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The Greatest Love of All

With February being the month of LOVE, I wanted to write an article titled “Taking the Time to Love Yourself”.  The only problem, I couldn't find a scripture to back it up.  I mean really, nowhere in the bible did it talk it about loving myself. It was all about loving others.  So I sat in my bedroom, with all of my bible books, stumped.  How can God expect me to love others when I feel as though I have no love to give?  My cup does not always runneth over. In fact, my cup at times runneth DRY!  And then I came across this…  “If then there is any comfort in Christ, any help given by love, any uniting of hearts in the Spirit, any loving mercies and pity.  Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in harmony and of one mind.  Doing nothing through envy or through pride, but with low thoughts of self, let everyone take others to be better than himself.  Not looking everyone to his private good, but keeping in mind the things of others.  Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.”  - Philippians 2:1-5

A practical use of this scripture would be to pitch in on an office project that you weren't assigned to.  Not because it looks good on your resume or because the team leader is influential with Senior Management, but because it’s good for the company or for the people impacted by the projects results.  Kindness & compassion are expressions of love.

I was reminded that even when Jesus was broken and His cup was dry, His thoughts were only of love for us.  Dang!  Who are we to be so concerned with ourselves?  That being said, God wants us to be whole.  He wants our spirits to be aligned with our bodies and it’s okay to pray for that.  It’s easier to show kindness and compassion when we're overflowing but, understand, it’s not always going to work that way.

Our character is shown in the face of adversity.   And what better time to showcase God’s love, The Greatest Love of All!

Still Hungry?  Corinthians 13:4-13 and the short book of Ruth are LOVEly.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank You for making me whole and showing me how to love those around me.  When my cup is dry, give me the strength to continue showing Your love.

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).

In The Know

Isaiah 44:24

The Message (MSG)

 24God, your Redeemer,    who shaped your life in your mother's womb, says: "I am God. I made all that is.    With no help from you I spread out the skies    and laid out the earth."

Knowledge to Build On

Our lives are an open book to God. He is all knowing. He is the beginning and the end. Its hard to imagine there is anything He has not seen. Anything we could do or say or go through that He has not seen before. The funny thing is that even the people in the bible try to hide who they are or what they have done and eventually come to the conclusion that He has been witness to all of it. Even from the start of our lives. When we were hidden in the darkness of our mothers womb he knew even that part of us.

Life in the Now

Today we live in a age where social media can take the happenings of our life and share it with the world. Our lives good bad and ugly can be out there for all to see. We can share our thoughts our photos even our gossip via our phone to a network of people we love, like or are just facebook friends with. Some things we are happy to share or even brag about. Other things we would rather others not post or tag us in. Knowing we have a loving God who sees it all we can sometimes write off the details of our lives as things he just knows because he is God. He has been there from the start. We don't need to tag Him in our facebook pics because He already knows. Or maybe we have things we would rather Him not know or not be tagged in.

In the process of living out my own life in a social media setting it occurred to me that God would love for me to make the effort to share my experiences my joys and my struggles with Him too. That yes He already knows all my business because He is God and omnipotent. However He would rather know because I told Him because He is my friend.

Think about it Are there times you are more excited to share good news with friends rather than God?

What would it look like for you to tell Him first?

 

Prayer

God, Thank you for your love and grace. For longing to be our friend.

Remind us this week that you are ready to hear whats going on in our lives

the good the bad and the ugly

amen

Top Color Trends from Summer To Fall

The air is still hot and sometimes a bit muggy, but a girl can’t help to feel a longing for the warmth of fall colors.  Oh, the smell of a chocolate brown coat that’s drawing you to fall limp into a coffee shop couch while sipping lattes as the cool air blows outside the window.  But how quickly the vision is a miss as the hot sun burns through the beautiful image you’ve created.  So what’s a girl to do who longs for the fall but is still living in the hottest month of the summer?  Good news, it’s easier than you think! Designers found way to pair the bright, bold summer colors that screamed, “Summer is here to stay,” with warm neutral staples that easily transition us from summer to fall.  No more shades required entering your closet plus the money you spent on fun summer brights didn’t go down the drain!

 

Summer Color - Yellow

Pair with

Fall’s new color Nougat or Grey

Be careful with  dark black so you don't look like a bumble bee!

