need

What Really Matters

Fashion trends for the summer are one of my favorite things. As I look through magazines, I love to learn the basic essentials I need for the latest fashion trends.  It makes things easy for me to shop and dress when I just focus on those basic pieces.  I find that I don’t waste a lot of time when I focus on what the “experts” say really matters for the season. It gives me a sense of confidence in what I am wearing on the outside.  I have also discovered that, when I focus on the basics of life, life is much easier as well.  I then become more confident on the inside.  This week, I was fortunate to have time to sit on my porch one afternoon to relax and just read as my kids played. To be honest, I had used the very basics of life that day so I could enjoy that time.  Instead of going to the gym or killing myself with a work out, I had a long walk at home; instead of killing myself in the kitchen; I prepared a simple, healthy meal in the crock pot for our evening dinner; instead of thinking I had to work extra hours for my job or it would never get done, I gave my timeline to God; and instead of thinking I had to plan every minute of the day to entertain my kids, I realized they truly love “just playing” outside  

What I realized is this…when I focus on the basics of life, I’m able to enjoy what really matters.

As a Fitness and Food Designer for Busy women, I have seen many women who are chasing so many different things that it keeps them from enjoying the basic things of life and ultimately keeps them from living a healthy life physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Has life become so busy for you that you are no longer focusing on what really matters?

Are you so busy,

  • Trying to please other people instead of looking to please God which can keep you from feeling confident in who you really are in Christ.

 

  • Trying to be something you are not instead of learning what God created you to be which can keep you constantly busy, yet never feeling successful.

 

  • Attempting to do too many things at once instead of giving attention to one thing and left feeling exhausted with no energy for yourself, family or career.

 

  • Focusing on succeeding in things that are really not important that you feel like you are failing over and over or are not good enough.  I love what Francis Chan says in the book Crazy Love, “Our fear should not be failure, but at succeeding in things in life that really don’t matter.”

 These are things that can keep you so busy that you are unable to enjoy what really matters. Life can be easier when you focus on the basic needs of life, which allows you to learn how to be:

  • physically fit with proper diet and exercise
  • spiritually fit by spending time with God
  • mentally and socially fit by doing what you are called to do

 Ask yourself the question:  “What is keeping me too busy and keeping me from what really matters?”

 

Solitude

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter...I've got 'em all. My generation is full of social media junkies. People rave about how Facebook put them in touch with friends they've lost contact with or how Facebook let's them keep up with their family who live far away, yada yada yada. And as a girl who has family spread across the continent, I think it's great! But Facebook and other social medias can have their darker sides. Maybe we've seen people going on vacations or buying new, pretty things and it stirs up a little jealousy or materialism in us. Maybe we've felt the need to show off a little for all our online friends. Or maybe we've seen what our friends have said online and just been annoyed. Whatever it is, we've probably all had moments like these. Now, I'm not trying to say that Facebook is pure evil and you should never use social medias! But I do think we could all use a bit more disconnect in our lives.  A writer I enjoy, Marya Mannes,  once said, "The great omission in American life is solitude...that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incubator of the spirit." And in Mark 6, we find Jesus telling His disciples that they should find a "quiet place". There's something that happens when we get alone and quiet ourselves a bit. It lets us pay attention to ourselves and helps reconnect us to the most important thing in our life, our own spirit.

So if you're a social mediaholic like me, take some time this week to consciously disconnect. Maybe you can give yourself a time limit or maybe you just don't get online at all for a whole day. And if you want to see how someone's day is going, just give them a phone call rather than checking their Facebook. It's more fun that way!

Leaving a Fingerprint-Cindy Barry

In 2006, Cindy Barry was hired as a Parent Support Specialist in Round Rock ISD. She was hired to build a bridge between home and school; locate invisible parents and educate them, empower them to get involved in their children's education.Through her work she discovered  a homeless population people weren't aware of. A boy sleeping on a bench by a local hamburger stand while another missed school for a week because he didn't have a pair of tennis shoes to wear to PE. Then there are the "couch hoppers." Kids who crash  in the living rooms of  friends because they don't have anywhere else to go.

Cindy  uncovered the reasons students missed school. Hungry and homeless students hide their secrets,ashamed for people to know their circumstances. This petite woman with a giant heart began to feed them before they headed for class and that small act of kindness proved she was trustworthy. Once the trust was established,the students began pouring out their stories and Cindy began to catch their tears; the tears that fueled an engine that has run nonstop for six years.

She started out by asking her neighbors to help her out with a little pocket change so she could keep a stash of  granola bars in her office but the more stories she heard, the more resources she needed.

Cindy has facilitated  job interviews, medical appointments, and clothing donations for hundreds of students. She and her crew of volunteers have helped students move into their own place and taught them the discipline of budgeting.

On June 1, 2011 budget cuts  ended her position with the school district.

