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The Journey: Life of a single girl

The Journey of singleness is a gift, an adventure, turbulent and chaotic at times, heartbreaking and rewarding all wrapped in one big bow.   Exploring who you are as an individual is really only possible to its fullest while single.  How amazing that is!  Of course, there were times when I felt like I was on the single journey way too long.  But as I look back on my journey, there isn’t one thing I would change….the good, the bad and the ugly!

Every season of our lives has a reason, a story to tell, a lesson to be learned, an adventure to be had, a heart to mend and learn from.  It’s life, and life is a continuous voyage into the next season.  Today, single women are finally getting noticed for more than just being single.  We’ve figured out that, although we are not married, we are strong and intelligent, make mistakes just like everyone else, date the wrong guys, own our very own companies, serve, are wonderful friends; we are on the journey just like the rest of the world.

Life goes by too fast and is too short to live in the future always thinking, “When this happens, life will be amazing.”  The journey of life is every season and creates us into the woman we were created to be.  Embrace it, love it, live it!  I embrace my past, the lessons I learned, the friends I made and the escapades I experienced.  There all “things” that made me who I am today…. they’re all a part of my journey.  The Journey of singleness helped me identify who I was as a woman and who my husband fell in love with.  It’s the journey that taught be how to be strong, confident, soft, loving, alive and worth the wait.

Today, as I reflect on the years past, I’m thankful for all that God has given, brought and loved me through.  It’s all set me on the journey to becoming the woman I was created to be and embracing who I am today.   Single ladies, you are worth the wait!  So embrace your journey, love it, live it!

Now, While You Are Single.

[title subtitle="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. 

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Purchase for you or as a gift here

[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.

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.

Square Earth Studio: Introducing Maryna Marston

I was terrified of my grandparent’s basement. It was cold and damp, and smelled like dirt. Nestled in the corner at the bottom of the stairs was a spooky closet. I dreaded being sent down there. Perhaps the thing that unnerved me most was the black and white portraits of my steely-eyed ancestors that hung on every wall. How could I be related to these people? My mother said we were lucky to have those pictures. I never understood. Photography has come a long way from the historical record of my family tree to the limitless art form we know today.

Created Woman would like to introduce you to one of Austin’s premier fashion photographers. Maryna Marston was born in Ukraine. Her mother introduced her to photography and used their bathroom as a darkroom. She experienced broad exposure to various art forms in her early education and enjoyed drawing, painting and sculpture. In those formative years she cultivated an excellent eye for framing and composition.

Maryna never considered photography a career option. Her family guided her toward a business degree. She graduated in 2005 with her Masters in International Business Management from Kyiv National Economic University. It wasn’t until she moved with her husband Justin to the US that she was free to pursue life as an artist. She was looking at the banking industry when Justin intervened and said “Maryna, you are one of the lucky people who can pick anything they want to do in life. What would you love to do? What are you passionate about?”

Maryna reflected on their days in London. Armed with her 3 megapixel Canon digital camera, she became the photo journalist for her family and friends. She never expected people to enjoy her photos as much as they did. She also remembered her experience with a London modeling agency, being treated like a beautiful girl with no brain. She swore if she ever went back to the fashion industry she would be on the other side of the lens. A designer friend introduced her to the work of fashion photography pioneer Richard Avedon and modern legend David LaChappelle. Finally the artist of her youth found expression.

She enrolled in photography classes and met business partner Marco Gutierrez. They challenged each other to new levels of creativity and have earned a collection of prestigious awards. Together they opened Square Earth Studio in June of 2012 specializing in fashion, editorial and product photography. Unlike those first photographers who wandered onto my great-great-grandparents farm, their goal is not to simply capture an image but to create art with each image they capture. Be watching for their work right here at Created Woman and in our digital version available at createdwoman.net.

Read about Square Earth Studio's co-owner, Marco Here

 

 

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/

 

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

Believe in the Greatness of Others

 Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him.

The king declared, “Don’t let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar.”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies!

Daniel 4:19

Daniel has every reason under the sun to not be for Nebuchadnezzar. However when he is given the interpretations of this dream his response seems to be filled with love and care for this king. A king who not only worships a different god but has renamed Daniel with that god's name. It seems Daniel has more than insight into his dream, but sees the greatness inside of his king.

A few years ago there was a popular bracelet circulating in the Christan community.  WWJD what would Jesus do? The idea being that you would see this bracelet, and remember to act the way you would think Jesus would act. I'm not sure if it worked or not.

I think today with  global concerns, our political climate, and economic worries maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is "what would Daniel do?".

No, I am not trying to be political. You did not hear me say anything about how we would vote. I am saying that maybe we should take a hint from Daniel and believe the best in people. In our country. In our economy. In our world. When we open our mouth to speak about such things are we speaking life or death? If we are the prophets of our own lives, and if we are the sons and daughters of God, made to bring hope and life and light to the earth than what are our words bringing? Are we cultivating honor respect and love? Are we like Daniel, sad when thing happen to people different than ourselves? Are we compassionate to those who don't worship our God? Because the truth is people do not care about what you believe until they believe that you care. The love of God sees the greatness in all of us.

 

Do you find it easier to agree with the negative things going on in your daily life or to speak hope?

Lord,

Thank you for your goodness. Allow us to have eyes to see your goodness in all of your creation.

Amen

What’s Hot: Religious and Ethical Topics

It is election year 2012 --- time once again for voters to march to the polls to elect the next President of the United States.  From George Washington, our first President, to the current President, there have always been, shall we say, hot topics that become issues for voters to consider as they start to cast their vote on the ballet. The deciding factor of which candidate to vote for often centers around the voters’ religious and ethical views, thus paving the way for the century old argument: Religion vs. Politics.

