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Discover Life Balance & Time for Yourself

So today, I really thought there was going to be a knock down drag out fight between all of the voices in my head who all wear different hats. The hat of mom, wellness and life purpose coach, teacher, student, homemaker, family cook, and oh, let's not forget wanna be "hottie wife". Trying to balance all of them and find time for myself with a little exercise is mentally and physically exhausting. Can I hear an amen? I mean really, is it even possible? I've come to learn that it is; however, it may be different than what some think. 

I am passionate for each role that I have, but to keep it together and stay healthy, I had to learn (and still learning) a couple of things. 

  1. My day must start with quiet time with the Lord. It's a must!
  2. I need to honestly answer a few questions and be real with myself.
    • What are my priorities? 
    • What season of life am I in right now? 
    • Have I made allowance or changes with my "yes's", schedules, and individual pursuits?
    • Does my time really go toward what I say is important?
    • Is what I am doing today going to make the biggest difference 1, 5, 20 years from now?

What about you?

As seasons of life change, have you made adjustments to your routine, schedule, and priorities? Have you taken the time to write down your priorities? You see, not everything can be a priority. If we try to give everything equal time, we are left feeling overwhelmed and too busy, yet never feeling successful at anything

By identifying our priorities in the current season, we can better manage our time around them giving us a sense of peace and balance. Ah! Doesn't peace and balance sound so refreshing?

Take a moment to think about a few things to ensure your time is organized and directed to what is important to you.

Evaluate Wasted Time

Try this courageous challenge. Spend a day, noting everything that takes up your time. Be brave enough to list things such as Facebook, Pinterest, favorite TV shows, even sleep, etc. How much of your time is given toward what you say is a priority? Sometimes, it seems we are so busy, but we can waste time on things that really do not matter. They may seem little, but small pockets of wasted time, add up to a lot of wasted time, which leads to a long list of things that were forgotten at the end of the day.

Evaluate Busy Time

Okay, so you might be saying, "I do not waste time. All of my time is spent on important things." The question then becomes, "Are they things that need to be a priority right now?" Just because it was given attention at one stage in your life, does not mean it needs to be now. Look at your list again and ask:

  • Is there something that you could put down for a while?
  • Is there someone else who could grow and/or learn if you delegated a specific task or responsibility?

The truth is, how we spend our time reflects what is really important to us. For example, if we say our health is important, but we are on the fast food diet with no exercise, it may not be as important as we think. If we say God and our family is everything, yet lack in quality time with God or too exhausted at the end of the day to spend time with family, they may be on the back burner. 

And now, one final step that can help us pull it all together to stay organized and get things done.

Focus

Oh man, a word I say to my 8-year-old say daily over and over. But honestly, don't we busy women struggle to stay focused? We can text, email, talk on the phone, and work on a project all at one time. But does it really produce a good outcome? To shut down all of the voices in my head, I have to consciously remember to work wearing one hat a time. Focus means, "Giving attention to one thing at a time." Yikes! Is that possible? Yes, and here is how. 

  • Begin your day by writing down what needs to be accomplished for that day. I do not encourage procrastination, but don't fill your day with tasks/projects that can be attended to another day or even another week. They are not a priority for today.
  • Schedule a specific amount of time for each task. That would include projects, phone calls, text messages, emails, and even Facebook (yes, give Facebook a certain amount of designated time).
  • While working on tasks, avoid answering text, emails or phone calls which interrupt your focus. Remember, you have given it a designated time, you will come back to it.

Part of being healthy is taking charge of our time and focusing on what is really important, which brings a sense of balance. Once we are healthy on the inside mentally and emotionally, then finding time to exercise will be the next natural step. 

Ephesians 5:15-16 says,

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (NIV)

Let's be wise with our time and get healthy and fit on the inside and out.

What's Your Worth? God's Top Priority

My favorite new place in the world is snuggling with my 3-month old as she takes a nap.  Every time we snuggle, I kiss her on her forehead and cheek whispering the words “I love you” over and over even though she has no idea what that means.  She is such a gift!  She has no idea how much she means to us, how much we wanted her, or how much we thank God for her every day promising to take care of this precious gift He has given us.  She has no clue of her worth yet.

As a single girl, I didn’t always know my worth either.  I had no idea how much God loved me, how much He had for me, or how much He actually thought of me throughout the day.  After all, I was single and my purpose would begin after I got married, right?  Because I believed that for a bit, I found myself feeling anxious believing I would be the last one married, the last one to have kids, the last one to reach my career goals, the last one to……the list goes on.  It wasn’t until I finally rested in God and allowed Him to snuggle with me, kiss me on my forehead and cheek while whispering how much He loved me, did I realize how much I was worth.  I was worth a whole lot come to find out!   Because my daughter knows we have food just for her, she instinctively opens her mouth when it's time to eat never doubting that we’ll have enough.  Just like her, all I needed to do was be open for all the good things God had just for me.

