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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

Making Dreams Come True

Opening the email, the first sentence read, “Would you like to bless some people?”  My immediate thought was, “Of course.  Who doesn’t like to bless people?”  Jennifer and Chad were going to be married in two months, November 11, 2011.  Their lives had changed dramatically within one week.  They lived in Bastrop, Texas, where fires burned businesses and residents for over a week.  Their home and the venue they were to be married in were burned to the ground.  The Oaks Events Center staff met with Jennifer and Chad two days after receiving that email. Jennifer’s face beamed.  She smiled from ear to ear when she walked into the bridal suite.  Her eyes met with the ornate gold hook that her wedding dress would hang on and a tear rolled down her cheek.  It was a look I will never forget; surprise, joy, and peace.  As an Event Manager, the most important rule is; if the bride is happy, everyone else is happy.  Chad had a sense of relief as he watched his bride to be have a moment of joy in the midst of loss.

There was a huge sense of community in the two months preparing for Jennifer and Chad’s wedding.  From linens, to Tiki torches, to a sunset wedding ceremony on the front lawn, cake, catering, an evening of laughing and dancing, and bubble blowing as a farewell to the bride and groom; the day was spectacular.  The Bastrop community, friends and family of the bride and groom, and The Oaks Events Center all pulled together to make Jennifer and Chad’s dream come true on their wedding day.

Stacy loves to share with groups of people; to Inspire you to dream big, to Empower you to become better in spirit, mind, and body; and to challenge you to Share what you have learned with others. Some of the topics she is passionate about are: health and fitness, relationships, leadership, communication and conflict resolution within any environment. She has been on staff at her home church, Shoreline Church, in Austin Texas since 2002. She is the Event Manager at Shoreline Church and The Oaks Events Center.  To learn more about Stacy, please visit her website www.stacymcvane.com.

The Gift of Hospitality

As a child growing up on a farm in Southwest Georgia, it was not uncommon for family and friends to drop in for an unexpected visit.  It was also not uncommon for my mother to greet them at the door with a smile on her face and say:  “Ya’ll come on in. Now, ya’ll just sit down and talk to Roy, (my daddy) and I will have supper ready in one hour.” And as they would say in Georgia:  “You can bet your sweet britches that in one hour flat, a spread would be on her table --- three vegetables, 2 meats, macaroni and cheese, and oh yeah, fried corn bread.”  Guests would remark:  “I never met anybody that could whip up that much vittles in such a short period of time.”

What amazed me was that Mother never sat down to eat with her guests.  She was up serving them --- filling their tea glasses before it got empty, and continuously saying:  “Ya’ll eat now, you hear!”  “I’ve got plenty more food left in the pots in the kitchen.”

And then there were the holidays. “Oh, my goodness!”  She baked tons of finger-licking goodies and cakes on top of cakes.  My mother could have put Paula Deen to shame!  After the death of my daddy, she sometimes remarked:  “I’d love to get a job as a hostess at a restaurant.”  “I just love greeting people.”

Yes, Mother definitely has The Gift of Hospitality.

What do we mean by “The Gift of Hospitality”?  Rather than define this gift, it is easier to describe it.  People with this gift:

  1. provide an environment where people feel valued and cared for
  2. meet new people and help them to feel welcomed
  3. create a comfortable setting where relationships can develop
  4. set people at ease in unfamiliar surroundings
  5.  friendly, outgoing, trusting, sociable and relational caring
  6. they are the greeters at church, the potluck host, hospitality dinner team leader   (Adapted from Cyber-Space Ministries)

In the book of Romans, Ephesians, and 1 Corinthians, various gifts are listed that God has given us.  However, 1 Peter 4:7-10 specifically calls out for HOSPITALITY.

The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  [NIV]

During this upcoming holiday season, the people with the Gift of Hospitality are about to “kick it up a notch,” as the famous chef, Emeril would say.  They don’t mind - - -they love it!  My Pastor, David Berkeheimer, says:  “the gift God has placed within an individual is the one they use with a minimum of effort, a maximum of joy, and with a maximum effectiveness.”

Back to my Mother:  She is 87 years old now, and her body no longer allows her to serve the way it once did.  Often I hear her say:  “It just kills me that I can’t cook up a big meal like I used to and have a crowd of people sitting around my table.”  That, my friend, is The Gift of Hospitality that is still in her heart.  Once God gives you a gift, no matter what it is, the passion for it never leaves you because that was the way He created you to serve others and bring honor to Him.

