!  As with any trend, everything comes back around in about 10 years so investing in some great suede boots will bring you pleasure this year and in years to come.

The riding boot has always been popular with the equestrian crowd, but the fashionistas have taken them to the main stream.  These boots were my go-to everyday while I was pregnant. I have to admit that the practical yet stylish boots have become one of my all-time favorites!

Finally, the holiday season wouldn't be complete without a little sparkle!  Adding shimmer to the eyes and playing up eyelashes with extensions make you stand out in the crowd at holiday parties.  For those that tend to shun the sparkle, be a little daring during the holidays. I promise you wont' regret it!

An easy way to add sparkle is to put on a great polish to your normally buffed nails.  I know what your thinking, 'nail polish doesn't stay on.'  True, but for a great party and all those pictures you'll be taking Christmas morning, it's worth having a little sparkle that's easy to take off when necessary.

So, to all my fellow coat-aholics, boot lovers and sparklers, enjoy the fall season wearing all your favorite addictions! And share with us your deepest, darkest fashion dependencies!

One of my favorite coats in my closet!

This spectacular coat was found in Dallas at a designer consignment shop and a good friend told my husband how much I loved it!  Christmas 2009 was a good year!  I love the bustle on the back and the mandarin collar.  When people ask me what kind of coat it is, I feel like I'm on the red carpet as I reply, "Vintage Chloe".  Yummy!

Dinner For One - The Ultimate Guest

Getting ready for a dinner party can be quite exhausting at times even for the hostess with the mostess.  Planning the menu from appetizers to dessert, drinks, entertainment, and of course, the table setting that always acts as your center piece is quite a check lists before your guests arrive.  But sometimes, dinner for just one special person can be even more of a stressor simply because that one is so important they’re the only one on the guest list. As a single girl, there were many time my ‘plus one’ for dinner was just simply My Heavenly Father; lots of times it wasn’t even by choice.  Whether it was dinner or breakfast, I soon realized those one-one-one dates not only became the best dates ever, but were used as a tool to show me how a real man should wine & dine me.  God, who is the ultimate gentlemen in every way, spoke to my heart lovingly showing me how valuable I was and always pulled out the chair for me (in a matter of speaking)!  His conversations were intriguing, he listened intently without having one eye on the television and He never forgot what I had told him.  I quickly learned to look forward to our dinner dates and always gave my best to Him.

During those sweet dinners with that special one, He molded me into a wife that was worth finding, too, as I learned to respect Him, love Him, submit to Him and obey His word.  It wasn’t all about my needs after all; it was about the journey to Him and Him shaping me into the Woman He had and has created me to be.  I can’t imagine where I would be without those special dates with that one very special guest where I learned so much about life and His plan for mine.

Even today, I still have those one-on-ones, but they look more like early morning coffee dates.  And even though they’re still sweet, tender moments, nothing will ever compare to the moments when there were no other distractions that only singleness provides.  No matter what the circumstance though, having Jesus as your own personal ‘plus one’ is ultimately the best date you will ever have!  Simply stated, He is the best Dinner for One you will ever plan for!

 

More Reading:

For more on single living, order Heather’s book, “Now, While You Are Single” by emailing created@createdwoman.net.

Next Level Fitness- Part 3

After strengthening your core and then balancing the amount of aerobic/anaerobic training, supporting your body nutritionally is the next best way to take your fitness to the next level. The first choice is to listen to your Mom, and eat at least 5 servings of veggies and fruit, (preferably organic) eat lean and clean protein, moderate complex carbohydrates and minimal sugar. The less processed, fried and fast foods, the better. Due to depleted soils, it’s a good idea to supplement. For performance, my top 3 recommendations are B complex, vitamin C, and Co Enzyme Q 10.  

B Complex- The B vitamins are extremely important in many, many reactions in the body. You need these for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism (and alcohol, too) as well as for energy production. Seriously, need I say more? The list is so long and I cannot over emphasize how important the B vits are. Make sure the label has all of these: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, biotin and folate listed on the label.

 

Vitamin C: First of all, vitamin C is a great antioxidant. If you are an aerobic junkie or training for a marathon, then that is reason enough to take 1 gram of vitamin C per day. It gets even better, though! This lovely vitamin is important in enzyme activation, nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and tone…. Need I say more? Go eat an orange and buy a quality vitamin C product for daily love for your body.

 

Co Enzyme Q 10: Critical for energy production in our cells, this powerhouse molecule is another great addition for fitness training. Actually, the way that is works makes it great for health as well, providing protection for the heart with it’s energy producing capacity. Can you even believe that it’s a great anti-oxidant as well? True, very true.

 

It’s a great idea to ask your healthcare provider- MD, DC, pharmacist, or RD about the amounts just right for you. Getting a nutrition consult to assess your protein, calorie and nutrient needs for your fitness training is a great way to take your fitness to the next level. If you are in Austin, make an appointment with me, and I’ll be happy to go over these topics on a one on one basis. I could on with more recommendations, but this is a blog, so I’ll stop here… J

FREE Refreshing Orange Slice Creative Commons

Next Level Fitness

Take your fitness to the next level, no matter what your physical activity of choice may be. Today I begin a 3 part series with practical tips that are easy to incorporate into your life and current regimen. First things first- start with your core.

Now that yoga and Pilates have made it to the mainstream fitness scene to stay, core work is getting more attention, which is fantastic. It is critical for an overall health emphasis to incorporate core work for both injury prevention and stabilizing your spine.

It’s easy. First, you can engage your core in whatever activity you do, including walking, cycling, golf, dancing, and running. Simply draw your belly button towards your spinal cord. You can even do this while you sit at your computer! Feel your posture improve as your elongate your torso. Add to this a conscience relaxation of the shoulders- away from your ears- down and slightly back. Last, gently draw your shoulders back a little while you keep your belly button towards your spinal cord. Take a nice breath in from your diaphragm instead of your abdomen, (from your lungs instead of your tummy). Don’t skimp with shallow breathing- try 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out. This will optimize lung function.  Keep this posture and breathing pattern for 1-3 minutes once per hour if you work at your computer, and as long as possible with whatever exercise routine you do.

When doing abdominal exercises like crunches or sit-ups, it’s very important to be sure your core is engaged. Follow the above steps before starting any abdominal work to ensure that you are working towards a flat tummy. If your core is not engaged, you can actually work a “pooch” instead of a flat belly! So, instead of getting all fancy with leg lifts and such, concentrate on engaging your core and master that before progressing.

The best way to add core work to your current routine is to begin with the “Plank” and the “Bridge.” They are easy and very effective when done properly. If you have any pain with these exercises, definitely hold off and ask your doctor of chiropractic or medical doctor before continuing. Here are videos that have good demonstrations.

Plank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQmRINu4jU

Bridge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOPkM2pzznc

If you don’t have a work out routine, consider simply walking 10 minutes per day and doing the plank and bridge. In less than 15 minutes per day, you could really jump start your health and well-being!