Once I knew my worth, I no longer settled for less.  I didn’t settle for a date with just anyone, drama filled relationships, unhealthy friendships and so much more.  I didn’t settle for who I was either.  I was worth the effort to be molded.  As I embraced my value, I was constantly amazed how much He entrusted me with.  He had plans for me; things I had better be doing even while I was single.

As my daughter grows up, I can only  pray I show her daily just how much she is worth.   I pray that while she is single, she understands God has a plan & purpose designed especially for her by His own hands.  This is exactly how God feels about you!  He wants you to know how much you are worth to Him; how valuable you really are!  All you have to do is open your mouth just like my little girl and receive what God has for you, now, while you are single.

Embrace and enjoy Snuggling with your Heavenly Father as He gives you little kisses on your forehead and cheek while whispering, “I love you” over and over again!

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

{Originally published 2011}

[title subtitle="Book: Now, While You Are Single: Walking Out Your Purpose Before You Say "I Do""][/title]

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. 

Purchase for you or as a gift here!

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[title subtitle="Design Labs"][/title]

Single ladies! We will be hosting Design Labs in the Austin area this summer featuring Heather's book. Follow us on Facebook for dates & times.

Please Can I Have It?

     Do you have prayers that have been unanswered; requests you’re certain, God has ignored? Perhaps the answer is in your immediate surroundings and you just don’t see it. The Jews of Nazareth were waiting for the Messiah and yet, when He walked in their midst they couldn’t see Him because their eyes were “wide shut.” Hence, their prayers went unanswered and their needs unmet.

            The same woman that desperately prays for a friend complains to God that her marriage isn’t satisfying. Could her ‘BFF’ be her husband? Is it possible the friendship is waiting to be cultivated?

The single woman who’s stressed because her salary doesn’t cover her monthly bills might be the same woman who crafts one of kind purses for her friends. The purses don’t bring her any income because she’s too timid to try to sell them.

 We can stop the pacing and the mindless eating that results from worry. God knows about our problems and He is already at tomorrow with the solution, waiting for us to catch up to Him. Our task is to move from eyes “wide shut” to “wide open” and see where He is.

 

Prayer: Lord, sometimes I let my worries look bigger than my God. I want to open my heart and mind and see you as you are; greater than any challenge I could face.

Life’s speed bumps and collisions form who we are. We can be left with tire tracks on our back, run over by life or let God leave a distinct Fingerprint on our heart. Yielding prepares us to love and empathize with others.

Stay In Your Lane

  Several weeks ago I was playing with Wii bowling with my daughter.  The best part of electronic bowling is that it’s impossible to be really bad.  You might get a few gutter balls from time to time, but at least you’ll always stay in your lane.  We were neck in neck as she proudly announced, “I’m a great bowler.  Right Mommy?”  I happily agreed.

After our game was over, she opened her box of Bob books and began reading to me.  “Mommy, I’m a really great reader.  Right?”  Again, I happily agreed.

Twenty minutes later we moved onto singing and dancing to Ava's jams.  She climbed onto the coffee table, microphone in hand, and began singing “All Star” by Smash Mouth at the top of her lungs.  “I’m a great singer.  Right Mom?”  This time I froze.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 (New Living Translation)

It’s a natural response to tell your children that they are great at everything they do and that they can be anything they want to be, but there comes a point when you realize that might not always be the best choice.

God gave each of us special gifts and talents that he intended for us to use.  When I was younger I wanted nothing more than to be an actress.  As I grew older, I still wanted to be an actor, but I wasn’t interested in being a starving artist in Hollywood.

I found way to use my gifts working for a non-profit organization.  For a time I traveled the state of Texas doing drug and alcohol prevention school assemblies, it was then that I met a cute teacher who would later become my husband.

While it is good to stretch yourself and grow in the areas you’re not so great at, I encourage you to incorporate your gifts.  Stay in your lane; you never know what kind of surprises He has in store for you when you operate within your gifts.

As for Ava, I told that she was great at a lot of things and that as much and Mommy and Daddy loved to hear her sing there were other things she was so much better at like drawing and making up great stories.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven, thank you blessing me and making me special and unique.  Please open to door for me to share my gifts with those around me.

Where To Next?

I think I’ll always remember the age I was when I first needed to own a watch. I’d never noticed how much I needed one until I was a full-time student, working 30 hours a week, helping out at her church, and trying somehow to get in time each day with her husband. Having my phone in hand to constantly check the time was just a pain in the butt. Then, my husband bought me a beautiful watch! I became one of those people who checked it every 30 minutes, making sure my day was going according to plan. We get pretty spoiled that way, huh? We get used to being able to plan and predict and prepare and control. I, unfortunately, am an addict. After graduating last year, I became a bit disoriented. I didn’t have a dream job lined up, I didn’t know exactly what my next step was, and, most importantly, I didn’t know what to PLAN for. Jesus once told His disciples,“It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7

I think at different stages in our lives we ask God, “Are we finished now? Can I have my dream job yet? Should I have kids now? Can we start the next thing now?” I think Jesus often still replies with “It is not for you to know times and seasons.” He wants us to trust and enjoy the ride. He wants us to rely on Him to be in control. While working hard isn’t a bad thing, I’m constantly being reminded that I need to loosen my grip on planning and controlling.  We need to be okay with not knowing what the next part of the ‘plan’ is. We have to learn to trust in what lies ahead.

