everything

Living Single: What Every Single Girl Hears

I am wholeheartedly a Friends fan and I watch reruns anytime I can!  I love the show, have been an enthusiast since the very beginning and cried like a baby on the series finale!  I felt like I was losing my friends!  Of course, everyone has their favorite character on the show and mine is Rachel Green.  I love everything about her; her look, her style, just everything! But it was Monica who that had so many endearing qualities that were only magnified by her OCD tendencies.  It’s what made her a great friend.  She found joy in cleaning not only her apartment, but others as well!  Something that I’ll never be able to identify with.  In one particular episode we were able to get a glimpse into what sparked that quirkiness by seeing some of her inner struggles she faced with her parents.  I forget exactly the circumstances, but apparently Monica made some kind of mistake that provoked her parents to ask, “Did you pull a Monica?” which really meant, “Did you mess up or do something really stupid?” That really irritated Monica, as it would anyone who had been forced to endure the same question since childhood.  It definitely didn’t offer any encouragement to say the least!

But as in all thirty-minute sitcoms, all was resolved quickly when Phoebe was able to change Monica’s perspective by showing her how “pulling a Monica” could be positive phrase instead of negative one.  Phoebe told her one day when people won a Nobel Peace Prize people would say they “pulled a Monica” because what they did was so good. Phoebe was able to take a phrase that was meant to be negative and turn it into one that became encouraging and sought after!

Living Single

I think that’s how a lot of single women feel when they hear the phrase “living single.” It has become a negative phrase in certain circles that no one wants to any association with. Well, I beg to differ and dare to show you how living single is a lifestyle that every single woman should feel proud of and embrace. Being single offers us the opportunity to unselfishly be selfish by focusing on our dreams and goals without interruption.  “Living single” means that we are brave, confident women who dare to take life by its reigns courageously embracing all that it has to offer.  Single life is a life that should be lived in the limelight, shining brightly as our successes and failures lead those around us to become the women we were created to be.  As single women, we are the envy of other women when we’re able to take a little longer shopping at the mall, have a girl’s night out without permission, or simply sit in our jammies all day sipping coffee and reading a book while the dishes sit in the sink.  “Living single” has the perks that “Living double” does not.

So now when we hear that someone is “living single,” we’ll all know that person has the opportunity to pursue their dreams with passion and gusto without interruption.  The world will know without a doubt that you, as a single woman, have a life that is yours completely and is only concerned about the affairs of her Father.  What an amazing privilege that is to have!  So single ladies, “pull a Monica” and embrace the phrase "living single" as one that has worth, destiny, envy and privilege. “Live single” with your head held high!

I Corinthians 7:32
I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master.

[title subtitle="Get Your Copy of Heather's Book"]Now, While You Are Single[/title]

Now, While You Are Single
Walking Out Your Purpose Before You Say “I Do”
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Now, While You Are Single is a practical guide to help women discover and embrace their true identity in Christ through a journey of healing, ultimately revealing God's purpose and plan for their life while they are single.

CW-front-cover

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.

Seeing is Believing....AFTER You're Obedient

  "For the word of the Lord holds true and we can trust everything he does,"

Psalm 33:4

 

Trusting in the Lord doesn't always look like a bright idea. Hear me out on this. Although we may know deep down inside that it's right, to other people, it may look odd, confusing or even crazy.

Are you willing to look a little crazy to get the best from God?

When the Lord told Noah to build an arc, there wasn't a drop of rain in the sky. It was probably a  picturesque day.

Despite what people thought of him and all the mean things they said both behind his back and to his face, Noah did what God asked him to do.

Time flew by and eventually a great flood came over the Earth. Noah was prepared. Who's laughing now?

Doing what God asks us to do may not be easy, but He always has our best interest at heart.

He gave Jeremiah one of the most popular scriptures to prove it. "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

 

Dear Jesus,

What you're asking of me is not easy and you know it. Although I want to do what  feels right to my flesh, I'm going to make every effort to walk in obedience . Jesus, I'm doing this for you and I thank you in advance for the reward I'll  receive because of it.

Genesis 22:18

Psalm 25:3

Take A Chance On Me

  When it takes you an extra 20 minutes to flat iron your hair, the Kurig won’t brew until you to add more water and your child wants a second breakfast before you walk out the door, you know you’re in for one heck of day!

Days are busy for this working Mom and sometimes I wonder, “Mama Mia!  How I’m going to get everything done?”  I’m certain I’m not alone and I’m grateful for my faith that God can make a 36 hour day fit into a mere 24.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation) 

God will see you through the day.  He’ll see you through your situation.  Just remember that our timing isn’t always in line with his.  When I’m overwhelmed and my faith is shaky I picture Funky Jesus singing, “Take A Chance On Me” by ABBA.  Don’t make fun of me!  I like to think that Jesus had a fun loving personality.

