many things

What Can I Control?

In this season of singleness in my life, I have had many things to rejoice over. The opportunity to pursue an education in a field I am passionate about. Traveling the world. Having deep friendships.  I enjoy the freedom to watch a movie when I want to, get deeply involved in a good book all day if I so choose, go spend my money on deals at the mall without having to answer to anyone. This season also presents many obstacles. Sometimes, the array of choices can be overwhelming. I worry about messing up. I am also prone to worry and loneliness. I secretly sometimes wonder if I will ever settle down and get married and have a family of my own. And to be honest, the thought of being single forever scares me.

This is where I have to stop and remind myself that there are a lot of unknowns not only in the life of a single woman, but in the life of every woman. Instead of fretting over what I cannot control, why not take a proactive stance on what I can control? Isn’t this what God wants for me?

First of all, God loves me with an everlasting love, and he has not forgotten about me. My self-esteem must flow from what he says is true about me, not whether my needs are being met in any human relationship. Second, I cannot mess up his plan for me. The latter part of Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” What an amazing truth by which I can set my mind at ease!

I am single, and I desire a relationship, but I refuse to settle for less than what I truly desire.  Can I control the fact that what I want to happen right now isn’t happening? Not really, but I can sure make a mess of myself worrying about what the future holds. A better choice would be to focus on what I can control. I can control my attitude. I can work on myself during this season of life in a way that no other season can match, because I am not hindered by pleasing someone else. I can fulfill my dreams of traveling, learning foreign languages, and working with kids.

Proverbs 31:25 says, “She is clothed in strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come.” No matter what the future holds, I pray that by the power of Christ in me, I will learn to control the things I can, and what I cannot control, will be left in his hands.

 

 

My name is Jordan Starling and I live in Jefferson City, TN. I am studying to be a teacher and I plan to graduate in December 2013. I enjoy cooking, backpacking, reading, writing, and going on mission trips. I recently returned from a mission trip to Africa, where I had the opportunity to do church planting in remote villages.

 

 

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.

 

 

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!