I had built relationships with kids and their families. I couldn't let the absence of a paycheck keep me from helping them. I wasn't willing to disappear.I couldn't let them down.

For almost a year, Cindy has continued to run her program without funding. Instead of an office at the high school, her garage is now a warehouse for gently used clothing, backpacks and toiletries. This single mother of four remains prepared to meet the need when her cell phone rings and she says she receives phone calls daily about students in crisis. In turn, she calls on people  in the community  that are willing to help when they know the need.

While at the gas pump, a young man recently approached her. "You probably don't remember me but a  few years ago, you gave me a pair of shoes.You paid attention to me that day. No one thought I'd finish high school but I did  and now I'm getting my Associates degree."

Cindy is leaving her Fingerprint in the Round Rock, Texas community.  To donate money, gently used clothes, blankets,backpacks,  toiletries or to invite Cindy to speak  to your club or organization, email her @ rjb1011@sbcglobal.net

Your Body Image….It is not all about you.

There are many physical benefits to regular exercise including higher self-esteem and positive body image. When a woman makes the decision to exercise for herself and no one else, there is a confidence that is created within her and is reflected to those around her.  However, women who have a poor body image are sometimes unable to see how it may be affecting other areas of their life, especially their relationships. They may become busy with life and unable to evaluate what it is costing them. Being a size two or twenty two is not the point. It is about feeling good with who you are as a woman and taking control of your health and fitness.   It is easy to say, how you feel about your body does not affect anyone else, but it could be affecting your relationship without you realizing it.

For example:

  1. Your Relationship with Your Spouse

Your relationship with your spouse is greatly affected when being intimate with him   or     participating in his favorite outdoor activities become uncomfortable for you because you do not feel good about your body. The truth is your looks may just be your issue, not his.  He just longs to have his wife do the things she once did with him.

  1. Your Relationship with your Children

Staying physically active can give you the energy to participate in those activities that your children may be begging you to do WITH THEM. Regular exercise gives you the energy and strength you need for them and is a healthy example to pass down to your children.

  1. Your Relationship with Others

I have seen so many women shy away from participating in social activities with others or avoid putting themselves in situations to meet new people because of a poor body image.  It is very sad to think relationships and a deep connection with others are being missed because of a lack of security in oneself.

God wants you to know that you are wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).  It is not about being a certain size.  It is about feeling confident in who you are so that you are able to be the woman God intended you to be. Make a decision today to take control of your health and fitness by making exercise a part of your life. Don’t allow your feelings of self-doubt and poor body image affect other areas of your life, especially your relationships. If you would like to discover how to be in control of the choices you make with your health and be confident with your body, click here to go to my website.

 

Sit Awhile

Life's challenges are bearable,even easy when we're not alone. I could be stranded on a desert island or on the freeway without a spare tire and I still have someone to depend on. Sometimes I just have to remind myself to "sit awhile." …..It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses' hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle. Exodus 17:9-11

Often when we are in need of a miracle the circumstances can be overwhelming. When what our eyes see and the heart knows are at odds with each other it can quickly bring the mighty to exhaustion.

Our family was at this point when my younger sister had been in ICU for nine days. Then one of my beautiful mentors was praying over me for my family’s strength she reminded me of this story. Rereading it I was surprised when I saw that Moses was placed on a rock. I had not remembered this key element of the story and I love the imagery throughout Moses' life with “the rock”. He couldn't seem to get away from it. Then, there's the parallel that Jesus is our rock.

 

Moses does not even have the strength to stand. The image of Aaron and Hur bringing this rock to seat him on and propping his arms up for him till victory comes is not really the image of a mighty contender but rather a team that know God is on their side and it going to take a team effort to get to victory. Leaving no doubt it is God’s victory.

 

In the biggest battles of our lives when we are worn out and feel done we can be seated on our “rock” Jesus. The rock of our salvation! Our cornerstone! God is not afraid of our exhaustion. In fact He is aware of it and encourages us throughout scripture to place ourselves in relationship for this very reason.

 

Miracles come in different ways and at times they have to be contended for. Some fights are long and exhausting and more than we can do alone. So if its seated or standing let us be sure He is our support. Also let us allow those in our lives to hold us up when needed.

 

Our miracle came after 11 days in ICU she woke up and has defied all the odds.Yeah  God!!

 

Is it easy or difficult for you to accept help during crisis?