“Take A Chance On Me”    

If you change your mind, I'm the first in line

Honey I'm still free

Take a chance on me

If you need me, let me know, gonna be around

If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down

If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown

Honey I'm still free

Take a chance on me

Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie

If you put me to the test, if you let me try 

Take a chance on me

(That's all I ask of you honey)

Take a chance on me

-ABBA

And so ladies, today I leave you humming a song with a great visual and remind you take a chance on God.  He is faithful to complete the work he’s started in you.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven, thank you for being there to guide me and love me.  Help me to continue in the faith so that I may be grounded in your word.

Hungry for More: Noah built the ark in Genesis 6:1 – 9:17, Abraham offers Isaac in Genesis 22 & Jesus and Peter walk on water in Matthew 14.

The Power to Choose; Even in the Midst of Pain

1 week, 2 days, and 12 hours ago, my boyfriend of 5 ½ years told me he doesn’t want to marry me (ever), and then he asked me to leave. I drove home alone, the shattered pieces of everything I’d hoped, longed, and planned for ripping me up inside. Like every day reminders of his goodbye, the pieces remain, and the disappointment and shock feel just as raw as they did last week. Short of losing my grandpa a few years ago, this hurt is this worst I’ve ever experienced, and I’m just going to be honest up front: this isn’t a post about healing, because right now, I’m broken. This isn’t a post about comfort, because right now, my heart is aching. This isn’t even a post about trusting God’s timing, because right now, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t have questions.

But this is a post about power: the power to choose, even in this ugly, dirty, messy, pain, to believe truth.

When the enemy whispers in my ear this wouldn’t have happened if you were better, prettier, skinnier, or smarter, when he sneaks upon me in the middle of the night and cries you will never be loved, this was your only chance, and it’s gone, when he reaches inside and stirs up my deepest insecurities to remind me I’m just not good enough, I have the power to choose truth. I have the power to believe even in the chaos, God is still God, I am still His, and that is the only thing that defines me. Not rejection.

When fear overwhelms, when I worry whether my whole life is ruined, when I look backward over wasted years and sweet memories and start believe that was as good as it gets and this loneliness will never fade, I have the power to choose truth. I have the power to believe God will make beauty from the ashes of our relationship, that even in this sadness, God is still God, I am still His, and He planned every one of my tomorrows before the foundation of the earth. My future is, and always has been, in His hands. Not my own.

When I sit, paralyzed by the pain, unable to breathe or think or eat, when I would rather lay in my bed and cry than meet up with friends or talk to my family or show up to work, when I start to wonder how I will ever move on when I can’t even move, I have the power to choose truth. I have the power to believe that God is working on my behalf, that even when I can’t feel it, God is still God, I am still His, and He is healing me, shaping me, and preparing me for all that He knows is coming. My healing depends on His perfect love. Not my strength.

The power to choose truth isn’t a quick fix. It won’t erase pain or rearrange my boyfriend’s heart. But choosing truth gives hope. It eases my soul. It reminds me that this may be the end of my relationship, but it isn’t the end of my life.  Choosing truth may not change my past, but it draws me nearer to the One who gives me a future. And that makes all the difference.

 

Brittany Williamson is a twenty-something who is amazed every day by the grace of her God. She is passionate about the purpose and potential of her generation and loves journeying with other twenty-somethings on her blog, www.faithinbetween.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@britmwilliamson) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/faithinbetween).

 

Growing Green

With gas prices skyrocketing , I'm willing to cut back on luxuries but  I won't compromise the quality of food that comes out of my kitchen!  I love using fresh herbs  and each time I have a glass of ice tea at Shirley Ray's house, she always throws in fresh mint. So, I thought I'd ask her for a little education in regards to  planting a mobile herb garden.  Recently I showed up with a clay pot and a few herbs and my lesson began. She took me step by step through the process .

Herb gardens have few limitations. They can be planted in the ground , a clay pot or any kind of a wire basket. They can live by a kitchen window, a back yard or an apartment balcony. Shirley begins by lining the basket with her favorite landscape fabric,  WeedFree Pro. This allows water through but keeps roots inside the container.

On this particular afternoon, she put together a couple of herb gardens. I thought this aged bicycle basket was  a perfect place for a mobile garden as well as  the traditional clay pot I brought with me.

Shirley prefers inexpensive gloves, rather than a name brand.