With that thought in mind, the hot religious and ethical topics in today’s political debates making headlines are:

  1. Equal rights for same-sex marriage
  2. Abortion access including methods of reducing the abortion rate
  3. Contraception (provided by employer health care plans and/or birth control measures dictated by religious convictions)

My point in writing about these hot topics that voters are facing in this up-coming election is not to voice my opinion one way or the other on any of these issues.  I firmly believe in freedom of choice and free will.

My main point is this:

Religious freedom is one of the most cherished rights in our country.  Our Founding Fathers established our nation while envisioning that religious liberties would be celebrated and faith openly expressed.  Yet efforts to safeguard our First Amendment rights are opposed and ridiculed by activists determined to force people of faith to succumb to pressure and vote against their religious belief.

A former pastor of mine once said:  “A person who doesn’t know and stand for what he believes, will fall for anything.”

Block It Out - Hot Trend

Color! It's everywhere this fashion season. But it's being used in a more un-common way than before.The new trend is "color-blocking".The concept couldn't be easier to comprehend: wearing articles of clothing in chunks, or "blocks" of color.

The idea is to piece together vibrant colors you normally wouldn't think "match".

This can range from a casual capri, to a tailored skirt, or just a fun and funky bag.

I've also noticed, I've spent less on purchasing clothes because I can mix-and-match pieces more so than before. You can go weeks without having a repeat affair.

And saving money always makes a girl happy

Be bold! Throw caution to the wind and trying pairing a few things together. There's really no way you can go wrong.

 

1.) I love a polished pencil skirt at the office and yet there's still room for a little jazz.  A V-Neck sweater follows the same tailored effect, but the blocks of color come in way of green and lilac and small hints of red and gold in a belt and necklace.

2.) Neon's like this yellow are a must! The richness of the blue on bottom, heighten the concept while still keeping a classic look. It's been paired with a red purse and longer necklace with hughes of orange. (Hint: Necklaces should hit either above the breast line or below, but never on. This keeps "the girls" from becoming a main focus)

3.) Going for a more casual look? Try your color in a skinny capri. Here, it's paired with a less vibrant blue and then a burst of yellow in the belt and necklace off-set the combo.

Spicy Baked Corn Dogs

When I was a kid, my Mom would occasionally fry up some corn dogs made completely from scratch.  Now that I'm a Mom I thought I'd do the same thing for my little one.  That being said, I'm not fond of frying since I manage to burn myself or ruin an article of clothing every time.  Plus baking is a far more healthy method of cooking.

Preheat oven to  425˚

2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix, 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 stick melted butter, 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, paprika, 1 package of 8 hot dogs, 16 popsicle sticks

In a shallow mixing bowl mix together Jiffy mix, flour, eggs milk and melted butter.  The batter will be sticky.  At this point I typically set aside about 1/2 cup to make 2 corn dogs for Ava, this recipe is too spicy for her little taste buds.  Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic.  Mix until the spices are thoroughly blended into the batter.

Cut the corn dogs in half and stick the popsicle stick in half way.  They are much easier to work with half sized.

Spread the batter evenly over each dog.  Don't make them too thick, about a 1/2 inch thick will do nicely.  Try not to leave any of the dog exposed and seal the bottom by the stick.  This will keep the dogs from drying out while they bake.  Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 12 - 15 minutes on the middle rack.

Now you are ready to serve.  You can serve alone or with a dipping sauce of your choice (honey mustard?).  My neighbor, a major meat eater, eyed one cautiously before taking a bite.  On his way out the door, he grabbed a second for his 50 yard walk home.  Don't be discouraged if they crumble a little, the batter is very muffin-like.  You can cover the popsicle sticks with foil if you don't want them to brown.  I don't usually have that kind of time, and I have yet to start a fire... expect that one time at Thanksgiving... story for another time!

Hot & Cool After School Snack: Fluffy Popcorn & Smoothie

Hot extra buttery microwave popcorn used to be one of my favorite snacks, but after reading several articles about how bad it was for you I switched to air popped corn.  The best part is that I've come up with a way to satisfy all 3 sets of taste buds in my house.  Salty for Ava, sweet for me and spicy for Eric.  I pair Ava's with her favorite Strawberry Mango Smoothie and it's enough to hold everyone over until I've cooked dinner.

Fluffy Popcorn: Salty, Sweet & Spicy

INGREDIENTS:  1/2 cup popcorn kernels, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon white cheddar popcorn seasoning, 1 big bowl for popping and 3 smaller bowls for serving

Begin by popping 1/2 cup of popcorn into a large bowl.  While this is happening melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  Once the popcorn is finished popping, thoroughly coat it with the melted butter.  I recommend using a large flat wooden spoon to turn the popcorn so you don't get your fingers dirty.

Separate the popcorn into your 3 serving bowls, about 4 cups per bowl.  Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over the popcorn in each bowl and turn to coat.  SALTY is done, set it aside.

The second bowl is going to be SWEET.  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Turn with your wooden spoon to coat thoroughly.  Set aside.

Rinse and dry your spoon and we'll finish up the last bowl, SPICY!  Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon white cheddar popcorn seasoning.  Turn with your wooden spoon to coat thoroughly.

The sweet and spicy look similar so I recommend using colored bowls so little ones don't get confused.  You're almost ready to serve.

Strawberry Mango Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:  1/2 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries, 1/2 unsweetened frozen mangos, 4 oz. yogurt (2 tubes), 3/4 cup apple juice

Measure strawberries, mangos, yogurt & apple juice into your blending device.  I love my magic bullet.  Be sure not to overfill the cup.

Blend until smooth and now you're ready to serve.

Snack time!  Use a ziploc bag or tupperware to store uneaten popcorn for tomorrow.