I just know that when Mother gets to heaven, she is going to be standing at the Pearly Gates waiting for all her family and friends to arrive.  I can just hear her saying:

“Ya’ll come on in. Now ya’ll sit here and talk to Jesus, and I will have supper ready in one hour.”

Facebook and Text Messages - A New Way of Communicating

In this way aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.[Romans 14:19 TLNT]

Knowledge to Build On In the 14th chapter of Romans, Paul is addressing a group of believers about the division that is apparent among them.  He admonishes them to just be fully persuaded in their own minds what they believe, follow after peace, and build one another up. Life in the Now Facebook and text messages - - - is this the new norm for communicating?  It sometimes appears as though face to face communication has gone by the wayside, which is so vital for relationships.  Ever wonder what God thinks about all of these hi-tech ways of communicating?

Allow me to share a personal experience as food for thought.   I was receiving a face to face critique about my attitude.  This person got straight to the point by saying:  “With your attitude, you should not even be teaching Bible courses!”  Ouch!!  Admittedly, there are times I certainly have need of an attitude adjustment.  But, for this person to declare that I shouldn’t be teaching God’s Word hurt profusely!  Honestly, thoughts were running through my mind that their words would cause a division between us permanently!

As I continued to listen to their analysis as to why I shouldn’t be teaching, my cell phone beeped alerting me to a text message. I quickly opened my mail, and read:  Have a good day, TEACHER GAL!”

OMG!  LOL!  I was being called Teacher Gal right there on my keypad.  “Thaxs, God. U R high tech, too,” as I chuckled to myself with this on-time instant message.  From that moment on, the face to face encounter I was currently receiving did not matter anymore.  God had nudged someone special to send me a word of encouragement, and she had obeyed.

Think About It Has God nudged you to send an encouraging word to someone and you pushed it aside for “lack of time?”  Why not text, rather than waiting to buy a card, or writing a long letter, which are, indeed, very meaningful.  However, it’s sometimes those quick “on-time” moments that are also needed.

Prayer Lord, thank you for the people you have sent into my life to exhort and build me up.   May I, too, always be willing and ready to build up others in their time of trouble, as well as in the things you have called them to do.

More of the Truth Genesis 37:35 11 Corinthians 1:3-4

CW Beauty Tips & Picks

One of the best ways to find the best Beauty Tips is look around and get the Top Picks from women who look their best! To find out how the  CW writers always look their best I asked them to share their personl Top Picks, the things they won't leave home without. It won't surprise you to see how diverse their choices are. Fownder and owner of Created Woman, Heather, says she's been using Oil of Olay Cleanser and Moisturizer since she was thirteen. "I have tried other products but have always switched back to my tried and true. "

 

 

 

                    Covergirl LashExact Mascara is Erika's top pick.

"After trying all the expensive brands of mascara,

this is the one that gives me the most definition, volume and length."

 

 

Jessica says this about  100% Organic Jojoba oil!

It is 100% natural and smells great! I LOVE this stuff because it has so many uses and a little goes a long way. I use it:

  • As a lip balm
  • Added to my face/body lotion (you really only need a few drops)
  • Apply to hair then wash out as a hair mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every one knows Carmindy, the encouraging makeup artist from What Not to Wear. Coby's Top Pick is from Sally Hansen's Natural Beauty by Carmindy.

This is the only thing that covers my melasma (hormonal discoloration from pregnancies).The melasma was so bad after my third pregnancy and this ws the only product that covered it and still felt light and natural.

 

 

I don't start or end my day without 3 pumps of

Mary Kay Replenishing Serum + C coupled with Day/Night Solution.  

My skin is tout, it's not too heavy and I started getting carded again.

~Kala~

 

 

~Nichole

Stila Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup foundation gives me the perfect, natural coverage. It gives me a smooth, even look and lasts all day. 

 

 

Express is a clothing store but they have such a great lip gloss! Their "Black Cherry Lip Gloss" is the perfect color for anyone. It's a pinch of red with a little cherry flavor. I love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       MAC Studiotech Foundation

                                                                  The coverage and finish is flawless. - Lilly

It is the only line that makes a foundation with the color I need for my ebony skin.~Cheryl

 

So, if you've been on the search for a better age-fighting product, mascara or foundation, give these Top Picks a try.