To the wonder women of the world, the control connoisseurs, and the professional planners; take a breather. Take an unplanned drive and discover a new place. Leave a weekend completely open, wake up, and then do whatever your little heart desires. Learn to live a life free of anxious planning and controlling! He's got it all in His hands.

Summer Lovin'

It all started with my favorite fashion hippie, Nicole Richie. Years ago when she decided to part ways with Paris and become her own lady, we saw a gentler, tinier, more fashionable side of Mrs. Richie (er, Madden?). She wore head scarves and dangling necklaces to accent her bikinis. The jewelry/ swim suit combo can now be seen on celebs in nearly every summer edition papparazzo picture. So let's just be honest for a minute. I own an accessory boutique, I am a serious fan of fashion, and who doesn't love summer? But swim suits and bling on us everyday folk -- is it even possible? Indeed it is!

The key to this summer  trend, like with most things in life, is moderation. In everyday life I am sort of obssesed with arm candy; in summer accesorizing life, no one wants salt water trapped beneath a Michael Kors watch and 25 bangles. With that being said, tone it down a little ladies. Less is more when you're adding jewelry to your swim suit.

See how easy it is to add a little extra oomph to that two piece?

Another favorite of mine is adding length to the ultra simplistic beach look by throwing on a necklace or two. Layering different necklaces is an easy way to add to your look without going overboard. Chains and charms can create movement and length. Be sure to choose the right type of chain, one that won't leave a damp feeling that can be created by a heavy piece. See: Katie and Maryanne in subtle additions below

 

In essence, the trick to looking effortless is usually making the effort to look that way. A short and simple summary of how to accessorize like the stars without looking ridiculous can go a long way when summer is full of pool parties, beach days, vacations, and cookouts.

To find any of the pieces shown visit www.veritasboutique.com.

Photo credits: Jordan Ott (find her on facebook!)

 

A New Thing

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland," Isaiah 43:19.

 

Who says things can't change? Your friends? your boss? your bank account?

Often times we get excited at the hope of something new taking in our lives. Just when we begin to make our ascend to Cloud 9, doubt creeps in. "What could it be and where would it even come from?" we ask ourselves. "There's hardly a flashing billboard saying,"You're next reward here,"." And you would be right. There won't be a billboard, but there is something greater: the word of God that PROVES this "new thing".

I love looking back on my walk with God and finding examples of how He proved me wrong time and time again. In Isaiah 43, the Lord remind us of how He parted the waters and made a dry path. Just when you try to wrap your mind around that, He tells us to forget it all because it doesn't even compare to what He is GOING to do...glory!

Listen, if God can can make a dry path in the middle of a sea, what's a little promotion, favor and prosperity? Ha! Trivial compared to the what He can really do!

So, do yourself a favor. Wake up everyday EXPECTING to get blown away and see miraculous things happen. EXPECT for God to wow you. He won't let you down...it's a promise.

Heavenly Father,

I am so grateful that I can bring my desires to you without fear of you letting me down. Thank you for enlarging my faith and giving me the vision to see this new thing in my mind before it even takes place. I thank you in advance for this miraculous new thing and vow to add it to the list of examples of how you made a way where there was no way in my life. I love you. You're incredible. You're simply incredible.

Psalm 112:4

Isaiah 45:19

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?”

 

Editor's Note - Where No One Has Gone Before!

July 4th brings celebration, fireworks, waterworks, barbeque and lots of red, white and blue.  It’s the time of year where families and friends celebrate where we’ve been and where we’re going.  How amazing it is that we have the privilege to live in a land where there is so much freedom!  Freedom we sometimes take for granted during election season, which can usher in so many different emotions, conflict and division.  Nonetheless, no matter what your political stand, we live in the best country in the world; a place where we can express our thoughts, pursue our dreams and wear want we want - except in restaurants,  “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” This July, as we celebrate the month of freedom, Created Woman celebrates the freedom we have to pursue a dream we’ve had since its birth.  The CW family is excited to announce the launch of Created Woman Magazine premiering in August 2012 during Austin’s Fashion Week.  The road to get here has been an exciting one with many twists and turns, but the journey has been no less than a pleasure all because of you, our readers!

With our first photo shoot behind us and many more ahead, our thanks goes out to the many people who helped us along the way; the writers, readers, make up artist, hair stylist, photographers, editors, stylists, web and graphic designers and wonderful boutiques that made it all possible.  We can’t wait to share with you more fashion, more inspiring stories of women becoming who they were created to be, creative ways to live a healthy life and much, much more!    We invite you to come with us, because where we’re going, no one has gone before!

 

Thanks for being a part of Created Woman and we hope you enjoy Created Woman Magazine! 

Behind the Scenes of our 1st Photo Shoot