 

Lord, thank you for always being there. Your love never fails and you never leave us. Help us  find our strength and courage in you when we need it and to be encouragers when others  need it. Amen

 

 

 

The Time Traveler's Dress Code: Vintage Fashion

We are a people that collect.  It's our anthropology, this human need for beauty, creativity, and a connection to the passage of time.  Our history of collecting is quite ancient.  The library at Alexandria in Ptolemaic Egypt was famed for its repository of books from all over the known world.  The Medicis of Italy are regarded as the first prolific collectors and patrons of private art.  By the 16th century, a “cabinet of curiosities” was a common fixture for scholars to acquire and study unusual items. That simple human need: to have and to hold. So deeply felt, and yet we live in a culture that provides abundant technology, but less and less room for these connections.  There is a sense of rootlessness, a constantly ticking clock, and everything ultimately being disposable.  When the term vintage originated in the 15th century, it first applied to grape gathering for wine making.  As time progressed, it came to mean the specific year in which a grape crop was produced, and eventually the connotation of “oldness” and the year in which any object was made.  Antique actually dates a century later, and relates to an object from antiquity, or the ancient world.  Only in the 18th century did antique eventually come to mean something made long ago (more than 100 years is considered the standard these days), prized for its uniqueness or beauty.

In this day and age of mass production, there still exist items of beauty, uniqueness and history waiting for someone to give them new life.  Vintage and antique garments continue to be an influence on current fashion trends.  The idea of something bespoke (meaning custom-made) has become increasingly popular.  Meanwhile, the fashion industry works overtime attempting to influence your buying decisions, telling you what the trends are, and then telling you that trend is over and here is the new trend.  But are there really any new trends, or are there simply new ways of looking at things?  What if by incorporating vintage into your personal style, you can communicate a desire for things well-made, for artistic expression apart from mass-production, for reflection on history or your environment, for a moment of escape from our buzzing world?  What if not everything has to be disposed of?  What if what we wear can dare to be about an ideal?

 

Guest Contributor, Stephanie Press

Although Stephanie’s feet are planted in Austin, TX, she travels through her imagination around the globe (and beyond) to varying times and places, bringing back and re-purposing various delightful objects and items to share, collaborate and build upon.   You can visit her online store at http://www.hold-vintage.com.

 

Seeing Beyond The Clothes

Remember all of those cliques back in High School?  Preppy, Cheerleader, snobby, popular, skater, and yes even the loose girls.  We could tell exactly what ‘group’ someone fit into simply by the clothes they wore.  Now, looking back, I wonder if those cliques really reflected who we were.  The best illustration I’ve ever seen how cliques might not be all their cracked up to be is in the Movie ‘The Breakfast Club.’  By the end of their day in detention, the self-proclaimed “Breakfast Club” realized a big reason they dressed or acted they way they did was to please someone else.  By just talking to people outside of their clique, the revelation was made that they all had the same struggles, questions and some likes.  It didn’t matter what clique they were in.  In that one day the “Breakfast Club” came into their own and were never the same. Though we may never have a transforming day like theirs, hopefully somewhere along the way we find we don’t have to fit into a clique at all.   We just have to be ourselves.  Today, I don’t feel a need to fit into a certain category.  People will either choose to like me or not.  Others may put me into a category that don’t fit me but you know what?  I don't care because I know who I am and my worth is much deeper than the clothes I wear.  My clothes reveal who I am on the inside and I like that girl!

The best thing I ever did while I was single was rip off all of those labels and figured out who I was on the inside – what were my likes, what styles or things was I drawn to.  By just adjusting my mind-set in that one area, it helped me understand what guys were, well, a little bit more worthy of me.  It also helped me be-friend girls that looked beyond what I was wearing.  I found my own Breakfast Club!

Clothes do say a lot, so make sure you are sending the right message.  Your clothes are an outward reflection of who you are on the inside, not a certain group.  So this spring as you hit the mall for the new Spring Fashions, take a look in the mirror first and ask if you still chasing ‘that group’ you think you want to be a part of.  I hope not because trust me, life get’s better in every area when you are true to yourself.  So don’t wait, see beyond the clothes now, while you are single.

Created Woman Devo Team-Meet Martha

Saturday morning devotionals begin on Oct. 2. The writers are  smart, courageous and they're women who are honest about life. Martha will share her personal stories and thoughts in the months with five weeks ,on the fifth Saturday.

Martha is excited to be a part of the Saturday morning devotional team. She has a collection of her own special devotional books   and they have played a large part in her spiritual growth.  It is her prayer that she, too, can become an instrument in setting the tone for women to have an uplifting day, as well as "grow in their walk with the Lord."

For the past 15 years, her passion has been helping women heal from the emotional pain of hurts and losses in their life.  The Grieving Process, which she taught at her local church, led her to see testimonies of how God takes that was intended evil for us and turns it around to help save much people.  [Genesis 50:20]

It was through her time teaching adult classes that she began to see the need for building a foundation for children to help them work through the losses they are faced with today.  She is  currently in the process of writing her first book to be published in the very near future entitled:  Helping Hurting Children:  A Journey of Healing.”

Martha is a former school teacher, wife of 44 years, Mother of two grown daughters, and has 2 grandchildren. She lives  in Orange, Texas.

Don't miss the thought-provoking revelations that will challenge you to

'become the woman God created you to be,'

starting Saturday, October 2nd, Created Woman Facebook Fan Page.