Hot Trends for Fit Fashion

  If you (like me) are one of those girls who may have a cute wardrobe for dressing up and going out with the girls or business attire but when it comes to working out and "errands day" you throw on an old t-shirt from your high school days and a pair of your guys basketball shorts...you need to read this!

Fashion doesn't have to stop when your hair is in a ponytail and your sweating your face off. In fact, after seeing how many cute options there are you may want to hit the gym/trail more often just to get a chance to try out your new duds!

New Hot Trends for Fit Fashion include:

  • Running skirts. Found HERE, this running skirt is a great way to stay chic on and off the trail!

  • Slipless anti-sweat headbands. I love THIS anti-sweat headband by Lululemon.

  • Dry-wick racerback tanks. I could not get by without my dry-wick tanks during these hot summer months! HERE is a great one by Nike found at Dick's Sporting Goods. These are great for yoga, running, or going to the gym!

  • Compression Socks. I've been seeing THESE everywhere from races to the trail I run at Town Lake. They are cute AND cut back on recovery time after a long run!

    

Facing Another Dark Valentine’s Day? How ‘bout a little light…

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day can be really hard. I remember a few years in particular that were gut-wrenching for me.  I got so annoyed with those stupid jewelry commercials. I had to leave the room when they came on.  I went out of my way to avoid the Hallmark store. I remember watching The Notebook and feeling utterly lost in the heart-break of my own story.  The last thing on earth I wanted to see was someone else’s romance.  My happily-ever-after seemed trashed and life was very dark. But, there was a light that shined into my darkness. If you’ve faced another Valentine’s Day alone, or you are in a difficult place in your relationship, allow me to share a little light:

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 18:28

Know that God is in the business of turning darkness into light. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to do that yourself. You don’t have to make yourself shine-y. Allow God to shine on you.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God…my Savior…Psalm 42:11

It’s helpful to talk to yourself! The Psalmist did it all the time. Put your hope in God. There is nothing to hard for Him. When life comes crashing in around you – that’s exactly when you need a Savior!

Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord! Psalm 31:24 AMP

Let your heart take courage. Wait. Hope. Expect.  Some relationships end. Sometimes, it just feels like the end.  But this is not the end for you! There is always a new beginning with God!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned… Isaiah 43:2

The key word here is THROUGH.  Whatever you are facing, there is an “other side.” God so sweetly beckoned my wounded heart with this verse.  Just Keep Walkin’ Baby. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will make it THROUGH.

Lynn Marie Cherry has a heart to encourage women towards freedom and plant seeds of hope. She enjoys sharing insight from God’s word and the world around her. She has been married for almost 20 years to the same great guy, they have two amazing boys. You can read more at http://lynnmariecherry.blogspot.com/

Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain (You Really Can)

I love the holidays, but let’s face it; it can be stressful in many ways.  We are so busy with all of the parties and other activities, how can we avoid the extra pounds that statistically happen during the holidays? 

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that most Americans gain about one pound during the holiday season.  That may not sound like a lot of weight, but every year this one pound accumulates.

When I think of all the events during the season, four scenarios can usually get us in trouble. To avoid the holiday weight gain, we must have a plan.  Try to put a few new practices into place.

1. The day-to-day hustle and bustle of baking, shopping and organizing our holiday events can add up to additional stress which leads can lead to emotional eating and little time to prepare our own food which can lead to mindless eating. What can you do to avoid it?

  •  Keep a food journal

       We forgot about the little handful of snacks we grab just to taste or how many added calories are in fast food. Keep a record to stay on track.

  • Do not starve yourself or shop on a hungry stomach. You may think that you are cutting back, but once hunger and exhaustion kick in, whatever is available is the first thing eaten, even the cinnamon  roll at  650 calories. 
  •  Don’t bake alone! I don’t know about you, but I definitely eat more cookie dough if I am baking alone.  Make a party out of baking.  You will eat less if someone is watching you.

2. The numerous dinner parties can be exhausting and overwhelming if you are trying to manage your weight. We have to develop a plan so they we are in control of our food and not our food in control.

  • Bring Something. Make sure there is something available that you can eat that includes healthier choices such as fruits and vegetables and fill up first on those items. 
  • Pick the smaller plate. If our plate is bigger, we will probable eat it all. Sticking with a smaller plate makes you feel you are not depriving yourself while eating less.
  • Wait at least 10 minutes. Before you decide you want seconds after eating on a small plate give yourself a break. Many things can happen in 10 minutes including the realization that a second helping is not important to you.
  • Get rid of the food. If the party is at your house, have throw-away containers so that your guests can easily pack a to-go box.