With  numerous choices of herbs to choose from we started off with basil, rosemary and mint. She keeps several kinds of  mint in her garden like pineapple mint, chocolate mint and spearmint. She planted multiple  herbs in each garden, but left sufficient room for each to grow and spread.

Fennel has a long droopy leaf and she planted it in the bicycle basket by the outside edge, giving it room to fall over the basket. She doesn't really cook with fennel but she informed me that caterpillars are attracted to it and  by planting fennel she'll also have butterflies in her garden.

This is called the Butterfly Bush, a member of the lilac family.Its rich nectar attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects.

Shirley plants lavender in her garden  just because she loves the fragrance. In fact, a small pouch of  dried lavender  tucked inside your pillowcase is supposed to help you sleep.

While she's not picky about her gloves, she is particular about the soil she uses and she pampers her plants with

Miracle Grow.

After just about an hour in Shirley's backyard, she had put together two distinct herb gardens and guess whose front porch this mobile garden calls home?

Shirley Ray: personal style-Texas casual

I'm inspired by memories of my grandmother's garden. Every time I walked into her backyard, it was wall to wall flowers.

Shirley is  also the founder of Shirley's Creative Solutions. She is a caterer, event planner, provides services as a personal assistant and whips up unique hand made gifts.

Designed to Live

 In retrospect, my friend was right; I should’ve bought the pillows.

 Like powerful, turquoise magnets, they pulled my eyes the moment we turned the

corner from kitchenware into home décor, and I couldn’t help but reach out and pick them up.

They were soft, warm, and gorgeous. I flipped, squeezed, and flipped again, taking in every

rustic detail.

 I can’t wait until I get married and have a cute little home to decorate, I sighed.  And then…I put them back.  There is something about not being married that makes me feel unqualified for a well decorated home, like I can’t justify spending money on pretty things just yet. I pick out colors and candles and pictures and think, "Someday I'll turn a house into a home...someday with someone I love." And then I settle back into my empty couch without the turquoise pillows and wait, as if everything now is temporary and my real life is just around the corner.

Ladies, to be honest, I'm tired of waiting.  I could blame it on my age. I thought I’d be married with kids by now! I could blame it on my job and all the ways it doesn’t fulfill me. I could even blame it on my friends and their busyness, their moving on and moving forward and my feeling left behind. But the truth is, I'm tired of waiting for my life to start because I’m not designed to wait for it at all. I’m designed to live it.

When God wired us together, He gave each of us purpose. A unique, important role to play in His story on this earth.  And He never intended for us to ignore it or hide it or impose some kind of limitation on it, as if we’re stuck in the mundane until we marry or have kids or whatever it is we think we need before we can embrace life. When Jesus declared that He came so that we might have life and have it to the full, He didn’t mean in 5 years or 10 years or when the wedding certificate is signed. He meant now. Today. In this moment, we have the power to live a full life.  But it’s up to us to live like we believe Him, to stop chasing someday and start living in the now. I’m ready. Will you join me? Together, let’s peel back the doubts that tell us we can’t or we shouldn’t or it’s not time and reveal the purpose buried in each of our hearts. Let’s agree to pursue God and to trust Jesus.  And let’s buy lots and lots of pillows.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and  have it to the full.”

John 10:10, NIV

 

 

Brittany is a 20something who loves frappuccinos, Texas, and salty air. She's passionate about the power and purpose of this generation and loves journeying with other 20-somethings on her blog, Faith in Between. She can also be found on Twitter (@britmwilliamson) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/faithinbetween).

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!