You can also trade in the yellow for Fall’s Bamboo

 

 

Summer Color - Fuchsia

Paired with

Coffee Liqueur or Black to ground

Summer Color - Sunkist Orange

Pair with

Nude/Bone/Nougat

Or trade in Sunkist Orange for Falls new color - Emberglow

Maxine Dress

Pair with

Denim Jacket and summer scarf substitute in the fall for a more full, warmer scarf

There it is girls, your top tips to help you transition from summer to fall!  For more fall color inspiration, get the Pantones iPhone App to help you in a shopping emergency.

September Issue of Created Woman will be packed full of Fashion, can't wait!

 

I Can Handle It

I can handle it and figure it all out on my own. If I mess up, I do not need anyone to help me.  I am strong enough and capable to turn it around and make it right.  I know the exact time when things need to be done according to the clock, day, week, month and even year. That WAS the story of my life. My need to be morally perfect and in control caused me internal frustration, hopelessness and missed opportunities for deeper relationships. 

 All of my life, I have had a desire to do the right thing. I prided myself in “keeping it together”.  However, when I could not keep it together and failed in certain areas of my life, I was too embarrassed and shameful to ask for help.  I KNEW if I tried really hard I COULD do it without the help of anyone, including giving it to God.  After all, I needed to TRY and please Him.  This struggle left me feeling like a failure more than once.  It was only when I realized I was powerless by myself and took the courage to ask for help, I became secure in who I was as a woman and more confident with myself than trying to do it alone.

 After many years of infertility, multiple miscarriages and trying to “fix” things in my marriage on my own, I had to realize there are things in my life I can not control.  I had to be willing to submit those things to God and give up my fears, my timelines and plans of how I think it should be done.  For someone who prided herself on being organized, on time and prepared for any situation, the lack of control in certain areas of my life left me feeling hopeless. The internal battle of not being able to figure it out on my own was exhausting.

 What a happy day when I really understood what is now my life’s scripture

Philippians 1:6

For He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

What a relief. I am not expected to have it ALL together. God knows we are going to fail, so why shouldn’t we expect it of our self.

As a Fitness and Wellness coach, My purpose in life is to work with women who want to overcome the helpless feeling of not knowing how to maintain their weight and consistency in their fitness.

I understand the feelings of having control and discipline in so many areas of life, yet struggling internally in one area that is so important to a woman.

My heart is to empower women to feel confident in their choices with food and exercise and not allow this one area to dominate her thoughts.

I am passionate about helping women to overcome their fear of failure and to feel secure in all areas of their life by establishing a healthy lifestyle, no matter how BUSY life gets.

Be Our Guest

The Fun Part Among the many tasks of wedding planning choosing invitations is one of the most personal and creative choices to be made. It is one of the many things I was ecstatic about doing myself. A few short months after the engagement however, I realized time (and perhaps my lack of self discipline) would not allow for me to put my own invitations together. My original idea was a "story book" invitation. It would be a short story about Kristian and I, the engagement, and the invitation would follow. Although I didn't put my own invitations together, they are in fact being hand assembled by a much more patient and creative soul then myself, I am still infatuated with the idea of the invitation. My invitations will still be personal to me. I have chosen the wording, the font, the paper, and the envelopes. However, in having someone volunteer to help me with my invitations, I shaved down the specific details I first had in mind. Some brides however, cannot give up so easily on their design ideas and I tip my hat to them. Months have gone into some of the invitations I have seen. They are simply marvelous and the fact is if you are a bride and have a creative streak the possibilities are endless. Below are a few of my favorite invitations. Aside from this blog, I spend hours rifiling through DIY websites and other wedding blogs. And now that I think about it... I probably could have put my own invitations together with all the time I spend obssessing over others! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my finds and are inspired to try your hand at personalizing your big day!

This idea I found on stylemepretty.com

To make this adorable invitation:

1. Choose image and/or text to be printed. 2. Make a carbon based print of image/text (xerox copy or laser printers work) 3. Place image on gocco machine – make master screen using the gocco and gocco bulbs. 4. Once the image is burned into the screen, you can ink it.  Smear ink on the image burned into the screen, insert back into the machine, then press image onto paper invitations as desired.  Re-ink as necessary. 5. Let it dry fully before printing any other sides (let each side dry a full 24-hours).