Check out my next blog to see how to manage the next two holiday scenarios that can get us in trouble. You can begin putting together your holiday weight management plan right now.

If you are ready to make lifestyle changes in 2011 and get results in your fitness, weight and/or stress, contact me to learn more about Personal Wellness Coaching with me and a free consultation at 409-550-7606 or Crystal@crystalclearchange.com.

A Stuffed Heart

It's that time of the year again - - -a time we set aside on the calendar for "giving thanks for our blessings" and "stuffing the turkey."  It's a time when, no matter what kind of trials we have gone through during the year, we find so many reasons to count our blessings and give thanks.  As for stuffing the big bird, we pull out our recipes and head to the grocery store to buy the necessary items needed for stuffing it. When Thanksgiving Day arrives, families gather together, have a time of thanks, and then carve the stuffed turkey waiting on the platter.  For just a brief moment in time, most Americans capture the true meaning of  "giving thanks unto the Lord in all things."

I have to be honest and say that the day after Thanksgiving, I usually come face to face with myself as I reflect on my heart of thanks.  "Will I stay in this attitude of thanks every day of the year, or will I stuff my heart with other things that rob me of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?"

And so I ask you, "if you could actually put your heart on platter like the stuffed turkey, what would you see stuffed inside that might rob you of that intimate relationship?"

Would you see some of the following:

  1. Complaining AttitudeThere is a big difference between a complaint born out of a real need verses a complaining attitude.  Chronic complainers play a game called "Ain't it Awful what has happened to me."  Complaining traps us into seeing ourselves as a perpetual victim, leaving no room in our hearts for thanks.
  2. Low self-esteem:  Low self-esteem says:  I messed up, I failed, I'll never amount to anything, I feel so inadequate, my future is hopeless. I have nothing to be thankful for.
  3. Busy, Busy, BusyBecoming busy with the mundane things of life can crowd out our quiet time of prayer and studying God's Word.  Without prayer and the reading of God's Word, thankfulness falls by the wayside.
  4. Past HurtsSome people keep a tally of all the things that have ever been said or done to them.  It's like they have reserved a room in their hearts with a sign on the door that says:  "Hurts - come on in."  Holding onto hurts and always thinking of self robs our heart of being thankful.
  5. Unforgiveness:  Resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness can grow deep into our spirit, and become like an infectious disease that spreads to others.  For example, you may say you love your children, but if you have bitterness and unforgivenss in your heart for someone, you are loving your children with a contaiminated heart. Unforgiveness and thankfulness cannot reside in the same heart.

So, this Thanskgiving season, I challenge myself first, and then you, to judge our hearts.  Perhaps we need to change our recipe for what we have "stuffed into our hearts" and replace it with a recipe for a heart of thanksgiving all year long.

"Happy Thanksgiving."

Beauty Essentials: your fall make-up bag

I don't know about you but my make-up bag can get a little out of control from time to time! At least every few months I like to clear out the clutter and add in a few "must-haves". There are so many great products out there sometimes it's hard to choose which items are right for you. After researching, trying on, and reading reviews here is my list beauty essentials that may be a great addition to YOUR make-up bag!

  • Moisturizer is a must as we move into the chillier months - La Mer is an incredible face cream (if you can afford it)...if not, Oil of Olay Regenerist and Oil of Olay Age Defying, and the ROC series have received great reviews!

  • Fragrance - Burbberry Brit Limited Edition is a perfect fall choice with citrus, pink pepper, baked apple and plum (pomarose), cinnamon, peony, cedar, sandalwood, amber and tonka bean. Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison is another great choice with notes of jasmine, heliotrope, bitter almond, caraway, tuberose, ylang ylang, orange blossom, green stems and leaves, vanilla orchid, sandalwood and musk.
  • Deep blue/teal/burgandy nail polish is great to include in your bag for any quick touch-ups - stick with OPI for a long-lasting finish.

  • Cream blush is a more favorable choice to powder during the fall/winter when skin tends to be dryer - Smashbox Skin Tint is an amazing product!!
  • Lilac Purple and Metallic eye shadows can brighten up your face while not overdoing it  - MAC Seedy Pearl, Plum Dressing, and White Gold are all great fall picks that have a smooth finish.
  • Berry Lipscomplement any skin-tone - try Benefit Full Finish Lipstick in Espionage or Sassy-Frass.

Looks like it's time for a little shopping trip...:)