Blending Families

Recently, my husband and I got into a little tiff about the number of presents under the tree. It all started when I came home from hours of shopping and excitedly showed him the deals I had gotten. At least my intention was showing him the deals I had gotten, it turned into him counting the number of gifts I had gotten for cousins and siblings. His expression was clearly underwhelmed and when I asked why, he replied "Well, we can't afford to buy gifts for your entire extended family!" Needless to say, I was crushed. I wondered why he wasn't happy, I mean this is the season for giving after all. He left and I sat around the tree wrapping the bounty of gifts I had just purchased. I thought for a long while, then I realized, our Christmastime is not the same.I grew up in a home with a single mom. My parents divorced when I was just a toddler, and I was raised by my mom and her long time boyfriend. In the past five years, my mom has remarried, but one thing has remained consistent, I am the product of a blended family. Though my original family was not traditional, there was never a marriage between my mom and her boyfriend, he raised me as his daughter. I spent holiday mornings with his family, the afternoon with my mom's side, then, if there was time, I would see my dad's family in the evening. So while I sat there at my Christmas tree, baffled by my husband's response, I realized, our family dynamics have everything to do with this. Kristian grew up in a two parent home. Christmas consisted of his sisters, his parents, homemade stockings (a Sanchez family tradition), and the usual gift exchange. I'm sure everything wasn't as Walton-esque as it sounds, but his family was normal. Well, this is my thought anyway. He did not grow up sharing holidays with grandparents that sometimes raised him, with cousins who were closer to siblings, parents who made you choose one or the other, and so on. So there I was, huffing and puffing, wrapping these presents with a complete absence of Christmas cheer, then my Aha! moment. Ultimately, he isn't mad about the money, he isn't mad that I'm buying presents, he's upset because he doesn't understand. This Christmas will be Kristian's first without his family. I'm so excited for him to see the dynamics of my family! To see first hand what being in a crazy, mixed up, blended family is like. We have three destinations for Christmas and one on Christmas Eve. My traveling pack of siblings (four in total) will probably fight over who can ride with Sissy, and Kristian will inevitably think of some quirky way to resolve the matter. I know once we're surrounded by my brood of cousins and my excessively nice aunts and uncles, Kristian will forget we ever had this tiff. I think he will come to realize how interconnected my family is. This year I think we'll both be a little more aware of the larger context of family.

The Busy Woman's Guide to Healthy Entertaining

By nature, I am definitely a Martha and not a Mary.  In this familiar Bible story, we learn that Martha stayed busy cooking and cleaning to ensure everything was perfect while hosting Jesus in their home.  She became angry with Mary who did not help her and chose to sit with Him and enjoyed his company.    (Luke 10:38-41) If not careful, I can pack so much into one day and stress myself to make everything perfect, especially when it comes to entertaining. There was a time, when I like Martha, would stay in the kitchen preparing everything while my family and guests enjoyed the company of each other.   Stress would sometimes get the best of me as I pondered over having the most delicious menu and providing options for our health conscious guests. I soon realized I had to find a way to enjoy entertaining, which I love to do, and make it work with everything else going on in my life.

When desiring to host a party, I sometimes see two things that can happen to busy women

  • Stress out which can lead to over eating
  • Give up because it feels impossible.

 When you have so many things going on in your life, hosting a party can feel impossible.  I remember early in my marriage when my husband and I wanted to have a party, I thought I had to provide everything and my menu had to be something new and creative every time.  I soon realized that most people want to bring something, even if it is something minor.  Asking for assistance with the minor details allowed me to take things off of my “to do” list.  I also learned that I have a few staple recipes that my friends and family love and look forward to having. There is no need to invent the wheel for every event.

To simply host a party stress free the healthy way, put in a few simple steps.

  • Discover a new technique to manage your stress.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is no secret that some women tend to overeat or eat things they normally wouldn’t when faced with stressful situations.  Establishing a daily quiet time or exercise routine, is one way to find balance and control and not allow food to be your outlet.  Even if you can’t exercise as much as you normally do during the holiday season, don’t give up completely.  Set yourself a new schedule so that you are able to maintain some kind of sanity.  For example, if you normally exercise 30 minutes a day, change it to at least get in 15 minutes instead of giving up all together.

 

  • Keep your menus simple and semi home made.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 For example, take a ready made salsa and add to it. One of my favorite’s is Walmart’s Peach Pineapple Chipotle salsa, www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Peach-Pineapple-Salsa-26-oz/10324682.   I love to add a can of black beans and corn and serve with Triscuit Thin Crisps for healthier options, www.nabiscoworld.com/Brands/ProductInformation.aspx?BrandKey=ritz&Site=&Product=4400000539. It makes a large quantity and guests love it.  For a quick semi homemade desert, take a store bought brownie mix and make your own icing.  To make it even more delectable, add your favorite       chocolate                    candies into the mix.  Do you have left over Halloween candy?  Freeze them and pull them out when you are ready to bake.  Be sure to have to go boxes ready for your guests so that they are out of your house along with the temptation to over indulge.

 

  •  Stick to familiar recipes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have two or three “signature” recipes that I know will be a crowd pleaser.  I can prepare them with little thought and my guests always look forward to having them. Mindless eating and sampling while cooking quickly add up to unnecessary calories. By sticking to your “staple recipes”, there is no need to sample.

As healthy busy women, we do not have to give up entertaining. With a few simple steps, we can be the “hostess with the mostess” and relax like Mary and enjoy our company.

 

Simple Chocolate Icing

Melt 3TBS of cocoa or 3 squares of Hershey chocolate (left over Halloween candy)  and 1 TBS of butter.  Stir in 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, a dash of salt ½ tsp of vanilla and 2 TBS of milk.  Mix with Blender and spread on cool brownies.