This idea was also found at stylemepretty. Though the idea is very personal I like it because it can be changed. The creator simply created what was sentimental to her. She drew it freehand then took a picture and uploaded it to her Adobe Illustrator. It sounds a little complicated to me because I'm absolutely horrible wth computers. If you're tech saavy though this idea is precious! They were printed by a professional and 65 invitations were finished for about $150. Not bad for such cute and personalized invites!

Ok, so I hope the pictures do this invitation justice because I absolutely love it!  The ribbon, the tree, the deep colors... ahh, I'm in love.  I don't know that this one is a DIY. Even without explicit instructions though it seems like with the right tools it can be done without professional help.

The Details

I must admit invitation etiquette is a little foreign to me. While I love attending a good party I rarely ever throw one. With wedding invitations the formality is at a whole different level. I chose not to use inner envelopes so the wording of the outter envelope was a bit tricky. I used Google to figure out "Do I use 'and guest' on the outer envelope?" and "What about people with kids?". I also took advantage of the fact that our wedding is a bit informal. I have been extremely lucky with the help I have with my invitations. I haven't had to buy any of the materials except for the envelopes. With that said, I was a little surprised by the cost of envelopes! For those of you doing it yourself I totally reccommend Envelopes.com. I was able to purchase for 150 outer envelopes and 150 response card envelopes for under $100. After a little research I found that this is quite the deal! I did choose recycled paper so it isn't glossy but for me the cost difference was totally worth it. For a cute return address stamp (and to save yourself from carpal tunnel) check out thepaperwink.com. They have adorable stamps and labels at reasonable prices. I found one for about $20, which is so worth it to not have to handwrite my address 300 times. Another little detail we had to think about was the fact that our wedding is technically a destination wedding. Even though I'm from New Orleans, Kristian's family is in Texas, and many of our friends are in Florida. To accomodate people traveling for the wedding there is an insert with the invitation. It includes a few details about hotel and car rental options. More importantly though, it mentions our wedding website. This is so important. Even if you're not having a destination wedding, a wedding website just makes your guests life so much easier. I made ours at theknot.com but there are so many options out there I reccommend you explore and see what works best for you!

Breathe

While I get all girly thinking about my invitations and planning all the details, I still get a little overwhelmed. With the invitations I wanted a certain font but it didn't work out. I wanted a particular style but I couldn't get it done. I have had a few bumps in the road but I could not be any happier with the way they've turned out. I have entrusted my limited vision to someone who has just run circles around my ideas. The invitations are beautiful and all of my stress had nothing to do with their outcome! So remember, relax, breathe, enjoy the process. Don't let the little things take away from the plesaure of the big picture-- your wedding!

Single mothers sticking together

Any girl, regardless of age,  would say friends are essential for the ups and downs of life, but I would say friends that can relate to you or vice versa during the ups and downs of life is gold.
 
Before I became a single mother, I had the liberty to go and come as I pleased with any one of my friends, but as my life changed into the new role of being a single mother, it wasn't that simple anymore. Most all my friends at the time  were single with no children and although they all cared dearly for my daughter and I and would do anything for us, my life style had completely changed and I no longer could keep up with them. A simple night out with the girls became more and more difficult as my duties of a mother grew and grew. Even my two sisters that I am very close with couldn't relate to all the stuff I was going through, because they both were married with families. They would never know what it means to be a single mother.
 
It was then that I decided to venture out and meet other young single mothers that I could be-friend, and I did. I can honestly say that aside from the satisfaction I had in life again that I could only get from Christ, having friends that were also single mothers helped me stay humble and grounded. Just knowing that someone else out there truly and genuinely could understand all of the emotions I felt, was priceless.  I no longer found myself trying to keep up the the lifestyle I once had and instead I learned to embraced my new life with the help of seeing other women go through the same exact thing.  
 
Now, I am not saying to dump all your friends that are not single mothers, just remember to love the life you have now been blessed with, and God will truly honor you for it.
 
Life was never meant for us to go through it alone. If that was the case, then we would never be able to move on.
 
Keepin' it real!
 
Helen